Spaulding-Rigdon Timeline

Summary There is a theory that Sidney Rigdon helped Joseph Smith create the Book of Mormon based on a manuscript written by a man named Solomon Spaulding.  This timeline is a summary of all events that indicate that this theory may be true based on my notes collected over a six-year period.  This theory was put forward by people both around Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith as soon as 3 months after the Book of Mormon was published.  As well there were individuals who stated this theory before the Book of Mormon was published (Francis Atwater) and was supported by Spaulding’s Widow, but as of yet (The date this was last edited) no direct, concrete evidence exists.  Individuals should bear this in mind as they review the timeline.

[Update 4/15/2014 : It seems I was incorrect in stating that Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery were first cousins]

Map of Mentor, Ohio to Palmyra Area.  Please note that the Erie Canal runs between the location where Sidney Rigdon was primarily, and where Joseph Smith grew up

The Oberlin Manuscript in its entirety (Spaulding Manuscript found at Oberlin University)

Quick Lookup Key

[SpR] – some attribute of key to the Spaulding-Rigdon theory or supporting the theory happened at this point in time.  These “evidences” have to be good enough to arouse suspicion in Columbo and/or point him in the direction to keep asking question. (A rigorous standard, I know)

[EYEWITNESS] – An eyewitness, first hand account that Rigdon used Spaulding’s manuscript, or that Rigdon knew Joseph Smith prior to the official first meeting.

[BOM COINCIDENCE] – Some piece of the Book of Mormon that matches with Rigdon’s theology or an aspect of Smith’s life so closely that it is worth pointing out.

[GROUP TRANSLATION] – All the times Joseph Smith translated something, it was a tight-group of men, most of whom are also linked to the Spaulding-Rigdon theory.  These instances are identified.  The men’s former belief systems end up in the “translated” works during the time periods (for example Parley P. Pratt’s phrase “fiery darts of the adversary” shows up in the book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants or the Masonic terms “Curious Worksmanship” showing up in the Book of Mormon). In this way, one could have even spaulding’s information ending up integrated with the book if Rigdon listened to Spaulding, spoke to Pratt, and Pratt to Oliver Cowdery; whether intentional or not.

[Possible Plagiarism] – Circumstantial evidence that ideas were not native with Smith and that he used other’s works without attribution as revelation.

[SINGLE] and [DUAL – Relate to whether Joseph received the revelation alone, or in conjunction with Sidney Rigdon

20 February, 1761 – Solomon Spaulding born.  Will attend Dartmouth in 1782

1784Emmanuel Swedenburg publishes a work on the heavens including terms like “Celestial” and “Terrestial”.  Joseph is familiar with the work and mentions Swedenburg by name (later). [Possible Plagiarism]

19 February, 1793 – Sidney Rigdon Born

1804 – John Johnston becomes Postmaster General  of Pittsburgh and served in that office until 1822; he was occasionally assisted by his young daughter, Rebecca Johnston who would remember (accurately) that Sidney Rigdon and Spaulding received mail at their post office, sometimes on the same day.

23 December, 1805 – Joseph Smith Born (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958  p. 46)

22 May, 1810 -William Rigdon died, leaving Sidney 100 acres of land — at about this time Sidney evidently began occasional training as an apprentice tanner (such an apprenticeship would have been required before he was accepted as a “journeyman tanner” in 1824)

1811Joseph Smith Sr. has a vision about a tree of life.  Lehi’s vision of the tree of life features prominently in first Nephi, part of the re-write after the 116 pages were lost (Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith, The Prophet And His Progenitors For Many Generations, chapter 14.) [SpR] [BOM COINCIDENCE]

1811 – 1816 -R. Johnson, daughter of Pittsburgh Post Master John Johnson, became the regular clerk at the Post Office, serving there until 1816, after which she only occasionally worked in the office; during this general time-period she knew Solomon Spalding, Robert & Joseph Patterson, and probably J. Harrison Lambdin and Silas Engles; later (probably after 1816) she knew Sidney Rigdon

1809 – Solomon Spaulding begins a work of fiction meant to explain the presence of Native Americans.  “his account of the first inhabitants of America would be considered as authentic as any other history.”  The Name of this document is “Manuscript Story”.

1810 – Some accounts tell of a second writing written as early as 1810 known as “Manuscript Found”  Although similar to manuscript story (That we have today), this was a more complete revision for printing.

1812 – Joseph Smith’s famous leg-operation due to Typhus fever, fever sore in his chest, leg pain and surgury. (history of Joseph Smith p. 54-58)  Went with his uncle Jesse Smith to Salem (History Joseph Smith p. 58)

1812-1813, exact date unknown. At about this time, Solomon Spalding, newly arrived from OH, apparently approached Joseph Patterson in regard to having Butler & Lambdin print a book he had written. Silas Engles told Robert Patterson “that a gentleman from the East originally” had left a manuscript written “in the style” of “the Bible” for publication. Patterson looked at the manuscript and approved it publication, provided the author pay the costs.  Manuscript Story, the Spaulding manuscript that we have, came from Spaulding’s widow, and thus is probably not the same version that was given to the printer.

January, 1812 – Alexander Campbell licensed to preach

Fall, 1812– precise date not know, just that Solomon Spalding, wife, & daughter move from New Salem, OH to Pittsburgh; open a small retail store was in the “Fall”

05 November, 1812 – Patterson & Hopkins Booksellers firm in Pittsburgh was dissolved and replaced by the Robert & Joseph Patterson Book and Stationery Store; Robert Patterson had a close association with the job-office print shop of Butler & Lambdin, established after 1817. Silas Engles was the printer for Patterson & Hopkins, as well as for R. & J. Patterson (Spaulding printer established)

Summer 1816 – Joseph Smith moved to Palmyra, Ontario County, New York. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.61)

20 October, 1815 – Solomon Spalding dies in Amity, PA

Spring 1817 – Rigdon affected a conversion experience (a personal experience of the miracle of grace); applied with Peter’s Creek Church for baptism; Pastor Phillips “entertained serious doubts at the time in regard to the genuineness of the work”.  Within the year Sidney Rigdon said to have “coveted the aging David Philips’s pastorship.” and “began to put himself forward and seek the preeminence”

31 May, 1817 – Rigdon baptized by Rev. Phillips and became a member of the Peter’s Creek Baptist Church (Library, PA); may have studied some preparatory ministry under Rev. David Phillips.

