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JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 3
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and Polygamy.
| On another thread, someone mentioned that in Jon Krakauer's "Under The
Banner Of Heaven" it mentions that Joseph Smith visited houses of
From the book:
"According to Sarah Pratt, the wife of Mormon "apostle" Orson Pratt: "the
prophet Joseph used to frequent houses of ill-fame. Mrs. White, a very
pretty and attractive woman, once confessed to me that she made a business
of it to be hospitable to the captains of the Mississippi steamboats. She
told me that Joseph had made her acquaintance very soon after his arrival in
Nauvoo, and that he had visited her dozens of times."
A look at the full testimony of Sister Pratt reveals even more details on
the character of Joseph Smith:
"I have told you that the prophet Joseph used to frequent houses of
ill-fame. Mrs. White, a very pretty and attractive woman, once confessed to
me that she made a business of it to be hospitable to the captains of the
Mississippi steamboats. She told me that Joseph had made her acquaintance
very soon after his arrival in Nauvoo, and that he had visited her dozens of
Sarah Pratt Testimony:
"My husband (Apostle Orson Pratt) could not be induced to believe such
things of his prophet. Seeing his obstinate incredulity, Mrs. White proposed
to Mr. Pratt and myself to put us in a position where we could observe what
was going on between herself and Joseph the prophet. We, however, declined
"Next door to my house was a house of bad reputation. One single woman lived
there, not very attractive. She used to be visited by people from Carthage
whenever they came to Nauvoo. Joseph used to come on horseback, ride up to
the house and tie his horse to a tree, many of which stood before the house.
Then he would enter the house of the woman from the back. I have seen him do
"Joseph Smith, the son of the prophet, and president of the re-organized
Mormon church, paid me a visit, and I had a long talk with him. I saw that
he was not inclined to believe the truth about his father, so I said to him:
'You pretend to have revelations from the Lord. Why don't you ask the Lord
to tell you what kind of a man your father really was?' He answered: 'If my
father had so many connections with women, where is the progeny?' I said to
him: 'Your father had mostly intercourse with married women, and as to
single ones, Dr. Bennett was always on hand, when anything happened."
How could Joseph Smith be worthy to receive guidance and revelations from
the Lord? What was inspiring him to make these visits to prostitutes?
| Except that that "prophecy" can only be found in the "translation" of the Bible that Joseph Smith himself produced:
"And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father....." (Genesis 50:33, "Joseph Smith Translation."
Look at your King James Bible and note that the 50th chapter of Genesis has only 26 verses. Smith concocted 12 more verses, and "miraculously" included himself in them.
If you want to be really mean, the next time you discuss this with your TBM friend, take out your KJV and ask him to show you the prophecy about Joseph Smith. If he's like most TBMs, he will assume it's in there. When he sees that it's not in there, show him that it's only in the version of Genesis which Joseph Smith himself wrote.
The TBM will probably respond with "Well, Joseph was inspired to add that, because it's one of the parts of the Bible that was removed by wicked anti-Mormon priests." If he says that, then point out to him that a copy of the entire Book of Genesis was found intact among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it is virtually identical to the KJV, and does not include any of the parts which Joseph Smith added.
Then sit back and watch the look on your friend's face as he struggles to come up with some explanation. If he's like one of our former TBM friends when my wife and I showed her that, he will probably change the subject or leave your house in a huff.
This item demonstrates Joseph Smith's narcissism like none other---the very haughtiness of altering the Old Testament to include himself in it.
Over the years, I have watched various documentaries about the DSS wherein I thought that was said. Having skimmed over a few articles, it appears that the fact is that *portions* of all the books in the Old Testament, rather than the entire books, are represented in the DSS save a couple. The DSS version of Genesis appears to be a sort of commentary.
However, nothing in the DSS, nor any other authentic ancient Biblical manuscripts, include anything like the portions that Joseph Smith self-servingly interpolated into the Book of Genesis regarding his alleged divine coming forth in the latter days.
Readers who are wondering if Smith was a "pious fraud" or a conscious, narcissistic, pompous fake might want to consider this in their deliberations. Inserting himself into the Bible via his 1831 "translation" does not sound very "pious" to me.
And let's also remember that Smith made many alterations in his own alleged "revelations from God" between their original 1833 publication and their re-issue just two years later. This illustrates how he was not hesitant to alter "holy scripture" as his attitudes and worldviews changed.
| Wife of Apostle Orson Pratt isn't the only one who knew about abortions in Nauvoo..
LDS Elder Ebenezer Robinson testified that Hyrum Smith:
"instructed me in Nov or Dec 1843 to make a selection of some young woman and he would seal her to me, and I should take her home," he recalled, "and if she should have an offspring give out word that she had a husband, an Elder, who had gone on a foreign mission." Possibly referring to a secluded birthplace, or conceivably to abortion, Robinson spoke of "a place appointed in Iowa, 12 or 18 miles from Nauvoo to send female victims to his polygamous births." - Ebenezer Robinson to Jason W. Briggs, Jan. 28, 1880, LDS archives.
On December 29, 1873, Ebenezer and Angeline Robinson signed an affidavit saying that Hyrum Smith had come to their house in the fall of 1843 to teach them the doctrine of polygamy.
Apostle Orson Pratt's wife testified...
"One day they came both, Joseph and [Doctor] Bennett, on horseback to my house. Bennett dismounted, Joseph remained outside. Bennett wanted me to return to him a book I had borrowed from him. It was a so-called doctor-book. I had a rapidly growing little family and wanted to inform myself about certain matters in regard to babies, etc., -- this explains my borrowing that book."
"While giving Bennett his book, I observed that he held something in the left sleeve of his coat. Bennett smiled and said: 'Oh, a little job for Joseph; one of his women is in trouble.' Saying this. he took the thing out of his left sleeve. It was a pretty long instrument of a kind I had never seen before. It seemed to be of steel and was crooked at one end."
"I heard afterwards that the operation had been performed; that the woman was very sick, and that Joseph was very much afraid that she might die, but she recovered." - Testimony of Apostle Orson Pratt's wife, Sarah Pratt from "Joseph Smith the Prophet: His Family and Friends"
Joseph Smith's once close associate Doctor Bennett was also accused by Hyrum Smith of practicing abortions.
Hyrum testified that Dr. Bennett was propositioning women in a similar fashion to Joseph Smith.
"[Dr. Bennett] endeavored to seduce them, and accomplished his designs by saying it was right; that it was one of the mysteries of God, which was to be revealed when the people was strong enough in faith to bear such mysteries?that it was perfectly right to have illicit intercourse with females, providing no one knew it but themselves, vehemently trying them from day to day, to yield to his passions, bringing witnesses of his own clan to testify that there were such revelations and such commandments, and that they were of God; also stating that he would be responsible for their sins, if there were any, and that he would give them medicine to produce abortions, provided they should become pregnant." - Affidavit of Hyrum Smith. Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.71
Here is a book review I posted at Amazon of The Saintly Scoundrel - The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett
by Andrew F. Smith.
The juicy parts are more towards the end of the review. Smith and Bennett were birds (or is that blokes) of a feather.
The Saintly Scoundrel - The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett
by Andrew F. Smith
Reviewed by the Salamander Society at Amazon.com. (click on the book cover) Following are some quotes from the book but for a much deeper feel and context for Dr. John C. Bennett's influence in early Mormonism, please read the entire book.
January 1832 - Bennett meets William McLellin, a recent convert to Mormonism. McLellin then introduces Bennett to Joseph Smith and on January 13,1832 Bennett "talked considerable with Br Joseph". The content of their conversation was not recorded. p. 12
To add to his boldness, Bennett proposed conferring doctorates on women. John Riddell tried to dissuade him from doing this, particularly in medicine, because "predjudiced being" would oppose it. Bennett roared that he had hung "out the banner of reform" and wanted others to rally around it. He did compromise and meekly revised the bylaws to prohibit women from receiving medical degrees, although they could receive doctorates in seven other areas of study, making Christain College the first publicly chartered coeducational college in the United States. p 15
Bennett arranged to have the diplomas prepared and printed by Eber D. Howe, the editor of the Painseville Telegraph. Howe was an anti-Mormon who published Mormonism Unvailed in 1834, which Bennett likely read. When Bennett's vending of diplomas surfaced, the trustees directed the secretary to write Howe requesting information about how many diplomas had been printed and what had become of the remaining parchment. The trustees obviously feared that Bennett had produced additional diplomas and intended to sell them as well. p. 32
Bennett summarized Dr. William Smith's beliefs and presented them to his class in his opening lecture, declaring that tomatoes successfully treated diarrhea, biliousness, and dsypepsia. p. 34
Bennett serves for one year as Brigadier General of the Invincible Dragoons, Second Division of Illinois Militia. p 47
Bennett has Dr. B. A. Parnell, a phrenologist, examine him. Parnell examined Bennetts skull and described Bennett as being sanguine and bilious of temperament. Parnell listed 37 other attributes. Bennett later published this phrenology. p. 48
Spring of 1840 - Bennett attended a Mormon meeting in Springfield, Illinois and since he did not know anyone there he kept a low profile. p. 54
Summer 0f 1840 - Bennett wrote a series of three letters to Joseph Smith. He professed that wealth was not his aim but desired only happiness. He was convinced that he could enjoy himself better with the Mormons than with any other religious body. He hoped that the time would "soon come when your people will become my people, your God my God."
Jospeh Smith wrote back from Nauvoo on August 8, 1840. "It would afford me much pleasure to see you at this place, and from the desire you express in your letter to move to this place, I hope I shall soon have the satisfaction."
While there were many spontaneous conversions to Mormonism, religious fervor was not likely to have been central to Bennett's move to Nauvoo. His correspondence was a calculated attempt to gain Smith's and Rigdon's confidence. Unlike other confidence men, Bennett was quite ambitious and desired glory and renown; he was quite willing to sacrifice money both for fame and power. Bennett might hav believed from the onset that Smith was a charlatan and that Mormonism was a fraud, but this would not have particularly mattered to him. He pursued secular, not religious goals. He was interested in using the Mormons, as he had the Methodists and the Christian Disciples, to promote his eminence and enhance his power. p 55
September 1840 - Bennett's relocation to Nauvoo was not his first contact with Mormonism. William McLellin had introduced him to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon while they were all in Hiram, Ohio, in 1832. What Bennett heard in Hiram did not impress him, and he remained a steadfast supporter of Alexander Campbell, who spoke out frequently against Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Mormonism. Bennett likely read Campbell's Delusions: An Analysys of the Book of Mormon, an anti-Mormon tract first published in the Millennial Harbinger in 1831 and in pamphlet form the following year. In late 1834 Bennett moved to Chagrin, Ohio, not far from Painsville. Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painsville Telegraph, published several of Bennett's articles, and Bennett encountered Howe's anti-Mormon book, Mormonism Unveiled, published in November 1834. Kirtland was about four miles from Chagrin, and Bennett attended Mormon services there in early 1835, when both Rigdon and Smith were present. What he found in Kirtland did not impresshim either. After eight years of contact with Mormonism, Bennett was not likely to have become a thunder-struck convert in the summer of 1840.
