Welcome to the Naked Mormonism podcast, my name is Bryce Blankenagel and thank you for joining me. Here, we study the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or LDS Church). Not the sugar coated PR friendly history that the church itself teaches, but the real history so we can know where it really came from, and compare it to the current teachings of the church. I'm looking to build a body of knowledge, hopefully with your help, about the LDS church in it's factual entirety so listeners can understand what this thing really is. I also want to call Martin Harris out on his wife-beating, bold-faced lying, and his fuck-everybody-I'm-makin-some-money attitude, so if any of that offended you, then you should either shut it off, or, open your mind, give it a listen and try to reconcile why the facts offend you.
On today's episode, we are going to finish talking about Martin Harris, or as we know him Not-So-Smarty-Marty, until we talk about the 11 witnesses of the plates.
Alright, our narrative left off with Martin Harris giving $50 to joe to pay his court fees and other debts and move to his in-laws house in Pennsylvania. Now, let's talk about how Joe really "translated" the gold plates. This recently publicized controversy has been a source of interest to south park watchers and true believing mormons alike. While many paintings and pictures used in LDS churches and books depict a prayerful Joe leaning over the plates, it is truly incontrovertable that Joe used a hat and a seer stone to translate them.
In his _Comprehensive History of the Church _(CHC), LDS historian and Brigham H. Roberts quotes NSSM. He said that Smith possessed a seer stone, described by Roberts as a "chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum."
This is a quote from Marty himself.
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.
Martin Harris, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 12
NSSM was smart enough to keep an eye on his investment and ended up scribing for Joe for the 116 pages we talked about. After Joe would put his head in the hat like an emu shoves their head into the ground this would happen.
"By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Me [Martin], and when finished [I] would say 'written;' and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used" (CHC 1:29).
NSSM's description concurs with that of David Whitmer, another big hitter whose testimony appears in the beginning of the B*ook of Mormon along with Oliver Cowdery and NSSM*. We will talk about David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, and give them proper NaMo names in upcoming episodes but for now just understand they both play big parts in the foundation of the church and we will be refferring to them pretty frequently for a while. Anyway, David Whitmer was quoted on page 12 of his book An Address to All Believers in Christ,
"I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."
'Not by any power of man.'........ That is an interesting thing to say. I'm tempted to unpack it and speculate saying that the plates didn't even need to present if everything was translated from a fuckin rock in hat!, but why is this something that the church doesn't readily talk about? There is no mention of a hat anywhere on the Lds.org website, but the very people who translated it don't talk about Joe reading from plates with a chest plate that was equipped with 2500 y.o. glasses fastened to them, they only talk about a convicted con-man staring into a smelly old hat with a fuckin brown rock in it.
Sorry, I went away there for a minute, I'm back now. Joe dictated 116 pages to NSSM which was called the book of Lehi. For anybody unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, Lehi is the name of the narrator's father for most of the beginning of the book. Once these 116 pages were complete, Marty, being the street-dumb, business wise guy he was, wanted to get an outside opinion on how the book was going. I assume he wanted to either vindicate joe as holy sounding enough to be an actual called prophet of God, or have somebody say this is utter bullshit and you should cut your losses and run from that asshole Joe.
Well, Lucy, NSSM's cousin wife, did exactly that. We heard her statement earlier, remember that, she said Marty beat her so hard that she had marks for two weeks after. We don't actually have record of this to prove the correlation, but I want to speculate that she read the 116 pages and considered them complete bollocks! At which point, she decided to hide them from Marty on her own volition. Marty beat the living hell out of her because she wouldn't tell him where she hid the pages because, if Joe was a holy man with divine source material, he could just translate the same thing over again, right??? She never gave up the manuscript and sent Marty back to Joe in Pennsylvania with empty hands.
I hope you guys can hearken back to episode 1, I read a preface from the 1830 manuscript of the Book of Mormon, written by the hand of Joe. You know what, I'll just read it again, it isn't too arduous.
As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by the evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New-York.
Upon learning that the 116 pages were lost, Joseph had his first recorded divine revelation. This is what makes up D&C section 3. Verse 13-15 Who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and had depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom. 14 And this is the reason that thous hast lost thy privileges for a season- 15 For thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning
Yes, Joe went home pouting cuz that bitch Lucy Harris stole all his hard work for the past 4 months, and he came back with divine revelation saying that he can't translate for a little while because god's acting pissy cuz Marty fucked up!
