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George Reynolds
Articles from the Juvenile Instructor
(Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor, 1882)

Anonymous articles: 1883: Nov. 01   1885: Apr. 01

  • 1882: Aug. 01  Absurdity of the Spaulding Story
  • 1882: Aug. 15  Absurdity (part two)
  • 1882: Sep. 01  Originator of the Spaulding Story
  • 1882: Sep. 15  Book of Mormon Witnesses
  • 1882: Oct. 01  Joseph Smith's Youthful Life
  • 1882: Oct. 15  Time Occupied in Translating

  • Transcriber's Comments  

  • see also George Reynolds' 1883 book: The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    The following Aug. 1, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 6
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, AUGUST 1, 1882.                No. 15.
    [p. 235]



    BY  G. R.

    IT is our purpose in this article to demonstrate from the Book of Mormon itself, the absurdity of the "Spalding Story" and the utter impossibility of the Prophet Joseph Smith ever having used Mr. Spaulding's reputed romance, "The Manuscript Found," as the groundwork for that divine record.

    At different times since the publication of the Book of Mormon various writers have undertaken to explain the plot and contents of the "Manuscript Found," and to show how remarkable is the resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon. 

    We are told by one reverend author that when the Book of Mormon was read to Solomon Spaulding's widow, brother and six other persons, well acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's writings, they immediately recognized in the Book of Mormon the same historical matter and names as composed the romance, although this reading took place some years after they had read the latter work. The writer further states that they affirmed that with the exception of the religious matter, it is copied almost word for word from Spaulding's manuscript.

    Another writer affirms that the romance of Spaulding was similar in all its leading features to the historical portions of the Book of Mormon. While a third writer maintains that the historical part of the Book of Mormon was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants of New Salem, Ohio, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had been so interested twenty years before. 

    Those who claim to have been acquainted with the writings of Mr. Spaulding, differ materially as to the incidents and plot of "Manuscript Found." According to their widely different statements, his romance was based upon one of two theories. The first on the idea of the landing of a Roman colony on the Atlantic seaboard shortly before the Christian era. The second (now the most generally known and accepted) on the supposition that the present American Indians are the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel, who were led away captive out of their own land into Media, where historically the world loses sight of them, but where Mr. Spaulding's romance finds them and transports them to America. It is upon this idea of the transportation of this great and numerous people from the land of their captivity to the western world that this gentleman's novel is generally said to have been founded.

    We will examine this statement first, and strive to discover how nearly this agrees with the historical narrative of the Book of Mormon, which we are told was immediately recognized as being identical and copied almost word for word from the pages of the "Manuscript Found."  

    In the first place, it is well to remark that the Book of Mormon makes but very few references to the ten tribes, and


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    in those few, it directly, plainly and unequivocally states that the American Indians are not the descendants of the ten tribes, and further, that the ten tribes never were in America, or any part of it, during any portion of their existence as a nation. * On the other hand, the Book of Mormon as directly informs us from whom the aborigines, or natives, of this continent are descended. This being the case, how is it possible for the two works to be identical? 

    But admitting, for the sake of argument, that Joseph Smith might have changed the statement of the author of "The Manuscript Found" in this one particular, we will proceed to show that such a supposition is utterly impossible; for to have retained the unities of the work and the consistencies of the story (for the Book of Mormon is consistent with itself), he must have altered the place of departure, the circumstances of the journey, the route taken by the emigrants, the time of the emigration and every other particular connected with such a great movement. We must recollect that the Book of Mormon gives the account of a small colony (perhaps of about thirty or forty souls) being led by the Lord from the city of Jerusalem through the wilderness south and east of that city, to the borders of the Red Sea, thence for some distance in the same direction near its coast, and then across the Arabian peninsula to the sea eastward. What insanity could have induced Mr. Spaulding to propose such a route for the ten tribes? for of all out-of-the-way methods of reaching the American continent from Media, this would be one of the most inaccessible, difficult, round-about and improbable, and would carry them along the two sides of an acute angle by the time they reached the shore where the ship was built. It would almost certainly have taken these tribes close to, if not through, a portion of their own ancient homes, where it is reasonable to suppose nearly all would have desired to tarry, when we consider how great was the love that ancient Israel held for that rich land given to them by divine power. 

    Mr. Spaulding, as a student of the Bible, would have made no such blunder. But even supposing that he was foolish enough in his romance to transport the hosts of Israel from the south-western borders of the Caspian Sea (where history loses them) by the nearest route, most probably over the Armenian Mountains, across the Syrian desert, and by way of Damascus through the lands of Gilead, Moab and Edom into the wilderness of the Red Sea, where, we ask, is there an account of such a journey in any portion of the Book of Mormon? There is none, for the Book of Mormon opens with the description of Lehi's departure from Jerusalem with the causes that led thereto, he having been a resident of that city all his days, and never a captive in Media. Therefore we are justified in asking, at the very outset of this inquiry, where, from the opening pages onward, is there any identity between the two books? 

    Then, again, is it not obvious to every thinking person that the moving of a nation, such as the ten tribes were, must have had associated with it events and circumstances entirely inconsistent and at variance with the simple story of the journey of Lehi and his family as given frequently with minute detail, in the Book of Mormon. How numerous were the host of the captive Israelites we have no means of definitely ascertaining. We learn, however, that in one invasion alone, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, carried off two hundred thousand captives from the kingdom of Israel. Even admitting that in their captivity these two hundred thousand did not increase in numbers, and entirely ignoring all the other thousands that were led away captives in other invasions, we should necessarily expect that Spaulding in his account of the moving of this mass of humanity -- men, women and children -- with their flocks, herds and supplies would write a narrative consistent with the subject and not one such as the Book of Mormon contains. But whether he did or did not, the Book of Mormon contains nothing whatever of the kind. In that work no vast armies are led out of Media by any route whatever to the American continent. 

    We have an entirely different story, more dissimilar indeed from Spaulding's supposed narrative than the history of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, under Moses, is from the story of the departure from the old world, the voyage across the Atlantic and the landing on this continent of the Pilgrim Fathers, of revered memory. In the narrative that the Book of Mormon gives of the journeyings of Lehi and his little colony, all the incidents related are consistent with the idea of a small people and entirely inconsistent with that of a vast moving multitude. 

    For instance, let us take as an example, the story of Nephi breaking his bow by which the little caravan was placed in danger of starvation. If there had been a vast host, numbering nearly a quarter of a million souls, such an incident could have had no weight; for surely Mr. Spaulding never wrote that one hunter alone supplied such a multitude with all the necessary food, and it would be equally absurd to imagine that that gentleman would tell such an improbable story as that all the hunters broke all their bows at the same time. Again, the Book of Mormon tells us that Lehi and his companions depended on the chase for their entire food. Where, we would ask, in the midst of the Arabian deseret, could game enough be found to supply the entire wants of the migrating ten tribes? And further, what would they do for water for such a company in the trackless Arabian desert without divine interposition and the manifestation of miraculous power? But the Book of Mormon hints at no such a contingency. 

    Again, the story of the building of the ship by Nephi must have been entirely altered, for no ship, be it twenty times as large as the Great Eastern, could have carried Mr. Spaulding's imaginary company and their effects, across the wide waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    We must now draw attention to the time when the Book of Mormon states Lehi and his company were led out of Jerusalem. There is no ambiguity on this point. It is repeatedly stated that this event took place six hundred years before the advent of our Savior, that is, it was previous to the Babylonish captivity. The ten tribes were not lost sight of at that time: they were undoubtedly still in the land of their captivity, and

    * -- Our crucified Redeemer, in His teachings to the Nephites, thus refers to the ten tribes of the house of Israel: "And behold this is the land of your inheritance, and the Father hath given it unto you. And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem; neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment, that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land." (III Nephi, xv. 13-15). "That they" (the Jews) "may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of" (III Nephi xvi. 4). "The other tribes hath the Father separated from them" (III Nephi, xv. 20). "But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither He hath taken them" (III Nephi, xvii, 4).


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    if Mr. Spaulding was foolish enough in his romance to set a date to his exodus, he certainly would not have placed it during the lifetime of Jeremiah the prophet, and of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; for not only would such a date have marred the consistency of the story but it is also utterly impossible for us to conceive as an historical probability that the mighty king of Banylon would have permitted the ten tribes to escape from their captivity at that time and above all things to have taken such a route as would have brought them near the borders of the Red Sea. If they escaped at all, it necessarily would have been to the uninhabited regions northward. From a political standpoint it would have been suicidal and utterly inconsistent with the policy of the king of Babylon to allow the captive Israelites to march forth in the supposed direction; for it would have placed them in immediate contact with the kingdom of Judah and enables them to have formed an alliance with their former brethren antagonistic to his interests and policy.

