(Newspapers of Iowa)

The Saints’ Herald
(Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa)
1887-1899 Articles

RLDS Church, Lamoni, Iowa

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

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Old Newspapers Index  |  Another View of RLDS Church, Lamoni

Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa, January 29, 1887.                           No. 5.


"Blessed are the mercifulm for they shall obtain mercy." -- Matt. 5:7. It has often been said that it is "human to err, but divine to forgive." This saying, although quite common, cantains a sentiment worthy of high commendation by all believers in christianity... This spirit and principle of forgiveness is one of the great gifts and values of the gospel ministry. When any person professing to be a Saint of God assumes the prerogative of shutting up the door of the kingdom of God against repentant sinners, or returning prodigals, they do poorly represent the character of Christ's mission to the world...[several paragraphs of sermon material follow]

Ever hoping to be found on the side of the right, and in defense of the principles of justice, mercy and truth.
                                                    WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note: "Uncle William," it seems, had considerable first-hand experience, over the years, in the discomfiting role of a "returning prodigal."


Vol. 34.                                 Lamoni, Iowa,  February 5, 1887.                               No. 7.


RICHMOND, Mo., Dec. 9th, 1886.      
Dear Brethren -- I regret that one of the Editors of the Herald has seen fit to cost a shadow over the honor and integrity of Bro. David Whitmer, the last witness to the divinity of the Book of Mormon -- a man whose past record is beyond reproach. I can account for it only in this light: That he began to fear lest some of the Saints should leave the Reorganized Church and come into the Church of Christ; so he has been tempted to do all he could toward destroying the good influence of Bro. David. I desire to show the brethren what brothers Joseph and Alexander Smith think of the honesty and integrity of David Whitmer. When they were here a few years ago, Bro. Joseph told Bro. David Whitmer that he believed in the integrity of his heart, and believed that he loved his father (Joseph). Bro. Alexander said to Bro. David Whitmer's wife as follows: "Before mother died, she told us to visit the Whitmers, that they were good people; and when we saw David Whitmer we would see an honest man." I will also give you here the names of old citizens of Richmond, over half of whom have known David Whitmer since he came here in 1838. The following is taken from a leaflet published by him in 1881, and sent forth reaffirming his testimony to the Book of Mormon because of some false reports being circulated. [old testimonial follows]...
             Your brother in the faith of Christ,
                                  JOHN C. WHITMER.

RICHMOND, Mo., Dec. 9th, 1886.      
Bro. Joseph: -- I have the Herald of the 4th inst. and I feel thankful to God that you talk as fair and honest-hearted as you do. It occurs to me that you wrote this editorial relating to my letter yourself. It has a good honest spirit in it, and differs widely from the most of the writings in the Herald of late, which have appeared against me. I am praying to God for you, Bro. Joseph, and for all the honest in heart; and my soul rejoices, trusting that God will have mercy on all true believers in his word and enlighten their hearts with his loving, forgiving Spirit, that before long they may all see and understand his word alike and all be "one," even as Christ prayed that his disciples "might be one as he and the Father were one, that they might be one in Him." I had the brethren write to some of the papers correcting the mistakes in them, and in time I will have all misstatements that have gone forth corrected to the public mind, and publish to the world abroad the truth concerning all of these matters. God knows that I, as well as yourself love the truth and desire to have all mistakes corrected, and to have the truth established. I want to ask you this question: If you knew that your father had introduced doctrines of error into the Church of Christ, would you want to uphold him in his errors? Of course you would not! I understand fully that you believe these doctrines (about which we differ) to be of God, while I believe, I know that they were introduced by the wisdom of man. I do not mean to persecute your father nor destroy any of his good works. I loved your father; I upheld him as far as he taught the doctrine of Christ; yea, I loved him so much and had so much confidence in him, that I followed him into many errors before I was aware that I was trusting too much in "an arm of flesh," instead of trusting in God only, and relying upon "that which is written." I knew your father, Joseph, much better than you knew him, and much better than any man now living. I was with him in the work of upbuilding the church before you were born. Your father was once an humble man; but he become ensnared by Sidney Rigdon, David Patton, Brigham Young and others. Now God has made it known to me, that before I go hence, I must send forth my testimony to the world, stating many truths which have never been published, which is necessary in order to show how they have trusted in man and made flesh their arm, and have been led into error by following the teachings of men, instead of trusting in God only and following the teachings of Christ. May God help you, Bro. Joseph, to some day see and understand that your father did become ensnared by wicked men, and through their influence he did introduce doctrines of error into the Church of Christ! Oh, Joseph, you can not understand by this letter how my soul is stirred up with the love of God for you, and for all the Latter Day Saints who are in error. But you may not see and understand me by what spirit I speak, until at the judgment bar of God; then you will see and understand. May you go to God in prayer and fasting, and find out by the power of the Holy Ghost by what spirit I do speak, for by the power of the Holy Ghost you can know all things. May God be with you, is my prayer.
              Your brother in the faith of Christ,
                            DAVID WHITMER.
Please publish the above letter, Bro. Joseph, and right under it the following letter to the brethren.

Dear Brethren: I want you to understand that the following remarks are addressed to the one who has been writing against me unjustly of late in the Herald, showing a different spirit to the editorial relating to my letter in the Herald of the 4th inst., which has a good, honest spirit to it. These remarks are to the writer who has judged me hastily -- who has taken for evidence against me some letters that were written to the Millennial Star and other papers of the church, said letters having probably been written by some one who afterwards followed Brigham Young to Salt Lake, and written so long after the occurrence of those things that his dates are wrong, and he had forgotten the first names of three of the elders whom he says spoke against me concerning some charges. This writer in the Herald has judged me after hearing only one side of the evidence, and has accused me of many things. Now who made him a judge in Israel? Christ said, "Judge not"--"condemn not;" and as he has judged me, just so God will judge him at the last day, if he continues to judge as he has heretofore.

Because some man wrote a letter to the Millennial Star a long time after I had left the Latter Day Saints, and charged me with being guilty of certain things, does this necessarily make the charges true? Of course not! Many things are written as knowledge which the writer believes to be true, but he may be writing only hearsay.

Now I will give you an instance of the church paper printing an article against a man, the writer of the article being an apostate from the church at the time. In Lamoni is now living a man named James J. Stafford, who (I have been told by perfectly reliable men) apostatized from the Reorganized Church some years ago, and is such to-day. Last spring Mr. Stafford wrote an article against me, in which he makes some grave insinuations, and the Herald printed his article; and not only did this, but one of the Editors calls attention to the article, thus making it semi-official. Brethren, did this Editor do right in this matter? (I don't think this was Bro. Joseph.) So you see at this present time that an Editor of the church paper will print articles for men who are even apostates from their faith, just so the article attacks some man whom the Editor wants to attack. The Millennial Star used to do the same thing. The articles written against me to the old church papers, this writer in the Herald calls "church history," and are reprinted and commented upon by him, as if every word of it was true, while many of them were written by men who went to Salt Lake in polygamy, and when they wrote these things against me, were writing on hearsay. Now I will speak of these charges against me.

After I had left the Latter Day Saints, I heard that they had given me a trial and cut me off. The only charges that I ever heard they had against me (until I read this Herald) were, for not believing some of Bro. Joseph's revelations, and not teaching them; and for not believing and teaching the "Word of Wisdom." The proceedings of this trial, and all these other charges against me, I never heard of in my life before. Brethren, in the fear of God, and my time being almost at hand to go to meet him, I do positively deny all of these charges against me, except concerning these revelations, and I still believe now as I did then concerning them. The fact is -- I will clear myself from this article in the Millennial Star; I will clear myself from their own evidence. To show you how this writer in the Herald has done, you will notice that he puts the words "using the money" in letters of emphasis to make the brethren believe that the Whitmer here referred to is myself; and tries to make it appear that I had used money belonging to the church, by emphasizing those words: It says "Phelps and Whitmer;" well -- the Whitmer referred to is not myself, it was my brother, John Whitmer who is dead. I heard afterward they had such a charge against John, but he was not guilty of it. In the charge about selling land in Zion, it says also "Phelps and Whitmer," and this also refers to John, because I never owned any land in Zion. But the writer in the Herald tries to make it appear that the Whitmer referred to is myself. Please note well the following point, as it clears me from their own evidence. "Elder Lyman Wight stated that he considered all other accusations against them (us three brethren) of minor importance, compared to their selling their lands in Jackson county; that they (Phelps and Whitmer) had set an example which all the Saints were liable to follow." So you see they admit that all other accusations against us were of minor (small) importance. Now as I never owned any land in Jackson county. I guess I am clear of everything! The Whitmer referred to was my brother, John. He had to sell, to get out of debt. You can see from reading those five charges against me, that I had already left the Latter Day Saints, when they were brought up against me. Also that I had already left them when they give me a trial and cut me off. You can see this from the fourth charge which says: "In neglecting the duties of his calling and separating himself from the church while he yet had a name among us." So this fact is established, and I want the brethren to remember this because it is important, as you will see later on why I left the Latter Day Saints.

As to the balance of those charges I have this to say; I positively wrote no letters to Kirtland about Joseph, nor did I write any letter to the High Council at Far West. I want to repeat that the man who wrote this letter to the Millennial Star must have written it a long time after I left the Latter Day Saints, which can be seen from his forgetting those names, and from being wrong as to some dates. I have no doubt but what some one, not very conscientious, wrote these things against me to the Millennial Star, and wrote them a long time after I had left the body and wrote the most of it on hearsay. So we see that all they have against me was for "not keeping the Word of Wisdom," and disbelieving some of Joseph's revelations, and not teaching them. You will notice the remarks of the writer in the Herald about me not keeping the Word of Wisdom: I have this to say: If he drinks tea or coffee, or violates the Word of Wisdom in the least particular, I want him to read in Matt. 7:5, what Christ calls the man who says to his brother, "Let me pull out the mote from your eye, when behold a beam is in his own eye." As for me, my conscience does not condemn me for not keeping the Word of Wisdom: but those who believe it to be of God, if they violate it in the least particular, their conscience can not be clear of doubt; and he that partakes with doubt is condemned.

I will now answer the article written by Mr. Stafford to the Herald last spring: I only desire to state briefly the facts in regard to that history. First -- I do not believe that Lucy Smith wrote those things about me. Did not some man write that history for her? If she wrote those things about me, it occurred in this way; she had been told these things by some one, and believing them to he true, she wrote them. It is certain she knew none of these things of her own personal knowledge. We all know how easy it is to sometimes believe rumors and hearsay, and it is easy for false reports to be started about one who is innocent. I will state, that the whole of these things from first to last are entirely false, and Satan is at the foundation of them all. I suppose the girl to whom reference is made, was Adaline Fuller. She was a meek, humble girl, who had but little to say to any one. She was a good, honest girl, of strong faith, and if there ever lived on this earth an humble follower of Christ, she was one. In those days several of us had the gift. I would call it the gift of discernment, or prophecy; but none of them pretended to dictate for the church, or for any member of the church. She, nor any of them, never did give a revelation to the church, or to any member of the church. I have no knowledge whatever of her ever receiving a revelation that I would fill Joseph's place when he died. This has been made up like many other things about me, after I left the Latter Day Saints. We never did hold any secret meetings at my house, or any other house: and this girl never did give any revelations at any of our meetings. As to her jumping out of her chair and dancing over the floor and boasting of her power, I say this is false in toto, and Satan has started this base falsehood about an humble follower of Christ. As to the revelations which came through Hiram Page's stone, I will state that Oliver and I never thought much about them. We talked of them, and thought they might be from God, or might be from Satan. About our going to Missouri and contaminating the minds of the brethren against Joseph, in order to destroy his influence. We never tried to contaminate the minds of any one, nor have we ever tried to destroy any of Bro. Joseph's good influence, or good works.

As to the spirit in which I left Kirtland to go to Missouri, I will tell you of a revelation received through Joseph at Kirtland, which was the cause of me leaving Kirtland to come to Missouri. It was received in the presence of Hyrum Smith, Sydney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams and others. It was not printed, as many others were never printed; so I give you part of it from memory: "That my servant Sydney must go sooner or later to Pittsburg; that I, Joseph, must remain here in Kirtland, for this is my appointed place; and the brethren must not keep my servant David here any longer, for he is needed in Missouri, for that is his appointed place." I parted with the brethren at Kirtland in the spirit of love. Mr. Stafford has commented on these matters and judged me hastily, and made some grave and serious insinuations against me, which you can see by reading his article. I hope he will not judge me hastily again, and that he may in time find the truth as it is in Christ, is my prayer for him.

My article was sent to the Herald on December 9th, and in the Herald of December 25th are some things I desire to notice briefly. Concerning my encouraging the Missouri mobocrats to push their persecutions against the church in 1838 -- which finally resulted in the death of Joseph and Hyrum in 1844. The writer says he has heard of a rumor in this sense, but that it may not be true, etc. This is the first time I ever heard of such a rumor. He says: "We regret the existence of such a rumor." Now I want to ask him this question: If he really does regret that this rumor exists, why did he publish it in the Herald, thus spreading it to thousands of people? Because some brother wrote to him asking that question, is no reason why he should publish it in the Herald. Such a rumor may have existed; if so, it may have originated in this way: when I came I Richmond, General Parks, who was in command of the State Militia, was short of wagons and teams, as they were scarce here then; so he pressed me and my team into service and I was forced to go and drive a wagon load of baggage to Far West. I told them if I had to go I would take no gun. They said "all right;" and I took no gun. This rumor may have originated in this way. God knows that I did not encourage the militia in the least to persecute the Saints. He knows I was praying for them and did not lay a straw in their way, instead of aiding in their persecutions. Our persecutions began five years before I left the body in 1833; now was I in any way the cause of that? Brethren, it is ridiculous; it is wrong; it is an injury to an innocent man; and an injury to the cause and to my testimony to the Book Mormon! It is an abomination in the sight of God, and he will justly reward all those who have originated such falsehoods about me!! Now brethren -- I want to repeat, in the fear of God, that my testimony will stand at the judgment day as the truth, concerning all of these matters. May this writer in the Herald some day see wherein he is in error, and may he find the truth as it is in Christ, is my prayer for him.

I will now begin and give you the first chapter of my epistle, as I have already written it... [portions of An Address to All Believers in Christ follow] ...

In order to set some important facts clearly before your minds, concerning some changes in some of the revelations, I will give you in this article a brief outline of them, and speak in full on this subject hereafter. Some of the revelations as they now appear in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants have been changed and added to. Some of the changes being of the greatest importance as the meaning is entirely changed on some very important matters; as if the Lord had changed his mind a few years after he [gave] the revelations, and after having commanded his servants (as they claim) to print them in the "Book of Commandments;" and after giving his servants a revelation, being a preface unto His Book of Commandments, which says: "Behold this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and preface unto the Book of Commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, oh inhabitants of the earth." Also in this preface, "Behold I am God, and have spoken it; These commandments are of me." "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful." The revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly! This I know, and I will prove it to you.

These revelations were arranged for publication by Bro. Joseph Smith, Sydney Rigdon, Orson Hyde and others, in Hiram, Ohio, while I was there; and were sent to Independence to be published, and were printed just exactly as they were arranged by Bro. Joseph and the others. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received them as being printed correctly. This I know. But in the winter of 1834 they saw that some of the revelations in the Book of Commandments had to be changed, because the heads of the church had gone too far, and done things in which they had already gone ahead of some of the former revelations. So the book Doctrine and Covenants was printed in 1835, and some of the revelations changed and added to. By the providence of God I have preserved one of the old "Book of Commandments" published in 1833. I will prove by a revelation in it -- which is changed in the Doctrine and Covenants -- a revelation that was given through the "stone" and is true. I will prove that God called Bro. Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon only, and that he was not called to organize and establish the church any more than the rest of us Elders. That God commanded him that he should pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that God would grant him no other gift. A few months after Joseph had finished translating, he gave the "stone" to Oliver, and told me and all of us that he was through except to preach the gospel; and he did not use the stone any more. After this, all the revelations came through Joseph as "mouth-piece," including the one of April 6th, 1830... [more sections of An Address to All Believers in Christ follow, from Ch. VIII, etc.]

I see that one of the brethren claims that the same power that gave these revelations, had the authority to change them, and refers to Jer. 36:32. By reading this passage you will see that the words which were added were "like words;" words which conveyed the same meaning -- were added to that book by Jeremiah when he was writing it over again, because it had been burned in the fire by the king. But the words added to the two former revelations are not "like words," as they change and reverse the original meaning: As if God had commanded Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that he would grant him no other gift, and then afterwards God had changed his mind and concluded to grant him another gift. I will quote that part of this revelation as it is in the Book of Commandments. (It is in sec. 4, D. & C., chapter 4, B. of C. "And he (Joseph) has the gift to translate the Book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift." But in the Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed and reads thus. "And you have a gift to translate the plates, and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded you that you should pretend to have no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished." May God have mercy on the heads of the church for their transgressions is my prayer.

This was the end of this part as I sent it to the Herald on December 9th. In the Herald of December 25th, they answer concerning these changes in some revelations, and I desire to say a few words. So you admit that these revelations were changed. You say, "In this public authoritative way, the church changed -- corrected -- some of the revelations found in the Book of Commandments, and put them in the Doctrine and Covenants as the correct ones;" and "God has the same right to authorize his appointed Seer to add to any of the revelations certain words and facts, that he has to give him any revelations at all." Brethren -- don't you know that God does not change his mind and work in any such manner as this? Bro. Joseph did not receive any authority to change these revelations. It was man's work. This I know! Is it possible that the minds of men can be so blinded as to believe that God would give these revelations -- command them to print them in His Book of Commandments -- and then afterwards command them to change and add to them some words which change the meaning entirely? As if God had changed his mind entirely after giving his word? Is it possible that a man who pretends to any spirituality would believe that God would work in any such manner? God would not give Bro. Joseph a revelation commanding him, "that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I (the Lord) will grant him no other gift," (which means never), and then in a few years change his mind and conclude to grant him another gift? and authorize him to add those words to that revelation? Don't you know that God would not do this? Don't you know that it is man's work? God would not give his servants a revelation commanding them to rely upon the Book of Mormon alone in building up the church, "for in it is all things written concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock;" and then in 1834 inform that committee (who changed these revelations for the Doctrine and Covenants) that in the Book of Mormon is not all things written concerning my church, that in it is only written all things concerning "the foundation" of my church; that you must build up the church according as I give you new revelations, and new doctrines, and new offices, to be put in the church. God would not do this!

Brethren -- is it possible that you can believe that God would do this? Do you suppose that God authorized them to add those words "the foundation of" to that revelation? Man added them -- and all other changes and additions to the revelations as they are in the Book of Commandments is the work of men. Depend upon this! The heads of the church had gone away ahead of Christ's teachings to the "twelve" in the Book of Mormon, and had established high spiritual offices which are not even mentioned in the teachings of Christ to the "twelve;" so these revelations had to be changed. Many of the members objected seriously to these changes, and some left the church on account of it. Many of them did not want to say much at the time because it was Bro. Joseph and the leaders who did it. The majority of the members -- poor weak souls -- thought that any thing Bro. Joseph would do must be all right: And so in their blindness of heart, trusting in an arm of flesh, they looked over it and were led into error, and finally all talk about it ceased. Now my brethren, the Latter Day Saints, take heed to yourselves and go to God in prayer and in fasting, and be sure that you are not trusting in an arm of flesh. May God help you to look to him, and not to any man for the truth as it is in Christ. Rely upon the teachings of Christ in the New Testament, and New Covenant of the Book of Mormon, which come forth to us to settle all disputations about doctrine, then you can not be led into error by any man.

In the spirit of humility I want to add a few more words in reply to the Herald of January 1st. You say, "If that assembly of the leaders of the church made errors, what can one man or a few expect to receive?" Does a majority of men signify that they are right before God? Look at Mormon who stood alone against the whole church of Nephites and Lamanites, who had gone into errors and blindness. Look at Abinidi who stood alone against the whole church who had gone into error -- and many other like instances. A majority signifies nothing.

I want to tell the Brethren, that when the Doctrine and Covenants was published and presented to that assembly on that occasion, a very few of the brethren knew at that time about those "changes" in revelations concerning "Joseph's gift" and "to rely upon the Book of Mormon in building up the church," etc. In time it was generally found out, and the result was as I have stated. I want to state also that Oliver Cowdery told me that Rigdon was the cause of those changes being made: by smooth talk he convinced Joseph, Oliver, and F. G. Williams that it was all right. Oliver told me that he had sorely repented of that thing; and he repented of the other errors he had been led into by Rigdon and others. Bro. John Whitmer likewise. Thank God I can say that Bro. John and Bro. Oliver come out of their errors, repented of them, and died believing as I do to-day. I stand to-day just where I and the others stood in the early days of the church when the Bible and the Book of Mormon were the rule and guide to our faith.

In closing I desire to state that this is only a part of what I have to write to all believers in the Book of Mormon and the world. I will publish the whole of my epistle in a pamphlet for free to all who write here for it. May God be with you, brethren, to guide you into the truth, is my prayer through the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
             Your brother in the faith of Christ,
                            DAVID WHITMER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 7, 1887.                           No. 19.

In the Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer for April 24th, we find the following in respect to President Joseph Smith and his purpose to lecture in that city.


It is not every day that the people of Cleveland have the opportunity of seeing and listening to a prophet and the son of a prophet. They will have that opportunity the present week, as Joseph Smith, the head and prophet of the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints and the son of the founder of Mormonism, is to deliver three lectures in this city in the latter part of the week on the subject of Mormonism. The first of the three lectures will be given in music hall on Thursday evening, the subject being "The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints." In this he will give an exposition of the Mormon doctrine as it is held by the members of the Reorganized Church and as he claims it was originally held by the Mormons, the tenets so objectionable to the American people having been interpolated by the Brighamites. It is not unlikely that in the later lectures he will have something to say concerning those interpolations, such as the practice of polygamy and the horrible doctrine of blood atonement which is responsible for so many tragic crimes committed by the Utah Mormons.

It is but simple justice to the present Joseph Smith to say that he is an intelligent, earnest, conscientious man, evidently sincere in his peculiar belief, of unsullied purity in his life and free from al the taint or suspicion of mercenary motives in his connection with the church of which he is the head prophet and seer. He and his followers have no part in the immoral and disloyal teachings and practices of the Utah Mormons, each one of the two bodies of Mormons looking on the other as apostate. A searching analysis of Utah Mormonism at the hands of the head of the other branch of the Mormon church, would naturally be of greater interest and value than a violent denunciation of the polygamous branch by a Gentile, who could only study the institution from the outside, no matter how long he had lived among the people.

Note: The RLDS editors naturally copied out this laudatory article from the Apr. 24, 1887 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They were probably a bit more reticent to reprint the other article on Mormonism that appeared in that same issue: "The Book of Mormon: A Puritan Minister Partly Responsible for Its Production." See the July 30, 1887 issue of the Herald for a belated reprint of and response to the latter item.


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 30, 1887.                           No. 31.




How a Congregational Clergyman in New England Elaborated His Theories Regarding the Lost Tribes of Israel in a Book Which was Never Published and Eventually Found Its Way Into the Hands of Solomon Spaulding -- Rev. Ethan Smith's Semi-Historical Romance Identified With the Story as Told in the Book of Mormon.


(Cleveland Plain-Dealer, April 24th.)

The recent conference of the Josephites or monogamous Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, and the extended reports of their proceedings in the Plain Dealer has renewed public interest in the peculiar faith to which members of this church subscribe. The origin of the Book of Mormon has never been clearly established. The Latter Day Saints, of course, accept the statements of Joe Smith and believe it to be an inspired work. The general public, however, are hardly as credulous and regard the alleged Bible as a fraud -- the work of some clever romanticist rather than the translation of hieroglyphics on golden plates by a nineteenth century prophet. The Spaulding theory, with which everyone at all acquainted with the subject is familiar, has the most advocates. They hold that Spaulding's manuscript of his romance "The Manuscript Found," fell into the hands of Joe Smith, Sidney Rigdon and others and from that fanciful work was constructed the Book of Mormon.

If this theory be true it will astonish orthodox church people to learn that a Congregational divine, one of the foremost of his time in New England, is responsible for the introduction of the "twin relic of barbarism" -- as the Utah church has been called -- in this country. Rev. Ethan Smith, who died at an advanced age in the early "forties," was one of the lights of the Congregational church in New England. A man of deep learning, he was at once a preacher, author and philosopher, holding to many ideas far in advance of his time. One of his pet hobbies was the belief that the North American Indians were descended from the lost tribes of Israel, who came over to this continent several hundred years before Christ, built great cities and reached a very high state of civilization.

Rev. Dr. Smith wrote a work on this subject, which after completion, he decided not to publish, fearing that it might injure his reputation as a theological writer. This book was an elaboration of the theory Dr. Smith had so long maintained. Taking as its foundation the migration of the lost tribes of Israel to the western continent, it described the hegira from Palestine, the establishment of the Jews in what is now Central America and Mexico, the founding of a great empire and its gradual decline and fall. It told of magnificent cities inhabited by an enlightened and Christian people. The author claimed for them a civilization equal to that of Egypt or Jerusalem.

Hundreds of years passed and the history of the eastern Jews was repeated on the western continent. Quarrels between the various tribes sprang up, bloody wars were waged and the process of disintegration began. Gradually the people were scattered, their cities destroyed and all semblance to a nation was lost. Thousands perished by pestilence and the sword and the remnants of a once mighty nation relapsed into a state of barbarism. Their descendants, Dr. Smith claimed, were Indians of North America, and the Aztecs of Mexico. This is almost exactly similar to the story told in the Book of Mormon.

Solomon Spaulding was a warm admirer of Dr. Smith and when a young man studied under his tuition. He became interested in his theories regarding the settlement of America, and in return Dr. Smith took the young student into his confidence and granted him a perusal of his unpublished book. Spaulding was deeply impressed with the truth of this theory and pursued his investigations even farther than Dr. Smith had ventured. Taking the latter's views as expressed in his book Spaulding some years later wrote his famous "Manuscript Found," which afterward fell into the hands of Joe Smith and was reconstructed into the Book of Mormon. Indeed, it is not at all unlikely that Dr. Smith's original manuscript, which it is said Spaulding had in his possession, suffered a similar fate. At any rate it has never been seen since.

These facts are told to the Plain Dealer by a grandson of Dr. Smith, now residing in this city. He states that the Book of Mormon differs very slightly as far as its general outline is concerned, from the historical romance written by his grandfather sixty or seventy years ago, and he is quite certain that the Mormon faith is founded on the production of that worthy pastor's fertile imagination.



It is perhaps unnecessary to apologize for placing any further edition of the Spaulding Manuscript Story as the origin of the Book of Mormon before the readers of the Herald; but as that remarkable story has been endowed with so great tenacity of life, (or lives, for its name is legion), we deem it almost indispensable that the elders of the church should be in a possession of all -- the whole variety of stories, from the one told by Dr. Hurlbut at the beginning of attack on the book to the latest from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that the objector to the Book of Mormon may select which of them he chooses to rest his objection upon, and thus leave the rest free to be used in rebuttal.

There seems to have been a Smith in the original tale at last, and he is now ingeniously found in the ranks of the Congregationalists. There is some show of fitness in this; for, as the "Andover heresy," that there is a probation after death for those who learn not the Lord's will while on earth, is making lodgment in that same Congregational fold, it would be hedging to some advantage to discover that Joseph Smith, or Sidney Rigdon were indebted to the Rev. Dr. Smith, a Congregationalist, for the tenet taught by them upon their projecting the Book of Mormon upon the world. It must be so, for Dr. Smith's grand-son told the Plain Dealer so; and he is "quite certain that the Mormon faith is founded upon the production of" his grandfather's "fertile imagination." It strikes us that the "fertile imagination" is "sixty or seventy years" this side of his grandfather's brain.

It seems to us that the following ought to be remembered by those who write upon the Spaulding Story theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon.

1. That the first knowledge the world has that Solomon Spaulding wrote any manuscript of the character alleged, a historical romance concerning the origin of the American Indians, is the statement of Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, at one time a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and disfellowshipped by it for gross immorality.

2. That no manuscript was produced as the one claimed to have been written by Mr. Spaulding, that a comparison of the Book of Mormon with it might be made.

3. That without attempting to show where the manuscript story from which it was alleged the Book of Mormon was plagiarized was at the time Mr. Hurlbut wrote his work; the statement of persons who said that they had heard some of Mr. Spaulding's stories read, are introduced alleging a remembrance or a similarity in names, &c., and this is done after a lapse of over twenty years after reading is said to have taken place.

4. That Sidney Rigdon was claimed to have been the originator of the fraud, Joseph Smith the tool used by him to make it a success.

5. That no connection, or collusion between those two is shown until after the Book of Mormon was printed.

6. That the statements of Mrs. Spaulding, afterwards Mrs. Davison, the wife and widow, and Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter of Solomon Spaulding show that the manuscript of the story, "Manuscript Found," was in the actual, or constructive possession of Mr. Spaulding, or his legal representatives from the time it was written until 1843; being at no time out of actual possession of the family more than two months; and then at Pittsburg, and then a supposition only.

7. That the manuscript was sent to Mr. Jerome Clark, Monson [sic], Massachusetts, for safe keeping, by Mrs. Davison, from her possession at the house of her brother, Mr. Sabine; Mrs. McKinstry stating positively, that the said manuscript was in the trunk in which it had always been kept and was sent to Mr. Clark in that identical trunk.

8. That Mr. Hurlbut went with Mr. Sabine, a relative of Mrs. Spaulding authorized with an order to Jerome Clark from Mrs. Davison to deliver the manuscript to Mr. Hurlbut; and that Mr. Clark did deliver to Mr. Hurlbut the only manuscript found in the trunk.

9. That Mr. Hurlbut turned this manuscript over to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio.

10. That Mr. Howe sold a printing office and material, including a miscellaneous lot of manuscript writings, articles, pamphlets, etc., to L. L. Rice, formerly of Ravenna, Ohio, afterwards of Honolulu, Hawaii.

11. That Mr. Rice found a manuscript among those bought of E. D. Howe, which was in the hand writing of Solomon Spaulding, and certified to by three man whose names -- Aaron W[r]ight, Oliver Johnson [sic], and John N, Miller -- figure in Howe;s "Expose of Mormonism," attached to affidavits affirming what they had heard read from a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding; and this further certified to by the signature of D. P. Hurlbut, himself.

12. That the manuscript was given to President J. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio, by Mr. Rice in whose possession it was found in 1885, and was by him lodged in the archives of that college at Oberlin, where it now remains.

13, That a copy of it was procured by consent of President Fairchild, by Elder E. L. Kelley, of Kirtland, Ohio; and was published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Lamoni, Iowa, and is now on sale by them at their place of business in said town.

14. That D. P. Hurlbut, nor E. D. Howe, ever returned the manuscript obtained from Clark by Hurlbut to Mrs. Davison, or Mrs. McKinstry; though the return of it was frequently asked for of Dr. Hurlbut, even as late as 1844.

15. That no proof has ever been presented to show that the manuscript, or any manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding was ever in the hands of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, or any other Mormon, or Latter Day Saint, and that the statement that such manuscript was ever had in possession by the men named, or of any person in their behalf, rests solely upon conjecture, supposition, and presumption of those inimical to the Latter Day Saints.

16. That there is not one particle of evidence to prove that the Mormons, or any one in their behalf ever bought, or offered to buy of D. P. Hurlbut, E. D. Howe, or any other person, dead or living, the "Manuscript Found." "Manuscript Story." or any other manuscript story, or writing of Rev. Solomon Spaulding; at any time, or in any place, or for any sum whatever.

17. That there are good and valid reasons for believing that the "manuscript story," found by L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaii, among the papers and other properties purchased by him in 1839-40, of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, is the identical "Manuscript Found," so long and so persistently claimed by pulpit and press as being the origin of the Book of Mormon, under the skillful management of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, and that such manuscript was not and could not have been used by either of those men as such origin; Mr. Rice being correct when he states that he would as soon think the Book of Revelations to have been founded in the tale of Don Quixotte, as that the manuscript found by Mr. Rice should have been used as the foundation of the Book of Mormon.

Error may have many a rood the start of slow footed Truth; but the latter marches steadily, all times and seasons are hers and all lands her home; she will in due course overtake her nimble predecessor, and when she does she exposure is sure and complete. The truth of Mormonism has waited long for vindication against this Spaulding error; and it is within the pales of the law of compensation that such vindication should come in the regions whence the falsehood had birth, and from evidence found almost in the hands of the men who at first traduced such truth.

Note 1: The blatant shoddiness of the above response from one or more of the leaders in the RLDS Church is, simply stated, unconscionable. The editorial reviewer of the Plain Dealer article barely mentions that article's subject matter, let alone its salient points. Instead, he launches into what amounts to a string of largely unwarranted deductions, phrased in the terse language of a legal brief, and ends with pious platitudes of a decidedly saccharine flavor, all the while entirely avoiding the assertions of the article under review! The message here is: "The Church published "Manuscript Found," and it isn't the Book of Mormon." How easy it would have been for this nameless Reorganized Mormon hack-writer to have simply contacted Ethan S. Smith, the grandson of the Rev. Ethan Smith, who was then living just south of Cleveland and whom he might have quickly reached through the auspices of the same newspaper that printed the article. But, after the end of the first Braden-Kelley debate, the RLDS leadership steadfastly avoided contacting such people as Ethan S. Smith, Matilda McKinstry, and James A. Briggs, to ascertain the validity of any part of their various allegations in regard to the writings of Ethan Smith and their possible relationship to the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: The false dawn of the "Ethan Smith theory" thus fades away among the forgotten pages of the Saints' Herald of 1887. See the Aug. 20th issue for its last gasp, until it was later resurrected by I. W. Riley, B. H. Roberts and Fawn M. Brodie during the course of the next century.


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 6, 1887.                           No. 32.

We have information from a reliable source that both Sidney Rigdon and his wife remained steadfastly in the faith, believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and obtained plates and translated the Book of Mormon, substantially as related in the history of the church. Our informant states that he visited Salt Lake City in 1863, had a number of conversations with Pres. B. Young and others, who seemed to desire to convert him to the polygamic dogma. That on returning east he took occasion to visit Elder Sidney Rigdon, and questioned him closely as to his knowledge of the Book of Mormon. His statement was, "I know nothing of its origin, only what Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer stated in regard to it. I believe that the book was found as Joseph Smith stated. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and this world will find it out some day."

Our informant is reliable and knows whereof he writes. This is another nail in the coffin of that Spaulding Romance lie, about the Book of Mormon.

Note: The "informant" here was none other than the son of Sidney Rigdon, John W. Rigdon. See John's public statement on the same topic, as published in the RLDS Independent Patriot and reprinted on pp. 389-392 of Elder Rudolph Eztenhouser's 1894 book.


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 20, 1887.                           No. 34.


COLDWATER, Mich., July __.     

Mr. Editors:-- Is it the duty of the elders of this church to reply to every blackguard that yelps against the Book of Mormon? It has been proved by good witnesses to be of divine origin time and again. This idea of replying to every bark or yelp of the dogs looks like the defendant in court who rakes all the saloons and doggeries to get witnesses to defend his case, when three good witnesses will do just as well.

If the Plain Dealer cares to know facts, and let his readers know those facts relating to the origin and coming forth of the Book of Mormon, why not cite him to the history of it as given by the translator and the church years ago. If that will do him no good, replying to the slang and lies of Puritan ministers will not. The longer such liars are noticed, the longer the people may be bothered with theories, romances, &c. It may be food for some, but I question its edifying the well read Latter Day Saint. If elders wish to have the public enlightened on the Book of Mormon, tell them to read their Bibles, as explained by Joseph Smith, the Martyr, and burn up the manuscripts of all from E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, down to Ethan Smith, of New England.

If our elders say anything by way of reply to these scamps, let them say; "Take our standard works and the facts which we have collected to give all that have truth." Let them come to us and not run after our foes to get at the facts pertaining to that book. Are we not as capable of finding the facts; and are we not as willing the world should have them as those hirelings who divine for money...

I would say in conclusion, if the Plain Dealer is what his name calls for, let him publish what Mr. Smith told the world about the first and last of finding the plates, translating, &c. Then will he and his readers be wiser on many things pertaining to this and the next life.

                  L. D. HICKEY.

Note: Thus does Mormon Elder Lorenzo Dow Hickey (a Strangite and would-be RLDS) banish the "Ethan Smith theory" from the RLDS ranks for almost two decades -- with name-calling, finger-pointing, and a holier-than-thou faux righteousness, totally unwilling to abide any instruction whatsoever from "the Gentiles." No matter that Solomon Spalding and Ethan Smith both attended Dartmouth at practically the same time; no matter that Ethan and Solomon were Congregationalist ministers in New England at the same time; no matter that Solomon's widow died in Ethan's home town of Belchertown, Massachusetts; no matter that Ethan Smith was the pastor to Oliver Cowdery's step-mother and his step-sisters; no matter that Oliver's great uncle Nathaniel Emmons performed Ethan Smith's marriage ceremony and endorsed Ethan Smith's books; no matter that Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews matches with the Book of Mormon in a hundred different ways, or that it was published practically in Oliver's back-yard; no matter that a Solomon Spalding manuscript later turned up within walking distance of Ethan Smith's church in Poultney, Vermont; no matter anything at all.