A little side note, slightly further down in that same section 3, Joe talks, about not only the Lamanites, but about the Josephites, the Lemuelites, the Ishmaelites, the Jacobites, and even mentions the Lamanites coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. How the fuck did he know all of this when all he had translated was the very first part of the plates from the perspective of one person, Lehi? It's so demonstrably clear that he had an outline of what was going to be "translated" before he dictated it. He had been imagining this shit into existence since 1823 when Moroni first popped in to his room for a visit! He was just pissed off that he had done so much work all for nothing and now he was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Should he try and re-create the beginning from Lehi's perspective and possibly fight a legal and reputation battle upon release of his manuscript because of the discrepencies, or just re-write it completely from Nephi's perspective, and instantly justify the discrepencies as perspective differences dodging the perverbial PR bullet. Well, obviously, Joe chose correctly because he won out and the lost 116 page manuscript remains forever lost with no known trace anywhere.
Joe started translating again in 1829 with the help of David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, still with the funding from NSSM. I mentioned David and Oliver earlier but they are way too much to get into now. Let's just fininsh up the translation of the Book of Mormon, please bear with me on the boredom, we are almost done with the entire authorship of the BOM and there are just a few more points to get to.
If anybody is interested, D&C section 10 contains the revelation telling Joe to translate from a different section of the plates, meaning the books of Nephi. With his new dream team of translators, and his reinstated power of translation, the first Book of Mormon manuscript was produced in August 1829. Then, NSSM made the Not-So-Smartiest move one could possibly imagine.... He mortgaged his house and 240 acreage to finance the printing of the Book of Mormon. It's amazing to imagine that kinko's or even high efficiency in home printers didn't really exist at that time. We are talking about an early 19th century printing press with individual letter tiles. This method of mass printing is only marginally better than houses full of monks that each copy only one book at a time for years on end. Being such a costly and tenacious process, Marty obviously had a lot of financial stake rooted in the success of the Book of Mormon and consequently the Mormon religion itself.
Let's hear what Dallin H. Oaks has to say about these financial contributions.
One of Martin Harris’s greatest contributions to the Church, for which he should be honored for all time, was his financing the publication of the Book of Mormon. In August 1829 he mortgaged his home and farm to Egbert B. Grandin to secure payment on the printer’s contract. Seven months later, the 5,000 copies of the first printing of the Book of Mormon were completed. Later, when the mortgage note fell due, the home and a portion of the farm were sold for $3,000. In this way, Martin Harris was obedient to the Lord’s revelation: “Thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon. …
“Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage” That last part was supposedly divine revelation from Joe in (D&C Section 19:26, 35) he was kind of an asshole......
Honestly, I feel pretty bad for NSSM. He was just a superstitous business man that got suckered into selling his farm so a failed holy book could be published. If somebody would have told Marty at that time, that in 2012 the Mormon church would own a 5 billion dollar shopping mall in the heart of Salt Lake City, he wouldn't have known whether to shit or go blind because that $3000 that he mortgaged off for print, would be the equivalent of about $127000 now, and that was pretty much everything he had. We will eventually talk about the Mormon shopping mall known as City Creek Center, it might have to be a bonus episode or something because I don't think we are going to be done with church history for quite some time.
Anyway, back to pitying NSSM. Joe did such a great job pulling the wool over Marty's eyes and Marty thought he was in control the whole time. If anything this hopefully demonstrates how diabolical and manipulative Joseph Smith was. Don't worry, Joe wasn't this way to only Marty, you will see it become a recurring theme throughout the foundation of the church. In soon to come episodes, we will cover the 11 witnesses testimonies in great length and you will hopefully begin to understand how persuasive and charismatic Joe was.
Take this bit for example. This is from Dean C. Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History,” BYU Studies, 17 (Autumn 1976):31
After returning from a trip to Palmyra to settle his affairs, Martin began to transcribe. From April 12 to June 14, Joseph translated while Martin wrote, with only a curtain between them. On occasion they took breaks from the arduous task, sometimes going to the river and throwing stones. Once Martin found a rock closely resembling the seerstone Joseph sometimes used in place of the interpreters and substituted it without the Prophet’s knowledge. When the translation resumed, Joseph paused for a long time and then exclaimed, “Martin, what is the matter, all is as dark as Egypt.” Martin then confessed that he wished to “stop the mouths of fools” who told him that the Prophet memorized sentences and merely repeated them. 27
Joe was obviously playing Marty like a fiddle. Marty truly must have believed every last thing that came out of Joe's mouth because, as we will later find out, he gets his overly credulous ass financially, spiritually, maritally, and morally kicked by everything Joe put him through. Something we read later illustrates how much of a sucker he was for what came out of Joe's mouth.
