The Haters: Volume Eight, Joseph Smith, Chapter 1

Louis_Cypher's picture

The early 1800’s were a time of religious upheaval in the fledgling United States, a time known as the Second Great Awakening that gave birth to a host of schisms, sects and whole new churches. The Baptists and the Methodist had a heyday, and even the staid Presbyterians and Anglicans saw their numbers swell.  

Anticipating the second coming, Advent churches arose, such as the Advent Christians and the Seventh Day Adventists. It was into this swirl of Christian primitivism mixed with the folk lore and superstitions of the country folk that Joseph Smith Jr. was born.

Smith was born December 23d, 1805 to Joseph Sr. and Lucy Smith. The senior Smith had been a middling successful businessman until a disastrous speculation in ginseng and a crooked partner sent him into a downward spiral from which he and his brood never recovered. The family survived on itinerant day labor, tenant farming and various small money making ventures, like hawking bread and beer from a cart.

The Smith clan was also given to visions, prophetic, mystic dreams and images in keeping with the deeply superstitious culture in which they lived. The blend of primitive Christianity and folk magic was potent. Joseph Sr. was a diviner, using forked sticks to seek underground water and on occasion buried treasure. Joseph followed in his father’s footsteps and around the age of eleven started dousing as well. When Joseph was 13, the family moved to upper New York State, an area known as the “Burned over Region” because of the waves of Revivalist fervour that had swept over it until there were few converts (fuel) to be had (burned).

In 1820, by the age of 16, Joseph and other members of his family had become a Treasure Hunters utilizing “seer stones” to find hidden loot. Similar to crystal ball gazing, the user would stare into the stone until he experienced ‘visions’.  Smith had his own method that involved putting his favourite magic rock into his hat and burying his face in the hat to do his mojo. The information about how successful he was is sketchy, but he was at least tenacious, carrying on his ‘craft’ for several years. It was at this time also that Smith had what would be called his First Vision, a theophany or face to face meeting with God. Details vary about this auspicious confab, but the family seems to have taken it in stride.

In September of 1823, Smith had his first meeting with the Angel Moroni who told him about an ancient book that was conveniently buried nearby.  The book consisted of Golden Plates that were “giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness[sic] of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Saviour to the ancient inhabitants;” Along with the book was deposited two stones called the Urim and Thummim used by the ancient Israelites for divination, the whole collection being stashed on a nearby hill. The Angel was a chatty fellow, and returned 2 more times that night as well as once more in the morning, giving Smith detailed instructions on how to find and acquire the book.

Smith set out to find the book which was secured in a stone coffer on the hillside. Remember the scene from the movie “Army of Darkness” where Ash tried to get HIS book and muffed it?

Yeah, it was like that for Smith too. He didn’t do the ritual right and the angel snatched back the book and put them back in the stone box. Smith tried to open the box and got bitch slapped by the angel who suggested he drop the greed, and come back next year with a better attitude and the ‘right person’ as his companion. In this case the right person was Smiths’ older brother, Alvin.

Alvin died before Smith could recover the book in 1824, apparently choosing the wrong “right person” to go with him didn’t work, so in 1825, he failed again.


By 1825, Joseph contracted his services to Josiah Stowell and William Hale of South Bainbridge, New York to seek out a lost Spanish mine as well as buried treasure near Hale’s home. Apparently they had learned of the hidden caches from another fortune teller and had heard that Smith possessed talent. While there and presumably during those times he had pulled his face from his hat, Smith fell in love with a pretty school teacher named Emma Hale, daughter of his landlord Isaac Hale. Isaac, however, didn’t care for the young n’er-do-well.

The treasure hunt was a failure, and Smith claimed that someone had cast an ‘enchantment’ to cloud his visions just as he was about to reveal the location of the treasure, darn the luck…

Smith continued working for Stowell until March of 1826, when he was arrested for fraud. The court records show that he was convicted, but never served any jail time. After his brush with the law, Smith went to work for a man named Joseph Knight, directing the search for treasure on his properties.

It was about this time that his stone told him that Emma WAS the ‘right person’, so avoiding her suspicious daddy, the young couple eloped and were married in January of 1827.

Smith’s treasure seeking cronies Stowell and Knight wanted in on the action, so leaving the men at the farm, and taking Emma in Knight’s carriage, Smith finally got the book and the Stones from the box. Fearing for their safety, Smith stashed the Book in a tree stump and took the magic stones back home with him.

But Knight and Stowell weren’t the only ones after the plates, a couple of his old company had gathered up a dozen men as well as another fortune teller to find the hidden booty. Smith used his newly acquired magic rocks to spy on the villains and thus foiled their dastardly plot.

Now let’s examine these stones for a moment. They were reputed to be part of the High Priest’s breastplate as related in Exodus. This means they were sort of like a bra, with the rocks filling the roll of the cups. Picture if you will, the young Joseph Smith, rock-bra on his head like a pair of spectacles, seeking visions of his enemies…

At any rate, Smith did recover the plates and brought them home wrapped in a frock.

 Next Chapter, Translation and Publishing of the Book. LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.

