PROPHET F PALMYRA
Reviewed and Examined in the Life, Character, and Career of its Founder,
from '"''Cumorah Hill" to Carthage Jail and the Desert
TOGETHER WITH A COMPLETE
HISTORY OF THE MORMON ERA
In Illinois, and an Exhaustive Investigation of the " Spalding
Manuscript " Theory of the Origin of the Book of Mormon
JOHN B. ALDEN, PUBLISHER
TO THE READER.
MRS. PADDOCK, in the Preface to one of her
remarkable portrayals of the inner life of Mormon-
ism, has the following paragraph :
" Surely, to-day, whoever inflicts an additional
volume upon a long-suffering public, ought to be
able to set up an unassailable plea in justification
While this is true in a general sense, it is doubly
so in its relation to that band of people knaves
and fanatics who, more than fifty years ago began
a scheme of deception in New York, which, in its
progress since, has caused so much misery and
crime in many of the States, and now aims at
insubordination and independence in Utah.
Many books have been written on the subject of
MOEMONISM ; some of them honest, trustworthy,
and valuable ; others, sensational and unreliable ;
and still more, utterly unworthy. Yet, notwith-
standing all this, the great^ Christian public in
America and abroad remains to-day strangely
indifferent to, and ignorant of, the origin, character,
and purposes of the miserable fraud.
vi TO THE HEADER.
The undersigned offers no apology for the matter
of the following pages. Content with his purpose
to add to the mass of credible history, and to aid
in exposing a most silly and dangerous delusion, he
leaves it with an intelligent and discerning public,
hoping neither to escape censure nor disarm crit
Hamilton, Illinois, 1889.
INTRODUCTORY. * 1
Solomon Spalding False Prophets in all Ages Joseph Smith,
the Founder of Mormonism Compared to Mahomet His
Character and Aims Origin of Mormonism An Over-
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE IMPOSTURE. - 9
Disagreeing Statements Impossible Claims The Smith
Family Ignorance and Superstition The Prophet's Own
Story "History of Joseph Smith" The Angel Nephi
Plates Revealed The Urim and Thummim Second,
Third, and Fourth Visions Hill of Cumorah Stone Box
The Prophet's Marriage "Persecutions" After Four
Years Martin Harris and the Translation.
As TOLD BY OTHERS. 25
David Whitmer, One of the Eleven Witnesses Interviewed
by the Kansas City Journal.
HIGHLY INTERESTING LETTER. 34
Letter from Hon. Stephen S. Harding, former Governor of
Utah Territory His .Boyhood Acquaintance with the
Ex-Go VERNOR HARDING' s LETTER CONTINUE. 45
Curious Developments Harris's Frenzy An Incident in In-
diana In Utah Reflections, Suggestions, etc.
PROFESSOR ANTHON'S STORY. 57
A Plain Statement which Everybody Can Believe.
A TERRIBLE DILEMMA. 63
Two Revelations and their Causes Harris and Satan Unjustly
Accused The Real Culprit Unknown A Happy Ruse
Solves the Difficulty.
THE STORY AND THE BOOK EXAMINED. - 75
Evidences of Falsity The Record Its Title" Confounding
of Language" The Nephite-Lamanite Americans Metal
of the Plates Plates Still Under Ground A Bonanza
Mariner's Compass To Work by Faith.
EXAMINATION CONTINUED. 85
A Story for Ship-Builders A Year's Voyage Eight Wonder-
ful Barges An Electric Light The Land of Promise
War a Pastime A Great Battle Words of Isaiah Beasts
in the Promised Land Remarkable Translation.