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa, October 22, 1887.                           No. 43.


We have just read in The West Side, for September 30th, published at Independence, Polk county, Oregon, the "official paper" of that county, a long, flimsy and partly false dissertation on "Mormonism -- its history and religion." In it we find for the first time the statement that "William Smith, a brother of the prophet, accompanied him in his search" to obtain the plates, and that William said he "found them so heavy that he was unable to raise them," etc.; also that he "states that the prophet had a hard struggle with the Evil One and his agents before securing the sacred plates," and that "the Mormons religiously believe this ridiculous legend."...

If the editor of The West Side will give his readers "Mormon" doctrine and history, he should take it from authorized Mormon records, and not from the unreliable and contradictory writings of their enemies....

The West Side, in harmony with the preceding errors, reiterates the hoary old humbug that the Book of Mormon was "written by a Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and entitled 'Manuscript Found.'"

This editor and his kind should make a pilgrimage to Oberlin College, Ohio, see that genuine "Manuscript," as verified by the signatures of D. P. Hurlbut and many of the so-called witnesses in Howe's slanderous "History of Mormonism," learn the fact that the said Howe, Hirlbut, and a low set of priestly abettors have humbuged the world with their unblushing falsehoods, and then learn the further fact that there is no more likeness between Spaulding's infidel, polygamous, nonsensical "Manuscript" and the Book of Mormon than there is between a lazy, lecherous, ignorant anarchist and a plain, pure, intelligent, loyal Christian citizen. In plan, method, morals, purpose, genius, religion, location, dates, size and general make-up, these two productions are as wide as the poles and as different as hades and heaven. We pity the stupidity of any who believe the theory that the Book of Mormon originated in any way with "Rev. Spaulding" and his "Manuscript," or those who still publish that evident fraud to the world.



Special Correspondence of the Globe-Democrat.

(view original article from Missouri paper)


Note: The Herald writer provides false information in his "Ridiculous" article. The Oberlin Spalding holograph does not contain the title "Manuscript Found;" nor did any of the "witnesses" in Howe's 1834 book; nor do the "signatures" of any of those witnesses accompany Hurlbut's c. Dec. 31, 1833 certificate, as recorded on the final page of the Oberlin manuscript. There is no reason to assume that the Oberlin document was ever called "Manuscript Found," by anybody other than Mormon polemicists. In fact, the same "witnesses" reportedly provided testimony exactly opposite to what The Herald writer asserts -- another in a long series of RLDS misrepresentations and obfuscations in regard to Solomon Spalding, his fictional writings and the testimony of witnesses documenting the Spalding-Rigdon claims for Book of Mormon authorship.


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa, November 5, 1887.                           No. 45.


The Deseret News of Tuesday, October 11th, contains an epistle from Wilford Woodruff "on behalf of the council of the Twelve Apostles," from which we reproduce what we think to be its salient points, together with the comment that we deem to be necessary.

For some time before his death the Prophet Joseph was inspired of the Lord to anticipate his own departure from earthly scenes. This was shown in various ways; but especially in the great anxiety which he displayed to bestow upon the Twelve Apostles all the keys and authority of the Holy Priesthood which he had received. He declared in private and in public that they were equipped and fully qualified, and that he had rolled the kingdom of God on to the shoulders of the Twelve Apostles.


I, Wilford Woodruff, being the last man living in the flesh who was present upon that occasion, feel it a duty I owe to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to the House of Israel, and to the whole world, to bear this my last testimony to all nations, that in the winter of 1843-4, Joseph Smith, the Prophet of God, called the Twelve Apostles together in the City of Nauvoo, and spent many days with us in giving us our endowments, and teaching us those glorious principles which God had revealed to him. And upon one occasion he stood upon his feet in our midst for nearly three hours, declaring unto us the great and last dispensation which God had set His hand to perform upon the earth in these last days. The room was filled as if with consuming fire; the Prophet was clothed upon with much of the power of God, and his face shone and was transparently clear, and he closed that speech, never-to-be-forgotten in time or in eternity, with the following language:

"Brethren, I have had great sorrow of heart for fear that I might be taken from the earth with the keys of the kingdom of God upon me, without sealing them upon the heads of other men. God has sealed upon my head all the keys of the kingdom of God necessary for organizing and building up of the Church, Zion, and kingdom of God upon the earth, and to prepare the Saints for the coming of the Son of Man. Now, brethren, I thank God I have lived to see the day that I have been enabled to give you your endowments, and I have now sealed upon your heads all the powers of the Aaronic and Melchizedec priesthoods and apostleship, with all the keys and powers thereof, which God has sealed upon me; and I now roll off all the labor, burden and care of this Church and kingdom of God upon your shoulders, and I now command you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to round up your shoulders, and bear off this Church and kingdom of God before heaven and earth, and before God, angels and men; and if you don't do it you will be damned."

And the same Spirit that filled the room at that time burns in my bosom while I record this testimony, and the Prophet of God appointed no one else but the Twelve Apostles to stand at the head of the church and direct its affairs. * * *

The Twelve Apostles, with President Brigham Young as their head, became the presiding council of the Church.

The lessons which the Church then learned in regard to te the priesthood and the rights of the Priesthood, have never been forgotten. When President Young was taken from us, there was no jar nor division of sentiment among the Apostles; and among the people there was scarcely a question as to where the right of Presidency rested. President John Taylor took the position which belonged to him, and the work of God moved forward without interruption and with a union and harmony on the part of all connected with it, most delightful to witness. He has stood at our head for nearly ten years and during that period he be has possessed the gifts and qualifications which belonged to his high office and calling. His entire career is one that can be contemplated with the utmost satisfaction and pleasure by all who love the truth and admire the integrity in those who are called to be servants of God. From the time that he be was baptized a member of the Church until his spirit took its flight from earth, he never wavered in his advocacy and defense of the principles of righteousness. Under all the varied circumstances through which he and the people of God were called to pass, in the midst of the deepest trials and afflictions, his voice was always raised in tones of encouragement and hope; and when the storms were the fiercest he rose to the occasion and always displayed undaunted courage and unflinching devotion to the Zion of God. In the providence of God it fell to his lot to be with the Prophet Joseph and Patriarch Hyrum when they were martyred for the truth, and he mingled his own blood with theirs. Though severely wounded on that occasion he miraculously escaped death. He was a man whom the Lord loved. The evidence of this Is to be found in the fact that he [chose] him to preside over his Church at the departure of his servant Brigham. We feel thankful to God our Eternal Father that we have been permitted to live with and enjoy the society of President John Taylor and be his fellow laborers. Our association with him and the Presidents and Apostles who have gone before him into the spirit world we esteem as a great honor. We take delight in anticipating the rejoicing that we shall have when we shall be permitted to mingle in their society.

Once more the responsibility of presiding over the Church has fallen upon the Council of he Twelve Apostles. The Counselors of President Taylor, Brothers George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, being members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles at the time they were chosen to be members of the First Presidency, have, since his death, taken their places again as members of that Council.

Fifty-seven years and a half have elapsed since the Church was organized. In looking around among those with whom we associate to-day, how few there are left of those who, under the Lord, helped to lay the foundation of this work and were the companions of the Prophet in the early labors connected therewith! To-day there is but one Apostle left of those who belonged to the Council of the Apostles during the lifetime of the Prophet Joseph, or, indeed at the time these valleys were first settled. The other faithful apostles who were ordained under the direction of the Prophet Joseph have all passed behind the vail....

We can have no wish to take from any man his meed of worth, or labor; but a serious question has risen with reference to the nature of the responsibility imposed by Joseph Smith upon the quroum of Twelve as organized and existent during the later years of his life and at his death. That Joseph Smith carried much of the burden properly belonging to the Twelve as a spiritual body appears certain as is seen in a revelation in Doctrine and Covenants, July 23d, 1837, and in the church history; but that he at any time put upon them, or from himself, any responsibility attaching to himself and to the office of president of the church, which he held, and which his successor should hold after him, if he should be succeeded by any one, is by no means presumable. If Joseph Smith was informed in regard to the law and organization of the church, he knew that the Twelve must stand in its own place, and not in the place, or station filled by him as presiding over the whole church. And the records of the times when the events occurred clearly shows that an understanding obtained at the time, by the Twelve, Brigham Young being the exponent of the views held by them, which was widely different from that which was acted upon in 1847 when Brigham Young was elevated to the presidency, as also when John Taylor succeeded him.

At the death of Joseph and Hyrum, William Smith, John E. Page and Lyman Wight were members of the quorum, and did not cease to be members for some time after the assassination. These men must have been with the quorum at the time such alleged instruction preparatory to the anticipated departure of Joseph Smith was going on; and they did not then, nor ever afterward, understand the teaching of Joseph, so secretly given, as Wilford Woodruff now states it, and as Brigham Young construed it in 1847. Further than this, Brigham Young, August 15th, 1844, stated that no one need think that Joseph's place would "be filled by another;" "for," said he, "he stands in his own place, and always will; and the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will." -- Times and Seasons, 5:618.

And the reorganization which Brigham Young effected, beginning at Winter Quarters in 1847, effectually disproved the assumption that Joseph's instructions contemplated what was done in that direction. Lyman Wight, John E. Page and William Smith, who must have been partakers of the same counsel and teaching had quite a different conception of what Joseph's teaching was; and one of these, William Smith, is still living, with full faith in the mission of his brothers and in Mormonism as declared by them...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                             Lamoni, Iowa, December 10, 1887.                           No. 50.

From the Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 9th, 1852.


A Cincinnati correspondent, who gives the Mormons a regular going-over in his letter, for their doctrines and practice of polygamy, and whom we judge to be something of a Mormon himself, says, very much to the purpose: --

They announce that polygamy is a doctrine "sent forth as a Standard of Universal Restoration for the Tribes of Israel, and for all nations." They "seek to excuse themselves" in their abominations, because of the things which were written concerning some of the ancients. A specimen of this kind of sophistry is presented by Mr. Pratt in his communication, and yet this great Apostle professes to be a Mormon, and I have no doubt that many of your readers imagine that Brigham Young and all these Salt Lake apostles believe in the Book of Mormon and the original Mormonism, whereas they hace "departed from the faith," and "have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness." The Book of Mormon informs us of just such apostates as they are, who lived on this land in ancient times. It says: "Thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the Scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Begold, David and Solomon tryly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. *  *  *  There shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. *  *  *  I will not suffer, saith the Lord of hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of hosts; for they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people, because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for the shall not committ whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of hists."

Mr. Pratt accuses "Christendom" of having "oetty prejudices, local superstitions, and narrow views" on the subject, but these quotations, and more that might be made, show that the Book of Mormon is more opposed to the Salt Lake "Standard of Universal Restoration" than Christendom is, for the Book of Mormon condemns ancient as well as modern polygamy. The Salt Lake apostles also excuse themselves by saying that Joseph Smith taught the spiritual wife doctrine, but this excuse is as weak as their excuse concerning the ancient kings and patriarchs. Joseph Smith repented of his connection with this doctrine, and said it was of the devil. He caused the revelations on that subject to be burned, and when he voluntarily came to Nauvoo and resigned himself into the arms of his enemies, he said that he was going to Carthage to die. At that time he also said, if it had not been for that accursed spiritual wife doctrine, he would not have come to that. By his conduct at that time he proved the sincerity of his repentance, and of his profession as a prophet. If Abraham and Jacob, by repentance, can attain salvation and exaltation, so can Joseph Smith.
                                                   ISAAC SHEEN.

It therefore seems that the Salt Lake Mormons, if Mr. Sheen be correct, and he quotes the words of the "Book of Mormon," are acting not only in opposition to common decency and morality, but to the explicit commands of their "own holy Book," and to the dying testimony of Joseph Smith, their founder. We shall be pleased to hear from any of our Mormon readers, how the doctrine of their Bible upon this subject, and the present Salt Lake practices, can be reconciled. If there are a majority of honest, pure-minded men and women among the people...

Note 1: The above letter is Elder Isaac Sheen's first known published comments on Mormon iniquity, since he took Latter Day Saint "President" William Smith to task in the pages of various Cincinnati and Washington D. C. newspapers in 1850. No doubt Elder Sheen had even more to say, after the official announcement of Utah Mormon polygamy was published in the Sept. 14, 1852 issue of the Salt Lake City Deseret News, however, Sheen subsequent remarks on the topic have not yet been located for transcription.

Note 2: Isaac Sheen's admission of the fact that Joseph Smith, Jr. "repented of his connection with this doctrine" is a bit startling to see published in any RLDS periodical, since the very appearance of similar confessions in the very first issue of the Herald. Sheen's disclosure in that introductory number, (such as: "The reason why the Lord destroyed the prophet and made those who "set up their idols in their heart, "a sign and a proverb" made them bear the punishment of their iniquity is worthy of our earnest attention.") never thereafter captured the "earnest attention" of the Herald nor the Reorganized LDS leadership.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 4, 1888.                           No. 5.


From the Chicago Tribune of January 24th, 1888, we clip the following:


"Richmond, Mo,, Jan. 23 -- David Whitmer, the last one of the three witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon, is now in a dying condition at his home in Richmond. Last evening he called the family and friends to his bedside, and bore his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. He is past eighty-three years of age. Mr. Whitmer is an old citizen of this town, and is known by everyone here as a man of the highest honor, having resided here since the year 1838. He is not and never has been a believer in polygamy. He left the Mormon Church in 1838 on account of their departure from the faith as he believes. His mind is still clear. He is in no pain whatever, but is gradually sinking, and death is expected every hour. During the evening he affixed his signature to several papers in the closing up of his earthly affairs. His hand was wonderfully firm.

"David Whitmer, who played an important part in the translation of the Mormon Bible, and who was one of the pillars of the Church during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, was born in Pennsylvania, Jan. 5, 1805. During his early childhood his father moved from Pennsylvania up into Ontario County in New York, and settled on a farm in the vicinity of Watkin's Glen.

"It was during the early part of June, 1829, that David first heard that a young man named Joseph Smith had found an exceedingly valuable golden treasure in the northern part of the county. In company with his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery, young Whitmer set out to ascertain the truth or falsity of the story. Smith, who was at that time living with his father on a farm near Manchester, was indisposed at first to exhibit his treasure, but was finally persuaded to do so. The treasure consisted of a number of golden plates about eight inches long, seven inches wide, and of the thickness of ordinary sheet tin. They were bound together in the shape of a book by three gold rings. A large portion of the leaves were so securely bound together that it was impossible to separate them, but upon the loose leaves were engraved hieroglyphics which were unintelligible to any person who had seen them. With the tablets was an immense pair of spectacles set in a silver bow. Smith announced that he had been commanded to translate the characters upon the plates as soon as possible, and stated further that the work must be done in the presence of three witnesses, Smith, his wife, Cowdery, and Whitmer then proceeded to the house of Whitmer's father, where the work of translatia was carried out, Smith reading the characters by means of the magic spectacles, Cowdery, Christian Whitmer, a brother of David, and Smith's wife acting as amanuenses.

"The work of translation occupied nearly eight months Smith carelessly tattled to the neighbors of the secrets which they were working out, and as a consequence the plates were taken from him by the angel of the Lord who in place of them gave him a Urim and Thummin of a different shape which he was to place in his hat and on covering his face with the hat he received straightway a direct revelation. After the completion of the translation David Whitmer became an ardent disciple of the new [relelation], and for some time preached throughout the neighborhood on its behalf. His efforts, and those of Cowdery and some others met with such success Mormon church was founded April 6, 1830, in which year the Book of Mormon was first published to the world. In the year following the church and [its] disciples moved to Kirtland, O., where Brigham Young first joined church. The original manuscript from which the Book of Mormon printed has been in the possession of Mr. Whitmer from the time it was written. It is stated that the Mormon Church has of late years made strenuous efforts to induce Mr. Whitmer to part with it, but all offers made by them steadfastly refused.

"Leaving Kirtland, Whitmer set out as a missionary, preaching the truth as he saw it and exhorting all his hearers to come to Christ. He was very successful in this field, making many converts, and assisted in establishing the settlement in Jackson county, Missouri. When the church had been compelled to flee from Kirtland the members came to Jackson county, but trouble soon arising between them and the Missourians, moved to Caldwell county. Whitmer then moved to Richmond, Missouri, where he has since resided.

And in the same journal for January 26th we find these words:

"A telegram received yesterday announced the death at five p.m., at Richmond, Mo., of David Whitmer, 83 years old."

And so "the last of the three witnesses," David Whitmer, has passed into the presence of that God who called him by revelation through Joseph Smith, the translator, in connection with Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, to be a "witness" to the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and to the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet, seer, revelator and translator...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 11, 1888.                           No. 6.


Mr. George Schweich, grandson of the late David Whitmer, of Richmond, Missouri, sent for publication in the Herald an article printed in the Richmond Democrat of the 26th ult., in respect to the birth, life and death of his grandfather, including a statement of his belief in and his testimony to the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and consequently to the seeric, revelating, and translating powers bestowed of God upon Joseph Smith. This will be found in another place in today's issue.

With joy we accept this last testimony of David Whitmer as a "witness" to the divinity of the Book of Mormon and to the divine endowments conferred upon Joseph Smith, and we revere his memory for the faithfulness with which he maintained that testimony...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 3, 1888.                           No. 9.

The editor of the Expositor has this to say of the calumniators of the Saints, in the February issue of that excellent paper:

"Why, we have run the Rev. 'Spaulding manuscript,' of Hurlbut and Howe out of its hiding place, where it has been hid for nearly fifty years; we have published the illiterate vulgar, profane, obscene and infidel production of the pious Presbyterian divine, and it makes the retailers of the old lies of Howe and Hurlbut sore, and destroys their stock of lying evidence, and now they wish to invent another by trying to prove that this pious infidel minister wrote another 'manuscript found,' and that the one unearthed recently is not the one they meant all the while. Their old, persistent lie about Rigdon's stealing said manuscript and remodeling it into the 'Book of Mormon,' has been exploded and the authors unmasked to the utter contempt of all honest men, and leaves these pious divines without ammunition to load their guns to shoot paper wads at the Latter Day Saints, and hence the effort of Mr. Deming to supply the long felt and much needed dirt for these venerable dirt slingers.

"This 'charcoal' Deming, like all who have written before him, has fallen into the mistake of claiming that the 'Book of Mormon' was a history of the 'ten lost tribes of Israel,' and so the second 'manuscript found' of Rev. Spaulding, they say, was a purported history of the lost tribes of Israel. Now we will do as well by Deming as we once offered the Rev. (?) Dr. Roberts in the debate we had with him in Iowa on the subject. We will give Mr. Deming or any other person, 160 acres of good land if they will find a single sentence in the Book of Mormon which purports or pretends that said book is a history of the lost tribes of Israel or anything pertaining to their history. Unfortunately for the cause of Deming & Co., Mrs. Spaulding nor her daughter, Mrs. M. S. McKinstry, never told of ever giving Hurlbut but one manuscript, nor ever pretended that he got but one; and we have proved time and time again that one went into the possession of Howe, and that when Rice bought out Howe's office this identical manuscript went with the rest and has been under Rice's care and keeping since about 1840, until it was placed in the keeping of President Fairchild of Ohio, who furnished us the copy we have published.

"The name 'Manuscript Found' is the name given to Rev. Spaulding's manuscript by his widow and daughter, and by Howe and Hurlbut. And as the manuscript had no name of its own, the publishers were justified, yes, in duty bound to give it the name it had always been known by, and that all the friends of the manuscript gave it. And it comes now will ill grace for them to charge the publishers with the forgery of the name 'Manuscript found,' which was placed on the published book. And the fact that on the wrapper which held the manuscript the words 'Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek,; -- and which name Fairchild says was evidently the Handwriting of Mr. Rice of Honolulu, and not the author, and further, as the Spaulding family and friends have always called it 'Manuscript found,' it was no forgery for the publishers to prefix the name they all had given to the production. Consequently the claim put forth that Spaulding wrote another manuscript in regard to the lost tribes of Israel from which the Book of Mormon was made, rests in the addled brains of the opponents of the Book of Mormon. And another fact, patent to any person who ever read the Book of Mormon, there is not one word or sentence in the book claiming or pretending to be an account of the lost tribes of Israel. And here is where the whole subterfuge of the false witnesses is brought to light and exposed to every person who will read the book."

To the above we may add that it does not matter how many manuscripts Rev. Spaulding may have written, either after or before he wrote the "Manuscript Story." One thing is now established by the widow of Spaulding, Mrs. McKinstry, the witnesses whose names are signed to the "Manuscript Story" (including that of Doctor Hurlbut), also the testimony of Howe, Rice and Fairchild, and that is, that the said "Manuscript Story" is the genuine, veritable work of said Rev. Solomon Spaulding. In this an all essential point is gained, for in that document we have Rev. Spaulding's powers and qualities exhibited so clearly and fully that we can easily measure him and size him up in respect to his natural abilities, his defects in scholarship, his morals, his religion, his ignorance of the antiquities of America, his irrational and flimsy theory in respect to the aborigines of America, all proving that he never possessed, and never could possess, the qualifications necessary to write the Book of Mormon, nor anything approaching it. He, in that manuscript, has furnished to all people the plain evidences of the manner of man he was. And judging him by what is there displayed, he had neither natural nor acquired wit, wisdom, skill, learning, morals, religion, nor archaeological knowledge sufficient to unite anything superior to his stupid, irreligious, immoral, and nonsensical "Manuscript Story." It was and is his last, best, and only effort in that line. He had no more ability to write the Book of Mormon than a gibbering penny-a-liner had to write the Principia of Sir Isaac Newton, or the Cosmos of Humboldt. We repeat, that it does not matter how many manuscripts Rev. Spaulding wrote; for the one he did write fixes his capabilities, religion, (if he had any,) and his morals at a low-down standard, utterly and hopelessly beneath that required to design, plan, and execute a work like the Book of Mormon. But there is not a shadow of proof that he ever wrote save the one. It now will be in order for the Rev. "Mormon eaters" to invent some other theory on which to wreck the Book of Mormon. We cheerfully await developments.

Note 1: When the Herald editors finally got around to acknowledging the fact that non-Mormon critics had been claiming for over two years that the RLDS Church's 1885 "Manuscript Found" booklet was misnamed, they did so only in a round about way -- by quoting from this self-justifying article in The Expositor, a paper started in Jan. 1885 by some RLDS in Oakland, California. The "saintly" editors and publishers of The Expositor could not help but notice the appearance of Arthur B. Deming's Naked Truths About Mormonism when it was published in their own town in Jan. 1888. Predictably, the RLDS writers ignored "Charcoal" Deming's many signed affidavits and painstaking research and instead concentrated on misrepresenting both him and the Spalding authorship claims.

Note 2: The errors put forth as fact in the Expositor-Herald compilation are glaring ones. The originators of the Spalding claims made it plain that the manuscript re-discovered many years later in Honolulu was not the "Manuscript Found." This understanding was part of the Spalding claims from the very beginning, and not an innovation added on to them after the RLDS published the misnamed 1885 "Manuscript Found" booklet. Also, nobody from the early years of the Spalding claims development ever said that the manuscript later re-discovered in Honolulu substantially resembled the Book of Mormon. Also, nobody ever credited Solomon Spalding with writing the entire Book of Mormon -- his writings were claimed as providing the historical base and some of the unique names in the book. The especially "moral" or "religious" portions of the Book of Mormon were early on credited to an editor or expander, specifically to the Rev. Sidney Rigdon. Thus, the RLDS publishers were in no way whatever "justified" in tacking onto the title page of their publication the words "Manuscript Found." That name was not associated with the manuscript until after it was re-discovered in Honolulu.

Note 3: Lewis L. Rice carefully disassociated himself from the "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek" title written in the manuscript's wrapper. He said in the public press that the name was there on the wrapper when he first noticed the package, some time after he received it from Howe. If it was not the wording of Spalding himself, it was at least a title very early associated with the manuscript. In their 1886 printing of the same document the Utah Mormons were careful to use that same "Manuscript Story" title, having realized its early association with that particular Spalding holograph. Finally, the Book of Mormon tells the story of Lehi of the tribe of Manasseh and corroborates biblical prophecies concerning the tribe of Ephraim. The implication is left with the reader that these two "lost tribes" will inherit the Americas in the latter days. the other "lost" tribes of Israel are incidentally mentioned in the book, indicating that its author(s) had at least some interest in their fate and final location in the world. Solomon Spalding may well have written a story mentioning one or more "lost tribes" just as the Book of Mormon does. He may just as easily have edited out of his final draft any mention of certain among those several tribes. Or, failing that as the logical explanation of things, an editor such as Sidney Rigdon may have simplified the text by dropping all mention of lost tribes other than Manasseh and Ephraim.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 10, 1888.                           No. 10.


Friends have sent us copies of the following clipping from the Chicago Inter-Ocean, asking to know if it is genuine, to which we reply, No. First for the reason that there is not, nor has there ever been a "Second Book of Mormon;" therefore, second, "the Mormons" do not "consider these books in the same light that Christians consider the Old and New Testaments." Third, Joseph Smith never claimed to translate anything from "two large copper plates;" fourth, he never claimed to find on any plates figures of "crowns, the crucifixion, and other such signs;" fifth, he never pretended to translate with "magic spectacles" at Nauvoo, or anywhere else, "copies and descriptions" of hieroglyphics that had been "sent all over the old world to prominent hieroglyphists for translation," Here is the clipping:


"Metamora, Ill., Jan. 30th -- The Inter-Ocean of the 27th contained an account of the origin of the "Book of Mormon," which reminded your correspondent of what he knows of the translation and origin of the "Second Book of Mormon." Every one who is at all acquainted with their history will know that this Second Book came to light just prior to the evacuation of Nauvoo, and that the Mormons consider these books much in the same light that Christians consider the Old and New Testaments.

"An account of the Second Book may prove interesting to most of your readers. After having read the statements to follow all will agree that it is not only possible, but very probable that the First Book was no more of divine origin than the Second Book.

"The facts are as follows: Some time before the demise of Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader, one John Fugate, who then lived in or near Quincy, Illinois, conceived a little plan by which to startle the natives. He obtained two large copper plates of a blacksmith (whom, of course, he had to let in on the secret) and they thereon engraved, by the use of wax and acid, some signs and symbols. The plates were mostly covered, I think, with a writing very similar to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and around on the margin were figures of the sun, crowns, the crucifixion, and other such signs of similar character. And then with paint, or acid, and iron filings they covered them with a very good imitation of rust. They then bound them together with a rusty wire, went to the woods and buried them between two huge flat stones, and deep down in an old Indian mound. They covered them up carefully, replaced the sod and dirt and awaited developments.

"On a day that there was a big religious gathering in town they went to the woods with the avowed purpose of excavating a well-known Indian mound, and returned with these plates. Of course their find soon became known and everyone in town was interested, and particularly so when the rust (?) was taken off and the marks exposed.

"Joseph Smith, hearing of this and seeing therein a strong hit in his favor, proclaimed them to be connected with the Mormon religion, and set about to have them translated. For this purpose they, or copies and descriptions of them, were sent all over the old world to prominent hieroglyphists for translation. But the problem came back unsolved, and many letters were written to Mr. Fugate concerning the same. Undaunted, however, Smith put on his magic spectacles and proceeded to translate from the Second Book of Mormon.

"This is not quite all. Mr. Fugate, thinking the joke had gone far enough, told the whole affair to one of the leading Methodists in town. The Methodists immediately spread the news far and wide. Owing to the anger of the Mormons, Mr. Fugate was obliged to quietly leave to avoid being murdered by them. Mr. Fugate died at Camp Point, Adams county, three years ago, but his wife and all his family still live. His oldest son, Dr. J. T. Fugate, of Urbana, Illinois, has all the newspaper reports, documents, and letters concerning the case, and would no doubt be glad to verify these statements to any person skeptically inclined."

The transaction to which the above probably relates, and (if so), of which it is a false and misleading perversion, is described as follows by John Hyde in his book against "Mormonism," pages 265-269, when arguing and seeking to explain away the divine origin of the Book of Mormon:

"It is a fact that Smith did copy some characters on to a slip of paper, which he sent by Martin Harris to Professor Anthon. It is also a fact, that the description of the characters made by the Professor, does somewhat resemble the description of the glyphs of Otolum, made subsequently by Professor Rafinesque (Atlantic Journal, 1832, Professor Rafinesque). Of this similarity O. Pratt makes great capital as a proof of the Book of Mormon. I admit the resemblance. It is also a fact that eight men testified that Smith had shown them several plates curiously engraved; that they "did handle and heft them;" and that they knew Smith had them. Although, as before shown, these plates could not have been the pretended golden Bible, yet I think there can be no doubt that these men told the truth as to seeing and handling certain plates, and that Smith had them. Unless Smith had got something, he could never have originated the idea of the book; could not have copied the characters sent to Professor Anthon by Martin Harris; still more, those characters could not have happened to resemble engravings subsequently found; and as these eight do not pretend, as to the three, to have seen them with all the ridiculous concomitants of the eye of faith and coming of angels, it is reasonable to believe that Smith really possessed some plates. If their testimony is credible, it proves that he not only had them, but that he kept them, and not delivered them 'up to the angel,' as he elsewhere pretends. To possess the plates is one thing, to have received them from God is quite another. To admit that he had them does not admit the truth of the Book of Mormon.

"'How did he get them?'

"On the 16th of April, 1843, a respectable merchant, by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place. He excavated to the depth of ten feet, and came to rock. On the 23d. he and quite a number of the citizens, with myself, repaired to the mound, and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones, that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found, that consisted of SIX PLATES OF BRASS, of a bell-shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps. the ring and clasps appeared to be of iron, very much oxydated: the plates first appeared to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates. Accordingly, I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woolen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed, I treated them with dilute sulphuric acid, which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with characters, that none, as yet, have been able to read. They were found, I judge, more than twelve feet below the surface of the top of the mound.

"'I am , respectfully, a citizen of Kinderhook,'     "'W. P. HARRIS, M. D.'"

"The following certificate was forwarded for publication at the same time:

"'We citizens of Kinderhook, whose names are annexed, do certify and declare, that on the 23d of April, 1843, while excavating a large mound in the vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound six brass plates, of a bell-shape, covered with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxydated. The bands and rings on said plates moldered into dust on a slight pressure.'"
    ROBERT WILEY,          J. R. SHARP,
    G. W. F. WARD,         W. P. HARRIS,
    W. FUGATE.

"The characters on these plates also resemble Professor Anthon's description: 'The characters were arranged in columns like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley I ever saw. Greek, Hebrew, and all sorts of letters, more of less distorted, were intermingled, with sundry delineations of half moons, stars and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican Zodiac." (Professor Anthon's letter.) Professor Rafinesque describes the glyphs of Otolum, Mexico, as being 'written from top to bottom like the Chinese.' 'The most common way of writing is in rows, and each group separated.' (Atlantic Journal for 1832). This similarity between the characters on Wiley's plates and Professor Rafinesque's description, does not prove that Wiley got his plates from an angel. However much the characters on Smith's plates may have resembled either of the above, it does not any the more prove that Smith got his plates from an angel either." -- Mormonism by John Hyde.

Of this matter the Times and Seasons published in Nauvoo, Illinois, May 1st, 1843, only a few days after the alleged discovery of the above plates, has this to say: (view original article from 1843)...

Kinderhook and not Quincy, many miles distant, is where these plates were said to have been discovered.

We are not aware that Joseph Smith ever claimed to have translated the above mentioned plates, or accepted them as genuine, much less to translate a "Second Book of Mormon." There are many newspapers and their correspondents ever ready to cry "hoax!" "humbug!!" "delusion!!!" and yet when weighed in the balances they are found to be the class foreshown in the Scriptures who are "deceiving, and being deceived." This Inter-Ocean correspondent is one -- but not a very brilliant one -- of that despicable class.


A person named Arthur B. Deming has begun the publication of a paper which he calls "Naked Truths About Mormonism." It will be given in monthly doses at fifty cents per year, or five cents per copy. He begs the public, Mormon or otherwise, to buy, as he wishes to obtain means to exhume and re-inter his father, who had the misfortune to be buried in a cemetery which has since been utilized as a pasture lot for horses and cows. In the meantime he will indulge his goulish propensities, he hopes with profit, by slavering with his imbecile and obscene drivel, the reputation of other people's fathers and mothers, provided they are dead and unable to call him to account. In short, one way or another, he lives on the dead, and has added new terrors to the grave.

At the top of the first page of his paper he says, -- "Read and laugh as you never laughed before." There is indeed matter for mirth in his paper, but not in the way he intended. Where he and his statement-makers intend to be merry, they are sad, shallow or disgusting, but when they mean to be serious, then they are foolishly funny.

Having paid my "nickle" on Mr. Deming's representation that his was a humorous paper, I shall endeavor to obtain mirth to that amount, and being of a benevolent disposition, I will try to place the same within the reach of others, freed from the gratuitous nastiness with the Deming school of humorists embellish their remarks. Remember, the distinguishing trait of Deming's character is ghoulishness. To be attacked by him, you must first be dead. So, too, his most "edifying" statements are not published during their author's lifetime. He usually collects such from the mumblings of irresponsible dotage, possibly supplying whatever malice and depravity they may require to bring them down to the Deming standard, after which he waits until the alleged author has, as he says, "departed in the triumph of a living faith," and then he rushes into print. In fact, there seems to be a sad fatality about making a statement to him. Deming appears to be a synonym for death. After a "Salutatory," Mr. Deming begins his "Introduction" thus:

While fasting and reading the Old Testament in New York City, in 1880 or '81, I was strongly impressed that I had revealed to me (not by Mormon Revelation) the principal reasons for great intellect in children. While on a visit to Boston, in September, 1881, I spoke to a prominent physician about it. He replied it was new to him, and said, "Talk it wherever you go." I did as far as Minneapolis, Minnesota, and went to Colorado and Salt Lake City, where I was kindly received by leading Mormons."

It is deplorable that those no doubt occult reasons for "remarkable intellect in children" were not revealed to the ancestors of Mr. Deming. He states elsewhere that he has written much presumably valuable matter on the subject of "heredity;" that his paper is a "Journal for newly apprehended truths," and that if those who believe in the Book of Mormon, will read his paper, it would make them "free." In other words, he will teach you that the gospel plan of salvation is out of date. That you are not responsible for your meanness. Blame it on your grandmother, especially if she is dead.

During Mr. Deming's stay in Salt Lake, he was the guest of Gen. Wells, concerning whom one of his paragraphs reads as follows:

"One evening the General commenced to preach Mormonism to me. He began about Bro. Joseph and the Hill Cumorah. I laughed and said, None of that, it would do no good. I afterward regretted I did not hear his argument. He desisted, but in a few minutes handed me the Wells genealogy, and requested me to read a statement he showed me. It read: 'In 1666, at Wethersfield, Connecticut, Gov. Thaddeus Wells married Elizabeth Foot, daughter of John Deming,' and then he claimed a relationship, and to make it stronger he offered me two of his daughters, before I left the city, who were own sisters, for wives, which offer I declined (no reflection intended towards the ladies, one of whom has since married and died with her first child)."

However it was, by missing Deming, in the language of sweet Ophelia, she "made a good escape/" It is not certified that either of the girls was a party to the proposal for Mr. Deming's hand; and if it was made at all, doubtless Gen. Wells was merely working that fund of merriment of which Mr. Deming is unconsciously the source. It is not my wish to defend any of the heresies which were introduced by Brigham Young to subvert the faith once delivered to the Saints, but I protest that the sins of Utah will become respectable if they are long opposed by such men as Mr. Deming. He makes no distinction between the genuine church and the Utah counterfeit. He does not attempt to refute our doctrines, but preferred rather to breathe the venom of his slanderous breath upon the record of the man through whom the everlasting gospel was restored to earth; the man who was faithful unto death; the man who exchanged a world unworthy of him for a martyr's crown in heaven.

Early in life, Mr. Deming appears to have manifested that peculiar kind of thrift for which he has ever since been remarkable. He remarks that when a mere child, it was his business to show visiting "Mormons" through the Carthage jail and describe to them the killing of Joseph Smith and his brother by the mob. Occasionally, he says, in delightful retrospect, they gave him a "picayune or bit." His mother told him the "Mormons" were poor, and not to accept anything from them. He adds, "I did not knowingly," and considering how little he knows to-day, it was no doubt true. He says, "I write these few of many similar facts to convince all Mormons that from childhood I have been friendly to them." It is evident, however, that he uses the word "friendly" in its cannibalistic sense merely.

