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eBook Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined ePub

by Rodger I. Anderson

eBook Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined ePub
Author: Rodger I. Anderson
Language: English
ISBN: 0941214818
ISBN13: 978-0941214810
Publisher: Signature Books; First Paperback Edition edition (April 1, 1990)
Pages: 178
Category: Americas
Subcategory: History
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 137
Formats: rtf mobi mbr doc
ePub file: 1857 kb
Fb2 file: 1811 kb

Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined

Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined. Author Marvin S. Hill. Rodger I. Anderson has written a book which thus characterizes some of the work of two of BYU's most honored historians: Hugh Nibley and Richard L. Anderson. Rodger Anderson maintains that the testimonials collected against Joseph Smith and the Smith family by Philastus Hurlbut and Arthur B. Deming in the nineteenth century "are in fact largely immune to the attacks launched against them by Nibley, Anderson, and others," (7) and that the Hurlbut and very late Deming reports provide an accurate representation of the "'general opinion of his.

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Daniel C. Peterson and Donald L. Enders, "Can the 1834 Affidavits Attacking the Smith Family Be Trusted?" in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s, ed.

Author Rodger I. Anderson, in his 1990 book Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined, supports the affidavits and contrasts the statements in them with statements made by Joseph Smith in his own published history. Anderson states that the affidavits "must be granted permanent status as primary documents relating to Joseph Smith's early life and the origins of Mormonism" (Anderson 1990, p. 114)

Paul R. Cheesman, The Keystone of Mormonism: Early Visions of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Paul R. Delbert W. Curtis, The Land of the Nephites. Orson Scott Card: How a Great Science Fictionist Uses the Book of Mormon.

Online Books by. Anderson, Rodger . 1943-: Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined (c1990) (HTML at Signature Books). 1943-).

Discover Book Depository's huge selection of Rodger I Anderson books online. Free delivery worldwide on over 20 million titles. Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined. Notify me. Evidential Bibliography on Parapsychology.

Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined by Rodger I. Anderson - 1990 - 178 pages. Journey through a small planet by Emanuel Litvinoff - 1972 - 158 pages. Journey to the Center of the City by Randy White - 1996 - 144 pages. Jugendliche in öffentlichen Räumen der Stadt by Wüstenrot Stiftung Deutscher Eigenheimverein - 2003 - 295 pages. Jughrāfiyā-yi tārīkhī-i shahr'hā by ʻAbd al-Ḥusayn Nahchīrī - 1991 - 440 pages. Jumped In by Jorja Leap - 2012.

More by Rodger I. Psychics, Sensitives and Somnambules: A Biographical Dictionary with Bibliographies.

1990 Signature Books
Binar
The author writes in the first chapter of this 1990 book, "(Philastus) Hurlbut collected the signatures of over eighty people testifying to the allegedly bad character of the Smith family and of Joseph Smith in particular... In 1961 and 1970 two notable Mormon efforts were launched to discredit the Smith family neighbors... Unfortunately, there has been little effort to reexamine the influential works of (Hugh) Nibley (THE MYTH MAKERS) and (Richard L.) Anderson (Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses) to discover whether their arguments are equal to their conclusions. The following study attempts to fill this void. I believe that the testimonials collected by Hurlburt, Deming, and others are in fact largely immune to the attacks launched against them by Nibley, Anderson, and others. Hurlburt's witnesses may not have left history 'of the purest ray serene,' but there can be no doubt that these reports ... 'give us the general opinion of his [Smith's] neighbors in their true, essential form.'"

