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Vol. XXIX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, February 23, 1900.                  No. 265.



Various Factions of the Church May Yet Be Re-united.

Hedrickite Elders Come to Salt Lake as Representatives of
the Josephites Seeking to Secure Coalition.

It is reported that amalgamation of the factions of the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been proposed by emissaries of the Missouri contingent. If effected it means the bringing together of the Josephites or reorganized church, the Hedrickites and the main body, commonly called Mormons.

The rumor has been current for ten days, but not until yesterday was it learned that the subject had been discussed at a recent meeting of the apostles' quorum. Elders Cole and Frisby of the Hedrickites presenting it. What decision, if any, was reached the authorities refuse to divulge. The elders left last night for Independence, Mo., and efforts to obtain from them the details of their labors here were unavailing. Elder Cole would not deny the main fact that there was such a proposition made and entertained before the leaders of the church, nor would he venture to express his satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the answer received. Likewise reticent were the apostles on this point.

Business of Hedrickites.

At the time Elders Cole and Frisby came here it was supposed their business was in connection with the old temple site at Independence. Such was the case but their mission extended further. According to the report, they were authorized by their own people and the Josephites to propose a consolidation without stipulating any terms. This is a source of wonder, since the Hedrickites have but 140 members and the Josephites number between 30,000 and 40,000; nevertheless, the two elders carry credentials from the larger body and it is hinted that Mr. Frisby is really a member of the latter.

There is a disinclination on the part of those in positions to know to discuss the sentiment of the Mormon leaders on the subject of amalgamation. It is a matter of record that at the death of Joseph Smith many of the church members disavowing their belief in plural marriage, banded together under the leadership Joseph Smith, jr., and remained in the east, while Brigham Young and the main body came on to Utah. The former were called Josephites. Others followed Sidney Rigdon, others a man by the name of Strang, and still others Hedrlck, all refusing to longer accept the Mormon marriage system.

Little Band Was Firm.

In the course of time many of the members of these factions drifted to the Smith following, but the Hedrickites remained indissoluble Going to Missouri they got possession of the temple site, while both factions and the Mormons claimed it. The Hedrickites and Josephites plunged into litigation over the property and some years ago the Hedrickites sent a delegation to President Woodruff for money to carry on the legal battle. They may and may not have received some, but the little faction has always manifested a disposition to turn the site over to the Mormons, knowing they cannot themselves erect a temple with so few members to carry on the work

By a recent derision of the United States circuit court of appeals the Hedrickites gained a final title to the land in litigation, upon which and around which the temple and city of Zion are to be built according an old prophecy. Now comes the visit of the Hedrickite elders in this connection and some significance may be attached to the remark of one in authority yesterday, when asked of the church would buy the temple site.

Said he: "We will get it easier than that."

How either of the churches can be reconciled to the doctrines of the other is food for thought. On the face of it, the scheme to consolidate seems impracticable. It is not thought improbable that the recent manifesto of President Snow on plural marriage had something to do with the matter.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. L.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, May 21, 1900.                   No. 156.


Only Surviving Son of Sidney Rigdon
Visiting Old Friends.


Affirms That His Father Maintained
to His Last Day That Joseph
Smith Was a Prophet.

John W. Rigdon, a son of Sidney Rigdon, once the first counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, as has been announced in the "News," is in Salt Lake City visiting old friends and acquaintances. He was called on by a representative of the "News" and in the course of a conversation stated that a morning paper had not quoted him correctly in some portions of the interview that appeared this morning. In regard to his father's conversion to the "Mormon" Church, and his first knowledge of the Book of Mormon, he stated that he thought Oliver Cowdery was the man who brought the book to his father, but that Parley P. Pratt was with him at the time. Mr. Rigdon stated that he went to his father just before the latter's death, and told him that if he knew anything regarding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, that had not been told, he owed it as a duty to himself and his family to tell it. The father replied that he had but one story to tell, and that was the story told him by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the records from which that book was taken were engraved on gold plates, and the father then testified to his son that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that an angel handed him the plates from which was taken the Book of Mormon. "Do you believe that, Mr. Rigdon?" "Yes sir, I believe every word of it. For a long time I was skeptical about it, but now I believe every word my father told me and my heart is with the Mormon people. So was my father's, he would never permit a man to speak disrespectfully of the Church in his presence.

Mr. Rigdon stated that it was his belief that Joseph Smith instituted the system of polygamy, and although he (Rigdon) never subscribed to the doctrine, he never said it came from the devil, as was stated in the interview with a morning contemporary. Mr. Rigdon affirmed that the prophet made a proposal of marriage to his sister Nancy, who resented it with much spirit, and went to her father about it, with great indignation, and according to Mr. Rigdon, there was an altercation between his father and the Prophet, which, however was subsequently made right and the two remained firm friends until the latter's death.

Mr. Rigdon affirmed that the two points on which his father hung out were polygamy and the accession of Brigham Young to the leadership of the Church, and although he never recovered from the humiliation, and spent the remainder of his days in silence, whenever the Church was assailed the old fire would kindle in his eyes, he would become animated and the assailant would soon retire a thoroughly whipped man.

When he was here in 1863, Mr. Rigdon states he was urged by Brigham Young to write to his father, conveying to him Brigham Young's earnest request to come and make his home in Salt Lake. He wrote the letter and although he hoped that his father would accede to the request, he felt at the same time that he would not do it.

"I like Salt Lake," said Mr. Rigdon, "and if circumstances were such as to permit me to move here I would certainly do it."

Mr. Rigdon now resides in New York, and by profession is a lawyer. He is a ready and intelligent conversationalist and very affable in manner. His sensitive nature was manifested, when on speaking of his father's lonely and brooding life, he became so affected that he broke into tears.

He related many very interesting experiences incident to his boyhood life in the Church, and stated that he was proud of having been baptized by Hyrum Smith, the Prophet's brother, and having his father and the Prophet as an audience. He was taken from what was supposed to be his death bed, and baptized in the river, after which he quickly recovered.

In conclusion Mr. Rigdon said: "I feel well towards the Mormon people, and I hope that they will continue to prosper, for I feel that they are the people of God."

Note 1: The "morning paper" alluded to by the LDS reporter was, of course, the Salt Lake Tribune, which printed its own interview with John W. Rigdon in its issue for May 20th. The Tribune reported that Sidney Rigdon had "insisted that polygamy came from the devil," and John corrected that published assertion by telling the Deseret News reporter that his father, "never said it came from the devil." However, John did not specifically state that he had not given that impression to the earlier reporter -- and, as a matter of fact, the pages of Sidney Rigdon's Pittsburgh Messenger and Advocate were filled with denunciations linking the Nauvoo "spiritual wife system" to "the Devil." In his issue for Jan. 15, 1845 Sidney boasted: "We [the Rigdonites] have no spiritual wife system to blind our eyes and corrupt our morals -- and no system ever invented by men, or devils, could more effectually do it than that." Perhaps John related just such a statement of his father's to the first reporter and the Tribune very slightly misquoted him.

Note 2: It took John W. Rigdon another four years to make his formal entry into the LDS Church. Perhaps he spent some of that time in negotiations with its leaders regarding potential financial support, or the publication of the Sidney Rigdon biography manuscript that he had sold to the President of the Church. Whatever the hold-up may have been, John was (re)baptized a Mormon on Sept. 8, 1904 -- (see the News of Sept. 24, 1904).



Vol. XXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, February 5, 1901.                  No. 226.



Document of Great Interest
to Latter-day Saints.


Interesting Story Told by
George A. Crofutt

George A. Crofutt of Granger Wyo., arrived in Salt Lake yesterday from New York to enter into negotiations with the authorities of the Mormon church whereby the church may come into possession of a relic that is of no little interest to all Latter-day Saints. This is the original deed to that property in Independuce, Mo., which is known as the "center stake of Zion," and at which place Joseph Smith prophesied that all Latter-day Saints would some time assemble and build a temple. The Mormons still hold that this prophecy will come to pass when the time is ripe and that when the proper time comes the Saints will go there and build their temple.

George A. Crofutt

How this will be accomplished cannot be told but all Mormons live in the faith that some time the prophecy of their leader will be fulfilled. The spot on which the temple is to be built is now owned by the Hendrickites, a branch of the Mormon church which has come into existence since the death of Joseph Smith. The rest of the land described in the deed, which is in the possession of George A. Crofutt, is owned by the Josephites and residents of Independence. Their claim to the property has been decided by the courts, and the only value which now attaches to the deed is its value as a relic. If purchased it will be placed in the collection of the historian of the Mormon church, a collection that issaid to be the most complete of any of the kind ever attempted by any people.

This deed was made by Edward Partridge of Clay county, Missouri, in 1836 , to Martin Harris one of the witnesses to the authenticity of the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was transcribed by Joseph Smith. It names as a consideration $10,025 and transfers to Martin Harris 40 104/160 acres. It was afterwards transferred from Harris to his son and about thirty-one years ago assigned by him to the present owner.

Mr. Crofutt's Story.

How Mr. Crofutt came into possession of the deed is best told in his own own words

"I first came into this western country," said he, "in about'68 -- drove across the plains with a bull team. I didn't have any idea of coming here then; it was my intention of going on to California; but up here in Idaho, in a town called Bear River at that time, I ran across a young fellow named Martin Harris. He was running a newspaper there then and somehow or other got the people dead set against him. I arrived just in time to see them demolish his plant and give him notice to leave. I wasn't in any particular hurry to get to the coast, and as an offer presented itself to haul some stuff down to Salt Lake, I took it. Harris was as glad of the chance to strike someone who was coming here, and he rode down with me. Being pretty hard up, he borrowed some money from me at different times, and as he was a good sort of a chap I hadn't any fear of him, though money was darned scarce in those days. Well, before I left him he had borrowed in all from me $260, and as he didn't have a cent to pay it with he offered to assign this deed to me. I didn't think there was anything in it at the time, but it looked like it was that or nothing, so I took the deed. Haven't seen him fromno that day to this.

"Some six years later I tried to sell it to the Mormons, but something or other came up at the time, I forget now just what it was, to turn their attention to other things and we never reached any agreement for the sale of the deed. All I wanted out of it was the $260 I loaned to young Harris, and that is all I care for today, with interest, of course. I don't know that it would be of any benefit to them now, butit will probably be one of the most valued relics they have.

"I came here today and was to have had a meeting with C. W. Penrose to-day, but he couldn't get around. However, I think the matter will be settled tomorrow."

The deed is yellow with age. It was written on plain white paper sixty-six years ago and age has left its stain on it.

A Western Pioneer.

Mr. Crofutt perhaps knows every foot of this western country. He has been all over the west as a teamster, miner, railroad promoter and rancher. Most of his ventures of recent years have been in Colorado. He was one of the first men in Colorado to start the building of a railroad in that state. He was the head of the promoters of what was at first known as the Arapahoe, Jefferson & South Park railroad, but which was afterward finished under the name of the South Park railroad.

At present he is interested in securing eastern capital for the building of canals near Granger, Wyo., where he expects to irrigate 150,000 acres of land with water taken from Green river. Another scheme he has on foot is the starting of a newspaper in New York to be known as The Irrigator. Mr. Crofutt states that this paper will be started in about two months, having as an editor Colonel Hinton of the department of agriculture at Washington. It will be devoted to the interests of irrigation in America and Europe.

Mr. Crofutt is perhaps best known by the people in this state and people along the line of the old Overland route as the writer and publisher of "Crofutt's Overland Tourist." As a young man he commenced life as a reporter on the New York Tribune, and his of life as a reporter and as a knock-about in the west are more interesting than the stories told in modern novels.

Mr. Crofutt is stopping at the Walker.

Note 1: Mr. Crofutt's account of how he came to possess the 1836 deed to the Independence Temple Lot probably changed during his 1901 stay in Salt Lake City. See the Herald of Apr. 17, 1901 as well as the Denver Rocky Mountain News of Jan. 27, 1901.

Note 2: George A. Crofutt, Sr. (1826-1907) was a traveler, manifest destiny booster, railroad promoter and the publisher of a popular series of western travel guides, made semi-notable by his printing of John Gast's famous 1872 lithograph, "American Progress." At the end of 1871 Crofutt began publication of a monthly "newspaper," Crofutt's Western World. An early issue of that paper featured an article entitled "Industries of Utah" by "Hanson," better known as John Hanson Beadle, the former editor of the Corinne Daily Reporter. Beadle (who was obviously associated with Crofutt in various endeavors) supplied the "notes" to Brigham's Destroying Angel (published by Crofutt in 1872) and that book's endpapers advertised Beadle's own Life in Utah.

Note 3: Crofutt occasionally interacted with the leaders of the Mormon Church in Utah. He was a critic of their famous apostate, Thomas B. H. Stenhouse, and furnished them information on that man's activities. But Crofutt's relationship with anti-Mormons such as John H. Beadle probably soured any hopes he had of a continuing association with those same leaders. They gave Crofutt the brush-off in 1872, when he attempted to sell them an old deed to the Latter Day Saint Temple Lot in Independence, Missouri, and they did the same thing again, almost thirty years later.



Vol. XXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, April 17, 1901.                  No. 297.

Controversy Over Deed to
Center Stake of Zion

The attempt of George A. Crofutt in this city last February to sell the authorities of the Mormon church the original deed to the "Center Stake of Zion" in Independence, Mo., has stirred up controversy that bids fair to bring about some interesting disclosures.

It will be remembered that this historical deed was for a piece of ground 40 and and 104/160 acres in the city of Independence, bought of Edward Partridge of Clay county, Mo., in 1836 by by Martin Harris, one of the witnesses of of the golden plates of the Book of Mormon. He paid $10,025 [sic - $1,075?] for the land and the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied that the Latter-day Saints would assemble and build their temple, and very many people of that faith still believe that prophecy will come true. The land is now divided up, part of it belongs to the Hedrikites, part to the Josephites and part to residents of Independence.

Crofutt stated when he was here that he secured the deed to this property from Martin Harris in Bear River, Ida., in 1868; that Harris had been running into trouble, had his plant destroyed and was forced to leave. He borrowed $260 from Crofutt at different times, and to reimburse him assigned this deed to him.

Now comes the sequel. The Herald is just in receipt of a communication from Martin Harris, from Lewisville, Fremont county, Idaho, dated April 12, in which he says he never saw such a man as George A. Crofutt and never heard or saw his name until his attention was called to the article in question. He says he firmly believes that the deed is genuine, but he asserts positively that Crofutt never came into possession of it through him.

Martin's story of the deed does not agree with the story told by Crofutt. He says his is father, Martin Harris, sr. came into possession of the deed in 1836 from Edward Partridge in Jackson county, Missouri, where the conveyance of the property was as made. When the Mormon were driven out of that county Mr. Harris went back to Kirtland, O., taking the deed with him. In the fall of that year the son left Ohio for the west and took the deed with him. Later the father came west, got the deed and returned with it to Ohio, and that is the last the son saw of the paper.

Then he goes on to say that in 1868, while he was living in Cache county, Utah he became acquainted with a man by the name of Chandler Harris, that later this man went to Evanston, Wyo., and started a paper [plant], got into trouble with the working men and had his plant smashed. Previous to this, however he went to Ohio and made a visit to the elder Harris, and during the visit got possession of the deed. What became of it afterward this man does not know.

The elder Harris came to Utah in 1870 and died at Clarkston in 1875. It was at this time he told his son of the visit to him of Chandler Harris and his giving him the deed.

Note: The Evanston Age began publication in October of 1872. It was the first newspaper printed in that town and was edited by M. C. Hopkins, and not by Chandler Harris. Nor is any "Chandler Harris" known to have edited a late 1860s or early 1870s newspaper in southeastern Idaho Territory. It is possible that both Mr. Crofutt and Martin Harris, Jr. were mistaken in some parts of their respective accounts. For more on the latter Idaho/Utah Pioneer, see Norma Harris Morris' unpublished manuscript "The Life of Martin Harris Jr: Son of Martin Harris."


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, July 5, 1902.                   No. 196.



Letter No. 104 in Detroit Press-Tribune.

I now continue my account (from May 18) of the doctrinal teachings of the "Mormons," or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as they prefer to be called; or as I shall initial it hereafter for the sake of brevity the L.D.S. Church...


I have already given Joseph Smith'sown account of the origin of this remarkable book, with a summary of its contents (News-Tribune May 4). I shall now tell a Iittle of what they say about its genuineness.

Three classes of plates are mentioned on the title page of the Book of Mormon, viz.:

(1) The plates of Nephi which were of two kinds: (a) the larger plates; (b) the smaller plates.

(2) The plates of Mormon, containing an abridgement of the plates of Nephi with additions made by Mormon and his son, Moroni.

(3) The plates of Ether, containing, as we have seen, the history of the Jaredities.

To these may be added another set of plates as being mentioned in the Book of Mormon, viz.:

(4) The brass plates of Laban, brought by Lehi's people from Jerusalem and containing Jewish scriptures and genealogies many, extracts from which appear in the Nephite records.

As I have already shown, Joseph declared that on the 21st day of September, 1827, he received from the Angel Moroni the plates and the Urim and Thummim, with the breastplate. In June 1829, the plates were shown to three witnesses whose affirmations accompany all editions of the book...


Notwithstanding all this, anti-Mormons generally deny the whole story and numerous books have been put forth by respectable writers "exposing the fraud." One citation however will have to suffice. It is from the article "Mormonism" in the "Encyclopedia Britanica." The author was the late Rev. John Fraser of Chicago university, his statement being, of course indorsed by the editors. He says:

"In reality it (the Book of Mormon) was written In 1812 as an historical romance by one Solomon Spaulding, a crack-brained preacher. And the manuscript, falling into the hands of an unscrupulous compositor, Sidney Rigdon, was copied by him and subsequently given to Joseph Smith."

As this is the sum and substance of all similar "exposures," it will be only fair, I think, to give the other side of the question. The following I copy from foot notes to pages 278, 279 of Talmage's work already freely quoted from.


The true account of the Book of Mormon was rejected by the public in general, who thus assumed the responsibility of explaining in some plausible way the source of the record. Many vague theories based on the incredible assumption that the book was the work of a single author were put forward; of these the most famous, and, indeed the only one that lived long enough in public favor to be discussed is the so-called "Spaulding Story." Solomon Spaulding, a clergyman of Amity, Pa., wrote a romance to which no title other than "Manuscript Story" was prefixed. Twenty years after the author's death, one Hurlburt, an apostate from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced a resemblance between the story and the Book of Mormon, and expressed his conviction that the work presented to the world by Joseph Smith was nothing but Spaulding's romance revised and amplified. The manuscript was lost for a time and in the absence of proof to the contrary, stories of the parallelism of the two works multiplied. But, by a fortunate circumstance, in 1884, President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin college, Ohio, and a literary friend one Mr. Rice, found the original story. The gentlemen made a careful comparison of the manuscript and the Book of Mormon, and with the sole desire of subsurving the purposes of truth, made public their results. President Fairchild published an article in the New York Observer, Feb. 6, 1885 in which he said: "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 (the Spaulding manuscript) with the Book of Mormon and could detect no resemblance between the two. * * * Some other explanation of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."

A letter of more recent date written by President Fairchild in reply to an inquiring correspondent, was published in the Millennial Star, Liverpool, Nov. 3, 1898, and is as follows:

Oberlin College, Ohio, Oct. 17, 1895.
J. R. Hindley, Esq.
Dear Sir -- We have in our college library an original manuscript of Solomon Spaulding -- unquestionably genuine.

I found it in 1884 in the hands of Hon. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. He was formerly state printer at Columbus, O., and before that, publisher of a paper in Painesville, whose preceding publisher had visited Mrs. Spaulding and obtained the manuscript from her. It had lain among his old papers 40 years or more, and was brought out by asking him to look up anti-slavery documents among his papers.

Tho manuscript has upon it the signatures of several men of Conneaut, O., who had heard Spaulding read it and knew it to be his. No one can see it and question its genuineness. The manuscript has been printed twice at least -- once by the Mormons of Salt Lake City and once by the Josephite Mormons of Iowa. The Utah Mormons obtained the copy of Mr. Rice at Honolulu and the Josephites got it from me after it came into my possession.

This manuscript is not the original Book of Mormon. Yours very truly,

Printed copies of the "Manuscript Found" are obtainable and any inquirer may examine for himself...

Note 1: It is remarkable that the editors of Millennial Star and Deseret News took the trouble to publish President Fairchild's 1895 letter, after the passage of the several years since it was first received by a Mormon official (presumably in England). The message of the letter does the Mormon cause little good and the Mormon readers might have been better served had the editors simply recycled one of Fairchild's earlier letters or a published statement from years gone by. Although Fairchild in 1895 did not say that the Oberlin Spalding manuscript was but one of many Solomon Spalding manuscripts, he practically admits that fact by his saying nothing about the story on file at Oberlin College being the infamous "Manuscript Found," from which the Book of Mormon was reportedly adapted. Fairchild says that the document under his care "is not the original of the Book of Mormon," but that does little to promote his earlier theory -- that the Oberlin document was "Manuscript Found" and that such an identification effectively put an end to the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. Perhaps the Mormons published this letter because it was the only known communication of this sort that Fairchild ever addressed to an LDS elder.

Note 2: Although the Star prints no ellipses to indicate that the Fairchild letter was edited, it may be that it was shortened and some potentially damaging words edited out. By the end of the century James H. Fairchild had received so much personal correspondence criticizing his old identification of the Oberlin document as Spalding's "Manuscript Found," that Fairchild was obviously having second thoughts on the matter. Consider, for example, the content of a letter Fairchild wrote to one of his old students in 1900: "With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the Library of Oberlin College, I have never stated, and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this Ms. does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted."

Note 3: The evolution of President Fairchild's opinion in regard to his earlier identification of the Oberlin Spadling story as being the oft-mentioned "Manuscript Found" was paralleled by a similar change of views in his old friend (and discoverer of the Oberlin document), Lewis L. Rice of Honolulu. Rice died less than two years after uncovering the Oberlin Spalding story, but before his passing his opinion about the nature and importance of that story went through a remarkable process of maturation. As Rice learned more and more about various aspects of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, he came to believe in and publicly endorse those same claims. On Oct. 7, 1885, barely 14 months after his discovery of the manuscript, Rice was saying: "Joe Smith or Rigdon, one or both, was the real getter-up of the Book of Mormon, with the aid of Solomon Spaulding's writings;" by Mar. 4, 1886, he was asserting that his discovery was not the "Manuscript Found," and that his belief was, "that either Hurlbut or Howe" obtained Spalding's "Manuscript Found," and then " sold it to the Mormons, who of course destroyed it, or put it out of the way."


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, September 27, 1902.                   No. 268.


Something of Hiram, the Beautiful, Where Lived the Prophet Joseph Smith During one if the Most Eventful Periods in His Career -- In this Northern Ohio Hamlet He Revised the Bible, Received Glorious Revelations and Was Brutally Persecuted by a Mob.
Hiram, Sept. 18. -- Beautiful for situation is Hiram, one of the many incorporated hamlets of northern Ohio. I was about to say that "she," meaning Hiram, sits a queen of hamlets in the beautiful hill country of Portage county, when I happened to remember that a feminine pronoun could not consistently stand for the word "Hiram." And yet one can never get his own consent to speak of a town as "he," any more than one can get a sailor to speak of a ship as "he;" though why, no philosopher nor sailor, nor the present writer can say; but so it is. Barred then by consistency on one hand, from alluding to Hiram as "she," and on the other hand barred by custom from referring to a town as "he," I can only say, in commonest prose, that the "hamlet" of Hiram is beautifully situated in the rolling hill country of northern Ohio. And it is beautiful, that hill country! I know the mountains -- and I love them! I know the plains -- and I marvel at their extent -- but could never love them -- I hate dead levels! Give me change, cries out my soul -- give me change! The valleys may have their shadows -- deep, gloomy, perhaps awful; but the hill tops have their sunshine, their commanding views, their sun-lit inspirations; and I'll endure the shadows, however deep, if only as reward I may have the hill-tops and the sunshine now and then. Well, in this rolling country you get diversity of landscape; alternating hills and valleys; alternating farms and woodlands, thriving cities and prosperous country -- here in the grand old state of Ohio.


But this hamlet of Hiram, sitting on a hill commanding a splendid view of a grand country, what of it? Why, in the first place, after its beauty for situation is noted, and its general heathfulness conceded -- a point upon which its inhabitants seem to insist -- its importance as an historical center claims attention, though its inhabitants little suspect it. Their pride centers mainly in the fact of its importance as an educational center, and the associations with the place of the lamented James A. Garfield, late president of the United States. You must know that the chief center of interest in Hiram now is the Hiram college, a denominational institution of learning founded by and under the control of the "Christian," that is to say the "Campbellite" church. Hiram College, like Bethany college in Virginia, grew out of the "Reform" movement led by Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Sidney Rigdon, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hiram was selected as the most suitable place for a college, moreover, in response to that sentiment which demanded that such educational institutions should be isolated from the busy marts of men -- aside from the city and its allurements. Hiram's chief claim for consideration as a suitable place for the "Disciples" college was this asidedness from the world, and its healthiness. These considerations won, and the college was established there as an "eclectic institute," in 1850. To this place James A. Garfield came first as student, afterwards to remain as teacher and president of the "board of instruction" from 1857 to 1863; and he remained a member of the board of trustees from 1866 to the time of his death.


After the local pride of Hiram in Garfield comes its pride in the college and its foreign missionary work. It boasts that the "Disciples" interested in Hiram college spend more money in foreign missionary work than in home church work. Twelve missionaries it has sent to Ibdia since 1894; six to China; two to Japan, and one to Puerto Rico.

But to the "News" readers there is an interest associated with Hiram that far surpasses irs "Disciple's" college, or the memory of the lamented Garfield's association with it. Hiram was the abode, for a time, of one who, if he bequeathed to Hiram not a name, at least left to it a recollection that will be remembered when its college shall have crumbled to ruins and people forget James A. Garfield. This "one" was Joseph Smith, the Prophet.


A mile and a half westward from what Hiramites call the "center," meaning by that the college campus and the neat modern cottage homes that face it as a public square, is the old "Johnson homestead," where the Prophet Joseph Smith lived for some months during the eventful years of 1831 and 1832. Here in the east upper room he, with Sidney Rigdon as scribe, "translated" or what would be more appropriate to say "revised" the King James' translation of the Bible. Here, on the front steps of the Johnson residence, the Prophet frequently preached to the multitudes that came from the surrounding country to hear him. Here several revelations were received, including what will doubtless be regarded as the grandest revelation of all, that God has given in this dispensation of the fulness of times -- namely, the vision of the future glories to which men may attain. That revelation which upsets the theology of modern christendom, and makes it clear that God is indeed just, and that men can be, and will be judged according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil.

The old "Father Johnson Homestead" at Hiram, unaltered, but just as it stood in 1830-31, when the home of the Johnson family, and some of its rooms were occupied by the Prophet and his family. It was the right hand upper room (east end) that was used by the Prophet Joseph as a translation room, and where he, with Sidney Rigdon as scribe, revised the English translation of the Bible. It is at present occupied by a Mr. James H. Stephens, whose grandfather, Judge [sic - Jude] Stephens, purchased it of Father Johnson many years ago.


Here, too, the Prophet suffered one of the most painful and brutal persecutions that overtook him in his eventful career. On the night of the 25th of March, 1832, the Johnson residence was quietly surrounded by a mob of the Prophet's enemies, determined to kill him, or do him great bodily injury. Worn out with watching over the sick children of John Murdock, whom the prophet's wife Emma, had taken to rear as her own, Joseph did not hear the tapping on the window pane, which was doubtless made by the mob to ascertain if all were asleep in the household. The first thing the Prophet was conscious of was the screams of his wife and the fact that he was being carried bodily from the house into the field.

He struggled with his captors and succeeded in knocking one of them headlong by a kick; but all was vain. They bore him from the house, stripped him of his clothing, and one man fell upon him and scratched his body with his nails like a mad cat. After trying to force a vial of aque fortis into his mouth, beating him and besmearing him with tar and feathers, they left him. "I attempted to rise," he says in his own account of the affair, "but fell again. I pulled the tar from my lips, so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, whereupon I saw two lights. I made my way toward one of them, and found it was Father Johnson's. When I had come to the door I was naked, and the tar made me look as if I were covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all smashed to pieces, and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters collected at my room. I called for a blanket: they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me and went in. My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar from my body, so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached that morning to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals."

The treatment of Sidney Rigdon on the same occasion was even more severe. He was dragged by the heels over the hard frozen ground for a distance of some 30 rods, beaten into insensibility, covered with tar and feathers, and left for dead. He was living just across the road from Father Johnson's, in a log house, at the time of the outrage, and for several days was delirious. The villagers point out to this day the oak tree under which he was tarred and feathered. "Why did the mob abuse these men," I asked Hartwell Rider, to whom I had been recommended as the "wise man" of the village, well versed in the history and folklore of the neighborhood. "Well, the people did not want Hiram to be a Mormon center; and there was a man down at Shallersville whose wife had joined the Mormon Church and was a-going with the Mormons to Missouri -- that was their Zion then, you know." By the way, this Hartwell Rider, with whom I talked for the better part of half a day, is the son of Simonds Rider, a noted Campbellite preacher, who joined the Church at Hiram in 1831. From remarks made by the different members of the mob who assaulted the Prophet on that night of the 25th of March, 1832, Simonds Rider was the leader of the mob; but his son Hartwell denies it, and asks that it be erased from the "Mormon" books. "Well," I replied, "that may be somewhat difficult, but I am happy to know that you denounce the mobbing, and are anxious to sever the association of your father's name with such an infamy."


It may be of interest to remark also that Simonds Rider and Ezra Booth were among the first apostates of the Church. The thing which took Rider out of the Church is rather humorous. It is claimed by his son, Hartwell, who seems a little ashamed that his father ever was a "Mormon," that a revelation was received by Joseph to the effect that Rider was to be an Elder in the Church, and preach the Gospel, "but unfortunately," says the son, "both in the revelation and in the Elder's certificate the name Rider was spelled R-y-d-e-r instead of R-i-d-e-r." This led the former Campbellite preacher to "suspect" the inspiration that could make a mistake in orthography, and so he left the Church! Ezra Booth generally, though erroneously supposed to be the first apostate from the Church, also lived at Hiram for a time, and here wrote the anti-"Mormon" letters which will be his chief claim to fame. "What became of Booth after he left the Mormon Church?" I asked Hartwell Rider. "Did he prosper, was he a successful man?" The old man shook his head. "No; if you mean in a business way. Nor in any other way, for matter of that. You see, he was not a strong man. He tried to please everybody to whom he preached. He was not a man to take a stand and draw people to him. He preached for the Methodists for a while, after he left the Mormons, and then he went to spiritualism, then became an infidel and died here a few years ago at Garretsville without any faith in God or man." "Alas!" I mentally exclaimed, "how alike is the fate of those who turn from the faith in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! What a sad repetition it is -- this wrecking of faith in 'God and man' when men who have received the light turn from it to darkness! It was promised in the very inception of the work that it should be a saver of life unto life or of death unto death, and truly the experience of the Church proves the declaration true. Anti-Mormon writers cite the fact here alluded to as an evidence of the soul-destroying power of Mormonism, saying that it leaves a trail of infidelity wherever it has been received. That is true, however, only in so far as men having once given to it their allegiance, then turn away from it. The beggarly elements from which it called them could never seem quite the same to them after they had once tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come." But those who have remained true to "Mormonism" and the obligations it enjoins, have not lost faith either in God or man; but have died happy in the hope, and may I not say, knowledge, of the reality of that eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began.


Thoughtful men will look deeper for the meaning of what all admit is a singular fact, viz.: that those who accept "Mormonism" and then turn from it end in believing in nothing: and they will see in that fact the evidence that these men have touched in their lives some very vital truth, and proving recreant to it has left them truth-stranded, by which I mean stripped of the truth or the power to comprehend it or hold to it. In them the word of God is verified: "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost... if they shall fall away to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame."

This mention of Booth and Rider, the fact of their apostasy, and the loss of all religious faith which attends upon apostacy, has led me into a moralizing mood, in which I merely wanted to call up in this communication the memories that are awakened by a visit to Hiram.
B. H. ROBERTS.     

Note: For more information on this subject see "A Hill of Zion" in the Sept. 10, 1877 New York Herald and "The Mormons are Only a Memory but 'Hiram Hill' is Still Unchanged," in the Feb. 21, 1909 Cleveland Plain Dealer Magazine.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LIII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, December 19, 1903.                   No. ?



Editor Tribune: -- In reply to my article in The Tribune of Nov. 22, pointing out, in response to his public challenge, some of the great difficulties the way of accepting Nephi as an ancient prophet of God, and the Book of Mormon as an ancient revelation from God, Elder Roberts begins by finding fault with me...

(read original article in Salt Lake Tribune.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 54.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, September 10, 1904.                   No. ?



Special Correspondence.

Caldwell County, Mo., Aug. 23. -- Four miles north of Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess county, and some 65 miles northeast of Kansas City, in the state of Missouri, is the site of the early settlement of the Saints known as Asami-ondi-Ahman. Here a stake of Zion was organized in the summer of 1838, with John Smith, uncle of the Prophet, as president, and Reynolds Cahoon and Lyman Wight as counselors. Today nothing remains but the name and a portion of the home of Lyman Wight to mark the spot where once the Saints gathered in humble devotion to their God, amid the relentless persecutions of their enemies. But it is not from the fact alone that a stake of Zion once flourished here, nor that many of the important councils of the Church were held here during these troubleous rimes that Adam-ondi-Ahman is sacred to the Saints today. The greatest reason is that it was in this land that our father Adam dwelt. Here he offered sacrifice and worshiped God; and it was in this place that he gathered his children around him and blessed them with a father's blessing three years before his death, and prophesied, on that occasion, what should befall his posterity unto the latest generations. Moreover, this is the place where the Ancient of Days shall sit when he comes to visit his people as a Prince and Ruler over them forever. For these reasons this is holy ground unto the Latter-day Saints.

Adam-ondi-Ahman or Diahman as it is generally called, is one of the garden spots of the earth, situated on the elevated rolling plains of northeastern Missouri. Grand river one of the largest tributaries of the muddy Missouri, flows through the land and in a bend of the river, on the north bank, rising abruptly on the south and west, is a bluff or ancient mound. This bluff rises too a height of 80 or 100 feet and to a depth of some 30 feet and from the top appears to be the ancient workmanship of man. On the brow of this mound once stood the altar upon which Adam, our father, offered his sacrifices when he was taught the Gospel of a Redeemer yet to come. Signs of the altar were still visible in 1838, when the Saints first settled there, but in recent years years some foolish persons whose imaginations were worked upon by false reports that the "Mormons," during their hasty flight from the state had buried large quantities of gold there, excavated under the altar, hoping to find the phantom jars, but all in vain. So today has disappeared all evidence of the sacred altar of antedeluvian times. But the mound upon the bluff remains and will remain the holy spot where Adam worshiped and where Michael shall yet come with heavenly blessings to his children.

To the northwest and adjoining the altar stands large hackberry tree, and an equal distance to the southeast a black walnut tree swaying peacefully in the breeze as silent but faithful guardians of this ancient mound. The valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman to the west and south through which the river runs is a beautiful but small and fertile valley. This is the place where the ancient Patriarchs assembled to receive their blessings from their progenitor, after which they were filled with the Spirit of the Lord and called him Michael the Prince, the Archangel, and sang his praise before the Lord.

While in this place one cannot help reflecting upon those glorious scenes and the verses of the poet are involuntarily recalled and with him one feels to sing:
This earth was once a garden place,
  With all her glories common;
And men did live a holy race,
And worship Jesus face to face,
  In Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Her land way good and greatly blest,
  Beyond old Israel's Canaan;
Her fame was known from east to west,
Her peace was great and pure the rest
  Of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Hosanna to such days to come --
  The Savior's second coming,
When all the earth in glorious bloom,
Affords the Saints a holy home,
  Like Adam-ondi-Ahman.

And while reflecting on the glorious past and the promises of the future, it is impossible to shut out from the mind's eye the sufferings of our people, their persecution and martyrdoms in this holy land. We see the place defiled by wicked men, the name of the great Jehovah mocked and His work set at naught. And we feel in our heart to importune before the throne of grace for the redemption of the land and reclaimation by a chosen people.


The people in and around Diahman have peculiar views regarding the belief of the Latter-day Saints in connection with this ancient altar. It is the prevailing belief based on untruthful statements in the history of Daviess county, that the Mormons taught that the Altar is Adam's grave. Such are the reports they circulate. One country editor near the place, when told of the error and requested to correct the same through his paper, replied: "What? you will not take our grave from us will you?" The people have been taught it was the grave and fear it would lose its attractiveness if the correction were made.

