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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



The Spaulding Manuscript








The history of the Mormon Bible has been brought uninterruptedly
to this point in order that the reader may be able to follow
clearly each step that had led up to its publication. It is now
necessary to give attention to two subjects intimately connected
with the origin of this book, viz., the use made of what is known
as the "Spaulding manuscript," in supplying the historical part
of the work, and Sidney Rigdon's share in its production.

The most careful student of the career of Joseph Smith, Jr., and
of his family and his associates, up to the year 1827, will fail
to find any ground for the belief that he alone, or simply with
their assistance, was capable of composing the Book of Mormon,
crude in every sense as that work is. We must therefore accept,
as do the Mormons, the statement that the text was divinely
revealed to Smith, or must look for some directing hand behind
the scene, which supplied the historical part and applied the
theological. The "Spaulding manuscript" is believed to have
furnished the basis of the historical part of the work.

Solomon Spaulding, born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761, was
graduated from Dartmouth College in 1785, studied divinity, and
for some years had charge of a church. His own family described
him as a peculiar man, given to historical researches, and
evidently of rather unstable disposition. He gave up preaching,
conducted an academy at Cherry Valley, New York, and later moved
to Conneaut, Ohio, where in 1812 he had an interest in an iron
foundry. His attention was there attracted to the ancient mounds
in that vicinity, and he set some of his men to work exploring
one of them. "I vividly remember how excited he became," says his
daughter,when he heard that they had exhumed some human bones,
portions of gigantic skeletons, and various relics. "From these
discoveries he got the idea of writing a fanciful history of the
ancient races of this country.

The title he chose for his book was "The Manuscript Found." He
considered this work a great literary production, counted on
being able to pay his debts from the proceeds of its sale, and
was accustomed to read selections from the manuscript to his
neighbors with evident pride. The impression that such a
production would be likely to make on the author's neighbors in
that frontier region and in those early days, when books were
scarce and authors almost unknown, can with difficulty be
realized now. Barrett Wendell, speaking of the days of Bryant's
early work, says:--

"Ours was a new country...deeply and sensitively aware that it
lacked a literature. Whoever produced writings which could be
pronounced adorable was accordingly regarded by his fellow
citizens as a public benefactor, a great public figure, a
personage of whom the nation could be proud."* This feeling lends
weight to the testimony of Mr. Spaulding's neighbors, who in
later years gave outlines of his work.

* "Literary History of America."


In order to find a publisher Mr. Spaulding moved with his family
to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. A printer named Patterson spoke well
of the manuscript to its author, but no one was found willing to
publish it. The Spauldings afterward moved to Amity,
Pennsylvania, where Mr. Spaulding died in 1816. His widow and
only child went to live with Mrs. Spaulding's brother, W. H.
Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, New York, taking their effects with
them. These included an old trunk containing Mr. Spaulding's
papers. "There were sermons and other papers," says his daughter,
"and I saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written,
tied up with some stories my father had written for me, one of
which he called 'The Frogs of Windham.' On the outside of this
manuscript were written the words 'Manuscript Found.' I did not
read it, but looked through it, and had it in my hands many
times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father
read it to his friends. "Mrs. Spaulding next went to her father's
house in Connecticut, leaving her personal property at her
brother's. She married a Mr. Davison in 1820, and the old trunk
was sent to her at her new home in Hartwick, Otsego County, New
York. The daughter was married to a Mr. McKinstry in 1828, and
her mother afterward made her home with her at Monson,
Massachusetts, most of the time until her death in 1844.

When the newly announced Mormon Bible began to be talked about in
Ohio, there were immediate declarations in Spaulding's old
neighborhood of a striking similarity between the Bible story and
the story that Spaulding used to read to his acquaintances there,
and these became positive assertions after the Mormons had held a
meeting at Conneaut. The opinion was confidently expressed there
that, if the manuscript could be found and published, it would
put an end to the Mormon pretence.

