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History of Joseph Smith ^ | 1853 | Lucy Mack Smith

Posted on 02/27/2012 7:17:40 AM PST by Graybeard58

Taken from chapter 13, the entire book is available at the link.

In chapter 13, Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the "prophet" Joseph Smith, is relating visions of her husband, Joseph. father of the "prophet".

I thought it was insightful into the life of Joe Jr. and how his father influenced his life and "visions".

The formatting is mine, the book as printed on line is a little hard to read, with so few paragraph breaks, parts of chapter 13 follow:

About this time my husband's mind became much excited upon the subject of religion; yet he would not subscribe to any particular system of faith, but contended for the ancient order, as established by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Apostles.

One night my husband retired to his bed in a very thoughtful state of mind, contemplating the situation of the Christian religion, or the confusion and discord that were extant. He soon fell into a sleep, and before waking had the following vision, which I shall relate in his own words, just as he told it to me the next morning:

"I seemed to be traveling in an open, barren field, and as I was traveling, I turned my eyes towards the east, the west, the north and the south, but could see nothing save dead, fallen timber. Not a vestige of life, either animal or vegetable, could be seen; besides, to render the scene still more dreary, the most death-like silence prevailed, no sound of anything animate could be heard in all the field.

I was alone in this gloomy desert, with the exception of an attendant spirit, who kept constantly by my side. Of him I inquired the meaning of what I saw, and why I was thus traveling in such a dismal place. He answered thus:

'This field is the world, which now lieth inanimate and dumb, in regard to the true religion, or plan of salvation; but travel on, and by the wayside you will find on a certain log a box, the contents of which, if you eat thereof, will make you wise, and give unto you wisdom and understanding.'

I carefully observed what was told me by my guide, and proceeding a short distance, I came to the box. I immediately took it up, and placed it under my left arm; then with eagerness I raised the lid, and began to taste of its contents; upon which all manner of beasts, horned cattle, and roaring animals, rose up on every side in the most threatening manner possible, tearing the earth, tossing their horns, and bellowing most terrifically all around me, and they finally came so close upon me, that I was compelled to drop the box and fly for my life. Yet, in the midst of all this I was perfectly happy, though I awoke trembling."

From this forward, my husband seemed more confirmed than ever in the opinion that there was no order or class of religionists that knew any more concerning the Kingdom of God than those of the world, or such as made no profession of religion whatever.

In 1811, we moved from Royalton, Vermont, to the town of Lebanon, New Hampshire. Soon after arriving here, my husband received another very singular vision, which I will relate:

"I thought," said he, "I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing, before I went any farther. So I asked myself, 'What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?'

My guide, who was by my side, as before, said, 'This is the desolate world; but travel on.' The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it; for, said I to myself, 'Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and strait is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that go in thereat.'

Traveling a short distance further, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream, I could see neither the source nor yet the mouth; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter.

I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so, the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.'

Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating and praising God for this blessing.. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our Joy could not easily be expressed.

While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were all filled with people, who were very finely dressed.

When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded. I presently turned to my guide and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious.

He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. 'No,' he replied, 'look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.' Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off.

I immediately went to them, and brought them to the tree; upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The more we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees and scooped it up, eating it by double handfuls.

After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, 'It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility.' I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy."

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: inman; mormon
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1 posted on 02/27/2012 7:17:44 AM PST by Graybeard58
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To: Graybeard58
Yawn! Until the admirerers of this stone reading, child molesting, embezzling, adulterer explain his disgusting behavior while on earth, I cannot hold him in any kind of awe since he's leading 10s of thousands, if not millions, of followers straight to hell.
2 posted on 02/27/2012 7:28:20 AM PST by laweeks
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To: laweeks

I’m with you.... not buying it for a second. but there is a payback coming.

3 posted on 02/27/2012 7:37:14 AM PST by SERE_DOC ( “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” Tho)
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To: Graybeard58

So mental illness ran in the family?

4 posted on 02/27/2012 7:39:19 AM PST by T Minus Four
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To: laweeks

The guy started out as a run of the mill con-artist,then he refined his game.

5 posted on 02/27/2012 7:40:15 AM PST by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Graybeard58

Interesting that the first vision played out like the Fall of Man and the second vision played out as man’s salvation with son Smith taking the path of the first vision.

6 posted on 02/27/2012 7:42:32 AM PST by randog (Tap into America!)
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To: Graybeard58

We had a man in our neighborhood (passed on about 15 yrs ago or so) that proudly told everyone that God had told him that he was going to be one of the two prophets of the end time, that are slain and rise again. He passed that ‘spirit’ on to a couple of his sons, for they had the same ‘we’re superspiritual’ attitude about them.

Pride and Christianity don’t mix, just like oil and water. The average soul can usually see that. It’s the ones that don’t that become easily duped.

7 posted on 02/27/2012 7:53:17 AM PST by Zuriel (Acts 2:38,39....nearly 2,000 years and still working today!)
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To: Graybeard58

I have never been able to decide if he was mentally ill in addition to being one of the world’s greatest religious con artists. Gerald Gardner, Jim Jones and Aleister Crowley had no game compared to this man. Muhammad is the only person who surpassed his influence and con game.

8 posted on 02/27/2012 7:56:49 AM PST by dog breath
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To: Graybeard58

God created man thousands of years ago. Said nothing about mormons in the Bible. The Bible explains that the road to Heaven is thru Jesus. And then a guy in the US comes along and starts a new religion. Why would anyone believe him over the Bible?

9 posted on 02/27/2012 8:17:16 AM PST by Ecliptic
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To: Graybeard58

You would think that Utah, whose population is between 2/3 to 3/4 LDS depending on who you ask, should be one of our most peaceful, family oriented states in America, with such a preponderance of pious people in it.

Think Again...

UTAH’S 1998-2008 REVIEW (see below):

In 2005, Utah had 32,203 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 21,052 reports were referred for investigation. 7
In 2005, 8,173 children were substantiated or indicated as abused or neglected in Utah, a rate of 17.7 per 1,000 children, and representing a 3.4% decrease from 2004. Of these children, 20.7% were neglected, 14.7% were physically abused, and 19.3% were sexually abused. 8
In 2005, 10 children died as a result of abuse or neglect in Utah. 9
In 2005, 2,285 children in Utah lived apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared with 2,108 children in 2004. In 2005, 22.5% of the children living apart from their families were age 5 or younger, and 27.4% were 16 or older. 10
Of the children in out-of-home care in 2005, 63.5% were white, 4.7% black, 22.5% Hispanic, 5.7% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 3.5% children of other races and ethnicities. 11
Divorces per 1,000 Population Utah-4.60 MA-2.40 NY -3.20 NJ-3.0

Murder per 100,000 Pop. Utah-3.90 NH-1.70 IO-1.70 ND-0.90

Rape per 100,000 Pop. Utah-42.70 NY -23.70 CA-33.40 VA-27.20

*Source US Census Bureau

Antidepressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average. Other states with high antidepressant use were Maine and Oregon. Utah’s rate of antidepressant use was twice the rate of California and nearly three times the rates in New York and New Jersey, the study showed. Few here question the veracity of the study, which was a tabulation of prescription orders, said Dr. Curtis Canning, president of the Utah Psychiatric Assn. “In the LDS church, there is a social expectation and women suppression with the males dominating the females who are expected to put on a mask, say ‘Yes’ to everything that comes at her and hide the misery and pain. It’s called the ‘Mother of Zion’ syndrome. The study did not break down drug use by sex. But according to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, about twice as many women as men suffer from depressive disorders.

