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JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 4
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and Polygamy.
| As a young Elder, I served in the land of Joseph (Illinois). Nauvoo was its own mission, but it was close and I visited it several times. At the time Nauvoo was staffed almost exclusively by older missionary couples, and they catered to us, giving out additional information and allowing us access to areas that were not part of the normal tour.
At Carthage, it was pointed out to us a plank in the floor where you could still see the outline of the blood stains from either Hyrum or Joseph. At one time this area was covered by a glass plate to protect it, but latter removed. The reasoning behind this according to our guide was that people started to get the impression we attributed a special meaning to the blood of Joseph Smith. Our guide told us that they didn’t point out the blood stain during the normal tours.
Being fond of history, I would engage the tour couples conversation and asking questions. The subject of JS fighting back with a pistol was known and the guides discussed it openly with us. I don’t know that this was brought up with the gentile visitors or not, but no one seemed to view this in a negative light. No mention was ever made of the wine that JS called for and drank, and I really touched a nerve when I brought up a question concerning the Masonic distress call that JS made at the window. One of the tour missionaries, an older man, told me that they were instructed not to bring this up and if it did come up to avoid discussion if possible. I thought it was odd that a prophet could carry a gun and fire to protect himself but somehow calling on his fellow masons for assistance was an embarrassment.
As missionaries, we got to visit several houses that were not on the regular tour. We also got to see the graves of Hyrum and Joseph. I also got some great pics of me sitting on the Sunstone (hence my avatar). The “reorgs” (then RLDS, now CofC) owned the Manson house, and it served as their visitor center. They treated us nice, but didn’t let us run around unattended. One of their guides told us that JS has called for the Nauvoo legion to march on Carthage to free him and his brother, but the order was never carried out. This guide’s opinion was that JS had got a little big for his britches and that he did not have as much support in Nauvoo as the Brighamites like to think. Also his take on polygamy was that it was started by BY after they left Nauvoo.
| A few days ago, in another post, a question arose: “When did Joseph Smith go bad?”
I believe the answer to that question is in the book entitled “Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith” by Robert D. Anderson, who is an experienced psychiatrist and a former member of the LDS Church. Anderson clearly identifies when Joseph Smith reached the turning point in his life (pp.92-95).
As a child, Joseph was encouraged by his family to engage in magical thinking and fantasy. Joseph Smith, Sr., believed in witchcraft and taught magic to his children (This is very well-documented by Dr. Anderson). Lucy Smith believed that one of her children would become a prophet of God. Essentially, Joseph’s view of himself was largely determined by what his family wanted to believe about him. The family culture that Joseph Smith Jr. grew up was encouraging him to travel down a certain path.
The opportunity to live a normal life came when he was under the influence of his father-in-law, Isaac Hale. It was while Joseph Smith was money-digging that Joseph Smith met his future wife, Emma Hale, and asked her father for her hand in marriage. Isaac Hale refused, believing Joseph deceived people in his activities as a money-digger. Then Joseph and Emma decided to elope.
Isaac Hale found Joseph’s claims outrageous, barely tolerated him for Emma’s sake, and obviously wanted him to begin living a stable and hard-working life. It seems clear to me that Isaac Hale wanted Joseph to live and work in the real world, not some fantasy world.
According to Dr. Anderson, when Joseph was removed from his family’s influence and confronted by his decent father-in-law, the shell of his false self temporarily cracked; but as he returned to his family, the grandiose personality with its supernatural claims reasserted itself.
Anderson argues that if it had been possible to take Smith away – and keep him away – from people who wanted him to have supernatural powers then he might have developed into a normal adult.
Dr. Anderson explains that for seven months, Joseph Smith lived a period of normalcy. From the chastening revelation on 3 July 1828 to February 1829, Joseph Smith retreated from his supernatural claims, and came as close to a conventional life as he ever would. Joseph later explained this gap as punishment for losing the 116 pages -- the angle had taken away the gold plates and translating spectacles. Although he told his mother, Lucy, that these items had been returned to him 22 Sep 1828 (the night of the equinox), he later recalled that he “did not go immediately to translating, but went to labouring with my hands upon a small farm, which I had purchased of my wife’s father, in order to provide for my family.”
During these seven months of normalcy, Joseph’s parents came to visit, staying with Isaac and Elizabeth Hale for perhaps two months. Lucy remembered Joseph as so “hurried with his secular affairs, that he could not proceed with his spiritual concerns as far as was necessary …and his wife had so much of her time taken up with the care of her house, that she could write for him but a small portion of the time.” The traditional Mormon perspective is to see this period as a dark one, a time of spiritual loss and suffering.
But from a psychological point of view, Dr. Anderson sees it as one of the healthiest periods of Smith’s adult life. Smith’s deception was contained by fright, sorrow, and humiliation. And according to Anderson, fright, sorrow and humiliation can be import positive outside forces in the treatment of narcissistic personalities. Such experiences may provide some added motivation for the patient to struggle toward change by giving up grand claims that have gotten him in trouble and to move toward ordinary commonness.
Joseph had reached a fork in the road of his life. He could continue to travel down the path that his family wanted and expected, or he could try to live a normal, decent life.
But two factors encouraged his return to the supernatural, Anderson argues. The first was poverty. In early winter, Joseph and Emma were so poor that they paid a begging visit to Joseph’s older friend, Joseph Knight, asking for help. Knight gave Joseph food, a pairs of shoes, and $3.00. Anderson explains that only if we understand the desperateness of their economic plight can we begin to appreciate the extremity of Joseph’s solutions. Perhaps Joseph looked into the future during that winter and saw himself becoming his father. Perhaps he saw a future of poverty and contempt from this neighbour. But these factors are minor compared to the enormous underlying problem of identity. Take away the façade (that he was a “prophet of God”) that was now crystallizing, and what remained was a small, incomplete, and helpless shadow of a man. But for narcissists, seeing themselves as ordinary and common is to feel weak and perpetually threatened -- that emotional deprivation, even physical hunger, might occur at any time. Perhaps even more powerful is feeling that they simply do not know who they are. Smith‘s need to be important and in control was strong; he returned to the compensating personality.
Anderson sees the visit of Joseph’s parents as the second factor. They obviously encouraged his supernatural claims, perhaps reporting their own belief, that since the original manuscript had not resurfaced in Palmyra, it must have been destroyed, Smith could begin again.
Anderson argues that “from a psychoanalytic perspective, this moment of return to claims of supernatural power was a decisive turning point for Joseph Smith, one that closed the door on the possibility of developing a healthy self. This moment is, in therapeutic terms, the saddest for Smith – not three years later when he is tarred, beaten, and nearly castrated in Ohio; or ten years later when he is incarcerated for months in Missouri; or fifteen years later when he is jailed and shot by a mob in Illinois. At this point, on a farm in Pennsylvania, his power over others is minimal; he has not has sexual relations with dozens of women and girls; three brothers and hundreds of followers have not yet died for him, given him their properties, their lives, their wives, their time, and their finest loyalty.”
Anderson further explains that from a psychoanalytic perspective, “a genuine acknowledgement that one comes from a dysfunctional, inferior family is a beginning step toward health. With such an admission, one can begin working toward authentic accomplishment. But to replace an honest awareness of dysfunction with the delusion that a man’s fears are divine visions and that he can do magical (“spiritual?”) acts diverts energies from potential progress and mires him more deeply in fantasy.”
| The Mormon 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."
"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."
- LDS Church Publication, Ensign, Oct. 1994, page 62
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 Voilà, 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."
"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."
- Official First Presidency Statement, see William E. Berrett's "The Church and the Negroid People," pp. 16-17
>>"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."
"[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..."
Wherever Joseph Smith got the Book of Abraham, it is admittedly not a translation of the papyri, as he claimed.
>> "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: http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/j...
>>"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.
| The old Greek Psalter trick
I do like this story. It really does have the ring of truth about it. The proximate source is the great Uncle Dale at
But you can see the original book at:
By the way, a psalter is just a copy of the Book of Psalms in the Bible.
I relish this bit in the original book - dontcha love the Prophet's elegant grammar? And his sheer brass neck??
" I handed the book to the prophet, and begged him to explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be a Greek Psalter; but that I should like to hear his opinion. "No he said; "it ain't Greek at all, except, perhaps, a few words. What ain't Greek, is Egyptian; and what ain't Egyptian, is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said: Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics; and them which follows, is the interpretation of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates." "
Warsaw Message Vol. I. Warsaw, Illinois, November 15, 1843. No. 45.
THE MORMON PROPHET AND THE GREEK PSALTER.
We lately heard a story, which while it may make us mourn over the depravity of Human Nature, serves to show, among many similar facts, the low artifices and cunning tricks, to which the Mormon Prophet will resort, in order to impose upon the gullibility of his followers. The story is in this wise; and can be substantiated by respectable witnesses.
Some time since, Professor Caswell, late of Kemper College, near St. Louis, an Episcopal Clergyman of reputation, being about to leave this country for England, paid a visit to Smith and the Saints, in order that he might be better able to represent the imposture to the British people. It so happened that the Professor had in his possession a Greek Psalter, of great age -- one that had been in the family for several hundred years. This book, as a relic of antiquity, was a curiosity to any one -- but to some of the Saints, who happened to see it, it was a marvel and wonder. Supposing its origin to have been as ancient, at least, as the Prophet's Egyptian Mummy, and not knowing but the Professor had dug it from the bowels of the same sacred hill in Western New York whence sprung the holy Book of Mormon, they importuned him to allow 'brother Joseph' an opportunity of translating it!
The Professor reluctantly assented to the proposal; and accompanied by a number of the anxious brethren, repaired to the residence of the Prophet. The remarkable book was handed him. Joe took it -- examined its old and worn leaves -- and turned over its musty pages. Expectation was now upon tip-toe. The brethren looked at one another -- at the book -- then at the Prophet. It was a most interesting scene!
Presently the spirit of prophecy began to arise within him; and he opened his mouth and spoke. That wonderful power, which enables him to see as far through a mill-stone as could Moses or Elijah of old, had already in the twinkling of an eye, made those rough and uncouth characters as plain to him as the nose on the face of the Professor. 'This Book,' said he, 'I pronounce to be a Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics!'
The brethren present were greatly astonished at this exhibition of their Prophet's power of revealing hidden things. After their exaltation had somewhat subsided, the Professor coolly told them that their Prophet was a base impostor! -- and that the book before them was but a plain Greek Psalter! -- Joe 'stepped out.'
Such is the manner in which this arrant knave imposes upon his followers! and such is the manner in which his knavery is sometimes exposed! Yet, strange that people continue to believe him!
Professor Caswell, since his sojourn in England, has published a work entitled 'Three Days at Nauvoo,' in which this rich scene is represented in an engraving.
| There is a remarkable article in the Church News about the legal and business acumen of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
A couple of choice quotes:
"In addition to his many roles as the Lord's anointed, Joseph Smith showed remarkable competence in legal and business matters as well."
Yes, he showed such skill in business and legal matters that his biggest enterprise, the Kirtland Bank, folded ignomniously within a couple of weeks, and Joseph had to flee the state of Ohio to escape his creditors.
But this one is jaw-dropping:
"Underpinning the treason charge against the Prophet was his declaration of martial law in the face of a threat of mob violence against the people of Nauvoo. 'Consequently,' Brother Walker said, 'I would say that Joseph and Hyrum were martyred for trying to protect their people. The Expositor was an underlying subplot to the story, but the reason they found themselves in that jail on the 27th of June, 1844, was not due to the destruction of the Expositor. It had to do with the fact that Joseph and Hyrum were making their best effort to protect the saints. And for that, they would be killed.'"
So, destroying the Expositor was just an "underlying subplot," while the real reason for the "martyrdom" was Joseph's attempt to "protect the saints." Sometimes the rewriting of history is shameless, isn't it?
