Problems with Joseph Smith

 

Interrogatory No. 13


The Numerous Accusations of Sexual Harassment and Abuse Levelled at Joseph Smith

tar&Feathe2r

In this day when all around us men in positions of power and influence are being made to account for their cowardly abuse and harassment of women, I think it altogether appropriate to raise the issue of Joseph Smith’s proclivity in this regard.

As I write this, we have seen United States Senator Al Franken resign amide at least six accusations of inappropriate behavior with women. U.S. Representative John Conyers, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, and of course U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore have been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct. In the world of entertainment, allegations also abound. Comedians Bill Cosby and Louis C.K., actors Jeremy Piven, Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman. Producer Harvey Weinstein, NBC anchor Matt Lauer and the man who currently sits in the Oval Office.

Sexual harassment is hardly a new phenomenon, but the deluge of disturbing allegations of sexual assault and harassment by powerful, high-profile men has prompted an increasing number of brave women to come forward with their harrowing tales of sexual abuse and harassment and have declared, “me too!”

We are all familiar with Lord Acton’s dictum that, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The one thing all of the above have in common is power. The power of their position, the power of their wealth, the power of their celebrity.

Like our esteemed President’s vulgar conversation with “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush, Joseph Smith freely and openly bragged about his use of women. “He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this”(“Interview with William Law. March 30, 1887,” Daily Tribune: Salt Lake City, July 31, 1887).

In 1827, Levi Lewis accused Smith of trying to seduce sixteen-year-old Eliza Winters and reports hearing Smith and Martin Harris say that, “adultery was no crime.”

In 1832, we find Eli Johnson “furious because he suspected Joseph of being intimate with his sister Nancy Marinda Johnson.”It was this that led to the tarring and feathering of Smith and the attempted castration.

A year later in 1833, a Mrs. Alexander quoted Polly Beswick as saying: “It was commonly reported, Jo Smith said he had a revelation to lie /with/ Vienna Jacques, who lived in his family. Polly told me, that Emma, Joseph’s wife told her that Joseph would get up in the middle of the night and go to Vienna’s bed. Polly said Emma would get out of humor, fret and scold and flounce in the harness. Jo would shut himself up in a room and pray for a revelation. When he came out he would claim he had received one and state it to her, and bring her around all right.”1

In that same year, 1833 Miss Hill, a servant in the Smith household claimed that Smith made indecent proposals to her, “which created quite a talk amongst the people, ”and which Smith supposedly admitted to Martin Harris.

In 1933, we had Fanny Alger aged 16, which the Church likes to list as a ‘marriage’ even though there is no marriage license and it came prior to any revelation on sealing and which William E. McLellin tells us that Emma witnessed their actual copulation through a crack in the barn.

At some time prior to 1886, Sarah Pratt said that “Lucinda Harris who was a married lady, a very good friend of mine. When Joseph had made his dastardly attempt on me, I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: “How foolish you are! I don’t see anything so horrible in it. Why I am his mistress since four years!”2

Sarah Pratt. Sometime in late 1840 or early 1841 John C. Bennett, Joseph’s friend reported that he told him that, “he was smitten by the “amiable and accomplished” Sarah Pratt and wanted her for one of his spiritual wives.”

Smith told Sarah, “Sister Pratt, the Lord has given you to me as one of my spiritual wives. I have the blessings of Jacob granted me, as God granted holy men of old, and as I have long looked upon you with favor, and an earnest desire of connubial bliss, I hope you will not repulse or deny me.”

To which Sarah replied, “And is that the great secret that I am not to utter, am I called upon to break the marriage covenant, and prove recreant to my lawful husband! I never will”She added, “I care not for the blessings of Jacob. I have one good husband, and that is enough for me.”

To which Smith replied, “Sister Pratt, I hope you will not expose me, for if I suffer, all must suffer; so do not expose me. Will you promise me that you will not do it?”3

In the fall of 1841, Melissa Schindle was staying with the widow Fuller, who had recently been married to a Mr. Warren, in the city of Nauvoo, tells us under oath that Joseph Smith came into the room where she was sleeping at about 10 o’clock at night, and after making a few remarks came to her bedside, and asked her if he could have the privilege of sleeping with her.4

In 1841 Catherine Fuller Warren also swears under oath that Smith got into bed with her without her invitation.5

FairMormon takes the same tack that Roy Moore and others accused of this type of wrongdoing, deny, deny, deny. These women are all liars.

References

1 “Mrs. Warner [sic] Alexander, Statement [1886], original in Stanley A. Kimball Papers, Southern Illinois University; typescript in Linda King Newell Collection, MS 447, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.”

2 W[ilhem] Wyl [pseud. for Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal], Mormon Portraits, or the Truth about Mormon Leaders from 1830 to 1886, Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and His Friends: A Study Based on Fact and Documents (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing, 1886). 60.

3 “If you should tell,” the Prophet added, “I will ruin your reputation, remember that” (Bennett 1842a, 228-31

4 John C. Bennett, letter dated 27 June 1842, “Bennett’s Second and Third Letters,” Sangamo Journal, Springfield, Ill., 15 July 1842. Reproduced in Bennett’s History of the Saints: or, An Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism (Boston: Leland & Whiting, 1842), 253–54.

5 Ibid, p.14

____________________

Interrogatory No. 14


How can we deal with Fanny Alger and Plural

Marriage Before the Revelation on Plural Marriage?

alger.jpg
There is overwhelming evidence that in 1835, Joseph had a sexual relationship, with a nineteen-year-old girl by the name of Fanny Alger who was then employed in his own home as a servant girl.

Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris considered the relationship to have been merely adulterous. Cowdery wrote a letter to his brother Warren in January 1838 referring to “a dirty, nasty, filthy scrape affair of his and Fanny Alger’s.”

Martin Harris reports the Prophet indicated that the ‘maid’ was claiming he had made, “improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people.”

Believing there was no truth to it, Harris told Smith, “take no notice of the girl, that she was full of the devil, and wanted to destroy the prophet of God.”

Smith, however, “acknowledged that there was more truth than poetry in what the girl said,” to which Harris then told Smith he would have nothing to do with the matter and that Smith could, “get out of the matter the best way he knew how.” 1

William McLellin in a letter to Joseph’s son in 1872, rather bluntly described the affair:

“Now Joseph I will relate to you some history, and refer you to your own dear Mother for the truth. You will probably remember that I visited your Mother and family in 1847, and held a lengthy conversation with her, retired in the Mansion House in Nauvoo. I did not ask her to tell, but I told her some stories I had heard. And she told me whether I was properly informed. Dr. F. G. Williams practiced with me in Clay Co. Mo. during the latter part of 1838. And he told me that at your birth your father committed an act with a Miss Hill [sic]—a hired girl. Emma saw him, and spoke to him. He desisted, but Mrs. Smith refused to be satisfied. He called in Dr. Williams, O. Cowdery, and S. Rigdon to reconcile Emma. But she told them just as the circumstances took place. He found he was caught. He confessed humbly, and begged forgiveness. Emma and all forgave him. She told me this story was true!! Again I told her I heard that one night she missed Joseph and Fanny Alger. She went to the barn and saw him and Fanny in the barn together alone. She looked through a crack and saw the transaction!!! She told me this story too was verily true.” 2

It is difficult to describe this servant girl as one of Joseph’s ‘plural wives’ as we know from the D&C he did not have the power to “seal” at the time he was having sex with the maid.

Joseph was given such authority in April 1836, when he claimed that he and Oliver Cowdery had a vision in which Elijah appeared to them and gave them “the keys of this dispensation.”

Fanny and her parents left Kirtland in September 1836 moving to Dublin, Indiana where Fanny married Solomon Custer, a non-Mormon. No divorce from Joseph as far as we know.

Fanny was by no means the only girl or woman that Joseph had a sexual relationship with without ‘the benefit of clergy.’ In an astonishing example of revisionism, the church likes to tack this sexual encounter up as a ‘marriage.’

There is increasing evidence that Smith’s practiced a unique form of concubinage. I say unique because unlike the concubines that Old Testament prophets took, Smith seemed to offer these women no level of commitment. In modern parlance, we might use words such as affair, dalliance, liaison or friends with benefits to describe these sexual relationships.

I think it is important to note that there were many accusations of sexual impropriety and illicit sexual conduct made against Smith between 1827 and his death in 1844.

At present, there are no accounts of Joseph’s sexual experiences before 1827. Although he hints at it when he writes in the official Church history that, “I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingling 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.”

Joseph does not explicitly identify which were the “temptations” or the “many appetites” that he gratified which were “offensive” to God. Could his “gratification of many appetites ”be referencing sexual liaisons, masturbation or something  more troubling?

We know he attended many camp-meetings, he says, “as often as occasion would
permit.”
3

It is well known that these ‘camp-meetings,’ were rather bawdy affairs, and were not just attended by the pious seeking salvation but by drinkers, thrill-seekers, and prostitutes. They were hotbeds of sexual opportunity with men and women lying around together in the dark. One wag commented that at these meetings, ‘more souls were begotten than saved.’

Joseph was arrested again on several charges on June 30th, 1830. A court trial was held before Judge Joseph Chamberlain at Bainbridge, New York. A dozen witnesses were called, including Miriam and Rhoda Stowell, the daughters of Josiah Stowell of Bainbridge. Smith had worked for Stowell as a treasure hunter, between October 1825 to March 1826. During this period, Smith frequently associated with the Stowell girls who were eighteen and twenty years of age.

Seeking to determine Smith’s “character and conduct,” the prosecutor called the Stowell girls as witnesses. Joseph Smith said that both girls “were severally examined … particularly as to my behavior towards them, both in public and in private.”

Nothing came of this case, according to Joseph.

The prosecutor may have called the Stowell girls because of the recent sexual accusations made against Smith in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

Levi Lewis, Emma Smith’s cousin accused Joseph of attempting “to seduce Eliza Winters,” a close friend of Emma’s. Lewis said that being well “acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris and that he has heard them both say, [that] adultery was no crime. Harris said he did not blame Smith for his attempt to seduce sixteen-year-old Eliza Winters.” 4

Joseph and Emma’s abruptly left Harmony in May of 1829.

At one time I had respect Emma Smith-Bittamon but no longer. The more I have got to know her, the more I see her as a conflicted and dishonest woman who too often enabled Joseph’s sexual peculiarities and punished his victims.

“Joseph’s name was connected with scandalous relations with two or three families” according to Benjamin Winchester, a close friend of the prophet, said the Kirtland accusations of scandal and “licentious conduct” against him were discussed, “especially among the women.” The rumors mentioned a Miss Vienna Jacques and a Miss Marinda Nancy Johnson specifically

Sexual allegations were also made against Smith in Hiram, Ohio. Related to Marinda Johnson. Luke Johnson—Marinda’s brother, and later member of the First Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835 wrote:

“While Joseph was yet at my father’s, a mob of forty or fifty came to his house, a few entered his room in the middle of the night, and Carnot Mason dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head; he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house, stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner; they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation [castration]; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate. The mob … in attempting to force open his jaws, they broke one of his front teeth to pour a vial of some obnoxious drug [aqua-fortis, a poison] into his mouth.

The mob [then] became divided [because they] did not succeed … put poured tar over him, and then stuck feathers in it and left him, and went to an old brickyard to wash themselves and bury their filthy clothes. At this place a vial was dropped, the contents of which ran out and killed the grass.… [then] part of the mob went to the house that Sidney Rigdon occupied, and dragged him out, and besmeared him with tar and feathers.” 6

One member of the mob screaming for Smith castration was Eli Johnson who believed that Smith had been intimate with his sixteen-year-old niece.

It would seem that Joseph had more accusers than Bill Cosby!

References

Metcalfe, Anthony. Interview with Martin Harris, ca 1873, in ‘Ten Years Before the Mast,’ Malad, Idaho, 1888.

William McLellin, Letter to Joseph Smith III, July 1872, Community of Christ Archives

3  Joseph Smith-History,” 1:8, The Pearl of Great Price

4  Levi Lewis affidavit, 1

5 Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy,4.

6 Luke Johnson History, p. 57

 

FairMormon’s Comments on Fanny Alger

They provide no defense of Smith’s behavior or character.

 

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Interrogatory No. 15

Was Joseph’s ‘Marriages’ to Very Young Girls Right?

Abusive Man Choking Female Victim

While there could be more because of Joseph’s secrecy and cover-up, we now know of a surety that he had at least ten teenage brides:

Fanny Alger, 16
Sarah Ann Whitney, 17
Lucy Walker, 17
Flora Ann Woodworth, 16
Emily Dow Partridge, 19
Sarah Lawrence, 17
Maria Lawrence, 19
Helen Mar Kimball, 14
Melissa Lott, 19
Nancy M. Winchester, 14?

Did he have sex with these young girls? 

That is certainly the normal assumption. 

Here’s what Helen Mar Kimball, just 14 confided to a close friend in Nauvoo about her marriage to Joseph Smith:

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.” 1

Obviously, any reasonable person knows that Helen meant it was sexual. As Jeremy Runnells puts it, “This is Warren Jeffs territory,” and had Joseph Smith conducted himself in this manner today, he would have rightfully been imprisoned as Jeffs has been.

If someone treated your sister or daughter like that today, would you be alright with that?

The sexual nature of Joseph Smith’s polygamous relationships must be acknowledged as the LDS scripture repeatedly stress it:

“… for they are given unto him to multiply a replenish the earth and to bear the souls of men.”2

Joseph secretly “slept” with young Emily Partridge according to her own testimony under oath and certainly, without Emma’s knowledge or consent, Emily testified that she “roomed” with Joseph while Emma was somewhere else in the house on the night of their marriage. 3

As well, according to Benjamin F. Johnson, living in Ramus, Illinois, on May 16, 1843, Joseph shared a room with Eliza, the “daughter of the late Bishop Partridge.”Again, without the knowledge or consent of Emma. 4

Emma discovered that sixteen‐year‐old Flora Woodworth was carrying a gold watch that Joseph had given her in August of 1843. Realizing the implications, Emma demanded that Flora give the watch back. Smith reprimanded her, but Emma refused to be quiet on the carriage ride home. William Clayton, Joseph’s secretary, that he had to employ “harsh measures” to stop her complaining. This raises the question, did Joseph used both physical force as well as lies to avoid divorce from Emma. 5

To me, one of the most troubling stories was Martha Brotherton’s, an 18-year‐old convert from England, who emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842 with her parents.

Brigham Young approached Joseph Smith for his approval to add Martha as another of his plural wives. Smith agreed and called a meeting with Young and Martha. Martha knew nothing of their agreement. Her parents were not informed or invited. Today, of course, she would be regarded as a dependent minor.

After Smith and Young made great efforts to have her agree, Martha absolutely refused.

At this point, they encouraged her to lie to her parents and keep their proposal a secret but again, tried to convince her to accept Brigham’s proposal. Martha finally appealed to them through tears and pleading that she be given time to think about the offer.

After finally being permitted to leave the room, Martha revealed everything to her parents and wrote the events while the important details were fresh in her mind. She told others in Nauvoo about the episode before the family boarded a steamboat bound for St. Louis. She also published her account in a St. Louis newspaper. 6

When Smith read the article, he immediately denied Martha’s story, issuing false affidavits and making public statements labeling Martha as a liar and apostate calling her a “mean harlot.” 7

There appeared to be a competition to get as many plural wives as one could. William Clayton, the secretary to Joseph Smith, wrote on August 11, 1843, that about marrying additional wives, Joseph told him, “You have a right to get all you can.” 8

Is it any wonder that people accuse Smith of treating women like chattels? But even Smith doesn’t approach the misogynistic depths of Heber C. Kimball, famed in non-Mormon decent society of the day for his statement, “I think no more of taking another wife than buying a cow.” 9

“This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.”10

Joseph also married his own teenage foster daughters. Would God to be okay with a 37-year-old man marrying his young foster daughters and their friends?

But what makes this behavior even more egregious is how he would pressure and coerce these adolescent girls to submit to him by telling them that their entire family’s salvation and exaltation depends on their compliance.

Sex is a powerful motivator but doesn’t Smith’s guarantees of eternal salvation and exaltation for his target’s entire family not contradicts the central Mormon tenet that everyone must work out their own salvation?

Helen was not Joseph’s only teen bride. There were many, and their stories are equally tragic. There were ten others that we know of.

Also, the notion that it was common for girls 12 – 14 to marry in 19th Century America is myth. Just go to your town hall and ask to see the marriage records of the 1800s and you will see how unusual it was.

Moreover, as discussed above, there must be a presumption that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with his polygamous wives. This is based upon the historical record –  more than a dozen affidavits and testimonies from Smith’s plural wives confirming under oath that Smith engaging in sexual relations with them.

 

FairMormon’s Comments on Smith’s Marriages to Young Girls

“Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages to young women may seem difficult to understand or explain today, but in his own time such age differences were not typically an obstacle to marriage.” 11

“The plural marriages were unusual, to say the least; the younger ages of the brides were much less so. Critics do not provide this perspective because they wish to shock the audience and have them judge Joseph by the standards of the modern era, rather than his own time.”


DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

FairMormon; please. ‘… Difficult to understand and explain today.’ Look at Warren Jeffs, the jury that put him away for up to 100 years had little difficulty ‘understanding’ why, like Joseph Smith, Jeffs married very young girls. As the prosecution ‘explained,’ confincingly, it was all about SEX.

I am sorry but a 37-year-old man ‘marrying’ a 14-year-old girl was very rare and certainly viewed with a jaundiced eye in Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s.

And let’s not forget it was also illegal.

As the census data below shows, less than 1% of all brides in Smith’s day were 14 years old and percentage of 37-year-old grooms were about the same. As I will show below, a 14/37 cohort is astronomically small.

Had they married in New York in 1843, Kimball/Smith would have likely been the only 14/37 bride/husband combo that year in the entire state of New York.

The Kimball/Smith marriage took place in Illinois where the statistics are not extant, However the 1840 US Census shows that Illinois had approximately 20% the population of New York making the 14/37 cohort even smaller than it would have been in New York.  

FairMormon’s attempt to make it sound like young girls barely out of puberty marrying middle-aged men was commonplace is yet another example of their deceitfulness.

chart2

censusIncidentally, Joseph doesn’t hold the record for the Mormon age gap when marrying teenage girls. Those bragging rights go to Mormon President Lorenzo Snow, who married a 16-year-old girl when he was 57 years old.

Let me again assure you that decent people in Snow’s day didn’t view sixty was the new twenty!

The most conservative estimates indicate that Joseph entered into plural marriages with 29–33 women, 7 of whom were under the age of 18. The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of LDS apostle Heber C. Kimball, who was 14. The rest were 16 (two) or 17 (three). One wife (Maria Winchester) about which virtually nothing is known, was either 14 or 15.

Helen Mar Kimball

Some people have concluded that Helen did have sexual relations with Joseph However, historian Todd Compton does not hold this view; he criticized the ‘anti-Mormons’ Jerald and Sandra Tanner for using his book to argue for sexual relations and wrote:

“The Tanners made great mileage out of Joseph Smith’s marriage to his youngest wife, Helen Mar Kimball. However, they failed to mention that I wrote that there is absolutely no evidence that there was any sexuality in the marriage, and I suggest that, following later practice in Utah, there may have been no sexuality. (p. 638) All the evidence points to this marriage as a primarily dynastic marriage.”

Exactly what type of evidence of sexual activity would Compton expect to find?

FairMormon has commented:

“…Governor Thomas Ford at age 28 was married to 15-year-old bride Frances Hambaugh in 1828, and had five children by her. William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, married a 16-year-old girl in 1808 when he was 37 years old.

When his wife died young, Clark married his wife’s cousin. By this time, Clark is in his 50s, marrying a woman in her late 20s. Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages to young women may seem difficult to understand or explain today, but in his own time such age differences were not typically an obstacle to marriage. The plural marriages were unusual, to say the least; the younger ages of the brides were much less so. Critics do not provide this perspective because they wish to shock the audience and have them judge Joseph by the standards of the modern era, rather than his own time.”

First, Governor Thomas Ford 28/15 (10 year gap) cohort is not equivalent to Joseph’s 37/14 (23 year gap). But is FairMormon saying that Ford’s misbehavior makes it right?

Again as the chart above, built from 1840 census data shows, a small fraction of 1% of all brides were 14 years old. It also shows that less than 1% of all grooms were 37 years of age.

We don’t have any statistics on the 37/14 Groom/bride combos in Illinois, but simple arithmetic and a little common sense would predict it would be extremely small. In New York State, the probability of a 14/37 cohort is .005 (14-year-old brides) x .01(37-year-old grooms) = .00005 or stated as odds, that is 1 in 20,000. There were 12,000 37-year-old men and 22,000 14 year girls in New York State, and they certainly didn’t all marry that year.

Again as Illinois had one-fifth the population of New York, the commonality of a 37 year old man marrying a 14 year old child is in the range of 1:500,000.

With the odds of one in half a million clearly Joseph/Helen was likely the only 37/14 cohort in Illinois that year – probably that decade.

FairMormon’s statement that “plural marriages were unusual, to say the least; the younger ages of the brides were much less so…”

Yes, and what makes them even more unusual is that they were all illegal.

I am not sure what point FairMormon is trying to make by stating that this child was instructed to marry the portly middle-aged Joseph Smith by her Dad.

“My father was the first to introduce it to me, which had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake. When he found (after the first outburst of displeasure for supposed injury) that I received it meekly.” 12

Don’t forget ‘dad’ was the same guy who made the statement, “I think no more of taking another wife than buying a cow.”

What a poor child. What a Dad! 13

The Church’s apologists have also commented:

“There is, despite the critics’ insinuations, no evidence that Helen Mar Kimball’s marriage was consummated. (Consummation would not have been inappropriate since this was a marriage, but the critics are too anxious to find problems where no evidence for such exists. Helen did have some disappointments—these mostly revolved around being less free to participate in parties and socials, not at being physically joined to an older husband.”

Here we go again.

Yes, there was no physical examination of Helen after the ‘Honeymoon,’ and as far as we know, Smith’s sexual proclivities didn’t extend to ménage à trois, so we don’t have any witness to the sex act.

But here again is what Helen Mar Kimball, a girl of just 14 years-of-age confided to a close friend in Nauvoo about her marriage to Smith:

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”14

It is an extreme apologetic position to suggest that we cannot make reasonable inferences. To suggest that Smith didn’t have sex with Helen or the many other teenagers he ‘married’ or the twelve married women he polyandrously hooked up absent explicit evidence of sexual intercourse, is absurd. 

FairMormon’s tendency to discount all second-hand evidence as being “hearsay” and therefore need not be addressed, confuses the rules of the courtroom with the rules of historical scholarship. Something else FairMormon is obviously ignorant of.

