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Mormonism Unvailed
1. Smith & Harris
2. Golden Bible
3. Book of Mormon
4. 1Nephi - 2Nephi
5. a. 2Nephi
    b. Jacob - Mosiah
6. Book of Alma
7. Remainder of Book
8. Rigdon Converted
9. In Kirtland
10. In Missouri
11. Spiritual Gifts
12. Missouri Problems
13. Mormon War I
14. Mormon War II
15. 1831 Ezra Booth Letters
16. Mormon Revelations
17.Hurlbut Affidavits,   Isaac Hale
18.  Anthon Affair
19.  Authorship of Solomon Spalding





Isaac Hale and Hurlbut Affidavits

We next present to the reader a few, among the many despositions which have
been obtained from the neighborhood of the Smith family, and the scene where
the far famed Gold Bible had its pretended origin. The divine authenticity of the
Gold Bible or the Book of Mormon, is established by three special and eight
collateral witnesses, making in the whole eleven, without whom there is no
pretention to testimony; and if their testimony is probable and consistent with
truth, and unimpeached, according to the common rules of jurisprudence, we are
bound to believe them.
Upon the principles of common law, we are prepared to meet them; and they are
offered to us in no other light. Under all circumstances, in civil and ecclesiastical
tribunals, witnesses may be impeached, and after a fair hearing on both sides, the
veracity and credibility may be adjudged. If the eleven witnesses are considered,
from what has already been said, unimpeached, we will offer the dispositions of
some of the most respected citizens of our country, who solemnly declare upon
their oaths that no credit can be given to any one member of the Smith family.
Many witnesses declare that they are in the possession of the means of knowing
the Smiths for truth and veracity, and that they are not upon a par with mankind
in general. Then, according to the common rules of weighing testimony, the
eleven witnesses stand impeached before the public; and until rebutting
testimony can be produced which shall go to invalidate the respectable host
which are here offered, we claim that no credit can or ought to be given to the
witnesses of the Book of Mormon.
We have not only testimony impeaching the moral characters of the Smith family,
but we show by the witnesses, that they told contradictory stories, from time to
time, in relation to their finding the plates, and other circumstances attending it,
which go clearly to show that none of them had the fear of God before their
eyes, but were moved and instigated by the devil.
Palmyra, Wayne Co. N. Y. Dec 2d, 1833.
I, Peter Ingersoll, first became acquainted with the family of
Jopesh Smith, Sen. in the year of our Lord, 1822. -- I lived in the
neighborhood of said family, until about 1830; during which time
the following facts came under my observation.
The general employment of the family, was digging for money. I
had frequent invitations to join the company, but always declined
being one of their number. They used various arguments to induce
me to accept of their invitations. I was once ploughing near the
house of Joseph Smith, Sen. about noon, he requested me to walk
with him a short distance from his house, for the purpose of seeing
whether a mineral rod would work in my hand, saying at the same
time he was confident it would. As my oxen were eating, and being
myself at leisure, I accepted the invitation. -- When we arrived
near the place at which he thought there was money, he cut a
small witch hazle bush and gave me direction how to hold it. He
then went off some rods, and told me to say to the rod, "work to
the money," which I did, in an audible voice. He rebuked me
severely for speaking it loud, and said it must be spoken in a
whisper. This was rare sport for me. While the old man was
standing off some rods, throwing himself into various shapes, I told
him the rod did not work. He seemed much surprised at this, and
said he thought he saw it move in my hand. It was now time for
me to return to my labor. On my
return, I picked up a small stone and was carelessly tossing it from
one hand to the other. Said he, (looking very earnestly) what are
you going to do with that stone? Throw it at the birds, I replied.
No, said the old man, it is of great worth; and upon this I gave it
to him. Now, says he, if you only knew the value there is back of
my house (and pointing to a place near) -- there, exclaimed he, is
one chest of gold and another of silver. He then put the stone
which I had given him, into his hat, and stooping forward, he
bowed and made sundry maneuvers, quite similar to those of a
stool pigeon. At length he took down his hat, and being very much
exhausted, said, in a faint voice, "if you knew what I had seen,
you would believe." To see the old man thus try to impose upon
me, I confess, rather had a tendency to excite contempt than
pity. Yet I thought it best to conceal my feelings, preferring to
appear the dupe of my credulity, than to expose myself to his
resentment. His son Alvin then went through with the same
performance, which was equally disgusting. Another time, the said
Joseph, Sen. told me that the best time for digging money, was,
in the heat of summer, when the heat of the sun caused the
chests of money to rise near the top of the ground. You notice,
said he, the large stones on the top of the ground -- we call them
rocks, and they truly appear so, but they are, in fact, most of
them chests of money raised by the heat of the sun. At another
time, he told me that the ancient inhabitants of this country used
camels instead of horses. For proof of this fact, he stated that in
a certain hill on the farm of Mr. Cuyler, there was a cave
containing an immense value of gold and silver, stands of arms,
also, a saddle for a camel, hanging on a peg at one side of the
cave. I asked him, of what kind of wood the peg was. He could not
tell, but said it had become similar to stone or iron.
The old man at last laid a plan which he thought would accomplish
his design. His cows and mine had been gone for some time, and
were not to be found, notwithstanding our diligent search for
them. Day after day was spent in fruitless search, until at length
he proposed to find them by his art of divination. So he took his
stand near the corner of his house, with a small stick in his hand,
and made several strange and peculiar motions, and then said he
could go directly to the cows. So he started off, and went into the
woods about one hundred rods distant and found the lost cows.
But on finding out the secret of the mystery, Harrison had found
the cows, and drove them to the above named place, and milked
them. So that this stratagem turned out rather more to his profit
that it did to my edification. -- The old man finding that all his
efforts to make me a money digger, had proved abortive, at length
ceased his importunities. One circumstance, however, I will
mention before leaving him. Some time before young Joseph found,
or pretended to find, the gold plates, the old man told me that in
Canada, there had been a book found, in a hollow tree, that gave
an account of the first settlement of this country before it was
discovered by Columbus. In the month of August, 1827, I was hired
by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife's
household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was.
When we arrived at Mr. Hale's, in Harmony, Pa. from which place
he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His
father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: "You
have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have
followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for
money -- pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive
people." Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a
stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in
that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old
habits of digging for money and looking into stones. Mr. Hale told
Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he
would assist him in getting into business. Joseph acceded to this
proposition. I then returned with Joseph and his wife to
Manchester. One circumstance occurred on the road, worthy of
notice, and I believe this is the only instance where Jo ever
exhibited true yankee wit. On our journey to Pennsylvania, we
could not make the exact change at the toll gate near Ithaca.