1818 – Rigdon trains for the ministry by moving to North Sewickley on the Connoquenessing River, where he studied for the ministry under the Reverend Andrew Clark, minister of the Providence Regular Baptist Church

January 1818 – Partnership of Robert & Joseph Patterson suffered bankruptcy and was replaced by the Partnership of Robert Patterson & J. Harrison Lambdin; Lambdin had been a former employ of Robert Patterson in his previous partnership with Mr. Hopkins; the firm operated a book store on 4th St., a book bindary, and a separate job-office print shop under the name of Butler and Lambdin; Robert & Joseph Patterson appear to have begun or continued only one division of their former firm at this time: the Robert & Joseph Patterson steam paper mill on the Allegheny River.  Sidney later claims not to know the printshop in regards to the Spaulding-Rigdon theory by claiming to not know “Joseph Patterson” but very probably knew “Robert Patterson”

Spring 1818 – Joseph settled with his family on 100 acres of land at Manchester, Ontario County, New York. Joseph Sr., Hyrum, and Alvin cleared 30 acres for cultivation. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.64; also HoC p. 2)

August 1818 – Possible first meeting of Rigdon and Campbell.  Annual Meeting of the Redstone Association (at Peter’s Creek?) both Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell attended; Campbell served as association secretary that year

1819 – Sidney received preaching license from the Regular Baptists in PA

Joseph borrows Sally Chase’s green glass stone to find a white opaque stone

1820 – Joseph Smith Sr. and his older sons join “Money diggers” Alvin is reported the leader

Spring 1820 – “Official” version of the first vision occurs here although the details match 1824 better.  Not recorded until 1832.

April, 1820 – Sidney Rigdon requested a certificate as a licensed preacher — licensed to preach by Concord Baptist Church of Warren (later called Warren Central Christian Church under Campbellites) — served as traveling evangelist in the Warren region — preached in northern Trumbull County.

12 June, 1820 – Sidney Marries Phebe Brook

Summer 1820Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bentley baptized in Warren and vicinity “upward of ninety persons”

1821Oliver Cowdery’s family begins attending Ethan Smith’s congregation. He is author of View of the Hebrews. [Possible Plagiarism]

Apochryphal Book of Enoch published, similar to Enoch in Pearl of Great Price Book of Moses [Possible Plagiarism]

July 1821 – Ridgon definitely knows Campbell.  While traveling through Virginia, Brothers Bentley and Rigdon visited Alexander Campbell at Buffaloe (the future Bethany, West Virginia) and after a day and a night’s stay both men were won over to his reform cause.

1822Alexander Campbell’s Debate with Walker published; read enthusiastically by Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon.  Some records date this as 1821, but I couldn’t find that published debate.

John Johnson resigns as Postmaster of Pittsburgh and is replaced by his son-in-law William Eichbaum. John’s daughter, R. J. Eichbaum (also William’s wife) works in the Post Office when her husband is absent; she recalls knowing Robert & Joseph Patterson, Silas Engles, J. Harrison Lambdin and Sidney Rigdon during this general time-period

Joseph Smith obtains his brown seer stone while digging the well of Wilard Chase (neighbor) (Willard Chase 1833 Affidavit)

January 1822 –  Rigdon becomes pastor of Pittsburgh’s First Baptist church.

May 1822 – Rigdon in Auburn, Ohio, where he preaches funeral sermon for Isaac Butts’ brother (q.v. statement of I. Butts (Mar 1885) in Apndx.I.) [EYEWITNESS]

Isaac Butts said:

“Many persons whom I knew in New York… told me they saw Sidney Rigdon much with Jo Smith before they became Mormons.”

Mr. Butts can be documented as a resident of Joseph Smith’s Manchester
boyhood home, who moved back and forth between that old home and his new home near Sidney Rigdon in Ohio [SpR]

1823 – Rev. John Winter later claimed that at this time he saw “a large manuscript” which was “a romance of the Bible” in Sidney Rigdon’s study; Winter also claimed that Rigdon told him the Manuscript had been written by “a Presbyterian Minister, Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it; Winter’s daughter, Mary W. Irvine, later said that her father was informed that Rigdon “had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiosity.”  [EYEWITNESS] [SpR]

Joseph Smith spends time with a itinerant magician and diviner visiting Palmyra who has magic stones and claims to be able to find water and treasure. Some residents hire the magician at $3.00 per day. Joseph Smith later gets stones of his own and used them to locate lost tools, thereby gaining a reputation as a seer. [Joseph Smith by C. Clark Julius]

View of the Hebrews published by Ethan Smith [Possible Plagiarism]

Detroit Manuscript found by Joseph Smith’s Uncle and sent to Dr. Mitchel for translation. The characters are printed in local paper. Characters are almost identical to the Anthon Transcript. and more here [Possible Plagiarism]

January, 1823 – Spaulding Manuscript sold. The firm of Patterson & Lambdin (along with their Butler & Lambdin Print Shop) in Pittsburgh went into banckruptcy. If a copy of the Spalding MS had survived in the Print Shop until this date it was probably then disposed of along with the other possessions of the bankrupt firm

Spring 1823Rigdon refuses to teach infant baptism claiming it was Damnation [BOM COINCIDENCE]

28 June, 1823Rigdon sells his share of the Rigdon family farm in St.Clair Twp. (100 acres) to James Means for about $1200. Jul 11. Troubles begin w/ministry at First Baptist. (vanW,p.31) Sep 5-7 Meeting of Redstone Baptist Assn. in Pgh. (minutes)

11 July, 1823Winter’s group excluded Rigdon and denied him the “liberty of speaking in self defense;” the Rigdon group of “seventy to eighty members and the smaller Winter group each claimed to be the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh;” declaring “non-fellowship” and expelling each other.

21 September 1823 – Angel Moroni Visit with Smith

Joseph Smith tells of attempt to get plates, but set them down (to look for other treasures [Lucy Mack Smith]) and they disappeared. Smith struck by toad-like creature when trying to take back the plates. Told to return in one year with Alvin. states that D&C 2 was given on this date, however; it wasn’t written on this date.  No date for when the revelation was written is given.  I would guess it was added in 1835 when the Book of Commandments was converted into the Doctrine and Covenants. [SINGLE].  “Rigdon’s Appeal” (1863) Rigdon has followers call him “The messenger spoken of in Malachi”.  Joseph Smith states that Moroni quoted same scripture from Malachi.

After 22 September, 1823

“During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would to with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them.” (Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches, p. 85)

06 October 1823 –  Probable departure date for Rigdon trip (by horse w/Alex Campbell) to Washington, Mason Co. Ky., to attend Campbell-McCalla debate. (300 mi. & river too low to take steamboat: (Van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, p.33.)  Sidney was “excluded from the Baptist denomination” about the time he arrived in KY; this was meant as an excommunication but was only valid within the Redstone Association. Rigdon served as secretary to Alexander Campbell in his debate with Kentucky Presbyterian Rev. William L. McCalla. Rigdon’s disfellowshipped faction of the First Baptist Church “lost the meetinghouse “due to non-payment of ground rent.”

11 October 1823 – Rigdon condemned and excluded from First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh by adroit maneuvering of minority faction. Rigdon out of town & on way to Kentucky at time. See above.

15-21 October 1823 –  Campbell-McCalla Debate on “Christian Baptism.” “Bishop Sidney Rigdon of Pittsburgh” takes notes. (vanW,p.33)

22 October 1823 – Probable departure date for return trip.

31 October 1823 – Probable return to Pittsburgh. Rigdon discovers he is now without a church

November 1823 – A man attempted to effect a union of different Churches in the neighborhood. Joseph tells his mother that there is no injury in joining the Churches contradicting first vision instructions if that vision happened prior to this point. (History of Joseph Smith p. 90)

02 November, 1823 – Rigdon preaches to followers in rented room at the local court house.

19 November, 1823 – Alvin Smith dies.

24 January, 1823– On petition of Mary, widow of James Ferguson, formerly of Allegheny County, but lately of Louisville, KY, deceased, the Orphans Court of Allegheny Co. appoints Rev. Sidney Rigdon to be the guardian of one David Ferguson, a minor.

