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The Saints’ Herald
(Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa)
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Vol. 47.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  July 11, 1900.                           No. 28.


We have received from the Pentecostal Publishing Company, of Louisville, Kentucky, a copy of a book written by S. J. S. Davis, called "The Origin of the Book of Mormon, together with an Account of the Rise and Progress of the Mormon Church." This book is being sold for twenty-five cents per copy. The publishers deemed it necessary to apologize for placing the book before the people, and offers such as apology the statement that there were hundreds of missionaries preaching, visiting, and distributing literature, and "doing what else they could to make converts" to the "Mormon" faith. The following is from the publisher's preface:--

The people want to know something of this strange sect, and they will find the desired information in this little volume. The author is a local preacher of the M. E. Church, and has the highest indorsements as a man of unquestioned integrity. We have allowed him to tell his story in his own way, having only changed the phraseology in a few places. We assure the reader that his statements in the following narrative are in perfect harmony with those of other writers of Mormon history, though very much more condensed. The revolting facts here given are well attested and should be known, in order that the people may be protected against the wiles of these apostles of darkness. This is the only apology we have to offer for placing this book before the people.

Thus does the reader receive the indorsement of the publishers, and we are told the author is a M. E. preacher of good standing. From the author's preface we learn that he gathers much of his information from those "who lived in the immediate vicinity of the place where the first Mormon church was organized, and were well acquainted with all the members both before and after the organization." The author says:--

My boyhood and early manhood were spent near the cradle of Mormonism. Here have I seen and heard their preachers, and I have here met with many others who, after a short trial, have become disgusted with, and left them. These and other circumstances which I will not here mention, have conspired to furnish me with facts not heretofore known to the public.

When we read this, we were somewhat pleased, in a way, for we presumed that this author would tell us something about "Mormonism" which we had not heard. We thought that he would tell us about how the Book of Mormon originated -- something new in the way of a theory by which we might account for the origin of that book which has caused the religious world so much worry and trouble. Imagine our surprise and disgust, then, on carefully perusing the expose, to learn that the worn-out Solomon Spalding "Historical Romance" was the basis for the Book of Mormon. Dr. Priestly's [sic] book on American antiquities was, we are told, the stimulus for Spalding writing his romance. Mr. Spalding became sick and died before he had opportunity to get the manuscript printed. After his death, Mr. Davis tells us, "efforts were here made for its publication, but it disappeared in a mysterious manner, and what became of the manuscript copy was never certainly known." Then he significantly adds as an introduction to the chapter in which he gives the history of Joseph Smith:--

Living near and having access to the office where the manuscript was last heard of, were some personages whom it will now be necessary to introduce to the reader. I will describe them as they were described to me by those who knew them well."

He then describes Joseph Smith as a man of low cunning and unscrupulous principles, who would steal to satisfy his covetousness. Mr. Davis quotes the language of his uncle, who said:--

He was fond of dress and display and could sometimes so far lose his prophetical dignity as to drink like a sailor and swear like a pirate.

Then is introduced to the reader in similar language Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery, and accounts for Smith getting possession of the Spalding manuscript in this way:--

It is generally believed that Rigdon, as occasional printer, saw the chance in Spalding's manuscript, and by some means placed it in the hands of Smith and Cowdery, and disappeared for a time,, his absence causing no comment as he was, by habit, liable to come and go at any time. Now with the material at hand, and the idea of engraved plates, how easy it was for Smith, who was already in communication with the celestial world, to have an angel direct him to the hill Cumorah, where he should come into possession of the plates containing a new revelation to mankind!

Thus does this M. E. preacher in good standing resurrect that dilapidated theory of the Spalding romance being the origin of the Book of Mormon, and puts it forth to the world as being facts never yet presented to the world.

After presenting to the reader this history of the origin of the Book of Mormon, he pretends to give a history of the church and an outline of some things taught and practiced. As might be presumed from his history of the "origin of the Book of Mormon," he has woefully misrepresented the facts of history, and has attributed to the mind of Joseph Smith some of the most abominable practices and doctrines that one can imagine. If Mr. Davis, as a M. E. preacher in good standing, really believes that Joseph Smith was such a man as he is represented to be in this book, we certainly think that there is one M. E. preacher who is an object for the sympathizing pity of every intelligent person. It is simply astonishing to us that one can live in this enlightened period of free thought and rapid dissemination of knowledge and really believe such rot as he presents to the public in his book, when it is so contrary to the real facts of history. We cannot believe that a man would maliciously present to his readers such falsehoods, and so we simply presume that the poor man is ignorantly deluded, and extend to him our earnest sympathy.

Note: A copy of Rev. Davis' 130 page 1899 book, Origin of the Book of Mormon, together with an Account of the Rise and Progress of the Mormon Church, is on file in the BYU Library's Special Collections. It appears likely that the book's text is based upon articles previously published by Rev. Davis in Thomas Chisholm's Louisville-based Pentecostal Herald. Rev. Davis appears to have been an early advocate of the notion that Sidney Rigdon masqueraded as Joseph Smith's "Angel Moroni," an idea that Davis may have picked up from fellow anti-Mormon, R. B. Neal of Grayson, Kentucky.


Vol. 48.                                   Lamoni,  Iowa,  January 1, 1901.                                 No. 1.

Original   Articles



The short sketch of my experiences with the church, considering the length of time in which they have occurred, occupying as they have nearly half a century, is submitted in the hope that some good thought may be furnished to the reader, which shall make him more earnest in the gospel work and more confident in the directing hand of the Lord in the affairs of his people.

Two important things have prevented giving these experiences to the people through the third volume of the Church History: 1. I could not prepare in time. 2. I was informed that the space properly allotted to such a sketch would not be sufficient for more than one fourth of what I had in preparation, and it was my preference to publish as I had written or not at all, believing that in this way only those who read could gain the benefit which the experiences set out may furnish.
Sincerely and respectfully,                
                                                              E. C. BRIGGS.
LAMONI, IOWA, December 25, 1900.

Prompted by the request of many of the Saints and the dictates of my own mind, I write this sketch of my life, fully realizing that in the judgment, before God, I must answer for every idle word written as well as spoken.

Were I capable of glossing, and in fancy or romantic style portraying to the reader's mind gilded pictures to fascinate the imagination, I would not do so. Nor do I write to challenge critical examination of style or diction; but I trust that the facts and experiences which I shall relate will tend to confirm the hope of the older, and strengthen the faith of the younger and rising generation who may read it, and be attractive and convincing to those not yet converted to the faith of the Kingdom of Heaven.

In such a work as this, I must necessarily intersperse my own experiences in "the marvelous work among the people, even a marvelous work and a wonder"; for, as the founder of the great Methodist Church chose to term it, "The times which we have reason to believe are at hand (if they are not already begun) are what many pious men have termed the times of 'The Latter Day Glory' -- meaning the time wherein God would gloriously display His power and love in the fulfillment of His gracious promises that 'The knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.' And yet the wise men of the world, the men of eminence, the men of learning and renown, cannot imagine what we mean by talking of an extraordinary work of God. They cannot discern the signs of these times. They cannot see signs at all of God's arising to maintain His own cause and set up His Kingdom over the earth"(John Wesley's Sermon 71).

I was born February 20, 1835, in Wheeler, Steuben County, New York. My parents' names were Hugh L. and Polly Briggs; nee Polly Damon....

Note: The full text for this episode (along with the 28 subsequent additions in the series) can be read at the Joseph Smith History Vault.


Vol. 48.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  July 24, 1901.                           No. 30.


The letters following will be of great interest to many readers of the Herald, and we gladly give them space...

Boyne, Mich., July 16, 1901.      
Editors of Herald, Lamoni, Iowa.
      Dear Brethren: -- I inclose you two letters I received before my unoting with the church in 1892 that it might be well to put on the record. Bro. Landers' letter in particular to me is of importance as one of the many witnesses of the divine calling of Bro. Joseph.

In Bro. Whitehead's letter he says Hyrum anointed him, Joseph, his father, ordained and set him apart for said office. Will you please explain in the Herald the difference between the anointing and an ordination, and also tell us what he was ordained to, or to be.   Yours in bonds,
C. G. Lewis.       

Lamoni, Iowa, September 25, 1891.       
Dear Brother and Friend: -- Your favor just received. Your question is fully answered in the discourse printed in "Food for Thought," I heard them delivered myself, and hundreds besides me. I also know that his son Joseph, our present prophet and president, was anointed, blessed, and ordained to be his successor in office, holding all the gifts and blessings belonging to said office as the first elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ...


Sometime during the early part of last spring, while Elder R. C. Evans was in the Western States, in consequence of some of the leading and wealthy people of the community having been baptized into the Latter Day Saint Church, the sleeping malice and hatred of the Baptist and Campbellite Churches were aroused in the persons of their respective ministers, the Rev. William R. Burrell and Rev. T. Alfred Flemming, both of whom broke out in violent tirades of abuse, and all the old slanders of the dead past were retold, such as "Spalding Romance," "Polygamy," etc. The brethren wrote to R. C. Evans, requesting him to take action in the matter. He replied, through the Hillsburg Beaver, that upon his return to Canada he would call upon the gentlemen and request them to retract their slanderous statements, or affirm them in public debate.

Several letters passed through the Beaver, on both sides. The Baptist minister most preemptorily refused to debate under any consideration whatever, stating to Bro. Evans personally, in the presence of witnesses, that he had neither the time, inclination, nor ability to meet him on the platform.

Not so with the Rev. T. Alfred Flemming. This noisy young man and famous Ohio debator, who had "probed Mormonism to the bottom." was ready to debate, but made so many foolish conditions that a discerning public readily discovered that he was working a bluff game, and had no intention of debating.

Here is a specimen of his conditions: The Latter Day Saints must pay him thirty dollars per night, and it must be paid him six nights in advance. In event of the town hall not being large enough to hold the crowd, the Saints must provide a tent with seating capacity of one thousand. This is but a sample of the conditions imposed.

Bro. Evans then formulated three propositions for each preacher, requesting them to affirm the statements made in their lectures. Upon a point blank refusal on their part to affirm anything in debate, Bro. Evans at once wrote a two column article in the local paper, exposing their dishonorable methods, riddling their cowardice, advertising the propositions they had refused to discuss, announcing that he would unmask the preachers by exposing their methods, and examining their so-called evidence.

He requested me to accompany him to Hillsburg, and in event of debate to act as his moderator; or, if otherwise, as chairman of his meetings. We left London on Tuesday forenoon, the 2d inst., for Rockwood, Ontario, where we were met by Bro. Edwin Awry, who drove us to his beautiful residence. That same evening, notwithstanding the sweltering heat, a large audience greeted Bro. Evans, and numbers stood outside, attentive listeners for over two hours.

He treated on the propositions, as publicly affirmed by them, but which they refused to stand by, viz.: "Resolved, That Joseph Smith professed to receive a revelation from God, authorizing the practice of polygamy, and that he taught and practiced polygamy." The speaker first paid his compliments to the encyclopedias, showing their general unreliability, and that they contradicted each other, and, very frequently, themselves. He then produced the evidence in the "Temple Lot suit;" Nauvoo testimonies of 1843; "Smucker;" Emma Smith, the Prophet's wife; Mrs. White; Bancroft; Bidamon; Governor Ford; Fanny Stenhouse; George Q. Cannon; Clawson; Brigham Young, and others, showing conclusively that Joseph Smith was innocent of the above allegation.

He then showed, clearly, that these preachers had done violence to the known rule of evidence by accepting the self-contradictory testimony of the infamous Brigham Young as against the combined testimony on the other side.

Elder Evans was at his best and waxed brilliantly eloquent in his exposure of the contemptible methods employed by those preachers in slandering the name of a dead man, and an innocent people; but the climax was not reached till he showed, by conference records, that polygamy was indorsed in foreign countries by Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists, and others. This revelation caused considerable sensation in that large and intelligent audience, and was as a bolt out of a clear sky.

He then closed by hurling a defiant challenge to the world to produce one clause in favor of polygamy, from the records of the General Conference, over which Joseph Smith presided, or that presided over by his legal successor and son, the present president of the church.

The second evening, Wednesday, July 3, another large audience greeted our brother. He took up the following proposition, as publicly asserted by the preachers.

"Resolved, That the Book of Mormon is a fraud, taken from Rev. Solomon Spalding's Manuscript Found, and arranged by Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon to deceive the people." After examining the encyclopedias on the matter, he read Pratt's reply to Sutherland, in 1842, wherein he shows that Rigdon did not see the Book of Mormon till late in 1830, when he (Pratt) and O. Cowdery presented it to him, and that he never saw Joseph Smith till 1831. Also Rigdon's letter of May 27, 1839, showing he had nothing whatever to do with the "Manuscript Found." Also Sydney Rigdon's daughter's testimony, wherein she gives the statement of her father, made to clergymen around him, "At a time," as she said, "when he had but little hope of living from one day to another." We here append the dying man's statement:

As I expect to die, and meet my Maker, I know nothing about where the manuscript of the Mormon Bible came from.

Also another statement was presented where Rigdon said:

I know nothing of its origin, (the Book of Mormon) only what Joseph Smith, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris stated in regard to it. I believe that the Book of Mormon was found just as Joseph Smith stated. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and this world will find it out some day.

Also Wm. Small's testimony, given in 1876, containing the statement of Patterson, the Pittsburg publisher, in which he declares that Sydney Rigdon did not obtain the Spalding story at his office, nor did Rigdon work for him when the Spalding story was in the office, as alleged.

Bro. Evans then gave a history, locating Rigdon, and giving an account of his work from 1822 to 1830, showing clearly that he had nothing whatever to do with the Spalding Romance, the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith during those years. He then took up D. H. Bays' work, one of the latest publications of Campbellism on Mormonism, in which he says:

The Spalding story is a failure; do not attempt to rely upon it -- it will let you down.

He next turned his attention to the Spalding story as told by Rev. Tyron Edwards, Green and others. He gave an exposure of their nonsensical and contradictory stories, in which they try to connect Joseph Smith with the Spalding Romance, in this way: Solomon Spalding began to write his Romance in 1809. Joseph Smith, at this time, was a neighbor of Spalding's, and used to spend his evenings listening to Spalding read his Manuscript. Smith borrowed this Manuscript to read to his family at home.

In the refutation of this, Bro. Evans showed that Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1805. If the above statement of the reverend gentleman be true, Joseph Smith was a neighbor of Spalding's, listened to him read his manuscript, and borrowed the same to read when he was but three or four years of age.

To prove Joseph borrowed this manuscript, Green testifies that he heard Smith tell Spalding that he had made a Mormon Bible out of it. He testified to having a conversation with Spalding as late as 1827, and that he has a letter from Mr. Jenkins, who testified that he saw and conversed with Spalding in 1829.

In refutation of the above Bro. Evans showed by the encyclopedias and other histories, including the testimony of Spalding's widow, that he (Spalding) still held his manuscript complete in 1812; that he or his wife took it away with them when they left Ohio, presented it to Patterson, the Pittsburg publisher, for publication, he returning it safely to Spalding, and that he (Spalding) held it in his possession till his death in 1816.

Queries: Did Green and Jenkins et al., talk to Solomon Spalding in 1827 or 1829, if he (Spalding) died in 1816? Did Smith borrow the manuscript, refuse to return it, and make a Mormon Bible out of it, if the story be true, as told by Mrs. Spalding and others, that the manuscript was in their (Spalding's) possession where it remained till the time of his death?

Bro. Evans then showed from the histories that the "Manuscript Found" remained in the possession of Spalding's widow from the time of her husband's death in 1816, till 1834. The Book of Mormon was in print, and thousands of copies in circulation throughout the world in 1830.

In 1834, one D. P. Hurlbut, who was excommunicated from the Latter Day Saint Church for bad conduct, swore vengeance. He made friends with one E. D. Howe, who was an infidel, and wrote a book against the Bible. Howe was angry because his wife had joined the church. 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 Wright, Miller, Lake, 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 and others that manuscript was burned.

In 1839 and '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 for over forty years, and is now on exhibition at the college 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."

Bro. Evans closed by placing before the audience the testimony of L. L. Rice, which says:

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, or of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them.

Thus closed one of the most masterly efforts, in refutation of the Spalding Romance theory...

Ever yours for the truth,
                                                       A. E. MORTIMER.

Note 1: Bishop Evans takes much of this "most masterly effort" of 1901, in attempting to refute the Spalding claims, directly from his previously published text in the Dec. 13, 1899 issue of the Saints' Herald. As pointed out in the comments accompanying that article, Evans later embraced some of the old Spalding authorship claims and gave them his endorsement in his 1920 book.

Note 2: Evans' citation of the 1884 Nancy Rigdon statement and 1876 William Small statement indicates that he conducted a search of the Saints' Herald back issues for references to the Spalding authorship claims. Even this minimal demonstration of scholarship appears to be a rare example of conscientious research into past "Spalding" historical sources on the part of early twentieth century RLDS intellectuals. Generally speaking, the of expenditure of this sort of scholarly energy on the part of high church officials was dedicated to searching out old materials useful in attempted refutations of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s Nauvoo polygamy. It is quite possible that the evidence RLDS Bishop Evans discovered during his researching the Spalding authorship claims was the "straw" that broke the "camel's back" in his reevaluation and ultimate rejection of the "Mormon" Church and its purported origins.

Note 3: In citing the 1876 William Small statement, Evans implicitly accepts the fact that Robert Patterson, Sr. did once take one of Spalding's manuscripts into his possession -- a point occasionally challenged by Latter Day Saint apologists. Evans, however, leaves out Elder Small's testimony that Sidney Rigdon apparently did have some sort of connection with Patterson's Pittsburgh publishing business. According to Elder Small's recollection, Rev. Patterson, Sr. admitted that "Sidney Rigdon was not connected with the office for several years" after the Spalding manuscript was submitted for publication. "Several years" after Spalding's time in Pittsburgh (1812-1814) might extend into that period after Robert Patterson, Sr. had broken off his business relationship with publisher and bookseller Jonathan Harrison Lambdin. The break-up of their partnership in Pittsburgh occurred early in 1823. Also, later in 1823, Lambdin apparently sold copies of a debate record published by Alexander Campbell, and this at a time when Lambdin's friend, the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, was preaching proto-Campbellism in Pittsburgh and acting as Campbell's secretary in recording his Kentucky debates for publication. All things considered, the allegation for a direct "connection" between Sidney Rigdon and Patterson's former publishing "office" is more probable during 1823-24 than ten years before -- when Lambdin was merely Patterson's employee in the operation of the R. & J. Patterson book and stationery business.


Vol. 46.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 28, 1901.                           No. 35.


The following appeared in the Denver Times for August 18:


According to Mrs. Diadama Chittenden, of Utica, Mo, Joseph Smith "swiped" the Mormon "bible." which he claimed was "revealed" to him. While this is not a new charge by any means, Mrs. Chittenden tells an interesting story in connection with it.

Mrs. Chittendon is now 87 years old. She was born in Canada and her maiden name was Whitney. In 1852 she was married to R. M. Chittenden, and in 1860 [sic, 1870?] the couple went to Utica, Mo., where she ever since has resided. Her husband engaged in the mercantile business, and she did much of the buying, making long trips on horseback to Lexington, Quincy and other points.

Mrs. Chittenden is hale and hearty and of sound mind today. One of her most vivid memories of the early 60s is of the origin of the Mormon "Bible," which, she declares was never revealed to Joseph Smith nor written by him, but which he stole from a millwright named Spafford, of Salem (now Conneaut), Ashtabula county, Ohio. Smith was in the employ of Spafford, who was a sort of overseer or superintendent for Squire Wright of Salem. One of Spafford's hobbies was to decant upon the Bible. He contended that he could compose and read them alternately with chapters from the Good Book and that none who heard them could tell the original from the imitation.

On a wager, Spafford, so Mrs. Chittenden says, prepared a number of chapters of his own composition in imitation of the Bible and they were read to a select number of his acquaintances. None of these were able to distinguish the imitation from the real or to tell which had been written by Spafford and which had not. Joseph Smith was among those present at the test, Mrs. Chittenden says, and he was an attentive listener at the reading and others given afterward by Spafford to exercise his hobby.

Spafford preserved the characters [sic, chapters?] he wrote with the idea of one day publishing a treatise on his hobby. Death prevented the carrying out of this plan, and when his executors came to search for his manuscripts they had each and every one of them disappeared.

It was some years after Spafford's death that the Mormon "bible," said to have been "revealed" to Joseph Smith, appeared. A copy of this work found its way to Salem and into the possession of Squire Wright, Spafford's employer. Surprised at its contents, he called two other friends of Spafford, a Doctor Hart and Zaph Lake, into consultation on "Smith's bible," and after a thorough examination they made an affidavit to the effect that the greater part of the Mormon Book was made of chapters written for his own amusement by Millwright Spafford. Mrs. Chittenden is of the impression that the affidavit was either published by or offered for publication to the Salem Reporter, a paper long since out of print.

Note 1: This same story was republished in a Colorado paper twelve years later and again reprinted in the July 2, 1913 issue of the Saints' Herald. Diadama Whitney Chittenden was probably the same Diadama Whitney who married John L. Edwards on May 17, 1835, a few miles west of Conneaut, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. If so, she would have been a contemporary of Zaphna Lake, the son of Solomon Spalding's business partner at New Salem, "Conneaut Witness" Henry Lake. It is possible that Diadama later married a Mr. R. M. Chittenden and moved to Missouri. A "Job Whitney" is on the 1819 New Salem voter list and an "Aaron Whitney" is on the 1835 Ashtabula voter list. Diadama Whitney was apparently the daughter of John Whitney and Rachael Thayer. The Thayer family was numerous in the Ohio Western Reserve during the early days.

Note 2: The Spafford family were among the very first pioneers in the Ohio Western Reserve. Amos Spafford was a member of the first surveying party sent into northern Ohio. Another member of that party was Seth Pease, a relative of Calvin Pease, the lawyer with whom Solomon Spalding transacted land sales in Ohio. There were no known Spaffords living in the Conneaut area during the early years of the 19th century, however. The closest sounding name to "Spafford" among the residents of that era would have been "Spalding." Mrs. Chittenden has almost certainly confused the two family names in her memory.

Note 3: Solomon Spalding is not known to have been a "millwright," but he did have a mill pond and water-wheel driven trip-hammer constructed as part of his early iron forge operations on the east bank of Conneaut Creek. See his c. 1810-11 draft of an agreement with Itham Joyner to construct a mill at or near his own forge. Aaron Wright set up the first flour mill in the Conneaut area and it apparently was also situated near Spalding's forge -- perhaps on the same mill pond (see the mention of Wright in the Spalding-Joyner agreement). It is quite possible that Aaron Wright also owned a share in Spalding's water wheel, trip-hammer, and forge operation, at least up until 1811, when Henry Lake became Spalding's partner in that business. While this sort of business relationship would not necessarily have made the Hon. Aaron Wright Spalding's "employer," it may have left Spalding financially beholding to "Squire Wright."

Note 4: Although Solomon Spalding reportedly did write historical fiction in the biblical style and reportedly did read that work aloud to an audience, there is no other known reference to his attempting to imitate the Bible to the point that "none who heard" that historical fiction "could tell the original from the imitation." While it is not impossible that a man of Joseph Smith, Sr.'s age could have attended a Spalding reading in New Salem, prior to the end of 1812 (when Spalding departed that area), it does seem impossible that his young son, Joseph Smith, Jr., could have listened to anybody read imitation scripture in New Salem, Ohio in 1811-12. Mrs. Chittenden says that "Squire Wright," who was "surprised" at the Book of Mormon's contents, "called two other friends of Spafford, a Doctor Hart and Zaph Lake, into consultation on 'Smith's Bible,' and after a thorough examination they made an affidavit..." Actually, the Spalding associates that Aaron Wright, Esq. spoke with on this subject in 1832 (and who made out affidavits with him in 1833) were Doctor Howard (not "Hart") and Henry Lake (father of "Zaph"). About the only useful information obtainable from the above article is that a garbled version of the Spalding authorship claims was still being told in northern Ohio during the early 1860s, when Mrs. Chittenden apparently heard the account she relates fifty years later. No affidavits written by any of the "Conneaut witnesses" are known to have been printed in Ashtabula county newspapers during the 1830s.


Vol. 48.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  October 9, 1901.                           No. 41.


We quote the following from the Carter County Bugle, published at Grayson, Kentucky, for Friday, September 27, 1901. It is from the pen of R. B. Neal, of the Christian Church, who, as it will be seen, avows antagonism to what he is pleased to style "Smithianity," forgetting that the faith he holds may as appropriately be styled "Campbellism...

... I have often advised against the rail-riding and house-burning methods... rail-riding, feather-coating methods are to be vigorously denounced... More, such a course is desired by the Mormon leaders. It confirms their followers in the faith of Mormonism, and creates a sympathy for the ism on the part of many...

There are Mormons and Mormons. Most folks know only the Utah wing, with the headquarters at Salt Lake City... It is the elders of this wing that are all over Kentucky and the South pushing their plea. There is another wing or denomination of Mormons... with headquarters at Lamoni, Iowa...

R. B. NEAL.      

Note: This report appears to mark the first editorial encounter between the RLDS Church and Rev. Robert B. Neal (1847-1925) of Grayson, Kentucky, a former member of the Utah Ministerial Association and the self-styled head of the "The American Anti Mormon Association." Not content with the printing of an occasional article in the Carter County Bugle, Rev. Neal began publishing his own anti-Mormon tracts in Grayson at about this same time. Although some of the information Neal provides and some of the sources he cites may provide valuable contributions to the study of Mormon history, his publications and the materials he furnished to other writers, such as to Charles A Shook, are notoriously unreliable and perhaps not even genuine.


Vol. 48.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  November 6, 1901.                           No. 45.

NO.  6.


Delivered at Lamoni, Iowa, September 22, 1901.
Reported for Herald by Sr. Annie Allen.

... In the fall of 1830 a revelation was given commanding Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, and John Whitmer to take a mission to the West for the purpose of visiting the Indians. They took their departure shortly after the revelation was given and went most of the way on foot, visiting a tribe of Indians at Buffalo, New York, and then went on to Kirtland, Ohio, where they stopped for a while, not because they had found Indians, but because Parley Pratt, one of the four, was an intimate acquaintance of Sidney Rigdon who resided near Kirtland, and he desired to see his friend and present this new found faith to him. So he called on Sidney Rigdon, who was a prominent minister in what was known as the Disciple Church, and presented the Book of Mormon. We are told Mr. Rigdon objected to the book at first, but the testimony was so strong in its favor that he finally consented to investigate, and after a careful investigation he accepted the truth of the message, and became from that time a prominent defender of the work, and later occupied a prominent position in the church. I may not be able to finish this narrative, but I want to call your attention to a few points in regard to it. There was an effort made afterwards to connect Sidney Rigdon with the Book of Mormon, and to do this they trumped up the story that Rigdon had some connection with what is known as the Spalding Manuscript, and they said that Sidney Rigdon had stolen this manuscript from a printing office in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and after he had examined it he sent it to Joseph Smith, and out of the manuscript the Book of Mormon was made. You know more about this theory than I am able to tell you to-night. This story has been circulated from time to time, and has found its way into some of our encyclopedias and histories, where it has done great damage. You will never read in history where any attempt is made to prove it true, it is simply asserted that it was stolen by Sidney Rigdon and changed by him into the Book of Mormon. When public speakers have been called upon to prove that assertion they have totally failed to prove that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith ever met before the publication of the Book of Mormon, that they ever were nearer each other during this time than when Joseph Smith was in western New York and Sidney Rigdon was in northern Ohio. Almost all of the time Sidney Rigdon is accounted for in public records and some of our enemies have come to the conclusion that they can not prove the Spalding story and have abandoned it, while others cling to it.

Mr. Rigdon knew nothing of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon until Parley Pratt brought it to him when he was residing in Mentor, Ohio, in the year 1830. There is about a fourth class lawyer in Salt Lake City who, having more cunning than logic, and more of the disposition of the buzzard than the dove, has tried to revise that old story. You have heard something of the missing link in the Darwinian Theory, and he undertakes to supply the missing link in the Spalding story theory. He says that link is Parley P. Pratt. He could not connect Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, so he tells us that Parley Pratt was a friend of Sidney Rigdon's and they were associated in northern Ohio, and Pratt went back to New York and there he became acquainted with Joseph Smith, there the Book of Mormon was published and Pratt took it to Rigdon. The theory is that Rigdon stole the manuscript and sent it by Pratt to New York and Joseph and Pratt worked it up and thus the Book of Mormon was manufactured. That is the newest story and you will probably think it is a little more plausible than the old one, but it does not account for how Sidney Rigdon and Parley Pratt ever knew of that obscure boy up there in New York; how they got the information that he would be a suitable person for their scheme; or how they became acquainted with Joseph. It seems to me a strange thing that these men, both ministers of the gospel, would send the manuscript to an obscure boy and make him the leading character in the whole scheme. They never knew him but trusted him and preferred him without being acquainted with him. This story is just as bad as the old one so far as dates are concerned, and dates are stubborn things.

In October, 1826, this young man Parley Pratt went to a place about thirty miles west of the city of Cleveland Ohio; there he took some government land, and stayed there all the winter. In the spring of 1827 he made some improvements and then did like a great many other young men do, went back home to New York. Somebody lived there that was interesting him, and when he got back he got married, and he and his wife in October, 1827, went back to his place that he had been opening in the forest of Ohio, and there they stayed for several years. In 1829, mark the date, Sidney Rigdon came into the neighborhood where this family lived and began preaching the reformation then being promulgated by A. Campbell, and others, and Pratt united with the movement and thus became a co-laborer with Rigdon... so Mr. Schroeder falls down on this as badly as Messrs. Howe and Hurlbut did on the original story... I said in the beginning that Sidney Rigdon knew nothing of the Book of Mormon until his friend Parley Pratt called upon him at Mentor, Ohio, and presented him with the book...

Note 1: It is difficult to reconcile RLDS Historian Heman C. Smith's pronouncement ("Sidney Rigdon knew nothing of the Book of Mormon until his friend Parley Pratt called upon him") with the 1994 conclusion reached by Rigdon's LDS biographer, Richard S. Van Wagoner: "Publication of the 'Golden Bible'... had been recounted in several Western Reserve and New York newspapers as early as 1827... There can be little doubt that Rigdon, an enthusiastic reader of newspapers, was aware of the book before it was placed in his hands." Elder Smith makes it appear as though, months after his 1830 Mormon baptism, "There was an effort made" by the enemies of Mormonism, "to connect Sidney Rigdon with the Book of Mormon, and to do this they trumped up the story that Rigdon had some connection with what is known as the Spalding Manuscript." Actually, the belief that Sidney Rigdon had a secret role in bringing forth the Book of Mormon pre-dates the first articulation of the Spalding authorship claims by two or three years. As Parley P. Pratt himself said in 1838: "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 Spaulding story never was dreamed of until several years afterwards." As early as Feb. 15, 1831 Ohio newspaper editors were saying things like this: "Rigdon was formerly a disciple of Campbell's and who it is said was sent out to make proselytes, but is probable he thought he should find it more advantageous to operate on his own capital, and therefore wrote, as it is believed the Book of Mormon." Rigdon's name was not clearly linked to the nascent Spalding authorship claims until mid-Dec. 1833 when D. P. Hurlbut announced: "The pretended religious character of the work ["a respectable clergyman's original manuscript"] has been superadded by some more modern hand -- believed to be the notorious Rigdon."

Note 2: Elder Heman C. Smith remarks that A. T. Schroeder's 1901 attempt to establish Parley P. Pratt as a pre-1830 link between Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. "is the newest story" amongst the Spalding authorship claims. However, the report of Pratt serving as just such a clandestine middle man was voiced at least as early as 1842, when the Rev. Samuel Williams said: "it appeared that a certain Parley P. Pratt, an intimate friend of Rigdon's, in the secret of the Golden Bible... in the habit of traveling from Ohio to New York... communicated between Rigdon, Smith, Harris, Cowdery, &c. His conversion was so easy, as well as that of S. Rigdon, to Mormonism, that the whole affair plainly showed, that Rigdon ascertained... that Joseph Smith was bold enough... to answer his purpose; and that the whole matter was arranged before the Golden Bible ever made its appearance in Kirtland, Ohio." Rev. Williams adds to this in an 1878 communication, saying: "Parley Pratt was a tin Pedlar who passed from Conn. out to the West who brought about the acquaintance between Rigdon and Smith." Elder Smith says that the allegation, "does not account for how Sidney Rigdon and Parley Pratt ever knew of that obscure boy up there in New York," but he does not take into account that the "obscure boy" lived practically right on the major East-West trade and communication route, the Erie Canal. Also, if Smith's own story can be trusted, since the early 1820s the young treasure-finder, seer, and revelator had suffered a terribly intense religious persecution -- a story that any itinerant pedestrian peddler whose travels brought him through the Palmyra area should have heard sooner or later.

