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Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith's right hand man.
| I have been reading many comments about SR's involvement in the writing of the BofM. One of the more interesting claims is when JS is telling the story of Moroni ( or Nephi) he is really reviewing conversations with SR.
This theory promotes the idea that during the years before the BofM was published it was SR who was teaching JS and preparing him for his prophetic calling.
With this in mind, I reviewed JS's history and found this to be very plausible. The problem is SR went to his grave denying he knew JS or had ever seen the BofM prior to his conversation.
Are there any other connections that could be made to support this idea?
Of course SR went to his grave denying he knew anything about the BoM and JS BEFORE he joined TSCC.
He WROTE the damn book. He continued on with his own mormon splinter group for years and the BoM was at it's core.
There are far too many similarities between the BoM, Spaulding's manuscript, SR's association with the printer that had the Spaulding manuscript, and last but not least, how fast SR rose to first counselor to JS, shortly after being baptized, and becoming the "spokesperson" for TSCC and JS right hand man.
The hat trick makes sense now. Old Joe had pieces of paper from SR in his hat that he would read off to the unwitting scribes.
At the end of his life Rigdon instructed his wife to burn all his material. She did so.
This is attested to in: "Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess" by Richard S. Van Wagoner
My "best guess" is that Sidney Rigdon delivered materials to Smith in September 1827 for use in producing the BoM, thereby making him Moroni for that particular visit, at least. But I don't think the stories of Moroni's annual developed based only on the BoM scam, and I have doubts about Rigdon having annual meetings with Smith prior to 1827. I consider it likely that Rigdon may have first met Smith as late as the beginning part of 1827.
I think the Moroni visits are a transformed version of earlier stories that JS was telling within his circle of money-digging associates about annual meetings with a treasure guardian spirit, and that prior to his meeting Rigdon, the stories were about either lost treasures or a book which would tell the location of lost treasures, but had nothing to do with scriptures or anything particularly religious. There were probably visits to the hill involved in those earliers as well, but I doubt anything that was related to the BoM.
I think Joseph and Sidney agreed in 1827 to schedule a delivery in September partially in order to live up to the expectations of JS's dupes who had been led to believe by Joseph's earlier stories that something special was going to happen then. It was some of the money-diggers who were trying to get the plates from Joseph after the delivery, so I think Joseph had definitely led on that something was going to happen, and when they found out that something did happen, they wanted their cut of the action.
After the BoM plot was set in motion, the stories of the treasure guardian spirit were recrafted to reflect JS's new religious role. The old guardian spirit became Moroni, and for at least that one 1827 visit, Moroni was Rigdon.
| 1885 Statement of Isaac Butts:
I was born in Palmyra, N.Y., near where old Jo Smith settled, January 4, 1807. I attended school with Prophet Jo. His father taught me to mow. I worked with old and young Jo at farming. I have frequently seen old Jo drunk. Young Jo had a forked witch-hazel rod with which he claimed he could locate buried money or hidden things. Later he had a peep-stone which he put into his hat and looked into it. I have seen both. Joshua Stafford, a good citizen, told me that young Jo Smith and himself dug for money in his orchard and elsewhere nights. All the money digging was done nights. I saw the holes in the orchard which were four or five feet square and three or four feet deep. Jo and others dug much about Palmyra and Manchester. I have seen many of the holes. The first thing he claimed to find was gold plates of the "Book of Mormon," which he kept in a pillowcase and would let people lift, but not see. I came to Ohio in 1818, and became acquainted with Sydney Rigdon in 1820. He preached my brother's funeral sermon in Auburn, O., in May, 1822. I returned to Palmyra twice and resided there about two years each time. Many persons whom I knew in New York joined the Mormons and came to Kirtland. They told me they saw Sidney Rigdon much with Jo Smith before they became Mormons, but did not know who he was until they came to Kirtland. [Signed.] ISAAC BUTTS. South Newbury, Geauga Co, O.
- It's too bad we don't know more details. Who were the persons Butts knew in New York and when did they see Rigdon and Smith together? It could simply be that Rigdon and Smith were seen by them in New York late in 1830 - which wouldn't reveal any more than we already know. Although the importance of the final sentences is debatable, I'm more interested in what the earlier portions of Butts' statement may suggest.
- Butts knew Jo Smith at least as early as when they both attended school and when Jo was engaged in locating buried money in the Palmyra area. This must have been during the first half of the 1820's.
- Butts knew Rigdon as early as 1820, and Rigdon clearly had a presence in Auburn Ohio in the early 1820's. From late 1822 to 1825, Rigdon was in Pittsburgh, but in 1825 he returned to Geauga County and resided just a few miles from Auburn in the neighboring township of Bainbridge.
- Given Butts' travels back and forth between Auburn and Palmyra, it is possible that Butts could have communicated information about Sidney Rigdon to Joseph Smith, or vise versa. But I'm not suggesting focusing so much attention on Isaac Butts, since his family was not the only Palmyra/Manchester area folks who settled in Auburn, OH, during the 1820's.
Could any other such people have communicated information about Rigdon or Smith? James G. Bennett's article in 1831 reports that someone came within the Palmyra area money diggers and spoke of Rigdon.
Any traveler on the roads between Auburn and Palmyra could easily have been acquainted with both men. Given that there were at least a handful of such travelers, it seems Auburn OH in the mid-1820's is at least a reasonable place to look for more clues of a potential Rigdon/Smith connection in the 1820s.
| As you found by googling "Manuscript Found", both LDS and RLDS apologists
have published the the Spalding manuscript stored at Oberlin College under the name "Manuscript Found". But the document that they published under that name is not Manuscript Found, the alleged foundation narrative for the Book of Mormon, It is actually a different Spalding document entitled "Manuscript Story".
Numerous lines of evidence make it clear the Oberlin manuscript (Manuscript Story) is not Manuscript Found. The two documents differed in terms of (1) readiness for publication, (2) the kind of paper used for writing, (3) title, (4) writing style, and (5) subject matter.
Manuscript Found was reportedly ready for publication. The publisher had requested a title page and down payment. By contrast, the Oberlin manuscript is a draft document, punctuated with dashes, and ending abruptly and unexpectedly without resolution. Manuscript Found was reportedly written on detached sheets of foolscap paper a distinctive paper marked with a fool and cap watermark and supplied stitch-bound between old hardboard or leather covers. The Oberlin manuscript is not written on this type of paper (Cowdrey et al., 2005).
Witnesses said that Manuscript Found was the name of a Spalding manuscript that was similar to The Book of Mormon. They also said that it was written in a Biblical or “old style”, made frequent use of the phrase “it came to pass”, and told of the ten tribes coming to America. The Oberlin manuscript is marked on the outside as “Manuscript Story Conneaut Creek”. It is not written in a Biblical or old style, and it does not use the phrase “it came to pass”. It tells the story of Romans traveling in America, not the ten tribes coming to America.
When some of the witnesses who claimed to have seen Manuscript Found were shown the Oberlin manuscript, they recognized it as a Spalding document, but denied that it was Manuscript Found.
In 1914 Mrs. Hiram Lake, daughter-in-law of Henry Lake, donated two documents to the New York Public Library. One of these is a draft copy of an unsigned statement, dated 31 December 1833, which reads:
"this is therefore to inform you that I have made a statement to D P Hurlbut relative to Writings of S Spalding Esq. SD Hurlbut is now at my store I have examined the writings which he has obtained from SD Spaldings widowe I recognize them to be the writings handwriting of SD Spalding but not the Manuscript I had refferance to in my statement before alluded to as he informed me he wrote in the first place he wrote for his own amusement and then altered his plan and commenced writing a history of the first Settlement of America the particulars you will find in my testimony dated Sept 18 August 1833." (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 72)
Matilda Spalding Mckinstry, the adopted daughter of Solomon Spalding, made it clear that her father wrote an account about Romans traveling in America, and that this was followed by a “more probable story” based on the Lost Ten Tribes. Ms. Mckinstry’s first description matches the content of the Oberlin manuscript; her second matches that of Manuscript Found.
The deceptive mislabeling of the Oberlin manuscript appears to be a deliberate tactical maneuver intended to achieve a summary dismissal of Spalding-Rigdon authorship.
| || Manuscript Story (The Oberlin Manuscript) Is Not Manuscript Found |
Monday, Jan 19, 2009, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): Craigc
Topic: SIDNEY RIGDON -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| "Would you respond to the theories that the Book of Mormon is based on the Spaulding manuscript or on Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews?"
It is not correct to assume, as the question does, that there was a single Spalding manuscript.
