Irrefutable proofs—"Spaulding Romance"
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J24 JONES, Dan. Tystioliaethau diwrthbrawf nad o’r “Spaulding Romance” y gwnaed Llyfr Mormon!!! (Irrefutable proofs that the Book of Mormon was not obtained from the “Spaulding Romance!!!) Swansea: Published and printed by D. Jones, .
24 pp. 17.3 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 84.
Nearly 90 percent of the contents of Irrefutable proofs was taken from A review of the lectures of the Rev. E. Roberts (pp. 21–35), a pamphlet also published by Dan Jones seven years earlier in Merthyr Tydfil (J13). Only the first two and one-half pages, plus an occasional editorial comment, are new to the 1854 pamphlet, though wider spacing between lines in the later version results in several more pages.
For the 1847 A review, Jones had obtained his information about the “Spaulding manuscript” from a variety of sources, since he was not a personal witness to any of the happenings. About half came from Benjamin Winchester’s 24-page pamphlet, The origin of the Spaulding story (Philadelphia, 1840); the remainder was gathered from several other sources, including letters by Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt.
Irrefutable Proofs that the “Spaulding Romance” was not the source of the Book of Mormon!!!
In any neighborhood, town, or country throughout the world, wherever a Book of Mormon can be found, hardly anyone is unacquainted with the various and inventive efforts that are made to obstruct belief in it; and no less well–known than that is the fact that those who profess to be religious educators, such as “Priests,” “Reverends,” “Preachers,” and teachers in the midst of every nation, are the generals of the militant army against it without exception of party, creed, or denomination; and from among all their attacks on it, they believe that their strongest sling, their heaviest cannon, and the Tomahawk that gives the fatal blow to Mormonism is that which they call the “Spaulding Story;” we have seen hardly any treatises, and we have hardly ever heard a sermon without this as plaster on some corner of it, and we have heard of hardly any giant or pigmy who goes out against Mormonism without bragging that this clumsy “jawbone of an ass,” despite how old it is, has pierced the skull and has been the death of Mormonism by the strength of his own powerful arm. It was worn out in the western world, and its skeleton was put into exile; but across the ocean it came, and to the aforementioned group and their servile Editorial host, the landings of “Kossuth,” and the authoress of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” or even the landing of America itself would not please their taste more, it seems! Perfect,—truly—as a complete remedy for their wounds, as a force against their fears, and as a net to keep those they have deceived from escaping from their clutches,—according to their choice, here it is! Such good news,—let its landing be observed as a holiday! In vehicles to the pulpits and the Newspapers, to set the world on fire, drive the dear “Spaulding Story” forward!
Despite how old and feeble the following investigation proves its pedigree to be, it has traveled practically the width and breadth of the earth! From Russia to Patagonia—all the islands of the Pacific Ocean, the African Continent, and the bulwarks of far off India,—wherever there may be a Missionary, a Bishop, or a zealous sectarian, there it will be!
The lying deceit that claims the Book of Mormon to have originated from the “Spaulding Story” has been disproven so frequently, so clearly and so completely in America, in England, and by ourselves in Wales for many years now, that we had come to believe that even one “Priest” would be ashamed to recite it any more, and that we would not have to dirty our hands to touch it now, except that the aforementioned group has made a second attempt lately to resurrect it and to spread it throughout the country, and that perhaps there might be many who have recently joined or who are now looking into our religion, who have not seen those refutations. There are before us now, no fewer than a dozen little Welsh and English pamphlets that attempt to tell this story, and we cannot identify any two of them that are not different, if not completely contradictory with respect to it. We shall not take the trouble to examine them separately, rather we shall go immediately beneath the roots of them all, for the shame, we should think, of the “Rev. G. C. F. Harries, A. C.,” for his translation of the lying treatise of the “Rev. F. B. Ashley,” and also the Rev. William Rowlands, a Curate of Merthyr Tydfil with his shameful Catechism, if there is any shame in them; and let the other host of Priests be ashamed, those who have no better work than to spread these foolish tales throughout all the houses of town and country. Is a work such as this worthy of the “Tithe” of all the fruit of our earth? A work that it would have been better for them not to have created or produced! A work for which we possess an abundance of truths to prove it a tissue of lies woven together from every corner, despite the host of “Reverends,” and their other titles that support them, and those truths will shine in the light of the sun before the eyes of the public, so there will be time, until every lover of the truth will acknowledge that it was the fawning servants of the “father of lies” who made it for the purpose of deceiving. Thus we shall begin with the “Spaulding Story;” the inventors of this deceit say that a man by the name of Solomon Spaulding, to entertain himself, wrote a romance that professes to give an account of the early inhabitants of America, as if it had been written by one of them, which he called “Manuscript found,” and as if he had restored it now from the earth. It is claimed that the manuscript was put in the hand of a man by the name of Patterson, a printer who lived in Pittsburgh, that one by the name of Sidney Rigdon was there at the time, that he obtained the manuscript, and that he assisted Joseph Smith to make the Book of Mormon from it, by adding to it parts of the scriptures, &c. To verify this they brought forth things which they professed were testimonies of Mr. Spaulding, his ‘Reverend’ brother, and this ‘godly’ family throngs of ‘Reverends’ with the most honorable titles, as if that would make it more authentic.
