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Vol. 12.                            Independence, Mo.  March 7, 1901.                            No. 10.



This is an important question. If they are, then down goes "Mormonism" with all that term actually signifies, as a monstrous institution...

"Evidence was brought forward by the opponents of Smith to show that with certain interpolations bearing on religious matters, the so-called Book of Mormon was really borrowed or stolen nearly verbatim from a manuscript romance written by a quondam clergyman named Solomon Spaulding, who died in 1816. It is unnecessary to go over the arguments pro and con, suffice it to say, that anti-Mormons generally think them conclusive, while the Saints consider the whole story of Spaulding's romance a scandalous fabrication." -- Chambers' Encyclopedia, New York, Collier Ed.

"It is conjectured by the opponents of Mormonism that Rigdon, into whose hands Spaulding's romance is supposed to have fallen for some time, gave it to his new associate (Joseph Smith) to further his purposes." -- Ibid.

Mormonism then, being on trial, is assailed by the testators, "it is asserted," "it is alleged," "it is conjectured by the opponents of Mormonism," "satisfactory evidence -- that of his enemies," and "according to the opponents of Mormonism the fact is fully established." What weight will such evidence have upon an unprejudiced jury weighing matters of eternal moment? Whether the Book of Mormon be truth or fiction, fact or fable, its claims as to being a message from God for this generation, ought not to be condemned because of a "conjecture" proceeding from "the opponents of Mormonism," who only "supposed" that the Book of Mormon was "stolen from Spaulding's manuscript." ... [but] we may expect something pretty strong from these commonly regarded all-powerful authorities. Chamber's Encyclopedia affirms that,

"About 1829 Smith became acquainted with one Sidney Rigdon, originally a compositor and preacher, but who had by this time begun to promulgate a specie of incipient Mormonism, and had managed to found a little sect of his own. It is conjectured by the opponents of Mormonism that Rigdon, into whose hands Spaulding's Romance is supposed to have fallen for some time, gave it to his new associate to further his purposes."

According to this Smith obtained the real, original Spalding romance. The American Encylopedia, 1863, and Cyclopedia America, 1883, takes a different view of the matter.

"His widow (Spaulding's), in a statement published by her in the Boston Journal, May 18, 1839, declares that in 1812 he placed his manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburg, with which Sidney Rigdon was connected. Rigdon, she says, copied the manuscript, and his possession of a copy was known to all the printing office and was often mentioned by himself. Subsequently the original manuscript was returned to the author, who soon after died. His widow preserved it till after the publication of the Book of Mormon, when she sent it to Conneaut."

Assuming that Mrs. Spalding's story is correct, the manuscript was only out of her husband's hands from 1812 up till a short time before his death. which occurred in 1816. The manuscript after that always remained in her hands till after the publication of the Book of Mormon. Accepting to Chamber's story as true, we have Rigdon stealing the manuscript within those given dates, 1812 to 1816, giving it to Smith to further his purposes, and he, of course, getting through with it in time that it might be "returned to the author a short time before his death." Now, when we keep in view that Smith was born in 1805, it seems almost incredible that he, by 1812-1816, had "purposes" sufficently matured to make a Book of Mormon out of Spaulding's Romance. But the possible chance of Smith getting the manuscript at this time is knocked out by Chamber asserting that "Smith did not become acquainted with Rigdon till about 1829." At this time Rigdon did not have Spalding's manuscript to give as Mrs. Spalding declares it was in her hands and remained with her till after the publication of the Book of Mormon. We think we have every right to this examination of matter when one of the encylopedias asserts the truthfulness of its story because of being "conjectured by the opponents of Mormonism," and by them it was "supposed." Can there be any weaker testimony than this?

Another encyclopedia, recognizing the weakness of the previous contradictory testimony, comes valiantly to their assistance and offers the following:

"An angel appearing, made revelations to him (Joseph Smith), and next day gave him certain engraved plates, with an instrument called the Uri and Thummim, by the aid of which he translated them, publishing the resukt in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. On this the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, a Presbyterian preacher, declared that having some time before written a work of fiction, which no publisher could be induced to print, his rejected copy had been lost or stolen, and had re-appeared as the angelically revealed Book of Mormon. To silence Spaulding both the faithful and the unbelievers clamored for a sight of the plates." -- Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1885, Vol. 5.

According to this, Spaulding was alive at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon, which was in 1830, and was vigorously opposing it. This would be a nice story if Cyclopedia America would only keeo quiet; hear what it says,

"Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Connecticut. * * * In 1809 he removed to Conneaut, Ohio. From Conneaut in 1812 he removed to Pittsburg, and thence in 1844 to Amity, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816." When witnesses contradict themselves can their testimony be received as evidence? ...

Note 1: It should probably be mentioned here that the Boston Journal did not exist in 1839. Its predecessor, the Boston Journal of Commerce, is not known to have published a Matilda Spalding Davison document on May 18, 1839. However, the Illinois Quincy Whig did reprint her statement on that date, and this is the date that Sidney Rigdon cites in his letter to the latter paper's editors, in his communication of May 27th, published in the July 8, 1839 issue of the Whig. Numerous early sources mis-identify the Quincy Whig reprint as being an apparently non-existent "Boston Journal" article or reprint.

Note 2: Elder MacGregor misinterprets the chronological possibilities when he considers that "Chamber" says "About 1829 Smith became acquainted with one Sidney Rigdon." MacGregor tries to move the supposed interaction between Smith and Rigdon back to the period when Solomon Spalding's manuscript was out of his hands and in the keeping of certain people in Pittsburgh. This construction of events does not work, of course, but the "Chamber" report is not necessarily incompatible with "The American Encyclopedia." The latter source says that "Rigdon... copied the manuscript" in 1812 or not long thereafter. The combined encyclopedia accounts would still allow a youthful Rigdon to copy the manuscript and then retain his copy (or later on get possession of the abandoned document from the printing office) and pass on its contents to Joseph Smith, Jr. during the late 1820s. Elder MacGregor misses entirely this possibility, and so he criticizes a hypothetical assertion of his own construction, rather than considering the actual possibilities of the matter.


Vol. 12.                            Independence, Mo.  November 14, 1901.                            No. 46.


Sometime during the early part of last spring, while Elder R. C. Evans was in the western states, in consequence of some of the leading and wealthy people of the community having been baptized into the Latter Day Saints church, the sleeping malice and hatred of the Rev. Wm. R. Burwell, of the Baptist church, and Rev. A. T. Flemming, of the Campbellite church, were aroused, both of which broke out in a violent tirade of abuse, and all slanders of the dead past were retold, viz., Spalding Romance, polygamy, etc. ...

Elder Evans was at his best and waxed brilliantly eloquent in his exposure of the contemptible methods employed by these preachers... He took up the following proposition, as publicly asserted by the preachers.

"Resolved, That the Book of Mormon is a fraud, taken from Rev. Spaulding's Manuscript Found, and arranged by Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon to deceive the people."

After examining the encyclopedias on the matter, he read Pratt's reply to Sutherland [sic] in 1842, wherein he shows that Rigdon did not see the Book of Mormon till late in 1830, when he (Pratt) and Oliver Cowdery presented it to him, and that he never saw Joseph Smith till 1831. Also, Rigdon's letter of May 27, 1839, showing he had nothing whatever to do with the Manuscript Found. Aslo Sydney Rigdon's daughter's testimony, wherein she gives the statement of her father, made to clergymen around him, when as she said, "At a time when he had but little hope of living from one day to another. We here append the dying man's statement. "As I expect to die and meet my Maker, I know nothing about where the manuscript of the Mormon Bible came from." ...

(see the July 24, 1901 issue of the Saints' Herald for remainder)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 13.                            Independence, Mo.  November 27, 1902.                            No. 48.



In the New York World for October 5th, our attention was attracted to quite a lengthy communication from one Rev. Mahaffey, a prominent minister in the Methodist church South, residing at Granitville, South Carolina. In this communication it was claimed that he had recently discovered "positive proof" that Mormonism (so called) is a fraud, and that the Book of Mormon is a fable. Knowing that such evidence has, in the past, been very scarce -- hard to get --we made up our minds to secure, if possible, the precious treasure. We wrote the reverend gentleman the following letter:

                           Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 6.
Rev. J. E. Mahaffey, Granitville, S. C.

Dear Sir: -- In a recent issue (October 5th) of the New York World, I note with no little interest that you, after ten years of diligent research, have discovered that the Book of Mormon is a fraud; proved to be so. That Mormonism is the greatest religious deception that has ever been perpetrated, and that you believe many Mormons are ignorant of the error. You will understand, of course, that I am not a Mormon in the common understanding of that name; that is, I am in no sense affiliated or connected in church fellowship with the Utah Mormon church, yet am a firm believer in the religion founded by Joseph Smith, and also in the Book of Mormon; believe it to be a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the western continent and that in no sense does it supersede or take the place of the Bible, but is supplementary to it, revealing the same Christ, and the same gospel that Christ taught on the eastern continent.

After years of diligent study of this work, I cannot conclude as you have, viz,, that it is a fraud and an imposture. It has not deceived me in any way that I know of. Its moral teachings are beyond question. It has in no sense destroyed my faith and belief in the Bible; but instead, has increased and confirmed it. Now, since you have of late discovered direct PROOF that it is not divine, and is a deception and a fraud, and that it was taken from [the] Spaulding Romance, may I now request you to prepare carefully your proofs of your statements, send them to me and I will lay them before the editors of our official church papers. I assure you they will receive careful consideration. If our religion is as false as you seem to think it is, you could do nothing better than to point out wherein it is false, and we will give our brethren the benefit of your discoveries.

I have before me a certified copy of "Spalding's Romance," and a published statement of Mr. L. L. Rice, who had it in his possession at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. He says, "Two things arc true concerning this manuscript In my possession. First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spalding; and second * * * It is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

By comparing the Book of Mormon with the Spalding Romance, any man, it seems to me, can see that there is no similarity between the two. Now, if, as reported, you have the evidence that. the Book of Mormon was really taken from this manuscript, and can prove it, it will be of great interest to our people to know about how it was done, and when, etc.

I shall await with interest reply from you, as touching this matter.

                           Yours very truly,
                                       W. E La Rue.

To this I received the following reply:

                           Granitville, S. C., Oct. 11.
Elder W. E. La Rue, Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Brother: -- Your letter is received and carefully noted, and as my duties at present call me away from home most of the time, I hasten to write you a few lines during the few moments that I am here.

I wish to say in the first place, that I would not be understood as making a wholesale denunciation of your religion. It has some very commendable features, and it was in consideration of these features that I began my investigation of the subject over eight years ago. I have never been disposed to pass judgment on any subject without first knowing precisely what it is and whence it came. I am now as fully convinced as I ever was of anything in my life, and have a superfluity of proof to show, that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of Spaulding's writings. I do not believe that Spaulding found it buried in the ground as he claims. It was only a pretense of his which his friends knew was not true. Therefore, to whatever degree you accept and teach the Book of Mormon as a divine revelation, or of divine origin, to that extent your preaching and religion is a delusion. Of this I have not the shadow of a doubt.

Next week I hope to be able to write you more particularly and will send you a hurriedly put together collection of the evidence which I have on this subject. The price of it will be about fifteen cents a copy, but if you would like to have several copies I will send you one dozen for one dollar.

I think there is not a particle of doubt as to what will be the effect of this information on the public mind, and I wish to say to you confidentially (believing; that you, like many others, if not all, are sincere in your belief and practice), that even this discovery need not upset your church in its work, but should result in making you a greater and mightier church than you have ever been, by an elimination of such matters as pertain to that book. I therefore suggest that you urge your leaders to move cautiously and wisely in this matter.

With best wishes and hoping to hear from you again, I am,
                          Yours sincerely,
                                     (Rev.) J. E. Mahaffey.

                          Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 13.
Rev. J. E. Mahaffey, Granitville, S. C.

Dear Sir: -- I have received your letter of October 11th, making reply to my letter to you of the sixth inst. I enclose you fifteen cents as you suggest, for a copy of the evidence which you have by which you prove the Book of Mormon to be a plagiarism of Spalding's Romance.

I may add that the same day the New York paper reported that you had made discovery that the Book of Mormon was taken from Spalding's Romance, one of our Philadelphia papers, The Inquirer, in an article speaking of Mormons, etc., said that, "All efforts to prove that the Book of Mormon originated from the Spalding Romance are without foundation in fact, and that that argument had been abandoned and given up," etc. Rev. D. H. Bays, who was once a minister of of our church for twenty-seven years, and left it, among other reasons, because he was "led to reject the dogma of the divine inspiration of the Bible as wholly untenable," and who is now preaching for the Campbellite church, in a book which he wrote against the church, entitled, "Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism," says on page twenty-five, "The Spaulding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- it will let you down. The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spaulding romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon must be abandoned."

Of course all these are amusing to Latter Dny Saints and we wonder what will turn up next. Since your discovery affects this theory that we had supposed to have been given up as a "bad job," we shall take great care to give it a full investigation. Awaiting your reply, and extending you my personal regards, I am.
                           Yours very truly,
                                       W. E La Rue.

A few days succeeding this I received the wonderful book, "Positive Proof," and wrote to him the following letter, making further inquiry for "proof."

                          Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 13.
Rev. J. E. Mahaffey, Granitville, S. C.

Dear Sir: --I received your book, "Positive Proof," and have been giving it careful consideration. May I ask you, to what statistics can you refer me for proof of the statement you make on page two, viz., "that during the past year Mormons gained sixty-five thousand members in the east?" Which are the states, the seven of which you speak, over which Mormons have political control? What six other states, to which you refer, are being colonized by Mormons? I publicly reviewed your book before our congregation here yesterday and will continue it next Sunday. I will later make you a brief answer to some statements made in your book, all of which will also be published in our church papers. If you would like to reach members of our congregation here with your book, will say, that if you will send me about one hundred and fifty copies I will see that they are distributed among them. I enclose you twenty cents for two more copies. Any other matters of fact you may wish to submit to me before I make final disposition of this matter, will be cheerfully received. Hoping, to hear from you, I am,
                           Yours truly,
                                       W. E La Rue.

Not receiving a reply, I wrote him a brief criticism of his book as follows:

                          Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 4.
Rev. J. E. Mahaffey,

Dear Sir: -- Having received no further reply to inquiries made to you in my letter of October 20th, I will now proceed to make some criticisms of your wonderful book, "Positive Proof," I may add, however, that I received the two copies ordered in my last letter to you. The only particular attraction the book had to me was the name you gave it. So I naturally had my curiosity intensified. I think a better name would have been "Positive Assertion," for your whole book from beginning, to end is scarcely anything more.

Whether the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of the Spalding Romance or not, it is very evident your book is a plagiarism of the Braden and Kelley debate, and a number of other books written purporting to expose the evils of Mormonism. The manifest incorrectness of all these books has been discovered and so well known that authors still continue to write about the wonderful evils of Mormonism, claiming, that former accounts are incorrect, but that the book in question is the latest production of facts. For you to obtain the text of your work from this source, is, to say the least, a very poor way to obtain "positive proof." Your book abounds with such as, "it will be seen," "very likely," "there is not a shadow of doubt," "it has been said," "it is supposed," "I venture to assert," etc. Very poor relics of "positive proof," seems to me.

I venture to say that your book will never prove to any intelligent, sensible man or woman who knows anything about the latter day work, that it is false, and a delusion, as you state it is. And you need not lose any sleep over the probability of it "upsetting your (our) church," I assure you.

I will now proceed to "let you down" somewhat. Page two you state, "During the past year (1901) they gained sixty-five thousand members in the east." I imagine that would make a Utah Mormon smile to read that, but in the absence of other proof I can excuse you for the statement since your evidence was "hurriedly put together." And I can also excuse you for what may follow in the book since you apparently was in such a hurry. I advise you next time, if you "try, try again," to take more time, and by all means don't for get to insert the proof, as it is the most important thing to look for in a book labeled, "Positive Proof." I may add, that I really believe, if facts could be known definitely, that the Utah Mormons have not made sixty-five converts east of the Mississippi river in the last two years. Utah Mormonism is growing only in the imaginations of a few scared preachers.

You say, page two, "they (Mormons) hold the balance of power (political) in SEVEN of the United States, and are persistently colonizing in half a dozen others." Well, well, what a pity you did not have the time to give the proof. (I gave him the opportunity later as we note in my last letter to him.) If your knowledge of Mormonism is no greater than your knowledge of governmental affairs, we will not hold you responsible for the rest of the assertions we find in your book.

Page three you say, "Smith had been warned that no other eye should ever look upon these plates." In that you are mistaken; see Doctrine and Covenants, section 5, paragraph 3; provision is there made for the calling of three witnesses to whom these plates were to be shown. Like Jesus, who, when he was raised from the dead, was not shown to all the people but unto witnesses chosen before of God. (See Acts 10:41.) These witnesses saw and heard and bore their testimony; it has never been impeached to this day

You say, page 37, "These witnesses have since affirmed the falsity of their statement." Ah! when, and where is the proof? Read the Church History, volume 1, page 49. Go to Richmond, Missouri, visit the cemetery there, and gaze upon the stone that marks the last resting place of David Whitmer, and see chiseled in the stone the figure of the Bible upon which lies one of the Book of Mormon. Read the inscription of the testimony of him who, though dead, yet speaketh: "THE RECORD OF THE JEWS AND THE RECORD OF THE NEPHITES ARE, ONE. TRUTH IS ETERNAL." See also an Address by David Whitmer, page 8, in which he says, "I will say once more to all mankind, that I never at any time denied that testimony or any part of it. I testify to the world that neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever, at any time, denied their testimony." He made this statement again because it had been reported in the Encyclopedia Britannica, "that he had denied his testimony," which report was evidently written in a hurry by some one who did not know what they were talking about.