Next we need to talk about three scholars, Luther Bradish, Charles Anthon, and Samuel L. Mitchill. Charles Anthon is the only one of the three that we need to talk about, because he's the only one that left anything behind for us to look at, so we'll refer to him as
Or just Smarty Charly. NSSM, being the business genius he was, decided that it might be a good idea to verify that Joe was indeed translating a recognizable ancient language. It would seem that if the ancient text could be verified, it would lend a lot of credence to the work Joe and Marty were engaged in. Think about the publicity, headlines reading "Ancient golden plates found in new york home backyard, has inscriptions validated by Colombia College professor to be genuine!" People would lose their minds right? People would literally travel thousands of miles for a chance to study it in comparison with other ancient texts of the same time and period, right? And if it were truly found to be another testament of Jesus Christ, upon translation by multiple bodies of scholars of course, this would truly change the entire religous world, right?
But, what if the symbols on the source text can-not be verified for various reasons? We should find out first, what those reasons for inaccessibility to the original are, and second, find out why the symbols that are revealed, don't comport with any ancient languages we are aware of.
Well, NSSM was smart enough to use the 'call a friend' lifeline and found just such a professor at said Colombia College, to do said ancient language verification task. Let's dig in to Smarty Charlie.
Smarty Charlie was the son of a revolutionary war medical veteran, who later became a surgeon general. Charlie grew up in New york and eventually graduated Colombia with honors in 1815. He became assitant professor of Greek and Latin at Colombia in 1820 and later went on to become full professor, and director of the entire languages department at the college, a post he held until 1864.
Marty must have assumed that this dood was the right dood for the job. Honestly, you can't really blame him. I mean, every early testament manuscript of Jesus Christ that has ever been found has been in Greek as opposed to Aramaic which Jesus theoretically spoke, no ancient manuscript has ever been found in ancient Hebrew that is a testament of Jesus Christ, and NOOO egyptian text has ever been found that has anything to do with Jesus of Nazareth. So a professor of Greek and Latin would seem like a logical person to seek the expertise of, when talking about ancient holy texts that profess knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Well, unfortunately, Joe was the only person on the planet that ever, reportedly, saw the engravings that were on the plates. There wasn't room for two people's heads in one divinely inspired hat so Marty had to comprimise, which meant he was forced to ask Joe to copy down an inscription from the plates onto a piece of paper. Joe was pretty reluctant to give it up at first, but any smart business man knows that 50 no's and a yes means yes, and Joe finally gave up the goods.
NSSM went to Not-So-Smarty-Marty's-Super-Study-Smarty-Party-Pooper-Pal Charlie Anthon, at Colombia to hopefully be told the good news that Joe was translating genuine ancient characters. Let's hear what Marty had to say about the situation in a letter he wrote.
I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. 65 He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book.' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.(Joseph Smith History 1:64–65).
Now I really want to dive in to the claims that Marty makes here but first we have to get Not-So-Smarty-Marty's-Super-Study-Smarty-Party-Pooper-Pal Charlie's side of the meeting. Unfortunately, one of the only things we have recorded by Charlie is this letter almost exactly 6 years after the occurence, just as the stories of 'The Mormons' were starting to run rampant throughout NY, so the accuracy of his statement may need to be taken with a grain of salt. It is written by Charles Anthon to E.D. Howe who was reporting on the Mormons at the time. The letter is kind of long, but it provides a lot of good information and I do plan on adding some commentary to it, primarily conclusions I have drawn from all the evidence I can find about the situation.
New York, Feb. 17, 1834
Dear Sir –
I received this morning your favor of the 9th instant, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be "reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics" is perfectly false. Some years ago, a plain, and apparently simple-hearted farmer, called upon me with a note from Dr. Mitchell of our city, now deceased, requesting me to decypher, if possible, a paper, which the farmer would hand me, and which Dr. M. confessed he had been unable to understand. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a *hoax. *When I asked the person, who brought it, how he obtained the writing, he gave me, as far as I can now recollect, the following account: A "gold book," consisting of a number of plates of gold, fastened together in the shape of a book by wires of the same metal, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and along with the book an enormous pair of "gold spectacles"! These spectacles were so large, that, if a person attempted to look through them, his two eyes would have to be turned towards one of the glasses merely, the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the breadth of the human face. Whoever examined the plates through the spectacles, was enabled not only to *read them, but fully tounderstand *their meaning. All this knowledge, however, was confined at that time to a young man, who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain, in the garret of a farm house, and, being thus concealed from view, put on the spectacles occasionally, or rather, looked through one of the glasses, decyphered the characters in the book, and, having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain, to those who stood on the outside. Not a word, however, was said about the plates having been decyphered "by the gift of God." Every thing, in this way, was effected by the large pair of spectacles. The farmer added, that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money towards the publication of the "golden book," the contents of which would, as he had been assured, produce an entire change in the world and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm and handing over the amount received to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, however, he had resolved to come to New York, and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he brought with him, and which had been given him as a part of the contents of the book, although no translation had been furnished at the time by the young man with the spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and, instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax upon the learned, I began to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my suspicions to him, warning him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which of course I declined giving, and he then took his leave carrying the paper with him. This paper was in fact a singular scrawl. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calender given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained any thing else but "Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Some time after, the same farmer paid me a second visit. He brought with him the golden book in print, and offered it to me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it, although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to the roguery which had been in my opinion practised upon him, and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me that they were in a trunk with the large pair of spectacles. I advised him to go to a magistrate and have the trunk examined. He said the "curse of God" would come upon him should he do this. On my pressing him, however, to pursue the course which I had recommended, he told me that he would open the trunk, if I would take the "curse of God" upon myself. I replied that I would do so with the greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature, provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of rogues. He then left me.