Joseph told the gate tender, that he would "hand" him the toll on
his return, as he was coming back in a few days. On our return,
Joseph tendered to him 25 cents, the toll being 12 1/2. He did not
recognize Smith, so he accordingly gave him back the 12 1/2
cents. After we had passed the gate, I asked him if he did not
agree to pay double gatage on our return? No, said he, I agreed to
"hand" it to him, and I did, but he handed it back again. Joseph
told me on his return, that he intended to keep the promise which
he had made to his father-in-law; but, said he, it will be hard for
me, for they will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone
for them to dig money: and in fact it was as he predicted. They
urged him, day after day, to resume his old practice of looking in
the stone. -- He seemed much perplexed as to the course he
should pursue. In this dilemma, he made me his confident and told
me what daily transpired in the family of Smiths. One day he came,
and greeted me with a joyful countenance. -- Upon asking the
cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following
language: "As I was passing, yesterday, across the woods, after
a heavy shower of rain, I found, in a hollow, some beautiful white
sand, that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock,
and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On my
entering the
house, I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all
anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment, I
happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in
Canada, called the golden Bible; so I very gravely told them it was
the golden Bible. To my surprise, they were credulous enough to
believe what I said. Accordingly I told them that I had received a
commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see
it with the naked eye and live. However, I offered to take out the
book and show it to them, but they refuse to see it, and left the
room." Now, said Jo, "I have got the damned fools fixed, and will
carry out the fun." Notwithstanding, he told me he had no such
book, and believed there never was any such book, yet, he told
me that he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a
chest, in which he might deposit his golden Bible. But, as Chase
would not do it, he made a box himself, of clap-boards, and put it
into a pillow case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it
through the case. In the fall of 1827, Joseph wanted to go to
Pennsylvania. His brother-in-law had come to assist him in moving,
but he himself was out of money. He wished to borrow the money
of me, and he presente d Mr. Hale as security. I told him in case he
could obtain assistance from no other source, I would let him have
some money. Joseph then went to Palmyra; and, said he, I there
met that dam fool, Martin Harris, and told him that I had a
command to ask the first honest man I met with, for fifty dollars
in money, and he would let me have it. I saw at once, said Jo, that
it took his notion, for he promptly gave me the fifty. Joseph
thought this sum was sufficient to bear his expenses to
Pennsylvania. So he immediately started off, and since that time
I have not been much in his society. While the Smiths were living
at Waterloo, William visited my
neighborhood, and upon my inquiry how they came on, he replied,
"we do better there than here; we were too well known here to
State of New York, Wayne County, ss:
I certify, that on this 9th day of December, 1833, personally
appeared before me the above named Peter Ingersoll, to me
known, and made oath, according to law, to the truth of the
above statement.
Judge of Wayne County Court.
Manchester, Ontario Co. N.Y. Dec. 8th, 1833.
I, William Stafford, having been called upon to give a true
statement of my knowledge, concerning the character and
conduct of the family of Smiths, known to the world as the
founders of the Mormon sect, do say, that I first became
acquainted with Joseph, Sen., and his family in the year 1820.
They lived, at that time, in Palmyra, about one mile and a half from
my residence. A great part of their time was devoted to digging for
money: especially in the night time, when they said the money
could be most easily obtained. I have heard them tell marvellous
tales, respecting the discoveries they had made in their peculiar
occupation of money digging. They would say, for instance, that
in such a place, in such a hill, on a certain man's farm, there were
deposited keys, barrels and hogsheads of coined silver and gold --
bars of gold, golden images, brass kettles filled with gold and silver
-- gold candlesticks, swords, &c. &c. They would say, also, that
nearly all the hills in this part of New York, were thrown up by
human hands, and in them were large caves, which Joseph, Jr.,
could see, by placing a stone of singular appearance in his hat, in
such a manner as to exclude all light; at which time they
he could see all things within and under the earth, -- that he could
see within the above mentioned caves, large gold bars and silver
plates -- that he could also discover the spirits in whose charge
these treasures were, clothed in ancient dress. At certain times,
these treasures could be obtained very easily; at others, the
obtaining of them was difficult. The facility of approaching them,
depended in a great measure on the state of the moon. New moon
and good Friday, I believe, were regarded as the most favorable
times for obtaining these treasures. These tales I regarded as
visionary. However, being prompted by curiosity, I at length
accepted of their invitations, to join them in their nocturnal
excursions. I will now relate a few incidents attending these
excursions. Joseph Smith, Sen., came to me one night, and told
me, that Joseph Jr. had been looking in his glass, and had seen,
not many rods from his house, two or three kegs of gold and silver,
some feet under the surface of the earth; and that none others
but the elder Joseph and myself could get them. I accordingly
consented to go, and early in the evening repaired to the place of
deposit. Joseph, Sen. first made a circle, twelve or fourteen feet
in diameter. This circle, said he, contains the treasure. He then
stuck in the ground a row of witch hazel sticks, around the said
circle, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits. Within this
circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter. He
walked around three times on the periphery of this last circle,
muttering to himself something which I could not understand. He
next stuck a steel rod in the centre of the circles, and then
enjoined profound silence upon us, lest we should arouse the evil
spirit who had the charge of these treasures. After we had dug a
trench about five feet in depth around the rod, the old man by
signs and motions, asked leave of absence, and went to the house
to inquire of
young Joseph the cause of our disappointment. He soon returned
and said, that Joseph had remained all this time in the house,
looking in his stone and watching the motions of the evil
spirit--that he saw the spirit come up to the ring and as soon as
it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused
the money to sink. We then went into the house, and the old man
observed, that we had made a mistake in the commencemnt of the
operation; if it had not been for that, said he, we should have got
the money. At another time, they devised a scheme, by which
they might satiate their hunger, with the mutton of one of my
sheep. They had seen in my flock of sheep, a large, fat, black
weather. Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and
said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and
valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way. That
way, was as follows: -- That a black sheep should be taken on to
the ground where the treasures were concealed -- that after
cutting its throat, it should be led around a circle while bleeding.
This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased:
the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was
to be four fold. To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large fat
sheep. They afterwards informed me, that the sheep was killed
pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the
process, it did not have the desired effect. This, I believe, is the
only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business.
They, however, had around them constantly a worthless gang,
whose employment it was to dig money nights, and who, day
times, had more to do with mutton than money. When they found
that the people of this vicinity would no longer put any faith in
their schemes for digging money, they then pretended to find a
gold bible, of which, they said, the book of Mormon was only an
introduction. This
latter book was at length fitted for the press. No means were
taken by any individual to suppress its publication: No one
apprehende d any danger from a book, originating with individuals
who had neither influence, honesty or honor. The two Josephs and
Hiram, promised to show me the plates, after the book of Mormon
was translated. But, afterwards, they pretended to have re ceived
an express commandment , forbidding them to show the plates.