TheFallenAngel's picture

Well, Thanks for the history

Well, Thanks for the history lesson on the starter of one of the biggest cults around!

Brian37's picture

TheFallenAngel wrote:Well,

TheFallenAngel wrote:

Well, Thanks for the history lesson on the starter of one of the biggest cults around!

The only difference between a cult and a religion are numbers. Every religion starts out as a cult.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

Some correction

 I think you'll find that there is no record of a first vision at this time period.  It isn't until 1838-39 that the official first vision story came about, and the first written version in Joseph Smith's Journal was penned in 1831, about 11 years after the supposed occurrence.  I doubt the family took it in stride because it seems they didn't even hear about it until a decade later.

Also of note is that Joseph never calls the stones that help him translate the Urim and thummim.  That seems to be an afterthought.  He always calls them "Interpreters".  After Rigdon joins the church they seem to get the idea that these "interpreters" could tie back to something in the Bible.

Also, please notice that even according to mormon apologists (http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Seer_stones) "Text translated with the Nephite interpreters was lost with the 116 pages given to Martin Harris—see DC 3:. The Church's Historical Record records Joseph's use of the seer stone to translate all of our current Book of Mormon text:"

So the entire Book of Mormon that we have now was translated via a stone in a hat, not using the "Urim and Thummim" or even "Interpreters".

 

Love the commentary so far, and far more accurate than anything produced by the church.  Just wanted to help out to get the story straight.

 

 

Cults

 Yes but some cults are more culty than other cults.

 

This group that builds special buildings to dress up in all white, and exchange handshakes for which there are death penalties before promising all their wealth for an Organization that has stated its goal is world domination.   That's not just Textbook definition of a cult, that's a cartoon show stereotype of a cult.

TheFallenAngel's picture

Well, Thanks for the history

Well, Thanks for the history lesson on the starter of one of the biggest cults around!

The only difference between a cult and a religion are numbers. Every religion starts out as a cult.

 

Actually a cult doesn't have limits on followers to make it a cult. You can have 3 people or 3 billion people & it's still considered a cult,Therefore, religion is a cult. (Like Christianity).

 

Please also considering donating to Low Country Lab Rescue (dog rescue) at this link http://www.lowcountrylabrescue.org/

Thank You i will

Louis_Cypher's picture

Thanks!

Thank you very much for your input. I try to be as factual in my account as possible and I don't dispute anything you said.
I've found in researching the Mormon Church and Smith in particular, there is an almost (dare I say) conspiratorial cloud of obfuscation around the events. It's a matter of picking and choosing what 'facts' are presented and hope you get it as close to the elusive truth as possible.
Thanks again!

LC >;-}>

 

Christianity: A disgusting middle eastern blood cult, based in human sacrifice, with sacraments of cannibalism and vampirism, whose highest icon is of a near naked man hanging in torment from a device of torture.

Brian37's picture

Louis_Cypher wrote:Thank you

Louis_Cypher wrote:

Thank you very much for your input. I try to be as factual in my account as possible and I don't dispute anything you said.
I've found in researching the Mormon Church and Smith in particular, there is an almost (dare I say) conspiratorial cloud of obfuscation around the events. It's a matter of picking and choosing what 'facts' are presented and hope you get it as close to the elusive truth as possible.
Thanks again!

LC >;-}>

 

Here is the distraction that bugs the living shit out of me.

If you have two Star Trec fans claiming the origins of Tribbles it still misses the point that Tribbles are still made up.

Does it matter that Smith had visions? Or when he had them? Or does it matter that he was selling an invisible friend like all other claimants of deities throughout human history?

This would be like arguing that led protects Superman from Kriptonite missing the point that there is no Super man.

The details of the myth being right or wrong do not make the super hero real.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

iwbiek's picture

Brian37 wrote:Louis_Cypher

Brian37 wrote:

Louis_Cypher wrote:

Thank you very much for your input. I try to be as factual in my account as possible and I don't dispute anything you said.
I've found in researching the Mormon Church and Smith in particular, there is an almost (dare I say) conspiratorial cloud of obfuscation around the events. It's a matter of picking and choosing what 'facts' are presented and hope you get it as close to the elusive truth as possible.
Thanks again!

LC >;-}>

 

Here is the distraction that bugs the living shit out of me.

If you have two Star Trec fans claiming the origins of Tribbles it still misses the point that Tribbles are still made up.

Does it matter that Smith had visions? Or when he had them? Or does it matter that he was selling an invisible friend like all other claimants of deities throughout human history?

This would be like arguing that led protects Superman from Kriptonite missing the point that there is no Super man.

The details of the myth being right or wrong do not make the super hero real.

 

yes, but it's necessary to educate the public about these inconsistencies in the mormon testimony as much as possible because the mormons are winning the publicity war, and behind this war is an EXTREMELY THINLY veiled political agenda, i.e., infiltrate all the high governmental posts.  guess what?  they're winning this war too.

the reason americans are allowing this to happen is that they've bought the line that the mormons are just another cutesy, feel-good church.  nothing could be further from the truth.  the mormons are a bigger threat to american civil liberties than evangelical christians ever thought about being.

imho, what the mormons got in missouri and illinois was too good for them.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen