(Newspapers of the Northwest)

Misc. Northwest Newspapers
1866-1999 Articles

Early Engraving of Boise City, Idaho street scene, (1860s)

1845-1854   |   1855-1858   |   1859-1865   |   1866-1899

WWS Aug 23 '67    Sent Apr 24 '69    Sent May 01 '69    Sent Nov 13 '69    Sent Dec 11 '69    Sent Mar 19 '70
NNW Jan 05 '72    Oreg Sep 16 '75    NNW Apr 28 '76    IAvl Aug 19 '76    VInd Sep 20 '77    Oreg Oct 03 '78
DET Feb 24 '79    Oreg Mar 06 '79
Oreg Aug 16 '80    NNW Sep 09 '80    Oreg Apr 20 '83    WilF Apr 20 '83    Oreg Jul 16 '84
Oreg Dec 21 '84    Oreg Dec 14 '89    PulH Jun 07 '90    Oreg Dec 25 '99    Oreg Sep 05 '09
IFP Feb 12 1972

Articles Index  |  California papers  |  Utah papers


Walla Walla [ ] Statesman.
Vol. VI.                 Walla Walla, Wash. Terr., Friday, April 23, 1867.                 No. 36.

The  March  of  Mormonism.

We are inclined to the opinion that the great majority of the people of the United States are laboring under a gross delusion in regard to the power and progress of Mormonism. To intelligent men who are not thoroughly posted in regard to the facts and statistics of the matter, the doctrines and practices of the sect seem so abhorrent, or so absurd, that they cannot realize that there can be any danger of its spreading much beyond its present limits, or of its attaining much greater power than it now wields. Such persons have no idea of its aggressive and proslyting spirit, of the powerful inducements it holds out to the poor and the ignorant, or of the number of the converts which it is steadily making in Europe, and annually transporting to the New Zion in Deseret. The fact is, that the growth of Mormonism during the past twenty years, is a phenomenon that has rarely had a parallel in the history of new religions. From insignificant beginnings it has developed into a great power, that does not shrink from the idea of bidding defiance in certain contingencies to the government of the United States itself. Its proselyting system is organized with the utmost thoroughness and practical skill. It has able and zealous missionaries industriously at work in England, Wales, Scotland, and in several of the northern countries of continental Europe. And in all these countries their labors are attended with amazing success... One great advantage for making proselytes that Mormonism enjoys over other religions is, that the promises it holds forth to the believer are to be realized in the present life. It offers comfort, prosperity and plenty on earth, instead of pointing to felicity beyond the grave. Its missionaries discourse eloquently of the material enjoyments which are ready for the saints, not on "the other side of Jordan," but amid the fertile prairies of the West. To the poor and almost starving operatives and laborers of Europe they picture delightful visions of a land where every man may be the owner of a homestead, may till his own fields, reap his own harvests, and sit in the shadow of his own vine and fig tree. With these alluring representations they mingle enough of the religious element to satisfy the cravings of the spiritual nature. They have their prayers and hymns, and doctrinal exhortations, near enough in appearance to those to which the more pious of the poorer classes of foreigners have been accustomed, to avoid shocking their devotional feelings. It is even said that one might attend Mormon worship as it is practised in London and scarcely suspect, except for some specific allusions to the City of the Saints in Utah, that he was not in a Methodist meeting. There is a certain comfortable materialism -- a promise of the good things of this life, a concession to the animal wants of man, in the popular mode of presenting the Mormon faith, that is well calculated to make it attractive to those classes who have been defrauded by the conditions of modern society of their fair share of earthly enjoyment. No wonder then that Brigham's missionaries are so successful among the wretched, starving populations of the Old World. No wonder that the proselytes arrive by ship loads, and that the increase of his followers is almost unprecedented since the time of Mohammed. No wonder that men and women transferred from penury and want and grinding toil, dogged by the gaunt face of famine, to a sphere of plenty and physical comfort such as they have never dared to hope for in their wildest dreams, should become enthusiasts and fanatics in their new faith. Such are some of the causes and elements of that strange power that has enabled Brigham Young to erect in Utah an imperium in imperio -- a State within a State -- the future of which no mortal widsom can forsee. -- S. F. Dramatic Chronicle.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIV.                 Jacksonville, Oregon, Saturday, April 24, 1869.                 No. 14.

Mormonism  Illustrated.

This phase of Mormon life is described by the Salt Lake Reporter of January 9th:

About dusk last eveninig we heard loud talking and crying in the street in front of the Boise stage office, and hastening to the spot, found a policeman taking a woman and little boy, as he said, to the lock-up. From the woman's words, and from others, we learned that her name was Suter. She came here last summer with her husband, who joined the Mormons and soon proposed to take another wife, and took one, the woman, who had been the concubine of a negro, whereupon his first wife left him and went to washing for a living. She was soon released by the policeman and returned to Suter's house, when she began to upbraid him, demanding a maintenance for herself and child, or to have her passage paid back to the States. The man accused her of loose conduct, and her cries and the screams of the child drew another crowd. The policeman dragged her out of the house, while one held the child whose cries were enough to chill the blood. -- With what we thought unnecessary harshness, two policeman dragged the half crazy and shrieking woman to jail. Some few of the bystanders had so little humanity as to jeer at the poor woman, while another policeman shouted: "Slap your hand over her mouth! Stop her d___d yelling!" She was taken to jail, shrieking at every step. The woman was evidently not drunk -- it is to be wondered at if she was crazy? Her husband stated in justification that "she was a bad woman had always led him just such a life," etc. But surely no error of a woman can justify such treatment. The fact that such thing can be, and in this age, and under our flag, needs no comment. The mind turns from such a system with loathing and horror.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIV.                 Jacksonville, Oregon, Saturday, May 1, 1869.                 No. 15.

The Salt Lake Reporter is boldly and fiercely anti-Mormon. In its issue of January 5th it denounces the "Brighamites," and accuses the Mormon oligarchy of allowing murderers to go unpunished. "Within a few weeks," it says, "three secret, horrible murders have been committed, and no effort is made to ferret out and punish the murderers. Does any man doubt that the far-seeing eye and powerful arm of the church could reach and punish the criminals if it was really desired? What is to be the result of this system? As sure as the night succeeds the day it will end in blood. Law or no law, men will not always sit still and have their friends murdered. Retaliation will be tried, scores of innocent men and women will suffer for the crimes these wrongs will be repaid with interest on somebody." The Eastern visitor to Salt Lake is imposed upon by outward appearances and carries back a favorable report. "Let him, however, go among the sufferers, talk to the young, examine the schools, and hear the story of these, generally women, who have been wrecked in mind, and estate, by the maelstrom of lust and fanatical fury which is ever raging in the Mormon capital. It is to get at these facts, but when he has fairly begun he will stand aghast at the thought that he ever had a good opinion of the system. The Mormons complain that they are misrepresented. We have heard them shamefully misrepresented by those who claimed that the leading men were thoroughly loyal and sincere.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIV.                 Jacksonville, Oregon, Saturday, November 13, 1869.                 No. 43.

Corinne, Nov. 1. -- J. H. Beadle, editor of the Utah Reporter, while attending Probate Court to-day, at Brigham City, was set upon by Mormons and beaten nearly to death. The cause of the attack is Beatle's writings against polygamy. The principal assailant is the son of the Probate Judge who stood looking at the attempted assassination. Trouble is apprehended to-morrow.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XV.                 Jacksonville, Oregon, Saturday, December 11, 1869.                 No. 52.

The  Difficulty  in  Utah.

The Sin Francisco Chronicle, one of the best dally papers published in that city, says. "The schism in the Mormon Church seems to have developed into formidable proportions and promises to lead to important results. Brigham has not only to encounter the direct opposition arising out of the course of the young Smiths, but also that resulting from his quarrel with several of the most influential and popular leaders in the Church, who have long been looked up to and respected by the masses. Godbe and Kelsey, who have been 'cut off' from the church are among the most able and influential Mormons in Utah. Stenhouse, who has 'resigned' from the church in consequence of having been 'suspended,' also weilds considerable influence. These men cannot very well leave the Territory, because they have a plurality of wives, a circumstance which would prove embarrassing outside of Mormondom. Consequently they will have to remain with the Saints, though not of them, and will constitute an adverse power in the heart of Brigham's empire. He has not done wisely in precipitating such a crisis unnecessarily."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XV.                 Jacksonville, Oregon, Saturday, March 19, 1870.                 No. 52.


Washington, D. C.,     }         
February 18, 1870. }         


The bill to abolish polygamy was before the House yesterday, and will be continued today. The officers of the Internal Revenue Department of Utah are using their influence in favor of the bill. Brigham's refusal to pay his internal revenue taxes, will be made a strong point against the continuing of his pet institution, Mormanism. Those revenue officers before the Committee, have testified to some of the most astounding revelations, which if true, are more against the way polygamy is carried on under Young than polygamy itself.

