When Mormon Times, reported on the 2009 BYU Campus Education Week some months ago, it told of a soon-to-be-available collection of online documents titled “19th Century Publications on the Book of Mormon.” When it becomes available, this set of documents will be part of BYU’s digital collections, a really helpful resource of original source documents related to Mormonism and other historical topics.
The Mormon Times quoted from one document that will be part of the “19th Century Publications on the Book of Mormon” collection: a semi-monthly literary journal published in Rochester New York called The Gem. The specific article referenced in Mormon Times is titled “Imposition and Blasphemy!! Money-Diggers, &c.” from the May 15, 1830 issue (already available online from various sources such as Uncle Dale’s Old Mormon Articles or the Monroe County Library System). According to Mormon Times, this newspaper article “was one of the first to unknowingly fulfill Moroni’s prophecy that Joseph’s ‘name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues’ (Joseph Smith — History 1:33).”
Interesting to read, you’ll find the article provided below in its entirety.
IMPOSITION AND BLASPHEMY!!–MONEY-DIGGERS, &c.
Some months ago a noise was made among the credulous of the earth, respecting a wonderful production said to have been found as follows. An ignoramous near Palmyra, Wayne county, pretended he had found some “Gold Plates,” as he is pleased to call them, upon which is said to be engraved characters of marvellous and misunderstandable import, which he, nor no other mortal could divine. These characters he has translated into the English language, and lo! they appear to be no other than the mysticisms of an unrevealed Bible! A person more credulous or more cunning, than him who found the plates, ordered the translation thereof, mortgaged his farm, sold all he had, and appropriated it to the printing and binding of several thousand copies of this pearl, which is emphatically of great price! The book comes before the public under the general title of the “Book of Mormon,” arranged under different heads, something as follows. The book of Mormon — containing the books of Nephi, Nimshi, Pukei, and Buckeye — and contains some four or five hundred pages. It comes out under the “testimony of three witnesses,” and of “six witnesses,” who say they “have seen and hefted the plates,” that “they have the appearance of gold,” and that divers and strange characters are “imprinted on them.” — The author, who has the “copy-right secured according to law,” says, “that he was commanded of the Lord in a dream,” to go and find, and that he went and found. At one time it was said that he was commanded of the Lord not to show the plates, on pain of instant death — but it seems he has shown them to the said witnesses, and yet is alive! At another time it is said that none could see them but he who was commanded; — that though they should lie in the middle of the street beneath the broad glare of a meridian sun, in the presence of hundreds, yet no eye but his could see them! The translator, if we take his word for it, has been directed by an angel in this business, for the salvation and the edification of the world! It partakes largely of Salem Witchcraft-ism, and Jemima Wilkinson-ism, and is in point of blasphemy and imposition, the very summit. But it is before the public, and can be had for money, at various places.
This story brings to our mind one of similar nature once played off upon the inhabitants of Rochester and its vicinity, near the close of the last war. During the war, we were subject to many inconveniences at this place, and were in constant danger of attack from the enemy, those who lived here at that time, can well remember the frequent attempts made by the enemy to land at the mouth of the Genesee, at which point our army had deposited heavy stores. Our village was then young, and the abodes of men were ‘few, and far between.’ If we remember aright, it was in the year 1815, that a family of Smiths moved into these parts, and took up their abode in a miserable hut on the east bank of the river, now near the late David K. Carter’s tavern. They had a wonderful son, of about 18 years of age, who, on a certain day, as they said, while in the road, discovered a round stone of the size of a man’s fist, the which when he first saw it, presented to him on the one side, all the dazzling splendor of the sun in full blaze — and on the other, the clearness of the moon. He fell down insensible at the sight, and while in the trance produced by the sudden and awful discovery, it was communicated to him that he was to become an oracle — and the keys of mystery were put into his hands, and he saw the unsealing of the book of fate. He told his tale for money. Numbers flocked to him to test his skill, and the first question among a certain class was, if there was any of Kidd’s money hid in these parts in the earth. The oracle, after adjusting the stone in his hat, and looking in upon it sometime, pronounced that there was. The question of where, being decided upon, there forthwith emerged a set, armed with “pick-axe, hoe and spade,” out into the mountains, to dislodge the treasure. We shall mention but one man of the money-diggers. His name was Northrop. He was a man so unlike anything of refined human kind, that he might well be called a demi-devil [sent] forth upon the world to baffle the elements of despair, and wrestle with fate. As you will suppose, he was an enemy to all fear. Northrop and his men sallied out upon the hills east of the river, and commenced digging — the night was chosen for operation — already had two nights been spent in digging, and the third commenced upon, when Northrop with his pick-axe struck the chest! The effect was powerful, and contrary to an explicit rule laid down by himself he exclaimed, “d—-n me, I’ve found it!”