At the Base of the Altar, Adam-Ondi-Ahman.

The house of Lyman Wight, a portion of which still stands, was built at the base of the Altar at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Until a few years ago the house was inhabited but now is deserted and left to the buffeting of the elements and in the course of a few months will disappear. It is called by the settlers "Mormon house" and is the only one built by the Saints that is now standing at Diahman


Gallatin, the county seat and largest settlement in Daviess county, contained less than a dozen houses in 1838, before the expulsion of the Saints. Here William P. Peniston, the bitter mobber and persecutor of the "Mormon" people, lived. It was through his untiring animosity that the place is so well remembered by our people. It is some four miles south -- eight by the road -- from Diahman. Many stirring scenes were enacted here in 1838. On the 6th day of August of that year, at a regular state election, a riot which ended in a number of broken heads and a great deal of iII feeling took place. Col. William P. Peniston was candidate for the state legislature but hoped for no assistance from the Mormon voters as he had been one of their bitter and most active opponents in Ray county and had led an armed mob in the expulsion of the Saints from that county. Our people knowing the charneter of the man were not very enthusiastic in his support and fearing defeat at their hands, he worked against them for some time previous to the election to prevent them from casting their votes. On the morning of the election day when the polls were opened Peniston had gathered a number of his followers who, with him, waited near the polls for the "Mormon" voters who should be daring enough to attempt to cast their ballots. Presently the "Mormons" appeared, some 10 in number. They were Hyrum Nelson and his brother, RiIey and Jackson Stewart, Moses Daley, Washington Vorts, Harvey Olmstead, Samuel Brown, Perry Durphy and John L. Butler. As they approached the place Peniston mounted a barrrl and made an inflammatory speech against the "Mormon" people. He said he had led a company and had driven them from Clay county and he would do the same in Daviess. His speech aroused the rabble who made an attack upon the "Mormon" voters. In the fight which followed the brethren protected themselves the best they could and were quite successful in repelling the attack. Knocking down some 20 or more mobbers, but not without some damage to themselves. This trouble accelerated the already increasing opposition to the Saints, and was one of the events which resulted in the expulsion from that state.


There is living at Gallatin an old man, Maj. Joseph McGee. He is a native of Ohio and came to Gallatin in the spring of 1838. He was present on the square on the 6th of August and witnessed the election trouble. He frankly confesses that Peniston was responsible for the hot at that time. The major who has been totally blind for a number of years still retains a clear mind and remembers many incidents of those early times. He served during the Civil war in the Union army, his services being principally in the border counties where such awful depredations from guerilla raids previaled. In Jackson and neighboring counties, so he said, the suffering during the war was most uppalling. In a conversation held at his house the other day the major said that nearly all of the Missourions of 1838 were from the southern states, mostly from Kentucky and Tennessee. They were a rough, uneducated class, delighting in fighting and quarrelling, but in the main hospitable.


"Are there any of the old settlers still here who were so active in the opposition to the "Mormon" people and who assisted in driving them from the place?" was asked of the major.

"No," he said. "They are all dead. Many of them went to California to seek their fortunes in the mines. Some returned but they are all dead, and their children scattered."

"What became of Peniston?"

"Peniston," was the reply, "was a rough, quarrelsome fellow, but he had more influence in Daviess county in 1838 than any other man. He went to California in 1849 and shortly after died in Sacramento."

"And Boggart the Methodist preacher?"

He killed a man at Far West and fled to Texas. You know Texas was not then a part of the United States and criminals sought refuge there. I don't know what became of him."

Others of the mobbers were mentioned with the name result -- they had left the country, were dead, forgotten and despised.


The major said the "Mormon" people, so far as he knew, were perfectly honest, straightforward and peaceable. They did not raid the Missourians nor steal from them and the reports to that effect were not true. When they were driven from the county the "Mormons" received no compensation for their lands and the improvements they had made. "However," said the major, "my father Charles McGee, exchanged the finest yoke of oxen in Daviess county to John Taylor (President John Taylor) for 40 acres of land, when the 'Mormons' Ieft the county. Mr. Taylor took them to Illinois with him. I was acquainted with the Smoots. Owen Smoot, as we called him, was our neighbor."


The major had seen the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum several times and when asked what his opinion of them was, he said:

"You know, I was but a boy at that time, and they took no notice of me, and I formed no opinion of them. But I will tell you what I did see. I saw Joseph Smith throw John Brassfield, the champion wrestler of the county, the first two falls out of a match of three. He was a powerful man."

Brassfield was one of the guards under sheriff William Morgan at the time the Prophet and others escaped from Missouri. William Bowman, the ex-sheriff, and John Pogue were the other guards. The people of Daviess county became enraged over the escape, and rode sheriff Morgan on an iron bar so violently that he shortly afterwards died. Bowman they dragged by the hair of the head over the public square.


Far West, another of the waste places of Zion, is situated on the western rolling prairie lands of Caldwell county. Like Diahman, it is one of the finest location for a residence city, and was so intended by the early Saints. The site of the town was chosen by William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, who were sent out from Clay county to seek a place of refuge for the Saints. From 1836 to 1839 it was the headquarters of the Mormon people and at that time it was the county seat. The town was originally markd off one square, embracing four quarter sections in townshIp 56, range 29, as it appears today. In the fall of 1838 the inhabitants numbered some 3,000 and it was a growing, thriving town; but now all this is changed. When the Saints were driven away the settlement decayed and long since totally disappeared. The land is now converted into farms and pasture land. Some of the few scattered inhabitants solemnly confess that if ever a city is built in this place the "Mormon" people of the west who are acquainted with such things, must come and build it. The spirit of lethargy which rests upon Diahman, Nauvoo, Independence and other settlements where the "Mormon" people flourished, is painfully manifest here. The people lack the cohesive power by which communities are built. The tendency appears to be a drawing away, a scattering -- just far enough away to keep in sight of each other's dwellings -- a condition a characteristic of the entire neighborhood.


The site of Far West is on the highest rise in this part of the county, about eight miles northwest of Kingston and 10 or 12 miles southweat of Hamilton. To the north about a mile and quarter from Far West, Shoal creek winds its course. It was on this creek that Jacob Haun built his mill, the scene of the terrible massacre of the 30th of October, 1838. Crooked river is to the south some 15 miles where, David W. Patten and others lost their lives in the defense of the homes and honor of the Saints.


The public square on which the temple site is situated, was in the center of the town. The Prophet's house stood in a field about 200 yards southwest of the public square. The outlines where stood the foundation walls, the cellar and the well are still visible. The lumber was hauled away some time ago and used in other buildings and for kindling wood. Jacob D. Whitmer, son of John Whimer, one of the eight witnesses, is now in possessIon of the temple lot and a portion of the public square. The four corner stones of the proposed Far West temple remain unto this day in the positions in which they were laid. The Lord commanded that here a house should be built unto His name. "Let the city Far West be a holy and consecrated land unto me, and it shall be called most holy, for that ground upon which thou standest is holy, therefore I command you to build an house unto me, for the gathering together of my Saints, that they may worship me." Such were the words of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1838.

Accordingly the excavation was made and the foundatIon stones were laid; but the Saints were never privileged to build the house, owing to the persecutions of their enemies. That such a building shall yet be built the Saints have faith and will labor to that end.


It was at Far West and on the public square where many of the trying scenes which test men souls were enacted during the residence of the "Mormon" people there. It was here that the Prophet and his brethren were betrayed by Colonel Hinkle and taken from the place, not being permitted to see their families. This happened on the 2nd day of November. Twelve days later Joseph F. Smith, now president of the Church, was born while his father was a prisoner in the hands of a ruthless mob. It was at this place that the citizens were forced to give up their arms, their homes ransacked and their property carried off. It was here on the public square that the Saints were compelled at the point of the bayonet, "of their own free will," to sign deeds of trust to defray the expense of the mob and leave the state forthwith. One young man as he faced his persecutors with an armed guard on each side, when asked if the signing of the deed was "his free voluntary act," was bold enough to ask if it looked like a free voluntary act at the point of the bayonet. For his boldness he was knocked down with the butt of a gun in the hands of one of his guards and concluded it was safest to peaceably submit.


These times have changed and the inhabitant of the land are now anxous for the Saints to return and build up these waste places. It is to be hoped that they truthfully and sincerely see the folly of the treatment of the Mormon people in earlier days; for the inhabitants of that land are today the sufferers. Those who were instrumental in the driving of the Saints no longer dwell there; they hae been scattered to the four winds and a new, and let us hope, more righteous generation has supplanted them

Note 1: Major Joseph H. McGee was born in Clermont county, Ohio on July 6, 1821. He was fifteen years of age when his father moved the McGee family to Daviess Co., Missouri late in 1837. He was an apprentice tailor -- only sixteen on August 6, 1838, when (as the News writer says) "the election trouble" took place on "the square" in Gallatin. Joseph Smith, Jr. had, at that time, only resided in Missouri a few months, in an adjacent county -- it is doubtful that young McGee had any meaningful opportunities to encounter the topmost LDS leaders, nor to conceive an informed opinion regarding the character and purported innocence of the LDS leaders during the 1838 "Mormon War."

Note 2: McGee wrote a local history, published in 1909, entitled Story of the Grand River Country... He also compiled 1880s articles written for the Gallatin North Missourian, into a manuscript entitled "History of Daviess County, Incidents and Reminiscences in its Early Settlement." Portions of McGee's "reminiscences" were incorporated into John C. Leopard's 1922 History of Daviess and Gentry Counties. Pages 97-98 of the latter volume include the following: "... [in 1838] the suspension of hostilities in Daviess County was followed by as serious trouble with the saints in Carroll County. The Mormons finally agreed to leave the county, and they then joined their fellow-believers at Far West. -- Here on the morning of Oct. 15th, a company of about 100 men was organized. The commander was a Mormon, Lieutenant Colonel Hinkle, who held a commission in the State Militia. It is said that he acted under the order of General Doniphan. This company, accompanied by Joseph Smith, Jr., then went to Adam-ondi-Ahmon. On the 18th of October about 150 Mormons came to Gallatin, and finding but a few men in the place, took possession of the town. Removing the goods from the stores, the business houses were burned. According to Major McGee, 'We could stand in our dooryard and see houses burning every night for over two weeks. The Mormons completely gutted Daviess County. There was scarcely a Missourian home left standing in the county. Nearly every one was burned. Their flight from the county had been so precipitated that they left all they had behind, taking only their families and teams. The Mormons secured all their property and took it to De Amon [sic] and there placed it in what was termed the Lord's Storehouse, to be issued out to the saints as they might need.'"

Note 3: The Gallatin tailoring shop where Joseph H. McGee worked was burned by the Mormons during their October, 1838 raids in Daviess County. It is inexplicible why the Deseret News writer paraphrased McGee in these words: "[the Mormons] did not raid the Missourians nor steal from them and the reports to that effect were not true." There is an obvious contradiction between McGee's actual "reminiscences" and the words the Deseret News attributed to him.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 54.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, September 24, 1904.                   No. ?


We give place on another page of the "News" today to a letter from New York about the baptism of the only surviving son of the late Sidney Rigdon, the once celebrated associate of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We draw attention to it as one more bit of corroborative evidence against the story, still repeated by the ministerial enemies of the Church, that Sidney Rigdon was responsible for the Book of Mormon, having adapted it from a romance called "The Manuscript Found," written by one Solomon Spaulding.

Apart from the fact, more recently established by the discovery of that manuscript, that there is no resemblance of any kind between it and the Book of Mormon, and that it is impossible that one was formed out of or suggested by the other, the history of Sidney Rigdon, of his career with the Campbellites, of his first acquaintance with the Prophet Joseph, preceded by the introduction of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon to him by Elder Parley P. Pratt some time after its publication, has been attested by numerous witnesses, and thoroughly establishes the falsehood of the story invented by "Mormon"-haters and repeated from numberless pulpits. Sidney Rigdon's own straightforward statement with that of Parley P. Pratt and others, duly attested, settled the matter long ago with all unbiased investigators who desired the truth.

It is well known that after the death of the Prophet Joseph, Sidney Rigdon, who had for some time pursued a rebellious course, was cut off the Church and retired from Nauvoo to Pittsburg, but that he never denied his former testimony concerning the Book of Mormon nor the divinity of the Prophet's mission. Now comes his son with the account of his father's witness to the last, concerning the falsehood of the story told by preachers and echoed by editors, about his alleged connection with the production of a book that remains a puzzle to the learned, because they will not admit the possibility of divine revelation in the present age.

However, no matter what they may reject, it is clear from the positive proofs so abundantly furnished, that the whole Spaulding story and the purported complicity with it of Sidney Rigdon, is a fabrication out of supposed incidents that never occurred, and is utterly unworthy of rational belief or serious consideration. The anti-"'Mormon" agitators will have to turn to something else, in their frantic endeavors to account for the origin of the record of ancient America bearing the title of the Book of Mormon.



John W. Rigdon Only Surviving
Son of Early Church Leader
Comes Back Into Fold.


Has Vivid Recollection of Scenes and
Incidents In Which His Father
Took Prominent Part.

Under date of Sept. 10, Elder Isaac B. Ball writes from the City of New York the following interesting recital of the baptism of the only surviving son of Sidney Rigdon, who stood high in the councils of the Church in its early days:

Last Thursday, Sept. 8, 1904, three Elders of Israel had the pleasure of witnessing the baptism of John W. Rigdon, only surviving son of Sidney Rigdon, once first counselor to the Prophet Joseph. The ordinance was performed by Elder John M. Macfarlane, president of this conference, in the waters of the historic Hudson river, and he was confirmed by Elder John G. McQuarrie, president of the Eastern States mission. And thus at the ripe age of 74 years, the only remaining son of Sidney Rigdon re-enters the Church of Christ, from which his father was expelled after playing a prominent part in its darkest hours. The old gentleman has wandered long and far from the fold his father once loved, but has at last found rest therein. No wonder his eyes were brimming over with tears as he received the congratulations of his newly found brothers in Christ. He returned to his home in Brooklyn.

And it is gratifying to know that the cord which has held him to the faith these many years, and which has finally drawn him within the household, is the unshaken testimony of his father to the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith, and of the Book of Mormon. Sidney Rigdon always testified to these truths, and his son, John W., has never been able to fully escape or forget the force of them.


John W. Rigdon was born at Mentor, O. (about five miles from Kirtland), June 11, 1830. Kirtland is the place of his first recollections. He remembers the building of the temple and its dedication, whereat Sidney delivered the sermon. He remembers distinctly the terrible journey of two months in the winter of 1838 of Joseph and Sidney and their families: the exciting times at Far West, and the imprisonment at Liberty jail of the Prophet, Hyrum, Sidney and others; the settlement at Nauvoo in the spring of 1839, and the history of that beautiful city, until in 1844 he was taken with his father to Pittsburg. He delights to call up and rehearse to friends the incidents of those old days.


His memory is truly remarkable in its vividness and detail, for he recalls events occurring in his fourth year. He has an engaging manner of telling his recollections that makes it a treat to hear them. He is a most companionable gentleman. From Pittsburg the Rigdon family moved in 1847 to Friendship, Alleghany county, N. Y. John W. studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859. His health failing him, he and his brother Sidney traveled to Montana in 1863 to work in the gold mines. That fall they went to Salt Lake City and spent the winter, returning home in 1865 to take up the practice of law again. The last five years he has resided in Brooklyn.


In the spring of 1900 he again visited Salt Lake City, and returned in the fall. But impressions were made there never to be effaced. Conversations with friends; sights of the progress of Zion; the Temple of the Lord -- these started emotions that have now fully matured.

He says his father did not talk religion to his family long after leaving Nauvoo, and did nothing tending to instruct his children in the truth, neglecting even the family prayers. Hence John W. has never affiliated with any church, if we except that at the age of 9, when he was very sick, Hyrum Smith baptized him in the Mississippi at Nauvoo.


But of late years he has been thinking of his salvation. Being prejudiced against plural marriage he began to think of uniting with the "Josephites," having been a boyhood companion of young Joseph. But in 1900 he read of a sermon delivered by him. Of this Mr. Rigdon said: "I was prejudiced in his favor until I read an assertion he made near Kansas City to the effect that, as some people had undertaken to say his father was the originator of the doctrine of plural marriage, he was there to declare that his father was not a polygamist or a lawbreaker. This turned me gainst him, for I knew better."


Brother Rigdon is very positive on this point, and under date of March 20, 1904, wrote the following in my diary: "In regard to the doctrine of polygamy I know that Joseph Smith, Jr., was the author of it, and introduced it into the Mormon Church in the year 1843, and had his brother Hyrum Smtih take the revelation to the High Council at Nauvoo, and tell them that Joseph Smith, his brother, received the same while he was present. At the time it was introduced it created quite an excitement in the Church and a great many did not believe in it, and denounced it as a false revelation. After Joseph Smith was killed, the Church started west and finally arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake and there it was taught publicly in the Church, and all, or most all, came to believe in it."

Besides this he relates many other incidents that go to show that Joseph taught the doctrine in Nauvoo. He says Joseph taught it to his father. Sidney; that Sidney taught it to his wife, but that she did not accept it, and spoke against the Prophet, whereat Sidney replied, "Rail on at the Church if you will, but the Lord may yet command me to take another wife."

As remarked before, it was the testimony of Sidney Rigdon to the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith, and of the Book of Mormon, that acted as an anchor to keep his son from drifting entirely away.


Mr. Rigdon relates that after returning from Utah in 1865 he was disturbed in mind, and bent on finding out for a certainty where the Book of Mormon came from, for he had decided that Joseph had not told the truth concerning its origin. So finding his father alone one day, he said, "Father, you have ceased to preach for the Mormons. They have kicked you out. You are not connected with them any more. You are an old man, and your sands of life are nearly run. Now, as your son, I want to know where that Book of Mormon came from. You owe it to me and to your family to tell what you know about it. You were associated with Joseph Smith for fourteen years. You were imprisoned together; you were tarred and feathered together: you were sentenced to be shot together, and surely at some time he must have told you his secret. If you know where this book came from, don't go down into your grave with this secret locked in your bosom."


His father, raising his hand to heaven, replied: "My son, I have only the one story of the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith did not get it where he said he got it -- from the hands of an angel -- then I do not know where he got it. If he had any secret he guarded it well, for he always told me the same story, and I believe he received the book as he said. I swear to God that I never wrote it. The first time I ever saw the Book of Mormon or knew there was such a man as Joseph Smith, was when Parley P. Pratt handed me the book as a bound volume in the presence of your mother and your sister, Athalia."

This testimony has rung in the son's ears ever since, and not in vain.

Mr. Rigdon has many firm friends in Utah who will rejoice with him in the step he has taken. All Saints will be pleased to learn of this action on the part of the son of one so greatly blessed of the Lord. He hopes soon to unite with the body of the Church in Zion.

Note 1: This 1904 report paraphrases John Rigdon as indicating that the Mormon doctrine of secret polygamy was introduced into the Rigdon family at Nauvoo, and that "Sidney taught it to his wife..." This is a most unlikely recollection on John's part and that is probably why the Deseret News did not attempt to quote John precisely upon such a controversial subject. For a much less supportive view of polygamy see his 1900 report of the incident at Nauvoo, when Joseph Smith, Jr. attempted to seduce his sister, Nancy Rigdon. John reprised this account (minus a previous reference to "spiritual marriage") in his statement of July 28, 1905. In the 1900 account (before he came into the Mormon church) John depicted his father as being "very angry" over the matter -- in the 1905 affidavit, John reprised his initial recollection: "some time in the latter part of the year 1843, or the first part of the year 1844, made a proposition to my sister, Nancy Rigdon, to become his wife... The feelings manifested by our family on this occasion were anything but brotherly or sisterly..." After his 1844 excommunication, Sidney Rigdon's published comments regarding Mormon polygamy were anything but "brotherly." It is difficult to reconcile Sidney Rigdon's public pronouncements against polygamy (not to mention John Rigdon's own statements) with the vague paraphrasing published by the Deseret News at the time of John's entry into the Salt Lake sect.

Note 2: John Wycliff Rigdon died in Salt Lake City, on the anniversary of founding of the the Mormon Church -- April 6th, in the year 1912 -- (see his death notice in the Salt Lake Tribune of Apr. 7, 1912).


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 56.                       Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, July 29, 1905.                       No. ?


We publish today in another part of this paper a statement made under oath by John W. Rigdon, the son of Sidney Rigdon, who was at one time a counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was held in high esteem as a theological speaker and writer of great ability. He was falsely charged with being a party to the manipulation of "The Manuscript Found," by Solomon Spaulding, and its fabrication into the Book of Mormon. The stupid story found its way into numerous anti-"Mormon" publications, and notwithstanding its complete refutation, leaving not a shadow of doubt as to its falsehood, is still proclaimed from numerous sectarian pulpits and repeated in newspaper articles and religious pamphlets.

The affidavit which we publish today bears directly on this matter, and also on a story which has about as much foundation as the Spaulding romance, to the effect that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, ordained and appointed his son Joseph to succeed him as President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the promulgators of this idle tale are pressed for proofs, and also for a statement of the time and place when the alleged incident occurred, the answer is that it was at the time when the Prophet Joseph was incarcerated in Liberty jail, Missouri. There were other "Mormon" prisoners with him, and none of them has ever confirmed the story, but all have denied it so far as their knowledge extended. Now comes John W. Rigdon and gives most positive evidence explosive of the tale that has been told, and clears away the smoke and fog of the falsehood that surrounded it on its inception. Read Mr. Rigdon's statement. It will be found thorough, direct and satisfactory. This gives occasion for some remarks on the principle involved in the succession to the Presidency of the Church, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph and established in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Reorganized Church Makes Claims That
are Not Very Well Established.


One Who Was With Him Makes Affidavit That
No Such Ceremony Ever Occurred.

The following should set at rest some of the claims of the Reorganized church for recognition.

State of Utah,  County of Salt Lake.  ss.

John W. Rigdon, being duly sworn, says; I am the son of Sidney Rigdon, deceased. Was born at Mentor, in the state of Ohio, in the year 1830, and am now over 75 years of age. My father, Sidney Rigdon, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that year, and was in 1833 ordained to be Joseph Smith's first counselor, which position he held up to the time Joseph the Prophet was killed, at Carthage jail, in 1844. That Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon moved from Kirtland, with their families, to the state of Missouri, during the winter of 1837, but Rigdon did not reach Far West, in the state of Missouri, until the 1st of April, 1838. That during the troubles in Missouri, in the year 1838, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, his brother, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others, whose names I do not now remember, were arrested and imprisoned in Liberty jail, about 40 miles from the village of Far West, in Caldwell county, Missouri, where they all remained incarcerated for several months. That while said Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others were prisoners in said Liberty jail, as aforesaid, I, with my mother, wife of Sidney Rigdon, Emma Smith, wife of said Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith, son of Joseph and Emma Smith, went to see the said prisoners during the latter part of the winter of 1838. We all went together in the same carriage and came home together. We stayed at Liberty jail with the prisoners three days and then left for home. The story that is being told by some of the members of the Reorganized Church, at Lamoni, that young Joseph Smith, now president of the said Reorganized church, was ordained by his father, Joseph Smith, to be the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after his father's death, is not true, for I know that no such ordination took place while we were at Liberty jail; that if any such ordination had taken place I most certainly should have known it and remembered it, as I was with young Joseph, the Prophet's son, all the time we were there. If Joseph Smith had ordained his son Joseph to be the leader of the Church at his death, he would have done so in a manner that there could have been no doubt about it. Both of his counselors were then in prison with him, namely, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, and it would have been in order for the Prophet to have called upon them to assist him in such an ordination had it taken place, and a record of the same made in the Church books, so that all members of the Church might have known that such an ordination had taken place. But nothing of the kind appears in the Church books. My father and mother lived a good many years after the incarceration at Liberty jail, and I, who lived near my father, never heard my father or my mother mention that such an ordination ever took place in Liberty jail; and as I know myself that no such ordination took place in Liberty jail, and inasmuch as it is not claimed that an ordination of this character was bestowed at any other place, therefore I deny it as an untruth and a story gotten up by the Reorganized Church for effect.


Besides all this, if Joseph Smith, the president of the Reorganized Church was ordained while in Liberty jail, why did he, 14 years after his father's death, receive an ordination under the hands of William Marks, William W. Blair, and Zenas H. Gurley? Would it not seem that one ordination, and that too, said to have been by his own father, the President of the Church, should have been sufficient? But further, William Marks, William W. Blair and Zenos H. Gurley had all been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before they "ordained" young Joseph to be president of the Reorganized church, and therefore they did not have the authority to ordain him. The whole story of his being ordained by anyone having authority to do so is too preposterous to be entertained for a single moment, and should be rejected by all who hear such a story mentioned.
Sworn to before me this 28th day of July, 1905.
             JAMES JACK, Notary Public, Salt Lake County, Utah.
My commission expires Aug. 6, 1905.

Note 1: The above transcript, as published by the Deseret News, does not reproduce his entire affidavit. It was evidently reprinted in that paper's Semi-Weekly of July 31st. See that issue's text for a somewhat different, lengthier version that includes a statement regarding secret Mormon polygamy.

Note 2: Joseph Smith III, then acting as editor of the Lamoni Saints' Herald, was not favorably impressed by John's affidavit. In that paper's issue for Aug. 30, 1905 President Smith retorted: "If that affidavit is a sample of what the poor old man is willing to sign his name to, we might expect most anything from him. It is a pitiably weak affair." -- For the text of an interesting, lengthy interview with John W. Rigdon, see the Salt Lake Tribune of May 20, 1900.


No. ?                       Salt Lake City, Utah,  Monday, July 31, 1905.                       Vol. ?


We publish today in another part of this paper a statement made under oath by John W. Rigdon, the son of Sidney Rigdon, who was at one time a counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was held in high esteem as a theological speaker and writer of great ability. He was falsely charged with being a party to the manipulation of The Manuscript Found of Solomon Spaulding, and its fabrication into the Book of Mormon. The stupid story found its way into numerous anti-'Mormon' publications, and notwithstanding its complete refutation, leaving not a shadow of doubt as to its falsehood, is still proclaimed from numerous sectarian pulpits and repeated in newspaper articles and religious pamphlets. The affidavit which we publish bears directly on this matter, and also on a story which has about as much foundation as the Spaulding romance, to the effect that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, ordained and appointed his son Joseph to succeed him as President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the promulgators of this idle tale are pressed for proofs, and also for a statement of the time and place when the alleged incident occurred, the answer is that it was at the time when the Prophet Joseph was incarcerated in Liberty jail, Missouri. There were other "Mormon" prisoners with him, and none of them has ever confirmed the story, but all have denied it so far as their knowledge extended. Now comes John W. Rigdon and gives most positive evidence explosive of the tale that has been told, and clears away the smoke and fog of the falsehood that surrounded it on its inception. Read Mr. Rigdon's statement. It will be found thorough, direct and satisfactory. This gives occasion for some remarks on the principle involved in the succession to the President of the Church, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph and established in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The claim of the Reorganized Church for recognition as the rightful successor in the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received quite a set-back. It may be remembered that about the end of last month the news was flashed from Salt Lake City that Frederick M. Smith, a grandson of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was in Utah and had issued an appeal to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to leave that religious body and get into the fold of the Reorganizers, asserting that the Prophet, before his death, blessed to become as his successor his eldest son, father to Frederick M. Smith; further asserting that "after years of waiting, the Prophet's son, the present Joseph Smith (father to Frederick) went to the church, being called thereto by a revelation commanding him, and as prophet, seer and revelator of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has administered in his office, obeying the revelation, and fulfilling the destiny pronounced upon his head by his father, which succession has been unbroken."

In the following affidavit of John W. Rigdon, it will be seen that this claim of the Reorganizers is entirely shattered, and that no such ceremony as the Prophet Joseph Smith ordaining the present head of the Reorganizers to succeed him ever took place:
   State of Utah. }
   County of Salt Lake. } ss.

John W. Rigdon, being duly sworn, says; I am the son of Sidney Rigdon, deceased. Was born at Mentor, in the State of Ohio, in the year 1830, and am now over seventy-five years of age. My father, Sidney Rigdon, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that year, and was in 1833 ordained to be Joseph Smith's first counselor which position he held up to the time Joseph the Prophet was killed, at Carthage jail, in 1844. That Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon moved from Kirtland, with their families, to the State of Missouri, during the winter of 1837, but Rigdon did not reach Far West, in the State of Missouri, until the last of April, 1838. That during the troubles in Missouri, in the year 1838, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, his brother, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others, whose names I do not now remember, were arrested and imprisoned in Liberty jail, about forty miles from the village of Far West, in Caldwell county, Missouri, where they all remained incarcerated for several months. That while said Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others were prisoners in said Liberty jail, as aforesaid, I, with my mother, wife of Sidney Rigdon, Emma Smith, wife of said Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith, son of Joseph and Emma Smith, went to see the said prisoners during the latter part of the winter of 1838. We all went together in the same carriage and came home together. We stayed at Liberty jail with the prisoners three days and then left for home. The story that is being told by some of the members of the Reorganized Church, at Lamoni, that young Joseph Smith, now president of the said Reorganized Church, was ordained by his father, Joseph Smith, to be the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his father's death, is not true, for I know that no such ordination took place while we were at Liberty jail; that if any such ordination had taken place I most certainly should have known it and remembered it, as I was with young Joseph, the Prophet's son, all the time we were there. If Joseph Smith had ordained his son Joseph to be the leader of the Church at his death, he would have done so in a manner that there could have been no doubt about it. Both of his counselors were then in prison with him, namely, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, and it would have been in order for the Prophet to have called upon them to assist him in such an ordination had it taken place, and a record of the same made in the Church books, so that all members of the Church might have known that such an ordination had taken place. But nothing of the kind appears in the Church books. My father and mother lived a good many years after the incarceration at Liberty jail, and I, who lived near my father, never heard my father or my mother mention that such an ordination ever took place in Liberty jail; and as I know myself that no such ordination took place in Liberty jail, and inasmuch as it is not claimed that an ordination of this character was bestowed at any other place, therefore I deny it as an untruth and a story gotten up by the Reorganized Church for effect.

Besides all this, if Joseph Smith, the President of the Reorganized Church was ordained while in Liberty jail, why did he, sixteen years after his father's death, receive an ordination under the hands of William Marks, William W. Blair, and Zenas H. Gurley? Would it not seem that one ordination (and that too, said to have been by his own father, the President of the Church) should have been sufficient? But further, Wm. Marks, Wm. W. Blair and Zenas H. Gurley had all been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (excepting William W. Blair, who never belonged to it) before they "ordained" young Joseph to be President of the Reorganized Church, and therefore they did not have the authority to ordain him. The whole story of his being ordained by anyone having authority to do so is too preposterous to be entertained for a single moment, and should be rejected by all who hear such a story mentioned. * * *

As to the truth of the doctrine of polygamy being introduced by the Prophet Joseph Smith, deponent further says: Joseph Smith was absolute so far as spiritual matters were concerned, and no man would have dared to introduce the doctrine of polygamy or any other new doctrine into the "Mormon" Church at the city of Nauvoo during the years 1843 and 1844, or at any other place or time, without first obtaining Joseph Smith's consent. If anyone had dared to have done such a thing he would have been brought before the High Council and tried, and if proven against him, he would have been excommunicated from the Church, and that would have ended polygamy forever, and would also have ended the man who had dared to introduce such a doctrine without the consent of the Prophet Joseph. * * *

And deponent further says: Joseph the Prophet, at the City of Nauvoo, Illinois, some time in the latter part of the year 1843, or the first part of the year 1844, made a proposition to my sister, Nancy Rigdon, to become his wife. It happened in this way: Nancy had gone to Church, meeting being held in a grove near the temple lot on which the "Mormons" were then erecting a temple, an old lady friend who lived alone invited her to go home with her, which Nancy did. When they got to the house and had taken their bonnets off, the old lady began to talk to her about the new doctrine of polygamy which was then being taught, telling Nancy, during the conversation, that it was a surprise to her when she first heard it, but that she had since come to believe it to be true. While they were talking Joseph Smith the Prophet came into the house, and joined them, and the old lady immediately left the room. It was then that Joseph made the proposal of marriage to my sister. Nancy flatly refused him, saying if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all, and thereupon took her bonnet and went home, leaving Joseph at the old lady's house. Nancy told father and mother of it. The story got out and it became the talk of the town that Joseph had made a proposition to Nancy Rigdon to become his wife, and that she refused him. A few days after the occurrence Joseph Smith came to my father's house and talked the matter over with the family, my sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson also being present, who is now alive. The feelings manifested by our family on this occasion were anything but brotherly or sisterly, more especially on the part of Nancy, as she felt that she had been insulted. A day or two later Joseph Smith returned to my father's house, when matters were satisfactorily adjusted between them, and there the matter ended. After that Joseph Smith sent my father to Pittsburg, Pa., to take charge of a little church that was there, and Ebenezer Robinson, who was then the Church printer, or at least had been such, as he was the printer of the paper in Kirtland, Ohio, and a printer by trade, was to go with him to print a paper there, and nine days before Joseph Smith was shot at Carthage we started, reaching Pittsburg the day before he was killed.

Deponent further says: I have in my possession a paper called the Nauvoo Expositor, bearing date, Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, June 7th, 1844, which said paper's printing plant was destroyed by the City Council at Nauvoo a night or two after this issue. There never was but one issue of this paper. Joseph Smith the Prophet was then Mayor of the City of Nauvoo. In the afternoon of the day on which the printing plant was destroyed, Henry Phelps, a son of W. W. Phelps, came down Main Street selling this paper, the Nauvoo Expositor, and everyone who could raise five cents bought a copy. In that paper the three following affidavits appeared, which I reproduce herewith. ...


I hereby certify that Hyrum Smith did (in his office) read to me a certain written document which he said was a revelation from God. He said that he was with Joseph when it was received. He afterwards gave me the document to read and I took if to my house and read it and showed it to my wife and returned it the next day. The revelation (so called) authorized certain men to have more wives than one at a time in this world and in the world to come. It said this was the law, and commanded Joseph to enter into the law. And also that he should administer to others. Several other items were in the revelation, supporting the above doctrines.  Wm. Law.

State of Illinois }
Hancock County. }
  I, Robert D. Foster, certify that the above certificate was swom to before me as true in substance, this fourth day of May, A. D. 1844.
                              Robert D. Foster, J. P.

I certify that I read the revelation referred to in the above affidavit of my husband. It sustained in strong terms the doctrine of more wives than one at a time in this world and in the next. It authorized some to have to the number of ten, and set forth that those women who would not allow their husbands to have more wives than one should be under condemnation before God.   Jane Law.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 4th day of May, A. D. 1844.
                              Robert D. Foster, J. P.

To all whom it may concern:
    Forasmuch as the public mind hath been much agitated by a course of procedure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a number of persons declaring against certain doctrines and practices therein (among whom I am one) it is but meet that I should give my reasons at least in part as a cause that hath led me to declare myself. In the latter part of the summer of 1843, the Patriarch Hyrum Smith did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet, that the said Hyrum Smith did essay to read the said revelation in the said council; that according to his reading there was contained the following doctrines: 1st. The sealing up of persons to eternal life, against all sins save that of shedding innocent blood or of consenting thereto; 2nd. The doctrine of plurality of wives or marrying virgins; that David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not, save in the matter of Uriah. This revelation with others, evidence that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practiced in the Church, determined me to leave the office of first counselor to the President of the Church at Nauvoo, inasmuch as I dared not teach or administer such laws. And further deponent saith not.
                              Austin Cowles.
State of Illinois, }
Hancock County. }
    To all whom it may concern: I hereby certify that the above certificate was swom and subscribed before me, this fourth day of May, 1844.
                              Robert D. Foster, J. P.

Sworn to before me this 28th day of July, 1905.
  {ss}                                            JAMES JACK, Notary Public.

Note 1: The exact title, along with the precise editor's introduction, for the above affidavit remains undetermined. The affidavit was first published in the Deseret News of July 29, 1905 and from there was reprinted by various other periodicals. In 1905 the Saints Herald, Millennial Star, and the Elder's Journal all reproduced the affidavit exactly as it appeared in the July 29th Deseret News. However, in September of that year the Elder's Journal published additional testimony (from Elder Orange Wight) in confirmation of "John W. Rigdon's Testimony," and Apostle Joseph F. Smith shortly thereafter published both the additional affirmation and a lengthier version of John's own words, transcribed on pages 81-85 of his Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage. The sections of additional text supplied by Apostle Smith are colored blue in the above transcript. The text of nested 1844 document copies, along with some brief insertions by Apostle Smith, are shown in reduced size.

