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bammer

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Still wondering why Joseph's contemporary critiques didn't call him on such an egregious falsehood as claiming a non-existant religious excitement in his area.

C.I.

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I found this online "Milton Backman has demonstrated that in the summer of 1819, Methodists held a significant conference in Vienna just a few miles from Joseph's home. The meeting was attended by more than a hundred ministers of the Methodist faith, including the Reverend George Lane. "

Vienna NY is nearly 100 miles from Manchester NY. Is this what Backman considers close?

uh Clee, that was Vienna Road. There is a Vienna road in Plamyra.

Teancum

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The Rev. Wesley P. Walters should have published his defense of stealing those public documents, under the title of "I Am Not a Crook." He would have beaten Richard Nixon to that line by a good year or more.

Let's see. It's Professor Backman, the well-liked, prize-winning historian, who's supposed to be "basically a dishonest man" according to the Rev. Walters's representative here, noel00. (I've got to keep that straight.)

Hissed Peterson, nastily.

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More on the revival question by Walters:

"I received your letter in which you make reference to Marvin Hills article in the March 1974 issue of Church History. You are quite right in observing that Hills footnote to p. 7 of my article does not find anything there to support his statement that "Walters errs in sayng that Oliver Cowdery confirms that Lane and Stockton were both there, for Cowdery does not mention Stockton" What he probably has reference to is my statement on p.8 in which the phase occurs "as the accounts of Oliver and William Smith both indicate:. What I meant by this was not that both Cowedery and William Smith speak of Lane and Stockton, but both accounts indicate that the revival should fall in the years these men were there, namly the last part of 1824 to 1825, This, however, was a poorly worded sentence and realizing that it seemed to say something different from what I intended it to say, I revised it in my later Dialogue printing to read "Since the assigned fields of labour, for both Lane and Stockton, were so far from Palmyra, any revival in which both of these men shared must fall in the latter half of the year, 1824, and not in the year 1820" (p64).

You mention that Hill does not cite the Dialogue article, and it may well be that he wanted some way of faulting me with error. To have used the Dialogue printing would have ruined his point, for I had already caught the unfortunate wording myself.At the very least, howevr it shows Hill so eager to make a case that he only half-examines the material he is using.

Another matter that Hill mentions is the 1883 speech of William Smith "ten years earlier that the interview with Briggs" (note 46) Although Hill uses the usual propaganda technique of only half hinting at something rather than making a direct charge, the impression that the reader carries away is that I somehow was unaware of the earlier article and had "relied on" the latter briggs interview. Now it may be that Prof Hill has some difficulty reading Roman Numerals, but whatever the reason, had he looked at footnote 11 in my pamphlet and not 13 in my Dialogue article he woud have seen that I did indeed "rely" upon this earlier aricle to show that William placed the event when Joseph was "about eighteen years old at this time" I presume that Hill was quoting the 1883 speech "it was the suggestion of Rev M._____ that my brother asked of God " shows that Williams confuson because he did not say Rev L or Rev S." The Briggs interview of 1894 mentioned that Rev Lane had preached on which church to join and appealed to the text in James. I would guess (and I am only guessing here) that Hill feels because ten years earlier He had mentioned "Rev M" as suggesting that Joseph "ask God", William's recollection was not clear on the point of exactly what preacher was involved in the revival. However, I see no contradiction whatever there, although I made no mention of the matter because I was undecided whether the "m" stood for "Mr" or for the name of the minister at the time of the revival. My personal feeling is that it was the name of the Baptist pastor Rev. Maltby, but I had no way of establishing this for certain, so I left the matter without comment in both forms of the article.