Any reasonable person knows that Helen meant it was sexual. As Jeremy Runnells puts it, “This is Warren Jeffs territory,” and had Joseph Smith conducted himself in this manner today, he would have rightfully been imprisoned as Jeffs has rightfully been.

The sexual nature of plural ‘dealings’ should be acknowledged as LDS scriptures repeatedly stress it:

“… for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth and to bear the souls of men.” 15

Also, let’s not forget that Helen was but one of many teens targeted by Smith:

Was Joseph Smith a pedophile? 

FairMormon asserts: “No, actually it wasn’t pedophilia. The facts: Joseph being sealed to Helen does not meet the definition of “pedophilia.” The term “pedophilia” is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as “psychosexual disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child of the same or the opposite sex”. (sic) Pedophilia requires that the adult involved have sexual acts with a prepubescent child. The term was not even coined until 1896 or broadly utilized until around 1920.”

The essential part of this definition is: “engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child of the same or the opposite sex.” Pedophilia requires that the adult involved have sexual acts with a prepubescent child.”

OK, two things must be shown to label Joseph Smith, a pedophile:

  1. Helen Kimball (or Nancy Winchester) were prepubescent.
  2. Joseph Smith, an adult male had sexual intercourse or engaged in other sexual acts with either of them.

Let’s examine the first condition.

FairMormon makes the irrelevant point that Helen continued to live with her parents after marrying Smith. It is really necessary to tell FairMormon that pedophilia has to do with sex, not residency.

I will stipulate that Helen was 14.8 years of age when she married Smith. She was born August 22, 1828, and it is thought she married Joseph Smith on May 28, 1843, the date of her father’s blessing.

I am not altogether satisfied with FairMormon’s age of menarche in America in 1840. I believe they are using European, not US data. It has a normal distribution close to a mean of 15.2 years and a standard deviation of 1.85.

My research (North American girls Boaz (1999) puts menarche at 16.5 in 1840.

Nevertheless, even accepting FairMormon’s numbers, menarche in Helen’s day was between and 13.35 and 17.05.

This means that at 14.8 the odds are 60/40 that she was prepubescent. Using Boaz’s mean, these odds raise considerably.

To the second point, the assumption, of course, is that marriages are consummated.

As well, as I have indicated previously, Helen reported sex was involved:

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.” 16

By FairMormon’s own statistics and definition then, there is a 60% chance Joseph Smith was a pedophile.

Regardless, one can assert that he was a sexual predator. The fact that we find a middle-aged man marrying teenage girls is troubling enough particularly when we consider the coercive techniques Joseph employed to bed them.

Today Joseph Smith would also be labeled a child rapist, sentenced to a long prison term (Warren Jeffs is serving 10 years to life) and would become a registered sex offender if and when he ever got out. 

Among  adults, most sexual activity does not constitute a criminal offense, unless one of the adults does not consent to the activity.

However, in law, children are considered unable to give consent. Indeed, the term “minor” refers to a person who has not yet reached the age of “majority, “where they can give consent in any legal matter (for example, a minor cannot make a valid contract). However, actual laws and the maximum ages that constitute a breach of law vary by state, but in no case in the United States today is that age 14. A person engaging in sexual activity with a minor below these proscribed ages – 16–18 is guilty of an offense. As well there are age gap laws that aggravate. A 17-year-old boy having sex with a 14-year-old child, while still guilty, would be treated more leniently than a 37-year-old man engaging in sexual activities with a 14-year-old child. In Illinois, today a man over 21 who has sex with a girl of 14 where the offender is in a position of authority or trust over the victim is guilty of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a class 2 felony.

So, I stand by my statement that Joseph Smith may have been a pedophile.

redd

References

1Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS Historian, Richard S. van Wagoner, p.53

2Doctrine and Covenants 132:63

3 Mormon Enigma, p. 144

4 ” Mormon Enigma, p. 145.

5 An Intimate Chronicle, p. 118

6 St. Louis Bulletin, July 15, 1842, p. 2.

7 Evans, The Keystone of Mormonism, Keystone Books Inc., 2003, St. George Utah, pp. 20‐21.

8An Intimate Chronicle, p. 115

9 Heber C. Kimball, Ann-Eliza Snow, Wife No. 19, Chapter 17,

10Discourse of Brigham Young, p. 305

11 https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy

12Compton, Todd (December 1997), In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural
Wives of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Signature Books.

13Heber C. Kimball, Ann-Eliza Snow, Wife No. 19, Chapter 17,

14 Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS Historian, Richard S. van Wagoner, p.53

15 Doctrine and Covenants 132:63

16 Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS Historian, Richard S. van Wagoner, p.53

_________________

 

Interrogatory No. 16


Does Smith’s use of Coercive Stratagems to get Girls and Women to ‘Marry’ and/or Sleep with Him Show a Lack of Character or even Common Decency?

 

The brother of Almira Johnson describes how Joseph sought his sister as a wife: “almost ready to burst with emotion, looked his friend in the eye and said, “Brother Joseph This is something I did not expect and do not understand it. You know whether it is Right. I do not. I want to do just as you tell me and I will try. But if I ever Should know that you do this to Dishonor and debauch my Sister I will kill you as Shure as the Lord lives.”He goes on, “I know that Joseph was Command to take more wives and he waited until an angel with a Drawn Sword Stood before him and declared that if he no longer delayed fulfilling that Command he would Slay him.”

Joseph did marry Almira Johnson that summer. Johnson recorded that “the prophet Came and at my house occupied the Same Room and bed with my Sister [Almira] that the month previous he had occupied with the daughter of the late Bishop Partridge as his wife.” 1

Joseph often guaranteed the salvation of an entire family if the object of his affection agreed to his proposal as in the case of fourteen-year-old Helen Mar Kimball wrote:

“Having a great desire to relate to the Prophet, Joseph, he (my father) offered me to him; this I afterwards (sic) learned from the Prophet’s own mouth.”My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar: how cruel this seemed to my mother whose heartstrings were already stretched until they were ready to snap asunder, for she had already taken Sarah Noon to wife and she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more.” 2

Joseph Smith gave Helen only 24 hours to decide on whether to marry him. Helen wrote:

“My father left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours. … I was skeptical – one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast me off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right.”

The next day, the 37-year-old Joseph claimed his teen bride. In her memoir, Helen wrote, “After which he said to me, ‘if you take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.’This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”

Helen also thought her marriage to Joseph Smith was non-sexual. But to her surprise, it was not.“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.” 3

There is the heart-wrenching story of Lucy Walker.

The Walker family arrived in Nauvoo in the spring of 1841, but sadly in January 1842, Lucy’s mother died of malaria, leaving her husband, John, with ten children to care for. In the family’s time of grief and need for each other, Joseph Smith sent Lucy’s father John on a two-year mission to the eastern states, placing Lucy’s siblings in the homes of different members.

He saved 15-year-old Lucy for his house and subsequently informed the lonely and vulnerable girl, “I have a message for you, I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.”Lucy recorded in her journal,“My astonishment knew no bounds. This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me.” 4

Her anguish was made clear by her words of prayer: “Oh that the grave would kindly receive me that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear mother… Why Should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father I am only a child in years and experience. No mother to council; no father near to tell me what to do, in this trying hour. Oh, let this bitter cup pass. And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul.” 5

Joseph also told Lucy that the marriage would have to be secret and intensified the pressure on this poor girl by giving her an ultimatum: “It is a command of God to you. I will give you until (sic) to-morrow (sic) to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.” 6

Joseph Smith’s son tried to exonerate his father from the charge of having sex with his many wives, but after speaking to many of them in person, he accepted the relationships were sexual.

More than a dozen faithful LDS women testified that their marriages to Joseph Smith included sex. Close relatives of Smith’s “wives” testified that he spent the night in the same bed with them.

Many cult leaders – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, and others likewise claimed to have received “revelations” similar to D&C 132 justifying them having sexual relations with multiple women and yes, even girls in their early teens.

Richard van Wagoner in his book, Mormon Polygamy suggests that should a woman spurn Joseph’s advances, she risked having he reputation blackened. Nancy Rigdon, Sarah Pratt, and Martha Brotherton certainly saw their reputations impugned.

The prophet labeled Sarah, a ‘whore from her mother’s breast,’Martha Brotherton branded as a ‘mean harlot,’and Nancy was labeled a ‘poor miserable girl out of the very slough of prostitution.7

Is Smith’s public slandering of these women Christ-like?

I think it is important to note as well that Emma was also a victim of Joseph’s Coercion. Frustrated by her opposition to his many marriages, in D&C 132, it is made clear that she had better get on side or she, ‘shall be destroyed.”

  1. Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.
  2. And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.” 8

     

References

1Mormon Enigma, Second Edition, P.146

2Helen Mar Kimball Journal, Helen Mar Autobiography, Woman’s Exponent, 1880

3 Polygamy: A History, by LDS member Richard S. van Wagoner, p. 53.

4 http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/23

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Richard Van Wagoner in his book, Mormon Polygamy, p. 299

8 Doctrine and Covenants 132:51-52

 

 

_____________

 

Interrogatory No. 17


Was Joseph’s Polygamy and his Polyandry and
his Lies and Denials acceptable?

Concept Of PolygamyPlural or polygamous “marriages” were conducted in secret by Joseph Smith as early as 1833, even though the sealing power was not restored until 1836. As well, the rules of polygamy were not given until 1843. Joseph “married” at least 34 women in addition to Emma Smith, including seven girls under the age of 18 and at least 11 women who were simultaneously married to other men. There was also a mother-daughter set and three sister sets, and several of these women were Joseph’s own foster daughters. Joseph repeatedly lied and denied his polygamy:

“…What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery and having seven wives when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.”

History of the Church, vol 6, p. 411

Joseph Smith made this statement preaching from the stand to the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo on Sunday, May 26, 1844. At the time, he had secretly taken at over 25 plural wives. Who was the perjurer?

“I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel before it was reported that I had seven wives.”

Joseph Smith (LDS History of the Church 6:411, 26 May 1844

Another lie.

Incidentally, In the same year that Joseph began his participation in polygamy by “marrying” Fanny Alger, the Church published the following in the Book of Commandments (the predecessor of the Doctrine & Covenants):

“Inasmuch, as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”

Statement on Marriage, August 1, 1835, Section CI, p. 251,
Book of Commandments, Joseph Smith Papers

To lessen public rumors of his secret polygamy, Smith had 31 witnesses sign an affidavit published in the LDS October 1, 1842, Times and Seasons stating that he did not practice polygamy.

This affidavit, however, was signed by several people who were secret polygamists or who knew full well that Joseph was a polygamist at the time they signed the affidavit. Eliza R. Snow, one of the signers of this affidavit, was also one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives.

Also, why was Joseph still preaching against polygamy in October of 1843 when he claims to have received a revelation in July of 1843 commanding the practice of polygamy?

Polyandry

Joseph Smith married the following women who were already married to other men.

poly

What possible justification could there be?

To multiply and replenish the earth? While it is possible, there is no compelling evidence that children resulted from these unions. To have a place in the hereafter? What about their husbands, some were obviously worthy, as Joseph sent them away on missions for the Church. Where the marriages a way for Joseph to comply with the command to take plural wives in a manner that would be less painful for Emma?

Seriously, Is Emma’s tender feelings enough to negate policy as well as the marriage covenants that others have sincerely entered?

By Joseph Smith’s own revelations, the practice was verboten!

The revelation on celestial and plural marriage, now section 132 in the Doctrine and Covenants, contains three references to sexually polyandrous relations, and all three label them as “adultery,” with the woman involved “being destroyed.”

Moreover, as discussed above, there must be a presumption that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with his wives. There are at least a dozen affidavits and testimonies from Joseph’s plural wives themselves swearing that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with them.

One of the clearest examples of Joseph’s polyandry was his marriage to Sylvia Sessions Lyon, who had married Windsor Lyon (Joseph himself officiating) in 1838.

Joseph was also sealed to Sylvia’s mother, Patty Bartlett Sessions. Perhaps in the case of Patty, who was 47, it is plausible that the relationship was not sexual, but even a mother and daughter team is especially troubling (and unbiblical, Lev. 18:17). Did Joseph persuade Patty to become one of his plural wives to more easily persuade Sylvia to do likewise?

Significantly, in a deathbed confession, Sylvia told her daughter Josephine, who had been born in 1844, that Joseph Smith was her father. “She told me then that I was the daughter of the Prophet Smith she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church.” 4

It appears that Joseph’s first polyandrous wife was Zina Huntington Jacobs. In 1839 Zina and her family spent three weeks in the Smith’s home after Zina’s mother died of malaria.

While there, Zina met Henry Jacobs, whom she later married. However, Joseph, who had talked to Zina about her becoming his wife even before she married Jacobs, told them that it was still the Lord’s will that she should become Joseph’s wife. She relented a few months later and was sealed to Joseph in a ceremony that she later dated as taking place on October 27, 1841.

In her autobiography, Zina stated, “I made a greater sacrifice than to give my life, for I never anticipated again to be looked upon as an honorable woman by those I dearly loved.” The “sacrifice” she speaks to implies that the union with Joseph was sexual.5

Apologists Responses to Joseph’s Polygamy and his Polyandry and his Lies and Denials

“Joseph Smith is frequently criticized for his introduction and practice of polygamy. From a Christian perspective, these attacks usually focus on arguing that polygamy is unchristian or unbiblical and that Joseph hid the truth from the world. From a secular perspective, it is asserted that the practice of polygamy sprung from Joseph’s carnal desires to marry young women. Of interest is the fact that Joseph was sealed to women who were already married to other men (polyandry).” 6

“It is claimed by some critics of Mormonism that Joseph Smith (and or other Church members) had a voracious sexual appetite, and that because of this, he instituted polygamy. One might reasonably hold the opinion that Joseph was wrong, but in the face of the documentary evidence, it is unjustifiable to argue that he and his associates were insincere or that they were practicing their religion only for power and to satisfy carnal desires. Those who insist that “sex is the answer” likely reveal more about their own limited perspective than they do of the minds of the early Saints.” 7

The apologists go on to speculate:

“For well over a century, the impressiveness of the Prophet’s salvific teachings have been largely lost on both believers and unbelievers. Though not unexpected, polygamy as a practice and principle has garnered virtually all of the attention. The public’s fascination with polygamy both then and now is understandable, but unfortunate.”

Polygamy quickly became the alpha and omega of Joseph Smith’s teachings…

“Societal resistance against the practice of plural marriage mounted in 1842 and never relented. Lost in the shuffle were the doctrines that surrounded and transcended plurality.”

Doctrine and Covenant section 132 on July 12, 1843. This revelation, along with his other statements, provides several reasons why he believed plural marriage could be introduced among the Latter-day Saints.”

A Restoration

Joseph Smith dictated what is now Doctrine and Covenant section 132 on July 12, 1843. This revelation, along with his other statements, provides several reasons why he believed plural marriage could be introduced among the Latter-day Saints.

The earliest justification mentioned by the Prophet was that it was a part of the “restitution of all things” prophesied in Acts 3:19–21. Old Testament prophets practiced polygamy, so it could be a part of the restoration of “all things” (see D&C 132:40, 45).

To Provide a Customized Trial

Another reason for the establishment of plural marriage is that it brought trials to practicing Saints that provided opportunities for spiritual growth.

The belief that God challenges His followers on earth to make them worthy of blessings from their obedience is a pattern in the scriptures. Sometimes disciples are required to migrate to new lands or to defend themselves against powerful enemies.

Practicing plural marriage was difficult for most participants. One of Joseph’s plural wives, Helen Mar Kimball, remembered: “The Prophet said that the practice of this principle would be the hardest trial the Saints would ever have to test their faith.”

Multiplying and Replenishing the Earth

The third reason given by Joseph Smith for the practice of plural marriage comes as polygamous couples “multiply and replenish the earth.”

When compared to monogamy, polygamy decreases the number of children each wife bears. When practiced within a society, it may increase the overall total number of children being born by providing opportunities for motherhood to women who otherwise might never marry and have children.

There are several problems here.

First, if it were a restoration, it was short-lived.

Second, there is a good deal of data to suggest that polygamy did more harm than good to the ‘spiritual growth’ of the women who were victim to it.

Third, the argument that it was intended to multiply and replenish is demolished by Joseph’s polyandry. There is no evidence that the men who were already married when Joseph ‘took’ them were impotent or incapable of raising their offspring.

The apologists say Joseph had to keep the practice of polygamy (let alone polyandry) secret because it was against the law.

No, the fact that is was against the law is a reason NOT to engage in it!

FairMormon writes, “One critic of the Church claims, “Joseph Smith publicly lied about his practice of polygamy, and lied to his own wife (Emma) about the practice. It is certainly true that Joseph did not disclose all of his plural marriages precisely when they happened. For example, he had been sealed to Emily and Eliza Partridge already, and Emma later had one of her periods of acceptance of plural marriage, on condition that she gets to choose the wives. She chose Emily and Eliza, and so they were resealed to Joseph without disclosing that they were already sealed. Emma’s change of heart didn’t last long, and she soon had Joseph break off contact with the girls, and expected them to renounce the covenants they had made.

There are also other examples. It’s difficult to know exactly what Emma knew, and when she knew it because she would later insist that Joseph never practiced plural marriage. So, we have to kind of piece together the evidence from fairly fragmentary sources.

Was Joseph justified in this? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. If one doesn’t believe that Joseph was commanded to practice plural marriage, then the whole enterprise was probably a bad idea. If Joseph was commanded to practice plural marriage (as he repeatedly testified that he had been), then ultimately he had to choose between obeying Emma and obeying God. And, Joseph seems to have been determined to obey God.” 8

Come on; Joseph did more than, “not disclosing all his plural marriages,” he LIED about it when asked and he was asked often, once again:

“…What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.”

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 2.19.00 AMNot only did Smith lie to Emma, the saints, and others but he also suborned perjury by having others lie for him in a vain attempt to halt public rumors of his secret polygamy and polyandry. He got 31 witnesses to sign an affidavit published in the LDS October 1, 1842, Times and Seasons stating that Joseph did not practice polygamy:

“…we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.” 9

One of the signers of this affidavit, was one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, Eliza Partridge whom he married three months earlier on June 29, 1842. Two Apostles and future prophets, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, were fully aware of Joseph’s polygamy behind the scenes when they signed. This says quite a bit about their honesty and character as well.

Another signer, Bishop Whitney, had married his daughter Sarah Ann Whitney to Joseph as a polygamist wife a few months earlier on July 27, 1842; Whitney’s wife and Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (also a signer) witnessed the ceremony.

“Among Joseph’s plural marriages and/or sealings, between eight to eleven of them were to women who were already married. Of the eight well-documented cases, five of the husbands were Latter-day Saints, and the other three were either not active in or not associated with the Church. In all cases, these women continued to live with their husbands, most of them doing so until their husbands died. These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect on the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands. One of the most well-known of these ‘polyandrous’ marriages was to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs.” 10

“Of all the aspects of Joseph Smith’s marital theology, this is the most difficult area to understand, because very little primary evidence exists.” 11

It should also be noted that while FairMormon and the Gospel Topics Essay on polygamy suggest that God commanded certain prophets in the Bible to practice plural marriage.

This is not true.

The fact that polygamists can be found in the Bible, Abraham, Lamech, Jacob, Esau, Nahor and Eliphaz for example, there is no indication that the practice was commanded by God. The LDS Church would have you believe that the Lord’s silence on the matter equates to commanding it.

Monogamy is about love,
Polygamy is about sex

References

1History of the Church, vol 6, p. 411

2Joseph Smith (LDS History of the Church 6:411, 26 May 1844

3 Statement on Marriage, August 1, 1835, Section CI, p. 251,
Book of Commandments, Joseph Smith Papers.

4 ” Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:265.

5 Zina Young, in her autobiography or “Biographical Sketch,”
quoted in Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 81;
Hales, Joseph Smith’sPolygamy, 1:254

6 https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy

7 Ibid

8Ibid

9 The affidavit published in the Times and Seasons, October 1, 1842

10Samuel Katich, “A Tale of Two Marriage Systems: Perspectives on Polyandry and Joseph Smith,” Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, 2003.

11 https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/ Joseph_Smith

FairMormon’s Comments


Response to claim: “Emma was unaware of most her husband’s marriages, and she certainly did not consent to most of them as required by D&C 132.”

emma

DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

Again, FairMormon just provides boilerplate responses not specific to my comments.

I feel, however, that it is important to provide the reader with some worthwhile commentary supporting polygamy from Smith’s or the Church’s perspective or at least putting it in a different context.

Brian Hales is perhaps the leading expert on, and LDS apologist for, Mormon polygamy. He has done a considerable amount of research on the subject and has produced three volumes in which he delves into almost every aspect of it.

Dr. Hales has discovered historical documents and factual information that contributes a great deal to the discussion of the origins and practices of Mormon polygamy.

But Hales is an apologist, and he openly admits that his writings are driven by a specific agenda.

I find his style non-confrontational and his demeanor pleasant and even respectful toward critics of the Church’s dominant narrative; nevertheless I feel he suffers from the same confirmation bias as most other Mormon apologists.

This is not, however, the proper forum for a thorough analysis and critique of his wordy writings or what I find to be his somewhat peculiar interpretations of the data.

However, I would like to comment on a recent interview he and his wife had with Daniel Peterson on an LDS Perspectives podcast that somewhat capsulate his apologetic efforts.

This is a ‘softball’ interview, where both he and his ‘interviewer’ are preaching to the choir but it still shines a light on his modus operandi.

The first question Peterson reads from the script is, “Did Joseph Smith introduce plural marriage in order to expand his sexual opportunities?”

Hales replies. “… it is important for us who believe to understand what Joseph taught.” “The first thing he taught was that it was a special trial for the membership…”

I am not sure this is not an unwarranted conclusion. Joseph made a comment to that effect, but there is not much beyond that.

I don’t wish to be unkind to Dr. Hales but I find that he tends to tell us what conclusions we should come to based on the evidence he produces; many times I would submit, where a reasonable person would draw quite a different conclusion based on their interpretation of the same facts.

I find no compelling evidence of Hales’ supposition that polygamy stood as an Abrahamic test for the Saints or that Smith taught it. Perhaps Dr. Hales has a primary source beyond Joseph’s offhand comment so indicating. I have been unable to find any collaboration myself.

He goes on to suggest that the second reason for polygamy was a restitution of all things as spoken of in Acts 3:19–21.

Here Brian Hales is on mark and makes a valid point, and certainly, Joseph spoke to it.

But the restoration of what exactly?

