(Newspapers of Iowa)

The Saints’ Herald
(Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa)
1882-1886 Articles

Decatur Co., Iowa - early 1880s - (view 1875 map)

1860-71 (OH/IL)   1872-81 (IL)   1882-86   1887-99 (IA)   1900-21 (IA)   1922-77 (MO)

Feb 01 '82  |  Mar 01 '82  |  May 01 '82  |  Jun 15 '82  |  Mar 17 '83
Mar 24 '83  |  Mar 31 '83  |  Apr 28 '83  |  Jun 02 '83  |  Jun 09 '83
Aug 11 '83  |  Sep 29 '83  |  Oct 06 '83
Mar 01 '84  |  Mar 08 '84  |  Mar 22 '84  |  Apr 05 '84  |  May 10 '84
May 17 '84  |  May 24 '84  |  May 31 '84  |  Jun 07 '84  |  Jun 14 '84
Jun 21 '84  |  Jun 28 '84  |  Jul 12 '84  |  Aug 02 '84  |  Aug 23 '84
Aug 30 '84  |  Sep 27 '84  |  Oct 04 '84  |  Oct 11 '84  |  Oct 18 '84
Nov 08 '84  |  Dec 06 '84  |  Jan 31 '85  |  Feb 07 '85  |  Mar 21 '85
Apr 04 '85  |  Apr 18 '85  |  May 16 '85  |  May 30 '85  |  Jun 13 '85
Jul 11 '85  |  Jul 25 '85  |  Aug 08 '85  |  Aug 15 '85  |  Aug 29 '85
Sep 12 '85  |  Sep 26 '85  |  Oct 31 '85  |  Nov 21 '85  |  Dec 05 '85
Dec 12 '85  |  Dec 26 '85
Jan 02 '86  |  Jan 09 '86  |  Jan 23 '86  |  Feb 13 '86  |  Apr 03 '86
May 29 '86  |  Jul 03 '86  |  Oct 30 '86  |  Nov 13 '86  |  Nov 20 '86
Dec 25 '86

Old Newspapers Index  |  First Herald Publishing Office Picture

Vol. 29.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 1, 1882.                           No. 3.

The Old Story

UKIAH, California,                
January 1st, 1882.               

Bro. Joseph: -- I wish you a Happy New Year. The slip enclosed (which we give below -- Ed.) entitled the Book of Mormon, was cut from the San Francisco Morning Call. You may have seen it before this will reach you. In comparing the testimony of old Father Whitmer and others, and the one of Mr. Miller; one for it and the other against the Book of Mormon; it seems to me, and I believe to any fair thinking and honest mind, that this Presbyterian Elder makes a very poor showing in comparison in regard to the Book of Mormon and the "Manuscript Found." Mr. Miller may as well say that a donkey and a jack rabbit are one and the same, because the rabbit stole his ears from the donkey. Mr. Miller calls the Book of Mormon a seductive delusion of the devil. If so, the old boy has brought forth rather a dangerous weapon to be used against himself, to destroy his own works of darkness and lies; for to live by the teachings of the Book of Mormon will surely make us enemies of the works of the evil one. No doubt this Mr. Miller has heard with his own ears the teaching of Joseph your Father; and any man who would denounce it a delusion, is either dishonest, or he belongs to the one class who lost one of his long ears, or some body in some way stole it.

In regard to the Editors who have given it a place in the columns of their papers, they are like the lawyers defending a case for the biggest crowd and purse, and to be popular. In conclusion, if the work is from God, as many do believe, who can overthrow it, for in the end the truth loving will prevail.

Yours in bonds.                            
                          JACOB HEGER.



In the beautiful valley of Ten Mile, in the southern part of Washington County, Pennsylvania, lives Mr. Joseph Miller, Sr., now in his 92d year, with whom the Times correspondent has just had an interview. Mr. Miller, is an Elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and a man of unimpeachable veracity. In answer to the question if he knew Rev. Solomon Spaulding, the author of the "Book of Mormon," he quickly turned, and his face brightened as his mind ran back to the events of the past, and he said, with considerable emphasis: "I most certainly do."

"Did you ever read a copy of the work?"

"Yes. Some years ago," he continued, "Rev. J. W. Hamilton, a Presbyterian minister, now living in Steubenville, O., presented me with a copy, which I read carefully."

"Is it your opinion that you ever read or hear read any portion of it before?"

"Yes, I am quite positive that I did."

He then referred to a passage on page 148 which, he said, was so strange that, at the time Mr. Spaulding read it to him from his manuscript, it fixed itself upon his memory, and that he had never forgotten it. He said that about 1812, Spaulding came to Amity, a small village about five miles from his present home, where he kept a hotel; that Spaulding was in delicate health, and that he (Miller) often spent his evenings at his home. "While there, upon several occasions Mr. Spaulding would bring out a large roll of papers, and read select portions of their contents to amuse us of evenings. He told me that he wrote it for a novel, and intended to have it published as a means of support for his family. He called it 'The Lost Manuscript Found,' and said that he wrote it to pass away the time when he was feeling unwell." "I am confident," said Mr. Miller, "from what I know of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and the 'Book of Mormon,' that Joseph Smith by some means got possession of the novel and made some changes in it, and issued it under the name by which it is known to-day."

Mr. Miller said that Spaulding was an enthusiastic archaeologist, and that he often indulged himself in the belief that the American continent was at one time peopled by a colony of ancient Israelites, and that his manuscript was only a fictitious history of the race which had built the mounds. Mr. Miller is the only man living at this time who was acquainted with Spaulding -- at least, the only person who has any knowledge of the correct origin of the "Book of Mormon" or who ever heard it read from the lips of the author. He said to the correspondent during his stay that as he neared the grave, with but one breath between him and heaven, he hoped that last breath might carry a message that would prevent people from being led into Mormonism, that [most] seductive delusion of the devil. "Spaulding was a good man," said Mr. Miller, "and I would not cast a shadow upon his memory, for it never was his intention to create a false religion by anything that he wrote. I attended him through his last illness, and when death called him from the earth, I, with my own hands, made the coffin that contained his sleeping ashes. He was buried in the churchyard of the village, and his grave remains unmarked, while the work of his idle hours eighty years ago has grown in the country he dearly loved, until the eyes of the nation are turned with horror upon its magnitude."

Note 1: This interview article was only one of several in which Mr. Joseph Miller provided information over the years. His first newspaper piece was published in 1869, followed by another in 1879. These two accounts were followed by an interview conducted by Mr. M. A. Cooper, of Steubenville, Ohio, late in 1881. This interview was apparently first published in and unidentified newspaper (the "Times") on or about Dec. 9, 1881 and was subsequently reprinted by the Cincinnati Gazette and other papers. This is the same Miller article reprinted in the issue of the Saints' Herald, (as reproduced above). Joseph Miller provided a fourth account for publication in Feb. of 1882, but it was not printed until 1885. Finally, he wrote a fifth account, also in 1882, but it was not published until 1890.

Note 2: The essence of the 1881 Joseph Miller interview is reproduced in Chapter 10 of Sarah Jane (Harris) Kiefer's Genealogical and Biographical Sketches of the New Jersey Branches of the Harris Family in the United States (Madison, WI: Democrat Printing Company, 1888). According to Kiefer, "Mr. Miller died 12 April 1885, aged ninety-five years." An 1882 reprint of this article may be found on pp. 742-743 of Wayne Cowdrey et al., The Spalding Enigma, (Los Angeles: 2000), along with the other four Joseph Miller statements.

Note 3: One point made by Miller in this interview is perhaps incorrect. He states that is was never Spalding's "intention to create a false religion by anything that he wrote." A close reading of Chapter 8 of the c. 1812 Spalding story on file in the Oberlin College archives, along with the undated Spalding draft letter preserved along with that manuscript story, may convince any student of the subject that Solomon Spalding was very much interested in the potentially positive effects of contrived religion upon the lives of "the great mass of the people" who piously believed in "their happy delusions."


Vol. 29.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 1, 1882.                           No. 5.

Letter  From  Elder  W. H.  Kelley.

Editor Herald: -- In August last I left home to attend the Semi-Annual Conference, appointed to convene near Council Bluffs, Iowa... In Chicago I was joined by our excellent brother, George A. Blakeslee...

In company with Bro. Warnky and Dr. Wm. E. McLellin, we visited the "temple lot" lying west of the [Independence] Court House. The doctor was able to point of the identical spot where Joseph stood when he first visited it, and which is the place of the corner stone.... I gleaned from him and the records in his possession, the following items: He was present when the preface to the Book of Commandments was given, and says that Sidney Rigdon wrote it down as it was doctated by Joseph. A committee had been appointed to draft a preface, consisting of himself, O. Cowdery and, I think, Sidney Rigdon, but when they made their report, the "Conference picked it all to pieces." The Conference then requested Joseph to enquire of the Lord about it, and he said that he would if the people would bow in prayer with him. This they did and Joseph prayed.

When they arose, Joseph dictated by the Spirit the preface found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants while sitting bt a window of the room in which the conference was sitting; and Sidney Rigdon wrote it down. Joseph would deliver a few sentences and Sidney would write them down, then read them aloud, and if correct, then Joseph would proceed and deliver more, and by this process the preface was given.

In reply to the question, "did Joseph seem to be inspired at the time? that is, did any thing of unusual character appear to be moving him?" he said, "There was something a hold of him."...

Early in the morning. Thursday the 15th... We were soon on the way to Richmond, Ray County, to visit David Whitmer, one of the witnesses. Arrived about 8.30 a. m., and breakfasted at the hotel. Here we met David Whitmer, Junior, eldest son of David Whitmer, Senior. He looks to be about forty-five years of age. Is kind hearted and is a firm believer in the Book of Mormon and in the testimony borne by his father concerning it. After breakfast we called on David Whitiner, Senior, meeting him just outside of his residence, and introducing ourselves. He invited us into the house and directed us into a small zoom, presumably his own resting and sleeping apartment. John Whitmer, son of John Whitmer, deceased, and two or three more gentlemen, whose names are, not remembered, were present. The women folks were house cleaning. (Just our luck). Elder Whitmer remarked that he did not feel much like talking; as he had not been feeling well for some time. He appeared feeble. He is now upwards of seventy-six years of age; having been born January 7, 1805. He is of medium height, and rather of a slender build; but this appearance may be on account of age and recent illness. He has darkish brown eyes, and his hair is white and thin. [He] has a good head and honest face. He talks with ease and seemed at home with every subject suggested; and without an effort, seemingly, went on to amplify upon it, so that we had nothing to do but question; suggest, and listen. His intellect is far more vigorous and retentive than we expected to find. He is careful in his speech, for he studies to express himself in such a way as not to be misunderstood; and it hurts him to be misrepresented. A reporter called to see him some time ago, asked a few questions, and went off and published that he had denied his testimony concerning the truth of the Book of Mormon. This hurt him so, that he is very careful now, to have some known friends present when strangers call to see him. This accounts for the presence of others when we were there. Speaking of Joseph Smith the Seer, he said, and this is very nearly his wording: "It makes no difference what others say, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and he translated the Book of Mormon by the inspiration of God from the plates of the Nephites. Some people think if they can only make it appear that Joseph's life and character were not perfect, and that he had human weaknesses, that it would prove that he was not a prophet; yet the same persons will believe that Moses who killed the Egyptian, and David, who had Uriah killed, and who took a multitude of wives, and Solomon who was a polygamist and idolator; and Peter, who lied and cursed, &c., were all prophets, and should behonored and respected. What the individual life of Joseph Smith was after he translated the Book of Mormon, has nothing to do with the question as to whether he was, or was not inspired to bring that book forth. "

"Do you know anything against his character?"
  "I know nothing against him. I have heard some things; these I know nothing about. I have nothing to say about the character of any one, only as I know. It is not my mission to talk about the character of any. My mission is to testify concerning the truth of the coming forth of the work of God."

"What kind of man was he when you knew him personally?"

"He was a religious and straightforward man. He had to be; for he Was illiterate and he could do nothing of himself. He had to trust in God. He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed the right feelings towards everyone. To illustrate, so you can see. One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put, out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went upstairs, and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation, but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went downstairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour -- came back to the house, asked Emma's forgiveness, and then came upstairs where we were and the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful."

His statement concerning the vision they had of the plates and the angel was as follows:

"I was plowing in the field one morning, and Joseph and Oliver came along with a revelation stating that I was to be one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. I got over the fence and we went out into the woods, near by, and sat down on a log and talked awhile. We then kneeled down and prayed. Joseph prayed. We then got up and sat on the log and were talking, when all at once a light came down from above us and encircled us for quite a little distance around; and the angel stood before us. He was dressed in white, and spoke and called me by name and said, 'Blessed is he that keepeth His commandments.' This is all that I heard the angel say. A table was set before us and on it the records were placed. The records of the Nephites, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, the brass plates, the Ball of Directors, the sword of Laban and other plates. While we were viewing them the voice of God spoke out of heaven saying that the book was true and the translation correct."

We then asked him, "Do you remember the peculiar sensation experienced upon that occasion?" He answered very slowly and definitely.

"Yes; I remember it very distinctly; and I never think of it from that day to this but what that same spirit is present with me."

"How did you know it was the voice of God?"

"We knew it was the voice of God. I. knew it was the voice of God just as well as I knew anything."

This narration was delivered in a mild, but fervent voice; and as he spoke and bore witness, and we listened, the Spirit of God rested in great power upon us like a flame of glory, or burning coal from the alter of God. It inveloped our beings and glowed in our hearts while tears of gratitude and joy flowed down our cheeks. Bro. Blakeslee who sat opposite, but near by and facing me, was so moved by this divine touch -- silent and heavenly power -- that he could not refrain from weeping. Despite our power of resistance, for a moment we sat speechless, uttered not a word, but with a look exchanged thoughts and read the moving of each other's heart. We were satisfied, established, confirmed. The Spirit of God that had been with me and inspired my soul while defending that Record, and the divinely appointed mission of the Seer, for lo! these many years, while standing and testifying before multitudes, large and small, now appeared and lit up my being as with a flame, as I listened to the voice of a chief witness testify of what he had seen, and heard, and felt, in relation to the coming forth of this Latter Day Work. The worthy sage testified truthfully, for God bore witness.

Whatever other men may think of David Whitmer, it is our belief that he is a man of God; and that he is performing his part in this great Latter Day Work, faithfully and acceptably to his heavenly Father. He is respected and honored of his neighbors, and loved and admired by his relatives, of which there is a large circle there, and all in the faith. Who shall say that this man of candor, now standing upon the verge of the grave, has borne a false witness.

Conversation ended, we were soon on the way to Stewartsville, having been requested by telegram, while at Independence, to visit that place...

Least some may adjudge us prolix, we close
          In the faith,
                                  WM. H. KELLEY.
COLDWATER, Mich., Jan. 16th, 1882.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 29.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 1, 1882.                           No. 9.

...It is evident that much good will result from [the visit] to see the manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon; and the examination we gave of them satisfied us that there was never but the one copy made, and that one is the one kept by Father Whitmer. It bears unmistakeable proofs of having been in the printer's hands, and is well preserved. The aged and faithful custodian of these records deserves the deepest respect for the unyielding fidelity with which he has discharged the trust reposed in him to preserve and keep this manuscript record. He has been and is now poor, but money has not tempted him to part with a single page of that confided to his keeping so long ago. And we who were permitted to see them and talk with their keeper, could not fail to be impressed with the fitness of the charge. Latter day Israel should rest satisfied that the records fell into so good hands; and now when the opportune time came, to have so strong a witness left to tell the wondrous story of the revival of the Lord's work, in the discovery of the Book of Mormon. As for our part we could not help but think that the hand of God had been over those written records and the one to whose hands they were confided so long ago, and with whom we found them. Nor could we wish now that another had them. Let them remain with him who has so long held them in sacred keeping; and may his already long life be further prolonged for good to the truth which he loves.

In answer to questions by the brethren he recited with graphic distinctness the scene in which he received the testimony he bore many years past and still bears to the Book of Mormon; and averred anew that the statement made by him as published in the book is true. No one who listens to him can doubt the sincerity and truthfulness of the man.   Bro. W. H. Kelley's letter but faintly describes the effect his words produce. He states that Elder Sidney Rigdon was not known to the Elders of the Church until long after the Book of Mormon was issued; and that of his knowledge Elder Rigdon had nothing to do with the manuscript of the Book of Mormon; that he was familiar with Joseph Smith, the methods of translation, and the circumstance connected with it and the publishing of the book...

On April 4th, Bro. W. W. Blair, Phineas Caldwell, James H. Peters and the Editor, visited Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, for the purpose of paying our respects to David Whitmer, Senior, the surviving witness to the Book of Mormon. We found an aged man. born in the beginning of the year 1805, and now past seventy-seven years of age, still erect in frame though slightly bowed, with eyesight and hearing good, and a memory astonishingly preserved.

We were kindly received by Father Whitmer and his family, David, Jr., a nephew, Judge Jacob Whitmer, a daughter, Mrs. Schweisch, and a grandson and daughter. We were permitted to see the manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon; and the examination we gave to them satisfied us that there was never but the one copy made, and that one is the one kept by Father Whitmer. It bears unmistakeable proofs of having been in the printer's hands, and is well preserved. The aged and faithful custodian of these records deserves the deepest respect for the unyielding fidelity with which he has discharged the trust reposed in him to preserve and keep this manuscript record. He has been and is now poor, but money has not tempted him to part with a single page of that confided to his keeping so long ago. And we who were permitted to see them and talk with their keeper, could not fail to be impressed with the fitness of the charge. Latter day Israel should rest satisfied that the records fell into so good hands; and now when the opportune time came, to have so strong a witness left to tell the wondrous story of the revival of the Lord's work, in the discovery of the Book of Mormon. As for our part we could not help but think that the hand of God had been over those written records and the one to whose hands they were confided so long ago, and with whom we found them. Nor could we wish now that another had them. Let them remain with him who has so long held them in sacred keeping; and may his already long life be further prolonged for good to the truth which he loves.

In answer to questions by the brethren he recited with graphic distinctness the scene in which he received the testimony he bore many years past and still bears to the Book of Mormon' and averred anew that the statement made by him as published in the book is true. No one who listens to him can doubt the sincerity and truthfulness of the man. Bro. W. H. Kelley's letter but faintly describes the effect his words produce. Elder Sidney Rigdon was not known to the Elders of the Church until long after the Book of Mormon was issued; and that of his knowledge Elder Rigdon had nothing to do with the manuscript of the Book of Mormon; that he was familiar with Joseph Smith, the methods of translation, and the circumstances connected with it and the publishing of the book, and from this acquaintance knows that the Spaulding manuscript story is false and without a shadow of truth in it.

We went on our journey to Conference wonderfully refreshed and strengthened for further conflict for the spread of the truth, by this visit to David Whitmer, senior.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 29.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 15, 1882.                           No. 12.

CLEAR WATER, Antelope Co., Neb.,        
May 16th, 1882.        
Bro. Joseph: -- I believe you stated in the Opera Hall at Independence, that Sidney Rigdon had no connection with the Church until two years after its organization. I thought then you made a mistake, and when I mentioned it to you at Lamoni subsequently, you requested me to look into the matter and ascertain; which I have done to my satisfaction. My grandfather, Lyman Wight, was nearly associated with Sidney Rigdon when in the Campbellite Church; and my grandmother, wife of Lyman Wight, who now resides with my mother, near Oakdale, Nebraska, told me a few days ago that she remembers distinctly that Sidney Rigdon was baptized the same day herself and husband were: but perhaps not by the same person, as there were several baptizing at the same time. Grandfather says in his journal. which I have before me, in speaking of moving to a new place.

"When I had my goods about half loaded, there came along four men; namely, P. Pratt, O. Cowdery, P. Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson, and brought with them the Book of Mormon, which they wished to introduce to us. I desired they would hold on till I got away, as my business was of vital importance, and I did not wish to be troubled with romances nor idle speculators. But nothing daunted, they were not to be put off, but were as good natured as you please. Curiosity got uppermost, and I concluded to stop for a short time. We called meeting and one testified that he had seen angels, another that he had seen the plates, and that the gifts were back in the Church again, &c. The meeting became so interesting that I did not get away till the sun was about an hour high at night, and it was dark before I arrived at my new home. But I amused myself by thinking that the trouble was over, and that I should not see them again for a long time, supposing they would start the next morning for the western boundaries of the State of Missouri. But in this I was very much disappointed. But to describe the scenes of the next seven weeks, in which one scene would be as interesting as another, would fill quite a large volume; I shall therefore content myself by saying; that they brought the Book of Mormon to bear upon us; and the whole of the common stock family was baptized; and during the seven weeks they tarried they succeeded in building up a church of one hundred and thirty members; myself and family were baptized by P. Pratt on the 14th of November, 1830."

This would of course place the baptism of Sydney Rigdon on the above date; and other circumstances seem to corroborate this. The revelation given to Pratt. Cowdery, Whitmer and Peterson, to go on this mission bears date October, 1830. (D. and C., sec. 31). Mother Smith's history, chapter 38, carries the idea that they started soon after receiving the revelation. In December, 1830, a revelation was given to Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon from which I infer that Sidney was then a member, All this harmonizes and confirms the statement that Sidney Rigdon was baptized November 14th, 1830. This gives the Spaulding romance believers no encouragement, as the Book of Mormon was published some time before this: and I think these things can be relied upon as facts.

You are at liberty to use this at your discretion....

[Harlan, Iowa, June, 1882.]      
... We are making progress in our preparations for church building here. I think we shall meet with good success.

You asked the question, "How did you like your visit with Father Whitmer?" It was one of the great events of my life to visit him and Richmond. I was well repaid for time and money expended in making the trip. We all thought we had a splendid feast at Independence, but the visit to David Whitmer was like having the best of the wine at the last of the feast. We made ourselves known to his grandson and he prepared the way for us. We visited Bro. David in the forenoon; and again in the evening at his request. He remarked that we had brought a good spirit with us and he felt like talking. He did talk, and I learned many things that I did not know before about the rise of this work. One thing in particular; he says there were about forty or fifty members in the Church when organized on April 6th, 1830. We have been told and so recorded in history that there were only six members. He explained it this way, -- there were only six Elders. He said that he baptized fourteen in Seneca Lake, a few days before the Church was organized. I asked his wife if she was present when the Church was organized on April 6th, 1830. She replied, "Yes; and was a baptized member at that time." We asked him the question: Had Joseph Smith any manuscripts of any kind by him at the time of translating the Book of Mormon that he could read from?

His answer was: "No, Sir. We did not know anything about the Spaulding manuscript at that time."

We asked him if his testimony was the same now as it was at the time the Book of Mormon was published, regarding seeing the plates and the angel. He rose to his feet, stretched out his hands and said: "These hands handled the plates, these eyes saw the angel, and these ears heard his voice; and I know it was of God."

That was the strongest testimony I ever heard, and I felt that he was telling the truth...."
J. W. CHATBURN.      

Note 1: Lyman Wight's quotation of the Nov. 14, 1830 date for Rigdon's baptism into the Mormon church probably provides somewhat incorrect information. An extension of the Lyman Wight journal entry, published in the RLDS Church History, Vol. 1, Chapter 8, pp. 152-154, adds the following: "...on the 14th of November, 1830 in [Shagreen (sic, "Chagrin")] River, at Kirtland, Ohio. I was confirmed on the 18th by O. Cowdery, and on the 20th ordained an elder by the same." For further discussion of Rigdon's baptismal date, see Richard Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p. 66, n. 57 & n. 61, where the author opts for a date of Nov. 8, 1830. Mr. Henry Harrison Clapp, an eye-witness to the events in Mentor during November 1830, provides a somewhat different account and chronology in his letter, as published in the May 16, 1879 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune. Clapp's account seems to argue for a baptismal date of Sunday, Oct. 31, but might alternatively allow for that event to have occurred a week later, on Sunday, Nov. 7, 1830, with Clapp hearing of Rigdon's baptism on Monday, Nov. 8th.

Note 2: Elder Wight's recollections may have been in error in regard to another matter of Latter Day Saint chronology. His short account makes it seem that the first that the Rigdonites living on the Morley Farm heard of the "four men" was when "P. Pratt, O. Cowdery, P. Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson" all showed up together, practically at Wight's doorstep. Other accounts show that, after their initial meeting with Sidney Rigdon, the four Mormon missionaries split up, with Oliver and Parley remaining with Rigdon in Mentor, while Peter and Ziba walked the few miles south to Kirtland and spent a couple of days in that place before Oliver and Parley joined them. Unless Elder Wight had been absent from the scene during that short period, it would seem almost inevitable that he would have met and conversed with Peter and Ziba well before "there came along four men" to convert him and the rest of the Morley "Family" to Mormonism.


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 17, 1883.                           No. 11.


                  "PRESBYTERIAN BANNER."
                             Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 28th, 1882.

    Dear Sir: -- You are of course acquainted with the claim advanced in behalf of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, as the author of the historical part of the "Book of Mormon." I mail to you herewith a statement of the evidence in support of this claim, so far as I have been able to collect it. I solicit your careful and candid examination of the testimony here presented, and shall esteem it a favor to have any errors pointed out, and mistakes corrected. I shall be glad to hear from you personally upon the subject; but if you think proper to notice the pamphlet in your paper, please send me a copy. I mail you two copies of the pamphlet, as you may wish to scissor some portions for extracts.

The truth has nothing to fear from honest, impartial discussion; and in gathering evidence I have been careful to note down and publish as well what conflicts with common opinion, as what sustains it. I pray God to open your mind to the entrance of the truth, and to give you the courage to avow it. Your position is a very peculiar one; I realize its embarrassments; at the same time there is a peculiar responsibility also resting upon you to do what you can to rectify a great wrong. I shall be glad to hear from you on the subject of this pamphlet.
With sincerest wishes that you may be guided into the truth,
                  I am yours,
                            R. PATTERSON.
No. 198 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The foregoing letter was received by us some time ago, and as soon after its receipt as practicable, we wrote and mailed to Mr. Patterson an article, of which the following is a copy. This is not published as an exhaustive treatise upon the subject, but in the belief that it contains a sufficient answer to the pamphlet referred to by Mr. Patterson; and that the thoughts suggested can be made available in the defense of truth.

                    LAMONI, Ia. Jan. 20th, 1883.

                       No. 198 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Your letter of December 28th, 1882, was duly received, but by reason of busy cares I have not been able to reply.

The pamphlet sent by you came two or three days after the letter reached me.

One sentence of your letter you would probably resent as an impertinence, or attribute to fanatical cant if I were to repeat it, with a request for you to make it of personal application to yourself.

"I pray God to open your mind to the entrance of the truth, and to give you the courage to avow it."

Believe me I do not refer to it to resent it, or to refuse to acknowledge the force of the admonition, or to ignore the good influence with which God endows the mind to examine and receive the truth.

You will pardon me when I state that no man living has a greater interest in the question whether the Book of Mormon is a fabrication from Rev. S. Spaulding's romance, or a discovery of deposited records of early inhabitants of this country as it purports to be, and came into being as my father, Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, Peter and David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and others, claim.

If the religious teachings and principles that the book contains are true, and comport with the New Testament Scriptures, I am interested in maintaining them and the book because of them. If those principles are false, I am interested in abandoning them and inducing others to do so too. If I become satisfied that the statement respecting the manner in which Joseph Smith became possessed of the records is true, I am interested in maintaining it; and if I become convinced that he was a bad man, and foisted a falsehood upon the world, deliberately, persistently and wickedly, I am interested in denouncing such act.

I have examined every work published against Joseph Smith, Mormonism, and the Mormons, that I could procure; from E. D. Howe's book to the last confession of John D. Lee, and Ann Eliza's exposure. I have given them all a close, and so far as I could, an analytical consideration; and will do the same with your pamphlet. The results I will write to you, and you will no doubt read what I send carefully and thoughtfully, whether you do prayerfully or not.

Like all who have essayed to write upon the subject you have taken Howe's work as the basis, and have considered what is stated there as proved. If, therefore, discredit is thrown upon that work, the premise upon which your argument rests is destroyed.

So far as Joseph Smith's possible access to the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding is concerned, whatever previous writers may have done, the theory is abandoned by you.

This leaves the question confined to Sidney Rigdon and his possible connection with those manuscripts.

The possession of the manuscript is accounted for in the statement of Mesdames Davison and McKinstry, daughter and wife of Rev. Spaulding, from its inception until its committal to Dr. Hurlbut in 1834, except the possible time it may have been in the care of Silas Engle, as stated by your father, "some weeks," and returned as he supposed, and Mrs. McKinstry states, and as it must have been, because Mrs. McKinstry states that she had access to it at her Uncle Sabine's after Mr. Spaulding's death, after the removal of the family from Amity, Pennsylvania, and before their arrival in Monson, Massachusetts.

This narrows the time in which Sidney Rigdon could have had access to the "Manuscript Found" to these "some weeks" that they were in Engle's or your father's care; the identity of the manuscript insisted upon as the origin of the Book of Mormon and the one left at the office of your father being admitted. If Rigdon had access to it at this time he must have copied it, as Engle returned the original.

The theory that S. Rigdon copied it is untenable for two reasons. One is the time allowed for the work, and the circumstances do not favor it. The other is that Rigdon was not at Pittsburgh till 1821-2, five or six years after Spaulding's death and the removal of the family with the manuscript in their possession from that place. This theory of Sidney Rigdon's getting possession of the manuscript through Lambdin subsequently, upon the supposition that Spaulding had transcribed it for the printer is ingenious; but is a supposition only, unsupported by any proof, and shows the first theory to be of doubtful character, or it would not have been resorted to.

The statement that Dr. Hurlbut sold the manuscript of the "Manuscript Found" to the Mormons is disposed of by the Doctor himself, who placed it as he says, in the hands of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio. The force of these points is seen when you take up and consider one by one the statements made by the witnesses cited by Mr. Howe in his works, respecting the similarity between the names, plot of the work, and history of Mr. Spaulding's suppositious romance, and the Book of Mormon. All these witnesses certify upon their memory, and you should in justice in the absence of direct testimony upon the point, apply your note number 1, page 11 of your work.

The possession of the manuscript being accounted for until long after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and always in the hands of the antagonists of Mormonism, the opposers of Joseph Smith, the principle of the law of evidence holds good that a party is precluded from proving the contents of a written instrument, unless it is shown that such instrument is lost, or destroyed, or in the hands of the opposite party. In this case, so far from proving that the manuscripts are destroyed, or lost, or in the hands of the Mormons, it is distinctly shown as a material fact, that they were in the hands of the original owner, and his heirs and successors, until after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and then went into the hands of E. D. Howe, the publisher of a work against the Mormons, and in ostensible refutation of their theory of the origin of that book. Mr. Howe in direct violation of this well known rule of evidence, proceeds to introduce several witnesses who testify to their own recollection of this manuscript, as having heard it read by Mr. Spaulding, all the way from twelve to sixteen years after his death, and this, too, when the manuscript is shown to be in the possession of Mr. Howe. *
* Mr. Howe, we are informed, was himself a lawyer, and is presumed to have known, and without a doubt did know, that while the manuscript in question was in his possession, or under his control, or in existence anywhere where it could by legal process be reached, oral testimony in regard to its contents was incompetent, and therefore inadmissible; and the fact that he knowingly introduced incompetent testimony to make out his case, is conclusive proof that he knew that the introduction of the manuscript, the only competent evidence under the circumstances, would, instead of supporting his claim, overthrow it entirely. No man can practice law in our courts in this way without being regarded as a low pettifogger, wanting either in the knowledge or honesty necessary to the proper practice of his profession. Lawyers do not resort to such dishonorable "tricks of the trade" as this, except where there is no possibility of making a case without them.

When therefore, the Mormon resorts to the plea that the better and more conclusive way to have proven the plagiarism charged, would have been to produce the manuscript, and print it in juxtaposition with the portions of the Book of Mormon said to have been plagiarized from it, that a faithful comparison of the two might be made; he does but insist upon the observance of one of the commonest rules of evidence known to the legal mind. And instead of being himself liable to the charge of resorting to a "dishonorable plea," he shows the weakness of the claim made for the Spaulding romance, and makes apparent the "uncommon straits" to which those who claim the "Manuscript Found" origin of the Book of Mormon, are driven to maintain that claim. And this plea is a just and good one, both against Mrs. McKinstry and Mrs. Spaulding, and all others who claim the manuscript as the origin of the Book of Mormon, for these last make themselves parties to the case upon the side in whose possession the manuscript is found to be. When you present the statement that such a plea is dishonorable, you unconsciously allow yourself to become partisan, and adopt the language of avowed enemies of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; and if the evidence of Mormons, and those friendly to them is to be disposed of as unworthy of belief, because the witnesses are interested, and therefore partial and biased, the rule must apply, and with equal propriety and force, to those at enmity with the Mormons as interested, prejudiced, and biased against them. This only results in leaving the matters at issue to rest upon testimony equally worthy, or unworthy.

Mesdames Davison and McKinstry both aver that the trunk and manuscripts contained in it, were in the possession of the family, the trunk never out of actual or constructive possession, and the manuscript always except the time referred to, when somewhere about 1814 it was presented to your father and Silas Engle for publication, and by them returned to Mrs. Spaulding. It was in the trunk at the time Mrs. McKinstry had access to it at Mrs. Sabine's house. It must have been there when the trunk went to Monson at Mrs. Spaulding's marriage to Mr. Davison; and there it must have been found, when in 1834 Mr. Hurlbut procured it upon the order of Mrs. Davison. Here then is the unbroken chain of its possession found. What follows. Dr. Hurlbut turns the manuscript over to E. D. Howe, with the manuscript copy unfinished of the Mormonism Unveiled, and the affidavits, etc., which Mr. Howe worked into the book afterwards published. The avowed purpose for which the manuscript was asked for by Hurlbut, was that a comparison should be made with the Book of Mormon then published. The widow "with great reluctance" authorized the loan of the manuscript to Hurlbut upon the solicitation of Mr. Sabine. There can be no doubt from this straight relation that the parties to this transaction, Mrs. Davison, Mr. W. H. Sabine and Dr. Hurlbut, all were satisfied that the manuscript then delivered to Hurlbut was the original "Manuscript Found," the romancing narrative of a suppositious people, whose mythical history a reverend gentleman dying of consumption wrote for amusement, with the hope that it might sell well enough to help him pay his debts. When this manuscript is next heard from, Mr. Hurlbut informs Mrs. Spaulding that it "did not read as he expected, and he would not publish it." It is claimed that it was not returned by Hurlbut, or Howe, up to as late as 1844, when, as stated by Miss E. Dickinson, an effort was made by Mr. Spaulding's family to get possession of it by demanding its return. No part of this manuscript thus obtained by Hurlbut, was ever published by E. D.. Howe, in whose possession it is left by those who account for its continued existence; and I believe both E.D. Howe and Dr. Hurlbut are living, the latter at Sturgis, Michigan; the former, at Painesville, Ohio. This is strong presumptive proof that the "Manuscript Found" would not bear out the claim that it was the origin of the Book of Mormon. If it had done there is no more certain conclusion to reach than that Messrs. Hurlbut and Howe would never have contented themselves with attempting to prove from the memory of those who "heard portions of it read" that the manuscript and Book of Mormon were one and the same thing in essence, but would have at once put the manuscript in print and thus silenced the claim to Divine inspiration for all time. It will not do to say that there was "a transcript made by Spaulding," and that from this transcript the Book of Mormon was written and published. This only complicates the difficulty and would have rendered detection all the more certain, if Mr. Howe held the original. One of two conclusions is inevitable, that the "Manuscript Found," the possession of which has been traced, was not the original of the Book of Mormon, or that no manuscript bearing such similarity to the Book of Mormon from which it could have been so plagiarized was ever written; and that the mythical romance referred to, suppressed as it has been, has been made to do mysterious duty by those opposed to and at enmity with Joseph Smith and Mormonism, and who have not the honesty to return the manuscript to Mrs. McKinstry, or to publish it themselves, that the infamy of their course may be made plain; or the presumption of the plagiarism fully established.

The point which you attempt to make on page 14, that it is "adding insult to injury to call on Mr. Spaulding's daughter to collate the Book of Mormon with her father's manuscript of which she has been so shamefully robbed," is very much out of place. Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter and Mr. W. H. Sabine were Particeps criminis in whatever robbery was committed; and were parties in an endeavor to fasten gross fraud upon Joseph Smith; and if Hurlbut did not get the "Manuscript Found" it was not the fault of Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter; and it sounds very like a whine of chagrin at the apparent failure of the scheme, to what Hurlbut essayed to do for them or any one else, to put in such a plea of indignation against a sound charge, that the natural guardians and custodians of that remarkable document, the alleged origin of the Book of Mormon, should either produce the original, or show conclusive and good reason why they do not.

That the "Manuscript Found," either in the original, or a transcribed form, was ever in the hands of Sidney Rigdon, is a matter of assumption only, and based upon the peculiar sort of proof that characterizes the whole affair presented by Howe and others, viz: "It would not be strange if Spaulding, being a man of leisure, and fond of writing, had made out a revised copy for the printer, retaining his own first sheets, and that these latter were what he took to Amity, leaving the other at Patterson's office," etc. From this presumption, the existence of two copies is taken as proved. If this were so, it is in proof, and that from the statement of your father and Mrs. Spaulding, that whatever was left at the printing office was returned to Mrs. Spaulding; thus tracing original sheets and transcribed copy into the hands of their rightful owners. Which of these did Hurlbut get? If the original sheets, the transcribed copy was still left with Mrs. Spaulding and whether the original or transcribed copy the difficulty of Sidney Rigdon's securing either without detection is increased materially.

It is very singular that the method of proof resorted to by Howe, (upon the supposition that he wrote "Mormonism Unveiled)" should have been adopted by you. The witnesses with scarcely an exception are of that class that gives secondary or hearsay evidence. John Spaulding tells what his brother told him. Martha Spaulding, states that having read the Book of Mormon, she has no doubt it is the same historically that she read and heard read more than twenty years ago. Nahum Howard states only what he says Spaulding told him. Artemus Cunningham recollects an expression, "I Nephi," as occurring in the reading of a manuscript by Spaulding -- but pleads the lapse of twenty-two years, as accounting for a failure to remember more fully the general plot. After a partial examination he believes that Spaulding wrote the outlines before leaving Conneaut, The secondary statement of Mrs. Matilda (Spaulding) Davison, was written down by Rev. D. R. Austin, and printed by him in the Boston Recorder in 1839.

In direct reference to this very statement, Parley P. Pratt wrote to the New Era, November 27th, 1839, denying Mr. Rigdon's alleged connection with the getting up of the Book of Mormon. As to the truth of the statement then made he writes: "The person or persons who fabricated that falsehood would do well to repent." Mr. Pratt states further: "Mr. Rigdon embraced the doctrine through my instrumentality. I first presented the Book of Mormon to him. stood upon the bank of the stream while he was baptized, and assisted to officiate in his ordination, and I was unacquainted with the system until some months after its organization, which was on the Sixth of April, 1830, and I embraced it in September following."

Mr. Pratt further notices that "Mormonism Unveiled" makes Mr. Hurlbut to state that the manuscript of the Spaulding romance was "not to be found," while Mrs. Davison in her Boston Recorder letter states, that "it was carefully preserved." Pratt also challenges the production of the manuscript, that its truth may be seen. He writes: "If there be such a manuscript in existence, let it come forward at once, and not be kept in the dark."

Mr. Howe's book was not at that date so old, nor the time and place so remote, but what there was strong probability that such a production of the manuscript might have been had, if it was in existence. Mr. Pratt adds: "The Spaulding story, so far as the origin of the Book of Mormon is concerned, I know to be false."

Jesse Haven passed through Monson soon after the publication of the letter in the Boston Recorder, and to him Mrs. Davison denied signing or sending the letter which you quote from. In the same interview she stated that Dr. Hurlbut did get the manuscript, and afterwards wrote to her that it did not read as was expected, and it would not be published. This Boston Recorder letter was written by D. R. Austin, and you make it do duty as her own.

In January, 1836, the truth of the statements in Howe's book was specifically denied in the Messenger and Advocate, then published in Kirtland by the Church of Christ, or Latter Day Saints, in plain terms, viz: "Witness Mr. Campbell's recommendation of Howe's book, while he knows, as well as every person who reads it, that it is a batch of falsehoods." In the same paper for April is another reference to Mr. Howe's book as an attempt to overthrow Mormonism, which is indirectly denominated as "wicked and scurrilous."

Mrs. Spaulding and Mrs. McKinstry, who had personal access to the effects of Mr. Spaulding, including the manuscript left by him, are very careful in their statements respecting the contents of the manuscript called the "Manuscript Found." Indeed, Mrs. Spaulding, does not state anything in regard to her knowledge of that work, and it is certainly reasonable to suppose that she also, if all the neighbors came to hear the manuscript read, would have heard it; but she does not so state. Mrs. McKinstry, however, testifies, only as late as 1880, and then reiterates the names of some that she heard him mention while reading. This is strikingly peculiar; for in the same article written by Miss E. E. Dickinson, from which you quote, Mrs. McKinstry states that she "perfectly remembers the trunk and its contents, one of which was the 'Manuscript Found.'" She had then an opportunity to read it, and if she had so read it could have; spoken from her reading, and not her hearing. She also states: "I remember that the old trunk with its contents reached her [her mother] in safety." This was when it had been sent from Onondaga Valley to Hartswick, New York. You are not at liberty to deny, what Mrs. McKinstry states respecting the safety of the manuscript in the Scribner, for you have quoted from it as competent.

(Continued Next Week)

Note 1: The contents of Joseph Smith III's article in the March 17, 1883 Saints' Herald were reproduced as a small RLDS tract a few weeks later. See the transcriber's comments appended to the e-text of that pamphlet for further information and analysis of Smith's rebuttal of the Spalding authorship claims. The same material is presented in the greater context of early RLDS apologetics in the transcriber's on-line essay, entitled: "When Did Sidney Rigdon Meet Joseph Smith?"

Note 2: During the 1891 Braden-Kelley Debate, held at Lamoni, Iowa, Apostle Kelley stated that he interviewed Mrs. McKinstry and that "the matters if which she testified was published in 1882, where she or anybody also could read it and contradict it" (see the June 4, 1891 issue of the Independent Patriot). Exactly when and where Kelley published the transcript of this interview "in 1882," he does not say. Kelley quoted from the same transcript during the 1884 Braden-Kelley Debate (see page 82). President Joseph Smith III seems unaware of the availability and content of such an interview with Mrs. McKinstry -- he speaks only of her 1880 affidavit in Scribners' Monthly as supplying him with information on her experiences, memories, and testimony.


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 24, 1883.                             No. 12.

(Continued from last week.)


The introduction of Mr. Sabine as a witness is also peculiar; Mrs. McKinstry having said "he undoubtedly read the manuscript while it was in his house," and had "faith that its production would show to the world that the Mormon Bible had been taken from it." His "desire to uproot this Mormon fraud" was the motive for urging his sister to loan it to Mr. Hurlbut. If Mr. Sabine had read it, why did he not say so? Mrs. McKinstry states that her mother gave Mr. Hurlbut an order to Mr. Jerome Clark to deliver this manuscript, which she perfectly remembers was in the trunk, to him, which he did. The purpose was that it might be compared with the Book of Mormon. Neither Hurlbut nor Howe ever made this comparison; but Hurlbut does state that he gave what he received to E. D. Howe. Neither Howe, Hurlbut, nor Sabine tells what were the contents of that manuscript.

July 26th, 1881, Mr. E. D. Howe wrote from Painesville, Ohio, to T. W. Smith, then of Chicago, Illinois, now of Stewartsville, Missouri, as follows:

"Sir: -- Your note of 21st is before me, and I will answer your queries seriatim.

"1st. The manuscript you refer to was not marked on the outside or inside, 'Manuscript Found.' It was a common-place story of some Indian wars along the borders of our great lakes between the Chicagoes and Eries, as I now recollect -- not in Bible style, but purely modern.

"2d. It was not the original 'Manuscript Found,' and I do not believe Hurlbut ever had it.

"3d. I never saw or heard read the 'Manuscript Found,' but have seen five or six persons who had, and from their testimony, concluded it was very much like the Mormon Bible.

"4th. Never succeeded in finding out anything more than was detailed in my book of exposure published about fifty years ago.

"5th. The manuscript that came into my possession I suspect was destroyed by fire forty years ago.

"I think there has been much mist thrown around the whole subject of the origin of the Mormon Bible and the 'Manuscript Found,' by the several statements that have been made by those who have been endeavoring to solve the problem after sleeping quietly for half a century. Every effort was made to unravel the mystery at the time, when nearly all parties were on earth, and the result published at the time, and I think it all folly to try to dig out anything more.
          (Signed),                                     E. D. HOWE."

I have now traced this "Manuscript Found" to its end; and there is not a particle of positive proof showing that either Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon ever saw it.

Dr. Hurlbut was a man of some parts, and E. D. Howe was evidently well versed in lore, legal and otherwise; now, if the shrewd lawyer of Onondaga valley, Mr. Sabine, had read the "Manuscript Found," he would have known whether or not it would "uproot Mormonism;" and E. D. Howe must have known also whether it would have done so. But neither Howe, Hurlbut, nor Sabine ever stated what was in it, and all of them can not get away with this fatal conclusion, that the Manuscript was strangled in their hands, and they, not the Mormons who never had it, (not even the surmised improved transcript of Mr. Spaulding himself), are the ones who have so shamefully robbed the widow and the fatherless of this fabulous history. The very wail that you set up about their having been so despoiled, in the light of these facts is a lame confession that you and they believe now that the manuscript suppressed, as I have shown that it was, was the identical "Manuscript Found," or that which was and has been made to do duty as such.

The statement of Mr. Howe in regard to the manuscript which he received from Mr. Hurlbut, that it was a history of war between hostile tribes of Indians "along the borders of our great lakes," opens ground for the presumption that this was the production read to the family and neighbors of Rev. Spaulding, and accounts for the recollection of the destructive battles fought in the regions of western New York and northern Ohio, of which so much is made as to their similarity to the Book of Mormon. This presumption is made still stronger by the fact, that when lying in the trunk as so perfectly remembered by Mrs. McKinstry, (if it was the only manuscript there when the order for it was given to Mr. Hurlbut), it was enclosed in a wrapper marked on the outside, "Manuscript Found." This wrapper could be easily removed by Hurlbut in transmission to Howe, with a view to mislead after inquiry as to the identity of the one he got and the "Manuscript Found," which has been so long and so industriously flaunted in the faces of the people by testimony of such character that it could not be introduced in any Court of inquiry the world over, by reason of its being contrary to all recognized rules of evidence.

I offer you the following suggestion. The most obvious presumption that those who may yet write upon this question may make, is to dispose of the "Manuscript Found" long before it reaches Howe, in this way. 'It is to be presumed that after Rev. Spaulding had taken the transcribed copy of his work, the 'Manuscript Found,' to Mr. Patterson's office, and it had been returned to him as impracticable, he took the copy and the original and destroyed them, as no longer necessary to be kept. But being of an economical turn of mind, he saved the outside blank sheet on which the title was written, and in that wrapped up his work on the history of the Chicago and Erie Indians, and placed it in the trunk with other manuscripts, where it was found by Mr. Clark at Mrs. Davison's order." This would remove the difficulty of accounting for the disappearance of the manuscript in so questionable a manner, as has been done; and losing sight of it while in the hands of its author, and rightful owner, would thus lay a better foundation upon which to introduce the hearsay evidence so much relied on. To me this is far more plausible than the theory so far advanced.

The animus of these witnesses must enter into the account. Dr. P. Hurlbut the actual compiler of the work, the agent of discovery, was an enemy to Joseph Smith, and the Church. He had been a member of said Church and was expelled, either for good cause or otherwise. As a recalcitrant Mormon he essayed to destroy that Church, and its faith, both in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, He completed the compiling of the work and sold it to E. D. Howe; either because he had scruples about publishing it, or because his own prestige was bad, whichever you choose, and his connection with the work ceased. E. D. Howe does not testify except as I have quoted in regard to what the manuscript received from Hurlbut was. The testimony of the eight witnesses, is not given upon oath, and bears evidence of having been written by the same hand, the product of one brain, that of Hurlbut. Those who make these statements are not friendly, but at enmity with Joseph Smith. The same objection of enmity lies against all of the witnesses. Of several of the statements I have nothing to say, recollections, impressions and opinions are made to do duty as proofs in a very unsatisfactory way.

Rev. Kirk says that Dr. minter told him that Mr. Rigdon told him. ----

Dr. Winter's daughter says her father said that Rigdon got Spaulding's manuscript. ----

Rev. Bonsall heard Dr. Winters say so and so. ----

And the impression of these three is that Dr. Winter wrote out his recollections -- and therefore of course he did.

Mrs. Amos Dunlap saw Rigdon reading a manuscript, therefore it was the Spaulding Romance.

Pomeroy Tucker says "a mysterious stranger visits Joseph Smith," therefore Sidney Rigdon is the man.

Mrs. Horace Eaton makes a similar statement, assuming it as a matter of course.

I tell you, Mr. Patterson, such a system of presumption, based upon foundations so strained and bare of fact, is in no way calculated to impress a candid and legal mind with a sense of fairness and honor in the treatment of the subject.

Mr. James T. Cobb is the son of the woman known as Brigham Young's Boston wife. He was an inmate of Brigham's family and partaker of his bounty, and a member of the church in Utah, as I am informed. His domestic life was poisoned by the defection of his own wife; and subsequently still, his daughter, Luella, became the polygamous wife of John W. Young, supplanting that gentleman's Philadelphia wife. For these reasons he is an intense hater of Mormonism; and I am quite surprised that instead of publishing the work which you have sent me, as portions of it bear the imprint of his genius, he has sent the results of his work to you, as in almost exact accordance with the Hurlbut and Howe work. I do not blame him for not liking polygamy, or Brigham Young's memory, if it is true, as I am informed by residents of Salt Lake City that mother wife and daughter fell into its meshes. He has written me copiously, and boasted to me that he would destroy Mormonism, root and branch; and I am persuaded to believe that the many newspaper articles so lavishly scattered over the land, are in the main his work. That he has acted like himself, unscrupulously, I can but believe.

Let me now call your attention to a very strange inconsistency in the train of reasoning adopted by you, in culminating your web of circumstantial evidence.

Sidney Rigdon was the inspiring genius, the black pope of the whole plot, laid at the time of the supposed abstraction of the mythical transcript from the office of Patterson and Lambdin. That Sidney Rigdon was a scamp and had always been.

That he fooled the Baptist Church first, and afterwards the Disciples, and finally adopted the faith of the Mormons. That he was shrewd, cunning, and so extremely careful in his methods of deception that he so covered up all possible connection with Joseph Smith, whom he was to employ as a tool, that no positive collusion has been, or can be proved between them -- and that he was a crack-brained youth, having had his head hurt when a boy. This hurt in his head injured his intellect, but did not impair his mental faculties, and totally destroyed his moral nature, so that he was capable of any abominable trickery and imposition. Notwithstanding this, he studied for the ministry, was ordained and held the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, and was afterwards an able assistant and rival of Alexander Campbell in the Disciple Church, and an eloquent and able man among the Mormons; so much so that when permitted to address an audience of enemies when under arrest in Missouri, in the Court of Judge King, he so won upon the minds of those present, that he was not only discharged from arrest, but a purse was made up for him to aid him in getting out of the state. This statement is made by one who was an attorney and acting general in the militia of the state of Missouri, and present at the time.

I send you marked articles which please read. My mother states that no acquaintance was formed between Sidney Rigdon and the Smith family till after the Church was organized in 1830. That neither my father nor herself ever saw Sidney Rigdon until long after the Book of Mormon was in print. This agrees with the statements of P. Pratt, who says that he first presented the Book of Mormon to Rigdon. It also corroborates what Rigdon says, that the story of his connection with the Spaulding story and the origin of the Book of Mormon is a "base lie," or the "most base of lies."

David Whitmer, whom I saw in April last, at his home in Richmond, Missouri, where he is now living, states positively that the Book of Mormon was published long before Sidney Rigdon was known to his family, or the Smiths. He states further, that he knows that the story told of the same romance in connection with the Book of Mormon, is false. David Whitmer states that when Joseph Smith was engaged in translating the Book of Mormon, he sat with his face covered, and dictated to those writing for him hour after hour, and day after' day, without break or apparent hesitation; and that he would return to the work after a meal or after the night's rest and sleep, and taking his place with his face covered, at once begin to dictate without having any portion of what had preceded read to him. He was asked by another in my presence, and at my suggestion, whether at any time, to his knowledge, Joseph Smith had, or used while ostensibly translating, any book or any manuscript copy of any sort, from which he read. He replied emphatically that he had not. It was suggested that he might have had such document, and possessing himself of its contents secretly, might have dictated from memory. He replied that, such a thing was impossible; that Joseph Smith was a poor scholar, could scarcely write a legible hand, and could never have read a written copy of any sort without, consulting some one to help him.

Oliver Cowdery tells the same story respecting the translating while it was being done.

My mother, whom I interrogated upon the subject, stated that she wrote for my father, (Oliver Cowdery and one of the Whitmers and Martin Harris also wrote for him), and that she knew the plates to have been in his possession; that they frequently lay upon her table in the room where she was at work; that she had felt them through the small sack or bag in which they were kept; that they had the feeling of thin metal plates, and that they rustled under the fingers as do the thick leaves of a book when one thumbs the edges, but with a metallic sound; that father frequently translated from them, (as David Whitmer states), without hesitation or break, hour. after hour, as fast as she could write, (and she was a fair scholar for the times), and that without having any passage already written read to him as a starting point. I asked her the same question that I afterwards had put to David Whitmer, whether he had not some manuscript or book, or paper copy, from which he read to the scribe. She replied that he had not, neither at the time she wrote for him, nor when Oliver Cowdery or Whitmer wrote. I suggested that he might have had such manuscript concealed and have committed it to memory day by day, and thus repeated it to be written. She stated that this could not have been done; for he could not have had any such manuscript or book without her finding it out; besides this, such a thing as that would require more of an intellectual effort than she was willing to give my father credit for possessing. My step-father, present at the interview, asked my mother why she had not undone the sack and examined the plates, while she had opportunity, and also if her husband ever forbade her examining them? To this she replied that she had plenty of opportunities if she had so desired; that she had not been forbidden to handle them, but that she did not feel it to be honorable to examine them in his absence, or have curiosity enough to do so even when he was present. She was satisfied as to what they were, and had faith enough in her husband to believe that he came honestly into the possession of the plates. She also stated that when she wrote for my father there was no screen between him and the writer, and that much of the dictating and writing was done in her presence and in the room in which they lived and where she was at work about her daily tasks. I suggested that it might have been possible for father to have had some work from which he would commit to memory and so dictate from memory. This she thought impossible, because when not engaged in translating he was busy at work about the premises, or with other parties, when he had no opportunity to do so by stealth. My aunt Catherine, father's sister, states that Sidney Rigdon was not known to the Smith family, until he came to Kirtland; that soon after his coming he performed the ceremony of marriage for Mr. Jenkins Salisbury and herself. She was an inmate of her father's family until her marriage, and was well acquainted with the family affairs and knows that Sidney Rigdon's acquaintance with any of the family dated after the publication of the Book of Mormon.

(Continued Next Week)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 31, 1883.                           No. 13.

(Continued from last week.)