Joseph ordered the destruction of the Expositor because he feared William Law's exposure of his behavior, including polygamy and the creation of the Council of Fifty and Quorum of the Anointed. Yes, the saints had been under increasing threat from non-Mormon mobs, but it was the Expositor incident that pushed the mobs into action.
And rather than "protect the saints," Joseph fled the city to go into hiding, leaving his followers to fend for themselves. It wasn't until his own friends and family accused him of cowardice that he returned to face the legal consequences of his actions.
If this is a representative example of what they are doing with the "Joseph Smith Papers," I'd say the project isn't worth much.
| Have any of you heard of this as being an influence on Smith and others in the formulation of the concept of the “United Order”?
While recently studying some poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge I came across some very interesting information about a utopian society that he and Robert Southey planned to set up on the “banks of the Susquehanna River”. Being a past TBM, that phrase really got my attention. I went to Wikipedia and got the following information (note especially the description of pantisocracy):
“At the university, [Coleridge] was introduced to political and theological ideas then considered radical, including those of the poet Robert Southey. Coleridge joined Southey in a plan, soon abandoned, to found a utopian commune-like society, called pantisocracy, in the wilderness of Pennsylvania.”
“[I]n 1794 … [Southey], Coleridge and a few others discussed setting up an idealistic community in America ("pantisocracy"):
Their wants would be simple and natural; their toil need not be such as the slaves of luxury endure; where possessions were held in common, each would work for all; in their cottages the best books would have a place; literature and science, bathed anew in the invigorating stream of life and nature, could not but rise reanimated and purified. Each young man should take to himself a mild and lovely woman for his wife; it would be her part to prepare their innocent food, and tend their hardy and beautiful race.“
“Pantisocracy (meaning "government by all") was a utopian scheme devised in 1794 by the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey for an egalitarian community. They originally intended to establish such a community on the banks of the Susquehanna River in the United States, but by 1795 Southey had doubts about the viability of this and proposed moving the project to Wales. The two men were unable to agree on the location, causing the project to collapse.”
| “Conflict also increased at church headquarters in Kirtland. In seeking to establish a sacral society directed by prophetic leadership, JS crossed conventional boundaries between religious and secular affairs. For him, God’s commandments made no distinction between the spiritual and the temporal. Subjecting oneself to a religious leader’s direction in temporal matters clashed with American ideals of unfettered individual freedom. As the Mormon population of Kirtland continued to grow, JS and his associates conceived expansive plans for that community. A pivotal element was a bank, which could help provide capital for development. Though they were unable to obtain a state charter--an ultimately fatal flaw--they nevertheless established a financial institution in January 1837. The ‘Kirtland Safety Society’ faltered early, due in part to negative publicity, the refusal of many area banks to accept Safety Society notes, and the predatory actions of outsiders who systematically acquired it notes and quickly demanded payment in specie, thus depleting its reserves. The Safety Society suspended such payments in late January, then failed several months later during the recession that gripped the United States. Stresses related to the bank failure, mounting personal debt of Kirtland Mormons, and church indebtedness due to construction of the House of the Lord caused some to question the scope and legitimacy of JS’s prophetic leadership. Some of JS’s closest associates became disaffected. Prominent among the defections were JS’s former secretary Warren Parrish, several apostles, a number of the members of the Quorom of the Seventy, and the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon plates. Their discontent escalated from dismay with JS’s financial leadership to rejection of his religious leadership.
“Such views eventually spread to nearly one-third of the church’s general leadership...Declaring JS a fallen prophet, Parrish and others attempted to establish a church of their own and to take control of the House of the Lord. Oliver Cowdery, saddled with crushing personal financial losses, privately disparaged JS. Some dissidents sought to replace JS with David Whitmer as church president. Frederick G. Williams clashed with JS over the Safety Society. Compounding JS’s problem was the antipathy of numerous non-Mormon residents of Kirtland and vicinity, many of whom used both the legal system and threats of violence to harass him and the Latter-day Saints.”
(The Joseph Smith Papers, Church Historian’s Press, p. 227)
NOW FOR THE *REST* OF THE STORY
“Smith knew a good thing when he saw it, and in 1836, the best thing by far was land speculation. With the westward drive, land values were shooting up at such a frenzied rate that fortunes could be made virtually overnight. By the mid-thirties Smith had already spent every dollar he had buying up land around the Mormon community in Kirtland, hoping that a railroad would run a line somewhere across his property and make him a rich man. When he ran out of his own money, he started looking for other people’s money to use. The best way to attract money, of course, was to open a bank, and in 1836, coincidentally, the Lord commanded him to do just that.
“There was just one problem: you had to HAVE money to open a bank. Never a stickler for details, Smith went out and borrowed the money to open the Kirtland Safety Society Bank and have plates made up for printing the currency the bank would issue. To assure depositors that their money would be secure, he filled several strong boxes with sand, lead, old iron, and stones, then covered them with a single layer of bright fifty-cent silver coins. Prospective customers were brought into the vault and shown the heaping chests of silver. ‘The effect of those boxes was like magic,’ claimed one witness. ‘They created general confidence in the solidity of the bank, and that beautiful paper money went like hot cakes. For about a month it was the best money in the country.’
“Smith wasn’t fazed a bit when the state legislature refused to grant his bank a charter. With only a few additions to the printing plates (why waste money to have new ones made up?), the Kirtland Safety Society Bank became the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Co. As far as Smith was concerned, a company, unlike a bank, didn’t need a charter.
“The faithful, of course, didn’t care what it was called. It was enough for them that the bank was run by Joseph Smith. What safer place could they put their money than in the hands of the Prophet? Lest they miss the message, Smith wrote an article for the Mormon newspaper inviting his flock to ‘take stock in our safety society.... We would remind them also of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah,...which are as follows: ‘Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish...to bring...their silver and their gold (not their bank notes) with them, unto the name of the Lord they God...’ Smith added the parenthetical to the biblical text as a discreet reminder that his bank wanted deposits in hard coin, not in notes drawn on other banks.
“After only a few months of operation, the Anti-Banking Co. collapsed. The single layer of silver coins didn’t last long once the notes started coming in. Meanwhile, the Ohio state legislature, unamused by Smith’s semantic games, charged him with operating an unchartered bank and fined him $1,000. To collect, however, they had to get in line with the other investors who were suing Smith (thirteen suits were filed against him between June 1837 and April 1837). On the night of January 12, 1838, Smith, like many other speculators, declared bankruptcy with his feet, fleeing Kirtland and his followers under cover of darkness. In his imaginative account of the event, Smith later claimed he left Kirtland ‘to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover the hellish designs of our enemies.’
“To prevent his creditors from hounding him to his new home in Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith declared legal bankruptcy, but not before transferring many of his assets to his wives, children, friends, and associates--some 105 people in all. (In 1844, the year of Smith’s death, these transfers were declared fraudulent and illegal.)”
(The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Green, Forgery, Deceit, and Death, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, 1988, pp. 25-26, Chapter 6)
| Professor Quinn feels that Joseph Smith may have been involved in "spirit conjurations" when he received the visitation concerning the gold plates which he used to translate the Book of Mormon:
Smith began praying late Sunday night on 21 September 1823. According to astrological guides, Sunday night was the only night of the week ruled by Jupiter... Jupiter, Smith's ruling planet, was the most prominent astrological symbol on the Smith family's golden lamen for summoning a good spirit....
Oliver Cowdery wrote that Smith began praying earnestly that Sunday night about "eleven or twelve" in order "to commune with some kind of messenger" (1835, 1:79). Scot's frequently cited 1665 instructions for conjuration (the edition upon which the Smith family's "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah" parchment was based) specified that spirit conjurations should begin "at 11 a clock at night," and in describing a particular conjuration "at 11 a clock at night; not joyning to himself any companion, because this particular action will admit of none... providing beforehand the two Seals of the Earth, drawn exactly upon parchment... but if he desires it, they will engage to bring him the most pretious [sic] of their Jewels and Riches in twenty four hours; discovering unto him the way of finding hidden treasures and the richest mines"... The Smith's "Holiness to the Lord" parchment has those two seals...
Smith's prayer "to commune with some kind of messenger" on 21 September 1823 occurred once the moon had reached its maximum fullness the previous day and just before the autumnal equinox. The 1665 edition of Scot's works... specified, "And in the composition of any Circle for Magical feats, the fittest time is the brightest Moon-light"... the hour and day in which Smith prayed "to commune with some kind of messenger" was pinpointed in magic books as being ideal for the invocation of spirits. Also, the angel of that hour, Raphael, figured prominently at the center of the Smith family's most significant lamen... which was constructed to aid in a treasure quest... Young Joseph walked alone to that hill on 22 September 1823, when the moon was in its second day in Aries, which astrology specified was a day "good to find treasures hid"...
Significantly, Oliver Cowdery's account, the first published history of early Mormonism, sketched a folk magic context for the events of 22 September 1823 on the hill: "he had heard of the power of enchantment, and a thousand like stories, which held the hidden treasures of the earth"... Cowdery's report that Smith was prevented from obtaining the gold treasure by a thrice-repeated "shock [that] was produced upon his system" echoed treasure folklore of the 1820s that treasure-seekers could be "instant[an]eously struck, without attaining their object, as with an electric shock"...
All official and unofficial,... sources agree that Smith was not able to obtain the gold plates on 22 September 1823. Instead, he returned to the hill on exactly the same day each year until 1827. None of these accounts explains why the visits had to occur each year on exactly the same day. Magic provides a possible explanation: "Should nothing result [from the attempt at necromancy], the same experiment must be renewed in the following year, and if necessary a third time, when it is certain that the desired apparition will be obtained, and the longer it has been delayed the more realistic and striking it will be"... (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, pages 120-122, 125, 133-134) [2nd Ed. pages 143-145, 147-148, 158]
| 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."
"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
Reporter John Hay, of the Atlantic Monthly 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.
"Smith had two loaded six-barrelled revolvers in his room. How a man on trial for capital offences came to be supplied with such luxuries is a mystery that perhaps only one man could fully have solved; and as General Deming, the Jack-Mormon sheriff, died soon after, and left no explanation of the matter, investigation is effectually baffled. But the four shots which I have chronicled, and two which had no billet, exhausted one pistol, and the enemy gave Smith no time to use the other. Severely wounded as he was, he ran to the window, which was open to receive the fresh June air, and half leaped, half fell, into the jail yard below."
- John Hay, "The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy," Atlantic Monthly (December 1869) 671-678.
In another conemporary account from a faithful Latter-Day Saint:
"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."
"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
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?"
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.
| BYU TV has been showing regular sessions called "Joseph Smith Papers". I assume this series is based on the new texts. My boyfriend and I have been watching some of these shows, and I found one particularly interesting.
Royal Skousen was talking about the translation of the BoM. Most of us know that Skousen is a firm proponent of the tight translation theory, in which Joseph is a reader more than a translator. Joseph reads the words that God has translated for him and placed on the seer stone. He was very dismissive of the loose translation theory. Of course, that skewers Mesoamerican apologia, but that isn't my main point. My main interest was his comment in regards to the Isaiah chapters in the BoM. He stated that some have claimed that JS probably opened a Bible and used it for those chapters. Royal Skousen disagrees. He stated that the Smith family probably did not even own a Bible.
I was quite taken aback by this. After all, on the church's own website it states: http://josephsmith.net/josephsmith/v/...
Joseph Smith Jr. was born December 23, 1805, the fifth of eleven children of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. "I was born . . . of goodly parents," said Joseph, "who spared no pains to instruct me in the Christian religion."1 His parents stressed personal religion and encouraged Joseph to seek his "soul's salvation" in Jesus Christ.2
In fact, the Smith family was so familiar with the Bible that Biblical language was their "mother tongue", according to one historian, see: http://www.mormontimes.com/mormon_voi...
