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Plano, Kendall County, Illinois

The Saints’ Herald
1872-1881 Articles

Early Scene on Fox River, near Plano, Illinois

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Near the end of 1881 the office for this newspaper
was moved to the Herald Office at Lamoni, Iowa.

Feb 15 '72  |  May 01 '72  |  Aug 15 '72  |  Sep 15 '72  |  Dec 01 '72  |  Jan 15 '73
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Sep 01 '81  |  Sep 15 '81  |  Nov 15 '81

Old Newspapers Index  |  Plano RLDS Church Photo


Vol. 19.                               Plano,  Ill., February 15, 1872.                              No. 4.


                                                  Elkander, Iowa,
                                                  Jan. 4, 1872.
Dear Joseph:

My letter written under date of Dec. 22, 1871, has been delayed on account of the storm that at that time was in full blast; the wind helping to pile the snow into drifts, with a fury that seemed to say to invalids that they had better stay in doors. Next came New Year's, when I thought of going out to the post office. Then came a stranger from Strawberry Point, a distance of twenty miles, requesting me to go home with him for the purpose of preaching a funeral sermon on the death of a brother by the name of Ephraim Hart. This brother, as it appears from the account of him, was a native of the State of New York, and at an early time emigrated to Illinois, where he became acquainted with the gospel as preached by the Latter Day Saints. He also became a member of the church of that profession, and soon after emigrated to this State, Iowa, where he has resided for the last few years near Strawberry Point, Clayton Co., with very poor health.

Having lingered long in this condition, he took his last leave of his family on the morning of the New Year, at half-past two o'clock, making the request that his friends would send for me to attend his funeral obsequies, which I accordingly did, speaking from John 11:24, 25.

Had this brother lived until the 18th of March next, he would have been fifty years of age. He leaves a wife and four children to mourn his loss, three of them small boys, and one daughter. The daughter is married, and lives some distance from her father's burial place. By request, I report the death of this brother to the Herald, and his friends near Plano. It is due to him and his friends to say that he died strong in the faith of the latter day work.
                                              WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note: The above communication marks the first appearance of a message written by William B. Smith, last living brother of Joseph Smith, Jr., in the pages of the Saints' Herald since   January, 1869. Historical evidence points to William's tendency to write letters to both his enemies and his friends at certain intervals and it seems that the old Mormon annoyed his nephew, Joseph Smith III, with a number of these messages during the early 1870s. The nephew did not publish such communications, however, and it seems likely that William took advantage of the passing of Ephraim Hart, in order to get at least a small personal mention into the columns of the Herald. When, on Nov. 11, 1872, William finally extended his unequivocal support for the Reorganization, his nephew relented and published one of William's "religious" messages.


Vol. 19.                                Plano,  Ill.,  May 1, 1872.                              No. 9.

                              PRINCEVILLE, ILL.,
                                   March 14th, 1872.
Br. Joseph:
I learn of late that some of the opposers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are resorting to an old story, that the Book of Mormon was manufactured from a romance of one Solomon Spaulding, and was accomplished by one Sidney Rigdon. Being somewhat acquainted with Elder Rigdon, in the early history of the Church, and have heard him interrogated both in public and in private concerning his knowledge of the Book of Mormon, and the Spaulding Romance, made at one particular time and place while preaching to a large congregation, here his testimony with such power in the Spirit of God that scores were soon after baptized, and joined the Church. I submit the following testimony from two others and myself: --

We, the undersigned, feel it our duty, and are willing to bear our testimony concerning the Book of Mormon at any reasonable time and place, and especially concerning the following incident in relation to Elder Rigdon.

In the spring of 1833 or 1834 at the house of Samuel Baker, near New Portage Medina County, Ohio, we whose signatures are affixed, did hear Elder Sidney Rigdon, in the presence of a large congregation, say he had been informed that some in the neighborhood had accused him of being the instigator of the Book of Mormon, Standing in the door way, there being many standing in the door yard, he, holding up the Book of Mormon, said "I testify in the presence of this congregation, and before God and all the Holy Angels up yonder, (pointing towards Heaven), before whom I expect to give account at the judgment day, that I never saw a sentence of the Book of Mormon, I never penned a sentence of the Book of Mormon, I never knew that there was such a book in existence as the Book of Mormon, until it was presented to me by Parley P. Pratt, in the form that it now is."
                    PHINEAS BRONSON.
                    HIEL BRONSON.
                    MARY D. BRONSON.

Brother Hiel thinks it was in 1834, but sister Mary, his wife, and I think is was in 1833, so we have put it 1833 or 1834.
                    PHINEAS BRONSON.

Note: LDS biographer Richard Van Wagoner makes use of the Bronsons' forty year old memories as a chief example of "Rigdon's stance" in response to non-Mormon accusations linking him to the origin of the Book of Mormon (Sidney Rigdon..., p. 133, n. 5.). Whether the Bronsons' recollections can be relied upon as representing Rigdon's exact words in 1833 or 1834 (in the midst of the initial outbreak of the Spalding authorship claims) remains questionable, but there is no reason to suppose that he did not make similar oral statements from time to time. Probably a more reliable report on Rigdon's "stance" in this regard is recorded in a contemporary court trial record, published in June 9, 1837 in the Painesville Telegraph. Rigdon supplemented this testimony in a letter published June 8, 1839 in the Quincy Whig; in his biography, as printed in the Aug. 15, 1843 issue of the Times & Seasons, and in his interview with Austin W. Cowles (see Cowles' 3-part article in Moore's Rural New Yorker, 1869). Interestingly enough, Rigdon nowhere positively states that he was totally unacquainted with Mormonism and Joseph Smith prior to the fall of 1830.


Vol. 19.                                Plano,  Ill.,  Aug. 15, 1872.                              No. 16.

ELDER ISAAC SHEEN in a discourse on the gathering of Israel, delivered in Plano, the evening of August 4th, said: "Let the scientific men continue their researches for Sir John Franklin, and the North Pole, or open sea; and if they should discover any traces of the Lost Tribes, or the people themselves; either on the outer or inner surface of the earth; as, speaking for myself and not for the church, I believe the earth to be a hollow sphere; let them understand that years before this, and now, the general outlines of the fact of the Lost Tribes being in the north country have been testified of; both in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants; by ancient and by modern prophets, and I take the opportunity now of presenting these things, that before any discoveries are made, our faith in the word of God, as revealed to these prophets, may be set forth."

Note 1: Although Elder Sheen was here speaking for himself, it must be remembered that his learned (?) opinions carried great weight in the early RLDS Church. Sheen makes it sound as though the Bible and the Book of Mormon both place the location of the "lost tribes" of Israel at or near the north pole. However, his exegesis of these texts was conducted with the understanding that the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants offered critical insights, necessary for a good understanding of the earlier scriptures. It might be said that Sheen was viewing the Bible and the Book of Mormon through the magnifying lens of the D&C. Thus, any references found in the earlier works to a seeming northward movement of those tribes in ancient times, he took to mean a mutual agreement in scriptures that the tribes were then living somewhere beyond the Arctic ice and snows. The general RLDS membership would not have been at all inclined to dispute Sheen on such an interpretation of "the facts." Nor would have too many voiced any opposition to his view, that the tribes were then living beyond the polar region, inside the hollow earth. Although Sheen is not here quoted as saying the missing tribes had entered the Inner World through an opening at the north pole, his address implies as much, and he must have derived his conclusions either directly or indirectly from the earlier writings of Captain John C. Symmes. Such pseudo-scientific claims were being seriously advocated in the Herald as late as 1906 and 1909.

Note 2: The editors of the Saints' Herald felt it necessary to offer further space to an exposition upon some of these same subjects in the issue of Sept. 15th. Both of these 1872 reports acknowledge the Earth as being a globe (whether hollow or not). During 1871-72 the Herald was also running a series of articles which described the planet as being a relatively flat plane, (not being a globe at all). While this latter notion appears to satisfy a certain literalistic view of some Bible passages (four corners of the earth, etc.), it was considered a fantasy among most thoughtful Latter Day Saints, even in those days. In publishing other explanations, wherein the earth was described as a globe, (with missing Israelites living in its north polar region) the editors attempted to offer some balance of ideas, against the series of flat-earth inanities.

Note 3: The Herald briefly took up the Symmes theory, once again, in its issue of July 1, 1878, when it reprinted a letter written by the son of the infamous hollow-earth advocate, Captain John C. Symmes. The Herald of Feb. 15, 1881 reprinted a another letter written by the same son. In his 1881 letter the son makes a brief reference to reports then in circulation, that the planet was hollow and that a Hebrew-speaking people lived within its subterranean depths. Perhaps it was Elder Sheen's familiarity with such reports that led Sheen to postulate that the Hebrew-speaking "lost tribes" might be hidden away within the vacuous earth. Captain Symmes lived not too far from Cincinnati in his later years and his geographic innovations were frequently mentioned in that city's press during the first half of the 19th century. The first issues of the Saints' Herald were also published at Cincinnati, which was for many years the home of Isaac Sheen. Elder Sheen would have naturally heard something of Symmes' theories, just by being in the news business in that city. However, the Elder's advocacy for "traces" of the "lost tribes" being discoverable near "the North Pole, or open sea... either on the outer or inner surface of the earth," probably reflects Mormon beliefs dating back to the teachings of Joseph Smith, jr., first published during the Kirtland period of LDS history. See LDS author Frank Culmer's 1886 booklet, The Inner World for a Utah Mormon view on the topic. Whether or not Smith himself had heard of Symmes' theories at an early date remains unknown, certainly they were being discussed in the newspapers as late as 1831 -- some of his first followers were, no doubt, familiar with the well publicized hollow-earth idea.


Vol. 19.                                Plano,  Ill.,  Sept. 15, 1872.                              No. 18.



The earth is a globe, whirling in its orbit through space. As it whirls on its axis it wobbles much like a top or balloon. This wobbling motion of the earth is quite slow and perfectly regular, and is completed once in 21,000 years. The motion is said to be caused by the sun's attractive influence on the equatorial protuberances of the earth...

During the long period of cold at the north [produced by the wobble], the ice accumulated at the pole in such vast quantities as to change the center of gravity of the earth, and attract the sea mostly into the northern hemisphere, and cover the northern lands with water...

Among the facts encountered with this theory are some that have a real bearing on the fate of the ten tribes of Israel. They, according to Esdras, went north by a long journey into a country where never man dwelt. There was no land so likely to have been unknown and uninhabited as the extreme north. The time of their journey was about twenty-five hundred years ago, and about five hundred years subsequent to the period of greatest warmth in that region... it is possible that access to the north was more feasible formerly than at present, and migrations may have been possible without miraculous intervention...

Concerning the future the Doctrine and Covenants contains the following passage:

He shall command the great deep and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land, and the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.

About fifty years ago a gentleman of Cincinnati, named Syms, identified himself with a theory that became famous as Syms' hole. It was that the earth was "not a globe," but a series of concentric spheres, and that at the north pole was an opening into the nether spheres.

There are brethren in the church who favor this theory, supporting it by the passage in the Book of Mormon, that says a part of Israel was sent to the nethermost parts of the earth.

Mr. Syms supported the theory by certain facts... Syms' credit is that he first collected the facts that it has taken the world so long to harmonize...

So much is fact. Soon another fact will be transferred from the realm of faith to that of demonstration; that God's covenant people, driven out of his sight for their sins, hidden from the sight of men -- "lost tribes" -- haunting the centuries by the mystery of their fate, but reserved by God for the fulfilling of his repeated oath to the fathers; have somewhere in that undiscovered bourne, beyond the ice-world -- a home...

Note 1: No record has come down from the early years of the Reorganization as to what percentage of its members believed in the "lost tribes" having gone down into the hollow earth through the northern "Symms' hole," but their numbers may have been substantial.

Note 2: Among the Utah Mormons, during about this same period, the idea of the hollow earth was also being considered. For example, see Elder Frederick Culmer's 1886 pamphlet, The Inner World. Elder George Reynolds, long the personal secretary of Brigham Young, wrote in in the Deseret News in 1878 (republished in 1883): "Mormons believe "the literal gathering of Israel," will bring the "ten lost tribes," and Book of Mormon "Lamanites," together in America... They also believe when the "lost ten tribes" of Israel left the land of their captivity they went to an undisclosed location in the "frozen north," from whence they will return to Zion in America" (Are We of Israel? pp. 10-11).


Vol. 19.                                Plano,  Ill., December 1, 1872.                              No. 23.


                                                  Elkander, Clay[ton] Co., Iowa,
                                                  November 11th, 1872.
Respected Nephew:

Joseph, you are well aware that since the organization of the church in 1830, many who were the first elders have gone to pass through untold scenes of afflictions, adversities, and trial; and having myself, with others of my brethren, shared abundantly in all the changes incident to the history of the church thus far, I feel it a duty that I owe to old time saints, and for the good of the cause of Zion abroad, to say to you, and to all whom it may concern, that I am not a leader of any class of Mormons whatever; and that I do most cordially endorse the Reorganization; and further state now, as I have always done from the time of the great apostasy in 1844 and 1845, that the legal presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, belongs of right, to the oldest son of the martyred prophet, Joseph Smith, who was the first prophet of the church, and the called of God.

I hope that this may answer the inquiries of many of my friends, who continue to write to me on the subject of the rights of presidency and the legitimacy of the church over which my nephew, Joseph Smith, presides. I hope that this declaration of my faith and belief may find a favorable place in the columns of the Herald.

Go on then, ye swift messengers of peace. "Let Zion in her beauty rise," while the errors of the past shall be forgotten; charity and love fill every heart, is the prayer of your brother in Christ. Where love is there is the spirit of forgiveness; and long may this good spirit, which is the spirit of the gospel, abide with those who have named the name of Christ.

Much love and esteem I subscribe to all saints to whom these lines may come greeting, with charity for all and hatred to none.
                                                  WILLIAM B. SMITH,

Note 1: There appears to be a steady progression in the religious profession of William B. Smith, from 1857, when he declared: "I am not a Mormon... I left the heaven-defying traitors, as every honest man should do," to 1869, when he admitted: "I can see no reason why I should become the advocate of any particular sect, or class of Mormons," to early 1872, when he speaks favorably of Mormonism in an oblique way, to late 1872, when he finally admits: "I do most cordially endorse the Reorganization... the legal presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, belongs of right, to the oldest son of the martyred prophet, Joseph Smith." Clearly, by 1872, William was "swinging for a place in the New Organization," however, certain old members among the RLDS were probably not so enthusastic as William was, about the prospect of his return. Were William then admitted to the Reorganization, the would be the problem of his having been ordained to the office of a high priest under the leadership of Joseph Smith, Jr. Isaac Sheen, a man whom William had sorely offended in earlier years, was then the President of the RLDS High Priests Quorum, and Isaac would not have been interested in seeing William there. Neither would have several of the "old member" RLDS Apostles been very keen on the prospect of William assuming a seat at their table. William's signing himself as "Patriarch" may have been his way of suggesting that he could come into the Reorganization without assuming the rank of Apostle or taking on the administrative privileges and duties of a high priest.

Note 2: It is no wonder that in later years some LDS historians, looking on from a distance, would mistakenly conclude that William B. Smith served as the Patriarch over the RLDS Church -- he probably signed many a letter with that title attached to his name. But William was never made Patriarch over the RLDS, nor Patriarch to the RLDS, nor even a lesser patriarch in a stake or branch in the church. It was an unordained, honorific title which William applied to himself, perhaps in hopes that the RLDS leadership would one day make it official. They did not.


Vol. 20.                               Plano,  Ill.,  January 15, 1873.                               No. 2.


(The following article was written by Bro. Kelley, in answer to some misrepresenting statements, published in the Detroit (Mich.) Tribune, of the date referred to; and as he has presented the matter in an excellent light, and frank, manly manner, we insert it, commending it to the readers of the HERALD as a fair answer to the oft repeated "Spaulding Story." -- ED.)

Editor Detroit Tribune: In your weekly issue of February 1, 1872, there appeared an article headed, "THE MORMON CHURCH," written by J. F. D., of East Saginaw, which contains many misrepresentations, concerning the rise of what is known as "Mormonism;" which, through your courtesy and the columns of your paper, I hope to correct; believing that truth should stand in the front, and error take the back ground; while justice should be done to all. For certainly it is not even politic, much less religious, to unjustly malign the character of any.

Mr. J. F. D. writes, "I thought a few facts relating to the early history of the Church of Latter Day Saints might be interesting to your readers. The paragraph referred to, states that Mr. Spaulding, at his leisure, and simply for amusement, wrote the fictitious narrative, which, after having been shown to a 'Mr. Redon,' was ultimately altered and changed into the book of faith under which teaching the Mormon Church was founded."

Mr. J. F. D. says, "The writer of this was present, and attended the celebrated discussion on Mormonism, in the city of New York, 1836 or 7, between Origin Bachelor and Parley P. Pratt  *   *   *  Mr. Bachelor proved the following points:"

1. "That a Mr. Solomon Spaulding, an unsuccessful merchant, but a man of refinement and literary abilities, with a view of retrieving his losses in trade, conceived the idea of writing a historical novel, and entitled the same the 'Aborigines of America, or the Lost Manuscript Found,'"

In this Statement, Mr. Spaulding is represented as writing a novel, for the purpose of retrieving his losses in trade; while the writer of the previous article which appeared in the Tribune, from which Mr. J. F. D. quotes, says, "Mr. Spaulding wrote "at his leisure, and simply for amusement." These two writers disagree in their affirmations, and to an unbiased mind, one, or both, stands upon the record as false.

Mr. J. F. D. further says, "It was also shown that Mr. Spaulding had taken much interest in reading and investigating the discoveries made by Stephens and others in Central America, and that the remains of ancient cities there discovered led him to select the subject of the ancient inhabitants of America as the foundation of his novel."

In this, Mr. J. F. D. affirms, that at the celebrated discussion held in New York City, 1836 or 7, he being witness. "It was also shown that Mr. Spaulding from reading the discoveries made by Stephens and others in Central America," was led to select the subject of his novel.

Referring to the history of Mr. Spaulding, by his wife, we learn that Mr. Spaulding deceased in Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania, A. D. 1816. Mr. Stephens' discoveries of ancient cities in Central America were not published until 1841, twenty-five years after the death of Solomon Spaulding. Indeed Mr. Stephens was not sent out to make his discoveries until 1839. See the first volume of his discoveries in Central America, chapter 1, page 9, "Being intrusted by the President with a special confidential mission to Central America, on Wednesday, the 3rd of October, 1839, I embarked on board the British brig Mary Ann, Hampton, master, for the Bay of Honduras." Yet Mr. J. F. D. says "It was shown in the discussion of 1836 or 7, at New York, that it was the reading of Mr. Stephens' works which led Mr. Spaulding to select the subject of his novel;" when up to the time of the said discussion, Mr. Stephens had not embarked to the land where he made his discoveries.

This shows the value of Mr. J. F. D.'s statement of "facts," as to what took place at the discussion between P. P. Pratt and O. Bachelor in New York.

The Book of Mormon was published in 1829, and the earliest history published in English, revealing the ancient cities of Central America was published by Josiah Priest, in 1833; seventeen years after the death of S. Spaulding, and four years after the publication of the Book of Mormon. So neither of these works could have furnished the subject matter for the writing of a novel, or anything else, by Mr. Spaulding, as claimed by J. F. D., in 1836 or 7.

2. Mr. J. F. D. states,

"The fact was established beyond a doubt, in the minds of all rational hearers, that Mr. Spaulding being poor, and unable to publish his novel when finished, applied to one Sidney Rigdon, (afterwards a prominent elder in the church(, who was a friend of Spaulding's, and a printer in Pennsylvania, to assist him in the publication of his work. Rigdon examined the manuscript and consented, having discovered in it great literary merit, and an interesting theme calculated to make the copyright in which he was to share, very valuable."

In the "History of Mormonism," published by E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, page 282, we find the certificate of one Mr. Henry Lake, saying, "Spaulding left here (Conneaut) in 1812 for Pittsburgh." On page 287, Mrs. Matilda Davidson, formerly the wife of S, Spaulding, says, "They resided in Pittsburgh about two years;" that is, 1813 and 1814. They then moved to Amity, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. Mr. Spaulding's manuscripts then fell into the hands of his wife, as she positively states in a letter which was published in the Boston Recorder, 1839, and copied in the New Era.

From these testimonies it is shown that Mr. Spaulding resided in Pittsburgh only about two years. He then moved to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816, when his writings fell into the hands of his wife, now Matilda Davidson. By this two years only are given for Sidney Rigdon to transcribe his manuscript, while Mr. Spaulding was at Pittsburgh; and that, too, when Mr. Rigdon was in the twentieth year of his age, for he was born in 1793, even if it could be proven that he was a printer, which cannot be done.

I quote from the family record of Mr. Rigdon, as kept by his father.
"He (Mr. R.) was born on his father's farm. Piney Fork of Peter's Creek, St. Clair town, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, February, 19th, 1793, where he lived till the winter of 1818 and 19, and followed farming, and received a common English education. In the fall of 1817 he professed religion, and joined the Regular Baptist Church of that place; and in the winter of 1818 and 19 went to Beaver County, Pennsylvania, where he studied divinity with a Baptist preacher by the name of Clark, and was licensed to preach by the Conoquenessing Church. From there he went to Warren, Ohio, and was ordained a regular Baptist preacher, and returned to Pittsburgh in the winter of 1821 and 1822, and took the care of the First Regular Baptist Church  *   *   *  till the winter of 1827 and 28, when he (Sidney Rigdon) moved somewhere in the Western Reserve, in Ohio, and there continued to preach till the Latter Day Saints came to that part of the country, and he joined them, and continues to be an elder in that church, (Latter Day Saints, called Mormons)."
This history is signed by seven witnesses, the most of them Baptists, and was published to the world in 1843.

From this is shown by the most reliable testimony, that while Mr. Spaulding was a resident in Pittsburgh in 1813 and 1814, Mr. Rigdon was residing with his father, about twelve miles from Pittsburgh, and was laboring on his farm, and attending school; and was not, as claimed, a printer in Pittsburgh, and that he never resided in Pittsburgh until 1821, after he was ordained a Baptist preacher.

3. "Just at this period," says Mr. J. F. D., "Spaulding died, and Rigdon, who was a friend of Joseph Smith the juggler, and a 'Micawber' who was waiting for something to turn up," showed it to Smith. Smith being an unscrupulous genius, having read the manuscript, declared it to be the greatest production of the age, and immediately communicated to Rigdon the idea of converting Spaulding's novel into a Bible or book of faith for a new church.  *   *   *  Rigdon consented, and immediately the two commenced the preparation of the stone plates."

In this statement Joseph Smith is made the real instigator in projecting a scheme for founding a new church, who was at this time, when Spaulding died, but eleven years of age, for he was born in 1805. Notwithstanding his youth, rumor says, he was able to convince Sidney Rigdon, (?) the printer, that the copied manuscript of Spaulding was the greatest production of the age. Was both "a juggler," and was "waiting for something to turn up," What wonderful capacity this boy, but eleven years old, must have had! To be able to select the "greatest production of the age," and set on foot a religious society, in its great outlines, opposed to the whole religious world. How farseeing! The greatest miracle in the whole thing is, that men will believe it. Less credulity than this will believe in the ministration of angels.

The facts are these: Sidney Rigdon was never a printer, and never so much as saw Mr. Spaulding, much less his manuscript; neither did Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon ever see each other until the Book of Mormon was published to the world. For S. Rigdon lived in the western part of Pennsylvania, and Joseph Smith in northern New York -- hundreds of miles apart -- in those days of hard travel -- and at the time of Spaulding's death they were both at home working on the farms of their respective fathers.

4. "That on a certain day appointed, as in his vision directed, Smith, accompanied by certain witnesses, proceeded to Mt. Moriah and disinterred the plates; but according to his story, just as he was about to raise them from the ground, Satan appeared and violently hurled Smith from the spot. *   *   *  That he had been directed to a neighboring brook, where he would find an all-seeing stone, through which, if he looked, the mysterious characters upon the plates would appear as plain and as easily understood as the letters of the alphabet."

"This curious stone having been discovered by Smith, he declared that the book was to be revealed to him by chapters, and that Sidney Rigdon had been designated as his scribe. Smith then  *   *   *  retired for stated periods and when he had committed the first chapter of Spaulding's novel (which had been altered to suit his purpose) to memory, he looked through the stone in the presence of witnesses, and interpreted the first chapter, while Rigdon wrote the same down *   *   *   These facts, by much labor and investigation, Mr. Bachelor established."

Now it is a notorious fact, that Smith never claimed that "witnesses" accompanied him when he procured the plates; but that he went alone. Yet J. F. D. says Smith claimed he was thus "directed;" the falsity of which may be seen from Mr. Smith's published account of the manner of the discovery of the Book of Mormon, as given in his history by himself.

"But according to his story, just as he was about to raise them from the ground, Satan appeared and violently hurled Smith from the spot." This is also false. Mr. Smith has never made such a statement, neither can it be found in any of his writings. Yet Mr. J. F. D.., the relator of facts, says "this is his (Smith's) story." "That he had been directed to a neighboring brook where he would find an all-seeing stone." This is another glaring misrepresentation of J. F. D.'s, for Mr. Smith never claimed any such thing. The instrument which aided in the translation of the Book of Mormon, called by him "Urim and Thummim," was found in the box with the gold (not "stone,") plates, and this has ever been his testimony.

Instead of witnesses being present when he commenced translating, the record, there were none present at all save the one aiding in writing, which at one time was his wife, Emma; at another, Martin Harris, and lastly, Oliver Cowdery; and not S. Rigdon, as stated by J. F. D.

This man of "facts" again says, "Smith retired for stated periods and when he had committed portions of the book, and then appeared, looked through the stone, and revealed it to his scribes, and this process continued until the book was complete."

The Book of Mormon contains nearly as much reading matter as the Old Testament, and the idea that a man could commit to memory such a volume, and appear in disguise and communicate it to others, is of itself sufficiently marvelous to give the lie to the whole thing. But the beauty of this is still more apparent, when it is made known that the only person to hear this was the scribe; (which J. F. D. says was Rigdon). the man who read the story years before.

"Mr. Bachelor referred to the fact, that Prof. Anthon, of Columbia college, to whom the Mormon plates were submitted for an opinion as to the characters thereon, had declared the same to be of Greek, Hebrew, Persian, and other characters engraved upside down, and so interwoven with each other as to mean nothing, and to convey no intelligible thought, evidentually having been so arranged and engraved for the purpose of deception and confusion" Instead of this statement of Professor Anthon, making against the production of Mr. Smith, it rather testifies in his favor. Where did Smith learn the Greek, Hebrew and Persian languages, so as to write them upside down and intermingle them for the purpose of deception?

Is there an American youth, or youths anywhere, that can set to work and write Hebrew, Greek and Persian characters upside down, or downside up, without a long course of preparation? It would take years of studious labor, with an extensive knowledge of things, to qualify one for such a task; much less to attribute it to Joseph Smith, called indolent, idle and ignorant. But to the extreme matter: "And with very much learning, he showed that the twelve tribes, in passing from Scotland to America were said to have glass in the windows of their ships, before glass was discovered or used; and that hundreds of names and expressions in the Mormon Bible were purely modern and unknown to the ancients."

The Book of Mormon does not claim to give a history of the twelve tribes of Israel, as you affirm it does in your article; hence it is no crime to say you have willfully perverted it; but

it is a history of a branch of the tribe of Joseph, and a people who came to the land of America soon after the destruction of the tower of Babel. Neither does it claim that they emigrated from the "western coast of Scotland to the northwestern coast of America." But that they left Jerusalem in a south easterly direction, and afterwards went east, to the shore of India, from which they embarked and ultimately landed upon the coast of Central or South America.

It is not stated in the Book of Mormon that they had glass in the windows of their vessels. And if the statement was made, it would be no argument against the book at all, fir recent discoveries reveal that glass was manufactured in Egypt at the time of the building of the pyramids. That modern names and expressions appear in the book, is true; for it is a translation into the English language, and of necessity there must be English words used to express ideas in the English language.

"But great was his influence over the primitive church and ingenious as was the novel upon which it was founded, it could not have been kept together without the institution of polygamy." It is a historical fact that the church, which Mr. Smith was an instrument in founding, did stand for fourteen years during his lifetime, without the institution of polygamy in it. And if fourteen years, why not longer. Joseph Smith never received any revelation authorizing polygamy. Such a thought is not expressed in any of his writings.

The Book of Mormon says, page 116, "Hearken unto the word of the Lord, for there shall not any man among you have, save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none," In the Book of Covenants which contain revelations to Smith, the reading is, "A man shall cleave unto his wife and none else." It was the apostate, Brigham Young, with his adherents, that introduced polygamy, the first publication of which was made in 1852, eight years after Mr. Smith's death. In order to have his followers receive his doctrine, he told them that Joseph Smith received a revelation authorizing it before his death, which was given to him, (B. Y.), who had secretly preserved it until 1852, when it was published to the world. Neither has B. Young ever been able to bring evidence to the effect, that J. Smith ever had anything to do with his polygamy, either as authorizing or sanctioning it.

To show how utterly barefaced is the assertion, "That Mrs. Spaulding could repeat chapters of the Book of Mormon," I submit a letter of a correspondent of the Quincy (Ill.), Whig, a bitter anti-Mormon journal, which was published May, [sic] 1839. The writer says,

"I saw Mrs. Davidson, and her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, and also Dr. Ely, and spent several hours with them; during which time I asked them the following questions, viz:
  Did you, Mrs. Davidson, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon?
  A. I did not.
  Q. Did you sign your name to it?
&;nbsp; A. I did not; neither did I ever see the letter till I saw it in the Boston Recorder; the letter was never brought to me to sign.
  Q. What agency had you in having this letter sent to Mr. Storrs?
  A. D. R. Austin came to my house and asked me some questions; took some minutes on paper, and from these wrote that letter.
  Q. Is what is written in the letter true?
  A. In the main it is.
  Q. Have you read the book of Mormon?
  A. I have read some in it;
  Q. Does Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and the Book of Mormon agree?
  A. I think some of the names are alike.
  Q. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
  A. An idolatrous people.
  Q. Where is the manuscript?
  A. Dr. P. Hulbert came here and took it, said he would get it printed, and let me have one half the profits.
  Q. Has Dr. P. H. got the manuscript printed?
  A. I received a letter stating it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it.
  Q. How large is Mr. Spaulding's manuscript?
  A. About one third as large as the Book of Mormon.
Ques. To Mrs. McKinstry, How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript?
  A. About five years of age.
  Q. Did you ever read the manuscript?
  A. When I was about twelve years old, I used to read it for diversion.
  Q. Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
  A. An idolatrous people.
  Q. Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree?
  A. I think some of the names agree.
  Q. Are you certain that some of the names agree?
  A. I am not.

                       WM. H. KELLEY.
                 Elder of the Church of J. C. of L. D. S.
   COLDWATER, Mich., July 11, 1872.


The Philadelphia Telegraph announces the death of Elder Sidney Rigdon, date not given, under the caption of "Death of the man who copied the Mormon Bible." The article is copied by the Inter-Ocean, of Chicago, from which paper we quote it.

We cannot vouch for the truth of the statement that Mr. Rigdon is dead, as newspaper paragraphs of this description are not always to be relied on as correct.

Elder Rigdon was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania, February 19th, 1793, which gives the time of his death as near the close of his seventy-ninth year.

His connection with the church began at an early date in its history; and continued till the death of Joseph and Hyrum, after which for a few years he led a portion of the saints into the Cumberland Valley. What there transpired is past; but the bond established over the minds of many was broken, and Elder Rigdon became apparently silent.

Since those events Elder Rigdon has had little or nothing to do with the church, or any part of its doctrines, until after the Reorganization began its forward movement; then one of the things rising up before it to dispute its right of way, was the claim made by Stephen Post, Dr. Joseph Younger, Joseph Newton and Wm. Hamilton, and others, who located at Attica, Marion Co., Iowa, and began missionary labors as "Zion's messengers."

We met Mr. Post at Nauvoo, where, in the Saints' Meeting Room, he presented the views he and his comrades held respecting Elder Rigdon, being the one who was to carry on the work left by Joseph, the Martyr, to its destined accomplishment. We then replied to Mr. Post in person, and invited him to stay and discuss with us all the possible points of difference between us; but Mr. Post could not stop at that time, nor has there been an opportunity since.

Eld. Ebenezer Page and a Mr. Boone called once at Plano, as they were on their way from Iowa to Canada. We also wished them to stop and talk to the people; but time would not permit them, and they passed on. Since their visit we learned by hearsay, a very unreliable source, that there had been some trouble among them at Attica, and that Messrs. Newton, Hamilton, and some others had been expelled [from] the society.

What the condition of these whilom [sic] saints will be, should Elder Rigdon be dead, we can only conjecture; but having no wish to injure their already wounded feelings in view of their loss, we will refrain from offering any speculation on the subject; and if they will permit us, we do offer them our condolence and sympathy in their distress, praying for their comforting after their days of mourning shall have ceased.

We will be glad to offer our columns for a biographical sketch of Elder Rigdon, his life and connection with the church, should any of his friends who are furnished with the data and information necessary to such a work, furnish us with one.

May he rest in peace, who so nobly and so ably aided in the work of the restoration in the early trials and sufferings of the church, and may the recollection of his virtues outlast the memory of his errors.

Note 1: This article was the first extensive piece the Herald ever carried on the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. It appears that perhaps RLDS Elder William H. Kelley had been studying this issue and had a quantity of material at hand from which to draw information in refuting the Detroit Tribune reporter. Elder Kelley here gives the Haven-Davison conversation as originally printed. When RLDS Apostle Zenos H. Gurley, Jr., quoted the same material, in the July 15, 1875 Herald, he cut off the first portion of the potentially embarrassing 1839 Jesse Haven interview with Solomon Spalding's widow -- the part in which she is quoted as confirming her previous statement of 1839, in which she had claimed that her late husband had written a story much like the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: The RLDS of the 1870s were careful not to ruffle too many Rigdonite feathers, thus the soft-soap article in response to the erroneous report of Sidney Rigdon's death. Earlier articles on Rigdonism, in the Herald of the 1860s, were much less conciliatory. For the Herald's notice of Rigdon's actual death, see its issue of Aug. 15, 1876.


Vol. 20.                              Plano,  Ill.,  April 1, 1873.                              No. 7.

FARMINGTON, Graves Co., Ky.,    
Feb. 27, 1873.    

Dear Br. Banta:

According to your request I seat myself to let you know about the discussion. It closed to-day, after a four days' fight of four sessions each day. We had a tolerably pleasant time; however, my opponent got angry a few times, and flew the subject under examination.

While we were discussing the first proposition: "Is the word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments a sufficient rule, both of faith and practice, for the people of God," he would, every now and then, call over "Joe Smith," which was difficult for me to bear. He finally said that he had just as well end the matter at once; so he read Howe's letter purporting to be from the widow of Spaulding; in reply I soon read the extract from the Quincy, Illinois, Whig; and proved that the letter was a forged one.

He stated that Spaulding, after hearing Catherwood and Stephen's lectures on American Antiquities, was led to write his manuscript. I proved that Spaulding died in 1816, and Catherwood and Stephens did not start out on their exploring tour until 1820. He tried to prove that Elder Rigdon was one of the getters up of the Book of Mormon. I showed that the Book of Mormon was published two years before Elder Rigdon saw it. I called the attention of my opponent to the point, and told him before the congregation that I would debate the Book of Mormon under another proposition; but I could not get him to stick to the point...

J. C. CLAPP.   

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 21.                              Plano,  Ill.,  April 15, 1874.                              No. ?


It is with sorrow that we notice the departure from this life of Bro. Isaac Sheen.

A man so long known as a steadfast defender of the faith, and so intimately connected and acquainted with every step of the progress of the work, can but be seriously missed from his place by the Church. An able and discriminating collector of statistics, a careful compiler of facts, he was a strong man in the points upon which he had collated his proofs. A man of radical temperament, he was quite positive in debate, and what was to him right, he defended with all his powers; what was wrong, he opposed with vehemence, without fear of persons or consequences; he made some enemies and many friends.

Bro. W. W. Blair, in his discourse upon the occasion of the funeral, said of Bro. Sheen:

"Bro. Isaac Sheen was born at Littlethorpe, Leicestershire, England, December 22d, 1810. He emigrated to America in 1830, and for near ten years resided chiefly in Philadelphia and Germantown, Pennsylvania.

"He was raised under the influences of the Baptist Church, and drew thence, probably, his earliest thoughts concerning religion. On coming to America he associated largely with the Friends, for whom he formed a strong attachment. Like them, he took a deep interest in the cause of universal freedom; and he labored effectively for the abolition of American slavery, even periling his own life to secure to the colored man the sweets of human liberty that he himself enjoyed.

"In 1840, in the city of Philadelphia, he first heard the doctrines taught by the Latter Day Saints; and he received them with all readiness of mind, and in the same year was baptized and confirmed by Erastus Snow.

"In 1841 he was ordained at Kirtland, Ohio, by Elder Zebedee Coltrin, to the office of an Elder

"In August, 1842, he went to Nauvoo, Illinois, and thence to Macedonia, Hancock County Illinois, where himself and family remained until January, 1846.

"At the time of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, he took decided grounds against the usurpations of Brigham Young and the Twelve. He was always an uncompromising and outspoken opponent of polygamy and its kindred evils, and used his time and means freely in combatting them.

"In 1846 himself and family located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he remained till 1863, when they removed to this place.

"In October, 1859, he first met with the Reorganized Church, at a semiannual conference, at the residence of Bro. Israel L. Rogers, where he readily embraced the work, and united with us. He was appointed by this same conference to edit and publish, with the aid of Elders Wm. Marks and W. W. Blair, The True Latter Day Saint' Herald. His connection with the Herald continued until 1872.

"On April 6th, 1860, he was selected as the president of the High Priests' Quorum, which office he filled with ability and acceptance till his death. He was appointed Church Recorder, and also held that office at the time of his decease."

"The sickness that terminated his life set in on Thursday, March 26th. From the first, many of his friends were premonished that his appointed hour of death was at hand. Medical skill, the most tender nursing, the prayers and tears of friends and loved ones, all were unavailing, -- he continued to fail from the first, and at four A. M. Friday, April 3d, his tried spirit fled the pulseless tenement of clay, to mingle with the spirits of the just, and with the holy angels in the glorious presence of our God and his Christ."