    To pursue the subject still further; when the colony reached the land of promise, which we call America, the incidents related in the Book of Mormon are entirely consistent with the story of the voyage and the peopling of the land by a small colony and not by a vast host. If Joseph Smith, as some claim, had changed Mr. Spaulding's romance, he must have still continued to alter the narrative throughout the entire volume, for the story still maintains its consistency, and through it from the beginning to end there runs a thread, possible only on the theory that it was a single family with their immediate connections through marriage that first founded the nations of the Nephites and Lamanites.  The entire history hinges on the quarrels of the sons of Lehi and the results growing therefrom; for from the division of this family into two separate and distinct peoples grew all the wars, contentions, bloodshed, troubles and disasters that fill the pages of this sacred record; while on the other hand, the blessings flowing to both nations almost always resulted from the reconciliation of the two opposing peoples and the inauguration of a united and amicable policy beneficial alike to both. Had the American continent been peopled at the commencement by a vast host, the whole current of the story must have been vastly different, not only in the events that took place but also in the motives that controlled the hearts of the actors who took part in those events, and in the traditions of the masses. The traditions did in the case of the Nephites and Lamanites, have an overwhelming influence in the shaping of public affairs, which shape they never could have received by any set of traditions incidental to Mr. Spaulding's story. 

    What, too, shall we say of the Jaredites? From whence did Joseph Smith beg, borrow or steal their history? Did Mr, Spaulding bring his ten tribes from the tower of Babel, and give them an existence ages anterior to the lifetime of their great progenitor, Jacob? If not, will somebody inform us how this portion of the Book of Mormon manufactured?

    From the above it is evident that if Mr. Spaulding's story was what its friends claim, then it never could have formed the ground work of the Book of Mormon, for the whole historical narrative is different from beginning to end.  And further, the story that certain old inhabitants of New Salem, who, it is said, recognized the Book of Mormon, either never made such a statement, or they let their imagination run away with their memory into the endorsement of an impossible falsehood. Either way there is a lie; if they asserted that the Book of Mormon is identical with the Spaulding story, then they are guilty of having violated the truth; if they did not make this statement, then the falsehood is with those who, in their hatred to modern revelations, have invented their testimony. The same statement applies to those who assert that the Book of Mormon was copied almost word for word from "The Manuscript Found." A book that is entirely dissimilar in its narrative cannot be exact in its wording. As well might we say, and be just as consistent and every way as truthful, that the history of England was copied from the adventures of Robinson Crusoe; the first is a truth, the other a fable. So it is with the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding romance. 

    If then the resemblance is so small between the Book of Mormon and "The Manuscript Found," when we consider the ten tribe version of the latter work, where is it possible there can be the shadow of similarity when we examine the Roman colony theory? For instance:

    Lehi left Jerusalem; Spaulding's heroes sailed from Rome.

    Lehi started on his journey not knowing whither the Lord would lead him; the Romans were bound for Britain.

    Lehi and his companions wandered for several years on land; the Roman party made the entire journey by water. 

    Lehi traveled by way of the Arabian peninsula and the Indian and Pacific Oceans; Spaulding's imaginary characters sailed by way of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

    The travels of one party were considerably south of east; the voyage of the others west or north-west.

    One party landed on the South Pacific shore; the other on the North Atlantic.

    Mormon's record was written in reformed Egyptian; the imaginary "Manuscript Found" in Latin. 

    Mormon's record was engraved on plates of metal; Spaulding's pretended manuscript on parchment.

    The original of the Book of Mormon was hid in the Hill Cumorah, State of New York; Mr. Spaulding's manuscript is claimed to have been discovered in a cave near Conneaut, State of Ohio.

    The Book of Mormon gives an account of a religious people, God's dealings with whom is the central and dominant idea; Spaulding's romance tells the story of an idolatrous people. Such is the positive statement of his widow and daughter.
    There is another point worthy of our thought: If Joseph Smith did make use of "The Manuscript Found," it must have been for one of two reasons: Either because he was not able to write such a work himself, or that he might save himself trouble and labor. In the first place he could not have done this for lack of ability; for any one who could have so adroitly altered a history of the ten tribes so that it now reads as a distinct, detailed and consistent history of a small company of the tribe of Joseph, most assuredly could have written such a history for himself if he had felt so disposed. Then again, he could not have done it to save himself work, for to so change a long history from one end to the other, until it contradicted all it had previously asserted, and became the harmonious history of another people, would save no man trouble. Then, again, in considering these points, we must remember what an "idle vagabond" Joseph Smith was, according to some people's stories. What could have possibly possessed him to do such an enormous amount of copying, when, as illiterate as he was, such an operation would have been immensly hard work? Though it must be


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    remembered all this time he was loafing round the street corners, telling fortunes and doing every thing but honest toil -- that ism if some folks' tales are to be believed.

    And again, supposing for a moment Joseph was an impostor, to show the weakness of our opponents' arguments, then he ran the risk of detection by copying another man's work, he ran that risk without a single motive except it was the privilege of toiling for nothing, or the pleasure of being exposed, when by writing it himself he need have no risk at all.

    continue reading with
    part two

    The following Aug. 15, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 14
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, AUGUST 15, 1882.                No. 16.
    [p. 251]



    BY  G. R.

    WE will now consider for a short time some few of the internal evidences of the genuineness of the Book of Mormon, or the proofs in itself that it is what it claims to be, a record of God's dealings with the former inhabitants of this continent.

    Among the more prominent internal evidences of its genuineness may be mentioned:

    1st. Its historical consistency.

    2nd. The entire absence of all anachronisms, or confusion in its chronology, and of conflicting statements with regard to its history, doctrine or prophecy.

    3rd. The purity of its doctrines, and their entire harmony with the teachings of our Savior and His inspired servants as recorded in the Bible.

    4th. Its already fulfilled prophecies.

    5th. Its harmony with the traditions of the Indian races. 

    Its entire accord with scientific truth; none of its geographical or other statements being contrary to what is positively known in these sciences.

    There is nothing in the entire historical narrative of the Book of Mormon that is inconsistent with the dealings of the Almighty with mankind, or conflicting with history as far as the history which has been handed down to us in other records deals with events referred to in the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, the whole scheme of human salvation, as developed in the dealings of the Lord with the Jaredites, Nephites and Lamanites, gives us the most exalted ideas of His love for His mortal children and His condescension towards the erring sons and daughters of Adam. Even if the Book of Mormon were not true, it deserves to be so, from the sublimity of the ideas that it conveys with regard to God's providences and His ways and methods of leading, directing and preserving His children. No nobler monument to the glory, the mercy and the long-suffering of our Heavenly Father than this wonderful Book was ever presented for the consideration of mankind. 

    It requires a great deal more credulity to believe it possible that any author, ignorant or learned, be he Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon or Solomon Spaulding, could, without the inspiration of the Almighty bring forth such a work as the Book of Mormon, than to believe that it is what it claims to be, a revelation from the Almighty.

    Hengstenberg, in his work on the Pentateuch, says:

    "It is the unavoidable fate of a spurious historical work of any length to be involved in contradictions." This is obviously true. No thinking person will deny that it would be one of the most difficult of all literary feats to compose a historical work extending over thousands of years and dealing with hundreds of individuals without introducing some blunders as to time, place or circumstance, or permitting egregious contradictions to pass unnoticed. But the Book of Mormon is entirely free from all blunders of such a kind.  This alone stamps it as of more than human origin. For more than fifty years, the bigoted and skeptical have been endeavoring to find errors, inconsistencies or impossibilities within its contents. But in this they have utterly failed. Not one of all their pretended discoveries of errors has stood the test of investigation. It has been found, without exception, that in such cases the objector has either dishonestly garbled the text, put an impossible construction on good, plain English, or presented his own private interpretation of the words of the book instead of the words themselves. The writer of this having perused the Book of Mormon many times, confidently asserts that there is no conflict of dates, no contradiction of details, no discordant doctrine, no historical inconsistency, from the commencement of the First Book of Nephi to the end of Moroni. All is plain, simple narrative, occasionally somewhat unpolished in its style, and here and there at variance with the strict rules of grammar, but throughout maintaining its unities and harmonies and bearing upon its face indelible marks of its divine origin. 