Mr. J. H. Beadle, Editor of the "Utah Reporter," the only Gentile paper in the Territory, testifies that he believes that polygamy might be abolished. He stated in answer to a question, "What is the endowment house?" that it was a large building into which no profane gentile person was ever allowed to enter, but said there were three written accounts; one by Elder John Hyde, Jr. who preached Mormonism six years in England, and on returning to Utah, became disgusted with it, and on getting out of the territory when sent on another mission, he apostatized. The second was from Mrs. Smith, the daughter of Silas Corey, of Cornellsville, N. Y. and the third was by a lady, whose name he had forgotten. These accounts, only differing in detail, makes out that there are held in it exhibitions, dramaticised, representing Adam aud Evo in the Garden of Eden; the temptation of the Serpent, Adam transgressing, and the condition of man after Adam's transgression; the oposition among the different sects, and their errors; and represents that Peter, James and John, descended, and anoints Joe Smith and others to be their successors; then follows the initiation of the candidates into the four orders of the priesthood. For the violation of the oaths administered in taking these orders, for the first, the penalty is to have the heart torn out; the second, to have the throat cut from ear to ear; the third, to have the blood spilt upon the ground; and the fourth, to have the bowels slit across.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                           Portland, Oregon, Friday, January 5, 1872.                           No. 35.

Why Women Vote for Mormonism..

There is good deal of sound reasoning in the following article, clipped from an Eastern paper:

People in the East wonder at the attitude of the women of Utah toward the plurality of wives system of Mormonism. It is, in fact, their only means of preservation. It is a singular fact that legislators cannot strike at any such system without the defenceless women and children being the suffers. In any bill or effort to prohibit or punish poIygamy, the first step is to outlaw the women and make the children illegitimate. What woman of any pride but would stay in a lawful relation of bigamy than be freed from her husband only to be thrown upon the street with no means of support and no one to protect her from sneers and jibes, when woman's true position is respected, her rights and feelings taken into account, and punishment aimed at the criminal, while a helping hand is extended to the victim, we shall see how the more intelligent Mormon women will stand. Boys and girls, in the A B C of life, can meet this Mormon problem with more wisdom and common sense than our stupid legislators. People must recollect that the consent of first wives was wrung from them by the fearful dread of destruction if they refused, and that the greatest possible compulsion has been used to lead them into plural relations. And not only religion, but society also, had its potent arguments. Women there are forced into marriage if they would obtain a support, far more than they are in our Gentile world. They have absolutely no other means by which to obtain a livelihood. There is no teaching for them to do, no great manufactories to employ them, and also no demand for servants. And old maids, even if they can manage to live, are sneered at as the most despicable of beings, so that in their old age, if no one chooses them before, they get themselves "sealed" to an elder high in rank that they may find some little toleration in heaven. Since, then, they must starve on earth and stand no chance hereafter unless they marry, it is no wonder that most of them make up their minds to be properly miserable as a fractional spouse. Having once accepted this as their lot, they all become interested at once in defending the system under which they live. Whatever should overthrow polygamy must inevitably lessen the station and respectability of all wives except the first, and as most of women are such they form an earnest minority in its support.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XV.                         Portland, Thursday, September 16, 1875.                         No. 189.



The Cincinnati Commercial says:

"Martin Harris, one of the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,' has just departed this life at Clarkston, Utah, at the advanced age of 92 years. Mr. Harris first appeared in print in 1830, at which time, in company with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, he subscribed to the solemn affirmation which appears on the title page of the Mormon bible.

"Joseph Smith, the Palmyra impostor, having noticed Harris' relish for religious wonders, and his capacity for receiving and retaining all the bosh that folly and knavery could furnish, took it into his head to use Harris in the matter of getting up a new religion. Harris had seen the devil in a dug-way near Palmyra, and his contest with that distinguished personage had so improved his swallowing apparatus that Joe Smith's angels, revelations, Golden Bible, sword of Laban, etc., went down in a single gulp. He had been something of a Friend, then a Wesleyan, then a Baptist, afterward a Presbyterian; and if not halted by the Mormon fraud, he would, in all probability, have gone the round through all existing sectaries. Having advanced fifty dollars and accepted the position of scribe to Joseph, he found himself fully committed to the fulness of the gospel, and earnestly proclaimed whatever foolishness or blasphemy Joe might put into him. Mrs. Harris, knowing her husband's credulity and Smith's trickery, did all she could to stop the expenditure of money; but Smith not only plied Harris with 'revelations,' but explained the certainty of making a spec out of the publication of the manuscripts. An edition of five thousand would cost, say $3,000. Joseph had a revelation that the books would sell for $1.25 each, and he went on to assure his victim that there was a chance to clear $3,250. Mrs. Harris objected: Harris explained the gain to be derived from the investment: she railed at his folly, and, getting hold of the manuscript, burned 'the more history part' of Lehi. Harris quarreled with and beat her: they separated: and Smith got his Golden Bible printed at the expense of Harris. Any other knave than Joe Smith would have been backed out by the burning of Lehi by Mrs. Harris, but, as Joe told Ingersoll, 'he had the fools into it, and he proposed to put it through.' So, with promises of advancement to Harris, he had a revelation that his father (old man Smith) should help sell the bibles. But the old man was arrested with a basket full of bibles, and to pay costs he had 'to cut' on the Lord's price ($1.25) and sell the lot of eighty cents apiece! This interfered with the prior 'revelations' given in favor of Harris, and troubles increasing, Smith, Harris, Coudery and the Whitmers cleared out for Kirtland, Ohio. Here the 'Twelve Apostles' were appointed -- Harris being left out; but as he still had some money, a little honesty and increased capacity for credulous business, Smith smoothed him with new promises and daily revelations. In 1833 the Mormons in Jackson county, Missouri, having excited the wrath of the Jacksonians by their immoralities and fanatical insolence, were ordered out of the state. On learning this, Joe Smith, Harris, and perhaps 200 others, started for Missouri to 'redeem Zion.' On the way they ran into the cholera; and notwithstanding Harris was saved, in articulo mortis, by divine interposition, twenty of the saints turned their toes to the lilies, in spite of Joseph's 'laying on of hands.' In Missouri Bishop Partridge succeded in getting old Harris to advance $1,200 more to purchase land on which to establish Zion -- Zion never to be removed. Too many birds of a feather having got together, Joseph found he had his hands full in trying to settle the difficulties which beset the church without and within. Many of the saints were whipped, jailed and shot for bad conduct, and some of the chiefest among the apostles were turned against the prophet. Coudery and Whitmer, two of the witnesses, were 'cut off' for lying, thieving, counterfeiting, etc.; and the brethren mooted it openly that Joseph was bad -- real bad. Some of the sisters said so, and Coudery believed it. Coudery and Whitmer were turned over to Satan. Poor Harris, who had helped Joseph to get up the Mormon business, lost $3,000 in the bible investment, and had recently lent the Lord $1,200 to fix the foundations of the Zion, did not escape the trouble which excessive piety had brought upon the brethren. In company with Parish, who had been charged with swindling, Harris was kicked out of the camp of Israel. His earnestness and ignorance had served Joseph to their full extent; his money was gone, and he was named among the 'negroes with white skins,' and the prophet posted him publicly as a 'lackey,' one so far beneath contempt that to notice him would be a sacrifice too great for a gentleman like himself (Smith) to make!

"Packing his valise, he cut sticks for Kirtland, where he lived unto 1870, when he went to Utah and ended a miserable life, raving in his last delirium over the Book of Mormon -- witnesses, facts and fictions of the most deplorable fraud recorded in history. Never was credulity or avarice more useful in a bad way, or knavery more successful than in the lives of Joe Smith and Martin Harris."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Portland, Oregon, Friday,  April 28, 1876.                           No. 35.



You claim for the women equal rights with the men, do you? What nonsense! You know not what you are doing. Your doctrine would lead to the inevitable destruction of the human race, the overthrow of all religion, and the breaking down of that ennobling and heaven-sent virtue which now adorns most of our women modesty... The Mormons have come near the right conception of what a woman should be They say that she cannot be saved without being sealed to a man that is, being drawn into heaven by him. It was in accordance with this doctrine that Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism used the expression in regard to Emma, his wife, who, by the way, he could never make a full Mormon of, and who often rebelled against the Church and her lord's authority, and it was on one of these occasions of rebellion when Joe said that "he would have Emma in heaven if he had to rake hell over with a fine-tooth comb to find her." But, coming back to the Bible, (for the Mormons have the Bible for their authority), they fully justify themselves in making woman a secondary being, or a satellite to man's glory. The old patriarchs, being governed by almost daily direct communication with the Almighty, kept her in subjection. And the old common law-writers, whose wisdom has been banded down to us through the musty old volumes of legal lore, sipping their wisdom from the same fountain-head, fully endorsed these same views....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Idaho Weekly Avalanche.

Vol. II.                   Silver City, Idaho Terr., Saturday, August 19, 1876.                   No. 52.

