Question: What did Peter Ingersoll claim about Joseph Smith in the Hurlbut affidavits?

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Question: What did Peter Ingersoll claim about Joseph Smith in the Hurlbut affidavits?

Peter Ingersoll claimed that the Smiths' "general employment" was money digging

  • Claimed that the Smith family's general employment was "digging for money."
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Sr. taught him to use a divining rod.
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Sr. and Alvin Smith used a stone in a hat to see things.
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Sr., was engaged in "divination."

The Smith farm was improved to the point that it was worth more than 9 out of 10 farms in the region.[1] Given that the Smiths' property was worth more than most of their neighbors, it is difficult to credit the after-the-fact claims by some neighbors in the Hurlbut affidavits that the Smiths were lazy ne'er-do-wells who spent all of their time "money digging."

Ingersoll claimed that Joseph admitted to his father-in-law that he was a fraud

  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Jr. admitted to his father-in-law that he only pretended to be able to see things in the stone.
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Jr. fooled his family into thinking that a frock full of sand was the "Gold Bible."
  • Claimed that Joseph told his family that nobody could see the "Gold Bible" and live.

On the threat that no one could see the "gold bible" and live, see: Viewing gold plates would result in death

Ingersoll claimed that the story of the gold plates was created as a joke

  • Claimed that Joseph made up the story of the gold plates on the spot, after which he is supposed to have said, "I have got the damned fools fixed, and will carry out the fun." However, Ingersoll is discredited on his claim that Joseph made the story of the "gold bible" up on the spot as a way to have "fun" with his family. Joseph was telling various people about his Moroni visits well before recovering the plates (see for example various Knight family recollections). Note also that the name "Moroni" appears in the claim made by Lemon Copley.
  • Claimed that Joseph told him that "he had no such book, and believed there never was any such book."
  • Claimed that Joseph Smith, Sr. said that there had been a book found in a hollow tree in Canada that described the "first settlement of this country before it was discovered by Columbus."

It is very difficult to believe that Joseph would have privately confided to Ingersoll that the plates didn't exist, when he told everyone else that they did.

See also:

Notes

  1. Enders, 220.