The only Spalding manuscript now available is stored at Oberlin College. This manuscript was recovered in Hawaii. It is referred to by many names, including Manuscript Story, the Oberlin Manuscript, the Roman story, and the Honolulu Manuscript. No one claims that the Book of Mormon is directly derived from the Oberlin manuscript,
The theory is that the Book of Mormon is based on a now-missing Spalding manuscript entitled Manuscript Found. Spalding reportedly shared excerpts of Manuscript Found with his neighbors, family members, and business associates. By my count, 20 people gave statements about the contents of Manuscript Found based on their first-hand experience with the document. These people included:
(1) Twelve witnesses familiar with Spalding while he lived in Conneaut, OH (before the end of 1812) or in Pittsburg, PA (1813). This includes the 8 Conneaut witnesses who were interviewed by D.B. Hurlburt in 1833, and whose statements were published in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled".
(2) Two witnesses familiar with Spalding while he lived in Amity, PA (1814-1816)
(3) Two immediate family members (wife and daughter of Spalding) who had access to Manuscript Found before and after he died.
(4) Four witnesses who claimed the Hurlburt showed them a copy of Manuscript Found in late 1833 (i.e., after Spalding's death).
> Solomon Spaulding was born in 1761 in Connecticut , and lived in New England and New York until he moved to Conneaut, Ohio , in 1809. Because his business there was unsuccessful, he decided to write a story about some of the original inhabitants of America which he hoped he might be able to publish and sell. While working on the story he read extracts of it to several of his neighbors from time to time. In 1812 he moved to the Pittsburg , Pennsylvania , area where he died in 1816, never having found a publisher for his manuscript.
Again, the above description of Spalding's life assumes that Spalding wrote a single story. But he did not.
There is plenty of evidence that Spalding wrote many manuscripts, poems, and short stories. Insistence that Spalding wrote a single manuscript is a common method used by apologists to dismiss Spalding as a contributor to the Book of Mormon.
The apologist reasoning is as follows:
"Only one Spalding manuscript was recovered in Hawaii. Therefore Spalding wrote just a single story. The story in the manuscript that was recovered in Hawaii does not match the Book of Mormon, so Spalding did not contribute to the Book of Mormon."
In August 1833, Aaron Wright, one of Spalding's neighbors, recalled memories of a document entitled "Manuscript Found", then added: "Spalding had many other manuscripts, which I expect to see when Smith translates his other plate" (Howe 1834, p. 283-84).
John Miller, an employee and tenant of Spalding's in 1811, said that Spalding wrote "two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects". This was confirmed by Rachel Derby, John Miller's daughter. Describing Hurlburt's 1833 visit to her father, Derby said that "Father told him [Hurlburt] that the "Manuscript Found" was not near all of Spaulding's writings and that probably there would soon be another prophecy out." Joseph Miller, Spalding's neighbor in Amity, PA from 1814 to 1816, also declared that "Manuscript Found was not near all of Spalding's writings".
Apologists try to prove that the Oberlin Manuscript IS Manuscript Found. Both the LDS Church and the RLDS Church have even published the Oberlin Manuscript under the name "Manuscript Found". But several lines of evidence make it clear the Oberlin manuscript is not Manuscript Found.
The Oberlin manuscript that we now have is a draft document, punctuated with dashes, and ending abruptly and unexpectedly without resolution. At least one version of Manuscript Found was ready for publication. The publisher had requested a title page and down payment.
Witnesses said that Manuscript Found was the name of a Spalding manuscript that was similar to The Book of Mormon. They also said that it was written in a Biblical or "old style", made frequent use of the phrase "it came to pass", and told of the ten tribes coming to America. The Oberlin manuscript was marked on the outside as "Manuscript Story - Conneaut Creek". It is not written in a Biblical or old style, and it does not use the phrase "it came to pass". It tells the story of Romans traveling in America, not the story of ten tribes coming to America.
Some of the witnesses of Manuscript Found (Hiram Lake, Matilda Spalding, Jason Briggs) were also familiar with the Oberlin manuscript. In 1914 Mrs. Hiram Lake, daughter-in-law of Henry Lake, donated two documents to the New York Public Library. One of these is a draft copy of an unsigned statement, dated 31 December 1833, which reads:
"This is therefore to inform you that I have made a statement to D P Hurlbut relative to Writings of S Spalding Esq. SD Hurlbut is now at my store I have examined the writings which he has obtained from SD Spaldings widow I recognize them to be the writings handwriting of SD Spalding but not the Manuscript I had reference to in my statement before alluded to as he informed me he wrote in the first place he wrote for his own amusement and then altered his plan and commenced writing a history of the first Settlement of America the particulars you will find in my testimony dated Sept 18 August 1833." (Cowdrey et al. 2000).