Note 3: Elder Heman C. Smith also remarks that, even if Pratt and Rigdon were cooperating to bring forth the Book of Mormon, "They never knew him [Smith] but trusted him and preferred him without being acquainted with him." Again, the RLDS Historian does not account for Rigdon's living in close proximity to Oliver Cowdery's brother, Erastus Cowdery, in Trumbull Co., Ohio in 1819-21, and for Oliver himself also being an itinerant pedestrian peddler in western New York during the early 1820s. There was opportunity for Oliver to meet and become acquainted with his cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr., and there was opportunity for Oliver to become acquainted with Rigdon's friend (and fellow itinerant pedestrian peddler) Parley P. Pratt. A pre-1830 web of acquaintance linking Pratt, Cowdery, Rigdon, and Smith -- however far-fetched it may sound to some students of early Mormon history -- cannot be ruled out, based upon the evidence available. Elder Smith's notion, that Pratt and Rigdon did not become acquainted until 1829, rests upon no known facts. Pratt was a Baptist, living within the limits of the Mahoning Baptist Association in 1827-29. During that period, the highly mobile Rev. Sidney Rigdon was arguably the most famous preacher in that organization, frequently visiting members throughout the Ohio Western Reserve. To attempt to argue that Pratt did not know Rigdon prior to 1829 is ridiculous; it is more reasonable to assume they had an opportunity to meet and become acquainted before 1829 than it is to assume that they did not.


Vol. 48.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  December 25, 1901.                           No. 52.

NO.  10.


Delivered at Lamoni, Iowa, November 17, 1901.
Reported for Herald by Sr. Annie Allen.

It seems that this subject is almost an endless one. We have been trying to get over the ground as fast as possible. We have felt we were not getting along as fast as we would like to, yet it seems that a part of our audience wants to hear more of the details than we have been presenting. We thought that we would leave Kirtland and the East and commence to-night in regard to Missouri, and the events that happened in connection with the settling of the church in that country, but during the week we received a card from Ohio, in which this request was made:

Make plain some points in the experience of the church while here, such as the object of their coming here; the spirit of speculation that was among them, and the result; the banking business; Dr. Hurlbut's excommunication; the Spalding story; why they left here in 1838, etc.

So it might be well for us to-night to speak to our Ohio audience to some extent, and mention some things....

I want to repeat again to-night, that if the fraud that has been charged against Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had been true, they never would have gone to that neighborhood [Kirtland], for they were only about fifty miles from the place where the Spalding romance was said to have been written, and it is not likely that men would come right back there where this story was written, to palm it off upon the world, where they were most likely to be detected by people who knew about the manuscript. It is a very good circumstantial evidence that they knew nothing about the Spalding matter, and they never stole the manuscript...

In regard to the Dr. Hurlbut case which some wanted to know something about, he is not the kind of character I like very much to talk about. The less said in regard to such men, sometimes the better. There is plenty of evidence to show the man was anything but what he ought to have been, but let me state to you right here that he is the man that assisted E. D. Howe in compiling certain evidence against Mormonism, so-called, found in his "History of Mormonism," published in Painesville, Ohio, in 1834, and again in 1840. Those affidavits were gathered by Dr. Hurlbut, and also the manuscript from which it was said the Book of Mormon was manufactured was obtained by Hurlbut and placed in the hands of Howe. As you know, the manuscript was lost sight of for a great many years, after it got in the hands of E. D. Howe, but subsequently it was found in the hands of L. L. Rice, in Honolulu, who bought the printing press and fixtures of Mr. Howe and removed them to his island home. I do not care to enter upon the Spalding story more fully than we have done: it would take too long to follow it in all its details.

In regard to Dr. Hurlbut we will state some of the things regarding him, that you may see what kind of a character it was that gathered this material that was expected to be the death of Mormonism. He at one time belonged to the church at Kirtland, was at one time an elder in the church and went on a mission to the East and returned, and upon his return there were charges preferred against him. We have the history of it here and we will read it:

A conference of high priests in the translating room in Kirtland on the third of June, and the first case presented was that of Dr. P. Hurlbut, who was accused of unchristian conduct with the women, while on a mission to the east: on investigation it was decided that his commission be taken from him, and that he be no longer a member of the church of Christ.

This was done June 3, 1833.

This is the first reference I have found to his trouble in the history. He was charged there with "unchristian conduct," and was then expelled from the church. Later we find that he appealed from this decision. On the 21st day of June, only eighteen days after he had been expelled, this document was presented to the Presidency and High Council:

I, Dr. P. Hurlbut, having been tried before the bishop's council of high priests on a charge of unchristianlike conduct with the female sex, and myself being absent at the time, and considering that strict justice was not done me, I do, by these presents, most solemnly enter my appeal unto the President's council of high priests, for a rehearing, according to the privilege guaranteed to me in the laws of the church, which council is now assembled in the schoolroom, in Kirtland, this twenty-first day of June, 1833....

Brother Hurlbut's case was then laid before the court, and the testimony against him, given in by Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, and duly investigated. The decision of the court was, that Brother Hurlbut should be forgiven, because of the liberal confession which he made. This court also decided that the bishop's council decided correctly on the case, and that Bro. Hurlbut's crime was sufficient to cut him off from the church; but on his confession he was restored....

Mark you, that though he was restored it was because of his confession. But the appellate court, so far as the decision of the bishop's court was concerned, indorsed the findings that he was guilty of some kind of unchristian conduct while he was an elder of the church. Two days after he was arraigned again, on June 23, 1833.

Brother Doctor P. Hurlbut was called in question, by a general council; and Brother Gee, of Thompson, testified that Brother Hurlbut said that he deceived Joseph Smith's God, or the spirit by which he was actuated, etc. There was also corroborating testimony brought against him, by Brother Hodges, and the council cut him off from the church.

So that after he was restored by making a confession, he went on and boasted he had deceived Joseph Smith's God; this statement was as much as to say he had not repented at all, and two days after he was again expelled. That is the kind of a record the man had in the church. That is not all. After he was expelled from the church, he made threats against the peace of the community and against the life of Joseph Smith, and was arraigned before the law. The result of this arraignment we will give you briefly, for we do not wish to spend too much time on Dr. Hurlbut. Joseph Smith gives an account of the trial of Dr. Hurlbut:

Monday, March 31, 1834, I went to Chardon to attend the court, in the case against Dr. P. Hurlbut.... Wednesday the 2d, and Thursday the 3d, attended the court. Hurlbut was on trial for threatening my life.

Again on the 7th:

Bishop Whitney, Elders Frederick G. Williams, Oliver Cowdery, Heber C. Kimball, and myself met in the council room, and bowed down before the Lord, and prayed that he would furnish the means to deliver the Firm from debt, that they might be set at liberty; also that I might prevail against the wicked man, Hurlbut, and that he might be put to shame.

April 9 After an impartial trial, the court decided that Dr. P. Hurlbut be bound over under two hundred dollar bonds, to keep the peace for six months, and pay the cost, which amounted to near three hundred dollars, all of which was in answer to our prayers, for which I thank my Heavenly Father.

So you see this court decided the man was not only guilty, but was a dangerous character, and that life was unsafe with those with whom he was at enmity. It occurred to us when we read the statement of Joseph Smith, it would be a good thing to find out whether such a case were on record in the county where Joseph Smith said Dr. Hurlbut was on trial, and so in 1896 we wrote to the clerk of the court and had a certified copy of the record made, and it is published in his exact words. The decision of the court after summing up the evidence, says:

William Holbrook Justice of the Peace.

And thereupon came the Prosecuting Attorney for the County and also the said defendant, and the Court having heard the said complaint and also all the testimony adduced by the said complainant, and also by the said defendant and having duly considered the same are of opinion that the said complainant had ground to fear that the said Doctor P. Hurlbut would wound, beat or kill him or destroy his property as set forth in said complaint. Wherefore it is ordered and adjudged by the Court that the said Doctor P. Hurlbut enter into a new recognizance with good and sufficient security in the sum of two hundred dollars hereafter to keep the peace and be of good behavior to the citizens of the State of Ohio generally and to the said Joseph Smith Junior in particular for the period of six months, and it is further ordered that the said Doctor P. Hurlbut pay the costs of this prosecution taxed at the sum of one hundred and twelve dollars and fifty-nine cents. And thereupon came the said Doctor P. Hurlbut with Charles A. Holmes and Elijah Smith as his sureties in open Court, entered into a recognizance in the penal sum of two hundred dollars each, conditioned that the said Doctor P. Hurlbut shall for the period of six months from and after this day keep the peace and be of good behavior to all the citizens of the State of Ohio generally and to the said Joseph Smith Jun. in particular.

M. Birchard P. J.

Certificate to Common Pleas Record.

The State of Ohio, }
Geauga County, ss. }

I, B. D. Ames Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, within and for said County, And in whose custody the Files, Pleadings, Journals, Records, Execution Dockets, and Seal of said Court, are required by the Laws of the State of Ohio to be kept, hereby certify that the foregoing copy of Record is taken and copied from the Records of the proceedings of the Court of Common Pleas within and for said Geauga County, and that said foregoing copy has been compared by me with the original Record and that the same is a correct transcript therefrom..

In Testimony Whereof, I do hereunto subscribe my name officially, and affix the Seal of said Court, at the Court House in Chardon in said County, this l6th day of July, A. D. 1896.   (Seal)   B. D. AMES Clerk.

So the record is there yet, just exactly corresponding with the statement made by Joseph Smith, corroborating all he said regarding Dr. Hurlbut. I think that is all we need to say about him.

It was thought when this book that Dr. Hurlbut and E. D. Howe were instruments in getting up was published, that it was a death-blow to Mormonism and the Book of Mormon; and to show you just which one died I want to relate a little experience I had personally. I was in a second-hand book store down here in Kansas City, and looking over the books I saw one entitled, "History of Mormonism," by E. D. Howe. I asked the proprietor, "How much for this book?" and he said, $1.25. I then found an original copy of the book of Mormon. I asked, "How much is this book worth?" and he said, $125. That is the way it killed it. The original copy of the Book of Mormon, one hundred twenty-five dollars; the other one hundred twenty-five cents. I asked him why he asked so much, and he answered, that it was one of the original ones, -- one that does not teach polygamy. I was not able to purchase it, so I have not the book. That is, briefly stated, the record Dr. Hurlbut made in the church, and his connections with the church in 1833 and 1834.

Note 1: Elder Heman C. Smith remarks that Rigdon and his Mormon associates "never would have gone to that neighborhood [Kirtland], for they were only about fifty miles from the place where the Spalding romance was said to have been written." However, assuming that Sidney Rigdon did obtain possession of Spalding's historical story at an early date, it does not also follow that Rigdon knew that the story had been largely composed in Ashtabula Co., Ohio and that certain residents of that place had repeatedly heard the story read aloud as an explanation for the unusual Indian mounds and artifacts of the area. It probably came as a great surprise to both Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. when various Mormon elders reported the public avowal of the Spalding authorship claims in that place, following Orson Hyde's initial preaching there early in 1832.

Note 2: Elder Smith also says that "the manuscript from which it was said the Book of Mormon was manufactured was obtained by Hurlbut and placed in the hands of Howe." While the first part of this statement may be true, the second half is rather problematic. As early as 1875, D. P. Hurlbut's former lawyer stated that: "In the winter of 1833-34, a self-constituted committee of citizens of Willoughby, Mentor, and Painesville met a number of times... At one of the meetings we had before us the original manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding... From this work of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding the Mormon Bible was constructed. I do not think there can be any doubt of this. It was the opinion of the committee after comparing the Mormon Bible with the manuscript. The style of composition, the names, etc., were the same." That D. P. Hurlbut was exhibiting something resembling the Book of Mormon text, following his return to Ohio at the end of 1833 is confirmed by an early Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen: "I heard Dr. P. Hurlbut... deliver his first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland, Ohio, on the origin of the Book of Mormon. He said he had been in New York and Pennsylvania and had obtained a copy of Spaulding's Manuscript Found. He read selection[s] from it, then the same from the Book of Mormon. He said the historical part of it was the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found... I read all of his [Hurlbut's] manuscript, including Spaulding's Manuscript Found, and compared it with the Book of Mormon, the historical part of which is the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found." Similar recollections from the last part of December 1833 are provided by Messrs. Charles Grover, Jacob Sherman, and William Riley Hine, the last of whom said: "I heard Hurlbut lecture in the Presbyterian Church in Kirtland. He said he would, and he did prove that the "Book of Mormon" was founded on a fiction called "Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding... Hurlbut had a copy of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" with him. He and others spoke three hours.. I heard Hurlbut lecture before, and after he saw Spaulding's widow." Whether this alleged copy of the "Manuscript Found" was truly a Spalding holograph remains uncertain. At any rate, there is no evidence that D. P. Hurlbut gave it to E. D. Howe, when he entrusted the editor with his research findings at the beginning of Feb. 1834. The unfinished Spalding manuscript found in Honolulu in 1884 (and described by E. D. Howe in 1834) is not the "Manuscript Found." As Conneaut witness Aaron Wright said, upon seeing the unfinished story: "I have examined the writings which he [Hurlbut] has obtained from [sd] Spaldings widowe I recognise them to be the writings handwriting of [sd] Spalding but not the manuscript I had refferance to in my statement before alluded to as he informed me he wrote in the first place he wrote for his own amusement and then altered his plan and commenced writing a history of the first settlement of America the particulars you will find in my testimony dated August 1833.

Note 3: Elder Smith goes to a considerable effort to demonstrate that the character of D. P. Hurlbut was not a good one. It is probable that the outcomes of the 1834 Painesville and Chardon trials of D. P. Hurlbut were greatly influenced by a preponderance of loyal Mormon testimony in behalf of Joseph Smith, Jr. None of that redeems the character of Mr. Hurlbut to any great extent, but the possibility that he was convicted on less than fully reliable courtroom testimony should be kept in mind. Regardless of his admittedly bad character, the evidence he and others collected in reference to the Spalding authorship claims stands or falls upon its own intrinsic merits (and not upon those of D. P. Hurlbut).


Vol. 49.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  February 19, 1902.                           No. 8.


It is positively out of the power of the defenders of the faith to meet and refute every misstatement made about the beliefs, doctrines, and conduct of the believers... Some pious soul of a preacher, or some unprincipled sensational news-gatherer... Such men do not stop to think... whether they could give satisfactory proof if their statements should be called in question; it seems to be sufficient if it will "down Mormonism."

Another instance of this occurred in the discussion between Bro. James W. Gillen on the part of the church, and Reverend Clark Braden on the part of the Christian or Disciple Church, at Stewartsville, Missouri. In order to make an argument against the faith upon the old Spalding romance theory, Reverend Braden assumed that Spalding had written three or four manuscripts and that the one used by Dr. Hurlbut and E. D. Howe in 1834 was but one of them. No evidence of the truthfulness of his saying was given, but others quoting from him assume that it was so proven...

McDowell-Bridwell Debate.

Discussion by the above-named gentlemen was held in the Disciple church at McArthur, Ohio, commencing Monday evening, January 6, and continuing twelve sessions of two hours each... Mr. Bridwell is a recognized scholar of shrewdness and ability... [his] theory of opposition on the first proposition is, Joseph Smith possessed Boudinot's work, also Ethan Smith's work, both of which treat the subject of Israel in America, and Caleb Atwater's condensed idea of archaeology, and from these the theory of the Book of Mormon was spun. It was argued by Mr. Bridwell that Ethan Smith and Boudinot quoted the same prophecies which are used by Latter Day Saints and their works antedate Joseph Smith. He had the very air ladened with "buried cities, extinct civilizations, Indian descendants of the ten lost tribes," etc., at the time Joseph was concocting the Book of Mormon. He read recommendations of Ethan Smith's work from points all around Palmyra, New York, circling Joseph Smith, but Mr. Bridwell did not, nor could he, prove that Joseph Smith had the book in his possession. Solid matter presented by Elder McDowell pulverised this theory...

Ever willing to give reasons for hope entertained,

S. W. L. Scott.      

Note 1: It is interesting to see that, as late as 1902, the Rev. Clark Braden was still occasionally making reference to the Spalding authorship claims while debating the issues of Mormonism with RLDS elders. Most references to Braden's debates in the 1890s and early 1900s appear to show that he only rarely made use of the Spalding argument in such disputations. Probably Braden grew weary of repeating the same old arguments to RLDS elders, who came to debate well stocked with their own rehearsed counter-arguments. One thing is clear, however, Braden adopted the idea that the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu in 1884 was not the "Manuscript Found" described by Solomon Spalding's old associates. Whether or not he ever uncovered and presented any additional evidence to support this particular argument remains unknown.

Note 2: With the publication of S. W. L. Scott's letter regarding the McDowell-Bridwell Debate, the "Ethan Smith theory" for Book of Mormon origins reappeared in the Saints' Herald for the first time since July 1887. During the intervening 15 years, Ethan Smith's name was occasionally mentioned in the Saints' Herald, but in offering supposed proof of the historicity of the Book of Mormon, not as one of its possible sources. Rev. [J. T.?] Bridwell apparently picked up his notions concerning an Ethan Smith connection with the Book of Mormon from I. W. Riley's 1902 Yale master's thesis (published in 1903), in which the author says of Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews: "This work was published in Poultney, Vermont, next to Windsor County, where Joseph's parents once lived, and by 1825 had circulated to westernmost New York." Bridwell apparently missed seeing other possible relevant connections: (1) That Oliver Cowdery had lived very near Poultney, Vermont and no doubt knew Ethan Smith -- who was the pastor of Oliver's step-mother and half-sisters and who had been married by Oliver's Great Uncle, Nathanael Emmons (who also endorsed one of Ethan's several books on religion); (2) That Ethan Smith reportedly knew and corresponded with his fellow Dartmouth graduate, Solomon Spalding; and (3) that early LDS leaders quoted Ethan Smith, Elias Boudinot, etc. as offering historical support for their Book of Mormon. RLDS Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser took up the matter of Elias Boudinot in his Aug. 19, 1903 article, "A Star in the West," but in that report he generally avoids consideration of the probable Ethan Smith connection to the Book of Mormon. The Utah Mormon scholar, B. H. Roberts, would again resurrect the Ethan Smith theory in later years.


Vol. 49.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 6, 1902.                           No. 32.


It is always a surprise to those who are interested in the latter-day work to notice the manner of statement and augmentation adopted by certain religious writers who make attempts to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon and the rise of the church, organized April 6, 1830.

As a specimen of what is referred to above, we quote from a tract written by Reverend D. J. McMillan, D. D. It is one of a series headed, "Social Service. Series D. -- Anti-Mormon," published at 105 East Twenty-second Street, New York. "Historical Sketch of Mormonism."

Under the subhead, ITS ORIGIN, on page 5, referring to Sidney Rigdon, this Reverend McMillan writes:

Then he was for a time pastor of an independent church in Pittsburg, and making the book-store and publishing house of Patterson and Lambdin a place of frequent resort, became somewhat familiar with their business. Among the manuscripts was a novel written by Solomon Spaulding, and called "The Manuscript Found." He advanced the theory that the Indians in this country descended from two colonies, one of which came from the Tower of Babel, the other many centuries later from Jerusalem. Mr. Spaulding died without having his novel published. Mr. Rigdon became deeply interested in this novel and must have copied it and changed it by introducing many passages of scripture so as to make it appear to be a revelation from God. But his stay in Pittsburg was short. He started westward on an independent mission. He preached that the latter days were at hand, and that God was about to reveal new truth to his chosen few. He soon had a flourishing church near Mentor, Ohio,"

We italicise the above quotation from the word must to the word revelation for the purpose of emphasizing the cool manner in which it is assumed that Patterson and Lambdin had a manuscript novel written by Solomon Spalding, and the equally cool and easy assumption that Sidney Rigdon "must have copied it."

This bare assumption is taken as proof that the supposed writing of Solomon Spalding called the "Manuscript Found," had been duly identified and proved to have been written by Reverend Spalding, to have come into possession of Messrs. Patterson and Lambdin and there to have been copied by Sidney Rigdon, pastor of an independent church in Pittsburg. Instead of establishing such a line of sequent events as this, by proofs, the ground is covered by assumption. Mr. Rigdon "must have copied it." That is decidedly clever,

Mr. Rigdon says, No; but Reverend McMillan, says, Yes; and, of course, what Reverend McMillan says goes in orthodox circles, for is he not a very reverend gentleman?

Not satisfied with the suppositions above stated, the Reverend McMillan presents the second line of suppositious statement, as follows.

The family of Joseph Smith claims to be of Scotch extraction and to have lived in New England ever since 1700. The mother of Joseph was a fortune-teller. Both parents were illiterate and superstitious. They were among the people in Vermont who, during the first decade of the present century, followed a strange delusion under the leadership of one Wingate. By the use of an instrument which they called "St. John's Rod" the followers of this impostor claimed to be able to discover gold, silver, currents of water under ground, and medicinal roots and herbs, and to cure all manner of diseases. Like the victims of all such delusions they banked with unlimited impudence upon the "Lost Tribes of Israel," and promised a gathering of the favored people of God, and a "Latter-day Glory" far exceeding the glory of former days. The whole movement proved to be a scheme of a band of swindlers. Wingate, the leader, was arrested, but escaped from justice, and the movement came to an end.

Joseph's birth occurred at a time when the Wingate movement was at its height. Ten years later his parents removed to Palmyra, New York. Here Joseph grew up in a home without refinement. His parents were ignorant, indolent, and intemperate. He had health and strength, an active mind and a vivid imagination. Being without school advantages he followed his own crude ideas. He was fascinated with the wild romance of Captain Kidd, and with a company of youthful followers he would hunt at night for buried money in the fields about his father's home. He is said to have had a religious turn of mind, and during a revival he was exercised very deeply on the subject. His imagination, his superstitions, and his religious excitement combined to create wonderful visions in his untutored mind. He was about fifteen years of age when he began to see visions and dream dreams. These experiences continued through seven years. During four years of this period Joseph was absent from his father's house seeking employment in various capacities, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. His movements for two years can not be definitely traced. But during his absence he was for a time in the employ of Wm. H. Sabine, at whose house the widow of Reverend Solomon Spaulding, was making her home. In the garret of the house was stowed away in an old trunk Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" referred to above, which she had received from the Pittsburg publisher after Mr. Spaulding's death. Soon after Joseph's return to his father's home, he was visited by Rigdon, from Mentor, Ohio. Whether they had met during Joseph's absence, we do not know. The two doubtless became known to each other through a mutual friend, Mr. Parley P. Pratt, who was a traveling tinker and a preacher of some ability. Mr. Pratt plied his two-fold vocation between Palmyra, New York and Mentor, Ohio. He knew and admired Mr. Rigdon, -- indeed was frequently a member of his congregation. After this visit of Mr. Rigdon's -- which was early in the summer of 1827, Joseph said that he was told in dreams and visions, that he was chosen of the Lord to be a great prophet to restore the Gospel which had been taken from the world many centuries ago. He went so far as to declare that an angel came into his room at midnight, awoke him and read to him five chapters of the Bible, and afterward took him to a hill which he called Cummorah. The hill is four miles from Palmyra, and is at present the property of Admiral Sampson. There Joseph claims to have discovered the wonderful plates, and unearthed them by the help of the angel. He describes the plates as bound by rings, in the form of a book, and concealed in a stone crypt or vault where they had been hidden from this wicked world 1,400 years. The plates he says were four inches wide and eight inches long, and about the thickness of an ordinary sheet of tin, forming a book about six inches thick.

This second supposition makes Joseph Smith to have access to this very celebrated "Manuscript Found," while an "illiterate, unlearned boy," barely turned twelve years of age while at work for a brief period in the family of Mr. Sabine, a relative of Mrs. Spalding, the said manuscript being in a small hair trunk at Mr. Sabine's house, having been returned to Mrs. Spalding at Mr. Spalding's death. Mr. Spalding died at Amity, Pennsylvania, in 1816. Joseph Smith was born at the close of the year 1805, December 23; so that, if the manuscript was returned to Mrs. Spalding in a reasonable time after her husband's death, it would be during 1816, when Joseph Smith would be but eleven years old, when he had access to said hair trunk. This supposition is too glaringly inconsistent to be entitled to a moment's belief.

In order to connect Sidney Rigdon with this second line of supposition it is assumed that he visited Joseph Smith in New York in 1827. Of this suppositious visit no proof has ever been made. But Reverend McMillan treats it as a matter established, and therefore reasons from it as a proved fact. It is a most unreliable and mischievous way of reasoning, and such men as Reverend McMillan should be ashamed to resort to it.

This second line starts out with a falsehood. The family of Joseph Smith does not claim a Scotch origin; for it traces back to one Robert Smith from England, and his wife, and locates them in New Hampshire, in 1631.

Again, the family were not followers of one Wingate and Reverend McMillan places him in the narrative with an evidence.

Reverend McMillan dignified the common "witch hazel" "divining rod," in use all over the country in the region and time when and where the Smiths lived, and which is even now used in frontier places to locate wells, underground streams, and among superstitious miners to locate veins of metal, as being "St. John's Rod," a name we never heard it given before. But Reverend McMillan should know that Joseph Smith was neither the first nor the last who has tried to find Captain Kidd's reputed buried treasure, or to find water or mineral wealth. We have no knowledge that Joseph Smith ever did such a thing, but if he did, what of it? Was it a crime? Did Farmer Stoal, for whom Joseph Smith worked, break any law of God or man searching for minerals in the hills of Pennsylvania> Surely no.

In all that supposed labor and superstitious hunting after water and metals, there was no mixing of religious fervor concerning the "Lost Tribes of Israel," or "The Latter-day Glory." These were an aftermath of McMillan's conjecture. The movements of Joseph Smith from his birth to his death have been kept record of, and no two years elapsed without his whereabouts being traced by those interested in him, or whose duty or pleasure it was to know of him and what he was doing.

But this interval of "two years" is clearly an invention to furnish a provocation for the supposition that during it Joseph Smith copied the Manuscript Found in the possession of Mrs. Spalding, while that good lady was living at W. H. Sabine's place, and to allow for a possible concoction of the Book of Mormon scheme.

Reverend McMillan remarks: "The two doubtless became known to each other through a mutual friend, Parley P. Pratt, who was a traveling tinker, and a preacher of some ability."

Reverend McMillan supposes it by his "doubtless;" that is, it is not to be doubted, and therefore it is so, authenticated and proved.

Elders Rigdon and P. P. Pratt agree that they two met after the Book of Mormon was in print, Pratt being the one who presented the printed volume to Elder Rigdon in the fall of 1830, after its publication.

It is not a little curious that there has not yet been a definite settling upon one or the other of these suppositious origins for the Book of Mormon, and we can only account for it upon the hypothesis that the man did, who, while hunting, saw a calf which he thought might be a deer, so he took aim and shot at it, as he afterward said, "In such a way as to miss it if it was a calf, but hit it if it was a deer."

Note 1: Rev. McMillan's telling of the story of Joseph Smith, Jr. having once worked for Solomon Spalding's brother-in-law, William Harvey Sabine, is not especially convincing. Neither is the story that the youthful Joseph then stole a Spalding manuscript from Sabine's house. This tale has long been a part of the traditional lore in the extended Spalding family. It crops up as early as 1851, in the article "The Yankee Mahomet." There the writer quotes Spalding's widow as saying: "In 1817, the year subsequent to my husband's death, I removed to Onondaga county, in New-York, and from thence to Hartwick, Otsego county, in the same State, having with me a trunk containing his writings. At time latter place I married again; and soon after went to Massachusetts. From 1817 to 1820 the trunk remained at Onondaga Hollow. After my marriage in 1820, it was removed to Hartwick, where it remained until 1832. A man of the name of Smith was, between 1823 and 1827, frequently seen prowling round the house without any ostensible object, so suspicious were his maneuvers, that he was once or twice arrested as a common vagabond, and only escaped the penalties of the law by running away." To this the reporter adds: "Mrs. Spaulding, at the time of giving this testimony, was old, and family misfortunes had impaired her memory, so as to destroy her recollection of the smaller circumstances attendant upon the removal of the trunk. She remembers, however, that the above-mentioned trunk contained quite a number of writings, at the time when she left it at Onondaga hollow; and although no one was known to have visited it between 1817 and 1832, it was found, by examination in the latter year, to contain but one manuscript, and that unimportant. The fact that Smith was near this vicinity and engaged in questionable business at the time, during which his revelations were in course of preparation, seems therefore, in connection with the others above mentioned, to show that he himself purloined the manuscript..."

Note 2: Ellen E. Dickinson, the grand-daughter of William Harvey Sabine, presented the definitive (though thoroughly unconvincing) rendition of this old family tradition in her 1885 book New Light on Mormonism. Even if it could be established that Joseph Smith, Jr. (or Joseph Smith, Sr. -- or any Joe named "Smith") ever frequented Mr. Sabine's farm in Onondaga County, it boggles even the wildest of imaginations, to think that the Palmyra Smiths ended up with the same Spalding manuscript as did Sidney Rigdon, and that Rigdon and the Smiths later met, found they both had the story, and so they used their two copies of Spalding's fictional history to create the Book of Mormon.


Vol. 49.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  October 15, 1902.                           No. 42.



We have lately received clippings from various papers giving an account of how one Rev. J. E. Mahaffey, of Granitesville, South Carolina, has discovered (?) the origin of the Book of Mormon. Dispatches from Columbia, South Carolina, report Mr. Mahaffey as having made the following statements over his signature. We quote from the Globe-Democrat for September 29.

The age of strange things has not passed away. When Mormonism was first organized and the Book of Mormon circulated in Conneaut, Ohio, many of the friends and acquaintances of Reverend Solomon Spalding affirmed that it was the writings of that gentleman, who had been dead about fourteen years. Attempts were made to secure his writings at that time and compare them with the Book of Mormon, but either through lack of interest by proper persons, or through some trickery of the Mormons, the attempt failed its purpose and rather resulted in a victory for the Mormons.

All of Spalding's writings mysteriously disappeared, and over seventy years have passed away and nothing further of any consequence has been done in this direction. The Mormons have gone on deceiving and being deceived with Joseph Smith's tale of angels and golden plates until to-day they have a membership of nearly 500,000. During the past ten years they have gained 96,982 members. During the last year alone they gained 65,000 members in the East. They now have 2,000 missionaries in the field, and are fast becoming the most formidable element in modern civilization. They hold the balance of power in seven of the United States and are adroitly colonizing in half a dozen others.

But truth is coming to the front at last. The original Spalding manuscript has been found. It was resurrected in Honolulu, Hawaii, our now possession, and is now deposited in the library of Oberlin College, in Ohio, and through the kindness of that institution I have had the loan of it for the purpose of examination and comparison with the Book of Mormon. A careful examination of the two documents shows more than twenty features of perfect identity. Lack of space forbids their appearance here in full, but the following examples briefly stated will give an idea of how they stand. For example:

Both stories pretend to be translations or abridgments of other and more elaborate records found buried in the earth.

Both stories trace the ancestry of the American Indians from the old world, and give tragic accounts of their providential passage across the ocean to the American continent; their settlements; the rise and fall of nations; their political divisions; terrible wars, etc.

Both stories cater to the use of the same transparent stone, through which sights could be seen, hidden treasures translated, etc.

Both stories contain the same account of an army contending in battle, and painting their foreheads red in order to distinguish themselves from their enemies in times of confusing excitement.

Both stories are characterized by the same tale of a "sacred roll," which was believed to have been of divine origin, and which formed the basis of religious beliefs and teaching.

Both stories contain accounts of the discovery of other nations who had preceded them to the American continent, and that some of these other nations were in a savage state, but were soon educated and restored to civilization.

One more important feature is this: "The hieroglyphics of the "plates" described by Joseph Smith are identical with the literary style of a people described in the Spalding Romance. The identity here is perfect in every respect.

These are only a few examples of the many features of identity, some of which are threefold in detail, and will bear even the closest analytical subdivision -- all proving conclusively that either the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of the Spalding manuscript, or the manuscript a plagiarism of the Book of Mormon. It is either the one or the other. But as a result of eight years of careful and painstaking work, I have collected abundant reliable proof that Spalding wrote and rewrote his romance on this subject several times between the years 1810 and 1816. Smith says he got in possession of his wonderful document in 1827, and had known where it was for four years previous to that time. The evidence at hand indicates that Smith appropriated a final revision of Spalding's Romance from an old hair-covered, moth-eaten trunk which was left at the residence of Mr. Sabine during Smith's employment at that place as teamster, about the year 1820, and had doubtless known where it was ever since that time.

The evidence also shows that Sidney Rigdon got possession of another copy which had been left in Patterson's printing office in Pittsburg in 1815, and a perfectly plain connection is established between those two gentlemen through the mediation of Parley Parker Pratt, showing how they finally got together and inaugurated their wonderful scheme of deception, which is undoubtedly the greatest religious fraud that has ever been perpetrated.

I wish to say, in conclusion, that I do not believe the Mormons of to-day are aware of their error. I believe they are ignorantly sincere in their beliefs and labors, and nothing I have said or done is to be construed as a refutation on the honesty or sincerity of those who are living up to the light they have. But it is our solemn duty to give them the true story of their delusion and fortify others against being led astray.

We are glad Mr. Mahaffey gives the "Mormons" credit for being honest, though ignorant of their deluded condition. But really, the presence of the "Spalding Romance" in the library of Oberlin College has been known to the majority of believers in [the] Book of Mormon for years, and we have for many years kept for sale at this office published copies of this famous "Manuscript Found," We fear Mr. Mahaffey is somewhat behind the times in his "discovery." We think, too, Mr. Mahaffey has made several errors in his figures. However, such articles as Mr. Mahaffey's are so numerous that it scarcely pays to give them any attention whatever. Our best way is to press steadily forward and pay no attention to such misrepresentations until we are compelled to.