Joseph Smith was impressed with Bennett and had him board with the Smith family for thirty-nine weeks. He became Joseph Smith's closest friend and confident, claiming to have known "Joseph better than any other man living for a least fourteen months!" William Law, who later became assistant president of the Mormon church, agreed with Bennett's assessment of his relationship with Joseph Smith. According to Law, Bennett "was more in the secret confidence of Joseph than perhaps any other man in the city." p 56
Bennett also befriended Joseph Smith's brothers, Hyrum Smith and Don Carlos Smith. Hyrum Smith replaced Joseph Smith, Sr. as the patrirarch of the Mormon church. When Bennett was baptized, he received the first patriarchal blessing bestowed by Hyrum Smith. Impressed with Bennett's speaking abilities, Hyrum Smith likened Bennett to the biblical "Paul reasoning with Felix, and they shall tremble when they hear thy words." Hyrum Smith predicted that Bennett would not turn "aside from the truth for the popularity of the world. p. 57
Stephen Douglas, then the Democratic secretary of state, also had opposed similar incorporations, but he assisted in the passage of the Mormon bills. Thereafter, he had himself appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court, serving on the Fifth Circuit, which included the city of Nauvoo. He moved to Quincy and occasionally visited Nauvoo, where he preached, attended meetings, and solidified Mormon support for the democratic party in future elections.
The History of the Church, published under Joseph Smith's name, reports that the Nauvoo charter was "of his (Smith's) own plan and device" and that he had "concocted it for the salvation of the Church." According to tis account, Bennett was "delegated to Springfield, Ilinois" to carry the "petition for a City Charter." It is unlikely that this was an accurate reflection of what really happened. Bennett was an experienced and accomplished lobbyist, having written and passed bills in Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois. He specifically had written bills related to incorporating universities and militia unit, which were provided for in the Nauvoo charter. p 60
Whoever deserves credit for initiating the Nauvoo charter, Smith was elated with Bennett's role in shepherding the bill through the legislature. In his "Proclamation to the Saints Scattered Abroad," issued in January 1841, Smith introduced Bennett to the Mormon community by identifying him as "one of the principal instruments, in effecting our safety and deliverance form the unjust persecutions and demands of the authorities of Missouri, and also in procuring the city charter-He is a man of enterprize, extensive acquirements, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community." On January 5 Smith characterized Bennett as a superior orator, "active and diligent, always employing himself in doing good to his fellow men."
Two weeks later Smith reported a revelation from God regarding Bennett: "Again, let my servant John C. Bennett, help you in your labor, in sending my word to the Kings and people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith in the hour of affliction, and his reward shall not fail if he receive council; and for his love, he shall be great for he shall be mine if he does this, saith the Lord. I have see the work he hath done, which I accept, if he continue; and will crown him with blessings and great glory."
The Mormon historian B.H. Roberts interpreted this revelation to mean that "John C. Bennett in coming to the Saints did so out of love for the work, had a desire to work righteousness but was among those who failed-he did not 'continue' in his right intentions." Since Smith later charged Bennett with almost continuous adultery from the time he arrived in Nauvoo, Bennett's intentions were questionable well before Smith announced the revelation. Whatever the proper explanation for this revelation might be, Robert's version is not likely it. pp. 61-62 Bennett also actively sought to launch the Masonic Lodge in Nauvoo. The first meeting of the Nauvoo Masons occurred in Hyrum Smith's office on December 29,1841. George Miller was elected worshipful master. Miller had been a wealthy farmer near Macomb in McDonough County, Illinois. when the Mormons were expelled from Missouri, he ran into Joseph Smith, Sr. and Don Carlos Smith in Quincy, Illinois. Miller invited them and other Mormons to live on his farm. After their departure from Missouri, Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and John Taylor visited Miller. Miller converted to Mormonism in the spring of 1839 and moved to Iowa, across from Nauvoo, in the spring of 1840.
On September 1,1840 - perhaps the same day Bennett first arrived in Nauvoo--Joseph Smith invited Miller to move to Nauvoo. In many ways, Miller's rise to power in the Mormon church parallels Bennett's. On the same day (January 19,1841) that Smith claimed to have had a revelation about Bennett, he also had one about Miller. Miller was made a bishop of the church by revelation and was appointed president of the Nauvoo House Association. In February 1841 Miller was ordained and was elected to the board of regents of the University of the City of Nauvoo. He also assisted in building the Nauvoo Temple.
At the same meeting that Miller was elected worshipful master of the Nauvoo Lodge, Bennett was elected secretary. Bennett, Miller and another Mason were appointed to a committee to draft bylaws for governing the Nauvoo Lodge. The bylaws were presented and approved on the following day. Bennett served as grand marshall. pp. 75,76
While in Nauvoo, Bennett had succeeded beyond his own wildest expectations. He later nostalgically observed that he had "possessed power, wealth, and the means to gratify every passion or desire." p. 78
According to Joseph Smith, as soon as Bennett became a Mormon (Bennett's date of baptism is disputed but was either in Sept or Oct of 1840) , Smith received a letter from an unidentified person cautioning the Mormons against him. Knowing that it was not uncommon "for good men to be evil spoken against," however, Smith kept quiet about the letter.
In February of 1841 Smith sent George Miller to McConnelsville to delve into Bennett's past. On March 2,1841, Miller reported back that "during many years his poor, but confiding wife, followed him from place to place, with no suspicion of his unfaithfulness to her; at length howevere, he became so bold enough in his departures, that it was evident to all around that he was a sore offender, and his wife left him under satisfactory evidence of his adulterous connections; nor was this his only fault; he used her bad otherwise." Miller concluded that Bennett was "an impostor, and unworthy of the confidence of all good men."
Despite this information, neither Smith nor Miller took any known action against Bennett. In fact, Smith appointed him assistant president of the Mormon Church in April 1841. Miller himself permitted Bennett to become the secretary of the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge in December 1841.
On June 15, 1841, Hyrum Smith and William Law, then in Pittsburgh, wrote to Joseph Smith corroborating the content of George Miller's letter. According to Smith, he read the letter to Bennett, "which he did not attempt to deny, but candidly acknowledged the fact." Whatever happened, Bennett and Joseph Smith clearly had a temporary parting of the ways. Bennett, who had been living with Joseph Smith's family, moved into other quarters. pp. 79,80
Oliver Olney reported in his journal that in early April 1842 it was common gossip that members of the Twelve Apostles were "very intimate with females."
On April 10, 1842 Joseph Smith "pronounced a curse upon all adulterers, and fornicators, and unvirtuous persons." and those who had made use of his "name to carry on their iniquitious designs." The individuals to whom these remarks referred were unnamed. p. 85
On May 14, 1842 the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting brothels in the city. An eyewitness later claimed that Bennett had built one. The city council ordered it ripped down as a public nuisance. Lorenzo D. Wasson, Smith's nephew, reported that he had knowledge of "Bennett and his prostitutes." Whatever Bennett's connnection to the brothel, if any, it is unimaginable that it could have survived without the knowledge of the leaders of the church, yet due to a tacit acceptance, perhaps because the brothel was protected by Bennett, or it might have been an integral part of an emerging system of sexual experimentation then underway in Nauvoo, as Bennett later implied.
On May 17, 1842 Bennett resigned as mayor and voluntarily left the Mormon church. Two days later Joseph Smith was elected Mayor and Hyrum Smith was elected as vice-mayor. p 86
On the morning of May 26, 1842 Bennett met with sixty to one hudnred of the Masonic brethren. According to Smith, Bennett "acknowledged his wicked and licentious conduct toward certain females in Nauvoo, and that he was worthy of the severest chastisement, and cried like a child, and begged that he might be spared, in any possible way; so deep was his apparent sense of his quilt and unfitness for respectable society; so deeply did he feign, or really feel contrition for the moment, that he was forgiven still." Joseph Smith pled for mercy for Bennett. This seems curious, though perhaps this is consistent with Joseph Smith's pattern of forgiving sinners after public confession. Alternately, as others have speculated, Smith and Bennett might have come to agreement: if Bennett publicly confessed his sins, Smith would forgive him. Still others have suggested that Smith's reluctance to break with Bennett might have been based on his fear that Bennett would publicly reveal his knowledge about plural marriage and Joseph Smith. p. 90
Perhaps Smith expected or at least hoped that Bennett would leave Nauvoo quietly. When he failed to do so, Smith publicly censured him. On June 18,1842 Smith spoke out publicly against Bennett. According to Wilford Woodruff, Smith "spoke his mind in great plainness concerning the iniquity and wickedness of Gen. John Cook Bennett, and exposed him before the the public." Smith's public attack produced a heated exchange with Bennett. As described in a private letter published in Burlington's Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot, "Some hard swearing passed between these saints during the quarrel." According to the unidentified author, Bennett threatened "to write a book for the purpose of exposing the rascality of this pretender to the spirit of prophecy. Bennett was excommunicated from the Mormon church on this day. On June 21, 1842, Bennett abruptly left Nauvoo and headed for Springfield. p. 91
Bennett returned to Nauvoo before June 26, 1842 and boarded with George Robinson. On June 27 he wrote to James G. Edwards, editor of the Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot, reporting that the schism between Smith and him was irreconcilable. He also recounted that Smith had threatened to kill him and had "ordered some of his Danite band to effect the murder clandestinely." According to Bennett, on the evening of June 29 "twelve of the Danites, dressed in female apparel, approached my boarding house, (Gen. Robinson's) in Nauvoo, iwth their carriage wheels wrapped with blankets, and their horses feet covered with cloths, to prevent noise, about 10 o'clock, for the purpose of conveying me off and assassinating me, thus prevent disclosures- but I was so admirably prepared with arms, as were also my friends, that after prowling around the house for some time, they retired. p. 94
July 1842 - Bennett's Accusations Against Joseph Smith
1. That Bennett's disfellowshipment notice of May 11, 1842 signed by John E Page, William Smith and Lyman Wright was a forgery because these three men were not in Nauvoo at that time. All three were away on official church errands.
