Gleanings by the Way. No. VII


Episcopal Recorder Clark, John A. (John Alonzo), 1801-1843

❮ Community

Clark, John A. “Gleanings by the Way. No. VII,” Episcopal Recorder (Philadelphia,Pennsylvania) 18, no. 25 (12 September 1840).


No. VII FAIRFIELD, August 31, 1840.

Dear Brethren,—According to the intimation given in my last, I proceed to furnish you with some further facts in relation to the origin and history of Mormonism. In developing the history of this imposture, and showing the several steps by which it has won its way to the regard, and gained the confidence of thousands, it becomes necessary to account for the existence of what is denominated as THE BOOK OF MORMON—a volume containing 588 duodecimo pages, consisting of fifteen different books, purporting to be written at different times, and by different authors, whose names they respectively bear. The period of time which these historical records profess to cover, is about a thousand years—commencing with the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and terminating with the year of our Lord 420. Should not your patience and that of our readers be quite exhausted by the present long article, I may in another number give you a sort of an analysis of this volume.

This volume, as I have already intimated, has exerted a most important influence in giving some plausibility to the claims set up by the originators of the Mormon imposture. I am quite confident there never would have been any permanent converts to Mormonism, had not this volume been ushered into existence. The story of the GOLDEN BIBLE, like a thousand previous and no less marvellous tales told by Jo Smith, would have long since sunk into oblivion but for the publication of this book. The origin of this volume—how it came into being—is a grave question. It is quite certain that neither Jo Smith nor Martin Harris had intelligence or literary qualification adequate to the production of a work of this sort. Who then was its author? The Mormons say that it is a revelation from God. They claim for it a divine character. They say that the successive narratives spread upon the pages of this volume, are the identical records engraven upon the metalic plates to which we have already referred and which like the leaves of a book, were deposited in a box and hid in the earth: that the writing on these plates was in “the Reformed Egyptian language;” that Joseph Smith was directed by an angel to the spot where this sacred deposit lay; and subsequently inspired to interpret the writing, by putting two smooth flat stones, which he found in the box, into a hat, and then putting his face therein.∗ This is the claim set up for the BOOK OF MORMON, and which has seduced many instable souls.

Had the originator of this fabulous history, called the BOOK OF MORMON, kept entirely behind the scenes up to the present period, and had there been no clue by which the authorship of this figment of the imagination could be traced, it would still have been abundantly evident to every intelligent person, that it was the product of some shrewd and designing mind, who calculated to find his advantage in gulling the credulous and superstitious. The people of Palmyra, at the commencement of the printing of this book, only laughed at the ridiculousness of the thing, and wondered at the credulity of Harris. As the publication progressed, and the contents of the book began to be known, the conviction became general that there was an actor behind the scene, moving the machinery, of far higher intellectual qualifications than Smith or Harris. Suspicion in some degree rested upon a man by the name of Cowdery, who had formerly been a school teacher, if I mistake not, and was now known to be in some way connected with Smith in preparing this volume for the press.

I will here insert a document which I have in my hands, and which may tend to throw some light, upon the origin and authorship of the Book of Mormon, which I found in a little work, entitled “RELIGIOUS CREEDS AND STATISTICS.” The author gives a brief sketch of Mormonism, and among other things inserts a brief sketch of Mormonism, and among other things inserts a letter or statement written by Isaac Hale, the father-in-law of Jo Smith, giving some account of his first acquaintance with Smith. I had, previously to meeting with this letter, felt anxious to obtain some facts in relation to Smith’s marriage, in order to ascertain how those facts would agree with the statements made by him to Martin Harris, which I noticed in my last letter. While at Palmyra, I met with a respectable clergyman of the Episcopal Church, who had formerly belonged to the Methodist connection, that was acquainted with Mr. Hale. He represented him as a distinguished hunter, living near the Great Bend in Pennsylvania. He was professedly a religious man and a very zealous member of the Methodist Church. The letter to which I have referred, is accompanied with a statement, declaring that Mr. Hale resides in Harmony, Penn: appended to the letter also is Mr. Hale’s affirmation or affidavit of the truth of the statement there made, taken before Charles Dimon, Justice of the Peace; and there is also subjoined the certificate of William Thompson and Davis Dimock, Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Susquehanna, declaring that “they have for many years been personally acquainted with Isaac Hale of Harmony Township, who has attested the foregoing statement, or letter, and that he is a man of excellent moral character, and of undoubted veracity.”

