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Craig Paxton

Why Was Joseph Smith Really Tarred And Feathered?

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Why was Joseph Smith REALLY Tarred and Feathered?

Believing members of the church hold to the belief that Joseph was tarred and feathered as a result of religious persecution of his beliefs while many former believers hold to the premise that Joseph was subjected to this humiliation as retribution from a loving brother who was seeking revenge for the sexual advances Joseph made towards his sister, who eventually also become one of Joseph’s many wives…who incidentally was only 12 at the time of the alleged sexual advances.

So which of this two scenarios do the facts support…I really want to know.

Here are a couple of excerpts from various writers on this subject:

Fawn Brodie tells the story like this:

“Fortified by a barrel of whiskey, [the mob] smashed their way into the Johnson home on the night of March 24, 1832 and dragged Joseph from the trundle bed where he had fallen asleep while watching one of the twins. They stripped him, scratched and beat him with savage pleasure, and smeared his bleeding body with tar from head to foot. Ripping a pillow into shreds, they plastered him with feathers. It is said that Eli Johnson demanded that the prophet be castrated, for he suspected Joseph of being too intimate with his sister, Nancy Marinda. But the doctor who had been persuaded to join the mob declined the responsibility at the last moment…” (No Man Knows My History, page119).

Todd Compton reports it in this manner:

“The motivation for this mobbing has been debated. Clark Braden…alleged…that Marinda’s brother Eli led a mob against Smith because the prophet had been too intimate with Marinda. This tradition suggests that Smith may have married Marinda at this early time, and some circumstantial factors support such a possibility. The castration attempt might be taken as evidence that the mob felt that Joseph had committed a sexual impropriety; since the attempt is reported by [Marinda's brother who became LDS apostle] Luke Johnson, there is no good reason to doubt it. Also, they had planned the operation in advance, as they brought along a doctor to perform it. The first revelations had been received in 1831, by historian Danel Bachman’s dating. Also, Joseph did tend to marry women who had stayed at his house or in whose house he had stayed” (In Sacred Loneliness, page 231).

And this is how the church teaches primary children of this event:

Teach the children about Joseph Smith’s reaction to those who persecuted him, as illustrated by the following historical account. Display the pictures at appropriate times.

Soon after the Church was organized, some of the members began to apostatize, or leave the Church. They quit attending Church meetings, opposed the Prophet, and persecuted the Saints. People apostatized for various reasons. For example, one man left the Church because his horse died while he was traveling to join the Saints in Missouri. Another man apostatized after he saw Joseph Smith playing with children. He thought a prophet should be too serious to play with children. One man saw that his name was misspelled on a Church document and thought that meant Joseph Smith was not inspired by God. Other people left the Church because they did not receive the help they expected with their financial problems. Some members left the Church because they could not forgive other members for actions that had offended them. After leaving the Church, these offended people often became the Church’s worst enemies.

Ezra Booth joined the Church in 1831 after seeing the Prophet heal Elsa Johnson’s arm (see lesson 19). Several months later he was called on a mission to Missouri. He was angry because he had to walk the entire journey and because missionary life was not what he had expected. He was disappointed because he did not see any more miracles like the healing of Elsa Johnson. He began to think and say bad things about the leaders of the Church. Because of his improper behavior during his mission, Ezra Booth was excommunicated when he returned to Ohio. This meant that he was no longer a member of the Church. Instead of repenting, Booth began writing letters to a local newspaper, telling lies about Joseph Smith and the Church. These letters influenced many people in Ohio to become suspicious of Church members and to persecute them.

One winter night a group of men who believed Ezra Booth’s letters got drunk and attacked the homes of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Hiram, Ohio. Joseph had been up late caring for his adopted son, who had the measles, and had just fallen asleep when the angry mob broke into the house. The men dragged Joseph outside, swearing and threatening to kill him. They choked him, tore off his clothes, and tried to push a paddle of hot tar and a bottle of acid into his mouth. The bottle of acid broke, chipping one of Joseph’s teeth and causing him to speak with a whistle for the rest of his life. The men in the mob also dragged Sidney Rigdon from his home. When Joseph saw Sidney lying on the ground, he thought Sidney was dead. The mob decided not to kill Joseph, but they scratched him severely, spread hot tar all over his body, and covered him with feathers.