The above quote makes it clear that Henry Lake, one of the eight Conneaut witnesses of Manuscript Found, recognized the Oberlin Manuscript as a separate work of Spalding, and not the one he had testified was the basis for the Book of Mormon.
Matilda Spalding McKinstry, the daughter of Solomon Spalding, recalled many details about her father's work. One thing she recalled was that the Oberlin manuscript was a precursor to Manuscript Found:
"But touching these I will give below his daughter's (Mrs. McKinstry's) recollections, recently narrated by her to me, which I think more full and explanatory than my own. This lady is still residing in Washington, D.C., with the family of her late son-in-law, Col. Seaton of the Census Bureau, in remarkably good health for a lady of her age. She corroborated her father's statement about his removal to Conneaut in 1809, his examining the Indian mounds andc, and distinctly recollected that he wrote two or more stories in support of the theory that the Indians of North America were lineal descendants of the Jews from Palestine. In the first of these he brought the Jews from Palestine to America via Italy during the reign of Constantine, and set forth that at Rome they engaged shipping to convey them to some place in Great Britain, but encountered stormy weather and were finally wrecked somewhere on the coast of New England. What became of the manuscript of this story she did not know with certainty but understoodthat it was published in some Eastern review or magazine.
This romance he afterwards abandoned and set about writing a more probable story founded on the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel. She thought her father must have had wonderful powers of imagination and memory, great command of language and facility of description. Many of his descriptions were of a historical and religious character. Others were grotesque and ludicrous in the extreme".
"She remembered that in one of them, touching the mode of warfare in that day, (being hand to hand or man to man) he represented one of the parties having streaks of red paint upon their cheeks and foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle. The story he called "The Manuscript Found."
James A. Briggs, the lawyer for D. Hurlburt, claimed that Hurlbut recovered both Manuscript Found and the Oberlin Manuscript, and displayed both documents at the home of Warren Corning, jr. in Mentor, in December 1833.
On March 22, 1886, Briggs wrote to Arthur B. Deming to say that the Spalding manuscript at Oberlin College was not Manuscript Found, and was of inferior writing quality:
I have just read the Manuscript Story [The Oberlin Manuscript] sent me a few days ago, by request of my old and much valued friend, Mr. L.L. Rice, of Honolulu, and in my opinion it settles nothing, save that the author of the story was a very weak brother, and if written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, he was a man of indigent talents, and the money paid for his college expenses was wasted. Allow me to doubt if he wrote it. Allow me to doubt if he wrote it. You must get some better and more positive link in the chain of evidence than this story, recently printed, to convince the world that the original "Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, was not the basis for the historical portion of your Mormon Bible.
I have no doubt we had the "Manuscript Found" before us, that we compared it with the Mormon Bible, that the style in which the "Manuscript Found" was written was the same as that of the Mormon Bible. The names -- peculiar -- were the same, not to be forgotten. The names Lehi, Nephi, Maroni, etc., and the expression "and it came to pass" often repeated. This manuscript did not go to Mr. Howe. What did Hurlbut do with it?
Some few years ago I wrote to him and asked him who had it -- what he did with it. He did not answer my letter. He received it, as [it was] not returned to me. Dr. Hurlbut died in Ohio two years ago last June. He is silent now, the grave closed over him . . ."
The above pieces of historical evidence support the conclusion that the Oberlin manuscript and Manuscript Found were separate manuscripts, and that Spalding wrote many manuscripts.
| "Automatic writing" or "spirit writing" is the ability that a person has to write or dictate complex and often lengthy pieces of writing while in a kind of trance. In many cases, the "author" claims to be in communication with a "person" who has died, a "familiar spirit" or an angel.
In 1985, Scott C. Dunn proposed that "Automatic writing" played a role in the creation of the Book of Mormon ("Spirit Writing, Another Look at the Book of Mormon," Sunstone, June 1985, Vol.10, No. 6, pages 17-26).
Dunn theorized that Joseph Smith used automatic writing to produce the Book of Mormon. While it is difficult to find evidence that Smith engaged in automatic writing, we have absolute proof that Sidney Rigdon did.