04 May,1823 – Rigdon writes preface (at Pgh) to the published version of Campbell-McCalla Debate proceedings. [BOM COINCIDENCE]

spring 1823 – Rigdon & followers join Walter Scott’s New Lights Presbyterian group, soon to become part of the growing Campbellite reform movement.

summer? 1823 – 25, October 1825 – Rigdon claims to have worked as a journeyman tanner (in Pittsburgh) in partnership with his brother-in-law William Brooks. Uses money from his inheritance to buy share of business. (See entry for 25 Oct 1825.)

August 1823 – SR makes known his “determination to withdraw from the (Baptist) church.” (Van Wagner, Sidney Rigdon, A Portrait of Excess ,p.29) Sidney took up work as a “journeyman tanner” (and eventually as a “currier”) at a Pittsburgh tannery; he worked with his brother-in-law, Richard Brooks and/or William Brooks: Rigdon may have purchased a part of this business with the proceeds of his June land sale to James Means

1823 – Sidney teaches against Infant Baptism. Sidney refused to teach the “Philadelphia Confession of Faith” in Pittsburgh; argued against infant damnation with Pittsburgh school teacher and Baptist Minister John Winter; following this Winter soon “formed an opposition coalition of twelve to twenty members” within Rigdon’s congregation [BOM COINCIDENCE]

1824 – George Lane, a Methodist Elder vistited and preached in Palmyra, causing religious excitement. (Cowdery says 1820.) [Oliver Cowdery letters] George Lane’s records says he was in Palmyra in 1824. [POSSIBLE COVER UP]

Lucy Mack Smith attends revivals (being grieved from Alvin’s death (Lucy Mack Smith); she, Sophronia Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith join the Presbyterian Church. This contradicts the 1820 first vision timeline [POSSIBLE COVER UP]

Sacred Geography published in Phillidelphia. Joseph Smith’s personal copy available by the Reorganized Church in Independence Missouri, Book of Abraham ideas about dark skinned individuals coming from Noah specifically mentioned in a similar way (Ham’s descendants to be “servants of servants”. [Possible Plagiarism]

1824Rigdon possibly responsible for the fabrication of a “Third Epistle of Peter which was “found with other old manuscripts among the ruins of an ancient city by a miserable wandering Monk,” then translated into English by an unknown translator.  It was published as a supplement to a Campbellite pamphlet issued by the “Church of Christ” in Pittsburg.  At the time of the publication, Water Scott and Sidney Rigdon were presiding elders of the church. Despite being translated into english in the 1800’s it contains biblical 17th century english.  [BOM COINCIDENCE]

September 1824 – [probably 22nd during visit with Moroni] According to Martin Harris, quoting Willard Chase, Smith originally thought this person [to accompany him to get the plates] was to be Samuel T. Lawrence, a “seer” himself who worked in Smith’s treasure-seeking company in Palmyra Martin Harris, “Mormonism—No. II”, Tiffany’s Monthly 5 (4): (164). Smith reportedly took Lawrence to the hill in 1825. At Lawrence’s prompting, Smith reportedly ascertained through his seer stone that there was an additional item together with the plates in the box, which Smith later called the Urim and Thummim..However, Lawrence was apparently not the “right person”, because Smith did not obtain the plates in his 1825 visit. Howe, Eber Dudley p.243 (1834), Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press,

“I will say there [was] a man near By By the name Samuel Lawrance. He was a Seear and he had Bin to the hill and knew about things in the hill” (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View. Revised and Enlarged. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. Vogel, Dan, ed. 1996-2000. Early Mormon Documents. 3 vols. Salt Lake City: Signature Books.” Quinn 1998, 162)

24 September 1824 – Joseph visits the location of the plates, but he could not obtain them because of his pecuniary thoughts. He tells father of experience. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 pp.84-85)

May 1824 – Rigdon wrote the preface for the publication of Alexander Campbell’s “A Debate on Christian Baptism…” [BOM COINCIDENCE]

1825 – Joseph smith digs a well for Spaulding’s widow’s next door neighbor named Stroude.  Mrs. Spaulding would later claim she:

“had another complete copy, but in the year 1825, while residing in Ontario Co., N. Y., next door to a man named Stroude, for whom Joe Smith was digging a well, that copy was also lost. Mrs. Spalding thinks it was stolen from her trunk.” (Beadle “Life in Utah”.)

This statement contradicts E. Howe as well as other descriptions.  J. Lambdin, the man who could identify if Rigdon had the Spaulding manuscript or not, dies.

View of the Hebrews is reprinted.

05 January, 1825 – Rigdon votes in Pittsburgh election

01 August, 1825J. Harrison Lambdin died at age 27 (probably at Pittsburgh); if Lambdin had loaned or given a Spalding MS to his friend Rigdon, he was no longer alive to tell of that transaction

October 1825— A short time before the house was completed, Josiah Stoal (or Stowell), in company with Joseph Knight (both of Colesville, New York), while purchasing grain, heard that Joseph possessed means to discern invisible things to the natural eye, and attempted to hire young Joseph to help in dig a silver mine in Chenango County. After failing to desuade Stoal, Joseph later agrees, and he worked with Stoal for only about a month on the mine. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 pp.91-92, and HoC,V.1,p.16)

01 October, 1825 M. M. Noah, summarized the parallels between the cultures of Hebraic and Indian customs in Joseph’s hometown paper, Joseph Smith’s father took the paper. Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History, 45-46 [BOM COINCIDENCE]

25, October, 1825 – Notice of dissolution of the partnership of Brooks and Rigdon appears in the Allegheny Democrat (Pittsburgh):

“Payment by those indebted to be made to Sidney Rigdon at the old stand.” Notice is dated 21 September 1825.

11 November, 1825 – On petition of Sidney Rigdon, the Orphans Court of Allegheny Co. discharges him from guardianship of David Ferguson.

December 1825 – Rigdon moved out of Pittsburgh and relocated in Bainbridge twp., Geauga Co., OH — a new tannery had recently opened at that place and Rigdon evidently did piece-work leather finishing at home to pay for groceries. Although Sidney was reportedly called to Bainbridge by the small Bainbrigge Baptist congregation, he reportedly did no preaching during his first winter there.Main questions, if he isn’t primarily a tanner, and not preaching what is he working on?

1826 – Rigdon reportedly was visited in Ohio by the young Joseph Smith, Jr. — During this period Rigdon carried on periodic preaching for Baptist a congregation in northern Portage Co., Ohio — he also visited Mentor, in northern Geauga Co. on occasion.  Rigdon apparently split his time between visits to Mentor (see gaps in his historic timeline) and preaching obligations in northern Portage Co. Before summer he relocated his family from Bainbridge to Mentor, occupying a cabin on the Orris Clapp farm in that villageSR brings Baptist “teachers” Darwin Atwater and Zeb Rudolph from northern Portage Co. to Mentor, to attend his instructional classes — the two students notice that Rigdon is frequently absent from that place (parts of Jan-Mar.) The students later assume he was meeting with Joseph Smith.