It states in a recent Gospel Doctrine manual, that the words “all things” refer to the ‘laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

Was Polygamy then an ancient law or ordinance?

According to Gordon B. Hinckley, not only was it neither a law nor an ordinance, it wasn’t even doctrinal.

I have discovered only one instant where God commanded polygamy, and that was actually in the New Testament (Corinthians 7:10-11 & 27-28),  but a careful reading of this passage shows it was intended to fit a specific and complicated circumstance and was clearly not a law or ordinance.

I think the Old Testament shows that polygamy was permitted for cultural reasons but was not commanded of God. I think we need to be careful not to make the mistake of believing that while the Bible speaks of polygamy this does not equate to God’s approval of it.

I think Genesis clearly shows God’s intent was for marriage to be monogamous—one man for one woman. God gave Adam “a helper,” not several helpers. A man would leave his family to “be joined to his wife,” not wives. This special union is described as becoming “one flesh.”

The first reference to polygamy is found in Genesis where Lamech, a descendant of Cain and a murderer himself takes two wives.

After the Flood, there are many mentions of polygamous relationships—including among the patriarchs of Israel. Jacob, Abraham, David, and Solomon who all had multiple wives.

I have not been able to locate any passages in Scripture forbidding polygamy but often polygamous relationships are mentioned in a very negative light, in fact, the problems of such relationships are often highlighted.

There are several passages in the New Testament that speak against the practice of polygamy.

The relationship between husband and wife is compared to that of Christ and the Church. In Ephesians 5:25–33Paul speaks about this relationship and refers back to Genesis. Once again, God’s standard for marriage is defined as one man and one woman. Paul states, “let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

The third reason Hales states for polygamy is, “to multiply and replenish the earth.“

He says, “having children with his polygamist wives was one of the reasons. It wasn’t the most important one, and we would probably be wise to point out that the evidence does not show that Joseph was having a lot of sexual relations with his plural wives.”

Hales, it would seem bases this conclusion largely on the fact that DNA studies have yet to show offspring resulting from Smith’s marriages. The implication is no prodigy, no sex.

He further states that “Many other reasons and evidences (sic) and observations indicate that sexuality was not a common occurrence.”

I would suggest that this is another example of where Hales forms an unwarranted conclusion. I believe any reasonable person would infer from Smith’s behavior and the statements of several of his ‘brides.’ that sex was certainly involved if not Smith’s primary motivation.

The interview then discussed the accusation that Joseph Smith a was a pedophile, and all agree as do I that pedophilia has to do with an interest in prepubescent children and I would agree there is no particular evidence that Joseph had a sexual interest in children; however, most definitions of pedophilia also speak of sex with children, ” an interest in or sexual interaction with prepubescent children.” I think as my analysis above shows, even using FairMormon’s statistics on the age of menarche in 1843, and using the standard deviations they present, there is a 60% chance Helen Kimball, his youngest wife as far as we know, was prepubescent.

However Hales, his wife, and Peterson in a grand display of discounting, another technique he often employs in his writing, pass over the inappropriateness and immorality of a 37-year-old man marrying a 14-year-old girl. Hales says, “A sealing or a marriage to a 14-year-old would have been a little out of the norm, but it wasn’t that abnormal.”

This is demonstrably false. I have shown above it was so abnormal that the Smith/Kimball ‘marriage’ was likely the only such 37/14 cohort in all of New York State that entire year.

Peterson chirps in, “It’s the problem, isn’t it, of presentism, that we look at these things, and we think, “14, that’s shocking.” and Brian replies“It’s eyebrow-raising.” But, maybe it wasn’t scandalous then. It would be a little on the young side, but not unheard of.”

‘A little on the young side;’ notice that there is no mention of Smith’s age – 37. Maybe a 21-year-old man marrying a 14-year-old girl was ‘eyebrow-raising’ in 1843, but it was another thing when a middle-aged man did so, even ignoring the fact that what Smith and Kimball entered into what was no more a marriage in the eyes of the law than Warren Jeffs recent marriages to his young brides. Bigamy was just as illegal then as it is now and far less acceptable to the good people of 19th-century Illinois.

In today’s environment where men of power, wealth and celebrity are being accused of using their power to abuse and harass women, I think it is unbecoming, almost bordering on rape apology to discount or rationalize away the significance of Smith’s ‘relationships’ with young girls.

Also, Hales inserts ‘facts,’ not likely to be questioned by those casually reading or listening to his work. When speaking about the legality of marrying someone who is 14 years of age, he says, “even of our time right now if you have a parent’s permission. It’s not underage in many countries now even without a parent’s permission.”

Yes in Cameroons 14 is just fine but what has that got to do with anything?

Hales’ statement that “even of our time right now if you have a parent’s permission…” is misleading. That is not the general rule. In the United States as the chart below shows the minimum age of consent is 16 years of age or older in every state in the Union, with only five of the fifty allowing those under 16 to marry with parental consent.

consent

Let’s also not forget Smith was not legally married to anybody but Emma and by the laws of every state, then and now, there is no age of consent to have sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old-year-old girl, with or without her parent’s consent.

Again, Hales chooses to believe that Smith’s relationship with Helen Kimball did not involve sex in spite of the fact that we have this statement from her friend:

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”1

The point is made that Helen still went to dances as if this is prima facie evidence that she wasn’t having sex with Joseph. We know that none of Joseph Smith’s marriages involve him living with or maintaining his wives financially. We know with greater certainty that he had sex with other teenage girls he married who lived otherwise normal lives.

They all went about their daily lives except when Smith called upon them. Hales does not present any compelling evidence showing why this pattern would differ with Helen.

Hales also throws in that, “in Utah then, (speaking of years later) there was a policy to not consummate marriages to the younger wives until they had hit like 18 years of age or 19.”Even if there was any evidence of this ‘policy,’ this is, of course, irrelevant and immaterial. We are talking about Joseph Smith in Illinois, not Brigham and the boys in Utah. That is a whole other story.

I agree that there is little evidence that Smith sent men on missions just to have sex with their wives although I do not accept Hales’ comment that “the sealings were all what (sic) we call ‘eternity only.'”

Hales’ definition of what sexual polyandry is incredibly strict. In his view, even if a woman’s legal marriage was superseded by her religious marriage to a second man, that would not, according to Hales, constitute “polyandry.”

There is indeed evidence that Smith had sex with at least three of his polyandrous wives.

Hales himself reports a deathbed confession in 1882, in which Sylvia Sessions Lyon told her daughter Josephine, who had been born in 1844, that Joseph Smith was her father: “She told me then that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church.” 2

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner another of Joseph’s polyandrous wives gave a signed statement in 1902 affirming that in February 1842 Brigham Young had sealed her to Joseph for time and all eternity.3

And in her autobiography, Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs writes “I made a greater sacrifice than to give my life, for I never anticipated again to be looked upon as an honorable woman by those I dearly loved.” Surely this “sacrifice” implies sexual relations with Smith.4

Finally, Emma’s knowledge of Joseph’s polygamous relationship is broached by Laura Hales who states, “We actually don’t know when Emma found out about polygamy. We know for sure that she didn’t know about two marriages, and we can make educated guesses by other documents — that she didn’t know about some other marriages.”

“But by May 1843, she knew about plural marriage, and she was temporarily supportive of it. By that time, Joseph had been married to quite a few women, most of them for eternity only.”

It was temporary, and again I dispute that“most were for eternity only,”

The three conclude the interview by clucking about how nobody is perfect. “We also know that prophets aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. It doesn’t mean that they can’t necessarily lead the church and receive revelation. If we put a prophet on a pedestal and say, “He has to be perfect,” I think we’ll be disappointed every time.”

Yes, let’s not look for perfection, but when we witness so many examples of arrogant, immoral, deceitful and criminal behavior resident in one person, do we not have to ask ourselves, is this someone the Lord would choose to be his spokesman?

A man who begins his adult life running a ‘treasure hunting’ money-making scam that led to his arrest and trial. He faced fifteen criminal charges between March 1826 and June 1844 including banking fraud, perjury, adultery, and fornication, threatening a sitting judge, and twice for conspiracy to commit murder and twice for treason. His serial lying to the Saints, his friends and even his wife about his myriad unions with other women. His arrogant and boastful nature, trumping the Savior himself, “I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet”.

But as Dr. Hales declares, nobody is perfect.

1 Polygamy: A History, by LDS member Richard S. van Wagoner, p. 53

2 Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:349-54

3 Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:265.

4 Zina Young, in her autobiography “Biographical Sketch,” quoted in Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 81.

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Interrogatory No. 18


Smith’s Claimed Restoration of the Priesthood

restorationBecause of the necessity of authority, would not the priesthood have to be restored in order to properly organize the LDS Church, that is, prior to April 6, 1830 – the Mormon Church’s official date of organization.

Joseph Smith created the Mormon Priesthood after organizing the church not before as many members believe. This is another example of Smith’s practice of revising revelations to match his evolving theological ideas.

LaMar Petersen explained, “The important details that are missing from the “full history [of priesthood restoration of 1834 are likewise missing from the Book of Commandments in 1833.]” 1

One might expect the particulars of the restoration in this first set of 65 revelations, the dates of which encompassed the conferral of the two Priesthoods, but they are conspicuously absent…

Chapter 28 gives no clue to the restoration which, if real, had been known for four years. As well, the notable revelations on the Priesthood in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sections 2 and 13, are also missing.

Almost five hundred words were added to this revelation on the Priesthood of August 1829, Section 27 of the D&C. The new material added the names of heavenly visitors and two separate ordinations.

The Book of Commandments listed the duties of Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons and refers to Joseph’s apostolic calling but there is no mention of Melchizedek Priesthood, High Priesthood, Seventies, High Priests, or High Councilors. These were later inserted into the revelation on Church organization and government of April 1830, making it look like they were known at that date. But they do not appear in the original, Chapter 24 of the Book of Commandments three years later. 2

Researchers who have examined the D&C and primary source accounts found that the official narrative of priesthood restoration contains numerous gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Scholars also raise important questions that expose potential weaknesses in Smith and Cowdery’s story of their miraculous ordinations. For example, if Joseph and Oliver had experienced events as remarkable and life-altering as divine visitations by John the Baptist and three of Christ’s apostles, why would they not tell others? These miraculous ordinations were not publicly revealed or documented until five years after they supposedly occurred. Moreover, if the restoration of the priesthood is a fundamental tenet of the LDS Church, why was this revelation excluded from the Book of Commandments when it was originally published in 1833, only being revealed in the revised and re-named Doctrine and Covenants in 1835?

  • Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery failed to testify to the members nor record anything about the appearances of “John the Baptist” and “Peter, James, and John” in any publications prior to 1834 (five years after the events purportedly took place)—nor did they teach that men ordained to offices in the church were receiving “priesthood authority”.
  • Nobody in or out of the church knows the exact date of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and Oliver Cowdery was inconsistent in describing which heavenly being(s) had come to confer that authority.
  • Joseph Smith and other early members stated that the first conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood happened in June 1831 in Ohio at a conference of Elders and that Joseph himself was ordained to the high priesthood by church elder Lyman Wight at that time.
  • Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery changed the wording of earlier revelations when they compiled the 1835 D&C, adding verses about the appearances of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John AS IFthose appearances were mentioned in the earlier revelations, which they weren’t. The Book of Commandments, which later became the D&Csays nothing about these appearances. 3


David Whitmer Indicates the High Priesthood ended with Christ

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 2.28.17 AMDavid Whitmer, undoubtedly, stuck to his testimony up to the very last. He did however in publishing the following sworn statement in which he expresses his approval of polygamy and :

“Unto All Nations, Kindred, Tongues, and People, unto Whom These Presents Shall Come:

It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell County, Mo., that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the “Book of Mormon.”

To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:

That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published in that Book, as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best, well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all of my statements, as en made and published.

“He that hath an ear to hear let him hear;” it was no delusion! What is written is written, and he that readeth let him understand.

And that no one may be deceived or misled by this statement,

I wish here to state: that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so, because practiced in the name of religion. It is of man and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself.

I do not endorse the change of the name of the church, for the wife takes the name of her husband so should the church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ himself. It is the Church of Christ

As to the High Priesthood, Jesus Christ himself is the last Great High Priest, this too after the order of Melchisedec, as I understand the Holy Scriptures.

Finally, I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons, [of] Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon; for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God.

And if any man doubt should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same, before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God.

In the spirit of Christ who hath said, “Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light, and the way,” I submit this statement to the world. God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.

And all the honor be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen. 4

To this statement is subjoined the following certificate:

We, the undersigned citizens of Richmond, Ray County, Mo., where David Whitmer has resided since the year A. D. 1838, certify that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him and know him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity. Given at Richmond, Mo., this March 19, A. D. 1881.

Gen. Alexander W, Doniphan. Hon. Gen. W. Dunn, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Thos. D. Woodson, President of Ray Co. Savings Bank. J. T. Child, editor of Conservator. H. C. Garnet, Cashier of Ray Co. Savings Bank. L. C. Cantwell, Postmaster, Richmond. Geo. I. Wasson, Mayor. Jas. A. Davis, County Collector. C. J. Huges, Probate Judge and Presiding Justice of Ray County Court. Geo. W. Trigg, County Clerk. W. W. Mosby, M. D., W. A. Holman, County Treasurer. J. S. Hughes, Banker, Richmond, James Hughes, Banker, Richmond. D. P. Whitmer, Attorney-at-law. Hon. James W. Black, Attorney-at-law. Thos. McGinnis, ex-Sheriff Ray County. J. P. Quisenberry, Merchant. W. R. Holman, Furniture Merchant. Lewis Slaughter, Recorder of Deeds. Geo. W. Buchanan, M. D., A. K. Reyburn.”

Apostle William McClellan excommunicated in 1838 states that he had no knowledge of any priesthood restoration by angelic visitors. “But I never heard one word of John the Baptist, or of Peter, James, and John’s visit till I was told some year or two afterward in Ohio.”Likewise, Joseph Knight who had written so much about important Mormon events in 1833 made no mention of these visits either. Book of Mormon witness, David Whitmer had no knowledge of

the angelic visitations of John the Baptist or Peter, James, and John, until 1834. He even went on to state, “I do not believe John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver

Richard Bushman states that Joseph Smith was often reticent to tell others about his revelations and angelic visits. The earliest known account of this visit by Peter, James, and John was referenced by Oliver Cowdery in 1834. Certainly, these angelic visitations were not known by general church membership until Cowdery’s introduction in an 1834 history of the church referencing only John the Baptist. From page 20-21,

As well, Oliver Cowdery’s 1834 published history made no reference to an angelic visitation after John the Baptist’s ministration.

Even pro-LDS historian Richard Bushman admits in his biography on Joseph Smith (Rough Stone Rolling, p.75): “the late appearance of these accounts raises the possibility of later fabrication”

It is also important to note that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery changed the wording of earlier revelations when they compiled the 1835 Doctrine & Covenants, adding the appearances of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John as if those appearances were mentioned in the earlier revelations in the Book of Commandments, which they indeed were not.

References

1Problems in Mormon Text, by LaMar Petersen, pp. 7‐8.

2 Gregory A. Prince, Power on High: The Development of the Mormon Priesthood, Signature Books, 1995.

3 http://www.mormonthink.com/priesthood.htm#ref4

4 DAVID WHITMER, Richmond, Mo., March 19, 1881.

5 Alexander Neibaur, May 24, 1844, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City

6 February 15, 1841, Letter and Testimony, p.6-9.

 

FairMormon’s Comments

“Why was the restoration of the priesthood not reported by Joseph and Oliver Cowdery until years later and then earlier revelations changed to match that account?”

We don’t know when Oliver first mentioned the priesthood restoration to anyone – we only know when he first put it in print. But consider this: If Oliver was covering up fraud on the part of Joseph Smith when he talked of receiving the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, then why didn’t he expose the fraud after he fell into disagreement with Joseph Smith and was excommunicated from the Church? Why, in fact, did Oliver continue to insist that the events related to the restoration of the Priesthood actually happened?

The implication is that Oliver was dishonest, yet his associates during the time that he was a lawyer after leaving the Church viewed his character as “irreproachable.” 5

 

DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

I see, Is this Oliver Cowdery the same man that Joseph described as, “…too mean to mention, and we had liked to have forgotten?”

Is this the same Oliver Cowdery that Sidney Rigdon, First Counselor in the First Presidency called,“…a lying, thieving, counterfeiting man who was ‘united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs in the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat, and defraud the saints out of their property, by every art and stratagem which wickedness could invent?”6

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Interrogatory No. 19

How can we construe Joseph’s gross mistranslation of the Egyptian papyri that formed the basis of the Book of Abraham; which both LDS and non-LDS Egyptologists agree is an ordinary funerary text, and from a different time, having nothing whatsoever to do with Abraham or anything mentioned in LDS scriptures?

 PapiAccording to the experts, the papyrus Joseph Smith used as the basis for his Book of Abraham, is in reality, the Book of Breathings. The name “Book of Breathings” appears clearly on the fourth line of the fragment. In 1968 two Egyptologists from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, Professors John A. Wilson and Klaus Baer identified the papyrus as the “Book of Breathings.” A Translation by Klaus Baer was printed in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1968, pp. 119-20

The name “Book of Breathings” appears clearly on the fourth line of the fragment. In 1968 two Egyptologists from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, Professors John A. Wilson and Klaus Baer identified the papyrus as the “Book of Breathings.” A translation by Klaus Baer was printed in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1968, pp. 119-20

Joseph Smith said that Facsimile No. 1 was of a bird as the “Angel of the Lord” with “Abraham fastened upon an altar,” “being offered up as a sacrifice by a false priest. The pots under the altar were various gods “Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and Pharaoh.”But again, according to Egyptologists, this is “an embalming scene showing the deceased lying on a lion-couch.” 1

But again, according to Egyptologists, this is a common embalming scene.John Wilson identified the text that Joseph used to translate the Book of Abraham as actually “a related mortuary text of late times, the so-called Book of the Breathings.” The Book of Breathings – an ancient Egyptian document, which was buried with the dead to provide guidance in the afterlife, explaining why Joseph Smith’s papyri were found among the mummies he had purchased. Wilson also indicated that one of the drawings Smith included in the Book of Abraham was clearly a hydrocephalus, a cartonnage disk which was placed under the head of a mummy toward the end of ancient Egyptian history.”2

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Interrogatory No. 20

How can we reconcile Joseph Smith’s numerous false prophecies, with the test of a true prophet as found in Deuteronomy 18?

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“And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”– Deuteronomy 18:21-22A prophet then, to put it crudely, is a mouthpiece for God, who is perfect and never wrong.

 Joseph did declare several prophecies that unquestionable came to fruition including:

  • The Saints will gather in one place (Utah). – D&C 29:8During the captivity in Liberty Jail, no one’s lives would be taken – Hearsay but nevertheless attributed to Smith.Smith will not return to Missouri – History of the Church 5:216.Stephen A. Douglas to run for president – History of the Church 5:394.Stakes to be established in Boston and New York – History of the Church 6:319.Orrin Porter Rockwell protected from enemies if he doesn’t cut his hair – “Rockwell’s colorful history recounted”, Deseret News (He did cut his hair).Richards will not have a hole in his garment – History of the Church 6:619.Joseph and Hyrum Smith to die if re-captured – History of the Church 6:546.Dan Jones to serve a mission to Wales – History of the Church 6:601.The Saints would escape their enemies within five years – History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 225. By 1849.The Escape of Stephen Markham – History of the Church Volume 3, p. 316.

There were also a couple of Joseph’s prophesies that I did not include, as there is evidence of fraud. The Rocky Mountain Prophesy, for example, where it appears that the prophecy had been added after the event as well as several self-fulfilling prophesies, for instance, that Jesus would appear in the temple where the only witnesses to the event were Smith and his’ scribe.’ Likewise, Smith’s prophesy that ‘good and evil would be spoken of him among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.’ which was not recorded until many years after this ‘first vision’ or the founding of the church. At a time when people were indeed speaking evil of him.

– Joseph Smith History 1:33.By my count, Smith uttered eleven accurate prophesies several over which Smith had at least some control – not returning to Missouri, Jones serving a mission in Wales to which Smith had called him, etc.

In the other much longer column, I have listed the false or failed prophesies of Joseph Smith, which include:

The Coming of the Lord

“Joseph Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. . .. it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh – even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” 1Joseph Smith spoke this prophecy in 1835 and recorded by Oliver Cowdery. The fifty-six years were passed by 1891.

David W. Patten to go on a mission

“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto the world. “2This prophecy was made on April 17, 1838. David Patten died in October of 1838 and thus never served a mission.

The United States government to be overthrown in a few years

“I prophecy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women, and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished.” 3Joseph Smith made this prophecy on May 6, 1843. There was no redress, and the United States, by all accounts, still endures.

Congress to be broken up as a government.

“While discussing the petition to Congress, I prophesied, by virtue of the holy Priesthood vested in me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government, and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them – not even a grease spot.” 4

Finding treasure in Salem, Massachusetts

“I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form an acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.” 5

Hail, pestilence, famine & earthquake to destroy the wicked

“And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri; therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me, and that to him I am accountable for every word I say, wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled.

Temple to be built in Zion, Missouri

“A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until a house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. The Mormons were forced to flee Missouri due to persecution and a temple was never built on the “temple lot” in the lifetime of Joseph Smith or within his generation.” 8Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832.

Selling the Copyright of the Book of Mormon

It is interesting to note that had Joseph Smith’s revelation (below) about selling the copyright of the Book of Mormon been true. Had Oliver Cowdrey, Joseph Knight, Hyram Page, and Josiah Stowel been successful in their journey to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 1830 to do so. None of the 3,913 changes made to the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon may have been allowed by the new owners of the copyright – The Kingston Chronical, The Toronto Star, or whoever!

“…it Pleaseth me that Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Knight HyramPage& Josiah Stowel shall do my work in this thing yea even in securing the copyright & they shall do it with an eye single to my Glory that it may be the means of bringing souls unto me salvation through mine only Be{gotten} Behold I am God I have spoken it Wherefore I say unto you that ye shall go seeking me continually through mine only Be{tgotten} & if ye do this ye shall have my spirit to go with you & ye shall have an addition of all things which is expedient in me.amen& I grant unto my servent (sic) a privelige (sic) that he may sell a copyright through you speaking after the manner of men for the four Provinces if the People harden not their hearts against the enticeings (sic) of my spirit & my word for Behold it lieth in themselves to their condemnation{or} th{eir} salvation.” 9When Hyram and Oliver returned from their failed mission to Kingston, Ontario, and asked the prophet why his prophecy failed, they were told essentially, that some prophecies are from God, some are from man, and some are from the devil.