And now let us search their “refuges of lies!” These matters were first published in an essay entitled “Mormonism Unvailed,” by E. D. Howe, Painsville, Ohio, U.S.A., but the book’s original author was a man named D. P. Hurlbut. A little history of this man’s character will help us understand the aforementioned account. First we shall quote the irrefutable testimony of a very well-known gentleman by the name of Mr. B. Winchester. Although he published it at the time on the platform of these experts, we have never heard that any of them have doubted this testimony about Mr. Hurlbut:—
“I came to know Mr. Hurlbut in Jamestown, the state of New York. He had been an assistant preacher with the Wesleyans, but had been excommunicated for adultery. A short while later he joined the Saints, went to Kirtland in Ohio, where he was eventually called to be a preacher, and he successfully preached for a while in Pennsylvania; but he fell to shameful sins such as adultery, &c., and he was excommunicated by the conference; and they took his license from him; nevertheless, because of his repentance and good promises he was finally allowed membership in Kirtland. On his return from there, he attacked one of the daughters of Mr. Thompson, from Geauga County, Ohio; he tried to rape her, and was caught in the nefarious act. He was released on conditions, and he was excommunicated from the church forever for this. When Hurlbut saw that he had ruined himself in the sight of the Saints and their acquaintances, he set about the work of taking revenge on Joseph Smith, &c. He went around the country lecturing against the leaders of the Saints, making all sorts of false accusations against the character of Joseph Smith and his family, pulling down, to the utmost of his ability, what they had previously built. While Hurlbut was with the Saints he was accused by preachers, religious people, and his acquaintances, as the worst man in the land; they greatly faulted the Saints for allowing such a man into their midst, saying that he was an obstacle for others to come forward, but when the same Hurlbut turned against the Saints, the doors of chapels and houses were opened before him, and the same preachers and religious people flocked in great numbers to listen to him, and they swallowed his invented lies, without a word of truth in them, very keenly and sweetly; yes, as eagerly with their mouths open, as the scribes previously waited for Pilate to sign the sentence of the Son of God. Instead of harming Mormonism like this, Hurlbut saw that it was increasing remarkably, by his drawing the attention of thoughtful men to investigate it, and since his stock of lies became stale from his constant repetition of them, he decided to devise some other trick to fight more successfully against the Saints. About this time he came to know a man by the name of Mr. Jackson, and others, in the Township of Jackson, Pa., who were personally acquainted with a man by the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had written the aforementioned “manuscript” many years earlier. This was the first word Hurlbut had heard of Mr. Spaulding or his manuscript. None of these people had ever thought that there was any similarity, let alone connection, between that manuscript and the Book of Mormon. After this Hurlbut hatched the ungodly plan ‘that the Book of Mormon originated from the manuscript;’ and when he returned here, having fashioned his story, and tried to get Mr. Jackson and others, who had read the manuscript, and also the Book of Mormon, to attest to the likelihood that the Book of Mormon was made from the manuscript, they were greatly appalled; and, urging him to earn his bread in an honest way rather than by making up an unfounded story to deceive his fellowmen, they drove him away.
These people testify to this, especially Mr. Jackson, who had read the ‘manuscript’ and the Book of Mormon! And in trying to persuade Hurlbut to leave his awful trick he said that ‘there was no similarity between the two books.’
Mr. Jackson gave a fatal blow to the whole thing as follows:
‘And,’ he said, ‘Mr. Spaulding’s was a very small treatise, in the form of a novel. It did not mention a word about, or refer to THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL; but it professed to give the history of some nation that came from Rome; Mr. Spaulding professed to have translated this history from a Latin parchment he had found. But as for the Book of Mormon, (he said), it professes to have been written by one of the TRIBES OF ISRAEL, and in a completely different style from the other.’ This is the testimony of one of the men of highest character in that county, and its consistency with the book itself should satisfy any number of sensible people. And Mr. Jackson refused to allow Hurlbut to put his name to such a shameful strategem. Yet so great was Hurlbut’s hatred of the truth, his desire to prevent people from believing, and thinking that he would earn a few dollars from this, he did not pass up this opportunity to try to prove that it was that novel that was the origin of the Book of Mormon. Having failed to succeed in that district, he went to Kirtland, and he announced a meeting and invited everyone who disbelieved ‘Mormonism’ to assist him ‘to put it down completely and forever.’ He had many on his side from among preachers, prejudiced professors and everyone who hated the Saints because of their religion; they formed themselves into a committee to aid Hurlbut against Mormonism, under the name “Anti-Mormons.”
Hurlbut informed them that he had heard in Pennsylvania that one S. Spaulding had written a novel, and that the likelihood could be shown that S. Rigdon had obtained it, and called it the “Book of Mormon.” He said that he was about to write a Book for that purpose, and to oppose Mormonism in every other way he could, if they would help him with money for that. Great was the joy this caused to his committee, and others of the same opinion; they unanimously decided to set him to work with great urgency. One preacher with the Campbellites, by the name of Newel (a notorious mobocrat), presented him with 300 dollars to publish the book, the title of which was to be ‘Mormonism Unvailed;’ others contributed to the same cause. This enabled Hurlbut to quickly set out on horseback; and the first place he headed was for New Salem (the place where Mr. S. lived when he wrote his ‘manuscript’). Having arrived, he called together several of those who were hostile toward the Saints, and he informed them of his intention to try to prove that it was from the ‘Manuscript’ that the Book of Mormon originated; and no one there, yes, even in the place where the ‘manuscript’ had been written, had ever thought of such a trick, or even mentioned that there was any similarity between them; but his strategem was completely new to all of them; in spite of that the majority agreed, and they gave him money, and they urged him to go to Spaulding’s widow, (now Mrs. Davieson,) who lived in Monson, Massachusetts.
