Ep 25 – Joe in Charge
On this episode, we discuss what happened from March, to July 1831. Joe makes his own trek from Kirtland, OH, to Independence, MO. This was done in the wake of the missionary journey by Ollie, Cowdung (Oliver Cowdery), Dick (Zyba)n Peterson, Peter Whitmer, and P-cubed (Parley P. Pratt), along with Freddy Willey (Frederick G. Williams). Joe wasn't satisfied with their success, so he decided to take charge, and handle the proselyting campaign in Missouri for himself. Or, maybe he was just searching for some solace for the trauma that was happening in his own life. If only we could step into Joseph's mind for just a second. . .
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Outro music by Jason Comeau: http://aloststateofmind.com/ **
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Welcome to Episode 25 of the Naked Mormonism Podcast, I'm Bryce Blankenagel, and thank you for joining me. It's been a little while, but we're diving back into the easily accessible deep history of the LDS church today, and it's gunna be a party.
Last time that we were talking about our historical timeline, Ollie Cowdung Oliver Cowdery, P-cubed Parley Parker Pratt, Dick Zyban Peterson, and Peter Whitmer, all made a trip to the edge of the land of the Lamanites. This took the missionary troop from New York, through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and all the way to the very western edge of Missouri. This was a trek of almost 1,100 miles, landing them in the little border town of Independence, Missouri. They also picked up our pal Freddy Willey, or Frederick G. Williams, on their way out to Lamanite country. The beginning of this trip put the missionaries in Mentor, Ohio, meeting with Hingepin Sidney Rigdon, and conducting a few sermons to the congregations that followed Rigdon. Rigdon supposedly converted to Mormonism at this time, as did a significant portion of his flock, and it all came at the perfect time for Joe, and the early church.
Joe was in a bit of a jam in New York. Everywhere that he went, his reputation preceded him, and the locals would chase him out of town with pitchforks, or threats of lynching. This was especially present in the town of Colesville, New York, where the Knight family was living at the time. There were a few other people in Colesville that converted to the religion, but for the most part, the Knight family made up the majority of the people there, and Joe was smart enough to ask his old pal Joseph Knight Sr., to help him with a big project that was about to commence.
What project is that might you ask? Well, the first of many mass exoduses of the Mormon church of course. This is a theme that seems to run throughout many cults throughout history. The cult builds to a level that the locals chase it out of wherever it's settled, and it's forced to move or die. The same thing happened to the Mormon church multiple times, and the first 2 months of 1831 marked the first of these many exoduses that Joe's church went through before his death a mere 13 and a half years after this.
So, Joe went to Colesville for one whole day to ask Joseph Knight Sr to move him and Emma out to Mentor, Ohio, which Knight consented to. Joe also issued multiple commands telling the 3 church congregations (Fayette, Palmyra, Colesville) that they needed to move out to Ohio with Joe, or they would basically be cut off. From what we can tell, most of the believing members fell in line behind the burgeoning cult leader Joe, and moved out soon after Joe rolled into Kirtland. Or should I say, sleighed into Kirtland, because it was in February of 1831.
Of course, as soon as Joe got to Kirtland Ohio, he found his target family to latch onto, and dig his proboscis deep into their livelihood. He began leeching off the Whitney family as soon as he arrived. The Whitney family were somewhat wealthy store owners in Kirtland, and Joe, along with the pregnant Emma, would live in the apartment above the Whitney store for the next three years until the congregation built them a house. The Whitney's were a couple slightly older than Joe and Emma, and Joe just couldn't help himself to their hospitality enough. He became so dependant on the Whitney family, that he began calling Elizabeth Ann Whitney, "Mother Whitney". Thus, the parasitic relationship that Joe was building with the Whitneys was made abundantly clear with this little pet name, and would be further solidified through its continued use.
After talking about Joe getting his suckers latched onto these suckers, we talked about a woman that was recorded in Mormon history by the name of Hubble who was revealing false prophecies. She was shut down by a Joseph revelation or two, as was anybody else that ventured to grow balls big enough to actually challenge the almighty Joe.
Joe also established the idea of common wealth, and communism, in a town that was already practicing it under the reign of Hingepin Sidney Rigdon. Joe basically said that they had the right idea, but they were calling it the wrong name, and the place where they put the common wealth was supposed to be called 'The Bishop's Storehouse', instead of whatever they called it. Of course, Joe chose no other place to have this storehouse rectified, than the Whitney and Co., trading post at the center of Kirtland.
Last episode, I had said that the missionary force made their trip out to Jackson County, MO, arrived back in Kirtland, OH sometime in March of 1831, but I was wrong, with the exception of P-cubed Parley P. Pratt. The missionary force didn't make their way back to Kirtland, they just remained in Missouri, in anticipation of what we'll talk about today. That finished up the main historical portion of the last historical timeline episode.
We finished out the rest of the episode by trying to parse out the interaction between God, and Enoch contained in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, Chapter 7. This was a crazy screed by God sending Enoch on the hardest acid trip of ever, and I summed up the interaction in the show notes of TLDR: God is a stupid dick, and Enoch is the best magician the world has ever seen. That was pretty much it, and all of that craziness sets us up for today's episode. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Edward Partridge. That was the guy that Joe parasitically used to hold him over until he penetrated the hearts of the Whitney family. Eddy Party-Boy Partridge became the first Bishop in the church in Ohio, thus controlling the bishop's storehouse.
To start us out today, we need to discuss a pattern that is seen in the evolution of religions throughout antiquity. It's the same pattern that plagues ideas in general, but religions are the most prevalent analogue to what we'll be studying today, and there are thousands we can examine throughout history, to provide said analogue.
Let's just take the Abrahamic religions for a second. You have the religion of the Hebrews that arose from the war God Raham, that existed among a myriad other actively worshipped gods in the surrounding areas. Even the flood myth of Noah was arguably sourced from the Epic of Gilgamesh down to the length of the arc and the number of animals aboard, so all the Abrahamic religions are actually Gilgamec at heart. Well, likely, people that were following the ancient Sumerian Gilgamesh religion had to break off at some point where a difference of ideas came along, or a divergence in geography, or any number of small sticking points. Of course, what we're talking about right now is majorly simplified for the sake of storytelling. Anyway, the Jews had to break off from some other religion/god claim, in order to balconize into their own tribe, lead by the mythical men Abraham, all the way down to Moses. The Rabbinic Jewish religion, or just ancient Hebrews that followed the Hebraic holy texts were a successful, and continually persecuted religious sect until the idea of a Jewish Rabbi carpenter was circulated through 2nd century Greco-Jewish Isreal, and the surrounding areas, and thus came the birth of Christianity.
The idea of Jesus was copied and passed around through generations of people, and evolved into hundreds, possibly thousands of different religious sects, that were arguing, bickoring, and all out warring with each other about who was right concerning small pieces of doctrine. Should men be circumsized? Should you be baptized, and how? Are you saved by faith alone, or are works necessary for salvation? What did Jesus say on the cross before he died? Was Jesus God? Was Jesus the Son of God? Was Jesus some random piece of the trifecta of God Pie even though he was actually the whole pie all along?
Among all this religious strife and confusion came Emperor Constantine the Great, and his mother, and sparing some of the finer details, they established Nazareth as a real place, and created the Roman Catholic religion. Like I said earlier, there is a lot more nuance and detail that I'm leaving out for the sake of storytelling, or drawing an analogy here, so if you want to know a lot more about the thousands of years that I'm covering right now, this is clearly the wrong podcast to find that information.
At the fall of the Roman Empire, the Catholic church was the best set of rules and governance to step into the massive void that this huge empiric collapse created, and it did just that. Through war and inquisitions, and just out of sheer need, the Roman Catholic church became a world superpower, acting as a shadow government, where leadership could be bought and sold.
At some point in the 7th century, somebody was fed up enough with the Catholic church, and it's doctrines, and they brought forth the Holy Quran. It was picked up by the warlord Muhammed who claimed himself to be a prophet, albeit a misogynistic childfucker with multiple wives, much like Joseph Smith. There were multiple evolutions and schisms from the original Quranic text from which were born the Hadifs, and warring factions of Muslims have been killing each other ever since. I suppose that's what happens when your original prophet is a warlord, you tend to favor war, over reason.
Of course, Muslims differ greatly on their perspective of Jesus, as opposed to Christians, calling him a minor prophet, second in command to Muhammed. And of course, all of this is a major divergence in what Jews consider Jesus, a mere heretic at worst, or an inspired Rabbi at best. The evolution of some of the major world religions continues in an ever changing dynamic. Fast forward a mere 870 years to the protestant reformation, under the banner of the Augustinian friar, Martin Luther's 95 thesis that he supposedly nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Catholic church, even though that story has little foundation in truth. Luther had a major disagreement with the church selling indulgences, and the church had a major disagreement with Luther regarding his addition to Romans 3:28 of faith 'alone' being necessary for salvation.