However it is quite clear to anyone who has taken the trouble to read the minutes of the Palmyra Baptist Church that the church was without a regular pastor from Nov 16, 1822 when Elder Spencer left until July 9, James C Barret to do some preaching for them, but since he was apparently not an ordained clergyman (being only "Brother" and not "elder"i.e. Rev.) the sacrements were administered by Rev William Ros of the 2nd Phelps church and Joseph Maltby (so spelled in the Conference Minutes but Malby in the handwritten records of the Palmyra congregation) of the Penfield Church. Rev maltby, infact, performed the major number of baptisms during the 1824-25 revival, being referred to in the congregation minutes as so employed on Nov 20, 24th (whenhe baptized 28), Dec 4 & 5, 18 all in 1824 and baptizing on Jan 1, 29, Mar5, and April 3 1825. In fact , on the latter date he baptized Calvin Stoddard who would a short time later marry Joseph Smith's sister. One can see from this that he as in Palmyra quite frequently during the time of the revival and he may have picked up on Rev Lane's suggestion and told young Joseph to follow Lane's advice and "ask God" So, far from showing any confusion on the part of William Smith, if the "M" does stand for the pastor's name, it could well be RevMaltby who was harvesting in the fruits of the 1824-25 revival for the Palmyra Baptist church. The failure to record the rest of the name may simply be due to the fact that the recorded of the sermon did not catch the name but only remembered it started with "M". On the other hand , teh "M" may havve merely stood for "Mr" and in the event William could even have mentioned Rev Lane, but nothing can be established with great certainty. In any case, on the other hand, there is no need to IMAGINE a contradiction or that William was "confused"- to do so is not scholarship but mere guesswork, and my guess at least has the advantage of agreeing with the know facts of the 1824-25 period.

Perhaps I should also say a word about the prize piece of research that Hill feels is the coup de grace against my understanding of Smith's offical version, the "matter of region of country" If Hill had taken the time to read my Dialogue article he should have seen that I have never understood the term "region of country" as meaning just a small territory around the village of Palmyra. I did indicate that I do not feel that the usuage is so broad that it takes on the entire state of New York, as the tendancy of some Mormons to understand it (see my fn 53 in the Dialogue article and my statements on page 68). On the other hand I pointed to towns thats seemed to catch the revival spark in 1824-25, such as Menton, Geneva, Clyde and Lyon as fitting well Smith;s description of the revival as "becoming "general among all the sects in that region of the country" and that the "whole district of country seemed affected by it". The point that Hill fails to take note of , however, is that the revival began "in the place where we lived" which is the case in the 1824 but not in the 1820 (see my rebuttal p 97). Prof Hills reference to Dr Backman "a Mormon trained at the university of pennsylvania" does not say much for the quality of scholars being turned out by that august institition. ..... Finally I guess I should mention that Prof Hill doesn't mind using Lucy's History where it serves his purpose, but says nothing about the manuscript of that history in the LDS historians office. I understand through a mutual acquaintance of Dr Jan Shipps that the 1820 account of Smiths first vision is not in the original manuscript and that it was inserted by someone else when the book went to press. This makes Lucy endorse here son's revival account, while her own narrative dealing with the period following Alvin's death indicates that she had not as of that date joined the Presbyterian Church. Just how these pasages reallt read I have not as yet been able to learn, but it does seem to be correct that the 1820 vision account is not in Lucy's original story. It is interesting that we do not see men like Prof Hill rushing into print to make these little gems of information known, yet subtly suggesting that very few non-mormon scholars have availed themselves of the facilities of the LDS library. The fact is letters I wrote to the LDs Historians office over six years ago have never been answered"

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It's interesting, no doubt, to read private letters written by the late Rev. Wesley P. Walters thirty years ago criticizing the published works (and faulting the characters) of a pair of respected professional academic historians, but nasty Peterson isn't entirely certain why (or whether) they're somehow intended to be received as the final word on the topics they address.

They weren't handed down from Sinai.

The Rev. Wesley P. Walters, it seems, didn't actually venture to publish his claims, so that they might be evaluated by others. (His apostle on this board will surely correct me if I'm wrong.)