We read in an eastern exchange that Sidney Rigdon, one of the Mormon disciples, recently died at Dunkirk [sic - Friendship?], New York, at the advanced age of 83. Rigdon had almost as much to do with establishing the Mormon religion, if religion it be, as did Joseph Smith.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Vancouver  Independent.

Vol. III.               Vancouver, Wash. Terr., Thursday, September 20, 1877.              No. 4.

THE MUDDLE OF MORMON THEOLOGY. -- The Mormon theology, as expounded by Joseph Smith and perfected by Brigham Young, is a fantastic compound of doctrines and practices borrowed from almost every form of religion the world has known. Mr. J. H. Beadle, long a resident of Utah, in a book on the Mormons published some years ago, says: "They are Christians in their belief of the New Testament and the mission of Christ; Jews in their temporal theocracy, tithing and belief in prophecy; Mohammedans in regard to the relation of sexes, and Voudoos or fetishists in their wicthcraft, good and evil spirits, faith, doctoring and superstition. From the Buddhists they have stolen their doctrines of apotheisis and developement of gods: from the Greek mythology, their loves of the immortals and spirits. They have blended the ideas of many nations of polytheists, and made the whole consistent by outdoing the materialists."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                     Portland, Oregon, Thursday, October 3, 1878.                    No. 207.



The Richmond, Mo., Conservator mentions a visit made to that place by Elders Orson Pratt and J. F. Smith, two high dignitaries in the Mormon Church, and in connection with it reminds us of an important historical manuscript, which the world had almost forgotten. Elders Pratt and Smith arrived at Richmond Saturday, Sept. 7th, and inquired for David Whitmer, "the only living witness of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and the custodian of the original manuscript as taken down by Oliver Cowdery." The visitors were directed to Mr. Whitmer's residence, and on meeting him, announced the object of their visit, which was to secure the manuscript for keeping in the archives of the church at Salt Lake City. Mr. Whitmer declined to give up the book on any terms. He had had it for nearly half a century, and regarded himself as the proper custodian of it. He intended to hold it until the proper time shall arrive for its surrender to those entitled to receive it, when he will give it up. It is not mentioned in the Conservator's brief interview what Mr. Whitmer reagrds as the proper time nor whom he regards as the proper parties to receive the book. It is not even stated that Mr. Whitmer is a Mormon, nor how he came into possession of the book. While refusing to give up the volume he readily brought it forth and exhibited it to his visitors. They promptly pronounced it the original copy of the Book of Mormon. Elder Pratt being familiar with the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, the writer. They offered Whitmer any price he might ask for the volume, but finding him resolute, left him after a pleasant visit of one hour, with the request that he continue to take good care of it, so that the church might receive it at the proper time. The Conservator states that "The book is in a splendid state of preservation; the ink as bright as if written yesterday, and it is inscribed on large paper, unruled, in a small hand, clearly written close to the edges, top and bottom, making over 500 pages." It is the original Book of Mormon taken down from the lips of the prophet.

It may be stated that the Mormons once had their central establishment at Far West, in Caldwell county, adjoining Ray, and laid there the foundation of a temple. Difficulties grew up, however, between them and the settlers around them, leading to frequent conflicts and bloodshed, and in the end the saints were forced to leave the state, going to Hancock county, Illinois, where they founded the city of Nauvoo and erected a temple. The foundation of the Far West temple is still to be seen, and Mr. Whitmer's Mormon visitors, on taking their departure from Richmond, made a trip to Caldwell County to take a look at it.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Daily Evening Telegram.

Vol. ?                             Portland, Oregon, Monday, February 24, 1879.                             No. ?

A Book of Mormon.

"The Book of Mormon" or Mormon Bible, which Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed to have received direct from the angel of the Lord, was, as he said, a record written upon gold plates nearly eight inches long by seven wide, a little thinner than ordinary tin, and bound together by three rings running through the whole. As this record was engraved in a language known as the Reformed Egyptian, it was translatable to the illiterate Joseph, and so two transparent stones, anciently called the Urim and Thummium, set in silver bows after the manner of spectacles, were handed down at the same time. These made the golden plates intelligible, and sitting behind a blanket hung across his room to keep the sacred records from profane eyes, Joseph Smith read off the "Book of Mormon" or Golden Bible, while a discipline, Oliver Cowdery, wrote it down. It was printed in 1830, in a volume of several hundred pages, and the signatures of Cowdery and two others appended as testimony of its genuineness. Later, Smith and the three witnesses quarrelled; the latter renounced Mormonism and avowed the falsity of their testimony. Another intimate of Smith's testified that the Mormon founder had acknowledged to him that the records and books were all a hoax. The Smiths were known among their neighbors in Palmyra and Wayne counties, N. Y., where Joseph grew to manhood, as persons who avoided honest pursuit, and engaged chiefly in digging hidden treasures, stealing sheep and robbing their neighbor's hen-roosts, and were accounted false, immoral fraudulent characters, of which Joseph Smith is said to be the worst. Nevertheless, Mormonism grew, and flourished, though it was proven that the real author of the Mormon book was Solomon Spalding, a quondam preacher and erratic literary genius who lived in Conneaut, Ohio, in 1809, and wrote a romantic account of the peopling of America, tracing the American Indians to the lost tribes of Israel. He entitled his work, "Manuscript Found" and further increased its interest by a fictitious account of its discovery in a cave in Ohio. He placed the manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburg, with which Sidney Rigdon, an accomplice of Smith's, was connected, Rigdon copied it, often mentioning the fact himself; and when the "Book of Mormon" made its appearance, a comparison of the two revealed their almost exact likeness, with the exception of the pious expression added to the latter. The Mormon Bible traces the origin of the American Indian to Lehi, a Jew, who lived in Jerusalem about 600 B. C. In obedience to divine instruction he found in America a New Jerusalem, and dying soon after his arrival, the dissensions among his sons resulted in the supremacy of the younger, Nephi, and the others for their rebeliousness were condemned to have dark skins "and become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, seeking in the wilderness for beasts of prey." Nephi became the father of a race of primitive kings, who kept their records upon golden plates; and finally one of their descendents, Mormon by name, gave his name to the religion which for Joseph Smith left his sheep stealing and treasure-digging to preach to the world.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIX.                             Portland, Thursday, March 6, 1879.                             No. 5604.


The origin of the book of Mormon, though well settled long since, is perhaps not universally known. That the book out of which it was concocted was the work of a Congregational preacher named Solomon Spaldinig has been frequently asserted and on what has appeared to be conclusive evidence. Mr. Spalding disqualified for his professional labors by ill health, spent the latter years of his life in the village of Amity, Pennsylvania, where it seems he kept a decent public house or tavern for subsistence, and died about 1816. He had a taste for literary pursuits and wrote several novels which he was in the habit reading in manuscript to his friends; but his poverly prevented him from printing them and he could find no publisher. Interest in him as author of the work which was converted into the book of Mormon is revived by a correspondent at Washington, Pa., who has conversed with an old man named Miller, who knew Spalding well, and who retains a distinct recollection of the style and general tenor of the manuscript which has been so often mentioned as the source of the book of Mormon. The style of the manuscript which was an imitation of the style of the King James version of the Bible, and the tenor of it was a romantic history of those lost races or tribes who formerly inhabited this country, and of whom the mysterious mounds of the Mississippi valley are supposed to be the remains. Miller has seen the Book of Mormon, and not only the style recalled the Spalding manuscript, but he at once recognized the tribal name of the Nephites as a name used in the romance. Spalding wrote the story for his own amusement, but the interest with which his neighbors listened to the reading of it, or some other cause, seems to have raised in the hope of profit from its publication. At any rate, it is certain that the manuscript was placed in the hands of a man named Patterson, of Pittsburg, who agreed to try to find a way of getting it printed. Sidney Rigdon, afterwards so closely associated with Joe Smith in the promulgation of his pretended revelation, was at that time connected with or in the service of Patterson The manuscript suddenly disappeared, being undoubtedly stolen by Rigdon. But after a year or so it was returned to the author, having in the meantime been copied, altered and adapted to the purposes of a professed revlation. Rigdon exhibited the book of Mormon, to which as it became known, the attention of Spalding's widow was drawn. She wrote to a number of her deceased husband's friends thus: "I am sure nothiug would grieve my husbnnd more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus, a historical romnnce, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the scriptures, has been construed into a new bible and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine." Rigdon did not become acquainted with Joe Smith till 1829, by which time he had gained a small body of converts, of whom Smith presently became the head. John [sic] N. Miller, now a very old man, and still a resident of Washington county, Pa., relates circumstantially the facts treasured within his memory for nearly seventy years as to the origin of the book on which Mormonism is founded.

A great English writer, Mr. Stuart Mill, has spoken of the rise and progress of Mormonism as perhaps the most remarkable phenomena of the nineteenth century. Considering the origin of the "revelation" on which it is founded and the progress the delusion has made, it is truly so. Furthermore, in the light they reflect upon the operations of superstition in remote ages the facts are most significant and instructive, while as mere illustrations of the obscurities and difficulties which attend the historical investigation of origins, both religious and national, Mormonism already offers problems worthy to employ not only intelligent curiosity but philosophic reflection. We see in them something of the length and breadth and depth of human credulity, the enormous capacity of man for impostures and delusions, the rendiness with which he makes them part of his life, and the energy with which he resists and shuts his mind against the most positive proofs and eXposures of his errors and hallucinations.

Note: The Feb. 8, 1879 issue of the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette includes this additional text: "There must be several persons in the city of Pittsburgh able to say whether these statements are correct, and it seems therefore worth while to repeat them once more with the view of having them attested or denied. We have already seen that the account of the Spaulding origin of the Mormon book is not universally known." See also the Mar. 3, 1879 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune.


Vol. XX.                             Portland, August 16, 1880.                             No. 6031.


The real author of the "Book of Mormon" has long been known to have been one Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a retired minister who, at the time the book was written, was a resident of Washington county, Pennsylvania not far from the city of Pittsburg. The book was in the form of a romance purporting to be a history of the peopling of America by the ten lost tyribes of Israel. Spaulding gave it the title of "Manuscript Found," and intended to publish with it by way of preface or advertisement a fictitious account of its discovery in Ohio, where he had at one time resided. Curiousity had led him to examine some of the numerous earth mounds of Ohio, in which he discovered portions of skeletons and other relics. Among them hieroglyphic characters were found, which though perfectly unintelligible, suggested the idea of a biblical romance. Prominent characters in the work were given peculiar names -- among them Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite and Nephi. The author who had already written several romances, read the work to his friends, and finally applied to a Pittsburg printer to have it published but it was declined, after having remained in the hands of the printer some time. At that time Sidney Rigdon, who figured as a preacher among the "saints" some twenty years later, was employed in the Pittsburg office, and very probably saw the iriginal work. How he got it into the hands of Joseph Smith is not certainly known. Rigdon may have copied it, but this is uncertain. It is certain, however, that the Spaulding romance is the "Book of Mormon," almost without alteration. The August number of Scribner contains an article on the subject by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, who presents some additional facts in regard to the romance, which she has obtained from Mrs. M. S. McKinstry, daughter of Mr. Spaulding, now residing in Washington City, and about seventy-five years of age. Mr. Spaulding died in 1816. In 1823, one Joseph Smith, who is described as "a disreputable fellow wandering about the country professing to discover gold and silver and lost articles by means of a 'seer stone,'" claimed to have been directed in a vision to a hill near Palmyra, N. Y. where he had discovered gold plates, curiously inscribed. In 1825 Smith called upon Mr. Thurlow Weed, who was then publisher of the Rochester Telegraph, at Rochester, N. Y., and asked him to print a manuscript. Mr. Weed, in a letter under date of April 12, 1880, relates the circumstances of Smith's interview with him, and says Smith repeated the story of the vision, the golden plates, etc. and produced from his hat, a tablet from which he proceeded to read the first chapter of the "Book of Mormon." Mr. Weed says he "listened until wearied, with what seemed an incomprehensible jargon," and then referred Smith to a book publisher in Palmyra. Five years later, 1830, the "Mormon bible" was printed at Palmyra, and two years later the nucleus of a Mormon settlement was formed in Ohio. When the book was first given to the public and was read in Pennsylvaniam its strange similarity to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding was remarked by several who had heard the latter read by its author. Smith, or whoever had copied the manuscript, had closely followed Mr. Spaulding's story, even to the professed finding of the plates in the earth mound, and the use of the same peculiar personal names, but he had added the marriage tenets to conform with the new religion to his own ideas and purposes. Smith did not have the original, for this is known to have been in possession of the Spaulding family down to the year 1834. In her statement Mrs. McKinstry refers to the death of her father and recalls the circumstance of a trunk containing his papers which her mother had taken with the family to New York, whither she had removed after her husband's death. Among the contents of this trunk Mrs. McKinstry distinctly remembers to have seen the manuscript of "Manuscript Found." In the year 1834 a man named Hurlburt requested the loan of the manuscript, representing that he had been a convert to Mormonism but had given it up and wished to expose the imposture. As he came with recommendations he was allowed to take it, and the family have never seen it since. There is no possible way of finding out what Hurlburt did with the production, but there was a report that he had sold it for $300 to the Mormons, and that they destroyed it. When Mrs. Spaulding removed to New York after the death of her husband she resided for a time with her brother, William H. Sabine, for whom Joseph Smith was working as a farm hand. It is possible and even probable that he may have obtained access to the trunk containing the manuscript and copied it. Or, as before suggested, Rigdon, who subsequently figured so prominently in Mormon affairs, might have copied it while in the hands of the printer at Pittsburg. It is certain that one of these men did it; or perhaps both may have taken copies, working at different times and before they knew each others, and that their common knowledge of the book afterwards brought them together and established a bond between them. At all events the facts are highly interesting, showing as Mrs. Dickinson says that "out of this curious old romance of Solomon Spaulding and the ridiculous seer-stone of Joseph Smith has grown this monstrous Mormon state, which presents a problem that the wisest politician has failed to solve, and whose outcome lies in the mystery of the future."

Note: Although this generic mention of Ellen E. Dickinson's 1880 Scribners article adds nothing new to Dickinson's original reporting, it did stir the memory of a reader in Astoria, Oregon, whose mother had once been a boader in the Rigdon home. Possibly the Oregonian reader first sent a letter to that paper's editor, Harvey Scott, and received no reply. If so, the reader's submission of correspondence to another Portland paper, The New Northwest, may have carried with it a touch of irony -- for that rival weekly was edited by Scott's own sister, Abigail Jane Scott Duniway. See her issue of Sept 9th for details.


Vol. X.                             Portland,  Oregon, Thurs.,  September  9, 1880.                             No. 1.


We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. O. P. Henry, an Astoria subscriber, who says, in reference to an article in the Oregonian of recent date concerning the origin of the Mormon Bible, that his mother, who is yet alive, lived in the family of Sidney Rigdon for several years prior to her marriage in 1827; that there was in the family what is now called a "writing medium," also several others in adjacent places, and the Mormon Bible was written by two or three different persons by an automatic power which they believed was inspiration direct from God, the same as produced the original Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament. Mr. H. believes that Sidney Rigdon furnished Joseph Smith with these manuscripts, and that the story of the "hieroglyphics" was a fabrication to make the credulous take hold of the mystery; that Rigdon, having learned, beyond a doubt, that the so-called dead could communicate to the living, considered himself duly authorized by Jehovah to found a new church, under a divine guidance similar to that of Confucius, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Swedenborg, Calvin, Luther or Wesley, all of whom believed in and taught the ministration of spirits. The New Northwest gives place to Mr. Henry's idea as a matter of general interest. The public will, of course, make its own comments and draw its own conclusions.

Note 1: Abigail Jane Scott Duniway (1834-1914) published her The New Northwest in Portland, Oregon, from 1871 to 1887. This was a "suffragette paper," and Mrs. Duniway (who was also a sister to Harvey Scott, editor of the Portland Oregonian) eventually became the Vice President of Susan B. Anthony’s National Woman’s Suffrage Association.

Note 2: The woman who "lived in the family of Sidney Rigdon prior to her marriage in 1827," is not here identified by name. In 1879 the Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. published a statement from Amarilla (or Amorilla) Brooks Dunlap (Mrs. Amos Dunlap), of Warren (or Howland), Trumbull Co., Ohio, who recalled visiting her uncle, Sidney Rigdon, at Bainbridge, Ohio, at an early date, and seeing there a certain manuscript. According to Mrs. Dunlap, "Whenever he [Rigdon] was reading this he was so completely occupied that he seemed entirely unconscious of anything passing around him." Since Amarilla Brooks was not married until 1832, she obviously was not the mother of O. P. Henry, Mrs. Duniway's 1880 Astoria correspondent.

Note 3: A search of Oregon Census lists shows that an "Orrin P. Henry" lived in Astoria in 1880, and that he was born in Ohio in 1828. This information corresponds with the Feb. 16, 1828 birth of Orrin Parsons Henry, Jr. at Bainbridge, Geauga Co., Ohio. Orrin was the first son of Orrin P. Henry, Sr. and Dencey Adeline Thompson, who were married at Chardon, in Geauga Co., on Mar. 16, 1827. Dencey Adeline Thompson is the only known child of John Thompson and Abigail Dayton, and was born on Apr. 2, 1805 at Longmeadow, Hampden Co., Massachusetts (see Frederick A. Henry's 1905 A Record of the Descendants of Simon Henry, p. 8). By concidence, a son of Solomon Spalding's adopted daughter lived at Longmeadow until 1900. As late as 1880 Dencey was living at Eden, Benton Co., Iowa, under the name of "Densy Henry," in the family of her youngest son, Hiram Russell Henry. In 1881 Hiram moved his family to Holt Co., Nebraska and his mother died there (in the hamlet of Mineola, near Star, in Scott Precinct), on Jan. 24, 1887.

