Bushman on Spaulding

Have you heard of the Spaulding Theory? Historian Richard Bushman summarizes its life as follows:

The problem [with the Book of Mormon], one newspaper editor wrote in 1839, was to account for a work ‘being evidently the production of a cultivated mind, yet found in the hands of an exceedingly ignorant illiterate person.’ Two years after [Alexander] Campbell’s pamphlet [criticizing the Book of Mormon], an explanation was forthcoming from Ebner D. Howe, the editor of the Painsville Telegraph, a few miles from Mormon headquarters in Kirtland. In 1834, Howe published the findings of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, an excommunicated Mormon and a violent enemy of Joseph Smith who had been employed by followers of Campbell to collect derogatory reports on Smith. Hurlbut found a half dozen old-timers in Conneaut, Ohio, who thought the Book of Mormon resembled a novel written twenty years earlier by Solomon Spaulding, a Dartmouth graduate and former town resident. The Conneaut people swore that the Spaulding story described lost tribes of Israel moving from Jerusalem to America led by characters named Nephi and Lehi. One deponent remembered the names Moroni and Zarahemla.

Hurlbut tracked down Spaulding’s widow, who was living in Massachusetts, and eventually located a manuscript called ‘Manuscript Found.’ Spaulding’s story told of a party of Romans blown off course en route to Britain during the heyday of the Roman Empire. Landing in America, the Romans lived among the Indian tribes and wrote an account of their experiences addressed to future generations. Spaulding purportedly discovered the parchments and translated them from the Latin. To Hurlbut’s disappointment, none of the telltale names cited by his informants appeared in the novel, and the story bore little resemblance to the Book of Mormon apart from the migration to the New World. Hurlbut concluded his deponents must have had another manuscript in mind and laid the ‘Manuscript Found’ aside. Piecing together one surmise after another, he and Howe decided that Sidney Ridgon, the only Mormon with the wit to write the Book of Mormon, had obtained Spaulding’s non-extant manuscript in Pittsburgh, where Spaulding had submitted his work for publication and where Rigdon had lived for a time. According to the theory, Rigdon transformed the novel into the Book of Mormon by adding the religious parts. He conveyed the manuscript to Smith without being detected, and then pretended to be converted when the missionaries brought the Book of Mormon to Kirtland in 1830. Given the complexity of the book, there had to have been ‘from the beginning of the imposture, a more talented knave behind the curtain.’

The Spaulding theory remained the standard explanation of the Book of Mormon for more than a century. As long as thirty and forty years after the book’s publication, new witnesses were discovered, linking Rigdon to the manuscript and verifying resemblances between the two works. In the 1860s, accounts of Joseph Smith’s early life began to make references to shadowy strangers in the neighborhood, presumably Rigdon smuggling in the manuscript, even though Rigdon, still alive at the time, vigorously denied it. The theory was elaborated year after year as witnesses remembered incriminating facts they had forgotten earlier.

The downfall of the Spaulding theory began in 1884 when ‘Manuscript Found’ — still never published and subsequently lost — turned up in Hawaii and came into the hands of James Fairchild, president of Oberlin College. In an article on the Spaulding theory, Fairchild concluded that the manuscript Hurlbut found was the novel that the witnesses remembered and that the alleged second manuscript never existed. He said evidence for any Spaulding manuscript coming into the hands of Rigdon and thence to Smith was tenuous. Although conservative in his judgment, Fairchild concluded that the theory did not hold water.

Around the turn of the nineteenth century, a few students of Mormonism — I. Woodbridge Riley, Theodore Schroeder, and Walter Prince — offered a new explanation of the Book of Mormon‘s composition. They did not so much refute Spaulding as supply an alternative theory in the spirit of Alexander Campbell. The book, these authors hypothesized, showed signs of Joseph Smith’s psychology and culture, and so must be his work. In 1945, Fawn Brodie, whose biography was acknowledged by non-Mormon scholars as the premiere study of Joseph Smith, explicitly rebutted the Spaulding theory, noting chronological inconsistencies, dubious testimonies, and the absence of evidence for a link to Rigdon. Brodie turned instead to the analysis of Riley and, before him, Campbell. The Book of Mormon was best explained, Brodie argued, by Joseph Smith’s ‘responsiveness to the provincial opinions of his time.’ Interest in the Spaulding theory revived in 1977 when handwriting experts speculated that Spaulding’s writing appeared in the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, but on further consideration the experts backed off, and the theory assumed the status of an historiographical artifact without credibility among serious scholars. (Rough Stone Rolling, 90-91.)

Even though Bushman notes the downfall of this theory and its lack of “credibility among serious scholars”, many Mormons (including Bushman) are probably aware that the Spaulding theory, even if discredited among serious scholars, is very much alive and well and is used as evidence or explanation for the Book of Mormon as fraud by a great number of people in 2008 — perhaps by more people in 2008 than at any time before. This raises the interesting question of why such a theory continues to hold on despite dismissal by Fawn Brodie and others, including Bushman, as historically implausible and even unlikely. There are many other theories that those who do not share Mormons’ faith can advance to explain the Book of Mormon. Nevertheless, the Spaulding theory lives on and will perhaps never be discarded by critics of the Church’s truth claims. In this sense, Hurlbut and Howe were far more successful than they probably imagined at the time in creating the Spaulding theory to criticize the Book of Mormon.

Comments

  1. Kevin Barney says:

    The absurd new Stanford “wordprint” study to prove Rigdon/Spaulding authorship of the BoM is Exhibit A for your point.

  2. Kevin, did that study even include Joseph Smith as a possible author?

    I heard it did not. If so, no one should be surprised that the study concluded that Joseph did not author the book.

  3. Maybe people are just stupider in 2008 than they were in 1950.

  4. There is no end of amusement to be had in the history of the Spaulding theory.

    Proponents of the Spaulding theory have to explain how Joseph Smith could have access to the writings of Spaulding, who died when Joseph was 10 years old. The most popular theory was that Sidney Rigdon had access to the manuscript when he and Spaulding both lived in the Pittsburg, Pennsylvania area, and that Rigdon gave it to Joseph Smith. The obvious problem is that Rigdon didn’t meet Joseph until December 1830, a year after the Book of Mormon manuscript was completed.

    Pomeroy Tucker later tried to solve this problem by claiming in his 1867 book Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism that there was a “mysterious stranger” who regularly visited Joseph Smith just prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon. This “literary genius behind the screen” (p. 75) was triumphantly revealed by Tucker to be Rigdon.

    How Rigdon came to know Joseph Smith was never adequately explained, and remains a major, unanswered problem facing the Spaulding theory.

  5. Seth,

    Joseph Smith’s writings were not included in the study according to the authors because he frequently collaborated with scribes. The authors don’t even trust the 23 or so letters that are in his own handwriting.

  6. This raises the interesting question of why such a theory continues to hold on despite dismissal by Fawn Brodie and others, including Bushman, as historically implausible and even unlikely.

    Because it serves to further the agenda of the Joseph Smith haters?

    But seriously, as a critic, why do all the heavy lifting if someone else has done it for you? There’s no minimal standard for becoming a critic of Joseph Smith.

    The objective of the critic is to simply shift the burden and introduce doubt. Intellectual rigor is not necessary.

    TBM: “I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I believe the Book of Mormon was an ancient record translated by the gift and power of God by Joseph Smith.”

    Joseph Smith Critic: “Really? My preacher told me that Joseph Smith ripped the Book of Mormon off from some guy named Spaulding a long time ago and passed it off as some kind of bogus revelation. Sounds like Joseph Smith made up the whole thing.”

    TBM: “Really? I’ve never heard of Spaulding before. What’s that all about?”

    [Whereupon the TBM goes home and enters “Joseph Smith and Spaulding” into a Google search.]

    Mission accomplished.

  7. Cris, we typically shy away from acronyms like TBM here. Thanks.

  8. Sorry. I was just trying to highlight the distance between the relative positions using shorthand. I didn’t suspect any sensitivity given the context. So I know what to avoid in the future, is it acronyms generally that are an issue? Or acronyms “like TBM”?

  9. Cris, “TBM” is a touchy one because it’s often used in a denigrating way. Can I suggest “faithful Mormon” instead?

    Kevin et al., wordprint studies of the Book of Mormon in general do not inspire confidence, in my view. Dozens of them exist, each with a somewhat different statistical model, and generally reaching hugely divergent conclusions. Such analysis seems to be helpful in some other domains, but those fields have distinct advantages in comparison with the Book of Mormon. In particular, for all alleged authors, there are usually know baseline text samples. For the Book of Mormon, many alleged authors have left no other text samples so there can be no baseline. Given the range of very different conclusions that have been reached, I’d recommend not being impressed by any of the wordprint/stylometric/whatever studies, pro or anti.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    JNS, I tend to agree. For my published comments on previous computer stylometry studies, see my comment to the thread I linked to in no. 1.

    This particular study is bad in an especially egregious way, because the authors are relying on the statistics without a handle on the history. I don’t care how good your statistical model is, you can’t apply it in isolation without taking the historical scholarship into account. Which is why this effort is particularly embarrassing.

  11. StillConfused says:

    Hmmm. Never heard of any of this. How do you guys find the time to learn all of this stuff?

  12. Those who comment as much as they do have no life.

  13. Kevin, fair enough. I suppose trying to dig a gold mine using turnips as your dynamite would be even more egregious if you’ve also located the prospective mine in the wrong place!

    Adding to your critiques, which take the statistics basically for granted, I’d also note that these models aren’t known to be good. More specifically, they might be right or horribly wrong, and we lack the ability to tell the difference. A central problem is that these models assume facts which are not in evidence. Is it really true that people have a usage rate of “of” that’s permanent and portable like their DNA? Maybe; it’s just hard to say. Certainly it’s not always true. Some people have multiple writing modes. Faulkner’s novels often come up stylometrically as having multiple authors, for example. This is why baseline comparison texts are so important.

    For Joseph Smith as an author, we’re in a messier place still. If we’re to regard the Book of Mormon as in some sense his literary product, we have to see it as his first major writing project. This means we might perhaps expect some stylistic variability just because he’s finding his voice — or at any rate it’s a plausible hunch, and one that’s very hard to test in an era when most people’s first writing efforts happen in early grade school.

    The general rule is that statistics is never magic. If a nonstatistical outsider can’t figure out where the knowledge in a given study is coming from, the answer is probably that it’s coming from nowhere.

  14. Given the range of very different conclusions that have been reached, I’d recommend not being impressed by any of the wordprint/stylometric/whatever studies, pro or anti.

    That’s pretty much where I’m at as well.

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    BTW, if anyone is interested in recent attempts to resurrect the Spaulding theory in the historical realm, I highly recommend Matt Roper’s devastating “The Mythical ‘Mansuscript Found,'” FARMS Review 17/2.

  16. Hey, just thought I’d add a quick note on the wordprint article. It has seven authors, Cowdery, Pratt (PPP), Rigdon, Spaulding, Isaiah-Malachi, Barlow (Joel), and Longfellow (last two as controls). So, yeah, no way that Joe Smith could have written the golden Bible if no one asked him, huh?

  17. measure76 over at the Recovering from Mormonism blog has posted an explanation of how the Stanford study was constructed.

    Apparently they were unable to locate reliable documents attributed to Joseph Smith for comparison and that is why he was not included as a potential author.

    Here’s the link.

    I could be wrong on this score though and misrepresented the facts. So I’ve asked for clarification on this point if measure76 wants to give it.

  18. Louis Midgley says:

    In endnote #18 in the Jockers/Criddle essay, we find the following: “In the case of Joseph Smith, we do not believe that even the small number of letters written in his own hand can be reasonable attributed to him.” (This can be found on p. 21 of that essay.) This seems to me to be a very strange assertion. There are, it turns out, the necessary the necessary five thousand words written and not dictated by Joseph Smith that could have been used by Jocker, if he and his associates had wanted to do so.

  19. Given the range of very different conclusions that have been reached, I’d recommend not being impressed by any of the wordprint/stylometric/whatever studies, pro or anti.

    The problem with stylometrics is that it’s a total black art, a kludge, and you can apply it to basically prove whatever you want it to.

    I hadn’t seen the Stanford study, but this sounds like a great case to add to my dissertation.

  20. Queuno, that’s my sense, as well. How does this fit with your dissertation?

  21. Bob, Why? I spent some time reading that site, and it’s absolutely horrible history.

  22. does anyone have a pdf of the criddle paper? i’m curious to read it. i’m also curious whether they controlled for KJV citations.

