Monday, August 20, 2012

The Maine Inquiry

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As I sat at the dinner table in the Longfellow estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which served as the mission home to the Massachusetts Boston Mission, and while President Ballif was announcing the first assignments to the new group of elders that I was apart, I prayed that if it was the Lord’s will that I could serve outside the confines of Boston, at least in a area a little less hectic, it would be much appreciated. When the President read my name and announced that my first area would be Guilford, Maine, I was happy and whispered a silent thank-you. I had no idea where Guilford was, but all that matter was it sounded small and uncomplicated, and for this I was excited.

I enjoyed Maine. It’s unlike any of the other New England State both in its culture and landscape. For the short amount of time that I served in this state, I learned fast that it was brimming with good, down to earth folks.

   Wilford Woodruff discovered the same thing. He served in the Fox Islands and baptized numerous individuals. In fact, the Fox Islands were part of my first district (We had a huge district, in fact, my area took in 1/3 of the state. It sounds big, but trust me, there was very little population. I’m sure there were more moose than people).

   Maine was good to me, and has always been good to the Church. What did Brigham Young request from the Governor of the State?

A)     That he encourages people in the state to move to Nauvoo to start a new life

B)     That the Church be permitted to double its missionary force in the State

C)     That he trade Maine lobster for green Jello and Funeral potatoes.

D)     That the Church could settle in the state as its end destination, rather than the unknown confines of the west

Yesterday’s answer:

1.                  (B)  It was believed that Sidney Rigdon copied the transcript in 1829.

Before you read the story, think about this one. First off, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon did not know each other in 1829, in fact Sidney Rigdon had not yet learned about the Church. That wouldn’t happen until December 1830. Finally, the Book of Mormon wasn’t released to the public until March 1830.

The following from David Whitmer:
It is recorded in the American Cyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, that I, David Whitmer, have denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon; and that the other two witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, denied their testimony to that Book. I will say once more to all mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were, “Brother David, be true to your testimony to the Book of Mormon.” He died here in Richmond, Mo., on March 3rd, 1850. Many witnesses yet live in Richmond, who will testify to the truth of these facts, as well as to the good character of Oliver Cowdery.

     The very powers of darkness have combined against the Book of Mormon, to prove that it is not the word of God, and this should go to prove to men of spiritual understanding, that the Book is true. . . .

     Besides other false statements that are in the two encyclopedias above mentioned is the old story of the Spaulding manuscript. That is, that one Solomon Spaulding who died in Amity, Penn., in 1816, had written a romance, the scene of which was among the ancient Indians who lived in this country. That Spaulding died before he published his romance, and that Sidney Rigdon got hold of the manuscript in a printing office and copied it; that subsequently the manuscript was returned to Solomon Spaulding; That thirteen years after the death of Spaulding, in 1829, Rigdon became associated with Joseph Smith, who read the Spaulding manuscript from behind a blanket to Oliver Cowdery, his amanuensis, who wrote it down. Hence the origin of the Book of Mormon. This is what I claimed by the enemies of the book: Satan had to concoct some plan to account for the origin of that book.

     I will say that all who desire to investigate the Spaulding manuscript story will not be obliged to go very far before they will see the entire falsity of that claim. I testify to the world that I am an eye-witness to the translation of the greater part of the Book of Mormon. Part of it was translated in my father’s house in Fayette, Seneca County, N.Y. . . .

     When the Spaulding story was made known to believers in the book, they called for the Spaulding manuscript, but it could not be found; but recently, thanks to the Lord, the original manuscript has been found and identified. It has been placed in the library of Oberlin college, Oberlin, Ohio, for public inspection. All who has doubts about it being the original Spaulding manuscript, can satisfy themselves by visiting Oberlin and examining the proofs.

     The manuscript is in the hands of those who are not believers in the Book of Mormon. They have kindly allowed the believers in the book to publish a copy of the manuscript, with the proofs that it is the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. There is no similarity whatever between it and the Book of Mormon. Anyone who investigates this question will see that the Spaulding manuscript story is a fabrication concocted by the enemies of the Book of Mormon, in order to account for the origin of that book.

     Neither Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris or myself ever met Sidney Rigdon until after the Book of Mormon was in print. I know this of my own personal knowledge, being with Joseph Smith, in Seneca County, N.Y., in the winter of 1830, when Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came from Kirtland, Ohio, to see Joseph Smith, and where Rigdon and Partridge saw Joseph Smith for the first time in their lives.

     The Spaulding manuscript story is a myth; there being no direct testimony on record in regard to Rigdon’s connection with the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding.

Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Vol. II (Salt Lake City, Utah: Collier’s Publishing Company, 1993), 124-26

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