Note 4: Rigdon probably moved his family from Bainbridge, Ohio to Mentor in the spring of 1827, so it appears that Dencey Adeline Thompson, then twenty years of age, was a boarder with Sidney Rigdon's family while they lived at Bainbridge, and no doubt, prior to 1826 when the Rigdons were yet at Pittsburgh. Her work within that family almost certainly entailed taking care of the Rigdon babies, one of whom were born each year between 1821 and 1824. The Rigdons were too poor to employ a nursemaid, even for mere board and room, and it is possible that Dencey's living costs were furnished by Sidney Rigdon's Brooks in-laws (Rigdon's father-in-law, Jeremiah Brooks, supplied the family's dwelling while they lived at Bainbridge). Rigdon paid off his debts at Bainbridge and moved his family in with the Orris Clapp family, at Mentor in Geauga Co., in mid-March, 1827. Dencey probably accompanied the family to Geauga Co. and married Mr. Henry almost immediately upon her arrival there -- perhaps so that the couple could return to Bainbridge as man and wife and begin to raise a family there. For more on Rigdon's stay at Bainbridge, see the account left by George Wilber, who knew him during that period, and whose recollection of the man, as paraphrased in 1886, was that Rigdon had "a strong religious ambition that was not tempered by Christian grace and humility. For a year or more before the advent of Smith they [neighbors in Ohio] saw that Rigdon was bent on devising some new dogma: in short, to start a new church or sect that he could call his own or whose leadership he could share with only a few." Also: "Rigdon did not preach that winter [1825-26?], but was almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising. Wilber noticed that towards the close of the term there was much more of it than there was the first time he saw it. Rigdon had before that time been free and communicative, especially upon religious topics; he now appeared reserved reserved and at times reticent. Whenever any reference about his manuscript he seemed disposed to parry inquiry by some general explanation that he was making notes or preparing some papers to throw light upon some portions of the gospel."

Note 5: Contemporary Mormons dismissed O. P. Henry, Jr.s' report of his mother's experiences with the Rigdons as "a new theory" for Book of Mormon origins, whose only redeeming factor, was that, "If this new theory should be caught up by preachers and editors, desperate for some plausible pretence to account for the Book of Mormon, they will have to drop forever the hackneyed and thoroughly riddled old fable called the Spaulding story." Evidently it did not occur to the LDS critics, that Sidney Rigdon's "automatic writing" might be accounted for by mental illness, more readily than by recourse to the spiritualist "medium business." See the Salt Lake City Deseret News of Sept. 22, 1880 for Mormon editorial comments on Mr. Henry's report of Sidney Rigdon's strange personal characteristics.


Vol. XXIII.                       Portland, Oregon, Friday, April 20, 1883.                       No. 7160.


Some Interesting Anecdotes of Mormonism in Ohio.

How Smith and Sidney Rigdon were Tarred and
Feathered at Hiram -- Scenes of Frantic and
Horrible Fanaticism that Followed in Lake
County -- What the Lord is Alleged
to Have told Smith about the
Word Mormon.


Letter in Cleveland Leader.

Superintendent Hinsdale tells me that he once heard General Garfield say that he had examined a large history of Mormonism, written in French, a copy of which is to be found in the library of congress. This author, who is quite a philosopher in his way, says that the turning point in Mormonism was the tarring and feathering of Joe Smith and Rigdon, at Hiram. Up to that time the doctrine had taken very little root. The converts had been very few. But here was a case of violence. It was the same old story of persecution over again. The Gentiles could not stand that this deed was in reality the cause of two deaths. A pair of twins in Smith's house, some 11 months old, were suffering from the measles, and being exposed by the crowd rushing in, they took cold and died. Rigdon was very roughly handled. He was dragged by his heels, and his head was terribly bruised on the rough, frozen ground. He was crazy for some time after, and nearly died. The prophet and Rigdon, so soon as they sufficiently recovered, began to give exaggerated accounts of the affair, and not only cemented the faith of their former converts, but used it as a strong means for gaining new ones. There are men still living in and about Hiram who were once tinctured to a certain extent with Mormonism, and there are others who helped to do this tarring and feathering.
"They then seized my throat and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, I began to plead with them, saying, 'You will have mercy, and spare my life, I hope,' to which they replied, with oaths and imprecations, which they were in the habit of using when greatly excited. 'Call on your God for mercy, we'll show you no mercy.' And the people began to show themselves in every direction. One coming from the orchard had a plank, and I expected they would kill me and carry me off on the plank. Finally they stopped, and one of them asked: 'Aint ye going to kill him? They finally left a few to guard me, and charged them not to let me get to the ground, lest I should spring upon them, and the others retired for consultation. I could overhear occasionally a word, and knew they were deciding whether they should kill me. They finally returned, and I found they had concluded not to kill me, but pound and scratch me well, tear oft my shirt and drawers and leave me naked. One cried, 'Where's the tar bucket?' 'I don't know, answered one, 'Eli's left it.' They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, 'Let us tar up his mouth,' and they tried to force the tar paddle into my mouth. I twisted my head around so that they could not, and they cried out: 'Hold up your head, and let us give ye some tar.' They then tried to force a phial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar, and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat. They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips, etc., so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, * * * During the affray the sisters of the neighborhood had collected in my room. I called for a blanket; they threw me one and shut the door. I wrapped it around me and went in."
A new religion cannot be established on anything like a firm basis without persecution and martyrdom. The new religion immediately began to "boom" after the Hiram violence was exercised upon its prophet, and the final martyrdom of the same individual has done more to convince the faithful of the truth of their cause than any amount of preaching could have done.

A part of the great scheme had been to transplant the Mormon church to northern Ohio. Rigdon had been busily at work announcing and preaching to the church at Mentor and Kirtland that something new and wonderful was about to come. This took great root in the Kirtland church, but was not so successful in Mentor. Pratt, Cowdery, Harris [sic] and Whitmer were the four apostles to the Lamanites who first came to Mentor and so readily converted Rigdon. They filled his pulpit for him, and very soon had created a considerable excitement in the community. Those who were converted were baptized again. A writer who lived in Lake county at the time thus describes what took place:
"Scenes of the most wild, frantic, and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands upon the heads of converts, which operation at first produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time apparently lifeless. The fits usually came on during or after their prayer meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and knees, rolling upon the frozen ground, going through all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, etc. At other times they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform all the ceremony of baptism. Many would have fits of speaking all the Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, the young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, etc., which they saw moving through the atmosphere."
Mormonism now immediately assumed an agressive attitude. Special efforts were made almost everywhere to sow the new seed among the recently organized disciple churches. The degree of ignorance which was displayed by the converts and in many instances by the preachers themselves, has never been paralleled, perhaps, except in the herds that were incited by the fanatical Peter the Hermit, to go on a crusade to the Holy Land.

Elder Simonds Ryder, of Hiram, who at first thought there might be something in the new doctrines, renounced them, as did also Rev. Ezra Booth of Mantua, a Methodist minister who had joined the prophet a few months before. By the united efforts of these men the delusion was largely curtailed in Portage county, though some always remained firm in their faith. Only three Disciple preachers joined the Mormon faith, viz: Rigdon, Pratt and Orson Hyde. Elder William Collins did not permit it to gain any foothold at Chardon, and young men, such as the Clapps at Mentor, and J. J. Moss, arose to give the new doctrine battle.

The whole tribe of Smiths, which had become well settled at Kirtland, and now in clover. Joe, Jr., was constantly having visions to suit the emergencies of the hour and was showing that no one else had any right to have visions.

God revealed that no one should see the golden plates; that Joseph should be well supported without work, in order that he might translate; that the proper place for the church was somewhere in the great west, and that Kirtland should simply be a stake or support of the real Zion, which was to be in Missouri. Missouri was the promised land; Missouri was the place where the Garden of Eden had once been located; Missouri was the place where Adam had died; and Missouri was the place where the Latter-day Saints should finally locate.

The original cost of the temple at Kirtland was considerable, but this sum was raised from the tithing of the common fund. Smith started a bank and began some manufactures, and made great promises of what would be done in the future. But it became more and more evident as the days went by that Ohio was not a congenial soil for the Mormon plant; the people began to see the tendencies of its teachings and a preparation was made for removal. As the bank collapsed and many lost thereby the departure was hastened. It would seem that the soil could be little better for the propagation faith now. If the saints are to return as on a pilgrimage in a holy land, it may be well enough, but they will find proselyting exceedingly slow here.

Few people probably know what the word Mormon means. Solomon Spaulding, who invented the word, probably did not know. But the Lord revealed in one of his convenient Joe Smith visions what the word actually means. Joseph said in his translation that the original plates were written in reformed Egyptian characters. The following is an extract from one of Joe's revelations:

"The word Mormon stands independent of the learning and wisdom of this generation. The Bible in its widest sense means good; for the Saviour says, 'I am the good shepherd;' and it will not be beyond the common use of terms to say that good is amongst the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in oppositing to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; [and] the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word Mor-mon, which means, literally, more good."