    We now come to the doctrinal portions of the work.

    It is readily admitted on all hands that no sectarian preacher like Mr. Spaulding would write doctrines, such as the Book of Mormon contains, these doctrines being at variance with the creed that he professed; and indeed in many respects different to those of every creed then extant upon the face of the earth. The Book of Mormon, be it human or divine, is a new revelation on religious matters to this generation, and its entire accord with the revelations of the Almighty contained in the Bible is a proof so strong of its divinity that none have been able to gainsay it. It is utterly ridiculous to imagine that Joseph Smith, unlettered as he was, could have written a work in such entire harmony with the holy scriptures and entering into many new particulars, as it frequently does, with regard to doctrines only lightly touched upon in the Old and New Testaments: it not only harmonizes with the scriptures but it explains them, makes clear the meaning of many an obscure passage, and while it never conflicts with, it often develops, truths of the utmost importance to humanity. 

    How wonderful a miracle! -- much more greater than the discovery of the records in the hill Cumorah -- that an uneducated youth


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    (and neither friend nor foe claims he was educated), could produce a work pregnant with principles connected with the most vital interests of the human family, and treating on sujects that concern man's temporal and eternal welface, which cannot be reflected by all the learned of the world. Would not this be much more wonderful, calling for a much greater strain on our credulity than to believe that God has again spoken and brought to light this long-hidden treasure? And if it be inconsistent to believe that neither Joseph Smith nor Solomon Spaulding was the author of the religious portions of the Book or Mormon, wherein is it more consistent to ascribe the authorship to Sidney Rigdon? He was as utterly ignorant of many of the doctrines and principles made plain in the Book of Mormon as was Solomon Spaulding or any other uninspired priest of fifty or so years ago. There was no system of philosophy, ethics or religion then known to mankind from which he could have drawn the inspiration to write many of the doctrinal precepts in the Book of Mormon. 

    To tide over this difficulty, persons unacquainted with the contents of the Book of Mormon (which unfortunately the greater portion of mankind are,) have suggested, that Solomon Spaulding wrote the historical portion (an impossibility as we have heretofore shown,) and that Joseph Smith or somebody else added the religious portion. To those who have read the Book of Mormon this hypothesis is supremely ridiculous.

    An objector to the Bible might, with equal consistency, assert that somebody wrote the historical portion of the Old and New Testament, and somebody else, after the historical portion was all written introduced the religious teachings.  One is as impossible as the other. Every one knows that the narrative of events grows out of and is inseparably connected with the religious idea. The book opens with the statement that Lehi was a prophet, bearing Jehovah's unwelcome message of destruction to the inhabitants of the sin-seared city of Jerusalem. They rejected and persecuted him. By divine command he fled with his family into the wilderness and was led by that same inspiration to the American continent. That the reason why the Lord thus delivered him was, that He might raise up to Himself a people that would serve Him. He covenanted to give Lehi and his posterity this most precious land as their inheritance if they kept His commandments. How they fulfilled His law, how they prospered when obedient, how they suffered when disobedient is the burden of the story of the writers of the Book of Mormon. It is the main idea to which all others are incidental, the controlling thought around which all others concentrate; it is the life of the whole record, the golden thread running through all its pages, which gives consistency to all its parts. A man might just as well attempt to write the gospel of St. Matthew and leave out all references to the Lord Jesus Christ as write the Book of Mormon without its religious theory and teachings. 

    The creature who invented the idea of the dual authorship of this book must have imagined that the doctrinal portion was dropped in by lumps or "clumsily" inserted between different historical epochs. It is true there are places where liberal extracts from the Bible are quoted, and if these were all, there might be some semblance of consistency in the supposition. But it is not so, the doctrinal and historical portions are, as a general thing, so intermingled and blended that neither could be withdrawn without destroying the sense of the other. If it were possible to conceive of the amalgamation of two separate documents -- one religious and the other historical -- it would be much easier to believe that the doctrinal portions were written first and that the historical ideas were afterwards filled in; for, as before mentioned, the historical narrative is but secondary and tributary to the religious idea. But this would not support the theory of the Spauldingites; it would, in fact, entirely upset all their arguments for the reason that they claim that "The Manuscript Found," a historical romance of an idolatrous people, be it remembered, was written by Spaulding no later than 1812, while the Book of MNormon was not published by Joseph Smith until 1829; consequently such an arrangement would be fatal to their hypothesis. 

    We next glance at the prophecies of the Book of Mormon, a number of which are already fulfilled. These are among the most irrefutable evidences of the divinity of the work; the facts are patent to all the world, they are within the reach of all mankind. Ever since the year 1829, men have had the opportunity of testing the contents of the Book of Mormon, as it has not been hidden in a corner, but has been published in all the dominent languages of Christendom. To say that many of its prophecies have not been fulfilled is to deny history. And it cannot be asserted that these properties are happy guesses, as at the time when the Book of Mormon was published they appeared most improbable, none more so than those which foretold the results that would follow its own publication.  For it must be remembered that when it was published there was no Church of Jesus Christ organized upon the earth, and there was no remote probability of the then non-existent church producing the results in itself and to the world that the Book of Mormon declares should follow its establishment, which have been fulfilled, year by year, from the time of its publication to the present. If the Book of Mormon be not true, then these prophecies originated with Joseph Smith, and as they have been fulfilled, he was a true prophet; further, as they were declared in the name of the Lord and the Lord has recognized them by permitting their fulfillment in so many wonderous ways and by such direct manifestations of His divine power, therefore the conclusion is inevitable that the Lord owned and acknowledged Joseph Smith as His servant.  On the other hand, if they did not originate with Joseph Smith, then the record is genuine, for the prophecies are true, and they were uttered by the men to whom they are ascribed. If so, Joseph's account of his discovery of the plates is true and he is a seer and a revelator, especially called of God to lay the foundation of the mighty work of the last days.

    Those who are so strongly opposed to Mormonism can accept whichever horn of the dilemma they choose. But to our mind the first supposition is utterly untenable, as it is impossible for us to conceive that God who hateth a lie would choose for His servant a man who made such a science of falsehood, or that the Divine One would add the seal of His approbation to a forgery and an imposture, such as the Book of Mormon would be under these circumstances. To believe such a thing would be as consistent as to believe that if there were prophecies in "Gulliver's Travels" the Lord would move heaven and earth to bring about their fulfillment; for if the Book of Mormon be not what it claims, then it is as arrant a romance as the celebrated work of Dean Swift, and one is as worthy of credence as the other.

    continue reading with
    part three

    The following Sep. 1, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 2
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1882.                No. 17.
    [p. 262]



    BY  G. R.

    DOCTOR PHILASTUS HURLBURT was the originator or inventor of the "Spaulding Story."

    He was not a doctor by profession, but his mother have him that name because he was the seventh son, a very common custom in some parts at the time he was born.

    Those who adopt his fabrication with regard to the authorship of the Book of Mormon would have people believe that he really was a doctor. It gives an air of respectability to their tale, and tends to make the public think that he must have been a man of good education, though he really was not.

    We will now give some statements with regard to his life, and the causes that led to the invention of the desperate lie, regarding the Book of Mormon, which has tended to deceive so many people. These statements are, for the most part, abridged from the writings of one who was intimately acquainted with him. 

    Hurlburt embraced the gospel in 1832. Previous to this he had been a local preacher in the Methodist church, but had been expelled therefrom for unchaste conduct. Soon after his baptism he went to Kirtland, where he was ordained an Elder. In the spring of 1833 he labored and preached in Pennsylvania. Here his self-importance, pride and other undesirable traits of conduct soon shook the confidence of the members of the Church in him as a man of God; and before long his unvirtuous habits were so plainly manifested that he was cast off from the church, and his license taken from him by the conference. 

    Some may here ask, "How is it that men who leave the Church of Christ and come out in opposition to its truths are so often proven to have previously been men of immoral lives?" The answer is plain and simple: pure, honest, virtuous men do not apostatize and turn against the principles of the gospel. They remain faithful. But men who have been wicked, and who do not sincerely repent when they enter the Church, though they may profess to do so, are very apt to turn aside and fight against God's cause. It is for this reason that so many men of Hurlburt's stamp have been unfortunately for them been proven to have led very wicked lives before their baptism. Had their repentance been sincere, their after lives would have been different. 