There is some reason to believe that the Spaulding manuscript story, as a makeshift origin for the Book of Mormon, did not originate with Mr. Hurlbut, but was suggested by Obadiah Dogberry, who published The Reflector, at Palmyra, New York, in 1830-31. This editor furnished the keynote for this cry in his paper for February 23d, l831, as follows: --

"It is well known that Joe Smith never pretended to have any communion with angels until a long period after the pretended finding of his book, and that the juggling of himself or father went no further than the pretended faculty of seeing wonders in a 'peep stone,' and the occasional interview with the spirit, supposed to have the custody of hidden treasures; and it is also equally well known, that a vagabond fortune teller by the name of Walters, who then resided in the town of Sodus, and was once committed to the jail of this county for juggling, was the constant companion and bosom friend of these money digging impostors.

"There remains but little doubt, in the minds of those at all acquainted with these transactions, that Walters, who was sometimes called the conjurer, and was paid three dollars per day for his services by the money diggers in this neighborhood, first suggested to Smith the idea of finding a book. Walters, the better to carry on his own deceptions with those ignorant and deluded people who employed him, had procured an old copy of Cicero's Orations in the Latin language, out of which he read long and loud to his credulous hearers, uttering at the same time an unintelligible jargon, which he would afterwards pretend to interpret, and explain, as a record of the former inhabitants of America, and a particular account of the numerous situations where they had deposited their treasures previous to their final extirpation.

"So far did this impostor carry this diabolical farce, that not long previous to the pretended discovery of the 'Book of Mormon,' Walters assembled his nightly band of money diggers in the town of Manchester, at a point designated in his magical book, and drawing a circle around the laborers, with the point of an old rusty sword, and using sundry other incantations, for the purpose of propitiating the spirit, absolutely sacrificed a fowl ('Rooster') in presence of his awe-stricken companions, to the foul spirit whom ignorance had created, the guardian of hidden wealth and after digging until day-light, his deluded employers retired to their several habitations, fatigued and disappointed."

It is too bad that Walters should be cheated out of the honors of his suggestion by the Spaulding Manuscript, mythical as it undoubtedly is.

The doctrinal portions of the Book of Mormon are not those that one would expect from a retired clergyman of the Presbyterian school. They begin with the history and are intimately interwoven with it from first to last; and some of the cardinal features of the Presbyterian confession of faith are discarded. A Baptist writer, Professor Whitsitt, in a lecture delivered before a Baptist Pastors' Conference, and published in the Western Recorder, takes the ground that the Book of Mormon was written in the direct interest of the Campbellites, and in support of their confession of faith, that "Jesus is the Christ." He takes up item after item in the book, and emphatically declares that there can be no other conclusion drawn. Mrs. McKinstry and others represent the Spaulding manuscript to be a historical sketch of the early settlers of this continent, who were an idolatrous people; and this peculiarity of the manuscript is attributed to Mr. Spaulding's tendency to infidelity in the latter years of his life, and from 1809 to 16 must have been the latter years of that Reverend gentleman's life. He wrote it as a religious novel, for amusement as the pastime of his invalid hours, and as the passion of his life, and as a means to pay his debts. He was idle for a great portion of his time, etc. It is a little discouraging to think that a good man, a godly man of the strictest sect, would engage in writing a religious romance, and read it to his hearers with such earnestness and fidelity that it would carry them away; telling them that in after times it would be as much believed as any other history, could do all this without a design of imposing upon posterity; and that such a writer should get into debt and seek his way out by the publication of such a work, helps to discourage a belief in the story told of him.

The Book of Mormon was sold at the start at $1.25. Howe's book was offered for sale at its publication at the same price. The year after its publication it was purchased by the elders of the church at thirteen cents a copy. Howe's book had but little effect upon the progress of the church in and about Kirtland. Whatever the causes may have been to prevent, it had but little success as a destroyer of Mormonism, even with the prestige of Mr. Howe's character and influence to give if impetus.

Mr. Ebenezer Robinson, now of Davis City, Iowa, a resident of Kirtland, in 1833, and thence till the church moved from there, states that during all the time of his stay there the elders everywhere publicly denied the truthfulness of the statement made by Howe in reference to the origin of the Book of Mormon. Benjamin Winchester, resident of Philadelphia in 1840, and now of Council Bluffs, Iowa, wrote and published a pamphlet against it in Philadelphia in the year 1840. This pamphlet was published by Brown, Bicking and Guilbert, No. 56, North Third Street. In the Times and Seasons, a paper published by the Church at Nauvoo, in 1839 to 1844, in the number for 1840, is a specific editorial statement that the Spaulding romance origin for the Book of Mormon was not true. The editors state that they speak from personal knowledge.

John E. Page wrote a pamphlet called "The Spaulding story refuted," I think at Pittsburgh, and about 1840. The church had it reprinted, but I have not a copy at hand just now to give you the exact date. Mr. Robinson before referred to, states that the story was definitely denied by the elders wherever they went, and I know that it is so done to-day, and the issue shown. Hence the statement made by you that the statements made in Mr. Howe's book were not denied in and about Kirtland, Painesville, etc., the region where it was issued, and are therefore to be taken as confessed, can not be true, and is ingeniously and purposely stated to mislead.

Below in this connection I send you an extract from a letter written for and published in the Evangelist for September 30th, 1880, by S. Burnet. I quote it to show you that the logic of evidence is on my side.

"I lived near Kirtland, Ohio, and was seventeen years old in 1830. Sydney Rigdon was uncle to my present wife, and for many years, or until the Smiths left, we knew them all personally. The Spaulding manuscript had no connection with the Book of Mormon, else when Harris' wife, an unbeliever, stole and burnt the first one hundred and twenty pages, they could have copied again, but that changed the whole plan of the work; new plates had to be found, and the translation was delayed a long time, and another scribe, Cowdery, procured. Though Spaulding wrote fiction, he was a man too well informed to make two families, men and women and children, take their tents, provisions and seeds to plant the new country, and leaving Jerusalem six hundred years before Christ, plunge into the wilderness where there was none, and travel on foot three days, and pitch their tents 160 miles from the place of starting, in a valley at the mouth of a river on the border of the Red Sea, where there never was a river for more than 300 miles either way along the shore of the sea."

The long and labored effort of Howe's book to throw discredit upon the literary character of the Book of Mormon, and its crude statements, etc., both in its historic statements and other things, is in itself a rough comment on the Rev. Spaulding, as a scholar and refined gentleman, for he nowhere tells the readers which is Spaulding's and which is Rigdon's or Smith's. If the Rigdon theory is correct, the plot of the story is Spaulding's, and the situations and poses are his. If he was the scholarly man that his eulogists say that he was, how comes it that the book which is said to be his production is of such an abominably wretched construction, as these same eulogists declare it to be. Sidney Rigdon was not a fool, nor to any serious extent ignorant of the rules of the language of the day when he lived. He was not such an ignoramus but what he succeeded in passing muster in examination for the Baptist pulpit, and rivaled Alexander Campbell among the Disciples; and it is not only unreasonable but absurd to assert that he would take a finished Romance, such as it is said that Rev. Spaulding wrote, written "with such earnestness and fidelity as to entertain the hearers, and deliberately fill it with incongruities of phraseology, faults of construction, crudities in grammar, violations of common speech, etc., as it is claimed by Howe, whom you have adopted, and as Williams, Tucker, et al, have charged upon the Book of Mormon.

Sidney Rigdon, if he had ever attempted a travesty on the Spaulding Romance. would have disguised it after quite another fashion than to make it a butt of ridicule for its inelegancies of speech. To say that the good parts are Spaulding's, the bad are Rigdon's production, is too general, nor would such evidence be allowed in the examination, were strict justness and fairness preserved; but the specific parts claimed to be Spaulding's would have to be named, as in claims of piracy on copyrighted works or suits for slander or defamation of character. Besides this, the acknowledged good portions of the Book of Mormon are its doctrinal teachings, which are emphatically supportive of the teaching of the New Testament; in maintenance of the Christ as the Redeemer; and this teaching begins with the history, and is found all the way through. Are these doctrinal portions the result of a sick clergyman's pen? 'No, says Mr. Howe, and others. "They are Sidney Rigdon's peculiar ideas." They are sound Biblical teachings; how can they then be the vicious production of a finished scoundrel, who hunted up a visionary, idle, bibulous vagabond to make the dupe of his pretensions, and fulminate his doctrines. "But, says Howe and others again; "The historical parts only are Spaulding's." Howe says that these are bad, very bad, the plot crude, the language bad. How then can the bad parts be Spaulding's and Rigdon's at the same time?

No, Mr. Patterson, as ingenious and careful as has been your work, aided as I can but fancy by Mr. Cobb, the presumptive proof you have woven together, must be overborne by the plainest facts in the case. The inconsistencies of the claim made for Spaulding's Romance are so numerous and striking, that I can not receive them. I prefer to believe the statements of my mother, whose character for veracity and honor is as good as that of any reverend gentleman you have named; and she stated that Sidney Rigdon was not in any wise connected with the writing or issuing of the Book of Mormon. Her opportunities to know were superlatively better than those of any who have testified in your pamphlet.

If it can be shown clearly, as I think has been done, that Joseph Smith was alone in producing the Book of Mormon, so far as human agencies are concerned; and that there was no collusion between him and Sidney Rigdon prior to the printing of that book, whether Rigdon had or had not a transcript, of the original of the "Manuscript Found," and that Smith had neither original nor copy, It is clear that every premise upon which your presumptions are built has been proven to be false, and your theory an incorrect one.

Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon maintained their testimony respecting the Book of Mormon to the day of their departure from earth. David Whitmer at seventy-four still maintains it. Dr. W. E. McLellin, though opposing all organizations of Mormons, still maintains his faith in that work. Why not then take the book into examination for its truths? Why accept only those things which libel and traduce it?

I close this long letter by stating, I have for twenty years, heard, read and examined all that came in my way that offered a proof to invalidate the claim made by Joseph Smith respecting the origin of the Book of Mormon; and have had and now have as strong reasons for discarding that claim as any one can possibly have for proving it false; but the methods pursued by those who have offered such proofs have been so uniformly prejudiced and unfair, and the proofs of such doubtful and inconsistent character as to be presumptive only; while those coming to my notice in favor of the claim made for the origin as given by Joseph Smith have been of so direct, plain and unequivocal a nature that I can not yet disprove them. Sidney Rigdon in the two or three years prior to my father's death was not in cordial relation with him; and after my father was killed, was in actual discord with Brigham Young and others, and had an ample and wonderful opportunity to revenge himself, had he been the bad man Howe and yourself have made him to be, by declaring the imposture practiced in foisting the Spaulding Romance upon the credulous as a divine production. That he did not do this, nor ever give the remotest hint in that direction, is as strong presumptive evidence in disproof of the claim that you have made in that regard as any you have cited is in support of your theory.

For your courtesy in sending me pamphlets accept, my thanks.

                 JOSEPH SMITH.


On page 15 of his pamphlet, Mr. Patterson urges an objection as follows: "To persons who accept Joseph Smith's statements in regard to his angelic visitants it does not seem at all incredible that Cowdery could in two months perform the stupendous task of writing out from dictation a manuscript about equal in magnitude to the Old Testament" This objection is doubtless based upon the fact that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, section 9, contains a revelation directing Joseph Smith to begin the second time the work of translating the Book of Mormon, and this revelation is dated May, 1829; and that in August, 1829, the manuscript was delivered to the printer, allowing only the intervening time for the work of translating. It is founded upon one of those pernicious errors in dates, which creep in through the mistakes of writers or printers, and are often very difficult to detect; but happily in this case, the detection is both easy and certain. The error is in the date of the revelation which is found in section 9 of Doctrine and Covenents, and which directs Joseph Smith to renew the work of translating, the true date of this revelation being July or August, 1828. This is proven in two ways. By the contents of the two revelations, and by the history concerning their reception, given by Joseph Smith.

The two revelations upon examination are found to refer to the same thing, namely, the manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon which had been lost, and we would naturally expect, therefore, that they were received within "a few days" of the same time. The history of the matter, as given by Joseph Smith, is as follows:

"In the mean time while Martin Harris was gone with the writings, I went to visit my father's family at Manchester. I continued there for a short season, and then returned to my place in Pennsylvania. Immediately after my return, home, I was walking out a little distance, when behold the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again, (for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings which he lost by transgression), and I enquired of the Lord through them and obtained the following revelation: Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jr., given July, 1828, concerning certain manuscripts on the first part of the Book of Mormon, which has been taken from the possession of Martin Harris."
The revelation referred to is then quoted. This is the revelation found in section 2 of Doctrine and Covenants. Immediately after the quotation of this revelation, occurs the following: "After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again, but in a few days they were returned to me, when I enquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus unto me. Revelation given to Joseph Smith. Jr., May, 1829," etc. Then follows the revelation in full.

Here are two revelations which the historian informs us were given but a "few days" apart, but which, if the dates they now bear are to be trusted, were given ten months apart. That there is an error no doubt can exist. But where is it? In the revelation now bearing date July, 1828, or that bearing date May, 1829? Most certainly in the latter, as a further examination of the history clearly shows. Immediately after the quotation of the revelation last referred to by Mr. Smith, he says:

"I did not however go immediately to translating, but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my wife's father, in order to provide for my family. In the month of February, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, my father came to visit us, at which time I received the following revelation for him." Then follows the revelation referred to. We have already seen that the revelation bearing date May, 1829, was given "a few days after the one bearing date July, 1828. We now see from the above quotation, that it was given sometime before a revelation which was received in February, 1829.

By following the historical account farther we discover, that all the revelations which appear in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants from section 2 to section 9, were given after the one in section 9; and that those contained in sections 8 and 10 were given without any revelation between them. It is clear then that there is an error in dates, and equally clear that it is in the date of the revelation now dated May, 1829; and it is further clearly ascertained, that this should be dated a few days after, sometime in July, 1828.

The history further shows that the work of translation was re-commenced on April 17th, 1829, which would allow four months for the work, the manuscript having been delivered to the printer the following August.

The historical references to which we call attention, are found in the Times and Seasons, published at Nauvoo, Ill., vol. 3, pp. 786, 801, 817, 832, 853, 851, 865, and 884.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa, April 28, 1883.                           No. 17.


Elder Wm. B. Smith, of the High Priests Quorum, present, reports:

Since uniting with the Reorganized Church, I have been so isolated from usefulness in the ministry, that I can not report having done much for the advancement of the cause. I have, it is true, preached occasionally to the people of the surrounding country where I live, attending funeral discourses, and in all have held forth the latter day work at all times when and where opportunity offered release from my farm labor. It is needless to say to this conference, brethren I am with you in the faith and spirit of the work, to build up Zion, and to spread the gospel news of salvation abroad. From the early rise of this Church of Christ I have been one of its pioneers, and having passed up through many trials this Church has suffered, to the present time, it would now be sacrilege and sin to me to lay down my armor and cease to fight on, until the victory in Christ Jesus shall be one of an external inheritance in the kingdom of our God. I respectfully submit to this conference that I am at liberty, should they be so impressed by the spirit of the Master, to go into the field of labor, wherever this conference may deem it wisdom that I should go; and it is further my desire and wish to be relieved from the monotony of a life confined on a farm where necessity of hard labor like a canker worm is constantly destroying my ministerial and spiritual food and spiritual life, and that my temporal days and temporal life may be prolonged, I ask this conference to make such action in my case as will give me a life and place that will enable me to add my testimony with the rest of my brethren that are here in conference for the coming year, as the Lord by his good spirit shall direct.

Note 1: The RLDS History of the Church, Vol. 3., ch. 18, provides these comments: "On April 13, 1883, in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, Elder William Smith made the following statement, which we reported at the time: -- 'We would as well cut off our right hand as to have taught that there was any legitimacy in polygamy, in the early days of the church. The United States is responsible for polygamy for not putting a stop to it. When Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young Governor of Utah, he knew he was a polygamist. I drew up a petition at the time setting forth the fact that Brigham Young went to Utah to practice polygamy. I got three hundred names to it, had it printed, and laid on every Senator's desk.' This will account for the bitter attack made on Elder Smith, by Col. Thomas L. Kane, when he espoused the cause of Brigham Young in 1851. In a letter written to President Fillmore from Philadelphia, July 11, 1851, Colonel Kane assumes to defend Elder Young against certain charges, and among other things states: -- 'The remaining charge connects itself with that unmixed outrage, the spiritual wife story, which was fastened on the Mormons by a poor ribald scamp, whom, though the sole surviving brother and representative of their Jo. Smith, they were literally forced to excommunicate for his licentiousness, and who thereupon revenged himself by editing confessions and disclosures of savor to please the public that peruses works in yellow paper covers.'"

Note 2: The anti-polygamy sentiments voiced at the RLDS Spring 1883 Conference at Kirtland caught even the eye of the generally disinterested Gentile press. A telegraphic press release, carried by several different eastern papers, dated "Kirtland, O., April 9," began with these words: "The great Mormon Conference is being held here. Nearly every state in the Union is represented by delegates, and England, Scotland and Wales by letter. William Smith, brother of the founder, one of the original twelve apostles, and the oldest Mormon now living is here."


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 2, 1883.                           No. 22.


PITTSBURGH, Pa., May 14th, 1883.      

Bro. Joseph Smith:-- A few days after my return from Kirtland, I addressed a note to R. Patterson, stating I learned through the Herald that he had published a pamphlet relative to the origin of the Book of Mormon; but I gleaned from the review of his effort in the Herald it was the same old story of the Spaulding Romance, yet I would like to see his pamphlet. At the same time I mailed him a copy of "Prophetic Truth." I observed in doing so, that I learned from other parties that he desired that persons possessing any information upon the subject would communicate with him; that I offered as my reason for addressing the gentleman. I informed him I was acquainted personally with the Seer and several parties who saw and handled the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was taken. And as I was a resident of the city, and had been for nearly forty years, if agreeable to him I would make him a call. He acknowledged the receipt of my note and mailed me a copy of his pamphlet; and stated that he would be pleased to meet me at his office on Penn avenue. I, as a matter of course, did myself the pleasure of obtaining an interview, but it was but a brief exchange of ideas, as I after stated my conviction that Mrs. McKinstry's statement of their having possession of the alleged "Manuscript Found" remained in the possession of the family from 1820 to 1834, together with the statement of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, that the manuscript given to Hurlbut and by him transferred to Howe who affirms it had no similarity to the Book of Mormon, but was written after the modern style of composition, proved to me that a fraud was attempted to be imposed upon the public; and that it was a vain glorious effort upon the part of Spaulding's family, and the opponents of the restored gospel, to give a dead man some degree of notoriety, who by his history possessed nothing of any apparent ability while he lived. At this juncture I found I was not the kind of informant desired. I urged the departure of christendom from the original doctrine and church polity; but that could not be admitted. He replied that Jesus told Peter that the gates of hell should not prevail against the rock upon which he would build his church. Of course the question, What was that rock, presented itself. Patterson and a friend present, affirmed the rock was the truth! That was not denied; that truth continued to exist; but the form in which that truth was to continue showed clearly it was by the continuation of revelation. That revelation has ceased and its perpetuity denied; and Paul to 2d Timothy 1st chap, 15th v. lamented his apparent loss of his life labor in Asia. John in Rev. 13:7, 8, shows that after the destruction of those who retained the spirit of prophecy and revelation, that the gates of hell prevailed over all kindreds, tongues and nations. Thus ended the interview, which confirmed the well known fact that men love the darkness rather than the light. The review of the Spaulding story in the Herald has forever killed the Spaulding myth, and will afford the Saints an answer in that direction forever.

I expect in a few days to start out and labor, if strength is continued, throughout the district. I have so promised; may the good Father help me. I am feeling well -- about as at the Conference. May mercy and peace be with Israel forever.     JOSIAH ELLS.

Note 1: Dr. Josiah Ells (1806-1885) was born in Lewis, Essex Co, England and moved to Philadelphia, in the United States, in 1831. He was converted to Mormonism through the preaching of Elder Benjamin Winchester, was baptized by Winchester on Oct. 1, 1838 at Upper Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey, and was ordained an elder two months later. In early 1840 Elder Ells moved his family from New Jersey to Nauvoo and there continued his faithful allegiance to Joseph Smith, Jr. Ells ceased his fellowship the Nauvoo Mormons upon their rejection of Sidney Rigdon as the successor to Joseph Smith, Jr., returned to the East, and soon after was ordained an Apostle in Rigdon's Pennsylvania splinter group. In 1860 Josiah Ells left the Rigdonites and became a member of the Reorganization. See his two-part article refuting Rigdonism, beginning in the Jan. 15, 1864 issue of the Saints' Herald,. Ells was ordained an RLDS Apostle in April of 1865. He made his home in Pittsburgh during most of his later years, moving to Wheeling, West Virginia after the death of his wife Eliza in 1880. See the Oct. 24, 1885 issue of the Saints' Herald for his obituary.

Note 2: Josiah Ells was the author of the 1881 book, Prophetic Truth, Confirmed in the Appearing of the Book of Mormon. This is the book he mentions sending to Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr., apparently with the intention of having him read pages 51-55 of that work, in which the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship are refuted with the usual RLDS counter arguments.


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 9, 1883.                           No. 23.


I will give you my experience in connection with the latter day work, and tell you how I became a Latter Day Saint. I was the youngest son of my father's family. About four years after my father removed with his family from Vermont to New York, my brother Joseph became concerned on the subject of religion. My mother and brother Hyrum and a sister were members of the Presbyterian Church. We knew that Joseph's mind was engrossed on religious subjects for some time, and we compared his condition to one who felt himself a stranger in a strange land, a desert land, without any one to guide him, or to afford him the needed relief. Yet seeming to know that there must be some circumstances to arise that would afford succor, and desiring to know where to find help. This was Joseph's condition. The idea was then, as it is now, that there was another world where the soul must live forever, and some means in existence whereby a man might be prepared for it.

"Was there a revealed plan by which man could find out that way?" My brother told me there was a lack of wisdom; he did not know which way to go. He retired to the woods to ask the Lord for guidance. While praying he saw a bright light, like the brightness of the sun. In that light he saw a personage; and that being pointed him out as the messenger to go forth and declare his truth to the world; for "They had all gone astray;" "Every man was going his way." If we understood the order of God we learn that he is a God of order and hence could not be the author of all this confusion. After he had received this vision, he called his father's family together and told them what he had seen. If a youth, not more than seventeen, could concoct the message that he brought forth and then delivered to his family, it is strange indeed. He told of the "golden plates" which contained the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent. That in that record would be found the true gospel, and the true order of Christ's Church; for there was no church on earth that would answer the description of the ancient church. Here is where the germ of Mormonism began; and Mormonism does not mean "mormo, bugbear," etc., as its enemies declare. It signifies "more good." Here began my experience. I believed the testimony of my brother; my father and mother believed it. We received it with glad hearts. I always believed he was a servant of God, ever since I heard his statement. It never entered my heart that there was any deception in it. All the contumely that the world can heap upon me van not make me disbelieve it. Now as to my duty when it was preached. The first principal was faith. Was that good gospel? It was written in that very book. After believing I began to repent and thus the Spirit of God began to will and to work in me to fit me for the home of my heavenly Father. The third principle was baptism for remission of sins. I was baptized by Oliver Cowdery in Seneca Lake, New York. I was buried all over in the water, then I was born of the water. I felt as if a load fell off my shoulders. When they laid hands upon me to confirm me, it seemed as though the light of glory rested upon me and on those present, and I received the testimony of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to the truth.

The Church was organized on the Sixth of April. New conversions were had. Various Elders were sent out. Parley Pratt and Oliver Cowdery came here, among the Disciples. Sidney Rigdon was at that time a preacher in the Disciple Church; he was a fluent speaker, and to him these men introduced the work and the Book of Mormon. It is said that Rigdon got up that book. It was published before ever Rigdon saw it. It is said that one Solomon Spaulding wrote it. If there had been any truth in the "Spaulding story" I should have known it. When God commences a work then comes something new. Hence the Melchisedeck Priesthood was restored. You ask, Is there any authority in the Scriptures for this priesthood. Paul speaks of the Melchisedeck Priesthood. It was taken away, because of the transgression of Israel but the Aaronic Priesthood remained. God to Joseph to build a Temple, but how could he do it without money? Well they preached the gospel; they did not "walk on the water," as their enemies claim; they laid the corner stone. Here was a man who would give a day's work. There was a sister would knit a pair of stockings, and give them to the man who worked on the Temple. They were few and poor. They were promised an endowment of the power of God. I will tell you what a proper endowment consists of. The Brighamites in Nauvoo went through six or seven different times before they got out of the last one, and then whatever they did they claimed they could not sin. There was a regular humbug endowment. I am glad to be with a people who do not believe in polygamy. It was not taught in the early days of the Church. When Jesus was on the earth "He had no where to lay his head," but now there is a temple, and if Jesus does not want to lay his head there he can visit it, and bless his people there. In the upper story there was the "washing of feet." They girded themselves and washed each other's feet in love. There was the washing of the body also and the anointing with oil to represent that the servants had been set apart to the service of God. The endowment was not signs, grips, and pass words, and covenants. The only covenant was that of the gospel. Under that endowment they spoke in tongues and prophesied. They saw manifestations such as man seldom gazes on. The spirit of God rested on them.

Note 1: The above testimony and recollections of the first spiritual assertions made by Joseph Smith, Jr., can be compared and contrasted with what William had to say in his 1883 pamphlet, William Smith on Mormonism. Evidently the pamphlet was published and distributed several weeks after William gave the above testimony at Kirtland, in April of 1883. A precursor to both the printed testimony and the pamphlet, may be found in the lengthy historical notes William wrote into a copy of Chamber's Miscellany in about 1875. These notes are reproduced in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents I. All three accounts give the reader the impression that Joseph Smith, Jr. began to voice his claims of spiritual experiences only after his Mother and two siblings had joined the Presbyterian Church in Palmyra. This assertion more or less fits the historical picture of the Smith family's experiences, as provided by William's mother, Lucy, in her book.

Note 2: William's sketchy delineation of the "proper endowment," with its washings, anointings, prophetic communication, etc. does not sound terribly different from what was practiced at Nauvoo, and there is good reason to believe that certain elements of the Nauvoo Temple endowments evolved directly out of less complex activities carried on by the Mormons at Kirtland. However, in Dec., 1879 had testified that Joseph Smith, Jr. was not the author or recipient of any sort of Mormon endowment -- "That there was an endowment promised is true; but the order of that endowment was to be revealed to the Church after the temple (spoken of in the Revelation of 1841) should be completed."


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 11, 1883.                           No. 32.


ELKANDER, Iowa, July 23d, 1883.      

Bro. Joseph:-- You will see by this writing that I am still at home. I was intending to have left last week, and had my valise all packed for the mission, but it has been noticeable for some three weeks past that the clouds have been charged with a good deal of electricity, and with intervals of light showers of rain, until at length, not being content in the business of dealing out the water in so small a portion, on last Friday, about two o'clock in the morning, the clouds opened in a general avalanche and poured down big rivers of waters, and following down a little spring brook that passes near my house, it spread itself out almost as majestic as the great father of waters; and in passing my house it took along with it a light two horse wagon that I had for family use, and distributed it along the water branch as best it could for a general use up. In the morning we gathered the fragments, and found nothing left of the poor old thing but the rim of three of the wheels, the spokes all broken out. This is not all. This outpouring of such a body of water all at once, tore up some of my wire fence, taking posts out of the ground, "asking no questions for conscience's sake," and some rail fence that I suppose will soon find a lodgement in the Gulf of Mexico, in case the rails do not hitch up on the way in that direction, as all our little brooks in this part of Iowa, take for the Mississippi waters. This little home disaster helped to make up a little hindrance on my part about getting out from home as soon as I had arranged, as my help was needed on some repairs, to restore what the storm king had destroyed. I shall probably be able to leave here by the first of mext week. You may be assured that I am not anxious to remain long out of the field. I shall most likely go on eastward, returning for the String Prairie district conference.

I have a promise out of Dubuque, and shall visit that place, for I notice that the Dubuque Daily Times published an essay written by a lady, by the name of Mrs. Collier, and read before a literary society in that city, on Mormonism. The article contains some four or five falsehoods. In giving the history of Joseph Smith and the origin of the Book of Mormon she states, that "Joseph Smith was born of parents poor and illiterate, (lie No. 1). She also states that Joseph Smith, while young, early developed a genius for getting a living without work, (No. 2); and that he had a peep stone by which he pretended to find lost property, (No. 3); and that also he went about discovering places for sinking wells, (No. 4). She also states that concerning the Book of Mormon and the history it gives of a people once in inhabitants of this country, is an idea that Joseph Smith had stolen from a manuscript written by one Solomon Spaulding, (No. 5). This old stereotyped Spaulding story, as you will see, is still on the shelf for missionary use. As this lady of whom I speak expresses great desire that the present efforts being made by the missionary board to regenerate fallen mormonism. It is quite enough to notice that while this missionary zeal is pending for the good of the public generally, that in getting the history of Joseph Smith and that of the Book of Mormon, that lies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, as you will see marked at the statements we refer to as being falsehoods, present quite a qualification for a Christian missionary who would teach Mormons the right way truly, by prefacing their missionary designs and purposes by a batch of infamous falsehoods in regard to the history of Joseph Smith and the origin of the Book of Mormon. I would send you the article in question, but I intend to read it in Dubuque before the public and give my version of the subject in the presence of the people, where I think these misrepresentations have been given for special effect.

Your uncle,                       
            W. B. SMITH.

GRAND LEDGE, Eaton Co., Michigan.      
July 24th, 1883.      
Brother Joseph Smith: -- As I was writing to you on business with the Office, I thought, as I was becoming a permanent subscriber to the Herald, it might not be amiss, nor an offense to you, to give you the shortest possible autobiographical synopsis of your permanent subscriber. My father was one among the first High Priests of the Church, and one of the first emigrants to Independence, Missouri. I was baptized by Oliver Cowdery, near Independence in the year 1831. I was confirmed by the laying on of hands of Oliver Cowdery on the "Temple Lot" in the woods; a large concourse of people was present. I never shall forget some of the words pronounced over me, my peculiar feeling at the time, nor the remarkable response by the ministry present upon that occasion. I am a living eye witness to all the troubles of Jackson, Clay and Caldwell counties, Missouri. When Joseph Smith the prophet visited Missouri, I was again specially blessed by him, Cowdery, and father. And in that blessing I was declared to be a minister of the New Covenant, an High Priest of our profession and an apostle of Jesus Christ. When father attended the dedication at Kirtland, Ohio, the same blessing was reiterated, written out at length and subscribed to by Joseph Smith the prophet, Sidney Rigdon and Robert Rathbun, my father. I received it with all due gravity and humility. Some of this blessing was for years forgotten, when four years ago I was called to remembrance of it by its peculiar fulfillment.

I well remember Haun's Mill, on Shoal Creek, Caldwell county, Missouri, where I was shot and my right thigh broken. After I got well I went to Ohio. There I taught school, studied medicine;, held meetings, &c, &c. I heard no more of the Saints, no more than though there were none in the world. In the course of events, I was ardently solicited by a minister of the United Brethren in Christ to join said church. I finally consented, was immediately licenced to' preach the gospel of Christ, and in course of time: was ordained to the office of an Elder by Bishop Edwards and two other Elders, by the laying on of hands. I was sent a missionary to Michigan. Here I heard all about the Mormons, so far as Brigham Young and Strang were concerned, but nothing more nor nothing less; and indeed that was bad enough, so I sought for nothing farther.

The Lord having appeared to me,and warned me to get out from sectism entirely; I put forth the effort in 1860; and in 1862 I got entirely free; with all due honor too, as my papers show. Since then I have been laboring as an apostle and servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, having by him been so called, chosen and sent. Last year I took the Echo, published by the Evening News Company. In the second number I took I saw for the first time, an article giving some little information about yourself; and the Reorganized Church. I went immediately for the Herald; have been taking it ever since I have attended one meeting; saw Bro. Kelley, Bro. Blakeslee and others, with all of whom I am well pleased. I gave them all an invitation to call on me, but no one has put in an appearance; would be glad If any one would call on me. If some of the able Elders could not call, some of the disabled Elders might; I do not know but I would prefer a disabled Elder, for instance, Bro. William Smith. We could talk over old times, and enjoy it wonderfully, you know birds of a feather will like to flock together. But then the old adage is "Beggars should not be choosers," and I have long since learned that it is always best to be pleased to accept any one the Lord may send. Even so, Lord Jesus, for so it seemeth thee good. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

Note 1: Given the fact that William B. Smith, the younger brother of Joseph Smith, Jr., was an eye-witness to most of the unfolding of the events of early Mormonism, it is unfortunate that his selective memory of those events has not always been especially reliable. A copy of his rebuttal to Mrs. Collier's allegations (if indeed William ever delivered such a public address) has not survived. From his truncated comments in this letter it is difficult to see whether or not William was saying that his brother never possessed a seer stone, and that no portion of the claims for a Solomon Spalding authorship of the Book of Mormon had any validity whatever. See William's 1883 Kirtland testimony, his 1883 booklet and his June 1884 "Old Soldier's Testimony" on these and other subjects -- for equally unenlightening accounts of the supposed origin and early development of Mormonism.

Note 2: See also Hiram Rathbun's recollections of D.P. Hurlbut in the Aug. 2, 1884 issue of the Herald.


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  September 29, 1883.                           No. 39.



While in the state of Ohio, through the kindness of Bro. I. Lamereaux, of Solon, a book was placed in my hands bearing the title -- "Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio; with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Agents in their Religious Movement, by A. S. Hayden;" from which a few extracts have been taken, thought to be of interest to the readers of the Herald.

The writing of this history was authorized by the "Western Reserve Christian Preachers Association" -- "twenty-two preachers present" -- hence is endorsed.

The author is a Disciple, in spirit and creed, and an enemy of the Saints, as will appear from his writings. He labors to put Mr. Campbell and the Disciple Church forward prominently and in glowing colors, with all who supported that view of things; but when referring to others -- especially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and those who affiliated with it -- his effort has been to berate, scandalize, and present them in the most odious and contemptible light possible.

These two societies were brought in contact with each other in 1830-36, and the strength of their respective positions was frequently tried by their representative men, which resulted, it would seem, as a rule, favorably to the Saints. The principle field of action was the Western Reserve.

The writer dwells at length upon the faith of the Saints, and some of the prominent men connected with it, in those early years, especially Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. The latter will be especially considered in this article, as the Western Reserve was the place of his home when he first became acquainted with the Saints. The author in referring to the Saints, exhibits a personal pique and long standing grudge, in pretty much all that he has to say of them; hence, whatever he is made to say in favor, by reason of well known facts that came into his possession, which could not be disposed of only as creditable to them, wiley as he is, can safely be relied upon as truth, as a witness is not very liable to testify against himself, neither is a writer apt to place any thing to the credit of those whom he takes pleasure in maligning.

That the Western Reserve was the theater, in those early years, of much agitation of thought upon religious questions and the breaking away from established creeds, is conceded; but the exciting cause that led to this awakening and enquiry is not so well established. However, we will give the view of the writer.

"It is probably illogical to refer this movement toward reform, so wide and so active, to any one leading impulse. As in all similar general movements which have become permanent, it is probably more correct to assign the result to several concurrent causes. The peculiar character of the population of the Western Reserve, mostly from New England, with a liberal intermingling of people from other States, resulting in comparisons, often in collisions of views, was a powerful stimulus to investigation. Yet history would not be faithful to omit, as among the most direct evident causes and guides in this increasing demand for a restoration of the divinely established order of the Gospel, the writings and personal labors of Alexander Campbell. His debate with Rev. John Walker, published in 1821, and that with Rev. W. L. McCalla, which appeared in 1824 * * * served in some sort as a warrant to others equally inclined but less bold to burst the denominational shell in which they felt themselves confined.

"Added to these the 'Christian Baptist,' to which the preface was written the 4th of July, 1823, went forth monthly to advocate definitely and distinctively the restoration of the apostolic teaching and practice in all things; in faith, conversion, baptism, the office of the Holy Spirit, church order, and, summarily, every thing authorized by Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of the Christian religion."

The reader will please note this quotation, as the Disciples, so called, have long since abandoned this tenable position. set up by the Reformed Baptists.

"Many were prepared to welcome the 'Christian Baptist' when it first appeared. In the winter of 1822-3, Eld. Bently [sic] discoursed frequently on such themes as 'The Law,' 'The Scriptures a sufficient Guide,' etc. Jacob Osborne, though young, was active and influential in promoting this search of the word for 'things new and old.' Sidney Rigdon added the persuasions of a very commanding and popular eloquence." -- Pages 20, 21.

At a meeting of the Baptist Church, composed of members scattered over Nelson, Hiram and Mantua, as early as August 24th, 1824, a a resolution was passed, nearly unanimously, to remove the Philadelphia Confession of faith and the Church Articles, and to take the Word of God for our rule of faith and practice." -- Pages 22-23.

It would seem that the spirit of reform was really actuating some individuals, as if preparing a people for coming events. Daring spirits from various denominations came to the front and took advanced ground. The most prominent were Sidney Rigdon, Walter Scott, Adamson Bently, Jacob Osborne, Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone and others, most of whom were identified with the Baptist Church. Scott and Stone formerly belonged to the Presbyterian denomination, but they left it and united with the Baptist Church. A number of Baptist Churches were established in the Western Reserve, which, in time, united in association, according to their custom, the chief of which was the "Mahoning Association." Out from these societies and associations developed and grew the reform movement. concerning which our author endeavors to write in particular. "Associations among the Baptists are voluntary unions of churches, for mutual encouragement, for counsel in church affairs, and for protection against heresy and impostors. * * * The Mahoning Association was formed on Wednesday, the 30th of August, 1820," in the Western Reserve. -- Page [25].

This became the famous Union, in and around which figured Sidney Rigdon, Walter Scott, Adamson Bently, Alexander Campbell, and others who attained to prominence and distinction. As early as 1820, perhaps, selected at the time of its organization, Sidney Rigdon was its leader and chief spokesman.

While it is the effort of Mr. Hayden to shade and keep in the back ground Sidney Rigdon, and make conspicuous and cover with glory Mr. Campbell and those who adhered to him, the evidences adduced by himself are quite sufficient to show that Rigdon was not a whit behind the most gifted of them; if, indeed, he was not the chief leader and brains of the reform movement.

Soon after the organization of the association, Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bently made a visit to Kentucky, and called on A. Campbell. Mr. Campbell's notice of this visit is as follows: "After tea in the evening, we commenced and prolonged our discourse till the next morning. Beginning with the baptism that John preached, we went back to Adam, and forward to the judgment. The dispensations or covenants -- Adamic, Abrahamic, Jewish, and Christian -- passed and repassed before us. Mount Sinai in Arabia, Mount Zion, Mount Calvary, Mount Tabor, the Red Sea and the Jordan, the passover and the pentecosts, the Law and the gospel; but especially the ancient order of things and the modern * * * At that time [Sidney Rigdon] was the great orator of the Mahoning Association," etc. -- Page 19

Mr. Campbell received invitations from them to visit the Western Reserve, and the "Baptist churches within the sphere of their influence." In 1825, five years after, Mr. Campbell appeared for the first time in the Mahoning Association. Page 24.

"In August, 1826, the Mahoning Baptist Association was held in Canfield, then in Trumbull County. It convened in a barn belonging to David Hays, who was a pillar in the church. Adamson Bently was the moderator, and Joab Gaskill, clerk.

"Among the ministers in attendance were A. Bently, Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell, of Virginia; Walter Scott of Pittsburg; Sidney Rigdon, Thomas Miller, William West, Corbly Martin, and Jacob Osborne." On Sunday, Mr. Campbell preached to the "public," and on Sunday morning, "Rigdon and Scott preached." * * * "Some having heard the eloquent preacher from Pittsburg (Rigdon), left the meeting, supposing they had heard Mr. Campbell." Pages 34, 35

"The day of light, so illustrious in its beginning, became cloudy. The Papacy arose and darkened the heavens for a long period, obscuring the brightness of the risen glory of the Sun of righteousness so that men groped in darkness. By the reformation of the seventeenth century that dark cloud was broken in fragments; and though the heavens of gospel light are still obscured by many clouds -- the sects of various names -- the promise is that 'at evening-time it shall be light.' The primitive gospel, in its effulgence and power, is yet to shine out in its original splendor to regenerate the world." Pages 36, 37

Four years after this utterance the gospel was thundered abroad, but strange to say, Mr. Campbell never saw the light. Rigdon and others did.

"In June, 1821, the ministers' meeting was held in Warren. Mr. Campbell attended, and this was probably his first visit to the Western Reserve." Page 39

In 1823, he made a visit to Pittsburg, and formed an acquaintance with Walter Scott, who cooperated with him, suggesting the name, in establishing the "Christian Baptist." Scott and Rigdon were both residents of Pittsburg at this time and Baptist preachers.

"The two communions, that under Rigdon and the company to whom Scott preached, united together and became one body." Pages 63, 64

It will be observed from these references, that Rigdon and Scott were the first and prime leaders and agitators in the reform movement, which led to the breaking away from creeds, about those times, and the occupying of higher, finer, and more independent ground. The work had been well begun and carried to an acknowledged success before Campbell's identification with the movement. He became a great auxilliary, and finally, after the disaffection set in, the leader of those who indorsed his Bible renderings.

Scott, who had but recently arrived in America, was tarrying in Pittsburg, where he became converted from the Presbyterian faith to that of the Baptist, and became intimately associated with Rigdon. Doubtless, too, he was then led to indorse the inspiring theme of the time, a return to primitive Christianity, for which Rigdon was the chief advocate. Campbell saw in Scott a man of strength and usefulness, and sought to identify him with his interests, which he succeeded in doing, and finally led him from his earlier and better thoughts to the indorsement of his cold and tangled theory of religious faith. This union formed the tower of strength, in time, to be posed against the now powerful, popular, and growing Rigdon, to ultimate in the blinding of the people, and the establishment of the sect known as the Disciple Church.

But events hastened on. The "Mahoning Association" met by regular appointment in New Lisbon, Columbia[ana] county, August 23, 1827. "Jacob Osborne, Jr., clerk." Page 55.

This was a memorable meeting. Some sixteen churches were represented. Among the number of preachers present were Adamson Bently, Jacob Osborne, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, Sidney Rigdon, Samuel Holmes, and William West. The services of an evangelical preacher had been called for and were to be considered at this meeting. The action of the convention on this question was as follows:

"Voted, That all the teachers of Christianity present be a committee to nominate a person to travel and labor among the churches, and to suggest a plan for the support of the person so appointed. The preachers present composing this committee, were the following: Adamson Bently, Joab Gaskill, Jacob Osborne, A. Campbell, Abijah Sturdevant, Walter Scott, Samuel Holmes, William West, Sidney Rigdon, J. Merrill, John Secrest, Joseph Gaston -- twelve." * * * The committee reported,

'1. That Bro. Walter Scott is a suitable person for the task, and that he is willing, provided the association concur in his appointment, to devote his whole energies to the work.'" Pages 55, 56, 57, 58

It will be observed that as late as August 23, 1827, Sidney Rigdon was in good standing in this reform movement among the Baptist churches, and stood side by side with Scott, Campbell, and others. "The association," went so far as to "throw open its doors, and brought in, as a composite element, disciples of Christ, ministers of another ecclesiastical connection, making these ministers fully equal in its action; thus setting aside its denominational character, and standing on the broad, firm charter of the Christian religion alone." Page 59.

Mr. Campbell was evidently quite a factor in this association, as it was through his influence, in some sense at least, that his fellow countryman, Walter Scott, was appointed to the position of evangelist. On Page 55 occurs the following: "Passing through Steubenville, he called on Walter Scott, principal of the academy in that place, and persuaded him to come to New Lisbon, with the intention of securing his appointment as the evangelist of the association."

After Scott's appointment he commenced his round among the churches. "The first distinctive position assumed was the union of Christians on apostolic grounds." Page 66.

At a meeting held at Braceville, "Scott, Bently, Osborne, and Atwater walked out together." Osborne, turning to Scott, asked him "if he had ever thought if Baptism in the name of the Lord was for the remission of sins?" Holding himself somewhat in reserve, he intimated a desire for Osborne to proceed. 'It is,' said he, 'certainly established for that purpose, it holds the same place under the gospel in relation to pardon that the positive institution of the altar held to forgiveness under the law of Moses; under that dispensation the sinner offered the prescribed victim on the altar, and was acquitted, pardoned through the merits and sacrifice of Christ, of which his offering was a type. So under the gospel age, the sinner comes to death the death of Christ, the meritorious ground of his salvation, through baptism, which is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.' 'Very well,' replied Scott." Page 69.

"These three preachers were again together soon after the events narrated above, when Bro. Osborne again introduced the design of baptism in public discourse, and remarked in the connection that the gift of the Holy Spirit is after conversion and baptism, and consequent upon them, citing the inspired words of the apostle Peter in Acts ii: 38, as proof: 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'

"After the meeting, Scott said to Osborne, 'You are the boldest man I ever saw! Don't you think so, Bro. Bently?' 'How so?' said Bentley. 'Why he said in his sermon that no one had a right to expect the Holy Spirit till after baptism.' Scott was a genius, often eccentric, often profoundly meditative. It may not be necessary, as perhaps it would be impossible to tell, whether Mr. Scott was leading them, or they him, in those views. It is certain, however, that he had now premises sufficient for a generalization, which was soon to produce the most brilliant and unexpected results. In the powers of analysis and combination, he has rarely been equaled. Under his classification, the great elements of the gospel bearing on the conversion of sinners, assumed the following definite, rational, and scriptural order: (1) Faith; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism; (4) Remission of sins; (5) The Holy Spirit; (6) Eternal life, through a patient continuance in well-doing. This arrangement of these themes was so plain, so manifestly in harmony with soundest reason, and so clearly correct in a metaphysical point of view, as well as sustained by the Holy Scriptures, that Scott was transported with the discovery. The key of knowledge was now in his possession." etc. Pages 70, 71.

If this Scriptural order was so clearly correct then, that order is jusr as correct now. But the strange part of it is these parties let go that "Scriptural order" in the process of time, and followed after Campbelliam, which teaches that no Spirit is given in this age. All of these having been associated with Rigdon, more or less, from three to five years, it is not difficult to divine as to who originated or brought to light, mainly, this "scriptural order." "Wherever Scott went, his theme was the 'Word of the Lord and Pentecost.'"

The Mahoning Baptist Association met in Warren in 1828. (Page 161.) Creeds were abandoned, and Methodists, Baptists, and Restorationists mingled freely together. (Page 162).

"Among the seniors" present "were Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander, Adamson Bently, and Sidney Rigdon, with Walter Scott, to whom multitudes of the young disciples looked with the affection of children to a spiritual father." Page 163.

But some vain people would have us believe that Sidney Rigdon, while sitting as a spiritual Father in this grand conclave of ministers, was at the same time, intriguing and caucusing with Joseph Smith over in York state, with a view to getting up a new Bible, and a new religion. Truly, facts beat the very Devil himself, and his lying crew.

Scott, in reporting his labors to the association for the year, remarked, "who cannot see that, by the blessing of God, the ancient gospel and the ancient order of the church must prevail, to the certain abolition of all those contumacious sects which now so woefully afflict mankind?" Again, "The millennium -- the millenium described in Scripture -- will doubtless be a wonder, a terrible wonder to ALL." Page 173.

cott's re-appointment as the evangelist of the association brought on a long discussion, and finally "Rigdon, who had taken no part in this discussion, becoming weary of it, said: 'You are consuming too much time on this question. One of the old Jerusalem preachers would start out with his hunting shirt and moccasins, and convert half the world while you are discussing and settling plans!' Upon this, Bro. Scott arose with a genial smile, and remarked: 'Brethren, give me my Bible, my Head, and Bro. William Hayden, and we will go out and convert the world.' Then Rigdon, 'I move that we give Bro. Scott his Bible, his head, and Bro. William Hayden.'" Carried. Scott selected Hayden on account of his "powers of music." Page 174.

The association met in Sharon, August 1829. But as there were no records kept, it is not stated whether Rigdon was in attendance or not. Page 270.

The next and final meeting of the Mahoning Association was at Austintown, in 1830. "Died of a moral apoplexy in a quarter of an hour. Rigdon, Campbell and Scott were all present at this meeting. It was only about two months previous to the fall of that star (Rigdon) from heaven." Pages 297, 298.

The writer has reference to Rigdon's uniting with the Saints. Since 1820 Rigdon had been a member and leader in this association; was well known and highly respected by its members. He followed its fortunes from the year 1820 to August, 1830, and was present at its dissolution and death.

But listen! During this period of time the Book of Mormon was published to the world, and the elders of the Latter Day Saints were sounding abroad the gospel of pentecost day in reality. What about Rigdon's being the originator of the Book of Mormon, then? Yet the very chronicler of these facts and events exhibits no anxiety to put him forth as its real author.

"The ardor of religious awakening, resulting from the new discoveries in the gospel was very much increased about the year 1830 by the hope that the millennium had now dawned, and that the long expected day of gospel glory would very soon be ushered in * * * and so would be established the Kingdom of Jesus in form, as well as in fact, on its New Testament basis. * * * The prospect was a glorious one, * * * This hope of Millennial glory was based on many passages of the Holy Scripture. All such scriptures as spoke of the ransomed of the Lord returning to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, that they should obtain joy and gladness, and that sorrow and sighing should flee away," (Page 183) "Some of the leaders in these new discoveries, advancing less cautiously as the ardor of discovery increased, began to form theories of the millennium. The fourteenth chapter of Zechariah was brought forward in proof -- all considered as literal -- that the most marvelous and stupendous physical and climatic changes were to be wrought in Palestine; and that Jesus Christ the Messiah was to reign literally in Jerusalem and in Mt. Zion, and before his ancients, gloriously. The glory and splendors of that august millennial kingdom were to surpass all vision, as the light of the moon was to be made equal to the light of the sun, and the light of the sun would be augmented 'sevenfold.' William Hayden went to New Lisbon to fill an appointment. Calling at Bro. Jacob Campbell's, we found Bro. Scott. Mrs. Campbell was a Christian lady of much brilliancy of talent, and intelligent in the Holy Scriptures. Salutations over, she broke forth in an animated strain: 'Bro. Scott and I have just been contemplating how joyful it will be in the millennium -- mortals and immortals dwelling together.' Bro. Scott then, with great fluency, descanted upon the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, relating to the return of the Jews and their re-establishment in the Holy Land, the coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the saints, and the gathering together unto him on the Mount of Olives. Scott had a vein of enthusiasm, to which these millennial prospects were very congenial. * * * Rigdon, who always caught and proclaimed the last word that fell from the lips of Scott or Campbell, seized these views, and with the wildness of his extravagant nature, heralded them everywhere." Pages 185, 186

These zealous Bible students seem to have caught a glimpse of the true light aimed at reformation and restoration. Rigdon and Scott and others see eye to eye, why not go on? Here it is:

"Many sagacious brethren perceived with regret the new turn things were taking, * * * Some supposed Mr. Campbell to be in sympathy with these views; and, indeed, some plausibility was lent to this opinion by the title of his new periodical, The Millennial Harbinger. Mr. Campbell, whose eye was fully open to all, was not slow to perceive all this, and he felt called to undertake the needed correction." Page 188 "The effect was salutary and remedy complete." Page 189

Rigdon, then, did not gather these views from Campbell, for he did not believe them. Their discovery and annunciation lie with Rigdon and Scott. They were advocates of pentecostal religion in theory and in spirit, But Mr. Campbell held "The gospel the essential channel of spiritual influence in conversation; thus ignoring all reliance on abstract and immediate influence of the Holy Spirit, and calling the attention of inquirers away from dreams, visions, and impressions which are so liable to deceive." (Page 50) Did not believe in a literal restoration of the Jews, or a Millennial reign on the earth of the Saints. How could Rigdon catch up on these sentiments from Campbell, then, and herald them everywhere? This is too palpable for comment. But let us inquire further into the life and whereabouts of Rigdon previous to the year 1830-31, from the pen of his enemies:

"The Baptist Church in Warren was formed September 3, 1803, by Elder Chas. B. Smith." "This church was a parent of churches; Youngstown, Bazetta, Lordstown, and Howland, all sprang from it. January 11, 1815, thirteen members were dismissed on application to organize in Youngstown, * * * Thos. Rigdon, J. Woodworth, and A. Bentley, officiating." "This Thomas Rigdon was a man of much prominence as a preacher, and was worthy of the distinction conferred on him. He served with acceptability a term in the Ohio Legislature. There were three brothers, Thomas, John, and Charles, all Baptist ministers. They all fully adopted the views of the reformation, and faithfully defended them. They were cousins of the famous Sidney Rigdon.

"December 4, 1819, the church granted the petition of eight members in Bazetta to form a church in that town. * * * March 4th following, Sidney Rigdon was received into membership, and licensed April 1st, to preach. He married Miss Phebe Brooks, and after two years moved to Pittsburg." Pages 91, 92.

In June, 1826, he was "residing in Bainbridge." At that time he was called to preach the funeral of Warner Goodall, the elder of the Baptist Church at Mentor, and Rigdon was called to serve "as its pastor in the fall of that year." "Sidney Rigdon was an orator of no inconsiderable abilities. In person, he was full medium height, rotund in form; of countenance, while speaking, open and winning, with a [little] cast of melancholy. His action was graceful, his language copious, fluent in utterance, with articulation clear and musical. Yet he was an enthusiast, and unstable.

"His personal influence with an audience was very great, * * * [[deleted text: but many, with talents far inferior, surpassed him in judgment and permanent power with the people. He was just the man for an awakening. He was an early reader of the "Christian Baptist," and admiring its strong and progressive teaching, he circulated the paper, and brought out its views in his sermons.]] Whatever may be justly said of him after he had surrendered himself a victim and a leader of the Mormon delusion, it would scarcely be just to deny sincerity and candor to him, previous to that time when his bright star became permanently eclipsed under that dark cloud.

"In March, 1828, he visited Scott in Warren. He had been with him on former occasions, and had adopted fully his method of preaching Christ, and of calling the awakened and penitent believer to an immediate obedience of his faith for the remission of sins. [[deleted text: The missing link between Christ and convicted sinners seemed now happily supplied by the restoration of the way of bringing converts into the knowledge of pardon, which was established by Christ himself in the commission.]]

"Rigdon was transported with this discovery. On leaving Warren to return to Mentor, he persuaded his brother-in-law, Adamson Bentley, to accompany him. This was a visit to that town of no ordinary importance. * * * The trumpet which they blew gave no uncertain sound. It was the old jubilee trumpet, first sounded by the fisherman of Galilee on the day of Pentecost, announcing glad tidings to the nations * * * The whole community was quickly and thoroughy aroused. * * * Twenty persons were baptized the first time they repaired to the Jordan. * * * From Mentor they went to Kirtland, where almost an equal ingathering awaited them." Sidney Rigdon became a member of the church at Mentor. "This congregation has long stood as a light-house. It was shaken as by a tempest under the out-break of Mormonism; but it is to be noted that few of its members were led astray. While the church in Kirtland, with less experience, and more immediately in Rigdon's power, became engulphed, and has never since been recovered." Pages 191, 192, 193, 194, 195.

" In March, 1828, in the great religious awakening in Mentor, under Bentley and Rigdon, the amiable M. S. Clapp was the first to yield." Page 198.

It does really seem from these evidences that the true light had shone, in some sense, upon Rigdon and his associates; and that they were unwittingly a kind of John the Baptist, preparing the way.

"In the fall of 1821, William Waite, emigrated from Saratoga County, New York, on the head waters of the Susquehanna, and settled on the plateau since known as Waite Hill, in Willoughby. He and hs wife were Baptists. * * * The next autumn, his son-in-law, Dexter Otis, in his 28th year, arrived and settled in Kirtland. * * * When Elder T. Campbell came to Mentor, soon after, these brethren, E. Waite and D. Otis, were so delighted with the new light which beamed on the gospel from his preaching, that they pressed him to come to Waite Hill. * * * Rigdon coming in about that time, and following up the well begun work by his earnest and animating appeals, several were baptized, among whom was Alvan White, then in his twenty-sixth year. This was in 1829." -- Page 204.

