Episode 20 – Joe the Ignoramus, and the Book of Pukei
Description – On this episode, we talk about the interrum period from when Joe and Marty signed the contract with E.B. Grandin to publish the Book of Mormon, until the book is published in March 1830. A lot happens, and Joe starts to really gain a reputation for himself, with both dissenters, and supporters of his cause. Joe also gives some revelations about a quick $205,000 that prove to be laughably false.
Outro music used with permission
Scathing Atheist Episode 126
LDS.org "A Snug Log House"
Solomon Chamberlain Autobiography
Welcome to episode 20 of the Naked Mormonism podcast, I'm Bryce Blankenagel, and thank you for joining me.
The last couple of episodes were done in the interrum time that I was spending on vacation, and they were both discussion episodes with listeners that happen to be amazing supporters of the show. So once again, Thank you Demonista, Preston, and Melissa for giving your time for the interview, and lending your voices to the Naked Mormonism information kingdom. Your contributions will forever be known and appreciated by me, and everybody who listens to the show.
Well, let's get into why everybody listens to this podcast in the first place, the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The last historical episode was a small scratch on the surface of the Aaronic and Melchizedik priesthoods, and their evolution through the beginning of the church. It's worth noting that there is waaaay more nuance than can be covered in a single episode, so we'll talk more about Joe's evolving authority claims as they become relevant in the story. But for now, you know the beginning, and that's enough to advance the timeline.
Let's talk about the Book of Mormon being published. Last time we were talking about the storyline of the narrative, Joe and company were all in the Whitmer house in Fayette, N.Y., just finishing up the first draft of the BoM manuscript. This put us in the middle of June 1829. Well, the BoM wouldn't be completed and published until March of 1830, so we have a 9 month period to cover before the BoM was unleashed upon the world, and the first congregation of the Church of Christ was convened on April 6, 1830.
So was everybody just standing around while the book was being printed? Not even hardly at all. The only real example we have of laziness during this time was that of Joe himself, and that was due to the pyramid power structure he had built, with his little cronies doing all the footwork for him. Let's review who Joe had under his control at this point.
He had started early on, with his own family. The most credulous actors were his younger, and older brother, Samuel, and Hyrum Smith respectively. Joseph Smith Sr. Aka Big Daddy Cheese also played a bit of a side role through most of the history of the church, but he was definitely there the entire time until his death in 1840 in Nauvoo. Big Daddy Cheese had primed Joe with his own magic world view. With Joe being as intelligent as he was, he took that world view, and expounded on it to the point that his own father was taking notes from Joe's crazy revelatory batshit. So there were the three closest family members Joe was working with. Lucy Mack Smith, Joe's mom obviously played a very small role, and she was there the entire time as well.
Next, Joe wrangled in Joseph Knight Sr., Bossman Josiah Stowell, NSSM Martin Harris, Emma Smith, Oliver Cowdery, D-Day David Whitmer, Peter Jr., Christian, John, and Peter Whitmer Sr. The rest of the Whitmer family was along for the ride, but church history makes very little or no mention of them, so we'll ignore them until they distinguish themselves, or become relevant. There were other players that had popped in and out in the storyline by this point, but they weren't particularly making themselves useful yet, so we'll talk about them when the storyline comes to them. Hingepin Sidney Rigdon, Hiram Page, and Orrin Porter Rockwell were just a few of the people in this category.
In episode 18, we covered the two different accounts of the 11 witnesses. The exact date on this sighting experience was never recorded, so we're left with assuming that it happened in mid June of 1829. Well, the next 2 months were pretty action packed. Joe and Emma moved back into the Smith house, in Palmyra, from the Whitmer house in Fayette, a distance of about 25 miles. This was done for a couple of reasons. Joe couldn't go back to the Hales in Harmony just yet. The entire Hale family hated him, and he had skipped out on the mortgage note he signed with Isaac, Emma's father. Joe had to give the Hale family some time to cool down, and he needed to return there, only after he had made some real, demonstrable progress on the BoM.
There was another reason Joe and Emma moved to the Smith house in Palmyra. It was the only place Joe could live surrounded by people that believed, and supported him, and by extension protected him. He couldn't get any real work done on his pride and joy, the BoM, if he was surrounded by naysayers and dissenters, like at the Hale house. Joe had probably worn his welcome pretty thin in the Whitmer house. Not only was he not working or contributing to the Whitmer household, but he introduced three new mouths to feed, and took John and D-Day David away from their regular household duties. He was just a fucking parasite on anybody that was willing to give him a shoe-in their door.
The final reason for moving back to Manchester, was NSSM. Joe had received the glorious confirmation from Marty that he could see the angel holding the plates, which signified Marty's commitment to pay the tab of whatever printing press ended up publishing the BoM. Publishing a book takes a lot of management from the author and financier of the book, and Marty would never move from his established farm and home, just to oversee publishing the BoM. So, moving back to Manchester was literally the only solution for Joe and Emma. And of course, the now homeless Oliver Cowdery (Ollie Cowdung), had to come along too, for various legitimate reasons that we'll talk about in a second.
Upon this move back to the Smith home, Joe kept on Marty pretty hard to get the book published, just like Marty had promised. Of course, they didn't just accept the first printer's bid as soon as it came in, they did a little shopping. Their first stop was the printing press of Egbert B. Grandin, the local publishing house/printing press/bookstore in Palmyra. Grandin's bid came in at .60 cents per book, including binding, equating to $3,000 for the 5,000 copies. This was unfortunately a bit high because Palmyra was a small town, and the Grandin publishing company was the only one in town. No competition allowed Grandin to set the price wherever he saw fit.
With this dollar figure in the back of their minds, Joe and Marty continued on down the road to check out other possiblities. The Wayne Sentinel was the name of the local Palmyra newspaper that was published by the Grandin publishing company. When Joe and Marty told Egbert Grandin that they wanted to do some shopping around for a better price once Grandin's bid was in, the Wayne Sentinel decided to publish an aritcle about them, on June 26, 1829. I don't think that Grandin was aware that Joe and Marty would ultimately come back and employ his company as the publisher of the BoM, because the article says some.... choice words about their conquest.
I pulled this from The Rise of Mormonism by H. Michael Marquardt, but he originally got it from Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents, vol 2.
"Just about in this particular region, for some time past, much speculation has existed, concerning a pretended discovery, through suprehuman means, of an ancient record, of a religious and divine nature and origin, written in ancient characters, impossible to be interpreted by any to whom the special gift has not been imparted by inspiration. It is generally known and spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Most people entertain an idea that the whole matter is the result of a gross imposition, and a grosser superstition."
I find it hilarious that the Grandin publishing company would allow this aritcle to be printed using their press if they were planning on doing the BoM job. If we adjust for inflation, the $3,000 job in 1829 equates to just over $76,900. If a job for that much money was on the line, would you print a scathing newspaper article about the people that were just about to give you that much money? Grandin allowed some other mistakes when it came to printing the BoM, but we'll get into those later. Let's come back to what Joe and Marty were up to.
The next town they stopped in was Rochester. At this time, Rochester was the largest city that was relatively close to Manchester and Palmyra, just under 30 miles to get an idea. It was a massive trading hub and metropolitan area that borders Lake Ontario, and Marty must have thought that the printing prices would be considerably cheaper there, than in dinky ol' Palmyra. The problem with this would be the cost of logistics. Any amount of money saved in the printing cost, would be easily soaked up by putting somebody up for 6 months in Rochester, and transporting pages of manuscript between the towns, while the book was being printed.
This is another news article, this time from a Rochester based publication called The Gem, published September 5, 1829. It's one of multiple similar articles, published by other newspapers around the same time, and it goes over things we already know up to this point, but it says some things that are worth talking about briefly. This is pulled from the same section in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents vol 2.