Here are some additional quotations from the book:

"Such a conclusion (by Nibley) not only far outstrips the available evidence, ignoring numerous contemporary witnesses who either saw (Joseph) Smith digging or heard him talk about the subject, it simply confirms that the practice of money digging did not originate with Smith. All it answers is the question of where Smith learned to dig for money." (Pg. 12)
"Another problem is (William) Kelly's marked tendency to 'improve' statements reflecting favorably on the Smiths. For example, in his notes on his conversations with Thomas Taylor, Kelly recorded only, 'Says nothing has been sustained about Smith.' From this Kelly constructed a lengthy panegyric which even Smith's most devoted followers would have been hard-pressed to match." (Pg. 93)
"Four conclusions emerge from the foregoing reexamination of Joseph Smith's New York reputation. First, I can find no evdience that the primary source affidavits and other documents collected ... are other than what they purport to be. The men and women whose names they bear either wrote them or authorized them to be written... Second, every contemporary attempt to impugn these accounts failed... Third... there is no evidence that the witnesses ... perjured themselves by knowingly swearing to a lie... Fourth, there is no evidence that the majority of witnesses indulged in malicious defamation by repeating groundless rumors." (Pg. 113-114)
Cordantrius
In "Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined," Rodger Anderson seeks to overturn the scholarship, precepts, and myths about Joseph Smith before 1830, tying them to stakes, setting them afire, and dancing around them until they have lost their power of persuasion.
If Anderson's approach is heavyhanded, much of what he says is important and revealing. His work revolves around nineteenth-century affidavits and interviews about Joseph Smith's early life. D. Philastus Hurlbut, an excommunicated Mormon who in 1833 interviewed Smith's former neighbors in upstate New York, obtained several damaging affidavits which described the Smith family as destitute, lazy, and shiftless, as drunkards and scam artists who dug for buried treasure. These affidavits portrayed Joseph Smith as perpetrating the hoax of Mormonism on an innocent world. Published in 1834 in E. D. Howe's "Mormonism Unvailed," this view of the Prophet was accepted as truthful by most non-Mormons until the 1960s.
Forty-seven years after the Hurlbut affidavits, in 1880, Frederic G. Mather interviewed nine of Smith's early contemporaries. These by-now elderly people confirmed Hurlbut's basically negative opinions of Joseph Smith. Probably in reaction to Mather's work, in 1881 William H. and E. L. Kelley, Reorganized Church apostles, visited Palmyra and also talked with long-time residents. Their work, published in the "Saints' Herald," contradicted the Hurlbut/Mather research on almost every score. They reported that the Smiths, though poor, were hard-working, frugal, and upstanding citizens in the community. In 1888 non-Mormon writer Arthur B. Deming interviewed Joseph Smith's contemporaries in Palmyra one last time before their deaths, and his work verified the Hurlbut/Mather research. Deming's "Naked Truths About Mormonism" proved almost as significant in fueling anti-Mormon fires as had the Hurlbut affidavits fifty-five years earlier.
For the next seventy-five years or so, the polemicists on either side chose whichever set of recollections suited their purposes.
Anderson spends much of the book in a sophisticated and legitimate review of investigations of Joseph Smith's reputation made by Richard Lloyd Anderson in a 1970 "Brigham Young University Studies" article called "Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reappraised." The similarities between the authors' names and the titles of their works are all that the two investigators and their approaches have in common. Rodger Anderson also refutes almost every one of Richard Anderson's arguments, concluding that the article fails because of the "misrepresentation of his contents and circumstances surrounding the compilation of the affidavits; failure to consider alternative interpretations for the evidence; and invalid conclusions based on faulty premises" (p. 28).
Motivated by a desire to defend Joseph Smith, according to Rodger Anderson, Richard Anderson put forth several arguments which were incompatible with the evidence. Richard Anderson suggested that Philastus Hurlbut had written the 1833 affidavits himself. Two of the affidavits were each signed by several Palmyra vicinity residents, and Richard Anderson logically concluded that someone must have written the affidavits and then collected the signatures. In the absence of any countervailing evidence, a reasonable assumption was that Hurlbut had done so. From there, it could be argued with some legitimacy that Hurlbut was a heavy contributor to the individual affidavits as well. Richard Anderson based this accusation in part on the similar words and phrases he found in the various affidavits. As a result, he concluded that Hurlbut unduly influenced those he took affidavits from, and that conclusion has been an accepted part of studies of early Mormonism ever since. Rodger Anderson argues, however, that the affidavits may be similar because each person was asked the same set of questions. Even if Hurlbut did write any or all of the affidavits, Rodger Anderson adds, those being interviewed both signed them and swore before witnesses that they represented their positions.