Note 1: In its basic premises, Rev. Mahaffey's reconstruction of Mormon origins resembles that of the Reverend Duncan J. McMillan, as reported in the Aug. 6, 1902 issue of the Herald. Mahaffey's attempt to marry the story of the youthful Joseph Smith obtaining a Spalding manuscript from the William Harvey Sabine house with that of Sidney Rigdon obtaining another copy of the same manuscript in Pittsburgh remains as unconvincing as the similar attempt made by Ellen E. Dickinson in 1885.

Note 2: Rev. Mahaffey's truly remarkable innovation here is that he finds numerous points of thematic parallelism in the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and the Book of Mormon. A few previous writers on the subject noticed that the two texts shared some general features, but not so many as to argue for an internal relationship of their respective contents. Although Mahaffey does provide a few valid examples of thematic parallelism, his overall attempt at matching the two texts involves a considerable amount of imagination and exaggeration. Not all of his "twenty features of perfect identity" are particularly convincing. And, although Mahaffey says that "Lack of space forbids their appearance here in full," the same writer provides very little additional argument for "perfect identity" in his 1902 booklet, wherein he describes his theories and reconstructions in somewhat greater detail. One thing Mahaffey does not make very clear in his 1902 press release to the Globe-Democrat is how he gets from the text of the Oberlin document to the very different story found in the Book of Mormon, in his saying "Spalding wrote and rewrote his romance on this subject several times between the years 1810 and 1816." In his 1902 booklet Mahaffey gives a more comprehendable explanation of this theory: "As proven by abundant testimony, a part of which will be noticed later, Spalding adopted the literary style of the Bible in re-writing his story according to the new plot, which dated back into Bible times and really pretended that it was a continuation of the Bible from the times of Zedekiah."

Note 3: Although Charles A. Shook does not cite Mahaffey's work, it is likely that the RLDS apostate saw this article in the Herald and that it served as an inspiration in Shook's own 1914 compilation of thematic parallels between the two works. Shook's list of parallels was studied and expanded in 1931 by Mr. M. D. Bown, a graduate student at Brigham Young University. Another researcher, James Bales, working independently of Bown, built upon Shook's foundation and published a similar list of thematic parallels (Seventy-Five "Points of Similarity") in 1958. These are just a few of the numerous attempts by various writers to compare and contrast the two texts over the years since Mahaffey's "rare discovery." One of the more recent attempts to demonstrate a direct connection between the Oberlin manuscript and the Book of Mormon is Vernal Holley's small volume Book of Mormon Authorship. Holley essentially adopts Mahaffey's theories and brings them up to date, adding new examples of thematic parallelism and discussing their possible importance. Holley, however, goes beyond Mahaffey and most other writers by compiling numerous examples of phraseology shared by the two texts.

Note 4: The Latter Day Saint response to all of these attempts to point out textual resemblance between the writings of Solomon Spalding and the story told in the Book of Mormon has been consistent: "pay no attention to such misrepresentations until we are compelled to." One rare instance in which a Mormon writer broached this topic in print was Dr. Hugh Nibley's 1959 article "The Comparative Method." There the well-known LDS apologist says: "Recently a Protestant minister pointed to 75 resemblances between the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Story. None of them alone is worth anything, but his position is that there are so many that, taken altogether, they must be significant... [but] What kind of parallels are these? Seventy-five or seven hundred fifty, its all the same -- such stuff adds up to nothing."


Vol. 50.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 19, 1903.                           No. 33.


After the McDowell-Bridwell debates, Bro. A. B. Kirkendall, of Creola, Ohio, thought it advisable to be in possession of Boudinot's work, "A Star in the West," issued in 1816, "Archaeologia Americana" (American Archaeology), issued in 1820 [sic]. and "View of the Hebrews," by Ethan Smith, issued in its second edition in 1825. By an extended effort, and paying a pretty good price, he secured them. As they are rare works now I thought something as to their contents might be of value, if the issue in the ever-continuing conflict shall be from Mr. Bridwell's position; and perhaps, otherwise. In the brief on Boudinot, in reference to Bridwell's arraignment of P. P. Pratt, Bro. A. B. Kirkendall's opinion is that quotation marks have been made to include, what was intended by Pratt, as his own language, summing up traditions in a way. This seems quite possible.

Interest centers in these briefs, in a measure, at least, as the works they are upon have been used by Mr. Bridwell to show that Joseph Smith had ample from which to form the Book of Mormon. I am of the opinion (having read them) that no candid, fair-minded person could read them and the Book of Mormon, and conclude the Book of Mormon originated in such a way. It is possible, of course, Mr. Smith, or any other man might have read such works and reproduced from them; but it does not follow of necessity that such was done by Mr. Smith in the case of the Book of Mormon, though some things agree. The points of dissimilarity. leave the matter clear, in the case of the Book of Mormon. If, as Mr. Bridwell would have it, these books being so much in use, so accessible to Mr. Smith and it is so clear that he drew from them, why, oh why, was there not a Bridwell to point it out then? Fate of fates, Bridwell must have been born out of due time! So evident, yet none saw it, and Mormonism went on!

Can it be the deceased, distinguished Boudinot, first speaker of the House of Representatives, and also the first president of the American Bible Society, had no friends remaining to defend his work? Did the "American Antiquarian Society," existing by the enactment of the legislature of Massachusetts and of Congress, and composed of many of the distinguished men of the time, sit idly by, seeing Joseph Smith utilize their work, to impose on mankind, and make no objection? Ethan Smith, author of "View of the Hebrews," probably still lived in the early years of the publication of the Book of Mormon, but, if he did not, had he, too, no friends to object to the ill use of his book? Ethan Smith's book, the latest of the three, was published in 1825, or five years before the Book of Mormon. E. D. Howe published "Mormonism Unveiled" in or about 1835, ten years after Ethan Smith's work, and five years after the Book of Mormon. He snatched up at once the Spalding tale (an unpublished affair), and did not publish it because it did not read as expected -- would not answer his purpose. Hall and all the Goliaths who have opposed Mormonism in those days and all since, even down to John T. Bridwell, lost the opportunity of his recent important discovery, that from Boudinot, etc., the Book of Mormon was formed, when it would have been so easy to have shown it up from those words, so abundant as they were at the appearance of the Book of Mormon. What a compliment to the whole army of stalwarts opposing Mormonism! Even Bays saw the Spalding tale would not do, but could not see the other. Who can not see that if it were true, as Bridwell claims, scores would have seen it back in 1830, and urged it at every mention of the Book of Mormon. It would have found place in the encyclopedias and histories equal to the Spalding tale. 

The Spalding tale theory was driven to the extremity of four supposed copies, and yet this of Mr. Bridwell's still eluded the grasp of such searching theorists. Mr. Bridwell's discovery is one more boomerang -- it will do its work on the return trip.

That Mr. Bridwell found points of identity is granted. But the points of dissimilarity count most sometimes. Between an ostrich and a canary there are points in common, each having two wings, two feet, two eyes, and one beak; both are clothed with feathers, but their size and their song for ever bar their similarity. No claim of the knowledge of the existence of the Cliff-dwellers dates back as far as 1860, yet thirty years before that the Book of Mormon told of such a people in such habitations. They were the Cliff-dwellers. The continental cataclysm, which the Book of Mormon records as having occurred at the time of the crucifixion of the Savior, is borne out by incontrovertible evidences.

A continual enlargement of the evidence that some mysterious, divine personage visited the ancient Americans, an ever widening knowledge of the tradition as to the cataclysm, and that it was attended by a period of darkness, and other features attaching, do not admit of being explained away by the limited knowledge of seismic disturbances and theories concerning them at the time of the origin of the Book of Mormon.

Submarine vessels were not in use at or before 1830, nor till very recently. The first colony from Babel, the Jaredites of Book of Mormon history, came in such vessels. The physical features of South America were disclosed in such detail in the Book of Mormon as could only have been by those on the ground; that opportunity Joseph Smith did not have, neither did any existing work of his day contain it.

Ancient American hieroglyphics are similar to those of the Book of Mormon plates, and both have similarities in the Egyptian and the Hebrew.

Mr. Bridwell has only developed difficulty for himself and all who follow in his wake. He has heaped shame upon his predecessors, accusing them, as he has, of such stupidity as not to have seen what to him is so clearly a fact. Who will succeed Mr. Bridwell, and with what? 

Elias Boudinot, having been first speaker of the House of Representatives and first president of the American Bible Society, may justly be rated among the notables. He wrote a work entitled: "A Star in the West," which was published in 1816. His purpose was to prove that the American Indians were the Lost Ten Tribes. At the completion of his writing and the research it afforded, he says he was gratified to find that he is not alone in his sentiments on this unpopular subject. (Preface, page 3.)

Of his method and work of compilation: "The writer will avail himself of the best accounts given by the Spanish writers he can meet with, the histories written by our own people who first visited this land, or have since made themselves acquainted with the native inhabitants, and record anything relative to their languages, customs, manners, and habits, such as Colden, Adair, Brainerd, Edwards, Jr., . . . Beaty, Bartram and others." -- Introduction, page 29. In chapter nine as Spanish writers he quotes from Acosta, Lopes de Gamara, Lericus, Ribault, Landon, Don Antonio de Ulloa Lact, Escarbotus, Malyenda, Abbe Clavigero Emanuel de Moraes, (a Portuguese,) and others.

Chapter one takes up the Hebrew people: identity, condition, effects of bondage, the deliverance, and continuation of their history in detail. Division into Israel and Judah. Traces Israel to the last known point, from Bible and associated history. Reaches the conclusion that they crossed from Kamschatka to this continent.

Chapter two is an inquiry as to where descendants of Hebrews may be found. Evidence from Bible and such authors as favored their location on this continent is presented. William Penn's work of 1682 among them.

Chapter three is "an inquiry into the language of the American Indians." A comparative table of English, Charibee, Creek, Mohegan, and Hebrew. Summing up: "To speak in general terms, their language in their roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears to have the whole genius of the Hebrew, and what is very remarkable, and well worthy of serious observation, has most of the peculiarities of that language, especially those in which it differs from most other languages, and often both in letters and signification, synonymous with the Hebrew language."

Chapter four is entitled, "The Indian traditions as received by their nations." They hold it as a certain fact, as delivered down from their ancestors, that their forefathers, in very remote ages, came from a far-distant country, by the way of the west." -- Page 109.

"It is said, among their principal, or beloved men, that they have it handed down from their ancestors, that the book which the white people have was once theirs. That while they had it they prospered exceedingly; but that the white people bought it of them, and learned many things from it; while the Indians lost their credit, offended the great spirit, and suffered exceedingly from the neighboring nations. That the great spirit took pity on them and directed them to this country. That on their way they came to a great river, which they could not pass, when God dried up the waters and they passed over dry shod. They also say that their forefathers were possessed of an extraordinary divine spirit by which they foretold future events, and controlled the common course of nature, and this they transmitted to their offspring, on condition of their obeying the sacred laws. That they did by these means bring down showers of plenty on the beloved people. But that this power, for a long time past, had entirely ceased," -- Pages 110, 111.

"They have a tradition that in the beginning of this continent, the angels or heaven;y inhabitants, as they call them, frequently visited the people and talked with their forefathers, and gave directions how to pray, and how to appease the great being when he was offended," -- Page 115.

"Can any man read this short account of Indian traditions drawn from tribes of various nations, from the west to the east, and from the south to the north, wholly separated from each other, written by authors of the best characters, both for knowledge and integrity, possessing the best means of information, at various and distant times, without any possible communication with each other, and in one instance from ocular and sensible demonstrations; written on the spot in several instances, with the relaters before them; and yet suppose that all this is either the effect of chance, accident, or design, from a love of the marvelous or a premeditated intuition of deceiving, and thereby ruining their own well-established reputations?" -- Page 116.

"Adair lived forty years entirely domesticated with the southern Indians, and was a man of learning and great observation. Just before the Revolutionary War he brought his manuscript to Elizabeth-Town, in New Jersey, to William Livingston, Esq., ( a neighbor of the writer,) to have it examined and corrected, which was prevented by the troubles of a political nature just breaking out." -- Page 117.

Mr. Boudinot next gives the creditable standing of Brainerd, Edwards, Beatty, Bartram, and M'Kenzie as authors cited and reaches the conclusion it is most reasonable the Indians are "the lost tribes of Israel." The chapter concludes with the supposed arrival here by way of Behring Strait.

Chapter five is entitled: "Their general character and established customs and habits."

The names of tribes then known are tabulated alphabetically. No Stockbridge tribe appears. Kirkland's Indian census is thus referred to: "In 1790 he made a census of the whole number of Indian inhabitants then remaining, including in addition those who reside on Grand River, in Canada, and the Stockbridge and Botherton Indians, who had lately joined them." -- Page 183. Another similar reference is found on page 255; they do not, however, indicate a Stockbridge tribe, but refer to Indians who were resident at Stockbridge,

Adair is quoted on color: "He thinks the Indian color to be the effect of climate, art, and manner of living," -- Page 187,

"Robertson, again speaking of the war in New England, between Connecticut and Providence, in their first attempt against the Pequod Indians, says, 'The Indians had secured their town, which was on a rising ground in a swamp, with palisades." -- Page 140. The evidence throughout the chapter support Hebraic descent.

Chapter six is on "Religious rites and ceremonies of the Indians." It presents their worship of the great spirit and religious ceremonies after the Mosaic institution.

Chapter seven, entitled, "Their worship and religious opinions," deals with five feasts,

"The Indians, in general, keep the following religious feasts and festivals: First, their Feast of First-fruits, and after it, on the evening of the same day, one something like the Passover. Second, the Hunter's Feast, like that of Pentecost. Third, the Feast of Harvest and the day of expiation of sin. Fourth, a daily sacrifice. Fifth, a Feast of Love," -- Page 205. All of these appear to be fashioned after those of the Hebrews, if they are not those of the Hebrews continued. Boudinot accepts them as strong evidence.

Chapter eight, "Miscellaneous facts omitted," adds matter and evidence along the chosen line.

Chapter nine is devoted to the recital of Spanish authors in confirmation of what had been otherwise set forth.

Chapter ten presents a high degree of mortality and character, as quite common to Indians before corrupted by the white man.

Chapter eleven, "Separation of the Indian women," of but two pages, presenting another feature of the Mosaic institution.

Chapter twelve, "The conclusion." A retrospect of evidence presented assures Mr. Boudinot the Indiana are the lost Ten Tribes.

The foregoing is written to give an idea to those who may wish it, what this rare work contains, and to show quotations made from pages 106, 110, 111, 115, and 116, as they are, so it can be seen that those in the Voice of Warning, pages 81 and 82, while they are not all exactly verbatim, present the facts about as they are.

Mr. Bridwell in the Arena states that Boudinot said: "That the book which the white people have was once theirs," while Pratt had it, "such a book as." How Pratt got it in that form, we can not say, but it is hardly as serious as Mr. Bridwell would have it.

Mr. Bridwell next refers to the quotation on page 106 of Boudinot, and explodes the narrative of the "aged Indian of the Stockbridge tribe." But this had been done, in a letter nine years ago, from Middleton, Ohio, June 2, 1894, to the HERALD, by the writer. The story, of the "aged Indian of the Stockbridge tribe," does not occur in Boudinot's "Star in the West;" neither is it to be found elsewhere that I know of; but on page 223, "View of the Hebrews," Doctor West of Stockbridge, gave the following information: "An old Indian informed him that his fathers in this country had not long since had a book which they had for long time preserved. But having lost the knowledge of reading it, they concluded it would be of no further use to them; and they buried it with an Indian chief."

Parley Pratt introduces the quotation used, thus: "Mr. Boudinot in his able work, remarks concerning their language," "concerning their language." The forty-seven words or first sentence of which Mr. Bridwell says: "The first half of it consisting of forty-seven words, is entirely right." Albeit he did not see the twenty-ninth word, "attention," as Pratt has it, is "Observation" in Boudinot. These forty-seven words are "concerning their language" the rest on traditions. Put quotation marks there and call the balance of Pratt's comment, as it is tradition, now he branches out and probably drew from his general information, and got matters mixed. This may explain it. If Pratt's first publication is to be had, it may be found to be so. Anyway, Mr. Bridwell was not the first to discover the error and call attention to it.

The changes that appear in the punctuation are of a character that imply change from earlier method.

The changes in phraseology, while to be regretted, do not to an unbiased mind change the material facts. It is likely too, that access to the first edition would reduce the irregularities.

Ethan Smith in "View of the Hebrews," page 93, quoting Boudinot on language, from 106 of "A Star of the West," leaves out six words, not indicating it in any way whatever and adding "it."

Haines in his book, "The American Indian," page 101, adds an "a" to "language," an "s" to "idiom," omits the six words Smith did, without indicating it, inserts "have" for "has" and like Smith closes at a comma, making it a period. But all the main facts remain.

                            R. ETZENHOUSER.

Note: This article marks the introduction of the "Ethan Smith theory" into the study of Mormon origins, at least insofar as any notice of it by the Saints is concerned. This was almost half a century before Fawn M. Brodie popularized the theory. For a very early mention of Ethan Smith in connection with the origin of the Book of Mormon, see the Apr. 18, 1887 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For a source linking Ethan Smith to the Book of Mormon that is contemporary with Etzenhouser's article, see I. Woodbridge Riley's 1903 book The Founder of Mormonism.


Vol. 50.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 26, 1903.                           No. 34.



A subscriber sends a leaf from a paper published in 1881, containing a history of the Book of Mormon. We published the same thing when it appeared about that date, and afterwards republished it. It is undoubtedly the true history of the Mormon Bible.

The facts briefly stated, are these: In 1812, Reverend Solomon Spalding, a retired minister, and a man of scientific and literary culture after investigating certain prehistoric mounds in Northern Ohio and finding human skeletons of unusual size, wrote a book, a romance, in which he dealt with the early peopling of America, and connected its prehistoric inhabitants with the lost tribes of Israel. This book was for a long time in the hands of a Pittsburg printer who, however, declined to publish it. In the employ of this printer was Sidney Rigdon, since famous as a Mormon elder. Years afterwards Joseph Smith published the book, alleging that he had found it on gold plates in a mound to which he was divinely directed. The book was recognized by persons who had read Mr. Spalding's manuscript. Quite a number testified to the identity of this book. Mr. Spalding's wife and daughter testified to it -- the manuscript being still in their possession. They had heard Mr. Spalding read it aloud. They further testified that at a later date certain persons claiming to have been identified with the Mormon Church, but anxious to learn the truth in regard to the manuscript, asked the privilege of comparing it with Smith's Mormon Bible, and that they allowed them to take it, and had never been able to recover it.

All this was set forth in Scribner's Magazine about a quarter of a century ago, and has never been answered. No one who read it could doubt that the original of the Mormon Bible was the manuscript of a novel prepared by Reverend Solomon Spalding, a copy of which came into the hands of Joseph Smith, who palmed it on the public as a divine revelation -- Herald and Presbyter, August 5, 1903.

It seems strange that after all which has been presented to show the falsity of the Spalding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon, such articles as the above will appear in papers like the above quoted. We presume it is simply because the editors refuse to examine the evidence in the case. Desiring to believe the Book of Mormon a fraud and a base deception, they rest content in their examination when they have once read the Spalding theory, no matter how flimsy the fabric of the "yarn." For years we have been presenting facts to the public which completely disprove the Spalding theory, yet for some reason the story still lives.

Twenty-five years ago it was "set forth in Scribner's Magazine," says the Herald and Presbyter, "and has never been answered." On the contrary, it has been answered time after time. It is not at all unlikely that it has been answered in Scribner's. We venture the guess that should an answer be sent to Scribner's it would be refused space. The editors of the Herald and Presbyter are content to repeatedly present to their readers the old, worn-out, weak theory, and it is not likely that Scribner's would care to present to its readers the real truths in the matter any more than do the editors of the Presbyter.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 53.                             Lamoni, Iowa, Sept. 5, 1906.                           No. 36.



There has come to our desk a copy of The Phantom of the Poles (Walter S. Rockey Company, Publishers, New York), a book of about two hundred and eighty pages, written by William Reed, who advances the theory, and brings forth numerous arguments to sustain it, that the earth is hollow, that the poles, or places where the poles are supposed to be, are openings into the interior of the earth, the opening at the north pole being about a thousand miles in diameter, and that at the south pole fifteen hundred miles, giving his reasons in a clear and convincing way for these conclusions.

Mr. Reed says:

I claim that the earth is not only hollow, but that all, or nearly all, of the explorers have spent much of their time past the turning point, and have had a look into the interior of the earth...

All school children are taught, in their first lessons in geography, that the earth is nearly round, but that it is flattened at the poles. No very clear reason is assigned for the flattening. Mr. Reed's theory explains it, as the openings to the earth's interior would necessarily give it the appearance of being flattened. A sphere can not be made round, and have a hole in it. Among the evidences presented by Mr. Reed to sustain his theory, are:

1. The action of the compass. He says:

If the earth be hollow, what is expected of the compass? Any one knowing anything about a compass knows that as soon as a ship begins to turn, the needle will tip up as far as it can... Greely proved that when the needle was suspended... at 90 degrees [north] it would be erect. That is just what would be expected if they were nearly at the turning, or farthest point north. On the explanation that the earth is hollow, the needle worked just as it should have...

2. The appearance of the aurora borealis, which he claims arises from one of three causes, active volcanoes in the interior of the earth, great forest or prairie fires in the interior, or the reflection and re-reflection of the sun as it shines into the opening at one pole and is reflected out the other...

Globe showing a section of the Earth's interior.

3. The fact that explorers so often found rock, gravel, sand, and coal on the ice. No possible way for it to get there except by volcanic force. No volcanoes on the outside of the earth from which they could come, hence they must come from the interior...

4. The great amount of volcanic dust composed of carbon and iron, which Nansen found so annoying... Where could the dust come from except from the interior of the earth?...

5. Another evidence was the open water found at the farthest point north in the Arctic regions, and the farthest point south [sic] in the Antarctic. After passing a certain point, the explorers found the climate getting milder as they neared the poles, and vegetable and animal life more abundant...

6. Musk ox and great flocks of birds abound in arctic regions in the summer months. Where do they go in winter? Not south. They must go into the interior of the earth...

7. The warm winds come from the north in winter, and the cold ones from the south. Where do the warm winds come from, if not from the interior of the earth?

8. Driftwood. Trees and other pieces of wood were found and used for fire... Reed concludes that it must have come from the interior of the earth....

9. Evidences of previous human occupancy was discovered far north. Abandoned slate houses... The huts seemed to have been occupied about two years. Whence did they come, and where did they go? The interior of the earth, possibly.

10. Colored snow covering vast areas, sometimes red, green, or yellow, and sometimes black. The black was found to be caused by carbon and iron. The red, green, and yellow were found to be caused by vegetable matter, which was believed to be the pollen of plants. Where did these plants grow? It would require millions of acres of flowers to so color such vast quantities of snow. Did it come from vast fields inside the earth?...

We have but briefly sketched the evidences advanced by Mr. Reed in support of his theory. His explanation of the formation of icebergs and tidal waves are also made to support his views. And taking into consideration the fact that no place has been found on earth where icebergs can form, or, so far as is known, where they have ever formed, there is room for his theory that they are formed at the mouths of great rivers coming from the interior of the earth, which have not yet been discovered. Glaciers are formed by falling snow which accumulates through the centuries and forms by its weight a great ice river. But at the foot of the glacier the snow or ice passes away in water, not in icebergs.

While Mr. Reed's theory is only a theory as yet, it is one that is entirely within the range of possibilities. and one which doubtless lies within the power of man to demonstrate.

Some may question the propriety of taking up space for a theory. To this we say that we do not urge it as a part of the gospel, till proved true. The gospel of course embraces all truth. And if this theory proves to be a true one, a consideration of its possibilities will prepare us for its acceptance. And so far as actual demonstration is concerned, we have as much ground for believing that the earth is hollow, as Mr. Reed claims, as we have for believing that it is solid at the poles -- although the latter is generally accepted without demonstration, and is taught as a scientific fact....

The demonstration of this theory will certainly be of interest to all Latter Day Saints, because if found to be true it greatly extends the possibilities of the fulfillment of scripture. For instance, the prophecies in reference to the lost tribes of Israel. Some have already begun to doubt the possibility of their fulfillment, at least in the way that it has been advocated they will be fulfilled. They have argued that the explorers have reached such extreme northern latitudes, and found no habitable land, no place where a nation could exist, and have narrowed down the unexplored area to such small proportions, according to the usually accepted theory, that it is not possible that within the Arctic Circle can be found the home of the lost tribes. Other countries are known, and the lost tribes can not be located. And so some have given up hope that they will ever be found in a new land or that they exist as tribes.

But what do the prophecies say? On page 106 of the Book of Mormon, small edition, the prophet Nephi says:

For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews. and they shall write it: and I shall speak unto the Nephites, and they shall write it: and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth. and they shall write it. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews: and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel: and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

The words of the Nephites we understand to be the Book of Mormon. The words of the Jews we understand to be the Bible, or New Testament. The words of the lost tribes have not come to our knowledge yet. Where are they, and the people who have written them? Not in any known land. They have been led away, we are told. Is it not possible that they inhabit the interior of the earth? If birds and animals may migrate to the interior, as Mr. Reed holds that they do, if the farther the explorers go into the interior the more abundant life they find, and the milder the climate, is it not possible that a human race could also exist there? If the lost tribes are not there, where are they? Well, at any rate they are lost. With the thought in mind of their possibly living there, Isaiah 436; is significant, "I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. " Also Doctrine and Covenants 108:6:

And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear his voice and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep * * * And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And then shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim; and they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord to dwell in his presence day and night for over and ever.

The tribes of Israel are to come from a north country, a land of ice -- or through it at least. They will come on a highway cast up in the midst of the great deep. This is speaking of the tribes of Israel, separate and apart from Judah. Some have said it may mean the Jews coming from Russia, a land north of Jerusalem; but that is certainly untenable. The Jews are to be gathered back to Jerusalem. The tribes of Israel are to come to the children of Ephraim in Zion and by them be crowned with glory in Zion. [ i. e. Jackson Co., Missouri]

We have not presented this for acceptance any farther than it shall prove to be true. But as we said before, it greatly widens the possibilities of the fulfillment of prophecy. We believe it will be appreciated by some, who, like us, may be more interested in things pertaining to the globe on which we dwell than in some dark or light body several hundred thousand billion trillions of miles away in space -- so far that w ere we to travel with the speed of a bullet from a gun an eternity would hardly suffice to get us there and back again. We do not even know that we would care to take the journey, -- at least not until we had learned all we could about this earth and its mysteries.

But whether the earth be hollow or not; whether the lost tribes be inside the earth or on the outside, we need not doubt that all the Lord has spoken will be fulfilled. And the main question with us should be, What are we as Ephraim doing to prepare for the reception of the lost tribes, what are we doing to make ourselves worthy to receive the "richer blessings" promised Ephraim and his fellows, and to be accounted servants of the Lord sufficiently endowed to crown with glory the people of the north who "shall come in remembrance before the Lord"?

L. A. G.

Note 1: The above editorial and book review was written by Elder Leon A. Gould, then the Assistant Editor of the Saints' Herald. It was obviously featured on that publication's front page with the concurrence of the senior editors, Joseph Smith III and Elbert A. Smith. Throughout the second half of the 19th century the Reorganized LDS demonstrated a marked interest in Arctic explorations, frequently reporting on their intentions and results in the pages of the Church publications. Of course this interest was sparked by the hopes of the RLDS leaders and journalists, that they might be able to eventually supply their followers and readers with some clue as to the whereabouts of the "lost tribes" of ancient Israel. Mormon doctrine and tradition placed these tribes in the far north, hidden behind walls of ice, free from the scrutiny of modern humanity. As Elder Gould admits, the findings of the various polar expeditions had not been very reassuring to the Saints of the early 20th century.

Note 2: The location of the missing Israelite tribes had been a matter of concern for faithful Mormons ever since the publication of the first LDS scriptures in 1830. On Oct. 24, 1831, Joseph Smith, jr.'s teachings on the subject were allegedly reported by one of his former disciples, Elder Ezra Booth: "The condition of the ten tribes of Israel since their captivity... has never been satisfactorily ascertained. But these [Mormon] visionaries have discovered their place of residence to be contiguous to the north pole; separated from the rest of the world by impassable mountains of ice and snow. In this sequestered residence, they enjoy the society of Elijah the Prophet, and John the Revelator, and perhaps the three immortalized Nephites..." Booth's allegations were largely substantiated a few days later, when the top Mormon leader issued a communication from God [?] at Hiram, Ohio, on Nov. 3, 1831. This was the same document Elder Leon A. Gould quoted from in his editorial, as RLDS D&C sec. 108 -- it was first published to the world in the Mormons' Evening and Morning Star of May 1833.

Note 3: Hollow-Earth promoter William Reed gained a good deal of his inspiration on the subject from the prior announcements of Captain John Cleves Symmes (1779-1829). Although hollow planet advocates had been writing on the subject for many years, Symmes' claims drew the special attention of America's reading public during the 1820s. His belief in polar openings to a habitable planetary interior gained Symmes both widespread publicity and mockery. One of his equally imaginative readers was the writer Edgar Allan Poe, who incorporated a polar "Symmes' hole" into his 1835 tale, Hans Pfaal. There is no reason to doubt that some of the earliest Mormons had heard of Symmes' strange notions well before 1830, and that his claims of there being habitable land at or near the north pole were well compatible with Joseph Smith's claims for a "place of residence... contiguous to the north pole" for the missing Israelite tribes.

Note 4: Elder Gould's editorial renewed the periodic interest in hollow world pseudo-science, which had been promoted in the pages of the Saints Herald since 1872. The top leaders of the RLDS Church seem to have seriously entertained the idea that lost Israelites occupied some part of the Earth's interior. While this ignorant conceit eventually faded after 1909 among educated Reorganized Mormons, it has been kept alive in Utah by such LDS promoters as Elder Frederick Culmer (in his 1886 pamphlet, The Inner World) and, in more recent years, Elders Rodney M. Cluff and Steve Curry. Elder Curry reportedly has chartered a Russian icebreaker, with plans to fill it with faithful Mormons, in quest of the northern Symmes' hole and their lost Israelite brethren within the hollow planet.


Vol. 54.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  March 20, 1907.                           No. 12.


(A Review by Heman C. Smith.)

There has recently come into our hands what purports to be a reprint of a tract said to have been written and published by Oliver Cowdery in 1839. The following is the title-page and the tract in full. We have taken the liberty to number the paragraphs for more convenient reference:



Rehearsal  of  My  Grounds


Separating  Myself




Second Elder in the Church of Christ


This Defence is not protected by a copyright, as I wish no man to be
confined alone to my permission in printing what is meant for the eyes
and knowledge of the nations of the earth.

"God doth not walk in crooked paths;
Neither doth he turn to the right hand,
Nor to the left; neither doth he vary
From that which he hath said."


Pressley's Job Office,
Norton, Ohio.

1. DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD: -- I offer you a "Defence" which I am grieved to make, but my opposers have put me to the necessity, and so far as my memory serves, I pledge my veracity for the correctness of the account.

2. I deny that I have ever conspired with any, or ever exerted any influence to destroy the reputation of the First Elder, although evidence which is to be credited assures me that he has done everything he could to injure my standing, and his influence has been considerably exerted to destroy my reputation and, I fear, my life.

3. You will remember in the meantime, that those who seek to villify my character have been constantly encouraged by him. There was a time when I thought myself able to prove to the satisfaction of every man that the translator of the Book of Mormon was worthy of the appellation of a Seer and a Prophet of the Lord, and in which he held over me a mysterious power which even now I fail to fathom; but I fear I may have been deceived, and especially so fear since knowing that Satan has led his mind astray

4. (1) When the Church of Christ was set up by revelation, he was called to be First Elder, and I was called to be Second Elder, and whatever he had of Priesthood (about which I am beginning to doubt) also had I.

5. (2) But I certainly followed him too far when accepting and reiterating, that none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel, as I had then forgotten that John, the beloved disciple, was tarrying on earth and exempt from death

6. I am well aware that a rehearsal of these things at this day will be unpleasant reading to the First Elder; yet so it is, and it is wisdom that it should be so. Without rehearsing too many things that have caused me, to lose my faith in Bro. Joseph's seership, I regard his frequent predictions that he himself shall tarry on the earth till Christ shall come in glory, and that neither the rage of devils nor the malice of men shall ever cause him to fall by the hand of his enemies until he has seen Christ in the flesh at his final coming, as little short of a piece of blasphemy; and it may be classed with that revelation that some among you will remember which sent Bro. Page and me so unwisely to (3) Toronto with a prediction from the Lord by Urim and Thummim that we would there find a man anxious to buy the First Elder's copyright. I well remember we did not find him, and had to return surprised and disappointed. But so great was my faith, that, in going to Toronto, nothing but calmness pervaded my soul, every doubt was banished, and I as much expected that Bro. Page and I would fulfill the revelation as that we should live. And you may believe, without asking me to relate the particulars, that it would be no easy task to describe our desolation and grief.

7. Bro. Page and I did not think that God would have deceived us through "Urim and Thummim," exactly as came the Book of Mormon; and I well remember how hard I strove to drive away the foreboding which seized me, that the First Elder had made tools of us, where we thought, in the simplicity of out hearts, that we were divinely commanded.