Spring 1826 – Rigdon & family move to northeastern Ohio area, where SR begins a six-month (mid-April thru Fall mid-October) tour as a circuit riding preacher. Rigdon reportedly preaches once a month at Mantua Center “on a more or less regular basis,” apparently on the last weekend of each month (see entry for 27 Jan. 1827, below).  Mantua is about 4 and 1/2 hours from Palmyra by modern day car.  The Eerie Canal connects the two.

03 March, 1826Wayne Sentinal prints debate over apocrypha bringing it to prominence in Palmyra citizens’ minds

20 March 1826Joseph Smith on trial for Glass looking before Judge Neely

04 April, 1826 – Rigdon opens credit account at Kent family’s mercantile in Bainbridge, Geauga Co. (1871 letter of A.G. Kent)

30 April, 1826 – Rigdon probably at Mantua Center (see 27 Jan. 1827).

28 May, 1826 – Rigdon probably at Mantua Center. NOTE: It is likely, although not confirmed, that Rigdon, along with Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Adamson Bentley, attended “a meeting of sundry teachers of the christian religion and brethren” held in Warren, Ohio on 31 May and 1 June 1825, during which “the greater part of two days was occupied in discussing the ancient order of things.” (See Christian Baptist II, pg.169.) [BOM COINCIDENCE]

25 June – 30 July, 1826 – Rigdon probably at Mantua Center.

(Rigdon history gap of about three weeks; perhaps more.)

24 August, 1826 – Preaches funeral of Rev. Warner Goodell in Mentor, about 18 mi. north of Bainbridge. (Note: Other sources erroneously give the date of Goodell’s death/funeral as having been in June, 1826– see n#10, Ch.VI) Rigdon probably returns home to Bainbridge after the funeral, prior to commencing his journey to Canfield (see below).

25 August, 1826 – Continues travel to Canfield, Ohio (home of Rev. Walter Scott– about 50 miles/12 hours). Probably arrives in evening.

27 August, 1826 – Meeting of the Mahoning Baptist Assn. at David Hays’ barn, Canfield, Ohio. Campbell spoke Sat. Aug. 26, & Rigdon on Sun. (27th) at Congregational meeting house, subj: John 16. (vanW. p.42)

(Rigdon history gap of approximately 60-102 days)

After 21 September 1826 and before 02 November 1826 – Rigdon is offered Rev. Goodell’s former pastorate at Mentor, which he accepts. His first documented presence there is for a wedding of John G. Smith & Julia Gileson.

(Rigdon history gap of 42 Days)

13 December, 1826 – Rigdon at Mentor to record marriage.

Prior to 25, December, 1826 – Joseph returns to home after working with Stoal, and shortly thereafter Stoal and Joseph Knight visit Palmyra and purchase some wheat from the Smith’s (to be delivered the next fall), which the Smiths use to as security against the last payment on their house. (History of Joseph Smith p.92)

End of 1826 –Joseph leaves for Colesville with his father in order to secure payment from Stoal and Knight for wheat they had contracted. Underhanded attempt by Stoddard to obtain Smith property. Joseph and his father return. Deed ended up in the hands of Mr. Durfee. (Histor of Joseph Smith p.99) pp.93-99)

1827 –  Lorenzo Saunders (in 1884) states that during this year:

“Sam Lawrence took . . . [Smith] over into Pennsylvania and introduced him to Emma Hale . . . Joe told Sam Lawrence that there was a silver mine over in Pennsylvania told him he might share in it with him; but behold he wanted an introduction to Emma Hale is the way it turned out. Sam Lawrence told me so”.

1827Joseph Smith leads a gold dig treasure hunt on the Capron farm

Rigdon seen at Smith’s several times and several months apart by Mrs. S.F. Anderick while visiting Sophronia Smith [EYEWITNESS]

Sidney Rigdon seen at Joseph Smith’s by Abel Chase [EYEWITNESS].

18 January, 1827 – Joseph elopes with Emma Hale at the house of Squire Tarbill of South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. Immediately after the marriage, he returns with Emma to his fathers place in Manchester. (History of Joseph Smith p.93. and History of the Church ,V.1,p.17) Joseph Knight states that Joseph Smith used the stone to determine that Emma Smith was to be the right person to bring to the hill.

27 January, 1827 – Rigdon’s “regular, once-a-month, preaching” at Mantua Center, Ohio, leads to formal organization of a church there on this day (see Shaw, Henry K., Buckeye Disciples). Rigdon becomes “their stated, though not constant, minister” (Hayden, p.238).

February 1827 – Rigdon at funeral of Hannah Tanner, Chester, Ohio.

March 1827–  Rigdon holds meeting at Mentor, Ohio. Baptizes Nancy M. Stafford.

17 March, 1827 – Last entry for Rigdon family in account ledgers of Kent family mercantile, indicating probable date of their removal to new residence at Mentor, 30 miles north. (See letter of A.G. Kent, Appendix I.)

Spring, 1827 – Lorenzo Saunders said that when he went to the Smiths in the spring of 1827, Lawrence was in a group of men who were talking to Rigdon [EYE WITNESS]. When William Kelley asked Saunders if Peter Ingersoll and Samuel Lawrence were acquainted with Ridgon, Saunders replied,

“Yes, they were both acquainted with Rigdon in 1827. Samuel Lawrence took Joe over into Pennsylvania and gave him a better education” (Vogel 1996, 2:131, 144)

April 1827 – Rigdon holds meeting at Mentor, Ohio. Baptizes William Dunson & wife.

05 June, 1827 – Marriage of Theron Freeman & Eliz. Waterman at Mentor.

07 June, 1827 – Rigdon records marriage of Theron Freeman and Eliz. Waterman.

15 June, 1827 – Rigdon baptized Thomas Clapp at Mentor (Friday)

(Rigdon history gap of possibly 17 days: Rigdon likely out of town based on “letters remaining” list published on July 6th– see below.)

03 July, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of James Gray and Mary Kerr , at Mentor.

04 July, 1827 – Rigdon delivers 4th of July oration at Mentor.

06 July, 1827 – A list of letters remaining at Mentor P.O. includes Sidney Rigdon. List published in Painesville Telegraph, issue of 6 Jul. 1827, covers period up to Jun. 30.

12 July, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of Gray and Kerr recorded.

17 July, 1827 – Silas Engles, R & J Pattersons’ printer, dies in Pittsburgh at the age of 45

19 July, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of Alden Snow & Ruth Parker at Kirtland.

(Rigdon history gap of 21 days. Rigdon likely out of town due to tardiness in recording Alden Snow and Ruth Parker marriage until August 10.)