When Joseph finally got home, Emma saw him and fainted, because she thought the tar covering Joseph was blood. Joseph’s friends helped him clean off the tar, a long and painful process. Sidney Rigdon had been knocked unconscious from the severe cuts and bruises to his head, and he was delirious for several days. Following this terrible experience, the baby that Joseph had been caring for that night caught a severe cold and died.

The next day was Sunday, and Joseph went at the usual time to worship with the Saints. The group of people he preached to included some members of the mob who had covered him with tar and feathers the night before. Even with his skin scraped and sore, Joseph preached as usual and never mentioned the violence of the night before.

It is true that Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered on the night of March 24th 1832. It is also true that Joseph did eventually take Mirinda Johnson as one of his plural wives. Incidentally…Mirinda was only 12 years old *[she was actually 16] at the time of the alleged sexual impropriety.

So what is the truth...please provide your CFR in advance to save time...

Edited by Craig Paxton
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Claim #1 – Nancy Marinda Johnson

So, right into it, claim number one, Nancy Miranda Johnson. I’m using Van Wagoner here because he gives the most evidence, if you will, or the most examples. So, we’ll use him as a base and we’ll go into the others as we need it, just to see how different authors handle the evidence. This is a quotation from him, on page 4, note. This is right out of the gate, this is what you get:

…allegations in Hiram, Ohio, reportedly caused problems for Smith in 1832. One account related that on 24 March [1832] a mob of men pulled Smith from his bed, beat him, and then covered him with a coat of tar and feathers. Eli Johnson, who allegedly participated in the attack “because he suspected Joseph of being intimate with his sister, Nancy Marinda Johnson, … was screaming for Joseph’s castration” (Brodie 1975, 119) – Van Wagoner, 4.

Wow, juicy stuff!

The only source for this claim, you’ll notice, is Fawn Brodie—that should send your antennae twitching right there. When I first encountered this passage, I didn’t know who Brodie was, so I was naÔve. So, already, we have a common phenomenon that you’ll see over and over again—the critical sources on this matter repeatedly quote each other. Getting back to what the actual source is takes a good deal of work.

There’s more. If you bother to check the endnotes to Van Wagoner’s book, you will then read this (I’ve added the emphasis):

That an incident between Smith and Nancy Johnson precipitated the mobbing is unlikely.
Sidney Rigdon was attacked just as viciously by the group as was Smith.
And the leader of the mob, Simonds Ryder [you know, Mr. You-can't-spell-my-name-right], later said that the attack occurred because members of the mob had found some documents that led them to believe “the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Smith” (Hill 1977, 146).
Besides, John Johnson had
no son Eli
. His only sons were John, Jr., Luke, Olmstead, and Lyman (Newell and Avery 1984, 41).”

Okay, now I’m not a lawyer but it seems to me that if you have an admission from the guy controlling the mob as to why they did it, that that might be something you might want to put in the main body of the text. But it wasn’t, was it?

So, there’s another hostile version of the attack we learn about in the endnotes.1 In fact, there are two other hostile versions, neither of which Van Wagoner bothers to quote.<a href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2009-fair-conference/2009-everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-plural-marriage-but-were-afraid-to-ask#en2">2 There’s also one from Sidney Rigdon’s son which also doesn’t support the version that Van Wagoner gives us in the main text. But, let’s be grateful for small mercies, we at least got one; we mustn’t get greedy, after all.

http://www.fairlds.o...e-afraid-to-ask

Edited by calmoriah
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The Primary version is so wrong that it is almost funny. But I don't think it was all about Nancy Marinda. Otherwise, the group would not have gone after Sidney Rigdon as well as Smith. Eli Johnson's suspicions might have been part of his own motivations, but I think the rest of them were mainly upset by Smith's disastrous administration of the United Order, for which I don't think anyone can argue their response was justified. Lots of people before Smith, and since, failed to establish a successful communist society. Decades later, Brigham Young ended up being much more successful, but that was after many years of experimentation, and Young's communism was more focused and better-managed.

