Richard I. Winwood
Take Heed... Be Not Deceived
Salt Lake City: self-published, 1992, 95
First printing: January 1992
Revised and enlarged: July 1992
Revised and enlarged: May 1994
Revised and enlarged: August 1995
Copyright 1995 by
Richard I. Winwood, Salt Lake City,
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or any
part thereof in any form or by any media
without written permission is prohibited.
RICHARD I. WINWOOD
I first became aware of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS, or Mormon, Church) when I was about twenty-five years old. I was happily married at the time and the father of two young children. My wife and I both had religious upbringing in Protestant churches, and we believed and lived basic Christian principles. But we were attending no church services at the time. In fact, we had given up on churches in general. From our perspective, religious leaders seemed more interested in financial and social issues than in religious ones. Even within our respective church organizations, little agreement on important issues could be found. Moreover, no religious organization known to us was able to answer our simplest questions about life, death, heaven, and so on. Consequently, we became irreligious and very skeptical of those preaching religion. We simply decided to live good lives devoid of any church affiliation.
During this time I was given a copy of the Book of Mormon by a loved one. I ignored the book for many months. When I finally began to read it, my purpose was to learn enough about it to show my dear friend where she had been deceived. What happened then completely changed my life. My interest in demonstrating how the Book of Mormon
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various capacities. We came to love the Church as much as we loved the gospel.
However, almost immediately upon joining the Church, I became aware of a movement outside the Church to discredit the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Church organization and doctrine. This disturbed me a great deal. I had never had my faith attacked before, nor had I had something sacred to me belittled and scorned by others. Once, a well-meaning friend shared a book with me entitled Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? 1 I read it with interest. It appeared to be well researched and well documented. It proclaimed that the Book of Mormon was a fake and that Joseph Smith was a liar. These were heavy words to me. They struck me to the center. Had I been deceived? Had my encounters with the Spirit been simply my overactive emotion? I was troubled and shaken. I wanted answers. After some extensive research, I found the answers I was looking for.
I discovered that the book my friend gave me was filled with errors and statements of half-truth. The authors openly lied about historical facts. They used scriptures as Satan would -- ignoring or distorting the true meaning. Quotes and references were made to sources that appeared, on the surface, to be valid but proved to be spurious and reprehensible. The book was a cover-to-cover lie, pure and simple.
As a result of that experience, I determined to find out as much as I could about other anti-Mormon
1 Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, and Donald R. Scales, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? (Santa Ana, Calif.: Vision House, 1980).
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Pronouncements and Questions
The following are responses to some common pronouncements of anti-Mormons and questions about Mormon doctrine, history, practices, and so forth. The responses are in no way exhaustive; I have tried to provide enough material to clarify or correct the fallacious claims and to give references for further information about Mormon beliefs.
Mormons practice polygamy
Here is a statement that was once true but is often overplayed, misunderstood, and sensationalized by detractors. The facts are that during a period of early Church history, the law of plural marriage was practiced by a small portion of Church members. Before anyone overreacts to that admission, it would be well to remember two points:
1) Plural marriage has been practiced throughout the ages for short periods of time when directed by the Lord for his purposes, as in the cases of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others.
(2) Joseph Smith, Jr., by his sacred calling, held the keys and the authority, as a part of the promised restoration of all things, to exercise this principle when so directed by the
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Pronouncements and Questions 43
no instance has the basic message changed concerning the historical setting of the truths unfolded during this remarkable event. What changes have been made were made in an effort to convey, in the clearest language possible, the truths unfolded by God.
Joseph Smith took the Book of Mormon from a
manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding.
The Spaulding Manuscript is a fictional story published in 1885 when it was found, about seventy years after the death of its author. The story is about a group of Romans who, while sailing to England early in the fourth century A.D., were blown off course and landed in North America. One of these Romans kept a history of their experiences among the eastern American Indian tribes.
The first to assert that a direct connection existed between the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding Manuscript was "Doctor" Philastus Hurlbut, who was excommunicated from the Church in 1833 for repeated acts of immorality. Desiring to discredit the Mormons, Hurlbut set out to harm the reputation of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. In 1834 Hurlbut collaborated with Eber D. Howe, a newspaper publisher, in preparing an anti-Mormon publication, Mormonism Unvailed [sic] (see pages 76-77 and 87-91 for more on Hurlbut and Howe). When the Spaulding Manuscript was found in 1884
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and it was clear that the Book of Mormon did not in any way derive from it, Howe speculated that Spaulding must have written another manuscript that served as the source of the Book of Mormon. This other "lost" manuscript has never surfaced, and no other writings of Spaulding have ever been found.