REVIEW CONTINUED. 96
Testimony of Three Witnesses Also of Eight Witnesses
"What More Need be Said?" Death to Behold the
Plates A Box of Brickbats Testimony Analyzed
Smith's Ipse Dixit Collusion or Deception Testimony
Invalid Strang's Failure Laban's Sword and Lehi's
FURTHER REVELATIONS AND LABORS. - 107
The World's Redemption at Hand Harris Obstinate, but
Yields He Sees Money in It Revelations Continue
Church Discipline Sidney Rigdon's Hand Manifest
A New Statement Concerning Him Church Organized
Calvin Stoddard's Conversion " Support " for the
Prophet No. 1 Provided For The Elect Lady Rigdon
Converted Takes High Rank P. P. Pratt Zion Estab-
lished Fanatical Excesses Smith and Cowdery Bap-
STAKE PLANTING. - - 121
Translation of the Scriptures Reasons for It Translation
Suspended The First Hegira Cowdery' s Mission a Fail-
ure The Stake at Kirtland Another in Missouri Expe-
dition Thither* Ezra Booth's Secession Zion Located
An Organ Established The Expulsion A Crusade and
AN ANTI-BANKING BANK. - - 133
Rigdon President, Smith Cashier Notes Issued No Redemp-
tionPittsburgh Bankers Bank Breaks Flight of Its
Officers The Kirtland Stake Abandoned.
FURTHER STAKE PLANTING. - - 138
Adam-ondi-Ahmon, Far West, and Others Apostasy Shows
its Head The Danites War and Violence Mobs and
ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI EASTWARD. - 149
Exodus from Missouri and First Appearance in Illinois
Remarks The Situation.
IMMIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT. - - 156
Status in Illinois The New City Mission to Washington-
Governor Lucas's Letter Great Church Conference
Mission to the Jews in Europe and Asia Call to the
PROGRESS AND POLITICS. - - 164
First Great Error Presidential Election of 1840 How Will
the Prophet Vote? Whig Convention Nominations A
Disgraceful Act Little and Douglas Dr. Charles The
Charters Their Character Organizations John C. Ben-
nettThe Warsaw Signal Smith Offended His Char-
acteristic Letter The Times and Seasons.
AN ANTI-MORMON PARTY. - - 175
Unworthy Sycophancy A Growing Apprehension Public
Meetings An Anti-Mormon Party Its Candidates
Elected Thomas Ford for Governor The Wasp.
THE NAUVOO TEMPLE. - - 181
Temple Building At Nauvoo Corner-Stone Laid Revela-
tion Demanding It Also a "Boarding House" The
"Nauvoo House" Unfinished Stockholders Named by
MUCH ADO ABOUT THEFT. - - 189
Hyrum Smith's Affidavit And the Twelve Brother Joseph's
Affidavit and Proclamation The Court-Martial and ail the
THE GAME OF HABEAS CORPUS. - 196
Arrest of Smith at Quincy, 1841 Trial Before Judge Douglas
Discharge Attempted Assassination of Governor Boggs
of Missouri O. P. Rockwell Charged with the Crime
New Demand for Smith and Rockwell Arrest in Nauvoo
Habeas Corpus Applied by the Municipal Court Ford's
Statement Re-arrest and Trial Before Judge Pope and
Discharge The Writs, etc.
MORE HABEAS CORPUS WORK. - 206
Another Indictment and Demand Congressional Canvass
Walker and Hoge Arrest Near Dixon Great Excitement
The Officers Prisoners The Prophet Triumphant A
Strange Cavalcade Another Habeas Corpus Lawyer
Southwick's Statement Result of the Canvass "Brother
Hyrum's" Revelation Walker Defeated.
Two WAYS OF TELLING A STORY. 218
Story of the Arrest, as Told by Two The Prophet's Story
The Officer's Story.
A STORM -CLOUD RISES. - - 223
Quarrel Between the Chiefs General Bennett's Defection
Charges and Denials Bennett Accepts the "Buffetings"
and Leaves His Letters to the Sangamo Journal Tes-
timonials Pro and Con.
A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. - - 232
For President of the United States, General Joseph Smith, of
Illinois For Vice-President, Sidney Rigdon, of Pennsyl-
AN IMPENDING CRISIS. - - 235
Rumblings of a Volcano A Secession Organized An Opposi-
tion Church A Newspaper "Nuisance" Abated.