**Helaman 12:18-19; 13:19  Sinking treasure – find probable date for transcription

10 August, 1827 – Alden Snow and Ruth Parker marriage recorded.

20-22 August, 1827 -Rigdon travels to New Lisbon, Ohio (about 85 miles).

23-26 August, 1827 –  At annual mtg. of Mahoning Baptist Assn. at New Lisbon, Ohio.

27-29 August, 1827 –  Rigdon return travel to Mentor.

12-13 September, 1827 – Rigdon attends meeting of Grand River Baptist Assn. w/Orris Clapp and B. Blish at Ashtabula.

(Rigdon History Gap of 25 days. Note that Ashtabula is one day’s travel along road to New York. If Rigdon is going to be present in New York when Smith receives the plates on September 22, this is a good beginning, since departure from Ashtabula on the 14th gets him to Manchester, NY, several days ahead of that date. And if he tarries a week, he still gets back to Mentor in plenty of time for the October 9th marriage.  This is most likely the time period Lorenzo Saunders would have seen Rigdon at the Smtih home with Samuel Lawrence as all are reported to be in Palmyra (Willard Chase brings Samuel Lawrence in from 60 miles away).  If Rigdon was working through Lawrence, a meeting of this sort would be necessary to work out issues between the treasure hunters.)

20 September, 1827 – Stoal and Knight visit the Smiths for several days. (History of Joseph Smith p.102)

22 September, 1827

On the twenty second day of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty seven, having went as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge that I should be responsible for them.” – Joseph Smith (History of the Church 1:17)

On the night of the twenty-first, I sat up very late, as my business pressed upon my hands, and I did not retire until past twelve. About twelve o’clock, Joseph came to me and asked me if I had a chest with a lock and key. …”
“Shortly after this, Joseph’s wife passed through the room with her bonnet and riding dress; and in a few minutes they left together, taking Mr. Knight’s horse and wagon.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 137; see Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, p. 326]

“I well remember the trials my brother had, before he obtained the records. After he had the vision, he went frequently to the hill, and upon returning would tell us, ‘I have seen the records, also the brass plates and the sword of Laban with the breast plate and interpreters.’ He would ask father why he could not get them? The time had not yet come, but when it did arrive he was commanded to go on the 22d day of September 1827 at 2 o’clock.” [Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:521] (Prophet’s sister Katharine Smith Salisbury)

Because Smith was concerned that Samuel Lawrence, his earlier confidant, might interfere, Smith sent his father to spy on Lawrence’s house the night of September 21 until dark. (Knight, Joseph, Sr. (1833), Jessee, Dean, ed., “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History”, page 3 (PDF), BYU Studies 17 (1): 35, 1976. (Joseph Retrieves plates, afraid of Samuel Lawrence)

Joseph Smith takes Knight’s horse and wagon in the early morning and went with Emma to the hill (a glacial drumlin). Knight was upset that his horse and wagon were gone. (Lucy Mack Smith) Joseph Smith says, while Emma prayed (staying with the wagon), he retrieved the gold plates and hid them in an old black hollow oak tree top (Martin Harris 1859 interview); in a birch log (Lucy Mack Smith)

23 September, 1827  –

“The next day Mr. Warner came to him from Macedon and requested Joseph to go with him to a widow’s house in Macedon. The widow, by the name of Wells, wanted a wall of a well taken up, and she would pay Joseph money for the labor.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 140; see Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:329-330] (Lucy Mack Smith)


24 September, 1827 – Joseph works on a well for Mr. Warner in Macedon. (History of Joseph Smith p.104) Over the next few days, Smith took a well-digging job in nearby Macedon to obtain money to buy a solid lockable chest in which he said he would put the plates from Willard Chase. By then, however, some of Smith’s treasure-seeking company had heard that Smith was successful in obtaining the plates, and they wanted what they believed was their cut of the profits from what they saw as part of their joint venture. Spying once again on the house of Samuel Lawrence, Smith, Sr. determined that a group of ten–twelve of these men, including Lawrence and Willard Chase, had enlisted the talents of a renowned and supposedly talented seer from sixty miles away, in an effort to locate where the plates were hidden by means of divination. When Emma heard of this, she went to Macedon and informed Smith, Jr., who reportedly determined through his Urim and Thummim that the plates were safe, but nevertheless he hurriedly traveled home by horseback.

25 September, 1827 – Joseph returns to Palmyra because of incident with Willard Chase et. al. wanting to steal the plates. Joseph retrieves the plates from their hiding place, and he is attacked by some men on his way home dislocating his thumb.  He would have carried 60-200 lbs. plates for 3 miles while fighting the men (History of Joseph Smith pp.104-110)

While carrying them back through the woods (off regular path) is attacked by a man who sprang up and hit him with a gun, knocking him down, Joseph leveled him and ran home, knocking several more down as he ran. Dislocated his thumb, which was reset by Joseph Smith’s father. Joseph Smith relays the story to Joseph Knight and Josiah Stowell then goes to Willard Chase’s house and tells him the story. [Lucy Mack Smith]

Smith tells Willard Chase that it was two men that attacked him and that if not for the stone that he got from Chase’s well, he would not have obtained the book [Willard Chase 1834 Affidavit]

Smith tells Martin Harris that he was attacked by what appeared to be a man who wanted the plates and struck him with a club. [Martin Harris 1859 interview]

Early October, 1827 – Martin Harris hears of gold bible from his brother, Preserved Harris, and visits Joseph Smith and agrees to finance its publication. Says Smith told him that he used his seer stone, from the well of Mason Chase (neighbor) to discover the plates, and Smith told him that he used the spectacles to see that Martin Harris was the man who would assist him to get the book published. Harris says Luck Mack Smith came to see him and that Joseph wanted Harris to come see him. [Martin Harris 1859 interview]

“After bringing home the plates, Joseph now commenced work with his father on the farm in order to be as near as possible the treasure that was committed to his care.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 148; see Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:339]

“Soon” after beginning work on his father’s farm, Joseph retrieved the breastplate, which Lucy then described. [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 148 and Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:339]

October – December 1827 -Smith works on his father’s farm. Show his mother the breastplate. Secures “Gold plates” under a hearth. Scares off mob via deception. Takes “Gold Plates” to a cooper’s shop and puts it in some flax in the loft. Mob ransacks house under the direction of the Chases. (History Joseph Smith p. 111-114)

Smith requests that his mother tell Martin Harris about his having obtained the “Gold Plates”. She did so reluctantly, and through the course of several hassles with Mrs. Harris, the incident was put to an end with Joseph’s intended acceptance of a note for $28. (History of Joseph Smith. p . 114-117)

09 October, 1827 – Ridgon marriage of Stephen Sherman and Wealthy Mathews at Mentor

18-19 October, 1827 –  Rigdon Travels to Warren, Ohio (about 50 miles).

20-21 October, 1827 – Rigdon at Ministerial Council, Warren, Ohio. (Sat.- Sun.)

27 October, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of Sherman and Matthews recorded.

28 October, 1827 -Likely the 26th or 27th (Weekend)

“It was resolved that a portion of the hearth should be taken up and the plates and breastplate should be buried under the same, and then the hearth relaid to prevent suspicion.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 149; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:341]

Late October, 1827 – Martin Harris pays Smith’s debts and finances Joseph and Emma’s move.

