Ep8- D-Day David Whitmer's Grand Introduction, Hiram Page's Rise and Fall
On this episode, the next heavy hitters are brought onto the scene. D-Day David Whitmer along with all the men in his family and Hiram Page, the brother in law. We start off learning about David's life before Joe, Emma, and Oliver Cowdery (Cowdung Allover) moved into the little house with the Whitmer family, in Fayette, N.Y. Then I get sidetracked chasing some scripture references in The Doctrine & Covenants (Mormon Canon). Then we find out why the history surrounding Hiram Page is so sparse in reported Mormon history, even though he was Joe's cousin, and one of the 11 witnesses to the plates.
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Welcome back, in the last two episodes, we examined the two essays that the LDS church released concerning polygamy in it's early history. This wasn't necessarily planned, but it was in response to the new headlines raised about the whole situation. Regardless, we had to take a step back from the historical analysis, in order to analyze those essays. Well, let's get back to it.
But, before I get started, I have a few people to thank. I wanted to start off by thanking David Michael. He had me on his show, My book of Mormon podcast to read chapter 57 of Alma from the Book of Mormon along with playing a drinking game. If there's any possibility that you don't know about David's show, you need to check it out! He adds hilarious commentary to the BoM, while reading it for the first time, and I was lucky enough to experience a chapter along with him. David actually flew to Texas for the 24 hour Dogma Debate Broadcastathon, and I believe he may have mentioned my show, because my downloads have never been so high. So, I just wanted to thank him for the shout out, and for having me on his show, because it was a lot of fun.
Next, I wanted to thank Andrea Rice, my unofficially official Facebook page admin. It must have been right after she finished binge listening to the backlog, that she sent me a Facebook message offering to help with the page in any way possible. I eventually took her up on the offer as I realized how big this project is starting to get, and I could not be more happy with her work, She's doing an awesome job and keeping me up to speed with all the facebook traffic which has been a huge help, so I just really appreciate everything she's doing.
That leads me into my next shout out, Craig Keeling. He's another kind soul looking to burn some time spreading the absurdity of the Mormon church by offering me help. He designed all the new artwork you see with the show and he's quite the professional web designer which is made apparent by his website http://weirdmormonshit.tumblr.com/. I browsed his website for a while, and I have to say I'm quite impressed. In a very cursury search of the site I found this little gem from Spencer W. Kimball released in the 1960 Improvement Era http://weirdmormonshit.tumblr.com/post/91996661208/more-racist-fun-for-the-whole-family-from-the
I'll include the link to that crazy ass racist shit in the show notes of the episode, and I strongly recommend everybody spending some time on that website. I know I'll be referencing it ocassionally in my research, now that I'm aware of it. So if you wonder where I get some of the crazy shit that I find, this is a great resource for some fun information. So, just wanted to say, thanks again to Craig, I'm really looking forward to working with you, especially because my website is dysmally boring at the moment.
So, that being said, I'm really pleased with how things have been going with the podcast, and I'm thankful to all the listeners, and all the feedback I've received about the show so far. It's really helping to make the show better, and more enjoyable for everybody, including myself, and really helping to motivate me to crank out more episodes. Beyond that, I guess I'll just mention the patreon page really quick. I did develope the different contribution levels starting at one dollar per episode, so, if you like the show, you can go to patreon.com that's P-A-T-R-E-O-N.COM and search for the naked mormonism podcast page. Since this is the first episode that they have been active, I'll read out the different levels of patronage at the end of the episode, but in future episodes, I'll just be giving people their due shout-outs for reaching each increasing tier in the NaMo kingdom.
I don't really like asking for donations, but the burden of the show is beginning to weigh heavier on my wallet, and free time, and I just want it to be, something that helps keep me motivated, instead of costing me. And keep in mind, if you do sign up, most podcasts charge 4 episodes a month, I only plan on releasing two episodes per month, so you may think the patronage is a lot, but the dollar amount charged, is inherently less than most other podcasts, because it's not a weekly show, and I don't charge for more than two episodes per month even on months that I have to release three episodes in keeping with the schedule. But anyway, I'm not one to grub for lose change twice a month so check out the patreon page for yourself, if you're interested in supporting the research and production of the show, as well as a couple of important non-profit organizations. I'll include details about those charities at the end of the episode when I detail the patreon levels. If you don't want to support the show with money, I would love some iTunes reviews or even some feedback on twitter @nakedmormonism or maybe some facebook likes. Naked mormonism podcast should show up with a quick search. I'm trying to make the show as liquid and adaptable as possible, to entertain as many listeners as possible, so any suggestions, or crazy mormon information you might have, would be greatly appreciated, as is some good social media word spreading, if you think the show is worth it anyway. Alright, with that I think we're ready to jump into the acutal show and resume our historical analysis.