A STRANGE DOCUMENT. - 245
Showing the Reasons Why Nauvoo Neighbor Extra Recit-
ing Action of the City Council Regarding the Expositor
THE ATONEMENT. ... 269
Great Excitement Writs Procured Public Meetings Citi-
zens Arming The Governor Appealed to Arrives at
Carthage and Takes Command Mayor and Council of
Nauvoo Summoned Arrested, but Fail to Appear
Finally Came in and Surrendered Released on Bail Re-
arrested for Treason Governor's Definition of Treason
Marches with a Small Force to the City The Smiths
Killed in Jail Great Consternation.
How THE DEED WAS DONE. - - 281
Effect of the Panic Governor Ford's Plan Revealed Atttack
on the Jail by the Mob The Prophet and His Brother
Killed How it was Done Purposes of the Mob Willard
ARRESTS, INDICTMENTS, AND TRIALS. - 293
Military Encampment Called The Wolf Hunt Governor
Ford Interferes Brings Another Force March to Nauvoo
To Warsaw Joseph H. Jackson Indictments Trials
of the Prisoners Found Not Guilty.
STRUGGLE FOR THE SUCCESSION. - 303
Sidney Rigdon Brigham Young Parley P. Pratt Orson
Pratt William Smith Orson Hyde James J. Strang
An Ecclesiastical Trial Hyde on Rigdon.
A NEW PROPHET JAMES J. STRANG. - 312
Strang' s Claim to the Succession His Revelation Sets up at
Yoree He, too, Finds Plates His Arrogance and Pre-
tensions Arrested for Treason Tried and Acquitted
A Polygamist His Violent Death Fate of Mormon
MORE VIOLENCE AND BLOODSHED. - 320
Three Obnoxious Officials Arrest of Senator Davis Nauvoo
Charter Repealed Increase of Crime Murder of Miller
and Leiza Of Irvine Hodge Of Colonel Davenport Of
Dr. Marshall Death of Sheriff Deming Burning of Mor-
ley-Town Killing of Lieutenant Worrell Of McBratney
Of Wilcox and Daubenheyer Incidents of the Burning
Arrival of Colonel Hardin with State Troops.
NINE COUNTIES INTERFERE THE END APPROACHING. 334
Colonel Hardin and His Advisers Major Warren Left in Com-
mand Convention of Nine Counties Browning's Resolu-
tions Action of the Convention Correspondence with
the Mormon Leaders The Inevitable Accepted.
THE EXODUS BEGUN. - - 342
Active Preparations for Leaving Crossing into Iowa Major
Warren and His Force Disbanded and Re-mustered O.
P. Rockwell Arrest, Trial, and Acquittal Dr. Pickett
Posse Called Out Major Parker's Force War of Procla-
mations Posse under Carlin Singleton's Peace Resigns
the Command Major Brockman Succeeds Advance
toward the City.
A BATTLE A TREATY AND THE END. - 353
Warsaw Signal's Report of the Battle Quincy Committee
of One Hundred A Truce The City Surrenders The
Treaty The Killed and Wounded More Trouble and
More Troops Reflections.
THE EXODUS THE DESERT AND WILDERNESS. 363
Brigham Young's Choice En-route Westward Kanesville
"Winter Quarters" Colonel Kane's Description Mis-
souri Republican Correspondent The Mormon Battalion
Brigham Assumes Supreme Power Pushes on to Salt
Lake and Returns Main Bftdy Reaches the Valley Stake
Planted State of Deseret.
THE MORMON TEMPLES. - 380
The Kirtland Temple In Missouri At Nauvoo Its Destruc-
tion by Fire The Baptismal Font Important Decision
THE "RECONSTRUCTED" MORMON CHURCH. 388
POLYGAMY AND THE BLOOD ATONEMENT. 394
The Twin Evils of Mormonism Polygamy in Utah De-
nounced by the "Reconstructed" Originated by the
Prophet Proofs Adduced Blood Atonement Defined by
Young Known in Missouri and Illinois Smith and
Rigdon Its Authors.