Bro Sheen was buried from the Saints' Meeting House [at Plano, Illinois] on Sunday, April 5th, his pall bearers bearing the corpse from his home to the church, thence by hearse to the grave....

Bro. Sheen stated a day or two before his death that he did not "desire to live longer in sickness and pain," and that he was prepared to go

Note: Additional information on the life of Elder Isaac Sheen was provided in a biographical sketch, written by his son and published in the Jan. 26, 1910 issue of the Saints' Herald. No proper biography of Elder Sheen has ever been published, but glimpses of his many interactions with other Reorganized Saints may be found in various old publications -- for example, see the RLDS Journal of History, Vol. 14 (1921) for numerous references to Isaac Sheen.



Vol. 21.                              Plano,  Ill.,  September 15, 1874.                              No. 2.


Knoxville, Ray Co., Mo.,    
August 21st, 1874.    
Editors Herald: -- On the 15th and 16th days of the present month, I met the brethren in Conference capacity on Turkey Creek, Carroll County, Missouri. Except preaching in the evening, Saturday was devoted to ousiness. Considerable'business was done, but it might have been done in less time than it was; I hope the brethren in the Northwest Missouri District, as elsewhere, are beginning to realize that we meet in Conference to deliberate for the forwarding of the cause, rather than cavilling on subjects wherein there is no profit, or striving to create or strengthen party feelings. The Master taught, "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand."

We held two preaching meetings on Sunday, in a grove belonging to Father Traughber, who has traveled three score and six years upon the earth, many years a member of other religious bodies, but who, with his worthy wife, and son, John, a young man of promise, a few months ago embraced the faith of the Saints, and seem happy therein. They extended their hospitalities to a large number of Saints during the Conference. Both the preaching meetings on Sunday were well attended and very orderly, more orderly out-door meetings could not be desired. But we cannot speak so well of the evening meeting, which was a prayer-meeting in a common sized school-house, closely packed, and many round the door and windows, who could not gain admittance. Quite a number of young Missourians were on hand, who seemed bent on doing something to disturb the peace of the Saints; nor were they altogether unsuccessful. One of these young gentlemen threw a. good sized chip through the door towards the other end of the room, where stood a table, on which stood a lamp filled with, coal oil; we suppose his object was to. burst the lamp, but in this he failed. We might have expostulated with these young gentlemen, but our room was crowded; many sisters and some children; and then, we remembered that we were in Missouri, and what had happened years ago; so when they got too boisterous we quietly adjournecf. Upon the whole we had a good Conference. Since Conference, in company with Br. Cravin, I have been to Willow Creek, held four preaching meetings, attendance not large; stopped at Richmond, had an interview of two hours with Mr. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon; he gave me a kind reception. We talked but little on the Reorganization; he is not a violent opposer, nor does he endorse us. Before I bade him good-by, I said to him, "Can I, Father Whitmer, say, I this day have seen a living witness to the Book of Mormon;" whereupon he raised his eyes heavenward, and said, "As My Testimony Stands, so It IS: I HAVE NOT, NOH WILL I DENY IT."

To-morrow we go to Far West to preach...

Yours, as ever, JAMES CAFFALL.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 22.                              Plano,  Ill.,  January 15, 1875.                              No. 2.

The Horse in Ancient America.

In the Book of Mormon it is stated that there were horses in America in the days of the Jaredites and the Nephites. This is regarded by not a few as conclusive evidence that the book is not true; for, say they, there were no horses in America till they were brought here by the Spaniards, at the conquests of Mexico and Peru by Cortez and Pizarro.

It is historically true that there were then no horses here; but it does not follow that there were none when the Nephites first came, B. C. 600, or 2,500 years ago; or in the times of the Jaredites, who lived here from 4,000, up to 2,000 years ago.

If any one had written the Book of Mormon in the light of history as known at the time it came forth -- in 1830 -- had written it in accordance with the views universally current then, and according to the wisdom of men only, they would have omitted mentioning the horse and various other large and small animals not known to exist here for the last 400 years, as having once lived on our continent.

If the learned Rev. Spalding had written the book as it was claimed he did, he would not have mentioned the horse, etc., for that would have brought him into contact with the statements of known history as he must have understood them. The school children of his day knew full well that the first horses of modern America were brought here by the Spaniards, much more persons educated and well informed

If O, Cowdery, who was an intelligent school-master, had written the book to deceive the people, and to palm off an imposture upon them, as a few claim he did, he, too, would have omitted mentioning the horse, etc., as having inhabited ancient America, for that idea was then repugnant to public sentiment, and contrary to accredited history. And what we have said in regard to Reverend Spalding and O. Cowdery, applies with similar force to S. Rigdon; for he, too, was an educated man, and was conversant with the current history of America and the general sentiment of the times in which the book came to hand....

... the real evidences, aside from the Book of Mormon, prove that the horse was once a native of America; and the probabilities are made strong and clear that he was so even during the times when the arts and sciences of civilized life flourished in the land. The evidences are largely in favor of the statements of the Book of Mormon, and are therefore important as proving its divine origin.     W. W. B.

Note: How Saints' Herald editorial writer Elder W. W. Blair conceived the existence of primitive, cat-sized Eocene horses in the ice-age Americas as somehow "proving" the "divine origin" of the Book of Mormon is difficult to explain. It may well be perfectly true that "the learned Rev. Spalding" and "the school children of his day knew full well that the first horses of modern America were brought here by the Spaniards." That much admitted, it does not explain why Spalding chose to introduce full-sized battle chargers and other modern horses into his one extant holographic story, the Spalding manuscript at Oberlin College. Far from "proving" the "divine origin" of the Book of Mormon, Spalding's anachronistic use of horses in the Oberlin manuscript might well be cited as a thematic parallel between its contents and those of the Book of Mormon. Why Oliver Cowdery allowed the Book of Mormon to go to the printer, containing numerous textual oddities, is anybody's guess. Perhaps he did not have the power to halt the book's being published just as it was written out in the manuscript made available to the Palmyra printer in 1829. Elder Blair might have done better to argue that, if Sidney Rigdon were the final editor of a Spalding Book of Mormon story, he would not have left mentions of horses in the text, and, therefore, he could not have served as such an editor. Of course Blair was the unaware of the horse mentions in Spalding's "other" writings.



Vol. 22.                              Plano,  Ill.,  April 15, 1875.                              No. 8.

[p. 225]

A Testimony of the Past

"LODA, Ill., Feb. 14th, 1874.          

Joseph Smith President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Plano, Illinois, dear sir: -- Accept my sincere thanks for the favors that came to hand this day, by mail, namely, a copy of the Book of Mormon and a copy of Parley P. Pratt's Voice of Warning, as well as your very welcome letter with your photograph enclosed; the same now occupies a place in my daughter's album and is very highly appreciated. Next in order comes many familiar names that you enumerate as co-workers in advancing the cause of gospel truth. While reading them over I was carried back some thirty odd years, and many incidents of, or about that period were made vivid in my memory; scenes that occurred when you was quite a little boy and I was in the prime of manhood. One particular circumstance I will mention, as it appears to me to be incontrovertible evidence of the fact that your father was no false pretender, but that he was a true prophet of the living God. I was practicing my profession in Kingston, Illinois, in the year 1837, and boarding with a Benjamin S. Wilber, a member of the Latter Day Saints' Church; his wife was also a member, and a most excellent little lady and very intelligent. In the fall of this year President Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Judge Elias Higbee and Porter Rockwell, came to this house on their way to the city of Washington, in accordance with a revelation given to the church at Commerce, (afterwards Nauvoo), through Joseph Smith, the prophet, to lay their grievances before the President of the United States,(Martin Van Buren), for the sufferings they underwent in Missouri, from which state the church had been driven by mob law, after many of them had been inhumanely murdered, and others driven from the lands they had purchased of the United States government in that state. On the arrival of this company at Mr. Wilber's I was told by Joseph Smith, the prophet, that if I was willing to obey the will of God, and, be obedient to his commandments, I must quit my practice and start the next day with them to the city of Washington, to aid them in their mission and minister to Elder Sydney Rigdon, who was very sick at that time. So, in obedience to this mandate, I suddenly closed my practice, and started the next morning, in company with these gentlemen, to visit the chief magistrate of the Union at the federal city.

I have many incidents, dottings and jottings, taken during our journey, one of which I will mention. After we got to Dayton, Ohio, we left our horses in care of a brother in the church, and proceeded by stage, part of us; and the same coach that conveyed us over the Allegheny Mountains also had on board, as passengers, Senator Aaron of Missouri, and a Mr. Ingersol, a member of congress, from New Jersey or Pennsylvania, I forget which and at the top of the mountain called Cumberland Ridge, the driver left the stage and his four horses drinking at the trough in the road, while he went into the tavern to take what is very common to stage drivers,

226 TRUE  L.  D.  SAINTS'  HERALD. Vol. 22

a glass of spirits. While he was gone the horses took fright and ran away with the coach and passengers. There was also in the coach a lady with a small child, who was terribly frightened. Some of the passengers leaped from the coach, but in doing so none escaped more or less injury, as the horses were running at a fearful speed, and it was down the side of a very steep mountain. The woman was about to throw out the child, and said she intended to jump out herself, as she felt sure all would be dashed to pieces that remained, as there was quite a curve in the road, and on one side the mountain loomed up hundreds of feet above the horses, and the other side was a deep chasm or ravine, and the road only a very narrow cut on the side of the mountain, about midway between the highest and lowest parts. At the time the lady was going to throw out the child, Joseph Smith, your father, caught the woman and very imperiously told her to sit down; and that not a hair of her head or any one on the coach should be hurt. He did this in such confident manner that all on board seemed spell-bound; and after admonishing and encouraging the passengers he pushed open one of the doors, caught by the railing around the driver's seat with one hand, and with a spring and a bound he was in the seat of the driver. The lines were all coiled around the rail above, to hold them from falling while the driver was away; he loosened them, took them in his hands, and although those horses were running at their utmost speed, he, with more than herculean strength, brought them down to a moderate canter, a trot, a walk, and at the foot of Cumberland Ridge to a halt, without the least accident or injury to passenger, horse or coach, and the horses appeared as quiet and easy afterward as though they had never run away. One by one the passengers came along, some of them limping badly, others bruised; and some of them swearing about the driver and threatening to have him arrested, &c. At last the driver took his place and we were all going along nicely, when one of these members of Congress, after hearing the history of our ride, and escape from the lady on board, said it was a miracle, and if Jo Smith could perform such a miracle he would then believe he was a Prophet sent from God. This was Mr. Ingersol. Mr. Smith and Sydney Rigdon were both traveling incog., as if their real names had been made public on the way, especially that of Mr. Smith, we should have been very much annoyed by the inquisitive. Little did those gentlemen think that Joseph Smith was the identical man that was instrumental in the hands of God in saving that coach load of human beings from a terrible death.

"We made our first stop at Gadsby's hotel, in Washington City. Our board was seventeen dollars a week each, and we sought as soon as possible Senator Richard M. Young, our senator; and, after introducing our business to him, enquired if we could not get accommodations equally as well suited to our wants, for less money, in some private boarding house. We made arrangements at once with Mrs. Carlisle, mother of Counselor Carlisle, who lived at the corner of Third and Missouri Streets; and kept our illustrious travelers' names as yet incog.; which were, (Wallace and Bruce). Joseph Smith and S. Rigdon; but upon leaving, your father and S. Rigdon were asked for their cards, in exchange for those presented by our former fellow passengers in the stage, as this was the hotel where nearly all staid for a few days after arrival. When Mr. Smith presented his card, "Joseph Smith," the gentleman said, "Rather a notorious name. Are you any way related to the man they call the Mormon Prophet?" And your father replied, "I am he." He then introduced Sydney Rigdon, Judge Higbee and myself, and in less than two minutes it was known all over the hotel, and in an hour, all over the city; and although this was the latter part of the afternoon, it was in print and in two different papers that evening, that "Jo Smith, the Mormon Prophet, was in the city." And then cards began to roll in thick and fast, to have an interview with this wonderful man. We made the acquaintance of our Senator Young, and our members of the

Vol. 22 TRUE  L.  D.  SAINTS'  HERALD. 227

lower house as fast as possible, according to the instructions your father had received, and laid a history of the case before Martin Van Buren, the then President of the United States; who, after hearing the whole story, said he "could do nothing for us;" that he "had no power." He said we should appeal to the executive of the State, and the legislature and judiciary of the State of Missouri. Mr. Smith replied that all this had been done; and that he could get no relief nor even protection against further murder and molestation; that he and his people had been robbed, murdered, plundered, and driven from the very homes that they had bought and paid the United States government for, and still held the patents issued by them, which patents warranted and defended the soil, and guaranteed peaceable possession to the purchaser; and that in consequence of this very treatment he had laid his case before Almighty God, and he had received instruction to come to Washington and lay his case before the President of the United States; and if he refused to listen to him or regard the cries of the agents thus appointed, He would speedily proceed to vex the nation. Mr. Van Buren said he had no power; that we had better lay the case before Congress; and accordingly we shaped a paper with the advice and counsel of Senator Young and Mr. Stewart, of the House of Representatives. A memorial was drawn up and presented, with no better results than were found at any place that had been tried before. Henry Clay told us that we would never get any redress under that administration; that we had better do all we could to get a better administration, then we would get a chance. We staid there during the winter of 1839 and 1840 to testify before committees and attend to all we could in the premises and in the meantime to preach and talk to the heads of the nation upon the mission and calling of Mr. Smith in this latter day. Curiosity was on tip-toe, until many believed, and some were baptized and went back to Nauvoo, or Commerce, as it was then called.

"Benjamin Winchester and Elder Barnes were preaching at that time in Philadelphia, and Mr. Smith and Mr. Higbee went there and did some preaching, leaving myself in the city of Washington to take care of Mr. Rigdon, and also to wait upon every preacher in the city, irrespective of his church organization, and particularly to declare unto them the tidings of the Latter Day Saints, committed to this generation through Joseph Smith, Jr., and to warn them against the danger consequent upon its rejection. I commenced my duties as soon as I had any time, and called upon all the leaders of the different organizations of religion in the city. As a general thing I was pretty well received and very kindly treated. Mr. Spicer, of one branch of the Methodist persuasion, was extremely courteous, and I thought that they manifested a kind spirit; although some were apparently treating this strange doctrine with rather too much levity. I thought that my report would be uniformly favorable, but I had one ore visit to make; that was to Geo. C. Cookman, the chief preacher and elder of the other branch of the Methodist Church; and he was then chaplain of the United States Senate. On my introduction he was rigid as marble and cold as an icicle. He was proud, tonguey and arrogant in the extreme. I endeavored to show him all I could of the doctrine and convince him of its importance; and asked him to lay the matter before his people, or allow me or one of our company to do so in his church at some time that he might appoint when his pulpit would be at liberty. He told me to call again at a time that he set for that purpose, as he said he would like to see me in the presence of some of his pious friends. I went and there met some six or eight gentlemen and ladies, as well as the members of his own family. He was very unkind, and treated me and the subject very cavalierly; quoting some scriptures to put me and my strong [strange?] doctrines, as he thought, to confusion. I was only a neophite in the business and trembled before this goliath; but it so happened that while he was quoting scripture to put me down, his quotations were the strongest evidences of the truth I tried to impress upon him. He found

228 TRUE  L.  D.  SAINTS'  HERALD. Vol. 22

he had got a bigger job on hand than he first anticipated, and then began to tell the meaning of the scriptures as he quoted in the Greek and Hebrew. I had a little knowledge in this department which I found very valuable, and on this score he made no headway. He then began denouncing Joseph Smith as an impostor, and his followers as dupes or knaves; and said he thought it strange that a man with as keen an eye as he said I had, with a fair share of miscellaneous capacity and intelligence, should be so deceived, and concluded that I was not a dupe but as big a knave as Smith.

I thanked him for the cross compliment, and told him he could find scholars attached to the Church that were able to read as many languages as himself, yet I believed them to be truthful and sincere servants of God; and that they would be very willing to measure their strength with him or any other opposer. I begged him to take time and consider the matter; not to decide hastily; that it was unwise to give a decision until both sides were fairly and fully before him. I asked him for his church, and told him that either Mr. Smith or Mr. Rigdon would be glad to illustrate the subject any time before him and his congregation. He said that my impudence could only be attributed to one of two causes, and he was constrained to believe it was not from ignorance, but was intended as an insult; that he would neither let me have his church nor hear anything further on the subject, and should take good care to warn his brethren and sisters against listening to any such blasphemy. With this he opened his library door, conducted me to the outer hall, and refused to give me his hand. I reported this to Mr. Rigdon, and wrote to Philadelphia to Mr. Smith the result of my labors. On the following Sunday this same George C. Cookman preached in his church, and told some strange tales; that he had had an interview with Jo Smith, that arch impostor, and that the doctrines he taught were very irreligious and inconsistent with Bible truth; that he, Smith did not believe in the Bible, but had got a new one, dug up in Palmyra, New York; and that it was nothing but an irreligious romance, and that Smith had obtained it from the widow of one Spaulding, who wrote it for his own amusement. I wrote this to Mr. Smith, and he said there must be some preaching in Washington to counteract these statements, as he was sure God had some people in that city. We first got an upper room of an engine house to speak in, but half, no, not a quarter of the people could get in. We had speaking then in the open air, on Pennsylvania Avenue, near that place, and gave out that there would be further services as soon as a room could be obtained. Before night some people secured the use of Carusi's saloon, one of the largest and most comfortable rooms in the city, outside the capital building, and at night there was held service. A great many of the members of Congress and the heads of departments were present, as well as Martin Van Buren . We, of the committee from Illinois, all took the speaker's desk. And when near the close, who should come into the hall but Joseph Smith himself. We speedily got him on the stand, and I had the honor of introducing him to that vast audience. He had just come in on the train from Philadelphia, and was tired, but he arose by the invitation of many who called for him, and on that occasion he uttered a prophecy, one of the most wonderful predictions of his life. He advanced to the statements made by this George C. Cookman, declaring them to be willfully and wickedly false, and that if he, Cookman, did not take it back and acknowledge that he had dealt falsely of him, his people, and his own congregation, also that he must turn and preach the truth and quit deceiving the people with fables, he should be cut off from the face of the earth, both he and his posterity. And he said that this should be so plainly manifest that all should know it. At this, many gentlemen took out of their pockets their tablets and began to take notes of the prophecy; and Mr. Smith noticing them, "Yes," said he, "write it on your tablets; write it in a book; write it in your memory; for as sure as God ever spoke by my mouth, all these things shall come to pass."

Vol. 22 TRUE  L.  D.  SAINTS'  HERALD. 229

Henry Clay, Felix Grundy, Tom Benton, John Q. Adams and many other celebrated characters were present at this time. Now, instead of Cookman doing according to justice and truth, he became more virulent than ever, and laid all the obstacles in our way the he could during our stay in the city. The matter appeared to be forgotten by many, and I thought often upon the subject, having taken notes also. Soon after this there was an extraordinary excitement in the religious world, and they appointed a conference of all orthodox religions to assemble in England, at a certain time, to adopt measures of harmony between all the sects; the United States were invited and accepted a part in these proceedings to break down the partition wall that separated the various churches. George C. Cookman was elected or appointed as a delegate for the District of Columbia to represent his views on the subject, standing, as he did, at the very head of the church, and Chaplain of the United States Senate. Now he, being an Englishman by birth, and his family in suitable circumstances for a pleasure trip, at the appointed time he, Cookman, thought it would be very pleasant to take his whole family with him, and this he did. Both he, his wife, and all his children went on board the steamship President, and neither the ship nor a soul is left to tell what was their sad end. But the prophecy is fulfilled to the letter, and the words uttered on that occasion have never been forgotten by me, nor I presume by hundreds of others. Had Cookman gone alone, it might be charged to chance, but why was it that his whole family were suddenly cut off, both root and branch.

This sir, is one of many wonderful evidences that Joseph Smith was as much a prophet as Jonah, who foretold the destruction of Nineveh; or Nahum, who prophesied concerning the present locomotion for traveling; both of them took centuries and one of them thousands of years for their fulfillment, but the prophecy by Joseph Smith on George C. Cookman has been literally fulfilled in the shortest possible period; and that too in its fullness, beyond the possibility of question from any source.

On my return from Washington, I moved to Nauvoo, and there I was able to learn more fully of the doctrine and the people who belonged to the Church. I have many records of prophecies, and the doings and teachings I heard at that city that are marvelous to me; and I have no means of ascribing many of them to any other sources than the power that holds all things by His sovereign will, and makes known his purposes through His servants the Prophets.

I will mention that /i was the accepted physician of the Church; was at the bedside of the aged Patriarch Joseph Smith, Senior, at his death; received his nearly last blessing, taken down by a scribe at the time, and have it yet. I was also present at the death of Don Carlos Smith; was intimate in the families of all, and was recommended by Joseph Smith very highly; and on one occasion, when Brigham Young came home from England, I was sent for in great haste to administer to him, as he was very sick and in great danger of dying. I was successful in getting him through that terrible prostrate situation in which I found him. Joseph Smith was present on the occasion, and told him to take what I prescribed, and he did so. After this, in talking with Mr. Smith on the subject and telling him what I considered his disease, he said I was right; and remarked in the presence of Mr. Law, Bishop Knight, John P, Green, Reynolds Cahoon, and some others, that "if Brigham Young became the leader of the Church, he would lead them down to hell." I little thought that he would ever occupy that position, but he has it over one branch of the Church at least; and from all accounts he is filling the letter of the prophecy.

You are at perfect liberty to use any thing I write in any way you may deem best for the purpose of benefiting the honest in heart; for what I write is nothing but the truth, as it was uttered in my presence, and has often been spoken by me since the death of Joseph Smith, your father.

230 TRUE  L.  D.  SAINTS'  HERALD. Vol. 22

I will tell you also another prophecy that Joseph Smith uttered in my presence, that has been proved true. This was in relation to Stephen A. Douglas. He said he was a giant in intellect, but a dwarf in stature, that he would yet run for President of the United States, but that he would never reach that station; that he would occupy a conspicuous place in the counsels of the nation, and have multitudes of admiring friends; and that in his place he would introduce and carry out some of the most gigantic measures in the history of the nation. This was said when Douglas was Judge in that district of Illinois, and before he ever went to Congress. Has it not been fulfilled? Did he not get Andrew Jackson's fine remitted by law, a thing that was by all considered impossible? Did he not introduce the bills for the covering of Illinois with railroads, without one cent's expense to the general government? Under his management, were not the Illinois bonds raised from a condition nearly worthless to a value nearly par with currency? Did he not rule in and through the State of Illinois, work and carry out its destiny for twenty consecutive years, more than any and all other men together? Was he not always one of the greatest men in the Senate? Did he not do more for the line of compromise on slavery than any other one man? Did he not say, 'and cursed be the ruthless hand that attempts to remove it?' Did he not run for President and get defeated? Did he not take the most active part in removing or breaking down that line of compromise? Let the history of Kansas and Nebraska tell the story! Did he not fulfill his destiny, and at last, on his dying bed, bequeath his children to his country, and counsel them to obey the laws and the constitution? Did he not utter these memorable words at the commencement of the rebellion, 'That there were only two parties in all the land; the one called Patriots, the other Traitors?' Was it not true? Did he not throw his adhesion to A. Lincoln at the time of deep trouble? And does he not now occupy an honored spot in the memory of his many friends, and a sacred spot in his own loved city of Chicago? Yes, this prophecy has been literally fulfilled in my day, and I bear testimony to its truth, when compared with history.

This is enough for this time, I have many things yet to say, but will wait your report on this, and perhaps you will scarcely be able to read my poor writing; for I am a poor scribe, and in consequence of a cataract on my eyes, am nearly blind.

I know something about some of the leaders at Salt Lake City, and to my sorrow too, as many of them forgot to settle claims that I still hold against them. I and my whole family were driven from the city, (of Nauvoo, Author.) my property confiscated, and thousands, yes, tens of thousands of dollars worth of my property was taken and sold, and I was defrauded out of the whole by wicked and corrupt men, aided by the head men that now live in Salt Lake City. The records of my property were carried away, and never could be obtained, and I was reduced from affluence and wealth to poverty by their means. And they claim to have done all these things in obedience to the commands and will of God.

With consideration of very kind regards, I am, sir, yours for the truth.


Note 1: The Rev. George Grimston Cookman (1800-1841) served as the Chaplain of the United States Senate from December 31, 1839 to June 11, 1841. As Dr. Foster points out in his letter, Rev. Cookman sailed from New York City for Liverpool, England, March 11, 1841, on the steamship "President." The ship apparently sank during its crossing of the Atlantic, as it was never heard from again. His first son, Rev. Alfred Cookman was born Jan. 4, 1828 in Columbia, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and died Nov. 13, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey. Another son, Rev. John Emory Cookman, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, June 8, 1836, and died in New York City some time after 1886. Given this documented survival of two of Cookman's sons, it is difficult to understand why Dr. Foster says that "his whole family were suddenly cut off, both root and branch." During the early years of the 20th century, the Herald twice published an admission of the facts, implying that Foster's memory had failed him when it came to the fate of Cookman's family.

Note 2: Dr. Foster's recollection of a preaching and prophecy session held by Joseph Smith, Jr., at Carusi's saloon in Washington, D. C. is not otherwise documented. Smith left Washington for Philadelphia on Dec. 21, 1839 and apparently remained in the latter city until Jan. 27, 1840. Therefore, if Joseph Smith, Jr. really did preach before a distinguished audience in Carusi's saloon, it must have been on or about Jan. 27, 1840. On about Feb. 10, 1840 Smith left the nation's capital for Nauvoo. Therefore, if there is any record of his preaching and prophecy in Carusi's saloon, it should be preserved as a newspaper article, journal entry, mention in a letter, etc., from the short period between Jan. 27 and Feb. 10. In fact, there are sketchy reports of Smith having preached in Washington on Wed., Feb. 5, 1840, but that can hardly be the session held at Carusi's saloon, when Joseph Smith, Jr. had "just come in on the train from Philadelphia."

Note 3: Dr. Foster does not specify exactly when it was that Rev. Cookman preached to his Washington congregation, telling them that Joseph Smith's "new" Bible (the Book of Mormon) had been "dug up in Palmyra, New York; and that it was nothing but an irreligious romance, and that Smith had obtained it from the widow of one Spaulding, who wrote it for his own amusement." Presumably this occurred on or about Jan. 5, 1840, in Cookman's first Sunday sermon of the new year. Dr. Foster had time to write about the matter to Smith, who was then in Philadelphia, and to obtain Smith's reply by mail, telling him (Foster) to do "some preaching in Washington to counteract these statements" of Cookman's. Thus, it is more than likely that when elders Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Dr. Foster, Sidney Rigdon and Benjamin Winchester sat down to hold a "special conference" in Philadelphia on Jan. 13, 1840, that the subject of Rev. Cookman's repetition of the Solomon Spalding authorship claims was a fresh matter of importance and instantly became one of the important topics discussed by those same men at their "special conference." Pratt was then able to inform the group how he had counteracted similar claims about the Spalding authorship then being made in the New York papers. Winchester subsequently consulted with Pratt at length in Liverpool, and returned to Philadelphia to produce his 1840 pamphlet, the first major Mormon response to the Spalding claims.

Note 4: Assuming that Joseph Smith, Jr. really did preach at Carusi's saloon, on or about Jan. 27, 1840, he had plenty of time to prepare himself for a public refutation of Rev. Cookman's allegations concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon and the " irreligious romance... of one Spaulding." Exact details are lacking, but this reported preaching session may have marked Joseph Smith, Jr.'s first (and only known) formal, public disavowal of the Spalding authorship claims. For a passing mention of Cookman's disappearance at sea, see the Nauvoo Times and Seasons for July 1, 1841 In later years the editors of the Saints Herald distanced their church from Foster's report of Joseph Smith's alleged curse upon Rev. Cookman. For another mention of the episode, see the "Preface" to Wayne Cowdrey et al., 2005 edition of Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?



Vol. 22.                              Plano,  Ill.,  July 15, 1875.                              No. 14.

"Golden Tablets" Reviewed.

Editor Chicago Times: -- Being a subscriber to your valuable paper, permit me through its columns to correct some of the bungling false statements made by J. M. S., in his article dated Salt Lake City, Utah, May 3d, 1875.

It is claimed in that article that one "Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a classic scholar, in the year 1809, wrote a romantic and fabled history of the 'ten lost tribes of Israel.' The book was completed in 1813, but never published, having been stolen from the publishers." The foregoing statement will be not a little amusing to all conversant with the Book of Mormon, as it exposes largely the ignorance of its author. The Book of Mormon does not claim to be, neither is it a history of the "ten lost tribes," consequently, can not be the "manuscript" of the aforesaid Solomon Spaulding; and if J. M. S. will be good enough to read the account of the battle of "Cumorah," as described in the Book of Mormon, he will discover that they were not the "ten lost tribes," as asserted by him, who were slain there, nor any part thereof; but a "branch of the house of Israel which had been broken off."

J. M. S. tells us that the manuscript of Rev. Spaulding was "stolen from the publishers;" he fails to give us the date of this incident, (or accident), but we suppose it was sometime. I have before me a supposed copy of a letter, written by Mrs. Matilda Davison, of Monson, Massachusetts, the wife, formerly, of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, gotten up expressly to oppose, "Mormonism;" and in it we read that "during their stay in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Mr. Spaulding made the acquaintance of one Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited this manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time, but at length the manuscript was returned to the author; and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington Co., Pennsylvania, where Mr. deceased in 1816; (at this period Joseph Smith was eleven years old.) The manuscript then fell into my hands, (Mrs. Spaulding then), and was preserved carefully." In the same letter it is claimed that the manuscript was kept by the same lady until "1834, when Dr. Philastus Hulbert came to my house and obtained it," So if there be any truth in this letter, the manuscript was not stolen, as claimed by J. M. S.; but remained in the hands of Rev. Spaulding's widow, from A. D. 1816 to 1834, the latter period being four years subsequent to the time of publishing the Book of Mormon.

In a letter written by John Haven, of Holiston, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, to his daughter, Elizabeth Haven, of Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, and published in the Quincy Whig, (republished in Times and Seasons, January, 1840), we find the following: "Your brother Jesse passed through Monson, where he saw Mrs. Davison and her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, and spent several hours with them; during which time, among other questions, he asked the following: Q. -- Have you read the Book of Mormon? A. -- I have read some of it. Q. -- Does Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree? A. -- I think some of the names are alike. Q. -- Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? A. -- An idolatrous people. Q. -- Where is the manuscript? A. -- Dr. P. Hulbert came here and took it, and said he would get it printed, and let me have one-half of the profits. Q. Has Dr. P. H. got the manuscript printed? A. -- I received a letter, stating that it DID NOT READ AS THEY EXPECTED, and they should not print it. Q. How large is Mr. Spaulding's manuscript? A. -- About one-third as large as the Book of Mormon. Questions to Mrs. McKinstry. Q. -- How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript? A. -- About five years of age. Q. -- Did you ever read the manuscript? A. -- When I was about twelve years old I used to read it for diversion. Q. -- Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? A. -- An idolatrous people. Q. -- Does the manuscript and Book of Mormon agree? A. -- I think some of the names agree. Q. -- Are you certain some of the names agree? A, -- I am not. Have you ever read any in the book of Mormon? A. -- I have not."

This evidence, coming from a purely outside source, and published in a "Gentile" paper, unsolicited by "Mormons." should, we think, give it caste and credibility among the "Gentile" world. Therefore, whatever duplicity may be charged to the former letter quoted, this one of Mr. Haven's puts a quietus to the common rut of error into which J. M. S. and others have fallen; viz., "stealing of the manuscript." and shows positively that the manuscript of Rev. Solomon Spaulding remained with him and his widow, (Mrs. Davison), until 1834; when Dr. P. Hulbert and others obtained the same, with the intent of refuting the Book of Mormon; but, finding "it did not read as they expected," concluded to hide it up and secrete the manuscript, knowing, as we have every reason to believe, that that was their only hope of hiding their folly and wickedness; as they, like others, had charged the publishers of the Book of Mormon with "plagiarism."

The manuscript, we notice, described an "idolatrous people," while the Book of Mormon is the history of a people who were cognizant of God and his laws, and believed in the principle of future rewards and punishments, in the which "God will reward all men according to their works." They accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior of men, and insisted that "no other name was, or should be given, whereby salvation can come unto the children of men."

Again, the manuscript was about "one-third the size of the Book of Mormon." We notice that eleven unimpeached witnesses testify to all the world, that they "saw, and (some) did handle with their hands," the "golden plates" from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Oliver Cowdery, one of the "three witnesses," who died a few years since, I am credibly informed bore a faithful testimony to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon upon his death-bed. He was not a dupe of Brigham Young, nor an endorser of his deviltry. Martin Harris, also, who was living last winter in Cache Valley, Utah, bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon that year, but did not endorse Brigham Young's misrule. David Whitmer, the other one of the "three," within the past year repeated his testimony concerning the same book, and never followed B. Young or his accursed practices. These witnesses, so far as we have any account, are respectable citizens of the land, whose testimony would be acceptable in any court; and before J. M. S. shall again attempt to impeach the Book of Mormon with twaddle, a few grains of common sense will, if he permit them, point to the internal evidence of the book, and the unimpeached witnesses to be first disposed of.

As regards Sydney Rigdon being the "founder of Mormonism," as frequently stated and strongly hinted at by J. M. S., we assert that it is entirely false. Mr. Rigdon was born in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, February 19th, 1793. "In the fall of 1817 he professed religion, and joined the regular Baptist church. In 1818 or 1819 he went to Beaver County, Pennsylvania, where he studied divinity with a Baptist preacher by the name of Clark, and was licensed to preach by the Conoquenessing church, and went from there to Warren, Ohio, and was ordained a regular Baptist preacher, and returned to Pittsburg in the winter of 1821 or 1822, and took care of the first regular Baptist church." In "1824," it appears that Mr. Rigdon withdrew from the Baptist church in part, preferring to endorse, as he did, the views of Alexander Campbell. "In 1827 or 1828, he removed to the 'Western Reserve, in Ohio, and there continued to preach until the Latter Day Saints came to that part of the country," which did not occur until the fall of 1830, at which time the Book of Mormon was presented to Rigdon for the first time, who, after examination, endorsed the work, and was baptized.

From the foregoing testimony, it will be seen that the statement made by J. M. S., that "Sidney Rigdon was one of the publishers" of the Book of Mormon, and that from the lost manuscript Joseph Smith stole his idea of the Book of Mormon." &c., is one of those half-starved falsehoods, begotten, nurtured and admired by that class of animated toads who croak and hop like other toads of lesser length of limb....

... In conclusion, we advise J. M. S., and all others when convenient, to visit Plano, Illinois, on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and inform themselves of the only true "Mormon organization" extant, by calling upon Joseph Smith, son of Joseph Smith, (who was killed at Carthage), who in company with his brethren in Christ, are endeavoring to rescue the truth from the reproach and shame brought upon it through the wicked acts of those professing to be Saints, and to reclaim the honest from the deadfalls of Brigham-Youngism, the practice of which is a stench in the nostrils of all good people; a blotch upon the fair escutcheon of our liberties; a fraud and imposition, and a shame to our government.

Asking the privilege of being heard, I remain with respect,     Z. H. GURLEY.
PLEASANTON, Decatur Co., Iowa,
    June 1, 1875.

Note 1: Apostle Zenos H. Gurley, Jr. (1842-1912) was the son of the co-founder of the RLDS movement, Apostle Zenos Hovey Gurley, Sr. (1801-1871). The younger Zenos eventually fell away from a strict belief in the RLDS dogma and cooperated with apostate Charles A. Shook in compiling embarrassing material for the latter author's anti-Mormon books.

Note 2: Gurley's account builds upon the one provided by Elder William H. Kelley in the Jan. 15, 1873 Herald. However, Gurley breaks new ground by excising the embarrassing admission in the 1839 Haven interview, that Spalding's widow admitted the veracity the letter reporting her first interview, held earlier that same year: "Q. Is what is written in the letter true? A. In the main it is."

Note 3: Gurley's claim that the 1839 published Haven interview was "a purely outside source, and published in a 'Gentile' paper" is a patent lie. Far from being "unsolicited by 'Mormons,'" the 1839 Haven interview was conducted covertly by a first cousin of Brigham Young, a Mormon missionary sent to do damage control for the Church in a carefully planned encounter with Spalding's widow. The publication of his interview "in a 'Gentile' paper" was an outright "plant" by the Mormon leadership -- so that the report might indeed appear to be "unsolicited by 'Mormons.'" Gurely is either grossly ignorant of the facts, or (more likely) continuing the old Mormon cover-up and whitewash methods of the previous generation, in regard to the origin and purpose of the 1839 Haven interview.



Vol. 22.                              Plano,  Ill.,  October 15, 1875.                              No. 20.


Sr. H. B. Emerson, of New Richmond, O., wrote to Martin Harris, asking certain questions; the replies to the questions we are permitted to publish, by the kindness of Sr. Emerson. It will be seen that the writer supposed his questioner to be a man.

SMITHFIELD, Utah,        
Nov. 23d, 1870.     
Mr. Emerson, Sir: -- I received your favor. In reply I will say concerning the plates, I do say that the angel did show to me the plates containing the Book of Mormon. Further, the translation that I carried to Prof. Anthon was copied from these same plates; also, that the Professor did testify to it being a correct translation. I do firmly believe and do know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; for without I know he could not had that gift; neither could he have translated the same. I can give if you require it one hundred witnesses to the proof of the Book of Mormon. I defy any man to show to me any passage of scripture that I am not posted on or familiar with. I will answer any questions you feel like asking to the best of my knowledge, if you can rely on my testimony of the same. In conclusion, I can say that I arrived at Utah safe, in good health and spirits, considering the long journey. I am quite well at present, and have been, generally speaking, since I arrived.

With many respects I remain your humble friend,   MARTIN HARRIS.

SMITHFIELD, Cache Co., U. T.,        
January, 1871.     
To H. Emerson, dear sir: -- Your second letter, dated Dec., 1870, came duly to hand. I am truly glad to see a spirit of enquiry manifested therein. I reply by a borrowed hand, as my sight has failed me too much to write myself. Your questions: Question 1, "Did you go to England to lecture against "Mormonism?"