Episode 5 was basically a discussion about Oliver Cowdery, or as we came to know him Cowdung Allover. We talked about Cowdung and Lucy Smith (Joe's Mom) being 3rd cousins and that the families could very well have known each other, well before Joe and Cowdung actually started translating the supposed plates together. We also made some geographical links throughout Joe and Cowdung's upbringinging that had the families in close proximity to each other. And being almost the same age, it isn't difficult to surmise that Joe and Cowdung very possibly became buddies when they were younguns. What's even more than that, in the mid to late 1820's, Joe, Cowdung, and Sidney Rigdon, were all heavy into the Jesus stuff, and were only a few days of travel from each other. It isn't hard to imagine that Joe and Cowdung, may have even attended a religious revival, or two, that Sidney Rigdon was the leader of in Pittsburgh, or Rochester, or any of the other relatively large Jesus'ey towns at the time, but we don't even have to assume that. Sidney Rigdon could have just bumped into them at any time during these revivals, especially if Joe was preaching that an angel appeared to him talking about restoring the gospel to the earth.
After making those geographical connections among the three stooges, we found out how Joseph and Oliver supposedly met. According to church history, in April 1829, two days after Joe and Cowdung made acquaintenceship, of course, they began translating the plates. We talked about how the church reports them receiving the Holy Aaronic Priesthood from an angel, and supposedly they received the Melchizedek Priesthood a couple weeks after that from the angels: Peter, James, and John.
Unfortunately, upon examination of the available evidence, we found that the church's reported version didn't truly tell the whole story behind Joe and Cowdung. But, we do need to keep in mind that Cowdung was one of the most influential people in the church, throughout it's entire history. He was the thinktank smuckin fartass behind the scenes throughout the foundation of the church, and he became the second elder of the church, which meant he was Joe's go-to right hand man.
So for now, let's put Cowdung aside, because today we take a look at David Whitmer. I would like to try and sum him up in a succint manner, but there were a lot of moving pieces that David was responsible for, that I'm not even sure about yet. So let's try to make a general, big picture assessment of him.
First we need some baseline facts about his background. This is from wikipedia:
David Whitmer was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1805 (less than a year older than Joe) and was an early member of the Latter Day Saint movement who eventually became the most interviewed of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon's golden plates. He was the fourth of nine children of Peter Whitmer, Sr. and Mary Musselman. David's ancestry on both sides of his family were German, and the family spoke with a German accent. By the 1820s, the Whitmer family had moved to a farm in Fayette, in New York's Finger Lakes area. On March 12, 1825 David was elected sergeant in a newly organized militia called the Seneca Grenadiers
Yes, David Whitmer was apparently the leader of a local militia meaning he had, at very least, a rudimentary understanding of basic soldier leadership skills, and possibly even some simple combat tactics schooling. We can at least be certain he knew how to handle a weapon and was capable of teaching others how to do so as well. This, in addition to other reasons, has forced me select the NaMo name D-Day David. This might not make much sense right now, but trust me, this name will be very fitting as we near Danite Day. I'll have to explain this after we get some background on D-Day David. So, let's get that background going by hearing what the church has to say about the early days with D-Day. This is from LDS.org on David Whitmer,
While Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery worked on the translation of the Book of Mormon at the Prophet’s farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania, persecution began to increase, making it more and more difficult to finish the work.
This was because Joe had been promising he would get the plates for almost 6 years to all his treasure seeking buddies, but he couldn't produce the goods when it came time to ante up. I personally think that's because his little mock plates couldn't pass a legitimate visual test to anybody that really examined them. He would only let people lift the plates in a box, that he had Mason Chase construct to contain them. Even Joe's wife Emma testified on her death bed that she never saw them without a cloth covering them, and had merely felt the edges with her thumb, the way you would thumb the pages of a book, which we know from episode 2, and her deathbed interview. That was the main group that was 'persecuting' Joe out of Pennsylvania. I'll prove this to you when it comes up in our narrative using more court records.
At this time Oliver Cowdery wrote to David Whitmer requesting him to come to Harmony to take him and Joseph Smith to the home of David’s father, Peter Whitmer Sr., who was a resident of Fayette, New York. They wanted to reside with the Whitmer family while they completed the work of translation. Earlier Joseph Smith had become acquainted with Peter Whitmer and several members of the family. Oliver Cowdery had also been corresponding with David Whitmer while the Book of Mormon was translated. Through this correspondence the whole Whitmer family became acquainted with the work of the Restoration.
The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded that “in the beginning of the month of June, David Whitmer came to the place where we were residing, and brought with him a two-horse wagon, for the purpose of having us accompany him to his father’s place, and there remain until we should finish the work. It was arranged that we should have our board free of charge, and the assistance of one of his brothers to write for me, and also his own assistance when convenient. Having much need of such timely aid in an undertaking so arduous, and being informed that the people in the neighborhood of the Whitmers were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to inquire into these things, we accepted the invitation, and accompanied Mr. Whitmer to his father’s house, and there resided until the translation was finished and the copyright secured. Upon our arrival, we found Mr. Whitmer’s family very anxious concerning the work, and very friendly toward ourselves. They continued so, boarded and lodged us according to arrangements; and John Whitmer, in particular, assisted us very much in writing during the remainder of the work."
Basically, when the group of scryers and diviners that Joe was running with, finally turned the screws to Joe to see the plates, he called his buddy D-Day David Whitmer to come get him, Emma, and Cowdung out of the jam. D-Day showed up in the middle of the night and everybody loaded up their shit and moved to the Whitmers in Fayette N.Y. Under cover of nightfall. This is where the story of Joe, David, and Cowdung hiding the plates in bean barrels comes in. They didn't want to be stopped while carrying a wooden chest with a lock on it by any bandits on the road, or any of Joe's old occult buddies, so they did everything SOCOM covert style, under the cover of night. It apparently worked, because Fayette, N.Y. Is where a large percentage of the BoM was translated, and the church was supposedly founded, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's continue on with the aritcle. This is quoting Joe directly.