Concerning Mr. Deming's father he states, that pending his trial for killing a man in self-defense, he

"Removed his flannel during a very hot day late in August, and caught cold, which resulted in brain fever, from which he died September 10th, 1845, within twenty feet of where the Mormon prophet was shot. During his sickness, when delirious, four men were required to hold him in bed; he said they were coming to kill him. His dying request to mother was to give the boys educations if able, if not, trades."

He informs the reader that sixteen horses and two or three cows now crop the herbage above his father's grave. His uncle is buried there also. As an extenuating circumstance he observes:

"Instead of purchasing another lot in some better kept cemetery, and removing my father's and uncle's remains, I have devoted my time, and all the money and aid I could earn, borrow, or beg, with scarcely any assistance, in continuing my search for the evidence needed to prove the true origin of Mormonism. Various persons have respectfully called me a fool for so doing."

Not for this reason only, but owned and operated by A. B. Deming, a victim of circumstances, heredity, and newly apprehended truths. Fifty cents per year. Reduced rates to the "zealous" among the clergy and to young ladies Seminaries, if Deming succeeds in eluding the vigilance of Anthony Comstock. The paper differs from the Police Gazette in having no pictures. It is also a hundred times more destitute of truth.

No doubt some well-meaning persons, ignorant of Mr. Deming's character, (or want of it), and of his methods and motives, have been betrayed in stating an opinion or telling what their fathers said that they had heard, but when, in the first number of his paper, they see Deming display the vacuity of his mind and the foulness of his heart, in simpering unconsciousness of his awful state, such decent persons will blush that a mistaken sense of duty ever led them on general principles. I think most people will reaffirm the verdict with the "respectfully" left out. -- Perturbed shade of Deming's pere, rest! Although thou didst defy the laws of hygiene by braving the inclemency of a hot August day flannelles, yet soon as thy ghoulish offspring has finished his present "Burking" operations with sufficient profit, he intends to dig thee up!

Mr. Deming declares that his father was a friend to the "Mormons," and that although all his own misfortunes through life can be traced infallibly to that friendship, he is yet more friendly than was his father; and if they doubt it, just let them buy and read the "evidence" he intends to offer. Professing zeal for the spread of his alleged evidence, he has copyrighted the contents of his paper, and no "esteemed contemporary" shall quote more than one column, stating that said column has been taken from the "Odorous Excavator," to give their names to a creature whose acquaintance is polluting; whose praise is infamy; whose enmity is renown.

The favorite theory of those who have sought to disprove the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon, has always been that Sidney Rigdon obtained it at Patterson's printing office in Pittsburg, where it had been left by Mr. Spaulding, and that he gave it to Joseph Smith. By the most conclusive testimony, the whereabouts of the Spaulding Manuscript has been accounted for until after the publication of the Book of Mormon. It has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that during all this time it was either in the actual or constructive possession of Mr. Spaulding or the heirs; that after the publication of the Book of Mormon it was obtained by a person (Doctor Hurlbut, ED.) engaged in collecting material for a book against the Latter Day Saints, under the supposition -- the bare theory -- that Sidney Rigdon had copied it, and that the person obtaining it afterwards informed Mr. Spaulding's widow that, as it did not read as expected, it would not be published. Since then this manuscript has been recovered from Mr. Rice, late a resident of the Hawaiian Islands, and it has been published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to show that it could not have been the basis of the Book of Mormon. True to his ghoulish nature, Mr. Deming leans upon the scythe, shakes his hour-glass encouragingly, and when he learns that receivers of the Manuscript (Hurlbut and Howe,) are actually dead, he informs the world that undoubtedly Mr. Howe sold the real Manuscript to the "Mormons" who destroyed it, and that the one found was a different one altogether, written, however, he admits, by Mr. Spaulding. Nay, should you find a thousand of Mr. Spaulding's romances, (the man being dead), Mr. Deming stands ready to assure you, on the honor of an honest body-snatcher, that he wrote still others!

In like manner it has been proven over and over again by unimpeachable witnesses, that Joseph Smith never saw Sidney Rigdon until after the publication of the Book of Mormon and the organization of the church. So long as these men were alive, no one ever attempted, by direct testimony, to prove the contrary. Nor, indeed, for years afterward. That exploit awaited the ripening mendacity of Arthur B. Deming. When reliably assured that all the parties competent to deny and disprove his statement are dead, he discovers a lady in San Francisco who once saw Sidney Rigdon at Joseph Smith's house. She was told that it was Sidney Rigdon by Saphronia, Joseph Smith's sister. Mr. Deming informs his readers that in some cases he does not give the exact words of his gossips, but interrogates them, doubtless encouragingly and suggestively, (one victim for "two days and two evenings"), taking notes the while, and when the unlucky wretch is quite exhausted and calls for fresh air, Deming selects such parts as he thinks will be marketable, and weaves them into a "statement" with the Deming flavor of clumsy fraud and imbecile malice infused, by which time the victim is willing to sign anything if it will only purchase his absence. In this way appears to have evolved the "statement" of the lady in question. She says, or is made to say, that she once saw a stranger at Mr. Smith's house, and that Sophronia Smith told her that it was Sidney Rigdon. She does not say, (even Deming does not make her say,) that this was before the publication of the Book of Mormon; but Deming asks the reader to infer, nay, to consider it proven that it was so. But if the lady should hereafter state that it was prior to that publication, would such evidence, in the light of the facts, have anything to commend it to any man or woman of candor and intelligence? What are the facts? All the questions against whom she would thus testify, have long been dead, and are therefore unable to deny and refute her testimony. They were, however, alive for years after the inferred occurrence, during which the Rigdon theory was often asserted as a matter of opinion, but never as a matter of fact. During this time no device was left untried to prove the collusion of Sidney Rigdon, and without success. In vain did they search for facts to fit their groundless theory. And why? Simply because there were no facts. The witnesses to prove the falsity of that theory were then living. They did prove it time and again. There are those living to-day who can prove it, but such are not the persons whom Mr. Deming's "statement-makers" quote. These content themselves with telling what persons long dead told them; and this, frequently with a false construction placed upon it, is brought forward by this professional defamer of the dead, as "evidence," forsooth! Upon such "evidence" the Son of God was crucified. Upon such "evidence" Stephen was stoned to death.

Upon such "evidence" Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob, for teaching none other things than Jesus commanded and the apostles taught; even that gospel concerning which Paul said, "Though I or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel, let him be accursed." And yet devils, with only the transparent screen of A. B. Deming held up before them, can enlist Methodist ministers and a Bishop in making war against the gospel and those to whom it has been "the power of God unto salvation."

So far as regards Mr. Deming himself, it is not easy to be indignant. He is rather an object of alternative amusement, pity, and contempt. But what shall we say of the reverend gentlemen who, with the Bible in their hands, applaud this creature for assailing the very essence of the Bible? One of those reverend gentlemen, who in early life was "soundly converted," and "preached Methodism for fifty years," made a statement to Mr. Deming which Ananias would blush at. With a Satanic faculty of invention, he slanders the sainted mother of men whom all decent opponents respect; men whose lives are stainless monuments of integrity and of sacrifice for righteousness and truth. With unholy glee he relates approvingly, acts an intended acts, whose authors must have been among the vilest that ever disgraced the name of man. This statement was not published until after the maker of it, as Me. Deming remarks with extreme unction, had "departed in the triumph of a living faith;" therefore, how much of it is his and how much Deming's, it would be hard to tell.

Mr. Deming avers that he expects to be killed; be is obliged to be constantly on the alert to escape the sanguinary designs of parties vaguely described as "Danites." At a certain period the editor of the Presbyterian Banner writes, rejoicing to hear that Mr. Deming was still alive, and saying it had been reported that he had fallen a victim to the "Danites!" Make yourself easy, Mr. Editor. Your protoge has about him that mark of imbecility which shall be as serviceable as the brand of Cain. There is one person, however, that he should avoid, and that is the "fool-killer." Deming, beware!

And it is by such men as Mr. Deming, and by the methods he employs, that the enemy of souls now attempts to assail the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to make men satisfied with substitutes for it and perversions of it, knowing that the authorized administration of its original ordinances turns men from the power of Satan to God.

Little children, called to be Saints, know ye that He in whom ye have trusted, is faithful. Be not faithless, but believing. All power is given unto Him in heaven and on earth. It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. When there was no eye to pity and no hand to save, God committed the everlasting gospel to you through the prophet whose testimony ye have received. Concerning those who persecute you, pray as the Son, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Speak comfortably to my people. Pray for the peace of Zion. They shall prosper who love thee. Can a mother forget her suckling child? Yea, she may forget, yet I will not forget thee. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort thee. I was angry, and hid my face for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I remember thee.

Note 1: The Herald editors treat the Inter Ocean article with much derision, even though they must have been aware (as early as May, 1879) that the Wilbur Fugate plates from Kinderhook were a hoax. The letter writer admittedly makes numerous mistakes in his account, however (substituting Quincy for Kinderhook, "John" Fugate for "Wilbur" Fugate, etc.), and he thus provides the Herald editors with plenty of room in which to criticize him, without their having to admit that the Kinderhook plates were an obvious fraud.

Note 2: Elder Jennings' spewing forth of journalistic vitriol upon Mr. Arthur B. Deming does not comport especially well with the message from scripture the same RLDS zealot offers in closing his review of the first issue of Naked Truths About Mormonism. In tone and evident editorial strategy, this article much resembles the "Spaulding-Smith Story" review published in the July 30, 1887 issue of the Herald, wherein the reviewer manages to avoid engaging the content of material he was reviewing altogether. To his credit, Elder Jennings at least finds two or three items provided by Deming's "statement-makers" which he manages to get around to mentioning. He seems to invest almost all of his defensive energy in combating the recollections of "a lady in San Francisco" (Mrs. Sarah Fowler Anderick) "who once saw Sidney Rigdon at Joseph Smith's house." Jennings gives the impression that he bought his copy of Deming's Oakland-based newspaper directly from a seller (perhaps from Deming himself) so, presumably, Jennings was in the Bay Area and could have contacted Sarah Anderick directly, in order to check out her story. Failing that, he might have called upon the services of RLDS Elder Hiram P. Brown, editor of the Oakland Expositor newspaper, to interview Mrs. Anderick and determine whether or not she was telling the truth. However, RLDS apologists and polemicists of the late 1800s rarely engaged in such personalized fact-finding.

Note 3: This is the same "charcoal" Deming (he sold "blood purifier" charcoal as a sideline) blasted by Hiram P. Brown in the previous issue of the Herald and the brother of the Rev. M. R. Deming whose story was featured on the front of the Dec. 31, 1887 issue of the Herald. Had Arthur made a clear "distinction between the genuine church and the Utah counterfeit" and concentrated his criticism upon Brigham Young and the Utahans, perhaps RLDS polemicists like Elder Jennings would have much less to complain about in the man's work and would have spilled less printer's ink in assassinating his character.

Note 4: Articles like the one written by Jennings and the one in the July 30, 1887 Herald, generally call upon the critics of Mormonism to offer some substantial evidence for their criticism. Deming did just that, in his over-hyped newspaper (he intended peddling it to railroad travelers but failed in that market), however the RLDS reviewer avoids dealing with that fact. In the same issue that featured the Mrs. Sarah Fowler Anderick's statement, Deming also provided significant statements by Matilda Spalding McKinstry (eye-witness to the writing of the "Manuscript Found"), James A. Briggs (who, in an open letter to Joseph Smith III reports having seen the "Manuscript Found"), and other important testifiers who were then yet living and available for interview by the Reorganized Mormons. Jennings faults Deming for having interviewed so many dead people, but Deming began his statement collecting in 1884 and only found a means to publish them in 1888. All of the people he interviewed, who were adult eye-witnesses to early Mormonism, were of course very elderly people by 1888. Deming was lucky to have had the opportunity to interview as many of these aged witnesses as he did (John C. Dowen, L. L. Rice, E. D. Howe, etc.) before they passed away.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 12, 1888.                           No. 19.


... In 1860, when conversing with Martin Harris, at Kirtland, Ohio, in respect, to the Book of Mormon and the prophetic mission of Joseph the Martyr, he in reply to direct inquiries, told me that he obtained the one hundred and sixteen pages manuscript of the Book of Mormon from Joseph, and took them to his home, where he read them in the evenings to his family and some friends, and that he put them in his bureau in the parlor, locking both bureau and parlor, putting the keys of each in his pocket, and so retired for the night, after which he never saw them. He seemed to be still conscience-smitten for permitting them to be stolen. He reaffirmed his testimony, in substance, as found in connection with that of O. Cowdery and D. Whitmer, in respect to the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

W. W. BLAIR, June 7th.     

Note: See also the 1880 RLDS edition of Lucy Smith's Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, Ch. 26: "Martin Harris' Perfidy," p. 131.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 23, 1888.                           No. 25.


SAN FRANCISCO, June 7th.     

Bro. Joseph:-- We have had the pleasure of seeing and hearing four of our missionaries of late... They all made friends here, and are much liked.

Oakland furnished us with quite a treat during their stay. Clark Braden was there lecturing and among other subjects handled, was one for which he is noted -- "Mormonism." I had the pleasure (?) of being present. It was a re-hash of the old Spaulding story, and other worn out yarns and lies, so twisted and arranged as to try to destroy the point gained by the publishing of "Manuscript Found." He claimed that Spaulding had written three manuscripts, and that we have not published the right one, but a rejected Roman manuscript, which bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon, or Spaulding's second manuscript from which the said book was stolen. Well! thus it is; new stories must be manufactured to meet the discoveries and developments of the day; but still the work goes on and increases, and Braden seeks new fields in which to tell his old stories, and unload his filth...

Yours in bonds,                 
                 GEO. S. LINCOLN.

Note 1: The Rev. Clark Braden arrived in Oakland just as his old associate, Arthur B. Deming, was closing down his commercially unsuccessful publication, Naked Truths About Mormonism. Whether or not the two anti-Mormons reconciled their differences and cooperated in staging Braden's June 1885 lectures in Oakland remains unknown. Certainly Braden would have agreed with Deming's published conclusions regarding the Spalding manuscript discovered in Hawaii and printed in 1885 by the RLDS -- that it was not the oft-publicized "Manuscript Found."

Note 2: In reference to Braden's not accepting the Spalding manuscript discovered in Hawaii as being the "Manuscript Found," Mr. Lincoln says: "new stories must be manufactured to meet the discoveries and developments of the day." To understand why he makes this unwarranted conclusion it is only necessary to recall that the Mormon writers and editors of that day were exceedingly reticent to inform their readers that as early as 1834 the manuscript later found in Hawaii was clearly differentiated from the "Manuscript Found." This was no "new story" that Clark Braden had "manufactured," nor was the related and supportive report that said Spalding had written a number of different manuscripts: this too was an original element of the Spalding authorship claims from the 1830s. However, many Mormons, having never heard these facts, supposed that speakers like Clark Braden were "manufacturing" these kinds of explanations, more or less on the fly, as they encountered defenses and counter-allegations from the Mormons.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 7, 1888.                           No. 27.


By letter from Br. George S. Lincoln in a late Herald, we see that Rev. Clark Braden is seeking still to bolster up the baseless claim that Rev. Solomon Spaulding wrote a manuscript from which and upon which the Book of Mormon was written. This blind desperation of Mr. Braden and his kind is both painful and amusing as showing the nonsensical nonsense to which men claiming wit and wisdom will descend when defending a self evident falsehood, an impudent unsupported assertion.

He asserts that Mr. Spaulding wrote other manuscripts than the "Manuscript Story" brought to light in the Sandwich Islands by Mr. L. L. Rice and Mr. Fairchild.

He can not deny however that the one these gentlemen have given to the public is a genuine production of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, for it bears the endorsement of Howe's witnesses in his Expose of Mormonism, and is further endorsed by the signature of the notorious Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, the ready and pliant procurer of Howe.

How does Mr. Braden know that Rev. Spaulding ever wrote any other manuscript than the one now discovered and bearing the signatures of Howe's chief witnesses?

And if it could be proved that he wrote others, where is the proof that any of them had anything in common with the Book of Mormon? And if it could be proved that Mr. Spaulding wrote other manuscripts, and on the topics treated in the Book of Mormon, where is the proof that any of them reached the hand of Joseph Smith and became either the foundation, or any part of the Book of Mormon? He can prove nothing of the kind. All he and his fellows can do is to assert their unsupported theories and impudently beg the people to take them as truth.

Mr. Braden and his kind are now forced to admit that the "Manuscript Story," sold unwittingly by Howe to Mr. L. L. Rice, is a genuine production of Rev. Spaulding, for as before said that document has the written endorsement of Howe's witnesses, and also the written endorsement of Doctor P. Hurlbut, the man who obtained it from the widow Spaulding and gave it to Howe for the purpose of fighting down the Book of Mormon.

Does he not know that this "Manuscript Story" gives his theory entirely away by furnishing us the measure and quality of Rev. Spaulding as a writer? Does he and his kind not perceive that in the "Manuscript Story" we have a genuine specimen of Rev. Spaulding's tastes, morals, religion, (if he had any), mental power and scholarly attainment? Do they not know that the "Manuscript Story" is a certain index, a certain evidence of what was in the brain and heart of Rev. Spaulding? Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

When we draw a pint of vinegar from a vessel we readily judge that all the pints drawn from the same vessel are vinegar and not wine, nor milk, nor honey. And now that we have the "Manuscript Story" from Rev. Solomon Spaulding, we know just the quality of all other manuscripts, if any, coming from the same source; for the fountain must be judged by the waters glowing from it, and the tree by the fruit it is known to bear.

Ah! Mr. Braden, the folly and falsity of your theories (which you have stolen from Howe and others) are exposed by the tell-tale "Manuscript Story," for that is "a chip out of the old block" and proves that Rev. Spaulding had neither the brains, the information, the religious knowledge and culture, nor the moral purity of thought and life requisite to write such a wonderful work as the Book of Mormon.

Go on Mr. Braden, you and your kind, for all the opposition you and they can offer to that book will only rebound to its furtherance by extending the notoriety and knowledge of it abroad, inducing those to inquire after and read it who otherwise might have remained ignorant of it, and who on reading it will discover that your arguments are but the thinnest bubbles, blown by lying, polluted lips, from the foul waters gathered in the loathsome pools of sectarian jealousy and hate or mercenary greed and Godless gain.

Go on, Mr. Braden; Paul rejoiced that some preached Christ "even of envy and strife,... supposing to add affliction" to his "bonds;" and we rejoice, not in that you are debasing yourself in the sight of heaven and all decent people, but in the fact that your senseless opposition to the Book of Mormon will result in bringing it into public notice and under just and fair criticism as to its inherent merits, its genuine origin, and its divine authenticity. If you choose to "kick against the pricks," the Saints can afford to patiently see you do so, conscious that the Infinite One will make the wrath of man to praise him, and that the remainder he will restrain.

The Book of Mormon is of divine origin, and every effort made to disprove that fact serves ultimately to spread abroad the knowledge of it and firmly establish its heavenly authenticity. Its moral teachings are pure as the sunlight, and its religious precepts are rational, consistent and Christian. Its prophecies are numerous, plain, and well suited by the facts of history and tradition; while its marvelous historical statements are amply sustained by the facts of science and the discoveries of American antiquities.

Whatever may be said of the "weakness" and "simpleness" of its language, the same may be said of the original manuscripts written by many of the Bible writers, as may be seen on reading Horne's Introduction and similar works on the original writers and writings of the Bible.

As Christ and his servants, clothed in plain and humble apparel, taught the wonderful truths of life and glory in the words of simplicity and "unlearned" men, so the Scriptures of truth, including the Book of Mormon, were written in plainness and simplicity, yet they contain principles and facts as holy as heaven, and mighty unto the salvation of all who believe.

Note 1: The argument presented by the nameless RLDS editorial writer in the above article might be called the Church's second line of defense in response to the challenges presented by the Spalding authorship claims. The argument follows the basic pattern set out in a similar piece of apologetics published in the Mar. 3, 1888 issue of the Herald. The editorial tactic here is to (1) implicitly admit that the 1885 RLDS Spalding publication may be misnamed; (2) co-opt the use of the title "Manuscript Story" for that 1885 Spalding book (even though it was published as "Manuscript Found"); (3) argue that the frivolous, inept and sometimes fatuous published Spalding text proves that the author was mentally incapable of writing the Book of Mormon; and, (4) argue that the author of that Spalding text was morally incapable of writing the Book of Mormon, because the latter is obviously a masterpiece of divine revelation, while the former is utter trash.

Note 2: The "second line of defense" tactic avoids all the historical problems associated with proving or disproving that Solomon Spalding wrote and attempted to publish a work of historical fiction entitled "Manuscript Found." However, this secondary tactic does not address the original claim -- that Spalding merely wrote the historical plot and furnished some of the major characters for a lengthy piece of pseudo-scripture, primarily crafted by Sidney Rigdon. The Oberlin Spalding manuscript does not necessarily typify Spalding's writing abilities, the extent of his knowledge, or the limits of his morality. The same author who wrote that short, obviously sketchy and unfinished text, might supply a relatively well-crafted lengthier work of fiction, given time, energy, re-writing, and the incisive input of a live audience who heard the text read a chapter at a time and furnished their critical response. Furthermore, it would no doubt take a person of questionable morality to create a patent hoax masquerading as a scriptural revelation from God. It is difficult to imagine any orthodox, faithful Christian putting words into the mouth of a fake Jesus Christ in a work like the Book of Mormon. However, it is less difficult to imagine a person like the writer of the Oberlin text (with its phony revelations, prophecies, priestcraft, fake "sacred roll," pretentious "seer stone," and manufactured religion for ancient America) crafting the base story of the "Manuscript Found" and then to imagine a known pious liar and monomaniac religious falsifier like Sidney Rigdon re-writing the base text into something like the Book of Mormon. In fact, Rigdon was involved in similar projects in his work on the "translation" of the Joseph Smith Bible and in his own "revelations" (from mid-1844 onwards).


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  August 11, 1888.                           No. 32.


We have just concluded a careful reading of this last work against the Latter Day Saints, and feel inclined to make thereon a few comments.

The book contains 275 pages, 16 mo., written by J. H. Kennedy, editor of the Magazine of Western History, Cleveland Ohio.

Of course, Mr. Kennedy would have his readers think him a thoroughly unbiased in judgment and eminently just and honest in his methods, statements and conclusions. Nevertheless, from the first he wheels squarely into the ruts left by Howe, Tucker, Hyde, Beadle, Ford, and others of their kind, giving occasional reference to or quotations from Hepworth Dixon, Smucker, Stenhouse, Burton, and others far more unprejudiced, honest and competent than the former class; yet throughout his book, from beginning to end, their runs a manifest vein of antipathy, spleen, and sectarian bias...

... Mr. Kennedy assumes that Sidney Rigdon secretly connived with Joseph Smith in getting up the Book of Mormon. All the facts furnished by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, P. P. Pratt, O. Cowdery, David Whitmer, Emma Smith, Catherine Salisbury, and hosts of others who knew that Sidney Rigdon never met Joseph Smith till in December 1830, many months after the Book of Mormon was published to the world, are denied by Mr. Kennedy, and his kind, and the surmisings, theorizings and guess-work of rabid anti-Mormons are endorsed in their stead! What, in the court of justice, would the judgment and opinion of such men be worth? Nothing -- simply nothing -- for they set aside the testimony of competent witnesses, and accept in its stead the unsupported theories of those having no knowledge of facts vital to the case in question.


Mr. Kennedy adopts the oft-exploded theory, and the now self-evident falsehood that the book of Mormon was based and builded on the "Manuscript Found" written by Rev. Spaulding in 1805-12. If he had examined that manuscript, which may now be found in the Library at Oberlin College, Ohio, or may be obtained in print at the Herald Office, Lamoni, Iowa, he might have seen that Mr. Spaulding had neither the brains, scholarship, the general information, the religion, nor the morals requisite in writing the Book of Mormon, nor anything to at all compare with it. In the providence of God we have, in Spaulding's "Manuscript," the exact measure of the man who wrote it. We weigh him in his own balances and find him utterly wanting in those qualities essential in writing the book of Mormon... Mr. Kennedy's book is a jumbled mass of truth and error, justness and unfairness, the latter far in excess of the first.

Note: Here the editors of the Herald resort to a secondary defense against the Spalding authorship claims. Although they apply the sub-heading "Manuscript Found" in answer to Kennedy's explanations for the origin and fate of that particular work of Spalding's, their RLDS response does not claim the exact same title for "that manuscript" which "may be obtained in print at the Herald Office." No counter-claim is here offered to the effect that Spalding wrote no other works of fiction, etc. etc. This same "second line of defense" rebuttal tactic was used in previous Herald articles in 1888 (on Mar. 3rd and July 7th).


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 3, 1888.                           No. 44.


                                                    Southwest City, Mo., Oct. 10th.
Bro. Joseph: -- I have labored some in this place and also in the regions round about; and as this city is the place where the widow of Oliver Cowdery and her daughter live, and the visit I have had with them may be interesting to others as it has been to me, I write: I came here last week with Brn. Depew and Doty, and succeeded in getting appointment for preaching Sunday night. Bro. Depew and I paid sister Cowdery a short visit last week, Wednesday, and as I did not wish to be idle till Sunday, I went with Bro. Doty to Cowskin River, and held four meetings in Depew's settlement, in McDonald county, returning to this place with Bro. Doty. We commenced labors Sunday night, the congregation being large and attention good. Bro. Doty having to leave Monday and return home, which left me without help as far as an elder was concerned, but I have not been without help of the members and the Spirit, for Bro. and Sister Miles have done nobly, and by them I am now cared for. To-night has been my third visit with sister Cowdery and daughter, Mrs. Johnson. I found them clever and glad to talk upon the early days of the church; and they both hold to the original faith, although sister Johnson was only blessed when a babe by the elders. They both strongly believe what the witnesses testify to the Book of Mormon. Sister Cowdery never was cast out of the church, so she says; but she objects to the addition that was made to the Church of Christ, but she wishes success to the Reorganization, and is not prejudiced against us. She says the cause of Oliver's withdrawing from the church was mostly because he would not join the secret order of Dr. Avard. She is inclined to believe that the leading men in the church knew and sanctioned his order of secrecy; but I told her as the history of that order was published in the Times and Seasons (if we judge by that) and that as soon as Joseph learned of it he proclaimed against it, and it was broken up and Dr. Avard went out of the church. Now my judgment is that sister Cowdery is an Israelite indeed, and her daughter also, and time will tell...
                                                    John Hawley.

The statement made by Bro. Hawley, in his account of his visit to the widow of Oliver Cowdery, that the cause of the latter being estranged from the Church in Missouri, was the idea that the secret order under Dr. Sampson Avard was sanctioned by the heads of the church there, may be true. Oliver Cowdery may so have thought; others thought so, why not he. But the history of the times kept by the men most interested and who knew whether the order was endorsed by the leading men or not, states that Joseph Smith wrote distinctly and specifically denouncing the action of Dr. Avard and the secret order. It is hardly proper to believe that Joseph Smith would have condemned in specific terms those measures adopted by men in fellowship with him, if he had himself authorized them, or sanctioned them, knowing as he would have done that men knew of his so sanctioning them. If it be true that such a band organized as it is stated by some, existed, when Joseph Smith is heard from on the subject it is to directly denounce it. That should be accepted as his position in regard to it.

Note: The RLDS leadership certainly were shy about getting to the center of such matters as the Far West period "Danites." They seemed happy enough just to accept whatever Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote in the public press about these sorts of difficulties, and to never press very hard to determine what actually went on in secret. In this particular case, a letter addressed to William B. Smith might have brought forth the admission that the "banditti" he knew so well during the Nauvoo era had its genesis in secret bands organized, with the top Mormon leaders' knowledge and assent, back in Missouri. The severance of Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmers from the Church at Far West was not an overly complex story, and the RLDS might have still investigated it, with fruitful results, as late as 1888. They did not.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 24, 1888.                           No. 47.

We clip the following from the Los Angeles, California, Tribune
of the 4th inst. We commend its statements, its spirit, and its directness:


On Friday night there was a lecture on the above subject delivered at the University Church by Rev. Seth Brown, which with your permission, Mr. Editor, I wish to briefly notice.

His indictments against the church in Utah, whether true or untrue, I will not notice, for being as much opposed to polygamy and its kindred evils as he, I do not feel called upon to defend a people who endorse them. But I will cite some points made by Mr. Brown regarding Joseph Smith... I hereby challenge Mr. Brown to affirm in public discussion in Los Angeles what he asserted in his lecture; namely, that the romance written by one Solomon Spaulding was converted into the Book of Mormon.

We have no possible objection to Mr. Brown lecturing on Mormonism, or exposing any error he may find among those he so flippantly calls Mormons, but we wish to notify him that he can scarcely go anywhere in this country where he will not find some one who will insist upon the truth being told about the matter.

I can be addressed at Box 695, San Bernardino, Cal.     HEMAN C. SMITH,

Elder of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 22, 1888.                           No. 51.


We call attention to the account of an interview between Bro. G. T. Griffiths and Mr. D. D. Spaulding which appears in this issue of the Herald. As will be seen, the interview took place in Conneaut Township, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, where the historic Conneaut Creek still winds its way as deviously as the story which so long lived a life of falsehood, the only available weapon in the hands of the clergy and others who sought to rebut the many and remarkable evidences of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.

Mr. Spaulding speaks out frankly and openly concerning his uncle, Solomon Spaulding. He was personally acquainted with the author of the notorious "Manuscript Found," and from what he states it is clear that he does not spoil a true story for the sake of the relationship. He certainly knows whereof he affirms, and it is evident that in addition to his personal acquaintance with his uncle, his position as a member of the Spaulding family enabled him to obtain a correct knowledge of the life, character and reputation of Solomon Spaulding. His estimate of him is that he was irreligious, crooked in his business transactions, and "lazy." One has but to read the "Manuscript Found" for a confirmation of the former and latter statements, while the moral tone of the document will support the idea expressed in the other. This interview will be of value to the elders as another and confirmatory link in the chain of evidence against the wicked plot of those who in an early day sought to bring to naught the great purposes of Israel's God in bringing to light the Book of Mormon.

We commend Elder Griffiths' effort in securing the interview. Mr. Beardsley in whose presence the interview took place, is personally known to us as a man of integrity and a lover of the truth. Read the account of it.


WHEELING, W. Va., Dec. 6th, 1888.      

Bros. Smith and Blair:
Enclosed please find an account of a short interview that I had with Mr. Daniel D. Spaulding. I am inclined to believe the statement he made, that his uncle was not a minister nor a member of any church, from the tenor of the manuscripts he wrote. D. D. Spaulding is one of those frank. outspoken men. He is very much opposed to religion of any kind, and that seems to be a characteristic of the entire family. However, he treated the writer with a marked degree of respect. When I informed him of the nature of my visit he said he would tell me all he knew about the matter. But I soon learned that he was very ignorant as to Mormonism, notwithstanding he and his son have told the people, time and again, that they knew all about it and have thereby caused a great deal of prejudice to exist in Conneaut township, which I had to allay before I could get the truth before the people.

I am thankful to be able to state that we now have a branch of twenty members there and that many more are on the verge of coming in. I had the pleasure of baptizing three during my stay there. Several are investigating the work who were so bitterly opposed that they would not come out to hear the preaching when I first went there. The Saints are contemplating building a chapel this coming spring. I am confident that a good work can be done there in the near future.

In gospel bonds,                       
                          G. T. GRIFFITHS.

An Interview between Elder G. T. Griffithes and Mr. Daniel D. Spaulding, nephew of Solomon Spaulding, which took place on the 28th of November, 1888, in the township of Conneaut, Pennsylvania, in the presence of Mr. Jerome Beardsley, a prominent citizen of that township. After being duly introduced the following questions were propounded by the writer:

Q. -- What is your given name, Mr. Spaulding?
A. -- Daniel D. Spaulding

Q. -- How old are you?
A. -- I am eighty-two years old.

Q. -- How long have you lived in this vicinity?
A. -- About sixty years.

Q. -- How closely were you related to Solomon Spaulding?
A. -- He was my father's brother.

Q. -- How old we you the last time you saw your uncle?
A. -- Between ten and eleven years of age.

Q. -- Then you remember him well?
A. -- Oh yes. He was a very sickly man, and the last time I saw him was at Conneaut Creek, just before he went to Pittsburg, where he died shortly afterwards.

Q. -- What did your uncle do for a living?
A. -- He was a land agent, and my father said he was a scoundrel and used to cheat the people out of their money and property.

Q. -- Was he much of a scholar?
A. -- No. He had some natural talent, but he was not very smart; but very lazy. Then he wrote the manuscripts that the Mormons call the Book of Mormon to make money out of it.

Q. -- How did the Mormons get the manuscripts?
A. -- I don't know. (Here his daughter, a lady of about fifty years, replied, "His widow gave them to Joseph Smith, jun.")

Q. -- Is there not a story afloat that Sidney Rigdon stole them?
A. -- I had not heard that before.

Q. -- Mr. Spalding, did you ever see the manuscripts? or the Book of Mormon?
A. -- No.

Q. -- What did Mr. Spalding write about?
A. -- I heard my father say it was a story about the Indians.

Q. -- Was your uncle a minister?
A. -- He was not; neither did he belong to any church.

Q. -- Then you do not know whether the Book of Mormon and the manuscript are the same or not?
A. -- No. Only what I have heard people say; have not seen either.

Note 1: Daniel Denison Spalding (1807-1892?) was the son of Solomon Spalding's younger brother John Spalding (1774-1857) and his wife, Martha Denison Spalding (1779-1864). In 1810 he moved with his father's family from Connecticut to the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, just south of the shore of Lake Erie. In about 1842 John Spalding and his family moved to Illinois, leaving behind in Crawford Co., Pennsylvania only Daniel D. Spalding, his wife and three children. The following entry is found on p. 837 in the 1885 History of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II.:

DANIEL D. SPALDING, farmer, P. O., Linesville, was born in Oxford County, Conn., October 3, 1807; son of John and Martha (Denison) Spalding. John Spalding was an educated man and a school teacher, also a singing teacher in an early day in Connecticut. He was a brother of Solomon Spaulding, who, it is asserted, wrote a religious tale corresponding with Joseph Smith's (the founder of Mormonism) "Book of Mormon," and entitled "The Manuscript Found." After Spalding's death, the manuscript fell into the hands of one Sidney Rigdon, an intimate acquaintance of Joseph Smith. Our subject's mother, while living in Springfield Township, Erie Co., Penn., was attacked by Indians in her home, but she managed to escape into the woods with her four small children, leaving the Indians to pillage the house. Daniel D. Spalding came to this county in 18[17], and settled in Conneaut Township when there were only three houses by the road, between his place and Conneautville. He took up seventy-five acres of land which he cleared, and at one time owned 175 acres, all of which he accumulated by hard work and industry. Mr. Spalding was married in 1832 to Miss Alathear Whaley, a native of Schuyler, Herkimer Co., N. Y., and daughter of Thomas Whaley, who came to Crawford County in 1817, settling in Conneaut Township. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, a shoe-maker and farmer. To Mr. and Mrs. Spalding were born three children, two now living: Mrs. Eunice A. Barnum and Lemuel D. Our subject is member of no church, although brought up a Baptist...

Note 2: The most questionable part of Daniel's statement is the part where he says he last saw his uncle, Solomon Spalding, when Daniel was "Between ten and eleven years of age." This would have been in 1817. However, Solomon Spalding died in 1816. More reasonable is Daniel's saying that the last time he saw his uncle was "just before he went to Pittsburg." This was in the fall of 1812, when Daniel was barely five years old. Thus, Daniel's latest recollections of his uncle Solomon would have been those of a young child. At that time Solomon Spalding was indeed "a land agent," and his sales promotions may have involved more "sharp Yankee trading" than the trustworthy dealings of an honest clergyman. In fact, Solomon Spalding probably never admitted to being in the clergy after he was removed from his position as Headmaster of the Cherry Valley Academy just prior to the year 1800. The licenses for unordained Congregational and Presbyterian preachers expired in time, and Spalding probably never took the trouble to renew his. All in all, Daniel D. Spalding's statement furnishes practically no useful information about Solomon Spalding and his writings.


Vol. 35.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 29, 1888.                           No. 52.


I have been a subscriber for the Saints' Herald ever since its publication... now as James J. Strang has been spoken of in late numbers of the Herald by some correspondents as the successor of Joseph Smith the Seer, I think that a little of my experience with this man who claimed that an angel "set (him) above all his fellows" might be interesting...

The "endowment" that I have mentioned as given by J. J. Strang and John C. Bennett, was performed in the basement of Strang's dwelling house at night, with the lights turned down; and they positively did use a mixture of phosphorus and oil to produce a pale looking blaze of light on the heads of all those who were present and received this "endowment;" and Strang said that the light (produced by this imposition) was the power of the Holy Ghost, the same as was manifested on the day of Pentecost.