I have some difficulty with this. That a prophet of God cannot discern when the Lord is talking to him, and when it is the devil or when nobody is talking to him, it is just his imaginings.

As well the revelation tells us that Joseph was to be the primary benefactor of the $ 8,000.00 or so they hoped to receive in exchange for the copyright but also that his emissaries were to receive a share as well.

The fact that they have a financial interest in the success of the Book of Mormon must also cast some doubt on their veracity as witnesses to it.

Utter abolishment of New York and Boston

D&C 84:114. It, of course, did not happen making this another false prophecy.

That the United Order will be everlasting, “immutable and unchangeable” to benefit the church until Jesus comes D&C 104:1 The United Order, Joseph Smith prophesied would be “everlasting”, and “immutable and unchangeable.” That it would ‘benefit the church until Jesus comes.’ Nevertheless, LDS history reveals that this “everlasting” order was soon disbanded after because it failed. A false prophecy.

That we will see a victory in Missouri

D&C 105:13 Speaking through Smith, God says regarding Missouri: “I will fight your battles … the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies, and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints”. This did not happen, another false prophecy.

That the Saints enemies will be destroyed,

The History of the Church 1:455. If the Saints were not victorious in their legal action against their enemies in Missouri, God would avenge them, and all their adversaries would be destroyed. The Saints were unsuccessful, yet their adversaries were not destroyed. A false prophecy.

The Relief Society. “I prophecy that before ten years shall roll around, the queens of the Earth shall come and pay their respects to this society.”

Dennis Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p. 634. The ten years however, passed and no queens! Another false prophecy.

That the Nauvoo House would be the Smith’s forever

D&C107:17-18. “Let it [Nauvoo House], be built unto my name…and let my servant Joseph and his house have placed therein, from generation to generation.” It was not — a false prophecy.

That the Lamanites will be converted

D&C 3.16-20. For a century and a half, the LDS missionaries have been trying to convert their “Lamanite brothers and sisters with little success. The vast majority of Indians today are not Mormon, and they still are covered with the ‘dark and loathsome ‘skin that the Book of Mormon says they were cursed with and few of those who have joined the LDS church have become “white and delightsome” as they were promised. Another false prophecy.

That the Earth shall shake and reel as a drunken man

D&C 88:87 Smith prophesized that “…not many days hence the earth shall tremble and reel as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face…and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from a fig tree.” It never did. False prophecy.

That Joseph’s son David would become the “church president and king over Israel.”

D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy – Joseph’s son, did not become president of the church. Sadly David died in 1904 at the age of 60 after having spent 27 years in an insane asylum.

That Smith will triumph over his foes

D&C 121. Not only did Joseph Smith not triumph over his enemies, but they put him to death by them. A false prophecy.

That George Miller was a man of great integrity

124:2-21. In D&C Section 141 Smith declared a man named George Miller was a man ‘without guile’ who could be trusted, and that no man should ‘despise my servant, George,’ for he shall honor me. George Miller was excommunicated seven years later.

That all nations would bow down to the Mormon Gospel

D&C 49.9-10 “Wherefore, I say unto you that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power.” We are yet to see any nation of the world “bow” to the principles of the Mormon gospel, lo it has been almost 187 years as of this writing, since the prophecy was given.

That the saints are to gather in Independence and build a temple

D&C 84 1 “A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.

3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until a house shall be built unto the Lord…”

  The temple was not built in ‘that generation.’ Indeed, the Mormons were driven out of Missouri in 1839. The temple has yet to be built, making this another false prophecy.

Army to redeem Zion Independence, Missouri

D&C 103 The mission was unsuccessful. Another false prophecy. New gathering place and temple in Far West

D&C 115. “Therefore, I command you to build a house unto me, for the gathering together of my saints… And let the beginning be made on the fourth day of July next; and from that time forth let my people labor diligently to build a house unto my name; And in one year from this day let them re-commence laying the foundation of my house.” To this day all that’s on this lot of land are markers indicating a cornerstone of where the temple should be built. Yet another false prophecy.

Zion cannot fall

D&C 97.19-20 prophesies: “Surely, Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there; And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation…”

Zion did fall, and the Mormons were driven out of Independence, MO in 1838 and 1839.

The move to Jackson County

In a letter to the High Council, Joseph Smith declared, “…I shall now proceed to give you such counsel as the Spirit of the Lord may dictate…(you are to have the churches) use every effort to gather to those regions and locate themselves, to be in readiness to move into Jackson County in two years from the eleventh of September next, which is the appointed time for the redemption of Zion…”

The churches did not move into Jackson County on September 11, 1836. Nor was “Zion” redeemed at that time; as the Church history shows. This was a false prophecy.

W.W. Phelps not to see death

Joseph Smith prophesied that ‘W.W. Phelps would not taste of death till Jesus came.’ Often both privately and publicly, Mr. Phelps boasted to the Saints of this amazing prophecy, given to him by revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith.” Phelps died on March 7, 1872. Yet another false prophecy.

Kirtland “Anti-banking society

A false prophecy from the Latter-day Saint Messenger and Advocate, “This place must be built up and will be built up, and every brother that will take hold and help secure these contracts [for land] shall be rich.”

To swallow up all other banks

In The Millennial Star, Volume 19, p.343, Smith proclaimed that his Kirtland Anti-Banking Society was to “…swallow up all other banks.” Not only did the Bank not swallow up other banks, but it failed costing many members and non-members their life savings. Smith was charged with bank fraud but fled the jurisdiction under cover of darkness. Certainly a false prophecy.

That “All nations would be involved in the American Civil War.”

“Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations,” 10This is clearly another false prophecy since all nations did not get involved in the American Civil War.

As you can see, his false or failed prophesies far outnumbered his correct ones.

This is a problem my dear brothers and sisters for the Holy Bible tells us that if even one prophesy does not come true, he who is claiming to be a prophet is a false prophet.

“Therefore, when someone claims to be speaking as instructed by God and then makes a false statement, that person “has spoken presumptuously” and is not God’s prophet.”

There are, according to the Lord, three elements that we can rely upon to prove a false prophet.

  1. The individual claiming to be a true prophet of God, did, in fact, say it.

2. That he made clear in his prophecy that he was speaking for the Lord.3. The prophecy failed to come true.The many “prophesies,” I have listed were indisputably given by Joseph Smith. They are recorded in the “History of the Church,” and the “Doctrine and Covenants.” Smith’s wording also clearly states that he spoke on behalf of God:

“… in the name of the LORD.”

“Verily, thus saith the Lord.”

“I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

“in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“By the authority of Jesus Christ.”

“Behold I am God I have spoken it.”

“Yea, the word of the Lord.”

None of these “prophesies,” came to fruition.

I think that the above examples of Joseph Smith’s failed prophecies must give one pause, but they all pale compared to the following.

While we cannot classify it as a prophecy as such, I would like you to note that when Joseph wrote the bulk of his JST of the King James Bible around 1833 he changed the proper age for circumcision to be performed from eight DAYS to eight YEARS.

JST, Genesis 17:11The church’s apologists would have you believe this is no big deal?

Let me tell you, it is a, very, very big deal, and this alone has driven many honest, thoughtful Latter-day Saint from the church.

Think about it. God spoke to Abraham and covenanted that Abraham’s seed that they would be His people and He would be their God. And that the token of this holy covenant was circumcision at eight days.

10) This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11) And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

12) And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

But in 1833 Joseph Smith, with an arrogant stroke of his quill pen changes it from eight days to eight years.

The importance and consequence of this one-word change are earth-shattering. This means that not just did Abraham get it wrong but so did David and Daniel and Isaiah, tens of millions of Jews and most significant of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, who were all circumcised at eight days, according to the covenant.

According to Joseph Smith, none of them were right. No, God allowed all his Old Testament prophets and His Only-begotten and beloved Son to err only to show the truth to a latter-day treasure-seeking ‘prophet’ 3,000 years later.

In my mind, with the possible exception of Smith’s creation of polygamy, this is Joseph Smith’s greatest error, and may God forgive him for it.

Knowing there would be false prophets in the latter days, Jesus said, “take heed that no man deceives you.”

Matthew 24:24 also warned, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”

Was Jeremiah speaking of the latter days when he said, “…They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”

Jeremiah 14:14

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.”

Jeremiah 23:16

The Lord warns us in 2 James verses 1 and 3, “False prophets … will exploit you with stories they have made up.” 

Incidentally and for comparison, the Holy Bible including some 300 prophecies and implications about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus1 with NO prophetic failures.

A few of the glorious prophecies proving the divine nature of that book:

The Succession of Great World Kingdoms (Daniel 2:37-42). Even critics have to agree that Daniel foretold the governments in their order – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Cyrus King of Persia (Isaiah 44:28-45:1). Since Isaiah lived between about 740 and 690 BC and Cyrus did not make his proclamation for Israel to return from exile until about 536 BC.

The Closing of the Golden Gate (Ezekiel 44:2-3). The Golden Gate is the eastern gate of Jerusalem, through which Christ made his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday before the crucifixion (Matthew 21). In 1543 Sultan Suleiman, the Magnificent, closed the gate and walled it up, not knowing he was fulfilling prophecy.

Israel to be returned to its land a second time(Isaiah 11:11-12). The first time was when God reclaimed His people from Egypt through the Exodus; the second time was from the Babylonian Exile (Isaiah 51:9-11).

The Destruction of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-14). The prophecy was partly fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and left it in ruins. Alexander the Great later finished the job.

The Doom of Edom (Petra) (Jeremiah 49:15-17). Given the virtually impregnable nature of the ancient city carved out of rock and protected by a narrow passageway, this was an incredible prediction. Yet, in 636 AD, it was conquered by Muslims and today stands deserted.

And of course, the destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-2). Fulfilled literally when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple buildings.

Studies of psychics and fortune-tellers show they are correct about 10% of the time. The success rate of their predictions can almost always be attributed to chance and general knowledge of the ‘subjects’ circumstances.

Joseph Smith does somewhat better than the average fortune-teller; by my calculation, his ‘prophesies’ were correct about one-third of the time. But remember, the Lord tells us that if someone professing to be a prophet of God gets it wrong even one time, he is a false prophet. Smith got it wrong a lot more than one time. He got it wrong many many more times than he got it right.

Chapter References1 (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 182).

2 (Doctrine & Covenants 114:1)

3 History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 394).

4 “Millennial Star, Vol. 22, p. 455. See also History of the Church), vol. 6, p. 116,

5 Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Salem, Massachusetts, August 6, 1836. HC 2:465-466.

6 Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Salem, Massachusetts, August 6, 1836. HC 2:465-466.”

7 History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 315-316

8 HC 1:286-295.

9 The Joseph Smith Papers: The Revelations and Translations Series

10 (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3).

11 Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy

FairMormon’s Comments on Joseph
Smith’s False Prophesies

The Civil WarFollowing the Civil War, many nations entered into alliances and secret agreements in order to protect themselves from other nations.

Following the Civil War, the nations, in their great alarm because of the new methods of warfare which were being developed and their fear of other nations, entered into alliances and secret agreements in order to protect themselves from other countries. At the outbreak of the World War, these alliances had reached proportions never before known, and during the war other alliances were made until nearly every nation on the earth had taken sides with the Triple Alliance or the Triple Entente. It was during the period of the World War, 1914-1918, Great Britain made her appeal to the nations to come to the defense of the standard of Democracy.

Her pleadings were heard round (sic) the world. And what is still more remarkable, the entire procedure conforms exactly to the prediction made by Joseph Smith, viz: “they shall also call upon other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations.” A plurality of nations aligned and allied on both sides of the deadly conflict.

This revelation was not just about the American Civil War

The revelation makes that very clear by first stating in verse one, “thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass.” Notice that the word used is wars (plural), not war (singular), thereby “suggesting not one war but a continuum of conflict. Thus, like chapter 24 of Matthew, this scripture covered things both imminent and distant.” Of course, in our own time, we could add the war in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, civil wars in Central America, Lebanon, the British-Argentine conflict, Desert Storm, etc.In our several Indian uprisings since the close of the Civil War, many see the fulfillment of that part of the prophecy which declares that the “remnants who are left of the land [the American Indians] will marshal themselves, and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.”

World history since 1861 demonstrates that armed conflict widened and persisted since the American Civil War. There is nothing in the prophecy that claims that the Civil War must be the direct cause of on-going war, merely that on-going war will occur. And, it will happen after “Great Britain” “shall…call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves:”:

 DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

FairMormon is side-stepping the issue here. Joseph did not prophesy that nations would “enter into alliances and secret agreements” after the Civil War; or that armed conflicts would widen and persist after the American Civil War. He prophesied that “all nations would be involved in the American Civil War.”

They were NOT – False Prophecy.

ANOTHER APOLOGY BY FAIRMORMON

“Missouri suffered greatly during the Civil War. Over 1,200 distinct battles or skirmishes were fought on Missouri soil; only Tennessee and Virginia saw more action on their soil.

Between 1862 and 1864, the western parts of Missouri endured guerrilla warfare. Although guerrilla warfare occurred throughout much of the state, most of the incidents occurred in northern Missouri and were characterized by ambushes of individuals or families in rural areas. These incidents were particularly nefarious because their vigilante nature was outside the command and control of either side and often pitted neighbor against neighbor.

Among the more notorious incidents of guerrilla warfare were (sic) the Sacking of Osceola, burning of Platte City, and the Centralia Massacre In 1863 following the Lawrence Massacre in Kansas, Union General Thomas Ewing, Jr. accused farmers in rural Missouri of either instigating the attack or supporting it.

He issued General Order No. 11, which forced the evacuation of all residents of rural areas of the four counties (Jackson, Cass, Bates and Vernon) south of the Missouri River on the Kansas border to leave their property, which was then burned. The order applied to farmers regardless of loyalty, although those who could prove their loyalty to the Union could stay in designated towns and those who could not be exiled entirely.

LDS readers will recognize that Jackson county was notorious for its treatment of the Saints, and it was among those counties from which inhabitants were evacuated and a “scorched earth” policy implemented.

The commanding general ordered his men not to engage in looting or other depredations, but he proved unable to effectively control his soldiers, who were mostly Kansans eager to exact any revenge possible upon their Missouri neighbors. Animals and other property were stolen or destroyed, and houses, barns, and outbuildings burnt to the ground. The area affected quickly became a devastated “no-man’ s-land”, with only charred chimneys and burnt stubble remaining where once-fertile farms had stood.”

 DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

FairMormon is grasping at straws here. As the highlighted portion of Smith’s prophecy clearly shows, he was talking about the United States is utterly overthrown and wasted, not Missouri.

When someone claims to be speaking as instructed by God and then makes a false statement, that person “has spoken presumptuously” and is not God’s prophet. There are then, according to the Lord, three elements that we can rely upon to prove a false prophet.

The individual claiming to be a true prophet of God did say it. I think FairMormon will stipulate that Smith said it, as it is recorded in the History of the Church, Vol 5, Page 394.

That he made clear in his prophecy that he was speaking for the Lord.‘ I prophecy (sic) in the name of the Lord God of Israel….’

The prophecy failed to come true.

It has been more than 150 years since Smith uttered this vengeful prophecy, and our great country and its government still stand.

I maintain this is a false prophecy.

FAIRMORMON’S COMMENT ON FINDING TREASURE IN SALEM

Joseph Smith’s prophecy that “he would find treasure in Salem, Massachusetts.”

Joseph and several other leaders travelled to Salem hoping to find money that could be used to satisfy some of the church’s outstanding debt

The trip was apparently made on their own initiative and was not commanded by the Lord. Joseph did not “prophesy” (sic) that they would find money in Salem, but instead made the trip because he became convinced that the story that the treasure existed might true. Upon failing to locate the money, they spent their time preaching to the people in Salem.”

“I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form an acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.” 6

DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

FairMormon provides no evidence that “The trip was apparently made on their own initiative and was not commanded by the Lord,” The language of the prophecy indicates quite the opposite.“I, the Lord your God… I have much treasure in this city for you. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form an acquaintance with men in this city. I will give this city into your hands. its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.”

FairMormon again throws words like ‘apparently,’ out there without, and any discussion or evidence as to why it is apparent.

Let me give you one more time; God’s determining criteria for identifying a false prophet. When someone claims to be speaking as instructed by God and then makes a false statement, that person “has spoken presumptuously” and is not God’s prophet.There are then, according to the Lord, not Thomas Monson or FairMormon, but the Lord, thy God, three elements that we can rely upon to prove a false prophet.

The individual claiming to be a true prophet of God, did, in fact, say

History of the Church, 2:465-466, August 6, 1836.

That he made clear in his prophecy that he was speaking for the

“I, the Lord your God…”

The prophecy failed to come

The “treasure in this city,” was not Smith’s, and it did not “come to pass in due time that [God put] this city into [Smith’s] hands,” or that he had, “power over it,” or that it’s, “gold and silver shall be [Smith’s].

 FAIRMORMON’S COMMENT ON THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE IN INDEPENDENCE

“Question: Was Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the Independence, Missouri temple “Shall be reared in this generation” a failed prophecy?

Jesus Christ used the very same terminology in Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”

There is a double standard of interpretation that critics use against Joseph Smith since Jesus Christ used the very same terminology. Matthew 24:34 quotes Christ as saying, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Luke 21:32 repeats this prophecy. The term “these things” refers to wars, famines, the sun being darkened, and even the “stars falling from heaven.” Some of “these things” occurred during Christ’s time period. Some have continued since then. Some have escalated into our time. Some have not occurred yet So we must ask since Joseph Smith is charged with a false prophecy concerning “this generation,” did Jesus Christ utter a false prophecy? Absolutely not! So, if Joseph Smith uttered a false prophecy about “this generation,” then so did Christ. It has been many centuries longer from the time of Christ until now than it has been from the 1830s till (sic) today.

The word “generation” has different meanings. According to scripture, the word “generation” can have reference to a time frame, a people, or even a dispensation. Without specific wording, which would indicate exactly what the word “generation” means, it is dishonest to accuse one (Joseph Smith) of false prophecy while accepting another (Jesus Christ) when both use it in a general form.

Joseph Smith’s revelation in D&C 84 may appear on the surface to be a failed prophecy, but a more informed reading reveals that it may not have been a prophecy, and if it is, its fulfillment is still in the future.”

 DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

I don’t feel Joseph was speaking about all time here, but this argument is at least reasonable.

PLEASE NOTE: I think it is telling that FairMormon has chosen NOT to comment on the vast majority of the false prophecies, I also spoke to in ‘A Letter to an Apostle.’

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 ________________________________ 

Interrogatory No. 21

How can one reconcile Joseph Smith’s various and differing first vision accounts; and the fact that no one, including Joseph Smith’s family members or the Saints, had ever heard about the ‘First Vision’ for twelve to twenty-two years after he had said it occurred?

groveOur whole strength rests on the validity of that [First] vision. It either occurred, or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”

But there are issues with this purported event. Why are there various and differing first vision accounts? Considering the momentous nature of this event, why is it that no one – including Joseph Smith’s family members or the Saints – had ever heard about the First Vision for twelve to twenty-two years after he said it occurred? Even in the “History of the Church,” written by Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith in 1834, no mention was made of it.Joseph Smith did not record the official 1838 account of this first vision found in Mormon Scripture until 1838, 18 years after the event. Before this time, but still, more than 12 years after this event supposedly took place, other accounts of Joseph’s visionary experience were recorded. These earlier accounts contained significant differences from the official first vision account and often conflicted with it.1832 account, Sins forgiven, saw Jesus Christ.The following is the earliest and first known recounting of the “First Vision.” Joseph Smith wrote it in his journal.“…therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in attitude of calling upon the Lord piller (sic) of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucified (sic) for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside (sic) from the gospel and keep not commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording (sic) to their ungodliness and to bring to pass that which been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles. behold and lo I come quickly as it [is?] written of me in the cloud in the glory of my Father.” 11834 account – Two years later another version was given to a Jewish Minister,’ in this rendition, Joseph’s sins were forgiven. He saw personages, a pillar of fire, and hosts of angels.“…being wrought up in my mind, respecting the subject of religion and looking at the different systems taught the children of men, I knew not who was right or who was wrong and I considered it of the first importance that I should be right, in matters that involve eternal consequ[e]nces; being thus perplexed in mind I retired to the silent grove and bow[e]d down before the Lord … I called upon the Lord for the first time, in the place above stated or in other words I made a fruitless attempt to p[r]ay … I called on the Lord in mightly (sic) prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard (sic) in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard (sic) like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication; When I was about 17 years old I saw another vision of angels in the night season after I had retired to bed …” 21835 account, In this version his sins were again forgiven, he saw Jesus Christ, and later another ‘personage.’“…I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me, strove again to pray, but could not, the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprung up on my feet, and looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking, I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my tongue liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon my head, and filled me with joy unspeakable, a personage appeard (sic) in the midst, of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard (sic) like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testifyed (sic) unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God; I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication;” 31834 – 1835 account– With Oliver Cowdery’s help, A revival stirred in him a desire to know that God existed. This one at age 17, he was in his bedroom when he had a vision of an angel, again sins were forgiven. He was told that the Lord would do a work through him and he was told about gold plates and their location.“… On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind … all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind of messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God. “… While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness burst into the room … It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies … But it may be well to relate the particulars as far as given — The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white and had the appearance of being without seam. Though fear was banished from his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard;” 41838 account, Joseph said his object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the churches was right. This contradicts his 1832 rendition in which he says it was to seek forgiveness for his sins:“After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God, I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was upon by some power which entirely overcame me and such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized (sic) upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to an imaginary ruin but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being. Just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gracefully gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.”

