Episode 14 – Sidney's Rigorous examination

On this episode, Sidney Rigdon is in the crosshairs. He starts as a young boy working on the farm by day, and reading history books by firelight at night. Fast forward a decade or so, and Rigdon is running the biggest Campbellite church in Pittsburgh, PA. The end of the episode dabbles into the pre 1830 connections between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.

Website nakedmormonismpodcast.com 

Twitter @NakedMormonism 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naked-Mormonism/370003839816311 

Patreon patreon.com/nakedmormonism 

Outro music used with permission

Links mentioned in the show:

http://www.mormonthink.com/mormonstudiesrigdon.htm#7

http://www.mormonstudies.com/history2.htm

http://www.scn.org/~bp760/saunders.htm

Welcome to the 14th episode of the Naked Mormonism Podcast, I'm Bryce Blankenagel, and thank you for joining me. Last episode, we compared the upbringing of Joesph Smith, to that of Charles Darwin.

I couldn't help but notice some of the similarities, as well as the vast differences between the two young men as they were growing up to become the person that history would know them as. They grew up a mere 4 years apart from each other, but the environments they were each raised in, differed from each other almost oppositely.

Charles grew up in a stable household, with a comfortable income to support his family. Both of his parents were educated, and divorced themselves from typical fundamentalist Christian beliefs, in lieu of a more fluid and progressive perspective. Charles and his older brother Erasmus got to play with a chemistry set in the backyard while growing up. Charles, and all the Darwins, grew up with stable schooling, and most of them pursued higher education upon completion of basic schooling. His syblings went on to be doctors and lawyers, and Charles went on to publish all of the work he did, up until the year he died of old age in 1882.

Joe, on the other hand, had a completely different lifestyle, through no fault of his own. He grew up in rags. Because his family couldn't afford to buy him, and all his syblings new clothes of their own, everything was handed down from his older brothers. Nobody will know precisely how the Smiths survived as long as they did without any form of stable income. Big Daddy Cheese, Joe Smith Sr., was known to be a speculator, meaning he would find things to buy and sell, or make things to sell, to support his family of 13. He was destructively unsuccessful with his various deals, but somehow, the family still persisted on.

Joe never attended school faithfully for any extended period of time. There are a few instances where he may have been attending for 6 or so months at a time, but for the most part, formal education was completely out of the picture for the entire Smith family. The primary issue with this, is Joe's personality, it didn't do well as an idle youth. His mind was hungry for stimulation, and it wasn't getting the materials and environment it needed to expand into a productive brain, inside a productive member of society. Joe had the ability to excel at most endeavors he encountered, because he was so smart and resourceful. But, this lack of proper stimulation, lead Joe to become an indolent, drunkard of a young man, that was quick to fabricate a story or circumstance to get something out of somebody. He told people about his amazing abilities to see amazing things in the ground. Not just treasure buried by the Spanish settlers, but even massive gold smelters that were buried in the hill, that the ancients of the continent supposedly used to smelt gold ore into treasure, which they apparently buried along with the smelter. This is supposedly where all the hills in Manchester county NY and Harmony Pennsylvannia came from, ancient forerunners burying their super special treasure, for somebody to find thousands of years later.

This demonstrates a simple lack of understanding of history, geology, mineral probing, and everything science in general. But, can we really blame Joe for any of it. Sure he was responsible for his own actions, as we all are. But, what percentage of batshittery that Joe did, was acutally a product of his environment? How many of his actions were motivated by personal apathy, and pathological lying to try and simply get enough food to survive on? We can simply never know what kind of person Joe would have been, if he were offered a nuturing home life, and a little bit of formal education.

This kind of juxtapostion of Joe and Darwin seems to provide some kind of insight into the potential of humans needing to be nurtured in a positive way, for the optimal outcome. As opposed to Joe's upbringing, where he was fed, and thus perpetuated, lies and misunderstandings of the world around him.

This is a great analog for what we see today, when we compare differing societies around the world. Quite simply, if any given society has a better the education system than another, be it a city, state, country, or even entire regions, statistically speaking, the more educated society unfailingly has a better standard of living, and more equality for it's citizens. The model scales from the individual, on one end of the spectrum, to entire groups of people on the other, and it's proved itself to be an accurate model throughout antiquity. I really wonder how some people today, can oppose education of any sort based solely off this model alone. How can less education possibly be a good thing.

Well, personal opinions aside, let's get to the content in todays episode. Last episode's history portion ended with a newpaper article about some preacher from Ohio named Henry Ringdon. This was actually eluding to Sidney Rigdon, and he is the focus of this episode. There's a lot of information to cover when it comes to Sidney, so I'll just jump right in with his early life.

Sidney Rigdon was born in St. Clair Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, February 19, 1793. The area today is known as Library, and is about 30 miles east of the Ohio border 10 miles south of Pittsburg. He had almost 13 years on Joseph. He was the youngest of four children of William and Nancy Rigdon. His father was a farmer and a native of Harford County, Maryland.

Sidney's father William Rigdon died in 1810 while he was 17.

According to an 1875 account attributed to Sidney's elder brother, and published by Robert Patterson Jr., in 1882, Sidney had a little accident that may have something to do with his personality. It is worth noting that this was published possibly 60-80 years after the situation happened which is quoting a first hand witness that was recounted by an nonagenarian 7 years before the printing. It isn't the strongest piece of evidence, but it was recounted by a first hand account, and it's something that provides explanatory power for what we can consider mental conditions looking back on the character of Sidney.

Here it is:

"...Sidney Rigdon, when quite a boy, living with his father some fifteen miles south of Pittsburgh on a farm, was thrown from his horse, his foot entangled in a stirrup and dragged some distance before relieved. In this accident he received such a contusion of the brain as ever after seriously to affect his character and in some respects, his conduct. In fact, his brother always considered Sidney a little deranged in his mind by that accident. His mental powers did not seem to be impaired, but the equlibrium in his intellectual exertions seemed thereby to have been sadly affected. He still manifested great mental activity and power, but he was to an equal degree inclined to run into wild and visionary views on almost every question. Hence he was a fit subject for any new movement in the religious world..."

Like I said, the evidence for this event actually occuring is a little shaky, but it does serve to explain some behaviors of Sidney, and tells us that it made him a "fit subject for any new movement in the religious world". He was known to snap in and out of lucid trances, wherein he would reveal the will of the lord, or prophesy something, or would be told where hidden treasure was. But he wasn't just a zealot with brain damage, he was also one of the smartest people in the group. In fact, Rigdon was the most intelligent and educated out of the group once he teamed up with Joe and friends, whether measure by structured schooling, or simply by number of books he read.