The charm was broken! — the scream of demons, — the chattering of spirits — and hissing of serpents rent the air, and the treasure moved! The oracle was again consulted, who said that it had removed to the Deep Hollow. There, a similar accident happened — and again it was removed to a hill near the village of Penfield, where, it was pretended the undertakers obtained the treasure.
About this time the enemy’s fleet appeared off the mouth of the Genesee, and an attack at that point, was expected — this produced a general alarm. — There are in all communities, a certain class, who do not take the trouble, or are not capable of thinking for themselves, and who, in cases of alarm, are ready to construe every thing mysterious or uncommon into omens of awful purport. This class flocked to the oracle. He predicted that the enemy would make an attack; and that blood must flow. — The story flew, and seemed to carry with it a desolating influence — some moved away into other parts, and others were trembling under a full belief of the prediction. At this time a justice of the peace of the place visited the oracle, and warned him to leave the country. He gravely told the magistrate that any one who opposed him would receive judgments upon his head, and that he who should take away the inspired stone from him, would suffer immediate death! The magistrate, indignant at the fellow’s impudence, demanded the stone, and ground it to powder on a rock near by — he then departed promising the family further notice.
The result was the Smiths were missing — the enemy did not land — the money-diggers joined in the general execration, and declared that they had their labor for their pains — and all turned out to be a hoax! Now in reference to the two stories, “put that to that, and they are a noble pair of brothers.” (From the text provided at Uncle Dale’s Old Mormon Articles)
Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.
I’ve always thought that all of this treasure hunting and hocus pocus of Joseph Smith and his magic rock sounded like something out of the pages of Mark Twain with Huckelberry Finn as the main character. The fact that people buy Smith’s nonsense is testimony to what P.T. Barnum said about a sucker being born every minute. The more goofy and fantastic the claims of Smith, the better for the adherents. It’s a test of faith to accept the preposterous as fact.
Accepting something emotionally and calling it a message from God makes it all the more real. There is nothing like a confirming emotion to sear a thought into the mind of a person and make it a reality. That’s why when Mormons finally get their thoughts “flipped” that they feel so stupid and betrayed. Might I add that’s why they get angry and bitter and don’t want anything to do with religion.
There’s just enough Bible and Christian revivalism in Smith’s tale to seduce the uninformed. The concept of questioning is not permitted once the Mormon believer has received their burning in the bosom. They never quite put the concept together that religious feelings are available from many different sources. Feelings don’t make something real, but fantasy can often times provide a nice diversion.