"A man by the name of Martin Harris, was in this village a few days since endeavouring to make a contract for printing a large quantitiy of a work called the Golden Bible. He gave something like the following account of it. (paraphrasing Marty now) "In the autumn of 1827 a man named Joseph Smith of Manchester, in Ontario County, said that he had been visited by the spirit of the Almighty in a dream, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited a Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of divine origin. He states that after a third visit from the same spirit in a dream, he proceeded to the spot, removed earth, and there found the Bible, together with a large pair of spectacles, he had also been directed to let no mortal see them under the penalty of immediate death, which injunction he steadfastly adheres to. The treasure consisted of a number of gold plates, about 8" long, 6 wide and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved hieroglypics. By placing the spectacles in a hat and looking into it, Smith interprets the characters into the English language."
Just a couple things there to mention. Where the fuck is the history that we're taught by the church today? This was arguably one of the earliest printed accounts of Joe's story, and I realize that it's not 100% reliable, but it was a local newspaper, written by a person that directly interviewed Marty in 1829, before the BoM was published, and before the Church of Christ had started. It has at least some level of credibility, and it seems to leave out some VERY major details in comparison to todays story. Where was the visitation from God and Jesus in 1820? What about the first angellic visitation in 1823? What about the ancient breastplate that held the Urim and Thummim being found with the plates? Why was the angel called a spirit of the Almighty, and not called an angel, or specifically the angel Nephi, or angel Moroni as in later accounts? It said that no mortal could see the plates under penalty of instant death, but at this time supposedly 11 witnesses other than Joe had seen them to a level that was convincing enough to go along with Joe's story. How does one explain these contradictions? This doesn't even mention the inconsistencies with the translation method itself. This article reports that Joe was using rocks in a hat, less than 4 months after he was doing so. But even today, in spite of well established historical fact, the church history cleverly skirts that part of the story. So once again, I ask... Where the fuck is the history that I was taught growing up, and believing Mormons are taught today? It's sad that a newspaper article from 186 years ago has more historical veracity than the history reported by the church itself today.
Alright, digression over. After Joe and Marty decided against the logistical nightmare of commissioning a Rochester printer, they headed back to Egbert Grandin in Palmyra to strike up a deal. On August 23, 1829, NSSM did his Not-So-Smartiest move yet, and signed a contract with Grandin "in consideration of the sum of Three-Thousand dollars" for typesetting, printing, and binding the BoM. This was secured by a mortgage for "The same tract of land or farm upon which the said Martin Harris now resides" and was to be paid in 18 months. We have an original copy of this contract, currently held by the Wayne County Courthouse in Lyons, N.Y. Have I recently mentioned how much I love the history of the LDS church? It's so young, and well documented, and legally binding court documents still exist in the handwriting of the actual people involved. It's so fascinating!
Once the contract was drawn up, work immediately commenced on the BoM. Well, on the authorship side anyway. You see, the industrial sized printing press spit out 16 pages of text at a time. The tedious nature of the typesetting process was the most time consuming part of the job. Each line of text was held in a very small rail, and each rail had all the individual letters and punctuation marks placed in reverse order inside these small rails. Each massive printing plate had 16 pages worth of text held inside these rails. Once all the individual letters and punctuations were placed correctly, they were proof-read multiple times by the typesetter, in this case John H. Gilbert, and then they were mounted for printing. Once mounted, the printing press machine itself would dip this plate in a vat of ink, and move a square of 16 pages of paper underneath the plate, and press the inked words onto the blank pages. A printing and collating job of 5,000 copies of anything would take a current industrial printer a couple of hours to perform. Printing the BoM was started in August of 1829, and completed mid-late March 1830. 7 months of work for one, possibly two guys, working probably 50+ hours per week, just to print Joe's holy dribble known as the Golden Bible.
The job would have gone faster, if Joe wasn't an unprepared, narcissitic, paranoid, neurotic. But Grandin was paid by the page, not the hour, so any hurry Joe was in to print the book, was only created by his own anxiety to start his congregation.
Once the contract was signed between Grandin and NSSM, a printers manuscript needed to be created. But of course, Joe and Ollie only had the original manuscript in hand, with dashes and edits and countless spelling errors, making it nowhere near fit to go to the typesetter. The solution to this, of course, was for Ollie to move into the Smith house, and help Joe create the printers manuscript. Peter Whitmer Jr., also moved into the Smith house that was small for just the Smith family alone. Now, there were four more young adults living in the house with mouths to feed, and needing places to sleep. You can only imagine how cramped and unpleasant this must have been. There is a little article on LDS.org called a "A snug log house" that details the dimensions of the log home that these 14 people were stuffed into. It measured about 24 by 36 feet, approx. 850 sq. ft., and it was one story with two rooms and a small second story loft for all the kids to live in together.
For my job I do a route that's repeated every two weeks, so I see the same people on the same day in that two week rotation. Every time I walk in to one of my stops, the very nice lady there asks if I'm married and making kids yet. By this point it's become a bit of a game between us. She keeps telling me I should give my parents grandkids, and life is so much more fulfilling with children in it. Well, I continually parry her suggestions by simply saying I don't like kids, and I can't imagine any situation in my life right now that would be made better, with kids in it. I'm 24 right now, effectively working 2 full time jobs, and I can't imagine the thought of having to devote countless sleep deprived hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to raising a kid or two, especially right now. Well, to this lady's credit, she had her first kid when she was 17, and by my age had popped out all 4 of her kids, and she does make some good arguments. She's essentially an empty nester now, and claims that she couldn't imagine how her life would be different, if she didn't have her kids when she had them. She talks about how much joy they've brought to her life over the years, and how loved she feels whenever she talks to any of her kids about anything in their, now, adult lives. She regales me with stories of camping trips, and school dances, and even sitting on the sidelines at sporting events, and it all sounds fun. But I continue to fire back with "Well, it's a lot easier to remember all the fun times, because that's what sticks with you. You don't remember all the shitty diapers, and runny noses, and complaining, and whining, and disciplining, and arguments with your spouse about childrearing and money problems, and having to pick the teenagers up from the police station at 2 in the morning, and how much the kids hated you during their teenage years, and all the other myriad inconveniences and frustrations that come along with raising little versions of yourself." It's just easier to remember the fun times, and pass them along to the younger generation as what she considers wisdom through experience.
The reason I bring this up is to shed light on what we consider comfort by today's standards. I live with one roommate in a 3 bedroom 2 bath bachelor pad that's 2 full floors at about 1000 sq. ft. per floor, and it's rather comfortable. This house is pretty average for one family, but I could never imagine having a main floor that's considerably smaller than this one, an upstairs that's just a single room and waaaay smaller than the main floor, and trying to squeeze 14 fucking people in it! It's unbelievable to consider the logistics alone, forget about meals, or bath time. I recommend going online and doing a google search for the Smith Log Home Palmyra N.Y. The plot is owned by the church, and they have a model replica of the home, built on the same area the original home was on. There are dozens of pictures, and they even run guided tours of it. The tours are probably about 6 minutes long because you walk in the front door and look around and say wow, this is really fuckin small. Then go up the stairs and see the main room that all the kids lived in, and say holy shit, this is really fuckin small. And then leave because the next tour group is probably on it's way and there's no way that two full tour groups of 10 people could fit inside that dinky little shack.
You almost have to ask, why the fuck did Big Daddy Cheese, and Lucy Mack Momma Cheese decided to have 10 kids growing up in that house? Did they think their lives would get eaiser with each kid or something? Did they not understand where children came from? I know that sex education was dispicable or non-existent at that time, but they had to get a clue after the first half dozen, right? I talk about all of this for one reason, to show how fucking cramped it really was inside that little place, before Joe, Emma, Peter, and Ollie moved in, let alone, after. Imagine how high the tensions must have ran. I bet every little mannerism that everybody had, or every little fart, drove every other person in the house nucking futs! Gawd I can't imagine how shitty that must have been.
Anyway, massive digression over. So Ollie and Peter Whitmer start transcribing the original manuscript, with Joe's help, to prepare a printers manuscript for John Gilbert to use in setting the type plates. The crew was madly scribbling the contents onto the printers manuscript on foolscap paper, but as we've learned in the past, they simply neglected to add any punctuation, paragraph, or verse breaks, or even correct most of the spelling errors. Each chapter was one long block sentence, and was usually terminated with an amen or single period, before moving on to the next chapter.