THE SPALDING ROMANCE. - - 408
Review of the Situation Dr. Hurlbut and E. D. Howe Their
' Book Mormonism Unveiled Solomon Spalding's Manu-
script Found Efforts to Obtain It Recent Statements
STATEMENTS OF THE SPALDING FAMILY. - 417
Mrs. Davison's Statement Denied by the Mormons Mrs.
Dickinson's Publication in Scribner's Magazine J. E.
Johnson in Deseret News Disagreeing Statements.
THE SPALDING WITNESSES. - - 431
Statement of John Spalding Of Martha Spalding Of Henry
Lake John N. Miller Aaron Wright Oliver Smith
Nahum Howard Artemus Cunningham.
LATER TESTIMONY. - - 441
Mr. Cooper in Cincinnati Gazette Joseph Miller's Letter
-rrAbner Jackson's Narrative "Mere Supposition" vs.
"God-Given Testimony "Resume of Testimony The
Book's Proper Title Mr. Patterson Rev. J. Winter
Rigdon's Hand Manifest.
AFTER FIFTY YEARS. - - 458
A Strange Discovery A Spalding Manuscript Found in Hon-
olulu A God-Send to the Mormons False Impression
Not the Manuscript Found Of No Historic Value De-
scription and Comments on MS. at Oberlin College
Eloquent Reference to Spalding's Work.
THE NAUVOO CHARTER. - - 463
SOME OF THE CITY ORDINANCES. - 472
CELEBRATED "CELESTIAL MARRIAGE" REVELATION. 478
MISCELLANEOUS AND ANECDOTAL. - 489
The Kinderhook Plates Titles of the Twelve The Prophet
as a Linguist Some Mormon Methods The Prophet and
Church as Land Speculators A Story from Stenhouse
Bishop John D. Lee The "Corrected" Holy Scriptures.
The Leaders in the Revolt at Nauvoo, - 503
Governor West and the Polygamists, - - 518
A Characteristic Document, - 528
Mrs. Emma Smith's Letter, - . . 537
The Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, - - 539
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Joseph Smith, - Frontispiece.
Oliver Cowdery, - 98
David Whitmer, ... - 98
Martin Harris, ..... 98
P.P.Pratt, - - - 116
The Temple at Nauvoo, - 181
Hyrum Smith, - - - - 189
Major-General John C. Bennett, - 224
The Scene of Smith's Death, - 284
Brigham Young ..... 304
Baptismal Font, - - 382
Ruins of the Temple at Nauvoo, - - 384
Fac-simile from the so-called " Book of Abraham," 492
The Prophet of Palmyra.
SOLOMON SPALDING FALSE PROPHETS IN ALL AGES JOSEPH
SMITH, THE FOUNDER OF MORMONISM COMPARED TO
MAHOMET His CHARACTER AND AIMS ORIGIN OF MOR-
MONISM AN ABSORBING QUESTION.
POOR, unfortunate, somewhat unbalanced, yet
honest and well- meaning SOLOMON SPALDING !
His name will go down to posterity as the inno-
cent originator of one of the most stupendous and
wicked frauds ever perpetrated upon the world.
Had he lived to witness the result of his work
work in which he took so much delight and spent
so many days of his life his gray head would
have been bowed down with sorrow. But he was
kindly spared the infliction. He died in 1816,
and the fraud perpetrated upon his work and his
good name was not committed till some ten or
twelve years after he had been laid peacefully in
his grave. The story of his connection with the
Mormon scheme will be fully told in future chap-
ters of this work.
2 THE PROPHET OP PALMYEA.
Prophets have flourished ever since the world
was peopled. But, unfortunately for the world,
many of them have been false prophets ; and
prophesying, instead of being a vehicle of God's
will to man, has been used for base and selfish
ends and purposes, and to impose on the credulous
and unwary. People of every age have been prone
to run after false prophets. Hence the boldest >
most daring and unscrupulous among them he
who has put on the most sanctity and arrogated to
himself the highest authority has generally been
the most successful. As a rule, their careers have
been short and their influence limited. The claims
and pretensions of a few, however, have wrought
great evil upon the world, and added many dark
and bloody pages to its history. One, and not the
least of these, will be the subject of these pages.