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their Creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt, that “they draw near to me to (sic) with their lips but their hearts are far from me, They (sic) teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof. He again forbade me to join with any of them, and manyTus renditions other thing[s] did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on back (sic) looking up into Heaven.This official version, now part of Mormon Scripture in the Pearl of Great Price, was written in 1838, but not published until 1842.The various renditions were somewhat different:His motives: for seeking divine help – Bible reading and conviction of sins, a revival, a desire to know if God exists, wanting to know which church was true.Who appears: – a spirit, an angel, two angels, a host of angels, Jesus, the Father, and the Son?As well, the exciting revival was problematic. Joseph’s dating of the revival that prompts his actions is wrong. The historical record shows that there was no revival in Palmyra in 1820. There was one in 1817, and there was another in 1824.If there is one of Smith’s renditions of the ‘First Vision’ that best fits the historical record, it is the 1832 account. Why?His age: The 1832 account states Joseph was 15 years old when he had the vision in 1821, while the other reports state he was 14 years old as well as 17 years old in 1820.Secondly, there was no mention of persecution, which obviously would also be incorrect as no one was told of the vision, including his family for at least twelve years.There was also no injunction not to join any other church – In 1823 Joseph’s mother, sister and two brothers joined the Presbyterian Church, and Joseph himself sought membership in the Methodist Church, where his Emma was a member. The record shows that Joseph was expelled in 1828, because of his belief in magic and his “money-digging activities. “. Remember that Joseph Smith said that he was told twice in this vision not to join any of the religions (see Pearl of Great Price 2:5-26).It should be obvious that Smith’s first iteration of the ‘first vision,’ if it happened at all, would likely be the most accurate. To use as evidence Martin Harris’ strong feelings ‘on this point, only to embrace Joseph’s teachings if Joseph taught creedal trinitarianism, ‘is at the least unreliable. This is the man who tells us he walked and talked with Jesus in the form of a deer and claims to have seen Satan crouched in the rafters, who even Smith himself described as, “too mean to mention, and we had liked to have forgotten[him]!

In the Messenger and Advocate. Joseph describes how, after his brother Alvin’s death, and after his mother, sister and two brothers had joined the Presbyterian Church, he started to seek religion and pray “if some Supreme Being existed” (vol. 1 p. 79). Am I missing something here? If he saw God, the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820 would he not have known in 1823 and 1824 that a supreme Being existed?Incidentally, the church’s ‘essay’ does not address well-known facts about human recall as it relates to Joseph Smith’s first vision stories.I know something about memory. I wrote a book in 1997 entitled ‘Memory for Management’, and I have taught courses on memory to tens of thousands of managers and others in the last four decades.The one thing I can tell you is that memories are reconstructive and are subject to confabulations. Numerous studies have shown that after an event, people create details to fit a storyline. We add information that never happened, particularly where experiences are not recorded immediately. We spin the stories of our experiences rather than recall events correctly. And the confabulations always tend to make ourselves look better or more important.Numerous studies demonstrate that while people may only imagine having an experience, they are likely to report that it happened, especially if they did not record actual immediately. With each successive reconstruction of the past, our memories migrate further and further from the truth.Self-serving memory distortion is “getting what you want by revisiting what you had.” When humans visually imagine past events, it generates neural activity in regions of the brain that ultimately create false memories about those events. Those with vivid imaginations constantly confabulate when they recall past experiences. When we cannot recall details, or we wish to impress others, the brain is designed to fill in the blanks with inaccurate information.Most are not aware that they are reconstructing a past life that never occurred, but some do it intentionally. Both cases are on vivid display at high school reunions.Joseph did not exhibit characteristics associated with a photographic memory, or more accurately, eidetic imagery. This is an extremely rare disorder. While often portrayed in TV as an aid to crime-solving, there is no evidence that photographic memory is anything near common in the general population.The Mormon Church asks people to believe that Joseph Smith had a vision in 1820. He did not write down any facts about it until 12 years after it allegedly happened. He then re-told his story many times over the next decade where his dentitions contradicted each another, Then publishes a recollection 22 years that is true, even though it bears all the marks of a retroactively amended and embellished experience, and fits his authority needs and his current situation at that time.Obviously, Smith changed his view of the Godhead to fit his current beliefs. Are we to really expected to accept the that in his original ‘translation’ of the Book of Mormon he unknowingly made the following major errors that required later changes – Mary was the mother of god to the ‘mother of the son of God. ‘or “…behold the Lamb of God, even the Eternal Father!” to, “…behold the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father!”

FairMormon then states that “I provided erroneous information or misinterpreted THEIR (I assume they mean my) sources.” They then provide the following apology:“This is related to Oliver Cowdery’s attempt to write a history of the church. In the first installment, Oliver set Joseph’s age at 14 years and proceeded to describe the events leading up to the First Vision. However, in the second installment, a couple of months later, Oliver abruptly changed Joseph’s age to 17 and proceeded to describe Moroni’s visit. Oliver alluded to events related to the First Vision in the past tense. It would appear that Joseph wasn’t ready for Oliver to relate his First Vision experience at that time, despite the fact that Joseph had recorded it in his own hand two years earlier in 1832, and Oliver appeared to have access to that document.”

I had stated in my interrogative, “no one – including Joseph Smith’s family members or the Saints – had ever heard about the First Vision for twelve to twenty-two years after he had said it occurred.” Was this erroneous information as FairMormon contends? It is truthful information as the blurb above confirms – 1832. The use of wording such as, “alluded to,” it would appear,” and “appeared to have,” provide an insight into who is providing erroneous and misinterpreted information.To parallel the words of the late Christopher Hitchens’, the Mormon Church leadership has created a celestial ‘North Korea.’ A state in which true believers can be literally promised the universe for the low price of the surrender of all their critical faculties.Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 10.05.08 AM

References

1 Joseph Smith’s History, Summer 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp.2,3
in the handwriting of Joseph Smith2 Joseph Smith’s History, November 9, 1835, Joseph Smith Letterbook3 Joseph Smith’s History, November 18354 Joseph Smith’s History, November 1835Anne E. Wilson and Michael Ross (2001), “From Chump to Champ: People’s Appraisals of Their Earlier and Present Selves,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, pp. 572-584.Michael Ross and Anne E. Wilson (2003), “Autobiographical Memory and Conceptions of Self: Getting Better All the Time,” Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, pp. 66-69.)(Barbara Tversky and Elizabeth J. Marsh (2000), “Biases Retellings of Events Yield Biased Memories,” Cognitive Psychology, 40, pp. 1-38;Elizabeth J. Marsh and Barbara Tversky (2004), “Spinning the Stories of Our Lives,” Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18, pp. 491-503.)Carol Tavris and Elliot Araonson (2007), Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, pp. 68-96.Brian Gonsalves, Paul J. Reber, Darren R. Gitelman, et al. (2004), “Neural Evidence that Vivid Imagining Can Lead to False Remembering.” Psychological Science, 15, pp. 655-660.Elizabeth F. Loftus (2004), “Memories of Things Unseen.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, pp. 145-147;Elizabeth F. Loftus (2001), Imagining the Past, in Psychologist, 14 (British Psychological Society), pp. 584-587;Maryanne Garry, Charles Manning, Elizabeth Loftus, and Steven J. Sherman (1996), “Imagination Inflation: Imagining a Childhood Event Inflates Confidence That It Occurred,” Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 3, pp. 208-214Giuliana Mazzoni and Amina Memon (2003), “Imagination Can Create False Autobiographical Memories,” Psychological Science, 14, pp. 186-188.Parker ES, Cahill L, McGaugh JL (February 2006). “A case of unusual autobiographical remembering.”. Neurocase 12 (1): 35-49Scott O. Lilienfeld, Stevn Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, Barry L. Beyerstein, (2010), 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, United Kingdom, pp. 65-82.

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Interrogatory No. 22

What is the meaning of the embarrassing Kinderhook Plates episode 

Kinderhook

In his History of the Church, Joseph Smith discusses six brass plates “covered with ancient characters” and a skeleton which “must have stood nine feet high” found by nine locals as they explored the area around Kinderhook, Illinois.3

Joseph also wrote, “I have translated a portion of them, and they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth…” 4

Years later, Wilbur Fugate, a member of the group that found them, admitted to having forged the plates in a hoax intended to expose Joseph Smith.5

In 1980, permission was obtained to determine the plate’s age accurately. The resulting electronic and chemical analyses resolved that the plate was not of ancient origin. Rather, they were created in the 1800s in a manner exactly as the hoaxsters had claimed. Also, further analysis verified that this could not have been a forgery of the Kinderhook Plates, but was, in fact, one of the actual plates discovered in Kinderhook in 1843.

“John Taylor, the personal friend of Joseph’s – took the find seriously, and expressed implicit confidence in his editorial that the Prophet could give a translation of the plates. And this attitude the Church continued to maintain.”

In another matter, like the Kinderhook misadventure, Professor Henry Caswall, a professor, reverend and skeptic of Joseph Smith, visited Nauvoo on April 18 & 19, 1842. Caswell claims to have given Joseph Smith a very old Greek Psalter to examine and asked him what it was. Caswall likely wanted to see if he could trick Joseph with his ancient Greek manuscript. Professor Caswall reported that Joseph examined the ancient document and replied that it was a Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. This was, of course, wrong as it was a very well-known Greek Psalter and not Egyptian.

“I had not the opportunity of observing his eyes, as he appears deficient in that open, straightforward look which characterizes (sic) an honest man. I heeled the way to his house, accompanied by a host of elders, bishops, preachers, and common Mormons. On entering the house, chairs were provided for the prophet and myself, while the curious and gaping crowd remained standing. I handed a book the to the prophet, and begged him to explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be a Greek Psalter, but that I should like to hear his opinion.”

“No,” he said; “it ain’t Greek at all, except, perhaps a few words. What ain’t Greek is Egyptian, and what ain’t Egyptian is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics.” Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said,

“Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics, and them which follows is the interpretation (sic) of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates.”

Upon this, the Mormons around began to congratulate me on the information I was receiving. “There,” they said, “we told you so – we told you that our prophet would give you satisfaction. None but our prophet can explain these mysteries!”

“The error of taking a Greek Psalter for a specimen of Egyptian hieroglyphics sufficiently proves the slender pretensions of Mr. Joseph Smith to be a mystery-expounder.” [sic] 7

References

1 Walters, Wesley P., Joseph Smith Among the Egyptians, 1973

2 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. III, No.2 (Stanford: DialoguFoundation, 1968), p.68.

3 History of the Church, 5:372-79

4 “Ancient Records,” Times and Seasons (1843 May 1). Vol. IV, No. 12, pp. 186-87

5 Kimball, Stanley B., (1981). Kinderhook Plates brought to Joseph Smith appear to be a nineteenth-century hoax. Ensign

6 History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 379

7 Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, v. 11, pp. 330-331, 1842

redd

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Interrogatory No. 23

Was it just a coincidence that just seven weeks after Joseph’s Masonic initiation, that Joseph introduced the LDS endowment ceremony in May 1842?

All seeing eye in delta triangle

Besides the use of Masonic symbols such as the “all-seeing eye,” the beehive, hand grasp, etc., the LDS ceremony itself includes many Masonic signs and tokens that Joseph Smith was exposed to in his March 1842 Nauvoo, Illinois initiation.

Freemasonry has no link to Solomon’s temple whatsoever, rather it had its roots its origins in the stone tradesmen in medieval Europe – not Jerusalem circa 950 BC. Two Masonic rituals were removed in the 1990s, the 5 Points of Fellowship at the veil and the blood oath penalties, from the endowment ceremony. While I will not reveal any temple ceremonies, signs, or tokens, they are increasingly showing up on the internet as are there Masonic equivalents.

 

The Church speaks of the “Fullness of the Gospel” in the Book of Mormon, but many essential elements are not contained therein

“This ancient volume of holy scriptures is a sacred companion to the Bible, containing the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Tom Perry, Ensign, May 2007, pg. 88;

The fact is however that in spite of the mantra so often repeated in the church that the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fullness of the Gospel,’ many of the essential features of that Gospel are absent from it.

The following is a list of significant features of the gospel NOT found in the Book of Mormon:

  • God has a body of flesh and bones.
  • God is an exalted man.
  • God is a product of eternal progression.
  • The plurality of gods.
  • Baptism for the dead
  • The temple endowment
  • True nature of the Godhead
  • Men can become gods.
  • “Intelligences” are eternal.
  • Pre-existing spirits of men.
  • Three degrees of glory.
  • A “mother” in heaven.
  • God “organized” the world rather than “created” it.
  • A Melchizedek priesthood consisting of the offices of Elder, Seventy, and High Priest.
  • An Aaronic priesthood consisting of the offices of Priest, Teacher, and Deacon.
  • God has many wives/Mother gods
  • God had sex with Mary
  • Jesus and Lucifer are brothers
  • Jesus was Married
  • The Book of Mormon is the “Stick of Joseph.”
  • There is no eternal hell and punishment.
  • Men can become gods.
  • “Intelligences” are eternal.
  • Pre-existing spirits of men.
  • Marriage for eternity.
  • Polygamy is not an abomination in the sight of God.
  • Negroes are to be denied the priesthood.
  • The functions and offices of Evangelists Bishoprics, Stake Presidencies,
  • Assistants to the Twelve, a First Presidency, and President of the Church.

If the goal was a restoration, why wouldn’t the Lord have provided his people with a more complete understanding of the most fundamental and precious truths of the plan of salvation?

If he did, in fact, reveal these things to the Nephites, why did they not record them?

Ray Anderson suggests that:

“Perhaps the paucity of latter-day doctrines and practices is best understood by examining early church history. Looking back on the early days of the Restoration, David Whitmer emphatically declared his belief that Joseph Smith was never meant to create a church – that his only calling was to bring forth the ‘marvelous work and a wonder,’ the Book of Mormon. He also claimed that the Book of Mormon was intended to be the ultimate authority on matters of truth and religious worship. …Could it be that Joseph’s original intention was to bring forth scripture that would ‘reform’ Christianity rather than ‘restore’ it? “ 1

FAIRMORMON COMMENTS

“The core of Mormon doctrine is centered wholly in Christ and his atonement. Without the foundation which the Book of Mormon lays, the other LDS teachings are meaningless. The Book of Mormon itself defines “the gospel” as simply the doctrine of Christ, faith in him, repentance, and the introductory ordinances. (What are these introductory ordinances?)

There are many religious topics and doctrines which The Book of Mormon does not discuss in detail (e.g., the premortal existence, see Alma 13:), and some which are not even mentioned (e.g., the ordinance of baptism for the dead).

This is unsurprising since the Book of Mormon’s goal is to teach the “fullness of the gospel”—the doctrine of Christ.”

DOUGLAS’ COMMENTS

FairMormon says, “The core of Mormon doctrine is centered wholly in Christ and his atonement. Without the foundation which the Book of Mormon lays, the other LDS teachings are meaningless.

Fine, except we are not speaking of ‘centrality;’ we are talking about ‘fullness.’

The difference. is not too difficult to grasp if we use an example.

The central focus of the US Bill of Rights is the protection of individual rights and freedoms. The fullness would, however, include the ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Right to bear arms
  3. Protection against housing soldiers in civilian home
  4. Protection against unreasonable search and seizure, protection against the issuing of warrants without probable cause
  5. Protection against trial without indictment double jeopardy self-incrimination property seizure
  6. Right to a speedy trial. Right to be informed of charges Right to be confronted by witnesses. Right to call witnesses. Right to a legal counsel
  7. Right to trial by jury
  8. Protection against excessive bail excessive fines cruel and unusual punishment
  9. Rights granted in the Constitution shall not infringe on other rights
  10. Powers not granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution belong to the states or the

Can it be argued that it is enough that our fellow citizens know that the US Bill of rights affords them certain rights without knowing what those rights are?

No, to bring any benefit to the citizens of this great nation, to make our sacred freedoms come to life, we require the ‘fullness’ or the legislation.

Likewise, the efficacy, that is, that which animates the ‘Gospel’ comes from the fullness of it. The most important thing being is our Dear Lords atonement, our faith in him and the repentance of our sins.

But my friends are these are the just those things that all true Christians and their church’s belief.

You need to ask yourself the question:

“Is it possible that the Book of Mormon cannot contain “the fullness of the gospel” because it doesn’t teach certain unique LDS doctrines, such as baptism for the dead, the Word of Wisdom, the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, vicarious work for the dead, and the corporeal nature of God the Father?”

I think with a little thought you will agree that it cannot contain the fullness of the Gospel, without those things that make the Mormon religion unique.

If you answer it is yes, that the Book of Mormon can contain the fullness of the Gospel that baptism for the dead, the Word of Wisdom, the belief in three degrees of glory, and knowledge of celestial marriage, the importance of vicarious work for the dead, etc. are not significant, essential or even necessary to the Gospel.

I invite you to make that comment in the next Gospel Doctrine class you attend:

“Brothers and Sisters, the Word of Wisdom, the three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, and the work for the dead, are not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as they are not found it the Book of Mormon, so conduct yourselves accordingly!”

References

1 Ray Anderson, The Book of Mormon, A Voice From 19th Century Dust, Seattle, WA, 2007, pp. 41-42

yelloww

Interrogatory No. 24

Does Smith’s extensive ‘rap-sheet’ including his arrest, trial and probable conviction for money digging, treason, attempted murder and bank fraud comport with being a prophet of God?

Thinking man Shadow Under Jail Bars. Concrete Wall.

STATE OF NEW YORK VS JOSEPH SMITH

“Warrant issued upon written complaint upon oath of Peter G. Bridgeman, who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person and an imposter.”

Prisoner brought before Court March 20, 1826.“Prisoner examined: says that he came from the town of Palmyra and had been at the house of Josiah Stowel in Bainbridge most of the time since; had a small part of time been employed by said Stowel on his farm and going to school. That he had a certain stone which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance underground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them. That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health.”

The court record shows that Joseph Smith was involved in magic practices at the same time he was preparing himself to receive the plates for the Book of Mormon.It is interesting to note that in the court record, Joseph Smith confessed that “for three years” before 1826, he had used a stone placed in his hat to find treasures or lost property.This means that in 1823, three years after he claims an angelic visitation and the same year he says he found the gold plates (September 22, 1823) he was still engaged in treasure hunting.Before this discovery, LDS historian Francis W. Kirkham, “…couldn’t bring himself to believe that Smith was just another dishonorable con man. That he cheated people out of their money with assurances that he would find buried treasure using a peep stone in a hat.”

Kirkham wrote, “If such a court record confession could be identified and proved, then it follows that his believers must deny his claimed divine guidance which led them to follow him…. How could he be a prophet of God, the leader of the Restored Church to these tens of thousands, if he had been the superstitious fraud which ”the pages from a book” declared he confessed to being?”A New Witness for Christ in America,
vol. 1, pp. 3, 85‐87 and pp. 486‐87

The late Hugh Nibley, perhaps the most prominent Mormon apologist ever, stated, “…if this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith. If the court record could be established, it would be “the most devastating blow to Smith ever delivered.” 12Well, Hugh, it was, and it is!FairMormon suggests the proceedings did not constitute a trial, but rather more of a “preliminary hearing” where the accused is bound over for trial at a later date, and this may very well be the case.This is why I said, ”likely convicted,” because the jury is still out if you’ll pardon the pun. I am not sure, it really matters. It’s a distinction without a difference.The LDS Church has not been forthcoming with the publication of a full and truthful history of this event. The release of their records could make the assessment more certain. Perhaps another example of Boyd Packer’s aphorism that, “some truths are not very useful.”

There is evidence that Justice Neely found Joseph Smith “guilty” of being a “disorderly person,” and that the judge could have immediately sentenced him to “sixty days” in the “Bridewell House of Correction, at hard labor,” but instead bound him over to be tried by three justices at a later date.13It may well be that Smith then left the jurisdiction, which was probably fine with the court, as they may have argued that the scoundrel was gone.We have the following:“”And therefore, the court finds the Defendant guilty. Costs: Warrant, l9c. Complaint upon oath, 251/2 c. Seven witnesses, 871/2 c. Recognizances, 25 c. Mittimus, 19 c. Recognizances of witnesses, 75 c. Subpoena, 18 c.—$2.68. ” 14Further, On March 8, 1842, Justice Joel K. Noble, who acquitted Joseph Smith of some charges brought against him in 1830, wrote a letter in which he spoke of Joseph Smith’s ‘first trial‘ — i.e., the case before Justice Neely. According to Justice Noble, Smith “was condemned” at that time. The seven known witnesses to the trial stated:Benton: tried and condemned – designedly allowed to escapeCowdery: honorably acquittedNoble: was condemned, took leg bail (escaped)Marshall: guilty?Tuttle: guilty?Purple: dischargedConstable De Zeng: not a trialMy best guess is there is about a 50/50 chance that there was some sanction. I feel that because of his age he was likely told, “get out of town and don’t come back.”

Regarding Joseph Smith’s ”money digging.” There are only three explanations:

  1. God gave Joseph Smith the power to see treasures in his stone. 
  2. Smith had a vivid imagination and the ability to convince other people and perhaps himself that he saw real treasure in his stone. 
  3. Smith deliberately sought to mislead and defraud others.

Historians employed by the LDS Church have been excommunicated, but more commonly threatened with sanctions if they publish an objective history rather than a faith promoting rendition. Packer goes so far as to refer to objective histories of Mormonism as “disease germs.”Regarding Joseph’s efficacy in finding “buried treasure,” and Smith’s claim he could see anything when looking at the peep stone in his hat is contradicted by his statement to his father-in-law Isaac Hale as evidenced by the sworn statement of Peter Ingersoll, replicated below:In the month of August 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife’s household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was. When we arrived at Mr. Hale’sHale’s, in Harmony, PA from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: “You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money — pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.” Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false.”

“He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into magic 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. I then returned with Joseph and his wife to Manchester.

One circumstance occurred on the road, worthy of notice, and I believe this is the only instance where Jo ever exhibited true Yankee wit. On our journey to Pennsylvania, we could not make the exact change at the toll gate near Ithaca. Joseph told the gate tender that he would “hand”” him the toll on his return, as he was coming back in a few days. On our return, Joseph tendered to him 25 cents, the toll being 12 1/2. He did not recognize Smith, so he accordingly gave him back the 12 1/2 c. After we had passed the gate, I asked him if he did not agree to pay double gateage on our return? “No,” said he, “I agreed to hand it to him, and I did, but he handed it back again.

Joseph told me on his return that he intended to keep the promise which he had made to his father-in-law; “but,”” said he, “it will be hard for me, for they will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone for them to dig money.”” And in fact, it was as he predicted. They urged him, day after day, to resume his old practice of looking in the stone. — He seemed much perplexed as to the course he should pursue. In this dilemma, he made me his confident (sic) and told me what daily transpired in the family of Smiths. One day he came and greeted me with a 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 my 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 of what I had heard about a history found in Canada, called the 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 that I had received a commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see it with the naked 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 Jo, ‘I have got the d[amne]d fools fixed, and will carry out the fun.” Notwithstanding, he told me he had no such book, and believed there never was any such book, yet, he told me that he went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest, in which he might deposit his golden Bible. But, as Chase would not do it, he made a box himself, of clapboards, and put it into a pillowcase, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case.

In the fall of 1827, Joseph wanted to go to Pennsylvania. His brother-in-law had come to assist him in moving, but he was out of money. He wished to borrow the money of me, and he presented Mr. Hale as security. I told him in case he could obtain assistance from no other source, I would let him have some money. Joseph then went to Palmyra; and, said he, “I there met that d[am]n fool, Martin Harris, and told him that I had a command to ask the first honest man I met with, for fifty dollars in money, and he would let me have it. I saw at once,” said Joe, “”that it took his notion, for he promptly gave me the fifty.