By the 1840s the so-called "Spaulding theory" had become the main anti-Mormon explanation for the Book of Mormon. When the original Spaulding manuscript was found in 1884, it was promptly published by the Latter-day Saints to refute the Spaulding theory. No serious student of Mormonism gives credibility to the Spaulding Manuscript theory.
In 1980 a trio of anti-Mormon writers published a book documenting professional graphologist statements that indicated similarities between Spaulding's handwriting and one of the scribes of the Book of Mormon, thus reopening the Solomon Spaulding controversy. 36 Further research into the matter showed that these anti-Mormons had been too hasty in their conclusions. The graphologists involved repudiated statements published in this book, claiming them false and misleading. Moreover, upon examination of original documents by these handwriting experts, it was determined that no handwriting connection exists between Spaulding and the Book of Mormon scribe.
36 The book was Cowdrey, et al., Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?
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Basic Anti-Mormon History
One of the major reasons for hostility against the LDS Church has been the Church's belief in modern revelation (see page 36). The theological foundation of the LDS Church rests on the claim by Joseph Smith that he received, in answer to humble prayer, visits from God the Father, Jesus Christ, and angels who instructed him to restore a dispensation of the gospel.
Those who opposed Joseph Smith and this restoration of Christ's gospel on theological grounds did so because of what they believed about the Bible. They believed that the Bible was the only word of God -- that God had spoken, and he need speak no more. Hence, there was no need for a modern-day prophet or a Restoration.
These anti-Mormons' philosophy was and is that any theological teaching must conform to their interpretation of the Bible, and that any teaching not fitting their exact rendering of biblical thought must necessarily be rejected -- much like the Pharisees and Sadducees in the meridian of time rejected Jesus Christ as the Savior because he failed to live up to their preconceived ideas of the promised Messiah. This concept of doctrines having to conform to myopic interpretations of Bible teachings exists today and forms the basis for much anti-Mormon activity directed from sectarian clergy.
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Skepticism about Joseph Smith and his testimony that he'd had a vision was understandable. At the time of Joseph's vision there was much religious excitement in American and many were claiming new ideas and even visions from God. However, Joseph had not only claimed communication from God and Jesus Christ, but he had produced the Book of Mormon as well, which was evidence of his sacred experiences. Those who opposed the Prophet found Joseph's testimony of receiving this book of "golden" plates -- from an angel! -- an astonishing claim; however, the book existed and had to be explained in some way. Accordingly, the first anti-Mormon activity was to try to explain away the Book of Mormon and to discredit Joseph and other early Church leaders.
The founder of the Disciples of Christ Church, Alexander Campbell, wrote the first published anti-Mormon pamphlet in 1832. In that pamphlet Campbell concluded: "I cannot doubt for a single minute that [Joseph Smith] is the sole author and proprietor of [the Book of Mormon]." Two years later he withdrew that statement and accepted the newly proposed theory that Joseph Smith had somehow collaborated with Sidney Rigdon, an early Church leader, to produce the Book of Mormon from a lost manuscript written by Reverend Solomon Spaulding (see page 43), a theory asserted by Eber D. Howe in his book Mormonism Unvailed [sic]. Howe's information came from "Doctor" Philastus Hurlbut, who was twice excommunicated
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from the Church for immorality. (Hurlbut was also hired by an anti-Mormon committee to find those who would attest to Joseph Smith's "dishonesty.") Hurlbut's research and ill-gotten affidavits produced much of the libelous history of the Smith family and of the early Church that is referenced by anti-Mormon writers today. 61
Later, when Hurlbut and Howe [sic] finally located Spaulding's manuscript, they discovered that it had no demonstrable connection with the Book of Mormon. However, Howe's book still formed the basis for much of the anti- Mormon writing of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
I. Woodbridge Riley claimed, in his 1903 book The Founder of Mormonism, that Joseph Smith was an epileptic. Riley was also the first to suggest that the books View of the Hebrews (Ethan Smith) and The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed (Josiah Priest) were the sources of the Book of Mormon. In 1930 American historian Bernard De Voto asserted, in the American Mercury, that "unquestionably, Joseph Smith was a paranoid." (He admitted later that the article was a "dishonest attack.") In 1931 Harry M. Beardsley, in Joseph Smith and His Mormon Empire, published in 1931, asserted that Joseph's revelations, visions, and the Book of Mormon itself were simply by-products of Joseph's subconscious.