    Hurlburt went to Kirtland, the seat of the government of the Church, and appealed to the general conference. His case was there reheard, and because of his confession and apparent repentance his license was restored to him.

    On the way back to Pennsylvania he stopped in Ohio. There he attempted to seduce a young lady, but his design was frustrated. For this crime he was expelled from the Church. Finding he would be tolerated by the Saints no longer, he determined to be revenged by injuring them all in his power. He went to Springfield, Pennsylvania, and com menced to preach against "Mormonism." Here he was received with open arms by those who had been vainly endeavoring to stay the progress of God's work in that region, and churches, chapels and meeting houses were crowded to hear him. 

    He was now dubbed the Rev. Mr. Hurlburt, and was petted and patronized by priest and people; but for all that he did very little in staying the progress of the truth. As an anti-Mormon lecturer he was a failure.

    During his stay in Pennsylvania Hurlburt formed many acquaintances, and mingled with all sorts of people. While in a small settlement called Jackson he became familiar with a family of the same name, (Possibly the persons who had given the name to the settlement). Some of this family had been acquainted with the now widely-known Mr. Solomon Spaulding, and from them Hurlburt learned that that gentleman had once written a romance called "The Manuscript Found," which professed to recount the history of the ancient inhabitants of this continent. 

    Hurlburt had now given himself up to the work of opposing "Mormonism." He quickly perceived that this romance could be used as a weapon to carry on the warfare. If he could obtain possession of it and find any points in common between it and the Book of Mormon he could exaggerate those seeming resemblances and falsify other statements. If he found no agreement between the two he could contrive to have "The Manuscript Found" accidentally (?) destroyed and then claim that its contents were almost identical with the record of Mormon. He found it necessary to pursue the latter course. 

    In carrying out his design he repaired to Kirtland, and there made an appointment to deliver a lecture, calling upon all who were opposed to "Mormonism" to attend. They did so in force. At this lecture Hurlbut told his audience that in his travels in the State of Pennsylvania, lecturing against "Mormonism," he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding had written a romance, and the probability was that it had by some means fallen into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and that he had transformed it into the Book of Mormon. Hurlburt further stated that he intended to write a book, and call it "Mormonism Unveiled," in which he would reveal the whole secret. 

    His anti-Mormon hearers were delighted. One mobocrat, a Campbellite, advanced the sum of $300.00 towards the prosecution of the work. Others contributed for the same purpose, and Hurlbut, being thus provided with funds, at once proceeded to hunt up the manuscript.

    With this view he journeyed to New Salem or Conneaut, Ohio, the place where Mr. Spaulding formerly resided. There he called a meeting and made known his intentions. His harangues created quite a stir. He told the same story about the manuscript and Sidney Rigdon that he had told in Kirtland. The idea was new to his hearers, but as it was something which was to destroy "Mormonism" they did not object to it, and some helped him with more money. He was here advised to visit Mrs. Davidson, formerly the wife of Mr. Spaulding, who now resided at Monson, Massachusetts. This he determined to do. 

    It should here be mentioned that the gospel had already been preached with considerable success in the neighborhood of New Salem (Conneaut); and though it was the place where "The Manuscript Found" was written, the Spaulding story was never dreamed of there until Hurlburt mentioned it. But it was too good a thing for those who had reejected the truth to let pass. It afforded them some slight excuse


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    for not receiving the doctrines of "Mormonism." Such persons clutched at it eagerly, as drowning men are said to grasp at straws. Nevertheless the work of the Lord did not stand still in those parts. Numbers were afterwards baptized in that very section, so little effect had Hurlburt's fabrication upon the minds of the people. 

    Hurlbut at once carried out the advice given to him by his New Salem acquaintances. He proceeded to Monson, called on Mrs. Davidson, and by representing his wishes in his own unscrupulous and not over-truthful manner, obtained from her the writings of her former husband. Further she told him that there was a trunk somewhere in the State of New York that also contained papers which he might have, if they were found to suit his purpose.

    Mrs. Davidson positively asserts that she gave Hurlburt the original of "The Manuscript Found" and that he promised to publish it, which however he never did. He claimed that it did not read as he expected, or found nothing that would suit his purpose. In this he for once undoubtedly told the truth. Quite lately, however, he has made the following affidavit.


    GIBSONBURG, OHIO,        
    January 10, 1881.  

    To all whom it may concern: In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-four (1834) I went from Geauga Co., Ohio, to Munson, Hampden Co., Mass., where I found Mrs. Davison, late widow of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, late of Connenut, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Of her I obtaincd a manuscript, suppposing it to be the manuscript of the romance written by the said Solomon Spaulding, called "The Manuscript Found," which was reported to he the foundation of the "Book of Mormon." I did not examine the manuscript until I got home, when, upon examination, I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio, now Lake Co., Ohio, with the understanding that when he had examined it he should return it to the widow. Said Howe says the manuscript was destroyed by fire, and further the deponent saith not.
    (Signed)                                D. P. Hurlburt.

      Mrs. Davidson says she gave Hurlburt "The Manuscript Found." He, in the above, says it was nothing of the kind, but was a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. What was that subject? Hurlburt in his original statement says, "It is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found upon twenty-four rolls of parchment, in a cave, but written in modern style -- giving a fabulous account of a ship being driven upon the American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, s short time previous to the Christian era; this country then being inhabited by the Indians." 

    Such is his description of the manuscript he received. No wonder it did not suit his purpose. No work treating on the ancient inhabitants of America could be more unlike the Book of Mormon than this. But Mrs. Davidson says this was the original of "The Manuscript Found," and we believe her. We regard it altogether more probable that this was the plot of Mr. Spaulding's romance than the ten tribe version, which we consider to be a later invention, manufactured by some ignorant "Anti-Mormon," who really imagined that the Book of Mormon carried that idea. We have nothing more than unauthenticated gossip for the assertion that Mr. S. ever believed that the American Indians were of Israelitish descent. In fact, it is stated that during the later years of that gentleman's life he was strongly inclined to infidelity. 

    If the papers given to Hurlburt contained "The Manuscript Found," as stated by Mrs. Davidson, we know what became of it. It was burned, if we can believe D. P. Hurlburt. It was destroyed so that it might never be brought up to confront those who claim that in it is to be found the origin of the Book of Mormon. If Hurlburt did not receive it, Mrs. Davidson must have retained it. Then what became of it? Solomon Spaulding's family could have no possible motive for not publishing it. To them it would have been a mine of wealth; at least they thought so, as evidenced by the agreement between Mrs. D. and Hurlburt, that she was to have half of the profits accruing from its publication. 

    There is another fact that strongly bears out Mrs. Davidson's statement. It is this, that iti s highly improbable that Mr. Spaulding would write two entirely distinct and varying romances on the ancient inhabitants of America. We never hear of him writing more than one on this subject. If then the Roman story was not the "Manuscript Found." what was it? It certainlt in many particulars agrees with the statements of those who profess to know something about Mr. Spaulding's writings. Both (if there were two) are said to have been written in the Latin language; both were found in a cave near Conneaut, Ohio. This is altogether unlikely. The evidence we believe to be overwhelming that Hurlburt did receive "The Manuscript Found," and not finding it what he wanted, he destroyed it, or had it destroyed. 

    We have previously referred to the Jacksons of Jackson settlement, Pennsylvania, from whom Hurlburt first heard of Mr. Spaulding's writing's. In justice to Mr. Jackson it must be stated that on one occasion Hurlbut called on him and asked him to sign a document which testified to the probability of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript having been converted into the Book of Mormon. This he indignantly refused to do. He had read both books and knew there was no likeness between them. He then and there stated that there was no agreement between the two; adding that Mr. Spaulding's manuscript was a very small work in the form of a novel, which said not one word about the children of Israel, but professed to give an account of a race of people who originated from the Romans, which Mr. Spaulding said he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found. The Book of Mormon, Mr. Jackson continued, purports to be written by a branch of the House of Israel; is written in a different style, and altogether different. For this reason he refused to lend his name to the lie, and expressed his indignation and contempt at Hurlburt's base and wicked project to deceive the public.
    Mr. Jackson's recollection of the plot of "The Manuscript Found" tallies exactly with Hurlburt's description of the contents of the manuscript he received from Mrs. Davidson, and is confirmatory evidence of the truth of her statement, that she gave that work to Hurlburt. It is also the strongest kind of testimony in favor of the theory that Spaulding's romance had nothing Israelitish in its narrative, but was Roman from beginning to end, in detail, incident, language, writing, parchment and all. 