  23. #22: Ray, You may be right. But I don’t think “Spalding” is over history, or simple history. It’s incomplete history. Spalding wrote many things. If he is going to be looked at all, then everything he wrote should be looked at, considered, and ruled in or ruled out.

  24. Bob,

    You could probably say that about anything anyone wrote – including that one blog post I wrote last year.

  25. #25: Seth, maybe we will see this on ‘Cold Case’ someday(?)

  26. I would hesitate to dismiss all statistical studies. Having read the Book of Mormon many times, I find the various authors (Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Mormon, Moroni, Zeniff, etc.) to be distinctive in vocabulary, grammar, and style. I haven’t seen the full details of how the various statistical studies were done, but wordprint analyses I heard about 15 or so years ago sounded reasonable. I suppose the devil is in the details. Statistics can definitely be misused.

    The many distinctive voices of the Book of Mormon suggests very strongly to me that Joseph Smith was given the translation line by line, though the Isaiah passages are controversial.

    I wonder who did the translation. Moroni? The 3 Nephites? Perhaps the divine translator cheated (like most translators including Tyndale) and cribbed from someone else’s Bible translation as he saw fit. I doubt it was Joseph Smith who did the cribbing.

  27. Tom, the challenge with the statistical studies is that the set of authors who find through wordprint/stylometrics/etc. that the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith and doesn’t have multiple authors are not obviously “doing it wrong.” That is to say, if we can imagine comparing their methodologies to some of the studies showing multiple authorship before we knew the results, we would have a hard time guessing which one we would expect to produce either more accurate or more favorable results. So often people choose one set of studies over the other essentially on the basis of the results, which of course makes the studies themselves meaningless.

  28. I’ve debated with many a Spaulding theorist and I don’t think the arguments by Bushman or in the comments above are going to win many of them back to belief in occam’s razor. (I’m actually a descendant of the Winchester family that figure into this story in that Hurlbut was a relative and Benjamin Winchester, a gggg uncle, was the first writer assigned by early church leaders to debunk the Spaulding theory; so I consider the Spaulding debate an ancient family tradition.)

    There are two major things that keep this theory alive:

    (1) The Hurlbut affidavits on their face seem compelling. If you read those initially with an open mind, you have think, “wow.” It’s not enough to dismiss them as gathered by an apostate because orthodox Mormons always used to dismiss Hurlbut’s New York and Pennsylvania affidavits the same way, and now we’ve realized that those are actually quite good — Bushman, for example, makes liberal use of these other Hurlbut affidavits. Dislodging the theorists from their conspiracy requires making a strong argument why the Conneaut affidavits must be dismissed. Brodie makes some very good counterarguments, but she obviously didn’t convince everyone.

    (2) The second thing that keeps is the notion that Joseph Smith was incapable of writing the Book of Mormon. Ironically this argument is constantly being propped up by LDS scholars (including Bushman) who overstate Joseph’s ignorance (he wasn’t ignorant) and overstate the feat of creating the book (the feat is noteworthy, but not incredible). Everything we know from Joseph’s later life shows that he was a remarkable person — highly intelligent, and visionary. I don’t see anything in the Book of Mormon that is beyond him. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t inspired by God to bring it forth, but emphasis on the claim that for Joseph to dictate it was inarguably miraculous is a major prop that keeps the Spaulding theory alive.

    For Spaulding theorists, I think that Dan Vogel threw down the gauntlet in Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet. In this book, he dissects the Book of Mormon, suggesting when different parts of it would have been written, and lines these up with contemporary events in Joseph’s life in 1828-1830. I’m not saying that I agree with every connection Vogel paints — I think many overreach — but I do think he effectively pulls the second prop out from under the Spaulding theorists, showing that Joseph both could have composed the book and showing literary evidence that he did.

    It’s now in the court of the Spaulding theorists to actually deal with the Book of Mormon. If the book is this mishmash of an underlying Spaulding Manuscript which is expanded and altered by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, or some combination thereof, that is something a detailed literary analysis will be able to reveal. If an ur-text is embedded in the Book of Mormon, that’s something you can demonstrate. So, I say to the theorists, let’s have it. Step back from the conspiracy details of when Sidney Rigdon was in Pittsburgh and how many lost manuscripts you want to imagine, and why Parley P. Pratt (who would have had to be in on the conspiracy) ultimately broke with his man Rigdon, etc., and dig into the Book of Mormon. We have the divine origins argument of the Book of Mormon through Joseph Smith and we have the natural original argument of the Book of Mormon through Joseph Smith.

    The fact is that until you open the Book of Mormon and demonstrate Spaulding, you’re exiled to the peanut gallery.

  29. #29: I am not a Spaulding theorist, But are you looking for something like this?

    http://www.mormonstudies.com/army02.htm

  30. Bob (#30): Thanks, no. I’m not looking for parallels, although they could be used to support an argument about one of the theoretical voices in the Book of Mormon. I’m looking for something like the documentary hypothesis of the first books of the Old Testament, where the source texts of J, E, P, and D can often be persuasively disentangled from the text of the editors who combined them.

    I’m saying that if there was a source text “MF” that provided much of the “non-religious” content for the Book of Mormon, and if MF was originally a coherent narrative written by one author (Spaulding), then it should be quite possible to separate out that text by identifying a coherent voice and narrative that is distinct from the voice of the editor(s) of the Book of Mormon as we now have it.

  31. John Hamer, very well said indeed! I imagine it would be possible to pare down the Book of Mormon by removing all the sermons and religious asides and leaving the rest of the narrative superstructure — with the claim that this superstructure was the Spaulding contribution. But this wouldn’t in itself be a sufficient argument. In the Old Testament, the various authors appear to differ in systematic ways in vocabulary and narrative style. The Spaulding material would have to show such clear differences from the allegedly grafted-on religious material. This is a nontrivial hurdle, isn’t it?

  32. #31 & 32: You guys really want to feel the nail holes! I am still dealing with ” and it came to pass..” claimed to be in both writings.
    I don’t think a written “missing link” will be found. If anything, more like when you watch Bill Murray’s movie “Scrooged” this year, how much Dickens (A Christmas Carol) will you see in it? ( not much). But it’s there.

  33. Bob, my biggest problem with the last link is that the actual word chart doesn’t support the claims. When you look word-by-word (which, frankly, is a ridiculous starting point when it includes so many words that were common during that time. Remember, one of the strongest claims of someone who supports inspiration is that Joseph didn’t “translate” it in a traditional sense (reading and transposing word-for-word from one language to another) but rather that he was limited by his own vocabulary.

    In essence, the only claim that can be made by the vast majority of the words cited is that they were words that were quite common for that time but do not appear in the NT. A very reasonable response would be, “So what?”

  34. Meant to say, “support the claims, when you look . . . during that time.)” I don’t know how I missed that in my re-read.

  35. #34: Ray, I more likely would say it’s a ridiculous stopping point. I looked up “it came to pass..”, and it was used by more people than just Spaulding, but Spaulding was nicknamed “Old it came to pass”, ( because he used it so much in his writings). But, if this was a conspiracy, surely JS would be smarter than to steal this line of Spaulding(?)
    For me, I know too little about “Spaulding”, to put it in a conspiracy camp, or a “move along people, there is nothing to see here” camp.

  36. To me the biggest issue with the “Spaulding theory” runs thru Rigdon. Its proponents literally have to make up James Bond type scenarios where Rigdon secretly travels to Upstate NY to visit JS and help him dictate the BOM with a copy of the Spaudling manuscript.

    Then a couple of years later Rigdon gets converted to Mormonism.

  37. #37: The biggest issue of the Spaudling theory is it’s like having an X-wife. You think she is gone, but she keeps showing up on your doorstep.

  38. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    Dr. Midgley remarks that “In endnote #18 in the Jockers/Criddle
    essay, we find the following: ‘In the case of Joseph Smith, we
    do not believe that even the small number of letters written
    in his own hand can be reasonable attributed to him.'”

    From conversations with the Stanford researchers.I am
    assured that they would be very happy to re-run their
    computer analysis for BoM authorship, if the officials
    of the LDS Church will make available a certified sample
    of the early Joseph Smith, Jr. writings — one that is
    lengthy enough for word-print analysis, and does not
    contain any words/corrections/editing by other persons.

    Dale R. Broadhurst
    web-host
    SidneyRigdon.com, etc.

  39. Dale, beyond what is available on Selected Collections? Why would the Church certify anything? That just seems bizarre.

  40. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #40 — Yes I have that DVD set and could loan it to the
    Stanford researchers. But I think it best that some real
    Joseph Smith experts determine a proper writing sample
    for word-printing studies — one that everybody can agree
    does not contain inpout from Hyrum Smith, Oliver Cowdery,
    etc. I’ll suggest that to Ron Romig, next time I contact
    Communiuty of Christ Archives.

    Dale

  41. An easy thing would be to go through Journals 1, of the JSPP and use what those scholars have identified as Joseph’s own writing. Also, as the Book of Mormon was dictated and recorded, why not also compare similarly prepared manuscripts like the JST or the Book of Abraham? Or other known specific dictation-scribe arrangements. It is easy enough to identify Cowdery and others. Seems like from any vantage point, such an analysis would be cogent.

  42. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #42 — Your point is well taken, but I suppose that the
    Stanford researchers were very skiddish about having the
    expertese to select a proper, lengthy JS writing sample.
    JS was called illiterate in some early reports, suggesting
    he may have had assistance in his 1820s writing efforts.
    But his vocabulary and writing abilities obviously soon
    improved (in his letters to Emma, for example).

    Somebody suggested his 1844 political pamphlet, as a good
    example of a lengthy JS text, but it is too far removed
    from the 1820s to serve as a word-printing standard. Much
    of the contents may have come from G.J. Adams, etc.

    Eventually we shall have a “standard” JS word-print, that
    all can agree is truly his, from the early years. Until
    then, perhaps we should concentrate on other issues.

    Dale

  43. It’s also worth noting that the word-print analysis was done on the published edition of the Book of Mormon, and not on the printers manuscript or the fragments of the original manuscript. They might as well have tested to see whether E. B. Grandin wrote it.

    Furthermore, wordprint studies are only credible evidence in support of theories that already have a substantial amount of evidence in their favor. Unless there is a substantial amount of independent evidence, wordprint studies are totally useless. Given the thoroughly repudiated state of the Spalding theory, Criddle’s wordprint analysis might as well show that Sarah Palin wrote the Book of Mormon.

  44. Byron Marchant says:

    First we had Fawn Brodie eliminate Rigdon (and his use of Spalding’s writings) as the author and in doing so she (Brodie) had to attempt to “discredit” the Pittsburgh post office eyewitness.

    With the recent discovery of the 1816 Pittsburgh newspaper article showing (in a single edition) the names of both Solomon Spalding and Sidney Rigdon as needing to come to the office and pick up their mail, the lady at the office has been vindicated and Fawn Brodie (who people like “Historian” Richard Bushman want to grant sainthood) is shamed. Ms Brodie’s principal consultant, Dale Morgan, warned her twice in letters (Dale Morgan edited by John Walker) that she needed to be very careful what she had to write in her book about Rigdon being The Book of Mormon author (redactor) but she failed to take his advice. Shame, again, on her.

    Now a new word print study confirms the obvious (see the 1912 MS “Sidney Rigdon, the Real Founder of Mormonism” by William H. Whitsitt). Not only is the Pittsburgh eyewitness vindicated, so am I (Mormon Roots by Byron Marchant) and Dale Broadhurst and the California researchers (Art Vanick, et al.). Of course, nothing will change the minds of those who want to believe (it is simply another reason v faith example). I could go on, but I’ll stop there for now.

  45. This thread is becoming a magnet for pro-Spalding whack-jobs.

  46. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #46 — I apologize if my posting offended you in any way.
    People like Byron and myself have been studying this topic
    for quite awhile. I guess we are just naturally curious to
    see what faithful LDS are saying, now that they too are
    expressing an interest in threads like his one. For years
    the issue was hardly discussed at all.

    Dale

  47. Byron Marchant says:

    A “…wack-jobs [person]” is anyone who disagrees with the anti antis. The discussion of a particular point is completely beyond the reasonable expectation of any such person(s).

  48. Dale, I hardly think that your reasonable and thoughtful comments can plausibly be characterized as giving offense. I remain a Spaulding skeptic but the hypothesis certainly strikes me as lying within the bounds of civil discourse.