To show the wicked fraud that Strang and Bennett perpetrated upon the people I went to Bishop Fuller (Strang's Bishop) and got some of the stuff from the same bottle used by Strang and Bennett and I gave the same "endowment" in the presence of a packed house of spectators, several of those who had received Strang's fraud being present who said it was the one Strang and Bennett used and that no change had been made of it since they used it...

I will here state emphatically, that I heard J. J. Strang predict many things and times concerning the building up of Voree, the temple he commenced there, &c., every sentence of which has proved false. And so far as I can recollect, I never knew one prediction that he uttered fulfilled.

James J. Strang got John C. Bennett to Voree, without the knowledge or consent of the church, and took him into full fellowship, notwithstanding he (Bennett) had done all that he could do, by public lectures and his book, "Mormonism Expose," [sic] to destroy Joseph Smith the Seer and the whole church. Strang knew that Bennett had repeatedly declared his utter disbelief in the faith of the Latter Day Saints, still Bennett was a "hale fellow well met" with him. Soon after the covenant was published abroad, Bennett picked up his effects and left Voree. Strang remained for a while, but Voree soon got to be too hot a place for him to live in, so he left for Beaver Island.

Now, couple Bro. Loomis' experience with Strang on Beaver Island, given in the Herald of November 10th last, with mine in Voree, and you have J. Strang's teachings, acts and character set before you in its true light.   I. F. SCOTT, Sen.
Pardeeville, Wisconsin, December 7th, 1888.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 36.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 6, 1889.                           No. 14.


(The following is another among the multiplied evidences of the blandness gendered by prejudice and sectarian hate and how often it exposes those who are so foolish as to yield themselves willingly its victims. -- Ed.)

Editors Humboldt Standard: I have been reading in your paper, the "defense" of the Mormon Elders in Eureka. I have had no controversy with Messrs. Haws and Daley, and have nothing to say to them or about them. They themselves may possibly be ignorant of the character of the founder of the doctrine they represent, and I know there are few people here old enough to have a personal knowledge of him, so I consider it my duty to 'rise and testify,' as some of old Joe Smith's first performances were in our immediate neighborhood in Ohio. Joe Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, was an ignorant, low-bred, profane man and a noted debauchee.

He was the originator of polygamy, or, as they then termed it, 'spiritual wifehood,' which was brought about in this way: Old Joe got himself into a few scrapes and was obliged to get up a 'Revelation' to get out of them. His followers were low, ignorant people, and greedily swallowed the 'Spaulding' nonsense, and it was called the Mormon Bible in those days. Rigdon lived next door to my father's, a lazy loafer, but shrewd. They scoured the whole country to make proselytes and broke up once happy families. They tell pitiful stories about being driven out of Kirtland. I know all about that. The reason was, they defied the laws of the country and even common decency, just as they do now in Utah. They taught their followers that it was no harm to cheat the 'Gentiles' or even to steal from them, or destroy their property, and it got to such a pass that the militia had to be called out. Now these men still claim old Joe Smith as the founder of this very 'Church of Christ'(?) -- but repudiate the name of Mormon. 'O, Consistency, thou art a jewel!' This Book of Mormon, (to my certain knowledge) they claim to be equal with the Bible. If these men were trying to have sinners converted, instead of forcing themselves into Christian families as they are doing and trying to proselyte, 'Old Madam Rumor' would not trouble them.


Of this document the editor of the Standard has this to say:

In another column will be found a communication of a lady who lived during her younger days in close proximity to the Mormon Church and no doubt knows of what she speaks. The editor of this paper knows nothing of the teachings of Joseph Smith save what he learned from his brother, W. B. Smith of Elkader, Iowa. W. B. Smith denounced polygamy in the severest terms, and claimed that his brother never taught it. The branch of the church with which he affiliated is known as the 'Josephites,' who have their principal publication office at Lamoni, and they certainly denounce polygamy as severely as any branch of the Christian church, while holding sacred the teachings of the Book of Mormon. We do not desire to take part in any religious controversy, but feel like giving both sides a chance for a hearing through the columns of the Standard. The author of the article is a member of the Methodist Church, who has lived several years past 'three score and ten,' and has no object in view but the cause of truth.

And Elders A. Haws and T. Daley reply with this:

Editor Humboldt Standard: -- We would gladly let the mantle of charity fall upon the false and malicious statements made by your correspondent, and cover them and her up. But our duty, as representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ, which has been maligned throughout your columns, forces us to bring this correspondent -- an old lady who professes to be a Christian -- and also, her calumnies, to the front...

...We positively deny that there is any reliable evidence to prove that Joseph 'Smith originated polygamy; or 'spiritual wifehood,' or that he 'got into bad scrapes,' or 'got up a revelation to get out of them,' or that 'his followers were ignorant people,' or that the 'Spaulding nonsense' was the 'Book of Mormon,' or 'Mormon Bible;' or that 'Rigdon was a lazy loafer,' or that they were 'driven out of Kirtland,' ...

The following testimony was taken before a justice of the peace in Kirtland:   'Mr. William Smith, a member of the Christian Church, being duly sworn testifies:

Q. -- Did you know Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris to do any immoral thing? A. -- No, I never did; I never heard any complaint about Sidney Rigdon here in Kirtland.'

Reuben P. Harmon testifies: 'I came to Kirtland in 1822; was acquainted with Joseph Smith. I never knew anything bad about him. I knew him from the time he came here till he went west.'

Q. -- Did you know what his reputation was for truth and veracity? A. -- I had opportunity of knowing it.

Q. -- Did you know? A. -- Yes, I did know.

Q. -- What was that reputation? A. I regarded it as good.

Q. -- What was his reputation for honesty, state that. A. -- I never heard it questioned.

Q. -- Did you belong to the church? A. -- I did not belong to the church.

Q. -- Now, I will ask you to state with regard to the people known as Latter Day Saints who lived here at the time; what was their general character, as compared with other people? A. -- If I was to state what I know, I would say that I had no reason to question their honesty.

Q. -- Did you know Sidney Rigdon? A. -- I think I knew Sidney Rigdon in 1828 or 1829. He was then preaching for the Disciples.

Q. -- What was his reputation for truth and veracity? A. -- I never heard it questioned
This man also testified that Mr. Rigdon was a good English scholar, well versed in the Bible and in Grecian and Roman history, eloquent in languages, and that he went into Mr. Morley's field and went to plowing, and worked at common labor for some time...

Note: The "Mr. William Smith" whose testimony is mentioned above was not the same William B. Smith who then functioned as a high priest among the Reorganized LDS and who communicated with the editor of the Humboldt Standard.. Reuben P. Harmon's parents, Oliver and Patience Harmon, were members of the Mormon Church at Kirtland. Although he was not baptized, Reuben grew up in a Mormon household among loyal followers of Joseph Smith. For some similar testimony by Reuben P. Harmon, see pp. 390-393 of the 1884 Braden-Kelley Debate.


Vol. 36.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  Dec. 14, 1889.                           No. 50.


Bro. John G. Holman of near Conneautville, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, wrote, the 25th ultimo, as follows:

"Brn. Griffeths and Powell were here a short time ago and preached for us, baptizing one and leaving others investigating."

Thus the gospel wins its way in the vicinity of Conneaut creek, the former residence of Solomon Spaulding. The wisdom of Solomon the Hebrew is not always justified of his namesakes. "What's in a name!"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 29, 1890.                           No. 13.


BELLAIR, Ill., March 14th.     

To the Herald:-- Yesterday closed a debate between Bro. E. L. Kelley and Clark Braden, near this place, which lasted eight days...

A Mr. Hill and myself were to have held the discussion; but each had the privilege of substituting another man; so he sent out and got Mr. Braden and I sent for Bro. Kelley, believing him to be the most suitable man under the circumstances to meet Mr. Braden, having availed himself of many things with which to meet Braden's attacks that we do not all have.

Mr. Braden had lectured a week in the neighborhood against our faith before the debate began and had raised the prejudice of the people to the highest point; but before the debate closed the scene had entirely changed and the audience was cheering Bro. Kelley; and especially on the last proposition (the Book of Mormon) Mr. Braden's misrepresentations and falsehoods were shown up so clearly that the audience became disgusted with him...

I don't think we will be troubled much more with Mr. Braden... he entirely abandoned the Spaulding Story and made his main fight against the witnesses to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith...

G. H. HILLIARD.      

Note: This was the third of the four Braden-Kelley debates on the validity of Mormonism. The other three were in 1883 (at Wilbur, Nebraska), in 1884 (at Kirtland, Ohio) and in 1891 (at Lamoni, Iowa).


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 19, 1890.                           No. 29.


The Christian Leader, of May 6th, published in Cincinnati, Ohio, devotes its entire first page to a six-column account of the last Braden-Kelley debate, held near Bell Air, Clark county, Illinois.

It is from the pen of Clark Braden, and is written in his usual bombastic style; reminding one of the instructions of the chairman of a political association to his subordinate, after an election defeat, "Deny all returns and claim everything."

We extract some statements from Braden's account of the discussion. They were evidently written as "pointers" for his Campbellite brethren, but will prove as disastrous to them as they have to him:

(under construction)


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  September 13, 1890.                           No. 37.


Below will be found an instructive and interesting communication from Elder E. L. Kelley refuting the unfounded assertions of a writer in the Willoughby (Ohio) Independent. Lovers of the right will find it good reading, for many of the facts set forth by Elder Kelley will be new to some of them.

Speaking of the bank movement on the part of the Saints at Kirtland, in the times of Joseph the Seer, we have to add that the late Bro. Wm. arks stated repeatedly that when Joseph and others having control of the matter learned that their enemies had succeeded in preventing their obtaining a charter by act of the Ohio legislature, they promptly took steps to close up the concern, pay off or secure all its liabilities and would have succeeded perfectly had it not been for the villainy of Warren Parrish, the assistant cashier, and a few others connected with him. Bro. Marks advanced in specie eight thousand dollars (as we now remember it) towards liquidating the debts of the concern. And though himself was a loser to some extent by the bank failure, he never questioned the honesty of Joseph in that affair, from first to last.


Editors Willoughby Independent:

The articles appearing of late in the columns of your paper as Pioneer Reminiscences and signed C. G. C., contain so many false and ridiculous statements concerning the Latter Day Saints, as to require a reply, lest the unsuspecting and casual reader be deceived thereby...

The way the tales and stories start and are enlarged upon is well illustrated in the statement told by our enemies and published over the country of what Rev. Z. Rudloph, father of Mrs. Garfield, had said about his knowledge of Sidney Rigdon and the Book of Mormon. On the 24th of July, 1885, I called upon Mr. Rudolph at his home in Mentor, with the statement, and he at once said that he had made no such statement. "I know nothing myself of Rigdon's whereabouts in 1827; all I got is second hand. I knew he was away from home in March, 1828, longer than we expected when he went away. He went to Mantua to hold a meeting and was to have been back in about a week, but did not come for a longer time, and we found out that Walter Scott was to be at Warren, and he went down there to see and hear him. That was the time that Scott was stirring up such an excitement by his preaching." "Well," we queried, "what did you say to Clark Braden or any one else that made them publish you as one of the witnesses to their assertion that Rigdon and Smith were acquainted before the publication of the Book of Mormon?" Ans.: "I said that Deacon Blish told me -- (he was a deacon in the Baptist church, that Rigdon left) -- after Smith and Rigdon got acquainted, that he was apprehensive that Smith and Rigdon were colloquing together." ...

If our friend has anything said or done by Joseph Smith that will justify his assertions, let him quote and give chapter and verse. We shall be interested in evidence, but have nothing in common with gossip and slander. In the spirit of "charity for all and malice toward none," we are ready at all times to seek the truth and pursue it; but in our investigation and strife for the right we demand justice to the dead as well as the living.   Respectfully,   E. L. KELLEY.

KIRTLAND, O., August 9th, 1890.

Note: The 1890 Christopher G. Crary articles in the Willoughby Independent were eventually compiled into a book entitled, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences in 1893. It offers numerous valuable insights into the founding and development of Kirtland township in Geauga County, Ohio.


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 4, 1890.                           No. 40.


In this issue we furnish the Herald readers with another installment of Bro. E. L. Kelley's rebuttal of the statements of "C. G. C."... Bro. J. Holman gave us an interesting and clear account of the purchase by Warren Parrish of a farm in his neighborhood, in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, near the historic Conneaut creek whose devious windings skirted the early home of one Solomon Spaulding of "Manuscript Found" fame, and later that of said Warren Parrish; who after betraying the brethren and the cause of truth by enriching himself from the Kirtland Bank's funds, sought the shores of Conneaut Creek and became a Baptist preacher...

It is clear than an examination into the events of those early times shows the early Saints to have been the ones ill treated and misused. When our opponents hurl against us the statements of Howe, Tucker, Beadle, et al., they simply assert what they are personally ignorant of, and quote for their authority the statements of men, some of whom could tar and feather and club their fellow men and neighbors when they found scriptural statements unavailing as arguments against their religious belief.

An old time Latter Day Saint sister living near Kirtland quoted Dr. P. D. [sic] Hurlbut as saying this: "I never could make a clear case out of that Spaulding Manuscript, but I made it tell like h__l against the Mormons."

When it is remembered that Hurlbut and Howe for reasons of personal spite became incensed against the Martyr and the church, and that their works have furnished the basis for every anti-Mormon work since published, we are able to make bare its true character. An aged sister is still living in this state who was the chief witness against Dr. Hurlbut when he was bound over to keep the peace, at Chardon, Ohio, for threatening to kill Joseph Smith.

Another reminiscence and we conclude. In the summer of 1887 an aged and respected citizen of Mentor, Ohio, drove up to show a party of friends through the temple. During the conversation he stated that he was intimately acquainted with Oliver Cowdery in New York state while he was assisting Joseph Smith by writing out the latter's translation of the Book of Mormon. Our object in mentioning these things will be obvious to the reader who has not had personal opportunity of visiting the places of many of the early scenes of the past, and talking with the survivors. We have not told all we learned of similar import, however.


Editors Willoughby Independent:

In August 29th issue of your paper I find another pioneer (?) article from the pen of C. G. C., who turns out now to be brother Crary... (under construction   ... Still for the truth.

                                      E. L. KELLEY.

KIRTLAND, Lake County, O.


Editors Herald: -- In replying to Mr. Ingersoll, or Mr. Lacy, his defendant, concerning the authorship of the books of the Evangelists, Mr. Lambert says:

"The disciples of the evangelists receive their writings as the disciples of Ingersoll receive his... Men can forge or make a title page, but they cannot forge or make a tradition... The Mormon may for all time deny that his Bible is a fraudulent production, but he can never truthfully deny that the charge of fraud was made against it when it first made its appearance." -- Tactics of Infidels, p. 302.

Let us quote again: "A forged tradition always carries with it the tradition of its forgery. Thus though the Mormon Church may continue for thousands of years, its Bible will always carry with it the tradition of its fraudulent origin."...

The prophet Joseph Smith came forth declaring that the Lord had revealed to him that the time had arrived for this Record to come forth, that the angel of the Lord made known to him the place where the ancient prophet had deposited it, and finally placed the same in his hands; and the Lord gave him power to translate it. Thus it has come bearing upon its pages the stamp of divinity. This is the true tradition of that book's coming forth, which has been handed down from father to son, and also by the pen of the scribe. But the enemies of the record have asserted that the Spaulding Romance was the origin of the Book of Mormon, and this tradition has been handed down from father to son, as far as civilization has extended, as has been the other; but thanks be to God, the Spaulding Romance has been unearthed, and placed in juxtaposition to the Book of Mormon, and the hitherto most strenuous advocates of the Spaulding tradition, after having examined the two, turn away crestfallen, for they perceive there is not the faintest resemblance between the two. There are only a few, ignorant of what the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding Manuscript contain, who cling to this false tradition. It has served the willful enemies of the truth so long that they hate to let it go; but honorable men -- and they not a few -- have come to the conclusion that the Spaulding Story will not answer further duty against the Latter Day Saints and must be abandoned...

Then the time will be when the people of God will by the truth be made wholly free from the arch-enemy, Satan, and all his emissaries, from sin and its effects; then the conflict will be ended, the victory won. The Spaulding Story then is not the true tradition of the origin of the Book of Mormon, but is a false tradition, the origin of which commenced with the enemies of the true tradition. The tradition of the origin of the Book of Mormon is not fraudulent, but true.

                                       E. STAFFORD.

LAMONI, Iowa, July 17th, 1890.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 25, 1890.                           No. 43.


LAMONI, Iowa, October 15th.     

Editors Herald:-- A short time since, in company with Bro. R. S. Salyards, I visited Blythedale, Missouri for the purpose of hearing a portion of the Braden-Orem debate and the lecture of Clark Braden, on the "Rise of Mormonism."

We attended two sessions of the debate. The question under consideration involved the condition of the spirit between death and the resurrection. Not hearing the first or the last of the debate, [I] am not very well qualified to pass an opinion as to which of them had the best of the argument, but should much rather have attempted to defend the position taken by Mr. Braden, that the spirit was conscious than otherwise. They had previously debated a question as to the time the kingdom of God was established, and we heard various opinions expressed as to which had the best of the argument.

In Mr. Braden's lecture he spent most of the evening giving the purported history of Sidney Rigdon and his supposed connection with the Spaulding Manuscript, claiming, as heretofore, that from it the Book of Mormon was written; making the statement that there were twenty-two points of identification between the two books. He did not give them, but we suppose they are the same as those given in the Braden-Kelley debate, page 66, some of which are as follows: 1st, It is precisely the plot of two books, and only two of all books that have been written, the Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon. 2d, . That it is purported to be a real, truthful history of the aborigines -- the first settlers of America.... 4th, It assumes that the Israelites were the aborigines of America... 5th, That they left Jerusalem." And in each case he gives the names of various witnesses, as Lake, J. N. Miller, Smith, Wright, Cunningham, Jackson and various Spauldings.

We will now quote from "Manuscript Found" as published from the manuscript found in Honolulu, and furnished us by Prof. Jas. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, pages 14, 15.

"My name is Fabius The family name I sustain is Fabius, being descended from the illustrious general of that name. I was born at Rome & received my education under the tuition of a very Learned Master. At the time that Constantine arrived at that city and had overcome his enemies & and was firmly seated on the throne of the Roman empire I was introduced to him as a young Gentleman of genius and learning & as being worthy of the favourable notice of his imperial majesty. He gave me the appointment of one of his secretaries, & such were the gracious intimations which he frequently gave me of his high approbation of my conduct that I was happy in my station.

"One day he says to me Fabius you must go to Britain & carry an important - - - - to the general of our army there - - - - sail in a vessel & return when she returns. Preparation was made instantly and we sailed - - - The vessel laden with provisions for the army - - - Cloath -- knives and other implements for their use had now arrived near the coasts of Britain when a tremendous storm arose & drove us into the midst of the boundless Ocean. Soon the whole crew became lost & bewildered."

Suffice it to say that they were driven westward and at last found a safe harbor.

We quote again from pages 19, 20 and 21.

"But now a most singular & delicate subject presented itself for consideration. Seven young women we had on board, as passenjers to viset certain friends in Britain. Three of them were ladies of rank & the rest were healthy bucksom lasses. Whilst deliberating on this subject a mariner arose whom we called Droll Tom Hark, ye shipmates says he. Whilst tossed on the foaming billows what brave son of Neptune had any more regard for a woman than a Sturgeon but now we are all safely anchored on Terra firma, our sails furled & ship keeled up, I have a huge longing for some of those rosy dames. But willing to take my chance with my shipmates, I propose that they should make their choice of husbands. The plan was instantly adopted. As the choice fell on the young women they held a consultation on the subject & in a short time made known the result. Droll Tom was rewarded for his benevolent proposal with one of the most sprightly, rosy dames in the company. Three other of the most cheerful resolute mariners were chosen by the other three bucksom Lassies. The three young Ladies of rank fixed their choice on the Captain the mate & myself. Happy indeed in my partner, I had formed an high esteem for the excellent qualities of her mind. The young Lady who chose me for a partner was possessed of every attractive charm both of body & mind. We united heart & hand with the fairest prospect of enjoying every delight & gratification which are attendant on the connubial state. Thus ended the affair....

May God bless your soul, says one of the mariners, 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 that by washing & scrubing her fore & aft & upon the labbord & stabbord sides she would become a wholesome bedfellow. I think, may it please your honour, that I could gradually pump my notions into her head & make her a good shipmate for the cupboard & as good hearted a Christian as any of your white damsels"

From these quotations we learn that instead of coming from Jerusalem they came from Rome, were Romans instead of Israelites; and they found the copper colored tribe here when they arrived, and no attempt is made in the book to account for their origin. Mr. Braden admitted that the Latter Day Saints had a small work written by Mr. Spaulding; but claimed that he wrote another manuscript. But unfortunately for him, Mr. Rice, in whose possession the manuscript remained so long, says he found the following endorsement on the manuscript, "The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proven by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others." This shows conclusively that the witnesses whose testimony he gives in the debate with Bro. Kelley, refer to the book found at Honolulu.

He may of course claim that they testified to other manuscripts, but he has never attempted to show that they testified but once, and we have evidence that they did testify to the one we have published; and in the work found at Honolulu, we have a standard by which we can judge of the wonderful capacity and literary ability (?) of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding.

I must confess that I am astonished that a man of Mr. Braden's ability should go before an intelligent audience and spend the greater part of an evening in attempting to make them believe that Sidney Rigdon who was evidently a man of much more than ordinary ability, and whose eloquence, as Mr. Braden said, "would split the clouds and scrape the sky," and his gift as an exhorter ("exhauster" -- Braden), being of such a character, that he had Mormonized the Christian Church in all that region before the Book of Mormon was published, would attempt to make use of writings of such insignificant character as those of Mr. Spaulding must have been; and it would be just as sensible for us to claim that Clark Braden used the essay of a ten year old schoolboy as the basis of his Problem of Problems as for him to assume that the production of Mr. Spaulding's pen would be of any use to Mr. Rigdon. But from what I saw and heard of Mr. Braden and his methods, I conclude that if he has an honest, theological hair in his head it vanishes from sight when talking of the latter day work and those connected with it. Shame, SHAME, SHAME on any man who would stoop to such methods as Mr. Braden did that evening in order to try and carry the audience in his favor; and I would call on him to repent of his wickedness that perchance his conduct may be forgiven him...

We feel pleased with the situation, and cannot see what use the Christian Church at Blythedale can have for a champion who refuses to defend their faith and the one that brought it forth to the attention of the religious world.

Yours for truth,
                                   ASA S. COCHRAN.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 13, 1890.                           No. 50.


Elder Clark Braden, of the Disciple Church, the man with whom Bro. E. L. Kelley has had some three discussions touching the faith and doctrines of the church, delivered a lecture in the Saints' chapel at Lamoni, on the evening of Wednesday, December 3d. His subject was briefly stated -- "Mormonism a Fraud; Joseph Smith an Impostor." ...

The grounds assumed by Mr. Braden are briefly stated; that Joseph Smith was an impostor and his revelations frauds, including all that he ever gave to the world as revelation from God. In pursuit of this idea, he presented what he claimed was presented by Joseph Smith; and stated some of his reasons for his view in regard to them. The family of Joseph Smith, their characters, Joseph Smith's character, the angel's visit, the plates, the translation of them, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Covenants, the Inspired Scriptures, all came in for denunciation in general terms. The Spaulding story was revamped, and was made the basis of the Book of Mormon, Sidney Rigdon was the real originator of the whole and Joseph Smith was his tool, &c. There was not a single new idea, so far as the substance of what was presented was concerned...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 37.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 27, 1890.                           No. 52.


We clip the following notice from the Decatur county Journal, published at Leon, the county seat of Decatur county, Iowa, in its issue for December 11th, 1890. The "Thursday" on which the articles referred to were filed, was the 4th. The John C. Whitmer named as one of the incorporators is a nephew of David Whitmer and not a son, as the article states:

"The articles of incorporation of a new church, called the 'Church of Christ,' were filed with the county recorder last Thursday. The incorporators are John C. Whitmer, of Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, Ebenezer Robinson, Frederick Cunington, Simeon F. LaPoint, Sarah Cunington, M. A. Robinson and James E. Hockert, of Decatur county, Iowa. The trustees are John C. Whitmer, Ebenezer Robinson, and Simeon F. LaPoint. The principal place of business is Davis City, Iowa, and the object stated is to "promulgate the gospel of Christ and fulfill the law of the land." The doctrine is, "belief in the Bible and the Book of Mormon." We understand that the difference between this church and the Latter Day Saints is that, while they accept the Book of Mormon as divine, they deny the authority of the revelations of Joseph Smith. John C. Whitmer, one of the incorporators, is a son of David Whitmer, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and Ebenezer Robinson was one of the principal men in the church at Nauvoo."

The object of this incorporation is a good one; but it seems to us that the words added "and fulfill the law of the land" are somewhat superfluous, as it ought to be a foregone conclusion that whoever teaches the "gospel of Christ," will necessarily prove himself to be an intelligent observer of the requirements of good citzenship. However, these brethren are perhaps the best judges of what they wished in their articles of incorporation, as is undoubtedly their right.

Note 1: The above notice was merely for the incorporation of the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) in Decatur County (or perhaps for all of Iowa) and did not mark the founding of a new sect. Ron Romig has this to say in his chapter on David Whitmer, in Launius and Thatcher's Differing Visions: "In 1876 he [David Whitmer] set about establishing what he called the Church of Christ and claimed his right as president by virtue of his 1834 ordination. This church movement was envisioned as the reestablishment of the early church in an authoritative condition. It never attracted more than a small group of Whitmer's associates in Richmond, Missouri, and a few believers from the Kirtland area. His 1887 pamphlet "An Address to All Believers in Christ" was written in an attempt to promulgate the Church of Christ. A short time later, on January 25, 1888, Whitmer died, and his movement soon faded."

Note 2: David Whitmer's nephew, John C. Whitmer (1835-1894), became the President of the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) in Richmond, Missouri, near the beginning of 1888. As late as 1906 the Whitmerite church was still functioning under his successor. The anti-Mormon Robert B. Neal wrote in his "Leaflet No. 11" that the sect had its "headquarters at Davis City, Ia." This assertion has not been otherwise established -- probably Neal took his information from contacts he established when he purchased a copy of the Whitmerite Book of Mormon, The Nephite Records, which was published in Independence, Missouri in 1899, (but which was perhaps partly printed by the Whitmerite Elder Charles A. Wickes, then editor of the Davis City Advance and the last Whitmerite "custodian." Elder Wickes was the second husband of Martha Arona Cunnington; her first husband was Elder Ebenezer Robinson (1816-1891), whom she married Feb. 5, 1885, at Davis City, Iowa.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 21, 1891.                           No. 12.

ROBINSON. -- At his residence in Davis City, Decatur County, Iowa, Elder Ebenezer Robinson. He was born in the town of Floyd, Oneida county, New York, May 25th, 1816. He learned the art of printing while a boy, and hearing the gospel while yet a young man, obeyed it and became identified with the church in Kirtland, Ohio. He was with the church in Missouri, and we believe took part in the attempted defense of the oppressed saints, and was in the Crooked River fight. He shared the common lot and was driven out with the church, removed to Nauvoo, and was connected with the first efforts at printing made by the church in that place. He was the publisher of the second [sic - third] edition of the Book of Mormon. At the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith he went east, and for a time was with Pres. Sidney Rigdon; but soon tired of that and came to Iowa and settled near to where he was living at his death. He joined the Reorganization, at Hamilton Township, Decatur County, Iowa, being baptized by Pres. W. W. Blair, April 29th, 1863. He was ordained a high priest April 9th, 1866, at Plano, Illinois, by Elders J. W. Briggs and James H. Blakeslee. In 1888 he identified himself with the movement of Elder David Whitmer, and soon after started the paper called The Return; which he continued up to the time of his death. He died March 11th, and was buried buried from the Saints chapel in Davis City, March 13th at three p.m. The sermon was preached by his son-in-law, Elder Zenas H. Gurley; and the remains were deposited in the cemetary near the town. He sleeps in peace.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 28, 1891.                           No. 13.


Arrangements have been entered into between Elder E. L. Kelley and Rev. Clark Braden, of the Disciples, for discussion at Lamoni, Iowa, beginning the evening of May 5th, 1891.

Some time in January last Mr. Braden sent us a clipping from some local paper. under the caption of "An Endorsement of Clark Braden," accompanied by the following letter:

          Kellerton, Iowa, January 6th, 1891.
Messrs: -- Will you as an act of justice to me and the "churches of Christ" that gave the endorsement enclosed herewith, plublish it in the Saints' Herald?

After what has been said in regard to the matter you should be willing to correct an errot.
          Yours,           Clark Braden.

[various pieces of correspondence follow]

Mr. Braden in his letter to us sending the Oracle does not ask us to publish the article from the paper, though he states that "decency demands it;" he did, however, ask us to publish the endorsement, which he states is reproduced in the Oracle.

In our letter to Mr. Braden we stated that we were not aware that members of the church were slandering him; we were not then, nor are we aware that any of the elders or members are making themselves busy slandering the elder, or peddling tales about him either false or true. The dwellers at Davis City can better tell whether lies have been told on Mr. Braden by Latter Day Saints living there than we can; we certainly heard none. From the complimentary expressions employed by Mr. Braden in his letter and the article in the Oracle which is evidently from his pen, the readers must form their own conclusions as to the manner in which the elder speaks and writes of Infidels, Mormons, Adventists and Latter Day Saints. We publish the article entire as it is in the Oracle, our only excuse for not giving it an earlier insertion being that we have been too busy about other things to take it up. Mr. Braden was to discuss with Elder J. F. Mintun at Moorhead or Preparation, Iowa, beginning March 23d; upon questions which Mr. Braden distinctly stated in his lectures at Davis City and Lamoni, he would not discuss.



The origin of Mormonism and the nature of some of its teachings have enabled it to do more harm to that religious body who sometimes call themselves "Disciples" than to any other. Solomon Spaulding, an illiterate, egotistic pretender and cranky bore who had played out as preacher, merchant, and in nearly a score of schemes, conceived a scheme of deceiving the world with a literary fraud. For more than eight years he worked and mooned over this hobby, like a crank over a perpetual motion machine, writing five or six manuscripts of his projected hoax and literary fraud. He was also a soured backslidden preacher, and an infidel. Sidney Rigdon, an illiterate, egotistic, bombastic declaimer of spread eagle, stole one of Spaulding's manuscripts and remodeled it into a religious fraud. He began to arrange his fraud while a Baptist preacher. He joined the Disciples, but he never accepted their position in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit; and always contended for the miraculous work of the Spirit. He was noted for his extravagant yarns and "highfalutin" rant. He had trances, visions, the "power," while preaching, and would fall in a trance in the pulpit. The Disciples, like all religious bodies, overlooked all this, because as a revivalist Rigdon could whoop crowds into the church. If a man is successful as a recruiter to their numbers all churches will overlook anything he may do; exalt him above decent men, and allow him to ride over them.

Rigdon, who was an infidel all his life from early boyhood, and died an atheist, worked at his fraud eight or ten years. He indoctrinated his converts, and all churches for which he preached, with the notions of his forthcoming fraud, and tried to seduce into his scheme all preachers he thought he could reach. He talked incessantly of what was coming and foretold its leading features. He made desperate efforts to Mormonize the restoration of the Disciples. He gave his manuscript to Smith, an illiterate loafer who was finding a living out of dupes by fortune-telling, digging for hidden treasure, etc. Smith pretended to translate certain pretended plates with his peep-stone and published Rigdon's revamping of Spaulding's manuscript as the "Book of Mormon." Rigdon was the soul and brains of Mormonism, the concoctor of its pretended revelations and the originator of all its ideas and features. He incorporated into it the "first principles" of the Disciples. He led off into Mormonism nearly all of several congregations of Disciples and hundreds of members, and nearly a score of preachers.

At the close of the third year of Mormonism more than three fourths of its adherents and preachers had once been Disciples. Because so many of the ablest preachers of Mormonism had been Disciples, and because Mormons preach first principles exactly as Disciples preach them. Mormons have given the Disciples more trouble than they have given to any other religious body. In scores of instances Mormon emissaries have sneaked into Disciple congregations and, concealing their true character, have preached just as Disciples preach, and have insidiously prepared the way to introduce Mormonism and break up the congregation. The Disciples are engaged in an attempt to restore the apostolic church in teaching and practice. Mormons claim to do the same thing, and agree with the Disciples on the first principles, but claim that miraculous powers and gifts must be restored. Although Disciples are more exposed than others to such a claim of Mormonism, their clear scriptural teaching in regard to the work of the Spirit ought to protect them where others are defenseless in consequence of error in regard to that subject. The original position of the Disciples enabled them [utterly] to overthrow the citadel of Mormonism, their claim to possess spiritual gifts. All persons who admit an immediate influence of the Spirit distinct from what is exerted through the truth, and the truth alone, and a personal. literal indwelling of the Spirit, hand themselves tied hand and foot into the hands of Mormonism. The key-note of Mormonism is the key-note of what is called "orthodoxy," and the original position of the disciples is a deathblow to Mormonism. Most of the papers, preachers and writers of the Disciples have abandoned the clear spiritual teaching once held and have gone out into mysticism and should go on and seed in Mormonism. No one who concedes any work of the Spirit beyond what he exerts through the truth -- and it is through the "truth alone," or a personal, literal indwelling of the Spirit -- can logically stop short of Mormonism. There never has yet been a discussion in which Mormons have been compelled to face the real issue as they should. They have evaded it and concealed it with foreign issues. Mormons profess to believe that the Bible is a revelation from God and that its prophets were true prophets of God, just as other people believe. But Mormons claim that they have other revelations from God in addition to the revelations in the Bible accepted by all believers of the Bible, and another true prophet from God in addition to the prophets of the Bible.

The real issue between Mormonism and other believers of the Bible is this: "Have Mormons other revelations in addition to the revelations in the Bible, and a prophet of God in addition to the prophets of the Bible? There can be no possible connection between the issue, "Have the Mormons revelations from God in addition to the revelations in the Bible, and a prophet of God in addition to the prophets of the Bible?" and the issue, "Which is nearest correct, the Mormon interpretation of the Bible or the interpretation of any religious body?" Mormons usually insist on a general proposition. They will affirm that their church is in harmony with the Bible. Then their opponents affirm the same for their church. This enables Mormons to parade all things in which they agree with other people, keep in the background Smith and his revelations and their peculiarities, and cover them with what all people accept. If debating with a Disciple, they curry favor with self-styled "orthodox" by feeding them Holy Ghost taffy, vociferating that they are orthodox in regard to the key-note of orthodoxy. The Disciples are heterodox, or do not believe in the Holy Spirit and his work. Our brethren have in nearly every instance allowed Mormons to practice such trickery, and have allowed them to evade the real issue.

After years of work with Mormonism Clark Braden has cornered E. L. Kelley, the champion of Josephite Mormonism for a discussion, in Lamoni, Iowa, its headquarters, of these propositions:

"All that Joseph Smith gave to the world purporting to be revelations from God, were entirely of human origin, and frauds; and Joseph Smith was an impostor." Braden affirms.

"All that Joseph Smith gave the world, as revelations from God, were true revelations from God; and Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God." Kelley affirms.

As Braden claims that Mormonism is a fraud of this century he will no more appeal to the Bible in his affirmation than he would in regard to the Cardiff giant fraud, or any other fraud. He will state his theory of the fraud and present his evidence just as he would in regard to Mohammed and the Koran. The question, "Does Mormonism harmonize with the Bible in some things?" he will not discuss. Counterfeits are designedly made as nearly identical with the original as possible. The issue is, "Did government issue them, or did a counterfeiter issue them?" The correctness of Biblical interpretations of Disciples or Mormons is not an issue. The issue is, "Are Smith's revelations from God?" This will be discussed solely as an issue of fact, history, evidence, and the Bible does not testify in regard to this issue. Let Mr. Kelley state what he claims for Smith and his revelations; trace the revelations to Smith; prove that he gave them to the world; state what Smith claimed in regard to the origin of his revelations; prove, by his witnesses, that such claims are true, as a matter of testimony, independent of the Bible; state his claims based on American archaeology, and prove it; present all evidence outside of the Bible. If he thinks he can find Biblical proof for his proposition let him present it. If he claims that revelations and prophets are a perpetual element in the church, let him prove it. Then that Smith is a part of such element; that the Bible prophesies of Smith and his work; that Smith, his revelations and teachings harmonize with the Bible; that the church founded by Smith is the true church of God. He has full liberty to introduce all such proof. But he must affirm it. Mr. Braden is not required to negative such claims, in his affirmative; nor to defend his church or its views. Mr. Braden will, in his affirmative, discuss only one issue, the origin of Smith's revelations. And he will discuss it from his standpoint, that they are frauds of this century. The correctness or incorrectness of the views of Disciples have no more to do with this issue than the correctness of the views of the church of the attorney who is prosecuting a counterfeiter. As no court would allow the defense to lug in such an issue, so Kelley can not lug into the debate the views of the Disciples. Nor can Mr. Braden lug in the views of Mormons. For the first time in history a Mormon is cornered and compelled to face the real issue fully and squarely, and that alone.

As Mormons have slandered Mr. Braden for years, the following indorsement has been given to him by his people in southwestern Iowa. Can Mormons give to any one in their ranks an equivalent indorsement?


As Mormons, Infidels, and Adventists have been busy assailing the standing and reputation of Clark Braden, will the newspapers of Decatur county, as an act of justice to Mr. Braden, and the church of which he is a member, publish the following?


Clark Braden has, since February 23d, 1855, been a member and preacher in constant and full standing in the Church of Christ. He is now a member in full standing in the Church of Christ, in the local congregation at Ottawa, Franklin county, Kansas. He has been as widely and frequently indorsed, as a representative preacher, lecturer, writer and debater, as any man living, by the press, preachers and congregations of the Church of Christ. He has been as widely and as frequently indorsed as any man living as a representative preacher, lecturer, writer and debater by the press, preachers and congregations of other denominations.

We hereby indorse him as a preacher and a member in full standing in the Church of Christ, and as one of the ablest of our representative preachers, lecturers, writers and debaters, and as our representative in the contemplated debate with a representative of Mormonism, in Lamoni, Iowa; also in the contemplated debate with a representative of Seventh-day Adventism, in Davis City, Iowa, and with a representative of Skepticism, in Leon, Iowa. [five groups of signatures follow]

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 11, 1891.                           No. 15.


ST. JOSEPH, Mo., March 29th.

Editors Herald:-- The Herald, umber thirteen, contains an article from the Christian Oracle, a part of which reads: "Sidney Rigdon, an illiterate, egotistic, bombastic declaimer of spread eagle, stole one of Spaulding's manuscripts and remodeled it into a religious fraud.... He gave his [it] to Smith [Joseph Smith] Smith pretended to translate certain pretended plates with his peep stone and published Rigdon's revamping of Spaulding's manuscript as the 'Book of Mormon.'"

This statement from the Christian Oracle is a falsehood of the deepest dye, of which there is an abundance of evidence to show, if the Oracle would publish facts concerning the Book of Mormon and those men who brought it forth. I will again state, as I have stated several times before, for the benefit of those who know and believe the truth concerning the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, "That on the fifth day of July, eighteen hundred and seventy-five, I asked Martin Harris, on his death bed if he could still testify of seeing the plates from which the Book of Mormon is said to be translated. He answered, "Yes, I can still testify of seeing the plates and of handling them. that the Book of Mormon was translated from, and of seeing the angel of God and of hearing the voice of God from heaven commanding us to bear witness of it, the same as is recorded in the fore part of the Book of Mormon, and I dare not deny it, lest the power of God should consume me'"

Such is the last testimony of Elder Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses, of the reality of the plates of the Book of Mormon, yet the Oracle wants all to believe that they were only "pretended plates," and what is now called the Book of Mormon was only "Spaulding's Manuscript remodeled for a religious fraud."

Again, Martin Harris, Sen., also said unto me: "I took some of the characters that had been copied from the plates, and the translation, which was translated by Joseph Smith with the Urim and Thummim, to Mr. Anthon, a professor of languages at New York City, for him to see, and he told me that some of them were Egyptian, Arabic and Chaldaic; and that the translation was correct. Mr. Anthon wrote a note and gave it to me to take to Joseph Smith, stating these facts"... From such language by Martin Harris, Sen., to me I am led to believe that this transaction of copying and translating these characters was real, but the Oracle states that Joseph Smith only "pretended to translate with a peep stone." Furthermore, Martin Harris, Sen., told me that he paid the printer for the first edition of the Book of Mormon, and that he was one of the proof readers of the sheets of the said book. The editors of the Christian Oracle could say with just as much propriety, in this case as about the plates, that Martin Harris only pretended to pay the printer for the first edition of the Book of Mormon, etc. And it is a well known fact, too, that the Book of Mormon was published in book form before Sidney Rigdon knew of its existence, nor had Sidney Rigdon any acquaintance with Joseph Smith prior to its publication. How then comes it, [ye] editors of the Christian Oracle, that Joseph Smith could "publish Rigdon's revamping of Spaulding's manuscript as the Book of Mormon." ...

Yours in the bonds of truth,                   
                  SIMON SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 18, 1891.                           No. 16.


The Louisville, Kentucky, Commercial for Sunday, March 15th, contains a reprint of the Syracuse, New York Journal's "Joseph Smith's 'Seeing' Stone." We reproduce this wonderful story for the curiosity of it. Rumor says it is true, of course, is not the big hole one hundred and fifty feet round and twenty feet deep to show for it. That is a small hole, however, compared to the Sutro tunnel; or some of the vagrant mining holes dug by prospectors all over the western territories -- dug after treasure too.


"The germ of Mormonism originated in this city. About the year 1818 a teamster in the salt works by the name of Joseph Belcher found a peculiar stone, or a stone that the owners claimed contained great powers. Soon after Belcher and family removed to Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, where Joe Smith was engaged as a gold hunter, prophet, and treasure hunter. Belcher called his find a 'seeing stone.' It was green, with brown irregular spots on it, and about the same shape and size as a goose egg. In those days the country was very wild and the people very superstitious, and strange stories were told of lost animals and children that were found by the aid of this stone. The modus operandi was to conceal the stone in a dark place, and Belcher's little boy could then see from its unnatural powers the exact location of any object he desired to find. Joe Smith heard of this miniature information bureau and soon sought out Belcher, secured the stone and renewed his researches.

In 1825 Joe had in his employ a set of men who were called money diggers, and his occupation was that of seeing or pretending to see, by means of this stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he claimed the power to discover minerals and hidden treasures. It is said he was insolent, barely educated, and very careless in appearance. The story told by Smith is that a straggling Indian, who was passing up the Susquehanna River, had told of buried treasure. Joe hunted up the Indian and induced him to tell the place where it was buried. The Indian told him at a point a certain number of paces due north from a certain point on the river. Joe's exchequer was very low at this time, and so it became necessary to get a well-to-do farmer by the name of Harper to assist him in the scheme. It seems that farmers were "taken in" in the early days as well as now. They commenced digging on a farm near the river and continued as long as Harper's cash held out. Smith now declared to Harper that there was an enchantment about the place that was removing the treasure further off: that Harper must get a perfectly white dog and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the enchantment from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. Joseph said he thought a white sheep would do as well. A sheep was killed and the blood sprinkled as directed. The digging was then resumed by Harper. After digging for several weeks more and an outlay of $2,000 more of the farmer's shekels, Harper refused to "come down" any further and the digging was abandoned.

Joe now said that the enchantment had removed all the treasure: that the Almighty was displeased with them for trying to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog. He would sit for hours looking into the hat at the round stone, and tell of seeing things far away and supernatural. On one occasion a neighbor had a piece of corn planted rather late and on a moist piece of ground, and, feeling a little doubtful about its ripening, got Smith to bless it. It happened that it was the only piece of corn killed by the frost in the neighborhood. When the prophet's attention was called to the matter he got out of the difficulty by saying that he made a mistake, and put a curse on the corn instead of a blessing.

About this time Smith procured a box of plates, which it is supposed he brought from Palmyra, New York, where he lived for a short time, which he kept carefully locked. They were alleged to contain a great quantity of characters and hieroglyphics, which no one but himself could interpret. From these plates Smith, with the assistance of Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, produced the manuscript for the Book of Mormon. The book was compiled in a small building on the Susquehanna River, about two miles from the side-hill village of Susquehanna, and was printed in 1830, the manuscript being taken to the printing office each morning, and, together with the proofs, &c., taken away each night. The first account we have of Joe and his followers trying to start a colony was in the year 1831, in a remote corner of Luzerne county, where the climate soon got too warm for them and they vacated. Their next colony was near Painesville, Ohio.

The most prominent of Joe's diggings is on a farm near Susquehanna Depot. The excavation was 150 feet in circumference and twenty feet deep, and although it has been under cultivation for several years now, it is easily discernible, and often visited by the curious. The old house where the manuscript was produced is still standing and is owned by one of the ex-officials of Susquehanna county."

Note: This article first appeared in an early Mar. 1891 issue of the Syracuse Journal. For more on the blessing of the cornfield story see the June 11, 1879 issue of the Amboy Journal.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 30, 1891.                           No. 22.


Mr. Braden came to Lamoni upon an agreement to discuss certain propositions in which the faith of the Saints was involved...

... He failed to prove his theory that there was a companionship and collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon, and during the time of its alleged translation, in support of the claim that the latter was the real author of the work... At the close of the first proposition, two lads were placed at the doors of the audience room, and distributed the little tract, "The Spaulding Story Re-examined," it being a confirmation of the position taken that the "Spaulding Story" was not the origin of the Book of Mormon...


The debate between Bro. E. L. Kelley and Rev. Clark Braden upon the first proposition, ended on Tuesday evening, May 12th, closing with Bro. Kelley's last speech on the negative; and upon the second proposition on Friday night, May 15th, with Rev. Braden's last negative.

The attendance was large throughout, the auditorium of the Saints' chapel being filled each session.

Of the issue we have but little to say. Mr. Braden's effort on the first proposition was to show that the Book of Mormon was the work of Sidney Rigdon, plagiarized from the Solomon Spaulding "Manuscript Found." In this effort he ingeniously wove a large number of statements of different persons together, much of it being purely hearsay testimony, in such a way as to give a strong presumption of probability. On the last two nights of the first proposition he succeeded in getting in a lot of secondary evidence in favor of the idea that Joseph Smith was the author of the polygamic revelation...

Bro. Kelley replied as to the principal points, and by statements from the public records of the counties of Northern Ohio, and the History of the Disciples of the Western Reserve, by Rev. Hayden, of that church, showed the whereabouts of Sidney Rigdon during nearly all the time from January, 1827, to the fall of 1830. This showed the fallacy of Rev. Braden's theory, and left the origin of the Book of Mormon still unaccounted for, unless the one claimed for it by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and others is correct...


At the close of the debate between Rev. Braden and Elder Kelley, on Friday evening, May 15th, Rev. Braden gave notice that he would lecture in the M. E. church... On Saturday evening he reviewed the Book of Mormon, using as a test book, "The Golden Bible." ...

The Ensign for the 30th will contain a considerable notice of the Braden and Kelley debate, and the May 30th number a sermon by Elder R. C. Evans...

Note 1: The "statements from the public records" presented by RLDS Bishop Edmund L. Kelley during the second Braden-Kelley debate were later compiled by Edmund into an article for the Nov. 14, 1894 issue of the Herald. Edmund seemed to think that the chronology derived from the dates of these documents and references established the fact that Sidney Rigdon could not have visited New York prior to the end of 1830. In fact, the chronology does just the opposite -- it establishes the dates for several lengthy "windows of opportunity" when Rigdon could have easily visited New York and returned to Ohio without his parishioners being aware of his whereabouts. Rudolph Eztenhouser reproduced Kelley's 1894 chronology on pages 392-97 of in his 1894 From Palmyra to Independence and the same material was recycled (with additional certification inserts) by Elder Heman C. Smith for his 1910 article on Rigdon in the RLDS Journal of History. The Heman C. Smith chronology was next republished by Charles A. Shook on pages 138-144 of his 1914 book, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: For more details on the 1891 Braden-Kelley Debate at Lamoni, see the local newspaper, the Independent-Patriot, for Mar. 12, 1891 onward.

Note 3: Fawn M. Brodie "lifted" the chronological information from Elder Smith's 1910 expansion and summarized it (without mentioning Shook's analysis of the same) on pages 431-32 of her 1945 book, No man Knows My History. By not citing Shook's analysis of the Rigdon chronology, Brodie took it a step backwards and essentially reiterated the old RLDS prevarications. For her purposes it was best that Brodie say nothing about summary tabulation -- and, even though she included the gaps in the chronology pointed out by Shook, Brodie was careful not to add any comments of her own. Nevertheless, LDS apologists have several times cited her tabulation of the old chronology in support of the notion that Rigdon could not possibly have visited Smith in New York prior to the end of 1830. The authors of The Spalding Enigma greatly expand the content of Rigdon's chronology and present it as an appendix in their book, avoiding the Brodie contrivance and following Shook's lead in demonstrating the several lengthy gaps in what is known of Rigdon's 1826-1830 itinerary.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 6, 1891.                           No. 23.


The following items will give the elders additional proofs with regard to Sidney Rigdon's alleged connection with Joseph Smith before the publication of the Book of Mormon:

[Bronson letter from the May 1, 1872 issue of the Herald follows]

Statement of William B. Smith, the surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who is now in the closing years of a long life is waiting the summons of the pale reaper to call him to his answer and his rest.

(Written for the Herald)

There has been a great speculation in the Christian Church made out of the Braden get-up, charging Elder Sidney Rigdon with the crime of plagiarism concerning the Spaulding Manuscript and the origin of the Book of Mormon, This lie of Braden's may serve as a saving regeneration in the Disciple Church, if so be they have no better food to live on than manufactured falsehood. If the spirits of men long since gone to their haven of rest, could look down upon earth to behold the falsehood and follies of aspiring cranks and bigots who seek to gain a popular position in the religious world, surely this fraud charged upon Elder Rigdon by this Braden Disciple would stir Rigdon, if such a thing could be, into a mocking laughter at Braden's folly in imposing upon him a charge of having had connection with the origin of a book which he never saw until nearly a year after it was put into print.

No such man as Elder Rigdon ever visited my father's house, to my certain knowledge, prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon. And the first knowledge I ever had of Elder Rigdon was not until it was publicly announced that he had become a convert to the faith and doctrine of Mormonism, through the instrumentality of P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery, who had presented him with the Book of Mormon while on a mission from the state of New York to the town of Kirtland, state of Ohio, where Elder Rigdon at the time held a prominent position as a Disciple minister in the Christian Church. The facts of Elder Rigdon adopting the faith of these first elders that was sent out on missions, became so prominent, and so publicly known that much inquiry was elicited among the people of Kirtland and Painesville, concerning the doctrine of this new faith that was brought to them by those Mormon missionaries, that it was thought advisable to call a public meeting of the citizens and appoint a committee of three honorable men and empower them to go to York State and to visit the town of Palmyra and neighborhood where the Smiths had lived, to enquire out the character of the family. Elder Rigdon, John Carl and a man by the name of Edward Partridge were thus appointed; and suffice it to say that on their return and report to the people of Mentor, Painesville and vicinity of their findings of the character of the Smith family, all three of this committee on their return home to Ohio, became full-fledged believers in the Book of Mormon, becoming therefore prominent members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Such are the facts and all told of Elder Rigdon's alleged plagiarism and connection with the Book of Mormon.

I have been very much impressed for the last few days to write out this statement. No stranger from a distance could have visited your father, holding private or public conference with him, without the family knowing it; and to my certain knowledge no strangers visited about my father's house during that period of time in which the work of translating the found record was going on.

Witness my testimony and seal.           
                         W. B. SMITH.

Note 1: William's admission that "P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery" sought out Rigdon and "presented him with the Book of Mormon while on a mission from the state of New York to the town of Kirtland, state of Ohio" may indicate that the "Four Missionaries to the Lamanites" were just as much called to bring a copy of the Book of Mormon to Rigdon as they were called to do the same in the case of the American Indians. Is it possible that Joseph Smith, Jr. watched the departure of those four missionaries from New York, expecting that Sidney Rigdon would be brought into the Church through their efforts?

Note 2: William seems to be saying that early Mormon convert John Corrill accompanied Rigdon and Partridge from Ohio to New York and then returned with them. Corrill says nothing of such a journey in his 1839 book A Brief History of the Church.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 10, 1891.                           No. 41.

2 Thess. 2: 11, 12.

There is a saying in the Bible that talks about God sending strong delusions upon a certain peculiar class of people, "that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

This is a scripture that is as undoubtedly and truly applicable to the character of the person referred to in this age of the world, as in any other age of which the apostle speaks.

This damnable lying spirit the elders of the Reorganized Church of Christ, while engaged in their ministry, have to meet at most every turn in the road where they labor to proclaim the truth to the people. That Spaulding plagiarism story about the Book of Mormon -- that damnable lie that has been a thousand times refuted -- is still stereotyped in the minds of the people, and our Bible publishing departments are sending out their agents peddling their large, six dollar Bibles in the world to all or to any who will purchase them, with that damnable lie, that Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon was a make up from a romance written by a retired Presbyterian minister named Solomon Spaulding. This statement, so often refuted, these Bible publishers still record in their briefs on church history, in regard to faith and doctrine, this lie is found recorded in every one of the large Bibles now being sent out among the people.

After so many refutations of this one lie especially, the elders in their travels to preach the gospel should note this fact, and give good warning to book agents, as well as book firms, that in their large Bibles is written one damnable lie concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon. When a lie has been refuted by a multitude of unimpeachable witnesses, as in this case concerning the manner in which the Book of Mormon originated, if book publishers or the people choose to believe a lie, when they know it to be a lie, then, for choice, as the apostle tells us they might choose to believe a lie that they might be damned; and damned they will be. The translators in rendering the word damned from the Greek, will know the extent of the meaning of the word "damned," as used by the apostle Paul, placed upon the head of certain characters who were willing liars, and also willing believers in lies. The only English that could better explain the apostle's meaning concerning these persons who willingly make and believe lies, would be to say classically, that such lying persons were a great deal meaner than mean, or in other words, a most damnably mean set of liars. We have no apologies to offer for the plainness of this language. We give it as it is written, and the apostle in his inspiration knew well how to apply the words, and to whom they were the most applicable in both character and fitness.

When these book venders learn that their books, and what is written in them. will fall under the inspection of about twenty-five thousand members of the Latter Day Saint Church, who are mostly believers in the Book of Mormon, they may begin to inquire more perfectly as to the truth of some of these manufactured stories, lies and falsehoods, got up by designing persons to aid them in a most corrupt cause of villainy and meanness, by priests and ministers, to prevent the truth being heard by the members of their respective churches.

Those large Bibles containing this stereotyped lie concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon, are being spread over the country by book agents; and whatever story is written in the Bible on the Mormon question, whether false or true, will be believed by the people who read the Bible because it is written in the Bible for a thousand years to come. I would like to see the statements made in this letter published in the Saints' Herald, or similar statements.

I would suggest, also the propriety of the publishing board of the church publishing this letter in tract form, so that the ministry may have plenty of them to scatter among the people wherever they go to preach. Saints should never patronize nor purchase books that are known to contain falsehoods made and gotten up for private ends, and for vile and vicious purposes. I think, brethren, something of this sort ought to be done, so that plenty of these tracts may be spread through the country, where these book agents are peddling, or getting subscribers for these large polyglot Bibles, containing that most notorious lie about Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon.     WILLIAM B. SMITH.

OSTERDOCK, Iowa, Sept. 22d.

Note 1: It may well be supposed that Elder William B. Smith (the younger brother of Joseph Smith, jr.) spoke from privileged experience when he told of "willing liars," and of "strong delusions" that had been inflicted "upon a certain peculiar class of people" so that those particular religious fanatics "should believe a lie." The writer uses the words lie, lies, lying, liars, false, falsehoods a total of 22 times in his letter. Elder Sidney Rigdon, in an 1839 letter bearing witness of a similar inspiring spirit against the Spalding claims, uses the words lie, lies, lying, liar, liars, false, falsehoods a total of 29 times. It appears that Rigdon may lay claim to the record score in this regard.

Note 2: Elder Smith is not elsewhere known to have preached that people's belief in the Spalding authorship claims automatically resulted in their damnation. However, see another of his statements regarding some related matters, as published in the June 6, 1891 issue of the Herald.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 7, 1891.                           No. 45.

(From Independent Patriot.)


Elder Braden rejects the Book of Mormon on account of the imperfect language and grammar found therein... The claim made by the Book of Mormon writers, that they made the record according to their knowledge, and that there are imperfections in it, but that the things recorded are true, is a proper and defensible position, and stands to the credit of those who composed the book.

But we raise a question here. How does Elder Braden account for these errors in language? According to his theory Solomon Spaulding wrote the historical part of the Book of Mormon, Sidney Rigdon the doctrinal part. These objectionable phrases and words are nearly all from the historical part of the book, hence Spaulding was the man who wrote them. But according to the testimony of Matilda Davison, Spaulding's widow, who was the leading witness in favor of the Spaulding tale, "Rev. Solomon Spaulding... was a graduate of Dartmouth College;" was "an educated man, and passionately fond of history." Did this man introduce into his work such phrases as "enormity of our numbers," "more history part." etc.?

(To be continued.)

Note 1: Elder Lambert need only have consulted the Spalding text published by the RLDS Church in 1885 to have found much of the answer he was seeking regarding "errors in language." Certainly Spalding himself was more than capable of making numerous blunders in his spelling, grammar, and figures of speech, as is demonstrated in that published text. Whether his textual errors there can be attributed to a lack of concentration caused by ill health, inebriation, or some other contributing factor remains unknown. Spalding, though trained in the biblical scriptures, apparently held a low estimation of their value and he may have taken a perverse delight in rendering his pseudo-biblical writing with an intermixture of various crudities.

Note 2: While Rigdon's presumed editorial hand could have corrected Spalding's errors, there is no reason to think that he would have caught them all. The Book of Mormon was directed to an American Indian audience and its writers may have purposely lowered the reading level of some of its passages to match the presumed reading abilities of barely literate Indian readers. Finally, all are agreed that the final product passed through the hands of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery -- with the former barely able to read and the latter barely able to write a decent sentence in 1829. The "errors in language" in that book may be largely explainable in these facts and assumptions.


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 21, 1891.                           No. 47.

(From Independent Patriot.)


If it be said that Rigdon copied and changed the original manuscript, then we reply, (1) Mrs. Davison does not claim that Rigdon had changed her husband's romance, or added anything to it, except a few "pious expressions;" and (2) if Rigdon introduced into Spaulding's Romance the doctrinal part of the Book of Mormon, and changed the Romance itself, how does it come that Spaulding's old neighbors, including his brother John, when they heard "copious extracts" "read and repeated" from the Book of Mormon, in 1834 [sic]. (at least 22 years after they had heard the Romance read!) could recognize, at once the identical work of Solomon Spaulding? The statement of Mrs. Davison is that "the historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, which had been deeply impressed years before." In this connection it is necessary for the reader to consider that the doctrinal part of the Book of Mormon constitutes a large portion of the book, and is closely interwoven with the historical matter all the way through the book.

There is, therefore, no escape for Elder Braden from the position that the "Rev. Solomon Spaulding," "an educated man, and passionately fond of history," who "was a graduate of Dartmouth College," was the man who used in his composition the "egregious grammar" of the Book of Mormon, held up to ridicule by Elder Braden! ...

According to the account given in the Book of Mormon, page 438, paragraphs 3, 4, 5, there was a darkness upon the face of this land for the space of three days, at the time of Christ's crucifiction [sic]. "The Bible says the darkness lasted three hours, but the Book of Mormon three days," says Elder Braden. He then proceeds to ridicule the description given of the darkness, that it was so great that it could be felt, etc., and concludes the point by saying, "Sidney Rigdon wrote this big tale."

Hold on, Elder! Are you not getting things mixed? You have told us all along that Spaulding wrote the historical portion of the Book of Mormon, but now, all at once, Sidney Rigdon becomes the historian! Better be a little careful lest you convince all your thoughtful hearers that your theory is but a myth. However, it makes but little difference to us whether you attribute it to Rigdon or Spaulding. Just fix it up to suit yourself. We are not able to say, but it may be the better way, notwithstanding the testimony of your witnesses, that, the historical part of the Book of Mormon, is the identical "Manuscript Found," written by "Rev. Solomon Spaulding," when you find a few pages that you think Spaulding would not have written, to ascribe them to Rigdon; and when you find that which you think Rigdon would not have written, ascribe it to Spaulding. This may be safer than to stick too closely to the witnesses, or to your own stated theory; for who knows but what it may become necessary to attribute the whole thing to Sidney Rigdon, and to do away with the Spaulding "Manuscript Found" business altogether?...

(To be continued.)

Notes: (see notes accompanying the article of Nov. 7, 1891)


Vol. 38.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 19, 1891.                           No. 51.


The elders should remember both in their pulpit utterances and their discussions that assertions and assumptions, no matter how loudly stated, are neither argument nor proof.

A man may be what is termed "morally certain" of a thing; and be utterly unable to prove it. His convictions are to him reasonably conclusive, and upon them he may risk an assertion, or an action; but if a doubt is presented, he will find that while he is at liberty to present any sort of evidence, or what he may deem to be evidence in proof, he will be debarred from offering his opinions or his convictions as proof. For this reason, every elder should be careful in what he states, to have what he relies on to sustain his statements, so that he can upon call give it, whether good and sufficient to others or not, that it may be seen, and its value as proof determined. For instance. It is stated that Solomon Spaulding wrote some sort of a story entitled "Manuscript Found." Upon the order of Mr. Spaulding's widow, Mr. Jerome Clark, of Munson Massachusetts [sic], delivered to Dr. Philastus Hurlbut an article found in a certain trunk delivered to him by Mrs. Spaulding, the only written article in the trunk, wrapped in a paper cover and marked Manuscript Story. This paper so delivered to Dr. Hurlbut was by him delivered with the manuscripts of his work "Mormonism Exposed" to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio. Mr. Howe in a letter to Bro. T. W. Smith, admitted that he had such manuscript, but that he suspected that it was burned in a fire which consumed his office many years ago. It so happens, however, that Prof. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio, made a trip round the world [sic] in 1885, when stopping off at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, to visit a friend, Mr. L. L. Rice, an old Ohio printer, to whom Mr. Howe had many years before sold a printing press, type and office fixtures, including a lot of old unused manuscripts, the two in looking over Mr. Rice's effects in search of some literature of abolition times, found a "Manuscript Story," done up in a wrapper, and bearing marks of having passed through Dr. Hurlbut's hands. These men at once saw that there was strong probability that this was the celebrated "Manuscript Found;" the anti-Mormon bugaboo father of the Book of Mormon; and Prof. Fairchild in the integrity of his conviction wrote in the Bibliotheca Sacra that the world would need to find a different origin for the Book of Mormon than the writings of Solomon Spaulding. This "Manuscript Story," was procured, by copy, and published. Now, certain religious [men], would-be slayers of Mormonism, in the abstract and in the concrete, assert that Mr. Spaulding wrote one, two, three -- four copies of this "Manuscript Found" story, and Joseph Smith got one of them. This is mere assertion and is resorted to in order to neutralize the effect of the discovery and publication of the "Manuscript Story," of the identity of which with the "Manuscript Found," of which so much capital has been made by anti-Mormons, there are such strong and satisfactory evidences -- "almost strong as holy writ."

The only proof that Mr. Spaulding wrote consecutive copies of the same work, is about on this wise: Rev. A. D. lecturing on Mormonism said: "There is no doubt but what Mr. Spaulding, being a careful scholar wrote his stories several times, carefully copying so that when they went to press, he would have a copy to verify the printed version, in case of accident -- he would leave nothing to chance, it is to be presumed."

Rev. D. A. in a lecture subsequently given, said: "Rev. A. D. is of the opinion that Mr. Spaulding wrote several copies of his 'Manuscript Found.;" Rev. D. C. afterwards referring to the same thing says: "It is proved by Reverends A. D. and D. A. that Mr. Spaulding did write several copies of his story 'Manuscript Found,'" The whole of it rests on the opinion of Rev. A. D. used as a starter, and crystallized into proof by the supposed sanctity of their clerical character. The reverend doctors said they thought perhaps there was no doubt it was so, and of course it must be so.

There is a Dictionary of Religious History being prepared and published to impose upon the world, by certain reverend gentlemen, one of whom is Rev. Whitsitt, of Covington, Kentucky. In this Dictionary, there is a chapter devoted to the Mormons and the Book of Mormon, in which the Rev. Whitsitt works out the origin of the Book of Mormon from Mr. Spaulding's manuscript romance in the most profoundly learned way possible; every particle of which reasoning is based upon a "perhaps," or an "it was possible," or "it is presumable," or that such and such things occurred, etc. It is equal to saying, there was a Solomon Spaulding; he wrote a romance; Joseph Smith gave the world the Book of Mormon; therefore the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the Spaulding romance. If the saying be true, "If ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise," then it would be foolish to show these men their error, if it was possible to do it. But what is the opportunity likely to be? These men move in the literary world. They have access to the reading public. Men greedily read what these men have written, and to many the supposition, the learned ratiocination of a man with an L. L. D. title attached to his name, goes, while the statement of a man without such title, but who knows, is derided as being the delusion of a fanatic. The law of compensation demands that there shall be a final arbitrament where all this shall be right; but the grinding of the mills of the gods is -- so slow.

The elders of the best of all religions, the gospel of Jesus Christ, can afford to wait; but it is duty, as well as being safety, that every man is careful and certain...

Be sure then, brethren, that your spiritual conduct shall be within the lines of truth in theory, practice, statement and fact, and you will bless the world, and will never be confounded.

Note: The writer's advice on being "careful and certain" is commendable, as is his warning against "offering his opinions or his convictions as proof." Beyond that much, the remainder of this article provides nothing for the student of Mormon history. The writer's rebuttal to the critical research and reporting of Dr. William H. Whitsitt (the first biographer of Sidney Rigdon) is to offer no rebuttal at all; instead he resorts to the old Latter Day Saint subterfuge of marshaling the Saints against the "men of the cloth" and of deploying the saintly "unlearned" and the "weak things of the world" against "the learned" and their "precepts of men." This is a ploy as old as the telling of the story of Martin Harris' testimony countering the published denials of Dr. Anthon, in Harris' oft-told quest for the truth concerning the language and origin of the Book of Mormon. The writer of this article would have done better to have admitted the fact that assertions of Spalding having written more than one work of fiction upon the ancient Americans were part of the Spalding authorship claims from the very beginning. He might have also added that the text on the pages of the Oberlin holograph demonstrates the fact that Spalding re-wrote and revamped his manuscripts. Beyond that, the writer might simply have stated that Dr. Whitsitt's accumulated evidence (against the traditional RLDS testimony for the origin of the Book of Mormon) does not amount to incontrovertible proof.


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 9, 1892.                           No. 2.

(From Independent Patriot.)


... The theory that Rev. Spaulding wrote the historical part of the Book of Mormon, and Rigdon the doctrinal part is not defensible for the following reasons:--

1. The historical and doctrinal parts are so closely blended and interwoven, throughout the book, that it is evident that whoever wrote all or any part of the history contained in the book, also wrote the doctrine presented with it.

2. The Book of Mormon contains fourteen distinct books ascribed to as many different authors. A few of these authors wrote but little, a number of them wrote quite extensively. All the latter and leading authors present both history and doctrine, closely intermixed, in the different books ascribed to them, and the history and doctrine are written in the same style in each distinct book. This furnishes us with good evidence that the historical and doctrinal parts of the Book of Mormon, were written by the same authors.

3. Notwithstanding the facts that almost the entire Book of Mormon was abridged by one man, Mormon; that there are certain idioms peculiar to the Nephite language, found throughout the whole record... The truth is, there is too much similarity throughout the Book of Mormon, to admit of the claim that it was written by Spaulding and Rigdon, as the styles of these two men are quite dissimilar; and yet the diversity of styles is of such a character as to entirely preclude the claim that either its history or doctrine is the work of but one man.

It is difficult for us to see how any man with a fair degree of literary ability can believe that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, much less how he can believe that Solomon Spaulding, who is acknowledged to be the author of the "Manuscript Story," which has been published, could have been the author of the historical part of the Book of Mormon. Nor are we alone in this, as may be seen from the statements of L. L. Rice and Prof. Fairchild.

"Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished." -- Signed, James H. Fairchild, and published in "Bibliotheca Sacra."

"It is certain that this manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible, whatever some other manuscript 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.

"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. Rice, of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, in a letter written to Joseph Smith, of Lamoni, Iowa, dated March 28th, 1885.

If Elder Braden can account for the origin of the Book of Mormon in such a way as to fasten fraud upon somebody, it is his duty to do so; but it should be done in a spirit of kindness, and with a view to save the ones who have been deceived. However, his efforts thus far have been a decided failure, and must continue to be until he finds a defensible theory, and is able to make a far better criticism than the one reviewed in this article.

Note 1: Elder Lambert argues: "whoever wrote all or any part of the history contained in the book, also wrote the doctrine presented with it." That statement may well be correct -- in part. That is, the original writer of the book may have constructed a plot line in which the eventual destruction of the Nephites was a consequence of their "dwindling in unbelief" and that same original writer may have supplemented the pseudo-scriptural language that the Conneaut witnesses recalled with a certain measure of pseudo-religious content. Spalding reportedly re-wrote his "Manuscript Found," or some similar text, while residing in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in the home of an early follower of Alexander Campbell. It is entirely possible that, while re-writing his book in that environment, Spalding introduced religious elements not present in the draft of the same text which he was wont to read and display in Ohio. In that case, the redaction by Sidney Rigdon might well have consisted of little more than his abridging the original manuscript, adding in his own radical Campbellite theology, and inserting various exhortations, prophecies, and short sub-plots into the text. Such a redaction need not have done tremendous violence to Spalding's original plot, characterization, writing style or historical framework -- though it would have produced a story only partly recognizable by his old associates.

Note 2: Both Rice and Fairchild evolved in their understanding of the nature of the Oberlin manuscript. In the end neither man claimed it to be the "Manuscript Found." In fact, Rice came to the eventual conclusion that the "Manuscript Found" probably did form the basis for the Book of Mormon.


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 13, 1892.                           No. 7.


Sunday, January 31st, 1892, will be marked in the memory of many of the Saints of Independence, Missouri, with a white stone. Time, in its ceaseless march, its developments, its surprises, its compensations and its revenges brought about on that day a meeting peculiarly affecting and striking.

William B. Smith, the now only surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, had been called to Independence to give evidence in the suit brought by the Reorganized Church for the possession of the Temple, and for the first time in the history of the church set his feet in the historical city. Bro. James Whitehead had been called there for the same purpose, and thus after an eventful separation of over forty years these aged men met in the Saints' meeting room -- veterans in a holy cause, met after long years of activity, joy, sorrow and distress.

Uncle William and brother Whitehead occupied the stand at the afternoon service, in which the first named preached a most timely and able sermon, to the edification and enjoyment of the large congregation gathered to hear and see the surviving brother of the Martyrs.

Though past eighty years of age, with hair and beard whiter than wool, a form but little bent with long service, voice tempered by emotion, yet clear and distinct enough to be heard by all, for nearly an hour did this aged man discourse on the leading themes of the latter day work, closing with a testimony that will not soon pass into the list of forgotten things: "I know this church called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true successor of the church organized in 1830, into which I was baptized and was a member of, and is the only church recognized of God as the true Church of Christ." ...

There were in the congregation several who were baptized into the church by Uncle William in the early days of the church... whose believing hearts were made glad that day in the thought that they had not hoped, prayed, waited, wrought and believed in vain that God would remember Zion. They felt that he was remembering Zion and her converts; and that the long night of dispersion, division and doubt was breaking away before the oncoming dawn of the day of righteousness and peace; that forgiveness for sin and pardon for error were found in the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 20, 1892.                           No. 8.



If Spalding wrote the book, it is entirely speculative in its get up, and cannot be a true history, but entirely false; hence will not be confirmed as the Bible is by Archaeological evidence, but the antiquities in the regions where the historic sketch is laid, will be one means of proving that the book is not what it claims to be.

If it was written by Mormon, as it claims to be, it may be true. For, according to [this] theory, the men that he quoted from are said to have been eyewitnesses of the facts which they relate; and if so, are the best of witnesses. We may expect, then, that the general outlines of the historic narrative will be confirmed as the Bible is by Archaeological evidence.

On the other hand, it is said that the whole of it is "a mean fraud," and that Solomon Spalding, who died some sixteen years before the book was published, is the real author; and that his "historic romance," which he is said to have written for "pastime," was used by Rigdon and Smith as a foundation for making the book; Sidney Rigdon being charged with having stolen said romance out of a printing office at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Messrs. Rigdon and Smith are said to have revised the romance, adding to it certain parts "giving it a Christian taint, and then tried to pass it off as a revelation, and as a true account of a prehistoric civilization in America."

It is said that the mistake or defects in the book prove conclusively that it is not what it claims to be; and those defects or blunders are used as evidence to prove that Smith and Rigdon were impostors, and that the book is a "humbug."

Great skill, and no little learning have been engaged in making out a case against those men; and if it is not too late, I would like space in the Herald to notice a few of those mistakes and blunders. I believe that as the distance gets greater between us and 1830, our judgment will become riper and more nearly correct concerning those men; for the reason that Time, who sees, hears, and knows all things, is a babbler, and keeps but few great secrets unrevealed....

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 12, 1892.                           No. 11.