Respecting the manner of receiving and translating the book of
Mormon, their statements were always discordant. The elder
Joseph would say that he had seen the plates, and that he knew
them to be gold; at other times he would say that they looked like
gold; and other times he would say he had not seen the plates at
all. I have thus briefly stated a few of the facts, in relation to the
conduct and character of this family of Smiths; probably sufficient
has been stated without my going into detail.
State of New York, Wayne County, ss:
I certify, that on this 9th day of December, 1833, personally
appeared before me, William Stafford, to me known, and made oath
to the truth of the above statement, and signed the same.
Judge of Wane County Court
Manchester, Ontario Co. N.Y. 1833.
I became acquainted with the Smith family, known as the authors
of the Mormon Bible, in the year 1820. At that time, they were
engaged in the money digging business, which they followed until
the latter part of the season of 1827. In the year 1822, I was
engaged in digging a well. I employed Alvin and Joseph Smith to
assist me; the latter of whom is now known as the Mormon
prophet. After digging about twenty feet below the surface of the
earth, we discovered a singularly appearing stone, which excited
my curiosity. I brought it to the top of the well, and as we were
examining it, Joseph put it into his hat, and then his face into the
top of his hat. It has been said by Smith, that he brought the
stone from the well; but this is false. There was no one in the well
but myself. The next morning he came to me, and wished to obtain
the stone, alledging that he could see in it; but I told him I did not
wish to part with it on account of its being a curiosity, but would
lend it. After obtaining the stone, he began to publish abroad what
wonders he could discover by looking in it, and made so much
disturbance among the credulous part of community, that I ordered
the stone to be returned to me again. He had it in his possession
about two years. --I believe, some time in 1825, Hiram Smith
(brother of Joseph Smith) came to me, and wished to borrow the
same stone, alledging that they wanted to accomplish some
business of importance, which could not very well be done without
the aid of the stone. I told him it was of no particular worth to me,
but merely wished to keep it as a curiosity, and if he would pledge
me his word and honor, that I should have it when called for, he
might take it; which he did and took the stone. I thought I could
rely on his word at this time, as he had made a profession of
religion. But in this I was disappointed, for he disregarded both his
word and honor. In the fall of 1826, a friend called upon me and
wished to see that stone, about which so much had been said;
and I told him if he would go with me to Smith's, (a distance of
about half a mile) he might see it. But to my surprize, on going to
Smith's, and asking him for the stone, he said, "you cannot have
it;" I told him it belonged to me, repeated to him the promise he
made me, at the time of obtaining the stone: upon which he faced
me with a malignant
look and said, "I don't care who in the Devil it belongs to, you shall
not have it." In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen.,
related to me the following story: That some years ago, a spirit
had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that
in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that
he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in
the following manner: On the 22d of September, he must repair to
the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black
clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand
the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go
directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They
accordingly fitted out Joseph with a suit of black clothes and
borrowed a black horse. He repaired to the place of deposit and
demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so
near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and
raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might
discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top
stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was
no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book,
and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box
something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a
man, and struck him on the side of his head. -- Not being
discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take
the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three
or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his
fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which
the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders.
He then enquired when he could have them, and was answered
thus: come one year from this day, and bring with you your oldest
brother, and you shall have them. This spirit, he said
was the spirit of the prophet who wrote this book, and who was
sent to Joseph Smith, to make known these things to him. Before
the expiration of the year, his oldest brother died; which the old
man said was an accidental providence! Joseph went one year
from that day, to demand the book, and the spirit enquired for his
brother, and he said that he was dead. The spirit then commanded
him to come again, in just one year, and bring a man with him. On
asking who might be the man, he was answered that he would
know him when he saw him. Joseph believed that one Samuel T.
Lawrence was the man alluded to by the spirit, and went with him
to a singular looking hill, in Manchester, and shewed him where the
treasure was. Lawrence asked him if he had ever discovered any
thing with the plates of gold; he said no: he then asked him to look
in his stone, to see if there was any thing with them. He looked,
and said there was nothing; he told him to look again, and see if
there was not a large pair of specks with the plates; he looked and
soon saw a pair of spectacles, the same with which Joseph says
he translated the Book of Mormon. Lawrence told him it would not
be prudent to let these plates be seen for about two years, as it
would make a great disturbance in the neighborhood. Not long
after this, Joseph altered his mind, and said L. was not the right
man, nor had he told him the right place. About this time he went
to Harmony in Pennsylvania, and formed an acquaintance with a
young lady, by the name of Emma Hale, whom he wished to marry.
-- In the fall of 1826, he wanted to go to Pennsylvania to be
married; but being destitute of means, he now set his wits to
work, how he should raise money, and get recommendations, to
procure the fair one of his choice. He went to Lawrence with the
following story, as related to me by Lawrence himself. That he had
discovered in Pennsylvania,
on the bank of the Susquehannah River, a very rich mine of silver,
and if he would go there with him, he might have a share in the
profits; that it was near high water mark and that they could load
it into boats and take it down the river to Philadelphia, to market.
Lawrence then asked Joseph if he was not deceiving him; no, said
he, for I have been there and seen it with my own eyes, and if you
do not find it so when we get there, I will bind myself to be your
servant for three years. By these grave and fair promises Lawrence
was induced to believe something in it, and agreed to go with him.
L. soon found that Joseph was out of money, and had to bear his
expenses on the way. When they got to Pennsylvania, Joseph
wanted L. to recommend him to Miss H., which he did, although he
was asked to do it; but could not well get rid of it as he was in his
company. L. then wished to see the silver mine, and he and Joseph
went to the river, and made search, but found nothing. Thus,
Lawrence had his trouble for his pains, and returned home lighter
than he went, while Joseph had got his expenses borne, and a
recommendation to his girl.
Joseph's next move was to get married; the girl's parents being
opposed to the match: as they happened to be from home, he
took advantage of the opportunity, and went off with her and was
married. Now, being still destitute of money, he set his wits at
work, how he should get back to Manchester, his place of
residence; he hit upon the following plan, which succeeded very
well. He went to an honest old Dutchman, by the name of Stowel,
and told him that he had discovered on the bank of Black River, in
the village of Watertown, Jefferson County, N.Y. a cave, in which
he had found a bar of gold, as big as his leg, and about three or
four feet long. --That he could not get it out alone, on account of
its being fast at one end; and if he would move him to Manchester,
N.Y. they would go together, and take a chisel and mallet, and get
it, and Stowel should share the prize with him. Stowel moved him.