You say, page 4, "eleven men, some of whom, as will be seen later, were addicted to the habit of stealing sheep, testify that Smith had showed them the original plates." You were in such a "hurry" you forgot to insert the proof, and we have not seen yet, late as it is, any evidence that would convict them as sheep thieves.

Page 6 you say, "Joseph Smith's mother enjoyed quite a reputation for telling fortunes." You evidently plagiarized that from some other book something like your own. You say further, "His father dug wells and made baskets," and yet you say "they avoided honest labor," and yet you further say they "peddled beer and gingerbread,"...

And now we will give your argument concerning Sidney Rigdon and the Spalding Romance a brief mention. Your argument is no new discovery, it is only about as old as Clark Braden's argument is, in the Braden and Kelley debate. Your whole structure rests on, Did Sidney Rigdon assist in bringing forth the Book of Mormon? We claim he had nothing to do with it. It has never been shown that he resided in Pittsburg until 1822, eight years after the Spalding Manuscript had been taken away from there, and which remained in the custody of the late widow of Rev. Spalding, until it was procured from her by D. P. Hurlbut in 1834, who, in connection with E. D. Howe, a printer, had intended to publish it to show that it was the foundation of the Book of Mormon. But when they read it, they found it was "nothing of the kind" and so it was mislaid among some of Howe's other printing house books, etc., and was sold to L. L. Rice, who carried it, unknowingly, to Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, and from whom it was procured in 1884, by President Fairchild, of Oberlin, Ohio, college, who after having examined the two, the Spalding Romance and the Book of Mormon, said, he "could detect no resemblance between the two in general detail. Some other explanation of the Book of Mormon must be found," etc.

It is shown by court records of Geauga county, Ohio, that Sidney Rigdon was a minister of another church up to and until after the Book of Mormon was in print. It has never been shown that he was associated with Joseph Smith in any way until December, 1830. The Book of Mormon was delivered to the printer in August, 1829, and the printing was all done March 1830. Oliver Cowdery said (in 1848). "I wrote the entire Book of Mormon as it fell from the lips of the prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God."

P. P. Pratt, whom you mention as being instrumental in bringing Sidney Rigdon into the church says he "was unacquainted with the church until sometime after its organization, which was April 6, 1830." Sidney Rigdon united with the church in December, 1830. To close this story let us hear from Rigdon himself. He says, in a communication to the Boston Journal [sic] from Commerce, Illinois, May 27, 1839:

"In your paper of the 18th inst. I see a letter signed my somebody, calling herself Matilda Davison, pretending to give the origin of Mormonism, as she is pleased to call it, by relating a moonshine story about a certain Solomon Spalding, a creature with the knowledge of whose earthly existence, I am entirely indebted to this production; for surely, until Doctor Philastus Hurlbut informed me that such a being lived, at some former period, I had not the most distant knowledge of his existence... It is only necessary to say, in relation to the whole story about Spalding's writings being in the hands of Mr. Patterson, who was in Pittsburg, and who is said to have kept a printing office, and my saying that I was concerned in said office, etc., etc. is the most base of lies, without even the shadow of truth."

You say you have been investigating the work some eight years. We suggest that you do not get in a "hurry" in the future, as it is evident you have not learned much about it in the past... I will now close by citing you to that wholesome advice given by Gamaliel to those who opposed the preaching of Peter, most of whom were the "Chief Priests," life yourself; "and now I say, refrain from these men and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men it will come to naught. But if it be of God ye cannot overthrow (upset) it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

With kind consideration, I am fraternally yours,
                                       W. E La Rue.

I afterwards received this letter in reply to my letter of October 20th.

                           Granitville, S. C., Nov. 11.
Elder W. E. La Rue, Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Sir: -- Yourletter came just as I was leaving for Spartanburg, my old home just across the state. I only had time to mail the copies you ordered as I was leaving, and just now able to give your letter personal attention

The statistics from which I gathered my information are furnished by Dr. H. K. Carroll, who was in charge of the religious statistics of the United States census of 1890, and who issues annual tables showing religious growth. The particular issue to which I refer is that of 1901, as published in the Literary Digest of February 1, 1902.

I did not say that Mormons "have political control" of any seven states. I said: "They hold the balance of power in seven of the United States. As well as I can recall without taking the time to look up the matter again, these states are as follows: Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, and the states in which they are colonizing are Washington, Montana, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Massachusetts. Similar work is going on to some extent in other states.

I meant precisely what I said in my letter as to Spalding not finding the Book of Mormon buried in the ground, By this statement I mean that the first paragraph in the "Introduction" of Spalding's romance is a lie. He never pretended it seriously for anything else, so far as I have been able to gather; that is, he did not find the writings in a cave, as he pretends. I think there is abundant proof of this fact, and there is a superabundance of still better proof that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of Spalding's writings; hence I repeat my former syllogism, which is one of the simplest kind. The Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of Spalding's writings; Spalding's writings were not a divine revelation; therefore the Book of Mormon is not a divine revelation.... All that I have done has been in the interest of truth and humanity, and if I fail in my effort to unveil the eyes of those who have been [deluded?], I certainly have not failed in doing what I conceived to be my solemn duty.

I shall be glad to hear from you personally, as you indicate in your letter, and will deem it a favor if you will kindly send me copies of your church papers containing anything that may be said about it. I think it better to consider the matter of sending you copies for distribution among your people after I hear from you again.

With kindest wishes, I am,
                          Yours sincerely,
                                     J. E. Mahaffey.

To this letter I made answer as follows:

                          Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 6.
Rev. J. E. Mahaffey,

Dear Sir: -- Your letter of the 1st inst. at hand. I had thought you did not intend to answer my last letter, so I wrote you on November 4th. I have examined your reference to the "Literary Digest" and find this, "there are some three hundred thousand Mormons in or about Utah, and this body claims to have made sixty-five thousand new converts in the East last year."...

Concerning your "syllogism" will say, remember you nor any other man has ever proved that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism of Spalding's Romance. Therefore your logic is at fault and untrue. If you would have studied the Book of Mormon with a view to finding out whether it was true or false, instead of an "effort to save others from such unprofitable employment," you might have been edified by some of the grand truths taught therein. There are points of identity between most every book in existence, as there may be between the Spalding Romance and the Book of Mormon. Yet that by no means proves one to be a plagiarism of the other. The Spalding Romance does not compare with the Book of Mormon in any way whatever. I was not aware of what your arguments were, so thought our people had a right to consider them; that is the reason I reviewed your book before them...

Hoping to hear from you again soon. I subscribe myself your friend in Christ's cause.
                           W. E. La Rue.

The principal features of this entire book, "Positive Proof" is to call attention to the twenty-two points of identity between the Book of Mormon and the Spalding Manuscript as a new discovery. The Spalding Manuscript has been on sale at our Publishing House for years, and in reading the Braden and Kelley debate we find in Clark Braden's argument on page 216 that he tried to show twenty-seven points of identity. By comparing them with the Reverend Mahaffey's, there is a striking similarity and unquestioned identity; therefore it is no new discovery but an "Old Chestnut." Reverend Mr. Mahaffey and Mr. Clark Braden would not hesitate to agree on anything that would serve to destroy the faith of the Saints, but we wonder how Mr. Mahaffey would take this from Clark Braden as taken from his speech in Braden and Kelley debate, page 230....

Our incomparable work still stands resting on the immovable foundation of Truth Divine, without an equal on earth. Every man who has ever endeavored to destroy it, has only succeeded in his exposing his own ignorance and folly.
                           W. E. LA. RUE.

Note 1: For more Ensign response to Rev. Mahaffey, see the issue of Oct. 22, 1914.

Note 2: Elder LaRue's equating Rev. Mahaffey's 1902 list of parallel with the once put forth by Clark Braden in 1884 is rather disingenuous. Mahaffey did his "hurried" best to compare the contents of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript with the text of the Book of Mormon; but Rev. Braden did not have this Spalding manuscript available to him for a side-by-side comparison. Thus, Braden's list of thematic parallels is based upon the sketchy old testimony of the eight Conneaut witnesses and other early allegations telling how Spalding's "Manuscript Found" compared with the Book of Mormon. In the second Braden-Kelley debate (held in 1891) Rev. Braden did have the Oberlin document available to him, but, since he claimed it was not the "Manuscript Found," Braden did not bother to compile an extensive list of its parallels with the Mormon book. What Mahaffey attempted to do was something rather innovative -- in his own crude and very incomplete sort of way, he was trying to show that Solomon Spalding must have written parts of the Book of Mormon, because the text of that book shares some unusual parallels with the story found in the Oberlin manuscript. Mahaffey's argument was obviously not very convincing to the Mormons of his day: see the unfriendly review of his book in the Oct. 15, 1902 issue of the Saints' Herald.

Note 3: A few years after he wrote and published Positive Proof, Rev. Mahaffey became aware of other anti-Mormon efforts underway which were compatible with his own work. In a letter to the Rev. R. B. Neal, published in the June 1909 issue of Neal's Sword of Laban, Mahaffey says: ""I have been doing a great deal of Anti-Mormon newspaper work recently and was just thinking of starting a paper through which to carry on the work, having never heard of such a paper already in existence. I shall be glad to render any assistance I can." The modern reader can only wonder if part of the "assistance" Rev. Mahaffey subsequently rendered to R. B. Neal involved coaching Mr. A. O. Hooton in compiling his list of 19 parallels between the Oberlin manuscript and the Book of Mormon. Hooton's tabulation was printed in the next issue of the Sword of Laban, following the publication of Mahaffey's initial letter to the anti-Mormon crusader. Whether or not Mahaffey assisted Hooton in preparing the 1909 list of parallels, it must be acknowledged that Hooton's product was far superior to the compilation Mahaffey offered in his 1902 book. A. O. Hooton's list was reprinted in somewhat expanded form by Charles A. Shook in his 1914 book, and thus Hooton's discoveries gained a wide circulation and served as the basis for future compilations by other investigators. Mahaffey's feeble list has long since been forgotten.


Vol. 14.                            Independence, Mo. February 12, 1903.                            No. 7.


The following extract from an article by Elder R. B. Neal, in the Gospel Advocate of Nashville Tennessee, for February 5, 1903, will be of interest to our readers...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 14.                            Independence, Mo. February 19, 1903.                            No. 8.


                           Wheeling, W. Va., Jan. 24, 1903. Elder R. B. Neal, Grayson, Ky.

DEAR SIR: -- In addition to receiving the Helper, which I ordered of you, I also received through your generosity a copy of your "Anti-Mormon" Tract No. 6 ...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 14.                            Independence, Mo. June 25, 1903.                            No. 26.


Elder R. B. Neal of the "Anti-Mormon" Helper is greatly rejoiced in his soul because he has found, after a prolonged and arduous search, a copy of that valuable (?) work of E. D. Howe's, "Mormonism Unveiled." He calls it a "rare and vauable old book" and uses his space in the Helper and also The Mountaineer for June 19, to give the title page in full. Behold the labor and "travail" he had in securing this great treasure:

This is the third copy of this rare old book that I have seen and handled.

The copy before me is complete and is "a loan." It could not be bought perhaps for any price, reasonable or unreasonable. The first copy I ever got hold of after years of effort belonged to a daughter of E. D. Howe. Bro. Frank E. Ferris, of Painesville, O., located it for me at Columbus. My efforts "to beg, buy or borrow it" fell to the ground. I reported to Bro. Ferris. He took the cars for that city and soon had it borrowed for self, Soon after the express brought it to me. It was a perfect copy.

I had it copied from the first to the last pages by a careful hand and a good penman before I returned it.

While I had it a friend in Philadelphia found a copy a little mutilated, a few of the front pages being minus, and sent it to me. Presented it to me. It was a genuine copy. I compared it with the complete copy. That book is now in the hands of J. W. Darby, McArthur, O., our President. No doubt our Gen. Sec'y, Jno. T. Bridwell, has copied it by this time.

It is our purpose to reprint this work soon as possible. In any event we have secured, by copying, against its loss. Since then I borrowed another complete copy, one of the first editions and have it before me,

Recently Bro. A. B. Wade went on a hunt for a copy in Ohio and got it. He usually gets what he goes after. It is minus one or two pages only. So we now are prepared to verify any quotations for polemics. It will be useless to try to borrow the book.

How many are ready to pledge one dollar for a copy of this book if I have it reprinted? Money to be paid when book is ready. Speak promptly,
It has been left to Bro. Neal to discover the value in this book. It miserably failed to do what its author hoped for it, and proved a great disappointment to the enemies of the Latter Day Saints. Its claims have been exploded many times by the elders of this church, and some of the elders have a copy of the book from which they quoted to prove the contradictions it contains.

But Bro. Neal is following the same line as his predecessors, making lies his refuge in fighting a work that some day he will realize is stronger than man and all that those who realize its worth, claim for it -- the everlasting gospel, restored with all its powers, for the last time, that men may be warned of the coming of the Lord, and by obedience under divine authority, escape the condemnation which shall be meted to the ungodly.

Note: It is unfortunate that the editor of the Ensign did not reproduce the "contradictions" and the "lies" contained in E. D. Howe's 1834 book. No doubt that volume does contain numerous errors, but the Mormons have been economical with their published refutations of its contents. R. B. Neal never got around to re-publishing the Howe book -- a task left to Rev. Neal's philosophical progeny -- Jerald and Sandra Tanner -- to fulfill seven decades later.


Vol. 14.                            Independence, Mo. July 16, 1903.                            No. 29.


The Anti-Mormon Missionary Society organ, The Helper, has a most worthy opponent in a little paper published by the brethren in West Virginia, which they have called The Watchman. We are in receipt of No. 1, Vol. 1, and find it full of interest. Bro. D. L. Shinn of Adamson, West Virginia, is editor, and Brn. E. H. Durand, D. L. Shinn and G. H. Godbey are named as publishers. It will be issued monthly at Clarksburg, West Virginia, and the subscription price is 25c per year. The "Anti's" have been distributing the Helper in that state pretty freely, it is said, and our brethren propose to meet the issue right there. The Watchman is the result of this discussion. Orders and communications should be addressed to The Watchman, Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Note: Elder Dexter L. Shinn (1837-1926) became a member of the RLDS Church in West Virginia in 1880; Elder Edgar H. Durand (1841-1909) joined in Michigan in 1892; and Elder Gordon H. Godbey (1841-1908) was a convert of Shinn's who joined in West Virginia in 1890. Their monthly periodical, The Watchman, did not survive long and no copies are known to exist today. R. B. Neal responded to this anti-anti-Mormon newspaper in the December, 1903 issue of The Helper, saying that the "stupidity" of those issuing the paper "will soon pass into a proverb."


Vol. 14.                            Independence, Mo. September 10, 1903.                            No. 37.


In the July Helper, the anti-Mormon paper, there is an article on Adam-God worship, which Elder R. B. Neal, its publisher, says is furnished by a "Mormon elder, who for the present, for good sufficient reasons prefers to write over a Nom de plume." We are left to conjecture whether it is a Utah Mormon, or a Hedrickite, rather suspect the latter, but the tenor of the article is to show from the Bible and Doctrine and Covenants that Adam as the "Ancient of Days," is the father of the race, etc. But the article falls flat in the effort to show that the Brighamites may not be so very far wrong in their claims after all. It is amusing to see the desperate efforts all these people are making, aimed solely at the Reorganized church. Why of course, Bro. Neal, we all believe Adam is the father of the race, but just keep this issue in your memory, beloved, the Reorganized Church does not now nor did it ever believe that "Adam is our God, and the only God with which we have to do," as Brigham Young declared, nor can you or any of your quondam friends find the least support for such a thought in any of the books the Reorganized church accepts as standards of evidence, much as it would gratify them to be able to show.

Does it not seem a little remarkable to the average reader that the Utah Mormons, the Hedrickites and the Campbellites have all joined in opposing the Reorganized church? Just think it over a little while, reader, and it will be apparent; we believe that in this strange alliance there is a sinister purpose to be conserved which they recognize neither can accomplish individually, but which they hope to carry and by working together. We have no fears whatever of the result. This church will stand and receive the acknowledgments of the Lord and the heavenly hosts, when all its enemies shall have been brought to judgment and overwhelmed in shame for not only their opposition, but the unworthy character of the efforts they have put forth. The truth will be triumphant in the end, "the eternal years of God are hers."

We have only noticed the article referred to because of a request from Bro. Neal to try your hand at this. There is so little in the article really that it is hardly worth a notice.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 15.                            Independence, Mo.  March 24, 1904.                            No. 12.


WOODBINE, Iowa, March 15.    