And, anyway, the discovery of contemporary evidence demonstrating that a Methodist camp meeting unquestionably occurred in the vicinity of Palmyra in the spring of 1820 seems now to have rendered moot and irrelevant Rev. Wesley P. Walters's unpublished grumbling of three decades ago. Such a meeting seems more than enough to account for a fourteen-year-old farm boy's perception of an "unusual religious excitement" in his neighborhood.

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Uh, you forgot the famous (infamous?) "Hissed Peterson."

Sorry, I just think it's cool.

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Uh, you forgot the famous (infamous?) "Hissed Peterson."

Sorry, I just think it's cool.

True, but I did work in a reference to "nasty Peterson."

On another thread, Noel00 brought me up out of the blue and labeled me "nasty." On this thread, Noel00 has focused on assassinating the characters and slandering the integrity of two respected professional historians. Which, I suppose, pretty well proves my nastiness.

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Speaking of character assasination, is that why the thread on Steve Benson/rfm from yesterday cannot be found today? I did get a little nasty on that one.

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Well it seems that much information supports the view that the members of the Smith family joined the Presbyterian Church as a result of the 1823-24 revival. We have Smith Snr refusing to because the preacher at the revival said Alvin, who had died earlier ,had gone to hell, we have Lucy as Walters mentioned having not yet joined after Alvin's death and I believe Cowdery's Messanger & Advocate story says the same. If only we could find that missing record from the West Palmyra Presbyterian church missing since 1930 (the lds centennial year) it would settle the matter. I suspect it will support the joining date of Willliam and Lucy. I am always open to changing my view if there is any other evidence. In that part of the story Smith may have got it wrong.

DCP ,u are an academic, you mark the papers of students they submit to you. If you had a particular topic for the student to discuss, a controversial on say on the koran or islamic historyand he presents a certain argument but ommits any reference to or makes you aware he has read something which challenges his argument, would that earn him a high or low grade? What I am asking is wny did Backman not mention Walter's articles in his book. All the other LDS writers I have read discussing the matter do. It was weird when I received a letter from Backman elaborating on a footnote where he mentions a huge growth in the area and even there he treats Walters as if he does not exist. Walters heard that Backman's reason was he did not want to draw attention to it. I think it was Hill who accepted that Smith may have been conflating these events as when he wrote the story, it was a long time ago.

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In JS 1:5 he writes "Sometime in the second year after our removal, to Manchester, there was in the place where we live an unusual excitement on the subject of religion" When did he move to Manchester? What do the road tax and property records say.?

Marquardt "About the summer of 1820 (after 22 June 1820) Joseph Smith, Sr. and Alvin Smith entered into an article of agreement to purchase 100 acres in Farmington (Manchester), New York. They were living in a cabin the Township of Palmyra a short distance from the township line prior to April 1820. In April 1822 the Smith family was still living there. "

The 1832 account states "

while in attitude of calling upon the Lord a piller of light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life the world lieth in sin at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them ac[c]ording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles behold and lo I come quickly as it [is] written of me in the cloud in the glory of my Father"

Question? How come he remembers such detail 12 years later? And foregets the other important detail of God the Father being there?. Do u remember any event 12 years ago in such detail

It seems if your took the date 1820 out the and moved all events forward a couple of year the data supports the story, the move to Manchester, the revival, the date for joining the Presbyterian church. Only problem is it conflicts with the Moroni story.

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Speaking of character assasination, is that why the thread on Steve Benson/rfm from yesterday cannot be found today? I did get a little nasty on that one.

It can't be found because I deleted it. It was a bit over the top.

Scott

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Noel,

With all of your quotes, you still haven't addressed the fact that Walters was wrong. You have been completely silent on that point.

As for your other questions, you are presupposing that Joseph Smith wanted to give the full and complete story with every single one of its details every time he told it, to every group of people. I know that I don't do that when I relate my experiences. I don't think anybody does. Why should we insist that Joseph should do that?