This is a quote that is much more substantiated than the last one was. While the last quote was just one snippet of insight into the early life of Rigdon, this entire episode will be based on a lecture that was written by John M. Rigdon, Sidney Rigdon's son. I'll qualify the authenticity of the quote in a little while, but first, we need to get properly acquainted with Rigdon growing up first.

Lecture Written by John M. Rigdon on the Early History of the Mormon Church

"Perhaps it might be well enough for me to tell you what kind of a man Sidney Rigdon was and then you will see why the world claimed he was the author of The Book of Mormon. Sidney Rigdon was born in the year of 1793 in Washington County, Penn. His father, William Rigdon, was a farmer living on a farm ten miles from Pittsburgh (being then a city of about 10,000 inhabitants). His father, William Rigdon, married a wife by the name of Nancy Gallighar. They had four children, Sidney Rigdon was the youngest. He had two brothers and one sister. His oldest brother, Carval Rigdon, married and moved on a farm near to the old homestead. His second brother, Loamma Rigdon, was a sickly boy and unable to work on the farm. His sister, Lacy Rigdon, married one Peter Boyer who owned a farm near the old homestead and moved with her husband, Peter Boyer, to his farm leaving Loamma Rigdon and Sidney Rigdon on the old homestead with their father and mother. It was the rule in the country, that when a boy was too feeble to work in a farm, they would send him to school and give him an education. Loamma Rigdon was too sickly and feeble to labor on a farm and his parents decided to send him to school and give him an education. Sidney Rigdon wanted to go to school and pleaded with his father and mother to let him go with his brother to school, but they would not consent to let him go, saying to him, he was able to work on the farm and he could not go. At last finding they would not let him go to school, he said to them in anger he would have as good an education as his brother got and they could not prevent it. So his brother, Loamma, was sent to school; he went to Lexington, K. Y., studied medicine and became a Physician. He never returned to the old homestead to live but went to Hamilton in the state of Ohio and there practiced medicine for over 40 years, [p. 3] leaving Sidney Rigdon and his father and mother on the farm to live."

Isn't it fascinating how we can see the failings and issues that this 19th century agrarian model for a society creates? William and Nancy Rigdon obviously had some smart children, and they were motivated to learn and make something of themselves. But, Short-circuit Sidney was forced to work on the farm, which he hated doing, instead of going to school to learn an educated profession. He was so angry that he was denied access to this lifestyle, that he still fit it in to his young life, even though he was farming with his father full time.

The quote continues in support of my claim.

"Sidney Rigdon, after his brother Loamma Rigdon had gone to Lexington K. Y., he borrowed all the histories he could get and began to read them. His parents would not let him have a candle to read by night. He therefore gathered hickory bark; there was plenty of it around the old farm, and he used to get it and at night throw it in the old fire place and then lay with his face bent towards the fire and read history till nearly morning unless his parents got up and drove him to bed before that time. In this way he became a great historian, the best I ever saw. He seemed to have the history of the world on his tongue's end and he got to be a great biblical scholar as well. He was as familiar with the Bible as a child was with his spelling book. He was never known to play with the boys; reading books was the greatest pleasure he could get. He studied English Grammar alone and became a very fine grammarian. He was very precise in his language. At length his father William Rigdon died leaving Sidney Rigdon and his mother alone on the farm. At length they got tired of living alone on the farm. It was lonesome and they sold the farm and his mother went to live with her daughter Mrs. Peter Boyer and Sidney Rigdon went to study Theology under a Baptist minister by the name of Peters who belonged to what was called the straight Baptist."

And thus we see the beginning of Rigdon's journey of the preaching circuit throughout Ohio, and Pennsylvania. It begins in Pennsylvania in 1818, under this minister Peters. After a few months of apprenticeship, Rigdon moved in with a Rev. Andrew Clark in Beaver County Pennsylvania, and earned his ministering license in March 1819. After this, Rigdon 5 was on the fast track to become the renowned preacher his destiny would call him to be.

John Rigdon's lecture continues:

"I do not know what the straight Baptist means unless it is those Baptists who believe in infant damnation and that, it would seem to me, to be straight enough for most any one. After getting his license to preach he went to Pittsburgh and preached a short time there and then went to the town of Warren; Trumbell co., in Ohio and remained there about 2 years."

This is referring to when Rigdon moved in with a guy named Adamson Bentley, right before he married Bentley's sister, Pheobe Brook, and soon after, met Alexander Campbell. This entire transition phase of 4 years, from 1818 living with his mom, to 1822 being a preacher with his own church, was a very formative time for Rigdon. He was establishing a name for himself, and rubbing elbows with all the biggest names and congregations in the area. There is no doubt, Rigdon was a charismatic mutherfucker, and people liked to hear him talk. Take the next paragraph in John's lecture for example.

"He did not have any particular charge of a church but where ever a vacancy occurred in the country he always filled and that way got a reputation of [being] a very eloquent preacher. Nature made him an orator and his great knowledge of history and the Bible gave him the knowledge so he was able to talk on almost any subject. He was of a natural religious turn of mind and he delighted in preaching the Gospel."

Here we have Sidney #5 wandering around Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, preaching at any church that will allow him to have the podium for any given period of time. He knew a lot, about a lot of things. One of which was the bible, and everybody loved how he was able to convey his message about Jesus, and tie it in with history that he knew about, and couple it with how it applies to situations today. This level of charisma and intellect, is only seen in a very small percentage of the population, but I think Joe may have had a similar mindset and intellect to Short-circuit. They both seem similar in quite a few ways. Hungry for knowledge, capable of fashioning together stories or prophecy into one coherent thought, well enough to pursuade most that were willing to listen, along with many other attributes, that can be posthumously applied to both men interchangeably.

I think this might have a little to do with how Joe and Sidney were able to get along so well, and accomplish so much together. Not only were they similar enough to get along with each other, but their strengths and weaknesses complimented each other. Joe never could have booted up the church if he didn't have help from Rigdon, it would have merely shrivelled and died without him. I'll get into those details later, but for now, Sidney is the focus.

Out of all of these moves, fill-ins, and meet and greets at any church that was willing to have him, the next move that Rigdon makes, is the largest and most formative of all in his lifetime leading up to this. Adamson Bentley, and Rigdon meet up with a couple of guys names Walter Scott and Alexander Campbell. They were two of the 4 founders of Campbellite Christianity, and they were looking for some charismatic young men to be their newest preachers. Here enters Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, Lyman Wight, Edward Partridge, and quite a few others. Those were lots of new names that probably only ring a bell with current believing members today, but they're all essential to the early expansion of the Mormon church, so it's worth mentioning them for now.