... Alma says: "The Son of God shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem, which is the land of our fathers." This passage is charged up to the plagiarist Rigdon." We will notice the "style" in some other passages which are said to have been written by Mr. Spalding...

..."Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi, to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land (city) of Ammonihah," -- Ibid., 6:3.

Here Mr. Spalding lets the light in on this "land" question. He said "land" when he meant a "small village" or a city... So Jesus was born "at Jerusalem," "which is the land (country) of our fathers." Here Jerusalem is simply indicative of the region in which Jesus would be born...

This indefinite "land of" is proof of a phonetic system of writing, and also evidence of great antiquity. If Spalding or Rigdon had written the book it would not have possessed the sign of genuineness, but would have been more precise...

These difficulties found in the book, then, are in harmony with the language in which the book is said to have been written, and is evidence in its favor. If it had shown signs of having been written in one of the Aryan tongues that would have been evidence of a "modern fraud," and Mr. Spalding's "Manuscript" would no doubt have shown some signs of his learning. The matter would be what he considered really to be possible to have existed in prehistoric times; it would no doubt show the hand of a graduate from "Dartmouth College;" but that is just exactly what the Book of Mormon does not show, and that is the reason why so many other "graduates" have pointed out its "blunders."

Mr. J. H. Beadle says on this point: "If the proof were any less strong than it is (that Rigdon stole Spalding's Manuscript), I would decide against the Spaulding claim, solely from the internal evidence of the book; for the style and matter are such as to raise a very strong presumption that it could not be the work of any man with intelligence enough for a minister, or of a graduate from Dartmouth College. -- Mysteries of Mormonism, p. 31.

Mr. Beadle, I think, is right; the internal evidence of the Book is against the Spalding claim. "The style and matter" do not show the hand of a graduate from Dartmouth or any other modern college...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  March 19, 1892.                           No. 12.



...from the fossil, cave, and lava beds of our own country, come, after many years of controversy, the bones of those "missing" animals named in the Book of Mormon, which seems to show that the author, whoever he may prove to be, knew more concerning prehistoric animals in America than did any man who has taken issue with him. The facts prove that he was right and they were wrong

When the book first appeared in print the claim was set up that it was Mr. Spalding's "Historical Romance," varying only in certain interpolated texts on doctrinal points." (See Mysteries of Mormonism, p. 31.) Taking that view, Mr. Spalding would then be responsible for those disputed animals being named in the book. If Mr. Spalding "was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and for many years a Presbyterian minister, (Ibid. p. 30,) does it not look reasonable to presume that he would not risk his name as the author of a book (as his romance was intended to be) in which such animals as the elephant and camel were named? He being a graduate of Dartmouth would likely know that the theory at the time he wrote was that those animals in prehistoric times were said to have been unknown to the continent; he would therefore not be apt to name them, and thus subject himself to ridicule.

(under construction)

Note: The writer of this article asks: "does it not look reasonable to presume that he [Spalding] would not risk his name as the author of a book... in which such animals as the elephant and camel were named?" The answer to this question may be found by inspecting Spalding's extant fictional writings, in which he places full-sized horses and "mamoon" elephants in his version of the American past. George Arbaugh once speculated that Solomon Spalding (who wrote of "mamoons" in ancient America) was also the writer of that portion of the Book of Mormon which speaks of "cumoms" and "cureloms" (camelids?) in ancient America).


Vol. 39.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  October 1, 1892.                           No. 40.


Uncle William B. Smith expresses himself on the question of human rights thus: --

Along with its events some new problems to solve, your Uncle William's make up is of that nature that it might not do for him to stand in the lead of a large body of people, if indeed there was too much prohibition of the exercise of equal rights among human beings. The Constitution of these United States makes no distinction in the human family; all men are born free and equal and in the pursuit of happiness are free and equal. Inspiration has pronounced this to be a just law. Peter's vision of all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things, showing that God was no respector of persons confirms this doctrine of equal rights. Paul also says: "God has made of one blood all nations." If such are the facts founded upon a just law, by what authority have we the right to say that a colored man has no right to be ordained to all the powers of the priesthood, necessary for the building up the church of Christ in any part of the world, among any race of people, whether black or white. The office of priest in the church is only a preparatory office, and does not prohibit the right to an eldership, if so ordained to preach a full gospel in a foreign land, he could not lay hands on the sick, nor do other work connected with building up the church, hence his mission work would avail little, or nothing, unless he was qualified to practice what he preached. To preach a full gospel is no half way work in this latter day dispensation: hence, as understand it the colored race has a right to the priesthood in all its powers of administration subject to the ruling authority of Christ's church. I am not writing this thinking to educate anyone, nor to tell them what they should do; but to state what my belief and opinion are on this race question.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 28, 1893.                           No. 4.


Going from house to house and from city to city to preach the gospel is a practice and work adopted by Christ and his disciples eighteen hundred years ago. The Herald, I see, has very interestingly outlined this manner of gospel work. If this practice could be carried out now, by this means many new openings for preaching would be obtained. A few words of conversation with strangers sometimes imparts thoughts and ideas on paints of gospel doctrine never thought of before, and fittingly applied, in many cases helps in the enlightenment of souls in the way of life and salvation. Without such visits from God's ministers, hundreds of good souls would live and die ignorant of the knowledge of God, or the knowledge of Christ's gospel to save.

The subject named in this letter is sufficiently commendatory of itself without any compliment from my pen. I write thus because within a radius of ten miles of the place where I now live, I know of several families who have left invitations with me requesting calls and visits from elders and ministers who are representatives of the faith and gospel as taught by the Reorganized Church. I am thoroughly convinced that this method of preaching the gospel from house to house would add much interest to the growing prosperity of the church. Your correspondent would not ask an assistant to fill these calls, or to visit the families referred to in this letter, he was not now still a victim -- as he has been for three years -- of that terrible disease, the grip, added to my advanced age, which will if my life is spared till the 13th day of March next, number eighty-three winters; and I still trust in gospel faith. I will add, further, if my means for expenses is not too much wanting and should my health permit, it will be my purpose to attend the yearly conference at Lamoni, in the spring. With much love to all Saints, I subscribe,
                            In gospel bonds,
                                    WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 11, 1893.                           No. 6.


The way newspaper stories are told about the Mormons is aptly illustrated by the following taken from the New York World, for April 20, 1892. It appears to be an answer to some correspondent who asks for information:

F. A. -- Joseph Smith was born at Sharon Vermont, December 23, 1805. His early education amounted to nothing and he was somewhat disreputable and unsavory. When about twenty-three years old he asserted he had received a revelation. His "Book of Mormon" was published in 1830, and is supposed to be a romance written twenty years before by a preacher named Samuel [sic] Spalding, but never published until it was issued by Smith. In 1831, Smith, having succeeded in inducing a number of persons to believe in the genuineness of his revelation, took them to Kirtland, Ohio, where they built a "temple." They were soon driven away by their neighbors. Then they went to Hancock, Missouri, and established themselves at a place on the Mississippi River which they called Nauvoo, and in six years after its settlement the town numbered fifteen thousand inhabitants. Charges of immorality having been made against the community, Smith and his brother and two elders surrendered to the Governor for trial and they were committed to jail at Carthage. On the afternoon of May 27, while the prisoners were in the jail-yard, the elders reading and the Smiths walking up and down, they were assassinated by the jailers, who opened fire on them from a window. This was what made the Mormons leave the United States and seek an asylum in the wilds of Mexico at Salt Lake.

This story is queer for several reasons:--

1. There was no supposition that the Book of Mormon was a romance written by Samuel Spalding.

2. No such romance was ever published by Joseph Smith, as the Book of Mormon, or as a romance pure and simple.

3. The Mormons never went to Hancock, Missouri.

4. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed on June 27, not May, and in the jail and not in the yard.


The following from a Melbourne correspondent of the Hay Standard, Australia, under date of October 19, 1892...

... I have read the "Book of Mormon," both the edition published in Salt Lake City and the one issued in Lamoni, and I confess candidly I cannot see what there is objectionable in this so-called "American Bible." ... The old notion that this book is a copy of a religious novel written early in the century by the Rev. Solomon Spalding is now exploded by the discovery of Mr. Spalding's MS. a printed copy of which I have before me. I do not offer any opinion as to whether the late Joseph Smith was a divinely inspired prophet or not...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 18, 1893.                           No. 7.


Bro. Wm. B. Smith wrote from his home, Osterdock, Iowa, January 30, that Bro. John S. Roth was doing manful battle for the cause at Osterdock, having large audiences and a respectful hearing. Uncle William says: --

It would be marvelously strange if some additions are not made to the church before the meetings close here. Bro. Roth has got up a big excitement on the subject of this latter-day gospel, reaching far out into the country, notwithstanding the cold weather and drifted roads.

It is expected that Bro. Roth will stay right by the situation until the issue of obedience to life, or rejection unto ignorance and possible death is decided for some. May the good Lord of the harvest abide with Bro. J. S. Roth in his earnest assault on the strongholds of unbelief and misdirected faith.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  February 25, 1893.                           No. 8.


Uncle Wm. B. Smith sends the following series of questions to the Herald, desiring to see an answer. We publish, and solicit replies. Uncle William writes: "These questions are suggested through reading a copy of a paper entitled Gospel Messenger, published by the Dunkards. I doubt not that they are a very good class of Christian people, and still have a zeal for something of gospel doctrine, without knowledge.

1. Which one of the three personages, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, named in the baptismal ceremony, is responsible for the command to baptize?

2. Are all three of the personages named responsible for the command to baptize? Or should there be one only who should be considered as responsible?

3. In what respect does a three-birth baptism by water prefigure, or portray the likeness of Christ's death and resurrection?

4. Did Christ die three deaths while being crucified on the cross?

5. Did the burial and resurrection of Christ take place more than once?

6. If the dead Christ lay in the sepulchre three days and three nights to figure in the case, should not a three birth baptism by water be applied in a three days successive service, in order to make the comparison complete?

7. Would not this require a three-birth baptism each day of the three days service until completed to fill the pattern?

8. Did the dead Christ while lying in the sepulchre lie with his face downward?

9. In the resurrection day will the Saints come forth out of their graves with their faces upwards, or downwards?

10. In the ceremony of baptism is not God the central truth in the command to baptize?

11. Was Christ, as a teacher sent of God, anything more than a servant?

12. Are we commanded to worship Christ, as God?

13. Is Christ and God the one and same personage?

14. Does the Bible teach that men should worship the Holy Ghost as a God?

15. Did the Holy Ghost ever give a command to baptize?

16. Were the names of the Son and Holy Ghost used in the ceremony of baptism anything more than a complimentary sanction from these two principles, or personages, that the performing this gospel ordinance was just and right?

17. Does the Bible teach us that there is any more than one God?

18. Is not one immersion in water a legal baptism?

19. Is it taught anywhere in the Bible that three immersions in water are necessary to complete one baptism?

20. If three immersions in water are not necessary to complete one gospel baptism, are not three immersions for one baptism a work of supererogation -- the work of man -- something that God never commanded?


Bro. William B. Smith, of Osterdock, Iowa writes: --

I notice in the Herald that a brother advises caution as to the use of the name Mormon. I do most heartily indorse the brother's caution on the use of that name Mormon, as that name has so long been mixed up with some of those cursed doctrines known as Brighamisms, and still perpetuated in Utah as Utah Mormonism, until both the name of Utah, as well as the name of Mormon, or Mormonism, has become a disgrace to any nation or people; hence a distinction should be made between the two classes of Saints, Reorganized Church and so on.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 6, 1893.                           No. 18.


At the request of many of the brethren and sisters who attended the late session of conference, Sr. Katherine Salisbury, the only surviving sister of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who was present at conference, gives her testimony on one of the things of the past, as follows.

                                  Lamoni, Iowa, April 13, 1893.
Dear Readers of the Herald: -- I have been requested to give my testimony of what I know about my brother, Joseph Smith, having spiritual wives.

I was at his house in Nauvoo a great many times, and I conversed with him about many subjects, but I never heard him at any time mention such a thing as the plural-wife system or order. And I heard nothing of such a doctrine existing until a year after his death.

At that time, on coming to Nauvoo, I was informed that Brigham Young and others were practicing that system.

And I certify that I know my brother had no wife except his lawful wife, Emma. He neither had any other wives nor did he advocate such a doctrine. This is my testimony.
                                  Katherine Salisbury.
Attest. H. A. Stebbins.

Note: It staggers the mind of a modern reader to think that Katherine Smith Salisbury could make such a public statement, saying that she never even heard "of such a doctrine" as polygamy existing in the Mormon church until "a year after" the assassination of Joseph Smith, Jr. A resident of Hancock County, Illinois between 1842 and 1844 must have been blind and deaf not to have encountered the practically countless accusations of Mormon polygamy afloat during that period. Even if Mrs. Salisbury never read John C. Bennett's 1842 book, the Springfield Sangamo Journal, the Warsaw Signal, or the one issue of the Nauvoo Expositor that came before the public's eyes, she still must have heard, on many occasions, of their exposure of Mormon polygamy. While she may have been technically correct in a couple of her assertions, overall, Katherine's 1893 statement appears to possess no essential validity.


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 13, 1893.                           No. 19.


Uncle William B. Smith, living at Osterdock, Clayton county, Iowa, is wide awake to the vital interests of the latter-day work. Some careless, possibly reckless writer in the Dubuque Times, wrote a newspaper screed about the Mormons, Joseph Smith, and the history of the Book of Mormon, in the usual vein of such writers. The article was so loose and gross in its attack that it excited the indignation of a citizen of Elkander, in the same county, and a former neighbor of Uncle William, who replies to the article in the following vigorous fashion. We give the whole, including the headlines, from the Times for April 16, sent us by Uncle William.



The Brother of the Prophet and Family the Best
of Citizens -- No Intention to Hurt Their
Feelings by Quoting What is
Accepted as History.


                                             Elkader, Iowa, April 13th, 1893.
"Editor Dubuque Daily Times:
    Dear Sir: --In your article on the Mormon Church contained in your daily issue of April 12, you say: "It was founded by an ignorant, dissipated member of a vicious family which had a well-earned reputation of being thieves and drunkards, etc." Knowing your reputation for kindness, fairness, and sympathy, I do not believe that you would willfully or knowingly inflict a pang or a pain in the bosom of any one of our fellow creatures unless it was done without a knowledge on your part of the true facts in any case.

I have no more sympathy or feeling for either branch of the Mormon Church than you have, but I have a strong sympathetic feeling, and friendship for some of the Smith family who are still living, and to whom your language above quoted does great injustice, and I also know that when you hear from me a few facts, your kindness will prompt you to repair in some manner the wrong you have inflicted upon them.

Kirtland is situated in the country in which I was raised from youth to manhood, and at the time Smith and his Mormons settled there I was nearly a man grown, and some of them were my immediate neighbors, with whose children I was often schoolmates, and I often met their prophet, Joseph Smith, although I was not personally acquainted with him. I was, however, intimately acquainted with Mr. Cowdery, one of his scribes, and to whom I was indebted for his special kindness to me, as well as for the many lessons of instruction I received from him as my preceptor in the schoolroom, and a Mormon as he was, I shall ever cherish his memory. A more amiable, generous, kind-hearted man, I have not met since. I lived among the daily talk and excitement of the 'New Faith' or 'Latter Day Saints,' as they were sometimes called at that time. From the time they settled in my county until they left it, I must say that during all that time I never heard Joseph Smith called a thief, a drunkard or a vicious man, even by his worst enemies, and my recollection of him to this late day is that he was a tall, graceful, good looking man, continually wearing a smile on his face for everyone, and that he was a kind-hearted, generous friend and companion, and that it was his winning manners by which he succeeded more than anything else.

Dupe, impostor, crazy fanatic, were the common words applied to him by the Gentiles of these days, but never thief, drunkard, or vicious.

But all this is not where your language referred to, cuts the deepest, and inflicts the most pain, for this same Joseph Smith has a brother, the Rev. William B. Smith, who is one of the old pioneers of Clayton county, and who is still living among us, and a man whom I have known for nearly forty years, and for nearly half of that time, he has lived within a stone's throw of my swelling, and I do know that the citizens of Elkader, and those of the county generally, will sustain me when I say there is not a single stain upon his character. A kind, honest, just, and upright man is his life long reputation here.

He has preached to us, lectured to us, pronounced funeral services over our dead, sat upon our juries, mingled in our conversations, acted as chaplain on our national holidays, and may be seen mingling with his fellows at every reunion of both the old settlers and the G. A. R., and, although he is a strong defender of his brothers, and a devoted Mormon of the anti-polygamy sect, yet, unless he is drawn out, no one would ever know from any of his public or private talk that he was a Mormon. When the first gun was fired on Fort Sumpter he took the stump to arouse the people to the impending danger, and then shouldered his ride, bid adieu to his family, enlisted in the Union army, and when the war was over came him with an honorable discharge. He has raised up in this county a bright and honorable family, all of whom are doing well, and not one of whom has ever caused him to blush, and it is here again where the language of your article cuts like a knife. Deluded as they were, there was among the Mormons the best and noblest of mankind, and where they missed it, was by admitting among them without knowing it, rascals, horse thieves, and murderers, and then defending them without investigation on the belief that the charge against them was Gentile persecution.


The above communication was inspired by an editorial appearing in the Times the date stated. There were no intentions of saying anything to the detriment of those of the faith of to-day and what was said of the founder of the sect was in line with the leading encyclopedias, all of which give detailed account of the work of Joseph Smith during the days of organizing the Mormon Church. -- Editor Times,

Uncle William protests against the misrepresentations made in the general Encyclopedias and the popular histories, and is anxious that some effort should be made to correct them. The committee appointed at the late Conference have taken the matter in hand, and will be heard from after awhile. It will be a difficult matter to meet and dislodge from the public mind such hoary-headed lies as men under the guise of religious fervor have told so long about the Book of Mormon, the history of the rise of the work, and the Smith family in connection with it. We are sincerely glad, however, that there is, here and there, a man of the courage of Ex-Judge Samuel Murdock, who knew the men and dares to state the truth about them, the popular notion to the contrary notwithstanding.

Note: It seems strange that this early Ohio resident, who knew Joseph Smith, Jr., at Kirtland, should have made the acquaintance of Joseph's brother William, only "forty years" before 1893. Perhaps what Murdock attempts to say is that he only became a personal friend of William Smith during the Nauvoo period, when William was the Hancock County representative to the State Legislature. Also, the lawyer Murdock does not state his prior professional relationship with William. If Samuel Murdock ever acted as William's attorney, then Murdock's words on William's behalf should be considered with that relationship in mind.


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 10, 1893.                           No. 23.


                                   Osterdock, Iowa, May 18.
Editors Herald: -- Inclosed I send you a letter I received from the Hon. Samuel Murdock, of Elkader, Iowa. The Judge's letter comes clothed in good colors. It is also an able and worthy article in defense of the right. He has a reputation for being one of the first and best lawyers in the State of Iowa. His influence throughout the State is unbounded. This is not saying too much, for he is well known in his business relations in every department of the State. As a politician he has been a representative of the people of the State of Iowa, a member of the State Legislature in the early history of the State. He has also occupied the Judge's seat in the district courts of the State, and various other positions of honor and trust by the choice and will of the people of this country and the State of Iowa.

In his letter to me the Judge calls to mind an event that took place at a time when I had been engaged in delivering a series of lectures in the different localities in Clayton county, on the subject of American antiquities and the origin of the American Indians. About this time the Judge had got himself into a conflict with some professed ministers of churches, living in and about Elkader, over some letters he had written and published in the Clayton county Journal, on the subject of the evolution of thought, and prehistoric man. It was at this period that Darwinism had just begun peeping out of the shell of fossil remains, and some of the clergymen began to think the Judge's philosophy on the principle of evolution was tinctured too strongly with infidelity, and, as a matter of course, they pitched into him without gloves. His reputation for years was that of a relic hunter, having visited many of the mounds along the Mississippi Valley and gathered up some relics or specimens of fossil remains of both man and beast. Knowing these facts of his historic and scientific research for knowledge, I knew well that a continued development of thought in search after truth that for ages had been hidden from the knowledge of the world through the traditions of men of narrow and contracted minds, if continued would in the end develop some hidden truth far more grand than could be found in the results of Darwinism. It was upon this point then, of free thought, I took up the subject against the Judge's opposers and showed from a Bible standpoint that however false Darwinism might be, the Judge's philosophy on the evolution of free thought was far in advance of his opposers; that while the Judge was making use of his privilege of a free investigation of Darwinism, he was doing no more than the Apostle Paul had recommended in his gospel that men should do: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The idea that professed ministers of the gospel should oppose the evolution of free thought was not only abhorrent in the extreme, but anti-christian and against all Bible gospel in the spiritual growth and knowledge, in the life of Christianity in the world. My rejoinder in defense of free thought published in the Journal soon silenced the guns of the Judge's opposers on this evolution question.

I was fully aware that should the Judge continue his researches concerning prehistoric man, he would undoubtedly pick up some relics that might possibly enlighten the world more fully upon the subject of a prehistoric race of people who inhabited the American Continent a long, long time before it was discovered by Christopher Columbus. The tablets from which the Book of Mormon was translated are relics of a prehistoric people who once inhabited both North and South America. It is by searching that these hidden truths are found out and revealed to the world.

I do not know in what shape or form steps were taken at the last conference to remove the cloud that has for so many years hung over the character of the founders of the Latter Day Saint Church. I hope that encyclopedia history will be answered in some way, that the world will learn of its cursed lies and falsehoods before another decade shall pass away.

The Judge's letter, I think, is a good help, and his offer to aid in a good cause will no doubt be appreciated by the conductors of the Saints' Herald. Every glimmer of light gives joy and gladness at the disappearance of a cloudy and dark night.           W. B. SMITH.

                                             Elkader, Iowa, May 16.
Rev. William B. Smith:
    My dear old friend: -- Your kind and welcome letters, together with copies of Saints' Herald were all duly received, and I sincerely thank you... When I read that article in the Times I knew it was false so far as the character of your brother and yourself were concerned, and my long acquaintance with you, and your good and noble traits of character, prompted me to refute the slander...Kirtland is situated in the country in which I was raised from a boy to manhood, and I remember all about the talk and excitement that occurred at the time on the subject of the new religion, and upon your Brother Joseph; and if he at that time had the reputation of being a "drunkard," a "thief," or a "vicious person," I certainly would have heard of it. I could not have missed hearing it, for all other kind of words and epithets that language could invent to depreciate him in the county among the people were used against him: but never the words drunkard, thief, or vicious, did I ever hear. Among the Mormons of the county at that early day, to my own personal knowledge, were men of the highest standing for honor and integrity, and it does not look reasonable that such men should follow a "drunkard," a "thief," or a "vicious" man, if such had been the character of your brother.

I have often seen your Brother Joseph, although I was not personally acquainted with him, and my recollection of him was, that he was a very handsome man, the picture of good health, and good nature, large and portly, and that his manners were those of a gentleman. Among his friends he was regarded as a kind, good-natured, genial, and inoffensive man: and had he been anything else but this in his character, he never could have had such a host of good men to follow him.

For one, I am pleased to see that your church is taking steps to rescue his character from the clouds and stains that bigotry and intolerance for over half a century have heaped upon it, and anything that I can do to see justice and fair play will be cheerfully done...

I am very sorry indeed to hear of your illness, but hope to hear that the return of genial weather may revive you again...
                              Your steadfast friend,
                                                 Samuel Murdock.

Note 1: Samuel Murdock appears to have been a cousin of early Mormon John Murdock (1792-1871). The newspaper article Murdock mentions was published in the April 12, 1893 issue of the Dubuque Daily Times. Murdock's reply of April 23, 1893 tells of how he "was raised from youth to manhood" at Kirtland, Ohio, and how he recalled Joseph Smith, jr. being a "tall, graceful, good looking man... and... a kind-hearted, generous friend and companion." See the May 13, 1893 issue of the Herald for a reprint this text.

Note 2: Although the lawyer Samuel Murdock writes that he had never heard Joseph Smith, Jr. called certain names, he admits that he had heard the man called "all other kind of words and epithets that language could invent to depreciate him." Murdock either never was a Mormon or was not one in his later years, at any rate. So, while Murdock may not have heard Joseph Smith, Jr. accused of certain social transgressions, that admission alone does not amount to a statement saying that he believed Smith was truthful in his religious affirmations.


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 8, 1893.                           No. 27.


Bro. J. S. Roth, the good soldier, is making a gallant fight at Osterdock, Iowa, the home of Uncle William B. Smith, the only surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In defending themselves from the attack of Bro. Roth, the local ministry have used unfortunate tactics, as will appear from Uncle William's ringing letter, which we give below:--

Editors Herald: -- The war goes bravely on since Elder J. S, Roth did some baptizing here some two weeks ago. The Cumberlands (Presbyterians -- ED.) have shut up their church against the Baptist minister of the place, for having invited Elder Roth to fill an appointment at the church in his place. Elder Roth is expected to be here on next Sunday, the 25th, to attend to some more baptisms, names for which have been handed in.

The opposition has started out as usual to stop if possible, the growing prosperity of the Church of Christ in this place, armed, as is usual in such cases, with all the lies and falsehoods that their envious imaginations can invent. An Eliza Young's book, containing an account of her polygamous marriage with Brigham Young, is one that from her babyhood up to womanhood never saw the face of Joseph Smith, much less had never heard his voice, in words of doctrine or teaching. This Utah Mormon Church is alone responsible for the schooling and education of this most deluded and foolish woman, who was victimized by false doctrines and teachings, to become the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young, There was no polygamy doctrine taught among Mormons until years after the prophet's death. These Brighamite Mormons are alone responsible for this fulsome doctrine of polygamy; and not the Reorganized Church, which has for many years past, given its names and testimony against this fulsome doctrine, and has given to the world the faith and discipline of the church on the marriage question as held to by Joseph Smith up to the day of his death. All these facts have been amply set forth before the public in Osterdock, and the man who knowing these facts will become the depository of this Eliza Young's book, and go about the country for the purpose of doing an injury to the Reorganized Church, cannot be any other than a most notorious hypocrite for the subject of the distinction between the two churches of Mormon Utah and the Reorganized Church, has been explained time and time again, to the people of Osterdock; and the persons who have heard all this explanation that will go about the country and wilfully misrepresent the character of an innocent people and their doctrine are spotted liars and hypocrites.
                                       W. B. S.

Note: "Uncle" William B. Smith seems to have had more than a passing acquaintance himself, with the "spotted liars and hypocrites" of this world. Compare his assertion here -- that polygamy was not "taught among Mormons until years after the prophet's death" -- with his reported words of Sept. 1845, little more than a year after the assassination of his brothers: "the spiritual wife system... has long been taught secretly by the leaders of that city [i. e. Nauvoo]." A few weeks later William asserted that Nauvoo had been full of "evils... among that people denominated Saints... for the last six months..." Although William does not specifically mention polygamy being among "the secret plans and devices of those who have assured the leadership of the Church," he perhaps hints at the practice when he warns each Mormon that the "Twelve" are trying to "rob you of your gold, your house, your wives and children." For William's more substantial account of polygamy at Nauvoo, see his fall 1845 "proclamation," reprinted in the Oct. 19, 1845 issue of the Warsaw Signal, where he exposes such evils as "houses... filled up with women who have been secretly married to Brigham Young." William well knew in the mid-1840s, as well as in 1893, that polygamy was practiced by Church leaders in Nauvoo, both before and after his brothers' deaths.


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  Dec. 2, 1893.                           No. 48.

Original Articles

No. 2

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  Dec. 9, 1893.                           No. 49.

D I E D.

SMITH. -- Uncle William B. Smith, the surviving brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, died at Osterdock, Iowa, November 13th, aged 82 years and 8 months, after a lingering illness of but a few weeks. He was the sixth son of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, and was born at Royalton, Vermont, March 13, 1811. He moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and thence to Illinois, sharing the fortunes of the family and the church until the death of his brothers, Joseph and Hyrum. For a time after that he made efforts to rouse and rally the old stock, but each effort proved fruitless to a great extent. He moved in 1858 to Elkander, Iowa, where he remained until 1890, when he moved to Osterdock, where he remained until his demise.

Of him the local paper said in the obituary column: --

"Deceased leaves a wife and three children to mourn his loss as a husband and father -- two sons, William and Edward, now residing in Minnesota, and a daughter, the wife of P. Bolsinger, living near Osterdock.

"He was a very devoted man and minister, and passed away quietly in the faith of his Redeemer. His remains were interred at Bethel cemetery November 15, 1893, under the auspices of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ. Elder H. Kephart conducted the last sad rites. May he forever rest in peace and his reward for which he was an ever vigilant worker, be his acceptable crown on high."

Note 1: The calculated neglect with which the RLDS leaders responded to the death of William Smith is really quite remarkable. The editorial staff of the Herald provide no acknowledgment of his having been an Apostle in the Mormon Church. His career as the Church's Patriarch and his efforts to keep the Smith family from uniting with Brigham Young in 1845-46 are left unmentioned. Upon the death of other high-ranking Smith leaders among the RLDS of this period, soul-felt funeral sermons and extended epitaphs were published in Herald columns draped in heavy black mourning ink. William passed out of the Reorganized Church with barely a paragraph dedicated in his memory. A staff writer answering a question on the front page of the next issue of the paper mentions "Uncle William," in passing, as though totally unaware of the man's recent death.

Note 2: The Feb. 7, 1894 issue of the Herald reprinted part of an interview conducted with William by two RLDS elders on about Oct. 30, 1893, at Osterdock, however no mention is made of the "affidavit" taken by them at that time from the dying old Mormon leader. As a kind of memorial, after the elapse of a year, the Herald belatedly published William's last letter to the editor, dated Sept. 23, 1893. It may be found in the issue for Dec. 5, 1894.


Vol. 41.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  June 6, 1894.                           No. 23.


FARWELL, Mich., May 23.    

Editors Herald:-- I was pleased to know that it is agreed on all sides that I should remain in Michigan...

Mr. Rogers has done his best to blacken the character of the Martyrs and Saints of Joseph's time... This is the twentieth public debate I have had with men of other faiths...

I am glad Bro. Blair answered Mr. Rozzell of Freesoil, Michigan. In the Wesleyan Methodist. I see the Rev. Rozzell thinks it would be a grand thing if everybody would get "New Light on Mormonism," by Ellen E. Dickinson....

Page 16: "It is believed he (Rigdon) had followed Mr. Spalding, etc. and had heard him read the "Manuscript Found," with "The author has received a letter, stating" -- Page 17. "And there is a local tradition that he was employed in looking for gold." -- p. 21. "Some authors said that." -- P. 22. "Mrs. McKinstry says." -- P. 22. "It is said that Joseph," etc. -- P. 28. "From all accounts the Smiths were." -- P. 29. "It has been said." -- P. 30. "It is supposed." -- P. 32... The dose is mixed up as follows:--

"The date of his birth is not accurately known, but is supposed to be about the year 1800, possibly a little earlier. His father's name was Joseph, and his mother's maiden name was Lucy Mack." -- P. 28. Almost every novel or history and other works give it on the 23d of December 1805, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont... There are a host of such statements in the "New Light (lie!) on Mormonism" by E. E. Dickinson...

J. J. CORNISH.    

Note: Ellen E. Dickinson wished to promote the old tradition in her family, that said Joseph Smith, Jr. stole a Spalding manuscript from the home of her grandfather, William Sabine, before 1820. Dickinson purposefully obscured Smith's birthdate so as not to reveal the problem of her having such a young boy traveling far from home and stealing old manuscripts.


Vol. 41.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 7, 1894.                           No. 45.


LEBECK, Mo., Oct. 26.     

Editors Herald -- Scarcely had the Saints folded up their tents and returned home from the camp meeting when the great "I, Clark Braden," made his appearance in El Dorado Springs and announced his intention to "unmask Mormonism." His first lecture was delivered on Thursday evening the 18th inst., continuing each evening until Sunday evening, delivering five in all, including one at three p. m. Sunday....

He still insists that Spalding wrote part of the Book of Mormon; that Sidney stole it: that he visited Joseph Smith in April and September of 1827. Unfortunately, however, he omitted the tale about Sidney mounting King Ahasuerus' horse. "Shades of the Martyrs, what a name!" was altogether left out. "I do wish Sidney had given that man a name," never escaped him once. But that old dear story about the old sow after the man on crutches must not be left out. Mormonism isn't properly unmasked without it... "Old Tray" was punished for being in bad company, and candidates who affiliate with Clark Braden are in danger of a good scratching on election day in Latter Day Saint communities. More anon.

                  C. R. DUNCAN.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 41.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 14, 1894.                           No. 46.


EDITORS HERALD: -- Certain facts touching the old story connecting Sidney Rigdon in some mysterious way with the authorship of the Book of Mormon, I had expected to have published ere this, in connection with other matters in an "Examination of the Claims of the Book of Mormon," but for want of time to perfect, the publication has necessarily been delayed. It will convenience many, however, to have a few of these now, and I offer the following extract for the columns of the Herald:--

The charge upon Sidney Rigdon of having been in league with Joseph Smith in projecting in any way the Book of Mormon, was treated by him as being so unreasonable and palpably false as to be undeserving of the notice of honorable men, not to say Christian gentlemen. From the first he treated the story with scorn and contempt, as did also his friends.

They did not take into consideration, at the time, however, that they were religious zealots who were circulating the story, and the avowed enemies of Elder Rigdon, as he had up to the very time of this new conversion long been the leading and most successful minister of the "reform" movement pioneered by Scott, Campbell, Rigdon, and others, in Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio. To change attitude all at once, as did Saul of Tarsus, and appear in the role of a convert to the gospel in its fullness, as preached by the apostles with all its powers and blessings, was more than his old associates could endure; and, although like Saul, he sought occasion to earnestly recount to them the reasons for his change, many who were wedded to the abandoned cause persisted in the cry:

Away with such a fellow from the earth:
for it is not fit that he should live.
That old story, "His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept," which has come down to us notwithstanding the contentions of eighteen centuries, and which is yet credited by the larger part of those who adhere to the faith of the people who started it, ought to be a warning to all lovers of truth to question critically and fairly, any and all tales circulated to the injury of a minister or church, by the religious partisans of a different faith and belief.

When Elder Rigdon and his friends gave their statement touching the Spalding story, they boldly and openly denounced it as being false in every particular; that he not only took no part in the getting up of the Book of Mormon, but that from the very surroundings and circumstances of the case it was impossible for him to have done so, granting for the purpose of the argument that the Book of Mormon was a gotten-up affair.

During the years immediately preceding, and at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon; that is, 1826-1830, Elder Rigdon was constantly engaged as a minister, as pastor of the church at Mentor, and as time permitted, preaching and proselyting in a score or more of the churches in the Western Reserve; while the scene of the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon was far away in the State of New York, with no railroads or speedy means of transportation to be used by him to further his schemes, did he have any.

Elder Rigdon claims that he not only made no visit to New York State, and had no acquaintance with Mr. Smith during such period, but knew nothing of any such man until late in the year 1830, about the time of his conversion to the gospel as taught by the Saints, and that he neither had time nor opportunity of meeting Mr. Smith, had he known of him.

The enemies of Elder Rigdon and of the claims of the Book of Mormon refused to accept his plain statements and those of his family and friends in this, and defiantly pushed the stories, and went as far as to fix certain dates at which some "mysterious stranger," according to the story, was seen in the neighborhood of the Smiths in New York State, which "mysterious" personage, they were ready to conclude, for the story's sake, was Elder Rigdon. Unfortunately, however, for the relished bit of gossip, the record proofs are of such character as to be competent evidence in any court, and show beyond question that Elder Rigdon's whereabouts at the very times fixed for the "mysterious stranger" in New York, were, as claimed by himself, in the State of Ohio. This, with unbiased investigators, must not only settle the story of the appearance of Elder Rigdon in New York State at the time, but overcast that story of the "mysterious stranger" with such grave doubts as to place it in the category of work performed by those, who, through a misguided zeal, "set up false witnesses" to destroy Stephen of holy mien and blessed memory.

Whatever may have been the opinion of the enemies of Elder Rigdon touching his bold denunciation of the story implicating him in plotting or aiding in any wise in the production of the Book of Mormon, it must be admitted that all subsequently discovered facts corroborate the statements of the witness, Rigdon, and are at variance with the questionable yarns hawked about the world by the enemies of this man, who hoped to accomplish by these tales his overthrow, together with the new faith which he had espoused.

The times and places definitely settled by this corroborative evidence, as to the whereabouts, occupation, and business of Elder Rigdon during the years mentioned, are as follows:--

1. November 2, 1826. Solemnized a marriage contract between John G. Smith and Julia Giles, in Geauga county, Ohio

2. December 13, 1826. Returns and record of marriage.

3. January, 1827. Held public meetings in Mantua, Ohio. ('Hayden's History of the Disciples of the Western Reserve." page 237.)

4. February, 1827. Preached funeral discourse of Hannah Tanner, Chester, Ohio.

5. March, April, 1827. Held protracted meetings at Mentor, Ohio; baptizing Nancy M. Sanford, William Dunson and wife, and others.

6. June 5, 1827. Solemnized Marriage between Theron Freeman and Elizabeth Waterman, Geauga county, Ohio.

7. June 15, 1827. Baptized Thomas Clapp, and others, Mentor, Ohio.

8. Solemnized marriage between James Gray and Mary Kerr, Mentor, Ohio

9. July 19, 1827. Solemnized marriage between Alden Snow and Ruth Parker, Kirtland, Ohio.

10. August 23, 1827. Meeting with the Ministerial Association, New Lisbon, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., pp. 55-57.)

11. October 9, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Stephen Sherman and Wealthy Matthews, Mentor, Ohio.

12. October 20, 1827. Ministerial Council at Warren, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., pp. 137.)

13. November, 1827. Preaching at New Lisbon, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., pp. 72-75.)

14. December 6, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Oliver Wait and Eliza Gunn, at Concord, Geauga county, Ohio.

15. December 13, 1827. Solemnized marriage of Roswell D. Cottrell and Matilda Olds, Concord, Ohio.

16. January 8, 1828. Return of marriage made at Chardon, Ohio.

17. February 14, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Otis Harrington, Lyma Corning, Mentor, Ohio.

18. March, 1828. Instructing class in theology at Mentor, Ohio, Zebulon Rudolph being a member; also held great religious meetings in Mentor and Warren, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., p. 198.)

19. March 31, 1828. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.

20. April, 1828. Holds great religious revival at Kirtland, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., p. 194.)

21. May, 1828. Meets Campbell at Shalerville, Ohio, and holds protracted meetings. (Hist. Dis., p. 155.)

22. June, 1828. Baptized Henry H. Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.

23. August, 1828. Attended great yearly association at Warren, Ohio.

24. September, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Luther Dille and Clarissa Kent.

25. September 18, 1828. Solemnized marriage between Nachore Corning and Phebe E. Wilson, Mentor, Ohio.

26. October 13, 1828. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.

27. January 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Albert Churchill and Ana Fosdick, Concord, Ohio.

28. February 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Erastus Root and Rebecca Tuttle.

"29. February 12, 1829. Returns made to Chardon, Ohio.

30. March, 1829. Protracted meeting, Mentor, Ohio.

31, April 12, 1829. Protracted meeting, Kirtland, Ohio.

32. July 1, 1829. Organized church at Perry, Ohio. (Hist. Dis., p. 346.)

33. August 13, 1829. Solemnized the marriage between John Strong and Ann Eliza Moore, Kirtland, Ohio.

34. September 14, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Darwin Atwater and Harriett Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.

35. September, 1829. Meeting at Mentor, Ohio; baptized J. J. Moss, disciple minister of note.

36. October 1, 1829. Solemnized marriage between Joel Roberts and Relief Bates, Perry, Ohio.

37. October, 1829. At Perry, Ohio. (His, Dis., pp. 207-409.)

38. November, 1829. Wait Hill, Ohio; baptized Alvin Wait. (Hist. Dis., pp. 204-207.)

39. December 31, 1829. Solemnized marriage between David Chandler and Polly Johnson, Chagrin, Ohio.

40. January 12, 1830. Returns to Cleveland, Ohio.

41. March, 1830. Mentor, Ohio.

42. June 1-30, 1830. Mentor, Ohio. (Millennial Harbinger, p. 389.)

43. July, 1830 Protracted meeting at Pleasant Valley, Ohio; baptized forty-five.

44. August, 1830. With Alexander Campbell at Austintown, Ohio. (His, Dis., p. 209.)

45. November 4, 1830. Solemnized marriage between Lewis B. Wood and Laura Cleveland, Kirtland, Ohio.

46. December, 1830. Was converted to the faith of and united with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, under preaching of P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery.
The following certificates of the proper officers, touching the record -- evidence of the marriages, will show the correctness of transcript as to these dates:

The State of Ohio, } ss. Probate Court.
   Geauga county. }

I, H. K. Smith, Judge of the Probate Court in and for said county, hereby certify that the above and foregoing certificates, numbering from one to sixteen were truly taken and copied from the record of marriages in this county, preserved in this office, where the same, by law, are required to be kept. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court, at Chardon, this 27th day of April, A. D., 1891.
(Signed H. K. SMITH, Probate Judge.

                      IN THE PROBATE COURT.

The State of Ohio, } SS.
Cuyahoga County. }

I, Henry C. White, judge of the said court, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct transcript taken from the marriage records, in this office, where the same is by law required to be kept.
         Henry C. White, Probate Judge.
         By. H. A. Schwab, Dp. Clk.

The fact that one may, after the lapse of more than sixty years, by reference to the histories of the times, and an examination of official records, thus definitely locate Sidney Rigdon in his work and duties, should forever put at rest the unreasonable tales set afloat with a view of detracting from his work and casting discredit against the loyalty and faithfulness of the man to his convictions and people.

The foregoing citations of places and duties as a minister, however, are but mere drops to the great work accomplished at the time by this man. His converts were numbered by the thousands and his baptisms reached a total of eight hundred in a single year. Certainly, "the accuser of the brethren," has most malignantly followed Elder Rigdon in this world, and what is more strange in the case, is the lamentable work of Encyclopedias and pseudo religious histories, in accepting as true the tales of his enemies, when the proofs of their falsity were readily accessible.

The discovery of the old manuscript of Spalding a few years ago, under circumstances which precluded every doubt of the genuineness of the paper, identified beyond question as Spalding's work, and which failed to contain the slightest resemblance in any particular to the Book of Mormon, struck down the principal bulwark which the enemies of the Book of Mormon had builded to overthrow its claims.

Now that it is further shown that the association of Elder Rigdon as the "mysterious stranger" is also clearly unsupportable, those who have offered these as a reasonable solution for the production of the Book of Mormon must without any doubt face the consequences of placing their structure upon a very sandy foundation.

No worthy historian will, in the future, be so rash as to risk his reputation for truthfulness and fairness by attempting to account for the production if the Book of Mormon through the work of Sidney Rigdon and the "Spalding Romance." However false or pretentious the claims of the Book of Mormon may have been, one thing is evident, that the original statements put forth in behalf of the book are yet unmoved; while the theories and takes of its enemies have, as if hung about with a millstone, been plunged into the depths of darkness.

Very respectfully submitted,                             
                             E. L. KELLEY.

LAMONI, Iowa, November 7, 1894.

Note 1: Bishop Edmund L. Kelley fails to give any reference citation for his bald assertion: "Elder Rigdon claims that he not only made no visit to New York State, and had no acquaintance with Mr. Smith during such period, but knew nothing of any such man until late in the year 1830, about the time of his conversion to the gospel as taught by the Saints, and that he neither had time nor opportunity of meeting Mr. Smith, had he known of him." In fact, there never was a single, straight-forward statement made by Rigdon in this regard. Two of his biographers (Whitsitt and Van Wagoner) concur in the opinion that Rigdon did know something about Joseph Smith and the golden plates well before the end of 1830. Two of Rigdon's close associates in the Campbellite movement in northern Ohio (Orson Hyde and Eliza R. Snow) knew of Smith and the plates at an early date, the story having been printed in that region's newspapers as early as Sept. 1829 (see the Painesville Telegraph, etc.).

Note 2: The 46 points in the Rigdon chronology, as documented here by Bishop Kelley, were first presented to the public by Kelley during the course of his May 1891 debate with Rev. Clark Braden at Lamoni. Rudolph Eztenhouser reproduced Kelley's chronology on pages 392-97 of in his 1894 book, From Palmyra to Independence and the same material was reprinted (with certification inserts) by Elder Heman C. Smith for his 1910 article on Rigdon in the RLDS Journal of History. The Heman C. Smith chronology was reprinted and analyzed by Charles A. Shook on pages 138-144 of his 1914 book, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon. Shook points out that the chronology includes several lengthy gaps, during which times Sidney Rigdon could have easily made visits to western New York to confer with Joseph Smith, Jr.

Note 3: Fawn M. Brodie "lifted" the chronological information from Elder Smith's 1910 expansion and summarized it (without mentioning Shook's analysis of the same) on pages 431-32 of her 1945 book, No man Knows My History. By not citing Shook's analysis of the Rigdon chronology, Brodie took it a step backwards and essentially reiterated the old RLDS prevarications. For her purposes it was best that Brodie say nothing concerning the implications of her summary tabulation and (even though she included the gaps in the chronology pointed out by Shook) Brodie was careful not to add any comments of her own. Nevertheless, LDS apologists have several times cited her tabulation of the old chronology in support of the notion that Rigdon could not possibly have visited Smith in New York prior to the end of 1830. The authors of The Spalding Enigma greatly expand the content of Rigdon's chronology and present it as an appendix in their book, avoiding the Brodie contrivance and following Shook's lead in demonstrating the several lengthy gaps in what is known of Rigdon's 1826-1830 itinerary.


Vol. 41.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  Dec. 5, 1894.                           No. 49.


Wise counsel giveth wisdom to the wise.

I am fearful that many who take the Saints' Herald do not take time to real all the good things and instructions found in print upon its pages, especially in respect to the qualification of the ministry. Secondly, I think young men zealously engaged in the ministry in the latter-day work cannot spend a more profitable moment in reading over gospel duties than to look at some of the rules that help to make up a good gospel minister before the public. But how many young elders of this latter-day ministry look at or study these necessary rules. One other point in the good instructions given in the Saints' Herald is how parents should teach and instruct their children in gospel principles while they are young and under parental care.

Young boys or young men who are still members of the church, after working hours are over, instead of going to study books of lessons on Christ's gospel resort to play-ground, croquet, or checkers, for pastime. How is it that for Latter Day Saint gospel teaching in families where the head of the family is an elder in the church? Here, then, is the mystery. I wonder if all the good counsel given in the Herald both to young ministers and to Saints' families how they should teach and raise their children, is read and treasured up in good and honest hearts and practically observed. I fear not. I hope these few hints on the duty of a good ministry and the duty of families in teaching their children the good things of the kingdom of God may not be in vain.

Well, I will say that I am again at home, and that I have hopes, if life remains, to visit the conference next spring, if possible, at Lamoni. I did intend to visit Lamoni before returning home from Independence, but my business at home demanded otherwise. Godspeed to the Herald and to that Logan Reunion is my prayer.

Supplementary question: -- Is it commendable for brethren who profess the name of Latter Day Saints to join in the athletic sports of the day, betting, ball playing? Twenty years ago ball playing was nothing but little school-boy play, but the ball playing craze of late years has become most tremendous; whole towns and cities are more or less absorbed in the craze, while newspapers and magazines pander to the folly of this kind of sport in devoting a space in their columns for the ball playing interest.

From the interest that some newspapers take in this ball playing business one would suppose that some new science in ball playing had been discovered, almost equal to the power of steam or the telephone, great wages being paid for good ball players. The world is making gain on nonsense and Sabbath-breaking and some newspapers like to have it so.

Surely the world is on the toboggan downward slide when athletics and professed Christians have no respect for religious worship on the Sabbath day. The ball playground is no better than the saloon for the Saint visitor. Enough idle work will be brought into judgment.
                                                     W. B. SMITH.
Osterdock, Iowa, September 23, 1893.

Note: Had William Smith, the younger brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, realized that the above letter would be his final communication published in the Herald, he might have chosen a somewhat more profound message to place before the Saints. This mundane letter was finally printed, a year after his death. His previous letter to the editor was published on July 8, 1893.


Vol. 42.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  Feb. 13, 1895.                           No. 7.


Sr. M. M. C., Vincennes, Iowa, writes for information concerning the statements of Mrs. Spaulding-Davidson and Mrs. McKinstry, wife and daughter, of Solomon Spaulding, also of Miss or Mrs. Ellen Dickinson a niece of Spalding; especially the statements of the latter as published in Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880. We think some of the brethren made specific reply to the magazine articles in [the] Herald, but do not remember the date. However, the statements in general are answered in the "Braden-Kelley Debate," in tract No. 36, The Spalding Story Reexamined, also by the "Manuscript Found." -- all published at the Herald Office; see catalogue. Bro. E. L. Kelley's late article showing the whereabouts of Sidney Rigdon during the time of translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, also proves that collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the production of that record was impossible.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 42.                             Lamoni, Iowa, Wednesday,  April 17, 1895.                           No. 16.


Saturday, April 6. -- The forty-third Annual Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints convened at ten o'clock. The conference proceeded to permanent prganization by selecting Brn. Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair presidents, Bro. H. A. Stebbins secretary, with power to choose assistants. Brn. R. M. Elvin, F. M. Sheehy, and M. H. Bond were appointed a committee on credentials. Prayer was offered by Bro. W. W. Blair. The organization was then completed by the choice of Brn. F. G. Pitt and T. A. Hougas as choristers with power to choose assistants; Bro. A. H. Mills organist; Bro. Alma Chatburn usher, with authority to appoint assistants.

The chair suggested that short speeches be the order of the morning until the committee on credentials was prepared to report. On motion the time of speakers was limited to seven minutes.

President Joseph Smith made the opening address...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Bro. J. R. Lambert of the Twelve...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Bishop E. L. Kelley...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Bro. Charles Ferry, President of the High Priests' Quorum...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Elder H. O. Smith of the Seventy...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Brn. M. N. Forscutt, R. C. Evans, H. N. Hanson, and T. C. Kelley also responded to the call of the chairman...

Sunday the 7th -- The first service of the day was a prayer meeting. It was in charge of Brn. F. G. Pitt and L. L. Rogers. The Independence Sunday school held its regular exercises in the lower auditorium from 9:30 to eleven o'clock. A large number of visitors were present "taking notes."...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Monday, the 8th -- Brn. L. N. Roberts and John Chisnall were in charge of the morning prayer service. The spirit of the Lord was present, humbling and comforting the hearts of those present, calling forth expressions of devotion to the work and renewing and deepening affection for it...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Friday, the 12th -- Prayer service was held, as usual, at nine o'clock, in charge of Brn. F. C. Keck and H. O. Smith. Bro. R. M. Elvin spoke at eleven o'clock

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Note 1: A more complete transcript of this article will be posted when a better quality clipping can be located. The Herald editor evidently chose not to report upon Mrs. Katherine Smith Salisbury's April 8th testimony before the RLDS Conference attendees, given in the Independence Stone Church. However, the Kansas City Times of April 9th recorded some of her words: "I stand alone of my father's family... and am here for the purpose of helping build this cause and give my testimony in their behalf. I have always found that to be faithful was to be loved by the Lord Jesus Christ, and I say unto you: Be faithful and true and you shall be rewarded in heaven. I beseech you to lead true and pure lives, for then you will find eternal salvation...."

Note 2: On Wednesday, April 10th, Mrs. Salisbury again addressed the participants in a Stone Church prayer meeting, by recounting the early experiences of here brother, Joseph Smith, Jr. The Kansas City Journal of April 11th published her lengthy address, ending with these words: "I was with the church in the beginning, and have been with it all the way through. I have seen the Saints driven like animals from place to place, but to-day at over four score years of age, I am with you, happy and as firm in the faith as at any time in my life. I am glad God gave me strength to attend the conference. I was told to tell you this message, and I have fulfilled the command. And now, may God bless and keep you faithful."

Note 3: On Thursday, April 11th, Mrs. Salisbury was at the Conference's morning prayer meeting, where she again offered personal testimony "that the religion of the Latter Day Saints was the religion of God." Katherine's 1895 account of the Saints' miraculous departure from Buffalo harbor in 1831 expanded upon her previous recollection of that event, as published in the Saints'Herald of July 3, 1886. The Kansas City Journal reporter remarked: "For eighty-five years she has lived. One of the first, she is one of the most devout of the adherents of the church founded by her brother, who gave his life for the organization. When she speaks, all listen, and every word is placed in the minutes of the conference and recorded in the annals of the church." If the Saints' Herald of April 17, 1895 published the full and unedited minutes of that year's General Conference, then these various instances of the elderly lady's testimony must have somehow been missed by the Church's record keepers. That possibility does not, however, provide an explanation as to why two different Kansas City newspaper reporters were able to publish identical texts for Mrs. Salisbury's lengthy April 10th address. More than likely the original Conference minutes did include the statements of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s sister, but they were excluded from the published report by a Lamoni editor.


Vol. 42.                             Lamoni, Iowa, Wednesday,  April 24, 1895.                           No. 17.


Friday, the 12th. -- The address delivered by Bro. J. F. Burton at the opening session, together with other references to the Society Islands mission had awakened an increased or special interest in the gospel boat and Brn. E. L. Kelley and J. F. Burton were appointed to tell the story of the building of the Evanella and her voyage to the islands...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

... Saturday the 13th -- The prayer session was in charge of Brn. George Kemp and J. M. Terry...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

... Sunday the [14th] -- The nine o'clock payer meeting was in charge of Bro. Roderick May. A brother whose name we failed to get assisted. Sunday school exercises were held in the lower room at the usual hour.

Pres. W. W. Blair preached the sermon of the morning hour...

[illegible paragraphs follow]

Note 1: A more complete transcript of this article will be posted when a better quality clipping can be located. The Herald editor evidently chose not to report upon Mrs. Katherine Smith Salisbury's "messenger of God" testimony before the RLDS Conference attendees, given in the Independence Stone Church on Saturday, April 13th. The Kansas City Journal of the 14th reported that communication thusly: "In the testimony meeting yesterday the position of President Smith in Friday's controversy was supported by his aged aunt, Mrs. Caroline [sic] Salisbury, who, trembling with age and infirmity, leaned on her chair and with tremulous voice pleaded with touching appeal to the Saints to support the president, for he was truly the messenger of God. She was a witness of the Gospel in the first, she said, and of the truth of the claim of Joseph to the presidency and the rightful prerogatives of the position. Continuing, she said that Friday night an angel had come to her, told her the church had done wrong, and that unless the church shall follow the prophet in all things the Lord would certainly send His avenging angel and punish His undutiful and disobedient people."

Note 2: Contemporary reports do not disclose the name of the angel who brought God's message to Mrs. Salisbury on April 12, 1895. Perhaps she identified him as Moroni, the same heavenly messenger whom she referred to in her testimony of April 10th, when she stated: "I can remember the time that this work commenced, that my brother had the vision, that he saw the angel... an angel descended and stood by the side of his bed. He did not touch the floor, but he stood in the air. He was dressed in white raiment, of whiteness beyond anything Joseph had ever seen in his life. He saw his hands and wrists, and they were pure and white, and he talked with him. He said that he was Moroni, and that he was sent as a messenger to tell him concerning the... pure gospel of Christ."


Vol. 43.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 29, 1896.                           No. 18.

A  NAIL. -- NO. 1

There was a consistent signification with the ancients in using the caption of this paper...

From April, 1830, when the church was organized, true to God's promises, the gospel produced its natural fruit, and those who suffered loss by having their images smashed could say truthfully:-

So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also that the temple of the great goddess Dianna should be displaced, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. -- Acts 19:27.

The machinery of false statements, misrepresentation, and slander was set in motion against the chief officer of the church in particular and the rest of the ministry in general. The special attack was made upon the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

Samuel M. Smucker, A. M., gives place to the following in his book: --

The question will be asked, could Joseph Smith, a notoriously illiterate, though clever man, really write the Book of Mormon? Without pretending to state positively that Joseph Smith was not the sole author of the volume, or that he was not aided by other persons in its composition, we present the following short history, which the American opponents of Mormonism consider to be a true statement of its origin.

It is stated by them that, in the year 1809, a man of the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had formerly been a clergyman, failed in business at a place called Cherry Valley, in the State of New York. Being a person of literary tastes, and his attention having been directed to the notion which at that time excited some interest and discussion, namely, that the North American Indians were the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, it struck him that the idea afforded a good groundwork for a religious tale, history, or novel. For three years he labored upon this work, which he entitled The Manuscript Found. "Mormon" and his son "Moroni," who act so large a part in Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon, were two of the principal characters in it. In 1812 the MS. was presented to a printer or bookseller, named Patterson, residing at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a view to its publication. Before any satisfactory arrangement could be made, the author died, and the manuscript remained in the possession of Mr. Patterson, apparently unnoticed and uncared for. The printer also died in 1826, having previously lent the manuscript to one Sidney Rigdon, a compositor in his employ, who was at the time a preacher in connection with some Christian sect, which the proper designation is not very clearly stated. This Rigdon afterwards became, next to Joseph Smith himself, the principal leader of the Mormons. How Joseph Smith and this person became connected is not known, and which of the two originated the idea of making a new Bible of Solomon Spaulding's novel is equally uncertain. The wife, the partner, several friends, and the brother of Solomon Spaulding, affirmed, however, the identity of the principal portions of the Book of Mormon with the novel of The Manuscript Found, which the author had from time to time, and in separate portions, read over to them. John Spaulding, brother to Solomon, declared upon oath that his brother's book was an historical romance of the first settlers in America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of Jews, or the lost ten tribes. He stated that it gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and by sea, till they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi; and that it also mentioned the Lamanites. He added that "he had recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to his great surprise, he found nearly the same historical matter and names as in his brother's writings. To the best of his recollection and belief, it was the same that his brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. -- History of the Mormons, pages 40 and 41.

I desire to call the attention of the reader to the following points in the foregoing:--

1. Mr. Smucker questions if one so illiterate as Joseph Smith could write the Book of Mormon.

2. Mr. Smucker does not express an opinion as to whether Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon himself, or whether he had help to write it.

3. Mr. Smucker satisfies himself by adopting the threadbare, worn-out tales of others. He is, however, adroit enough not to commit himself to any theory.

4. We are furnished the title of the novel written by the ex-Reverend Solomon Spalding; namely, The Manuscript Found.

5. It is sought to identify the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Found as one and the same book, and that each contains the names of Mormon, Moroni, Lehi, Nephi, and Lamanites.

That the chief character of Spalding's novel came from "Jerusalem by land and sea."

7. John Spalding upon oath [sic] states that the novel of his brother was a "historical romance" written with a view to have people believe that the Indians of America were Jews, or the long lost ten tribes of Israel.

8. The statement is made that Sidney Rigdon procured the loan of the manuscript of Spalding's novel, and the inference is left that in some way not explained he is the responsible party for the transformation of the "romance" into the religious, historic record, the Book of Mormon.

Before making an argument or offering rebuttal evidence, I will make one more extract from Mr. Smucker. He gives what purports to be a letter of Matilda Davidson, the widow of Solomon Spalding, wherein she is made to say:--

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; 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 all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present 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 arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his deceased brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. -- History of the Mormons, page 44.

For more then fifty years, all the enemies of the Book of Mormon flaunted the Spalding "romance" in the face of the elders as the foundation of the Book of Mormon. This is true of all from E. D. Howe down to Clark Braden. The elders invariably insisted that the Manuscript Found be produced that its contents might be compared with the contents of the Book of Mormon. According to the Spalding theory for the Book of Mormon, Mr. Spalding failing in business, and his health also failing, sometime between 1809 and 1812 he wrote a tale or novel about the Indians. Mr. Spalding and family moved from Cherry Valley, New York, to New Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio; from the latter place to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and from there to Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania. The widow of Spalding is made to say that the manuscript was loaned to one Mr. Patterson and she says, "At length the manuscript was returned to its author." This was prior to the death of Mr. Spalding. At his death she says, "The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved." She further states that in 1834 Dr. Philastus Hurlbut came with an "introduction and request for the manuscript." These statements are made over the signature of Matilda Davidson, nee Spalding in 1839. I now ask your consideration to the following letter:--

I visited Mrs. Matilda (Spaulding) Davison at Monson, Mass., in 1834, and never saw her afterward. 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 Unvailed." I do not know whether or not the document I received from Mrs. Davison was Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," as I never read it entire, and it convinced me that it was not the Spaulding manuscript; but whatever it was, Mr. Howe received it under the condition on which I took it from Mrs. Davison -- 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. Davison, 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, or to any other person. No promise was made by me to Mrs. Davison 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. HURLBUT.
-- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 91.             

I now ask your attention to a paragraph in Howe's book, the first anti-Mormon book, published as follows:--

The trunk referred to by the widow, was subsequently examined, and found to contain only a single M. S. book, in Spalding's hand-writing, 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 the 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 recognise it as Spalding'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." -- Mormonism Unveiled, p. 288.

Bishop E. L. Kelley waxed hot in public debate in February, 1884, when he said:--

They say, says Howe, it bears no resemblance to the manuscript. But it is evident that they lied, if they said so. -- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 91.

This was a bold utterance for a man that did not know the whereabouts of the manuscript; but he was absolutely safe in so declaring, for had there been any manuscript of Spalding that would have militated against the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, it would have been published in every language of earth, for the angel's statement, as true as gospel, to Joseph Smith was:--

That God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

I have traced the whereabouts of that wonderful Spalding manuscript from the time of its writing until it was deposited by D. P. Hurlbut with E. D. Howe in 1834. Subsequent to the death of D. P. Hurlbut his widow wrote February 5, 1884: --

Mr. Hurlbut never obtained but one manuscript from Mrs. Davison. That one he let E. D. Howe have. When Mrs. (Spaulding) Davison let him have it, he said he promised to return it; and when he let Howe have it, Howe promised to restore it to Mrs. Spaulding, but he never did. Hulburt spent about six months time and a good deal of money looking up the Spaulding manuscript and other evidence, but he was disappointed in not finding what he wanted. This was the reason he turned the whole thing over to Howe. He never was satisfied with what he found, and while on his death-bed he would have given everything he had in the world could he have been certain there was ever a "Manuscript Found," as claimed, similar to the Book of Mormon.-- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 135.

No individual that I am aware of that has made war upon the Book of Mormon, was ever satisfied with his effort, and all have the misfortune of using misrepresentations or resorting to falsehood. From 1834, the time D. P. Hurlbut placed the manuscript in the hands of E. D. Howe, until 1884, when Mrs. Hurlbut wrote, the whereabouts of the manuscript was unknown. I will now drive "a nail in the sure place" by establishing the whereabouts of Spalding's manuscript from the time it went into the hands of E. D. Howe to its present resting place.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 43.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 6, 1896.                           No. 19.

A  NAIL. -- NO. 2

Concerning the finding of a long lost manuscript, Professor James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, writes:--

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 one hundred and seventy-five 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.

For one I feel like thanking Professor Fairchild for what he has written. Mr. Rice explains as to how he obtained possession of Spalding's manuscript:--

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. -- Manuscript Found, p. 6.

In a letter to Pres. J. H. Fairchild by Mr. L. L. Rice he says:--

Herewith I send to you the Solomon Spalding Manuscript, to be deposited in the Library of Oberlin College, for reference by anyone who may be desirous of seeing or examining it. As a great deal of inquiry has been made about it since it became known that it was in my possession, I deem it proper that it be deposited for safe keeping, where any one interested in it, whether Mormon or Anti-Mormon, may examine it. It has been in my possession forty-six years -- from 1839 to 1885 -- and for forty-four years of that time no one examined it, and I was not aware of the character of its contents. -- Manuscript Found, p. 10.

After the Spalding manuscript dropped out of sight the enemies of the Book of Mormon presumed upon the credulity of the people, and taking their cue from what was recorded in the Book of Mormon they adroitly foisted upon the gullible the mischievous belief that the long lost manuscript contained the same, When Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu deposited the long lost Spalding manuscript in the Library of Oberlin College, Bishop E. L. Kelley procured a copy of the same prepared for him by Prof. Jas. H. Fairchild, and it was printed in book form by Herald Publishing Company, Lamoni, Iowa, 1885.

Here is what this man has to say, who held in his possession the manuscript for forty-six years, and his opinion is worth more than a passing thought. --

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. -- Manuscript Found, pages 7, 8.

The opinion of so astute a man as Mr. L. L. Rice, who for the past six decades has been familiar with composition of numerous men upon multitudinous topics is worth manifold more than that of a prejudiced, bigoted, intolerant opposer.

Again Mr. Rice says:--

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. -- Manuscript Found, page 8.

Mr. Rice reached a righteous conclusion as it is quite evident that Solomon Spalding wrote but one manuscript -- the one he (Rice) obtained from E. D. Howe and deposited in the library of Oberlin College. While contemplating the situation I exclaim with James, "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

As to the names in the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Found being identical, I prove that untrue by carefully copying from each.

N A M E S.    
Manuscript Found

Droll Tom Hark
Book of Mormon


I have carefully searched both books and find there is no agreement in the names, so that is a sure nail in the coffin of falsehood.

Joseph Smith never by himself or through any of his friends pretended or claimed that he wrote the Book of Mormon, but he, using the Urim and Thummim, dictated the words while helpers wrote them down. The widow of the prophet, an eye and ear witness of the translation of the "golden plates," bears a grand testimony. Her son, Joseph Smith, the President and Prophet of the church, asked:--

Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity or origin of the Book of Mormon?

My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity-I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible. -- Life of Joseph, pp. 794-5.

Reader, perhaps you, like thousands of others, are incredulous about that wonderful event. Consider the following:--

Joseph Smith, (and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, 'your father,' or 'my husband') could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, 'a marvel and a wonder,' as much so as to anyone else. -- Life of Joseph, pp. 793-4.

As to the statement of John Spalding by Smucker:--

He said that it (Spaulding's manuscript), gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi.

This is refuted by the Manuscript Found, itself:--

My name was Fabius The family name I sustain is Fabius, being descended from the illustrious general of that name. I was born at Rome & received my education under the tuition of a very Learned Master. At the time that Constantine arrived at that city and had overcome his enemies & was firmly seated on the throne of the Roman empire I was introduced to him as a young Gentleman of genius and learning & as being worthy of the favourable notice of his imperial majesty. He gave me the appointment of one of his secretaries, & such were the gracious intimations which he frequently gave me of his high approbation of my conduct that I was happy in my station. One day he says to me Fabius you must go to Britain. -- Manuscript Found, page 14.

The foregoing proves that John Spalding did not know what he was talking about or that he willfully prevaricated, and it also proves that E. D. Howe with the manuscript in his possession misstated the time of the departure of Fabius from Rome by about three hundred years. Such lapses from the truth by those men may be of small moment, or it may be they went on the theory that "all things are fair in time of war," or that the "end justifies the means."

As to Sidney Rigdon stealing Spaulding's novel he states under date of May 27, 1839:--

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 any thing else, during the time I resided in the city. If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spalding, and his hopeful wife, until Dr. P. Hurlburt wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves.... This said Doctor was never a physician, at any time, nor anything else, but a base ruffian. He was the seventh son, and his parents called him Doctor; it was his name, and not the title of his profession. He once belonged to the Methodist Church and was 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. -- Boston Journal. [sic]

Smucker, after giving Rigdon's letter a place in his book, refers to him as "the vulgar and abusive Sidney Rigdon."

Had Smucker lived when the Savior said:--

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it. -- John 8:11,

he would have called Jesus "vulgar and abusive" in all probability.

There is no law in the church for the ordination of women-preachers, and I am not aware that any ever preached at New Salem. Upon the marital relation I put in comparison the following:--

Let thy citizens be numbered once in two years, & if the young women who are fit for marriage are more numerous than the young men, then wealthy men who are young & 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 & the single young women are made equal. But he that hath two wives shall have a house provided for each & he shall spend his time equally with each one, -- M. F. p. 44.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord, wherefore, thus saith the Lord: I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might rise up unto me a righteous branch, from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me. -- B. of M. p. 102.

With the above quotations put in parallel columns, there is no necessity for argument of commentary.

In closing this article I confess my faith in the promise:--

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. -- Isa. 54:17.

Note 1: The writer of this article gives high credibility to the "opinion of so astute a man as Mr. L. L. Rice." Perhaps he failed to read, however, this same Mr. Rice's final statement regarding this very subject: "This testimony of Mr. [James A.] Briggs is entirely reliable. I was acquainted with all the members of the "self-constituted committee" of which he speaks. The mooted question now is what became of the Manuscript before the Committee, which they "compared chapter by chapter with the Mormon Bible," and found them to correspond so perfectly? Mr. Deming, already referred to, says that Dr. Hurlburt sold it to the Mormons for $400, with which he purchased the farm he occupied at Gibson's burgh, at the time he wrote to Mr. Patterson, as related by Mr. Briggs. My belief is, from the above and other testimony in my possession, that either Hurlburt or Howe sold it to the Mormons, who of course destroyed it, or put it out of the way."

Note 2: The writer's use of the passage from the Book of Jacob, in juxtaposition with one from the Oberlin Spalding manuscript, is pure 19th century RLDS polemics. (1) He assumes that the writers of the Book of Mormon were anti-polygamous in all instances and leaves out the polygamy "escape clause" in the Jacob passage: "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people otherwise..."; (2) He ignores the similar "with the permission of the king" restriction on the practice of polygamy in Spalding's writings; (3) He assumes that the Oberlin document is the long lost "Manuscript Found," and thus that its passage on polygamy and other content excludes the possibility of Spalding's having anything to do with the writing of the Book of Mormon.


Vol. 44.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  May 26, 1897.                           No. 21.


The following clipping is from the Cleveland, Ohio, Recorder, of May 18, sent us by Bro. J. W. Burgett, and will prove readable and useful to the ministry, as showing what some, practically on the grounds where the "Spalding story" originated, think of the whole affair.

I was greatly surprised to see in the World of Sunday a long article on the Mormons, in which the old and long-since exploded theory that Solomon Spalding wrote the Book of Mormon is again exploded. That theory was put forth by E. D. Howe, of Painesville, many years ago, in a book which was called "Mormonism Unveiled." The book was a lie from beginning to end, and it is now pretty certain that Howe knew that it was a lie when he published it. At any rate he had in his possession at the time, Spalding's silly story in manuscript and yet told a gauzy yarn about that manuscript having been lost in a printing office in Pittsburg. Howe's book stood as the history of the subject for many years. But about a decade ago, President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, while in Hawaii, discovered among the papers left to the daughter of Howe [sic], who lives there, the original document. Knowing its great historic importance, President Fairchild brought it home with him, and it is now in the library at Oberlin College.

The Mormons, in collaboration with President Fairchild, have published the "Manuscript Found." There is not the least resemblance between that and the Book of Mormon. There is not a line or expression in the one book that is even similar to the other. There is not even an idea that is similar. All this is well known to anyone who has examined the subject in regard to the matter to make anything that he writes worth a moment's attention. The World was evidently imposed upon by some careless penny-a-liner.

Of course this discovery of Solomon Spalding's stupid book does not explain how the Book of Mormon did originate. It simply demonstrates beyond question, that it did not originate in the way Howe and all who have followed him have asserted that it did. The Mormons have made a great deal of the discovery, and well they may. They assert that it was clearly an interposition of providence to protect their sacred book from its villifiers. They regard it much in the same way as they do the fact that the temple at Kirtland, during the almost half century that it stood without an occupant, did not receive a crack in the walls or a bit of damage from frost or weather except that the shingles rotted away.

The clipping seems to be taken from the editorial correspondence columns of the Recorder; but of this we are not certain. The writer speaks positively and evidently because he knows whereof he affirms. We present his statements, evidently those of a live newspaper man, and one accustomed to getting at facts and quick to see points in evidence, and probably as well qualified to state them correctly as are the enemies of the latter-day work

In addition to the fact and circumstances of the discovery of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spalding, which exposed the scheme of E. D. Howe, Hurlbut, and others, who tried to make it the basis of the Book of Mormon, it is well known and has been stated by old residents in and about Kirtland, Painesville, and Willoughby, Ohio, that Howe himself confessed that there was nothing in said theory, and that the Book of Mormon could not be accounted for upon that ground. Indeed he is on record in a written statement practically to that effect.

One would think that the discovery of the "Spalding Manuscript," the complete refutation of the theory of which it was made the basis, by the elders right at Kirtland and all over the country, together with the proofs presented of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, would put a stop to further efforts to connect it with the Spalding Story. However, it is probably well that the thread-bare tale is occasionally retold, as it serves to bring out the facts concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon and the divinity of the latter-day work. The opposition is helping to correct the statements of those past who have imagined vain things, and of those who in the present love to repeat them.

As the work is to increase the more opposed, we may look for continued opposition in the "hastening time."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 45.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 26, 1898.                           No. 4.



"About A. D. 1827, Messrs. A. Campbell, W. Scott, and S. Rigdon, with some others residing in Virginia, Ohio, etc., came off from the Baptists, and established a new order, under the name of Reformed Baptists, or Disciples; and they were termed by their enemies, Campbellites, Ridgonites, etc. This reformation, as to its doctrine consisted principally, of the baptism of repentance, for remission of sins, etc. And Mr. Rigdon, in particular, held to a literal fulfillment and application of the written word; and by this means he was an instrument to turn many from the false notions of sectarian traditions, to an understanding of the prophecies, touching the great restoration of Israel, and the mighty revolutions of the last days. Many hundred disciples were gathered by his ministry, throughout the Lake Country of Ohio; and many other preachers stood in connection with him in those principles.

I was then pursuing an agricultural life, and mostly occupied in converting the wilderness into a fruitful field; but being a member of the Baptist Church, and a lover of truth, I became acquainted with Mr. Rigdon, and a believer in and a teacher of the same doctrines. After proclaiming those principles in my own neighborhood and the adjoining country, I at length took a journey to the State of New York, partly on a visit to Columbia, Co., New York, my native place, and partly for the purpose of ministering the word. This journey was undertaken in August, 1830. I had no sooner reached Ontario County, New York, than I came in contact with the 'Book of Mormon,' which had then been published about six months, and had gathered about fifty disciples, which were all that then constituted the Church of Latter Day Saints. I was greatly prejudiced against the Book; but remembering the caution of Paul, "Prove all things and hold fast that which is good," I sat down to read it; and after carefully comparing it with the other scriptures, and praying to God, he gave me the knowledge of its truth, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and what was I, that I could withstand God? I accordingly obeyed the ordinances, and was commissioned by revelation and the laying on of hands to preach the fullness of the gospel. Then, after finishing my visit to Columbia County, I returned to the brethren in Ontario County, where for the first time I saw Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., who had just returned from Pennsylvania, to his father's house, in Manchester.

"About the 15th of October, 1830, I took my journey, in company with Elder O. Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer, to Ohio. We called on Elder S. Rigdon, and then for the first time, his eyes beheld the 'Book of Mormon;' I, myself, had the happiness to present it to him in person. He was much surprised, and it was with much persuasion and argument, that he was prevailed on to read it, and after he had read it, he had a great struggle of mind, before he fully believed and embraced it; and when finally convinced of its truth, he called together a large congregation of his friends, neighbors and brethren, and then addressed them very affectionately, for near two hours, during most of which time, both himself and nearly all the congregation were melted into tears. He asked forgiveness of every body who might have had occasion to be offended with any part of his former life; he forgave all who had persecuted or injured him, in any manner; and the next morning, himself and wife, were baptized by Elder O. Cowdery. I was present, it was a solemn scene, most of the people were greatly affected: they came out of the water overwhelmed in tears. Many others were baptized by us, both before and after his baptism, insomuch, that during the fall of 1830, and the following winter and spring, the number of disciples was increased to about one thousand; the Holy Ghost was mightily poured out, and the word of God grew and multiplied; and many priests were obedient to the faith.

"Early in 1831, Mr. Rigdon having been ordained, under our hands, visited elder J. Smith, Jr., in the state of New York, for the first time; and from that time forth, rumor began to circulate, that he (Rigdon) was the author of the Book of Mormon. The Spalding story never was dreamed of until several years afterwards, when it appeared in 'Mormonism Unveiled' -- a base forgery by D. P. Hulburt, and others of similar character, who had long strove to account for the Book of Mormon, in some other way beside the truth. In the West, whole neighbourhoods embraced Mormonism, after this fable of the Spalding story had been circulated among them; indeed, we never conceived it worthy of an answer, until it was converted by the ignorant and impudent dupes or knaves, in this city, who stand at the head of certain religious papers, into something said to be positive, certain, and not to be disputed. I mean the editors of the New York Evangelist, Zion's Watchman, and all others who are equally guilty, including all who read and believe such a thing." -- Pratt's "Reply to Sunderland," published 1842.

Note 1: This statement was first published by Pratt on pages 40-42 of his 1838 booklet, Mormonism Unveiled. The version printed by the Herald is slightly edited and abbreviated. Although the RLDS Church kept one of Apostle Pratt's doctrinal books in print well into the 1930s, it was unusual for RLDS writers to cite him as an authority in controversial matters. As a polygamist and an adulterer, killed by an irate husband, Pratt did not measure up to the general standards for Reorganized saintliness.

Note 2: Elder Pratt neglects to say that he himself was a "Rigdonite," that term being especially applicable to Sidney Rigdon's followers in northern Ohio during the year 1830, when Rigdon was in the process of separating himself and his parishioners from the authority and fellowship of Alexander Campbell. Notice how an Ohio resident used the term "Rigdonites" in late 1830 Milan Free Press editorial correspondence, as reprinted in the Dec. 14, 1830 issue of the Painesville Telegraph: "...Parley P. Pratt, has been a resident of the township of Russia, Lorain co., Ohio, for three or four years last past, until August last, when he was authorized to preach by the sect called Rigdonites, in this vicinity. The next day after receiving this eldership, he ran away from a constable, and numerous creditors, and made his way to Canaan, Columbia county, N.Y. Not being able to gain any proselytes (one young brother of his excepted), he lays his course up the Erie canal as far as Palmyra, where he finds this new Bible..."

Note 3: Elder Pratt also neglects to say that he (as a newly ordained Rigdonite, not as a Campbellite) was sent on his mission eastward in August of 1830. In the first published biography of Sidney Rigdon (obviously compiled for the 1843 Times and Seasons from information provided by Rigdon himself), the exact language is: "elder Parley Pratt had been a preacher in the same church with elder Rigdon, and resided in the town of Amherst, Lorain county, in that state, and had been sent into the State of New York, on a mission, where he became acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon..." In other words, Pratt was sent eastward on his mission, soon after being ordained an elder in the Rigdonite splinter group. As there were practically no other elders among the Rigdonites than Sidney Rigdon himself, it is logical to assume that Sidney Rigdon first ordained Pratt an elder and then sent Pratt eastward on a special mission.

Note 4: Elder Pratt says: "About the 15th of October, 1830, I took my journey, in company with Elder O. Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer, to Ohio." This account agrees in part with the 1891 statement of Elder William B. Smith (Joseph's brother), who says: "P. P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery" met Rigdon and "presented him with the Book of Mormon while on a mission from the state of New York to the town of Kirtland, state of Ohio, where Elder Rigdon at the time held a prominent position as a Disciple minister..." In fact, William is technically correct in his last statement, in that Rigdon had not been excommunicated from Campbell's movement -- soon to become a distinct denomination under the title "Disciples of Christ." However, technicalities aside, Pratt was the first Rigdonite missionary, who in turn became one of the first Mormon missionaries, being sent specifically "on a mission from the state of New York to the town of Kirtland, state of Ohio" by Joseph Smith, Jr. Given this set of circumstances, it is not unwarranted to call into question Rigdon's motives in sending Pratt to New York and Smith's motives in sending him back to where he came from.

Note 5: Elder Pratt says: "Many others were baptized by us [the Mormon missionaries sent to Ohio], both before and after his [Sidney Rigdon's] baptism." What Pratt neglects to say, is that while he and Oliver Cowdery were in Mentor, supposedly attempting to convert Rigdon to Mormonism, that Elders Peter Whitmer and Ziba Peterson were in nearby Kirtland, converting and readying for re-baptism at least 17 of Rigdon's most fanatical followers -- the Morley Farm communists. It is very hard to account for these faithful followers of Rigdon being converted out of Rigdonism and into Mormonism, without a "green light" signal conveyed to them from Rigdon himself. This leads to the distinct probability that Rigdon authorized the baptism of some of his most faithful "Rigdonites" prior to his own alleged "conversion." Given this set of circumstances, it is not unwarranted to call into question Rigdon's true activities and motives (both those made public and those kept private) during the visit of the four Mormon missionaries to Mentor and Kirtland.


Vol. 45.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  July 13, 1898.                           No. 28.

RATHBUN. -- "At the home of his daughter, Mrs. H. A. French, Lansing, Michigan, May 13, 1898, of concussion of the brain, the result of a fall a few days before, Elder Hiram Rathbun. Deceased was born April 3, 1820, in Wayne County, Ohio; was baptized and confirmed by Oliver Cowdery, at Independence, Missouri, November 20, 1831; and was ordained at Haun's Mills, Caldwell County, Missouri, November 5, 1837, by Robert Rathbun an high priest, from which time forward he was an active minister of the gospel until the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith by assassination, when he took up the study of medicine, and became a proficient practitioner.... He was a man of more than ordinary intellectual ability, a strong reasoner, and a firm adherent to the truth." So far we are indebted to the Glad Tidings for notice of the death of Bro. Hiram Rathbun; to which is added, Bro. Rathbun united with the Reorganized Church as soon as he learned of its existence, uniting at Vassar, Michigan, October 26, 1884. He was ordained an elder at Gellen, Michigan, November 3, 1884, by Bro. W. H. Kelley and G. A. Blackeslee, an high priest at Kirtland, Ohio, April 10, 1891, by order of conference...

Note 1: Elder Hiram Rathbun gave his remembrances of early Mormonism and of D. P. Hurlbut in the Aug. 2, 1884 issue of the Herald, just before he joined the RLDS. Rathbun was almost unique among the Mormons, in that he grew up in a Methodist household in which "the excommunication of said Hurlbut from the Methodist Church was familiar household talk." Unfortunately Rathbun never provided any exact information on Hurlbut's career as a Methodist preacher, other than to say "my mother's people were all Methodists, so that I was blessed with seven Methodist preachers as near relatives." Apparently some of these "seven Methodist preachers" from his Mother's side of the family were associates of D. P. Hurlbut when the latter was a Methodist and a preacher himself among the Methodists of western New York.

Note 2: Hiram's mother was Hannah Warner who was born in Gnadenhutten, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania in 1797. She married Robert Rathbun, Jr. (1798-1856) of Cayuga Co., New York about 1815, probably in Wayne Co., Ohio. Hannah's siblings were: Daniel B. (b. 24 Apr. 1799), Alanson (b. 19 Oct 1801) David S. (b. 15 Feb. 1804), Maria (b. c. 1806), Lorenzo D. (b. 12 May 1808), Nathan (b. c.1809), Ruth (b: 11 Jan. 1811), Catharine (b. c. 1815), Isabella (b. c 1817), Anna (b. c. 1818), and William T. (b. 20 Jan. 1820). None of these lived in western New York in the pre-1832 period when D. P. Hurlbut is presumed to have been a Methodist preacher in and around Ontario County. If Hannah Warner had Methodist preacher kinfolk in western New York, they were likely cousins or husbands of cousins, who later migrated to Ohio and/or Missouri (where the Rathbuns and Warners lived).


Vol. 46.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  January 11, 1899.                           No. 2.



... It will be remembered that Joseph Smith, the Seer, translated while at Kirtland, Ohio, some Egyptian manuscripts which purported to contain a record of the Patriarch Abraham... However, it should be remembered that Joseph Smith only translated the record as it came into his hands. He did not produce it as a work which he was the author, or with whom its statements originated. Nor did the church ever indorse the work or its teachings...

In this connection it may be well to give the Herald readers an account of the final disposition of the Egyptian mummies and papyrus which came into the Seer's possession at Kirtland. We give the following statement prepared for the Church Historian, in answer to inquiry by President Joseph Smith.

                                          Lamoni, Iowa, Oct. 24, 1898.
Bro. Heman C. Smith, Lamoni, Iowa.

In compliance with your request: --

The papyrus from which the Book of Abraham, was said to have been translated by Father, was with other portions found in a roll with some Egyptian mummies, pasted on either paper or linen and put into a small case of flat drawers, some dozen or sixteen in number. This case, with two cases of mummies containing five persons, one much smaller than the others, were in the keeping of Grandmother Lucy Smith, Father's mother, for some time before Father's death, and were still in her possession both at the time he was killed and after. She took them from our house, some time after Father's death, and had them at her daughter Lucy Millikin's, when they moved into Knox County, Illinois, not far from Galesburgh. I cannot give you dates, but during a part of 1846-7 Mother and family were away from Nauvoo and Grandmother was at Lucy Millikin's. Grandmother finally came back to Nauvoo with Lucy's family, but came without the mummies and case of drawers. We learned that while living near Galesburg, Uncle William undertook a lecturing tour, and secured the mummies and case of records, as the papyrus was called, as an exhibit and aid to making his lectures more attractive and lucrative. Uncle William became stranded somewhere along the Illinois River, and sold the mummies and the records with the understanding that he might repurchase them. This he never did. Part of the stock, one case of mummies and part or all the cases of drawers, found their way to Wood's Museum, Chicago, and a part to St. Louis, where, we never learned.

I personally, in company with Elder Elijah Banta, of Sandwich, Illinois, saw the mummies in Chicago before the great fire in 1871; in which they undoubtedly perished with the rest of the accumulated relics and curiosities.

Uncle William never accounted for the sale he made, except to state that he was obliged to sell them, but fully intended to repurchase them, but he was never able, before the fire; and of course could not after they were burned.

So far as anything is known by us about the fate, or final disposition of the papyrus, the foregoing is correct, and I was knowing to the facts as they occurred; and saw the mummies and case of drawers in Wood's Museum, Chicago, not long before the fire of October 1871. I was at the time living at Plano, Illinois, fifty-three miles west from Chicago, and did business in the city in behalf of our Publishing Department and Herald, and visited the city frequently.
                                            JOSEPH SMITH.

Note 1: For a discussion of how the Mormon mummies came to rest St. Louis and Chicago, see Walter H. Whipple's "The St. Louis Museum and the Two Egyptian Mummies and Papyri," in BYU Studies 10:1 (Autumn 1969), pp. 57-64, and Stanley B. Kimball's "New Light on Old Egyptiana: Mormon Mummies, 1848-71," in Dialogue 16:4 (Winter 1983), pp. 72-90.

Note 2: For contemporary accounts regarding the two Mormon mummies displayed in St. Louis between 1856 and 1863, see a series of articles in the St. Louis papers, beginning with a short notice in the May 13, 1857 issue of the Daily Democrat.


Vol. 46.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  April 26, 1899.                           No. 17.


FOUNTAIN GREEN, Ill., March 26.          
Editors Herald: -- I feel to write a few lines by way of explanation. In January I received a letter from Elder Lewis, of Michigan, and later one from Elder Sheen, of Independence, Missouri; also one from Elder Lambert, of Rock Creek, Illinois, asking for an explanation concerning my name being signed to a document or certificate in support of J. J. Strang being leader of the church; such certificate being found in the Strangite pamphlet, a thing I never heard of in my life until I received the letter from Elder Lewis.

I now in truth declare that I never signed my name to such certificate or document; neither did I give my consent to anyone to sign it. I never knew anything about Strang or his work, nor heard of him for several years after I left Nauvoo.

I do not believe that my mother, Lucy Smith, or my sisters, Lucy Millikin and Sophronia McClerrie, signed such certificate.

As for my husband, I know he looked forward to Joseph Smith taking his father's place. We based our strong reasons on my mother's teaching, as she was known to her Grandson's calling. We all waited patiently for him to take his place.

It is preposterous to think that Emma Smith, wife of my brother Joseph, would sign such certificate, when she knew of her son's blessing in Liberty Jail, and knew beyond a doubt that he would fill his father's place in God's own due time. Such was her testimony all the way through.

So I say the whole thing was a forgery. Whoever the perpetrator was, his acts will surely be revealed sometime, as justice will prevail.

I expect to meet this testimony before the judgment bar of God.
      With good will to all, I remain,
              Your sister in Christ,
                                        KATHARINE SALISBURY.

Note 1: It must naturally overwhelm the imagination of the modern student of Mormon history, to try and believe that Katherine Salisbury had no knowledge of her extended family's 1840s involvement with "Prophet" J. J. Strang, "until I received the [1899] letter from Elder Lewis." The following excerpt is from William Russell's 1973 paper, "King James Strang: Joseph Smith's Successor?": "When William Smith committed himself to Strang's leadership, it looked as though he had brought the whole family of the martyred prophet into Strang's group. The Voree Herald for July 1846 proudly published a letter from William Smith, dated March 1, 1846. William said he had investigated the matter as to whether there was any foundation to Strang's claims. He reports that he had called upon Sister Emma, who said that Joseph, Hyrum, and J. P. Green had discussed Strang's letter and that Joseph had agreed to write to him. He also notes... 'The whole Smith family of the Joseph stock join in sustaining J. J. Strang...' -- Although William claimed that the entire Smith family was accepting of Strang's claims, Emma Smith is conspicuously absent from the list. Neither is the name of Joseph Smith III included... it is not known to this writer what happened to the other Smith's commitment to Strang after William was excommunicated for adultery and "delivered over to the buffetings of Satan" at the conference of October, 1847. ... Many years later. Katherine Salisbury wrote a letter to the Saints' Herald denying that she had ever signed such a document... The possible bias of this statement half a century later should be acknowledged."

Note 2: "Katherine's 1899 denial statement overlooks the fact that her mother had written a letter in May of 1846, saying "The Twelve (Brighamites) have abused my son William, and trampled upon my children... I am satisfied that Joseph appointed J. J. Strang. It is verily so." Lucy's avowal was co-signed by Katherine Salisbury and her husband. Her subsequent denial of the family's 1846 support for Strang parallels Katherine's earlier statement, denying any knowledge of Mormon polygamy during the Nauvoo period -- see Saints' Herald of May 6, 1893. See also the "Sister Katherine's Testimony" web-page.


Vol. 46.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  November 22, 1899.                           No. 47.


Elder Hatton has been making himself quite conspicuous of late in Van Buren and Lee counties, Iowa, as an exposer of Mormonism, and we have been requested to review two pamphlets which he has put before the public, entitled, "The Origin of the Book of Mormon," and "Mormonism verses Mormonism and the Bible." After a careful examination of these publications, we must say that we are astounded at the presumption and impudence of the man. He tries to account for the Book of Mormon by asserting the truth of the Clark Braden theory (without giving Braden credit) concerning Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith plagiarizing the manuscript of Solomon Spalding. Mr. Hatton is loud in his denunciation of the plagiarist, and yet on almost every page of his production the track of the literary pirate is to be traced. We here produce two specimens of plagiarism from the work of Mr. Hatton; where he has not only copied the ideas of others, but their words almost verbatim, without giving credit to the authors, nor even placing the copy in quotation marks: --

We have shown that the Book of Mormon had a base human origin, and was fabricated as a fraud to deceive. We proved by the concurrent testimony of seventeen witnesses, one of them Sidney Rigdon himself, that Solomon Spaulding wrote a romance called the Manuscript Found; that he did take one of his manuscripts to Pittsburg to have it printed. That the "Manuscript Found" had in it these features, found in the Book of Mormon, and found in no other books but the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Found:

1. The plot of the Manuscript Found, as witnesses describe it, was just what Mormons give when describing the Book of Mormon.

2. It purported to be a veritable history of the aborigines of America. So does the Book of Mormon.

3. It attempted to account for the antiquities of America by giving an account of their construction. So does the Book of Mormon.

4. It assumed that Israelites were the aborigines of America and ancestors of the Indians. So does the Book of Mormon.

5. It said the Israelites left Jerusalem. So does the Book of Mormon.

6. They left to escape divine judgments about to fall on these people. So does the Book of Mormon.

7. That they journeyed through and from Southern Asia by land and sea. So does the Book of Mormon.

8. Their leaders were Nephi and Lehi. So says the Book of Mormon.

9. One Laban was murdered to obtain records. So declares the Book of Mormon.

10. They quarreled and divided into two nations, called Nephites and Lamanites. So says the Book of Mormon.

11. There were terrible wars between the two nations and the parties into which they were divided, with awful slaughter. So declares the Book of Mormon.

12. They buried their dead after these slaughters in great heaps, that caused the mounds. So declares the Book of Mormon.

13. In two instances the end of these wars was the total annihilation of all but one who escaped to make a record of the final catastrophe. So declares the Book of Mormon.

14. These sole survivors finished the record of the people and buried it. So declares the Book of Mormon.

15. The Manuscript Found gave an historical account of the civilization, laws, customs, arts and sciences of those peoples, So does the Book of Mormon.

16. One party of these peoples were the ancestors of our American Indians. So declares the Book of Mormon.

17. The names Nephi, Lehi, Laban, Laman, Nephite, Lamanite, Mormon, Moroni, Amlicite, Zarahemla, etc. were in the Manuscript Found. So they are in the Book of Mormon.

18. The use and characteristics of these names in the Manuscript Found were precisely the same as in the Book of Mormon.

19. The Manuscript Found was written in scriptural style; i. e., the style of King James' Version. So is the Book of Mormon.

20. "Now it came to pass" occurred so frequently as to render the language ridiculous. Such is true of the Book of Mormon.

21. This ridiculous peculiarity got for the author of the "Manuscript Found" the nickname of "Old Come to Pass." The Book of Mormon is just such a book.

22. The original from which the story was translated was taken from the earth. The same is claimed by the Book of Mormon.

23. One party of emigrants landed near the Isthmus of Panama, and migrated across the continent in a northeastern direction. So declares the Book of Mormon.

24. The land near the Isthmus was called the land of Zarahemla. So declares the Book of Mormon.

25. In a battle between Amlicites and Lamanites, one party marked their foreheads with a red cross to distinguish them from their enemies. So declares the Book of Mormon.

26. The destruction of the nations exterminated took place near a hill called Cumorah. The same is declared in the Book of` Mormon.

27. The Manuscript Found could have been used as a fraud, an imitation of the Bible, a pretended revelation. The Book of Mormon is just such a fraud.

Now, then, we are compelled to believe one of two things, namely, That Solomon Spaulding, during a period of from twenty-two to fourteen years before the Book of Mormon appeared, by a miracle wrote a romance that contained these twenty-seven great features that no other book except the Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon ever contained in common, or that Rigdon stole the manuscript of the Manuscript Found and remodeled it into the Book of Mormon. We have proved that the Manuscript Found or a copy was taken to Patterson's printing office. That Rigdon was learning the tanner's trade in Pittsburg at that time. That he was very intimate with Lambdin, one of Patterson's printers. That the Spaulding Manuscript Found attracted much curiosity in the printing office. That he hung around the office until Engles, the foreman complained of it. That the manuscript was stolen. That Rigdon was charged with stealing it. That he afterwards showed it to Dr. Winters, saying that it was a Bible romance written by a Presbyterian preacher named Spaulding, giving a history of the Indians, and that it had been taken to a printing office for publication, and that he borrowed it as a curiosity. We proved that he spent so much time over it that his wife threatened to burn it. That he retorted: "Indeed you will not: this will be a great thing some day." We proved by Jeffries that Rigdon told him that he took the manuscript from the printing office and gave it to Smith to publish. We proved by Tucker, Mrs. Eaton, McAuly, Chase and Saunders that Rigdon was seen at Smith's in New York, from the spring of 1827 to the fall of 1830. We proved that he was absent from Mentor for weeks at a time, during these years, and no one knew where. We proved by Bentley, Campbell and Atwater that he announced years before it appeared such a book as the Book of Mormon, translated from Gold plates, dug up in New York, giving the origin of American antiquities, a history of the aborigines of America, and telling that the gospel had been preached in America just as the Disciples were then preaching it on the Reserve. We showed that when a woman [sic] preacher read to a Conneaut audience, for the first time they had ever heard it, (the Book of Mormon), Spaulding's old acquaintances, who had heard him read his Manuscript Found, denounced the fraud, Squire Wright shouting: "Old come-to-pass has come to life." His brother, John Spaulding, denounced it on the spot. We have shown that the witness, after reading the Book of Mormon declares that the historic portions in all of the twenty-seven great features we have enumerated is identical with the Manuscript Found. -- Mormonism versus Mormonism and the Bible, pp. 82-87.

Here is Elder Hatton's apology for Solomon Spaulding, in 1898:--

In closing this part of our investigation, it is scarcely necessary to say that Spaulding must be acquitted of all intention to deceive, even though four of his hearers of his Romance as read by him, attested his singular presentiment, that in after-years his Romance would be accepted by thousands as veritable history. But even he could not have foreseen that this coinage of his brain would ever pass current as having been enstamped by the authority of heaven. The unconscious prophet of a new Islam, in all his imaginings he did not dream that his hand was outlining the Koran of a dark delusion; that the fables which beguiled his restless hours would be accepted by hundreds of thousands of his fellow-men as the oracles of God; and that in inglorious yet heroic martyrdom some of them would even seal with their blood their faith in the inspiration of his [phantasies].

Journeying to Pittsburg in 1812, with the sanguine hope of soon seeing his Romance in print, it never entered his mind that in four-score years thereafter the shades of Laman and Nephi, of Mormon and Maroni, evoked by his magic wand from the sepulchral mounds of Conneaut, -- the graves of a long-forgotten race, -- would be stalking over two hemispheres, and would be leading through the very city of his sojourn their myriad victims of deception to distant homes of wretchedness and shame.

Struggling to escape the burden of his debts, he little imagined how vast the burden he was about unwittingly to lay upon his country. Sleep on, thou humble dreamer, in thy lowly bed. Thy fond desire to win a public hearing for thy wondrous story was denied thee in thy toilsome life and checkered. Thou knowest not that a strange immorality was between it and thee. Rest peacefully, for from thine eye, which sought to penetrate the past alone, this saddest of future visions was mercifully withheld. Surely never hitherto have passed such sorrowful processions near the grave of so innocent an author of their woe. -- The Origin of the Book of Mormon, pp. 82-84...

These are not the only instances of literary theft found in Mr. Hatton's works, but they are sufficient, and occupy as much space as we are willing to devote to this contemptible plagiarism. A man who will make a great blow and bluster about others being guilty of plagiarism, and at the same time resort to the same tricks that he alleges against others, can hardly be excused on the grounds of ignorance, but must be held to willful transgression

We make no farther reply to these pamphlets, because if answer were necessary we would answer the parties who are responsible for the productions, and not he who has stolen their productions. They need no answer, however. Elder Braden made this summary and the arguments upon which it is based, in a public discussion with Elder E. L. Kelley, at Kirtland, Ohio, in February and March, 1884, and was at the time fully and completely answered by Elder Kelley.

The work of Mr. Robert Patterson has been answered by President Joseph Smith.

We have nothing more to do with Mr. Hatton. Messrs. Patterson and Braden, et al., may have a case against him; but if they can afford to let him pass into disgraceful oblivion, we can.

Note: The Herald editors presented columns of text from Braden and Patterson to demonstrate the fact that Rev. Hatton copied from their work. It is doubtful that either of the two authors would have begrudged Rev. Hatton the loan of their rhetoric against the Book of Mormon in this case, but Hatton made a poor choice in not citing his all too obvious sources. Why the Herald editors decided to plaster such lengthy examples of pro-Spalding polemics across the pages of their publication is anybody's guess. No doubt they felt safe in doings so, and safe in summoning up the past refutations of Elders Kelley and Smith as having "answered" the old Spalding authorship claims. One thing seems evident: the RLDS leaders were not about to concede a single point in substantiation of those authorship claims, even though the refutations they cite were drawn from a decade and a half out of the past. The fact that new authors like Hatton chose to dredge up the old claims simply brought forth a boilerplate reaction from the RLDS authorities -- no new facts, ideas, or arguments.


Vol. 46.                             Lamoni, Iowa,  December 13, 1899.                           No. 50.


Bro. R. C. Evans had a tilt in the Stratford Herald, published at Stratford, Ontario, with a Rev. Krupp, who undertook to warn the people of Rostock against "Mormonism," which he assumed that Bro. Daniel MacGregor was engaged in preaching. Bro. MacGregor challenged him; but he wrote to the Herald misstating the history of the Book of Mormon, but declining Bro. MacGregor's challenge. Bro. MacGregor had gone to British Columbia; so Bro. R. C. took up the "cudgels," and the Herald kindly published attack and counter attack. We give Bro. R. C.'s second letter, for the reason that it contains one of the shortest and best summaries of the Spalding claim for the Book of Mormon, and its refutation we have seen for some time. It will be interesting reading to many.



The following letter was received a few days ago from Elder R. C. Evans, of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of London. It is in reply to the last letter of Rev. Mr. Krupp, of Rostock. The Herald would intimate its hope that the controversy will not be permitted to extend over many more letters. Mr. Evans writes:--

Editor Stratford Herald; Dear Sir:-- I notice S. Krupp, of Rostock, has another letter in your paper, of September 7, regarding my letter, "New Light on Mormonism," The Book of Mormon, and the "Spalding Manuscript Found." The man admits that "there are minor errors in Miss Dickinson's narrative." Now I am prepared to show that there are dozens of errors in her book. In many points she contradicts the best encyclopedias and other works published on the same subject; and worse than all she contradicts herself, and tells stories that are impossible to have occurred. In her book she says Joseph Smith was killed in Nauvoo. After a time she says he was killed in 1846, then she says he was killed in 1844, and she has him in jail for debt in 1817. He was only twelve years old, they trusted him early in life. I could fill your papers with her mistakes, proving her work unreliable.

I defy Mr. Krupp to debate the merits of the book with me on the public platform. Mr. Krupp will refuse to indorse much of her book. He only stands by her when she relates the Spalding story or some nasty yarns against Joseph Smith. When she speaks in favor of the Saints he refuses to believe her, when speaking of the church of which I am a member, and of the sons of Joseph Smith she says: "Please understand that the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is in no way connected with Salt Lake Mormonism." "The Reorganized church has done more to put down polygamy than any other denomination on the face of the earth." The Book of Mormon denounces Polygamy." "The most forcible arguments that have yet been adduced on Mormon polygamy, are furnished by the pens of the three sons of Joseph Smith." "The sons of Joseph Smith deny that their father practiced or approved of Polygamy." "Polygamy originated with the leaders of the Utah Church." With all this and much more of the same kind in this book, yet Mr. Krupp has by pen and voice tried to stain the fair name of the church with the foul crimes of Brigham Young and Salt Lake Mormonism.

Now a glance at the "Spalding Manuscript Found." The supporters of the story relate it about like this: Spalding was a Presbyterian minister; his health failed; he left the ministry, -- kept tavern, wrote his story commencing 1809, placing it in the hands of Patterson, a printer in Philadelphia [sic], for publication, 1812. Spalding died in 1816.

But permit three reverend gentlemen of high standing to tell what became of the Manuscript Found. In the Congregationalist for October 24, 1877, the Rev. Tyron Edwards, D. D., of Philadelphia, says: "The Book of Mormon in substance was written by Solomon Spalding, a Presbyterian minister. Beginning in 1809 and writing at intervals, as he did, he often read parts of the work to his neighbors, and among the listeners was Joseph Smith who not only attended the readings, but borrowed the manuscripts, as he said, to read to his family at home. In 1812 the completed manuscript was placed in the hands of the printer, with a view to publication. The printing was delayed: Spalding died in 1816. Sidney Rigdon was working as journeyman printer in the office, and it is supposed that he, having copied the manuscript, with Smith concocted the idea of the new religion." The reader will notice that Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1805, so that the reverend gentleman above quoted, would have us believe that Joseph Smith somewhere between the age of four and seven years, was a "neighbor" of Spalding's, "an attentive listener" to the reading of Spalding's romance, and "that he borrowed it to read to his family." Not many boys between four and seven years of age have a family. Surely Smith was a smart boy if the Rev. Dr.'s story is true. Again, "Rigdon was a printer in the office." The family record shows that Rigdon was never a printer, never lived in Pittsburg till years after, and then, as pastor of the Baptist Church.

Rev. Samuel D. Green wrote an article entitled, "Joseph Smith the Mormon. (see Christian Cynosure, December 20. 1877.) When letters were written to him correcting his false statements, he replied: "Smith borrowed Spalding's manuscript, Spalding sent for it, Smith refused to give it back. Smith told Spalding, and I heard him, that he had made a Mormon Bible of it. I saw Mr. Spalding as late as 1827, and I have a letter from William Jenkins, that he saw Spalding in 1829."

Now, Mr. Editor, Spalding's widow, and all true history shows that Spalding died in 1816, yet one of the reverend gentlemen talked with him in 1827, the other in 1829. Thus you see the villifers of Joseph Smith often made him more remarkable than his friends do. Surely it is a Spalding romance.

Miss Dickenson gives the testimony of E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut, yet her own book says Hurlbut was a liar; and Howe's character, upon inquiry, was found unsatisfactory -- "Howe was himself a half Mormon." She repeatedly gives the testimony of men against the Book of Mormon, then slanders them.

Now for the real facts about the "Spalding story:" Spalding wrote a story in 1809-12, gave it to the printer in 1812, left Pittsburg 1814, died 1816. The manuscript was returned by the printer to Mr. Spalding's widow, she placed it in a trunk where it remained till 1834. (The Book of Mormon was in print and thousands of copies were circulated over the world in 1830). D. P. Hurlbut was excommunicated from the Latter Day Saint Church for bad conduct, and swore vengeance. E. D. Howe was angry because his wife joined the church. He was an infidel and wrote a book against the Bible. Now these two men, full of spite and unbelief, decided to write a book against the church. D. P. Hurlbut went to Spalding's widow, procured the "Manuscript Found." promised to return it, gave it to Howe, then to spite Joseph Smith, and make money by the sale of their book, they got Wrights, Millers, Lakes, and others, with the Book of Mormon in their hands to make up statements, that the Book of Mormon and Manuscript Found were similar, and contained same names, etc. Howe fills his books with these statements, which were false, and manufactured to deceive; hence we have "Mormonism Unveiled," by E. D. Howe.

In order to cover the trick, they refused to return "Manuscript Found" to Spalding's widow. Howe hides it, among other manuscripts in his printing office, he forgets where, tells Spalding's widow it and other manuscripts were burned. In 1839-40 he sells his printing office to L. L. Rice. The transfer of the printing department was accompanied with a large collection of old manuscripts. Years passed away. L. L. Rice moved to Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. In 1884-85 President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio, visited Mr. Rice. Looking over old manuscripts, they discover the long lost "Manuscript Found" written by Solomon Spalding. It had been in Mr. Rice's possession in Oberlin, Ohio, College, with the following endorsement on the manuscript: "The writings of Solomon Spalding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller, and others. The testimonies of the above-named gentlemen are now in my possession. (Signed) D. P. Hurlbut." Here are Miss Dickenson's witnesses, referred to by Mr. Krupp. Will this satisfy him, or will he continue to "believe a lie rather than the truth?"

In closing, please notice the testimony of L. L. Rice: "Two things are true: first, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spalding; and second, it is not the original of the Book of Mormon." "There is no identity of names of persons or places, and there is no similarity of style between them."

Thank God the "Manuscript Found" is discovered, and such men as Howe, Hurlbut, Miller, Wright, and Krupp have been exposed.

Trusting that the "Dear" Evangelist will see the truth, cease to misrepresent facts, and refrain from slandering an innocent people, I am, yours in hope of sweet rest beyond.

                            R. C. EVANS.

Note 1: Richard C. Evans (1861-1928) originally came from Quebec. He was baptized into the RLDS Church in 1876 and over the years rose to the position of Apostle in that organization (in 1897). In 1902 Evans was made the second counselor in the RLDS First Presidency, a position he held amid a considerable amount of tension with the other counselor, F. M. Smith. In 1909, a few years before his death, the aged President Joseph Smith III accepted (through the process of canonizing a "revelation") R. C. Evans' resignation from the Presidency of the RLDS Church. At the same time Evans was made the RLDS Bishop for Canada. During 1916-17 Evans became increasingly disaffected with the RLDS Church. He resigned his membership, was subsequently (during June 1918) brought into court on the charge of stealing RLDS funds, and soon after entirely acquitted of the alleged crime. R. C. Evans' 1920 book Forty Years in the Mormon Church, provides considerable detail for his unusual personal story.

Note 2: Bishop Evans' 1899 letters to the Stratford Herald, in regard to Mrs. E. E. Dickenson and the Spalding authorship claims, reflect the RLDS "party line" of that period. Evans would later embrace the same authorship claims he here seeks to ridicule and invalidate (see pp. 18-24 of his 1920 book).

Note 3: In the main, Evans' remarks regarding Dickenson are correct. She made numerous errors in her 1885 book, including errors of inconsistency within her own arguments. That much being conceded, it does not necessarily follow that all the sources she cites and all the points she attempts to make are totally unreliable and unworthy of further examination. Evans himself makes several mistakes in his 1899 telling of the Spalding story. Spalding's "Manuscript Found" did not remain in a trunk until 1834 but was almost certainly recovered late in 1833 by D. P. Hurlbut, along with other Spalding holographs in storage in Hartwick, Otsego Co., New York. E. D. Howe did not write a book about the Bible, rather, he published numerous items for both religious and non-religious people during the course of his career as a printer. Howe and Hurlbut did not decide "to write a book against the church," rather, each man worked individually on projects to expose Mormon origins and Howe ended up buying out Hurlbut's research materials and incorporating them into his own book. The two men did not influence Solomon Spalding's old associates "to make up statements." rather, those witnesses originated the claims, documented them to Hurlbut, and he passed that documentation on to Howe. Hurlbut may indeed have refused to return the "Manuscript Found" to Spalding's widow, but there is no conclusive evidence to show that Howe ever had that fictional work in his possession, rather, he avoided returning to Spalding's widow any and all of her husband's writings which had fallen into his hands. If Howe did this "in order to cover the trick," then that particular "trick" has yet to be disclosed. Howe gave a synopsis of one unfinished Spalding novelette in his 1834 book, mislaid that novelette (not "Manuscript Found"), and apparently gave no further thought to contacting Spalding's widow at all -- there is no evidence to indicate that he ever told her that "it and other manuscripts were burned."

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