Scott

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Sorry, I guess my comments about Steve being a moron didnt' help :P . i can say that though, i'm from phoenix and had to put up with his anti-mormon lame-ness all my live in the Arizona Republic

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Considering all the facts, the "real" data for the 1823-24 revival, (no need to speculate about what went on at a camp meeting and having to look for some isolated instances), the conversion to the Presbyterian church (mor likley later than earlier), the move to Manchester all have both nonlds and lds support.

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I don't follow the argument here, Noel00. Your have presented letters from Walters, none of which have been published. In the absence of publication and necessary critique and scrutiny, you leave Backman unable to respond to the charges. For all of your charges of Backman's purported dishonesty and manipulation, it is at best shoddy behavior to present unpublished and unscrutinized information as though it were definitive, and using it as a bludgeon against an honest man is itself manipulative and tacky.

The records of camp meetings/revivals, etc. in the area are by no means complete. For example, r the camp meeting that occurred in the area in 1820 in all likelihood would NOT have been reported had it not been for the drunken participant. There are church records missing (I've done a bit of digging on my own some years back when I lived in the region), and I am entirely uncovinced that Walters' comments are the last word in the issue of the First Vision. But it seems that, in the absence of evidence to reject the 1820 camp meeting information, you are now shifting to an attack on the veracity and congruity of the extant accounts. Let's hear your response to the camp meeting, that Walters appears to have missed.

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What I am asking is wny did Backman not mention Walter's articles in his book.

"Why ask me," hissed Peterson nastily. "Professor Backman is still quite alive and kicking. Ask him."

How come [Joseph Smith] remembers such detail 12 years later? And foregets the other important detail of God the Father being there?

"You presume more than the evidence warrants," Peterson hissed nastily yet again, "when you presume that the only conceivable explanation for the fact that a very brief allusion to the First Vision mentions only the Son would be that Joseph had 'forgotten' the presence of the Father. If I say I saw Frank at the office today, that needn't mean either that John wasn't there, that I didn't see John, or that I saw John but have forgotten."

Hissing and spitting with even more nastiness than before, Peterson concluded with a final volley of invective: "You seem to be attempting to ignore or brush aside that contemporary account of the 1820 camp meeting. Or perhaps, better said, you're simply trying to change the subject."

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What I am asking is wny did Backman not mention Walter's articles in his book.

"Why ask me," hissed Peterson nastily. "Professor Backman is still quite alive and kicking. Ask him."

How come [Joseph Smith] remembers such detail 12 years later? And foregets the other important detail of God the Father being there?

"You presume more than the evidence warrants," Peterson hissed nastily yet again, "when you presume that the only conceivable explanation for the fact that a very brief allusion to the First Vision mentions only the Son would be that Joseph had 'forgotten' the presence of the Father. If I say I saw Frank at the office today, that needn't mean either that John wasn't there, that I didn't see John, or that I saw John but have forgotten."

Hissing and spitting with even more nastiness than before, Peterson concluded with a final volley of invective: "You seem to be attempting to ignore or brush aside that contemporary account of the 1820 camp meeting. Or perhaps, better said, you're simply trying to change the subject."

All u have going for you is a camp meeting when on the other side of the ledger you have strong reports for the 1823-24 revival, the accounts of William Smith and Lucy Smith. As Walters also shows the data shows a lack or growth in the area in 1820 wheras the 1823-24 data does. the description Smith gives FITS the 1823-24 data.

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What more do we need that a "camp meeting" in 1820? Why does the existence of religious revival in 1823-1824 preclude an upsurge in religion in 1820? Why does the existence of an 1823 revival mean that Joseph was not spurred to prayer by the 1820 religious excitment?