This was read a couple of episodes ago, but let's go back to John H. Gilbert's Memorandum of the situation. This is pulled from Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents vol 2 page 543.
"When the printer was ready to commence work, Harris was notified, and Hyrum Smith brought the first installment of the manuscript, of 24 pages, closely written on common foolscap paper; he had it under his vest, and vest and coat closely buttoned over it. At night Smith came and got the manuscript, and with the same precaution carried it away. The next morning with the same watchfulness, he brought it again, and at night took it away. This was kept up for several days. The title page was first set up, and after proof was read and corrected, several copies were printed for Harris and his friends. On the second day—Harris and Smith being in the office—I called their attention to a grammatical error, and asked whether I should correct it: Harris consulted with Smith a short time, and turned to me and said; "The Old Testament is ungrammatical, set it as it is written."
When I said earlier that Joe was unprepared, paranoid, and neurotic, this was the symptom I was using to make that claim. Joe was so afraid that someone would lose the manuscript, or it would be stolen or read by an untrusted individual, that once enough of the printers manuscript had been completed to start printing, Joe made Hyrum tuck the manuscript under his vest and coat, and walk to the printer in the morning, to make sure nobody would fuck with it. Then, he would walk back to the printing office in the evening before closing time, and tuck it back in the safety of his coat, and take it back to the Smith home. John Gilbert must have been wondering what the actual fuck was going on here, because this was probably considered really unconventional, and time consuming. A big problem with doing business this way, was the time limitation Gilbert had with his typesetting duties during the day. Like I said earlier, the printers manuscript wasn't punctuated, or proof-read for typos, so Gilbert had to do all that himself during the daytime, which was all time that could be spent actually setting the type. Well, Gilbert got fed up with how time consuming this was, and finally said something to Hyrum after a few days of the same song and dance.
"After working a few days, I said to Smith on his handing me the manuscript in the morning; "Mr. Smith, if you would leave this manuscript with me, I would take it home with me at night and read and punctuate it, and I could get along faster in the day time, for now I have frequently to stop and read half a page to find how to punctuate it." His reply was, "We are commanded not to leave it."
Where do you think that commandment came from? Of fuckin course it was Joe! Joe was so paranoid and neurotic, that he issued a commandment from God, to his brother Hyrum, to not leave the manuscript out of his hands overnight with anybody that couldn't be trusted. Was a commandment really necessary to make Hyrum follow Joe's wishes? Well, we'll see in the future, that might just have been the case. If any listeners have older siblings like I do, you know how hard it is to get them to do something you ask, especially when they're irrational and you don't have a good reason for asking them to do it. Well, if you're just a conduit for God, like Joe was, you can just babble some divine revelation, and suddenly older siblings become a lot more motivated to help. That's pressumably what happened here. Well, after Hyrum had said that he was commanded to not leave the manuscript with Gilbert overnight, Gilbert continues on in his memorandum.
"A few mornings after this, when Smith handed me the manuscript, he said to me:--"If you will give your word that this manuscript shall be returned to us when you get through with it, I will leave it with you." I assured Smith that it should be returned all right when I got through with it. For two or three nights I took it home with me and read it, and punctuated it with a lead pencil."
This must have made the work go exponentially faster. There's no way of knowing how much longer the printing would have taken, if the entire book was printed the way Gilbert first described. You have to understand, most of the publications that Gilbert, or any typesetter for that matter, were working with, were complete, proof-read, edited final drafts of whatever was about to be printed. But the BoM was printed from it's second draft, that was being written while the previous pages were being edited, and proof-read, by Gilbert, a common typesetter, that was by no means a grammatician, or professional editor. It's really no wonder why the BoM was such a fucking mess when it was printed in 1830, and it's gone through multiple overhauls since then with over 4,000 changes. The original manuscript must have been incomplete monkey shit thrown at paper with some lines drawn through it before it was transcribed into the printers copy. Fuck I want to see that thing! Why did Joe have to bury it in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo temple!? Did he not understand that people studying his religion later on might want to see what was there? Or maybe he did understand that, and that's why he buried it.... I suppose we won't know until we die and go to Mormon heaven, and get to ask Joe in person while he's on the judgement panel with God and Jesus.
Arduous editing wasn't the only problem that plagued Gilbert when he was setting the type for, and printing the book. The next problem was either slow work, or procrasturbation on the Smith side of the equation. Ollie, Joe and Peter were slaving away to try and get the printers manuscript up and running, before Gilbert needed the next set of pages for printing. You see, once the manuscript was edited for printing, and the type was set, the actual printing only took a day or two, because it just involved placing blank paper in the press, and pulling out and cutting the printed pages into their bindable format. Well, Gilbert caught up to the three transcribateers, and ended up surpassing them. This forced Gilbert to use the original manuscript, warts, blemishes and all for nearly a sixth of the entire BoM. The section he used it for was the last part of Heleman, all the way through to the end of Mormon. That's the last almost 100 pages that Gilbert didn't have a printers manuscript for. The printers manuscript for those pages was completed after the book was already finished being printed, and some of the words in it vary from the original manuscript that Gilbert used to print the book, meaning the published version of the BoM in those 100 pages differs from the printers manuscript, which differs from the original manuscript uttered by Joe and scribed by Ollie and others. What a fucking mess.
Another funny thing about Gilbert's typesetting was when he got to the Isaiah chapters in Nephi. Apparently Gilbert was frustrated enough with trying to punctuate the book himself, that he actually used a KJV bible to help him punctuate and edit everything that Joe plagerized from the bible. I mean, I would too if it made the job a lot easier, but I just find it funny that Gilbert used the bible to correct the plagerisms of the bible that Joe stole, in order to edit it for print.
Another funny addition was the fact that Gilbert corrected some of the punctuation and words mid-print. Meaning that sometimes he would set the type, print a couple sets of pages, notice a problem or discrepancy, and change the type for the rest of the print. This means that of the 5,000 copies of the original BoM, each book could vary from the last by a couple words, or punctuation marks. The most correct book on the planet, had discrepancies from one copy to the next, in it's very first printing, and it was copied using relatively modern industrial machinery. The problems with the BoM doomed this damn thing from it's inception, yet the myth that it's correct by any standard, still perpetuates today somehow.
So that's what was happening at the Grandin Printing company, but what was happening with Joe and everybody else? That's what we're interested in. Gilbert had said that Oliver, Hyrum, and NSSM were frequent visitors to the office, but Joe himself never came by but maybe once during the entire publication. Well, the whole Smith family, Joe, Emma, Ollie, and Peter Whitmer were living at the Smith home preparing the printers manuscript, for a while anyway. Then, as Joe was prone to do, he set the wheels into motion in his favor, and then fucked off. In early fall of 1829, He and Emma moved back to their home on the Hale property in Harmony PA. It isn't really known what Joe was doing day to day there while the BoM was being printed, but we can assume he was probably mending his relationship with the Hale family and working hard for some real money. And breeding unicorns and baking magic fucking cupcakes to cure cancer because of fucking course he wasn't working hard to make a living. He was doing his usual Joe shit and probably telling the Hale family how awesome and rightous he was now, because his prophet aspirations were finally being achieved. He had finished writing the book that Issac, Joe's father in law, had been nay-saying for so long, and everything else was on autopilot until the book was published. Joe was officially a published author, and nobody would knock him off that pedestal once he scrambled his way to the top of it.
