Mormon Classics   |   Spalding Library   |   Bookshelf   |   Newspaper Articles   |   History Vault

Byron Marchant
Mormon Roots

(Salt Lake City: Metamorphisis, 1994)

  • Front Cover   Contents   Preface
  • "Mormon Roots"
  • Book of Mormon
  • Spalding & Rigdon
  • Back Cover

  • Transcriber's Comments  

  • Entire contents of this e-text, copyright © 1994 by Byron Marchant.
    All Rights reserved.  E-Text prepared March, 1999.


    Mormon Roots
    Joseph Smith:  

    Genealogy ... History ... Pathology ... Therapy....

    The Mayflower at Plymouth Rock,
    Salem Witchcraft Hysteria,
    The Revolutionary War,
    and their
    Ecclesiastical Consequences

    Byron Marchant

    © 1994  (e-text 1999)


    All Rights Reserved


    Mormon Roots
    Joseph Smith:  

    Genealogy ... History ... Pathology ... Therapy....

    The Mayflower at Plymouth Rock,
    Salem Witchcraft Hysteria,
    The Revolutionary War,
    and their
    Ecclesiastical Consequences


    Byron Marchant

    © 1994

    (e-text March 1999)

    Metamorphosis Publishing

    All Rights Reserved



    P O Box 65061
    Salt Lake City, UT  84165-0061

    Copyright ©1994, by Byron Marchant, dba
    A Sante' USATM well-being informatives company.

    All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

    MetamorphosisPublishing is a registered business name in the State of Utah for Byron Marchant.

    Manufactured in the United States of America
    99 98 97 95         8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Marchant, Byron
    Mormon Roots
    1. American History, 2. American Revolutionary War, 3. Joseph Smith, Jr., Genealogy, 4. Mormonism, 5. New England History, 6. Polygamy, 7. Psychoanalysis, 8. Religion, 9. Violence, 10. Western Americana, 11. Witchcraft Hysteria.




    When my then teen daughters asked if they could be baptized into the Mormon church I asked if they knew it was a hoax and they said it didn't matter. Soon they invited the customary pair of missionaries to our home where these gentlemen agreed that if Mormonism was a hoax none of the ordinances like baptism meant anything anyway, so I asked them: "If my children later want to have their names removed from Mormon membership rolls can it be done without all the formality of excommunication and the rest of [what I considered] its ecclesiastical absurdities and nonsense?" Eventually my daughters were baptized but not before the Mormon church, through these two elders, agreed to read my typed "original edition" of Mormon Roots ("Mormon Exaggerations") that I had written as a paper for a University of Utah Anthropology course. The missionaries assured me that if my daughters ever decided to leave the ranks of LDS "orthodoxy" they could do so without fanfare. Specifically, they unequivocally "guaranteed," for whatever it's worth, that if they desired, my children would be permitted -- as I had previously been denied -- to speak in their own behalf with a defense of their position and/or actions, before being severed from this church. So far the Mormon church has kept its word and my children have not complained about its treatment of them. 1 "Mormon Exaggerations" was my first written attempt at expressing this new-found understanding of Mormon origins. 2 Since completing it in 1988 for that Anthropology class, however, I have prepared a typeset of the first three books of William H. Whitsitt's unpublished 5 book work entitled "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder

    1 On the other hand, I am quite certain that if my daughters, or anyone, challenges the Mormon priesthood -- defined by Mormon leaders as "the authority or power to act in the name of God" -- Mormon leaders will do whatever they find necessary to mount a defense, including, if convenient, to ignore prior commitments. Mormon leaders know that American courts have interpreted the First Amendment to mean that a church is not required to keep its promises made with the membership -- that means the Mormon church has a "license to steal." Upon my realization and public disclosure -- to the missionaries and others -- of my discoveries of Mormonism's shaky foundations, the local bishop, an attorney in Salt Lake City, John Call (Liberty Ward, Salt Lake Liberty Stake), took it upon himself to protect my children from their "evil spirited" father. After all, I was now "fighting the church" and my arguments made sense.
    2 Bishop Call proceeded to recommend the hiring of a lawyer to sever me from my daughters as well as the Social Security benefits that had been earned by their deceased mother and myself. All the talk by some Mormons about "family values" is just talk. When it fits their agenda these devotees go out of their way in doing all they can to undermine the parent-child relationship and save the "unfortunate" children. This hired pigeon, L. G. "Buzz" Cutler, labeling "Mormon Exaggerations" on Sept 15, 1988, as "scandalous," persuaded Utah Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Peacock McCully to take away custody -- though finding no abuse nor neglect -- and have the younger of the two raised by their orthodox Mormon maternal grandmother, in spite of my voiced opposition to the custody change (Theory: discrediting a natural parent is damaging to the child's self-esteem, i.e., child abuse by the court). In her "Decision" statement (21 Dec. 1988), Judge McCully condemned the various parties from the family and neighborhood for involving my youngest daughter in the "Wars": "Just leave her out of it [the family's religious, political and financial discussions]!" Her own involvement was, obviously, not mentioned as an intrusion. The case cost Utah taxpayers, as well as I can determine, about $100,000.00, the Mormon church nothing (unless they paid for Cutler) and myself credit problems. It has given the State of Utah and The United States Government a bond (torn down the wall of separation) with the Mormon church. I have benefited with great motivation under trying financial circumstances -- not unusual for artists and writers -- and acquired an appreciation for The Doctrine of Limited Tears.



    of Mormonism" and remain more convinced than ever that my earlier position as expressed in "Mormon Exaggerations" was correct. In addition, I have invested more than a year studying New England history, including Witchcraft Hysteria at Salem Massachusetts in 1692 and the Revolutionary War's New England beginnings. This edition reflects the benefit of that study. Joseph Smith, Sr., father of "The Prophet," was born at Topsfield Massachusetts and descended from ancestors who had lived in the vicinity of Salem Witchcraft fame, before, during and after the 1692 hysteria; and, when Joseph Smith, Sr., was a very young child, during the American Revolution, he lived at Derryfield, New Hampshire, home of Patriotic Hero John Stark, rebel leader during the 17 June 1775 Battle At Charlestown Heights (Bunker Hill) and the 16 August 1777 Battle For Bennington (New York/Vermont border disputes). These Witchcraft and Revolutionary War connections are discussed in considerable detail below.

    To dedicate this to my children would not be unexpected but I prefer resisting that temptation and dedicate Mormon Roots to the first member of my family who, during the mid 1830s, joined the Mormon church in central Ohio when those early Mormon missionaries with a "Golden Bible... came into our neighborhood a preaching...".3 To think that she would have joined then, had she known at the time what is now available to us regarding Mormon origins, is highly speculative and presumptuous. I dedicate this to her, Avarilla Durbin,4 mother of Duncan Spiers Casper, 5 father of Harriet Matilda Casper, 6 the mother of my father Stephen Casper Marchant. 7 And also, not to be accused of sexism or family discrimination, to those from my daughters' maternal family, many having also joined the Mormon church in the 1830s, one became intimate with Joseph Smith, Jr. 8 Two of these are my daughters' great-great-great grandfathers: Charles Shumway (total of 5 wives -- married the first of 3 plural wives in 1845) 9 and Joel Hill Johnson (5 wives -- married the first of 4 plural wives in 1840), 10 both of Worcester county (Grafton, Oxford, Sturbridge and Uxbridge), Massachusetts. They were among the earliest Mormon polygamists (Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, first plural marriage took place April 5, 1841). Charles and Joel each left large numbers of children and sensational posterity, my daughters, Daphne and Nicole, and their mother, Gladys Diane [Smith] Marchant (no relation to Joseph Smith), being examples.

    3 American Ancestry of Harriet Matilda Casper Marchant, Barbara Stoutner, 2839 S. Columbus St., Arlington VA 22206 (also, c/o Lydia Sorensen, 307 West First South, Manti UT 84642), p 80.
    4 Avarilla [Ava Rillar] Durban AFN:1X16-QN, born 26 Nov. 1790. AFN numbers are identifications for use with the Mormon church's computerized genealogical system. The number they have affixed to the author is AFN:6851-KB.
    5 Duncan Spiers Casper AFN:2WRQ-X5, born 8 Dec. 1824.
    6 Harriet Matilda Casper AFN:1FOX-39, born 9 Nov. 1849.
    7 Stephen Casper Marchant AFN:1FOX-KP, born 10 Jan. 1890.
    8 Almera Woodard Johnson AFN:1CL2-L1, born 12 Oct. 1812, at Westford, Chittenden, VT, one of the 32 plural wives of Joseph Smith, Jr., AFN:9KGL-W2 (married in 1843), and sister to the great-great-great grandfather, Joel Hill Johnson, of the author's children on their maternal family tree.
    9 Charles Shumway AFN:1FT1-P8, born 1 Aug. 1806.
    10 Joel Hill Johnson AFN:9K7R-1J, born 23 Mar. 1802.



    [In 1820  I] retired to the woods
    [in prayer and] . . . saw two
    personages... One of them spoke
    unto me, calling me by name and
    said,  pointing to the other --
    "This is My Beloved Son.  Hear
                        -- Joseph Smith, 1842






    Significant Events      

    Samuel Fuller arrived at Plymouth Rock on The Mayflower.
    1. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut adopted 14 Jan. 2. Salem Village settled.
    William Smith and Rebecka Keas married 6 July at Topsfield MA.
    Topsfield township established adjacent to Salem MA.
    1. Death of Priscilla [Gould] Wildes, first wife of John Wildes, 16 Apr.
    2. John Wildes married Sarah Averill, 23 Nov.
    John Wild, Jr.'s, will made out.
    Topsfield appointed a committee to demand that all declare bounds of their lands.
    Salem brought suit, 9 Nov., against John Curtis to seize his Topsfield property.
    1. Samuel Smith signed a deposition against Mary Esty.
    2. Mary Esty, Elizabeth How and Sarah Wildes, all from Topsfield, executed as witches.
    John Wilde married Mary Jacobs of Salem, 26 June.



    Samuel Smith married his first cousin, Priscilla Gould, 27 May.
    Asael Smith born 7 Mar. at Topsfield MA to Samuel and Priscilla [Gould] Smith.
    Asael Smith and Mary Duty married, 12 Feb
    Joseph Smith, Sr., born at Topsfield MA 12 July.
    Remember Baker captured, 22 Mar., AM and rescued PM.
    Asael and Mary [Duty] Smith moved from Topsfield MA to NH prior to 21 May.
    Four hundred New Hampshire militias captured 100 barrels of gunpowder and armaments at Fort William and Mary (Portsmouth NH), 14 -15 Dec.
    1. 23 Mar. Patrick Henry: "The war is actually begun... liberty, or... death!" 2. Lexington and Concord, 19 Apr. 3. Green Mountain Boys capture Ticonderoga, 12 May. 4. Battle For Bunker Hill, 17 June. 5. Ethan Allen captured at Montreal, Canada, 25 Sep. and taken prisoner to London, England -- released spring of 1778.
    1. Ticonderoga guns placed on Dorchester Heights the night of 4 Mar. 2. British evacuate Boston, 17 Mar. 3. Declaration of Independence, 4 July.
    Battle For Bennington, 16 Aug.
    Date on Professor, Rev. John Smith's Course notes at Dartmouth College, 6 Jan.
    United States Constitution ratified, 17 Sep.
    Solomon Spaulding and Ethan Smith both attend Dartmouth College.