So that settles it. What God revealed to Joe Smith is "more good" (note the grammar) than anything he had ever revealed before. Carrying along the same idea the reformed branch of the church that is about to assemble at Kirtland must be "more gooder" yet.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                             Salem, Oregon, Friday, April 20, 1883.                             No. 10.


It seems the Mormons are holding a conference this month in Kirtland, Ohio, the birthplace of that church. Kirtland is not far from Garfield's old home, and here is still standing the old temple in which they worshipped in "Joe Smith's" time. It is historic ground and it was from this place that the handful of devotees were driven by popular opinion to seek another home. Under the leadership of Smith, their "prophet, priest and king," they started about 1848 in search of a promised land, really having no definite place in view; but they had faith that they would be led by the hand of God; so when the little band, weary and foot sore, descended into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, they felt assured that this was their home. It was the 24th of July when they came down the steep mountain side into a very paradise of verdure, kneeling and giving thanks as soon a they touched the waters of the river which they named Jordan. After these many years the only surviving brother of Joe Smith is again at Kirtland, with perhaps a view of getting back to the faith as taught by Joe Smith, the present Mormons having degenerated from the tenets of the first prophet. The Mormon missions in the South are making many converts and have recruited hundreds of women and young girls for polygamous wives -- so bold are they that the legislature of Georgia passed a law prohibiting these operations of Mormon preachers.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIV.                             Portland, Oregon, July 16, 1884.                             No. 7546.


Joseph Smith, son [sic -nephew?] of the 'prophet,' and two others from Utah, are at Richmond, Mo., comparing the Mormon bible with the original manuscript from the plates alleged to have been given by an angel to Smith, Sr., but the reasons for the comparison have not been made public. Probably the young man, thinking that his father is now an angel with the others don't know where the libel would hurt worst. Naturally enough, old Joseph would go to flock with the angels who were kind enough to give him such a start down to this world, by giving him the exclusive scoop of such a big item, and he would feel very cheap to look down and see young Joseph trying to make a reputation by showing that there was a lie somewhere between the angelic shorthand and the Mormon transcript.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIV.                             Portland, Oregon, December 21, 1884.                             No. ?


A True History of Joe Smith's Remarkable Piece of Jugglery.


St. Louis Spectator.

How many people know anything about the origin of the Mormon religion, or, rather of the Book of Mormon, which is its authority? I knew precious little about it until this week, when I accidently fell in with Mr. Clark Braden, who has recently given the subject a most searching investigation. His story shows of what stuff a religion may be made. The Mormons number probably 800,000. They are divided into many sects, but the principal are the polygamous Brighamites in Utah and the non-polygamous Josephites scattered in various places. The story may be given in a few words. The Book of Mormon was written by an old broken down Presbyterian clergyman named Solomon Spaulding. Spaulding was born in Connecticut in 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth college, and settled as minister for a Congregational church. He made a sad failure at preaching, and went into business with his brother in New York state, did not succeed, and started up an iron foundry in a town in Ohio. He soon failed in that venture and became very much discouraged. His wife supported the family by taking boarders, and he spent his time writing, though what did not then appear. The family moved to Washington county, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburg, when he wrote his book, adding a second part. He afterwards rewrote the entire book, adding a third part. This is the origin of the manuscript.

Now, what became of it? Spaulding made arrangements to have it printed in Pittsburg. After a part of it had been set up, the whole manuscript was stolen by a tanner named Sidney Rigdon, who was in the habit of loafing around the printing office. Rigdon kept it concealed for some years, until he fell in with Joseph Smith, who evolved the plan of producing it. Smith belonged to a not over reputable family living near Palmyra, N. Y. They lived in a house and supported themselves by hunting and fishing and other means suspected of being more questionable. Joseph, one day, found a remarkably clear crystal, shaped much like a child's foot, and he declared it was a "peep-stone," in which he could read the future and discover stolen goods, strayed cattle, etc., and on several occasions was so successful in predicting the locality of goods and cattle that he soon came to have considerable reputation. He then extended his field of operations by divining where treasure was buried and under his directions a great many diggings were made, unsuccessfully however. These diggings extended over a large area, some fifty miles or more, around Palmyra, and some of them may be seen now. He fell in with Sidney Rigdon, who told him of the manuscript. Smith soon devised a scheme for producing it under proper surroundings. The alleged book of copper [sic] plates was found under divine guidance, on which characters of reformed Egyptian were graven. The book was accompanied by a pair of spectacles of wonderous power, which enabled Smith to translate the remarkable characters. This he did from behind a screen, while an amanuensis took down his words. The Book of Mormon was printed in 1830, at Palmyra, N. Y., a farmer, Martin Harris, putting up the cash to pay the printer. Thus Solomon Spaulding's manuscript found its way into print with such additions and alterations as Smith chose to make for his own benefit.

A book will soon be published by the Christian Publishing company giving all the investigations of Mr. Braden and the complete chain of evidence establishing the authenticity of his story. A manuscript of the Book of Mormon is still in existence in the possession of Mr. Whitmer, of Richmond, Mo., and the compositor who set up most of the book at Palmyra, fifty years ago, is still living, Mr. J. H. Gilbert. Mr. Braden is now trying to arrange that Mr. Gilbert shall see this manuscript to say whether it is the copy from which the book was originally set up.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.                             Portland, Oregon, Saturday, December 14, 1889.                             No. 9110.


The "Book of Mormon" a Romance, Written
in Washington County, Pa.

The Pittsburg Dispatch prints the following letter, written by J. Beamer at Mannor, Westmoreland county, Pa.:

An article was recently published in the Dispatch treating of Mormonism. I may be able to add some further facts of interest. A few years ago I visited Amity, Washington county, revealing the following: Amity was located by Daniel Dodds in the year 1790. Here, in the year 1816, Mormonism was started by Rev. Solomon Spalding, a graduate of Dartmouth College. He died here and was buried close to the Presbyterian Church. The gravestone bears marks made by relic seekers, as it has been chipped and almost all carried away. When Rev. Spalding settled here be was not able to preach, and was notorious for hunting for American antiquities, such as mounds, for the purpose of tracing the aborigines to the "original source," a portion of the lost tribe of Israel. While pursuing these investigations and to while away the tedious hours he wrote a romance, leaving the reader under the impression that he had gained his knowledge from plates found in the mounds, containing the heiroglyphics, which he had deciphered. He often amused his friends by reading parts of his fabulous story.

After his composition had formed many chapters he resolved to publish the work under the name of "The Manuscript Found," and entered into a contract with Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, to publish the same. For some cause the contract was not fulfilled. The manuscript remained in Mr. Patterson's possession about three years, until Mr. Spalding called for it. In the meantime a journeyman printer by the name of Sydney Rigdon copied the whole of the manuscript, and hearing of Joseph Smith, Jr., digging for money by the aid of necromancy, Rigdon resolved in his own mind to make it profitable to himself. An interview took: place between him and Smith. Terms were agreed upon, the whole manuscript underwent a partial revision, and in process of time, instead of finding money, they find curious plates, which, when translated turned out to be the Golden Book of Mormon, which according to the prediction contained in these words (see Mormon Bible, page 504): "Go to the land of Anturn [sic], unto a hill which shall be shown, and there I have deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people."

Such is the account of the most stupendous delusion that has been perpetrated, for many centuries. To place this fact beyond a doubt and to prove that the Book of Mormon was originally written in Amity, Washington county, the following names stand as witnesses: Rev. J. W. Hamilton, pastor of Presbyterian church at Amity; J. Miller, Esq., who made the coffin for Rev. Mr. Spalding; a letter from Mrs. Spalding and John Spalding, a brother; A. Ely, D. D., pastor of Congregational church, Monson, [Ma.]; D. K. Ely, principal of Monson Academy; Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and Dr. Hurlbut, of Salem, O.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Pullman  Herald.

Vol. II.                   Pullman, Washington, Saturday, June 07, 1890.                   No. 32.

The  Mormons.

Woodruff, president of the Mormon church, said in speaking of the Salt Lake election: "There is a deep laid scheme to deprive the Mormon people of all their political rights and privileges so that the minority may obtain control of the territory."