"Samuel Miller was born in Willoughby, August 30, 1802; the first white male child born in that town. * * * When in 1829, the great wave of religious reformation broke along the shore of the lake, he heard, examined, and with his usual independence, candor, and decision, he confessed the Lord * * * When the overflowing scourge of Mormonism burst forth, these three men, with Otis and Waite, withstood the shock, though Rigdon himself, their leader to Christ, had reeled and fallen under its blow. -- Page 207. "The church on Waite Hill was organized (through the agency of Sidney Rigdon) in 1830. D. Atwater states on page 239, that he was "ordained an elder of the church at Mantua on March 21st, 1830." "Soon after this, the great Mormon defection came on us. Sidney Rigdon preached for us, and notwithstanding his extravagantly wild freaks, he was held in high repute by many. [[deleted text: For a few months before his professed conversion to Mormonism, it was noticed that his wild, extravagant propensities had been more marked. That he knew before of the coming of the book of Mormon is to me certain, from what he said the first of his visits at my father's, some years before. He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said that they must have been made by the Aborigines. He said there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these in his eloquent, enthusiastic style, as being a thing most extraordinary. Though a youth then, I took him to task for expending so much enthusiasm on such a subject, instead of things of the gospel. In all my intercourse with him afterward he never spoke of antiquities, or of the wonderful book that should give account of them, till the book of Mormon really was published. He must have thought I was not the man to reveal that to]].

"In the admiration of Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Snow and his family shared very largely; so, when he came with his pretended humility, to lay all at the feet of Mormonism, it caused a great shock to the little church at Mantua." * * * "Eliza Snow, afterward so noted as the "Poetess" among the Mormons, led the way. Her parents and sister, and three or four other members of the church, were finally carried away." -- Page 240.

Here we have Mr. Rigdon with his home friends, highly respected and preaching for the church at Mantua, March 21, 1830. He continued in this labor until the very advent of the faith of the Saints in that community, and the presence of the Elders in their midst, in the fall of 1830. Two months and a half before, he was in the Mahoning Association, with Scott, and Campbell and others; he and Mr. Campbell having a "passage at arms," over the question of "laying all at the apostle's feet." Rigdon holding that if they were to follow the New Testament in every thing, they should have to move in something of this kind. Notwithstanding the spite and spleen manifested towards Rigdon , by those from whom he separated, this is the only thing that they have to harp about as bad about Rigdon. Yet it is a Bible fact -- a thing that did exist -- and all that can be said of it, is it wise or important to inaugurate it again -- mere opinion.

Where, now, is place, during all these years of ministerial labor, up to the advent of the messengers of the Saints in the fall of 1830, where Rigdon could have plotted and conspired with Smith to originate a new Bible?

Further: So popular, influential and well known was Rigdon, and so unexpected such an event, that it is said that it was a "shock" to the churches when he accepted the faith of the Saints; and that he "reeled and fell" under its influence. Not a shadow of chance, here, where Rigdon could have been even suspicioned as the instigator of that faith. His old accusers, clearly acquit him of that charge.

Chapter 9 opens with "The Advent of Mormonism." That the reader may see what a spirit or pique and maliciousness the author writes, I will give some copious extracts.

"This was in the fall of 1830. This coarse imposture was not born of chance. Characterized by much that is gross, and accompanied by practices repulsive for their lowness and vulgarity, it yet had a plan and an aim, and it was led on by a master spirit of delusion. It marked out its own course, and premeditated its points of attack. Its advent in Mentor was not accidental. Its four emissaries to the 'Lamanites' in the West, like the four evil messengers from the Euphrates (Rev. ix: 15), had Rigdon in their eye before leaving Palmyra N. Y. On his part, Rigdon, with pompous pretense, was travailing with expectancy of some great event soon to be revealed to the surprise and astonishment of mankind." Scott, Bently, Osborn, Campbell we all talking that same thing. "Gifted with very fine powers of mind, an imagination at once fertile, glowing and wild to extravagance, with temperament tinged with sadness and bordering on credulity, he was prepared and preparing others for the voice of some mysterious event soon to come. The discomfiture he experienced at the hands of Mr. Campbell at Austintown, when seeking to introduce his common property scheme, turned him away mortified, chagrined and alienated. This was only two and a half months before he received, in peace, the messengers of delusion. Another fact: A little after this, the same fall, and before the first emissaries of the Mormon prophet came to Mentor, Parley P. Pratt, a young preacher of some promise from Lorain county, a disciple under Rigdon's influence, passing through Palmyra, the prophet's home, turned aside to see this great sight. He became an easy convert. Immediately an embassy is prepared, composed of this same P. P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and to others, for the 'Lamanites.' The next scene opens in Mentor. About the middle of November, came two footmen with carpet bags filled with copies of the book of Mormon, and stopped at Rigdon's. What passed that night between him and these young prophets no pen will reveal; but interpreting events came rapidly on, Next morning, while Judge Clapp's family were at breakfast, in came Rigdon, and in an excited manner said: 'Two men came to my house last night on a c-u-r-i-o-u-s mission;' prolonging the word in a strange manner. When thus awakened, all around the table looking up, he proceeded to narrate how some men in Palmyra, N. Y., had found, by direction of an angel, certain plates inscribed with mysterious characters; that by the same heavenly visitant, a young man, ignorant of letters, had been led into the secret of deciphering the writing on the plates; that it made known the origin of the Indian tribes; with other matters of great interest to the world, and that the discovery would be of such importance as to open the way for the introduction of the Millennium. Amazement! * * * [[deleted text: They had been accustomed to his stories about the Indians, much more marvelous than credible, but this strange statement, made with an air both of wonder and credulity, overcame their patience.]] "Its all a lie," cried out Matthew, quite disconcerting the half apostate Rigdon; and this future Aaron of the new prophet retired." [Page 211]

Matthew was evidently a good Campbellite, for they usually conclude before hearing the evidence.

(Concluded next week).

Note 1: Elder William H. Kelley had been a noted RLDS "Apostle" for ten years when he composed his two-part response to A. S. Hayden's 1874 book. Kelley was destined, 14 years later, to succeed to the Presidency of the RLDS Quorum of Twelve. From such a leader of men and self-proclaimed "special witness" of Jesus Christ, the modern reader might be forgiven for expecting a high degree of honesty and churchly scholarship. Unfortunately Kelley presents his readership with neither in his 1883 two-part article. He demonstrates no familiarity with his subject matter -- and does so in an age when there were yet living witnesses to the Kirtland era of Mormonism and to the life and character of Sidney Rigdon. Instead of presenting reliable historical source material on these matters, Kelley adopts the ridiculous notion that he can repeat anything Hayden said that was laudable regarding Rigdon's Reformer Baptist activities, as a certain truth; and then also condemn anything Hayden said that did not meet RLDS standards for faith promotion. Had Kelley provided unedited excerpts from Hayden, and left his readers to consider their contents without having to wade through Kelley's editorial pronouncements, his journalistic method might have at least accomplished some small measure of conveying useful information. But it was obviously never Kelley's intent to write a proper book review -- nor even to pass along a truly representative sample of Hayden's history.

Note 2: One small example from the Saints' Herald's partisan polemics may serve to typify the writer's and editors' entire effort: Kelley asserts that Hayden "exhibits no anxiety to put him [Rigdon] forth as" the "real author" of the Book of Mormon; but a few paragraphs thereafter Kelley deletes Hayden's primary, eye-witness evidence for such a consideration of Mormon origins: "That he [Rigdon] knew before of the coming of the book of Mormon is to me certain..." Having no definite proof of Rigdon's involvment in the book's authorship, Hayden wisely presents only such historical reconstructions as his available evidence can support -- that Rigdon knew of the book before it was published, and that Rigdon knowingly played a part in foisting a fraudulent religious scheme upon the Campbellites in Ohio. By his careful, selective quoting of Hayden, Kelley here seeks to promote RLDS sectarian interests at the expense of any true historical inquiry.


Vol. 30.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 6, 1883.                           No. 40.



"These two men who came to Rigdon's residence, were the young preacher before named, P. P. Pratt, intimately acquainted with Rigdon, and therefore, doubtless, chosen to lead the mission, and Oliver Cowdery. This Mr. Cowdery was one of the three original witnesses to the Book of Mormon. * * * These men staid with Rigdon all the week. [[deleted text: In the neighborhood, lived a Mr. Morley, a member of the church in Kirtland, who, acting on the community principles, had established a "family." The new doctrines of having "all things in common," and of restoring miracles to the world as a fruit and proof of true faith, found a ready welcome by this incipient "community." They were all, seventeen in number, re-immersed in one night into this new dispensation. At this, Rigdon seemed much displeased. He told them what they had done was without precedent or authority from the Scriptures, as they had baptized for the power of miracles, while the apostles, as he showed, baptized penitential believers for the remission of sins. When pressed, they said what they had done was merely at the solicitation of those persons. Rigdon called on them for proofs of the truth of their book and mission. They related the manner in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an angel appeared to them. Rigdon here showed them from Scripture the possibility of their being deceived: "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." "But," said Cowdery, "do you think if I should go to my Heavenly Father, with all sincerity, and pray to him, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an angel -- that he would suffer Satan to deceive me?" Rigdon replied: "If the Heavenly Father has ever promised to show you an angel to confirm any thing, he would not suffer you to be deceived; for John says: "If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.' But," he continued, "if you should ask the Heavenly Father to show you an angel, when he has never promised such a thing -- if the devil never had an opportunity before of deceiving you, you give him one now. -- This was a word in season, fitly spoken; yet, strange enough! "two days afterward he was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign. The sign appeared, and he was convinced that Mormonism was of God! According to his own reasoning, therefore, Satan appeared to him as an angel of light. But he now imputed his former reasoning to pride, incredulity, and the influence of the Evil One.]]

"The next' Sunday Rigdon, accompanied by Pratt and Cowdery, went to Kirtland to his appointment. He attempted to preach; but with the awful blasphemy in his heart, and the guilt of so shameless an apostasy on his conscience, how could he open his mouth in the name of the insulted Jesus! The eloquent lips which never stammered before, soon became came speechless, and his tongue was dumb. The faithless watchman, covered with the shame of his fall, surrendered his pulpit and congregation to the prey of wolves. Cowdery and Pratt did most of the preaching; and that day, both Mr. and Mrs. Rigdon, with many of the members of the church in Kirtland, were baptized into the new faith. * * *

"About three weeks after his adoption of the delusion, he went to Palmyra to see Smith. The prophet was rejoiced at his coming, and had a revelation all ready for him, just suited to his own purpose and Rigdon's vanity. The beginning of it is here transcribed:

A commandment to Joseph and Sidney, December 7, 1830, saying: Listen to the voice of the Lord your God; I am Alpha and Omega. Behold! verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works; I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work: thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold! thou wast sent forth even as John, to prepare the way before me and Elijah, which should come, and thou knewest it not. Thou didst baptize with water unto repentance, but they secured not the Holy Ghost. But now I give unto you a commandment that thou shalt baptize with water and give the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old. And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles."

By comparing this with the revelation as given in Book of Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 34, page 125, it will be seen that it is but a garbled extract, falsified both in word and punctuation, which shows the corrupt and dishonest spirit and motive of the writer giving it. That it is not facts, truth, and justice that he wishes to reflect, but to hold up to ridicule the faith of the Latter Day Saints, and cover Smith and Rigdon with opprobrium. Hence all that he records in their favor is done so, because the overpowering facts compel him and he sees no way of evasion; hence we quote.

"Rigdon tarried with Smith about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in the vicinity, and urging proofs of the new religion. His knowledge of the Bible enabled him to pervert many scriptures to this end. Soon after his return to Ohio, Smith and several of his relatives arrived. * * *

"The new delusion immediately assumed an aggressive attitude. * * * Rigdon's reputation lifted it at once into notice. -- New members, with incredible haste, were solemnly ordained to the eldership by the high priests, and sent out every where to propagate the faith. Their gravity and apparent candor, coupled with a degree of ignorance which was ostentatiously paraded as evidence that they were not deceivers, gave them great credit with a superstitious class of people who are ever ready to be duped by supernatural pretension.

"Though coming into Ohio first among the disciples, and introduced to their attention in a well-planned and artful manner, very few of the leading members were for a moment deceived. * * * Rigdon, Pratt and Orson Hyde, the last two young and but little known, were the only preachers who gave it countenance. The opposition to it was quick on its feet, in rank, * * * But the misfortune governing the case was that many people, victims of excitement and credulity, and taught in nearly all pulpits to pray for faith, now found themselves met on their owu grounds, and so finding an emotion or impulse answerabIe to an expected response from heaven, dared not dispute the answer to their own prayers, and were hurried into the vortex." Page 209 to 216

This latter quotation scarcely needs comment. The wiley writer has evidently done the best he could towards disposing of the facts as they occurred, which were of too frequent occurance and too well attested for him to pass them by in silence. He admits that the people received what was to them a "response from heaven" to their prayers. Not while praying for "faith," however, as he asserts, but while asking God concerning the truth of the strange work presented to them. Why should they not confide in that all-convincing answer coming from God, which he is pleased to call an "emotion or impulse?" From this writer's standpoint, it is dangerous to ask God for anything, lest a person might receive an "emotion or impulse" that would deceive him. Do the Disciples ever pray? If they do, they can't expect an answer. It might be an "emotion or impulse," which would inevitably deceive. People were "met on their own grounds" by the Saints, of praying and receiving response, good enough. But things brighten as we proceed in our narrative.

"Perhaps in no place, except Kirtland, did the doctrines of the 'Latter Day Saints' gain a more permanent footing than in Hiram. It intrenched itself there so strongly that its leaders felt assured of the capture of the town. Rigdon's former popularity in that region gave wings to their appeal, and many people, not avowed converts, were under a spell of wonder at the strange things sounded in their ears." [Page 220]

Rigdon seems to have been well known, was popular and held in high esteem. not only in Mentor and Kirtland, but Hiram and all through that country. People knew him, and knew of him all the way along from 1820 to the fall of 1830. The very sound of his name was like magic among the masses, and as music in every household. Honor and regard met him every where. Who can believe that this angel of light was transposed into an angel of the "bottomless pit," in a twinkling -- just because his convictions led him to unite his fortunes, as to faith and to hope of heaven, with the Latter Day Saints? Is it not more reasonable that the intelligent Rigdon was right in his conclusions and course, than his easy going, dull and stupid maligners? Did not he, too, ask and receive a "response from heaven, all satisfactory?

"The following is from Bro. Symonds Ryder, an old resident of Hiram: --

'HIRAM, February 1, 1868.    
Dear Bro. Hayden: -- To give particulars of the Mormon excitement of 1831 would require a volume -- a few words must suffice. It has been stated that from the year 1815 to 1835, a period of twenty years, 'all sorts of doctrine by all sorts of preachers had been plead;' and most of the people of Hiram had been disposed to turn out and hear. This went by the specious name of 'liberal.' The Mormons in Kirtland, being informed of this peculiar state of things, were soon prepared for the onset.

"In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school-house, in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive.

"* * * a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram, in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds, and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland.
[Page 221]

This Symonds Ryder was a Campbellite preacher, and headed the mob at the time to which he refers. The object of putting on the tar and feathers was to "get rid of them." Not being able to meet them on Bible ground and refute their position, though they are acknowledged to have been men of piety and candor, they resorted to the old tactics of their father "the devil," by using the thumb-screw, the rack, the cross and gibbet, in the mild form of "tar and feathers." It was indeed a "specious" kind of liberality that was cultivated at Hiram from the year "1815, to 1835." Had it not been for the strong arm of the law it is evident that these men -- these Christian (?) men! would have killed in cold blood those on whom they only dared to put "tar and feathers."

Here in this broad and goodly land, where there is room enough for all, and where the cultivation of the splendid and goldly sentiment, -- "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," is the boast of the people; where liberty, freedom of thought and worship is guaranteed to all, -- this calloused old sinner had the hardihood to narrate and gloat over his unchristian, uncivil and un-American act, as late as 1868; and kindred spirits donned him in the beautiful garb of a Christian. No wonder he felt the pain of a long and lingering disease, and died hard. Sympathizing friends may write glowingly of him, and parade him in history as a model to be imitated; but this infringement upon the rights of individuals and society; this strike at the lawfully guaranteed freedom of individual worship; this great transgression and sin against the noblest sentiment of the Christian religion, and attempt at tyranizing over the consciences of men, will put his name and his co-workers with that of intolerant and cruel bigots, which will go down to posterity with contempt and execration. Had he repented, even in old age, our pen could have written softly of him. Do the Disciples yet boast of this infamous deed, and still claim to be Christians? Doing to others as they would have others do to them?

The Hiram church was organized April 18th, 1829. They were Baptists and organized under the reform movement that prompted the Mahoning Association. Page 238.

"The history of the church of disciples in Hiram is so intimately interwoven with that of its first and long its only elder, Bro. Symonds Ryder, that we shall follow the thread of his life in giving this history to our readers. In doing this, we shall draw freely from the biographical sermon delivered by Pres't B. A. Hinsdale, of Hiram College, on the occasion of the funeral of Mr. Ryder, August 3, 1870, slightly abridging some paragraphs. * * * The length of the sermon will not be considered objectionable, in view of the valuable lessons which it impresses from the life of the man of whom it speaks. -- Page 244

"Extracts from a sermon preached in Hiram, O., August 3d, 1870, on the life and character of Simonds Ryder, by B. A. Hinsdale. * * * Simonds Ryder was born in Hartford, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 20th of November, 1792." -- Page 245. * * * In the early history of Hiram, he was, perhaps, the best educated man in the township." -- Page 246. * * * In 1829 he united with the Baptist Church at Hiram, under the preaching of those laboring in the reform movement. He was ordained the first overseer of the church at Hyrum." "From the moment Bro. Ryder obeyed the gospel, he expressed himself satisfied with the views taught by the Disciples on all points save one. He read in the New Testament of the gift of the Holy Spirit; and, in his mind, it was in some way associated with the laying on of hands, and with some special spiritual illumination. The words, 'These signs shall follow them that believe,' seemed to him not yet to have been comprehended or realized. For years, this mystery of the Word was the subject of frequent thought and conversation. I have been careful to state this fact, because it furnishes the key to a remarkable episode in his life.'" [Page 249]

Don't any one laugh while reading the above! It is a funeral occasion. The mystery of the word" in regard to the signs following the believer and the receiving of the Spririt through the ordinance of laying on of hands, seems not to "have been comprehended" by those zealous Bible students. Can any one tell what part of it was not mystery to them? There was one thing decidedly clear to some of them, at least, and that was the great doctrine of "tar and feathers." And stranger still, was the first church established on "the Bible alone" -- "in this part of the Western Reserve." -- Page 249

"In the latter part of 1830, the founders of Mormonism began to effect a lodgment in northern Ohio. Sidney Rigdon, a preacher among the Disciples, of great eloquence and power, had joined them, and commenced preaching their doctrine. Whatever we may say of the moral character of the author of Mormonism, it can not be denied that Joseph Smith was a man of remarkable power -- over others. Added to the stupendous claim of supernatural power, conferred by the direct gift of God, he exercised an almost magnetic power -- an irresistible fascination -- over those with whom he came in contact.

"Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and some other citizens of this place, visited Smith at his home in Kirtland, in 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine. During the interview, the conversation turned on the subject of supernatural gifts, such as were conferred in the days of the Apostles. Some one said, 'Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men now on the earth to cure her?' A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: 'Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command thee to be whole,' and immediately left the room.

"The company were awe-stricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock -- I know not how better to explain the well attested fact -- electrified the rheumatic arm -- Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain. * * *

"Ezra Booth became a convert and an elder, May, 1831. Coming to Hiram in the same month, he attended church, and at the conclusion of Elder Ryder's sermon, sought and obtained permission to make an address, in which he stated in the strong, clear language of impassioned enthusiasm, the ground of his new faith, and the inspiring hopes which it gave him. A deep impression was made upon the minds of many who heard him. Elder Ryder was himself staggered; and 'lest haply he should be found even to fight against God,' he sat in silence, neither approving nor disapproving. * * * He made a journey to Kirtland, and heard for himself. On his return, he seemed for a short time to have rejected the claims of Mormonism; but in the month of June, he read in a newspaper an account of the destruction of Pekin, in China, and he remembered that six weeks before, a young Mormon girl had predicted the destruction of that city. Shortly after this, he openly professed his adhesion to the Mormon faith * * *

"It may seem strange that a man of Father Ryder's strong mind and honest heart, could even temporarily have fallen into the Mormon delusion. Let us not fail to remember, however, that Mormonism in northern Ohio, in 1831, was a very different thing from Mormonism in Utah, in 1870. It then gave no sign of the moral abomination which is now its most prominent characteristic. * * *

"He lacked only the discipline of study and the culture of the schools, to fit him for prominence in any community." -- Pages 249, 250, 255

The thing which staggered Ryder regarding the faith of the Saints... [illegible paragraph follows]

It will be observed that the account given of Sidney Rigdon by Mr. Hayden, concerning his early public life, whereabouts, and connection with the Church of Latter Day Saints, does not differ materially from the account given by Rigdon, as it is found in his father's [sic] family record:

"He (S. Rigdon) was born on his father's farm, Piny Fork of Peter's Creek, St. Clair township. Alleghany county, Pa., February 19, 1793, where he lived till the winter of 1818 and 1819, and followed farming and received a common English education. In the fall of 1817 he professed religion, and joined the regular Baptist Church of that place, and in the winter of 1818-19 he went to Beaver county, Pa., where he studied divinity with a Baptist Preacher by the name of Clark, and was licensed to preach by the Conoquenessing Church (time not recollected), and went from there to Warren, Ohio, and was ordained a regular Baptist preacher, and returned to Pittsburgh in the winter of 1821 and '22, and took the care of the First Regular Baptist Church, and there continued to preach till the Baptist Association met in Pittsburg (precise time not recollected, but we think about the fall of 1824), at which time they brought some charges against him for not being sound in the faith; brought him to trial, but denied him the liberty of speaking in self-defense, and he declared a non-fellowship with them and began to preach Campbellism. [[deleted text: And he and they that joined with him got the liberty of the Court House, there they held their meetings, and he and his Brother-in-law Mr. Brooks followed the tanning business]] In the winter of 1827-28, he moved somewhere into the Western Reserve, in the state of Ohio, and there continued to preach till the Latter Day Saints came to that part of the country, and he joined them and continues to be an elder in that Church." Spaulding Story, by John E. Page, page 8.

"The statement that Mr. Rigdon is one of the founders of the said religious (Latter Day Saint) sect is also incorrect. This sect was founded in the state of New York, while Mr. Rigdon resided in Ohio, several hundred miles distant. Mr. Rigdon embraced the doctrine through my instrumentality. I first presented the Book of Mormon to him. I stood upon the bank of the stream while he was baptized, and assisted to officiate in his ordination, and I myself was unacquainted with the system until some months after its organization, which was on the 6th of April, 1830, and I embraced it in September following.   Signed P. P. Pratt." -- Spaulding Story, by John E. Page, [page 14-15.]

The historical facts cited by Mr. Hayden, in his "History of the Disciples," agrees perfectly with this plain statement of P. P. Pratt. Pratt as a friend of Smith and Rigdon and the Latter Day Saints, made his statement of the facts connected with Rigdon's uniting with the Church in order to correct a false report; and Hayden, an enemy to both the men and the faith, sustains the facts in every particular stated by Pratt, although he was not conscious of it at the time of writing. Where then, is there room for even surmising that Sidney Rigdon did not tell the simple and unvarnished truth when he declared that he never knew of Smith or the Book of Mormon until P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery came to his house as missionaries, in the fall of 1830, and informed him of Smith and presented a Book of Mormon to him; and that he never heard of Solomon Spaulding "until D. P, Hurlbut wrote his lie about him."

The incidents cited present us with a picture of the past, full of interest and of great importance to all who are desirous that the facts of history should prevail among men rather than the falsehoods of knaves.

1st. We find that the Western Reserve, Ohio, to have been the place, in advance of all others, where, as early as 1820, the spirit if counsel and reform imbued a number of people, and they are set about enquiring into the strength of their creeds and disciplines, and the burdens imposed upon them by men. Being free politically, they sought to be freed from all the yokes of bondage, and fetters fastened upon them by the tutelage of churches, for which there was no warrant in the word of God. The sunlight of the morning progress and reform had reached them, and this became a field of conflict of ideas and discovery among the most famous in history. It was, indeed, the dawn of the latter-day awakening, unconscious as the main actors may have been concerning it. "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform." His guiding hand, with its gentle inspirations, had directed the "ship of state" to freedom and triumph; and now under the same inspiring wisdom the work of preparation goes on -- to ultimate, in due time, in being crowned with a complete revelation of His will to a man, and the restoration of the gospel of Pentecost day -- the glad tidings of great joy -- to earth again.

2d. The chief leaders and spokesmen that incited and led along this reform wave, in early years, were Sidney Rigdon and Walter Scott. They taught and contended for primitive Christianity -- "the gospel as preached on Pentecost day." They looked for primitive usages, the primitive order of the church, the inspiration of the Spirit, and believed in the restoration of the Jews and the millennial reign on the earth. These views were reflected under their loud and animating appeals, and the country was awakened to a great expectancy that the time had come when God would again set up his kingdom on the earth. Is it not marvelous to think upon, after the mind has dwelt at length upon the events that so soon followed, in quick succession, their untiring labors? They animated and guided the great "Mahoning Association," the center of the reform movement, in search for light, and to success. The spirit of religious freedom and individual right of opinion was engendered every where. The country was awakened every where. The country was awakened, and for want of room, they congregated in barns and groves, all walking in mystery -- with the eye of faith -- unconscious of the end to be attained.

3d. In 1825, Alexander Campbell, of West Virginia, visited with the "Mahoning Association." By reason of some debates held in which he took advanced ground, and the liberal views that appeared in a periodical published by him, he had become quite well known, and was warmly received by the "Association," he, too, being a Baptist. He became a great auxiliary to the reform movement, by way of giving it popularity, as he was a man of learning, and had a press at his command. He was inspired with the idea of breaking away from creeds, but with the advantages in his favor, he soon became possessed with an ambition to establish another. Whatever faith he had in the beginning, concerning the restoration of the gospel plan and order of the church, accompanied with the inspiration and power of the Spirit, he forsook it, and denied the possible return and existence of vision, dream, prophecy, the voice of angels and of God, to salute the ears of mortals in this age. No restoration of the primitive order of the church in its spirit and power. Did not believe in the literal rebuilding of Jerusalem, the restoration of the Jews, or the millennial reign, and believed that any body who wished, could start out and preach and build up churches acceptably to God, with or without an ordination, as fancy might lead. Having won Scott and identified him with his interests, aided by Barton W. Stone, Bentley, Osborne and others, who left their first and better thoughts he gained a following, and finally established the Disciples or Campbellite Church, without a vision or a dream, the voice of God or angels, or the inspiration of the Spirit, to authorize it. No wonder they never grow weary of picking at the Latter Day Saints.

4th. From the time of its organization, in the year 1820, Sidney Rigdon followed the fortunes of the "Mahoning Association," animating it with his presence and great eloquence, until its dissolution and death, in August, 1830. He stood by the side of Campbell, and Scott, and Osborne, and Bently, in a word, -- all the leading lights of that time, and during his long ministerial career, no act of his brought a stain upon his character. The worst that his enemies can say of him, was that he differed from Campbell about the imperativeness or wisdom, of establishing the system that obtained with the ancient disciples, among the people now. See Acts 2:45. Rigdon seems to have been urgent to a fault, for New Testament order and methods.

He was well known in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; and Warren, Ohio; at Bainbridge and Mentor; at Waite Hill and Mantua; at Kirtland and Hiram; and all over that section of country. Every church has listened to his stirring appeals and matchless eloquence. The older people looked to him as a tower of strength and a great leader; and the younger ones, as a "spiritual father." When the great religious wave swept along the lake shore in 1829 and 1830, Rigdon was in the midst of it, and aiding it along with his gifted tongue. In 1829 he organized and aided in the organizing of churches at Birmingham, Hamden and Perry, and took "the deacons away" from the Baptists at Mentor. Pages 346 and 409, 465, 466.

In March, 1828, he took with him Bently, and repaired to Mentor, and with his astounding and animating theme, aroused and transported the whole community.

"The trumpet which they blew gave no uncertain sound. It was the old jubilee trumpet, first sounded by the fisherman of Galilee on the day of Pentecost, announcing glad tidings to the nations that the year of release from bondage in sin had now come, and calling ransomed sinners to return, freely pardoned, to their homes. They spoke with authority, for the word which they delivered was not theirs, but that of Jesus Christ. The whole community was quickly and thoroughy aroused. * * * [[deleted text: Many turned to the Lord. The first person to accept the offered boon and lead the people to Christ, was an intelligent young man, M. S. Clapp, then in his twenty-first year, son of Judge Clapp. His older brother, Thomas J. Clapp, had been baptized in June previous.]] Twenty persons were baptized the first time they repaired to the Jordan. * * * From Mentor they went to Kirtland, where almost an equal ingathering awaited them. * * * The news of this great overturn spready quickly through the country, up and down the lake shore." Pages 193, 194.

Here Rigdon planted the work of reform. This was his home. Here he remained and preached at Mentor, and Kirtland, Waite Hill, and at Mantua as late as March 21st, 1830. In August following he was at Warren, in the great "Mahoning Association," with Campbell, Scott, Bently, Osborne, and others, disputing with them with reference to a return to primitive Christianity, and the propriety of adopting strictly the new Testament doctrine and methods in all things. He was well known, and his name was famous every where; in public, in private, among the few and the many, he was held in honor and esteem. So great was his fame and so honorable his name, that his most despicable traducers dared not, or had not the conscience, to say otherwise of him than, -- "It would scarcely be just to deny sincerity and candor to him, previous to the time when his bright star became permanently eclipsed under that dark cloud." -- Page 192.

Two and a half months after the dissolving of the Association in Warren, he was enveloped in this "dark (bright) cloud." Where, now, during all these years of this man's ministerial labor and toil, is there place -- or chance -- where he could have been in league with Joseph Smith, plotted and intrigued a fraud for the purpose of palming it upon the world as the true religion? Or to purloin an old manuscript written by one Solomon Spaulding, if there was ever one written, change and model it with that end in view? Did any one, during all these years, from 1820 to the fall of 1830, ever hear him say so much as a word, in public or private, in the heat of debate, in council, or in the calmest serenity of the mind, about Joseph Smith, Solomon Spaulding, Gold Bible, or Book of Mormon? No, not one. Not so much as a lisp was ever heard by mortal ear. Whence, then. comes this lie, that he fabricated the Book of Mormon and conspired with Smith to impose it upon the world as divine, in order to start a new religion? Ah! It is the machination of that same old devil and his emissaries, that slandered and lied about Christ and the Apostles and Saints of old; and who combatted and fought so vehemently against the spread of truth in the earth during the time of their personal ministry. Indeed, the opposer of the right in every age. Nothing exceedingly strange about this [---- ---] after all.... [three illegible paragraphs follow]

In view of the great preparation done by Rigdon, by opening the way and preparing a people who received with gladness the message sent, who held up the hands of the Seer and faithful witnesses to the truth, and succored and aided the helpless and infirm, who can say -- who dare say -- that he was not a messenger "sent forth even as John, to prepare the way." If any have doubts hitherto, they should at once vanish on the reading of the account given by Hayden concerning Rigdon's great career previous to his acquaintance with the Saints. The revelation, then, was not designed to feed his vanity, as his accusers affirm, but was a plain statement of facts as they occurred, made by one who could have known but little, at most, of Rigdon's life and labor, and nothing of its purpose, except it had been divinely given him.

It is a fact, then, that Rigdon did prepare the way; and by reason of that preparation the work of God was planted and made successful, to a great degree, in the Western Reserve, the revelation in question having been given before the Saints' rest there had become an accomplished fact, or even attempted; dispute it who may or can. Let us have faith, then, and go on.

6th. The faith was thus established in the Western Reserve. Its representatives were men of acknowledged "piety and candor." Their faith was so clearly Biblical, and the facts rendered so plain that they were about to sweep the communities wherever they went. Designing men could no longer blind the eyes of the people. Error could not combat such an array of truth. The ancient faith and order of things had really come. The believers spoke in tongues. A little girl predicted the destruction of Pekin, China; it came to pass. This was sneered at by some, but could not be explained. The maimed came to Smith to be healed. In open daytime, before the multitude, he commanded them "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be whole," and instantly they were restored to perfect soundness. It was a "well attested fact." Could not be denied. This the old pious enemy characterized as "infibite presumption of the man." The result, as the effect of a "sudden mental and moral shock," which "electrified the rheumatic arm." This, because "I know not how better to explain the well attested fact," Why does not this enemy talk as he did in old time, and say "It is by Belzebub?" Because he has changed his tactics, now; and says, "I am no devil for there is none;" hence it must receive a scientific solution.

The truth confirmed, it soon became so formidable that its enemies trembled in fear of its mighty sweep among the communities, unable to meet it fairly and terrified by the bars of the law, from inaugurating wholesale killing, they banded together and procured some tar and feathers, and stealthily crept upon men in the darkness of the night, and plastered it upon their naked skins, to drive them from the community. It is confessed that there was nothing evil in the system of faith presented. "It then gave no signs of moral abomination." Only good. Then these were desperadoes, and religious bigots, and knaves. Dare any Christian deny that this was the work of the devil and his coadjutors? That it was not a shame and a disgrace to the people and community who did it? Does Mr. Hayden and his Disciple friends boast of these kind of deeds and warfare? They are welcome to all of the glory there is connected with such services; and the Latter Day Saints may well be proud that it was only such actions and such a spirit that could be brought against their formidable array of truth. When the names of such actors shall have been forgotten, blotted from history for want of something of merit to commend them, those of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, and all of like faith and works, will be had in honor and shine undimmed upon the pages of history.
                  WM. H. KELLY.
Coldwater, Mich., July 27th, 1883.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 1, 1884.                           No. 9.


We now have on sale a short biographical sketch of the early life of Bro. William B. Smith, the only surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum, with an interesting account of some of the incidents connected with the Smith family and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Price twenty-five cents each, or in lots of five and upward for twenty cents each. The book can also be had by addressing Wm. B. Smith, Elkander, Clayton Co., Iowa...

Bro. W. H. Kelley writes from Kirtland, Ohio, February 18th:

This evenings session [of the Braden-Kelley Debate] has just closed. The Spaulding story gave way like a land slide in time of a freshet, and so went under. As that forms the spinal column to the array of falsehood brought against the Book of Mormon, the strong fortress has been taken. A great interest is manifest and good order prevails. We are hopeful and happy and are confident that the Lord is with us, and the Saints have not forgotten us.


KIRTLAND, Ohio, Feb. 21st, 1884.     

J. Smith; Dear Brother:-- The discussion of the first proposition closed last evening, having continued eight evenings. Braden has scoured Dan and Beersheba for lies, filth and scandal, and dumped it out in brazen assertions, without proof...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 8, 1884.                           No. 10.


KIRTLAND, Ohio, Feb. 21st, 1884.     

J. Smith; Dear Brother:-- The discussion of the first proposition closed last evening, having continued eight evenings. Braden has scoured Dan and Beersheba for lies, filth and scandal, and dumped it out in brazen assertions, without proof...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 22, 1884.                           No. 12.


From the brief and imperfect information that has reached us, we make the following summary of the debate on the first proposition, which reads: "Is the Book of Mormon of Divine origin, and its teachings entitled to the belief and respect of all people?"...

Elder Braden... presented the Spaulding Story as the basis of the Book of Mormon. He assailed without stint the characters of the early men of the church, affirming that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon conspired together to foist a new religion upon the world. He affirmed that Sidney Rigdon stole the manuscript of Spaulding's story, as it is supposed, at Pittsburg, about 1815, or if not then, in 1823...

Then he presented quotations from what different parties in various places said and talked about, showing, as the speaker claimed, that Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon; that he stole one manuscript, and Smith stole two from one Spaulding, and they together got up the Book of Mormon...

Elder Braden then presented statements to sustain the Spaulding story as the origin of the Book of Mormon, alleging that Sidney Rigdon stole a copy of Spaulding's manuscript while in Pittsburg, and that Joseph Smith stole two others while in Pennsylvania; that Smith stole a peep-stone in the shape of a baby's foot, which was the means of bringing about the interpretations. That Martin Harris' wife burned the first manuscript that was translated, and that Sidney Rigdon was sent for to reproduce it... He cited some statements of Alexander Campbell, Adamson Bentley and D. Atwater, claiming that Sidney Rigdon said two years before the Book of Mormon appeared, that there would be a "most wonderful book published some day;" that Sidney Rigdon left the association in 1830 because he was jealous of Campbell and Bentley...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                                 Lamoni, Iowa,  April 5, 1884.                               No. 14.


The Cleveland, Ohio Herald, for March 23 contains the following; which is very apropos, for the reason that Rev. Clark Braden reiterated the statement respecting David Whitmer's denia; of his testimony, in the Kirtland discussion and the testimony and explanation given below were read by Bro. E. L. Kelley in refutation of the charge made.




Kirtland, O., March 20th, 1884.      
To the Editor of The Herald:

In your issue of this date appears the "personal" relating to David Whitmer, of Richmond, Ray county, Mo., as follows:

"David F. Whitmer, still living in Missouri at the age of eighty, was one of the three witnesses who in 1830 published a certificate declaring that they saw an angel come down with the golden book which Joseph Smith pretended to interpret. But when the witnesses were older and wiser the abjured Mormonism and declared their former testimony false."
The information, from whatever source, is certainly untrue, and believing the Herald desires to present facts to its readers, I cheerfully forward the same, with a request that they be published. If what the people generally call Mormonism is to be made odious to all mankind, it must be done by attacking the thing itself and pointing out its errors, and not something which is falsely said about it. David Whitmer is at present, and for nearly fifty years has been, a resident of Richmond, [---- ---- Ray County,] Missouri. On the 28th of February last I directed a letter to him with reference to a similar statement to the above, made here in Kirtland, He returned the following answer, dated March 3d, 1884:
"Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses, never, to my knowledge, denied any part of his testimony. On the contrary, as I have done, he protested against every fabrication by designing persons and parties, and emphatically testified as written in the Book of Mormon until his death, which occurred in this place. His wife and child, yet living, furnish one of the best pictures of a living faith in what their father testified to before death as written in the Book of Mormon.
            (Signed)               DAVID WHITMER."
Inclosed in the letter was his own late published statement, which I transmit herewith, with a request for publication, together with the list of witnesses from his own town subjoined.

I make this request for the reason that there are thousands misled by reason of the false and fraudulent stories published in various shapes with reference to this very matter, and the other side ought to be entitled to a fair hearing. Now is a good time to settle the matter, too, before the aged Whitmer's death. There are many in Northern Ohio, and elsewhere too, who desire to know just what position this "living witness" to the Book of Mormon occupies toward it, and what its connection, if any, with either of the bodies claiming to be the successor to the church established in 1830, at Palmyra, N.Y. This will give the Herald readers the facts together with his address, and any who may be further disposed can ascertain for themselves by direct correspondence.

Martin Harris, the third witness, who lived in this place till the year 1872, never denied his testimony, but was ever ready to affirm it as being true, as more than fifty citizens in this place will testify. If the statement is questioned, I will gladly furnish the Herald with the names and statements of these citizens.

The truth of this matter will not, or ought not to hurt any person.
           Very respectfully submitted.
                       E. L. KELLEY.

The following is the statement of David Whitmer, Sr., as well as an extract from the Conservator:...

(see original statement as published in Missouri paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 10, 1884.                           No. 19.


                                                          Elkader, Iowa.
                                                              April 18th, 1884.
Joseph: -- I do not write for the sake of confessing my sins to any one whom I have never injured in thought, word or deed. My sins of commission or omission are matters that are daily canceled by him to whom I owe my lifelong experience. I am now seventy-three years of age; and over sixty years of these that are past, what experiences I have had! Nearly a life time of labor has been devoted to the work of advocating the doctrine of a restored gospel; nor at any time during these many years, can it be said in truth, either by friend or foe, that I have ever turned my back upon the testimony of him whom God called to lay the foundation of the latter day work.

I notice that some of the writers for the Herald try to make wry faces at the name "Mormon;" and wish to have this name expunged from the records of the Church. The only answer I wish to give to the above is this. Persons objecting to this name Mormon, or Mormonism, should remember that it was the angel's visit to Joseph Smith, in 1827, that first planted the seeds of Mormonism; and so long as Latter Day Saints hold to their faith in the Book of Mormon, and the inspiration of Joseph Smith, just so long will the name of Mormon or Mormonism, follow up that class of people. Nor is the name Mormon, or Mormonism, a slang phrase; but is properly applied to the book, or the doctrine of the book, from which the name Mormon is derived; and what I wish to add further is, what I have said on this Mormon question is God's truth, and no controversy can successfully contradict it. I seriously question the genuine authority of any professed Saint, whether Elder, High Priest, or Apostle, who does not believe in the Book of Mormon, or the divine mission of Joseph Smith.

On the small work entitled "William Smith on Mormonism," no one need fear that Wm. Smith will make himself rich, or amass any great amount of wealth, out of this twenty-five cent book. It is but a small reward, after passing through the sad experiences of over sixty years in the ups and downs of the church, without fee or reward to the present date. My object in publishing this small tribute to the origin of Mormonism, is that this my testimony may be in the hands of every Latter Day Saint while I am living, thinking that they would prize it more highly, coming directly from my pen, than to read my testimony from the pen of others, after I have passed away.

I shall also bring out to your notice a book which I am preparing as soon as I am able to get it into print concerning the breaking up of the Church at Nauvoo, containing an account of many events which I believe have never been placed before the public. Brethren, your orders for the book now on hand will be promptly attended to Address Wm. B. Smith, Elkader, Clayton county, Iowa. Much love to all the Saints.   Your uncle,
                                                      WM. B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 17, 1884.                           No. 20.


Bro. Wm. H. and E. L. Kelley are at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Bro. William was to meet Rev. Coovert, Winebrennerian, on the issues of difference between the churches represented by the two men. Bro. E. L. has been interviewed, of course; and the result is a showing up on Utah Mormonism in the Leader of May 6th. The same paper contains a brief sketch of the first evening's debate, on the question; "Is the Book of Mormon of Divine origin, and is it entitled to the respect and belief of men?"


KIRTLAND, Ohio,      
May 3d, 1884.      

Editor Herald:-- I arrived here on the 28th of last month from Coldwater, Michigan... Nothing preventing, I start to Pittsburg tomorrow evening to meet Mr. Coovert on Monday evening next. I enjoyed the recent conference well; and if Mr. Snow and family, with whom I boarded during the conference, are fair representatives of the citizens of Stewartsville, I think that I would like to locate in that community as a permanent home. Michigan Saints are all doing well so far as heard from.

Yours truly,         
          WM. H. KELLEY.

Note: The Herald consistently misspelled the name of the Rev. William R. Covert. See notes appended to transcripts from the May 24th and May 31st issues of the Herald for more on the 1884 Kelley-Covert Debate in Pittsburgh.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 24, 1884.                           No. 21

The following is clipped from the daily Gate City, of Keokuk, Iowa,
of date May10th:


The Presbyterian Observer throws a new light on the authorship of the Book of Mormon, The book, it says, has commonly been credited to Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister -- a romance purportedly to give the origin and history of the American Indians. He sought to find a publisher for this story in Pittsburg, but was unsuccessful. The author died a few years later. The manuscript of this story most unaccountably disappeared, though it was generally believed that one Sidney Rigdon, a printer, afterwards a Mormon Bishop, got possession of the same, altered and added to it, and, thus altered and amended, it was sent forth to the world as the Mormon Bible. This point is explained by the following letter from Mr. James Jeffries, of Hartford county, Md., whose boyhood was spent a few miles from Pittsburg. He says: "I know more about the Mormons than any man east of the Alleghenies, although I have given the matter no attention for twenty-five years. I did not know I was in possession of any information concerning the Book of Mormon unknown to others. I supposed that as Rigdon was so open with me, he had told others the same things. Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. I had business transactions with them. Sidney Rigdon I knew very well. He was general manager of the affairs of the Mormons. Rigdon, in hours of conversation, told me a number of times there was in the printing office with which he was connected in Ohio, a manuscript of Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel; that this manuscript was in the office for several years; that he was familiar with it; that Spaulding had wanted it printed, but had not the money to pay for the printing; that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the manuscript and read it over Sundays. Rigdon and Smith took the manuscript and said: "I'll print it," and went off to Palmyra, N. Y. I never knew the information was of any importance. It will not injure Mormonism. That is an "ism," and chimes in with the wishes of certain classes of people. Nothing will put it down but the strong arm of the law."

This statement presents the following peculiarities: The witness knows "more about the Mormons than any man east of the Alleghenies," although he has "given the matter no attention for twenty-five years," during which years the claims for and against the Book of Mormon have been more thoroughly presented than ever before. The only source from which he derives this superior knowledge, is private conversations with Sidney Rigdon, which was never given to the world while the said Rigdon was living, and is contradictory of statements made by the said Rigdon and published in his lifetime. It is therefore incompetent and inadmissible. The witness' testimony, being based upon what somebody else told him, is hearsay, and therefore incompetent; so if called to testify in any court of justice in our land in regard to the manner of which he writes, he would not be allowed to make a single statement; because, although the professes to know so much, in the eyes of the law he knows nothing.

The communication bears no date; and the only attempt to fix the time when these statements were made by Rigdon to the writer, is the language, "Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis." Where the statements were made is not intimated, nor who, if anybody, were present and heard them. At what place in Ohio Sidney Rigdon was connected with a printing office; in what capacity or when he was so connected; who owned and who managed said office; how manuscripts came to lie in the office for "several years" without being printed or returned to the writer; how the proprietors came to allow employees to peruse manuscripts, take them home for perusal on Sundays, and finally carry them entirely away from the office and into another state, are matters at which this lucid witness leaves us to guess.

The statement is made that "Joe Smith" and Sidney Rigdon used to look this manuscript over together; but the historical fact, upon which both friends and enemies of Joseph Smith have hitherto agreed is, that Joseph Smith never had a residence in the State of Ohio, never was in that State, until after the publication of the Book of Mormon; also, that after his residence in Ohio, he never returned to New York; so if this witness' statements are accepted, those of all former witnesses upon the same side of the case must be rejected; and the legal rule that a party is bound by the testimony of the witness introduced by them, will place the advocates of the Spaulding-Romance-origin of the Book of Mormon in an unenviable situation; and compel them to apologize for the lack of truthfulness in former witnesses, or in this one under consideration.

Former witnesses. including the wife and daughter of Rev. Spaulding, have traced the manuscript referred to to a printing office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, if at all, and from that printing office to the State of Massachusetts, not in the possession of either Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon, but the family of Spaulding. This chain of evidence, furnished by the testimony advanced against the Book of Mormon, has hitherto been an embarrassing obstacle in the way of those who favor the Spaulding manuscript theory; and it seems that this witness has made the attempt to remove it. But he and his advisors should have remembered that in making this attempt he has squarely contradicted those who have hitherto been the witnesses on his side of the case, and who from the relations they have sustained to the writer and his manuscript, are most likely to know the facts. These witnesses are the wife and daughter of Spaulding, and the owner and manager of the printing office in which he lodged his manuscripts. They should have remembered, too, that they have made their case, placed themselves upon record before the world, avowed their willingness and determination to stand by that record; and now when they realize that their case is a hard one, and that they can not justify or reasonably receive a decision in their favor, to change front, and introduce a new witness to overthrow the testimony of those upon whom they have hitherto relied, comes with very bad grace.

This witness however need not feel in any danger of being punished for perjury; for he has been careful to wait until the man who could contradict him was dead, and then to make statements so indefinite, that in a legal sense he swears to nothing, and therefore could not be convicted of swearing to a falsehood. There are two sentences in his statement which we commend: "I never knew this information was of any importance. It will not injure Mormonism."

Note 1: The original James Jeffery affidavit, as published in the Feb. 13, 1884 issue of the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Banner and a contemporary issue of the Baltimore Presbyterian Observer, contains considerable additional information deleted by either the Keokuk Gate City, or the Saints' Herald: When he gave his statement, on January 29, 1884, Mr. Jeffery was living in Churchville, Hartford Co., Maryland. He dictated his words to the Rev. Calvin D. Wilson, who certified their accuracy. Mrs. James Jeffery and Dr. J. M. Finney, M. D. attested the statement.

Note 2: The content and provenance of the 1884 Jeffery statement is discussed on page 42 of the Braden-Kelley Debate. Fawn Brodie also addressed the Jeffery matter (albeit somewhat ham-handedly) on pp. 452-453 of her 1945 No Man Knows My History. Finally, in Wayne Cowdrey et al., The Spalding Enigma, (Los Angeles: 2000), the entire discussion is reviewed on pp. 219-221. See also the transcriber's comments regarding this topic in his on-line essay, entitled: "When Did Sidney Rigdon Meet Joseph Smith?"

Note 3: The Salt Lake City Deseret News of June 17, 1884 published an article entitled "Another Spaulding Story Refuted." in response to allegations made by a "Rev. W. R. Coovert" of Pittsburgh, to the effect that Rigdon had stolen the original text for the Book of Mormon "while he was working at a printing office in Ohio, where Spaulding had left it for publication." William R. Covert (not "Coovert") (1851-1920) was a minister in the West Pennsylvania Eldership of the Churches of God (Winebrenners). Beginning on May 5, 1884, Rev. Covert and RLDS Elder William H. Kelley held a public debate in Pittsburgh to discuss these three propositions: "Is the Book of Mormon of divine origin?" "Is the Church of God in harmony with the church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles?" "Is the RLDS Church in harmony with the church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles?" For eight consecutive evenings the first proposition was discussed, with RLDS Elder Edmund L. Kelley, acting as moderator. The debate broke up before the other propositions could be discussed. The article in the May 6, 1884 issue of the Pittsburgh paper, The Leader describing the first part of this debate, has not yet been located. The May 18, 1884 issue of The Leader carried a follow-up article.

Note 4: Rev. William R. Covert derived his strange account of Sidney Rigdon "working at a printing office in Ohio" directly from the 1884 Jeffery statement, used the allegation in his debate with Kelley, and then passed then it along to the readers of The Leader. See the explanation accompanying the original printing of the Jeffery statement in the Presbyterian Banner for more on the supposed Ohio connection. In rebutting Covert's version of the story, the editors of Salt Lake City Deseret News placed themselves in the position of responding indirectly to Jeffery by rebutting Rev. Covert. See also the "Coovert" story repeated in the Saints' Herald of June 7, 1884.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 31, 1884.                           No. 22


May 14, 1884.     

Editor Herald. -- In company with W. H. Kelley, I arrived here the 5th inst., to attend upon the discussion to take place between him and the Rev. Coovert, of the so called Church of God, in this city. Seven evenings have passed upon the first proposition, and one more is to come. The proposition reads: "Is the Book of Mormon of Divine origin, and its teachings entitled to the respect and belief of mankind?"

The affirmative advanced his proofs in the following order: -- (1.) That the book bears evidence of its divinity, in that its teachings are all in harmony with the doctrine of Christ as set out in the Bible, and unites as another witness to mankins that Jesus of Nazarath was the Christ. (2.) The many prophetic statements set out in the book which could not have been known at the time of its making, and the publication otherwise than by inspiration; but which have been clearly fulfilled since, prove the book of Divine authenticity. (3.) The new light reflected upon the world by the book as to the settlement, civilization, religion, and pursuits of the people of Ancient America, and which has been corroborated since by scientific research and archaeological discovery, is evidence of the work's divinity. (4.) The chain of evidence by reason of the application of many prophecies, both in the Old and New Testaments, and which have no other reasonable solution, is such as to show unmistakably, that the book is from none other than the Divine mind.

The negative at first attempted to meet the issue by entering into a criticism of the Bible texts. (2.) By showing that there were contradictions between the book and the Bible. (3.) That there was a fatal error in the book in stating that the people kept the law of Moses, and yet they had priests not of the tribe of Levi. Failing to make his objections stand, as has usually been found the case, he brought out his great weapon and began on "Character."

When his attention was called to the fact that he expressly stated that he would not do this before entering the discussion, he said: "I said I would not unless it was necessary." Since this time we have had nothing but the lowest and most filthy mess of the hatched falsehoods to listen to; the Rev. (?) Coovert descending to a much littler kind of meanness than it has been my lot to listen to before. However, last night he squealed, and without a word of warning, announced that since the affirmative had not done a thing in support of the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon, he would not go on and debate the other propositions, and that one more night would close the thing entirely. W. H. reminded him of the contract, and told him that he would like it carried out, so that he might examine the claims to "this so-called Church of God," but to no purpose. The Rev. gentleman refused to go on, because his opponent had made no argument. We shall see further to-night as to the outcome. So far we are satisfied.

Sabbath last, met with the saints here in preaching and social meeting. The afternoon social meeting was quite spiritual and encouraging. Bro. John Lake was present, and presided with W. H. The saints were encouraged, and we all felt that we were not tired of bearing the Master's name.

Since arriving in the city, I have had the pleasure of an interview with Mrs. Nancy (Rigdon) Ellis. She talked freely, and the visit was pleasant, at least to W. H. and myself. The interview we will furnish for the press hereafter particularly. She says she was eight years of age at the time that the preachers of the Latter Day Saints first came to her father's in Mentor, Ohio; and has a full remembrance of it because of the contest which soon arose between her father and Pratt and Cowdery, over the Book of Mormon. She says: "I saw them hand him the book, and I am as positive as can be that he never saw it before. He read it and examined it for about an hour and then threw it down, and said he did not believe a word in it." She further stated that her father in the last years of his life called his family together and told them, that as sure as there was a God in heaven, he never had anything to do in getting up the Book of Mormon. And never saw any such thing as a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding. On being questioned with reference to her knowledge of "sealing" and "polygamy," she said that she lived with her father in Kirtland till the year 1838, when they went to the state of Missouri. That she never heard tell of such a thing as sealing, or polygamy, in Kirtland. We called her attention to the fact that one William Smith, a Campbellite exhorter stated to us in Kirtland that he heard, he thought, that she was sealed to Joseph Smith in Kirtland. She says: "It is absolutely false; I never heard of such a thing while in Kirtland as sealing." We asked, Were you ever at any time or place sealed to Joseph Smith? "I was never at any time." She then said her father went from Missouri to Nauvoo, arriving in Nauvoo in the year 1840. They lived there till the 18th of June, 1844, when her father started with his family to this city, and they arrived here the same day Joseph Smith was killed in Illinois, June 27, 1844. We then asked her: "When did you first hear of polygamy in Nauvoo?" She said she never heard of it while they lived in Nauvoo. "Did you know any person while you lived in Nauvoo who was married to more than one wife, or had more than one wife at the same time?" Answer: "I did not."

When did you first hear of the so-called revelation on polygamy? Answer: "I never heard of it until after we came to Pittsburg, and some time after; I could not say just how long." Did you not hear talk that there was such a thing while you lived in Nauvoo? "I never did." When did you first hear about sealing? "I heard about this first about the year 1842. I believe it was in this year." How old were you at this time? "I was born in the year 1822." What was this sealing, and what was the object of it? "I can not say that I ever understood it fully. Can not give the object." Was it a state of marriage and did it contemplate living together as husband and wife? "I never so understood it."

She then stated that she thought Joseph Smith was quite a different man in spirit and manner the last year or two that she knew him from what he was in the other time she had known him, from 1831 to 1842. In her language she said: "He seemed entirely different; but I never knew or even heard that he had more than one wife."