The Saints had been preaching and baptizing many around New Salem for some time, and steadily increasing, and although the partisan shepherds had grown angry against them because they were losing their members, and their hope of profit was paling; although they had already searched at length for any kind of material or stories to try to oppose them, yet none of them had ever thought there was any connection between, or similarity between the ‘manuscript’ and the Book of Mormon; although that was the place where the manuscript is said to have been composed. But to return to the story.
When H. arrived at Monson, Mrs. Davieson put the aforementioned ‘manuscript’ in his hand, . . . . which H. himself denies in his treatise, namely ‘Mormonism Unvailed!’ She also informed him that she had a trunk in the state of New York that contained other writings that he could have if he wished. On his way back H. called at Palmyra, N. Y., (close to the home of J. Smith when he obtained the oracles); there he collected as many names of men opposed to the Saints as he could, under a list of the worst accusations any son of Belial could devise, in an attempt to blacken the character of J. Smith and his family. Afterwards he added to it many fake names, in order to give an appearance of truth to his lies, because he believed that they would be better received when supported by D. D.’s, Revd’s, and A. M.’s, &c. This is the original source of the stories ‘that J. Smith had been digging in the earth for silver,’ ‘that he was a ‘fortuneteller,’ ‘a drunkard,’ ‘a thief,’ ‘of a disreputable family,’ ‘without character,’ &c., &c. Yes, this is the gang by whom the shameful stories published and proclaimed against him to this day were fathered! But all who know him consider the bad word of people such as these a recommendation of J. Smith, for it proves that he did not agree with their wicked and ungodly ways.
In his conversation with Mrs. Davieson, H. learned that Mr. Spaulding had moved from New Salem to Pittsburgh in the year 1812; and soon afterwards from there to the town of Amity, Pa., and that he had died in 1816. He thought that this would help the plan along admirably; and as soon as he returned to New Salem, his fellow conspirators urged him to go to Pittsburgh to find out whether Mr. S. had left his manuscript there on loan. His only purpose in all of this was to try to convince the public that S. Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon. And as does every liar when he wishes to force his lie on the public, so did he; for he knew that S. Rigdon had been in Pittsburgh before this time, and thus he tried to establish that S. Rigdon had seen Mr. S.’s manuscript there. After this H. returned to Kirtland to look for more material and to compose his book, and while there he tried to murder Joseph Smith. But mercifully he was caught in his murderous trick before succeeding, and after a trial he was found guilty of trying to kill him, and he was forced to pay surety of 500 dollars to keep the peace. Here he added the names of his chief supporters to the list he had got in Palmyra, to blacken J. Smith’s character. But before long, he showed himself in his true colors by committing his old sinful tricks, and he was forced to flee from the laws of the land.
When his most faithful supporters, and those who were the most eager for the book to become public, saw that H’s character had been damaged forever in the sight of all his acquaintances, they urged him to sell his writings to a man by the name of E. D. Howe, Painesville, for fear that it would not be bought by anyone who knew H; and so not only did they suffer a loss, but they did not have the pleasure of persecuting and getting revenge on “Mormonism” and its leaders. Howe bought Hurlbut’s writings for 500 dollars; thus that filthy and lying book, namely “Mormonism Unvailed,” became the stepson of this Howe, who was greatly opposed to the Saints because his wife, his sister, and others of his relations had joined the Saints. With his “unjust gain,” Hurlbut went and bought a small holding in the county of Erie, Pa.; and he married a wife and soon turned out to be the most disreputable drunkard in the land; he spent everything he had until he became a tramp, yes, and worse than that, for he took up the craft of stealing for his livelihood; and when he was caught stealing a chain from a neighbor, he fled the country lest he receive lodgings in the jail, and that is the last I heard of his story.
I have given a detailed account of this Hurlbut so that the public may know the author, first inventor, and lying progenitor of the “Spaulding Story” as the origin of the Book of Mormon. And so that the public may understand about the foundation and authority of this story, as well as its author and its supporters, those who call preachers, authors and lecturers “respectable gentlemen.” These witnesses were considered professed and paid enemies, and untrustworthy among their acquaintances. This proves that those who tell the story after them are under the influence of the same spirit, servants of the same master, and perform the same task as those who prefer a lie to the truth. What man can be found so good in any country, that one cannot get plenty of such men as these, to accuse him of similar things as those they bring against Joseph Smith? Especially when “the learned men of the age” preach this and hire them to do this. In what age or country was there not a prophet or apostle who was not similarly accused by such witnesses? Yes, remember that great trial in the court of the high priest, when such witnesses were employed against our blessed Savior, and who were doubtless believed against him as easily in that age as these accusations are now believed against his servants. We remember his saying, “Blessed are you when everyone says all manner of evil against you.” And it is obvious that they were no more untruthful than these. And as for that treatise, namely “Mormonism Unvailed,” the character of its authors was so disgraceful that they could sell hardly any copies of it in those parts. And instead of Howe’s becoming rich, it was a burden upon him, so that he could not sell it despite his hawking it around for half price. And anyone who reads it will see that there is no foundation to the accusations in it, only imaginations; “I suppose,” “maybe,” “perhaps,” &c. Yet when the “religious” authors of the eastern states got hold of these stories they published them widely, declaring that they were true.
SEE THESE CHIEF WITNESSES HANGING EACH OTHER!!