Luther wrote his famous catechisms, imparting his nuanced knowledge of the bible and church doctrine to the masses, thanks to the advent of the printing press, and was considered a vicious heretic for his teachings. Martin Luther had an understanding of Christianity that was evolved from the standard Roman Catholic version of Christianity, and his writings have a large influence on discussion topics in a lot of different churches even today.
Fast forward another 300 years, and here we introduce Joseph Smith. We've talked extensively about the religious soup that the Book of Mormon evolved from, and we can trace it's origins, much like any living organism can be traced back to it's evolutionary ancestors. Joseph had his own ideas about Christianity, and he brought a lot of absurd new ideas to the table in his later years. Simply in regards to the BoM, Joseph was able to come to a lot of nuanced conclusions about what church should really be, or his own doctrine of the trinity, or about Jesus appearing in resurrected form to the Native Americans, or about salvation by faith alone, or dealing with hell, or any number of other challenging topics of Christianity that have inspired discussion, disagreement, or all-out war throughout history.
Joseph evolved his own offshoot of Christianity, and even in his own lifetime, he evolved his own ideas about Jesus, and god, and they continually changed. The book of Mormon is written from a trinitarian understanding of God, whereas everything in Mormonism after that is Modulism, which eventually turned into this idea of an infinite regress of gods, ruling over the countless stars and planets in the night sky.
Alright, that was a greatly acclerated perspective of the last 4000 years of human religiousity, but the one main point I'm trying to get at is evolution. All of these religions we've discussed so far came from a religion that existed previous to it, and they changed through the process of evolution of a meme. Even the Sumerian Gilgamecs probably descended from some other religious oral tradition that there's no written record of, but that's something we will never know for sure. If you want to be enlightened about the Gilgamecs, listen to the Angry Liberal Atheists podcast. The guys over there read the Epic of Gligamesh, and it's endlessly fascinating to draw the parallels between it and plenty of other religions that may have sprang from Gilgamec loins.
This evolution of the meme of religion is a point that I don't think can be emphasized enough. We've spent these first few minutes talking about a macro scale of religious evolution, but the thing about the theory of evolution is it's scalability. If we think back to the interview I had with Rachel Nanon Brown, she was able to draw the distinction between micro, and macro-evolution, but it's still the same idea, just viewed on a scale of single generations, as opposed to millions of years respectively. No matter what scale you look at, the theory of evolution holds on a macro, and a micro scale, the only difference is the amount of time within the scope of research.
So, let's see if the theory for the macro-evolution of the religion meme, holds on a micro scale. We've seen this evolution of religion over the course of thousands of years of recorded history, but for the theory to hold, we need to see it manifest on a smaller scale.
Last episode we talked about a woman named Hubble, and we briefly mentioned her in the wrap up of this episode. With a few hours of research, I was unable to find any of her writings, or even her first name, but we can be sure that she was considered a heretic by Joseph Smith for producing divine revelation that was contrary to what Joe was teaching at the time. As far as we can tell, she was cast out as a heretic, but let's take a step back for a minute.
I would make the argument that Joe was the new meme on the block. We know that was the case, because he was unique enough to call himself a prophet, but let's dive into it further and see what we can unearth.
The way any given population functions is growth, and expansion. Homo-Sapien has been growing and expanding for a couple hundred thousand years at most, and homonids have been around for about 7 million years beyond that. Once a population gets to a certain point, something in that population has to change, in order to adapt and expand. Our ancestors were tree dwellers for millions of years prior to bi-pedal mobility. As they moved to the sahara of the African plains, they needed to become more upright and bi-pedal in order to move to more distant areas, and obtain more resources for further growth.
Take, for example, that thing where you're asleep and you jerk awake. Most people have done this at some point, but you're just about to fall asleep, dreaming about walking along a ledge, or flying, or just walking on the street, and you feel like you lose your sense of balance and fall, making your body jerk awake, with vivid memory of what had just happened in the dream. Well, that's called a hipnic jerk. It's a vestigial feature from our tree dwelling ancestors. When our ancestors were sleeping on treebranches, and they began to fall during their slumber, selection tended to favor the apes that could wake up and react quickly, as opposed to those who continued to sleep, that just fell out of the tree, and became hurt, or died by something that was trying to eat them on the ground below the tree. Well, when a person's sense of equilibrium undergoes a chemical change during sleep, the neuro-chemical differences that happen, activate the hipnagogic reaction, and causes the person to suddenly wake up, often times startled with a jerk.
I remember this happening to me once, and to this day, it sticks firmly in my mind. I was riding in the shell-covered back of a pickup truck, headed into southern Utah on a camping trip. It was hot in the back of the pickup, but I was laying down on the carpeted floor in the bed of the pickup. The steady motion of the truck climbing up the dirt road, coupled with the heat, lulled me into a sleepy trance, with my mind still very awake. I dreamt that I was running around a swimming pool. I remember seeing the marble underneath my feet as I made lap after lap of this swimming pool, trying to catch the person I was chasing, and just as I was within arms reach, I stepped in a wet patch on the slick marble floor, and fell. I jumped awake just as my head was about to smash against the ground, and my sister and friends looked at me with surprise on their faces. My guess was that they probably watched a fairly violent jump, and were about to make fun of me for it. All I could think to say through drowzy, closed eyes was, "What, I slipped and fell, leave me alone", unleashing a torrent of laughter from everybody. It was a very dramatic physical reaction that I had no conscious control over it, but I still remember it to this day, 15 years later.
I had experienced the same feeling my quadrapedal ancestors felt millions of years ago when they were about to fall out of a tree to their death during sleep. The apes that were my ancestors merely evolved the ability to suddenly wake up when that falling started to happen, and saved themselves from falling to a painful death.
The reason I relay that story is to draw the connection of a macro-evolutionary trait, something that has evolved over millions of years, as opposed to eye color, hair color, skin tone, and other small mutations that happen on the micro scale of evolution over two or three generations.
Alright, why did I digress so much there? Well, I'm trying to draw the connection between macro-evolution, and micro-evolution in memes, and genes in any given society. Macro happens on a large scale across hundreds of thousands, or millions of years, whereas micro-evolutionary mutations happen from one generation to the next. This change over time happens with genes, so let's examine this drifting effect on memes, or the behaviors of society in general.
We've briefly discussed how religions evolve on a considerably macro scale throughout the past 4000 years of recorded history. Of course, we looked at a very VERY simplified version of this evolution, but it still serves the purposes of our examination today. So let's talk about Joe and his own evolved version of Protestant Christianity, descended from Abrahamic traditions, which possibly has roots in the ancient Sumerain Gilgamec religion.
There really isn't one time that we can point to where Mormonism began. We can look at the date of the first congregation April 6, 1830, but the ideas of Joe's Church of Christ had been bouncing around inside Joe's skull for years leading up to that. He claimed as early as 1823 that he had been visited by an angel that would instruct him on attaining the plates, which were an ancient record of the inhabitants of the Amercian continent. I would argue that it was during this time that Joe was slowly formulating his own thoughts and ideas about what his church would be like, even if he hadn't planned on starting a church this early on.
In previous episodes, I've provided the scenario of Joe attending religious revivals throughout the burned over district, and he must have watched the collection basket fill up with money at the end of each revival, and envyed the person that all that money was going to. He was probably smart enough to pick up on the triggers that people liked hearing the most, or caught the most attention. Remember, at this time, the Catholic church didn't have a foothold in American culture, the way it had in Europe. Christianity was spreading to a whole new part of the world, adapting and changing, and slowly morphing as it was gaining new resources, consuming new souls, and adapting to new ideas.
As Mormonism was growing in 1831, and the Mormonites were becoming more populous and common in multiple areas, the church had to develop and change, or possibly be lost to the obscure annals of 19th century history, like the Millerites, or Campbellites.
Some of the doctrines changed dramatically, fundamentally shifting from one polar claim to the other. Some of the doctrines were merely modified to suit a given situation.
One of these polar opposite distinctions that drove a very large wedge between Joe and Ollie Cowdung Allover Cowdery, was the church's stance on priestcraft. We've covered this before, but as a refresher, priestcraft is basically the idea of paying clergy for their church duties. When the BoM was being written, Ollie and Joe were a united front on this issue, because it probably drew a lot of applause or appreciation by the crowds at the religious revivals Ollie and Joe were attending. Nobody liked the idea of having a rich church, because a lot of those people had recently escaped the clutches of the great and abominable church in Europe. Once the Mormon church was actually organized, and Joe's direct revelations began to supercede the doctrinal claims in the BoM, Ollie, and probably many other members of the church began to have a bit of a problem. This was one of the first doctrinal changes that caused a lot of people to question if Joe was indeed the one true prophet of God, or if God merely used him as a tool to bring forth the BoM, and maybe the church should be led by Ollie, or somebody more prophet-like than Joe, preferably somebody that didn't come up with contradicting revelations mere months after the BoM was published.