In fact, Joe spent a bit of his time during the printing being his own copyright enforcer. Normally copyright infringement would be enforced by local police, even in that day, but Joe would rather take his vengence for this "persecution" into his own hands. Something that I recently found in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon documents vol 2 was another newspaper publication that came out of Palmyra, NY. It was called the Palmyra Reflector. It was run by a guy named Abner Cole under the pen-name Obadiah Dogberry, and it was a satirical publication that was rather artful at making fun of whatever was big in Palmyra at any given time. This guy dug deep into the bottomless well of Joseph Smith that was ripe for satire. The best part about it, he rented Grandin's printing press on nights and weekends to print his paper, meaning he had free access to the BoM while it was being printed. He ended up publishing the first couple of chapters of Nephi, which, for the record, he had no right to do, and this is what gave Joe grounds to leave Harmony to visit with him in January of 1830. But really, this guy was awesome! He would even write some of his articles in queens english like the BoM and throw in unnecessary "it came to passes", just to fuck with Joe. I'll read a few excerpts from his paper, like I said, pulled from Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents, vol 2.
Before reading this excerpt, I'll need to offer some context. Luman Walters was a well known treasure seeker and user of scrying stones in Joe's treasure seeking group. He didn't gain his reputation there, but he was brought from another town to do some consulting work with Joe and company, and lo and behold, Joe ended up pulling the plates from the ground soon after. Walters was kind of like Samuel Lawrence, or Joseph Knight Sr., in the consultation respect.
Abner Cole aka Obadiah Dogberry, is credited with writing the first parody of the BoM called the book of Pukei. We're going to read a few verses from the first and second chapters of this satirical masterpiece.
"The book of Pukei Chapter 1:1 And it came to pass in the latter days, that wickedness did much abound in the land, and the "Idle and slothful said one to another, let us send for Walters the Magician, who has strange books, and deals with familiar spirits; peradventure he will inform us where the Nephites, hid their treasure, so be it, that we and our vagabond van, do not perish for lack of sustenance."
"Verse 3 And the Idle and Slothful paid tribute unto the Magician, and besought him saying, Oh! Thou who art wise above all men, and can interpret the book that no man understandeth, and can discover hidden things by the power of thy enchantments, lead us, we pray thee to the place where the Nephites buried their treasure, and give us power over "the spirit," and we will be thy servants forever.
4. And the Magician led the rabble into a dark grove, in a place called Manchester, where after drawing a Magic circle, with a rusty sword, and collecting his motley crew of latter-demallions, within the centre, he sacrificed a Cock for the purpose of propi[t]iating the prince of spirits."
So this guy Luman Walters the Magician, came in to do some consulting work with the treasure digging group on the hill Cumorah, to help them find the treasure they'd been seeking for so long. He does this weird ritual that involves reading some latin passages from a book, drawing a circle in the dirt with a rusty sword, and sacrificing his unblemished cock to the treasure sprits.... What in the actual fuck? These were the people that Joe emulated and learned from... Let's find out about the outcome of this weird blood ritual.
"5. All things being ready, the Idle and Slothful fell to work with a zeal deserving a better cause, and many a live long night was spent in digging for "the root of all evil."
6. Howbeit, owing to the wickedness and hardness of their hearts, these credulous and ignorant knaves, were always disappointed, till finally, their hopes, although frequently on the eve of consummation, like that of the hypocrite, perished, and their hearts became faint within them.
7. And it came to pass, that when the Idle and Slothful became weary of their nightly labors, they said one to another, lo! This imp of the Devil, hath deceived us, let us no more of him, or peradventure, ourselves, our wives, and our little ones, will become chargeable on the town."
So, Luman Walters performed this cock blood sacrifice ritual, and it didn't work for multiple nights in a row, and the group of treasure seekers became discouraged, and abandoned their campaign. Does that seem familiar at all? Let's finish the chapter to see what happened next. Remember, this is a parody of Joe and his group, and the best part about it, is how close it follows in line with what we know to have happened. I fucking love this Obadiah Dogberry guy!
"8. Now when Walters the Magician heard these things, he was sorely grieved, and said unto himself, lo! Mine occupation is gone, even these ignorant vagabonds, the idle and slothful detect mine impostures. I will away and hide myself, lest the strong arm of the law should bring me to justice.
9. And he took his book, and his rusty sword, and his magic stone, and his stuffed Toad, and all his implements of witchcraft and retired to the mountains near Great Sodus Bay, where he holds communion with the Devil, even unto this day."
Ooooh beautiful isn't it. Frauds like this were getting popped left and right by the law because people didn't like being lied to when it came to magic rituals and buried treasure. As we know, Joe fell victim to the law for the same damn thing in 1826, but he didn't escape the law like Walters did, he had to stand trial. There's one verse left in the chapter, let's hear how Dogberry brings it to a close.
"10. Now the rest of the acts of the magician, how his mantle fell upon the prophet Joe Smith Jun. And how Joe made a league with the spirit, who afterwards turned out to be an angel, and how he obtained the "Gold Bible," Spectacles, and breast plate, will they not be faithfully recorded in the book of Pukei?"
Oh my gawd I love this guy. He brings it all together in a scathing format, mimicking the BoM writing style to tell Joe's story. People with access to a printing press, were just as much assholes as they are today, only the medium has changedl and they're called internet trolls. I fucking love it so much, I can't even express how great it is. We have to read some of chapter 2, because Dogberry gives Joe a surname that just can't be ignored.
"The Book of Pukei Chapter 2:1 And it came to pass (DRINK!) that when the mantle of Walters the Magician had fallen upon Joseph, sirnamed the prophet, who was the son of Joseph, that the "Idle and Slothful" gathered themselves together, in the presence of Joseph, and said unto him, "Lo! We will be thy servants forever, do with us, our wives, and our little ones as it may seem good in thine eyes."
I don't think Joe had any problem doing what he wanted with his friends wives and little ones.... just saying...
"2. And the prophet answered and said, "Behold! Hath not the mantle of Walters the Magician fallen upon me, and am I not able to do before you my people great wonders, and shew you, at a more proper season, where the nephites hid their treasures? For Lo! Yesternight stood before me in the wilderness of Manchester, the spirit, who, from the beginning, has had in keeping all the treasures, hidden in the bowels of the earth."
Continuing on verse 4. "And I looked, and behold a little old man stood before me, clad, as I supposed, in Egyptian raiment, except his Indian blanket, and moccasins, his beard of silver white, hung far below his knees. On his head was an old fashioned military half cocked hat, such as was worn in the days of the patriarch Moses, his speech was sweeter than molasses, and his words were the reformed Egyptian.
5. And he again said unto me, "Joseph, thou who hast been surnamed the ignoramus, knowest thou not, that great signs and wonders are to be done by thine hands? Knowest thou not, that I have been sent unto thee by Moromn, the great apostle to the Nephites, Mormon who was chief among the lost ten tribes of Israel?"
It continues on like that for a while with little jabs at Joe's character and the entire story of the Golden Bible. Among his multiple publications of the Palmyra Reflector, Abner Cole published the first two chapters of the BoM from Jan 2, to Jan 22, which prompted the ire of Joe and Co. But, once he became aware of the copyright infringment, Joe wasn't going to go through legal means or civil suit to halt the rogue reporter's actions. Joe and Co., reportedly first became aware of Cole's actions due to a funny feeling that Hyrum had, and totally not from the people around town that read the newspaper and were making fun of Joe.
This is a piece extracted from Lucy's book page 470-71 originally, making it a first hand account, however, I'm pulling it from The Rise of Mormonism by H. Michael Marquardt page 152.
"Lucy Smith remembered that in January 1830 on "One Sunday afternoon Hyrum became very uneasy, he told Oliver that his peculiar feelings led him to believe that something going was wrong at printing Office" [sic] Oliver and Hyrum went to Grandin's printing establishment and found Abner Cole "at work printing a paper which seemed to be a weekly periodical." Hyrum discovered that Cole was printing portions of the BoM in his paper."
"...Mr. Cole, said he [Hyrum], what right have you to print the BoM in this way, do you not know that we have secured a copyright?"
Lucy continues, "Hyrum and Oliver returned immediately home and after counciling with Mr. Smith [Big Daddy Cheese] it was considered necessary that Joseph should be sent for. Accordingly my husband set out as soon as possible for Penn."