Discussion of the issue inevitably falls along Utah’s traditional fault lines. Some suggest that Utah’s unique Mormon culture—70% of the state’s population belongs to the church—requires perfection and the public presentation of a happy face, whatever may be happening privately. The argument goes that women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are beset by particular pressures and are not encouraged to acknowledge their struggles or suppression. “Look around, you can easily find people who take them. I think it’s the cultural environment,” said Helen Wright, whose three grown children also take antidepressants. “Most men here would just as soon their wives take pills than bother to delve into the problems, and maybe find out they might have something to do with the problems.” Utah also leads the nation in the use of narcotic painkillers such as codeine and morphine-based drugs, the study found. “It’s like HappyValley here,” Cindy Mann said, describing the SaltLakeValley. “It’s a scary place sometimes. People don’t talk about their problems. Everything is always rosy. That’s how we got ourselves into this mess—we’re good at ignoring things.”

Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 23, 1998—A9

FBI Report: Crime Falls Nationally, But Climbs Again in Utah

As the nation celebrates a six-year decrease in serious crime, Utah’s crime rate went up—again.

An FBI report released Sunday showed that serious violent and property crimes went down 3 percent nationally. But crime in Utah went up 3.8 percent in 1997, continuing a four-year-trend.

Not only is the state’s crime rate climbing, but more Utahns on average are victims of crime.

Nationally, an average of 4,923 out of 100,000 are affected by crime. In Utah, the number is 5,661 people— 13 percent higher than the national rate.

Utah was one of 15 states whose crime rates increased in 1997.

Florida had the highest rate at 7,272 crimes per 100,000 people. West Virginia was lowest with 2,469 crimes per 100,000 people. . .

In Salt lake City, 11,969 people out of 100,000 were victims of crime in 1997. . .

Report details scope of home violence
Utah’s rate of females murdered by males tops the national average

Salt lake Tribune, Feb 17, 2004
“...The 2004 Utah Domestic Violence Annual Report, created by the state Domestic Violence Cabinet Council...In 2001, the report notes, Utah’s rate of females murdered by males in one-on-one incidents was 23% higher than the corresponding national rate.”

Utah: Salt Lake City

Nearly half of the 131 women killed between 1994 and 1999 in Utah were slain by husbands or boyfriends, according to a report released by state health department officials. They urged judges, prosecutors and clergy to pay more attention to the signs of domestic violence and to intervene before it escalates. USA Today

The New York Times clearly illustrates a recurring problem within the Mormon Church–child abuse. Child abuse is consistently higher in Utah than in the nation as a whole. It is a blight on Mormonism. Utah social workers have been quoted as being “blackly pessimistic” about the problem in their state.

All of this flies in the face of the projected image of Mormonism as a society which places the family at the highest level of its concern.

Of course Mormon authorities love children and want what’s best for them. The failure of Mormonism stems from its hidebound structure. This is the religion of polygamy, patriarchy, and Blood Atonement. Such a culture simply doesn’t have the ability to wave a wand of psychobabble over the Church and make everything right. Mormon social problems are systemic.

One of the worst areas of offense in Mormonism is uncovered in the following article. This story is repeated over and over again as the good old boys have their way with women and children in the ashes of Brigham Young’s Mormonism

Sex Abuse Lawsuit Is Settled By Mormons for $3 Million

By Gustav Niebuhr
New York Times Sep. 5, 2001, A-14

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disclosed yesterday that it would pay $3 million to settle a suit by an Oregon man who said he was sexually abused as a child by a church member. The suit said Mormon officials had known well in advance of that abuse that the accused man had also faced child molesting allegations before.

The case is unusual not only because the church disclosed the amount of the settlement, in advance of news conferences by the plaintiffs’ lawyers today, but also because it centers on alleged abuse by a man who held no ministerial or leadership role. That man died in 1995.

In an interview, Von G. Keetch, a Salt Lake City lawyer representing the church, said it strongly believed that the case ‘’lacked merit’’ and had settled only out of concern that the litigation, already a decade old, could continue for years more, at high cost.

Mr. Keetch said the decision was made after a number of rulings against the church by a county judge presiding over the case in Portland. Among the rulings were that the church could be held liable for the conduct of one member against another, and that the plaintiff could argue that the abuser was a clergyman because he held the title of high priest, which the church describes as a common lay designation.

The settlement follows by two weeks the disclosure of another settlement by a religious institution in a sexual abuse case. In that instance, two Roman Catholic dioceses in Southern California said they had paid $5.2 million to a man who maintained that as a high school student a decade ago, he was molested by a priest.

The Oregon suit was filed in December 1998 by a Portland man, Jeremiah Scott, who eventually sought $1.5 billion in damages from the church. He accused its authorities of withholding knowledge from his family that another member, Franklyn Curtis, had previously been accused of molesting children.

His lawyer, David Slader, said Mr. Scott was abused in 1991, the year he turned 11, after his mother invited Mr. Curtis to live with the family. Mr. Curtis, who was 88 and had been living in a group home, was a member of the same congregation as the Scotts.

Before bringing Mr. Curtis into her home, Mr. Slader said, Mrs. Scott sought advice from a local Mormon bishop, who advised the family against it because it would be too much work, but who did not inform them of the earlier accusations.

Mr. Slader noted that Mr. Curtis had been previously excommunicated after being accused of molesting children. But when he came to live with the Scotts, his membership had been restored and he held the title of high priest. He had not been criminally charged with abuse at that point, but later pleaded guilty to molesting Mr. Scott, Mr. Slader said.

‘’It’s the institution that knew,’’ Mr. Slader said, referring to church authorities. ‘’A church,’’ he added, ‘’owes a very, very special and high duty to the children of its parishioners, the children whose souls it has taken responsibility for.’’

Mr. Keetch, the lawyer for the church, quoted the bishop who advised the Scotts as saying in a deposition that he had known of no abuse accusations against Mr. Curtis. Mr. Keetch said Mr. Curtis had been excommunicated in the 1980’s in Pennsylvania, where he lived before moving back to Oregon. The decision to excommunicate, Mr. Keetch said, followed another Oregon bishop’s notifying church authorities in Pennsylvania that Mr. Curtis had been accused of having ‘’inappropriately touched a child’’ in an Oregon congregation different from the one where he and the Scotts were later members together. To have excommunicated Mr. Curtis over his conduct would indicate it WAS a serious offense and that it was known to the church who keep meticulous records on every member.

Mr. Curtis was readmitted to membership ‘’after a fairly lengthy period of repentance,’’ Mr. Keetch said, but never had any supervisory position over Mr. Scott and in fact had no leadership position at all. According to the church, the title of high priest is bestowed on Mormon men in good standing over the age of 40.