Joe began to feel the pressures of running a church, and started to understand how expensive it can get, so he did something about it. He came up with a string of revelations that made priestcraft totally okay, bro! In fact, he provided direct revelations that He and Emma would be supported by the church, and that Joe would have "no strength for physical labor". One of Joe's first revelations when he rolled into Kirtland in February 1831, was for the saints to build him a house to live in, and that all the possessions in the Whitney general store would be absorbed by the church, and be called the bishops storehouse.
The bishops storehouse was basically the idea of theocratic communism, one might say fascism, where all the possessions of the commune are gathered, and those resources are diveyed out to the people, living inside the commune, the way the leadership sees fit. So, if you weren't following the church exactly the way Joe intended, or dictated, you would be cut off from supplies until you either fell into compliance, or just left. The church still practices the doctrine of the bishop's storehouse even today, they just don't take from their members to supply it, except 10% in tithing, of course. They use their hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land to supply it instead.
Well, Joe had to use divine revelations to solve any problems or quabbles that did happen in the church, and he wasn't really shy about it. In march of 1831 he revealed what's contained in the Book of Commandments chapter 48. There is a lot of useless preaching that is so boring and repetitive throughout the BoC, but there are a few operative verses in the chapter. One of those is verse 59, but we'll read a couple verses before and after to get a proper understanding of it.
This is the BoC 48:56-61
"56: For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;
57: Ye hear of wars in foreign lands, but behold I say unto you they are nigh even unto your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.
58: Wherefore I the Lord have said gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church;
59: Go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me; and with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritence which shall hereafter be appointed unto you, and it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the most high God;
60: And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it;
61: And it shall be called Zion;"
Alright, so the verse we needed to primarily focus on there was verse 59 when the revelation told the saints to gather up their riches to purchase an inheritence, basically to build churches in the western countries, only after calling the Native Americans to repentance. This was the next stab that Joe took at trying to proselyte to the Natives, now that the first missionary force had failed to fully accomplish it's given task.
Remember back to the last historical episode, Ollie, P-cubed, Dick Zyban, Peter Whitmer, and Freddy Willey all attempted to spread the good word to the Native American settlements that were just west of Independence, MO. They tried, but were kicked out by some of the Natives they were trying to call to repentance in the first place. After this first failed attempt, Ollie wrote a letter to General William Clark, who was head of U.S. Indian affairs in 1830. Of course, Richard Cummins, an "anti-Mormon" wrote a letter to Clark at the same time, discouraging him from allowing these crazy Mormons to proselyte to the Natives, which was probably well advised.
The missionary force remained in Zion, where they took up semi-permanent residence, and you have to wonder what the feelings between Ollie and Joe were at this time.
What I mean is, Joe and Ollie had been locking horns a few times up to this point, concerning small doctrinal issues. The biggest source of contention between them had been the whole idea of the prophet being financially sustained by the church. Ollie thought it was in direct violation of the Book of Mormon, and God's command in general, but Joe was a little more liberal on that tenant of doctrine. Joe had just commanded Ollie and friends to go on this missionary campaign, that had very little success. He had commanded it by way of divine revelation from God, yet the mission was almost entirely a failure, which almost implicitly creates contradictions with the almighty god claim, but we can ignore that when we posit the claim that Joe simply revealed it out of his own head. But still, Joe had been playing king of the hill all by himself since he sent Ollie away. Ollie was his only friend that had the balls to actually challenge what Joe would say, and his ever important role of devil's advocate was gone, leaving Joe completely unbridled, and an unabashed theocrat in it's infantile stages. Then, Joe moved out to Kirtland, while Ollie and friends were still out in BFE Missouri, in an effort to expand his ever growing empire, and bring more people and resources under his control.
Within the first week that Joe arrived in Kirtland, he had absorbed the Whitney general store, and was best buddies with Hingepin Sidney Rigdon. Joe had commanded the people to give tithes, and build him a house, and had latched onto a few of the more affluent people in the town, to parasitically leech his living off of. Emma was his queen, and the Whitney's had become his unpayed servants, while he ate their food, and slept in their warm beds.
There had been a few dissenters in the Mentor/Kirtland area that had been utterly squashed or chased off by Joe or Rigdon, but for the most part, the people listened to what Joe had to say, because Rigdon trusted Joe, and the people trusted Rigdon. If Joe was playing big king on the block in New York and Pennsylvania, he was playing king of the whole fuckin world once he got to Ohio.
Now, picture yourself in Ollie's shoes. The last time Ollie and Joe had spoken with each other was during a spat about how the church shouldn't be used to support Joe and Emma, and it was probably a very heated fight between these childhood friends. While Ollie was on this mission that Joe sent him on, Joe had established himself as holy Mormon pope king badass mutherfucker, establishing a religious commune under his almighty power of revelation from the almighty God of the universe.
What would you think if you were Ollie? How would you really feel after having these fights over and over with Joe, and then come to find out that Joe went so far the other direction, which came into strong opposition to your sincerely held beliefs? Once again, I kind of feel bad for Ollie when I step into his shoes. Joe just keeps fucking him, and he didn't even care. Joe was completely unapologetic about how much of an unappreciative fucking he was giving Ollie, and I would wager to say that having Rigdon on his side, made Joe even more secure in his manufactured false position of power.
Consider all of these electric emotions that must have been arcing between Joe and Ollie, and then include in your consideration the revelation we just read that was given in March of 1831, while Ollie and team were in Missouri. Joe basically used all of the hard work they had been doing in service to the Church of Christ, and employed it as a springboard to ask for more money, and volunteers, to go proselyte to the Lamanites, call them to repentance, and establish Zion, the New Jerusalem on the borders of the Lamanites. We have no record of a single thank you from Joe to Ollie, but I doubt we would even expect to find one, given the disagreements plaguing their friendship.
Well, Joe used the interrum time from March to June, to collect money and goods for the church, and appoint a new historian and scribe. From the time that Joe and Ollie had teamed up, Joe had been the main guy, and Ollie had been the scribe. That was a power dynamic that Joe had loosely established very early on, and any time Ollie tried to circumvent that dynamic, and elevate himself to a level equal with Joe, the insurrection was always quelled by new revelations. Take, for example, the BoC chapter 50. It's a perfect example of Joe making Ollie's role less and less significant in the church, in a effort to slowly squeeze him out of any powerful role in the church.
"Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant John should write and keep a regular history, and assist you, my servant Joseph, in transcribing all things which shall be given unto you."
Verse 3 continues:
"And again I say unto you, that it shall be appointed unto him to keep the church record and history continually, for Oliver I have appointed to another office"
That revelation appointed our buddy John Whitmer as the new scribe and historian of the church, removing a huge responsibility from Ollie's shoulders. You might think, oh, well, at least Ollie had some other commitment or office to take care of in the church, well, I can't for the life of me figure out what that was. Before this, Ollie was responsible for being Joe's right hand man, documenting every single crazy thing that fell out of Joe's fucked up religious zealot-crazed skull, and Joe took that responsibility away from Ollie. In November Ollie is given a task, but we'll get to the details of that in a minute here. We still need to cover what happened leading up to November.
In May of 1831, Joe gave this revelation contained in the BoC chapter 53, it was obviously a reaction to somebody preaching false doctrine, and it's not very thinly veiled. This is 53:1-6
"Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God; and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.
2: Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world;
3: And also satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.
4: Behold I the Lord have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church, which profess my name;
5: But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.
6: But wo unto them that are deceivers, and hypocrites, for thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment."
At some point I'm going to stop pointing these out, because so much of the Book of Commandments is just chastizing anybody that preaches false doctrine, or claims the power of prophecy in some way. This has happened so many times times, and we've only covered a small fraction of all of the verses in the BoC that are similar to this. Remember Hubble, the woman that falsly claimed the power of revelation? Remember Hiram Page a year before this? He revealed the location of Zion, and Joe came up with a revelation that said Hiram was lead by Satan, and was preaching false doctrine. There have been multiple examples of this happening, and like I said, we've only covered a small fraction of them all, and there is probably only a small fraction of these recorded in the history or BoC, in comparison to how many small schisms were actually happening. There were probably people contradicting Joe all the time that we will never know about from any legitimate church, or secular source. There are probably accounts of Joe being a tyrannical asshole in personal journals and newspaper publications, but I haven't found a whole lot to get a realistic idea of how much of an anthropormorphic Iron fist Joe was, outside of official church publications anyway.