(Rigdon history gap of 19 days.)

November 1827 – According to Lucy’s account they had “but a few days rest” before Joseph received intimations of the return of the mob [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 169; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:342] and Joseph Knight relates that a Mr. Beeman discovered the location of the plates under the hearth by use of a divining rod [Dean Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History”, Brigham Young University Studies, 17:1, autumn 1976, pp 29-39. p 34]. Martin Harris reported a different reason for removing the plates from under the hearth:

“They were then hidden under the hearth in his father’s house. But the wall being partly down, it was feared that certain ones, who were trying to get possession of the plates, would get under the house and dig them out. Joseph then took them out, and hid them under the old cooper’s shop, by taking up a board and digging in the ground and burying them.” (Tiffany Monthly 166-167)

Joseph was later warned to remove the plates and breastplate, whereupon he removed them from the chest under the floor, and placed them in some flax in the loft of the shop. The mob arrived “as soon as it was dark” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 150; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:342]

Joseph Smith tells Isaac hale he’s given up Glass looking.  He tells Isaac Hale that a child will be the first to see the plates.  Joseph refuses to show Isaac the plates. (Isaac Hale March 20th 1834 Affidavit)

Nov 1827-1 May 1828 – Rigdon baptising in Ohio.  The “Christian Baptist” (Vol.V, p.263) reports Spring that “Bishops Scott, Rigdon and Bentley in Ohio within the last six months (i.e. 1 ) have immersed about 800 people.”

16-17 November, 1827 – Rigdon travels to New Lisbon, Columbiana Co.

18 November, 1827 – Rigdon holds a series of meetings at New Lisbon, about 80 miles SE of Mentor, during which 17 persons were immersed. [Ref: Whitsett, W.H., Origin of The Disciples of Christ, (Louisville: Baptist Book Concern, 1891),p.99.] Allowing 4 days for travel (round trip), he was possibly gone 2-3 weeks.

End of  November, 1827Martin Harris indicated Joseph’s reasons for deciding to move to Pennsylvania.

“The excitement in the village upon the subject had become such that some had threatened to mob Joseph, and also to tar and feather him. They said he should never leave until he had shown the plates. It was unsafe for him to remain, so I determined that he must go to his father-in-law’s in Pennsylvania. He wrote to his brother-in-law Alvah Hale, requesting him to come for him.” [TM p170]

Lucy describes Alva’s time at the Smith home as “the short interval of Alva’s stay with us,” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 153; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:348] which would indicate that he was probably there less than a week.  Martin Harris gives Joseph $50 for the move.

December 1827 . Because of rising persecution, Smith and Emma were forced to seek refuge at her father’s place in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Emma’s brother, Alvin, upon hearing of their circumstances, arrived in Manchester to assist with the move. Martin Harris gave Joseph $50 to help cover the cost of the trip. Prior to leaving, a mob of about 50 men, visited Dr. McIntyre with the plan to follow Joseph and steal the “Gold Bible.” He rejected the plan, and a quarrel broke out that put an end to the affair. Upon their arrival at Harmony, Joseph commences copying characters from the plates, and with the Urim and Thummim, he translated some. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p. 118, and HoC,V.1. p.19)  Distance between Mentor, Ohio and Harmony, Pennsylvania (2 hours by car in modern days)

“By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania, and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters of the plates. I copyed a considerable number of them and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father in the month of December, and the February following.” [PJS 1:284; Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press 1:19]

06 December, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of Alvin Wait and Sophia Gunn at Kirtland.

12 December, 1827 – Alvin Wait and Sophia Gunn marriage recorded.

13 December, 1827 – Rigdon marriage of Cottrell and Olds at Concord Twp., Ohio, near Painesville.  This indicates that he could travel from Kirtland to Painesville within a day’s time.

28 December, 1827Philosophy of a future state published by Thomas Dick, Joseph Smith possessed a copy. Book of Abraham numbers, stars, counting and philosophy similar, including stars pupulated by “Various orders of intelligences” and these intelligences are “progressive beings” headed towards perfection

(Rigdon history gap of 21 days. Probably out of town due to tardiness in recording above wedding.)

ABOUT THIS TIME – Orson Hyde joins Campbellites and moves in with Sidney Rigdon.

King James Bible with Apocrypha and the 1769 revisions is printed by H & E Phinney Co. in Cooperstown, NY

Winter 1828 – Francis Atwater mentions the Spaulding Rigdon theory [SpR]

“Rigdon had for years been in possession of the noted Spaulding manuscript, setting forth the romance which told of the derivation of the American Indians from memebers of the “Lost Tribes” of Israel. Some time before this he had probably decided to bring it out in some fraudulent way. Years afterward Darwin Atwater wrote thus: “That he knew before of the coming of the book of Mormon, is to me certain from what he said the first of his visits at my father’s, some years before. He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said that they must have been made by the Aborigines. He said there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these in his eloquent, enthusiastic style, as being a thing most extraordinary. Though a youth then, I took him to task for expending so much enthusiasm on such a subject.”(Hayden’s History of the Disciples, p. 239.) By January, 1828 [sic – 1827?]

04-05 January, 1828 -Rigdon attends Grand River Bible Society meeting at Painesville.

08 January, 1828 – Records marriage of Cottrell & Olds (from 13, December 1827)

(Rigdon history gap of 36 days)

February 1828 – Martin Harris visits Smith in Harmony, and then takes copies of the characters to Professor Anton. In the interim, Mrs. Harris concocts a scheme to get copies of the characters and to see the plates herself.  (History of Joseph Smith pp.121-122)

D&C 4 given to Joseph Smith Sr. as a blessing, not as a revelation [SINGLE]

14 February, 1828 – Rigdon marriage of Herrington and Corning at Mentor.

March 1828 – Rigdon visits Walter Scott at Warren, Ohio. (Hayden, p.192.) for about one week. Returns to Mentor w/ Rev. A. Bentley. (ltr fr Bentley to W. Scott dated 22 Jan. 1841 recalling event, as does Campbell in 1844, but both w/erroneous dates.) Rigdon accepts Scott’s “ancient gospel” method of evangelizing — it is possible that Rigdon asked for a second baptism.  [BOM COINCIDENCE]

H.H. Luse assists Rigdon in moving a load of household goods from Deacon Brooks’ (Rigdon’s father-in-law) house in Warren to Rigdon’s new brick house in Mentor. This probably took place during return trip from the above event. (See Luse to Deming, 13 Oct 1887, in Deming’s Naked Truths about Mormonism, p.7.)

Rigdon instructed theological class at Mentor.

Lucy Harris would search house for plates

“As soon as she arrived there, she said she had come to see the plates and would never leave until she had accomplished it. Without delay she began ransacking every nook and corner of the house–chest, cupboard, trunk, etc.; consequently Joseph was compelled to take both the breastplate and the record out of the house and secrete them elsewhere.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 156-157] “Not finding them in the house, she [Lucy Harris] concluded that Joseph had buried them, and the next day she went out and hunted the ground over, adjacent to the house. She kept up the search till two o’clock in the afternoon.” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 157]

D&C 5 given, promising Martin would be a witness.  [SINGLE] given as a blessing.