Answer. I answer emphatically, No, I did not; -- no man ever heard me in any way deny the truth of the Book of Mormon, the administration of the angel that showed me the plates; nor the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, under the administration ofJoseph Smith Jun., the prophet whom the Lord raised up for that purpose, in these the latter days, that he may show forth his power and glory. The Lord has shown me these things by his Spirit -- by the administration of holy angels -- and confirmed the same with signs following, step by step, as the work has progressed, for the space of fifty-three years.

The Lord showed me there was no true church upon the face of the earth, none built upon the foundation, designated by the Savior, "The rock of Revelation," as declared to Peter. See Mat. 16:16, 17, 18, verses. He also showed me that an angel should come and restore the Holy Priesthood again to the earth, and commission his servants again with the Holy Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth. See Rev. 14:6, 7, verses. -- He further showed me that the time was nigh when he would "set his hand again the second time to restore the kingdom to Israel," when he would gather the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth," "when he would bring the record ofJoseph which was in the hand of Ephraim, and join with the record of Judah, when the two records should become one in the hand of the Lord to accomplish his great work of the last days." See Ez. 36 and 37, chap.; also Isaiah 29 chapter; also from the 58 chapter to the end of the book; also Ps. 50.

Question. 2. What became of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated?

Answer. They were returned to the angel, Moroni, from whom they wrre received, to be brought forth again in the due time of the Lord; for they contain many things pertaining to the gathering of Israel, which gathering will take place in this generation, and shall be testified of among all nations, according to the old Prophets; as the Lord will set his ensign to the people, and gather the outcasts of Israel: -- See Isaiah 11 chapter.

Now, dear sir, examine these scriptures carefully; and should there still be any ambiguity relative to this great work of the last days, write again and we will endeavor to enlighten you on any point relative to this doctrine. I am, very respectfully,

Note: On Martin Harris in England, see George Mantle letter in Autumn Leaves March, 1889 p. 141.



Vol. 23.                               Plano,  Ill.,  August 15, 1876.                             No. 18.


The Pittsburg Gazette, and also the Pittsburg Telegraph contain notices of the death of Sidney Rigdon, at Friendship, Allegheny county, N. Y. on the 14th of July, as we understand. We are indebted to brethren C. G. Lanphear and E. W. Knight for the papers. Br. Blair also sent us a copy of a Pittsburg paper, containing a reply of his to certain statements in a previous issue, about Sidney's connection with the church, but we have mislaid the scrap since cutting it out.

The Telegraph attempts to tell the old tale of the association of Joseph and Sidney in the Spalding story inception of the "new doctrine;" but the Gazette gives the real facts in the case, saying that it was while he was zealously engaged in working for the "Christian" or "Disciple" Church, in Ohio, that he met elder P. P. Pratt in debate, and becoming worsted therein, he joined the Mormon Church, and many of his congregation with him. Both papers speak of his standing in the community as a conscientious and law abiding citizen, and one much respected. He is said to have been in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and for years past to have been a student of science and a lecturer on geology.

Note: The July 18, 1876 issue of the Pittsburg Telegraph contained a sort of obituary for Sidney Rigdon. In part, it reads: "The manuscript of the Book of Mormon was set up in a printing office in Pittsburg in 1812, with which young Rigdon was connected. Soon after getting possession of a copy of Spalding's manuscript he left the printing office and became a preacher of doctrines peculiar to himself and very similar to those afterward incorporated into the Book of Mormon." The Telegraph reporter does not specify exactly how Rigdon was "connected" with the "printing office in Pittsburg in 1812," nor exactly which of the "doctrines" he preached during his early years as a Baptist minister were later "incorporated into the Book of Mormon." Presumably the Pittsburgh paper "containing a reply" written by RLDS Elder W. W. Blair's letter was a late July issue of the Telegraph.



Vol. 23.                               Plano,  Ill.,  October 15, 1876.                             No. 20.


We have received the following items from Br. William Small of Philadelphia, in relation to the "Spaulding Story" of the origin of the Book of Mormon. It was written by request of Br. Wm. W. Blair, while he was in Philadelphia this fall. Br. Small writes as follows:

"While I was living in Pittsburgh in 1841, at the time so much was said of the Book of Mormon, and in connection with the Solomon Spaulding Story. It was stated that the Spaulding manuscript was placed in Mr. Patterson's hands for publication, and that Sidney Rigdon was connected with him at the time. In connection with John E. Page I called upon General Patterson, the publisher, and asked him the following questions, and received his replies as given:

Q. -- Did Sidney Rigdon have any connection with your office at the time you had the Solomon Spaulding manuscript?
A. -- No.

Q. -- Did Sidney Rigdon obtain the Spaulding story at that office?
A. -- No.

He also stated to us that the Solomon Spaulding manuscript was brought to him by the widow of Solomon Spaulding to be published, and that she offered to give him half the profits for his pay, if he would publish it; but after it had laid there for some time, and after he had due time to consider it, he determined not to publish it. She then came and received the manuscript from his hands, and took it away. He also stated that Sidney Rigdon was not connected with the office for several years afterwards. Gen. Patterson also made affidavit to the above statement.
          Your brother in Christ,
                  WILLIAM SMALL."
   Philadelphia, Sept. 13th, 1876.

Note 1: Elder Small's testimony in regard to John E. Page's 1841 interview with Robert Patterson of Pittsburgh is an important document. Assuming that his testimony is fully accurate, it shows that "Sidney Rigdon was not connected with" Patterson's book and stationery business, until "several years" after the death of Solomon Spalding. And even that "connection" was probably much less direct and substantial than Rigdon's having actually served in Patterson's employment in the book and stationery selling business. Whatever "connection" Rigdon may have ever had with Patterson was most likely through the printing shop of Silas Engles or that of Butler and Lambdin. These shops were associated with Patterson's occasional book publishing ventures, but were apparently not under his full ownership or direct supervision.

Note 2: Small's account of the Widow Spalding making one last attempt to get her late husband's writings published by Patterson is elsewhere unattested and may not be relied upon as being totally accurate. For example, it is possible that Mrs. Spalding merely served as a courier between her husband and Patterson during the last months of Solomon Spalding's life at Amity, Pennsylvania. Whatever the details of their interaction may have been, according to Small, at least, the widow Spalding "received the manuscript from his hands, and took it away." This most likely happened in late 1816 or early 1817. Small's account of course conflicts with the one printed by E. D. Howe in 1834, and attributed to the widow as its source: "While they lived in Pittsburgh, she thinks it [i. e. Spalding's manuscript] was once taken to the printing office of Patterson & Lambdin; but whether it was ever brought back to the house again, she is quite uncertain," (Mormonism Unvailed, pp. 287-288. If Howe's account accurately reproduces the widow's statements in 1833, she either held back information or did not remember dealing with Patterson directly. The fact that "the printing office of Patterson & Lambdin" did not exist during her 1812-16 stay in the Pittsburgh region may indicate that the Howe report is flawed. Patterson & Lambdin's publishing venture began operations months after the widow had departed the area, and was never a "printing office," since the partnership's printing was done by Butler & Lambdin, a separate business in Pittsburgh. See also comments accompanying the text of John E. Page's 1843 pamphlet and Alexander Campbell's Aug. 1843 report in the Millennial Harbinger.



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill.,  February 15, 1877.                             No. 4.


The following is written in reply to an article published last fall in the Chicago Inter-Ocean, to which we thought to reply, but the press of office labor prevented, and the author of this article having also thought to reply it was so arranged, and we think he has presented an excellent argument. It is now published in the HERALD, having been offered to the Inter-Ocean and refused by that paper.

Editor Inter-Ocean, Dear Sir: -- In your issue of October 26th, Mr. J. L. B. of Clarinda, Iowa, has undertaken to enlighten the present generation on the origin of the Book of Mormon; and concludes his article with a very interesting "black cat" and "walking on the water" story.

In trying to prove that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism or fabrication from the old "Romance" of Solomon Spaulding, he seems to have little idea of the extent of the task he has on hand; but we propose to introduce here a few items that may help him to a proper estimate of that work. And as he puts great stress upon sworn testimony of Mrs. Solomon Spaulding, and that of some of her old neighbors as evidence in the case, we shall examine that in connection with that of E. D. Howe, author of "Mormonism Unveiled," first and we may then, if time and space permit, give you a little Mormon testimony, and then let a candid public judge for themselves. We do not propose to insert this testimony in full any further than is necessary to get at the turning points of the matter.

First then, in 1833, or thereabouts, E. D. Howe and Dr. Rosa (alias Philastus Hulbert) of Painesville, Ohio, for reasons which we trust we will hereafter explain, undertook the work entitled, "Mormonism Unveiled." Having heard something of an old work of one Solomon Spaulding, an old Presbyterian preacher of Conneaut, Ohio, who undertook in 1810 or 1811 to write a fictitious account of the migration of some Jews to America, and their wars, settlements, and national affairs, so as to account in a plausible way for the tumuli, and other antiquities about Conneaut, Hulbert spent a whole year in tracing up the Spaulding family, in order, if possible, to get the old romance, compare it with the Book of Mormon which had then been three years published, and if possible use it for the purpose of destroying the credibility of the witnesses to the genuineness and real origin of the book

On this tour, Hulbert claims to have come in contact with many of Spaulding's old neighbors, in the different localities where he had formerly resided, and some thirty-seven pages of "Mormonism Unveiled," are made up of the affidavits and certificates of many of these persons, to prove that Joseph Smith and his associates were vagrants, money-diggers, and superstitious, ignorant and vicious persons, and that they got up the Book of Mormon as a speculation.

First among these is the affidavit of Peter Ingersol, "Dated Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, Dec. 2, 1833, certified by Thomas T. Baldwin, Judge of Wayne county court, to have been sworn before him, according to law, 9th day of Dec., 1833.

This same Peter Ingersol is now a resident of Lapeer county, Michigan, and solemnly denies that he ever signed or made oath to this affidavit, or any other affidavit on the subject. In 1833, moreover, there was in the State of New York no such office as Judge of the "County Court." Circuit Courts, Courts of Oyer and Terminer; Common Pleas, and General Sessions, were held for every county, but there was no "County Court."

Upon an examination of all these certificates, it will be perceived that not one of them is authenticated in legal form; some are not signed at all; they are often contradictory and much of them is upon hearsay. Not one of them is certified under the seal of any court.

When it is considered that religious animosity is the most bitter of all human hatred, and that these were got up on the ground where Joseph Smith commenced his ministry, among those most bitterly opposed to him, if these certificates were really genuine, the wonder would not be that though a righteous man, so much was said against him but too little.

Bunyan, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, if so judged upon the exclusive testimony of their enemies would come off worse, and Jesus and his Apostles far worse. But at this time, while most of the witnesses, whose testimony is recorded against him, are yet living, scattered through half the States and able to answer for themselves, the Saints know and continually assert that most of these certificates are forgeries, never sworn to signed, nor seen by those whose names are signed to them, and they perpetually challenge the world to investigation, assured that the cause which must be supported by perjury is rotten.

Hulbert finally arrived [in] Monson Middlesex county, Massachusetts, where he found the widow and daughter of Solomon Spaulding, and whether or not he obtained the grand object of his search and labor of love from the widow, that is the "Romance" written by her husband some twenty-three years before, took it and kept it safely in his possession, or destroyed it as he chose, so that afterward, when Sidney Rigdon was to be accused of stealing it, and manufacturing the Book of Mormon out of it, it might not be to be had by any one curious enough to make a comparison of it with the Book of Mormon, may be best determined from his own statements, and those of the widow Spaulding, her daughter Mrs. McKinstry, and others.

From the widow he says he learned that Mr. Spaulding went to reside in Pittsburgh in 1812, and remained there with his family but two years; that sometime during his residence there, his "Romance" was brought to the office of Patterson and Lambdin of that city for publication; that "she was unable to tell whether it was ever returned or not from this office." He also makes Patterson, to whom he had applied for information, say that he had "no recollection of any such manuscript being brought there, that Lambdin was dead, and therefore could not testify in regard to it," and concludes as follows: "Now as Spaulding's book can no where be found, nor anything be heard of it after being carried to this establishment, there is the strongest presumption that it remained there in seclusion till 1823 or '24, at which time Sidney Rigdon located himself in that city. We have been credibly informed that he (Rigdon) was on terms of intimacy with Lambdin, being seen frequently in his shop." "We therefore, must hold Sidney Rigdon out 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 Spaulding." (Howe's "History of Mormonism," pages 287, 289, 290).

You will perceive sir, from the above, that Messrs. E. D. Howe and Hulbert deny in the most positive terms that they have seen, known, or possessed the Spaulding Romance. We wish all to keep this distinctly in view. It is very plain to all that were there nothing else to draw from, that the whole theory of Rigdon coming into possession of the Spaulding manuscript, so far as Howe's testimony goes, is the merest speculation and conjecture.

We will now examine the testimony of those old neighbors of Solomon Spaulding, who Howe pretends certified to the identity of the Book of Mormon [with] the Spaulding Romance.

Henry Lake, one of these witnesses, tells us of an inconsistency in the tragic account of Laban, contained in Spaulding's manuscript and also in the Book of Mormon which he pointed out to Spaulding, and he promised to correct. (Howe's "History of Mormonism," p. 282). Certainly a very strong circumstance,

50 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Feb. 15.

except for the material fact that the inconsistency is not pointed out and does not exist.

Another witness, John N. Miller, whose memory is so tenacious as to recognize "many passages in the Book of Mormon as verbatim from Spaulding and others in fact" and to "find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end," recognized it by some "humorous passages," which Spaulding frequently read to company. (Howe's "History of Mormonism," p. 283). As there is not a humorous passage in the Book of Mormon, his testimony, if, indeed, he ever gave it, will go for nothing.

Another witness, Oliver Smith, remembers that Spaulding's manuscript gave an account of the arts, sciences and civilization of the first settlers of America. (Page 235). But the Book of Mormon contains none of these things. There is not only no history of these things in the Book of Mormon, but they are so slightly alluded to in any way, that it is impossible to know what arts and sciences existed among the people whose history is there recorded.

The witnesses generally agree that the religious part of the Book of Mormon is not Spaulding's; and that his object in writing his manuscript, was to account for the antiquities found so abundantly about Conneaut, sometimes called New Salem, in Ohio. But the Book of Mormon does not in any way account for those works. It does not place one of its scenes in that region, nor give account of any similar structures; nor does it appear by it, that any person mentioned in the Book of Mormon ever saw or heard of the great lakes of North America, or ever approached the lake region; except one as a fugitive near the closing scenes of the book. And if the religious part of the book was taken out, it is quite probable that we should have nothing but the binding left; or next to nothing, as any one may see who reads the book.

Unable to get certificates signed to his own satisfaction, Howe has added an unsigned certificate of one witness, Artemas Cunningham; (Howe's "History of Mormonism," p. 286); and numerous unsupported statements of his own, of what various other persons have said, and would have said if he could have found them, and asks the world on such exparte, unsworn, unsupported, contrary, incredible and impertinent testimony, and hearsay, to believe the Book of Mormon plagiarized from Spaulding's Romance.

Had testimony like this been given in open court, upon a regular examination and cross examination of witnesses, no reasonable man would have deemed it else than a mere farrago of lies and contradictions. But when it was picked up by a lawyer, in exparte examination of witnesses opposed with religious zeal to the cause he is attacking, it amounts to nothing at all. The plan once set on foot, it is a matter of surprise that so bald a case is made out. But against the testimony that any part of the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Spaulding's manuscript, is the overwhelming fact that in 1832 Orson Hyde introduced the Book of Mormon at Conneaut, Ohio, the residence of Spaulding when he wrote the manuscript, and there preached, and built up a numerous body of Mormons among Spaulding's old neighbors, many of whom were familiar with his manuscript found. They could not be deceived, and had no possible inducement to establish themselves, and their children and friends in a delusion. This is the bitter end of the Spaulding story.

We shall now introduce a little of Mrs. Spaulding's testimony upon this subject as elicited from her some time prior to 1840, through the instrumentality of the Rev. John Storrs, of Holliston, Massachusetts, and a friend of his, named Austin, a near neighbor of the widow Spaulding, in Monson, Middlesex county, in the same State.

It may not be amiss to state that at that time there was a great deal more excitement in the States upon the subject of Mormonism than there is now. Mormonism then drew out many converts from nearly all of the denominations, and many of the ministers and leaders of the different bodies were unduly alarmed at the inroads Mormonism was making among them.

Among these was the Rev. Storrs, in consequence of losing the deacon and several members of his congregation. Howe's work had then been some years published; but the baseness of that story, as well as the corruption of its authors, had been met and fully exposed by the Mormons, and others, and the conversions to their faith went on as usual. Rev. Storrs being fully satisfied that something stronger than the Hulbert and Howe version of the "Spaulding story" was necessary to annihilate Mormonism, urged his friend Austin to visit Mrs. Spaulding, get all the information he could from her, and send to him forthwith. The desired information was soon forthcoming, and in some time after was published in the Episcopal Recorder of Boston, and with Mrs. Matilda Davidson's (formerly the wife and widow of Solomon Spaulding) name attached to it, went the rounds of the press for over two years. That letter, not to quote it in full, reads as follows:

"From New Salem, or Conneaut, Ohio, we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa.," that is, in 1812. "Here Mr. Spaulding found an acquaintance and friend 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 for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that if he would make out a title-page he would publish it and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons which I cannot now state.  *  *  * At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends."

Here, sir, you will perceive "some knavery and crooked work." Here is where we need the formidable talents of such men as the redoubtable J. L. B., of Clarinda, Iowa, to remove the difficulties which Mrs. Spaulding and the Rev. Storrs have placed in the way to the reception of Hulbert and Howe's work, called "Mormonism Unveiled," which makes Mr. Patterson say he has "no recollection of any such manuscript being brought to him for publication, and that he would not be likely to have seen it as the business of printing was wholly conducted by Lambdin at the time, and makes the widow Spaulding say she is "unable to say whether it ever was brought back from Patterson's office after it was taken there or not, and knows not what has become of it;" and that it could "no where be found." -- Howe's "History of Mormonism," pp. 287, 289.

From these statements, it is evident that we have a real Tennessee lawyer's client's case on hand. Howe makes it appear very plainly: "1st, that he never borrowed any tea-kettle." Mrs. Spaulding and Storrs make it quite as satisfactory; "2nd, that it was broke when he borrowed it." And by what shall soon follow, it will appear beyond question; "3rd, that it was whole when he returned it,"

The above letter also assets, that Sidney Rigdon was, at the time the manuscript was in the hands of Patterson, "connected with the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin." But we will get at that matter presently.

The time when the manuscript was in Patterson and Lambdin's office, was from 1812 to 1814; for Spaulding came to Pittsburgh in 1812, and remained there but two years. -- Howe's "History of Mormonism," pp. 282, 287. Here she pointedly contradicts Howe again, or at any rate the letter over her name does; for Howe says 1823 or 1824 was the time when Rigdon "located himself in Pittsburgh," -- p. 287.

The letter obtained by Austin and Storrs, so pointedly and flatly contradicts Howe, in the effort to make out a stronger case against the Mormons, that numerous persons visited the widow, for the purpose of making a more searching enquiry into this matter. The following letter from Mr. John Haven, of Holliston, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, to his daughter Elizabeth Haven, of Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, and published in the Quincy Whig, is a little item that grew out of that enquiry, and speaks for itself. We need not insert all the particulars.

"Your brother Jesse passed through Monson, where he saw Mrs. Davidson (formerly Mrs. Spaulding) and her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, and also Dr. Eli, and spent several hours with them; during which time he asked them the following questions, viz: Did you, Mrs. Davidson, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon? Ans. I did not. Ques.Did you sign your name to it? Ans. I did not, neither did I ever see the letter until I saw it in the Boston Recorder; the letter was never brought to me to sign. Ques. What agency had you in having this letter sent to Mr. Storrs? Ans. D. R. Austin came to my house, and asked me some questions; took some minutes on paper, and from these wrote the letter. Ques. Is what is written in the letter true? Ans. In the main it is. Ques. Have you read the Book of Mormon? Ans. I have read some in it; Ques. Does the Book of Mormon and the manuscript agree? Ans. I think some few of the names agree. Ques. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An idolatrous people. Ques. Where is the manuscript. Ans. Dr. P. Hulbert came here and took it, and said he would get it printed, and give me one half the profits. Ques. Has Dr. P. Hulbert got the manuscript printed? Ans. I received a letter stating it did not read as they expected, and they should not publish it. Ques. How large is Mr. Spaulding's manuscript? Ans.about one third as large as the Book of Mormon. Question,

Vol. 24.] THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. 51

put to Mrs. McKinstry: How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript? Ans. About five years of age. Ques. Did you ever read the manuscript? Ans. When I was twelve years old I used to read it for diversion. Ques. Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An idolatrous people. Ques. Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree? Ans. I think some of the names agree. Ques. Are you certain that some of the names agree? Ans. I am not. Ques. Have you ever read any in the Book of Mormon? Ans. I have not. Ques. Was your name attached to that letter which was sent to Mr. John Storrs by your order? Ans. No; I never meant that my name should be there.  *  *  * JOHN HAVEN

There are several very interesting and important items in the above letter. First, that Matilda Davidson, or Mrs. Spaulding, never wrote the letter over her name in the Boston Episcopal Recorder. Second, it accounts for the assertion in Storrs letter that Sydney Rigdon was connected with the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin's at the time when it was said that the manuscript was in Patterson's possession. (Since to leave this impression was the chief object of Storrs writing that letter). Third, it shows that at the time when Howe was writing his "Mormonism Unveiled" or "History of Mormonism," that the genuine "Romance" of Solomon Spaulding duly entitled "Manuscript Found," was entire and unmultilated in the hands of Hulbert and Howe, though Howe, most pointedly asserts, that neither Patterson nor Mrs. Spaulding knew anything of its whereabouts and that it "could no where be found." Fourth, it agrees with the statement in Storrs' letter, that "Dr. Hulbert (in 1834) brought to me (Mrs. Spaulding) a written request signed by Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all of whom I was acquainted, as they were my old neighbors at New Salem," to let him (Hulbert) have the manuscript in order to "compare it with the Book of Mormon." It agrees also with the further statement in the same letter that "it (the manuscript) had been frequently read by her daughter Mrs. McKinstry, and by others," after the Spaulding family had left Pittsburg in 1814. Fifth, it shows that the written manuscript was only about one-third the size of the printed Book of Mormon, and consequently would not contain more than about one-tenth the reading matter. Sixth, that Mrs. McKinstry, being but five years old when her father wrote his manuscript in 1810, she would be about twelve at the time he died in 1816; and this would be two years after the family left Pittsburg, the time she says she used to read the "Manuscript Found" "for diversion."

Rev. Samuel Williams, minister of the Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, was in 1842 actuated by the same spirit of alarm, that possessed Rev. Mr. Storrs, and made all the enquiry possible, in respect to the Spaulding manuscript, and wrote another missile or pamphlet against the Mormons. In this work, Mr. Williams makes Patterson acknowledge the receipt of Spaulding's manuscript, from Spaulding himself; and that in consequence of Spaulding being unable to furnish funds for the printing of this work, it was, as he supposed, "returned by Silas Engles, foreman printer of Patterson's office, to the author, after it had been some weeks in his possession;" thus contradicting Howe again, who says Patterson knew nothing about it.

Now as the chief object of all four of these men, Hulbert, Howe, Storrs, and Williams, was, if possible to fasten the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon, from Spaulding's work, upon Sydney Rigdon, while the manuscript was in Patterson and Lambdin's office, or after it went there, though it remained there at most, but two years -- from 1812 to 1814, it is necessary only to show that Sydney Rigdon, being born in 1793 was at this very time but a youth of fifteen or sixteen years old, working on his father's farm, some twelve miles west of Pittsburgh, at a place called Piny Fork, Peter's Creek, Allegheny county, Pa., where he lived till the winter of 1819, the very date in which Mrs. McKinstry, Spaulding's daughter, claims to have read her father's old "Romance." and five years after it was "returned to its author," and was in the careful keeping of her mother.

"In the fall of 1817, he professed religion, and joined the Baptist Church of that place, and in the winter of 1818 and 1819 he went to Beaver county, where he studied divinity with a Baptist preacher by the name of Clark, and was licensed to preach, by the Conoquenessing Church, and went from there to Warren, Ohio," where he "was ordained a regular Baptist preacher, and returned to Pittsburg in the winter of 1821 and 1822." Here he took the care of the First Regular Baptist church and continued to preach till the Baptist Association met some time in the fall of 1824, when some charges being brought against him, for not being sound in the faith, he was brought on trial, but being denied the privilege of speaking in his own defence, he declared non-fellowship with them, and began to preach Campbellism. He and they who joined with him, got the liberty of the court-house, where they held their meeting; and he and his brother-in-law, Mr. Brooks, followed the tanning business till the winter of 1827 and 1828, when he (Rigdon) moved into the Western Reserve, Ohio, and there continued to preach, till the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons came to that place, and he joined them, and continued to be an elder in that church."

The above account of Mr. Rigdon's life, previous to his joining the Latter Day Saints in 1830, is taken from the family records kept in his father's house, and bears date of January 27, 1843, and is signed by two persons belonging to that family; viz: Carvil Rigdon and Peter Boyer.

Please remember, that Howe says Sidney Rigdon "located himself" in Pittsburg in 1823 or 1824. Rev. Samuel Williams says 1822, and the records of Rigdon's family says 1821. and 1822; so there is not much difference as to the date when Mr. Rigdon first located himself in that city; but all this brings out the important fact, that it was at least seven years between the return of the manuscript to "its author" and Sidney Rigdon's location for the first time at Pittsburgh.

What then, becomes of the statements contained in Storr's letter to the Episcopal Recorder, that Sidney Rigdon (one of the founders of the sect) who figured so largely in the Mormon History, was at that time (1812 to '14), connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated, and as our very interesting friend of Clarinda, Iowa, has also stated? It is a very reverend and pious piece of forgery and fraud, that is all.

If strikes me very forcibly, sir, while po[u]ring over this mass of most palpable, and most villainous fraud and contradictions, that, since the world began, a more gross and unfounded, unsupported, unblushing piece of knavery and forgery has never been palmed upon any one people against another.

The whole idea that Sidney Rigdon had ever been on any occasion, or at any time in Patterson and Lambdin's printing office, or that such an office had been in existence at all, for years before Rigdon came there, is a most unmitigated falsehood.

Rev. Samuel Williams, when he wrote his work in 1842 against the Mormons, though aided by the whole body of the clergy of Pittsburgh, to involve Sidney Rigdon in either the stealing, copying or possession of the Spaulding manuscript; was unable to bring up a single witness to prove that Rigdon had ever been a printer; not a witness that he ever was in Pittsburgh, while Patterson and Lambdin's office existed; not a witness that he ever saw or heard of Spaulding or his manuscript, previously to the publication of Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled" in 1834. Moreover, John E. Page, who was then in apostolic charge of a large body of Latter Day Saints in Pittsburgh, answered Williams in a small pamphlet, embracing not only the facts herein stated, but much more, and distributed them by tens of thousands throughout the States and foreign countries, inviting investigation and challenging refutation. Yet not a man since that day has ever successfully overturned one of the facts. No man after reading it could ever believe the "Spaulding story" and we defy even the credulity of J. L. B. with its enormous calibre and capacity to take it in. If he can, he has no need to laugh at the credulity of "Ichabod Crandall."

If now, your patience is not already at too great a strain, by the length of this article, you will be kind enough to insert the following abridged letter from Sidney Rigdon; but first let me say that the Book of Mormon rests upon a basis, precisely as any other great national fact. The testimony of some twelve men, to its real origin, is attached to its pages and has never yet been impeached.

"Messrs. Bartlett and Sullivan: -- In your paper of the 18th inst., I see a letter signed by somebody calling herself Matilda Davidson.  *  *  * It is only necessary to say, in relation to the whole story about Spaulding's writings being in the hands of Mr. Patterson, and who is said to have kept a printing office, and my saying that I was concerned in same office, &c., &c., is the most base of lies, without even the shadow of truth. There was no man by the name of Patterson, during my residence at Pittsburgh, who had a printing office; what might have been before I lived there, I know not. Mr. Robert Patterson, I was told, had owned a printing office before I lived in that city, but had been unfortunate in business, and failed before my residence there.

"This Mr. Patterson, who was a Presbyterian preacher, I had a very slight acquaintance with during my residence in Pittsburgh. He was then acting under an agency in the book and stationery business, and was the owner

52 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Feb. 15.

of no property of any kind, printing-office or anything else, during the time I resided in the city.

"If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his hopeful wife, until Dr. P. Hulbert wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves. Why was not the testimony of Mr. Patterson obtained to give force to this shameful tale of lies? The only reason is, that he was not a fit tool for them to work with; he would not lie for them; for, if he were called on, he would testify to what I have here said.

"Let me here, gentlemen, give a history of this Dr. P. Hulbert and his associates who aided in getting up and propagating this batch of lies. I have seen and heard at one time and another, by the persecutors and haters of the truth, a great deal said about the eminent physician, Doctor Hulbert. I never thought the matter worthy of notice, and probably never should, had it not made its appearance in your paper, or some of equal respectability. And I believe, gentlemen, had you have known the whole history of this budget of his, it would never have found a place in your paper. But to my history.

"This said Doctor was never a physician, at any time, nor anything else but a base ruffian. He was the seventh son, and his parents called him Doctor; it was his name, and not the title of his profession.

"He once belonged to the Methodist Church, and was excluded for immoralities. He afterwards imposed himself on the Church of Latter Day Saints, and was excluded for using obscene language to a young lady, a member of the said church, who resented his insult with indignation, which became both her character and profession.

"After his exclusion he swore -- for he was vilely profane -- that he would have revenge, and commenced his work. He soon found assistance; a pious old deacon of the Campbellite Church, by the name, of O[n]is Clapp, and his two sons, Thomas J. Clapp and Matthew S. Clapp, both Campbellite preachers, abetted and assisted by another Campbellite preacher, by the name of Adamson Bentley. Hulbert went to work, catering lies for the company. Before he got through, his conduct became so scandalous that the company utterly refused to let his name go out with the lies he had collected, and he and his associates had made, and they substituted the name of E. D. Howe. The change, however, was not much better. There were scandalous stories about the Howe family, of so black a character that they had nothing to lose, and became good tools for this holy company to work with. A man of character would never have put his name to a work which Hulbert was concerned in.  *  *  * The tale in your paper is one hatched up by this gang, before the time of their explosion.
"Respectfully,             S. RIGDON.
"COMMERCE, May 27, 1839."

We consider the above a complete refutation of Mr. J. L. B's slanderous column, of October 26, in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon. We are only sorry that we cannot further notice his vile and slanderous assertions in regard to Joseph Smith slipping "through the meshes of the law," &c.
                                      W. W.

BOYNE, Michigan, December 6, 1876.

Note 1: The anonymous RLDS writer "W. W." (apparently not Editor W. W. Blair) breaks new ground in rebuttal to the Spalding authorship claims here in his 1877 Saints' Herald article. In it, for the first time, a Latter Day Saint apologist publishes a significant response to the statements of the "Conneaut witnesses," as placed before the reading public in E. D. Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed. W. W.'s article probably more or less represents the typical late 19th century RLDS rejoinder to Howe's old allegations regarding Book of Mormon origins. LDS apologetics of a similar nature would not appear in print until Elder Joseph F. Smith published his articles in 1900.

Note 2: On page 49 the writer confirms reports that a "Mr. "Rosa" was E. D. Howe's ghostwriter for Mormonism Unvailed. The writer calls this author "Dr. Rosa," implying, perhaps, that it was Dr. Storm Rosa of Painesville. According to K. A. Bell's statement in  Naked Truths About Mormonism #1 Howe's ghostwriter was actually Dr. Storm Rosa's brother, Esek H. Rosa (1807-1882).

Note 3: On page 50 the writer confirms Hyde's own 1841 report that "in 1832 Orson Hyde introduced the Book of Mormon at Conneaut, Ohio, the residence of Spaulding when he wrote the manuscript..." This helps corroborate Conneaut witness Aaron Wright's 1833 assertion that the origin of the Spalding authorship claims arose in New Salem among Spalding's old neighbors immediately after "the first time that Mr. Hyde a Mormon Preacher from Kirtland preached" in Conneaut township, Ashtabula Co., Ohio.

Note 4: On page 51 the writer manifests considerable indignation over the "idea that Sidney Rigdon had ever been on any occasion, or at any time in Patterson and Lambdin's printing office." In making his comments on this subject the writer appears to have forgotten that at least a minimal connection between Patterson and Rigdon had already been admitted by an eye-witness interviewer of Robert Patterson and had been published in the Saints' Herald only four months before, on Oct. 15, 1876. Sidney Rigdon's acquaintance with Patterson was admitted by none less than Rigdon himself in his 1839 letter, -- as printed on the same page (page 51) of this very article. And, besides that, a clerk in the Pittsburgh Post Office recalled Rigdon's close association with J. H. Lambdin, Patterson's ward, employee, and eventual business partner. As Sidney Rigdon never denied his association with Lambdin, and openly admitted knowing Patterson, there appears no reason to doubt that the highly literate Rigdon occasionally visited the book store operated by Rev. Patterson, a fellow Calvinist minister, when Rigdon as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. Indeed, Rigdon was credited with being Alexander Campbell's agent in distributing Campbellite books and newspapers in Pittsburgh, and Campbell's books were being sold in the bookshop operated by Patterson and Lambdin at least as early as the summer of 1823.

Note 5: Also on page 51, the writer passes on information confessing that "Rev. Samuel Williams, when he wrote his work in 1842 against the Mormons" was "aided by the whole body of the clergy of Pittsburgh." That "body of clergy" of course included the Rev. Robert Patterson. Thus, the writer tacitly admits that Rev. Williams' 1842 printing of a statement by Rev. Robert Patterson, (accompanied by Williams' own pertinent editorial remarks), met with the approbation of that same "body of clergy," including Patterson himself. At the very least, there is no record of Patterson, or anybody else living in Pittsburgh during that time, ever objecting to the content of Williams' pamphlet and that of the Patterson affidavit reproduced therein.



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill.,  July 15, 1877.                              No. 14.


Bro. Geo. O. Kennedy, of Colorado, informs us of his having learned a new story about the origin of the Book of Mormon, one that seems something like the Spaulding story, but yet so unlike it as to make one feel that it is very unfortunate for Satan's agents that he does not get all of them to tell the same thing; for as it is now is, no sensible man can believe either of them, for each one is positively the true story, and yet all vary to much for any to believe except those who love to make lies.

This one is told by a Presbyterian minister at Del Norte, and he says that Joseph Smith worked for a Presbyterian minister, who wrote a manuscript, which, upon his death, while Joseph was at his house, the latter stole, and from it produced the Book of Mormon.

Now it seems strange why the Presbyterians should claim the honor of having produced such a book, such a falsehood, as claimed in this instance, and in that of the Spaulding story. Why they should covet its authorship, when there are so many things in it that are directly opposite, and even in positive terms strongly in condemnation of doctrines such as they teach, is a curious thing. Thus we think that their practice of infant baptism (or so they term it) would prevent any of them from even daring to write such words: "I know that it is a mockery before God that ye should baptize little children. This thing shall ye teach, repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable * * * and little children need no repentance, neither baptism." -- Moroni 8:2. Nor, may it be said, that the illiterate Joseph and his compeers could insert in that Presbyterian lie so many things contrary to that creed, especially as the doctrines of that body were respected and honored, because by long usages and by tradition they were supposed to be true, and were reverenced as such.

This book will safely stand the test, and whosoever will may obtain from God, according to His promise, a testimony by which they can remain unmoved, even through faithful prayer, and by steadfastness in the full hope of the gospel of Christ.

Note: Compare this story of Book of Mormon origins with some of those related by Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser in his 1894 book From Palmyra to Independence.



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill., October 1, 1877.                              No. 20.


Ques. -- How many and who were they of the "Twelve," who did not go with the Brighamite faction of the Church to Utah?

Ans. -- Two, John E. Page and William Smith. The former died at DeKalb Centre, Illinois, some few years since, unconnected with any body of believers, but still strong in his belief of primitive Mormonism as he understood it. He at one timw favored the claims of James J. Strang, and afterwards the claims of Zadock Brooks; later still, he remained a passive spectator of all, not caring to ally with any. The latter is still living and is a resident of Elkaderm Clayton county, Iowa. Of present position and religious views we have nothing to say. We presume, however, that he is willing to unform any obe who is sufficiently interested, and who may have a right to inquire of him.

Note: The editor of the Herald seems to have forgotten the existence of Apostle Lyman Wight, who was ordained to the Twelve on April 4, 1841. He was effectively dropped from the Twelve in 1845, but not officially disfellowshipped from the "Brighamite faction of the Church" until 1848. John E. Page was also effectively dropped from the Twelve in 1845, but he officially disfellowshipped from the "Brighamites" in 1846, two years before Brigham finally gave up on Wight. In 1863 Page was made an Apostle in the Church of Christ, (Temple Lot), another fact that seems to have escaped the editor's memory. William Smith was dropped from the Twelve and excommunicated from the "Brighamites" in 1845. So -- unless all the ex-Apostles yet living in 1846-47 are to be considered, in answering the question, the only true member of the Brighamites" who was an Apostle during the westward emigration, but who did not follow Brigham to Utah, was Lyman Wight.



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill., October 15, 1877.                              No. 21.


                                                    Elkader, Clayton Co., Iowa.
                                                    September 18th, 1877.
Dear Nephew: -- O think that there should be a more thorough investigation of the usurpation that took place soon after the death of your father.

As I was one of the principal sufferers and victims at the time this conspiracy took place at Nauvoo, in 1844-45, I am well acquainted with the principal men, and the history of their intrigues and fraudulent transactions, entered into against the rights of the Smith family, in order to obtain the entire rule of the Church.

I will mention here, also, that a band of destroying angels was organized under the superintendency of Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, John Taylor and Willard Richards. This banditti, acting under the orders of these church officials, made frequent attempts to assassinate me while in Nauvoo; but through the agency of some personal friends that belonged to the banditti I was notified of my danger, and so fled out of their hands. As a result of my leaving Nauvoo, as I did, for safety, I suffered the loss of all my household goods and property; a more full account I will give you hereafter.