Joseph Smith's parents loved the Lord. Lucy eventually joined one of the local churches, but continued to search for something more. "I therefore determined," said Lucy, "to examine my Bible, and, taking Jesus and his disciples for my guide, to endeavor to obtain from God which man could neither give nor take away."3
Joseph's father, Joseph Smith Sr., found peace in Bible study and seeking God in prayer. Under his leadership, the family met morning and evening for prayer, hymns, and scripture reading. At times Joseph Sr. taught his children "in his own home school and used the Bible as a text."4
The devotion to God that Joseph saw in his parents strengthened his confidence and faith to seek divine truth.
As Emma Smith described, Joseph Smith was "neither able to write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book or Mormon." But that does not mean that Joseph Smith was uneducated, nor does it mean that he did not have vast knowledge of the Bible.
I have seen other people claim that the Smiths probably didn't own a Bible, such as Kerry Shirts here:
"The Smith family's oral culture was so thoroughly imbued with biblical language, both the Old and New Testament, that its use was fluent, easy and familiar" argued Lavina Fielding Anderson in her presentation "Mother Tongue: King James Version Language in Smith Family Discourse" last week at the Mormon History Association annual conference.
Joseph Smith and his family knew the Bible so well, they liberally sprinkled its phrases throughout their conversation and writings. Likely family scripture study, and "family prayers and hymn-singing night and morning" (a family ritual that Joseph Smith's brother William remembered as "irksome and tiresome to me") was the foundation of their biblical usage/
The witnesses describe the extreme poverty of Joseph Smith and his family, making it unlikely that they even owned a Bible. They testify that the relatively unlearned Joseph Smith dictated hour after hour, day after day, correcting mistakes without seeing them, without the use of Bible, manuscript, or notes of any kind. Those who were there, whose firsthand testimony regarding the dictation of the Book of Mormon text the authors appear to accept, adamantly affirmed that he had none, that he could not have had books or manuscripts without their knowing. "Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon, without apparent hesitation, as fast as a scribe could write it in long hand. There is no chance for error on this point." Moreover, "The dictation from start to finish proceeded while the Prophet's eyes were thus hidden from seeing anything by the natural light . . . he did not stop to hunt up the passages which resemble, or are identical with, passages in the King James' Version of the Bible. Such an interruption could not have escaped detection, and would surely have been noted in the accounts of the listeners. The quotations, therefore, whether direct or indirect, must be regarded as having come precisely like the rest of the matter, and probably . . . without the conscious knowledge of the translator." That is one of the reasons these early witnesses considered the event a miracle. http://www2.ida.net/graphics/shirtail...
The theory that Joseph Smith didn't have a Bible also contradicts the canonized version of the First Vision wherein it states that Smith read James 1:5 prior to venturing out to pray in the woods. It's just simply not plausible that Smith didn't have easy access to a Bible.
This is odd. The Joseph Smith Papers are practically being heralded as the Second Coming, and one would think that the preparation for the accompanying TV show would be thorough. Yet Skousen is making a claim that seems to directly contradict the church's own website.
One more interesting tidbit I can't resist throwing out - on another one of the shows a historian was discussing the visit of John the Baptist and the subsequent baptisms of Joseph and Oliver. The historian mentioned that the farm/garden journals of the time period show that it was raining on the particular day of the baptisms. Just like God, to pick a rainy day for a baptism. LOL.
I believe it was in this same episode that Skousen made the statement that they do not know how Joseph Smith translated the BofM but made no reference to the accounts of Smith using a hat in the medium process.. Leaving the viewer unaware and contradicting Mormon Apologist Daniel C. Peterson's description on PBS. In that piece, Daniel stated that Joseph Smith used a peep stone in a hat to translate. So which Apologist is right?
Marvelous or not, in this treasure-seeking it invariably turned out that some mistake had been made, or that some uncontrollable spirit or impenetrable enchantment met with. Once only, in Palmyra's remembrance, were the Smiths' efforts clearly rewarded. The scene of this exploit, the hill called "Old Sharp," is still pointed out. One day the elder Joseph came with one of his sons to tell William Stafford that Joseph had discovered some treasures which could be procured in one way only. It would be necessary to take a black sheep to the ground where the riches lay concealed, and after cutting its throat, lead it around a circle while bleeding. Thus the wrath of the evil spirit might be appeased and the treasures obtained.24 "To gratify my curiosity," Stafford says, "I let them have...[the] sheep. They afterwards informed me that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect." There remained the mutton, gratefully received on the Smith table, which in Stafford's view signalized this as "the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business."25
23. These are of course the rituals of magic everywhere, the magic circle, and the magic force of blood in sacrifice. The latter reappears in Joseph's church at a later date, in connection with the doctrine of blood atonement. Stafford had a black wether both large and fat, but though promised a four-fold share in the treasure, he was unconvinced of the necessity for the sacrifice of this wether until it was pointed out to him that because the treasures were to be obtained through the black art, none but a black sheep would do." The Prophet of Palmyra (New York, 1890), p. 56.
24. Stephen S. Harding heard this detail while in Palmyra in the summer of 1829. See his letter of February 1822 to Thomas Gregg, printed in the latter's The Prophet of Palmyra (New York, 1890), p. 56.
25. William Stafford tells the story himself in his affidavit of Dec. 8, 1833, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, p. 239. The adventure of the black sheep recurs in every reminiscent account of Palmyra. Cook, Palmyra and Vicinity, p. 222, on the authority of an old resident, Wallace W. Miner, who had known Stafford well, adds a fresh detail. According to this version, after the sacrifice of the sheep, Joseph came to Stafford and offered to make the latter a number of sap-buckets in repayment; this he did to Stafford's satisfaction.
| Mormons consider that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to usher in the restored gospel. Non-Mormons view him as having founded a church. Big difference. Mormons can justify following JS despite his numerous obvious major character flaws by saying that they don't expect a prophet to be perfect and their church embodies the true gospel despite the human foibles of members and prophets alike. Non-Mormons ask how they justify following a leader who displayed such questionable integrity in his actions and words. How much does the personal character of your leader/s matter in any organization?
As much as the Mormon Church now seeks to deflect focus from JS, BY and various aspects of church history, the ethics and lives of their prophets formed and directed the church, influencing it still, perhaps more subtly but still extensively within the Mormon culture and faith. It is interesting to examine the different positions on JS; the favourable and reverential view that the Mormon Church upholds vs that held by non-Mormon analysts who see a fuller picture of JS's character and behaviour.
From an official LDS Church web site JS is described as follows:
- Latter-day Prophet
- Seeker of Truth
- Prophet of God
- Leader of Christ's Church
- Devoted Husband and Father
- Martyr of the Restored Gospel
"He did God's work until the day his life was taken by a mob, and we honor him for his faith, humility, and devotion. We are grateful for the Church he helped establish, the scriptures he translated, the revelations he received and the things he taught that help us understand the ways of God."
Sounds good for the church. But is it a full and accurate picture of JS? I think the character of JS is crucial to whether he is a good role model to follow as prophet to an entire religious movement. If not, how does one reconcile continued involvement in the Mormon Church? Equal to the character question is a reasonable expectation of consistency and lack of hypocrisy both in the leaders and the teachings.
Also, are the stands taken by the 20/21 C Mormon Church wrt social issues such as homosexuality and marriage equality in line with original church teachings? If so, were JS, BY and other "prophets" faithful or hypocritical regarding them? Although change is perhaps inevitable, how much change is reasonable before the original product is no longer recognizable or the new product unfaithful at heart to the original?
As seen on the site referenced above, JS is lauded as prophet, seeker of truth (!), devoted husband (!) and faithful, humble, devoted martyr. Non-Mormons see a different Smith, as below.
From (exmo) Deconstructor's site, Mormon prophets on homosexuality:
Re JS in connection with abortion and prostitution, Decon excerpts:
"In Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" it mentions that Joseph Smith visited houses of prostitution.
Deconstructor posted in June 2006:
"From the book:
"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 times."
"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 this proposition."
"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 this repeatedly."
"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."
"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.
More evidence (or allegations as some would opine):
"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"
From: Mormon Portraits I, von Wymetal, Wilhelm, SLC: Tribune Printing and Pub., 1886, page 59-62.
"Mrs. [Sarah Pratt].: "You hear often that Joseph had no polygamous offspring. The reason of this is very simple. Abortion was practiced on a large scale in Nauvoo. Dr. John C. Bennett, the evil genius of Joseph, brought this abomination into a scientific system. He showed to my husband and me the instruments with which he used to * operate for Joseph. ' There was a house in Nauvoo, 'right across the flat,' about a mile and a-half from the town, a kind of hospital. They sent the women there, when they showed signs of celestial consequences. Abortion was practiced regularly in this house."
Steve Benson's informative post of today (August 13, 2010) adds to our body of knowledge about the character of JS:
Mrs. H.: "Many little bodies of new-born children floated down the Mississippi..."
In another thread, poster "1 and one" asks:
"[Was] Joseph Smith sealed to other men? [I] heard this as a rumor. Is it true? Are their any sources that mention it?"
Historian D. Michael Quinn provides answers to that question--and so much more--in his explosively-detailed book, "Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example" (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996, 477 pp.)
The devastating, documented detail that Quinn provides effectively knocks today's Latter-day Quaints off their high and hypocritical Mormon moralistic horse, as he lays out historicall-devastating facts concerning LDS Church founder Joseph Smith's(as well as other early high-ranking Mormon leaders') attitudes and actions on what are for today's homophotic Mormons an exceedingly awful array of same-sex topics, including:
Below are Quinn's findings in his own words--and better yet--in the words of Joseph Smith and Company:
- Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men
- Claims of Authorization of Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men
- laims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings
- Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men
- Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage
- Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles
- Accusations Against Joseph Smith of "Immoral Acts" with Other Men
- Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men
- Joseph Smith and Loving Same-Sex Bed Partners
- Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing
- Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men
--Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men--
"In 1954, the sociologist Kimball Young first suggested that Mormon marriage 'sealing' ceremonies (which began in 1843 and bind husband and wife for 'time and eternity') included same-sex marriage. For example, Brigham Young preached in 1862: 'I will here refer to a principle that has not bee named by me for years. With the introduction of the Priesthood upon the earth was also introduced the sealing ordinance.' Although modern readers would expect to hear next about eternal marriage, Young did not mention marriage or women. Instead, he said: 'By this power men will be sealed to men back to Adam.' In another sermon he preached that 'we can seal women to men [without a temple], but not men to men, without a Temple.'