    Joseph and Lucy [Mack] Smith fail at business and lose the Vermont farm.
    Joseph Smith, Jr., born 23 Dec.
    Solomon Spaulding's death.
    Joseph Smith, Jr., supposedly "retired to the woods [and] ... saw two [heavenly] personages."
    1. Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, linked together. 2. View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith published; reprinted in 1825.
    Rigdon decided to give the redacted Spaulding "Book of Mormon" manuscript to Joseph Smith, Jr., after Joseph's 1827 marriage to Emma Hale.
    1. Whereabouts of Sidney Rigdon between Jan. 1827 and Dec. 1830 (see Gaps, p 18 chart). 2. The Book of Mormon published and the Mormon church [Church of Christ] officially organized (exact date is in dispute).

    1. Avarilla Durban joined the Mormon church. 2. Shumway family joined the Mormons.
    Mormonism Unvailed published by E. D. Howe, Nov.
    1. Joel Hill Johnson married the first of 4 plural wives in 1840. 2. Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, first plural wife was married to him on 5 Apr. 1841.
    3. Charles Shumway married the first of 3 plural wives in 1845. 4. Joseph Smith, Jr., as Nauvoo Legion leader, rides horseback while donning a military uniform in that "large" Illinois city.
    Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon published " The First Vision."
    Handwritten "Book of Mormon Original Text" uncovered by Major Bidamon.
    William H. Whitsitt's, "Sidney Rigdon" biography manuscript completed.

    Whitsitt's 1306 pp manuscript donated to the Library of Congress.
    1. Fawn Brodie book, No Man Knows My History, first published.
    2. "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done... " statement published.
    Joseph White's Masters Thesis completed.
    Dale Morgan letter dated 13 Aug. to RLDS Historian Sam Burgess written.
    Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? by Cowdrey, Davis & Scales published.
    Stephen Christensen and Kathleen Sheets killed, 15 Oct.




    Significant Events


    Mormon Roots

        Mark Hofmann's Exaggerations
        Early Mormon History
        Joseph Smith's Genealogy
        Salem Witchcraft Hysteria -- 1692
        Asael Smith and the Revolution
        Ethan Allen -- Revolutionary War Hero
        The Book of Mormon
        The Spaulding-Rigdon Theory
        The First Vision
        Morgan's "Criticism" to Fawn McKay Brodie
        Two More Criticisms of Brodie
        Rigdon's Chronology
        Gaps In Sidney Rigdon's Doings With
            Corresponding Mormon Activities
        The Evidence
           A. Psychoanalysis of Joseph Smith, Jr.
           B. Handwriting







    This narrative really began for me before I was born. I don't like to use the description of victim, but that is the word which surfaces for me when considering my Mormon past. We all "get born" and sometimes fix a lot of "good mileage" out of taking the position that we are the product of a past that uses and abuses us. Like Unknown said, "Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean the bad guys aren't out to get me!" or something like that. Unlike my previous feelings about the fate that had entrenched or been hurled upon me, I look back at so called "negative experiences" as important and necessary for my development and observe in them valuable opportunities. Also, when I have been, in the opinion of some people, a real "jerk" in my dealings with them on the subject of Mormonism, my actions -- stubbornness, arguing, loud verbal activities like yelling, and even using profanity -- may be my way of contributing to their development -- in Mormon "verbiage" one might say I have been contributing to their "eternal progression."

    Though I no longer believe my youthful Mormon mythology as contained in the "sacred" writings of Sidney Rigdon (The Book Of Mormon, Doctrine And Covenants, Holy Bible -- Inspired Version and Pearl Of Great Price), the creator or "God of Mormonism," 11 I will be ever grateful for the contributions of the (to use an Anthropological term) "Mormon Tribal Community" wherein I learned the many lessons from this cultural milieu of my youth that have served me. I will never be able, nor do I feel obligated, to repay this debt.

    One word of caution, I have made an assumption that at least a minimal amount of Mormon History background has been acquired by the reader. There are one hundred fifteen footnotes (112+3 in "Mormon Family 'Values'") and of these less than half deal with Mormonism; and, of all the sources mentioned, the most important, "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism," remains unpublished. I know of no immediate solution to this dilemma -- for those lacking the requisite background -- except to suggest that they read Mormon Roots, knowing in advance that an accurate understanding of Mormon History is currently difficult to acquire. The only other help might be to review here, in the remainder of this PREFACE and the preceding time chart of Significant Events, what will be discussed in the present short work:

    There is a pattern of exaggerations in both Mormon Text and History, beginning with the "First Vision" story, told by Mormon missionaries, claiming that in 1842 (more than twenty years late), Joseph Smith, Jr., had been visited in 1820 by The Father and His "Beloved Son."

    The assertion that Joseph Smith's ancestors were involved in both Witchcraft Hysteria and the American Revolutionary War's patriotic zeal is indisputable. In addition, the fact that Smith was born in Vermont -- New Hampshire Land Grants of Ethan Allen and The Green Mountain Boys --
    11The words "God of Mormonism" are the author's sacrilege, not taken from: "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism" by William H. Whitsitt, a 1306 page unpublished manuscript written in the 1880s and available on microfilm from the Library of Congress.



    accounts for Smith's subsequent military propensities (such as leading the Nauvoo Legion while on horseback, arrayed in military garb) at what was in those times the largest "city" in Illinois. His family's Witchcraft activities and the fact that Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, grandfather, Asael Smith, was the child of parents who were first cousins, focuses attention and serious questions about Joseph's claim that he was simply an uneducated tool for use by God to mold into his becoming a "Prophet of God." There was, obviously, a family history of religious activity and, with Joseph, Jr., being the third generation from this inbreeding, there was plenty of reason to believe an increased probability for illness -- such as epilepsy, daydreams and hallucinations -- heavenly visits.

    His father, Joseph Smith, Sr., was born prior to the Revolution so Joseph, Jr., was first generation post-Independence. 12 America was little more than an experiment -- but one for which Americans were on fire. "Separation of church and state" was an unknown factor for everyone. 13 There is little if any doubt that Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, a Reformed Baptist minister, linked together in 1823 to promote their version of this virgin political philosophy.

    The poem on the back cover entitled Mormon Family "Values" is my contribution to a demonstration of just how far some people, me in exposing and Mormons in hiding religious history, will go to make the world a better place. "The more things change the more they stay the same": From the gangland slayings of "witches" to diverting "government" money and charming children away from their "sinister" parents. There is a not infrequent pattern of behavior among believers -- true believers -- including Mormons. There are no limits, only limitations. Some people will do anything to "fix" the world. 14

    Byron Marchant    
    Author and Political Candidate:    
    Utah Governorship -- 1996    
    United States Presidency -- 2000    

    12 Whitsitt, Book The Third, Section The Fourth, Chapter 1: "... His [Smith's] family were of Puritan extraction and of unpuritanic thriftlessness... married at Tunbridge... Vermont... [in] 1796... Here Joseph Smith sen. was the owner of a small farm... upon which the... couple... lived in comfort... In... 1802 the father... leasing his farm... opened a merchant's shop in... Randolph, Vermont... But Joseph Smith, sen. was a very indifferent merchant... he [soon] found himself bankrupt... closed his shop and returned to his farm... which his Boston creditors speedily sold for him... and left him with all the world before him where to choose his place of rest... ."
    13 Ethan Allen died in 1789 and the "Bill of Rights" was ratified in 1791. He wrote the following about Church and State: "Men will face destructive cannon and mortars... but the devil and his banditti... fright them out of their wits... to wit: the Salem witchcraft... We are told, that the first occasion and introduction of miracles into the world, was to prove the divine authority of revelation... 'And these signs shall follow them that believe in my name, they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them... .' These are the express words of the founder of Christianity... Now if any of them will drink a dose of deadly poison, which I could prepare, and it does not 'hurt them,' I will subscribe to their divine authority... " (Reason the Only Oracle of Man, by Col. Ethan Allen, 1836 Matsell reprint, Philadelphia, pp 42-46).
    14 The tool people and society use, to "fix" others, according to Fritz Perls is "The Stick": "The catastrophic expectation sounds like this: 'If I take the risk, I will not be loved any more. I will be lonely. I'll die.' That's the stick... This manipulation of the environment by playing certain roles is the characteristic of a neurotic -- is the characteristic of our remaining immature" (Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, Bantam, pp 34-8).



    Mormon Roots

    Some people have said that a religious life is the ultimate joy while others condemn religion as one of the principle causes of intolerance and even blame past wars on zealous "believers" and their attempts to convert, perfect and persuade the spiritually unenlightened. Some Mormons, with their shared social traits, customs and a deep sincere belief that their culture is superior by virtue of "divine direction" and approval, have not infrequently placed a high value on their leaders' declarations. Now and then those leaders have magnified and exaggerated the truth, first only slightly but soon progressively more -- until the only apparent recourse to the institution for its survival 15 has been an insistence on blind and unconditional obedience by its adherents to those leaders, local and especially general in authority. One of the Mormon church's dogmas today resulting from the past is: "don't criticize your leaders" living or dead. 16 This requires, by and large, an ignorance, or at least silence, of church history for all but a "tongue-tied" few -- authorized and "qualified" historians and researchers. One result of this secretive and elitist attitude toward historical research by LDS leaders has been very disastrous for them. Consider this from 1985:

    Mark Hofmann's Exaggerations

    October 15, 1985, a Mormon bishop named Stephen F. Christensen and Kathleen Sheets, the wife of another Mormon bishop, J. Gary Sheets, were each killed by packages that turned out to be "booby-trapped shrapnel bombs."17 The bomb that killed Mrs. Sheets was addressed to her husband, Bishop Gary Sheets. He had secured the "White Salamander Letter" by purchasing it from Mr. Mark Hofmann, a dealer in historical documents. Mr. Hofmann was himself injured the following day by another explosive device in his own car that discharged and sent him to the hospital with nearly fatal results.
    15 Geertz, in The Interpretation of Cultures, p 90, says that a religion is: "a system of symbols which acts to... establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by... formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and... clothing those conceptions with such an aura of factuality that... the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."
    16 Improvement Era, June 1945, p 354: "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they give instruction it should mark the end of controversy. Satan wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to criticize their leaders and to do their own thinking."
    17 Deseret News, Apr. 15, 1986.



    Bishop Sheets "had helped fund the research that authenticated the White Salamander Letter."18 These two Mormon bishops and almost all "authorized and qualified historians and researchers" who saw the letter had been tricked by Mark Hofmann, the third bomb victim, into believing that the White Salamander Letter was authentic. The letter, a Hofmann forgery, was an embarrassment to the Mormon church. It mentioned a creature who's "spirit transfigured himself from a white salamander... & struck me 3 times & held the treasure & would not let me have it... ." 19 Hofmann was successful in deceiving the experts due in part to his studies in early Mormon history and, although his White Salamander was itself an exaggeration -- most salamanders are not white -- it typified the general pattern of overstating, as had been long established by past Mormon leaders, beginning with the very earliest statements of its founders, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith.

    Early Mormon History

    Mormon theology and early history are inseparable. As it presents this history to the world, an imagined experience known as The First Vision was gradually developed and later taught and promoted by leaders of the young church. In 1842, twelve years after the church's organization, Joseph Smith, with Sidney Rigdon's editorial assistance, published this basic ideology which approximately 49,000 full time, unpaid, missionaries teach today and many other thousands have previously taught. 20 The story relates that in the spring of 1820 Joseph Smith, Jr., at age fourteen, wanted to unite with a church but was confused about which one to join since they all claimed to be the true teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After reading a verse from the Holy Bible, he decided to pray and subsequently, in sincere personal approbation:

    retired to the woods [and]... saw two personages... One of them... said, pointing to the other, "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"21
    In attempting to discredit this assertion, Mormon critics have employed much time and energy to undercut not only the First Vision claims in the Pearl of Great Price, but also The Book of Mormon. These writings, along with the Mormon interpretation of the Holy Bible and modern revelations published in the Doctrine & Covenants, comprise Mormon ideology and doctrine.