Among other reverends who declared that the above story was true, one Presbyterian preacher, by the name of Mr. Storrs from Massachusetts, published it; and so that the great desire of these men to spread a lie can be seen, we shall show how these two treatises contradict and destroy each other, although they both profess to give the same story, and the truth of both is attested to by men with noble titles. Mr. Storrs, in that which he claims to be the testimony of Mrs. Davieson, Spaulding’s widow, says “that this new sect (the Mormons) use the Book of Mormon in place of the Bible.” This Rev. knew well enough that the Saints believe the Bible completely and base their whole teaching upon it, for he heard them preaching. He says that Mr. S. moved to Pittsburgh, ‘became acquainted with and showed his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, the Editor of a newspaper, who liked it very much and borrowed it.’ Now, if this is true, why did they not get Mr. P.’s testimony? We reply that it is because they knew that Mr. P. would not agree to their lying plot. From the other side, based on Mr. P.’s testimony, the above is an obvious lie.
As soon as this appeared to the world, Mr. J. P. Green went to Mr. Patterson and asked if it was true.
Mr. P. replied that he had never before heard a word of such a thing, that he did not know such a man as Mr. Spaulding, nor his manuscript! Notice this clear testimony now.
In his treatise Hurlbut says that he had been with Mr. P., and that he said that he ‘knew nothing of such a manuscript as that of Mr. S.’ Behold the two authorial partners at loggerheads already! Yet, it is said that S. Rigdon was in contact with Mr. Patterson’s press in Pittsburgh. But the truth is, Mr. Rigdon had never been in any sort of contact with a printing press, and there is a good reason why not, because such a press was not in existence when Mr. R. was in Pittsburgh.
Here one can see that the Rev. Mr. Storrs has been guilty of plotting and publishing a known lie. Whatever he does, he cannot deny it; and it is too obvious for his cloak of holiness to be able to hide the horns and hooves of this monster. Again he says, ‘Here he (Rigdon) had an opportunity to copy the manuscript of Mr. S.’ Mr. R. lived in Pittsburgh only from the year 1822 until 1826, and that he had anything to do with the Book of Mormon, we utterly deny; and he knew not a word of its existence for years afterwards, as we shall prove as we go on.
But first, note how these authors contradict each other! Mr. Storrs says that Mr. S. wrote his manuscript in New Salem in the year 1812. But he conceals the time he moved to Pittsburgh, for he knew that otherwise he would destroy with the one hand that which he tried to build with the other. His partner, now his opponent, namely Hurlbut, said that Mr. S.’s widow told him that they moved to Pittsburgh in 1812 and from there to Amity in 1814. But Mr. Storrs has the widow saying that the manuscript had been returned to its author before they moved from Pittsburgh to Amity, and that she had safeguarded the manuscript. Note when this was admitted true, that they themselves admitted that the only time Mr. Rigdon could have gotten hold of that manuscript was between 1812 and 1814; for since that time, Mrs. Davieson admits that she safeguarded it in her own possession. Note, Mr. Rigdon was born in 1793, and thus in 1812 (namely the time it is said that he wrote the Book of Mormon from the manuscript) he could have been only 19 years old! His mother assured me (says one witness), that before they ever heard of Mr. Spaulding, he had never been within hundreds of miles of Pittsburgh, nor any distance from home, but worked the land with his parents until he was over 26 years old!
Here are the two traitors fighting each other again, with the truth coming into the open!
And indeed, whoever could believe that an uneducated young lad, who scarcely did anything but follow the plough, composed a book containing over 600 pages, and then kept it hidden for about 20 years so that not one syllable concerning it was heard from him or anyone else; I say, he who thinks this possible can also believe Mahomet’s story of his seven heavens.
Take note that it is they who said that Mrs. Davieson ‘kept the manuscript from 1814 until the time she gave it to Hurlbut;’ and compare this with the fact that Mr. Rigdon had never been in Pittsburgh before 1822, about eight years after the manuscript was under lock and key with Mrs. Davieson!! See how these devoted plotters reveal their trickery, and hang themselves, and each other, by putting dates down, which they did to give an appearance of truth to their stories!
They also claim that some woman brought the Book of Mormon to New Salem, and called a public meeting to preach, and that she read parts of it in public; that John Spaulding (the brother of the late S. Spaulding) was there, and that so great was his anxiety at seeing such use being made of his blessed brother’s manuscript, that he wept bitterly. We oppose this story, in the first place, by announcing that no woman ever preached with the Mormons, and that no woman ever had the authority to call a meeting; and we have never before heard that any woman of the Saints did such a thing. The Saints do not believe in feminine priesthood as anyone who knows anything about them well knows.
Next, I myself lived in New Salem at the time referred to, and I bear witness that no such meeting was held, nor anything similar.
Again, no one by the name of John Spaulding lived there, nor in that state either; and thus, from an undeniable base, I bear witness that every syllable of those claims is also false, concocted expressly to deceive; and they cannot refute me, for I challenge them to bring forth their proof.
Behold the whole fabric in a ruin now, and its inventors buried in it, and the Reverends, Harries, Rowlands, & Co., in their black robes mourning at the grave of their dear Jezebel, Mrs. “Spaulding Romance!” Oh, their misfortune! what will become of them?
It was a poor undertaking for the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, who professed to be a servant of God, to compose a Romance (that is invented lies), to force it upon the public as truth, and it was a poor inheritance to leave behind to support his family! . . .
Compare this with what Hurlbut himself says, namely, ‘And the fact also that Solomon Spaulding tended towards atheism before his death, as the letter from his own work which is now in my possession will prove.’
Thus here again, notice Hurlbut and John Spaulding contradicting each other in this Reverendish Sanhedrin, and by this proving whose servants they are, for the works of the ‘father of lies’ is what they do.
Remember that Hurlbut obtained Spaulding’s manuscript from his widow, according to what she says in the following, promising her that he would publish it, and that she would have part of the profit, and that’s the last anyone heard of him. Where is the original manuscript now? Let Hurlbut answer. Why does he not bring it out into the open, when all his tricks are so obviously refuted in its absence?