Bentley, and Rigdon were learning all about this new form of christianity that believed in baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, only after the age of reason is attained, meaning no infant baptism, or damnation. This was considered blasphemy by other catholic or protestant groups that heard of this new doctrine. It especially upset the baptists, to the point that there were schisms of various baptists sects that sprang up from arguments about these specific doctrines. One other thing to mention about Campbellism, they believed that the true church needed to be 'restored' to the earth through a prophet, before the millenium was nigh, also known as restorationist or a millenialist belief. They considered Alexander Campbell to be the prophet, and Mormonism believed Joseph Smith to be. Those were just some interesting similarities in doctrine to simply point out for now, I'll revisit them later when they become more relevant.

Up to this point, I've just been taking little snippets from this lecture that was written by John Rigdon, Sidney's son who was born in 1830. Well, I'm going to read the beginning of it, to tie everything together this far. Keep in mind, we are reading a biased report from Rigdon's only living son, so no other eyewitnesses that were in a similar position to him were left alive to contradict what he wrote. That being said, it does tell us a lot about Sidney's separation from the LDS church.

"I am the only living child of Sidney Rigdon, who died in the town of Friendship, New York, the summer of 1876; who was, at the time of his death about 83 years old. There were 12 children in my father's family. They are all dead except myself. Sidney Rigdon joined the Mormon Church in the year of 1830 at Kirtland, Ohio, and in the year 1833 was ordained Joseph Smith's first counselor, which position he retained up to the time of Joseph Smith's death at Carthage, Illinois (who was killed by a mob on the 27th day of June, 1844). I never knew a time when I did not know Joseph Smith. I knew him from my earliest recollections up to the time of his assassination at Carthage in the state of Illinois. I was familiar with him as I was with my own father. I used to see him almost every day of my life. My father and his family most always lived very close to him. I used to see him every day and sometimes much oftener. "

John was in the first generation of people to be born into the doctrine of Joseph Smiths church, and was a faithful member until his death, although it's not really clear to me which faction of the church he was loyal to. Joseph Smith or not, John was loyal to his father, and the entire legacy of the Rigdon family, therefore I don't believe he would ever contradict any of Sidney's claims. I doubt he even knew any better than what Sidney would teach him as a child.

This is where things start to become interesting:

"When my father and mother joined the Mormon Church at Kirtland, Ohio, he, my father, was living at a little town called Mentor in the state of Ohio, about five miles from Kirtland. He was, at the time he joined the Mormon Church, preaching what was then Campellitism, now called Christian, and soon after he joined the Mormon Church he was charged with having written The Book of Mormon."

This was tantamount to the early expansion of the LDS church, but right now it's just setting the stage. According to church history, Rigdon wouldn't meet Joe for another 8 years after he started preaching Campbellism, but we'll get into those claims later. What we need to focus on, is the apologetic that John is offering here, arguing that his father never wrote the BoM, and vehemently denied any association with Joe before 1830, after the BoM was already published.

"He always denied the same to friend and foe alike but they would not believe him. They would claim that he stole one Solomon Spaulding's manuscript and from that concocted out of the same manuscript The Book of Mormon."

I skipped over the part in Rigdon's timeline that included all of his connections with Solomon Spaulding, because I want to introduce it all in a succinct little package, instead of peppering it throughout the history, but it is worth shining the spotlight on when people came up with the theory, and started accusing Sidney and Joe of forgery.

"He used to tell them he never saw Spaulding's manuscript in his life but the people of the world would not believe him and continued to assert that he did write the Book of Mormon and gave it to Joseph Smith to introduce to the world. The religions of the world were determined to prove, if they could, that the Book of Mormon was not obtained as Joseph Smith claimed (that an angel from heaven appeared to him and told him where to go and find which was buried in the hill near Palmyra, New York). The fact that Joseph Smith had the book, all that knew him said he did not know enough to have written it, and somebody else must be found who they thought could have written it; for to admit that an angel appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where to go and find it was a reflection on their religion and their religion must be maintained at all hazards. Therefore, they selected Sidney Rigdon as the man."

John just made a fast and loose claim there. He said the other religious people around the Mormons were determined to prove Joe wrong at all costs. That's what it means when it says, "their religion must be maintained at all hazards." it's due to the fact that John felt persecuted by other religious people that would assert the Spaulding-Sidney claim, and John wouldn't believe them no matter what facts they layed in front of him. He thought that everybody else was trying to prove the BoM inaccurate, because they were afraid of the consequences of the Mormon church being the one true church. John doesn't say this explicitly, but it isn't hard to read between such defined lines.

"At length he got married. He married a daughter of Jerimiah Brooks who was also a great Baptist and soon after his marriage he and his wife started on their wedding tour to go to Pittsburgh to visit his brother, his mother and sister who resided 10 miles from Pittsburgh."

They were making the rounds to Sidney's hometown, so he could show off his new wife, to his mother and two siblings, and all his friends back home. This worked swimmingly, and it was the start of something new and exciting. Just to let you know, Sidney and Adamson met Alexander Campbell in 1822, and in 1823 Rigdon picked up his own church, to start preaching as head pastor under the direction of Alexander Campbell. This is detailed in the next segment of John's lecture, but he leaves out the part about this preaching to be Campbellistic in nature.

"They went on horse back; that is the way they rode in those days. They reached Pittsburgh on Saturday night and stayed there over night. One of the members of the Baptist Church who had heard my father preach came to see him and wanted to know if he would not come to the Baptist Church and preach to them Sunday morning. He said they had one of the largest churches in the city of Pittsburgh, but the church had become divided and they had no minister and had no preaching in the Church and he would be much pleased if he would come and preach to them Sunday morning.

He told the Brother he would. The Brother gave notice that night that there would be preaching in the church. The next morning quite a little congregation gathered at the church to hear him preach. After his discourse he told the congregation that he was going out into the country about 10 miles from the city to visit his Brother and mother and sister and should remain out there about 4 weeks and if they wished him to come into the city and preach to them every Sunday morning during the time he remained out in the country he would do so as he could ride into the city every Sunday morning and preach to them and then go back in the afternoon. This offer they gladly accepted and my father preached in the Church for 4 Sundays in succession. When he got ready to go home he and his wife again came to Pittsburgh and stayed over night and quite a number of members of the church called to see them and wanted to know if he would not when he got home come back and take charge of the church and be their pastor. They said to him they had the largest congregation in Pittsburgh when they were united and they thought from what they had heard of his preaching he could unite them. They would be much pleased to have him come back and be their minister. He said to them that he would take the matter under advisement and when he got home he would consider the matter and let them know."