    To return to Hurlburt's work: those who were anxious that it should be published, discovered that it would be better that it should not appear in his name, his reputation having grown too bad. The manuscript was therefore sold to Mr. Howe of Painesville, Ohio, for $500 and was published by him. It did not prove a financial success, its circulation was but small. Mr. Howe eventually offered the copies at half price, but they would not sell even at that reduction. Hurlburt rapidly spent his ill-gotten gains in drink, and for many tears bore a most undesiable reputation. He is now an old man, residing at Gibsonburg, Ohio.

    The following Sep. 15, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 10
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1882.                No. 18.
    [p. 281]



    BY  G. R.

    IN the investigation of the genuineness of the Book of Mormon we must consider the nature of the direct evidence that we have with regard to its origin. And in this respect the testimony is strong, clear, complete and unimpeachable. The existence of the plates is testified to in a most solemn and sacred manner by eleven witnesses in addition to Joseph Smith. Eight of these witnesses actually handled, lifted, can carefully examined the plates, satisfying themselves in a manner beyond all dispute that the plates were real and tangible. It is altogether unlikely that Joseph Smith could have imposed upon these eight witnesses by giving into their hands something different from metallic plates. So, at any rate, we have the evidence of eight men that they handled certain plates and that they had the appearance of very ancient workmanship. If these plates were not the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, what were they? where did Joseph Smith get them? and what did he do with them? are all pertinent inquiries. That he had plates in his possession of the kind and description from which he states he translated the Book of Mormon is strong prima facie evidence in favor of his story. And the fact that he only showed them to certain few individuals is another evidence of the truthfulness of his statement; for if he, as is claimed, was an ignorant impostor, he would have naturally argued that to the more persons he showed his spurious plates, the wider would grow his influence and the greater would be the number of believers in his story. To keep the plates hidden from the multitudes would naturally appear in the average mind to be the surest way of retarding his success and blocking his own progress; and assuredly if Joseph Smith had the cunning and dexterity to invent the story of the discovery of the plates and to manafucture a set of plates to agree with the story. he would have had cunning enough to present them to the public, surrounded by so much mystery and glamour that while they saw them they would not be able to examine them critically.

    But we have greater and stronger evidence than that of these eight witnesses. We have the testimony of three other men that the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated was shown to them by an angel of the Lord, and not the plates only, but the engravings upon them; and still further they declare that they know that these plates were translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice had declared it unto them. Here, then, we not only have testimony of the existence of the plates, but also to their genuineness and to the truthfulness of the translation, which translation we have in the shape of the Book of Mormon. And it must be remembered that not one of these three witnesses has ever denied his testimony, or contradicted it in the least particular, but under all circumstances and upon every occasion all have in the strongest and most decided language declared that their testimony was true. Again, there is one very note-worthy fact with regard to these three men. They were all severed from the communion of the Church during the life-time of the Prophet Joseph. If Joseph Smith had been an impostor, he was in the power of each of these "three witnesses;" for any one of them, whenever he pleased, could have exposed the conspiracy, if conspiracy there had been, and shown to the world how the testimony had been manufactured; but none of them have ever done so. Although at certain periods of their lives, they smarted under the denunciations and reproofs they received from the Prophet, and entertained towards him the most bitter feelings for the course he took towards them, going so far as to denounce him as a fallen prophet, yet with all their acrimony and hatred they never once deviated from the testimony that is printed above their names at the commencement of the Book of Mormon. We appeal to all reasonable minds, and ask if it is possible to suppose that, if the Book of Mormon were a fraud, Joseph Smith would have dared to have treated these men in the resolute and uncompromising manner that he did. To use a common expression, he would have been under their thumb and would have had to conciliate them and retain their silence by concessions, by flattery and by trimming his course to their requirements. This the prophet never did; he was as independent of them as of any other men. He rebuked unrighteousness in them as strongly as he did in others; and when their conduct could no longer be tolerated in the Church of God, he and the Saints withdrew fellowship from them. This is not the way of an impostor, but of an honest, fearless man, who knows his cause is just and puts his trust in God. Neither did any of the eight witnesses ever turn from his testimony and deny its truthfulness. They ever maintained that their statement was the truth and nothing but the truth. They have all gone beyond the vail now, to receive their reward; and all but one died faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    In considering the nature and value of the testimony of the Prophet Joseph and the three witnesses, the following remarks by Elder Orson Pratt are most pertinent: "No reasonable person will say that these four persons were themselves deceived; the nature of their testimony is such that they must either be bold, daring impostors, or else the Book of Mormon is true. They testify that they saw the angel descend, they heard his voice, they saw the plates in his hand, they saw the engravings upon them as the angel turned them over leaf after leaf, at the same time they heard the voice of the Lord out of the heavens. What greater evidence could they have? They could have had nothing that would have given them greater assurance. If they were deceived there is no certainty in anything. If these four men could be deceived in seeing an angel descend from heaven, on the same grounds the apostles may have been deceived in seeing the Savior ascend up to heaven." * * *

    "Is it probable that four men who were, for the most of their days, strangers to each other, residing in three or four different counties, should combine together to testify that they had seen an angel and heard his voice, and also the voice of God, bearing testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, when no such thing had happened? Three of these witnesses, namely, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, were young men from twenty to twenty-five years of age; they were men who had been accustomed from their childhood to the peaceful vocations of a farmer's life. Unacquainted with the deceptions, which are more or less practiced in large towns and cities, they possessed the open honesty and simplicity so generally characteristic of country people. Is it, in the least degree, probable that men so young and inexperienced, accustomed to a country life, and unacquainted with the world at large, would be so utterly abandoned to every thing that was good, so perfectly reckless as to their own future welfare, so heaven-daring and blasphemous as to testify to all nations that which, if false, would forever seal their damnation?"

    The following Oct. 1, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 7
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, OCTOBER 1, 1882.                No. 19.
    [p. 299]



    BY  G. R.

    THE supposed bad character of Joseph Smith when a youth has been made the text for many a tirade against the gospel that he, by God's grace, restored to the earth. How is it possible, it is asked, that we can believe that God would choose such an instrument for His work? We answer in the first place, God's ways are not as man's ways, and He has a perfect right to choose whomsoever He will. But further we assert, knowing we speak the truth, that the stories about Joseph Smith's bad character are false, and were never whispered until after God called him, and he had commenced the work that heaven assigned him. Until that time he and his parents with their entire family enjoyed a good reputation among their neighbors.

    No sooner had Joseph borne his simple testimony of angelic visitations, than the evil one commenced to vilify his character, to destroy the effect of his testimony. Evil reports spread far and wide, growing as they went, as lies always do, until the days of D. P. Hurlburt, who, when going east to obtain the "Manuscript Found," made it his business to visit the neighborhood of Joseph's early home, and gather for publication all the floating scandal that had been in circulation from the beginning. He also procured an affidavit, or affidavits, which he asserted numbers of the old neighbors of the Smith family signed. Some of the persons who names were attached to those papers have since repudiated all knowledge thereof, and make statements with regard to Joseph Smith's character entirely at variance with the tenor of the affidavits. Others signed from hearsay and rumor and not from actual knowledge. Others are said to have been themselves men of such disreputable character that to be traduced by them was a compliment. The names of entire strangers were added to swell the list.  These fraudulent and untruthful affidavits have been reprinted time and time again, and others have followed in Hurlburt's footsteps, inventing other statements with regard to Joseph Smith, and attached the names of well-known residents of Palmyra, Manchester, etc., thereto without their knowledge and consent, and putting into their mouths statements entirely at variance with their sentiments and expressions. We regret to have to say that this dirty work has generally been done by professed ministers of the gospel.

    The affidavits gathered by Hurlburt make the signers thereto complain that the Smith family, especially Joseph, was indolent, intemperate, untruthful, "entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits." These charges are not only false, but they also manifest all the bitter hatred of religious bigotry and all the exaggeration of envy and revenge.

    Joseph was undoubtedly not perfect -- none of us are -- but he was far superior in almost every respect to his neighbors and associates. In his own account of his youth, between the time of his first vision and the visit of the angel Moroni, he in the humility of his repentance fully confesses his youthful follies, and, as is natural with sensitive and conscientious


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    natures, such as his, evidently applies the strongest language to his shortcomings, and exaggerates rather than extenuates his youthful misdeeds.