That being said, we'll probably stop covering these schisms in so much detail, but I do want to pause and draw a circle around this for a minute. We started out this episode discussing how religions grow and change over time and geography. It seems like a church grows and expands to a point where it can no longer function as a single entity, and then there is a breakoff or schism, that forces the original church to either change, or excise the dissenters. Well, Joe's church was doing the same thing. It was growing and expanding, and including more and more people with more diverse ideas, and perspectives of what Christianity is supposed to be.
When somebody that was part of the church would have a disagreement with some point of doctrine, or a new revelation that Joe gave, Joe would react in a way that would create an 'us', forcing the person that disagreed to be part of the 'them'. These people would either ignore the cognitive dissonance, and continue following Joe, or they would continue to fight, and be pushed away with the label of apostate, infidel, or just lead astray by Satan. These schisms happened countless times in Joe's church, on a macro, and a micro level. Some of these forced people like Doctor Philastus Hurlbut to go do a bunch of research, and help publish a book labeled as 'anti-Mormon'. Some of these schisms forced prominent leaders to break away, and start their own religion. Some caused people to be ex-communicated, or like in Ollie's case, leave, and then come back after Joe died in the Carthage shootout.
Take for another example a man named Wycam Clark. In Spring of 1831, him, along with Northrop Sweet, and four others apostatized. Wycam called himself the one true revelator, and prophet of God, and they began the "Pure Church of Christ". This constitutes the first official offshoot church that descended directly from Joseph Smith's Latter-day Saint movement, and it was all due to a small disagreement between Joe, and the 6 people that organized this new church. From what we can tell, they had a few meetings, but soon disbanded, and weren't really heard from again. The Pure Church of Christ's status today is wholly defunct, and has no presence anywhere, except in history books.
This example just highlights the ebb and flow of a church with any given doctrine. It's happened for thousands of years with every major religion on a large and small scale, and it happened with Mormonism in it's early days, even up to today. If you follow Mormon headlines, you'll know that there was recently a mass exodus of church members held just outside temple square. Over 1500 people that have their records on the church logbooks, gathered in Salt Lake City, and sent in their resignation letters, all in response to the church's stance on the family structure of gays. Personally I say good, but I'm also kind of conflicted about it. Since these people split, there has been a bit of an influx of new members into churches that have split off of the main SLC Mormonism, but still hold some parts of the church as true. If you don't know what I'm referring to, do a google search for churchistrue (all one word), or new Mormonism, or Mormonism 2.0, or church caffienated. There have been dozens of breakoffs that have absorbed these people coming out of the one true church, SLC Mormonism.
One might say that these people probably can't live without a church-like structure to underpin their entire lives, so it's understandable and acceptable that they left the SLC Mormonism, only to join a breakoff faction that resulted from a schism in church doctrine. But I just can't get on board with that. How far can the sweater unravel, and still protect you from the buffettings of the real world, before it's serving as nothing but a useless label. I call myself a cultural Mormon, much like a person that grew up Jewish calls themselves a cultural Jew, but nothing about the church informs my perspective of reality anymore. Nor do I feel like any part of the church protects me from the buffettings of the world. If the entire facade falls, and it's foundation is built on a mountain of steaming bullshit, it's a cancerous entity that needs to be done away with as a whole. We shouldn't be keeping some of it, and getting rid of other parts of it, let's just swear off the Mormon religion, and leave it to rot in the annals of history.
I understand that the church is great for family structure, and keeping people away from alcohol, and promiscuity, but at what cost? How much psychological damage can we allow before the net positive that the church provides, is overshadowed by the overwhelming problems of depression, anxiety, self-loathing, sexual frustration or confusion, fracturing of families, disconnection from reality, and overpowering us-vs-them mentaltiy? How long does the church get a free ride of fucking with people's minds before we finally say enough and call *IT *to repentance for the damage it's done? We can't just say I don't like what the church says about blacks, or gays, or alcohol, or tatoos, so I'm going to run to a different church that still believes in the Book of Mormon, but isn't allowed to tax me 10% of my income to fund multi-billion dollar shopping malls, media conglomerations, or insurance angencies. We can't just pick and chose what we do and don't like about the church, and still call ourselves members of that church, because by the church's standards, we are no longer true believers, and we're treated as such.
Look, every possible good that any church offers, can be attained through secular means. The church may have an amazing sense of community, and it may provide a lattice type structure for a family to grow up using for support, but all of the negatives associated with the church, constitutes a net negative on society in general.
No doubt, there are a lot of benefits to having a group of like minded individuals to spend time with or lean on when times get hard, I get that. A lot of studies have been conducted looking at the mental and social benefits of being part of a group where you're accepted for who you are, and lo and behold, the people that are part of a society, tend to be better off, or happier in some way, or have a slightly better quality of life. We're a social species, so it's understandable that we are better off when we are involved in a social group. There are a lot of people who join churches and their life completely turns around for the better. Some people I speak with on a regular basis credit the church with saving their life, and they say that there's no possible way that it could have done that, unless it were true. But I would make the argument that the effect the church has on any given individual, has absolutely nothing to do with how true or false the church is.
I heard this example on the diatribe of episode 140 of the Scathing Atheist, and I would recommend checking it out, because the host does a fantastic job of constructing an analogy that deals with the social benefits of a religion, and how that has nothing to do with how true or false the religion is.
To be honest, one of my favorite podcasts is The Scathing Atheist, and one of the main reasons for that, is the diatribe at the beginning of each episode. Noah Lugeons does a fantastic job of deconstructing, or offering a unique perspective on some large topic inside atheism. His diatribe at the beginning of episode 140 is one of my favorite diatribes ever, and it plays perfectly into what I've been eluding to for the last few minutes. Noah makes his point much better than I can, so I'm just going to let him speak for himself. This clip is used with his explicit permission, and I'll admit, I've listened to it almost a dozen times, and I pull something new from it each time I hear it. Feel free to rewind and listen to it a few times, like I did, to get as much out of the screed as it has to offer. Sometimes I need the repitition to get all the words because they're spoken so damn fast, but it's done simply perfectly, and I think the diatribes are a huge asset to the Atheist/humanist community.
Insert Diatribe 140 2:57-8:36
Thank you Noah for allowing me to use that clip, and for making the larger point so succinctly. Also, thank you for having me on to talk about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the Carthage Jail shootout. If you haven't heard those episodes, I'll leave links to them in the show notes, they were a lot of fun, and Noah does a great job of conducting the interviews. If you haven't already, you should really check out the shows put out by the Scathing Atheist crew. Skepticrat, their political show, Scathing Atheist, their athiest headlines show, and of course, God Awful Movies, their insane religious movie review show, which is making quite the splash lately. Anyway, back to the larger point.
Noah said it so well. If we examine the positives that religion has to offer, they are overshadowed by all the negatives that go along with it, it's a package deal. The Mormon religion offers a very strong community, and family centered structure to raise children in, and those positives can't be ignored. But all the other shit that the church also includes in their teachings, poison the well. We can see the benefits of a social species, being part of a society, but joining the Mormon church also has the extra baggage of the Book of Mormon, and the history of the church, and inciting mental illness at multiple levels, in multiple different ways. The secular analogue, that doesn't have all this extra bullshit to overcome, is definitionally better. The negatives of the church so outweigh any positives that it offers, and that overall negative renders the whole Mormon religion as nothing but a parasite on society. Add in the multi-level marketting, and iron-clad tithing structure, and you're looking at a well organized, well managed multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme, founded on modern-day slave labor. How can a person possibly make the argument that the Mormon church is a good thing in light of all this? How can people say, well, the SLC Mormonism, is wrong, but the church is right, and the Book of Mormon is true, so we just follow it anyway? That makes you compliant with all the damage that the church has done, and currently does to it's members, and society in general.
Anybody that supports the catholic church with attendance or tithes is at some level responsible for that world-wide child rape syndicate that is headquartered in it's own nation-state, making it above any national, or international laws. Every single catholic that supports a criminal organization with billions of dollars in assets, that shuffles child-molesting preists around, is copeable at some level for allowing that to happen, and giving money and attendance to that organization.
The same copeability applies to anybody that is a member of the Mormon church at any level. Even if they say, we aren't a member of the SLC Mormon church, we just believe the Book of Mormon to be true, and we're just cultural Mormons so we keep going to church, at some level they have dirty blood-money on their folded hands, and they refuse to see the bigger problem, which is the church itself.
All of this to say, we don't need the church to be good people. We've watched the Mormon religion change and adapt to new social pressures. We've seen people breakoff from the mainstream Mormon religion, and start their own religion, sticking with some of the teachings, and ignoring others. I'm arguing that we, as a species, have evolved past the need for superstition. We don't need the church anymore. We need a community to grow and develop in, don't get me wrong on that. But, like Noah said in his diatribe, the secular analogue to these church communities can't help but be better, because it doesn't come in the package deal with all the superstition, and other baggage that the Mormon church has to deal with, and that's the larger point I'm getting at.