8. And what served to render the reflection past expression in its bitterness to me, was, that from his hand I received baptism, by the direction of the Angel of God, whose voice, as it has since struck me, did most mysteriously resemble the voice of Elder Sidney Rigdon, who, I am sure, had no part in the transactions of that day, as the Angel was John the Baptist, which I doubt not and deny not. When I afterward first heard Elder Rigdon, whose voice is so strikingly similar, I felt that this "dear" brother was to be in some sense, to me unknown, the herald of this church as the Great Baptist was of Christ.

9. (4) I never dreamed, however, that he would influence the Prophet, Seer and Revelator to the Church of Latter Day Saints, into the formation of a secret band at Far West, committed to depredations upon Gentiles and the actual assassination of apostates from the church, which was done in June last and was only one of many wrong steps.

10. These are facts which I am rehearsing, and if they shall be called in question, I am able to establish them by evidence which I can bring forward in abundance.

11. Still, although favored of God as a chosen witness to bear testimony to the divine authority of the Book of Mormon, and honored of the Lord in being permitted, without money and without price, to serve as scribe during the translation of the Book of Mormon, I have sometimes had seasons of skepticism, in which I did seriously wonder whether the Prophet and I were men in our sober senses when we would be translating from plates through "the Urim and Thummim" and the plates not be in sight at all.

12. But I believed both in the Seer and in the "Seer Stone," and what the First Elder announced as revelation from God, I accepted as such, and committed to paper with a glad mind and happy heart and swift pen; for I believed him to be the soul of honor and truth, a young man who would die before he would lie.

13. Man may deceive his fellow man, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may seduce the unstable, untaught in the ways of righteousness and peace, for I felt a solemn awe about me, being deep in the faith, that the First Elder was a Seer and Prophet of God, giving the truth unsullied through "Urim and Thummim," dictated by the will of the Lord, and that he was persecuted for the sake of the truth which he loved. Could I have been deceived in him?

14. I could rehearse a number of things to show either that I was then deceived, or that he has since fallen from the lofty place in which fond affection had deemed him secure.

15. I remember his experience as he had related it to me, and lacking wisdom, I went to God in prayer. I said: "O Lord, how dark everything is! Let thy glory lighten it, and make bright the path for me. Show me my duty. Let me be led of thy Spirit."

16. Shall I relate what transpired? I had a message from the Most High, as from the midst of eternity; for the vail was parted and the Redeemer Himself, clothed in glory, stood before me. And He said:

17. "After reproving the Latter Day Saints for their corruption and blindness in permitting their President, Joseph Smith, Jr., to lead them forth into errors, where I led him not, not commanded him, and saying unto them, 'Thus saith the Lord,' when I said it not unto him, thou shalt withdraw thyself from among them."

18. And I testify that Jesus, whose words I have been rehearsing, hath even so commanded me in an open vision.

19. The Lord revealed to me that the First Elder is leading the Saints astray, and ordered me to quit them after delivering the message which this "Defence" delivers. I shall ever remember this expression of the Saviour's grace with thanksgiving, and look upon his amazing goodness to me with wonder.

20. When I had sufficiently recovered my self-possession to ask in regard to the errors into which Joseph Smith, Jr., was taking the Saints, the Redeemer instructed me plainly: "He hath given revelations from his own heart and from a defiled conscience as coming from my mouth and hath corrupted the covenant and altered words which I had spoken. He hath brought in high priests, apostles and other officers, which in these days, when the written word sufficeth, are not in my church, and some of his needs [sic, deeds] have brought shame to my heritage by the shedding of blood. He walketh in the vain imaginations of his heart, and my Spirit is holy and does not dwell in an unholy temple, nor are angels sent to reveal the great work of God to hypocrites."

21. I bowed my face in shame and said: "Lord! I entreat thee, give me grace to hear thy message in print where I fear to take it by word of mouth."

And he said, "The grace is given thee," and he vanished out of my sight.

22. Prepare your hearts, O ye saints of the Most High, and come to understanding. The prophet hath erred and the people are gone astray through his error. God's word is open. We may read it. There is no "First Presidency" there, no "High Priesthood" save that of Christ himself, no Patriarch to the Church, and wonderful to tell, the "First Elder" hath departed from God in giving us these things, and in changing the name of the church.

23. Oh, the misery, distress and evil attendant upon giving heed unto the "doctrines of men!" The gospel has been perverted and the Saints are wandering in darkness, while a full cup of suffering is poured upon them. A society has been organized among them to inflict death upon those who are deemed apostates, with the knowledge and sanction of the First Elder.

24. This, I confess, is a dark picture to spread before those whom I am to warn, but they will pardon my plainness when I assure them of the truth of what I have written.

25. Bearing this message to them is the hardest work of my life, although many have been the privations and fatigues which have fallen to my lot to endure for the Gospel's sake since April 5th, 1829.

26. It is disgraceful to be led by a man who does not scruple to follow his own vain imagination, announcing his own schemes as revelations from the Lord.

27. And I fear he is led by a groundless hope, no better than the idle wind or the spider's web. Having cleared my soul by delivering the message, I do not deem it necessary to write further on the subject now.

28. Jesus has saved men in all ages and saves them now, and not by our Priesthood either. The "First Elder" errs as to that. The Lord has said, long since, and his word remains steadfast as the eternal hills, that to him who knocks it shall be opened, and whosoever will, may come and partake of the waters of life freely; but a curse will surely fall upon those who draw near to God with their mouths, and honor him with their lips, while their hearts are far from him.

29. I no longer believe that all the other churches are wrong.

30. Get right, O ye people, get right with God, and may the Lord remove his judgments from you, preserve you in his kingdom from all evil, and crown you in Christ. Amen.

MARCH 3, 1839.                                             O. COWDERY.

In the second paragraph he denies having used some doubts, A close examination of it by one acquainted with the style of Oliver Cowdery will reveal that a part of it is his language with but little doubt. For instance paragraph 13 is very much like him; but compare that with paragraph 28 and it will not take much of an expert to detect the difference in style and diction. Other comparisons might be made with the same effect, but we forbear.

For the sake of this investigation we will admit that this document as reprinted is a faithful reproduction of the language of Oliver Cowdery and as such proceed to examine it. We think it will be discovered by close examination that there is nothing in the document so damaging to the claims of the Church...

The only thing of any importance in paragraph 8, is the statement that the voice of the angel who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery resembled the voice of Elder Sidney Rigdon; but he does not intimate that it was Sidney Rigdon...

It is asserted that Oliver Cowdery subsequent to this denounced Mormonism and united with the Methodist Church. To what extent he renounced Mormonism is not disclosed by the testimony...

Subsequently to the writing of this defense and to his uniting with the Methodist Church, if he ever did, he makes a statement which clearly indicates that that manifestation which he supposed to be from God in 1838 was wrong; for in that statement he denounced all priesthood authority in the church; but at a special conference at Council Bluffs, Iowa, held on the 21st of October, 1848, or about ten years after this said manifestation, and nearly ten years after writing his defense, he made the following statement:

Friends and brethren, my name is Cowdery -- Oliver Cowdery. In the early history of this church I stood identified with her, and one in her councils. True it is that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Not because I was better than the rest of mankind was I called; but, to fulfill the purposes of God, he called me to a high and holy calling. I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages), as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummin, or, as it is called by that book, 'holy interpreters.' I beheld with my eyes and handled with my hands the gold plates from which it was translated. I also saw with my eyes and handled with my hands the 'holy interpreters.' That book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it. Mr. Spalding did not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet...

The holy Priesthood is here. I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred on us or restored the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands. I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred by the holy angel from on high. This Priesthood was then conferred on each other, by the will and commandment of God. This Priesthood, as was then declared, is also to remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time. --- The Myth of the Manuscript Found, pp. 79, 80.:

By the above quotation it will be seen that Oliver Cowdery in 1848 had confidence in his former testimony...

In regard to the statement that he joined the Methodist Church in Tiffen, Ohio, we present the following:

At our request Bishop E. L. Kelley called at Tiffen, Ohio, on February 7 and 8, 1907, to look up the records on this point; and after examining all the records that he could find in the hands of the custodian of the records, Mr. C. J. Yingling, writes in a letter dated Independence, Missouri, February 11, 1907, as follows:

Mr. C. J. Yingling who had in charge the records of the Methodist Church thought, before examination, that it showed the Cowdery was a member of the church, but upon examination I discovered that it simply contained his work as an attorney, and pointed out the fact to Mr. Yingling, which he readily assented was the fact. He thought, however, that it was possible that they might have an older record than the one referred to, but could not go at the time to their church library and look for it. He had looked, however, before, before, but said he would do so again at the earliest time practicable and notify me of the results of his search. Since returning home I have a letter from him stating that he had not been enabled as yet, to secure any further information of this record, but discovered in history of Seneca County, Ohio, references to Oliver Cowdery, and he forwarded to me typewritten copy of what the history contains with a further statement that he would place in my hands anything else that he found touching the matter, either for or against Cowdery's connection with the Methodist Church in that place.

He seems to be a very fine gentleman, and the leading member of the Methodist society at that place, as I called on the pastor, and he directed me to Mr. Yingling for my information, and said he had full access to all books and papers. He seemed to be ready to furnish me any and all evidence in their possession upon the matter. Mr. Yingling cited me to Mrs. Judge Lang as a party who would likely have an understanding with reference to this, when he found the records did not disclose. She was the only one of the old settlers that would be likely to know, he said. Afterward, I visited her, and inclose her statement in connection with the evidence. She cited me to the widow of Joel W. Wilson, the former law partner of Oliver Cowdery. I visited her, with the results as indicated in the facts set forth. She was living with her daughter, Mts. C. Guitteau, 2039 Adam Street, Toldeo. Ohio, and I called Mrs. Guittau as a witness to her statement with reference to Cowdery's connection with the Methodists in Tiffin. Mrs. Wilson was very positive that neither Oliver Cowdery nor his wife were members of the Methodist Church at Tiffin at any time.

His report of the examination of the evidence, accompanying this letter, contains the following:

The first reference to the work of the First Methodist Protestant Church of Tiffin, contained in the record book, bears date of January 19, 1843. This was a meeting called at that date of the male members of said church to form society and obtain charter of such society. At the conclusion of the record of this meeting there is entered upon the record in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery which is marked in brackets, the following:

"(See vol. 41, Ohio Local Laws, pages 31 and 32, where the above act may be found, O. Cowdery.)"

On January 6, 1844, the Society was called together again with John Souders, Chairman; William Campbell, Secretary, but from the proceedings it seems they did not have sufficient to form a quorum, and their proceedings were not legal. At the conclusion of this record for January 6, 1844, there is inserted by O. Cowdery the following:

"(The account of March 5th, 1836, referred to in the charter of this Society recorded on page 1 may be found in the collated acts of 1841, chapter 97, pages 792-783-784., O. Cowdery.)"

January 18, 1844, the members of the Society convened again, Reverend Thomas B. Cushman elected Chairman, and Oliver Cowdery secretary of the meeting. In this meeting the following named parties were elected trustees: John Souder, Joseph Walker, William Campbell, John [Shinefelt and Benjamin] Nye. The following resolutions were passed:

"Resolved, that the first meeting of the trustees of this Society, elected by this meeting, be held at the office of O. Cowdery on Tuesday, the 23 inst., at half past six o'clock p. m.

Resolved, that the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the Chairman and Secretary.

On motion adjourned the meeting without [delay]. Thomas B. Cushman, Chairman; Oliver Cowdery, Secretary, January 18, 1844.

This furnishes all the reference in the record to Oliver Cowdery. It will be seen from the examination of the facts that Oliver Cowdery acted as the attorney for these parties, hence the association of his name. It has been claimed that he was a trustee of the church, but the record book does not so disclose, and had he been a trustee, that would not necessarily make him a member of the Society, for neither the law of the church at the time, nor the law of the land, made it necessary for a party in order to be a trustee of property, to be a member of the Society.

Mrs. W. Lang, the widow of Judge Lang, of Tiffin, was referred to as a witness who would know with reference to Cowdery's connection with the church. She was an aged lady, but of good memory, found at her residence and that of her niece, Miss Lang, at Tiffin, and upon inquiry with reference to Oliver Cowdery's connection with the Methodist church Society at Tiffin during his residence there, she stated that he was not a member of any church society there. She thought his wife might have attended the Methodist Church, and the girl which lived with them, Adeline Fuller, did attend the Methodist Church, but she was certain that Oliver Cowdery was never a member of the Methodist Church at Tiffin. She said on the contrary he was a "Mormon."

Mrs. Lang referred to Mrs. Mary E. Wilson, widow of Honorable Joel W. Wilson, former law partner of Oliver Cowdery, as the person most likely to know touching this. Calling upon Mrs. Mary E. Wilson, 2039 Adam Street, Toledo, Ohio, she stated as follows:

"I am quite confident that neither Cowdery nor Mrs. Cowdery were members of the Methodist Church in Tiffin. Neither of them were members. I am quite confident that neither of them were members. Oliver Cowdery was a Mormon, and when he left there he went to Cleveland, or near there where the Mormons formerly had builded." Mrs. C. Guitteau, daughter of Mrs. Mary E. Wilson, was present and witnessed the statements of Mrs. Wilson, and stated she would subscribe as a witness to the statements of her mother,

Mr. Yingling also sent to Bishop Kelley a copy of what is contained in the history of Seneca County, Ohio, on Oliver Cowdery, which is as follows, a transcript of which has been sent to us:


Near the end of the Mormon Bible is added the testimony of Oliver Cowdery as to the "golden plates"

He was one of the brightest minds amongst the leaders of the Mormons, and the history of the order would have been a better one had his counsel and advice prevailed.

Mr. Cowdery was born in the state of Vermont, on the 3d day of October, 1804 [sic]. After he had acquired a good common school education, he applied himself with great industry to the study of the dead languages and became very proficient in the Greek and Chaldee. He came to Ohio when he was a young man and entered the law office of Judge Bissel, a very distinguished lawyer in Painesville, Lake County, as a student, and was admitted to practice after having read the requisite length of time and passed an examination. His unfortunate association with the Mormons blasted the high hopes and bright prospects of an otherwise promising career, and planted a thousand thorns along the wayside of a life that was as pure and undefiled as that of the best of men. Cowdery had more to do with the production of the Mormon Bible than its history had ever given him credit for. He was the best scholar among the leaders. While others advocated the doctrine of polygamy, Cowdery opposed it, not only on moral grounds, but also, and principally because it was contrary to the great principles of Christianity, and above all, because it was opposed not only to the great demands of civilization but the spirit of the free institutions of our country. This opposition to polygamy brought Cowdery into conflict with the other leaders, and especially with Joe Smith; and while Cowdery gathered around himself the better and most intellectual element among the Mormons, Joe Smith became the leader of the coarser forces, with whom his great force of character soon made him very popular. The conflict came and Cowdery had to flee for his life, leaving his wife and two children behind him. Mrs. Cowdery's maiden name was Whitmer, and a sister of one of the Whitmers who figured as a leader. She was a beautiful woman, whose quiet nature, sweet temper and kind disposition won her friends wherever she was known.

Mr. Cowdery came back [to Kirtland]. In the spring of 1840, on the 12th day of May, he addressed a large democratic gathering in the street, between the German Reformed Church of Tiffin and the present residence of Hez. Graff. He was then on a tour of exploration for a location to pursue his profession as a lawyer, having entirely abandoned and broken away from all his connections with the Mormons. In the fall of the same year he moved with his family to Tiffin and opened a law office on Market Street.

Mr. Cowdery was an able lawyer and a great advocate. His manners were easy and gentlemanly; he was polite, dignified, yet courteous. He had an open countenance, high forehead, dark brown eyes, Roman nose, clenched lips and prominent lower jaw. He shaved smooth and was neat and cleanly in his person. He was of light stature, about five feet, five inches high, and had a loose, easy walk. With all his kind and friendly disposition, there was a certain degree of sadness that seemed to pervade his whole being. His association with others was marked by the great amount of information his conversation conveyed and the beauty of his musical voice. His addresses to the court and jury were characterized by a high order of oratory, with brilliant and forensic force. He was modest and reserved, never spoke ill of anyone, never complained.

He left Tiffin with his family for Elkhorn, in Wisconsin, in 1847, where he remained but a short time, and then moved to Missouri, where he died in 1848. The writer read law with Mr. Cowdery in Tiffin, and was intimately acquainted with him, from the time he came here until he left, which afforded me every opportunity to study and love his noble and true manhood. (We quote from the manuscript furnished by Mr. Yingling.)

We reproduce this extract from the history of Seneca County because it is written by one who was intimately acquainted with Oliver Cowdery... We submit the foregoing to the careful consideration of those who wish to know the truth; to those who are seeking for the opposite we have nothing to offer.

Note 1: This previously unknown, unmentioned, and unaccounted for pamphlet was first produced (as a purported reproduction) by Rev. Robert B. Neal (1847-1925) of Grayson, Kentucky, a former member of the Utah Ministerial Association and the self-styled head of the "The American Anti Mormon Association." Neal published the so-called Cowdery "Defence" under the series title of Anti-Mormon Tracts, No. 9. RLDS Apostle Heman C. Smith apparently thought that some parts of the pamphlet were the original words of Oliver Cowdery and that other parts were not. It is within the margins of possibility that R. B. Neal did obtain some kind of Cowdery holograph or document copy from which he "borrowed" some of the language found in his 1906 production, but the stronger likelihood is that he merely imitated Cowdery's phraseology after reading copies of his authentic writings.

Note 2: This purported Cowdery pamphlet quickly found its way into other publications directed against Mormonism. Charles A. Shook reproduced it (along with some other probable forged documents he obtained from Rev. Neal) on pp. 50-54 of his 1914 book, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon and former RLDS Bishop, Richard C. Evans, used the highly questionable 1906 account on p. 24 of his 1920 book Forty Years in the Mormon Church. Years later, in 1976, James Bales reprinted Evans' book and included the entire alleged Cowdery document on pp. 183-187 of his reprint edition.

Note 3: Jerald and Sandra Tanner argue in 1989 that the spurious Cowdery "Defence" was probably a forgery written and published by the third President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. William H, Whitsitt. The Tanners present absolutely no convincing evidence for this allegation and consequently no proof of their vicious allegations. For a counter-argument defending Whitsitt, see pp. 104-112 of Rev. Bryan Ready's 2001 Master's thesis.


Vol. 54.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  May 15, 1907.                           No. 20.


R. B. Neal, of Grayson, Kentucky, breaks forth again in the Christian Standard for April 20, 1907.

This time he has unearthed a wonderful occurrence, said to have happened at Kinderhook, Illinois, in 1843, where some plates were found by a party of men, and afterwards sent to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, for the purpose of deciphering some alleged ancient characters engraved upon them.

Mr. Neal takes the position that the plates were prepared and hid in the mound as a hoax by certain residents of Kinderhook, Illinois, and the so-called characters were a lot of meaningless tracings. To prove his position he publishes an affidavit from one of the men who signed a statement corroborating the account of the original finding of the plates.

This witness of Mr. Neal's admits in his affidavit that he was one of those who signed a certificate attached to a statement made about the time the plates were found. In that certificate, Mr. Neal's witness joined with eight others in certifying that:

"On the 23rd day of April, 1843, while excavating a large mound in this vicinity Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound six brass plates, of a bell shape covered with ancient characters," * * *

This same man, who certified and declared that "the six brass plates" taken from the mound were "covered with ancient characters," afterwards admits that he and Wiley made them, he certified to a falsehood when he declared in his first signed statement that the characters on the plates were ancient characters. According to his own affidavit, Mr. Neal's witness certified once to a falsehood; who is prepared to state when he stopped falsifying? And yet this man, who by his own confession is the willful maker of a lie, is brought forward as the sole witness to a translation which Mr. Neal says "should, and will, for ever damn Joseph Smith, Jr., and his system."

What Mr. Neal's witness says may be true, but surely Reverend Neal is slightly overstepping his grounds as a professed minister of Jesus Christ, when he forgets the gospel admonition that every word should be established in the mouth of two or more witnesses, and substitutes in its place the unsupported testimony of one lone man, who is a self-confessed falsifier, as the main evidence upon which he proposes to "for ever damn Joseph Smith, Jr." The Kinderhook affair may have been a hoax, but before Mr. Neal succeeds in convincing unprejudiced minds that it was so, he must produce better evidence than is contained in his articles. -- Evening and Morning Star, April, 1907.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 55.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  January 15, 1908.                           No. 3.

Elders'  Note-Book


          "What that doctrine and faith is, and was, I ought to know."

(Editor's Note. -- Herewith appears a letter from Elder Richard Ferris, followed by a verified copy of the Cowdery letter, which he referred to, taken from the photos which he forwarded to us. We have delayed the publication of this letter, hoping to reproduce the photos in question, but have found it impossible (owing to their size, and the fact that they are blue prints) to secure a legible reproduction. However, the photos are on file with the Editors, and -may be seen by those who choose. -- ASSOCIATE EDITOR.)

                                    OAKLAND, California, August 5, 1904.
Bro. Elbert Smith:

Dear Sir: I forward you photos of the Cowdery letter, which you will find on analysis to totally refute the story of the Brighamites that polygamy was a part of the doctrines of the church during the Martyrs' time. You see that Daniel and Phoebe Jackson, and Phineas Young lived in Montrose, Iowa, in 1846. They were sisters of Cowdery (that is Phoebe Jackson and Phineas Young's wife). Phineas Young's wife got a letter from Cowdery asking if it was true that some were practicing polygamy in Nauvoo. She would not answer, but turned the letter over to her sister, who did answer it. The photos are of the reply from Cowdery. I knew Phoebe Jackson in Sacramento, when I lived there, twenty-five years ago. On visiting there, Mrs. Quigley, her daughter, loaned me the letter. Bro. Kelley has it now. Mrs. Jackson showed me the letter when she was living and told me its history as I gave it to you. I did not know its value then, as I had but lately come into the church, and she told me it had been published.
                  Your brother in the gospel,
630 Chestnut street            Richard Ferris.

     Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, July 24, 1846.

Brother Daniel and Sister Phoebe: Phoebe's letter mailed at Montrose on the 2nd of the month, was received in due time, and would have been replied to immediately, but it came in the midst of the toil and business of court, which has just closed; and I take the earliest moment to answer. It is needless to say that we had long looked for, and long expected a letter from you or Sister Lucy.

Now, Brother Daniel and Sister Phoebe, what will you do? Has Sister Phoebe written us the truth, and if so, will you venture with your little ones, into the toil and fatigue of a long journey, and that for the sake of finding a resting place when you know of miseries of such magnitude as have, as will, and as must rend asunder the tenderest and holiest ties of domestic life? I can hardly think it possible, that you have written us the truth, that though there may be individuals who are guilty of the iniquities spoken of, -- yet no such practice can be preached or adhered to, as a public doctrine. Such may do for the followers of Mahomet; it may have done some thousands of years ago; but no people, professing to be governed by the pure and holy principles of the Lord Jesus, can hold up their heads before the world at this distance of time, and be guilty of such folly -- such wrong -- such abomination. It will blast, like a mildew, their fairest prospects, and lay the axe at the root of the tree of their future happiness.

You would like to know whether we are calculating to come on and emigrate to California. On this subject everything depends upon circumstances, -- and of those circumstances it is not necessary for me here to speak. We do not feel to say or do anything to discourage you from going, if you think it best to do so. We know, in part, how you are situated. Out of the church, you have few, or no friends, and very little, or no society -- in it you have both. So far as going west is concerned, I have thought it a wise move indeed. I could see no other; and though the journey is frequently attended with toil, yet a bright future has been seen in the distance, if right counsels were given, and a departure in no way from the original faith, in no instance countenanced. Of what that doctrine and faith is, and was, I ought to know, and further it does not become me now to speak.

On the 27th of May we had an addition to our little family, of another daughter, who died on the 3d of this month So we are left again, with Mona, and Mona only -- we have lost five children.

Brother Lyman visited us on the 15th of May, and Brother Warren and Sister Patience on the 25 of June. They are well, and as we learn by letters, our friends in Kirtland are well. Father and mother enjoy good health, and hold out well, for persons of their age. Lawrence is postmaster. Lyman has recently moved from the William Smith house to the [illegible] up near by Ruesels. Warren still lives on the Bailey farm. Franklin is clerk in the stage office of Niel, Moore & Co., at Wheeling, West Virginia, and he often complains, in his letters to us, that he has written you, but gets no reply. You ought to write to him.

Now, Brother Samuel, I shall expect, for the receipt of this, that you will write them and explain to them why you do not write oftener. When you see Lucy, give our love to her. I shall write Phineas, and direct to Nauvoo. I have not written any of you for a long time, thinking it doubtful whether you would receive letters, when exiled, persecuted, &c.

Now, don't forget to write to us. May the Lord have mercy on you, and protect and spare you.
           Truly your brother and friend,
                                 OLIVER COWDERY.

P. S Elizabeth and Mona send love.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 55.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  May 27, 1908.                           No. 22.

Of General Interest


(The cuts used in this article are used by courtesy of the Liahona. -- Editors Herald.)

Our readers who are familiar with the events which attended the coming forth of the Book of Mormon will remember that, while the translation of it was in progress, and about two years before it was published, the Prophet Joseph Smith made upon a sheet of paper a facsimile of some of the characters on the gold plates from which he made the English translation, and gave it to Martin Harris, who showed it to Professor Charles Anthon of New York, a scholar learned in ancient languages.. This slip of paper came to possess great historic value, and was carefully preserved. Facsimiles of it have been published repeatedly.

Some months ago the Christian Standard, Campbellite, Cincinnati,) promised its readers some anti-Mormon articles, and on the first page of its issue of April 18 it gives one, under a "scare" heading, written by Reverend R. B. Neal, a Campbellite preacher, and rabid opponent of the Book of Mormon. Evidently this production has been in process of incubation a long time. What purports to be a facsimile of the famous Harris-Anthon .sheet of hieroglyphics forms part of the article, but it gives only five lines of characters whereas the original contains seven lines. As newspaper cuts go the imitation of the five lines is close, but it is not perfect. The reproduction given by the Standard has the heading "Caractors," and Reverend Neal grows sarcastic over the faulty orthography.

It is frankly admitted that at the time this sheet of characters was copied from the plates of the Book of Mormon, which was early in 1828, the education of the Prophet Joseph Smith, then twenty-two years old, was very defective, a fact that makes the work he did all the more marvelous, and is an added proof of its divinity. If his education was so deficient that he could not spell the word characters correctly, how could he have exercised, without divine aid, the wonderful ability to concoct and successfully foist upon the world such a stupendous imposture as the Book of Mormon must be, if it is not of divine origin? Sarcastic flings at his lack of education are really arguments in defense of the genuineness of his inspiration.

This incomplete facsimile is given for the purpose of basing upon it an attack upon the Book of Mormon. The Standard writer sets out to show that the characters are not ancient hieroglyphics at all, but were "put down at random by an ignorant person, with no resemblance to anything, not even shorthand." After "proving" this claim, the astute Standard writer proceeds to "prove" that many of the characters "resemble" English letters and figures so strongly as to show that they were actually taken from these sources. In one breath he holds that they resemble nothing, "not even shorthand," and in the next he holds that they so strongly resemble English characters as to prove such to have been their origin. So much for his consistency; it indicates his brain power.

This prodigy of polemics next essays a mode of attack on the Nephite scriptures which, so far as we are aware, is original with him, and over the success (?) of which he gloats tremendously. He pretends to select from the reproduced facsimile thirty-seven Nephite characters and arranges them in a vertical row. Then in a parallel row he places the same number of English characters that resemble those in the first row. He thus makes it appear that each of the thirty-seven characters selected by him from the hieroglyphics bears a resemblance to some English character, either a digit or letter of the alphabet. He resorts to many different styles and "faces" of English type in order to make up his second column. His purpose is to show that the Nephite characters are not hieroglyphics at all, but were adapted from English letters and figures by Joseph Smith for fraudulent purposes. In other words he attempts in this manner to prove that this famous sheet of ancient Nephite writing is a bungling forgery, so stupid in design and execution as to be easily detected by a schoolboy.

We tool; a copy of the Christian Standard to an engraver and had made exact duplicates of the facsimile of the slip of hieroglyphics and the parallel columns of characters, which illustrated its article, and give both herewith. As these cuts are zinc etchings they may be depended upon to be absolutely exact reproductions of those in the Standard, and are the same size to a hair's breadth. We wish to emphasize this statement, and in support of it challenge comparison of the cuts which accompany this article with those given in the Christian Standard of April 18. The naked eye can not detect the slightest difference, except that fifteen of the characters in the first of the parallel columns are followed by an X, which our engraver affixed to them pursuant to our instructions.

Now remember that Reverend R. B. Neal, Campbellite preacher, pretends that he selected from among the hieroglyphics which he reproduces, all of the thirty-seven characters in the first of the parallel columns. But not one of the fifteen characters marked with an X can be found there. They are forgeries -- brazen, shameless, indefensible forgeries. The reader is invited to scan as closely as he chooses the plate of hieroglyphics and he will not find on it one of the characters marked with an X. There are several other characters among the thirty-seven which are very doubtful. Two or three of the forged characters resemble some found among the hieroglyphics. But in a case of this kind mere resemblance is not enough. No torturing into shape can be allowed. The characters in the first of the parallel columns must have exact duplicates among the hieroglyphics, or the charge of forgery stands. Nearly half of this evidence presented to prove the Book of Mormon a forgery, is forged, and the forger is a Campbellite preacher, a reckless accusant and assailant of Latter-day Saints' missionaries, and a regular contributor to the chief organ of his sect.

As a rule the members of the Christian denomination are truthful, moral, and respectable people; will they sanction on the part of one of their ministers the forgery we are exposing? Will they support the principal organ of their church in being a party to such a fraud? Do they doubt that it has been committed? Let them examine a copy of the Christian Standard of April 18, 1908. It contains the proof we give here, which is absolutely mathematical in the certainty with which it establishes. the guilt of the accused. Although this offense may not he punishable by law, it is detestable in morals.

The Standard was cunning enough to print the plate of hieroglyphics on one side of a leaf, and the parallel columns on the other, thus making scrutiny and comparison of the strange characters so difficult that not one reader in thousands would detect the forgery which, however, is obvious when both plates are printed on the same page and attention is called to it.

But what of the twenty or more characters found among the hieroglyphics which strongly resemble English digits or letters? If such an argument has any weight when applied to one sample of ancient writing, it must be given equal weight when applied to another. But it has no force at all. Most modern alphabets are of necessity formed of lines, curves, dots and angles, and most ancient writing was composed of the same elements. In our day the type-founder's art has been carried so far in devising varied styles of "faces" that English letters or figures of some "face" can be found that will match characters taken from almost any ancient alphabet or specimen of writing.

Take the Moabite stone, for example. All scholars are familiar with it. It is reproduced in the "Illustrations and Helps" (p. 11) of the American edition of the Oxford Bible, which gives a description of it.. It dates back to the beginning of the ninth century before Christ. A glance at the facsimile of this stone will show that many of the characters on it could be closely duplicated from English fancy type, yet any man who would urge this fact as an argument against its genuineness would be regarded by scholars as a simpleton. So much for this latest and most formidable (?) attack on the Book of Mormon! -- From an editorial in the Liahona, the Elder's Journal, May 9, 1908.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 56.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  July 28, 1909.                           No. 30.


Quite a number of years ago, while yet the Herald was being published at Plano, Illinois, Charles W. Penrose, now one of the Twelve in the Utah Church, was publishing at Ogden, Utah, a little journal called the Ogden Junction. In one of the leading articles of this journal at one time was a statement to the effect that "the son of the Prophet" was afraid of what might be discovered of the history of the past, referring to the history of the church before the death of Joseph and Hryum Smith. This statement was called out by a reference made in the Herald to an effort being made by certain parties to find reliable information to the effect that there was collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in connection with the work... A discovery made by the diligent search of Elder Walter W. Smith, now laboring in Philadelphia, is the case in point.

On the 10th of January, 1848, a special conference of a goodly number of members of the church during the lifetime of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, was convened at the house of an elder by the name of Thomas Tourtillott. Over this conference Elder Tourtillott presided.

One action of this conference is discovered in the following:

Resolved, That whereas the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has suffered much from the impositions of men professing to be prophets and leaders of the church, and have led their followers into sin and iniquities of the grosser kind, and have thereby brought the principles of our holy religion into disrespect before the world. Therefore

Resolved, that we deem it expedient that some measures be adopted for the speedy relief and redemption of the Saints, and that a statement be made of the principal causes that have led to this evil in the church, and brought so much suffering upon the innocent, whereby many are now scattered to and fro in the earth, like sheep having no shepherd. And whereas, we believe that the Lord has not deprived this people of a of a prophet -- therefore,

Resolved, That a committee of six men be appointed to write a proclamation to all the Saints, setting forth the true order of the church, according to the law of God.

Whereupon, Thomas Tourtillott, Aaron Hook, Alva Smith, John Landers, William Smith, and Nathaniel Berry, were unanimously chosen said committee.

This committee, after due deliberation, published a communication entitled, "To the Scattered Saints." In this communication, after setting forth what they believed to be the causes which led to the evil conditions which they deplored, they set forth the following as an agreement of the principle of organization.

First, a Presidency of three, section 3, paragraph 11.