Mr. Keetch said he believed there was ‘’no church that does more either to protect children or to provide assistance to children’’ who have been abused.— This is a TOTAL LIE! The LDS leadership as the attitude that “right or wrong we have the final say” as quoted by Oscar McKonkie Jr. attorney for Gordon Hinckley and that women and children have no rights –as indicative by the belief and current practice of polygamy and polygamous sealings in the LDS temples of men to multiple wives in cases of divorce or death.

Utah Rape Statistics—2003

Rape Crime in Utah Well Above National Average

A federal report shows that one in five adult women in Utah—or a total of 157,000 women in the state—has been forcibly raped at least once in her lifetime. The report comes from the South Carolina-based National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, giving Utah the top spot in the continental United States for its estimated percentage of rape victims. “Our findings clearly demonstrate the fact that Utah has a substantial rape problem,” said the report from the research group, which was established and is partly funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I was shocked to see this,” said Jamee Roberts, executive director of the Salt Lake City-based RapeRecoveryCenter. “I knew we were bad; I had no idea we were this bad. We should be hanging our heads in shame.” She added that the numbers are reliable and can be trusted. Only Alaska (20.9% of its women raped versus 20.6% in Utah compared to 13.4% of all women nationally) has a higher rate in the United States. The estimates are said to be conservative because they do not include the cases of women who have experienced attempted rape; rapes where the women were unconscious or impaired by drugs or alcohol; or statutory rape where there was no force. (Salt LakeTribune, 7/12/03)

Utah has highest rate of “Food Insecurity”
Child poverty rate up
Utah leads nation in bankruptcy

Excerpted from:
Salt LakeTribune
11-24-03 B1

“Job growth reported in media, but where is it? Utahns wonder”

According to the Utah Department of Agriculture, Utah has the highest rate of “food insecurity”–a measure that reports the number of people who worry where there next meal is coming from–in the nation.

The US Census Bureau reports that the overall poverty rate in Utah jumped 1.1 percent between 2001 and 2002. Utah was one of eight states the Census Bureau found had a “significant change” in its poverty rate.

Movement of the state’s child poverty rate was even more staggering. In 2002, Utah’s child poverty rate jumped 4.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau. Only Massachusetts had a more dramatic increase in the number of children living in poverty…

Utah’s foreclosure rate is almost double that of the national average. The only alternative [for some people] to save their home is] filing for bankruptcy–another inauspicious category in which Utah leads the nation.

Utah is No 1 in Mortgage Fraud!

Utah has dismal rate of mortgage fraud. SLC is ranked No. 1 in early payment defaults

A company that monitors mortgage fraud activity nationwide has ranked the Salt Lake City metropolitan area as the worst in the country for potentially fraudulent home loans in default.

More than a third of the software programs installed in Utah homes and businesses are illegal copies, providing the state with the highest piracy rate in the country, a new study shows.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 USA Today

Utah:Salt Lake City – Sate officials said that domestic violence cases are climbing in Utah, unlike those in the nation overall. A U.S. Justice Department report showed that domestic violence against women in the USA fell by 41% between 1993 and 1999. Nearly 5,000 women and children stayed at Utah shelters last year, a 32% hike from 1999, according the Division of Child and Family Services.

Utah’s Children At a Glance

State Population 1 2,550,063
Population, Children Under 18 2 742,556
State Poverty Rate 3 9.3%
Poverty Rate, Children Under 18 4 12.6%
Poverty Rate, Children Ages 5-17 5 11.5%
Poverty Rate, Children Under 5 6 13.8%
All statistics are for 2006.

In 2005, Utah had 32,203 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 21,052 reports were referred for investigation. 7
In 2005, 8,173 children were substantiated or indicated as abused or neglected in Utah, a rate of 17.7 per 1,000 children, and representing a 3.4% decrease from 2004. Of these children, 20.7% were neglected, 14.7% were physically abused, and 19.3% were sexually abused. 8
In 2005, 10 children died as a result of abuse or neglect in Utah. 9
In 2005, 2,285 children in Utah lived apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared with 2,108 children in 2004. In 2005, 22.5% of the children living apart from their families were age 5 or younger, and 27.4% were 16 or older. 10
Of the children in out-of-home care in 2005, 63.5% were white, 4.7% black, 22.5% Hispanic, 5.7% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 3.5% children of other races and ethnicities.

10 posted on 02/27/2012 8:25:32 AM PST by AnTiw1
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To: AnTiw1

And before anyone thinks that it’s the “gentile” minority who are ruining this utopia for all the Mormons, I learned recently that the Utah children in out-of-home care (foster, kinship and group homes) reflect the population of mormons vs non-mormons.

I suspect the same is true for any other crime, mental illness and divorce stats here in Utah.

11 posted on 02/27/2012 8:32:33 AM PST by T Minus Four
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To: AnTiw1

And before anyone thinks that it’s the “gentile” minority who are ruining this utopia for all the Mormons, I learned recently that the Utah children in out-of-home care (foster, kinship and group homes) reflect the population of mormons vs non-mormons.

I suspect the same is true for any other crime, mental illness and divorce stats here in Utah.

12 posted on 02/27/2012 8:33:03 AM PST by T Minus Four
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To: dog breath
People were sooooo gullible about that time and NYS, west of Seneca Lake was just developing.

"The Friends" near Seneca Lake were another "weirdo group". People were just plain ignorant but apparently liked the "grouping" concept even if it meant giving up everything in the name of Faith".

Both Smith and Jemima Wilkinson were cons. Wilkinson's group soon died out....very soon. Brigham Young went on to proliferate Smith's "dreams".

People were just plain ignorant and still are. But, their religion is their business.

Pssst...Islam is NOT a religion.

13 posted on 02/27/2012 8:36:16 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau

“Both Smith and Jemima Wilkinson were cons. Wilkinson’s group soon died out....very soon. Brigham Young went on to proliferate Smith’s “dreams”.”

At the time of his death, Joseph Smith’s power and reputation were in sharp decline. The reason for his stay in the Carthage jail, where he was killed by a mob, was his destruction of a printing press. The press was owned by William Law, one of his apostles and sidekicks, who became disaffected and started to write about Joseph’s extracurricular activities with the ladies.

The mob killing at Carthage cemented Joseph as a martyr and an icon for the movement, which Brigham Young exploited for his benefit. If Joseph had been able to live on, he would have become a brief paragraph in the history books, a horny con man who ended up living out his days in shame and obscurity.

14 posted on 02/27/2012 8:49:43 AM PST by lurk
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To: Graybeard58

The Origins of the ‘Prophet’ Joseph Smith

The following is excerpted from ‘The Story of the Mormons’ by William Alexander Linn.

Among the families who settled in Ontario County, New York, in 1816, was that of one Joseph Smith. It consisted of himself, his wife, and nine children. The fourth of these children, Joseph Smith, Jr., became the Mormon prophet.

The Smiths are said to have been of Scotch ancestry. It was the mother, however, who exercised the larger influence on her son’s life, and she has left very minute details of her own and her father’s family.* Her father, Solomon Mack, was a native of Lyme, Connecticut. The daughter Lucy, who became Mrs. Joseph Smith, Sr., was born in Gilsum, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, on July 8, 1776. Mr. Mack was remembered as a feeble old man, who rode around the country on horseback, using a woman’s saddle, and selling his own autobiography. The “tramp” of those early days often offered an autobiography, or what passed for one, and, as books were then rare, if he could say that it contained an account of actual adventures in the recent wars, he was certain to find purchasers.