Edited by Cobalt-70
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Here's what the Manuscript History of the Church claims...you'll note that Eli Johnson is one of those who participated in the tarring according to Willard Richards account as dictated to him by Joseph Smith:

Manuscript History

Scribe: Willard Richards

[January–September 1843]

According to previous calculation we now began to make preperations to visit the brethren who had removed to the land of Missouri.

Before going to Hiram, to live with Father Johnson, my wife had taken two children (twins) of John Murdock, to bring up. She received them <when> only nine days old; they were now nearly eleven months.

I would remark that nothing important had occurred since I came to reside in Father Johnson's house in Hiram; I had held meetings on the sabbaths and evenings. and baptized a number.

Father Johnsons Son, Olmsted Johnson, came home on a visit, during which I told him if he did not obey the gospel, [205] the spirit he was of would lead him to destruction, and when he went away, he would never return or see his father again.

He went to the southern states and Mexico, and on his return, took sick, and di<e>d in Virginia.

In addition to the apostate Ezra Booth, Symonds Rider, Eli Johnson, Edward Johnson and John Johnson Jr., had apostatized.

On the 24th of March; the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife,

in the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sickestchild.

In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awoke by her screaming Murder! when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs, The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing.

My wife heard a gentle tapping on the windows which she then took no particular notice of (but which was unquestionably design'd for ascertaining whether we were all asleep,) and soon after the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob.

I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps.

I was immediately confined again; and they swore by God, they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me.

As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand into my face,(for I hit him on the nose,) and with an exulting horse laugh, muttered, God dam ye; I'lI fix ye."

They then seized me by the throat, and held on till I lost my breath.

After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by his heels. I supposed he was dead.

I began to plead with them, saying, you will have mercy and spare my life, I hope:—

To which they replied, "God dam ye; call on yer God for help, we'll show ye no mercy:"—

and the people began to shew themselves in every direction: one coming from the orchard had a plank. and I expected they would kill me, and carry me off on the plank.

They then turned to the right and went on about thirty rods further;— about sixty rods from the house. and thirty from whence I saw Elder Rigdon;— into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said, "Simonds, Simonds" (meaning I supposed, Simonds Rider,) "pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold."

Another replied "a'nt ye goin to kill 'im." ? "a'nt ye goin to kill 'im."?

when a group of mobbers collected a little way off and said. "Simonds, Simonds come here;" and Simonds charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground, (as they had done all the time) lest I should get a spring upon them.

They went and held a council, and as I could occasionally over-hear a word, I supposed it was to know. whether it was best to kill me.

They returned after a while when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me, but pound and scratch me well, tear of[f] my shirt and drawers and leave me naked

One cried "Simonds, Simonds, where's the tar bucket"?

"I don't know" answered one, "where 'tis, Eli's left it."

They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed "God dam it,—let us tar up his mouth;" and they tried to force the tar paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around, so that they could not; and they cried out, "God dam ye hold up yer head and let us give [207] ye some tar."

They then tried to force a phial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth.

All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out, "God dam ye, that's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks."

They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips &c, so that I <could> breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, when I saw two lights: I made my way towards one of them, and found it was father Johnson's.

When I came to the door, I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I had been covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all mashed to pieces, and fainted.

during the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me, and went in.

In the meantime, Brother John Poorman heard an outcry across the cornfield, and running that way met father Johnson, who had been fastened in his house at the commencement of the assault, by having his door barred by the mob,

but on calling to his wife to bring his gun, saying he would blow a hole through the door, the mob fled,

and father <Johnson> seizing a club, ran after the party that had Elder Rigdon, and knocked down one man, and raised his club to level another. exclaiming. "What are you doing here"? when they left Elder Rigdon and turned upon father Johnson,

who, turning to run toward his own house, met Brother Poorman coming out of the cornfield; each supposing the other to be a mobber, an encounter ensued, and Poorman gave Johnson a severe blow on the left shoulder with a stick or stone. which brought him to the ground.