Secondly, the traveling High Council, to act under the direction of the First Presidency, par. 12, and in addition to this is the council of twelve high priests who firm a standing council for the church in Zion, including the seventies, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons, all acting in their several capacities as defined in the Book of Covenants.

Third, we hold the Book of Covenants as a law unto the church, until the coming of Christ, immutable and unchangeable, therefore we have no right, neither an angel from heaven to violate this law. Provisions are also made in this law for the filling up of vacancies that may occur, without the administration of an angel for that purpose, sec. 13, par. 4, sec. 5, pars. 5 and 6.

The gate into the church is baptism, and the right to the Presidency of the church comes by ordination of those holding authority in the church, and by the appointment of the church. The President may also be appointed by revelation and acknowledged by the church in his administration, and such is the power and authority invested in this our brother, William Smith, and we now call upon you, as servants of the living God, to rise up and lay hold.

Under this declaration, which was signed by the committee, an organization apparently was effected, in which William Smith, Aaron Hook, and Alva Smith were chosen to preside, and a pamphlet was published sometime in November, 1948, including the minutes of the conference, the appeal to the scattered Saints, and a revelation said to have been given to William Smith in 1847. From this revelation we quote as follows:

Therefore, my servant William, gird up thy loins and put on the whole armor for the work whereunto I have appointed thee, for though thy spirit has not been altogether pure, yet because thou hast humbled thyself before me, and because of the integrity of thy heart in the proclamation of the truth, and because thou hast nobly and manfully defended the cause of thy father's house, the cause of the innocent and my servant Joseph who was the Prophet and head of the church in these last days, a church of my own right hand's planting, not to be destroyed or thrown down; yea, because of these things I have forgiven thee, and accepted thy offering. I said unto my servant Joseph that his blessing should remain upon the head of his posterity, and be handed down through the lineage of his father's house according to the flesh; therefore the true church continueth with this priesthood -- that same high priesthood with which thou art invested and to which thou hast been ordained by my servant Joseph, thy brother, and which thou dost inherit by lineage from thy father Joseph Smith, sr., who was a descendant of Joseph the son of Jacob who was sold into Egypt; and no power on earth can deprive thee of thy authority and priesthood. Moreover I have appointed thee, my servant William Smith, to take the place of my servant Hiram Smith, thy brother, as Patriarch unto the whole church, and to preside over my people, saith the Lord your God, and no power shall remove thee therefrom; and thou shall be the prophet, seer, revelator, and translator unto my church during the minority of him whom I have appointed from the loins of Joseph thy brother; go on, therefore, and organize and set in order all the branches, for I have given thee full power and authority.

This pamphlet was issued and circulated under the authority of William Smith and those with him, which authority had been bestowed by the church under the administration of Joseph Smith, acting as president of the church organized April 6, 1830. The men composing this organization so effected in Philadelphia [sic] in January, 1848, made an effort to build up the church, preach the gospel, and re-gather the membership which had been scattered by the evil doctrines and practices which had been introduced into the church. There can be no question but what these men held legitimate authority; and had they but pursued the proper course after such organization, having the right of church expansion, they would have formed a strong defense against the encroaching evil and would have accomplished much good. We make these extracts from this pamphlet discovered by Bro. Walter W. Smith, who has been very persistent in searching for historical facts connected with the history of the church in the old city of "brotherly love."

It will be seen that while William Smith was chosen to act as president, such choice was made upon the hypothesis that he had been ordained to succeed his brother Hyrum as patriarch of the church, and also as having been ordained a prophet, seer, and revelator.

It will be seen further that this appointment to preside was understood by them to be in force only while the one who had been chosen of God to succeed in the Presidency should remain in his minority. That if, during this minority, this one who had come in at the gate should retain the honor and integrity consistent in an upright life, he should be placed in the sphere into which he had been called.

It does not detract from the value of this testimony that the statement is made in a revelation stated to have been given to William Smith in 1847. If the revelation was genuine, it is in harmony with the revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, affirming the principle that "in thee and thy seed, shall the nations of the earth be blessed," a promise made to Joseph Smith, jr., the first president of the church organized in 1830. If the revelation is not genuine, it still shows that the principle referred to was understood not only by William Smith, the brother of Joseph, but by his associates, the men named in the committee, two of whom, Aaron Hook and Alvah Smith, were chosen to form a part of the Presidency,

We give this to the readers of the Herald as an additional evidence that the principle of true succession, as to the presidency of the church, was not only understood but openly advocated before the choosing of Brigham Young at Winter Quarters in December, 1847; and the consequent reorganization of his followers as a whole, under the ministration of the regime instituted by Brigham Young...

Note 1: The editor of the Saints' Herald was mistaken in assuming that the Jan. 10, 1848 conference of William Smith's followers was held in Philadelphia. In fact, it was held at Palestine Grove, a few miles southeast of Amboy, in Lee County, Illinois. The newspaper broadside William had printed up to publicize his little conference, indicates that the men gathered at "Palestine City," -- a Zionic city of Mormon imagination which was never actually built. The broadside was not published "sometime in November, 1948," but rather, on March 24, 1848, at Princeton, Bureau Co., Illinois.

Note 2: The rediscovery of this old Mormon text has led some fundamentalist RLDS to wax enthusiastic in their renewed support for the priestly "authority" of Joseph's younger brother. Elder Patrick S. McKay, Sr., of Independence, Missouri, in his recent
discourse, "The Birth, Progress and Destiny of the Reorganized Church" writes: "There can be no question that William Smith and those early associated with him held legitimate authority...," while McKay's coreligionist, Elder Bob Moore, goes a step beyond even that, saying: "Possibly the first revelation given to the saints at large after the murder of Joseph Smith came through William Smith. He succeeded Hyrum as Church Patriarch and, according to the scriptures (RLDS D&C 107:29d), could function as a prophet. The document William presented [in 1848] authorized him to organize the church and serve as its head until Young Joseph became its president." Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln, who said that you can fool some of the people all of the time?


Vol. 56.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 4, 1909.                           No. 31.

Original Articles



(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 56.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  October 6, 1909.                           No. 40.



Some weeks ago an editorial writer for The Boston Traveler became greatly agitated over the report that certain Vermont officials were to cooperate with Reed Smoot in certain exercises at the dedication of a monument to the memory of Joseph Smith, at Sharon, Vermont.

Not knowing anything about "Mormonism" himself, he immediately turned to the American Cyclopedia, book 11, page 834, and spent fifteen or twenty minutes in study, after which he felt prepared to give the history of Joseph Smith...

(under construction)


The Traveler says:

We note that our critics refrain from any attempt to refute the historical fact that Mormonism was conceived in fraud.

The Traveler seems to feel grieved that we did not point out more errors. This we can soon correct.

We quote their statement:

The facts afterwards elicited were, that the manuscript (of the Book of Mormon) was written in 1812 as an historical romance by one Solomon Spalding, an insane preacher. Later it fell into the hands of an unscrupulous compositor named Sidney Rigdon, who copied it and gave it to Smith, who used it as a base of his fraudulent scripture.

This is just as false a statement as the one that the church was organized in 1833, or that the Kirtland Bank existed in 1832, or that Joseph Smith was assassinated in Missouri.

The facts are that Sidney Rigdon at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon was a well-known and respected preacher of the Christian or Campbellite persuasion, residing in Ohio, and never saw Joseph Smith or heard of the Book of Mormon until after the book was copyrighted and published.

The Solomon Spalding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon has been abandoned by all intelligent and up-to-date opponents of Mormonism, and The Boston Traveller should qualify for that class ere it attempts to write on this question. D. H. Bays, one of the ablest opponents of "Mormonism," in his book entitled Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism, says:

The usual debater undertakes to trace the Book of Mormon to the Spalding romance through Sidney Rigdon.

Nothing can be more erroneous, and it will lead to almost certain defeat. The well-informed advocate of Mormonism wants no better amusement than to vanquish an opponent in discussion who takes this ground. The facts are all opposed to this view, and the defenders of the Mormon dogma have the facts well in hand. I speak from experience. -- Page 22.

The Traveler should go faster or else quit traveling.

In 1839, L. L. Rice purchased from E. D. Howe, a former exposer of Mormonism and one of the fathers of the Spalding romance theory, the Painesville Telegraph, of Painesville, Ohio, with all the type, presses, books, and manuscripts belonging to the office. Years later, in connection with his friend, President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, while going through these old manuscripts, he found the original manuscript of the Spalding romance, bearing the signature and verification of E. D. Howe [sic] and others who had been interested in exposing "Mormonism." The manuscript was placed in the hands of President Fairchild, and is now in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, where it may be viewed by anyone who chooses to take the trouble. It has been published in book form and the Herald Editors will take pleasure in securing a copy of it for The Boston Traveler, if it is desired. It is about as much like the Book of Mormon as a mud turtle is like an eagle, and that is why Bays said that the facts were all opposed to the Solomon Spalding romance theory. The Traveler is as weak on facts as it is on dates...

The only other explanation ever offered has been the Solomon Spalding Manuscript. But presumptions are so numerous, there is so little evidence to sustain them, that even its principal defenders have admitted it will not stand examination. We are now told there were four Solomon Spalding manuscripts. Why four? Simply because their testimony is so contradictory that it would take that many different drafts to protect all the witnesses. Given the facts, that a man in a certain State, writing a manuscript, and another man enters the same State, they assume without evidence that (1) the manuscript is of a certain character; (2) the manuscript is stolen; (3) that it was stolen by the second man. By making such presumptions as these, it would be easy to prove any man a criminal...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 56.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  Dec. 29, 1909.                           No. 52.



From present appearances as gathered from the press dispatches Doctor Cook did not find the North Pole. At all events that which he has offered as evidence lacks the qualification of being proof. One of the American Societies has accepted the claims of Commander Peary, though it remains to be tried out before the general body of scientists in the United States.

We reserved our opinion of the correctness of Doctor Cook's statement, as we did also upon the claims of Commander Peary. We thought it possible that each of these explorers might have found what he believed to be the Pole, that is to say, the point where the lines of longitude would converge, and where the lines of parallel slip of the rounded top of the world... It seems better to wait development of events authorizing the establishment of the fact or the probability of the region being discovered, before jumping to conclusions which seemingly disturb the traditional teaching of many of the eldership touching the occupancy of the north land by the so-called lost tribes of Israel, upon whose approach to warmer climate the ice was to flow down at their presence...

Note: To better understand the context of some of the "traditional teaching of many of the eldership," above alluded to, see the Sept. 5, 1906 issue of the Saints Herald.


Vol. 57.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  Jan. 26, 1910.                           No. 4.



The family record of Isaac Sheen begins in the reign of George the Second when the son of the old Pretender descended like an avalanche into England. At this time lived John and Robert Sheen. John espoused the cause of the Pretender and with the battle of Colloden his estate in Northampshire and further record of him were lost. Robert, the younger brother, was the great-grandfather of Isaac. Thomas, son of Robert, married Elizabeth Warren, and William, their son, married Jane Kirk. To the latter couple were born Isaac, Frederick, Charles, James, Amy and Martha.

Isaac received only six months' schooling, yet it was the boast of the compositors in the Herald Office in Plano, Illinois, in 1864, that they never knew him to misspell a word, and his penmanship reminds me of that plain type known to printers as "Scotch-face." He was born at Littlethorpe, Leicestershire, England, December 22, 1810; and January, 1910, marks the semicentennial of the Herald and also the beginning of the centennial year of its first editor.

In 1830 he sailed for and arrived in America. In Chester County, Pennsylvania, he worked among Quakers at his trade as a stocking weaver and through them imbibed the doctrine that "all men are created free and equal," and going down into "My Maryland" he preached that doctrine to a darkey and bade him if he would be free to "hike" in the direction of the North Star. The darkey "hiked" while his benefactor also "hiked" to save himself.

While in Philadelphia he carried newspapers; invented a shorthand system and sold it to the Harpers of New York City for one hundred dollars, and learned the daguerreotype art. One day in 1840 Isaac was attracted by a crowd entering a hallway, and following along he found himself in a Saints' meeting, -- he had come to his destiny, was converted, baptized, and confirmed by Erastus Snow.

With Almon W. Babbitt he went to Kirtland in 1841, where he was ordained an elder by Elder Zebedee Coltrin and married a sister of Babbitt, who performed the marriage ceremony in a house formerly owned by Joseph Smith, jr. In 1842 he walked from Kirtland to Nauvoo, and the following year settled with his family at Macedonia near by, and for a time taught school.

When the excitement raged in Nauvoo and vicinity Isaac stood in line with the Nauvoo Legion awaiting the call of the bugle to charge the Philistines, but the call never came and this ended his military career.

Joseph and Hyrum dead and the Twelve Apostles sitting upon the throne, the exodus came and Isaac Sheen said, "Brigham go thy way and I will go mine." Placing his wife, daughter, and baby boy in Almon Babbitt's carriage, in February, 1846, he crossed the frozen Mississippi and headed for Booneville, Missouri. Leaving his family here with relatives, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and engaged again in newspaper carrying and shortly was enabled to send for his family and locate them in Covington, Kentucky, in 1847.

Here he discovered the lineal priesthood doctrine and made a synopsis along that line from the Book of Mormon, and that synopsis is now before me. He wrote to William Smith along that line and William and himself got together, first by letter, then personally. Isaac published a small paper for several months while William preached in Lee County, Illinois, and Cincinnati. Lyman Wight was also in sympathy with him. A conference was held in Covington in June, 1847, and although I was only about four and one half years of age I have a distinct memory of the hall and gathering and it was there resolved that it was "young Joseph's right by lineage," etc., and that William should stand in his stead until Joseph should come of age. (See Aaronic and Melchisedeck Herald, now in, or should be in, Schroeder's collection, in University of Wisconsin,)

In 1850 Isaac Sheen broke away from William Smith. W. W. Blair was with a branch of William's organization in Lee County, Illinois, but he cut loose in 1852. In 1857 Zenos H. Gurley and Jason W. Briggs were with the Strangites. But Zenos began to receive divine direction and Jason received a revelation November 18, 1851. The Covington doctrine of lineal rights was indorsed by the Newark Branch, June 13, 1852, (see Herald, No. 2, page 51,) three years after the Covington conference had declared the doctrine and Isaac had set it forth in his paper. Ebenezer Robinson and Isaac were united on lineal priesthood in 1856, for I heard them converse on the subject in Cincinnati. Adna C. Halderman informed father in Cincinnati in 1859 that there were people in Illinois who believed as he did, and they would hold a conference near Sandwich, Illinois, (at the home of I. L. Rogers, October 6 to 10). He attended that conference and was appointed to edit a paper; and Zenos H. Gurley, William Marks, and W. W. Blair were made the Publishing Committee.

He came to Cincinnati and reported through the Commercial a "new organization" and issued the Herald, No. 1, January, 1860, and continued as its editor until the April conference of 1865. He died April 3, 1874, and was buried on Easter Sunday.

From a photo taken in 1866.

Note 1: In the above autobiographical sketch, Elder Sheen's son managed to string together nearly a dozen paragraphs, without communicating much information elucidating the life of the elusive Isaac Sheen. For example, nothing is said about his wife and family, their movements after they moved from Covington to Plano Illinois, Sheen's ordinations and offices in the RLDS church, his place of death, the names of his surviving relatives in 1874, etc. etc. RLDS records divulge the fact that he was the man who offered the motion at the first RLDS conference (held at Amboy, Illinois during the first part of April, 1860), that Joseph Smith III should "be received as Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and successor to his father." Three days later Isaac Sheen was ordained the first President of the RLDS High Priests' Quorum, an office he still held at the time of his death. Isaac Sheen died at Plano, Kendall County, Illinois and was buried there. According to his obituary, in the Apr. 15, 1874 issue of the Saints' Herald, President William W. Blair offered a "discourse upon the occasion," in which the speaker provided a few more scant details on Isaac Sheen's life and his passing away.

Note 2: I seems a bit strange that Isaac Sheen's wife is not named in his 1910 biographical sketch, nor in his 1874 obituary. According to the 1914 Babbitt Family History, she was Drucilla Babbit, the sister of the noted Mormon, Almon W. Babbit. In his autobiography, Joseph Smith III mentions the lady only in passing and refers to her as "Priscilla." Mrs. Sheen was obviously not well known nor well regarded by the RLDS leadership. The Church had to bring a law suit against the widow in 1874, in order to recover certain "books" it claimed as RLDS property. The couple were evidently married in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1841, however Ohio civil records do not record the marriage, nor does the U. S. Census for the years 1850-80 list a Drucilla Sheen living in Kentucky, Ohio or Illinois. The marriage index for Kendall Co., Illinois shows that a "Mrs. Drusilla Sheen married Joseph Morrell on Jan. 29, 1877; also a "Matilda Sheen" married E. F. Whitcomb two days later -- she may have been the Sheen's daughter. Isaac and Drucilla had at least one son, John Kirk Sheen. They evidently had another son, named Charles, whose name appears in early RLDS records.

Note 3: Numerous RLDS pamphlets were issued under Isaac Sheen's name by the church during the 1860s; perhaps the first of these was his 1864 tract, The Plan of Salvation. In 1889 Isaac's son, John Kirk Sheen, published three interesting works in York, York. Co., Nebraska: The writings of Joseph Smith, the Seer; The Relic Library; and Polygamy: or, The Veil Lifted. The latter title provides some information on John's father -- for example: "In February, 1849, Isaac Sheen began the publication of a small paper devoted exclusively to 'lineal rights' of the 'Smith family.' In June of that year a conference was held in Covington, Ky., and it was there resolved that they recognized the right of 'young Joseph' to be the President of the church 'whenever he should so claim.' In the meantime, William Smith was to officiate. A combination with Lyman Wight was made and it was planned to go to Texas, but 'the best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft algee.' Through the visit an[d] death of Otis Hobart it was learned that the 'devil' was in Texas and that William was not above suspicion. Father laid a plan to entrap him, and succeeded in getting a polygamous letter from William, who was then in Illinois. He immediately exposed 'the Elijah of the last dispensation;' withdrew his name from the petition against the 'State of Deseret' and pulled up the 'Stake of Zion' in Covington." John also contributed a short paper to Vol. 18 of Publications of the Nebraska State Historical Society, wherein he tells a little about the mysterious death of his uncle, Elder Almon W. Babbit.

Note 4: One fact that is hardly mentioned in any account of the life of Isaac Sheen is that he was an avid abolitionist, a participant in the ante-bellum "underground railway" in Kentucky, and the anonymous editor and publisher of anti-slavery literature. Sheen's participation in these activities probably accounts for his possessing a printing press as early as 1849. According to the RLDS history written by Inez Smith Davis: "Brother Sheen was considered a writer of parts, and he often contributed to the better-known magazines."


Vol. 58.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  February 15, 1911.                           No. 7.


The "Book of Mormon" was a successful literary steal and hoax. In 1812 Solomon Spalding, of New York (a would be Jules Verne), anticipating some of our own sensational romancing, made up his mind to create an atmosphere of mystery by naming one of his stories "Manuscript Found," and by claiming that the pages had been discovered in a cave in Ohio. This romance was based on the notion, then prevalent, that ancient America with its Aztecs and Indians was peopled by the descendants of "the lost tribes of Israel."

A manuscript copy of this story is known to have fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. This historical romance (with the addition of a few pious phrases and a few texts of scripture) was soon printed and distributed as the new Koran of a new Mohammed.

Spalding's widow and friends at once recognized and denounced this crude and huge imposture. But the snowball had commenced rolling; and its momentum still carried it on, enlarging it at every revolution. From only six followers in the beginning, the resultant sect of Mormonism has grown to an immense hierarchy and a swarming people -- all of whom have the enormous egotism to call themselves "latter day saints."

The foregoing is from the pen of Edwin Markham, and appears in the Cosmopolitan Magazine for March, under the caption, "Moth holes in Mormonism." Edwin Markham is the man who some years ago attained sudden fame by reason of the vogue given to his poem, "The man with the hoe," since which time he has been endeavoring to live up to his reputation as a writer. While reading this effusion on Mormonism, for some reason one line of his own poem kept running through our mind. "Who loosened and let down his jaw?"

It seems that all celebrated writers are fated sooner or later to stumble upon the theme of "Mormonism." The gentle and pious Quaker poet, Whittier, had a sneer for the "Mormon goggles;" and the profane Kipling attempted to dissect the Book of Mormon after giving it a half hour's perusal. Now comes this venerable man with a hoe and digs up the ancient, the justly discredited and decently buried apocryphal Solomon Spalding Romance Story. Probably Markham chose the title, "Moth holes in Mormonism," because of its fine alliterative sound, suggesting poetry. But after reading his criticism we are reminded that "Moth holes in Markham" is just as alliterative, and much more literal.

There is not one up-to-date student of "Mormonism" in the field as an opponent to-day who will undertake to defend the Solomon Spalding Romance theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. It has been completely abandoned by intelligent critics. It is put forward only by those who defend upon encylcopedias edited thirty years ago. Why will a supposedly great man, an apostle of liberty and justice, a would be remaker of the entire social system in the interest of the "brotherhood of humanity," so carelessly write upon a subject concerning which he is so ignorant, thus helping to perpetuate a gross libel that at the start was nothing but a falsehood foisted upon the public with the aid of an excommunicated adulterer.

D. H. Bays could not have written, "The man with the hoe," but he was a student of this question, and a prominent opponent of "Mormonism." In his book, Doctrine[s] and Dogmas of Mormonism, he said:

The usual debater undertakes to trace the Book of Mormon to the Spalding Romance through Sidney Rigdon,

Nothing can be more erroneous, and it will lead to almost certain defeat. The well-informed advocate of Mormonism wants no better amusement than to vanquish an opponent in discussion who takes this ground. The facts are all opposed to this view, and the defenders of the Mormon dogma have the facts well in hand. I speak from experience. -- Page 22.

There are two reasons why our opponents have abandoned the Spalding Romance Story. First, it never was true (but that alone would not be sufficient to cause it to be discarded). The second reason is more potent: It is generally known now that it never was true. The original manuscript of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" has come to light and neither Mr. Markham nor any other person need depend upon traditional testimony of Spalding's "widow and friends" as to its character. The facts were briefly set forth in our columns some time ago in answer to an article in the Boston Traveler.

In 1839, L. L. Rice purchased from E. D. Howe, a former exposer of Mormonism and one of the fathers of the Spalding Romance theory, the Painesville Telegraph, of Painesville, Ohio, with all the type, presses, books, and manuscripts belonging to the office. Years later, in connection with his friend, President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, while going through these old manuscripts, he found the original manuscript of the Spalding Romance, bearing the signature and verification of E. D. Howe [sic] and others who had been interested in exposing "Mormonism." The manuscript was placed in the hands of President Fairchild, and is now in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, where it may be viewed by anyone who chooses to take the trouble. It has been published verbatim in book form and the Herald Editors will take pleasure in securing a copy of it for The Boston Traveler, if it is desired. It is about as much like the Book of Mormon as a mud turtle is like an eagle, and that is why Bays said that the facts were all opposed to the Solomon Spalding Romance theory.

Edwin Markham can verify these statements by a visit to Oberlin College, or by correspondence with the college authorities. He should make this matter right or cease to pose as a man of honor and as an apostle of light.

E. A. S.      

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 60.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  June 25, 1913.                           No. 26.


"A very pretty 'theory,' and somewhat ingenious, but where is the evidence to support it?" -- D. H. Bays.

"Barring the question of the hearsay character of the evidence, I believe that a case can be made out much stronger than the circumstantial evidence upon which many a man has been hung." -- A. T. Schroeder.

"This may be true, but it must be borne in mind that many an innocent man has been hung upon purely 'circumstantial evidence.'... I need not remind an experienced attorney that there is a vast difference between 'hearsay evidence' and 'circumstantial evidence.'... The former Greenleaf peremptorily excludes."... -- D. H. Bays.

In his effort to explain the book of Mormon, Mr. Kinney has recourse to the old Spalding romance theory. He is aware of the existence of the famous Solomon Spalding manuscript in Oberlin College, ad the fact that it bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon; but being unwilling to abandon the old, worn-out theory, he concludes that there was a second manuscript, an imaginary, enlarged revision of the first, which has never been discovered, and which served as a basis for the Book of Mormon. In this plea he joins a few others who have tried to make it appear that there were two or even three of these Spalding manuscripts, and who probably would enlarge that number indefinitely, if necessary to bolster [up] their cause.

The resurrection of the old, decayed Solomon Spalding story suggests a review of the whole question. Our people met this question years ago and defeated their opponents, even before the manuscript now in the Oberlin College library was discovered. They were able to do this because the testimony connecting the Book of Mormon with the Spalding romance was contradictory and utterly unreliable. Bishop E. L. Kelley characterized it very aptly in his debate with Braden when he said:

That thing is so rotten and deceitful in conception, so false and malicious in publication, so absurd and ridiculous in belief, that you shall in your hearts feel ashamed that you ever entertained the thought that there might be something in it.

The old story may be briefly epitomized as follows:

First, that one Solomon Spalding, a Presbyterian minister, about 1811 lived at Conneaut, Ohio, and being in poor health, for diversion in his invalid state, and with hope of pecuniary profits, wrote a story which was like the present Book of Mormon and left it in manuscript form.

Second, that from Conneaut, Ohio, he moved to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1812, and while there handed the manuscript of this story to a publisher by the name of Robert Patterson for examination and publication.

Third, that the manuscript, instead of being published, was returned to Mr. Spalding, and in the year 1814 he left Pittsburg and went to Amity, Pennsylvania, where he died in the year 1816, when his efforts, including the manuscript, fell into the hands of his widow.

Fourth, that at the time the manuscript was in the office of the publisher, Mr. Patterson, one Sidney Rigdon was employed there, or in some way connected with the office, and either stole the manuscript or copied it. (The widow of Reverend Spalding testifies that he copied the manuscript and that the original was returned to her. Others claim that he stole it. Still others claim that Joseph Smith himself either copied it or stole it after it had passed into the hands of one Sabine. The vascillating and elastic methods of stating the case give it away at the start.)

Fifth, that Sidney Rigdon at the time knew of Joseph Smith and had opportunity to get this manuscript to him.

Sixth, that this was done in order that Rigdon and Smith might concoct the Book of Mormon and start a new church.


The Spalding theory was first exploited in 1834, in a book entitled Mormonism Unveiled, by E. D. Howe. Howe was a "Mormon hater" and was assisted in his work by Doctor Hurlbut, who was seeking revenge for having been excommunicated from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for indecent conduct. (See Church History, vol. 1, p. 294.)

Doctor Hurlbut secured the Spalding manuscript from the widow of Reverend Spalding and turned it over to Howe, as is shown by his testimony and the testimony of the widow. But Howe did not see fit to publish it, although to have done so would have been the surest way to have exposed the fraud, providing, of course, that his theory was correct. The fact that he did not do so was fatal evidence of the weakness of his position.

Instead of publishing the manuscript he contented himself with publishing affidavits from John Spalding (a brother of Solomon Spalding), Martha Spalding (John's wife), Henry Lake, John Miller, Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and one or two others who testified that they had heard the Spalding romance read and later heard the Book of Mormon read and discovered a striking resemblance between the two.


The widow of Solomon Spalding later joined in this denunciation of the Book of Mormon; and in Smucker's work, called the History of the Mormons, pages 43, 44 she tells how, years after the death of her husband, a "woman preacher" came to New Salem, where a meeting was held and copious extracts were read from the Book of Mormon. Mr. John Spalding was present and immediately recognized the book as one almost identical with the work written by his brother years before. This statement, signed by Matilda Davison, widow of Solomon Spalding, in its early form says that this was a "woman preacher." It appears that way in Smucker's History of the Mormons; in the work by T. W. P. Taydler, published in London at a very early date; in Mormons or Latter Day Saints, by another English author (1851); also we understand in Mackey's early work. When it was pointed out that we had no women preachers in the church, our opponents with characteristic mendacity changed this signed testimony, and Mr. Kinney uses it in its changed form on page 54 of his work (perhaps not knowing its original form), where he says that a Mormon elder came to this meeting and read copious extracts from the Book of Mormon. This is but one of many disreputable tricks that the opposition has resorted to, which indicate that they are contending against the truth. If our work is not the truth, why should they fight it with evasion and deceit?


For many years the Spalding manuscript was lost sight of; but in 1885, Mr. L. L. Rice, who over forty years previously had purchased the Painesville Telegraph from E. D. Howe, and had transferred the printing department, with type, press, and manuscripts to Honolulu [sic!!], discovered this manuscript while going over old documents, in connection with his friend, President Fairchild, of Oberlin College.

They read the manuscript carefully and reached the very just conclusion that it could never have served as a basis for the Book of Mormon. The manuscript was delivered into the care of President Fairchild and was placed in the library of Oberlin College. Mr. Fairchild prepared under his own supervision an exact copy of this manuscript, which was published, and may be obtained from the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa.

The manuscript bore the following indorsement, signed by D. P. Hurlbut:

The writings of Solomon Spalding proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.

Mr. Kinney claims that this manuscript does not bear the title of "Manuscript Found> on the title-page. Others have made the same criticism. This is explained by the fact that Spalding's widow urged him to make out a title-page and he refused. But in the very introduction of his work the author says that he translated it from manuscript found in a cave. That at once suggests and acknowledges the name by which it was known to the family and friends, so this trivial objection is removed.


We quote from Matilda Davison, Solomon Spalding's widow, as follows:

From New Salem we removed to Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania. Here Mr. Spalding found a friend and acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time and informed Mr. Spalding that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spalding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr. Spalding's manuscript and copied it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all who were connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington County, etc. Mr. Spalding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends.

After the Book of Mormon came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place where Mr. Spaulding's former residence [was], 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. Spalding, in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spalding 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 he arose on the spot, and expressed to the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his [sainted] brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting and deputed Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number to repair to this place and to obtain from them [sic] the original manuscript of Mr. Spalding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Doctor Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, which was [signed by] Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics, as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and its author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.   Smucker's History of the Mormons, pp. 43-44.

We quote from an interview in which Mrs. McKinstry made the following statement:

Q. Mrs. McKinstry, have you the Manuscript Found, Mr. Solomon Spalding is said to have written, in your possession?
A. I have not.

Q. What became of it?
A. My mother delivered it up for publication to a Mr. Hulburt who came to our house in Massachusetts for it, bearing letters of introduction from my uncle, a Mr. Sabine, a lawyer in New York State. -- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 82.

[These] quotations show that this was known as the Manuscript Found, and that it passed from the [hands] of the Spalding family into the hands of [Mr.] Hurlburt, Howe's co-laborer in exposing Mormonism.

[A statement] signed by D. P. Hurlbut and published by [Mr.] Patterson of Pittsburg shows that Hurlbut [left it] in the care of E. D. Howe. From this [statement we] quote:

                            GIBSONBURG, OHIO, Aug. 19. 1879.
I visited Mrs. Matilda (Spalding) Davidson at Monson, Massachusetts, in 1834, and never saw her afterwards. I then received from her a manuscript of her husband's, which I did not read but brought home with me and immediately gave it to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who was then engaged in preparing his book, Mormonism Unveiled. I do not know whether or not the document I received from Mrs. Davidson was Spalding's Manuscript Found, as I never read it; but whatever it was, Mr. Howe received it under the condition on which I took it from Mrs. Davidson, to compare it with the Book of Mormon and then return it to her. I never received any other manuscript of Spaulding's from Mrs. Davidson, or any one else. Of that manuscript I made no other use than to give it, with all my other documents connected with Mormonism, to Mr. Howe. I did not destroy the manuscript nor dispose of it to Joe Smith nor to any other person. -- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 91.


Thus we have traced the manuscript into the possession of E. D. Howe, among whose effects it was found by L. L. Rice. When Howe came to examine the manuscript he did not publish it, giving as an excuse that it did not read as he expected.

How, then, do we account for the fact that relatives and friends of Reverend Solomon Spalding testified that the Book of Mormon resembled his manuscript story?

Sometimes the human memory is treacherous. We have frequently heard men and women of undoubted veracity in important cases before the courts squarely counterdict their own testimony given at a preliminary hearing one year previous. A judge of one of the superior courts says that this is a common experience. It must be remembered that these men and women whose affidavits Howe used were testifying concerning a book that they had heard read more than twenty years before they testified. How many of our readers are competent to give accurate testimony regarding a novel that they casually heard read twenty or twenty-three years ago, -- especially when there was nothing to lead them to think that they would ever be called upon to bear witness as to its character, and so did not particularly charge their minds with its contents?

They testified to the appearance of exactly similar names in both books. How easy for one who had heard Spalding's manuscript read twenty-two years previously to imagine that the word Mormon, appearing in the Book of Mormon, was identical with Mammons, found in the Manuscript Found, especially as some of these witnesses remembered these names by the initial letter only;-- as they declared that Spalding made peculiar initial letters,

Again witnesses whose memory has been made hazy by the lapse of time can be very skillfully directed in their testimony, if they are properly handled by an unscrupulous attorney. These people were bitter enemies of the Saints. They hated the Book of Mormon and desired to destroy it. They were plastic witnesses. They were questioned by men who were seeking revenge and were very skillful in directing them in their testimony. This was brought out by an answer given by Mrs. McKinstry in an interview. She was asked:

Q. When did you first think about the names in the Book of Mormon and the manuscript agreeing?
A. My attention was first called to it by some parties who asked me if I did not remember it, AND THEN I REMEMBERED THAT THEY WERE. -- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 82.