That such a career as was his, with such remark-
able results following, could be run in this en-
lightened Nineteenth Century, and in a land where
Christianity and Civilization have shed their benign
rays, is a mystery which the writer prefers to leave
his readers to solve.
On the 27th of June, 1844, was killed by a mob
at the jail in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois,
JOSEPH SMITH, the founder of the sect of Latter-
Day Saints, and who claimed to have been divinely
commissioned as a "Prophet, Seer, andRevelator,"
Born in the State of Vermont, reared in Western
New York, residing three or four years in Ohio,
about as long in Missouri, and over five years in
Illinois, he had adopted a policy which made him
inimical to the people everywhere, and finally
brought him to a violent and bloody death.
Parallels to this man's remarkable career have
been sought in history. It has been likened to
that of Mahomet. When at Mecca, in Arabia, the
great founder of Islamism began his eventful career,
he was doubtless honest in his purposes, which
were to reform and improve the idolatrous worship
of his people. But he was an enthusiast and a
fanatic. With an ardent temperament and a rest-
less and uneasy spirit, he could not brook opposi-
tion. His efforts met first with neglect, then ridi-
cule and contumely, and finally with resistance and
violence. Friends and neighbors turned to ene-
mies, and their opposition increased till he was
compelled to fly from his native city to save his
life. The vindictive persecution and violence to
which he was subjected, changed the character of
the man, and henceforth revenge and ambition be-
came his ruling passions.
But his career, in whatever light it may be re-
garded, was a most remarkable one. Living
amongst the idolatries of the Pagan, Jewish, and
Christian systems, in one of the darkest of the
4 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
Dark Ages of the world, he built up a system,
which, to say the least, was superior to, and an
improvement upon, anything by which he was sur-
rounded. His successes were unprecedented in
the world's history. During his own lifetime and
that of his faithful friend and co-worker, Abou-
Bekir, his creed, through his zeal aided by the
sword and scimiter, potent agents in the work of
propagandism in all ages had become the recog-
nized faith through all Arabia, and was fast under-
mining all the other systems about him.
The curious career of the Prophet of Mormonism
has sometimes been contrasted with that of this
great leader. But the contrast affords but slight
parallel. When "Joe Smith" as the Mormon
Prophet was always designated in his youth (a title
which stuck to him through life) began his career
at Palmyra in the State of New York, his motives
were not honest, nor was he prompted by either
revenge or ambition. His untutored and feeble in-
tellect had not yet grasped at anything beyond
mere toying with mysterious things. It is evident
that he had at first no higher purpose in view. He
was one of those indolent and illiterate young men,
too numerous in all communities, who hope to shun
honest labor, and who have imbibed the pernicious
doctrine embraced in the phrase : < The world
owes me'a living." Any means that would enable
him to obtain that living he was ready to employ.
Hence we find him at an early age, trying his skill
at little tricks to impose on the credulity of his
ignorant associates. As he grew in years, search-
ing for lost treasure became one of his favorite
employments ; for was it not better, he reasoned,
to obtain the golden thousands from the nooks and
crevices of the earth, where Captain Kidd and the
pirates and robbers had secreted them, and live in
ease and idleness, than to obtain a small com-
petency by the slow and uncertain processes of
honest labor? And thus he plodded on, till ac-
cident opened a new career for him. A petty theft,
by himself or one of his co-workers, placed the
Spalding ' * Manuscript Found " in his hands ; and
then it was that the idea of a new sect, a new creed,
a new and deeper play upon popular ignorance
and credulity, and consequent power, and place,
and fortune, were gradually developed and boldly
and persistently and most wickedly carried for-
ward aided by confederates as bad as himself and
with similar purposes in view.