2. That Joseph Smith attempted to seduce Miss Nancy Rigdon, the eldest and single daughter of Sidney Rigdon.
3. That Joseph Smith sold valuable property to Willard Richards, N.K. Whitney, and others prior to declaring bankruptcy.
4. That Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and four others were initiated, passed and raised before the installation of the Masonic Lodge, which was against Masonic regulations.
5. That Joseph Smith introduced a new degree of masonry, called "Order Lodge", in which a part of the obligation says, "I furthermore promise and swear, that I will never touch a daughter of Adam, unless she is given me of the Lord," so as to accord with Smith's licentious practices.
6. That Bennett's affidavit, sworn on May 17, and his statement, signed on May 19 before the city council, were made under duress.
7. That Joseph Smith ordered Orrin Porter Rockwell to shoot former Governor of Missouri, Lilburn W. Boggs. pp. 100-105
September 1842 - Bennett publishes his 350 page book "History of the Saints" an anti-Mormon work. The Mormons of course were not overwhelmed by the book. Joseph Smith prophesied "that whoever has any hand in the matter, will find themselves in a poor fix in relation to the money matters." While the book's financial earnings have not been uncovered, it is not likely Smith's prediction was accurate. The book went through three printings in 1842. For two years Bennett had no known revenue other than the royalties from the book and his lecture fees. p.127
In 1850 Brigham Young announced that John C. Bennett had died in one of the most wretched slums of California, where he had gone in the excitement of the Great Gold Rush. According to Young, Bennett's body had been "dragged out with his boots on, put into a cart, hauled off, and dumped into a hole a rotten mass of corruption." Aroet Hale claimed that Bennett's death, as described by Young, was the fulfillment of one of Joseph Smith's prophecies. According to Hale, Bennett was cursed to "die a vagabond upon the face of the earth, without friends to berry him." p.166
The report of Bennett's demise was greatly exaggerated, however. He was alive and well, living in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Bennett continued to practice medicine, breed chickens and cattle, promote anti-slavery issues, served as a surgeon in the Union army and re-married. After a protracted illness, probably precipitated by a stroke, Bennett died at the age of sixty-four in August of 1867 in Polk City, Iowa. p. 185
Despite the Mormon appraisals, Bennett was respected by his Polk City neighbors and was relatively well-off when he died. His tombstone is one of the largest in the Polk City Cemetary. His second wife died less than one year later and was buried beside him. Bennett's first wife, Mary, lived until 1897. Nothing is known of his two children. pp. 185,186.
As shocking as Bennett's disclosures might have been in his day, the Mormon experiment with polygamy should be viewed in the broader context of sexual exploration underway in the United States at the time. On one end of the spectrum of sexual experimentation were the Shakers, who believed in complete abstinance. On the other end were those members of the Oneida Community in New York, who openly practiced their belief in free love.
Eight years before Bennett made his first disclosures, the United States had been rocked by the sensation surrounding the self-styled prophet "Matthias." This scandal included reports of lascivious sexual relations, a strange new religious cult, and eventually murder. Matthias was tried and convicted of lesser charges. Four months after he left jail in 1835, Matthias visited Kirtland, where he met and conversed with Joseph Smith and preached to the Mormons. Smith subsequently cast Matthias out of Kirtland. p. 191
| What Ties Joseph Smith, An "Indian" Skeleton Found In 1834 By Smith And His Companions, And The 1802 Map Of New York State Together? |
Friday, Jul 28, 2006, at 10:54 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 3 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| There is another noteworthy episode in early church history involving Joseph Smith, the 1802 map of the State of New York, and a skeleton discovered in 1834 by Smith and his companions. In his journal entry dated June 3, 1834, Smith wrote: |
"During our travels we visited several of the mounds which had been thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country - Nephites, Lamanites, etc., and this morning I went up on a high mound near the river, accompanied by the brethren. From this mound we could overlook the tops of the trees and view the prairie on each side of the river as far as our vision could extend, and the scenery was truly delightful.
This 'revelation' indicates that a Lamanite was 'white' (i.e., had become fair-skinned). 3 Nephi 2:14, 15 states:
"On the top of the mound were stones which presented the appearance of three altars having been erected one above the other, according to the ancient order; and the remains of bones were strewn over the surface of the ground. The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man almost entire and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thickset man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and a chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea, to the Rocky Mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or at least, in part--one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone thrown from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites." (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 2, page, 79-80).
14 - "And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;"
15- "And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites"
Science has established that the only natural way for a person's skin to be lighter than that of his/her parents is for one of the parents to be fair-skinned. One need only compare a photo of Michael Jackson of today to one of him from 20-30 years ago for proof that synthetic means (drugs and creams) have been invented to lighten skin color. However, these means did not exist during the Book of Mormon (BoM) timeline. Also, there is no genetic evidence supporting the idea in the BoM that people's skin color can be transformed from dark to light because they unite themselves to a group of fair-skinned people (ref. 3 Nephi 2:15). Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that supports the BoM teaching that the skin of a group of people can be darkened because they 'rebel' against God (see 2 Nephi 5:21).
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other senior church leaders taught that the 'Indians' would become a "white and delightsome people", which was the wording in the Book of Mormon prior to the 1981 edition. It was changed to "pure and delightsome" because no converts to the church from the Americas (and the Polynesian Islands) whose ancestors were indigenous/native had become "white" (ref. http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no46....).
Smith indicated that Zelph died during "the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites". In June, 1834, Smith lived in Kirtland, Illinois. Mormon Chapter 6 indicates that the final epic battle between the Nephites and Lamanites occurred in the Hill Cumorah area (near Palmyra, NY). Palmyra is about 760 miles from Kirtland. The church has never explained why there is a significant discrepancy between Smith's Zelph 'revelation' and the Book of Mormon in terms of the location where the Nephite nation supposedly came to an end.
The Zelph 'revelation' indicates that the skeleton of a Lamanite killed in battle was buried only about a foot below the surface of the ground. Smith and his companions discovered the skeleton nearly 1,450 years after Zelph's death (according to the preface of Mormon Chpt. 6, the last, epic battle of the Nephites occurred in 385 A.D.). Adding up the number of Nephite warriors who supposedly died in battle in the Cumorah area, as per Mormon Chpt. 6, the total is 230,000 men. Women, children, and elderly Nephites slain by the Lamanites are not included this number. Having fallen in battle, the skeletons and weapons of those warriors would not be far beneath the ground's surface after 14 centuries (if at all), as the skeleton found by Smith and his companions proved. Why has not a single skeleton or weapon of the 230,000 Nephite warriors killed in fighting ever been located? With so many dead Nephites in such a relatively small area, it would be not be difficult to find archeological evidence confirming that the
battle actually happened.
Smith wrote in his journal entry that "the great prophet Onandagus…was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea, to the Rocky Mountains". Hill Cumorah (near Palmyra, NY) to the Rockies is a massive area. Various verses in the BoM indicate that the Nephites and Lamanites had spread out across the land. Heleman 3:8 (46 B.C.) states "And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east." Despite what the BoM indicates, there is no evidence of communities of fair-skinned people in North, Central, or South America during the BoM timeline.
Earlier this year, I wrote the Anthropology Dept. of Syracuse (NY) University, asking if there is any archeological evidence of the epic battle described in Mormon Chapter 6 or the existence of fair-skinned (Nephite) people in New York State and elsewhere in North America during the BoM timeline. The Department replied that there is none.
The name Onandagus is curious because it isn't like most names in the Book of Mormon (it ends in "us", like many Roman/Latin names). On the 1802 map of the State of New York, there is a surveyed area about 50 miles east of Palmyra called Onondaga. Other surveyed areas on the map in the same region of New York State are Brutus, Aurelius, Marcellus, Camillus, Manlius, Fabius, Sempronius, Romulus, and Junius (clearly not 'Indian' names). Drop the "a" in Onondaga and add the Latin suffix, "us", and you have Onandagus.
The 1802 map of New York State, which can be viewed at http://www.sunysb.edu/libmap/DeWitt.h.... The names of the surveyed areas cannot be readily seen online, but I have the digital image of the map (669 KB), which is large enough resolution-wise to zoom in using Windows Picture Viewer or another program to see the names. E-mail me at email@example.com if you'd like me to send you the digital image.
| That's what many Mormon apologists, and even some people who claim to be Ex-Mormons argue, when discussing Smith's relationships with teenage girls. One Mopologist, Russell McGregor, whose internet alias is "Pahoran", called that "presentism"---the act of holding historical figures, particularly Mormon leaders, to present-day standards.
For those people, I would ask a rhetorical question: When has it ever been a "standard" in the history of the U.S. for a married man in his 30s, who is an alleged Christian minister, to engage in sexual relationships with women and teenage girls to whom he was not legally married?
Another question for those who claim to no longer believe in Mormonism, but still defend Smith's polygamous behavior: Does not the fact that:
*polygamy was illegal in Smith's day
*Smith desperately tried to keep his polygamy teachings and practices secret, and denied them to his dying day
*Smith and his fellow polygamists viciously attacked and slandered people who tried to expose his secret polygamy practice
...tell us that Smith's sexual behavior was *anything* but "standard" for his time?
"Fabricated stories designed to protect the [Nauvoo polygamous]individuals are seen elsewhere. Sidney Rigdon in the 18 June 1845 'Messenger and Advocate' reported that Parley P. Pratt, in speaking of the means by which church leaders should sustain Smith, advised that 'we must lie to protect brother Joseph, it is our duty to do so.' Not only were church leaders willing to violate the law to promote polygamy, they did not hesitate to blacken the character of individuals who threatened to expose the secret practice of plural marriage. Sarah Pratt was not the only woman to suffer from this policy. The 27 August 1842 'Wasp,' for example, branded Martha H. Brotherton a 'mean harlot,' and Nancy Rigdon suffered the same treatment after she opposed Smith's polygamous proposals.....Jane Law, wife of Smith's counselor William Law, was also blacklisted for rejecting Smith's polyandrous proposal." ("Mormon Polygamy: A History," Richard van Wagoner, pp. 38-39.)
Does this behavior paint Joseph Smith as a "pious" man whose extra-marital relationships did not violate the "standards" of his day?
Or does it paint him as a deceitful libertine who make deplorable and false character assassinations against his own disciples in order to cover up his illicit and immoral, sexual proposals and behavior?
One more note: Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.
| Most Mormons Believe That Joseph Smith's And Sidney Rigdon's Tarring In February 1832 Was Done By An "Anti-Mormon Mob" |
Friday, Aug 4, 2006, at 08:55 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 3 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Most Mormons believe that Joseph Smith's and Sidney Rigdon's tarring in
February 1832 was done by an "anti-Mormon mob". To the contrary, they were
tarred not by "anti-Mormon mobs," but by their own followers, for two primary
reasons. First was their plan to have all of their church members sign over
all of their assets and properties to the "United Order" communal experiment.
Some members saw this as Smith and Rigdon's scheme to fleece them, and rightly
so; the financial disaster that was the United Order, which culminated in the
Kirtland Bank scandal, caused many Mormons to lose their life savings, and
about half of all church members abandoned the faith over the incident,
including most of the original twelve apostles. The proof that it was his own
church members who did the tarring was Smith's own statement that he recognized
the perpetrators in church the morning after the incident, primarily one
Symonds Rider and the sons of John Johnson. Smith, Emma, and Rigdon had been
boarding with the Johnson clan 35 miles from Kirtland at Hiram, Ohio. They
weren't subjecting themselves to the communal lifestyle that they demanded of
their followers at Kirtland. It was alleged that Smith made a pass at
Johnson's teenage daughter, Nancy Marinda, and that that was her brothers'
motivation for attacking Smith. "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith" supports this
idea, but in his "In Sacred Loneliness" Todd Compton doubts it for lack of
convincing evidence. I personally believe that it's likely true that Smith
made the pass at Marinda for four reasons:
First, Smith had already hinted at his "plural marriage" concept in his 1831
"revelation" commanding his men to "take ye wives from among the Lamanites" in
1831 (the tarring occurred in February 1832). This indicates that he had
extra-marital relations on his mind during that period.
Second, Marinda later married Orson Hyde; Smith sent Hyde on a mission, and
secretly "plural married" Marinda in Hyde's absence, in April of 1842. Thus,
it's likely that Smith had had his eye on Marinda since he had met the
15-year-old at Hiram in 1831, and that his 1842 "plural marriage" to her was
his formalization of a long-existing desire for her (as it was also in the
cases of Mary Rollins and Sarah Ann Whitney). The essence of Smith's
"spiritual wifery" concept was that people knew each other in the
"pre-existence," and that part of their earthly mission was to find their "soul
mates" (Remember "Saturday's Warrior?") Once Smith had designated a female as
one of his "soul mates," or "spiritual wives," they were to be "his" for
eternity, even if they were already married to someone else; in this case,
Third, Smith's "plural" relationship with the 16-year-old Fanny Alger began in
1833, according to various bits of evidence. Since the 1832 tarring incident
was sandwiched in between the 1831 "Lamanite revelation" and the 1833 beginning
of his affair with Fanny, it's entirely likely that the tarring was at least
partly because of Smith's budding unorthodox sexual concepts, which he tried
out on Marinda.
Fourth, it seems more likely that the Johnson brothers would want to castrate a
man because of a sexual advance on their teenage sister, rather than over an
issue of money.
Here's a little of Compton's views on the subject:
"According to Luke Johnson, Smth was stretched on a board, then 'they tore off
the night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had
Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation. But when the Dr. saw the prophet
stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to
Of course, Braden's recollection of an "Eli" could possibly have referred to a
nickname for one of Marinda's brothers.
"The motivation for this mobbing has been debated. Clark Braden, a late,
antagonastic, secondhand witness, alleged in a polemic public debate that
Marinda's brother Eli led a mob against Smith because the prophet had been too
intimate with Marinda. This tradition suggests that Smith may have married
Marinda at this early time, and some circumstantial factors support such a
possibility. The castration attempt might be taken as evidence that the mob
felt that Joseph had committed a sexual impropriety; since the attempt is
reported by Luke Johnson, there is no reason to doubt it. Also, they had
planned the operation in advance, as they brought along a doctor to perform it.
The first revelations on polygamy had been received in 1831, by historian
Daniel Bachman's dating. Also, Joseph Smith did tend to marry women who had
stayed at his house or in whose house he had stayed.
"Many other factors, however, argue against this theory. First, Marinda had no
brother named Eli, which suggests that Braden's accusation, late as it is, is
garbled and unreliable. In addition, two antagonistic accounts by Hayden and
S. F. Whitney give an entirely different reason for the mobbing, with an
entirely different leader, Simonds Ryder, an ex-Mormon, though the Johnson
brothers are still participants. In these accounts the reason for the violence
is economic: the Johnson boys were in the mob because of 'the horrid fact that
a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it in the control of
Smith.' The castration, in this scenario, may have only been a threat, meant
to intimidate Smith and cause him to leave Hiram.....While it is not impossible
that Marinda became Smith's first plural wife in 1831, the evidence for such a
marriage, resting chiefly on the late, unreliable Braden, is not compelling.
Unless more credible evidence is found, it is best to proceed under the
assumption that Joseph and Marinda did not marry or have a relationship in
1831." ("In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith," 231-232.)
Here's what "Mormon Enigma" says about it:
"Evidence suggests that although Joseph believed he was commanded by God
through revelation to establish plural marriage as part of the 'restoration of
all things,' questions undoubtedly arose. For example, who would perform the
marriages? Could Joseph officiate in his own behalf? Who should be told of
the doctrine? How would Emma and others react to such an unorthodox practice?
There is no record that Joseph received immeditate instructions in these
matters, making his early attempts to instigate plural marriage most difficult
for Emma when she encountered them.
Within six months of Joseph's conversation with Mary Elizabeth Rollins, he and
Emma had moved into the John Johnson home. Orson Pratt later quoted Lyman
Johnson as saying that 'Joseph had made known to him\ \as early as 1831 that
plural marriage was a correct principle,' but remarked also that 'the time had
not yet come to teach and practice it.' (Orson Pratt, "Latter-day Saints
Millennial Star (Liverpool England), 40 (16 Dec. 1878):788)
Mary Elizabeth Rollins claimed that Joseph had a private conversation with her
in 1831; she was then twelve years old. She said Joseph 'told me about his
great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to
take as a plural wife.' (Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner to Emmeline B. Wells,
summer 1905, LDS Archives)
Perhaps Joseph was not discreet in his discussions about plural marriage, because rumor and
insinuation fed the fury of the mob that tarred and feathered him. When the
Johnson boys joined the mob that entered their own home, they clearly suspected
an improper association between Joseph and their sixteen-year-old sister, Nancy
Marinda." (as quoted from Donna Hill, "Joseph Smith: the First Mormon",
The point being that there is much more to Symonds Rider's case than a simple
misspelled name; but LDS authors don't want you to know the full facts, because
the true facts expose Joseph Smith's deviousness more than they do any failings
| "Joseph Smith Violated No Law When He Ordered The Destruction Of The Nauvoo Expositor" Claim Mormon Apologists |
Friday, Aug 4, 2006, at 09:09 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 3 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| The actual criminal charge brought against Joseph Smith for the Expositor
destruction was "riot." When his arrest became imminent for the riot charge,
Smith declared martial law and activated his Nauvoo Legion to prevent his
arrest and extradition. Joseph Smith was then arrested for "treason"
against the state of Illinois.
"Joseph Smith, acting as mayor, ordered the city marshal to destroy the
newspaper and press without delay and instructed the major general of the
Nauvoo Legion to have the militia assist. Shortly after eight o'clock that
evening, citizens and legionniares marched to the 'Expositor' office and
smashed the press, scattering the type as they did so. This act infuriated the
non-Mormons of Hancock County, who saw it as a final act of contempt for their
laws. The 'Quincy Whig' denounced the 'high-handed outrage' and said that if
this was a specimen of 'Mormon attitude towards law and rights it is not
surprising that the Missourians were raised to madness and drove them from the
state.'.....At Warsaw Thomas Sharp said, 'We hold ourselves at al times in
readyness to co-operate with our fellow citizens...to exterminate, utterly
exterminate, the wicked and abominable Mormon leaders.'....Advocating an attack
upon the Mormon city, he screamed in his headlines, 'Strike them!' for the
time has fully come.' To provide justification for a march on Nauvoo, charges
of promoting a riot were made against Smith and several Mormon leaders, and
Constable David Bettisworth was sent to Nauvoo on June 12 to apprehend them.
When Bettisworth reached Nauvoo, Smith refused to go to Carthage, fearing his
life would be endangered. He said he would stand trial before any judge in
Nauvoo. To prevent Bettisworth from taking him, he secured a writ of habeas
corpus from a city court and later was tried and acquitted before a non-Mormon
judge. When Bettisworth came back to Carthage without his prisoner, the
reaction of the old citizens was nearly hysterical....One citizen remarked,
'Joe has tried the game too often.' The Carthaginians sent messengers...urging
armed men to come to Carthage to take Smith into custody. Emissaries were sent
to Governor Ford, charging that Smith had defied the law and asking Ford to
bring the state militia...In the face of an imminent attack on his city, Smith
declared Nauvoo under martial law and called out the Legion, a defensive action
which later led to treason charges being levied against him at
Carthage.....Ford had learned of the excitement and decided to intervene.....he
wrote the Mormon leader requesting that evidence be shown to justify the
actions taken against the 'Expositor.' After reviewing this and counter
evidence from the anti-Mormons, Ford wrote Smith on the next day, denouncing
the city's proceedings as unlawful and demanding that those involved in the
move against the Expositor submit to the processes of the law at Carthage."
(Carthage Conspiracy, Oaks and Hill, pp. 15-16.)
Mormon apologists write:
"Nor did he violate the First Amendment at that time either.
If Joseph Smith had not died soon afterwards, and the "Expositor"
publishers had pressed civil charges, one charge against Smith
would have been violation of rights of free speech.
Of course, if that were true, that case would have been for naught. There
was no guarantee of free speech at that time as we know it. The right of
free speech at that time only pertained to national laws, as it had not been
extended to the states via the 14th admendment."
Although the Bill of Rights was formally extended to the states in 1868,
freedom of speech and of the press had been recognized as an inalienable right
since the Peter Zenger case in New York in 1735. Zenger was tried for libel
for criticizing the British government, and he was acquitted because his
writings were true. Freedom of the press has been upheld in the US since that
"Beginning with Virginia in 1776, state after state wrote the idea of a free
press into its constitution. In 1778, Massachusetts rejected a proposed
constitution because it did not contain such a provision. Today, all state
constitutions have a provision guaranteeing freedom of the press. Several
states ratified the Federal Constitution itself only after being assured that
the document would be amended to protect freedom of expression. Amendment 1 to
the United States Constitution states that 'Congress shall make no
law...abridging the freedom...of the press.' "
I assume that Illinois had such a law guaranteeing a frre press, because both
Governor Ford and the "Expositor" publishers pointed to Smith's violation of freedom of the press in
their complaints against him:
"General Smith,...I attribute the last outbreak to the destruction of the
'Expositor,' and to your refusal to comply with the writ issued by Esq.
Morrison. The press in the United States is looked upon as the great bulwark
of freedom, and its destruction in Nauvoo was represented and looked upon as a
high-handed measure, and manifests to the people a disposition on your part to
suppress the liberty of speech and of the press; this, with your refusal to
comply with the requisition of a writ, I conceive to be the principal cause of
this difficulty, and you are, moreover, represented to me as turbulent and
defiant of the laws and institutions of your country." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 384.)
"We are earnestly seeking to explode the vicious principles of Joseph
Smith, and those who practice the same abominations and whoredoms;
which we verily know and are not accordant and consonant with the
principles of Jesus Christ and the Apostles; and for that purpose, and
with that end in view, with an eye single to the glory of God, we have
dared to gird on the armor, and with God at our head, we most solemnly
and sincerely declare that the sword of truth shall not depart from the
thigh, nor the buckler from the arm, until we can enjoy those glorious
privileges which nature's God and our country's laws have guarantied
(sic) to us -- freedom of speech, the liberty of the press, and the
right to worship God as seemeth us good." (William Law, Francis Higbee, 'Nauvoo Expositor')
The violation of the 'Expositor's' rights to free speech was only half of
Smith's error; the other half being that he ordered its destruction without due
process; that is why he was arrested for inciting riot. His excuse for its
destruction was that the paper was a 'public nuisance'; however, the
'Expositor' does not contain a hint of inciting to riot, or to disturbing the
Its only 'crime' was that it criticized Joseph Smith, exposed his secret
practice of polygamy, financial irregularities, and his plans to create a
theocratic government headed by himself, and called for Nauvoo citizens to vote
against Hyrum Smith in the legislative election.
Even LDS apostle (and lawyer) Dallin Oaks conceded that Smith had "no legal
justification for the destruction of the Expositor press."
(Carthage Conspiracy, p. 26.)
Smith had yet another motive to rid himself of the threat of William Law:
"The marriage to the Lawrence sisters became public knowledge when William Law,
Joseph's second counselor in the First Presidency, became alienated from the
prophet......On May 23 he filed suit against the Mormon leader in Hancock
County Circuit Court, at Carthage, charging that Smith had been living with
Maria Lawrence 'in an open state of adultery' from October 12, 1843, to the day
of the suit. In response, Smith flatly denied polygamy in a speech delivered
on May 26: '[The charges against me are false].....What a thing it is for a
man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can
only find one.....[I can prove them all perjurers.]' As polygamy was illegal
under US law, Smith had little choice but to repudiate the practice." (In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, pp. 476-477.)
As it played out, Smith's method of 'proving them all perjurers' was not to
take them to court, as would have been proper, but to attempt to silence them
without due process by destroying their printing press.
Unfortunately, the later admission of the polygamy practice, along with the
revelation of the instigation of the "Council of Fifty," and of Joseph Smith
having himself crowned as "King of Israel," showed that what the
'Expositor' publishers wrote was the truth. Smith had the press destroyed not
because it lied, but because it revealed his secret acts. Smith realized that
if his secret acts and plans became public, his empire would crumble. He knew
that he couldn't sue the publishers, because he would lose; therefore, his
destruction of the press was a desperate act of lawlessness, done purely to
maintain his power; he miscalculated the retaliation from non-Mormons, and it
led directly to his death two weeks later.
In America, you don't mess with freedom of the press.
| My online Webster's defines "martyr" as:
1 : a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and
refusing to renounce a religion
2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself
for the sake of principle
3 : VICTIM; especially : a great or constant sufferer
Neither of those definitions apply to Joseph Smith's case. He didn't
voluntarily choose to suffer death for religious beliefs; he was in jail
All of Smith's actions in his final days show that he desperately worked to
avoid his fate. Martyrs do not seek to avoid their fate; they have resigned
themselves to it. And Smith did not die for any religious beliefs or noble
principles; he was murdered by an outraged vigilante mob because of his
numerous offenses against the law and decent society. Therefore, Joseph Smith
was not a martyr.
- He ordered the illegal destruction of a printing press and office which had published a newspaper exposing his secret, illegal polygamy practice and the secret, illegal shadow government he was forming.
- To avoid his arrest on charges of inciting a riot springing from his order, he illegally ordered the state-sanctioned militia, the "Nauvoo Legion", to prevent lawmen from entering Nauvoo to arrest him.
- When his arrest seemed imminent anyway, Smith fled the state; he was persuaded to return and face justice when his wife and friends called him a coward for fleeing.
- While in Carthage Jail, he allowed two guns to be smuggled in for their protection. Martyrs do not fight back. They choose to die for their beliefs.
- While in jail, fearing that vigilantes would storm it and kill them, Smith smuggled an order out to Jonathan Dunham, the Nauvoo Legion commander, to defy state law, march to Carthage, and rescue them. Dunham refused to obey Smith's illegal order. Martyrs do not try to escape their fate; they have resigned themselves to die for their beliefs.
- When the mob stormed the jail, Smith's final act was to go to the window and attempt to utter the Masonic 'call of distress,' which is to raise both arms in the air and cry, "O Lord My God! Is there no hope for the widow's son?" That call is supposed to make any fellow Masons in the area come to his aid. Since Smith had earlier sent Dunham the order to come rescue them, and most members of the Nauvoo Legion were members of Smith's Masonic Lodge, he hoped that some of them or other Masons in the mob were there to rescue them. But they weren't. Smith was shot before he could even finish uttering the call of distress.
| From Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, page 289:
""Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged
behind the vail in the great work of the last days. I can tell our beloved
brother Christians who have slain the Prophets and butchered and otherwise
caused the death of thousands of Latter-day Saints, the priests who have
thanked God in their prayers and thanksgiving from the pulpit that we have
been plundered, driven, and slain, and the deacons under the pulpit, and
their brethren and sisters in their closets, who have thanked God, thinking
that the Latter-day Saints were wasted away, something that no doubt will
mortify them-something that, to say the least, is a matter of deep regret to
them-namely, that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into
the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the
day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of
all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith,
junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and
Christ are-I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his
consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation-the
keys to rule in the spirit-world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he
gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he
was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of
Christ, which gives him a most perfect victory in the spirit-world. He
reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God
does in heaven. Many will exclaim-"Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is
preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!" But it is true.
| Emmanual Swedenborg was not a contemporary of Joseph Smith. He died in 1772. Everything he wrote had already been published. He was a student of Gnosticism and Jewish mysticism and magic (Kabbalism).
Information about Swedenborg and Joseph Smith.
In the village of Manchester had a reference work on religion (1784-1817) the books described Emmanual Swdenborg’s personal theophany.
In 1808 Swedenborg’s testimony of his theophany was front page news in Canandaigua – 13 miles from the Smith home in Manchester.
In 1830 Swedenborg was front page news in Palmyra. Because of the local interest in Swedenborg and his association with reptiles(salamanders) there was interest in the community. In 1825 Robert C Smith’s “Complete System of Occult Philosophy” recognized Swedenborg and the ‘elemental spirits who taught Swedenborg were of the highest order.’ This was a popular book in the area.
In 1830 another Palmyra newspaper emphasized Swedenborg’s ‘vision of the Lord.’
By Joseph Smith’s own statement he was acquainted with those views……..Aside from his lengthy summary of Swedenborg’s teachings, Sibly was also the only source for the various inscriptions on the Smith family magic parchments.
Joseph Smith told Edward Hunter that “Swedenborg had a view of the world to come but perished for want of bread.”
Joseph Smith married Sarah Cleveland in a polyandrous marriage. I can’t find the exact date of the marriage, but it is assumed to be in the mid 1830’s. In 1839 the Smiths were residing with the Cleveland’s. John Cleveland was Sarah Cleveland’s legal husband. He was a Swedenborgian. Sarah Cleveland was Emma Smith’s counselor in the Relief Society.
Joseph Smith knew enough of Swedenborg’s writings to discuss and criticize them in discussions with John Cleveland. He was knowledgeable about Swedenborg before this time. Since Sibly is the source for the inscriptions on the Smith family’s magic parchments, he is likely to be the source of Joseph Smith’s information on Swedenborg. (If you look back, this was 15-20 years earlier)
Joseph Smith instructed John C. Bennett to set up the Masonic Lodges as “Illuminati” or “enlightened” lodges. This was not the original Illuminati of Bavaria, but was the “enlightened thinkers” of which Swedenborg was a recognized leader until his death.
Richard Burton also saw Mormon parallels and specifically sent for and purchased nineteen volumes of Swedenborg to be included in Utah Territorial University.
This is summarized from a number of writings of Quinn and In Sacred Lonliness by Compton.
If you want to retreat into magical thinking, you may. Someone making a fantastic supernatural claim has the responsibility to prove that claim, not vice versa. The simplest explaination is that this is the source of the doctrine.
Joseph Smith was knowedgeable about Swedenborg by his own admission. But maybe he didn't get all his ideas there. Swedenbourg had a background in Gnositicsm and Kabbalism. Joseph Smith also had a background in Kabbalism and Gnosticism and was instructed by Alexander Neibaur who wrote authoritative articles on Kabbalism. Please note this was considered mysticism, magic and Christian practicioners were considered heritics. These doctrines were such things as:
And so on......
- Man may become Gods
- Degrees of Glory
- Robes of the Priesthood
- Jesus was married
- Melchezidek was the great high priest and teacher - it was a higher Priesthood
And Joseph Smith was inspired directly from God, but only after he had learned these "secrets" from Gnosticism and Kabbalism.
| Joseph Smith is always portrayed in Mormon history as a kind and gentle man.
History tells us otherwise (most of these quotes are from official Mormon sources):
Joseph Smith – “Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of my house, across the yard, and into the street.” History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 316
Joseph Smith - “I met him [Walter Bagby] and gave me some abusive language, taking up a stone to throw at me: I seized him by the throat to choke him off.” History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 531
Joseph Smith – “Bagby called me a liar, and picked up a stone to throw at me, which so enraged me that I followed him a few steps, and struck him two or three times. Esquire Daniel H. Wells stepped between us and succeeded in separating us. I told the Esquire to assess the fine for the assault, and I was willing to pay it. He not doing it, I rode down to Alderman Whitney, stated the circumstances, and he imposed a fine which I paid, and then returned to the political meeting.” History of the Church, Vol. 5, p 524
Brigham Young - “Some may think that I am rather too severe; but if you had the Prophet Joseph Smith to deal with, you would think that I am quite mild…He would not bear the usage I have borne, and would appear as though he would tear down all the houses in the city, and tear up trees by the roots, if men conducted to him the way they have to me.” Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, 317-318
Benjamin F. Johnson, a close friend and associate of Joseph Smith stated the following regarding Joseph Smith: “And yet, although so social and even convival at times, he would allow no arrogance or undue liberties. Criticisms, even by his associates, were rarely acceptable. Contradictions would arouse him like a lion at once. By no one of his fellows would he be superceded. In the early days at Kirtland, and elsewhere one or another of his associates were more than once, for their impudence, helped from the congregation by his foot…he soundly thrashed his brother William…Letter by Benjamin F. Johnson to Elder George S. Gibbs, 1903 as printed in The Testimony of Joseph Smith’s Best Friend, pages 4-5
Max Parkin , Ph.D. from BYU in Church history, and former institute instructor, in his dissertation “Conflict at Kirtland” quotes an acquaintance of Joseph Smith, Luke Johnson as saying that when a minister insulted Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph “boxed his ears with both hands, and turning his face towards the door, kicked him into the street.” Conflict at Kirtland, Masters Thesis p. 132
Parkin quotes another acquaintance of Joseph Smith, Calvin Stoddard, who stated that “Smith then came up and knocked him in the forehead with his flat hand – the blow knocked him down, when Smith repeated the blow four or five times, very hard – made him blind – that Smith afterwards came to him and asked his forgiveness…Conflict in Kirtland, Masters Thesis, p. 132
The story of Joseph Smith’s “stick pulling”abilities are often spoken of as a lighthearted and harmless activity that he enjoyed to participate in. Retold by those who witnessed it sheds a different light on this activity:
Joseph Smith – “I feel as strong as a giant, I pulled up with one hand the strongest man that could be found. Then two men tried, but they could not pull me up…History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 302
In his book Mormon Portraits, Dr. William Wyl quoted the following: “He [Joseph Smith] liked foot races and would have his boots off in a moment, to the great grief of the old bigots. I remember the visit of a U.S.A. major,…Joseph wanted to wrestle with him. He threw off his coat and cried: “I bet you five dollars that I will throw you, come on!” The major declined. Joseph laughed and said: “Now you see the benefits of one’s being a prophet; I knew you wouldn’t wrestle” One of the Saints felt so scandalized by the joke of the prophet that he left the church.” “Two reverends came one day to Nauvoo…Joseph took them to his study,…The two reverends interrupted Joseph frequently…getting impatient the Prophet said to the two holy men, while he stood up in his full height: “Gentlemen I am not much of a theologian, but I bet you five dollars, that I will throw you one after the other.” The reverends ran away and Joseph laughed himself nearly to death.” Mormon Portraits, p. 24
It appears to me that Joe had a rather short fuse, and never heard of the term "turning the other cheek."
| Regarding Joseph Smith's death at Carthage Jail, Doctrine and Covenants 135:4 says:
"When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I SHALL DIE INNOCENT, AND IT SHALL YET BE SAID OF ME–HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD." (emphasis in the original)
This often-repeated idea of innocent martyrdom is not supported by the official historical record. Fom the Official History of the Church, we learn:
"Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving drew a small pistol, a six-shooter, from his pocket, remarking at the same time, 'Would any of you like to have this?' Brother Joseph immediately replied, 'Yes, give it to me,' whereupon he took the pistol, and put it in his pantaloons pocket."
Reporter John Hay, of the Atlantic Monthly #24 (Dec. 1869) identified three men who were shot by Joseph Smith: John Wills in the arm, William Vorhees in the shoulder, and William Gallagher in the face. Hay was a son of Charles Hay, a surgeon of the Carthage militia and apparently a member of the mob.
"The pistol was a six-shooting revolver, of Allen's patent; it belonged to me, and was one that I furnished to Brother Wheelock when he talked of going with me to the east, previous to our coming to Carthage. I have it now in my possession. Brother Wheelock went out on some errand, and was not suffered to return."
"I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died."
"I had in my hands a large, strong hickory stick, brought there by Brother Markham, and left by him, which I had seized as soon as I saw the mob approach; and while Brother Joseph was firing the pistol, I stood close behind him. As soon as he had discharged it he stepped back, and I immediately took his place next to the door, while he occupied the one I had done while he was shooting."
"Brother Richards, at this time, had a knotty walking-stick in his hands belonging to me, and stood next to Brother Joseph, a little farther from the door, in an oblique direction, apparently to avoid the rake of the fire from the door. The firing of Brother Joseph made our assailants pause for a moment; very soon after, however, they pushed the door some distance open, and protruded and discharged their guns into the room, when I parried them off with my stick, giving another direction to the balls."
"It certainly was a terrible scene: streams of fire as thick as my arm passed by me as these men fired, and, unarmed as we were, it looked like certain death. I remember feeling as though my time had come, but I do not know when, in any critical position, I was more calm, unruffled, energetic, and acted with more promptness and decision. It certainly was far from pleasant to be so near the muzzles of those firearms as they belched forth their liquid flames and deadly balls. While I was engaged in parrying the guns, Brother Joseph said, 'That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can.' These were the last words I ever heard him speak on earth."
- Official History of the Church, Vol. 7, p.100-103
"Of the three barrels discharged by Joseph, it is believed he hit three men: an Irishman named Wells-who was in the mob from his love of a brawl-in the arm; Voorhees-an oversized kid from Bear Creek known for his lack of good sense-in the shoulder; and a man named Gallagher-a Southerner from the Mississippi Bottom-in the face."
Smith's final conscious act was to prevent his death, not give it up. He went to the window and attempted to utter the Masonic distress cry of "O Lord My God! Is there no help for the widow's son?"
"Two other men were known to get hit in the hall, one a man named Townsend from Fort Madison, Iowa Territory, who died nine months later from the arm wound that wouldn't heal, and another named Mills, who was shot in the arm." - Elder Reed Blake, 24 Hours to Martyrdom, p. 129
DandC Section 135 is part of John Taylor's account of the incident. It states: "Joseph leapt from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming 'O Lord my God!'"
That "canonized" version of events gives one the false impression that Smith was praying to God. The edited DandC version omits Heber C. Kimball's details of Smith's actions:
"When the enemy surrounded the jail, rushed up the stairway, and killed Hyrum Smith, Joseph stood at the open window, his martyr-cry being these words, 'O Lord My God! This was not the beginning of a prayer, because Joseph Smith did not pray in that manner. This brave, young man who knew that death was near, started to repeat the distress signal of the Masons, expecting thereby to gain the protection its members are pledged to give a brother in distress." - Mormonism and Masonry, p. 16-17
"President Young said the people of the United States had sought our destruction and they had used every Exertion to perfect it. They have worked through the masonic institution to perfect it. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were Master Masons and they were put to death by masons or through there instigation and he gave the sign of distress and he was shot by masons while in the act." - Wilford Woodruff's Journal, August 19th, 1860, Volume 5
One of Joseph Smith's polygamous wives, Zina D. Huntington, declared:
"I am the widow of a master mason, who, when leaping from the window of Carthage Jail pierced with bullets, made the masonic sign of distress." - Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Volume 1, page 698
Smith had good reason to believe that Masons might be in the crowd outside, because earlier that day, he had smuggled an order to Nauvoo Legion commander Jonathan Dunham to come break them out of the jail. But Dunham refused to obey the illegal order, knowing that bringing Mormon troops to Carthage might result in all-out civil war.
And in fact, immediately after the Smithand Hyrum were killed, a rumor began amongst the mobbers that the Mormons were on their way from Nauvoo. That prospect made the mob scatter, and probably saved John Taylor's and Willard Richards' lives.
Despite popular Mormon folklore, Joseph Smith did not give his life innocently "like a lamb to the slaughter" in martyrom. He died after shooting three men with a pistol and desperately trying to prevent his death even with his last utterance.
| Joseph Smith wrote:
"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, NOR JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." (my emphasis added)
See: History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409.
| At no time, over nearly four decades as a Mormon convert, did I ever hear this originally documented source.
This is not the way they tell it now days!
The first time I read any of this series of books was when I was well on my way out of the church.
"A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" (Six vol.s and an index.)
Troubles keeping the Nephite Record out of nefarious hands of other psychics.
Vol 1 Pg 90 - Was the Nephrite Record in Danger - He goes on..... These reflections indulged, we may now return to the statement with which they began-viz,Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra. A Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, the Methodist class elder, already mentioned, had for some time been accredited with psychic powers of the mind, and practiced "crystal-gazing;" and besides this , remarkable as it may seem, parties in the neighborhood of the smith home, numbering some ten or twelve men sent a distance of sixty or seventy miles for a psychic-"conjuror" they called him --to come to Palmyra and to discover the whereabouts of "Joe Smith's gold bible."
The elder Smith learned of the arrival of this person at the home of Willard Chase, and heard him boast in the presence of his employers that he would "have them plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell."
The day after taking possession of the Nephite record, the young Prophet was offered the job of digging a well for Mrs. Wells, of Macedon, a village some three miles west of Palmyra, and the family standing much in need of the money promised for the work, Joseph immediately accepted the employment...However, he never finished because of the threat of the other "conjurer" on his trail.
This is the beginning of the tale of how Joseph came back and assured his father and family that the record was save, was hidden near the home and Hyrum gave him a chest, with a lock and key and Joseph wrapped them in a farmer's "smock". and then he went through the woods .."his enemies were evidently on the watch for him, for three times he was assaulted by as many different persons; but being strong and athletic by dint of blows and flight he threw them off and finally reached home utterly exhausted from the excitement and the fatigue."
This is when he got his father and Mr. Knight and Mr. Stoal to search for the assailants (which was fruitless)
and Hyrum came with the chest with the lock and key.
"It seems that in knocking down his third assailant, Joseph had dislocated his thumb ....and he requested his father to put it in place.
Joseph then remained at home with his family to secure the sacred record entrusted to him where he worked on the farm with his brothers."
Yup. That's plausible! Sure it is! But the people close to Joseph believed him wholeheartedly!
I wonder why the missionaries don't tell the story the way it is recorded? And they don't "sanitize" their history? ahh...hmmm... you be the judge!
| The priesthood/relief society lesson yesterday was the obligatory annual lesson deifying Joseph Smith (on a side note, I was surprised that the JS lesson didn't occur until this late in the manual, and the year. Every PH/RS manual for the past several years has contained such a lesson, and it has always been the second or third lesson in the manual, meaning you get it in January). The teacher made up a quiz about Joseph Smith, in the form of a fill-in-the-blanks pop quizz that she handed out to the sisters.
The questions were, of course, entirely banal, and didn't ask anything about JS's less faith-promoting activities. I noticed three questions about his marital history: Who was Joseph Smith's wife? When did they marry? Who were her parents?
I asked my wife why the questions were phrased as though JS had had only one wife. I told her there obviously wasn't enough room, on the one line provided, to write in 33 names, or 33 dates of marriage, or 66 names of parents. All I got was a dirty look.
In PH, it was stated that JS was killed because he refused to deny that he was a prophet, and that he had seen HF and JC. Gee, that was news to me. The worst comment made about him was that he was a "poor businessman".
So the deification of Joseph Smith continues unabated. It always amuses and amazes me to see how little TBM's know about the man's actual history. I did hear one comment from one of the old stalwart members. He said he was disturbed that JS kept his polygamy secret. He said that if it was a commandment and a revelation from God, then why was it denied and hidden for so long? Why wasn't it just brought out into the public eye immediately? But most of the quorum members treat him like a weird relative, maybe not to be praised, but not to be denied either, and to be defended against outsiders.
And so it goes on.
| The post "I cried" made me profoundly sympathetic. I grew up with one Joseph Smith, and finally, after years of nonsense, discovered another.
My father was a great worshiper of Joseph Smith. "Worship" is the correct word. We heard about "the Prophet" endlessly---about all he suffered, all he did, all he "translated," and all he accomplished. He was second only to Jesus Christ, and if Jesus is not careful, old Joseph will knock him off his Celestial perch.
We visited Carthage Jail, Nauvoo, and, of course, the "Hill Cumorah." We walked in the footsteps of "the Prophet," and felt his presence. Well, my father felt his presence. I did not. I was too far gone, I guess.
When the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie came out, my wife and I went. The sense of nostalgia pulled me in. I told my father we had gone. He said "You should study and learn about a real "Superman," Joseph Smith. "
Bullets bounced off of "Superman." Joseph was not so fortunate. "Superman" was pretty darned loyal to Lois Lane. Joseph was not so loyal to Emma.
Later, I got my hands on the Tanners' stuff, and my eyes were opened to Joseph. I could not believe what I read. The guy was a philandering fraud, a skirt chasing, rock peeping liar. The two men could not be reconciled. The false Joseph, and the real Joseph, do not have much in common. Funny, really, how the Church can project one image of the man, and the history books undercut him with a vengeance.
But it is not just Joseph. I recall when Harold B. Lee became Church President. My mother said "He is a GIANT, a true GIANT of a man."
Those who knew him thought otherwise. And if you read the David O. McKay biography, you get quite a different view of Harold B. He was a political figure, and used the church to his advantage. He was a collector of power pellets, and he could be remarkably vicious.
The dual images of church leaders will always be in conflict. The image machine works well for the church, but when people come in contact with reality, the fall is long and the landing is hard. Spin comes with a high price tag when people catch on to the fact they have been manipulated.
Looking at all the Joseph Smith stuff in stores, I can see the spin goes on. The calendars, the awful "art," the "movies," and the false image of Joseph and Emma continues in hyperdrive. If anything, it is much more intense. But it all comes with a huge price tag. They can't figure that out.
| **In speaking of the translation of the ťBook of Mormono, Emma Smith's cousin "...reported that Smith `translated the book of Mormon by means of the same peep stone, and under the same inspiration that directed his enchantments and dog sacrifices; it was all by the same spirit,'" (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Dr. D. Michael Quinn, p. 144; emphasis mine).**
About halfway down under "Animal Sacrifices":
This one also speaks of JS sliting the throat of a black lamb or dog and walking it around a fire until it bled out. In those says, the "black" animals were sacrificed to the "EVIL" gods, so I thought that was interesting.
**The account given in the said history at page 580, of a pure white dog to be used as a sacrifice to restrain the enchantment, and of the anger of the Almighty at the attempt to palm off on him a white sheep in the place of a white dog, is a fair sample of Smith’s revelations, and of the God that inspired him.**
**In the Journal of Wandle Mace the following is recorded: "Joseph told them to go to Kirtland, and cleanse and purify a certain room in the Temple, that they must kill a lamb and offer a sacrifice unto the Lord which should prepare them to ordain Willard Richards a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles" ("Journal of Wandle Mace," p.32, microfilmed copy at Brigham Young University Library).**
From "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" pp 172-173:
"...it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice...was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets.
"The offering of sacrifice has ever been connnected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation. We frequently have mention made of the offereing of sacrifice by the servants of the Most High in ancient days, prior to the law of Moses; which ordinances will be continued when the Priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings.
"[after discussing the animal sacrifices described in Leviticus] These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Prisethood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass. It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses' day, namely, sacrifice, will be continued.
"It may be asked by some, what necessity for sacrifice, since the Great Sacrifice was offered? In answer to which, if repentance, baptism, and faith existed prior to the days of Christ, what necessity for them since that time?"
Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine says: "To complete the restoration of all things, apparently on a one-time basis, sacrifices will again be offered in this dispensation...(DandC 13)"
| Source: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...
Joseph Smith's Magic Talisman
In 1974 Dr. Reed Durham, who was director of the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah and president of the Mormon History Association, made a discovery that was so startling that it caused great consternation among Mormon scholars and officials. Dr. Durham found that what had previously been identified as the "Masonic jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith" was in reality a "Jupiter talisman." This is a medallion which contains material relating to astrology and magic. Dr. Durham, apparently not realizing the devastating implications of his discovery, announced this important find in his presidential address before the Mormon History Association on April 20, 1974:
... I should like to initiate all of you into what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith.... All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred. His talisman is in the shape of a silver dollar and is probably made of silver or tin. It is exactly one and nine-sixteenths in diameter,... the talisman,... originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman. It carries the sign and image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to as the Table of Jupiter. And in some very real and quite mysterious sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess. Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case, appropriately described.
The characters on the talisman are primarily in Hebrew, but there is one inscription in Latin. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical equivalent and those numerical equivalents make up a magic square. By adding the numbers in this Jupiter Table in any direction ... the total will be the same. In this case, on the Jupiter Table, 34....
There is the one side of the talisman belonging to the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can see the Hebrew characters ... you see on the margins, at the bottom is the Jupiter sign.... The cross at the top represents the spirit of Jupiter, and you will see the path of Jupiter in the orbit of the heavens, and then again the Jupiter sign.
I wasn't able to find what this was, for–as I said–two months; and finally, in a magic book printed in England in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester, and to New York. It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and, lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic seals the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession at the time of his martyrdom.... To the Egyptians, Jupiter was known as Ammon, but to the Greeks he was Zeus: the ancient sky Father, or Father of the Gods....
In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status. And I quote: "Typically a person born under Jupiter will have the dignity of a natural ruler. . . . He will probably have an impressive manner. . . . In physical appearance, the highly developed Jupiterian is strong, personable, and often handsome. . . . the Jupiterian influence produces a cheerful winning personality, capable of great development." . . .
So closely is magic bound up with the stars and astrology that the term astrologer and magician were in ancient times almost synonymous. The purpose of the Table of Jupiter in talismanic magis [magic?] was to be able to call upon the celestial intelligences, assigned to the particular talisman, to assist one in all endeavors. The names of the deities which we gave to you, who could be invoked by the Table were always written on the talisman or represented by various numbers. Three such names were written on Joseph Smith's talisman: Abbah, Father; El Ob, Father is God or God the Father; and Josiphiel, Jehovah speaks for God, the Intelligence of Jupiter.
When properly invoked, with Jupiter being very powerful and ruling in the heavens, these intelligences–by the power of ancient magic–guaranteed to the possessor of this talisman the gain of riches, and favor, and power, and love and peace; and to confirm honors, and dignities, and councils. Talismatic magic further declared that any one who worked skillfully with this Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female (Mormon Miscellaneous, published by David C. Martin, vol. 1, no. 1, October 1975, pp.14-15).
Reed Durham was severely criticized by Mormon scholars and officials for giving this speech. He was even called in by Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, and finally found it necessary to issue a letter in which he reaffirmed his faith in Joseph Smith and said that he was sorry for the "concerns, and misunderstandings" that the speech had caused. We feel that Dr. Durham's identification of Joseph Smith's talisman is one of the most significant discoveries in Mormon history and that he should be commended for his research.
That Joseph Smith would own such a magic talisman fits very well with the evidence from his 1826 trial. W. D. Purple, who was an eye-witness to the trial, claimed it was reported that Smith said certain talismanic influences were needed to recover a box of treasure:
Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness.... Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences.... the box of treasure was struck by the shovel, on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach.... Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure ... but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained (The Chenango Union, Norwich, N.Y., May 3, 1877, as cited in A New Witness For Christ In America, vol. 2, pp.366-67).
Dr. Durham was unable to determine just when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, but the fact that he was recommending "certain talismanic influences" around the time of the 1826 trial is certainly interesting. The Jupiter talisman is probably the type of talisman a money digger would be interested in because it was supposed to bring its possessor "the gain of riches, and favor, and power." Regardless of when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, we do know that he possessed it up to the time of his death. He must have felt that it was very important because the Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett reveals that "This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage Jail" (The Wilford C. Wood Collection, 1972, vol. 1, p.173). Wesley P. Walters says that "Charles E. Bidamon, who sold the talisman to the Wood collection, stated in his accompanying affidavit: 'Emma Smith Bidamon the prophet's widow was my foster mother. She prized this piece very highly on account of its being one of the prophet's intimate possessions (Charles E. Bidamon Affidavit. Wood Coll. #7-J-b-21)."
The discovery of evidence to prove Joseph Smith's 1826 trial was certainly a devastating blow to Mormonism, for it proved that Joseph Smith was a believer in magical practices. Reed Durham's new find that Joseph Smith possessed a magic talisman is also very significant because it shows that Smith continued to hold these ideas until the time of his death.
| As many of us know, Mormon apologists claim that Joseph Smith's plural marriages were platonic and solely done for 'family dynastic' reasons, i.e., so that their families would be joined to 'the Prophet'.