Editor Ensign: -- Will you pardon the intrusion of a stranger upon your sacred columns? I think it is but right while I receive the benefit of your pages that I should contribute some little in return. First, I will say I am trying to keep in the faith; that faith that was delivered to the Saints by Jesus Christ, and which has again been restored by him through the instrumentality of an holy angel according to the revelation given to John upon the Isle of Patmos, but I confess it does require a constant watch care. Human nature is so weak and the power of evil so strong that unless I am continually watching and am fervent in prayer, and remain steadfast in the path of duty, I am liable to lose the little faith I have, then the light that is in me would become darkness: and O, how great would be that darkness! But I thank God he has promised me strength according to my day; and if I can only be wise enough to use the means of grace he has given from time to time, I have the blessed assurance that through his love and grace I shall overcome. I realize "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," but to him that putteth his trust in the Lord and continueth steadfast unto the end.

It has been said by the enemies of this work, that when a Latter-day Saint turns from that faith he cannot accept any other. This is largely true, for the reason that where a man has laid hold of the "Rod of Iron" to help him safely over the dark vortex of sin, and has proved its power to save, if the evil time should come when he becomes careless and negligent, and loses his hold of the sacred rod, he is not likely to lay hold of a rope of sand. There may be here and there one who "Having loved this present world," who for filthy lucre, teach things which they ought not;" but have no faith in anything but the ever changeable god, Mammon, which they are trying to take into their coffers, from the dupes they are trying to deceive. Jude aptly describes them in his Epistle from the 10th to the 13th verse. They are truly objects of pity. From such we may have a lesson, to never turn our backs upon the truth, nor deny that which our eyes have seen, our ears have heard and our hands have handled, and of which we have so joyously testified.

We are frequently told that the witnesses to the dignity of the Book of Mormon denied their testimony. This charge has been abundantly rejected. But I have been privileged to read a letter written by William Marks in 1853, from Shabbona Grove, De Kalb County, Illinois, to James M. Adams, Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa. In that letter Bro. Marks expresses his disapprobation of the false leaders, who had risen up claiming to be divinely appointed to lead the church after the death of Joseph Smith; such as Strong [sic], Young, Brewster, Thompson and others. He gives utterance to his determination to cling to the principles of the gospel of Christ as taught to the church by the martyred prophet: He says:

Bro. Adams, we are living in a day when the devil has great power, and it appears to me, from what we see, hear and read, that he will, if possible, deceive the whole world. Therefore, it is highly necessary that, we are watchful and prayerful, that we may not be deceived by the spirits, but live faithfully by the written word. 1 remember what Oliver Cowdery told me here, when on his way to Council-Bluffs. He said, 'The work is of God. and would be accomplished, let men do or act as they please.'"

Such is the declaration of William Marl;s respecting the testimony of Oliver Cowdery; thirteen years after the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and thirteen years at least after he had appended his testimony, as to the divinity of the record. It will be remembered that at the time of his statement to Marks, he had left the church because of some disagreement with the Prophet Joseph Smith.

It is a common saying that "When rogues tall out, honest men get their rights," that is they expose each other. The world brands Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer, as parties to a gigantic fraud. There came a time in the history of these men that they disagreed upon matters of church government, their disagreement was so fierce that the three witnesses forsook Joseph Smith, and allowed themselves to be expelled from the church. The religious world strained their eyes and their ears expecting to hear some terrible exposure; some felt denial of their testimony as appended by them to the Book of Mormon: but no word of denial, not even a whisper of doubt, came from the lips or pens of these men. They opposed his method of church government, and that bitterly, but no denial of their testimony ever fell from their lips or pens. But in all conditions of life in which they were afterwards placed, they were true to their testimony, "That an angel of Lord came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord .Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bare record that, these things are true: and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us to bear record of it " etc.

About two years after the death of Joseph Smith, Martin Harris came to England to expose the claims and corruptions of Brighamism. He was in a large hall in Birmingham -- the writer s wife -- then a single woman -- was present at the meeting. A young man who escorted her there, went up to Martin Harris with the Book of Mormon in his hand. opened it where the testimony of the witness is found, and pointing to the testimony and to the name of Martin Harris, asked him if that was his name. Harris declared it was, and that it was placed there by his consent; and Harris declared in the hearing of all, that he knew more about that book than any man living,, and that he knew it was the Book of God. My wife has rested in the paradise of God fifty years the seventh day of next September. A truer woman never lived -- true to God and all mankind -- and that testimony she bore to me, that the above incident took place before her own eyes and in her own hearing.

In conclusion let me add, during the week past, I have been privileged to read fifty letters from different men, prominent in the church in the days of Joseph Smith, and who were opposed to Brigham Young, and his polygamous practices, but there is not one line or word in all those letters that even insinuates that Joseph Smith was the originator of polygamy.
                  Yours in bonds,
                                    CHARLES DERRY.

Note: Charles Derry (1826-1921) was ordained an RLDS Apostle on Apr. 8, 1865 and served in that capacity until 1870 when he resigned. He became president of RLDS High Priests quorum in 1874. In 1890 he became a high councilor and on June 8, 1902 he was made an evangelist-patriarch.


Vol. 15.                            Independence, Mo. June 23, 1904.                            No. 25.


During the summer of 1903, Bros. Phillips and I held tent meetings in Pawtuxet Valley, Rhode Island... several months afterwards I received... a little book of 144 pages... entitled, "The Origin of the Book of Mormon, Together With an Account of the Rise and Progress of the Mormon Church, By Rev. S. J. S. Davis, Pentacostal Pub. Co., Louisville, Ky., 1899." On the flyleaf were written these words: "Please read and pray about it."...

The publisher of this history (?) has great confidence in the author, for on page one (preface), he informs the reader that Reverend (?) Davis "is a local preacher of the M. E. Church, and has the highest endorsement as a man of unquestioned integrity."...

Now then, let us examine the book and see how nicely Rev. (?) Davis has related "facts" (on pp. 18-22.) we are given a most interesting account of how "one Dr. Priestly launched upon the sea of literature a book called 'American Antiquities,' * * * The work was fully illustrated, showing * * * some plates of metal, closely engraved in these unknown characters. * * * Many mounds in Central New York were opened, and some entirely dug away. * * * In some were copper * * * plates and ornaments of curious design and workmanship. The engravings on the smooth stones and plates were all in the same kind of characters, and resembled the illustrations in Priestly's book. Thus it was that the way was paved for Solomon Spaulding to write a 'Historical Romance' in somewhat the style in which the Bible is written. This work proposes to give an account of how, by Divine direction, the people were brought to this country, etc. Ether, by Divine direction, left a record of his times and people until they were divided into two distinct tribes; the Nephites, who were worshippers of God, and the Lamanites, who were idolaters. * * * The intent seems to have been to show that the Indians, as we found them, were descendants of the Jews and the wicked Lamanite tribe, thus making a specious foundation of the tale which the author never claimed was anything but fiction. -- Spaulding was an invalid at the time of writing his book, but he hoped to get it published, thinking that as Priestly's book found such an immense sale, his own venture might prove remunerative. Accordingly, he engaged a smart young man who served four years in a printing office to transcribe and fit it for the press. * * * Spaulding died. * * * what became of the manuscript copy was never certainly known."

Mr. Editor, in the foregoing somewhat lengthy quotation, there are so many "well attested facts" by this man of "unquestioned integrity," you will pardon me for calling special attention to them.

The author in unpardonably ignorant or he has intentionally confounded the name of Dr. Joseph Priestly, a philosophical writer who died in 1804, aged 71, with the name of Josiah Priest, who, in the year 1833, in the northern district of New York, copyrighted a bok entitled "American Antiquities," This book is in my library, and it is undoubtedly the one to which Mr. Davis refers, and as it was first published in 1823 [sic], it must have been a source of great inspiration to the Rev. Solomon Spaulding who died in 1816.

While it pains me to question the veracity of Rev. Davis' statement, I am obliged for the sake of truth, to show to the thousands of Ensign readers how pitiably ignorant (?) this man is of the contents of Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Story," or "Manuscript Found," which is also in my library, having been carefully printed from the original handwriting of the author, as this notorious manuscript is safely preserved in Oberlin College, Ohio; and as there is not to be found in it such words as "Nephites," "Lamanites." "Mormon," "Ether," etc., as it does not give an account of any such people, as is claimed by Mr. Davis, I think he is placed in a very unenviable position, when we recollect that he is a man of "unquestionable integrity," a relater of "well attested facts;" and besides this, a Reverend who teaches "Thou shalt not lie."

The fact that this man did not know when Solomon Spaulding died has destroyed his claim to record nothing but "a true history." You will recall a quotation from page 22, where, in writing of Spaulding, he says, "According, he engaged a smart young man who had served four years in a printing office, to transcribe and fit it (the manuscript) for the press." This sounds very remarkable till I come to page 37, and read "The people sent to Norwich, the home of the young man who had transcribed Spaulding's romance in 1822." Here I am almost tempted to "pray about it." My petition, however, would be for the reckless man of "integrity" who has stated as a "well attested fact," that Rev. Spaulding, six years after his death, sent for a "smart young man" to "transcribe" his manuscript.

These may be some of the "facts" my friend thought would prove to me that the Book of Mormon is a fraud. But will my friend accept some statements from the other side? Here are the words of Professor James H. Fairchild, President of Oberlin College, Ohio, as published in the Bibliotheca Sacra, New York Observer, Frank :Leslie's Sunday Magazine, and other papers: -- "The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice (who afterwards turned it over to the College), Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two.... Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."

And the following two extracts, from other sources, place the author of the book I am reviewing, in an untruthful position:

"It is believed by those who were best acquainted with the Smith family, and most conversant with all the Gold Bible movements, that there is no foundation for the statement that their original manuscript was written by a Mr. Spaulding, of Ohio." This was written by Mr. Turner, who knew Joseph Smith. Published in Littell's Living Age, August 1851.

The following is found in Chamber's Encyclopedia, volume 7, page 311 (1896 edition):

"This work (Book of Mormon) being published, attention was speedily drawn to it. The opponents of the Saints allege that it was made up of a romance written by a quondam clergyman, Solomon Spaulding (1761-1816). This the Mormons emphatically deny, and the discovery of the original manuscript of that romance by President Fairchild of Oberlin College, 1884, corroborates their denial."

Page 35 has the "well attested fact" that five of the eight witnesses never became members of the church. This is a lie...

Does my friend in Pawtuxet Valley think that this book, each leaf of which is pierced with the malignant arrow of rumor, or lapped by the putrid tongue of slander, will cause me to turn away from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

          Verily -- No.
                                     RALPH W. FARRELL,
Wert Sullivan, Main, May 14.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 16.                            Independence, Mo. March 16, 1905.                            No. 11.



Just a word of explanation: Many times I have compared quotations with the original statements and found a radical difference in many instances... For example, in defending the Book of Mormon, we dislike to introduce incorrect quotations, crediting Stephen[s] or Priest...

Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edition of 1888. Page 624: "Spaulding, Solomon, Clergyman, b. in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761; d. in Amity, Washington county, Pennsylvania, October 20, 1816. * * * While residing at Conneaut, he wrote a romance entitled "The Manuscript Found," purporting to be an account of the original people of this continent, their customs, and conflicts between the different tribes. It pretended to be taken from a manuscript that had been discovered in an ancient mound. * * * In 1830 Mormon elders preached in Northeastern Ohio, and their account of how the golden plates, from which the Book of Mormon was made, had been found, brought to mind the story written by Spaulding twenty years before. A suspicion was raised that the Book of Mormon might have been an outgrowth from the latter. This suspicion ripened into a general belief, and in time became the accepted theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. It is alleged that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdor, compiled the Book of Mormon from Spaulding's Manuscript story, Rigdon having stolen it, or a copy of it, from a printing office in which he worked in Pittsburg. In 1834 Dr. P. Hurlbut, who had been expelled from the Mormon church, obtained from the widow of Solomon Spaulding, Mrs. Matilda Davison, of Monson, Massachusetts, what was supposed to be the original copy of the Spaulding story, and the same year Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, compiled a book entitled 'Mormonism Unveiled,' which was a severe criticism on the Book of Mormon and its believers. This book was reproduced in 1840. Upon the titlepage and in the last chapter is suggested the probability that the historical part of the Golden Bible was written by Solomon Spaulding. From the time Mr. Hurlbut obtained the Manuscript story in 1834 up to 1884 its whereabouts was unknown to the world. In 1884 President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin college, visited his old anti-slavery friend, Lewis L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian islands. Mr. Rice in 1839-40 succeeded Mr. Howe in the office of the Painesville Telegraph, and the books and manuscripts came into his possession. President Fairchild asked Mr. Rice if he had among his old papers anything relating to the early anti-slavery movement which he would contribute to the Oberlin library. When examining for these he came upon an old worn and faded manuscript of about 175 pages of small quarto, which proved to be the long-lost manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. Comparisons were made with the Book of Mormon, and President Fairchild says: 'The manuscript has no resemblance to the Book of Mormon except in some very general features. There is not a name or an incident common to the two.' A verbatim copy of the manuscript has been issued by the Mormons at Lamoni, Iowa, 1885." ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 17.                            Independence, Mo. April 5, 1906.                            No. 14.


The Christian Weekly published by the Standard Publishing Company, at Cincinnati, Ohio, of which J. B. Briney, H. C. Bowen and John T. Bown, are named as editors, devotes the second page of its issue, or such portions of it as they are able to use, to the "American Anti-Mormon Association." On this page in its issue for March 31st, current year, under the above caption, the following appears, comment presumably from the pen of R. B. Neal, of Grayson, Kentucky, the "General Secretary and Field Agent."

"The good ministers of Amity, Pennsylvania, have erected a monument to Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and inscribed thereon, 'The man who wrote The Book of Mormon.'

"Perhaps these reverend gentlemen are as yet unapprised of the fact that the 'Spaulding story' is now in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin, Ohio, and that the librarian of that college, Azariah S. Root, declares there is absolutely no resemblance between the Spaulding story and the Book of Mormon. If ignorance is bliss, there is a number of ministers in Amity, Pennsylvania, who must be in the seventh heaven of delight."

That inscription is right. I have "the Honolulu find" as published by both the "Josephites and the "Brighamites."

The above editorial in the Religio-Record indicates that its editor is either not posted on the "Manuscript Found," or is an "artful dodger."

The same proof that proves the manuscript at Oberlin a Spaulding Manuscript, proves that it is not "the Manuscript Found," and also proves that the last was the basis of the Book of Mormon. It is this editor who is ignorant, and not the Amity ministers.

That assertion that there are other works of Solomon Spalding, yet undiscovered in the original. of which the much vaunted "Manuscript Found" is one, is an old dodge of Clark Braden, to escape the dilemma in which he and his supporters were placed by the production of the original writing of Spalding, which had so long been exploited by Howe, and all the furious opposers of the Church of Christ, since Howe's day. How Bro. Braden and his ilk did talk and write about that "trunk," and try to follow its wanderings until the "Manuscript Found" was -- in their minds -- located with Joseph, Sidney Rigdon, Patterson the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania printer, and some other places. But when that identical manuscript was finally located with Mr. L. L. Rice, a printer in Honolulu, and its possession traced directly from Howe to him, he having bought the Painesville, Ohio, Telegraph from Howe, -- the transfer including a large number of books, manuscripts, etc., among which was this one in question, -- they were dumbfounded. One feature stands out in strong distinctiveness, in the efforts of all who have tried to make it appear that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the Spalding writings, and that is, that this very manuscript, found in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, was the identical one that Howe secured from Mrs. McKinstry [sic]; and that it was the only one that Howe and Hurlbut knew anything about, and which it was so loudly asserted, had been read so often to the neighbors, who always remembered the similarity of names, with those of the Book of Mormon, etc. Then when this manuscript was published and sent out by this church so that all could have the opportunity to make comparisons of the identity which discreditable "testifiers" had alleged existed in the two works, that comparison completely disproved the story and theory of these vilifiers, and they were in a quandary for a time.

But soon the fertile brain of Braden solved the difficulty. "There were other manuscripts of Spaulding, and the one from which the Book of Mormon was taken, was among those other writings." That is all there was to it. Not a thing except the bare assertion of Braden; and that seemed to be all that is necessary with these "Antis." In former days the saying was "anything to beat Grant." Now it is "Anything to beat the Mormons." It's the same with Neal. Anything, just so it's sensational, is greedily seized upon, regardless of facts. His imagination is very largely developed, if his writings are to be used as witness.

But that last paragraph in the Weekly is a gem in logic! The trouble with these men is, that the "same proof that proves the manuscript at Oberlin a Spalding manuscript," also proves it the original Spalding "Manuscript Found," to which reference has been made all these years. Of course it don't read just as these men would like to have it read, but that was precisely the fault that Howe found with it, too. Bro. Neal fixed it up nicely: This don't read as it should, ergo, some other writing of Spalding's is the basis of the Book of Mormon. Isn't that fine logic for you? Yea, verily. Somehow it does not seem to have occurred to these men who have assumed the self-appointed task of opposing the work of this church is doing under the appointment of heaven -- whether they believe it or not -- that it has never become necessary for the representatives of this church -- the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- to adopt any kind of a "Ruse" in the prosecution of their work...