Note 2: For the text of two related interviews with John W. Rigdon, see the Salt Lake Tribune of May 20, 1900 and the Deseret Evening News of May 21, 1900.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 56.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, August 12, 1905.                   No. ?


The Evidence of John W. Rigdon Corroborated and Confirmed.

Bunkerville, Lincoln County, Nev.,      
August 4, 1905.      
Editor Deseret News:
    Dear Sir -- Seeing the testimony of J. W. Rigdon in the Semi-weekly News of July 31, and being much interested in the subject, and knowing that there lived in this place a man that was quite familar with the early scenes of Church history, especially those in and about Far West, Missouri, and having heard him say that he had many times visited his father and the Prophet Joseph, while they were incarcerated in Liberty jail, I went and interviewed Orange L. Wight (eldest son of former Apostle Lyman Wight), who is now 82 years old and resides with his daughter, Sister Harriet M. Earl. Brother Wight is quite feeble in body, but his mind seems to be as bright as ever.

I found Brother Wight in his usual good humor, and seemed quite willing to talk, in fact, was pleased to do so. "Elder Wight," said I, "are you willing to make a statement for publication in regard to what you know about Joseph Smith, son of the Prophet Joseph, being ordained while in Liberty jail to lead the Church?" "Certainly I am." "Then," said I, "just write me out a brief statement covering those points, and I will give it in your own words." Following is Brother Wight's statement:
"In regard to the statement of John W. Rigdon, I endorse it in every point. Brother John W. Rigdon speaks of being in Liberty prison when the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, and others were there (the others were Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae). I also visited the prisoners at or about the same time, and slept with them many times at different periods, and I cannot recollect of ever hearing the subject of an ordination mentioned.

"My father, Lyman Wight, nor my mother, never alluded to it during their life time in my presence, so I take it for granted that Joseph, the son of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was not ordained to fill the place of his father, in the Liberty jail. I was born in the State of New York, Nov. 29, 1823, hence am about seven years older than Brother John W. Rigdon. And if an ordination of young Joseph had occurred in the prison, I would likely have heard of it, and would certainly recollect it.

"Previous to this, while I was several years younger, the Twelve Apostles were organized and commissioned to assist in leading and governing the Church. I can recollect every detail distinctly. My acquaintance with the Prophet was from the year 1830 to his martyrdom, and I can truly say he was a Prophet of God, and was appointed to the divine mission to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this last dispensation.

"As to the Prophet's believing and practicing polygamy, I have as near a certain knowledge of the fact, I may say, as any man living; I was well acquainted with most or all of his wives, and talked with them on the subject, at the same time my wife also talked with them.

"If there is anything further that is necessary for me to communicate in regard to my recollection, I will willingly do so.
                                   "ORANGE L. WIGHT."
Further talk with Brother Wight brought out the following facts: He was baptized into the Church in the spring of 1832; was with the Church through all their troubles in the State of Missouri. Brother Wight filled a thirteen months' mission in the State of Virginia in company with Jedediah M. Grant and others; was in Nauvoo at the time the Prophet was captured at Dixon, Ill., and was one of those who went up the Illinois river on the steamer Maid of Iowa to assist in rescuing the Prophet.
                                   "JOSEPH I. EARL."

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LV.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, December 1, 1906.                   No. ?



An Address Delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle,
Sunday, November 18, 1906, by


(Reported by F. W. Otterstrom.)



I was relating this incident down in Saint George a few weeks ago and at the close of the meeting one of the faithful veterans came up to me and said: "I knew the man of whom you have been speaking; he may have got tired of exercising faith, but he did not get tired of drinking whisky. Then I saw the real reason in the case -- why he grow tired of exercising faith. No man saturated with alcohol or with tobacco -- no man who breaks the commandments of God, who sins and does not repent -- can keep the spirit of this work. He cannot keep pace with its progress. He diminishes his power, his spiritual energy and sooner or later he will become weary in well-doing. The gospel will no longer be sweet to him and he will fall by the way-side, and will scarcely know why. Most of those who leave the Church say they have outgrown Mormonism. Well you can outgrow Mormonism, but only by growing too small for it. No man who does his duty, who keeps the commandments of God, can outgrow Mormonism, or will want to leave the Church. It is the commission of crime, the practise of sin, the neglect of duty which puts this spirit into the heart. A criminal or besotted life, the neglect of the Sacrament, failure to perform the duties that were intended to keep us spiritually alive, these things will result in spiritual death; and that and that alone is the way to outgrow Mormonism.

David Whitmer outgrew Mormonism. He was one of three men chosen by the God of heaven to see and to feel the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, after Joseph Smith had translated them. These three men solemnly testify that an angel of heaven came down in their sight and turned over the leaves of this book, and the voice of God declared in their hearing that Joseph Smith had translated this ancient record by the gift and power of God. So far so good. David Whitmer never denied that testimony, never repudiated what he had written and signed, the testimony of the three witnesses which you will find on the title page of the Book of Mormon. But David Whitmer only went so far. His spiritual strength was not equal to keeping pace with the growth of God's work -- a work that changes continually in its appearance, as any work of progress will -- but never changes essentially or fundamentally. This is the everlasting gospel, the same yesterday, today, and forever. The work of God is a progressive work, always advancing from step to step, from stage to stage, and the only way to keep up with it is to retain the spirit of it in our hearts, and go on with it to perfection. David Whitmer said, in a little pamphlet published many years ago, that he accepted all the revelations given to and through the Prophet Joseph Smith up to a certain time, as long as Joseph used a seer stone; but when he began to receive revelations through his own mind, then he became a fallen prophet. David Whitmer cited that the original offices of the Church were those of elder, priest, teacher, and deacon; and claimed that that was the full and complete equipment of the priesthood. He accepted the organization thus far nut afterwards, he says, Joseph Smith fell under the baneful influence of Sidney Rigdon, and then we hear of high priests, seventies, bishops and a first presidency, all of which grandiloquent titles were the invention of Sidney Rigdon!


The trouble with David Whitmer was that he could not make allowance for the evolution and progress of the Lord's work. He could not understand that the three high priests, chosen to preside over the Church on earth, were meant to symbolize the Three that preside over the Church in the heavens -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This man's mind could not grasp that sublime symbolism, and he rejected it as a thing of naught. The presidencies and high council of the fifty-five stakes of Zion, extending now from Canada to Mexico -- all these are a part of the evolution of that so-called error of Sidney Rigdon. Think of it! This splendid and magnificent Church organization -- the admiration of all good men and the terror of the ungodly -- according to David Whitmer, is a human invention. He would fain have limited the Church government to those few first offices, elders, priests, teachers and deacons. Is it not plain that something was wrong with the critic, rather than with the work that he was criticising? What had he done to darken his mind to diminish his spirituality, so that he could no longer keep pace with the progress of this work? He says himself that he broke the word of wisdom; he confessed that he had used those things which the Lord says are not good for man. He admitted that he had neglected his prayers, and when asked why, answered that it was because he thought Joseph Smith had done wrong -- as if that were a good reason for any man to neglect God's commands. This was the reason given by David Whitmer, as I remember, for neglecting his duties; it was because others were doing wrong, or because he thought they were. The reason therefore is plain why he was not able to keep up with the work; he fell behind and the great procession swept on without him. It will leave behind any man or woman, who neglects the requirements that God has placed upon them.


On the day of Pentecost, when Peter the apostle told the believing multitude that they had crucified their Savior, and that God had made Him both Lord and Christ; they were pricked in their hearts and cried out in their contrition: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said unto them: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you and unto your children, and unto all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." This promise has been reiterated to this generation. Mormonism is only a nick-name for the gospel of Christ, restored to the earth in these latter days... Keep pace with Mormonism, be prepared for every change and emergency, endure unto the end, and you shall be saved. Amen.

Note: Elder Whitney's reference to Joseph Smith's peepstone was a rare admission in a Mormon publication at the turn of the century. It is surprising that the News editors did not "adjust" David Whitmer's reference, to instead read "interpreters" or "urim & thummim."


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 56.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, March 6, 1907.                   No. ?


Justice is slow but sure. This truth is again illustrated in the fate of many of the men who were responsible for the disgrace and torture of Captain Dreyfus.... A similar fate has overtaken many of those who were prominent in the acts of violence by which the Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church were slain or driven into exile. According to some notes on the subject contained in the Historical Record published by Andrew Jensen, Dennison a doctor who assisted to mob the Prophet Joseph in Hirum Ohio, in 1832, died in the penitentiary, and Head another of the assassins the Prophet and his brother Hyrum, lived in torment of conscience ever afterwards. He frequently declared that he saw the two martyrs before him. Of the participants in the massacre at Haun's mill, it is known that many led a life of misery. Some died in disgrace and shame. Some were smitten with terrible diseases and others were assassinated. The colonel who commanded the mob at the massacre was shot in the street one evening. He died the next day in great agony. Another leader of that mob probably drank himself to death. His aged mother also became a drunkard and died in abject poverty.

History, we think, conveys the lesson to every thoughtful observer of events, that retribution is sure to overtake evil-doers. It is true that divine Justice often postpones to eternity the final settlement of human accounts, but it is equally true that retribution sometimes commences this side of the grave.

Note 1: Jenson's mention of Dr. Dennison is found on page 30 of the Feb., 1886 issue of The Historical Record His entry reads: "DENNISON, (____,) a doctor, who assisted to mob Joseph Smith in Hiram, Ohio, Feb. 25,1832, was, some time after that event, convicted of a terrible crime, for which he was sent to the penitentiary for ten years and died before the term expired." Although Jenson does not provide a source for this information, it obviously came from Apostle Luke Johnson. See also the News of March 16, 1907.

Note 2: Although Dr. Richard A. Dennison's name is listed in the 1830 census records, it is missing in the 1840 tabulations. This supports Luke Johnson's allegation, that Dr. Dennison was tried for a crime, imprisioned, and died (?) in prison. Ohio State Penitentiary lists show just such an inmate, prior to 1846 (when Johnson first asserted the doctor's early death). The last known mention of Dennison as a free man occurs in the Lorain Co. Elyria Republican of July 5, 1837. The Ohio State Penitentiary records indicate that at the time of his pardon, on Sept. 5, 1842, Dennison had "family in Lorraine County, Ohio." Whether he returned to Lorain County, or truly died near the time of his release date from prison remains undetermined.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 56.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, March 16, 1907.                   No. ?

The  Fate  of  Many  Mobocrats.

Historian's Office, Salt Lake City, March, 1907. -- Editor Deseret Evening News:

I was much interested in reading the editorial under the caption "Retribution" in your issue of the 6th inst., in which you refer to the fate of several mobocrats who in times past lifted their puny arms against the cause of right to persecute and slay the innocent.

We are making some efforts at the Historian's Office to gather information concerning the fate of the mobbers who have persecuted the Latter-day Saints, and when we are through with our compilation, I think we shall have one of the most interesting chapters of Church history ever written, sad as it may be.

In an old document lying before me this morning I find a statement concerning the fate of some of those who tarred and feathered the Prophet Joseph Smith in Hiram, Portage county, Ohio, March 25, 1832. The notorious Carnot Mason, who during the mobbing on that occasion pulled brutally out of bed by the hair and proposed other cruelties to the prophet, while in the hands of the mob, was soon afterwards attacked with a spinal complaint of which he died after severe suffering. Mr. Hamilton, another mobber who carried Joseph on the occasion, was buried alive by the caving in of a well. Warren Waste, another participant in the cruel attack upon the Prophet, who was known as the strongest man in the "Western Reserve," was killed by the falling of a log at the raising of a log house. Miles T. Norton, a conspicuous mobocrat, who furnished poison to kill Father John Johnson's favorite watch dog, preparatory to the attack on Joseph, was killed soon afterwards by a ram, which in attempting to run past him thrust him, thrust his horn into his bowels, which produced inflammation and caused death. A Mr. Fuller, another conspicuous mobocrat on the same occasion, died of cholera. John Ural, a merchant in Hiram, in affluent circumstances at the time of the mobbing, said, when it was proposed to steal a feather pillow from Joseph's bed, that he always had money to buy feathers to feather such men as Joseph Smith. This man was soon reduced to poverty.

In 1888 the writer, accompanied by two other brethren, visited the waste places of Zion in Missouri and Illinois, and learned from old settlers the fate of a number of the mobocrats who so cruelly persecuted the Saints in early days in these states. In Jackson county, Missouri, an old gentleman (Mr. Mason), who himself had helped to drive the Mormons out of that county in 1833, told us that Colonel Thomas Pitcher died about a year previous to our visit as a pauper, and that he not only died poor, but, during his last days he was shunned and deserted by all; even his own children neglected to care for him. It went so far that some of the neighbors proposed to take up a subscription in order to raise sufficient means to hire a negro from Kansas City to wait on him till he died, his disease being of a low and loathsome nature; but before the negro came Mr. Pitcher, breathed his last in the midst of filth and misery.

All readers of Church history will remember Col. Thomas Pitcher, who treacherously, under the cover of law, disarmed the brethren, when they were endeavoring to defend themselves and their rights, and who after he had done this, and the brethren had thus become defenseless, permitted the mob to fall upon them and drive them out of the country. Col. Pitcher was once a wealthy man, but during the late civil war his property was burned by the enemy and he was consequently reduced to poverty. I may add in this connection that during the Civil war, referred to nearly every house on both sides of the Big Blue (the very section of country where about 200 houses belonging to the Saints were burned in the beginning of 1834) were destroyed during the guerrilla and bushwhackers' campaign of terror in the time of the Civil war. It was a war between neighbors and neighborhoods, and the whole section of country was laid waste, so Mr. Mason informed us, his own house being burned with the rest.

To the Latter-day Saints who believe in the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, it is well known that all this happened in fulfillment of predictions made by him.

In answer to our further inquiry, Mr. Mason also told us that Moses Wilson, the old mobocratic general, notoriously known as such in the Missouri persecutions, died many years ago in Texas as a drunkard, gambler and genuine vagabond, despised by all who knew him.

"What became of Samuel C. Owens, who had so narrow an escape from drowning in the Missouri river while fighting the Mormons in 1834?" was asked. "Sam Owens,' replied Mr. Mason, "why, he was the only man killed in a battle with the Mexicans, near the city of Chihuahua in 1846. He had just received bad news from home, informing him that his son-in-law had committed the crime of murder, and Mr. Owens felt so bad about it, that he immediately filled himself with brandy, plunged heedlessly into a hand-to-hand combat with the Mexicans, during which he was killed, according to his own wish; for he said before starting that he wanted to go to hell at once, knowing, as he did, that he would have to go there some day anyway." Such was the fate of this old mobocrat, who persecuted the Saints so unmercifully during the Jackson and Clay county troubles.

A few days later the writer visited the region around Shoal creek in Caldwell county, Missouri, where the cruel tragedy known in Church history as the Haun's Hill massacre took place, October 30, 1838. From the old settlers living in that neighborhood it was learned that nearly all the mobbers and murderers who participated in the massacre were dead or had moved away, so that their whereabouts, if alive, were not known. Some of the murderers had died in disgrace and shame, haunted by their consciences until the last hour; others had boasted of their dastardly deeds until they were smitten with sickness, and misery in the midst of which they cursed God and died. One man made the statement that not one of those miserable creatures who imbued their hands with the blood of the Saints ever amounted to anything afterwards. A great many of them died with their boots on, and not a single one was remembered as a respectable member of society afterwards.

The notorious Colonel Wm. O, Jennings, who commanded the mob at the time of the massacre, was assassinated in Chillicothe, Livingston county, Missouri, in the evening of January 30, 1882, by an unknown person who shot him on the street with a revolver or musket, as the colonel was going home after dark. He died the next day in great agony. The shooting occurred on Calhoun street a little northwest of the county jail in Chillicothe. Nehemiah Comstock, another leader of the mob who murdered the Saints at Haun's Mill, expired many years ago in Livingston county, Missouri, as a good-for-nothing drunkard. His mother was also a drunkard, and died a pauper in the midst of misery in a Kentucky poor-house.

The notorious Samuel Bogart, who commanded the mob that killed David W. Patten and others of our brethren on Crooked river, Ray county, Missouri, October 25, 1838, soon afterwards (at a special election held in Far West) willfully killed a man by the name of Beaty. In order to avoid arrest and the hangman, he made his way to Texas, where he subsequently died as a vagabond and outcast.

In a subsequent visit to Nauvoo and Carthage, Ill., it was learned the murderers of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and the persecutors of the saints in that county generally became subject to a similar experience to the mobbers of Missouri, but I shall only mention one of them, namely, a Mr. Townsend, one of the mobbers, who assaulted and forced in the doors of the Carthage jail June 27, 1844. He lived at that time near Fort Madison; Ia. The pistol discharged by Joseph Smith at the time of the martyrdom wounded him in the arm near the shoulder, and the wound continued to rot without healing, until the arm was amputated, and even then the wound would not heal. This man was afterwards known to have said, "I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and, Oh, that I had stayed at home and minded my own business! Then I would not have lost my life in being tormented with a guilty conscience and this dreadful wound which none can heal!" He died two or three months afterwards, having literally rotted alive.

Elder Parley P. Pratt, while on a mission to California in 1854, obtained some interesting information in regard to some of the assassins connected with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. One of the mobbers on that occasion, James Head of McComb. Ill., was heard by a certain Captain Lawn and others to boast of the killing afterwards. But he was always gloomy and troubled from the time he helped to murder the brothers, and frequently declared that he always saw the two martyrs before him.

A colonel of the Missouri mob who helped to plunder and drive the Mormons, died in a hospital in Sacramento in 1849, where a Mr. Beckwith had the last care of him. He was eaten with worms -- a large, black-headed kind of maggot -- which passed through him by myriads, seemingly half a pint at a time! Before he died these maggots were crawling out of his mouth and nose. He literally rotted alive! Even the flesh on his legs burst open and fell from the bones! They gathered up the rotten mass in a blanket and buried him without awaiting a coffin. Another Missouri mobber died in the same hospital about the same time and under the care of the same Mr. Beckwith. His face and jaw on one side literally rotted and half of his face literally fell off! One eye rotted out, and all of his nose, mouth and jaw fell from the bones. The doctors scraped the bones, and locked and took out his jaw from the joint around to the center of the chin. The rot and maggots continued to eat until they ate through the large and jugular vein of his neck and he bled to death.

Scores of other instances might be mentioned where men, who have persecuted and murdered the Latter-day Saints have met with the retribution of God, who says, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." But my communication is already longer than I intended to make It, so I will conclude by merely mentioning Governor Thomas Ford of Illinois, who in a treacherous manner broke his pledge in regard to protecting the lives of Joseph and Hyrum Smith while they were incarcerated in Carthage jail, and who died as a pauper a few years afterwards, and William W. Drummond, the ex-judge of Utah, who, by his falsehood, influenced the government of the United States to send an army against the saints in Utah, and who died as a pauper, drunkard and vagabond in Chicago, Ill., having previously been arrested for stealing postage stamps.

I could write a lengthy chapter on the fate of the murderers of Elder Joseph Standing in Georgia in 1879, and of those who killed Elders Berry and Gibbs in Tennessee in 1884, and include, also, the fate of some of the United States deputy marshals who, during the anti-polygamy crusade of 1884 to 1890, exceeded the legitimate authority of their offices in prosecuting and persecuting the brethren who were suspected of being criminals under the Edmunds law; but these details must be given some other time.

Note 1: Strangely enough, the list of assailants in the March 24, 1832 tar and feathering of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, as supplied by Elder Andrew Jenson, does not include the name of Symonds Ryder, whom Mormons frequently have accused of being the "leader of the mob." Nor did the "old document" consulted by Jenson evidently include the names of Richard A. Dennison, Pelatiah Allyn, Silas Raymond and other Hiram residents supposed to have participated in the attack.

Note 2: The Woodstock Universalist Watchman of Aug. 13, 1831 printed this relevant report: "Several people went from here [Hiram, Ohio] out of curiosity to see them [Smith & Rigdon]; they were deluded by the prophet Jo, and became dupes to one of the greatest impositions ever practiced among mankind. Finally Jo Smith, and several inferior prophets came to Hiram and Nelson, where they have succeeded in making proselytes to the amount of one hundred, among which are the two Priests & Booth -- Carnot Mason, Rider and all the Pitkin family from Hartford Vermont. John Johnson, and all his family from Pomfret Vt. Charles Raymond, Aruna & John Tilden, S. R. Parker, T. Brace, all the Hewlits, ten or fifteen in number, P. Alleyn & family, and all the fools in this Country."

Note 3: For more information on the 1832 assault upon Smith and Rigdon at Hiram, see various items transcribed in association with Rev. B. A. Hinsdale's 1876 booklet, A History of Disciples at Hiram, as well as the on-line series "Sidney Rigdon's Hiram Period." Three related articles in old Ohio newspapers are the Nov. 22,1854 "Beginning of Mormonism," the May 17, 1859 "Mormon Times in Kirtland," and the June 10, 1874 "Early Settlement of Hiram."

Note 4: Luke S. Johnson's 1858 statements regarding the tarring and feathering of Joseph Smith in 1832, were preceded by a less detailed recollection he communicated to Elder Thomas Bullock in 1846. According to the Dec. 13, 1846 entry in the LDS "Journal History of the Church," on that day "Bro. Luke [S.] Johnson stated that all but one who were engaged in mobbing, tarring and Feathering Joseph and Sidney in the town of Hiram, Portage county, [Ohio], had come to some untimely end, and the survivor, Carnot Mason, had been severely afflicted, Carnot was the person who dragged Joseph out of the house by his hair. Dr. Denison prepared the vial for Joseph, supposed to be Aqua Fortis." This historian's summary was evidently based upon the account left by Bullock himself in his 1846-47 "Poor Camp" Journal: "Sunday 13 December 1846 -- I was at Doctor's all day... A delightful day. Luke Johnson told the Council of 12 that Carnot Mason is the only man alive out of between 25 and 30 who tarred, feathered and poisoned Joseph at Hiram, Portage County, and Mason dragged Joseph out by the hair of his head Dr. Denison prepared [the] Viol of Aqua Fortis" (transcribed by Will Bagley in his 1997 The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of... Thomas Bullock, pp. 106-07).

Note 5: The former Mormon (see note 2) Carnot Mason (1804-1866?) was active in the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) at least into the mid-1850s, when he as President of its Board of Trustees. The Mason family were prominent Hiram citizens, as outlined in Burke Aaron Hinsdale's 1879 funeral sermon for Arabella Mason Rudolph, the wife of Zeb Rudolph (and mother-in-law of Mrs. James A. Garfield). Why Andrew Jensen resorted to calling him "The notorious Carnot Mason," remains unclear. Assertions to the effect that all those involved in the 1832 Hiram tarring and feathering incident died before Mr. Mason passed away appear to be mistaken.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 56.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, December 14, 1907.                   No. ?

Independence, Jackson Co.,
of Today -- and Some History.


Latter-day Saints in all the world feel a strong and peculiar interest in Jackson county, on the western border of the state of Missouri, chiefly for the reason that it embraces the site on which they believe will yet be built the city of Zion. All who are welI informed concerning the early history of the Church know that the town of Independence in this county was designed [sic -designated?] by revelation as the gathering place of the saints.

Pursuant to the commandment given to this effect a considerable number of th e saints removed from the east in the year 1831 and puchased lands in Jackson county. It is not the intention to recite here the developments that followed, and what culminated in the expulsion of our people from the state of Missouri, but rather to lead up to, and speak upon features existing today, and which are of special interest to Latter-day Saints everywhere.

Within the last four years the Church has purchased several pieces of real estate in Independence, the largest of which is a tract of 25 acres shown in the accompanying view. About half of this tract was embraced in the "sixty-three acres" described below. One of the properties purchased was a commodious residence which now serves the purpose of mission headquarters and the residence of the mission president, Elder S. O. Bennion.

There is a thriving branch of the Church in lndependence, numbering all told, including missionaries, about 60 souls.


All of the people who visit Independence have a special desire to see the Temple lot. It is a beautiful spot of ground and contains between three and four acres. It is covered with a heavy growth of grass in summer, and small trees are scattered over it.

It lies in the western part of the town, about a half mile from the "square," which is the business center, and the trolley line which connects Independence with Kansas City, and on which there is a five-minute service, passes it.

The condensed history of the Temple lot is as follows. In the year 1831, Bishop Edward Partridge in behalf of the Church, purchased a tract of 63 acres and a fraction, the boundary lines of which were somewhat irregular. Lengthwise the tract extends north and south: is width was approximately half its length. At the extreme north end of this tract, 10 acres was originally laid out as a temple Iot, and within this 10 acres wasthe temple site proper, which was dedicated with great ceremony on Aug 3, 1831. On the day previous the site of the City of Zion was dedicated under similar circumstances.

Hedrickite Church on Temple Lot.

A little more than two years after these dedications the saints were driven by mob violence from Jackson county across the Missouri river which bounds it on the north and thereafter nothing was done toward realizing the object had in view in these dedicatory services. The tract of 63 acreswas sub-divided and held by various parties, either on the strength of tax titles or mere possessory rights.

Up to the year 1870 the land embraced in this tract was not regarded of greater value than the farming land surrounding it. But in that year a real estate firm conceived the idea of platting that part of it which lies close to the center of town, and making an addition to the town. The records showed the title to be vested in Edward Partridge personally, and the real estate firm sent to Utah and obtained from several of the heirs of Edward Partridge quit claim deeds. On the strength of this title they platted about 10 acres and advertized the lots for sale.


A few years before this the Hedrickites, a dissenting body of which a brief sketch is given below, gathered in Independence to the number of about 150. Included in the lots advertised for sale was the tract embracing the temple site proper, and in order to take possession of this sacred spot, the Hedrickites bought eight of the lots, the dimensions of which were 50 x 150 feet, with an alley in the rear. These eight lots comprise the tract which is now known as the Temple lot, and which is enclosed in one piece by a wire fence.

Not long after the Hedrickites came into possession of these eight lots, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought a suit in ejectment, based on the claim that the Iand was originally purchased by Edward Parridge with Church funds, and was therefore rightfully the property of the Church, and that their organization was the lawful successor to the original church.

Prolonged litigation followed in which a vast amount of testimony was taken relative to the history and doctrines of the Church. In the district court in Kansas City, where the case was first tried, the Reorganites were successful, but on appeal to a higher court at St. Louis, they were defeated. Under the laws of Missouri, when a plaintiff brings a suit in ejectment against a defendant, who is in actual possession of real estate, the plaintiff must fail, provided the testimony shows that a third party has a better title to the property in dispute than either the plaintiff or defendant; although that third party may decline to take part in the litigation.

The reason why the Reorganites failed was not because the Hedrickites had a good title, but it was because the testimony showed the Church in Utah had a better title than either of the litigants. The case was decided about 20 years ago, since which time the Hedrickites have continued in undisputed possession of the temple lot.


In the year 1846, when the saints were expelled from Nanvoo, there existed in and near Bloomington, Ill., four or five branches of the Church aggregating a membership of approximately 300 souls. Each branch was presided over by an elder, who had been ordained and appointed in the manner usual in the Church. These branch presidents and the member of the Church over whom they presided, agreed not to follow the Church when it went west, but to to remain were they were. A sort of bond of fellowship grew up among them, and they adopted the belief that the Church as a whole fell into transgression while the saints were living in Jackson county; that it was on account of this transgression that their enemies had power over them; that the Church was never reinstated in the favor of the Lord; that the calling of the first quorum of apostles was illegal; and that all of the movements of the Church subsequent to its expulsion from Jackson county, and all of the revelations given after that event, were without divine authority.

From 1846 to 1864, a period of 18 years, the sect remained in a quiescent condition in and near Bloomlngton, Ill. So far as there was any activity among them, it was under the leadership of the branch presidents, no one of whom however, was recognized as a ranking leader. A young man named Granville Hedrick, who was but a boy when the saints left Nauvoo, became an influential member of the little community, and in 1864 he delivered to its members a revelation or prophecy which required them to remove immediately from their homes in Illinois to Independence, Mo., there to await the coming of the man "mighty and strong" who is spoken of in the eighty-fifth section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

The members of the sect unanimously received the promulgation from Granville Hedrick as the word of the Lord, and proceeded to conform to it within a few months after it was given. About 150 located in Independence, and bought the lots embracing the temple site as above set forth. They erected a building on the temple lot for worship and other purposes. It is a plain frame structure two stories high and about 20 x 40 feet in size. Though of cheap construction its cost was a severe tax upon the small community.


The Hedrickites call themselves the Church of Christ, claiming that that was the name given to the Church in some of the early revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and, that the name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," given in a later revelation, was not authorized. In short they reject all of the revelation received by the Prophet subsequent to the year 1834.

The Hedrickites number in all the world about 300 souls; about half are in Jackson county, and the other half live scattied in other states, chiefly Ohio. They believe in the Book of Mormon and in the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants that were given prior to the year 1834.

Their organization is extremely simple, consisting of six elders and a few priests and deacons. In Independence they hold Sunday school and preaching service on Sunday and a prayer meeting every Wednesday evening. None of the members of their church now living were ever members of the Utah Church, and nearly all of them are descendants of those who comprised the branches of the original Church in and near Bloomington, Ill., as above stated. They are very earnest in their belief that the man "mighty and strong" will come and set the church in order, and they are waiting for his appearance; professing to be willing to follow his instructions when he shall appear.

Their loyalty to the temple lot is astonishing; no amount of money could buy it from them. They are nearly all poor but without a murmur they taxed themselves severely to defend the ejectment suit that they might hold this spot of ground. They are unanimous in declaring that they will hold it until the Lord manifests to them what they ought to do with it.

They believe in the law of consecration, and are now considering steps toward its adoption, but they do not believe in tithing as the Utah Church does; neither do they believe in baptism for the dead, nor other forms of temple work practised by the Utah Church. In fact, they have no distinct idea of what a temple is for.

Their membership has neither increased or decreased much during the 40 odd years of their existence as a religious sect. One illustration of this article is their church, which stands on the temple lot near the exact spot where the cornerstone was laid Aug. 3, 1831.


The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claim a membership of 50,000 in all the world. They are very widely scattered throughout the United States, and in many foreign countries. That sect is permeated with some degree of interest in Jackson county and especially in Independence, and in vague anticipation of the events foretold to take place, there they have gathered here in considerable numbers.

They claim a membership located in and near Independence of nearly 2,000 souls. Just across the street north from the Hedrickite church stands a church edifice erected by them, which is the most pretentious structure owned by them anywhere in the world. It is gray sandstone and cost probably $40,000; it has been in use many years but was never finished, the spires not having been constructed, as will be noticed from the illustration accompanying this article.

Within the last two or three years the Reorganites have bought many pieces of real estate included in the "sixty acres," as it is called. They own most of the ground immediately surrounding the temple lot, but their Stone church is just outside of the boundary line of this historic tract. Joseph Smith, the president of this organization, recently purchased a nice residence in the western part of town, not far from their church, and their presiding bishop, E. L. Kelly, owns and occupies a nice residence near the church. Thus Independence might be called the headquarters of the Reorganized church, as far as it has any headquarters. It publishes here a weekly periodical called Zion's Ensign. About a year ago it was proposed to remove the publishing office of the Saints' Herald, the official organ of the church, from Lamoni, la., to Independence, but this was not done.

The Reorganites are building a sanitarium in Independence, in obedience to a revelation received a year or two ago by their Prest., Joseph Smith. It is well under way, a pretentious affair, and will cost from thirty to forty thousand dollars.

There are several branches of the Reorganite church in Kansas City, where they have between 400 and 500 members. A few weeks ago they paid $21,000 for a church edifice with attached buildings in Kansas City.

Elders and members of the Utah Church who are now in Independence rather expected a good deal of opposition from Reorganites, but this expectation has not been realized, except in a minor degree. In occasional instances where a member of the Utah Church meets a Reorganite, the latter will manifest some bitterness, but as a general rule they show a friendly feeling toward the people from Utah, and many of them are decidedly so.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Ogden Standard

Vol. ?                         Ogden, Utah, Saturday, March 13, 1909.                         No. ?


The Literary Digest of last issue devotes a page to the criticism of Mormon doctrine, particularly the statements of B. H. Roberts on the translation of the Book of Mormon. Without attempting to enter into the controversy we reproduce the article. Mr. Roberts no doubt will reply. The article is as follows:

A leader of the Mormon church, Mr. Brigham H. Roberts, is represented by Rev. Livingston Smith in The Presbyterian, to have uttered a repudiation of the old mechanical theory of the translation of their sacred book. Mr. Smith bases his assertions on statements which he represents Mr. Roberts as making in his recent "Defense of the Faith and of the Saints." They are that "It is no use resisting the matter; the old mechanical theory must be abandoned, for to advance it before intelligent and educated people is to unnecessarily invite ridicule and make of those who advocate it candidates for contempt." No doubt the Mormons themselves will repudiate the extreme assumptions of this critic regarding the importance of these concessions. The "mechanical" theory of the translation of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Smith asserts, has been exclusively and continuously announced and defended by the infallibly inspired priesthood of the Mormon church, from the inception of the church until the recent overwhelming bombardment of the Mormon citadel by the congressional investigation of the Smoot case in Washington, two years ago. Mr. Roberts will be remembered as the Mormon leader who was elected to congress, and excluded from that body because he had three wives. Mr. Smith thus states briefly the theory that he says has now been definitely abandoned:

"What is popularly known as the 'mechanical theory,' or process of using the Seer Stone and the Urim and Thummim, is that Joseph Smith looked at the golden plates through them, with his face covered so as to exclude the light, and that he beheld two lines of characters; the upper line being those characters upon the golden plates (said to be Reformed Egyptian), and the other or lower line being the English translation of the same; that these words of English translation would remain until Joseph Smith had correctly read them and his scribes had correctly recorded them in the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was later printed, "without the changing of a dot or the crossing of an 'I.'"

The importance of the unconditional surrender of a theory of translation upon which the integrity of the Book of Mormon has been strenuously maintained for more than three fourths of a century says the writer can only be estimated in the light of the fact that the authors of the abandoned theory are the three eyewitnesses, not only of the alleged golden plates, but the exclusive eye and ear witnesses of the fact, and the manner of their alleged translation by Joseph Smith, who is universally conceded to have necessarily been the only living witness to all the facts in the case." The writer adds:

"Furthermore not only has the Book of Mormon been officially accredited by the sworn affidavits of these three eyewitnesses upon the title-page of every volume, but the system of Mormonism itself has ever been conceded by the Mormon church to stand or fall upon the validity of the testimony of these witnesses to the fact and the mode of its miraculous translation by the mere mechanical use of the Seer Stone and the Urim and Thummim (or 'Holy interpretation') hidden with the golden plates and transmitted for this purpose to Joseph Smith. For seventy-five years or more the civilized world, outside of the Mormon church has refused to believe in the alleged existence of the golden plates (as well as in the manner and the fact of their translation). So persistent and effective has been this universal unbelief, and so successful has been the arraignment of the 'eye-witnesses' and their testimony, that the Mormon church, by the authority of its first presidency, has at length officially declared that the mechanical theory of translation of these original 'eye-witnesses' must not only be abandoned as being all that the civilized world has declared [it] to be ('absurd,' 'ridiculous,' and 'contemptible!'), but that there must be substituted for it a theory which their modern official theologian and apologete, Brigham H. Roberts, has devised and published in the last edition of the textbook for the instruction and guidance of their missionaries known as the 'Senior Manual.' This theory has been designated as the 'manual theory,' and declared by its author to have been originated merely to ascertain the truth respecting the matter, and with a view of finding a basis from which the work Book of Mormon, its translation etc., may be successfully advocated and defended!'"

The substance of the manual theory is given in these words:

"'Joseph Smith by great mental effort the exercise of faith, and the gifts of power of God, was enabled to see (in the Urim and Thummim, or in the Seer Stone) not the mechanical and infallible translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics into the English language; but the "conception" or "thought" of the hieroglyphics, which he thereupon formulated into the best form and use of the English language, of which he was master, and that, too, the best at his command, in view of his limited opportunities and environment!" This is the infallible substitute for the former inspired original theory. It scarcely needs be added that so wide-spread and frantic has been the upheaval and commotion produced by this 'manual theory,' that its author and publisher has been bitterly assailed by both the Mormon priesthood and laity, and so strenuously castigated and exultingly ridiculed by the non-Mormon people in all parts of the land and world, that he has been held in constant demand by the first presidency as the official exponent and apologete of this latest 'revelation' upon the manner of the golden plate translation. By voice and pen alike he is vainly endeavoring to still the tempest and stay the wrath of his offended and bewildered brethren."

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. ?                       Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, March 20, 1909.                      No. ?


The Rev. Livingston Smith, in "The Presbyterian," of Philadelphia declares that the "Mormons" a have uttered a repudiation of "the mechanical theory of the translation of their sacred book."