I give this testimony because it is from a lady who was in Nauvoo all the time Joseph Smith lived there, except about ten days before his death. She was the daughter of one of his counselors, and in some respects he was the ablest man in the church. She was twenty-two years of age when they left there, and in a position to know what was going on, and is an intelligent lady. We asked to ascertain the truth of the matter, not minding who it might strike; and in this spirit it is given to the readers of the Herald. During my visit to Pittsburg this time I made the acquaintance of many good and noble-minded Saints. May the kind Master ever guard and direct them. and give them the reward of the righteous.

Kirtland, Ohio, May 16th, 1884: -- Have just arrived home from the scene of contest between Rev. W. R. Coovert and W. H. Kelley. Only the first question was discussed which they had agreed upon, Mr. Coovert publicly refusing to go on according to the agreement. Every means was taken he and his friends could think of, to hold out on one question. I have only to notice a few such choice expressions as, "We are the sheep, they are the goats;" "The Book of Mormon says the one who should bring it forth should live; but we killed him;" "All the Mormons this side of hell;" &c., in order that you readers may see how a Rev. gentleman of the so-called Church of God will act after he has given his word and signature that he would not try to attack character, and would debate honorably. W. H. was quite moderate for him, but gradually followed up these slurs mildly, till in his own language his appointment abandoned altogether God's methods of work and the gospel spirit. Then in his own language, "Since my appointment has thrown off the mask; shown he has no disposition to meet this issue fairly and in accordance with Christian rules and principles of warfare, but has gone over on the devil's hillside and begun squirting dirt, I shall now follow him to his stronghold." He followed him just lively enough for Mr. Coovert to strike his colors and run.

Thus the gospel of Jesus has again proven that it can not be successfully assailed by false and scandalous stories and dishonorable ways, and the right is triumphant. William remains in Pittsburgh over the Sabbath, preaching.

Hastily, as ever in love of the truth.

                  E. L. KELLEY.

Note: It seems absolutely preposterous for Nancy Rigdon Ellis to maintain that she had never heard of Nauvoo polygamy and to imply that Joseph Smith had never attempted to seduce her into plural marriage. In 1842-44, the local newspapers in and around Nauvoo were chock full of reports of Joseph Smith's alleged polygamy, his attempted seduction of Nancy Rigdon, etc. As Nancy obviously chooses not to divulge what she knew of that matter, it becomes difficult to trust her veracity when it comes to things such as "Pratt and Cowdery," the "Book of Mormon," and "a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding."


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 7, 1884.                           No. 23.

It is evident that Rev. Clark Braden proposes to spread his late effort to demolish Mormonism, root and branch. Of this effort the Salt Lake Deseret News says:


We have received from Mr. Clark Braden, of Wilber, Nebraska, what purports to be the prospectus of the "Braden-Kelly debate (about to be published) on Mormonism." which is said to have taken place in Kirtland, Ohio, in February and March, 1884, between the sender, Mr. Braden, who claims to be "a well-known author, lecturer and debater," and E. L. Kelly, selected by the Josephite Mormons to represent them in the discussion. The writer boasts of having utterly demolished the position of his Josephite opponent, and proved all sorts of things to the detriment of "Mormonism" and its founders.

We are sorry to call in question the word of so redoubtable an authority as this "well-known author, lecturer and debater" (whose name and fame we never heard of before) but we must candidly confess that we have serious doubts that he did anything of the kind which he claims to have done. We have not the time or space to point out the many glaring inconsistencies in his list of claims, which have been annihilated over and over again, but will say that we do not believe that he or any other individual of his ilk has it in his power to gain any such "glorious victory." Next to a genuine "Mormon," a Josephite debator of any intelligence at all, as long as he confines himself to truth, is invulnerable against any of the pointless sophistries of apostate "Christianity."

The following from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Leader for May 18th, seems to be quite opportune in view of the unusual activity of the venders of the Spaulding story origin of the Book of Mormon; and the recent attack on that book by Clark Braden, of the Disciple Church. It is a proverb that "a lie will travel from Maine to Georgia while Truth has her buskins on at last, and the Rev. Solomon Spaulding -- story-lie about Sidney Rigdon's connection with the Book of Mormon is overtaken and must go down under the vigorous heel taps of their indignant wearer.


It will be remembered by our readers that just previous to the commencement of the debate with Rev. Kelley on the Mormon question, Rev. W. R. Coovert stated to a Leader reporter that Sidney Rigdon, a former resident of Pittsburg, had stolen the manuscript of the Mormon bible, which had been written by a Doctor Spaulding of Ohio, as a romance and which the latter had left with a publisher named Patterson, father of the editor of the Presbyterian Banner; that after stealing it he submitted it to Joseph Smith, of Palmyra, N. Y., who, in connection with Rigdon, published it and palmed it off as a revelation from God.

Learning that a daughter of Rigdon was living in Pittsburg, a reporter called on her yesterday, and at first she declined to say anything at all on the subject, but finally, on the scribe promising not to use her name -- she is married -- she says: "I have never had the honor of seeing this so-called Rev. Coovert, who of late has been so free in his use of dead men's names, but I understand he parts his hair in the middle of his head, a fact which, from what I have heard and read of him, is no surprise to me. Now, while I most emphatically decline to be drawn into any controversy over that story of Coovert, which if there was any foundation for it, I can not for the life of me, see why it was allowed to remain quiet for years after all the actors are laid in their graves. Yet I will say this, that my father, who had the respect of all who knew him, and at a time when he had but little hope of living from one day to another, said to the clergymen around him, of which there was a number belonging to various denominations: These were his words: "As I expect to die and meet my Maker, I know nothing about where the manuscript of the Mormon Bible came from."

The lady said further that she believed as firmly as she "believed anything, that Joseph Smith (who was, she believed, at one time a good man) had a revelation, and that the Mormon Bible was founded on that revelation. But she was satisfied the Rev. Coovert had never seen a copy of it and consequently did not know what he was talking and writing about.

Note: For more on Rev. William R. Covert (not "Coovert") (1851-1920) and his May 5-13 debate with RLDS Elder William H. Kelley in Pittsburgh, see the notes for the Herald's issue of May 24, 1884.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 14, 1884.                           No. 24.


                                                Panama, Iowa,
                                                      May 22d, 1884.
Joseph: -- I am here, stopping with Bro. J. J. Tuck, an old time Saint. This town is now in its infancy, numbering not over two hundred inhabitants. Last evening I spoke to quite a respectable congregation in the hall of this place. It was said to be a good turn out for this season of the year. Subject was the gospel as taught by Christ and his apostles. I was listened to with good attention. I am to be interviewed again this evening on the great question of Mormonism. Have promised to give the people here a history of my early experiences and the knowledge I have on the Mormon question, and the founding of the Church of Christ by Joseph Smith. It is seldom I can avoid answering these inquiries, as these matters when answered as they should be, go far to establish one of the most important points in connection with the origin of this latter day work. I find it is not difficult to get people to believe the gospel as taught by Peter, Paul and Jesus; but the honest founding of the church we represent, is the great question of the times. It has been some time since the story of the golden plates was talked of by men who claim to have seen them; and angel's visits to men on earth for the last eighteen hundred years have been so very few and far between, that it requires quite a stretch of faith to believe in these covered up mysteries of ages that are past, without testimony that will strike upon the sense of men, who judge every thing by the good sense and the sound logic by which it should be tested, whether of truth or falsehood. The evidence that Moses saw the Lord in the burning bush, does not strike me very favorably when I reflect upon the length of time that all these great and marvelous views and transactions have been absent from the earth so many hundred years. A renewal of those things by a new dispensation is the only hope of a sound faith in those unseen mysteries which God alone can reveal by sending his angel-messengers to man, to remove doubts and fears as to that which is divine.

If the story of the golden plates is all a humbug, there must be a solid mass of perjured witnesses, whose names have been given to the public in attestation to this story of the plates, from which it is said the Book of Mormon was translated; witnesses who claim to have seen with their eyes and handled with their hands these things. However much the antiquities of the country corroborates the history given in the Book of Mormon, translated from plates found by Joseph Smith, still the angel part of the story is not explained by any of these things. It is evident that a belief in angels' visits is hazardous; while the things of earth that are seen with the natural eye, are explained of themselves, not being clothed with mystery. It is while men are living who claim to have seem angels, that their testimony is of value to unbelieving men; not after they have past away. Two of the men whose testimony is given in the Book of Mormon, who claim that an angel brought and showed them the record and plates, of which the world so much doubts, are now dead; and the only one of the three witnesses in this all important testimony, now living, is David Whitmer, who resides in Richmond, Mo. While this man is living, why do not the skeptics on angels' visits to man on earth, gather up their wise men, and institute an examination of the organic system of this man of strange visions, David Whitmer, and let science once in its useful days, detect this monster humbug of sight-seeing angels where there are none, by a rule or law that can not be controverted. Now is the time for the master spirits of the age, (and especially the ministers), to clothe themselves with immortal honors, by giving to the world a lesson on visionary frauds, that might prove lasting, when stereotyped in the minds of the people (whether it is true or false) as that world-renowned humbug -- story of the Spaulding Romance being remodeled into a positive revelation from God.

My efforts while at Clinton to give new life to the cause, I think were productive of good Elder Warren Turner, who presides in that district, gave every aid that heart could wish to keep up the meetings. While there a Brother Johnson, who is also an Elder of the Church, contributed his influence and presence in the work, adding a word, aiding the truth to triumph over the many errors that keep the world in ignorance of the true doctrines. From Clinton, after preaching seven discourses, I came to Rock Island, Called on Bro. Dungee. Saw also a Bro. Harrison living in that city, whose faith remains unshaken in this latter day work. At Davenport I was called upon to preach the funeral sermon of Bro. James Houghton, who died of paralysis. I am booked for River Sioux as soon as I can get to my appointment. I am thinking of visiting Galland's Grove Branch.

Your brother and fellow laborer in the gospel,

Note : It seem unlikely, that while "Uncle William" was overawing his Iowa audiences with glowing accounts of golden plates and angelic visits, that he bothered to take the time to explain why, back in 1857, he had been so adament in his published statement: "permit me to say that I am not a Mormon. The treachery, corruption and murderous practices of the leaders of the Mormon Church long since disgusted me with a doctrine which produces such results, and as a matter of course I left the heaven-defying traitors, as every honest man should do, and leave the guilty wretches to suffer the fate which they so richly merit, and which is certain, sooner or later, to overtake them."


Vol. 31.                                 Lamoni, Iowa,  June 21, 1884.                               No. 25.


No. 663 Walnut St.,      
Chicago, Illinois,      
June 4th, 1884.      
Bro. Joseph Smith: -- On April 25th, with Bro. R. Etzenhouser in company, I called upon David Whitmer, which I had longed to do for years. We were very hospitably entertained, and enjoyed the interview much. The following are some of the facts as stated to us:

Oliver Cowdery's name being mentioned we asked as to his last statement. In response we were told, that it was re-affirmed, accompanied with a solemn charge to keep the manuscript as he had.

"Would you like to see them?"

I replied that we would. He stepped into an adjoining room and in a few moments brought them to us. They were large sheets of foolscap paper, were rather brown, or yellow colored, not so clear and white as the paper of now a days; written closely in a fine hand, with capital letters in all proper places, and well preserved. He then remarked:

"I was present when Joseph gave these manuscripts to Oliver, O, it was such a solemn charge. He (Joseph) said, [']I feel it in my bones that there will be a division in the church, like it was with the Nephites and Lamanites, and if these manuscripts are not preserved, I fear that the church may be injured, and when you deliver them up to others, be sure they are left in good hands.'I now see why they should be preserved. A delegation once waited on me from Utah, Orson Pratt headed it, to secure them. And he said:

'Set your own price on them. There is millions in the treasury and we are authorized to draw any amount for them, so you may not be particular, ask any price.'

I replied, They are not for sale. He said:

'Why not?[']

I answered, I know, and that is enough. There is not enough gold in the world to purchase them. Pratt urged the matter saying:

'You are not very well off, and it will do your children good.'

I then told him, You have not got money enough in Utah to purchase them."

O, brethren, the above sentences were spoken by the good old man in such accents and tone, it fairly gave life to his sterling worth, as the man more precious than fine gold, even a man worth more than the golden wedge of Ophir. (Isaiah 13:12). His integrity is above suspicion. God bless his memory and his heart, ever more; amen.

This brings to my mind a statement of the Elect Lady, Emma, in the winter of 1856. She said to me, "When you see David Whitmer you will see an honest man." And in the same conversation, she remarked of her husband Joseph's limited education while he was translating the Book of Mormon, and she was scribe at the time, "He could not pronounce the word Sariah. And one time while translating, where it speaks of the walls of Jerusalem, he stopped and said, 'Emma, did Jerusalem have walls surrounding it.' When I informed him it had, he replied, 'O, I thought I was deceived.'"

Bro. Whitmer added that since Oliver's death it was alleged that they both had denied their testimony. He said that preachers and others got this up and heralded it about.


"In June, 1829, I saw the angel by the power of God. Joseph, Oliver and I were alone, and a light from heaven shone round us, and solemnity pervaded our minds. The angel appeared in the light, as near as that young man (ithin five or six feet). Between us and the angel there appeared a table, and there lay upon it the sword of Laban, the Ball of Directors, the Record, and Interpreters. The angel took the Record, and turned the leaves, and showed it to us by the power of God. They were taken away by the angel to a cave, which we saw by the power of God while we were yet in the Spirit. My testimony in the Book of Mormon is true; I can't deviate from it. I was troubled with so many by letter and otherwise, all over the United States, and some from Europe, that I made my proclamation of March 19th, 1881. In this way thousands read it, who would never have done so otherwise. I have the original manuscripts. They have the printer's marks. The printers here have examined them, and say they are genuine. When being printed, Oliver Cowdery would take about a dozen pages of them at a time, and remain and proof read and see that the work was done properly, and continued his vigil to the end."

Brother in Christ, after a visit with Bro. David Whitmer, one of the chosen witnesses of the Book of Mormon, I want to say that I felt to admire the man; his humble, meek manner is wonderful to behold, in comparison with the self-called ministry of the present age. He is a devout Christian, and speaks of Bro. Joseph, and the rise of the latter day work with endearing words of love. As he said:

"The boys, Joseph and Oliver, worked hard, early and late, while translating the plates. It was slow work, and they could write only a few pages a day."

Of Joseph he continued;

"He could not do a thing except he was humble, and just right before the Lord."

I said, "Why not?"

He replied:

"The Urim and Thummim would look dark; he could not see a thing in them."

"How did it appear in them?" we asked. His answer was:

"The letters appeared on them in light, and would not go off until they were written correctly by Oliver. When Joseph could not pronounce the words he spelled them out letter by letter. Ah! Joseph was a good man, bu had a hard task to manage with the people in the early days of the church. They were sectarian (Brigham Young was only a sectarian) and came in with all of their own views, and were hard to manage. In fact, they sought office in the church, and when they were ordained it was only putting new wine into old bottles in many cases."

I asked him why he did not go with the church.

He replied:

"I had good reasons, but do not wish to speak of them now. I was directed to remain here in Richmond."

He gave me his statement entitled "Proclamation," of March 19th, 1881, saying:

"I have but a few left."

I remarked that more should be published. He answered:

"You may tell Joseph he may print them, and send them broadcast, if he will not change them; print them just as they are."

Bro. David is a bright looking man, nearly eighty years old. Firm as a rock in Christ, and in his testimony of seeing the angel of God, as he descended from heaven in a halo of light, and turned over the leaves of the plates just as a man would the leaves of a book. His family, wife, son and daughter, who were present, are of a quiet, meek spirit. All seem to dwell in love, and are firm in Christ, and love to bear their testimony in the gospel and hear the aged witness talk, just as though they had never heard it before, though it has been their theme all these days....

               Yours in bonds of truth and love,
                              E. C. BRIGGS

Note: See also RLDS History of the Church, 4:446


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 28, 1884.                           No. 26.


For more than fifty years the Elders of latter day Israel have been preaching a restored gospel, and the divinity of the Book of Mormon...

The objector claims that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, one or both, stole poor old Parson Spaulding's romance, and fixed it up to their notion, and made the Book of Mormon out of it. If they did they were a different class of thieves from any the world had ever known; for they came directly out before the world, and demanded a crucial examination of their work...

Yet in the face of all [of this?] we find divines on every hand [swooning?] away over the Spaulding story [saying that?] Smith and Sidney Rigdon [together had?] stolen the Spaulding story... Divines have raged and the people have imagined a vain thing. But the glorious work moves on. Jacob's face no longer waxes pale, and all Israel is glad, and returning to Zion and Jerusalem with songs of everlasting joy.

                  R. J. ANTHONY.

Deloit, Iowa, June 10, 1884.    
Joseph: -- There is quite a pressure for mission work in this part of northern Iowa. It will, therefore, make it slow work in my getting to Lamoni; I hope you will not be gone from home when I do come. The anxiety of the Saints to see and hear what I have to say on the early rise of Mormonism, keeps me tolerably busy at work. The conference in the Galland's Grove district has just closed. A great gathering of the people in attendance. I leave here to-morrow for River Sioux; and thence to the Magnolia conference, commencing next Saturday. The Saints at Sioux River and River Sioux are unwilling that I should leave them.

Dow City, Iowa, June 12, 1884.    
Bro. Joseph: -- As I often hear my brethren say that endowments and garments introduced by Lyman Wight were the same as those introduced by Brigham Young, I wish to state that they were not. And, as I was considered worthy by both these men to receive my endowments, I consider myself a competent witness, and will proceed to tell the difference as I understand it. Both claimed authority to seal men and women together for time and eternity; in this they were alike. Lyman Wight gave no endowments of secrecy. The washing of feet, anointing with oil, ordaining kings, queens, and priests, are the sum and substance of Lyman's endowments. The garment and robe he introduced, was a loose frock, made according to the pattern of one worn by Moroni when he first appeared to Joseph Smith, as given in his history. This was not worn[,] only on certain occasions. No marks indicating the piesthood were on this garment. Brigham's garment was a tight garment, made like drawers with sleeves and body connected, with marks on the knee and breast. This was to be worn always. Our instructions were even in washing of the body to keep one leg in the garment. In Brigham's endowments both feet and body were washed and anointed with oil; but he did not ordain kings and priests and queens, as did Lyman. He brought all under oath and covenant to avenge the blood of the prophets, and gave us a name we would be called forth from the grave by. This is about the extent of his endowment, with the addition of a second endowment, and I am a witness of this also; which was an anointing and setting apart for the ressurrection and power conferred to the rise from the dead, and to raise others. Saints, you see no similarity between the endowments of these men. The robe that Lyman introduced was an entire covering of linen; added to this he had an apron, imitating the one made by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; but no mark. This we were to be laid away in after death, and be worn when sealed for eternity. Briham's robe was the same as Lyman's with the exception of the marks of the priesthood, and used for the same purpose, hence we see some similarity in the robes of these two men -- alike, only the marks.

Now let me place myself on record concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I have been asked the question a number of times, "Were you in that massacre?" Those asking the question, seeing the name of John Hawley in John D. Lee's history, thinking that he had made a mistake when he said, "This John Hawlry went to Indian Territory, and died there." And, as I lived in southern Utah at the time of this massacre, they have thought that I must be the man. Now, let me say to all, that I was not the John Hawley that Lee speaks of; neither was I there, nor do I know any thing of how it was conducted only from hearsay. Let me relate a few things that took place at the time, or after the massacre. Those that went to the Mountain Meadows, and as I suppose took part in the killing, (this is supposition only upon my part), on their return, three of the men spoke with a great deal of zeal, and declared to us that the dividing line was then drawn between Jew and Gentile, and all must die that passed through the Territory who were not of our faith. The work of death they applauded very much. As I had just returned from Salt Lake City with my family, they called upon me to talk; and I continued the subject of death; and proclaimed with as much zeal against the work of death (done by them as I then supposed) as they did for it. For this they took me to task, but all in secret; but as I had a balance of power in their meeting, the vote stood in favor of my living. However, they sent a delegate to inform me that I must be more on my guard in what I said, and the man interrogated me thus: "Bro. John, you came very near losing your life for what you said yesterday; and I have been sent to tell you to be more on your guard." I remember very well the answer I gave him, and that was this: "Bro. Young, (Wm. Young was the man), I don't know but I am as well prepared to die now as ever I will be; and if you take my life for proclaiming against that deed of murder, you will kill an innocent man; but you may tell your brethren that I will stand on what I said." That day brought Brigham's message to the people, concerning the company just killed; but too late to do them any good. It read as follows: "Let them pass, and treat them as you would like to be treated were you passing through their own land." When this was read, I had friends. This testimony I must meet some time.

Note: Pierce Hawley (1788-1858) was perhaps the Mormon whom John D. Lee recalled as having died in Cherokee Nation. His second child, Mary, was one of Lyman Wight's plural wives in Texas. His fourth child was John Pierce Hawley (1826-1909), who lived in Washington Co., Utah between 1857 and 1870. He evidently did not move to southern Utah until about the time of the 1857 massacre: an excerpt from page 13 of his autibiography (pub. 1981) reads: "we went to Utah... We left Kansas City on the 24th of July, 1856, and landed in Salt Lake October the 11th." LDS records show that Elder John P. Hawley received his endowments in Salt Lake City on August 7, 1857, and thus, as he says in his letter, he "had just returned" to Washington County "from Salt Lake City," at the time of the massacre. His mother subsequently joined the RLDS Church in 1861 and he himself was baptized an RLDS on Feb. 7, 1870 (see the RLDS Journal of History, II:380-81 and IV:223-41, as well as the Autobiography of John Pierce Hawley). Elder Hawley's June 12th communication regarding the Mountain Meadows massacre was quoted in the Salt Lake City Deseret News of July 9, 1884; a rare mention of the 1857 tragedy in that particular newspaper.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 12, 1884.                           No. 28.



Gentlemen Moderators, Ladies and Gentlemen: -- In the concluding speech of my opponent on last evening he undertook to show you that he had been fair in reading from his papers as I have been in my argument. I claim that he ought to present in full his important statements and affidavits, especially so, since they ought to be in the argument if published, as they are not accessible to but a few people; and that if the statements in full are presented I claim they bear the stamp of condemnation upon their face. To permit him to read a small portion here, and then run the entire thing in the book would not be fair either, as that would give him an undue advantage of space, (and time consequently), in the discussion. Besides, it would not be his matter in fact and I would have no opportunity of reviewing it here, and a statement or affidavit which he relies upon and wishes his hearers to, in making his affirmative statements good, I claim he ought to introduce in full.

He turns around and says: "Kelley has done that all the time. Hasn't he read a bit here and another bit there from the Bible?" Now if I did that, without reading or introducing sometime the full connection, I did not do right. But I deny that I have scrapped in this manner. When I have read to you from the Bible I have read to you the full connection. But this is different from his affidavits or statements in more ways than one. A;; persons have a Bible at hand so that when a passage is cited they can turn and read for themselves. Again there is no contest on the Bible here. We have agreed that it is the standard of investigation, and I abide by it as heartily as he. Not so with his purported statements and affidavits.

They are not admitted, but absolutely denied, and to come then and stand the test as evidence they must appear in full, with time, place, circumstances, and reasons for making, etc. At best, they are such a doubtful class of proofs that the rules of evidence regard them with grave suspicion from any standpoint, and courts pay very little if any regard to them. They are not in their character to be considered in the nature of reliable evidence. Then we ought to have in this discussion a full, fair look at them. Last evening in my introduction of evidence I read several full statements. They were one or two statements of witnesses that I merely referred to, but not those upon any very important matter. I wish to state another thing before entering upon the argument. I have objected throughout this discussion to his manner of misrepresenting my views to the audience under the cloak of pretending to tell what I believe. Some of you may have thought that I was particular about this and that it was simply because I claimed the right to represent my own belief and views and those of the Latter Day Saints that I have so strenuously objected. But this is not the fact. The real reason is, because I see my opponent is laboring under a mania. It is an old habit I find of Mr. Braden of misstating or at least misunderstanding the views of others. He evidently misjudges others from reading their views. I have before me A. Wilford Hall's Microcosm, one of the ablest journals that is published in the United States; and the editor, A. Wilford Hall, Ph. B., in reviewing an article of Mr. Braden in the January number, 1884, says: --

"We simply state for President Braden's information, that we never taught or thought of teaching any such doctrine as he has attributed to us. We never once intimated or even thought that matter was made out of spirit. We never thought of teaching that God took a portion of his spirit and condensed it into a material world. We never dreamt of teaching that there are but two substances in the universe, much less one, and that these two substances are spirit and matter. We hold, on the contrary, and distinctly teach that there are many essentially different substances in the universe under the general classification of material and immaterial entities, and that spirit essence belongs among the immaterial substances of nature. How President Braden could deliberately assert and repeat it in different forms of expression about twenty times that we teach but one substance, -- spirit, -- and that matter came into existence by condensation of spirit, is a mystery we leave the reader to solve.

Now, I read this to show you that sometimes he misrepresents and misstates other men's meaning, and I want him to be more careful when he undertakes to give my views to the audience, or be patient till I give them myself. If he does not, I shall bring some very serious things against him here, too.

When my time was called upon last evening, I had just finished reading the statement of Mrs. Solomon Spaulding, her daughter Mrs. McKinstry, Mr. Howe, and a second account of Mrs. McKinstry, the only persons of whom we have any account of who ever had knowledge sufficient to testify as to the character of the manuscript Mr. Spaulding wrote except Hulburt; -- reading from the statements of the witnesses to show what kind of a manuscript, if any, Spaulding ever wrote. What do these witnesses' statements show us as thus read, giving them full credit, -- and they are all bitterly partizan and prejudiced against the Saints?

1. That the manuscript they claim Solomon Spaulding wrote was about one-third as large as the Book of Mormon.

2. That this manuscript contained many singular names from the classics and ancient history, not one of which is common to the Book of Mormon, or in any way similar.

3. That the Spaulding manuscript treated of an idolatrous and not a religious people.

4. That it was a speculation as to the "ten tribes" having come to this country.

5. That neither of the persons who actually saw the Spaulding manuscript could identify a single word in it as being like the Book of Mormon.

6. That the manuscript, whatever it contained, they gave to Mr. Hulburt who gave it to Howe, these being the two who were trying to get up a work against the Mormons.

7. That afterwards Hulburt and Howe wrote back word, that they did not use it because it did not read as they expected.

Now I will introduce Hulburt's statement as published by another enemy of the book, Mr. Patterson of Pittsburg. Hulburt writes:

                         "GIBSONBURG, Ohio, Aug. 19. 1879.
"I visited Mrs. Matilda (Spaulding) Davidson at Monson, Mass., in 1834, and never saw her afterwards. I then received from her a manuscript of her husband's, which I did not read but brought home with me and immediately gave it to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who was then engaged in preparing his book, 'Mormonism Unveiled.' I do not know whether or not the document I received from Mrs. Davidson was Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,' as I never read it; but whatever it was, Mr. Howe received it under the condition on which I took it from Mrs. Davidson, to compare it with the Book of Mormon and then to return it to her. I never received any other manuscript of Spaulding's from Mrs. Davidson, or any one else. Of that manuscript I made no other use than to give it, with all my other documents connected with Mormonism, to Mr. Howe. I did not destroy the manuscript nor dispose of it to Joe Smith nor to any other person. No promise was made by me to Mrs. Davidson that she should receive any portion of the profits arising from the publication of the manuscript if it should be published. All the affidavits procured by me for Mr. Howe's book, including all those from Palmyra, N.Y., were certainly genuine.
                    D. P. HULBURT."

With this I refer you to the statement of Mr. Howe, Hurlbut's partner in the business of publishing the story, as made by himself, see Mormonism Unveiled, page 288, as follows:

"The trunk referred to by the widow was subsequently examined, and found to contain only a single manuscript book, in Spaulding's handwriting, containing about one quire of paper. This is a romance purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on 24 rolls of parchment in a cave, on the banks of Conneaut creek, but written in modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship's being driven upon the American coast while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era. This country then being inhabited by the Indians. This old manuscript has been shown to several of the foregoing witnesses who recognize it as Spaulding's, he having told them that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to the 'Manuscript Found.'"

It was never taken back to Mrs. Spaulding, the widow, or to Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter, from whom it was obtained, and the only persons in existence competent of identifying the 'Manuscript Found,' but carried up to a few of the 'old neighbors,' who were at war with the Saints, and who said they heard the 'Manuscript Found,' ready twenty-three years before, for identification.

They say, says Howe, it bears no resemblance to the manuscript. But it is evident that they lied, if they said so, for Howe, who read it says:

"This is a Romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on 24 rolls of parchment in a cave on the banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship's crew being driven upon the American coast while proceeding from Rome to Britain a short time previous to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."

"Found in a cave." This is the very manuscript remember, that they have claimed all the time that Spaulding wrote, traced right into Mr. Howe's hands -- the one that was "found in a cave," so said. It proves itself to be the Manuscript Found, the very one they got, and the very one they made way with, as I will show you, lest it should spoil their little game.

The truth of the matter is very clear; Hulburt and Howe in their madness had before this, skulked down to Conneaut for a few of these ready witnesses who were embittered against the Saints (for a large number of people had accepted the faith about Conneaut, Mantua and other places, and thus made the sects rage), got the parties to sign their stuff which they had garbled from the Book of Mormon, and afterwards when they got the Spaulding manuscript they went back to see what the trouble was, -- it did not read right. As might have been supposed the witnesses were caught; they could not deny that it was Spaulding's manuscript, too clear a case for that: Hulburt had been and got it right from the Mrs. Solomon (Spaulding) Davidson herself: What do they do? Invent another lie to get out of the first, by saying: "Spaulding told them that he had altered his first plan of writing by going farther back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style in order that it might appear more ancient." Did you ever!! Right out of the book Braden fats on!!! Spaulding is made to go to each one of these witnesses, or they come to him, that he may tell them he altered his first plan of writing and he a stranger to them as it were, for all the time he was in that part of the country was but two years. Well, had they known his first style? If so, why did they not state something about it before they were caught? And how came it that they never struck upon this modern style while they read the Spaulding manuscript so much, which they try to foist upon the world? A man that will take up and believe this contradictory and abominable stuff gotten up by a set of conspiring fanatics and tools more than three years after the publication and sale of a work they are trying by this very means to break down, and with that work right in their hands to draw their names from as admitted in their statements; see Wright's, Miller's, Lake's, etc., is doomed to hopelessly fall in with the class of people the apostle speaks of, as living in the last times when such a message of truth as the Book of Mormon contains should be presented to the people, who would oppose the work, the truth: --

"With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." -- 2 Thess. 2:10, 11, 12.

Men must examine a message from the true standpoint, God's standpoint: "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." Don't break God's law by speaking mean and slanderous things against those who differ from you in religion; there is neither sense nor argument in it. "Speak evil of no one." "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them;" and know assuredly, that "whoever transgresseth (this law) and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, he hath not God." So says the Apostle John, and so say I. The Book of Mormon is presented to the world and claims to be the truth; it is presented to the people as such and demands a fair investigation. As in every age of the world when God has sent a message, Satan can't stand to see the word, the truth, take root in the heart; so he begins on stories, and character, manufacturing and multiplying scheme after scheme, falsehood after falsehood, until in this instance the Spaulding "Romance," came along, not even claiming to be a thing of truth, but a speculative lie, -- theory; and the people who are too self-righteous and fanatical to believe the truth, at once drink in the theory of the "Romance."

The evidence from their own witnesses are complete in showing one thing, that is, that Spaulding never wrote an article of any kind that would in size, character, style, sense, taste, sentiment, or in any manner compare with the Book of Mormon. But how about "old come to pass," says one. Like the pretended remembrance of the names Lehi and Nephi, the false story of it was put into these witnesses' mouths and they thought it a smart thing to say; that is evident to a man who will think. Why should they so persistently call Spaulding "old come to pass?" Turn to the Bible in almost every part it abounds with the expression. In some parts of Luke's gospel it is as frequent as in the Book of Mormon. How could it receive the title of "old come to pass," from a singularity, when the expression was already a familiar one? Such a statement is only equaled by the brazen;y one put into the mouth of Henry Lake of the Laban account. :I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands there just as read to me then." Where is the inconsistency this wise man pointed out, who although he had not seen or heard anything in the Spaulding Romance in twenty years, pretended in twenty minutes reading to detect it by the same passages which Mr. Spaulding had read to him; only think, just read to him, more than twenty-three years before. Take another of Braden's witnesses, John N. Miller, the fellow who worked for Lake, another of their holy crowd. Twenty-two years passed away with no word from the manuscript, and then he remembers the names Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, Zarahemla, (the entire book they have here; the first part, middle and last part where the name Moroni is found) and he has the history so well that Braden says, "the average Mormon preacher," and I suppose he refers to me by this, "could not to day give it better," No sir! But this smart John Miller can give it from having read it in the old manuscript twenty years before. And Braden drinks it down! What a wonderful Miller this was! Can't you give us a further clue to his life and service to his country? But stop, my friends! He further testifies, let me read:-- "He (Spaulding) said that he designed it as a historical novel, and that in after years it would be believed by many people as much as the history of England," There! Can you beat that? And yet there is to be no more prophets! This is Braden's prophet. I might take up and show the duplicity, cheek, falsehood and spuriousness of every one of these, said to be statements, but I shall not so dispose of my time. They are effectually, fully and completely set out and accounted for beyond a doubt by any man who wants the truth, in another manner, and which I shall soon present you. I am asked to answer the question, How will you dispose of them? "Attack their character?" What! Don't he yet know me well enough to know, that I will not make of myself a bird of carrion to pass over all proper and respectable ways of testing a matter, to gather from the sepulchre of the dead and rotten? I too highly respect the Bible and Christian religion, as well as myself, for this. If character is to be the test and that proven by one's enemies, our Bible is not worth a straw; the entire list of writers will go down in the mire. And should we test the issue of Bible writers on character by the admission of friends, one half of the inspired men of the Bible would go down. No sir; I have from the first taken such grounds, that I could maintain my faith clear through, in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. Consistency is a jewel to be admired. Who is so ideal as to not see that if character is to be the test, that is to try the faith of the Saints, and that character proven by their enemies, the same role must be followed in trying others also. The position is more desperate than was entertained by ancient heathens. "The good that men do" says Mark Anthony over the dead body of Caesar, "lives after them, the evil is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar."

But Braden says, let us find some evil and perpetuate that. Character! What would he accept as good under his rule? Nobody ever lived of prominence in God's work who has not been slandered and berated. Doubtless many things, too, were true against the early Christians; they were true in part; so admitted in the Bible. But I am not a teacher of the doctrine of infallibility in mankind. I believe with Jesus that none are good, (except God), "no, not one." Now his long abuse and misrepresentation of the characters of Mr. Smith, Rigdon and others last evening is entirely foreign to the question under discussion. Suppose that they did do wrong and many absurd and foolish things! what weight can that have in determining whether the part God is said to have done is wrong? Try this matter upon its merits. I do not, nor does the church of which Mr. Smith was under divine Providence the founder, claim for these men perfection. Many of the things that he stated about these men and what they did may be true; but as to the majority I am satisfied they are as false as hell itself. And the list which he calls "Mormon Chronology," is dotted about occasionally with a fact, that he may thereby hide the deformity of a hydra-head, which he hopes to force upon the people. But his chronology as a whole is a brazen piece of deception and of false statements, drawn from such works as Howe, Tucker, &c. Suppose I take up Mitchell's history of the United States and read the infamous story recorded against the character of John Wesley in Georgia, charging a crime against that religious teacher more heinous than any ever made against Smith, how would it affect the Methodist religion? Suppose I take John Calvin who permitted one of his own adherents to be burned at the stake because he differed with him on religion. Suppose I take the case of the great reformer Luther, and the noble Melancthon, and show that they consented to one of their members entering into polygamy, the great Luther actually performing the marriage ceremony! Shall I thrust it in the face of the Lutheran Church upon a trial of their faith? I know this was done by certain parties this last Fall upon the return of the 400th anniversary of the "Pious monk," but how despicably mean and spiteful it seemed to thinking men and women! The rule is wrong. We must get upon a higher plane. Who wants to take the office of "the accuser of the brethren?" -- Gathering and sowing the evils spoken against men. Enter the mission of Satan in the world! No, sir; not I. Don't need to ask me, if I will try to hunt up your witnesses' character, unless I had those same witnesses where they could face the ones they are accusing, and they in turn could face their accusers. This is demanded in decency. Why! do you suppose if I was debating with an infidel I would rake up the past life of Col. Ingersoll? Is that what you call impeaching character? To go and rake up all you can find about a man and peddle it -- send it forth -- publish it. That is the way they slander men, but not the way they impeach them. Suppose an infidel should attack the character of the writers in the Bible in the same way, and they often do, would I then resort to such a course? No, sir. Such a contest would be decided upon the ground of who could get hold of and tell the biggest falsehood, and I would engage in no such littleness. But I have already devoted more time to this than it deserves. It has been because I did not know but possibly some one present might think there was a little argument in such a tirade as we heard from the negative last night, and for that reason only, I have noticed it. As for myself I could listen for weeks at such abuse and vilification if necessary with simply a sense of pity and shame for the one who spins it.

But I shall now finish my review of the "Spaulding Romance," and every one of his witnesses' testimony, and then each evening I shall have new matters of evidence on the question under discussion, and many that have never been presented to any audience. Here I might ask the question, Do you want proof that Spaulding never wrote a manuscript like the Book of Mormon, in any sense or feature? The total basis for all their huge stories and false statements about "Spaulding's manuscript," was this one thing: -- Spaulding, who came to New Salem, now Conneaut, Ohio, and remained for about two years, first representing himself as a preacher, then a dealer in real estate, and thirdly undertook to erect a "forge," (in all of which he failed, and suddenly left, leaving his debts unpaid, so stated by their own witnesses), at one time during his stay at New Salem, told some parties that he had found an old manuscript in a cave on Conneaut Creek, which gave an account of a long lost shipwrecked crew on the American coast, and it would be greatly interesting when published, and he would be able to make a raise of enough money to pay all his debts and be independent. He wanted a little more money out of them so he could go to Pittsburg and have it published. He roped in a few and left, but instead of getting up a startling publication, he stayed but a short time in Pittsburg and went to Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. He never, however, reported to his creditors and they were left in the suds, waiting for a check from the broken-down clergyman. Twenty-one years pass away, and no tidings. In the meantime the Book of Mormon is published and is making a great excitement in the world, and these duped creditors of Spaulding's begin to think of the startling shipwreck tale, of which Spaulding had told them he would make his fortune; and they got hold of a copy of the Book of Mormon and the base Hulburt who had been cut off from the Church of the Latter Day Saints; got out their statements and sent Hulburt after the Spaulding manuscript. This they found carefully laid away in the trunk of Spaulding's widow, and it is brought back by them and put into the hands of Editor Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who reads it and finds no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon. Howe says, page 288 of his book entitled "Mormonism Unveiled:" "This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment, in a cave, on the banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship's being driven upon the American coast while proceeding from Rome to Britain a short while previous to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."

Here is the Spaulding tale in a nutshell! The whole thing entirely different from the Book of Mormon; the style, dates, names, peoples, and all. The whole thing as foreign to the Book of Mormon as heaven and hades, but it is the little nit from which the enemies of Mr. Smith hatched this terrible "Spaulding Story."

This is his alibi. How I ask you, does his evidence stand upon the first point? Did Solomon Spaulding ever write a manuscript like the manuscript of the Book of Mormon in any sense? I say the evidence from his own witnesses is against him and ask him to now meet the issue he has made.

But he does not only have to show this, but to show also:

2nd. That Rigdon and Smith in some way stole it and that Smith used it.

3d. That Rigdon knew of Smith and the Book of Mormon before the book was published in 1830, and was connected with the two in some way.

4th. That Parley P. Pratt did not bring a copy of this book and present it to Rigdon while Rigdon was a Disciple Preacher and then and there in 1830, Rigdon first knew the contents of said book.

In beginning upon the second proposition, I am reminded of the story that is told of the absent juror. He had been subpoenaed to attend a session of court; but when the day arrived and court was called, he was not there; and the judge abruptly demanded to know the reason. The juror's friend arose and said there were several reasons. And proceeded to give them. The first, he said, that the man is dead. There! that is enough, said the judge, you need not give any more.

Now it seems to me that if I have shown you clearly that Spaulding never wrote such a manuscript as the Book of Mormon, or one that had any resemblance to it, from their own witnesses, that ought to be enough on this; but lest some one may yet have a doubt I will produce some further evidence. First a letter from Sidney Rigdon to the editors of the Boston Journal [sic].

                                "COMMERCE, May 27, 1839.
Messrs. Bartlett & Sullivan: --
There was no man by the name of Patterson, during my residence at Pittsburg, who had a printing office; what might have been before I lived there I know not. Mr. Robert Patterson, I was told, had owned a printing office before I lived in that city, but had been unfortunate in business and failed before my residence there. This Mr. Patterson, who was a Presbyterian Preacher, I had a very slight acquaintance with during my residence in Pittsburg: he was then acting under an agency in the book and stationery business and was the owner of no property of any kind, printing office or anything else, during the time I resided in the city. If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his wife until Dr. P. Hulburt wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves."

Rigdon is emphatic, when he talks, you know, because many of you used to hear him talk.

"Why was not the testimony of Mr. Patterson obtained to give force to this shameful tale of lies? The only reason is, that he was not a fit tool for them to work with: he would not lie for them; for, if he were called on, he would testify to what I have here said. This Hulburt once belonged to the Methodist Church, but excluded for immoralities. He afterwards imposed himself on the church of Latter Day Saints, and was excluded for using obscene language to a young lady, a member of said church, who resented his insult with indignation, which became both her character and profession. After his exclusion he swore -- for he was vilely profane -- that he would have revenge, and commenced his work. He soon found assistance; a pious old deacon of the Campbellite church, by the name, of Onis Clapp, and his two sons, Thomas W. Clapp and Matthew S. Clapp, both Campbellite preachers, abetted and assisted by another Campbellite preacher, by the name of Adamson Bentley. Hulburt went to work, catering lies for the company. Before he got through, his conduct became so scandalous that the company utterly refused to let his name go out with the lies he had collected, and he and his associates had made, and they substituted the name of E. D. Howe. The change, however, was not much better."

Then he refers in terms to Mrs. Matilda Davidson, but it is not material and I have not copied it here. I will read it if necessary.

"A man of character would never have put his name to a work which Hulburt was concerned in. The tale in your paper is one hatched up by this gang from the time of their expulsion [sic]."

        Respectfully,        S. RIGDON.

From the strong language of this letter it is easy to see that Mr. Rigdon had been maligned by the Campbellites, the people with whom he had formerly been connected -- to such an extent that it was almost impossible to bear it any longer; and the reason of this was simply because he saw fit in the honesty of his heart, to step out and embrace what he believed to be a better and higher religion than was to be had by remaining with his Campbellite brethren. Hence it is, that when he speaks, it is with a sternness and force, that was a terror to his maligners.

Heretofore they have generally told about Rigdon working for Patterson, but Braden has seen this go to the wall once, as he did also his "woman preacher story," at Wilber, Neb., so he has deftly yclept it this time; that is better than no fairness; when you are driven clear to the wall, drop it; and if he was not so eager to grab at something else he would improve in the world much better.

This letter of Rigdon's effectually shows that he never worked in a printing office in Pittsburg; that Patterson had no such office when he was there to his knowledge, and was not engaged in the business of printing; and referring to Mr. Patterson, who was at the time a Presbyterian preacher, as a man who would corroborate this statement. Afterwards Patterson does corroborate it. Rigdon says, the first he ever knew of the Book of Mormon was in the year 1830, when a copy was handed him by a minister of the Latter Day Saints by the name of P. P. Pratt.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 2, 1884.                           No. 31.

The Braden-Kelley debate will contain such ample refutations of Mr. Braden;s onslaught, and so much in defense of the primitive faith as held by the Reorganization; and such unanswerable arguments against the claims for divine origin and sanction of the church to which Mr. Braden belongs, that every elder, and active Saint should have a copy. The contrast in style and argument of the two disputants will be so strikingly in favor of Bro. Kelley's side, that the friends of Mr. Braden, and the Disciple, or Christian Church can not afford to permit it free circulation among them, notwithstanding Mr. Braden's loud praises in his own behalf. There is altogether too much egotism and self-assertion in Mr. Braden's half of the book and such will be the inevitable verdict of those who read it, with few exceptions.

The work will be on sale at the Herald Office from and after its publication. See advertisement in HERALD for July 26th.

Agents wanting to handle the book among the Saints will confer with Bro. E. L. Kelley, as his address may be given.

REV. CLARK BRADEN is out in a challenge to the Reorganized Church, the pith of which we give below"

Let the managements of the Missouri Republican, of the Globe-Democrat, and of the Chicago Times each elect an expert compositor, and let them constitute a committee of experts. Let the Mormon committee meet Maj. J. H. Gilbert, of Palmyra, N. Y., before this committee. Let Major Gilbert examine the manuscript now in David Whitmer's hands. Let the committee examine it without hindrance, and then let the committee publish a report on these issues:

1. Is the manuscript now in possession of David Whitmer the manuscript that was handed to Maj. J. H. Gilbert by Joe Smith and the manuscript that was used by Gilbert in setting the type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon?

2. Is it entirely in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, or in the handwriting of several persons?

3. Is it now punctuated, and to what extent? Do sentences now begin with capitals, and to what extent? Do proper names begin with capitals, and to what extent? To what extent are words misspelled?

4. Has the manuscript been changed since it was originally written, and to what extent; and has it been done since Gilbert returned it to Smith?

5. Are the blunders and atrocities that are in the Book of Mormon (the first edition) in the manuscript?

The writer will bear all the expenses of Maj. Gilbert and of the committee of experts; let the Mormons bear their own expenses.

Now, here is a fair, satisfactory test of the issues between the parties making these charges against the Book of Mormon and its defenders. Dare the Mormons face such a test?
                Clark Braden.
This appeared in the St. Louis Republican, and some other papers about at the same time. To it Bro. E. L. Kelley made an excellent answer in the Republican.

We give it notice for this reason, we wish Elder Clark Braden to comprehend, if he can, that when he states that Bro. E. L. Kelley was selected by "the officials of the Josephite Mormons to represent them" in the late debate between Bro. Kelley and Clark Braden, at Kirtland, Ohio, he has stated what is false. The officials of the Reorganized (Josephite) Church had nothing to do with originating the debate between Elder Kelley and Braden, either at Wilber, or Kirtland. The first was arranged between Levi Anthony, R. M. Elvin and others of the brethren at Wilber, Nebraska, on the part of the Wilber Branch, and L. L. Luse and others on the part of the opposition, Methodists and Disciples at Wilber, as we suppose.

The discussion at Kirtland was an after-thought between the men themselves, for reasons satisfactory to them, we suppose, and the authorities of the Josephite Church had nothing to do with its organization, agreement, or arrangement; they were not even consulted by either Mr. Braden, or Elder Kelley whether they would consent to let Elder Kelley debate.

Mr. Braden insultingly demanded of Bro. Kelley after he had agreed to debate at Kirtland that he should appear as the representative man, and "the best and the last that Mormonism could do." We directed Bro. Kelley to assure Mr. Braden that if in his "war to the knife" attack on us, he should succeed in slaughtering Bro. Kelley, in the discussion, his blood if it did not spring up dragon's teeth, as in the fable, it would spring up able Elders; and he would have the entire phalanx to meet and overcome. We also requested Bro. Kelley to demand that if he was to be considered as the representative champion of the "Mormon Church," that Mr. Braden must be endured as the representative champion of the Disciples or Christian Church of which he was a member. Whether Mr. Braden continued to insist that Bro. Kelley must be considered the "forlorn hope" by us "poor deluded Josephites," we do not know. We were not called upon to furnish credentials. Nor were we given to understand that the Christians endorsed Braden. We stood by Bro. Kelley as we should, and as we would have done any other Elder who should have withstood Mr. Braden. We prayed for and exercised care for him, for the sake of the cause he was presenting and defending, and felt an assuring confidence that the Master would take care of his cause and his servant in the conflict.

Mr. Braden did not score a victory as he expected. The ghost of Mormonism would not "down at his bidding." The sound facts and arguments of the truth could not be brushed aside by his tissue of slurs and badinage. The faith and its principles presented an array against which his virulent attack upon the dead heroes of its early defense in Ohio could make no headway. His Christianity was not equal to a clear comparison of principle and church foundation and policy.

Before the authorities of the Josephite Church can be drawn into a recognition of Clark Braden's right to such notice as he seeks in the challenge quoted above, he must show that he is a recognized and acknowledged servitor in the ranks of the church of which he professes to be a member. When he does this it will be time enough to get on our running toggery so as to get away from the theological slaughter.

Another reason. Mr. Braden should know that the Josephite Church does not control the manuscript of the Book of Mormon. It is in the possession of Elder David Whitmer, in what he deems a sacred trust, and only those whom Elder Whitmer would permit could have access to them. He very kindly permitted an examination by the committee appointed by the Reorganized Church, under conditions which he dictated as he was led to make; and to which the committee cheerfully agreed. It is doubtful if a party such as Mr. Braden proposes would be permitted access to the manuscripts, though we are not authorized to speak for Elder Whitmer and his family. They are not members of the Reorganized Church, and take care and control of their own affairs, which is right and proper. They are believers in the Book of Mormon, however, and are anxious that the truths of the gospel as sent by the angel to Joseph Smith should be taught and triumph in the world, as by it they believe man will be saved with an everlasting salvation. They have no love or regard for enemies to the truth and do not care to deal with them touching the faith.

Another reason; the manuscripts have been seen and examined by dozens of visitors within the last few years. Elder Whitmer has constantly averred his belief in the book, and verified, over and over again, what he testified to in the testimony found in the Palmyra Edition, and subsequent issues of the book. The manuscript was placed in his charge by Oliver Cowdery's widow for safe keeping. He has reason to know that it is the only manuscript in being, and the one from which the book was set. Any errors of grammar, spelling, or gross misuse of words, found in the Palmyra edition, (with the exception . of typographical errors), must appear in the manuscript; therefore any objection which is worthy to be urged against the book itself must include the manuscript. Nothing would be lost to the friends, or gained by the foes to the book by the examination proposed by Mr. Braden.

It is to be presumed that the committee, appointed as they were, will do their duty fairly. That however much any one of them might be disposed to cover up what he could not explain, the safeguards proposed by Elder Whitmer, acquiesced in by the committee and carried into effect by all engaged in the examination would preclude any such attempt being made.

Mr. Braden has shown a tendency to falsify both in regard to the appointment of Bro. E. L. Kelley to discuss with him, and the object of the appointment of the committee by last April session of Conference, and hence not to be trusted by those whom he has assailed in his "war to the knife" against "Mormonism."

Our visit to Richmond, aside from the work of the committee, was a very pleasant one. We visited the locality of the grave of Oliver Cowdery, but, as the cyclone that visited Richmond and vicinity some years ago took the grave yard in its track and swept everything over, and utter neglect to keep the ground in order since has permitted a dense thicket of locust, briers and weeds to grow up, it was out of the question to find the grave, we did not pay other tribute to the memory of the quiet sleeper than to try to find the spot where he lay. It is a half mile north of the town on a bit of ground which slopes gently to the south, lying adjacent to the main road running out of Richmond to the north. He died in 1849 or 50, maintaining his testimony to the Book of Mormon to his latest moment.

General A. W. Doniphan, whom we met, at his hotel, the Hudgins House, told us that he knew Oliver Cowdery well, and knew him till his death; he spoke in good terms of him as a man and as a citizen.

We called upon the General the evening before we left Richmond, and had an hour's very interesting chat, in which the General related several incidents which occurred during the days that the Saints were citizens of Clay, Caldwell, Ray and Davies counties. He conducted the defence of O. P. Rockwell, at the time of his arrest for the attempt to assassinate Gov. L. W. Boggs, and for which charge Rockwell was acquitted. There was no evidence connecting Rockwell with the offence, and the General believed him to have been innocent. This was assuring, for so much has been said by those who have assailed the Saints about Rockwell as the agent of Joseph Smith in the outrageous attempt to assassinate the governor of the state of Missouri, that the statement of a man intimately acquainted with the affair at the time of its occurrence, tends to remove the fear that guilt might attach to them against whom it has been charged.

The General was also present and attending to the examination of Sidney Rigdon at Liberty, Missouri, when on a writ of _habeas corpus_ he was before Judge King. Elder Rigdon had few if any friends there, about one hundred were gathered, the most of them "Mormon eaters," as they were called, and terribly excited against those under arrest and in custody. After the counsel had argued the legal conditions of the case, Elder Rigdon desired General Doniphan to inquire of the Judge if he might speak in his own behalf. The Judge said "certainly." Elder Rigdon rose and began; and, says the General, "Such a burst of eloquence it was never my fortune to listen to. At its close there was not a dry eye in the room, all were moved to tears." At its close the Judge said: "The prisoner is discharged [from] the custody of the Court, Mr. Rigdon is free to go his way."

The effect of Elder Rigdon's words was such that one of the leading men of the crowd picked, up his hat, and turning to the bystanders said: "We came here determined to do injury to this man. He is innocent of crime, as had been made to appear. And now, gentlemen, out with your money and help the man to return to his destitute family." He circulated the hat and the money was showered into it till he placed a hundred dollars in Elder Rigdon's hands, with the remark, "Now old gentleman, make the quickest possible time to your family, who need you and your help."

It must have been a remarkable scene, for as General Doniphan related it, the remembrance of it lit up his aged face with a glow of animation pleasant to witness.

In answer to the question whether the anti-slavery sentiment which prevailed among the Saints was in any wise at the bottom of the opposition and persecution to which they were subjected, he stated that there could be little doubt that in Jackson county and probably some others, the real reason of the hostility to the church was the pro-slavery dislike to the anti-slavery sentiment of the Mormons. Religious bigots opposed to the doctrines of the Saints made the position of the Saints on the slavery question the pretext of their hate.

In answer to the question, Were the leading men among the Saints such bad men as it was urged that they were, the General stated that they were not. He was intimately acquainted with many, had some of them for neighbors, and a "nicer lot of men I never knew; kind, neighborly and upright."

Can there be need of better defence for men maligned and persecuted by lawlessness than to have such tribute paid to the memory of business and neighborly relationship with them by one who was in circumstances to know them.


                  LANSING, Michigan.
                        July 17th, 1884.
Dear Brother Joseph: -- On yesterday I went to see Bro. Harvey Fairchild over in Eaton county, this state. He is still confined to his bed-room, and will be until he departs this life; unless Jesus cures him and raises him up again. I read to him the article in the Herald, of the 5th of July that I wrote you. He says he was baptized not by Parley P. Pratt, but by Wm. B. Smith. He further states that his work as a mason at Nauvoo was not so much on the Temple as at the stone quarry. The Grand Army of the Republic furnishes him a physician from Grand Lodge; but he stated and so did his wife, that my religious visit did him more good then all his medicine. Yet he appreciates the kindness of his physician. He is very anxious to see one of the Elders before he dies. He cannot speak about it without shedding tears. His wife believes in him, and would, if she had the opportunity join in practically with him. I am not sure but what good could be accomplished in that neighborhood.

Allow me to introduce another matter which has been on my mind for some time. I know that the Lord hath said, Prov. 26:17, "He that passeth by and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." But it is also said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." And again, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Matt. 5:9; Micah 6:8. So then when it is for the promotion of peace, and for the triumph of justice and mercy, to speak; I am not aware that one would be at liberty before God not to speak, though all the dogs were to go mad, and both bark and bite.