In the days when I was a Mormon, I would have scoffed at this posting and claimed that all non-LDS on this site were spreading (that bad word) doctrine. But, what Falcon says is accurate: “The more goofy and fantastic the claims of Smith, the better for the adherents. It’s a test of faith to accept the preposterous as fact.” That’s why when Mormons on this site are put into the corner with nowhere to go, they spout their “testimony” and that’s it. Then, they try to make claims that they’re following the Holy Ghost, and we’re not. I used to do the same thing. When all else fails, bear your testimony. “I know blah blah blah is true, blah blah blah.” I sputtered with babble and made my getaway. But, praise be to God, I now believe in the biblical Jesus, and to do that I had to denounce my Mormon testimony and admit that I didn’t know any of what I claimed to know. That’s hard to do. There’s a lot of pride in the “testimony.” Attend a fast and testimony meeting to see what I’m talking about. “Oh, my, brother so and so has such a strong testimony. I think one day he just might be our bishop, he has such a strong testimony.” But, alas, a testimony built on lies will come crashing down. Mine did. The question is how one will respond to that crash: turn to Jesus Christ and find Truth, or defend JS and continue in lies. No matter how we want things to be, the moment of truth will be presented to every lost soul who does not put his/her trust in the Jesus Christ as revealed to us through the God-breathed Word of the Bible.
It’s a real shock to Mormons to hear the truth about Joseph Smith. So what are they left with when what they hold as true and sacred turns out to be anything but. Spiritual abuse is very close to other kinds of abuse when it comes to the emotional turmoil and psychological stages a person goes through. The first of course is to shut the information down by denying it. That’s a protective reaction in order to maintain the current status. Why do families often rally around the perpetrator of sexual abuse and attack the victim who is also a member of the family? To maintain the equilibrium of the family and not have to face the ugly truth of a matter.
When denial doesn’t work than rationalization is tried. That’s why we hear Mormons say such things as “Well that happened a long time ago” as if that makes everything all better. Another rationalization tactic is to attack Christianity or the Bible thinking, somehow, that makes Joseph Smith not so bad after all.
If someone is a little fed-up with the grind of the Mormon system anyway, they’ll generally take these “revelations” and bolt the program. Unfortunately, too many end-up rejecting God.
The point is, what we know about Joseph Smith is true. People aren’t making it up. So Mormons can’t really deny it. The only thing they can do is grab the fall back position of “I’ve known all of that stuff for years and it doesn’t affect my testimony one bit.” I think we can call that “Whistling in the dark.”
I have not read this account before.
When the author writes
is he (or she) referring to Joseph Smith Jnr (as in, THE Joseph Smith, prophet and revelator)?
Martin – I could be wrong, but I think the person using the rock in the hat & prophecy trick is Joseph – showing what the Smith family was up to before the elusive hidden disappearing golden plates. Reminds me of psychic hotline and new age “channeling” – both of which are routes to the simultaneously fraudulent and scary demonic occult practices. The evidence that Joseph Smith was a practitioner of occult continues to mount. There is really no denying that he opened himself up to that which God has condemned in Scripture, participating in wicked practices that are condemned specifically. Joseph Smith could have easily been influenced by demons in writing the Book of Mormon.
I’m thinking the author is referring to an older brother of JS to prove his point that the entire family was of questionable repute. I draw this conclusion from the final line: “put that to that, and they are a noble pair of brothers.”
This is obviously talking about joseph, jr. The reference to “noble pair of brothers” is the two stories… The teller makes the point that smith was now making the claim he saw an angel and got the gold plates & this was the same person who went after Kidd’s treasure by the stone in the hat trick! Thus, “in reference to the two stories, put that to that, and they are a noble pair of brothers.”
There is a lot of derision of the smith family from the accounts in the early days of New York, mostly because of the sheer un-belief that this same person, who was walking about with a magick stone, professing to know where buried treasure was, could in fact be the same person who now espoused to be talking with angels from God….
The smith reputation has everything to do with how these stories were treated, (I do think the story here was embellished – smith got his magick stone from someone digging a well, not on the side of the road) – but it shows that these stories were circulating about. smith’s penchant for money-digging culminated in his arrest in 1826, a full 3 years (by his account) AFTER his supposed visit from Moroni. (This by O. Cowdery’s & smith’s account in the Mess&Advocate, which was Smith’s first attempt to contact God, (not the phony first vision account he made up later) and it is interesting we see smith using the same means (stone in hat) to translate the BOM!