Thus by skillful questioning and careful direction, Hurlbut and Howe were able to get the kind of testimony that they wanted from these people who were trying to remember the contents of a manuscript that they had heard read more than twenty years before. They were obliging but unreliable witnesses. Upon such a flimsy basis does the Spalding romance theory rest.


Howe, himself, gave his reasons for working out this theory in an interview from which we quote as follows:

What do you know personally about the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding story being the same?
A. I don't know anything.

Q. Why did you publish a work claiming that the Book of Mormon was the Spaulding Romance?
A. Because I could better believe that Spaulding wrote it than that Joe Smith saw an angel.

Q. Are those your grounds?
A. Yes, sir, they are; and I want you to understand that you can't cram the Book of Mormon down me.

Q. Do you swallow the Bible?
A. That is my business.

Q. Have you not published a pamphlet which does not endorse the Bible?
A. Yes, I have. -- Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 83.

Mr. Howe deliberately suppressed this manuscript while in his possession, refusing to publish it, and instead published these affidavits they had so carefully arranged. But the truth will out, and many years later in a strange manner it came out through the researches of President Fairchild and Mr. L. L. Rice.


One has but to read this manuscript to be convinced that it never served as a basis for the Book of Mormon. Nor will it do to think that any revised copy of that manuscript by the same author might have served for such a basis. The personality of an author appears in every book that he may write. Those who read this Manuscript Found will soon conclude that no book ever written by Reverend Solomon Spalding could possibly have served as a basis for the Book of Mormon.

Anyone with brains enough to work Solomon Spalding's writings over and produce a book as the Book of Mormon would not have needed any help from Spaulding's pen in the first instance.

Mr. Kinney's theory that there were two manuscripts rests upon his own imagination and that of other credulous clergymen. It is gotten up to [meet] the extigencies of the case and should be quite [beneficial to] a Baptist preacher who hopes to go to a good Baptist heaven when he dies. It is a fabrication clear and obvious.


Really intelligent and careful students of the question have completely abandoned the Spalding [story}. David Utter is reported to have said:

No one who has ever carefully read the Book of Mormon could fail to see that it never in any part was written [as a] romance.... Now, at last, the Spalding manuscript has been found, and it rests secure in the library of Oberlin College. -- The Latter Day Saints, by Kauffman, p. 29.

D. H. Bays, who studied the question for [many] years, and was hailed by our Christian friends [as a] "child of providence," whose book, they assured [us] was absolutely reliable as a textbook, says:

The long-lost Spalding story has at last been unearthed, and is now on deposit in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin Ohio, and may be examined by anyone who may take the pains to call on President Fairchild, of that institution....

The Spalding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- it will let you down.

The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spalding romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon must be abandoned. -- Doctrine[s] and Dogmas of Mormonism, pp. 24, 25.

President Fairchild of Oberlin College, says:

The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished.... Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required. -- Manuscript Found, pp. 5, 6.

And last, but not least, comes the new Encyclopedia Brittannica (fourteenth edition). in which we read:

It was a contention of the early anti-Mormons, [nor was it] ever discredited, that the Book of as published [by] Smith was rewritten with few changes from an unpublished romance, The Manuscript Found, written before 1812 by Solomon Spalding.... There is no actual proof that Rigdon [lived] in Pittsburg, or was employed in a printer's shop there [as] early as when Spalding's "copy" must have been left with the printer; and there is NO EVIDENCE THAT RIGDON KNEW ANYTHING OF MORMONISM UNTIL AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON. -- Encyclopedia Brittannica, vol. __, p. 843.


The new fangled theory that there were two or three manuscripts is perhaps best answered by one of the ablest of our opponents, Mr. D. H. Bays, [who] in the Christian Evangelist for November 2, 19__ [says] in reply to one A. T. Schroeder, one of his own [------ mates], but an advocate of the "three manuscript" theory, wrote as follows:

I was, at the time my book was written, fully aware that such assertions had repeatedly been made, but as I have never been able to obtain the testimony of a SINGLE WITNESS in support of the claim, I have unhesitatingly dismissed it as an IDLE SPECULATION.

You assure me that the first of these manuscripts "simply outlined the story and is the one now in Oberlin." The second, you assert with equal gravity, "was prepared for the printer," while in the third "the plot of the story changed as to place from which Indians came here and the names changed to suit the change in the plot;" and this, you assure me, "is the one which furnishes the basis for the Book of Mormon." This is a very PRETTY "THEORY," AND SOMEWHAT INGENIOUS, BUT WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT?...

I confess myself not a little surprised that an attorney, trained in a school of justice to weigh and determine the value and admissibility of evidence, should ask a candid public to decide so grave a matter upon the bare assertion of an INTERESTED PARTY, WITHOUT THE SHADOW OF EVIDENCE to support it

If "three manuscripts" ever existed, why not produce the evidence to prove it? Why not induce that library of "over one thousand books and pamphlets" to yield up some of its hidden treasures of knowledge upon this point, and settle this mooted question once for all? Mormonism for more than half a century has been demanding the production of the Manuscript Found that it might be compared with the Book of Mormon. Since the discovery of that now historic document, and the further unquestionable fact that it bears not the slightest resemblance to the Book of Mormon, the wonderful discovery has been made that Solomon Spalding wrote three manuscripts!" While you affirm very dogmatically, as others have done before you, that Spalding wrote three manuscripts, yet, like your predecessors, you offer not a SINGLE FACT in support of this claim. In the face of these significant facts, you with characteristic pertinacity assert:

"If you had made any investigation worth mentioning, you would have found that the absolute identity of the very unusual names in the Book of Mormon with the second Spalding manuscript was originally one of the principal evidences of the connection between the two."

Here we have the assumption that a "second Spalding manuscript" actually existed, and from this assumed premise you jump to the conclusion that the names were "absolutely identical" with those in the Book of Mormon. My objections to this statement are:

1. The existence of a second manuscript is assumed, not proved.

2. If such manuscript really existed, no proof is offered to show the "absolute identity" of the names with those in the Book of Mormon.

Hence, until you establish the alleged fact that such "second Spalding Manuscript" had a bona fide existence, and that the "very unusual names" found in the Book of Mormon are absolutely identical" with those found in the so-called "second Spalding Manuscript," a fair-minded, just public will reject this new-fangled "Spalding Manuscript theory" AS THE MEREST VAGARY OF A PREJUDICED MIND, AND WHOLLY WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST FOUNDATION IN FACT. I do not say that the "three manuscripts" had no actual existence; but I do say that if such manuscripts ever had anything more than an imaginary existence somebody knows it; and if somebody knows it, why not have that somebody step upon the witness stand and boldly testify to the fact? But why pursue this question further, since you admit that it is only a "theory" -- a theory, too, supported by such a class of evidence which, as a lawyer, you well know would BE REJECTED BY ANY COURT IN THIS BROAD LAND OF OURS. Acknowledging the fact you say:

"I cannot establish these facts except by hearsay evidence, which Greenleaf would bar."

In concluding this paragraph you remark that:

"Barring the question of the hearsay character of the evidence, I believe that a case can be made out much stronger than the circumstantial evidence upon which many a man has been hung." (Italics mine.)

This may be true, but it must be borne in mind that many an innocent man has been hung upon purely "circumstantial evidence," and it is a principle of law from which there is no deviation that a guilty man may better escape the punishment due to his crimes that an innocent man should suffer the extreme penalty of the law. Hence, juries are always instructed to give the prisoner the benefit of a doubt. But of course, I need not remind an experienced attorney that there is a vast difference between "hearsay evidence" and "circumstantial evidence." The former Greenleaf peremptorily excludes. -- Journal of History, vol. 2, p. 94.


Some more If-ists.

The extremely tenuous nature of the Spalding Romance theory in its present form is best shown by permitting it to be stated by its own proponents. Mr. Charles Shook, who was advertised just recently as the man destined to shake our work to its foundation, shall have that honor. He admits the existence of the Spalding manuscript in Oberlin College, but thinks there may have been another one enlarged and "polished" up. Hear him:

It is possible that Spalding, in polishing and finishing his story, rewrote it, and that it was the story rewritten which was submitted to Patterson and which fell into Rigdon's hands; while the old manuscript may have been placed in a trunk, with other papers of Spalding's, which was sent, after his death, to the home of his wife's brother, W. H. Sabine, in Onondaga County, New York, Smith worked as a teamster for Sabine in 1823, and some have claimed that he either copied or stole this manuscript. The first is very unreasonable, the second is POSSIBLE IF SUCH MANUSCRIPT WAS IN SABINE'S POSSESSION. -- Cumorah Revisited, by Shook, p. 28.

Grover Cleveland would call these men "ifists." According to him the "ifist," lost in the woods without fire or food, said, >i>If we had a fire, and if we had some eggs, we would have ham and eggs, if we had the ham."

Mr. Shook argues that IF Spalding ever rewrote his manuscript, and IF he resubmitted it to the publisher, Rigdon MAY have stolen it; and IF this did not happen, Smith MAY have copied it while in the possession of Sabine, and IF he did not copy it, he MAY have stolen it, IF, last of all SABINE EVER HAD SUCH A MANUSCRIPT.

These men have gone back to the original Christian or Campbellite proposition, "IF we have authority to preach we have authority to baptize."

We can not too heartily thank Mr. Shook for his very ingenuous statement of the case.

Note 1: Advancing from the previously employed RLDS tactic of admitting that their 1885 "Manuscript Found" book may have been mislabeled, the Herald writer here boldly recaptures the old RLDS position of claiming the Oberlin Spalding document to be the famous "Manuscript Found." He next criticizes E. D. Howe for not publishing the Oberlin Spalding text back in 1834. The Herald writer says: "The fact that he did not do so was fatal evidence of the weakness of his position." In fact, E. D. Howe gave a reasonably accurate description of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript in his 1834 book, distinguished it from the "Manuscript Found" and correctly stated that he did not have the "Manuscript Found" in hand for publication. Howe's attempting to print the Oberlin Spalding manuscript would have made no sense at all -- though he might well have provided a lengthier, more detailed description of its contents and his reason for not returning it to the Spalding family, had he allowed himself a little more free space in the final pages of the final signature of his 1834 book.

Note 2: The Herald writer really does seem to be whipping a dead horse in his insistence upon the subsequent correction of the 1839 "woman preacher" typo as being "but one of many disreputable tricks that the opposition has resorted to, which indicate that they are contending against the truth." As early as June 28th, 1841, the Rev. D. R. Austin (the man who conducted the 1839 interview in question) said: "Every fact as stated in that letter was related to me by her in the order they are set down. (There is one word misprinted in the published letter, instead of 'woman preacher,' on the second column, it should be Mormon preacher.)" Some later writers, quoting that same 1839 interview, failed to make the textual correction to "Mormon preacher," but a number of writers did fix the obvious error. Pennsylvania historian Alfred Creigh made the change in his Feb. 27, 1879 "Mormonism" article. Following Creigh's lead, Robert Patterson, Jr., writing in the March 27, 1879 issue of the Pittsburg Telegraph, says: "A typographical error occurred in the [1839] Recorder, in which 'Mormon preacher' was printed 'woman preacher.' The correction has been made on the authority of Rev. D. R. Austin, who acted as amanuensis for Mrs. Davison." Patterson's "authority" was the same Rev. D. R. Austin who first corrected the error in 1841. Patterson sent Austin a copy of his Pittsburg Telegraph article and Austin confirmed the same in an 1879 letter to James T. Cobb. Patterson next made the same change in his1882 pamphlet, wherein he quotes Davison: "A Mormon preacher appointed a meeting there..." Patterson sent the pamphlet to Joseph Smith III, who responded to it in the 1883 Saints' Herald without calling into question the validity of that particular correction. In 1884 Clark Braden and Edmund L. Kelley discussed the same textual problem in the "Braden-Kelley Debate." On p. 123 Braden says: "The truth is, a Mormon preacher visited Conneaut and preached his first sermon and read extracts from the Book of Mormon... It was a Mormon preacher, and not a woman preacher. That is a misprint in Schmucker's book -- as other books, that I have, show." Kelley, on p. 123, responds: "with regard to the 'woman preacher' referred to in Mrs. Spaulding's letter, as found in Smucker's History. Does he not know that that is the original statement from which all the rest of these histories of Mormonism go to for their material, and yet the rest of them have struck out the word 'woman,' What right had they to do that?"

Note 3: The answer to Elder Kelley's question, "What right had they to do that?" is found in D. R. Austin's published 1841 correction, of course. A. Theodore Schroeder said: "a Mormon preacher brought a copy of the Book of Mormon to Conneaut or New Salem, as it was sometimes called, the very place where Spaulding wrote most of his 'Manuscript Found.' ... In the first publication of Matilda Spaulding Davidson's letter, from which the above is gleaned, the words 'Mormon preacher' in the manuscript published over her name were, by the typesetter, converted into 'woman preacher.' Mormons at once undertook to impeach the statement, not by denying the main features of the story or its value as an argument, but wholly upon the ground that Mormons never had a 'woman' preacher. As the result of this criticism, it was shown to have been due solely to typographical error, thus leaving the statement as corrected free from criticism upon this ground." Mormon apologist B. H. Roberts responded to Schroeder, in 1908, by saying: "It is claimed that 'woman preacher,' was merely a 'typographical error,' of which more in a later note, and should read 'Mormon preacher.'" Roberts' later note reads: "It is claimed that the words 'woman preacher' found in the Davison statement was a typographical error (see Clark's 'Gleanings by the Way,') and should read 'Mormon preacher;' but the typographical error being claimed after it was learned that the Mormon Church at that time had no women preachers, gives it the color of one of those 'after thoughts' which are so frequently seen in this spaulding theory, that one in spite of himself remains doubtful." On the other hand, Charles A. Shook, writing in 1914, was less "doubtful" on the matter: "Mormons claim that they never had a 'woman preacher,' and use this as one of the arguments in their attempt to discredit Mrs. Davison's testimony. But it does not say that it was a Mormon 'woman preacher.' It may have been a woman preacher of some other connection. The probability, however, it that it is a typographical error for 'Mormon preacher...'"

Note 4: The final answer to the matter can be found in "Conneaut witness" Aaron Wright's Dec. 31, 1833 letter, in which he says that Elder Orson Hyde first preached from the Book of Mormon, in Conneaut township, early in 1832. Hyde himself admits to being that same first Mormon preacher in Conneaut. The story of Hyde's preaching at Conneaut was relayed to Spalding's widow in 1833 and she recalled the incident in her 1839 interview with Austin. Austin's words "Mormon preacher" were misread by the typesetter (a handwritten "m" often looks much like a "w") who set the words as "woman preacher." There is absolutely no reason why the Saints' Herald writer, composing his argument as late as 1913, should blast this well explained typo and its subsequent correction as being "but one of many disreputable tricks that the opposition has resorted to, which indicate that they are contending against the truth."

Note 5: After telling how bad the Oberlin manuscript is and how its lack of quality reflects upon its author, the Herald writer says: "Anyone with brains enough to work Solomon Spalding's writings over and produce a book as the Book of Mormon would not have needed any help from Spaulding's pen in the first instance." The writer does not allow for the possibility that Rigdon might have first proofread and corrected Spalding's text (as a favor or job for his Pittsburgh publisher friend Jonathan Harrison Lambdin) and only several years later have undertaken the task of re-writing Spalding's fictional history. If Rigdon did his work on the text in stages, the third stage could have been his transforming a fictional history of the ancient Americans into a religious record, complete with prophecies, exhortations and late 1820s Campbellite theology. Such a logical evolution in the contents of text, over more than a decade, would well explain why Rigdon did not simply write the Book of Mormon from scratch.

Note 6: The journalistic exchange between A. T. Schroeder and D. H. Bays provides insight into what would be required to convince a dedicated skeptic of the validity of the Spalding authorship claims. Mr. Bays demands living witnesses who can offer more than just oral testimony. It seems that nothing less than a living witness who could produce the Spalding holograph for "Manuscript Found" and incontrovertibly account for the history of its production and possession, from Spalding down to the present, would induce a person like Mr. Bays to even consider the possibility of those same authorship claims could be true. Obviously, if such proof existed, there would be no need to discuss the topic at all, except as a matter of past history. Bays overlooks the value of accepting the main points of the "Spalding theory" conditionally, so that they can be analyzed in the light of any previously unknown new evidence, even if "circumstantial." Or, failing any useful outcome through such a conditional hearing, that new supporting evidence could be sought for and uncovered, through extrapolation, from the analysis of various facts and probabilities compiled to date. In other words, Bays neglects the possibility of using compiled evidence as a research asset rather than as material whereby to establish conclusive proof, here and now.


Vol. 60.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  July 2, 1913.                           No. 27.


Herewith we reproduce an extract from the Word of Truth, published at Greely, Colorado, February 12, 1913. It is taken from an article appearing in that issue written by one J. H. D. Thompson, entitled "Origin, History, and Characteristics of the Mormon Cult."

We use it simply to illustrate the strange, contradictory, and absurd theories that are advanced to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon. For years we have been told that it was written by one Solomon Spalding, whose manuscript was either stolen or copied by Sidney Rigdon, or else stolen or copied by Joseph Smith, according to the fancy of the one advocating the theory.

But in this extract it is gravely set forth that the Book of Mormon was written by one Spafford, and individuals are named who made affidavit that they heard Spafford read his manuscript and that it was identical in most parts with the Book of Mormon.

When it is remembered that other individuals swore positively that the writings of Solomon Spalding were identical with the Book of Mormon, it is evident at a glance that somebody has lied. Some, perhaps many, have made "lies their refuge." Both of these stories can not be true; and we are thoroughly convinced that both are false, from start to finish. The extract follows:

I conclude this chapter with a clipping from the Richmond (Missouri) Conservator, of October 10, 1901, published in the Denver (Colorado) Times, upon the statement of a Mrs. Diadama Chittendon, of Utica, Missouri:

A Missouri Woman Knew the Man Who Wrote the Mormon Book.

(Denver Times.)

According to Mrs. Diadama Chittenden, of Utica, Missouri, Joseph Smith stole the Mormon "Bible." which he claimed was "revealed" to him.

Mrs. Chittendon is now 87 years old. She was born in Canada and her maiden name was Whitney, and in 1870 the couple went to Utica, Missouri, where she ever since has resided. Mrs. Chittenden is hale and of sound mind to-day. One of her most vivid memories of the early sixties is of the origin of the Mormon "Bible," which, she declares, was never revealed to Joseph Smith or written by him, but which he stole from a millwright named Spafford, of Salem, (now Conneaut), Ashtabula County, Ohio. Smith was in the employ of Spafford, who was a sort of overseer or superintendent for Squire Wright of Salem. One of Spafford's hobbies was to decant upon the Bible. He contended that he could compose and read them alternately with chapters from the Good Book and that none who heard them could tell the original from the imitation.

On a wager, Spafford, so Mrs. Chittenden says, prepared a number of chapters of his own composition in imitation of the Bible and they were read to a select number of his acquaintances. None of these were able to distinguish the imitation from the real or to tell which had been written by Spafford and which had not. Joseph Smith was among those present at the test, Mrs. Chittenden says, and he was an attentive listener at the reading and others given afterward by Spafford to exercise his hobby.

Spafford preserved the chapters he wrote with the idea of one day publishing a treatise on his hobby. Death prevented the carrying out of this plan, and when his executors came to search for his manuscripts they had, each and every one of them, disappeared.

It was some years after Spafford's death that the Mormon "Bible," said to have been "revealed" to Joseph Smith, appeared. A copy of this work found its way to Salem and into the possession of Squire Wright, Spafford's employer. Surprised at its contents, he called two other friends of Spafford, a Doctor Hart and Zaph Lake, into consultation on "Smith's Bible," and after a thorough examination they made an affidavit to the effect that the greater part of the Mormon Book was made of chapters written for his own amusement by millwright Spafford. Mrs. Chittenden is of the impression that the affidavit was either published by or offered for publication to the Salem Reporter.

The author of the article in which this extract appears seems to credit this strange tale, and most remarkable of all, in some of his mental ramblings [s]he seems to credit the Spalding Story also. We understand that [s]he is very aged and quite infirm, and perhaps it would be an act of charity to suppose that this condition has affected his [sic] mental processes. It is sufficient strain upon the credulity to believe one of these old stories; to accept them both must be an achievement reserved for second childhood.

                                E. A. S.

Note: For further information on this strange story, see the comments accompanying this article's initial printing, in the Aug. 28, 1901 issue of the Saints' Herald.


Vol. 62.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  March 10, 1915.                           No. 10.


Mr. Shook, whose work R. B. Neal says will "shake the foundation" of Latter Day Saintism, has this to say about the Spalding Romance theory:

Gentiles, with few exceptions, believe that the BOOK OF MORMON IS ONE OF SOLOMON SPALDING'S ROMANCES, which somehow fell into Smith's hands and was altered to suit his purpose. No matter what others may think, I AGREE WITH THOSE WHO ARE OF THIS OPINION, although I have not always done so. -- Cumorah Revisited, by Shook, p. 25.


Mr. Shook, who was thus to shake, does not get far with his opinion, for at the breaking of the pitcher, Reverend D. H. Bays, the man who studied "Mormonism" for forty years, and was hailed by Mr. Neal's associates as a "child of Providence," immediately downs him with this:

The long-lost Spalding story has at last been unearthed, and is now on deposit in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin Ohio, and may be examined by anyone who may take the pains to call on President Fairchild, of that institution.... THE SPALDING STORY IS A FAILURE. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- IT WILL LET YOU DOWN.

The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spalding romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon MUST BE ABANDONED.. -- Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, D. H. Bays, pp. 24, 25.

Professor I. Woodbridge Riley comes to the support of Bays in the following:

In spite of a continuous stream of conjectural literature, it is as yet impossible to pick up any special document as an original source of the Book of Mormon. In particular, the commonly accepted Spalding theory is INSOLUBLE FORM EXTERNAL EVIDENCE AND DISPROVED BY INTERNAL ECIDENCE. -- The Founder of Mormonism, p. 172. ...


Three gentlemen who are put forward as reliable authorities tell us that Sidney Rigdon was the real author of the Book of Mormon and founder of "Mormonism":

We therefore, must hold out Sidney Rigdon to the world as being the ORIGINAL "AUTHOR AND PROPRIETOR" of the whole Mormon conspiracy, until further light is elicited upon the lost writings of Solomon Spalding. -- Mormonism, by E. D. Howe, p. 290.

A religious man, however erratic he might be, who had been trained in the Bible and in theology, was needed to give the bogus system some kind of religious setting. The only man connected with the scheme FROM ITS VERY BEGINNING long before the public organization, who had any such qualifications, was the Reverend Sidney Rigdon. -- Reverend R. G. McNiece, for twenty years pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, in The Fundamentals, vol. 8, pp. 111, 112.

For months the translation languished and then a "mysterious stranger" appeared at the Smith home on various occasions. This was Sidney Rigdon. -- Mormon, the Islam of America, by Reverend Bruce Kinney, p. 51.


This is a pretty theory, but it is spoiled by the Reverend Davis. H. Bays, who assures us the Book of Mormon was in print and the church organized before Rigdon ever heard of "Mormonism":

In order to the successful refutation of the Mormon dogma it is not at all necessary to connect Sidney Rigdon with Joseph Smith in its inception. In fact, such a course will almost certainly RESULT IN FAILURE; and the principal reason why it will fail IS BECAUSE IT IS NOT TRUE.... As a matter of fact, Sidney Rigdon was an EARNEST AND ABLE ADVOCATE OF THE REFORMATION CONTEMPORANEOUSLY WITH ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, pastor of a church in Mentor, Ohio, at the very time Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were propagating Mormonism in New York and Pennsylvania. Sidney had never heard a Mormon sermon, nor had he ever seen a copy of the Book of Mormon till he was presented with one by Oliver Cowdery and Parley P, Pratt IN THE FALL OF 1830. It is an historical fact that Mr. Rigdon became a convert to the new religion through the preaching of these gentlemen during the visit referred to above. -- The Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, pp. 22, 23....



There are many who seem to think that the Book of Mormon had its origin with the Spalding Manuscript, not knowing that this manuscript is now in the library of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, copies of which are printed and for sale by the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa.

This is evident from the fact that several lecturers and debators have so advocated, and because of this for the further fact that some pamphlets and books have been issued of late still advocating this erroneous origin of the Book of Mormon, it is considered time well spent to present a clear chain of title for the Spalding Manuscript from the time it was written till the present by evidence obtained from those who are in no way friendly to the claims made by the Latter Day Saints for the Book of Mormon.

The wife of Reverend Solomon Spalding wrote in 1839, as printed in the Boston Recorder:

In the town of New Salem (sometimes called Conneaut), there are numerous mounds and forts...

Mr. Spalding... conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was in 1812.

From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here Mr. Spaulding found an acquaintance and friend, in the person of Mr. Patterson... who... borrowed it for perusal.

At length the manuscript was returned to the author... Mr. Spalding deceased in 1816. The manuscript fell into my hands and was carefully preserved.

The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting and deputed Doctor Philastus Hurlbut... to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding... This was in 1834.

Mrs. M. S. McKinstry, daughter of Reverend Spalding, wrote April 3, 1880, as printed in Scribner's Magazine, August of that year. From this article we extract:

During the war of 1812, I was residing in a little town in Ohio called Conneaut.... There were some round mounds of earth near our house which greatly interested him (Mr. Spalding),... He talked with my mother of these discoveries in the mound, and was writing every day as the work progressed. Afterward he read the manuscript which I had seen him writing, to the neighbors.

We removed from Conneaut to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1816 my father died at Amity, Pennsylvania, and directly after his death my mother and myself went on a visit to Onondaga Valley, New York. ... We carried all our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved.... There were numerous sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript, about an inch thick, closely written.... On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found." ... I was about eleven years of age at this time.

In 1820 she married Mr. Davison, of Hartwicks, a village near Cooperstown, New York, and sent for the things she had left at Onondaga Valley, and I remember that the old trunk, with its contents, reached her in safety.

I believe it was in 1834 that a man named Hurlburt came to my house at Monson, Massachusetts, to see my mother, who told us that he had been sent by a committee to procure the "Manuscript Found," written by the Reverend Solomon Spalding, so as to compare it with the Mormon Bible.... On the repeated promise of Hurlburt to return the manuscript to us, she gave him a letter to Mr. Clark to open the trunk and deliver it to him. We afterwards heard that he did receive it from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession, and I have no present knowledge of its existence.

I have now traced the existence of the manuscript that has been made to do service in opposing the claims for the origin of the Book of Mormon, from the time it was written in 1812, when Hurlbut obtained it

Mr. D. P. Hurlbut wrote August 19, 1879, from which I extract:

I visited Mrs. Matilda (Spalding) Davison at Monson, Massachusetts, in 1834, and never saw her afterwards. I then received from her a manuscript of her husband's, which I did not read, but brought home with me, and immediately gave to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who was then engaged in preparing his book, Mormonism Unvailed. -- Braden and Kelley Debate, p. 91.

Mr. E. D. Howe wrote July 26, 1881, to Apostle T. W. Smith, in which letter is the following: "The manuscript that came into my possession I suspect was destroyed by fire forty years ago." -- Saints' Herald, vol. 28, p. 269.

Mr. L. L. Rice wrote from Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, March 28, 1885, to Joseph Smith, from which I extract:

The Spalding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-1840 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painesville Telegraph, published at Painesville, Ohio. The transfer of the printing department, types, press, etc., was accompanied with a large collection of books, manuscripts, etc., this manuscript of Spalding's among the rest. So, you see, it has been in my possession over forty years.

Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose "Mormonism" as a fraud at an early day, when the Mormons had their head-quarters at Kirtland, he obtained it from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing office. -- Manuscript Found, p. 6.

In a letter written May 14, 1885, to Joseph Smith, Mr. Rice says:

I shall have it deposited in the library of Oberlin College, in Ohio, to be at the disposal for reading of any who may wish to peruse it, but not to be removed from that depository. -- Manuscript Found, p. 8.

Mr. Rice wrote to President James H, Fairchild of Oberlin College, June 13, 1885:

Herewith I send 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. -- Manuscript Found, p. 9.

President James H, Fairchild wrote July 23, 1885:

I have this day delivered to Mr. E. L. Kelley a copy of the Manuscript of Solomon Spalding, sent from Honolulu by Mr. L. L. Rice, to the library of Oberlin College, for safe keeping, and now in my care. The copy was prepared at Mr. Kelley's request, under my supervision, and is, as I believe, an exact transcript of the original manuscript, including erasures, misspellings, etc. -- Manuscript Found, p. 10.

E. L. Kelley sent this prepared copy of the Spalding Manuscript to W. W. Blair, one of the presidency of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and one of the editors of The Saints' Herald, July 24, 1885, with the following note:

Herewith I transmit to you the copy of the Spaulding Manuscript prepared by Pres.. Fairchild, as attested by him, together with his certificate, and photograph sheets. -- Manuscript Found, p. 11.

This copy has been printed, and is on sale under the title of "The Manuscript Found," at the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa, for twenty-five cents.

Those who have secured this book and compared it unprejudicially with the Book of Mormon have concluded, as did President James H. Fairchild and Mr. L. L. Rice. President Fairchild said in 1885:

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.... Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required. -- Manuscript Found, pp. 5, 6.

Mr. L. L. Rice said in 1885:

Upon reflection... 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 -- Manuscript Found, p. 7.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 62.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 18, 1915.                           No. 33.


Since my return from the Australian Mission, I have noticed quite a change in the attitude of standard reference and current literature toward the Latter Day Saints in general and the Reorganized Church in particular. Of late I have been taking notes which I herewith transcribe. The late editions of the standard encyclopedias show a complete change in the accounts they give of the origin of the Book of Mormon. The Spalding story is now entirely repudiated. I used to wonder why authoritative literature clung so tenaciously to that tradition when it had been so successfully exploded. Fairchild's discovery was made in 1885, and apparently it has taken until very recently for it to influence the scholastic mind and find its way into secular literature. I once despaired of it being read of outside of our publications. The tide, however, has set in the other way, hence we offer the following:

The anti-Mormon contention against the authenticity of the book, (Book of Mormon, A. C. B.) is untenable... This is briefly, that the romance of prehistoric America, written in Ohio in 1812, by a Congregationalist minister, Solomon Spalding, was the source, root, and inspiration by which Smith's associate, Sidney Rigdon, concocted the scheme of a Golden Bible. The recovery in 1885 of the alleged original of Spalding's "Manuscript story" has been to the Mormons, conclusive proof of its nonconnection with the Book of Mormon, for there is no real resemblance between the two. The theory is further invalidated by the fact that it is impossible to show how, when, or through whom, Smith could have obtained one of the two copies of the Spalding Manuscript. -- The New International Encyclopedia, vol. 12, p. 603.

It was a contention of the early anti-Mormons, now however discredited, that the Book of Mormon as published by Smith, was rewritten with few changes from an unpublished romance, the "Manuscript found," written before 1812 by Solomon Spalding, a minister. -- The Encyclopedia Britannia, vol. 18, p. 843.

It has been claimed that the Book of Mormon was manipulated by Smith and Rigdon from the manuscript of a rejected romance written by Solomon Spalding in 1812, and stolen or copied by Rigdon when he was a printer in Pittsburgh. This manuscript was found in 1844 by President J. H. Fairchild of Oberlin College, while searching among some old documents for matter relating to the anti-slavery movement; and he says" "On comparison there was no resemblance to the Book of Mormon, except in some very general features; not a name or incident being common to the two." A verbatim copy of this "lost manuscript" was issued under Mormon auspices at Lamoni, Iowa, in 1885, and most candid authorities now agree that the evidence adduced for Rigdon's duplicity in the matter is of no conclusive nature. Even Stenhouse admits that those who knew him before he was a Mormon spoke of him in such a manner as leaves no room to doubt Rigdon's own sincerity in the Mormon faith and his total ignorance of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon until after that book was published. -- The National Encyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 7, p. 395, article, Sidney Rigdon.

Aside from the theory of divine revelation, there are two theories that attempt to account for the Book of Mormon. It is claimed (1) that internal evidence shows it to have been written by Smith himself; (2) that it is identical with the "Manuscript found," a romance by Solomon Spalding, a Congregational minister (1761-1816), said to have been copied and communicated to Smith by a printer named Sidney Rigdon. The second theory has been called untenable because the "Manuscript found" in the archives of Oberlin College, bears small resemblance to the Book of Mormon. -- Nelson's Encyclopedia, vol. 8, p. 287.

The missionaries proceeded to Northern Ohio, then almost a wilderness, where Pratt presented to his former pastor, Sidney Rigdon, a copy of the "Book of Mormon" published several months before. Up to that time Rigdon had never seen the book, which he was accused of helping Smith to write. The "Mormons" are equally emphatic in their denial of the identity of the "Book of Mormon," with Spalding's "Manuscript found," now in Oberlin College: they quote in this connection James H. Fairchild, president of that institution, who, in a communication to the New York Observer (February 5, 1885), states that Mr. L. L. Rice and he, after comparing the Book of Mormon, and the Spalding Romance could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail. -- Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 10, p. 571.

The quotations from the Encyclopedia Britannia and the New International are from the last editions. Previous editions upheld "The Spalding story." I can not say as to whether the extracts from Nelson's and the Catholic Encyclopedias are from the very last editions or not. The extract from the National is from the edition of 1897. The work is published by James T. White & Company, New York.