    That said, I think Byron’s comment has a kind of triumphalistic air to it that may not be entirely helpful. I agree that there is some historical evidence that fits with the Spaulding hypothesis. Yet a range of people also find reasons other than, or in addition to, faith commitments to assign low probability to that hypothesis. Accounts by Vogel, Morain, and others offer entirely naturalistic accounts of the origins of the Book of Mormon that do not require the hard-to-understand decision of Rigdon to select the apparently unaccomplished Joseph Smith, Jr., as the front man for his religious endeavor, and so forth.

  49. Dale, I realize that you’ve been studying this for some time. Many of us on the bloggernacle have been studying it, too.

    For my part, I agree with Bill Russell’s assessment of Dan Vogel’s bio of Joseph Smith, The Making of a Prophet, where he says something to the effect that Vogel’s book makes it impossible to maintain that Joseph wasn’t the source of the Book of Mormon (whether directly as author or indirectly as inspired “translator”).

    I read your entire site some time ago, and within the past few days, I’ve read much of what Criddle has written. Some parts of it are intriguing, but on the whole it reminds me of something that Bertrand Russell once said:

    It was an interesting thesis, giving unity and meaning to… human affairs. Like other historical theories, it required, if it was to be made plausible, some distortion of facts and considerable ignorance.

    It’s hardly surprising that there are many Rigdon-like ideas in the Book of Mormon; many of Rigdon’s religious views were fairly common religious views. But the idea that Rigdon drove the theological content of the Book of Mormon is untenable. For example, the Book of Mormon conception of God is Sabellianist, or modal. Basically, there’s one God with 3 modes, as Abinidi explicitly teaches. This was a common misunderstanding of the (rather confusing) Trinitarian dogma. Rigdon, on the other hand, believed in a binitarian Godhead, consisting of a separate Father and Son, with the Holy Ghost being represented by qualities shared between the Two — as we see taught in the Lectures on Faith.

  50. Dale: I think you’ve almost single-handedly resurrected the Spaulding theory for a new generation with your websites — which, by the way, I think are extremely valuable repositories of primary sources relating to early Mormonism on the web. But to come to the next stage, we now need a book-length argument that spells out your thesis in a logical, scholarly fashion. Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma didn’t do it. (This is a very odd book where multiple editors are commenting on previous versions of their own book and where they are spending their time dueling with a century and a half of arguments against the theory, rather than spelling out evidence. It reads like a series of innuendos heaped together to form not an academic argument, but a conspiracy theory.)

    What we need is an academic argument. (That can certainly include a chapter on word-print analysis as a supplement, but I’m as dubious of word-printing the Book of Mormon as I am of digitally deciding that the Community of Christ daguerreotype which is not of Joseph Smith must be of Joseph Smith.)

  51. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #50 — Thanks for the clarification.

    There is always the chance, that on any particular point
    of controversy, you are more correct than I am.

    If I do not begin with that premise, I may indeed end up as a whack-job.

    #51 — I try to share my discoveries, whether “pro” or
    “con;” to the extent that some folks accuse me of being
    “too pro-Mormon.” To my own way of thinking, at least,
    I remain a faithful Restorationist and a would-be Latter
    Day Saint (6th generation).

    But all of that is beside the point. Either this new
    word-print paper will have an effect upon non-members’
    opinions, or it will not. If it does have an effect, it
    may hinder the LDS missionary program’s progress.

    I watch to see the results with some curiosity.

    Dale

  52. Well put, John, though I remain skeptical about whether it’s possible.

    The type of advocacy we see favoring the Spalding theory is rather common; it is the brand of advocacy used to advance conspiracy theories.

    Specifically, most of the evidence is little more than innuendo, the presentation of the innuendo is taken to constitute an argument in-and-of-itself, and the narrative is crafted to conform to what remains unknown instead of what actually is known.

    It’s very difficult to argue with this, because it’s difficult to know where to start. When you explain that it’s not actually an argument, you get accused of making an ad hominem attack. When you try to explain that innuendo doesn’t cut the mustard, you get accused of being closed-minded. And when you try to explain the gap between their conspiracy advocacy and real scholarly disputation, you get accused of ad hominem attacks. Perhaps the best response is simply to note that it is a conspiratorial argumentative method and move on. Unfortunately, this does not keep others from falling under its sway.

    For my part, I’m convinced that a scholarly treatment of the Spalding theory is untenable. It is only really interesting or intriguing when its arguments are amorphous and difficult to isolate. Once you spell it out in plain terms, any excitement around it immediately evaporates.

  53. Minor correction: When I say, “a scholarly treatment of the Spalding theory” I mean to say, “a scholarly treatment that argues in favor of the Spalding theory.” There are already several outstanding scholarly treatments of the Spalding theory, and every one of them argues against it (Lester Bush’s Dialogue article comes to mind).

  54. One more thing on the Spalding theory:

    There’s one thing that all Spalding theorists have in common: Everyone who believes in the Spalding theory starts out by concluding that Joseph was an idiot. Unfortunately, many Mormons learn to believe this in Sunday School. When I went to BYU, it was the accepted orthodoxy that Joseph was an idiot — my wife had a professor who told the class that “no serious scholar thought Joseph Smith could write the Book of Mormon,” and he actually admitted to bending the truth when she took him my copy of BH Roberts’ Study of the Book of Mormon with post-it notes that I’d placed on key pages. More recently, you can learn that Joseph was an idiot by reading Bushman’s latest biography, the full title of which is something like Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. A Cultural Biography of Mormonism’s Founding Flunky.

    Gotta’ hand it to Brodie and Vogel: They actually think more highly of Joseph’s natural abilities than many (most?) faithful Mormons, and even more than a few apologists.

  55. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #55 — Dr. Bush was the responder to my 1982 MHA paper on
    using Spalding’s preserved fictional writings to formulate
    a new approach to examining the Spalding authorship claims.

    I can only wonder now what Dr. Bush would think of the new
    word-print study results. He chided me at the time for
    not having conducted rigorous quantitaive analysis myself.

    As to writing a scholary volume on the Spalding matter, I
    think it could only be done as a history of the old
    controversy itself. I’m not interested in doing that.

    I am more interested in writing a documentary exposition
    on the actions and religious motivations of Sidney Rigdon
    in 1823-29. The Stanford researchers point to Rigdon’s
    1826-27 residence in Bainbridge twp., Geauga Co., Ohio,
    as the probable venue of his input for the BoM (if indeed
    such a thing ever happened).

    If I had the necessary stamina and good health to do
    smething useful nowadays; that is where I woulkd begin.

    Dale

  56. Byron Marchant says:

    My suggestion above, for a “…discussion of a particular point [rather than personal attacks and defensive posturing]…” (post 48) was followed by “…I read your [Dale Broadhurst’s] entire site some time ago…” from DKL (post 50) and “…we now need a book-length argument that spells out your [Dale Broadhurst’s alleged] thesis in a logical, scholarly fashion…” by John Hamer (post 51).

    Dr. Whitsitt’s unpublished MS (a 1306 pp scholarly work) has been sitting in the Library of Congress since 1912 (about 96 years) and available on Dale’s website now for many years:

    http://sidneyrigdon.com/wht/1891WhtB.htm

    When I first learned of it (about 1987) I could find no Mormon response so, a few years later (1994), I wrote and published my Mormon Roots pamphlet:

    http://sidneyrigdon.com/roots1.htm

    where I mentioned “Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism” in some detail.

    Before anyone writes another book, maybe someone can respond to these two works, one published and the other available to anyone who wishes to go look at it in the Library Of Congress archives (and both included in Dale Broadhurst’s e-archives).

    In addition, maybe someone could do a decent review of Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon?: The Spalding Enigma (St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House, 2005):

    http://solomonspalding.com/Lib/Enig2005.htm

    since FARMS (and some others) seem to be having a difficult time understanding the printed page.

  57. Dale, to be frank, your primary-source work is far more valuable than any and all “rigorous quantitative” work to date on Book of Mormon authorship. It’s simply unclear to me where the alleged rigor in these studies comes from. There’s more than a little ad hocery in the statistical models they use; they’re cooked a bit more than rare, even when the researchers are fully honest and well-intentioned.

  58. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #57- My “primary-source work” falls into three categories:

    1. documenting the development of authorship claims
    2. documenting the early career of Sidney Rigdon
    3. examining and investigating Spalding’s writings

    It was my preliminary reporting on the third category of
    research that caught Dr. Bush’s interest. He was not much
    convinced that the 1833 “Conneaut witnesses” compiled
    their recollections of Spalding’s writing project(s) with
    any substantial recognition of “Spaldingish” story-line
    in the Book of Mormon.

    Marvin S. Hill was much more receptive to the possibility
    that the Conneaut witnesses had actually read or heard
    read, sections of the BoM, and based theiur testimony
    upon that c. 1832-33 reading.

    At any rate, if the Conneaut witnesses DID base their
    recollections on atextual resemblance they noticed
    AFTER consulting the BoM, the question naturally arises:
    “Which part of the book did they think resembled the
    writings of Solomon Spalding?”

    It was my attempt to investigate that matter, that
    caught Dr. Bush’s attention, and caused him to demand
    of me some quantitative textual analysis to back up my
    hypothesis (that the latter part of Alma was one of
    the most “Spaldingish” parts of the BoM text.

    I really wish that Dr. Hill had consented to
    responder to my MHA paper — but Dr. Bush was far more
    interested in carrying out that task.

    Now, after many years, we are again talking about this
    topic. Too bad Hill and Bush are not here to help us.

    Dale

  59. Byron Marchant says:

    #59- Dale,

    Weren’t you wanting to refer to #55 (DKL) or #58 (J. Nelson-Seawright), not #57, here?

  60. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    Hi Byron —

    Either poster will do. I have problems organizing my
    thoughts in an on-line forum like this one. My problems
    with progressive neuropathy have greatly increased since
    last you saw me in Utah. I have great difficulty in
    concentrating on more than one thing at a time.

    Right now, I’m up to my neck in old file folders, trying to
    figure out what Vernal Holley had to say about Josephus,
    back in 1977. My memory is fading on me these days.

    As to Spalding research, I think that the Stanford folks
    have at last hit upon a method whereby to demonstrate which
    parts of the BoM read most like Spalding’s known fictional
    writings. That is helpful to me, if to nobody else.

    Dale

  61. Byron Marchant says:

    #61 Dale,

    Sorry to hear about your declining health.

    I am currently spending some time with Josephus. If I get anything that I believe is useful I will pass it on.

    Byron

  62. Dale R. Broadhurst Will not tell you about himself. But Google will. The best to him.

  63. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    I think it would be a mistake to concentrate too much
    on any one personality, when it comes to matters like
    this one.

    Many people have contributed in one way or another over
    the years, including some whose names will never be
    brought to the public attention.

    When we delve into controversial issues like the genesis
    of latter day scripture, we are stirring up waters which
    may affect the lives of many people.

    That should be a sobering realization for any serious
    seeker of the truth. Whenever we report on historical
    reconstructions, we run the risk of being wrong in one
    way or another, I saw divorces and family disruptions in
    the wake of the false Joseph Smith III blessing. With
    our investigations of religious history we should take
    on the responsibility, to avoid harm — rather like the
    physicians swear to do.

    Keeping personalities out of the mix is the best choice,
    I think.

    Dale

  64. re # 52, “Either this new word-print paper will have an effect upon non-members’opinions, or it will not. If it does have an effect, it may hinder the LDS missionary program’s progress.”

    Have you considered that there might be Latter-day Saints who (not unreasonably) think that hindering the missionary program’s progress, and not any academic goal, is the purpose of such a wordprint study?

    At any rate, this post was certainly not about the wordprint study. This was about an accomplished and credible historian’s reasoned summary and conclusions (as supported by other credible historians’ work) about the theory at hand. Of course there will always be people who hold on to academically discredited theories.

  65. re # 53, that was a great comment DKL — great succinct description of what constitutes a conspiracy theory.

  66. Byron Marchant says:

    #65 & #66- john f, could you go into a little more detail about what you mean? What I mean is, can you say something more about why the “word-print paper” and “the missionary program’s progress” are or are not related?

    And, just what is meant by “conspiracy theory,” a phrase that can be applied, or so it seems to me, in at least two ways with regard to Mormonism.

  67. John F., I agree with your conclusion that the Spaulding theory is not the best hypothesis about the origins of the Book of Mormon. I’d note, though, that your argument is really just an appeal to authority; we can make a stronger case here, and I think John Hamer’s done it above.