Rigdon was offered the chance of a lifetime. He was a newly licensed preacher, and had a way with words that people loved, and his world was just starting to turn into favor of that eloquence.

"When he got home he told his father-in-law of the offer of the Church at Pittsburgh and he, being a great Baptist urged him by all means to accept it as it was not very often a young minister received such an offer. It might be the making of him and give him a great reputation. He therefore informed the members of the Church at Pittsburgh that he accepted their offer and would soon come to Pittsburgh and become their pastor. Soon after informing them of his acceptance he returned to Pittsburgh with his wife and became Pastor of the Baptist Church. It was not long after he took charge of the Church until he united the Church and he had the largest congregation in the city and in less than one year he had the reputation of being one of the most eloquent preachers in the city."

Rigdon was kind of becoming a badass around Pittsburgh. A lot of people there knew him from his young days, as it was the largest town, closest to his house while growing up, and therefore the social hub of the area. Sidney had gone off to preacher college for a year or two, and had been an apprentice basically, to learn the preaching circuit. He returned back home with a lovely new wife, and the people thought that he was going to be the next big pastor in Pittsburgh. Well, they were right. He drew a massive following, the biggest in Pittsburgh in fact, and Pittsburgh was the biggest city in Pennyslvania at the time, and one of the biggest city populations in the early states in 1823. Rigdon here wasn't running just another little church in one of his circuit tours, he was running a big time gig for almost 2 years. A lot of people travelled to see this new exciting spokeman for the lord. Tons of people converted to his form of Baptist, even though it was a bastardized Campbellite version of Baptist, which ended up fucking him over in late 1823. But we aren't there yet. We'll let John continue here:

"Everything went smoothly along, fame and fortune seemed to be within his grasp. At length an old Scotch Divine came to Pittsburgh and wanted to know of my father if he preached and taught the Baptist Confession of Faith., Infant Damnation."

This was a big problem for Rigdon. If he was going to be an ordained preacher of the Baptist faith, he had to teach the exact tenants of the Baptist Cofession of Faith. Any person that is found teaching something that differs from this Confession of Faith, would have corrective actions taken against them. In extreme cases, where the perpetrating preacher was teaching something that was directly contradictory to the tenants of the Baptist church at large, which is what Sidney did with refusing to preach infant damnation, they would go to extreme lengths to take care of the problem. In Sidney's case, they blackballed him from ever being a Baptist preacher, and motivated him to resign from his position of authority. I wonder how the Scotch Divine did that, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" (Don Carleone voice) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeldwfOwuL8

"He told him he did not [teach infant damnation] as he did not believe it and would not teach it. The Scotch Divine replied to him that he would have to teach it as it was part of the Baptist Confession of Faith. My Father replied to him that he did not care if it was a part of the Baptist Confession of Faith. It was to him too horrible a doctrine for him to teach and he would have nothing to do with it. His refusal to teach the Baptist Confession of Faith occasioned quite a stir among the congregation. The older members of the church thought he ought to teach it as it was a part of their Confession [of] Faith while the younger members thought he acted wisely in refusing to teach the doctrine. My father seeing there was to be a division in the Church tendered his resignation and the Church got another minister."

That was Sidney's dream, to run a church as a preacher, and teach what he knew to be the truth about Jesus. But, just like you can't sell Jimmy Johns at a Subway, you can't use an existing church's infrastructure and following, to preach your own version of Jesus. It may be the most effecient way of getting a following in the fastest way possible, as we've seen throughout all the rebrandings of christianity, but, it won't go unnoticed by the higher ups in the church that you're drawing your following from.

Rigdon didn't expect what he taught to be worthy of forced exodus from his authority, and was probably caught off gaurd. That would explain why he didn't struggle for the leadership position, or try to rally his followers to immediately follow him instead of continuing to follow the antiquated church. Well, to be fair, he just didn't rally them to leave the Baptist church immediately. Let's hear what happens next according to the same lecture we've been reading the majority of the time. John Rigdon continues:

"After resigning the pastorship of the Baptist Church he remained in Pittsburgh, about 2 years. After that in a tan yard with his brother-in-law Richard Brooks who was a tanner and couyer by trade who started a tannery in Pittsburgh, my father contributed some money in the business."

This was Rigdon's journeyman, or second, round of tanning hides. He had completed his apprenceship around 1816, but that isn't relevant right now.

"At the end of 2 years they sold the tanner. Soon after that Sidney Rigdon became acquainted with Alexander Campbell who was a very learned man but not much of an orator. He and Campbell got their heads together and started what was then called Campbellite Church now called Christian. Sidney Rigdon [Baptised] Campbell and Campbell Baptised him and the church was started."

The way this is worded, is a little confusing, and can obfuscate what historians believe to have really happened. The Campbellite church was up and coming already when Sidney officially got together with Alexander Campbell. Rigdon didn't team up with Alexander Campbell and start THE Campbellite religion, they teamed up to start A Campbellite church. There is a big distinction between the two phrases. You know when a kid tells a story about his dad, some of the facts tend to be a little inflated, even if there is an underlying truth that it reveals? Well, I think that might be what John Rigdon has been doing for some of this lecture, but especially right here. He basically claimed that Rigdon was a responsible party for starting the Campbellite church, and that's just not quite factually accurate. It's close to what happened, but not quite. If we change the wording like I described, we can accept this statement as accurate, so I'll just continue.

"There was not much of their confession of Faith. It was to believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, be baptised for the remission of your sins and take the Bible for your guide was all there was of it. Its simplicity recommended itself to the General Public and Sidney Rigdon went to Mentor, Ohio and commenced to preach the doctrine. He soon had quite a large congregation. They built him a church and he again seemed to be on the high road to fame and fortune."

There it is. The people loved him so much and loved his teachings, that they built him a church in Mentor, Ohio, which is less than 4 miles from Kirtland, Ohio. This should set off some listener's radar. Kirtland was one of the early sites for the Mormon church, and is full of brainmelting history and mountains of deception. But that doesn't come up for a little while in the history, so we'll have to put it off for now. Let's finish talking about Rigdon, and then move on to introducing the Spalding theory.

"One day the congregation asked him what he was going to charge them per year for his preaching. He said "Nothing." He said the apostles asked nothing for their preaching and he was not going to charge anything. They said to him in reply that he had been giving them the Gospel and now they were going to give him something. They bought him a little farm coming right up to the edge of the village and had built him a house."