    He writes:

    "During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored, in a proper and affectionate manner, to have reclaimed me), I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingled with all kinds of society. I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the corruption of human nature, which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, to the gratification of many appetites offensive in the sight of God. In consequence of these things I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when on the evening of the twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God, for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before Him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I had previously had one." 

    The above is a simple, straightforward, artless statement of his condition, in which he seeks to hide nothing, but at the same time shows that the rebuffs he received, the persecutions he suffered from those who should have been his guides and friends had sufficient influence to cause him occasionally to give way to the weakness of youth incidental to association with the rough and unrestrained society he from his lowly position in life was naturally compelled to mingle with.

    When comparing the before-mentioned vile charges with the testimony of those who knew the future Prophet's family best, we learn that instead of being indolent, the family were "good workers;" instead of being untruthful and vicious, they were honest, upright, religious and veracious, good neighbors, kind in sickness, but very poor, and with but little of the knowledge of this world. Their poverty, which some uncharitable souls have transformed into "shiftlessness," or lack of management, is one of the heaviest charges brought against them.

    The charge of intemperance can be simmered down to the fact that on one or two occasions, in the harvest field, Joseph drank rather more cider than did him good. All the witnesses declare that "everybody drank in those days." It was before the age of temperance societies, and all classes of people considered it perfectly right to take a little strong drink occasionally. Drunkenness was the besetting sin of that era among the English race. Joseph was not a "teetotaler," because there were none. He was also very fond of wrestling, as many of his friends of later years know, and doubtless when stimulated with cider was on hand for a bout, or for any other athletic game or trial of strength that might be suggested. From this exuberance of animal spirits, the enemies of God's latter-day work have built up the story of Joseph's inebriety and vagabond character.

    Again, he is charged with the grave offense of being a "money-digger." In one sense this is true. The whole country round about western New York was in those days affected with a mania to discover hidden treasures in the earth. Most marvelous stories are told of the interposition of unseen beings when some of these treasures were disturbed. The public mind was greatly troubled on this subject, and Joseph Smith was employed by a man at one time to dig for him in the hope of discovering some of these buried riches, or an ancient Spanish mine. Joseph worked for him as he would for any other man, or for the same man if he engaged him to plant potatoes or hoe corn. From this grew the story of Joseph being a money-digger. Even if he dug for treasure on his own responsibility, we do not know that there is anything degrading, dishonest or criminal in such an action.

    The following is Joseph's own account of the manner in which he became saddled with the title of "Money-digger:"

    "As my father's worldly circumstances were very limited, we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring by day's work and otherwise as we could get opportunity; sometimes we were at home and sometimes abroad, and by continued labor we were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance.

    "In the year 1824, my father's family met with a great affliction, by the death of my eldest brother, Alvin. 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 after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money-digger."

    Somewhere about this time, or possibly rather later, Joseph worked for Mr. Joseph Knight, of Colesville, New York.

    Of Joseph, Mr. Knight's son, Newel writes in his private manuscript journal, as follows:

    "The business my father was engaged in, often required him to have hired help, and among the many he, from time to time, employed was a young man by the name of Joseph Smith, Jun., to whom I was particularly attached. His noble deportment, his faithfulness, and his kind address could not fail to win the esteem of those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. One thing I will mention which seemed to be a peculiar characteristic with him in all his boyish sports and amusements: I never knew anyone to gain advantage over him, and yet he was always kind and kept the good will of his playmates."

    In March, 1881, two gentlemen, named Kelley, residing in Michigan, for their own satisfaction, visited the neighborhood where Joseph spent his youth, and questioned the older residents who were acquainted with the Smith family as to their knowledge of the character of Joseph, his parents and his brothers and sisters. Their interviews with numerous parties who claim to have known Joseph were afterwards published. Among those visited were the families, and sometimes the identical persons whose names had been appended, often without their knowledge, to former scurrilous affidavits regarding the reputation of the Smith family. In several cases these parties stated that they did not so much as know that any statement of theirs had ever been published; that they never uttered the sentiments or made the assertions attributed to them, and in some instances that they had been abused because


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    they would not make the damaging statements regarding Joseph character that those who visited them required. In many cases where they spoke disparagingly of the Prophet's family to the Messrs. Kelley, these gentlemen found that they spoke from hearsay, and not from actual knowledge; while those who knew Joseph best spoke of him the most highly. We here append a few extracts from these interviews, at the same time remarking (to put the feeling in the mildest language), that some of these gentlemen were no friends of the Smith family.

    "What did you know about the Smiths, Mr. Gilbert?"

    "I knew nothing myself; have seen Joseph Smith a few times, but not acquainted with him. Saw Hyrum quite often. I am the party that set the type from the original manuscript for the Book of Mormon. They translated it in a cave. I would know that manuscript to-day if I should see it. The most of it was in Oliver Cowdery's handwriting. Some in Joseph's wife's; a small part though. Hyrum Smith always brought the manuscript to the office; he would have it under his coat, and all buttoned up as carefully as though it was so much gold. He said at the time that it was translated from plates by the power of God, and they were very particular about it. We had a great deal of trouble with it. It was not punctuated at all. They did not know anything about punctuation, and we had to do that ourselves."

    "Well; did you change any part of it when you were setting the type?"

    "No, sir; we never changed it at all."

    "Why did you not change it and correct it?

    "Because they would not allow us to; they were very particular about that. We never changed it in the least. Oh, well; there might have been one or two words that I changed the spelling of; I believe I did change the spelling of one, and perhaps two, but no more."

    "Did you set all the type, or did some one help you?"

    "I did the whole of it myself, and helped to read the proof, too; there was no one who worked at that but myself. Did you ever see one of the first copies? I have one here that was never bound. Mr. Grandin, the printer, gave it to me. If you ever saw a Book of Mormon you will see that they changed it afterwards."

    "They did! Well, let us see your copy; that is a good point. How is it changed now?"

    "I will show you (bringing out his copy). Here on the title page it says (reading), Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor.' Afterwards, in getting out other editions they left that out, and only claimed that Joseph Smith translated it."

    "Well, did they claim anything else than that he was the translator when they brought the manuscript to you?"

    "Oh, no; they claimed that he was translating by means of some instruments he got at the same time he did the plates, and that the Lord helped him."

    The Messrs. Kelley also called upon Dr. John Stafford, at Rochester, N. Y. He is now a retired physician, being too aged and infirm to practice. Answering a question as to the character of Joseph Smith, he said:

    "He was a real clever, jovial boy. What Tucker said about them" (the Smith family) "was false, absolutely. My father, William Stafford, was never connected with them in any way. The Smiths, with others, were digging for money before Joe got the plates. My father had a stone, which some thought they could look through, and old Mrs. Smith came there for it one day, but never got it. Saw them digging one time for money; (this was three or four years before the Book of Mormon was found) the Smiths and others. The old man and Hyrum were there, I think, but Joseph was not there. The neighbors used to claim Sally Chase could look at a stone she had, and see money. Willard Chase used to dig when she found where the money was. Don't know as anybody ever found any money."

    "What was the character of Smith, as to his drinking?"

    It was common then for everybody to drink, and to have drink in the field; one time Joe, while working for some one after he was married, drank too much boiled cider. He came in with his shirt torn; his wife felt bad about it, and when they went home, she put her shawl on him."

    "Had he been fighting and drunk?"

    "No; he had been scuffling with some of the boys. Never saw him fight; have known him to scuffle; would do a fair day's work if hired out to a man; but were poor managers," (the Smiths.)

    "What about that black sheep your father let them have?"

    "I have heard that story, but don't think my father was there at the time they say Smith got the sheep. I don't know anything about it."

    "You were living at home at the time, and it seems you ought to know if they got a sheep, or stole one, from your father?"

    "They never stole one, I am sure; they may have got one sometime."

    "Well, doctor, you know pretty well whether that story is true or not, that Tucker tells. What do you think of it?"

    "I don't think it is true. I would have heard more about it, that is true. I lived a mile from Smith's; am seventy-six years old. They were peaceable among themselves. The old woman had a great deal of faith that their children were going to do something great. Joe was quite illiterate. After they began to have school at their house, he improved greatly."

    "Did they have school in their own house?"

    "Yes, sir; they had school in their house, and studied the Bible."

    "Who was their teacher?"

    "They did not have any teacher; they taught themselves."

    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

    "If young Smith was as illiterate as you say, Doctor, how do you account for the Book of Mormon?"

    "Well, I can't; except that Sidney Rigdon was connected with them." "What makes you think he was connected with them?"

    "Because I can't account for the Book of Mormon any other way."