  68. JNS, it’s not really an appeal to authority. Anyone can read Bushman’s summary/conclusions and decide for themselves based on the argument’s own merits whether the Spaulding theory has any substance. It is relevant that Bushman is a credible historian though because that fact bears on the methodology Bushman has taken to reach the conclusion. I don’t see why John Hamer’s blog comment makes a stronger case than Bushman’s published synopsis.

  69. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #64. John F. wrote: “this post was certainly not about the wordprint study.
    This was about an accomplished and credible historian’s reasoned summary
    and conclusions… there will always be people who hold on to academically
    discredited theories.”

    I am troubled by Dr. Bushman’s statements on page 91-92; where he says:
    “Theodore Schroeder… offered a new explanation… an alternative theory”

    I have a specific disagreement, as to how this relates to Dr. Fairchild,
    and can elaborate, if anybody here supports Bushman’s statement.

    Dale

  70. Byron Marchant says:

    #69 john f wrote:
    “…It is relevant that Bushman is a credible historian though because that fact bears on the methodology Bushman has taken to reach the conclusion. I don’t see why John Hamer’s blog comment makes a stronger case than Bushman’s published synopsis.”

    Aren’t you missing something here?

    Neither of these so-called “historians” (Bushman or Hamer), to my knowledge, has yet dealt with the scholarly work of William Whitsitt. When they (or others opposed to the Spalding/Rigdon so-called “theory”) do, I believe that is when the rubber will hit the road. Maybe you care to try?

  71. John F., Bushman’s treatment of the topic is thin, really. If what you’ve cited is meant to be a presentation of the evidence rather than simply a conclusive statement by a Wise Man, I don’t think the case is overwhelming. But I do think there’s a strong case. Your comment reinforces the appeal to authority, though. Bushman’s reputation doesn’t bear on his methodology — his methodology with respect to any given argument stands or falls on the basis of its plausibility. Likewise, the fact that Bushman’s couple of comments were published in a mass-market book does not speak to the quality or credibility of those comments. What matters is the strength of the argumentation, and Bushman’s argument largely relies on reference to other scholars’ work. So the best approach would be to post those scholars’ work so that we could see the actual arguments directly. I find the arguments persuasive, but appeals to authority aren’t usually very helpful.

    Also, please note that my claim isn’t that John Hamer’s argument is stronger than Bushman’s, but rather that it’s stronger than your appeal to Bushman’s status.

  72. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    #71 — “So the best approach would be to post those
    scholars’ work so that we could see the actual
    arguments directly.”

    I review Bushman’s statement here:

    http://solomonspalding.com/Lib/2006Bush.htm#p091a

    and here:

    http://solomonspalding.com/Lib/2006Bush.htm#comments2

    Schroeder supported the Spalding Rigdon authorship claims, and did not
    offer any “new explanation” or “alternative theory.”

    Dr. Fairchild made the knee-jerk conclusion that Spalding’s Roman story
    was the notorious “Manuscript Found,” immediately upon seeing it for
    the first time with L. L. Rice in 1884 (see his journal). After further
    study and consideration, he backed away from that hasty conclusion, as
    is documented by Schroeder (1901; see also Fairchild’s correspondence).

    Dr. Fairchild’s student, Rev. J.D. Nutting, confirmed this change in
    Fairchild’s opinion in an obscure 1900 pamphlet, and again in 1930:

    http://www.olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1900s/1900Nut1.htm#070030

    The Stanford researchers cite this Schroeder source, as well as a late
    statement by his associate, L. L. Rice, indicating that the Spalding
    Roman story found in Hawaii should NOT be identified as the notorious
    “Manuscript Found” (see fn 9 in Jockers, et al, 2008).

    As I say in my on-line review of Bushman:

    “When Dr. Bushman wrongly placed Theodore Schroeder into the anti-Spalding
    ranks… he denied his readers access to Fairchild’s actual conclusions, as
    well as to Schroeder’s own, well articulated pro-Spalding arguments and evidence.”

    I think this is an important point to keep in mind, as we read Bushman.

    Dale

  73. Well, I’m not appealing to Bushman’s status so I find your response odd.

  74. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    I review Bushman’s statement at my web-site:

    Schroeder supported the Spalding Rigdon authorship claims, and did not
    offer any “new explanation” or “alternative theory.”

    Dr. Fairchild made the knee-jerk conclusion that Spalding’s Roman story
    was the notorious “Manuscript Found,” immediately upon seeing it for
    the first time with L. L. Rice in 1884 (see his journal). After further
    study and consideration, he backed away from that hasty conclusion, as
    is documented by Schroeder (1901; see also Fairchild’s correspondence).

    Dr. Fairchild’s student, Rev. J.D. Nutting, confirmed this change in
    Fairchild’s opinion in an obscure 1900 pamphlet, and again in 1930.

    The Stanford researchers cite this Schroeder source, as well as a late
    statement by his associate, L. L. Rice, indicating that the Spalding
    Roman story found in Hawaii should NOT be identified as the notorious
    “Manuscript Found” (see fn 9 in Jockers, et al, 2008).

    As I say in my on-line review of Bushman:

    “When Dr. Bushman wrongly placed Theodore Schroeder into the anti-Spalding
    ranks… he denied his readers access to Fairchild’s actual conclusions, as
    well as to Schroeder’s own, well articulated pro-Spalding arguments and evidence.”

    I think this is an important point to keep in mind, as we read Bushman.

    Dale

  75. The website ate my comment a few days ago. I agree with John Hamer that there’s no need to invoke another significant human author. It’s not just Bushman, credible outsider historians find no reason to invoke anyone other than Smith in the production of the BoM. The Spaulding hypothesis seems to be an artifact of the apologia for Smith as a man of limited intellectual resources. Now that outsider historians are comfortable with Smith as a religious “genius,” the impetus for something like the Spaulding hypothesis is largely gone.

    The principle of parsimony is not perfect, but I think it does place the burden of proof on those who propose more complex, even tortuous explanations.

    And these word-print studies, both pro- and con- are largely useless. It’s time for a good sensitivity analysis from a party less invested in the outcome on either side.

    Dale, I love the primary sources you have provided through your websites. You should be proud of the contributions you’ve made, even if many of us do not find the Spaulding authorship particularly useful.