The people that were members of the church that had some kind of disagreement with Joe, either dealt with the problems, and suppressed their own sense of cognitive dissonance, or they just broke completely off, and joined up with some other religious sect, or went completely awol, or were excommunicated, and ended up starting their own church. With everything that was happening between Joe and Ollie during 1831, it's really hard to try and understand why Ollie didn't do just that. Ollie was arguably more of a preacher than Joe was. He probably didn't have the imagination that Joe did, but he could sure rile up a crowd, and he knew how to sell the Mormon product. Why didn't he just break off and start up his own church based on the Book of Mormon? The world may never know...
The next 7 months from late May to December 1831 involve some of the most horrible backstabbings delivered to Ollie, all orchestrated by Joe. The worst part is, Ollie just takes it, from what we can tell. First off, Joe apparently wasn't satisfied by the mission trip out to Independence, so he makes a trip for himself. Sometimes, when you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself, and Joe finally got off his lazy fuckin duffer and made the 800 mile/1300 km journey out to the very western edge of European settlements.
In June of 1831, Joe gave this revelation contained in the BoC chapter 54
"Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen, in these last days, by the voice of his Spirit, saying, I the Lord will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and them who are heirs according to the covenant.
2: Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph and Sidney take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri."
Joe had been forced into not-fucking-around mode, which is something we'll close the episode on, and he was ready to expand the church to include Zion the New Jerusalem. So, Joe and Hingepin Rigdon set out for Independence themselves, to see what was there, and why Ollie and company had failed so miserably in their mission. But before they could leave, later on in that same chapter of the BoC, Joe established the entire missionary force in the early church. Up to this point there had been a few proselyting missions to a few places, but no substantial push had been made to really bring in the new converts, so let's talk about it.
I could read this out of the BoC, but it doesn't have everybody's last names, so I'll read it out of D&C section 52, just for ease of reading.
"7: And again, Verily I say unto you, let my servant Lyman Wight and my servant John Corrill take their journey speedily;
8: And also my servant John Murdock, and my servant Hyrum Smith, take their journey unto the same place by the way of Detroit.
9: And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the comforter through the prayer of faith.
Continuing on to verse 22
22: And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Thomas B. Marsh and my servant Ezra Thayre take their journey also, preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
23: And again let my servant Isaac morley and my servant Ezra Booth take their journey, also preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
24: And again, let my servants Edward (Party-boy) Partridge and Not-So-Smarty-Marty Harris take their journey with my servants Hingepin Sidney Rigdon and Joe Smith Jr.
25: Let my servants P-cubed Parley P. Pratt and Orson (Brain-Power) Pratt take their journey, and preach by the way even unto this same land.
27: And let my servants Solomon Hancock and Simeon Carter also take their Journey unto this same land, and preach by the way."
And it goes on and on and on and on like that. I know that was a lot of names, so do you see now why we throw the nicknames onto anybody that is important to our storyline? Don't you worry dear listener. When any of those listed people really distinguish themselves, we'll give them a proper NaMo nickname, but for now, they're just a bunch of faceless names headed out in pairs to spread the good word about the church. The rest of that section just details some of the leadership roles and offices of some of the other people that will run the church in the absence of Joe, Rigdon, and all of these missionaries. But, we'll just wait until David Michael and I get there on the MyBoM podcast to really discuss them. All that we need to ascertain from that section in the BoC/D&C is that Joe sent out a huge missionary force, and left Kirtland, along with Hingepin Rigdon, NSSM, and Party-Boy Partridge, headed for Independence, MO.
Before we talk about the journey out to MO, and the relative success they had, we need to talk about the Melchizedek Priesthood. Until this point, it has never been mentioned in the official history of the church. The M priesthood made an appearance in the D&C, but it was only added later. The same passage that mentions the MP in the D&C, is basically absent in the original BoC that was published 2 years before the first copy of the D&C was published. So, the term MP is anachronistic in this respect. Here, on June 3rd of 1831, 2 years after the church claims the MP existed, the first mention of it makes it's way into the official History of the Church, Vol 1:175-176. Now, this is kind of fun, because the publication of the History of the Church that I'm reading from was printed in 1980, last edited in 1951 by George Albert Smith. What's fun about this version specifically, is the footnotes. As far as I'm aware, the actual 7 volume History of the Church is fairly unchanged by later edits. It's funny how the Book of Mormon or the D&C can be changed and edited, but the actual history of the church, dictated by Joe in 1838, isn't subject to these same edits. Anyway, what we do find, is footnotes with the Mormon apologetics for what's contained in the History of the Church volumes.
When I was reading about Joe and Ollie getting the priesthood in May of 1829, I remember finding it odd that they were given the holy priesthood of Aaron, but there is absolutely no mention of the MP, which is the step above the Aaronic Priesthood. The MP is supposedly necessary for running the church, and for confirming people as members of the church, but Joe didn't really mention it until a year in to church operations, and this June 1831 conference is when it comes up. The Mormon apologetic in the footnote is fantastic in it's efforts to justify this discrepancy, so I'm just going to read the passage out of the History of the church Vol. 1:175-176, and then we'll cover the apologetics attached to it. For any never-mos out there, this may seem very trivial, and ridiculous to spend any amount of time on, but to my fellow ex-mos, you know how much of a problem this creates. Joe operated the church for an entire year without having the MP. That is absolutely insane in my mind, and hopefully my fellow ex-mos share my same surprise about the situation.
History of the Church 1:175-176
"On the 3rd of June, the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints. The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders."
That was the first appearance of the MP in the entire history, of the entire church. In the original BoC, it hadn't been mentioned before this, no journal entries talked about it, no letters from church leaders ever mention it. This is the first account of the MP in Joe's church. This is a glaring discrepancy that we need to address. So, let's see what the apologetic has to say about it in the footnotes of the History of the Church that I'm reading from.
"A misapprehension has arisen in the minds of some respecting the statement – "The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manisfested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders." It has been supposed that this passage meant that the higher or MP was now for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation. This of course is an error, since even before the Church was organized, the Apostleship, the highest authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood, was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and very probably upon David Whitmer also. The prophet does not mean that the MP was given for the first time in the Church. It was at this conference, however, that the special office of High Priest was for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation, except in so far as Apostles are also High Priests; and of course as there were men who had been ordained to the apostleship before this conference of Jun, 1831, in that manner there had been High Priests in the Church, but not otherwise."
Alright, let's do our favorite thing on this show, and take a skeptical look at the evidence. We want to look at the pro-Mormon, and the anti-Mormon side of the facts, and see which one is most 'tight like unto a dish'. Which of these arguments hold water? I already said that this is the first time in any Mormon publication that the MP is mentioned explicitly. It makes no previous appearance before this. Even when we look back at the JSH, it talks about the Aaronic Priesthood being conferred on Ollie and Joe by Peter, James, and John, but it makes no mention of the MP. Beyond that, if you read the footnotes of the JSH, you will see that it speculates that the MP was given to Joe and Ollie a few weeks after the Aaronic Priesthood, but there is absolutely no extant evidence for that. That is purely a baseless assertion by believing Mormon historians, to make the historical reality fit their understanding of the idea of the restorationist origination of the church.
What do I mean by the restorationist origination there? Just as a short explanation, the Mormon church claims to be the original church established by Jesus, restored through Joseph Smith in these Latter days.
It's hard for a believer to wrap their mind around the idea that God didn't reveal the whole church to Joe all at once, complete with temple ordinances, sacrament rituals, and most importantly, the MP. But the reality is, all of these features were introduced into the church based on necessity. They weren't all just dropped in at once, like one would expect the almighty God of the universe to do, but instead came along as they were needed. This all plays into the idea that Joe's claims of authority evolved as situations necessitated, which we talked about in episode 19 titled Priesthood Power Play. If God were using Joseph Smith to restore the original church to the earth, one would think that it could be done very simply with divine revelation, all in one complete package. Instead we see a constant evolution and change in claims, in order to satisfy specific circumstances.
Let's address the Mormon apologetic here regarding the MP. In the footnote that we read from the History of the Church, it claimed that the MP has been around since the foundation of the church, and anybody that was called an apostle had this higher M priesthood. Well, here we run into another problem that spawns from asserting this anachronism. Nobody in the church was called to the office of High Priest yet. I believe Joe called himself the high priest of the church, but nobody else had been called to this office before this point. Beyond that, and an even bigger problem, nobody had been called as an apostle yet. Up to this point, everybody that had joined the church was a member, and anybody that was given any role in a leadership position was called an Elder. Even our pal Ollie Cowdung was just an Elder, and he was one of the three founding fathers of the church.
