“Mormonism.” Susquehanna Register (Montrose, Pennsylvania) 9, no. 21 (1 May 1834).
Mr. WARD, SIR,—The Sect calling themselves Mormons, which started a few years since in Harmony in this County, have, you are aware brought themselves into public notice in many parts of our country. A gentleman in the state of Ohio, applied to Mr. ISAAC HALE, of Harmony, for a history of facts relating to the character of JOSEPH SMITH jun., author of the Book of Mormon, called by some, the Golden Bible. Mr. HALE sent the facts in a letter, and the Mormons pronounced the letter a forgery; and said that ISAAC HALE was blind, and could not write his name,—which was the cause of the taking the accompanying affidavits.
Some of your subscribers, and particularly those at a distance, might feel obliged by your inserting the affidavits, then all might judge for themselves, as to the authenticity of the Revelation claimed to have been made to JOSEPH SMITH jun’r.
Great Bend 21 , March 1834 .
PAINESVILLE, OHIO FEB. 4, 1834.
Mr. ISAAC HALE,—
Dear Sir,— I have a letter with your signature, post-marked Dec. 22, 1833—addressed to D. P. HURLBUT, on the subject of Mormonism. I have taken all the letters and documents from Mr. HURLBUT, with a view to their publication. An astonishing mass has been collected by him and others, who have determined to lay open the imposition to the world. And as the design is to present FACTS, and those well authenticated, and beyond dispute, it is very desirable, that your testimony, whatever it may be, should come authenticated before a magistrate.
Your letter has already been pronounced a forgery by the Mormons, who say you are blind and cannot write, even your name. I hope no one has attempted to deceive us: deception and falsehood in the business will do no good in the end, but will help build up the monstrous delusion. We look upon your connexion with Smith, and your knowledge of facts, as very important, in the chain of events,—and if it be your desire to contribute what facts you have, in so desirable an undertaking, I hope you will without delay, have drawn up a full narrative of every transaction wherein SMITH, jun’r. is concerned and attest them before a magistrate—This is our plan.
E. D. HOWE.
Statement of Mr. Hale.
I first became acquainted with JOSEPH SMITH, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called “money-diggers;” and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man—not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith, and his father, with several other ‘money-diggers’ boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young Smith gave the ‘money-diggers’ great encouragement, at first, but when they had arrived in digging, to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found—he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. This took place about the 17th of November, 1825; and one of the company gave me his note for $12.68 for his board, which is still unpaid.
After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to his marrying my daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave my reasons for so doing; some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve: he then left the place. Not long after this, he returned, and while I was absent from home, carried off my daughter, into the state of New York, where they were married without my approbation or consent. After they had arrived at Palmyra N. Y., Emma wrote to me enquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, furniture, cows, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In a short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol, and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out, and reside upon a place near my residence.
Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called “glass-looking,” and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so. He also made arrangements with my son Alva Hale, to go up to Palmyra, and move his (Smith’s) furniture &c. to this place. He then returned to Palmyra, and soon after, Alva, agreeable to the arrangement, went up and returned with Smith and his family. Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of Plates down with them. I was shown a box in which it is said they were contained, which had to all appearances, been used as a glass box of the common sized window-glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand, that the book of plates was then in the box—into which, however, I was not allowed to look.
I inquired of Joseph Smith Jr., who was to be the first who would be allowed to see the Book of Plates? He said it was a young child. After this, I became dissatisfied, and informed him that if there was any thing in my house of that description, which I could not be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that, the Plates were said to be hid in the woods.
About this time, Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage; and Smith began to interpret the characters or hieroglyphics which he said were engraven upon the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said, that Harris wrote down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a greater witness, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it—Joseph informed him that he could not, or durst not show him the plates, but that he (Joseph) would go into the woods where the Book of Plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should follow his track in the snow, and find the Book, and examine it for himself. Harris informed me afterwards, that he followed Smith’s directions, and could not find the Plates, and was still dissatisfied.
The next day after this happened, I went to the house where Joseph Smith Jr., lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in their translation of the Book. Each of them had a written piece of paper which they were comparing, and some of the words were “my servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness can be given him.” There was also something said about “three that were to see the thing”— meaning I supposed, the Book of Plates, and that “if the three did not go exactly according to orders, the thing would be taken from them.” I enquired whose words they were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma, (I rather think it was the former) that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them then, that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods!
After this, Martin Harris went away, and Oliver Cowdry came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted as above described. This is the same Oliver Cowdry, whose name may be found in the Book of Mormon. Cowdry continued a scribe for Smith until the Book of Mormon was completed as I supposed, and understood.
Joseph Smith Jr. resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and somewhat acquainted with his associates, and I conscientiously believe from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole “Book of Mormon” (so called) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary—and in order that its fabricators might live upon the spoils of those who swallow the deception. ISAAC HALE.
Affirmed to and subscribed before me, March 20th, 1834.
CHARLES DIMON, J. Peace.
State of Pennsylvania,
Susquehanna County, ss.
We, the subscribers, associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, in and for said county, do certify that we have been for many years personally acquainted with Isaac Hale, of Harmony township in this county, who has attested the foregoing statement; and that he is a man of excellent moral character, and of undoubted veracity. Witness our hands.
March 21 st, 1834 .
I have been acquainted with Isaac Hale for fifty years, and have never known him guilty of wilfully, or deliberately telling a falsehood. His character for truth and veracity has never been questioned. He has been Supervisor, Assessor and Collector, in this town—has kept his own accounts, and made his returns, to the satisfaction of all concerned. But he is now old, and his arms are somewhat palsied, so that when he desires any thing written, he usually employs one of his sons, although he retains his sight, and is still capable of writing.
Affirmed and subscribed before me,
March 20, 1834.