Mr. Smith bases his assertions on statements which he represents Elder Roberts as making in his recent "Defense of the Faith and of the Saints." They are that "it is no use resisting the matter: the old (mechanical) theory must be abandoned," for "to advance it before intelligent and educated people is to unnecessarily invite ridicule, and make of those who advocate it candidate for contempt."

The editor of the Literary Digest alludes to Mr. Smith's discovery and ventures the opinion that the "Mormons" will probably repudiate the extreme assumption of this critic regarding the importance of these conclusions." The "mechanical" theory of the translation of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Smith asserts, "has been exclusively and continuously announced and defended by the infallibly inspired priesthood of the Mormon Church, from the inception of the Church until the recent overwhelming bombardment of the Mormon citadel by the congressional investigation of 'the Smoot case' in Washington, two years ago." Mr. Smith thus states briefly the theory that he says has now been definitely abandoned:

"What is popularly known as the 'mechanical theory,' or process of using the Seer Stone and the Urim and Thummim, is that Joseph Smith looked at the golden plates through them, with his face covered so as to exclude the light, and that he beheld two lines of characters: the upper line being those characters upon the golden plates (said to be Reformed Egyptian,) and the other, or lower line, being the English translation of the same; that these words of English translation would remain until Joseph Smith had correctly read them and his scribes had correctly recorded them in the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was later printed 'without the changing of a dot or the crossing of an 'i.'"

It is true that some have held the "mechanical theory" of the translation of the plates, just as many have held to a like theory of verbal inspiration of the books of the Old and New Testament: but others have thought differently; and there is no occasion for alarm over these divergencies in the manner of accounting for a received fact.

Mr. Smith designates the statement of Elder Roberts on this question as the "manual theory" and explains the substance of the theory as follows:

"Joseph Smith, by great mental effort, the exercise of faith, and the gift of power of God, was enabled to see (in the Urim and Thummim or in the Seer Stone) not the mechanical and infallible translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphics into the English language, but the 'conception' or 'thought' of the hieroglyphics, which he thereupon formulated into the best form and use of the English language, of which he was master, and that, too, the best at his command, in view of his limited opportunities and environment. This is the infallible substitute for the former (inspired), original theory."

Just why this critic should attach so much importance to the "manual theory" of the manner in which Joseph Smith translated the plates is not entirely clear. That the Latter-day Saints discuss this topic at all, simply shows how far they are in advance of a great many of the ministers and laity in other denominations, to whom, it seems, the thought has never occurred to try to find out just how the prophets in all ages have been inspired to perceive, to know, to speak, to write, or to translate for the benefit of the human family. In what way were the prophets inspired? Did the Spirit incite every word and shape, the form of their every expression? Or did they, as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, think, speak, write and translate in their own way and using their own perfect and polished, or imperfect and crude language as the case might be?

Did Isaiah, for example, have a style peculiarly his own? Or did he speak exactly as Jeremiah spoke? Did Paul, Peter and James use the same idioms? In other word what has been the relationship between divine inspiration and enlightenment and the prophets' own peculiarities of speech?

A mere glance at these questions will serve to show that in discussing the manner in which Joseph translated the plates, the Latter-day Saints are already, as compared with the average follower of a sectarian minister, in the realm of "higher criticism."

It matters little as to just how the Book of Mormon was translated. That book is a fact. It was the product of revelation and inspiration. Various speculations have been indulged as to the precise process which the Prophet's mind went through in bringing it forth. As he did not say, we can only infer; but our inferences as to the particular method in which he was used as an instrument to bring it forth by translation, is a minor consideration -- one of the non-essentials.

The value of Mr. Smith's discovery of what he terms the "unconditional surrender" of "Mormons" can be correctly estimated by another statement. He says:

"It scarcely needs be added that so widespread and frantic has been the upheaval and commotion produced by this 'manual theory' that its author and publisher has been bitterly assailed by both the Mormon priesthood and laity and so strenuously castigated and exultingly ridiculed by the non-Mormon people in all parts of the land and world, that he has been held in constant demand by the first presidency as the official exponent and apologetic of this latest 'revelation' upon the manner of the golden plate translation. By voice and pen alike, he is vainly endeavoring to still the tempest and stay the wrath of his offended and bewildered brethren."

People may properly differ if they choose to do so, as to the manner of the translation of the Book of Mormon; but no well informed person can fail to perceive how wide of the mark the critic lands, when he speaks upon a matter that is easy of verification or disproof. The fact is that no such "commotion" or anything like it has occurred in relation to the incident about which he make so much ado.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. VIII.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, August 11, 1909.                 No. 2342.


Veteran Befriended by Parley Pratt
Can Hardly Credit Transformation.

When William W. Gilbert of Minneapolis stepped from the train at the Union depot here yesterday, he looked about him in amazement. He was surprised by the size and beauty of the City of the Saints.

"I was in Salt Lake City in 1852 on my first visit, when I was on my way across the plains to the gold diggings in California," he said.

"Conditions were different then -- a great deal different. Salt Lake City has more interest for me than it has for the average Grand Army man who is here for the reunion and encampment, for two reasons. One of these is that I was born at Ontario, Wayne county, New York, within twelve miles of the Hill Cumorah, where Joe Smith claimed to have found the plates of gold on which the Mormon Bible was written. I have seen the hill many times. Smith lived in that vicinity.

"Parley P. Pratt, who afterwards rose to a high place in the early Mormon church, lived in the same township with me, and he was my father's closest friend.

Catches Gold Fever.

"I got the gold fever when I was 20 years old and started out for California. In those days it was a perilous trip across the plains and desert. When the youngsters started out their relatives and friends said goodbye to them as though they were going to the war. But few expected we would ever return.

"My father gave me a letter to Parley P. Pratt, thinking that it might be useful to me if I reached Deseret, as Utah was then known. That letter was useful, as it secured for me and every member of my party the best of treatment. I presented the letter to Mr. Pratt, who was next to Brigham Young in importance in the little community. Mr. Pratt took me into his own home and kept me there two weeks. We were pretty well used up and it took two weeks to get our horses in shape to continue the journey.

"While we were waiting we repaired our wagons, overhauled our kits and made everything shipshape for the last stretch of our trip. The Mormons killed a number of cattle and we 'jerked' the beef. They also supplied us with their coarse black flour, which they made in their primitive mills. We got here July 15, 1853, and left August 1.

Glimpse of Frontier Town.

"We came to the site of the little settlement through Echo canyon and I will never forget the sight. The houses looked like a cluster of little hay cocks surrounding the tabernacle, which resembled a huge hay stack. There was a clear mountain stream running down the main street, and no stock or horses were allowed to stand in the street, as the people used the water for domestic purposes. I am unable to find that stream today because of the pavement.

"Brigham Young was a genial fellow and was not as shrewd a horse trader as I have seen in the east," continued Comrade Gilbert with a twinkle in his eye. "I I traded a horse with him and I did not get the worst of it. He lacked much of being a David Harum.

"I remember very well that where the stately Mormon temple now rears its spires to the sky was an excavation twenty feet deep. They told us they were going to dig till they got a good foundation. I guess they have done so, from the look of that huge building.

"I heard Brigham Young preach in the tabernacle. The Indians were giving them a little trouble and the Mormons had posted sentries and guards around the camp. Some of the guards got drunk and Brigham scored them in his sermon. He said, 'If the guards do not stop getting drunk on duty, there will be the biggest shirt tail race in this settlement some night that any of the Saints have ever seen.' He also scored the elders for allowing such men on guard duty.

Visited Warm Spring.

"The high stone wall was not then built around the temple square. That was built the next year, I believe, but I am not certain.

"We used to go out to a little warm spring somewhere northwest of the tabernacle to bathe. They had a big, high board fence around it then. Today there is a popular bathing resort on the site of this spring, and one of the finest, modern and up to date hospitals in the west is directly opposite. Then it was a desolate and barren sagebrush waste.

"The change that the city has made is almost [beyond] belief. The imposing sky-scrapers, the miles of pavement and cement sidewalks, the forest of trees on your streets, the growth and beauty of the city, are such a striking contrast to the barren, struggling little settlement that I saw then, that I can scarcely convince myself that I am not dreaming now, or that I was not dreaming then."

Comrade Gilbert will leave after the encampment for a tour of the Pacific northwest, visiting Portland and Tacoma, the exposition at Seattle and Yellowstone national park.

Note 1: William Wirt Gilbert (1832-1928) was born in Ontario, New York, the son of Henry S. Gilbert and Gertrude Nottingham Gilbert. The family members moved to Delafield, Wisconsin in 1843, so there are no contemporary mentions of them in New York records, newspapers, maps, etc. after that year. Henry S. Gilbert was a notable Ontario township businessman, who, in 1825, (shortly after his arrival in the area), built the first iron furnace on the site of what became "Furnaceville" or Ontario township's "Furnace Village." Five years later the township was divided and Henry S. Gilbert was chosen Supervisor of its northern half. That same year he opened the first general store in Ontario, located northeast of Furnaceville, on the lake shore near the border with adjacent Williamson. Near that store lived J. B. Pratt, an early Ontario settler. Isaac Pratt, another early pioneer, lived a few miles to the south, between Ontario Center and Ontario Village. In the years that followed, other Pratts resided in Furnaceville itself. None of these Pratt families are known to have been near relatives to Henry S. Gilbert's reported "closest friend," Parley P. Pratt.

Note 2: An unpublished 1919 typescript of one of William W. Gilbert's old journal exists, with the title of "A Journal of Travel from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Placerville, California in 1853, by William W. Gilbert." However, that record is not known to shed any additional light upon Parley P. Pratt's pre-Mormon residence in Wayne County, New York. Gilbert stated that Pratt "lived in the same township with me," but he neglected to provide a date. Probably the period in question was 1825-26, at about the same time that Gilbert's father opened his iron furnace in northeastern Ontario township. In Chapter Three of his Autobiography Parley P. Pratt states that he "spent a few months with my uncles, Ira and Allen Pratt, in Wayne County, N. Y., and in the autumn of 1826 I resolved to bid farewell to the civilized world..." If this report is correct, then young Pratt arrived in Wayne County, either during the winter of 1825-26, or shortly thereafter, and resided there with one (or both) of his uncles. By 1830 Uncle Ira Pratt lived in Sodus, just north of Arcadia and Lyons; while Uncle Allen lived in Galen, immediately east of Lyons. At most, Parley would have been just twenty miles away, as the crow flies, from the Joseph Smith, Sr. homestead at Manchester. If he spent some time at Furnaceville, with Henry S. Gilbert, Parley would have been only fifteen miles north of the Smiths, at the very time his contemporary, Joseph Smith, Jr. was traveling about the region, taking temporary jobs and acting as a treasure seer for local money-diggers.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LIX.                       Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, December 8, 1909.                      No. ?


A clipping from a recent number of a Pittsburg paper has reached this office. It purports to be the complete story "of a famous Mormon preacher, once a member of the 'Avenging Angels.'" who at a ripe old age has turned counterfeiter. The story is not very clear. We have written for further particulars.

The central figure is described as a "famous Mormon preacher," although it is safe to say that nobody in these parts ever heard of his fame. He is also said to have come west in 1849 "with the famous prophet's band," whatever that means, and to be a famous hunter. The item states that his name is Lee and refers to the Mountain Meadow massacre and the question naturally arises whether the author of it in his befuddled condition does not confound the alleged counterfeiter with the famous villain of the Mountain Meadow drama, who paid the penalty for his crime, over thirty years ago. That is generally, as near as anti-Mormon writers ever come to the truth.

The author of the item claims that the alleged counterfeiter now, 71 years old, was once a member of the Avenging Angels" and the remark is pertinent that he must have entered it the same year he was born, for that organization, also known as "Danites," was formed in 1838 and died an ignominious death shortly after its birth. Altogether the counterfeiter must have been a remarkable child.

The reference to the "Danites" reminds us that a strange misunderstanding exists in the minds of non-Mormons regarding that band. They generally suppose it to have been a Mormon institution sanctioned by the Church. By anti-Mormon writers it has even been represented as a body guard to the Prophet Joseph. The truth is that it was an abortive attempt at forming a secret organization to fight the Church, as well as all law and order. Luther used to say that where the Almighty builds His church, satan is sure to build his chapel, and this truth is well illustrated in the attempt to launch that organization.

The organization known as "Danites" and "Destroying Angels" was the conception of Dr. Sampson Avard at Far West, Mo. He was an unscrupulous fanatic who was expelled from the Church as soon [as] his vile schemes became known to the Prophet. Avard was secretly laying plans to become a leader of the Church. At a time when persecution raged in wild torrents, and hearts were bleeding under the hands of oppression. Avard found an opportunity of preaching the unChristian doctrine of retaliation to some willing ears. His aim was to overthrow the Church and set himself up as a ruler. He persuaded some of the Saints to believe that he had the sanction of Sidney Rigdon for his plans. And by false pretenses he brought some together in a secret organization which was named the "Danites." He tried to organize companies of fifties and tens and place each under the command of an officer. He taught them that they were to go out and despoil the outlying settlements, and that they might lie and steal with impunity. Many of his followers revolted at this and left him, and as soon as his wickedness became known to the Presidency of the Church, he was expelled and afterwards sought companionship among the enemies of the Church.

This is the famous "Danite" organization. It never was a Church institution. Thomas B. Marsh at one time made an affidavit stating that the Latter-day Saints have a company consisting of all that are considered true Mormons called "Danites," and Orson Hyde partly corroborated this falsehood. But both repented and sought forgiveness.

There never was a "Danite" organization in the Church and it is high time that the misunderstanding be removed. The story is one of the peculiar falsehoods that live on though everybody knows it is not true. It is like the story regarding Luther, women and wine or the fable of a pope having cursed Halley's comet. Some yarns obtain currency though based on fiction because there are people who wish they were true and the "Danite" fable as a "Mormon" institution is one of them.

Note 1: The journalists at the Deseret News were typically cautious in summoning up the old history of Mormon militancy at Far West. Why the News chose to wade back into that mire of controversy in 1910 seems inexplicable. At the very least, the article writer might have avoided defending Sidney Rigdon (who, since his 1844 excommunication, had always been a favorite scapegoat for Mormon woes in Missouri). But the paper printed: "Avard... persuaded some of the Saints to believe that he had the sanction of Sidney Rigdon for his plans. And by false pretenses he brought some together in a secret organization which was named the 'Danites.'" Both of Rigdon's 20th century biographers agreed that the Mormon leader had a role in the origin and development of the Danites -- See chapter 5 in F. Mark McKiernan's 1971 The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Sidney Rigdon... and chapter 16 in Richard S. Van Wagoner's 1994 Sidney Rigdon, A Portrait of Religious Excess. But the News writer chose to regurgitate the faith-promoting apologetics of that paper's back issue of June 26, 1878, and thus fell into a trap long since laid by the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Note 2: The Salt Lake Tribune of Dec. 12, 1909 pounced upon the News' implicit promise to provide "further particulars," expanding the evident descrepancies in its "famous Mormon preacher" account into a journalistic challenge to debate the origin and actions of the Mormon Danites. For years past the Tribune had been tempting the Mormons to respond to its multiplicity of "Danite" articles, and for all of the year 1910 its editor kept calling upon the LDS organ to prove its assertions on this point. When the Deseret News finally offered a response, it came indirectly, as a review of B. H. Roberts' conclusions on that subject (see its issue for Dec. 13, 1910).


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. ?                       Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, January 29, 1910.                      No. ?

The  Spirit  of  Mormonism;
A  Slander  Refuted.


Discourse by Elder B. H. Roberts in the Tabernacle,
Sunday, January 16, 1910.

(Reported by F. W. Otterstrom.)

...I have been somewhat surprised, if not amazed of late at the bitterness that has been manifested in the discussion in our some of our local prints, of some doctrines and some of the history of this movement known a Mormonism. There has been lately a raking up of old past controversies, until one would think that we would be under the necessity of fighting again the old battles of 60 and 70 years ago for; this raking up of old controversIes extends that far back with reference to this movement. I have it in mind to make a little contibuton to this discussion... we may begin wIth that very wonderful incident of the Prophet Joseph Smith's boyhood when but fourteen years of age. He went as you know, to the Lord n prayer, in response to the Scripture which said: "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." He became familiar with that Scripture, for it constituted, at least on one occasion, a text of a discourse to which he listened, and it became the voice of God to his soul. At last he put this Scripture to the test and inquired of God, with the result familiar to you aIl -- that he received a spIendid vision of God the the Father and of the Son and, received knowledge of the purpose of the Father to give a new dispensation of of the gospel to the world through him, provided he should be faithful...

By and by... Oliver Cowdery came to prophet, he who was to be the second elder in the Church of Christ about to be established -- a young man, a school-teacher, a blacksmith, formerly a storekeeper -- a variety of occupations of course impossible outside of frontier life in America, in the early decades of the nineteenth century. He had heard of God's dealings with this prophet who was being qualified for his great mission; and so came to him. He, too, like the prophet's father, was willing to throw his lot in with the prophet and the work that was developing. He, too, would know the will of the Lord concerning him...

We are told, and it is charged in the old anti-Mormon books of fifty, sixty and seventy years ago, that these men were liars, intemperate, idlers, money diggers; that they were utterly untrustworthy; and, yet, get behind the scenes where the word of God comes to them, and, lo! the purity of the fountain whence Mormonism comes! And this was no playing to the galleries of the world, either....


...When Sidney Rigdon came with Edward Partridge the latter the prophet described, as you will remember, as a pattern of piety and one of the Lord's great men, and of whom the Lord spoke, afterwards as being like unto Nathaniel of old, because there was no guile in his heart. When Sidney Rigdon, in December, 1830, came to the prophet to inquire of him, the Lord commended him for his past work in the Disciple ministry, where he had been teaching repentance and faith and baptism in water for the remission of sins; and, now, the burden of the Lord's word to this man, Sidney Rigdon, was simply that hereafter his mission should be enlarged, and he should not only baptize with water but he should baptize now, also, with water and with fire and with the Holy Ghost. No promise of wealth and position; no worldly exaltation was promised to him, but warnings of toil and labor in the ministry and the opposition of the world. And, by the way, there is something a little interesting in this incident of Sidney Rigdon coming into the work. It is generally held forth, in the anti-Mormon publications, that Joseph Smith neither in his general information, nor in trained faculties, was equal to the task of bringing forth the Book of Mormon. They assumed that some more skilful man, some man better versed in the Scriptures and in the history, and having more literary ability with-al, was somewhere behind the scenes manipulating affairs to bring forth the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church. But Sidney Rigdon did not come to the prophet until December, 1830. When he came -- in addition to what I have reported of what was promised to him -- he was appointed to be scribe to the prophet; and forever afterwards he held a subordinate position to the prophet. At this time Sidney Rigdon was a man 37 years of age; the prophet but about 25. We might ask our anti-Mormon friends how it came about that if Sidney Rigdon was the master spirit in bringing forth the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church -- the real Mephistopheles of the blasphemous drama that was being enacted -- how comes it that after playing this part for a number of years, in secret when he comes out into the public light, with all his advantage of age, of education and experience and power as a public speaker, he consents to take second place in the great drama to be enacted -- no, not even second place, for that had been conferred upon Oliver Cowdery who had been ordained and sustained by the Church as the second elder of the Church, while Sidney Rigdon must be content with being the prophet's scribe! Is there any consistency in claims of this anti-Mormon sort? ...


"Oct. 5 -- [Joseph Smith] started on a journey to the east, and to Canada, in company with Elders Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson. We arrived in Springfield whilst the brethren were in meeting and Elder Rigdon spoke to the congregation. A large and attentive congregation assembled at Brother Rudd's in the evening, to whom we bore our testimony. Had a great congregation -- paid good attention..."

(read full text in 1912 reprint)

Note: For some additional information on "Brother Rudd" of Springfield, Pennsylvania, see the News of Jan. 16, 1878 and the "Erastus H. Rudd, Sr." web-page.



Vol. ?                    Salt Lake City, Utah,  Tuesday, February 1, 1910.                    No. ?


The death of James Thornton Cobb, who died at the family residence, 250 Canyon road, early yesterday morning, removed from Utah one of its leading pioneer citizens. His death is generally regretted throughout the literary circles of Utah. Death was due to kidney trouble.

Mr. Cobb was born in Beverley, Mass., December 15, 1833. He graduated from Dartmouth college with high honors, and in 1858 came west, where he engaged in newspaper work. His literary work won for him the acquaintance and intimacy of such men as Phillips Brooks and Oliver Wendell Holmes. In one of his letters the poet said,

"Your mind has gone to depths and reached heights which no human mind since the days of Shakespeare has, and you have almost converted me."

The funeral arrangements have not been made, owing to the absence of several members of the family. The interment will be in the City cemetary.

The deceased is survived by his wife, Mrs. Camilla C. Cobb, and the following children: Mrs. Nat M. Brigham, Ives E., Henry Ives, Rufus K. and James Kent Cobb.

Note: For more information on James T. Cobb, see Part 10 of the Spalding Saga.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. 59.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, February 21, 1910.                   No. ?

TESTIMONY  OF         
          OLIVER  COWDERY.


Judge C. M. Nielsen Relates a Remarkable
Experience in The Mission Field.


How Traveling Elder, Penniless and Hungry,
Encounters a Stranger Who Refutes
Some Stock Statements.

Elder C. M. Nielsen delivered an unusually interesting address at the Twenty-fourth ward meetinghouse, Sunday evening relative to a remarkable speech made by Oliver Cowdery while prosecuting attorney in Michigan, some years after he had left the Mormon Church. Cowdery was prosecuting a criminal case against a murderer. At the conclusion of his opening speech the attorney for the defendant arose and instead of devoting his time to the case in hand, with sarcasm and in bitter speech charged Cowdery with having defrauded the American people by foisting a hateful religion, Mormonism, upon them and defied Cowdery to deny it. Cowdery's calm, dispassionate acknowledgement was the subject of Elder Nielsen's address, which in part was as follows:

"Those who have received the gospel with the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost have a testimony independent of what any other person may say of the truth of this work and the divinity of the Book of Mormon. But we have in our midst a rising generation of young men and young women who have had few of the experiences of life, and have not had a testimony of the power of God as those of us who have been tried in the missionary field and at home.

"It has been like a missing link in the life of Oliver Cowdery as to what he did for a certain number of years from the time he left the Church until he came back and appeared at Council Bluffs in 1849. There were 11 years of which we have little or no record of his doings.

"It has been circulated among our enemies that Oliver Cowdery had denied his testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. Affidavits have been made and published in eastern states that Oliver Cowdery asked to be received into some church as a member; that before that church would receive him he was required to make confession of his connection with that terrible religion called "Mormonism," and his own testimony regarding the Book of Mormon and his having said he saw an angel from heaven. My friends, I do not believe he ever made such denial of his testimony. But our elders have had this to meet, and for that reason I am going to tell you something here tonight that will be of interest to you.

"But, for argument's sake, say Oliver Cowdery did recant his testimony, which I do not admit -- what then? Is he greater than John the Baptist, who doubted Jesus when trials and troubles came upon him and he was in danger of having his head cut off to satisfy a woman? Is Oliver Cowdery greater than Peter, who in the hour of his trials denied Christ a second and third time, even cursing and swearing when accused. See Matthew, 16th chapter. Not one of his disciples acknowledged him. Suppose, as our enemies have tried to make it appear, that Oliver Cowdery did deny these things before the Methodist church, it was in a day when the life of a Mormon was thought of little more consequence than a rabbit running about in the sagebrush. Both the Old and the New Testament show us that when the spirit of God was withdrawn from men they shrank in fear of losing their lives and denied what they knew to be facts


"In the year 1884, I was traveling as a missionary in Minnesota. I had most of the eastern part of the state to myself. I was without purse or scrip and one night slept in a hay stack. Next day I came to a city and wandered up and down the streets. I had no money, no friends and didn't know where to go. I passed a large store called the Emporium, something like our Z.C.M.I. I was attracted by it, but didn't know why. There were about 25 teams hitched near the place, owned by farmers in town on business. Something told me to 'Go over and see a certain man.' The street was full of people and I wondered which man. Then one man seemed to me as big as three ordinary men. The Spirit whispered: 'Go over and speak to him!' I hesitated to approach this entire stranger but the same voice came to me a second and third time. Then I went.

"He was a prosperous looking farmer with a two-seated buggy, which he was ready to enter, and was a prominent man, I afterwards learned. Not knowing what else, I said: 'How far are you going?' 'Home; where are you going?' 'I have no certain place; I am from Utah.' 'You are not a Mormon, are you?' he asked anxiously. 'Yes.' 'Then God bless you!' he replied, reaching out his arms and dropping the lines. 'Get into this buggy as fast as you can. When we get home my wife will rejoice as I rejoice now. I will then explain all. But you are not a Josephite, are you?' 'No, I'm a real live Mormon from Utah.'

"Reaching the home he called, 'Mother, here's a real live Mormon elder.' I'm afraid I didn't look very fine, as I had slept in the hay stack the previous night. They took me by the hand and led me into the house. I was very hungry and begged for something to eat. After my hunger was satisfied, they called in their sons and daughters and we sat around the table. My new found friend then said:


"Now, young man, you thought it strange how I acted when you spoke to me. When I get through you will realize the importance of your coming to us. When I was 21 years of age I was working my father's farm in Michigan. I had worked hard on the farm that summer and decided to take a day off, so went to the city. Near the courthouse I saw a great many people assembling, and others walking that way, so I went over to see what was up. There was a jam in the courtroom, but being young and strong, I pushed my way close up to the center, where I found the prosecuting attorney addressing the court and jury in a murder trial. The prosecuting attorney was Oliver Cowdery, and he was giving his opening address in behalf of the state."

(After he was cut off from the Church, Oliver Cowdery studied law, practising in Ohio, Wisconsin and then Michigan, where he was elected prosecuting attorney.)

"After Cowdery sat down the attorney representing the prisoner arose and with taunting sarcasm said: 'May it please the court and gentlemen of the jury, I see one Oliver Cowdery is going to reply to my argument. I wish he would tell us something about the Mormon Bible; something about the golden Bible that Joe Smith dug out of the hill; something about the great fraud he perpetrated upon the American people whereby he gained thousands of dollars. Now he seems to know so much about this poor prisoner, I wonder if he has forgotten all about Joe Smith and his connection with him.' The speaker all the while sneering and pointing his finger of scorn at Cowdery in the hope of making him ridiculous before the court and jury.

"Everybody present began to wonder if they had been guilty of making such a mistake as choosing a Mormon for prosecuting attorney. Even the judge on the bench began looking with suspicion and distrust at the prosecuting attorney. The prisoner and his attorney became elated at the effect of the speech. People began asking, 'Is he a Mormon?' Everybody wondered what Cowdery would say against such foul charges.


"Finally Oliver Cowdery arose, calm as a summer morning. I was within three feet of him. There was no hesitation, no fear, no anger in his voice, as he said: 'May it please the court, and gentlemen of the jury, my brother attorney on the other side has charged me with connection with Joseph Smith and the golden Bible. The responsibility has been placed upon me, and I cannot escape reply.'   (If he had denied it before, why not deny it now?)   'Before God and man I dare not deny what I have said, and what my testimony contains and as written and printed on the front page of the Book of Mormon. May it please your honor and gentlemen of the jury, this I say, I saw the angel and heard his voice -- how can I deny it? It happened in the day time when the sun was shining bright in the firmament; not in the night when I was asleep. That glorious messenger from heaven, dressed in white, standing above the ground, in a glory I have never seen anything to compare with, the sun insignificant in comparison, and these personages [sic] told us if we denied that testimony there is no forgiveness in this life nor in the world to come. Now, how can I deny it -- I dare not; I will not!'"

The man who related this to me was a prominent man in that state; he was a rich man, a man who has held offices of trust from the people -- a man of respect, one when you look into his face you will not doubt. To strengthen his statement this man, who knew nothing of Mormon history, said Oliver Cowdery mentioned something he wanted me to explain; that the angel took back a part that was not translated. We know this and that part of the golden plates then withheld will be revealed at some future time.


"Since I heard Oliver Cowdery speak," continued my host, "I have not had peace for these many years. I want to know more about your people. I felt when I listened to Oliver Cowdery talking in the courtroom he was more than an ordinary man. If you can show us that you have what Oliver Cowdery testified to, we shall all be glad to receive it." He and his whole family embraced the Gospel and came to Utah.

Our heavenly Father never revealed any keys or powers to administer to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was alone. He always had witnesses. When John the Baptist came, there were Joseph and Oliver; when Peter, James and John appeared, there were these same two witnesses. In Hebrews, Matthew and Corinthians we learn that testimony must be out of the mouths of two or three witnesses. When the Lord has anything of importance to reveal to the world there are living witnesses sufficient to bring condemnation should the word be rejected.

In Nov 1848 Oliver Cowdery, before a high council at Council Bluffs, called for the purpose of considering his case said: "Brethren for a number of years I have been separated from you. I now desire to come back. I wish to come humbly and to be one in your midst. I seek no station. I only wish to be identified with you. I am out of the Church. I am not a member of the Church, but I wish to become a member of it. I wish to come in at the door. I know the door. I have not come here to seek precedence. I come humbly and throw myself upon the decisions of this body, knowing, as I do, that its decisions are right and should be obeyed."

Note 1: The Charles M. Nielsen reporting, as published by the Deseret News, was largely drawn from an affidavit he made in Salt Lake City, on Dec. 3, 1909. Although his 1909 statement says nothing about Oliver Cowdery having any relations with Ohio Methodists, it is reasonable to suspect that Nielsen's purpose in documenting his old mission memories, sixteen years after the fact, was to combat the "Cowdery was a Methodist" "affidavits" that had (as Nielsen himself asserts) "been made and published in eastern states." It is unlikely that the Deseret News' editor (Apostle Charles W. Penrose) coincidently had a stenographer on hand at Salt Lake City's twenty-fourth ward meetinghouse, on the evening when Nielsen gave his sermon (Sunday, Feb. 20th) and equally unlikely that a transcript of the talk could have been delivered to the News, approved by Penrose for publication, typeset and put through the press, all by the afternoon of the following day (Monday, Feb. 21st). The more likely scenario is that Nielson was commissioned by Penrose to compose his Oliver Cowdery account in 1909, when the "Cowdery was a Methodist" reports were reaching nationwide circulation in newspapers such as the Christian Standard and in Rev. R. B. Neal's late 1909 Sword of Laban. Nielsen had previously written letters to Penrose's fellow Apostle, Heber J. Grant, summarizing some of the same recollections later published in greater detail by the News. Apostles Charles W. Penrose and Heber J. Grant were close associates, with Penrose eventually serving as the latter man's Second Counselor in the LDS First Presidency. --- Many of the details recorded in Nielsen's various preserved accounts are in conflict, one with another (and with his own Dec. 12, 1883 missionary journal entry), and he should not be counted upon as a reliable source in re-constructing Oliver Cowdery's 1840's activities.

Note 2: It seems rather strange that Elder Nielsen did not take the trouble to identify the "prosperous farmer" who reportedly encountered Oliver Cowdery in Michigan during the 1840s. After all, Nielsen says that the eye-witness he encountered in eastern Minnesota during his 1883 LDS mission there "embraced the Gospel and came to Utah." Possibly Deseret News editor Charles W. Penrose chose to suppress the eye-witness's name, because the convert had already left the LDS Church by the time his story was being published. In a Nov. 14, 1899 letter addressed to Apostle Heber J. Grant, Nielsen identified the 1883-84 Minnesota convert as "Robert Barrington, who is now eighty-two years of age." In the same letter Nielsen stated that "Mr. Robert Barrington has been outside the church for many years and is very bitter, but he does not deny the statement he made to me..." Perhaps, then, it is understandable why Nielsen and Penrose decided not to publicize Barrington's name in the 1910 News article. However, Nielsen's apparent forgetfulness on this important point is less understandable in his 1909 affidavit, where said that he could not "now remember" the first name of the man he had personally consulted and reported to Apostle Grant in 1899. This same Robert Barrington is listed in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 federal census reports for Dakota County, Minnesota. Presumably his family was also enumerated in the 1890 census of Utah, but the records have been lost. His last appearance in a federal census report was in the 1900 Salt Lake City listings -- presumably he was an apostate from the Mormon Church by that time.

Note 3: While Robert Barrington likely lived in Calhoun County, Michigan during the 1840s, and Brigham Young placed Cowdery in Michigan at roughly the same time (in a discourse published in the Deseret News of Apr. 25, 1855), it is most unlikely that Barrington wandered into a southern Michigan courtroom during the mid-1840s and there observed "prosecuting attorney" Oliver Cowdery testifying in open court that supernatural "personages" had once warned him that if he "denied that testimony there is no forgiveness in this life nor in the world to come." It is not even certain that Barrington's account was set in Ohio (in his letters to Apostle Grant the state Nielsen cited was "Illinois"), but even if it was, none of that justifies the editorial remarks inserted into Nielsen's Feb. 20, 1910 meetinghouse talk, by Deseret News editor Charles W. Penrose: "Oliver Cowdery studied law, practising in Ohio, Wisconsin and then Michigan, where he was elected prosecuting attorney." There is simply no confirming evidence that oart of the story.

Note 4: Another oddity in Elder Nielsen's discourse is the allegation that, in the 1840s, Oliver Cowdery cited his "testimony... as written and printed on the front page of the Book of Mormon." All editions of that book published while Cowdery was in the Church (as well as the Nauvoo printings) featured his testimony on the second to the last page. At the time Oliver Cowdery supposedly made his affirming stand in a Michigan courtroom, only the British editions of the book printed the witnesses' testimonies at the front of the text. Why would Cowdery bypass the editions he was most familiar with, to cite the foreign features of a volume then being circulated primarily in England?

Note 5: The various problems, inconsistencies and evident patterns of "affidavit accretion" should lead the objective investigator to conclude that there is something wrong with Barrington's memory, or with Nielsen's reporting, or both. These weaknesses in the story seemingly drove LDS historian Richard L. Anderson to distraction, and when he presented his conclusions for the Improvement Era in January of 1969, he was forced to say: "At some stage in the telling, Barrington evidently created the erroneous impression that he had heard Cowdery, so the Nielsen account is thirdhand instead of secondhand." -- For more information on the fidelity or infidelity of Oliver Cowdery, during his years out of the Church, see notes attached to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer of
May 7, 1910.



Vol. XVII.                             Filmore, Utah,  Friday, May 13, 1910.                             No. 19.

Oliver Cowdery
and the Book of Mormon.


It is a well known fact that Oliver Cowdery was one of the three witnesses to the Divine authenticity of the book of Mormon; it is also a matter of history that he was out of the church for a period of ten years, from 1838 till 1848; and it has been claimed by anti-Mormon writers and lecturers that Oliver Cowdery had denied his testimony of the divinity of the Book Mormon. Affidavits have been made and published in eastern papers, that he had asked to be recieved into some church as a member; that before that church would receive him he was required to make confession and denial of his said testimony and a short time ago the Salt Lake Tribune contained the statement that he joined the Methodist Church. The fact is that Oliver Cowdery never did deny his testimony as found on the front page of the Book of Mormon, in the church or out of the church, and never aligned himself with the Methodist or any other sectarian church

In connection with this Judge C. M. Nielson of Salt Lake in one of his lectures some time ago related a very remarkable experience in the mission field, and said in part:

In the year 1884, I was traveling as a missionary in Minnesota. I had most of the eastern part of the state to myself. I was without purse or scrip and one night slept in a hay stack. Next day I came to a city and wandered up and down the streets. I had no money, no friends and didn't know where to go. I passed a large store called the Emporium, something like our Z.C.M.I. I was attracted by it, but didn't know why. There were about 25 teams hitched near the place owned by farmers in town on business. Something told me to go over and see a certain man. The street was full of people and I wondered which man. Then one man seemed to me as big as three ordinary men. The Spirit whispered 'Go over and speak to him.' I hesitated to approach this entire stranger but the same voice came to me a second and third time. Then I went.

He was a prosperous looking farmer with a two seated buggy which he was ready to enter and was a prominent man. I afterwards learned. Not knowing what else, I said 'How far are you going? Home; where are you going? I have no certain place; I am from Utah. You are not a Mormon, are you? he asked anxiously. Yes. Then God bless you! he replied, reaching out his arms and dropping the lines. Get into this buggy as fast as you can. When we get home my wife will rejoice as I rejoice now. I will then explain all. But you are not a Josephite, are you? No, I'm a real live Mormon from Utah.

"Reaching the home he called, 'Mother here's a real live Mormon elder.' I'm afraid I didn't look very fine as, I had slept in the hay stack the previous night. They took me by the hand and led me into the house. I was very hungry and begged for something to eat. After my hunger was satisfied, they called in their sons and daughters and we sat around the table. My new found friend then said:
(Continued next week.)

