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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

THE MORMON ORIGIN

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



First Announcement Of The Golden Bible








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."





Next: The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible

Previous: How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger



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