So, when the footnotes of the JSH assert that the MP existed since 1829, an assertion for which there is absolutely no evidence, and then goes on to claim in the footnotes that we just read, that everybody that had been called an apostle up to this point, had the MP, it dually nullifies the assertions. Both are blatantly anachronistic. In order to make the history fit their current view on the different priesthoods, the church has to posit historical occurences that we have absolutely no evidence for, which is a huge problem from a scholars, or historians perspective. I'm not saying that I'm either one of those, in fact, to the contrary, I'm not formally schooled in either of those academic disciplines, but I do like to look at the pro, and anti-Mormon side of the history, consider the arguments from both sides, and see which one has the most explanatory power. So, let's discuss the so-called "anti-Mormon" side of the argument, and see which side takes the most leaps in logic to come to their conclusion.
The anti-Mormon perspective would assert that as Joe was organizing his church, he was flying by the seat of his pants. He didn't know what he was doing, and therefore when a situation would arise, he would come up with divine revelation to fix the problem. So, whenever his claim of divine authority was challenged, he would invent an office higher than everybody else, in order to supercede any questions of authority. This happened when Joe and Ollie were both Elders, and Joe wanted to squeeze Ollie out of the full leadership postition. So, he called himself the high priest, and revelator of the church. It happened during the translation of the plates, when Ollie tried to translate a little bit for himself. In reaction to that, Joe said that Ollie's gift was with the rod of nature, and not with translation. We referred to this earlier, but when Hiram Page revealed the location of Zion, Joe claimed utmost authority to be the one single revelator, which inherently overpowered any previous spurious revelations, or any later revelations, given by anybody after this time.
Well, the so-called anti-Mormon side would assert that this spontaneous appearance of the MP, was merely another evolution of Joe's authority claims. If that is the case, then we would expect there to be some point of insurrection that we could reference that the MP evolved in reaction to.
Well, in answer to that, I would assert that we had the uprising of the "Pure Church of Christ" by Wycam Clark, and Northrop Sweet, that could be considered one social pressure that forced the introduction of an authority claim that these two Elders didn't have. Think about it. Clark, and Sweet were Elders with leadership roles in the church, and they broke off to start their own church in Kirtland. Joe had to react to this social pressure somehow, and I would argue that the MP evolved out of this pressure. It doesn't have to be this one specific offshoot group, it could have been due to any number of other people that had dissenting opinions, but this was the first official offshoot, and Joe must have done something to react to it. Inventing a higher authority claim, such as the MP, would be a very reasonable reaction to this church of infidels ("Pure Church of Christ") rising up.
So, tell me... Out of those two perspectives of the facts, which one makes the most sense? Which argument is tight like unto a dish? Which really holds water? Is it the side that dubiously claims two historical anachronisms to fit within the claims of it's belief system? Or is it the side that requires no dubious historical claims, and falls perfectly in line with the personality of Joseph Smith up to this point? I tried my best to present both sides, you have to decide which one makes the most sense.
Let's get back to the timeline here. We were talking about this new missionary force of Joe, Hingepin Rigdon, NSSM, and Party-Boy Partridge heading out to MO, to meet up with the missionary force of Ollie, Dick Zyban, and Freddy G. Willey, which was stationed in a town called Kaw, MO. It was about 12 miles west of Independence, MO, right on the edge of European settlements. The new missionary group spent the next couple of weeks getting out to MO from Kirtland, proselyting all along the way. Joe had hitched his wagon to the charismatic preacher, Hingepin Rigdon, and the wagon train was caboosed by the two rich guys, who were the almost used up NSSM, who was nearly broke by this time, and Bishop Eddy Party-Boy Partridge who was running off the Partridge family trust fund. Together, this mishmash of religious zealots, embarked upon their journey with relative success.
When they arrived in MO in July of 1831, this is what was recorded in the History of the Church vol 1:189
"The meeting of our brethren, who had long awaited our arrival, was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States, and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness; how natural it was to observe the degredation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion;"
Basically, Joe and company had moved from the modern New York, and Ohio area, to the shithole that was Missouri, and they were like wow, what a shithole. These poor people are just wandering around in a haze of degredation and leanness of intellect. It's a good thing the missionaries were there to bring some goddamn civility to these country bumpkin monsters! Let's talk about how things had been going for the missionary troop up to this point. Ollie, Dick Zyban, and Freddy Willey had been proselyting as much as possible, with very minimal success. P-cubed had returned to Kirtland, only to be sent out to the eastern states with his brother Orson Brain-Power Pratt on thier own mission. Last historical episode we talked about the missionary team running into problems preaching the BoM to the Natives, and trying, but failing to apply for a permit from General Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, to go preach the gospel to the Natives. Well, we have a letter from Ollie to Joe that was received on May 7th 1831, and I think it illustrates the entire mood of the missionary trip. I tried pulling this letter from somewhere other that the History of the Church, but it seems like it's the primary source for the letter, so I'll just read it in it's entirety. There's a lot of really good stuff in here to talk about.
"Our dearly beloved Brethren<,>
I have nothing partickuler to write as concerning the Lamanites & because of a short journey which I have <just> returned from in consequence of which I have not writen to you since the 16th. of the last month** <I> and brother Ziba [Peterson] went into the county East which is LaFayette about 40 miles and in the name of Jesus called on the people to repent many ~~are~~ of whom <are, I> believe earnestly searching for truth and if cincerely I pr[a]y they may find that precious treasure for it seems to be wholly fallen in the streets that equity cannot enter in the letter we received ~~of ~~<from> you we were informed that the opposition was great against you now our beloved brethren we verily believe that we can also rejoice that we ~~can~~ are counted worthy to suffer shame for his name for almost the whole country which consists of Universalists Ath[e]ists Deists Presbyterians Methodists <Baptists> & professed Christians Priests & people with all the Devels from the infernal pit are united and foaming out ther own shame God forbid that I should bring a railing accusation against them for Vengence belongeth unto him who is able to repay & herein brethren we confide. I am informed of an other Tribe of Lamanites lately who have abundence of flocks of the best kind of sheep & cattle and manufacture blankets of superior quality the tribe is very numerous they live three hundred miles west of Santafee and are called navahoes why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligation to communicate <my breth[r]en evry informati[o]n respecting th[e] Lamanites & ab[out].> **to you all my Labours and travels believeing as I do that much is expected from me in the cause of our Lord and not doubuting but I daily am remembered before the throne of the most high by all of my brethren as well those who have not seen my face in the flesh as those who have
We ~~have~~ begin to expect our brother Parley [P. Pratt] soon we have heard from him only when he was at St Louis** we are all well (bless the Lord) and preach the gospel we will if earth and hell oppose our way and we dwell in the midst of Scort<p>ions **for in Jesus <we> trust grace be with you all Amen
The main point I'm referring to in that letter that we need to discuss, is the wealthy Native American tribe that Ollie was referring to. They were indeed the Navajoes, and they were indeed fairly wealthy in comparison to a lot of the other tribes. But that letter in and of itself isn't the interesting thing we really need to discuss here. We have Ollie's account of his speech to the Delaware Natives. This next segment will go on for a minute, because there's a lot to read and discuss here, but we are going to listen to Ollie's sales pitch that he was using on the Native tribes that the missionary force would encounter.
This is taken from the footnotes of the History of the Church vol 1:183-185, and it's a doozey.
"On arriving at Independence, two of the company secured employment while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians. They visited the Shawnees spending one night with them and the next day crossed Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes and consequently possessed large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among people and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation, a proposition which chief Anderson took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed but he was not inclined at first to call council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon, he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes and in an hour, forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief, Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address."
Up to this point we've just been describing what was happening with the mission trip. Keep in mind, what we're reading right now happened before Ollie wrote to General William Clark to gain official access to the Native tribes. Ollie and friends were out there proselyting to the Delawares for a couple of days before they were chased out. Let's cover what was actually said in this exchange with Ollie's speech to the elders of the Delaware tribe. It's a great insight into Ollie's powerful ability to sell an invisible product.
"OLIVER COWDERY'S SPEECH TO THE DELAWARES
Aged Chief and Venerable Council of the Delaware nation, we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a distance from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news; we have traveled the wilderness, crossed the deep and wide rivers, and waded in the deep snows, and in face of the storms of winter to communicate to you great knowledge which has come to our ears and hearts and which will do the red man good, as well as the pale face.
Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea -- from the rising to the setting sun the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it them and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers; their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.
Thousands of moons ago when the red men's forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land, the Great Spirit talked with them and revealed His law and His will, and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book, together with their history, and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.
This Book was written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations.
It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things as pale faces now do.