31 March, 1828 – Rigdon marriage of Herrington and Corning recorded (Monday).

12 April, 1828 – Joseph Smith begins translating The Book of Mormon with Emma acting as the scribe. Joseph dictated with his face burried in a hat with his stone in it. (Emma Smith Interview ‘The Saints’ Advocate’, Plano, Illinois, vol.2, no.4, pp.1-4  (October 1879) file date: 2011-07-08 It would be during this time that he would have asked her if Jerusalem had a wall around it.

“Mr. Harris having returned from this tour [1250 miles in 74 days] he left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and twenty-eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, …” [PJS 1:286 and Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press 1:20]

“When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him.” — Emma Smith (Spelling out proper names time and time again would be difficult if creating the story, but simple if reading a pre-written manuscript.  Not knowing the names might indicate a separate author of said manuscript)

18 April, 1828 – Harris again joins Joseph in Harmony, and acts as scribe while Joseph translates.

April 1828 – Conducted revival (w/ Adamson Bentley) at Kirtland, Ohio.  Implemented the “ancient gospel” within Grand River Associations congregations such as Kirtland and Mentor — many new converts were brought into the “Reformed Baptist” ranks [BOM COINCIDENCE]

May, 1828 – Rigdon met Alexander Campbell at Shalersville and held “protracted meetings.”

Summer, 1828 – In a letter to Thomas Gregg, Lorenzo Saunders said that he saw Rigdon in the summer of 1828 having dinner at the home of Samuel Lawrence. This seems odd, considering that after Joseph Smith claimed that he had found the plates in September 1827, he was so harassed by Samuel Lawrence and the gang of treasure-diggers, who tried to find the plates, that Joseph moved back to Harmony, Pennsylvania in December (see above). However, Rigdon may have visited Lawrence in 1828 to convince him to allow the plan to move forward without Lawrence’s interference.

June, 1828 – Rigdon baptized H.H. Clapp at Mentor, Ohio

14 June, 1828 – Harris takes 116 to show his wife, father, mother, brother, and his wife’s sister. He eventually loses the manuscript. (History of the Church ,V.1, p.20, and History of Joseph Smith pp.124-125,128,130-132).  This loss is from the book of Lehi up to the first chapter of Mosiah.  Words of Mormon conveniently ties together exactly to Mosiah 2 with the missing information or else the Book of Mormon’s first word would be “And” and the characters would have made little sense.  Urim and Thummim/Nephite interpreters taken

“(For it [the Urim and Thummim] had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings which he lost by transgression)” [PJS 1:2878; see Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press 1:21]

[SpR] – Predicts that Joseph’s information would be primarily prior to Mosiah 2

[SpR] – Predicts that names, dates and other details will be scant in the lost section compared to the rest, as Joseph would need to re-write the lost material.

[SpR] – Predicts doctrines that had become popular between September 21,1827,and  early July of 1828 will appear in the “Prior to Mosiah 2” section

[SpR] – According to Dr. Craig Criddle, 2 Nephi and Moroni include the presence of a Campbellite conversion sequence that became popular between 1827 and 1828 correlated with specific word usage patterns.

15 June, 1828 – Joseph first child is born, but dies after only a short time.

June or July 1828 -Martin Harris informs Smith about the lost manuscripts. Joseph returns home to Harmony the following day. (HoC,V.1,p.20, Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 pp.125-128)

In his distress Smith decides to visit his family at Manchester, New York. While in transit, he was so overcome with grief regarding the death of his child, the near fatal health of his wife, and his concerns about giving the manuscript to Harris, that a stranger was moved with compassion to help Joseph over the four miles from the stag to his parents home. (History of Joseph Smith pp.125-128)

“Immediately after my return home I was walking out a little distance, when Behold the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again (for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings, which he lost by transgression) and I inquired of the Lord through it and obtained the following revelation

“Revelation to Joseph Smith jr, given July 1828 concerning certain manuscripts on the first part of the book of Mormon which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris.
“[D&C 3]”

“After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again; …” [PJS 1:287; see Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press 1:21-23]

“When Joseph Delivered the 116 pages of the translation to Martin Harris, his Plates, his Interpreters, and his gift were taken from him for some two months. The Plates and gift of translation were returned to him, but not the Interpreters. He translated the entire book of Mormon by the use of a little stone he had in his possession before he obtained the plates.” [John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, “The Translation of the Book of Mormon: Basic Historical Information,” FARMS, 1986, 65 p. 13]

Joseph Smith applies for membership in his wife’s Methodist church.

D&C 3 given [SINGLE] at a time when Rigdon was cited as being in the area.  Curiously lists this revelation out of order on the chronological listing on  For somereason they put D&C 3 in July as before February, March and April

Summer 1828 – Smith receives another D&C 10 at Harmony  Lucy places this as several months after Joseph returned.  Apologists insist it was as Joseph returned home (Joseph said so)  If it was, in fact Sidney Rigdon, it might have taken Sidney some time to travel or write the revelation to Joseph to console him accounting for the discrepancy. [POSSIBLE COVERUP] (D&C 10, Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.136) Lorenzo Saunders testimony puts Sidney Rigdon at Samuel Lawrence’ home at this point.

Emma begins to translate at the end of the summer whenever this revelation was given

“In writing for J[oseph]. S[mith]. I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it and dictating hour after hour, with nothing between us.” [Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:539]

Emma’s brother Reuben also assisted Joseph in his translation on various occasions. [See Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:541]

07 September, 1828 – Rigdon marriage of Luther Dille and Clarissa Kent at Mentor.

10-11 September, 1828 –  Grand River Baptist Assn. votes to withdraw Rigdon’s fellowship from Painesville & Mentor Church.

18 September, 1828 – Rigdon marriage of Nachor Corning & Phoebe Wilson at Mentor .

(Gap of 23 days. Probably out of town due to tardiness in recording above two marriages– see Oct. 13th, below.)

October – There are troubles with the dates that Joseph’s parents visit. Richard Bushman approach in Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, by describing two different visits of Joseph Smith Sr. to Harmony during the winter of 1828-1829. He depicts the initial visit of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Smith as occurring in October of 1828 and lasting for nearly three months. He specifies that they arrived back in Manchester on January 22, 1829, and he then has Joseph Smith Sr., in company with Samuel Smith, returning to visit Joseph Knight and then on to see Joseph and Emma in February of 1829 (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, University of Illinois Press, 1984. p. 95).

Nevertheless Lucy records that they had begun translating again by the time of the visit:

“… on the twenty-second of September, I had the joy and satisfaction of again receiving the Urim and Thummim, with which I have again commenced translating, and Emma writes for me, …” [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 176]

13 October, 1828 – Rigdon records Luther Dille and Nachor Corning marriages .

(Rigdon History gap of 79 days)

Sidney Rigdon converts Parley P. Pratt to be a reformed baptist.