A short time after their arrival at Manchester, Stowel reminded
Joseph of his promise; but he calmly replied, that he would not go,
because his wife was now among strangers, and would be very
lonesome if he went away. Mr. Stowel was then obliged to return
without any gold, and with less money than he came.
In the fore part of September, (I believe,) 1827, the Prophet
requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed
to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold
book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand at
the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a
share in the book. I told him my business was such that I could not
make it: but if he would bring the book to me, I would lock it up for
him. He said that would not do, as he was commanded to keep it
two years, without letting it come to the eye of any one but
himself. This commandment, however, he did not keep, for in less
than two years, twelve men said they had seen it. I told him to
get it and convince me of its existence, and I would make him a
chest; but he said, that would not do, as he must have a chest to
lock the book in, as soon as he took it out of the ground. I saw
him a few days after, when he told me that I must make the
chest. I told him plainly that I could not, upon which he told me
that I could have no share in the book. A few weeks after this
conversation, he came to my house, and related the following
story: That on the 22d of September, he arose early in the
morning, and took a one horse wagon, of some one that had
stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and,
together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the
book. He left his
wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a
distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he then took
the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree top, and returned
home. He then went to the town of Macedon to work. After about
ten days, it having been suggested that some one had got his
book, his wife went after him; he hired a horse, and went home in
the afternoon, staid long enough to drink one cup of tea, and then
went for his book, found it safe, took off his frock, wrapt it round
it, put it under his arm and run all the way home, a distance of
about two miles. He said he should think it would weigh sixty
pounds, and was sure it would weigh forty. On his return home, he
said he was attacked by two men in the woods, and knocked them
both down and made his escape, arrived safe and secured his
treasure. -- He then observed that if it had not been for that
stone, (which he acknowledged belonged to me,) he would not
have obtained the book. A few days afterwards, he told one of my
neighbors that he had not got any such book, nor never had such
an one; but that he had told the story to deceive the d---d fool,
(meaning me,) to get him to make a chest. His neighbors having
become disgusted with his foolish stories, he determined to go
back to Pennsylvania, to avoid what he called persecution. His wits
were now put to the task to contrive how he should get money to
bear his expenses. He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich
man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; "I
have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the
street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the
Lord by translating the Golden Bible." Martin being naturally a
credulous man, hands Joseph the money. In the Spring 1829, Harris
went to Pennsylvania, and on his return to Palmyra, reported that
the Prophet's wife, in the month of
June following would be delivered of a male child that would be
able when two years old to translate the Gold Bible. Then, said he,
you will see Joseph Smith, Jr. walking through the streets of
Palmyra, with a Gold Bible under his arm, and having a gold
breast-plate on, and a gold sword hanging by his side. This,
however, by the by, proved false.
In April, 1830, I again asked Hiram for the stone which he had
borrowed of me; he told me I should not have it, for Joseph made
use of it in translating his Bible. I reminded him of his promise, and
that he had pledged his honor to return it; but he gave me the lie,
saying the stone was not mine nor never was. Harris at the same
time flew in a rage, took me by the collar and said I was a liar, and
he could prove it by twelve witnesses. After I had extricated
myself from him, Hiram, in a rage shook his fist at me, and abused
me in a most scandalous manner. Thus I might proceed in
describing the character of these High Priests, by relating one
transaction after another, which would all tend to set them in the
same light in which they were regarded by their neighbors, viz: as
a pest to society. I have regarded Joseph Smith Jr. from the time
I first became acquainted with him until he left this part of the
country, as a man whose word could not be depended upon. --
Hiram's character was but very little better. What I have said
respecting the characters of these men, will apply to the whole
family. What I have stated relative to the characters of these
individuals, thus far, is wholly true. After they became thorough
Mormons, their conduct was more disgraceful than before. They
did not hesitate to abuse any man, no matter how fair his
character, provided he did not embrace their creed. Their tongues
were continually employed in spreading scandal and abuse.
Although the y left this part of the country without paying their
debts, yet their creditors were glad to have them do so, rather
than to have them stay, disturbing the neighborhood.
On the 11th December, 1833, the said Willard Chase appeared
before me, and made oath that the foregoing statement to which
he has subscribed his name, is true, according to his best
recollection and belief.
Justice of the Peace of Wayne County.
Manchester, December 2d, 1833.
I was acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen., both
before and since they became Mormons, and feel free to state
that not one of the male members of the Smith family were entitled
to any credit, whatsoever. They were lazy, intemperate and
worthless men, very much addicted to lying. In this they freqently
boasted of their skill. Digging for money was their principal
employment. In regard to their Gold Bible speculation, they
scarcely ever told two stories alike. The Mormon Bible is said to be
a revelation from God, through Joseph Smith Jr., his Prophet, and
this same Joseph Smith Jr. to my knowledge, bore the reputation
among his neighbors of being a liar. The foregoing statement can
be corroborated by all his former neighbors.
Palmyra, December 13th, 1833.
I certify that I have been personally acquainted with Peter
Ingersoll for a number of years, and believe him to be a man of
strict integrity, truth and veracity.
Palmyra, December 4th, 1833.
I am acquainted with William Stafford and Peter Ingersoll, and
believe them to be men of truth and veracity.
Palmyra, December 4th, 1833.
We the undersigned, are personally acquainted with
William Stafford, Willard Chase and Peter Ingersoll, and believe
them to be men of truth and veracity.
Manchester, December 5th, 1833.
I have been acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith Sen. for
several years, and I know him to be a drunkard and a liar, and to
be much in the habit of gambling. He and his boys were truly a lazy
set of fellows, and more particularly Joseph, who, very aptly
followed his father's example, and in some respects was worse.
When intoxicated he was very quarrelsome. Previous to his going
to Pennsylvania to get married, we worked together making a
coal-pit. While at work at one time, a dispute arose between us,
(he having drinked a little too freely) and some hard words passed
between us, and as usual with him at such times, was for fighting.
He got the advantage of me in the scuffle, and a gentleman by the
name of Ford interfered, when Joseph turned to fighting him. We
both entered a complaint against him and he was fined for the
breach of the Peace. It is well known, that the general
employment of the Smith family was money digging and
fortune-telling. They kept around them constantly, a gang of
worthless fellows who dug for money nights, and were idle in the
day time. It was a mystery to their neighbors how they got their
living. I will mention some circumstances and the public may judge
for themselves. At different times I have seen them come from the
woods early in the morning, bringing meat which looked like
mutton. I went into the woods one morning very early, shooting
patridges and found Joseph Smith Sen. in company with two other
men, with hoes, shovels and meat that looked like mutton. On
seeing me they run like wild men to get out of sight. -- Seeing the
old man a few day afterwards, I asked him why he run so the other
day in the woods, ah, said he, you know that circumstances alter
cases; it will not do to be seen at all time.