Note: The issue of the Salt Lake Tribune in which Oliver Cowdery was reported to have "joined the Methodist Church," has not yet been located. A few days after the Progress published this mention, the Tribune of May 17, 1910 did run an article containing that assertion.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. LX.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, December 13, 1910.                 No. ?


The November number of Americana Magazine has just come to our desk, and we take pleasure in calling to the attention of our readers the installment of the excellent "History of the Mormon Church," written fot that publication by President B. H. Roberts. The present number contains chapters xxx and xxxi.

In the first of these the author sketches with his usual force and skill the conditions obtaining in the Church and outside, during the troubles in Missouri, and the heroism of General A. W. Doniphan. In the latter chapter an interesting account is given of the origin of the so-called Danites. This section of the "History" is illustrated with portraits of Charles C. Rich and General Doniphan....

During this storm of persecution the prophetic gift of Joseph was manifested in the same manner as that of the Apostle Paul during the tempest off the coast of Malta, when he told all in the ship to be of good cheer because an angel had appeared to him and assured him that not a life should be lost. The Prophet and his brethren were taken to Independence, prisoners. During the journey and while in the hands of the mob that had sworn their destruction he delivered this prophecy to his fellow-sufferers: "Be of good cheer, brethren; the word of the Lord came to me last night that our lives should be given us, and that whatever we may suffer during this our captivity, not one of our lives shall be taken."...

During the alleged hearing at Richmond testimony was introduced by Dr. Avard, and others, regarding the existence of "a band called 'Daughters of Zion,' (afterward called the 'Danite band'), and this reminds one of the old stories told about this alleged organization, to this day. President Roberts gives the supposed oath by which Dr. Avard said the number [sic - members?] of the band were bound to secrecy, and also the constitution as presented to the court by the Doctor. He also gives an account of the "band" condensed from Joseph Smith's Journal History, from which it appears that Dr. Avard himself was the originator of the organization and that he lied when he represented to his dupes that he had authority from the heads of the Church to do what he did. By and by he began to teach his men that it was lawful for them to rob and plunder non-Mormons. As soon as the villainy of the man became known to the Church authorities, he was excommunicated, whereupon he, of course, joined the mob in conspiracy against the Church. The history of Avard is the history of so many apostates. They do wrong, and when they are rebuked they become enemies and sink lower and lower in darkness and degradation.

We quote the following from President Roberts' article in the Americana:
"A lie once hatched, how long it lives! How easy it is for people to believe what they desire established as fact! How slight the evidence needs to be in support of an untruth, if only it ministers to their prejudices! Here is the testimony of this man Avard and of Marsh and of Hyde and of Phelps, respecting the existence in the Church of the "Danite Band," the first a traitor and perjurer, if his testimony before Judge King was true; for in that event he was under oath not to reveal that which he revealed, hence a perjured man. All the world knows the worthless of such a witness.

"It is not known how far Hyde's testimony supported Marsh's statements. He merely 'knew' some of the things Marsh testified of, the rest he 'believed to be true.' After the Church was safely settled in Illinois, Orson Hyde returned to the Church, confessed his errors, made amends as far as lay in him the power, and was reinstated in the church and in his office. In later years he said in tears to his friend John Taylor, that he would give his life if only recollection of his support to Marsh's affidavit could be wiped out.

Phelps in a deeply repentant spirit returned to the church in the summer of 1840; humbly made acknowledgment of his errors in Missouri, and was forgiven by the church and reinstated in his standing. Even Marsh returned to the church. He was baptized at Florence, Nebraska, in July, 1857, and the same year moved to the main body of the church in Utah, where for several years he lived upon the bounty of the very people he had betrayed, a poor, shattered, broken down old man. On several occasions, in public as well as in private, he said: "If any of you want to see the effects of apostasy, look upon me."
President Roberts, as may be seen from this very imperfect review, in the present installment of his history of the Church, deals with a critical period of that history. We hope the Latter-day Saints generally will subscribe for the magazine and read the contribution of President Roberts...

Note: Thus the editor of the Deseret News finally met (and neatly side-stepped) the challenge presented by the Salt Lake Tribune of Sept. 21, 1909, to address the Missouri "Danite" origins controversy with contemporary LDS apologetics. None of this indirect reply, however, proved that Orson Hyde, Thomas B. Marsh, W. W. Phelps, John Corrill, Reed Peck, Justus Morse, or other Caldwell County Mormons of 1838 ever provided controverting testimony, in order to refute (or replace) their original statements regarding the origin and development of the Danites.


The  Progress-Review.

Vol. XVIIII                    Filmore, Utah,  Friday, April 12, 1912.                    No. 15.

John W. Rigdon  Dies.

The name Rigdon, as all who are acquainted with church history will remember, is one of the most prominent in early church history.

John Wycliffe Rigdon who died Friday night was the second son of Sidney Rigdon, who from the time of the organization of the first presidency of the church until the Carthage Jail tragedy, June 27, 1844, was first counselor to President Joseph Smith.

John W. was baptised in the City of New York, Sept. 8, 1904, and immediately came to Utah, where he has since resided, a faithful member of the church. Prior to his coming to Utah he had been following the legal profession and since his arrival in Utah has devoted much of his time to the lecture platform and was generally recognized as an able writer and speaker.

The testimony of John W. Rigdon concerning his father's relationship to the Book of Mormon was of peculiar interest. Pres. Seymour B. Young of the first council of seventies, knew the deceased well and three weeks ago interviewed him as to his knowledge regarding the truth or falsity of a statement made by some parties as to alleged help given by his father, Sidney Rigdon in assisting the Prophet in writing the Book of Mormon, and as to his knowledge of the Spaulding story in connection therewith. Pres. Young said of this interview:

"John W. Rigdon testified to me very earnestly as to this matter as follows: I asked my father Sidney Rigdon, when on his death bed, the following question: Were you acquainted with the Solomon Spaulding manuscript and was this manuscript in any way connected with the translation of the Book of Mormon or were you connected with the Prophet Joseph Smith during the translation of that book? Sidney Rigdon replied: 'I never knew anything about the Book of Mormon, nor its translation until I received a bound volume of the book from the hands of Parley P. Pratt. Up to this time I had never before heard of the Book of Mormon nor had I ever seen the Prophet Joseph Smith."

John W. Rigdon has left in writing the following testimony regarding his interview with his father, Sidney Rigdon concerning the Book of Mormon.

"I took occasion one day, being alone with my father in his room, to ask him some questions concerning the Book of Mormon. I said to him, 'Your sands of life have nearly run and it was due to his family to tell all he knew about the Book of Mormon and that he should not go down in his grave with that testimony locked in his breast. He looked at me a moment and got up from the lounge upon which he was reclining and said to me.

'My son, I will swear before God that what I have told you about the Book of Mormon is true and that I did not write it or have anything to do with its production; that Joseph Smith testified to me that an angel appeared to him and told him where to go and find the plates upon which the Book of Mormon was engraved. They were hidden in a hill near Palmyra, New York and I believe he did find them as he said. And I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and this world will find it out some day.'"

Note: The "testimony regarding his interview with his father," which John W. Rigdon was purported to have given to Elder Seymour B. Young (or which Elder Young obtained following's John's death) is not known to exist, other than in posthumous newspaper article publication. See also John's testimony of 1891, of 1900, and from 1905.



Vol. ?                    Salt Lake City, Utah,  Monday, December 30, 1912.                    No. ?

Founder of Church Known by Visitor

Peter S. Morrison Tells of Joseph Smith
as Friend and Schoolmate.

"I was a schoolmate of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, as well as of his brother Hyrum," was the introductory statement made to a representative of The Herald-Republican last night by Peter S. Morrison, who is here on his way from New York state to his home near Marysvale, Cal.

"I was born nearly a hundred years ago," continued Mr. Morrison. "While I do not remember the event, very naturally my parents told me, and it is so written in our family records, that I was born on a sailing vessel twenty days out from Glasgow, Scotland, and bound for America, March 11, 1813. I was two months old when my parents landed with me at what was then Manhattan and New York port, the voyage requiring two months and twenty days.

Mr. Morrison yesterday called upon Joseph F. Smith, president of the Mormon church, and had a long talk with him. Mr. Smith invited the aged man into the Beehive house, where he was served with an afternoon meal.

"My parents lived at Barrington, Yates county, N. Y.," said Mr. Morrison in telling his story, "and my father was killed by a horse there when I was very young. This left my mother with thirteen children to care for. In order to help her bear her heavy burden, families in that vicinity took a child each from among the older ones, and I fell to the family of Joseph Smith Sr., at Palmyra N. Y. I went to school in school season with Joseph and Hyrum Smith. I well remember that Joseph was considered somewhat of a dull pupil -- that is, whenever he took up a book to study he would soon forget all about it and go off into absent-mindedness.

His First Visions.

"I shall never forget what his father said to him when Joseph announced his first vision. His father said that he had only been dreaming; and I thought so too, knowing his peculiarity of apparently day-dreaming. But he persisted in his assertions and after a bit we all began to think seriously of the matter.

"From New York I moved to Elyria, Lorain county, Ohio, where I lived until I was 33 years old, or up to the year 1846, when I enlisted for the war with Mexico and fought under Gen. Zachary Taylor. But while living in Ohio I heard of Joseph and Hyrum and their followers being at Nauvoo, Ill., and having been told so much about their wonderful religion, my wife and myself determined to visit them. This we did in June, 1844. We had been there only a day or two when Joseph was arrested and taken to Carthage. One night in that June I became so uneasy on account of the trouble that I left the house and went to Carthage. The next day I was leaning against a fence near the jail when the mob came up. It was in the afternoon, and with me was the man who afterwards drove the team which carried Joseph Smith's body to Nauvoo. When the mob approached the jail the guards opened a space for them to pass through, and the assault began.

Scene at Jail.

"I saw Joseph Smith as he rushed to the window apparently to leap out, and saw him fall to the ground when shot while in the act of leaping.

"No I did not become a member id the Mormon church, although I had that idea in my mind when I went to visit the boys at Nauvoo. Since that time I have been thrown apart from the Mormon people and probably that in part accounts for my still remaining a nonmember.

"I was in all of Gen. Zachary Taylor's battles -- fought with him in two engagements in Texas, crossing the Rio Grande with him and afterwards going to Monterey, Mexico, where we captured the fort by storm. Inside that fort were so many prisoners that we could not care for them. The only thing to be done was to parole them and turn them loose.

Experience in Mexico..

"While we were at Monterey town, Gen. Winfield Scott came along on his march to the City of Mexico. Thinking that General Taylor had done all the fighting he had to do, General Scott took all of Taylor's regulars, leaving him with only 4000 green volunteers. When General Santa Ana discovered how Taylor had been left, he swung away from his intended course and fell upon the green volunteers. This was at Buena Vista, and Taylor with his 4000 raw men whipped Santa Ana in open battle out on the open ground, the Mexican general having 21,000 of the flower of the Mexican army. Santa Ana afterwards said that he had Taylor licked twice, but that the stubborn American didn't know it.

"After I had served my time I took 136 comrads of that war and went with them to California. It was in September, 1849, that we camped out near the lake where there was a spring of water." (From Mr. Morrison's description it must have been somewhere near where the Garfield smelter now is.) "We rested here for a day or two and Brigham Young paid us a visit or two. He and the remainder of the Mormons who came to us at the camp treated us very kindly.

"Toward the end of that year we reached California. It was when the gold excitement was at its height. I have lived there since that time, my home now being near Marysvale. I have just been to New York state to visit some of my children and I am now on my way back home. I will be 100 years old March 11, 1813."

Note: Mr. Morrison was about seven years younger than Joseph Smith, Jr., so it seems unlikely that the two boys would have had much interaction when they attended school in New York. Perhaps this is why he provides so few details concerning that experience. Interestingly enough, Morrison says nothing about any possibly associated religious claims when he recalls what he terms Joseph Smith, Jr.'s "first vision." If the time-frame for this "first vision" was in 1820, then Morrison would have been about seven years old -- if in 1824-25, Morrison would have been eleven or twelve and perhaps more likely to have taken an interest in Smith's announcement. William Smith, younger brother of Joseph, in 1884 dated the "first vision" to the period soon after his "mother, one sister," and "brothers Samuel and Hyrum became Presbyterians." Also, in 1883 William said that during this "first vision," an "angel then appeared to him [Joseph] and conversed with him upon many things. He told him that none of the sects were right." In neither of his descriptions of this "first vision" does William say that his brother was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. However, it appears that by Feb. 14, 1831, at least, Joseph Smith, Jr. was claiming to have "seen God frequently and personally."


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.

Vol. ?                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, December 20, 1913.                   No. ?

Brigham Young in His Earlier Years

The historical document published herewith, is a photographic reproduction of the commission of Prest. Brigham Young as governor of the Territory of Utah, signed by Prest. Millard Fillmore and Secy. of State Daniel Webster. It bears the date of Sept. 28, 1850. The seal of the Nation, now faded and almost beyond deciphering, can be seen faintly outlined at the lower left hand corner. The original commission hangs in the Deseret Museuem.

Interesting in this connection is a paper read some time since before the Cayuga County Historical society, published in the Auburn, N. Y. Bulletin. The paper was prepared by William Hayden of Unadilla Forks, formerly a resident of Port Byron, where Prest. Young lived in his youth. Mr. Hayden's paper was as follows:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Cayuga County Historical Society:

"In appearing before you at this time, it is not my intention to give a lengthy historic account of any single person, but simply to recall a few incidents in the lives of three individuals, former residents of this county. Some of those facts came under my personal observation, while many more were received from friends and associates of the parties concerned.

"It will be remembered that until the completion of the Erie canal, this section was to be reached only by the most primitive modes of transit -- horse and wagon, or on foot. At that time, West of Utica was considered by New England people 'the far West.' With the advent of this 'new water way' villages began to spring up along its course, affording inducements for settlement for enterprising persons from older localities.

"At Port Byron a large water power was being developed and a flouring mill then in process of erection was destined to surpass in capacity anything in the United States. This and other advantages made it especially attractive to many in search of employment and new homes.


"At about this time, three young men from different sections of the East, each possessed of more than ordinary ability, arrived in Port Byron. They soon formed an intimate acquaintance which was life lasting. They were often together and their close friendship obtained for them the appellation of the 'three wise men from the East."

"One of these was a boot and shoe maker (no ready-made foot-wear was then to be had), one was a machinist, while the third was an expert in wood work, [a] skill to which he added a general knowledge of paints and painting. The boot and shoe maker located in rooms of a new building (still standing) on the corner of Main an Rochester streets. The machinist found a small room in the corner of a saw mill where he had the advantage of water power.

"These men were soon made aware that while a new country might afford opportunities whict an older one did not, it also had its draw-backs, not incident to less recently settled sections. Having a commenced business with a small amount of capital and not being able to get pay for their labor, they soon found themselves in embarrassing circumstances and as a consequence, were obliged to suspend and to look to other fields for employment, where Dame Fortune should be more merciful to them.


"The first mentioned of these two became a founder of a business which has continued until now and has expanded until its activities today reach all portions of the civilized world, the railroad express. He also founded and endowed a college for women which has graduated some of the brightest intellects in the Nation. This school should be the pride of every citizen of Cayuga county and future generations shall honor the name of Henry Wells.

"The machinist found himself, if possible, in a worse dilemma than did his friend, the boot and shoe maker. Instead of a great rush of customers with cash in hand to pay for their work, as he had pictured, he found but few and their visits, like those of angels, were few and far between. Some brought rusty guns with broken locks to be repaired, for which they usually wished to remunerate him with the pelt of some wild prey, whose capture they anticipated, and thus desired to discount. His cash receipts meanwhile were less than sufficient to pay his board. When not engaged to work for others, he old not pass his hours in idleness. His mind and muscle were kept actively engaged day and night and, while many of his friends believed that he was pursuing a phantom, he was positive that he could construct a machine which would revolutionize a great industry and ameliorate the condition of working women.

"Having completed a model from which believed he could construct a perfect working machine, he found it necessary to remove to some locality where he could have better facilities for the completion of his work. A few months later it was announced from the Patent office that letters patent had been granted for a perfect working sewing machine and today millions in use in all parts of the world have made the name of Isaac Singer a household word.


"The third of the trio was to become as famous as his companions, being the founder and builder of a State and the head of a religious sect with followers and believers numbering hundreds of thousands from all quarters of the globe.

"Brigham found employment to do such work as might be required of him at 50 cents per day in a pail factory, then a new enterprise in this portion of the State. The factory was located on the Owasco outlet one and one half miles South of Port Byron and five miles North of Auburn, by way of State street. The building in after years for more than half a century was known as Hayden's Woolen factory, a landmark still in existence and one which many in this audience will readily call to mind.

"Brigham, as he was familiarly called, was first employed at painting wooden pails -- the work being done in a manner so satisfactory as to call forth many compliments from the proprietor, Mr. Parks. Brigham suggested that there was still a chance for improvement if the paint could be properly prepared. This, declared, could be done with slight additional expense and, once arranged for, would enable Mr. Parks to dispense with the services of one man, while the work itself would be better done


"It was agreed that Brigham was to make the improvement in one day, Mr. Parks to furnish the required material. That evening Brigham selected his lumber and at dawn of day he was found busy at his task. At noon he had a small water-wheel completed and, while the other operatives were at dinner, he drew the water from the flume, adjusted a gate and had his wheel in running order upon their return.

''His wheel had an upright shaft some five or six feet high with a slant of 35 or 40 degrees. On the top was arranged a frame to hold a large old-fashioned dinner pot, Into which the paint was put with a cannon ball weighing 25 pounds. When the wheel was set in motion it would revolve in one direction, while its slanting position would cause the ball to roll in the opposite direction. The idea was that the continued rolling of the ball would grind or pulverize the paint to the desired fineness. This improvement was pronounced by all a complete success and thereafter Brigham was consulted in regard to all proposed alterations and improvements upon the premises.

The canon ball above mentioned was captured from the British at Saratoga in 1777 by a relative of Brigham's (father or uncle) who carried it to his home more than 100 miles on foot. Brigham himself brought it from Vermont. He left it with my brother and for many years it was used to grind indigo as it had formerly ground paint. It is now in the possession of my brother, John Hayden.


"That Mr. Young was quick to discern and instantly to comprehend a situation was amply illustrated a short time after commencing his work in the factory. The floors of the factory were covered with pine shavings and the only fire protection was numerous pails in each room, filled with water. A thunder storm had begun and was fast reaching its height. As it had become too dark for work, the machinery was stopped and most of the workmen, with several outsiders, had congregated on the second floor when a most terrific crash came, throwing stove and stove pipe in all directions and filling the room with ashes and dust. Almost as quick as the lightning itself, Brigham caught up two pails of water and started for the lower floor shouting to the others still standing as if paralyzed. 'Every man get a pail of water and watch for fire!' It was conceded by all that his prompt action alone saved the building from destruction. The slight effects of this lightning stroke are still pointed out to those curious to see.

"Several persons in Port Byron and vicinity conceived the idea that it was possible to construct a perpetual motion machine, one that would produce power to run itself indefinitely, and in efforts to contrive such an apparatus had spent much time and money. Some of these came to consult Brigham on the subject, hoping to enlist his acknowledged skill in the enterprise. After spending some time in picturing to him the great pecuniary benefits and the renown of having solved a problem that had for ages baffled the skill of mechanical engineers and scientists, he was asked for his opinion as to its feasibility. In answering, Brigham smiled and, pointing to a large basket standing near, said: 'When one of you will get into that and carry himself up that flight of stairs, I will believe it possible to carry out your ideas.'


"School house debating societies were in vogue in those days and one being announced to occur in the school house near by, Brigham was invited to attend. He went with the intention of being a listener only, but was drawn in as a participant, and at the close was looked upon as the lion of the evening.

"In the course of his argument, he drew the portrait of a would-be smart young man so perfectly that one in the audience took it all to himself and springing to his feet he threw off his coat, declaring his intention to whip Brigham there and then. Older ones finally persuaded the young man to keep quiet, though he repeated his threat to do the whipping as soon as they were out of doors. Brigham, in a very calm manner, merely noticed the threat by saying that he was not a fighting man, but that if attacked, he should most assuredly defend himself and that the result must determine who had received the whipping. It is needless to say that he was not attacked.


"One incident in the life of Brigham Young of which I was an eye witness will never be effaced from my memory. Little Willie Carpenter, a lovely boy of about three years, was allowed to go and meet his father, a workman in the carding machine building about 10 rods South of the pail factory. When the little one did not return as expected, an alarm was given and a search begun. Brigham at once concluded that if the boy had fallen into the raceway, the current would have drawn him into the flume and out of sight. He immediately plunged in and, after a few moments of swimming and feeling about in the raceway, the body was found and brought out.

"The frantic mother caught the limp little body in her arms and it was sometime before Brigham could persuade her to allow him to take measures to resuscitate the child. It was too late, however for life was extinct. I have often heard it remarked afterward that Brigham shed more tears over the loss of this little child than did its own father.


"Another incident comes to mind in which Brigham was a prominent figure. The lady of the house in which several of the factory help boarded rebelled at being obliged to carry the water for culinary purposes from a spring some 30 to 40 rods distant and requested Mr. Parks to have a well dug near the house.

"Mr. Parks proposed to have it dug about 10 rods North of the house at a point where the ground was lower and argued that the expense would be proportionately less. This idea not being in harmony with the wish and convenience of the lady, a somewhat heated discussion arose and, not being able to harmonize the situation, it was finally agreed to appeal the case to Brigham. After listening to the arguments on both sides, he decided that the place for the well was near the house, assuring Mr. Parks that the fact that the ground was higher at that point was no reason why water could not be secured with no greater depth of digging, calling his attention to the fact that the spring from which water was then procured was much higher than the ground upon which the house stood.

"Mr. Parks had many excuses for not digging the well, the strongest being that no man could be found with the necessary skill to lay the stone in stoning it up. To this objection Brigham proposed that if Mr. Parks would furnish help after the close of the day's work in the factory, he would himself undertake the stoning up of the well and would guarantee its permanence.

"This generous proposition was readily accepted and work on the well speedily begun. At a little less than 20 feet a good stream of water was reached, which has continued to flow copiously until the present day. Some 10 nights of hard work for three or four hours each night and the well was completed and ready for use. Mr. Parks expressed himself as much pleased and with his customary generosity presented Brigham with a dollar which it was afterward said that Brigham tossed into the well as a thank offering. This I will not vouch for, but I do know that when the well was being cleaned some 20 years afterwards a silver Spanish dollar was found.


"While Brigham was employed in the pail factory, a young lady friend of the proprietor's family who was in the habit of visiting there was introduced to him and this was the beginning of Brigham Young's acquaintance with a very worthy young woman, Angeline Works. As their acquaintance ripened, her visits were thought to be a little more frequent, or, at least, they were noticed more. Her long walk home in the evening would have been monotonous, not to say dangerous, if indulged alone, therefore Brigham, with characteristic gallantry, used to accompany her, her home being distant from his boarding place about four miles, or one mile South of Throopsville.

"As might have been expected, only a few of these long walks were enjoyed before arrangements for marriage were entered into and on the morning of the wedding day, while we were at our breakfast, a sharp rap called my father to the door. A short conversation ensued, after which father and his visitor went to the barn and soon we saw Brigham drive out of the yard with our horse and wagon. (Buggies and carriages were then unknown luxuries in that section.) My mother wished to know why father would allow Brigham to take his horse when his rule was to refuse it to all enquiring young men. His reply was that Brigham was not like most young men, for he knew enough to use a horse and not abuse it and, besides that, he was going to bring home a bride. The last idea was a conundrum to me, but was explained and always remembered.

"Wedding trips to Washington or other distant places had not at that time been invented, so in a few days Brigham and his wife were installed in the house near the new well, the family formerly living there having moved.


"Were Mr. Young alive and here as a listener, I do not think that he would object to my giving you a brief description of the house and its surroundings. Having occupied the house more than a score of years myself, during the first years of which with my young wife, the house was just as it had been in former years, I may speak as an authority.

"This section was originally covered with a heavy growth of heavy timber, mostly hemlock on the hills, which had been recently cut away, leaving at the time of which I write, the ground nearly covered with stumps. The house was a frame building 13 feet wide and 24 feet in length, a short story and a half high, devoid of paint inside or out, standing with the end toward the road nearly opposite the old factory and directly in front of the old bridge crossing the outlet between Throopsville and Port Byron.

"In the East end was an old-fashioned fire place and large chimney, with stairway on one side and a small pantry on the other. Two rooms were partitioned off on the West end for bedrooms, being about seven feet square. The intervening space was parlor, sitting-room, dining-room and kitchen combined The lower rooms of the house were roughly mastered but were without the luxury of a cellar.

"This house, being but little inferior to the best, and much superior to many in the neighborbood, we had no reason for complaint, but rather much to be thankful for in the comforts it afforded.


"Brigham was accounted a great reader, the Bible receiving the first and greatest share of his attention, after which ancient history and the weekly paper claimed his interest, dailies not being printed at that time. Sunday afternoon when the weather was suitable, he would usually be seen with his books occupying a rustic seat under a large sycamore tree beside the creek.

"After working in the pail factory about two years, Mr. Parks, the proprietor, died, and, not being certain of steady employment, Brigham accepted a good offer to work at the boat yard in Port Byron and moved to that village. Here he was soon put in charge of certain portions of the work of building boats for the Erie canal and would often be sent into the wood with gangs of men to select timber suitable for the work.

"In after years I have heard the proprietors of the boat-yard say that Brigham would do more work in a given time and better work from his help without trouble than any man they had ever employed.

"While engaged in boat building, the air became filled with rumors of a new revelation, to the effect that a new Bible written upon golden plates had been dug out of the earth at Palmyra, a canal village 25 miles west of Port Byron. Each day brought new accounts of the wonder and each account would differ from its predecessor. Finally Brigham determined to investigate for himself, expecting to be able to expose it as a fraud.

"Accordingly, on a Saturday morning he boarded a west-bound canal boat and Sunday morning found him in Palmyra, where he spent the day with those who had been investigating the subject. Becoming interested, he spent several succeeding Sundays in like manner and, instead of exposing the new teaching as a fraud as he had anticipated doing, he became a firm convert to the doctrines there expounded."

"In a conversation with the late D. B. Smith, for many years one of the leading merchants of Cayuga county and an intimate acquaintance of Brigham, he remarked to me with emphasis that Brigham Young was as fine a specimen of young manhood as he has ever known, one that would have made his mark in whatever community his lot might have been cast.

"Mr. Young having been called upon to remove to Ohio at a date earlier than he had anticipated, was obliged to do as his two friends had done when they bade farewell to Port Byron, following also a precedent which was largely a custom in those days, i. e., to leave a few unpaid bills behind him. Before leaving, however, Mr. Young called upon each and all of his creditors, obtaining from each the amount of his indebtedness and assuring each that he would receive the same, he bade them a friendly good bye. Friends in Port Byron occasionally received letters of remembrance from him and in the Spring of 1866 a son was sent with a list of such debts, all of which were duly paid with a goodly amount of interest.

"As regards Brigham's political opinions, I remember but little. My early recollections would lead me to conclude that the strife between contending parties waxed as warm as in later years. One little incident may be related in which Brigham was the star actor. He was a great favorite with the small boys then quite numerous in the pail factory neighborhood. Having on this occasion collected what would in the parlance of to-day be called 'a pack of kids' (the narrator was one of them) he took them onto the bridge and arranged them in a row and after making them a short speech on good manners for boys, he ordered all to take their hats in their hands and do as he did and to holloa as loudly as possible. 'Now, all at once, swing your hats and hurrah for Andrew Jackson.' "

Note 1: The above telling of Brigham Young's stay at Hayden's Mills (Auburn) is the most lengthy and detailed account available from that early period in President Young's career. As it comes from an eye witness and was evidently never questioned by the Young family, it can be accepted as a fairly accurate set of recollections. The mentions of Henry Wells and Isaac Singer are barely informative, and it appears that Mr. Hayden did not know either of those two men very well. However, he identifies the trio of 1820s Port Byron residents as sharing a "close friendship" that brought them "often together." In Susa Young Gates' 1929 radio address (later published as a pamphlet under the title Brigham Young Patriot, Pioneer, Prophet and Leader of the Latter Day Saints) the narrator spoke of Brigham's early associates and listed "Among these friends... Henry Wells of Wells-Fargo fame."For more on Wells, see George Arms' 1941 article, "The Story of Henry Wells," in Americana, XXXV (1941) pp. 249ff.

Note 2: Most 19th and 20th century LDS renditions of Brigham Young's biography omit the c. 1827 episode mentioned by William Hayden, regarding Brigham's trip to Palmyra to investigate Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon; even the LDS Young Woman's Journal of July 1904, which quotes extensively from Hayden's address, leaves out Brigham's reported investigative trips to Palmyra. Perhaps this was because the Mormon writers deduced that Brigham had moved his family to Oswego on Lake Ontario by that time, and so they mistrusted Hayden's recollection. The story is feasible, however. In an address given in Salt Lake City, on April 6, 1855, Brigham is reported to have said "I was somewhat acquainted with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, not only through what I read in the newspapers, but I also heard a great many stories and reports which were circulated as quick as the Book of Mormon was printed, and began to be scattered abroad." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 249.) Of course the Book of Mormon was not yet published during the period when Brigham resided at Port Byron -- and the first proof sheets from Grandin's printing office were just barely being circulated when Brigham left Oswego, for temporary residence in Mendon and Canandaigua, at the end of the 1820s. The time period for Brigham's personal recollections of this matter should probably be restricted to late 1827 through early 1830. In an interview with the New York Sun's reporter, Melville D. Landon, in 1877, Brigham reportedly said: "when I was 26 old -- this was in 1827, and I was living on [Ontario] Lake -- I picked up a Palmyra newspaper one day and read this paragraph: 'A young man named Joseph Smith, formerly of Palmyra, but now living in Manchester, N. Y., claims to have received a spiritual revelation from God. They say a messenger from God has visited Smith in person, surrounded by a halo of glory, and given him information in regard to the aboriginal prophets of this continent. The angel delivered to Smith six golden plates, engraved with Egyptian characters. These characters, when translated, go to show that Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, appeared on this continent, had American apostles and prophets, and that one of these prophets wrote an account of Christ's doings in America and hid it in the earth.'" -- Although Brigham may have have come across such news as early as 1827, he could not have read any such report in a Palmyra newspaper until the Aug. 11, 1829 issue of the Palmyra Freeman was printed.

Note 3: President Young need not have depended entirely upon the newspapers to hear that "a new revelation... written upon golden plates had been dug out of the earth at Palmyra," however. His friend Henry Wells had a mother-in-law living in Palmyra at the time -- and evidently in the very house Joseph Smith, Sr. had occupied before moving a couple of miles south to a farm in nearby Manchester. Wells gave an account of his traveling (in company with his wife and mother-in-law) that same short distance, in what must have been late 1827 or early 1828, to speak with Lucy Mack Smith: "Mr. Wells made of this an errand on which to visit their [the Smiths'] house, and with his wife and her mother, rode some two miles to their humble dwelling.... He then asked to see the notorious plates.... The volume of plates was encased in a cotton bag, which he was not permitted to open.... He thought they did not possess the weight of metallic plates, but conjectured that they were slate stone." If Brigham received similar first-hand information from an acquaintance (such as Henry Wells), it is not unreasonable for the reader to believe that he would have gone to Palmyra and "spent the day with those who had been investigating the subject," or to accept the possibility that he "spent several succeeding Sundays in like manner."

Note 4: Late in 1830 Brigham moved to Canandaigua township, a few miles south of the Joseph Smith, Sr. farm, in Ontario County, in order to work on a domestic construction job for Jonathan Mack. That temporary relocation placed Brigham in very close proximity to his future superior in the Mormon Quorum of Twelve, Elder Thomas B. Marsh. Elders Martin Harris and Hyrum Smith lived almost within walking distance of Brigham Young's residence. Harris, Smith and Marsh were all zealous proselytizers at that time. Harris was then preaching Mormonism in the Canandiagua newspaper office of W. W. Phelps (who would soon convert to the new sect) and Joseph Smith, Sr. was holding Sunday services at the Canandaigua jail. Joseph Smith, Jr., Samuel H. Smith, Ezra Thayer and other Mormon preachers were active in the area. It hardly seems possible that Brigham Young could have avoided the Mormonism phenomenon while living in Canandaigua. Like Phelps, he was probably already a convert before seeking baptism and traveling to Kirtland to "gather with the saints."


The Ogden Standard

Vol. 49.                         Ogden, Utah, Tuesday, July 8, 1919.                         No. 162.


F. S. Kellogg, 506 Twenty-third street, has received one of his old-home papers, of Montrose, Pennsylvania, giving the following account of the burning of the home of Joseph Smith, the prophet.

The Susquehanna Ledger publishes the following article referring to the destruction of the "Prophet" Joe Smith's ont-time home:

"Late Monday night the old house near McKune's, which at one time was occupied by the Prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, was destroyed by fire.

"The house was unoccupied and the cause of the blaze is unknown. Erie employes at work in the Oklahoma yards discovered the fire. It was impossible to save the historic building.

"Just when the house was erected is not known. It was in the early '40s [sic - '20s?] that Prophet Joseph Smith occupied the house. He went to live there with his young bride, and according to Mormon history he spent most of his time copying from the mysterious gold plates what is now the Mormon bible.

"Prophet Joseph Smith was shot to death in a jail in Carthage, Mo., in 1844, and his followers liken his tragic end to that of Christ who died on the cross.

"Hyrum Smith, a brother of the prophet, met the same fate. The brothers were both killed by the same mob.

"Mormon history says that the men who killed the Smith boys were white persecutors who had blackened their faces to appear as negroes."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXXI.                       Brigham City, Utah,  Tuesday, June 30, 1925.                       No. 24.


Church Erects Splendid Monument In Honor of
this Noted Pioneer and Churchman.

Fifty years ago on Friday July 10, Martin Harris one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, died at Clarkston, Cache County Utah. In honor of his memory the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has erected a beautiful marble shaft at that place, and on July 10th this year, this monument will be dedicated and appropriate services held in honor of the occasion.

The bottom base of this monument, which was furnished by Jos. Parry & Sons Co. of Ogden, is 4 feet four inches square and two feet high, and of Utah granite. The second base is 3 feet 3 inches square, one foot high, and the die is 2 feet four inches square and 2 feet four inches high, upon which rests the shaft, one foot eight inches square, 10 feet high to the cap, all of Rock of Ages granite. A space was cut in the center of the bottom base, in which was placed a sealed copper box containing a copy of the testimony of Martin Harris. These records were inclosed and sealed in the base for preservation. The setting of the monument was completed Saturday by Messrs. James H. Martin and John Parry of Ogden, who passed through Brigham Sunday on their return from completing the work.

On the face of the die is the following wording: "Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Born Eastown, Saratoga County, New York, May 18, 1783. Died Clarkston, Cache County, Utah. July 10, 1875.

Following is the last testimony by Martin Harris:

"It was in Clarkston, Utah, July 1875.

"Early in the morning a thought come to my mind that I would go and see how Brother Harris was feeling. It was only three blocks from my home. I heard he was not feeling well. People came from other towns to see Brother Harris, and hear him bear his testimony on the Book of Mormon. But when I arrived, there were two men present. Brother Harris lay on his bed leaning on his elbow. I said, "How are you?" Brother Harris answered slowly, "Pretty well." "We came to hear your testimony on the Book of Mormon." "Yes," he said in a loud voice, as he sat up in bed, "I wish that I could speak loud enough that the whole world could hear my testimony. Brother stand over so I can see you." Then he stretched out his hand and said, "Brother I believe there is an angel to hear what I shall tell you, and you shall never forget what I shall say. The Prophet, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and myself went into a little grove to pray to obtain a promise that we should behold it with our own eyes. That we could testify of it to the world. We prayed two or three times and a length the Angel stood before Oliver and David, and showed them the plates. But behold I had gone by myself to pray and in my desperation I asked the Prophet to kneel down with me, and pray for me, that I may also see the plates. And we did so and immediately the Angel stood before me and said, "look" and when I glanced at him I fell; but I stood on my feet and saw the Angel turn the golden leaves over, and I said, "It is enough my Lord and my God!" Then I heard the voice of God say the Book is true, and translate correctly." He then turned himself as tho he had no more to say; and we made ready to go. But he spoke again and said, "I will tell you [another] wonderful thing that happened after Joseph had found the plates. Three of us took some tools to go to the hill and hunt for some more boxes, of gold or something, and indeed we found a stone box. We got quite excited about it and dug quite carefully around it, and we were ready to take it up, but behold by some unseen power the box slipped back into the hill. We stood there and looked at it and one of us took a crow bar and tried to drive it through the lid and hold it, but the bar glanced off and broke off one corner of the box. Some time that box will be found and you will see the corner broken off and then you will know I have told the truth. Again, Brother, as sure as you are standing here and see me, just so sure did I see the golden plates in his hand; and he showed them to me. I have promised that I will bear witness of this truth, both here and hereafter!" His lips trembled and tears came into his eyes. I should liked to have asked one more question, but I failed to do so. But I refrained myself and shook hands and thanked him and left.