About the year 1834 Mrs. Davison received a visit at Monson from
D. P. Hurlbut, a man who had gone over to the Mormons from the
Methodist church, and had apostatized and been expelled. He
represented that he had been sent by a committee to secure "The
Manuscript Found" in order that it might be compared with the
Mormon Bible. As he brought a letter from her brother, Mrs.
Davison, with considerable reluctance, gave him an introduction
to George Clark, in whose house at Hartwick she had left the old
trunk, directing Mr. Clark to let Hurlbut have the manuscript,
receiving his verbal pledge to return it. He obtained a
manuscript from this trunk, but did not keep his pledge.*

* Condensed from an affidavit by Mrs. McKinstry, dated April 3,
1880, in Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880.


The Boston Recorder published in May, 1839, a detailed statement
by Mrs. Davison concerning her knowledge of "The Manuscript
Found." After giving an account of the writing of the story, her
statement continued as follows:--

"Here [in Pittsburg] Mr. Spaulding found a friend and
acquaintance in the person of Mr. Patterson, who was very much
pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for
a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that, if he would make
out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, as it might be
a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney
Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons,
was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr.
Patterson, as is well known in that region, and, as Rigdon
himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr.
Spaulding's manuscript and copied it. It was a matter of
notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing
establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its
author, and soon after we removed to Amity where Mr. Spaulding
deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was
carefully preserved."

This statement stirred up the Mormons greatly, and they at once
pronounced the letter a forgery, securing from Mrs. Davison a
statement in which she said that she did not write it. This was
met with a counter statement by the Rev. D. R. Austin that it was
made up from notes of a conversation with her, and was correct.
In confirmation of this the Quincy [Massachusetts] Whig printed a
letter from John Haven of Holliston, Massachusetts, giving a
report of a conversation between his son Jesse and Mrs. Davison
concerning this letter, in which she stated that the letter was
substantially correct, and that some of the names used in the
Mormon Bible were like those in her husband's story. Rigdon
himself, in a letter addressed to the Boston Journal, under date
of May 27, 1839, denied all knowledge of Spaulding, and declared
that there was no printer named Patterson in Pittsburg during his
residence there, although he knew a Robert Patterson who had
owned a printing-office in that city. The larger part of his
letter is a coarse attack on Hurlbut and also on E. D. Howe, the
author of "Mormonism Unveiled, "whose whole family he charged
with scandalous immoralities." If the use of Spaulding's story in
the preparation of the Mormon Bible could be proved by nothing
but this letter of Mrs. Davison, the demonstration would be weak;
but this is only one link in the chain.

Howe, in his painstaking efforts to obtain all probable
information about the Mormon origin from original sources,
secured the affidavits of eight of Spaulding's acquaintances in
Ohio, giving their recollections of the "Manuscript Found."*
Spaulding's brother, John, testified that he heard many passages
of the manuscript read and, describing it, he said:--

* Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 278-287.


"It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America,
endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants
of the Jews, or the lost tribe. It gave a detailed account of
their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived
in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards
had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct
nations, one of which he denominated Nephites, and the other
Lamanites. Cruel and bloody Wars ensued, in which great
multitudes were slain.... I have recently read the "Book of
Mormon," and to my great surprise I find nearly the same
historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's
writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and
commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or
'now it came to pass,' the same as in the 'Book of Mormon,' and,
according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the
same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the
religious matter."

John Spaulding's wife testified that she had no doubt that the
historical part of the Bible and the manuscript were the same,
and she well recalled such phrases as "it came to pass."

Mr. Spaulding's business partner at Conneaut, Henry Lake,
testified that Spaulding read the manuscript to him many hours,
that the story running through it and the Bible was the same, and
he recalls this circumstance: "One time, when he was reading to
me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I
considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct, but by
referring to the 'Book of Mormon,' I find that it stands there
just as he read it to me then.... I well recollect telling Mr.
Spaulding that the so frequent use of the words 'and it came to
pass,' 'now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous."