That seems to be about the size of it. It looks as though the infamy of Mormon priestly rule was about to be wiped from the country. There may be schemes, there may be plots and plans to drive the Mormon church from political control of the territory of Utah. It is to be hoped there are, and that they will be successful. Mormons may as well learn now as any time that a church cannot control the state in this country. Even a decent church shall not, much less that relic of barbarism and blot on the Ninteenth century that calls itself the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

It looks well for this arrogant old Mormon to talk of depriving the "majority" of their liberties, because Salt Lake succeeds in electing at last and for the first time in its history a non-Mormon mayor and officers. It does indeed. Has he forgotten the bloody iniquities and abominations the Mormons have heaped up for themselves against the day of wrath? What of the ghastly Mountain Meadow massacre? There is a prominent newspaper man living and working today, witlj the sight of one eye wholly gone, the other weakened, his head beaten and scarred up and his health uncertain for the rest of his days, because he went to Utah in the days of Brigham Young and wrote the truth about Mormonism. When John C. Young, nephew of Brigham, repudiated Mormonism and became a reporter on a non-Mormon journal, armed men skulked after him in the streets night after night and sought to assassinate him. What do they say who have dared to reveal the dread oaths of the Endowment house? What of those awful stories that escaped Mormon wives have had to tell?

And now Woodruff whines about "depriving the people of their rights at the polls." It is time the "Gentiles" were getting in their innings. Mormon priests as well as others must learn that there cannot be a wrong done to the meanest and weakest creature but it must be righted.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIX.                   Portland, Oregon, Monday, Dec. 25, 1899.                   No. 12,181.



Now Kept in a Bank Vault,and All High
Offers for It Are Refused

Polygamy is not authorized in the Book of Mormon as originally translated in 1829 by Joseph Smith from the gold plates alleged to have been found by him on the hill of Cumorah, at Palmyra, N. Y., -- says the New York World. -- To obtain possession of this original translation the Latter Day Saints have made strenuous efforts. They have offered $100,000 for it, but their overtures have been repulsed by those who have had custody of the document, inasmuch as they believe the Salt Lake Mormons desire the manuscript for the purpose of interpolating a passage that would sanction or approve polygamy. The lives of the holders of the precious translation have been threatened by "Destroying Angels," the terrible Dantes, but without avail.

The Book of Mormon is law to all true believers in Mormonism. According to the translation of the golden plates, all who practice polygamy are without the law of the church. There are three distinct denominations who take the Book of Mormon to be the law of the gospel. The first of these is called the Church of Christ, founded by the original followers of Joseph Smith, the organizer of the sect. The others are the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This last is the church in Utah, which advocated and practiced polygamy, and to which belongs Brigliam H. Roberts, whom the Christian women of the country are endeavoring to keep out of the house of representatives. The two first named churches never have believed in polygamy. Their faith is founded upon the Book of Mormon, and polygamy is denounced as being forbidden in that book.

Threaten the Custodian's Life.

This remarkable document has been a source of contention and hatred in the Church of Latter Day Saints for many years. Its possession has been desired by the Saints of Salt Lake City that they might repair the oversight of Joseph Smith in not putting into his book justification for the practice of polygamy. David Whitmer was a comparatively poor man, and the Salt Lake Saints repeatedly offered him enormous sums of money for the manuscript. He knew it was their purpose to interpolate a revelation commanding polygamy, and as a matter of principle he declined their tempting offers His life was repeatedly threatened by the Dantes, known as the "Destroying Angels." This organization was formed, it is affirmed, by the Mormons in Missouri for the purpose of murdering Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, another of the witnesses to the translation of the plates of Smith, because they would not consent to the interpolation of the polygamy clause into the Book of Mormon.

The first church of the Mormons was established in Independence, Mo., the founders of it having been driven out of New York, and in obedience to a revelation of Joseph Smith, the believers moved west to the Zion in Missouri. This was in 1829 [sic], shortly after the first book of Mormon had been printed. In 1838 the Mormons were driven out of the state, and went to Nauvoo, Ill., whence they were eventually expelled and went to Utah. It was not until 14 years after the founding of Mormonism, by Joseph Smith that he [sic - ?], who had gone to Salt Lake with the bulk of the believers, purported to have had a revelation from God demanding polygamy. Smith at that time desired to insert this revelation in the original manuscript, but David Whitmer would not permit it.

The Original Manuscript.

The manuscript of the Book of Mormon contains about 600 pages of linen paper, foolscap size, written on both sides. The paper is yellow by age, and the ink is faded to brown, but the manuscript is in excellent condition. With it is a copy of the characters which were engraved on one of the gold plates. The copy was made by David Whitmer, and in 1877 he wrote the following about it:
"The characters are the engravings on the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. They were engraved thereon by the hand of a holy prophet of God, whose name was Mormon, and who lived in this land 400 years after Christ. Mormon's son, Moroni, after witnessing the destruction of his brethren, the Nephites, who were a white race -- they being destroyed by the Lamanites (Indians) -- deposited the golden plates in the ground, according to a command of God. An angel of the Lord directed Joseph Smith to them. The language of the Nephites is called the reformed Egyptian language."
The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon is still in existence, and is at present locked in the steel vault of a trust company in Kansas City, Mo. It is the property of George W. Schweich, a retired banker of Richmond, Mo. Mr. Schweich inherited the manuscript from David Whitmer, his maternal grandfather, who was one of the three witnesses to the translating of the golden plates by Joseph Smith, and was one of those who wrote the manuscript at Smith's dictation. The Book of Mormon was first printed from this manuscript in 1829 by E. B Grandin, of Palmyra, N. Y. After the book was published the manuscript and the table on which it was written became the property of David Whitmer, who took them to Missouri, and they remained in his possession until his death in 1888.

Offer of $100,000 Refused.

That the manuscript is authentic there can be no doubt Its genuineness was repeatedly affirmed by Mr. Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, who wrote down the translation of the golden plates at the dictation of Joseph Smith. Mr. Schweich has in his possession a letter bearing on the authenticity of the manuscript written by Colonel J. T. Childs, who was United States consul-general at Hankow, China. The letter is dated August 28, 1896. The Utah Mormons had repeatedly tried to get the manuscript, and had sent many emissaries to Mr. Whitmer. Colonel Childs' letter confirms this. He says: "I was present when Elders Orson Pratt and Smith, from Salt Lake, called on your grandfather in regard to the manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Upon it being shown to them, Elder Pratt recognized the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery and Mrs. Emma Smith (another of Joseph Smith's scribes). After some conversation Elder Pratt asked Mr. Whitmer if he would dispose of the manuscript, stating that he would give anything in reason for it: that the archives of the church were incomplete without it. Elder Pratt informed me that he was anxious to secure it. I think from the way he spoke he would give a large sum, as his church in those times was in funds. The price of $100,000 was named to Mr. Lewis Slaughter, then a prominent Mason, by Orson Pratt as the sum he would give for it. John P. Casenbury, treasurer of Ray county, Mo., was also asked to see Mr. Whitmer and ask him to name his price."

Joseph Smith's Vision.

Joseph Smith was born in 1805, near Sharon, Vt., and in 1816 the family migrated to Palmyra, N. Y. Joseph was fourth in the line of six sons and three daughters. His mother was a religious fanatic. She was subject to deep reveries, told fortunes, and claimed to have been cured of a mortal illness by a miracle. She asserted that Joseph had been born a prophet, and he was trained in this belief. His youth and early manhood were shiftless, and be was regarded as a ne'er-do-well. Later in his life Brigham Young said of him: "The prophet was of mean birth." He was wild, intemperate, tricky, and even dishonest in his youth." He hunted for the buried treasure of Captain Kidd, and pretended to find treasures by means of a wand. In 1823 he claimed to have been visited by a messenger from God. This vision told Smith where he would find a book, composed of golden plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from which they sprang; that the fulness of the everlasting gospel was contained in it as delivered by Christ to the ancient races of the world. With the golden plates he would find two stones in silver bows, fastened to a breastplate, constituting urim, meaning light, and thummim, meaning perfection. These were buried on a hill on a farm near Palmyra. Smith called this hill Cumorah.

"In the course of time Smith said he had found the golden plates buried in a stone box. He called in Oliver Cowdery, a schoolmaster; a farmer named Martin Harris, who afterward paid for the printing of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, and David Whitmer, the son of a neighboring farmer.

"Smith then translated the characters on the plates. This he did by putting them in a hat, together with the stones he found. He buried his face in the hat, the stones lighting up its interior, and at the same time giving them power to translate the characters. As he translated the scribes wrote, and when, he had translated all the characters on a plate and verified it, the plate disappeared. The plates were about seven inches wide and eight inches long, and about the thickness of paper."

Famous Societies Interested.

The Smithsonian Institute, the Astor Library of New York, the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago and many other museums and historical societies have asked Mr. Schweich to be allowed to be the custodian of the manuscript. Mr. Schweich, however, has always feared for its safety, and will not allow it to go beyond the doors of the vault in which it is deposited.

Note: Some versions of this syndicated article (originally published in the New York World, and reprinted in various papers), add this final line: "Curious to relate, Gold Bible Hill, as the mound where Smith claimed to have found the plates is known, forms a portion of the estate of Admiral Sampson. The place, formerly in the possession of Randall Robinson, passed into the hands of Admiral Sampson while he was a captain in the United States Navy."


Vol. XXVIII.                   Portland, Oregon, Sunday, September 5, 1909.                   No. 36.


