Question: What did Henry Harris claim about Joseph Smith in the Hurlbut affidavits?

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Question: What did Henry Harris claim about Joseph Smith in the Hurlbut affidavits?

Henry Harris claimed that Joseph was lazy, and that he was required to be married in order to see the plates

In the anti-Mormon book Mormonism Unvailed, Henry Harris had this to say about Joseph Smith:

Joseph Smith, Jr. the pretended Prophet, used to pretend to tell fortunes; he had a stone which he used to put in his hat, by means of which he professed to tell people's fortunes.[1]

Harris made the following assertions:

  • Claimed that the Smith family "labored very little."
  • Claimed that the Smith family primarily "dug for money."
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Jr. "pretended to tell fortunes."
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Jr. "he had a stone which he used to put in his hat, by means of which he professed to tell people's fortunes."
  • Claimed that Joseph was required to be married in order to obtain the plates.
  • Claimed that Joseph and Martin Harris (and others) "were regarded by the community in which they lived, as a lying and indolent set of men and no confidence could be placed in them."
  • Claimed that "He said it was revealed to him, that no one must see the plates but himself and wife [Emma]."

Harris claimed to have conversed with Joseph Smith regarding the plates:

After he pretended to have found the gold plates, I had a conversation with him, and asked him where he found them and how he come to know where they were. He said he had a revelation from God that told him they were hid in a certain hill and he looked in his stone and saw them in the place of deposit; that an angel appeared, and told him he could not get the plates until he was married, and that when he saw the woman that was to be his wife, he should know her, and she would know him. He then went to Pennsylvania, got his wife, and they both went together and got the gold plates -- he said it was revealed to him, that no one must see the plates but himself and wife.[2]

Responses to Harris' claims

  • The claim that the Smith's were lazy and rarely worked it clearly false—their farm and its improvements was worth more than most of their neighbors.
  • Many testified to how diligent a worker Joseph was.
  • Martin Harris was respected and admired greatly—until he became associated with the Book of Mormon. He was otherwise trusted and well-regarded, which is why critics found his participation so baffling.
  • Emma testified she never saw the plates; the claim about her and Joseph seeing them is thus false.


Notes

  1. E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (1834) 251-252.
  2. E.D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (1834) 251-252.