I remember very distinctly when my father, Robert Rathbun, and uncle George Miller both lived in Mantua, Ohio in the years of 1828, 1829 and 1830. My father had been a minister in the Close Communion Baptist persuasion, But he, with uncle George Miller, had more recently been carried away with the reformation which had swept through the Western Reserve in Ohio. It was a kind of a reform Baptist movement. One Sidney Rigdon was regarded at the time as the one towering above all others in ability, and consequently a leader in the reformation. During the year of 1830, one Parley P. Pratt, and one Oliver Cowdery, came along. Father opened his doors and received them kindly; and they preached in father's house. Mr. Pratt gave father a Book of Mormon, and requested him to read it. He also gave Sidney Rigdon one, making the same request of him that he did of father. My father was much more a preacher than he was a debater. Uncle George Miller was not much of a preacher but an indomitable biblical debater, and a sharp shrew critic. They agreed to read the book through on this wise: 1st. They covenanted together to pray each day at ten o'clock in secret while reading the book through, for divine wisdom, and for the direction of the Holy Spirit, that they might know of a truth and be directed of God for or against the Book of Mormon. 2d. Father was to read, and Uncle George Miller was to criticise. 3d. They were to lay aside all prejudice, all partiality; and with all Christian candor and righteous fairness, endeavor to reach their conclusions. The result was that they both embraced the new faith, and through all the checkered scenes of life maintained it and finally died in the triumph of that faith.

Sidney Rigdon at once rejected the Book of Mormon given him as an imposition, and boldly withstood Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery. But Uncle George Miller set right in upon Sidney Rigdon with all his indomitable and unconquerable perseverance, as though it was a life and death struggle and never gave up the contest until Mr. Rigdon became convicted and finally converted to the new faith also. This was not a public but a private controversy. They called it then, "the faith once delivered to the Saints," This was Sidney Rigdon's first acquaintance with the Book of Mormon. And it was a very trying time with these Reformed Baptists to see their standard bearers with a good many others go over to what was then called "The Church of Christ," and "the faith once delivered to the Saints."

In regard to D. P. Hurlbut, sometimes called Dr. P. Hulburt, I have this to say: That it so turns out in the wonderful providence of God, that I have had quite an acquaintance with this very peculiar sort of a man. The facts in his case are these: 1. He was excommunicated from the Methodist Episcopal Church for improprieties with the opposite sex and lying. 2. He was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for improprieties with the opposite sex and lying. 3. Upon this event he swore vengeance upon the Latter-day Saints and undertook to destroy them. 4. He then went into the more western and newer part of the state of Ohio, where he was not known, and wormed himself into the "Church of the United Brethren in Christ," and was ordained an Elder among them. Here, both in the conference and in the church, there was a constantly growing uneasiness about his improprieties; until in the fall of 1851, when he was held before the Sandusky Annual Conference of said church, for a trial on charges of gross improprieties toward the opposite sex, lying and intemperance. Each charge to wit; First improprieties toward the opposite sex; Second, lying; Third, intemperance, was clearly and fully sustained; and he was suspended from the ministry one year and as that year he grew from bad to worse, he was entirely excommunicated at the next, session of the conference which was held In the fall of 1852.

How do I know all these things? I will tell. In regard to the first item, my mother's people were all Methodists, so that I was blessed with seven Methodist preachers as near relatives. Hence the excommunication of said Hurlbut from the Methodist Church was familiar household talk whenever any of them met together. In regard to the second and third items first above enumerated, my father had something more to do with than the former. I remember of hearing him tell about said Hurlbut imposing upon the church; what a bold, impudent, lying man he was, and when excommunicated from the Latter-day Saints, how he swore he would have vengeance upon the Mormons. I remember of hearing all of these things talked over and over again. But in after life, I heard him tell what a time he had with the Methodists, what a time he had with the Mormons; he boasted how he swore vengeance upon them. He said that [the] Spaulding Manuscript was a little insignificant thing of only about twenty pages, and had no more relation to the Book of Mormon than he had to the inhabitants of the moon; "but," said he, "I made it tell upon them to their eternal damnation." And here he seemed to glut himself in what he had done, what a great thing he had done out of nothing. The obscene language I heard him use to an old minister in abusing him when all alone, and as he supposed, no one hearing him, was so disgraceful and black that I would not tell it under any consideration, except under oath, confirmed me in all the charges brought against him.

In regard to the fourth item, I only have to say that at that time I was an Elder with Mr. D. P. Hurlbut, of the aforesaid Sandusky Annual Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and personally knew of those grievances. I was one of that honorable, august body of Elders, who for over two days before Bishop Edwards patiently heard his trial, and thoroughly and faithfully investigated all the testimony in his case. And we all came to the same conclusion, that he was a very bad man, and guilty of each charge made against him. We all voted yes, I Hyrum Rathbun, voted on the case to suspend him from the ministry for one year, and by so doing give him a chance to redeem himself; but he went on from bad to worse, and at the next annual Conference of 1852, by vote, we excommunicated him from the Church for improprieties with the opposite sex, for lying, and for intemperance.

It is a keen sense of duty, under God, that I owe to an innocent people that I see trying and struggling manfully and in a Christian spirit to right themselves before the world and before God, that has inspired me to make known this statement of facts. I could tell many more things, but this must do for the present. Hoping that we may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
                  I am yours in Christ.
                          HYRUM RATHBUN.


----------) BY THE (----------
Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church...

... No. 30. -- Origin of the Book of Mormon; 15 cents a dozen...
... No. 36. -- The Spaulding Story Re-Examined; 20 c. a dozen...


THE SPAULDING STORY RE-EXAMINED, 15c. per dozen, $1 per 100.

This is a tract good to hand to your neighbors.


Uncle William B. Smith arrived at Lamoni, July 3d and was made the guest of his nephew the Editor of the HERALD. He has visited some of the Saints, some of whom are old acquaintances. He spoke for the Saints at the Old Chapel and also at the new near town. His health is fair, considering his age. He has been speaking in different points in the state, having been from home since May 1st.

Note 1: Hyram Rathbun (or Hiram Rathbone) was born 3 Apr. 1820, Wayne, Co., OH, the son of Robert Rathbun, Jr. (1798-1856) and Hannah Warner (1797-?). Hyram was baptized a Mormon on Nov. 20, 1831, in Independence, Jackson Co., MO and re-baptized an RLDS on Oct. 16, 1884, in Vassar, Tuscola Co., MI. Several years prior to his association with the RLDS, Hyram Rathbun edited a very obscure Christian newspaper -- a source for numerous interesting insights into early Mormon history, which as late as the present day remains completely untapped by researchers. Rathbun died in May of 1898 in Lansing, Ingham, MI. His father, Robert, appears to have been baptized a Mormon in late 1830 or early 1831 in the Kirtland, Geauga, OH area, along with Hyram's "uncle," George Miller (1787-1837). Hyrum's mother was born in Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas, OH. No record has been located concerning her Methodist minister relatives who were acquainted with D. P. Hurlbut in western new York prior to 1833. See also Hiram Rathbun's recollections of Oliver Cowdery in the Aug. 11, 1883 issue of the Herald.

Note 2: Elder Hyrum Rathbun's recollections regarding D. P. Hurlbut constitute an important published document for students of early Mormon history. Contemporary LDS officials felt it was informative enough to be reprinted in the Aug. 8, 1884 issue of the Deseret Evening News. Rathbun's name appears in the United Brethren's official published account of Hurlbut's suspension from the sect's ministry and his seeming resultant disfellowshipping.

Note 3: For additional reporting on General Doniphan, see interviews with him published in the Kansas City Journal of June 12, 1881 and the Kirksville, Missouri Weekly Graphic of Sept. 28, 1883. Roger Launius' 1997 Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate provides a detailed account of the General's dealings with the Missouri Mormons.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 23, 1884.                           No. 34.

The following from the Presbyterian, of Philadelphia, is a specimen of this intolerant dudeism in morals, intellect and religion, so prevalent just now in the United States and the world:


The Mormon Bible is undergoing the process of revision. An old man by the name of Whitmer, a resident of Richmond, Missouri, professes to have in his possession the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, and several members of that branch of the Mormon Church which does not uphold polygamy have recently called upon him for the purpose of comparing late editions of the book with the so-called original text.

It is well known, as the New York Times states, that "the Book of Mormon was written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, who amused himself by composing historical and speculative romances relating to the origin of the races that formerly inhabited this continent. The manuscript of one of these tales was stolen by Sidney Rigdon, and Smith afterward declared that it was a translation of some hieroglyphics inscribed upon metal plates whose hiding place in the soil of Ontario county had been revealed to him by an angel of the Lord."

The old man Whitmer believes the story of Joe Smith, but he is also clear that polygamy was not allowed in the original Book of Mormon, and was specially forbidden at the time of the supposed revelation

Presbyterianism is rather too close to the purgatory, inquisitorial fires and superstitions of some parts of Catholicism to be the Censor of religious thought, beliefs and methods.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 30, 1884.                           No. 35.


OENAVILLE, Bell Co., Texas,     
August 14, 1884.     

Bro. Joseph Smith:-- The debate on the question, "The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, and contains a revelation from God," began August 5th, and continued five days. The attendance was large, and a good feeling generally prevailed. Mr. Willmeth, Bro. H. C. Smith's opponent, tried to be fair...

... The Spaulding Story was finally reached and utilized as far as practicable. But here Mr. Willmeth's witnesses got him into serious trouble. He first shows the existence of the Spaulding manuscript, asserting that the "Manuscript Found," was the real origin of the Book of Mormon. He now attempts to show that Sidney Rigdon stole this Spaulding Romance from the offices of Patterson and Lambdin, in Pittsburg, some time in 1822 or 1823. Stick a pin here. He then introduced another witness, who says Joseph Smith stole the "Manuscript Found" out of an "old trunk" at Mr. Sabine's in New York, about the same time that Sidney Rigdon should have taken it from Mr. Lambdin's office in Pittsburg. Then to cap the climax, he introduces another venerable witness, James Jeffries, who says Joseph Smith got the "Manuscript Found" could have been stolen by Sidney Rigdon from an office in Pittsburg, and by Joseph Smith from the "old trunk" at Mr. Sabines, in New York, while at the same time it was in a printing office in Ohio, remains a question to be solved by the sages and savants of popular theology. Upon this point Bro. Smith was perfectly at home. He proved by the testimony of Mr. Wilmeth's own witnesses, that Mrs. Matilda (Spaulding) Davison had the manuscript in question in her possession, and carefully preserved it from the time of their removal from Pittsburg in 1884, till she delivered it to Mr. P. Hurlbut in 1834. The "Manuscript Found" was traced by these witnesses into the hands of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, and from his hands into the fire; as Mr. Howe says he "suspects" it was burned. It was then shown that Sidney Rigdon was living on his father's farm, an unconverted boy, at the time the manuscript was said to be at Mr. Patterson's, and could not, in the nature of things, have had an opportunity to purloin it had he been disposed to do so. So far as the Spaulding story is concerned, it was to Mr. Wilmeth and his friends a regular theological Bull Run, an utter rout, a total defeat...

Prospects for the future of the work are brightening. We feel encouraged to labor for the welfare of Zion. Pray for us, and the prosperity of the work. Your co-laborer in bonds,

                  D. H. BAYS.

Note: Elder Davis Henry Bays (1839-1905) was active as an RLDS "Seventy" preacher during the late 1870s and early 1880s. By about 1887 he grew disenchanted with Mormonism and disassociated himself from the RLDS Church. His final excommunication came in 1901. In 1897 Bays published his caustic book, Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism Examined and Refuted. Unlike his co-religionists, Elders Richard C. Evans and Charles A. Shook -- two other prominent apostates from the RLDS -- Bays did not support the Spalding authorship claims as an explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon. No special information has yet been located relating to Elder Heman C. Smith's debate opponent, Churches of Christ "State Evangelist" Collin McKinney Wilmeth (1848-1898), who was also the editor of the Texas Christian.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  September 27, 1884.                           No. 39.


XENIA, Nebraska,     
Sep. 11th, 1884.     

Dear Herald:-- Came here yesterday... I have completed the careful reading of the first proposition of the Braden-Kelley debate... Mr. Braden states, p. 218, concerning the authorship of the Book of Mormon, "That it has every mark of being arranged by one mind, not many, as Mormons claim. The style is a unit, not diverse as is the case in the Bible. That one mind is Rigdon."

To me the above lacks consistency, as from first to last Mr. Braden seemed possessed with a mania to establish that the "Manuscript Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, was the Book of Mormon, in name and narrative; and Braden compiled "twenty-seven great features," that are found in the Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon. If this parallel exists, then Spaulding and not Rigdon, was that one mind. Braden was badly mixed as some "twenty-two to fourteen years before the Book of Mormon," "Spaulding, a skeptical back-slider in sin," was the sire, as the definition in Webster to the word "begotten" proves, and at a later period Rigdon becomes a mother, because he "conceived." So after all there is more than one mind, it must be the child of Father Solomon Spaulding, and Mother Sidney Rigdon. What wonderful webs these wise ones weave to escape accepting the plain truths in this the coming forth of God's work. Clark Braden says the Book of Mormon is the result of one mind. David B. Dugan, a minister of the same church with Braden, and as good a scholar, and a better debater, stated in a discussion, during April, 1880, at Clear Creek, Nebraska, that he could clearly trace the scholarly writings of the refined Rev. Solomon Spaulding, as also the religious zeal and lofty enthusiasm of Sidney Rigdon, as well as the bungling, blundering drivel of Joseph Smith. Great minds will differ...

                  D. H. ROBT. M. ELVIN.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 4, 1884.                           No. 40.


By Request we print a letter from Mr. J. T. Cobb of Salt Lake City, to Bro. E. L. Kelley, and Bro. Kelley's reply to it


August 22d, 1884.    

Mr. E. L. Kelley. -- I feel indignant, I might better say annoyed, at my name, or any portion of it, appearing in the manner it does in the publication, in book form, of the Braden and Kelley Debate. "A person in Salt Lake by the name of Cobb" has never purposed [sic] "getting out a work against the Mormons;" said person having heretofore, and yet being, solely desirous of ascertaining the precise facts regarding Mormonism, and specially the round, unvarnished facts of its inception. As to Mormons themselves, whether "Josephite" Mormons or "Brighamite" Mormons, I know the people too well -- have lived in familiar association with them too long -- to entertain other than the kindliest feelings towards them.

Major Gilbert's letters to me are in quite another strain from his interview with you, as I saw it reported in your Plano Herald; and I am further annoyed to see it in the volume embodying your debate. Yet I must be allowed to remark that, to the best of my knowledge and opinion of Major Gilbert, he is a man consistent and straight forward. I can not conceive of his admitting even in the most remote and qualified manner, anything whatsoever of a divine character as touching the Book of Mormon. He does, or seems to do, this on page 103 of your debate.

If you, Sir, have bowed and crooked your better sense and judgment really to accept the Book of Mormon as a work of divine inspiration, whether in its subject-matter or in the modus operandi of its coming forth, I sincerely think you are a person to be pitied. Having studiously traversed its claims, with all the sobriety of mind I could summon, my own conclusion is, and for some years has been, that in its earliest form Solomon Spaulding wrote it, and that Spaulding's writing was revised and enlarged by Sidney Rigdon. Of this I have no more doubt than I have that I am at this moment addressing you in a letter. I know that the secret acquaintance and association of Rigdon and Smith, prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, has been hotly contested and weakly denied. Of course, this is a cardinal point, one of the cardinal points, in the case. I am not much given to jumping to my conclusions. I have evidence which perfectly satisfies my own mind, and which I think must satisfy the mind of any other unbiased and reasonable creature, that there was a secret acquaintance and association between Smith and Rigdon, prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. And this being so, the question naturally arises, Why was this fact concealed? I have never seen nor heard of one solitary, well-authenticated denial from Sidney Rigdon that he had a part in concocting the Book of Mormon. So far as I can learn, he maintained an attitude to his dying day of stubborn silence whenever he was approached for information upon the matter, neither affirming nor denying.

Enough time having already ridiculously wasted (me jud.) on "pribbles and prabbles" touching Mormonism, and its unspeakably absurd and tiresome "Literature," Book of Mormon, Revelations and what not, for one I will not sin further in this regard. I close, expecting you will do me the simple justice to print these lines in your Lamoni Herald.     JAS. T. COBB.

KIRTLAND, Ohio, Sep. 11th, 1884.    

Mr. Jas. T. Cobb, Salt Lake, U. T.:

I am in receipt of a letter bearing subscription as above of August 22d last, and notice it in order that I may point out the errors the author has fallen into.

First. That of addressing me with reference to the expression, "A person in Salt Lake by the name of Cobb," &c., referred to in the discussion at Kirtland. The language is not mine primarily, but that of one J. H. Gilbert, of Palmyra, N. Y., as is plainly shown in the published debate; and it is further shown on pages 122 and 353 of the same, that the reporter of the language had not only sent to this Gilbert the interview when published so that he might make corrections through the same journal, if he had been misunderstood, but had also directed to him a private letter asking him to point out wherein, if anything, he had been mis-reported. Gilbert it seems could not point out a single important error, for it is fair to presume that had he been able, he would have done so. He is a man accustomed to writing, and as he states himself, "has been for the last forty-five or fifty years trying to get the key to that thing," (the Spaulding story), and hence, no just reason why he should not have answered the gentleman making the report.

Before any proper request can be made of any party with reference to using the evidence referred to, the party "indignant," or as you state, you "might better say annoyed," (and it occurs to me that you might have so stated if you thought you had better), should first approach this Gilbert and forward with such request his reasons for making the statement, if not true, and the particular party by the name of "Cobb" to whom he did refer. It can hardly be said that you are the only "Cobb" in Salt Lake; or did you identify yourself as being the one referred to by reason of your having been in correspondence with the same Gilbert about that same matter as set forth by him in the testimony to which you have referred, and also the one who had written the letters to Mr. Saunders asking him to make an affidavit to the effect that he saw Sidney Rigdon in the State of New York prior to the year 1830? If you are not the person by the name of "Cobb" in Salt Lake who has been engaged in the wholly unreliable and disreputable business of secretly approaching those unfriendly, or who are the avowed enemies, of a religious society in order to get something to say against it, you should not assume that the testimony used related in the remotest degree to yourself...

Fourth. Continuing, you say: "I know that the secret acquaintance and association of Rigdon and Smith has been hotly contested and weakly denied."

This you think you "know," and that you are not much "given to jumping to your conclusions." The great wonder to me is as to how you got there if you did not jump...

Sixth. You say: "I have never seen or heard of one solitary, well-authenticated denial from Sidney Rigdon that he had a part in concocting the Book of Mormon."

Turn to page 94, of the Debate you have cited -- To the letter of Rigdon himself written in 1839. He says: "If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his wife, until Dr. P. Hulburt wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves." "The tale in your paper (the Spaulding tale) is one hatched up by this gang from the time of their expulsion." Is this your "weakly" denial?...

Every man and woman who has ever borne evidence upon this, who stood in a situation to know, of which I have any record whatever, has said it was not true. But you pretend to be astonished that it was not admitted! Yet have great respect for these persons and their posterity and associations, because of your "long living in familiar association with them." The same whom you so directly make out to have been and who are still liars and hypocrites. Still you never "jump to conclusions." It has been long said that consistency was a jewel, but a man will have to search a lifetime to find one in your letter by this adage. At your request, I have forwarded your letter and my answer to the Saints; Herald, Lamoni, Iowa, for publication. But the Editor of that Journal speaks for it, and is ably qualified for his work, and time will develop whether the "pribbles" and "prabbles" shall appear.



Sermon preached by Bro. William B. Smith, in the Saints' Chapel, Deloit. Iowa, June 8th, 1884. Reported by C. Butterworth.

BRO. SMITH arose and said: Ladies, gentlemen, brothers, sisters and friends: -- The subject I have under contemplation is the presentation of some particulars of history concerning the rise of Mormonism. While traveling among the Latter Day Saints, and others who are not of our faith, I am subjected to a great deal of criticism in regard to the opening of this new dispensation. I am glad to find so many of my brethren among the people. I thought to preach two discourses, or rather, let the Bible preach one, and I the other. That the Bible may preach one, I will read 2 Timothy 3: 1-5:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

This is what we have been trying to do. This is the Bible sermon. I hold in my hand the Book of Mormon. In the past I have had some experience and personally know something about this matter. The world has been filled with articles for the purpose of making it appear a falsehood; and they have gathered these articles and statements together and printed them in books, in order that they might show to the world that it was not true, or worthy of their credit. I have examined these books, and have found that they have been pleased to have their assertions circulated far and near. The great effort of the Christians to advance society and increase knowledge, is commendable; but the great effort put forth in this direction is for the purpose oh keeping the people in ignorance.

One of the great hobbies raised upon which to fight is the angel's visit to Joseph Smith. They do not undertake to show that it was not the way God has dealt with his people from the beginning. God has always communed with his people, by dreams, visions, revelations, and the administering of angels. They have never undertaken to show that there are no such beings as angels, or that angels can not be seen by men. Is it impossible for God to send them? "Angels are ministering spirits." God sent his angels at the birth of Christ. One appeared to Zachariah, to Elizabeth, and to Mary. Joseph was warned when to flee into Egypt, and was told when to return. This work came forth in fulfillment of the predictions made by the holy prophets.

Ministers take a great deal of pains to make it appear that this book was compiled from a manuscript written by one Solomon Spaulding. Many statements have been made and circulated far and wide, even printing some of them in books to be used in our schools. It has been printed and placed between the lids of the Bible, in order that in time it might become sanctified. They could not tell bigger lies, Ministers of old called Christ a wine bibber. I know that this Spaulding story is a falsehood. I remember when Joseph called his father's family together, and told them that he had seen an angel, and what this angel had told him. When Joseph received the plates, he did not say they were the Spaulding manuscript.

It will be remembered that just before the angel appeared to Joseph, there was an unusual revival in the neighborhood. It spread from town to town, from city to city, from county to county, and from state to state. My mother attended those meetings, and being much concerned about the spiritual welfare of the family, she persuaded them to attend the meetings. Finally my mother, one sister, my brothers Samuel and Hyrum became Presbyterians. Joseph and myself did not join; I had not sown all my wild oats. At the close of these meetings the different ministers began to beat around to see how many converts they could get to join their respective churches. All said, Come and join us, we are right. Where is the gospel of Christ? Where is the church of Christ? There is a lost gospel. There is a lost church. And here let me say, that it was at the suggestion of the Rev. M____, that my brother asked of God. He said, "Ask of God," It was the Church of Christ he was seeking for, what all should seek, God promised to give knowledge to all who lacked, if they would ask. Accordingly he went and bowed in prayer to God. While he was engaged in prayer, he saw a pillar of fire descending. Saw it reach the top of the trees, He was overcome, became unconscious, did not know how long he remained in this condition, but when he came to himself, the great light was about him, and he was told by the personage whom he saw descend with the light, not to join any of the churches. That he should be instrumental in the hands of God in establishing the true church of Christ. That was the record hidden in the hill Cumorah which contained the fulness of the gospel. You should remember Joseph was but about eighteen years old at this time, too young to be a deceiver.

I well remember the effect produced upon my father's family, when he told them he was to receive the plates; how they looked forward with joy, and waited until the time should come. The circumstances that occurred, and the impressions made on my mind at that time, I can remember better than those which occurred two years ago. We were all looking forward for the time to come, father, mother, brothers and sisters. He did not receive the plates at the time he expected, but some four years afterward. He had not lived as directed. When he went to get the plates he found them as he was told he should. He took them from the stone box in which they were found, and placed them on the ground behind him, when the thought came into his mind that there might be a treasure hidden with them. While stooping forward to see, he was overpowered, so that he could not look farther. Turning to get the plates, he found they had gone; and on looking around found that they were in the box again; but he could not get them, and cried out, "Why can't I get the plates as Moroni told me I could?" The angel then appeared to him, and told him it was because he had not done as directed. That the plates could not be had for the purpose of making money. That he could not have them for four years.

I remember how the family wept when they found Joseph could not get the plates at that time. It has generally been stated that my father's family were lazy, shiftless and poor; but this was never said by their neighbors, or until after the angel appeared and the story of the golden Bible was told.

After my father's family moved to New York State, in about five years they cleared sixty acres of land, and fenced it. The timber on this land was very heavy. Some of the elms were so large that we had to nigger them off. They were too large to be cut with a cross-cut saw. We built a frame dwelling house and out buildings. My brothers Joseph and Hyrum had to work. Joseph did not have time to make gold plates.

The time to receive the plates came at last. When Joseph received them, he came in and said: "Father, I have got the plates." All believed it was true, father, mother, brothers and sisters. You can tell what a child is. Parents know whether their children are truthful or not. The proof of the pudding is not in chewing the string, but in eating the pudding. Father knew his child was telling the truth. When the plates were brought in they were wrapped in a tow frock. My father then put them into a pillow case. Father said, "What, Joseph, can we not see them?" "No, I was disobedient the first time, but I intend to be faithful this time; for I was forbidden to show them until they are translated, but you can feel them." We handled them and could tell what they were. They were not quite as large as this Bible. Could tell whether they were round or square. Could raise the leaves this way (raising a few leaves of the Bible before him). One could easily tell that they were not a stone, hewn out to deceive, or even a block of wood. Being a mixture of gold and copper, they were much heavier than stone, and very much heavier than wood.

Where is the Spaulding Story? I am a little to old a man to be telling stories. There is no money in telling this story. I expect to stand before angels and archangels and be judged for how I have told it. When Joseph received the plates he also received the Urim and Thummim, which he would place in a hat to exclude all light, and with the plates by his side he translated the characters, which were cut into the plates with some sharp instrument, into English. And thus, letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence, the whole book was translated. It was not written from the Spaulding Romance. That story is false. Some say this romance was stolen by Sidney Rigdon while at Pittsburg. This is false. Sidney Rigdon knew nothing about it. He never saw or heard tell of the Book of Mormon until it was presented to him by P. P. Pratt and others. He was never at my father's house to see my brother until after the book was published. If he had wanted to see Joseph at that time and remained very long, he would have had to be in the field rolling logs or carrying brush.

I was too young to be as much concerned about this matter as the others, but all were anxious that I should obey the gospel. I have seen the three witnesses, and have questioned them closely. They all tell the same story. They are all dead but one. David Whitmer, the only living witness, still lives and may be found at Richmond, Missouri. Now is the time to go and see him and make a scientific examination of his physiognomy and see if he can see angels where there are none.

Why did all those who first believed this story continue to do so until they passed into the other world?

I am satisfied that all who have believed in this work and continue to the end, will have no cause to regret it. I am glad for the privilege I have in telling these things. Glad to find so many who believe with this people. May God bless you all. Amen.

A gentleman in the congregation asked, "Where are these plates?"

Ans. -- "They were delivered to the angel again."

Ques. -- "How much did they weigh?"

Ans. -- "As near as I could tell, about sixty pounds."

Note 1: In its issue of Apr. 23, 1879 the Amboy Journal spoke of "a gentleman in Salt Lake City" (James Thornton Cobb) who "has undertaken a new book," written "in respect to the foundation and early history of that gigantic fraud (Mormonism)." Also, in its issue of Feb. 5, 1879 the Washington Reporter told of how "James T. Cobb, Esq., of Salt Lake City" was soliciting statements pertaining to the "Origin of Mormonism" -- presumably for publication. Cobb did not respond with "indignation" to these previous published reports concerning his projected (but never finished) book on early Mormon history. It is hardly likely that Cobb was so "annoyed" at his name being mentioned on p. 102 of the published Braden-Kelley Debate that he felt compelled to castigate Elder Edmund L. Kelley for that mention. After all, Rev. Clark Braden was equally responsible for the formulation of the final text for publication in 1884, and he himself published an edition practically identical to the RLDS printing of the text. Cobb maintained good relations with Braden, but clearly he had little respect for Elder Kelley. Probably Cobb used the mention of his name in the book as a devices whereby he could simply get an "indignant" letter published in the Saints Herald.

Note 2: The words attributed to Gilbert on page 103 of the Braden-Kelley Debate which Cobb questioned were these: "Q. [from the Kelley brothers] What do you think of the Book of Mormon, as a book; you are well posted in it? A. [supposedly from Gilbert] Oh, there is nothing taught in the book but what is good; there is no denying that; it is the claim of being from God that I strike at. Q. Well, is it any more wonderful than that God gave the Bible? A. No, not a bit; and there is a good deal more evidence to show that that [the Book of Mormon] is divine than there is for some of the books in the Bible..." William H. Kelley's original notes of the interview conducted with Gilbert have survived -- there is no mention in those notes of Gilbert having said anything about the Book of Mormon having "a good deal more evidence to show" that it "is divine than there is for some of the books in the Bible..." Also, in Kelley's original notes Gilbert does not say that Cobb was "getting out a work against the Mormons." Gilbert himself later complained that the content of his interview by the Kelley brothers was misrepresented when published by the RLDS (see Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents 2 pp. 107-112, esp. the notes).

Note 3: Apostle Edmund L. Kelley's quibbling over the point of the words attributed to Gilbert in the RLDS publications, not being "mine primarily" is most disingenuous. Many of the words apparently originated in the mind of his brother, Bishop William H. Kelley, having been based only very loosely upon the actual replies of Mr. Gilbert. Presumably E. L. Kelley was at least marginally aware of that fact, having been with his brother and Gilbert when the former's original interview notes were taken down. Edmund's excuse -- that there was "no just reason why he [Gilbert] should not have answered the gentleman making the report" and corrected its errors, seems to be nothing more than a self-justification. The RLDS Kelley brothers might more appropriately have written to Gilbert a second time, asking the man if he had received Edmund's previous letter, and if so, why no reply with corrections had been sent back.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 11, 1884.                           No. 41.

A REPORTER for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, from Lexington, Missouri, under date of September 26th, and published in that paper Sunday, September 28th, reports Mr. Braden thusly:

"Is the manuscript now in Whitmer's possession the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon?"

"That depends on what you mean by the expression, 'original manuscript.' Solomon Spaulding wrote at least four different manuscripts of his romance, the 'Manuscript Found.' Doubtless these are all destroyed. The one that he prepared for the printer and Rigdon stole from Patterson's office, was doubtless destroyed by Rigdon when he had copied from it what he used in getting up the Book of Mormon. The manuscript that Rigdon furnished to Smith was what Smith kept in a pillow case, and what his wife's cousins weighed and what he called 'the plates.' That manuscript Smith placed under the corner stone of the Mansion House in Nauvoo. Smith allowed Martin Harris to take one hundred and sixteen pages of this manuscript to show to his friends. Harris' wife stole them. The Mormon Deity, alias Rigdon, replaced the lost pages, and to guard against similar accidents, commanded Cowdery to make a copy of this manuscript of Rigdon. This copy made by Cowdery is what Gilbert used in setting the type. I think Whitmer has the manuscript that Gilbert used."

We have now, by a clever stroke of Rev. Clark Braden's pen, the ghosts of four Solomon Spaulding's romance, the "Manuscript Found," to fight instead of one.

Mrs. Matilda Spaulding, wife and widow of Mr. Spaulding, and afterwards wife of Dr. Davison, of Monson, Massachusetts, testifies of only one copy of Manuscript Found; Mrs. McKinstry, daughter of Solomon Spaulding, testifies of only one; Jerome Clark with whom was left the trunk in which it was kept tells of only one; but when Mr. Braden essays to give Mormonism the coup de grace he creates four, a most astonishing work for a man who ridicules the idea of miracles.

... We are instructed by Bro. E. L. Kelley to state that the paper cover edition of the Braden and Kelley Debate is exhausted. There will be no more until another supply is printed, which will be some weeks yet. Those who have ordered the paper binding will have to wait or take the cloth binding. Those who have ordered the cloth binding from us will be supplied as far as we have the books to fill the orders. We received a hundred on September 30th.

Note: A number of early witnesses, personally acquainted with the man and his work, testify to the supposed fact that Solomon Spalding wrote more than one fictional story in manuscript form. Jerome Clark is not known to have told "of only one," though apparently somebody in his household wrote to Spalding's widow, informing her that the manuscript she had specified had been delivered to Mr. D. P. Hurlbut, in about the middle of December, 1833. Southern Baptist Seminary President William H. Whitsitt concurred with Clark Braden that there was more than one Spalding story concerning the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Like Braden, Dr. Whitsitt developed a theory explaining how these various manuscripts were inter-related and how two or three of them were compiled together to form the basis for the Book of Mormon.


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 18, 1884.                           No. 42.


(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 8, 1884.                           No. 45.


ELKADER, Iowa, Oct., 7th, 1884.     

Joseph:-- Your order for those pamphlets will be filled. I have a few more on hand -- those books, so called, "William Smith on Mormonism." These books should be in the house of every Latter Day Saint, as they are a confirmatory work of faith and doctrine so much opposed by the haters of Mormonism and the enemies of Joseph Smith. This book, containing a graphic account of the experiences and personal knowledge of William Smith in the early history and founding of the church organized by Joseph Smith, can be had by any one desiring it, by addressing William B. Smith, Elkader, Clayton county, Iowa" Single copy twenty-five cents, and in lots, five for one dollar. Brethren and Saints, send in your orders for this work; there are left a few on hand yet.

I have been thinking about writing for some time. I have not yet done justice with the pen in review of my labors this last summer out among the Saints, at River Sioux and other portions of north-western Iowa. The kindness and generosity of the friends I met with while on my mission among them, create a strong desire to live, and spend the balance of my days with such a class of people. My visit to Lamoni was attended with some little drawback on account of poor health; still I found some old friends there that revived, somewhat, a remembrance of bygone years. I was much pleased with the people and the Saints I met with in that place, the country and landscape of Lamoni are beautiful to look upon. I saw many locations, both of farms and town lots, that at once causes a coveteous desire to possess; but for want of the wherewithal to purchase, I was obliged to come away, and leave the chances to other and more able hands to inherit. En route for home having been on a mission in the field since the first of May, I ought to mention my visit at Lucas, and labor among the Saints in that place of only a few days; held service in their nice chapel; spoke five times with good liberty of the Spirit. I was much pleased with these Saints; their hearts and hands were filled with love and kindness, as their deeds did prove; and I wish here to make special mention of a nice present by the sisters of the Cleveland and Lucas Branches of the church, who presented me with the means for the purchase of a coat. The coat I now have, and I think it would be an ornament or an honor if worn by any stately prince, and no less an ornament to be worn by one who claims to be a minister of the gospel of Christ. All honor is due to those generous Saints who have bestowed the kindly gift. May God reward them four fold in spiritual blessings, and in temporal prosperity, is my earnest prayer. On coming home I found some correspondence not answered. My absence from home on missions will explain to my friends the cause of this display. I will mention also, that I am not expecting to remain long away from my mission work; as I have engagements to fill promises that honor and truthfulness demand should be promptly attended to. My mission, as appointed by legal authority of the church, extends into Illinois as well as in Iowa; and as the friends at Keokuk have a claim on me, from the previous arrangements, it is my purpose, no preventing providence, to visit them next in my mission work; and also to visit parts of Illinois among relatives there, who are of the faith, and who need a word of consolation after having passed through the seas of affliction in defense of this latter day work. At Colchester, Illinois, there is a branch of the church that should be looked after; and messages have been sent for help. After visiting these places east, I expect to return to River Sioux, if permitted so to do. I have been fixing up family matters in view of all this mission work -- no providence preventing, health spared, and the Lord willing

I have not yet seen E. L. Kelley's book. I presume that Braden's talk is the same old talk that has been had in newspapers for years It is like the resurrecting of some old dead carcass; the kind of food that is best suited to the taste of such men, who worship God only for filthy lucre's sake. Mormonism has lived long since many of these fabulous stories have been told, and will still live, after the said Mr. Braden has passed away with his refuge of lies. No doubt Elder Kelley sustained the cause of the church with honor. Bro. E. L. Kelley is a gentleman and a scholar, in whose hands the cause of truth could not be made to suffer much by the filthy trash gathered up by lying priests and penny scribblers. All honor to the man who battles for right.

That article written by T. W. Smith, published in the Herald not long since, on the rule and tithing law, was a charm. Bro. Smith hit the nail on the head. We ought to have many more just such articles published in the Herald on the law of tithing.

Well Joseph, my health has improved since coming home; family well; hope yours the same. If then you see anything in this letter that is not gospel, you need not publish it; but for the sake of friends abroad I would be pleased to see it in the Herald.

It is not improper to mention that after your leaving Persia, at the close of the dedication services, I remained over Monday, and spoke to Saints in the evening, but left on Tuesday for the route home. Much interest was manifest among the people and the Saints at Persia, to hear more on the subject of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. The new church was occupied with a goodly number of hearers the evening I spoke there; and some promises made of a return visit. The promise however depends upon other parties fulfilling what was promised and agreed upon before my leaving there.

Not wishing to make this communication too lengthy, I still wish to mention the call I made among the Saints at Clinton, occupying on Sunday and Sunday evening. Here I found a happy greeting among kind hearted Saints, who are striving with generous hearts to gather up means to erect a worshipping place of their own. May God bless and prosper them in their zealous efforts to build a house in which to offer their prayers and religious devotions.

Home again, and glad for a season of rest.

N. B. -- Quite an excitement in this vicinity over a faith cure of a lady that has been bed-ridden for seven years, with spinal complaint -- prayer by an elder of the United Brethren order. The lady was immediately healed, so report says, and went to church the same evening she got off her bed. Some people who heretofore have made wry faces at the doctrine of angel's visits and the miracle power, begin to believe that there is something of a reality after all in these things.
                                                              WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 6, 1884.                           No. 49.


1st. States on p. 34 of Braden and Kelley Debate that the Book of Mormon speaks of "ore plates," when the language of the book is "I did make plates of ore."

2d. On p. 43 he says he proved certain things by sixteen witness who from reading it, (Spaulding Romance), and hearing him read it, became more or less familiar with its contents; when he had produced testimony from only six who testify to having read or hearing it read.

3d. On p. 43 he says he proved by these sixteen witnesses that Solomon Spaulding. "between the years 1809 and 1816;" "spent much of his time in preparing manuscripts," &c. He had produced testimony from none giving these dates.

4th. He had produced testimony from only one who spoke of manuscripts in the plural.

5th. On p. 43 he claims the sixteen give "an outline of the historic portion of the Nephite part of the Book of Mormon." He had produced testimony from only nine who relate any incident related by the Book of Mormon.

6th On p. 43 he claims his sixteen witnesses give names "of the principal characters." Only seven pretend to give names.

7th. Claims on p. 43, that sixteen give the "starting point of the history," when only six of them mention it.

8th. On p. 43, "They (the sixteen) all declare there was no religious matter in his manuscript." In their testimony as presented by Braden but few had said so.

9th. He says on p. 43, "Oliver Smith testifies that Spaulding told him, just before going to Pittsburg, that he would prepare the manuscript for press," &c. This is not in Oliver Smith's testimony as produced by Braden; see p. 35 of Debate.

10th. On p. 43 he says that J. N. Miller testifies: "Spaulding told him that he landed the people at the Isthmus of Darien which he called Zarahemla." This is not in J. N. Miller's testimony, as found on p. 35.

11th. On p. 52 he says: "The Book of Mormon declares in several places the Nephites were Manassehites," which is not true.

12th. On p. 64 he represents Mr. Gilbert as saying the manuscript "abounded in misspelled words," when Gilbert says: "The spelling was good." See p. 382.

13th. On p. 64 he claims Spaulding was guilty of "caricaturing the Bible;" but on p. 67 he says: "Nearly all of our witnesses are careful to state that the religious portion of the Book of Mormon was not in the Manuscript Found."

14th. On p. 65 he claims Spaulding was "the very man that would attract company, and have much company, and of the highest character and intelligence;" yet on p. 64 he makes him out a skeptic, a liar, and his motives "very questionable."

15th. On p. 66 he claims Mrs. Solomon Spaulding, Miss [sic] Martha Spaulding, John Spaulding, Mrs. John Spaulding, Lake, J. N. Miller, Smith, Wright, Howard, Cunningham, Jas. Miller, McKee, Dodd and Sidney Rigdon, testify to Spaulding's Romance being a history of the first settlers of America; when he had produced no testimony to this effect from Miss [sic] Spaulding, Jas. [sic] Miller, McKee, Dodd, or Rigdon.

16th. On p. 66 quotes Miss Martha [sic] Spaulding, Mrs. J. Spaulding, Smith, Cunningham and Jackson, to prove the leaders' names as represented by Spaulding, were Nephi and Lehi, which is false, so far as Miss Spaulding, Cunningham and Jackson are concerned.

17th. On p. 66 he says: "The end of their wars, in two instances, was the total annihilation in battle, of all but one," for which he quotes Jackson. Jackson does not say so. See p. 42.

18th. On p. 66 he quotes J. Spaulding, Mrs. J. Spaulding, Miller and Smith as authority for the "Romance," giving an "account of the civilization, arts, sciences, laws, and customs of the aborigines of America." Mrs. J. Spaulding nor Miller speak of this point.

19th. On p. 66, as authority that the Romance was "written in Scriptural Style," he quotes "Rigdon, Winter, Spaulding, Mrs. S. Spaulding, Lake, Jas. [sic] Miller, Smith, Cunningham and Jackson. By examination it will be seen he had produced no evidence upon this point from either Rigdon, Mrs. J. Spaulding, Lake, Miller, or Smith.

20th. On p. 66, as authority that the Romance contained the phrase, "And it came to pass," "And now it came to pass," he names Mrs. S. Spaulding, J. Spaulding, Mrs. J. Spaulding, Lake, Cunningham and Jas. Miller. Consult their testimony as produced by Braden, and you will find this false so far as Mrs. S. Spaulding, Mrs. J. Spaulding, Cunningham and Miller are concerned.

21st. On p. 66 he says: "One party of emigrants landed near the Isthmus of Darien, which they called Zarahemla, and migrated across the continent in a northeast direction," and quotes J. N. Miller. See Miller's testimony on p. 35.

22d. On p. 73 he says: "He spent five years on it," (The Romance), but on p. 43, he says "seven years."

23d. On p. 73 he says that Mrs. Spaulding, Miss Spaulding and Miller "declare that he had many manuscripts." He produced this testimony from none of them.

24th. On p. 73 he says: "That he (Rigdon) had it (Spaulding Romance) in 1826, and declared it would be a great thing some day, to his niece Mrs. Dunlap." Mrs. Spaulding does not say he had the Spaulding Romance. See p. 45.

25th. On p. 73 he says: "We have proved that he (Rigdon) knew of the publication of the Book of Mormon long before it appeared, by D. Atwater, A. Bentley, Alexander Campbell, Green and Dille." This is false, especially as regards Green and Dille. See p. 46.

26th. Read what he says he proved by Campbell, Atwater and Bentley, as found on pages 74 and 75, and then read their testimonies as found on p. 45, and the reader will see a great mistake indeed.

27th. On p. 95 he says that Mrs. Davidson said she "only gave him (Hurlbut) an order to examine a trunk hundreds of miles away, in Hartwich, New York, to see if it (the manuscript) was in the trunk." If the reader will refer to Mrs. D's testimony he will discover this to be a false statement.

28th. On p. 96, in regard to the charge that Hurlbut sold the manuscript to the Mormons, he says: "These charges, Hurlbut never met but laid under them until his death. On p. 91, in a letter Hurlbut wrote to Mr. Patterson of Pittsburg, dated Aug. 19th, 1879, he says: "I did not destroy the manuscript nor dispose of it to Joe Smith or to any other person."

29th. Will Mr. Braden tell us where he finds his authority for saying that Joseph Smith claimed to have "examined all religious parties?" See p. 98.

30th. Will he also tell us why he says Joseph Smith claimed to "found a purer system than the world had ever seen?" See p. 98.

31st. On p. 107 he garbles the testimony of the Three Witnesses. See p. 5.

32d. On p. 108 he states, in speaking of what the Book of Mormon teaches, that Nephi "makes Laban drunk." This is false. See B. of M., p. 8.

33d. On p. 109 he says Lehi prophesied "that these plates of Laban shall go forth to all nations;" but the Book adds, "who were of his seed." See B. of M., p. 11.

34th. On p. 111 he represents that the Book of Mormon claims that Nephi and his company left only Laman and Lemuel and their families when departing into the wilderness, which is absolutely false. See B. of M., p. 62.

35th. On p. 119 he represents Mrs. Salisbury as saying the plates were translated "at their father's;" which she does not say. See p. 100.

36th. On p. 120 he says: King Jacob tells us that "a hundredth part of the wars, contentions and exploits of the Nephites could not be engraven on his plates." A quotation not to be found.

37th. On p. 120, in speaking of events recorded on p. 118 of Book of Mormon, he says: "About forty years before this, six women left Jerusalem;" when according to the book at least fifty-five years had passed. See Book of Mormon p. 112.

38th. The number of women as stated above is wrong. There were Lehi's wife, see p. 4, Ishmael's wife and five daughters, see p. 12, besides Nephi speaks of his sisters, how many we do not know. See p. 64.

39th. Braden adds, "but one (of these women) was then married." Doubtless the wives of Lehi and Ishmael were both married.

40th. On p. 120 he garbles a quotation from the 120th p, of the Book of Mormon as follows: The book says: "It began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches." Braden quotes it: "It began to put forth somewhat a tender little branches."

(Note. -- Nearly every passage I have examined purporting to be from Book of Mormon is more or less garbled. Space will not allow me to notice all).

41st. He says, on p. 130: "Moroni takes up Mormon's work, and he informs us that Masonry shall be prevalent when the Book of Mormon appears;" when the word Mason, or Masonry does not appear in the book.

42d. On p. 132 he says: "Moroni prophesies the one who finds these plates shall show them to three persons. Joe showed them to eleven." The language of the book is: "And behold ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three shall they be shown by the power of God."

43d. He says On p. 34: "It is our purpose to prove that the Book of Mormon originated with Solomon Spaulding," but on p. 139 he calls "Rigdon the author of the book."

44th. On p. 141 he says: "Amulek declares that Nephi, and all who went with Lehi were Mannassehites, and not Jews at all." Amulek only says, "Lehi was a descendant of Mannasseh." See Book of Mormon p. 231.

45th On p. 141 he says: "Page 375 we are told the devil led Jared and his people."

46th. On p. 148, after many falsehoods in regard to the Jaredites, he says: "Sidney did not stop and figure that story out when he wrote it;" but on p. 43 he says: Spaulding "added the Jaredite emigration."

47th. On p. 150 he claims that events recorded on p. 136 of the Book of Mormon transpired 250 years B. C.; but on p. 151 he says this page relates to things happening 400 years B. C.

48th. On p. 151 in trying to make the Book of Mormon to agree with Shakespeare he misquotes the former.

49th. On p. 159 he says, speaking of the Book of Mormon: "It had not a mark of punctuation in it;" but on p. 160 he says: "The fabrication of the Book of Mormon copied * * * the punctuation of King James' version."

50th. On p. 159 he says it was "badly spelled;" but Gilbert says, (see p. 382), "The spelling was good."

51st. On p. 101 he tries to make Spaulding out an ignorant man, but on p. 75 he says, "he received the degree of A. M. from Dartmouth College."

52d. On p. 101 he says: "It was like Josh Billings' spelling." Gilbert says: "The spelling was good."

53d. On p. 161 he says: "We have proved by historic evidence that Rigdon remolded Spaulding's manuscript." but on p. 171 he says: "We can trace it no farther back than Joe Smith in 1830." ...

54th. On p. 33 he tells us he expects to prove the Book of Mormon had its origin "about seventy years ago," (1814), then admits his failure on p. 171 by saying: "From the Tower of Babel to 1830, not a human being knew of the book, or knew a single particle of its pretended history."

55th. On p. 173 he says a certain document was signed by "Sidney Rigdon and eighty-four other leading Mormons," and on same page says, "Rigdon and eighty-three other leading Mormons."

56th. On p. 173, accuses O. Cowdery of living in adultery in Nauvoo, when he did not reside there at all.

57th. On p. 180 he says: "The eight witnesses tell us that the leaves Joe had translated were loose, separated from what he had not translated." This is false, as will be seen by reference to their testimony found on p. 5.

58th. On p. 180 he tells us that the eight witnesses testify that they did not see the plates which were not translated. False again. See p. 5.

59th, On p. 202 he relates what a "Mr. Moreton, one of the first apostles, told his daughter." There was no man of that name among the first apostles.

60th. On p. 206 he falsely states: "The Josephites publish, and use as their standards, the works of the Pratts and other Utah Mormons."

61st. On p. 206 he misquotes the Book of Mormon on the subject of polygamy.

62d. On p. 214 he falsely states that William Marks was once the editor of "their (the Josephite) official organ."

63d. On the same page he makes the same false assertion in regard to Zenas H. Gurley.

64th. On p. 216 he claims to have produced testimony from Rigdon to the effect "that Solomon Spaulding wrote a romance," which cannot be found in the book.

65th. He claims on p. 218 to have proved that Cowdery "died a drunken sot, with delirium tremens." This lie he has not attempted to prove.

66th. He almost invariably misquotes the Bible. I will ask the reader to read two passages found on p. 222 as samples of his garbling.

I have not written this to refute the position taken by Mr. Braden; this was neatly and thoroughly done by his opponent. But as Mr. Braden was introduced as a witness in my late debate, and may be so introduced again, I write it to show his utter unreliability. I thought first to speak of all his mistakes, but they multiplied so rapidly, I concluded to pass by misrepresentation of other books, and confine myself to the book under consideration, and the standard of evidence. I soon found however that this would have to be abridged. Then when I had passed through one proposition, noting perhaps half of his mistakes, I concluded if I examined the other two it would be too voluminous to publish, and so conclude. Surely here is enough to accomplish my object.     HEMAN C. SMITH.

ELKADER, Iowa, Nov., 15th, 1884.     

Joseph:-- I wish to correct a mistake. You mentioned while I was at Lamoni, that you thought I made a mistake in a communication, some time since published in the Herald. concerning what I said about being at the conference in the Spring of 1844, when the subject of districting the United States was talked over. The mistake is not about my being there, but in calling the council a conference. A special council of the twelve apostles was called in the Spring of 1844, to deliberate the affairs of the church, and to take into consideration the propriety of making choice of candidates for the presidency of the United States. This was the year of the great Mormon Political Campaign. This council was convened at Nauvoo in the month of June, 1844, in which all of the twelve, with many others of the prominent members of the church who were present, participated. The subject of the districting of the country for missionary work, as well as political affairs, was talked over and well understood as I have previously stated; and every one of the twelve that went from that council understood most perfectly the instructions given at the time, as to the future labors of the ministry in the work of preaching the gospel to all nations.

I notice, Joseph, also in the last Herald, that brother H. P. Brown and others, are getting up a paper to distribute on the Pacific coast, and to the Saints abroad generally. I think the undertaking of this work is a good one, and I hope the effort will find willing hearts and ready hands. I have for a long time been of the opinion, that a plainer distinction, and more extensive measures ought to be adopted in showing the difference between the Utah Mormons and the true Church of Christ. When the false coloring is taken from Utah Mormonism, and it is fully exposed to the world, in full exposition of their false doctrines, I think that a brighter day will dawn upon those of the Saints who have made choice of the way of righteousness and truth, instead of being adherents and servants to a corrupt priesthood. It is true that the Herald has been a great messenger of truth in preparing the way for a greater flood of light upon the workings of Utah Mormons. The truth in plainness should be told, that the world may know upon whom responsibility for wrong doing rests.

I notice in the Advocate the letter of a brother withdrawing from this Utah Church. He gives his experience among these people, and an account of the profanity of the leaders of that church. This profanity reminds me of the short experience I had, of four months' duration in Nauvoo, after your father's death, when the seeds of apostasy first began their work of destruction in the church, in threats of murder towards those whom these apostates pleased to call dissenters from their practice in faith and doctrine; and such profanity is unfit to relate. May God speed the right, and bless every effort made to open the eyes of the honest Saints and the world, to the corruption of Utah Mormons. So far as my knowledge extends, the friends of the Herald most highly appreciate the generous and kindly course it has taken towards Utah Mormons, in discoursing to them upon the law of righteousness in the declaration of the pure words of the gospel.

Remembering at all times that I am as ever your fellow laborer in the interest of this latter day work, and in gospel bonds, and your brother in Christ Jesus,
                                                              WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note: The majority of the examples of "mistakes" in Clark Braden's discussions, as spotted and pointed out by Elder Smith, are petty discrepancies in numbers and quotations from various texts. What makes Braden appear sloppy (or even devious) in his "mistakes" is the fact that both sides in the 1884 Braden-Kelley debate had an opportunity to correct the record of the discussions before it went to press. Either the RLDS or Braden himself should have caught some of these errors and added notes respecting those errors before the text was put through the press. It is obvious, from even a cursory reading of these 66 examples of "errors," that Clark Braden was prone to exaggeration and "loose" quotations of others assertions, comments, etc. The allegations and proofs offered in his speeches should be read with that fact in mind. Elder Smith's list of Clark Braden's 66 "mistakes" was reprinted by Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser on pp. 255-264 of his 1894 From Palmyra to Independence.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 31, 1885.                           No. 5.


The Expositor, our California newspaper colleague and co-worker in the gospel, was laid on our table in due course... H. P. Brown, Editor...

Bro. E. N. Webster, of Boston, Massachusetts, has been interviewed by Miss Dickenson, the great, great grand-daughter of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, in regard to our faith and work. Miss [sic] Dickenson is expecting to publish a work on Mormonism, and wishes of course to get the Reorganization into it in some shape. Brother Webster says, "let them write, the truth remains just the same." The theory assumed by Miss Dickenson is that "the Mormons bought the Spaulding romance of Hurlbut and destroyed it." "What next?" says Bro. Webster.

Note 1: Ellen E. Dickinson was actually the great niece of Solomon Spalding, her grandfather having been Spalding's brother-in-law. The "work on Mormonism" spoken of here is her 1885 book New Light on Mormonism.

Note 2: This is the only the second mention in the Herald of Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson and her research and writing regarding the Mormons. The Herald editorial staff either overlooked or purposefully ignored the very significant Scribners' Monthly publication of Dickinson's April 3, 1880 interview with Matilda Spalding McKinstry. Not until Sept. 15, 1881 did Apostle Thomas W. Smith endeavor to write an RLDS response to the 1880 Dickinson article. By that time the authoress had written her follow-up article, published in the Oct. 1881 issue of Scribners'. Lewis L. Rice, in his Mar. 28, 1885 letter published in the May 16, 1885 issue of the Herald also mentions that Mrs. Dickinson was then living in Boston.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 7, 1885.                           No. 6.


(The following correspondence will be interesting to Herald readers...

Dec. 22d, 1884.     

CLARK BRADEN, Sir: In behalf of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and in answer to your public challenge made to the Independence Branch of said church, to meet you in public debate upon propositions supposed to cover the issues between the two churches, I offer the following reply: We are willing...

Mr. Braden, you have in your last lecture, delivered at Independence, Missouri, maliciously misrepresented our faith and wickedly lied about our people. There are at least one dozen base falsehoods in that lecture as it went into print. Now you can meet us in honorable debate upon the true issues existing between our two churches, or stand condemned before the pubic as an unscrupulous coward.

Yours for truth and right.           
            JOSEPH. R. LAMBERT.

The above communication was handed to Mr. Braden...

Dec. 23d, 1884.     

J. R. LAMBERT, Sir:I refuse to entertain the propositions that you offer, because they are indefinite, evasive, and do not express the issues that ought to be discussed. I stand on the propositions in my challenge... the second proposition affirms clearly and sharply what you have for years sneered at as the "Spaulding Story." Do you now admit its truth? If you do not, dare you deny it in a public discussion? If you will admit, in writing, that the second proposition is true, I will drop it. Until you do that, I challenge and defy all Mormondom to deny it in a public discussion... If you accept the challenge, and the people of Independence want to have the character of the two organizations convassed -- after the issues in the challenged are discussed -- I will most promptly gratify you. I propose to be governed by the will of those I represent.