    "Was Rigdon ever around there before the Book of Mormon was published?"

    "No; not as we could ever find out. Sidney Rigdon was never there, that Hurlburt, or Howe, or Tucker could find out."

    "Well; you have been looking out for the facts a long time have you not, doctor?"

    "Yes; I have been thinking and hearing about it for the last fifty years, and lived right among all their old neighbors there most of the time."

    "And no one has ever been able to trace the acquaintance of Rigdon and Smith, until after the Book of Mormon was published, and Rigdon proselyted by Pratt, in Ohio?"

    "Not that I know of."

    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

    "Were you acquainted with them" (the Smiths) "Mr. Saunders?"


    302.                       JUVENILE  INSTRUCTOR.                      

    "Yes, sir, I knew all of the Smith family well; there were six boys: Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph, Harrison, William and Carlos, and there were two girls; the old man was a cooper; they have all worked for me many a day; they were very good people. Young Joe (as we called him then), has worked for me, and he was a good worker; they all were. I did not consider them good managers about business, but they were poor people; the old man had a large family.

    "In what respect did they differ from other people, if at all?"

    "I never noticed that they were different from other neighbors; they were the best family in the neighborhood in case of sickness; one was at my house nearly all the time when my father died; I always thought them honest; they were owing me some money when they left here: that is, the old man and Hyrum did, and Martin Harris. One of them came back in about a year and paid me."

    "How were they as to habits of drinking and getting drunk?"

    "Everybody drank a little, in those days, and the Smiths with the rest; they never got drunk to my knowledge."

    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

    "How well did you know young Joseph Smith?"

    "Oh! just as well as one could very well; he has worked for me many a time, and been about my place a great deal. He stopped with me many a time, when through here, after they went west to Kirtland; he was always a gentleman when about my place."

    "What did you know about his finding that book, or plates in the hill over here?"

    "He always claimed that he saw the angel and received the book; but I don't know anything about it. Have seen it, but never read it as I know of; didn't care anything about it."

    "Well; you seem to differ a little from a good many of the stories told about these people."

    "I have told you just what I know about them, and you will have to go somewhere else for a different story."

    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    
    To our inquiries if he {a Mr. Thos. H. Taylor} was acquainted with the Smiths, and the early settlers throughout that part, sometimes called Mormons, he said:

    "Yes; I knew them very well; they were very nice men, too; the only trouble was they were ahead of the people; and the people, as in every such case, turned out to abuse them, because they had the manhood to stand for their own convictions. I have seen such work all through life, and when I was working with John Brown for the freedom of my fellowman, I often got in tight places; and if it had not been for Gerritt Smith, Wendell Phillips and some others, who gave me their influence and money, I don't know how I would ever have got through."

    "What did the Smiths do that the people abused them so?"

    "They did not do anything. Why! these rascals at one time took Joseph Smith and ducked him in the pond that you see over there, just because he preached what he believed, and for nothing else. And if Jesus Christ had been there, they would have done the same to Him. Now I don't believe like he did; but every man has a right to his religious opinions, and to advocate his views, too; if people don't like it, let them come out and meet him on the stand, and show his error. Smith was always ready to exchange views with the best men they had."

    "Why didn't they like Smith?"

    "To tell the truth, there was something about him they could not understand; some way he knew more than they did, and it made them mad."

    "But a good many tell terrible stories, about them being low people, rogues and liars, and such things. How is that?"

    "Oh! they are a set of d--d liars. I have had a home here, and been here, except when on business, all my life-ever since I came to this country, and I know these fellows, they make these lies on Smith, because they love a lie better than the truth. I can take you to a great many old settlers here who will substantiate what I say, and if you want to go, just come around to my place across the street here, and I'll go with you."

    Well, that is very kind, Mr. Taylor, and fair; and if we have time we will call around and give you the chance; but we are first going to see these fellows who, so rumor says, know so much against them."

    "All right; but you will find they don't know anything against those men when you put them down to it; they could never sustain anything against Smith."

    "Do you think Smith ever got any plates out of the hill he claimed to?"

    "Yes; I rather think he did. Why not he find something as well as anybody else? Right over here, in Illinois and Ohio, in mounds there, they have discovered copper plates since, with hieroglyphics all over them; and quite a number of the old settlers around here testified that Smith showed the plates to them-they were good, honest men, and what is the sense in saying they lied? Now, I never saw the Book of Mormon -- don't know anything about it, nor care; and don't know as it was ever translated from the plates. You have heard about the Spaulding romance; and some claim that it is nothing but the books of the Bible that were rejected by the compilers of the Bible; but all this don't prove that Smith never got any plates."

    The following Oct. 15, 1882 article was reprinted as Chapter 9
    in George Reynolds' 1883 The Myth of the Manuscript Found.

    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, OCTOBER 15, 1882.                No. 20.
    [p. 315]



    BY  G. R.

    OBJECTION has been made to the divinity of the Book of Mormon on the ground that the account given in the publications of the Church, of the time occupied in the work of translation is far too short for the accomplishment of such a labor, and consequently it must have been copied or transcribed from some work written in the English language, most probably from Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." But at the outset it must be recollected that the translation was accomplished by no common method, by no ordinary means. It was done by divine aid. There were no delays over obscure passages, no difficulties over the choice of words, no stoppages from the ignorance of the translator; no time was wasted in investigation or argument over the value, intent or meaning of certain characters, and there were no references to authorities. These difficulties to human work were removed. All was as simple as when a clerk writes from dictation. The translation of the characters appeared on the Urim and Thummim, sentence


    316.                       JUVENILE  INSTRUCTOR.                      

    by sentence, and as soon as one was correctly transcribed the next would appear. So the enquiry narrows down to the consideration of this simple question, how much could Oliver Cowdery write in a day? How many of the printed pages of the Book of Mormon could an ordinary clerk transcribe from dictation in a day? When that is determined, divide the total number of pages in the Book of Mormon by that number and you have the answer in days.

    It now becomes important to discover when the translation was commenced and when it was finished. This cannot be determined to a day, but enough is known for our purpose.

    When Oliver first visited Joseph some little had been translated, exactly how much is not known. The next question is: When did that visit occur? We will let Oliver answer. He writes (Times and Seasons Vol. I, page 201): "Near the time of the setting of the sun, Sabbath evening, April 5th, 1829, my natural eyes, for the first time, beheld this brother. He then resided in Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. On Monday, the 6th, I assisted him in arranging some business of a temporal nature, and on Tuesday, the 7th, commenced to write the Book of Mormon."

    In the history of Joseph Smith, we read:

    "During the month of April I continued to translate and he (Oliver) to write with little cessation, during which time we received several revelations." And again: "We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May 1829) we, on a certain day went into the woods to pray." Oliver also states: "These were days never to be forgotten -- to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, 'Interpreters,' the history or record called the Book of Mormon."

    Thus we see these two young men bent the whole energy of their souls towards the accomplishment of this most important work. They united their youthful zeal "day after day, uninterrupted" and "with little cessation" to the labor of translation. It requires very little imagination to understand how diligently and earnestly they toiled, how they permitted nothing to interfere with their labor of love, how they devoted every hour, until fatigue overcame them, to the divinely imposed task (and young and vigorous as they were it was not a little that would tire them out), while curiosity and other far worthier feelings would give zest and inspiration to their labors; as they progressed we can well imagine how their interest in the narrative increased until they could scarcely tear themselves away from their inspired labors even when their minds and bodies called for food and rest. The enthusiasm with which Oliver speaks of those days shows plainly that this was the case, and we cannot reasonably think that Joseph was any less interested than he.

    Now let us examine when these two brethren commenced their marvelous work. Two series of dates have been given. Oliver's given above, and another in the history of Joseph Smith, which gives the dates as the 15th and 17th of April, or ten days later. Oliver's has this evidence of its correctness, that, as he states, the 5th, 6th and 7th of April, 1829, fell on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, which, of course, those ten days later would not. Again, the event being of more importance in his life than in Joseph's, he was more likely to recollect the details, besides, being a better scholar and penman, it is more probable that if any record of the circumstance was made at that time he made it. But really there is no discrepancy. The dates 15th and 17th in the Pearl of Great Price in Joseph's history, etc., are unfortunately typographical errors, or mistakes in printing. In the original manuscript in the Historian's Office-the dates are the same as those of Oliver Cowdery-the 5th and 7th. But the mistake having once been printed it has been copied out of one journal or book into another until nearly all our works have perpetuated the blunder. Of course it is impossible to tell now whether the mistake was first made by a copyist in the Historian's Office or by a compositor at the printer's.