No ; the character and aims of these two false
prophets afford but slight parallel ; in their suc-
cessful career, a stronger resemblance is to be
MORMONISM had its origin and incipient growth
in Western New York, where it attracted little at-
6 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
tention beyond the ridicule of sensible people and
the gaping wonder of a few seekers after the new
and the marvellous and it sought fresh fields. In
Northern Ohio it gained strength by contact with
the world ; and there, too, its leaders made the
discovery that the way to notoriety and success
was to create opposition ; and an aggressive policy
was boldly adopted, and aggressive tenets en-
grafted into the creed. In North Missouri it in-
creased greatly in strength ; but in its violent con-
tests with its neighbors and the authorities, it
became dismembered ad broken, and was finally
violently expelled from the State. Poor, dis-
heartened, and scattered its prophet and some
other leaders in prison all of its members who
could muster courage and means made their way
eastward across the State to Illinois, where their
forlorn condition attracted the sympathy and aid
of all classes of people. Settling in the latter
State, at Commerce, in Hancock county, in time
the same aggressive policy was pursued ; and after
eight years of arrogant pretension, active prose-
lytism, and stupendous folly, it met the fate it had
encountered in Missouri, together with the loss of
its daring prophet and leader. Later, under an
equally daring and more able successor, it sought
isolation and a home among the rugged crags and
mountains and fertile valleys of Utah-r where it
INTROD rCTOP Y. 7
has for more than a third of a century increased in
an astonishing degree, and developed into what
it now is, an ugly and troublesome excrescence on
the body politic, and a disgrace to the nation and
While the Latter-Day Saints " remained in
Ohio, Missouri, or Illinois, the " Mormon Ques-
tion " was only one of local or State concern. But
since they have withdrawn to the wilderness, and
there within the territory and under the jurisdiction
and flag of the United States, have assumed an in-
dependent position and arrayed themselves in open
hostility to the government, the matter takes a
new shape. From a State problem it has advanced
to a National one, and one that is daily becoming
of greater magnitude, now seriously agitating the
minds of the best statesmen of our country.
It bids fair to overshadow all other social ques-
tions. It is therefore highly important and neces-
sary that the reading public should be fully in-
formed, not only as to what Mormonism now is,
but made acquainted with the origin, history and
development of this the most wicked and dangerous
folly of the Nineteenth Century, and with the life,
character, and purposes of its founders. Such is
the task before us, and to which these efforts are
The term "Mormonism" is a coinage of the
8 THE PROPHET OF PALMYRA.
present century. It is derived from the name of
one of the chief writers of the so-called Book of
Mormon (though why after Mormon, rather than
Nephi, Moroni, Alma, Enos, or Lehi, it would be
hard to tell) a silly and little worthy, but in the
eyes of its deluded believers, the most sacred of all
books. It is less interesting and far feebler than
the Koran, the holy book of Islam. Its chief in-
gredients are ignorance and arrogance, and it
abounds in blasphemy ; it is full of falsehood, in-
justice toward man and impiety toward God. To
accept the claims and adopt the teachings of its
chief adherents, is to eschew holiness and good-
ness, and to dethrone the Almighty.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE IMPOSTUHE. 9
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE IMPOSTURE.
DISAGREEING STATEMENTS IMPOSSIBLE CLAIMS THE SMITH
FAMILY IGNORANCE AND SUPERSTITION THE PROPHET'S
OWN STORY "HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH" THE ANGEL
NEPHI PLATES REVEALED THE URLM AND THUMMLM
SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH VISIONS HILL OF CUMORAH
STONE Box THE PROPHET'S MARRIAGE " PERSECU-
TIONS" AFTER FOUR YEARS MARTIN HARRIS AND THE
IN* the matter of the early life of JOSEPH SMITH
there is great contrariety of statement. The testi-
mony of the Smith family, and of his faithful
believers, goes to show that he was a most exem-
plary youth, truthful, without guile, and ever seek-
ing for the highest religious truth. As this is the
testimony of interested witnesses only, we are