In this brief note I send you the enclosed slip taken from one of the Chicago papers, in which the writer states that John Taylor will be the probable successor to Brigham Young, as he is now the acknowledged president of the quorum of twelve apostles.

This John Taylor undoubtedly would be as fit a man to represent that office as any one of Brigham's confederates, as he is one of the old conspirators of Nauvoo, and also the man that helped Willard Richards and P. P. Pratt manufacture that spurious revelation which they palmed off as your father's, after his death.

I have some things I wish to say to you concerning the part of John Tyler and Willard Richards took in the city council that gave rise to that ordinance which resulted in the death of your father and uncle, Hyrum Smith, through the destruction of the Expositor press.

The statement in the slip that Richards dragged Taylor from the door of the jail and covered him up in the bed is scarcely true. On the first approach of the mob coming up stairs, Taylor hid himself under the bed, and was then wounded by the random shots that were fired into the room; while Richards hid behind the door; and did not appear at the window until the mob had disappeared. This is a statement of the facts in the case, as related to me after your father's death. More anon.         WM. B. SMITH.

Note 1: William Smith makes a couple of remarkable admissions in the above letter. (1. William admits to having close friends among the Nauvoo "banditti" which "made frequent attempts to assassinate" him. Perhaps these assassin "friends" of his were careful not to carry out their clandestine orders in the case of Apostle William, or maybe they were just "bad shots." At any rate, it is a rare admission by William that he was closely associated with the secret (and sometimes not so secret) outlaw class at Nauvoo. Independent accounts, from various sources, back up the conclusion that William himself was a chief member of this brigand band. (2. William indirectly admits to having access to an eye-witness's account of the events inside Carthage Jail at the time of the assassination of his two older brothers. This amounts to his saying that subsequent to those murders he associated with one or more of the killers -- or, at least with people who were confidants of the killers.

Note 2: See the Herald of Apr. 15, 1879 for the "More anon" that William promises his nephew, in regard to the events surrounding the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage Jail in 1844. See the Herald of Nov. 1, 1877 for another old Mormon's recollections concerning the "Carthage conspiracy."



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill., November 1, 1877.                              No. 22.


In those notes published in the Herald of the 15th inst., from W. B. Smith, in relation to the behavior of John Taylor and Willard Richards at the instant of the assassination of the prophet and his brother Hyrum, in the jail at Carthage; the scenes of the past are called vividly to my mind, and, having never seen what I consider a true statement of the horrible affair, as it occurred, I will give my opinion, formed from what I saw and learned from the warden at the jail, a few days after the outrage had been committed.

The parties, Taylor and Richards, it is said, have always presented the case in such a way as to make it appear they acted very heroically; whereas, from the surroundings of the case as I learned them, there was no time for such display, The whole scene was but the work of two or three minutes; and the only resistance that the brethren could offer to a body of armed men, they made; that was to keep the door of the room in which they were confined closed to prevent entrance; and that much they succeeded in doing until Hyrum was shot dead by a ball piercing the door and striking him in the face, when he fell backward, exclaiming, "I am a dead man." Instantly the others abandoned the door, and sought other refuge, Joseph attempting to jump down through the window; Taylor crept under a bed in the room, and Richards hid himself behind the then opened door, which accounts for his escape unharmed.

The circumstance that took me to Carthage at that time, was this: immediately after the perpetration of the horrible deed, Taylor was removed to one of the hotels in Carthage, from the prison, his incarceration being voluntary there was nothing to retain him. In this terrible condition, suffering from his wounds and nervous from what he had seen, he was fearful they would yet destroy him, and urged to be removed to his own home in Nauvoo. Dr. Samuel Bennett and myself went to Carthage for the purpose of devising means to carry him home. While in Carthage, I left the party and went down to the jail, that I might see the scene of the tragedy, and learn what I could respecting it.

The warden was at home, and described many of the details, showing me the room the prisoners occupied, and pointing out the hole in the door made by the bullet that killed Hyrum, and the marks on the wall made by the shooting at John Taylor under the bed; also, the manner Richards was hid from their view, in the recess formed by opening the door.

It will be understood that the brethren were not confined in the cells of the jail, but occupied a part of the jailor's dwelling -- a room on the second floor. The doorway to the stairs which led up to this apartment was from the outside of the building, and at the head of the stairs, or landing, the door into the room was on the right hand. To the left was a corridor, into which the doors of the cells opened. The door of the room occupied by the brethren opened into the room -- I judge the room was about sixteen feet square. The door was hinged about sixteen, or eighteen inches from the wall, with which the door would be at right angles when shut, so that when the door was opened, there would be a recess formed, which would cover any person from sight, to those looking into the room from the landing at the doorway where the mob stood. It was the occupancy of the above described recess that saved the life of Richards, The bed under which Taylor sought refuge was at the further corner from the door, but in full view to those standing there; the marks on the wall, and the longitudinal nature of one of his wounds proves his posture when he received it.

It would seem that the brethren were apprized of their danger by the firing of the pretended guards over the heads of the mob as they approached the jail, with blackened faces, and in other disguises.

I have given you what I believed at the time, and yet believe to be the facts in the case. There was but a very few inhabitants in the town of Carthage at the time of my visit, the people were panic stricken, and fled; the blood of Hyrum was still on the floor where he fell. To my mind the talk about knocking down the guns with their canes is all for effect, more than doubtful, as the circumstances prove the door was kept closed until Hyrum was killed. However, I have not written this in view of disparagement of others' statements, but as it appears a matter of history we want to record the truth in the case as nearly as we can get it.
                                                       JOSIAH ELLS.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 24.                               Plano,  Ill.,  December 15, 1877.                              No. ?


Uncle William Smith, of Elkader, Iowa, was at Colchester, Illinois, visiting his sisters, Catharine and Lucy, on the 4th instant; he is intending to visit Plano soon. We shall bid one of the heroes of the early days welcome.

Note: Joseph Smith III finally warmed up to the idea of having his "Uncle William" in the Reorganization. Probably the passing of Isaac Sheen and other old-time Reorganized Mormons who were not his friends made the entry an easier one during the late 1870s than it might have been a decade earlier, when William first began to salt his letters to Young Joseph with amicable words, such as: "in the progress of your affairs I sincerely hope you may prosper," and "Think of me your friend, Joseph." By the end of 1877 Joseph Smith III had already decided to let "Uncle William" back into the Church -- but that acceptance, in terms of a specific office for William, would not become official until the Spring Conference of 1878, when, on April 10th, the body adopted this resolution: "Resolved, That we recognize Wm. B. Smith, received into fellowship yesterday, as an high priest, and request that his name be enrolled among the Quorum of High Priests" (see Herald of May 1, 1878).



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill.,  February 15, 1878.                              No. 3.


Uncle William B. Smith preached a very acceptable sermon in the Saints' chapel at Plano, on Sunday evening, January 13, 1878, on the second coming of Christ.

Note: From Plano (then the headquarters of the RLDS Church and the home of Joseph Smith III), the old Mormon, William B. Smith, took a trip "down memory lane" and revisited Lee Co., Illinois, the scene of his riotous earlier years as a church organizer (and unintentional disorganizer): See the Mar. 1, 1878 issue of the Herald for William's comments on that occasion.



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill.,  February 15, 1878.                              No. 4.


How long shall this Spaulding story continue to trouble the Saints, or the world?

Two or three facts put this humbug story under my feet, in October, 1838. First, the angel of God told brother Joseph Smith where the record containing the book was; the next fact was, that he got the plates on which the record had been kept, and from them the Book of Mormon was produced. A still greater fact is this, that the Book of Mormon was in being and use almost one year before Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon ever saw one another. Now, how did these two men get to see each other face to face. It is easy to see that Joseph was a citizen of Ontario county, New York; Elder Rigdon was a citizen of one of the northeastern counties of Ohio; the distance between them must have been two hundred miles, or more than that. Elder Rigdon was officiating as an Elder in the Campbellite Church, in 1829 and 1830. Parley P. Pratt was a member of that church, in Ohio, with Elder Rigdon.

In August, 1830, Parley P. Pratt started to go to New York State, and City, Duchess county, where his relatives resided. His best way then was by water. When at Buffalo he took canal boat, a distance of two hundred miles, to the Hudson River, one hundred or more miles to his place of destination. In his route he called at Palmyra; (why this was so I know not); here he fell in company with the Elders of this Church, which had been organized on the sixth of April, 1830; who, as servants of the Lord, began to instruct him in the true doctrines of the gospel; to these teachers he listened, till the boat on which he came left the wharf. He was requested to tarry over night, which he did. In the morning, (he says so himself), he went into a retired and secluded place, and prayed to the Lord to show him whether these things were so; the result was, the work and Book of Mormon is true. He says, "I went forward, and was baptized, confirmed and ordained an Elder, in the Church of Latter Day Saints." He then proceeded on his journey to New York; and tarried there till October; then he took Orson Pratt, his brother, and started for Ohio, his place of residence, calling at Palmyra on his return, and spending a few days with the brethren. When he left he took Elder Oliver Cowdery, and some Books of Mormon with them; arriving home on the last of October or the first of November. It was here in Ohio, where Elder Rigdon first heard of or saw the Book of Mormon. Parley says he gave the Book to him, himself. Now, these are the facts as to how Elder Rigdon became acquainted with the Book of Mormon; which was in use almost a year before he heard of or saw it. What folly, yea, what wickedness to pretend that Elder Rigdon had any hand in its coming into existence.

This was the shortest way I am now in possession of to show how Elder Rigdon came into this knowledge and possession of the Book of Mormon; if any brother can make it shorter and plainer, and tell the truth, there is room -- let him work at it. Respectfully yours in the Lord our God.     B. ALDEN.

  FONTANELLE, Iowa, July 28th, 1877.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill.,  March 1, 1878.                              No. 5.


UNCLE WILLIAM SMITH writes from Amboy, Illinois, February 4th, that he was well received by the Saints there. He stopped over Sunday, the 10th, to fill an appointment, but owing to a storm and cold, but few were out. He wrote also on the 11th, indicating that there was still a wish for him to stay over another Sunday to talk with the people. Many seem anxious to hear his testimony concerning the latter day work. He says:

"I find much inquiry as to what might be the faith and views of William Smith on the great question of Mormonism. And, judging from the turn out to our meetings the two last Sundays I have held forth here on the subject of our faith and the true gospel of Christ, I conclude that there is a smart sprinkling of the good seed of righteousness and truth sown and scattered about in this region of the country, that must and will at some future day bring forth an abundant harvest. I regret that I am not permitted to occupy to the extent that I would, could I but stay longer in the place; as the call for my testimony is urgent and pressing upon all sides. The unbelieving would want to hear it, while the believing Latter Day Saint rejoices thus to be confirmed in the doctrine, they have already embraced. I have on every hand been met with a kind and hearty welcome among the Saints wherever and when it has been my good fortune to take them by the hand, thus proving the friendship and fellowship of enduring love."

Note 1: It must have been a difficult journey for William B. Smith, when he returned to Lee Co., Illinois, the scene of his "Palestine Stake of Zion" and the repository of so many unhappy memories of the past -- of charges made against him for rape, adultery, bastardy, bigamy, polygamy, spouse abandonment, spiritual wifery, wife-swapping, etc., etc.

Note 2: Possibly William had to engage in some church politicking while at Amboy, among the Reorganized "Blairites" who would have wanted to be certain that the old leopard truly had changed his spots and that he was not seeking to finagle a high office in the Church, wherein he could overawe young female members with his "claims to the blood royal," etc. If so, William seems to have returned to Plano from Lee County with enough "recommends" to win him entry into the RLDS Church, without even the formality of a new baptism. He was received "on his original baptism" by a "committee appointed to consider" the matter, at the Plano Spring Conference, on April 9, 1878.



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill., April 1, 1878.                              No. 7.


... Bro. Alanson Wells, of Elvaston Branch, Illinois, writes that they are striving to serve the Lord, but they have many things to contend with because of gain-sayers, but in reply the Saints tell them that our "Mormonism" is just the same that Jesus taught and the early Christians believed and enjoyed...

Uncle William Smith, has been in Missouri for a few weeks, visiting his eldest daughter, Mrs. Mary Scott; but returned to Colchester, McDonough county, this State, a few days ago. He is intending to remain in the State a few weeks longer if practicable...

Note 1: Mary Jane Smith was born Jan. 7, 1834 (35?), at Kirtland. On Oct. 24, 1852 she married Andrew D. Scott at Palestine Grove (Rocky Ford), Amboy twp., Lee Co., Illinois. Mary Jane died at Brookfield, Linn Co., Missouri, on Dec. 21, 1878. She was a member of the RLDS Church; see the Feb. 1, 1879 issue of the Saints' Herald for her obituary.

Note 1: Mary Jane's husband also died at Brookfield, Linn Co., Missouri; he passed away on June 12, 1884. The couple had four children: Alice Escott (b. Jul., 11, 1853, Palestine Grove); Mary "Nettie" (b. May 21, 1858, Brooklyn twp., Lee Co., Illinois); Caroline (b. Apr. 8, 1862 , Brooklyn twp.); and Frank D., b. Apr. 19, 1868, Brooklyn twp.).



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill., May 1, 1878.                              No. 9.



... Pres. Smith then presented the name of his uncle, William B. Smith, for acceptance by the Church on his original baptism.

The following was offered and adopted:

Resolved that E. Banta, G. A. Blakeslee and Wm. H. Kelley be a committee to whom shall be referred the matter of receiving Wm. B. Smith as a member of the Church, on his original baptism, and to report to this session as early as convenient...


... We, your committee appointed to consider the propriety of receiving William B. Smith into the church on his original baptism, respectfully report and recommend that said Wm. B. Smith be so received as a member, and upon the rule long since obtained and acted upon by the Reorganization, namely, that "it is a matter of conscience" upon the part of the individual as to his being rebaptized when once it is shown that he has received a legal baptism, of which we have satisfactory evidence, namely, that said William B. Smith was baptized by Oliver Cowdery, in the early days of the church. E. Banta, William H. Kelley, G. A. Blakeslee...


... The following was moved:

Whereas, Wm. B. Smith, who was received into fellowship on his original baptism, was an accredited minister of the Church at the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, acting in the office and calling of an Apostle, in the Quorum of Twelve; and,

Whereas, The ordination to the Apostleship confers the High Priesthood, and,

Whereas, Bro. Wm. B. Smith's advanced age, and present organization of the Twelve, precludes the propriety of his acting with that quorum, therefore.

Resolved, That we recognize his office as that of an High Priest; and request that his name be enrolled with the body of High Priests... It was moved that this subject be referred to the High Priests' Quorum... Then a substitute was moved, as follows:

Resolved that we recognize Wm. B. Smith, received into fellowship yesterday, as an High Priest, and request that his name be enrolled among the Quorum of High Priests... the vote on the substitute was taken, and it was adopted...

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill., July 1, 1878.                              No. 13.


As the subjects included in the above caption have been of considerable interest to the Saints, and continue to be, as well as being of deep interest to the world, of which they bear witness by their Arctic explorations and by their writings upon the subject, we have thought it well to preserve some papers bearing upon it.

First we have the following from the son of the author of what is known as the "Symmes Hole Theory." He wrote recently to the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal as follows:


As I am making an effort to have the "Symmes Theory" thoroughly tested by the Howgate Exploring Expedition, and so few persons understand what that theory is, I will undertake to state what it is, and show the difference between it and the Newtonian theory. According to the Newtonian, it is once vast solitude of eternal ice, clear up to the 90th deg. of north latitude. According to the Symmes theory (that is, my father's, Capt. John Cleve Symmes), the explorer will find that, after he passes the 80th deg. the weather grows milder; when he reaches the 81st deg. he will find some open water; when the 82d deg. is reached he will find much open water and great quantities of wild animals and some water fowls; when the 83d degree is reached, he will find the open Polar Sea, that is 2,000 miles in diameter, and if he will go into that sea when the weather is warm and genial, he will find the country that the Symmes theory says can be found, of large forests of timber, large rivers, and rich land, and the home of more wild animals than can be found anywhere else in creation, and water fowls in abundance.

Now, sir, I propose to give the experience of many explorers in the North, and if they don't prove that there is more truth in the Symmes theory than in the Newtonian, then the world may say, as they said of my father during his life, that his theory is "reared upon the baseless fabric of a vision." ...[old Arctic exploration accounts follow]

... Does not all this go to prove that there is more truth in the Symmes theory than the Newtonian? Yet we know everything about the Symmes theory, that has been lying dormant as it were since the death of the author in 1829. He petitioned Congress in 1822 and 1823 to fit out an exploring expedition for him, and in his petition said: "I will go as far north as I can get with the vessel and then go north by land and will follow in the wake of the wild animals that go north in the fall from Greenland and return back there in the spring fat and leading their young, and when they go I can follow and they will show me the way to the new world that I say can be found, that I intend to call Symmszonia."

Congress thought his theory "wild and visionary," and laid his petition on the table; but now they will fit out Capt. Howgate at an expense of $50,000 to do the very same thing that Capt. Symmes proposed fifty years ago. Howgate is to land his men as near the eighty-first degree as he can, and then go by land in search of the North Pole; but instead of reaching the Pole he will find his way into Symmes' Hole, or all the experience of explorers will amount to nothing. There are 1,131,000 square miles of this world laying in the north yet undiscovered, and I want to accompany the Howgate expedition so that there will be no turning back when it is found that the Newtonian theory will not carry the exploring party on ice to the North Pole, but into "Symmes Hole," where the climate is warm and genial, and where big trees and vegetables and flowers grow that come floating down from the north and lodge on the northern coast of Spitzbergen and Norway. All explorers in the extreme north will tell you that such is the fact. Where do they come from? Certainly there is no country laid down in the Newtonian theory from whence they could come.   Yours with respect.
                                                     AMERICUS SYMMES.

[two more article reprints follow, in support of the warm North Pole notion]

Note 1: The letter by Americus Symmes was written promotion of his 1878 booklet: The Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres, demonstrating that the earth is hollow, habitable within, and widely open about the poles. Compiled by Americus Symmes from the writings of his father, Capt. John Cleves Symmes. (Louisville, Ky., Printed by Bradley & Gilbert)

Note 2: For more on the Mormon reaction to the "Symmes Theory" see notes appended to a notice in the Aug. 15, 1872 issue of the Saints' Herald,



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill.,  Aug. 15, 1878.                              No. 16.

CADILLAC, Michigan,    
August 2d, 1878.   

Bro. Henry: -- I do think the law of tithing is but a fair test of faith of a people called to be Saints of God. People do and will "rob God." Why should I be afraid to give God that small portion (a tithe) of what he bestows upon me; yea, let all Saints learn to tithe and pay of their increase, but let shiftless, extravagant, or lazy ones remember that a tithing of their time and powers will be required, as well as of those who industriously and economically accumulate the goods of this world. May the Lord move us to liberality in the cause.

I am glad to know of the success of Bro. Bays' mission; was pleased to meet with him last winter. How it revives and cheers me to know of the gospel triumphs.

I see the Elders meet the Spaulding story occasionally. I want to say, for the benefit of many who read the Herald who are not Saints, that I had an interview last winter, as Painesville, Ohio, with Eber D. Howe the author of Mormonism Unvailed." When asked by me what he knew of Joseph Smith of S. Rigdon's connection with the Spaulding story, he said he didn't know anything. But he did tell me that neither himself nor Hulburt ever saw the Spaulding manuscript. He did say that he sent Hulburt to Massachusetts to get the original manuscript of Spaulding's widow; she didn't know about it, but there were some of Spaulding's old writings left in a trunk in York state, which he found, brought something to Howe, both went down to Conneaut, Ohio, to show to Spaulding's neighbors, who told them that wasn't the paper Spaulding used to read from, and which they thought contained names similar to those in the Book of Mormon. Mr. Spaulding's widow didn't get rich out of half the proceeds of the book that was to "annihilate Mormonism," but received word from Hulburt that the manuscript "didn't read as they expected it."

I wish that any one who thinks that there is a shadow of foundation for the story could interview Mr. Howe. He does not attempt to conceal the fact that the whole thing was gotten up for money speculation. The enemies of the gospel were willing to pay for anything, or any kind of a weapon that promised damage to the "Mormons," he thought; but God confounded, and today there's not a copy to be had for love nor money, the most being burned in a Painesville fire. There was even much less to the story than I had thought, absolutely nothing. The work is of God, and not man: Joseph Smith was a true Seer; he did interpret by inspiration of God that heaven-preserved record, that is to bring Ephraim's children back to the covenant and to spiritual and temporal blessings; that blessed record that has saved me from infidelity; that has given us, my dear brother, so sure a foundation for our hope; that record which of which, when I read and when I sing, the spirit of peace, of joy, and of truth bears abundant witness; that record which old Father John Whitmer told me last winter with tears in his eyes, that he knew as well as he knew he had an existence that Joseph translated the ancient writing which was upon the plates which he "saw and handled," and which as one of the scribes, he helped to copy, as the words fell from Joseph's lips, by supernatural or almighty power.

"Hail this record, Saints in Zion,
Hidden by Moroni's hand,
Till the God our souls rely on
Unto Joseph gave command
To translate it,
Send it forth to every land."
Yours in the Glorious work,
                                    MYRON H. BOND.

Note 1: Although Eber D. Howe once or twice claimed to have sent D. P. Hurlbut eastward on his 1833 trip to research the origins of Mormonism, those claims are late ones and do not agree with Howe's statements of an earlier date. See, for example, his Feb. 4, 1834 letter to Isaac Hale on this and related matters. In his 1834 book, Howe does not take personal credit for having sent Hurlbut on his travels; rather, he says: "a messenger [Hurlbut] was despatched to look up the widow of Spalding, who was found residing in Massachusetts. From her we learned [various things]" -- or, in other words, Howe joined in on the project after D. P. Hurlbut had returned from his 1833 journey and only upon Hurlbut's return to Ohio did Howe begin to learn anything significant about the man's research activities. In his statement of Apr. 8, 1885 Howe says: "Hurlbut returned to Ohio [from his 1833 trip] and lectured about the county on the Origin of Mormonism and the Book of Mormon. I heard him lecture in Painesville. He finally came to me to have this evidence he had obtained published."

Note 2: Elder Bond conveys the impression that Howe and Hurlbut might have gone together to interview the Conneaut witnesses in regard to the authenticity of the Spalding manuscript now at Oberlin College. That was not the case. Hurlbut re-interviewed some of the witnesses at the end of 1833. Howe, a few months later, made a separate trip to the Conneaut area in order to verify Hurlbut's findings. According to Howe (in his 1885 interview): "Before publishing my book I went to Conneaut and saw most of the witnesses who had seen Spaulding's Manuscript Found and had testified to its identity with the Book of Mormon as published in my book and was satisfied they were men of intelligence and respectability and were not mistaken in their statements. I published only a small part of the statements Hurlbut let me have."

Note 3: The recollection reported from Howe on the fate of his book, Mormonism Unvailed (saying that some of the copies of were burned in a fire at his newspaper office) is not otherwise attested but may well be a true report. In fact, Howe may here be speaking of the same fire in which he assumed that the Spalding manuscript given him by Hurlbut in 1834 was later accidentally burned.



Vol. 25.                               Plano,  Ill., September 1, 1878.                              No. 17.


It is with feelings of gratitude and love for the cause of Zion, that I wish to contribute a few lines, which if properly considered and properly applied, may not be amiss to publish. "Wisdom is justified of her children." And one of the Bible worthies, also, has said, "Old men for counsel and young men for war." Here then follows what I wish to write for the readers of the Herald.

Saints and Elders who write glowing articles on the subject of the building up of Zion, and of their faith in the latter day work, should not embellish their communications with that well known, and very familiar phrase, "the destruction of the wicked." Words of threatening of this sort, tend more to stor up wrath and hatred to the cause of truth, than it does to administer grace to the bearer. "Love is the fulfilling of the law." And brethren who speak and write of Missouri as the land of Zion, should remember that the gospel is not a native of any one portion, or part of these United States. "Zion is the pure in heart;" and wherever the people of God live and worship God in Sprirt and in truth, there is Zion. That Missouri is a land of promise may be considered, from the following reasons:

1. It is rich with a goodly soil of land.
2. The climate is adapted to most all kinds of fruits, the producing of grain, and for stick raising purposes.
3. Because there is much unoccupied land, and farms that can be had at reasonable rates.
4. Because Missouri as a State occupies a central position among other States in the Union.
Whatever is said of Missouri that is pure and holy, so let it be considered in the revelations of God. For "mild words turn away wrath while grievous words stir up anger."
Those of our good Latter Day Saints who are zealous for the growing prosperity of the Church they respresent, should not mistake their mission in the preaching of the word; for it is not the sword, nor threatenings that they are sent out to preach; it is repentance and the gospel of glad tidings, and of great joy that they are sent to preach -- and this is the proclamation of love and goodness unto all people; it is not wrath, nor destruction. It is not true that every man and woman that has not obeyed the gospel is an enemy to God; for never having heard the gospel preached they can not be under condemnation for rejecting it. Nor do we deem the world all wicked sinners, because they have no knowledge if what the law of God is.

There are many people in this wide world, who, like the household of good old Cornelius, are anxiously waiting for the Lord to send some one to them with authority to declare unto them the greater fulness of truth, and to break unto them the bread of life in all of the ordinances of God's house, legitimately.

There are absolutely no wicked sinners upon the earth, not until such times as they to whom the gospel (which is the law of God) has been preached to them, and by them rejected; for they "who are without law, are a law unto themselves;" and, therefore, according to Paul, they are "judged without law."

Much is said of the Saints about the redemption of Zion, and if the Saints did but understand it, Zion is already redeemed, so far as the State of Missouri is concerned. For ever since the vexed question of slavery has been disposed of by the late war with the South, the flag of our Union floats free over all classes of men, whether Latter Day Saints, or heretics; and therefore, the Saints have nothing to fear, or hinder them from going into the goodly land with joy and gladness of heart, preaching peace and consolation to all who love God and keep his commandments vlameless.

Saints that talk of an inheritance in Zion, in Missouri or in any other land or country, must know that such inheritance can not be obtained in any other way than by purchase. This Brighamite doctrine that "God is going to destroy the wicked," to give place for the Saints, in order to build up the kingdom of God, is a grievous mistake, and should be frowned down by every truth loving Saint of God. The all, and the only way that any man or woman can obtain an inheritance in Zion, or in the kingdom of God, is by living honest, holy and virtuous lives, and in doing unto others as they would wish others to do unto them; and by keeping, as before stated, all of the commandments of God blameless.

In much esteem I subscribe in loce to you Bro. Henry, and to all the Saints everywhere, your brother in Christ.   William B. Smith.
  Elkader, Iowa, July 7th, 1878.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill., January 1, 1879.                              No. 1.


Joseph: -- I have delayed writing, in hopes that when I did write, I might be able to do better justice to the cause by my not being too limited in time. While at work on the farm, it is hurry, hurry, all the time; to get the odds and ends gathered before cold winter sets upon us. Thge seasons are so short in this Northern Iowa, that one can scarcely turn around twice, (comparatively speaking), before he must put to his best efforts to gather into his garner -- what grain, hay, and other produce that his short summer will permit him to save from what he has gained by the labor of his hands. But, as these are matters that I had not particularly in contemplation when I began this letter, I will now name the subject. It is the apostasy that I wish to make a few remarks about, and it is the strange singularity that attaches to their teachings abroad.

First and foremost, they proclaim to the world that your father, Joseph Smith, was a prophet sent of God to restore the ancient, primitive Church of Christ, in its pristine beauty and holiness; but how strongly contradictory are the teachings of the prophet, to the teachings and workings of these Brighamite Mormons, who deny wholly the Divinity of Christ by their substitute, Adam-God.

Joseph Smith, to my personal knowledge, never taught any such doctrine. While reading over a few lines of that forged revelation on the wife doctrine, I thought it singularly strange that your father could have given utterance to such ideas of blood and murder, when in all his lifetime, his example and teachings were so contrary, or reversed to such teachings. No man, from my personal knowledge, was more devoted to his wife and children than Joseph Smith; nor could he for one singular moment have penned a law, or given utterance to a rule that would, under any circumstances whatever, have deprived them of life. Nor did Joseph Smith ever predict that the time would come, that it would be lawful to murder apostates; or to destroy rebellious women, because they refused to become polygamous wives, or to submit to such rules of barbarism. Any one acquainted with the real character of Joseph Smith, on the subject of family relations, would know, at the first glance, that the monster revelation was a forgery and a fraud of the blackest dye, palmed off upon the name and character of the prophet. Twice in my history I journeyed with my brother to Missouri as his life guard; once in the camp of the Saints, and once in company with your Uncle Hyrum, Vincint Knight, and Elder Rigdon; and up to only a few days previous to his death, I was in close council, more or less, with your father; and never in all this familiar association with him, did I ever hear him hint or say that he had received a polygamous revelation. And from these, and other facts that I might name, I pronounce that polygamous revelation a base and wicked forgery, the intent of which, like the other oaths and covenants that apostates administer in their humbug endowments, was to better enable these usurpers and conspirators to sustain themselves in their apostasy, and ill-gotten power,

In conclusion, I will add that I am personally acquainted with the god, or gods, that gave utterance to this monster revelation. Three of the principal ones engaged in getting it up are dead, died in Utah, and only one remains of that party, conspirators who hold the monarchical rule, as head and lead of that faction of the Brigham apostasy now existing in Utah.

I will note more on this subject at another time, lest this writing becomes too lengthy for a place in the columns of the Herald, or in the Saints' Advocate. I will mention, however, that on the subject of priesthood; there can not be any divine recognition of its authority in the sight of God, where the only claim for its divinity rests upon the facts of a usurped power; for in all such cases, criminality, murder and treason become the natural results. But how different are the views taken by these conspirators in support of their usurped power; as per example and teaching. And what a strange falling away from first positions (when contrasted) as named in the first of this article; that Joseph Smith was the chosen of God, to build up and restore the pure Church of Christ upon the earth; and in that Church there was to be no murder, no stealing, no false swearing, but all was to be peace, joy, loving one another and keeping all of the commandments of God, that the fullness of the glory of God might rest upon his people in this Latter Day Work. Such, in part, we wish to say to the world, and to all mankind, was to constitute the mission and calling of Joseph Smith, the prophet. It was to build up a gospel church by works of righteousness, not by fraud, nor by secret works of darkness; nor by evil doing. God, (as we are told in the good Book), dwelleth not in unholy temples, nor will he bless a corrupt priesthood to the salvation of many souls.

I rejoice much, Joseph, when I read from your pen that the out look is prosperous for the progress of the true Church of Christ. Brother W. W. Blair, also, writes that the work is on the increase having baptized some thirty persons of late, and more coming in -- glory to God! Let him have all the praise, for his wonderful mercies are extended to all those that put their trust in him, and worship him in the beauty of holiness

Elder David McGoon, from Buckland, Alamakee county, Iowa, and his wife, made me a visit a few days since, they were welcome visitors; they are old time Saints and strong in the faith of the work. Brother McGoon has a most excellent talent for public speaking; and his spirit gathers light from a world that is divine. An Elder coming that way would find a welcome at his domicile, and open doors in that vicinity to hold forth in. I visited that place some three years ago, and succeeded in removing much of the prejudice of the people against the faith of the true Latter Day Saints, by explaining to them that we neither held no claimed affinity with the apostasy that had gone off to the valley of the mountains.

I am done now. In my next I shall endeavor to explain the mysterious problem of those Smiths in Utah, being so deeply immersed in that Brighamite faction of Mormonism, that has the curse of polygamy for its motto; a barbarism that every person professing to be a Latter Day Saint, ought to be ashamed of. More anon. This from your uncle, in love of the truth.
                                                                WM. B. SMITH.

Note 1: It seems that High Priest William B. Smith had a very high regard for the value of the truth -- a commodity of such preciousness that he was not about to squander his small supply of it within the pages of the Saints' Herald. Had William truly wished to tell the story of spiritual wifery at Nauvoo, and in his own religious adventures in that regard, after he left that "holy city," he might have provided his readers with a "revelation" that would popped their eyes out. He didn't.

Note 2: On the other hand, "Uncle William" may have told a fulness of the truth, when he wrote about "base and wicked... oaths and covenants that apostates administer in their humbug endowments" in Utah. This was a favorite hobby of William's and he had been harping upon these secret, treasonous Mormon endowment oaths, ever since 1849. For decades, top LDS leaders (like Orson Hyde) argued back that there were no such vengeful, bloody oaths in the Mormon temple endowment. All of which denials are a bit puzzling, in light of the Feb. 15, 1927 instructions from Apostle George F. Richards to the President of the St. George Temple: "Omit from the prayer in the circle all references to avenging the blood of the prophets. Omit from the ordinance and lecture all reference to retribution."



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill., April 15, 1879.                              No. 8.


Joseph; Dear Nephew: -- Several times I have taken pen in hand to write you on the subject of this caption, the death of the two Martyrs, and the principal causes that led to their death. But the causes have been so misunderstood and I have felt so diffident about writing the facts in the case as I understand them, that I have refrained from the task, for fear that the circumstances I have to name might through a [black] influence upon the character of the man whom we all esteem as the prophet of God; and the longer I have put this matter off the more and more I have felt it impressed upon my mind that I should write. The history and the circumstances connected with the death of your father, and your Uncle Hyrum, are events that transpired, for the greater part while I was residing in Philadelphia in 1842-3-4, having charge of the Church in the east. But the links in the chain of circumstance that I am about to relate were occurrences that took place while I was on a visit to Nauvoo, for the purpose of attending the April Conference in 1844.

After attending the Conference held by the Church at that time, and also several of the political caucuses to nominate candidates for President of the United States, and business matters of this sort having been disposed of, (in which Lyman Wight, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Willard Richards, and H. C. Kimball were the principal speakers), I began to arrange matters to return to my family who were, as I have before stated, residing in the City of Philadelphia; and on the morning previous to my leaving Nauvoo, I called on your father and took breakfast with him. While seated at the table a conversation was had participated in by your mother, concerning some things that she had learned in the discharge of her mission among the Saints as one of a committee appointed by the Female Relief Society, to visit the Saints and look after the interest of the poor of the Church; to enquire after their occupation and financial prospect for food and means of support. In relating her report she said that some complaint had been made to her by females whom she had visited, that John Taylor, Willard Richards, and Brigham Young had been teaching some doctrines among the Saints privately that was going to ruin the Church, unless there was a stop put to it, as it was contrary to the law and rules governing the Church. Your father remarked that he would attend to the matter as soon as he got through with his troubles with the Laws and Fosters. But mark you their conversation took place only a few days previous to your father's death. What that private teaching might have been, that those persons whom your mother named, were circulating in a clandestine manner, (since there has been so much said about a doctrine called the plural wife doctrine on this subject), I leave the reader to judge.

One other point I wish to notice in the conversation that took place while I was eating at your father's table, and that was, as the conversation turned upon Brigham Young, your father remarked that with regard to the charges brought against these brethren, that he expected that he would have trouble with Brigham Young, especially, and added that "should the time ever come that this man B. Young should lead the Church that he would lead it to hell." And these words I remember as plainly as though they were spoken but yesterday; as at this time I had not known that there could have been a charge of fault brought against the man. My association with this man Brigham Young for near three years previous, had been very limited, in consequence of our different localities and fields of labor.

These matters that I have thus named do not comprise the whole ground of the causes that led to your father's death; although in part it did, as this secret evil that had crept into the Church, by means of this private teaching, gave food and material for the Expositor press to pour out its vials of wrath upon the head of the prophet, making him responsible for the conduct and teachings of these secret and clandestine teachers. What fixes the stain of guilt upon these parties named in this letter making them more criminally murderous, is the part of the City Council at Nauvoo took in getting up the ordinance which resulted in the destruction of the Expositor press. And I wish here to name the fact that the principal instigators in getting up that ordinance were men who feared the revelations that this organ (Expositor) was about to make of their secret and ungodly doings to the world. The persons who were most conspicuous in the work, and were the means of bringing on the scenes that finally resulted in the bloody tragedy which took place at Carthage Jail were no other than John Taylor and Willard Richards, who by constant importunities prevailed upon your father to sign his own death warrant by placing his name to that accursed ordinance which resulted in his death and the death of your Uncle Hyrum.

To these importunities of Richards and Taylor I was a witness, and was present when Richards brought in the book containing the ordinance and asked for your father's signature to make it a law in the City of Nauvoo. I remonstrated with Richards at the time, against my brother Joseph putting his name down in such a place, as it would most certainly result in his death. Richards, failing to secure your father's name at this time, both he and Taylor called on your father the next morning, with feigned tears of desperation, expatiating upon the great necessity of having that Expositor removed, as a means to the further growth and prosperity not only of the City of Nauvoo, but of the cause of the Church abroad. Thus these men, with the sophistry of their lying tongues, like wolves in sheep's clothing, ensnared the prophet from off his watch tower, and led him as a lamb to the slaughter, they promising, also, to be his assistants in case he should fall into trouble, as a result of his name being placed to that ordinance. This accounts for the whys and the wherefores, that Taylor and Richards were both in the jail at the time your father and your uncle Hyrum were murdered. The principal reasons why these conspirators against your father's life did not suffer the same fate that your father and your uncle Hyrum did, are because, like cowards they hid themselves away -- Taylor under a bed that was in the room where the prisoners were confined and Richards behind the door. Thus you see, by the secret workings and secret doings of these men for years gone by, the Church was robbed of her prophet and patriarch, by a most hellish plot that had been in vogue for not only months, but years previous to the time of their deaths. When I see men whose finger stains show positive signs of their guilt in the death of the martyrs, now revelling in the spoils of the Church robbed from the innocent and unsuspecting saints, I cannot restrain my pen from writing the facts and incidents I do know before God and man were the means of your father and uncle Hyrum's death.

There is one more fact I will notice and that is, that however strange or great the testimony that might be brought against these men, John Taylor and others, in this murderous affair, the Utah Mormons would not credit it though one rose from the dead to bear witness of it, and as for the redemption of any from their blindness, who have willingly given their names in support of this great apostacy, I am in much doubt that there are many who will be saved or forsake the great error they have fallen into.

And especially do I believe this is regard to the remnants of the Smith family in Utah, whose chances for knowing the erroneous position they are in, and with ample proof from the Word of God that their whole system of church organization is founded in corruption and fraud; and still they persist in their unholy alliance with that apostate and God-forsaken people. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."