The late Davis H. Bays gave this "Anti" society some good advice and truthful advice, too, which it would have been to their credit to have accepted. But they are wise in their own conceits, and will run on until they are overwhelmed with confusion at the accounting time. He warned them that they were making a mistake in clinging to that old exploded Spalding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. That it never could be proved. He knew, as do all who candidly examine into the matter, that it is not true, and only shows the veriest bigotry and prejudice, as well as lack of integrity, to set up such a claim. It is unworthy the consideration of intelligent men and women, after they have once looked into the matter, It is not the editor of the Religio-Record, therefore, but these rampant "Antis," who are not posted, and we are inclined to the opinion that they themselves know they cannot make that story prove out: but if they can get others to believe it, who have not the opportunity or desire to investigate for themselves, they can make a point until the truth has an opportunity. But they seem willing to take the chances of that ever happening in the neighborhood where they work.

The methods of this association in attacking the character of a man persistently, is reprehensible from any standpoint in which it is viewed. All that the elders of this church have ever asked of any individual, man, woman, or child, is that they accept the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, and follow Him... As in olden times, so now, the Lord works with his own servants, and confirms the word with signs following; hence the desperation and hatred of these opposers. They can neither safely make such a promise, or secure like results for their followers. The only resource is to cry "delusion," "false prophet," etc., and seek to blind the people with prejudice to prevent investigation. But the time is coming when the Lord's church and people will be owned by him in a manner that all the earth will acknowledge, and his servants and his doctrine -- his gospel -- be sustained in the minds of all the people. Meanwhile, "let patience have her perfect work."

Note 1: Rev. R. B. Neal responded to this article in Zion's Ensign, by saying: "There will either be a fight or a foot race with the Ensign man over this matter. He dare not affirm "that the Honolulu manuscript found by President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, and now on exhibition in Oberlin, O., is the manuscript known as the 'Manuscript Found,' written by Solomon Spaulding." I'll deny it in every form that a denial can assume. More, I'll agree to take the only proof he has that the paper is a manuscript of Spaulding's and prove that it is not the "Manuscript Found." Neal thus challenged the RLDS editors to a literary debate on the issue, but the Zion's Ensign "man" implicitly declined to take up Rev. Neal's challenge.

Note 2: The Ensign article itself seems to be a prejudiced Mormon "ruse." The writer is careful to eliminate or obscure all the points relevant to the argument which might in any way damage the RLDS position. For example, the writer says that claims stating Solomon Spalding wrote other manuscripts besides the one on file at Oberlin College, first sprang from the imagination of the Rev. Clark Braden -- presumably during the early 1880s when Braden first began to speak in public about this matter. The Ensign "man's" assertion is a patent fabrication. From the very first articulation of the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, in E. D. Howe's 1834 book, the existence of several Spalding manuscript stories was clearly stated. Howe himself describes the Oberlin document and tells his readers that the witnesses who first testified to the Spalding claims disavowed the Oberlin story as being the "Manuscript Found." Indeed, witness Aaron Wright specifically mentioned this point in his statement of Dec. 1833. The Ensign "man" also conveniently overlooks the fact that numerous later deponents testified to the difference between the Oberlin story and the "Manuscript Found," with several of them stating that they saw D. P, Hurlbut exhibit the latter document in and around Kirtland, Ohio at the end of 1833.

Note 3: The Ensign "man" conveniently overlooks the fact that L. L. Rice, the long-time holder of the Oberlin manuscript, disavowed its being the "Manuscript Found;" and, in fact, Rice accepted the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims. Also, James H. Fairchild, who supplied the RLDS with their text for the Oberlin story, backed away from his first, preliminary conjectures that the Oberlin document was the much discussed "Manuscript Found." Some other points where the Ensign article presents faulty information is its claim that E. D. Howe "secured" Spalding's writings from "Mrs. McKinstry," and that a "comparison" of the Oberlin text with the Book of Mormon text "completely disproved the story" that Solomon Spalding had a hand in writing the latter volume. In fact there are numerous substantial thematic and phraseology parallels between Spalding's known writings and lengthy blocks of the Mormon text. All of this information was available to the Ensign "man," and much of it had been published or cited in RLDS sources available for the kind of "investigation" the writer calls for, but obviously never intended to carry out.


Vol. 18.                            Independence, Mo. January 31, 1907.                            No. 5.


...The Christian Weekly, of Cincinnati, Ohio, which has been the "organ" of the "American Anti-Mormon Association" since the demise of the Helper, gives notice in its issue of the 19th, that from that date it will suspend publication, the venture not having met with the support which its publishers, The Standard Publishing Company, had anticipated, there having been a "steady decline in the subscription list" largely in favor of the other publications of that company. The weekly was furnished at a dollar per year. "The American Anti-Mormon Association" again seems to be without an advertising medium, though probably only temporarily, there being plenty of others who will open their columns to their vilifications; it is so popular to fight the "Mormons": you know. We have yet to learn where their work has not helped more than it has hindered the progress of the latter-day work, so there is no uneasiness felt as to what they may be able to accomplish in their opposition.



Elder Fred B. Farr.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 18.                            Independence, Mo. May 30, 1907.                            No. ?



It has been over twenty years since Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, discovered the Solomon Spaulding Manuscript. It was among some papers, books and manuscripts that he had purchased from E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, in 1839. As Mr. Rice said, "it has been in my possession over forty years." In June, 1885, Mr. Rice sent the Manuscript to Oberlin College, where it can be seen and read. The Reorganized church has printed a verbatim copy of this manuscript story, and offer it for sale, that the public may compare it with the Book of Mormon.

Prior to 1885, numerous writers had recklessly asserted that Mr. Spaulding's Romance was the foundation of the Book of Mormon; Johnson going so far as to say that that Romance was entitled The Manuscript Found, or the Book of Mormon. Yes; the opponents of the gospel waxed bold; they said that the lost Manuscripts contained such words as Nephi, Moroni. etc. It seems an intervention of Providence, that the traditional Manuscript has come to light.

James H. Fairchild, a professor of languages, mathematics, and theology, was president of Oberlin college when the Spaulding Manuscript was placed in the college library. He read it carefully and published the result of his observation in "The Bibliotheca Sacra," January, 1885, volume 42, pp. 173, 174:

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. * * * Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."

Such statements as these are not to be turned from without a second thought. Mr. Fairchild was a scholar and so qualified to speak on this subject. Being a minister of the Congregational church, he was not prejudiced in favor of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Rice also carefully examined the Manuscript, and he writes to Mr. Smith, March 28, 1885:

"I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. * * * I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort."

Mr. Rice was a literary man. He was a competent judge. He said, "I should as soon think that the Book of Revelation was written by the author of Don Quixote, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon." And this fact is very evident to any one who will take the trouble to compare the two works. Mr. Solomon Spaulding could not write a story that would assist much in the production of so elaborate a work as the Book of Mormon. Mr. E. D. Howe wrote to Mr. Rice that the discovery of the Manuscript excited great interest. We need not doubt this when we realize that the almost unanimous theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon was dashed to the earth by this event.

It is absurd for the many persons who so strenuously advocated the Spaulding theory, to now attempt to dodge the real issue by claiming that there was another Manuscript. Mr. Spaulding could not write a story that would furnish much assistance to the originators of any deep work. A brief review of the Manuscript will satisfy one on this point. And upon examination of the internal and external evidences in favor of the Book of Mormon, we realize that no man or set of men could, uninspired, produce it. Many objections have been urged against the Book of Mormon; the same is true of the Bible. Objections to a thing do not prove it false (or the objection justified). The Jew objected to the claims of Christ. The atheist does not believe the Bible... No person, whatever his ability and learning may be, is competent to criticize a book he does not understand.

Believers in the Book of Mormon claim it to be a sacred history -- sacred because written by men inspired of God; hence, scripture, and as such, "profitable for doctrine, for reproof; for correction, for instruction in righteouness," as Paul says. It is not enough to hoot at the book and cry out "Delusion." It is a true record or a miserable cheat, and if the latter, the fact must be susceptible of proof, and the sooner the evidence is presented the better, for the subject is of much consequence to its thousands of believers. However, let us have something different from the statement of A. Campbell, that the Book of Mormon is "the meanest book in the English language. It is as certainly Smith's fabrication, as Satan is the father of lies or darkness, the offspring of night."

I thank Mr. Campbell for not saying that Spaulding originated the story, or that it is a Rigdon-Smith co-laboration. Variety is the spice of life. This opinion of Campbell was given in 1831, but men of later years have formed the same opinion.

The following from "The New International Encyclopedia," volume 12, article, Mormons:

"To dismiss the Book of Mormon as a mere hodge-podge of petty information, gross anachronisms, biblical borrowings, is to miss its significance both as cryptic biography and as a characteristic bit of provincial Americana. In addition to private affairs inadvertently incorporated, there are water marks of some historic interest to be found in the document. * * * The anti-Mormon contention against the authenticity of the work is untenable * * * If the internal evidence makes the Book of Mormon indigenous, the external evidence is equally against a foreign authorship as presented in the ordinary Spaulding-Rigdon theory. * * * The recovery in 1885 of the alleged original of Spaulding's 'Manuscript Story' has been to the Mormons conclusive proof of its non-connection with the Book of Mormon, for there is no real resemblance between the two. The theory is further invalidated by the fact that it is impossible to show how, when, or through whom Smith could have obtained one of the two copies of the Spaulding Manuscript." -- page 603, edition of 1903.

"Concise Disctionary of Religious Knowledge," edition 1890, page 617: "It is a fable which represents that Mr. Rigdon was ever a printer in Pittsburg * * * Most of the stories that have been put forth in the name of Mrs. Spaulding, widow of Solomon Spaulding, are unworthy of credence." ...

On pages 433, 517, 519, 478, 438, 442, of the [RLDS] Book of Mormon, we read of cities built and repaired by the Nephites, some of them near a narrow neck of land which was a day's journey across from sea to sea. This is supposed to be the Isthmus of Panama. In 1830, when the Book of Mormon was given to the public, the existence of these cities was not known to the civilized world. It is true that the ruins of Palenque had been discovered by Del Rio in 1787, but the report had been locked in the archives of Guatemala until the revolution, when, according to Stephens, "the original Manuscripts came into the hands of an English gentleman, and an English translation was first published in 1822. This was the first notice in Europe of the discovery of these ruins. And, instead of electrifying the public mind, so little notice was taken of it that in 1831, the Literary Gazette, a paper of great circulation in London, announced it as (then) a new discovery," ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 19.                            Independence, Mo. June 25, 1908.                            No. 26.



After readng an article in the Ensign of June 4th, 1908, by Elder F. J. Pierce correcting some erroneous statements made by one Mr. Joseph E. Bayless in writing to his sister about the Book of Mormon, etc., I concluded for the benefit of the young elders and members, to present in a concise form some of the strongest evidence (?) that I have seen that Joseph or somebody else purloined Spaulding's romance and made the Book of Mormon out of it. And it seems to me that after one reads those statements, and still wants to believe that old, oftime refuted, and threadbare story, that it would be just as well to let them alone, for they are joined to their idols: and they would rather believe error than truth. The old saying is, "That which proves too much, proves nothing," and I think the following proves entirely too much to prove anything, though it proves to a finish that somebody is wrong: it is an established fact, that two propositions antagonistic to each other, cannot both be true. They may both be wrong, but they cannot both be true.

Now I will quote from some of the "wise men of the east," and see what they know, (?). Christian Cynosure, published by Ezra A. Cook, at Chicago, Illinois, contained in its issue of December 20th, 1877, and article entitled, "Joseph Smith the Mormon," by the Rev. Samuel D. Green, who says of Smith: "He saw money deposited by an early settler, who sat down by the river and deposited his money in the earth just where the miller was erecting his abutments; some of Smith's believers went and dug for the money and one of the walls fell. The diggers were disappointed, and helped rebuild it. (Mark you) This is the only act of mischief I ever heard of him, and of this I never searched the truth, it was a report, and whether true or not, I have no knowledge."

Well, good for Joseph, that lets him out of all the rest of the bad acts charged against him by his enemies, for this man says, "this is the only act of mischief I ever heard of him, and it was only a rumor," and he does not know anything about it at all. So Joseph is clear from all the rest of the rumors. But now I will continue to quote from Rev. Green.

"There was living in Bethany, a Rev. M. Spaulding. * * * He had written some chronicles on the ruins of Central America and some Bible truths mixed up together. Some early history of the character of the inhabitants, connected with bigamy, etc. Joe Smith and Cochrane got some knowledge and borrowed it, and from the help of Spaulding's manuscript they made the Mormon Bible. Rev. Mr. Spaulding called and sent for it a great many times, and his wife came for it, but Smith would not let them have it. Smith told Spaulding, (Now listen reader, listen!) and I heard him say that he had made a Mormon Bible of it, and the Lord had taken it into the wilderness. And he, Joe Smith, prophesied where it was deposited in Palmyra woods about twelve miles east of Rochester, New York. James Harris was appointed to go and get it. He went and pretended he found it beside a log just where Smith said it was. This is the true history of Joe Smith and the beginning of Mormonim, and the people who settled at Salt Lake. After Mr. Spaulding died, his wife came east to Munson, Massachusetts, while I lived there, to visit her friends or relatives, Dr. McKingsbury's [sic, McKinstry's?] family, my near neighbor." etc. * * *

So now we have the origin of the Book of Mormon in a nutshell from the pen of Rev. Green, and no "ifs or ands" about it. You see Rev. Green was there. And he says "Smith told Spaulding, AND I HEARD HIM,, that he had made a Mormon Bible of it." And "that is the end of it." Well, we will see. In the first place Green says that the only act of mischief that he ever heard of Smith was digging for the money under the mill: now he sees and hears him borrowing that manuscript. Was that a good or bad act? answer Mr. Green. Was that mischief or not?

But. Rev. Samuel D. Green displays his ignorance and proves that he knows nothing about his subject, for he calls Cowdery Cochrane, and he calls Martin Harris, and He calls McKinstry, McKingsbury, and he calls Solomon Spaulding, M. Spaulding. Those mistakes are enough to condemn the entire article. But those are not the worst faults in it, for I will prove it to be totally false from beginning to end before I get through with it.

The late Elder M. T. Short after reading the foregoing article by Rev. Green, and knowing that it was all false did not act the blind robin, just to open the mouth wide and gulp down everything that comes along, regardless of what might be: but he writes to Mr. Cook, editor of the Cynosure, and reviewed the article, sharply, for he had the ability to do so. After Mr. Cook had printed Elder Short's reply, he said, "The above (Short's reply and explanation) is the history of the Spaulding book from a Mormon standpoint, most of our readers will recollect the letter from Samuel D. Green in the issue of December 20th, 1877, giving a history of Joe Smith, while stopping at his hotel in Batavia, New York, and the origin of the Book of Mormon." Now notice what he says: "Mr. Green saw this Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827; knew that he lent his manuscript to Smith and called for its return several times in vain, and heard Smith tell him it was disposed of. The writer of the above (Elder Short) would do well to study Mr. Green's letter as it is altogether reliable and its author is yet living in Chelsea, Massachusetts." Yes sir, Mr. Cook, we will study Rev. Green's letter very carefully to your discomfiture. But let us get another witness on the stand.

About this time Elder I. N. White writes to Rev. S. D. Green and asked for some explanations about what he knows about the Book of Mormon, and Mr. Green writes as follows to him. ""Chelsea, Massachusetts, May 12th, 1879. Mr. I. N. White: "Dear sir: -- I send you the Christian Cynosure of the 20th of December 1877. If you had taken the Cynosure, one of the best, open, candid, Christian papers published, you would long ago know all the questions you asked me." * * * (now please mark the dates he gives us.) "I saw Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827 and I have a letter from Wm. Jenkins (now dead) that he saw Spaulding in Attica in 1829, and he wanted to preach there. Another needful you will get from the Cynosure. * * * Yours truly, Samuel D. Green." Then follows a P. S. in which he gives several quotations from different authors endorsing Rev. Green as a truthful man. I will use only one here. "Mr. Green is an acquaintance of ours. He is a venerable gentleman, of high respectability and intelligence, upwards of eighty-two years of age, a member of the Congregational church, and we esteem him as a christian man." -- World's Crisis.

So now we know who Mr. Green is, for we have the recommendations of his friends, and above all, his own writing before us which we will throw before the great searchlight of truth, and test his veracity by what he said, And we will make one of his own brother reverends the principal witness against him. Let us try him now.

In the Congregationalist of October 24th, 1877, the Rev. Tyron Edwards, D. D., of Philadelphia, tells what he knows about Mormonism: he says "The Book of Mormon was in substance written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, (hold on sir, Green says, M. Spaulding), who was a graduate of Dartmouth College and a Presbyterian minister, once settled in Cherry Valley, New York, and afterward living in New Salem, (also called Conneaut), Ohio. Beginning in 1809, (now mark you, he began to write in 1809), and writing at intervals as he did, he often read parts of the work to his neighbors, and among the listeners was Joseph Smith, who not only attended the readings, but borrowed the manuscripts, as he said, to read to his family at home. In 1812 the completed manuscript was placed in the hands of a printer in Pittsburg, Pa., by the name of Patterson, with a view to its publication. While the printing was delayed, Mr. Spaulding left Pittsburg, for Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. While the manuscript was in the hands of Patterson, Sidney Rigdon was working for him as a journeyman printer, and it is supposed that he, having copied the manuscript, with Smith concocted the idea of the new religion!!!"