    From the year of it's 1830 founding, Mormonism has had two basic and distinct opposing constructions that look something like this:
    Promoting -- Ardor toward the church and Joseph Smith as a man and "Prophet of God."
    18 The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 16, 1985.
    19 Tracking The White Salamander, Jerald Tanner, 1986, pp 5-7.
    20 Including the author (French East Mission, May 1962 -- Nov. 1964).
    21 Pearl of Great Price, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981, Joseph Smith III, p 49.



    Confronting -- Claiming that Mormonism is the product of a deluded man or men (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, etc.) seeking wealth, status and worldly goals -- asserting, therefore, that the religion was not true.
    For individuals with these diametrically opposed sympathies, the meaning 22has taken what appears to have been incompatible approaches to understanding and interpreting its history. Their exegeses (explanations) have been polarized and Mormons have successfully, through the use of "missionary tracts" disguised as "historical studies" and defensive responses to outside charges, explained their position as essential for human salvation -- a product of God. Like those of biblical times, Joseph Smith, as the Mormon church claims, was being positioned on a course toward becoming the living "Prophet of God" on earth and the leader of The Church of Christ in modern times.

    There is another explanation to which the Mormon church has not responded -- the psycho-analytical/genealogical possibility. Did Joseph Smith really have a choice, or were his actions in response to his family's hopes and expectations? Was his claim of a vision simply the result of his genetic makeup -- was he "set-up by circumstances" beyond his control? Were his subsequent acts even more probable after he met Sidney Rigdon in 1823? 23

    Joseph Smith's Genealogy

    Almost all of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, ancestors were from England and most lines established in Massachusetts. 24 Some from both his parents'
    22 Semantic anthropology, Academic Press, 1982, p 109: "... Meaning... is a part of an outcome... part of continual, often simultaneous transpositions from experience to interpretation, or interpretation to explanation." Ibid., p 108: "... anthropologists necessarily make meanings, since they try to: a) understand (e.g. something, otherness); b) interpret (otherness to myself or other readers); c) explain (how/why something/otherness is)."
    23 Cf. Whitsitt. Mormon church leaders evasively want people to believe that Smith and Rigdon met for the first time in 1830. Whitsitt's Rigdon biography and the author disagree with them.
    24 Paternal Lines (Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, 6th and 7th generation ancestors, living in New England) William Smith Topsfield VR, pp 96, 159, 187; Rebecka Keas Topsfield VR, pp 159, 187; Zacheus Curtis AFN:8GVC-SK and wife Joanna (Joan) AFN:8GVC-TQ; Thomas Look (Looke) (Luke) AFN:303B-KP and wife Mary or Sarah AFN:303B-LV; John Curtis AFN:99GNM-XR; Mary Looke AFN:9JGZ-DW; Zaccheus Gould AFN:84ST-FP; Phebe Deacon AFN:84ST-GV; John Baker AFN:8GW9-Q2 and wife Elizabeth AFN:8MGK-9W; John Gould AFN:3CVF-Q4; Sarah Baker AFN:3CVF-R9; Thomas Hidden AFN:8MK9-5F and wife AFN:HNX5-GV; Sarah Hosetine AFN:BMKB-RD; William Hunt AFN:81XD-XP; Elizabeth Best AFN:81XD-ZV; Joseph Redding AFN:81XF-01 and wife Agnes or Annis AFN:81XF-16; John Palmer (Sgt.) AFN:H28R-5H; Margaret Northend AFN:81XC-JH; Samuel Hunt AFN:2QV9-XB; Elizabeth Redding AFN:81XD-WJ; Francis Palmer AFN:H28R-96; Elizabeth Hunt AFN:2QV9-XB; William Stickney (Jr.) AFN:229X-F7; Elizabeth Dawson AFN:229X-GD; Samuel Brocklebank (Capt.) AFN:2JZO-66 and wife Hannah AFN:2JZ0-7C; John Stickney (Sr., Lt.) AFN:229Z-50; Hannah Brocklebank AFN:2JZ0-HQ.
    Maternal Lines (6th and 7th generations) Anthony Colby AFN:8JDC-NK and wife Susanna AFN:8JDC-PQ; Orlando Bagley AFN:8JDD-TK; Sarah Colby AFN:8JDC-S8; John Huntley AFN:8MND-Z9 and wife Jane AFN:8MNF-OF; Henry Champion AFN:8DW3-IG and wife Sarah AFN:8LFG-LV; Aaron Huntley AFN:8LG7-WK; Mary Champion AFN:8DW3-GP; Henry Palmer AFN:8GZ6-XV and wife Katherine AFN:8MNF-59; Balthazar DeWolf AFN:BLFW-SP and wife Alice AFN:BLFW-TV; Lewis Jones AFN:8MNF-85; Deborah Palmer AFN:8MNF-66; James Olmsted (Olmstead) AFN:8H03-T1; Joseph Loomis AFN:FWRW-15; Mary White AFN:2VDR-DB; N. Olmstead (Olmsted) (Capt.) AFN:8J6L-2S; Sarah Loomis AFN:3JOX-3S; John Dutton



    families extended back for more than six generations in Colonial America. The mother of Joseph Smith, Sr., 25 Mary Duty, 26 was descended, for example, from William Duty, 27 Elizabeth Hidden, 28 John Palmer 29 and Mary Stickney, 30 all of Rowley, Massachusetts, twelve to fifteen miles north of Old Salem Village and less than ten miles south of Newburyport, located at the mouth of the Merrimack River which flows from New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean only about five miles south of what is currently New Hampshire's coastal border with Massachusetts. Joseph Smith, Sr.'s, father Asael Smith was the grandson of Samuel Smith, 31 Rebecca Curtis, 32 Zaccheus Gould 33 and Elizabeth Curtis. 34 The record becomes confusing because there is, in the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., some name duplication. He, of course, named his own son Joseph Smith, Jr., and both the grandfather and great-grandfather of Joseph Smith, Sr., were named Samuel Smith and descended from William Smith and his wife Rebecka Keas. 35 The Mormon church computer has Robert Smith and Mary French 36 (an apparent error) instead of William Smith and Rebecka Keas but the information in the Topsfield Vital Records To 1850 (pp 97, 159, 287) is quite clear.
    AFN:1KRW-Z9; Joseph Merriam AFN:4JFF-7K; Sarah Goldstone AFN:4JFG-46; Allen Breed (Bread) (Sr.) AFN:9CPH-WX; Elizabeth Wheeler AFN:1LTG-XP; Thomas Dutton AFN:1KRW-Z9 and wife Susannah AFN:8VDR-GV; William Merriam (Sr.) AFN:4JFJ-BH; Elizabeth Breed AFN:9CPJ-44; Edward Fuller AFN:8MOC-Z3, The Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 1, p 10 and wife Anna AFN:8N41-K4; Henry Rowley AFN:GCP4-KV; Matthew Fuller AFN:HKT6-VK, Records, Vol. 1, Town of Barnstable, pp 3, 60, 120, 129, 130, 194, 195, 200, 208, 209, 222, 224, 232, 233, 238, 261, 280, 284, 292, 318; Samuel Fuller AFN:GL6M-CT, Barnstable, pp 4, 15, 23, 24, 33, 41, 42, 45, 46, 51, 54, 55, 56, 59, 115, 122, 125, 127, 206, 272, 305, 319, 353, and wife Alice AFN:2Z55-GN, Barnstable, p 353; Robert Bodfish AFN:8MKG-VQ and wife Bridget AFN:BMKG-VQ; Elizabeth Tilley AFN:8WRK-6V; Robert Lee AFN:BR7Q-82 and wife Mary AFN:GL6V-13; John Crocker AFN:9LOK-DX, Barnstable, pp 3, 4, 22, 31, 36, 46, 47, 68, 112, 120, 131, 146, 180, 181, 188, 204, 209, 222, 235, 238, 256, 263, 278, 279, 293, 354; Mary Brodfish AFN:9LOK-F4, Barnstable, p 354; John Howland (Lieut.) AFN:V1SO-KC Plymouth VR, p 659, Barnstable, pp 3, 33, 76, 117, 120, 121, 127, 131, 156, 159, 161, 207, 208, 210, 214, 216, 279, 293, 375; Mary Lee AFN:BNRL-6J, Plymouth VR, p 659 (genealogical records, especially this old, are not 100% reliable).
    25 Joseph Smith, Sr., AFN:4C9X-LR, Topsfield VR, p 95, "Joseph,** s. Asael and Mary, July 12, 1771... ** 'This Joseph, was Father of Joseph the Mormon.'"
    26 Mary Duty AFN:4C9X-P9.
    27 William Duty AFN:2QV9-5M, born, married and died at Rowley, Essex, MA.
    28 Elizabeth Hidden AFN:2QV9-TS, born 19 Dec. 1665 at Rowley, Essex, MA.
    29 John Palmer AFN:2D65-06, born 21 June 1689 at Rowley, Essex, MA.
    30 Mary Stickney AFN:2D65-1C, born 1 Mar. 1687 at Rowley, Essex, MA.
    31 Samuel Smith AFN:2D64-VJ, born 6 Apr. 1672, Topsfield VR pp 94-6.
    32 Rebecca Curtis AFN:2D64-WP, born 20 Jan. 1688, Topsfield VR, p 32.
    33 Zaccheus Gould AFN:2D64-XV, born 26 Mar. 1672, Topsfield VR, p 53.
    34 Elizabeth Curtis (Curtice) AFN:2D64-Z2, born 15 Dec. 1679, Topsfield VR, p 31.
    35William Smith-Rebecka Keas; Topsfield VR, pp 94-6, 186-7 "Topsfield Births... Smith... Samuel, s. William, Apr. 6, 1672. CT. R." and "Topsfield Marriages... Smith... William and Rebecka Keas, July 6, 1657, CT. R."
    36 Robert Smith AFN:3CVF-ML, born 1626 at Linconshire, England, married 26 Mar. 1656 at Boxford, Essex, MA and died 30 Aug. 1693 at Boxford. Neither his marriage to Mary French AFN:B1XD-F4, nor death are shown in the Boxford VR. Mary French, born 2 Mar. 1634/35 at B, MA and died 22 Mar. 1684 at Topsfield, Essex, MA does not appear among those shown born in Boxford VR nor deaths in Topsfield VR.



    Much of the data concerning Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, mother has been published. Though her eight great-grandparents all migrated to Connecticut, most had roots in Massachusetts: John Mack married Sarah Bagley in Salisbury (north of Newburyport), Massachusetts; Aaron Huntley, whose father was born at Boston, Massachusetts, married Deborah DeWolf, whose great-grandparents, Henry Palmer and his wife Katherine, were married at Watertown (Charles River near Boston Harbor), Massachusetts; Daniel Gates, from English and Connecticut parentage, married Rebecca Dutton, born at Reading (near Salem) with ancestors from Lynn (next to Salem), Woburn (next to Reading), Billerica (next to Lowell and Tewksbury, both on the south shore of the Merrimack River) and Concord, Massachusetts. Shubael Fuller, whose grandfather Samuel Fuller came to America on the Mayflower with his parents, Edward and Anna Fuller (a nine year old orphan the following year -- 1621), had relatives all around him (Scituate, Plymouth and Falmouth, Massachusetts) near his birthplace of Barnstable (Cape Cod). He married Hannah Crocker who was also blessed with relatives in the same general area (Barnstable, Sandwich and Plymouth in Massachusetts) as part of America's first New England Colony -- Puritanical protesters who advocated simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England, especially in regard to the sinfulness of a life of luxury or pleasure. It was of little surprise when on January 14, 1639, at Windsor, Hartford and Weathersfield, Connecticut, the settlers there "framed and adopted... The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut... the first instance known to history in which a commonwealth was created in such a way,"37nearly one hundred fifty years before the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence or the united States Constitution were signed by radical outlaws in a show of patriotism against the most powerful military force on earth. Many "Americans" helped England drive out the French. Using that military training and adapting with it their own trapping, hunting and Indian fighting skills, acquired in this new land, these "loyalists" of decades past soon became the enemy of King George III in a fight for their own independence, the right of choice, the game of making our own mistakes.

    ... The individual... has... a terrible opportunity to convince himself of what would occasionally strike him... that the state has forbidden to the individual the practice of wrong-doing, not because it desired to abolish it, but because it desires to monopolize it, like salt and tobacco... The state... absolves itself from the guarantees and contracts it had formed with other states, and makes unabashed confession of its rapacity and lust for power, which the private individual is then called upon to sanction in the name of patriotism... .38
    Most American Patriots were not concerned that this so-called "freedom" they were seeking would soon have its own home-grown "antagonists," like Henry D. Thoreau of Concord, Massachusetts:
    37 The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, adopted January 14, 1639, Essays Historical and Literary, John Fiske, Vol. II, 1902, pp 146-7.
    38 Sigmund Freud, Collected Papers, Vol. 4, Basic Books, Inc., 1959, pp 293-4.



    . . . "That government is best which governs least"... Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, -- "That government is best which governs not at all"... This American government... is... but a tradition... endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity?... a single man can bend it to his will... But... the people must have some complicated machinery... Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on... for their own advantage... Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise... It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way... I ask for, not at once no government, but... a better government... men serve the state thus, not as men... but as machines... any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.39

    Salem Witchcraft Hysteria -- 1692

    William Smith and Rebecka Keas married at Topsfield on July 6, 1657, and were among the earliest Massachusetts Bay Company settlers. Salem Village was settled in 1639 40and Topsfield township became its neighbor with lines established between them in 1658. 41

    When Witchcraft Hysteria gained attention, three of those put to death, 42 all women, were from Topsfield -- Mary Esty, Elizabeth How and Sarah Wildes. 43 William Smith and Rebecka Keas had by then (1692) been married for thirty-five years and their son Samuel was twenty years old but apparently old enough to pass for twenty-five and sign a deposition against Mary Esty:

    The deposition of Samuell Smith of Boxford about 25 yers who testifieth and saith that about five years sence I was one night att the house of Isaac Estick sen'r. of Topsfeild and I was as farr as I know to Rude in discorse and the above said Esticks wife [Mary Esty] said to me I would not have you be so rude in discorse for I might Rue it hereafter and as I was agoeing whom that night about a quarter of a mille from the said Esticks house by a stone wall I Received a little blow on my shoulder with I know not what and the stone wall rattleed very much which affrighted me my horse also was affrighted very much but I cannot give the reson of it... .
    /s/ Sam'll Smith ag'st. G. Easty 44
    39 The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. X, pp l31-47, 1893, Houghton Mifflin & Co.
    40 Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts, 1975, prepared by Paul Guzzi, Secretary of the Commonwealth, p 58.
    41 Ibid.
    42 A total of 25 "Innocents" died and more than 100 accused. There is a 1992 (Tercentennial) monument at 176 Hobart Street, Danvers (Old Salem Village) MA, to commemorate the events of 1692.
    43 Engraved into a Granite Stone on the Topsfield Common, approximately 75 feet from the town's impressive 95' (+/-5') timber flag pole, directly opposite the white spired Congregational (formerly Puritan) Church of Topsfield, within a home run shot from the 1683 Parson Capen House and surrounded by community buildings, historical landmarks and other monuments commemorating past wars.
    44 The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692, Vol. 1, Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, pp 301-2.



    Other Smith ancestors had been involved in "Witchcraft Hysteria." One of the accused, Sarah Wildes, 45 was John Wildes' second wife. 46 His first, Priscilla Gould, 47 was the daughter of Zaccheus Gould, a seventh generation ancestor of Joseph Smith, Jr., and sister to John Gould. When Priscilla died in 1663 48 "It would seem that the relations between the Wild and Gould families became strained after the death of Priscilla... The fact that John Wild, Jr.'s, will was made in 1676, in order 'that my father may com to no trobell by any claims of my onkel gould,' is further evidence toward this conclusion... When the terrible Witchcraft delusion swept over Essex county, the Wild family were among the greatest sufferers. The wife, two daughters, and a son-in-law of John Wild, were all imprisoned, but all escaped except his wife... ."49

    The problems that precipitated Witchcraft Hysteria centered around property disputes and ancestors of Joseph Smith -- John Curtis and Mary (Looke) Curtis -- were personally involved in the middle of those disputes, having been accused by neighbors in order to take Curtis' land, a ploy that failed -- John and Mary Curtis prevailed against their neighbors -- but agitation was ongoing:

    In 1680, Topsfield appointed a committee consisting of Mr. Thomas Baker, Corp. Jacob Towne and John How to demand that all men in the town declare the bounds of their land, instructing the committee to recover for the town any land illegally held, giving them power to bring suit in behalf of the town, and awarding the committee one half of any land they might recover or to pay them double wages... Suit for trespass was brought... Throughout this suit and the several others that followed, the names of How, Towne, Estey, Baker, and Wildes frequently appear... On Nov. 9, 1686... brought suit against John Curtis of Topsfield, for occupying and improving land belonging to Salem Village. Curtis owned property on the south side of the river, between what is now Hill street and Rowley Bridge street... The claim... was based upon the old disagreement over the grant made in 1639 and they were the men who acted with the Topsfield committee in 1659 and established the Topsfield-Salem bounds whereby the land they now attempted to seize lay in Topsfield... .50
    In 1692, when hysteria was in full bloom, Zaccheus Gould and Samuel Smith were each twenty years old. Rebecca Curtis, future bride of Samuel was five and her sister, who married Zaccheus, was thirteen. One child from each of these marriages -- first cousins Samuel Smith and Priscilla Gould -- married in
    45 Sarah (Averill) Wildes AFN:9KSC-6H; Topsfield VR, p 118, "Married... Averill... Sarah, and John Wild, Nov. 23, 1663. CT.R."
    46 John Wildes AFN:8MM5-PT; Topsfield VR, p 197, "Married... Wild... John, and Sarah Averill, Nov. 23, 1663. CT.R."
    47 Priscilla Gould AFN:84SV-80; Topsfield VR, p 255, "Deaths... Wild... Prisillah, w. John, Apr. 16, 1663."
    48 The computer of the Mormon church has an obvious error concerning Priscilla Gould: "Born: 27 Sep. 1620... Died: 16 Sep. 1663... Married: 23 Nov. 1663."
    49 Topsfield Historical Collections, of the Topsfield Historical Society, Vol. XI, p 25. Cf. Topsfield VR, p 198, "Married... Wildes... John, and Mary Jacobs of Salem, June 26, 1693. CT.R."; p 255, "Deaths... Wild... John, sr., May 14, 1705."
    50 History of Topsfield, Massachusetts, The Topsfield Historical Society, Dow, 1940, pp 322-3.



    Topsfield 27 May 1734. 51 Asael Smith, 52 the father of Joseph Smith, Sr., was the last of their five children, all born at Topsfield between 1735 and 1744. 53 And, all these people from Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, father's father's lines, who lived during the time of the Witchcraft trials, were residing near Salem Village and had their lives directly affected by the Salem/Topsfield Witchcraft Hysteria.

    Asael Smith and The American Revolution

    Asael Smith, father of Joseph Smith, Sr., was a prolific sire. Married to Mary Duty of Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts, 12 February 1767, 54 they produced eleven children. The third, Joseph Smith, Sr., was the last born at Topsfield whereupon they left the home of their ancestors, a century and a half after the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock. 55 The new community to rear their young family was Derryfield (later called Manchester and surrounding communities), New Hampshire, in the valley of the Merrimac River. Three of Mary's brothers, Moses, 56 Mark, 57 and William Duty (Dutty), 58 preceded them from Rowley to Derryfield (Nutfield, "known as the 'chestnut country' from the abundance of its chestnut trees"). 59 The Ipswich Road would have taken them toward Methuen; or, the Topsfield Road through Boxford Township, to Haverhill, might have conveyed them to the river. By 1770 these roads were close to 100 years old and from those towns it was a simple matter of following the river to Nutfield. The Duty brothers distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War as soldiers in the armies led by General John Stark of Derryfield, hero at the Battle For Bunker Hill at Charlestown Heights, Massachusetts, in 1775 and the Battle For Bennington in what is now near the New York/Vermont border during 1777. 60 Many
    51 There is no record of this marriage in the Topsfield VR.
    52 Asael Smith AFN:1XV8-M1, b. 7 Mar. 1743-4, Topsfield VR, p 94.
    53 Asael (b Mar. 7, 1743-4), Priscilla (bp. Jan. 2, 1736-7), Samuel (b. Oct. 1737), Vashti (b. Oct. 5, 1739), Susanna (b. Jan. 24, 1741-2), Topsfield VR pp 94-7.
    54 "Asael, and Mary Duty, of Wenham [Windham], NH, Feb. 12, 1767.*... *Intention also recorded," Topsfield, VR, p 186.
    55 Topsfield MA is less than ten miles from Salem Village, which is now within the township boundaries of Danvers MA. Derryfield NH was the home of General John Stark during the Revolutionary War (Battle For Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 and the Battle For Bennington on 16 Aug. 1777). Asael Smith, father of Joseph Smith, Sr., was the Derryfield Town Clerk during the Revolutionary War. ("... originally known as 'Harrytown' or 'Old Harry Town.' The place was granted by the Masonian Proprietors in 1735 to the 'Snow-shoe men' of Captain William Tyng and the name changed to 'Tyng's Town.' In 1751 it was incorporated and the name changed to 'Derryfield... '" now Manchester, New Hampshire -- a statue of Stark is in the Washington DC Capitol Building.) Asael Smith and John Stark were in the same room for meetings on various occasions during the Revolutionary War. Cf. Topsfield VR, pp 94-7, 186-8, 249-50 and New Hampshire Town Records, Manchester, Volume 1, 1746-1786 at the New Hampshire State Library, # 20 Park, Concord NH, Microfilm Box 192. Cf. also, Manchester, A Brief Record of Its Past and A Picture of Its Present, compiled by John B. Clarke, 1875, pp 9-21.
    56 Moses Duty AFN:81XB-80.
    57 Mark Duty AFN:81XB-BB.
    58 William Duty AFN:81XB-CH.
    59 Clarke, p 10.
    60 Willey's Book of Nutfield, George F. Willey, 1895, pp 15-18, 104, 296-303.



    historians (including this writer) believe that those two battles were among the most decisive of the entire Revolution. 61 The first, Bunker Hill, was largely made possible due to the hundred barrels of ammunition and armaments taken by 400 New Hampshire militia led by Major General John Sullivan and the future New Hampshire governor, John Langdon, the previous 14 December 1774 from a few British soldiers at Fort William and Mary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 62 four months before the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington Green and Concord's North Bridge, April 19, 1775. March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry told the Second Virginia Convention in his famous "give me liberty, or give me death!" speech: "The war is actually begun... !"63 The war had, in fact, already begun, even before those 100 barrels of powder were seized.