Poorman ran immediately towards father Johnsons, and arriving while I was waiting for the blanket, exclaimed. "I'm [208] afraid I've killed him."

Killed who? asked some one; when Poorman hastily related the circumstance of the rencounter [encounter] near the cornfield, and went into the shed and hid himself.

Father Johnson soon recovered so as to come to the house. when the whole mytery was quickly solved concerning the difficulty between him and Poorman, who, on learning the facts, joyfully came from his hiding place

My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and Cleansing my body. so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again.

This being sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among them came also the mobbers; viz, Simonds Rider, a campbellite Preacher. and leader of the mob; one McClentic, who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esquire, who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey to raise their Spirits; and many others;

With my flesh all scarfied and defaced. I preached to the congregation as usual, and on the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals.

The next morning [March 26] I went to see Elder Rigdon, and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those, too, so high from the earth he could not raise his head from the rough frozen surface, which lacerated it exceedingly;

and when he saw me he called to his wife. to bring him his razor: She asked him what he wanted of it? and he replied, to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room and he asked me to bring his razor. I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife, and he continued delirious some days.

The feathers which were used with the tar on this occasion, the mob took out of Elder Rigdens house. After they had seized him. and dragged him out. one of the banditti returned to get some pillows, when the women shut him in and kept him some time.

[209] During the mob[bing] one of the twins received a severe cold, and continued to grow worse till friday, and died

The Mobbers were composed of various religious parties, but mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace father Johnson's house for a long time.

Elder Rigdon removed to Kirtland with his family, then sick with the meazles, the following wednesday; and. on account of the mob he went to Chardon, Saturday April first [sic].

Edited by Craig Paxton
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And there very well may have been an Eli Johnson involved. However, if there was an Eli Johnson, he was not Nancy's brother and therefore the motivation given later (that the brother was offended by the treatment JS gave his sister) was false. Why not simply accept for motivation what the leader of the mob said was the motivation?

Edited by calmoriah
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As I will do with any topics/comments that make allegations of polygamy/polygany/plural marriage/spiritual wifery against Joseph- I link to the following without comment or discussion...

http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm

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Why the ridiculous version in the primary manual?

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He was Tarred, because he aint slept in like four days. At least that is what Paw told em

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And there very well may have been an Eli Johnson involved. However, if there was an Eli Johnson, he was not Nancy's brother and therefore the motivation given later (that the brother was offended by the treatment JS gave his sister) was false. Why not simply accept for motivation what the leader of the mob said was the motivation?

It does appear that Fawn Brodie was in fact incorrect in naming Eli Johnson as Mirinda's brother. He was actually her uncle. According to LDS family search.com. He was her uncle, brother to Mirinda's father, John. Son of Israel Johnson...but still very motivated by Joseph 's sexual advances with his niece not his sister and the fact that he believed that Joseph was also using his position to take the Johnson farm...it should be pointed out that in this Joseph succeeded since John Johnson did in fact give a portion of his property to smith and did eventually marry Mirinda as one of his plural wives.

The reason this is concidered a revenge for sexual advances is because of the planned castration by Dr. Dennison. Appearently the Doctor chickened out.

It should be pointed out that Eli Johnson suspected Smith of sexual indiscression with his niece. This was his motivation. To the best of my knowledge, nothing has ever been presented to confirm Eli's suspicions were real other than the fact that Smith eventually married Mirinda.

I think it's very safe to conclude that it was not religious persecution that motivated those that tarred and feathered Joseph as has been claimed by the church but motivation to protect personal property from being taken over by Joseph and some were motivated by protecting family honor.

Edited by Craig Paxton
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Why the ridiculous version in the primary manual?

884318-girl-reading-a-magazine.jpeg

"Mommy, what does 'castration' mean?"

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Exactly when did Mirinda Johnson marry Joseph Smith? Im looking for a source, but every source I find indicates that she was married to Orson Hyde, not Joseph Smith.

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Hmmm.....