I don't think that the crowd quite understood what Rigdon did right there. They offered him compensation for preaching, and like a "modest" preacher would do, he said, I don't need anything, the Lord will provide. The people considered him an even holier man for this arrogantly narcisisstic action, with a paper thin facade, and decided to give him land and a house. Kinda seems to model a lot of ministries today doesn't it..... Oh and he was able to claim lay clergy status (not being paid for ministry) which is something else that seems almost sacred to so many religions today, especially the Mormon church.

This next part is up to conjecture. This is the problem with citing a pro-mormon source with an agenda. They may say things that obfuscate the facts, or just outright lie about some things. Whether by their own volition, or because they have wrong information, we have to take some statements with a sinking grain of salt. I'm afraid that's what happens next, and it is perfectly in line with Mormon church teachings today, even though we have a considerable amount of conflicting data, that serves to undermine the agenda that the early church was pushing, and continues to push today. I'll cover that in a minute, John Rigdon continues:

"It [the house] was almost ready for him to move into when along come Parley Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and one Zibe Paterson with the Book of Mormon. It was a bound volume and it was the first time Sidney Rigdon ever saw it or ever heard of the man called Joseph Smith."

I'm afraid that's the statement I have a problem with. I'll talk about the conflicting evidence after I finish this paragraph, but it's not the quality of the conflicting evidence, it's a matter of what it implies, that bothers me so much. That's what I hope to convey when we really dive into the Solomon Spalding theory. Let's finish with this John Rigdon lecture:

"Parley Pratt presented the Book to my Father Sidney Rigdon in the presence of my mother and my oldest sister who was a young girl of 10 years of age. Parley Pratt used to be a Baptist minister and was some what acquainted with Sidney Rigdon. In presenting the Book of Mormon he said, "Brother Rigdon, here is a book which is a revelation from God."

Alright, the deconstruction starts now. Parley Pratt was not just acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, he was one of his followers in the Campbellite movement. Rigdon and Parley Pratt probably knew each other quite well. Pratt was also good friends with Oliver Cowdery (Cowdung Allover) and he was one of the earliest converts to Mormonism, being baptized around September 5th 1830 by Cowdung.

Parley Pratt was one of the earliest, and most zealous missionaries for the church, once Joe cut the ribbon, and probably knew Joe well before April of 1830.

We know that Cowdung and Joe knew each other, and spent time with each other a number of times growing up being 3rd cousins, and having dads that were in the same Zionist divining cult together. The connections throughout these key individuals, are just starting to be brought to the surface. There are plenty of deeper connections to get into, but for now, we need to talk about what other people recorded about Rigdon knowing Joe, that comes into conflict with the claims made by John Rigdon's lecture here.

I took this from an article on Mormonthink.com which cites an aritcle on http://www.mormonstudies.com/history2.htm

I'll leave a link for the article in the show notes, and I recommend reading it to get a better grasp on what next episode will be on.

This is quoting from mormonthink.org

"If the Spalding-Rigdon Theory is correct, Rigdon would have visited Smith several times prior to 1830. He also would have had motivation to minimize his connection to Smith, and he would therefore have taken care to conceal himself. Thus, sightings of Rigdon at the Smith residence prior to that date, while supportive of the Spalding-Rigdon Theory, are not essential to the overall theory."

But, it's worth mentioning because it does lend some credence to the Spalding theory, which is nice to have, because the theory in and of itself, is a little combursome, yet shaky, and always up for conjecture.

"Two individuals provided statements indicating that they had seen Sidney Rigdon in New York prior to 1830: (1) Abel D. Chase (Statement of May 2, 1979); and (2) Lorenzo Saunders (affidavit with William H. Kelly of Sep 20, 1884; interview by E. L. Kelly on Nov 12, 1884; letter to Thomas Gregg, Jan 28, 1885; statement to Arthur Deming, July 21, 1887). John H. Gilbert repeatedly confirmed that Lorenzo Saunders had reported seeing Rigdon prior to 1830 (letter to James T. Cobb of Oct 14, 1879; and 1881 interview by William H. and Edmund L. Kelley; letter to Thomas Gregg, June 19, 1881)."

I think it's a good idea to read those statements in their entireity to get a sense of the level of evidence they can qualify as.

The first one by Abel D. Chase was written and signed on May 2, 1879. Hopefully you recognize the last name.

"I, Abel D. Chase, now living in Palmyra, N.Y., make the following statement regarding my early acquaintance with Joseph Smith and the incidents about the production of the so-called Mormon Bible. I was well acquainted with the Smith family, frequently visiting the Smith boys and they me. I was a youth at the time from twelve to thirteen years old, having been born Jan. 19 1814 at Palmyra, N.Y. During some of my visits at the Smiths, I saw a stranger there who they said was Mr. Rigdon. He was at Smith's several times, and it was in the year of 1827 when I first saw him there, as near as I can recollect. Some time after that tales were circulated that young Joe had found or dug from the earth a book of plates which the Smiths called the Golden Bible. I don't think Smith had any such plates. He was mysterious in his actions. The peepstone, in which he was accustomed to look, he got of my elder brother Willard while at work for us digging a well. It was a singular looking stone and young Joe pretended he could discover hidden things in it.

My brother Willard Chase died at Palmyra, N.Y., March 10, 1871. His affidavit, published in Howe's "history of mormonsim" is genuine. Peter Ingersoll, whose affidavit was published in the same book, is also dead. He moved West years ago and died about two years ago. Ingersoll had the reputation of being a man of his word, and I have no doubt his sworne statment regarding the smiths and the Mormon Bible is genuine. I was also well acquainted with Thomas P. Baldwin, a lowyer and Notary Public, and Frederick Smith, a lawyer and magistrate, before whome Chase's and Ingersoll's depositions were made, and who were residents of this village at the time and for several years after."

That was the first of the two that were cited, here is the second..... Well, sort of, there is a little bit to talk about when it comes to this testimony, which will take us to the end of today's episode.

Lorenzo Saunders, made 4 separate public statements about this topic. They tend to vary in detail, and credibility, and the quotes almost raise more questions than they actually serve to answer, and Mormon apologists love this fact.

**"Statement #1: **Quoted from J. H. Gilbert (citation #26)
"...Last evening I had about fifteen minutes' conversa-tion with Mr. Lorenzo Saunders of Reading, Hillsdale County, Michigan. He has been gone about thirty years [from the Palmyra area]. He was born south of our village in 1811, and was a near neighbor of the Smith family-- knew them all well; was in the habit of visit-ing the Smith boys; says he knows that Rigdon was hanging around Smith's for eighteen months prior to the publishing of the Mormon Bible...."