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Interesting is that fact that Cowdery writes an account of the history of the church, which omits the First Vision, speaks about a revival in 1823-24 and the family joining the Presbyterian church then.The 1832 vision is not mentioned. Walters comments:

Cowdery's story of 1835 he (Smith)does not know if a Supreme Being exists. How come he says that when Smith has already an 1832 account.? " Since the pages were cut out of the letter book that contained the 1832 account there is no evidence as to when the account was written. Even if the pages could be joined up with the edges that fall in the 1832 material it is still no evidence that the story was

composed in 1832. The letter book is a recopying of letters that were sent and received between 1829 and Aug 1835. We cannot say for certain that the copying into the book was done in a particular year. Since the book ends with the letters of 1835 the whole book could have been copied in at that time. In that case the 1832 story could be really an 1835 story, Although I personally favor the 1832 date, the matter is far from settled, and possibly is still strong that Cowdery gives an earlier version of Smith's story than the 1832 account" May 15 1975.

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Noel, could you please stick to one item at a time? Does Walters have an answer for the camp meeting, or the apparently incomplete church records during the period to which Joseph Smith ascribes the First Vision? Walters appears to subscribe to the false dictum that absence of evidence is tantamount to evidence of absence, which is by no means assured. Can you provide some insight into Walters's information (or lack of it) on camp meetings around 1820?

On another note, could you provide accessible references for your information? Constantly relying on private notes and comments puts the outside discussants at the disadvantage of not being able to verify the information that you are providing. I am not suggesting that you are dishonest, but we have no way of verifying what you post to the boards, or following up on Walters's less-than-clear references in the letters. We can verify the published information, but when you post inaccessible private material, it certainly places a damper of the discussion.

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Apparently, the nastily hissing Peterson is on a Saturday Night date or something, ScriptureLover hisses nastily, as his hissing replacement for the night. :P

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It seems to me this entire argument is a non-starter for anti-Mormons. There is no way for this argument to be meaningful against Mormonism. There are three possible explanations for Joseph's claims.

1- He truly had a vision.

2- He was delusional and only believed he had a vision.

3- He was fabricating the entire story.

Now if either 1 or 2 is true, then there is no need for Joseph to invent a non-existent revival. If he had a vision, or delusionally believed he had a vision, then he would have simply explained the background to his vision, whatever it was. There was no need for him to invent a non-existent revival to explain why he had a vision.

If 3 is true, it is even less plausible that Joseph would invent a fictitious revival. If he is inventing the whole story, he could contextual his fiction any way he wanted. He wouldn't need to invent a non-existent revival to explain why he had a vision; he could simply say God chose him and appeared to him. Or he could place the vision in any year he wanted; why not in 1823 or 1824? After all, he is making it all up.

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Wow Mr Hamblin is here, next we will have that other amiable person Dr Migley. I think because of Cowdery's account, the William Smith and Lucy Smith accounts make his 1820 story implausible. If he could lie about polygamy while sneaking around at night, arranging for William Clayton to talk to a third sister for him and marrying the Relief Society Presidency i feel prettty confident this is just another one of his stories. Must go and ring Simon see how his book is selling.

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Wow Mr Hamblin is here

You are apparently impressed by small things. :P

And it is possible that Joseph Smith was too. All that is required for Joseph's account to be accurate is that Joseph subjectively perceived "an unusual excitement on the subject of religion" (JS-H 1.5). There need have been no camp meeting or revival; only events which 14-year-old Joseph could perceive as "excitement."

At any rate, a personal belief that Joseph was lying does not constitute evidence, nor is it an explanation of why he should lie about an "excitement" even if he were lying about his vision of God. The claim of religious excitement does not make his story more poignant or believable. It is not a necessarily element of the tale. He could tell precisely the same tale without it.

On the other hand:

Was there a nearby camp meeting in 1820? Yes.

Is it possible that a 14-year-old might perceive this as "an unusual excitement on the subject of religion"? Certainly.

So why should any claim that Joseph was lying about this?

Answer: because they insist that Joseph is lying about his first vision. In reality, it is the claim that Joseph spoke to God that is unpalatable to anti-Mormons. Arguing about camp meetings and revivals is mere distraction, masking the fact that they can't believe God would appear to a 14-year-old boy to restore the true gospel.

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