--What Brigham Young Meant by the Phrase "Men Will Be Sealed to Men"--
"Such statements caused his sociologist grandson to observe, 'Here is evidence of deep, psychological Bruederschaft [brotherhood]. There are obviously latent homosexual features in this idea and its cultural aspect has many familiar parallels in other religions.' Kimball Young added that Mormonism 'had strong homosexual components' but acknowledged: 'Most Saints, including Brigham himself, would have been shocked by such an interpretation.' The grandson regarded homosexuality as unappealing as the Mormon practice of polygamy that was the topic of his book." (pp. 136-37)
". . . [S]ociologist [Kimball Young] misunderstood Brigham Young's statements about 'sealing men to men,' which referred to the nineteenth-century LDS practice of spiritual adoption. By this ordinance, a man (usually an apostle) became the spiritual father of the adopted man and of the adopted man's wife and children (if any). In social terms, this was an institutionalized form of mentor-protege' relationships between Mormon men. In its early stages under Brigham Young's direction, this adoptive sealing of men to men also involved obligations of financial support. One of Brigham Young's adopted sons was John D. Lee. As was customary in the first adoption ceremonies of 1846, Lee temporarily added the surname of his adopted father to his own. In these respects, this early Mormon ordinance is very similar to the celibate same-sex marriages of sub-Saharan Africa today." (p. 137)
--Mormon Men-to-Men Sealings vs. "Spiritual Adoption" Sealings--
". . . Brigham Young also indicated that some pioneer Mormon men had special covenants with each other, independent of the adoption ordinance. 'No man had a right to make a covenant to bind men together,' Young said in 1848. He added that 'God only had that right and by his commandment to the persona holding the keys of revelation could any man legally covenant and all covenants otherwise were null and of no effect.'" (p. 140)
--Claims That Joseph Smith Authorized Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men--
"A generation after [Brigham Young's grandson and sociologist] Kimball Young, Antonio A. Feliz wrote: 'I found that Joseph [Smith] began a practice of sealing men to men during the last two years of his life in Nauvoo.' Feliz concluded that Joseph Smith secretly provided for a same-sex ordinance of companionship or sealing, which Brigham Young later changed to the father-son adoption ordinance. His evidence involves the funeral service for missionary Lorenzo D. Barnes in which all notetakers said Joseph Smith referred to an unidentified 'Lover' of Barnes, rather than to a wife. Feliz elaborated on this in a 1985 article in the newsletter of 'Affirmation,' the society of Mormon lesbians, gays, and bisexuals; in his 1988 autobiography 'Out of the Bishop's Closet;' in a 1992 story by the 'Salt Lake Tribune;' and in his 1999 paper at Salt Lake City's Stonewall Center, a community resource for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
--Claims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings--
"Barely two years after Barnes's death, Apostle Wilford Woodruff visited his English grave site and commented that Lorenzo's 'fidelity was stronger than death towards his Lover.' Woodruff added: 'I thought of his Lover, his Mother, his Father, his kindred and the Saints for they all loved him.' From this, Feliz concluded that 'we can only speculate on the identity of the person with whom he shared an intimate relationship in Nauvoo prior to his mission to England.'
"However, there are aspects of the Lorenzo Barnes case that undermine Feliz's assertions. Woodruff's diary also quoted from love poetry and love letters that Barnes wrote n January 1842 to Susan Conrad, 'his intended.' Sixteen years old when Barnes left her in Nauvoo for his English mission in 1841, Susan Conrad was 'the friend' and 'Lover' of whom Joseph Smith spoke in the 1843 funeral services for Barnes. She later married a man name Wilkinson and moved from Nauvoo to Utah, where Apostle Woodruff sometimes reminisced with her about Barnes. Even less known is that Barnes had returned to his hometown n Ohio while en route to his mission assignment. There in October 1841 another Mormon performed the civil marriage for Barnes and Amanda Wilson, who may have been one of his former students. Thus, Barnes was already married when he wrote the 1842 love poetry and letters to his sixteen-year-old 'Lover' Susan Conrad. Lorenzo D. Barnes may have been a polygamist at heart, but his experience had nothing to do with homoromantic attachments or a homomarital ceremony.
"Still, it is true that Joseph Smith's 1843 funeral sermon for Barnes never once mentioned husband-wife relationships. That was remarkable in a sermon on loving relationships in this life and in the Resurrection during which the prophet repeatedly spoke of 'brothers and friends,' fathers and sons, mothers, daughters, and sisters. Smith's silence concerning husbands and wives was deafening in this sermon about attachments of love. Feliz appropriately asked why. I do not agree that the answer involved same-sex ceremonies, but I do see this as the first Mormon expression of male bonding. George Q. Cannon forty years later called it 'greater than the love of a woman.'
"I know of no historical evidence that Mormonism's founding father ever said an officiator could perform a marriage-like ordinance for a same-sex couple. Nevertheless, I realize that some believing Mormons regard it as emotionally appealing or spiritually inspiring for there to be a priesthood ordinance to seal same-sex couples similar to Mormon's opposite-sex ordinance of marriage 'for time and all eternity.'" (pp. 138-39)
"Aside from the 1833 covenant of friendship in the School of the Prophets and Brigham Young's possible reference in 1848, I [Quinn] have no evidence that there were any same-sex covenants of eternal companionship among nineteenth-century Mormons. However, as previously indicated, nineteenth-century Mormon missionaries may have unknowingly baptized Aikane boys in Hawaii (or their equivalent in Tahiti) who had previously entered same-sex marriages. Also, tens of thousands of twentieth-century converts to the LDS Church in sub-Saharan Africa have come from areas in which celibate same-sex marriage ceremonies are common." (p. 140)
--Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men--
"[On 27 December 1832], Joseph Smith announced a revelation that included a covenant between men 'to be your friend . . . forever and ever. . . .
--Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage--
"[On 24 January 1833] [t]he male-only School of the Prophets commenced in accordance with [the] revelation on 27 December 1832." (p. 407)
"Joseph Smith's published revelations contained no reference to same-sex marriage. . . .
--Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles and Charges Against Smith of Committing "Immoral Acts" with Men--
"[However,] Joseph Smith . . . once referred figuratively to himself as married to a male friend. Beginning in 1840, twenty-nine-year-old Robert B. Thompson became the prophet's scribe and personal secretary. Their relationship was so close that Smith told his friend's wife: 'Sister Thompson, you must not feel bad towards me for keeping your husband away from you so much, for I am married to him.' She added that 'they truly love each other with fervent brotherly affection.' Concerning Thompson's death in 1841 Smith made this unusual explanation to his next secretary during a discussion of 'loose conduct' and sexual transgressions: 'He said [Robert B.] Thompson professed great friendship for him but he gave away to temptation and he had to die.'" (p. 136)
"The first known instance of homoerotic behavior in the [Mormon Church] First Presidency involved John C. Bennett [who was] an assistant counselor . . . . They 27 July 1842 edition of the 'Wasp,' a church newspaper at Nauvoo, Illinois, claimed that Bennett had . . . engaged in sodomy.
--Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men--
"Second, it claimed that the Prophet Joseph Smith had tolerated Bennett's homoeroticism.
"Third, the church newspaper even printed one apostle's implication that Joseph Smith himself had also engaged in an 'immoral act' with a man.
"These are the actual words (written by Smith's brother William, an apostle): 'Gen. [Joseph] Smith was a great philanthropist [in the eyes of Bennett] as long as Bennett could practice adultery, fornication, and--we were going to say (Buggery,) without being exposed.' At that time the word 'buggery' was a slang word and legal term for 'sodomy,' or posterior [sexual relations] between men. Later statements by Brigham Young and Bennett himself indicate that this 1842 publication was not libeling Bennett.
"Previous actions and statements by Joseph Smith could also be construed as his toleration for Bennett's various sexual activities. On motion of John C. Bennett on 5 October 1840, the general conference (presided over by Smith) voted that no one could be judged guilty of a crime unless prove 'by two or three witnesses.' Such a burden of proof helped shield Bennett's sexual exploits. . . . This was Bennett's way of shielding his own sexual activities with both women and men."
"In January 1841, Smith also dictated a revelation about Bennett: 'his reward shall not fail, if he receive counsel; and for his love he shall be great, for he shall b e mine if he do this, saith the Lord' ('Doctrine and Covenants' 124:17)
"Later in 1841, the prophet further eroded the ability of anyone to investigate or punish Bennett's sexual conduct: 'If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you.' Then in words that must have warmed Bennett's heart, Smith continued his sermon by saying: 'If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours--for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sins is not sin.'
"It must have seemed to Bennett and others that the LDS president put those charitable words into action when he appointed John C. Bennett as assistant counselor to the First Presidency in April 1841. That was a month after one of the bishops of the church privately reported to Smith his investigation at Bennett's former residence: 'his wife left him under satisfactory evidence of his adulterous connections.' If Joseph Smith had not heard that his new counselor was practicing 'buggery,' he at least knew of Bennett's reputation for adultery.
"On the next page of the July 1842 'Wasp,' the church newspaper described Smith's reaction to Apostle Orson Pratt's vote against a resolution defending the prophet's chastity: 'Pres. Joseph Smith spoke in reply [on July 22]--Question to Elder Pratt, "Have you personally a knowledge of any immoral act in me toward the female sex, or in any other way?" Answer, by Elder Pratt, "Personally, toward the female sex, I have not."' Since this same issue of the 'Wasp' had already raised the topic of Bennett's 'buggery' and the prophet's alleged toleration of it, Smith's 'in any other way?' was an implicit challenge for Pratt to charge him with 'buggery' as well. Pratt declined to answer whether Joseph Smith had committed 'any immoral act' with someone other than a woman, but also declined to exonerate the prophet form such a charge. That indicates the depth of Pratt's disaffection,which resulted in his excommunication from the LDS Church within a month."
"Assistant [First Presidency] Counselor] John C. Bennett was 'disfellowshipped (denied church privileges) and later 'excommunicated' (removed from church membership). His homosexual activities were publicly revealed two months later."
"Two years later, Nauvoo's two LDS newspapers printed Apostle Brigham Young's reference to John C. Bennett's bisexual conduct: 'if he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him.' One of Bennett's 'young men' was twenty-one-year-old Francis M. Higbee to whom Brigham's sermon specifically referred. . . .
"Joseph Smith forgave Higbee in 1842, and homoerotic activities were not among the specific charges for which the thirty-seven-year-old Bennett was dropped from office and excommunicated that year. . . . Mormonism's founding prophet also revised the common interpretation that God destroyed Sodom because its inhabitants preferred sex between men. According to Smith, God destroyed Sodom 'for rejecting the prophets.'" (pp. 266-68, 408-10, 412)
"Throughout most of the nineteenth century, Mormon congregations were . . . segregated by gender. After he spoke to Nauvoo's citywide Sunday meeting in 1843, Mormon founder Joseph Smith criticized the fact that there were 'men among the women, and women among men' in the congregation. In 1859, Brigham Young proclaimed the Salt Lake Tabernacle's eating arrangement as the standard for all Mormon congregations: women sitting to the north (or right) of the center aisle, and men sitting to the south (or left), with children in the front benches. That seating pattern continued for decades in LDS congregations." (p. 67)
--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Bed Partners--
"In fact, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith enjoyed bedtime snuggling with male friends throughout his life. Early in 1826, the twenty-year-old bachelor board with the Knight family, whose eighteen-year-old son later wrote: 'Joseph and I worked together and slept together.' IN an 1843 sermon, Smith (then the husband of many wives) preached that 'two who were vary friends indeed should lie down upon the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love and should awake in the morning together. They could immediately renew their conversation of love even while rising from their bed.'
--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing--
"That was how Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded his prophet's words. The official 'History of the Church' still renders Smith's words this way: 'it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep and wake in each other's embrace an renew their conversation.' The night before he was murdered by a mob in 1844, Smith shared a bed with thirty-two-year-old Dan Jones, 'and lay himself by my side in a close embrace.'"
"Smith's successor, Brigham Young, even dreamed of sleeping with non-Mormon men as a way of resolving conflict. IN 1858 the church historian wrote: 'Prest. Young said he dreamed last night, of seeing Gov. [Alfred] Cumming. He appeared exceedingly friendly, and said to Prest. Young we must be united, we must act in concert; and commenced undressing himself to go to bed with him.'" (p.87)
"[While] . . . for the vast majority of Americans, such same-sex sleeping arrangements were nonerotic, . . . [n]evertheless . . . . true that the phrase 'sleeping with' had a sexual meaning for Mormons as early as the 1840s. . . . [D]ue to necessity [such as close quarters or lack of space] or personal preference, Mormon culture and LDS leaders both continued to encourage same-sex sleeping arrangements. . . .