The public mind, unfortunately, has not altered regarding the Manuscript Found. It still clings to "the old idea." Neither are our people generally aware of the change that has taken place in standard literature. The Saints, in the main, and some of our debators, too, still depend entirely upon our own publications for proof of our position.

The ensuing correspondence, to which the writer was a party, is herewith submitted:

FORT BIDWELL, CALIFORNIA, February 8, 1899.      

Oberlin, Ohio.

Dear Sir: I have a copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, dated April 8, 1896. It contains one of a series of articles in regard to the General Conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints held at Kirtland, Ohio, that year. The reporter, Mr. George H. Gordon, says of you: "Professor Wright of Oberlin was in Kirtland Monday afternoon. He delivered a lecture in Willoughby the same evening. Professor Wright came to examine the temple and get certain information to place in the archives of his college relative to the history of the Latter Day Saints. Professor Wright said the Spalding Manuscript, which for forty years, was believed by some to be the work that Joseph Smith copied the Book of Mormon from, is among the archives of Oberlin College. He says the belief about the Book of Mormon being copied from the Spalding Manuscript is absurd. He says there is absolutely no similarity in the two documents."

Is the above representation of your position in relation to the Spalding origin of the Book of Mormon correct? Will you kindly inform me if it is or not? Is it true that the Spalding Romance is in the archives of Oberlin College? Is it also true that it doesn't resemble the Book of Mormon? I am anxious to get the truth in regard to this matter. The public should be correctly informed about it.

Yours respectfully,                 
A. C. BARMORE.     

The following is the reply which I give verbatim, including the letterhead:

G. Frederick Wright,
Professor of the Harmony of Science and Revelation,

OBERLIN OHIO, February 15, 1899.      

Fort Bidwell, California.

Dear Sir: Yes: the Solomon Spalding manuscript is in the archives of Oberlin College. The only resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon is that both books deal to a considerable extent with the supposed movements of the prehistoric Indian tribes. The manuscript was discovered by President Fairchild, a few years ago. It has been faithfully copied and printed by the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," at Lamoni, Iowa. By writing to them you can get the volume for a small sum, (not over fifty cents), which will give you the circumstances of the discovery and a verbatim et literatim printed copy from which you can judge for yourself,

Yours truly,                 

Without further comment the foregoing matter is presented for the consideration of Herald readers.

A. C. BARMORE.     

Note 1: A. C. Barmore is probably correct in identifying the WWI era as the approximate period when positive reference to the Spalding authorship claims had largely faded from what the writer calls "authoritative literature." The appearance of Charles A. Shook's "pro-Spalding theory" 1914 book The True Origin of the Book of Mormon seems to have done little to reverse the trend in non-Spalding Book of Mormon explanations begun with the publication of I. Woodbridge Riley's "anti-Spalding theory" 1903 book The Founder of Mormonism. It is not unlikely that leaders of the LDS and RLDS churches corresponded with the editors and publishers of several prominent encyclopedias and other major reference books, sending them copies of their respective editions of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and their own explanations of the same -- both churches reprinted their earlier editions of that book in 1910 or thereabouts.

Note 2: Since the initial publication of the Fairchild and Rice statements in 1885, the Saints took comfort in the fact that those two non-Mormons identified the Oberlin Spalding manuscript as probably being the long-lost "Manuscript Found." On the other hand, the fact that both men, upon further study of the matter, backed away from their initial statements, was never reported in Mormon articles and books. Thus the illusion was spread that these two men -- seeming experts on the subject -- had exploded the Spalding authorship claims. By the end of the nineteenth century that impression was carried over into the popular press and the "authoritative literature." This deception (that Fairchild and Rice had exploded the Spalding claims) fit in well with the early twentieth century fascination with attributing psychological explanations for all sorts of human mysteries. The resultant coupling of these two trends bore its ripest fruit in the 1945 Fawn Brodie book. There the "psycho-biographer" appears to have both conclusively refuted the Spalding claims and to have established Joseph Smith, Jr. was the only possible author for the Book of Mormon. Neither of Brodie's assertions are tenable, but it is easy to see how she came to her mid twentieth century conclusions, having based them largely upon the two previously mentioned trends, which had by her time been converging for nearly fifty years.


Vol. 64.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  Nov. 14, 1917.                           No. 46

INDIANS -- Part 1


(The following article was written by Brother Clark for the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, and published in the April, 1917 number. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the editors of that publication, and though written primarily for those who have not espoused our faith, will be of much interest to our readers. Editors).

In relating the story of prehistoric America as outlined in the Book of Mormon it is the purpose of the writer to avoid religious issues and controversies as far as possible, and to present simply the statements and portray the record in a way that will bring out only such parts as will be of interest to student of archaeology. But it will be necessary to introduce a few of the religious facts that bear upon the statements connecting the life and manners of the people of which the Book of Mormon purports to be a record.


The Book of Mormon tells of three groups of population that inhabited the continents of North and South America in times past. These groups were, first, the Jaredites who came to this continent in boats or barges shortly after the building of the tower of Babel. This division traversed southern Europe, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and landed at or near the Yucatan Peninsula. On account of wars among them, this civilization became extinct about 600 B. C., but during the time of their sojourn they built many cities and traveled in a northerly direction, and this northern travel may account for one class of mounds, a few of which we find in Ohio, and large numbers in the state of Wisconsin. These mounds are known as effigy mounds, including the great serpent mound in southern Ohio. We will speak of these later.

The second colony of which the book relates left Jerusalem about the year 600 B. C. and originated with Lehi and his four sons. These people crossed the deserts of Arabia and eventually, after a long voyage, arrived on this continent on the Peruvian portion of the coast of South America. On account of the rebellious disposition of the two older brothers, sons of Lehi, Laman and Lemuel, against divine instructions, the younger brother Nephi, third son of Lehi, was chosen by instructions of the father Lehi as leader.  The father claimed divine manifestation evidenced the approval of this choice. Nephi having become leader, the two older brothers and their families rebelled and withdrew from association with the younger brothers Nephi and Sam, fourth son of Lehi.


Thus originated the two groups of people known in the Book of Mormon respectively as Nephites and Lamanites. The former became the Mound Builder of the higher class
Baldwin in his Ancient America, refers to a statement, made by Montessinos, concerning tradition among the ancient Peruvians that four brothers originated their civilization, a younger brother assumed command which caused a rebellion, and finally descendants of the younger brother became the founders of a long line of their sovereigns. Nadillac in his Prehistoric America, refers to a tradition of seven families as the originators of this civilization.

In the Book of Mormon while the story of the four brothers is most important and seems to have much to do with their history, it cannot be overlooked that there were two sons born to Lehi, Jacob and Joseph, on their way to the American continent, and that they brought with them Zoram, a servant of Laban, who was one of the tribe of Manassah and undoubtedly had been a distant relative of Lehi in Palestine. Thus we have the seven families represented by the six sons above named of Lehi and Zoram, These people were, according to the Book of Mormon, descendants of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, and who had come to America by instructions from their heavenly Father. Being descendants of Joseph through Manassah these people claimed to be learned in the language and arts of the Egyptians, and also the learning of the Jewish

nation. They believed that they had come to Joseph's land (America) a land promised in Genesis 49:22-26, and Deuteronomy 33 :13-17. Therefore having acquired the arts and learning as above they began to make improvements along the line of implements, buildings, etc. This we shall describe from time to time as we advance in our narration.

The land to which they had immigrated was to be a choice land, as promised them. The two brothers (Laman and Lemuel), who rebelled and became the Lamanites, had been warned by the voice of prophecy many times so that they were aware of the curse that was resting upon them for being disobedient. They brought with them records engraved on plates of brass containing the Mosaic Law so that they were taught the story of the creation and the flood, which traditions we find quite prominent among the Indian today, and the records of which are often freely discussed by noted archaeologists.


The Nephites and Lamanites were well acquainted with the traditions of Egypt on account of their being descendants of Manassah having undoubtedly learned them through the connection of Joseph with Pharaoh's court. It is not surprising that we find them building on this continent great pyramids of exact geometrical construction such as are found in Uxmal and also other large structures resembling Egyptian architecture although undoubtedly the pyramids were built by the Jeradites rather than the Nephites as we will explain later.

We are told by Priest in his American Antiquities that the art of embalming was known and practiced by the American pre-historic people. This is also confirmed by Tschudi in his Peruvian Antiquities. In no other country was this art practiced to such a great state of perfection as in Ancient Egypt, and it must be remembered that Joseph's wife was a daughter of one of the Egyptian priests, and that the practice of embalming in Egypt was performed by those holding the priesthood.


John Delafield on page 33 of his book, American Antiquities, comments on the traditions of the flood and tower of Babel, calling particular attention to the fact that the traditions of the American continent were the same as the traditions of these events which followed the Semitic race, and he also speaks of the nature of the hieroglyphics which were the same as those of the Egyptians. The Book of Mormon story of the voyage says that they sailed for many days and after arriving on this continent in which is now the land of Peru, they began to plant seed and cultivate the soil which brought forth in abundance. They also found upon the land various animals, including the horse, left here by their predecessors, the Jeradites.

The question of the horse existing on this continent has been a disputed point. Delafield on page 94 insists that there were no horses on this continent and ascribes their absence as a reason, or one of the reasons, for his belief that the inhabitants came across by the way of Alaska. However, we are informed by Priest on page 151, Nadaillac on pages 25 and 42, the National Geographic Magazine, also by Columbian Encyclopedia, that the horse did exist on this continent prior to the time of its discovery by Columbus, but had become extinct, the evidence of which we shall discuss later.


The book also says that they found gold, silver and copper ores from which they made plates like those they had brought from Jerusalem, and that on these plates they made a record of their great events. It is asserted that the Lord brought Lehi and his descendants here to raise up to Him- self a righteous branch of the descendants of Joseph, and in support of this believers of the Book of Mormon refer to Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 29 to show that this is in harmony with promises previously made by the Lord.

We have promised to abstain from religious discussion arising from our point of view, but it is necessary to express certain statements that an understanding may be had of the story of the Book.

In the second book of Nephi we are told that he began to educate his people along very practical lines. Perhaps a quotation here may better illustrate what was taught them. We find in the fourth chapter as follows:

And I did teach my people o build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood and of iron and of copper and of brass and of steel and of gold and of silver and of precious ores which were in great abundance. And I Nephi did build a temple and did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things, but the manner of construction was like unto Solomon's temple, and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine.

It must be remembered that these people left Jerusalem ac- cording to the Book of Mormon about 600 B. C., so that they had opportunity of knowing all about the construction of Solomon's temple. In this same chapter is told the story of how the Lord put the curse of dark color upon the Lamanites so that they would not be attractive to the Nephites, and later it was told the Lamanites that the Lord would not permit any kings to rise up to rule the people that should inhabit this continent. Whether it is admitted or not that this statement is inspired it must be agreed that it seems to be remarkably fulfilled, particularly as this statement was addressed

to the Gentile nations. The remarkable historic cases of the failure of Don Pedro in Brazil and of Maximilian in Mexico seem to have been in fulfillment of it.


Enumerating the different tribes and their branches that settled in America we find that Jacob, the brother of Nephi, enumerates them as Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites and Ishmaelites, the descendants of Ishmael, who did not personally come to America but whose sons and daughters intermarried with the other tribes. These branches all became in time either Lamanites or Nephites. It will be noted that there are just seven names here given which correspond to the seven families, tradition of which is mentioned by Nadillac in his Prehistoric America.


It is common tradition with most people that the Book of Mormon supports the practice of polygamy, but the contrary is the truth of the matter, for in the Second chapter of Jacob, the Lord, speaking to Nephites, told them that they thought to excuse themselves for polygamy because David and Solomon had many wives, and adds that this was an abomination before him, as he had brought them forth that they might be a righteous people. Then he issued this commandment: "For there shall not any man among you have, save it be one wife, and of concubines he shall have none". The Nephites had departed from the law of monogamy and had inaugurated the practice of polygamy, but the Lord tells them he will not permit it, and in the same chapter the Lord praises the Lamanites by saying in spite of their wickedness they had not departed from the law of monogamy. We find today that very few tribes of Indians practice polygamy.


We are told in various places that the Nephites were instructed in the arts of war and that the Lamanites were continually coming against them in battle. It was necessary then for them to learn to make darts and javelins for their defense, also other articles and tools, even tools of copper.


An interesting topic is the consideration of their fortifications. In view of what we know today, as has been explained to us by noted writers along these lines, we believe that their fortifications present a remarkable likeness to those found among the remains of the Mound Builders, so called. Mr. E. O. Randall in his history of the State of Ohio, Volume 1 of the Rise and Progress of an American State, by Randall and Ryan, says that in Butler county, Ohio, the fortification known as Fortified Hill is built after the manner of the famous Tlascalan forts of Mexico with the same special forms of gateways, and on page 23 of Vol. 1 of this work the inference is drawn that the Mound Builders or at least the builders of this class of fortifications suggest a racial relationship to the ancient Aztecs and Toltecs. Additional testimony is also given on page 28 of this same work where the author quotes from Professor Moorehead as follows: "The skulls were well shaped and of two types of mentality, a lower and higher order."

The writer believes that this is the correct view point and it is in confirmation of the Book of Mormon story. The state of Ohio, part of Pennsylvania, and Western New York are conceded to be the location of the last stand made by this remarkable people. To-day an army in retreat would not erect great and permanent fortifications; so east of Ohio there are fewer evidences of their fortified work. Admiral Lindsay Brine in describing the American Indians, their ancient earth works and temples, and speaking particularly of a work at Circleville, Ohio, quotes from Caleb Atwater in regard to this fortification as follows:

There are two forts, one an exact circle and the other an exact square, the former is surrounded by two embankments with a deep ditch between them, the latter is en- compassed by one wall without any ditch. There are eight gateways or openings leading into the square fort and only one in the circular fort. The extreme care of the authors of these works to protect and defend every part of the circle is nowhere visible about this square fort. The former has a deep ditch encircling it, the latter has none. The round fort was picketed in, if we are to judge from the appearance on and about the walls. Half way up the outside of the inner wall is a place distinctly to be seen where a row of pickets once stood and where it was placed when this work of defense was originally erected."

Some of the articles found in the circular fort show that this was a domestic abode while the square construction was the fort proper. A similar structure does not appear at Fort Ancient. This leads the writer to believe that Fort Ancient was probably the work of an earlier civilization as we do not find the same evidence of the building of ditches for defense, or other special preparations that we find at Circleville to defend the domestic portion of their people, although this is mere conjecture on the part of the writer, as Fort Ancient may have been hurriedly built to defend against attack. Now let us see if the above fortifications are in harmony with the Book of Mormon theory. In chapters 21 and 22 of the book of Alma, we find the following:

Moroni on the other hand had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God, Yea he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites and erecting small forts or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building

walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands... and behold the city had been rebuilt... and they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and stones of the Lamanites.

Behold how great was their (the Lamanites) disappointment for behold the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth around about them which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and arrows upon them save it was by the place of entrance. Now at this time the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security... For they (the Lamanites) knew not that Moroni had fortified or had built forts of securities in all the lands around about.... Now behold the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about; save it were by the entrance... The captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance and began to contend with the Nephites to get into their place of security... Caused that his armies should commence... in digging heaps of earth round about all their cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites and upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timber built up to the height of a man round about the cities, and he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high and he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets.

We might also quote from the 24th, 25th and 29th chapters of the same book which deals largely with the wars and which we believe will bear remarkable resemblance to the means of defense prepared by the Mound Builders in the State of Ohio, the remains of which, without this solution, appear to remain an unanswerable riddle, and a means of much philosophy without reaching a definite result. The circles represent the camps of the women and children while the square forts were no doubt erected to defend in the best possible way the places of entrance.

We believe at least the solution is reasonable and worthy of consideration, and will bear as much inspection as the famed Atlantis theory of Donnelly or the theory of migration from Wales, Denmark, or Delafield's idea of the Behring Strait passage way. We are told that they built towers in many places for two purposes, that of defense and for religious worship. Early in their history the Nephites sent out an exploring party to discover the Lamanites' defenses, and this party discovered that another people had landed on the northwest coast and migrated to the northeast coast of South America. This latter people having been led there by one of the sons of Zedikiah about the time he was led into captivity. This being the tender plant referred to in Ezekiel 17. The people of Zarahemla became associated with the Nephites. 


It must be remembered from time to time dissenting Nephites associated themselves with the Lamanites so that some of the traditions of the Mound Builders would be found among the American Indians of to-day. It might be well to here discuss the reason why the Mound Builders erected serpent mounds or other effigy Mounds in various places, as for instance, the serpent mound in Adams county, Ohio, and others in different localities representing the bear, tortoise, elephant, etc. It will be remembered, no doubt, that coming from Palestine and being of the line of Joseph, through his son Manassah, the Mound Builders were versed, no doubt, in the religious traditions of the Egyptian courts, as about the first thing that the children of Israel wanted to do after escaping from Egypt was to set up an image of an animal that they could worship. George Rawlinson in his book, Religions of Egypt and Babylon, and also Herodotus in his history bring out the fact with reference to idol worship that the Egyptian either worships the animal itself or else images of the various animals and that while some would worship crocodiles, others would worship the sacred bulls or other animals. Thus when the people on this continent crowded northward from the tropical regions and neglected the worship of the true God, they no doubt erected mounds that best suited their fancy of the divinity they worshipped. This same feature we find to-day in some tribes of Indians in their devotion to the totems.


We are told that the Nephites built towers for religious purposes and also for watch towers. The towers for religious use were generally built upon elevated ground to which they could ascend and thus speak to advantage to a large concourse of people. Nadillac tells us of a tower in Peru where the natives that had not yet come under the gentle (?) touch of Spanish civilization, in passing, fall down or bow reverently before this tower as if it were some sacred place and yet this tower shows such age as to be classed with the oldest remains.

In the writer's mind there is little doubt that the Pyramids of Egypt and of South America are due to the same original cause, and no doubt will remain a great mystery until we are able to fathom the real meaning of the Egyptian Pyramids. But let it be remembered that, according to the Book of Mormon, the civilization representing the Jaredites date back to the tower of Babel. Is it not possible that the Pyramids of Egypt and of Central America might have originated in one and the same idea that rested in the minds of those who attempted to erect the tower of Babel in order to frustrate the commands of God. Be this as may, the weight of evidence shows two civilizations existed in America before the race of Indians.



There seems to be, on careful research, two classes or more of mounds, and the writer believes that there are clearly three classes of mounds. The fortifications for defense which give every evidence of a great intelligence, were built, undoubtedly, by the Nephites on similar models to those which they had erected from stone and other building material in South and Central America. Thus the mounds or fortifications in Butler County constructed with the Tlascalan gates or entrance was probably built by the same race that inhabited Central America and Mexico. This mound is referred to by Mr. Randall in The History of Ohio, by Randall and Ryan.

The burial mounds were probably built by the dissenting Nephites and Lamanites , particularly those mounds in which the remains of man are found commingled with the remains of animals, while the effigy mounds previously referred to could be ascribed to the previous civilization of the Jaredites. Professor W. C. Mills has stated that in some of the mounds are found instruments of bone and stone used for warfare, together with those of copper, which indicate two grades of civilization and that the more crude civilization overcame the intelligent and their burial in the same mound does not necessarily indicate their association in daily life. This would be in perfect harmony with the Book of Mormon story in which mention is made of the fortifications that were erected for defense.

It is a notable fact that mounds of defense are scarcely known in the Northwest while in the State of Wisconsin are found many mounds in the form of effigies of animals, such as the elephant and bear and others, mounds of defense are not found to any great extent in this territory. This statement is borne out by Professor A. B. Stout, of the University of Wisconsin in the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical reports. This shows conclusively that the States of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York were the last great battle field of the cultured race that was forced from its home in South and Central America through the great Mississippi Valley until at last reaching the territory above referred to, they were met by an overwhelming force as cited in the Book of Mormon in some of its closing chapters, and this civilization was blotted out.

The Lamanites were now supreme and long before the white man of the present age reached the shores of this continent, the remains of this cultured race were a mere tradition and only through these traditions are we led to the evidence of the past. We are told in the book of Mosiah that the people were taught to till the ground and in the publication known as the National Geographic Magazine, we learn explorers have discovered remarkable traces of the ability of the ancient inhabitants of Peru in agriculture. Insomuch that they built terraces around the mountains and remarkable as it may seem, the remains in Peru of this form of agriculture are corroborated by the evidences of this method employed in Palestine.

We are told also in the Book of Mormon that these people were taught to weave and spin and any one who has had the opportunity of viewing the charred remains as shown in the display at the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society museum must agree that there was at least marked evidence of ability along that line.

The remains of their cities show a remarkable knowledge of architecture. The use of cement, so frequently mentioned in the Book of Mormon, is substantiated by nearly every writer on this subject from the time of Stephens and Catherwood to the present day. Some of the ancient roads constructed are still a wonder and an object of admiration. In any event there is an amazing amount of evidence, which renowned archaeologists have produced in connection with the early inhabitants of Peru and Mexico connecting them with Egypt and Southern Asia. Delafield mentions in his publication that there was a tradition of the tower of Babel and the Semitic account of the flood and refers to the fact that the hieroglyphics resemble those of the section of the country ascribed to them by the Book of Mormon, namely, Southern Asia, Palestine and Egypt.

We are told also by such writers as Prescott, Tschudi, Priest and others that the use of iron and copper was known to them, and while some writers deny the use of iron, yet on a whole, there are several evidences that tend to show that the use of those metals was known, as the Book of Mormon states. In many places in the Book of Mormon towers are spoken of, and Admiral Linley Brine speaks of a cairn or tower built near Fort Ancient which stood quite high, which was built, no doubt, not only as a place of defense, but as a place where the chief priest or rulers would gather and discourse to the people.

(To be concluded.)

Note: This article originally appeared in the Ohio Arch. and Hist. Quarterly Vol. 26, No. 2, April 1917.


Vol. 64.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  Nov. 21, 1917.                           No. 47

INDIANS -- Part 2


(The following article was written by Brother Clark for the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, and published in the April, 1917, number. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the editors of that publication, and though written primarily for those who have not espoused our faith, will be of much interest to our readers. Editors).


We are told that in the region of the Cliff Dwellers there were built estufas or places of meeting where they held council. From all that can be learned there seems to be a sort of reverence for the estufas that indicated their use for some of those purposes by the Cliff Dwellers or Pueblo Indians.

We now approach the proposition: Who were these cliff dwellers that seemed to make their homes in places that man could not approach easily and which were so carefully guarded? We are told by the Book of Mormon that there originated at one time a powerful league of men who desired to rule and live by plunder. These people were bound together by secret oaths not to reveal each other or their secrets, so that they might get gain without labor, but rather by exploitation of their fellow men. They were compelled finally to withdraw from their

neighbors and dwell upon the borders of the land of the Nephites. They builded their fortifications in the rocks and made war with their former brethren -- not after the manner of soldiers -- or even after the manner of the Lamanites, but sought to prey upon them and rob and slay. These people were known in the Book of Mormon as the Gadianton robbers. In speaking of them the book says,

They did commit murder and plunder and then they would retreat back into the mountains and into the wilderness and secret places, hiding themselves that they might not be discovered... Now behold these robbers did make great havoc, yea even great destruction of Nephites and also among the people of the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that the ninety and third year did also pass away in peace, save it were for the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains and who did infest their lands, for so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them.

This history gives a reason for the remarkable cliff dwellings which have stood for centuries as silent proof of a people that must have builded for a purpose, and that purpose for secrecy and defense. Of course, these robbers must needs have been called upon to defend themselves and we find that the book unveils a mystery so profound that we view with awe the structures that were left as silent evidence of the remarkable civilization, the result of careful study, and an organized effort that cannot be found today among the scattered remnants of this once powerful and cultured race. How often have we wished that:

Out of the past their rocks would deign to tell,
  The history of this bright and cultured man,
The story which the bleak cliffs hold so well,
  A culture which at best we only scan
By the remains which the dark past has left
  And as we view their cliffs and dell and field
We know that history is of much bereft
  Unless of their past a record does reveal.

The Book of Mormon does give a record and explains their reason for so erecting marvelous cliff dwellings.


We now approach a period in history that has a remarkable amount of tradition to support it, -- that is, the tradition of a great continental cataclysm which nearly obliterated the people and destroyed much that had been done in the way of building, etc. Baldwin in his Ancient America, on page 176, makes reference to this event. Ignatius Donnelly in Atlantis, on page 102, speaks of a tradition in the Popul Vul or Sacred Book of Central America and I will quote some of the most descriptive portions:

They were ingulfed and a resinous thickness descended from Heaven, the face of the earth was obscured... There was heard a great noise above their heads as if produced by fire.

And on page 126 of the same work we find in quoting De Bourbourg that originally a part of the American continent not now existing extended into the ocean and that this portion of the continent was destroyed by frightful convulsions. Stephens, in his Travels in Yucatan, speaking of the ruins of Mayapas, and of a cave in particular, says that marine shells were in such a state as to indicate that the whole country, or at least a portion of it, had been once, possibly at no very remote period, overflowed by the sea. Bear in mind that it was in the neighborhood of Central America that the events referred to, which I shall quote later, relate.

Abbie Brasseur de Bourborger, as recorded by Nadillac, on pages 16 and 17, tells us that these traditions of this cataclysm exist in Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru. Also, he tells us that the region of Sierra Nevada, where he affirms that the discovery of implements and weapons were found at depths of several hundred feet, were witnesses that the remarkable convulsions of nature extended over this territory. And Bancroft in volume four, page 647, of Native Races of the Pacific States says in quoting Captain Walker: "A storm of fire had passed over the town, the stones are calcined by the flames. The very rock from which the chief building arises there gives traces of fusion, everything testifies to the intensity of the heat." And, finally, Susan E. Wallace, in her book On the Land of the Pueblos, portrays with remarkable force the history of an event, which has left marks that will not be obliterated, which must be described as something more than an earthquake and of which the hot springs are the last of the active evidences.

Now let us see if we can determine the purpose that led up to this event. We believe that the history thereof will be best described by quoting sentences from the Book of Mormon itself, for we have arrived now at a time when the book tells us that the Christ was crucified at Jerusalem. Simultaneous with the rending of the veil of the temple at Jerusalem came this catastrophe of which we shall quote:

And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year in the first month in the fourth day of the month there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land, and there was also a great and terrible tempest and there was terrible thunder; insomuch as it did shake the whole earth as if it were about to divide asunder and there was exceeding sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land, and the city of Zarahamela did take fire and the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned, and the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city thereof there became a great mountain and there was a great and terrible destruction in the lands southward, but behold there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward, for behold, the whole face of the land was changed... And many smooth places became rough, and

many great and notable cities were sunk and many were burned. . . And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwinds... And the face of the whole earth became deformed because of the tempests; and the thunderings; and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth, and behold the rocks were rent in twain. They were broken up on the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments and in seams and in cracks upon all face of the land. For behold they did last for about the space of about three hours and it was said by some that the time was greater... There was pitch darkness upon all the face of the land. And there was not any light seen, neither fire nor glimmer, neither the Sun, nor the Moon, nor the Stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among the people continually. And in some places they were heard to say, 'Oh, that we had repented before this great and terrible day. -- (Chapter 4, book of Nephi, Book of Mormon.)

I do not wish to make any comments but want to ask how much out of harmony with modern discovery is this little-understood and much misrepresented Book of Mormon. Another quotation, worthy of citation, is found in New Light on the Great Pyramids, by Alfred Ross Parsons, as follows:

From the New York Herald, October 5th, 1894, Word comes from Bogota that the remains of a prehistoric city have been discovered near the crater of the volcano of Purace in the Andes mountains. Professor Gutierrich, who made excavations on the spot, found there the bones of a race of giants who attained the height of eight to ten feet. The buried city embraces hundreds of acres and contains the ruins of great buildings with immense granite columns, remains of an aqueduct in an almost perfect state of preservation have also been found.

How, like the fate of the city Moronihah referred to! We leave the reader to judge for himself.


We now take up the subject of the tradition which would indicate that the Saviour himself, came to the American continent. The Book of Mormon features this idea and indicates that He here taught the same doctrine He did on the Eastern continent, and for the same purpose. He also told the inhabitants that they were the people of whom it was said, "Other sheep have I which are not of this fold, they, too, must hear my voice." We do not wish to slight this subject but lack of space compels us to treat the matter briefly for the purpose of showing it is in harmony with the general traditions. We need but mention Lord Kingborough's work wherein he quotes from Humboldt in regard to the Mexican Quetzalcotal, who by tradition was born of a virgin without man by the power of divine will and that the Son was both God and man; that he had existed, previous to his incarnation, from eternity; that he had descended to reform the world and was crucified for the sins of mankind.

We find also from the same work that the sign Nahuy Olluy, or four earthquakes, was dedicated to Quetzalcotal as a sign of his first coming to the ancient Mexicans and which sign they expected would accompany his second advent. Desire Charney in his Ancient Cities of the New World says that this great prophet, priest and king departed for the East, promising to return to reign over them again. Nadillac, on page 527, refers to a tradition that a white man wearing a long beard had taught them many good things and had disappeared to return to earth in about 2,000 years and finally Susan E. Wallace tells us in her book "The Land of the Pueblos" of the time when the savage hailed a white man as a child of the sun and brought their blind to have their eyes opened and their sick that by the laying on of his hands they might be healed. Mothers brought their children for blessings, and all their traditions point to the second advent of this wonderful individual who would not fail to come and redeem his promise.

To-day we blush for shame when we think how the trusting savage was betrayed at the hands of those who sought only gold and territory and who pushed back the natives of the soil from their former possessions, and we can only say, "O Civilization, what terrible crimes have been committed in your name." And to-day the red man is the last remnant of a people who was once, as we believe, a righteous and intelligent race, but because of his disobedience was punished much in the same manner as the descendants of the tribes of Jacob.

We believe from the quoted evidence that it is at least a thought worthy of consideration that the Christ did visit this continent and leave with his people here the traditions which we have cited, a religion in conformity to that taught in the New Testament Scriptures.


Now as it is true that in the histories of other nations evidence of revolutionary movement, particularly, of a religious character, shows that influence to be but ephemeral; so our history points to the fact that after a few decades had passed these people turned to their former sinful ways and began to fight against each other. The Book of Mormon shows their course was northward. This is also sustained by Nadillac, Baldwin and Priest, while those of the higher type were gradually driven from  their former habitations. They came through the Mississippi Valley continually pressed on every hand by the Lamanites and dissenting Nephites until they reached the valley of the Ohio and its tributaries and there made their last stand against the intruders until, as their mute remains testify, they were overcome.

According to the Book of Mormon chronology, about the year 400 the last of the faithful Nephites were overcome and slain. This data is also in harmony with modern research, and here -- in this Ohio country -- it was that fortifications were built in manner similar to those which I described previously, duplicating in earthworks many of the forms of defense known to them before being overrun by their enemies. As a crowded, fleeing nation has no time to build cities, the circular enclosures were no doubt places to defend their helpless ones, while their warriors fought within the square fort at the entrance or fort of protection; retreating to the circle only as a last resort, and dwelling, as they must have done, in tents. Their specimens of fortifications show art combined with strength, and are truly marvelous pieces of architecture.


The Book of Mormon avers, and the writer believes, that sufficient evidence can be produced to show that these people were acquainted with the use of iron and steel. But on the contrary many have asserted that because no such evidence was found its use was unknown, much in the same manner as one might assert that because he had never seen a steamship that there was no such production. William Pidgeon in his traditions of the De Coo Dah refers to the finding of pieces of copper with iron rust about it as if the decayed object might have been the remains of a sword, and Donnelly in his Atlantis states that the ancient Peruvians worked excellent iron mines on the west shore of Lake Titicaca. It was remarkable, says Molina, that iron which was thought unknown to the ancient Americans had specific names in some of their tongues. He states also that the Mound Builders fashioned implements from meteoric iron.

Caleb Atwater in his Archaeologia Americana, as recorded in Admiral Brine's work, refers to a sword found in the mound at Circleville, the handle made of an elk's horn, but the article found showed an oxide which must have resulted from iron or steel. It is not surprising that nothing but oxide remains when we consider that a possible period of 1,000 years had passed away before the white man came to this country, and then a long period intervened before investigators of the mounds could have revealed their contents. The same author states that in the same mound was found an oxide which undoubtedly resulted from a plate of iron.


The remains of Mexico reveal many idols in the forms of animals, such as were worshipped in southern Asia and Egypt. These Mexicans remains find their last expression in the effigy mounds of which the great Serpent Mound in Adams County is a type. Perhaps it might be well to consider some of the evidences in favor of there having been at least two civilizations on this continent prior to the American Indian, the story of which is recorded in the Book of Mormon.


William Pidgeon in his tradition of the De Coo Dah (on page 176) says that the conclusion must be drawn that at least two distinct races occupied portions of the northwest territory and that both races became ultimately extinct anterior to the occupation of the country by the present Indian race. Many modern investigators believe the Indian and Mound Builders had the same origin, but the same authorities are forced to admit a racial distinction between them.  Pidgeon makes inferences, drawn from Indian traditions that there was a great war between the Indian and Mound Builders and that finally the Indian race predominated. Stephens and Catherwood, in Volume II, Harper & Brother's edition of Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, page 186, writes as follows:

Comparing the remains of Santa Cruz del Quiche with those of Copan and Quirigua points out that there were no evidence of these places [cities] being built by the same people but on the contrary all indications considering these remains point to the fact that Copan and Quirigua were cities of another race of much older date.