"When I think of the day I stood before Martin Harris, and saw him stretch forth his hand and raise his voice and bear his testimony the feeling that thrilled my whole being, I can never forget, nor can I express the joy that filled my soul. This is a true statement."
                        "Signed Ole A. Jensen."
"The two other brethren are John Godfrey and James Keep."

Note: The Martin Harris statement was previously published on the front page of the Dec. 13, 1918 issue of the Afton, Wyoming Star Valley Independent, under the heading: "Testamony as to Divinity of The Book of Mormon," and subscribed: "Copied by Lettie D Campbell, at Fairview, Wyoming, December 4, 1918."


Vol. 84.                         Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, July 15, 1933.                        No. ?

Testimony of Thomas Godfrey

On July 2, 1933, three men, residents of Clarkston, Cache Co., Utah: one 86 years old, and the others 79, and 77, all of whom had known Martin Harris, and had listened to him bear his testimony in regards to the Book of Mormon, appeared before a large congregation, and with Judge Jesse P. Rich of Logan as notary public, gave sworn affidavits to this effect. These men were Thomas Godfrey, 86; John E. Godfrey, 79, his brother; and John Buttars, 77.

The statements of these men, sworn to and signed before Judge Rich on July 2, 1933, and which have been placed on file in the Church Historian's office, are as follows:

STATE OF UTAH } ss.          
County of Cache }               
Thomas Godfrey, being duly sworn deposes and says, that he is 86 years old and of sound mind and memory, and that he is a resident of Clarkston, Cache County, Utah, and has been since 1866. That he met Martin Harris early in the year of 1875. That he saw him on a number of occasions and on one occasion in particular he visited him in company with a number of others, and asked him whether or not he believed the BOOK OF MORMON to be true, and he answered:

"No, I don't believe anything about it. Knowledge supersedes belief. I know it is true. I saw the angel and saw the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated and heard the voice of God declare it was translated correctly. " He said this so that all present could hear.

On another occasion I heard him talk about his visit to Professor Charles Anthon, and this is his story: "I drove a team from Western New York to New York City and presented the characters to him, taken from the plates of the Book of Mormon, and the Professor made the statement that they were the best characters of Egyptian, and the translation accompanying it was also the best he had ever seen, and he gave me a statement to that effect. Then he asked me where the original was and I told him that an angel gave them to a young man in Western New York state. He then asked for the statement. Thinking he was going to add something to it, I handed it to him, and the Professor tore it up, saying that there were no angels and to bring the plates to him and he would translate them. I told him I could not bring them because part of them were sealed, and he said, 'No one can read a sealed book.' I then went to Professor Mitchell, and this learned man also coroborated the statement that had previously been made by Professor Anthon." Martin Harris said he then went home satisfied that it was the truth.
{s} Thomas Godfrey        
Swore to and subscribed before me this 2nd day of July, 1933
{s} Jesse P. Rich        
Jesse P. Rich, City Judge      
Logan, Utah        

Note: Page 171 of Vol. 37 (1933) Liahona: The Elder's Journal, contains these additional affidavits:

[Affidavit of John E. Godfrey, dated June 2, 1933] ... STATE OF UTAH County of Cache -- AFFIDAVIT -- John E. Godfrey, being duly sworn deposes and says that in the spring of 1875 in the month of May, one beautiful spring morning as I walked down in the town, I met William Sparks and Samuel Stewart, and we passed the morning with one another and I asked, "Where are you going, brethren," and they said "We are going to hear Martin Harris bear his testimony. Come and go with us." I accepted of this invitation and we went down to where Martin Harris lived. He was then living in a log house with a dirt roof and as we knocked on the door, his daughter-in-law answered it and we told her what our errand was, and she said, "Come in, brethren, and we walked in and she said to Martin Harris, "Grandpa, some of the brethren have come to hear you bear your testimony, and Martin Harris said, "All right,brethren, I am pleased to have you come." He was seated in one corner of the house, and was very feeble. As he straightened himself up, he shook hands with us and said, "Come and sit close to me so that I can see you." One of the brethren said, "Brother Harris, we have come to hear you bear your testimony in regard to the Book of Mormon." He said, "I am pleased to have you come, and I wish I could bear my testimony to the whole world." -- "The Prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdrey [Cowdery], and David Whitmer and myself went into the woods to pray that we might have the privilege of seeing the golden plates. We bowed our heads in prayer, but we seemed to be praying with no results. The prophet was the spokesman. He prayed with no results twice, then I withdrew from them, telling them that it was on my account that their prayer was not answered. After they had been visited by the angel, the Prophet then came over to me where I was praying, and I asked the Prophet to pray with me so that I might have the privilege also of seeing the golden plates, and after praying some time, the angel appeared with the golden plates and I saw with these two eyes the angel stand with the gold plates in his hands, and I saw him turn leaf by leaf the plates of gold, and I also heard the voice of the lord saying that these words were true and translated correctly." -- One of the brethren who visited Martin Harris asked him as my brother, Thomas Godfrey, did if he believed the Book of Mormon to be true, and he said, "No, I KNOW it is true." -- I was standing in back of one of the other brethren, and while Martin Harris was bearing his testimony, I have never had such a feeling go over me from my head to my feet. I had never had such a feeling in my life, and I knew that Martin Harris was bearing a faithful testimony. -- I am 79 years of age, I came to Clarkston in 1865, and have lived here ever since. I was 21 years of age when I heard Martin Harris bear his testimony. /s/ John E. Godfrey -- Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2nd day of June, 1933, A.D. -- /s/ Jesse P. Rich -- Jesse P. Rich, City Judge -- Logan, Utah.

AFFIDAVIT OF JOHN BUTTARS -- STATE OF UTAH County of Cache -- John Buttars, being duly sworn deposes and says that I am now of the age of 77 years. I have been a resident for 63 years of Clarkston. Thomas Godfrey, William Sparks and myself went to visit Martin Harris in the winter or spring of 1875, as I remember. At that time Thomas Godfrey asked Martin Harris if he believed the Book of Mormon to be true, and he said, "No, I don't believe it to be true, I know it is true." Then he stated the conversation as Thomas Godfrey has given it in his affidavit which has just been read to me, and the statement as Thomas Godfrey has given it, is true to the best of my knowledge. /s/ John Buttars -- Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2nd day of July, 1933. -- /s/ Jesse P. Rich -- City Judge of Logan City, Utah


Vol. 84.                         Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, April 28, 1934.                        No. ?


Thomas B. Marsh -- First
President of The Twelve


His Life a Warning to the Saints

In this first of a series of articles on the
Apostles of the Church, the subject is
Thomas B. Marsh, First President of
the Council of the Twelve.

The name of Thomas B. Marsh is prominent in the early history of the Church. He was an early convert to its doctrines an early associate of the Prophet Joseph Smith; was chosen as on of the first apostles, and when that group assumed their positions he became the first president of that body.

Yet all of his accomplishments and activities are belittled by the one great lesson which the Iife of this apostle of the new dispensation brings home to the membership of the Church. This lesson is a warning to the people of the Church, "not to feel too secure, but to take heed lest they also should fall * * * for before you think of it your steps will slide.

His Own Words

These words quoted are those actually spoken by Thomas B. Marsh before an audience in the Tabernacle [sic - Bowery?], September 6, 1857. As he stood at the pulpit of that great edifice, begging for the forgiveness of his hearers for the transgressions that had befallen him, this once stalwart supporter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, now an acknowledged beaten man, voiced this solemn warning to beware against feeling too secure.

It was the voice of experience speaking.

He testified on this momentous occasion that he had seen the hand of the Lord in the chastisement he had received. "I have seen and known that it has proved he loved me, for if he had not cared anything about me he would not have taken me by the arm and given me such a shaking. If there are any among this people who should ever apostatize and do as I have done, prepare your backs for a good whipping, * * * but if you will take my advice you will stand by the authorities, but if you go away and the Lord loves you as much as he did me, he will whip you back again."

Another Warning

Another solemn warning he gave at the same time reads.

"I meddled with that which was not my business. But let me tell you, my brethren and friends, if you do not want to suffer in body and mind as I have done, if there are any of you that have the seeds of apostacy in you, do not let them make their apearance, but nip that spirit in the bud, for it is misery and affliction in this world and destruction in the world to come."

Thomas B. Marsh was born, November 1, [1799], in Acton, Middlesex county, Mass. His early life was one of varied experience, and was spent mostly in New Hampshire and Vermont with some time in New York. It was while in New York City in 1820 that he met and married Elizabeth Godkin. Soon after his marriage a grocery venture failed and he moved to Boston, where he was employed in a type foundry for seven years.

It was while in this city that the spiritual nature of the man asserted itself and he joined the Methodist church. In this creed he saw conflicts with the teachings in the Bible and subsequently withdrew.

His Conversion

His conversion to Mormonism is interesting. He made a trip westward from Boston and when at Lyonstown, N. Y., he heard for the first time the story of the finding of "Golden Plates" by a youth named Joseph Smith. He changed his direction going then to Palmyra where he located Martin Harris in the printing office of E. B. Grandin, publisher of the Book of Mormon. Sixteen pages of the book had been set and proofs pulled.

When Martin Harris learned of the his interest of his visitor he took him to the home of Joseph Smith, Sr., where he found Oliver Cowdrey, who gave him further information about the Book of Mormon. He remained there two days and left then for his home in Massachusetts highly pleased with the information he had received and taking with him a proof sheet of the first sixteen pages of the Book of Mormon. These he showed to his wife and she too believed them to be the Word of God,

Joins Church

From that time until he learned of the organization of the Church he corresponded with Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith and made preparations to move to the west. After the organization of the Church he immediately moved to Palmyra and was baptized by David Whitmer in Cayuga in September of 1830.

From that time on, until his apostacy in 1838 his history is closely connected with the history of the Church. He spent much of his time in missionary service, his first mission coming after his ordaination as a High Priest in June 1831, at which time he was appointed to go to Missouri and preach the Gospel on the way. He returned the next spring to New York and preached the Gospel there until the fall at which time he returned to Jackson county, Mo., as the leader of a small band of Saints.

In Missouri

He resided in Missouri, until the spring of 1834, but had only been there a few months until he, with the other Saints in Jackson county were driven from their homes by the mobs. He wintered in Lafayette county and in the spring of 1834 when he learned of the approach of Zion's camp, he moved to Clay county where he lived when the camp arrived.

In January 1835, he left Clay county for Kirtland where he was chosen and ordained one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church. His missionary activities then took him into the Eastern states, then into Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.

An evidence of his strength as a Church leader and the high regard in which he was held is his activity in Kirtland in 1837 where he tried to reconcile some of the Twelve and others of high standing who had come out in opposition to the Prophet. Soon after he accompanied Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on a mission to Canada, and later proceeded to Missouri where he arrived in October.

His Apostasy

Elder Marsh and David W. Patten were appointed presidents pro tem of the Church in Missouri, February 10, 1838. About the time of the persecutions against the Saints in Caldwell county, in August, 1838, Thomas B. Marsh became disaffected and became a traitor to his brethren. He soon moved away to Clay county and then to Richmond, Ray county and was finally excommunicated from the Church at a conference held in Quincy, Ill., March 17, 1839.

Concerning his apostacy and his recomcilliation, Thomas B. Marsh said on the occasion of his appearance in the Tabernacle, in 1857:

"I have frequently wanted to know how my apostacy begun, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have lost the Spirit of the Lord out of my heart.

Loses Spirit

"The next question is, 'how and when did you lose the Spirit?' I became jealous of the Prophet, and then I saw double and overlooked everything that was right, and spent all my time in looking for the evil, and then when the devil began to lead me it was easy for the carnal mind to rise up, which is anger, jealousy and wrath. I could feel it within me: I felt angry and wrathful and the Spirit of the Lord being gone, as the Scriptures say, I was blinded and I thought I saw a beam in Brother Joseph's eye, but it was nothing but a mote, and my own eye was filled with the beam! but I thought I saw a beam in his, and I wanted to get it out, and, as Brother Heber says, I got mad and I wanted everybody else to be mad like myself, and I saw they were not mad and I got mader still because they were not.

"Brother Brigham, with a cautious look, said, 'Are you the leader of the Church, Brother Thomas?' I answered, 'No.' 'Well then,' said he, 'Why do you not let that alone?'

"Well, this is about the amount of my hypocrisy; I meddled with that which was not my business. But let me tell you, my brethren and friends, if you do not want to suffer in body and mind as I have done, if there are any of you that have the seeds of apostacy in you, do not let them let them bud, for it is misery and affliction in this world and destruction in the world to come.

Blames Self

I know that I was a very stiffnecked man, and I felt for the first four or five years especially, that I would never return to the Church, but towards the latter part of the time I began to wake up and to be senisible that I was being chastised by the Almighty * * *

"I then thought I will go back and see if the Lord will heal me, for I am of the seed of Ephraim, and I felt troubled from that day * * *

"After forming this resolution I tried to get an outfit, and I kept trying for two or three years, for I did not want to come hear sick, lame, decrepid, and dependent and therefore I kept on trying, but instead of gaining, I was like the man that undertook to climb the tree. I slipped down further than I got up. I then thought to myself, I am getting old, and every year makes me older and weaker, and if I do not start I shall soon die, and then whose fault will it be?

Concludes to Come

"I concluded it would be my own fault if I stayed. I therefore said, I will go now. That was last Jauuary. I looked round a few days to see what I could raise, and I raised five dollars and ten cents, and I said: 'Lord, if you will help me, I will go.' I felt that he would, therefore I started with but five dollars and ten cents, from Harrison county, Missouri, to come all the way to this valley.

"I knew that I could not come here with that small sum, and I did not see how I was to get any more, but before I got out of the State the Lord had changed my fortune, and I had $55.05. I then concluded with myself that the Lord was with me, but still I had some hardships for I traveled on foot in some severely cold weather, and I found that my chastisement was not over, notwithstanding the favor of the Lord in helping me to some means. * * *

Reaches Winter Quarters

"When I got to Florence, or Winter Quarters, where I had to stay waiting for an opportunity to cross the plains, I read many of the publications and works of the Church and became strengthened and informed in regard to the Priesthood of the Son of God. Although I knew something about the Priesthood before, so far as the theory was concerned, yet I discovered that I had never properly understood it, and hence I feel that my faith is greatly strengthened.

"I wanted to get posted up and see what the 'Mormons' had learned since I left them, and I learned very much by reading the discourses that had been preached here. * * *

"I have come here to get good society, to get your fellowship; I want your fellowship; I want your God to be my God, and I want to live with you for ever, in time and eternity. I never want to forsake the people of God any more. I want to have your confidence, and I want to be one in the house of God. * * *

"God is at the head of this kingdom, and he has sustained it. I was along in the start of it, and then Joseph was the little one, but, as the scriptures say, 'The little one shall become a thousand and the small one a strong nation,' and Joseph lived to become a thousand, and this people are fast becoming a strong nation. * * *

"I see the propriety of God's vesting the authority in one man and in having a head, or something tangible to see, hear, and understand the mind and will of God.

"When I saw this I said, it is consistent. Christ is the great head of the Church. Christ is the head of his Church in the same relationship as every head is to the body to which it belongs, for every head must have eyes to see, a mouth to speak, and ears to hear.

"Well, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and he has got a man to represent him on the earth, viz. President Brigham Young. Jesus Christ is still the head of the Church and his will to man on the earth is known by means of the mouthpiece of God, the prophet, and seer. * * *"

After this testimony of a man who had felt the chastening hand of God in his transgression and had acknowleged his wrong doing, the assembled congregation voted to receive Thomas B. Marsh back into the Church in full fellowship.

He acknowledged his lesson and had availed himself of an opportunity to pass it on as a warning to the Church: "Do not feel too secure, for before you think of it, your steps will slide."

Thomas B. Marsh moved to Ogden and died a few years later as an invalid. His grave for many years was marked with a wooden slab, 'T. B. M.,' but now an attractive headstone marks the final resting place of the man who had the courage to come back to his Church and add his dying testimony to the truthfulness of the mission of Joseph Smith. -- H.A.S.

Note 1: The 1934 Deseret News writer neglected to state exactly what Marsh's 1838 "transgression" and "wrong doing" consisted of. Presumably Marsh broke the rules of the Mormon Church by moving away to Clay County, Missouri and refusing to obey the counsel of the church leaders. His later court testimony against Joseph Smith, Jr. and others came after his disappearance from Far West, and so that desertion itself may have resulted in his initial disfellowshiping. Marsh's formal excommunication did not come until the end of the Mormons' March 17, 1839 Quincy Conference. Evidently the charge against him at that time was that he sought to "betray Jesus Christ," "betray the revelations of God," betray his brethren, etc.

Note 2: The 1856 "milk story" given by George A. Smith, purporting to explain Marsh's slipping into apostacy, would have hardly been sufficient reason for his total abandonment of the Mormon cause (see Smith's "Discourse," Deseret News April 16, 1856, p. 44). It appears likely that George A. Smith injected the Thomas B. Marsh story into his April 1856 Conference talk in anticipation of Marsh's probable application for re-admission into the Mormon Church. Some time after Marsh's wife left him (she remained in Missouri for a while but eventually moved to California, where she died in 1878), he penned a strange, flamboyant "revelation" and sent it to Brigham Young. Alerted in 1856 to Marsh's possible, problematic arrival in Utah, Brigham may have called upon George A. Smith to divert saintly attention away from Marsh's real reasons for leaving the Mormons in 1838.

Note 3: Published reviews of Thomas B. Marsh's life have been few, far between, and largely superficial. He is one important early Mormon whom historians have been prone to bypass and thus his contributions to the "latter day work" have gone unnoticed. One of the most significant events in Marsh's life was his Oct. 24, 1838 testimony concerning the Mormon "Danites." The historical details supplied by Marsh in his affidavit are supported by multiple, independent sources and are incompatible with the notion of Sampson Avard having organized the Danites without the LDS First Presidency's informed authorization and explicit direction (see chapter 3 of Stephen C. LeSueur's 1987 The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri). In a Dec. 16, 1910 article a Salt Lake Tribune writer misrepresented B. H. Roberts' conclusions, by stating: "Mr. Roberts speaks of the fact that Thomas B. Marsh was excommunicated from the church because of his connection with the Danite band..." This presupposes that Marsh was an actual, initiated member of the Danites (whose origins Roberts attributes to Dr. Avard). Of course Roberts objected to this characterization of his reporting, but there is a germ of truth in the Tribune's accusation: had Marsh adopted the same stance in regard to late 1830s Mormon militancy as did David Patton, Lyman Wight, etc., he probably would have remained in full, saintly fellowship.

Note 4: A chapter in Elder Joseph E. Robinson's 1940 serialized "Road to Zion" provides a typical 20th century assessment of Marsh: "Enemies long pointed to an affidavit made by Thomas B. Marsh, president of the council of the Twelve Apostles, in 1838, as their proof that the Danites came into existence under the authority of Joseph Smith. Marsh had become disgruntled over some trivial matter and left the fold. A short time later he made a statement under oath that the Mormons 'have among them a company called Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong....' Orson Hyde, another church leader... attested to the truth of Marsh's affidavit. -- Some impartial historians express belief that Marsh and Hyde, fallen into the hands of Mormon haters, were forced to sign their statements under threat of death... Hyde and Marsh did renounce their affidavits..." Robinson did not take the trouble to cite the date, content, or location of these purported affidavit renunciations, however.


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, August 31, 1935.                        No. ?

Ancestry of Orrin Porter Rockwell


It is a difficult task today to penetrate the veil obscuring the ancestral back-ground of the early founders of this Church. Unless families have well preserved records of these earlier generations, a great amount of searching must be done before success can be attained in finding the progenitors of these Church founders.

In each issue of the Genealogical and Historical Magazine appears an article entitled Early Church Families. Pedigrees of Church members are being compiled for publication in this series...

In the October issue an account will be given, among others, of the ancestry of Orrin Porter Rockwell, a picturesque and daring character of early church history. Nothing has apparently been published in our histories as to the parentage of this man, yet he was one of the earliest converts to the Church. Even before its organization, the Prophet Joseph and his father and mother were frequent visitors in the home of Porter's parents and at such times the boy listened with delight to all that was said. He even begged his mother to allow him to sit up and keep the pine torch burning, their only source of light in the evening. Orrin Porter Rockwell and Martin Harris, as well as his own father and mother, were baptized shortly after the Church was organized on April 6, 1830. Even before this he had been so interested that he picked berries by moonlight and sold them, giving the money to the Prophet to help print the Book of Mormon. He also gathered and sold wood for the same purpose.

Associate of Prophet

Much has been said and written of the career of Orrin Porter Rockwell, a great deal of which is untrue and much of the rest highly exaggerated from distorted facts. For a time in Nauvoo the Prophet was very closely associated with him and when he was recording in "The Book of the Law of the Lord" the names of those who had proved "most faithful" he entered there the name of Orrin Porter Rockwell with this comment: "He is an innocent and noble boy; he was an innocent and noble child, and my soul loves him. Let this be recorded for ever and ever. Let a blessing of salvation and honor be his portion."

Many years after Porter Rockwell's death, a patriarch in bestowing a blessing on his third wife, Christina Olsen Rockwell, stated that she had one of God's noble sons for her husband, and added, "The Lord has been merciful unto him in doing the good deeds that he did, in protecting the life of the Prophet Joseph. The Lord will pass by all his weaknesses, and all is right with him." Another patriarch in blessing his daughter made this significant statement: "Thou are favored of the Lord in thy parentage, and blessings of the Lord through thy fathers will rest upon thee."

Porter Rockwell loved the Prophet Joseph Smith with all his heart and soul, and would willingly have laid down his life at any time in his defense. The family traveled from Fayette, New York to Jackson County, Missouri, in 1831 and located in the Big Blue river district and here the Rockwell home was a gathering place where many important meetings were held.


After the attempted assassination of ex-Governor Boggs, Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell were accused of the deed, and warrants for their arrest were issued. Realizing the impossibility of a fair trial in Missouri, Porter Rockwell went east and when he returned was arrested in St. Louis, March 4, 1845 [sic], and without even the pretense of a fair trial, was clapped into irons and incarcerated in a vile dungeon for nine months. At one time his feet were manacled together and his arm chained to his feet, forcing him to remain for a long period in this cramped condition unable to sit up straight. He was permitted a little dirty straw for a bed, but no bedding and no fire in very cold weather. For eighteen days at a time he states he shook with cold. After he made an attempt to escape, his treatment was still more severe. His food was of the coarsest, and if he failed to eat any of it, it was served to him at the next meal.

On one occasion Sheriff Reynolds said: "We know the Prophet has great confidence in you. Allure him to a place where we can arrest him and you shall have your freedom and any pile of money you name." Porter Rockwell, weak and so emaciated that he could hardly stand, never faltered in his fidelity to his Prophet friend. His eagle eyes flashed and he blurted out in defiance, "I'll see you all damned first, and then I won't."

Secures Freedom

Eventually Porter Rockwell's mother found where he was imprisoned and brought him one hundred dollars which he used as a fee to retain a lawyer, who was the noted Alexander W. Doniphan, later a general and hero of the Mexican War. After all this inhuman treatment the prisoner was at last brought to trial, but the charge of attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs was dismissed, there being an utter lack of evidence. He was found guilty of breaking jail and sentenced to five months imprisonment in the county jail. He was kept several hours and then released. Mr. Doniphan warned him to keep off frequented roads, for attempts would be made to waylay and kill him. After perilous adventures he rejoined the Prophet at Nauvoo and it was a most happy reunion as the Prophet indicates in his journal.

When the Prophet planned to leave for the west, just prior to his martyrdom, Porter Rockwell rowed him across the Mississippi river. In the encounters with the mob in Nauvoo, Sheriff Backenstos ordered him to fire upon the mob, and one of the mobocrats was killed.

A Pioneer Scout

He was a skillful and valued scout with the first company of pioneers to cross the plains in 1847, and he became "one of the most picturesque figures the intermountain west ever knew. He was a scout, guide, pioneer, and frontiersman of the most approved type -- hardy, adventurous and fearless." He was an intrepid mail carrier, and his home in the extreme south end of the Salt Lake Valley was one of the stations of the Pony Express. On March 29, 1849 he was appointed a deputy marshall, and he acted as a peace officer for the remainder of his life, his name bringing terror to evil-doers and marauding Indians. He studied the art of woodcraft, emulating and far excelling the Indians themselves in his almost unbelievable skill in sign-tracking. He was brave, quick-witted and always prepared. In the course of his duties he captured a large number of dangerous criminals and delivered them to the proper authorities to receive their punishment through the law. As a peace officer he was occasionally under the necessity of killing criminals who defied his authority. Several cases of this nature are recorded. But no instance was ever proved that he ever took a life wantonly and except as a deputy sheriff and in defense.

Of him Israel Bennion wrote: "There was a something about Orrin Porter Rockwell that so unmanned his opponents that they would not, could not, and did not outface him, even if it were possible to escape his lightning wit, eye and hand. Was it the word of the Prophet of the Lord that he should not be harmed?"

When Porter Rockwell in later years dictated the story of his life he said that some years after 1847 he was in California and met there the widow and daughter of Don Carlos Smith, the brother of the Prophet Joseph. When he saw her, she was just recovering from typhoid fever, in consequence of which her hair had fallen out. Porter wore his hair long, as he said that the Prophet told him if he wore his hair long, his enemies should not have power over him, neither should he be overcome by evil. When he met Sister Smith he had no gold dust nor money to give her, so he had his hair cut to make her a wig, and from that time he said that he could not control his desire for strong drinks, nor his habit of swearing.

He was of large and powerful physique, and his appearance was rendered more striking by his long and flowing hair. This he worse always, states his daughter, Mrs. Reid, in two great braids, one back of each ear, and folded four times across the back and tied. "No woman," she says, "ever had more beautiful hair than my father, and we were all proud of it."

Despite his rough and rude exterior, he was big-hearted and generous in his instincts, and true as steel to his friends. His devotion to the Prophet Joseph Smith and later to Brigham Young is proverbial. It is said that a gentler and more faithful father and husband is seldom seen, and one commentator on his life makes this satisfactory conclusion: "A righteous judge will not with-hold from him the reward due to those who have been true and valiant to the end."

His Family

He married three times. His first wife was Juana Beebe, daughter of Isaac and Olive Beebe, born in the town of Lebanon, Madison county, New York, Oct. 3, 1814: three daughters and one son were born of this marriage. He married second to Mary Ann Neff, to whom seven children were born. His third wife was Christina Olsen, who became the mother of four children.

The numerous descendants of Orrin Porter Rockwell will be interested in these items regarding his ancestry.

In the Church Genealogical archive is being deposited a pedigree of fifteen pages containing the names of 180 of his progenitors. A glance over this shows him to be a close relative of many leading families of the Church. His father was Orin Rockwell, an early convert of the Church, who died in Nauvoo, Sept. 22, 1839. He was the son of Jabez Rockwell, one of the well-known Rockwell family of Windsor, Connecticut, descended from Deacon William Rockwell of Dorchester, England, the emigrant to America. Through the Norton line he is connected with President Wilford Woodruff, and through the Wells, with President Daniel H. Wells. On the Alford line he becomes a distant relative of President Rudger Clawson, and through the Lathrop with the Prophet Joseph, Wilford Woodruff, and many others.

His father's mother was Irene Porter and from her he inherited the name by which he was commonly known. She was descended from John Porter and Ann White, progenitors of the Prophet; Thomas Stanley, ancestor of President Woodruff; and from the Babcock, Curtis, Gay, Richards, Raymond, Ladd, Knowlton, Harris and Abbott lines. As you read this, many of you will find your ancestors are also those of Porter Rockwell. He was a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln through the Gilman line which they had in common: with President U. S. Grant and Grover Cleveland through the Porter line; Senator William H. King and Porter Rockwell are both descended from good old Deacon Edmund Rice and Thomas King. The Prophet, Brigham Young, and he were all descended from the self-same Merriam line.

The mother of Porter Rockwell was Sarah Witt. In Nauvoo she was baptized for 45 of her own and her husband's close relatives. This is probably a record for that day. She was born Sept. 9, 1781, at Belchertown, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ivory Witt and Abigail Montague. Ivory Witt was descended from four generations of John Witts. His mother was Sarah Ivory, whose pedigree is probably traced seven generations back to about the year 1475 in Offley, Hertfordshire, England. An excellent record of the Montague family has been searched out and printed. Abigail Montague, wife of Ivory Witt and grandmother of Orrin Porter Rockwell, was the daughter of Josiah Montague and Abigail Montahue, both descended from John Montague and his wife, Hannah Smith. Other families on the line are the Church, Churchill, Cowles and Dickinson lines.

As stated above, the family record of Orrin Porter Rockwell and his parents will be printed in the October Genealogical Magazine. Still more important, the fifteen pages of his lineage will be placed in the Church Genealogical archive for the benefit of all who connect with these families. With the modern sources available for tracing genealogical records, similar results may be obtained on the lines of your ancestors who were early members of the Church. Do not fail to send in, at once, all the information of them that you have in your possession in order that a proper beginning may be made.

Note 1: The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine for Oct. 1935, provides the following additional information on Orrin Porter Rockwell's siblings:

     Children of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt.
1. Orrin Porter, b. 28 June, 1813, Belchertown, Hampshire Co., Mass;
   d. 9 June, 1878, Salt Lake City, Utah; md. 1st, Luana Beebe; md. 2nd,
   Mary Ann Neff; md. 3rd, Christine Olsen.
2. Peter Rockwell, baptized shortly after 9 June, 1830.
3. Carolione Rockwell, baptized shortly after 9 June, 1830.
4. Electa Rockwell, baptized shortly after 9 June, 1830.
5. Alvira M. Rockwell, b. 7 Oct., 1820; living 5 Jan., 1846.
6. Merit Rockwell, b. 26 July, 1821; living 3 Feb., 1846
7. Horace Rockwell, b. 30 April, 1825; living 3 Feb., 1846.
8. Mary Rockwell, b. 27 July, 1826; living 27 Jan., 1846.

Note 2: In his 1966/1983 book Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God..., Harold Schindler says: "In Porter's fourth year the Rockwells mover from Belcher to Manchester, New York. Two years later, in 1819, Joseph Smith, Sr., gathered his family and left Palmyra, New York; he too resettled in Manchester, just a mile from the Rockwells." Schlinder relies upon the affidavits of one of Orrin Porter Rockwell's sisters (Caroline Rockwell Smith) and one of his brother-in-laws (C. M. Stafford, husband of Emily Rockwell Stafford) to fill in several gaps in the Rockwell family's early history. See comments attached to the on-line transcript of Dr. Carl M. Brewster's "Did Sidney Rigdon write the Book of Mormon?" for more information on these siblings' families.


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, July 18, 1936.                        No. ?

Church  Gets  Rare  Picture  of  Isaac Hale

A rare original picture of Isaac Hale, the father-in-law of Joseph Smith, has been presented to the Church Historian's office by a descendant of the Hale family. The donor is L. E. Van Antwerp, 75-year-old resident of Oakland, Pennsylvania, who is a grandson of Isaac Hale's sister.

The picture is an old daguerreotype in a leather case. Its presentation was made to Oliver R. Smith, director of publicity in the Eastern States Mission, on the occasion of an Aaronic Priesthood pilgrimage to the scene of the restoration.

This rare picture of Isaac Hale is taken from a daguerreotype
newly presented to the Church Historian's office,

A tombstone in the old cemetery at Oakland (formerly Harmony) shows that Isaac Hale died January 11, 1839. The quotation in the epitaph follows: "The body of Isaac Hale, the Hunter, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out, and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here food for worms; yet the work itself shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended.

The picture is printed [here], exactly as it was copied from the original now in possession of the Historian's Office.

Note: Isaac Hale died during the first month of the year 1839, having almost reached the age of 76. The photographic experiments of Louis Daguerre and Joseph N. Niepce did not yield marketable results until 1837 and the first daguerreotype photographers did not begin commercial operations (in cities such as Philadelphia) until several months after Mr. Hale's demise. The old man in photo was more likely one of Mr. Van Antwerp's other Hale relatives.


Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, November 14, 1936.                     No. ?

Two Significant Statements Attached
To the Spaulding Manuscript



Recently the Church Historian's office acquired from the Oberlin College at Oberlin Ohio, a photostat copy of the famous Solomon Spaulding manuscript...

(article on-line on different page)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, June 12, 1937.                        No. ?


By Archibald F. Bennett
Secretary, Genealogical Society of Utah
Sunday, May 30, 1937


The whole nation today pays tribute to its honored dead... It is altogether appropriate today that we who are assembled should pay tribute to Oliver Cowdery, because he is one of our honored dead, and he is, to a very real extent, a relative of many of us.

On such a rainy day as this, on Nov. 22, 1911, there met in the opera house in Richmond, Mo., a great gathering of the townspeople of that city to pay honor to Oliver Cowdery, who died in their midst, March 3, 1850. The Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, just returning from an extended tour of the East and New York, was there and sang at these ceremonies. Elder Heber J. Grant, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, was present, representing the general authorities of the Church, and offered the dedicatory prayer.

The ocasion for this gathering was to unveil and dedicate a monument to Oliver Cowdery to perpetuate his memory. Upon this granite shaft was inscribed a beautiful message telling the world of the life and ministry of this man. The Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon was given in full, and this tribute was added: "Over a million converts throughout the world have accepted their testimony and Rejoice in their Fidelity." "A happy and prosperous commonwealth of half that number," it was said at the services, "have taken this occasion to testify of their love and respect for his memory."

More Enduring Memorial

Today we place in the archives of the Church, to the memory of Oliver Cowdery, a far more enduring memorial, one that shall bear to the children of men throughout the everlasting ages, a message more eloquent than was inscribed in the firm face of thar granite monument.

Through the united and devoted efforts of the Saints in all the temple districts, and especially the workers of Ensign Stake, there have been performed thousands of baptisms and endowments for the kindred of Oliver Cowdery...

Type of Man

It may be of interest to recall the manner of man Oliver Cowdery was...

(under construction)

Cowdery Records Presented to Genealogical Society Officials
Elder Joseph Christenson... Elder John F. Parish...

The work named by Bishop Christenson was an outgrowth of the lesson given by Brother Bennett, of the Genealogical Society of Utah, some two and a half or three years ago. In discussing the founders of the faith the name of this second Elder of the Church was there considered, and it was found, upon investigation and research, that the temple work pertaining to him and his predecessors, had not been performed in the temples. As a result, the Ensign Stake organization offered its services, which were accepted by the Church authorities, that we should proceed with this work, and accordingly a member of our Board, Sister Gertrude Baird, was assigned to direct this work, being associated with the Genealogical Society Library.

As a result of that research there have been some nine thousand, one hundred and and ten names sought out from the records of the Genealogical Office of this Church, and placed upon the records as belonging to this family. There were, of this number some two thousand and thirty-three families; family group sheets that entered into this work and became a part of this record. Thirty-six pedigree charts were included in the findings of Sister Baird and her associates in respect to this founder of the faith.

There has been recorded, in one of the volumes forty-one pages of history relating to the hand-dealings of the Lord to the Prophet of Lord and his associate, Oliver Cowdery.

You will recall that Oliver Cowdery was closely associated with the early history of the Church. It was his pen and his hand that recorded most of the Book of Mormon. He was associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith when the Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon was given to the world. He has always been first among them...

In this research work we have discovered this great truth, which is very gratifying, that Oliver Cowdery was related to the Prophet Joseph Smith, a fact not known to themselves in their day...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 363.                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Wednesday, August 2, 1941.                        No. 29.

David  Whitmer's  Testimony

By James H. Moyle

I was always deeply interested in the Book of Mormon, and had been on a mission to the Southern States before I entered the University of Michigan. During my three years' residence at the University, I learned that David Whitmer was still living and in good health. I concluded to visit him on the way home to Salt Lake City. I graduated the latter part of June, 1885, and arrived in Richmond, Missouri, early in July.

Richmond is a small, rural town. I talked with the hack driver (that is what they called them) who took me to the hotel, and learned from him that David Whitmer was a highly-respected citizen of the city. I likewise questioned the clerk of the hotel, with the same results. I made such inquiry as I could concerning him during my visit of part of a day.