    The second battle (Bennington) was successful in stopping the British from taking supplies, especially arms, stored at that beautiful Vermont town at the foot of the Green Mountains. Both battles were won by patriots of whom "None had a distinctive uniform except the Rangers -- a body of Davy Crockett men [The Green Mountain Boys, minus Ethan Allen who had been in a London, England, prison since 1775] dressed in frocks with green facings"64 and most of these "soldiers" as well as those at Charlestown Heights had come from New Hampshire -- over half at Charlestown Heights (Bunker Hill) and approximately two-thirds at Bennington. 65 John Stark refused to lead these troops to Bennington under the control of the Continental Army. His orders came from New Hampshire, an autonomous colony. Stark, like Ethan Allen of Vermont, was an American Revolutionary with serious concerns about possible indignities by the new yet-to-be-formed government, not just British abuses. When Stark arrived at Bennington he formulated strategy with Colonel Seth Warner of what had recently been called "New Connecticut" by the inhabitants. The state's
    61 "Letter from President Thomas Jefferson to John Stark from Monticello, dated 19 Aug. 1805, published at Manchester NH in The Union Leader, 15 Nov. 1992.
    62 Proceedings of the New Hampshire Historical Society, Vol. 4, by C. L. Parsons, "Capture of Fort William and Mary." Cf. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. VII, Boston, 1853, p 137.
    63 Patrick Henry was declared by Thomas Jefferson to have been "the greatest orator that ever lived," and "the person who, beyond all question, gave the first impulse to the movement which terminated in the American Revolution" (Makers Of American History, The University Society, Inc., 1904; Patrick Henry, pp 76-80).
    64 The History of Vermont, From its Discovery to its Admission into the Union in 1791, by H. Hall, Albany NY: J. Munsell, Pub., 1868, pp 215-16, 278-80.
    65 The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 31, 1877, pp 34-48, a paper (with notes) read before the New-England Historic, Genealogical Society, Dec. 2, 1874, by Elias Hasket Derry, Esq., of Boston, p 36: "After a close analysis of the evidence [at Charlestown Heights], we may conclude that more than one hundred men from the Granite State [New Hampshire] marched with Prescott to the field, and if we add them to those who marched with Stark and Reed, we have a thousand men from New Hampshire present when the fight began, besides the four companies under Sargent, who were urgent to join their comrades but were held back by Gen. Ward, and did not reach Charlestown Neck until the redoubt was taken. I was led at first to suppose that New Hampshire had not more than nine hundred in the field, when the British advanced to the attack, out of fifteen hundred then on the ground; but the evidence I have discovered and analyzed shows that when the British attacked there were less than five hundred of the original party of Prescott from Massachusetts and Connecticut, with twice that number from New Hampshire, ready to receive the foe" and p 44: "Stark divided his little force [at Bennington] into four parties, rushed upon his foe from four points at once, and killed or captured nearly their entire force."



    elected representatives had met at Westminster, Vermont, and adopted the name at a Three Day Convention, 66 adjourning January 17, 1777. They were aware that the first (recorded) "sustained armed resistance" in the colonies had occurred more than five years earlier when a British posse from Albany failed in an attempt to capture and retain Remember Baker who, like Seth Warner at the time, was a Captain of the Green Mountain Boys. The event took place at Baker's East Arlington, Vermont, mill and home, the morning of March 22, 1772. Notified at Bennington, ten Green Mountain Boys caught up with the posse on the Old St. Croix Road between Melrose and Speigletown, New York, and forced his release. 67 Stark knew that victory in protecting the munitions stored at Bennington required accurate information. Without "intelligence" they would likely lose and he wisely relied upon these Green Mountain Boys. Colonel Seth Warner, former confidant of imprisoned Lieutenant Colonel Ethan Allen, could be trusted both for commitment to the cause of liberty and information of the battlefield and enemy positions.

    Such was the climate in which Joseph Smith, Sr., was nurtured and trained when his parents, Asael Smith and Mary Duty, moved their little family in order for their fourth child, Asael Smith, 68 and the remaining seven children: Mary, Samuel, Silas, John, Susanna, Stephen and Sarah, could all be born between 1775-9 in these new surroundings. Personally involved with the defiant ones, conceiving today's oldest constitutional democracy -- created by rebellion and violence against British tyranny -- including real sacrifices from their New Hampshire and Vermont neighbors and "everywhere" in America by dissidents, rebels, tax protesters, civil libertarians, trappers and farmers -- outlaws/patriots.

    Ethan Allen -- Revolutionary War Hero

    Special mention is made of Ethan Allen because so much support of early American war victories came from Vermont (French: vert=green, mont=mountain) victories. Not only had ten Vermonters organized and chased the Albany posse to free Remember Baker in 1772 before they reached the Hudson River ferry at what is now Troy, New York, these and others, under the democratically elected leadership of Ethan Allen, captured Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point in May 1775 and thereafter engaged the British forces on Lake Champlain -- all within less than a month after the famous skirmishes at Lexington and The North Bridge. The capture of Ticonderoga provided the Americans with approximately seventy (70) tons of large guns. 69 The following winter (1775-6) an expedition led by Colonel Henry Knox transported these to
    66 Hall, pp 238-9, 497-500.
    67 Makers Of American History, The University Society, Inc., 1904, pp 76-80; History of Vermont, By Zadock Thompson at Burlington VT, 1853, Part II, pp 21-3; Vermont State Papers, William Slade, 1823, pp 20-5, 29-33; Hall, pp 127-41, especially pp 135-6; and A Short History of Early Hoosick, by Charles W. Filkins, III, self published, 1992, pp 1-6, 8, 9, 16, 18, 23.
    68 Asael Smith AFN:1XV8-SV, son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty, born 21 May 1773 at Windham, Rockingham, NH.
    69 New York In The Revolution as Colony and State, Vol. II, Albany NY, J. B. Lyon Co., Printers, 1904, p 52.



    Boston, then under British control. Though the Patriots fought well at Charlestown Heights, the British remained. On the night of March 4, 1776, the Ticonderoga guns, transported with celebrations in many of the towns these rebels entered during that extraordinary effort, were placed on Dorchester Heights near Boston Harbor. Somehow the British had no knowledge of this transport or lacked the ability to stop it. If their intelligence was inadequate, it was probably because the citizens in the towns wanted to keep them from knowing. The British, after all, had captured their hero, Colonel Ethan Allen, on September 25, 1775, in his attempt to win Montreal. 70 The safe passage of this convoy of guns demonstrated that there was, between Fort Ticonderoga and Boston, a display of unity for the Revolution. On March 17, 1776 (St. Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day in Boston), two weeks after placing the guns on Dorchester Heights, the British sailed from Boston -- never to return. The Patriots under General George Washington had gained control of their first important Atlantic port. Three and a half months later, Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was, after debate beginning July 1, 1776, "agreed to unanimously by the Continental Congress delegates, save those of New York, who had no power to act."71

    The Book Of Mormon

    To this point, the discussion has touched only upon Joseph Smith's ancestry and the American Revolution. The remaining task is to form a nexus or link between these hysterias -- Witchcraft/Patriotic Zeal -- and Mormon hysteria.

    The 1834 Mormon church headquarters was Kirtland Ohio. In Painesville, ten miles away, a 290 page book entitled Mormonism Unvailed [Sic.] was published by E. D. Howe, its "author," who was a printer in the town. It was actually written by D. P. Hurlbut, a former Mormon who had become disenchanted. The book's basic claim was that The Book of Mormon, or Golden Bible as it was known in the area, in its "historical part... was written by one Solomon Spaulding, more than twenty years ago, and by him intended to have been published as a romance" and that the "Spaulding Romance" manuscript was expropriated by Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite (Reformed Baptist) minister and, in collusion with Joseph Smith and possibly others, used as a model to write The Book of Mormon. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed was an attempt to "show that there is no turning a fanatic from his folly -- that the distemper is more incurable than the leprosy -- that the more glaring the absurdity, the more determined the tenacity of its dupes -- and the more apparent you can render the imposture, the stronger become its advocates."72 As expected, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon vehemently denied Howe's claims that denounced divine provenance in producing The Book of Mormon. Howe detailed virtually everything dingy about Mormonism that was known up to the moment of
    70 Hall, pp 215-16, 278-80.
    71 Commonwealth History of Massachusetts, Edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Vol. 3, 1929, p 105.
    72 E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 1834, p ix.



    publication. No mention was made, however, of the First Vision or the proximity of Joseph Smith's ancestral ties to Salem Witchcraft Hysteria and the military genius of John Stark and his association with Asael Smith. In addition, the computerized genealogical system of the Mormon church was not then available. Before considering these matters it will first be useful to deal with Solomon Spaulding (Spalding) and what has become known as "The Spaulding-Rigdon Theory."

    The Spaulding-Rigdon Theory

    According to Howe, "an opinion has prevailed... that Rigdon has been the Iago, the prime mover, of the whole conspiracy. Of this, however, we have no positive proof... and further developments may establish the fact."73 During the intervening 160 years (1834-1994) claims and counterclaims have been made on both sides. 74 Howe was correct, proof was not available and "further developments" have established that Rigdon was involved in the writing of The Book of Mormon. He was also, denials notwithstanding, probably involved in the formulation of Joseph Smith's belated 1842 claim of a first vision about twenty years unpunctual. 75 In an unpublished Master's Thesis by Joseph Wells White at the University of Southern California, Graduate School of Religion, in 1947 entitled "The Influence of Sidney Rigdon Upon the Theology of Mormonism," it was concluded by White that "Mormon writers... largely... ignore Rigdon's foreknowledge of the Book of Mormon, a fact which seems incontrovertible"76 and the other unpublished work by, William H. Whitsitt, D.D., LL.D., whose book manuscript, "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism," was completed in 1885 and donated to the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 1908, 77 stated in an 1891 article that Rigdon's connection with Joseph Smith prior to publication of The Book Of Mormon was substantially correct and established the assertion even more strongly:

    The first interview of the pair appears to have occurred on September 21, 1823 ... Smith liked to adopt a pictorial method in accordance with which Sidney was raised to the dignity of an angel. His mother, however, in a contemporary utterance, gave a description of the pretended angel and that would fit the figure
    73 Ibid., p 100.
    74 For an excellent review of Book of Mormon origins, see the Dale Broadhurst Collection, Special Collections, University of Utah Marriott Library, Accession # 913. Another is that of H. Michael Marquardt, Accession # 900.
    75 The use of this word, "unpunctual," brought a few raised eyebrows from some people after reading the original "Mormon Exaggerations" paper. My response, though probably inadequate, is that unpunctual means "tardy." Quite possibly that phrase: "brought a few raised eyebrows," also raised a few eyebrows when first used.
    76 White, "The Influence of Sidney Rigdon Upon the Theology of Mormonism," pp 136-7.
    77 These dates are incorrect. Donation of the work to that Library, completed in 1888 and received by the Library of Congress in 1912 from Whitsitt's widow, fulfilled the author's written request in a letter dated 8 Aug. 1908, from Dr. Whitsitt to Dr. Worthington C. Ford, Library of Congress, stating: "... preserve it in manuscript so that it might always be open to inspection."



    of Mr. Rigdon very well. In the earlier years of Mormon history this angel was represented [as] Nephi, but... [later] his name was changed to Moroni. That would agree well enough with the fact that Rigdon... as editor had added the Book of Moroni at the close of the Book of Mormon... Joseph was as yet (1823) too young [18 years old] and too giddy to receive the golden plates, but he [Rigdon] nursed him assiduously for four years... on January 18, 1827, Mr. Smith eloped and was married to Miss Emma Hale... and Sidney resolved at the next anniversary to proceed with his project and declare the Book of Mormon to his colaborer [Smith]... Mr. Rigdon... After retaining the Book of Mormon for at least four years, during which at odd times he had been employed in the task of impressing on it a system of theology as much as possible in keeping with the... Disciples [Campbellites], the time was felt ripe to entrust it to one who had undertaken to get it published. The requirement that it should be copied before it was exhibited to the printer was a severe one, but it was felt to be necessary. The sheets were possibly yellow with age, but no printer in the land would concede that they were made of gold. It was indispensable that they should not be examined. Besides it was conceivable that in case they were widely circulated some person might examine them who should recognize the handwriting of Mr. Rigdon. 78

    Before considering this "handwriting" claim, it will be helpful to return to the previously mentioned First Vision of Joseph Smith.