Imagine how they reacted after that little tidbit came out… It is easy for mormons to dismiss these stories, but there is too much evidence to dismiss them out of hand. Carefully read and studied, they lend credence to the character of smith and his family… superstitious money-diggers that they were… prophet material? Not.
From the Bible we know that Abram was brought up in a pagan, polytheistic house hold. His father believed in many gods and did their sacrifices to these deities. The Bible says that God brought Abram out of this false system and taught him to believe in only one God. The question not answered which I have asked before is – was God one of the pantheon of Abram’s initial religion? If so then Abram was still holding onto part of his false faith. Were some of the practices similar? Most likely, as there were sacrifices in both. There could possibly be more similarities. Does this mean that he is holding onto a false faith again, or is it a case that Satan has copied from the truth so what Abram did in his new religion may have similarities to the old but it is now ordained from God? The Bible tells of his lying, polygamy, hard-hearted throwing out of his second wife and son, willingness to sacrifice his own son despite it contradicting his own religion, penile mutilation for all his descendents, etc. And his descendents were similar.
Carefully read and studied, the Bible lends credence to the character of Abram and his family… superstitious, pagan polytheists that they were… prophet material? Not
If God has shown that He can call someone out of a ‘bad’ life style and into a ‘good’ one in the past and God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, then can’t He do it again? Of course He can – He does it everyday. And some of the things done in the new life may seem similar to the old, but once God has cleansed something we should not call it uncleansed or common. Satan copies what God does to deceive people away from God, so of course there will be similar things. Baptism was used by the pagans throughout OT times while Christianity uses it today. Besides, it’s not what we do that saves us but our faith is it not? JS and family believed in God and Jesus and actively looked for a place to worship and live according to the Bible.
Well Ralph, I could have written your post for you. In fact I anticipated that you’d be writing and also what you’d be writing. Nice try friend, but no cigar…..as usual. You’re not only reaching but you are exposing yourself for what you are, a bonafied polytheist who will do anything to protect his belief in the occult based religion of Joseph Smith. Sorry to get rough with you Ralph because I genuinely like you, but I don’t think we would be serving the Lord Jesus Christ and his Gospel to sugar coat this for you.
God called Abram out of the Ur of Chaldeans so that he might follow Him, the One, true God. Not simply one of many gods. Your speculation is desperate Ralph. Joseph Smith had a decision to make. He was exposed to the living God but he was also exposed to the occult. Abram was exposed to God but also to paganism. Abram choose God. Smith choose the occult.
Ralph look at the fury with which you cling to the false religion of Mormonism. If you are intent, honest, sincere and humble to seek, find and follow God, then I would suggest that you give up your false gods also, as Abram did, and look to the living God for your salvation. You’ve have repeatedly been exposed to the truth as God has reached out and called you to Himself. You refuse to leave your paganism as Abram left his.
Ralph, you can never claim that God didn’t reach out to you and call you.
Our friend Ralph really gives us some great insights into the mind-set of someone trapped in Smith’s religion. Our goal, of course, would be to provide Ralph with evidence, information, and data in an effort to dislodge his thinking and get him to think outside the box of a cultist. The problem is that no amount of rational evidence can overcome an emotional attachment. Ralph wants desperately for Mormonism to be true, just like the late Peter Sellers wanted psychic surgery to be true. In the words of the Amazing Randy (James Randy), “People believe this ‘stuff’ because they want to.”
No, what has to happen is that within the mind of the cultist, a thought that something just isn’t right has to get large enough to overcome their emotional attachment to the cult. Without that happening, they’ll rationalize and justify to the point of absurdity to keep hope alive that maybe it is all true.
So we can produce all kinds of evidence about Abram and his calling from God and it won’t make one speck of difference. It’s basically an exercise in futility until the cultist comes to the emotional point of being able to consider the evidence.
All of you exMormons have been there. You understand the mindset and what it took for you to even begin to seriously contemplate the unthinkable.