Has any one noticed yet- that despite the fact that the alleged sexual impropriety rests with a single source...

and that said source has been proven incorrect on a number of crucial details in this thread alone....

and that said source has been widely discredited for sloppy scholarship (abusing the facts in pursuit of an agenda) in other cases...

and despite the fact that the alleged victim of the "impropriety" denies any such thing took place...

Paxton still clings to the most salacious possible (and utterly unproven) justification for the assault?

Make no bones about it and never doubt: in Paxton's worldview Joseph deserved the treatment he received and the Church is damned for daring to pretend otherwise.

One can also note that nothing in the LDS lesson is factually inaccurate- but we are to be condemned because we do not burden young children with unproven allegations of sexual impropriety (for which they are neither prepared nor in nearly all cases mature enough to comprehend).

Despite the fact that his primary and only source for the allegation has been brought into question and disrepute, Paxton still clings dogmatically to that slender reed.

Despite the fact that Brodie's source for the allegation is a second-hand, undocumented claim made seventy years after the fact by a man who knew not a single one of the individuals involved, it is (in his mind) a done-deal.

No where in his screed does he countenance even the possibility that Joseph might have been innocent.

His only concern is what Joseph might have done to cause an otherwise innocent group of drunken mobocrats to defend themselves by breaking into (at least one) private home, commit two felony assaults, and conspire to premeditated (if unrealized) murder.

I mean really! Those men only outnumbered Joseph SIX-to-ONE (or more).

Can you imagine the unfathomable mortal perilTM in which they placed themselves by assaulting an unarmed, sleeping man in front of his wife and children?

There can simply be no question of their virtue, their integrity, or their honor or courage.

No honest, thinking person could ever consider that Joseph was anything but a mumping villain to have triggered such heroic actions againt him!

@reelmormon- Don't be an ***, Francis.

Tarring and feathering is a painful, humiliating process, not to be taken lightly. The men in question were a lynch mob lacking only the courage of their convictions.

Actions of these sorts- no matter who is the target- should not be made light of.

Edited by selek1
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@reelmormon- Don't be an ***, Francis.

Tarring and feathering is a painful, humiliating process, not to be taken lightly. The men in question were a lynch mob lacking only the courage of their convictions.

Actions of these sorts- no matter who is the target- should not be made light of.

The whole purpose of this thread was to insist that Brodie regardless of how many errors existed in her scholarship made a lucky guess while no valid evidence anywhere exists other then 2+3+8-7=4 (well that wrong? so what it's salacious, print it anyway) So I thought some humor to let others know what I thought of the thread was good satire

Edited by reelmormon
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Exactly when did Mirinda Johnson marry Joseph Smith? Im looking for a source, but every source I find indicates that she was married to Orson Hyde, not Joseph Smith.

Apr 1842 when she was 27

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The whole purpose of this thread was to insist that Brodie regardless of how many errors existed in her scholarship made a lucky guess while no valid evidence anywhere exists other then 2+3+8-7=4 (well that wrong? so what it's salacious, print it anyway) So I thought some humor to let others know what I thought of the thread was good satire

I think this is just as true as the fairy godmother that provides a carriage out of a pumpkin is true and I resent the fact that you make fun of such a valid screed, I mean scholarly deduction, from the venerable Ms. Brodie. I mean, any scholar that sets out to prove a hypothesis, ignores anything to the contrary, is the very model of scholarship for every other anti-Mormon, I mean follower of light and truth, to follow. They are virtually beyond reproach by any real person. No, reel, you are not a real person; we are but figments of our own imagination.

It is so rewarding when you have one twit state something and then let every other person that enters the room to repeat the same thing as if it was the gospel truth. I wonder what these people do when they have free time?

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884318-girl-reading-a-magazine.jpeg

"Mommy, what does 'castration' mean?"

lol

I was more talking about this part..

Soon after the Church was organized, some of the members began to apostatize, or leave the Church. They quit attending Church meetings, opposed the Prophet, and persecuted the Saints. People apostatized for various reasons. For example, one man left the Church because his horse died while he was traveling to join the Saints in Missouri. Another man apostatized after he saw Joseph Smith playing with children. He thought a prophet should be too serious to play with children. One man saw that his name was misspelled on a Church document and thought that meant Joseph Smith was not inspired by God. Other people left the Church because they did not receive the help they expected with their financial problems. Some members left the Church because they could not forgive other members for actions that had offended them. After leaving the Church, these offended people often became the Church’s worst enemies.