    The First Vision

    Along with Joseph Smith's 1842 assertion that he had seen and spoken with The Father and His Beloved Son in 1820, he wrote the following embellishment:

    I soon found... that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution... and... men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects -- all united to persecute me. 79
    This attestation by Joseph Smith has, of course, been challenged by various historians. For example, today it is generally accepted that Joseph Smith did not live in the location of his alleged First Vision (Palmyra, New York) until about three years after the stated date. In addition, Historian Dale Morgan (1914-1971) wrote Sam A. Burgess, research assistant and staff member at the historian's office of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a letter dated 13 August 1948 that said:
    78 Whitsitt in "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism" and the article entitled "Mormonism" (Jackson Samuel MacCauley, editor, Concise Dictionary of Religious Knowledge and Gazetteer; see also Flake's A Mormon Bibliography, 1830-1930, University of Utah Press, 1978, #4304).
    79 Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith III.


    I have examined all the surviving newspapers published in Palmyra and Canundaigua during the time of the Smith residence in that neighborhood, as well as fragmentary files of the papers published in the Susquehanna Valley -- I spent months on this research -- and in none of them is there anything to bear out Joseph Smith's later portrait of himself as a person who had spiritual experiences of overwhelming import (that is to say, one to whom God the father had shown himself)... If you had to go into a court and present a case for Joseph Smith that hinged upon establishing the fact that his spiritual claims were common knowledge during the seven years before 1830, not to speak of the period before that, you could present no evidence except that of an obviously interested witness, himself. And you could not establish that even he himself had set forth such claims as a public record before 1840... I have found no evidence whatsoever -- in newspapers, religious periodical, court record, or private journal -- that the First Vision was talked about or even known among the church members before 1840.80

    During several years before writing the above letter to Burgess, Morgan had also been corresponding with another historian, Fawn McKay Brodie, as a consultant for her impressive 1945 biography of Joseph Smith entitled No Man Knows My History. Although this work, when first published, was believed to have been the most awful and damning work ever written against Mormonism, it was supportive of the orthodox Mormon position regarding the Spaulding--Rigdon Theory. She, in fact, wanted her work to be accepted by LDS church leaders. It was not and they summarily excommunicated her.

    Morgan's "Criticism" to Fawn McKay Brodie

    In two letters to Brodie, one before and the second following her book's publication, Morgan suggested she "carefully re-evaluate what you have to say about Rigdon... [the] most important criticisms... are criticisms I made earlier. I don't think the motivations involved in the founding of the church, as a development from the labor with the Book of Mormon, have been adequately explored... I suspect that if you had been writing Rigdon's biography instead of Joseph's, you might have come up with a more rounded view of Rigdon."81

    Two More Criticisms of Brodie

    Fawn Brodie stated in her book,82 that "The Spaulding-Rigdon Theory is based on a heterogeneous assortment of letters and affidavits... When heaped together... seem impressive." She failed to make the connection between Solomon Spaulding and Ethan Smith, author of View of the Hebrews -- who were both Dartmouth College students83 at the same time (1786-7) when that
    80 John Walker, Dale Morgan On Early Mormonism, Signature Books, 1986, pp 160-5.
    81 Ibid., pp70,103.
    82Brodie, No Mon Knows My History, Second Edition, Appendix B, p 442.
    83 Solomon Spaulding -- "Manuscript Story," 1812, "Manuscript Found" 1814.
              Born: Ashford CT, 1761.


    school was very small. Each studied under John Smith84 (not related to Joseph), Professor of The Oriental Languages, and both Spaulding and Ethan Smith (also not related) wrote novels about how Native Americans arrived in the "New World." Brodie, by having failed to research these topics, made several significant oversights. She and Morgan were also both unaware of Whitsitt's manuscript, then in the Library of Congress. Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith's principle scribe for The Book of Mormon, was from Poultney, Vermont, where Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews was published in 1823 and reprinted in 1825; a popular and profitable publication, Cowdery would very likely have known of it. Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy [Mack] Smith, spent much of their young married nomadic gypsy period in the villages near Dartmouth College. It  

    Dartmouth undergraduate student: 1783-5 (Chapman, Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College, Cambridge MA, 1867, p 39, and Spaulding Memorial, 1872, p 161).
    Master's Degree 1785-7 (Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville OH, and Braden--Kelley Debate, 1884, p 34).
    Cf. Dartmouth College and Associated Schools General Catalogue 1769-1940, Dartmouth College Publications, Hanover NH, MCMXL, p 75 ("CLASS OF 1781 TO CLASS OF 1786... Class of 1785... Spaulding, Solomon AM. b 20 Feb. 1761 Ashford CT, Evangelist Windham CT, 1787-97. Merchant Richfield NY 1799. d 10 Sep. 1816 Amity PA).
    Ethan Smith -- View of the Hebrews, 1823.           Born: Belchertown MA, 1762.
    Dartmouth student: 1786-90 (L. A. Smith, Annals of the American Pulpit II, edited by William B. Sprague, NY, 1866, p 297).
    Graduating class of 30 students.
              Died: Boylston MA, 29 Aug. 1849.
    Cf. Dartmouth College and Associated Schools General Catalogue 1769-1940, Dartmouth College Publications, Hanover NH, MCMXL, p 79 ("CLASS OF 1788 TO CLASS OF 1791. . . Class of 1790... Smith, Ethan AM. b 19 Dec. 1762 Belchertown MA. Minister Haverhill NH 1792-99; Hopkinton NH 1800-17; Poultney VT 1821-26; Hanover MA 1827-32. City missionary Boston MA d 29 Aug. 1849 Boylston MA).
    84Cf. Dartmouth College Library, Re: Vault 4, Smith, John, "John Smith's Lectures on Natural Philosophy," Hanover NH: A portion of the last of Rev./Professor John Smith's 13 hand-written lecture notes -- No 13, is not written on the sheet. It is very likely that both Solomon Spaulding and Ethan Smith [probably every student at Dartmouth during that period of time] heard this lecture: "No. 12 Dartmouth College 6 Janry 1779... [pp] 77-80... My dear Class... According to my engagement, I shall, in the epistolary may, attempt something further for your entertainment and emprovement. I am not induced to such an exercise to promote any sinister design. A desire to serve you, young gentlemen, is my only motive... divine grace, will qualify you for eminent utility to mankind... the history of our own country is commonly too much neglected, although absolutely requisite to be understood by every gentleman of letters, I trust, you will not esteem it improper for the subject of a number of letters... the opinion that our Indians did not descend from the sons of Noah is now, and deservedly, universally discarded... very probable... that this new world was peopled both from Africa and Asia... almost certain the aboriginal inhabitants of America are not the descendants of Jews, Christians, or Mahometans... As the Carthaginians (above called Phoenicians) were very early expert in sailing... it is not improbable that South America was peopled by them. The Carthaginian ships carried sometimes a thousand people, and were crowded with men, women and children, when they sent colonies to those islands; & doubtless, as they had not the advantage of the mariner's compass, some of them missed those islands, and were driven beyond their intended ports... they must of necessity be carried to... South America... but three weeks sail to the westward... The north part of America might be settled by the [barbarious] Scythians... [who] after they had filled all... Asia, might ramble into America... If we compare the manners and customs of these northern nations, with those of the Indian Savages, we shall find such an agreement between them, as will incline us to think them to be of one original. Tacitus relates "that the ancient Fenni [Finlanders] were a wild people, & miserably poor, whose clothing consisted of the skins of beasts; -- that their arms were nothing but a bow & arrow, which, for want of iron, they sharpened with bones; -- and that they lived by hunting; and sometimes fed on human flesh." Ammianus Marcellinus gives the same account... Before I conclude... I would just observe that it is probable China joins to the Continent of America. If this is the case, we may suppose that some of our Indian tribes came from that part of the world... ."


    was doctors from Dartmouth who wanted to amputate their young son Joseph's infected leg, a threat that would have sent the best of minds into distraction, pandemonium and chaos.

    Another problem regarding Brodie' s research is her assertion that "there is no evidence that Rigdon ever lived in Pittsburgh until 1822."85 That is simply false. Sidney was born (1793) and his father, William Rigdon, died (1810) at Piney Fork (Peter's Creek), about twelve miles south of the two rivers (Allegheny and Monongahela) that join and become the Ohio at Pittsburgh. Sidney stayed on the farm to help with the support of his mother, Nancy [Gallagher] Rigdon, until she sold the farm in 1818. By then he was twenty-five years old.86 To not have gone "to town" would have been bizarre.87 Brodie's claim was made with the possible objective of buttressing her opposition to the Spaulding--Rigdon Theory. Spaulding had written his manuscript at Conneaut, Ohio, in close proximity to some earth-mounds which "greatly interested him... Buried within the mounds were various evidences of a prehistoric race, relics of a civilized condition, mingled with human bones, which were portions of gigantic skeletons"88 and brought the manuscript to Pittsburgh to find a publisher in about 1812; but Spaulding died in 1816 without finding one. Whether Rigdon stole or borrowed the work after 1816, following Spaulding's death, or purchased it in 1818 from the Pittsburgh print shop of Silas Engle[s] and Co. when a Mr. Patterson, an owner of the print shop, declared bankruptcy, or obtained it from Patterson's successors, Butler and Lambdin, who took over the
    85Brodie, p 451.
    86F. Mark McKiernan, The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Sidney Rigdon, Religious Reformer 1793-1876, 1971, pp 15-6. This work was not written when Brodie published.
    87Whitsitt, BOOK THE FIRST, chapter 1: "It is conjectured that the family of Sidney Rigdon the distinguished founder of Mormonism were of Scotch-Irish extraction. No record has been recovered with reference to the date of their immigration to this country. They are first encountered in the State of Maryland (Messenger & Advocate 2,335-6), from whence they removed to the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A collection of notices which Mr. Rigdon kept with commendable care in a family Bible, that is now in the possession of his daughter Mrs. Phoebe Dorcas Spear of Friendship, Alleghany county, New York, would seem to demonstrate that the stock was quite prolific.
    "William Rigdon, the father of Sidney, was born in the year 1748 and lived until the 26th of May 1810. William Rigdon had brothers one of whom, a wealthy bachelor, lived after in Maryland, and perhaps sisters also. Thomas, John and Charles Rigdon who were cousins of Sidney's were his contemporaries during his career in the state of Ohio, the first named of the trio having attained to the dignity of a seat in the Legislature (Hayden, History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Cincinnati, 1876, p 92).
    "Nancy Rigdon, the mother of Sidney was born on Friday the 16th of March 1759, and survived until her 81st year, having passed away on Saturday the 5th of October 1839... It is likely that the Rigdon family were of Baptist connection and proclivities. The wealthy bachelor uncle of Sidney's, who resided in Maryland, was of that persuasion. The home of William Rigdon in Saint Clair township, Alleghany county, Pennsylvania, was in close proximity to Peter's Creek Church, a flourishing and well known organization of Baptist disciples (Patterson, p 9 and p 13). Thomas, John and Charles Rigdon, the cousins of Sidney, mentioned above were, all three of them, Baptist preachers down to a certain period in their lives when they became converts to the doctrines of the Disciples, or Campbellites (Hayden, as above, p 92). It may be conjectured that William Rigdon, the father of Sidney, was a member of the church at Peter's Creek. In an article subscribed "Titus" (Christian Baptist, edition 6, p 93), which with some degree of probability may be attributed to Sidney, he speaks of himself as 'the son of a Baptist.'" Though available in manuscript when Brodie published, Whitsitt's Rigdon biography remains, as previously mentioned, unpublished in 1994.
    88Dickinson, New Light on Mormonism, 1885, p 14.


    company and kept it until 1823 when "the deluge broke over them"89 is unimportant. By then, if Rigdon obtained the Spaulding "Book of Mormon" manuscript, he would have had ample time to edit the work for the alleged conspiracy with Joseph Smith and possibly others. 90

    Rigdon's Chronology

    As stated above, Whitsitt saw reason to believe that Rigdon and Smith collaborated beginning in 1823 when Joseph was about eighteen years old. One interesting facet concerns the whereabouts of Sidney Rigdon between January 1827, when Joseph and Emma Hale married, and December 1830, when, according to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, the two met for the first time. Spaulding-Rigdon Theory supporters and detractors, both accepting the same information, have carefully reconstructed that four years, during which time there were nine "gaps" of a month or more. Brodie and Mormons have argued that these gaps in Rigdon's activities support their position. Detractors declare sufficient time during these gaps for Rigdon to have visited Smith.

    Mentor, Ohio, Rigdon's residence, and Palmyra, New York, Joseph Smith's home during those years, are 250 miles apart and a round trip of 500 miles, by stage coach or horseback, could have easily been made in ten days. 91 Many long trips by Rigdon are found in the literature of the Mormon church itself. 92 Any one or all of these trips could have taken place. The question is, of course, which sworn statements claiming to relate factual information, there are dozens on both sides, are accurate. Did Rigdon and Smith meet for the first time in December 1830 -- the orthodox position -- or was their first rendezvous prior to the publication of The Book of Mormon?

    In this alibi, we have nine gaps, of over a month in each, in which the whereabouts of Rigdon is not accounted for, and some of them occurring at the very times when the old citizens of Palmyra say that he was in New York conferring with Smith. Three of these gaps occur in the year 1827, two in 1828, and one in 1829 and three in 1830. 93
    Alibi or not, these gaps and the corresponding occurrences are interesting:

    89 Whitsitt, BOOK THE THIRD, Section 2, Chapter 4.
    90 Shook, 1914, pp 145-6. Cf. also, Brodie, pp 454-5.
    91 John Stark once walked 120 miles in less than 40 hours, Willey's, pp 16-7.
    92 Shook, p 137.
    93 Ibid., p 147.


    Gaps In Sidney Rigdon's Doings With
    Corresponding Mormon Activities

    February 1827 to December 1830

    Gap # and Dates

    Gap 1  February to March, 1827 (about 1 month)
    Corresponding Activities

    Joseph's mother claimed that "not long subsequent to his return" from his marriage in Pennsylvania (January, 1827) that he failed to return from a trip to nearby Manchester [New York] until late at night and Joseph explained the delay was caused by

    ... the angel of the Lord. As I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel met me and said that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and that I must be up and doing and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do. But, father, give yourself no uneasiness... for I know the course that I am to pursue, so all will be well (Stevens & Wallis, 1945, p 100f).
    Gap 2  April to June 1827
    (about 1 1/2 months)

    Gap 3  Aug. 23 to Oct. 9, 1827
    (l month 17 days)

    Gap 4  June to August 1828
    (possibly 2 months)

    Gaps 1, 3 & 4
    No significant event.

    On September 22, 1827, Joseph Smith claimed that the angelic messenger finally delivered the plates to him Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:59).

    Martin Harris' wife (or someone else) stole the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript (Doctrine and Covenants, 3).

    Lorenzo Saunders' affidavit asserts that he met Rigdon in Palmyra during these periods (Shook, pp 133-6).
    Gap 5  Oct.13 to Jan. 1, 1828-9
    (2 1/2 months)

    Gap 6  May to July 1829
    (1 1/2 months)
    Just prior to resumption of translation after losing 116 pages (Doctrine and Covenants, 5).

    The baptism of Smith and Cowdery. Later Cowdery is alleged to have declared that the voice of the angel (John The Baptist) did "most mysteriously resemble the voice of Elder Sidney Rigdon" (Defense, 1839; Doctrine and Covenants, 13).
    Gap 7  Jan. 12 to March 1830
    (possibly 2 months)

    Gap 8  April to May 1830
    (2 months)

    Gap 9  Sept. to Nov. 4, 1830
    (2 months)

    Book of Mormon readied for sale -- March 26, 1830, in the Palmyra bookstore (Brodie, p 82).

    Church organized April 6, 1830 (arguably on that date, see Whitsitt BOOK THE THIRD, Section 8, Chapter 1). This revelation, concerning church organization, was complex in nature. It would have been difficult for Smith but easy for Rigdon to have written (Doctrine and Covenants, 20).

    Important three-day conference beginning September 26, 1830. If there was a conspiracy, final preparations were made for Rigdon's "conversion" and Smith's 1831 move to Ohio (Doctrine and Covenants, 28-36).



    Because angels and other heavenly personages tend to defy empirical analysis, except for those to whom they wish to manifest themselves, it appears that the burden of proof is laid at the feet of the non Mormons and anti Mormons for providing evidence to show that such claims are exaggerations. But all the circumstantial evidence in the world does not resolve the arguments between the disputants. If the First Vision was a fabrication and The Book of Mormon not divinely inspired, then it is obvious why Mormon leaders, currently collecting huge sums of contributed donations from members who believe that these two claims of Mormon history (First Vision and Gold Plates) are divine and true, retain their position. Many observers have remarked that Mark Hofmann was able to extort money from Mormon church leaders because those leaders wanted to conceal embarrassing documents about early Mormon history. Even the possibility that "The First Vision" and The Book of Mormon might be suspect appears to be an option that cannot be entertained, discussed or seriously considered by orthodox Mormon leaders and members. In order to ferret-out what happened during those early days, it must first be recognized that "follow your leaders" types will not be helpful. There are some people who will never earnestly inquire, let alone believe when provided with persuasive evidence. Much like a phrase my father often used, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink," a person's decisions about the course of his or her actions are shaped by the intended investigative goal. 94

    The Evidence

    A.  Psychoanalysis of Joseph Smith, Jr.

    Joseph Smith, Jr., was born December 23, 1805. His father, Joseph Smith, Sr., had been the second generation of a union of first cousins -- Samuel Smith and Priscilla Gould. 95 Added to this potential for an increased probability for biological shortcomings and medical problems, including apoplexy and
    94 Holy and Stuchlik, Actions, Norms and Representations, 1983, p 87.
    95 It is fascinating that this same circumstance (first cousin great-grandparents) was also the case for Brigham Young, the Utah church's second leader, who took control from Sidney Rigdon in 1844 following Joseph Smith's death: Brigham Young was born 1 June 1801 at Whitingham VT to John Young and Abigail Nabby Howe {Abigail Nabby Howe (AFN:37D8-T7; Naby, d. Phenehas and Susanna [Goddard], May 3, 1766, Hopkinton VR, p 111)}. Phinehas Howe, maternal grandfather of Brigham Young, was born 22 Oct. 1735 to Peter Howe and Thankful Howe at Hopkinton MA (Hopkinton VR, p 112). Said Peter Howe (AFN:1R57-18) was born 1696/1697 to Samuel Howe and Abigail Mixer at Framingham MA. Said Thankful Howe was born 15 Dec. 1703 to David Howe and Hefseba Death (AFN:1R57-2F; Sudbury VR, p 75). Samuel Howe (AFN:1R57-5X, Sudbury VR, p 74) and David Howe (AFN:1R57-79, Sudbury VR, p 73) were brothers, both born to Samuel Howe (AFN:2ND2-BN) and Martha Bent (AFN:2ND2-CT). Therefore, Peter Howe and Thankful Howe, parents of Brigham Young's maternal grandfather, were first cousins (Married 9 Apr. 1723, Sudbury VR, p 220).
    Just how (no pun intended) this played out in Mormon history is unlikely to be known for certain. Consider this possibility: Both Joseph Smith, Jr., and Brigham Young were aware at some level of the medical problems that might result from inbreeding and each knew, consciously or subconsciously, of the fact within their own families. In order to enhance the number of options (quantity of unrelated children) for Mormon progeny, they instituted the practice of polygamy, thereby providing a larger pool of choices and defusing the inbreeding problem for descendants.



    epilepsy, 96 the family's history was replete with all the natural psychological defenses against hysteria. 97 Joseph's youth was far from care-free. He, like all of us, was expected by those closest to him to carry on with some important family traditions. 98 Mormonism was a response to these family pressures and expectations. Certainly there was encouragement from his family to condemn oppression (such as had been created in Smith's mind and written in his autobiography) in the same tradition as John Stark of Derryfield had so successfully done with the untrained "patriots" against British troops at Charlestown Heights and near Bennington. The pressure on young Joseph to continue the traditions of his family's heroes and avoid the pitfalls of their old family neighbors in Salem Village -- where religious orthodoxy and zeal went berserk 99 so close to home -- gave this future "Prophet" little choice when the preacher from Pennsylvania and Ohio, Sidney Rigdon, came along. Rigdon was, in the mind of Joseph Smith, Jr., heaven sent -- an answer to the future prophet's prayers and pressures, hereditary or otherwise. 100
    96 The subject of Mormon leaders' heredity and genetics, i.e., coefficient of inbreeding

    Coefficient n: 1. Math: a. A numerical factor of an elementary algebraic term... 2. A numerical measure of a physical or chemical property that is constant for a system under specified conditions (The American Heritage Dictionary, Boston, © 1985, p 288).
    Inbreeding n. The breeding of closely related individuals (Ibid., p 649).