“In the meantime, David, John and Peter Whitmer, Jun., became our zealous friends and assistants in the work; and being anxious to know their respective duties, and having desired with much earnestness that I should inquire of the Lord concerning them, I did so, through the means of the Urim and Thummim, and obtained for them in succession the following revelations: [D&C 14–16].” (History of the Church, 1:48–49.)"
So when the rescued crew arrived at the Whitmer house, everybody was so credulous and therefore anxious to know what the lord wanted with them, so they asked Joe what God would have them do and Joe gave D&C 14-16 in response. Why don't we just read what those 'revelations' were, it may serve as a bit of an insight to Joe's personality. It's 23 verses total for all three secitons, so bear with me for a minute, because I don't want to lose any meaning here.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to David Whitmer, at Fayette, New York, June 1829. The Whitmer family had become greatly interested in the translating of the Book of Mormon. The Prophet established his residence at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr., where he dwelt until the work of translation was carried to completion and the copyright on the forthcoming book was secured. Three of the Whitmer sons, each having received a testimony as to the genuineness of the work, became deeply concerned over the matter of their individual duty. This revelation and the two following (sections 15 and 16) were given in answer to an inquiry through the Urim and Thummim. David Whitmer later became one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.
1–6, Laborers in the vineyard will gain salvation; 7–8, Eternal life is the greatest of God’s gifts; 9–11, Christ created the heavens and the earth.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to John Whitmer, at Fayette, New York, June 1829 (see the heading to section 14). The message is intimately and impressively personal in that the Lord tells of what was known only to John Whitmer and Himself. John Whitmer later became one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.
1–2, The Lord’s arm is over all the earth; 3–6, To preach the gospel and save souls is the thing of most worth.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Peter Whitmer Jr., at Fayette, New York, June 1829 (see the heading to section 14). Peter Whitmer Jr. later became one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.
1–2, The Lord’s arm is over all the earth; 3–6, To preach the gospel and save souls is the thing of most worth.
I seem to find it a little fascinating that the first one seemed like a typical sermon, and the following two were just word for word calling Peter Jr. And John to be missionaries in an effort to expand the church. The best part is the smiliarities between section 15 and 16. Both verse 3's say that "God" is telling John and Peter things that only God and they know, but gives Joe unique revelation word for word to both of them. And after that, it was recorded in the doctrine and covenants for every member of the church to read later. Some beautiful revelation this was eh? And Joe wasn't even revealing anything that amazing to either of them. They were just insistently asking Joe what God wanted of them and Joe gave them both the same revelation stating what they are supposed to do. Any burgening church needs a missionary force to spread the word, why was revelation from God required to send these guys off, when Joe just could have said "We need to spread the word, and work, of the lord to all his children and this is the task that all of three of you will embark on". That would have been pretty simple, and it doesn't introduce the contradiction of God giving mutually exclusive revelation to two different people that is verbatim, which also states that nobody but them and God will know what was said. Joe didn't mind invoking God everywhere he went to solve every problem for him.
That was kind of a little side note, but I wanted to chase the scripture reference the site provided. For now, let's talk a little more about David Whitmer, the star of today's show, instead of his brothers.
Let's go back to the LDS.org website to try and get a little bit more information on him.
Along with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer later also served as a special witness of the Lord. In fact, nearly a year before the Church was organized, the Lord told David and Oliver they had been called with that same calling given “unto Paul mine apostle” (D&C 18:9) anciently.
So what exactly does 'special witness of the lord' mean especially when it's given the context of 'the same calling given to paul'. I'm going to read the reference, but I'm going to read verses 7-25 with some commentary, in order to add a little context of what 'special witnessing' really is.
7 Wherefore, as thou hast been baptized by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., according to that which I have commanded him, he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him.
8 And now, marvel not that I have called him unto mine own purpose, which purpose is known in me; wherefore, if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments he shall be blessed unto eternal life; and his name is Joseph.
That was just Joe giving some reinforcement through the tongue of god, that Joe was, indeed, not faking everything he is doing. This is very similar to him prophesying of himself, multiple times, in the Book of Mormon when he was writing it, and it's symptomatic of a certain arrogance, and self assurity, that Joe's multiple ego's battled with on occasion. Let's continue with verse nine, the one the LDS.org article refferred to earlier.
9 And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for, behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called.
I'm not really sure what this could mean, based off this reference alone. That's a big problem with some of the scriptural citations that most of these church articles use, they just snatch one thing out of context, and it seems spiritual and vague enough, that it actually seems to bolster their argument. That's why, when the church tells us to read D & C 18:9, we should read, at very least 7-25, just to understand context, like any good religious scholar should do when challenged by, or studying a certain scripture passage. Let's see where the section goes after that.