At least two women other than Emma had sex with Joseph Smith, as follows:
1. - "Prescindia, who was Norman Buell's wife and simultaneously a plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, said that she did not know whether her husband Norman or the Prophet was the father of her son, Oliver. And a glance at a photo of Oliver shows a strong resemblance to Emma Smith's boys." (Mary Ettie V. Smith, "Fifteen Years Among the Mormons", page 34; Fawn Brodie "No Man Knows My History" pages 301-302, 437-39)
Of this, historian Fawn Brodie herself further wrote: "Evidence of children born to Joseph Smith by women other than Emma is extremely scarce except in the case of Prescindia Huntington Buell. Prescindia once stated to Mrs. Ettie V. Smith that 'she did not know whether Mr. Buel or the Prophet was the father of her son.' This statement I regarded with due reserve until I discovered a photograph of the son, Oliver Buell, which showed an unmistakable likeness to other sons of Joseph, born by Emma Smith.
That the Huntington family looked upon young Oliver as the Prophet's son is suggested by Oliver Huntington's diary entry of November 14, 1884: 'Then I stood proxy for the Prophet Joseph Smith in having sealed or adopted to him a child of my sister Prescenda, had while living with Norman Buell.' The ambiguous wording of the phrase I have italicized is significant, especially since there is no similar entry for any other of her children." (No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie)
My friend noted: It is obvious from this entry that the child was likely Joseph's, since there would be no reason for Prescindia to have one child sealed to Joseph that she had with her own husband Norman, if born while living with Norman. I have looked for the photograph online, but have been unable to find it.
2. - "Sylvia P. Sessions, married to Windsor P. Lyon, gave birth to a daughter on 8 February 1844, less than five months before Joseph Smith's martyrdom. That daughter, Josephine, related in a 24 February 1915 statement that prior to her mother's death in 1882 'she called me to her bedside and told me that her days on earth were about numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and all others but which she now desired to communicate to me.' Josephine's mother told her she was 'the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church.'" (Affidavit to Church Historian Andrew Jenson, 24 Feb. 1915)
| The Church Declares:
"It is true that the Prophet Joseph Smith was visited by many heavenly messengers who helped inaugurate this final dispensation. Heavenly beings came to Joseph Smith to bestow priesthood keys, to unfold the majesty and glory of future events, and to warn or to admonish the maturing Prophet. Certainly to a remarkable degree the Prophet Joseph Smith received communication from an array of angels who helped prepare him to carry out his foreordained mission."
- LDS Church Publication, Ensign, Oct. 1994, page 62
"The channels of communication are ever open between God and his appointed leaders of his living church."
"Latter-day Saints are blessed through the Prophet Joseph Smith’s great faith and mission that opened the windows of heaven. He was the pre-appointed agent through which communion with the heavens and the earthly ministry of angels were resumed in a grand manner. The mountain of truth built from the Prophet’s translations and revelations speaks for itself, towering above the stark foothills of earthly philosophy. This is amazing in light of young Joseph’s mortal inadequacy. Through faith, his weaknesses became strengths, and he nobly fulfilled his great foreordained mission–because heavenly messengers were his guides."
Among these heavenly messengers, Joseph Smith testified that the Lord kept sending an angel with a sword to command him to secretly marry women. This angelic visitor appeared and threatened Joseph Smith's life on at least a half-dozen occasions.
Latter-day Saints should recognize an important message from the Prophet Joseph Smith's experiences with this heavenly messenger.
They demonstrate the Lord's priorities.
What a shame the Lord didn't send an angel with a sword to straighten Smith out on these other occasions:
Nope. Angelic messengers were complete no-shows, except for when Smith supposedly didn't want to seduce other men's wives, and then Voilŕ, A MIRACLE! The Lord sends His angel to force Smith into secret adultery!
- No angel tried to stop him ordaining blacks to the priesthood
- No angel corrected him for writing contradictory versions of the First Vision story
- No angel coerced him into not ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo expositor press
- No angel tried to stop him from ordering the Danites to kill Governor Boggs
- No angel corrected him for repeatedly saying that Native Americans are Lamanites.
- No angel warned him to stop having sex with his adopted daughters
- No angel prevented Smith from claiming to know how to translate Egyptian
- No angel came to tell him what happened to the lost 116 pages
- No angel stopped him from committing bank fraud
- No angel stopped him from trying to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon
- No angel told him to take naked touching out of the endowment ceremony (that didn't happen until Jan 2005)
- No angel chastised him from declaring he was greater than Jesus Christ
What kind of Lord do Mormons worship?
Someone else put this post on an LDS board, where a big TBM apologist responded. Here are some of his responses to my list, with my feedback.
"I have no problem with Joseph ordaining blacks to the priesthood."
Maybe you don't, but the never-will-lead-the-church-astray prophets of the church did have a BIG problem with it for over 120 years.
In an official LDS Church First Presidency statement from August 17th, 1951:
"The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality, and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the principle itself indicates that the coming to this earth and taking on mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintained their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes."
- Official First Presidency Statement, see William E. Berrett's "The Church and the Negroid People," pp. 16-17
"Man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression. If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or alloted to a certain position on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failure to achieve other stature in the spirit world."
"I don't believe that the First Vision accounts are significantly contradictory."
Joseph Smith's accounts contain significant contradictions.
"Native Americans are Lamanites."
That would mean they are descendants of Lehi, who was a Jew from Israel. If Native Americans are descendants of an Israelite, why is there no trace of Israelite DNA in Native Americans? Funny how other tribes around the world have been able to prove their Israelite lineage through DNA.
"The question of Joseph's marital relationships is (pretty much by its nature) rather murky..."
The scriptures and the historical record are VERY clear why Joseph Smith was commanded to take "virgins a hundred fold." This included his own foster daughters. Don't take my word for it, take the word of faithful LDS member and church historian, Todd Compton:
Emily and Eliza were the daughters of Nauvoo Bishop, Edward Partridge. When he died in 1840, Emily, sixteen, and Eliza, twenty, looked to “hire out” as maids to help support their family. They boarded at the Smith home and Joseph "adopted" them into his family.
Joseph Smith secretly married both of them behind Emma's back.
According to Joseph Smith's faithful personal secretary, William Clayton, on May 22nd, 1843, Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in a bed of an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated.
- William Clayton's journal entry for 23 May (see Smith, 105-106)
This is very similar to what Smith did with two other young women. When Joseph Smith visited Canada in 1837 he converted to the church, Edward and Margaret Lawrence and their daughters Sarah and Maria. The Lawrence family moved to Nauvoo, where both parents died soon after their arrival. In 1842, Sarah and Maria, sixteen and eighteen years-old, began living in Joseph Smith’s home as "adopted" daughters like Emily and Eliza Partridge who were also living at the Smith residence.
In the spring of 1843, Joseph married Sarah and Maria.
"I believe that Joseph's translations were divinely inspired and correct."
According to the LDS Church, his translation of the Egyptian Papyri and facsimiles is not correct. Haven't you read The Church Ensign, July 1988, Page 51?
"The papyri in question are a part of the collection of Egyptian mummies and papyri that the Prophet Joseph Smith bought from Michael Chandler in 1835. After the Prophet's death, the papyri were lost to the Church. But in 1966, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Utah, discovered some twenty-two separate papyri fragments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which were clearly part of Joseph Smith's original collection."
Wherever Joseph Smith got the Book of Abraham, it is admittedly not a translation of the papyri, as he claimed.
"[F]rom paleographic and historical considerations, the Book of Breathings papyrus can reliably be dated to around A.D. 60-much too late for Abraham to have written it. Of course, it could be a copy-or a copy of a copy-of the original written by Abraham. However, a second problem arises when one compares the text of the book of Abraham with a translation of the Book of Breathings; they clearly are not the same..."
"Joseph received two revelations (Doctrine and Covenants 3 and 10) regarding the 116 lost manuscript pages. Whether or not they were delivered via an angel seems rather unimportant."
You completely sidestepped the point. If an angel can appear to command Joseph to secretly proposition women, why didn't an angel come and show Smith where the 116 pages were lost, or at least tell him they would never come to light?
"Joseph didn't commit bank fraud."
The record is very clear that he did. See:
"Joseph never claimed to be greater than Jesus Christ."
According to the Official History of the Church, he did. Here's what Joseph Smith declared publicly:
"I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet."
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, History of the Church Vol. 6, p. 408-412
I'm only left wondering why this huge TBM apologist is such a blatant liar. I can't believe it is out of ignorance.
It's blatant lies like these that offend truth-seeking Mormons and ruin the credibility of the so-called church apologist establishment.
| Most LDS are of course familiar with Joseph’s translations of the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, the retranslation of the Bible and some LDS are somewhat familiar with the Kinderhook Plates but very, very few members are aware of Joseph’s encounter with a Greek Psalter in 1842.
Summary of event:
Professor Henry Caswall, a professor and skeptic of Joseph Smith, visited Joseph on April 19, 1842. He gave Joseph Smith a very old Greek Psalter to examine and asked him what it was.
Joseph of course translated the Book of Mormon from Reformed Egyptian and he also translated the Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyri so he apparently knew Egyptian well enough to translate it and professor Caswall wanted to see what he thought about this ancient Greek manuscript.
Joseph examined the ancient document and replied that it was a Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Professor Caswall of course knew Joseph was wrong as this was a known Greek Psalter and definitely not Egyptian.
Professor Caswall then informed the Prophet that it was but a plain Greek Psalter. Joseph then left the scene. Professor Caswall told this incident to Mormon apostle Dr. William Richards who said “Sometimes Mr. Smith speaks as mere man. If he gave a wrong opinion respecting the book, he spoke as a mere man.”
Although the Greek Psalter incident is the translation effort with the least amount of significance, it further damages Joseph’s claims to be a true seer. It’s hard for many of us that have analyzed the accounts of all of the ancient writings that Joseph claimed to have translated to accept the fact that all of Joseph’s translations that can be proven as accurate have all been proven to be incorrect. If nothing else, it was another opportunity for Joseph to prove himself to be a seer but he did not.
There is a difference between an isolated incident and a pattern. The Greek Psalter, Book of Abraham, Kinderhook Plates, and some would add the Book of Mormon (DNA evidence, anachronisms, lack of archaeological, anthropological, cultural, linguistic, and metallurgical evidence to support claims), reveal a disturbing pattern in Joseph Smith’s methods and perhaps his character. The testimony of his mother about his ability to spontaneously make up stories about ancient inhabitants of the Americas and the story he made up about Zelph the White Lamanite while on the Zion’s Camp March to Missouri are consistent with this pattern. He seemed unable to resist the opportunity to appear as an expert whether he was qualified to offer expert analysis or not. This pattern of deception can also be seen in his tendency to use prevarication to cover up his polygamous activities. It raises serious questions in those who are fair minded and objective about Joseph Smith’s believability and credibility.
For more info on the Greek Psalter incident: http://www.mormonthink.com/joseph-smi...
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