Joseph thought this sum was sufficient to bear his expenses to Pennsylvania. So, he immediately started off, and since that time, I have not been much in his society. While the Smiths were living at Waterloo, William visited my neighborhood, and upon my inquiry how they came on, he replied, “we do better there than here; we were too well known here to do much.” 5“I certify, that on this 9th day of December 1833, personally appeared before me the above-named Peter Ingersoll, to be known, and made oath, according to law, to the truth of the above statement. ” 6Joseph’s ”rap sheet” below comes from an article by Diane Tingen in Mormonism Schism.1830 – New YorkSmith reportedly, performed an exorcism in Colesville and was again tried as a disorderly person. He was acquitted. The account of the exorcism is in this article about the Knight family can be found on LDS.org. The article on LDS.org, which also discussed the trial has been removed by the church.1837 – Kirtland, OhioIn May 1837, Grandison Newell accused Joseph Smith of plotting to murder him. Joseph was eventually acquitted. Did he intend to have Newell killed? We don’t know, but the testimony of church leaders and employees revealed just how seriously the ‘prophet’s followers took his supposed off-hand remarks.In either case, statements by two apostles and other close associates no doubt undermined Joseph Smith’s reputation. Wilbur Denton and Sidney Rigdon both testified that the alleged conspiracy took place in April or May of 1835. Orson Hyde testified that when rumors began circulating that Newell might sue the floundering Kirtland Safety Society, Joseph Smith “seemed much excited and declared that Newell should be put out of the way, or where the crows could not find him,” and he said that “destroying Newell would be justifiable in the slight of God, that it was the will of God, etc.”

1838 – Kirtland, OhioAfter a warrant was issued for Smith’sSmith’s arrest on a charge of banking fraud, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri under cover of nightfall on January 12th, 1838. This incident had to do with the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, and with charges of fraud and illegal banking, including the unlawful purchase of Monroe Bank in Michigan by Smith and Rigdon. Oliver Cowdery was named the Monroe bank’s Vice-President which saw him move to Michigan to run that bank.1838 – MissouriOn November 1, 1838, the Mormons surrendered to 2,500 state troops and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state. Joseph Smith was court-martialed and nearly executed for treason, but militiaman Alexander Doniphan, who was also Joseph Smith’s attorney, probably saved Joseph’s life by insisting that he was a civilian.Smith was then sent to a state court for a preliminary hearing, where several of his former allies, including Danite commander Sampson Avard, turned ‘state’s evidence against him. Joseph Smith and five others, including Sidney Rigdon, were charged with “overt acts of treason,” and transferred to the jail at Liberty, Missouri, to await trial.In 1839, Smith tried to escape at least twice during his four-month imprisonment. On April 6, 1839, on their way to a different jail after their grand jury hearing, he finally escaped after bribing the sheriff.As was his custom Joseph Smith, and the Mormons fled the state, this time moving to Illinois. FairMormon has chosen not to respond directly to what I have written here but rather provides fifteen more generic links to previously written apologies, nine of which are irrelevant to this interrogatory.

bank-fraud-300x148

Banking Fraud

The Kirtland Bank was created in the State of Ohio by Joseph Smith, who named himself Cashier and Sidney Rigdon as President. However, because the venture was under-funded, a Banking Charter was refused.

Not to be deterred, Joseph and Sidney declared it an “Anti-Bank,” and depositors were lured in because Smith told his followers that as a Prophet of God, the bank could never fail.

Warren Parrish, who had been an officer in the bank and had apostatized from the church, made this statement:

“I have listened to him [i.e., Smith] with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the AUDIBLE VOICE OF GOD, INSTRUCTED HIM TO ESTABLISH A BANKING-ANTI BANKING INSTITUTION, who like Aaron’s rod SHALL SWALLOW UP ALL OTHER BANKS (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.” 7

However, problems arose when merchants and businessmen began to redeem the ‘anti-banks’ notes. Joseph knew the bank did not have enough cash to cover the paper and that an old-fashioned, “Bank Run” would ruin the bank. Smith and Rigdon quickly resigned as officers, and the bank did fail.

“If the bank needed a final blow to shatter what little prestige it still held among the faithful, it received it when Warren Parrish resigned as cashier, left the church, and began openly to describe the banking methods of the prophet. Parrish was later accused of absconding with $25,000, [$500,000 today] but if he took the sum it must have been in WORTHLESS BANK NOTES since that amount of specie in the vaults would have saved the bank”,8

Joseph Smith’s delusions resulted in many faithful Mormons losing their life savings and their faith. Many people, who were given worthless banknotes in exchange for gold and silver deposits, convinced that Joseph had intended to swindle them from the outset, attacked him verbally and threatened him physically. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Kirtland under the cloak of darkness January 1838 to escape bank depositors.

“The toppling of the Kirtland bank loosed a hornets’ nest. Creditors swarmed in upon Joseph armed with threats and warrants. He was terribly in debt. There is no way of knowing exactly how much he and his leading elders had ‘borrowed’ since the loyal Mormons left no itemized account of their claims. But the local non-Mormon creditors whom he could not repay brought a series of suits against the prophet, which the Geauga county court duly recorded. These records tell a story of trouble that would have demolished the prestige and broken the spirit of a lesser man.

Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totalling nearly $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Of the thirteen suits, only six were settled out of court for about $12,000 out of the $25,000. In the other seven, the creditors either were awarded damages or won them by default.

Joseph had many additional debts that never resulted in court action. Some years later, he compiled a list of still outstanding Kirtland loans, which amounted to more than $33,000. If one adds to these the two great loans of $30,000 and $60,000 borrowed in New York and Buffalo in 1836, it would seem that the Mormon leaders owed to non-Mormon individuals and firms well over $150,000.” 9

Joseph Smith had fraudulently capitalized the ‘Mormon bank’ at $4 million. A huge sum of capital, when at the time, in the entire state of Ohio, the total capitalization of all banks was $9 1/3 million. 

treasure-chest-with-gold-3d-model-obj-3ds-fbx-c4d

To illustrate the extent of Smith’s dishonesty, casual observers wanting to see the Mormon bank’s assets, inside of the vault were shown many boxes “filled” with gold and silver coin. However, the boxes were first filled with sand, and then a thin layer of coin laid on top. This is fraud, not just mismanagement.

“Lining the shelves of the bank vault… were many boxes, each marked $1,000. Actually, these boxes were filled with ‘sand, lead, old iron, stone, and combustibles’ but each had a top layer of bright fifty-cent silver coins.” 10

Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were tried in court for violating the law, were found guilty, and fined $1,000, a huge penalty in those days. But again Smith avoided prison.

As with many of Smith’s misadventures, this illegal bank began with Joseph Smith receiving a revelation from GOD himself. Wilford Woodruff, who later became the fourth President of the LDS church, confirmed that Joseph claimed to have had a revelation concerning the bank.

During the summer of 1837, Joseph spent much of his time away from Kirtland to avoid these lawsuits.

The blame for the bank failure fell heavily on Joseph. He had issued a formal invitation to his followers to take stock in the venture, and the institution had been organized outside the law. Heber C. Kimball later was to comment that at this moment, ‘there were not twenty persons on earth that would declare that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.’ Six of the apostles came out in open rebellion.

   …Joseph first established the bank by revelation. Later contended, “that because of poor management and other internal and external conditions, the project was a failure.” 11

FairMormon claims Joseph Smith was never convicted of a crime. Their website quotes Joseph Bentley, a lawyer who worked on the Joseph Smith Papers as saying:

“Joseph Smith was persecuted in courts of law as much as anyone I know. But he was never found guilty of any crime, and his name cannot be tarnished in that way.”

This is, of course, an out and out lie and another example of just how low FairMormon will stoop to protect the image of Smith. I have just provided one example above where he Smith was found guilty along with Sidney Rigdon for banking, “irregularities.’ There is also absolutely no question that Joseph was arrested, and appeared before Judge Albert Neely.

There was another case where there is even stronger evidence that Joseph was convicted of the crime of assault. On August 1, 1843, Smith assaulted Hancock County tax collector Walter Bagby after he called Smith a liar.

An enraged Joseph Smith, according to witnesses, got out of the buggy in which he was riding, and either struck Bagby multiple times or attempted to choke him.

William Clayton, one of Joseph Smith’s scribes, was present and recorded what happened:

“P.M. went to Temple at four o clock J and Backenstos came up to the Temple. J began to tell me concerning a tax title which Hamilton had on me of the city lots he had got a Sheriffs Deed. J. told me to inquire of Bagby concerning it. While we were talking, Bagby came up & J asked him concerning it. He denied all knowledge of it. J. told him that he had always been ready to pay all taxes when called upon & he did not think it good behavior to sell his lots when he was willing to pay the taxes whenever called upon. Bagby said he had done more for J. than for any other man in the County. J. reiterated that he had abused the citizens here and was always doing so. Bagby then told him he was a liar at which J. got out of his buggy. When Bagby saw him get out, he ran to pick up a stone to through at which J. was so enraged that he followed him & struck him two or three times. Esqr. Wells stepped between them & succeeded in getting them apart, and J. told him to assess the fine, and he was willing to pay it. J. rode down to Whitney’s & got the fine assessed & then returned to the political meeting. Bagby staid (sic) a while muttering that J. was a coward &c.”

This event was also recorded, in part, twelve days later in Joseph Smith’s journal, which states:

“Mr. [Walter] Bagby. of Cartharge [sic]. Who has exercised more despotic power over the inhibtants [sics] of this city & than any despot of the Eastern country. I met. he gave me some abusive language took up a stone to throw at me I siezd [sic] him by the throat to choke him off.”

The History of the Church recounts the incident, “Bagby called me a liar and picked up a stone to throw at me, which so enraged me that I followed him a few steps, and struck him two or three times. Esquire Daniel H. Wells stepped between us and succeeded in separating us…. I rode down to Alderman Whitney he imposed a fine which I paid.” 12

Joseph Smith had an extensive number of ‘interactions’ with the criminal justice system. His problems with the law were extensive from his first disorderly person/fraud trial in 1826 to his second arrest for treason and inciting a riot in 1844 which led to his death in a gunfight.

Joseph’s’Rap Sheet

March 1826 Disorderly person

June 1830 Disorderly person

June 1830 Disorderly person

February 1837 Illegal banking

June 1837 Conspiracy to Murder

January 1838 Banking fraud

August 10, 1838, Threatening Judge

Nov. 12, 1838 Treason

August 1842 Conspiracy to Murder

June 6, 1843 Treason

May 1844 Perjury

May 1844 Fornication & Adultery

June 11, 1844, Inciting a riot

June 24, 1844 Treason

These are just criminal matters involving Smith; there were also many many civil matters in which he was the Defendant.

References

6 Th. P. Baldwin, Judge of Wayne County Court

7 Painesville Republican, February 22, 1838, page 297

8 Fawn M. Brodie No Man Knows My History, page 198

9 Fawn M. Brodie No Man Knows My History, page 198

10 C.G. Webb (W. Wyl, Mormon Portraits, 1886, p 36.

11 Joseph Smith As An Administrator,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, May 1969, pp. 80, 81

12 Hugh Nibley, The Mythmakers p. 142.

13 Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge, N.Y. Court Trials, by Wesley P. Walters, p. 109, reprinted in the Westminster Theological Journal.

14 (Fraser’s Magazine, February 1873, pp. 229-30).

15 From, “Occult to Cult with Joseph Smith, Jr.,” Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge, N.Y. Court Trials, p. 123.

16 Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect,” 1981, BYU Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 259‐271

17 Affidavit of Wilson Law, June 20, 1844, published in “Letters to Gov. Ford−No. II,” Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, February 22, 1845, 1

18 Affidavit of John W. Putnam, August 13, 1844, published in “Letters to Gov. Ford−No. IV,” Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, March 15, 1845.

19 Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1845, 1, 6.

20 Ayatullah Sayyid Imam RuhallaMusawi Khomeini, ‘Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist’, Jan 21, 1970.

21 3 Nephi 20: 15-17, 20

22 3 Nephi 21: 14-15, 18, 21

 FairMormon’s Comment 

Joseph Smith’s Money-Digging, Magic, and Criminal Behavior

The author implies Joseph’s “almost certain conviction” despite the lack of evidence supporting this conclusion.”

DOUGLAS’ RESPONSE

OK, I made three assertions:

1. That Joseph Smith was a money-digger:

I think FairMormon will stipulate that Smith was engaged in the occupation of ‘money-digger.’ He earned more than fourteen dollars a month from this scam, more than workers on the Erie Canal were paid.

Remember, this took place before Smith’s claim to have found the ‘Gold Plates,’ and his methodology was the same he later employed in the translation of the Book of Mormon – placing a magic rock, he had found while digging a well, in his hat and then putting his head in that hat.

Scrying or money-digging is an inherently dishonest occupation, evidenced by the fact he never found anything. He took money from people lacking the wit to realize that if he had ‘the gift’ to see treasure below the ground, he would be engaged in unearthing the gold and silver for himself rather than being in their employ for a pittance. It is analogous to the modern-day snake-oil salesmen selling their courses on ‘How to become a millionaire by buying real estate with no money down,’ on infomercials in the wee hours of the morning or the professors of the ‘prosperity gospel,’ who ask the poor to give what little they have to receive greater temporal rewards later on.

John Oliver has provided a video on this predatory practice featuring many Mormon leaders:

http://www.youtube.com//watch?v=tsRUy982Ib

There is compelling evidence that Joseph knew full well that he was engaged in a dishonest pursuit. Peter Ingersoll, a friend, and neighbor of Smith’s in an affidavit swears that Smith admitted privately to him he (Smith) could see nothing.

Peter further describes in sworn testimony, the heart-wrenching reunion of Smith and his father-in-law after eloping with his daughter, Emma:

“I was hired by Joseph Smith Jr. to go to Pennsylvania to move his wife’s household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife was then. When we arrived at Mr. Hale’s place [Isaac Hale, Emma’s father], in Harmony, PA, from which place he had taken his wife.

“His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: ‘You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time digging for money–pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.’

“Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor ever could, and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones.”

2. Smith was arrested and tried because of the activity.

STATE OF NEW YORK VS JOSEPH SMITH

Warrant issued upon written complaint upon oath of Peter G. Bridgeman,

who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person

and an imposter. The prisoner brought before Court March 20, 1826.

3. Smith was almost certainly convicted.

As I stated in my letter, Justice Neely used the word “guilty.” Judge Neely could have sentenced him to “sixty days” in the “Bridewell House of Correction, at hard labor,” but instead bound him over to be tried by three justices at a later date.

I agree that this sounds like what today’s we might call a preliminary hearing. However, the record shows the judge spoke of guilt.

Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge, N.Y. Court Trials,by Wesley P. Walters, p. 109,
reprinted in theWestminster Theological Journal.

In my letter I also presented the list of costs:

“And therefore, the court finds the Defendant guilty. Costs: Warrant, l9c. Complaint upon oath, 251/2 c. Seven witnesses, 871/2 c. Recognizances, 25 c. Mittimus, 19 c. Recognizances of witnesses, 75 c. Subpoena, 18 c.—$2.68.”

Further and perhaps more damning, Justice Noble’s comment that Smith “was condemned,” referencing this trial.

PLEASE NOTE: My interrogative was, ‘Joseph Smith’s Money-Digging, Magic, and Criminal Behavior’ yet FairMormon has ignored the Magic and Occult connection or his extensive ‘Rap Sheet.’

Smith’s Final Arrest for Treason

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Joseph Smith was a very ambitious man. Shortly before his death in 1844 he established a theocratic-political system which he called the Council of 50. And on April 11th, 1844 he anointed himself King and Ruler over all the earth with unlimited civil, military, and ecclesiastical power.

   This body met in Nauvoo seventeen times before he was killed, and at least one of those sub rosa meetings, Smith prophesied the entire overthrow of the United States within a few years.

   Smith saw himself as reigning over all of America and, eventually, the entire world. Like so many things, Joseph Smith did it was done covertly and undercover and those who were given knowledge of it or who was promised to become one of the ‘Princes’ were sworn to secrecy under penalty of death.

   Wilson Law, the brother of William Law, the former second counselor in the First Presidency and the highest-ranking Major General in the Nauvoo Legion, stated that Smith’s intended to:

“Set the laws at defiance; for the Government, he said, was corrupt, and ought to be overthrown, and he would do it, for he could get help plenty from the Indians, for he had communication with them all the time, and they were ready. And deponent further saith that he verily believes that said Joseph Smith is and has been, conspiring with the Indians against this Government, he having agents out among the Indians, passing to and fro ever since last summer; and that a number of Indians have come to Nauvoo, at different times, last winter and spring, and held secret councils with said Smith. And further, that Hyrum Smith, last winter, said to the affiant, that this Government must be changed; for it did not suit them, and they could never keep the revelations or build up the kingdom under the present form of Government.”

Affidavit of Wilson Law, June 20, 1844,
published in 
“Letters to Gov. Ford−No. II,”
Alton Telegraph 
& Democratic Review, February 22, 1845, 1

John W. Putnam. Putnam, a resident of Bear Creek, Illinois, a community not far from Nauvoo, stated on August 13, 1844:

“That he saw in the lodge at Nauvoo, a number of arms, and he understood that there were plenty of arms in Nauvoo. He further states that the Mormons are endeavoring to seduce the Indian tribes from their allegiance to the United States and engage them to take up the hatchet against the people of the United States, and that white men are to lead them on to the conflict.”

He further states that “he has understood that Lyman Wight has already departed [to Texas] to stir up the savages and prepare them for the final struggle with the whites. He also understood that cannon had been received in Nauvoo, sent there in hogsheads of sugar, and also firearms (sic) and ammunition. He further states… that in conjunction with the Indians [the Mormon plan is] to attack the people and subvert the Government and establish Mormonism throughout the United States. He further states that… the Indians had twice held their Powwows or war dances in Nauvoo.”

Affidavit of John W. Putnam, August 13, 1844, published in
“Letters to Gov. Ford−No. IV,” Alton 
Telegraph & Democratic Review,
March 15, 1845.

Smith’s determined goal of a theocratic-political empire is evident in the pretentious ‘Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To all the Kings of the World’ which the Council of the Twelve (who are also all members of the Council of Fifty), addressed: “To all the Kings of the World; To the President of the United States of America; To the Governors of the several States; And to the Rulers and Peoples of all Nations.”

 Smith even had the cheek to send a copy of this ‘proclamation’ to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The pronouncement warned world leaders:

“You cannot…stand as idle and disinterested spectators of the scenes and events which are calculated in their very nature to reduce all nations and creeds to one political and religious standard, and thus put an end to Babel forms and names, and to strife and war.”

Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1845, 1, 6.

There is no evidence I am aware of that Her Majesty ever read Smith nonsense, but as most of Smith’ Prophecies’ nothing ever came of it.

But is this not precisely the form of government militant Islam longs for today?

“Islamic government does not correspond to any of the existing forms of government… Islamic government is neither tyrannical nor absolute, but constitutional. It is not constitutional in the current sense of the word… It is constitutional in the sense that the rulers are subject to a certain set of conditions in governing and administering the country, conditions that are set forth in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Most Noble Messenger (Imam). It is the laws and ordinances of Islam comprising this set of conditions that must be observed and practiced. Islamic government may, therefore, be defined as the rule of divine law over men.”

Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhallah Musawi Khomeini,‘Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist’, Jan 21, 1970.

If you replaced the word Islam with Mormonism and the word Imam for LDS church President, you have Joseph Smith’s un-American dystopian society.

Smith’s goal of world domination echoes the message of the Book of Mormon:

15. And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive after they have scattered my people-

16. Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

17. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.

20. And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.

3 Nephi 20: 15-17, 20

12 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces and none can deliver.

14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;

15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;

18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.

21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

3 Nephi 21: 14-15, 18, 21

Brigham Young speaking as a member of the Council of the Fifty March 11th, 1845:

“The gentiles (sic) have rejected the Gospel; they have killed the Prophets, and those who have not taken an active part in the murder all rejoice in it, and that is saying that they are willing the blood of the prophets should be shed. The gentiles (sic) have rejected the Gospel [And] we will sweep them out of existence.”

Council of 50 Minutes, 300

Treason has ever been deemed the highest crime which can be committed in civil society and in the past, has been visited with the most profound public resentment and the greatest of penalties – death.

Were Smith’s actions treasonous? Black’s Law Dictionary: defines treason as “the offense of attempting to overthrow the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies.”

Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution reads:

“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

Nonetheless, had Smith not been killed in the gunfight at Cartage jail, I think, with good representation, he would not unlikely have been convicted of treason. Treason is a very high bar, ‘levying war against them.’

But the Jig was certainly up for Joseph Smith, and his foolish order to destroy the Expositor and call out the Nauvoo Legion was serious stuff. Even more damaging was the public exposure of Smith’s plural marriages which would have been very upsetting to many of the good citizens of his community; especially since teenage girls, some as young as 14 as well as married women were among his ‘brides,’

Had he not been executed by his neighbors, I suspect this time he would have spent a considerable amount of time in the penitentiary.

It is perhaps telling that I have been unable to find any apologists having commented on Smith’s accusations of treason. Content to believe that he was a lamb being led to the slaughter. Smith was far from an innocent victim of religious bigotry, and to compare his death to that of the Savior is obscene.

This is the second time that FairMormon has accused me of ‘propaganda.” Sadly the nameless individual penning their apology is ignorant as to what propaganda is.

Therefore I will take an aside and not just explain what propaganda is but also provide evidence that the Mormon Church is one of the most accomplished practitioners of it since the days of another Joseph named Goebbels.

Propaganda and Undue Influence in the LDS Church

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1968-101-20A,_Joseph_Goebbels.jpg

Dr. Joseph Goebbels was the Propaganda Minister for Hitler’s Third Reich. An evil genius, he is still recognized today as the master of propaganda mainly because his principles on the subject were tested, perfected, and practiced on millions of Germans during the Second World War.

His work as a propagandist largely facilitated Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. From then until his death, one day after Hitler’s, Goebbels used all media and communication and every level of education to further Nazi propagandistic aims. He was successful in instilling in the German people the belief that their leader was a veritable god and that the destiny of the German people was to rule the world.

The following are the four essential principles that Goebbels’ formulated: 

Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda

1. Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions.