The letter or statement above referred to, is as follows:

“I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., in Nov. 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called “money-diggers; ” and his occupation was that of seeing or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man, not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith and his father, with several other “money-diggers,” boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young Smith gave the “money-diggers” great encouragement at first, but when they had arrived in digging to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found, he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed.

After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to marry my daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave him my reasons for so doing; some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve. He then left the place. Not long after this, he returned; and while I was absent from home, carried off my daughter into the State of New York, where they were married without my approbation, or consent. After they had arrived at Palmyra, N. Y., Emma wrote to me, inquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In a short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol, and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out; and reside upon a place near my residence.

Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called, “glass-looking,” and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so. Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them. I was shown a box, in which it is said they were contained, which had, to all appearance, been used as a glass box, of the common sized window glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand, that the book of plates was then in the box: into which, however, I was not allowed to look. I inquired of Joseph Smith, Jr., who was to be the first that would be allowed to see the book of plates. He said, it was a young child.

After this, I became dissatisfied, said informed him, that if there was any thing in my house of that description, which I could not be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that, the plates were said to be hid in the woods.

About this time, Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage; and Smith began to interpret the characters or hieroglyphics, which he said were engraven upon the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said that Harris wrote down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a greater witness, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it; Joseph informed him that he could not or durst not show him the plates, but that he, (Joseph,) would go into the woods where the book of plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should follow his track in the snow, and find the book, and examine it for himself. Harris informed me afterwards, that he followed Smith’s directions, and could not find the plates, and was still dissatisfied.

The next day after this happened, I went to the house where Joseph Smith, Jr. lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in their translation of the book. Each of them had a written piece of paper which they were comparing, and some of the words were― “My servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness can be given to him.” There was also something said about “three that were to see the thing;” meaning, I supposed, the book of plates; and that “if the three did not go exactly according to orders, the thing would be taken from them.” I inquired whose words they were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma, (I rather think it was the former,) that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them then, that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods!

After this, Martin Harris went away, and Oliver Cowdery came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted, as above described. This is the same Oliver Cowdery whose name may be found in the book of Mormon. Cowdery continued a scribe for Smith, until the book of Mormon was completed, as I supposed and understood.

Joseph Smith, Jr. resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and somewhat acquainted with his associates; and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole “Book of Mormon,” (so called,) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators might live upon the spoils of those who swallowed the deception.


I shall have occasion hereafter to refer to the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages spoken of by Harris, and to the manner in which they were lost; as this fact will not only tend to illustrate Harris’ character, but to throw some farther light upon the sinuous track which was pursued to palm off the BOOK OF MORMON as a divine revelation. Whether Smith and Cowdery were acting alone at the time referred to by Mr. Hale, or were then deriving their illumination from Rigdon, I have no means of determining. It is highly probable, however, that they then had access to a copy of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding, of which we shall soon speak, and this copy was undoubtedly obtained through the agency of Rigdon. The true authorship of what constitutes the basis of the BOOK OF MORMON, unquestionably belongs to Mr. Spaulding. I do not, however, believe that the Book of Mormon is an exact copy of Mr. Spaulding’s “Historical Romance, ” as Mrs. Davidson very properly denominates it. No intelligent or well educated man would have been guilty of so many anachronisms and gross grammatical errors as characterize every part of the Book of Mormon. While Mr. Spaulding’s Historical Romance is unquestionably the ground-work of this volume, the Christianized character of the work―the hortatory clauses about salvation through the blood of Christ―and the adaptation of the whole to meet the peculiar religious views of Martin Harris, and to tally with the pretended discovery of Jo Smith, are evidently parts of the work added to Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript. In farther corroboration of this idea, I will just advert to two facts. First: in this record, some portions of which were professedly written 600 years before the appearance of our Saviour, the various dramatis Personæ seem as familiar with the events of the New Testament and all the doctrines of the gospel, as any preacher of the present day. Now no intelligent and well educated man would be guilty of such a solecism as that of putting into the mouth of a Jew who lived four hundred years before the birth of Christ, a flippant discourse about things as though they were then familiarly known, when they did not occur till some five hundred years afterwards. Hence I infer that these parts were added to the original document of Mr. Spaulding by Jo Smith, Cowdery, Rigdon, or some of the fraternity. Another reason, leading me to the opinion that considerable alterations were made in the document referred to, stands in connection with the fact to which I have already adverted—the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages, which were never replaced. These pages were lost in the following way. Harris brought home the manuscript pages and locked them up in his house thinking them quite safe. But his wife, who was not then, nor ever afterwards, became a convert to Mormonism, took the opportunity, when he was out, to seize the manuscript and put it into the hands of one of her neighbours for safe keeping. When the manuscript was discovered to be missing, suspicion immediately fastened upon Mrs. Harris, she however refused to give any information in relation to the matter, but simply replied: “If this be a divine communication, the same being who revealed it to you can easily replace it.” Mrs. H. believed the whole thing to be a gross deception, and she had formed a plan to expose the deception in the following manner. Taking it for granted that they would attempt to reproduce the part she had concealed, and that they could not possibly do it verbatim, she intended to keep the manuscript until the book was published, and then put these one hundred and sixteen pages into the hands of some one who would publish them, and show how they differed from those published in the Book of Mormon. But she had to deal with persons standing behind the scene, and moving the machinery that were too wily thus to be caught. Harris was indignant at his wife beyond measure—he raved most violently, and it is said actually beat Mrs. H. with a rod—but she remained firm, and would not give up the manuscript. The authors of this imposture did not dare to attempt to re-produce this part of the work; but Jo Smith immediately had a revelation about it which is inserted in the preface of the Book of Mormon as follows “As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work; I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person, or persons, have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again: And being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written, and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work: yea I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”