    From Joseph's and Oliver's narrative we learn how far they had progressed in the work of translation at the time of the visit of the angel, John the Baptist, and their baptism. This took place on May 15th of the same year. It was because they found in the teachings of the risen Redeemer to the Nephites certain instructions regarding baptism that they were led to enquire of the Lord regarding this ordinance, and their inquiry led to the angel's visit. Where are these teachings found? In the third book of Nephi; some, probably the very ones that so deeply impressed the minds of these young men, on pages 422 and 437 of the Book of Mormon (latest edition). Then it is evident that between April 7th and May 15th they had translated as much as makes 422 or 437 pages of the printed Book of Mormon. How much is this a day? Between these two dates, including April 7th but not May 15th, there are thirty-eight days, which would make about thirteen pages a day, if we allow nothing for what was previously transcribed. A swift writer copying from dictation could write four such pages in an hour, as we have demonstrated experimentally, an ordinary writer about three. But allowing that Oliver Cowdery might be a very slow writer, and that he only copied at the rate of a page in half an hour, even then he would only have had to work six or seven hours each day to accomplish the task; and if they rested entirely on Sundays about one hour more. So we see, making no allowance for the work already done, allowing Oliver Cowdery to be a slow penman for his profession-a schoolmaster -- and admitting that they ceased from their labor on the Sabbath, still it was only necessary for them to do a short day's work, especially for two young men in the prime and vigor of life; and yet allow ample time for the reception of revelations (which were given through the Urim and Thummim) and the performance of other duties that possibly called for their attention.

    To show how easy such an effort would be we will state that President George Q. Cannon has informed us that when he translated the Book of Mormon into the language of the Sandwich Islanders, he frequently translated as many as eight or ten pages a day. This was far heavier work to do alone and without the assistance of the Urim and Thummim, than it was for Joseph and Oliver together to translate from twelve to fifteen pages with the all-important assistance of the "Interpreters."

    After the date of their baptism, the brethren appear to have worked more leisurely. Early in June they moved to Mr. Peter Whitmer's, at Fayette, Seneca county, New York, who had kindly offered them a house. Here the work was continued, John Whitmer, one of the sons, assisting them very much by writing. Joseph states: "Meanwhile our translation was drawing to a close, we went to Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, secured the copyright and agreed with Mr. Egbert Grandin to print five thousand copies for the sum of three thousand dollars." The copyright was


                          JUVENILE  INSTRUCTOR.                       317.

    secured on June 11th, so it appears that between May 15th and the last-named date, or twenty-six days, they had not quite translated one hundred and twenty pages -- not five pages a day -- or they would have finished their work sooner. The exact date the translation was entirely completed is not known, at least we have not been able to discover it.

    Thus we see between the dates given, Joseph and Oliver had ample time to do the work claimed by and for them, the objection falls to the ground, and the truth is again vindicated.


    Vol. XVII.                 SALT LAKE CITY, NOVEMBER 1, 1882.                No. 21.
    [p. 331]




    SINCE the Book of Mormon was first published to the world in the year 1829, many things have come to light that are evidences of its truthfulness. Among these are the numerous ruins and mounds that have been discovered since that time, as well as other evidences that go to prove that this land was inhabited by a more civilized race than Columbus found here. Among the mounds that I have seen I think the most important are to be found a few miles east of St. Louis, on the American Bottom. As you proceed eastward on the Ohio and Mississippi or Vandalia railroads you will notice numerous mounds of various sizes covering the plain on either side of the track. One in particular -- off to the left -- attracts the attention from its great height and size because a farm house stands on its summit.

    Within ten square miles of alluvion bottom there are more than one hundred mounds of considerable dimensions. The largest of these are on the bank of Cahokia creek five or six miles from East St. Louis.

    This group contains seventy-two mounds, the majority of which are situated on a square mile. The largest mound is in the center of the group and is known as the Cahokia or Monk's Mound, deriving its latter name from the fact that in the early history of the country some monks occupied the mound for a short time. The form of the mound is a parallelogram with straight sides, the longer of which are north and south. It is about one hundred feet in height. On the southern end thirty feet above the base, is a terrace or apron containing nearly two acres of ground. On the western side and some thirty feet above the first terrace is a second one of somewhat less extent. The top of the mound is flat and divided into two parts, the northern end being four or five feet higher than the southern portion. The summit contains about an acre and a half. Near the middle of the first terrace at the base of the mound, is a projecting point, apparently the remains of a graded pathway to ascend from the plain to the terrace. The west side of the mound below the second terrace is very irregular and forms projecting knobs separated by deep ravines, probably the result of rain storms. The remaining sides of the structure are quite straight and but little defaced by the hand of time. About the sides of the mound are still growing several forest trees one of which, an elm, is several centuries old. The base of the mound covers sixteen acres of ground.

    A well has been dug on the lower terrace and pieces of pottery, sea shells etc., were found. In another mound near by bones were found, also some copper awls and needles, some of the latter were about eighteen inches long. Stone images, pottery and many small relics have been found in mounds in the vicinity.

    All this goes to show a degree of civilization in advance of the Indian race, and how do we know but what these mounds are the remains of the cement houses spoken of in the third chapter of Helaman?

    There is every appearance that a great city stood here, for the bottom seventy-five miles long and five to ten wide is literally covered with mounds and even the present site of St. Louis was dotted here and there with these remains of past greatness.


    Vol. XX.                 SALT LAKE CITY, NOVEMBER 1, 1882.                No. 7.
    [p. 103]



    {We copy the following interesting item from an almanac
    which was published in 1863, in Salt Lake City, by W. W.
    Phelps, who was also the writer of this incident. Ed.}

    IN June, 1844, when Joseph Smith went to Carthage and delivered himself up to Governor Ford, I accompanied him, and while on the way thither, he related to me and his brother Hyrum the following dream:

    He said: "While I was at Jordan's in Iowa the other night, I dreamed that myself and my brother Hyrum went on board of a large steamboat, lying in a small bay, near the great ocean. Shortly after we went on board there was an alarm of fire, and I discovered that the boat had been anchored some distance from the shore, out in the bay, and that escape from the fire, in the confusion, appeared hazardous; but, as delay was folly, I and Hyrum jumped overboard, and tried our faith at walking upon the water.

    "At first we sank in the water nearly to our knees, but as we proceeded we increased in faith, and were soon able to walk upon the water, we saw that it was drifting towards the warf and the town, with a great flame and clouds of smoke; and, as if by whirlwind, the town was taking fire, too, so that the scene of destruction and horror of the frightened inhabitants were terrible.

    "We proceeded on the bosom of the mighty deep and were soon out of sight of land. The ocean was still; the rays of the sun were bright, and we forgot all the troubles of our mother earth. Just at that moment I heard the sound of a human voice, and turning around, saw my brother Samuel H. approaching towards us from the east. We stopped and he came up. After a moment's conversation he informed me that he had been lonesome back there, and had made up his mind to go with me across the mighty deep.

    "We started again, and in a short time were blest with the first sight of a city, whose gold and silver steeples and towers were more beautiful than any I had ever seen or heard of on earth. It stood, as it were, upon the western shore of the mighty deep we were walking on, and its order and glory seemed far beyond the wisdom of man. While we were gazing upon the perfection of the city, a small boat launched off from the port, and, almost as quick as thought, came to us. In an instant they took us aboard and saluted us with a welcome, and with music such as is not on earth. The next scene, on landing, was more than I can describe; the greeting of old friends, the music from a thousand towers, and the light of God Himself at the return of three of His sons, soothed soul into a quiet and a joy that I felt as if I was truly in heaven. I gazed upon the splendor, I greeted my friends. I awoke, and lo, it was a dream!

    "While I meditated upon such a marvelous scene, I fell asleep again, and behold I stood near the shore of the burning boat, and there was a great consternation among the officers, crew and passengers of the flaming craft, as there seemed to be much ammunition or powder on board. The alarm was given that the fire was near the magazine, and in a moment, suddenly, it blew up with a great noise, and sank in deep water with all on board. I then turned to the country east, among the brushy openings, and saw William and Wilson Law endeavoring to escape from the wild beasts of the forest, but two lions rushed out of a thicket and devoured them. I awoke again"

    I will say that Joseph never told this dream again, as he was martyred about two days after. I relate from recollection as nearly as I can.

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