This was the first statement published in 1879, 52 years after the incident supposedly occurs in 1827. That is the first and biggest problem with the statement, and there is simply no getting around it. A lot of the things that we talk about, when it comes to history, were written a considerable amount of time after they reportedly happened. That's a historical analysis blind spot that can't be seen through, until we have retrospective time glasses to see into the past. I hear google's working on it but doesn't have anything promising yet. The problem with evidence like this, especially when it is witness testimony, which it often times will be, is how unreliable it can be. When I said that the Spalding-Rigdon theory is on shaky ground, this is one of the main reasons why.

Let's hear Saunders second statement in an 1884 interview. The difference between this and the first statement, is this is actually in Saunders own words, from his own mouth. The first statement we heard, was in a letter written by J. H. Gilbert that was quoting a conversation he had, with Saunders. However, this next statement is set up was an interview for the press. This one may be almost 5 years after the first account of it happening, but it hits higher on the credibility scale because it was directly from a first hand witness.

"**Statement #2: **Quote from Wm. Kelley interview with Saunders (citation #28)
"The following interview was had with Lorenzo Saunders by Wm. H. Kelley [an RLDS bishop] at Mr. L. Saunders' house September 17, 1884 at the above named place; which was read to and signed by Mr. Saunders as being correct.
"Q. How old are you Mr. Saunders?
"A. I was born in Palmyra, Wayne Co. N. York June
7, 1811. . . .
q  Did you ever see Sidney Rigdon in the neighborhood where you lived previous to the 1830?

a  In March 1827 about the middle of the month, I went over to Joe Smiths to eat sugar; and as I went over I saw five or six men standing and Talking. One was well dressed. They were about twenty rods from Smith's house

q  Did you know their names.

a  Yes. It was Peter Ingersol, Samuel Lawrence, George proper, the old Man Rockwell -- Father of Port Rockwell and the well dressed man. They stood ten rods from the road. When I got to the house Harrison told me it was Sidney Rigdon. i.e. The well dressed man

q  Did you see him after that previous to the year 1830?

a  Yes. I saw him in the fall - 1827 -- just before Joseph went to Pennsylvania. Peter Ingersol and I met him in the road between Palmyra and Ingersols. I never saw him any more until he came to Palmyra to preach the Mormon Bible. (2:128-29)

q  Are you acquainted with Major Gilbert of Palmyra.

  a. Yes. Four years ago I went to Palmyra to see my brothers, and I met Gilbert. He wanted to know if I remembered seeing Sidney Rigdon in that neighborhood previous to 1830 when he come preaching the Mormon Bible. He said Abel Chase testified that he thought he saw Rigdon before that time but was not certain. Says I to Gilbert Sidney Rigdon was about Smiths before 1830 in my opinion. Gilbert then asked me if I would make affidavit that I saw Rigdon at Smiths before that time -- 1830? I told him I would think the matter over. After awhile I think I told him that I would. After I got home a while I received a letter from Cobb of Salt Lake. Gilbert wrote to Cobb and gave him my address. I wrote to Cobb the next Spring. Gilbert wrote to me I think in November after I returned home asking why I did not answer Cobbs letter. While I was writing an answer to Cobb's first letter my house caught fire and burnt. Burnt up every thing I had and there was no insurance. Lost a thousand dollars. I was some time thinking the matter over before writing to Cobb as requested by Gilbert and during that time my house was burnt. It had been a long time since those transactions and it was difficult to fix dates, But I have it now so that I can tell it right off. (2:142-43)

q  How did you fix the date that you saw Sidney Rigdon at Smiths previous to 1830?

a  When I was talking with Gilbert and told him I would think the matter over and see if I could make affidavit and I fixed the time in my mind by remembering that I had gone over there to eat sugar.

q  Was Peter Ingersol and Samuel Lawrence acquainted with Sidney Rigdon?

a  Yes. they were both acquainted with him in 1827. Sam Lawrence took Joe over into Pennsylvania and gave him a better education. I saw Rigdon in 1830 preach with the Bible in one hand and the book of Mormon in the other, and he said the Bible is now fulfilled and done away and the Book of Mormon was to take its place.

q  What kind of a woman was Joseph's wife.

a  Joseph's wife was a pretty woman. Just as pretty a woman as I ever saw. When she come to the Smith's she was disappointed and used to come down to our house and sit down and cry. Said she was deceived and got into a hard place. -- When I was down to see my Brothers four years ago in a conversation with Gilbert when I first got there, it was then he said that he did not know that Sidney Rigdon was ever here previous to 1830. He believed he was, but they had no evidence. He said they had been studying on it for 35 or 40 years but they could not get the evidence. Said if they could only make that point the fraud would come out. He said he could come the nearest proving it by Able Chase but he was not certain. When I got ready to come home (was there three weeks) Gilbert said he wanted to see me before I left. He was working on the Canal. He came to me as I was about to start home and it was then that I told him that I had thought the matter over and made up my mind that I could swear that I saw Rigdon in the neighborhood in the Spring of 1827. That is what he wanted I should write Cobb. This conversation was in Palmyra in front of John Saunders store. (2:144)

There's a little bit more to go on with that version. But, before I get into addressing the claims themselves, I'll finish reading the other two, as they're quite similar to the second statement, but vary on just a couple small details.

"Statement #3: Quote from a statement made to G. Gregg (citation #30)
"Dear Sir. I received your note ready at hand and will try [to] answer the best I can and give all the infor-mation I can as respecting Mormonism and the first origin. . . . (Now quoting Saunders) "I saw Sidney Rigdon in the spring of 1827, about the middle of March. I went to Smiths to eat maple sugar, and I saw five or six men standing in a group and there was one among them better dressed than the rest and I asked Harrison Smith who he was and he said his name was Sidney Rigdon, a friend of Joseph's from Pennsylvania. I saw him in the Fall of 1827 on the road between where I lived and Palmyra, with Joseph. I was with a man by the name of Inger-soll.(29) They talked together and when he went on I asked Ingersoll who he was and he said it was Rigdon. Then in the summer of 1828 I saw him at Samuel Law-rence's just before harvest. I was cutting corn for Lawrence and went to dinner and he took dinner with us and when dinner was over they went into another room and I didn't see him again till he came to Palmyra to preach. . . .Yours with respect, From Lorenzo Saunders"