Rodger Anderson concludes that there is no reason not to accept as authentic the affidavits collected by Hurlbut and Deming, or that they were anything other than honest appraisals by people well acquainted with Joseph Smith and his family in upstate New York. While Rodger Anderson does inject some useful skepticism into Richard Anderson's defense of Smith, he makes an either/or assessment with no middle ground. Such a conclusion is just as difficult to accept as is Richard Anderson's. Take, for example, the affidavit Hurlbut took of Willard Chase, from my perspective the most interesting of those first published in 1834. Rodger Anderson says that Richard Anderson distorted the account and then rejected it. While I will not dispute that conclusion, Rodger Anderson's final assessment of Chase's affidavit as a reliable statement has other problems. Chase's affidavit does not mention any firsthand observation of treasure-seeking but shows intense interest in a seerstone Chase said he found while digging a well and then lent to Joseph Smith. He tried to get it back on several occasions, even though he said it was only a "curiosity." Why would he be so concerned unless the stone had some special significance attached to it? Indeed, Chase said he wanted the seerstone to use it to see "what wonders he could discover by looking in it." Other sources demonstrate that Chase was very much involved in money-digging in the Palmyra area, and he was not being entirely truthful when relating information about the suyoct. His account, while probably generally correct, should not be accepted without careful consideration of all particulars.
A significant revelation, at least for me, was Rodger Anderson's conclusion that the Kelleys' 1881 investigation had serious problems as legitimate historical evidence. Unlike Hurlbut and Deming, the two Reorganized Church apostles took no depositions and gave their witnesses no opportunity to read and sign what they wrote. They took notes during their interviews and then later wrote their report. Rodger Anderson went through the published account, as well as the notes from which it was prepared (housed in the Reorganized Church's--now Community of Christ--Library-Archives), and found that the Kelleys apparently had fertile imaginations, for there is only a passing relationship between their notes and the published article. The published report, in fact, so upset some of the interviewees that at least three of the ten wrote denials of what it contended. Apparently the Kelleys' zest to defend the prophet outweighed their good judgment in presenting their case.
Rodger Anderson has presented an important and challenging study of nineteenth-century efforts to learn about Joseph Smith's early life. His conclusion that the Hurlbut/Mather/Deming research generally reflects the opinions of those interviewed without undue influence from those collecting the material seems relatively sound, although I am less sanguine than the author that some of the details of the Smiths' lives related by those interviewed are entirely truthful. Probably most of those interviewed did consider Joseph Smith to be something of a scoundrel and a charlatan, but whether they reached that conclusion before or after the formation of the Church is a significant question quite beyond the parameters of Anderson's study. His handling of the Kelley research was especially effective and must raise additional questions of historical integrity. A large and useful appendix containing transcripts of all the affidavits and the notes from the Kelley interviews completes the volume. Perhaps this study will spark additional research into this subject; such an accomplishment is as worthy an objective as anyone could ask for.
Anayaron
Roger Ira Anderson's book sets the record straight. Nibly's treatment of Joseph Smith's early years in New York is typically the work of a prejudged perception. Roger steps over his own convictions and gives us the facts. Admittedly historical strait talk is difficult. Roger is a strict disciplinarian. Reading this book will convince of of that. The Complete Mystery of Matthew Alcott: HERITAGE OF SECRETS
Umge
For anyone who seeks a reliable analysis of early accounts of Joseph Smith Jr.'s formative years, and the various critiques of those sources, this is a must-read. I found the reproductions of primary sources in the appendices to be particularly useful; especially so in verifying that the Mormon writer Nibley very much misrepresented these sources, so as to discredit the damning accounts gathered by Hurlbut.
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