But hold on Mr. Preacher, a Rev. Honorable, truthful, Mr. Green, saw Smith borrowing the manuscript from Spaulding and he heard Spaulding asking Smith to return it, and Smith would not do it, but made the Book of Mormon out of it. But now you have Sidney Rigdon copying it in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

But let us examine that a little further. Joseph Smith was born in 1805. I think no one will deny that. And Rev. Edwards says that Mr. Spaulding wrote his romance from 1809 to 1812. And Rev. Green saw Smith at Spaulding's borrowing the manuscript to read to his family, and would not return it. So if Smith began to borrow the manuscript when Spaulding began to write it, in 1809, then Snith was just FOUR years of age, and at the close of the writing which Mr. Edwards says was 1812, then Smith was about SEVEN years old. O Shadows of the martyrs, what a spectacle Smith must have been at from four to seven years of age, borrowing manuscripts to read to his family at home. Not to his father's family. O no: it was to HIS family, his own dear wife and loving children. O what interesting listeners his loving children must have been. But then of course it must be true (?). For a Rev. Green said so, for he SAW Smith there, and heard him refuse to return the manuscript ...

But here comes another one who claims to know more than all the rest, and says that their stories about Smith stealing Spaulding's romance and making the Book of Mormon is all false, for she knows jist exactly where he got it. No wonder that D. H. Bays said "do not try to claim that Smith made the Book of Mormon from Spaulding's romance, for if you do, you will get left." The following appeared in the Denver Times for August 18th [1901]:

"According to Mrs. Diadema Chittenden, of Utica, Mo, Joseph Smith 'swiped' the Mormon "Bible." which he claimed was "revealed" to him. While this is not a new charge by any means, Mrs. Chittenden tells an interesting story in connection with it. Mrs. Chittendon is now 87 years old. She was born in Canada and her maiden name was Whitney. In 1852 she was married to R. M. Chittenden, and in 1860 [sic, 1870?] the couple went to Utica, Mo., where she ever since has resided. Her husband engaged in the mercantile business, and she did much of the buying, making long trips on horseback to Lexington, Quincy and other points. She is hale and hearty and of sound mind today. One of her most vivid memories of the early 60's is of the origin of the Mormon Bible, (shades of the departed, just think of it, the origin of the Book of Mormon in the early 60s, and she is now of "sound mind," we might dismiss her right now, as an incompetent witness, for she is 30 years out of her reckoning; she has lost all her bearings, she must be beside herself. But we will let her tell her story at any rate, for it is just like the rest), which, she declares was never revealed to Joseph Smith nor written by him, but which he stole from a millwright named Spafford, of Salem (now Conneaut), Ashtabula county, Ohio. (how strange? Green and Edwards know that Smith git it from Spaulding, for Rev. Green saw him get it to read to his wife and children, when he was four or five years old. Now this daring woman comes right out and says it is all false for she knows better, and goes right on to prove her assertion, without any regard to the truthfulness of what the Reverends said. But we will let her go on now and tell what she knows; go on Mrs. Chittenden). Smith was in the employ of Spafford, (are you sure that is not Spaulding?) who was a sort of overseer or superintendent for Squire Wright of Salem. One of Spafford's hobbies was to descant upon the Bible. He contended that he could compose and read them alternately with chapters from the good book and that none who heard them could tell the original from the imitation.

"On a wager, Spafford, Mrs. Chittenden says, perpared a number of chapters of his own composition in imitation of the Bible and they were read to a select number of his acquaintances. None of these were able to distinguish the imitation from the real, or to tell which had been written by Spafford and which had not. Joseph Smith was among those present at the test, and he was an attentive listener at the reading and others given afterwards by Spafford to exercise his hobby. Spafford preserved the characters [sic, chapters?] he wrote with the idea of one day publishing a treatise on his hobby. Death prevented the carrying out of this plan, and when his executors came to search for his manuscripts they had each and every one of them disappeared (maybe Smith had borrowed them in 1860 to read to his wife and children). It was some years after Spafford's death that the Mormon 'Bible,' said to have been 'revealed' to Joseph Smith, appeared. A copy of this work found its way to Salem and into the possession of Squire Wright, Spafford's employer. Surprised at its contents, he called two other friends of Spafford, a Doctor Hart and one Zaph Lake, into consultation on 'Smith's Bible,' and after a thorough examination they made an affidavit to the effect that the greater part of the Mormon Book was made of chapters written for his own amusement by Millwright Spafford. Mrs. Chittenden is of the impression that the affidavit was either published by or offered for publication to the Salem Reporter, a paper long since out of print.

So that settles the fact about the origin of the Book of Mormon. For here we have the affidavit of Dr. Hart and Zaph Lake that the greater part of the Book of Mormon was made up of chapters from Spafford's writing. But how is this Mrs. Chittenden for truth? I think we must have Dr. Hart's and Mr. Lake's affidavit to this too, listen: "One of her most vivid memories of the early 60s is of the origin of the Mormon 'Bible,'" etc., etc. We will waste no time on that. But how about the statements of Reverends Green, Cook, Edwards, etc., that saw Smith borrowing the manuscript of which he made the Book of Mormon from Spaulding, for they cannot both be true. And Mrs. Chittenden's dates give her story a very bad resemblance to truth.

Let us read a few lines from the [RLDS] Spaulding romance, written by Mr. L. L. Rice to Joseph Smith, page 8, May 14th, 1885. "Two things are true concerning this manuscript in my possession: First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spaulding: and second, it is NOT the original of the Book of Mormon," etc. -- L. L. Rice. Again on page 5 we read as follows: "There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required." Signed, James H. Fairchild

Again on page 7 we read, "As to this Manuscript, (Spaulding's Romance) I cannot see that it can be of any use to any body, except the Mormons, to show that it is not the original of the Mormon Bible." etc., L. L. Rice.   P. S. -- "Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this (Spaulding's Romance) which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretence that Spaulding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication." etc., L. L. R.

Here we have the plain unvarnished statement of men of brains, who have examined into the matter, and pronounce the statements of Green and others false....

Note: If Elder Roth is serious about leading off his article with "some of the strongest evidence" he can find in support of the Spalding authorship claims, his methodology in making such selections must be a very arcane one indeed! The Spalding mentioned by S. D. Green may possibly have been Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862), a cousin of the Spalding who wrote the Oberlin manuscript, etc., (see notes accompanying article of Mar. 24, 1894). As for Mrs. Chittenden's recollections, they may be somewhat garbled or mis-reported. It is unclear from the original article whether she first learned of the Spalding authorship claims in Ohio during the 1860s, or whether that date is a misprint for "1830s." At any rate, Elder Roth leaves the core Spalding claims testimony unexamined and exercises his ability to knock down journalistic straw men instead.


Vol. 19.                            Independence, Mo. July 9, 1908.                            No. 28.



"The more truth is rubbed the brighter it will shine," is an old adage that is certainly being proved true...

In the Christian Standard, an organ of the Campbellite or so-called "Christian Church," issue of April 18, 1908, is an article with the following bombastic heading in large headlines: "Book of Mormon 'Caractors' or, and Old Mormon Lie Cornered and Slaughtered," by R. B. Neal, in which the author makes an attack upon an article which appeared in the Ensign some time ago, entitled "Two Sticks," and was by permission of the editor, reproduced in the Evening and Morning Star (Hedrickite organ), and of which the writer of this was author.

This R. B. Neal is the ex-editor of the helpless "Helper," now defunct, but once official organ of the "Anti-Mormon Missionary Society." He and his methods are endorsed by his church in the following" "It is a pity that R. B. Neal cannot have room to fully express himself on the Mormon iniquity. We would be glad if someone would endow him, or endow a paper for his use. As it is, we give him what we can in the midst of a multitude of interests seeking expression through the Standard. This week he is presented in his best vein in a most instructive article on 'Book of Mormon Caractors.' No need to exhort the brethren yo read what R. B. Neal writes." We shall now proceed to show the weaknesses of his arguments, and expose his disreputable methods, which are to say the least unworthy of a man who claims the name "Christian."

He makes the following quotation from the article, "Two Sticks," "We call attention to the fact that archaeologists have found traces of the use of both the Egyptian and Hebrew languages by the ancient Americans, this is another undeniable evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon, for it says: 'Yea I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.' (1 Nephi 1:2) 'And now behold, we have written the record according to our knowledge in the characters which are called among us the Reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us according to our manner of speech. And if the plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew, but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold there would have been no imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things we have written, and also, that none other people knoewth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. (Mormon 4:8)."

Neal says: "The Mormon scribe commenting on the above says: 'There is much to substantiate the belief that this reformed Egyptian with which the plates were inscribed was of a phonetic character or like shorthand. The hieratic writings of the Egyptians was of this nature, and we are informed by Professor Le Plongeon and others that the writings of the ancient people of this country bear a strong resemblance to that class. E. D. Howe, in a work against us says that when the characters were submitted to Professor Anthon, he declared them to be ancient shorthand Egyptian. (History of Mormonism, p. 273...'"

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 19.                            Independence, Mo. September 17, 1908.                            No. 38.


Bro. R. B. Neal, of the erstwhile Helper, the organ of the "anti-Mormon association of the Disciples, Church of Christ, or whatever may be the name by which they call the organization of which they are members, comes out with a flourish of trumpets with a brabd new "organ" which he has named "The Sword of Laban," vol. 1, No. 1., being dated Morehead, Kentucky, August, 1908, and makes great promises as to what he promises to do to the "Mormons" if the brethren will only rally to his support, and supply him with sufficient subscriptions at a dollar per year for twelve issues of the "Sword," to enable him to get it out.

It is somewhat larger than the "Helper," but there is no new features in its methods that in any way distinguishes it from the lamented (?) "Helper." The old lines seem to find favor with its publishers. The theory seems to be that if it can be proved that Joseph Smith was a bad man and an impostor, then the whole organization of which he was a member goes down with him. That is the kind of logic employed. It matters not that the doctrine of Christ, AS HE TAUGHT IT, is heartily believed and practiced by members of this church. The fact that living apostles, prophets, elders, teachers, deacons, etc., are held necessary to the life of the church in this day, and that ALL the ordinances the Lord instituted must be honored now, and that the gifts and blessings promised the obedient believer by the Lord are now enjoyed by the members of this church, all count for nothing in the minds of those associated with Elder Neal in his work. Remarkable reasoning, isn't it?

If. Bro. Neal and his coadjutors knew how little this church really cared for their opposition and work, he might not be so self-laudatory about it. The Latter Day Saints are really interested in trying to get the people to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and feel it their duty to present it to them. But they are neither prompted by a desire to simply gain converts or to get glory from men. They seek to please the Lord unto whom they expect to render account for their labors, and not their fellow-men. When the ministry of this church has had opportunity to preach to men the doctrine of Christ, their responsibility is ended; and while they naturally delight in seeing men and women receive the truth -- the everlasting unchangeable gospel of Christ -- they are never found agonizing over, or begging anyone to believe and obey it. Intelligent men and women, those who are subjects for preaching, are able to reach conclusions and compare evidences when left alone, and they must answer to God alone for the use they make of opportunities for learning of his law and will.

One thing is sure, the time will come when these men who are so zealously fighting this work and this church, will awake to the fact that they were not doing God service as they so fondly imagined, but that their opposition was inspired by the devil, who has always opposed the work of the Lord, and used many of the very tactics these men are employing now. "By their fruits shall ye know them," always.

Note: As was generally the case, the RLDS editor writing this denunciation of Rev. Neal and his publications, avoids calling his readers' attention to the specific claims then being made against their scriptures and religion in the anti-Mormon press. Even though Rev. Neal's assertions against the Mormons were frequently put forth enveloped in a smug, "holier-than-though" journalistic wrapper, many of those same assertions deserved a nore thorough reply from the Latter Day Saint apologists than the non-specific, blanket condemnations usually published by them in reply to Neal and his associates.


Vol. 19.                            Independence, Mo., October 1, 1908.                            No. 40.


Editor Zion's Ensign: -- The debate announced some time since in the columns of the Ensign, to be held at Vernon, Colorado, between Elder W. G. Roberts of Rippey, Iowa, and myself, was held as announced, beginning August 18th, and ending the 24th.

The audience was quite good most of the time considering the sparsely settled community. Elder A. E. Tabor, of our faith, and a brother Terry of the Church of Christ for Elder Roberts' side, served as moderators; both did well, and have the thanks of all concerned, and it was agreeably done.

The debate was held in the Church of Christ erected at Vernon, we having no church building there...

Elder Roberts took no position as to the origin of the Book of Mormon, our third proposition. The ministers of the Christian church, or Church of Christ, differ among themselves regarding the origin of the book. The true statement made of its origin is easy to maintain.

Elder Braden tried to defend the Solomon Spaulding story of its origin. But that MSS. was found in the possession of his -- Spaulding's -- widow, (Spaulding died in 1816) in 1834, by enemies of the work, Hurlbut and E. D. Howe four years after the Book of Mormon was in print, and the testimony of Spaulding's widow is that that MSS. was in her possession from her husband's death, in 1816 till procured of her by Dr. Hurlbut in 1834. Anyway Spaulding's MSS. did not show up from the time he died till 1834, four years after the Book of Mormon was in print. It was printed and on sale, early in 1830. And both President Fairchild of Oberlin College, Ohio, and Elder D. H. Bays, who wrote against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in his "Dogmas and Doctrines," page 25 says: "The Spaulding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- it will let you down. The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spaulding Romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon must be abandoned."

Again Mr. Bays, in a letter dated Kalamazoo, Michigan, April 1, 1892, in which he assigns his reasons for resigning the ministry, and in which he gives reasons, to his mind, for doubting the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Of the Bible, at that time he said: "Not only do I find that the writers of the several books of the Bible, whoever they may be, do not claim to have written the books attributed to them, by inspiration, but I find a marked and irreconcilable disagreement between them, on questions of vital importance; thereby destroying the last vestige of any ground upon which to base an argument in support of the dogma of plenary inspiration." Preface to The Truth Vindicated by Elder Heman C. Smith, page 8.

On the same page of said work on the Book of Mormon may be found this language of Elder D. H. Bays: "The principal point of strength in favor of the Book of Mormon is to be found in the fact of the profound mystery surrounding its origin." Elder Bays did not wish to accept the divinity of the Book of Mormon because he doubted the Bible. For no man can believe the Book of Mormon to be true and reject the Bible, for the former testifies to the truth and divinity of the latter.

It is hereby seen that the opposers cannot set together on the origin of the Book of Mormon, although no mystery is claimed by it or its friends as to its origin. I may say, however, that Bays' infidelity did not come up in the debate at Vernon. I mention this in this connection to show that the opposers have no way of disproving the claim as to its origin...

Note: The Rev. Clark Braden was not present at the 1908 Scott-Roberts debate; neither was the late Rev. Davis H. Bays represented by any of his advocates among the members of the Disciples of Christ. Bays reached his conclusions regarding the "proof" supplied against the Spalding claims by the 1884 Honolulu manuscript discovery while still an elder in the RLDS Church. He simply carried these same conclusions with him when he later joined the Disciples. While Bays held to his original negative views regarding the Spalding claims until his death, his explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon appears to have been a less popular one among the Disciples during the early 1900s than that set forth by Clark Braden. Although RLDS apologists were always happy to publicize Bays' divergent viewpoint on this particular aspect of Mormon origins, they were less enthusiastic in broadcasting his published surmise, that Oliver Cowdery had helped Joseph Smith in perpetrating a gross religious fraud in the production of the Book of Mormon. The fact that Rev. Bays (who had studied the Spalding claims only superficially) disagreed with Rev. Braden (who had studied the matter in much greater depth) on how the Book of Mormon came into being, was probably given more prominence by the RLDS writers than that disagreement deserved -- the Saints being less acquainted with the policy of allowing theological diversity within their ranks than were the Disciples of that period.


Vol. 24.                            Independence, Mo., October 30, 1913.                            No. 44.


The Watchword, published at Dayton, Ohio, says, "Everybody knows about the Mormons, and after this year many thousands will know more about the fraud perpetrated upon the people by this sect, because they will have studied 'Mormonism, the Islam of America.' * * * The story of the connivance of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith imposing upon the people Solomon Spaulding's stolen manuscript, is fully told in the book, which every young person should study." If the "Watchword" had read both sides of the matter and judged righteously its report would have been much different from the above. The Spalding Story manuscript has been traced from the time of its writing by the author about 1812 to its present resting place in the Oberlin library, Ohio, and at no time did Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon have possession of it, and there is no evidence to show that they knew of its existence, until after the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Note: This short report typifies the RLDS response to the Spalding authorship claims, as they were voiced during the early 1900s. The Saints' major argument in this old debate was that the 1884 Honolulu manuscript discovery invalidated the Spalding claims altogether. Only rarely did an RLDS writer of this period bother to even admit that any contrary evidence had been presented by anybody in rebuttal to this insubstantial assertion by the Reorganized Church.


Vol. 25.                            Independence, Mo., October 22, 1914.                            No. 43.


By Elder Alvin R. Ellis.