I found David Whitmer seated under a fruit tree in front of his home, which was located near the street and surrounded by an orchard. I understood that he had been bothered a good deal by curiosity seekers, and to make him feel more at home with me, I presented him with an appropriate book. I said that I had just graduated as a law student and was on my way home, and was extremely anxious to obtain from him whatever he would be good enough to tell me about the Book of Mormon, the plates from which it was translated and his testimony concerning the same which he had given to the world.

I entered in a little diary which I kept the mere fact that I had visited David Whitmer and that he had verified all that had been published to the world concerning the Book of Mormon by him in his testimony, and that was about all. In making that visit I had no thought of anything but my personal knowledge and did not contemplate publishing anything concerning it -- it was purely an individual matter with me at the time. I told my friends about it and spoke of it in the ward, but at that time it seemed to be common knowledge. David Whitmer died about three years after I saw him. My memory of the main facts is perfectly clear. I have always enjoyed good health, never better than at the present.

David Whitmer was a man above medium height, slender rather than stout and was in his shirt-sleeves. His hair was white, as was his long, patriarchal beard. As I remember, he was a man offairly intellectual appearance, for the plain citizen that he was, and of good countenance. I am quite sure he was a serious-minded man.

I told him that I had been born in the Church, my mother also; that my father had joined the Church when he was a boy in his teens; that I had grown up believing implicitly in the Book of Mormon; that I was about to commence life's activities as he was getting ready to lay them down, and pleaded with him to tell me the truth -- not to permit me to go through life believing in a falsehood -- that meant so much to me. I told him that he knew the facts and urged him to tell me just what had happened in connection with the introduction of the Book of Mormon. I seemed to gain his confidence and felt free to ask him questions, and in fact did everything that I could think of that would bring out the facts, particularly all of the circumstances and details of his seeing the Angel, seeing and handling the plates and where the interview with the Angel Moroni took place and the conditions and circumstances surrounding the same.

He said that they (Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris) were out in the primitive woods in Western New York; that there was nothing between them and the Angel except a log that had fallen in the forest; that it was in the broad daylight with nothing to prevent either hearing or seeing all that took place. He then repeated to me that he did see and handle the plates; that he did see and hear the Angel and heard the declaration that the plates had been correctly translated; that there was absolutely nothing to prevent his having a full, clear view of it all. I remember very distinctly asking him if there was anything unnatural or unusual about the suroundings or the atmosphere. He answered that question. I do not remember exactly the words he used, but he indicated that there was something of a haze or peculiarity about the atmosphere that surrounded them but nothing that would prevent his having a clear vision and knowledge of all that took place. He declared to me that the testimony which he had published to the world was true and that he had never denied any part of it.

I asked him why he had left the Church. He replied that he had never left the Church, that he had continued with the branch of the Church that was originally organized in Richmond and still presided over it. In answer to my questions, he said, in an unqualified, emphatic way, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, but had become a fallen prophet through the influence which Sidney Rigdon exercised over him; that he accepted everything that was revealed to the Prophet down to the year 1835, but rejected everything thereafter because he did not know whether it came from the Lord or from Sidney Rigdon. He manifestly had become embittered against Sidney Rigdon, due to his promotion to second place in the Church over men like himself who had been with the Prophet from the beginning and who had done so much for the Church. I then concluded, as I now believe, that jealousy and disappointment had soured his soul, but nothing could obliterate his testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

I asked him about the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was published. He said that he had the original of the three copies that were made before the Book of Mormon was printed. I asked him if he would sell the manuscript. He said no. I then asked him if he wouldn't sell it at any price. He said no, that he would not part with it. He also said, pointing to his home, that when a cyclone struck Richmond a few years before every room in his house was destroyed except the one in which that manuscript was kept. He seemed to regard the manuscript sacredly. As he appeared to be a poor man, at least in very ordinary circumstances, I was greatly impressed by the fact that he would not even talk about selling it and with the fact that he seemed to regard the care of the manuscript as being something of a sacred trust. Neither did he seek a reconciliation with the Church, although that would have inevitably increased his worldly comfort, and made him a highly honored personage among Latter-day Saints.

President Joseph F. Smith had previously interviewed him and had seen the manuscript. He said to me that it was not the original but one of the other two copies.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 375.                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, July 8, 1944.                        No. 7.

Today's Story

The Smith Family In New York
-- II. Journey To Palmyra


Little Joseph had a lame leg and he limped somewhat as he walked beside the wagon with the older children on the way to Palmyra. This condition was due to a gathering which had settled in his leg after the severe attack of tyhus fever. Mrs. Smith told the driver, Mr. Howard, that she thought little Joseph should be allowed to ride on the wagon with the smaller children and the household goods. But Mr. Howard, who was a gruff, uncongenial companion, insisted that the boy was old enough to walk. This matter finally provoked a controversy between them.

The fifth child, Samuel, was age eight, at the time of this momentous journey. He was to live to be an honor and credit to his parents and loyal and devoted friend to his brother Joseph.

William, the next boy, was five years old in 1816. He was destined to outlive all his brothers -- but he was to cause his parents and the members of his family much sorrow and concern. If there was "a black sheep" in the family of Joseph Smith, Sen., it was this boy William; but the reasons for his unwise actions we do not know, and perhaps it is not our task to sit in judgment.

The next child was a girl, four years old, Catherine, who was always loved by her brothers and sisters and who was loyal and true to her family.

The eighth child, at the time of the move to Palmyra, was a baby boy, Don Carlos, three or four months old.

And there we have the entire family -- Mrs. Smith and her eight children -- and the unconscious driver, Mr. Howard, all setting out for Palmya, in western New York, two hundred and fifty miles distant, where Joseph Smith Senior waited patiently for them.

We can picture this pioneer family, as they traveled along from day to day making their way westward, as so many thousands of Americans had done in those early days -- looking for a new home. At night they no doubt stopped by the roadside, and made their beds on the ground. They must have cooked their meals with wood fires as they camped in the open air.

As the journey progressed a controversy developed between Mrs. Smtih and Mr. Howard. Mrs. Smith was a woman who would stand just so much injustice or abuse -- and then she would speak her mind. In her History she tells us that "Mr. Howard, our teamster, was an unprincipled and unfeeling wretch, by the way he handled both our goods and the money, as well as by his treatment of my children, especially Joseph. He would compel him to travel miles at a time on foot, notwithstanding he was still lame."

The matter finally came to a head one morning when the family was camped about twenty miles west of Utica, in central New York. We can suppose that Mrs. Smith had told Mr. Howard what she thought of him; a lecture which he particularly needed. At any rate, the surly Mr. Howard decided he was through, then and there. He began throwing the Smith famlly goods out of the wagon and intimated that he intended to take the team and wagon and leave the family stranded by the wayside. But Mrs. Smith was equal to the occasion. She called the man to come into the lobby of a nearby inn, where there was a group of travelers. Stepping before the group, with Mr. Howard at her side, she said in a firm enough voice:

"Gentlemen and ladies, please give me your attention for a moment. Now as sure as there is a God in Heaven, that team, as well as the goods, belong to my husband, and this man intends to take them away from me, or at least the team, leaving me with eight children, without the means of proceeding on my journey."

Then turning to Mr. Howard, Mrs. Smith said in a firm enough tone:

"Sir, I now forbid you touching the team or driving it one step farther. You can go about your own business; I have no use for you. I shall take charge of the team my seIf, and hereafter attend to my own affairs."

The plucky little woman, she could fight her own battles, unless the opposition were overwhelming, as it proved frequently to be in later life.

What became of the surly Mr. Howard we do not know. He disappeared from the pages of history at this time, and we hear no trace of him any more. We shall have to remember him as having been unkind to the little boy, Joseph Jr., as he trudged along beside the wagon, Mr. Howard not allowIng him to ride.

After the disappearance of the tramster, Mrs, Smith and her older boys, managed very well alone, They continued on their way to Palmyra, day after day in the dust and heat. But they were happy to be by themselves -- and little Joseph could ride now.

What day it was or even what month of the summer of 1816, that they arrived in Palmyra, we do not know. But the end of the journey was reached, and the good father was there to meet them. What a happy reunion they must have had; the younger children clinging to their father; the mother recounting the story of her trials and tribulations with the redoubtable Mr. Howard: the father telling them about the favorable conditions in the new country; the work he had succeeded in finding, etc., etc.

Mr. Willard Bean, who lived in Palmyra for twenty-five years, and who did considerable research into the early history of the Smith family, tells us that on the arrival of Mrs. Smith and her children in Palmyra they moved into "a small frame building on the eastern outskirts of the village, near where Johnson Street takes off Vienna."

At any rate they were all together again. Mrs. Smith tells us that she was happy in once more having the society of her husband, "and in throwing myself and children upon the care and affection of a tender companion and father."

Mrs. Smith took an account of her finances when she arrived in Paimyra. She tells us that her money amounted to exactly "two cents."

(To be continued)

Note 1: Elder Nibley reprised his account of the Smith family's relocation to Palmyra in his 1946 Joseph Smith, the Prophet. There, as in the Deseret News article, he quoted Willard Bean's 1938 A. B. C. History of Palmyra and the Beginning of Mormonism (page 19 as his authority for the Smiths initially settling at the west end of Palmyra village, right about at the northern edge of "Prospect Hill." Larry C. Porter, on page 16 of his 2000 A Study of the Origins of the Church... narrows down the spot to "the southeast corner of the intersection of Johnson and Vienna Streets," but can only cite "traditional" LDS lore in support of this location.
If it was indeed the Smith family's initial residence in Palmyra, it was a temporary one -- for, within a very few months, Joseph Smith, Sr. can be found living in another house, across town, at the west end of Main Street, near its intersection with Stafford Road.

Note 2: Some minimal confirmation of this first Smith family residence in Palmyra is offered by a brief mention in the 1895 NYC & HRR's Health and Pleasure on "America's Greatest Railroad," page 135: "Palmyra, seven miles beyond, has a population of over 3000. Its streets are broad and handsomely shaded.... The home of the prophet on Prospect Hill, overlooking the village, 'The Hill Ganargna,' is still pointed out to visitors." While "the southeast corner of the intersection of Johnson and Vienna Streets" is located about where Prospect Hill begins its steep rise southward, a Smith home at the beginning of 1817 would not have been "on Prospect Hill," but rather, beside it. --- In Dec., 1833, the Smith family's old neighbor, Peter Ingersoll, recalled that "Joseph, Sen.... told me that the ancient inhabitants of this country used camels instead of horses" and "that in a certain hill on the farm of Mr. Cuyler, there was a cave containing an immense value of gold and silver, stands of arms, also, a saddle for a camel, hanging at one side of the cave." What Mr. Ingersoll meant by "the farm of Mr. Cuyler" remains unknown. William Howe Cuyler, Sr. once owned a large amount of property in and around Palmyra, including a large drumlin (Prospect Hill) located just east of his homestead.... However, by 1833 Prospect Hill had passed into the hands of Peleg Holmes and was not "on the farm of Mr. Cuyler." Ingersoll's statement may be taken as possible evidence that Joseph Smith, Sr. had a personal knowledege of Prospect Hill, but it offers no proof that he lived very near that same hill.


Vol. 375.                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, July 29, 1944.                        No. ?

Today's Story

The Smith Family In New York
-- V. They Turn to Religion


During the entire year of 1819 the members of the Smith family were busily engaged in improving their farm and supporting themselves by their own labor. They continued to clear their land; they planted sugar trees; they sold cordwood and garden vegetables; they manufactured baskets and birch brooms which they sold in the village. Occasionally Father Smith or Hyrum or Joseph would help a neighbor for a few days and bring in a little extra money. Alvin, it appears, had steady work as a carpenter's helper, and was employed in Palmyra or wherever construction work was going on in the countryside. The family considered that they were doing well; they had met the payments on their farm; they were making many improvements; the people of the neighborhood were kind to them and they were gaining many friends.

It was sometime during this year, 1819, that the thoughts of several members of the Smith family began to turn towards religion. It was a gradual turning; it did not happen all at once. For example, one morning Father Smith related to his wife a dream he had had during the night. The dream greatly impressed both of them. "I dreamed," he said, "that a man with a peddler's budget (bag) on his back, came in, and thus addressed me: 'Sir, will you trade with me today? I have now called upon you seven times; I have traded with you each time, and have always found you strictly honest in all your dealings. Your measures are always heaped, and your weights overbalance; and I have now come to tell you that this is the last time I shall ever call on you, and that there is but one thing that you lack, in order to secure your salvation."

Father Smith then continued: "As I earnestly desired to know what it was that I still lacked, I requested him to write the same upon paper. He said he would do so. I then sprang to get some paper, but in my excitement I awoke."

Father Smith, waking in the night, anxious to know what he should do to secure his salvation. * * * The boy Joseph, sleeping in the garret overhead * * * One day he would tell his father what to do to secure salvation. * * * He would tell all the members of the family. * * * He would tell the whole world.

THE SACRED GROVE where Joseph Smith received the visitation from
God, the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

The interest in religion which was exhibited by members of the Smith family soon to be stirred to the boiling point by a 'revival' which was beginning to manifest itself in the churches of Palmyra. The Presbyterian, the Baptist and the Methodist ministers were particularly active; they were partaking of a movement which was sweeping over the country; a movement which was inviting people to lake more interest in religion and unite themselves with one of the prevailing sects. It was an old-fashioned religious revival.

We can picture the members of the Smith family, after they had completed the day's work, and after they had done their chores in the evening, dressing up in their best clothes and driving two miles in the family wagon, to hear the excited and vehement discourses of the ministers. For some reason, Mrs. Smith, her daughter Sophronia and her sons Hyrum and Samuel united with the Presbyterian Church. Father Smith and the oldest boy, Alvin, were not so easily persuaded -- they still refrained from uniting with any Church. Joseph Jr., we are told, was favorable to the Methodist minister, a certain Rev. McLane.

One evening he heard Rev. McLane preach a sermon in which the minister brought forth the verse in James 1:5: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and up-braideth not, and it shall be given him." This verse made a profound impression on the boy, and as soon as he got home he read it again in the family Bible. As he pondered upon the advice given by James he thought of his own uncertainty as to which of the churches was right and which he should join. He determined then and there to place the matter before the Lord, and seek an answer in prayer.

Joseph Jr., at this time was fourteen years of age. He must have been a tall, handsome boy, eager, alert, interested in everything that was going on around him. Yet his mother tells us that he had not shown any signs of the genius which was to distinguish him later on. In her old age, when writing of her brilliant son, she said:

"I shall say nothing respecting him until he arrived at the age of fourteen. However, in this I am aware that some of my readers will be disappointed, for, I suppose, from questions which are frequently asked me, that it is thought by some that I shall be likely to tell many remarkable incidents which attended his childhood; but, as nothing occurred during his early life, except those trivial circumstances which are common to that state of human existence, I pass them in silence.

Mrs. Smith could not distinguish anything in her third son Joseph, which was different from her other boys. Yet there was a vast difference. He was the one that had been selected to bring forth the work of God In the last dispensation. He had the ability and capacity to perform this work; no other man, we believe, could have done it with equal success.

We shall not repeat here the story of Joseph's first vision. It is well known in every Mormon household. The significance of the vision however is not well known and understood as it should be, and will be, in time to come. President Joseph F. Smith once expressed his view of it as follows:

"The greatest event that has ever occurred in the world, since the resurrection of the Son of God from the tomb and his ascension on high, was the coming of the Father and of the Son to that boy Joseph Smith, to prepare the way for the laying of the foundation of his kingdom -- not the kingdom of man -- never more to cease nor to be overturned. Having accepted this truth, I find it easy to accept of every other truth that he enunciated and declared during his mission of fourteen years in the world. He never taught a doctrine that was not true. He never practiced a doctrine that he was not commanded to practice. He never advocated error. He was not deceived. He saw; he heard; he did as he was commanded to do; and, therefore, God is responsible for the work accomplished by Joseph Smith -- not Joseph Smith. The Lord is responsible for it, and not man."

(To be continued)

Note 1: Elder Nibley reprised his account of the Smith family's relocation to Palmyra in his 1946 Joseph Smith, the Prophet. However in writing this fifth episode in his Deseret News article series, he temporarily suspended his previous reliance upon Willard Bean's 1938 A. B. C. History of Palmyra and the Beginning of Mormonism. In Nibley's 1946 text he unwisely resumed his dependence upon Bean for accurate historical information, and cited "Beginning of Mormonism," pages 21-22 as his authority for evidence in support of a remarkable religious revival occurring in and around Palmyra in the year 1820.

Either Mr. Bean misunderstood the dates on the old New York newspaper clippings he consulted or (perhaps even worse) knowingly left that information out of his historical reporting. The quotes he provided, supposedly documenting a local religious excitement roughly contemporary with "the second week in May" of 1820, actually were printed in two January 1825 issue of the Presbyterian Religious Advocate, published at Rochester, New York (first article reprinted in the Boston Zion's Herald of Feb. 9, 1825). Mr. Bean either copied his quotes directly from the Rochester periodical, or (more likely) from the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel of Mar. 2, 1825. Whatever the proper explanation might be, the result was that Preston relied upon incorrectly dated news reports to substantiate claims for a notable religious excitement in Palmyra, which did not occur until after another four to five years had passed.

Note 2: In his 1944 article Preston Nibley mistakenly refers to a "Rev. McLane" -- an error which he corrected in his 1946 book.


Vol. 375.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Thursday, December 21, 1944.                   No. ?

The Smith Family In New York
XXVI. Rigdon Visits Prophet


A Conference of the Church was held at the Whitmer home on the 26th of September, 1830. Prior to the time that the conference convened the Prophet Joseph received an important revelation which was directed to Oliver Cowdery. In this revelation OLiver was directed to carry the gospel to the American Indians, the Lamanites.

"And now, behold I say unto you, that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings, thou shalt cause my Church to be established among them, and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

"And now, behold I say unto you, that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the a city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites."

Here indeed was a new departure in the missionary work the elders of the Church had been performing. Instead of preaching to and warning only the inhabitants of Palmyra, Waterloo, Colesville and other sections of the state of New York, the gospel was now to be carried some 1,300 miles westward, to the Lamanites who dwelt by the borders of the civilization built by white men.

In a revelation given during the early part of October, 1830 three other young men, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson, were designated to accompany Oliver Cowdery this important mission.

Mrs. Smith, in her History, tells us of the preparations that were made for the four brethren who were about to depart on this westward journey.

"As soon as this revelation was received, Emma Smith and several other sisters began to make arrangements to furnish those who were set apart for this mission, with the necessary clothing, which was no easy task, as the most of it had to be manufactured out of the raw material.

"Emma's health at this time was quite delicate, yet she did not favor herself on this account, but whatever her hands found to do, she did with her might, until she went so far beyond her strength, that she brought upon herself a heavy fit of sickness which lasted four weeks."

Thus did the sisters of the Church, in the first year of its organization, lend a helping hand in the great program of sending forth missionaries with the gospel message. Twelve years later Emma Smith became the president of the first Relief Society organization.

After the departure of the four missionaries to the Lamanites, which probably took place some time during October, Joseph the Prophet continued to be very active in the neighborhood Waterloo, New York, where he made his residence. His parents had also moved to Waterloo, as the persecution they had been forced to endure in Palmyra and vicinity had become unbearable.

In the month of December, two men named Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, came to the Whitmer home to meet and visit with the Prophet Joseph. They were from Mentor, Ohio. One of them, Sidney Rigdon, had been baptized by the missionaries; Edward Partridge was greatly interested in the work, but apparently was not fully converted.

Sidney Rigdon had been born in Alleghany County, Penn., but had moved west to Geauga County, Ohio, in 1826, where he became an itinerant preacher for the Campbellite Church. On his way westward with the Lamanite missionaries, Parley Pratt had presented Sidney with a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he read and believed. Shortly afterwards he baptized. Now he had made the long journey, in the midst of winter, to form the first acquaintance with the young Prophet.

Sidney was thirty-seven years of age at the time of this visit -- twelve years older than Joseph. However, Sidney was greatly impressed by the brilliant young man who had beheld the visions, brought forth the Book of Mormon under divine inspiration, and organized the Church. Sidney requested the Prophet to inquire of the Lord concerning himself and his duties. In response to this request a significant revelation was received. In it Sidney was informed that he had been called to a great work.

"Behold verily, verily I say you Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work.

"Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not....

"And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him:

"And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead....

"And a commandment I give unto thee -- that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect...

"And now I say unto you, tarry with him, and he shall journey with you... Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound, and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 34.)

Sidney Rigdon was thus called to a very important work during his first visit with the Prophet Joseph. His calling was to write for the Prophet and to preachthe word of God wherever opportunity was afforded. "Behold thou wast sent forth even as John to prepare the way before me."

SIDNEY RIGDON who joined the Church during the first year of its
organization and later became the first counselor to President Joseph Smith.

More than fourteen years after these events took place, at the April conference of the Church held in Nauvoo in 1844, Sidney Rigdon referred to his first meeting with the Saints.

"I recollect, in the year 1830, I met the whole Church of Christ, in a little old log house about twenty feet square, near Waterloo, New York, and we began to talk about the Kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, and talked big things. Although we were not many people, we had big feelings. We knew fourteen years ago that the Church would become as large as it is today." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 288.)

During this same visit a revelation was given to Edward Partridge, whom the Prophet subsequently wrote about as a "pattern of piety, and one of the Lord's great men." In this revelation Edward Partridge was told that "you are blessed and your sins are forgiven you and you are called to preach my gospel as with the voice of a trump

"And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the Kingdom."

Edward Partridge was greatly impressed by what he saw and heard on this first visit to the Prophet Joseph and before he departed for his home he was baptized in Seneca River.

(To be continued)

Note 1: As usual, Elder Nibley is very vague in his early Mormon chronology. The probable timeline for Sidney Rigdon's 1830 visit to New York is: Dec 10 ---- Rigdon and Partridge arrived at Kingdon, Seneca Co., NY;   Dec 11 ---- Partridge baptized in Seneca River;   Dec 15 ---- Partridge ordained an elder at Kingdon, NY.

Note 2: The following sentence (now LDS D&C 35:19) was removed when Nibley provided his quotation from the "significant revelation" relating to Sidney Rigdon's 1830 visit with Joseph Smith, jr: "Wherefore, watch over him [Smith] that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things." Perhaps Nibley felt that readers of the Deseret News would not find this commandment, placing Rigdon in a position of authority over (or at least responsibility over) young Smith, sufficiently faith promoting.


Vol. 344.                 Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, October 26, 1946.                   No. 23.

The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith


(Address delivered Sunday, Oct. 20, 1946,
over Radio Station KSL)

During the one hundred years since its publication, the Book of Mormon has had a wide distribution and great influence because of the doctrines it teaches...

Why did opposition develop to the book? It is because of the implications of divine revelation and the claim of miraculous interpositions of divine power in its coming forth and translation that "its adherents have discovered a most dangerous weapon against the moral world in this doctrine of a 'continuing revelation," as Perry Benjamin Pierce said...

There have been three general types of theories used by those who were unwilling to accept Joseph Smith's account of the production of the Book of Mornon... The first theory was that Joseph Smith wrote the book himself but was a clever deceiver and liar. This was at first believed by Alexander Campbell who said (Millennial Harbinger, 2, 93, February 7, 1831):
"If I could swear to any man's voice, face or person, assuming different names, l 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."
The critics soon began to have misgivings. The Book of Mormon was too complex and had too much valuable material in it to have been so easily produced by a man of Joseph Smith's experience.... Whence did Joseph Smith get his information? It was not long until someone suggested (Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 1834) that Joseph Smith may have pirated a partly completed manuscript written by Reverend Solomon Spaulding (died 1816) which tells a story of a Roman ship blown off course to America at the time of Constantine. The Spaulding manuscript, it was supposed, had the theological material added by Sidney Rigdon. But this Spaulding theory which had become commonly accepted by anti-Mormons received a fatal blow when Spaulding's manuscript was discovered in 1884... BR>
The third type of theory is that Joseph Smith deceived himself and suffered from epilepsy or some mental disease... The theories that Joseph Smith was aided by material of the Reverend Solomon Spaulding, Sidney Rigdon or others fell, through lack of convincing evidence... The material in the Book of Mormon and its inspiring influence (as noted in previous talks) is such that no man could have written it, whether sane or mentally disturbed. Joseph Smith was merely an instrument in the hands of God by which a translation of this ancient record was made available in our day to the end that more people might believe in and accept the teachings of Christ.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 326.                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Wednesday, March 16, 1949.                        No. 74.

Joseph Smith, Prophet of God

Did Joseph Smith Write the Book of Mormon?

Of the Council of Twelve

(Address delivered Sunday, March 13, 1949,
at 9 p.m., over Radio Station KSL)

Dear Radio Friends:

To ask if Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon seems unnecessary. Of course, he was the translator unaided by mortal man. Yet, it may be worth while to examine into the wide-spread theory of anti-Mormon writers that Joseph had helpers in the production of the Book.

When the Book of Mormon was first published, no question was raised about its authorship or authenticity. Over several years Joseph Smith had told the story of the visitation of Moroni, the promise of the golden plates, when he received them, and how he devoted time to their translation.

The earliest writers in opposition to the Church accepted Joseph Smith as the author of the book. In their opinion its language and contents proved it to be the product of an unlearned and untaught person, such as Joseph Smith was held to be. For example, Alexander Campbell, the leader of the Church of Disciples, who had lost to Joseph Smith some capable followers, wrote in 1831 that Joseph Smith was the author and that the Book of Mormon contained only the gossip of the neighborhood, in which every religious problem of the day was discussed in crude language. (1)

However, after people had had time to give the book more careful examination, and thousands had joined the Church, doubts began to arise in the minds of many as to whether Joseph Smith, the plow-boy, was indeed the author of the book. Its language was found not to be crude, but generally beautiful and inspiring. The book was found to present religious ideas in full harmony with the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. Important religious problems were given a simple, understandable explanation. It was, in its own words, a witness for Christ. The book seemed to be beyond the power of Joseph Smith to produce.

So the theory was advanced that Joseph must have had help to produce the book. Some enemies went so far as to suggest that it was wholly written by someone else! This was just what the unbelievers wanted, apparently without recognizing that such a theory would be a powerful evidence of the truth of Joseph's story. He had help, but from divine sources! Careless writers in their enmity of Joseph Smith have built upon such a theory for a century or more.

The first book to put the theory that Joseph Smith had helped in writing the Book of Mormon, into wide circulation was the book "Mormonism Unvailed," written by Philastrus Hurlburt, an acknowledged enemy. From this book, published in 1834, nearly all anti-Mormon books have drawn their material.

The theory was there advanced that Joseph Smith had had a silent partner in his work. It was inferred that this person was Sidney Rigdon, a close friend and colleague of Alexander Campbell, who had joined the Church in November 1831, after a careful and searching inquiry into the truth of Mormonism. He was an eloquent preacher of some learning, and an outstanding man wherever he went.

It was suggested that this man had written the theological, or religious portion of the Book of Mormon; and that the historical setting of the book was also furnished by him by plagiarizing an unpublished novel called "The Manuscript Found," written nearly twenty years earlier by one Solomon Spaulding, declared Atheist, about the ancient peoples of America. Rigdon was supposed to have purloined the manuscript from the printer with whom it had been deposited.

The Book of Mormon, according to this theory, was nothing more than this Spaulding Story, ornamented with Rigdon's religious emanations. This theory was as a raft at sea for the helpless enemies of Joseph Smith, and it has been peddled industriously by anti-Mormon writers for the delectation of unwary readers.

The tale called "The Manuscript Found" is a story of a party of Romans who came to America, and an account of their life there. The story was read by Mr. Spaulding to his family and some friends. Several persons who had heard the story read fifteen or twenty years earlier were induced to sign a statement that the languages and the characters in the story fitted in with the contents of the Book of Mormon. This was enough to set up and circulate the theory that the Book of Mormon was based upon it.

Unfortunately for the Rigdon-Spaulding theory, the manuscript of the Spaulding story was discovered in 1884 among the possessions of Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu, who had secured the literary remains of Spaulding. (2) The Spaulding story has since been published in two editions. It bears no resemblance in language, style, names, or subject matter to the Book of Mormon.

In utter despair, the enemies of the Church fled for cover. A few proceeded to set up another theory, that Spaulding had written more than one story, and that the one found was not the one that resembled the Book of Mormon. This discovered Spaulding manuscript was identified with the one set up in the book, "Mormonism Unvailed."

Moreover, destructive to the theory, the names of the people who thought that the Spaulding story as read by them many years before and the Book of Mormon story were similar, were found endorsed on the discovered manuscript as those who knew it in Spaulding's day. The Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon has been thoroughly demolished. Anyone who peddles this theory today betrays deliberate dishonesty, or pitiful lack of knowledge concerning the whole matter.

That Sidney Rigdon ever saw the Prophet Joseph Smith before the Book of Mormon was published has been disproved. His activities and

His first visit to Palmyra, so far as can be learned, was after the organization of the Church. At that time he had his first meeting with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Printed non-Mormon contemporaneous reports of Rigdon's acceptance of the gospel do not mention or hint of any previous meeting of Joseph Smith and Rigdon. Historical evidence fails to prove any earlier connection between Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith.

Therefore, diehard anti-Mormon writers have suggested that to help produce the Book of Mormon Sidney Rigdon traveled long distances met Joseph Smith as a mysterious stranger unknown to the community. That theory is not only unlikely, and unproved, but absurd, lodged only in the minds of those who refuse any evidence that Joseph Smith told the truth.

Sidney Rigdon himself testified time and again that the first time he saw the Book of Mormon was in Mentor, Ohio, near Kirtland, after the Book of Mormon was published and the Church organized. Then, Parley P. Pratt, a former colleague in the Disciples Church gave him a copy. Elder Pratt was one of four Mormon elders traveling through the Kirtland territory to do missionary work among the Indians.

They stopped for some time in and near Kirtland to preach and bear witness of the restored gospel. They held long conferences with Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon declared this to be the first time that he had ever seen the Book of Mormon or known of its contents. His son, John W. Rigdon, who joined the Church, testified that when his father, Sidney Rigdon, lay upon his deathbed, he, John W. Rigdon, put the question of the origin of the Book of Mormon to his father. The result is best told in his own words:

"You have been charged with writing that Book of Mormon and giving it to Joseph Smith to introduce to the world. You have always told me one story, that you never saw the book until it was presented to you by Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery. That all you ever knew of the origin of that book was what they told you, and what Joseph Smith and the witnesses who have claimed to have seen the plates have told you.

"Is this true? If so, all right. If it is not, you owe it to me and to your family to tell it. You are an old man, and you will soon pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith in your intimacy with him for fourteen years has not said something to you that led you to believe he obtained that book in some other way than that which he has told you. Give me all you know about it that I may know the truth,

"My Father looked at me a moment and raised his hand above his head and slowly said with tears glistening in his eyes, 'My son, I can swear before high heaven, that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Obega [sic - Athea or Athalia] Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me.

"'And with all my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story, and that was that he found it engraved on gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and had directed him where to find it and I have never to you nor to anyone else told but the one story and that I now repeat to you.' I believed him and now believe he told me the truth. He also said to me after that, 'Mormonism is true, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this world would find it out some day.;" (4)

The Rigdon-Spaulding explanation of the Book of Mormon, now thoroughly disproved, has no historical foundation, but was clearly manufactured by a dishonest writer in hate of Joseph Smith. It remains an evidence of the ugly dishonesty that may enter the mind of hate. (5)

In the face of intense, long continued research, the theory has been thoroughly discredited by competent historians. It is now used only by those who love their prejudices more than truth, but often enough to disturb the uninformed.

After a century of fruitless hunting, Sidney Rigdon is really the only person who has been charged with being a helper to Joseph Smith in the writing of the Book of Mormon. In view of the proof that Rigdon did not help him, Joseph Smith remains the sole producer of the book, unaided by any mortal person.

Those who cannot or will not believe that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon have then had only one other theory to fall back upon. I. W. Riley in his book, "The Founder of Mormonism," a "psychological" study of Joseph Smith, accepts the Book of Mormon as a product of Joseph Smith's mind, but believes that it was written by him while he was in an epileptic state.

If that be accepted, Joseph Smith must have been seized by such fits, regularly, forenoon and afternoon, possibly during meals, during the ninety days in which the Book of Mormon was translated and then was free from such fits the remainder of his life. That theory, smacking of Arabian Nights fables, is so strained as to be an insult to the credulity of intelligent people.

It is merely an admission that students of Joseph Smith stand helpless before the interpretation of the work he did, unless they accept the statements of Joseph Smith himself. His own frank admission is that the Book of Mormon was produced by the "gift and power of God."

A variation of these theories has recently appeared. Gasping for breath, the opponents of Joseph Smith now assert that he possessed tremendous mental power which enabled him to write the Book of Mormon, but also that he was so deficient in moral sense as to palm off his work as coming from God. That's old stuff. Joseph's life of rectitude is a sufficient answer. The theory is probably the death rattle of the defeated critics of Joseph Smith.

After examining the long shelves of books on Mormonism, a wearisome and thankless task, there is but one conclusion: Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon unaided by mortal man. That is also the verdict of history.

Next week we shall discuss the Dilemma of Authority.

1 Alexander Campbell, "Delusions."

2 F. W. Kirkham, "A New Witness for Christ in America," p. 344.

3 Charles A. Shook, "The True Origin of the Book of Mormon." p. 71.

4 Rigdon, John W., "Life of Sidney Rigdon;" History of the Church; F. W. Kirkham, "A New Witness for Christ in America," pp. 327-329

5 See Daryl Chase, "Sidney Rigdon, Early Mormon," unpublished thesis, University of Chicago.

Note 1: A revised, expanded version of the above article later appeared as Chapter 14 in the writer's book Joseph Smith:Seeker after Truth.

Note 2: Elder Widstoe says that "The earliest writers in opposition to the Church accepted Joseph Smith as the author of the book." This was a natural, uninformed assumption, since the 1830 title page listed him as being the "author;" -- or, at least Smith was sometimes viewd as the "reputed author." See John St. John's use of that term, in his Cleveland Herald "Golden Bible" article of Nov. 25, 1830. St. John, who knew Oliver, blamed him for at least part of the book's composition: "the only opinion we have of the origin of this Golden Bible, is that Mr. Cowdry and Mr. Smith the reputed author, have taken the old Bible to keep up a train of circumstances, and by altering names and language have produced the string of Jargon called the 'Book of Mormon.'" Several near-contemporary published accounts point to Oliver Cowdery as being a knowing partner in religious deception with Joseph Smith. See, for example, Ezra Booth's letter of Sept. 12, 1831, where he says: "I have had several interviews with Messrs. Smith, Rigdon and Cowdery, and the various shifts and turns, to which they resorted... produced in my mind additional evidence, that their's is nothing else than a deeply laid plan of craft and deception." The Nov. 16, 1830 issue of the Painesville Telegraph also paints Cowdery as a "person here, who pretends to have a divine mission, and to have seen and conversed with Angels;" -- thus linking him closely with the pretensions of Joseph Smith, to have received "instruction from Angels." Orsamus Turner's "The Golden Bible" article of May 1, 1831 also links Smith and Cowdery as the "principal" and "second" personages in "a scheme...of imposition, a cheat... based upon entire fallacy and delusion." Turner calls Smith and Cowdery the "projectors of the scheme" who tried to make the Book of Mormon "story, historically consistent." Several other early assertions, pointing to Oliver Cowdery as a co-writer of the Book of Mormon might also be easily tabulated.

Note 3: Elder Widstoe's view, of how Sidney Rigdon's name became connected with Book of Mormon authorship assertions, is also in error. Rigdon was singled out as the probable author as early as the Feb. 2, 1831 article published in the Cleveland Advertiser, which reads: "Rigdon was formerly a disciple of Campbell's and who it is said was sent out to make proselytes, but is probable he thought he should find it more advantageous to operate on his own capital, and therefore wrote, as it is believed the Book of Mormon." As Rigdon's assistant, Elder Parley P. Pratt said, in 1838: "Early in 1831, Mr. Rigdon having been ordained, under our hands, visited elder J. Smith, Jr., in the state of New-York, for the first time; and from that time forth, rumor began to circulate, that he (Rigdon) was the author of the Book of Mormon." While such charges of clandestine pseudo-scriptural authorship are understandable in a partisan religious newspaper, like the Hudson Observer, they are less expected to appear in the pages of secular papers, such as the Cleveland Advertiser The Nov. 18, 1830 Observer called the religion Rigdon embraced "Campbellism Improved;" but it was the Advertiser's editor who went a step beyond that, in speaking of "a noted mountebank by the name of Elder Rigdon."


Vol. 346.                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, July 7, 1956.                        No. 32.