John N. Miller, an employee of Spaulding in Ohio, and a boarder
in his family for several months, testified that Spaulding had
written more than one book or pamphlet, that he had heard the
author read from the "Manuscript Found," that he recalled the
story running through it, and added: "I have recently examined
the 'Book of Mormon,' and find in it the writings of Solomon
Spaulding, from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and
other religious matter which I did not meet with in the
'Manuscript Found'.... The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and in
fact all the principal names, are brought fresh to my
recollection by the 'Gold Bible.'"

Practically identical testimony was given by the four other
neighbors. Important additions to this testimony have been made
in later years. A statement by Joseph Miller of Amity,
Pennsylvania, a man of standing in that community, was published
in the Pittsburg Telegraph of February 6, 1879. Mr. Miller said
that he was well acquainted with Spaulding when he lived at
Amity, and heard him read most of the "Manuscript Found," and had
read the Mormon Bible in late years to compare the two. "On
hearing read, "he says," the account from the book of the battle
between the Amlicites (Book of Alma), in which the soldiers of
one army had placed a red mark on their foreheads to distinguish
them from their enemies, it seemed to reproduce in my mind, not
only the narration, but the very words as they had been impressed
on my mind by the reading of Spaulding's manuscript.... The
longer I live, the more firmly I am convinced that Spaulding's
manuscript was appropriated and largely used in getting up the `
Book of Mormon."

Redick McKee, a resident of Amity, Pennsylvania, when Spaulding
lived there, and later a resident of Washington, D. C., in a
letter to the Washington [Pennsylvania] Reporter, of April 21,
1869, stated that he heard Spaulding read from his manuscript,
and added: "I have an indistinct recollection of the passage
referred to by Mr. Miller about the Amlicites making a cross with
red paint on their foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in
battle."

The Rev. Abner Judson, of Canton, Ohio, wrote for the Washington
County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society, under date of December
20, 1880, an account of his recollections of the Spaulding
manuscript, and it was printed in the Washington [Pennsylvania]
Reporter of January 7, 1881. Spaulding read a large part of his
manuscript to Mr. Judson's father before the author moved to
Pittsburg, and the son, confined to the house with a lameness,
heard the reading and the accompanying conversations. He says:
"He wrote it in the Bible style. 'And it came to pass,' occurred
so often that some called him 'Old Come-to-pass.' The 'Book of
Mormons' follows the romance too closely to be a stranger ....
When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old
Esquire Wright heard it and exclaimed, "Old Come-to-pass' has
come to life again."*

* Fuller extracts from the testimony of these later witnesses
will be found in Robert Patterson's pamphlet, "Who wrote the Book
of Mormon," reprinted from the "History of Washington County,
Pa."


The testimony of so many witnesses, so specific in its details,
seems to prove the identity of Spaulding's story and the story
running through the Mormon Bible. The late President James H.
Fairchild of Oberlin, Ohio, whose pamphlet on the subject we
shall next examine, admits that "if we could accept without
misgiving the testimony of the eight witnesses brought forward in
Howe's book, we should be obliged to accept the fact of another
manuscript" (than the one which President Fairchild secured); but
he thinks there is some doubt about the effect on the memory of
these witnesses of the lapse of years and the reading of the new
Bible before they recalled the original story. It must be
remembered, however, that this resemblance was recalled as soon
as they heard the story of the new Bible, and there seems no
ground on which to trace a theory that it was the Bible which
originated in their minds the story ascribed to the manuscript.

The defenders of the Mormon Bible as an original work received
great comfort some fifteen years ago by the announcement that the
original manuscript of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" had been
discovered in the Sandwich Islands and brought to this country,
and that its narrative bore no resemblance to the Bible story.
The history of this second manuscript is as follows: E. D. Howe
sold his printing establishment at Painesville, Ohio, to L. L.
Rice, who was an antislavery editor there for many years. Mr.
Rice afterward moved to the Sandwich Islands, and there he was
requested by President Fairchild to look over his old papers to
see if he could not find some antislavery matter that would be of
value to the Oberlin College library. One result of his search
was an old manuscript bearing the following certificate: 'The
writings of Solomon Spaulding,' proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver
Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above
gentlemen are now in my possession.