2. Constantly repeat just a few ideas. ‘The Big Lie.’

3. Give only one side of the argument.

4. Pick out one particular “enemy” for special vilification and continuously criticize your opponents.

Let’s examine each of the above relative to my writing as well as the Mormon church’s raison d’etre:

1. Avoid Abstract Ideas – Appeal to the Emotions.

I would suggest that contrary to FairMormon’s accusation, I have confronted what are often conjectural Mormon claims with specific and concrete facts. I provided the opinions of both Mormon and Non-Mormon archaeologists. I provided specific examples of Biblical archaeological finds. I provided detailed references. To be entirely fair-minded, I even discussed the questionable evidence of the ‘Nahom’ stone or altar, and I did not make an emotional appeal to the reader.

Let’s examine the Mormon Church’s use of this principle of propaganda.

Mormon theology is anything but abstract. Its essence can be summed up in a few sentences:

Jesus Christ is the Savior of this world and the Son of God, both He and His Father were once men. Christ’s Atonement allows humanity to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever after they do all they can do to earn their reward, and yes, even becoming gods themselves.

The Mormon Church is a restoration of Christ’s original Church as allegedly as it was organized in the Savior’s day.

Specific ordinances performed in the temple are also essential to salvation, as is paying a full tithe to the Mormon church.

There is no Nicene or Apostle’s Creed; there is no Catechism, no complicated and detailed Westminster Confession of Faith.

But emotion is at the core of Mormonism. Every convert is given Moroni’s promise, read the book and look for that feeling, that burning in the bosom to confirm that it is not false.

Investigators and new members are the objects of “Love Bombing.” This term, if you are not familiar with it, is where a group consciously and purposely applies friendliness, acceptance, and ego-stroking to win people over to their organization or philosophy. It fits well ‘with every member a missionary’ but lacks sincerity and provides members with another box to check off on their road to Godhood, like doing your home teaching.

220px-Thomas_S_Monson3

Thomas Monson liked to tell a story about how, when visiting a Latin America ward, he noticed that some members were wearing a white carnation. He asked the Bishop what was the meaning and was told that “We give our investigators and new members, a white carnation so the members will know that these are they that we must fellowship (until the next general conference).”

I wonder how they were treated after the general conference when the members were no longer under any compulsion to give them the time of day?

Joseph Smith and his successors realized that we are emotional beings more than we are rational beings.    

‘Fast and testimony’ meetings are all about giving free rein to emotion. The carefully crafted touching general conference talks read in sombre tones from the teleprompters in an exquisitely controlled subdued environment push all the right emotive buttons.

“Epistemology” is the way we come to know and understand things. The Bible encourages the believer to use reason along with faith. For instance, Isaiah 1:18 tells us that the Lord invites us to “reason together” with Him. Mormons see reason as almost detriment to the true faith. If anything, a threat to it. Converts who have doubts are often told that they are having difficulty in accepting Mormonism because they are using “man’s reasoning.”

What other reasoning might we use?

Faced with overwhelming, compelling evidence assailing the church’s trust claims, whether it be the absence of archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon; DNA evidence showing the true origin of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas; or Joseph Smith’s immoral, dishonest and criminal behavior; Mormons will always retreat to their “feelings” that the Church is true.

2. Constantly repeat just a few ideas.

‘The Big Lie.’ Anyone who has ever attended a Mormon’ fast and testimony’ meeting will hear almost every testifier say, ‘I know the Church is true, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, I know president (fill in the current president) is a prophet of God today.’

Little children, before they know their alphabet will have their well-meaning mothers whisper those words in their ears as they stand on their little ‘tip-toes ‘to reach the microphone.

It’s the big lie just as Goebbels preached it. Hitler himself said in ‘Mein Kampf ‘that through its constant repetition, eventually, the masses will come to believe no one “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

With the big lie, there is always an absolute believability. The masses are still more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than intellectually or logically; in the nascent simplicity of their minds, they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, as they often tell little lies in small matters themselves.

We also have the likes of Dallin Oaks saying things like, “We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it.”

What better example of Goebbels gospel could one find?

3. Give Only One Side of the Argument

“Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Hinckley’s avowal ignores the fact that members presenting ‘the other side of the story’ have been summarily excommunicated. Clearly, this statement does not comport with the Mormon reality, and it never has. From the days of Joseph Smith, thousands have lost their membership from William Law to Kate Kelly, some well-known most not, for voicing an alternative view.

Some of the church’s defensiveness is understandable, in the 19th-century church members, were driven from state to state, for many reasons, but they were often victims of religious discrimination and hatred.

That being said, the church has always carefully controlled the information it makes available to its members, let alone the outside world.

It is ironic that Hinckley would mouth such a statement. He personally wrote checks to Mark Hofmann to acquire and secret away documents he believed were genuine and embarrassing to the church.

Joseph Fielding Smith tore out the 1832 contradictory first rendition account of Joseph Smith’s ‘first vision’ from Smith’s letterbook and hid it in his safe for decades.

I grew up in the Church, I taught the gospel doctrine class, I served in various callings as a high priest, yet in all that time I never discovered from any Church source that Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, some as young as 14 and many concurrently married to other men. I had never heard Joseph was a money-digger and tried for being a con man who used a magic stone found in a well to translate the Book of Mormon.

So regardless of what the church says today, these things were hidden from the members.

Everything that appears in church publications is carefully correlated to ensure that one consistent and sanitized version of history is presented.

The school texts approved for Utah schools present a one-sided and sanitized version of Mormon history and Utah history in particular. The Mountain Meadows massacre, one of the greatest atrocities in American history, is barely mentioned.

In similitude to the academic world of Nazi Germany, professors at BYU and other Church institutions, as part of their employment contract, must agree not to teach or discuss anything in opposition to the official teachings and policies of the LDS Church. Any violation can and often has led to the termination of their employment.

I would contend that the church always has and continues to adhere to Goebbels’s second principle of propaganda – giving only one side of the argument, one side of the story.

4. Pick out One Special “Enemy” for Special Vilification and Continuously Criticize Your Opponents

While the target keeps moving, there has always been a Mormon opponent deserving of deep criticism. In Joseph and Brigham’s day, it was the Gentiles (All viewed as members of the church of the devil), and, of course, the state and federal governments.

Since the days of the ERA to the present, the women’s rights movement has been on the receiving end of criticism, and recently the LGBTQ community has become the church’s whipping boy. In August 2018 the Mormon church sent an email to the LDS members in Utah, directing them to vote in opposition to the proposition legalizing the sale marijuana in that state.

One must wonder how the church can keep it’s tax-deductibility with their direct involvement in prop 8 and this latest political cause.

For Hitler it was the Jews, for the first 148 years of the LDS Church, it was Blacks.

The racist statements of the Mormon Prophets and Apostles from Brigham Young’s time until the church’s politically driven about-face in 1978 have been singularly cruel and hateful.

“And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

Brigham Young, ‘prophet, seer, and revelator’ shared his view of our African American brothers and sisters:

“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is bestowed upon humanity. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race — that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed.”

Brigham Young, President and second ‘Prophet’
of the Mormon Church,1844-1877
Quotation from Journal of Discourses

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

Brigham Young, President and second ‘Prophet’
of the Mormon Church, 1863,
Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 110.

“Not only was Cain called to suffer, but because of his wickedness, he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him, and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures…. they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning.”

Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith,
The Way to Perfection, p. 101, 1935

conferencemoments_100210~5

During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Mormon apostles and other leaders continued to preach racist and discriminatory Mormon doctrines affecting persons of color.Bruce R. McConkie taught that, “Negroes are not equal with other races” in spiritual matters and that this is God’s law, not man’s. Mark E. Petersen proclaimed that “people are born black because of their inadequate performance in the pre-existence. “

McConkie didn’t make his hurtful racist statement back in the 1830s, but at a time when men and women of goodwill in this country were marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seeking equal human rights for ALL of God’s children. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, even human secularist leaders spoke up, but not Mormons.Incidentally, when McConkie heard of the ‘revelation’ ending the ban, he wrote,” Forget everything that I have said.” Now there is a man with a spine!Bruce R. McConkie, “The New Revelation,” Priesthood, p. 132

While McConkie was a racist, I am actually with him here and would recommend forgetting anything this guy ever said about anything!And sadly, it was not just LDS leaders whose silence was deafening but also the Mormon rank and file, yet we know that the connection between religion, civil rights, and social justice found within “local people of faith” who do most of the actual work of the civil rights movement.I regret the several derogatory terms of racial bigotry and hatred expressed in the following direct quotes by the ‘Prophets’ and ‘Apostles’ of the Mormon Church, but it is essential to show the level of intense racism, hatred, and the disgusting demeanor of, the leadership of this relatively young church.

Former Mormon Bishop, Lee B. Baker has assembled, derogatory terms describing African Americans used by the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in official publications, scriptures, doctrine, and training for decades:

“Nigger” (89 times), “Darky” (15 times), “Sambo” (25 times), and “Skin of Blackness” (110 times).

Mormonism, A Life Under False Pretenses, Lee B. Baker

These are the men who purport to commune with Jehovah.

Today homosexuals have replaced Blacks as enemy number one.

It is interesting to me that in 1977 roughly the same time as the church relinquished its ban on Blacks in the priesthood, the church began a stealthful campaign against LGBTQ Americans. That was the year when Utah became the second state in the country to ban gay marriage. The church did not stop there; they continued to lead anti-LGBTQ campaigns in at least 27 states over the next four decades.

It seems as well that the Mormon Church would rather let hate crimes go unprosecuted than let gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people get extra protection under the law.

The church came out against a hate-crime bill, authored by a Mormon Republican, no less. The bill, SB-107, would have defined a hate crime in Utah as a criminal offense committed because of an individual’s ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.”

But the church argued that the bill would upset the “balance” Church leaders had called for. With the considerable pressure, the church brought to bear, Utah rejected bill SB-107 and passed limited hate-crime legislation removing all protected classes.

Many Mormons, as well as non-Mormons, view the recent harsh administrative policies devastating the lives of many LGBTQ members sadly, with many tragic results as un-Christlike.

This new policy calls for mandatory church discipline for LGBTQ individuals married to those of the same gender. It also bars the children of LGBTQ parents from baptism and other saving ordinances until they are 18 years of age, and then, in a rule that would have fit well within the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ of Nazi Germany – only if they openly disavow their parents’ relationship.

If the church chooses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, they have every ‘legal’ right at present to do so. But I have a problem with the children of gay or lesbian parents also being barred from membership in the church in the face of our Lord’s admonition to, “suffer the children to come unto me and forbid them not.”

Wendy Montgomery, a co-founder of the Mama Dragons, a group of Mormon mothers with gay children, reported that she had been told 32 young LGBTQ Mormons have recently died by their hand.

While the families who have suffered these great losses requested privacy, given the tragedy of suicide and the alarm this report has raised in the LDS LGBTQ community, the Deseret News asked experts for insight and solutions. These experts explained that it’s all about support. Parents, friends, and religious congregations could help prevent suicides by thinking carefully about what they say and do and by welcoming, accepting, and supporting LGBTQ people.

The Utah Attorney General has commented that statistics show that “… Suicide is the number one cause of death of Utah children ages 10-17.”

This comes as no surprise when more LGBTQ youth find themselves disenfranchised even disowned by zealous religious parents, who now feel more compelled than ever to choose between their child and their church.

Many active church members, gay and straight, young and old, see this uncharitable, unkind and unloving move for what it is: another unabashed rejection of LGBTQ members.

And the cost in human terms is great. The evidentiary research was done by the Family Acceptance Project, which tells us that children who experience high levels of rejection are:

  • More than eight times as likely to attempt suicide
  • Nearly six times as likely to report high levels of depression
  • More than three times as likely to use illegal drugs
  • More than three times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and STIs

Hateful rhetoric has profound costs. Political science professor Benjamin Knoll discusses the link between Mormonism and teen suicide in his paper, “Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context: An Additional Empirical Analysis,”

Knoll reports that youth in the 15-19 age group who live in states with heavy Mormon populations are at higher risk for suicide. As Knoll put it, “These are objectively small numbers, but it means that (again, controlling for other factors) youth suicides are twice as high in states with the highest levels of Mormon residents compared to states with the lowest levels of Mormon residents.”

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This study shows definitively that youth who live in areas with higher Mormon populations are at a greater risk for suicide

Boyd K. Packer, who called himself an Apostle of Jesus Christ, proudly repeated the story of his conversation with a young missionary in the field:  

“While I was in a mission on one occasion, a missionary said he had something to confess. I was very worried because he could not get himself to tell me what he had done.

After patient encouragement, he blurted out, ‘I hit my companion.’

‘Oh, is that all,’ I said in great relief.

 ‘But I floored him,’ he said.

After learning a little more [his companion was gay], my response was

Well, thanks. Somebody had to do it, and it wouldn’t have been well for [me] a General Authority to solve the problem that way.

What a Christ-like solution, I am sure that that young gay man’s parents would appreciate how their son was treated while trying to do his best for his church.

“By their fruits, you will know them.”

PLEASE NOTE: My interrogative was, ‘Joseph Smith’s Money-Digging, Magic, and Criminal Behavior’ yet FairMormon has ignored the Magic and Occult connection or his extensive ‘Rap Sheet.’

Joseph Smith’s problems with the law were extensive and continuous between his first disorderly person/fraud trial in 1826 to his second arrest for treason and inciting a riot, resulting in his death. Another ‘F’ FairMormon.

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Interrogatory No. 25

Joe & Emma & Bill & Jane

ted

It is well documented that Joseph Smith took at least thirty-four ‘wives’ between 1841 and 1843. This was clearly not something that contributed to a happy marriage for Emma Smith.  William Clayton, Joseph’s personal secretary, recorded a conversation in his journal on this date that Joseph Smith had with Emma: “He [Joseph Smith] knew she [Emma] was disposed to be revenged on him for some things. Emma wanted [William] Law for a spiritual husband, and she urged as a reason that as he had so many spiritual wives, she thought it but fair that she should at least have one man…and that she wanted Law because he was such a ‘sweet little man.’” 1

In June or July 1843, Joseph Smith receives a commandment mentioned in his July 12, 1843, Revelation: “A commandment I give unto my handmaiden, Emma Smith…which I commanded you [Joseph] to offer unto her” 2

William Law, who was at that time Smith’s counselor in the first presidency, described the “offer” Smith used to appease Emma:

“Joseph offered to furnish his wife, Emma, with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in her [mansion] house and to be well treated, etc.” 3

Joseph and Emma Smith agreed to this sexual offer; however, William and Jane Law did not. “He [Joseph] and Emma had both tried to persuade her [Jane Law] of the correctness of the doctrine, but that she would not believe it to be of God.” 4

Several months after Smith’s proposed “wife swapping,” or more accurately a sexual substitute proposal, Joseph Smith made a pass at the “attractive” thirty-year-old Jane Law

William Law wrote in his diary on May 13, 1844, that, “He [Smith] had lately endeavored to seduce my wife, and had found her a virtuous woman.”

Alexander Neibaur, a very close friend of Joseph Smith, recorded that: “When Mr. Law came home he Inquired who had been in his Absence. She said no one but Br Joseph. he then demanded what had pass[ed.] Mrs. L[aw] then told that Joseph wanted her to be Married to him.” 5

Jane and William Law indicated they had direct first-hand knowledge of Joseph Smith breaking at least six of the Ten Commandments and many of the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. William Law writes:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ, as we find it recorded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in which we most firmly believe, and upon which we base our hopes of eternal salvation, does not admit of murder, false swearing, lying, stealing, robbing, defrauding, polygamy, adultery, fornication, and blasphemy. And yet those evils have been introduced into the Church at Nauvoo, by Joseph Smith and others, for the purpose of accomplishing their base designs. We have always disapproved such things and opposed them both privately and publicly, and for our opposition to them, we were driven from our homes in Nauvoo.” 6

While lengthy, the following interview provides a great insight into the character of Joseph Smith. William Law was very close to Joseph Smith as a member of the First Presidency and knew him well for some time.

Interview with William Law as it appeared in the
THE DAILY TRIBUNE: SALT LAKE CITY, SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 31, 1887

“Dr. William Law lives with his son, Judge “Tommy” Law. The house is a fine cottage, large, well-kept grounds surround it. We entered a cheerful looking room and there sat William Law, dressed in black, a most venerable looking figure. The head has a striking expression of intelligence, the large clear eyes are of a remarkably deep steel blue; the general impression is that of a thinker, of a benevolent and just man. He greeted me in a fatherly way. I expressed my joy at seeing at last so important a witness of a history, to whose study I had devoted two years.

I sat down near the venerable figure. I hesitated to put any question to him, but he made my task easy by saying: “You speak, in your book, of Joseph Smith having sent Rockwell to kill Governor Boggs. Let me tell you, that Joe Smith, told me the fact himself. The words were substantially like this, “I sent Rockwell to kill Boggs, but he missed him, it was a failure; he wounded him instead of sending him to Hell.”

“What position had Rockwell in Joseph’s house?”

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“Rockwell was the lackey of the house. He used to comb and shave Joseph, blackened his boots and drove his carriage. He would have done anything Joe wanted him to do. I never saw a horse or carriage belonging to Rockwell which you say he got from Joseph for the attempt to kill Boggs.”

The reader will easily understand that I had particular reasons to ask about the Expositor, Wm. Law being the only surviving publisher and editor of that celebrated sheet, born and killed June 7th, 1844. So I began:

“I suppose that you originated the Expositor, Doctor Law?”

“Yes, I originated the idea to publish that paper. I had friends in many parts of the country. They knew that I had become a member of the Mormon religion. I wanted to show them, by publishing the paper, that I had not been in a fraud willingly (here the old man’s eyes filled with tears and his voice trembled). I started the idea, and my brother, Wilson, stood to me like a brother should. I don’t remember whether it was I, or not, who gave the name “Expositor.” But I and my brother, we gave the money, about $2000. I gave the biggest part. The Higbees etc., had scarcely a dollar in it.”

“You were well off at that time. Dr. Law?”

“We had property to the amount of about $30,000, which was a good deal in those days. We had farms in Nauvoo, city lots and our residences. My brother had a fine brick two story building. By starting the Expositor we lost nearly everything.”

“How did you become a Mormon, Doctor?”

“John Taylor and Almon W. Babbitt came as missionaries to Canada and preached where I lived, twenty-five miles south of Toronto. I believe that Taylor was sincere then and I believe he was to a late day. Finally, the greed of power and money killed his conscience. There was, now and then, a good man in Mormondom, for instance, Wm. Marks. He was a very good man and knew as little of the secret crimes of the leaders as I knew myself.”

“The letters you wrote me, made me suppose that the Smiths tried to kill you when they saw an enemy in you?”

“They tried to get rid of me in different ways. One was by poisoning. I was already out of the church when Hyrum called one day and invited me for the next day to a reconciliation dinner as he called it, to his house. He said Joseph would come, too. He invited me and my wife. He was very urgent about the matter, but I declined the invitation. Now I must tell you that I, in those dangerous days, did not neglect to look out somewhat for the safety of my person and that I kept a detective or two among those who were in the confidence of the Smiths. That very same evening of the day on which Hyrum had been to my house inviting me, my detective told me that they had conceived the plan to poison me at the reconciliation dinner. Their object was a double one. My going to the dinner would have shown to the people that I was reconciled and my death would have freed them of an enemy. You may imagine that I didn’t regret having declined that amiable invitation.

“Have you had any knowledge of cases of poisoning in Nauvoo, ordered by the authorities?”

“I know that several men, six or seven, died under very suspicious circumstances. Among them were two secretaries of the prophet, Mulholland and Blaskel Thompson. I saw Mulholland die and the symptoms looked very suspicious to me. Dr. Foster, who was a very good physician, believed firmly that those six or seven men had been poisoned, and told me so repeatedly.”

“What may have been the reason for poisoning the secretaries?”

(With a smile) “They knew too much, probably.”

“What do you know about the Danites?”

“Nothing of my personal knowledge. They existed, but their workings were kept very secret. I never belonged to the initiated. Smith tried very hard to get them to kill me. One day my detective told me, that two Danites had gone to Joseph and told him that they wanted to put me out of the way. Joseph said: “Don’t–he (Law) is too influential; his death would bring the country down upon us; wait.” Later when I was thoroughly aware of my danger, they tried in all manners to use me up and had Danites all day and night after me, but I looked out and kept myself safe.

Whatever there was of crime in Nauvoo, was kept secret. On the outside, everything looked nice and smooth. There were lots of strangers every Sunday as visitors and then the best speakers were put on the stand as samples of the fruits of this fine religion.”

“…I told you that the Smiths tried to poison me. When Joseph saw that I had no great appetite for reconciliation dinners, he tried with the Indians. The plan was, that somebody should use me up who was not openly connected with the church, he was yet afraid of the people because of my influence. Later he would have killed me without any regard. One day about one hundred redskins came to town and twenty or thirty were sent to my house. We tried to get rid of them, but could not and we saw clearly that they had a dark plan for the night. But we had to keep them, gave them blankets and they were all night in our hall. Wilson Law, I and some friends, though, kept good watch all night, with barricaded windows and doors and guns and pistols ready.”

“You have known the parents of the prophet, old Lucy and old Joe, the Abraham of this new dispensation?”

“Oh, yes, I knew them. Old Lucy was in her dotage at that time; she seemed a harmless old woman. Old Joe sold blessings, so much a head, always in the same style–that my sons should be emperors and my daughters mothers of queens, and that everybody should have as many children as there was sands on the shore. Old Joe was an old tramp.”

“What do you remember about Emma’s relations to the revelation on celestial marriage?”

“Well, I told you that she used to complain to me about Joseph’s escapades whenever she met me on the street. She spoke repeatedly about that pretended revelation. She said once: “The revelation says I must submit or be destroyed. Well, I guess I have to submit.” On another day she said: “Joe and I have settled our troubles on the basis of equal rights.” * * * Emma was a full accomplice of Joseph’s crimes. She was a large, coarse woman, as deep a woman as there was, always full of schemes and smooth as oil. They were worthy of each other, she was not a particle better than he.”

“You think that Joseph was an infidel?”

“Yes, that he was I have not the slightest doubt. What proofs have I? Well, my general and intimate knowledge of his character. And is it possible that a man who ascribes all kinds of impudent lies to the Lord, could have been anything else but an infidel?”

“Was Joseph a habitual drunkard?”

“I don’t believe he was. I only saw him drunk once. I found Joseph and Hyrum at a place where they kept quantities of wine. I remember that Joseph drank heavily, and that I talked to Hyrum begging him to take his brother away, but that was the only time I saw the prophet drunk.”

“…Did you ever hear of abortion being practiced in Nauvoo?”

“Yes. There was some talk about Joseph getting no issue from all the women he had intercourse with. Dr. Foster spoke to me about the fact. But I don’t remember what was told about abortion. If I heard things of the kind, I didn’t believe in them at that time. Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this.”