This then, is the end of this epistle, and I conclude with many good wishes to you and to all good saints. Your brother in bonds of love.           Wm. B. Smith.
Kingston, Caldwell Co., Mo., March 25th, 1879.

Editor of Fall River Herald: --
... The assertion that "the three witnesses confessed to having sworn falsely" is a base fabrication, it is unqualifiedly false. Beside possessing evidence that cannot be gainsaid that Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris maintained the truth of their published testimony concerning the seeing of the angel and viewing the plates, till the day of their death; (and I will gladly avail myself of the privilege of proving this,) and beside having the printed testimony of David Whitmer the other witness as it appeared in the Chicago Times, Aug. 7, 1875, I personally heard him state in Jan. 1876 in his own house in Richmond, Ray Co. Mo. in most positive language, that he did truly see in broad day light, a bright, and most beautiful being, an "Angel from Heaven," whodid hold in his hands the golden plates which he turned over leaf by leaf, explaining the contents, here and there. He also described the size and general appearance of the plates, and he further said, that he saw Joseph translate, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, time and again, and he then produced a large pile of foolscap paper closely written in a very fair hand, which he declared was the manuscript written mainly by Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, as the translation was being read by the aid of the Urim and Thummim of the characters on the plates by Joseph Smith, which work of translation and transcription he frequently saw....
T. W. SMITH.      

Note 1: In the letter published in the Oct. 15, 1877 issue of the Herald, William B. Smith promised his nephew (Joseph Smith III) more details regarding the purported 1844-45 Richards-Taylor plot to murder himself and his brothers, Hyrum and Joseph. Probably those details were largely conveyed in private, unpublished missives that passed between the two men in 1877 and 1878. "Uncle William" knew that his nephew had a great deal of curiosity about such "family matters" during the Nauvoo era, and William no doubt played upon that curiosity in order to gain support from the young RLDS leader, prior to his own union with the Reorganization in the spring of 1878.

Note 2: In Uncle William's fanciful version of Nauvoo history, it appears that Joseph Smith and his followers remained on relatively cordial terms with their Gentile neighbors, until: (1. Brigham and his fellow Apostles started polygamy; and (2. the Brigham bunch made polygamy look like the invention of Joseph Smith, Jr.; and (3. The Nauvoo Expositor accepted the lies of Brigham's bunch, and published affidavits saying that Joseph was practicing polygamy; and (4. Two of Brigham's Apostles tricked Joseph into destroying the Expositor; and, lastly, (5. the Gentiles got angry over the destruction of the press and the polygamy and killed Joseph and Hyrum. In this imaginative re-telling of events, Joseph, Hyrum and William did not even hear the rumors about polygamy, until the spring of 1844, much less engage in the practice themselves -- and Willard Richards and associate(s) engineered the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, just as he and associate(s) later engineered the murder of Samuel H. Smith. Today one can only wonder if any Reorganized Saints ever believed any part of William's tale.



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill., June 1, 1879.                              No. 11.


MRS. EMMA BIDAMON, whose departure from this life on April 30, we noticed in our last issue, was the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, and born in the town of Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, July 10th, 1804. She remained an inmate of her father's house until January 19th, 1827, when she married Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, as it is usually termed. It is stated that Joseph Smith stole her away from her father's house and married her against the advice and wishes of her friends; but whether this is true or not, it appears that after her marriage, her father relented, as fathers usually do, and the runaways returned to her father's farm, where they remained for some two or three years. From there Mrs. Smith removed with her husband to Palmyra, New York, and from there to Kirtland, Ohio, where she was a constant participant in the busy scenes of the church's prosperity and exodus from there. During her stay at Kirtland, her two sons, Joseph and Frederick G. W., were born, of whom Frederick died in Nauvoo, in 1862. From Kirtland, Mrs. Smith went with others to Missouri, living with her husband, first in one county and then in another, till the mobbing in 1838; when, her husband having been taken prisoner and lodged in Liberty Jail, in Ray County, she, with the great mass of the Mormons, was obliged to leave Caldwell County and the state of Missouri. She arrived at Quincy, Illinois, where she and other refugees from violence were kindly received. Here, some six months after his capture, Mrs. Smith was joined by her husband, he having escaped from the custody of his guards, in going from Liberty to another county ostensibly for trial, and not long afterwards, they settled on the Hugh White farm below Commerce, in the building now standing opposite the Riverside Mansion, on the west.

During the five years from their first settling here, Mrs. Smith bore her part in the toils, deprivations, and sickness incident to the settling of a new country. Her son Alexander, was born in her stay in Missouri, and one other, Don Carlos, was born to her in Nauvoo, but died in his infancy. Her husband, Mr. Smith, was killed at Carthage, June 27th, 1844, and Mrs. Smith remained at Nauvoo during all the troubles attending the expulsion of the Mormons from the state of Illinois, except the time between September, 1846, and February, 1847, when she, with two or three families that went with her, sojourned at Fulton City, in Whiteside County, in this State. Her youngest son, David Hyrum, was born November 17th, 1844, a few months after Mr. Smith's death.

Mrs. Smith was keeping the Nauvoo Mansion, so long the principal hotel of the place, during the year 1847, and here became acquainted with Major Lewis C. Bidamon, one of the new citizens, as they were called, and on December 27th, 1847, she was married to him, the Reverend William Hana, brother to the celebrated Reverend Dick Hana, of the M. E. Church, officiating in the marriage ceremony.

Mrs. Bidamon raised her four boys and an adopted daughter, now Mrs. Julia Middleton, to woman and manhood, all of whom, except Frederick before named, now mourn her demise. She was the companion of her first husband for eighteen years, and shared his fortune during the fourteen years of his active ministry; passing through scenes of sorrow and trouble that tested her character to the extreme; and won the esteem of all. She was the wife of Major Bidamon from 1847 to 1879, nearly thirty-two years, and proved herself to be a worthy companion. She was mistress of the Nauvoo Mansion, with the exception of two or three short intervals, from its erection in 1843 till about 1871, when the building fell into the hands of her sons Alexander and David, when she and her husband removed to the Riverside Mansion in a part of what was known as the Nauvoo House, on the river bank at the foot of Main Street. She was loved and respected by all her neighbors, for her charitable and kind disposition. She was a good and faithful wife, a kind and loving mother, as the expressions of her children and associates will verify. If such a record as she has left does not render a person worthy of a better life beyond, it is difficult to conceive how it can be done.

The body of Mrs. Bidamon was laid in the parlor of the Mansion, where she resided, in the morning after her demise, and in the evening of the same day, was placed in the burial case, where it was constantly watched by Mrs. Middleton, the inmates of the Major's house and a few intimate friends, until the afternoon of Friday, May 2. At twelve m., the friends and relatives of the deceased began to arrive, and at two p. m., the hour set for the services, the rooms were filled, and a large number in attendance who could not find entrance, but stood gathered near the open doors to listen.

The funeral services were in charge of Elder John H. Lake, of Keokuk, Iowa; the sermon was delivered by Elder Joseph A. Crawford, of Burnside, this county; the singing was in charge of Elder Richard Lambert, of Rock Creek Township. There were six bearers, five of whom were nephews of Mrs. Bidamon, sons of sisters of Joseph Smith, her first husband, four of them brothers, named respectively, Solomon J., Alvin, Don C., and Frederick Salisbury, the other nephew Don C. Milikin; the other bearer was Elder D. D. Babcock, of Montrose, Iowa.

After the services were over, the large company filed through the room past the coffin, viewing the face of the deceased as they passed. It was a touching sight to see those citizens so long acquainted with the silent sleeper, while she was living, pausing beside her to take a last look at her peaceful face, so calm amid the grief of the assembly. Now and then one to whom she had been dearer than to others, would caress the extended hand, or gently stooping lay the hand upon the cold face or forehead, some even kissing the pale cheek in an impulse of love and regret. But scenes of grief must pass -- the family at length took leave of her whom they had so long known and loved. The coffin lid was put in place, the six bearers raised their burden reverently, and with the mourning train, passed to the place of interment, upon the premises of her oldest son, near by, where with solemn hymn and fervent prayer the remains were left to their long repose.

The assembly was large; almost every one knew Mrs. Bidamon, some intimately and for many years; some but for a few months, but it is safe to say that the respect, esteem, and love with which she was regarded by all, is but a just tribute to the sterling virtues of the woman, wife, and mother, whom the community so soberly, so sadly, and so tenderly laid away to rest, on that beautiful May day, by the side of the Father of Waters, the mighty Mississippi.

Mrs. Bidamon was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and her funeral services were conducted by elders and members of that body of believers, and the sermon was indicative of their hopes in the millennium yet to come.

At the close of the sermon, Elder Lake paid a touching tribute of love and respect to Mrs. Bidamon, in a few words expressive of her faith and hope, stated to him a few days before her death. Taken as a whole the funeral was remarkably impressive and tenderly sad. -- Nauvoo Independent.

Note: The Deseret News, of May 21, 1879, in noticing Emma's passing, appended these remarks: "... Her opposition to the doctrine of plural marriage... led to her departure from the faith of the gospel as revealed through her martyred husband... She was the mother of four children... It was mainly through her influence that they were led into the by-path wherein they have gone astray. She has now gone behind the vail to await the great day of accounts."



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill.,  June 15, 1879.                              No. 12.


The following extract from the Springfield Republican, Massachusetts, for April 27th, 1879, and written by Brother T. W. Smith, we commend as summing up in brief the absurdities of the tale that the Spaulding Romance was the original of the Book of Mormon.


To the Editor of the Springfield Republican: --
A clipping from the Springfield Republican (date unknown) came to my notice the other day, containing what purported to be a true account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, commonly called the "Mormon Bible." Knowing how difficult it is to secure the publication of an elaborate and comprehensive defense of this work as the various forms of attack seem to justify and demand, I shall only ask you to publish a few facts of history, which can be attested by personal recollections, family records, and other equally credible testimony.

To the oft published statement that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, separately or conjointly, copied and published the Book of Mormon from Rev. Solomon Spaulding's romance, are offered the following facts in refutation: --

(1) Sidney Rigdon was born at Piney Fork of Peter's Creek, St. Clair township. Alleghany county, Pennsylvania, February 19, 1793.

(2) He lived there till the winter of 1818-19, and followed farming, receiving in the meantime a common English education.

(3) In the fall of 1817 he professed religion, and joined the regular Baptist church of that place.

(4) In the winter of 1818-19 he went to Beaver county, Pennsylvania, where he studied for the ministry under a Baptist preacher named Clark, and was licensed to preach by the Conoquenessing Church. county, Pennsylvania,

(5) From there he went to Warren, Ohio, and was ordained a Baptist minister, and went to Pittsburgh in the winter of 1821-22, and took charge of the "First Regular Baptist church" of that city. county, Pennsylvania,

(6) He continued to preach till the fall of 1824, when he severed his connection with the association because of differences of views, and he began to preach the views held by Alexander Campbell, and held meetings in the court-house. county, Pennsylvania,

(7) He and his brother-in-law, Mr. Brooks, followed the tanning business till the winter of 1827-28, when he removed into the "Western Reserve" in Ohio, and there continued to preach the sentiments of Campbell till the fall of 1830. county, Pennsylvania.

(8) Parley P. Pratt, who Latter Day Saints, commonly called Mormons, in September, 1830, came into Rigdon's neighborhood in the latter end of the fall of 1830 with printed volumes of the Book of Mormon, which was the first Rigdon ever saw of that work in any form.

(9) Rev. Spaulding wrote his MSS in 1810, 1811 and 1812, in Conneaut, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. In 1812 he removed with his family to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1814, or two years after, he removed to Amity, Washington county, Pennsylvania, and died there in 1816.

(10) Mrs. Spaulding (afterwards Davison) says in what purports to be a letter from her in the "Boston Recorder," 1839, that in 1816 "the manuscript then fell into my hands and was preserved carefully."

(11) Philastus Hulburt, who was cut off from the Latter Day Saints for attempted seduction and other immoralities in 1834, obtained this MSS for the purpose of comparing it with the Book of Mormon (which had been published then nearly four years) and publishing the MSS if it read as he thought and hoped, but he refused to publish it, informing the Widow Spaulding (as she affirms) that "it did not read as he expected, and therefore he would not publish it."

(12) Joseph Smith, who never saw Ohio till after the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, and was born in Vermont, December, 1805, and consequently was not quite seven years old when Spaulding left Ohio for Pittsburg and took his "Romance" with him. He was but nine years old when Spaulding left Pittsburg with his MSS, and but eleven years old when Spaulding died.

(13) Joseph Smith (who was not in Ohio when Spaulding was alive) must have been anything else than the "lazy, ignorant lad" that he is accused of being, to copy in a "week" the romance that took the Rev. Spaulding three years to write, or from 1810-12, and must have been quite a precocious and mature boy to "read it" to "his family" when he was but six and seven years old, for the only chance he had was while Spaulding lived in Ohio, and he left there in 1812.

(14) The manuscript being "preserved carefully," as Widow Spaulding says, from 1816 to 1834; Sidney Rigdon never having lived in Pittsburg till 1822, never having had any connection with any printing office while there, and being only from 19 to 21 years old when the MSS was in Pittsburgh -- or from 1812 to 1814; Joseph Smith being only seven years old when he read and copied in a "week" Mr. Spaulding's romance, and not having ever seen Ohio, or Mr. Spaulding either at that time, we think these facts make the account of the origin of the book, as published in your paper, rather a silly story, to say the least. And with a quotation from E. D. Howe's work written against Mormonism, and called "History of Mormonism," I shall close this brief defense, with a little advice: --

(16) On page 289 "History of Mormonism," he says, "Mr. Patterson says he has no recollection of any such manuscript being brought there for publication."

Mrs. Spaulding says she had the manuscript in her possession till 1834. The Book of Mormon was printed in 1830; now why has not that romance been printed and circulated for the people to compare with the Book of Mormon, and why is the original not produced, or a correct copy, and let an impartial committee examine it and compare the two works?

The Latter Day Saints challenge the production of the original. It must be in existence somewhere, unless our enemies have destroyed it, to prevent its falling into our hands, knowing that we would be glad to get a chance to print it, and let a candid public compare the two works. Come, good friends, print this precious document, and let the people see how much it agrees with the Book of Mormon! You know that tens of thousands of copies will be bought, for if it reads anything like the Book of Mormon, the clergymen of the land will advise its purchase without hesitation. If you are afraid to print it, knowing full well that it does not bear any resemblance to the Book of Mormon, and knowing that your only ground of attack is taken from you, if you do, (for we will cheerfully risk a comparison of the two works), then do not expect intelligent men and women to believe your unsupported and untruthful assertion that the Book of Mormon is founded upon and fashioned by a reverend gentleman's work of fiction.

                            T. W. SMITH.
FALL RIVER, Mass., April 22, 1879.


                                 Sandwich, Illinois.
                                 May 22nd, 1879.
Editors, Herald:
When at Amboy a few days since, I learned from Mr. Michael Morse, brother-in-law of Joseph the Seer, (he having married a Miss Hale, sister to Sr. Emma), some valuable facts in respect to Joseph the Seer and his work. It should be published that Mr. Morse is not, and has never been a believer in the prophetic mission of Joseph.

He states that he first knew Joseph when he came to Harmony, Pa., an awkward, unlearned youth of about nineteen years of age. This was in 1825. Joseph then in the employ of a Mr. Stowell, a man of some wealth, of mature age, and an active professor of religion. Joseph and others were employed by him to dig for a silver deposit, said to have been made at some time long previous. Joseph and others of the company boarded at a Mr. Isaac Hale's, whose daughter Emma he subsequently married. He states that the sons of Mr. Hale seemed opposed to and at enmity with Joseph from the first, and took occasion[s] to annoy and vex him., and that at one of these times, when out fishing, Joseph threw off his coat and proposed to defend himself.

He states that Joseph told him that he found the gold plates, from whence it is claimed the Book of Mormon was translated, in a stone box. (Some of late have said that Joseph at first professed to have found them in an iron box.).

He further states that when Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, he, (Morse), had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation.

The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word, while the scribe -- Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other, wrote it down.

Bro. Cadwell enquired as to whether Joseph was sufficiently intelligent and talented to compose and dictate of his own ability the matter written down by the scribes. To this Mr. Morse replied with decided emphasis, no. He said he then was not at all learned, yet was confident he had more learning than Joseph then had.

Bro. Cadwell enquired how he (Morse) accounted for Joseph's dictating the Book of Mormon in the manner he had described. To this he replied he did not know. He said it was a strange piece of work, and he had thought that Joseph might have found the writings of some good man and, committing them to memory, recited them to his scribes from time to time.

We suggested that if this were true, Joseph must have had a prodigious memory -- a memory that could be had only by miraculous endowment. To this Mr. Morse replied that he, of course, did not know as to how Joseph was enabled to furnish the matter he dictated.

In speaking of Mr. Isaac Hale and his daughter Emma, he said Mr. Hale always claimed that he was converted from deism to faith in Christ as the Savior, by a secret prayer of Emma's, when she was but seven or eight years old, which he accidentally overheard when just entering into the woods to hunt. In the course of her prayer she besought the Lord in behalf of her father, and the force and efficacy of that prayer entered into his heart with such power as to lead him to faith in Christ the Lord.

We are glad to be able to say that the Amboy Saints are in the faith and love of Christ. We had large and attentive audiences to hear us, and we look for a goodly increase in that branch at no distant day.
                                W. W. BLAIR.


                                                 Hannibal, Missouri.
                                                 May 26, 1879.
Brethren of the Herald: -- These is a duty we owe to all mankind, and one we owe supremely to him who is the giver of all good gifts, so I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to God for his good Spirit bestowed upon me during the time I have been laboring in this upper Missouri district. My stay in St. Louis was short, but I trust with good results. I held several meetings in that city; and, although my time was limited, the feeling of the Saints, expressed by a generous spirit, made me wish to remain much longer than I did: but letters from home came with pressing calls for my attention to affairs there. So, after an absence of some six months, I find it necessary to leave the field for a season, so I only had time to make a passing call in St. Louis and vicinity. But I was highly gratified in seeing the good spirit that prevailed among all whom I chanced to meet who professed the name of Latter Day Saints.

My stopping place in the city was at Bro. Wm. Anderson's, and I would not be doing justice if I did not mention the kindness shown me by him and his wife, who is a sister indeed. Others also are worthy of mention, but I do not propose to make a long story. I must mention, however, the kindness shown me at Resnick, Randolph county, Missouri. The generous and thoughtful kindness of the sisters in that branch of the Church who remembered my wife and family with several good presents that will make their hearts glad, and they will respond with many thanks to those good sisters for their generosity.
                                                 WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note 1: The issue of the Springfield Republican referred to by Apostle Thomas W. Smith was probably the one which published the Aug. 1877 interview with Dr. John A, McKinstry, son of Solomon Spalding's adopted daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry.

Note 2: Michael Bartlett Morse (1804-aft. 1880), the husband of Emma Hale's sister Trial (Tryal), had been a teacher in the Methodist church at Harmony in the late 1820s. By the 1850s (if not earlier) Michael and Trial had moved to Lee Co., Illinois and were near neighbors of Joseph and Hiel Lewis, the cousins of Emma Smith.

Note 3: William W. Blair's notes reveal that his 1879 meeting with Michael B. Morse at Amboy resulted in considerably more conversation than Blair reports in this letter. For example, Morse related the fact that Joseph Smith, Jr. first came to Harmony, Pennsylvania "about 1825" in the company of "Mr. Stowell, to dig for treasure." Also, that although Joseph Smith, Jr. "made no profession of religion," that his employer, Mr. Josiah Stowell, "was a religious man, as was also Mr. Isaac Hale." The money-diggers apparently said morning prayers as a group each day, "before the company set off to work."



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill.,  July 15, 1879.                              No. 14.




...She was born in Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, on the 10th day of July 1804, and died on the 30th day of April, 1879, in the seventy-fifth year of her age. She was the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale.

Very early in life, she gave evidence of that devotional spirit which has marked her course ever since, and commanded alike the attention of friends and foes. She was a member of a class in the M. E. Church when only seven years. A missionary spirit was hers from her birth. While thus a child, seeking the Lord, she had her secret retreats for prayer and communion with him. It is said by a relative of the family, that her father, Mr. Hale, was at this time a Deist. It is further said by him, that while she was one day in one of her sacred retreats, pouring out her soul's aspirations to her God, her father approached, unseen by her, and listened to the wailings of her young heart in his behalf. He was held to the spot by the magnet of her fervor and love. He who recognized not in the lowly Nazarene the Divine Son of God, heard his little child praying in that sacred name, praying for her father too. Hos proud heart was broken; his obdurant will was conquered; his sould was melted in tenderness before his God, and he became a convert to Christianity....


Richmond, Mo., July __, 1879.    
Your letter of enquiry at hand. You have heard that I am a witness to the origin of the Book of Mormon. As you read my testimony given many years ago, so it stands as my own existence; the same as when I gave it, and so shall stand throughout the cycles of eternity. Read the book, believe and follow its commandments; turn your soul to Christ, the Prophet, Priest and King of his Church; which no other can usurp. Have charity for the oversights of sectarianism; but as a seeker of truth dip not into their deceptions and worldliness.

As to Spiritualism, have fear, lest the fate of Saul shall come upon thee; and hell's arch minister have dominion over thy Christian aims. The world is full of his snares, and none so great as Spiritualism. The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true cognomen of a Christian. Be patient and remember signs follow only those that believe. Salt Lake Mormonism is the faith perverted, and most shamefully, and the Book of Mormon condemns them in all their infernal sensual ceremonies. Be thy directors the stick of Judah, the Bible as received be the Gentiles, and the stick of Joseph, the Book of Mormon, translated by the all-seeing agency of the Almighty Father, through the mercies of the Savior. May peace drawn from heaven by thy faith, follow thee through the lanes of life and support thee over the dark river to thy eternal home, prepared to meet thy Savior a once man of sorrow and acquainted with woes, now the eternal judge of all the earth. In answer to a seeker of truth,   dictated by David Whitmer,   hand-writing of his grandson, Geo. W. Schweich.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill.,  August 15, 1879.                              No. 16.


The first of the following extracts from the Chicago Alliance, is a brief sketch of another theory for the origin of the Latter Day Saints and the Book of Mormon, and the second extract is a reply from Bro. T. F. Stafford, of Lewistown, Illinois, to the first, as will be seen:


Rev. Daniel Dorchester has written a letter to the Boston Advertiser in which he shows that the Mormon iniquity really originated with a counterfeiter by the name of Wingate. Dr. Dorchester's uncle, Rev. Laban Clark, found, while traveling over his circuit in Vermont, a member of the Methodist church, who, with many others, was very much exercised over what was called "St. John's Rod," a divining rod which, held in the hand, would point in answer to questions. The following extract is of incidental interest to those who believe that the Spiritistic phenomenon, called psychography, proves an intelligent force outside the medium:

Mr. Clark asked to be permitted to see Mr. D---'s rod. After a short absence he returned with it, lifting it up, said: "If Mr. Clark is a Jew, let the rod point toward him." It moved and twisted in his hands, and pointed toward Mr. Clark. "Well," said Mr. Clark, "If I am a Jew, I should like to know what tribe I belong to. Ask if I am of the tribe of Naphtali?" He did so, but the rod would not move. Mr. Clark then said: "Try Zebulon." He did so, but it moved not. Mr. Clark said. "On the whole, I think that I belong to the tribe of Joseph." He put the question, and the rod directly came down with apparent force. "I thought so," said Mr. Clark, "for was Joseph," my father's name. Mr. Clark then understood the mystery of the working of the rod -- that it moved "as the imagination of the mind affected the nervous action."

Mr. Clark, upon another visit to the place, found the people fasting in obedience to the rods, and in mortal fear of an earthquake. The earthquake filed to put in an appearance, of course, but the people were excited notwithstanding over the latter day glory that was about to be ushered in. This was, Dr. Dorchester claims, the advent of the Mormon doctrine, and it was by the medium of St. John's rod that Joseph Smith afterwards discovered the golden Bible. The fact which Dr. Dorchester brings to light, that a counterfeiter (Wingate), using superstitious people to aid him in circulating counterfeit money, was the originator of a religion which has ever been as the coin of its founder, is of interest.

Editor Alliance: I see in the Alliance of June 21st, an article, which is intended to throw dirt at what it pleases to call Mormonism. I am of the opinion that neither Mr. Dorchester nor the Rev. Mr. Clark is aware of what constitutes Mormonism. True Mormonism, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (which is the proper name) never knew anything about St. John's rod -- neither did the Church originate in any such way as the Rev. gentlemen assert. The enemies of Joseph Smith are at a loss to know what to do next to misrepresent. It does seem as though they love to falsify and bemoan. They take particular pains to tell falsehoods where the truth actually ought to appear. I have known the Church, and have been a member of the body a number of years... I read very carefully every Alliance coming to me, and you must bear with me if I reply to anything found in your paper which tends to destroy or to poison the mind against us as a body. If truth will destroy us, let it come.

                T. E. STAFFORD.

LEWISTOWN, Illinois.

Note: Barnes Frisbie first associated the name of Mr. Wingate with proto-Mormonism in his 1867 book, History of Middletown, Vermont. Because Frisbie mixes his own information on a man called "Winchell" with information from Rev. Laban Clark (1778-1868) (he was also Daniel Dorchester's uncle) about a man named "Wingate," Historian Michael Quinn later accepted Frisbie's notion that Wingate was the same person as Winchell. The names of both men have also been confused with "Walters the Magician," an alleged associate of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family during the Smiths' money-digging days. These three men (Justus Winchell, Paine Wingate, and Luman Walters) were actually three different individuals.



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill.,  Oct. 1, 1879.                              No. 19

[p. 289]


In a conversation held in the Herald office during the early days of the present year, between Bishop Rogers, Elders W. W. Blair, H. A. Stebbins and a few others, leading minds in the Church, it was thought advisable to secure from Mother Bidamon, (Sister Emma Smith), her testimony upon certain points upon which various opinions existed; and to do this, it was decided to present to her a few prominent questions, which were penned and agreed upon, the answers to which might, so far as she was concerned, settle these differences of opinion. In accordance with this understanding the senior editor of the Herald visited Nauvoo, in February last, arriving on the 4th and remaining until the 10th. Sister Emma answered the questions freely and in the presence of her husband, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, who was generally present in their sitting- room where the conversation took place. We were more particular in this because it had been frequently stated to us: "Ask your mother, she knows." "Why don't you ask your mother; she dare not deny these things." "You do not dare to ask your mother!"

Our thought was, that if we had lacked courage to ask her, because we feared the answers she might give, we would put aside that fear; and, whatever the worst might be, we would hear it. The result is given below; it having been decided to give the statements to the readers of the Herald, in view of the death of Sister Emma having occurred so soon after she made them, thus giving them the character of a last testimony.

It is intended to incorporate these questions and answers in the forthcoming history of the reorganization.

We apologized to our mother for putting the questions respecting polygamy and plural wives, as we felt we ought to do.

Question. Who performed the marriage ceremony for Joseph Smith and Emma Hale? When? Where?
    Answer. I was married at South Bainbridge, New York; at the house of Squire Tarbell, by him, when I was in my 22d or 23d year.

We here suggested that Mother Smith's history gave the date of the marriage as January 18, 1827. To this she replied:
    I think the date correct. My certificate of marriage was lost many years ago, in some of the marches we were forced to make.

In answer to a suggestion by us that she might mistake about who married father and herself; and that it was rumored that it was Sidney Rigdon, or a Presbyterian clergyman, she stated:
    It was not Sidney Rigdon, for I did not see him for years after that. It was not a Presbyterian clergyman. I was visiting at Mr. Stowell's who lived in Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell's, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, sided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him (than) to any other man I knew, I consented. We went to Squire Tarbell's and were married. Afterward, when father found that I was married, he sent for us. The account in Mother Smith's history is substantially correct as to date and place. Your father bought your Uncle Jesse's (Hale) place, off father's farm, and we lived there until the Book of Mormon was translated; and I think published. I was not in Palmyra long.

Question. How many children did you lose, mother, before I was born?
    Answer. There were three. I buried one in Pennsylvania, and a pair of twins in Ohio.

Question. Who were the twins that died?
    Answer. They were not named.

Question. Who were the twins whom you took to raise?
    Answer. I lost twins. Mrs. Murdock had twins and died. Brother Murdock came to me and asked me to take them, and I took the babes. Joseph died at 11 months. They were both sick when your father was mobbed. The mob who tarred and feathered him, left the door open when they went out with him, the child relapsed and died. Julia lived, though weaker than the boy.

Question. When did you first know Sidney Rigdon? Where?
    Answer. I was residing at father Whitmer's when I first saw Sidney Rigdon. I think he came there.

Question. Was this before or after the publication of the Book of Mormon?
    Answer. The Book of Mormon had been translated and published some time before. Parley P. Pratt had united with the Church before I knew Sidney Rigdon, or heard of him. At the time of Book of Mormon was translated there was no church organized, and Rigdon did not become acquainted with Joseph and me till after the Church was established in 1830. How long after that I do not know, but it was some time.

Question. Who were scribes for father when translating the Book of Mormon?
    Answer. Myself, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and my brother Reuben Hale.

Question. Was Alva Hale one?
    Answer. I think not. He may have written some; but if he did, I do not remember it.

Question. What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?
    Answer. There was no revelation on either polygamy or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, "Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven." No such thing as polygamy or spiritual wifery was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.

Question. Did he not have other wives than yourself?
    Answer. He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.

Question. Did he not hold marital relations with women other than yourself?
    Answer. He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.

Question. Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?
    Answer. At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.

Question. What of the truth of Mormonism?
    Answer. I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the Church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.

Question. Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you?
Answer. He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.

Question. Could he not have had, and you not know it?
    Answer. If he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.

Question. Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writing for him?
    Answer. The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.

Question. Where did father and Oliver Cowdery write?
    Answer. Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the room where I was at work.

Question. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?
    Answer. Joseph Smith (and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, "your father" or "my husband") could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, "a marvel and a wonder," as much so as to anyone else.

Question. I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?
    Answer. I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so;

Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?

    Answer. I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.

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

Question. What was the condition of feeling between you and father?
    Answer. It was good.

Question. Were you in the habit of quarreling?
    Answer. No. There was no necessity for any quarreling. He knew that I wished for nothing but what was right; and, as he wished for nothing else, we did not disagree. He usually gave some heed to what I had to say. It was quite a grievous thing to many that I had any influence with him.

Question. What do you think of David Whitmer?
    Answer. David Whitmer I believe to be an honest and truthful man. I think what he states may be relied on.

Question. It has been stated sometimes that you apostatized at father's death, and joined the Methodist Church. What do you say to this?
    Answer. I have been called apostate; but I have never apostatized nor forsaken the faith I at first accepted; but was called so because I would not accept their new-fangled notion.

Question. By whom were you baptized? Do you remember?
    Answer. I think by Oliver Cowdery, at Bainbridge.

Question. You say that you were married at South Bainbridge, and have used the word Bainbridge. Were they one and the same town?
    Answer. No. There was Bainbridge and South Bainbridge; some distance apart, how far I don't know. I was in South Bainbridge.

These questions and the answers she had given to them were read to my mother by me, the day before my leaving Nauvoo for home, and were affirmed by her. Major Bidamon stated that he had frequently conversed with her on the subject of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and her present answers were substantially what she had always stated in regard to it.
                                 JOSEPH SMITH.

Note 1: This interview was subsequently reprinted in the RLDS Church History III pp. 352-358.

Note 2: See also the 1867 James W. Briggs interview with Emma, published in the Salt Lake City Messsenger of April, 1875.



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill., November 15, 1879.                              No. 22.



Editors Herald: -- In the Saints' Herald of April 15, 1879, I notice an article from the pen of Elder T. W. Smith, which originally appeared in the Fall River (Mass.) Herald, in which article the writer makes mention of the testimony of David Whitmer, as published in the Chicago Times, in 1875, and further says:

"I personally heard him state, in January, 1877, in his own house in Richmond, Ray county, Mo., in most positive language, that he did truly see, in broad day-light, a bright and most beautiful being, an 'angel from heaven,' who did hold in his hands the golden plates, which he turned over leaf by leaf, explaining the contents here and there."

I have heard the same from the mouth of Father Whitmer, more than once; and every time I ever heard him tell the particulars of that glorious scene, he always told it just the same; and as far as I have ever heard, from reliable witnesses, he has always told the same story -- "straight as a nail." Had Elder Smith stopped at the end of the above quoted sentence, I would have had no ground for bringing his name into this article; but he did not. He further adds:

"He also described the size and general appearance of the plates, and he further said that he saw Joseph translate, by the aid of Urim and Thummim, time and again, and he then produced a large pile of foolscap paper closely written in a very fair hand, which he declared was the manuscript written mainly by Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, as the translation was being read by the aid of the Urim and Thummim of the characters on the plates by Joseph Smith, which work of translation he frequently saw."

I, too, have seen the "manuscripts" and examined them. I, too, have heard Father Whitmer say that he was present many times while Joseph was translating; but I never heard him say that the translation was made by aid of Urim and Thummim; but in every case, and his testimony is always the same, he declared that Joseph first offered prayer, then took a dark colored, opaque stone, called a "seerstone," and placed it in the crown of his hat, then put his face into the hat, and read the translation as it appeared before him. The was the daily method of procedure, as I have often heard Father Whitmer declare; and, as it is generally agreed to by parties who know the facts, that a considerable portion of the work of translation was performed in a room of his father's house, where he then resided, there can be no doubt but what Father David Whitmer is a competent witness of the manner of translating. said.

I am aware of the fact that the "Urim and Thummim" story has long been foisted upon the world as the true account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, but the times demand, and the interest of truth demands that the truth should be told. We need not be afraid of truth; and I greatly doubt if anybody will be ultimately benefitted by the perpetuation of a falsehood, which was invented for the purpose of gaining prestige, in the minds of the people, for ambitious leaders.

The proofs are clear and positive that the story of the Urim and Thummim Translation does not date back, for its origin further than 1833, or between that date and 1835; for it is not found in any printed document of the Church of Christ up to the latter part of the year 1833, or the year 1834. The "Book of Commandments" to the Church of Christ, published in Independence, Mo., in 1833, does not contain any allusion to Urim and Thummim; though the term was inserted in some of the revelations in their reprint in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" in 1835.

Who originated the Urim and Thummin story, I do not know; but this I do know, that it is not found in the first printed book of the revelations to the Church of Christ, and there is other testimony to show that it is not true.
It is proper to notice what it is claimed the Urim and Thummim was. P. P. and O. Pratt both say that it was an instrument composed of two clear or transparent stones set in the two rims of a bow. It is also confounded with the "Interpreters," which were shaped something like a pair of ordinary spectacles, though larger.

Now let us see. David Whitmer declares, and I have shown him to be a competent witness, that Joseph Smith translated by aid of a dark stone, called a "seer stone," which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph thrust his face.

In the Saints' Herald of June 15th, 1879, pages 190 and 191, I find a letter from President W. W. Blair, in which he states some facts, learned from Mr. Michael Morse, who married a Miss Hale, "a sister to Sr. Emma," Among other things which I have not space to notice here, but which your readers can find by the reference I have given, President Blair says:

"He states that Joseph told him that he found the gold plates, from whence it is claimed the Book of Mormon was translated, in a stone box. (Some of late have said that Joseph at first professed to have found them in an iron box). He further states that when Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, he, (Morse), had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word, while the scribe -- Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other, wrote it down."

The above agrees perfectly with David Whitmer's statements, and goes far to confirm Father Whitmer's testimony; but this is not all. In the Saints' Herald of October 1st, 1879, in an artcle headed "Last Testimony of Sister Emma, on first page of the Herald, third column, near the bottom of the page, Sr. Emma is represented as saying:

"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us."

This statement was made to President Joseph Smith, by his mother in February, 1879. The wife of Joseph Smith -- who acted sometimes as his scribe, certainly is a competent witness, and her last testimony is entitled to respectful consideration, and she says Joseph translated by a stone placed in his hat.

Why did not Mrs. Bidamon not say that Joseph translated by aid of Urim and Thummim? The reason is obvious in the light of the facts, to which I have briefly alluded; because he translated with a stone, a Seer Stone; not two clear stones set in the rims of a bow. Thus we see that Mr. Morse and Mrs. Bidamon both agree that Joseph Smith used a stone and not Urim and Thummim, nor Interpreter either.

Will those who hold the Urim and Thummim story to be correct, still continue to give the lie to David Whitmer, Michael Morse and Mrs. Emma Bidamon? Or will they have the courage to admit that those who held high positions have been guilty of gross fabrication?

With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by this authority, I now state that he does not say the Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim; but by the means of one dark-colored opaque stone, called a "Seer Stone," which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light. Then a spiritual light would shine forth, and parchment would appear before Joseph, upon which was a line of characters from the plates, and under it, the translation in English; at least, so Joseph said.

In her last testimony Mrs Emma Bidamon said to President Joseph Smith:

"David Whitmer I believe to be an honest and truthful man. I think what he states may be relied on."

So say all who know him. And as sure as he is truthful and honest, the Book of Mormon was translated by means of a Seer Stone. And if it was not, I say distinctly David Whitmer, the only surviving witness to the Book of Mormon, is not truthful.
J. L. TRAUGHBER, Jr.      
Mandeville, Mo., Oct. 13, 1879.

Note 1: From as early as 1829, the story of Joseph Smith possessing a set of large spectacles was told: "By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least) interpret..." How a huge pair of ancient Nephite (Jaredite?) spectacles were placed into the crown of a much smaller hat, few early sources bother to explain. William Smith, the brother of Joseph Smith, said that the two lenses of the huge eyeglasses were dislodged from their metallic sockets, so they could be placed inside the hat -- which still leaves a discrepancy in testimony. Was there one seer stone or two seer stones placed in the hat? Did either of these stones also function as a lens in a huge pair of glasses? And -- when was the story first told that the Urim and Thummim consisted of two such transparent seer stones, set in a lorgnette in front of the user's eyes, and this lorgnette (or metal holder) affixed to an ancient metal breastplate, corresponding to the jeweled cloth breastpiece worn by the high priests of Israel?