The barrier is huge.
If my parents hadn’t figured it out…
If my life hadn’t fallen apart…
If I hadn’t finally had to face the choices I had made…
but I was mid-to-late 20’s. I keep thinking some of the older people out here ought to be searching for the truth simply because they understand they are getting too old to postpone it
but you know… if you’ve believed a lie your whole life, if you’ve been a proponent of it, a forwarder of the lie… wow, allowing for the possibility that you are wrong, especially when it comes to having to finally know the truth about God and having to deal with the consequences of such knowledge…
For Ralph. Ralph. Dang it. I wish you would wake up. All the good works in your works bag is not what God wants. He wants you to know you that you are 100% guilty so that you will accept His all-or-nothing offer of trading your soul-life up for the new one provided through Jesus’ atonement.
Praying for you buddy.
Genesis 15:7 says
Though not referring specifically to Abraham, Hosea 11:1 follows in a similar vein
, which is also referenced in Matt 2:15.
These are not simply references to geographical changes of address; they directly appeal to Israel to “come out of” the pantheism of Ur and Egypt to follow the One and Only God.
Also, the context of Deut 32:39 is all about Israel separating itself from the pantheon of ‘gods’ in the surrounding nations:
Even if (big “if”) we concede that Abraham initially had polytheistic, pantheistic or henotheistic tendencies, the God of the Bible calls His people out of them.
Ironically, whereas God calls His people “out of Egypt”. The LDS movement calls them right back in.
BTW, its impossible for LDS to demonstrate a progression in Joseph Smith that’s similar to Abraham’s journey out of Ur, because the evidence of his own writings demonstrates how Smith “progressed” from monotheism (e.g. BoM) to full-blown polytheism (e.g. Book of Abraham).
On second thoughts, is Ralph’s question aimed at giving credibility to BoA by implying that it could be authentic on account of Abraham’s imputed polytheism? I’d advise Ralph not to go down that path. The BoA is considered “scripture” by Mormons, in which case the LDS movement has canonized something that the Bible considers to be blasphemy.
It’s a sad commentary, and I really shouldn’t say it because I know it makes the TBMs dig in further, but I see Joseph Smith as a joke. I can’t take the guy seriously at all except to admire, in a perverse way, his ability to con people. I’ll never forget when I heard about the “magic glasses” from Mormon sources several decades ago. I was like, “Are you kidding me!” But this stuff really flips the switch of some people. Who can figure it out. But I had a very good friend that was a Mormon convert way back then and I could never wrap my brain around why he went that direction.
Proverbs 16:4 says “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.” Might be something to that when we think of Joseph Smith.
I like your sentiments above when describing me. Did you know that my staunch athiest friend has said exactly the same things about religion and religious people in general, so that includes you and your beliefs. Nice to know we’re in the same boat! 🙂
And you’re right I can’t claim that God hasn’t reached out and called to me, and I never have. I strongly believe that I am right where He wants me to be, and this is from both a spiritual witness and other evidences from my own and friends’ experiences. I know you can say the same thing about yourself, but in my view you are the one that is delusional and on the wrong path in life. Why don’t you come over to the path of truth and life and follow the true Jesus and Heavenly Father instead of trying to drag people into Satan’s path?
I am not trying to claim any authority for the BoA from my comments. I just asked the question – if Abram had a background in polythiesm, was the One God that he eventually followed one of the pantheon, or a different god altogether? If He was one of the pantheon then wouldn’t some of the worship rituals (eg sacrifice) similar? If He wasn’t one of the pantheon then how did He reveal Himself to Abram and be recognised as The God? It does not tell us this in the Bible, it just says that God called Abram out and away from Ur. (BTW In this respect it says nothing about God calling Abram out of polythiesm – if you want to take the Bible literally)
Well you see Ralph it’s because I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I’ve even had several burnings in my bosom so I know what I believe is true. I feel compelled to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that He walked this earth and taught many things and died on the Cross for my sins. I believe he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will come again for the final judgment.