                            CLARK BRADEN.

BEVIER, Macon Co., Mo.     
December 26th, 1884.     

CLARK BRADEN, Sir: Your communication of the 23d inst., in answer to mine of the same date, received. I am not surprised that you refuse to entertain my propositions...

Your second proposition is too little... When we have disproved all your claims for the "Spaulding Story," it still remains an open question as to whether the Book of Mormon is true or false. We propose to affirm, directly, all we believe concerning that book. Are you, Mr. Braden, afraid to meet our claims?...

When you are willing to engage in honorable warfare, you can easily be accommodated; until then, you are left to choose between holding your peace, and continuing in your present contemptible course.

            JOSEPH. R. LAMBERT.

PAOLA, Kansas,     
January 3d, 1885.     

J. R. LAMBERT, I have received your long pettifogging communication. Since receiving it I have visited Independence and talked with ministers and others there. They agreed with me in their conclusions...

In regard to the second proposition, You have for fifty years ridiculed the "Spaulding Story." You have claimed that you could utterly explode it. That it was too preposterous for notice. You have learned that I can prove that Sidney Rigdon stole the historic portions of the Book of Mormon from the Manuscript Found of Solomon Spaulding. That he stole the religious portions from the Bible, and patched them out with his own peculiar religious ideas. That he stole other portions from modern literature. You have learned by dire experience, that I can establish this by overwhelming evidence. You dare not meet it. What an insult to common sense, to ask me to debate whether a fraud, whose religious ideas I have proved were stolen from the Bible, harmonizes in their stolen portions, with the book from whence it has been stolen. It is like asking a lawyer to prove that a bill, that he has proved to be counterfeit, does not resemble, in some particulars, the bill it imitates. You can see that my second proposition proved, it proves your silly fraud, the Book of Mormon, as an imposition. That is why you dare not face it....

                            CLARK BRADEN.

LAMONI, Iowa,     
January 16th, 1885.     

CLARK BRADEN, Sir: Your communication of the 3d inst. received yesterday.

If there is any pettifogging contained in my letter, it is found in those portions wherein your favorite method of making propositions and propounding questions is turned against you...

Your claim that we, "and not Young, are apostates from Smith's teachings," is worthy of notice.... You will not object to the statement that B. Young was anti-Christian on all points of doctrine, "except what originally came from the Campbellites through Sidney Rigdon." Joseph Smith, you say, was an infidel, and B. Young was his faithful follower and true successor.... Why is it that you take particular points, in your lectures, by inference and statement, to leave the impression that we and the Brighamites are identical in faith? If you can untangle this web you have woven, we will watch and see how it is done.

Your second proposition, as I have shown before, is not sufficiently comprehensive. We have thoroughly exploded the "Spaulding tale," as we have done many times in the past,, the origin of the Book of Mormon still remains an open question. It gives you every opportunity to cater to the ignorance and prejudices of the people, while we have but a very poor opportunity to present the many incontrovertible proofs in favor of its divine origin.

In your debate with E. L. Kelley, at Kirtland, Ohio, you made use of the "Spaulding story" as a leading argument against the Book of Mormon. If you were right and successful in the means and methods used at Kirtland, why not pursue a similar course at Independence? Or have you "learned by dire experience" that your "Spaulding story" stands no show when arrayed against the evidences we use to support the Book of Mormon? Which is it? We will leave you no excuse on this proposition. If you will meet us in am honorable manner on the four propositions already submitted to you, we will accept your second proposition as the fifth one to be debated in the coming discussion. Now we will see what you mean by your wild, extravagant claims for yourself, and your foundationless and ungentlemanly denunciations against us.

Your remarks concerning our proposition on the Book of Mormon, show that you are hard pressed -- driven to the wall. You were certainly waiting for "simple folks" when you penned those paragraphs with that characteristic illustration.

You have proved that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, all stolen by Sidney Rigdon, from the "Spaulding story, Bible and modern literature." "What an insult to common sense, to ask" you "to debate whether a fraud, whose religious ideas" you have proved were stolen from the Bible, harmonizes in those stolen portions with the book from which it has been stolen?

"What an insult to common sense" to require us to concede all this and then challenge us to disprove it in public debate!...

            JOSEPH. R. LAMBERT.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 21, 1885.                           No. 12.

Bro. I, N. White sends us the following clipping from the Grinnell, Iowa, Herald for January 23d, 1885.


In the January number of the Bibliotheca Sacra, Rev. D. L. Leonard, of Salt Lake, ascribes the Book of Mormon to a well known source, "There is little room to doubt that Solomon Spaulding's romance furnished the bulk of the historical portion; but how the manuscript came into Smith's hands, no one knows." On a later page, Pres. J. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin, says that Solomon Spaulding's manuscript was discovered among the papers of Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, formerly of Ohio, while he was in the Sandwich Islands, a few months ago. It is "an old worn and faded manuscript of about 175 pages, small quarto, purporting to be a history of the migrations and conflicts of the ancient Indian tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the states of New York, Ohio and Kentucky. Mr. Rice, myself, and others," says Dr. Fairchild, "compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. There seems to be no doubt that this is the long-lost story." (Of Mr. Spaulding). Names of several persons who knew this are endorsed on a certificate. "Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."

In connection with the foregoing we publish a letter from Bro. R. J. Anthony who wrote us from one of the country towns of Utah, that he had been informed about the article in the Bibliotheca Sacra by a school teacher. who had seen it; and that when he returned to the city he would send us a transcript from the Magazine itself. We give his letter from the city below:

                          Salt Lake City, Utah
                          February 19th, 1885.
Brother Joseph:-- Since I last wrote you, I have received the Bibliotheca Sacra, from Rev. Mr. Seward, of Echo City. I wrote him and asked him to furnish me a copy of the article by President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin, Ohio, and he kindly sent me the book, so I could see it in print. I copy the item verbatim from the Bibliotheca Sacra. page 173. The article I copy is from foot notes on page 17, where Rev. Mr. Delevan A. Leonard, is giving a history of Mormonism, wherein he states: "As to the origin of the Book of Mormon, there is little room to doubt that Solomon Spaulding's romance furnished the bulk of the historical portion: but how the manuscript came into Smith's hands, no one knows." Here the Editor makes critical foot notes, and from his notes on page 173, I give what President Fairchild knows about the Solomon Spaulding story. It will be interesting to Latter Day Saints, if it is not to other people:

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, formerly an anti-Slavery Editor in Ohio, and for many years State printer at Columbus, During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable anti-slavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College Library. In pursuance of this suggestion Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn, and faded manuscript of about 175 pages, small quarto, purporting to be a history of the migrations and conflicts of the ancient Indian Tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the States of New York, Ohio and Kentucky. On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that, to their personal knowledge, the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Rice has no recollection how or when this manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in a coarse piece of wrapping paper and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting "A Manuscript Story."

"There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.     Signed, James H. Fairchild.

I have given the article complete, and just as it is in the book. President Fairchild has made a fair statement of facts, and it will no doubt prove to be a blessing to many people, coming as it does from the pen of an eminent man, as the President is said to be, it must be of some worth to all people who may be interested in the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Good ministers will no doubt try to pass this evidence by as lightly as they have other evidences. One good Parson that I have talked with upon this article, thought there was nothing to it. "That it was not definite." "President Fairchild ought to know that Solomon Spaulding wrote more than one romance." He said the President was a thoroughly reliable man; but the President has decided that the long-lost story is found, and that it is in no way like the Book of Mormon. Just at this time this information is valuable. Surely the "Lord moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform."
                          R. J. ANTHONY.

On receipt of Pres. Fairchild's address, we at once wrote him, and received from him the following decisive reply:

                          Oberlin College, Oberlin, O.
                          February 27th, 1885.
JOSEPH SMITH, Esq.; Dear Sir:-- The "article" in the Bibliotheca Sacra, to which you refer, is only a brief note in which I state the fact that I saw last summer at Honolulu in the hands of L. L. Rice, what purports to be, and undoubtedly is, a long lost manuscript of Solomon Spaulding, which gives an account of Indian tribes formerly occupying New York, Ohio, and Kentucky. I compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could find no trace of identity or even essential resemblances between them.

Since I published the note I have learned that it is claimed there are two such lost manuscripts of Spaulding, one on the Indian tribes and another on the Hebrew tribes, and that it is claimed that the Book of Mormon originated in the latter. Certainly the manuscript which I saw was not the source of the Book of Mormon. As to any other manuscript, I have no knowledge.     Yours truly,
                          JAS. H. FAIRCHILD.

One thing seems tolerably certain: that Mrs. McKinstry, daughter of Solomon Spaulding, stated that when the "old trunk" went to Monson, Massachusetts, it had manuscripts in it. Mr. Jerome Clark stated that when he attempted to honor the order for the delivery of the "Manuscript Found," brought to him from Mrs. Davison, formerly Mrs. Spaulding, by Mr. Sabine, and P, Hurlbut, he found but one; and that one he gave to Mr. Hurlbut when Mr. Sabine was present. The manuscript which Hurlbut got he stated that he gave to E. D. Howe, and there it perished by fire. Now, another manuscript; which Pres. Fairchild thinks is "undoubtedly" a lost one from the pen of Rev. Spaulding; turns up in the possession of a former resident of Ohio, a printer. This makes two, (if indeed this last is one), and the last and the one Hurlbut and Howe had are similar in character and neither bears any semblance to the Book of Mormon. The size and nature of the manuscript which Pres. Fairchild saw at Honolulu, give strong color to the idea that this may have been the one so much talked of as having been read by Mrs. McKinstry, and heard read by others.

The fact of this one being found in the hands of a former printer of Ohio, and he unable to account from whom he got it, would favor the idea that it had either been left by Rev. Spaulding himself; or put in the printer's hands as a sort of depository for what would prove to be an inconvenient find, if found by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, or other of the Mormons, during the effort to make it do duty as the Manuscript Found. It is "undoubtedly" a "long lost manuscript of Solomon Spaulding," says Pres. Fairchild. It is "undoubtedly" now, a "Manuscript Found," of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, if the statements are true, which we are inclined to believe.

At all events two of the manuscripts said to have been in the "old trunk," are presumably accounted for, and neither is the putative father of the Book of Mormon; and we believe that President James H. Fairchild has sounded the key-note for sectaries of all sorts who have told and retold the Solomon Spaulding Romance origin of the Book of Mormon, when he states that the "claim made for the origin of the Book of Mormon in the Solomon Spaulding story will have to be relinquished." So the Latter Day Saints have always claimed; and every step so far taken to prove their claim incorrect, when the evidences have been examined, has been found to be strongly supportive of that claim.

Note: The most remarkable piece of information contained in the above article from the Saints' Herald is the Editor's laconic assertion, saying: "Mr. Jerome Clark stated that when he attempted to honor the order for the delivery of the 'Manuscript Found,' brought to him from Mrs. Davison, formerly Mrs. Spaulding, by Mr. Sabine, and P, Hurlbut, he found but one; and that one he gave to Mr. Hurlbut when Mr. Sabine was present." If Mr. Jerome Clark or Mr. William Sabin(e) ever made such a claim, it is nowhere else preserved, save in the memory of the Herald Editor. This unattributed claim to exclusive information from within the extended Spalding family is echoed in a somewhat similar allegation made by Ellen E. Dickinson at about the same time. On pp. 26-27 of her 1885 New Light on Mormonism the authoress says: "Lieutenant Gunnison, in his " History of Mormonism," says that Clark either by accident or design retained a part of the manuscript, which accounts for the report that years after a quire of paper was found in the trunk with Spaulding's first attempt at the romance." Since no such statement appears in any edition of Gunnison's book, it is likely that Dickinson wrote down the wrong citation for this allegation concerning Jerome Clark. All in all, it does not seem improbable that both the Herald Editor and Mrs. Dickinson fell heir to information printed in some obscure newspaper account originating in central upstate New York -- probably from a forgotten interview conducted with either Clark or Sabin -- published prior to 1884.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 4, 1885.                           No. 14.

Bro. W. H. Kelley wrote March 20th that he had held six meetings in the Quinlan school house, not far from Sandusky, Ohio. Had attentive audiences. It was the first preaching in that country by the Elders. A good interest was manifest, and requests were urgent to return. Bro. Kelley says:
The neighborhood is strongly Disciple (Campbellite), United Brethren. &c., and near the home of D. P. Hurlbut. Here he lived for many years, and died almost eighteen months ago. His wife and family reside there still. It is rather amusing to hear the opinions of the neighbors about this famed Dr. Hurlbut, whose name is conspicuous in nearly every work that has been issued against the Saints for the last forty-five years. Sidney Rigdon's setting out of this romantic character is tame compared with the hard phrases used by his neighbors to give him proper presentation. If good character is the test, Hurlbut is down. With the mixed multitude down there and so near the city of Toledo, we may have things a little exciting by and by.

Bro. Kelley would go to Clear Lake, Indiana, March 21st, and return to Coldwater for the 29th. Thence to Conference.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 18, 1885.                           No. 16.


ELKADER, Ia., March, 1885.     

To Whom It May Concern:-- The Saints who read the Braden and Kelley book, will find a slanderous libel printed in that book, uttered by Clark Braden against the character of William Smith. Mr. Clark Braden, nor any other person, can obtain a written affidavit from any respectable man or woman living, in proof of the statement made by Mr. Braden against the character of William Smith. I notice also in reading over this debate, that there are numerous other statements made by this Mr. Braden, that I personally know to be false allegations brought against the character of Joseph Smith; and I am firmly of the opinion that Mr. Braden himself does not believe that there is one particle of truth in this trash and gabble he has gone over in these debates against Joseph Smith and Mormonism; and all he does it for is to get gain, and to tickle the ears of a few Mormon haters. This then is the sum of Braden's warfare on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Infidels are fond of just such fun (trash). I was not a little surprised when reading Braden's slander on me, that my friend, E. L. Kelley, did not place a club against it before it went into print. But it may be all for the best the way it is. One can profit by experience sometimes as to the knowledge of men and things; for while I am alive I can follow this slander up in my own defense, both before the Saints and the world; while the slandered dead are not here to speak for themselves. In conclusion I wish to say to the Saints and to my friends generally, that I am not much in favor of debates on this Mormon question, with men who have no principle of honor about them. Debates with such men are productive of more harm than good, as their budget of lies will always be increased at every turn of the wheel; and with men who have no other wish, falsehood will gain the ascendancy, and outrun the truth every time, while in the hands of corrupt men and devils.

A friend to truth,                        
                       W. B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 16, 1885.                           No. 20.

The Western Watchman, published at Eureka, Humboldt county, California, in its issue for Saturday, April 25th, 1885, goes for the Spaulding Story -- Romance -- Manuscript Found, in the following pithy fashion. As Captain Cuttle remarked, "When found make a note on't."



It has hitherto been currently assumed by non-Mormons who profess to be conversant with the origin of that sect that their "Book of Mormon" was a plagiarism of a manuscript by Solomon Spaulding, written avowedly as a work of fiction, purporting to give the history of some extinct Indian tribes. As the Manuscript was never published and soon disappeared, that theory was generally accepted, there being no opportunity for comparison.

Quite recently, however, the Spaulding manuscript was discovered in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, in consequence of a visit there by the President of the Oberlin, Ohio, University, Mr. Fairchild, who asked Mr. Rice (formerly an anti-slavery editor in Ohio) for such anti-slavery documentary relics as he would be willing to contribute to the Oberlin college library. When Mr. Rice was overhauling his papers for that purpose, he stumbled on this Manuscript, which purports to be a narrative of the migrations and conflicts of ancient Indian tribes occupying the territory which is now known as New York, Ohio, and Kentucky. On the last page "is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that to their personal knowledge the Manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spaulding. What the object of the certificate was does not appear. Mr. Rice has no recollection of how or when the Manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in wrapping paper and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting, 'A Manuscript story.'"

The above is found in an article by Pres. Fairchild in the Bibliotheca Sacra -- a long established orthodox, theological magazine of repute, published in New York. -- (Oberlin, Ohio. -- Ed.) Fairchild and Rice both examined the Manuscript, compared it with the "Book of Mormon" and found the two to be totally unlike, both in style and subject, the only feature common to the two being that both professed to give a history of some, though not the same, Indian tribes.

Mr. Fairchild writes Joseph Smith (son of the founder of Mormonism and leader [of] the anti-polygamic Mormons): "Certainly the manuscript which I saw was not the source of the Book of Mormon." He adds, however, that since the discovery was made public it has been claimed that there were two Manuscripts by Spaulding, one on the Indian and the other on the Hebrew tribes, the former being that discovered in Honolulu and the latter the source of the original J. Smith's alleged inspiration. Nothing, however, seems to have been heard or circulated about any second Manuscript until after the first (so termed) was discovered, which gives the hypothesis a decidedly ex post facto smack that some may call "fishy."

Whatever may be the merits of Mormonism or the facts of its origin, it seems clear that the theory which derives it from Spaulding's book will not hold water.

We thank the brother who sent us the Watchman.

The discovery of a Manuscript Story by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, at Honolulu, Hawaii, in a late issue of the Bibliotheca Sacra, and still later in the HERALD, has created quite an interest among the elders. We herein give Mr. Rice's reply to our letter to him in which we suggested the propriety of sending the Manuscript to some Historical Society of Chicago, for deposit.

                          HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands,
                          March 28th, 1885.
Mr. Joseph Smith:-- The Spaulding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-40 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painesville Telegraph, published at Painesville, Ohio. The transfer of the printing department, types, press, &c., was accompanied with a large collection of books, manuscripts, &c., this manuscript of Spaulding's among the rest. So, you see, it has been in my possession over forty years. But I never examined it, or knew the character of it, until some six or eight months since. The wrapper was marked, "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek." The wonder is, that in some of my movements, I did not destroy or burn it with a large amount of rubbish that had accumulated from time to time.

It happened that Pres't Fairchild was here on a visit, at the time I discovered the contents of it, and it was examined by him and others with much curiosity. Since Pres't Fairchild published the fact of its existence in my possession, I have had applications for it from half a dozen sources, each applicant seeming to think that he or she was entitled to it. Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose Mormonism as a fraud at an early day, when the Mormons had their head-quarters at Kirtland, he obtained it from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing office. A. B. Deming, of Painesville, who is also getting up some kind of a book I believe on Mormonism, wants me to send it to him. Mrs. Dickinson, of Boston, claiming to be a relative of Spaulding, and who is getting up a book to show that he was the real author of the Book of Mormon, wants it. She thinks, at least, it should be sent to Spaulding's daughter, a Mrs. Somebody -- but she does not inform me where she lives. Deming says that Howe borrowed it when he was getting up his book, and did not return it, as he should have done, &c.

This Manuscript does not purport to be "a story of the Indians formerly occupying this continent;" but is a history of the wars between the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, &c. It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible, whatever some other manuscripts may have been. The only similarity between them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found -- one in a cave on Conneaut Creek -- the other in a hill in Ontario county, New York. There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming, I should as soon think the Book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixotte, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon. Deming says Spaulding made three copies of "Manuscript Found," one of which Sidney Rigdon stole from a printing office in Pittsburg. You can possibly tell better than I can, what ground there is for such an allegation.

I knew Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, when they were located at Kirtland; and I once visited Smith, in 1841, when he was at Nauvoo. I have heard Rigdon preach, both as a Campbellite and as a Mormon. I knew Eliza R. Snow well; she was a poetic correspondent of mine when I published a paper at Ravenna, Ohio.

I understand that you are a leader of a dissenting sect of Mormons, sometimes denominated "Reformed Mormons," who repudiate the polygamy of the sect at Salt Lake. I should like to know something more about your division of Mormonhood. I told my friend H. H. Cluff, who was at the head of the Mormon brotherhood on these Islands, and who left here a year or so ago to return to Utah, that I did not believe that Joseph Smith ever practiced or advocated polygamy; and that I supposed it was born altogether of lust, during the days [of] Brigham Young's ascendancy. He agreed to furnish me evidence that I was mistaken in that regard; and although he has sent me a large number of Mormon documents, he has sent nothing on that subject. I should like to know from you, or some other authentic source, whether or not Joseph Smith advocated polygamy in his day.

As to this Manuscript, I can not see that it can be of any use to any body, except the Mormons, to show that it is not the original of the Mormon Bible. But that would not settle the claim that some other manuscript of Spaulding was the original of it. I propose to hold it in my own hands for a while, to see if it can not be put to some good use. Deming and Howe inform me that its existence is exciting great interest in that region. I am under a tacit, but not a positive pledge to President Fairchild, to deposit it eventually in the Library of Oberlin College. I shall be free from that pledge, when I see an opportunity to put it to a better use.
                         Yours, &c.
                                   L. L. RICE.

P. S. -- Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretence that Spaulding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication. It was easy for any body who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents. to get up the story that they were identical.
                                   L. L. R.

Note 1: The Lewis L. Rice letter printed in the above article was reproduced (along with other Rice letters, but missing two of its paragraphs near the end) in the 1885 RLDS version of the Oberlin Spalding Manuscript's text. The full text of the March 28, 1885 Rice letter appears in print only in the Saints' Herald.

Note 2: Rice changed his mind more than once over the question of whether or not the author of the Spalding story discovered at his home in Honolulu might have had the ability and inclination to write a text such as appears in the Book of Mormon. Whether Rice also changed his mind regarding the validity of Joseph Smith's introduction of polygamy into early Mormonism remains unknown. For Rice's last published thoughts on Book of Mormon authorship, the Spalding claims, etc., see his Mar. 4, 1886 letter in the Honolulu Bulletin.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 30, 1885.                           No. 22.


May 15th, 1885.    

Bro. Joseph Smith: -- How fortunate for the church, and its defenders, that the Spaulding Romance has fallen into the hands, or rather under the inspection, of seemingly disinterested and fair minded parties, such as L. L. Rice and Pres. Fairchild. What will our opposers do now? But I feel as if I would like to have the opportunity of comparing, (contrasting is probably the better word), the Book of Mormon, with the manuscript found, and I presume you and others would. I am therefore anxious to see the "Manuscript Found," in print. It seems now uncertain to what use Mr. Rice will put it; but I sincerely hope a privilege of an examination of a production of the Rev. Spaulding will be furnished at no distant day, though the statements already made concerning it relieves the Book of Mormon, so far as that manuscript is concerned. What a strange thing that the writings of the Rev. Spaulding of which so many are said to have been extant, somewhere, have so mysteriously disappeared and that in fifty years, with a continual agitation, only one has turned up! I am happy over this "find."   Your brother.
                            E. T. DOBSON.

Note 1: As Mr. Dobson says, it is "a strange thing: that "so many" of the writings attributed to the pen of Solomon Spalding "so mysteriously disappeared" since the claims for his authorship of the Book of Mormon were first made in 1832. Dobson says that "only one has turned up," but makes no inquiry as to the correctness of labeling that "only one" with the title "Manuscript Found." Both James H. Fairchild and Lewis L. Rice would eventually back away from their initial notions that the manuscript discovered in Honolulu ever bore that title, or was the particular work of Spalding attested to by his early associates as bearing a strong resemblance to the Book of Mormon. The RLDS officials who obtained a copy of the Honolulu story, on the other hand, printed its text under the same of "Manuscript Found," a disreputable action in no way warranted by anything written in the manuscript itself. In fact, in the first substantial public exposure of the Spalding authorship claims (by Howe in 1834), this particular manuscript was specifically denied as having any direct linkage to Spalding's other work of fiction, the notorious "Manuscript Found." The RLDS leaders, editors and publishers scrupulously continued to ignore both these facts in the decades that followed.

Note 2: Critical response to the RLDS leaders' labeling the Hawaii find as "Manuscript Found" were somewhat slow in coming -- perhaps because the RLDS Saints' Herald, where that action was first taken, was not well known or widely read. Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. offered his opinion on the identity of the Honolulu manuscript in the Sept. 16, 1885 issue of the Presbyterian Banner: "At least fifteen unimpeached witnesses, three of whom are still living, have testified to the identity of many of the names and incidents in the Book of Mormon with those with which they became familiar from hearing Mr. Spaulding read his story, the "Manuscript Found." That the Honolulu document does not bear this title and does not contain these names and incidents, proves clearly that it is not the same story; but certainly does not prove, in the face of such an array of testimony, the Spaulding never wrote such a romance." Dr. William H. Whitsitt provided this assessment, a few days later: "[the Mormons] are eager to publish the Honolulu book. in order to show that it has no connection with the Book of Mormon. Nobody ever claimed that such a connection existed, who had any kind of right to form a judgment. This entire investigation has no bearing of any sort upon the issue whether Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon."


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 13, 1885.                           No. 24.

BELOW we give another version of the Spaulding Story. It is very extraordinary that that wonderful production, the Spaulding Romance, should be so restless and uneasy; it appears in a thousand shapes; this is the last one we have seen, and it looks terribly out of shape. The St. Louis Republican in which it appeared Friday, May 29th, 1885, justly concludes that the statement that the Book of Mormon was made from such a source is a matter of "inference." What next; Solomon Spaulding will soon have more vocations than the fabled "nine lives of a cat."


The venerable Col. Wm. H. Leffingwell, accompanied by an old Mormon friend from Utah, was met by a Republican reporter yesterday afternoon on Olive street. The colonel's friend remarked to the reporter: "Did you know that Leffingwell corrected the manuscript of the Mormon Bible alleged to have been written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding?"

This was something like a new revelation, and on Col. Leffingwell stating that it was a fact, and as all parties knowing the circumstances are now dead, except Mr. Leffingwell, he was asked to add to the truth of history by telling what he knew about the origin of the Mormon bible. The colonel readily consented, but his Mormon friend, observing his readiness to do so, walked on and beckoned to the colonel to come along, evidently objecting to having the story told for publication. Col. Leffingwell commenced by saying: "Long ago in the past, I have forgotten the year, Mr. Spaulding wrote a drama called 'The Book of Mormon,' in a hotel at Conneaut, Ashtabula county, O., where I had been teaching school. I was known through the country as a good grammarian and possessing an accurate knowledge of the English language. My father had been principal of the Meadville school, at Meadville, Pa., for eight years, a position which I subsequently filled on my father retiring to a farm. Mr. Spalding was a lawyer by profession and had taught school. He had never been a reverend, as some accounts give that prefix to his name. He was about thirty-five years of age when I first fell in with him, was very poor, and sick with consumption, and towards the last nearly lost his voice, so that he could not plead at the bar. He said he wanted to make some money, and wrote the drama, which he handed me for correction. It was full of Bible expressions, and as I had read the Bible from lid to lid I knew the proper phraseology to use. I corrected the grammar, and had to reconstruct and transpose entries to make good English out of it. I was engaged three months, and my notes and pencil marks may be found on every page.

NEVER  PAID  FOR  IT.          

"He wanted it to conform to Bible language. He never paid me a cent for my labor. It was entitled the Book of Mormon, and he told me he was going to Pittsburgh to sell the manuscript. I afterwards learned that he got hold of Sidney Rigdon, and I knew within six months that Spalding sold it, and that Rigdon got it. Rigdon was a preacher in the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He was a scholar and a smart fellow. I had seen him baptizing converts in Mahoning county, Ohio. Some years afterward I was on a lecture tour in Ohio, lecturing on grammar and the construction of English language. I went to Kirtland in a buggy accompanied by a young lawyer, to see Joe Smith and the Mormon leaders. We drove up in front of a large tent and Sidney Rigdon came out. I told him that I corrected the Mormon Bible when it was Spalding's manuscript. I assured him I gave it the proper construction and what grammar it had. He smiled and said that was all right, but requested me to say nothing about it. I told Rigdon that we came over there to see him and Joe Smith. He said, 'It is just our dinner time; you can't see Joe Smith because he is marking goods at the store.' they having received forty wagon-loads from the lake shore the day before. Afterwards we were introduced to the prophet. Joe Smith had a round face, and his hair was cut short down on his forehead. The color of his hair was between a deep brown and dark red. He sent a young man with us into the temple, which was but newly finished. The front had a projecting roof, supported by pillars. We entered the portico, when the young man, our guide, said: "Take off your hats!" I replied; "Our hats are already off, sir. We've a long ways to drive, and want you to hurry up, sir!"


"We were then conducted into the interior of the temple. A broad aisle ran through the middle of the temple with a cross aisle in the centre, above which a curtain hung, dividing the temple into two parts, Sidney Rigdon occupying, we were told, the eastern portion and Joe Smith the western portion, which included the grand altar. The arrangement seemed to be thus made in consequence of the incomplete conditions of the temple. By mounting on one another's shoulders, we were enabled to pull ourselves up through a hole in the attic where we were shown several mummies including that of Joseph and other patriarchs mentioned in the Bible. After visiting the temple we were invited into the tent where we were provided with a good dinner, and taking leave of the saints we drove out of Kirtland well satisfied with our visit."

The above chat with Leffingwell left the impression that his statement of the part taken by him in the correction of Spalding's manuscript is undeniable, but the other fact that said manuscript was the original of the Mormon Bible is rather a matter of inference than supported by direct and incontrovertible testimony. Col. Leffingwell, however, asserts that so far as he has compared his recollections of the Spalding manuscript with the Mormon Bible they are identical. That is his belief.

Note 1: William H. Leffingwell was probably born in Connecticut in about 1790. He was quite likely the son of the Andrew Leffingwell whom the 1830 Census reported living in Mead Twp., Crawford Co., Pennsylvania. By 1811 or 1812 William H. Leffingwell was living in Conneaut Twp., Ashtabula Co., Ohio, where he married Polly Morse on June 15, 1816. Perhaps Leffingwell left the area soon after marrying, for he is not listed as a teacher in the first public school opened in Conneaut Twp. later that same year. The report does not say where "on Olive Street this interesting interview took place -- Olive St. crosses Leffingwell St. a few blocks west of the St. Louis Public Library.

Note 2: Lewis L. Rice, a long time resident of the Ohio Western Reserve recalled Leffingwell as being "a well-known teacher in Northern Ohio" in his March 11, 1886 letter to a Honolulu newspaper. If Leffingwell truly assisted Solomon Spalding, while teaching at "a hotel at Conneaut," it could only have been at Henry Lake's "Mansion House," located in New Salem, the same village in Conneaut Twp. where Spalding lived between 1809 and late 1812. It is not known when Henry Lake began taking in guests at his "hotel," but a likely date would have been in the second half of 1812, after he and Solomon Spalding abandoned operation of their iron forge, just east of New Salem.

Note 3: Given what appear to be errors in Leffingwell's memory concerning the layout of the Kirtland Temple and the physical appearance of Joseph Smith, Jr. in late 1835 or early 1836, it is likely that the rest of his account contains similar errors. For example, it is difficult to imagine that Sidney Rigdon would have listened to a stranger relate the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon without registering a loud and hostile rebuttal. It is also difficult to imagine the young Leffingwell, in about 1812 or 1813 could have known Sidney Rigdon as being a "preacher in the Cumberland Presbyterian church" -- a man whom Solomon Spalding was then involved with in one way or another. Rigdon was never known to associate with the Presbyterians and is not known to have engaged in any preaching until 1818 at the very earliest. Possibly the "Cumberland Presbyterian church" Leffingwell mentions here was the one in Amwell Twp., Washington Co., Pennsylvania -- but Rigdon is not known to have been connected with that congregation at any time. It is possible that Sidney Rigdon occasionally held meetings in the Brookfield Presbyterian Church, a few miles North of Youngstown, in Trumbull Co., Ohio, while he lived in that area in 1820-21. If so, perhaps Leffingwell incorrectly recalled Rigdon, the Calvinist preacher, as being a Presbyterian rather than a Baptist. Brookfield is only a few miles north of what is today the Mahoning-Trumbull Co. Line; so perhaps it was somewhere in the greater Youngstown region that Leffingwell recalled seeing Rev. Rigdon "baptizing converts" in his pre-Mormon says.

Note 4: Leffingwell's identification of Spalding as having been "a lawyer by profession" and having previously "taught school," is not inconsistent with what people knew of Spalding while he was living on the Western Reserve. Spalding had some legal training, which he applied to his land sales work, no doubt. He had also once been a school teacher and the headmaster of the Cherry Valley Academy when he lived in Otsego Co., New York. Spalding's early occupation as a Congregational evangelist and occasional Presbyterian preacher may have not been well known to his neighbors in Ohio. His own nephew, Daniel, in 1888 recalled Solomon Spalding as "not" having been "a minister" and added: "neither did he belong to any church." Leffingwell's recollection of Spalding having been "about thirty-five years of age" when the two first met, is obviously a faulty one. Solomon Spalding was already at least 48 years old by the time he settled in Ohio, and could have been no younger than 50 when Leffingwell first met him. Still, it is possible that Spalding looked somewhat younger than his true age in those days and Leffingwell's error in this matter may not be too large a one. His description of Spalding as being "sick with consumption" is likely a true one, though it seems that the would-be writer also suffered a severe rupture at about this time in his life and was probably partly incapacitated by that malady as well. The report that Spalding had "nearly lost his voice" is an interesting one. Since loud voices were practically mandatory for pulpit preachers of that day, a partial loss of his oratory powers may have helped bring an early end to his ministerial career. Presumably he retained enough of his voice to still effectively read stories to a small audience gathered about him in Ohio or Pennsylvania, however.

Note 5: Leffingwell's assertion that Spalding was writing a story "full of Bible expressions" is consistent with the testimony of other eyewitnesses. What is less believable is his saying that already, in Ashtabula Co., Ohio in about 1812, that Spalding had entitled a manuscript with the name "Book of Mormon." If Leffingwell's memory is correct on this point, it stands as important testimony in support of the Spalding authorship claims. But, given the other factual errors in Leffingwell's account, the careful student will place little credence upon this particular allegation. Leffingwell's memory of the penniless Spalding never paying him for his proof-reading work is more likely to be an accurate recollection.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 11, 1885.                           No. 28.


The following letters, one from Bro. John M. Horner and one from Mr. L. L. Rice, will be read with interest by thousands, and they can not be regarded as less than full proof that the manuscript now in the hands of Mr. Rice, is none other than the celebrated "Manuscript Found," written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and which it is now seen is no more like the Book of Mormon than "a hawk is like a handsaw." But there are more proofs at hand, which will be forthcoming in due time.

It will be seen on reading Mr. Rice's letter, that two young Elders of the Brighamite Church testify that Joseph the Seer had many wives, and yet they admit he had no children by any except the first one -- Emma. How these young gentlemen could know so much, when it is probable neither of them were born till after the Seer was murdered, is a question. They were "not there, and did not know of the facts in the case," and therefore their testimony only exhibits their presumption and audacity.

As for the revelation of 1843 on polygamy, history traces it only to Brigham Young; and he said he obtained it by chance, and at best it was but "a copy." It was not in the hand-writing of Joseph the Seer; it did not have his signature; and it contradicts everything the Seer gave to the church on either marriage, morals, or religion! ...

                                   HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands,
                                   May 14th, 1885.
I am greatly obliged to you for the information concerning Mormonism, in your letters of April 30th and May 2d. As I am in no sense a Mormonite, of course it is a matter of curiosity, mainly, that I am interested in the history of Mormonism

Two things are true concerning this manuscript in my possession: First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spaulding; and second. it is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

My opinion is, from all I have seen and learned, that this is the only writing of Spaulding, and there is no foundation for the statement of Deming and others, that Spaulding made another story, more elaborate, of which several copies were written, one of which Rigdon stole from a printing office in Pittsburgh, &c. Of course I can not be as certain of this, as of the other two points. One theory is, that Rigdon, or some one else, saw this manuscript, or heard it read, and from the hints it conveyed, got up the other and more elaborate writing on which the Book of Mormon was founded. Take that for what it is worth. It don't seem to me very likely.

As to Joseph Smith (your father) being a polygamist, the fact you mention, that he had no issue except from your mother, is strong presumptive evidence that he was not a practical polygamist, whatever he may have been theoretically. Since I wrote you before, I have had calls from several Mormonites from Salt Lake City, among them one Cluff, who calls himself a nephew of H. H. Cluff, who was formerly at the head of the Mormon settlement on this Island; and one Pratt, who claims to be a son of Orson Pratt. They both say that Joseph had no children except by your mother; but they insist that your father had an cohabitated with several other wives -- among them my old acquaintance and friend, Eliza R. Snow, who used to write poetry for my paper, in Ohio, before the days of Mormonism. Of course I can not determine positively as to these adverse allegations. I have my opinion, however.

On one other point I wish to write a few words: as to the revelation purporting to have been made by Joseph Smith, at Nauvoo, July 12th, 1843. I gather from your letter that you consider Brigham Young as the author of that revelation, and that Joseph Smith never uttered or sanctioned it. Your friend, J. M. Horner, who called on me a few days since, thinks Brigham Young was not the author of it, and says that Young never made any revelation, and never claimed to be a prophet. I have a copy of the "Doctrine and Covenants," furnished me by Enoch Farr, who is now at the head of the Mormons on this Island. It is an English edition, published in Liverpool in 1882. The revelation in question is the last one in the book, commencing On p. 463. Mr. Horner says that that revelation does not occur at all in his edition of the "Doctrine and Covenants." So it appears that it might have been added by Young or some one else, after the work was otherwise completed.

You may be at rest as to my putting the manuscript into the possession of any one who will mutilate it, or use it for a bad purpose. I shall have it deposited in the Library of Oberlin College, in Ohio, to be at the disposal for reading of any one who may wish to peruse it; but not to be removed from that depository. My friend, President Fairchild, may be relied on as security for the safe keeping of it. It will be sent there in July, by a friend who is going there to "take to himself a wife." Meantime, I have made a literal copy of the entire document -- errors of orthography, grammar, erasures, and all -- which I shall keep in my possession, so that any attempt to mutilate it will be of easy detection and exposure. Oberlin is a central place, in the vicinity of Conneaut, where the manuscript was written.

I have had an idea, sometimes, that it is due to the Mormons to have a copy of it, if they took interest in it enough to publish it. As it is only of interest as showing that it is not the original of the Book of Mormon, no one else is likely to wish it for publication.

Miss Dickinson, whom you call a grand daughter of Solomon Spaulding, represents herself to me as his grand niece: "My great uncle, Rev. Solomon Spaulding," she writes.

Rev. Dr. Hyde, President of the Institution, in this place, for training Native Missionaries for Micronesia, (a very prominent and successful institution), has written an elaborate account of this manuscript, and of Mormonism, and sent it for publication in the Congregationalist, of Boston. I presume it will be published, and you will be interested in reading it.
                            Very respectfully, yours,
                                   L. L. RICE.

                                  KUKAIAU, Hamakua, Hawaii,
                                  May 21st, 1885.
To Joseph Smith, Esq.; Dear Brother:-- I visited Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, as you requested; and after seeing, handling, and reading a little of the manuscript purporting to have been written by Solomon Spaulding, I am fully convinced that it is the identical "Manuscript Found," (or rather purported interpretation, or translation, of the "Manuscript Found"). Mr. Rice is an old gentleman of eighty-five years, (I think he said). with eyes and intellect unclouded. He is now living with his son-in-law, Dr. Whitney. He stated that a lot of manuscripts fell into his hands as successor in the printing office in Ohio, and that he never had an opportunity or curiosity, until recently, to look into them, he believing them of little or no value, as their former possessor had never made any use of them. Still he said he had kept them, thinking perhaps some time or other he would have leisure enough to examine them, which leisure he found in these Islands. Among the manuscripts he found this one, written by S. Spaulding, which purported to be, as above stated, a translation of the manuscript found in Ohio, in a cave or pit, nine feet deep, and in a box three feet long. Said manuscript was written with "Roman letters, and in the Latin language," so this manuscript says. The author that wrote it and hid up the record, says in his personal history, recorded in the preface to the manuscript, that he was blown out to sea, by an easterly gale, when on his way from Rome to Britain, where he had been sent on a mission by the Roman Emperor. The storm continued for several days, when neither sun, moon, nor stars appeared. When the storm ceased they were lost, and the wind continued to blow westerly; and after many days they drifted on the east coast of North America; (Mr. Rice thinks about the mouth of the Delaware River); up which stream they went and found the country inhabited. They passed on in the course of time to Ohio. where they found a large tribe of Indians, and another about equal in number on the other side of the river, presumed to be the Ohio. The two tribes were peaceable and close together. But once upon a time a young man from one tribe visited the other tribe, fell in love and ran off with and married a lovely maid belonging to the other tribe. The maid had been betrothed to a high dignitary of her own tribe, which provoked a war between them, which another wrote its history, as well as his own life and voyage, and hid it in the cave above mentioned, where it was found. Hence the name "Manuscript Found."

However, I will make no more statements about its contents; and these may not be entirely correct, as I had only about twenty-five minutes to examine, read, talk and listen. I have no doubt you will yet see the manuscript, as Mr. Rice says he is going to send it to Professor Fairchild, and have him deposit it in the Oberlin Library for the information of everybody that may wish to examine it. He will send it in its coarse paper wrapper, and tow string fastening just as it lay in his possession for forty-five years without being opened. He says that he has no interest in it, to either prove or disprove the Book of Mormon. He wishes it placed where both friends and enemies may examine it. He has made a copy of it, which he will retain. I regret I did not ask him when he would send it. I shall not consider the manuscript safe until it reaches Prof. Fairchild. Mr. Rice says there has been quite an excitement stirred up by Prof. Fairchild's notice of it in the papers. He has received several letters from different individuals -- besides those received from you; and many visitors making enquiries; some from the Salt Lake Church, who he said, esteemed it a great privilege to be allowed to handle it.
                                Yours truly,
                                      JOHN M. HORNER

Note 1: Lewis L. Rice's letter of May 14th, 1885 was reprinted (in abridged form) in the 1885 RLDS version of the Oberlin Spalding Manuscript's text. The same abbreviated Rice letter was in 1903 reprinted in Vol. 4 (pp. 471-73) of the RLDS Church History. The only full printing of its text was in the Saints' Herald. Elder John M. Horner's letter was never reprinted. Horner was the informal and unofficial predecessor to Elder Gilbert J. Waller, as the first RLDS missionary in the Hawaiian Islands.

Note 2: John Meirs Horner (1821-1907) was an early Mormon convert and a passenger with Elder Sam Brannan on the ship Brooklyn. He returned to Hawaii (where Brannan's Saints had stopped briefly on their way to California) in 1879 and became a notable planter and processor in the sugar cane business. Although a Utah Mormon, Horner apparently had close relatives among the RLDS. In the mid-1880s he expressed some sympathy for the Reorganized Saints, though he never joined their cause officially. See, for example, his informative letter on the situation in Hawaii, written to Joseph Smith III and printed in the June 20, 1885 issue of the Saints' Herald.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 25, 1885.                           No. 30.


                             OBERLIN, Ohio, July 15th, 1885.

    Dear Brother. -- In response to your letter forwarded to me by Bro. Blakeslee, I came here yesterday to arrange for a copy of the long lost and hidden story of Solomon Spaulding. The manuscript is old and getting much worn; the outside leaves being in places thumbed and pinched to such an extent as to make it necessary, in a few instances, to supply words from the evident connections. There are sufficient marks and dates connected with its pages to show beyond any question that the writing is that obtained by Hurlbut from Mrs. Davidson, as the one claimed by the enemies of the Book of Mormon to be the story forming the basis of the same, and delivered by the said Hurlbut to E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio. After examining (in connection with the reading of President J. H. Fairchild) the manuscript and story as related therein, I am fully satisfied as to the object Howe had in suppressing it when he published his "Mormonism Unveiled."

There is sufficient in the manuscript to base the stories upon made by Howe's witnesses who claimed they had heard it read twenty-two years prior to giving their statements, except as to a few of the technical expressions and names that Hurlbut and Howe run in when they wrote up the "statements" for their "witnesses;" but nothing whatever to show that it was the foundation of the Book of Mormon. Hence, it is evident that the position taken and maintained by me in the Kirtland debate from other evidences which were more of a circumstantial nature, has been proven absolutely correct, to-wit: "That Howe suppressed the manuscript, lest it should suppress Howe and his book." The old adage, "that honesty is the best policy." would have been best here. Time has brought about her rewards, and now dishonor and disgrace must ever after follow the soiled heels of the man who was foremost in circulating the thousands of unqualified lies against the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.

President Fairchild has readily given me whatever facts he was in possession of touching the story of the Spaulding manuscript, &c.; and instead of the tricky, mischief-maker who pursues the avowed policy of "anything to beat the Book of Mormon," that it has been my lot to so often find in the ministerial profession, I have found him to be a man of broad enough principles to examine a matter upon the facts presented, instead of by the too common fanatical prejudice, and to extend to others the like privilege. Had we many more men in the country as able and fair in their work as the Venerable President of Oberlin College, Satan would soon have to change his methods of warfare against the truth, for the world would be educated to judge from a higher plane than that which proved Jesus to be "the carpenter's son" -- "an impostor," -- "deceiver" -- "traitor" -- and of the "low breed," -- to the satisfaction of the carnally "self righteous" and viciously depraved in the first century.

The copy will be ready and placed in your hands next week. The copying will be done by a type writer copyist, verbatim et literatim, and will contain the certificate of Pres. Fairchild, that it is correct.

The copy that Mr. Rice took will also be published, thus furnishing two independent copies to the public, making any suppressions or erasures impossible without detection.

Pres. Fairchild charges nothing for his time in the examination of the matter and giving certificate; and finding that he desired a copy of the Book of Mormon for the Oberlin library, I told him I would ask our publishing house to furnish him a copy free.

The manuscript contains 165 pages, and between forty-five thousand and fifty thousand words. I expect to leave Kirtland for the west on Tuesday or Wednesday next, and hope to hear from you at once at Kirtland, if there are any other points worth looking after. There will be no necessity of getting in further evidence as to the genuineness of the manuscript, as there is proof sufficient. The first pages and endorsement on the last will be photographed so that should you wish to have it stereotyped and presented in this form for evidence, you can do so. There will be three pages of this in photograph form.

Hastily, I am as ever, in bonds for the gospel's sake, yours.
                            E. L. KELLEY.

Note 1: The vocal RLDS Elder, Edmund L. Kelley, breaks new ground in the Latter Day Saints' refuting of the Spalding authorship claims, by asserting: "There is sufficient in the manuscript to base the stories upon made by Howe's witnesses..." In other words, Kelley admits that there are "sufficient" similarities in theme and phraseology between the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and the Book of Mormon upon which to "base" avowals of apparent identity (such as those first put forward by the eight "Conneaut Witnesses" in Eber D. Howe's 1834 book). Kelley's creative explication opens the way for later RLDS apologetics alleging that the "Conneaut Witnesses" were simply mistaken (perhaps quite honestly mistaken) in identifying the Book of Mormon text with the admittedly moderately similar text found in the Oberlin manuscript. This general explanation, of course, does not exactly account for those same witnesses having reported certain specific points of identity in the writings of Spalding and the Mormon book. These bits and pieces of incriminating information supplied by the "Conneaut Witnesses" Elder Kelley dismisses as being spurious items "that Hurlbut and Howe run in when they wrote up the 'statements' for their 'witnesses.'" This responsive stance on the part of the RLDS assumes that the statements of the "Conneaut Witnesses," as printed in Howe's book, did not read the same as did the deponents' original informal affidavits, as given in 1833.

Note 2: While it cannot be definitively established that Hurlbut or Howe did not tamper with the wording of the witnesses' original statements, there are several pieces of evidence indicating that no significant re-writing or enlarging of the informal affidavits was carried out before they were printed. First of all, the physical structure of several of the statements does not appear to allow for such indiscriminate insertions by Hurlbut or Howe -- the "incriminating information" seems to be part and parcel of the statement as a whole. Secondly, none of the eight witnesses is known to have subsequently objected to the content of their statements as published, even though their 1833 words were subsequently extensively reprinted in many publications, some of which, at least, they must have known about. Although contemporary Mormon leaders (such as Orson Hyde) investigated the Spalding claims then circulating in the Conneaut region, here is no record of any LDS interviewer confronting any of the eight witnesses in order to establish that any portion of their published testimony was incorrect. Since the Kirtland Mormons lived within close proximity to most or all of these deponents for several years, there was ample opportunity for LDS interviewers and reporters to offer corrections to the witnesses' published statements while they were still relatively "fresh news." Thirdly, a respected Mormon writer who lived as a neighbor to some of the Conneaut witnesses, reported in the Mormons' own Deseret News, in Jan. 1878, that deponent Henry Lake was spreading the Spalding authorship claims at the time Howe's book was published. If some, or all, of the eight witnesses knew their statements had been significantly tampered with in the printing of Howe's book, such seemingly unreserved promulgation of the Spalding claims by witness Henry Lake would be difficult to account for. Certainly, his LDS neighbors would have at least countered Lake's efforts in their midst by presenting evidence of any tempering with witnesses' testimony. Fourthly, witness John Spalding apparently supplied the words for the slightly expanded publication of an 1851 re-statement of his 1833 testimony. John's second statement adds a few supplementary details to his first account, but does not contradict any of the content of that earlier document (i. e., his recollection of the Spalding character names "Nephi," "Lehi," etc.). Finally, witness Aaron Wright supplied the Geauga County anti-Mormons a Dec. 31, 1833 letter in which he re-affirmed the testimony (i. e., "much of the history and the names [in both texts] verbatim," etc.) of his earlier 1833 statement.

With all of the above considerations in mind, discretion must lead the reader to assume, that although Hurlbut or How may have influenced or altered the wording of 1833 statements in some small ways, they did not carry out the wholesale insertion of all the statements' confirmative assertions of identity between Spalding's story and the Book of Mormon's story. Elder Kelley's resolute declarations in this particular instance remain merely products of his own unsubstantiated speculation.



Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 8, 1885.                           No. 32.

SOLOMON SPAULDING'S "Manuscript Found," at least a verbatim copy of it certified by Pres. Jas. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio, is now on our table, and will soon be given to the HERALD readers. It will also be printed in pamphlet form and put on the market, that all who desire may learn just what there is of it, and of the popular claim that it was the egg from which Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon hatched the Book of Mormon.

Those not Mormons, some of whom were and are rabid anti-Mormons, have at length furnished us a complete chain of evidence by which to prove the identity of this manuscript, and to further prove it to be the very one which Howe and Hurlbut's witnesses are made to say read in some respects as does the Book of Mormon -- especially in respect to names. While it is true that there is some similarity in the sound of some of the names found in these two writings, the spelling of such names is widely different, as is also their meaning, thus proving they could not have a common origin. And the subject matter of them is as different as is the Bible and Sinbad the sailor.

Read the work and then judge.


This clipping, taken from a late Deseret News will be read with interest by many. When Rev. Demming says he had "called on E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut, and spent several days with one or the other of them on the subject of the manuscript," it can not be true, unless he refers to what might have taken place some years ago; for D. P. Hurlbut has been dead for some time past.

It is curious, if not very significant that this shallow novel writer -- Solomon Spaulding -- advocated polygamy on similar grounds as did Brigham Young and his fellows. Brigham often stated in his harangues, that if the single men "would marry the daughters of Eve,": so each could have a husband and a home, there would be no need for polygamy. This seems to have been the sum of Mr. Spalding's logic on that point.

How will certain sectarian preachers, with many lecturers, book-makers, and newspaper editors, who have charged the Mormons with putting the writings of the very learned, very talented, and very pious Rev. Solomon Spaulding to such a base use as making the Book of Mormon out of it, (which book contains polygamy and its like under all forms) -- how will they feel now that it is proven by his own writings that Rev. Solomon Spalding taught polygamy as early as 1807-12, more than forty years before Brigham Young taught it publicly; and did so, as he tells us in the introduction to his "Manuscript Found," to improve the head and the heart of its readers! Will they be just now, and proclaim that Rev. Spalding, a very pious and very learned Presbyterian, advocated polygamy before 1812, in his long lost "Manuscript Found," and that polygamy had advocates among the Presbyterian preachers before it did among the Brighamite Mormon Elders? We shall see, "Time hath her revenges." and this, too, in many ways.

( From Deseret News.)


Applicants for the Manuscript. -- Why They Wanted It. -- The Original Sent to Oberlin College Library. -- Mr. Rice Agrees to Part with the Copy and then Backs Out, but Lends It.

Honolulu, Sandwich Islands.    
June 24, 1885.       

EDITOR, "Deseret News: Among those who had written to Mr. Rice for the manuscript were Eber D. Howe of Painesville, Ohio, (since which Mr. Rice informs us he had a stroke and was supposed to be on his death-bed); Mr. A. B. Deming, also of Painesville; Albert D. Hagar, Librarian of the Chicago Historical Society, Chicago; and Mrs. Ellen [E.] Dickinson, of Boston, grand-niece of S. Spaulding. Mrs. Dickinson demanded that the manuscript be sent forthwith to her or Mrs. McInstry, from whose mother [she said] it had been "stolen by D. P. Hurlbut." She also asserts that she is writing a book against the Mormons, and desires the manuscript from which to make extracts, provided it is the one that Hurlbut stole "which she scarcely thinks is the one." Mr. Demming says he does "not think it is the Manuscript Found," for it is rumored that Hurlbut sold it to the Mormons and they destroyed it, which, he says, "I believe to be true," He was nevertheless clamorous to have this manuscript sent to him immediately, for writes he, "I desire to make extracts from it, as I am writing a book, to be entitled 'The Death-blow to Mormonism.'" Joseph Smith did not ask for the manuscript for himself, but that it might be sent to the Chicago Historical Society, 140 and 142 Dearborn Street, Chicago, for preservation. Mr. Hager, secretary or librarian of said society, desired it also sent there, and promised to defray the postage or expressage, and to have it neatly bound, etc., etc. But Mr. E. D. Howe laid claim to it on the ground that when he sold his printing establishment to his brother, from whom it was turned over to Messrs. Rice and Winchester, in 1839, the manuscript was inadvertently turned over to them with the office. He further states in his letter that the manuscript was left in his office by D. P. Hurlbut, pending efforts to obtain evidence against the Book of Mormon. Mr. Rice showed us all these letters, which we carefully read and noted. Mr. Deming, who is a Rev. gentleman, wrote two letters, both of which seemed to savor of a spirit smarting under the sting of conscious imbecility, and reeking with venom and the bitterness of gall.

Mr. Rice informed us that his friends, among them the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop , of Honolulu, had advised him not to allow the Mormons to get hold of a copy of the manuscript. When I asked him for what reason, he replied "What, indeed?" The old gentleman has a son in the States who is a minister (to whom Mr. Deming's letters were addressed), and he wrote him to make enquiry respecting the existence of Messrs. Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and John N. Miller, who testified to the identity of the manuscript, as to have been "veritable persons, but they are now all dead." This was the statement which Mr. Rice made to us. Here is a copy of the certificate: The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.     (signed)     D. P. Hurlbut." (The signature is written as here given.)

I made another visit to Mr. Rice a few weeks ago, and read several more chapters of the manuscript. The following passage occurs on the thirty-eighth page, but is crossed out:

"Let thy citizens be numbered once in two years, and if thy young women who are fit for marriage are more numerous than [the] young men; then wealthy men, who are young and who have but one wife, shall have the privilege, with the permission of the king to marry another until the numbers of the single young men and the single young women are made equal; but he who has two wives shall have a house provided for each, and he shall spend his time equally with each one."

We again took a good look at the manuscript which had been returned to him by Mr. Hyde, a minister to whom it had been loaned for a time, and by whom I suspect it was copied, although I do not know. We counted the pages and found 169 numbered pages and one and two-thirds pages not numbered, and two loose sheets not apparently belonging to the manuscript, which made in all 175; less pages 133 and 134 which are missing.