It is claimed by many of our opponents that the Book of Mormon was copied from the Spalding romance. It is claimed that Sidney Rigdon stole or copied said manuscript and assisted Joseph Smith in correcting the Book of Mormon from it, as said Smith did not know enough to do it alone.

Yes, it is claimed -- it is claimed -- it was claimed by the chief priests among the Jews and the elders that Jesus was not resurrected, but that, "His disciples came by night, and stole him away while the soldiers slept." "And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

After the Book of Mormon came forth, its opposers claimed that "Joseph Smith did not translate it from ancient records; but that, "Sidney Rigdon stole the Spalding manuscript which formed the basis for the Book of Mormon," and, "it is commonly reported among the Book of Mormon opposers until this day."

"Found at Last" -- Mahaffey wins the belt.

Hundreds of volumes have been written against the Latter Day Saints and the Book of Mormon. Now comes a Methodist preacher by the name of Rev. J. E. Mahaffey with a seventy page book, entitled, "Found at Last! 'Positive Proof' That Mormonism is a Fraud and the Book of Mormon a Fable." Grand luck, indeed! After three fourths of a century of research by the many educated men who had access to everything that could be invented against the Latter Day Work, just think, that Providence (?) has at last, favored us with such a wonderful array of evidence!

Just listen to this self-esteemed "Positive Proof" man, on page two of his introductory note:

"It seems to be high time for some one to make a thorough investigation of the subject and give to the world the real facts in convenient, compact form. * * * All the facts presented in this volume are the results of years of careful investigation and personal research. * * * The plain facts gathered from all these sources and by all these methods are so overwhelmingly convincing that I do not hesitate to pronounce it "Positive Proof."

Date of Joseph Smith's Birth Not Known.

On page 5, he says:

The date of his birth is not exactly known, but is supposed to be about the year 1798.

Is it not a little strange that after years of "careful investigation" and "personal research," that a work so valuable as this "Positive Proof" is bragged up to be, cannot give even the date of the birth of the one whom it seeks to ridicule? Wonderful "Positive Proof" that! Nearly every anti-Mormon writer, when attempting at all, to give the date of Joseph Smith's birth, agree with the authentic history of his life, that he was born Dec. 23rd, 1805.

Probably "Positive Proof" Probably.

Mr. Mahaffey freely uses such expressions as "Probably," "It is said." "Quite likely," "He would probably," "Joseph Smith probably being," "Probability of," etc. Pages 5-21.

On page 22 he says:

"We now propose to show beyond the shadow of a doubt that Sidney Rigdon was the master mind in the preparations for Smith, the "Peeker" and money digger, to pretend the discovery of the golden plates in Cummora Hill, and the final planning of the scheme of Mormonism."

He now brings forth his strong reasons with such expressions "Was doubtless," "probably it was," "very likely," "Rigdon was -- or -- was not," "presuming that we have clearly established the fact that Rigdon did have opportunity to get in possession of the manuscript * * * we will now examine more convincing proof of the still more convincing ground upon which rests the suspicion that Rigdon did get the Spalding manuscript from somewhere," * * * "This he did, doubtless," "probably others," "Smith probably had," "It is claimed," "It was probably," "A great deal of such testimony is at hand, but it is not thought necessary to consume the time and space that would be required to give it all. And yet, tedious as it may seem to some, it is necessary to establish all the facts as we go," "As doubtless," "I suppose there is no doubt," "has probably never been known," etc. Pages 22-34.

Mahaffey now clinches his argument:

The facts thus far established are doubtless sufficient for the ordinary mind, but as this little work is to furnish "Positive Proof," even to the most prejudiced reader, no link in the chain must be left unhooked. * * * It now remains to establish beyond a shadow of doubt the points of identity between the Spalding romance and the Book of Mormon. * * * probably made * * * and was probably never * * * the devil can run a mile barefooted with a lie while some of us are hunting slippers for truth to creep out in. * * * The Book of Mormon is an elaboration of the Spalding romance, possessing all the essentials of the general plot, as mentioned before, * * * Probably. -- Pages 42-56.

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Three cheers for "Positive Proof" Mahaffey!

Mahaffey's "Slippers" Lost.

The following misrepresentation seems to indicate that Mr. Mahaffey was speaking from experience, when he said that "the devil can run a mile barefooted with a lie while some of us are hunting slippers for truth to creep out in." He moulds his first point of "Positive Proof" into this form:

Smith says he had been solemnly warned that no other eye should ever look upon these plates * * * Mind you, Smith claimed to have had solemn warning from the angel that no other eye but his should ever behold these mysterious plates; * * * and yet, eleven men testify that Smith had showed them the original plates -- Positive Proof, pages 3, 4.

Just where Joseph Smith's statement referred to is recorded, Mr. Mahaffey does not say; but of course, it must be accepted whether Joseph said it or not, if this "Positive Proof" is to settle the question.

Joseph was told the following:

I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I command you. -- Doctrine and Covenants, 5:1.

Accordingly, eight men testified that Joseph Smith showed them the plates. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris testified that an angel came down from heaven and showed them the plates. The testimony of the "three" and also of the "eight" is printed in the front part of every copy of the Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon Witnesses Misrepresented.

With reference to the witnesses, he continues:

It is said that all three of the original witnesses * * * avoided the falsity of their affidavits, (page 5) * * * affidavit from eleven * * * that they had "seen and hefted" the original plates is nauseating to the stomach. And notwithstanding the fact that these witnesses have since affirmed the falsity of their statement, yet every copy of the Book of Mormon that has been printed since that time contains the same affidavit of these men, and it is repeated in millions of pamphlets and tracts being circulated all over the face of the earth today. Thus it is that tons of fradulent lies are being transported by the mails of the United States, and much of it at one cent a pound. -- Positive Proof, page 37.

(under construction)

Spalding Manuscript Theory Reviewed.

What is known as the Spalding romance was written about the year 1811 by Solomon Spalding. The theory is, that he submitted his story to a printer named Patterson, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, for publication; and that a young man by the name of Sidney Rigdon, was working in the printing office at the time, and that he either stole or copied it. However, after Mr. Spalding's death in the year 1816, the manuscript fell back into the hands of Mr. Spalding's widow. In the year 1834, Mr. D. P. Hurlbut, an enemy to the saints, obtained the manuscript from Mr. Spalding's widow to put into the hands of Mr. E. D. Howe, who was to use it in connection with a book which he was preparing, entitled, "Mormonism Unveiled." Mr. Howe published his book; but did not publish the Spalding Manuscript. Why not? Because "it did not read as he expected," or, in other words, it was so different from the Book of Mormon, that to have published it, would have defeated the object of his book.

In the year 1839 or 1840 Mr. Howe sold out his business, the Painesville Telegraph, to Mr. L. L. Rice, who afterwards moved the outfit yo Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. This manuscript was supposed by Mr. Howe to have been destroyed by fire, as he wrote to Apostle T. W. Smith, of the Reorganized Church, July 26, 1881, that "The manuscript that came into my possession I suspect was destroyed by fire forty years ago." Also, in a letter written by Mr. Howe to Mr. Hurlbut, August 7, 1880, and published by Mr. Mahaffey, on page 20 of his "Positive Proof," he says, "It was in my possession till after the publication of 'Mormonism Unveiled,' and then disappeared and lost, I suppose, by fire."

In the year 1885, Mr. James H. Fairchild, President of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, was visiting at Honolulu. While there, the manuscript was found among some old documents which were moved there with the outfit over forty years before.

Mr. Fairchild says:

The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding, will probably have to be relinquished. * * * During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable anti-slavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College Library. In pursuance of this suggestion Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn, and faded manuscript of about one hundred and seventy-five pages, * * * On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature, giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that, to their personal knowledge, the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spalding. * * * Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required. . -- Manuscript Found, pages 5, 6.

The following is a copy of the certificate, referred to, by Mr. Fairchild:

The writings of Solomon Spaulding proved by Aron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller, and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. Signed D. P. Hurlburt. -- Manuscript Found, page 158.

The above certificate shows plainly that this manuscript, now at Oberlin College, is the very manuscript obtained by Mr. D. P. Hurlburt, from Spalding's widow, from Mr. E. D. Howe to use in his "Mormonism Unveiled." But, the thing has come to light and the Hurlbut-Howe Company has been unveiled.

From the University Encyclopedia, we quote the following:

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830, and it was at one time claimed that it was a plagiarism on a novel, published in 1812 and written by a clergyman several years before, but recently this book has been discovered and been compared with the Book of Mormon and it is found that they are entirely different. -- University Encyclopedia, vol. 6, page 4108.

"Probably" Two or Three Manuscripts.

Since the theory has been exploded by the manuscript coming to light; the Book of Mormon opponents have invented a new story. Like Mr. Mahaffey: "Probably" Solomon Spalding wrote two or three manuscripts. "Probably" he rewrote the story. "Probably" the one he rewrote was left with Mr. Patterson for publication. "Probably" that is the one Sidney Rigdon stole. "If" he did not steal it, "probably" he copied, for, "probably" he could remember well enough from reading it to reproduce it, he "probably" had a good memory.

The Schroeder-Mahaffey Company Limited.

"Smith must furnish the reputation and Rigdon the brains. Smith has [sic, was?] already the 'peek-stone prophet and gold treasure digger,' and Rigdon had the brains and a good deal of literary shrewdness for a man of his day. -- Positive Proof, page 28.

But listen! Mr. A. T. Schroeder seems to be furnishing the "brains" in this case and the Rev. J. E. Mahaffey seems to possess the "literary shrewdness!" Mr. Mahaffey quotes, in his "Positive Proof," quite freely, from Mr. Schroeder's work. And who is this Mr. Schroeder? He is also a probably two-or-three manuscript theory man. He says in his writings, "I can not establish these facts except by hearsay evidence, which Greenleaf would bar." Mr. Mahaffey, on page 32, calls Mr. Schroeder's pamphlet a "valuable work." Mr. Schroeder calls it hearsay evidence, and Mr. Mahaffey gets it, at least, third-handed and labels it, "Positive Proof."

Mr. D. H. Bays, an able debater and anti-Mormon writer, who desired to down the Book of Mormon, after a thorough investigation of the probably two-or-three manuscript property, decided that it would not be safe to invest any capital in the deal. If there had been any profit in it, he surely would have invested. The business has somewhat fallen into the hands of the Schroeder-Mahaffey Company. We suggest that they probably got in possession of the property the same way that Rigdon probably got in possession of the Spalding manuscript.

In the Christian Evangelist, Mr. Bays replies to Mr. Schroeder as follows:

You assure me that the first of these manuscripts "simply outlined the story and is the one now in Oberlin." The second, you assert with equal gravity, "was prepared for the printer," while in the third "the plot of the story changed as to place from which Indians came here and the names changed to suit the change in the plot"; and this, you assure me, "is the one which furnishes the basis for the Book of Mormon." This is a very pretty "theory," and somewhat ingenious, but where is the evidence to support it? * * * I confess myself not a little surprised that an attorney, trained in a school of justice to weigh and determine the value and admissibility of evidence, should ask a candid public to decide so grave a matter upon the bare assertion of an interested party, without the shadow of evidence to support it.

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

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

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

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

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

Hence, until you establish the alleged fact that such "second Spalding Manuscript" had a bona fide existence, and that the "very unusual names" found in the Book of Mormon are "absolutely identical" with those found in the so-called "second Spalding Manuscript," a fair-minded, just public will reject this new-fangled "Spalding Manuscript theory" as the merest vagary of a prejudiced mind, and wholly without the slightest foundation in fact. I do not say that the "three manuscripts" had no actual existence; but I do say that if such manuscripts ever had anything more than an imaginary existence somebody knows it; and if somebody knows it, why not have that somebody step upon the witness stand and boldly testify to the fact? But why pursue this question further, since you admit that it is only a "theory" -- a theory, too, supported by such a class of evidence which, as a lawyer, you well know would be rejected by any court in this broad land of ours. --- Christian Evangelist, Nov. 2, 1899.

Statement of Solomon Spalding

A great deal of light can be thrown on the probably two-or-three manuscript theory from Mr. Spalding's own statement in his introduction to the romance. We quote him in part as follows:

* * * I found an earthen Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tight. * * * When I removed the cover I found it contained twenty-eight rolls of parchment -- and -- that when ------ appeared to be manuscripts written in an eligant hand with Roman Letters and in the Latin language. * * *

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

To publish a translation of every particular circumstance mentioned by our author would produce a volume too expensive for the general class of readers. But should this attempt to throw off the veil which has secluded our view from the transactions o nations who for ages have been extinct, meet the approbation of the public, I shall then be happy to gratify the more inquisitive and learned part of my readers by a more minute publication. * * *

Now, Gentle Reader, the Translator who wishes well to thy present and thy future existence entreats thee to peruse this volume with a clear head, a pure heart, and a candid mind. -- Manuscript Found, pages 12-14.

It is unreasonable to expect that Mr. Spalding wrote more than one manuscript, for the following reasons:

1. He claims to have translated this romance from Roman and Latin manuscripts. That being the case, a second manuscript, or, even a third (granting that they were made), would be the same as as the first, with perhaps, (as in most works reviewed), some corrections. To have changed the whole plan and rewrote it or a different story altogether, would have exposed as a fraud the first translation, or the so-called "outlined copy that Schroeder-Mahaffey Company and other "probably" writers try to make out the "Manuscript Found" to be. Mr. Spalding, not knowing that the first translation would be lost, and writing an entirely different one, and leaving both in the hands of the public to compare with each other, would have given himself entirely away as a translator. I do not believe Mr. Spalding was so ignorant as these "probably" writers try to make out that he was.

2. He makes the statement, that if his translation of extracts meets with the approval of the public, "I shall then be happy to gratify the more inquisitive and learned part of my readers by a 'more minute' publication." That is, after it is published and given to the public, if it meets with approval, a more extended (not a different one) translation will be made. That later one (if made) would also contain what the first one contained, as he said, the first contained "Extracts of the most interesting and important matters contained in the Roll."

3. He never wrote a second, or third translation, because the production of a second or third was to depend on the notoriety of the first after it was published, and he never published the first. It was not published until after it was found at Honolulu, in 1885, and then by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Rigdon Theft Story Disproved.

After all the speculation on the "probably" Rigdon theft story, it is evident that Sidney Rigdon was not converted to the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until after the Book of Mormon was published.

Please note the following:

There is no evidence that Rigdon knew anything of Mormonism until after the publication of the Book of Mormon. -- Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 18, page 843, 14th Edition.

Mr. Rigdon was a minister in the Disciple Church, for some time before and up to the time of his conversion to the faith of the Latter Day Saints. The following, found in the History of the Disciples, locates Rigdon in that church until after the publication of the Book of Mormon:

January, 1827: Held public meetings at Mantua, Ohio -- Hayden's History of the Disciples, on the Western Reserve, page 237.

August 23, 1827: Meeting with Ministerial Association, New Lisbon, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, pages 55, 57.

October 20, 1827: Ministerial Council at Warren, Ohio. History of the Disciples, page 137.

November, 1827: Preaching at New Lisbon, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, pages 72-75.

March, 1828: Instructing class in theology, in Mentor, Ohio. Also held great religious meetings in Mentor and Warren, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, page 198.

April, 1828: Holds great religious revival at Kirtland, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, page 194.

May, 1828: Meets Alexander Campbell at Shalersville, Ohio, and holds protracted meetings. -- History of the Disciples, page 155.

July 1, 1829: At Perry, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, page 346.

October, 1829: At Perry, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, pages 207-209.

November, 1829: Wait Hill, Ohio; baptized Alvin Wait. -- History of the Disciples, pages 204-207.

June 1 to 30, 1830: Mentor, Ohio. -- Millennial Harbinger, page 389.

August, 1830: With Alexander Campbell at Austintown, Ohio. -- History of the Disciples, page 209. -- Extracted from Parson's Text Book.

The above shows plainly that Sidney Rigdon was busy as a minister in the Disciple Church from January, 1827, until August, 1830. He was converted to the faith of Latter Day Saints in December [sic], 1830. Joseph Smith obtained the plates, from which the Book of Mormon was translated, in September, 1827, and the Book of Mormon was published in the early part of the year 1830.

Mr. D. H. Bays, the anti-Mormon debater, speaking on the question, says:

This unusual debater undertakes to trace the Book of Mormon to the Spalding romance through Sidney Rigdon. Nothing can be more erroneous, and it will lead to almost certain defeat * * * I speak from experience.

The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spalding Romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon must be abandoned. -- Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism, pages 22, 24, 25.

(under construction)

Note 1: See the Sept. 29, 1902 issue of the Columbia, South Carolina Globe-Democrat for a summary of Rev. Mahaffey's claims. See the Nov. 27, 1902 issue of Zion's Ensign for an early review of Rev. Mahaffey's 1902 anti-Mormon book.

