Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink/The Witnesses/Source quotes without commentary

Table of Contents

Resources.png    MormonThink web page "The Witnesses" content without commentary

This page simply displays all of the source quotes and citations used on the critical web page in the order that they appear. There are no "Critic's comment," "Apologetic response," or "Our Thoughts" sections. We make no attempt to explain, summarize or draw conclusions from these quotes. We will provide additional context by including additional text from these quotes when necessary. We also attempt to add sources and links to the full original text, rather than links to other websites which simply quote the text.

Source quotes

Critical website's source quote
The Testimony Of Three Witnesses

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 this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who 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 hath 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 marvelous 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 dwell with him eternally in the heavens... And the honor be to the Father, & to the Son, & to the Holy Ghost, which is One God. Amen.'
Oliver Cowdery
David Whitmer

Martin Harris

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Testimony of the Three Witnesses

Critical website's source quote
And Also The Testimony Of Eight Witnesses

BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown 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 engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown 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.
Christian Whitmer Joseph Smith, Sr.
Jacob Whitmer Hyrum Smith
Peter Whitmer Hiram Page

John Whitmer Samuel H. Smith

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Testimony of the Eight Witnesses

Critical website's source quote
If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to separate myself from among the Latter-day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, so should it be done unto them.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. David Whitmer

  • Source text: David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ. off-site (Wikisource)
  • Source text: David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ off-site (FAIR Wiki)

Critical website's source quote
He [Solomon Spalding] then told me had he been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the "Manuscript Found," of which he read to me many passages. -- It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI AND LEHI. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various [280] parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprize I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c. as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with "and it came to pass," or "now it came to pass," the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. -- By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr. I am unable to determine.
JOHN SPALDING.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. John Spalding (Brother of Solomon Spalding)

Critical website's source quote
STATEMENT OF JAMES JEFFERY.

I know more about the Mormons than any man east of the Alleghenies, although I have given no attention to the matter for twenty-five years. I did not know I was in possession of any information concerning the Book of Mormon unknown to others. I supposed that as Rigdon was so open with me, he had told others the same things.

Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo, Ill. I had business transactions with them. Sidney Rigdon I knew very well. He was general manager of the affairs of the Mormons.

Rigdon, in hours of conversation told me a number of times there was in the printing office with which he was connected in Ohio, a manuscript of Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel; that this manuscript was in the office for several years; that he was familiar with it; that Spaulding had wanted it printed, but had not the money to pay for the printing; that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the manuscript and read it over Sundays.

Rigdon and Smith took the manuscript and said -- "I'll print it," and went off to Palmyra, N. Y.

I never knew the information was of any importance -- thought others were aware of these facts. I do not now think the matter is of any importance. It will not injure Mormonism. That is an "ism," and chimes in with the wishes of certain classes of people. Nothing will put it down but the strong arm of the law. Otherwise it will go on forever, like Tennyson's "Brook."

This is the substance of what I remember about the matter. JAMES JEFFERY.
I hereby certify that I wrote the above paper at the dictation of Mr. James Jeffery, in the presence of Mrs. James Jeffery, and and Dr. John M. Finney. (Rev.) CALVIN D. WILSON.

Mrs. James Jeffery.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. James Jeffery

  • We provide an additional quote from Sidney Rigdon's son:

My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said, with tears glistening in his eyes: "My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story."
—Sidney Rigdon to his son John, just prior to Sidney's death. Rex C. Reeve, (1996), Manuscript Found: The Complete Original "Spaulding" Manuscript, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.

Critical website's source quote
T E S T I M O N Y .

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, to whom this Book of the Law of the Lord shall come, that James J. Strang has the plates of the ancient Book of the Law of the Lord given to Moses, from which he translated this law, and has shown them to us. We examined them with our eyes, and handled them with our hands. The engravings are beautiful antique workmanship, bearing a striking resemblance to the ancient oriental languages; and those from which the laws in this book were translated are eighteen in number, about seven inches and three-eights wide, by nine inches long, occasionally embellished with beautiful pictures. And we testify unto you all that the everlasting kingdom of God is established, in which this law shall be kept, till it brings in rest and everlasting righteousness to all the faithful.
SAMUEL GRAHAM,
SAMUEL P. BACON,
WARREN POST,
PHINEAS WRIGHT,
ALBERT N. HOSMER,
EBENEZER PAGE,

JEHIEL SAVAGE.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. first page of the Book of the Law of the Lord

Critical website's source quote
Testimony of Witnesses to the Voree Plates.