Mr. Rice said that when he was publishing a newspaper, the Republican Monitor, at Cazenovia, N. Y., he published a very interesting story entitled the "Manuscript Found," and some ten or fifteen years later while editing the Ohio Star, at Ravenna, Ohio, he republished this story, which was a romance predicated upon some incidents of the Revolutionary War. He was of the opinion that the name of this story by some means had been confounded with Spaulding's Manuscript or writings, and that this is the only novel that Spaulding ever wrote.

I also read another letter from Mr. A. B. Demming, fairly clamoring for the possession of the manuscript. He said he had called upon E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut, and had spent several days with one and the other of them on the subject of the manuscript, and urged it be sent at once to Mr. Rice's son (in Painesville, Ohio,) with instructions to let no one know of the fact but Mr. D.

On the 15th inst., I called upon Mr. Rice again, in company with a couple of the brethren, to read a little more in the manuscript. He informed us that he had that day forwarded the original to the Oberlin College Library, in the care of a lady who was going there, and made us the following proposition: to let me have the copy he had now finished, provided I would have it printed verbatim, complete, with erasures, or crossed-out parts in italics, and explanation in preface; and after printing, to send fifty copies to Oberlin, twenty-five copies and the manuscript back to him. I accepted the proposition, and he was to draw up a paper setting forth these terms, and he would deliver the copy of the manuscript and a copy of the agreement into my hands at six p. m.

When I returned at the appointed hour he took me to his room and said: "Mrs. and Mr. Whitney (his daughter and son-in-law) have protested against my letting you have the manuscript until I get the consent of President Fairchild. Now, in view of my promise to you, this places me in a very embarrassing position; for I want to please them, and I regret having to fail in my promise to you; but I think it best to postpone the matter for two or three weeks, until I can hear from President Fairchild."

"What reason," I asked, "do they give for their objection? We agree to your proposition -- it is all your own way. The original is beyond our reach and we could have no other than the most honest motives, with all the expense on our part, in carrying out your proposition." The only answer was -- "They are not as liberal as I am." I do not know whether this meant they wanted something more for it, or that they were not as liberal in their sentiments or feelings towards us. I took the last meaning.

I then said, "Well, Mr. Rice, my curiosity leads me to desire to read it, and I will be pleased if you would lend it to me to read."

To this he consented, provided I would return it when I got through. So I brought it home with me, and had it from the evening of the 15th to the morning of the 21st, when I sent it back. I got home with the manuscript on the evening of the 16th.

We read it. It is a shallow, unfinished story, but withal somewhat interesting in parts, as containing some ideas which the author gathered from the traditions of the Indians. I have but little faith that Mr. Fairchild will recommend or give his consent for us to publish it. Mr. Rice claims that his copy is a verbatim et literatim copy, with scratches, crosses and bad spelling all thrown in.

The names "Sambol," "Hamboon," "Labaska," "Labona." "Lamasa," "Mamoons," occur in the story which might easily be changed. Mammoths were the author's beast of burden. The two principal tribes of Indians were "Ohions" and "Kentucks," with numerous adjacent tribes -- "Sciotans," "Ohons," etc.


                                 Kirtland, Ohio.
                                        July 23d, 1885.

Bro. W. W. Blair. -- I arrived here on the 18th inst., and aided E. L. in conducting two services in the Temple, morning and afternoon, on the 19th. Had the usual attendance, and good interest was had. A feeling of good will towards our cause still continues. The weather is hot, and crop prospects encouraging.

Yesterday, in company with E. L., I dropped into the office of Prof. Fairchild, at Oberlin, and had the pleasure of examining the famed old Spaulding Manuscript, which has been posed against the faith so long by self-willed and unscrupulous opposers, as constituting the ground-plot for the origin of the Book of Mormon. Beyond question it is the identical Spaulding Romance. There are so many things which identifies it, that the mind is set at rest that it is the thing de facto. It has an antiquated appearance; leaves soiled by use and torn in places, and has a smoked, rusty appearance. The paper is thicker than ordinary writing paper now in use, and is not ruled. Water marks are easily traced upon it. The leaves are six and one half inches wide and eight long, and are closely written on both sides in an old fashioned cramped hand. The manuscript when lying loose on the table, measures three-fourths of an inch in thickness. A few leaves were stitched together with linen thread, thus forming them into little sections, or books, easy to handle. Take a sheet of paper thirteen inches wide and sixteen inches long, double twice, so as to leave it six and a half by eight inches, and you have the precise manner of the arrangement of the paper for use. I counted eighty-seven sheets in all. Some are missing. On the large wrapper enveloping the manuscript, the following is found written with lead pencil, "Manuscript Story. Conneaut Creek." It is known that writing done with lead pencil will remain legible for years. This wrapping paper, however, looks to be a little more modern in its make up than the manuscript paper, but shows age. It is of good consistency, and is a good, durable, buff colored wrapping paper. The most probable thing is, that this wrapper was put around the "Manuscript Story" by D. P. Hurlbut when he procured it from Mrs. Davison; and that the pencil writing was done at Conneaut, Ohio, when he, Aaron Wright, John Miller, Henry Lake, et al., were closeted with the manuscript before them, endeavoring to invent a theory that would account for the origin of the Book of Mormon, other than the truthful narrative given of it, and in a way that would tickle the fancy and please the ear of the fable-loving, give to themselves some note, a lucrative business, and to the devil one more chance to close the eyes of the willing blind. The strange part is, that his Satanic Majesty would hit upon such a chaffy thing. It isn't a respectable counterfeit. I have been amusing myself today in reading the story -- have gone over about sixty pages, and strange to say my faith holds out! As it is to be issued in printed form soon, and put into everybody's hands who may wish to peruse it, it is not necessary here to give extensive particulars. By way of caution it might be well to say, get ready for a little "side splitting," to end in disgust and contempt, to think that for years we have been confronted with this old humbug manuscript as being the root from which the Book of Mormon grew; the egg from which it was hatched; or to put it in Darwinian style, this was the monkey and the Book of Mormon the man. But if the latter were true, there is an endless number of missing links lying between the two, that this affords no comfort. The puzzling perplexity of the mind must remain as hitherto, if not disposed to accept the divine claim. Remembering that it is pretended Solomon Spaulding was a very pious Reverend, a college graduate, who understood the classics, languages, etc., and by this means was able to furnish strange names for his manuscript, which afterwards found place in the Book of Mormon, we give the following:

The "Lehi" of this story is named "Fabius, being descended from the illustrious general of that name." He was born at Rome, and on the arrival of Constantine at that city, he (Fabius) was favorably received by the great conqueror, and was intrusted with a ship and crew, in order to carry messages and assistance to the army in Britain. When near the shores of Britain a great storm arose and they were driven out to sea and finally landed on the new world. Here they found a wild race of people, who received them kindly; and Fabius and companions "found themselves once more on terra firma," The king prepared an "entertainment" for them, which consisted of "fish," boiled beans, and samp." The feast ended in the natives acting "more like devils than human beings." There were seven women and thirteen men who had accompanied Fabius. So the women chose each a husband. "Droll Tom" (what a classic name), was rewarded for his benevolent proposal with one of the most sprightly rosy dames in the company. Three others of the most cheerful, resolute men were chosen by the other three bucksum lassies. We united heart and hand with the fairest prospect of enjoying every delight and gratification which are attendant upon the connubial state. Six poor fellows were doomed to live in a state of celibacy or accept of savage dames."

The fortunate couples repaired to their new departments, "Partook of an elegant dinner and drank a bottle of excellent wine." In a speech one enthused as follows: -- "My sweet good souled fellows, we have now commenced a new voyage. Not such as brought us over mountain billows to this butt end of the world. No, no; our voyage is on dry land." Before done another cries out, "May God bless your soul! What would you have us do who have had the woful luck not to get mates to cheer our poor souls and warm our bodies. Methinks I could pick out a healthy plum lass from the copper colored tribe [and] that by washing and scrubbing her fore and aft and upon the labboard and stabbord sides she would become a wholesome bedfellow. I think, may it please your honor, that I could pump my notions into her head and make her a good shipmate for the cupboard * * * Upon this I filled the bottle with wine and observing to honest Crito that he was at liberty to make the experiment * * * We retired two and two, hand in hand, Ladies heads a little awri, blushing like the moon" &c.

This sounds so much like the discourses of Alma, Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Mormon, and others, that it may be necessary to send a delegation among the Saints in order to strengthen their faith after reading! Go on with your "Grove Meetings;" perhaps that will be a sufficient safeguard. Here is some of the classic names that it is said so much resemble those in the Book of Mormon; "Lucton, Droll Tom, Radocam, Haddocam, Labasko, Ohom, Elseon, Bombal, Siotans, Mammoons, Kentucks, Golonga City, Gamba, Rambock, &c. No Lehi, Nephi, Zarahemla, &c., in it; although one of the witnesses for Hulbert and Howe remembered distinctly "Zarahemla." The devil and his agents will have to hold another council and hit on something else, or get out of the way of the old ship Zion.     Hastily,
                                 WM. H. KELLEY.

Note 1: Apostle William H. Kelley supplies some useful information in his description of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript, as it existed prior to being bound in hard covers at a later date. He identifies the manuscript paper as being thick, unruled sheets, thirteen inches wide by eight inches high, folded over once to produce four pages, 6.5" x 8" each in size. Kelley further speculates that these individual sheets may have been halves of 13" x 16" papers. Kelley's figures correspond closely with modern measurements of the pages being about 16.4 cm. x 20.2 cm. (6.34" x 7.95"). More exactly, the Oberlin College Archives "Staff," in 1977, measured the first 24 pages of the manuscript at 6" x 7.75" and the remainder of the pages at 6.375" x 8" (Wayne Cowdrey, et al., The Spalding Enigma p. 136, n. 44. If Kelly was correct in his guess, the original sheets comprising the first 24 pages of the manuscript must have been formed from 3 pieces of paper, 12" x 15.5", folded over twice, to make quarter-size pages. The remainder of the manuscript must have been formed from about 20 pieces of paper, 12.75" x 16", also folded over twice to make little folios of 8 pages each. The 12.75" x 16" papers may have been "foolscap" (very slightly narrower than the usual 13"x16" variety).

Note 2: Kelley also provides interesting information when he says: "A few leaves were stitched together with linen thread, thus forming them into little sections, or books, easy to handle." In other words, Spalding took a few of his 13" x 8" sheets at a time, and folded them all together in the center to produce thin signatures of 12, 16, or 20 pages each. These signatures he gave to somebody (perhaps his wife) to stitch along the center fold, producing little booklets. The pages of the "Dictated" manuscript of the Book of Mormon were produced in a somewhat similar manner, only the large papers were only folded once over, producing four long, narrow pages per sheet. These folded sheets were gathered together, a few at a time, and sewn along the center fold to produce signatures of 12, 16, or 20 pages each. Given the likelihood that Spalding formed all of his holograph story documents in this manner, it is easy to see why some of his early auditors and readers referred to "manuscripts" (in the plural) when they were obviously speaking of only a single story in each case. Viewed as a promiscuous pile of individual signatures, Spalding's collected writings may have appeared to be many thin "manuscripts," when, in reality, those signatures comprised only a few discrete documents. Any single hand-written book of his creation was probably made up of numerous little "manuscripts," each about a "quire" (24 pages) in size. Since such a "quire" is exactly the page number of the first portion of the Oberlin manuscript (the part with the 6" x 7.75" pages), this initial folio of the manuscript may well have been what E. D. Howe had in mind when he referred to Spalding's work as "a book, in Spalding's hand-writing, containing about one quire of paper." If, when Howe wrote that sentence, he only had the first 24 page signature of the manuscript in front of him on his desk, he might have casually made reference to that part of the story as a "book" of "about one quire," while, at the same time, dismissing the remainder of Spalding's writings as useless rubbish.

Note 3: William Kelley is far more severe in his judgment of the probable character of the eight "Conneaut witnesses" than was his brother, Edmund L. Kelley. In his July 15th, 1885 letter to Counselor in the RLDS Presidency, William W. Blair, Edmund left open the possibility that the Spalding claims witnesses' whose testimony was printed by E. D. Howe in 1834 may have been honestly mistaken in equating the Book of Mormon with one of Spalding's stories. Edmund extended his speculation in this instance to the point of attributing the various points of literary identity provided in the witnesses' testimony to later insertions in their statements: "technical expressions and names that Hurlbut and Howe run in when they wrote up the "statements" for their 'witnesses.'" William, on the other hand, sees D. P. Hurlbut, "along with "Aaron Wright, John Miller, Henry Lake, et al." all "closeted with the [Oberlin] manuscript before them, endeavoring to invent a theory that would account for the origin of the Book of Mormon." This conspiracy between Hurlbut and the Conneaut witnesses, Elder Kelly attributes to their lust for notoriety and some "lucrative business," wherein they could assist "the devil" in "one more chance to close the eyes of the willing blind." Kelley's slander of the Conneaut witnesses here is palpable: he pictures them as nothing more than the anti-Mormon minions of "his Satanic Majesty" and willing liars in the service of "The devil and his agents." The good RLDS Apostle of Jesus Christ demonstrates no evidence of having personally investigated the reputations of the Conneaut witnesses, though he seems to have frequented the Kirtland area and could have easily spent a few hours in adjacent Ashtabula County, researching these people's lives from public records and eye-witness attestations. The fact that the Editor of the Saints' Herald printed such unsubstantiated vilification of likely innocent and honest old associates of Solomon Spalding speaks very poorly of the manager of a supposedly godly church journal.

Note 4: Kelley's analysis of the wording penciled upon the Oberlin Spalding manuscript's wrapper is not particularly useful. He took no pains to compare the handwriting with that of Spalding himself, or that of D. P. Hurlbut, examples of which he then had close at hand. The fact that the wrapper appeared to be "a little more modern" than the manuscript, along with the fact that the descriptive title was not written with the quill pen of Spalding's era, appears to confirm Kelly's notion that the wrapper was somewhat less of an antique than were its contents. He is probably correct in attributing the writing of the descriptive title to the 1830s. Unfortunately the wrapper has long since been discarded and there is now no chance of examining it and the writing that was upon it.

Note 5: Elder Kelley was seemingly unable to find any classical names in the sample of Spalding's writings he had before him. A critical compilation of the names occurring in the Oberlin Spalding manuscript reveals numerous instances of "classic" names therein: Constantine, Crito, Fabius, Lucian, Trojanus, etc. Spalding character names such as "Elseon," "Heliza," "Helicon," and "Lakoon" all have a Greek ring to them. "Helicon" appears in Virgil's Aeneid. "Crito" was the friend of Socrates. "Fabius" is found in Livy's History of Rome. "Laokoon" was the Trojan priest in Homer's Illiad. "Lucian of Samosata" was a famous Greco-Roman writer. Besides these, the names "Jesus" and "Jeshurun" are ancient biblical names, while Spalding's deathly place name of "Geheno" is an obvious derivation from the biblical valley of "Gehenna," a place of death symbolic of hell. Other ancient Old World proper nouns in Spalding's writings include: Chaldea, Egypt, Rome, Platonic, etc., etc. Clearly, Elder Kelley did not look very carefully at Spalding's names, nor at the fact that Spalding coined unique names by joining certain predictable prefixes or suffixes to a common root syllable (in cases of his related characters, at least) -- a phenomenon of nomenclature also typical in the Book of Mormon.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 15, 1885.                           No. 33.

WE send this number of the Herald, containing the first pages of the notorious "Manuscript Found," of Solomon Spaulding, and the letters and certificates of Messrs. Rice, Fairchild, and Kelley relating to it, to numerous persons not regular subscribers. We have not yet decided to publish the balance of it in the HERALD, for the reason that we will put it in pamphlet form at an early time, when those who wish can obtain it. Besides, there is a heavy demand on the columns of the HERALD for publication of other and more suitable matter. We shall decide before the next issue

                           NEWTON, Jasper Co., Iowa.
                           July 29th, 1885.
Bro. W. W. Blair. -- Since reaching my field I have tried to occupy advantageously. The peculiarities of the season have made arduous toil for the farmers, and the consequent busy times have hindered much in getting the attention of the people except on Sundays, and not even then at times. Since June 20th, Sundays, save one, have been occupied in the way of grove meetings; attendance reaching four hundred, and but for doubtful weather, at places would have been much more. There are several advertised for the near future; and such will be the order till cool weather. The ministry of the district cooperate in these; and since the 19th have had the valuable assistance of W. T. Bozarth, who though not in good health, toils steadily on.

The present situation in Utah, and press notices by the papers that have taken Bro. Joseph's work up, certainly are cheering; as also the unearthing of the long-lamented "Manuscript Found." What a tinkering of affidavits our friends(?) will have! It seems to me those who now canvass the latter day work are, if possible, less excusable for rejecting it than any hitherto; for the adage relative to truth -- "the eternal years are here" -- is sublime as applying to late events. Were all requirements enjoined by the gospel conformed to by those of the faith, what strides the work would make! This certainly is a far worse problem than the problem of pressure from without. We have heard our District President breathe some sighs of late upon intelligence to come and settle difficulties, "the causes of which and the ashes of a rye straw would be of equal merit."

Though trials come, 'tis found "the way of life" alone secures us peace. Hoping to labor patiently on till honorably acquitted.

                           I am in bonds,
                                      R. ETZENHOUSER.

                           SALT LAKE CITY, Utah,
                           August 3d, 1885.
Bro. Blair. -- I am pleased to learn that you have the manuscript of that pesky ":Spaulding Romance." Had we not got it, I should have had a dream denied, as I had had an intimation that we would get it. I believe in the law of compensation, and the Reorganization has been so favored in its unearthings of things hidden heretofore, that I should have disliked a failure in this. I hope John will rush it out. There ought to be a brief preface with it. Address at Malad for this week; and at Bozeman till the 15th.     Yours,
                    JOSEPH SMITH.


A verbatim Copy from the Original.


Words and sentenced underlined were stricken out of the Manuscript.
Places marked thus ------ the edges of the copy was illegible.


In this issue we begin the publication of the "Manuscript Story ("Manuscript Found"), of the late Rev. Solomon Spalding. What gives this document prominence is the fact that, for the past fifty years it has been made to do duty by the opposers of the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as the source, the root, and the inspiration, by and from which Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon wrote said Book of Mormon and organized the Church. It has been popularly and persistently claimed that the plan, subject matter, including prominent names and localities, history of the origin of the aboriginal races of America, with their arts and sciences, civilizations and customs, were identical in this "Manuscript Found" and in the Book of Mormon. Thousands have believed this false and foolish statement, without giving its truth or falsity an hour's fair and unprejudiced investigation, and then fought the book and the church with a readiness and a zeal almost without a parallel. And now that this veritable "Manuscript Found," with an unbroken chain of evidence proving its identity and running back to E. D. Howe, D. P. Hurlbut, Spalding's "old trunk," and so back to Pittsburgh, Conneaut, and to the very pen of Solomon Spalding, has by the providence of God been furnished us, and that, too, by those not of the Church, we take pleasure in exhibiting in the sunlight of solid facts, this hob-goblin of the pulpit, this "nigger-in-the-woodpile" of the press and the forum, that with which they have fooled and frightened the masses and blinded those inquiring into the origin and character of the Book of Mormon.

This seeming huge hindrance and insurmountable obstacle which is always thrown in the way of the investigator with all the skill and power that craft and cunning and malice and fear and blind zeal can invent and command, vanishes from the presence of this original witness in the case; for when it speaks it reveals the flimsiness and falsity of the claim that it was in any way or in any sense the origin of the Book of Mormon, or that there is the least likeness between the two. This newly found "missing link" completes the chain of evidence which proves that the "Manuscript Found" never was and never could be made the occasion, cause, or germ of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Spalding has been exalted by the opposers of the Latter Day Saints to the very pinnacle of fame, as a very learned, very moral, and very pious man. It is fortunate that his true measure and worth in respect to his learning, his morals, and his piety, is now furnished us in this "Manuscript Story." God judges men by their words, and it is wise for men to judge of each other after this manner. And when we estimate Mr. Spalding by the character of his work as exhibited in this document, we must grade him down to a very low level, whether in respect to scholarship. mental power, moral purity, or pious attainments and tendencies....


Near the west bank of the Coneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation, & numbers of those people who far exceeded the present Indians in works of art and ingenuity, I hapned to tread on a flat stone. This was at a small distance from the fort, & it lay on the top of a small mound of Earth exactly horizontal. The face of it had a singular appearance. I discovered a number of characters which appeared to me to be letters, but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the stone. But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on stones & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial Cave. I found by examining that its sides were lined with stones built in a connical form with - - - - - down, & that it was about eight feet deep. Determined to investigate the design of this extraordinary work of antiquity, I prepared myself with necessary requisites for that purpose and decended to the Bottom of the Cave. Observing one side to be perpendicular nearly three feet from the bottom, I began to inspect that part with accuracy. Here I noticed a big flat stone fixed in the form of a doar. I immediately tore it down and Lo, a cavity within the wall presented itself it being about three feet in diamiter from side to side and about two feet high. Within this cavity I found an earthen Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tite. The Box was two feet in length one & half in breadth & one & three inches in diameter. My mind filled with awful sensations which crowded fast upon me would hardly permit my hands to remove this venerable deposit, but curiosity soon gained the assendancy & the box was taken & raised to open it. When I had removed the Cover I found that it contained twenty-eight rolls of parchment -- & -- that when - - - appeared to be manuscrips written in eligant hand with Roman letters & in the Latin Language.

They were written on a variety of Subjects. But the Roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the author's life & that part of America which extends along the great Lakes & the waters of the Mississippy.

Extracts of the most interesting and important matters contained in this Roll I take the liberty to publish....

Note 1: The content of pp. 528-533 in this issue of the Saints' Herald follows almost exactly that of pages 8-27 of the 1885 RLDS publication of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript.

Note 2: Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser would maintain his hostile interest in the Spalding authorship claims for the rest of his life. See the text of his 1894 book, From Palmyra to Independence.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 29, 1885.                           No. 35.


It has been deemed best to not print any more of the "Manuscript Story" in the HERALD, but to publish it at once in pamphlet form and place it on the market. It will make a book of about the size of the Voice of Warning, and will cost, post-paid, twenty-five cents in paper covers, and forty cents in fancy cloth. A liberal discount will be made to agents and booksellers.


Bro. Levi Gamet says in a late letter:

"I think any man who, without prejudice, will stop long enough to compare the Book of Mormon with the "Manuscript Found," will have no trouble in seeing that there can not be the remotest connection between the two. Thus, in the providence of God, one of the chief obstacles that has served to obscure the light of truth is being removed."


No. 205, S. 2d. Street,      
August 15th, 1885.     

Bro. W. W. Blair: -- ... I am heartily glad that manuscript has been "found." What will Satan do now? How well he used the lie, and, O, how long! O, what a resemblance (?) there is between the manuscript and Book of Mormon. How much they don't read alike. It is worse than "Spaulding's Prepared Glue," "It won't hold worth a cent." I presume Satan thought it would never get back from Honolulu alive; but it did, though slightly crippled. Poor thing! I wonder if Mr. Spaulding's bones move with grief at the news of its publication? What about Hurlbut? Where is Mr. Braden? Where are all our sectarian friends? Don't all speak at once!...

I am, fraternally,           
            J. F. MCDOWELL.

Note: Once they had identified the Spalding story found in Honolulu as being the proverbial "Manuscript Found," the RLDS leaders did nothing to inform their members and readers of the Saints' Herald that there was considerable opposition from their non-Mormon critics over that very questionable identification -- that it might indeed be a wrong one altogether. The story of their having identified the piece correctly "played" so well with the RLDS audience that the editors of the Herald and other leaders apparently saw no reason to even attempt to investigate the facts in the case. Many months passed before the Herald editors even acknowledged (in the May 3, 1888 issue) that non-Mormons were challenging that very questionable identification. James A. Briggs, who had once served as legal counsel for the ex-Mormon D. P. Hurlbut, wrote an "open letter" on this subject to RLDS President, Joseph Smith III in 1886. If Smith ever bothered to read Briggs' "open letter," he certainly did not ask that it be quoted in the Herald. In that letter Briggs told President Smith: "Now I am very sure he had the identical story that you have printed with him. I remember about the ancient fort at Conneaut Creek, the mound, and the statement of finding the manuscript about the Indians. I have no doubt that Hurlbut, as he says, gave the story to Mr. E. D. Howe. But I believe he had also with him, and we had before us in that investigation, the original "Manuscript Found" written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding. I have said and believed for more than fifty years that I have seen and had in my hands the original "Manuscript Found" from which the Mormon Bible was made." The Oct. 30, 1886" issue of the Herald published a brief mention of one of Briggs' articles on this subject -- probably the one in which he says "Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia., has sent me a copy of the 'manuscript' found by Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu and published by the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. This is not a copy of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding."


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  September 12, 1885.                           No. 37.


VIOLA, Iowa. Aug. 31, 1885.     

Bro. W. W. Blair: -- I have taken a number of subscriptions here for the "Manuscript Found." They are much needed here where we have had a running fight for two years. I am desirous of acting as agent, please book me for fifty of them of the paper covers. When they are in print will send where to forward them to. Had an excellent time here the 28th to 31st.

Yours in Christ,                 
                 R. ETZENHOUSER.

Note: Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser was a particularly zealous proponent of the RLDS party line, as it was then developing in regard to the Church publishing the true "Manuscript Found" and thus "exploding," once and for all, the "Spalding lie." There is no indication that front-line missionaries like Etzenhouser ever considered for a moment that the new booklet from the RLDS Church they were palming off to people as the "Manuscript Found" might in fact not be that story at all. See his 1894 book From Palmyra to Independence for a typically doctrinaire RLDS treatment of the Spalding authorship claims.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  September 26, 1885.                           No. 39.

By the Huron Times, of Michigan, sent us of late, we see a Mr. Somebody rushes into print to enlighten the world on the "Founder of Mormonism." This zealous mortal revamps many of the stale and oft-refuted yarns hatched up by Howe, Hurlbut, Kidder, Ellen Dickinson, Braden, et al., all avowed enemies of Mormonism. If he had the wit of a _____, or the honesty of a Jesuit, he would know and admit that such parties crucified Christ, slew his disciples, persecuted the church of God... Genuine Mormonism will live and flourish... while its persecutors and maligners become in the world's history like Sodom and Gomorrah...


BROCTON, Mass.,     
Aug. 31, 1885.     

Pres. Blair, Dear Brother. -- ...The advance sheet of the Spaulding story is out. If it holds out as begun, what a monument it will prove to the genius and piety of the Rev. Presbyterian! Exit Braden! I felt the Spirit upon me when I first heard of the discovery of the manuscript, and I am satisfied that it is the original and only.

But then the devil has neither died nor exhausted his repertoire of lies, and we needn't be surprised at anything in the way of invention by him, or his clerical agents especially, that promises to keep the people from the investigation of the truth of God, Braden's misfortunes having seemingly taken him out of the way, his henchman, Mr. Demming, probably realizes "that it's an ill wind that blows nobody good," and is anxious for the manuscript, that "the Mormons burned up." He might succeed better than Messrs. Howe and Hurlbut, and turn an honest penny by negotiating with the Police Gazette! I wonder what Ellen Dickinson will think of her great uncle's novel? Too much piety (of a kind) in the Spaulding family! Howe, Hurlbut, Braden, Demming, et al., seem to be troubled in the same way. The time will come when these people or their children will learn that they can not afford to be willingly ignorant, or willfully unjust toward those who defend unpopular truths. Ellen Dickinson has misrepresented and slandered the Saints in this country; but the people are getting their eyes opened, and Phariseeism must procure new cloaks. Miss [sic] Dickenson, too, wants her Uncle's manuscript! and thinks she ought to have it! Perhaps she had!

Thanks be to God for his care and the diligence and wisdom of our brethren. Our interests are wisely and safely covered, so far as that is concerned, in any event. But it wouldn't help her new book which is to destroy Mormonism, and which she fondly hopes will be the humble means of -- making money.

                 M. H. BOND.

Note: Mr. Bond's story, of God's Holy Spirit resting upon him and providing him with a testimony that the Spalding story published by the RLDS Church is "the original and only" manuscript produced by that author, seems a most subjective and untrustworthy experience. The writer asks about the response of vocal critics like Arthur B. Deming and Ellen E. Dickinson, but the Herald supplies little or no information on their responses to the RLDS publication of the supposed "Manuscript Found." Deming was indeed an assistant of Clark Braden's during the 1884 Braden-Kelley Debate. He continued to research the Spalding authorship claims on his own and offered his findings in the 1888 issues of his short-lived newspaper. The Saints Herald noticed Deming's claims in a round about way in its issue of Mar. 3, 1888. Dickinson's 1885 book was published too late for her to give her views on the Honolulu manuscript therein, but a few months later she provided her response in the Oct. 7, 1886 issue of the New York Independent. Clark Braden also considered the probable history of the Honolulu find and concluded that it was not the veritable "Manuscript Found" described by a number of Spalding's associates. Braden's remarks on that particular topic were voiced by him during his 1891 reunion with RLDS Apostle Edmund L. Kelley in a public debate at Lamoni, Iowa. Although the event occurred within sight of the Saints' Herald offices, its editors chose not to print Braden's words regarding their so-called "Manuscript Found" booklet.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 31, 1885.                           No. 44.


Now that the "Manuscript Found" of the Rev. Solomon Spalding is printed and on sale at this office, we think it should be noted that when E. D. Howe of late demanded the manuscript of Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, Hawaii, he thereby admits it to be the very one he received from D. P. Hurlbut and Mrs. Spalding (Davison) -- the notorious "Manuscript Found" so often and persistently cited by anti-Mormons as the origin of the Book of Mormon. And it also should be noted that the endorsement by D. P. Hurlbut on said Manuscript identifies it as the very one, and the only one, which "Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others" are made to say by Howe and Hurlbut. that they heard Rev. Spaulding read so often to them, for they testify that they are "the writings," etc. This being true, it is certain that Howe and Hurlbut either manufactured or remodeled and corrupted the statements of Wright, Smith, Miller and others, where they make them say, in their "History of Mormonism," that they perceived a similarity in plot, names, phraseology, and special statements, in both the Book of Mormon and the said manuscript; for all who read the two will see they are not alike in any of these respects. The Book of Mormon describes what occurred under two distinct civilizations in succession -- the first coming out from the Tower of Babel about 2247 years before Christ; the other, Israelites, coming out from Judea about 600 years before Christ -- and both locating and flourishing in the northern part of South America, in Central America, and in the southern part of North America, chiefly, while the scenes of the "Manuscript Found" are located mainly in those limited regions adjacent to the upper Ohio river and tributaries, the chief actors in them being a few ship-wrecked Romans and Indians.

That Mr. Howe, and his fellow did change, and thereby corrupt the statements they published in their "History of Mormonism," may be further rendered probable, from the fact that, on page 288 of their book they say the manuscript they obtained from Mrs. Davison, the widow of Spalding, contained "about one quire of paper;" and now that we have that very document, well attested, we find it contains over 174 pages of foolscap, instead of a quire -- twenty-four sheets!

Writers who will thus mistate facts of which they well know -- and which they evidently intend others shall not know -- are likely to manufacture any statement they may think will suit their theories and their purposes. Whoever reads this Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon, will readily perceive that the author of the first was mentally, morally, religiously, and in point of essential learning, utterly incapable of writing the Book of Mormon, or anything like it. These, "the writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by "Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others," whose testimony is witnessed by that chief of anti-Mormons, D. P. Hurlbut, furnish us the full measure of their writer in respect to his abilities, tastes, and qualifications, enabling all to see the falsity and the wickedness of the claim that Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" furnished Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon the leading and chief material for the Book of Mormon. All fair-minded persons will accede to this when they examine the matter. Dr. Hyde, whose article appears in this issue, concedes this point. The enemies of the Book of Mormon will in the future hardly use this self-refuted "Manuscript Found" theory. But their inventive genius is likely to evolve some other -- and probably just as false and foolish. We shall see.

We call attention to the article of Dr. Hyde, taken from the Boston Congregationalist, on the Solomon Spaulding "Manuscript Found," and its reputed connection with the Book of Mormon. Read it.


Now comes the Rev. Dr. C. M. Hyde, of the North Pacific Missionary Institute at Honolulu, H. I., who in his correspondence to the Boston Congregationalist, of July 30th, last, makes the question the text of his whole letter, which we present as follows:



Just how many inquiries have come to Honolulu in regard to a manuscript in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, who came from Ohio to this city in 1879, to reside with his daughter, Mrs. J. M. Whitney. Mr. Rice was at one time editor of the Painesville (O.) Telegraph, having in connection with his partner, Mr. P. Winchester, in 1839 bought that newspaper, with all the appurtenances of the printing office in connection with it, from Mr. Eber D. Howe, the former proprietor, In the mass of material turned over to Mr. Rice was a small parcel that was labeled in pencil "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek." The parcel never had been opened till last summer, when Mr. Rice was looking over his papers, in search of memorabilia, in regard to the early anti-slavery movements in Ohio, in which he had actively engaged. He then found that it was the story written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding who, it has been claimed, wrote the "Book of Mormon," which Joseph Smith, Jr. published as an inspired translation of certain records, in regard to the American Indians and their connection with Christianity, engraved on golden plates, and found by him on the top of a hill in Palmyra, N.Y. In the rubbish of a printing office that manuscript of Mr. Spaulding's for which diligent search has hitherto been made in vain, has been as effectually lost as if it had been entombed in some forgotten Indian burial cave, to be strangely resurrected in these islands in the Pacific Ocean.

When President Fairchild of Oberlin College visited Honolulu last summer, he had the opportunity of examining this manuscript. In the Bibliotheca Sacra for January, 1885, he inserted a brief paragraph, expressing the opinion that this was not the original of the Book of Mormon, The Mormons came to the Hawaiian Islands in 184,6, seeking proselytes, and have now on Oahu quite a settlement, with fifteen "missionaries." They are anxious to secure and publish the manuscript, as the best refutation of the claim that has been made that Rev, Solomon Spaulding was the real author of the Book of Mormon. The statement of a few facts, however, will be convincing proof enough to any unprejudiced mind, both that this manuscript can not be the original of the Mormon Bible, and that Rev, Solomon Spaulding has no valid claim to have written any such book. It was through an article by Rev. D. R. Austin in the Boston Recorder. for 1839, that the claim was made for Mrs. Matilda Davidson, of Monson, that the Book of Mormon was written by her former husband, Rev. Solomon Spaulding.

The facts in regard to Mr. Spaulding are briefly these: He was born in Ashford Conn., in 1761; graduated at Dartmouth, 1785; was pastor of a church in Connecticut, 1787, but; left the ministry and went into business with his brother Josiah, in Cherry Valley, N. Y. In 1809 he removed to Conneaut, O., and thence, in 1812, to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he resided two years. Thence he removed to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816.

Conneaut and Painesville are in the northeastern corner of Ohio, not far from Kirtland, where, in 1831, Joe Smith established the Mormon Zion. He professed to have been told of the existence of the plates in 1823, but did not obtain them till 1827, nor was the translation finished till 1830. Then the first Mormon church was organized April 6th, 1830, of six members. In October four Elders set out on a mission to the Indians in the far West, and on their way, at Kirtland, O., made 130 converts to the Mormon faith, the number being increased the next spring to 1000. This was largely through the influence of Sidney Rigdon, formerly a Campbellite preacher, then residing at Kirtland, and in acquaintance of Parley P. Pratt, one of the four Mormon Elders, who gave him a copy of the Mormon Bible that had then just been printed. Early in 1831 Rigdon visited Joe Smith, and in consequence of his representations, Smith removed to Kirtland.

Howe published, in 1834, from the office of the Painesville Telegraph, a book called Mormonism Unveiled, in refutation of the pretensions of Joe Smith. This book was prepared by Dr. D. P. Hurlbut, now or lately residing in Sturgis, Mich. He had been at one time connected with the Mormons, but had left them and wrote this expose of their foolish and absurd notions. It was in this book that it was first claimed that Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the real author of the Book of Mormon. The claim seems to have originated in the statement of Henry Lake of Conneaut, at one time a partner of Mr. Spaulding. Mr. Lake, on hearing the Mormon Bible read, exclaimed that it was the same story that Spaulding had read to him twenty years before from his Manuscript Found. John Spaulding testified that his brother Solomon, about the year 1812, was writing a book called the Manuscript Found, showing that the American Indians are descendants of the Jews. "Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities found in various parts of North and South America. (After their battles) they buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this (section of the) country." His wife corroborates this testimony and says: "The names of Nephi and Lehi are yet fresh in my memory as being the principal heroes of his tale." These testimonies are confirmed by Messrs. Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, Nahum Howard, Artemas Cunningham, John N. Miller and others, and also as has been said above, by the widow of Rev. Solomon Spaulding.

After Mrs. Spaulding's death this widow removed to her brother's, Mr. Harvey Sabine, Onondaga Hollow, N.Y. In 1820 she married Mr. Davidson and removed to Hartwick, N. Y., removing thence, [in] 1832 to Monson, Mass., to reside with her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry. She had up to this time in her possession a small trunk with some manuscripts of her husband, but left it, in 1832, with Mr. Jerome Clark, in Hartwick. At Mr. Sabine's solicitation, she authorized Dr. Hurlbut to examine this trunk, and take the manuscripts he might find for comparison with the Book of Mormon. Only one manuscript was found, which purported to be a short unfinished romance, deriving the origin of the Indians from Rome, by a ship driven to the American coast while on a voyage to Britain, before the Christian era.

It is this manuscript which, through the purchase of the Painesville printing office, fell into Mr. Rice's possession, has been kept by him all these years in ignorance of its character, and is now brought again into public notice. On the last leaf is written: "The Writings of Solomon Spalding. Proved by Aron Wright, Oliver Smith, John Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. D. P. Hurlbut." The paper on which the manuscript was written is of poor quality, yellowed and softened by age, six and a half inches wide by eight inches long. One hundred and seventy-one pages are numbered and written out in full, but the threads which kept them together are broken, and pages 133 and 134 are missing. On the back of page 132 is the beginning of a letter in different handwriting. "Fond Parents I have received 2 letters this Jan. 1812."

The story has not the slightest resemblance in names, incidents or style to anything in the Book of Mormon. Its first nine chapters are headed: Introduction; An Epitomy of the Author's Life, and of his Arival in America; an account of the Settlement of the Ship's Company; Many Particulars respecting the Natives; A Journey to the N. W.; A Description of the Ohons; Description of the Learning; Relion; An Account of Baska, Government and Money. The Introduction begins thus" "Near the west Bank of the Conneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation and numbers of those people who far exceeded the present race of Indians in works of art and inginuety, I hapened to tread on a flat stone." This is then described as being the cover of an artificial cave, eight feet deep. In the side of this cave a recess is seen, in which an earthen jar is found, containing twenty-eight parchment sheets, "written in an elegant hand, with Roman letters and in the Latin Language." Then follows what purports to be a translation of one of these sheets, relating the adventures of Fabius, a young Roman sent by the Emperor Constantine from Rome to Britain, but driven by a storm to the coast of America. The wanderings of the shipwrecked party to the west are next described, and account given of the people, the Ohons, then living in the interior, with their manners and customs, and their wars with King Bombal and the Kentucks, Hadoram, king of Sciota, the Emperor Labmak and the allied nations under Habosan, king of Chianga, Ulipoon, king of Michegan, etc. Here is a specimen of the style: "While Labauko was engaged in conflict with another chief, Sambol thrust his sword into his side. This Labauka fell, lamented and beloved by all the subjects of Kentuck. His learning and penetration of mind, his integrity and courage had gained him universal respect and given him a commanding influence over the emperor and his other counselors."

There is no attempt whatever to imitate Bible language, and to introduce quotations from the Bible, as in the Book of Mormon. On the contrary, Rev. Solomon Spaulding seems to have been a man who had no very high regard for the Bible. There are two manuscript leaves in the parcel of the same size and handwriting as the other 171 pages of the manuscript. A few sentences will show the views of the writer. " It is enough for me to know that propositions which are in contradiction to each other cannot both be true, and that doctrines and facts which represent the Supreme Being as a barbarous and cruel tyrant, can never be dictated by infinite wisdom * * * But, notwithstanding I disavow any belief in the divinity of the Bible, and consider it a mere human production, designed to enrich and agrandize its authors, yet casting aside a considerable mass of rubbish and fanatical rant, I find that it contains a system of ethics or morals which cannot be excelled on account of their tendency to ameliorate the condition of man." It would seem improbable from such avowed belief that Rev. Solomon Spaulding was an orthodox, minister, who wrote the Book of Mormon in Biblical style while in poor health, for his own amusement. The statement is more probable that he wrote this Manuscript Found with the idea of making a little money, if he could find some one to print it for him.

It is evident from an inspection of this manuscript, and from the above statements that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon, Solomon Spaulding did not. The testimony of the Conneaut people after the lapse of twenty years, as to their knowledge of the contents of Spaulding's story, the Manuscript Found, is not to be relied upon, imperfect and contradictory as it is. The supposition that Spaulding wrote another story, which he carried with him to Pittsburgh, to the office of Patterson and Lambdin, to be printed; that he left it there, where it was found in 1822 by Rigdon when he worked in that office, and that Rigdon took this manuscript with him and published it through Joe Smith in 1830 as the Book of Mormon, is a most violent supposition, unsupported by any evidence whatever; Rigdon, in fact, having never met Smith till after the publication of the Mormon Bible. That Spaulding ever wrote any other romance seems to have been disproved by the date, 1812, found in the latter part of this manuscript, and by the correspondence of its contents with what it was found Spaulding had actually written. While, on the contrary, all that is known of Joe Smith, his money digging, his religious ranting, his schemes for getting a livelihood, corroborate the belief, in view of all the facts of the case, that he, and he alone, is the author of the Mormon Bible, and the founder of the Mormon Church.


We now offer for sale at this office the notorious "Manuscript Found," written by Rev. Solomon Spalding, about which so much has been said in connection with the theory that it furnished Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon the chief ground work and material from which to write the Book of Mormon. This book of 144 pages 8 mo, is now in the hands of the binder, and orders for it are solicited. Single copies, in cloth 45 cents; 10 copies or more to one address, 40 cents each; in paper, single copies 25 cents; 10 copies or more, to one address, 20 cents each. Liberal discounts to dealers.

Note 1: The Saints' Herald Editor (apparently William W. Blair) says: "it is certain that Howe and Hurlbut either manufactured or remodeled and corrupted the statements of Wright, Smith, Miller and others, where they make them say, in their "History of Mormonism," that they perceived a similarity in plot, names, phraseology, and special statements, in both the Book of Mormon and the said manuscript." Here the message given in the Herald resembles more that provided by Edmund L. Kelley in the July 25, 1885 issue than it does the accusations put forth by William H. Kelley in the August 8, 1885 number. Here the Conneaut witnesses are no longer conspiring servants of Satan, out to destroy the Mormon Church. Rather, they are set out to be providers of statements "either manufactured or remodeled and corrupted" by others. If the first notion is accepted, the eight Conneaut witnesses fade into practical non-existence and only their names remain, attached to "manufactured" depositions. If the second notion is given credence, each of the Conneaut witnesses allowed his or her respective statement to be "remodeled and corrupted" with the addition of spurious allegations of there being "a similarity in plot, names, phraseology, and special statements" in both Spalding's writings and Book of Mormon. In either case, the Editor of the Saints' Herald does not feel it worth his while to consider the possible veracity of a single assertion put forth by any of the Conneaut witnesses. He no doubt feels justified in taking this rigid stance because he has prejudged the manuscript discovered in Honolulu to be Spalding's famous "Manuscript Found." Having made this initial determination, he discards all other evidence to the contrary as being nothing but "falsity" and "wickedness." For one possible explanation of the origin of the "about one quire of paper" statement, see the "Notes" following Herald excerpts for August 8, 1885. A more likely possibility is that Howe was commenting on the amount of paper used to construct the Spalding manuscript he had in hand: 24 sheets of 13" x 16" paper, folded in quarters, to produce 192 pages, only the first 175 of which were written upon. Howe, being a printer, would have naturally measured the bulk amount of paper required for a book in terms of the sheets comprising printed forms, but not so naturally in terms of folded and trimmed page counts.

Note 2: Charles M. Hyde, D. D. was the President of the North Pacific Missionary Institute in Hawaii and an influential Protestant Minister in Honolulu in the 1880's. He was a friend of Lewis L. Rice and Rice allowed him to borrow and read the Spalding manuscript discovered at his home near Honolulu in 1884. Hyde's article regarding that manuscript was probably written in the early spring of 1885, but was delayed in its publication in The Congregationalist. Lewis L. Rice, in fact, states in his letter of May 14th, 1885 that Hyde had finished the article by that time.

Note 3: Rev. Hyde was not the only friend of Lewis L. Rice in Honolulu who inspected the Spalding manuscript and wrote a newspaper report regarding its contents. The Rev. Sereno E. Bishop authored an article entitled "Solomon Spalding's Manuscript Found at Honolulu," This piece was published in the NYC Independent on Sept. 10, 1885. In his review of the Honolulu find, Rev. Bishop points out some similarities between the story told in the manuscript and that of the Book of Mormon; he also passes along the notion that it might be the "Manuscript Found." But, at the end of his article, Bishop draws no firm conclusions as to whether or not some of Spalding's writings might have ended up in the Book of Mormon.

Note 4: Hyde emphatically states: "The testimony of the Conneaut people after the lapse of twenty years, as to their knowledge of the contents of Spaulding's story, the Manuscript Found, is not to be relied upon, imperfect and contradictory as it is." However, he does not point out the imperfections and contradictions he sees in those witnesses' collective testimony. In all other matters not relating to the supposed identity of Spaldings writings and the Book of Mormon, the witnesses appear to have provided accurate and truthful information. It seems almost unbelievable that all eight of them would suffer from faulty memories only in regard to the content of the Spalding story they had heard, and only in particulars regarding that story which are almost uniformly non-contradictory with each of the others; respective memories. At least Hyde did not accuse the Conneaut witnesses of conspiring with D. P. Hurlbut to knowingly compile a set of lies regarding Spalding and his writings, just in order to thwart the work of their Mormon neighbors.

Note 5: Hyde was apparently the first investigator who noticed the June 1812 date written at the head of a fragment of a letter, on page 132 of the manuscript. That page is the last one of a signature of pages, the back cover page, as it were, of one of the several thin folios comprising the manuscript. The page contains no text from Spalding's story and the direction of the handwriting appearing there is at a 90 degree angle to the horizon of Spalding's text. It is not his penmanship. Given these facts, the letter fragment written on page 132 may have been written either before or after Spalding wrote his text. It certainly cannot be counted upon as a chronological milestone for any part of Spalding's writings. The most probable circumstance is that the dated letter fragment pre-dates, at the very least, Spalding's writing of the rest of the pages in that particular little signature. Thus, those pages were probably written upon some time between June 1812 and Spalding's death in 1816. The initial composition of the story told in the Oberlin Spalding manuscript probably dates from the middle of 1811, but the holograph preserved at Oberlin College is at least a second draft of the original story and the exact date of its writing cannot be determined, beyond the probability that a few pages preceding page 132 were written after June 1812. These meager verities in no way preclude Spalding's writing of other manuscripts before, during, or after June 1812. There are many convincing items of evidence showing that Spalding did carry with him to Pittsburgh a holograph book he hoped to have printed there, and that the book he submitted for publication there was not the manuscript discovered in Honolulu in 1884.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 21, 1885.                           No. 47.


On page 429 of The Family Magazine, published in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1839, occurs the following article in respect to the Book of Mormon having been manufactured out of Rev. Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." occurs the following article in respect to the Book of Mormon having been manufactured out of Rev. Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." And now that this identical document, hidden away since 1834, after it went into the hands of the said "Dr. Philastus Hurlbut," who placed it with E. D. Howe of Painesville, Ohio, has lately been found and placed in the library at Oberlin College, Ohio, a copy of which is now published at this office, it seems fitting that the said article be given to our readers, that they may the better judge as to the reliability of these anti-Mormon witnesses.

Mrs. Davison, the widow of Rev. Spaulding, is here made to testify to the excellent character, refined culture, profound learning, and godly sentiments of her late husband -- Rev. Spaulding. And now that we have the said "Manuscript Found," all can by a careful reading and consideration of its contents form a correct opinion as to just what Mrs. Davison's testimony is worth. Rev. Spaulding's pretended learning, moral culture, intellectual capabilities, and religious excellence, are thoroughly refuted by his "Manuscript Found." Mrs. Davison says it "fell into my hands and was carefully preserved;" and, that she put it into the hands of Dr. P. Hurlbut, to use against the Book of Mormon. Hurlbut, in turn, put it into the hands of E. D. Howe to use against the Mormons, and the latter sold it, unknowingly, to R. R. [sic] Rice, who, unaware of its character, kept it with other papers and documents he bought of Howe, for forty-six years, when he in turn, placed it in the hands of Pres. J. H. Fairchild of Oberlin College, Ohio, where it now is.

Yes; we can now judge, by means of this manuscript, just the kind of writer Mr. Spaulding was, and also just how much credit should be given to the testimony of his widow and her fellow-witnesses, and further, just what the opinions, conjectures, theories, and arguments of the opposers of the Book of Mormon are worth. The "Manuscript" reveals their folly, and worse. Here is the article referred to:


"The Boston Recorder of April 5th, 1839, contains the following singular development of the origin and history of the Mormon Bible. It accounts most satisfactorily for the existence of the book, a fact which heretofore it has been difficult to explain. It was difficult to imagine how a work containing so many indications of being the production of a cultivated mind, should be connected with knavery so impudent, and a superstition so gross, as that which must have characterized the founders of this pretended religious sect. The present narrative, which, independently of the attestations annexed, appears to be by no means improbable, was procured from the writer by the Rev. Mr. Stow, [sic] of Holliston, who remarks that he has 'had occasion to come in contact with Mormonism in its grossest forms.' It was communicated by him for publication in the Recorder.

"As this book has excited much attention, and has been put by a certain new sect, in the place of the sacred scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin. That its claims to a divine origin are wholly unfounded, needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition, is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England, and even by those who have sustained the character of devoted Christians.

"Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with its gross delusions, so that excommunication has become necessary, I am determined to delay no longer doing what I can to strip the mask from this monster of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations: Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage, he resided in Cherry Valley, N.Y. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula county, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated upon Conneaut Creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem, there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers, and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man, and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity, of course, would lead him to write in
"His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit, occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and, assumed the title of 'Manuscript Found.' The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. S. progressed in deciphering 'the manuscript,' and when he had a sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with this work and repeatedly heard the whole of it read. From New Salem he removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. S. found an acquaintance and friend in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. P., who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time, and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons I cannot now state.

"Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all who were connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKenstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the 'Book of Mormon' came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the 'Manuscript Found' was written.

"A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, (New Salem) and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the 'Book of Mormon.' The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted, that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot and expressed in the meeting his deep sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends and others from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem. I am sure that nothing could grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work.

"The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics, as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and its author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.
                                            "MATILDA DAVISON.

"Reverend Solomon Spaulding was the first husband of the narrator of the above history. Since his decease, she has been married to a second husband by the name of Davison. She is now residing in this place; is a woman of irreproachable character and an humble Christian, and her testimony is worthy of implicit confidence.

"A. ELY, D. D., Pastor Cong. Church, in Monson.
D. R. AUSTIN, Prin. of Monson Academy.
MONSON, Mass. April 1st, 1839."


Bro. E. T. Dawson thinks the editors of the HERALD were wise twice -- "once when they printed so much of the Spaulding Romance, and twice when they printed no more of it."


We now offer for sale at this office the notorious "Manuscript Found," written by Rev. Solomon Spalding, about which so much has been said in connection with the theory that it furnished Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon the chief ground work and material from which to write the Book of Mormon. This book of 144 pages 8 mo, is now in the hands of the binder, and orders for it are solicited. Single copies, in cloth 45 cents; 10 copies or more to one address, 40 cents each; in paper, single copies 25 cents; 10 copies or more, to one address, 20 cents each. Liberal discounts to dealers.

Note 1: The writer of the editorial article (apparently Elder William W. Blair) speaks of "the widow of Rev, Spaulding" being "made to testify" in the composition of the 1839 Boston Recorder article, but he does not seriously question the source of the articles contents. Rather, the Saints' Herald Editor seeks to use the Widow's words against herself, by comparing her laudations of her late husband with the subject matter found in the Oberlin Spalding manuscript. Since the material in the manuscript is far less than religiously orthodox and well-written, the implication to the Saints' Herald Editor is that: "Spaulding's pretended learning, moral culture, intellectual capabilities, and religious excellence, are thoroughly refuted by his "Manuscript Found." By assuming that the Oberlin document is the exact same manuscript spoken of by Spalding's widow in the 1839 article, the Saints' Herald Editor is seemingly able to prove the Widow a liar, both in regard to the subject matter in Spalding's writings and in regard to his reported "sainted" character.

Note 2: In response to the first issue, it is evident so most serious investigators that the Oberlin holograph is not Spalding's well-attested "Manuscript Found," so its contents do not impinge upon the truthfulness of any statements made relating to the latter story in the 1839 article. In response to the second issue, evidence indicates that, while living in Ohio, Solomon Spalding did not advertise his former career as a Christian minister and made no special claims to personal piety or orthodoxy. In fact, he was probably something of a rationalist and perhaps a Deist in his personal philosophy. His religious profession of earlier years appears to have returned to him, in some small degree, while he was living in Amity, Pennsylvania. At least he was accorded the right of burial in the local Presbyterian church's graveyard, an honor not generally extended to "infidels" in those days. Judging from the subject matter in the Oberlin manuscript, an undated letter attributed to Spalding, and various anecdotal reports, the man was not a prime specimen of "moral culture" and "religious excellence." His demonstrated "intellectual capabilities," on the other hand, appear to be consistent with those of many college educated men of his day. The hasty scribbling of Spalding's uncorrected, imaginative thoughts (as recorded in the Oberlin manuscript) should not be regarded as anything like a polished example of his scholarship, completely ready for the printer's press and the serious attention of his intended readers.


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 5, 1885.                           No. 49.

A late Richmond (Missouri) Democrat, has the following on the "Manuscript Found." The spirit of the criticism is very excellent, its treatment is fair and honorable, but with some of its conclusions we take issue.

When the editor says -- "There is not a good thought or precept in the book (Mormon) that was not given to the world long before Joe Smith ever saw the light of day, -- and given too in better language and more clearly and forcibly," -- when the editor says this, if found true, it is no proof that the Book of Mormon is not of divine origin; (1), for the reason that repetition of facts is no evidence against their divinity or truthfulness, for the four gospels, the teachings of Jesus, the prophets and apostles, as also common observation is proof of this. If one witness of a fact is good, many are better. As for the "language" in which the Book of Mormon is written, it is probably equally as good as that in much of the Bible, especially the New Testament, was first written; for the apostles, in their speech, gave evidence that they were "unlearned and ignorant men," (Acts 4:13, with 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 2: 1, 4). Bishop Horne, a very eminent writer, says of the language in which the New Testament was written, "Very many of the Greek words, found in the New Testament, are not such as were adopted by men of education, and the higher and more polished ranks of life, but such as were in use with the common people. Now this shows that the writers became acquainted with the language, in consequence of an actual intercourse with those who spoke it, rather than from any study of books, and that intercourse must have been very much confined to the middling or even lower classes, since the words and phrases, most frequently used by them, passed current only among the vulgar." etc. -- Introduction vol. 2; p. 22.

The various versions of the Bible give us, in a very large degree, the language, not of its first writers, but rather of its various translators. Therefore, the divinity of the Bible is seen, not in its language, but in its facts and sentiments.