A monument to Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, is to be dedicated soon at Sharon, Vermont, where the "prophet" was born (December 23, 1805). It will be a sort of state occasion. Some of the officials of the Government, as well as of Mormondom, will be present" and United States Senator Reed Smoot will deliver an address. It is explained that the occasion is not intended for any special glorification of the Prophet Joseph, but merely for taking note of an historical event; -- for Mormonism, whatever may be thought of it, is an undoubted fact which has continued in existence a considerable time, and probably will last very much longer.

There was a family of nine children. Joseph was the fourth. The family as was very usual in those times, lived in extremely narrow circumstances. The mother was Lucy Mack, a native of Connecticut. She was a woman of good parts and of unusual energy. The father was of the "no-account" class, and was regarded by the neighbors as shiftless and untrustworthy, and addicted to the habit of moving his family about aimlessly, from place to place. After several migrations in Vermont and New Hampshire, Joseph Smith. Sr., moved the family to Ontario County, New York, arriving there in the Summer of 1816.

Both the Smith and Mack famliles appear to have had a natural belief in "revelations." "Visions" were common with them, and with others of their class. Some idea of finding treasure, through visions or revelations, was running habitually through the dreams of the father. The story of Captain Kidd's treasure was often uppermost In his mind; and he was known as a "money-digger," while still a resident of Vermont. The son started his own career as a money-seeker, in the same way; but his visions brought him no profit. The money always eluded him. But his burrowing habit was the source of the suggestion later of his "discovery of the golden plates" containing the Book of Mormon, which, however, he always carefully concealed from profane eyes.

Joseph the younger soon came into possession of a "peepstone," which enabled him to see wonders. It is one of the oldest methods of divination" known to human history. The visions seen in these crystals were such, of course, as the "gazer" would desire or expect to find. The practice was not uncommon. Joseph soon obtained a "seeing-stone" of his own. The stone was placed in a hat, and the method was to hold the hat up to the face, excluding the light. While still a lad he made a visit to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where he obtained this stone. In that Vicinity he spent about two years, looking into the stone, telling fortunes, where to find lost things, and where to dig for money and other hidden treasures. He made profit by telling where to locate stolen property as well as buried money; but there is no record of any actual discovery of either, as a result of his visions.

Some years thereafter (the precise time is unknown) the seer's attention was diverted from the discovery of buried money to the discovery of a buried Bible engraved on golden plates. The history of this fraud and delusion has been extensively written; and the alleged translation from the plates, and of the imposition practiced on ignorant credulity, together with the extent and consequences or the fraud and delusion form one of the most remarkable instances on record of the facilty of human belief and gullibllity. A judicious writer has said that "the acceptance by man Of novelties in the way of religions is a characteristic that has marked our species eVer since man's record has been preserved." Exact knowledge of the mystery of man's origin, being and destiny is, of course, impossible. Religion is natural to man; but the forms in which it expresses itself amaze the student of religions. Max Muller says: "Every religion began as a matter of reason and from this drifted into superstition, But notwithstanding all the experience of mankind for guidance, there remains an almost unchanged susceptibility to religious or theological credulity, -- in spite of the fact that nothing has been added, through the long roll of centuries, to man's definite knowledge of the Infinite, or of his own future existence. Macaulay says bluntly, that we know no more than was known to Socrates, nor ever shall; for man is not dealing here with a progressive science. Further: "A Christian of the fifth century with a Bible is on a par with a Christian of the nineteenth century with a Bible." But there is boundlesS desire to know, among those not yet convinced that positive knowledge is impossible; and so, as William AJexander Linn says in his "Story of the Mormons," -- an exceedingly able book, in which the whole available history of Mormonism is gathered up: -- "When some one, like a Swedenborg or a Joseph Smith, appears with an announcement of an addition to the information on this subject, obtained by direct revelation from on high, he supplies one of the greatest desiderata that man is conscious of, and we ought perhaps to wonder not that his followers are so numerous, but so few."

The world in general regards Smith as an ignoramus and impostor. But it has been the practice of polygamy by the sect he founded that has brought cenSure and opprobrium upon it. Probably this practice, under pressure from all sides, is in course course of extinction. This, however, is denied by opponents in Utah and Idaho, who use their denial as special ground of accusation, for a make-weight in political opposition. The rellgious beliefs of the Mormons, though their origin is scouted, excite no particular opposition, since what Gibbon says of the attitude of the Roman people towards the religious establishments of Rome in the early days of the Empire is suibstantially that of the general mass of our people now. "All religions," says Gibbon, "were regarded by the believer as equally true; all were regarded by the philosopher as equally false, and all were regarded by the statesman as equally useful." But in Vermont there is some expression of indignation at the thought of dedication of a monument to "an illiterate impostor;" and perhaps spite will show itself, sooner or later, against the manument itself -- which would be discreditable to the people, who should be willing to allow the name of Joseph Smith to stand where he was born, "in monumental mockery." Many a tomb or cenotaph bears "a lying trophy." One more should produce no discontent.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Idaho  Free  Press

Vol. ?                                 Nampa, Idaho, Saturday, February 12, 1972.                                 No. ?

Computer  used  to  find
origin:  'Book  of  Mormon'

POCATELLO -- An Idaho State University faculty member is trying to discover the origin of the Book of Mormon by using a computer to analyse the literary style of authors who may have written it.

"I hope to be able to make a definite statement as to where the Book of Mormon came from, but I am not out to prove a particular thesis," says Herbert Guerry, a philosophy instructor.

He said the book is a well known case of disputed authorship with these theories as to its origin: That Joseph Smith originated the book; that Smith revised a lost manucript written by Solomon Spaulding; and that Sidney Rigdon revised Spaulding's manuscript.

By uncovering fundamental characteristics of each of these author's prose styles, Guerry hopes to relate them to the text of the Book of Mormon.

He will program the computer with symbols representing about twenty 1,000-word passages of prose produced by these authors. Then he will compare differences and similarities in their styles with passages in the Book of Mormon.

He will plot frequencies in use of words and word groups and ratios of certain word groups to others in the texts. He will compare, for instance, consistencies in use of two adjectives or one to describe a noun, the use of adverbs in place of adjectives, the use of long versus short sentences, and the employment of words of many or few syllables.

In addition to shedding light on the origin of the Book of Mormon, Guerry wants to determine the value of using a computer to research such a project.

"Similar analyses have been made on the Federalist Papers, St. Paul's letters and the works of Jonathan Swift and his contemporaries," Guerry said.

"Such methods for the analysis of literary style are yet somewhat indecisive, due mainly to the newness of the technique and the newness of the computer as a tool. This project should add to our knowledge about the potential and validity of such techniques."

Guerry's experience with computer programming began when he was a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina, where he received a Master of Arts degree in philosophy in 1965. He joined the ISU faculty in 1967 and is now completing his Ph.D. dissertation, using a computer to assemble data. He is analyzing the various meanings of the words "true" and "truth" in a number of passages extracted from publications ranging from mathematics journals to popular confessions magazines.

Note: The following excerpt is taken from the 41st issue of The Salt Lake City Messenger, (Dec. 1979): "In 1972 Herbert Guerry began a computer study on the Book of Mormon to determine authorship. When information about the study was published in a tract by an individual belonging to the Reorganized Church, Dr. Guerry felt he had been 'grossly' misrepresented. The tract had stated that 'Authentic authorship of books and papers can apparently be established by computer comparisons of grammar and language usage peculiar to each individual.' Dr. Guerry's reply to this statement was as follows: 'False. Or, rather, we simply do not know enough yet to be able to make such claims. Moreover, it just might turn out that writers' styles are not sufficiently unique to allow us to make positive identifications.' ("Some Misunderstandings of My Research," Saints Herald, August 1975, page 16) --- The tract said that 'Apparently one's language is unique much like one's fingerprints.' Dr. Guerry replied that 'This is a paraphrase of a speculation I made often at Idaho State University: what I usually said was that I wanted to find out whether or not one's prose style was as unique as one's fingerprints.' --- The tract alleged that 'The government believes in the method and recently granted $200,000 for a computer analysis of the Federalist Papers to determine authorship.' Dr. Guerry protested: 'False again...or at best misleading. The federal government funds much research, but to do so does not mean that the government 'believes in' a particular method. When the government funds a research project of this type it, in effect, is only saying that the project has sufficient merit to deserve support.... Many people have done authorship determination studies, and they use many different methods. My methods differ from those of the two recent studies of the Federalist Papers [these latter two studies, incidentally, reached differing conclusions].' --- The tract stated that 'There was no match between the Book of Mormon and any contemporary author of that period.' The reply to this was as follows: 'False, since no clear results about the authorship of the Book of Mormon have yet emerged from the study except perhaps, that it was not written by Solomon Spaulding or Sidney Rigdon, but this is hardly an amazing result.' Dr. Guerry went on to state that 'The study has shown nothing yet about Smith's relationship to the Book of Mormon...'"

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