Abner Cole, aka Obadiah Dogberry was publishing the BoM in his own newspaper. That was blatantly illegal, and simply wrong. But one might wonder why Joe and everybody was so offended by it. You would think that a holy text could stand on it's own merits, and reading the first couple chapters would spark people's curiousity to know what was going to be in the rest of the book. If anything, Cole was doing Joe a favor by exposing everybody that read his paper, to a teaser of the BoM. If I was reading this guys newspaper, and he was reporting on a book that was about to come out, and I read the first two chapters of the book in this newspaper, I would want to read the rest of it.
Think about it, the first 2 chapters of the BoM are some of the most exciting and epic, and introduce the first hero of the book, Nephi, and his righteous parents, and evil older brothers. Nephi and his brothers go to a rich citizen of Jerusalem, before it's destroyed, named Laban, who had stolen some brass plates from them. Nephi finds Laban passed out drunk and gets in an argument with God about whether or not to cut Labans drunk fuckin head off. Nephi obeys, and puts on Labans bloody clothes, and then tricks a servant of Laban's house to let him in to the chamber where they keep the plates, and just fuckin walks out with them in hand. The servant even follows him into the wilderness thinking the whole time that it's still Laban. Then the whole family gets together and the servant decides to stay with the outlaws. After that, Lehi, Nephi's dad, wakes up one morning and finds a magic brass ball in front of his tent, with two spindles on it, that point to where the family is supposed to go, only if they're faithful enough. That is a pretty good hook to get a person to read this crazy boring fuckin book, and Joe was MAD at Cole for publishing it?!?!
We don't know the details of the interaction, but The Rise of Mormonism finishes the interaction with;
"Joseph made a trip north from Harmony to talk to Cole and told him to desist from publishing any more from his book. The last issue of The Reflector that printed any text from the forthcoming BoM was an 'Extra,' dated Jan 22, 1830. The Smiths maintained control over the printing and sale of the book."
After that it quotes the contract that BDC signed with NSSM saying they would split the profit of the book sales until Marty was repaid in full.
Like I said, this guy Abner Cole was a badass, and didn't really give half a fuck about Joe's reputation. Or maybe he did, and it was his goal to besmirch that reputation into certain obscurity. Either way, the publication of the Palmyra Reflector, along with the standing opinions of the Smith family with the locals, made the publication of the BoM, and the genesis of the Mormonite religion, a challenge to Joe and company. Joe definitely had people's ignorance and credulity on his side, which ran rampant in that day and age, probably only slightly moreso than today, but any person with an ounce of skepticism, could shoot holes in Joe's theology all day long. Well, next we're going to learn about a couple of people that lacked that singular ounce of skepticism, but had enough credulity to fill a swimming pool.
During the time the book was being printed, Joe and his Golden Bible were all the gossip through Palmyra and Manchester. In addition to that, there were plenty of newspapers writing about him and his wild claims, that were spreading the story for miles beyond that. Naturally, some people would be curious enough to go talk to Joe and company, to find out what the actual story was, not just what the tabloids and gossip were passing along. Well, quite frankly, this probably had something to do with Joe and Emma moving back to Harmony where he was less known, while the book was being printed. What Mormons today would consider persecution, Joe was probably enduring an onslaught of tough and legitimate questions from pastors, historians, and any normal person just walking down the street.
We have record of a few of these people visiting him, but the records that survived are mainly just meetings that affirmed the truthfulness of the prophet in one way or another. We'll read a couple of those accounts in a minute, but it is worth making a distinction first. It's easy to understand why Joe was drawing so much attention. This was the burned over district, and people loved them some new Jesus. The Millerites, Campbellites, Seventh-Day Adventists, Anna-Baptists, and dozens of other crazy religious sects were born in this primordial theological soup, and Mormonism was no different. As soon as somebody had a new take on Jesus, the people would either flock to that faction, or reject it and consider it from the devil. Well, the reputation of the individual that created any new Jesus, usually factored in to how successful the religious sect was going to be. Joe had shot himself in the both feet, and stabbed himself in the back multiple times, with all his treasure seeking and other get-rich-quick shananigans, and he couldn't outrun his reputation in N.Y. That's why the local newspaper articles we read considered the whole Golden Bible story bogus, and created by the mind of a fraud.
Well, Joe's reputation did escape some people that lived outside the reach of the negative tabloids, and ended up coming to visit the Smith home. Of course, Joe was in Harmony at these times, but his minions had no problem being Joe's mouthpiece to any person that was interested in the BoM or Joe's theology.
First, we'll read the account of Thomas Baldwin Marsh. Originally from Massachusettes, Marsh was an early convert, and faithful apostle to the church. This is also taken from The Rise of Mormonism by H. Michael Marquardt, and it is a first hand, autobiographical account.
"I returned back westward and found Martin Harris at the printing office, in Palmyra, where the first sixteen pages of the BoM had just been struck off, the proof sheet of which I obtained from the printer and took with me. As soon as Martin Harris found out my intentions he took me to the house of Joseph Smith, Sr. Here I found Oliver Cowdery, who gave me all the information concerning the book I desired. After staying there two days I started for Charleston, Mass., highly pleased with the information I had obtained concerning the new found book."
So this guy was living in Mass., and heard somebody talking about the Gold Bible. He must not have had anything better to do with his time, because after hearing this, he set out on a journey to humble little Palmyra, N.Y. Upon arriving there, he was schooled by Ollie and the Smiths for a few days, given the first 16 pages of the BoM that had just been completed, along with the title page, I assume, and then headed back to Mass, to proselyte the BoM and Mormonism to the nice people there. This was one of the first recruits to the early missionary force of the Church of Christ. Thomas B. Marsh is a name that will come up periodically throughout all Mormon history, so keep in, that this is where he came from, and how he became familiar with the religion.
The next account we'll read is a little more powerful, and it's from a man by the name of Solomon Chamberlain. This is taken from his autobiography, and I pulled it from boap.org which is an online library and blog run by BYU. It's kind of long, but there's a lot to unpack so let's allow Solomon Chamberlain to speak for himself.
"About the time that Joseph Smith found the gold record, I began to feel that the time was drawing near, that the Lord would in some shape or other, bring forth his church. I made some inquiry through the country where I traveled if there was any strange work of God, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Christ. I could hear of none. I was living about 20 miles east of where the gold record was found, on the Erie Canal. I had occasion to go on a visit into Upper Canada. I took [a] boat for Lockport, when the boat came to Palmyra, I felt as if some genie or good spirit told me to leave the boat. This was a few miles from where the record was found. After leaving the boat, the spirit manifested to me, to travel a south course. I did so for about 3 miles. I had not as yet heard of the Gold Bible (so called) [Book of Mormon] nor any of the [Joseph] Smith family. I was a stranger in that part of the country, a town where I never before had set my foot, and knew no one in the town."
I think this has a lot to do with Chamberlains credulity of what happens next. This guy was on a mission from God, looking for the right church because he was fed up with all the sects that he had joined. He was basically wandering N.Y. Aimlessly, until he found some shit that would actually stick, once thrown against the wall. If he had known the Smiths and their fraudulent, treasure-seeking reputation, he probably wouldn't have even considered their claims worth giving the time of day to. But, he was completely ignorant of the entire Gold Bible story, and the Smith's history in N.Y. So, he continued on his journey, and let's face it, he was bound to find something in this search. Whether the Smiths, Millerites, or some other religion, Chamberlain was going to find what he was looking for, and record the situation in his autobiography. We're just lucky for what happened next, because Chamberlain details the stituation quite well.
"It was now about sundown, and my guide directed me to put up for the night, which I did to a farm house. In the morning, the people of the house asked me if I had heard of the Gold Bible [Book of Mormon]. When they said Gold Bible, there was a power like electricity went from the top of my head to the end of my toes. This was the first time I ever heard of the Gold Bible."