"D. P. HURLBUT."

President Fairchild in a paper on this subject which has been
published* gives a description of this manuscript (it has been
printed by the Reorganized Church at Lamoni, Iowa), which shows
that it bears no resemblance to the Bible story. But the
assumption that this proves that the Bible story is original
fails immediately in view of the fact that Mr. Howe made no
concealment of his possession of this second manuscript. Hurlbut
was in Howe's service when he asked Mrs. Davison for an order for
the manuscript, and he gave to Howe, as the result of his visit,
the manuscript which Rice gave to President Fairchild. Howe in
his book (p. 288) describes this manuscript substantially as does
President Fairchild, saying:--

* "Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the 'Book of Mormon,'"
Tract No. 77, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland,
Ohio.


"This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the
Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave on the
banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in a modern style, and
giving a fabulous account of a ship's being drlven upon the
American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short
time pious to the Christian era, this country then being
inhabited by the Indians."*

* Howe says in his book, "The fact that Spaulding in the latter
part of his life inclined to infidelity is established by a
letter in his handwriting now in our possession. "This letter was
given by Rice with the other manuscript to President Fairchild
(who reproduces it), thus adding to the proof that the Rice
manuscript is the one Hurlbut delivered to Howe.

Mr. Howe adds this important statement:--

"This old manuscript has been shown to several of the foregoing
witnesses, who recognize it as Spaulding's, he having told them
that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going further
back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order
that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no
resemblance to the 'Manuscript Found.'"

If Howe had considered this manuscript of the least importance as
invalidating the testimony showing the resemblance between the
"Manuscript Found" and the Mormon Bible, he would have destroyed
it (if he was the malignant falsifier the Mormons represented him
to be), and not have first described it in his book; and then
left it to be found by any future owner of his effects. Its
rediscovery has been accepted, however, even by some non-Mormons,
as proof that the Mormon Bible is an original production.*

* Preface to "The Mormon Prophet," Lily Dugall.


Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson, a great-niece of Spaulding, who has
painstakingly investigated the history of the much-discussed
manuscript, visited D. P. Hurlbut at his home near Gibsonburg,
Ohio, in 1880 (he died in 1882), taking with her Oscar Kellogg, a
lawyer, as a witness to the interview.* She says that her visit
excited him greatly. He told of getting a manuscript for Mr. Howe
at Hartwick, and said he thought it was burned with other of Mr.
Howe's papers. When asked, "Was it Spaulding's manuscript that
was burned?" he replied: "Mrs. Davison thought it was; but when I
just peeked into it, here and there, and saw the names Mormon,
Moroni, Lamanite, Lephi, I thought it was all nonsense. Why, if
it had been the real one, I could have sold it for $3000;** but I
just gave it to Howe because it was of no account. "During the
interview his wife was present, and when Mrs. Dickenson pressed
him with the question, "Do you know where the 'Manuscript Found'
is at the present time?" Mrs. Hurlbut went up to him and said,
"Tell her what you know." She got no satisfactory answer, but he
afterward forwarded to her an affidavit saying that he had
obtained of Mrs. Davison a manuscript supposing it to be
Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," adding: "I did not examine the
manuscript until after 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."

With this presentation of the evidence showing the similarity
between Spaulding's story and the Mormon Bible narrative, we may
next examine the grounds for believing that Sidney Rigdon was
connected with the production of the Bible.

* A full account of this interview is given in her book, "New
Light on Mormonism" (1885).

** There have been surmises that Hurlbut also found the
"Manuscript Found" in the trunk and sold this to the Mormons. He
sent a specific denial of this charge to Robert Patterson in
1879.





Next: Sidney Rigdon

Previous: Translation And Publication Of The Bible



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