" . . . Mormonism's founder . . . encouraged same-sex friends to sleep in 'the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love' . . . ." (p. 89)
"Some Mormon leaders . . . had ardent dreams of same-sex kissing. For example, in 1847 Brigham Young dreamed that he met the deceased Joseph Smith and 'kissed him many times.' In 1896 stake president Charles O. Card recorded: 'I dreamed that president Woodruff and I met and embraced each other and Kissed each other in a very affectionate manner and I remarked he was the sweetest man I ever kissed. It thought in our embrace it was from the pure love of the Gospel.' Despite the homotactile dimension of this dream, Card was a polygamist who had no known homoerotic experiences." (p. 92)
--Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men--
" . . . [D]espite his well-earned reputation of emotional intimacy with women, Joseph Smith also shared love of similar intensity with young men. In the autumn of 1838, Smith stayed two weeks with the family of John W. Hess, who later wrote: 'I was a boy then about fourteen years old. He [Joseph Smith] used to take me up on his knee and caress me as he would a little child.' As a result, Hess wrote: 'I became very much attached to him, and learned to love him more dearly than any other person I ever met, my father and mother no excepted.'
Now, what was the Mormon Church saying about the "evil" of homosexuality? Perhaps they ought not to ask Joseph Smith.
"Even more profound was the lifelong effect of a three-week visit Smith made to the Taylor home in 1842, beginning on the nineteenth birthday of William Taylor (a younger brother of LDS president John Taylor). 'It is impossible for me to express my feelings in regard to this period of my life,' William Taylor began. 'I have never know the same joy and satisfaction in the companionship of any other person, man or woman, that I felt with him [Joseph Smith], the man who had conversed with the Almighty.' That was an extraordinary statement in view of Taylor's marriage at age twenty-two and his four subsequent plural marriages. Decades later, Taylor explained: 'Sometimes in our return home in the evening after we had been tramping around in the woods, he [Joseph Smith] would call out: "Here, mother, come David and Jonathan."'
"In that way Mormonism's founding prophet referred to the most famous male relationship in the Bible. David said of his boyhood mentor Jonathan: 'thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women' (2 Sam. 1:26). Jonathan and David already had wives when the two you men 'kissed one another and wept one with another' (20:41). Consistent with Smith's David-and-Jonathan reference to young Taylor, a Mormon woman described the Mormon prophet's last words to forty-two-year-old George W. Rosecrans as Smith was traveling to his certain death in Carthage Jail in June 1844: 'If I never see you again, or if I never come back, remember that I love you.'
"For more than a thousand years, David and Jonathan have been revered as sexual lovers by Jews and Christians who valued homoeroticism. However, because David was a teenage polygamist and Jonathan fathered at least one child, most Bible readers and scholars regard David and Jonathan as platonic (or nonerotic) lovers. Likewise, m any regard the Bible's Song of Solomon as spiritual allegory rather than sexual imagery.
"First Presidency counselor George Q. Cannon paraphrased David's expression of male-male love during a sermon on Utah Pioneer Day in 1881: 'Men may never have beheld each other's faces and yet they will love one another, and it is a love that is greater than the love of woman.' Cannon, like other nineteenth-century Americans, then emphasized the platonic dimension of this male-male love: 'It exceeds any sexual love that can be conceived of, and it is this love that has bound the [Mormon] people together.'" (pp. 112-13)
NG: I remember being completely gobsmacked when Decon first posted his historically factual essay about JS procuring abortions and frequenting prostitutes. Even as an ex-member I could not fathom such behaviour and I scarcely believed it at first. I felt even more outrage and compassion for the females caught up in his sphere.
Now today Steve posts about JS in bed with the boys, literally.
I don't necessarily care about men being with prostitutes (if both parties are willing and protected in all ways). I support freedom of choice in all arenas (subject to equality, justice, safety, etc). I uphold every citizen's right to equality in every area. I embrace the live and let live ideal. It wouldn't necessarily bother me if JS was gay or had homosexual relationships (if that is what Quinn is saying in the sources cited by Steve). What I do object to is the rampant inconsistency and hypocrisy evidenced in so much of JS's life. He took the approach of "do as I say, not as I do" to a new height. My appalled outrage is not about the abortions, prostitutes or male relationships, necessarily, but about the utter hypocrisy of the man. How does that not render his writings and his dogma and his church unworthy of respect and belief? The idea that God calls imperfect humans to be prophets doesn't cover the extent of Smith's despicable dealings.
I think it is vital that people continue to publicize the true character of the man. It surely must have a big impact on the church that he founded.
It still upsets me to read about the adultery, including with prostitutes, the nasty, painful, unsafe abortions, the lying, the cheating, the unfaithfulness, the oppression of women, manipulation of followers, breaking of laws and callous disregard for other people's lives, among other egregious behaviour over many years, by a so-called prophet of God who was "worthy" to apparently restore the so-called gospel. Sure, according to scripture God can work with imperfect people, but calling Joseph Smith imperfect is like saying bin Laden needs diplomacy lessons.
A post from November 2007 by lightfingerlouie (a poster I have enjoyed and greatly miss) says it all, as louie so often did in his eloquent and poignant style (and thanks, louie, for providing the sub line for my post):
lfl from 2007: 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.
"Dual images of church leaders" - another great louieism. That is exactly what I'm pondering today. The church projects an image. Many outsiders, especially ex-members, see something different. Talk about your great divide.
Take that literally please. Talk about it! Some of these points could well get members thinking. Funny how few seem to consider that the character of their founding prophet is of such importance. The Mormon Church is great at deflecting that point. Thanks to all those who bring it back into focus.
| Testimony of Mary Elizabeth Lightner
Remarks by Sister Mary E. Lightner [in 1905] who was sealed to Joseph Smith in 1842.
Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, p.1 - p.2
Much has come and gone from me through the powers and vicissitudes of this Church. I have been in almost every mob. I have been driven about and told I would be shot and had a gun pointed at me, but I stayed with the Church until it was driven from Nauvoo. The words of the Prophet that had been revealed to him always have been with me from the beginning to the end of the gospel. Every principle that has been given in the Church by the prophet is true. I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know and I know what I testify to you is the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah, it is true. And when you stand before the bar you will know. HE PREACHED POLYGAMY AND HE NOT ONLY PREACHED IT, BUT HE PRACTICED IT. I AM A LIVING WITNESS TO IT. IT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BEFORE HE GAVE IT TO THE CHURCH. AN ANGEL CAME TO HIM AND THE LAST TIME HE CAME WITH A DRAWN SWORD IN HIS HAND AND TOLD JOSEPH IF HE DID NOT GO INTO THAT PRINCIPLE, HE WOULD SLAY HIM. Joseph said he talked tohim soberly about it, and told him it was an abomination and quoted scripture to him. He said in the Book of Mormon it was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and they were to adhere to these things except the Lord speak. I am the first being that the revelation [DandC 132] was given to him for and I was one thousand miles away in Missouri, for we went up to Jackson County in 1841 .
Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, p.2 - p.3
The inability for TBMs to see what is right in front of them would be astounding to me if I had not lived it myself. The evidence of the many problems with both Mormon history and the Book of Mormon is myriad and well documented. People so easily explain away what they do not want to see.
| Doctrine and Covenants 132 gives specific parameters for when plural marriage is acceptable to the Lord:
- The consent of the previous wife must be sought
- The plural wives must be virgins
- The plural wives must be vowed to no one else
- A man's plural wives "are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth"
The Book of Mormon also specifies that the purpose of plural marriage is to raise up a seed to the Lord (i.e., have a lot of kids). Jacob 2:30
In practicing plural marriage, Joseph Smith:
Joseph Smith continuously violated the requirements for plural marriage that the Lord revealed in DandC 132. We also learn from the Doctrine and Covenants that the powers of the priesthood can only be exercised in righteousness.
- Frequently did not seek Emma's consent/hid his plural marriages from Emma
- On January 17, 1842, married Mary Elizabeth Rollins, who was several months pregnant (obviously not a virgin)
- Entered polyandrous marriages with the wives of other men
- Had no known children with his plural wives
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson–
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
How do you reconcile the claim that Joseph Smith continued to be a prophet until his death with his violating the commandments about plural marriage, which would have caused the Spirit of the Lord to withdraw from him and his priesthood authority to cease?
| It has to be recognized that it is nearly impossible to diagnose a dead person with a mental disorder with 100% accuracy. This will always remain speculative. But I have thought a lot about the question, and saved some old posts I made on the matter that I'll share again. Since this is a compilation of a couple of posts, there is some repetition.
I do believe there is some reason to believe that it is possible Joseph Smith had bipolar, although I do not believe the evidence is so overwhelming that anyone should feel compelled to believe as much. I think others have made a very persuasive case that JS did have some form of narcissism, although narcissism is part and parcel of bipolar mania. I think some of the narcissism was so extreme, liking having himself crowned "king", that it is more indicative of bipolar mania than simple narcissism. In addition, the fact that, while supposedly having to be forced to practice polygamy at sword-point, he married a high number of young women in a very short period of time could indicate the hyper-sexuality and poor decision making that is also hallmarks of bipolar mania. Moreover, his youngest son, David, appears to have suffered from severe bipolar to the point of being institutionalized. Bipolar is hereditary.
It is more challenging to find instances of depression that could indicate bipolar instead of a logical reaction to a depressing situation. This would be harder to prove in any historical figure, not just Joseph Smith, because a bipolar depressed individual normally is barely capable of movement, and often masks the depression as a physical illness - and they do feel physically ill. It's not just being down in the dumps, although some milder forms of bipolar could be described more in that fashion. So these people are fairly incapacitated, and aren't going to be engaged in the type of notable activities that would become historical footnotes, while manic behavior would. But I did analyze Joseph Smith's diaries and journals for any clues in that regard, and I think there are some. I put these together in previous posts I made on the subject and will share them here. BTW, my ex-husband and one of my sons suffer from bi-polar, so I sometimes refer to behavior I have seen in them, in comparison to JS.
In JS' own handwriting he recorded this:
"November 19th/AD 1833/ From the 13th untill this date nothing of note has transpired since the great sign in the heavins. This day my heart is somewhat sorrowfull but I feel to trust in the Lord the God of Jacob. I have learned in my travels that man is trecherous and selfish but few excepted." (From Faulring's An American Prophet's Records, page 14)
JS certainly had many critics, sometimes violent ones, but he was also surrounded by faithful supporters and family throughout his life. Certainly his mind was in a dark state the day he declared that man is "trecherous and selfish but few excepted". I remember very similar statements from both my exhusband and son during their dark periods. People with bipolar depression tend to catastrophize and exaggerate, so while a non bipolar depressed individual would be able to recognize that yes, he/she is currently having a rough time and may have been mistreated by someone, there have been other faithful friends and family around to help out, a person in a depressed bipolar state begins to see the entire world as a dark and threatening place, and appears incapable of remembering or recognizing evidence that shows there have always been some people who support and love that individual. So a person with bipolar would be very inclined to make generalizations such as "man is treacherous and selfish but few excepted".
And yes, of course, human beings feel depressed when things go badly. But most human beings also do not claim to be visited by heavenly beings, to hear the voice of the Lord, to see angels, crown themselves king, run for president, and marry thirty odd women. We have to look at these evidences in the context of his other behavior.
I read Scott Faulring's An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith. Most of it was dreadfully boring, as most journals/diaries are, but I was taking notes of events/statements that could be indicative of either bipolar mania or depression.
Of course, I will state one more time, that this will always remain purely speculative. We are talking about a dead man, and have no access to his friends or families to clarify these questions. But it's still interesting, although speculative.
Some of the earlier records were actually written by JS himself. These tended to be more revealing in terms of possible depression. This makes sense - writing by oneself gives a feeling of intimacy and privacy that is no longer present when dictating to a scribe. Once scribes became involved, possible evidence of depression became more indirect. For example, noting periods of illness with vague or no symptoms listed. In my personal experience, it is quite common for sufferers of bipolar to attribute their inability to function during depressions to vague illnesses. Of course, why would they even try to explain what's going on in their heads to a third party?
So, in my opinion, the best evidence of possible bipolar depression comes from the early records, written by JS himself.