* “Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and his Progenitors for Many Generations,” Lucy Smith.
One of the few copies of this book in existence lies before me. It was printed at the author’s expense about the year 1810. It is wholly without interest as a narrative, telling of the poverty of his parents, how he was bound, when four years old, to a farmer who gave him no education and worked him like a slave; gives some of his experiences in the campaigns against the French and Indians in northern New York and in the war of the Revolution, when he was in turn teamster, sutler, and privateer; describes with minute detail many ordinary illnesses and accidents that befell him; and closes with a recital of his religious awakening, which was deferred until his seventy-sixth year, while he was suffering with rheumatism. At that time it seemed to him that he several times “saw a bright light in a dark night,” and thought he heard a voice calling to him. Twenty-two of the forty-eight duodecimo pages that the book contains are devoted to hymns “composed,” the title-page says, “on the death of several of his relatives,” not all by himself. One of these may be quoted entire:—

“My friends, I am on the ocean, So sweetly do I sail; Jesus is my portion, He’s given me a pleasant gale.

“The bruises sore, In harbor soon I’ll be, And see my redeemer there That died for you and me.”

Mrs. Smith’s family seem to have had a natural tendency to belief in revelations. Her eldest brother, Jason, became a “Seeker”; the “Seekers” of that day believed that the devout of their times could, through prayer and faith, secure the “gifts” of the Gospel which were granted to the ancient apostles.* He was one of the early believers in faith-cure, and was, we are told, himself cured by that means in 1835. One of Lucy’s sisters had a miraculous recovery from illness. After being an invalid for two years she was “borne away to the world of spirits, “where she saw the Saviour and received a message from Him for her earthly friends.

* A sect called “Seekers,” who arose in 1645, taught, like the Mormons, that the Scriptures are defective, the true church lost, and miracles necessary to faith.
Lucy herself came very exactly under the description given by Ruth McEnery Stuart of one of her negro characters: “Duke’s mother was of the slighter intelligences, and hence much given to convictions. Knowing few things, she ‘believed in’ a great many.” Lucy Smith had neither education nor natural intelligence that would interfere with such “beliefs” as came to her from family tradition, from her own literal interpretations of the Bible, or from the workings of her imagination. She tells us that after her marriage, when very ill, she made a covenant with God that she would serve him if her recovery was granted; thereupon she heard a voice giving her assurance that her prayer would be answered, and she was better the next morning. Later, when anxious for the safety of her husband’s soul, she prayed in a grove (most of the early Mormons’ prayers were made in the woods), and saw a vision indicating his coming conversion; later still, in Vermont, a daughter was restored to health by her parent’s prayers.

According to Mrs. Smith’s account of their life in Vermont, they were married on January 24, 1796, at Tunbridge, but soon moved to Randolph, where Smith was engaged in “merchandise, “keeping a store. Learning of the demand for crystallized ginseng in China, he invested money in that product and made a shipment, but it proved unprofitable, and, having in this way lost most of his money, they moved back to a farm at Tunbridge. Thence they moved to Royalton, and in a few months to Sharon, where, on December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith, Jr., their fourth child, was born.* Again they moved to Tunbridge, and then back to Royalton (all these places in Vermont). From there they went to Lebanon, New Hampshire, thence to Norwich, Vermont, still “farming” without success, until, after three years of crop failure, they decided to move to New York State, arriving there in the summer of 1816.

* There is equally good authority for placing the house in which Smith was born across the line in Royalton.
Less prejudiced testimony gives an even less favorable view than this of the elder Smith’s business career in Vermont. Judge Daniel Woodward, of the county court of Windsor, Vermont, near whose father’s farm the Smiths lived, says that the elder Smith while living there was a hunter for Captain Kidd’s treasure, and that” he also became implicated with one Jack Downing in counterfeiting money, but turned state’s evidence and escaped the penalty.”* He had in earlier life been a Universalist, but afterward became a Methodist. His spiritual welfare gave his wife much concern, but although he had “two visions “while living in Vermont, she did not accept his change of heart. She admits, however, that after their removal to New York her husband obeyed the scriptural injunction, “your old men shall dream dreams,” and she mentions several of these dreams, the latest in 1819, giving the particulars of some of them. One sample of these will suffice. The dreamer found himself in a beautiful garden, with wide walks and a main walk running through the centre.” On each side of this was a richly carved seat, and on each seat were placed six wooden images, each of which was the size of a very large man. When I came to the first image on the right side it arose, bowed to me with much deference. I then turned to the one which sat opposite to me, on the left side, and it arose and bowed to me in the same manner as the first. I continued turning first to the right and then to the left until the whole twelve had made the obeisance, after which I was entirely healed (of a lameness from which he then was suffering). I then asked my guide the meaning of all this, but I awoke before I received an answer.”

* Historical Magazine, 1870.
A similar wakefulness always manifested itself at the critical moment in these dreams. What the world lost by this insomnia of the dreamer the world will never know.

The Smiths’ first residence in New York State was in the village of Palmyra. There the father displayed a sign, “Cake and Beer Shop, “selling” gingerbread, pies, boiled eggs, root beer, and other like notions, “and he and his sons did odd jobs, gardening, harvesting, and well-digging, when they could get them.*

* Tucker’s “Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism,” p. 12.
They were very poor, and Mrs. Smith added to their income by painting oilcloth table covers. After a residence of three years and a half in Palmyra, the family took possession of a piece of land two miles south of that place, on the border of Manchester. They had no title to it, but as the owners were nonresident minors they were not disturbed. There they put up a little log house, with two rooms on the ground floor and two in the attic, which sheltered them all. Later, the elder Smith contracted to buy the property and erected a farmhouse on it; but he never completed his title to it.

While classing themselves as farmers, the Smiths were regarded by their neighbors as shiftless and untrustworthy. They sold cordwood, vegetables, brooms of their own manufacture, and maple sugar, continuing to vend cakes in the village when any special occasion attracted a crowd. It may be remarked here that, while Ontario County, New York, was regarded as “out West” by seaboard and New England people in 1830, its population was then almost as large as it is to-day (having 40,288 inhabitants according to the census of 1830 and 48,453 according to the census of 1890). The father and several of the boys could not read, and a good deal of the time of the younger sons was spent in hunting, fishing, and lounging around the village.

The son Joseph did not rise above the social standing of his brothers. The best that a Mormon biographer, Orson Pratt, could say of him as a youth was that “He could read without much difficulty, and write a very imperfect hand, and had a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic. These were his highest and only attainments, while the rest of those branches so universally taught in the common schools throughout the United States were entirely unknown to him.”* He was “Joe Smith” to every one. Among the younger people he served as a butt for jokes, and we are told that the boys who bought the cakes that he peddled used to pay him in pewter twoshilling pieces, and that when he called at the Palmyra Register office for his father’s weekly paper, the youngsters in the press room thought it fun to blacken his face with the ink balls.