Fawn Brodie, in her 1945 book No Man Knows My History, portrayed Joseph Smith as a "mythmaker" who absorbed his theological ideas from his
61 See also Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reappraised," BYU Studies 10 (Spring 1970): 283-314.
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Appendix: The Great Deceivers
The list of people who have challenged the origins, founders, or growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is long indeed. Many anti-Mormon tracts and booklets are one-time publications with outrageous claims. They are often crudely done are usually distributed by hand. Other anti-Mormon publications have a professional appearance; they are published by large printing houses and are written by "experts" in comparative religion or by theologians whose academic credentials are clearly stated on the covers of their books in an attempt at credibility. To many, the development and distribution of anti-Mormon material is simply a commercial venture bringing millions of dollars to those who write, distribute, and sell this libelous literature.
In this section you will find a short synopsis of a few of the most prolific anti-Mormon writers, lecturers, and other "experts" on Mormonism. I have waded through most of their books and sat through many of their lectures and radio talk shows. In doing so I've found there is one thread of continuity that runs through their expressions: they lie. They sometimes openly lie, misquoting or fabricating statistics. Other times they slant their material in such a way that good appears as bad and bad as good.
Appendix: The Great Deceivers 87
Documentation relative to the claims made in this section is extensive and readily available. Also, while anti-Mormon writers commonly get away with extreme exaggeration and deception that cannot be proven or substantiated in any way, the information on the writers catalogued here is sure, available, and defensible.
Eber D. Howe and "Doctor" Philastus Hurlbut
The most notable anti-Mormon book written in the early days of the Church was Mormonism Unvailed [sic], published in 1834 by Eber D. Howe. Howe was a newspaper editor and printer in Painesville, Ohio, who published anti-Mormon writings, among other things. 63 Mormonism Unvailed was largely produced from a manuscript originally written by "Doctor" Philastus Hurlbut; however, Hurlbut's reputation was so bad that even those who were anxious for his book to be published were not eager to have Hurlbut's name associated with it. (Hurlbut was once a Methodist but was excluded for immoralities; then he joined the LDS Church but was excommunicated for immorality. Incidentally, Hurlbut's title of "doctor" came from his being the seventh son in his family not from a legitimate, qualifying education. In American folklore such titles were commonly given because of a superstition that the seventh son would possess supernatural qualities.)
63 Stanley B. Kimball, "The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems, in BYU Studies, 10/3 (1970): 343.
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Hurlbut was advised to sell the manuscript to Howe, which he did. Howe and Hurlbut were the first to assert that the Book of Mormon was a rewrite of a Solomon Spaulding manuscript allegedly obtained by early Church leader Sidney Rigdon. Later, when the Spaulding papers were located and researched, they were found to contain no correlation with the Book of Mormon. The two men then concocted the theory that Sidney Rigdon had written the Book of Mormon using another Spaulding manuscript.
One of Hurlbut's contributions consisted of obtaining affidavits from contemporaries of Joseph Smith who were willing to speak against the prophet or lend support to the Solomon Spaulding/Book of Mormon connection. Hurlbut provided both in significant numbers. It is interesting to note that the letters Hurlbut produced in support of the Spaulding/Book of Mormon connection contained no signatures from the authors or from any authenticator, and all were written in the same style! (Research into census records has shown that some of those attesting in the affidavits to specific conversations and observations were not even in the same state at the time of the alleged events!) It is probable that Hurlbut, eager to discredit Joseph Smith and Mormonism by any means, simply wrote these affidavits himself.
The flawed works of Hurlbut and Howe cast a rather long shadow in anti-Mormon history. In a previously referred to book entitled Who Really
Appendix: The Great Deceivers 89
Wrote the Book of Mormon? 64 the authors produce an unsigned letter from Spaulding's widow, Mrs. Solomon Spaulding Davison. The letter was published in the Boston Recorder in 1839. In this letter Mrs. Spaulding tells a long story about how she and her husband met, about early sicknesses and problems, and about how her husband wrote a historical romance, which she is sure is the foundation of the Book of Mormon. Sidney Rigdon, a former Disciple of Christ minister and an early LDS Church leader who had substantial religious training, had "ample opportunity... to copy it if he chose," 65 she says. Further, in this letter she states: "Thus, a historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred scriptures, has been constructed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine." 66 It's a very compelling letter!