10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
That's not how I remember having this scripture recited to me. It was when I was in 5th and 6th grade, I was friends with this little non-mormon kid that recently moved into my neighborhood, that was kind of a goofball. But I was a Mormon kid goofball so our personalities kinda meshed. The reason I bring this person up is, I remember my motivation to try and get him to come to church. I was brutally persistent in my assertions to get him involved. But I didn't do it because I was afraid for his eternal salvation, I did it because I was 11 years old and wanted another friend to hang out with at church. And it worked! We would actually hang out at my house while the missionaries came over and gave him, and our whole family, the ever loathed missionary lessons, usually after we fed them dinner. I remember both of us being bored to the point of spontaneous brain anurism, while two sister missionaries came over and cultfucked his mind, through multiple weeks of meetings, until he finally said he would get baptized and convert to the church. I wish I would've seen what was going on at the time! My family had set up a gauntlet for this friend to traverse, all to see if he was worthy of being a real friend to me. He had to convert, in an emotionally tense situation, with a lot of pressure from his closest peer, and my parents, and the kids at school, and all the youth priesthood leaders, and random passers-by in church when they saw a new face, and anybody else who was curious. Or, he would face losing a friend and the approval of everybody in the community. We literally sat him down in the living room, and two 22 year old women force-fed him everything a prospect needs to know about the church to convert. They gave him reading homework too! Not just the BoM, but other Mormon propaganda with pretty pictures, and graphs to fill out for homework and shit! The room was full of intense and powerful brainwashing, mind controlling emotions, and the implied level of expectance to conform to everything they said, was blood chilling now that I think back on it. He was 11 years old and these women were asking him deep philosophical questions on the BoM and the church as a whole. Asking things like "Did God reveal to you the truth of the book?", and "Do you want to make the commitment to be baptized in the LDS church like your friend has". How the fuck does a kid that hasn't taught himself how to masturbate yet, know what the fuck any of that means?! How could they possibly think that he knew the implications of what he considered truth, and ficition at that point?! He never read a single fuckin verse of the book either! They would ask what he thought about passages that we all read together, and how it related to what he read from the book during his alone time, and he would have no informed answer to match their expectations. Adults have a hard time making this journey becuase of the spiritual implications, but the missionaries asked him repeatedly to bear his testimony to us as it slowly developed, based on what we told him it should be.
It may be hard to believe, but he was baptized soon after this crash course of being a Mormon, and began going to church and youth activities with me. It was great, until he lost motivation, and ended up moving to a different neighborhood. I didn't realize until I scripted this, that I have a lot to apologize to that person about. I had NO IDEA what was happening and what I was a part of. I orchestrated the entire thing based on one motivation that I started this story with. I remember my dad paraphrasing that scripture.
"If you should bring one soul unto me, great shall be your glory in the kingdom of heaven."
And after that, I distinctly remember him saying in the same tone of voice. "If you should bring many souls unto me. Great shall be your glory." drawing equivocation between the two acts. He basically implied to me that it doesn't matter if you bring one person, or lots of people to the church, great shall be your glory either way. Well, when you tell your 11 year old son, who was baptized and accountable for his own sins for the last three years, that he can have a 'Get out of hell free card' if he brings some friends to the club, he gets motivated pretty quickly. But if I would have known that the actual scripture drew a distinction between one and lots of souls and rewarded accordingly, I would have been one motivated little child soldier for the Mormon church, because I obviously would have wanted as many of those cards as I could get my hands on. The more souls I reaped, the more sins I could be cleared of, at least, that's how the math works out in my brain now. If only I would have comprehended and believed that little piece at that moment, my whole life might be different right now. Truely comprehending this engineered feedback loop of proscelyting, seems like it would be a great motivator for an eager missionary force of currently 88,000 people.
17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.
18 Ask the Father in my name in faith, believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.
19 And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.
20 Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.
21 Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness.
22 And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father. (I believe that may be referring to temple names, meaning that you have to be able to remember your temple name as the password to get into heaven.... well, at least the men have to remember their own names, and the names of all their wives, so he can call all of them up to heaven after he ascends. You seriously cannot make this shit up, well, I guess Joseph did, but you can't make up the fact that it happens today, and is current doctrine.)
A little sidenote here, I kind of want to rant about the inaccuracy of verse 23. It says Jesus Christ was the name given of the father.... uh.... no.... it wasn't..... Jesus is an english modernization of the Hebrew 'Jeshua' and Christ is a modernization of the Greek 'Christos' meaning annointed one. He wasn't listed as: first-Jesus, last-Christ in the Nazareth phone book, he was just Jeshua son of Joseph, or Jeshua the Nazorean. 'Christ' was tacked on later by the early gospel accounts in Greek, not aramaic that Jeshua spoke, and preached in. Christians that had converted from judaism or paganism, believed, that the reported Jesus dying on the cross that people were talking about, and later recorded as the gospels, was fulfillment of prophecy from some of the old school prophets i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. These early Christian gatherings are where we get the Pauline letters from, because Paul was writing to these small factions that were calling themselves christians, but weren't being good christians, in his opinion anyway. That's an entire rabbit hole we could jump down, as is the fact that 'Nazareth' the village, didn't even exist in 1st century CE for young Jeshua, Mary and Joseph to have lived in, and there wasn't even a church/synagague there for Jeshua to have taught in, at the age of 12. Like I said these are all very small details but deep rabbit holes to try to investigate. But my question is.... since verse 23 is written in the same language as the BOM, and has a lot of the same phrasing and colloquialisms, that means it has to be straight from God right? So, if Joe was giving this revelation to Cowdung and David straight from God, how the hell did God make the mistake of calling Jeshua, son of Joseph, Jesus Christ? The bible never has God call his son Jesus Christ, in fact the only publicized contact that God acknowledges Jesus as Jesus, is calling him 'his beloved son, in whom I am well pleased' after Jesus is baptized, and a couple other times, depending on which Gospel you read. But The bible never explicity has God calling Jesus Christ by name. But in this direct revelation from God that Joe is giving, there is an explicit mistake being made. Is God a fuck up or is Joe a fuckin fraud? That may be a slightly leading question, but I think it sums up my point. The contradictions with the Jesus that Joe knew, simply don't gel with the historical or biblical Jesus. Personally I'm a mythicist, believing that Jesus the Nazareen was never a real person, but that's not the subject of the podcast or the episode, so I'll set that aside.