    merits further medical investigation but the following is known: One brother of Asael Smith (children of first cousins Samuel Smith and Priscilla Gould) was named after his father. This child, Samuel Smith, married Rebecca Towne (not Rebecca Towne Nurse who was hanged at Salem as a witch on July 19, 1692, at age 71) 2 Jan. 1760, Topsfield VR, pp 187, 194. Samuel Smith, the brother of Asael Smith, died at age 72 of a stroke (apoplexy): "Samuel, Esq., apoplexy, a. 72 y., Nov. 14, 1785. C. R." (Topsfield VR, p 250). Samuel and Rebecca Towne Smith's daughter, Susanna Smith (first cousin of Joseph Smith, Sr.), died at age 18: "Susanna, d. Samuel, jr., a. abt. 18 y., 'in a very sudden & unexpected manner,' Dec. 18, 1781. c. r." (Topsfield VR, p 250). Also, translation of the Book of Mormon alleged plates was slowed in the late 1820s due to the first child (Alvin Smith, "b. 15 Jun. 1828... d. 15 Jun. 1828") of Emma Hale Smith (Joseph Smith, Jr.'s first wife) and Joseph Smith, Jr., being stillborn (Joseph and Emma had twelve children of whom seven died either at birth or while infants).
    97 Witchcraft in Old and New England by G. L. Kittredge, 1929, reissued in 1959, pp 372-3: "... witchcraft is the common heritage of humanity... practically universal in the 17th century, even among the educated; with the mass of the people it was universal... impulse to put a witch to death comes from... self-preservation... responsibility rests primarily on the community... not on the judge or the jury... It is easy to be wise... when the fact is two hundred years old."
    98 Some Joseph Smith and Mormonism background by the reader are requisite.
    99 This "We can fix it, while others have failed" attitude brings to mind the 1994 American invasion of Haiti. Sometimes things works out, sometimes they fail miserably. In Mormonism and cases in general, there is often a mixed bag. This Sigmund Freud letter to Carl Jung might be helpful: "Karlsbad... 21 July 1911... Dear Friend, Your letter has appeased my irritation but at the same time aroused my anxiety. You must not take me as a model; on the contrary, you must arm yourself, before it is too late, against the dragon Practice... It is the old mythological motif: The old god wants to be sacrificed and rise again rejuvenated in the new one. I hope that you will fare better than I have and not just copy me... Yours ever, Freud... " (The Freud/Jung Letters, The Correspondence between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, Edited by William McGuire, Translated by Ralph Manheim and R. F. C. Hull, Princeton University Press, © 1974, p 436).
    100 Smith's claims of persecution were paranoia and "easily" justified. His parents had lost the farm to bill collectors just before his birth and Joseph, Jr., was not about to let the same occur in his life without a response (accusations of persecution 22 years unpunctual), no matter how rational or insane: "Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean the bad guys aren't out to get me!"



    B.  Handwriting

    During the last century much has been written about the Book of Mormon Original Text which was uncovered by Emma Hale Smith's second husband, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, in 1883 when he "dismantled the (Nauvoo) house" to "sell the brick" and discovered "the original manuscript" which had been "closely guarded by Joseph Smith until 1841. On October 2, the cornerstone was being laid" and Elder F. Kesler, Sr., stated: "I saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. hide up the above manuscript unto the lord in the Southeast corner... ."101 In their 1977 publication, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? by Wayne Cowdrey, Howard Davis and Donald Scales, it is asserted that the Original Text was in the handwriting of Solomon Spaulding:

    As soon as I [Davis] looked at it [Original Text], the thought flashed through my mind, "what is Spaulding's handwriting doing here?"102

    Though Davis was on the right track, he had not yet arrived at the truth. It can be successfully argued that the Book of Mormon Original Text (photographed portions have been published), 103 contains every element of Sidney Rigdon's handwriting. Because a specific specimen of handwriting cannot be proved to have come from anyone in particular, it is incumbent upon "qualified and approved researchers"104 to prove the handwriting of the Book of Mormon Original Text is not Rigdon's. After spending over 100 hours in analyzing and comparing those pages with other known Rigdon handwriting, 105 the effort to show it was not done by him, and in his handwriting, appears futile.


    Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith were associated before The Book of Mormon was published, as indicated by the "Original Text" handwriting and The Book of Mormon, as a collaboration between Smith, Rigdon and possibly others, i.e., Oliver Cowdery, etc. Exactly what was involved in the conspiracy may never be known but each 106 had motives. 107 Mormon church
    101 Cowdrey, Davis, Scales, Vision House, p 171.
    102 Ibid., p 170.
    103 Cf. Register of the Book of Mormon Manuscript, Ms. d 2075, Max J. Evans, Dec. 1971; Tanner and Tanner, Did Spaulding Write the Book of Mormon?, 1977; Foundation For Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (F.A.R.M.S.) "Prelim. Report," © 1984; BYU Studies, Vol. 10, 1970, pp 259-78.
    104 Ibid.
    105 See the author.
    106 After reading Whitsitt's biography of Rigdon, it appears that Oliver Cowdery was probably not privy to the same information known by Smith and Rigdon in regard to the Spaulding manuscript. On second thought, it could be that none of them knew who wrote the work found by Rigdon at the print shop years earlier and Rigdon may not have mentioned any of it to anyone working on the project, even (maybe especially) Joseph Smith.
    107 Vernal Holley's Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, Second Edition, P O Box 520, Roy UT 84067-0520, ©1989 and LaMar Petersen's Problems In Mormon Text, SLC, Petersen Publishing, ©1957 are both excellent.



    leaders, by admitting that Mormon claims to divine origins of the religion are based upon historically unsound assumptions (with regard to The First Vision and The Book of Mormon), will have gone a long way in preventing future covert Hofmann-like affairs. When its leaders and believing members discuss (admit or refuse to admit) whether or not Mormonism is the product of a hoax, it is difficult to speculate what the reaction will be. Much like Joseph Smith, Jr., was unable to restrain himself from accepting Rigdon's invitation, given the religious milieu and circumstances of that time and place, so it is today -- devout, orthodox Mormon "saints," as Mormons call themselves, will probably not be eager to entertain objective dialogue and discussion of their reverent and pious position. Mormonism, after all, like other religions, has a rich tradition of miracles and testimony building "proofs" of its divine nature. 108 Also, many individuals have personal examples of how their lives have been affected and made better as a result of intimate personal faith. Faith and "miracles" do not, however, prove divine intervention. 109

    It should be obvious that all concerned would benefit from the truth of Mormonism's beginnings being made known now, with approximately nine million Mormons, rather than waiting for there to be a larger membership to deprogram. 110 Of course, for those born into Mormonism and now outside it's controlling influences, who thrive on a Clash of Ideas, 111 there is no serious concern, beyond a deeply felt personal interest in the welfare of the Mormon membership, like Mark Hofmann and the other bomb "victims" and their families and friends, both current and former, each deserving our love, compassion and concern. Being more realistic and with "pessimism," however:

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. 112

    Considering Mormon Roots, it is clear that early Mormons, like ourselves, did their best under their circumstances and their obvious limitations.
    108 When the pioneers who traveled by ox and hand carts to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake first arrived, a story is told of an attack on their crops by millions of crickets. Only after a prayerful appeal to "God" were they saved by an invasion from a multitude of seagulls. As the story goes, these heavenly visitors gorged themselves on the pests and then, after discarding their prey, came back for more (Salt Lake being about a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, these seagulls had miraculously come from the coast). Seagulls remain in abundance around the Great Salt Lake.
    109 The Author, in an unpublished autobiography dealing with the topic of the Mormon church's 1978 "Revelation" allowing blacks into the Mormon church priesthood, was the subject of such a "miracle": Following heart surgery, after being administered to with oil and a priesthood blessing, "coming from the depths of hell," recovered. It is conceded today that in many cases of major surgery there is a period -- usually two or three days following the operation -- when a physical change in the patient occurs, brought on by the stresses of the procedure. This is the time when religious assistance is most welcome but the priesthood has little, if anything, to do with the patient's recovery ("Mormon Wrangles and Rainbows," an unpublished book manuscript by Byron Marchant, Section 1 Chapter 1).
    110 The 1994 membership statistics of the Mormon church claim about 8.75 million.
    111 Willey's, p 18, "He [John Stark] loved action, and the roar of musketry was music to his ears."
    112 A Farewell to Arms, 1929, Chapter 34, by Ernest Hemmingway.



    [ blank]


    Mormon Family "Values"
    Byron Marchant

    Copyright © 29 September 1994

    Their mother was gone
    The poor children detained
    With the ogre their father
    They "had" to remain.

    Both of them daughters
    One slightly older,
    Girls, soon to be women,
    None ever were bolder.

    Before, things were different,
    When "Mom" was around
    The church was their culture,
    It's music only slightly put-down.

    But Mommy, dear Gladys,
    Went to live "past the veil";
    And daddy, now a heretic,
    Had spent time in jail.

    A large family, no two,
    Lit up with compassion:
    "These girls need direction
    And, of course, eternal affection.

    Dear God up above,
    Thy wise intervention,
    Exert infinite power and
    Show us intention."

    "Bishop Call,
    You're My man.
    Step forward, and bravely,
    Put out a hand."

    "How can I serve?
    Dear God up above,
    Shall I break the law?
    I'll do anything to show love."

    "Well, Good Bishop,
    Be careful what you do.
    If word gets out
    Someone may sue."

    "You can trust me brethren,
    I have a plan,
    Two law school fellows
    Though only one is a man.

    He's a non–Mormon,
    We can buy 'Buzz' with favors,
    I'll query them soon
    She'll be their savior.

    Carefully approached,
    Gently applying our clout,
    Using discretion... subtle persuasion,
    There is very little doubt."

    So inspired was this great plan!
    The "word" abroad was sent.
    The families' faithful gathered
    Mostly of a religious bent.

    Out went open hands
    "Generous God we adore thee,
    If truly 'tis Thy will,
    Most liberal shall we be."

    Dwight, a banker of this clan,
    Prudently selected, holds the cash;
    A worthy "reward" in light no doubt,
    Employed: Zions First National's stash.

    Support for the plan
    From in-laws named Smith
    Little "C," recently widowed,
    Anxious to plead "the fifth,"

    Teenage grandchild in tow
    Hand-in-hand treks one day
    To a BYU-type Mormon
    At Social Security to pray.

    Sold falsely on neglect
    (Even the judge demurs it turns out),
    Eagle-eyed officials step in,
    "This scoundrel cad we'll route."

    With no investigation
    Whatever before they act,
    Survivors' benefits for expenses
    Of this homeowner get zapped.

    Several months soon go by
    Withheld thousands illegally owing,
    A nightmare -- bureaucratic,
    Agents angelic persist sans deposing.

    All set to "buy" the lawyer
    With promises and such,
    And last but not least Her Honor,
    Sharon Peacock McCully -- what a touch.

    This for my children
    A magical score
    The first -- and in Utah -- *
    For Mormon judicial folk lore.

    Not much later
    In Florida, a test,
    The divorce of GK -- to Mormons,
    From his mother's best. - **

    And in the Bay State
    Mitt Romney, God bless,
    Seeking the US Senate seat
    Of Ted Kennedy, no less,

    Volunteered divine direction,
    Tax-saving, adoptive, advice;
    To an unwed, "unlucky," mother
    Supplying newsrooms with spice.***

    What has this world come to,
    Is your God so vain?
    In case you've forgotten Little "C,"
    Mormon history too fetters my brain.

    It's our little secret
    Not known by the world
    "We Mormons have obligations
    Our flag is lovingly unfurled"

    To you I'm an "Outlaw"
    Unlike Nephi, prophet of old,
    In that "fabulous" fictional novel
    Who slew Laban, Hysterically Bold!

    Both you and I know
    Deep down in our hearts
    That in this "saintly" church,
    Once priesthood wardens embark,

    There are few if any limits
    To the "righteousness" inspired
    Of our culture "divinely driven,"
    By Zion's limitless, humble desires.
    * Third District Juvenile Court of Utah, Case Numbers 731358 (22 Sep. 1986) and 752945 (12 Dec. 1987).
    ** Newsweek, September 21, 1992, "Gregory K." pp 84-90.
    *** Peggie Hayes and son Dane; The Boston Globe, 26 August 1994, pp 23, 28.

    Entire contents of this e-text, copyright © 1994 by Byron Marchant.
    Unathorized duplication or republication of any type is strictly prohibited

    return to top of page

    Sidney Rigdon Home Page   |   Rigdon's History   |   "Mormon Classics" E-Texts

    last revised Feb. 15, 2009