Note 2: Several of Elder Ellis' basic assumptions regarding Spalding's fictional writings are patently absurd, and especially so where he attempts to preclude any possibility that the would-be author ever wrote more than one pseudo-history of the ancient Americans. Ellis says: "To have changed the whole plan and rewrote it or a different story altogether, would have exposed as a fraud the first translation..." In saying this he assumes that Spalding intended to publish the Oberlin story's introduction as a "fraud" upon his readers. There is no more reason to believe that Spalding intended to so such a thing than there is to believe that Jonathan Swift meant his readers to believe Mr. Gulliver was an actual world traveler. Ellis assumes that any additional pseudo-historical stories written by Spalding would have necessarily referred back to the fictional introductory episode related in the Oberlin manuscript, in order to believeably correspond with that story's initial "fraud." Spalding could have discarded the Oberlin tale as an unprofitable literary experiment (which he indeed seems to have done) and then moved on to writing an entirely different introduction to an entirely different pseudo-historical story. Whether or not he ever toyed with the idea of presenting any such story as a true history, it is highly unlikely that a reputable publisher of his day would have allowed such a piece of work to go forth from the press without attaching to it a preface elucidating the story's fictional character. Even if Spalding had summoned forth sufficient audacity to represent his final draft as a "true" ancient American history, there is no reason to suppose that anything written in the Oberlin manuscript would have impacted in any way upon the final, hoped-for book. The argument Ellis tries to make amounts to his saying that no writer of fiction could ever produce more than a single story, unless all of his (or her) stories substantially agreed with one another in their settings and major plot elements. This is a very poor way to go about proving that Solomon Spalding only wrote one fictional story in his lifetime.


Vol. 26.                            Independence, Mo. March 18, 1915.                            No. 11.


Contradictions Found in "Anti-Mormon" Works.

"And the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow."

Gideon came against the host of Midian at night with his three hundred men. At the prearranged signal each man broke his pitcher, held his light aloft, and blew his trumpet. Confusion ensued in the camp of Midian. The soldiers fell to killing each other. The record says: "And the Lord set every man's sword against his fellows."

At the sounding of the trump of the restored gospel a somewhat similar condition has obtained among our opponents. They are very much in the dark, very much confused, and in his blind zeal each man stabs his fellow.

To prove this we propose to quote from a number of leading books, all written by the opposition, all [put] forth as reliable, showing only a few of hundreds of contradictions.

Joseph Smith's Mother Expected Him to be a Prophet.

Clark Braden, in the Braden and Kelley Debate, published by the Christian Publishing Company, Saint Louis, and put forth by them as a thoroughly reliable work, says:

(under construction)

Book of Mormon Taken From Spaulding Romance..

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

Gentiles, with few exceptions, believe that the Book of Mormon is one of Solomon Spaulding's romances, which somehow fell into Smith's hands and was altered to suit his purpose. No matter what others may think, I agree with those who are of this opinion, although I have not always done so. -- Cumorah Revisited, by Shook, p. 25.

Book of Mormon Not Taken From Spaulding Romance.

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

The long-lost Spaulding story has at last been unearthed, and is now on deposit in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin, Ohio, and may be examined by any-one who will take the pains to call on President Fairchild, of that institution * * * The Spaulding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- it will let you down.

The entire theory connecting Sidney Rigdon and the Spaulding romance with Joseph Smith in originating the Book of Mormon must be abandoned -- Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism, D. H. Bays, pp. 24, 25.

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

In spite of a continuous stream of conjectural literature, it is as yet impossible to pick out any special document as an original source of the Book of Mormon. In particular, the commonly accepted Spaulding theory is insoluable from external evidence and disproved by internal evidence. -- The Founder of Mormonism, p. 172.

(under construction)

Sidney Rigdon the Founder of Mormonism.

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

We therefore, must hold out Sidney Rigdon to the world as being the original "author and proprietor" of the whole Mormon conspiracy, until further light is elicited upon the last writings of Solomon Spaulding -- Mormonism, by E. D. Howe, p. 290.

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

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

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

In order to the successful refutation of the Mormon dogma it is not at all necessary to connect Sidney Rigdon with Joseph Smith in its inception. In fact, such a course will almost certainly result in failure; and the principal reason why it will fail is because it is not true. * * *

As a matter of fact, Sidney Rigdon was an earnest and able advocate of the Reformation contemporaneously with Alexander Campbell, and pastor of a church at Mentor, Ohio, at the very time Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were propagating Mormonism in New York and Pennsylvania. Sidney Rigdon had never heard a Mormon sermon, nor had he ever seen a copy of the Book of Mormon till he was presented with one by Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt in the fall of 1830. It is an historical fact that Mr. Rigdon became a convert to the new religion through the preaching of these gentlemen during the visit referred to above. -- The Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism, D. H. Bays, pp. 22, 23.

Disagreement Even on Date of Birth.

Joseph Smith was born at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1805 -- Origin of Book of Mormon and Rise and Progress of Mormon Church, by S. J. S. Davis, p. 23.

Just here a little sketch of the history and character of Joseph Smith may be in order. He was born at Sharon, Vt. The date of his birth is not exactly known, but is supposed to be about the year 1798. page 5.

Hundreds of contradictions similar to the ones here reproduced might be collected with a little research from the mass of confusion, error, and falsehood put forth in the sacred name of truth in opposition to the Latter Day Work. You will not gather grapes and figs of truth and fact from the brambles of error and deception.
                                Elbert A. Smith.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 27.                            Independence, Mo. October 12, 1916.                            No. 41.


Or Smith vs. Campbell.

R. B. Neal, of Grayson, Ky., with characteristic effrontry, sallies forth under cover of the "Apostolic Review" for September 12th and makes one of his periodical attacks, then Villa like, beats it to his mountain retreat. We should apologize to Villa, however, for the comparison. Villa will fight, even when the odds are against him. But this boasted champion of saintly virtues has never been known to make even an honorable sjirmish. It is a thrust, a whoop, and retreat to his lair to contemplate his imagined havoc. Since there is no liklihood of being able to get him to meet us in the open, we will proceed to examine that "valuable war document" flourished by this brave anti in his last sortie anyway. It reads as follows:

Remarks on the Mormon Expose.

"I have now paid my share of attention to the meanest, vilest, and most infamous humbug ever promulgated in any age, language, or country under these broad and high heavens. It is a sacramental seal of the devilism of the nineteenth century -- an impersonation of Bible ignorance, infidel impudence, and heaven-defying impiety. I have printed in sequence the whole expose of its revealed abominations. I have been asked to do this by my brethren in Great Britain as well as by those in America, and I have done it faithfully for the common benefit of the whole community.

"I am acquainted with the early history of Mormonism perhaps as fully as any one of its historians. I have marked its progress, and I opine, upon all its premises, that it would be more difficult to exaggerate its enormous wickedness than any other species of delusion, fraud or fiction ever palmed upon the world. It is much more execrable than the Koran, though because of the light of the age it has not room to plant itself in the earth; and yet it has such an indication of the ignorance and gullibility of all masses of religionists, that it is humiliating and mortifying in the superlative degree, to notice its headway in this country and in other places, though its votaries are scarcely more than a tithe of what its lying oracles would have the community to believe.

"Meanwhile we must refer all future inquirers to the documents already spread upon its pages, from which, if they can not learn its monstrous impiety, they could not be taught by any human tongue." -- A. C.

It will be noticed that Mr. Campbell says he was acquainted with the early history of Mormonism as fully as any of its historians. His acquaintance with the Latter Day Saints was based largely on the Mother-Grundy reports in circulation at the time, or perhaps from one of his spiritual dreams he had recorded by doctor Richardson, as he was never in close enough contact with the Saints to learn it from them. Like his illustrious Kentucky progeny, he made a few surprise attacks in the absence of those worthy of his steel, and then retreated to the security of his Bethany domicile. It was an easy matter to sit in his Virginia parlor and write that "Mormonism" was the "most impious humbug," but to meet a representative of the truth in open battle was a task he sagiously avoided. It will not do to say that Joseph Smith was not worthy of his notice. Sidney Rigdon, one of the ablest men among the "reformers," challenged Mr. Campbell to a discussion, but scenting danger to his cause, he wisely declined. Besides there were others more able than Rigdon who accepted the "humbug" ready to meet Mr. Campbell or any one else.

Referring to one of his attacks, Joseph Smith wrote: "Mr. Campbell has been invited to show himself a man of principle -- after repeated insults to the Church of the 'Latter Day Saints,' and to exchange papers and cut a quill like a man; but seeing he dare not do it (for notwithstanding the confidence which his satellites have in him, he knows the weakness of his cause too well to hazard an investigation with an elder of the Church of the 'Latter Day Saints'), we consider this effort of his in the same point of light which we do a whipped spaniel, when he is afraid to face his enemy he turns his hind parts and barks -- so bark on, Alexander." Church History, Vol. 1, p. 571.

He continued to "bark" until he barked himself mad, though his biographers seek to minimize the gravity of his dementia.

Turning to the Millenial Harbinger for 1831, pp. 86-96, we find Campbell's first anti-Mormon invectives in print. By a casual reading of this and other efforts of the same kind, it is easy to see that Mr. Neal is simply dancing to the music of his spiritual progenitor. When Campbell says, "fraud," "delusion," "impostor," "humbug," etc., Neal says, "me too."

Mr. Campbell goes through the Book of Mormon after the same fashion that the infidel does the Bible and holds it up to ridicule, giving us the benefit of his observation as follows:

"The book professes to be written at intervals and by different persons during the long period of 1020 years. And yet for uniformity of style, there never was a book more evidently written by one set of fingers, nor more certainly conceived in one cranium since the first book appeared in human language, than this same book. If I could swear to any man's voice, face or person, assuming different names, I could swear that this book was written by one man. And as Joseph Smith is a very ignorant man and is called the author on the title page, I cannot doubt for a single moment that he is the sole author and proprietor of it." Mill. Harb. Vol. 2, p. 93.

The reader will observe that he is "certain" that it was written by "one set of fingers," "conceived in one cranium," that he could "swear that this book was written by one man," and had not a single doubt but that Joseph Smith was the "sole author" of it. Proceeding with his "examination" he quotes extensively from the book and, in infidel style, makes numerous sarcastic comments, then postulates as follows:

"These are but as one drop out of a bucket compared with the amount of Smithisms in this book. It is patched up and cemented with "And it came to pass" -- "I sayeth unto you" -- "Ye saith unto him" -- and all the King James' "haths," "dids" and "doths;" in the lowest imitation of the common version; and is, without exaggeration, the meanest book in the English language; but it is a translation made through stone spectacles, in a dark room, and in the hat of the prophet Smith from the reformed Egyptian!!! It has not one good sentence in it, save the profanation of those sentences quoted from the Oracles of the living God. I would as soon compare a bat to the American eagle, a mouse to a mammoth, or the deformities of a spectre to the beauty of Him whom John saw in Patmos, as to contrast it with a single chapter in all the writings of the Jewish or Christian prophets. It is as certainly Smith's fabrication as Satan is the father of lies, or darkness the offspring of night." Ibid, p. 95.

Such are the deductions of his analytical mind! Having just previously held a debate with the infidel, Owen, and without giving credit to the author, he hurls the infidel's thunder at the new evangel. But we are not criticising Mr. Campbell for that. It was the best he could do. But, like a great many others who have undertaken to "expose" the Lord's work, Mr. Campbell spoke too soon and said too much. It became necessary a few years later for him to eat his own words and admit his ignorant stupidity on this occasion.

In June, 1833, Dr. P. Hurlbut, who had united with the Saints, and had been entrusted with a mission to the east, was found guilty of "unchristian conduct with the women" and promptly expelled from the church. Soon after he and E. D. Howe, an infidel, published their "Mormonism Unveiled," in which they sought to connect Sidney Rigdon and the Spaulding romance with the origin of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Campbell read this new "discovery" with a ravenous relish and, convinced by the plausibility of the story that the Book of Mormon was not "conceived in one cranium," nor written by "one set of fingers," dictated by an "ignorant" and untutored mind, he sees the handwriting of the learned Spalding as the foundation for the plot. This idea is confirmed in a "most satisfactory" manner by the discovery of Spalding's widow in 1839. To remove all odium from the good name of her learned husband, she hastily gives out a statement for publication which was heralded far and wide, and men of Campbell's caliber thought they had the lion bearded in his den. No matter about previous opinions however "certain" they appeared to be correct. Opinions may be revised at any time, especially if the revision tends to condemn "Mormonism."

In this historical sketch of Spalding's widow, which I have before me, we are assured that Mr. Spalding was an "educated man," being a graduate of Dartmouth College, and very fond of history. There being a number of prehistoric remains in the vicinity of his home in New Salem, Ohio, he became interested in their contents. "Numerous implements" and "other articles" were found, which, with Mr. Spalding's "livily imagination," enabled him to write "a historical sketch of this long lost race." This was in 1812. He frequently "amused" his neighbors by reading portions of the manuscript to them, which he called "The Manuscript Found." From New Salem they moved to Pittsburg, Pa., where Mr. Spalding became acquainted with a printer by the name of Patterson to whom he loaned his "Manuscript Found." Mr. Patterson returned it after a "long time," suggesting to Mr. Spalding that he finish it and have it published, but he refused to do it.

At this time, according to the widow's statement, Sidney Rigdon was "connected with the printing office," and had "ample opportunity" to copy the manuscript. Mr. Spalding died in 1816 and the manuscript fell into the hands of his widow and was "carefully preserved" until 1834 when it was turned over to Dr. Hurlbut for comparison with the "Mormon Bible."

This statement was published in the "Boston Recorder," and copied by the "Boston Daily Advertiser," some time in 1839. It so clearly set out the true origin of the Book of Mormon, in the mind of Mr. Campbell, that he gives it space in the June number of his Millenial Harbinger, and comments on it as follows:

"Since reading 'Mormonism Unveiled' we had but little doubt that Sidney Rigdon is the leading conjuror in this diabolical affair; and that the widow of Solomon Spaulding, if found, could give some authentic and satisfactory information on the subject of the Book of Mormon -- so far at least as the romance of Mr. Spaulding, the real basis of the fraud, was concerned. It would seem that she has been found in the wife of a second husband, Mrs. Davison, and that the whole affair is now at length fairly divulged. Much pains ought to be taken to send this document through the length and breadth of the land -- as the emissaries of Smith, Rigdon, and Co., like the father of lies, are ever on the alert to beguile unstable souls, and continually lying in wait to deceive. The gullability of the present generation has not, in the memory of history, been often equaled -- never surpassed. A people ignorant of the Bible are always an easy prey to the ministers of delusion and error." Mill. Harb. New Series, Vol. 2, p. 267.

I have often wondered how and why Campbellism made such progress. Since reading the above I am no longer in doubt. It is because of the "gullibility" and "ignorance" of the [present] generation. A stereotyped expression often heard from the anti-Mormon crusaders is, the Latter Day Saints, if left alone, will take the best members of our churches. Then again we hear it said that those who accept the Book of Mormon are "gullible" and "unstable." If those things are true, we wonder at the mental caliber of those who reject it, and remain loyal to Campbellism.

With characteristic ease, common to the anti-Mormon polemic, Mr. Campbell abandoned hos former opinion expressed so positively in 1831 that Smith was the sole author, and at one gulp swallowed the fictitious Spalding story, romance and all, which for years was made to do service in exposing the true origin of the Book of Mormon, until the "Manuscript Found" was discovered in Honolulu by L. L. Rice and J. H. Fairchild in 1884, since which time it has been rejected to the boneyard of untenable theories by all except a scattered few "gullible" and "unstable" souls who lack the power of discrimination.

The Boston Daily Advertiser says of the statement given out by Spalding's widow: "It accounts most satisfactorily for the existence of the book, a fact which heretofore has been difficult to explain. It was difficult to imagine how a work containing so many indications of being the production of a cultivated mind, should be connected with a knavery so impudent and a superstition so gross as that which must have characterized the founders of this pretended religious sect."

This editor found "many indications" of a "cultivated mind" in the composition of the Book of Mormon. Campbell could not see a good sentence in it. Nothing but the fingerprints of the very "ignorant" Smith, who he was certain was the sole author. Now, enlightened by the rays of the new discovery, he, too, sees the indications of a cultivated mind, and the writing of the learned Spalding, in the hands of the scheming Rigdon and the unscruplous Smith furnishes to his mind "most sastisfactorily" evidence that the fraud is now "fairly divulged," and it would now be the height of absurdity to say that it was all "conceived in one cranium." There is just as much truth in one theory as the other, and none in either. The mythical story based on the statement of the widow has long ago been abandoned by discreet opponents of the Book of Mormon, and Mr. Campbell's "gullibility" is painfully apparent, while the mysterious origin of the book remains unsolved. Thousands of intelligent people continue to accept it as a divine record despite the frantic howling of anti-Mormon polemics who have more gall than grit.

Mr. Campbell's own historians and biographers apparently had no faith in the fictitious invention of Hurlbut and Howe. A. S. Hayden, who wrote an elaborate history of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, published in 1876, eight years before the "Manuscript Found" was discovered in Honolulu, has considerable to say about Sidney Rigdon, but he evidently had no confidence in the theory that he figured as the "real conjuror" of the Book of Mormon. He has Rigdon in full fellowship with the "reformers" till the fall of 1830 when he fell a "victim" to the "Mormon delusion." He says: "Whatever may be justly said of him after he had surrendered himself a victim and a leader of the Mormon delusion, it would scarcely be just to deny sincerity and candor to him, previous to that time when his bright star became permanently eclipsed under that dark cloud." p. 192.