If you're curious about fact checking me on the Nazareth thing look up the video Nazareth-The town that theology built by JesusNeverExisted on youtube, and I'll leave a link to it in the show notes. It pretty much blew my mind out of my face.
That's the end of my sidenote, next I want to examine verses 24 and 25. Just follow me here for a second, this isn't very publicized doctrine of the church, but as far as I'm aware this is accurate to the church's teachings. When a person Goes through a Mormon temple to receive their endowments, which is one of the main rituals the temples are constructed for, they receive a special name along with their temple garments, also known as magic mormon underwear. Usually this is done before the person leaves on their mission, or when they are getting married in the temple to another temple worthy individual, whichever comes first. When I said the word 'endowments', that's actually a word taken from Luke 24, and is usually defined as, "to clothe" or "instill qualities in". But the term carries a heavy connotation inside the church. "Endowment" is a word that's almost synonamous with "gift from God" when talking to a TBM. It can almost be interpretted as a rite of passage for people growing up in the church. The mormon upbringing timeline goes basically as follows "Born with baby blessing, baptism, confirmation, graduating seminary class, duty to god/young women's medallion, endowments, mission, marriage with sealing, and lots and lots of kids". When the verses earlier said
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.
That is the special name it's referring to. You see, when a man gets his endowments, he is given a name, and that name is his password into heaven at the judgement day. If any man doesn't know this name, he gets turned away. Meaning that if Gordon B. Hinkley, the most recently deceased prophet of the church, gets to the viel and forgets his temple name, it doesn't matter that he was the prophet, he's just fucked out of luck, and to hell he goes. Well, not Hell particularly, but a lesser kingdom in heaven. But, the lowliest Jack Mormon church goer, with a temple recommend, and a better memory than the dead prophet Hinkley, can waltz right in to heaven after speaking his magic password and giving the secret hand shakes. In case you didn't notice, I have only been talking about male endowments. Well, that's the power giver and the mesogynistic kicker. When people are married in the temple, the Man knows his name, and the Woman knows her name; the man also knows his wife's name, but the woman doesn't know her husband's name. That's so the man can speak his password and get into heaven, and then he "Calls" his wives through the veil to heaven, only after he enters. He can also call to him every woman that he has ever been sealed to, equating to spiritual, and eternal polygamy. I kind of explained this in a nutshell on episode 7, so if you missed it, I recommend checking it out for context.
Any way, back to LDS.org and information about D-Day David.
"David maintained that he had received the priesthood at the hands of the Prophet Joseph during the month of June 1829, and President Brigham Young once told the Saints, “Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were the first Apostles of this dispensation, though in the early days of the Church David Whitmer lost his standing.” Even though Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were not yet to ordain to offices within the priesthood, apparently the Prophet felt guided to confer upon David Whitmer Melchizedek Priesthood authority and apostleship. However, the priesthood-ordinance focus of Joseph and Oliver remained one of baptism and not of confirmation of the gift of the Holy Ghost until the organization of the Church.
During an interview with David Whitmer in 1877, visitor Edward Stevenson brought up the matter of David’s reception of the priesthood. Later, in reporting his observations to President Wilford Woodruff, Edward Stevenson wrote:
“Now what strikes me forcably, is, David said soon after his return [1 June 1829] from his little mission to bring Joseph the Prophet and Company from Pa. Joseph Babtized him and Ordained him as the 3d Elder in the Church. Mark it, this was the very next month after the confermation of the Aronic Priesthood in Pa. on the Susquhanah River, now I have always believed that our Prophet recd. the Melchesedic Priesthood soon after the Aronic, and at the same place—before going to Peter Whitmers at Fayett Senaca Co. NY—to continue the Translation of the Book of Mormon. Davids telling me that he was babtized in Senaca Lake or River, in June <1829>, and being ordained, and imediately after called to assist in the great work June 1829, is good evidence to me.” 3
That last little part wasn't terribly significant, it was just reaffirming what current LDS historians believe to be the best fitting timeline to the resoration of the priesthoods. We talked about that in episode 4 with Cowdung and Joe in the woods, and D-Day said he was baptized and ordained with the priesthood soon after Joe and company moved in with him and his family.
So, after Joe, Emma, and Cowdung move in with the Whitmer family, the translation speed, of the plates, goes even faster. All of the translators were living on a farm in Fayette, NY. Free of charge and were being fed as well. No jobs, no responsibilities, nothing. Just a group of people locked up in the same cabin together for an entire spring and the BOM comes out alive on the other side in mid 1829.