This was the expedient to which they resorted in order to avoid replacing the lost pages.

Had those pages, however, been transcribed verbatim from Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript, they would undoubtedly have re-produced them, and urged the fact of their being able to do so as a still further proof of their divine inspiration. But on the supposition that there was considerable new matter mingled up with Mr. Spaulding’s sketches, it would be impossible for them to produce the one hundred and sixteen pages just as they were before, and they would therefore naturally devise some expedient to relieve themselves from the necessity of re-producing those pages. In all probability Cowdery, and Smith, and Rigdon, had all more or less to do in combining these additional parts with Mr. Spaulding’s work.

The origin of this work of Mr. Spaulding, to which I refer, and which unquestionably forms the entire ground-work of the BOOK OF MORMON, is thus described by Mrs. Davidson, formerly the wife of Mr. Spaulding. This statement of Mrs. Davidson was published some time last winter in the Boston Recorder, to the editors of which it was sent by the Rev. John Storms, the Congregational minister in Hollistown, accompanied with a certificate from two highly respectable clergymen, the Rev. Mr. Austin, and the Rev. A. Ely, D. D., residing in Monson, Mass., the present place of residence of Mrs. Davidson,—stating that Mrs. Davidson, the narrator of the following history, was formerly the wife of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and that since his decease she had been married to a second husband by the name of Davidson, and that she was a woman of irreproachable character, and a humble Christian, and that her testimony was worthy of implicit confidence.

“As the ‘BOOK OF MORMON’ or ‘GOLDEN BIBLE’ has excited much attention, and has been put by a certain new sect in the place of the Sacred Scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin. That its claims to a divine origin are wholly unfounded, needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition, is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England, and even by those who have sustained the character of devoted Christians. Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some with its gross delusions, so that excommunication has been necessary, I am determined to delay no longer in doing what I can to strip the mask from this mother of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations.

“Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage he resided in Cherry Valley, N. Y. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula county, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated on Conneaut creek. Shortly after our removal to this place his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. Their ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement, and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving a historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbours. This was about the year 1812. Hull’s surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited amongst them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and assumed the title of “Manuscript Found.” The neighbours would often enquire how Mr. Spaulding progressed in deciphering “the manuscript” and when he had a sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to her it read. He was enabled from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people, and could be easily recognised by them.

Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spalding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole it read.

“From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do, for reasons which I cannot now state. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript, and copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKenstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the “Book of Mormon” came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding’s former residence, and the very place where the “Manuscript Found” was written. A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the “Book of Mormon.” The historical part was immediately recognised by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before.

Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognised perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction, and request for the manuscript which was signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbours when I resided at New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor, deluded fanatics as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and the author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.