I have thus given you a full statement of all that I know respecting the origin of Mormonism, and must beg you, as a personal favor, to publish this letter immediately, should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics.
Yours respectfully, CHAS. ANTHON.
That seemed to be relatively straight forward. I will be honest, from the research that I have been doing, this letter is often quote mined for intellectually nefarious reasons. I think it is important to read it in it's entirety and examine it in comparison to NSSM's side of the story.
I will be posting in the show notes a picture of the 'Caractors' manuscript that Marty reportedly took with him for this meeting, we'll talk all about it in a minute when we examine Charlie's letter. http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/saga/anthon2a.gif
But first, let's talk about Marty's side of the meeting. He did make some fairly extraordinary claims, " Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian". Getting into the lingual anachronisms in the book of mormon will probably be an episode itself, so for now, let's just go with the claim that the church currently posites, and say it was 'reformed' Egyptian that Joe was translating from.
Let me give you some background on scholarly comprehension of ancient Egyptian. We had none until 1822 when Jean-François Champollion published his early work on the Rosetta Stone translation. Hundreds of scholars had been working to compile a functioning model of the Egyptian language since the Stone's discovery in 1799. Along with some major correspondence, and customary diverging stories of exactly who deserves final credit, Champollion published a fairly comprehensive Egyptian dictionary in late 1822. This dictionary took until 1858 to arrive on the east coast in an english translation. It wasn't even translated to Latin, which Charlie was well versed in, until the early 1840's, so there is no possible way that Charlie would have any idea what he was looking at when he and Marty met in 1828.
I would argue that there weren't even that many people alive in the world, that could have looked that the manuscript Marty had, and be able to confirm that it was indeed an accurate translation. The knowlege simply did not exist. But, let's examine Marty's next extraordinary claim. " I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters". Once again I just have to hearken back to the simple fact that nobody on the east coast would have been able to make this claim at this time, with the exception of Joseph Smith of course, and I have to imagine that Charlie was an intellecually honest guy. At the time he was trying to gain noteriety for his scholarly work, and I can't imagine that he would put his career and professional name on the line for some people he described as 'rogues', just to.... what.... fuck with this "simple-hearted farmer", that just doesn't make any sense.
Let's look at Marty's next big claim. "He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. 65 He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them."
There are some problems here, I can't imagine that Charlie wasn't a religious man at this time, he was well versed in Greek and Latin, two common major studies for bible scholars at the time, and a bible scholar would be the right person to bring the manuscript to, so kudos to NSSM. I would think, that if Charlie recognized the translations were indeed accurate, and follwing that, the person who brought him this manuscript, told him they came from an uneducated young man who was shown their location by an angel of God, would mark the merriment of his life's work and faith and would likely spur some very serious action on Charlie's part. Any professor would want to at least find out the facts behind such an extraordinary occurence, and he could have his somewhat early career launched into scholarly fame by being the first scholar that vetted Mormonism. But he thought it was a hoax. According to his account, he didn't even want to give Marty a letter saying that it was false, probably because he didn't want to marr his burgening career, but declined on the basis that it seemed like 'a scheme to cheat the farmer out of his money'
I do have to mention that a letter was written in1841 by Charlie to Reverend Coit of New Rochelle New York, that directly contradicts this small claim.
"He [Martin Harris] then proceeded to give me the history of the whole affair, which convinced me that he had fallen into the hands of some sharper, while it left me in great astonishment at his simplicity. On my telling the bearer of the paper that an attempt had been made to impose on him and defraud him of his property, he requested me to give him my opinion in writing about the paper which he had shown to me. I did so without hesitation, partly for the man's sake, and partly to let the individual 'behind the curtain' see that his trick was discovered."