"Statement #4: made by Saunders to the Justice of the Peace (citation #31)
"Statement of Lorenzo Saunders. SS: "Hillsdale County, State of Michigan.
"Lorenzo Saunders being duly sworn deposes and says: "That I reside in Reading, Hillsdale County, State of Michigan; that I was born in the town of Palmyra, Wayne County, State of New York, on June 7, A.D. 1811, and am now seventy-six years of age. That I lived in said town of Palmyra until I was forty-three of age. That I lived within one mile of Joseph Smith at the time said Joseph Smith claimed that he found the 'tablets' on which the 'Book of Mormon' was revealed. . . . That in March of 1827, on or about the 15th of said month I went to the home of Joseph Smith for the purpose of getting some maple sugar to eat, that when I arrived at the house of said Joseph Smith, I was met at the door by Harrison Smith, Jo's brother. That at a distance of ten or twelve rods from the house there were five men that were engaged in talking, four of whom I knew, the fifth one was better dressed than the rest of those whom I was acquainted with. I inquired of Harrison Smith who the stranger was? He informed me his name was Sidney Rigdon with whom I afterwards became acquainted with and found to be Sidney Rigdon. This was in March, A.D. 1827, the second spring after the death of my father. I was frequently at the house of Joseph Smith from 1827 to 1830. . . . That in the summer of 1830, I heard Sidney Rigdon preach a sermon on Mormonism. This was after the 'Book of Mormon' had been published, which took about three years from the time Joseph Smith claimed to have had his revelation. Lorenzo Saunders, "Subscribed and sworn to before me this 21st day of July, A.D. 1887. Linus S. Parmelee. Justice of the Peace of Reading, Michigan"

Sorry if that was a little redundant, but like I said, Mormon apologists love this quote as being used for evidence of the Spalding-Rigdon theory, just because the nature of the quotes. I'm going to read a series of a few questions that can be raised about the differing statements. I'll try to justify the evidence against the critique, and I'll let you guys decide if the pre-1830 Smith-Rigdon connection holds up on these grounds.

*Contrary to what is claimed in the Enigma, at least three of the alleged sightings of Rigdon by Saunders occurred on dates where, according to the Rigdon and Smith chronologies, these men were either noted to have been elsewhere, or, given their known location close to the dates in question, they could not both have physically been where Saunders claimed them to be--i.e. allegedly at Palmyra on March 15th of 1827 (see Rigdon/Smith time-line), the fall of the same year (just before Joseph Smith went to Pennsylvania in December--see ibid. time-line), as well as the 18 months Rigdon was supposedly at the Smith's prior to the Book of Mormon being published (from the fall of 1828 to the Spring of 1830--see ibid. time-line)? And, there is some question whether the alleged sighting insummer of 1828 fits a gap in the Rigdon/Smith timelines (corn is typically cut towards the end of August and first of September). Yet, the Enigma authors went on to knowingly and falsely claim that "*for in every instance without exception, where a witness or witnesses have claimed that Rigdon and Smith were together, a gap in Rigdon's chronology occurs which allows sufficient time for him to have visited New York. *" As they have said, "every liar slips up somewhere (see Enigma p. 490), and it appears that both Saunders and the Enigma authors slipped up here.

  1. *Several of Saunders' statements directly contradict each other. For example, in his second statement, following his comments about the alleged encounter in the fall of 1827, he states, "I never saw him (Rigdon) any more until he came to Palmyra to preach the Mormon Bible" (Which would have been about December of 1830). However, he must have forgotten what he had claimed 4 years earlier, "Rigdon was hanging around Smith's for eighteen months prior to the publishing of the Mormon Bible" (making it the fall of 1828 to the spring of 1830). And, he must have forgotten 5 months later, when he gave his third statement: "in the summer of 1828 I saw him at Samuel Lawrence's"--though he did mention again that "he didn't see him (Rigdon) until he came to Palmyra to preach" (December of 1830). This, then, was contradicted by his forth statement, made about a year and a half later: "That in the summer of 1830, I heard Sidney Rigdon preach a sermon on Mormonism."

This just seems to raise questions about the contradictions in the timeline, and challenges the exact terminology used. So let me try to deconstruct it. As far as Saunders second statement contradicting his first statement on the basis that the first quote said Rigdon was "hanging around Smith's for eighteen months prior to publishing the Mormon Bible", being in contradicion to his later satements saying he only saw Rigdon twice in the year and a half preceding the BoM being published. This is utterly absurd. The first statement we read was a person quoting a conversation they had with Saunders about Rigdon, it wasn't Saunders himself speaking like it was in the second statement. Is it really that weird that we find Gilbert summarizing the occurences from their conversation, into "hanging around 18 months before the book", and we tend to get more detail when we hear it from the person that made the statement themselves in a newspaper interview? Is that really surprising?

I would argue that J.H. Gilbert merely paraphrased what Saunders said, and then relayed this watered down version to what we are reading today. This doesn't seem to be any kind of contradicion, in fact it's what we would expect from the two different people being quoted.

Onto the claim that Saunders detailing seeing Rigdon at Samuel Lawrences house in 1828, is another piece of damning evidence because it wasn't listed in his second statement. Well, my answer to that is, I don't know. According to the model we are constructing, Samuel Lawrence, Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith all knew each other in the late 1820's before the book was published, so is it really all that hard to imagine Rigdon visiting Lawrence's house while mingling in Palmyra with Joe? No, the meeting at Lawrence's house is not corroborated in Saunder's first interview, so he might have made it up. Or maybe, he just forgot to include it the first time. Like I said, I don't know. I do know that he is recalling this 58 years after the incident, and it's easy to factor into the historical analysis that his memory may have been slightly fuzzy. The remarkable thing, is how well Saunder's accounts match up to each other, when they were given months, and even years apart.

And as for the fourth claim that there is a problem with the testimonies, due to the 3rd statement saying that Saunders saw Rigdon preaching in late 1830, and the 4th statement says summer of 1830. Come on now. This is such a small distinction to make a fuss over if it is being recounted 60 years after the incident. Some of the small details may be slightly changed, but the overarching facts throughout all 4 statements, is what we're primarily concerned with, and the small details to a lesser extent. I think Saunder's claims are still standing.

  1. *Beyond coincidence, the statement Saunders made that was immediately recorded by Gilbert, and then sent in a letter to Cobb, and which preceded Saunders' reading of the Ingersol and Lawrence's statements, makes no mention of the circumstance in which either Ingersol and Lawrence were allegedly involved (contained in latter statements), but only mentions Rigdon "hanging around Smith's for eighteen months prior to the publishing of the Mormon Bible"--i.e. from the fall of 1828 to Spring of 1830, an event that was not even mentioned, but contradicted (see below). Clearly, Saunders' got some of his "memory" of the events for his second through forth statements from either Ingersol or Lawrence?