In 1868, Sidney Rigdon was Prophet, Seer and Revelator for a small group of Mormons in New York. In his capacity as prophet, Rigdon regularly received revelations, often directed at specific followers. His revelations include channeling of the dead. He recorded these revelations and sent them to his follower Stephen Post. The resulting compilation of revelations (in Rigdon’s handwriting) are available today in the Stephen Post Collection at the University of Utah, where they are stored as Copying Book A and Book of the Revelations of Jesus Christ to the Children of Zion Through Sidney Rigdon Prophet and Seer and Revelator. Essentially this scripture can be viewed as The Doctrine and Covenants Part II.
The following excerpt from the Book of the Revelations of Jesus Christ to the Children of Zion is one of Rigdon’s revelations. In it, Rigdon channels a spirit (angel) named Phineas, who he claims is the grandson of Aaron.
In a preface to the revelation, Rigdon states:
“To my great surprise Phineas grandson of Aaron has spoken to me concerning Israel Huffaker. I will send it to you and you must copy and send to him.”
The revelation containing the words of Phineas as revealed through Sidney Rigdon is labeled Section 86. In it, we read the following:
“Phineas the angel high priest to his son and descendant. Behold I am Phineas the son of Eliezur who was the son of Aaron, and according to the law and power of the holy priesthood, which priesthood has power as ministering angels, when they maintain their priesthood in the flesh during all their fleshly existence in purity."
"I Phineas being of the high priesthood and having been adjudged by the courts above as one who had honoured the Holy priesthood during all my days I obtained the privilege and power of ministering to those in the flesh who had obtained and were consecrated to the priesthood."
"Therefore I Phineas speak to you my son in the priesthood as a father to his son knowing the character of your calling and the solemnity of its influence, and the manner in which you will be assailed by the devices of the adversary that he may bring you under condemnation and cast you down at his feet."
"To preserve the priesthood of his church from being overcome by the Devil, the Lord of Zion has given a law, the strict obedience to which will shield them against all the subtle artifices of Satan, and enable them to overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh."
Rigdon then continues to channel Phineas as he gives instructions to his follower Israel Huffaker, concluding with the following commands to Huffaker:
"And the Lord claims to himself the right of declaring unto you what you shall do in order that you may serve him and not be ensnared by the Devil."
"O! Israel remember who has spoken these things to you one of your forefathers in the line of the priesthood to which you by birth belong."
"One who shall see you in the world of spirits and you shall then see and know him who by this and through this has spoken to you."
"Where O where shall I see you in that day of awful solemnity shall we strike hands with eternal joy or shall I see you sink, yea sink into the gulf of eternal woe howling in horror and anguish. This will be your fate unless you give heed to every word of the Lord spoken to you. Amen.”
The above account of Rigdon channeling Phineas is important for several reasons, not least of which is its relevance to authorship of the Book of Mormon.
In Bainbridge, Ohio, in the year 1826, Sidney Rigdon reportedly became involved in a sιance-like process to create the Book of Mormon. A description of that process is given in an in a letter to the editor of The New Northwest in an article entitled “The Mormon Bible”, published September 9, 1880.
The letter reads:
"We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. O. P. Henry, an Astoria subscriber, who says, in reference to an article in the Oregonian of recent date concerning the origin of the Mormon Bible, that his mother, who is yet alive, lived in the family of Sidney Rigdon for several years prior to her marriage in 1827; that there was in the family what is now called a "writing medium," also several others in adjacent places, and the Mormon Bible was written by two or three different persons by an automatic power which they believed was inspiration direct from God, the same as produced the original Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament. Mr. H. believes that Sidney Rigdon furnished Joseph Smith with these manuscripts, and that the story of the "hieroglyphics" was a fabrication to make the credulous take hold of the mystery; that Rigdon, having learned, beyond a doubt, that the so-called dead could communicate to the living, considered himself duly authorized by Jehovah to found a new church, under a divine guidance similar to that of Confucius, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Swedenborg, Calvin, Luther or Wesley, all of whom believed in and taught the ministration of spirits. The New Northwest gives place to Mr. Henry's idea as a matter of general interest. The public will, of course, make its own comments and draw its own conclusions".
See: http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/... .
Dale Broadhurst has confirmed several aspects of the above account, and compiled additional historical evidence pointing to Bainbridge as the likely location for production of the 1827 version of the Book of Mormon.
See: http://sidneyrigdon.com/books/Hnry194... and http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/books/Bre...
Describing the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:16, reads
“For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit
and their speech shall whisper out of the dust”
The above description sounds like automatic writing, and is consistent with the Bainbridge report on Rigdon's activities in writing the Book of Mormon.