* “Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism,” p. 16.
Here are two pictures of the young man drawn by persons who saw him constantly in the days of his vagabondage. The first is from Mr. Tucker’s book:—

“At this period in the life and career of Joseph Smith, Jr., or ‘Joe Smith,’ as he was universally named, and the Smith family, they were popularly regarded as an illiterate, whiskey-drinking, shiftless, irreligious race of people—the first named, the chief subject of this biography, being unanimously voted the laziest and most worthless of the generation. From the age of twelve to twenty years he is distinctly remembered as a dull-eyed, flaxenhaired, prevaricating boy noted only for his indolent and vagabondish character, and his habits of exaggeration and untruthfulness. Taciturnity was among his characteristic idiosyncrasies, and he seldom spoke to any one outside of his intimate associates, except when first addressed by another; and then, by reason of his extravagancies of statement, his word was received with the least confidence by those who knew him best. He could utter the most palpable exaggeration or marvellous absurdity with the utmost apparent gravity. He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evilbrewing mental composition—largely given to inventions of low cunning, schemes of mischief and deception, and false and mysterious pretensions. In his moral phrenology the professor might have marked the organ of secretiveness as very large, and that of conscientiousness omitted. He was, however, proverbially good natured, very rarely, if ever, indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation, and yet was never known to laugh. Albeit, he seemed to be the pride of his indulgent father, who has been heard to boast of him as the ‘genus of the family,’ quoting his own expression.”*

* “Remarkable Visions.”
The second (drawn a little later) is by Daniel Hendrix, a resident of Palmyra, New York, at the time of which he speaks, and an assistant in setting the type and reading the proof of the Mormon Bible:—

“Every one knew him as Joe Smith. He had lived in Palmyra a few years previous to my going there from Rochester. Joe was the most ragged, lazy fellow in the place, and that is saying a good deal. He was about twenty-five years old. I can see him now in my mind’s eye, with his torn and patched trousers held to his form by a pair of suspenders made out of sheeting, with his calico shirt as dirty and black as the earth, and his uncombed hair sticking through the holes in his old battered hat. In winter I used to pity him, for his shoes were so old and worn out that he must have suffered in the snow and slush; yet Joe had a jovial, easy, don’t-care way about him that made him a lot of warm friends. He was a good talker, and would have made a fine stump speaker if he had had the training. He was known among the young men I associated with as a romancer of the first water. I never knew so ignorant a man as Joe was to have such a fertile imagination. He never could tell a common occurrence in his daily life without embellishing the story with his imagination; yet I remember that he was grieved one day when old Parson Reed told Joe that he was going to hell for his lying habits.”*

* San Jacinto, California, letter of February 2, 1897, to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
To this testimony may be added the following declarations, published in 1833, the year in which a mob drove the Mormons out of Jackson County, Missouri. The first was signed by eleven of the most prominent citizens of Manchester, New York, and the second by sixty-two residents of Palmyra:—

“We, the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., with whom the Gold Bible, so called, originated, state: That they were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and their word was not to be depended upon; and that we are truly glad to dispense with their society.”

“We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects; spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth, and to this day large excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith, Sr., and his son Joseph were, in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits.”*

* Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 261.
Finally may be quoted the following affidavit of Parley Chase:—

“Manchester, New York, December 2, 1833. I was acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., both before and since they became Mormons, and feel free to state that not one of the male members of the Smith family were entitled to any credit whatsoever. They were lazy, intemperate, and worthless men, very much addicted to lying. In this they frequently boasted their skill. Digging for money was their principal employment. In regard to their Gold Bible speculation, they scarcely ever told two stories alike. The Mormon Bible is said to be a revelation from God, through Joseph Smith, Jr., his Prophet, and this same Joseph Smith, Jr., to my knowledge, bore the reputation among his neighbors of being a liar.”*

* Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 248.
The preposterousness of the claims of such a fellow as Smith to prophetic powers and divinely revealed information were so apparent to his local acquaintances that they gave them little attention. One of these has remarked to me in recent years that if they had had any idea of the acceptance of Joe’s professions by a permanent church, they would have put on record a much fuller description of him and his family.

The elder Smith, as we have seen, was known as a money-digger while a resident of Vermont. Of course that subject as a matter of conversation in his family, and his sons were a character to share in his belief in the existence of hidden treasure. The territory around Palmyra was as good ground for their explorations as any in Vermont, and they soon let their neighbors know of a possibility of riches that lay within their reach.

The father, while a resident of Vermont, also claimed ability to locate an underground stream of water over which would be a good site for a well, by means of a forked hazel switch,* and in this way doubtless increased the demand for his services as a well-digger, but we have no testimonials to his success. The son Joseph, while still a young lad, professed to have his father’s gift in this respect, and he soon added to his accomplishments the power to locate hidden riches, and in this way began his career as a money-digger, which was so intimately connected with his professions as a prophet.

* The so-called “divining rod” has received a good deal of attention from persons engaged in psychical research. Vol. XIII, Part II, of the “Proceedings of the Society Of Psychical Research” is devoted to a discussion of the subject by Professor W. F. Barrett of the Royal College of Science for Ireland, in Dublin, and in March, 1890, a commission was appointed in France to study the matter.

Writers on the origin of the Mormon Bible, and the gradual development of Smith the Prophet from Smith the village loafer and money-seeker, have left their readers unsatisfied on many points. Many of these obscurities will be removed by a very careful examination of Joseph’s occupations and declarations during the years immediately preceding the announcement of the revelation and delivery to him of the golden plates.

The deciding event in Joe’s career was a trip to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, when he was a lad. It can be shown that it was there that he obtained an idea of vision-seeing nearly ten years before the date he gives in his autobiography as that of the delivery to him of the golden plates containing the Book of Mormon, and it was there probably that, in some way, he later formed the acquaintance of Sidney Rigdon. It can also be shown that the original version of his vision differed radically from the one presented, after the lapse of another ten years spent under Rigdon’s tutelage, in his autobiography. Each of these points is of great incidental value in establishing Rigdon’s connection with the conception of a new Bible, and the manner of its presentation to the public. Later Mormon authorities have shown a dislike to concede that Joe was a money-digger, but the fact is admitted both in his mother’s history of him and by himself. His own statement about it is as follows:—

“In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal, who lived in Chenango County, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna County, State of Pennsylvania, and had, previous to my hiring with him, been digging in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me, among the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month, without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging for it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a moneydigger.”*

* Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt., p. 6.
Mother Smith’s account says, however, that Stoal “came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye”; thus showing that he had a reputation as a “gazer” before that date. It was such discrepancies as these which led Brigham Young to endeavor to suppress the mother’s narrative.

The “gazing” which Joe took up is one of the oldest—perhaps the oldest—form of alleged human divination, and has been called “mirror-gazing,” “crystal-gazing,” “crystal vision,” and the like. Its practice dates back certainly three thousand years, having been noted in all ages, and among nations uncivilized as well as civilized. Some students of the subject connect with such divination Joseph’s silver cup “whereby indeed he divineth” (Genesis xliv. 5). Others, long before the days of Smith and Rigdon, advanced the theory that the Urim and Thummim were clear crystals intended for “gazing” purposes. One writer remarks of the practice, “Aeschylus refers it to Prometheus, Cicero to the Assyrians and Etruscans, Zoroaster to Ahriman, Varro to the Persian Magi, and a very large class of authors, from the Christian Fathers and Schoolmen downward, to the devil.”* An act of James I (1736), against witchcraft in England, made it a crime to pretend to discover property “by any occult or crafty science. “As indicating the universal knowledge of “gazing,” it may be further noted that Varro mentions its practice among the Romans and Pausanias among the Greeks. It was known to the ancient Peruvians. It is practised to-day by East Indians, Africans (including Egyptians), Maoris, Siberians, by Australian, Polynesian, and Zulu savages, by many of the tribes of American Indians, and by persons of the highest culture in Europe and America.** Andrew Lang’s collection of testimony about visions seen in crystals by English women in 1897 might seem convincing to any one who has not had experience in weighing testimony in regard to spiritualistic manifestations, or brought this testimony alongside of that in behalf of the “occult phenomena” of Adept Brothers presented by Sinnett.***

* Recent Experiments in Crystal Vision,” Vol. V, “Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.”
** Lang’s “The Making of Religion,” Chap. V.

*** “The Occult World.”

“Gazers” use different methods. Some look into water contained in a vessel, some into a drop of blood, some into ink, some into a round opaque stone, some into mirrors, and many into some form of crystal or a glass ball. Indeed, the “gazer” seems to be quite independent as to the medium of his sight-seeing, so long as he has the “power.” This “power” is put also to a great variety of uses. Australian savages depend on it to foretell the outcome of an attack on their enemies; Apaches resort to it to discover the whereabouts of things lost or stolen; and Malagasies, Zulus, and Siberians” to see what will happen. “Perhaps its most general use has been to discover lost objects, and in this practice the seers “have very often been children, as we shall see was the case in the exhibition which gave Joe Smith his first idea on the subject. In the experiments cited by Lang, the seers usually saw distant persons or scenes, and he records his belief that “experiments have proved beyond doubt that a fair percentage of people, sane and healthy, can see vivid landscapes, and figures of persons in motion, in glass balls and other vehicles.”

It can easily be imagined how interested any member of the Smith family would have been in an exhibition like that of a “crystal-gazer,” and we are able to trace very consecutively Joe’s first introduction to the practice, and the use he made of the hint thus given.

Emily C. Blackman, in the appendix to her “History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania” (1873), supplies the needed important information about Joe’s visits to Pennsylvania in the years preceding the announcement of his Bible. She says that it is uncertain when he arrived at Harmony (now Oakland), “but it is certain he was here in 1825 and later. “A very circumstantial account of Joe’s first introduction to a “peep-stone” is given in a statement by J. B. Buck in this appendix. He says:—

“Joe Smith was here lumbering soon after my marriage, which was in 1818, some years before he took to ‘peeping’, and before diggings were commenced under his direction. These were ideas he gained later. The stone which he afterward used was in the possession of Jack Belcher of Gibson, who obtained it while at Salina, N. Y., engaged in drawing salt. Belcher bought it because it was said to be a ‘seeing-stone.’ I have often seen it. It was a green stone, with brown irregular spots on it. It was a little longer than a goose’s egg, and about the same thickness. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher’s little boy was one of the first to look into the hat, and as he did so, he said he saw a candle. The second time he looked in he exclaimed, ‘I’ve found my hatchet’ (it had been lost two years), and immediately ran for it to the spot shown him through the stone, and it was there. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near to reveal to them hidden things, and he succeeded marvellously. Joe Smith, conceiving the idea of making a fortune through a similar process of ‘seeing,’ bought the stone of Belcher, and then began his operations in directing where hidden treasures could be found. His first diggings were near Capt. Buck’s sawmill, at Red Rock; but because the followers broke the rule of silence, ‘the enchantment removed the deposit.’”

One of many stories of Joe’s treasure-digging, current in that neighborhood, Miss Blackman narrates. Learning from a strolling Indian of a place where treasure was said to be buried, Joe induced a farmer named Harper to join him in digging for it and to spend a considerable sum of money in the enterprise. “After digging a great hole, that is still to be seen, “the story continues, “Harper got discouraged, and was about abandoning the enterprise. Joe now declared to Harper that there was an ‘enchantment’ about the place that was removing the treasure farther off; that Harper must get a perfectly white dog (some said a black one), and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the ‘enchantment’ from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. “Then Joe said a white sheep would do as well; but when this was sacrificed and failed, he said “The Almighty was displeased with him for attempting to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog. This informant describes Joe at that time as “an imaginative enthusiast, constitutionally opposed to work, and a general favorite with the ladies.”

In confirmation of this, R. C. Doud asserted that “in 1822 he was employed, with thirteen others, by Oliver Harper to dig for gold under Joe’s direction on Joseph McKune’s land, and that Joe had begun operations the year previous.”

F. G. Mather obtained substantially the same particulars of Joe’s digging in connection with Harper from the widow of Joseph McKune about the year 1879, and he said that the owner of the farm at that time “for a number of years had been engaged in filling the holes with stone to protect his cattle, but the boys still use the northeast hole as a swimming pond in the summer.”*

* Lippincott’s Magazine, August, 1880.
Confirmation of the important parts of these statements has been furnished by Joseph’s father. When the reports of the discovery of a new Bible first gained local currency (in 1830), Fayette Lapham decided to visit the Smith family, and learn what he could on the subject. He found the elder Smith very communicative, and he wrote out a report of his conversation with him, “as near as I can repeat his words, “he says, and it was printed in the Historical Magazine for May, 1870. Father Smith made no concealment of his belief in witchcraft and other things supernatural, as well as in the existence of a vast amount of buried treasure. What he said of Joe’s initiation into “crystal-gazing” Mr. Lapham thus records:—

“His son Joseph, whom he called the illiterate,* when he was about fourteen years of age, happened to be where a man was looking into a dark stone, and telling people therefrom where to dig for money and other things. Joseph requested the privilege of looking into the stone, which he did by putting his face into the hat where the stone was. It proved to be not the right stone for him; but he could see some things, and among them he saw the stone, and where it was, in which he could see whatever he wished to see.... The place where he saw the stone was not far from their house, and under pretence of digging a well, they found water and the stone at a depth of twenty or twenty-two feet. After this, Joseph spent about two years looking into this stone, telling fortunes, where to find lost things, and where to dig for money and other hidden treasures.”