Uh, no. I just refutted that to a plausible extent by saying that the first statement wasn't from Saunders himself. It was merely a paraphrased conversation that Saunders had with his friend Gilbert. The fact that Gilbert listed the events so vaguely, and didn't give any kind of specifics of the meetings, is to be completely expected when compared to an interview of the actual first hand account person. There doesn't seem to be much ground for calling this a discrepancy of any kind.

  1. Saunder's statement was made after 52 years of silence on the matter (the alleged events took place in 1827, and the first of four recorded statements from Saunders was made in 1879), and at a time when Gilbert, a purported friend of Saunders, and Cobb, a reporter from SLC, were attempting to make the pre-1830 Rigdon/Smith connection so as to under-gird a major weakness in the Spalding theory.

This is basically claiming that the statements these guys made can't be true, because they were so long after the fact, and they had a bias of trying to investigate what they were investigating. Well, there is no such thing as an un-biased opinion, or investigation of the facts. That's why they're called opinions, because they are personal and aren't necessarily subject to facts. The simple fact is, we have the church history that claims Sidney and Joe never met until December 1830, and we have conflicting claims of multiple people that state otherwise, in a way that is detrimental to the church's own reported history. Both sides are extrememly biased and are trying to serve their own agenda, we just have to decide which situation fits the facts best.

  1. How is it that, according to Saunders' second statement, he allegedly inquired after the "strangers" name in March of 1827, and then he needed to inquire after the same "strangers" name in the fall of the same year? If Saunders allegedly forget the name of the "stranger" after just six or so months, how is it that he is able to then remember the name after 52 years?

This is easily explainable. It's the same reason James Gordon Bennett called Sidney Rigdon, Henry Ringdon. People are inherently bad with names. Have you ever met a person in passing, and you see them at the grocery store a few months later? Have you ever not remembered their name? Or their occupation, or what kind of underwear they had on? I recently took a new route at work, and I am dealing with hundreds of new people that I had to meet and learn something about to relate to them later in conversation with. I only remember a small number of the names I'm supposed to, and that's only because those people stood out to me somehow. I saw one of my customers at Carls Jr., and couldn't remember his name for the life of me. I thought he was just a mechanic that I had spoken to briefly, but no, he was the owner of a huge shop that I service 5 stops down the road. I had had multiple conversations with this man every two weeks for the past 3 months, and I couldn't remember his name and what shop he was associated with, or even the fact that he was the owner.

Picture yourself at the Smiths in 1828, standing in Saunder's shoes. You walk up to the front door and it's answered by Hiram Smith. You ask him for some sugar. He invites you in politely, and you see out of the corner of your eye, 5, possibly 6 men standing under a tree visiting, much like people used to do back before twitter was a thing. You say to Hiram, "I know everybody over there talking except for the well dressed gentleman, who is he?" Hiram replies, "A preacher from Ohio named Sidney Rigdon"

You shrug your shoulders and say, "Hmmph, never heard of him, thanks for the sugar" and head down the road. Nothing in that scene was remarkable for anybody involved. It's easy to forget such a meaningless name that you only hear in short conversation.

A few months after that, Saunders and his buddy Peter Ingersoll are walking down the road, and pass none other than Sidney Rigdon. Ingersoll, being better acquainted with Rigdon than Saunders, bullshits with him for 15 minutes, and they part ways. While walking away from the conversation, Saunders probably asked Ingersoll, "I know I've seen that man before, I just can't remember where. What's his name again?" And there we have a completely plausible, natural explanation for Saunders forgetting Rigdon's name, after he was told it 6 months before. The reason he remembered the name so clearly 52 years after the incident, is because it was Sidney muthafuckin Rigdon! Right hand man of the Mormonite prophet Joe Smith Jr., and co-founder of the Church of Christ cult! Before that, Rigdon was just a dude in a suit leaning against a tree, bullshitting with other doods!!

Does this really harm the credibility of Saunder's statements? Because personally, I think the statements are still standing up, when offered a completely plausible natural explanation when they meet criticism.

This article asks a bunch more questions that I can't take the time to get into now, because I'm a bit overdue on my time limit for this episode. But, now we have a basic understanding and story for Rigdon, and that is a big piece of the foundation to lay, for us to start building on. Next episode will be an in depth analysis of the actual Solomon Spaulding theory, and how Rigdon might have been involved.

Just a closing note on the Spaulding theory, and how it's viewed in most academic and historical worlds, it's not. It's been thrown out by almost all reputable scholars on Mormon history. The reason why, is the sheer lack of evidence. Joe, Cowdung, and Rigdon obfuscated their early histories together, and vehemently denied it so much, that it's not easy to approach that wall of testimony in an effort to knock a hole in it, let alone try to knock it down. The reality is, this theory requires some suppositions, and we have to take some historical liberty to explain why some of the details don't line up. Also, the biggest problem with the theory, is the lack of source material. With the lead competing theory, the source text is a best selling book in 1823, "View of the Hebrews", whereas, "Manuscript Found", the source text that would link Joseph Smith and Solomon Spalding through Sidney Rigdon, is missing in action. We can't truly verify what is in that book. For this reason primarily, the Spalding theory sits in the margins of Mormon history, waiting for some new evidence to bring it to the forefront as the leading theory. But, we'll really dive into that next episode.

Before wrapping up this episode, I did have a new NaMo Adolescent Rebel to thank. Tor M. Thank you Tor, for not only being awesome enough to contribute to the show, but also for having a super badass name that I get to say with epic inflection TOOOOOORRR!! Your kindness and generosity will forever be stitched into the velvetty ventricles of the heart of the podcast.

Last episdoe I did say that there were whispers of something lurking in the shadows of NaMo OD. Well, I'm afraid I don't know exactly what it is I'm dealing with here. The Demons are talking about what is out there, but they're so fear stricken that it's hard to understand exactly what they could possibly mean by "The unholy". Is it a force, a presence, an entity? None seem to know. Initially there were rumors of a name to call it by. Many spoke of it with more confidence because they thought they knew what to call it, 'Preston'. But they were all mistaken. I had to find out for myself. So I petitioned the assistance of all Demons occupying OD, and we think we have something solid to go on. We asked in all sincerity for the darkness around us, to provide a sign. Something, ANYTHING to tell us that it could hear us. Just as we were divining all of our energy to the darkness in unholy inquisition, the ground underneath our feet violently shifted, knocking us all to the ground. As we regained our composure, and begain looking around, three letters, each scratched in white light, formed in the black firmament above our heads. JMS. What could it mean?

Well, I guess that's it for today's episode on Hingepin Rigdon, I hope to talk at ya next time, here on the Naked Mormonism Podcast.

Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 03/27/2015"