Note 2: From other sources it may be determined that Joseph Smith, Jr. probably told David Whitmer that the translation of the Book of Mormon at Harmony was partly done with "urim and thummim." Evidently no person ever witnessed this purported method of translation -- all such reports appear to be second-hand. Although David Whitmer only witnessed a translation process that made use of a single stone, from his various interviews it can be determind that he at least thought he was shown the prehistoric metal breastplate, etc., by an angel.



Vol. 26.                               Plano,  Ill., December 1, 1879.                              No. 23.

Joseph and Henry: -- Meeting held at Far West on the Temple lot, -- as per notice in a previous letter. March 30th, at 11 o'clock met on the temple ground; a fair representation of the Saints from the vicinity of the place where, over forty years ago, a corner stone was laid for the purpose of rearing a temple unto the name of the Most High God. Previous notice having been given of this meeting, by the presiding Elder of the Far West branch in sufficient time for outsiders as well as for the Church in the vicinity to have due notice of the services, brethren were in attendance from the Delana branch, and from all parts of the adjacent country, to be on the ground at the beginning of the service. Notice was also given that William B. Smith, a brother of the Martyred Prophet would speak to the people, standing upon the corner stone that was laid upon the temple lot. This notice, and appointment brought in a large percentage of the outside world, to witness what might be said by the prophet's brother, upon so sonspicuous an occasion. I am happy to state that those citizens present, who do not claim a kindred fellowship with us in the Church, seemed to take a deep interest in the meeting, and listened with attention to the preached word, and at the closing up of the meeting voted with the Saints in the adoption of certain resolutions, which were read at the closing of the services; a copy of which I herewith send to the Herald.

At 11 o'c;ock I took my stand upon the corner stone, after singing, and a prayer by Bro. Thomas J. Franklin. I read from 1. Cor. 15:29, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?"

In connection with this statement made by Paul on the subject of baptism for the dead, I cal;led the attention of the congregation to Paul's testimony, to his Ephesian brethren, on the dispensation of the fulness of times, Eph. 1:16. Showing that the doctrine of baptizing for the dead must have been at some previous time in the history of the ancient Church of Christ, an ordinance in the church. But, as by some means this subject of baptism for the dead had been lost from the knowledge of the world, it might be expected that in the dispensation when all things, both in heaven and upon earth, should be gathered into one, that this ordinance would again be restored to the Church. It was for this reason also, that these Saints of latter days build temples, in order to prepare a place for the administration of the ordinances that belong in the order of the holy priesthood. And it was for this object also, that this corner stone was planted in this town of Far West, under the direction and superintendency of Joseph, the Martyr, in 1836-37. Here still lies this corner stone upon this sacred spot of earth, omce dedicated to God by solemn prayer. And still the Lord's dwelling place is here, as in all the congregation of the Saints; and the time will come when God's name will be honored here, and upon this sacred spot of earth, in a temple reared up by human hands in honor to his name. For God's purposes ripen fast, and all his words must and will be fulfilled. In his own due time will all these things be accomplished.

In conclusion of my remarks in the forenoon session, I read from the Book of Covenants, page three hundred and twenty-six, to the closing paragraph of Joseph Smith's letter written on the subject of baptism for the dead, and the welding together of the links of the present and past dispensations; holding the keys of power in the knowledge to be revealed concerning our dead; and the means by which salvation might reach them, that they with us might be made perfect and saved with us in the kingdom of God.

Meeting was dismissed by singing and prayer for intermission of one hour for lunch.

At two o'clock preaching again assisted by Bro. Bozarth, Elder Terry and Elder Gomer Griffiths. Elder Bozarth opened meeting by prayer; after which Elder Terry from the Delana Branch preached a most interesting discourse from Janes 1:22, 23. He was followed by Elder Gomer Griffiths. After them I made some concluding remarks concerning Zion and the promised land, as pointed out by the prophets, and given by God as portrayed in the blessing of Jacob upon his son Joseph, many thousand years ago. And further, in token that the mob spirit had so far disappeared from the State of Missouri as to offer an asylum of peace for the Church in this land of FarWest; and to give a fuller expression of the feeling and sentiment of the Church at Far West and of the people generally, the following preamble and resolutions were read to the people assembled... [several paragraphs of related text follows]...

These facts I know.   Amen.
                                          WM. B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 26.                                Plano,  Ill., December 15, 1879.                              No. 24.

Uncle William B. Smith, in a letter from his home in Elkader, Clayton county, Iowa, dated November 26th, comments upon our editorial in Herald for November 15th as follows:

Joseph: -- The Herald comes again with its usual amount of interest in defense of the truth, bringing good news of the prosperity of the work in different localities where the gospel is preached in its purity. Thank God, Zion's cause is still onward notwithstanding the accumulations of false accusers. I notice that in your reply to these polygamous Mormons your points are well sustained; and are justifiable in truth and righteousness. If it be true that Joseph Smith did teach and practice polygamy contrary to the law of the Church, he was most certainly a transgressor. Nor would his sanction of the doctrine make it a legitimate ordinance in the Church of Christ. In proof that Joseph Smith did teach and practice such a doctrine I should want more reliable testimony than can be had from the polygamous wives of Brigham Young. According to their own testimony they have been too much married. To bear false witness is the natural result of this polygamous system; and it is further to be remembered, that these polygamous Mormons have been well educated in the peculiar and treacherous tactics of apostasy, and placed under the penalties of an endowment oath, consequently, at the command or council of their leader, they must all fall into line with heel and toe on the mark ready for evangelical duties, of their kind according to the rules laid down in their faith and practice.

In proof of these statements we offer the testimony of Brigham Young, (now dead), as to the lying propensities of his elders and followers.

The following is the testimony of Brigham Young concerning the character of his elders who profess to hold the keys of the Kingdom of God.

Brigham Young said November 9th, 1859, see Deseret News, vol. 6, page 291. "Some of the elders seemed to be tripped up in a moment if the wicked can find any fault with the members of this Church; but bless your souls, I would not yet have this people faultless, for the day of separation has not yet arrived. I have many a time in this stand dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can. We can best them at anything. We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves; and any other shade of character that you can mention.

"We can pick out elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling, who can handle the cards, can cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God's footstool. I can produce elders here that can shave the smartest shavers and take their money from them. We can beat the world at any game. We can beat them because we have men here (in gambling halls) that live in the light of the Lord; that have the holy priesthood, and hold the keys of the kingdom of God."

Now with this evidence concerning the real character of polygamous Mormon elders, who could trust to the testimony of such men or women who are partakers of the same lying spirit; though they should place on file a thousand affidavits? Who could believe them? If men can hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven "in gambling halls;" and the testimony of whisky bloats is to be regarded as prima facie evidence that Joseph Smith was a polygamous prophet; then may we conclude that righteousness and truth have fled from the earth; while his majesty, (Satan), who is called the devil, sits in the highest, as well as the lowest sinks of iniquity on earth, clothed in Divine habiliments, -- O, shame! shame! No wonder that men of such faith and doctrine could call Sr. Emma a liar for having told the truth in her last testimony to the world of the true history and character of the prophet Joseph Smith. Sr. Emma was an honest and a faithful wife, as in all my experience I do know and testify.

The testimony of one honest person is more to be relied upon than this whole array of polygamous Mormon evidence.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 27.                                    Plano,  Ill.,  January 1, 1880.                                    No. 1.


CEDARVILLE, N. J., Nov. 19, 1879.      


Bro. Joseph: -- When I first read Mr. Traughber's paper in the Herald of November 15th, I thought that I would not notice his attack at all, as I supposed that I was believed by the Church to be fair and truthful in my statements of other men's views, when I have occasion to use them, and I shall make this reply only: That unless my interview with David Whitmer in January, 1876, was only a dream, or that I failed to understand plain English, I believed then, and since, and now, that he said that Joseph possessed, and used the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the inscriptions referred to, and I remember of being much pleased with that statement, as I had heard of the "Seer stone" being used. And unless I dreamed the interview, or very soon after failed to recollect the occasion, he described the form and size of the said Urini and Thummim. The nearest approach to a retraction of my testimony as given in the Fall River Herald and that given publicly in many places from the stand from January, 1876, till now, is, that unless I altogether misunderstood "Father Whitener" on this point, he said the translation done by the aid of the Urim and Thummim. If he says he did not intend to convey such an impression to my mind, then I say I regret that I misunderstood him, and unintentionally have misrepresented him. But that I understood him as represented by me frequently I still affirm. If Father Whitmer will say over his own signature, that he never said, or at least never intended to say, that Joseph possessed or used in translating the Book of Mormon, the Urim and Thummim, I will agree to not repeat my testimony as seen in the Fall River Herald on that point.
T. W. SMITH.      

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 27.                                    Plano,  Ill.,  March 1, 1880.                                    No. 5.

P. Tucker's "Rise and Progress of
Mormonism" Examined.

There are numerous publications abroad in the land that claim to give the history of the Church... Our apology for examining this work is: The writer was a resident of Palmyra, N. Y., the place where the work began, about the time of the rise of the Church, and was acquainted (or claimed to have been) with the Smith family, Harris, Cowdery, and all the "Pioneer Mormons," and with all the important events connected with the "Advent of Mormonism." Let us examine these claims, and if we shall discover that "would-be witnesses" fail to give us a truthful relation of things they claim to see, then beware of the writings of those far away.

We begin this review by reference to a statement found in the preface of Mr. Tucker's work, and which is as follows:

"The facts and reminiscences contained in this volume, based upon the author's personal knowledge and information, are produced to fill the blank and supply the omitted chapters in Mormon history," and "this truthful narrative is necessary to the completion of the history from the foundation of the institution." ...

TAFTSVILLE, Ray Co., Missouri,      
January 25th, 1880.      
Dear Brethren: -- I have been reading the news in the Herald for several years, and among the many testimonies that I have read is one from Mr. L. Traughber, of Carrol county, Missouri said to be from D. Whitmer. Mr. D. Whitmer told me in the year 1874, that Joseph Smith used the Urim and Thummim when he was translating. But now it is said that he lost it when he gave the first part of the book to Martin Harris; after that he used the Stone. Bro. T. W. Smith, I think was right. I for my part know he said that Joseph had the instrument Urim and Thummim. I asked him how they looked. He said they looked like spectacles, and he (Joseph) would put them on and look in a hat, or put his face in the hat and read. Says I, "Did he have the plates in there?" "No: the words would appear, and if he failed to spell the word right, it would stay till it was spelled right, then pass away: another come, and so on." Now this Mr. Traughber used to say that the Reorganized Church was right but now he fights against us; says we are not right, neither the Book of Covenants. I believe both to be right, but that Mr. Whitmer carried the idea that the translation was by both, or either Urim and Thummim and the stone.
ERI B. MULLIN.      
(Bro. E. L. Kelley being present in the office when the proof of this letter was read, says that Mr. Whitmer stated precisely the same thing to him) -- ED.

MANDEVILLE, Carroll Co., Missouri,      
January 27th, 1880.      
Editors Herald: -- I have hoped for a long time to see the Herald come out weekly. It seems to me that it would be an easier matter to sustain the Herald as a weekly than it is at present, It certainly would not lose any of its present readers, and it would surely gain and retain subscribers of all classes who do not patronize it in its present form.

It may be interesting to some, especially some of those who bore the name of Mormon in the days of the first Joseph, if I relate what an old lady who lives in this county says she saw many years ago, in Ray county, Missouri, when she was a young girl. The lady, whose name is Mrs. James, says that she was at the house of a gentleman who resided near Hardin, Ray county, many years ago, when the Mormons were moving to Davies county, and while there, a body of them came along and camped near the house. Being tired, and some of their number being unwell, they concluded to remain several days. Some of the citizens of Ray county, having heard much about the Mormons, were desirous of learning what they believed therefore they had the Elders preach several discourses, which pleased the people so well that they told them to go on to Davies county and settle, without fear of molestation. In the camp there was a girl who appeared to be quite sick. The gentleman who owned the house invited the friends of the sick girl to remove her to his house, which was accordingly done, but she had not been there long before several of the elders came to administer to her, and when they assembled, they removed all outsiders from the room. But Mrs. James and another girl, who belonged at the house, determined to see what was done. They accordingly took a position which commanded a view of the interior of the sick room, where they could watch proceedings, unknown to the Mormons, and the old lady says, "I will always remember that circumstance as the most solemn proceeding I ever saw. Several Elders laid their hands upon the girl and offered prayer." She says in conclusion: "I have always wondered whether the girl was really sick or not; for she immediately arose and went her way, apparently as well as any body." This is the testimony of a very good old Methodist lady, who was awakened to her sinful condition by an exhortation from one of the Mormon Elders.
J. L. TRAUGHBER Jr.      

Note: The above review appears to be the first significant mention of Tucker's work by the editors of the Saints' Herald. They apparently had nothing to say about his 1858 article examining the same subject: "Mormonism and Joe Smith."



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill.,  March 15, 1880.                              No. 6.

P. Tucker's "Rise and Progress of
Mormonism" Examined.


(under construction)

From Painesville, Ohio

Pres. J. Smith, Plano, Illinois:

Dear Sir: -- One week ago today I arrived in this city, to look after the interests of the Reorganized Church arrived in this city, to look after the interests of the Reorganized Church in its action in the State courts, to recover the possession of the Kirtland Temple property, in Lake County. The plaintiff's claim is based upon the grounds that the Reorganized Church is the lawful and legitimate successor of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, organized by Joseph Smith, Jr., A. D. 1830, at Palmyra, New York, and to which the property in controversy was deeded in the year 1841. The cause was tried to the court, Judge Sherman on the bench, on the 17th inst., and is now held under advisement. Upon the final submission of the case the court referred to the evidence produced, as "showing a very wide departure from the laws and usages of the original church by that body of Mormons in Utah Territory," which make claim to be in the line of succession. Although no decision has been made in the case yet, plaintiff's counsel are confident that judgment must be for the Reorganized Church and ordering that they be put in possession of the property. Since my arrival I have had the pleasure of the acquaintance of many of the leading citizens of the county, and find that among them the most tolerant spirit is manifest toward the members of the original and the Reorganized Church. And now, while I am upon the ground and have every means to ascertain the true character of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, who resided here from 1830 to 1838, and have been surprised myself with the facts in the case, as so widely differing from what is found in the popular histories of religious denominations of the day and encyclopedias, I have determined to submit to you the result of my candid enquiries.

So far, among the former acquaintances of Joseph Smith, Jr., I have failed to find one who will say that he was not a good citizen and an honest man. "Joe Smith," say they, "was an honorable man and a gentleman In every particular, let the histories say what they may." Now, if these things are true, history greatly belies the man, and in the eternal fitness of things time must correct the false and fickle stories and vindicate his memory. My information is derived from such men as Messrs. Quinn, Storm, Burrows, and Axtell, who are foremost citizens of the county. These parties say that among some of the fanatical and ignorant there is existing great prejudice and hatred against the early Mormons, and I have found in Kirtland two persons who are terribly bitter, but neither of these had any acquaintance with the parties and base their knowledge on the "stories told." One of these is the present pastor of the Methodist Church in Kirtland, and who is now under the charge of being not only a fanatic, but crazy, and his congregation ask his removal; the other, a Mr. Harvey, of Kirtland, a member of the Baptist Church, but ignorant, can neither read nor write, and abuses his own wife for differing from him in religion, and teaches his children to abuse their mother.

As a sample of my testimony I give you my conversation with I. P. Axtell, Esq., a large farmer, and director in the First National Bank of Painesville for many years; a man of energy and experience, and as early as 1844, a member of the Whig convention at Baltimore, which nominated Henry Clay for President. The conversation was as follows:

Q. -- When did you come to this country, Mr. Axtell?

A. -- My father moved here with his family in the year 1830. I was but a boy then.

Q. -- What was your father's business?

A. -- He was a Baptist minister, and kept a hotel then.

Q. -- Did you know Joseph Smith?

A. -- Yes, sir. I have seen him many a time; he was often at my father's house; and I with many young people, often went to Kirtland to see him and his people. I knew his father also, who at the time I knew him had charge of the Kirtland Temple. He took me with others through the Temple at one time; he appeared to be a fine old man.

Q. -- When did your father become acquainted with Mr. Smith?

A. -- In about six weeks after he came to the county he first met him; he went out of his way one day six miles to see Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. He said he found them in Kirtland township, they had been there but a short time and occupied a small log house. He found them to be quite intelligent men, and he said pleasant talkers, and quite free to converse upon their religious views, which at that time was known as the 'new sect.' My father always said Joseph Smith was a conscientious and upright man.

Q. -- Did you know any other persons of the new society?

A. -- O, yes, a great many. I knew Mr. Pratt very well. He was a smart and a square man all around. These men were neither knaves nor rogues; that is my opinion of them. I suppose some of them may have been. It was just as in all bodies of the kind, there will be some bad ones, but I don't know of any that were. There were a good many stories circulated about them that I knew to be false. At one time an ox was found in Kirtland township, killed and skinned; and there was a great to do about the Mormons having killed it. My brother was sheriff at the time, and with others went up to investigate the matter, and he says that there was not the least evidence which showed that the Mormons had any hand in killing the ox. Persons around, however, who hated their religion would tell that they did.

Q. -- How was it that people did not like them? Were they not good citizens?

A. -- Yes, they were as good citizens as those of any society. It was the fanatics in religion that tried to drive those men out. There were a great many conservative men in our county at that time who held these fanatics back, and if it had not been for this they would have gone in and killed them all. But our intelligent and honorable citizens prevented this.

Q. -- What about the Kirtland Bank swindle? Mr. Axtell, you are a banker, and know how that was, do you not?

A. -- Yes, I know about that bank; they started in Kirtland. These parties went into the banking business as a great many others in the state of Ohio and other states. They got considerable money out at first, and their enemies began to circulate all manner of stories against them and as we had a great many banks then that issued what was known as wild cat money, the people began to get alarmed at so many stories, and would take the other banks' issue instead of the Kirtland; and so much of it was forced in at once that the bank was not able to take it up. Had the people let those people alone there is no reason that I know of why the Kirtland bank should not have existed to this time, and on as stable a basis as other banks.

Q. -- Then you think it was the fault of the enemies of the bank that it failed?

A. -- Yes, I do; and it was not the only one that failed either by a good many, and with which Smith had nothing to do.

Q. -- What then do you consider the prime causes of the expulsion of the Mormons from Kirtland?

A. -- The ignorance and fanaticism of their accusers did it; they thought public sentiment would tolerate it and they did it. The same as Roger Williams was driven out and the witches burned in Massachusetts. My position is that no fanatic, either in religion or politics, should be permitted to hold an office of trust in this country.

The above is a fair average sample of the testimony of those I have met and talked with as to the character of the early Mormons in this county, among those who lived here and knew these people. A gentleman of Willoughby, this county, suggested to me, that another reason was, their persecutors wanted their property, and said he, 'They got from them thousands of dollars worth too.' After canvassing the sentiment here of these men, I feel a good deal like Col. R. G. Ingersoll when he offered the gold for the evidence of Tom Paine's dying declarations; and I now affirm that if any of the great newspapers of the day, like the Chicago Times, Tribune, or Inter-Ocean wish to test the truth of the statements and publish the facts by a correspondent through their columns, I will undertake the task of accompanying their correspondent and if the general integrity, uprightness, honesty and patriotism, of these men are not maintained by the evidence, I will forfeit to the one so publishing one hundred dollars in gold. A letter will reach me at any time directed, Glenwood, Iowa.

My associate counsel in the case here, J. B. Burrows, Esq., is not only an able attorney but a genial gentleman. He is a brother of Congressman Burrows from Michigan, and I must say that his acquaintance has greatly raised in my estimation the favorable opinion I had already entertained of Michigan's great orator. I find many able and indeed eloquent practitioners at the bar here,-this is one of the oldest towns in the State, as well as the wealthiest in proportion to its population-and, as all well informed attorneys are, these are pleasant and honorable.

         Hastily, I am very respectfully yours,
                                    E. L. KELLEY.
Painesville, Ohio, Feb. 19, 1880.

(Wm. Anderson letter, complaining about Wm. Smith's visit to St. Louis
under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill., April 15, 1880.                              No. 8.


                                          Elkader, Iowa, March 21st, 1880.
Joseph: --
"The latter-day gospel, preached by the Spirit.
    Cuts like a keen, two-edged sword;
While all who believe and obey it
    Are saved by the hearing of the word."

During my sojourn in this part of the Lord's vineyard, I have preached the word in the following places: Once at Manona, occupying the Presbyterian meeting house of that place; three times at the Stiner school house; four times at the Pleasant Grove school house; four times at the High Prairie school house; five times at the Cox Creek school house; three times at the Hampton school house; three times at the school house at Little York; three times at a place called Forestville; three times at a place called Greeley, occupying the Universalist Church in that place; also preaching two discourses at Strawberry Point, having the free use of the Universalist Church of that place, a town of 2,000 inhabitants; also preached two discourses at a neighboring school known as the Stalnazer school house. I have also spoken on several occasions in the Universalist Church at Elkader, and in the adjoining neighboring school houses.

The most of the places named above are from eight to thirty miles from my place of residence. The vast amount of prejudice that has been removed in this field of my labors may be known by the increasing receipts of invitations from all parts of the country, saying, "Come over and help us." Such, then, is the "Macedonian cry." I also preached eight discourses at a little town called National, occupying a Disciple Church, a class of people known by their peculiar faith as Campbellites. I have pleasure in informing my friends and all whom it may concern that I have been so far removed from the treacherous meddlings of Brighamism and apostate Brighamite Mormons, that I have enjoyed a season of peace and quietude seldom experienced in many other places, where I have labored to preach the gospel to the people; and I trust that I have, by the help of the good Lord, made friends to the faith we preach; many of whom, when the proper time comes, will be gathered into the fold.

For this winter, matters have moved rather slow, as I have been confined within doors on account of poor health; have only preached once and that a funeral discourse on the death of one of my neighbors.

Times are very hard with me just now; my farming resources have been so much cut off, for the few years passed by the chinch bug and drought, that I have realized no surplus means; only what necessity demands for the immediate support of my family. I have tried to sell out, that I might locate in some more favorable spot of earth; but there is no sale for property here, and I must wait the Lord's time. As I feel now, I shall regret much if I can not get to the Conference this spring.

I am yours in hopes of better days to come,
                                            WM. B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill.,  May 15, 1880.                              No. 10.


                                                  Elkader, Iowa, April 4th, 1880.
Joseph, Dear Nephew: -- It is always good to commune with friends, and more especially if they are Saints by practice as well as by profession.

I notice in the last Herald a letter from Bro. William Anderson, of St. Louis, Missouri, in which he states that he thinks that they of the St. Louis District have been misunderstood as it regards elders coming into that district to labor. They do not want flying visits from brethren abroad, &c. As to the misunderstanding that has gone out, the conference held last October will explain. And what of the resolutions that were passed at that conference. I do not demur particularly against what Bro. Anderson has written, but enquire why my name was referred to in connection with the finances of the Church in St. Louis. And laboring, as I am, under the impression that many of my friends may form some erroneous ideas about the matter injurious to my influence among the Saints abroad. I also ask to have this misunderstanding corrected.

If there was anything in my deportment, or preaching, distasteful to the Saints in St. Louis while I was there, I am ignorant of it. My visit to St. Louis last Spring was mainly to visit a niece living in that city; but on being introduced to Bro. Anderson, he being the presiding Elder of that branch of the Church, I was requested to speak to the Saints; which I did accordingly; preaching three discourses, and as I supposed from the friendly spirit manifested that all were well pleased, as several invitations were extended for me to remain longer in the city. But as I had been from home on a mission, in northwestern Missouri, some five months, and the time drew near for my return home; and as I had exhausted nearly the last dollar in expenses coming down from Far West, I did not think it improper to speak of this subject before the Saints, asking them to assist me in my expenses to my home. If this is my offending, I will say to the Saints in the St. Louis District, that if I ever come that way again, that I will try to do better next time, and say nothing about money.

I will say, however, for the credit and kind generosity of the Saints at St. Louis, and in other branches of the Church that I visited in that district, that in their contribution for my expenses I had no reason to complain. And as to my cordial reception among them, I could not wish to enjoy myself better, or to meet with more kindly spirits than I found in the short time I was with them; and I hope dear Herald, that the publication of this letter will correct mistakes about this matter, and affect a restoration of good feelings again, and I wish further to state that to the Saints in the St. Louis District, and at St. Louis, for their kindness and for the generous aid which the Bishop's Agent handed me on the morning I left the city, my thanks are extended. May God, the father of all mercies, bestow most abundantly of his grace and spirit upon all those generous hearts.

I am truly yours in gospel bonds,
                                            WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill.,  June 1, 1880.                              No. 11.


A Cadillac (Michigan) News for May 6th, is received. In it is a letter from Shortsville, Ontario county, N. Y., written by Rev. C. C. Thorne, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Manchester, N. Y. From the reading of this letter we conclude that it is an easy thing to darken a man's character from the hearsay evidence of respectable, reverend enemies. The letter was written in reply to one from Rev. A. Marsh, we presume of Cadillac. We really wonder at the logic of it: Joseph Smith and his relatives were bad; they became exponents of the gospel, according to the New Testament, according to the world called Mormonism; therefore Mormonism is false and Joseph Smith and others impostors...

COLDWATER, Michigan.    
May 11th, 1880.    

Bro. J. Smith: -- Some seem to have not found out my address. Can you announce in the Herald for an issue or two that the address of Wm. H. Kelley is Coldwater, Brand county, Michigan, Box 596....

Mr. Chapin, editor of the Cadillac News, gave notice of our meetings, Since I was there Bro. Bond and Mr. Marsh, the Presbyterian minister, have kept up a discussion through the columns of the News, the editor giving both parties equal chance...

Monday morning we returned to Plano by a new route, passing over a beautiful country. I enjoyed my trip. This brings us to April, 1880.

As ever,                           
                  WM. H. KELLEY

Note: The letter of the Rev. Chester C. Thorne, as published by the Cadillac Weekly News of Apr. 6. 1880 cannot be located in the incomplete files of that paper still extant. The New York Ontario County Times of July 27, 1881 provides an introduction to an a partial reprint of Thorne's original letter:

"... A year ago last April, the pastor of the Presbyterian church of Cadillac, Mich., Rev. Augustus Marsh, wrote to me, to the effect that there had been in their midst certain Mormon missionaries, preaching mightily, "endeavoring to make proselytes, and that some seemed quite disposed to accept their doctrines." Feeling himself called upon to expose the imposture, he wrote, and published in the "Cadillac Weekly News." one or two articles. This served to draw their fire fiercely upon him, and, to a greater degree, stimulate their endeavor. Having received in a newspaper article, "the lie direct," and desiring that his statements in regard to the moral character of Joe Smith and his associates might be substantiated or refuted, authoritatively, and knowing that "the church of Latter Day Saints," originated not far from here, he wrote me requesting the testimony of old residents who had known them personally, or by reputation. Accordingly, I called on three different parties, and took down, verbatim, their statements, which I incorporated in a letter and forwarded to him at Cadillac. The letter was soon after published...

"Yesterday I conversed with Mr. Wm. Bryant, 85 years of age, a resident of our village. I asked him if he ever knew Joe Smith. He answered, 'yes, I used to see him frequently to some extent.' I then asked, 'what kind of a man was he?' He replied, 'a lazy drinking fellow, loose in his habits every way.;

The next party with whom I conversed was Mr. Danford Booth. He has been a resident here over 70 years. He 'knew nothing of the Smiths, except by reputation,' that was 'bad.' 'But,' he added, ;I was personally acquainted with Oliver [sic] Cowdery.' 'Well, what of him?' I asked. 'He was a low pettifogger,' he answered. 'Their (that is, the Smiths') cat's-paw to do their dirty work.' (Here I read him an article written by Mr. Marsh, on the 'Book of Mormon.') After reading your article in his hearing, I asked him what he thought of it? At once he replied, 'the statements are correct, they correspond exactly with what I have learned.'

Mr. Orrin Reed, whom I visited this morning, was born and brought up not far from 'Mormon Hill.' When I inquired of him concerning the Smith family, he replied that he 'was acquainted with them concerning the Smith family, he replied that he 'was acquainted with them but not very intimately. They were too low to associate with. It was thought there was no truth in them. They broke up families, and their aim was to get in where they could get property. Joe had no business in particular. He had frequent revelations.' Here Mr. Reed and his wife related the story of the sacrifice of a black sheep, in order to obtain a certain treasure which had been abstracted by the devil from its place of concealment beneath the soil of 'Mormon Hill.' The sheep having been procured from one of their neighbors."...



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill., September 15, 1880.                              No. 18.


                                                                 Elkader, Iowa,
                                                                 August 23rd, 1880.
Joseph: -- Some of the points of your welcome letter I will note in brief. As I have said: The office of Patriarch is an appendage of the Priesthood. If such were not, why was the office appointed by revelation through your father in the church organized by him. That the Book of Mormon, or the New Testament is silent on this question is no evidence that the office does not belong in the Church of Christ. All the truisms in the world are not found written in the Book of Mormon nor in the New Testament. Yet in the New Testament this evangelical order is spoken of; see Ephesians. Joseph, the prophet, said that an evangelist was a patriarch. This order of the ministry can be traced down from Adam to the apostle's days; but I do not deem it necessary in this writing, as modern revelation and example do not require it. If there are any in the Church who could have premature pain over the introduction of this office in the Church, it would only prove that such persons might not be of the true "faith of God's elect," and although the Book of Doctrine and Covenants may not be explicit in command to appoint this office in the Church; there is no law of God written that commands procrastination in organizing a gospel church; especially where the means are on hand to do it with as in the present case. You say further, "That there has not been much talk about blessings." To this I reply, faith becomes by hearing the word of God. The world for thousands of years would have been ignorant of the gospel if it had not been preached to them; and unless this subject of the Patriarchate is agitated in the Church, who can tell when these blessings night be called for, "Today is the day of salvation, and not to-morrow." So the Good Book says, and there is no time in the Church when blessings from God are not in order. 1st. Now, as to the duties and prerogatives of a patriarch. It is his duty to bestow blessings upon the Church, as he shall de dictated by the revelation of the Spirit of God. It is by this means that those who received their patriarchal blessings are told from what tribe in Israel they have descended; whether of Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, Levi, or Dan. For all Israel are to receive their inheritance by lot, when Christ comes to dwell on the earth in the midst of his Church and people. The preaching of the gospel, and the placing all of the officers in the Church in order, is a preparatory work to Christ's coming. 2nd. As to prerogatives. A patriarch holds no prerogative that is not subject to the council of the First Presidency of the Church. He is a kind of auxiliary to the presidency and can be called upon to sit in council at any time when deemed proper so to do, on all questions affecting the general interest of the Church. 3rd. As a High Priest, his locality would be with them unless otherwise appointed by special command from God. 4th. The duties of this office of patriarch partakes much of the nature of an itinerant minister, as he is patriarch to the whole Church, hence may travel among the Saints, everywhere performing his duty, confirming the Saints in the faith of this latter day work; preaching, teaching and expounding the scriptures to them, as the Spirit of God might direct. If there are any in the Church who hold high positions, that should oppose the patriarchal order, I hope that they will not be so unthoughtful of their former allegiance as to charge falsehood and humbug upon the patriarchs, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who held this office in the Church that was organized by Joseph Smith, the Martyr.

I have now written all that I deem important at present, and should the occasion require it, if I write again, I shall examine this question more closely. I will remark also, that I desire much to hear from the ministry of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints on this question, and if I am in error, I will be glad to see the light. My belief is that this office of patriarch is an office that belongs in the Church of Christ, and without it the Church of Christ is not perfected in its organization.
                         Most respectfully,
                                            WILLIAM B. SMITH.

Note 1: By his saying "where the means are on hand to do it with as in the present case," William was rather openly hinting that "the means" for completing the organization of the RLDS Church (including filling the vacancy in the Patriarchate) was himself, the son of Joseph Smith, Sr., first Presiding Patriarch in the Church of final dispensation of the gospel, the descendant of the biblical Patriarch Joseph, and the eldest male member of the only bloodline from which latter day Presiding Patriarchs could be chosen.

Note 2: Joseph Smith III was not overly impressed by Uncle William's claims for high office in the Church. He did not set aside and ordain the first RLDS Presiding Patriarch until April, 1897, when his brother Alexander H. Smith was raised to that dignity. Thus, William, throughout his remaining years, was kept at a safe distance from the trappings of authority and prestige among the Reorganized LDS. The supposed primogeniture of the Smith family was overlooked when the RLDS subsequently appointed Roy A. Cheville as Patriarch to the whole Church in 1958. Since that time, the old notion of the patriarchal rights of the Smiths among the RLDS has withered away, to the extent that only a few aging fundamentalist saints even bring up the matter for discussion any more.



Vol. 27.                                Plano,  Ill., December 1, 1880.                              No. 23.


                                                                 Elkader, Iowa,
                                                                 October 24th, 1880.
Respected Nephew: -- Severe sickness in my family, of late, prevents my visit to Plano this Fall; as I mentioned in a previous letter. I am still hopeful, that if matters turn out as I could wish that I will see you before Spring opens, the Lord willing. I am well pleased while looking over the Herald to learn of the prosperity of the work in the different localities where the pure and unadulterated gospel is preached. Many missions, no doubt, might be better supplied if there was more means in the hands of the Bishop, to aid in the protection of the families of those Elders willing to invest their whole time and talents in the field of their labors. It is to be hoped that the truly faithful of God's people will awake to a sense of duty in this respect; to be observant of that law of love, which so materially helps the Bishop of the Church to untie the hands of the ministry for the work that appears to be opening far and wide, all over the land. Some other matters I deem worthy of note. A few days since I was visited by two elders from Utah, who were of the Brighamite order. They claimed that their call on me was mainly to see the brother of the martyr, Joseph Smith. To set an example of hospitality, I entertained them over night, gave them supper, lodging and breakfast; and might have entertained them longer had not my time been limited for conversation. The district court was in session at the time, and I was a member of the Grand Jury, and was obliged to be at my post, and could not therefore spend much time with them. I understood that they obtained a hearing in one of the adjoining neighborhoods, but did not make a very deep impression upon the minds of the people; as they had already been posted on the primitive doctrines of Mormonism, as taught by the Reorganized Church.
                           Your uncle,
                                            WM. B. SMITH.

Note: One of the "two elders from Utah" who called upon William B. Smith during the late summer of 1880 was Brigham H. Roberts, later Historian for the LDS Church. In his 1894 book, Succession in the Presidency..., Roberts says this, on page 16: "Whether it was the discussion about William's appointment to be patriarch "over" the church which first put it into his head to make a claim to the office of President of the church; or that he took advantage of the phrase "Patriarch over the Church," to bring forward claims to the Presidency which he had previously entertained, may not be accurately determined; but most likely it was the latter, because on the occasion of the writer's visit to William Smith, at his home, near Elkader, Clayton County, Iowa, late in the summer of 1880, he claimed to have been anointed, appointed, and ordained by the prophet Joseph to succeed to the office of President of the church after the prophet's death." For more details on Roberts' 1880 visit in Iowa, see his manuscript autobiography, "Life Story of B. H. Roberts," in the LDS Church Archives.



Vol. 28.                                Plano,  Ill.,  Feb. 1, 1881.                              No. 3.


Clifton, Bristol, England,    
December 29th, 1880.   
President Joseph Smith: Your favor, and Elder Mark H. Forscutt's, 23rd of October last, was received. They lay some time in the post office here, as I was away visiting some of my relatives and old friends in Wilts. I at once corresponded with Elder Thomas Taylor, and he sent me the Saints' Herald for December 1st, inst., which contains my address to those in Utah and elsewhere who adhere to and practise the doctrine of polygamy, which according to the word of God is a corrupt doctrine; notwithstanding that the very noted person, called the "Lion of the Lord;" John Taylor, "The Champion of Eight," and Orson Pratt, "The Gauge of Philosophy," with many others, have labored very zealously for many years past trying to convert this corrupt doctrine into a pure one.

Is it not astonishing that men who once lived in the light of truth should now be found using every means to establish a falsehood?

In the notice of Presudents Joseph and Hyrum Smith (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 423), against polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, I find by comparing the address with said notice that that part in the address which reads H. P. Brown, should read Hiram Brown. The error was made when I re-wrote the copy.

I have often thought of writing a few lines to you since my conversion to the doctrine of Christ for which your father spent his days and life to establish, respecting an interview I had with Martin Harris, Senior, a few days before his decease.


On the 5th day of July, 1875, hearing of his sickness, I visited him, and as I entered the room where he was in bed he held out his hand, shook hands with me and said, "I am going to leave you now, Bishop," meaning that he was going to die. At the time he was very low; and apparently, it was hard work for him to talk, but he was perfectly rational. I laid my hand on his head, and asked the Lord to give him strength. I then commenced to talk to him and ask him questions respecting the Book of Mormon and your father, and he revived and talked to me very freely and with much earnestness for about two hours. I will here give you in substance the answers he gave me to a few prominent questions respecting his knowledge of your father, the plates, &c. 1st. I asked him if he could still testify that he saw the plates and the angel of God. His answer was that he could; and he did truly testify to me that he both saw and handled the plates that the Book of Mormon was translated from, that an angel of God did lay them before him and the other two witnesses as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and said he, "I tell you of these things that you may tell others that what I have said is true, and I dare not deny it; I heard the voice of God commanding me to testify to the same." He said also he knew not the reason why the Lord had suffered him to live to such a great age unless it was that he might testify of these things. He was nearly ninety-three years old. He said also that he acted as scribe for him, when your father was translating from the plates by the Urim and Thummim, for nearly one-third of what is published. He mortgaged his property to get the first edition of the Book of Mormon published to the world. He, by command, took part of the manuscript with the translation thereof to one Professor Anthon, Professor of Language, in New York City, to get his opinion in regard to the language and translation, and said that what had been published concerning the same by the Church was true. I asked him of your father's education at the time of those circumstances and he said: "Joseph Smith's education was so limited that he could not draw up a note of hand."

These were Martin Harris' exact words to me. I do not mention this part to throw any gloom upon your father's mission; but to the contrary. I mention it to show that it was out of his power with such a limited education to produce such a book as the Book of Mormon, much less to translate such a book from foreign language, unless he did it by the gift and power of God. I might mention more that he told me; but it is so irksome for me to write, and will give you too much trouble to prepare it for the press, even if you thought it proper to publish it. One more item, however, I will mention. He (Martin Harris, Sen.) assured me that polygamy was not taught or practiced by Joseph Smith (your father) nor was it a doctrine of the Church in his day.