* Joe’s mother, describing Joe’s descriptions to the family, at their evening fireside, of the angel’s revelations concerning the golden plates, says (p. 84): “All giving the most profound attention to a boy eighteen years of age, who had never read the Bible through in his life; he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any of the rest of our children.”
If further confirmation of Joe’s early knowledge on this subject is required, we may cite the Rev. John A. Clark, D.D., who, writing in 1840 after careful local research, said: “Long before the idea of a golden Bible entered their [the Smiths’] minds, in their excursions for money-digging.... Joe used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had, through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.”*

* “Gleanings by the Way” (1842), p. 225.
We come now to the history of Joe’s own “peek-stone” (as the family generally called it), that which his father says he discovered by using the one that he first saw. Willard Chase, of Manchester, New York, near Palmyra, employed Joe and his brother Alvin some time in the year 1822 (as he fixed the date in his affidavit)* to assist him in digging a well. “After digging about twenty feet below the surface of the earth, “he says, “we discovered a singularly appearing stone which excited my curiosity. I brought it to the top of the well, and as we were examining it, Joseph put it into his hat and then his face into the top of the hat. It has been said by Smith that he brought the stone from the well, but this is false. There was no one in the well but myself. The next morning he came to me and wished to obtain the stone, alleging that he could see in it; but I told him I did not wish to part with it on account of its being a curiosity, but would lend it. After obtaining the stone, he began to publish abroad what wonders he could discover by looking in it, and made so much disturbance among the credulous part of the community that I ordered the stone to be returned to me again. He had it in his possession about two years. “Joseph’s brother Hyrum borrowed the stone some time in 1825, and Mr. Chase was unable to recover it afterward. Tucker describes it as resembling a child’s foot in shape, and “of a whitish, glassy appearance, though opaque.”**

* Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 240.
** Tucker closes his chapter about this stone with the declaration “that the origin [of Mormonism] is traceable to the insignificant little stone found in the digging of Mr. Chase’s well in 1822.” Tucker was evidently ignorant both of Joe’s previous experience with “crystal-gazing” in Pennsylvania and of “crystal-gazing” itself.

The Smiths at once began turning Chase’s stone to their own financial account, but no one at the time heard that it was giving them any information about revealed religion. For pay they offered to disclose by means of it the location of stolen property and of buried money. There seemed to be no limit to the exaggeration of their professions. They would point out the precise spot beneath which lay kegs, barrels, and even hogsheads of gold and silver in the shape of coin, bars, images, candlesticks, etc., and they even asserted that all the hills thereabout were the work of human bands, and that Joe, by using his “peek-stone,” could see the caverns beneath them.* Persons can always be found to give at least enough credence to such professions to desire to test them. It was so in this case. Joe not only secured small sums on the promise of discovering lost articles, but he raised money to enable him to dig for larger treasure which he was to locate by means of the stone. A Palmyra man, for instance, paid seventy-five cents to be sent by him on a fool’s errand to look for some stolen cloth.

* William Stafford’s affidavit, Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 237.
Certain ceremonies were always connected with these money-digging operations. Midnight was the favorite hour, a full moon was helpful, and Good Friday was the best date. Joe would sometimes stand by, directing the digging with a wand. The utmost silence was necessary to success. More than once, when the digging proved a failure, Joe explained to his associates that, just as the deposit was about to be reached, some one, tempted by the devil, spoke, causing the wished-for riches to disappear. Such an explanation of his failures was by no means original with Smith, the serious results of an untimely spoken word having been long associated with divers magic performances. Joe even tried on his New York victims the Pennsylvania device of requiring the sacrifice of a black sheep to overcome the evil spirit that guarded the treasure. William Stafford opportunely owned such an animal, and, as he puts it, “to gratify my curiosity, “he let the Smiths have it. But some new “mistake in the process” again resulted in disappointment. “This, I believe,” remarks the contributor of the sheep, “is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business. “The Smiths ate the sheep.

These money-seeking enterprises were continued from 1820 to 1827 (the year of the delivery to Smith of the golden plates). This period covers the years in which Joe, in his autobiography, confesses that he “displayed the corruption of human nature. “He explains that his father’s family were poor, and that they worked where they could find employment to their taste; “sometimes we were at home and sometimes abroad. “Some of these trips took them to Pennsylvania, and the stories of Joe’s “gazing” accomplishment may have reached Sidney Rigdon, and brought about their first interview. Susquehanna County was more thinly settled than the region around Palmyra, and Joe found persons who were ready to credit him with various “gifts”; and stories are still current there of his professed ability to perform miracles, to pray the frost away from a cornfield, and the like.*

* Lippincott’s Magazine, August, 1880.

Just when Smith’s attention was originally diverted from the discovery of buried money to the discovery of a buried Bible engraved on gold plates remains one of the unexplained points in his history. He was so much of a romancer that his own statements at the time, which were carefully collected by Howe, are contradictory. The description given of the buried volume itself changed from time to time, giving strength in this way to the theory that Rigdon was attracted to Smith by the rumor of his discovery, and afterward gave it shape. First the book was announced to be a secular history, says Dr. Clark; then a gold Bible; then golden plates engraved; and later metallic plates, stereotyped or embossed with golden letters.* Daniel Hendrix’s recollection was that for the first few months Joe did not claim the plates any new revelation or religious significance, but simply that they were a historical record of an ancient people. This would indicate that he had possession of the “Spaulding Manuscript” before it received any theological additions.

* “Gleanings by the Way,” p. 229.
The account of the revelation of the book by an angel, which is accepted by the Mormons, is the one elaborated in Smith’s autobiography, and was not written until 1838, when it was prepared under the direction of Rigdon (or by him). Before examining this later version of the story, we may follow a little farther Joe’s local history at the time.

While the Smiths were conducting their operations in Pennsylvania, and Joseph was “displaying the corruption of human nature, “they boarded for a time in the family of Isaac Hale, who is described as a “distinguished hunter, a zealous member of the Methodist church, “and (as later testified to by two judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County)” a man of excellent moral character and of undoubted veracity.”* Mr. Hale had three daughters, and Joe received enough encouragement to his addresses to Emma to induce him to ask her father’s consent to their marriage. This consent was flatly refused. Mr. Hale made a statement in 1834, covering his knowledge of Smith and the origin of the Mormon Bible.** When he became acquainted with the future prophet, in 1825, Joe was employed by the so-called “money- diggers,” using his “peek-stone.” Among the reasons which Mr. Hale gave for refusing consent to the marriage was that Smith was a stranger and followed a business which he could not approve.

* Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 266.
** Ibid., p. 262.

Joe thereupon induced Emma to consent to an elopement, and they were married on January 18, 1827, by a justice of the peace, just across the line in New York State. Not daring to return to the house of his father-in-law, Joe took his wife to his own home, near Palmyra, New York, where for some months he worked again with his father.

In the following August Joe hired a neighbor named Peter Ingersol to go with him to Pennsylvania to bring from there some household effects belonging to Emma. Of this trip Ingersol said, in an affidavit made in 1833:—

“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 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 that he could not see in a stone now nor never could, and that his former pretensions in that respect were false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones. Mr. Hale told Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he would assist him in getting into business. Joseph acceded to this proposition, then returned with Joseph and his wife to Manchester....

“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 he hard for me, for they [his family] 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. He seemed much perplexed as to the course he should pursue. In this dilemma he made me his confidant, and told me what daily transpired in the family of Smiths.

“One day he came and greeted me with joyful countenance. Upon asking the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following language: ‘As I was passing yesterday across the woods, after a heavy shower of rain, I found in a hollow some beautiful white sand that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On entering the house I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think about a history found in Canada, called a Golden Bible;* so I very gravely told them it was the Golden Bible. To my surprise they were credulous enough to believe what I said. Accordingly I told them I had received a commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see it with the natural eye and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it and left the room. ‘Now,’ said Joe, ‘I have got the d—d fools fixed and will carry out the fun.’ Notwithstanding he told me he had no such book and believed there never was such book, he told me he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest in which he might deposit the Golden Bible. But as Chase would not do it, he made the box himself of clapboards, and put it into a pillow-case, and allowed people only to lift it and feel of it through the case.”**

* The most careful inquiries bring no information that any such story was ever current in Canada.
** Howe’s “Mormonism Unveiled,” p. 234.