I can also state, that Oliver Cowdrey proved himself to be a
worthless person and not to be trusted or believed when he taught
school in this neighborhood. After his going into the ministry, while
officiating in performing the ordinance of baptism in a brook, William
Smith, (brother of Joseph Smith) seeing a young man writing down
what was said on a piece of board, was quite offended and
attempted to take it from him, kicked at him and clinched for a
scuffle. -- Such was the conduct of these pretended Disciples of
the Lord.
On the 12th day of December, 1833, the said David Stafford
appeared before me, and made oath that the foregoing statement,
by him subscribed, is true.
Justice of the Peace of Wayne Co. N.Y.
Manchester, Ontario Co., N.Y. Nov. 3d, 1833.
Being called upon to give a statement of the character of the
family of Joseph Smith, Sen. as far as I know, I can state that
I became acquainted with them in 1820, and knew them until 1831,
when they left this neighborhood. -- Joseph Smith, Sen. was a
noted drunkard and most of the family followed his example, and
Joseph, Jr. especially, who was very much addicted to
intemperance. In short, not one of the family had the least claims
to respectability. Even since he professed to be inspired of the
Lord to translate the Book of Mormon, he one day while at work in
my father's field, got quite drunk on a composition of cider,
molasses and water. Finding his legs to refuse their office he
leaned upon the fence and hung for sometime; at length
recovering again, he fell to scuffling with one of the workmen, who
tore his shirt nearly off from him. His wife who was at our house on
a visit, appeared very much grieved at his conduct, and to protect
his back from the rays of the sun, and conceal his nakedness,
threw her shawl over his shoulders and in that plight escorted the
Prophet home. As an evidence of his piety and devotion, when
intoxicated, he frequently made his religion the topic of
State of New York, Wayne County, ss:
Early Affidavits Regarding the Joseph Smith Family
I certify that on the 9th day of December 1833, personally
appeared before me, the above named Barton Stafford, to me
known, and solemnly affirmed according to law, to the truth of the
above statement and subscribed the same.
a Judge of Wayne County Court.
I, Henry Harris, do state that I became acquainted with the
family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1820, in the town of
Manchester, N. York. They were a family that labored very little --
the chief they did, was to dig for money. 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.
Joseph Smith, Jr., Martin Harris and others, used to meet
together in private, a while before the gold plates were found, and
were familiarly known by the name of the "Gold Bible Company."
They 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.
The character of Joseph Smith, Jr. for truth and veracity was
such, that I would not believe him under oath. I was
once on a jury before a Justice's Court and the Jury could not, and
did not, believe his testimony to be true. 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.
I then asked him what letters were engraved on them, he said
italic letters written in an unknown language, and that he had
copied some of the words and sent them to Dr. Mitchell and
Professor Anthon of New York. By looking on the plates he said
he could not understand the words, but it was made known to him
that he was the person that must translate them, and on looking
through the stone was enabled to translate.
After the Book was published, I frequently bantered him for a copy.
He asked fourteen shillings a piece for them; I told him I would not
give so much; he told me had had a revelation that they must be
sold at that price.
Sometime afterwards I talked with Martin Harris about buying one
of the Books and he told me they had had a new revelation, that
they might be sold at ten shillings a piece.
State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, ss:
Personally appeared before me, Henry Harris, and made oath in
due form of law, that the foregoing statements subscribed by him
are true.
Justice of the Peace.
Palmyra, Wayne Co. N. Y. 11th mo, 28th, 1833.
In the early part of the winter in 1828, I made a visit to Martin
Harris and was joined in company by Jos. Smith, sen. and his wife.
The Gold Bible business, so called, was the topic of conversation,
to which I paid particular attention, that I might learn the truth of
the whole matter. -- They told me that the report that Joseph,
jun. had found golden plates, was true, and that he was in
Harmony, Pa. translating them -- that such plates were in
existence, and that Joseph, jun. was to obtain them, was reve aled
to him by the spirit of one of the Saints that was on this
continent, previous to its being discovered by Columbus. Old Mrs.
Smith observed that she thought he must be a Quaker, as he was
dressed very plain. They said that the plates he then had in
possession were but an introduction to the Gold Bible -- that all of
them upon which the bible was written, were so heavy that it
would take four stout men to load them into a cart -- that Joseph
had also discovered by looking through his stone, the vessel in
which the gold was melted from which the plates were made, and
also the machine with which they were rolled; he also discovered
in the bottom of the vessel three balls of gold, each as large as his
fist. The old lady said also, that after the book was translated, the
plates were to be publicly exhibited -- admitance 25 cents. She
calculated it would bring in annually an enormous sum of money --
that money would then be very plenty, and the book would also
sell for a great price, as it was something entirely new -- that they
had been commanded to obtain all the money they could borrow
for present necessity, and to repay with gold. The remainder was
to be kept in store for the benefit of their family and children. This
and the like conversation detained me until about 11 o'clock. Early
the next morning, the mystery of the Spirit being like myself (one
of the order called Friends)
was reveal by the following circumstance: The old lady took me
into another room, and after closing the door, she said, "have you
four or five dollars in money that you can lend until our business
is brought to a close? the spirit has said you shall receive four
fold." I told her that when I gave, I did it not expecting to receive
again -- as for money I had none to lend. I then asked her what
her particular want of money was; to which she replied, "Joseph
wants to take the stage and come home from Pennsylvania to see
what we are all about." To which I replied, he might look in his
stone and save his time and money. The old lady seemed
confused, and left the room, and thus ended the visit.
In the second month following, Martin Harris and his wife were at
my house. In conversation about Mormonites, she observed, that
she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it was all
false and delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: "What if it
is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!" I was
both an eye and an ear witness of what has been stated above,
which is now fresh in my memory, and I give it to the world for the
good of mankind. I speak the truth and lie not, God bearing me
Palmyra, Nov. 29, 1833.
Being called upon to give a statement to the world of what I know
respecting the Gold Bible speculation, and also of the conduct of
Martin Harris, my husband, who is a leading character among the
Mormons, I do it free from prejudice, realizing that I must give an
account at the bar of God for what I say. Martin Harris was once
industrious attentive to his domestic concerns, and thought to be
worth about ten thousand dollars. He is naturally quick in his
temper and his mad-fits frequently abuses all who may dare to
oppose him in his wishes. However strange it may seem, I have
been a great sufferer by his unreasonable conduct. At different
times while I lived with him, he has whipped, kicked, and turned me
out of the house. About a year previous to the report being raised
that Smith had found gold plates, he became very intimate with
the Smith family, and said he believed Joseph could see in his
stone any thing he wished. After this he apparently became very
sanguine in his belief, and frequently said he would have no one in
his house that did not believe in Mormonism; and because I would
not give credit to the report he made about the gold plates, he
became more austere towards me. In one of his fits of rage he
struck me with the but end of a whip, which I think had been used
for driving oxen, and was about the size of my thumb, and three
or four feet long. He beat me on the head four or five times, and
the next day turned me out of doors twice, and beat me in a
shameful manner. -- The next day I went to the town of Marion,
and while there my flesh was black and blue in many places. His
main complaint against me was, that I was always trying to hinder
his making money.