Why was the original manuscript not published so the public could compare it with the Book of Mormon for themselves, and see if they were similar? They dare not say they cannot do this, when Mrs. Davieson proves that she placed it in his very hand.
Let our readers put their powers of reasoning to work, to consider why this silence, and why the hiding of that manuscript. And then they will see that this in itself is enough to stamp the lie on the face of the whole trick from one end to the other!
Neither this H., nor Storrs, nor any of their supporters, can excuse themselves from publishing it, by claiming that it is not worth their attention; for their great efforts already, the treatises they have published, the lecturing and the quoting to the newspapers, prove that they themselves consider the thing to be of great importance!
Well, why do they not publish the manuscript that is in their own hands and, which would prove more easily and effectively than anything else, that it is the source of the Book of Mormon, if what they say is true?
We shall furnish them the only answer they can give, which is, if they were to publish the manuscript their lies would be made as obvious as the noonday sun, and yet their refusal to publish it proves the same thing just as clearly!
I wonder if all the godly Reverends, and the faithful and true patriots, who have been so diligent in devising and spreading this story all over the country, will allow the Mormons, and the public, to call upon them in vain to bring that manuscript into the open, while they themselves stand before the court of truth, like trembling culprits before the bar, until it comes? Now Mr. Harries, will you be mute to this challenge? What do you say, Mr. Rowlands, will you shout at this, “just as priests were spreaders of tales in the beginning, thus will they continue forever, Amen?” It shall be seen before long! This is their only defense now; and neither will they do this, for it would be tantamount to calling back their lies. And again, we say, could it be that these men, who profess so much love for their fellowmen, and so much desire to enlighten them by their having the truth, and who have done so much already with this story,—will not finish it, I wonder, by publishing that manuscript which is incomplete, to substantiate their previous claims, while knowing that many thousands of people believe the truth of the Book which they call a lying Romance, and by so doing endangering their souls! What! since they love it so greatly, and since they have been challenged to reveal the original manuscript, which they acknowledge is their strongest witness in their possession; why do they not send to the host of their fathers, fathers of baptism and godly (?) fathers who have this article in America to reveal it to the world, so that it can answer for itself? That is a fair challenge,—the root of the debate—the heart of the matter; out with it for the public of the world, and we shall not fear the result! Will they be silent despite all their boasting of zeal, and goodwill, and love, &c., so that they will not enlighten the public about such an important thing, when (if their story is true on their admission) it is so easy for them to do this through that manuscript?
What do you say, reader, about a pack of men who shout (about a book which so many believe to be holy), that they know it is false, and that it was published by a man in order to get money for his family, and that they possess the ‘manuscript’ that proves this, but who in spite of all of this refuse to reveal that manuscript on any account?
Do they not stand self-condemned before the conscience of every thinking man for the gross neglect of their duty, or for purposefully plotting an evil trick like this to deceive their fellowmen, and to prevent them from searching for the truth?—Of the two possibilities, it must be that one is true, and now there is no doubt which one, we think, especially when one remembers the trickery and great diligence of these people to prevent the spreading of the truth, in order to ensure their hope of profit.
The following letter is a mortal blow to the treatise called Origin of Mormonism, which letter Matilda Davieson herself signs, and which proves the above book, the work of the Rev. Mr. Storrs, from Holliston, or D. Austin, or both, to be a shameful forgery, stemming from jealousy, because their members and one of their deacons had joined the Saints; and this is how they tried to hold onto the rest and prevent them from doing likewise.
WIFE AND DAUGHTER OF SPAULDING PROVE THE BOOK OF MORMON WAS NOT MADE FROM HIS MANUSCRIPT!!!
“A CUNNING DEVICE DETECTED.”
(A quotation from the American Newspaper by the name of the “Quincy Whig.”)
“It will be recollected that an article appeared lately in several Newspapers purporting to give an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, [namely the writing under scrutiny]. How far that article has effected its author’s purposes, or what his purposes were, I shall not attempt to say at this time, but I shall present the other side of the story before us through the following letter, so that the public may judge the matter according to the article itself.
“Copy of a letter written by Mr. John Haven, of Holliston, Mass., to his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Haven, of the town of Quincy, Ills.
“Your brother Jesse passed through Monson (where the widow Spaulding lives), where he had the company of Mrs. Davieson, her daughter, Mrs. M. Kinestry, and Dr. Ely, for several hours; and during this time he asked her the following questions; and he had the following answers in the presence of Dr. Ely, and let them deny Dr. Ely if they can, word for word as closely as I can remember: viz,—
Quest. Did you, Mrs. Davieson, write a letter to Mr. John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of Mormonism?
Ans: I did not; neither did I ever see the letter till I saw it in the “Boston Recorder,” with my name on it. The letter was never brought to me to sign.
Ques. What did you have to do with that letter?
Ans. Dr. R. Austin came to my house, and asked me a few questions, and wrote some things at the time.
Ques. Is what is written in the letter true?
Ans. Some things are as I answered him.
Ques. Have you read the Book of Mormon?
Ans. I have read some in it!
Ques. Is there any similarity between Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript and the Book of Mormon?
Ans. No, except there are some names in them that are rather similar to each other.
Ques. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
Ans. An idolatrous people.
Ques. Where is the manuscript?
Ans. P. Hurlbut came here and took it away, promising to publish it, and I was to have half the profit.
Ques. Has Hurlbut published the manuscript?
Ans. No, but he notified me in a letter that when he looked at the manuscript it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it.
Ques. How large is the manuscript?
Ans. About one-third as large as the Book of Mormon.
Ques. to Mrs. M. Kinestry. How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript?
Ans. About five years of age.
Ques. Did you ever read the manuscript?
Ans. When I was about 12 years old I used to read it for diversion.
Ques. Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
Ans. An idolatrous people.
Ques. Do you think that there is any similarity between the manuscript and the Book of Mormon?
Ans. Perhaps some of the names are rather similar.
Ques. Are you certain that as much as one of the names is the same?
Ans. NO, I AM NOT!
Ques. Have you ever read as much as one word of the Book of Mormon?
Ans. No, not one word!
Ques. Did you give permission for your name to be attached to Mr. Storr’s article in the “Boston Recorder?”
Ans. No; I never meant that my name should appear under such a thing. I was very sorry to see it there.
“You see by the above, that Mr. Austin in his great zeal to destroy the Book of Mormon, and to show his hatred for the Saints, has asked Mrs. Davieson a few questions in order to have the occasion to write his own thoughts to Mr. Storrs in her name. Mrs. Davieson is about 70 years old now, and aging rapidly.”
Understand that that is what the widow of Spaulding and her daughter say, despite all the fuss that is made about them and their ‘story!’ It is seen that it is completely contrary to the stories of all the Reverends of the world! Let them confer with one another before coming out again. But remember that the widow Spaulding and her daughter are with us, and prove clearly that the Book of Mormon was not made from the ‘Manuscript;’ rather it was the ‘Reverends’ who forged her name, and her daughter tries to prove that; but behold the shame on their own faces now, and the truth coming into the open!
Now, must not their case have been bad when they would forge the names of two women to substantiate it? And proving this forgery shatters their entire fabric, because this was its basis. None of the above people were Saints; and it can be seen that Mrs. M. Kinestry’s desire in trying to suggest that even some of the names were quite similar, when she admitted that she had not read a word of the Book of Mormon, proves that she too did her utmost against that book!
And I wonder if any man would be clever enough to compose the Book of Mormon from such a small manuscript, and make it such that all the wisdom of the wise men of the age could not find refutations in it, without concocting lies based on forgery,—sufficiently clever, we say, to do all this, and yet sufficiently foolish not to change the names that had been in the ‘Manuscript?’ Reason! reason now!
Apart from that, if S. Rigdon had been able to compose the religious part of it, why could he not have composed the other part also without seeing Spaulding’s manuscript, when it was a small one at that? And furthermore, whoever reads the Book of Mormon can see that the historical part and the religious part of it (as they are called), are interwoven, so that it is not possible to separate them.
Note also that Storrs makes one to believe that Mrs. Davieson said that the ‘manuscript’ was lost. And here she herself says that she ‘gave it to Hurlbut, and that he had promised to publish it.’ See the trick of Hurlbut and his supporters hiding their true purpose of getting the ‘Manuscript’ from Mrs. Davieson, again inventing a lie as an excuse, namely that they could publish it, and that she would receive half of the profit! It is amazing the tissue of contradictory lies that these people told freely and knowingly, to deceive the public in cold blood!! We wonder at God’s great patience in tolerating such injustice! Yet their madness had become obvious to all who read it. And I wonder if they would have labored so energetically to oppose the Book of Mormon had it not been of holy origin, and true? Oh no; a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
I thought that the cunning device of the “Spaulding Romance,” to try to show the origin of the Book of Mormon, had been completely destroyed, and clearly refuted to all who choose to understand, so that there is not a trace of truth in it.
Yet since so much use is being made of it by authors and lecturers, even in our country, we shall add the testimony of P. P. Pratt, which he published in New York in reply to a man by the name of L. R. Sunderland, and which proves beyond any argument, that S. Rigdon knew nothing of, and heard not a word about the Book of Mormon, until quite some time after it had been published to the world!! And that he knew nothing about the aforementioned Manuscript until this Hurlbut published this lie about it. Having declared his acquaintance with Mr. Rigdon for years, when they were both preachers with the Baptists, and of their nonconformity under the name “Disciples,” or what is called “Campbellites,” &c., the historian shows the manner, and the time he himself first heard mention of “Mormonism,” as follows:—”In August 1830, when on my preaching trip in the county of Ontario, the state of N.Y., I first came to know of the Book of Mormon. At this time it had been published to the world for over six months, and had won about 50 believers; and these were the only “Latter-day Saints” in the world at that time. At first I had a very strong prejudice against the Book of Mormon, and until I remembered Paul’s advice, “Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.” Having sat down and read it in detail and compared it with the holy scriptures, I fervently prayed to God for him to somehow show me if it was true; and it was not long before the Lord in his grace gave me evidence of its truth through his Holy Spirit. And what was I to oppose God? Soon I obeyed the ordinances of the gospel, and I was called to the ministry through the revelation and laying of hands of the servants of God, and as a result I went around preaching the gospel.