Put yourself in Chamberlain's shoes. He's been searching for the truth for some time now, having been jaded by the usual fire and brimstone preachers that plagued the countryside. While on his journey through N.Y., the first house he bunks at for the night, tells him about a new Bible that's been found. Not only that, but the Bible is reportedly made from GOLD! And it's an ancient account of Jesus in the new world. Holy SHIT how awesome would it be, to be Chamberlain right now?! Not only that, but listen to what he had to say next.
"I was now within half a mile of the Smith family where Joseph lived. From the time I left the boat until now, I was wholly led by the Spirit or my genie (which he also called his guide earlier). The women spoke considerable of the Gold Bible that Joseph Smith had found. When she mentioned Gold Bible, I felt a shock of the power of God go from head to foot. I said to myself, "I shall soon find why I have been led in this singular manner."
If you were Chamberlain here, wouldn't you think you had stumbled on to God's path for you? He had been wandering, and happened upon somebody selling a new version of Jesus, and he felt a burning in his bosom, just like I do when I see an amazing view in Hawaii, or take a miraculously intense shit, and he knew that this Gold Bible was his calling. Let's continue on with Chamberlain's account here.
"I soon made my way across lots, to Father Smith's and found Hyrum walking the floor. As I entered the door, I said, "Peace be to this house." He looked at me as one astonished, and said, "I hope it will be peace." I then said, "Is there anyone here that believes in visions or revelations?" He said, "Yes, we are a visionary house." I said, "Then I will give you one of my pamphlets, which was visionary, and of my own experience."
I don't think we can emphasize this conversation enough. Chamberlain asked Hyrum if anybody in the house believed in visions or revelations, I assume revelatory dreams were part of this too. Hyrum replied that they were a visionary house.... Wow.... A visionary house.... When somebody is called a visionary today, it's a derrogatory comment. It means they see things in a vision that's separate from reality, and shouldn't be taken seriously. But these two guys talk about it like yesterday's breakfast. It's not hard to assume that being visionary was something of a common topic of conversation between folks back then. Nowadays we talk about getting those people medication, or professional help of some sort. But, as we'll read in a second, being a visionary household was some kind of weird social prestige, and was played and fed on by other visionaries. It's like some kind of alternate reality circle jerk where everybody is believing what each other says, no matter how crazy it is.
"They then called the people together, which consisted of five or six men who were out at the door. Father Smith was one and some of the Whitmer's. They then sat down and read my pamphlet. Hyrum read first, but was so affected he could not read it. He then gave it to a man, which I learned was Christian Whitmer, he finished reading it. I then opened my mouth and began to preach to them, in the words that the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all churches and denominations on the earth had become corrupt, and no church of God on the earth, but that he would shortly raise up a church that would never be confounded nor brought down and be like unto the Apostolic Church. They wondered greatly who had been telling me these things, for said they we have the same things wrote [written] down in our house, taken from the Gold record, that you are preaching to us. I said, "The Lord told me these things a number of years ago." I then said, "If you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them." They then made known to me that they had obtained a gold record, and just finished translating it here. Now, the Lord revealed to me by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost that this was the work I had been looking for."
And there it was, typical confirmation bias. This guy was looking for a church because all the churches so far were wrong. Joe was in the process of creating a church because all the churches so far were wrong, and these individuals came together to make a perfect match. Is it really that miraculous? Coincidences like this happen all the time. People are always looking for something, and other people usually have that something that's being sought for. When those people meet up, it's not because the stars aligned and god led them both to the same place at the same time. It's just a matter of probabilities. Eventually everybody will find something they're looking for, that somebody else has, especially when it's something that's as vaguely defined as religion, or a god claim. Mormons can use this as evidence that god was working in the lives of these men, but I'm sorry, it's pretty mundane and lame for a god to be involved in this situation. Random chance can be a fascinating field of study, especially when you try to add a mettling god into the mix. Or we can be realistic, and take a step back and say, "well, somebody was going to believe early Mormonism, and we are just lucky enough to have the autobiography of one of the people that did believe."
Let's finish up with Solomon Chamberlain here, because there's one big thing we need to discuss before closing up the history portion of today's episode.
"Here I stayed 2 days and they instructed me, in the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. After I had been here two days, I went with Hyrum and some others to Palmyra printing office where they began to print the Book of Mormon, and as soon as they had printed 64 pages, I took them with their leave and pursued my journey to Canada, and I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism, to all both high and low, rich and poor, and thus you see this was the first that ever printed Mormonism was preached to this generation."
I hate to rain on his parade, but the other account we read by Thomas Marsh happened before this chronologically, and he only took 16 pages of print to go proselyte in Mass., because that's all that had been completed by the time he left. But, Chamberlain was probably the first to go up to Canada to preach Mormonism, so I suppose we can give him that. Anyway, we'll hear more about Chamberlain if he makes himself relevant in the future, but for now that'll do. These were some amazing and compelling accounts by these two seekers, that is, if we factor out the whole thing about random chance and stuff, but let's get into what Joe was up to during this time.
For this information, we'll be turning to an interview that Hiram Page gave to William E. McLellin in 1848. It sheds some very interesting light on Joe's opinion of his own book and true motives, and I think it allows us to get inside Joe's head for a short time. This is also taken from The Rise of Mormonism page 153-54, but was originally pulled from a photocopy of the original handwritten interview in the RLDS archives in Missouri.
"Joseph heard that there was a chance to sell a copyright in Canada for any useful book that was used in the states. Joseph thought this would be a good opportunity to get a handsome sum of money which was to be (after the expenses were taken out) for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph accordingly Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Knight, Hiram Page, and Josiah Stowell were chosen (as I understood by revelation) to do the business; we were living from some 30 to 100 miles apart the necessary preperation was mady by them in a sly manner So as to keep Martin Harris from drawing a share of the money, it was told me we were to go by revelation but when we assembled at father Smiths; there was no revelation for us to go but we were all anxious to get a revelation to go; and when it came we were to go to Kingston where we were to sell if they would not harden their hearts; but when we got there; there was no purchaser neither were they authorized at Kingston to buy rights for the province; but Little York was the place where such business had to be done; we were to get 8,000 dollars we were treated with the best of respects by all we met with in Kingston – by the above we may learn how a revelation may be received and the person receiving it not be benefited."
So what the hell did we just read? Basically, Joe tried to sell the copyright for the BoM in Canada for 8,000 dollars, while the book was still being printed. Joe wouldn't make the trek himself, he had better things to do, so he gathered 4 of his minons, Ollie Cowdung Allover, Joseph Knight Sr., Hiram Page, and Bossman Josiah Stowell, and they all collected enough provisions and some change for their travels, and headed to the Smiths house in Palmyra, where Joe gathered with them at the time. It's unclear whether Joe was living in Harmony or Palmyra at this time, but we are certain that they gathered at Father Smith's house. The 4 cronies were under the impression that Joe had a line on somebody that was willing to buy the copyright, and they expected a revelation from God to be waiting for them, when they gathered at the Smith's, that would detail where they needed to go, and who they needed to talk to. You can only imagine the depression and anxiety that ran through the group when they found out that no such revelation existed. The group basically refused to leave until Joe tossed Precious in Mr. Hat, and gave them the revelation they were looking for.
They did all of this without alerting NSSM, because if he found out that Joe was trying to sell the copyright out from under him, it would ruin Joe's reputation and convictions in Marty's eyes, and Marty might cut off funding the book. Besides, there was nothing saying that the Smith's had to repay Marty for the book, if they didn't own the rights to the book, so that 8,000 would have been Joe's free and clear, legally speaking, had everything worked out in Joe's favor. So the group left without Marty's knowledge, and headed for Kingston Canada, which is just on the Northeast Canada side of Lake Ontario from the Palmyra/Rochester area N.Y., a couple days journey by foot and ferry. When the group got there, supposedly under assignment from God, nobody there knew what the fuck they were talking about. The people there couldn't even figure out who they needed talked to, in order to get that 8,000 dollar figure, and just sent the group packing to another part of Canada called Little York. After that, we don't know if the group just returned to N.Y., or if they went to Little York to procure the moneys, but we do know that they returned empty handed. I think the platitude, that Hiram Page closed his remarks with, sums it up nicely, "by the above we may learn how a revelation may be received and the person receiving it not be benefited." So at least the 4 guys had a good time while in Canada, and if that's the only benefit that can be taken from this week that was wasted on chasing a wild goose, then it's just alright in Hiram's book.