CHARLES DIMON, J. Peace.
State of Pennsylvania,
Susquehanna County, ss.
I do hereby certify, that I have been acquainted with Nathaniel Lewis, who affirmed to, and subscribed the above certificate, for these twenty-seven years, last past, and during the whole of that time he has been a respectable minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a man of veracity, and good moral character. Witness my hand, March 21st, 1834. WM. THOMPSON, Associate Judge.
Elder Lewis also certifies and affirms in relation to Smith as follows:
“I have been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. for some time: being a relation of his wife, and residing near him, I have had frequent opportunities of conversation with him, and of knowing his opinions and pursuits. From my standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, I suppose he was careful how he conducted or expressed himself before me. At one time, however, he came to my house, and asked my advice, whether he should proceed to translate the Book of Plates (referred to by Mr. Hale) or not. He said that God had commanded him to translate it, but he was afraid of the people: he remarked, that he was to exhibit the plates to the world, at a certain time, which was then about eighteen months distant. I told him I was not qualified to give advice in such cases. Smith frequently said to me that I should see the plates at the time appointed.
“After the time stipulated, had passed away, Smith being at my house was asked why he did not fulfil his promise, show the Golden Plates and prove himself an honest man? He replied that he, himself was deceived, but that a-should see them if I were where they were. I reminded him then, that I stated at the time he made the promise, I was fearful “the enchantment would be so powerful” as to remove the plates, when the time came in which they were to be revealed.
“These circumstances and many others of a similar tenor, embolden me to say that Joseph Smith Jr. is not a man of truth and veracity; and that his general character in this part of the country, is that of an impostor, hypocrite and liar.
NATHANIEL C. LEWIS.”
Affirmed and subscribed, before me, March 20th 1834.
CHARLES DIMON, J. Peace.
We subjoin the substance of several affidavits, all taken and made before CHARLES DIMON Esq. by credible individuals, who have resided near to, and been well acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr.—Illustrative of his character and conduct, while in this region.
JOSHUA M’KUNE states, that he “was acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, during their residence in Harmony, Penn’a., and knew them to be artful seducers;”—That they informed him that “Smith had found a sword, breast-plate, and a pair of spectacles, at the time he found the gold plates”—that “these were to be shown to all the world as evidence of the truth of what was contained in those plates,” and that “he (M’Kune) and others should see them at a specified time.” He also states that “the time for the exhibition of the Plates, &c. has gone by, and he has not seen them.” “Joseph Smith, Jr. told him that his (Smith’s) first-born child was to translate the characters, and hieroglyphics, upon the Plates into our language at the age of three years; but this child was not permitted to live to verify the prediction.” He also states, that “he has been intimately acquainted with Isaac Hale twenty-four years, and has always found him to be a man of truth, and good morals.”
HEZEKIAH M’KUNE states, that “in conversation with Joseph Smith Jr., he (Smith) said he was nearly equal to Jesus Christ; that he was a prophet sent by God to bring in the Jews, and that he was the greatest prophet that had ever arisen.”
ALVA HALE son of Isaac Hale, states, that Joseph Smith Jr. told him that his (Smith’s) gift in seeing with a stone and hat, was a gift from God,” but also states “that Smith told him at another time that this “peeping” was all d——d nonsense. He (Smith) was deceived himself but did not intend to deceive others;—that he intended to quit the business, (of peeping) and labor for his livelihood.” That afterwards, Smith told him, he should see the Plates from which he translated the book of Mormon,” and accordingly at the time specified by Smith, he (Hale) “called to see the plates, but Smith did not show them, but appeared angry.” He further states, that he knows Joseph Smith Jr. to be an impostor, and a liar, and knows Martin Harris to be a liar likewise. That his father (Isaac Hale) can both see and write, the declarations of the Mormons to the contrary notwithstanding; and that the letter sent by his father, Isaac Hale, to Dr. P. Hurlbut was written by Jesse Hale, his (I. Hale’s) son, and was correct and true.”
LEVI LEWIS states, that he has “been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and that he has heard them both say, adultery was no crime. Harris said he did not blame Smith for his (Smith’s) attempt to seduce Eliza Winters &c.;”—Mr. Lewis says that he “knows Smith to be a liar;—that he saw him (Smith) intoxicated at three different times while he was composing the Book of Mormon, and also that he has heard Smith when driving oxen, use language of the greatest profanity. Mr. Lewis also testifies that he heard Smith say that he (Smith) was as good as Jesus Christ;—that it was as bad to injure him as it was to injure Jesus Christ.” “With regard to the plates, Smith said God had deceived him—which was the reason he (Smith) did not show the plates.”
NATHANIEL C. LEWIS states “he has always resided in the same neighborhood with Isaac Hale, and knows him to be a man of truth, and good judgment.” He further states, that “he has been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and knows them to be lying impostors.”
SOPHIA LEWIS, certifies that she “heard a conversation between Joseph Smith Jr., and the Rev. James B. Roach, in which Smith called Mr. R. a d——d fool. Smith also said in the same conversation that he (Smith) was as good as Jesus Christ;” and that she “has frequently heard Smith use profane language. She states that she heard Smith say “the Book of Plates could not be opened under penalty of death by any other person but his (Smith’s) first-born, which was to be a male.” She says she “was present at the birth of this child, and that it was still-born and very much deformed.”
We certify that we have long been acquainted with Joshua M’Kune, Hezekiah M’Kune, Alva Hale, Levi Lewis, Nathaniel C. Lewis and Sophia Lewis, [the individuals furnishing the several statements above referred to] and that they are all persons of good moral character, and undoubted truth and veracity.
ABRAHAM DUBOIS, J. Peace.
JASON WILSON, Post Master.
Great Bend, Susquehanna Co. Penn’a.
March 20th, 1834.