"November 19th/AD 1833/ From the 13th untill this date nothing of note has transpired since the great sign in the heavins. This day my heart is somewhat sorrowfull but I feel to trust in the Lord the God of Jacob. I have learned in my travels that man is trecherous and selfish but few excepted." (From Faulring's An American Prophet's Records, page 14)
Here JS actually tells us nothing of note has transpired, so there is no circumstantial trigger for depression.
"November 28th  This day I have spent in reading and writing. This evening my mind is calm and serene for which I thank the Lord.
December 4th This day I have been unwell and done but little, been at home all day. Regulated some things this Evening. I feel better in my mind than I have for a few days back. Oh Lord deliver thy servent out of temptations and fill his heart with wisdom and understanding." (both page 10)
Here are the entries between these two entries, both of which indicate depression.
November 29th This day I road from Kirtland to Chardon to see my Sister Sophronia and also called to see my Sister Catherine and found them well.
This evening Brother Frederick G. Williams Prophecyed that next spring I should go to the city of Pittsburg to etablish a Bishopwrick and within one year I should go to the city of New York. The Lord spare the life of they servent. Amen.
November 30th 1830 [editor corrected to 1832] This day returned home to Kirland and found all well to the joy and satisfaction of my soul. On my return home stopped at Mr. King's and bore testimony to him and Family andc.
December 1th I bore testimony to Mr. Gilmore/ I wrote and corrected revelations andc.
December 2th The Sabath, I went to meeting andc
December 3rd Ordained Brother Packherd with my own hands. Also Brother Umfiry [Humphery who] came to see me from the East and braught news from Brother Lyman Johnson and Orson Pratt, andc
Also held a conference in the Evening. Brothers Jesse Gause and Mormon and William McLellen was excommunicated from the Church andc
Once again, no circumstantial trigger.
I also noted statements or events that could be indicative of mania. One could argue that claiming to be a prophet who saw God Himself and continued to communicate with heavenly beings constitutes constant grandiosity, so I was looking for statements that seemed extreme even under that circumstance. Here are some of the more notable:
Feb 25, 1843
I am a Lawyer. I am big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth, and hell to bring forth knowledge which shall cover up all Lawyers and doctors. This is the doctrine of the Constitution so help me God. (page 313)
March 4, 1843
I wish you had my soul long enough to know how good it feels. It is expedience when you strike at an enemy, strike the most deadly blow possible. (326)
June 30, 1843
Joseph commenced a lecture on the stand to many thousands by How do you do? I meet you with a heart full of gratitude to Almighty God. I am well, healthy, [and] strong as a giant. While I was on the road I pulled up the strongest man. Then they got 2 men and they could not pull me up. I have pulled mentally till I have pulled Missouri here. (389)
I wish the Lawyer who say we have no powers in Nauvoo may be choked to death with his own words. Don't employ any Lawyers for their knowledge for I know more [than] they all. (390)
Ran for president Jan 1844
March 1844 The Council of Fifty- having himself crowned "King"
Another interesting element is the pattern of his plural marriages. Although JS married women at a frequent pace from 1841 on, there were periods when his marrying escalated, and when it involved younger women in particular, which could lead to the speculation that it was most likely connected with sexual desire.
One of these periods coincides with several of the above grandiose statements - March-spring 1843. The other period was early summer of 1842. I noted some of his records from August 1842 as possibly being manic as well, due to his effusive praise of his friends and family members. For example:
"Blessed is Brother Erastus H. Derby, and he shall be blessed of the Lord. He possesses a sober mind, and a faithful heart. The snares therefore that are subsequent to befall other men, who are treacherous and rotten-hearted, shall not come nigh to his doors, but shall be far from the path of his feet. He loveth wisdom, and shall be found possessed of her. Let there be a crown of glory, and a diadem upon his head. Let the light of eternal Truth shine forth upon his understanding, let his name be had in remembrance, let the blessings of Jehovah be crowned upon his posterity after him, for he rendereth me consolation, in the lonely places of my retreat. (246)
He went on to talk at length about his family members, how noble, virtuous, and pure they are, as well as lavishly praising other friends in the church.
Now, admittedly none of this "nails" the case, but it is evidence that I think should be considered.
Lawrence Foster also believes that there is evidence JS may have suffered from bipolar, and states that there have been six descendants of JS who have been diagnosed with the disorder, as well. Here's a link to his comments:
You have to scroll down to get to his comments.
| Though not as well documented as the Kinderhook Plate debacle, Joseph Smith once again reveals he is a charlatan with the Greek Psalter incident.
"He led the way to his house, accompanied by many elders, preachers, and other Mormon dignitaries. On entering the house, chairs were provided for the prophet and myself, while the curious and gaping spectators remained standing. I handed the book to the prophet, and begged him to explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be a Greek Psalter; but that I should like to hear his opinion. "No he said; "it ain't Greek at all, except, perhaps, a few words. What ain't Greek, is Egyptian; and what ain't Egyptian, is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said: Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics; and them which follows, is the interpretation of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates." Upon this, the Mormons around began to congratulate me on the informationI was receiving. "There," they said; "we told you so -- we told you that our prophet would give you satisfaction. None but our prophet can explain these mysteries." The prophet now turned to me, and said, "This book ain't of no use to you, you don't understand it." "Oh yes," I replied; "it is of some use; for if I were in want of money, I could sell it for something handsome."
...Having exhibited the book to the prophet, I requested him in return to show me his papyrus, and to give me his own explanation, which I had hitherto received only at second hand. He proceeded with me to his office, accompanied by the multitude. He produced the glass frames which I had seen on the previous day; but he did not appear very forward to explain the figures. I pointed to a particular hieroglyphic, and requested him to expound its meaning. No answer being returned, I looked up, and behold! the prophet had disappeared. The Mormons told me that he had just stepped out, and would probably soon return. I waited some time, but in vain..."
| This year I found out that the LDS version of the Bible, really needs to bluntly be called the Joseph Smith Version, rather than the King James Version.
I remember very clearly back in High School, when we were studying the Old Testament in Seminary, and we came across Genesis. Genesis Chapter 50:33, to be exact.
"Verse 33: 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; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation."
I will never forget how I thought this proof of Joseph Smith's coming as a prophet, was some of the most profound evidence I had come across that the LDS church WAS the true church. For this proof to be in an ancient book completely seperate from the BoM, it was just another piece of information to help strengthen my testimony. I remember how my seminary teacher went on and on for almost an entire lesson, regarding the importance of this verse, and what it truly meant. We were so "blessed" to be a part of this true church in the Latter Days...
In February of this year, my older RM TBM brother sent me a private message on FB. In this message was a link on how Latter-Day Saints used to pay their tithing with slaves, sometimes, during the time of Brigham Young. I was so disgusted by this information, I had to see if this was really true. It was, and one thing after another came out of hiding regarding the true history of the church. I was thinking, there has to be something that can refute everything that I am finding, but the further I searched the more damning the evidence became. Nothing was able to pull it back out into the light. In fact, LDS church history just kept crawling deeper and deeper into a dark pit of lies, disgust, fraud, brainwashing, and deceit. When I found out that Joseph had made lots of changes to the Bible, that really piqued my interest. I remembered that "wonderful" prophecy of Joseph Smith's coming to save us all during the latter-days. So I decided to look it up in my scriptures that I have had since I was baptized. I compared that verse with online versions of KJV. This is what I found:
Everywhere that I look, Genesis Chapter 50 stops at Verse 26, not verse 38. The prophecy of Joseph Smith's coming isn't even there!
I did find an LDS site that shows the changes that he made compared with the original KJV, but you really have to be looking. It is kind of interesting to see what changes JS did make, if you have the time. Here is the link for that:
I guess I am just wondering if this prophetic verse was pushed on anyone else? When you found out the truth, how did you feel? For me, I think that this was the final nail in the coffin, before I told my family that I would no longer take part in any church activities. It was the final straw on an already towering mountain of excrement.
| ""In an affidavit signed by Issac Hale and published in the Susquehanna Register, May 1, 1834, Joseph’s own father-in-law said:
"I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called ‘money diggers’; and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by what means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure."
Also, testimony of Smith family neighbor and friend of Joseph Smith, Peter Ingersoll:
"In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife's household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was."
"When we arrived at Mr. Hale's, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: "You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money -- pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.""
"Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones."
"Joseph told me on his return, that he intended to keep the promise which he had made to his father-in-law; "but," said he, "it will be hard for me, for they will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone for them to dig money." And in fact it was as he predicted. They urged him, day after day, to resume his old practice of looking in the stone."
- Peter Ingersoll Affidavit, Palmyra, Wayne County. N. Y. Dec. 2, 1833,""
I don't think these testimonies can be easily dismissed. These people are not Ex-Mormons, but in fact are two people that knew Joseph Smith before the Mormon Church was even organized on April 6, 1830. One of these witnesses is Emma's own father... Issac Hale. I think these affidavits speak volumes of about the real corrupt character of Joseph Smith.
| Doesn't her song Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves describe Joseph Smith and his family?
Joseph as the village seer
Brant Gardner clarifies the role that Joseph and his stone played within the community of Palmyra,
Young Joseph Smith was a member of a specialized sub-community with ties to these very old and very respected practices, though by the early 1800s they were respected only by a marginalized segment of society. He exhibited a talent parallel to others in similar communities. Even in Palmyra he was not unique. In D. Michael Quinn's words: "Until the Book of Mormon thrust young Smith into prominence, Palmyra's most notable seer was Sally Chase, who used a greenish-colored stone. William Stafford also had a seer stone, and Joshua Stafford had a 'peepstone which looked like white marble and had a hole through the center.'"  Richard Bushman adds Chauncy Hart, and an unnamed man in Susquehanna County, both of whom had stones with which they found lost objects.  [1
During his tenure as a "village seer," Joseph acquired several seer stones. Joseph first used a neighbor's seer stone (probably that belonging to Palmyra seer Sally Chase, on the balance of historical evidence, though there are other possibilities) to discover the location of a brown, baby's foot-shaped stone. The vision of this stone likely occurred in about 1819–1820, and he obtained his first seer stone in about 1821–1822
| Oliver Huntington promised by JS that he would preach to the inhabitants of the moon.
"Nearly all the great discoveries of men in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a Prophet.
(The Young Woman's Journal, published by the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Associations of Zion, 1892, vol. 3, pp. 263-64)
"As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do -- that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years.
"He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.
"In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes."
Just another example of how people believed JS no matter how outrageous his claims were.
What do apologists say to this?
Steven Gibson seems to have come up with a wonderful explanation:
"Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere."
Yes, he published this.
| Mar 16, 1842 - Joseph Smith is raised to the office of Fellow Craft Mason and then to Master Mason one day after being initiated into the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge as an Entered Apprentice Mason. He writes in his journal: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree."
Tuesday, 15.-I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office...
Wednesday, March 16.-I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree.
-Joseph Smith. Diary. History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vol. 4, Ch. 32.
Less than two months later, on May 4, 1842, Joseph introduced the temple endowment ceremony (History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 1-2).
| For well over a century, few were aware of the unsavory facts about and surrounding JSJr and the founding years of Mormonism (1820-1844). Few people had access to the multi-volume History of the Church and Journal of Discourses or contemporary news articles, much less the diaries, journals, and correspondences of the contemporaries and associates of JSJr. Locating what one might be looking for in those multi-volume sets took hours and hours, and so questions that might not justify more than a quick perusal went unanswered.
The LDS Church had, in many ways, a blank canvas on which to paint a portrait of JSJr as was expedient. And paint in rather broad brush strokes it did, many contrary to what actually took place and the Church historians knew better.
The stone in the crown of the hat as the chief method of translating the Book of Mormon is an example. It is funny and quite contrary to the portrayals shoveled out of Salt Lake City. My hat's off to the South Park guys for exposing and making it damned hilarious (pun intended). More than how hokey that one example is (and did I say it really is funny?), that example points up how insidious the white washing of JSJr by Salt Lake City is.