1. On the thirteenth day of September, 1845, we, Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb, assembled at the call of James J. Strang, who is by us and many others approved as a Prophet and Seer of God. He proceeded to inform us that it had been revealed to him in a vision that an account of an ancient people was buried in a hill south of White River bridge, near the east line of Walworth County; and leading us to an oak tree about one foot in diameter, told us that we would find it enclosed in a case of rude earthen ware under that tree at the depth of about three feet; requested us to dig it up, and charged us to so examine the ground that we should know we were not imposed upon, and that it had not been buried there since the tree grew. The tree was surrounded by a sward of deeply rooted grass, such as is usually found in the openings, and upon the most critical examination we could not discover any indication that it had ever been cut through or disturbed.
2. We then dug up the tree, and continued to dig to the depth of about three feet, where we found a case of slightly baked clay containing three plates of brass. On one side of one is a landscape view of the south end of Gardner's prairie and the range of hills where they were dug. On another is a man with a crown on his head and a scepter in his hand, above is an eye before an upright line, below the sun and moon surrounded with twelve stars, at the bottom are twelve large stars from three of which pillars arise, and closely interspersed with them are seventy very small stars. The other four sides are very closely covered with what appear to be alphabetic characters, but in a language of which we have no knowledge.
3. The case was found imbedded in indurated clay so closely fitting it that it broke in taking out, and the earth below the soil was so hard as to be dug with difficulty even with a pickax. Over the case was found a flat stone about one foot wide each way and three inches thick, which appeared to have undergone the action of fire, and fell in pieces after a few minutes exposure to the air. The digging extended in the clay about eighteen inches, there being two kinds of earth of different color and appearance above it. 4. We examined as we dug all the way with the utmost care, and we say, with utmost confidence, that no part of the earth through which we dug exhibited any sign or indication that it had been moved or disturbed at any time previous. The roots of the tree stuck down on every side very closely, extending below the case, and closely interwoven with roots from other trees. None of them had been broken or cut away. No clay is found in the country like that of which the case is made.
5. In fine, we found an alphabetic and pictorial record, carefully cased up, buried deep in the earth, covered with a flat stone, with an oak tree one foot in diameter growing over it, with every evidence that the sense can give that it has lain there as long as that tree has been growing. Strang took no part in the digging, but kept entirely away from before the first blow was struck till after the plates were taken out of the case; and the sole inducement to our digging was our faith in his statement as a Prophet of the Lord that a record would thus and there be found.
AARON SMITH,
JIRAH B. WHEELAN,
J. M. VAN NOSTRAND,

EDWARD WHITCOMB,

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Testimony of Witnesses to the Voree Plates

Critical website's source quote
The phosphorus then gave a most brilliant light upon the heads of the saints. The Holy Ghost was poured out in this way, and the sign given that Strang was a prophet.

  • Context:

The gathering of the people was in the basement. Meeting began with praying and singing, etc. The solemn ordinance of washing of feet was performed by Strang himself, girt with a towel. This was done in the upper story, where two or three were called up from the basement at a time; and after the ceremony of washing of feet by Strang, a sort of composition of oil and phosphorus was put upon the head, for annointing, by J. C. Bennet. The room where this was done be-ing illuminated with such a clear and bright light, none of this deception could be discovered until the endowed person had gone into the dark room below, Strang taking good care while on a mission of instruction, near the close of the interview in the basement, while standing on the stairs, through mistake, or otherwise, to take the only candle there was in the room and carry it above, leaving the meeting in total darkness excepting the fire in the stove. The phosphorus then gave a most brilliant light upon the heads of the saints. The Holy Ghost was poured out in this way, and the sign given that Strang was a prophet. Some shouted, and others bore testimony, while others smelt rather a bad smell in the spirit that was poured out. The meeting broke up, and about one-half of them turned away from following Strang any more. Notwithstanding, Strang has been trying ever since to make people believe that he is a prophet, and that the rehearsal of these facts respecting him, is called persecution by Strang.

WM. SMITH, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  • Source text: "One Way to Work a Miracle," New York Daily Tribune, September 5, 1849. off-site

Critical website's source quote
The Morley family would invite strangers... to stay with them all night & every one that stayed however strong their opposition before were baptized the next morning. Having studied in my boyhood the Black Art Ledgerdemain & jugling I had my suspicions aroused... & I told how Angels could be manufactured & strange wonders made to appear in the night & from that time forth invitations to stay over night ceased to be given & no more converts were made in that way...