I'm not really sure what to make of this blatant bipolar contradiction. While it doesn't necessarily modify the meat and potatoes of Charlies claims, it is something that I want to address. This letter is written 7 years after the first letter, making it 13 years after the incident itself. I highly doubt that Charlie had the foresight to see Mormonism gaining it's terrible reputation 13 years after such a simple-hearted wealthy farmer came to speak with him for possibly an hour about some scratchings on a piece of paper. I doubt that Charlie even gave the meeting much thought at the time. However, I would be willing to bet that the church dubiously used Charlie's name to claim authenticity based off NSSM's recounting of the story. Marty's account not only serves to villianize Charlie and intellectuals as a whole, but it also claimed that he told Marty that Joe knew what the fuck he was doing which is a claim that I cannot see coming from Charles Anthon. The church must have been using this all along because they still use it today! I pulled Martin Harris's account from the LDS.org website and it was from the Joseph Smith History!.... To anybody that is unaware of what that is, the Joseph Smith History is another small book contained in the Pearl of Great Price, which is Mormon holy canon, written by the hand of Joe himself. We'll probably refer to it a lot in the future, because it is so fascinating and offers a lot of insights that Mormons don't always know about today.
So you can see the urgency in Charlie's letters to divorce himself from the Mormon church. It was shitting all over his name because every Mormon missionary would claim that Charlie verified the accuracy of the plates, and the people they preached to didn't have the knowledge or the resources to find and verify this claim. If the investigator asked the missionary if they could see a copy of the certificate of authenticity from Charlie, the missionaries would simply say 'well when Marty told Charlie that Joe found the plates by revelation from an angel, Charlie ripped the paper up so we don't really have proof of it..... But we swear he said it's true!!' The people that were 'lying for the lord' at the foundations of the church could never understand how readily available all this information would be for us today, unfortunately, the church has grown exponentially for almost 185 years and that is a lot of foundation to chip away at.
Let's jump on Charlie's final claim to finish out the episode.
"He brought with him the golden book in print, and offered it to me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it, although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to the roguery which had been in my opinion practised upon him, and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me that they were in a trunk with the large pair of spectacles. I advised him to go to a magistrate and have the trunk examined. He said the "curse of God" would come upon him should he do this. On my pressing him, however, to pursue the course which I had recommended, he told me that he would open the trunk, if I would take the "curse of God" upon myself. I replied that I would do so with the greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature, provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of rogues. He then left me."
There is truly no Mormon reference to this secondary meeting. I could not find a single apologist that talks about it, no Mormon website refers to, much less tries to refute it, it's just simply overlooked. However, I do find this to be quite hilarious. It illustrates how hard up for money Marty was as well as the kind of person Charlie was. Charlie told Marty outright that Joe was full of meerkat shit, and Marty tried to sell the plates to Charlie. Charlie probably laughed at him and said I'll be happy to take on the curse of God, not to purchase them, but to prove myself right and show you how bad you were hoodwinked, and Marty storms off.
We do have to weigh the content of these claims individually and upon the merits of the individuals who made such claims. On the one hand, you have Not-So-Smarty-Marty's-Super-Study-Smarty-Party-Pooper-Pal Charlie Anthon, who is a burgening scholar making no positive claims of authenticity. But rather, he tells Marty on two occasions that he is being defcon 5 level swindled here and Marty storms off in a fit of rage both times. Then we have NSSM himself, the simple farmer with an assload of money that has made a significant financial investment. He tries to verify the accuracy of the plates and fails, which follows by him saying to him 'if you leave me alone I'll make money of it' to his wife. She leaves his broke ass, and he's left to make money the only way he can after loosing everything to Joseph Smith's selfish so-called "revelations", by trying to sell the plates to the person that told him he's already fucked. Marty had a financial stake in the accuracy of the BOM, and was well known for lying about things only relating to mormonism, whereas Charlie had nothing to gain from the meeting, and probably went home that night and laughed about it, thinking it would never become what it did.
Charlie went on to retire from headmaster position of the Colombia Language and Grammar school in 1864. Marty went on to do all kinds of crazy things in the church that we can't really get into now. But, for the most part that sums up Martin Harris' role in the very early foundations of the church. We will keep a tab on Marty and refer to him from time to time, but that's about all as we need to know concerning NSSM for now. I hope this episode was just as enjoyable as the previous episode, thank you for joining me this week, and check out next week when we examine Oliver Cowdery in depth, here on the Naked Mormonism podcast.
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