“Had you ever some dramatic scene with Joseph about the difficulties between you and him?”

“He avoided me. But once I got hold of him in the street and told him in very plain terms what I thought of him. I said: ‘You are a hypocrite and a vulgar scoundrel, you want to destroy me.’ Instead of knocking me down, which he could have done very easily, being so much bigger and stronger than I, he went away hurriedly without uttering a single word

“What kind of a life did the prophet lead in Nauvoo?”

“Joseph lived in great plenty. He entertained his friends and had a right good time. He was a jolly fellow. I don t think that in his family tea and coffee were used, but they were served to the strangers when he entertained as tavern-keeper. At least, I suppose so. The Smiths had plenty of money. Why, when I came to Nauvoo I paid Hyrum $700 in gold for a barren lot and at that rate they sold any amount of lots after having got the land very cheap, to be sure Their principle was to weaken a man in his purse, and in this way take power and influence from him. Weaken everybody, that was their motto. Joseph’s maxim was, when you have taken all the money a fellow has got, you can do with him whatever you please.”

“What do you know about the revelation on polygamy?”

“The way I heard of it was that Hyrum gave it to me to read. I was never in a High Council where it was read, all stories to the contrary notwithstanding. Hyrum gave it to me in his office, told me to take it home and read it and then be careful with it and bring it back again. I took it home, and read it and showed it to my wife. She and I were just turned upside down by it; we did not know what to do. I said to my wife, that I would take it over to Joseph and ask him about it. I did not believe that he would acknowledge it, and I said so to my wife. But she was not of my opinion. She felt perfectly sure that he would father it.

When I came to Joseph and showed him the paper, he said: ‘Yes, that is a genuine revelation.’ I said to the prophet: ‘But in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants there is a revelation just the contrary of this.’ ‘Oh,’ said Joseph, ‘that was given when the church was in its infancy, then it was all right to feed the people on milk, but now it is necessary to give them strong meat’ We talked a long time about it, finally our discussion became very hot and we gave it up. From that time on the breach between us became more open and more decided every day, after having been prepared for a long time. But the revelation gave the finishing touch to my doubts and showed me clearly that he was a rascal. I took the revelation back to my wife and told her that Joseph had acknowledged it. ‘That is what I fully expected.’ said she. ‘What shall we do?’ said I. She advised me to keep still try to sell my property quietly for what I could get. But I did not follow her advice. My heart was burning. I wanted to tread upon the viper.”

“Was Joseph a coward?”

“Yes, he was a coward and so was Hyrum. You see it already in the fact that when I attacked him on the street with most violent words, he did not dare to answer a word.”

“How did the prophets dress?”

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“Joe and Hyrum were always dressed well, generally in blue, sometimes in black. Joseph was a fine man, no doubt of it.”

There is nothing in the aspect of the old gentleman that indicates 78 summers, except the white hands, that tremble a little. I said: “God bless you, Dr. Law,” when I went to the door. I looked round and I couldn’t help it–went back to shake his hand once more. I held out both hands; he put aside his black staff and grasped both my hands, and gave me such a hearty, warm, good shake. I said: ‘Doctor, be cheerful. You will live twenty years yet like William of Prussia. The Williams are a good race, I belong to it myself.’”

It would appear there is more than smoke here. William Law, who was at that time Smith’s counselor in the first presidency, described the “offer” Smith used to appease Emma:

“Joseph offered to furnish his wife, Emma, with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in her [mansion] house and to be well treated, etc. 7

Combined with this report by William Clayton, Joseph’s scribe and secretary, written in his contemporaneous journal also builds the case.

And finally, Smith’s puzzling round-face revelation below written after the Law’s rejection of the Smiths’ indecent proposal fits the story very well.

  1. Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice
  2. And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else.

I believe this story, as they say, this story has legs. Is it not ridiculous to think that God would be so involved in Joseph and Emma’s petty martial machinations?

References

1 A narrative of the adventures and experience of Joseph H. Jackson, in
Nauvoo, Morrison, K. Yost, Publisher, Chicago, 2011. Pp 202 (D&C 132: 51)

3 Letter by William Law, on 7 January 1887, Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 3, 1887.

4 “A narrative of the adventures and experience of Joseph H. Jackson, in Nauvoo, Morrison, K. Yost, Publisher, Chicago, 2011. P. 20

5 Alexander Neibaur, May 24, 1844, LDS Church History Library, Salt Lake City

6 William Law correspondence of August 1844 with The Upper Mississippian, in Cook, William Law: Biographical Essay, 91.

7
“Letter by William Law, on 7 January 1887, Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 3, 1887

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Interrogatory No. 26

Does Smith’s creation of the treasonous ‘Council of 50’ and his crowning himself king seem like the actions of a ‘Prophet of God?’

Treason Law Concept 3D Illustration

Joseph Smith was a very ambitious man. Shortly before his death in 1844 he established a theocratic-political system which he named the Council of 50. And on April 11th, 1844 was named King and Ruler over all the earth with unlimited civil, military and ecclesiastical power.This body met in Nauvoo seventeen times before he was killed.Smith prophesied the entire overthrow of the United States within a few years.Smith saw himself as reigning over all of America and eventually the entire world. Like so many things Joseph Smith did it was done covertly and undercover and those who were given knowledge of it or who was promised to become one of the ‘Princes’ were sworn to secrecy under penalty of death.Wilson Law, the brother of William Law, the former second counselor in the First Presidency and the highest-ranking Major General in the Nauvoo Legion, stated that Smith’s intended to:“Set the laws at defiance; for the Government, he said, was corrupt, and ought to be overthrown, and he would do it, for he could get help plenty from the Indians, for he had communication with them all the time, and they were ready. And deponent further saith that he verily believes that said Joseph Smith is and has been, conspiring with the Indians against this Government, he having agents out among the Indians, passing to and fro ever since last summer; and that a number of Indians have come to Nauvoo, at different times, last winter and spring, and held secret councils with said Smith. And further, that Hyrum Smith, last winter, said to the affiant, that this Government must be changed; for it did not suit them, and they could never keep the revelations or build up the kingdom under the present form of Government.” 1

John W. Putnam. Putnam, a resident of Bear Creek, Illinois, a community not far from Nauvoo, stated on August 13, 1844: “That he saw in the lodge at Nauvoo, a number of arms, and he understood that there were plenty of arms in Nauvoo. He further states that the Mormons are endeavoring to seduce the Indian tribes from their allegiance to the United States and engage them to take up the hatchet against the people of the United States, and that white men are to lead them on to the conflict.”

He further states that “he has understood that Lyman Wight has already departed [to Texas] to stir up the savages and prepare them for the final struggle with the whites. He also understood that cannon had been received in Nauvoo, sent there in hogsheads of sugar, and also fire arms (sic) and ammunition. He further states … that in conjunction with the Indians [the Mormon plan is] to attack the people and subvert the government, and establish Mormonism throughout the United States. He further states, that…. the Indians had twice held their powwows or war dances in Nauvoo.” 2

Smith’s determined goal of a theocratic-political empire is evident in the pretentious ‘Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To all the Kings of the World’ which the Council of the Twelve (who are also all members of the Council of Fifty), addressed: “To all the Kings of the World; To the President of the United States of America; To the Governors of the several States; And to the Rulers and Peoples of all Nations.”

The pronouncement warned world leaders: “You cannot…stand as idle and disinterested spectators of the scenes and events which are calculated in their very nature to reduce all nations and creeds to one political and religious standard, and thus put an end to Babel forms and names, and to strife and war.” 3

Is this not precisely the form of government militant Islam longs for today?“Islamic government does not correspond to any of the existing forms of government… Islamic government is neither tyrannical nor absolute, but constitutional. It is not constitutional in the current sense of the word… It is constitutional in the sense that the rulers are subject to a certain set of conditions in governing and administering the country, conditions that are set forth in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Most Noble Messenger (Imam). It is the laws and ordinances of Islam comprising this set of conditions that must be observed and practiced. Islamic government may therefore be defined as the rule of divine law over men.” 4

If you replaced the word Islam with Mormonism and the word Imam for LDS Church President you have Joseph Smith’s un-American dystopian society. Smith’s goal of world domination simply echoes the message of the Book of Mormon:

  1. And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive after they have scattered my peopleThen shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles. 5

3 Nephi 20: 15-17, 20 12And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces and none can deliver.14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.3 Nephi 21: 14-15, 18, 21Brigham Young speaking as a member of the Council of the Fifty on March 11th, 1845:“The gentiles have rejected the Gospel; they have killed the Prophets and those who have not taken an active part in the murder all rejoice in it, and that is saying that they are willing the blood of the prophets should be shed. The gentiles have rejected the Gospel [And] we will sweep them out of existence.5

Treason has ever been deemed the highest crime which can be committed in civil society and in the past, has been visited with the deepest public resentment and the greatest of penalties – usually death.Were Smith’s actions treasonous?Probably. Black’s Law Dictionary: defines treason as “the offense of attempting to overthrow the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies.”

Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution reads:“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

Had Smith not been killed in the gunfight at Cartage jail, I think it would have been unlikely that he would have been convicted of treason.Treason is a high bar, ‘levying War against them.’But the Jig was up for Joseph Smith and his illegal order to destroy the Expositor and call out the Nauvoo Legion was serious stuff. Even more serious, Smith’s adulterous affairs with other women and his now public revelation of plural marriage was very upsetting to many of the good citizens of his community; especially since teenage girls and married women were involved.Had he not been killed, I suspect this time he would have spent a considerable amount of time in prison. It is perhaps telling that I have been unable to find any Apologists having commented directly on Smith’s accusations of Treason. References

1 Affidavit of Wilson Law, June 20, 1844, published in “Letters to Gov. Ford−No. II,” Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, February 22, 1845,

2
Affidavit of John W. Putnam, August 13, 1844, published in “Letters to Gov. Ford−No. IV,” Alton Telegraph & Democratic Review, March 15, 1845.3 Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1845, 1, 6.4 Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini, ‘Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist’, Jan 21, 1970.5 Council of 50 Minutes, 300

FairMormon’s Comment

Again, no specific comment on what I have written.


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Interrogatory No. 27


How do we deal with Joseph’s ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor for unmasking his polygamy and, accusing him of, “all manner of abominations practiced under the cloak of religion?”

In the one and only edition of the Nauvoo Expositor, Joseph was accused of treason, unrighteous dominion, and political maneuvering, “We do not believe that God ever raised up a prophet to christianize (sic) a world by political schemes and intrigue.” It also alleged theft and unbridled narcissism on Smith’s part.

To the Marshal of said City, greeting,

You are here commanded to destroy the printing press from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors and libelous handbills found in said establishment; and if resistance be offered to your execution of this order by the owners or others, demolish the house; and if anyone threatens you or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who threaten you, and fail not to execute this order without delay, and make due return hereon.

By order of the City Council,

Joseph Smith, Mayor

“Joseph Smith, acting as mayor, ordered the city marshall [sic] to destroy the newspaper and press without delay and instructed the major general of the Nauvoo legion to have the militia assist. Shortly after eight o’clock that evening, citizens and legionnaires marched to the ‘Expositor’ office and smashed the press, scattering the type as they did so. This act infuriated the non-Mormons of Hancock County, who saw it as a final act of contempt for their laws. The ‘Quincy Whig’ denounced the ‘high-handed outrage’ and said that if this was a specimen of ‘Mormon attitude toward law and rights it is not surprising that the Missourians were raised to madness and drove them from the state.’…To provide justification for a march on Nauvoo, charges of prompting a riot were made up against Smith and several Mormon leaders, and Constable David Bettisworth was sent to Nauvoo on June 12 to apprehend them…. Emissaries were sent to Governor Ford, charging that Smith had defied the law and asking Ford to bring the state militia…. In the face of an imminent attack on his city, Smith declared Nauvoo under martial law and called out the Legion, a defensive action which later led to treason charges levied against him at Carthage…. he [Governor Ford] wrote the Mormon leader requesting that evidence be shown to justify the actions taken against the ‘Expositor.’ After reviewing this and counter-evidence from anti-Mormons, Ford wrote Smith on the next day, denouncing the city’s proceedings as unlawful and demanding that those involved in the move against the ‘Expositor’ submit to the processes of the law at Carthage.” 2

“… when Joseph Smith ordered the actual destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press he provided his enemies with a clearly legitimate means of arresting him for violation of the law. They seized upon this to inflame the public even more, and this led directly to the assassination. Some people may be disturbed by the suggestion that Joseph Smith acted illegally in this instance, but it is important to understand that under the tense pressure of the times he too, may have made a mistake.” 3

To view the one and only edition of the Expositor

http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm

Was the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor legal

“It is claimed by one critic of the Church that Joseph “could not allow the Expositor to publish the secret international negotiations masterminded by Mormonism’s earthly king.” Another claimed that “When the Laws (with others) purchased a printing press to hold Joseph Smith accountable for his polygamy (which he was denying publicly), Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was both a violation of the 1st Amendment, and which ultimately led to Joseph’s assassination.

The Expositor incident led directly to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, but it was preceded by a long period of non-Mormon distrust of Joseph Smith and attempts to extradite him on a questionable basis.

The destruction of the Expositor issue was legal; it was not legal to have destroyed the type, but this was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and one for which Joseph was willing to pay a fine if imposed.

Joseph seems to have believed—or, his followers believed after his death—that the decision, while ‘unwise’ for Joseph, may have been in the Saints’ interest to have Joseph killed. For a time, this diffused much of the tension and may have prevented an outbreak of generalized violence against the Saints, as occurred in Missouri.

Joseph did not unilaterally order the action against the Expositor—it was the Nauvoo City Council (which included non-Mormons) which reached the unanimous decision. Having reached that decision, Joseph Smith then issued an order, as mayor, to carry out the Council’s decision.”

The above as described in the Church’s 2011 Priesthood/Relief Society manual

On June 10, 1844, Joseph Smith, who was the mayor of Nauvoo, and the Nauvoo city council ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and the press on which it was printed.

History of the Church also describes this event:

I [Joseph Smith] immediately ordered the Marshal to destroy it [the Nauvoo Expositor] without delay, and at the same time issued an order to Jonathan Dunham, acting Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion, to assist the Marshal with the Legion, if called upon so to do.”

“The First Amendment is irrelevant to this discussion. In 1844, the First Amendment only applied to federal law; it had no application to state or local law until the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War.”

A legal opinion which is probably correct, but FairMormon misses the point.

Joseph Smith had absolute power in Nauvoo. To imply that it was legal because the Nauvoo City Council sanctioned it is disingenuous. Joseph stacked the Council with his cronies who acted more like lapdogs than independent officials.

By the end of Joseph’s life his arrogance was amazing and his ego boundless. Reading the circumstances of the Expositor affair, you don’t have to possess the political shrewdness of Benjamin Disraeli to recognize that Smith ordered the destruction of the press because he held all the cards and thought he could get away with it.

The press and its owners presented a real and present danger to Smith.

Things were already beginning to unravel, and the washing of his very dirty laundry was something he had to stop.

The apologists state that the First Amendment is irrelevant because it only applied to Federal Law at that time.

In a technical, legalistic perspective that is probably true. What the apologist writing this justification fail to recognize however is that at a time when the country was just 68 years old, free and proud Americans knew and cherished their hard-fought freedoms; and they clearly perceived Smith’s outrageous actions as a direct affront to the liberties they believed in.

I am also disappointed that Joseph ran away rather than stood and faced his accusers. Was that not an act of a coward?

Chapter References

1 History of the Church, v. 6, p. 448

2 Carthage Conspiracy, by Oaks and Hill, pp. 15-16

3 BYU Today, March 1976, p. 10

___________________________________________ 

Interrogatory No. 28

Does Smith’s death in a gun fight make him a martyr?

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith were murdered on June 27, 1844, by an armed mob, an event that has prompted many Mormons to classify them both as martyrs.

A close analysis of the term and even a superficial examination of the circumstances of Joseph Smith’s demise suggest that he was no martyr. To be labeled a martyr one must meet specific criteria, for example, the reasons why one is put to death and the way one faces that death.

An examination of the reasons why Smith was murdered and the actions he took to avoid this fate makes it problematic to maintain that Smith was like that, “lamb led to the slaughter.”

As I discussed previously Joseph Smith was properly arrested on the charge of treason for his destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and the calling out of the Nauvoo Legion. These were not trumped-up charges as many Church members have been taught.

Prior to his arrest, he fled the jurisdiction to avoid justice, only returning after his wife informed him that many of his followers viewed him as a coward for running away and leaving them to their own devices.

When Smith, who was also Nauvoo’s mayor, realized that several former members were planning to publish an exposé of his polygamy, polyandry, sex with young girls, dishonesty and political machinations in the Expositor, he convinced the Nauvoo City Council to declare the paper a “nuisance” and order the destruction of its press and type.

Then, on June 19, Smith declared martial law and put his four-thousand-member Nauvoo Legion on alert before he and his brother Hyrum Smith left town. When Joseph and Hyrum returned, they were arrested, charged with treason and placed in a minimum-security cell at the Carthage Jail. According to History of the Church 6:605, Smith had Emma tell church leader Jonathan Dunham to tell the people to just stay home and to “let there be no groups or gathering together, unless by permission of the governor.”

However, Smith’s biographer Fawn Brodie writes that Smith “hastily scribbled an order to Dunham to bring in the Legion, break the jail, and save him at all costs. Within seconds two messengers bearing this order and the letter to Emma were off at a frantic gallop on the fifteen-mile trip to Nauvoo.1

While Smith, Hyram and the others were drinking wine and singing, a mob storms the jail and rushed up the stairs to the room where Joseph was being held.

Hyrum approached the door as a volley of balls came through it. One struck him on the left side of his nose, and he fell on his back on the floor supposedly uttering, “I am a dead man!”

He was.

Joseph reached round the door casing, and discharged his six-shooter into the passageway, discharging all the bullets it contained. Reportedly he shot two men, one of whom may have died from his wounds.

Realizing any further resistance was hopeless, he attempted to jump out the window when two balls pierced him from the door, and one entered his right breast from the mob below, and he fell outward into the hands of his murderers, exclaiming. “O Lord, my God!”

As he fell to the ground below, he was propped up and shot again and died.

How did Smith come to have a weapon in jail?

Early LDS Church leader Cyrus H. Wheelock smuggled the six-shooter to him during a visit to the Carthage Jail. As Wheelock was about to leave, he took the gun out and said, “Would any of you like to have this?”

As Taylor writes: “Brother Joseph immediately replied, ‘YES, give it to me,’ whereupon he took the pistol, and put it in his pantaloons pocket.” 2

To say that Joseph Smith was martyred rather than simply murdered is important to many Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young University professor Robert Millet explained how Mormons consider Smith’s death to be like the death of Jesus when he wrote: “The life of Joseph Smith was in some degree patterned after that of the Master, Jesus Christ. That pattern holds true even when extended to its tragic conclusion. Like his Master, Joseph Smith also shed his blood so that the final testament, the reestablishment of the new covenant, might be in full effect.” 3.

A famous LDS hymn references Smith’s death this way:

Hail to the Prophet ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.
Praise to his memory, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever-great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
Plead unto heaven while the earth lauds his fame.

Joseph and Hyrum’s murder was a cruel, barbarous act but I do not believe it is accurate to classify Smith as a martyr.

Firstly, a martyr is one willing to die for his faith. Smith certainly did not die willingly; he engaged in a gunfight with his assailants after he had pleaded with his associates to ‘break him out’ and after he had first chosen to run away.

A true martyr would not have attempted to call on the Nauvoo Legion, nor shoot at, injure and possibly kill his attackers.

I am not suggesting that Joseph Smith or anyone else is not morally justified in defending themselves, however, Smith’s behavior can hardly be compared to Jesus who reprimanded Peter, saying “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

Secondly, Joseph Smith did not die so much for his faith but rather to prevent a newspaper from going public with an exposé of his illegal sexual behavior and treasonous political ambitions. It was Joseph Smith’s deeds – not his Mormon beliefs that led to his murder.

Can we honestly put Joseph Smith in the same company as Saint Stephen who falsely accused, could have avoided his stoning had he just denied the Lord and whose last words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…Lord, lay not this sin to their charge?

Can we honesty put Joseph Smith in the same company as the Lord Jesus Christ who wouldn’t allow His disciples to fight, but rather reprimanded Peter for resisting?

He could have called down angels and destroyed His accusers. But No, he suffered, bled and died for you and for me, whose last words were, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do?”

There have been many who have died for their Christian faith since the days of Jesus and the Apostles. Sadly, there are hundreds around the world who give their lives even today as true Christian martyrs.

Father Ragheed Ganni was born in 1972 in Iraq. After studying in Rome, Father Ganni requested to be sent back to Iraq to serve his country as a Catholic priest. As a priest who spoke four languages, he worked with “Asia News” as the Pontifical Institute Foreign Missions Correspondent.

One night, after celebrating Mass where his three cousins served as deacons, as the four men left the Church. A man approached the group and told Father Ganni to shut down the Church, to which he responded, “How can I close the house of God?”

Father Ganni and his three deacons were told to convert to Islam or die. They bravely refused and were then all shot to death, their bodies being placed in a car full of explosives so if anyone attempted to remove the bodies, they would also have been destroyed.

Father Ganni was a martyr.

Born in 1943 in Italy, Annalena Tonelli was a lawyer who at age 25 moved to Africa to work with the Committee Against World Hunger, an organization she helped found.

Later she moved to Borama, where she founded a tuberculosis hospital, whose $20,000 monthly maintenance bills were funded by her friends and family back in Italy.

She brought HIV/AIDS patients to the Borama hospital because she believed they deserved to be treated like human beings and children of God. This move was not received well, and protesters routinely threw stones breaking the windows of the hospital, chanting “Death to Annalena.”

On October 5, 2003, Annalena was shot in the head and killed while working in the hospital she founded.

Annalena was a martyr.

Considering Smith’s conduct, sleeping with other men’s wives as well as a small class of ‘Mia Maids’ and then lying about it to his only legal wife and his faithful followers. Considering his ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, the newspaper intent on exposing him. I think it borders on blasphemy for Smith to compare the situation he got himself into to the pure and innocent sacrifice made by the Lord Jesus Christ by allegedly saying, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.”

Just because a person is murdered does not make them a martyr. Mormons are free to venerate, exalt and worship their religion’s founder as they need, but it is simply not correct to refer to Joseph Smith’s death as a martyrdom.

References

1 Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (New York: Vintage, 1995), 391–392.

2 History of the Church 7:100.

3 Robert L. Millet, “Joseph Smith among the Prophets,” Ensign, June 1994, 22

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