But, Joe wasn't satisfied with this utter failure, and he organized a second trip, presumably without the knowledge of NSSM once again. This was in a letter from William E. McLellin to Joseph Smith III, written in 1872, so a while after the fact, but it still holds a lot of relevance because it's written by one of the primary church historians for the RLDS. We'll get into McLellin when he makes his way into the church in 1831, but for now, we can take what he says with a fair amount of credibility.
"But again, Joseph Smith had a revelation for Oliver Cowdery and friends to go to Canada to get a copyright secured in that Dominion to the Book of Mormon. It proved so false that he never would have it recorded, printed or published, I have seen and read a copy of it, so that I know it existed."
Basically, Joe gathered everybody together again, and once again issued a revelation using his best buddies, Precious and Mr. Hat, telling the group that this time they would totally be successful. That 8 grand must have had Joe's mouth watering by now. If we calculate that out to today's inflation, it would be just over 205,000 dollars. It's no wonder Joe was trying to get this done. If he were successful in selling the copyright, it would set him, and the entire smith family, up for the rest of their lives. Put yourself in his shoes. What's easier, publishing the Book of Mormon, starting your own religion, having your cult chased out of multiple towns and cities, push through multiple hardships of money and other necessities, and end up ultimately getting shot like a rat in a cage in Carthage? Or just making up a book, and selling the copyright to somebody else for some fat stacks and quick payoff? Which would you do? Which do you think was really Joe's plan from the beginning? Well, unfortunately, nobody will ever get to see the revelations that he issued regarding these trips to Canada. They were so embarrasingly false that he refused to print or publish them, which is a damn shame because, from a scholarly perspective, I would love to read those revelations. And from a non-scholarly perspective, I would just love to read them so I could call Joe a bold-faced, egotistical, underhanded, liar. But, I suppose I can still do that without reading the false revelations.
To sum it all up, D-Day David Whitmer wrote in An Address to All Believers in Christ this little gem that offers a view into Joe's personality.
"Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. (meaning the group that went to Canada the second time) I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their understanding. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the Devil." So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man."
How the fuck was this not a huge red flag to everybody in the room. They had gone twice to Canada to try and sell the rights to publishing the book, and twice failed. Both times the group was working from revelations from the Almighty God of the universe, spoken through his earthly conduit, Joseph Smith, and Joe just comes up with a new revelation from precious, saying that some revelations are from God, and others aren't. How could they possibly trust this narcissitic, lying asshole after something like that?! If Joe was waving a red flag that big and bright in the face of his followers, and they still continued to follow him, I have very little sympathy for whatever happened to them after that. This was a cop-out, and a really poor, makeshift one at that.
Well, with these failures of trying to get rich quick, Joe was forced to follow through with publishing the BoM, and establishing his church. In this episode, we covered the timeline from NSSM signing the agreement with Egbert B. Grandin for publishing the BoM in August 1829, and moved all the way through the sequence of events until the Book of Mormon was first offered for sale on March 26, 1830, 11 days before the first congregation of the church. We're almost 9 months in to this bimonthly podcast, and the timeline has finally advanced to the point that the Book of Mormon was actually published, and ready to spread, like the newest wildfire to scorch the burned over district with Joe's radical new claims on God and mortality. Things are about to get really exciting.
Before getting into the listener mail segment and Patreon shout outs, I want to talk a little about the plans for the show. This is episode 20, and with the community that has evolved around the show, I want to just say thank you to everybody that's listening, and contributing in some way. The facebook page is a central hub for really crazy Mormon shit, I'm constantly getting encouraging emails, and patronage is higher than it's ever been, so just thank you so much everybody. I know some shows have been better than others, and when I go back and listen to the first episodes, I just cringe and laugh at what I'm hearing. The show has come a long way, and I plan on sticking to my guns to perpetuate it's growth and presence in the podcasting world. That being said, I hope that all the listeners have come to some kind of understanding about the pace of the show. Honestly, with how much information is out there on Mormon church history, and with how much depth I like to examine things, this could truly be a never ending endeavor. Like I said earlier, 9 months in, and all we've covered so far is timid little swindler Joe getting his precious little book up and running, by any means necessary. We've only introduced a small fraction of the important characters up to this point, and there are quite a few people I've left out, just for the sake of not confusing the equation too much. With what's coming up in the history, it'll make everything up to this point seem as lame as a carrot stuck in a vat of green Jell-o. But, the problem with examining everything with as much detail as we do, we run into a bit of a catch-22. What I mean is, there's a lot of really amazing, and dark things in the history of the church, but a lot of them don't come up for a long time, if we stick to a linear timeline format. For example, the horrible Mountain Meadows Massacre didn't happen until 13 years after Joe's death, and Joe dies in 14 years from where the timeline currently stands. I want the information about what happened during these horrible times to be available to all, but it seems out of place to have an episode about something that happened 27 years ahead of where we are right now, just plopped somewhere randomly in between other historical episodes that are following the timeline. Even more than the exciting things in the history, I also want to cover current Mormon news topics. For example, last week Boyd K. Packer, one of the most virulent homophobes in the apostleship, died at the age of 90. I want to do an episode covering his life and some of his more memorable sermons, but I'm not sure where to fit it in, or if everybody would even be interested in an episode like that. So I'm petitioning all listeners for their opinion. Would everybody prefer that I occassionally take a break from the historoical timeline to do some special edition episodes on these topics, or do you just want to wait for the timeline to get there and it'll be covered with the highest level of detail that's been devoted to the timeline up to this point. Honestly, I see pros and cons with doing it both ways, but I'm sure there's a middle ground there that will satisfy the majority of listeners. Personally, I think these topics can be covered with some special edition episodes, and examined in much more depth when it comes up in the timeline. For example, we could do a single special edition episode about just the MMM, but then when it comes up in the timeline, we could spend 2 or 3 episodes on it covering the politics, event, and aftermath in much greater detail. That seems like it could be the most beneficial, but I'm looking for any possible way to keep the show interesting, and relevant at the same time. We want your suggestions, so please go to the facebook page and leave a comment or message, or you can email directly to email@example.com if you have any ideas about how to make the show better in this respect, or in any way for that matter. I'm always open to suggestions, and am looking forward to communicating with the listeners to hopefully improve the show.
That being said, there was some listener mail to take care of.
Next, I wanted to thank our newest patrons.
There are some new NaMo Juvenile Delinquints to thank. Isabelle, David L., and Deeewayne, thank you all so much for your support. Your journey through the ranks of the NaMo kingdom are off to a great start. Also, Isabelle sent an email saying that she enjoys the show, and has a podcast of her own. It's called "Le Monde Merveilleux du Scepticisme'' meaning The Wonderful World of Skepticism. It's in French, so if any listeners understand French, and want to hear Isabelle's take on skepticism, head over to her show. Sorry that I won't be listening to your show Isabelle, but, like I said, I can't French for shit.
Next there were a few NaMo Adolescent Rebels to thank. Grey, Daniel, and Don. Thank you all so much for your support. You guys are exactly 0 percent more or less awesome than Juvenile Delinquints, but exactly 100 percent more supportive, and for that reason, you'll always have a special place in the heart of the podcast. I really appreciate your generosity.
Next to thank, are the newest NaMo Apostates. David, and Nicholas. These gentlemen saw the preceding levels of NaMo glory, and decided that they just weren't enough to truly capture how amazing and epic they really are. Thank you guys for being a 5th pillar of the show, and helping to support the time and research that goes into the show. Your donations help to fund the NaMo information kingdom into perpetuity, and for that you have my undying gratitude.
