Question: How did stories of "drunken behavior" at the Kirtland Temple dedication propagate?

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Question: How did stories of "drunken behavior" at the Kirtland Temple dedication propagate?

Wilhelm Wyl, in his anti-Mormon book Mormon Portraits, quotes William McLellin

In 1886, Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal, writing under the pen name Wilhelm Wyl, published a book of lurid anti-Mormon tales called Mormon Portraits.

Wyl quoted former apostle William McLellin on the topic of the Kirtland dedication:

The "Endowments" in the Kirtland temple were nothing but a big spree, so big, that the "apparitions of angels," etc., were not miraculous at all. I quote from a letter by Dr. McLellin, one of the first quorum of Mormon apostles :

"About five hundred ministers entered that great temple about sunrise and remained fasting until next morning sunrise, except a little bread and wine in the evening. The Twelve were required to take large servers and set glasses of wine and lumps of bread, and go through the house and serve the brethren. I did my part of the serving. During the night a purse was made up and a wagon sent to Painesville and a barrel of wine procured, and then it was a time. All the latter part of the night I took care of Samuel H. Smith [brother of the prophet] , perfectly unable to help himself. And I [309] had others removed from the house because they were unfit- to be in decent company" (italics in original)."[1]

One must then ask—was McLellin in a position to know about such things at the Kirtland temple dedication, and what did he say or do about it prior to Wyl's citation in 1886?

Notes

  1. ↑ Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits Volume First: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and Friends (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886), 308–309.