Before the mortal remains of Martin Harris, Sen., were conveyed to their last resting place in Clarkston grave yard, I placed in his right hand a Book of Mormon, which was buried with the remains. Some may think that a strange affair; but I did it out of respect for a man so highly favored of the Lord, and because of the interest he took to help bring forth to the world that record of divine truth. I also had a head board placed at his grave, and on it written his name, nativity, and his age; also his testimony concerning the plates, &., as recorded in the forepart of the Book of Mormon.

Your brother in the cause of truth,
SIMON SMITH.        

Note: Simon L. Smith was born in London, England in 1833, the son of Thomas Smith and Alice Long. He joined the Mormon Church between 1848 and 1850, and moved to America, to settle in Utah. He served as the Bishop of the Clarkston Ward in the Benson Stake (Cache Valley, Utah) from 1870 to 1876. In the late 1870s, following his mission to the south (Deseret News, Oct. 1876, 25:584) he became disaffected from the Church in Utah, and was baptized an RLDS, by Elder John Phillips at Henefer, Utah on Jan. 7, 1879. He died in April of 1898, at St. Joseph, Buchanan Co., Missouri (see his obituary in Zion's Ensign May 5, 1898, 9:18). See also Andrew Jenson's LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:415.



Vol. 28.                                Plano,  Ill.,  Feb. 15, 1881.                              No. 4.

Symmes' Theory, by one of the Symmes Family.

(Louisville Courier-Journal)

In your supplement of September 25th, you have a correspondent in Dixie Arkansas, who signs himself "S. S.," asking your views concerning the statement in the Cincinnati Commercial relative to the North and South Poles, i. e. "that there is an opening at each pole, and the earth is hollow and vessels have passed through from pole to pole, and it is warm there and the people speak the Hebrew language, " etc. Your answer is, "It is possible, nay probable, there is an open Polar Sea at the North Pole but there is not a shadow of probability that there is anything of the kind at the South Pole. John Cleves Symmes, who advanced the idea of an opwn Polar Sea at the north, taught that the earth is hollow. No one has any reason for saying even a chip has ever passed through this hollow, to say nothing of ships. Nor is there a shadow of probability that the people there speak Hebrew. There is not a single fact known about these hollow spheres. They are a product of the imagination."

You are certainly not a "chip" of the old block, or you would never have given such a simple answer to so grave a question. A book upon the subject of "Symmes Theory of Concentric Spheres and Polar Voids" was laid on the desk of each of the publishers of the Courier-Journal, but I presume they did not take the pains to read it, in order to learn the proofs therein advanced of the truth of the theory. The idea that a "chip" could be seen passing through an ocean 2,000 miles wide, that extends from north to south, is preposterous...

Why, sir, if the earth be not hollow, you must pull down the spheres of Saturn, erase the belts of Jupiter, destroy the rings of Mars, [erase] the cusps of Venus, or show why this earthly planet should be different from the others.
                                                AMERICUS SYMMES.

Note 1: The writer of the above letter was the son of Captain, John Cleves Symmes, who first propagated the notion, as early as 1818, that a hollow earth had openings at the poles. Americus Symmes' own republication of his father's theories was published at Louisville, Kentucky in 1878, and was the "book upon the subject," previously presented to the managers of that city's Courier-Journal.

Note 2: The editors of the Saints' Herald probably read the article's reference to "the people" at the Earth's core speaking "the Hebrew language," as a possible support for the odd belief, then held by some Mormon leaders, that the "lost tribes" of Israel had traveled beyond the north pole and found refuge in a hidden land, out of the sight of civilized humankind. See, for example, the views of RLDS High Priest Isaac Sheen on this topic, as expressed in 1872, as well as those of a Herald editor, published in 1906.

Note 3: The coupling of John Cleves Symmes' hollow earth notions, with theories respecting the fate and location of the "Lost Tribes" of Israel was not an evolution unique to the imaginative RLDS. See the notes appended to a 1831 article reprinted in the Cherokee Phoenix for a further discussion of this very topic.



Vol. 28.                                Plano,  Ill.,  June 1, 1881.                              No. 11.


The Smith Family, Cowdery, Harris, and
Other Old Neighbors -- What They Know.

The Stories of Hulbert, Howe, Tucker, &c.
EVER since my first acquaintance with that wonderful production -- the Book of Mormon -- I have desired to visit the place from which it was taken from the earth by Joseph Smith, the Seer, and view the surrounding country. Not to gratify a wish, solely, to visit a place rendered historic and interesting by reason of scenes transacted upon it, in which the earthly and heavenly inhabitants held communion in the generation in which we live; but by reason, also, of its being the place of the last great decisive conflict between the Nephites and Lamanites, as recorded on page 492 of the Book of Mormon.

Here we learn that an armistice was arranged between the two contending armies, by which the Nephites were permitted to withdraw to the land of Cumorah. They pitched their tents around about the Hill Cumorah. -- It was the scene of two vast belligerent camps -- the stronger pursuing the weaker, with evident intention to exterminate them. The Nephites made a desperate, though unsuccessful resistance against their savage and victorious enemies -- the Lamanites -- who poured down upon them in matchless numbers.

This place was selected by the weaker side, evidently, as a strategic point of defense, where, by the aid of the natural advantages and superior skill, they hoped to successfully dispute with the bloodthirsty foe, and preserve their lives and those of their wives and children.

Was it a wise selection; such as a great general, while on retreat, would select, of choice, upon which to concentrate his forces, in order to advantageously give battle to vicious and desperate pursuers? Will the face of the surrounding country, its natural advantages for a defense, sustain the wonderful narrative of the record, when viewed from a commonsense military standpoint? If so, one more point is added to the line of evidence adduced in favor of angelic visits having been had by Joseph Smith, the Seer, and another corroborating proof of the truth of the Book of Mormon.

On March 5th last, the opportunity was afforded me to gratify the wish to visit this place, which I improved. At about 9 o'clock a.m., in company with my brother, E. L. Kelley, whom I met on his return from Connecticut, where he had been on business, I left Palmyra, a town of about four thousand inhabitants, on the New York Central Railroad, and went due south on the old Canandaigua road, towards the little town of Manchester, six miles distant. We had not gone far, when our attention was directed to a hill in the distance, lying along and to the left of the roadside, which seemed to rise to a height considerably above any of those surrounding it in any direction. This we selected as the Hill Cumorah. A deep snow covered the ground, but the roads being good, with horses and sleigh, we were soon at its base. Enquiring of a German family residing at the foot of the hill to the northwest, we found that our selection was correct; it was indeed the Hill Cumorah; or, as they termed it, "Mormon" or "Bible Hill."

In company with two German men and a boy, we ascended the hill on foot, and soon stood upon the highest point. The mind-picture I had formed of it and surrounding country, made from the descriptions written by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, was almost perfect.

At the north end it rises abruptly, narrowing as it rises until the top is reached, which is extended in length north and south, and is not more than two or three rods wide for some distance towards the south, when a gentle declination sets in, which continues seemingly, to the southern extremity, when it returns to the common level of the valley below; widening all the way, so as to occupy a number of acres of land.

Viewed at a distance, from the north, and it has a pyramidal appearance, by reason of the sudden rise from the east and west and narrow, bald top.

Doubtless the entire hill was once covered with trees and brush, as is shown, from the remains of a few stumps, here and there, and two or three trees now lying on the top lately felled. The northern part is entirely bald, save the grass covering; but some distance back, the trees and brush, in places, are still standing.

Surrounding the hill to the north, east and west, are small valleys, now covered with farms and dotted with houses. Far to the south the same features are presented. Altogether the scene is at once striking, beautiful and imposing.

We could not determine to a certainty the exact locality from which the records were taken, on account of the snow; and then our guides disagreed as to the identical place.

As I stood and viewed the scene presented, I thought of the "great and tremendous battle" that is recorded as having been fought here between two powerful nations, and the scenes of blood and carnage that ensued -- the weaker being utterly exterminated, with but one left to record the event and lament over the fallen.

Whatever may be thought of the truth or falsity of the narrative by men, it is certain that the face of the country sustains the record in a wonderful manner. It would be an excellent place from which to make a defense, in this day of great improvements in war implements, and especially so in an age when the bow and sling, battle axe and war club, were used as the instruments of death.

Another reason which led me to visit this place was, it is near where Joseph Smith, Sen., lived, and of the boyhood of Joseph Smith, the Seer, the neighborhood of Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and others, whose names are enshrined in the early history of the Church, as defenders of the faith, and intimate associates of the Seer. A thousand rumors have

162 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Vol. 28.

been set on foot and assiduously circulated about those men, by the enemies of the faith, impugning their motives and character, with a view to destroy their testimony in favor of the latter-day work.

Here is where they lived, and where, the stories say, lived those who knew of their bad character, etc. We were among some of their old neighbors, all unbelievers in the faith they taught and we remembered some of the names of the parties published by their enemies as knowing facts against them, and determined to "brand the lion in his den," and hear the worst, let it hurt whom it would. So we set about in good earnest, to interview, if possible, all of those referred to by the enemies of these men, as having knowledge of them; and with one writing during each interview, we obtained the following as the results:--

Having the names of Messrs. Bryant, Booth, and Reed, obtained from a published communication in the Cadillac News, of Michigan, about a year ago, by Reverend A. Marsh, of that place, who had received it from a brother reverend, one C. C. Thorn, of Manchester, New York, who claimed to have interviewed the above-named gentlemen, and obtained from them wonderful revelations about the Smith family, Cowdery, etc.; making Mr. Bryant to say that Smith was a "lazy, drinking fellow, loose in his habits every way," and Mr. Booth to say that their reputation was "bad," and that Oliver Cowdery was a "law pettifogger," and a "cat's-paw of the Smiths, to do their dirty work," etc.; and Mr. Reed to say, "they were too low for him to associate with," with a recitation of the black sheep story, etc.; all of whom were "astonished beyond measure" at the progress of this "imposture, which they thought would not amount to anything." All of which was sent to Reverend A. Marsh, of Cadillac, in order to counteract the influence which had been created in favor of the faith in that place, by the efforts of M. H. Band and myself.

Believing then that the whole story was a trumped-up thing, I was determined to call on those gentlemen, and ascertain whether this pious Reverend told the truth about what they said or not.

At about 10 a.m. we called at the house of Mr. Bryant, and knocked at the door, which was answered by a lady who gave her name as Mary Bryant. She gave us seats in the room where her husband, William Bryant, was sitting. He is now eighty-five years of age, tall, and lean in flesh, and, during our interview, sat in a stooping posture, with open mouth. His wife informed us that for the last few years his mind had been somewhat impaired. She has a good memory, is seventy-five years of age, intelligent, and seemingly a great talker. We announced that the purpose of our visit was to ascertain some facts from the old settlers with reference to the people known as Mormons, who used to live there, as it is understood to have been the home of the Smith family and others, at the time the Book of Mormon is alleged to have been discovered.

To this Mr. Bryant in a slow voice replied, "Yes, that big hill you saw coming along, is where they say Joe Smith got the plates; you must have seen it coming along. Well, you can't find out much from me; I don't know much about them myself; I have seen Joe Smith once or twice; they lived about five miles from where I did; was not personally acquainted with any of them -- never went to any of their meetings, and never heard one preach."

What do you know about the character of the family? How were they for honesty? Were they industrious or lazy? We want to know their character among their old neighbors.
  "Well, I don't know about that. I never saw them work; the people thought young Joe was a great liar."

What made them think that?
  "They thought he lied when he said he found that gold bible."

Before this what was thought of him, as to his telling the truth?
  "I never heard anything before this."

What else did he lie about? And how did he get the name of being such a great liar?
  "The people said he lied about finding the plates; I don't know whether he lied about anything else; they were all a kind of a low, shiftless set."

What do you mean by that?
  "The people said they were awful poor, and poor managers. Joe was an illiterate fellow. If you come from Palmyra, you could have got Tucker's work there, and it would have told you all about them. I have read a great deal about them."

Yes; we have seen Tucker's work, but there are too many big stories in that. Thinking people don't believe them; they ridicule them, and demand the facts; we wish to get some facts which we can stand by.
  "I don't know anything myself: I wish I did. Have you been to see Mr. Reed? He lives up north of Manchester; he knows."

  Mrs. Bryant. -- "My husband don't know anything about them; they did not live in the same neighborhood that we did, and he was not acquainted with them; he don't know anything."

Well, were they drunkards?
  Mr. Bryant -- "Everybody drank whiskey in them times."

Did you ever see Joe Smith drunk, or drinking?
  "No, I can't say that I did; I only saw him once or twice, when he came to the woolen mill where I worked."

Did you not see Joe drink sometime?

  Mrs. Bryant. -- "He ought not to say anything, for he knows nothing about them; then it has been a long time ago."

Have you stated now all you know about them?
  Mr. Bryant. -- "Yes; I never knew much about them, anyway."

Did you know any of their associates -- Cowdery, Harris, or others?
  "No, I never knew any of them."

  Mrs. Bryant. -- "I knew Cowdery; Lyman Cowdery, I believe, was his name. They lived next door to us; they were low shacks, -- he was a lawyer, -- he was always on the wrong side of every case, they said."

Did he ever teach school?
  "No, not this one."

Did you know any other one?
  "No, I only knew this one and his family; I know they borrowed my churn once, and when it came home, I had to scour it all over before I used it. My father owned the largest house there was in the country at that time."

How were they about being honest, and telling the truth?
  "I don't remember anything about that, now."

Were they religious people -- pious?
  "No; they did not belong to any church; I know they didn't, for there were only two churches there, the Baptist and Methodist, -- sometimes the Universalists preached there, -- they did not belong to either of those churches."

  Mr. Bryant. -- "He (Cowdery), was strong against the Masons; he helped to write Morgan's book, they said."

What do you know, now, about the Smiths, or others; you have lived here about seventy-five years, have you not, Mrs. Bryant?
  "Yes, I have lived here all my life; but I never knew anything about the Smiths myself; you will find it all in Tucker's work. I have read that. Have you been to see Mr. Booth? He lives right up here, on the road running south; he knows all about them, they say."

Very good; we will call and see him. Thank you for your kindness in allowing us to trouble you.
  "Oh, it is no trouble; I wish we knew more to tell you."

We then called upon Mr. David Booth, an intelligent gentleman, hale and hearty, and upwards of seventy years of age -- and made known our business.

Mr. Booth promptly stated that he knew nothing of the Smiths, or their character; did not live in their neighborhood, and never saw either of them; did not know anything about them, or their book.

Did you know the Cowderys?
  "I knew one--the lawyer."

What kind of a character was he?
  "A low pettifogger."

What do you mean by that?
  "Why, he was not a regular lawyer, but took small cases and practiced before justices of the peace. We call them pettifoggers here."

What was his given name?
  "Lyman; he never taught school; guess he was no church member; he was a Mason; that was all there was to him. They called him `loose Cowdery.'"

What did they mean by that?
  "Why, he would take small cases; would be on the wrong side, and pettifog before justices, was the reason, I suppose.

Are you certain his name was Lyman? Wasn't it Oliver?
  "It has been a long time ago. I think maybe his name was Oliver."

Did he drink?
  "Everybody drank then. I never saw Cowdery drink."

Mr. Bryant, here in the village, told us that he was a strong anti-Mason, and helped to write Morgan's work.
  "Oh, that is all nonsense; they don't know anything about it. Mr. Bryant hasn't been here more than thirty-five years; his wife was raised here -- is his second wife. Cowdery was a strong Mason, so they all said; that is all the religion he had."

Do you know Reverend Thorn, a Presbyterian minister at Manchester?
  "Yes; I know him."

Vol. 28.] THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. 163

What kind of a fellow is he?
  "He is a pretty sharp fellow, and will look after his bread and butter, you may depend on that."

Did he ever interview you on this subject?
  "No, sir; he never did."

Did he not call to see what you knew about the Smiths and Cowderys about a year ago?
  "No, he never did to my recollection."

Did you know he had a statement of yours published in Michigan in regard to this, last year?
  "No, sir; I never heard of it before."

Did you ever give him one to publish?
  "I never did -- did not know he wanted one."

He will look out for himself, will he?
  "He will that; that is him."

You have lived here all your life. Tell us of someone who can tell us all about the people we wish to learn about -- some of the old settlers.
  Squire Pierce and Mr. Reed live a few miles north from here, in the neighborhood where the Smiths lived; they know all about them they say. The Smiths never lived in this neighborhood."

Do you know Thomas H. Taylor, of Manchester?

What kind of a fellow is he?
  "He is a pretty smart fellow; can do most anything he undertakes; he is a lawyer, and lectures sometimes."

Mr. Booth, we were told, is a Free Methodist. His address is Shortsville, Ontario County, New York.

Following the directions of Mr. Booth, we re-passed the town of Manchester, and at one o'clock p.m., arrived at the house of Ezra Pierce, a very pleasant and hospitable New York farmer, quite well- informed in the political history of the country, especially on the Democratic side. Approaching the subject of the desired interview to him, he quickly answered by saying:

  "Well, gentlemen, I must first ask you a question; because I went on to give my statement to some parties once, and as it did not suit them, they got mad and began to abuse and insult me; said that I lied about it. Let me ask: Are you Mormons?"

E. L. -- I am a lawyer, myself; this other gentleman can speak for himself. We don't propose to be anything, especially during this interview; we are here to try to find out some facts, and we don't care who they hit; it is facts that we are after, and you may be sure there will be no abuse, no matter which side they are on.
  "All right; that's fair; go ahead."

Were you acquainted with the Smith family?
  "Oh, yes; I pulled sticks with Joe for a gallon of brandy once at a log rolling; he was about my age. I was born in 1806. I lived about three miles from the Smiths. Was not very well acquainted with them; but knew them when I saw them. I knew young Joe, who claimed to have found the plates, and old Joe, his father."

Did young Joe drink?
  "Everybody drank them times."

Did you ever see young Joe drink?
  "No, I never did; it was customary in those early days for everybody to drink, more or less. They would have it at huskings, and in the harvest field, and places of gathering; the Smiths did not drink more than others."

What about Joe's learning?
  "I know that he was ignorant; and he knew no more about hieroglyphics than that stove," pointing to the stove in the room.

Well; go on and state what kind of a family they were -- all about them.
  "They were poor, and got along by working by the day; the old man had a farm up there, and a log house upon it. The old man Smith and Hyrum were coopers; I never went to the same school that the boys did--they dug for money sometimes; young Joe, he had a stone that he could look through and see where the money was; there were a good many others who dug with them, and Joe used to play all kinds of tricks upon them."

Who said they dug for money?
  "Oh, I have heard it lots of times. If my brother was living, he could tell you all about it."

Others dug besides the Smiths, did they?
  "Yes; there were others who dug; but I always heard that the Smiths dug the most; one of the Chase's, a young lady, had a stone which she claimed she could look through and see money buried."

Did anybody dig for her?
  "Yes; I guess they did. They said so."

Then young Joe had some opposition in the seeing-money business?
  "That is what everybody said."

Who was this Miss Chase? Where does she live?
  "She is dead now; she was a sister to Abel Chase, who lives upon the Palmyra Road. Have you seen him? He will know all about this. He has been in the cave with the Smiths where the sheep bones were found -- people used to think they were making counterfeit money."

Did you ever see any of it?

Did any of the neighbors?
  "No; I never heard any say they did."

Did anyone ever catch them trying to pass counterfeit money?
  "No; oh! I don't say they made any; it was only talked around."

Who talked it; their friends or enemies, and when was it talked?
  "Well; they were not their friends, of course; I never heard it while they lived here; after they went to Kirtland, Ohio, people were talking it."

Young lady, a daughter of Mr. Pierce:
  "The sheets, the sheets, Pa; what was it about the sheets? Ma said old Mr. Smith come here with the sheets -- and she told him to leave. How was it?" (looking to other members of the house).

The sheets; what kind of sheets? (I began to think of ghosts and hobgoblins).
  "The sheets, or the leaves, he was carrying around in an old sack, or something."

Our feelings were relieved somewhat when we learned, on further inquiry, that Mr. Smith had called upon them when the Book of Mormon was first published, with a few unbound volumes for sale, and was ordered out of the house by "Ma;" nothing like ghosts being connected with the event.

Squire, did you really think they were in the counterfeit money business?
  "No; I never thought they did that."

Tell us about the cave you spoke of.
  "The cave is over there in the hill now -- a large cave."

In what hill? The hill they call "Mormon" Hill?
  "No; it is about a mile from that; but what are you so particular about it for?"

We want to go and see it -- we want to see the thing itself. Now you have been there; give us the description, while we write it down, so that we can find it.
  "No; I never saw it; besides it is all caved in now, so you could not see anything. There is no cave there now, it is all fallen in."

  The young lady. -- "Well, why are you so particular for, anyway; what good will it do?"

We wish to know just how much truth there is to these stories; and get some facts that we can stand on.
  Y. L. -- "But what good will it do?"

Just this; there have been a great many stories told about these people, and the finding of the plates; some believe there is truth in the stories, and some believe they are lies. We are investigating the matter to satisfy ourselves what there is in it.
  Y. L. -- "Now, you had better turn your backs upon it, and let it go; that is the way to do, there is no truth in it."

That is just the thing at issue. Some say there is truth in it, some say there isn't. It is right to investigate and prove all things; and we wish to find what there is in this.
  Y. L. -- "But what good will it do to find out the truth about the Book of Mormon?"

If it is what it claims to be, we wish to know it; if false, we wish evidence to prove that.
  Y. L. -- "What; you spending your time trying to find out about that? If I only knew where your wives are, I would write to them and let them know just what you are doing.

All right; do so. (Here we gave our names and addresses.)

Did you ever read that book?
  Y. L. -- "No; I never saw one."

Well, I have; and there is something strikingly strange about it. It is certain that no one, or multitude of men, ever possessed sufficient inventive genius to produce it, or one similar to it, and have it so perfect in its doctrinal teachings, history and general makeup, as to baffle the skill of learned critics to detect the error and deceptions. This book bids defiance to the whole learned world to prove it false; did you ever think of that?
  Y. L. -- "No; but what good will it do, if it is true?

If really true; Joseph Smith obtained the plates, and men are telling falsehoods about him; and there has been a divine communication from heaven in our own day, which is contrary to the whole of the traditionary religious belief of the age. It unites with the testimony given in the Bible concerning Jesus being the Christ; and that he is indeed, the Redeemer of the world; hence, another witness testifying in favor of His mission and work. Quite a necessary thing, when we take into consideration the unbelief and skepticism there is in the world at the present time, and it is on the increase. Then it is very gratifying and instructive to know about the ancient inhabitants of this country, their origin, habits of life, form of government, laws and religion.
  Y. L. -- "But does this book teach the same as the Bible -- our Bible?"

164 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Vol. 28.

The teachings of the two books are the same so far as religious duties and life are concerned. Besides it is urged that many prophecies of the Bible refer to the coming forth of this book, and we confess that we are not enabled to explain satisfactorily the passages referred to, in any other light.
  Y. L. -- "Why, what are some of them? I never heard of that before."

The twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah is one directly in point, where the prophet speaks with reference to a sealed book coming forth, the words of which were to be delivered to a learned man, but he could not be able to read them, and the book itself was to be delivered to an unlearned man, and he would be enabled to read it. Also the stick of Joseph in the land of Ephraim, recorded in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel. It is interpreted by the learned that the stick of Judah, there mentioned is the Bible; and the Latter-day Saints hold the stick of Joseph referred to, is the Book of Mormon. Then in the tenth of John, where Jesus says: "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold," etc. relates to Israelitish people who had come to this continent, and were unknown to the Jews, but known to Jesus. It is held, too, that the fourteenth chapter of the book of Revelations refers to this event, where John saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach to all people, just previous to the hour of God's judgment; and many other passages. Did you never read them?
  Y. L. -- "No; write some of them down, and I will examine them." (Here we wrote down some references.)

  Y. L. -- "Doesn't this book teach polygamy?"

Oh, no; it is much more outspoken and emphatic against that sin than the Bible (quoting a passage from the Book of Jacob).

The people in Utah, known as Mormons, treat it as you would a last year's almanac. They say it was good in its time, but they have outgrown it.
  Y. L .-- "Are there any other people who believe in that book?"

Yes, the Latter-day Saints, who may be found in almost every state and territory in the Union, and other parts of the world. An intelligent class of people, who have taken pains to examine all sides relating to this subject, and have become convinced that there is truth in it. They do not believe in going to Utah; neither are they more like them in faith and doctrine than are the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. They have a publishing house at Plano, Illinois, about fifty-six miles from Chicago, and are an orderly class of people. It was very easy for people in the days of Jesus to say that He was an impostor -- was possessed of the devil -- born of fornication -- a glutton and a wine bibber; an enemy of mankind generally, but He was true, and the Christ just the same. Sensible people examined into the facts, then, relating to Him, and his doctrine, and the foolish were moved by gossip, stories and popular rumor, until they raised their hands and rejected the best friend of the human race. It is just as easy for people to cry in this age "old Joe Smith -- Gold Bible -- Money digger, Impostor," etc. But what are the facts in the case? That is what we wish to know. I am a Latter-day Saint minister myself, not of choice, but from conviction, by force of evidence adduced on that side of the question; I expect to continue to be one until convinced that it is not right, and it will take something more than stories to do it.

  The Squire. -- "Well, if he believes that Joe Smith was a prophet, that's enough; you can't do anything with him. I never knew one to change yet."

No, Squire, what do you know about it?
  "I don't know anything about it."

"Now, I am ready to affirm that the Book of Mormon is a work of divine authenticity, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; and I say that I can prove it from the Bible and other evidences, and am willing to undertake to do it right here, or in Palmyra, or Manchester, where it is admitted the thing first started.
  Y. L. -- "Why, I don't believe you would be safe to do that here."

You don't? Have you such a class of people here, that they will break the laws of the country, and refuse liberty of speech and conscience? Don't dare to speak my sentiments in a country in which I have followed the flag, and bore arms for its defense, in order to continue a perpetual union? A country in which every ounce of powder and pound of lead is pledged to maintain human rights and religious equality and freedom?
  "Oh, I guess they would let you, too; I will take that back. It is right to let all have the privilege of speaking their minds."

Of course, Squire, I should not expect you to believe in this, for it is difficult for anyone to believe a matter without evidence; and you say you never heard one of them preach; never attended their meetings; never read one of their books, and have read a great many things written against them. Now would any of us have ever believed in Jesus if we had never read anything that he and the apostles said; never read any of their books; but just took the stories their enemies circulated about them--read the books put out by the pretended pious Jews against them? And don't you know that it is from that standpoint that the Jews reject Jesus and the teachings of the apostles, unto this day? They say they have hundreds of witnesses to one that Jesus was a lawbreaker, and a deceiver; and the apostles false witnesses.
  "Yes, that is true."
  Y. L. -- "Can you speak in tongues and prophesy?"

Suppose I can't, what has that to do with the principle? Jesus says, "These signs shall follow them that believe." It is in the Bible. I am not responsible for it.
  "But can you speak in tongues? That is my question."

I have heard a great many of the Saints speak in tongues and interpret. Have heard them speak in prophecy, and have seen the sick healed many times.
  "But can you prophesy and speak in tongues?"

  Well, what would you think, if I was to tell you that I can?
  "Why, I should say you was crazy."

That is just what I thought.
  "We have institutions in which ministers are educated now, and we don't need such things."

Yes, I know there are a good many who seem to think they know more than Paul and Peter did about Christ and his doctrine: have gone on to invent creeds and systems; but did you never think that this is the greatest evil of the age--the very thing that keeps men in fetters, ignorance and superstition. Here is a Roman Catholic institution, that educates its priests to teach Catholicism; and after they go through the training, they know nothing else; hence, start out in their little groove to make Catholics. They do not know anything else, nor will they listen to others, in order that they may become informed. It is the abominable system of training is the difficulty. Take the Methodist ministers, or Baptist, or Episcopalian, or Quakers, or Disciples, or Adventists, or others; and each has to pass through their respective institutions of training; and when through, they start out, not to preach what is in the Bible, for many of them are forbidden to talk doctrine, but to proselyte to their peculiar creeds; fortify and build them up. One to teach sprinkling for baptism; another pouring, or immersion; another no baptism at all, or only that of the Spirit; one that you must keep Sunday, and others, Saturday; another that you will be saved by works; another by faith and grace, without works; one sprinkles infants, and others don't; all owing to what school he was educated in. If any courageous spirit endeavors to break away from the creed, they will whip him into the traces, or throw him out. There is no genuine Christian unity and love between them, but each rejoices at the other's downfall, for the sake of the advantage; not because it is according to the Bible, but according to the Creed.
  "Well, I guess there is a good deal of truth in that."

In this age of the conflict of ideas and investigation, people are getting tired of myths, and are digging deep and searching for facts in religion as well as everything else. If religion is a truth, the facts should show it; if false, the world ought to know that. We believe in discussion -- "proving all things, and holding fast that which is good." Hearing everybody; investigating everything possible. But we must go.

Mr. Pierce having referred us to Mr. Reed, Orlando Saunders, and Abel Chase, we took leave of him and his intelligent family, and called next at the residence of Mr. Orin Reed.

He was at his home, doing some work about the barn. He is a gentleman of about seventy years of age, hard of hearing, and of pleasant and intelligent countenance. Breaking the object of our call to him, he readily informed us that he knew nothing whatever in regard to the character of Joseph Smith, or his family.

Mr. Reed; were you not acquainted with the Smith family, or some of those early connected with them?
  "No, I was not. I lived in the town of Farmington when the Smiths lived here. I knew nothing about any of them; was not personally acquainted with them, and never heard any of them preach, nor never attended any of their meetings. I have seen Hyrum Smith. He bought a piece of land near here, and lived on it sometime after the others left; but I don't know anything against him."

We were given your name by a number of persons, who claimed that you did know all about them, Mr. Reed.

Vol. 28.] THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. 165

  "Is that so? Well, they are mistaken; I don't know anything about it. I think Mr. Orlando Saunders, living up on the road to Palmyra, will know more about that people than anyone around here. He was better acquainted with them; or lived right by them, and had a better opportunity of knowing them."

Yes, we have his name already; but have not seen him yet. Do you know Mr. Thorn, the Presbyterian minister at Manchester, over here?
  "Yes, I know him slightly."

Did you not make a statement to him in regard to the character of these men; that they were low persons, and not good associates, or something of the kind?
  "I never did."

Did he call on you to find out what you knew about it?
  "No, sir, he never did; at least he never let me know anything about it, if he did."

Did you ever see a statement he sent to Michigan, last year, and had published, purporting to be what you and others knew about the Smiths and Cowderys?
  "No, I never did; did not know that one was ever published before."

You think we can find out about these persons from Mr. Saunders, then, Mr. Reed?
  "Yes; he is more likely to know than anyone round here."

Leaving Mr. Reed, we at once drove to the house of Mr. Orlando Saunders, and found that gentleman, with his wife and two sons, at supper. Mr. Saunders is a man seventy-eight years old, in April 1881; a fair type of the intelligent New York farmer; seemingly well-to-do in this world's goods, and quite active for a man of his years; and withal, has an honest and thoughtful face.

Entering upon conversation with reference to our business, Mr. Saunders at once said:
  "Well, you have come to a poor place to find out anything. I don't know anything against these men, myself." (Evidently judging that we wanted to get something against them, only.)

Were you acquainted with them, Mr. Saunders?
  "Yes, sir; I knew all of the Smith family well; there were six boys; Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph, Harrison, William, and Carlos, and there were two girls; the old man was a cooper; they have all worked for me many a day; they were very good people; Young Joe, (as we called him then), has worked for me, and he was a good worker; they all were. I did not consider them good managers about business, but they were poor people; the old man had a large family."

In what respect did they differ from other people, if at all?
  "I never noticed that they were different from other neighbors; they were the best family in the neighborhood in case of sickness; one was at my house nearly all the time when my father died; I always thought them honest; they were owing me some money when they left here; that is, the old man and Hyrum did, and Martin Harris. One of them came back in about a year and paid me."

How were they as to habits of drinking and getting drunk?
  Everybody drank a little in those days, and the Smiths with the rest; they never got drunk to my knowledge.

What kind of a man was Martin Harris?
  "He was an honorable man. Martin Harris was one of the first men of the town."

How well did you know young Joseph Smith?
  "Oh! just as well as one could very well; he has worked for me many- a-time, and been about my place a great deal. He stopped with me many-a-time, when through here, after they went west to Kirtland; he was always a gentleman when about my place."

What did you know about his finding that book, or the plates in the hill over here?
  "He always claimed that he saw the angel and received the book; but I don't know anything about it. Have seen it, but never read it as I know of; didn't care anything about it."

Well; you seem to differ a little from a good many of the stories told about these people.
  "I have told you just what I know about them, and you will have to go somewhere else for a different story."

Mr. Saunders giving us the directions to the house of Abel Chase, we next called upon him and ascertained the following:

  Mr. Chase. -- "I am sixty-seven years old. Knew the Smiths; the old man was a cooper. I was young and don't remember only general character. They were poorly educated, ignorant and superstitious; were kind of shiftless, but would do a good day's work. They used to call Joe, `Lobby Joe.' He got a singular-looking stone, which was dug up out of my father's well; it belonged to my brother Willard, and he could never get it. His mother, old Mrs. Smith, got the stone from mother."

How do you know Joe ever had it?
  "Oh, I don't know that; but my brother could never get it back."

Your sister had a stone she could look through and see things, so they have told us; did you ever see that, Mr. Chase?
  "Yes, I have seen it; but that was not the one that old Mrs. Smith got."

Well; could you see things through that?
  "I could not; it was a dark-looking stone; it was a peculiar stone."

Do you really think your sister could see things by looking through that stone, Mr. Chase?
  "Well, she claimed to; and I must say there was something strange about it."

Where is your sister now?
  "She is not living now: my brother Willard is dead, also. He would know more than I do about those things."

How did the stone look, you say Mrs. Smith got?
  "I don't know; I never saw that."

How do you know she got it?
  "They said she did; I was young, and don't remember myself."

Did you ever see the Smiths dig for money; or did you ever see the cave where they say they met at?
  "No. I never saw them dig, myself; I never saw the cave."

Well; you were a young man then, how did it come you lived so near, and never saw them do these things?
  "I was young, and never went where they were. Don't know anything about it but what I have heard. If you will see Mr. Gilbert at Palmyra, he can tell you more about it than any person else; he knows it all, and has been getting everything he could for years to publish against them; he was in with Tucker in getting out Tucker's work."

All right, Mr. Chase, we will see him this evening if possible. Good day, sir. Much obliged for the trouble.
  "Oh! it is no trouble; I only wish I could tell you more."

Early in the evening we called upon Mr. John H. Gilbert, at his residence, and made known our desire for an interview, etc. He seemed quite free to give us all the information he had upon the subject, and said he had been for the past forty-five or fifty years doing all he could to find out what he could about the Smiths and Book of Mormon. He is a man seventy-nine years of age, and quite active even in this time of life.

What did you know about the Smiths, Mr. Gilbert.
  "I knew nothing myself; have seen Joseph Smith a few times, but not acquainted with him. Saw Hyrum quite often. I am the party that set the type from the original manuscript for the Book of Mormon. They translated it in a cave. I would know that manuscript today if I should see it. The most of it was in Oliver Cowdery's handwriting. Some in Joseph's wife's; a small part though. Hyrum Smith always brought the manuscript to the office; he would have it under his coat, and all buttoned up as carefully as though it was so much gold. He said at the time it was translated from plates by the power of God, and they were very particular about it. We had a great deal of trouble with it. It was not punctuated at all. They did not know anything about punctuation, and we had to do that ourselves."

Well; did you change any part of it when you were setting the type?
  "No, sir; we never changed it at all."

Why did you not change it and correct it?
  "Because they would not allow us to; they were very particular about that. We never changed it in the least. Oh, well there might have been one or two words that I changed the spelling of; I believe I did change the spelling of one, and perhaps two, but no more."

Did you set all of the type, or did someone help you?
  "I did the whole of it myself, and helped to read the proof, too; there was no one who worked at that but myself. Did you ever see one of the first copies? I have one here that was never bound. Mr. Grandin, the printer, gave it to me. If you ever saw a Book of Mormon you will see that they changed it afterwards."

They did! Well, let us see your copy; that is a good point. How is it changed now?
  "I will show you," (bringing out his copy).

"Here on the title page it says," (reading)
  "'Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor.' Afterwards, in getting out other editions they left that out, and only claimed that Joseph Smith translated it."

Well, did they claim anything else than that he was the translator when they brought the manuscript to you?
  "On, no; they claimed that he was translating it by means of some instruments he got at the same time he did the plates, and that the Lord helped him."

Was he educated, do you know?

166 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Vol. 28.

  "Oh, not at all then; but I understand that afterwards he made great advancement, and was quite a scholar and orator."

How do you account for the production of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Gilbert, then, if Joseph Smith was so illiterate?
  "Well, that is the difficult question. It must have been from the Spaulding romance -- you have heard of that, I suppose. The parties here then never could have been the authors of it, certainly. I have been for the last forty-five or fifty years trying to get the key to that thing; but we have never been able to make the connecting yet. For some years past I have been corresponding with a person in Salt Lake, by the name of Cobb, who is getting out a work against the Mormons; but we have never been able to find what we wanted."

If you could only connect Sidney Rigdon with Smith some way, you could get up a theory?
  "Yes; that is just where the trouble lies; the manuscript was put in our hands in August 1829, and all printed by March 1830, and we cannot find that Rigdon was ever about here, or in this state, until sometime in the fall of 1830. But I think I have got a way out of the difficulty now. A fellow that used to be here, by the name of Saunders, Lorenzo Saunders, was back here some time ago, and I was asking him about it. At first he said he did not remember of ever seeing Rigdon until after 1830 sometime; but after studying it over awhile, he said it seemed to him that one time he was over to Smith's, and that there was a stranger there he never saw before, and that they said it was Rigdon. I told him about Cobb, of Utah, and asked him if he would send Cobb his affidavit that he saw Rigdon before the book was published, if he (Cobb), would write to him; he finally said he would, and I wrote to Cobb about it, and gave Saunders' address, and after a long time, I got a letter from him, saying he had written three letters to Saunders, and could get no answer. I then sat down and wrote Saunders a letter myself, reminding him of his promise, and wrote to Cobb also about it; and after a long time Cobb wrote me again, that Saunders had written to him; but I have never learned how satisfactory it was, or whether he made the affidavit or not."