And in volume one of Travels in Yucatan, page 304, speaking of Uxmal, the author says the building possesses a curious feature -- it is erected over and completely enclosed a smaller one of older date. Notice on the map the point of the Jaredite landing and their line of travels and there will be seen, by comparison with the Nephite camp [sic], the relation of the two civilizations in the territory they covered and how well the story in the Book of Mormon is verified by these discoveries.


Statements in the Columbian Encyclopedia and other works definitely testify that the horse existed on the American continent in prehistoric times. This knowledge was first narrated in the Book of Mormon (1830). We are told further in this book that the Jaredites and Nephites were learned in fine workmanship of stone and wood, and every explorer who has visited the mines of Central America and Peru expresses surprise at the wonderful remains there observed. Admiral Brine, referring to a lintel found at Uxmal, says:

No attention has, however, been directed to the artisan qualities of the workman who shaped and fitted the lintels, which, however, proves that the workers in wood were as

skillful as the masons. The lintels were made of wood harder than mahogany and it is doubtful if a good carpenter's plane could give them a smoother surface.

This quotation agrees with the fourth chapter, second book of Nephi, Book of Mormon, as follows:

And I did teach my people to build buildings and to work in all manner of wood, copper, iron, brass and of steel and of gold and silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

Concerning the animals that were upon this continent we find in the Book of Ether a statement as follows:

And the Lord began again to take the curse off the land... insomuch that they became exceeding rich, having all manner of fruit and of grain and of silks and of fine linens and of gold, and of silver and of precious things and also all manner of cattle, of oxen and cows and of sheep and of swine and of goats and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the good of a man and they also had horses and asses and there were elephants and cureloms, and cumoms all of which were useful unto man and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms.

This statement refers to the first or Jaredite civilization, which became extinct before the year 600 B. C., and bears out the writer's idea that the people of the earlier civilization were the originators of the effigy mounds. [Dr. Peet] in his Prehistoric America refers to the images and remains of the elephant and mastodon as found in various places and as the Book of Mormon was written from plates supposed to have been inscribed several centuries ago, it is possible that the mastodon may have been one of the animals to which reference is above made. Nadaillac in his work says on page 25 as follows: "Mixed up promiscuously with the human remains were found those of several animals, chiefly feline and cervine, still extant in some regions together with others belonging to species which have now migrated or become extinct". On page 27 the same author refers to the fact that several species of animals have disappeared from the western hemisphere since the arrival of man, and this bears out the statements contained in the Book of Mormon. The above is also confirmed by articles in the National Geographic Magazine.


As we stand upon the ancient battlefields in Ohio where, according to tradition, have perished two powerful civilizations, it is a source of much pleasure to the writer to note that at last there has appeared a record of these people, the study of which record we see agrees with authenticated accounts by scientific investigators and that this record shows that the same divine providence which overshadowed the Hebrews in their migrations also protected the sons of Joseph and their posterity when faithful, and we can see how He has created of one blood all nations and has determined the bounds of their habitation.

This subject introduces itself into Ohio history not only because are found in this state abundant records of the otherwise unfathomable past. Here the Indian pushed back the greater civilization and in turn was deprived of his great inheritance. But we believe that this is a matter of interest inasmuch as the people who accept the Book of Mormon as corroborative evidence of the Bible, early in their career built a temple that still stands in Northern Ohio known as the Kirtland Temple.


For the benefit of the readers of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, who may not be familiar with the relation of the Book of Mormon to the prehistoric earth works of Ohio and the relation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the history of Ohio, a few words of explanation, in conclusion, are in order. In 1827 Joseph Smith, jr., then a young man, resident of Palmyra, New York, began his translation of the sacred writings on the gold plates, known as the Record of Mormon, which translation, (in addition to the Bible) constitutes (not only the faith and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but also is) a religious history of the aborigines of America, as is brought out in the narrative statement of the article herewith written. In 1831 Smith moved with his followers to Kirtland, Lake county, Ohio. Here the members of the new sect rapidly increased in number and the building known as the Kirtland Temple was erected, a building still standing and the object of historic interest to innumerable visitors. Here the church thrived and was thoroughly organized, with Joseph Smith, jr., as its chief head. The name of the sect adopted was "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

From Kirtland, they went to Jackson County, Missouri. While there, religious persecution became intolerable, which forced them to make their departure. Their next place of settling was Illinois. There they founded and built the city of Nauvoo. Again religious persecution became very intense. Joseph Smith was arrested on a pretense of treason. Of this charge he was acquitted. He was immediately rearrested on some false accusations. With his brother and two others, he was committed to jail without a hearing, although protest was offered by their council. While in jail, they were attacked by a drunken mob of about two hundred, which fired, killing Smith and his brother Hyrum, on June 27, 1844.

The iniquity of polygamy, as condemned in the

Book of Mormon, was taught to be a great evil by Joseph Smith. Brigham Young, one of the disciples of the church, became the chief apostate and usurper, taking the leadership of the church without authority and taking such as would follow him, migrated to the wilds of Utah, at Salt Lake City, in the year of 1852, eight years after the death of Smith. Brigham Young instituted the nefarious doctrine of polygamy into the apostate Latter Day Saint Church, headquarters at Salt Lake City.

The original Latter Day Saints faith, as established by Joseph Smith, jr., was adhered to by bands and followers remaining or originating in various places in the middle west. These representatives of the original church are strong and outspoken opponents of the doctrine and practice of polygamy. A portion of the original organization retained an existence in Kirtland and claimed the property as against the Utah branch.  In 1880 the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as the eastern remnant of the true faith designated themselves, brought suit to affirm their title to the Kirtland Temple. The Utah Mormon church was made defendant. The decision of the Ohio court, Judge L. S. Sherman presiding, was not only that the Kirtland Temple belonged to the "reorganized" organization, but that the reorganization represented the true and lawful continuation of, and successor to, the said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, instituted in 1830, and was entitled in law to all its rights and property, but the court also held that polygamy and kindred false doctrines were only promulgated and exclusively adopted by the church in Utah.

This Ohio trial and court decision therefore legally established the fact that while the church of Utah had departed from the faith, doctrine and usages of the original church and the clear teachings of the Book of Mormon, the reorganized church now existing in Ohio, and in other localities of the country, has never departed from the true principles and practices of the original church and not only does the Ohio church abhor but denounces the doctrine of celestial marriages, plurality of wives and Adam-worship.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 65.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  March 27, 1918.                           No. ?


(A contributor sent in a lengthy statement to the Buffalo Express recently, setting out the differences between the Reorganized Church and the Utah organization. He seemed to understand the differences but was mistaken as to the origin of the Book of Mormon. Brother James Pycock wrote and had printed the following answer, which we reproduce in part with the idea that it may be valuable as a scrapbook note to help answer the Spalding Romance theory so often used by those who are not well informed. -- Editors.)

Editor Buffalo Express: Your issue of the 4th inst. contains a letter from Frederick B. Stanton under the above heading. We appreciate the fair manner wherein he shows the great difference between the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the apostate Mormon church of Utah. If all preachers, lecturers and writers, who may have access to the facts, were as fair, the people would soon cease confounding the true Latter Day Saints with the iniquitous church of Salt Lake City.

He is, however, mistaken as to the origin of the Book of Mormon. Neither Solomon Spalding nor Sidney Rigdon had anything to do with its origin or publication. The plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, came into the possession of Joseph Smith in 1827. It was translated and printed by March, 1830. Sidney Rigdon was not acquainted with Joseph Smith, nor did he ever see a Book of Mormon until Parley P. Pratt visited him in October, 1830, and presented him with a copy, which caused him seriously to consider the claims of the Latter Day Saints. Oliver Cowdery, who did write the Book of Mormon, says: "I wrote with my own pen the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith." "Sidney Rigdon did not write it, Mr. Spalding did not write it." Church History, volume 1, page 145.) That manuscript in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery is in the archives of the church at Lamoni, Iowa. (Now at Independence, Missouri -- Editors.)

In their work, Mormonism Unveiled, published in 1834, E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut originated the idea that the Book of Mormon was copied from the work of Solomon Spalding. Others have copied it from them. They gathered eight witnesses, who depended upon their remembrance of hearing some fragments of Spalding's work read twenty years before. The evidence was void of proof.

The following extracts taken from a paper read before the Northern Ohio and Western Reserve Historical Society on March 23, 1886, by James H. Fairchild, who had possession of the original Manuscript Found of Solomon Spalding:

This manuscript (the Spalding) is now in my possession, and it is at hand this evening. The manuscript has no resemblance to the Book of Mormon, except in some very general features. There is not a name or an incident common to the two.... The names of persons are entirely original, quite as remarkable as those in the Book of Mormon, but never the same.... The only important question connected with this manuscript is, what light, if any, does it throw on the origin of the Book of Mormon? This manuscript clearly was not the basis of the book.... Now it is difficult -- almost impossible, to believe that the religious sentiments of the "Book of Mormon" were wrought into interpolation. They are of the original tissue and substance of the document, and a man as self-reliant and smart as Sidney Rigdon, with a superabundant gift of tongue and every form of utterance, would never have accepted the servile task. There could have been no motive to it, nor could the blundering syntax of the Book of Mormon have come from Rigdon's hand. He had the gift of speech which would have made the style distasteful and impossible to him. -- Western Reserve Historical Society, vol. 3, pp. 187-200.

Note 1: In his selective quotation from Fairchild's 1885 address, the writer carefully avoids reproducing any of the man's words which might allow for any other fictional writings by Solomon Spalding. In fact, in subsequent statements, Fairchild admitted that he simply did not know whether some other work by Spalding was used as a basis for the Book of Mormon. As Fairchild studied the issue throughout the remainder of the century, he progressively backed away (in his public and private communications) from the identification of the Oberlin document as being the long-lost "Manuscript Found."

Note 2: In quoting Fairchild, the writer conveys the impression that Rigdon could not have written any part of the Book of Mormon, since that book's "blundering syntax" lacks any textual parallels with Rigdon's reported eloquence of religious speech. One might assume that Rigdon was cunning enough not to insert lengthy examples of his eloquent sermonizing into a book that was sure to be attributed to his pen following its publication. It would probably be more productive to seek out Rigdon's "eloquence" in parts of the books sermons and exhortations and to bear in mind that the man may have introduced some "blundering syntax" precisely for the reason that it would remove the readers' suspicion from him as a possible author of the same.


Vol. 65.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 21, 1918.                           No. 34.


[A paper read before the Northern Ohio and Western Reserve Historical Society, March 23, 1886.]

The accepted theory of the origin of the "Book of Mormon" connects it with a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding, purporting to set forth the origin and civilization of the American Indians, and to account for the ancient mounds and earthworks and other remains of the ancient inhabitants which are scattered over the land.

The first publication of this idea seems to have been made by the late E. D. Howe, of Painesville, in a volume published by himself at Painesville in 1834, and entitled Mormonism Unveiled. He, with an associate, D. P. Hurlbut, of Conneaut, seems to have been the first to gather evidence on the subject from original sources; and most later writers on Mormonism have depended essentially upon the material furnished by him. The theory of the connection of the "Book of Mormon" with Spaulding's manuscript has become traditional, and has found its way into all anti-Mormon literature and into the general cyclopedias, such as the Britannia, Chambers', Appleton's, McClintock and Strong's, and probably others. Professor George P. Fisher, in his work on general history, just published, adopts the theory.

The question whether or not the "Book of Mormon" is based upon a manuscript of Spaulding is intrinsically of little importance. It required only a very moderate degree of literary ability and invention to produce the book, and several of the original leaders of the fanaticism must have been adequate to the work. It is, perhaps, impossible at this day to prove or disprove the Spaulding theory.

The unquestionable facts bearing on the case are as follows:

Solomon Spaulding was born in Connecticut in 1761; graduated at Dartmouth College in 1785, was ordained to the ministry, and practiced in New England a few years, taught an academy for a time in Cherry Valley, New York, or carried on mercantile business there and failed, and in 1809 removed to New Salem, now Conneaut, in Ohio, where in company with one Henry Lake he established an iron foundry. His business not prospering, he removed to Pittsburgh, or its vicinity, in 1812, and a year or two later, to Amity, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816 at the age of fifty-five years. Spaulding had a literary tendency, and while living at Conneaut, he entertained himself with writing a story which purported to be an account of the original inhabitants of the country, their habits, customs and civilization, their migrations and their conflicts. From time to time, as his work went on, he would call in his neighbors and read to them portions of his manuscript, so that they became familiar with his undertaking. He talked with some of them about publishing his book, in the hope of retrieving his fortunes financially; and this appears to have been his purpose when he removed to Pittsburgh. There is evidence that he conferred with a printer, at Pittsburgh, by the name of Patterson, in reference to the publication, but the book never appeared.

Soon after the publication of the Mormon book in 1830, Mormon preachers appeared in considerable numbers in Northern Ohio, and attracted much attention in the neighborhood at Conneaut. At some of their gatherings where the new Bible was read, persons were present who heard the Spaulding manuscript, and were struck with the resemblance between the two. Thus the opinion arose and was propagated that the Mormon book was written by Solomon Spaulding. The fact that it obtained a foothold there affords a presumption in favor of the idea, and the testimony of parties on the ground, if fully trustworthy, established the fact beyond question. These testimonies were gathered in 1833, apparently with reference to their publication in Howe's book. As these are the entire basis of the theory, I will give from the book the essential portions of them found on pages 278-87. The first is from the testimony of John Spaulding, the brother of Solomon:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of Martha, wife of John:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of Henry Lake, partner of S. Spaulding, Conneaut, September, 1833:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of Miller, an employee of Spaulding, Springfield, Pennsylvania, September, 1833:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of a neighbor, Aaron Wright:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of O. Smith, a neighbor, with whom Spaulding boarded:

(witness's testimony follows)

Testimony of Nahum Howard, Conneaut, August, 1883 (1833):

(witness's testimony follows)

Statement of Artemus Cunningham:

(witness's testimony follows)

This testimony of Cunningham is without his signature, but is called his statement.

Of these eight witnesses, five distinctly state that the religious matter in the "Book of Mormon" was

not contained in Spaulding's manuscript. The others state that the historical part of the "Book of Mormon" is the same as of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found."

Mr. Howe inquired of Mr. Patterson, the printer, at Pittsburgh, with whom it was represented that Spaulding conferred in reference to the publication of his manuscript, but Patterson had, at that time, no recollection of the subject, but in 1842, some eight years after the publication of Howe's book, Mr. Patterson signed a statement certifying that a gentleman had put into the hands of the foreman of his printing office, "a manuscript of a singular work, chiefly in the style of our English translation of the Bible," that he (Patterson) read a few pages of it, but as the author could not furnish the means, the manuscript was not printed.

Mr. Howe sent a messenger, D. P. Hurlbut of Conneaut, to the widow of Solomon Spaulding (Mrs. Davison by a second marriage), who was then living with her daughter in Monson, Massachusetts, to ascertain further about the manuscript and to procure it if it were still within reach. Mrs. Davison stated that her husband had a variety of manuscripts, one of which was entitled the "Manuscript Found," but of its contents she had no distinct remembrance; she thought it was once taken to Patterson's printing once in Pittsburgh, and whether it was ever returned to the house again she was quite uncertain. If it was returned, it must be with other manuscripts in a trunk which she left in Otsego County, New York.

This was all that Mrs. D. knew of the manuscript in 1834, when Howe published his book; but in 1839, five years later, a statement was published in the Boston Recorder under her signature, in which she describes the manuscript very fully, states very definitely that Mr. Patterson took the manuscript, kept it, a long time, was greatly pleased with it, and promised. to publish it; if Mt. Spaulding would make out a title-page and preface, which Mr. S. refused to do. She further states that at her husband's death, the manuscript came into her possession and was carefully preserved. This seems to be a great enlargement of memory or of knowledge since 1834, and it is difficult to read the extended and elaborate statement without reaching the conclusion that Mrs. Spaulding-Davison had very little to do with it. Reverend Robert Patterson, son of Reverend Robert Patterson, the printer, now, editor of the Presbyterian Banner of Pittsburgh, published some years since a paper on this question, and in quoting a paragraph from this statement; of Mrs. Spaulding-Davison, he says that it was made to Reverend D. R. Austin of Monson, Massachusetts, written down by him and published in the Boston Recorder.

Mr. Hurlbut, on his visit to Mrs. Davison, obtained from her permission to examine the old hair trunk at her cousin's in Hartwick, New York, in which the manuscript, if in existence, was to be found, and to carry it to Mr. Howe for comparison with the "Book of Mormon." He found but one manuscript, and this he delivered to Mr. Howe who describes it briefly, but somewhat inaccurately in his book, page 283.

The manuscript, lost sight of since the date of Howe's book, came to light at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, a year ago last August, in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, formerly State printer at Columbus, Ohio. I had asked Mr. Rice, who was an anti-slavery editor in Ohio many years ago, to examine his old pamphlets and papers and see what; contributions he could make to the anti-slavery literature of the Oberlin College library. After a few days he brought out an old manuscript with the following certificate on a blank page:

The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith,, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.


The three men named are of the eight witnesses brought forward by Howe. This manuscript is now in my possession, and it is at hand this evening. It is soiled and worn and discolored with age. It consists of about one hundred and seventy pages, small quarto, unruled, and for the most part closely written -- not far from forty-five thousand words. It has been printed by the Josephite Mormons of Lamoni, Iowa, from a copy of the manuscript taken since it came into my possession. As thus printed it makes one hundred and thirty-two pages of three hundred and twenty words each -- equal to about one-sixth part of the "Book of Mormon." No date attaches to the manuscript proper, but on a blank page there is a fragment of a letter containing the date, January, 1812. Mr. Rice probably came into possession of the manuscript in 1839, when he succeeded Mr. Howe in the printing office at Painesville, but he has no recollection of ever having seen the manuscript until it came to his notice in Honolulu.

The manuscript has no resemblance to the 'Book of Mormon,' except in some very general features. There is not a name or an incident common to the two. It is not written in the solemn Scripture style. It is a story of the coming to this country, from Rome, of a ship's company, driven by a storm across the ocean, in the days of the Emperor Constantine. They never returned to their own land, but cast in their lot with the aboriginal tribes inhabiting the country; and it is chiefly occupied with an account of the civilization and conflicts of these tribes -- the Delawares, Ohions, Kentucks, Sciotans, Chiaugans, etc. etc. The names of persons are entirely original, quite as remarkable as those in the "Book of Mormon," but never the same -- such as Bombal, Kadocam, Lobaska, Hamboon, Ulipoon, Lamesa, etc. The introduction expresses the purpose or motive of the author in its composition, and is as follows -- orthography uncorrected, and a few words lost by the crumbling of the manuscript:

Near the west bank of the Conneaught river there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation and numbers of those people, who far exceed the present race of Indians in works of art and inginuity, I happened to tread on a flat stone. This was at a small distance from the fort, and it lay on the top of a small mound of earth exactly horizontal. The face of it had a singular appearance. I discovered a number of characters, which appeared to me to be letters, but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the stone; but you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on stones, and that it was designed as a cover to an artificial cave. I found by examining that its sides were lined with stones built in a conical form, with ... down, and that it was about 8 feet deep. Determined to investigate the design of this extraordinary work of antiquity, I prepared myself with necessary requisites for that purpose and descended to the bottom of the cave. Observing one side to be perpendicular nearly three feet from the bottom, I began to inspect that part with accuracy. Here I noticed a big, flat stone fixed in the form of a doar. I immediately tore it down and lo! a cavity within the wall presented itself, it being about three feet in diameter from side to side, and about two feet high. Within this cavity I found an earthen box, with a cover which shut it perfectly tite. The box was two feet in length, one and half in breadth, and one and three inches in diameter. My mind, filled with awful sensations which crowded fast upon me, would hardly permit my hands to remove this venerable deposit, but curiosity soon gained the ascendancy; the box was taken and raised to open ... of parchment, and that when ... the Latin Language. They were written on a variety of subjects, but the roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the author's life and that part of America which extends along the great lakes and the waters of the Mississippy.

Solomon Spaulding's attitude toward the sacred Scriptures and Christianity is brought to light by a record, apparently a copy of a letter, on two loose leaves found in connection with the manuscript, written on paper of the same quality, and in the same handwriting; the statement is without beginning or end, but the substantial part remains as follows:

But having every reason to place the highest confidence in your friendship and prudence, I have no reluctance in complying with your request in giving you my sentiments of the Christian religion, and so far from considering the freedom you took in making the request, impertinence, I view it as a mark of your affectionate solicitude for my happiness. In giving you my sentiments of the Christian religion, you will perceive that I do not believe certain facts and certain propositions to be true, merely because my ancestors believed them and because they are popular. In forming my creed I bring every thing to the standard of reason. This is an unerring and sure guide in all matters of faith and practice. Having divested myself therefore of traditionary and vulgar prejudice, and submitting to the guidance of reason, it is impossible for me to have the same sentiments of the Christian religion which its advocates consider as orthodox. It is in my view a mass of contradictions, and an heterogeneous mixture of wisdom and folly, nor can I find any clear and incontrovertible evidence of its being a revelation from an infinitely benevolent and wise God.

It is true that I never have had the leisure nor patience to read every part of it with critical attention, or to study the metaphissical jargon of divines in its vindication. It is enough for me to know that propositions which are in contradiction to each other cannot both be true and that doctrines and facts which represent the Supreme Being as a barbarous and cruel tyrant, can never be dictated by infinite wisdom. Whatever the clergy say on the contrary can have no effect in altering my sentiments. I know as well as they that two and two make four, and that three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles. But, notwithstanding I disavow any belief in the divinity of the Bible, and consider it a mere human production, designed to enrich and agrandize its authors and enable them to manage the multitude; yet casting aside a considerable mass of rubbish and fanatical rant, I find that it contains a system of ethics or morals which cannot be excelled on account of their tendency to ameliorate the condition of man, to promote individual, social and public happiness, and that in various instances it represents the Almighty as possessing attributes worthy of a transcendant character; having a view therefore, to those parts of the Bible which are truly good and excellent [I] sometimes speak of it in [terms] of high commendation, and indeed, I am inclined to believe that, notwithstanding the mischiefs and miseries which have been produced by the bigoted zeal of fanatics and interested priests, yet that such evils are more than counterbalanced in a Christian land by the benefits which result to the great mass of the people by their believing that the Bible is of divine origin, and that it contains a revelation from God. Such being my view of the subject, I make no exertions to dissipate their happy delusions.

The only important question connected with this manuscript is, what light, if any, does it throw on the origin of the "Book of Mormon?" This manuscript clearly was not the basis of the book. Was there another manuscript, which Spaulding was accustomed to read to his neighbors, out of which the "Book of Mormon" grew, under the hand of Sidney Rigdon or Joseph Smith, or both? If we could accept without misgiving the testimony of the eight witnesses, brought forward in Howe's book, we should be obliged to accept the fact of another manuscript. We are to remember that twenty-two years or more had elapsed since they had heard the manuscript read; and before they began to recall their remembrances they had read or heard the "Book of Mormon," and also the suggestion that the book had its origin in the manuscript of Spaulding. What effect these things had upon the exactness of their memory is a matter of doubt. No one was present to cross-question, and Hurlbut and Howe were intent upon finding the testimony to support their theory.

In its more general features the present manuscript fulfills the requirements of the "Manuscript Found." It purports to have been taken from an artificial cave in a mound, and thus was naturally called the "Manuscript Found." It sets forth the coming of a colony from the eastern continent, and is an account of the aboriginal inhabitants of the country, suggested by the mounds and earthworks in the vicinity of the author, and was written to explain the origin of these works. This purpose it pursues with a directness not found in the "Book of Mormon." These general features would naturally bring it to remembrance, on reading the account of the finding of the plates of the "Book of Mormon."

Of the eight witnesses brought forward by Howe, five are careful to except the "religious matter" of the "Book of Mormon," as not contained in the manuscript of Spaulding, and the theory is that this matter was interpolated by Sidney Rigdon, or some other man who expanded the manuscript into the book. This strikes me as an important circumstance. The "Book of Mormon" is permeated in every page and paragraph with religious and Scriptural ideas. It is first and foremost a religious book, and the contrast between it and the supposed manuscript must have been very striking to have led five of these witnesses to call this difference to mind and mention it, after the lapse of twenty years and more. The other three witnesses are careful to say that the "Book of Mormon," in its "historical parts," is derived from the Spaulding manuscript, thus implying the same exception expressed by the others. Now it is difficult -- almost impossible, to believe that the religious sentiments of the "Book of Mormon" were wrought into interpolation. They are of the original tissue and substance of the document, and a man as self-reliant and smart as Sidney Rigdon, with a superabundant gift of tongue and every form of utterance, would never have accepted the servile task. There could have been no motive to it, nor could the blundering syntax of the "Book of Mormon" have come from Rigdon's hand. He had the gift of speech which would have made the style distasteful and impossible to him.

The minuter features of the testimony of these witnesses are obviously of more weight in their bearing upon the probability of another manuscript. When they speak of the Scriptural style of the manuscript, the frequent recurrence of the expression, "and it came to pass," the names recalled, "Nephi," "Lehi," and others, the remembrance seems too definite to be called in question. But it must be remembered that the "Book of Mormon" was fresh in their minds, and their recollections of the manuscript found were very remote and dim. That under the pressure and suggestion of Hurlbut and Howe, they should put the ideas at hand in place of those remote and forgotten, and imagine that they remembered what they had recently read, would be only an ordinary example of the frailty of memory, and it would not be unnatural or improbable that such an illusion should be propagated among Spaulding's old neighbors at Conneaut. This view must, of course, be purely hypothetical, and could have little force against the positive testimony.

There has been an attempt to support the testimony of these Conneaut witnesses by following the manuscript through Patterson's office, at Pittsburgh, to the hands of Sidney Rigdon. This theory is sustained by abundance of conjecture, but by very little positive evidence. It has come to be a tradition that Rigdon was a printer in Patterson's office when Spaulding went to Pittsburgh, and thus became acquainted with the manuscript, either stole it or copied it, and after brooding over it fifteen years brought out the Mormon Bible. This would be interesting if true; but there seems no ground to dispute the positive testimony of Rigdon's brothers that he was never a printer, and never lived in Pittsburgh at all until 1822, eight years after Spaulding left, and then was there as pastor of a Baptist church.

Rigdon sent from Nauvoo, in 1839, to the Boston Journal, an indignant denial of the statement of Mrs. Spaulding-Davison, already referred to. A sentence or two from this denial will be sufficient

It is only necessary to say, in relation to the whole story about Spaulding's writings being in the hands of Mr. Patterson, who was at Pittsburgh, and who is said to have kept a printing office, etc., etc., is the most base of lies, without even the shadow of truth.... If I were to say that I ever hears of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his hopeful wife until D. P. Hurlbut wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves.

The claim in reference to Rigdon's connection with the Spaulding manuscript seems to become more and more definite with every new statement of the case, and without any addition to the evidence. Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, a grandniece of Mrs. Solomon Spaulding, in her "New Light on Mormonism," recently published, finds it easy to put imaginings in the place of facts, in her statements in reference to Rigdon, as follows:

At an early age he was a printer by trade, and is known to have been in Conneaut, Ohio, at the time Spaulding read his "Manuscript Found" to his neighbors,... and it is easy to believe the report that he followed or preceded Spaulding to Pittsburgh, knowing all his plans, in order to obtain his manuscript, or copy it, while it was in Patterson's printing house -- an easy thing to do, as the fact of the manuscript being left carelessly in the office for months, is not questionable. -- p. 47.

Over against these fancies are the facts given in the testimony of Rigdon's brothers, published by Rev. Robert Patterson, of Pittsburgh, that when Spaulding was reading his manuscript to his neighbors in Conneaut, Rigdon was a boy seventeen or eighteen years of age, on his father's farm in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania; that he never was a printer, and did not live in Pittsburgh until 1822, six years after Spaulding's death.

Another example of the increasing definiteness of the tradition may be found in a volume just published at Cincinnati, giving an account of the various religious sects. Speaking of the "Book of Mormon," the writer says: "Rigdon, who afterwards became Smith's right-hand man, is known to have copied this (Spaulding's) manuscript. A comparison of the 'Book of Mormon' with the original manuscript of this novel, satisfies all, except professing Mormons, that the Mormon bible is simply the old novel revised and corrected by Smith and Rigdon" -- an illustration of the facility with which a shadowy tradition becomes definite history.

It does not appear that Smith and Rigdon had any acquaintance with each other until after the publication of the Mormon book. In Howe's book we have a full account of Rigdon's conversion to Mormonism at Mentor, in the autumn of 1830, when Parley P. Pratt introduced to him two Mormon missionaries from Palmyra, New York. In a pamphlet published by Pratt, in 1838, he gives a similar account of Rigdon's conversion and states positively that Smith and Rigdon never saw each other until early in 1831. So far as I am aware, there is nothing to disprove this statement.

A somewhat prevalent theory, which Mrs. Dickinson maintains, is that Hurlbut took two manuscripts from the old trunk in Hartwick, New York -- one the genuine "Manuscript Found," which he treacherously sold to the Mormons, the other which he delivered to Howe, and which is present this evening. Of this there seems to be no proof. Howe intimates no such thing in his book. It is true that Mrs. Dickinson reports an interview of her own with Howe, in 1830, in which he expresses the opinion that Hurlbut had two manuscripts, one of which he sold to the Mormons, but in the appendix to her book (page 259) she publishes a letter from Howe to Hurlbut, written two or three months before the interview, in which he disclaims any such suspicion.

There are those who claim to know that the last manuscript is still in existence, and will be brought forth to light at some future day. It would not seem unreasonable to suspend judgment in the case until the new light shall come. Professor Whitsitt, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, has given much attention to the internal structure of the "Book of Mormon," and is about to publish a life of Sidney Rigdon in which he will maintain, and expects to prove, that Rigdon is responsible for the "Book of Mormon," and he had Spaulding's manuscript as the basis of his work. -- James H. Fairchild, in Western Reserve Historical Society, vol. 3, pp. 185-200, Tract No. 77, March 23, 1886.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 65.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  August 28, 1918.                           No. 35.


Elder James Pycock called our attention to the fact that in volume 3, page 187, of the proceedings of the Western Reserve Historical Society, held in 1886, an address is to be found by James Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, which was delivered at a meeting of that society. This address was published in full in the Saints' Herald of last week.

It should prove of great interest since it is clear that President Fairchild was not trying to make a case, but was writing a historic paper; so he presented this problem, as he considered, in a fair manner and leaves the ending indefinite, leaving open the possibility of further evidence.

It is of interest to note that thirty-two years have now passed and none of the threatened proof has developed; but on the contrary the value of the theory of the Solomon Spalding romance has grown weaker with the passing of the years.

The reason is doubtless that so clearly and logically set forth by President Fairchild, in that he shows what was once a hypothesis or supposition, has, in the minds of those opposing, grown rather stronger with the passing of years, until what was once not known, was supposed, and finally was affirmed as a fact. Critical students observing this feature of memory growing stronger with the lapse of years, contrary to all known experience, recognize the fact that it is a created story and was added to and thus naturally grows stronger the farther it gets away from the historic data, and the time of possible happening.

Originally these witnesses knew very little, but as memory grows weaker their testimonies grew ever stronger, as President Fairchild so clearly indicates.

This is of interest as indicating the fallacy of this particular story; but it is also of interest in similar events, as opponents from time to time make such assertions wholly without reference to facts, yet in time some believe them.

The address of President Fairchild appears in the General Interest department of last week. We have retained in this instance the spelling of Spaulding, though in our investigations made years ago, it was ascertained that the family indorsed both that form and the simpler Spalding, which latter has been our preference for years.     S. A. B.

Note: The writer of the above says that James H. Fairchild, in summing up his 1886 paper on the Spalding claims, "leaves the ending indefinite, leaving open the possibility of further evidence;" and that "thirty-two years have now passed and none of the threatened proof has developed." Obviously the Herald reporter had not been keeping very close track of the evolution of the Spalding claims since 1886. Specifically, the writer fails to mention the books issued by A. T. Schroeder in 1901 and Charles A. Shook in 1914. In his work Schroeder publishes James H. Fairchild's Oct. 1900 statement to a former student of his, the Rev. J. D. Nutting: "With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the Library of Oberlin College, I have never stated, and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this Ms. does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted." Shook also prints and discusses the Oct. 1900 Fairchild statement.


Vol. 66.                             Lamoni,  Iowa,  October 1, 1919.                           No. 40.


"A very pretty 'theory,' and somewhat ingenious, but where is the evidence to support it?" -- D. H. Bays.

"Barring the question of the hearsay character of the evidence, I believe that a case can be made out much stronger than the circumstantial evidence upon which many a man has been hung." -- A. T. Schroeder.

"This may be true, but it must be borne in mind that many an innocent man has been hung upon purely 'circumstantial evidence.'... I need not remind an experienced attorney that there is a vast difference between 'hearsay evidence' and 'circumstantial evidence.'... The former Greenleaf peremptorily excludes."... -- D. H. Bays.

(remainder of article not transcribed)

Note: This article is merely a condensation of the piece originally written by Elder Elbert A. Smith for the June 25, 1913 issue of the Saints' Herald.

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