          Where The Prophet Lived                        

Church Purchases
Historic Farm Home

Another historic spot connected with early Church history was secured by the Church recently when the old John Johnson farm and home in Hiram, Ohio, was purchased by the Church Historic Sites Committee which includes Elder George Q. Morris, of the Council of the Twelve, chairman; Elder Adam S. Bennion, of the Council of the Twelve; Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, of the Presiding Bishopric and Elder Wilford Wood.

The home with 160 acres of farm land was purchased from the recent owner, Mrs. Joyce Monroe in order to secure the old home which has been somewhat remodled since the Prophet Joseph Smith's day. Approximately 10 acres of ground with the home will be retained and the remainder sold, according to a spokesman for the committee.

HISTORIC SITE -- Old Johnson Home at Hiram, Ohio, purchased by the Church. It was
made of historic value to the Church by the fact that the Prophet Joseph Smith spent
several years there while completing early organization of the Church.

According to Church history, it was at this home where the Prophet Joseph Smith lived for three [sic 1 1/2?] years during the early rise of the Church. There he received 15 revelations which are recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants. It was there that he was tarred and feathered by a mob, being dragged across the street, according to the report.

The old home is located in a beautiful countryside setting named Pioneer Trail and is lined with a row of sugar maples according to Elder Wood, who recently returned from making a survey of the property.

It is expected that a missionary couple will be installed in the newly purchased homestead and that it will be maintained as an information center where both members, friends and investigators will be welcomed.

Note 1: View modern air-photo of the property.

Note 2: View modern tax map of the property.


Vol. 364.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, September 11, 1965.                   No. 63.

Spotlight on
Sidney Rigdon

Some illuminating flashes of Church history appear in an extensive article entitled, "Sidney Rigdon and the Early History of the Mormon Church," published in July in the Friendship, N.Y., "Sesqui-Centennial Times."

The "Times" is a souvenir newspaper published during the town's sesqui-centennial celebration in July. Nearly two full pages are devoted to the Rigdon article. Friendship being the place where he spent his last years. The article was originally written years ago by his son, John Wyckliff Rigdon, and was republished in the souvenir paper.

John W. Rigdon was associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith from his infancy. He was a participant in several Church history events, but his memory is not entirely accurate. His knowledge of many happenings came entirely through hearsay, but there is much of value to the student of history in his narrative.

He gives some interesting facts about the mobbing of the Prophet and Sidney at Hiram, Ohio; the flight from Kirtland; a visit to Richmond, Mo., to see the Prophet and Sidney while they were in prison, and about a visit he had with Brigham Young in Salt Lake City.

He makes a significant statement about the sustaining of Brigham Young as the successor to Joseph Smith: "I do not think the church made any mistake in placing leadership in Brigham Young. He in my opinion was the best man the church could have selected. Sidney Rigdon had no executive ability, was broken down with sickness, and could not have taken charge of the church at that time."

He also quotes his father's testimony about the Book of Mormon as he (John W.) heard his father declare it: "My son I will always swear before God that what I have told you about the Book of Mormon is true. I did not write or have anything to do with its production and if Joseph Smith ever got that other from which he always told me -- that an angel appeared and told him where to go to find the plates upon which the Book of Mormon was engraved in a hill near Palmyra -- Smith guarded his secret well, for he never let me know by word or action that he got them differently and I believe he did find them as he said and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and this world will find out someday."

He also records his mother's corroboration of his father's statement.

Copies of the "Sesqui-Centennial Times" are available at the paper's office, Friendship, N.Y., at a cost of 30 cents each.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 128.                     Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday, August 20, 1977.                    No. 58.

Church  News

'Spalding theory' re-examined

...Throughout his life, Joseph Smith gave but one explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon: that he was directed by a divine messenger to an ancient record engraved upon gold plates buried in the hill not far from his Manchester, N.Y., home, and that he translated the writings thereon "by the gift and power of God."

He noted in his history that no sooner had he published the book than "great opposition and much persecution followed the believers of its authenticity." Part of the opposition he faced consisted of efforts to nullify his claim of its divine origin.

By far the most persistent effort to create a humanistic explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon originated with an ex-Mormon whose full name was Doctor Philastus Hurlbut. Having been excommunicated from the Church for immorality in June 1833, Hurlbut launched a personal crusade against Joseph Smith.

Besides threatening the Prophet's life, which netted him a court fine and restraining order to keep the peace, Hurlbut vented his wrath in other ways. With the financial backing of an anti-Mormon committee in Kirtland, Ohio, he traveled widely in Ohio and New York gathering information about "the origin of the Book of Mormon," and "the validity of Joseph Smith's claims to the character of a Prophet."

In January 1834 the anti-Mormon Kirtland committee announced a forthcoming book that would "prove the 'Book of Mormon' to be a fiction... written more than 20 years ago, in Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, by Solomon Spalding Esq." The committee also promised that their book would completely divest the Mormon Prophet "of all claims to the character of an honest man."

Since Hurlbut's reputation did not lend itself to the sale of such a book, his findings were published over the name of Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, under the title, "Mormonism Unvailed" (sic). Hurlbut's "proof" for the claim that the Book of Mormon was a fiction consisted of a number of affidavits signed by people who asserted that the "historical part" of the Book of Mormon had been taken from a novel written by Solomon Spalding, an ex-Congregationalist minister and Dartmouth College graduate living in New Salem (later Conneauat), Ohio, about 1810.

The affidavits bore the signatures of eight persons including Spalding's wife [sic - sister-in-law?] and brother. The signers claimed to have heard Spalding read portions of his novel to them some 22 years previous, and that it told about "the first settlers of America," who were "descendents of the Jews or lost tribes," and that they had traveled "from Jerusalem by land and sea till they arrived in America," where they had "separated into two distinct nations" called the "Nephites" and "Lamanites," and that they had destroyed themselves in wars upon this land.

But the testimonies of Hurlbut's witnesses had such a suspicious similarity to them, both in content and wording, that serious students of the Book of Mormon have never regarded them as much more than a product of Hurlbut's imagination or the efforts of a disgruntled apostate to satisfy his personal animosity toward Joseph Smith.

During the research phase of his book Hurlbut did locate Spalding's manuscript in the possession of the novelist's widow, but he was disappointed in its lack of similarity to the Book of Mormon.

To balance this misfortune, his "witnesses" conveniently remembered that Spalding had told them that "he had altered his first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style," and that the earlier manuscript Hurlbut had found bore "no resemblance" to the document Spalding had read to them.

This important recollection assured a long life for the Spalding theory by opening the door for another manuscript. The second-manuscript theory became especially useful following the discovery in 1884 in Hawaii of the manuscript Hurlbut had obtained from Mrs. Spalding. The document was inadvertently located by Oberlin College Pres. James H. Fairchild among papers of Howe's Painesville Telegraph successor, L. L. Rice. It was eventually filed in the Oberlin College archives in Oberlin, Ohio where it remains today. (See Exhibit A)

Exhibit A: Page [36] from Spalding manuscript exhibits regular
capitalization and punctuation -- unlike Book of Mormon
manuscript with allegedly similar handwriting.

The discovery of the Spalding manuscript substantiated the wisdom of Hurlbut and Howe in not publishing it or drawing further attention to it. The discovery also underlined the importance of the second manuscript hypothesis in perpetuating the Spalding theory. The document bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon that could not be found in many other books written in the same language. It is not written in the same style, nor are there common incidents or names.

The Book of Mormon is highly religious in tone, the Spalding manuscript entirely secular. Spalding's novel is the story of a shipload of Romans traveling to England in the days of Constantine who were blown off course and landed in America where their activities merged with the native tribes of the country. The manuscript is mainly a pedestrian account of their civilization and conflicts.

In the decades that followed the publication of Howe's book, additional statements came to light that on the surface appeared to refine and add weight to the original Hurlbut affidavits. Among these was a letter published in the Boston Recorder in 1839 over the signature of Mrs. Matilda Davison, Spalding's widow, who had remarried after her husband's death in 1816; and another, printed in Washington D. C. in 1880 by Mrs. Matilda Spalding McKinstry, a daughter of Solomon. But these and other statements on the subject contained so manyinconsistencies and evidences of fraud as to render them unreliable.

An important thrust of the later Spalding literature, especially after 1884, was to develop the theory of the second manuscript and present a plausible explanation of how Joseph Smith obtained it. As the theme developed, it was reasoned that the Spalding manuscript found by Hurlbut and eventually deposited at Oberlin, titled "Manuscript Story," was an early version of another document titled "Manuscript Found" and that it was really the latter item that Joseph Smith had used as the historical basis for the Book of Mormon.

However plain the double manuscript theory may have appeared to its proponents, the source material has been less than convincing.

When Hurlbut visited Mrs. Spalding in Massachusetts about her husband's novel, she told him that the document, titled "Manuscript Found," was in a family trunk in New York, but she could recall nothing of its content.

Five years later, when her statement appeared in the Boston Recorder, she showed a surprising rejuvenation of memory. She described the manuscript in detail and stated definitely that, after her husband had submitted it to the Pittsburgh printer Robert Patterson, it was returned to her and she had "carefully preserved" it until she gave it to Hurlbut in 1834 and that he had not returned it. Her statements did not agree with later statements that Sidney Rigdon had stolen the manuscript from Patterson.

Further indication that the double manuscript theory is a forced interpretation is seen from the fact that the Spalding document at Oberlin contains no holograph title. Someone other than Spalding has written "Solomon Spaulding's Writings" in ink on a cover page, and then in light pencil over the top of [sic - underneath?] this, the same [sic - different?] hand has added "Manuscript Story" and "Conneaut Creek."

There is nothing on the manuscript itself to suggest that Spalding ever wrote more than the one document, or that he was ever aware of the title "Manuscript Story," or that the document may not originally have been titled "Manuscript Found" and that someone removed it and supplied a title that would help perpetuate the theory.

The sources that focus upon the method by which the Spalding novel was supposed to have come into the hands of Joseph Smith are equally unconvincing. One writer postulated that Joseph himself had stolen the manuscript from Spalding's wife's brother. Others contended that Sidney Rigdon had obtained it. One suggestion identified a "mysterious stranger" seen in the Smith neighborhood fifty years previous as Rigdon.

However, the most popular view was that Rigdon stole the manuscript while working at the Patterson printing shop in Pittsburgh, Pa., in the early 1800s.

But throughout his life -- even when he became disillusioned with Joseph Smith -- Rigdon always maintained that he never saw Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon until after the book was published. Nor is there evidence that he was ever in Pittsburgh before 1822, six years after Spalding's death.

The Spalding theory has dominated secular explanations for the origin of the Book of Mormon well into the 20th century. But its popularity is based more on the conviction that comes from age and frequent repetition than any sound evidence.

The theory was born in a spirit of rancor and animosity and was perpetuated chiefly by those who sought to lash back at Joseph Smith and Mormonism. The weight of scholarly studies in the field of Mormon history during the last 30 years has effectively rejected the Spalding theory as a credible alternative to Joseph Smith's explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon.

...The resurrection of the Spalding theory... raises the same objections that made the original Hurlbut version so untenable. These include such problems as the reliability of the original source material in the face of Hurlbut's extreme bias against Joseph Smith; the failure of Sidney Rigdon to ever contradict Joseph Smith's claim of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon, especially after Rigdon's rejection by Joseph Smith and excommunication from the Church; and the problem of literary style when comparing the Book of Mormon with Spalding's writings and assuming that the latter wrote the former....

In reality, the religious message of the Book of Mormon is so tightly interwoven with its history that it would be inconceivable to assume that the two themes were produced separately, and later interpolated. Further, it is unlikely that the strong-minded and erudite Sidney Rigdon, who was 12 years Joseph Smith's senior, would have accepted the servile task of weaving Joseph's religious ideas in with Spalding's historical novel, and ever after remain silent about it....

Note: Excerpts allowable under "fair use" reproduced above, in article copyright © 1977 by the LDS Church. See on-line Deseret News files for the full text and graphics.


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Sunday, May 12, 1985.                        No. ?

Joseph Smith letter of 1825
is released by First Presidency

A letter from Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell Sr., written in 1825, has been released by the First Presidency, along with two other letters written in 1843 that relate to the Stowells.

The Joseph Smith document is the earliest existing letter in Joseph's own handwriting, said Church histotians. Though the letter has no bearing on the coming forth of the Book of Mormon or the restoration of the Church, it suggests that Joseph was more literate than some historians had believed.

The other two letters are correspondence between j[ohn] S. Fullmer, who was on a mission, and Josiah Stowell Jr. In the letter, Fullmer asks for a testimonial from Stowell to combat false charges being widely circulated at the time among enemies of the Church. Stowell's response, and a postscript added by his father, a member, evidently fulfilled the wishes of Fullmer....

Fullmer seeks to know character of Joseph Smith

Cambria, Lucurne Co. Penn          
February 10th 1843          
Josiah Stowell Jr. Esq.
Elmyra N.Y.

Dear Sir,
        I hope you will pardon pardon me for the liberty I am taking in addressing you this letter, which is intended, not as an obtrusion, but to elicit a statement of facts which came under your own personal observation, or such as you know to be facts from circumstance with which you are well acquainted, relative to the youthful, and also more matured character of Joseph Smith Jun., your play mate and school fellow, but now leader of the "Latter day Saints."

I have been laboring now for some weeks in this section of the country, by way of preaching the gospel as understood by the said Smith and others, and find here a great deal of opposition & persecution, in consequence of the reputed bad character of Mr. Smith in his youth, and the consequent deception (it is said) he is practicing upon the public.

Being convinced of the great injustice done him everywhere in alleging charges of the most haineus character against him, which are verily believed by the people here, and greatly to the prejudice of the spread of the gospel in this section; and having recently had an opportunity of conversing with you, (while at your house together with Mr. Bird) on the subject and learned that you were his youthful companion, and had, on many occasions, defended his character from the fulsome abuse of the slanderer; I cannot forbear to solicit from you a statement of such things as you feel warranted in making in his defence and in defence of the truth, & more especially as you are not a member of the church.

It is here stated and verily believed, that he, Smith, was a gambler, a Blackleg, a notorious horse jockey, an adept at the slight of hand or juggling, and was notorious for frequenting grogshops, and intemperance, and that he was also exceedingly profane, &c. &c. Now, if this matter can be answered to the satisfaction of some half a Dozen persons in this neighborhood, it would have quite a beneficial effect here; besides, it would be a vindication of the character and reputation of one who is receiving more than his share of misrepresentation and abuse. I have openly and boldly denied these charges, and although not required to prove a negative, have still agreed to do so in several instances, which if I can do, through you, will set this matter at rest in this place.

I hope you will take the trouble, (if you think me reasonable in requesting it,) to answer in reply to those charges as soon as circumstances will posibly admit of your doing so, I should be pleased to have you make also such general remarks as the occasion seems to require. I should be pleased also to have the old gentleman, your father, subscribe to as much of your reply as he is knowing to.

Address to Cambria &c. as above.

Give my compliments to all that I had the pleasure of seeing at yr. house. & to Mr. Bird, should you see him.
Very Respectfully          
Jno: S. Fullmer          
P.S. I would gladly pay the postage on this letter, but tell the truth I have not got it. am laboring without purse or scrip, & without compensation, only such good as I may be the means of doing while on my mission & may God bless you and yours. Send yours without paying postage.     J.S.F.

Josiah Stowell replies to letter

Chemung Feb 17th 1843          
Mr J S Fullmer

       I rec'd yours of the 10 Feb on the 14th and have binn so busy that I could not answer it until now & now I will as nere as I can at this time   you will know tis a Perplexing time for business men & My mind is fully engaged in my business on ac't of the great derangement of the curency

I will give you a short history of what I know about Joseph Smith Jr   I have binn Intemately acquainted with him about 2 years   he then was about 20 years old or there about   I also went to school with him one winter   he was a fine likely young man & at that time did not Profess religion   he was not a Profain man although I did once in a while hear him swaire   he never gambled to my knowledge   I do not believe he ever did   I well know he was no Hores Jocky for he was no Judge of Hoarses   I Sold him one   that is all I ever knewd he dealt in the kind   I never new him to git drunk I believe he would now and then take a glass   he never Pretended to play the slight of hand nor black leg   it was fashionable at that time to drink Liquor   I do not Believe in any religion & there fore am friendly to all   I Believe that there is a heaven & hell & those that do not right here through their lives will be damned but still I believe I do right myself   I state this for facts that any thing from what I have said about Joseph Smith that is worse than I say is fals & untrue

I am fraid you cannot read what I have wrote   my penn is Poor   I am in a glary & tired after doing a hard days work
I am yours truly          
Josiah Stowell Jr.          
      I now write you for my father   he says what I have wrote you is true & he has binn acquainted with him 6 years & he never knew any thing of him but what was right   [also] knew him to be a Seer & a Phrophet & Believe the Book of Mormon to be true & all these stories is fals & untrue that is told about Joseph Smith
I am yours truly & Repply          
Your Brother in the Church of Latter day Saints
Josiah Stowell          
By J Stowell Jr          

Note: The purported 1825 Joseph Smith letter was a modern forgery.


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.                        No. ?

Joseph's  Nightmare
Tarring and Feathering Taught Prophet
He was Vulnerable to Violence

Robert Walsh

Their adopted twin babies were sick with the measles, and the Prophet Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, hadn't been able to get much rest.

During the night, Emma told him to lie down on a trundle bed near the front door and try to get some sleep. He took the sicker twin and lay down, but his rest wouldn't last long.

Suddenly, Joseph heard Emma scream, and a mob of about a dozen angry men burst in and began dragging him out of the house.

As the Prophet recounted, "I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately overpowered again; and they swore ... they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. ... They then seized me by the throat and held on till I lost my breath" (Joseph Smith, "History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints").

That was only the beginning of the living nightmare that Joseph endured the night of March 24, 1832, at the John Johnson farm in Hiram, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Kirtland. He would be stripped of his clothes except for his shirt collar, have hot tar poured over his body followed by a layer of feathers and beaten to the extent that one of his teeth was knocked out.

The plan may have been to kill him. A Dr. Dennison, who was a member of the mob, had brought vials of nitric acid to force down the Prophet's throat. A vial broke in his teeth, and he didn't swallow the acid.

He recounted, "One man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out: 'G-d--ye, that's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.'

"They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again; I pulled the tar away from my lips, so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up ... When I came to the door I was naked, and the tar made me look as if I were covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all crushed to pieces, and fainted."

Mark Staker, senior researcher for the historic sites group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' history department in Salt Lake City, says tarring and feathering was a sign of disgrace. Eli Johnson, one of John Johnson's brothers, apparently provided the tar and heated it up.

"It would have been painful," Staker said, although "it wasn't as life-threatening as the acid and the physical abuse when they beat him unmercifully. Tarring and feathering is mostly humiliation."

Staker, who worked as a historian for the LDS Church's Kirtland restoration project, which was dedicated in 2003, says part of that project was restoring the John Johnson home in Hiram.

"It had suffered some structural damage and we had to close the home," he said. "We tried to understand what took place in each room of the home."

Staker's research has become part of the Joseph Smith Papers project, a scholarly effort to collect, transcribe and publish all available documents produced or owned by the Prophet. The first volume is expected to be published later this year.

"The Joseph Smith Papers project has come to view the historic sites as documents as well," Staker said. "The physical evidence of Joseph's ministry is by large the documents he produced, but also the physical culture around him, and so these buildings are actually tangible evidence of his life and his ministry. So while they're not papers, they are documentary evidence of Joseph."

The Prophet continued: "My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body; so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. This being the Sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among them came also the mobbers; viz.: Simonds Ryder, a Campbellite preacher and leader of the mob; one McClentic, who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a Campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esq., who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey to raise their spirits. Besides these named, there were many others in the mob. With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals."

Staker says that the Prophet's account holds up well.

"Joseph actually downplays the whole thing -- because it ends up being a really brutal experience for him," he said. "Most Latter-day Saints would tell you, 'Oh, his tooth was chipped.' But accounts are clear that it was knocked out. And he had a permanent bald spot (where a patch of hair was torn out) that he combed to hide that spot. ... As a result of the mobbing he had an injury in his side. Those are things that if it were me, I would have whined about."

Staker says the mobbing happened early Sunday morning, not Saturday night. "All accounts suggest the moon was up, and that didn't happen until after 3 a.m. ... They took him to the kitchen and cleaned him up early Sunday morning. It would have taken a lot of work. They have to reheat the tar because it hardens once it gets cold. They (would have used) fat and grease to get it off. It would have taken a lot of time. ... He may not have had time to sleep before his sermon."

The Prophet recognized after the incident that he was vulnerable to people who wanted to harm him, Staker says.

"He's withstood persecution already for a decade in some form or another, but this is the first time that people come close to actually killing him." If the doctor had been able to get Joseph to drink one of the vials of nitric acid, "it would have killed him," Staker said. "It would have burned out his throat and esophagus. He would have died."

Staker says from that time on, armed guards protected the Prophet. "Joseph knew this was serious business. Yet he continues on the course he was following."

Joseph Smith wasn't the only one harmed that night.

The mob was in two groups, Staker says. One group had gone to Sidney Rigdon's cabin, where his six children all had the measles, too. The mob took Rigdon down the road to attack him, and historians have theorized that head injuries he suffered as he was being dragged along the frozen ground explain erratic behavior that Rigdon exhibited after the mobbing. For example, the day after the mobbing, he threatened his family, as well as the Prophet.

Joseph also blamed the mobbing for the death of baby Joseph Murdock, who died later that week of a cold.

Staker says that blame is natural, because the Prophet was a follower of Thompsonian medicine, which called for people who were sick to be kept out of cold weather. It's hard to say whether the baby would have died anyway, Staker says.

It was common in that era for people to meet political or religious differences with violence, Staker says. Members of the mob were mostly community leaders. Ryder, who purportedly led the mob, was captain of the local militia, and many of the others were militia members.

"These were respectable people ... not riffraff," Staker said. "In terms of a mob, they were a respectable mob."

Mob members' children didn't know their parents had been involved, Staker says. It wasn't until grandchildren came along that the stories began to be told. "They kept it secret," Staker said. "Even though they were respectable people, it was not a respectable thing to do."

Why did they participate?

Staker says a number of them wanted to stop family members from going to Missouri -- Zion -- and thought that harming the Prophet would somehow prevent the gathering, which was to take place in a couple of weeks. Others apparently were upset about the vision now contained in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants about seeing God and Jesus Christ and the new doctrine that there are many kingdoms in the hereafter.

Those who had been present were supposed to keep it secret at the time, but some did not. Staker says there was a Brother Haskell who was told about the vision and went around telling people about it even before he had a written copy.

After the mobbing, there was some pestering of Latter-day Saints that happened, but no direct attacks, Staker says. They couldn't stop what was happening with the church, even by resorting to violence.

"It says a lot about Joseph that he knows he could have been killed for the things he was teaching."

Note 1: Contents copyright © 2008 Deseret News

Note 2: See also Mark L. Staker's Ensign article of Oct., 2002, "Remembering Hiram, Ohio," in which he says: "By March 1832, more than a hundred Latter-day Saints were preparing to gather with the Saints in Missouri. This planned migration as well as differences in religious doctrine clearly troubled some local residents, who formed a mob... attacked Joseph and Sidney and dragged them into a nearby field, where they were beaten, tarred, and feathered." Particularly interesting here is Staker's tying the March 24, 1832 attack upon the Mormon leaders, to plans for "more than a hundred Latter-day Saints" from around Hiram, to move away to the Mormons' Missouri Zion. Such a mass movement would have entailed liquidation of the members' property and assets, in the days when total consecration was still the practice in the church. Had this occurred, the Mormon leaders would have been left in possession of a substantial amount of property in northern Portage County -- or, at least they would have maintained considerable influence over the eventual disposal of migrating members' farms, homes, etc. Hiram families such as the Johnsons, the Pitkins, and others, whose members were partly loyal Mormons and partly non-Mormons, would no doubt have experienced considerable internal tensions in such a scenario. -- A local resident (probably Charles H. Ryder) writing in Hiram on 1877 stated: "In less than six months after Joseph Smith first came here more than sixty persons had united with his church and accepted him as the Prophet of the Lord. There was hardly a family in the township which was not wholly or in part converted. Taking all the members who entered here they numbered over two hundred." In 1902 Hartwell Ryder (son of Symonds and father of Charles H.) informed the visiting B. H. Roberts, that "the people did not want Hiram to be a Mormon center; and there was a man down at Shallersville whose wife had joined the Mormon Church and was a-going with the Mormons to Missouri -- that was their Zion then, you know."

Note 3: Staker's attributing provision of the tar used on that March night to "Eli Johnson, one of John Johnson's brothers," is probably a mistake. John Johnson, Sr. did have a brother named "Eliphaz" Johnson (1782-1859), but there is no evidence that the brother ever left New England. John Johnson, Sr. and Alice (Elsa/Elsie) Jacobs Johnson had no son named "Eli;" so said "Eli" could not have been "one of John Johnson's brothers," in the case of John John, Jr. either. Whomever this "Eli Johnson" may have been, he was evidently not a member of Hiram's Mormon Johnson family. Various sources identify the supplier of the tar bucket and paddle used in the attack, as Silas Raymond, an in-law of the Mormon Pitkins at Hiram.

Note 4: The ostensible use of nitric acid as a murder weapon makes little sense, given the context and probable motivations of the March 24th assault upon the Mormon leaders. No known Ohio historical source credits any of the gang of attackers as having been either a would-be or a successful murderer. Had the participants in the tarring and feathering intended to kill Smith and Rigdon, a simple razor slash to the neck (or a bullet to the head) would have abruptly ended the night's activity, without any necessity of heating up tar, or pulling feathers from the Mormons' pillows. Since the nitric acid was reportedly also applied to Sidney Rigdon's mouth, the more reasonable explanation of things, is that the attackers meant to impair the speaking (preaching) capabilities of the two men. After the attack, Sidney Rigdon almost immediately disappeared from Hiram -- never to return. Joseph Smith, after a brief getaway to Missouri, returned to Hiram and remained there, unmolested, until the last part of September. Possibily the application of the acid in Rigdon's case was partly successful, and his much vaunted preaching eloquence was temporarily disabled.


Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City, Utah,  Thursday, January 22, 2009.                     No. ?

Church  News



By Michael De Groote

Provo -- Brent Ashworth found a long-lost notebook of one of the earliest and most controversial general authorities of the LDS Church. The rediscovery of what Ashworth believes is a notebook of William E. McLellin, an excommunicated Mormon apostle...

McLellin joined the Mormons in 1831 and kept a journal almost from the beginning. He was an original member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve but was excommunicated in 1838.

After he left the church he tried unsuccessfully to persuade David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, to take leadership of a new church more to McLellin’s liking. Whitmer refused.

McLellin became an outspoken critic of the LDS Church and, to a lesser extent, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ). He wrote his beliefs and recollections in several notebooks. Those records were given to a family friend, John Traughber, after McLellin died in 1883....

The notebook is about 6 by 8 inches and 266 pages long. It is filled from binding to page edges with the fine and clear handwriting of a teacher of penmanship. McLellin wrote in it in 1871 and 1872. The notebook has a detailed index of the many subjects it contains.

"My opinion is he was trying to write a book. And this is written with more care than some of his other notebooks. I think he was actually trying to put a book together," Ashworth said.... Ashworth, however, sees the notebook as one of the most significant finds in the past 50 years because of an unexpected element: McLellin’s faith in the Book of Mormon....

McLellin asks his readers a question in a section titled, "The Testimony of Men." He says the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who said they saw an angel, "either told the truth or they willfully lied. How shall we tell which, how shall we know?"

McLellin then recounts a story of meeting two of the witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, in July 1833 in Missouri. McLellin and the two were in danger of their lives from anti-Mormon mobs. McLellin wrote:
"I said to them, 'Brethren, I never have seen an open vision in my life, but you men say you have, and therefore you positively know. Now, you know that our lives are in danger every hour, if the mob can only catch us. Tell me, in the fear of God, is that Book of Mormon true?' Cowdery looked at me with solemnity depicted in his face and said: 'Brother William, God sent his holy angel to declare the truth of the translation of it to us, and therefore we know. And though the mob kill us, yet we must die declaring its truth.' David said: 'Oliver has told you the solemn truth, for we could not be deceived. I most truly declare to you its truth!!' Said I: 'Boys, I believe you. I can see no object for you to tell me falsehood now, when our lives are endangered.'"...

Note: Contents copyright © 2009 Deseret News


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Thursday, June 4, 2009.                        No. ?

Portraits of the Past:
Disciples of Christ Old Church

The attractive church seen in this image is the oldest house of worship of the Disciples of Christ, or Campbellite, tradition in Ohio.

Once led by Alexander Campbell, it is the denomination that Sidney Rigdon came from when he joined the Latter-day Saints. Members of this faith still worship in the structure and graciously allow interested visitors to see the inside of this historic building. The fallen headstone... is that of Perlea Moore.

While not noted on the headstone itself, cemetery records indicate that, while alive, this young woman "provided the pillow when Joe Smith was tarred and feathered." BYU professor Alex Baugh and Kirtland historian Karl Anderson have provided documentation of this detail.

The attractive church seen in this image is the oldest house of worship of the Disciples of Christ, or Campbellite, tradition in Ohio. Once led by Alexander Campbell, it is the denomination Sidney Rigdon came from when he joined the Latter-day Saints. Members of this faith still worship in the structure and graciously allow interested visitors to see the inside of this historic building.

Note 1: Contents copyright © 2009 Deseret News

Note 2: Perlea Moore (1806-1843) was the youngest child of Samuel and Eunice Moore, who settled on Lot 24 of Mantua township, Portage Co., Ohio in 1806. She evidently never married: her niece-namesake, Perlea Moore Derthick, was an early graduate of Hiram College. Perlea Moore was probably still living with her parents in March of 1832, when Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered in the adjacent township of Hiram. It is unlikely that the assailants carried feathers all the way from Mantua, to the scene of their night-time attack. Other accounts report that the feathers were appropriated from the Rigdon cabin.

Note 3: Volume Two of Harriet T. Upton's 1910 History of the Western Reserve briefly mentions this lady, saying on page 1099: "Perley [sic] Moore, one of the daughters of this family, is recorded in the annals of the early history of this community as furnishing the pillow of feathers with which Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered in this state." Upton probably took her information from pp. 46-47 of Horace L. Moore's 1903 Andrew Moore of Poquonock and Windsor Connecticut and His Descendants, which provides the same information.


Vol. ?                         Salt Lake City, Utah,  Wednesday, March 3, 2010.                        No. ?

Team  Solving  LDS  Mysteries
By Christine Rappleye

PROVO -- The questions usually start simply enough....

As the full-time editors of each volume of the Joseph Smith Papers program comb through the journals, histories and other documents of Joseph Smith, questions will pop up from the history of a reference to a meeting's minutes, mail or weather at a particular time. Their questions could involve a book from special collections or scriptural allusions in newspaper editorials. They may need to explore the different laws of the Prophet's time period or chronicle Joseph's role at meetings in a time period, said Kay Darowski, supervisor of the research team and a volume editor....

Then there was the question that came up about a reference in one of the Prophet's journals about the John Johnson farm in Hyrum [sic - Hiram], Ohio, that Kirksey was trying to sort out.

In digging through microfilmed land records, he found that Johnson had been assigned a steward over the land in order to redo the deed so that he was the owner....

Note 1: The above text is abbreviated to comply with copyright regulations. Contents copyright © 2010 Deseret News The full article is available here and also here. Unfortunately the research on the John Johnson family's real estate transfers was mis-reported, and there is no record of Johnson having deeded his Hiram property over to the Bishop in Kirtland.

Note 2: John Johnson's next door neighbor in Hiram, Ohio, was Symonds Ryder, who was baptized a Mormon in the late spring or early summer of 1831. Ryder's family opposed his joining the Mormons -- his son Hartwell recalled that his "mother cried all day and the children whispered in the corners, of the dreadful thing that had happened.... Not long afterward Joseph Smith read upon the plates which the Lord wrote his revelations to him that 'Simons Ryder' with a number others should go farther west and there establish another church." Gerald V. Stamm, writing in 1939, reported that Symonds Ryder soon reconciled his religious sympathies with those of his family, opening a "rift" between himself and the Mormon leadership (then ensconced at the adjacent Johnson farm). Stamm wrote: "The rift first appeared when Smith, through a 'revelation' commanded Ryder to go to Missouri on a mission. As proof he showed Ryder the commission. Ryder looked at it carefully, and then replied, 'I will not go.'" Part of Ryder's disinclination to remain obedient to his Mormon leaders may have stemmed from his having been called to "go to Missouri on a mission," or to "go farther west and there establish another church," while at the same time being asked to donate his Hiram property to the Mormons. Any report that his neighbors at that time (Mr. and Mrs. Johnson) were consecrating their farm to the Church, would naturally strengthen the likelihood that Ryder would being called upon to do the same thing. Had the Johnsons made such a donation, they evidently would have remained upon their donated property for several months, looking after it as stewards, under the Mormon consecration scheme then in place. If the Ryders, on the other hand, were being asked to donate and vacate their farm, in preparation for a "gathering to Zion" in Missouri, their growing opposition to the Mormons may well be imagined. The actual 1831-32 events, however, remain unclear.

Note 3: There may have been an additional complication to Symonds Ryders' difficulties with the Mormons at Hiram in 1831-32, and that was the rumor that a permanent Church headquarters in the town was being contemplated, along with a temple, to be erected atop Hiram Hill, where the Johnsons and Ryders were then living. Symonds' grandson, Charles H. Ryder alluded to this possibility in his 1877 article, "A Hill of Zion" -- "In less than six months after Joseph Smith first came here more than sixty persons had united with his church and accepted him as the Prophet of the Lord. There was hardly a family in the township [of Hiram] which was not wholly or in part converted. Taking all the members who entered here they numbered over two hundred. The Prophet now began to have revelations almost every night. The site of the contemplated temple was pointed out -- a spot on the 'Hinckley farm,' as it is called." The original Benjamin Hinckley farm of the 1820s consisted of most of lots 38 and 39 in Hiram township: an expanse of land which bordered the Ryder family's property, along the Old State Road. However, an earlier report, by Lucius V. Bierce, simply said: "Smith and family took up their abode with Johnson; Rigdon in a log cabin opposite, and others in the vicinity. Here they had a revelation that the Temple was to be located, and the site was pointed out on a hill near the 'Hinckley farm.'" The southeast corner of Symonds Ryder's farm was a stone's throw from the Hinckley farm, and was situated upon slightly higher ground than Hinckley's, offering a better location for a great structure on Hiram Hill. Abram Garfield, writing in 1934 made the Ryder location an exact one, with this fictional pronouncement: "'Well, Symonds, go on' said Charlie Raymond 'You haven't told us yet.We hear that Smith told you he had a message that his temple was to go up on your hill.'" Whether a temple was planned for the Ryder property, the adjacent Hinckley property, or was merely a rumor, the prospect of the Mormons establishing a permanent presence in Hiram (while at the same time "gathering" Hiram converts to far off Missouri), must have disturbed numerous local residents (both the non-Mormon and the wavering Mormons).

Note 4: The notion that John Johnson "had been assigned a steward over the land" of his own farm in Hiram, has a certain amount of believability, in light of an accusation made by his son-in-law, against Sidney Rigdon, in 1845. Speaking of events during the Mormons' tenture at Nauvoo, LDS Apostle Orson Hyde says: "Mr. Rigdon also thought this was a good time to crush a member of the Johnson family, against which he had an old grudge, because Father Johnson, after giving him and his family a living for a long time, building a house for them to live in &c., would not give him his farm and all his property; for he once demanded of Father Johnson a deed of all his property without offering one dollar as an equivalent." Apparently Rigdon's demands were not fully complied with, but the possible consecration angered members of John Johnson's own family. Richard S. Van Wagoner, on page 114 of his 1994 Sidney Rigdon biography, says: "Brothers Olmstead and John Johnson, Jr., viewed Rigdon and Smith as grafters intent on defrauding them of their future inheritance. Samuel F. Whitney, brother of prominent Mormon Newel K. Whitney, reported that the Johnson boys were angry because Joseph and Sidney continually urged their father to 'let them have his property.'" Gerald V. Stamm addresses the same historical issue in his 1939 essay: "Probably the greatest opposition came from those who disliked intensely the plan whereby the Mormon Church, represented by Smith and his chief lieutenants, acquired possession of the property of the members. At that early date, it should be remembered, that polygamy had not yet been introduced. Aside from fanatical zeal, the introduction of a supplement to the Bible, and Smith's claims of being a prophet with miraculous powers, the sect can be said to differ little from the orthodox denominations. In a way it was a communistic scheme. -- Johnson's farm was one of the sect's possessions, and was bought by James Stevens grandfather from either the Mormon church about the time they abandoned Hiram, or some member."

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