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Lewis Vs. Lewis


Pahoran

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From time to time, the notorious "Bleeding ghost" story is trotted out as if it somehow discredits Joseph Smith. For those who may be unaware of it, it comes from an 1879 publication called The Amboy Journal. In it was published a letter from Joseph and Hiel Lewis to a Mr James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City. This letter told the tale thus:

He [Joseph] said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down.

Then he exclaimed, "Why can't I get it?" or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here, (Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach) with his (the ghost's) throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone; that another person whom he, Smith, would know at first sight, must come with him, and then he could get it. And when Smith saw Miss Emma Hale, he knew that she was the person, and that after they were married, she went with him to near the place, and stood with her back toward him, while he dug up the box, which he rolled up in his frock.

The Lewises are also the sole witnesses for the popular tale that Joseph tried to join the Methodists in 1828. But here's the interesting bit: they aren't repeating what Joseph told them; they are repeating a story which, they claim, Joseph told their father, Elder Nathaniel Lewis. In 1834, forty-five years before the Lewis juniors wrote to Mr Cobb, Lewis senior gave a statement of his own, which read:

I have been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. for some time: being a relation of his wife, and residing near him, I have had frequent opportunities of conversation with him, and of knowing his opinions and pursuits. From my standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, I suppose he was careful how he conducted or expressed himself before me. At one time, however, he came to my house, and asked my advice, whether he should proceed to translate the Book of Plates (referred to by Mr. Hale) or not. He said that God had commanded him to translate it, but he was afraid of the people: he remarked, that he was to exhibit the plates to the world, at a certain time, which was then about eighteen months distant. I told him I was not qualified to give advice in such cases. Smith frequently said to me that I should see the plates at the time appointed.

After the time stipulated, had passed away, Smith being at my house was asked why he did not fulfil his promise, show the Golden Plates and prove himself an honest man? He replied that he, himself was deceived, but that I should see them if I were where they were. I reminded him then, that I stated at the time he made the promise, I was fearful "the enchantment would be so powerful" as to remove the plates, when the time came in which they were to be revealed.

These circumstances and many others of a similar tenor, embolden me to say that Joseph Smith Jr. is not a man of truth and veracity; and that his general character in this part of the country, is that of an impostor, hypocrite and liar.

Note the bolded portions. Lewis is horribly reluctant to admit that he never saw or heard Joseph say or do anything wrong, so he tries to give a pre-emptive explanation: Joseph was watching himself. The fact of Joseph's good behaviour is significant; Lewis' reluctance to admit it is even more so. He clearly detests Joseph, calling him "an impostor, hypocrite and liar," and all that without any first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing; he is eager to dish the dirt on Joseph, but alas, he has no dirt to dish!

And where is the "bleeding ghost" that he was supposedly told about? Instead, we have something quite different: according to Lewis, Joseph told him that he was under a commandment from God to translate the plates. What? God told him to translate plates that were guarded by a Spanish ghost? But Lewis doesn't know anything about the bleeding Spanish ghost, because it hadn't been invented yet.

It is perhaps no wonder that the Lewis juniors, in their freely embellished reminiscence almost half a century later, chose to leave out the part about the divinely directed translation. They were anxiously engaged in portraying a completely different picture of what was going on in the late 1820's. As Mr W. A. Linn editorialised:

In all this narrative there was not one word about visions of God, or of angels, or heavenly revelations; all his information was by that dream and that bleeding ghost. The heavenly visions and messages of angels, etc., contained in the Mormon books were afterthoughts, revised to order.

This is the story that some anti-Mormons want to foist upon us. This is the sole purpose for telling the "Bleeding Ghost" story. But it clearly contradicts the version told half a century earlier, by the person to whom the original disclosure was purportedly made.

Is there any way to rehabilitate the Lewis juniors' version of the story?

Regards,

Pahoran

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Thanks for the thread. Maybe THews will pay us a visit and can admit that the evidence shows that "The Bleeding Ghost story" is just that, a story.......

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From time to time, the notorious "Bleeding ghost" story is trotted out as if it somehow discredits Joseph Smith. For those who may be unaware of it, it comes from an 1879 publication called The Amboy Journal. In it was published a letter from Joseph and Hiel Lewis to a Mr James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City. This letter told the tale thus:

The Lewises are also the sole witnesses for the popular tale that Joseph tried to join the Methodists in 1828. But here's the interesting bit: they aren't repeating what Joseph told them; they are repeating a story which, they claim, Joseph told their father, Elder Nathaniel Lewis. In 1834, forty-five years before the Lewis juniors wrote to Mr Cobb, Lewis senior gave a statement of his own, which read:

Note the bolded portions. Lewis is horribly reluctant to admit that he never saw or heard Joseph say or do anything wrong, so he tries to give a pre-emptive explanation: Joseph was watching himself. The fact of Joseph's good behaviour is significant; Lewis' reluctance to admit it is even more so. He clearly detests Joseph, calling him "an impostor, hypocrite and liar," and all that without any first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing; he is eager to dish the dirt on Joseph, but alas, he has no dirt to dish!

And where is the "bleeding ghost" that he was supposedly told about? Instead, we have something quite different: according to Lewis, Joseph told him that he was under a commandment from God to translate the plates. What? God told him to translate plates that were guarded by a Spanish ghost? But Lewis doesn't know anything about the bleeding Spanish ghost, because it hadn't been invented yet.

It is perhaps no wonder that the Lewis juniors, in their freely embellished reminiscence almost half a century later, chose to leave out the part about the divinely directed translation. They were anxiously engaged in portraying a completely different picture of what was going on in the late 1820's. As Mr W. A. Linn editorialised:

This is the story that some anti-Mormons want to foist upon us. This is the sole purpose for telling the "Bleeding Ghost" story. But it clearly contradicts the version told half a century earlier, by the person to whom the original disclosure was purportedly made.

Is there any way to rehabilitate the Lewis juniors' version of the story?

Regards,

Pahoran

Even as a critic, this is why I don't give much credence to the tales told by relatives of those who supposedly knew Joseph Smith and then recorded the details of what they heard decades after the events transpired. It's kind of like that old game "telephone" where the actual words that are originally spoken are watered down or completely incorrect by the time they reach the fourth or fifth person. Even when I read Ann Eliza Young's Wife No. 19, it came off as being too polished and too agenda-driven for me to believe that motive and revenge did not cloud Ann's re-telling of her life with Brigham and within the church.

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"There is a superior intelligence bestowed upon such as obeyed the Gospel with full purpose of heart, which, if sinned against, the apostate is left naked and destitute of the Spirit of God". Joseph Smith (HC 2:23)

Seems very fitting for anti-Mormons too.

I like that...

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Thanks for the thread. Maybe THews will pay us a visit and can admit that the evidence shows that "The Bleeding Ghost story" is just that, a story.......

I've drawn it to his attention, but I think he's a bit gun-shy about it now.

Perhaps he'd rather not discuss it with people who are prepared for his tricks.

Regards,

Pahoran

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