TBMs that are still caught up in the Salt Lake City mythology about JSJr take offense at the stone in the hat, and challenges to the claim of martyrdom even though the term does not fit the facts.
As generations of lesser technologies pass in their stout allegiance to the myth, new generations much more tech savvy are replacing them. Many elderly TBMs that saw DCP on the documentary attest to the fact that JSJr did in fact use the stone in the crown of a hat have resisted and find it heretical. Their children, and especially their grandchildren, go online or some other now-more-convenient source and verify from the diaries and writings of the scribes that such was the method.
The mopologists' chief tool has been greater access to primary and secondary sources about Mormonism than the critics. Will Schryver trying to parade around some special insights and access to the KEP and the Egyptian papyri, for example. Implicit is the notion that if those that disagree with him had the opportunity to see what he has seen with his eyes, hold in their hands what he has held in his hands (remind you of DCP's insistence in December of 2009 about the supposed 2nd Watson Letter?), then you would not disagree with Will but would agree with him. (However, that begs the question then given the LDS Church's mission and goal to spread the gospel, why not open these archived items up to all to see, so that more will become believers?)
Today the accessibility to information online, the same medium by which we are reading and posting on this 'message board', is blowing the lid off of this information. Like Pandora's Box, now that it is open, no one will ever be able to stuff this information back in and close the box so that the LDS Church can return to its mythology. Joseph Smith Jr is quickly catching up to Brigham Young as the number one liability of the LDS Church.
The canvas is no longer blank. No longer can the LDS Church deny with a straight face that JSJr engaged in polygyny, having sex with women other than his wife, Emma. Denials of JSJr's theocratic designs now sound tinny and hollow as information about the Council of Fifty and JSJr having himself annointed king of the world have leaked out. No longer do we have the innocent, almost naïve and young boy earnestly praying to god about which church to join. Records have been uncovered, and disseminated on the internet about his 1826 trial for 'glass looking for hire'. Now giant white toads and salamanders crawl around the magic rocks and treasure seeking that are the truth about the young JSJr. It is no longer just the realm of scholars that have the facts about KEP and circumstances that led to the generation of the BoAbr, the Kinderhook Plates fiasco or the Greek Psalter test performed by Rev Henry Caswall. We can now read the one and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, rather than simply hear what has turned outto be a false mantra repeated over and over that it was a yellow journalism rag, all filled with lies.
Historical facts have now painted a quite different portrait of JSJr than the one that the LDS Church imagined, white washed and promulgated to its members and the world for decades after decades. The historical facts have pushed mopologists into corners, leaving them only sarcasm and the politics of personal destruction against critics as their remaining tools.
The LDS Church needs to deep six the historical JSJr now that he has replaced the romanticized JSJr. The only way for the LDS Church to do so will be to move along and away from JSJr. The less talk of JSJr (and BY), the more the LDS Church will attract new members.
"These [critics] often claim to “expose” these minor events of Church history in a sensationalistic attempt to shock members of the Church with “hidden” revelations or “secret” accounts about various episodes in Church history."
Funny, I've never heard anyone claiming to "expose" this aspect of Joseph's death. They simply point out that it is hardly "martyrdom" or "going as a lamb to the slaughter" when you go out in a hail of bullets.
"They will often claim that the Church has kept this knowledge under wraps for fear that if it was generally known it would cause many members of the Church to immediately renounce their faith and result in the ruination of the Church."
Who claims that? Where? When? I call Strawman on this. Attempting to distract the issue from: Joseph had a GUN you morons! to: You're trying to "shock" me from my faith. Stupid argument but what can you expect from an apologist site?
"Regardless of that, critics have continued to press this issue and some members of the Church have really struggled with it. If Joseph Smith used a gun at Carthage Jail, the question becomes: was he a martyr or a coward?"
No, the question remains: "Was he a martyr?" -- the "coward" addendum is (you guessed it) a Strawman. Notice how they puff up his "bravery" because he didn't hide in a corner. Of course if he HAD hidden in a corner instead of shooting people with a gun that he wasn't supposed to have had it would have been a lot closer to the "lamb to a slaughter" claim that Mormons like so much.
The dishonesty hurts my brain. I should have turned away at "apologists". ;)
| In 1784 a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about his visions of the afterlife. His teachings were remarkably similar to what Joseph Smith later claimed to receive as revelation. For example, Swedenborg taught: "There are three heavens," described as "entirely distinct from each other." He called the highest heaven "the Celestial Kingdom," and stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the "sun, moon and stars." This directly parallels Joseph's vision on the degrees of glory as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76.
By Joseph Smith's own statements, he was familiar with Swedenborg's writings. Joseph told a convert by the name of Edward Hunter that:
"Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished." (Statement in 1839 by Joseph Smith to Edward Hunter, a Swedenborgian convert who later became the presiding bishop of the Church)
While Joseph clearly did not base all his theology on Swedenborg (there are several important differences), there are similarities to what Swedenborg wrote. The following table discusses some of these similarities:
(Heaven and Hell, chapter 5)
There are three heavens: the celestial, the spiritual, and the
natural. Those of a lower heaven are unable to see those in a higher
heaven. Furthermore, the celestial heaven has three divisions.
(Doctrine and Covenants, 76, 131:1)
There are three heavens: the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial
kingdoms. Those of a lower heaven are unable to see those in a higher
heaven. Furthermore, the celestial kingdom has three divisions.
(Conjugial Love, 20-21, 54(5), 155)
Swedenborg witnessed a marriage ceremony in heaven, in which the
husband wore priesthood robes like those of Aaron while the wife
was arrayed as a queen. Also, marriage between man and woman is
necessary to inherit the highest heaven.
(Doctrine and Covenants, 131:2)
LDS temple marriages are believed to carry over to heaven, and
involve clothing similar to what Swedenborg described. Also, marriage
between man and woman is necessary to inherit the highest degree
of the Celestial kingdom.
(Heaven and Hell, 421-422)
After dying, people enter a world of spirits that is nearly identical
to this one. Afterward, they inherit a degree of glory based on
how they lived while incarnate.
(Alma 12:24, 34:32-34, 40:21)
After dying, people go to the spirit world, which exists here on
this world. Afterward, they inherit a degree of glory based on how
they lived on the earth as well as in the spirit world.
(Heaven and Hell, 27, 35)
Societies of angels exist whose primary function is to communicate
between the kingdoms of heaven.
(Doctrine and Covenants, 76:86-88)
Angels are appointed to minister to lower kingdoms of heaven.
|Emanuel Swedenborg received his divine calling on April
6, 1744. One year later on April 6, 1745 the Lord appeared to him
(Doctrine and Covenants, 20:1)
The LDS church was established on April 6, 1830. It also teaches
that Jesus was born on April 6.
(Last Judgement, 33-39; True Christian Religion, 647)
The church established by Christ died spiritually due to apostasy
and false doctrines. The Lord's church would be re-established and
again act as a link with heaven.
(Joseph Smith History, 1:16)
The church established by Christ died spiritually due to apostasy
and false doctrines. The Lord's church was restored through Joseph
(True Christian Religion, 340-342, Heaven and Hell, 427)
One of the great errors of Christianity is justification by faith
alone. People will be judged for their actions as well.
Faith is meaningless without works. People will be judged for their
actions as well.
(Arcana Coelestia, vol. 1)
The creation and Garden of Eden stories are allegories of our spiritual
|The LDS counterpart to this idea is found in the temple
| The use of "Urim and Thummim" wasn't used until 1833, or three years after the Book of Mormon was published. The church dates this at 1829, but in the footnotes admits it was actually 1833. The Nephite interpreters were taken back when the supposed evil doers "stole" the lost 116 pages, leaving Joseph Smith with his seer stones (the brown and white ones) which he placed in his hat. The church claims he used the seer stones "for convenience" to translate the plates, as if to imply there were many tools available to him.
Brother Hyrum asked Joseph Smith to use the Urim and Thummim in 1843, which Joseph Smith claimed he didn't need, but it does put the Urim and Thummim in Joseph Smith's possession just before he died. Joseph Smith's seer stones are currently locked up in the LDS vault. To summarize, there never was a an Urim and Thummim... just the occult seer stones Joseph Smith used to see evil treasure guardians when he was a money digger.
| My family has started a new Smithmas eve tradition, somewhat like leaving cookies and milk out for Santa.
We place a glass of brandy out on the mantle in remembrance of Joseph Smith not accepting alcohol while a boy before his leg surgery. The children are left to wonder in amazement that it's still there, undrunk the next morning, looking every bit like the miracle it is.
This is, of course, followed by my drinking the brandy on Smithmas day in rememberance of the "bracer" he drank while in Carthage.
Ah, Smithmas. It's like Christmas and April Fools wrapped into one.
| He got the gun from John Fulmer
Originally Cyrus Wheelock was credited, and in recent years the Fullmer family has provided evidence that it was John Fullmer. However, it is likely that they both handed out guns to Joseph and Hyrum since they both apparently had one.
Here are two accounts:
This was a providential circumstance, as most other persons had been very rigidly searched. Joseph then handed the single barrel pistol which had been given him by John S. Fullmer, to his brother Hyrum, and said, "You may have use for this." Brother Hyrum observed, "I hate to use such things otto see them used." "So do I," said Joseph, "but we may have to, to defend ourselves;" upon this Hyrum took the pistol.
John Taylor, who became the third President of the Mormon Church, made these statements concerning the death of Joseph Smith:
"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.... I was sitting at one of the front windows of the jail, when I saw a number of men, with painted faces, coming around the corner of the jail, and aiming towards the stairs....
"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." (History of the Church, Vol. 7, p. 100, 102 and 103)
[Web-editor: For more information see Changing World, Like a Lamb?]
Scroll up to the header "two minutes in Jail"
As he struck the floor he exclaimed emphatically, "I am a dead man." Joseph looked towards him and responded, "Oh, dear brother Hyrum!" and opening the door two or three inches with his left hand, discharged one barrel of a six shooter (pistol) at random in the entry, from whence a ball grazed Hyrum's breast, and entering his throat passed into his head, while other muskets were aimed at him and some balls hit him.
Joseph continued snapping his revolver round the easing of the door into the space as before, three barrels of which missed fire, while Mr. Taylor with a walking stick stood by his side and knocked down the bayonets and muskets which were constantly discharging through the doorway, while I stood by him, ready to lend any assistance, with another stick, but could not come within striking distance without going directly before the muzzle of the guns.
When the revolver failed, we had no more firearms, and expected an immediate rush of the mob, and the doorway full of muskets, half way in the room, and no hope but instant death from within.
| Take a look at this - the only difference between the two is 180 years.
- Number of wives: Joseph Smith: 34, Warren Jeffs: 78
- Age of Youngest Wife: Joseph Smith: 14, Warren Jeffs: 12
- Other Men's Wives: Joseph Smith: 11, Warren Jeffs: 21
- Mother Daughter Pairs: Joseph Smith: 1, Warren Jeffs: 7
- Biological Sister Wives: Joseph Smith: 8, Warren Jeffs: 56
- Under age 18 Wives: Joseph Smith: 7, Warren Jeffs: 24
| I've often wondered where Smith got his descriptions of the afterlife as first described in Section 76 of the DandC.
In D. Michael Quinn's excellent book "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," he gives a very fascinating source of Smith's "revelations." Quinn offers an exhaustive examination of the sources for the 1832 DandC Section 76 "Vision" of the "three degrees of glory."
In fact, Smith's descripton of the "Celestial Kingdom" was not only a copy from earlier written works, but also VERY controversial to the Latter-Day Saints.
The diaries of Orson Pratt and John Murdock from the 1830's record their efforts to reassure members who questioned the 1832 vision of heaven. The two men described countless excommunications of Mormons, including branch presidents, who denounced "the degress of glory" as a "satanic revelation." Even Brigham Young had a hard time with it at first and described it as "a trial to many."