  76. John F., here’s you: “It is relevant that Bushman is a credible historian…” You also juxtapose the (perhaps useless?) argument of a blog comment with published work; if this isn’t an appeal to authority, it’s meaningless verbiage. Likewise, from the original post, the status of the theory among “serious scholars” is a classic appeal to authority: strictly speaking, the seriousness of the scholars isn’t relevant, but rather we should attend to the specific arguments that they make. In this kind of a debate, you can’t make progress by citing precedent. You have to present the argument…

  77. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    “The website ate my comment a few days ago”

    I’m having difficulty posting as well — about half of
    my attempts disappear into the digital ether.

    I know that some people will reject or be skeptical of
    the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims, for the BoM,
    so I do not evangelize those claims (or theories). I
    merely provide information (as you’ve noticed).

    When Dr. Bushman says that Theodore Schroeder gave
    an alternative explanation for BoM orgins, Bushman is
    just plain wrong.

    If we end our investigative reading with what he says,
    we shall be led astray, into thinking Schoeder was
    an anti-Spalding writer, and we shall miss seeing his
    citation of Fairchild’s denial that the one extant story
    by Spalding is the infamous “Manuscript Found.”

    Whether or not we accept these claims/theories, we
    ought to correct errors in historical reporting, such
    as that given by Dr. Bushman. In doing so, we can
    also provide absent citations, such as what Fairchild
    and Rice really said, after reviewing the evidence.

    In this regard, I find the footnotes of the new study
    from Stanford helpul, since the writers clear up this
    particular historical error.

    My 1999 Mac, running Safari, will not let me insert
    html or URLs into these postings — so bear with me
    for not supplying all the useful web-links here.

    Dale

  78. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    Third try at posting my Bushman review link:
    here

    Dale

  79. Time and again I see lots of sound and fury concerning the “useless” nature of wordprint analysis of the Book of Mormon and the utter futility of this most recent study. The majority of you seem to have little experience in the sciences, where individual experiments can have an incremental value in refining methodology. The quest to create and utilize reliable methods for identifying authorship through statistical analysis are in their infancy and may be of great benefit someday. When the day of reliable wordprint analysis arrives (or something that develops based on what was learned from the failure of wordprint analysis), and Rigdon is shown to be the author of much of the Book of Mormon (a conclusion I very much doubt, btw), will you still be preoccupied with the historical implausibility of it? Just curious.

  80. Derek, there are two sets of issues. One is the historical debate, which I think is interesting but which I don’t have any particular credentials for joining. The other is the statistical modeling debate, which I’m more prepared for. With regard to that debate, I’d say that my sense of the general trend of the social sciences is somewhat away from large statistical models with reams of unverifiable, indeed untestable, assumptions. Most of the wordprint work seems to fit that category, which is the basis for my skepticism. Statistical modeling of observational data is often not really much of an incremental endeavor, since small changes in the model often produce very large changes in results. If you don’t, or even can’t, know the “true” model, and if small changes produce large discrepancies — as is demonstrably the case in the Book of Mormon quantitative literature to date — how can we know if our incremental movement is toward or away from the reality we want to learn about?

  81. Sorry about the eaten comments, it automatically moderates comments with lots of links to help prevent spam. I believe I released them all.

  82. Byron Marchant says:

    The editor(s) (redactor(s)) seem to be hungry. Did they eat one of my posts (after it appeared here)? Or, maybe I am just seeing (or failing to see) things.

  83. Bushman’s dismissal has serious problems:

    Hurlbut tracked down Spaulding’s widow, who was living in Massachusetts, and eventually located a manuscript called ‘Manuscript Found’ . . . Hurlbut concluded his deponents must have had another manuscript in mind and laid the ‘Manuscript Found’ aside.

    Those are false statements. The manuscript that Hurlbut located was not named “Manuscript Found” (or anything else).

    The downfall of the Spaulding theory began in 1884 when ‘Manuscript Found’ — still never published and subsequently lost — turned up in Hawaii and came into the hands of James Fairchild, president of Oberlin College.

    Yet a third false statement. Bushman having called it “Manuscript Found” was either a purposeful deception or evidence of not knowing his subject matter.

    In an article on the Spaulding theory, Fairchild concluded that the manuscript Hurlbut found was the novel that the witnesses remembered and that the alleged second manuscript never existed.

    So when Fairchild speaks, the thinking has been done?

  84. Dale R. Broadhurst says:

    >So when Fairchild speaks, the thinking has been done?

    This is exactly the message I was attempting to convey
    in my previous posting here, referring readers to my
    on-line review of Bushman.

    Mormons may wish to explain away the Spalding-Rigdon
    claims, by stating “even the Gentile experts agree” that
    those authorship claims are an impossibility. However,
    Dr. Fairchild and his associate L. L. Rice are very poor
    examples for them to cite in this regard.

    As I explain in my on-line review of Bushman, after he
    had more fully investigated that Spalding authorship
    claims, Dr. Fairchild backed away from his preliminary
    deductions, and ended up saying that we cannot be
    sure that the Spalding Roman story at Oberlin is truly
    the notorious “Manuscript Found;” nor can we cite it
    as proof that Spalding had no input into the BoM text.

    Fairchild’s associate, L. L. Rice came to a similar
    conclusion – both Fairchild’s change of opinion and
    Rice’s change of opinion were published during their
    lifetimes — Schroeder documented the Fairchild
    change of opinion. That is why Bushman’s indentifying
    Schroeder as an anti-Spalding (or non-Spalding) guy
    is so terribly misleading and unprofessional.

    If we go back and read Schiroeder and Whitsitt, we can
    consult the reasoned deductions of men who looked
    into this matter and came to conclusions at odds with
    what Bushman has said. It was probably Fairchild’s
    continued correspondence with scholars like Whitsitt
    that caused him to investigate more carefully, and to
    eventually change his mind about “Manuscript Found.”

    Dale

  85. Byron Marchant says:

    #85- Dale,

    Few, if any, of these people have even read Whitsitt, let alone discussed his “Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism” MS (which was much of what I said in my mentioned post that editor(s) or redactor(s) here deleted, “#83- The editor(s) (redactor(s)) seem to be hungry,” from this thread).

    Good luck.
    Byron

  86. Steve Evans says:

    When Dr. Shades appears, the conversation is over. Dale, Byron — thank you for your participation.

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