Evidently, Rigdon thought he was communicating with the dead-- or he made it appear as though he were communicating with the dead. And perhaps Rigdon did have a kind of "familiar spirit" to inspire him the writings of Solomon Spalding, a man who had died 10 years earlier.
| || Ah Yes, The Rigdon Enigma And A Critical Element In The Evolution Of Moism, To Be Sure |
Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Shummy
Topic: SIDNEY RIGDON -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I'm sure we all can agree that Sid had a pivotal role in the birth of the baby dinosaur that grew up to be the Mon-ster we know today.
It could have gone either way in 1844. SR had already made two attempts to seize the helm and each time he was all too quickly reinstated by JS. His luck ran out when he was pitted against BY without the invisible hold he had on JS to sustain him. Sidney had way too much clout with JS that cannot be explained unless one knows the clandestine and foundational role Rigdon had played prior to his publicly know baptism AFTER the church was established.
Criddle's research referred to elsewhere is particularly enlightening here.
In a nutshell, the struggle for prophetic succession was between the Masonic controlled practitioners of spiritual wifery and the Bible-thumper Campbellites who abhorred polygamy and secret societies. Alas, we know who won that one.
Sidney is truly an enigma wrapped around a mystery inside a conundrum. Was it he who also introduced the concepts of descendants of the Nephilim as the mound-builders of Conneaut Ohio? There is his whereabouts in the 1820's and other such Spalding's manuscript stuff that we'll never know.
And he outlived them all, taking his secrets with him and he even mandated the burning of his manuscripts posthumously.
| || Vice President Candidate Sidney Rigdon Sent To Pennyslvania By Joseph In 1844 - As Opposed To A Disaffected Sidney Leaving Nauvoo Mad In Spring 1844. |
Friday, Nov 13, 2009, at 08:13 AM
Original Author(s): Badseed
Topic: SIDNEY RIGDON -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| This Weeks Primary Lesson: Brigham Young Leads the Church
My wife teaches the 8-10 year olds in primary. She usually asked me questions about the lesson as she studies them– I think in an effort to get me to see the "light" again. Seeing the completely skewed information actually has the opposite effect for me though. I realize these lessons are for kids and the ideas need to be simplified but that's no excuse for dishonesty.
From this past weeks lesson:
"Sidney Rigdon, who had been First Counselor to Joseph Smith in the First Presidency of the Church, had become displeased with the Church and had moved to Pennsylvania against the wishes of the Lord (see DandC 124:108110). However, when he heard about the death of the Prophet, Sidney returned to Nauvoo. He felt that because he had been in the First Presidency, it was his right to be the next leader of the Church."
"At a meeting of the Church on 8 August 1844, Sidney Rigdon gave an hour-and-a-half-long speech on why he should be the leader of the Church. Brigham Young then gave a short talk, and while he spoke a miracle occurred. To the people in the audience, Brigham Young suddenly looked and sounded like Joseph Smith. Zina Huntington said of this experience: “President Young was speaking. It was the voice of Joseph Smith–not that of Brigham Young. His very person was changed.
I closed my eyes. I could have exclaimed, I know that is Joseph Smith’s voice! Yet I knew he had gone.” George Q. Cannon said, “It was the voice of Joseph himself;
it seemed in the eyes of the people as though it was the very person of Joseph which stood before them.” Wilford Woodruff declared, “If I had not seen him with my own eyes, there is no one that could have convinced me that it was not Joseph Smith speaking” (quoted in Church History in the Fulness of Times, p. 292).
There were a number of other quotes in the Primary manual supporting the claim Brigham was transfigured into Joseph that day in Nauvoo. Richard Van Wagoner, in Dialogue Winter 1995 (and his biography of Rigdon IIRC) argues though that this "miracle" was a myth that developed years later in Utah as shown by journals and both contemporary and late recollections. There were no contemporary claims of transfiguration amongst the accounts but there was a trend if them late– some by people who weren't even at Nauvoo on that day.
After checking out this web page (http://www.lds-mormon.com/vw.shtml) it appears also that the claims about Sidney's disaffection before leaving for PA are less than accurate and reflect BY propaganda as much as anything. True Rigdon and Joseph were on bad terms following Smith's proposal to and slandering of Nancy Rigdon but things had been patched up. The page has some great information about the Rigdon/Young power struggle. Check out the authors review of the Aug 96 Ensign article on the topic.
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