When he found out that I was going to Mr. Putnam's, in Marion,
he said he was going too, but they had sent for him to pay them
a visit. On arriving at Mr. Putnam's, I asked them if they had sent
for Mr. Harris; they replied, they knew nothing about it; he,
however, came in the evening. Mrs. Putnam told him never to
strike or abuse me any more; he then denied ever striking me; she
was however convinced that he lied, as the marks of his beating
me were plain to be seen, and remained more than two weeks.
Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to
judge, for its effects upon Martin Harris have been to make him
more cross, turbulent and abusive to me. His whole object was to
make money by it. I will give one
circumstance in proof of it. One day, while at Peter Harris' house,
I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their
religion was false; to which he replied, if you would let me alone,
I could make money by it.
It is in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts; for they are all
well known to most of his former neighbors. The man has now
become rather an object of pity; he has spent most of his
property, and lost the confidence of his former friends. If he had
labored as hard on his farm as he has to make Mormons, he might
now be one of the wealthiest farmers in the country. He now
spends his time in travelling through the country spreading the
delusion of Mormonism, and has no regard whatever for his family.
With regard to Mr. Harris' being intimate with Mrs. Haggard, as
has been reported, it is but justice to myself to state what facts
have come within my own observation, to show whether I had any
grounds for jealousy or not. Mr. Harris was very intimate with this
family, for some time previous to their going to Ohio. They lived a
while in a house which he had built for their accommodation, and
here he spent the most of his leisure hours; and made her presents
of articles from the store and house. He carried these presents in
a private manner, and frequently when he went there, he would
pretend to be going to some of the neighbors, on an errand, or to
be going into the fields. -- After getting out of sight of the house,
he would steer a straight course for Haggard's house, especially if
Haggard was from home. At times when Haggard was from home,
he would go there in the manner above described, and stay till
twelve or one o'clok at night, and sometimes until day light.
If his intentions were evil, the Lord will judge him accordingly, but
if good, he did not mean to let his left hand
know what his right hand did. The above statement of facts, I
affirm to be true.
Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y. Dec 1st, 1833.
I, Roswell Nichols, first became acquainted with the family of
Joseph Smith, Sen. nearly five years ago, and I lived a neighbor
to the said family about two years. My acquaintance with the
family has enabled me to know something of its character for good
citizens hip, probity and veracity -- For breach of contracts, for
the non-payment of debts and borrowed money, and for duplicity
with their neighbors, the family was notorious. Once, since the
Gold Bible speculation commenced, the old man was sued; and
while the sheriff was at his house, he lied to him and was detected
in the falsehood. Before he left the house, he confessed that it
was sometimes necessary for him to tell an honest lie, in order to
live. At another time, he told me that he had received an express
command for me to repent and believe as he did, or I must be
damned. I refused to comply, and at the same time told him of the
various impositions of his family. He then stated their digging was
not for money but it was for the obtaining of a Gold Bible. Thus
contradicting what he had told me before: for he had often said,
that the hills in our neighborhood were nearly all erected by human
hands -- that they were all full of gold and silver. And one time,
when we were talking on the subject, he pointed to a small hill on
my farm, and said, "in that hill there is a stone which is full of gold
and silver. I know it to be so, for I have been to the hole, and God
said unto me, go not in now, but at a future day you shall go in
and find the book open, and then you shall have the treasures."
He said that gold and silver was once as plenty as the stones in
the field are now -- that the ancients, half of them melted the ore
and made the gold and silver, while the other
half buried it deeper in the earth, which accounted for these hills.
Upon my enquiring who furnished the food for the whole, he flew
into a passion, and called me a sinner, and said he, "you must be
eternally damned."
I mention these facts, not because of their intrinsic importance,
but simply to show the weak mindedness and low character of the
Manchester, Ontario County, Nov. 15th, 1833.
I, Joshua Stafford, became acquainted with the family of Joseph
Smith, Sen. about the year 1819 or 20. They then were laboring
people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they
commenced digging for hidden treasures, and soon after they
became indolent, and told marvellous stories about ghosts,
hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters.
Joseph once showed me a piece of wood which he said he took
from a box of money, and the reason he gave for not obtaining the
box, was, that it moved. At another time, he, (Joseph, Jr.) at a
husking, called on me to become security for a horse, and said he
would reward me handsomely, for he had found a box of watches,
and they were as large as his fist, and he put one of them to his
ear, and he could hear it "tick forty rods." Since he could not
dispose of them profitably at Canandaigua or Palmyra, he wished
to go east with them. He said if he did not return with the horse,
I might take his life. I replied, that he knew I would not do that.
Well, said he, I did not suppose you would, yet I would be willing
that you should. He was nearly intoxicated at the time of the
above conversation.
Manchester, Ontario County, Nov. 8th, 1833.
I, Joseph Capron, became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Sen.
in the year of our Lord, 1827. They have, since then, been really
a peculiar people -- fond of the foolish and
the marvelous -- at one time addicted to vice and the grossest
immoralities -- at another time making the highest pretensions to
piety and holy intercourse with Almighty God. The family of Smiths
held Joseph Jr. in high estimation on account of some
supernatural power, which he was supposed to possess. This
power he pretended to have received through the medium of a
stone of peculiar quality. The stone was placed in a hat, in such
a manner as to exclude all light, except that which emanated from
the stone itself. This light of the stone, he pretended, enabled him
to see any thing he wished. Accordingly he discovered ghosts,
infernal spirits, mountains of gold and silver, and many other
invaluable treasures deposited in the earth.
He would often tell his neighbors of his wonderful discoveries, and
urge them to embark in the money digging business. Luxury and
wealth were to be given to all who would adhere to his counsel. A
gang was soon assembled. Some of them were influenced by
curiosity, others were sanguine in their expectations of immediate
gain. I will mention one circumstance, by which the uninitiated may
know how the company dug for treasures. The sapient Joseph
discovered, north west of my house, a chest of gold watches; but,
as they were in the possession of the evil spirit, it required skill
and stratagem to obtain them. Accordingly, orders were given to
stick a parcel of large stakes in the ground, several rods around,
in a circular form. This was to be done directly over the spot
where the treasures were deposited. A messenger was then sent
to Palmyra to procure a polished sword: after which, Samuel F.
Lawrence, with a drawn sword in his hand, marched around to
guard any assault which his Satanic majesty might be disposed to
make. Meantime, the rest of the company were busily employed in
digging for the watches. They worked as usual till quite exhausted.
But, in spite of their brave defender, Lawrence,
and their bulwark of stakes, the devil came off victorious, and
carried away the watches. I might mention numerous schemes by
which this young visionary and impostor had recourse to for the
purpose of obtaining a livelihood. He, and indeed the whole of the
family of Smiths, were notorious for indolence, foolery and
falsehood. Their great object appeared to be, to live without work.
While they were digging for money, they were daily harrassed by
the demands of creditors, which they never were able to pay. At
length, Joseph pretended to find the Gold plates. This scheme, he
believed, would relieve the family from all pecuniary
embarrassment. His father told me, that when the book was
published, they would be enabled, from the profits of the work, to
carry into successful operation the money digging business. He
gave me no intimation, at that time that the book was to be of a
religious character, or that it had any thing to do with revelation.
He declared it to be a speculation, and said he, "when it is
completed, my family will be placed on a level above the generality
of mankind"!!
Palmyra, Nov. 28th, 1833
Having been called upon to state a few facts which are material to
the characters of some of the leaders of the Mormon sect, I will do
so in a concise and plain manner. I have been acquainted with
Martin Harris, about thirty years. As a farmer, he was industrious
and enterprising, so much so, that he had, (previous to his going
into the Gold Bible speculation) accumulated, in real estate, some
eight or ten thousand dollars. Although he possessed wealth, his
moral and religious character was such, as not to entitle him to
respect among his neighbors. He was fretful, peevish and
quarrelsome, not only in the neighborhood, but in his family. He
was known to frequently abuse
his wife, by whipping her, kicking her out of bed and turning her
out of doors &c. Yet he was a public professor of some religion. He
was first an orthadox Quaker, then a Universalist, next a
Restorationer, then a Baptist, next a Presbyterian, and then a
Mormon. By his willingness to become all things unto all men, he
has attained a high standing among his Mormon brethren. The
Smith family never made any pretentions to respectability. G. W.
I hereby concur in the above statement.
Palmyra, Dec. 4, 1833.
We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family,
for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we
have no hesitation in saying, that we consider them destitute of
that moral character, which ought to entitle them to the
confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for
visionary projects, spent much of their time in digging for money
which they pretended was hid in the earth; and to this day, large
excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence,
where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden
treasures. Joseph Smith, Senior, and his son Joseph, were in
particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and
addicted to vicious habits.
Martin Harris was a man who had acquired a handsome property,
and in matters of business his word was considered good; but on
moral and religious subjects, he was perfectly visionary --
sometimes advocating one sentiment, and sometimes another. And
in reference to all with whom we were acquainted, that have
embraced Mormonism from this neighborhood, we are compeled to
say, were very visionary, and most of them destitute of moral
character, and without
influence in this community; and this may account why they were
permitted to go on with their impositions undisturbed. It was not
supposed that any of them were possessed of sufficient character
or influence to make any one believe their book or their
sentiments, and we know not of a single individual in this vicinity
that puts the least confidence in their pretended revelations.
Geo. N. Williams, H. Linnell, Thos. Rogers, 2d.
Clark Robinson, Jas. Jenner, Wm. Parke,
Lemuel Durfee, S. Ackley, Josiah Francis,
E. S. Townsend, Josiah Rice, Ames Hollister,
Henry P. Alger, Jesse Townsend, G. A. Hathaway,
C. E. Thayer, Rich'd. D. Clark, David G. Ely,
G. W. Anderson, Th. P. Baldwin, H. K. Jerome,
H. P. Thayer, John Sothington, G. Beckwith,
L. Williams, Durfey Chase, Lewis Foster,
Geo. W. Crosby, Wells Anderson, Hiram Payne,
Levi Thayer, N. H. Beckwith, P. Grandin,
R. S. Williams, Philo Durfee, L. Hurd,
P. Sexton, Giles. S. Ely, Joel Thayer,
M. Butterfield, R. W. Smith, E. D. Robinson,
S. P. Seymour, Pelatiah West, Asahel Millard,
D. S. Jackways, Henry Jessup, A. Ensworth,
John Hurlbut, Linus North, Israel F. Chilson,
Manchester Nov. 3d, 1833.
We, the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family
of Joseph Smith, sen. with whom the celebrated Gold Bible, so
called, originated, state: that they were not only a lazy, indolent
set of men, but also intemperate; and their word was not to be
depended upon; and that we are truly glad to dispense with their
Pardon Butts, James Gee, Joseph Fish,
Warden A. Reed, Abel Chase, Horace N. Barnes,
Hiram Smith, A. H. Wentworth, Silvester Worden,
Alfred Stafford, Moses C. Smith.
Harmony, Pa. Mar. 20th, 1834.
I first became acquianted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November,
1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were
called "money diggers;" and his occupation was that of seeing, or
pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his
hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover
minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time, was
that of a careless young man -- not very well educated, and very
saucy and insolent to his father. Smith, and his father, with
several other `money-diggers' boarded at my house while they
were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been
opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young
Smith gave the ‘money-diggers' great encouragement, at first, but
when they had arrived in digging, to near the place where he had
stated an immense treasure would be found -- he said the
enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then
became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. This took place
about the 17th of November, 1825; and one of the company gave
me his note for $12.68 for his board, which is still unpaid.
After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my
house, and at length asked my consent to his marrying my
daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave my reasons for so
doing; some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed
a business that I could not approve; he then left the place. Not
long after this, he returned, and while I was absent from home,
carried off my daughter, into the state of New York, where they
were married without my approbation or consent. After they had
arrived at Palmyra N.Y., Emma wrote to me enquiring whether she
could take her property, consisting of clothing, furniture, cows, &c.
I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In a short
time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol, and
subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out,
and reside upon a place near my residence.
Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called
"glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living, and
was willing to do so. He also made arrangements with my son Alva
Hale, to go to Palmyra, and move his (Smith's) furniture &c. to this
place. He then returned to Palmyra, and soon after, Alva,
agreeable to the arrangement, went up and returned with Smith
and his family. Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a
wonderful book of Plates down with them. I was shown a box in
which it is said they were contained, which had to all appearances,
been used as a glass box of the common window glass. I was
allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to
understand, that the book of plates was then in the box -- into
which, however, I was not allowed to look.
I inquired of Joseph Smith Jr., who was to be the first who would
be allowed to see the Book of Plates? He said it was a young child.
After this, I became dissatisfied, and informed him that if there
was any thing in my house of that description, which I could not
be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was
determined to see it. After that, the Plates were said to be hid in
the woods.
About this time, Martin Harris made his appearance upon the
stage; and Smith began to interpret the characters or
hieroglyphics which he said were engraven upon the plates, while
Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said, that Harris wrote
down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after
this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a
greater witness, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it
-- Joseph informed him that he could not, or durst not show him
the plates, but that he (Joseph) would go into the woods where
the Book of Plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should
follow his track in the snow, and find the Book, and examine it for
himself. Harris informed me afterwards, that he
followed Smith's directions, and could not find the Plates, and was
still dissatisfied.
The next day after this happened, I went to the house where
Joseph Smith Jr., lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in
their translation of the Book. Each of them had a written piece of
paper which they were comparing, and some of the words were
"my servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness can
be given him." There was also something said about "three that
were to see the thing" -- meaning I supposed, the Book of Plates,
and that "if the three did not go exactly according to the orders,
the thing would be taken from them." I enquired whose words they
were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma, (I rather think it was
the former) that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them,
that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to
abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and
interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers,
with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book
of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods!
After this, Martin Harris we nt away, and Oliver Cowdery came
and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted as above described. This
is the same Oliver Cowdery, whose name may be found in the Book
of Mormon. Cowdery continued a scribe for Smith until the Book of
Mormon was completed as I supposed and understood.
Joseph Smith Jr. resided near me for some time after this, and I
had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and
somewhat acquainted with his associates, and I conscientiously
believe from the facts I have detailed, and from many other
circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that
the whole "Book of Mormon" (so called) is a silly fabrication of
falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a
design to dupe the credulous
and unwary -- and in order that its fabricators may live upon the
spoils of those who swallow the deception.
Affirmed to and subscribed before me, March 20th, 1834.
J. Peace. State of Pennsylvania, Susquehana County, ss.
We, the subscribers, associate Judges of the Court of Common
Pleas, in and for said county, do certify that we have been many
years personally acquainted with Isaac Hale, of Harmony township
in this county, who has attested the foregoing statement; and
that he is a man of excellent moral character, and of undoubted
veracity. Witness our hands.
March 21st, 1834
Elder Lewis also certifies and affirms in relation to Smith as follows:
I have been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. for some time:
being a relation of his wife, and residing near him, I have had
frequent opportunities of conversation with him, and of knowing his
opinions and pursuits. From my standing in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, I suppose he was careful how he conducted or expressed
himself before me. At one time, however, he came to my house,
and asked my advice, whether he should proceed to translate the
Book of Plates (referred to by Mr. Hale) or not. He said that God
had commanded him to translate it, but he was afraid of the
people: he remarked, that he was to exhibit the plates to the
world, at a certain time, which was then about eighteen months
distant. I told him I was not qualified to give advice in such cases.
Smith frequently said to me that I should see the plates at the
time appointed.
After the time stipulated, had passed away, Smith being at my
house was asked why he did not fulfil his promise,
show the Golden Plates and prove himself an honest man? He
replied that he, himself was deceived, but that I should see them
if I were where they were. I reminded him then, that I stated at
the time he made the promise, I was fearful "the enchantment
would be so powerful" as to remove the plates, when the time
came in which they were to be revealed.
"These circumstances and many others of a similar tenor, embolden
me to say that Joseph Smith Jr. is not a man of truth and veracity;
and that his general character in this part of the country, is that
of an impostor, hypocrite and liar.
Affirmed and subscribed, before me, March 20th, 1834.
We subjoin the substance of several affidavits, all taken and made
before Charles Dimon Esq. by credible individuals, who have
resided near to, and been well acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr.
-- illustrative of his character and conduct, while in this region.
Joshua M'Kune states, that he "was acquainted with Joseph
Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, during their residence in Harmony,
Pa., and knew them to be artful seducers;" -- That they informed
him that "Smith had found a sword, breast-plate, and a pair of
spectacles, at the time he found the gold plates" -- "that these
were to be shewn to all the world as evidence of the truth of
what was contained in those plates," and that "he (M'Kune) and
others should see them at a specified time." He also states that
"the time for the exhibition of the Plates, &c. has gone by, and he
has not seen them." "Joseph Smith, Jr. told him that (Smith's)
first-born child was to translate the characters, and hieroglyphics,
upon the Plates into our language at the age of three years; but
this child was not permitted to live
to verify the prediction." He also states, that "he has been
intimately acquainted with Isaac Hale twenty-four years, and has
always found him to be a man of truth, and good morals."
HEZEKIAH M'KUNE states, that "in conversation with Joseph
Smith Jr., he (Smith) said he was nearly equal to Jesus Christ;
that he was a prophet sent by God to bring in the Jews, and that
he was the greatest prophet that had ever arisen."
ALVA HALE, son of Isaac Hale, states, that Joseph Smith Jr. told
him that "his (Smith's) gift in seeing with a stone and hat, was a
gift from God," but also states "that Smith told him at another
time that this "peeping" was all d---d nonsense. He (Smith) was
deceived himself but did not intend to deceive others; --that he
intended to quit the business, (of peeping) and labor for his
livelihood." That afterwards, Smith told him, "he should see the
Plates from which he translated the book of Mormon," and
accordingly at the time specified by Smith, he (Hale) "called to see
the plates, but Smith did not show them, but appeared angry." He
further states, that he knows Joseph Smith Jr. to be an impostor,
and a liar, and knows Martin Harris to be a liar likewise.
LEVI LEWIS states, that he has "been acquainted with Joseph
Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and that he has heard them both say,
adultery was no crime. Harris said he did not blame Smith for his
(Smith's) attempt to seduce Eliza Winters &c.;" -- Mr. Lewis says
that he "knows Smith to be a liar; -- that he saw him (Smith)
intoxicated at three different times while he was composing the
Book of Mormon, and also that he has heard Smith when driving
oxen, use language of the greatest profanity. Mr. Lewis also
testifies that he heard Smith say he (Smith) was as good as Jesus
Christ; -- that it was as bad to injure him as it was to
injure Jesus Christ." "With regard to the plates, Smith said God
had deceived him -- which was the reason he (Smith) did not
show them."
SOPHIA LEWIS, certifies that she "feard a conversation between
Joseph Smith, Jr., and the Rev. James B. Roach, in which Smith
called Mr. R. a d-----d fool. Smith also said in the same
conversation that he (Smith) was as good as Jesus Christ;" and
that she "has frequently heard Smith use profane language." She
states that she heard Smith say "the Book of Plates could not be
opened under penalty of death by any other person but his
(Smith's) first-born, which was to be a male." She says she "was
present at the birth of this child, and that it was still-born and
very much deformed."