So eager to publish and broadcast such a juicy piece of "history," anti-Mormon writers failed to disclose an article from the Quincy, Illinois, Whig that appeared shortly after the Boston Recorder art icle. The Whig article exposes the Davison letter as a fabrication of D. Austin, of Monson, Massachusetts. Mr. Austin interviewed Mrs. Spaulding Davison, then he wrote the letter the way he wanted it written! In a subsequent interview with the former Mrs. Spaulding, the interviewer asked, "Did you, Mrs. Davison, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon?" She replied, "I did not." "Did you sign your name to
64 See Cowdrey, et al., Who Really Wrote the Book of Mortnon? 42-6.
65 Robert L. Brown and Rosemary Brown, They Lie in Wait to Deceive, revised ed. (Mesa, Ariz.: Brownsworth Publishing, 1986), 2:229.
66 Ibid., 230.
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it?" the gentleman asked. Mrs. Davison responded, "I did not, neither did I ever see the letter until I saw it in the Boston Recorder, the letter was never brought to me to sign." 67
Peeling another layer off this anti-Mormon onion reveals other interesting information. Mrs. Spaulding states that Mr. Hurlbut took her husband's manuscript from her. He told her he would have it printed and give her "one half of the profits." 68 Later, he wrote to her and told her the manuscript would not be printed. Why? Solomon Spaulding explains, "I received a letter stating that it did not read as he expected, and he should not print it." 69 Clearly, the manuscript did not prove to be the origin of the Book of Mormon after all; therefore, it had little commercial value to Hurlbut. In a sworn affidavit by D. P. Hurlbut on 10 January 1881, he states:
In the year ... I went from Geauga County, Ohio, to Munson, Hampden County, Massachusetts, where I found Mrs. Davison, late widow of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, late of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio. Of her I obtained a manuscript, supposing it to be the manuscript of the romance written by the said Solomon Spaulding, called the "Manuscript Found," which was report ed to be the foundation of the "Book of Mormon." I did not examine the manuscript until I got home, when upon examination I found it to__________
67 Ibid., 232.
Appendix: The Great Deceivers 91
contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe . . . with the understanding that when he had examined it, he should return it to the widow. 70
Hurlbut became an anti-Mormon when he was rejected by the Church because of his repeated immoral actions. A proud man, "Doctor" Hurlbut did everything in his power to refute the Church and its founder. His clear motive was to make money from his "inside information" about the Church.
He did make some money from the sale of the book. From his gains he purchased a farm in the township of Girard, Pennsylvania, and married. Once, having been suspected of stealing, Hurlbut fled the country to escape justice and was never heard from again. By that time, the Hurlbut manuscript had long before become the adopted offspring of Mr. E. D. Howe, whose name appears on the cover.
Walter Ralston Martin
"Doctor" Walter R. Martin was the founder and director of the Christian Research Institute in San Juan Capistrano, California. His books The Maze of Mormonism and The Kingdom of the Cults have been common sources for the sectarian world to turn to when seeking knowledge about The Church
70 Ibid., 234.
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Richard I. WinwoodMr. Winwood is a native of the western United States who has served as a Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Atlantic Canada. Prior to his service in Canada, Mr. Winwood had a successful business career. Having been raised in a large Protestant Christian church from his youth, Mr. Winwood is now a convert to the LDS Church and has been a member for some twenty-two years. He and his wife Judy were contacted by Mormon missionaries and were taught the gospel in their home, as is common to most LDS converts. Since his conversion, Mr. Winwood has served as a seminary instructor, as a lay administrator, and in youth leadership assignments.
Mr. Winwood is a student of the Holy Bible as well as of the Book of Mormon and other LDS scriptures. He has also made an extensive study of material written and taught by opponents of the LDS Church. His understanding of anti-Mormon tactics and claims, coupled with his in-depth understanding of LDS doctrines and teachings, has led him to publish this book at his own cost and to distribute it free of charge to any interested person.
(the above information was taken from