But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good wise dreams; no more visions; no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men prophets to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety and found and made known in the latter day to the pale faces who should possess land, that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit, and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book, and learn the things written in it, and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces, who were willing to believe and obey the same Book, and be good men and live in peace.
Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children, while He would be their Great Father, and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men amongst them again who should teach them many things.
This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the State of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county.
In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph Smith who prayed to the Great Spirit much, in order that he might know the truth, and the Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in earth and found the Book written on golden plates.
But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being the pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret Book. So he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it to them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares, which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good.
We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.
There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply:"
Alright, ignoring how racist those terms were, because they were just the usual jargon back then, Ollie started presenting the book of Mormon to this wise chief of the Delaware tribe, and the chief told him to hold off until a large council could be called. A runner was sent out, and a whole bunch of wise men gathered together. They all listened to the best sermon that Ollie could muster, and here is the reply given by the Delaware chief... reportedly anyway....
"THE CHIEF'S REPLY
We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here -- placing his hand on his heart. It is now winter; we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep; our cattle and horses are dying; our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring -- to build houses and fence and make farms; but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit.
Elder Parley P Pratt in his report of the matter adds: We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read, and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers. Some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites. We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church.
Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fullness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three tribes, viz the Catteraugus Indians, near Buffalo NY, the Wyandots of Ohio, and the Delawares west of Missouri."
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt pp 56-61
When I said that the missionary force was altogether unsuccessful with their mission trip to Missouri, I suppose I may have been overstating it a little bit. The problem is, this was taken from the autobiography of P-cubed, which is a fairly biased account, and it's included in the History of the Church, which is an extremely biased account. In some cursory searching, I was unable to find any other evidence of this mission trip going this well. We know that the stop in Buffalo, NY at the Catteraugus tribe was barely even a stop. They were reportedly kicked out after a day. The stop at the Wyandot tribe in Ohio was a complete failure, as they were chased out mere hours after arrival. Maybe we can speculate that the Delawares were more tolerant of the missionaries, but I think that might be going out on a limb. Besides, if they did baptize some of those natives, we would have record of their names, or the dates when they were brought into the Mormon fold, like we do with almost every other member of the church, but the history of the church is oddly silent on these names. What's more, if a tribe, or even some members of a tribe of natives did convert to Mormonism, it would make headlines all over Missouri, and we would have plenty of other extant sources for it, but I couldn't find any of them in my research. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I've been looking for a while, and the search is coming up dry. The only evidence we have of these Delawares converting to Mormonism, just links back to the same article we just read, which is contained in the autobiography of P-cubed, and the History of the Church.
Something that occurred to me during this research is how business was probably conducted between Native American tribes. I'm only running off my own naive, uneducated understanding of Native policy, and decorum, but hear me out for a minute. When the missionary troop starting giving the sales pitch to the Delaware chief, he stopped the sermon, and told them to wait for the other local chiefs to arrive before continuing. Only after a runner was sent, and the other chiefs were all gathered, did they all sit down, and listen to what Ollie had to say.
Anybody that's played telephone wire with a group of people knows that messages tend to change, the more times they pass from one person to another. In this game, everybody sits in a circle, and one person says a small phrase to another in the circle. The phrase is whispered from one person to the next, to the next, until the message makes it's way all the way around the circle. By the time it gets back to the person who originally said it, the message has changed dramatically, often times the entire meaning has changed with just a few word substitutions. Well, the Delawares probably knew about this phenomenon just as much as everybody else does, so the chief probably wanted all the local chiefs to hear the message straight from the Cowdungs mouth.
Once all the chiefs were gathered, Ollie started into his sales pitch, and got to the point in the story about Joseph Smith uncovering the plates, and translating them from the language of the Native's forefathers, into English. That must have been a crazy idea to this tribe, one they had obviously never heard before.
So Ollie keeps talking about this amazing prophet that lives in the East, and the Natives must have been like, "Soooo why isn't he here to tell us about it himself?" The Delawares had been cordial enough to gather all their local chiefs, but Joe had just sent an emissary to deliver this eternally important message? Talk about egg on the Delawares face. These pale-faces with a leatherbound book in hand must have been interesting to listen to, to say the least, but they were bringing a message of salvation to the red-men, and the best that the Great Spirit could muster, was this weaksauce liaison force of entitled white men whose ancestors had been responsible for fuckin killing all the Delawares ancestors with their death blankets?
This is where my personal specualtion really starts to come into play a lot more. Is it really that hard to imagine that these chiefs asked Ollie to send his chief to deliver this message? Put yourself in the Delaware's moccasins. If you were just living your life, thinking you had a pretty firm grasp on reality, and an alien saucer flew down and landed in your local city park, and out step 3 bi-pedal humanoid looking beings with green skin, wouldn't that freak you out. Beyond that, what if they tried telling you that they found a copy of the Quran, written in English, buried in the ground on their planet? Wouldn't that blow your mind? Then, upon inquiry of their claims, you find out that the alien who found and translated the book, actually isn't there, he's still back on planet Gilgar, wouldn't you ask to speak with the actual alien that found the book? Your interest would definitely be peaked, but you would still be skeptical until you met that alien, and saw the original copy of the Quran that it had translated from, and actually heard the message straight from the horses mouth.
Well, I speculate that this is what happened with the tribe, and it served as a small motivating factor to get Joe to make the trek to Missouri himself, and go visit the Delawares to convert them himself. But, like I said, it's only speculation, and judging from the records we have, it wasn't a primary motivation for Joe making the trip himself. If it were a primary motivation, we would see that recorded in revelations or something, and we would have an account of Joe going out to talk Mormon Jesus with the Natives, and as far as I can tell, that didn't happen.
The primary reason Joe made the trip out there, was to make an informed revelation. You see, if Joe's revelations were coming from divine authority, the revelations would be completely infallible, and Joe wouldn't require any temporal knowledge to reveal it. That's the basis by which the Book of Mormon was translated. Remember this story? An uneducated backwoods boy of 14 years old pulled ancient gold plates from the ground, and translated them into the wonderful tome of knowledge known as the Book of Mormon. Joe didn't need to know shit about fuck if that were the case, and he could have written the most amazing, awe inspiring book in all of recorded history, without even knowing how to write. Of course, none of that happened, and the reported story is deeply flawed in many ways, but the assertion of divinity still holds, and it remains an unanswered discrepancy in what's reported, versus what the Book of Mormon actually is. If Joe's revelations were from a source on high, it wouldn't require any personal knowledge to come up with the revelation that we're going to talk about next.
This revelation isn't contained in the Book of Commandments, and I'm not sure why. It's in the 1835 D&C, but it's strangely absent from the 1833 BoC. We're going to read it straight from the 1835 D&C section 27 and it's a revelation given in Independence, MO July 1831
"1: Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints: wherefore this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. -- Behold the place which is now called Independence, is the center place, and the spot for the temple is lying westward upon a lot which is not far from the court house: wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints; and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile. And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold this is wisdom, that they may obtain it from an everlasting inheritance."
There we have it. That was one of the biggest revelations in all of Mormon history. That was the revelation that so many members of the church had been waiting for for so long before July of 1831. Hiram Page was chastized for coming up with a revelation similar to that, of which we don't have a copy, and the justification for the chastizement was due to him being lead astray by the adversary. This revelation from Joe was all it took, and so many problems that had arisen in the church before this time could have been resolved before they were even a fucking problem, but no, Joe had to go out to Missouri himself, in order to make an informed revelation about Zion, given by the almighty God of the universe. That's right, the Almighty Mormon Jehovah/Elohim God, couldn't give Joe this revelation, until Joe got out there and saw the town for himself. Now, I would argue, and in fact am arguing that God wouldn't need to see Independence through Joe's eyes in order to give him that revelation. God didn't even need to wait until July 1831 to come up with this shit, he could have included it in the Book of Mormon! If there was a passage in the Book of Mormon, that said Independence, MO would be the place where Zion the New Jerusalem would be built to renew the earth so it can receive its paradisiacal glory, complete with details about how it would be westward on a lot, not far from the court house, and Joe had never been to Missouri before, at very least I would give it a good, "Hmmmm", and some thought. But Joe had to go the 800 miles to Missouri himself, even after he had sent a missionary troop there, in order to come up with a revelation from ALMIGHTY GOD! Am I the only one that sees this as a huge fuckin problem? Is this not a gaping fissure in Joe's credibility as the one true prophet of God? Michel de Nostradame, aka: Nostradamus, had exponentially more predictive power than Joe ever did, and he died 5 days short of 278 years before our holy prophet of the latter days.