Why were Mormons choking on this idea of three heavens?
Quinn explains that it's because members correctly recognized it as coming from the occult. The only other sources of separate degrees in heaven came from occult writers during and before Smith's time.
For example, in 1784 a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a book about his visions of the afterlife. Swedenborg insisted: "There are three heavens," described as "entirely distinct from each other." He called the highest heaven "the Celestial Kingdom," and stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the "sun, moon and stars."
By Joseph Smith's own statements, he was familiar with Swedenborg's writtings. Smith told a convert by the name of Edward Hunter that "Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished." In other words, Smith liked Swedenborg's concepts of the afterlife, but criticized him for not profiting from them.
I was so fascinated by the connection that Quinn documented, that I bought a copy of Swedenborg's book myself from Amazon.com. It's called "Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders and was written way before Joseph Smith. Yet it describes the three Mormon degrees of glory to the tee, along with many other concepts including "the veil," "sprit prison," "celestial marriage," and more.
Not only does Quinn make a strong case that Smith knew all about Swedenborg's ideas, but he also shows that his book "Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders" was a book in Smith's hometown library since 1817. Quinn also writes that "Nine miles from Smith's farm, in 1826 the Canandaigua newspaper also advertised Swedenborg's book for sale. The bookstore offered Swedenborg's publications for as little as 37 cents."
If you ever want to know details about the Mormon afterlife, read Swedenborg's book. Smith liberally plagarized from it to come up with his DandC "visions" of the celestial, telestial and terrestrial kingdoms. But Swedenborg's works are definately the originals.
Nowhere have I said that Swedenborg was the first one to suggest three heavens in the afterlife. Yes, some early gnostics compared heaven to the trinity and suggested each figure in the godhead pertained to a level. That's not my point.
Anyone who has actually read Swedenborg's book "Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders will recognize that Smith plagarized many names and ideas. There's all kinds of parallels between the 1778 English translation of Swedenborg's book and Smith's preaching of the 1830s.
My point isn't that Swedenborg was the first to suggest three heavens, but that he was the true orgin of terminology that ended up in Mormonism.
For example, Swedenborg writes about:
- the "Celestial Kingdom"
- after death, all people go to a waiting place called "The Spirit World" divided into a "Spirit Prison" for the unbaptized and a "Paradise" for the baptized
- Angels from the Celestial Kingdom are naked except for a white robe/garment given to them by "The Lord" which shines and glimers (See the late-1830 "First Vision" description of Moroni)
- Sprits and angels are in human form and one can converse with them "as one man to another." No singing, wings or halos.
- The "Sprit World" is this earth, but we cannot see the spirits because of "the veil".
- Marriage exist only in the highest Celesital Kingdom.
Granted, Swedenborg's book is almost 500 pages and Smith did not plagarize the whole thing. But since Smith admitted to reading this work, it's likely Smith borrowed key concepts in order to come up with DandC Section 76.
There really is very little in Mormon scipture detailing the afterlife, wheras Swedenborg dedicated a whole book to it. There was plenty for Smith to take from for his purposes.
| Virtually Everything That Joseph Smith "Translated" Or "Received As Revelation From God" Can Be Easily Proven False |
Monday, Jan 28, 2013, at 12:09 PM
Original Author(s): Joesmithsleftteste
Topic: JOSEPH SMITH - SECTION 4 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Part I - Joseph Smith's translations
Joseph Smith claimed to have translated a number of books from ancient sources. These include The Book of Mormon, The Book of Abraham, The Kinderhook Plates, and The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. There are, unfortunately, many problems with all of the translations. Further, many of his revelations and prophecies were canonized at one point, only to be declared "spiritual teachings," at another, or they were changed from one publishing to the next.
The Book of Abraham
The papyri that Joseph Smith stated that he translated the Book of Abraham from were lost for many years, only to turn up in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1966. Both Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists were called in to verify that they were the same scrolls and to translate them. After evaluating them, Egyptologists from both groups announced that the scrolls were funerary scrolls that had nothing to do with the texts of The Book of Abraham, and are a copy of The Hor Book of Breathings, a funerary scroll (Wikipedia - Book of Abraham See also the link at the end of this paragraph for an LDS source confirming what they are.) The notes that announced what images in the facsimiles represented had nothing to do with the real meanings of the images. A few easily spotted errors include listing canopic jars as idolatrous gods (Facsimile 1, figures 5-8), and designating some clearly female characters as male (Facsimile 1 figures 2 and 4). Carrie was able to spot those two issues on her own - without looking anywhere else for information - based on college-level knowledge of costume history and mummification practices and techniques. Facsimile 2, Figure 7 also has an image of a fertility god with an enormous erection and lists it as being God sitting on his throne (Kay Burmingham, An American Fraud). To see for yourself what a true believing LDS Egyptologist says the papyri say, a complete translation of the Book of Abraham papyri (more correctly referred to as The Hor Book of Breathings), translated by BYU associate research professor from the department of ancient scripture at BYU, can be found here - Michael Rhodes' Translation of Book of Abraham Papyri
The Kinderhook Plates
Another example of Joseph Smith's false translation powers involves the Kinderhook plates. The Kinderhook plates were a set of plates made by people near Kinderhook, Illinois who intended to have Joseph Smith try to translate them so, after he claimed to translate them, they could expose him as a fraud. The plates were presented to Smith and he, as the forgers anticipated, pretended the ability to translate them, claiming that they were written by a righteous Jaredite (History of the Church Vol. 5). Ironically, it wasn't until years later that any of the forgers came forward with the truth about the plates and by that time, the plates were thought lost. However, one of the plates turned up in 1920 and scientific testing in 1980 proved that they were products of 19th century metalworking (LDS.org - 1981 Ensign - Kinderhook Plates). Why would any person with the slightest degree of inspiration declare that a deliberate hoax contained the writings of a righteous Jaredite?
The Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith claims that he translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates and the Book of Mormon is ".The most correct of any book on Earth," (Introduction, The Book of Mormon, 1981 edition). However, there are many parts of The Book of Mormon that are identical to the King James Version of the Bible. Some of these passages incorporate parts where the KJV translation of the Bible included the Italics to indicate where words were added that weren't in the Hebrew text, but necessary for smooth English comprehension. The Book of Mormon, despite the fact that those translation issues from Reformed Egyptian to English would be significantly different from Hebrew to English, has the exact same passages with the exact same wording. Some examples of this can be found in Mosiah 14 and Isaiah 53, both of which are word for word identical with the only difference being that the Book of Mormon text does not italicize and of the italicized words in the KJV.
Furthermore, when Joseph Smith created his translation of the Bible, he translated parts of the Bible differently than both the corresponding KJV texts and the Book of Mormon texts that are identical or very similar to the KJV. We find it impossible to understand how the "most correct book of any on Earth" could be wrong when a later translation of the Bible (written by the same man, with the same "prophetic inspiration") declares a different meaning for those verses. Either one book or the other translated the verses wrong and since both had the same translator, it would mean that the translator was a false prophet and both were wrong.
The Greek Psalters
There are also the incidents with the Greek Psalters, although they are less clearly documented and less relevant than the previously mentioned failures of translation (Henry Caswall, Mormonism and Its Author). They do, however, continue to establish a pattern of Joseph Smith proclaiming that he is able to translate things that A) He cannot translate and his attempts at doing so fail and, B) Aren't even what he claims they are.
Doctrine and Covenants and The Book of Commandments.
The Book of Commandments was the precursor to the Doctrine and Covenants. Many of the revelations made their way from the first book to the next without any noteworthy changes being made to them (The Book of Commandments doesn't typically use last names, whereas DandC does, but that really doesn't matter), but there were many changes that were made from one book to the next. The Book of Commandments chapter 4, which corresponds to DandC Section 5, has some changes that completely change the meaning of the section. Where TBoC 5, paragraph 2 indicates clearly that Joseph Smith's only gift will be to translate The Book of Mormon, the corresponding DandC 5:2-4 changes who the revelation is directed toward and implies that Joseph Smith will be granted other gifts than just translation. (Book of Commandments)
Beyond that, an entire 68 page portion of the Doctrine and Covenants was removed in 1921. The original DandC contained a section for Theology known as the Lectures on Faith. Even though these lectures were considered doctrine for nearly 100 years, they were eventually removed - likely due to the fact that they taught that God was a spirit and that God the Father and Jesus Christ made up the two members of the Godhead (DandC 1835 Edition, Lecture fifth of faith, Section V, Paragraph 2).
Joseph Smith created three canonical books of scripture and worked on translations for several other "holy" works, but every single one of them either contradicts another one, underwent doctrinal changes, or turned out to be completely fraudulent. By their fruits ye shall know them.
| I think an excellent topic would be the Greek Psalter incident of 4/19/1842. Reverend Caswall from England was teaching at a college in St Louis MO. He took an old family Greek Psalter to Nauvoo. He asked to see "the Prophet". According to Caswall, JSJr looked at it, and pronounced the Greek Psalter to be ancient Egyptian writings.
Hugh Nibley called Caswall's writing "most effective single contribution to antimormon literature" (Hugh Nibley, The Myth Makers (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1961), 193 reprinted in volume 11 of The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 11:304.
The first Mormon mention of it was 18 months later in the Times and Seasons, 9 (October 15, 1843): 364, 65 (no author attribution)
It will be recollected by some that a Mr. Caswell professing to be an Episcopal minister came to this city some twelve or eighteen months ago. He had with him an old munuscript [sic], professing to be ignorant of its contents, and came to Joseph Smith, as he said for the purpose of having it translated. Mr. Smith had a little conversation with him and treated him with civility but as the gentleman seemed very much afraid of his document, he declined having any thing to do with it.
Eight years after the fact, John Taylor verified the Caswall visit to Nauvoo. In 1850, in a debate in France, Taylor verified the Caswall visit that took place in 1842. "'Three Nights' Public Discussion between the Revds. C. W. Cleeve, James Robertson, and Philip Carter, and Elder John Taylor of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France" (Liverpool: John Taylor, 1850), 32
Concerning Mr. Caswall, I was at Nauvoo during the time of his visit. He came for the purpose of looking for evil. He was a wicked man, and associated with reprobates, mobocrats, and murderers. It is, I suppose, true that he was reverend gentleman; but it has been no uncommon thing with us to witness associations of this kind, nor for reverend gentlemen; so called, to be found leading on mobs to deeds of plunder and death. I saw Mr. Caswall in the printing office at Nauvoo; he had with him an old manuscript, and professed to be anxious to know what it was. I looked at it, and told him that I believed it was a Greek manuscript. In his book, he states that it was a Greek Psalter; but that none of the Mormons told him what it was. Herein is a falsehood, for I told him. Yet these are the men and books that we are to have our evidence from.
Neither the Times and Seasons account nor the John Taylor account took issue with any of Caswall's details and claims that JSJr proclaimed that the old Greek Psalter was in Egyptian, and when Caswall explained it as Greek, JSJr backpeddled that what's not in Greek is in Egyptian, "it is a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Neither Mormon account took Caswall to task for claiming that as the others assembled and continued looking at the Greek Psalter after Caswall explained to "the Prophet" and other Mormons what it really was, JSJr quietly sneaked out the back door.
But, as we've come to know from JSJr in early 1943 (post-Greek Psalter incident) he knew so little of the ancient Greek languages, JSJr did not know that he was placing inverted (upside down) hieratic characters to fill in missing portions of Facsimile 2 that only had hieroglyphs, as he was preparing the facsimiles for print in June 1843.
Nibley perhaps said it best, Caswall's writings are perhaps the "most effective single contribution to antimormon literature", as there was no refutation of the key points of Caswall's account that indicted "the Prophet".
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