Having returned to the county of Ontario, N.Y., I saw Joseph Smith for the first time ever. About the 15th of October, 1830, I set out with O. Cowdery and P. Whitmer towards the state of Ohio. We called to see Mr. S. Rigdon, and at this time he first saw the Book of Mormon, and I had the pleasure of first putting it in his hand! He was very surprised when I offered it to him telling him what it was; and it was not without sincere persuasion and much reasoning with him that I succeeded in getting Mr. R. to take the book and read it; he considered it too incredible in his sight that such a thing as a holy book was to come forth. There were great efforts made before he could completely believe its content. And when at last he was convinced of its truth he called upon all his relatives, his friends, and his congregation, and a great crowd gathered together. He addressed them very seriously for about two hours on this matter, and the majority of the congregation wept the whole time, under the pressure of his appeals and his reasons. He asked for the forgiveness of all those to whom his previous behavior or teaching could have been an obstacle, because before he conscientiously taught them according to the light he possessed; he gave notice of his intention to obey the gospel and the following morning he and his wife were baptized by Mr. O. Cowdery. I was present; the scene was serious and majestic; hosts of onlookers, mostly under a special influence; several others were baptized at that time, and after that until during that winter and the following spring the numbers of Saints had increased to over a thousand; the Lord bestowing the Holy Spirit in its powerful acts upon the Saints, and the word of the Lord increased more and more, and many preachers obeyed the gospel.
Early in the year 1831, Mr. Rigdon was ordained by us, and he visited brother Joseph Smith and saw him for the first time ever.
Soon after this our enemies began trying to say that it was S. Rigdon who made the Book of Mormon. Yet, none of them imagined a word about the “Spaulding Romance” at that time, nor for years afterwards, until Hurlbut published his deceiving forgery in “Mormonism Unvailed.” In the western states whole neighborhoods, nearly, obeyed the doctrine, after the “Spaulding Romance” had been published among them; and indeed we did not consider it worthy of opposition, until after religious authors and preachers of this town (New York) had published it assuring that it was the truth.
Now, I seriously bear witness that those who designed the “Spaulding Story” (about Mr. Rigdon, &c.) are false witnesses similar to those who accused the disciples of stealing Christ’s body from the grave. This in short is the history of the “Spaulding Story.” Doubtless many have used it as an excuse for not believing and obeying the truth, but it did not prevent anyone with an honest heart, keen for the truth, from accepting the holy and gracious message which God sent to the world. For such as these search the thing, and prove it instead of following the stories of professed enemies of the truth.
I seriously bear witness that I know that the Book of Mormon is divine truth revealed through the power of God. And in spite of all the tricks and false accusations of the devil and all his servants, they will never shake any of its foundations. They can never disprove its witness, rather it will spread faster the more it is opposed, and will shatter all its opposers like the fine dust of the scales.” “P. P. PRATT.”
One need only consider the excellence of the testimony of a witness like this about the stories and imaginings of professed enemies, out of jealousy, to prove the truth of that Book to every reasonable man. This man is a witness,—his testimony is based on knowledge, and not on the newspaper stories like the others; and if the public knew this witness as well as we know him, and if they understood how much he suffered for the sake of his testimony, not a single word he says on this matter would ever be doubted.
Since the “Spaulding Story” claims that it was Mr. Rigdon who composed the Book of Mormon, we shall next quote a letter of Mr. Rigdon himself, which he wrote to the Editors of a newspaper that published the “Spaulding Story,” and this testimony remains unanswerable to this day.
“Messers. Bartlett and Sullivan.—In your publication dated the 18th, I saw a letter signed by someone who calls herself Matilda Davieson, pretending to give the history of the origin of the Book of Mormon, by telling some moonshine story about a certain Solomon Spaulding, of whose existence I never before heard a single word, until I read the above letter, and that which D. P. Hurlbut says about him; and that which I now understand about his character is what I gather from the work of his wife in bringing my name before the public, to try to prove that I know of something which I never knew, and on the testimony of his own wife, the false manuscript of her husband; for she admits that her ‘pious husband’ during his life wrote a Romance (lies) for profit! How many lies he preached in his life for money she does not inform us, but it is easy to judge that he who would do the one would not be too good to do the other. Since this is the only story I have about such a man as the Rev. S. Spaulding, I only have a poor opinion of his gentlemanliness, his scholarship, and his piety, for if he had been given one or the other he should have taught his wife not to lie, or unite herself with liars, adulterers, and the worst sort of men.
“As for the lengthy and filthy story which says that Spaulding’s Manuscript had been in the hands of Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburgh, who owned a printing press there, and that I had said that I was in contact with such an office, &c., &c., it is necessary only to inform you that they are imagined lies every word, without as much as a shadow of truth in one of them.
“In Pittsburgh there was no man called Patterson who had anything to do with a printing press while I was there. I heard that one of that name had been there, and had been unfortunate, and was broken up years before I ever went there. Yet if I were to say that I had ever heard a word mentioned about such a man as Solomon Spaulding, or his hopeful wife, before D. P. Hurlbut published the above story about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves. If they are telling the truth, why did they not get Mr. Patterson’s testimony to substantiate it, since it is mainly from him that they could get this? And the absence of his testimony shows that there is no basis to the fabric. The reason was that Mr. Patterson was too truthful and good a man, to be a means of spreading such lies; and if he were to be called upon, Mr. Patterson would testify that I am telling the truth about this.
“Next, gentlemen, allow me to give you the history of this Dr. Hurlbut (as he is called; not because he is a Physician, but he got the title of Dr. because he was a seventh son) and his supporters who plotted and spread this shameful pack of lies; for if you were to know as much about this Hurlbut’s character as I know, I do not think that you would ever stain your columns by publishing any of his work. [Then our witness gives a story of this man’s terrible behavior, similar to the first story we gave, as well as an additional story about how some of his supporters were caught in bed with his wife by H. himself, and because of this for the sake of peace, he got a hundred dollars from them, and a yoke of oxen, and in this way peace was made between the authors of that book called “Mormonism Unvailed,” for of course it was to H’s benefit as well that that book should appear, for it was on those conditions that he had sold his right in it to Howe; then says our historian,] H. took his wife and went to another part to live, leaving the old deacon Clap, his sons, Mr. Bentley, Howe and Co., to suffer the shame of trying treacherously to invent lies to blacken the characters of those men they feared to face in a debate.