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Elder J. J. Moss

  • Context:

It was here Rigdons common stock community the Morley family was located & it was in this family that they made their first converts in Ohio & it was here they stuck their first stake their Zion & it was here that I began the battle in opposi­tion w. Br. Moore making the first speech & I the second the same evening in one of their meetings & the battle once begun we never ceased firing & our lives were threatened so much so that our friends were afraid for us to be out at night alone & if the Danites had then been in existance I have no doubt we would both have been assassinated. -- The Morley family would invite strangers from abroad & citizens of the immediate vicinity to stay with them all night & every one that stay- ed however strong their opposition before were baptized the next morning. Having studied in my boyhood the Black Art Ledgerdemain & jugling I had my suspicions aroused & I confess I acted the hypocrite so as to deceive them & obtained an invitation to stay all night circumstances prevented & again I was invited the next night & again circumstances were unpropitious both times on their part & before the third night a good brother was so distressed throug fear that I was going to join them & so worked upon my sympathies that to relieve him I told him what I was doing & he to relieve others told them & it got to their ears & I got no further invitation. As soon as I found my secret was out I made a publick statement of my design & the object I had in view & my suspicions & I told how Angels could be manufactured & strange wonders made to appear in the night & from that time forth invitations to stay over night ceased to be given & no more converts were made in that way. -- They partook of the Lords supper at night with darkened win- dows & excluded from the room all but their own till they got through & then opened the doors & called the outsiders in to witness a scene far exceeding the wildest scene ever exhibited among the Methodists.

  • Source text: Dec. 17, 1878 Jasper Jesse Moss Letter, Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers: Box 2, folder 1. Wisconsin State Historical Society Library, Madison, WI off-site

Critical website's source quote
Christ has made his second appearance on earth, in a chosen female known by the name of Ann Lee, and acknowledged by us as our Blessed Mother in the work of redemption

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Shakers' Sacred Roll and Book, p.358

  • Context:

I also know that Christ has made his second appearance on earth, in a chosen female known by the name of Ann Lee, and acknowledged by us as our blessed Mother in the work of redemption. She, with the help of god and her associates, did form a society, which is led by the same spirit that Christ manifested in his first appearing, which constitutes it the Church of Christ or true people of God.

  • Source text: Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book; from the Lord God of Heaven, to the Inhabitants of Earth," (United Society: Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1843), 358. off-site

Critical website's source quote
We, the undersigned, hereby testify, that we saw the holy Angel standing upon the house-top, as mentioned in the foregoing declaration, holding the Roll and Book.

Betsey Boothe.
Louisa Chamberlain.
Caty De Witt.
Laura Ann Jacobs. Sarah Maria Lewis.
Sarah Ann Spencer.
Lucinda McDoniels.
Maria Hedrick.

Joseph Smith only had three witnesses who claimed to see an angel. The Shakers, however, had a large number of witnesses who claimed they saw angels and the Roll and Book. There are over a hundred pages of testimony from "Living Witnesses." The evidence seems to show that Martin Harris accepted the Sacred Roll and Book as a divine revelation. Clark Braden stated: "Harris declared repeatedly that he had as much evidence for a Shaker book he had as for the Book of Mormon

Critical website's source(s)


  1. The Braden and Kelly Debate, p.173

  • Source text: Clark Braden, The Braden-Kelly Debate on Mormonism: Held in Kirtland, Lake Co., Ohio, Beginning Tuesday Night, Feb. 12, 1884, and Closing Friday Night March 7, 1884.

Critical website's source quote
[Joseph Smith said] "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 refuse to see it, and left the room." Now, said Jo, "I have got the damned 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 actually 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 clap-boards, and put it into a pillow case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Peter Ingersall

  • Context:

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 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 langugage: "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 refuse to see it, and left the room." Now, said Jo, "I have got the damned 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 actually 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 clap-boards, and put it into a pillow case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case.

  • Source text: Peter Ingersoll, quoted in E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed: or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, From its Rise to the Present Time., 235-236. off-site

Critical website's source quote
An anecdote touching this subject used to be related by William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver. They were notorious wags, and were intimately acquainted with Smith. They called as his friends at his residence, and strongly importuned him for an inspection of the "golden book," offering to take upon themselves the risk of the death-penalty denounced. Of course, the request could not be complied with; but they were permitted to go to the chest with its owner, and see where the thing was, and observe its shape and size, concealed under a piece of thick canvas. Smith, with his accustomed solemnity of demeanor, positively persisting in his refusal to uncover it, Hussey became impetuous, and (suiting his action to his word) ejaculated, "Egad! I'll see the critter, live or die!" And stripping off the cover, a large tile-brick was exhibited. But Smith's fertile imagination was equal to the emergency. He claimed that his friends had been sold by a trick of his; and "treating" with the customary whisky hospitalities, the affair ended in good-nature.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism, 1867, pages 32-33

  • Source text: Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism, 1867, pages 31-32. off-site

Critical website's source quote
He had an old glass box [i.e. a box used for holding plates or panes of glass] with a tile in it, about 7×8 inches, and that was the gold plates[;] and Martin Harris didn’t know a gold plate from a brick at this time.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Charles A Shook, "Statement from Lorenzo Saunders," 1885, printed by Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, 1914

  • Context:

The time he claimed to have taken the plates from the hill was on the 22 day of September, in 1827, and I went on the next Sunday following with five or six other ones and we hunted the side hill by course and could not find no place where the ground had been broke. There was a large hole where the money diggers had dug a year or two before, but no fresh dirt. There never was such a hole; there never was any plates taken out of that hill nor any other hill in that country, was in Wayne county. It is all a lie. No, sir, I never saw the plates nor no one else. He had an old glass box with a tile (spelling doubtful, C. A. S.) in it, about 7 x 8 inches, and that was the gold plates and Martin Harris didn't know a gold plate from a brick at this time. Smith and Rigdon had an intimacy but it was very secret and still and there was a mediator between them and that was Cowdery. The Manuscripts was stolen by Rigdon and modelled over by him and then handed over to Cowdery and he copied them and Smith sat behind the curtain and handed them out to Cowdery and as fast as Cowdery copied them, they was handed over to Martin Harris and he took them to Egbert Granden, the one who printed them, and Gilbert set the type. I never knew any of the twelve that claimed to have seen the plates except Martin Harris and the Smiths. I knew all of the Smiths, they had not much learning, they was poor scholars.

  • Source text: Charles Augustus Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon (The Standard Publishing Co.: Cincinnati, Ohio, 1914), 135. off-site (Google Books)

Critical website's source quote
set to continual prayer and other spiritual exercises....he assembled them in a room, and produced a box, which he said contained the precious treasure. The lid was opened; the witnesses peeped into it, but making no discovery, for the box was empty, they said, "Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates." The prophet answered them, 'O ye of little faith! how long will God bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees, brethren, every one of you, and pray God for the forgiveness of your sins '.. The disciples dropped to their knees, and began to pray in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God for more than two hours with fanatical earnestness; at the end of which time, looking again into the box, they were now persuaded that they saw the plates

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Illinois Governor Thomas Ford

Critical website's source quote
Martin Harris and Lucy Harris, his wife, were at my house [early part of winter, 1828]. In conversation with the Mormonites, she [Lucy Harris] observed that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it all false and a delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: 'What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!' I was both an eye- and ear-witness of what has been above stated, which is now fresh in my memory, and I speak the truth and lie not, God being my witness.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Abigail Harris: a sister-in-law of Martin Harris

  • Source text: Abigail Harris, quoted in E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed: or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, From its Rise to the Present Time., 254.

Critical website's source quote
Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge; for its effects on Martin Harris have been to make him more cross, turbulent and abusive to me. His whole object was to make money out of it. I will give a proof of this. One day at Peter Harris' house (Abigail Harris' husband) I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false. To this he replied, "If you would let me alone, I could make money out of it.' It is in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts, as they are well known to most of his former neighbors.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Lucy Harris: wife of Martin Harris

  • Source text: Lucy Harris, quoted in E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed: or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, From its Rise to the Present Time., 255-256.

Critical website's source quote
Now, most historians, Mormon or not, who work with the sources, accept as fact Joseph Smith’s career as village magician. Too many of his closest friends and family admitted as much, and some of Joseph’s own revelations support the contention.

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Richard L. Bushman, “Treasure-seeking Then and Now,” Sunstone, v. 11, September 1987, p. 5

  • This quote is not found in the article referenced. The quote actually comes from a review by Marvin S. Hill of Rodger I. Anderson's book Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined, found in BYU Studies, Volume 30:4 (Fall 1990) off-site
  • Here is what Hill says in his review,

Thus Rodger Anderson raises some serious questions regarding Hugh Nibley's and Richard Anderson's total rejection of the Hurlbut testimonies, yet he may be too harsh in his assessment of their work. I would agree with Rodger Anderson that neither Nibley nor Richard Anderson gave sufficient attention to witnesses such as Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Knight, and others who confirm Joseph Smith's involvement in money digging. Now, most historians, Mormon or not, who work with the sources, accept as fact Joseph Smith's career as village magician. Too many of his closest friends and family admitted as much, and some of Joseph's own revelations support the contention. Rodger Anderson is likely to be right that Hurlbut represented the general views of the people he interviewed correctly, although I would question whether we can be certain that he was always careful in recounting details.

That scholarship helped me understand Joseph Smith, because the sources made it clear that not just the Smith family but many people in the neighborhood were invoking spells and rituals to find buried treasure while still claiming to be believing Christians....But what intrigues me still more is that nowhere, so far as I can see, did the revelations ever repudiate treasure-seeking Joseph had no reason to believe that it was all superstitious hogwash, as we are inclined to think today.

Critical website's source quote
Or does it prove there is no time,

Because some watches will not go?
Or prove that Christ was not the Lord
Because that Peter cursed and swore?
Or Book of Mormon not His word

Because denied, by Oliver?

Critical website's source(s)


  1. Times and Seasons in 1841 (vol. 2, p.482)