Topical Guide/Church history/Treasure Digging

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Joseph Smith and money digging

Summary: Critics insist that Joseph Smith's engagement in "money digging" or looking for buried treasure shows itself as a blot on his character. Furthermore, critics argue that Joseph's initial religious experiences were related to "treasure seeking," and only later did he "retrofit" a religious explanation. (Critics argue, for example, that Moroni was originally conceived of as a treasure guardian by Joseph, and only later came to be seen as a divine messenger, an angel.)

Joseph Smith's "treasure hunting" trip to Salem

Summary: Joseph Smith was commanded by the Lord to go to Salem, Massachusetts to hunt for treasure in the cellar of a house. Upon arriving there, the treasure was nowhere to be found. It is claimed that this proves that Joseph was not a prophet. It is claimed that Joseph was "hoping one last time that the use of his seer stone might produce treasure that he had been told lay under a house..."