The beautiful and forceful style of a statement is not evidence of its truth, whether found in the Book of Mormon, Bible, or elsewhere; and their absence is no evidence of falsity or want of divinity. The Democrat says:


This is the title of a little book of 144 pages, sent to us by the Saints' Herald, of Lamoni, Iowa, with a request that we review the same. In brief the book is the manuscript story of the late Rev. Solomon Spaulding, from a verbatim copy of the original now in care of President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin, Ohio, College. The story is presented by the Church of the Latter Day Saints as proof that the charge is false that this Spaulding story was "the source, the root and inspiration, by which Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon," the original manuscript of which is now in possession of David Whitmer, Esq., of Richmond. For many years the opponents of the Book of Mormon have claimed that the plan, subject matter, including prominent names and localities, history of the origin of the aboriginal races of America, with their arts and sciences, civilizations and customs, were identical in this "Manuscript Found" and in the Book of Mormon. The little book before us proves conclusively the absurdity of this claim. We have not had time to go through it carefully, but a glance at its pages is sufficient to convince us that the Book of Mormon was never founded on the absurd "Manuscript Story," which possesses no merit whatever in any direction.

We can say this much without expressing any belief whatever in the origin of the Book of Mormon, a book we have but casually glanced through. We can not for a moment believe with our brethren of the Saints' Herald that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. There is not a good thought or precept in the book that was not given to the world, long before Joe Smith ever saw the light of day, -- and given too in better language and more clearly and forcibly. If the Book of Mormon was wiped out of existence and forgotten not one truth necessary to the welfare of humanity here or hereafter would be lost to the world. Why? Because every truth contained in the Book of Mormon is found elsewhere. It is not belief in books that the world needs but an acting out of the belief that must exist in every heart, that as we live here on this earth plane so shall we arrive on the shore of the land where no material body exists and where no need of such a body is felt. Dogmas, doctrines and creeds, are but useless appendages tacked on here by man. None of these are necessary to the soul's progress to a state of perfection and happiness on the other side. There we will find no such appendages. Salvation will indeed be free to all who will but open their eyes and recognize the life that is before them. In but a single precept there is enough religion for the whole world -- that is, Do right and fear not, for in the heart that is true to itself and just to others there is no room for fear here and no thought of fear as to the result of the life that is to follow this. Let every soul rejoice in this precept and the awakening of that soul in the life beyond will be such as no mortal can picture and no human mind understand were it pictured in ever so plain a language.

Yet we would not take away from any one the Book of Mormon, or any book. If he or she feels the necessity of such a book let it be theirs to read and consider, and let those who read follow out the truths that branch off like tendrils from the one great central truth; Life is immortal and he who wishes to travel the paths of progressive spirits or souls in the second and lasting life must cleanse his life here of all impurities that would weigh down and retard the progress of the spirit, and make it unfit for association with its companions whose earth lives have been passed with a view to this higher life in a world that knows no stopping to cavil and quarrel over doctrinal points that will not save or condemn any one.

Life is real. life is earnest,
  Let us live it best we can,
For the life that lies beyond us
  Is not made by hand of man.
Bit it is a glorious realm
  Brighter than man can conceive,
And when once he enters there
  Doubts disappear, and all believe.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 12, 1885.                             No. 50.

MANY of the journals to whom we sent the "Manuscript Story" of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, have given it a very fair and candid review. Here is one from the "Republican" of Harlan, Iowa.

"A book received at this office entitled 'The Manuscript Found,' will be interesting to our readers of the L. D. S. Church, and to others as well. It is the story, complete, which was written by one Rev. Solomon Spaulding about forty years ago, and which, it is claimed by some, the Book of Mormon was founded on, or rather was a copy of. The matter has been in dispute for several years, but the finding of the original manuscript in the possession of a Mr. Rice, who now lives in the Sandwich Islands, but who formerly lived in Ohio, and who bought the printing office in which the manuscript story of Rev. Spaulding was left, has enabled a comparison to be made between it and the Book of Mormon, and no real resemblance can be traced between them. The book giving this complete history and text of the 'Manuscript Found' is published at Lamoni, Iowa, by the Saints' Herald Publishing Co."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 32.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 26, 1885.                             No. 52.


The following is from the Richmond (Mo.) Democrat of the 17th inst. We appreciate the kind feeling and honorable spirit in which it is written. The editor is ready to acknowledge and defend the good in all, irrespective of religious bias, and give credit to every one on their personal merit. The Conservator also of the same city has ever exhibited fairness in treating Bro. Whitmer's connection with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

"'Uncle' David Whitmer is lying very sick at his residence on east main street, and once or twice during the past week it seemed that the grand old man's last hour upon earth had arrived. But thanks to the watchful care of his relatives and his own wonderful vitality, he has each time rallied. The story of 'Uncle' David's life forms a wonderful chapter in the history of this country. He is, as most of our readers know, the last of the trio (Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris being the other two) who attested to the truth of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and were present and saw the angel from heaven deliver the golden plates, to Joseph Smith, from which the book was translated. He is the possessor of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon and also the only authentic history of the Mormon Church from the time of its foundation up to the time of his location in Richmond in 1838."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 2, 1886.                           No. 1.


We append below an editorial from the Chicago Sunday Times of the 20th ult., in respect to Mormonism, Joseph the Seer and David Whitmer, which will be read with deep interest, for the reason that it breathes a spirit of fairness, an inquiry which promises good for the truth and for those who love the truth.

In another place will be found a lengthy article from the pen of a Chicago Tribune reporter who personally interviewed Bro. David Whitmer at Richmond, Mo., the 15th ult....

The Times says:

"Do people in general want to know the truth about Joseph Smith, the founder of the sect which styles itself the 'Latter Day Saints,' and the origin of the book which they claim supplements the Old and New Testaments? Apparently they do not. A large number of persons in Utah and a considerable number scattered through the various states and territories devoutly believe that Joseph Smith was a man who lived a pure and noble life, and that 'he went about doing good.' They also believe that he was divinely commissioned to bring to the knowledge of the world a portion of sacred history and a revelation equal in value to that contained in the book which is the religious guide of Jews and Christians.

"The majority of persons -- Jews, Catholics, Protestants, agnostics, and infidels -- declare that Joseph Smith was an impostor, a fraud, and a deceiver, and that he sought to gain converts to a new religion for the purpose of using them for selfish purposes. They state that the life he led, the example he set, and the doctrines he preached were all bad. They affirm that the so-called Mormon bible was obtained by Sidney Rigdon, a companion of Smith's from one Solomon Spaulding, who prepared a pretended history of the lost tribe[s] of Israel for the amusement of himself and his friends. They believe, or pretend to believe, that polygamy was one of the cardinal doctrines taught by Joseph Smith, and that the authority for it is contained in the 'Book of Mormon.' They declare that polygamy is the corner-stone of Mormonism, and that the entire structure of the church would fall if it were removed. They freely state that the leaders in the Mormon Church are insincere, and that all their followers are ignorant and depraved. It is fair to presume that few of these persons ever read any of the publications of the 'Saints,' or ever attended any of their meetings.

"It may astonish many people to learn that the original sect as founded by Joseph Smith, and which never countenanced the practice of polygamy, is increasing as fast as most comparatively new religious denominations ever have....

"At last accounts, David Whitmer the last of the original testifiers of the existence of the golden plates from which the 'Book of Mormon' were translated, was approaching death at his home at Richmond, Missouri. He went to that state over forty years ago, with Joseph Smith. His neighbors of every sort of political and religious predilections unite in giving him an exceedingly high character for hinesty, truthfulness and courage. No man, it is said, ever doubted his word in regard to any ordinary matter. Why should not the testimony of a man so truthful, so honest, so courageous, be accepted in relation to the golden plates and the character of the man who professed to discover them? It is certainly to be regretted that no well regulated attempt has ever been made to establish the truth or falsity of the story in regard to the miraculous finding of the golden plates, the alleged miracles of Joseph Smith and his early disciples, or to ascertain the real character of the man who is regarded by some as a prophet and saint, and by others as an impostor and knave. That he was no ordinary man seems certain. If he was an impostor, he had no equal in modern times. The persons on whose testimony his character might have been determined have nearly all passed away. His widow died a few years ago at Nauvoo, in this state. She was acknowledged to be a very able and excellent woman. One by one the persons who knew Smith are passing away. It will soon be too late to ascertain from living witnesses what manner of man he really was. A historical society would not undertake a better work than that of collecting, recording, and classifying the evidence that can now be obtained in relation to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion.

(Special Correspondence to Chicago Tribune).

David Whitmer, one of the founders of the Mormon church, and a resident of the quaint and interesting village of Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, for almost a half century, lies at the point of death...

...Mr. Whitmer says that among the first adherents to embrace the new faith [Mormonism] were many of the most intellectual and refined men and women in that locality, and the ranks were not recruited from the ignorant and sensuous classes like the Mormons of Utah. The year following the organization of the church the disciples moved to Ohio, where they had been most successful in proselyting, and a temple was erected in Kirtland. It was at this place that Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young joined the church, and it was here that the first dissention occurred.

Concerning Sidney Rigdon, who was said to have stolen the manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which, it was alleged, had been written by a Presbyterian preacher named Solomon Spaulding, and originally intended as a romance, Mr. Whitmer asserts that nothing could have been more improbable, as neither Smith, himself, or the other disciples ever knew Rigdon until they moved to Ohio...

(for continuation see original article from Chicago paper)

The Conneautville (Pa) Courier of the 17th ult., has this to say if Elder G. T. Griffiths:

Rev. G. T. Griffiths, the Latter Day Saint preacher, who has been holding meetings in the Pettit school house the past week, says that there are many people prejudiced against their denomination on account of connecting it with the Utah Mormons, when in fact it is strongly opposed to that church, and is one of its most active opponents. Polygamy never was a part of Mormonism proper, neither is it a tenet of the doctrine as taught by Joseph Smith, Jr., the head of the Church of Latter Day Saints, whose headquarters are at Lamoni, Iowa. Rev. Griffiths defines the doctrines of his church as follows:

First, Faith in God and Jesus Christ. Second, Repentance. Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Fourth, Laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, healing the sick, blessing of children and ordination of the ministry. Fifth, Resurrection of the dead. Sixth, Eternal judgment, second coming of Christ, and millennial reign. We believe in the signs Jesus said should follow the believers, such as tongues, prophecy, dreams, visions, etc. We believe one man should have only one wife, and one woman only one husband, except in case of death, then they are at liberty to marry again. We further believe that all men who keep the laws of God will be in subjection to the laws of the land.

By this it is seen Bro. Griffiths is planting the work of God right in the vicinity where Solomon Spaulding wrote the notorious "Manuscript Story," and meets with success. The tide is turning.

Note: Apostle Gomer T. Griffiths was laboring in Crawford Co., Pennsylvania during 1886. Solomon Spalding wrote his manuscripts in the next county to the north: Erie Co., and in the next county to the west of that, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Griffiths complained in the 1887 Herald that the remnant of Spalding's relatives still living in that area had caused "a great deal of prejudice to exist in Conneaut township" against the Mormon religion.


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 9, 1886.                           No. 2.

THE following clipping is from the Pittsburgh (Pa) Leader, of Sunday, December 27th, and is full of good points:


"A communication has been received from Mark H. Forscutt, pastor of Saints' Church, Fourth avenue, with reference to the posthumous story of the late Rev. Solomon Spaulding, upon which the Book of Mormon is by many believed to have been founded. In speaking of the "Manuscript Found," by which the original manuscript of Spaulding's story is known, Mr. Forscutt says: 'The publication of the Manuscript Found uncovers the fraud. Friends of the deceased Spaulding have certified that the historic 'incidents,' in detail, name and all contained therein, (except 'the religious part,' as found in the Book of Mormon,) are identical with those written by Mr. Spaulding in his 'Manuscript Found.' They tell us also that 'the sorrow-stricken widow,' and brother, and friends of 'the revered and lamented' Mr. Spaulding were 'much shocked,' and that the 'widowed wife wept bitterly,' when she and they heard the Book of Mormon read, and saw that his work had been prostituted to 'so base a use;' for they recognized the names of Laban, Lehi, Nephi and others there found as 'names which they remembered very distinctly(!)' precisely as they occurred in the Manuscript Found! Now that this precious manuscript is published, the phenomenally excellent memories of Mr. Spaulding's friends, who could accurately remember and succinctly describe, more than twenty years afterwards, what they had casually heard read by the fireside to while away the long winter evenings -- these remarkable memories can now be tested. The only drawback to their memorial powers lies in the two facts: Firstly, That they remembered only after hearing the Book of Mormon read, and after having been admonished of the identity; and secondly, and most damaging of all, that they remembered what had no existence in fact and perjured themselves to destroy, if possible, the claims of that book, for not one of these names that they remembered, so distinctly is in the Manuscript Found, and yet it is the veritable manuscript they certified to. It was possessed by Mr. Howe, and would have been published by him only 'it did not read as they expected it would;' for it was obtained for this purpose from Mrs. Spaulding by D. P. Hurlbut, and handed by him to Howe for publication. It was transferred by Howe in 1839-40 to Mr. L. L. Rice, who has owned it ever since. Will these testators and their publishers now -- will the men be manly enough, the women womanly enough, the publishers honest enough to make the amends honorable? We shall see."

Note 1: The Editor of the Pittsburgh Leader neglects to inform his readers that Elder Mark H. Forscutt (1834-1903) was pastor of the Reorganized Latter Day "Saints' Church" in Pittsburgh at this date. Forscutt had been an RLDS since 1865 and he should have made this fact clear when he wrote his letter to the Leader. His obvious purpose was to promote the new "party line" of the RLDS leaders: that they had recently located and published Solomon Spalding's long lost "Manuscript Found" and shown it to be in no way connected with the Book of Mormon, thus disproving most of the old evidence supporting the Spalding authorship claims.

Note 2: Elder Forscutt alleges that what little the Conneaut witnesses knew of Solomon Spalding's writings, "they had casually heard read by the fireside to while away the long winter evenings." This is a gross misrepresentation of the testimony relating why and how Spalding communicated the contents of his "Manuscript Found" to his neighbors and relatives living on or near the banks of Conneaut Creek. Spalding's writings reportedly gave the origin of the mysterious ancient mounds and strange artifacts of an "advanced" culture so evident throughout the Conneaut region. The origin of these remarkable antiquities he attributed to an ancient Old World civilization, a colony of which had been miraculously transported to the Americas long before the advent of Columbus. For this reason, if for no other, Spalding's readers and auditors were prone to consider his purported "ancient" epic story with great curiosity and interest. After all, he represented his uniquely informative "ancient record" as having been dug up in their very own, mound-strewn backyards.

Besides this, Spalding parceled out the disclosure of his "ancient record" in small installments, creating the 1812 equivalent of a media serial -- something like a frontier version of the oft-remembered "Roots" TV mini-series. Quite likely Spalding accentuated his readings from the "ancient record" with the dramatic flair of an accomplished oral story-teller, repeating certain portions for emphasis and re-summarizing the story to date at the beginning of each periodic installment. Some of his readers and auditors thus encountered the telling of "America's ancient epic" in a repetitive and memorable group experience, along with other friends and neighbors. In an era when there were no bookstores in the Conneaut region, and precious little literary diversion, Spalding's serialized readings of secret works of darkness, bloody contentions, and heroic stratagems may have been the only entertaining group experience his friends and relatives enjoyed during the locally ever-threatening War of 1812.

In the case of Henry Lake, Solomon Spalding reportedly tried very hard to ensnare Lake as a partner in financing the publication of this "ancient record." Spalding no doubt attempted the same sales promotion with other neighbors in the Conneaut area, foisting upon them endless readings from his supposedly wondrous epic story. As a side issue, Spalding probably also thus publicized one of his pet hobbies: that the ancient American were actually Israelites, the Indians being their degenerated descendants. This oddly appealing notion managed to kill two birds with one stone, accounting for the origin of "civilized" ancient American antiquities, while also explaining where a necessary "remnant" of ancient Israel had been preserved, in order to fulfill certain important biblical prophecies. Such questions were very much upon the minds of frontier Americans of that era and Spaldings dramatic answers to their questions were compiled into something much more than a light fairy tale "they had casually heard read by the fireside to while away" their tedious evening hours.


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 23, 1886.                           No. 4

The Plano. (Illinois), Pivot, of the 5th ult., has the following to say of the "Manuscript Story." The views the editor takes are decidedly sensible.
"Everybody is aware that there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon, a very prevalent belief being that Jos. Smith obtained the foundation ideas of that work from a manuscript written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and with the help of Sidney Rigdon elaborated it to the present form. The truth or falsity of this theory has been a matter of vital importance to the Latter Day Saints, and therefore they hailed with joy the discovery of the lost manuscript, a verbatim reprint of which has been sent us from the publication office of the Reorganized Church at Lamoni, Iowa. This pamphlet of about 150 pages contains letters establishing the authenticity of the Manuscript Found as that written by Spaulding. It was accidentally discovered by Pres. Fairchild of Oberlin College, among the papers of L. L. Rice of Honolulu, who was for years state printer in Ohio. He says that it came into his possession with a miscellaneous collection found in a printing office bought by him in 1839, but that he had never examined it till President Fairchild made him a visit about a year ago. The original manuscript is now in the Oberlin college library, and Pres. Fairchild says he could detect no resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon. We are not sufficiently acquainted with the latter book to render an opinion, but we certainly see nothing in Spaulding's story that would suggest any of the theories advanced by Smith, or assist in maturing them. Of course this does not establish the authenticity of Smith's revelations, but it saves the trouble of further refutations in one direction."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 13, 1886.                           No. 7.

THERE is a very great amount of reluctance upon the part of the "unco pious" to admit the identity of the Spaulding "Manuscript Found," which was unearthed and brought to light at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, as the "Manuscript Found," for which the claim has so long been made that it was the original of the Book of Mormon. Wiseacres are now advancing the idea that "there was, there must have been" two Manuscripts Found; one in common English, the other in Hebraistic; the one a religious romance, the other an allegorical and mythical account of the early settlement of a portion of the Western Continent. Mr. Clark Braden even went to so far as to assert that there were three or four copies of the Manuscript Found, one of which fell into "Smith's hands."

Prof. Samuel S. Partello writes thus learnedly in the Chicago Morning News for January 28, 1886:



So much has been written in reference to the "Book of Mormon" and its connection with the literary effusion of Solomon Spaulding, written and lost in the year 1814, that the recent discovery of the so-called "Manuscript Found" has again put before the skeptics the wherewithal to verify the truth of its identity with the Mormon Testament. The writer finds himself, through the courtesy of a reverend correspondent at the Sandwich Islands, enabled to give an outline of this new-found manuscript, including a copy of the first few pages.

This famous lost work of Spaulding owes its notoriety to being the supposed original document which the Mormon Bible was in part derived. A great many accounts have been written about it, in different books discussing Mormonism, as being without doubt the source from which the companions of Joseph Smith derived much of the alleged contents of the golden plates. Our knowledge of its contents, however, has hitherto been confined to what has been obtained from the memory of a number of persons who read it at the time that Spaulding completed it, none of whom are now living. The manuscript itself disappeared when it left the hands of its author in 1814 to go to the printers, a firm by the name of Patterson & Lambdin, at Pittsburg.

By the favor of the correspondent, now in Honolulu, it is my privilege to say that the long-lost and noted document has lately been discovered in the hands of Mr. L. L. Rice, a Honolulu resident, who removed from Oberlin, O., there about five years ago. Not long ago it occurred to the venerable gentleman to make an examination of a box of old papers which had accumulated during a period of twenty-five or thirty years of his life as a newspaper editor and publisher in Cleveland and other places in northeastern Ohio. Among those musty and dust-laden papers there was a small package wrapped in strong buff paper, tied with a piece of stout twine and plainly marked on the outside in pencil, in Mr. Rice's own hand; "Manuscript Story. Conneaut."

The exterior of the package seemed somewhat familiar to its owner, but yet he could not definitely fix on his mind the events in connection with his possession of it, and he did not remember having inspected its contents. He lost no time now in making an examination of it, calling in subsequently the writer's informant and another friend. The examination disclosed an old manuscript book of some two hundred closely written pages, carefully sewn in book form, about 7 by 6 . It was brown and dusty with age. The first twenty pages show the effects of much handling, and are somewhat gnawed and damaged by insects, but no great injury to the writing has been done. A few extra outside leaves remain attached to the back of the book, on one of which in a rough hand is inscribed:

"Writings of Solomon Spaulding, Proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others.

"The testimonials of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.   D. P. Hurlbut."

Mr. Rice was wholly unable to account for how or when this manuscript came into his possession. He says that he has no knowledge of the persons whose names are mentioned above. Some forty of fifty years ago Mr. Rice was editor of The Painesville Telegraph, about thirty miles from Conneaut, the residence of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, then deceased. He conjectures that it must have been placed in his hands at that period for perusal and subsequently for publication. He personally knew Samuel [sic] Rigdon, one of Smith's right-hand men and later a Mormon apostle, their first location being at Kirtland, in the same county in which he lived.

Unlike the Mormon Bible, Spaulding's manuscript as found is not sham Hebraistic, but in ordinary English. It contains no quotations from the Bible, unlike the other, which transfers large portions of Isaiah and other books. Both devise a number of uncouth names for their characters; both record a series of desperate wars;,both narrate a voyage across the Atlantic in ancient times, and a settlement in North America. But whether this manuscript is the original is yet to be proved, although there have been witnesses who have stated that Spaulding told them that he had altered his first plan of writing by going further back with dates and writing in the old scriptural style in order that it might appear more ancient. But a closer comparison of the two nooks should be carefully made before accepting the manuscript as the original work of Spaulding. Below will be found a copy verbatim from Mr. Rice's find. The asterisks indicate where it is illegible or obliterated: * * *

... †

The foregoing will suffice as a verbatim sample of the book as taken from the manuscript found by Mr. Rice.

The party reach America and settle there, removing after two years to the Ohio region. Long accounts of the inhabitants and their wars are given, which I have not closely examined. The book having achieved such note, it would not seem out of order to make further and more direct inquiries into this manuscript, and which Mr. Rice would seemingly approve of. Whatever may be the result, its supposed connection with the "Book of Mormon" will furnish at least a valuable piece of literary history.
                            Prof. Samuel S. Partello.

† (We leave out the quotation, as it was but the opening chapter and has been published in the HERALD, and is in print in the "Manuscript Found," on sale at this office. -- ED.

Note 1: Samuel S. Partello was perhaps a medical doctor and teacher living in the Chicago area in the 1880s. A "Samuel Sidney Partello, Jr." of Illinois is known to have died in California in 1942. One source identifies Samuel S. Partello as being a "surgeon with the Red Cross." Although Partello does not name his "reverend correspondent" who was then "in Honolulu" and "called in" by Lewis L. Rice to examine his documentary find, the possible choice of persons appears to narrow down to either the Rev. Charles M. Hyde or the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop, both of Honolulu. The format and wording of Partello's article strongly resembles Bishop's own article, published in the NY Independent on Sept. 10, 1885, so it is likely that, either directly or indirectly, Rev. Serano E. Bishop was Partello's information source. Partello's unverified, self-proclaimed involvement with the Honolulu discovery was questioned by G. Frederick Wright in an article in the Oberlin Review of Feb. 20, 1886 (reprinted in the Literary World of April 3, 1886).

Note 2: Perhaps the primary value of Partello's article is that the Chicago Morning News telegraphed its words to other newspaper offices the following day and they were picked up as a pseudo press release by interested editors at the New York Tribune. Although the contents of Partello's article were by then rather stale "news," the Tribune reprinted them in a somewhat sensational sounding abridgement on Jan. 29, 1886. That abbreviated story, in turn, was read by James A. Briggs, an old-time former resident of the Kirtland area, who had once served as D. P. Hurlbut's attorney. Briggs was stimulated to write several different "letters to the editor" on the subject of Book of Mormon origins (on Jan. 29, March 11, Oct. 2, etc.), well documenting his involvement with Hurlbut during the winter of 1833-34, among other things. Briggs eventually helped influence Lewis L. Rice to change his mind about the writings of Solomon Spalding (from at first dismissing the Spalding authorship claims, to later taking those claims more seriously).


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 3, 1886.                           No. 14.

WE publish the following letter from Mr. L. L. Rice who, in the providence of God, unknowingly held the notorious "Manuscript Found" for nearly fifty years just as it came into his hands with the printing office he purchased from the Mormon-eater, E. D. Howe. It will be seen he endorses the printed copy as being correct, "and well preserving the character of the original." His views in respect to the labors of Pres. Joseph Smith in Utah and Idaho last year are just and sensible.

                           HONOLULU Feb. 21st, 1886.
Mr. W. W. Blair: -- I received from yourself. or some one connected with your establishment, as I suppose, ten copies of the "Manuscript Found," printed in good style, and well preserving the character of the original. I have disposed of them all "where they would do the most good," as the phrase is, except a single copy I have preserved for my own use. I very much want another copy, to send to a friend in New York. You will further greatly oblige me, if you will send a copy of it by mail, addressed to James A. Briggs, Esq., 177 Washington St., Brooklyn, New York.

I have read with great interest, in the Saints' Herald, the accounts of President Smith's tour in Utah, &c., to propagate Anti-Polygamic Mormonism. It seems to me his mission augurs the way in which the polygamous Mormons are found to relieve themselves of their present difficulties.     Very truly, &c.,
                           L. L. RICE.

Note: This was to be the second to the last letter Lewis L. Rice saw published, in regard to the Spalding authorship claims. He died at his son-in-law's house, near Honolulu, on April 14, 1886.


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 29, 1886.                           No. 21.

Mr. L. L. Rice is dead. For forty-four years he had the original "Manuscript Story" ("Manuscript Found") of Solomon Spaulding in his possession without having examined it or in any way knowing what it was. It seems a wise dispensation of an overruling Providence that he should be made, unwittingly, the custodian of that document which has been made a means by cunning and unscrupulous men with which to oppose the Book of Mormon; but which now becomes effectual in unmasking the villainy of those men and in covering their reputation with richly merited shame and confusion.

Mr. Rice acted honestly and wisely in this matter, and we trust that his noble spirit, returning to God who gave it, now rests in the Divine favor of the great and good. The following clippings we take from the "Daily Honolulu (Sandwich Islands) Press," of April 15th, 1886.

The death of the venerable L. L. Rice recalls his connection with the celebrated (?) Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." The Mormon Church or more properly the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," was founded by Joseph Smith. Smith, it is claimed, discovered some metallic plates buried at Mount Cumorah, on which were engraved the Book of Mormon, purporting to be a history of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and tracing their wanderings to America. From this account it appears that the American Indian traces his ancestry to Moses, Abraham and Isaac. The Book of Mormon has nothing whatever to do with the faith or creed of the Mormon Church, which derives its inspiration from a work called "Doctrine and Covenants" and subsequent revelations to Brigham Young and others. The Book of Mormon was merely a "starter." An effort was made to prove that the Book of Mormon was either a copy of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" or was suggested by it. The "Manuscript Found," by a variety of circumstances, came into the possession of Mr. Rice, who subsequently deposited it with President Fairchild of Oberlin College. A copy was furnished to the Josephites, an offshoot of the church, and by them published in Iowa. The discovery and publication of the manuscript, has demonstrated beyond a doubt that it never inspired or suggested the publication of the Book of Mormon.

L.  L.  RICE.

He was born in Otsego Co., N. Y., in 1801. As a young man he went to New York City where he learned the printing business early in this century. While living there he was led to take the total abstinence pledge, and enrolled himself upon that platform, and has done much for the cause of temperance during a long life, the most of which found him identified with the newspapers of Ohio. He went to that State before 1830, and for fifty years was one of her leading citizens. About 1830 he began the publication of an anti-Masonic paper. A few years later he removed to Cleveland where for many years he was the editor and publisher of a paper which was the predecessor of the Cleveland Leader and was dedicated to the agitation of anti-slavery principles.

In 1848 he went to Columbus, the capital of the State, and began the publication of a paper in that city.

For more than twenty-five years he was identified with the public life of Columbus. at first as an editor, then as State printer, and in other positions.

He was well-known and greatly beloved. He had for his friends and associates such men as Garrison, Giddings, Jas. G. Birney, Salmon P. Chase, and men of their stamp.

Father Rice, as he was affectionately called during his residence in Columbus, was a man of strong intellectual power, and was thoroughly consecrated to the highest purposes of life. He was permitted to see the triumph of some of the principles he so vigorously and ardently espoused, and to see the banners of other principles rapidly advancing to victory.

In 1875 he removed to Oberlin, where he resided till 1879, when he came to Honolulu, making his home here with his daughter, Mrs. J. M. Whitney. During the summer of 1884 Rev. Wm. Rice of New York, his only son, visited him here, making, as each felt at the time, a final visit. Father Rice kept his intellectual vigor up to the very last. His very presence, during the years of his stay here, has been felt to be a benediction. Yesterday morning he rose as usual and was about the house and grounds until a few moments after ten. He then went to his room and lay down on his bed for a little rest, before dressing to go out to the lunch at Bethel Church, as he was planning to do. At this time Dr. Gray dropped in for a friendly call, and sat chatting with him some minutes. The Doctor remarked that Father Rice carried on his conversation with all of his usual animation.

About 10:30 o'clock he observed that he must get ready to go down town, but at the suggestion of the Doctor, that there was an abundance of time, he remained quiet. Suddenly and without warning he fell back upon the pillow, gave a single, slight clutch at the region of his heart, and lay still in death. Not a word or cry of pain; "he was not, for God took him." We shall miss the noble form and the saintly face, but every life that touched his, is the richer and fuller for it.
                        W. C. MERRITT.

Note 1: It appears likely that Mr. W. C. Merritt did not take the trouble to read Lewis L. Rice's letter of Mar. 4, 1886 to the Honolulu Daily Bulletin. In that letter Mr. Rice clearly states that the Spalding manuscript so long in his keeping did not bear "the title 'Manuscript Found,'" -- that such a title "is not given in the manuscript recently in my possession, at all." The writer of the Daily Press article apparently derived all his information on the subject from his reading of the 1885 RLDS edition of the Oberlin Spalding story. As Rice himself states, the "Manuscript Found" title on that publication "was added by the publisher" and the Oberlin manuscript was NOT the Spalding text remembered by several early witnesses as strongly resembling parts of the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: Of course Mr. Merritt's article suited the purposes of the RLDS leaders and Saints' Herald editors almost perfectly, since Merritt simply echoed what the Reorganized LDS had been saying all along in regard to the Honolulu manuscript, etc. The Utah Mormons elected to reprint a different obituary for Mr. Rice; their May 24, 1886 issue of the Deseret News made use of an article taken from the Hawaiian Gazette of April 20, 1886.


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa, July 3, 1886.                           No. 26.


                                                  Fountain Green, Ill., May 16th.
Dear Sisters of the "Home Columns," -- Living remote as I do from any branch of the church, I feel the more drawn out to communicate with you through the Herald. The time allotted me for my sojourn here in all probability is near an end, therefore while I live I want to do all that I can for God and the truth. I am living with my son and his family and we seldom have any preaching here. The Herald is the only messenger of glad tidings which visits us and it gladdens my heart to see the interest my sisters take in helping on this great and glorious work of the last days. When I wrote before I did not know that David Whitmer was still living, for I had heard he was dead. David Whitmer and his wife were both of them present when the first conference of the church was held. They were members of the church at that time and I have often heard him about seeing the angel and also the records and say "Tongue can never express my feelings, while talking to the heavenly messenger." This testimony he still bears.

The persecution we suffered, after the church was organized, was so great that we left our home and moved into the house with my brother Hyrum's family. The Lord warned Hyrum in a vision when he was out preaching to return and take his family to a place of safety, for his enemies were in search of him. A few days after he was gone, a number of men, came and searched our house for him. Mother, myself and younger sister were the only ones at home; but the men insisted that they knew he was there and they meant to have him. When we insisted that he was not there, their anger was turned upon us and they commenced to rob the house. While they were plundering us, my brother, William, came. He had been warned that we were in trouble, and upon coming in he asked mother, "What were those men doing?" She told him that they had come for Hyrum and were now plundering the house. Arming himself with a stout club, he soon drove them from the house. They had come in carriages with dark lanterns, and if they had found Hyrum it was their intention to have him put to death. His work was not done, therefore the Lord spared him. In the fall our family moved to Waterloo, in LaFayette county, near old father Whitmer's. My brothers and the Whitmer brothers, held meetings, first at one house and then at the other, for preaching and prayer, and this continued until near spring, first one preaching and then the other, wherever they could get a hearing. As spring approached they were commanded to go to Kirtland, Ohio, and the rest of the church were to go in the spring. When the members of the church had all assembled, ready for the journey, my mother took charge of the company, and with the aid of Bro. Humphry and my brother William, we accomplished the journey as far as Buffalo. Mother then sent brethren to the wharf to inquire foe a Capt. Blake. When they found him, and mother had spoken for our passage across the lake he told her that the lake was so blocked with ice he did not think it would be possible for us to sail for two weeks. She tried to rent a room, but could not get one. The captain then gave us permission to go on the boat and stay until we could sail. The ice, he said, was four miles out in the lake, and four miles thick.

The outlook was anything but pleasant. Children were crying, sisters complaining, wishing they had stayed at home where they could enjoy their comfortable rocking chairs, much as the children of Israel longed for the flesh pots of Egypt. Mother bore all their complainings patiently, and had great charity for and sympathy with them. Her faith was strong in the Lord, for she believed that he had commanded us to go and would carry us safely through. We held a prayer meeting and prayed that the Lord would open the way for us to pass out and reach our destination. We also sung our praises to our God for the blessings he had bestowed upon us in restoring the gospel in these last days. The captain came to mother and begged her to have her company quit singing, for his men were so attracted by the music that it was impossible to get them to obey orders, and the ice was liable to break now at any time and then sail must be hoisted. Shortly afterwards we heard a great noise and cracking in the ice. The captain called all hands and set them to work, for the crack had widened and a channel had opened in the ice wide enough for our boat to pass out. The ice then closed up behind us, and not another boat passed out for two weeks. The first night we laid over on the Canadian side and made some repairs on the wheels. The captain said he had been on the lake for thirty years, and that it was the roughest time he had ever had, and he believed nothing had saved us but Mother Smith's faith and prayers. When we sailed into Fairport we found my brothers waiting for us. They had come to get news of us, as the word had reached them that we were all drowned. Our joy was great in seeing them again after passing through such trials. We took breakfast at Bro. Partridge's, the first regular meal we had eaten since we started on our journey. I do not remember how many there were in our company, but of our own company there were eight. Mother, my oldest sister, her husband and one child, brother William and Don Carlos, myself and sister Lucy. My brothers took us to Kirtland where we met father. I can tell you it was a day of rejoicing, and when memory brings these things afresh to my mind I can not help weeping. Then we were a united happy family; now all but two have passed over the dark river. With Job I feel to say, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait until my change come." The church prospered greatly, and members were added unto us daily.
                         Your sister in gospel bonds,
                                           KATHERINE SALISBURY.

Note 1: One substantial "family" member missing from the list provided by Catherine (Katherine) Smith Salisbury is that of "Zink" Salisbury, her husband. On page 554 of his 2004 biography of Joseph Smith, Jr., Dan Vogel says: "[Joseph Smith probably remained in Fayette for the marriage of his eighteen year-old sister, Katherine, to the unbaptized Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury on 8 January [1831]." The marriage date and place are almost certainly correct. Sidney Rigdon was also present at that time and he probably officiated at the ceremony -- that much, at least, Catherine admitted in later years. However, as in her narrative above, Catherine did not generally admit that she and Mr. Salisbury traveled together from New York to Ohio, or that they had been marital partners any time before June 8th, 1831. It was Catherine's contention that she was married only after the New York Mormons had settled at Kirtland. The "Records of Early Church Families" published in the July, 1935 issue of the Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine presents very detailed family information for the posterity of Joseph Smith, Sr. and his wife Lucy. In that article the date of Catherine's marriage is printed as "8 Jan., 1831" but the location is given as "Kirtland, Ohio," which is an impossibility, as Lucy's group of pilgrims did not arrive there until May 14th. For the probable reason behind this discrepancy of six months in the marriage dates, see notes appended to the May 17, 1831 issue of the Geauga Gazette.

Note 2: As the New York pilgrims passed by Ithaca, New York, the caravan made by the group departing from Colesville was noticed by the Ithaca Journal on April 27, 1831. On May 31, 1831 the editor of the Lockport Balance reported of the Mormon travelers: "but a few days since, that an entire boat load of them passed this village." Just before the pilgrims got to Lockport, they also caught the eye of the British tourist Thomas Hamilton, who reported in his 1833 book: "in the journey to Lockport... we passed also several parties of what were called Mormonites, going to join a settlement established by their founder, in Ohio


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa, July 31, 1886.                           No. 30.


                                                  La Crosse, Ill., July 17th.
Dear Nephew: -- I am housed at your cousin's, Solomon Salisbury, for a few days of rest. I left home May 29th. Did not get the means sent me by the Bishop in time to get to the June conference at Montrose; but while stopping at Clinton, Iowa, I found plenty of work to do -- on account of some local troubles existing in that branch of the church. I am in hopes that ere this reaches you, that a more settled condition of unity may prevail in that place. It was in Clinton that I met with Brn. Roth and Bozarth, who were engaged in mission work -- setting in order the affairs of the church in the Eastern Iowa District; their labors were much needed in this district. I devoted my labors while at Clinton to preaching several discourses on the doctrine of love and unity; which I believe had a good effect among Saints and friends of the cause. By special request of some enquirers, I gave two lectures on the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and some brief events connected with your father's mission and the finding of the so-called golden plates. These lectures were given at the house of a family who were members of the Methodist Church, and who expressed themselves well pleased with the evidences in favor of the prophet's mission and this latter day work. These friends with some others I labored with, while at Clinton, will undoubtedly ere long unite with the church. I did not have the privilege of preaching but once in the Saints' chapel at Clinton, as some matters about the building of the chapel had not been settled. I left Clinton in June for Rock Island, and arrived at Bro. Dungee's in time to hold forth on the Sunday following, to quite a full house; meeting at Bro. Dungee's; some relatives of old time Saints came in, and listened attentively to a recital of the history of the founding of this Church of Christ in 1830, by special revelation from God, and the renewing of the gospel dispensation as taught by Christ and his Apostles. These tidings, to listening ears, seemed to waken a spirit of interest in the hearts of those relatives of former Saints, to the extent the following day an application of some five persons was reported at Bro. Dungee's, for baptism. And, as Elder Short, [has] been laboring in this vicinity, and in and about Moline and Rock Island for some time previous, a line was sent to him at Millersberg by Bro. Dungee to return to Rock Island and gather in the sheaves that were waiting for their baptisms, While at Rock Island I had a pleasant visit with a brother Harson, an old Latter Day Saint, some 77 years of age. I stayed with him over night. It was quite interesting to listen to this brother's recital of his experiences; how he obtained a knowledge of this latter day work; and I am glad to see this aged brother still blessed with the Spirit, and battling for the cause. On leaving Rock Island the last of June for Montrose, Iowa, I would not be justified in not making mention of the kind treatment I received at Bro. Dungee's, by both himself and wife. May love and blessings crown their days with much good.

My arrival at Montrose happened at midnight. In the morning I called at Sr. Eliza Newberry's, where I was received with a hearty welcome, and refreshed with a warm breakfast and a few hours' sleep. Sr. Newberry's health appears quite good; and at the prayer meeting on the Thursday night following my arrival, her testimony in favor of this latter day work, together with many others at Montrose, gave me to understand that the Spirit of the Master was still in the hearts of the Saints in that place. This branch of the church keeps up regular prayer meetings every Thursday evening, and regular services on Sunday. presided over by a Bro. Hall, a Priest, who appears very spiritual and earnest. I held two services in the chapel on the 4th, preached in the forenoon and evening. The weather being very warm in the evening, it was rather slow work to get up a good discourse. I here met with Bro. and Sr. Thompson, of Plano origin; they now reside at Fort Madison. I was much pleased with this visit with them. Bro. Thompson presided over the sacrament administration in the afternoon service, and gave a good exhortation explanatory of the purposes and design of the Lord's supper. On Monday, July 5th, called on Major Bidamon, in Nauvoo, Illinois, and took tea with him and wife. The Major showed me over the grounds where some of our relations were laid away for their final resting place. Nauvoo is now a city of vineyards, with many houses still empty. The sad reminiscences that crowded my memory did not create in me a very strong desire to remain long in the city, so in company with Bro. John Lambert, I rode with him the same evening out into the Rock Creek branch of the church, where I remained during the week. The weather being very hot, I visited around among the Saints, and on Sunday preached in their chapel; and in the afternoon Bro. George Lambert with horses and buggy brought me over to Burnside, where cousin Don Salisbury resides. Don was gone out to Aunt Katherine's, helping Fred about harvesting; so I procured a conveyance and came out to Solomon's where I am now writing. I expect to get out to your aunt Katherine's in a few days. Every body is hard at work in the harvest field, gathering in wheat, oats and hay. The crop is good of small grains in this part of the country; but there are bad omens for the corn crop. A drought has been raging for the last two months, corn fields all drying up, and no prospects of rain yet.

When and where there is a door open, and a people willing to hear that good may be done -- in the proclamation of the gospel, so excellently fraught with the knowledge of light and truth in this latter day work, I do not fail to improve the opportunity to put a clincher upon every idea that goes to strengthen the cause of the church of which we both mutually have enlisted in life to sustain.

My nephew, Solomon Salisbury, is heart and spirit in the work, and has by his influence and labors through portions of this country, been the means of putting down much of the prejudice existing against the doctrines taught by the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. He is a good talker, and possesses a natural genius to put the frame work of the gospel together as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. I may give you a more full history of the state of things in this part of the Lord's vineyard after I have visited the church at Colchester. I subscribe, in gospel bonds,
                         Your uncle,
                                           WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note: Solomon J. Salisbury (1835-1927) was the third child of Catherine (Katherine) Smith Salisbury Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury. He was baptized into the RLDS Church on Oct. 23, 1872 at Pilot Grove, Vermillion Co., Illinois and was ordained an elder the following year. Solomon's two younger brothers, mentioned in William B. Smith's letter, were Don Carlos Salisbury (1841-1919) and Frederick Salisbury (1850-aft. 1887).


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 30, 1886.                           No. 43.

The October number of The Brooklyn Magazine is just to hand, and we find it well filled with valuable and interesting reading

There is going the rounds of the papers an article written by one Mr. Briggs of Brooklyn, New York, in which he strives to make it appear that Mr. Solomon Spaulding wrote a manuscript from which Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon manufactured the Book of Mormon; but he simply proves nothing beyond the fact that he is a blind zealot, taking for granted what he can not prove when it suits his prejudices. He treats with contempt the testimony of Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others found on the "Manuscript Story" discovered by Dr. L. L. Rice among papers he bought of the notorious anti-Mormon writer E. D. Howe and now in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio. That testimony is to the effect that, the said "Manuscript Story" was "the writings of Solomon Spaulding," and has their endorsement, and this is attested by the signature of "D. P. Hurlbut" whom E. D. Howe and others procured to do their dirty work and who was in due time kicked out and slandered by them when they could no longer use him. One thing is certain, Solomon Spaulding wrote the "Manuscript Story." This being true, that manuscript furnishes incontestable proof, first, that he was intellectually incapable of writing such a work as the Book of Mormon; second, that he was neither a genius nor a scholar; third, that he was morally incapable of such a work, for these writings prove him a coarse, sensual, witless infidel; while the plot, methods, symmetry, morals, theology and refinement of the Book of Mormon prove that its writers were highly intellectual and exceptionally moral and spiritual. Any one who reads the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon intelligently and honestly will say, that the writer of the former had neither the morals, the religion, the brains, nor the information to write the latter. Dime novelists are neither accurate historians not intellectual theologians.

Note 1: The Brooklyn Magazine article referred to by the Herald editor was probably a reprint or revision of the James A. Briggs article first published in Boston, in The Watchman of Sept. 9, 1886. Similar pieces by Briggs appeared in a late Oct. 1886 issue of the Detroit Michigan Christian Herald and in the Oct. 2, 1886 issue of the Chicago Times.

Note 2: In his several published articles of Sept.-Oct. 1886 James A. Briggs clearly differentiates between the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu and one which he saw D. P. Hurlbut exhibit in Ohio at the end of 1833, a story which Briggs identifies as the "Manuscript Found." In his letter to The Watchman Briggs says: "Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia., has sent me a copy of the "manuscript" found by Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu and published by the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. This is not a copy of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Joseph Smith of Lamoni assumes too much when he says: "This newly-found 'missing-link' completes the chain of evidence that the 'Manuscript Found' never was and never could be made the occasion, cause, or germ of the 'Book of Mormon.'" The "manuscript" published at Lamoni is another one of Spaulding's, and has no more to do with the authorship of the Book of Mormon than it has with the authorship of that most wonderful of all poems, the Book of Job, or the authorship of Junius' Letters. It proves nothing."

Note 3: In his letter to the Michigan Christian Herald Briggs says: "A letter from my old friend, Mr. L. S. [sic] Rice, dated Honolulu, Feby. 21, 1886, says the words "Manuscript Found" do not occur on the wrapper or in the Manuscript at all. The wrapper was marked in pencil, "Manuscript Story, Conneaut Creek." It is likely that the Editor of the Saints' Herald read this published statement (or a similar one) by Briggs and decided, for the purposes of his response, to prudently drop the RLDS designation of "Manuscript Found" for the Honolulu find, and temporarily refer to that document as the "Manuscript Story." Beyond this single temporary and merely cosmetic change, Briggs' arguments do not seem to have much impressed the RLDS leaders.


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 13, 1886.                           No. 45.


We give what purports to be the last statement of David Whitmer in respect to Joseph the Seer, the Book of Mormon, etc., etc., with what we think is a needed and just review of it. We quote from the article as printed in the Chicago Inter-Ocean, October 17th. It differs a little from that published in the Omaha Herald and other papers.

RICHMOND, Mo., October 10th. -- (Special correspondence of the Omaha Herald.) -- David Whitmer, the only living witness to “the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” is not dying. His recent extraordinary feebleness was brought on by the intense heat, which very naturally affects one at his advanced age rather severely. He is not even confined to his bed, although he passes the greater portion of his time there, and does little else than rest. He is nearly eighty-two years of age. One would scarcely infer from his erect carriage and wonderful nerve power any more than from the exceedingly fine control he exercises over a retentive and well-stored memory, which responds readily to his call with accurate details. Newspaper reporters are not admitted to his presence, and it is no wonder when one recalls the shameful misrepresentations which have been sent out as "interviews." The last one of these was written by an unprincipled penny-a-liner who, when he was told emphatically that he could not see Mr. Whitmer, sent off to his paper the sensational announcement that the 'White-haired Hero of Hill Cumorah' had just been stilled in death, and that with his latest breath he gurgled" 'The Book of Mormon is a fraud.'...

(see rest of article in Chicago paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 20, 1886.                           No. 46.

(Concluded from last Herald)

When Mr. Whitmer asserts that "apostles, presidents, councilors and high priests" are not "legitimate appurtenances of the church," he assumes to give an opinion without having the competent authority to make it of any special value; and in some points he is found to differ widely from Jesus and Paul and Joseph. If Joseph the Seer was the servant of God to do the work promised in 2 Nephi 2: 2, 3; Book of Nephi 9:11, 12; Book of Mormon 4:2, then the adverse opinions of David Whitmer are of no worth. God's estimate and guarantee of the Seer and his work are to be preferred vastly before the opinion of a man who, though called to the ministry of Christ has nevertheless been of no force in preaching the word of God, and building up the church except in the mere, (yet important), work of bearing testimony to the Book of Mormon, and necessarily to the further fact that Joseph was a prophet, seer, revelator and translator. Whatever Mr. Whitmer may think, Jesus and Paul and Joseph all taught that God made apostles essential officers of the church. Matt. 10:2; I Cor. 12:28; Book of Nephi 5:9; Moroni 2:1; Doc. Cov. 16:5, etc.

As for "presidents and councilors," these are convenient modern names signifying those who preside, and those composing councils in the church. And as for "high priests," they were in the church in the days of Melchizedek; (Gen. 14:18, with Heb. 5:10; Alma 9:6, and 10:1, 2); also with the "Church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38) in the times of Moses. (Lev. 21:10). Jethro was evidently a servant of God and a high priest, (Ex. 3:1, with Ex. 18:7-12). Moses and Aaron were "priests," (Ps. 99:6), and probably high priests, Moses of the higher order and Aaron of the lesser. (Numbers 16:10, with Lev. 8:1-8). That Joseph the Seer held the high priesthood may be inferred from the fact that he was "great like unto Moses;" (2 Nephi 2:2); and that he rightfully possessed the Urim and Thummim which pertains to high priests; (Lev. 8:8).

But in case there were no precedents in the Scriptures, the fact that Joseph was called and appointed to found and establish the "great and marvellous work" of the Lord in this age is a guarantee that in so important a matter as organizing the priesthood he would not go far wrong if at all. It is far safer to trust the judgment and ministrations of the 'choice Seer" in these matters than of one or many whom God never called to that work. These who find fault, confess that Joseph was a prophet, seer, revelator and translator, and yet they, who never held such offices and callings propose to correct and rectify his official ministrations. This is both presumptuous and audacious. David Whitmer evidently has the sectarian notion as to what priesthood and high priests signify. Webster defines priesthood as meaning, "The order of men set apart for sacred purposes." Buck holds that a priest is "a person set apart for the performance of sacrifice, and other offices and ceremonies of religion." And both Buck and Webster say that the word priest is a contraction of the word presbyter, and is "of the same import with Elder." Smith, in his dictionary of the Bible says: "Its root-meaning, uncertain as far as the Hebrew itself is concerned, is referred by Gesenius to prophecy." He further says that Saalschutz considers the primary meaning of the word as equivalent to minister. There being grades of authority, there must of necessity be high and lesser priests. In the light of this sensible view of priesthood, Mr. Whitmer's bugaboo of high priests vanishes out of sight.
"The tendency of Smith to abandon the primitive faith and introduce these damnable doctrines, Mr. Whitener assures me, began to develop quite early in the history of the church. He manifested an alarming disposition to get revelations to cover every exigency that would arise, and in this he was eagerly urged on by some of his associates who would frequently come to him with the request that he "ask the Lord" about this thing or the other.The first striking instance of it, and one that gave rise to grave apprehensions in the minds of David Whitmer and others of his kind, occurred in connection with the publishing of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was a well-to-do farmer, and he was expected to mortgage his property for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for the printing of the book. His seeming reticence to act in the matter, which Mr. Whitmer attributes to the cautious, business-like manner in which he did everything, offended some of the brethren, and Hyrum Smith, The Patriarch, proposed that some of them take the manuscript to Canada, and there sell the copyright for sufficient money to enable them to get out the pubication. A revelation was procured "to order," and "warranted to fit," a thing which occurred with remarkable frequency afterward, and which caused it to be a matter of foregone conclusion that whatever the desires of the favored few expressed or the pressing emergency of the hour demanded it would be admirably embodied in the "message from heaven."Thus "the word of the Lord came" directing that two of the brethren go to Canada as suggested. They went. They also returned, but they brought no money with them and no promise of any."
This has the merit of being news, even if it is false. For it is the first time we ever read, or heard of such a transaction.

If David Whitener claims that Joseph obtained false revelations and spoke falsely in the name of the Lord as early as 1829, and yet that he was a prophet, seer, revelator and translator sent of God, it remains for him to explain why God called and sent such a recreant, unreliable, misleading false prophet; also why he did not fulfil his promise that such an unfaithful prophet "shall die." (Deut. 18:20). Mr. Whitmer's position in this is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, outrages common sense, and in effect charges God with sending and highly recommending one he knew would mislead and corrupt by means of false revelations! Preposterous!
"Revelations came in the same manner respecting the establishment of the high priesthood system, which was the work of Sidney Rigdon, an ambitious Biblical scholar, who yearned for authority and notoriety. As well might they restore, says Mr. Whitener, circumcision and the typical ordinances that were annihilated by Christ's coming as to ornament the church premises with Melchisedec priests."
This "high priesthood system" did not originate with Sidney Rigdon, nor Joseph Smith.As we have seen before, it was with the church in the times of Melchizedek and before, and after that in the times of Moses, and Alma, and Jesus. It was also with the saints in the times of Peter and John. Peter calls it a royal (kingly) priesthood;" (1 Pet. 2:9); and John says of it: "And hath made us kings and priests unto God his father." -- Rev. 2:6. Bingham, in Ant. Chris. Ch., p. 50, says: "St. Jerome, who will be allowed to speak the sense of the ancients... says that both in the Old and New Testaments the high priests are an order, the priests another, and the Levites another."... "Tertullian in his book De Baptismo, says: "The right of baptizing belongs to the chief priests." Of "chief priests" he further says: "It was no human invention....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 33.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 25, 1886.                           No. 51.

We notice that there is a serious charge made against one Samuel S. Partello, a late writer on Mormonism. When such men write, similar articles is the result of "unconscious cerebration."


Louisville, Ky., Feb. 18th. -- To the Editor: Mr. O. D. Howe of Table Rock, Nebraska, a son of Mr. E. D. Howe, late of Painesville, Ohio, who was the celebrated author of the work entitled "Mormonism Unveiled," has this day forwarded to my address a clipping from your paper under date of February 3d, 1886. It contains an article regarding the "Spaulding Manuscript," purporting to come from a person who subscribes this name as "Samuel S. Partello."

Mr. Howe is of the opinion that this article is a verbatim copy of an article which I had the honor to print in the New York Independent during the month of October, 1885. After a close inspection I am glad to be assured that the case is not so ill as Mr. Howe has conceived; Mr. Partello has made a few alterations of my article, but these are not by any means numerous or important enough to relieve him from the charge of plagiarism. This charge is hereby pronounced against him.

I should not be at pains to expose the grave misconduct of Mr. Partello but for the circumstance that the article which he has taken such unwarranted liberties with constitutes a chapter of my work, now almost ready for the press, entitled the 'Biography of Sidney Rigdon, the Real Founder of Mormonism.' It would be very awkward when the volume appears to find myself confronted with the charge of having committed a theft upon the writings of Mr. Partello, when exactly the opposite is the true state of the case.

I humbly request you to insert this note for the purpose of giving me some protection against what I consider to be an act of serious injustice.

Yours very truly,                          
WILLIAM H. WHITSITT.                         

No. 306 East Chestnut Street.

(A comparison of the two articles fully sustains Mr. Whitsitt's charge. We regret the imposition, and assure Mr. Whitsitt and the readers of the Daily News that Mr. Partello will not be given another opportunity to deceive them. -- ED. Daily News.

Note 1: In late February, 1886, Dr. William H. Whitsitt received a letter from Charles Hodges of Galveston, Texas, an agent for the Associated Press, in which the Hodges discusses the incident in which Samuel S. Partello plagiarized Whitsitt's Oct. 1, 1885 NY Independent article regarding Solomon Spalding for his (Partello's) article in the Feb. 3, 1886 issue of the Chicago Daily News. According to the above published information, Whitsitt first heard about this plagiarism of his material from the son of Eber D. Howe. Whitsitt's conversation with Hodges was apparently aimed at determining if the Partello piece received a wider audience than just the readers in Chicago.

Note 2: Partello's series of articles on the Spalding manuscript began in the Jan. 28, 1886 issue of the Chicago Daily News. That initial installment strongly resembles the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop article in the NY Independent of Sept. 10, 1885. The first Partello "news release" was reprinted and discussed in the Feb. 13, 1886 issue of the Herald. Who Partello was and what his motives were is ascribing other writers' articles to himself, in the case of the Honolulu Spalding discovery, remains a mystery

Back to top of this page.

Articles Page    |    Articles Index    |    History Vault
Oliver's Bookshelf    |    Spalding Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Aug. 11, 2013