In line with this statement of Joe to Ingersol is a statement which somewhat later he made to his brother-in-law, Alva Hale, that “this ‘peeking’ was all d—d nonsense; that he intended to quit the business and labor for a livelihood.”*

* Ibid., p. 268.
Joe’s family were quite ready to accept his statement of his discovery of golden plates for more reasons than one. They saw in it, in the first place, a means of pecuniary gain. Abigail Harris in a statement (dated “11th mo., 28th, 1833”) of a talk she had with Joe’s father and mother at Martin Harris’s house, said:—

“They [the Smiths] said the plates Joe then had in possession were but an introduction to the Gold Bible; that all of them upon which the Bible was written were so heavy that it would take four stout men to load them into a cart; that Joseph had also discerned by looking through his stone the vessel in which the gold was melted from which the plates were made, and also the machine with which they were rolled; he also discovered in the bottom of the vessel three balls of gold, each as large as his fist. The old lady said also that after the book was translated, the plates were to be publicly exhibited, admission 25 cts.”*

* Ibid, p. 253.
But aside from this pecuniary view, the idea of a new Bible would have been eagerly accepted by a woman like Mrs. Smith, and a mere intimation by Joe of such a discovery would have given him, in her, an instigator to the carrying out of the plot. It is said that she had predicted that she was to be the mother of a prophet. She tells us that although, in Vermont, she was a diligent church attendant, she found all preachers unsatisfactory, and that she reached the conclusion that “there was not on earth the religion she sought. “Joe, in his description of his state of mind just before the first visit of the angel who told him about the plates, describes himself as distracted by the “war and tumult of opinions. “He doubtless heard this subject talked of by his mother in the home circle, but none of his acquaintances at the time had any reason to think that he was laboring under such mental distress.

The second person in the neighborhood whom Joe approached about his discovery was Willard Chase, in whose well the “peek-stone” was found. Mr. Chase in his statement (given at length by Howe) says that Joe applied to him, soon after the above quoted conversation with Ingersol, to make a chest in which to lock up his Gold Book, offering Chase an interest in it as compensation. He told Chase that the discovery of the book was due to the “peek-stone,” making no allusion whatever to an angel’s visit. He and Chase could not come to terms, and Joe accordingly made a box in which what he asserted were the plates were placed.

Reports of Joe’s discovery soon gained currency in the neighborhood through the family’s account of it, and neighbors who had accompanied them on the money-seeking expeditions came to hear about the new Bible, and to request permission to see it. Joe warded off these requests by reiterating that no man but him could look upon it and live. “Conflicting stories were afterward told,” says Tucker, “in regard to the manner of keeping the book in concealment and safety, which are not worth repeating, further than to mention that the first place of secretion was said to be under a heavy hearthstone in the Smith family mansion.”

Joe’s mother and Parley P. Pratt tell of determined efforts of mobs and individuals to secure possession of the plates; but their statements cannot be taken seriously, and are contradicted by Tucker from personal knowledge. Tucker relates that two local wags, William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver, intimate acquaintances of Smith, on asking for a sight of the book and hearing Joe’s usual excuse, declared their readiness to risk their lives if that were the price of the privilege. Smith was not to be persuaded, but, the story continues, “they were permitted to go to the chest with its owner, and see WHERE the thing was, and observe its shape and size, concealed under a piece of thick canvas. Smith, with his accustomed solemnity of demeanor, positively persisting in his refusal to uncover it, Hussey became impetuous, and (suiting his action to his word) ejaculated, ‘Egad, I’ll see the critter, live or die,’ and stripping off the canvas, a large tile brick was exhibited. But Smith’s fertile imagination was equal to the emergency. He claimed that his friends had been sold by a trick of his.”*

* “Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism,” p. 31.
Mother Smith, in her book, gives an account of proceedings in court brought by the wife of Martin Harris to protect her husband’s property from Smith, on the plea that Smith was deceiving him in alleging the existence of golden plates; and she relates how one witness testified that Joe told him that “the box which he had contained nothing but sand, “that a second witness swore that Joe told him, “it was nothing but a box of lead, “and that a third witness declared that Joe had told him “there was nothing at all in the box. “When Joe had once started the story of his discovery, he elaborated it in his usual way. “I distinctly remember, “says Daniel Hendrix,” his sitting on some boxes in the store and telling a knot of men, who did not believe a word they heard, all about his vision and his find. But Joe went into such minute and careful details about the size, weight, and beauty of the carvings on the golden tablets, and strange characters and the ancient adornments, that I confess he made some of the smartest men in Palmyra rub their eyes in wonder.”

15 posted on 02/27/2012 8:51:08 AM PST by AnTiw1
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To: Graybeard58

Expect to see LOTS of stories like this if Mitt Romney is the GOP Nominee.

16 posted on 02/27/2012 9:03:09 AM PST by Thunder90 (Fighting for truth and the American way...
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To: AnTiw1
That was very interesting, thanks for posting. I don't know weather to laugh or cry, mostly laugh.

Of the Salem witch trials in 1692, there has been some speculation that Lead poisoning may have been a factor. Could be, but for so many young girls to be stricken at the same time is unbelievable.

It is just that some people are BORN EVIL,(imo), add to that some voodoo and you have Joe Smith and family.

The girls in Salem were sneaking out and dabbling in voodoo with a slave girl named Tabitha. They got caught, and their punishment would have been great, so they concocted the witch stories. 19 people died in one day because of a Joe Smith type, one was my 9generation grandmother Rebecca Nourse (Nurse).

Interesting too: There was an Ingersall who did some accusing of innocent people in the Salem Witch Trials, wondering if maybe the Ingersall in this article is kin?

17 posted on 02/27/2012 10:17:14 AM PST by annieokie
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To: AnTiw1
After reading the article of your post.

Questions to all Romney fans: How in the He11 can you think he is capable of reasoning, common sense, literacy?

For anyone who can/will deliberately follow a LIE is not FIT TO BE PRESIDENT, what else will he lead you into???

The old saying, "you are what you eat", your are also "What you put in your eyes, ears and head", "you are KNOWN by the people you run with".

Joe Smithey is a fraud, B.Young is a fraud, and ALL followers of them are soothsaying FRAUDS.

18 posted on 02/27/2012 10:23:43 AM PST by annieokie
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To: Thunder90
To be sure it will. Thinking on this, it may be GODs will for this very large AntiChrist cult to finally be exposed, opened up and examined.

If it brings some/many mormons out and into the light of truth, "THE WORD", it will be worth it. If it destroys the mormonISM cult, so be it.

19 posted on 02/27/2012 10:29:29 AM PST by annieokie
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To: annieokie

at the very least, anyone watching Romney can see a man not only raised with a silver spoon, but in an insular mormon world that hasn’t quite prepared him for dealing on the ground with the average person in the real world...

and when you add to it the fact that at least since BYU days he’s been groomed by people whispering about a “prophetic mission from God to become president when the constitution is at its weakest”...the thought of him in control is more than a little alarming

we’ve had a messiah, we don’t need a deluded ‘god’

20 posted on 02/27/2012 10:31:35 AM PST by AnTiw1
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