Ezra Booth joined the Church in 1831 after seeing the Prophet heal Elsa Johnson’s arm (see lesson 19). Several months later he was called on a mission to Missouri. He was angry because he had to walk the entire journey and because missionary life was not what he had expected. He was disappointed because he did not see any more miracles like the healing of Elsa Johnson. He began to think and say bad things about the leaders of the Church. Because of his improper behavior during his mission, Ezra Booth was excommunicated when he returned to Ohio. This meant that he was no longer a member of the Church. Instead of repenting, Booth began writing letters to a local newspaper, telling lies about Joseph Smith and the Church. These letters influenced many people in Ohio to become suspicious of Church members and to persecute them.

Mentioning unnamed and unsourced stories about people leaving because their name was misspelled or that the Church didn't help them with their financial problems really perpetuates the misconception that people always leave the LDS Church only for trivial reasons.

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Exactly when did Mirinda Johnson marry Joseph Smith? Im looking for a source, but every source I find indicates that she was married to Orson Hyde, not Joseph Smith.

You are correct...Mirinda married Orson Hyde in 1834...he was later appointed as one of the 12 apostles. Joseph sent him on a mission to dedicate Israel and it was while Orson was away on his mission and with out his knowledge that Joseph took Mirinda as one of his plural wives. In his own diary he noted the marriage in April of 1842.

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You are correct...Mirinda married Orson Hyde in 1834...he was later appointed as one of the 12 apostles. Joseph sent him on a mission to dedicate Israel and it was while Orson was away on his mission and with out his knowledge that Joseph took Mirinda as one of his plural wives. In his own diary he noted the marriage in April of 1842.

I read a book some years ago about Elder Hyde and the author's name escapes me at the moment but I think...she cites something that indicated that Elder Hyde and Joseph talked about this marital arrangement and Hyde was fine with it after the discussion

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Hmmm.....

Has anyone noticed yet- that despite the fact that the alleged sexual impropriety rests with a single source...

and that said source has been proven incorrect on a number of crucial details in this thread alone.... {Uncle rather than brother}

and that said source has been widely discredited for sloppy scholarship (abusing the facts in pursuit of an agenda) in other cases... {CFR Sloppy scholarship? Brodie’s narrative of Joseph Smith seems to be closer to reality than the one purported by the church…albeit less faith promoting}

and despite the fact that the alleged victim of the "impropriety" denies any such thing took place... {Yeah I don’t see Joseph admitting to the sexual indiscretion anywhere either}

Paxton still clings to the most salacious possible (and utterly unproven) justification for the assault?

Single source? I believe that there were several. One such additional source and perhaps most reliable was an eye witness to the attack…one of Joseph’s own future twelve apostles…and son of John Johnson, Luke Johnson. He reported that…

“[W]hile Joseph was yet at my father’s, a mob of forty or fifty came to his house, a few entered his room in the middle of the night, and Carnot Mason dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head; he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house, stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner; they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation [castration]; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate. The mob … in attempting to force open his jaws, they broke one of his front teeth to pour a vial of some obnoxious drug [aqua-fortis, a poison] into his mouth. The mob [then] became divided [because they] did not succeed, … but [instead had to settle for] poured tar over him, and then stuck feathers in it and left him … [then] part of the mob went to the house that Sidney Rigdon occupied, and dragged him out, and besmeared him with tar and feathers.

Persons identified as being part of this attack besides Mason and Dr. Dennison, included Simonds Ryder, Warren Waste, Jacob Scott, a man named Fullar, and Eli Johnson. Many of these men had recently apostatized from the church” “The History of Luke Johnson (By Himself.,)," Deseret News 8 (May 26, 1858)

From Luke’s statement it is clear that the purpose of this attack was to castrate Joseph Smith…that is a fact. (at least according to Luke Johnson…future 12 apostle)

Castration has long been a used as a punishment for those who commit sexual offences. I guess you would need to explain why the mob would be motivated to castrate Joseph if he had not been suspected of a sexual indiscretion. Perhaps religious persecution motivated this castration?