Is that Saunders a brother of the Saunders living down here, Orlando Saunders?
  "Yes, sir: they are brothers."

Is he older or younger?
  Younger; about fifteen years younger."

Then he must have been quite young before the Book of Mormon was published?
  "Yes, he was young."

This Saunders down here don't talk like a great many people; he seems to think the Smiths were very good people; we have been there today.
  "Oh, I don't think the Smiths were as bad as people let on for. Now Tucker, in his work, told too many big things; nobody could believe his stories."

Did the Smiths ever dig for money?
  "Yes; I can tell you where you can find persons who know all about that; can take you to the very place."

Can you? All right, give us their names.
  "The Jackaway boys -- two old bachelors, and their sister, an old maid, live together, right up the street going north, near the north part of the town; they can tell you all about it, and show you the very places where they dug."

What will you take for your copy of the Book of Mormon; or will you sell it?
  "Yes, I will sell it."

How much for it?
  "I will take five hundred dollars for it, and no less; I have known them to sell for more than that."

Well, I am not buying at those figures, thank you.

What kind of a man was Martin Harris?
  "He was a very honest farmer, but very superstitious."

What was he before his name was connected with the Book of Mormon?
  "Not anything, I believe; he was a kind of skeptic."

What do you mean by his being superstitious? Was he religious?
  "Well, I don't know about that; but he pretended to see things."

What do you think of the Book of Mormon, as a book; you are well-posted in it?
  "Oh, there is nothing taught in the book but what is good; there is no denying that; it is the claim of being from God that I strike at."

Well, is it any more wonderful than that God gave the Bible?
  "No, not a bit; and there is a good deal more evidence to show that that is divine than there is for some of the books in the Bible. Why, it is all nonsense to think that Moses wrote some of the books attributed to him, in the Bible."

Then you don't believe the "fish story," either, Mr. Gilbert?
  "No; nor that Jonah swallowed the whale."

  How about Sampson catching the three hundred foxes, and the firebrands?
  "Yes, that is a good one; you fellows will do."

Much obliged, Mr. Gilbert.
  "You are quite welcome. I wish I could give you more than I have."

Acting upon Mr. Gilbert's advice, we at once called upon the Jackways, and found the older of the boys and the sister, ready to talk of what they knew. They had Tucker's work on the small table by, which they offered to sell us for three dollars, and then we could read for ourselves; but being quite familiar with its weaknesses, we declined to purchase at the price.

The conversation upon the main topic was as follows:--

What is your age?
  I will be sixty-six years old on my next birthday," said Mr. Jackway. (The lady did not answer.)

How far did you live from town at the time the Smiths, and those of their comrades, were in this country?
  "One-half mile south of Palmyra."

Were you acquainted with Joseph Smith and his early followers?
  "Yes, I knew them; saw them a many-a-time -- old Joe and young Joe."

How far did you live from them?
  "It was about a mile."

You know about their digging for money, so Mr. Gilbert said; he sent us to you?
  "Oh, yes. I can show you the places now; there are three places over there where they dug."

Well, we want to see them. Did you help them dig?
  "No, I never helped them."

Well, you saw them digging?
  "No, I never saw them digging."

How do you know they dug the holes you refer to?
  "I don't know they dug them; but the holes are there."

Did anybody else dig for money at that time there?
  "I believe there were some others that dug; but I did not see them."

Do you know any of them?
  "I only know one now; he lives up at Canandaigua."

(Mr. Jackway gave us the name, but for some cause we fail to find it in our notes.)
What do you know about the Smiths' character?
  "I don't know much about that."

Would they steal, get drunk, etc.?
  "Don't know anything about their stealing. Joe and his father got drunk once."

Where was that?
  "It was in the hayfield; Joe and his father wrestled, and Joe threw the old man down, and he cried."

What did he cry for?
  "Because Joe was the best man I guess."

What did they drink to make them drunk?
  "They drank cider." Got drunk so they could not walk, on cider, did they?

  "No; they could walk, but they cut up and acted funny."
Did you ever see them drink, or drunk, any other time?
  "No; not as I remember."

What kind of a woman was the old lady Smith?
  "I don't know; I never was at the house. She was kind in sickness."

Quite a number here in town, today, have told us it was two and a half to three miles from Palmyra to where the Smiths lived; how is that?
  "Yes; it was about three miles."

(How Jackway lived within half a mile of town and only a mile from them he did not explain.)

Where was Joe when he was translating his book?
  "At home; it was translated in the farmhouse."

Mr. Gilbert, across here, said it was done in a cave; now you don't agree? What does Tucker say? (reading Tucker).
  "They all differ. Now, Tucker has a statement from Willard Chase in his book, and Chase said Tucker never called on him at all to find out what he knew."

  Lady. -- "Yes; I have heard Willard Chase say Tucker never even asked him for what he knew, and Chase lived next door to him, too. Chase is dead now."

Well; did you ever see Hulbert or Howe, that published works?
  "Yes; Hulbert came around first, I believe, soon after the thing started, and they had gone to Kirtland, Ohio, trying to find things against them; and there have been a good many around trying to connect Sidney Rigdon with them."

What kind of men were Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery?

Vol. 28.] THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. 167

  "Harris was an industrious, honest man; lived north here, two miles. The Cowderys were as good as the general run of people. Have you seen Dr. Stafford? He lives at Rochester. His father, William Stafford, is the one that furnished the `black sheep' Tucker tells about there."

He is? Well; do you know about that?
  "No; only what Tucker says there."

Taking leave of the Jackways, in due time we called upon Dr. John Stafford, at Rochester, New York. He is now a retired physician, being too aged and infirm to practice. Answering a question as to the character of Joseph Smith, he said:
  "He was a real clever, jovial boy. What Tucker said about them was false, absolutely. My father, William Stafford, was never connected with them in any way. The Smiths, with others, were digging for money before Joe got the plates. My father had a stone, which some thought they could look through; and old Mrs. Smith came there after it one day, but never got it. Saw them digging one time for money; (this was three or four years before the Book of Mormon was found), the Smiths and others. The old man and Hyrum were there I think, but Joseph was not there. The neighbors used to claim Sally Chase could look at a stone she had, and see money. Willard Chase used to dig when she found where the money was. Don't know as anybody ever found any money."

What was the character of Smith, as to his drinking?
  "It was common then for everybody to drink, and to have drink in the field; one time Joe, while working for someone after he was married, drank too much boiled cider. He came in with his shirt torn; his wife felt bad about it, and when they went home, she put her shawl on him."

Had he been fighting and drunk?
  "No; he had been scuffling with some of the boys. Never saw him fight; have known him to scuffle; would do a fair day's work if hired out to a man; but were poor managers."

What about that black sheep your father let them have?
  "I have heard that story, but don't think my father was there at the time they say Smith got the sheep. I don't know anything about it."

You were living at home at the time, and it seems you ought to know if they got a sheep, or stole one, from your father?
  "They never stole one, I am sure; they may have got one sometime."

Well, Doctor, you know pretty well whether that story is true or not, that Tucker tells. What do you think of it?
  "I don't think it is true. I would have heard more about it, that is true. I lived a mile from Smiths; am seventy-six years old. They were peaceable among themselves. The old woman had a great deal of faith that their children were going to do something great. Joe was quite illiterate. After they began to have school at their house, he improved greatly."

Did they have school in their own house?
  "Yes, sir; they had school in their house, and studied the Bible."

Who was their teacher?
  "They did not have any teacher; they taught themselves."

Did you know Oliver Cowdery?
  "Yes; he taught school on the Canandaigua road, where the stone schoolhouse now stands; just three and a half miles south of Palmyra. Cowdery was a man of good character."

What do you know about Martin Harris?
  "He was an honorable farmer; he was not very religious before the Book of Mormon was published. Don't know whether he was skeptical or visionary. Old Joe claimed he understood geology, and could tell all kinds of minerals; and one time, down at Manchester, in the grocery, the boys all got pretty full, and thought they would have some fun, and they fixed up a dose for him." (We omit the ingredients of the dose, because improper for publication.)

If young Smith was as illiterate as you say, Doctor, how do you account for the Book of Mormon?
  "Well, I can't; except that Sidney Rigdon was connected with them."

What makes you think he was connected with them?
  "Because I can't account for the Book of Mormon any other way."

Was Rigdon ever around there before the Book of Mormon was published?
  "No; not as we could ever find out. Sidney Rigdon was never there, that Hurlbert, or Howe, or Tucker could find out."

Well; you have been looking out for the facts a long time, have you not, Doctor?
  "Yes; I have been thinking and hearing about it for the last fifty years, and lived right among all their old neighbors there most of the time."

And no one has ever been able to trace the acquaintance of Rigdon and Smith, until after the Book of Mormon was published, and Rigdon proselyted by Pratt, in Ohio?
  "Not that I know of."

Did you know the Pratts, -- Parley or Orson Pratt?
  "No; have heard of them."

Did you know David Whitmer?
  "No; he lived in Seneca County, New York."

Have you told now all you know about the Smiths and the Book of Mormon?
  "All that I can recollect."

Here we bade the Doctor, whom we found to be quite a gentleman, -- affable, and ready to converse, -- good day."

During the time of making the interviews in Manchester, we accidentally met the Thomas H. Taylor, referred to by Mr. Booth in the interview with him. He is a Scotchman by birth, of advanced age, but very robust and active. Somewhat of the knock-down and drag- out style; is a public speaker and lecturer, and practices law to some extent. He claims to be one of the original parties with John Brown at Harper's Ferry -- all through the fight there -- and previous to the war of the rebellion, was engaged in piloting the darkey to Canada and freedom. He was a soldier throughout the war, and saw hard service. In religion he follows Colonel Robert G. Ingersol. To our enquiries if he was acquainted with the Smiths, and the early settlers throughout that part, sometimes called Mormons, he said:
  "Yes; I knew them very well; they were very nice men, too; the only trouble was they were ahead of the people; and the people, as in every such case turned out to abuse them, because they had the manhood to stand for their own convictions. I have seen such work all through life, and when I was working with John Brown for the freedom of my fellowman, I often got in tight places; and if it had not been for Gerritt Smith, Wendell Phillips and some others, who gave me their influence and money, I don't know how I would ever got through."

What did the Smiths do that the people abused them so?
  "They did not do anything. Why! these rascals at one time took Joseph Smith and ducked him in the pond that you see over there, just because he preached what he believed and for nothing else. And if Jesus Christ had been there, they would have done the same to him. Now I don't believe like he did; but every man has a right to his religious opinions, and to advocate his views, too; if people don't like it, let them come out and meet him on the stand, and shew his error. Smith was always ready to exchange views with the best men they had."

Why didn't they like Smith?
  "To tell the truth, there was something about him they could not understand; some way he knew more than they did, and it made them mad."

But a good many tell terrible stories, about them being low people, rogues, and liars, and such things. How is that?
  "Oh! they are a set of d--d liars. I have had a home here, and been here, except when on business, all my life--ever since I came to this country, and I know these fellows; they make these lies on Smith, because they love a lie better than the truth. I can take you to a great many old settlers here who will substantiate what I say, and if you want to go, just come around to my place across the street there, and I'll go with you."

Well, that is very kind, Mr. Taylor, and fair; if we have time we will call around and give you a chance; but we are first going to see these fellows who, so rumor says, know so much against them.
  "All right; but you will find they don't know anything against those men when you put them down to it; they could never sustain anything against Smith."

Do you think Smith ever got any plates out of the hill he claimed to?
  "Yes; I rather think he did. Why not he find something as well as anybody else. Right over here, in Illinois and Ohio, in mounds there, they have discovered copper plates since, with hieroglyphics all over them; and quite a number of the old settlers around here testified that Smith showed the plates to them -- they were good, honest men, and what is the sense in saying they lied? Now, I never saw the Book of Mormon -- don't know anything about it, nor care; and don't know as it was ever translated from the plates. You have heard about the Spaulding romance; and some claim that it is nothing but the books of the Bible that were rejected by the compilers of the Bible; but all this don't prove that Smith never got any plates."

Do you know Reverend Thorn, here in Manchester?
  "The Presbyterian preacher?"

Yes, that is the one.
  "I know him."

What kind of a fellow is he?
  "Well, originally he was nothing. He got

168 THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. [Vol. 28.

some money, and went off to college awhile, and came back a Presbyterian preacher. He knows just what he got there, and feels stuck up, and is now preaching for his bread and butter; and if they should take away his salary, he wouldn't last twenty-four hours."

We are much obliged, Mr. Taylor, for your kindness.
  "You are welcome, and if you will drive back, I will go with you and show you persons who can tell you all about those people."

We thus left Mr. Taylor, but for want of time, could not then return and accept his kind offer to show us around; hope to be able to do so sometime in the future.

These facts and interviews are presented to the readers of the Herald impartially -- just as they occurred -- the good and bad, side by side; and allowing for a possible mistake, or error, arising from a misapprehension, or mistake in taking notes, it can be relied upon as the opinion and gossip had about the Smith family and others, among their old neighbors. It will be remembered that all the parties interviewed are unbelievers in, and some bitter enemies to, the faith of the Saints; and it is not unreasonable to suppose that they all told the worst they knew. So we submit it to the readers without comment, with the expectation of sending each one of the parties interviewed a copy when published.
                            WM. H. KELLEY.
Coldwater, Michigan. March 1881.


Vol. 28.] THE  SAINTS'  HERALD. 169





I, Katherine Salisbury, being duly sworn, depose and say, that I am a resident of the State of Illinois, and have been for forty years last past; that I will be sixty-eight years of age, July 28th, 1881.

That I am the daughter of Joseph Smith, Senior, and sister to Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of the Book of Mormon. That at the time the said book was published, I was seventeen years of age; that at the time of the publication of said book, my brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., lived in the family of my father, in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, New York, and that he had, all of his life to this time made his home with the family.

That at the time, and for years prior thereto, I loved in and was a member of such family, and personally knowing to the things transacted in said family, and those who visited at my father's house, and the friends of the family, and the friends and acquaintances of my brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., who visited at or came to my brother's house.

That prior to the latter part of the year A. D. 1830, there was no person who visited with, or was an acquaintance of, or called upon the said family, or any member thereof to my knowledge, by the name of Sidney Rigdon; nor was such person known to the family, or any member thereof, to my knowledge, until the last part of the year A. D. 1830, or the first part of the year 1831, and some time after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ, by Joseph Smith, Jr., and several months after the publication of the Book of Mormon.

That I remember the time when Sidney Rigdon came to my father's place, and that it was after the removal of my father from Waterloo, N.Y., to Kirtland, Ohio. That this was in the year 1831, and some months after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and fully one year after the Church was organized, as before stated herein.

That I made this statement, not on account of fear, favor, or hope of reward of any kind; but simply that the truth may be known with reference to said matter, and that the foregoing statements made by me are true, as I verily believe.


Sworn to before me, and subscribed in my presence, by the said Katherine Salisbury, this 15th day of April, A. D. 1881 J. H. JENKS, Notary Public.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 28.                                    Plano,  Ill.,  July 1, 1881.                                    No. 13.


(see original article in Kanasas City paper

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 28.                                    Plano,  Ill.,  July 15, 1881.                                    No. 14.

Mormon  History.

(see original article in Kanasas City paper

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 28.                                    Plano,  Ill.,  August 1, 1881.                                    No. 15.

Mormon  History.

(see original article in Kanasas City paper

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 28.                               Plano,  Ill.,  September 1, 1881.                             No. 17.


Bro. Thomas W. Smith, now at Chicago, had the curiosity to write to Mr. E. D. Howe, who so long ago published a book against the "Mormons." making some inquiry respecting the "Manuscript Found," &c. The following is the reply, which we are permitted to present to the readers of the HERALD, by Bro. Smith.

                  PAINESVILLE, Ohio, July 26th, 1881.

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

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

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

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

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

5th. -- The manuscript was destroyed by fire forty years ago.

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

Yours, &c.,           
                     E. D. HOWE.

Note 1: Apostle Thomas W. Smith's questioning of Eber D. Howe in 1881 was, of course, tailored to Mormon publication wishes and needs. No definitive information that would have put the divinity of the Book of Mormon into question was solicited or published. This may account, in part, for a few of Howe's assertions made in this interview not matching well with what he said elsewhere. For example, Howe is here quoted as saying that the Spalding holograph given him by Hurlbut (in late Jan., 1834) "was not the original 'Manuscript Found.'" That much is true enough, if one accepts the testimony of numerous witnesses certifying that there was a "Manuscript Found" quite unlike the story provided Howe in 1834. On the other hand, Howe's saying "I do not believe Hurlbut ever had it," does not correspond well with other instances in which he reportedly did proclaim a belief that D. P. Hurlbut recovered a draft of the original "Manuscript Found." Whether Elder Smith doctored Howe's remarks, or whether Howe simply said what Smith was anxious to hear him say remains unclear.

Note 2: Howe admits that he "Never succeeded in finding out any thing more than was detailed in my book," but that comment does not explain why he did not conduct the necessary research to discover anything more than he published in 1834. For instance, he could have easily conducted extensive interviews with Solomon Spalding's living relatives by correspondence with them. This he evidently never even attempted to do. He waited nearly ten months after receiving Hurlbut's documentation before he offered his book for sale, and then almost immediately retired from the news editing and publishing business. In that lengthy period of time, Howe could have undoubtedly uncovered a great deal more supporting evidence for the "Manuscript Found," had he been so inclined.

Note 3: Howe's notion, that " The manuscript was destroyed by fire forty years ago," eventually proved to be a false memory. It was given over to Lewis L. Rice in 1839, perhaps without Howe's being aware of the transfer, since he then had very little to do with the Painesville printing business that still held the document. He obviously made no attempt to return it to its rightful owner, the widow of Solomon Spalding. All in all, Howe's actions of 1834 raise far more questions than Elder Smith cared to ask -- and most of those questions remain unanswered still.



Vol. 28.                               Plano,  Ill.,  Sept. 15, 1881.                             No. 18.

The Spaulding Romance, and
the Mormon Bible.


Dear Sir: About a year ago an article on the Book of Mormon, written by Miss. E. E. Dickenson, appeared in your Magazine. I did not have time to reply when I first read it, and I did not see it till the following Winter, and it appeared in the August number; and besides, I believed that some among the thousands who were able to refute the many falsehoods it contained, would have replied to it long ago; and perhaps they all have thought as I did; and hence the opportunity has been neglected. I do not claim but little space, and I think I have a right to a brief defence of the position held by the people called Mormons, on the "Book of Mormon" question.

That Miss Dickenson is sincere in her opinion I do not question, and I am just as fully satisfied that she is entirely mistaken in several important matters introduced by her in the article referred to; and the contradictory character of some of them will readily appear when pointed out. I can only speak for that portion of the people called Mormons, known as "The Reorganization," who believing in the inspirational character of the Book of Mormon, and repudiate the doctrine of polygamy as vile and heretical. Strange as this statement may appear to many of your readers who have been led to believe that polygamy is a fundamental principle of Mormonism, yet it is a fact that no one who has ever read the Book of Mormon can gainsay, that in every edition of the book from 1830 till the latest, and even in all those issued by the Salt Lake Mormons, or the "Utah Church" as we call it, the practice of polygamy is called a "crime," and denounced as being "abominable" in the sight of God, and is forbidden by him, in such express terms as these: "Therefore, no man among you shall have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none." And as a reason why the practice of polygamy is forbidden, the Lord is represented as a being who "delighteth in the chastity of woman." Yet in her attempt to expose Joseph Smith and the Mormon Bible, Miss Dickenson says, "Smith had now become a prophet, and he proceeded forthwith to add his peculiar tenets in regard to marriage etc., to the original manuscript." Now it is evident that she has never read the book, for in none of the numerous editions of the work has any other sacraments appeared than that just referred to; and I truly wish that we as a Church could find one half as strong a declaration against polygamy in the Bible as is found in the Book of Mormon. And our friends who undertake to measure swords, theologically, with the Utah Church, would find a much easier task in endeavoring to overthrow that institution, had they such positive denunciations of the evil from the mouth of the Lord, in the Bible, as the Book of Mormon contains. And if Joseph Smith did truly copy Spaulding's romance and added "his peculiar tenets in regard to marriage to the original manuscript" of Spaulding, credit must be given for teaching that polygamy is a "crime," and the practice of it "abominable" in the sight of the Lord. And I challenge any human being on earth to produce a copy of that book issued by authority of the "Mormon Church," not excepting the polygamous portion found in Utah, which teaches any other than the monogamous system of marriage.

In no writings of Joseph Smith that can be proven to be genuine, has there ever been found any teachings favoring polygamy, but much that condemns it, and teachings which if lived up to by those who pretend to believe in his prophetic character would forever prevent its practice. Among the first things that were added in the shape of revelations to that which is found in the Book of Mormon, is a commandment purporting to be given by inspiration through Joseph Smith, in February 1831, (the Book of Mormon being issued early in 1830), which reads: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else;" and later, as a part of the marriage ceremony which to this day is in use in the Church, the parties to be married are requested to say, "Yes," to this question: "Do you mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, and to observe the legal rights belonging to this condition: that is, keeping yourselves for each other and from all others during your natural lives." Can polygamy therefrom possibly obtain among a people who recognize the Book of Mormon and these commandments and Church articles as authoritative and binding? And are not those who practice contrary to them apostates from the faith and practice of the Church as prevailed in the days of Joseph Smith? And in this light must Utah Mormons be considered.

But now to a consideration of the relation of the Book of Mormon to the Spaulding romance.

Two ways are presented by which Joseph Smith might have got possession of the Spaulding story or a copy of it. One was while Smith was a teamster on the farm of Mr. Sabine. Howbeit we are now informed, and have been for fifty years, that Smith was "too lazy to work." Miss Dickenson says "Smith however, could easily have possessed himself of the manuscript if he had fancied it suitable to his purposes, for it is understood that he was a servant on the farm, or a teamster for Mr. Sabine, in whose house the package of manuscripts lay exposed in an unlocked trunk for years." Now Smith must have been engaged in contemplating and preparing for this fraud of his at a very early age, and we must give him more credit for skill and brains than he has heretofore been supposed to have possessed; for if we turn to Mrs. McKinistry's "sworn" testimony, presented in this very letter of Miss Dickenson, we learn that the manuscript in question was in Mr. Sabine's care from 1816 to 1820. Her father died in 1816, at Amity, Washington county, Pa., when her mother and herself went to Onondago Valley, N. Y., to live with an uncle of hers, named William A. Sabine. "In 1820 she married Mr. Davison of Hartwicks, a village near Cooperstown, New York, and sent for the things she had left at Onondago Valley, and I remember that the old trunk with its contents reached her in safety," says McKinstry, Solomon Spaulding's daughter. Now the period was from 1816 to 1820 that Smith could get the manuscript at Sabine's, and as Smith was born in December, 1805, he could have been but eleven to fifteen years old from 1816 to 1820. And that Smith worked for Mr. Sabine at all has been positively denied, and no proof offered that he did, except the word of Miss Dickenson, and she only says "it is understood" that he was on the farm. But as a proof that Smith did not possess himself of the manuscript, admitting that he was there, Mrs. McKinstry affirms in "a sworn statement," that she saw and handled it often while at Sabine's, saying: "I had it in my hands many times;" and again she says, the "trunk with its contents" reached her mother in safety at Hartwicks, in 1820. She again affirms that the manuscript in question was delivered to a man named Hurlbut, by Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwicks, in 1834, by order of her mother; so it was in possession of the family, and they knew of its whereabouts up till 1834.

And it is somewhat strange that some of the many enemies of Smith and the Mormons did not secure the manuscript and publish it during the four years that elapsed, (which was early in 1830), for the report had been circulated far and wide during that period, that it was one and the same thing, or "the same with slight alterations," as Mrs. McKinstry states; for its publication after its genuineness had been established, would have shown to every body who would take the trouble to compare them, whether the "Mormon Bible" was a plagiarism on the Spaulding novel or not.

Yes; and it would have been done, if it was honestly believed by those interested in "uprooting Mormonism," that they were identical. But we are told by Mrs. McKinstry that that step was taken afterward, or in 1834, when Hurlbut came and got the "Manuscript Found." Well; why did he not publish it, or the parties who sent him after it? We have the answer in the following statement made by Rev. Robert Patterson of Pittsburg, Pa., last February, in the Pittsburg Leader, Speaking of Mr. Hurlbut, he says: "I paid him a visit at his home in Gibsonville, Sandusky county, Ohio, in August, 1879, and interviewed him in reference to his connection with the Spaulding manuscript. He said that he did receive the manuscript from the widow of Spaulding in 1834, which manuscript he gave to E. D. Howe of Painesville, P., but declares his entire ignorance of the contents of that manuscript. He says this was the only Spaulding Manuscript he ever had in his possession. Mr. Howe states that this manuscript was not the one known as the ;Manuscript Found,' but was on an entirely different subject." Mr. Howe has said still more recently that it was not the original manuscript, or that called the "Manuscript Found," but "related to some Indian wars that occurred on the borders of the Great Lakes." And he says he does not "believe that Hurlbut ever had the original" Now it must be apparent to every candid mind, that as Howe had sent Hurlbut for the original manuscript, in order to publish it, that its similarity to the Book of Mormon might be clearly shown, he would have gladly printed it -- if he had received the original, and had found it to be Spaulding's story, followed "with almost servile closeness" by Smith, in his Mormon Bible. It is therefore evident that if he did receive the original (which he affirms that he did not), he found that it did not agree with the Book of Mormon, and hence would not publish it; or else the Spaulding party never gave Hurlbut the original; and the public should demand that the "old trunk" be searched, and if the original "Manuscript Found" be not found; that the party who last had it in charge, be required to give a truthful account of their disposition of it. If that manuscript which Mrs. McKinstry says was written on the outside with the words "Manuscript Found" was not found in the trunk when Clark searched for it, to give to Hurlbut, is it not altogether probable that he would have informed Mrs. Davison (widow Spaulding) of that fact? And would not inquiries have been instituted and efforts made to find what had become of it? The statement of Mr. Howe removes all the edge from the report stated by Miss Dickenson that Hurlbut had sold the original, or the "Manuscript Found," to the Mormons for three hundred dollars. No, no; the Spaulding family must in honor produce the original, or give a clear and satisfactory statement to the public, had it become lost, and if they can connect Joseph Smith with its removal from their custody, let it be in some better shape than that he could have got it, or could have copied it, at any place, or at any time. We demand evidence that he ever saw it, much less handled it, copied it, or stole it. And we demand the proof that Spaulding's romance and the Book of Mormon are the same thing, in the only possible way that it can be furnished, viz. the production of the original romance. This alone will satisfy a candid, thinking public. It is not because we think that the original can not be found that we make this demand -- for we truly do not know but what it may be lying snugly in that "old trunk;" but we want to know, and we ought to know as a people, whether we have had palmed off on us a plagiarism on the Spaulding romance, instead of as claimed, an authentic and divinely translated history of the Aborigines, the mound builders, of this country. If this Book of Mormon is a fraud we want to know it, but we want positive evidence, and not inferences only. Mrs. McKinstry says: "While we have no personal knowledge that the Mormon Bible was taken from the 'Manuscript Found,' there are many evidences to us that it was, and that Hurlbut and others at the time thought so," Now if Mrs. McKinstry had ever read her father's manuscript, and had read the Book of Mormon, she could have very readily settled that question. Mr. Sabine, who Mrs. McKinstry says had :undoubtedly read the manuscript," ought to be able to swear to the servile closeness" of the following by the Book of Mormon of the former. He has never told the public that he ever saw the document, nor does Mrs. McKinstry say that she ever saw him read it, or heard him say that he had. Mrs. McKinstry did not read it while it was there at Sabine's, or from 1816 to 1820, for she says, "I did not read it."

She had no chance to read it from 1812 to 1816, for it was in Pittsburg we have been told most of that time; she was only six years old, or not quite that, in 1812, and then she says her father read it to his friends, and now what does she remember? This and this only, that four names she recollects that are in the Book of Mormon she heard way back seventy years ago, when in her sixth year; and strange as it may appear, every neighbor who says he heard Spaulding read his romance, remembers the names Mormon, Moroni, Lamenite, Nephi; these four and no more, out of some sixty names or more in the book. As to Rigdon's connection with the case; Rev. Robert Patterson already referred to, and son of the Patterson in whose printing office the manuscript was said to have been for some time, says: "There is no direct proof that Mr. Rigdon made a copy of the work as it is claimed he did." Rigdon was a preacher in the Disciple Church at Kirtland, Ohio, and in the October of 1830 was converted to Mormonism by Parley P, Pratt, and had never seen Joseph Smith at that time; and the Book of Mormon was published over six months before he had seen it in any shape. For fifty years parties have tried to connect Smith and Rigdon in the work of getting up the Book of Mormon, and have utterly failed. It is a fact that is well known around Kirtland, that Rigdon was converted to the Mormon faith at the time and place just named, and that he enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the people in a very large measure for years prior to his connection with the "deluded Mormons." I could say much more, and would like to examine other statements made by Miss Dickenson, but as I before said, the producing of the original by the Spaulding family, and a fair and honest comparison of the two, as a faithful publication of the manuscript would allow everybody to make, would settle the case forever.

And if that can not be done, because the papers are destroyed or lost, then we demand some better evidence than that yet offered, which is simply that Smith or Rigdon could have copied or stolen the original romance. Let us have the proof that they did.

        Respectfully, yours for the truth,
                               T. W. SMITH.
Chicago, Illinois.

Note: Information on RLDS Apostle Thomas Wood Smith and comments on the above letter are forthcoming.



Vol. 28.                               Lamoni,  Iowa,  Nov. 15, 1881.                             No. 22.

David  Whitmer  Interviewed

A CORRESPONDANT of the Times, Chicago, has again interviewed Elder David Whitmer, and finds that aged soldier still firm in his testimony to the Book of Mormon, so long ago given to the world.

The relation is in many respects just the same as we once reproduced in the Herald; but is sufficiently different in its form and phraseology as to warrant our giving it almost entire. The part we leave out is the proclamation lately issued by him, which we lately published.

In the beautiful shire town of Richmond, Ray county, Mo., there has resided for well nigh half a century, David Whitmer, known to the world as one of the three witnesses that testified to the validity and reality of the golden plates from which it has been asserted that Joseph Smith translated the "Book of Mormon," the original manuscript of which Mr. Whitmer has in possession, which shows by finger marks and where it has been cut into "takes" -- a printer's term -- that it has passed through the hands of type setters. As a citizen of his town he stands deservedly high, having filled the office of mayor and councilman, is a good scholar, and thoroughly posted in biblical lore. During the past two years he has been slowly declining, and is now confined to his home, carefully attended to by his wife, children and grandchildren. Born in the state of New York, from Revolutionary ancestors, he brought with him to the West his habits of thrift and hospitality. To the stranger or the unfortunate his home and purse have ever been open, and his name is a synonym of probity and integrity. Knowing that he was approaching the full term allotted for man's stay on earth and that the readers of the Times would like to hear what he had to say concerning the origin of the "Book of Mormon," I called at his residence -- a plain and unpretentious frame building -- was ushered into his chamber by his grand-daughter and found the old patriot reclining on his bed. Upon being told the object of my visit he promptly responded to my questions, and after an hour's interview I gleaned the following valuable information from him -- he speaking freely and unreservedly -- in regard to the origin and rise of the Mormon Church, as well as to the authenticity of the "Book of Mormon."

The plates from which the book was translated, supposed to be of gold, were found the latter part of the year 1827 or 1828 prior to any acquaintance on Mr. Whitmer's part with Joseph Smith, and he was loath to believe in their actuality, notwithstanding the community in which he lived (Ontario county, New York), was alive with excitement in regards to Smith's finding a great treasure, and they informed him that they knew that Smith had the plates, as they had seen the place he had taken them from, on the Hill Cumorah, about two miles from Palmyra, New York. It was not until June 1829, that he met the future prophet, who visited his father's house, and while there he completed the translation of the "Book of Mormon;" and thus he became conversant with its history, having witnessed Smith dictate to Oliver Cowdery the translation of the characters that were inscribed on the plates, said by Mr. Anthon, our Egyptian scholar, to resemble the characters of that ancient people. Christian Whitmer, his brother, occasionally assisted Cowdery in writing, as did Mrs. Joseph Smith, who was a Miss Hale before she was married.

In regard to finding the plates, he was told by Smith that they were in a stone casket, and the place where it was deposited, in the hill Cumorah, was pointed out to him by a celestial personage, clad in a dazzling white robe and he was informed by it that it was the history of the Nephites, a nation that had passed away, whose founders belonged to the days of the tower of Babel. The plates, which Mr. Whitmer saw, were in the shape of a tablet, fastened with three rings, about one-third of which appeared to be loose, in plates, the other solid, but with perceptible marks where the plates appeared to be sealed, and the guide that pointed it out to Smith very impressively reminded him that the loose plates alone were to be used; the sealed portion was not to be tampered with.

After the plates had been translated, which process required about six months, the same heavenly visitant appeared and reclaimed the gold plates of the ancient people, informing Smith that he would replace them with other records of the lost tribes that had been brought with them during their wanderings in Asia, which would be forthcoming when the world was ready to receive them. At that time Mr. Whitmer saw the tablet, gazed with awe upon the celestial messenger, heard him speak and say: "Blessed is the Lord and he that keeps his commandments;" and then, as he held the plates and turned them over in his hands, so that they could be plainly visible, a voice that seemed to fill all space, musical as the sighing of a wind through the forest, was heard saying, "What you see is true; testify to the same," and Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, standing there, felt, as the white garments of the angel faded from their vision and the heavenly voice still rang in their ears, that it was no delusion -- that it was a fact; and they so recorded it. In a day or two after, the same spirit appeared to Martin Harris, while he was in company with Smith and told him also to bear witness to its truth, which he did, as can be seen in the book. Harris described the visitant to Whitmer, who recognized it as the same as he and Cowdery had seen.

The plates or tablets were translated by Smith, who used a small oval kidney-shaped stone, called Urim and Thummim, that seemed endowed with the marvelous power of converting the characters on the plates, when used by Smith, into English, who would then dictate to Cowdery what to write. Frequently one character would make two lines of manuscript, while others made but a word or two words. Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts, as did Harris and Cowdery, that while Smith was dictating the translation he had no manuscript notes or other means of knowledge save the seer stone and the characters as shown on the plates, he being present and cognizant how it was done.

In regard to the statement that Sidney Rigdon had purloined the work of one Spaulding, a Presbyterian preacher, who had written a romance entitled "The Manuscript Found," Mr. Whitmer says there is no foundation for such an assertion. The "Book of Mormon: was translated in the summer of 1829, and printed that winter in Palmyra, N. Y. and was in circulation before Sidney Rigdon knew anything concerning the Church of Christ. His attention was especially brought to it by the appearance, near Kirtland, O., in the fall of 1830, of Parley Pratt and Oliver Cowdery, he being at that time a Reformed or Christian preacher, they having been sent west by the church in New York during the summer as evangelists and they then carried the printed book, the first time he knew such a thing was in existence. Upon being appealed to by Pratt and Cowdery for the use of his church he informed them that as he was endeavoring to establish the rules and get back into the ancient usages of Christianity, and desired all the light he could get that was of benefit to his fellow men, he would do so, and would like to hear them. Then they gave him a copy of the book that it had been asserted he was the progenitor of. The result of the meeting was that 101 persons were received into the church at Kirtland: that Rigdon and Partridge, two influential preachers, were sent as delegates to New York to see Joseph Smith, and they were so much impressed with his history of the book and his connection therewith that they became firm believers, and started back home as evangelists, preaching the new religion. In a short time thereafter, Smith, Whitmer, and others, learning of the beautiful country in Ohio, moved west, and the church increased rapidly, and would have so continued, had it not strayed from the true path, to preach only Christ and Him crucified, as it had begun. Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts that he has heard Rigdon, in the pulpit and in private conversations, declare that the Spaulding story, that he had used a book called "The Manuscript Found" for the purpose of preparing the Book of Mormon," was as false as were many other charges made against the infant church, and he assured me that the story is as untruthful as it is ridiculous.

In his youth Joseph Smith was quite illiterate, knew nothing of grammar composition, but obtained quite a good education after he came west; was a man of great magnetism, made friends easily, was liberal and noble in his impulses, tall, finely formed, and full of animal life, but sprung from the most humble circumstances. The first good suit of clothes he had ever worn was presented to him by Christian Whitmer, brother of David.

As evidence of their belief in the divine origin of the book, Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, mortgaged his farm for $1500 for the purpose of having it printed, and the sale of the book soon reimbursed him for the outlay. Now millions of copies are being published and sent to the furthermost ends of the earth. A few years since, I was present at an interview between Mr. Whitmer and Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, who had been sent from Utah to Richmond, to secure the original manuscript, and after a careful examination, Elder Pratt pronounced it the writing of Oliver Cowdery, and informed those present that it was the original manuscript from which the "Book of Mormon" had been printed, and in a conversation with the writer he assured me the archives of the church at Salt Lake City, were incomplete without it; that they would pay Father Whitmer, as he termed him, any reasonable price for it, but that Whitmer would not part with it under any consideration, regarding it as a sacred trust. Mr. Whitmer also has a number of other records of the early church, ere it had, as he says, "broke loose from the teachings of Christ and acknowledged nothing as divine save as it was taught from the Bible and the Book of Mormon."

Mr. Whitmer's beliefs have undergone no change since his early manhood; he has refused to affiliate with any of the various branches that have sprung up through false teachings, and rests his hopes of the future "in the teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the prophets, and the morals and principles inculcated in the scriptures; that the Book of Mormon is but the testimony of another nation concerning the truth and divinity of Christ and the Bible, and that is his rock, his gospel, and his salvation." Seeing with him is believing. He is now as firm in the faith of the divinity of the book that he saw translated as he was when the glory of the celestial visitant almost blinded him with the gleam of its glowing presence, fresh from the godhead; and the voice, majestic, ringing out fromearth to the mighty dome of space, still lingers in his ears like a chime of silver bells.

Notes: (forthcoming)

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last updated: Aug. 10, 2009