We haven't detailed everybody who lived there yet, so let's do that now. There was Joe, Emma, Cowdung, and D-Day David, but also, David's parents, Peter Whitmer, Sr., and Mary Musselman Whitmer, and his seven siblings: Christian, Jacob, John, Catherine, Peter Jr., Nancy, and Elizabeth Ann, who lived on the property from 1809–1830.
You may recognize the names: Christian, Jacob, Peter Jr., and John Whitmer. If so, it's becuase they are 4 of the 8 witnesses, that comprised the second group of witnesses to the plates, which is something that we will cover when it comes to the 11 witnesses. Just for clarity, the other 4 of the 8 witnesses were, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith. And the Three witnesses that comprised the first group of witnesses are Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer. Hopefully we are starting to understand the witnesses a little bit more as all of the pieces of the 11 fall together in our narrative.
So, while everybody was living as one big happy family, Joe was rattling off page after page of the BOM while various people living in the house, including D-Day, would scribe the babblings. Then Cowdung, having wrote most of it himself, perfected the printers copy of the 'translation' and this is where they have to get the money from NSSM.
But before that, we have to talk about Hiram Page. He's the 'bridging character' if you will, as he was related to Joe and married into the Whitmer family. Although it's hard to find any information about Hiram page, as he is not a particularly integral person at this point, aside from being one of the eight witnesses, we do know that he was born near Joe, in Vermont, and was a mere 5 years older than Joe. It's reasonable to assume they grew up spending time with each other, and probably wrestling around and whatnot as most boys do with their cousins growing up.
Also another thing to throw into the mix. Joe had the crippling operation on his leg when he was 8 years old, making his older brother Hyrum Smith and similarly aged Hiram Page the next oldest age group of boys that were left to take care of crippled little Joe during his recovery. I think it's safe to assume that the bond these young boys shared growing up, must have only grown stronger with these new vulnerabilities Joe was suddenly subjected to. This only shows a deeper foundation for Joe being extremely concerned with families being together, once he did establish the church, and began writing the book of commandments, which became the Doctrine and Covenants with tons of family centered teachings.
So this is how the Whitmer Family and the Smith Family are connected. This connection is really really important throughout the foundation of the church, as most of the members of the 2 families would serve as the first administrators and missionaries of the church.
So Hiram page was an important bridging character between these families, unfortunately, the further we go down in importance of role in the church, the less information there is about any given person. We don't know much about Hiram Page before he met the Whitmers aside from his birth/death date and that he used divining rods and seer stones, he may have even picked these skills up from Joe and Big Daddy Cheese. In fact, one of the only mentions of Hiram Page in the early mormon history is when he tried to recieve revelation for the church instead of Joseph.
Let me back up, a lot of the members that were attracted to the doctrines of the mormon church were drawn to the fact that it was more or less a Zionist sect. Zionist religious sects are known to believe that "Zion the new Jerusalem" will be restored to the Earth when Jesus returns. Well, Mormonism shares this doctrine, believing, in fact, that Zion will be in Jackson Co, MO where Adam and Eve supposedly lived in the 'Merica garden of Eden. Well, the Mormon church wasn't aware of the whole Jackson Co, detail yet because that revelation had not been recieved by Joe yet, so some of the members became antsy.
You can picture this situation transpiring in Sept of 1830. The new converts of the church are excited and zealous for the faith. They had just found themselves a brand spanking new modern day prophet, that translated a book about Jesus from some golden plates that were buried in his back yard, but the best part about having a prophet is you can ask them stuff and they will unequivocally give you the perfect answer. Well, apparently Joe was slacking off when the people would ask him about where this New Jerusalem would be so they went to another person of authority in the church. Hiram Page.
Now the only detail we have about Hiram's writings is an account by Martin Harris saying he continued writing until he had 16 pages done. But aside from that, the information is gone. I kind of wonder why. Let's read the only thing that Joe ever recorded about Hiram Page in the D&C. But before we do, a little preface. This revelation came through Joe to Cowdung about Hiram Page's revelations. There are a couple of reason's I can think of for that, but I'll discuss those after I read it. This is D&C 28 given in Sept 1830. It's 16 verses so bear with me for a minute,as it reveals a lot about the situation. I'll just burn through the whole thing and analyze it all at the end.
1 Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given.
2 But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.
3 And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church.
4 And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it.
5 But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom;
6 And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;
7 For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.
8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.
9 And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.
10 Thou shalt not leave this place until after the conference; and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee thou shalt tell.
11 And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;
12 For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants.
13 For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.
14 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.
15 And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do.
16 And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen.
I have a couple of theories about why Joe gave this revelation to Cowdung, one of which is the right hand man whipping boy effect. Often times, a person in power will have an assistant that's essentially a 'Yes-Man' that he can yell at when things go wrong. This 'Yes-Man' is often the first person that teams up with the individual as they rise to their position of power, and they are often a person of introverted intellect and ability to follow instructions very accurately. Well, Cowdung was Joe's right hand shit sniffer, that handled a lot of problems that would arise in the church. Keep in mind, this is less than 6 months after the grand opening of the church, and everything was still up in the air. Joe had no idea what he was doing and was coming up with revelations from God, to fix any problems that would arise. Then Joe wrote these problem-solving revelations down in a book called 'The Book of Commandments', and this problem of a competitive revelation by Hiram Page, was solved the same way every other problem was.