The whole mystery of the origin of this book seems to be cleard up by this statement, and I have seen no attempt made to gainsay or deny its truth. The farther, however, Martin Harris went into this delusion, the more he seemed to become infatuated. He had already embarked a large portion of his property in bringing out the publication of the book of Mormon, and though many things had occurred that we should think would have convinced any rational man that he had been made the subject of a deep laid scheme of deception, he still seems to have shut his eyes, and gone on in the dark. As I have already mentioned, at first Martin Harris was assured that the golden plates on which this record was engraven, would be his, and that it would be perfectly lawful to subject them to public inspection,—but as the managers of this imposture proceeded they found it necessary to advance with more caution, lest they should put into the hands of others the very elements which would contribute to their own utter explosion. Hence it was revealed to Jo Smith, that he would be authorised to show them only to three individuals who should assist in bringing forward this work. This was a lure to secure the continued co-operation of Harris. To convince Harris that he would be highly privileged, it was foretold in the book of Ether, written by Moroni (see Book of Mormon, page 548) that he that should find the plates should have the privilege of showing them to three persons. The passage referred to is as follows, “Behold ye may be privileged that ye may shew the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three shall they be shewn by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true. And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established: and the testimony of three witnesses and this work in which shall be shewn forth the power of God, and also his word, of which the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost beareth record, and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world, at the last day.”

In order to satisfy Harris, and those whom they hoped to delude, it became necessary that three witnesses should see the plates. And accordingly we find appended to the book of Mormon the following certificate, headed with this caption:


“Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain the record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower, of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice has declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify, that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes: nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things—And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall swell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.




To know how much this testimony is worth I will state one fact. A gentleman in Palmyra, bred to the law, a professor of religion, and of undoubted veracity told me that on one occasion, he appealed to Harris and asked him directly,—“Did you see those plates?” Harris replied he did.

“Did you see the plates, and the engraving on them with your bodily eyes?” Harris replied, “Yes, I saw them with my eyes,—they were shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.”

“But did you see them with your natural,—your bodily eyes, just as you see this pencil-case in my hand? Now say no or yes to this.” Harris replied,—“Why I did not see them as I do that pencil-case, yet I saw them with the eye of faith; I saw them just as distinctly as I see any thing around me,—though at the time they were covered over with a cloth.”

This was the way that Harris saw the plates. Cowdery, another of the witnesses, was one of the prime actors in getting up this “cunningly devised fable.” Whether Whitmer, the third witness, was a deceiver, or one of the deceived, I am unable to say, but he and four of his brothers were among the earliest avowed converts to Mormonism. And as he was thus privileged because he assisted to bring forth the work, there can be but little doubt that he bore the same relation to it that Cowdery did. The declaration in the testimony “that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought, and laid before our eyes, that we beheld, and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon,” show but too well what sort of juglery to blind people’s eyes, this certificate is. They seem themselves not to have been satisfied with the testimony and therefore, although it was expressly revealed that only three should see the plates, and that it should be established by the witness of three, (see Book of Mormon, page 548,) yet they immediately subjoin the testimony of eight additional witnesses in the following words: “Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the author and proprietor of this work has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engraving thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And thus we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith hath shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen: and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.” This is signed by Hiram Page, Jo Smith’s father,—two of his brothers, and four of the Whitmers, brothers of the Whitmer, who was one of the three witnesses. They were all persons deeply interested in the success of this imposture, and expecting to make their fortunes by it. As I have before taken occasion to remark, Harris was ready to be duped by any thing which these jugglers were disposed to tell him. He seemed to think at length that he himself was inspired, and that revelations from heaven were made to him in reference to the most minute affairs in life. After the BOOK OF MORMON was published it was revealed to him that he should sell it for $1 50 per copy. But as it did not sell very briskly at that price, he declared that another revelation was made to him from heaven, and that he was ordered to sell the book for $1 per copy. No matter where he went, he saw visions and supernatural appearances all around him. He told a gentleman in Palmyra, after one of his excursions to Pennsylvania, while the translation of the Book of Mormon was going on, that on the way he met the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked along by the side of him in the shape of a deer for two or three miles, talking with him as familiarly as one man talks with another. With a knowledge of the facts that have now been stated, the existence of the Book of Mormon can well be accounted for, and also the success of this imposture. There are a few facts farther I have to communicate, which I shall be obliged to reserve till the next number.

J. A. C.

❮ Back