This historian and associate of Rigdon's exhonerates him from complicity in any conspiracy. But Neal, like his spiritual progenitor, passes up the facts of history as recorded by men in close touch with the daily life and works of Sidney Rigdon, and swallows the Spalding fabrication, as false as it is fanciful, without blinking an eye, because Mr. Campbell swallowed it. Relying on the "gullibility" of his readers, he flourishes anew this absurd anti-Mormon "expedient" as a "valuable war document." Wonderful, indeed, the discriminating sagacity of this wily mountaineer. The popular prejudice against Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon furnishes an enticing opportunity for men and women of a certain caste to dispose of their wares to a "gullible" public, regardless of truth or veracity.

Mr. Neal and his fellows are evidently meeting an opposition that is as distasteful to them as it is unfair to us, at the hands of Baptist and Methodist editors. He says: "Again, the Baptist and Methodist editors who make the stale statement that the two systems, 'Mormonism and Campbellism are exactly alike,' must cease it, take it back or accuse Mr. Campbell of butchering his own child and not recognizing it!"

At risk of being turned down cold, we are going to ask, as a personal favor, that those Baptist and Methodist editors desist. We dislike very much to think that they can find nothing better to measure us by than Campbellism. Surely there is enough in our philosophy to entitle us to a loftier consideration than that! Besides it is more of a reflection on the good judgment of those editors than it is on our "gullibility." But we don't blame Mr. Neal for trying to make it appear that their opponents are comparing them with something worth while. But since the comparison has been made -- according to Mr. Neal -- we will likewise do some comparing and relieve ourselves of the odium as much as possible, hoping, the while, that those editors will consider that the Golden Rule applies to us too.

We will begin with the respective leaders of the two movements, Joseph Smith and Alexander Campbell. I have made a careful study of the life and teachings of the two men from their birth to the present, so far as their teachings influence others, and the only point of similarity I have ever observed was the fact that both claimed the restoration of the apostolic order of things. But their methods of procedure differed as widely as the north is from the south.

Joseph Smith claimed a revelation from God as the source of his information and authority to set the church in order after the primitive pattern. Mr. Campbell, with characteristic egotism, challenged Almighty God and declared"We want no new message from the skies -- no embassadors from Christ. In short there is no need to have men among us professing to be 'called and sent by God.'" Christian Baptist, p. 21. He assures us that the "gullibility" of the people at the time was astonishing, and we are persuaded that it must have been so, or the "Current Reformation" would have been still-born.

The "reformers" were fattening on an inglorious conquest among the Baptists in the Western Reserve when the early elders of the Latter Day Saints appeared on the scene with the Book of Mormon and such revelations as had been given to the church at that time, 1830. The reformers, headed by Walter Scott, were enthusiastically teaching the near approach of the Millenial reign by the union of all Christians and Mr. Hayden tells us that the "trumpet which they blew gave no uncertain sound."

"The ardor of religious awakening resulting from the new discoveries in the gospel was very much increased about the year 1830, by the hope that the millennium had now dawned, and that the long expected day of gospel glory would very soon be ushered in. The restoration of the ancient gospel was looked upon as the initiatory movement, which, it was thought, would spread so rapidly that existing denominations would almost immediately be deorganized; that the true people, of whom it was believed Christ had a remnant among the sects, would at once, on the presentation of these evidently scriptural views, embrace them, and thus form the union of Christians so long prayed for; and so would be established the Kingdom of Jesus in form, as well as in fact, on its New Testament basis." History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve, p. 183.

Mr. Campbell shared these views, as the following from Dr. Richardson's pen goes to show:

"From the rapid spread of the reformatory principles, the union of so many different parties in the primitive faith, and the evident check given to the progress of the infidel schemes of Mr. Owen and others, he was also much impressed by the conviction that the millennial period anticipated by the Church was nigh at hand. He felt assured that a reformation such as he advocated, which proposed to go back to the very beginning and restore the gospel in its original purity and fulness, could leave no room for any other religious reformation, and must of necessity be the very last effort possible to prepare the world for the coming of Christ." Memoirs of A. Campbell. Vol. 2, p. 302.

Baxter, in his "Life of Walter Scott," says:

"About this time (1840) the teachings of Miller and others with respect to the second advent were creating great excitement, particularly in the West. The second appearing of the Son of man was, according to them, to take place in 1843; many sincerely believed it, and acted as those who expected to witness that glorious event. Prominent ministers in nearly all denominations became interested in the subject, and the prophecies in regard to the second advent were eagerly and carefully studied. The religious press teemed with arguments pro and con, and religious society was moved and agitated as it never was before in this generation. Mr. Campbell wrote and spoke much in regard to the matter, and, without committing himself definitely with regard to the time, seemed to be under the impression that the world was on the eve of some great and wonderful event." p. 393.

Now for the comparison.

Right at the time that Mr. Campbell and prominent ministers of other denominations were preaching and writing about those millenial dawn views, Joseph Smith, upon whom they looked with scorn, was going on record at frequent intervals that the millenial reign, which he held to be a grand and glorious reality would be preceeded by a reign of great wickedness, and that instead of the union of Christians preached by the reformers, the churches would become more corrupt until the consumation decreed when judgments would be poured out without measure on spiritual Babylon by an offended God. Instead of peace as proclaimed by the self appointed leaders of men, wars and bloodshed were decreed. Listen.

"Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together. For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days. And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them." Doc. and Cov. 1:1.

Alexander Campbell, as Mr. Neal is doing, did his utmost to "stay them," but was compelled to admit his impotency in the very "war document" he flourished when he said, "it is humiliating and mortifying in the superlative degree, to notice its headway in this country and in other places." And Mr. Neal, might just as well try to batter down the Kentucky mountains with sweat potatoes as to try to "stay them."

                       E. E. Long.

(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 27.                            Independence, Mo. October 19, 1916.                            No. 42.


Or Smith vs. Campbell.

Part Two.

Let us continue to read:

"Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear; prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth; and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall." -- D. and C. 1:3.

Babylon, of which Campbellism is a part, has irretrievably fallen as I will show further along from the lips and pens of some of the ablest men among them.

In another communication to the church in 1832 the Lord said to his servants, "I sent you out to warn the people," and adds: "And after your testimony, cometh wrath and indignation upon the people; for after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground, and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thundrings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea, heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion: and surely, men's hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people; and angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying, prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come: behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." -- D. and C. 85:25.

According to Mr. Campbell's observation, the servants of the Lord made astonishing headway in a short time, despite his frantic efforts to "stay them," since which time the voices of earthquakes, tempests, tidal waves, famines and wars have been heard with alarming results, and the end is not yet.

Why does a man go to bed with a pistol under his pillow... Mr Neal, listen again: "Verily, verily I say unto you, Darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth -- a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, or mourning, and of lamentation -- and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord." -- D. and C. 105:9. "... Already there has been a refinement of efficiency, a thoroughness of destruction, a ruthlessness of attack, a frightfulness of slaughter which has staggered the race. And we are as yet only in the early stages of a combat which must witness prodigies of horror, hitherto unimagined as well as unknown, before the end of the ghastly business is reached."

Say, there, Mr. Neal! Did you hear it? Has the roar of the mighty guns, the groans of dying soldiers, the moans of starving widows, the wailing of orphan children penetrated your mountain retreat? Listen! Joseph Smith declared that such a "calamity" awaited the nations, while Alexander Campbell and associates were proclaiming the millennial jubilee. And Joseph said it would come as a whirlwind -- suddenly...

While Mr. Campbell was preaching the light of the millenial dawn Joseph Smith prophesied that "a veil of darkness shall cover the earth," D. and C. 36:12; and that "the wicked shall slay the wicked." D. and C. 63:9....

I think it is manifestly clear to the most obtuse mind, not altogether darkened by prejudice, that so far as having a grasp on the situation is concerned, however obtained, Joseph Smith was so far ahead of Mr. Campbell that a comparison is, indeed, odious.

Since the Book of Mormon has come in for so large a share of vicious criticism at the hands of so many who felt sure of their ground we will allow it to speak prophetically, and then summons one of Mr. Neal's ablest brethren to stand to confirm its testimony...

... reference to the "common idea" that there could be no more great wars reminds us of the arrogant assumption of the woman, "Mystery Babylon," who said in her heart, "I sit a queen and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." Rev. 18:7. Read it, Mr. Neal, in connection with what we have quoted from the pen of Joseph Smith...

Joseph Smith, through his despised Book of Mormon, and otherwise, declared that the "great and abominable Church" would "tumble and fall to the dust" because she would be "drunken with iniquity, and all manner of abominations," while Mr. Campbell, blind as a bat in the sun light, was preaching his millennial dawn theory that culminated in the disasterous disappointment of today...

Surely, we have vindicated the prophetic character of Joseph Smith. It was nearly a century ago that he gave to the world the first message, "The churches are all wrong, the creeds are an abomination to the sight of God, and thus religious professors are all corrupt." True to the trust imposed, he delivered the word of the Lord fearlessly, though in so doing he was run down by a Juggernaut of sectarian opposition and crushed beneath its terrible weight. But his testimony still lives...

With a sneer common to his nature, Mr. Campbell, in his first "examination," quotes Deut. 18:8, and says: "Smith has failed in every instance to verify one of his sayings." Because the wonderful predictions made did not come to pass the next day in one grand avalanche, Campbell felt fully justified in rejecting them in toto, forgetting the while that the Jews, Romans and others might with equal propriety have rejected all the prophecies of the past, and as a matter of fact, many of them did to their lasting shame and dismay.
                                  E. E. Long.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 28.                            Independence, Mo., January 25, 1917.                            No. 4.

"Anti-Mormon  Literature."

Elder L. W. Hainline in the Apostolic Review of January 16th makes request for "Anti-Mormon literature," accepting our offer in ENSIGN of September 21st.

Elder Hainline has doubtless gotten the right idea... We had not expected a request of this sort, but of Shook's book and other "Anti-Mormon" publications such as Elder Hainline expressed desire for in Apostolic Review. These we would have loaned him...

Just a word of warning to Bro. Hainline and his friends concerning the use of "Doctrines and Dogmas of Utah Mormonism" by D. H. Bays. Elder Bays was a minister of the Reorganized Chirch for over 27 years; a missionary and a member of the Quroum of Seventy. In 1892 he presented his resignation as a minister to the General Conference of the Church giving his reasons for leaving the Church and its ministry. Just two items from it might be sufficient warning.

In speaking of the Book of Mormon he says:

"As to the ethical status of this book, I think no unfavorable comment can reasonably be made. Its moral precepts are unquestionably good. They are all that its friends claim for it, and indeed, superior in some respects to those of the Bible.

"But the mere fact that its moral precepts may be regarded as faultless, cannot serve to prove it to be of divine origin."

Elder Bays, in the same document, says this of the Bible:

"Ministers of the gospel are expected to believe and teach the inspiration of the Bible. During the later years of my ministry I made this a question of special inquiry, and, quite contrary to the generally received opinion, I found nothing to sustain the belief that the Old and New Testaments, or any particular book in either, were written by divine inspiration. Hence I have been led to reject the dogma of 'The Divine Inspiration of the Bible....'"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 28.                            Independence, Mo., May 3, 1917.                            No. 18.


Elder W. G. Roberts (Campbellite) of the non-progressive wing, attacks sermon. His criticism examined.

In the "Apostolic Review" Organ, of the Non-progressive Wing of the Campbellites, of March 14, 1916, Elder W. G. Roberts quotes an extract from a sermon of mine... Because a typographical error was made in the first publication of the Book of Mormon, and on being discovered later, was corrected to read in harmony with the ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT, Mr. Roberts charges us with changing the word of God. If we had continued the mistake after it was discovered, then we would have been guilty of printing his word wrongly. The original manuscript was not in our hands for many years, but when it finally came into our possession, this error was discovered and corrected. That this was a typographical error is also shown by the following quotation...

So Elder W. G. Roberts, the great Campbellite denater, against the Latter Day Saints, is weighed in the balance, and found wanting.
                                  J. F. Curtis.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 28.                            Independence, Mo., September 27, 1917.                            No. 39.


(Copy of a letter sent to Mrs. Shepard, after hearing her lecture against "The Mormons" and their political perfidity, etc. She replied in a general way, but made no promises. -- J. J. P.)

                                    Cleveland, Ohio, June 2nd.
Mrs. Louis Loveland Shepard, care The Hollenden Hotel, City.

Dear Madam: -- The writer is the party who told you on Monday evening, at the Ashbury Rd. Church, that he had lived in Utah seven years...

You stated that the young man Smith was a servant in the family of Solomon Spaulding and had access to Spaulding's romance, from which he drew his Book of Mormon. You would have scarcely risked that statement if easily obtained historical facts had been considered. Spaulding wrote his romance 1810-13, tried to get Patterson the Pittsburg printer, to publish it in 1814, but getting no encouragement gave it up, and died in 1816, a failure as a preacher, a blacksmith, and as an author. Joseph Smith was born in 1805, and in 1813-16, at from eight to eleven years old, could neither have been a very effective "servant," nor adroit enough to make use of the romance in the way mentioned, if he had found it.

If your itinerary should take you to Oberlin, Ohio, you may see for yourself why Spaulding could not find any one foolish enough [to] undertake the publication of his manuscript, as the original is there in the College library, verified by Spaulding's own witnesses. This much-exploited effort of his did faithful duty, among the opponents of the Latter Day Saints for about fifty years, and received its full meed of honor, while its absence was accounted for by the charge that Smith and his conferees had destroyed it as dangerous evidence.

This generally accepted theory was considered sufficient until 1886, when the public was electrified by the news that Spaulding's Manuscript Story had been discovered in the hands of a former publisher of a Painesville, Ohio, newspaper, who had removed to Honolulu, and taken the old manuscript along in his effects.

The disconcerting news also came that the theory of this "writing" being the original or foundation of the Book of Mormon, would have to be abandoned, as it was too insignificant. But not to be outdone by a small thing like that, which such an important theory in danger of being discredited, it was easy to formulate the amended theory that Spaulding must have had more than one manuscript of his story, and that this discovered one could not be the right one, notwithstanding that Rev. Spaulding's widow had sent it to a former publisher of the Painesville paper, in 1836, that he might use it in a revengeful attack upon the "Mormons" and their book. As he found it useless for his work he laid it aside, failed to return it to its rightful owner, and then sold out his newspaper, and accumulated manuscripts were given no attention. These are undeniable recorded facts...
                                     John Jay Phare.
Box 107, Station C.

Note 1: Elder Phare's recitation of "undeniable recorded facts" suffers from several, easily deniable errors of reporting. Spalding's widow did not "send" the Oberlin manuscript to the "former publisher of the Painesville paper" (i. e. Eber D. Howe), "in 1836," or at any other time. Actually, she provided D. P. Hurlbut a written order, by which he obtained an unrecorded quantity of Solomon Spalding's writings during the late fall of 1833. Hurlbut later sold the Oberlin manuscript to Howe, but without any permission from its owner, the widow. Elder Phare is also in error where he says that the "disconcerting news" of the discovery of the Oberlin manuscript, in "1886" caused anti-Mormons "to formulate the amended theory" saying that Spalding wrote more than one pseudo-history of the ancient Americans. This assertion (of there being more than one such Spalding manuscript) was voiced as early as 1833 and was published by Howe the following year.

Note 2: By 1917 RLDS students of history and writers of Reorganized Church apologetics had heard the falsehood repeated so often in the Church's publications and other RLDS productions, that many of them had, no doubt, come to believe that vicious anti-Mormons had fabricated the multiple manuscript explanation in about 1886, as a nefarious attempt to refute Mormon contentions regarding Spalding and his writings. It comes as no surprise that Elder Phare repeats these threadbare RLDS arguments with little attention to even the facts of chronology -- probably he merely wrote what he believed was the truth without any real attempt to ascertain the meaning of relevant past events and affirmations. His letter is but one more example of rash and impotent attempts in Reorganized Saints in defense of their Book of Mormon against the Spalding authorship claims


Vol. 30.                            Independence, Mo., December 11, 1919.                            No. 50.

Attacks From New Quarters.

This morning one of the missionaries has placed in our hands a copy of a new journal, published at Springfield, Missouri, volume 1 number 1, being dated November 29, 1919, The title of this publication is The American Appeal, and its description of itself is, "A national weekly of expose and uplift." It is published by the American Appeal Publishing Company, and is the official organ of the American Safety League.

The conception of the makers of this new paper seems to be that Mormonism is the greatest menace to the existence of the American nation... Mr. R. B. Neal, of Grayson, Kentucky, a Protestant minister, lecturer and publist (?) who had made a life-long study of Mormonism, and who, fully realizing its menacing attitude toward our national and social interests, has thrown his whole heart and soul into the work. We can promise our readers some very interesting and startling reading on this subject...

From the Appeal the Reorganization has nothing to fear, if the above quotation is strictly adhered to, for our organization is fighting the evils enumerated just at hand, and we believe, more effectively, than any other existing organization. But if R. B. Neal takes his usual course, you will find him attacking Latter Day Saints of all kinds, assuming the right to state their beliefs, and founding his attacks on unreliable sources, not permitting our statements of our beliefs and principles to find place or consideration with him....

Notes: (forthcoming)

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