I would assume that Joe probably felt threatened by this revelation that Hiram received, because it gave the people of the congregation an answer that Joe didn't have. It's extremely hard to imagine that everybody still had the same confidence in Joe, that they had when they first joined the church, and it was understandable that some competing ideas would find their way into the doctrine. Well, Joe wouldn't have any of that in his early church, so he ordered the stone Hiram used, to be destroyed and the revelation burned because "Satan deceiveth him".
Another possible theory would be, that Oliver encouraged the revelation by Hiram Page. You see, all of these guys believed in this thing called second sight, which was usually done through a seer stone in a hat, or some kind of stone-holding device. That's how the book of mormon was translated, and that's how Joe supposedly found where the Plates and other paraphenalia were buried. Joe used his stone almost constantly for all kinds of directions and revelations throughout his childhood and all his teenage years. This didn't change once he started running the church as prophet. And some people that believed this same bullshit 'stoned sight' believed that they could revelate just like Joe, as long as they were holy enough. And that's all Hiram was doing at the time.
Cowdung was a respected practitioner of scrying himself, second only to Joe, so he may have been giving instructions, on stoned sight, to Hiram, along with some of the other members of the church. This challenge to Joe's authority would not be had in the kingdom of Joseph Smith so Joe went and out-revelated them all, and put a kibosh on anybody else trying to receive revelation for the church, be it Hiram or Cowdung. And of course the revelation would have been aimed more at Cowdung instead of Hiram because Cowdung was inciting the insurrection or possibly even giving instruction on how to revelate.
I personally believe the latter theory has more explanatory power, that Cowdung was the instructor, and this is why. Fairly soon after Hiram's revelation, and subsequently section 28 that we read, Joe came up with revelation to Cowdung, along with others, to go out west to the Native-Americans to preach the gospel to them. This was some 1300 miles away in rugged and hostile territory, telling people that they are actually Jews in a language they can't understand, and trying to convince them that they are sinners and should repent. I wouldn't task my worst enemy with that, so maybe Joe was pissed off at people he trusted, saying he wasn't doing a good job, and trying to show him up. He may have also wanted some alone time with the early church members, without the oversight or dissent of his closest peers and fellow church leaders. He may have used this as an excuse to get rid of them for a while, and doubled it with teaching them a lesson on out revelating their prophet. Of course there is nothing to truly back up a cause and effect correlation here, but think it's at least funny and worth pointing out, and it does offer a little explanatory power for tasking Cowdung with fixing the Hiram problem before he goes on a mission into the wilderness.
Hiram page receives little mention before or after that little battle of the seer stones. But he was reportedly earnest about the revelation and, did believe Joe when he said the revelation was from the devil. For some reason, people in the early church really had a propensity toward credulity in everything Joe said. I understand the idea of a prophet, but sometimes it isn't a bad idea to take his claims at face value, and judge them as coming out of the mouth of an alpha male, asshole trying to save face, and preserve his 'king of the hill' status.
Maybe that's just a benefit of hindsight. We can see now that the claims are demonstrably absurd but back in those days, these people believed that everything Joe said was dripping with Holy Jesus revelation juice, and they had no outsiders to question his methods, or to even be a devils advocate. Regardless, Joe ordered the 16 pages burned and the devil's stone ground into dust, so it kinda seems like Joe may have even believed the shit that came out of his own mouth.
So that basically sums up the star of today's episode, D-Day David Whitmer, and his relation to Joe and the early church. But, it was important to talk about his role so we could come to understand how the Smiths and the Whitmers became well acquainted with each other, with Hiram Page being the middle glue person between the two families. Hiram was the guy that got married to a Whitmer, thus, sewing the 2 families into relation with each other, which brought about the families living together to finish translating the book of mormon in 1829.
I do want to fully explain why I went with D-Day as David's nickname. A cursory search on the internet will yield knowledge of David Whitmers apostasy in 1838. The day he left, dozens of pressures, some political, some spiritual, some leadership issues, became too great for the glass house that Joe had constructed, and these dissertions, and excommunications, culminated in the collapse of the church leadership as everybody knew it. And it was also the time when the 'Danites' were first assembled, with the mission of removing dissenters from the community, motivating them to "depart, or a more fatal calamity shall befall you". When I've talked about the Danites before, I've called them the hit squad for the church basically, well David Whitmer and others leaving the church can only be equated to D-Day, from the churches point of view. D-Day David Whitmer, the man who brought Danite Day into reality on the day of his Defection. A day that nothing went as planned, and everybody had to simply react to what did happen, and hope that the church would come out swiging on the other side. I wanted to go with a nickname like David Shit-wit Whitmer, but I figured D-Day was a little more significant, and offers some level of deeper insight into the real David Whitmer.
One more thing I did want to mention is David Whitmer's "An Address to all Believers in Christ". This is a small book written by David in 1887, long after the split off of the different Mormon factions, during a time when the Utah LDS church was dealing with a lot of scrutiny for polygamy and statehood issues. I honestly don't know what it's about, but I plan on reading it, and recording the reading, and giving it to you, the listeners like an audiobook with some off the cuff commentary. The only thing is, they will be classified as special edition episodes, which are only available to patrons.