Things are all good and well in the realm of reality, but there's a new presence in the NaMo Outer Darkness realm. Mary is a hard-working professional, that doesn't like to have any down-time in her life. She coaches the local recreational soccer team, she's head of the communities school council, and she's a volunteer fire-fighter. She's always had a talented, go-getter of a personality that people are magnetised to.
Small town communities are a gift in some ways. Everybody knows everybody, and you never have to go far to run into a genuinely good friend. That's the spirit of community that drives Mary to be on the volunteer fire department for the community.
The unfortunate part of being on the VFD, is the inherent risks that come with fighting fires. There's simply no escaping that fact. However, the rewarding sense attained when somebody's life is saved by Mary's actions, motivates her to stare firey death in the face, without so much as a flinch.
It's been a couple of weeks since she's been called to a house fire, and Mary knows that one has to happen sooner or later. The weather's been hot and dry, and it's just a matter of time until a flicked cigarette butt, or backyard grilling party goes awry.
Well, it happened on Mary's fateful translation night. She had just finished making dinner for herself when the call rang out. There was a condo fire just down the street from Mary's home. She knew the family that was inside, as they had been the first people to bring over a plate of cookies when she moved into the neighborhood years ago. Mary cherished their friendship, and couldn't stand the thought of any of them being in danger. Mary suited up in her firefighting garb, and ran out the door, leaving her dinner to get cold on the table. She ran down the street toward the blazing inferno that used to be a home. She looked in all directions around the house, and couldn't see the family anywhere. Their car was in the driveway, but none of them were standing outside watching the house burn to the ground. A sinking fear settled into the pit of Mary's stomach, what if the family's still inside?
Her worst fear was confirmed when she heard a support beam from the roof, crash to the floor of the condo, and she heard a little girl scream out of fright. Mary was frozen, if somebody didn't act fast, the entire family stuck inside would be consumed before the fire-trucks even got there to put the fire out. Against her better judgement, Mary pulled her helmet's plastic shield down to guard her beautiful face, and stunning eyes, from any damage during the heroic stunt she was about to attempt.
She runs at the door, dropping her shoulder into a full charge. She smashes through the front door and tucks into a perfect roll onto the kitchen tile. She gets up to a crouch, and her mind grasps the severity of the fire. Every single flat surface was ablaze. All the windows had been cooked out of their panes, fueling the fire with fresh oxygen to burn. There were wall studs falling from their place in the sheetrock. Roof joists were crashing through the ceiling with loud snaps and bangs. Everything was going up in flames, and the house would be completely consumed in less than a minute.
Mary calls out to the family, and hears a faint cry for help coming from the back bedroom. Mary charges through the falling debris, and drops her shoulder in for another slam. This door isn't as brittle as the front door was, and doesn't budge with her shoulder-charge. She grabs the doorhandle, and her glove melts to the red hot metal. She takes her hand out of the gloves to keep it safe from being melted to the door just like the glove was, and without missing a beat, Mary grabs the small hatchet from her tool belt. She takes a wild swing at the wood panel door, right next to the handle, and inflicts a small wound to the wood, just to the side of the handle. That wasn't enough, and she knew it. The danger of the situation really starts to kick in, as she hears the family screaming behind the door. A massive rush of adrenaline pumps into Mary's veins, and she takes a second swing at the door. The wood around the handle splinters into a useless pile of broken wood, and Mary kicks the door open with heroic force. The family looks up at Mary stunned by her amazing display of power. She yells at them to get a move on and follow her. The family falls into line behind Mary as she leads them through the smoldering house to the front door. She stands at the doorway and pushes each person out the front door, to ensure their safety, and get a count on everybody.
As the whole family, down to the last child runs through the flaming doorway to the safe outdoors, Mary's heart sinks again. Somebody is missing from the group. Mary follows the family outside and yells to them asking about little Todd. They tell her they don't know but they think he's inside. Mary doesn't wait for a second, and runs back into the inferno. There are sirens down the road, but they still wouldn't get here in time to help save little Todd. She yells for him, and listens for a response. There's a muffled yell in the smaller bedroom next to the one she broke into earlier. The smoke is so thick, but Mary's on top of her game. She knows right where to go to find the terrified child. Mary wasn't going to worry about wasting time with the hatchet, she instead kicks the door as soon as she reaches the room. Weakened so much by the fire, the door flies off it's hinges and tumbles into the smoke filled room.
In Mary's experience, she knows that kids hide in closets when they're afraid. She enters the room and turns to the left to find the closet door closed. She hears a whimpering Todd behind it and knows she's found her target. Without any care for the use of her hand, Mary grabs the door handle and twists, to fling the door open. Huddled in a tiny ball on the floor, is a terrified little Todd, and Mary's heart instantly skips a beat. He's going to be okay if they can just get out of the house.
Mary bends over and picks up Todd, whose frozen from fear, and spins around toward the open bedroom door. She tries to lunge out of the frame that used to house a bedroom door, but there's a loud crash. A 500 lb. burning support joist falls from the ceiling, and smashes to the floor right in front of Mary. She pauses as the fear of mortality overcomes her adrenaline high for a split second.
She can't let fear of death cause both her and Todd to die tonight, and Mary suppresses the doubts, long enough to jump over the burning joist, and run into the kitchen. The smoke is so thick now, it's impossible to see where Mary's going. She's making her way to the front door from what she remembers of the house before. A loud crack over Mary's head overpowers the sounds of the burning inferno, and time slows to a fraction of normal speed. Everything is happening so slowly, and Mary can comprehend her thoughts so clearly. There's even a break in the smoke where she can see the open front door a mere 10 feet away. The loud crack overhead was another support joist giving in to the weakening force of the fire. As Mary is running to the front door with Todd securely in her arms, the burning joist crashes through the ceiling. Mary was able to get most of her body out of the way, but the massive beam falls on top of Mary's calf muscle, pinning her to the ground. She shakes Todd and tells him to run for the door. She could tell he was disoriented, and they had no time to lose. She sets him down on his back on the tile floor, and shoves him across the floor as hard as she can. Todd slides to the open door, jumps up, and runs to the safety of his parent's open arms.
But our Hero is still trapped. She can't free her leg. She lays on her back to try and push it off with the free leg, but the joist is simply too heavy. Mary comes to grips with the fact that she may have sacrificed her life to save that small child. A simple peace overcomes the adrenaline coursing through her veins, and Mary looks around at the burning inferno that would undoubtedly become her resting place. Everything was happening so slowly, and Mary began to contemplate life in general. She came to an understanding, that this life is all we have, and that's just fine. If we can devote our lives to helping each other, that can be reason enough to live. She had given her life for the sake of many others, and she was okay with this being her final moment of glory.
Just as this thought crossed Mary's mind, another roof support beam cracks right above her head. This was the end. Another loud crack, and the ceiling gave way above her head. She watched in slow motion as the sheetrock above her head exploded under the weight of the beam. It was falling straight down, and was about to crush her once and for all. Mary put up one hand, and turned her head to the side, in a feutal effort to stop the inevitable. Just as she turned her head, she saw something that was brighter and more enchanting than anything else in the room. Mary no longer thought of her own life, but was completely absorbed by the beauty and mysteriousness of this glowing talisman floating just above the ground right next to her face. What is it? What could it mean? JMS was very pleased with the selfless actions Mary had just displayed, and whispered in the Sinister Small voice, "Take it". Mary reached out and grabbed the glowing talisman, and there was nothing but silence.
The beam crashed down right on where Mary was trapped, and the rest of the building folded like a plastic bag in the fire. The neighbors were screaming for Mary, but no cries of agony would be heard from the house tonight. Nobody will ever know exactly what happened to Mary. All that would be found of her, was her name badge torn from the sleeve of her firefighting suit, charred, but still legible right where she laid before her translation.
Thank you for your support Mary, and welcome to the Outer Darkness, as our newest NaMo Demon. Your support is deeply appreciated, and will go a long way to help keep the show going. Thank you for being so awesome and for listening to the show.
Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 07/17/2015"