“The tale that is in your publication is one hatched up by this gang before they split up. What but lies can one expect from such people as this? It has been a source of no ordinary satisfaction to me, to know that my enemies have no better weapon to use against me, or against the religion that I embrace, than lies; for if they had any better they would certainly use them. I must confess, however, that there is some constancy in our persecutors in this, for, as truth never can destroy truth, it would be vain for our persecutors to use truth against us, for this would only build us up; they seem aware of this, when they clutch at the only weapons they can get, namely lies. This is the only weapon ever brought against the truth.
In order to give their lies an attractive and fair appearance, they dress them in much false holiness and religion; for everyone knows that a falsely religious lie will be accepted more readily by many than a lie of any other sort; and hence the lies of these people come signed by ‘a pious widow of a pious priest.’ Yet it appears that the most notable of all his pious deeds has been to write a bundle of lies, for profit, themselves being witnesses; but they think that his wondrous piety sanctifies them as the truth, and that lies become the truth under the breath of such holy men, especially when they are graced with the titles of ‘Reverends,’ &c. But that dark time has passed for reasonable men, when bare lies were shone up and mended by the falsely religious and the appearance of holiness. The public well knows through experience that those who claim the title of Rev. are not infallible, but that many of them think that this mantle will hide their lies from the disgrace they deserve.
“The only reason my persecutors assail me with lies is because they do not dare to face me in a debate, for they know that if they were to do this they would lose; then they try to prevent the public from investigating our doctrine by publishing falsehoods. This I consider a high encomium on both myself and the doctrine I profess.”
“I am, yours respectfully,
By now it is well known to the public that the authors and the American Revs. we have been talking about, have brothers of the same father in England, and alas even closer to us; yes, in Wales; and they are clearly recognized at their work using the same weapons against the same divine truths in the same way. We shall give an example of their recent work in England, to illustrate their great desire to oppose the truth, so that they are forever contradicting each other. And to show to those Welsh people who tread the same path, that the fall of all of these in shame into the ditch they dug for the innocent, signifies that their fate will doubtless be similar. Only the truth will withstand thorough testing.
We quote the following of Mr. John Taylor’s review of the work of the Rev. Mr. Heys, a Wesleyan minister, against the Book of Mormon, in which he tries to show the origin of that book. Fairly compare face to face the story of his brother the Rev. Mr. Livesey about the same thing:—
“Mr. Heys says that Joseph Smith is the author of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Livesey says that S. Spaulding is its author. Here are two claims so incompatibly opposite to each other as it would be to claim that Mr. Heys and Mr. Livesey are the same man. The one claims that Martin Harris and O. Cowdery wrote it from the mouth of Joseph Smith, while he looked at a stone he held in his hat. The other declares that S. Rigdon wrote it by modifying a manuscript by one S. Spaulding. The one asserts that it was written in the county of Susquehanna, and by M. Harris and O. Cowdery. The other just as strongly affirms that it was written in Conneaut, the state of Ohio, and then declares that it was written in Pittsburgh, Pa. Each of the above places is many hundreds of miles from the other; and it is impossible for more than one of their claims to be true. So much for the consistency of the testimonies of the Revs., which they offer as facts against the Book of Mormon!
Another example of the lies of the Revs. can be seen in the following:—In “Mormonism Unvailed” three of them, that is the Rev. John Spaulding, Rev. John Miller, Rev. O. Smith, and others of the same “devout” taste, claim that they listened for hours on end to Mr. S. Spaulding reading his manuscript, until they were quite learned about its content, and that it professes to give ‘the history of the ten tribes of Israel’ who were lost, and that it was from them the American Indians originated. These Revs. also bear witness ‘that they have read the Book of Mormon, and that the historical part, the names, &c., are similar in the two.’
Now, in order to see how much trust should be placed in the testimonies of these Revs. who have rather filled the world with stories against the Book of Mormon, in order to see that all they say is lies, let the reader read the book for himself, for the Book of Mormon does not profess to give the history of ‘the ten tribes of Israel,’ neither that ‘the American Indians originated from them’ as they claim, but it is now to be seen that the Book of Mormon gives the history of the tribe of Joseph. If they had read it as they claim, they would surely see the difference and they would have been saved the shame of this lie.
Here are the best authors of Mr. Heys and Mr. Livesey, and here are the authorities of the Welsh lecturers, authors, and editors as well, without excepting the Curates of Merthyr, except Peter Ingersol and his ‘falling out’ with the latter. Both Mr. Heys and Mr. Livesey are respectable ministers with the Wesleyans. They both claim that their story is based on facts. Mr. Heys assures us that his witnesses are credible, most certainly; but Mr. Livesey claims just as strongly that his witnesses are just as truthful and irrefutable! What is to be done? And one must believe both sides, for the two Reverends claim that they are true, when they are as opposite to each other as is possible. And if both sides of the story assured by such men as these are not true, who will believe that one of them is true? We answer that no reasonable man will believe them, no longer than they have the opportunity to hear both sides.
We shall not enlarge upon the “Spaulding Romance,” but wish in our hearts that the above will be a means, under the approval of the Spirit of truth, to convince our dear fellow-nation, lest they hide in the refuges of a lie from the arrows of the truth; and so that they will not believe these unfounded tales and the like which are told against the Saints, in spite of sometimes being endorsed by high titles; but may “Prove all things and hold fast that which is good” be the motto of us all.