How long until everybody realizes that Joe was just a guy, that built a religion, and just winged the hell out of it. He was a poor guy, and he did what he had to, in order to survive. I come back to this point all the time on the show, but can we really blame Joe for everything he did? Yes he was a conscientious deceiver, and a father of countless lies, but he was the product of his upbringing, and the time and place he grew up in. It's hard to say that he was merely a victim of circumstance, because he was a devious genius in so many ways, with absolutely no regard for his fellow man, and very little empathy for anybody that he didn't directly love or care about. While it may be hard to say that he was merely a victim of circumstance, it's easy to say that he was deeply influenced by his circumstances. He was intelligent, and most importantly adaptable, to the point of psychopathy, or even sadism is some cases.
I don't think that's something we can talk about enough though, is Joe's adaptability to any given situation. He dealt with extreme famine his entire growing up years, he stonewalled through dozens of hardships, financial and otherwise. Joe loved, and lost. Recall back to June 1828, when Joe and Emma had their first child. Joe had prophesied that little Alvin Smith would be the next leader of the church after Joe died, but to everybody's surprise, little Alvin was born with undescribed defects, and died a few hours after birth. This was absolutely devastating to the young prophet. He was a mere 22 years old, and this was a huge tragedy for him to deal with as a young father. This spurred him to temporarily join the methodist church that the Hale family attended, probably in an effort to seek spiritual guidance, or the 19th century equivalent to therapy for the hardships the young couple was dealing with.
Often times when a person is overwhelmed by a situation, they will do things to lash out, or they will simply run away. Everybody feels those emotions when confronted with a tough situation, but each person reacts in a unique way to those pressures. When confronted with tough times, Joe had a habit of running away from his problems. There are countless examples of this, and quite frankly most of today's episode has been discussing one of those situations.
Joe wanted to be a father soooo badly. He wanted a small version of himself to pass the empire on to, once Joe was on his death bed. Joe and Emma's first child simply wasn't able to survive, and it must have ripped them apart on the inside. So much so, that they waited another two years before getting pregnant again.
Now I'm starting to navigate into unknown waters, because I'm not a father, and I don't plan on being one for quite some time, so I have a hard time empathizing with Joe here, which is something that usually comes quite easily to me. I can't even understand the pain and emotional anguish that Joe must have had with the death of his first child.
I remember watching the movie that's currently playing in the legacy theater. There's a scene that it shows Joe somberly digging a hole with tears in his eyes, all while Emma weeps in the background holding a small childs coffin on her lap. It's a very emotional moment, and I don't think the film does enough justice to the emotions that must have been tearing Joseph, and Emma apart, while they were burying their own first-born child. I just can't get my head there. No matter how much I think about it, I can't quite get my head in that space, and I'm not sure that I even want to get there.
However, I do honestly feel bad for Joe. I feel a deep level of simpathy for him and all the travesties he dealt with. The more I study Joe, the more it feels like I'm getting closer and closer to the real Joseph Smith. That's one thing that keeps me so interested with Mormon history, is trying to come to some level of understanding about the young prophet, and everything he went through.
Everything we've talked about today happened from March, to July 1831. In March, it seemed like everything was fine, and the church was just slowly expanding, and dealing with new situations as they would arise. But suddenly in May and June, there is this huge influx of changes in leadership, and the biggest push for missionary work the church had ever experienced in it's year of operation until that point. Suddenly it becomes very necessary for Joe to make the trip out to Independence to meet up with Ollie, and establish the place where Zion would be built.
I don't think that this major shift is without cause. On April 30th, 1831, Emma goes into premature labor with twins Thaddeus, and Louisa Smith. The twins are born, and like some kind of cruel joke, the twins live for a few hours, and die, just like Alvin had 3 years before. (silence) It was an unimaginable, horrific replay of the most devastating tragedy the young couple had ever experienced, and it happened with two children in one day. You just can't imagine what must have been going through Joseph's head. We read this earlier, it was in reference to Joe arriving in Missouri, and seeing his best friend Ollie after 9 months of separation. "[The meeting] was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears". Was that really because they hadn't seen each other for 9 months, or is there something more to that. Maybe Joe was reaching out to the one person he was closest to, that understood him the most, his ol' friend Ollie.
Put yourself in Rigdon's shoes watching this meeting of old friends. You had just witnessed Joe go through the hardest three months of his life, and you get to stand next to Joe and Ollie as they clutch each other, and unleash a torrent of pent-up sadness. Joe must have hugged Ollie for what seemed like an eternity, weeping uncontrollably, wrapped in the security of his best friend's embrace.
Joe wanted to be a father so much, and he had been denied that privelege for the second and third time in one afternoon. But, when a door closes, a window often opens, and deaths often come in threes. In trying to empathize with Joe, I can't decide if what him and Emma did in reaction to their dead children, was a good thing for them emotionally, or a bad thing.
On the same day that Thaddeus, and Louisa Smith died hours after childbirth, a woman named Julia Murdock died in childbirth. John and Julia Murdock were good friends of the Smith's, having been some of the first people to join the church. Well, Julia's twins survived their mother in the childbirthing process.
Joseph Smith Murdock, and Julia Murdock Smith, were adopted by Joe and Emma, as if they were some kind of replacements for their own twins that had died on the same day the Murdock twins were born. I don't know how this would have affected Joe and Emma, or what it must have done to their relationship. They had twins of their own that had died, then one of their friends died the same day while giving birth to twins, so the Smith's just raised the Murdock twins as their own. For lack of better words, what an absolute mind-fuck.
There are a lot of strong people out there. There are people that can lift a mini cooper, or drag a freight train. There are people that can bench press 1100 lbs fifteen times in one minute. There are plenty of stories out there about somebody whose child is in danger and they lift a car off of them, or pry open mangled metal car doors with nothing but their bare hands.
While these examples constitute an amazing level of physical fortitude, and seemingly unbelievable feats of physical strength, the mind is where real strength lies. Earlier I mentioned that I was on the two most recent episodes of the Scathing Atheist, wherein Noah and I talked about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. If you want to hear about some really disturbing, and fucked up behavior that could cause a person to lose sleep at night, listen to the second part of that interview on episode 147. At one point I read a quote, after the majority of the massacre had happened, where the children were just wandering around the meadow in an almost trance-like state. Some of them were clinging on to their dead parents, some were pulling their infant siblings out of the arms of their dead mothers, but all were very damaged. One small infant even had her arm shot almost clean off from a musket ball. Another quote from a woman that took the remaining children in after the massacre, said that the infants arm still oozed from the open wound, but the psychological damage was still worse. The children wouldn't sleep at night. They would just stay awake, and wail in sorrow for their parents and family members they had watched the wholesale slaughter of, at the hands of Mormon terrorists.
Those children weren't mentally strong enough, and hadn't yet developed the coping techniques to deal with such a horrific and disgusting situation. I would argue that there isn't a single person on the planet that could witness the slaughter of their entire family, and still be able to function normally after that.
Human beings can perform amazing feats of physical strength, but only recently have we begun to dive into what mental strength, or lack thereof, really means. When people are confronted with tragedy, they will often times run away. It's a coping mechanism, and it's worked for a long time. It's not necessarily healthy to run away from emotional problems, but it does temporarily solve the problem, and everybody does it to a certain extent.
Well, Joe ran. When shit really went wrong, and he had no other solution, he ran. He ran to the arms of the one person that could understand him. The one person that He was closest to. Joe and Ollie had been fighting for control of the church, and Joe had been a defcon 3 level asshole to Ollie multiple times, but when it all came down to it, there wasn't a single person on the planet that could help Joe cope with this horrible tragedy better, than his best friend Ollie.
Maybe that's why Ollie couldn't break away from Joe for so long. Maybe that's why he stuck around, because they were emotionally dependent on each other to a certain extent, and Ollie couldn't accept the reality of Joe's two-faced ways. At least until he did accept it, and finally acted accordingly.
Let's bring the history to a close here. I'll do so by asking a very simple question. Do you wanna know the most fucked up part about what we've been talking about for the last 10 minutes? I'm asking, do you wanna know the worst part about all of this whole child swapping situation? Of course you do, and that's why you listen to this show. You're all gluttons for punishment! Every single listener is committing gluttony of watching a man's world unravel, and it all happened 180 years ago. It's like a really bad car crash, you can't look away. Everybody knows how Joe's story ends. We all know he died in 1844, in a jailhouse shootout. We all know that he dealt with incalculable hardships, and frustrations, but we don't even know the most fucked up parts yet. Joe is just getting started, as are his inumerable trials and tribulations.
The worst part about everything we've talked about concerning Joe's adopted twins, is what happened on March 24, 1832. The night Joe was taking care of 10 month old Joseph Smith Murdock with the measels. That night, Joe suffered the most horrendous beating of his life, and it all facilitates the death of little baby Joseph Smith Murdock, Joe's only son that's been alive for longer than a few hours, that wasn't even of his own blood. It all leads us to one big question. Really and truly, how strong was Joseph Smith?
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