Question: Was Joseph Smith, Sr. a believer in witchcraft and the supernatural?

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Question: Was Joseph Smith, Sr. a believer in witchcraft and the supernatural?

This claim is based upon a very questionable recollection of something that Fayette Lapham claimed in 1870 that he was told by Joseph Smith, Sr. forty years earlier

Note that Lapham is describing a very distorted account of the visit of the Angel Moroni, and that he also erroneously states that Joseph Smith, Jr. joined the Baptist Church prior to the visit.

The following is from Fayette Lapham, "Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago. His Account of the finding of the Sacred Plates," Historical Magazine, 7 May 1870: 305-309:

After this Joseph spent about two years looking into this stone, telling fortunes, where to find lost things, and where to dig for money and other hidden treasure. About this time he became concerned as to his future state of existence, and was baptized, becoming thus a member of the Baptist Church. Soon after joining the Church, he had a very singular dream; but he did not tell his father of his dream, until about a year afterwards. He then told his father that, in his dream, a very large and tall man appeared to him, dressed in an ancient suit of clothes, and the clothes were bloody. And the man said to him that there was a valuable treasure, buried many years since, and not far from that place, and that he had now arrived for it to be brought to light, for the benefit of the world at large...[1]

Notes

  1. ↑ Fayette Lapham, "Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago. His Account of the finding of the Sacred Plates," Historical Magazine [second series] 7 May 1870: 305-309. Cited in "Joseph Smith, Sr., Interview with Fayette Lapham, 1830," Early Mormon Documents 1:458.