I testify to you that there is One God, eternal, never changing. It’s through Him, and His plan of salvation that we are granted, through faith, eternal life. Jesus is the physical manifestation of the invisible God. He is the revealed Word. There is no other way to the Father accept through Him. By God’s Spirit we are called. Some answer this call and others don’t, choosing a path that will lead to destruction.
There’s still time Ralph. You are drawn here continually and God keeps reaching out to you. How long will you reject Him?
I am continually amazed at how you liken smith and his family to Biblical prophets. There is no comparison. The one thing that the Biblical prophets have that smith does not is the testimony of Jesus that they WERE prophets. In the case of Abraham, the Lord himself affirms his righteousness.
After Abraham was called of the Lord, he was consistent in how he described and worshipped the Lord. He did not say God is a spirit, Jesus is flesh and the Holy Spirit is the mind of both and then change his mind 8 years later like smith did. The Bible account of Abraham is sketchy to say the least. We don’t know all the circumstances surrounding why Abraham did what he did. But his life as a whole shows he was a true prophet of God.
smith, on the other hand, never changed his ways. He was a money digger, used magick stones and talismans, lied, deceived, threatened, beat up people, was a hypocrite, broke the laws of the land and of God, and died because he had such an ego he could not allow freedom of the press in his own city.
Abraham Prophet. Yes.
smith Prophet. NOT.
The biggest threat to Mormons and Mormonism is the process of “critical thinking/higher order thinking”. Now Mormons actually are quite proud of this, in a way, because Joseph Smith’s claims have to be “felt” not “understood”. Actually understanding Joseph Smith isn’t all that difficult. He was a narcissist with a “talent” for telling tall tales and doing so in a way that some folks jumped on his bandwagon. The folks that believe the yarns he spun must suspend credulity in order to make it all work for them.
That’s why Mormons often sound childish with their attempted explanations of why Smith’s story has to be true. Now we’re not talking about what Jesus said about having a faith like a child. We’re talking about “childish” which is immature or magical thinking. I don’t think any of us Christians can even begin to imagine how much the smithians want Joe’s tales to be true. It makes them feel good. They think they have spiritual power in their false priesthood. They’re going to become gods and have forever families and rule their very own planets. Mormons want this bad enough that they’ll twist themselves into pretzels to make it all come out the way they want it to. It’s a two plus two equals five form of reasoning. While the rest of us can see their folly, they can’t. They believe it and their thoughts become a personal reality.
I was perusing Uncle Dans Old Mormon Articles and came up with a tidbit that dovetails nicely with the post I made on the “Prophet-preferred-prophet Test” on smith’s “prophecy” about the mormons “fleeing to Zion” to escape the coming apocalypse before “it overtakes you”, – adding “there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken, fulfilled.”
This apocalypse would be so great that it “would sweep the wicked of this (smith’s) generation from off the face of the land.
This in turn would “open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north.” smith was so sure this would happen, he gave his solemn oath, “by authority of Jesus Christ” no less, making the point that “I am accountable for EVERY word I say.”
Is it any wonder we see articles like this one published in the Liberal Advocate of Rochester NY in April of 1832:
“Mormonism is said to have taken deep root in the Baptist church, in the town of Mendon, in this county. A number were re-dipped on Sunday last. The preacher said that he should never die, but be translated, after the manner of Enoch, and that in eighteen months Mormonism would be the prevailing religion; and, that in five years the wicked were to be swept from the face of the earth. When we see the degradation to which weak human nature has been reduced of late, we cannot wonder at such fanatical extravagance.”
Here we have corroboration of smith’s false prophecies, and the “fanatical extravagance” those that believed him went to, to promulgate this rubbish. Not only were the wicked to be swept off the earth ‘within five years’ but faithful mormoms expected to be ‘translated’ like Enoch….
There is no defense of this, and reports of the time again bear out the lies of smith…