I'll take this opportunity to describe my patreon system with a little bit of detail, and after this, I'll just mention that it exists in future episodes. So, the way it's structured is a 7 tier system. With each increasing level of patronage, you unlock more content, and more epic shout outs on the podcast with your name or a pseudonym of your choice. The seven tiered journey downward into full NaMo Outer Darkness goes as follows: Juvenile Delinquint, Adolescent Rebel, Apostate, then you are translated to Outer Darkness and enter the levels of Demon, Soul-Breaker, Baphomet, and the Unknown. Each level unlocks more keys of the NaMo hidden information kingdom, and every level from Apostate down gets a link with the episode a day before it releases. There's a lot more to it than I just described, so check out the show by searching naked mormonism podcast on patreon.com to get the finer details of all the benefits of being in the NaMo family. I don't like to panhandle, but the show does cost some money and A LOT of time to run. That being said, I don't ever plan on getting rich doing the show, that's simply not the life of a podcaster, and that's not why I'm doing this. But, I would like the show to at least pay for itself instead of costing money to do it. To further help demonstrate what this show is about, I will be donating half of everything that is made, above and beyond the cost of the show, to a non-prophet organization. The two that I have my eye on are the White Fields education foundation, and Holding Out Help. White Fields is basically a scholarship program that works to help people transition out of fundamentalist religions, but primarily focuses on Mormons. They do a lot of good work helping to support people, or even whole families, that have their entire lives wrapped up in the church, and need a little help getting into the real world when they decide to leave. I had it pretty easy because my job wasn't wrapped up in the church, so I just sort of moved away and got a job somewhere else. But, there are plenty of examples of people that can no longer continue their career once they leave the church because they're so wrapped up in it, and that must be a traumatizing experience for a family. So needless to say, this is a foundation that is within the scope of the show to support. The other organization I mentioned was Holding Out Help. They're an organization that's dedicated specifically to helping people transition out of polygamist families. There's an extremely compelling video on their website 'holdingouthelp.org' which I'll leave a link to in the show notes, in addition to a link for White fields education foundation. I highly recommend checking out the holding out help video, it really sheds some light, and puts some faces on the people that are affected everyday by this horrible, bullshit, evil cult practice. Even if we can't stop people from doing it, we can offer them a chance and some real world solutions for the inevitable trials that lay ahead, once they finally do come to their senses, and decide to take the leap. So, that being said, I encourage everybody to either check out my patreon, so I can give these people money every month, or at least consider donating to those organizations directly. Either way, resources will be going to help people leave various Mormon cults, and that's a cause that everybody can be proud to be a part of.
I was lucky enough to have one twitter follower ask what the link to my patreon page is. I excitedly tweeted the link back and almost immediately saw that I had my first patron. Brian the Newest and first member of the NaMo family as an Adolescent Rebel. Brian has shown his grace and love for the human species in being the trueist altruist that ever walked the land. His obvious philanthropy and willingness to see the show continue on, has earned him keys to the hidden information kingdom that runs this show. That means he gets access to any special edition episodes, which might include discussions with people, or possibly even some debates. I'll also be creating speial episodes of document reading when I reference something in the show that has waaay too much information to include in the episode that the topic was about. The first of these episodes will be me reading David Whitmers 'An Address to All Believers in Christ', a 75 page diatribe written by David in 1887, with my skeptical commentary of course. All of this will be given to Brian, and other NaMo's that sign up for patronage. Brian, being the first, and by default most awesomest patron supporting the show, will also be added to the early episode release mailing list, which is usually only reserved for Apostates or greater, just for being the first one that was proactive in supporting the show. I honestly cannot thank NaMo Brian enough for being such an awesome individual, with the strength of twelve golden oxen and the generosity of a really generous person! He'll forever have a place in the heart of the podcast, and will forever have my gratitude.
Sorry if that appreciation seemed a little overly lavish, but it's all part of the NaMo contract once a person signs up for the two dollar per episode patron level. So if you want to be thanked lavishly, complimented exuberantly, or have a short ficitional story written about you, go check out the patron page. And while your at it, check out my twitter @nakedmormonism or search for the facebook page. I also needed to mention one thing about the facebook page, I recently created a NaMo private group where people can speak their minds without the activity showing up on their page. I would like to reserve this group for people that don't want to be outed, but need a private community that can empathize, for some support. So if you feel like you fit the bill and want some people to talk to, send me a private facebook message, and Andrea or I will send you an invite to the group. Alright, I think that's all the sales bitching I have for you guys today. The sales bitch, and patreon acknowledgments won't take that long in future episodes, it just took longer this episode because it's the first one, and I had to tell you guys why and how I set it up.
Next episode we'll talk about Joe getting the plates home, and starting to author the book of mormon. This will include some of the struggles and persecutions he brought upon himself during this time period, but primarily, we'll focus on the what Joe did with the plates after digging them up, and the bloody, life-threatening action that happens on his way home with the plates. As the storyline advances, we'll move into analyzing the BoM and the treasure trove of forgery it is. I can't wait to learn about that crazy shit. So until next time, thank you for joining me, here on the Naked Mormonism podcast.
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