Make no bones about it and never doubt: in Paxton's worldview Joseph deserved the treatment he received and the Church is damned for daring to pretend otherwise.

You’re assuming a lot with this statement…I’ve never said any such thing and do not in any way condone mob violence. This is NOT my worldview.

One can also note that nothing in the LDS lesson is factually inaccurate- but we are to be condemned because we do not burden young children with unproven allegations of sexual impropriety (for which they are neither prepared nor in nearly all cases mature enough to comprehend).

The lesson has many errors in it, least of which is the impression it leaves on the student that Joseph was attacked by a mob motivated solely by religious persecution…which has been shown not to have been the case. They were motivated by suspicion of sexual impropriety and fear that Joseph was plotting to gain control of their land.

Despite the fact that his primary and only source for the allegation has been brought into question and disrepute, Paxton still clings dogmatically to that slender reed.

If you’re referring to Brodie as the sole source of the castration aligation…I believe that there are multiple sources to this

Despite the fact that Brodie's source for the allegation is a second-hand, undocumented claim made seventy years after the fact by a man who knew not a single one of the individuals involved, it is (in his mind) a done-deal.

Let me share with you what exactly is in my mind…a sincere desire to know the truth regarding this incident. It is apparent that we do not share the same desire.

No where in his screed does he countenance even the possibility that Joseph might have been innocent.

Well let me belay your fears…he could very well have been completely innocent. Innocent men are often drug from their homes by mobs in the middle of the night with the intent to emasculate them on false motivations. Mobs motivations are often wrong…this is one reason I do not condone mob violence as a means to issue justice. The innocent as well as the guilty are often their victoms.

His only concern is what Joseph might have done to cause an otherwise innocent group of drunken mobocrats to defend themselves by breaking into (at least one) private home, commit two felony assaults, and conspire to premeditated (if unrealized) murder.

Another presumptuous assumption on your part…

I mean really! Those men only outnumbered Joseph SIX-to-ONE (or more).

Can you imagine the unfathomable mortal perilTM in which they placed themselves by assaulting an unarmed, sleeping man in front of his wife and children?

There can simply be no question of their virtue, their integrity, or their honor or courage.

No honest, thinking person could ever consider that Joseph was anything but a mumping villain to have triggered such heroic actions againt him!

In actuality Joseph was outnumbered more like 50 to one. Wrapping the night in question in a cloak of absurdity doesn’t help in attempting a clearer picture of what actually did take place.

Edited by Craig Paxton
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I read a book some years ago about Elder Hyde and the author's name escapes me at the moment but I think...she cites something that indicated that Elder Hyde and Joseph talked about this marital arrangement and Hyde was fine with it after the discussion

Yes I'm sure that all loving husbands are fine with their wife's being married off to multiple husbands....I would love some CFR on this claim that Hyde gave his approval prior to leaving on his mission. My understanding was that he struggled to accept this reality after his return and upon learning that his wife had been unfaithful.

Edited by Craig Paxton
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lol

I was more talking about this part..

Mentioning unnamed and unsourced stories about people leaving because their name was misspelled or that the Church didn't help them with their financial problems really perpetuates the misconception that people always leave the LDS Church only for trivial reasons.

884318-girl-reading-a-magazine.jpeg

"Mommy, what does 'Bibliography' mean?"

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I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure Craig is just arguing that the mob was motivated by allegations of sexual impropriety, not that said allegations were true.

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Yes I'm sure that all loving husbands are fine with their wife's being married off to multiple husbands....I would love some CFR on this claim that Hyde gave his approval prior to leaving on his mission. My understanding was that he struggled to accept this reality after his return and upon learning that his wife had been unfaithful.

it wasn't before his leaving it was after his leaving. The author was Myrtle Stevens Hyde. Both and I would agree that we wouldn't be fine with our wife being married off to another man, but neither of us are Orson Hyde and it isn't our place or a historian's place to say that it was right or wrong.

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