Rigdon tells Parley that he [Rigdon] doesn’t have the authority to give the holy ghost]

Martin Harris named as a witness on this date

16 November, 1828 – Joseph and Emma visit Joseph Knight for money

“Now he Could not translate But little Being poor and nobody to write for him But his wife and she Could not do much and take Care of her house and he Being poor and no means to live But work. His wifes father and family were all against him and would not h[e]lp him. He and his wife Came up to see me the first of the winter 1828 and told me his Case. But I was not in easy Circumstances and I did not know what it mite amount to and my wife and familey all against me about helping him. But I let him have some little provisions and some few things out of the Store apair of shoes and three Dollars in money to help him a litle.” [Dean Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History”, Brigham Young University Studies, 17:1, autumn 1976, pp 29-39. 36]

Late November, 1828 – Oliver Cowdery is teaching Joseph Smith Sr.  Replaces L. Cowdery in Late November

“But the next day, this Mr. [L.] Cowdery brought his brother Oliver to the trustees and requested them to receive him in his place, as business had arisen that would oblige him to disappoint them. But he would warrant the prosperity of the school in Oliver’s hands, if the trustees would accept of his services.”

Oliver applied to board at the Joseph Smith Sr. home as soon as his replacement for Lyman Cowdery was accepted. [Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 180]

01 Jan 1829 -Marriage of Churchill and Fosdick at Concord Twp., Ohio, near Painesville .

(Rigdon history gap of 30 days.)

01 February, 1829 – Rigdon marriage of Root and Tuttle at Mentor (Sun.).

12 February, 1829 – Rigdon records Root and Fosdick marriages.

February 1829 – Joseph’s Parents visit him at Harmony. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.133) Joseph receives a D&C 4 at Harmony. (HoC,V.1,p.28, and D&C 4)

Early March 1829 – Joseph receives D&C 5 at Harmony.

“… behold, I say unto thee Joseph, when thou hast translated a few more pages thou shalt stop for a season, even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again. And except thou do this, behold thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee. [D&C 5:30-31]

Book of Mosiah completion would have been 62 pages or about three pages per day.

March 1829 – Rigdon Holds protracted (3-day) meeting at Mentor. Rigdon meets P.P. Pratt near Amhurst, Loraine Co., Ohio. (History of the Church, I,pg.119; Pratt, Autobiography, pg.31.)

April, 1829 – Smith receives D&C 6-9 at Harmony. As well, D&C 20 and 21 were received this month on church organization.  20 and 21 are also listed not in chronological order on the Chronology chart.

Prior to 1828, Rigdon apparently believed in the “Arminian” conversion process. This process contemplated three steps: (1) faith, (2) repentance, and (3) spiritual rebirth. This sequence appears in sections of the Book of Mormon translated during this time period Mos. 5:7, 27:24-27; Alma 5:12-13; 22:15-16; and Alma 36:16-24.

02 April, 1829 – [DATE DISPUTED] Rigdon meeting at Kirtland, Ohio. (NOTE: Although recorded in other sources [Smith, Shook] as April 12, such a date is clearly impossible in light of the following. The most reasonable assumption, therefore, is that “12” is a typographical error and that the correct date should be April 2.)

03 April, 1829 – Rigdon travels to Mantua Center, aprox. 30 mi 1829 #Apr 04 Preaches at Mantua Center, Ohio. (See entries for Jun 25, 1826 & Jan 27, 1827.)

Prior to 05 April, 1829– Oliver meets David Whitmer in Palmyra

05 April, 1829 – Oliver Cowdery, meets Joseph Smith ad Harmony, PA… says “he had never saw him before this time”. Parly was baptized by Sidney one month prior. (History of Joseph Smith. p. 31)

“… behold, I say unto thee Joseph, when thou hast translated a few more pages thou shalt stop for a season, even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again. And except thou do this, behold thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee. [D&C 5:30-31]

NOTE There is no Rigdon historical Gap for when Oliver and Joseph start translating.  He’s clearly with his preaching friends. (Alibi ?)  Also Rigdon could drop off letters (Revelations) at various post offices along route, with no fear of being linked or seen.

06-11 April, 1829 – Rigdon & Scott travel to East Liverpool, Ohio, and from there to Cincinnati via river boat. Alex. Campbell probably joins them on boat at Weirton, Va. (today W.V.) about 20 miles down-river.  He visits Rev. Walter Scott

07 April, 1829 – Joseph commences translation of Book of Mormon with Oliver acting as scribe. (History of Joseph Smith p. 31)  Approx 6.5 pages per day for the following chapters per day Alma 1-2

Several Revelations given while Rigdon is in the east

08 April, 1829 – Alma 3-4

09 April, 1829 – Alma 5-7

10 April, 1829 – Alma 8-9

11 April, 1829– Alma 10-12

12 April, 1829 – Alma 13-14

13-21 April 1829 – Rigdon at debate between Robert Owen (communal society advocate) and Alexander Campbell, on “Evidences of Christianity,” at Cincinnati, Ohio. (See Brodie, p.105, Campbell’s Memoirs, p.268, van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, p.50.)

Alma 15-36  D&C 6 might have been received in conjunction with Alma 37.  It specifically mentions additional records to be translated later given to Helaman, as well as the 24 Jaredite plates.

22-29 April 1829 – Rigdon return trip to Mentor, probably via same route.

Alma 38- 56  D&C 7 mentions translated beings (John the revelator) and Alma 45 mentions Alma wandered off and was not seen again.  D&C 8 and 9 were also received at this time.

30 April – end of May, 1829 – Alma 57- Moroni (D&C 13 could be connected, in that Joseph and Oliver say this is the date for their mutual baptism and the discussion of baptism occurs here.  Note:  The actual baptism prayer doesn’t occur until Moroni, which may mean they did not use the wrote prayer Mormons expect at this point )

“We still continued the <work of> translation, when in the ensuing month [May, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine] we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates.” [PJS 1:290; see Brigham H. Roberts ed., History of the Church, Deseret News Press 1:39]

“…and we only waited for the commandment to be given ‘Arise and be baptized.'” [JSH 1:71, note]

May 1829 – Samuel Smith (Joseph’s younger brother) visits Joseph at Harmony, shortly followed by a visit from Hyrum Smith (Joseph’s older brother) and David Whitmer. Joseph receives a revelation at Harmony. (D&C 11)

Joseph Knight brings provision from Colesville to Harmony for Joseph Smith and his wife. Joseph receives a revelation. (D&C 12)

Towards the end of May, it is believed that Joseph and Oliver recieved the Melchizedic priesthood from Peter, James, and John. (Larry C. Porter, “The Restoration of The Priesthood,” Religious Studies Center Newsletter, Volume 9, No. 3, May 1995) No contemporary records exist of this occurrence and the first time Melchizedek Priesthood is used as a term is 1835.  Elders are in the Aaronic Priesthood prior to 1835.

May 15, 1829 – Claimed date for smith and Oliver receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist.  The two baptised each other. (History of Joseph Smith. p. 39-44, D&C 13).

About this point in May, 1829– Joseph and Oliver translate the “war chapters” in Alma.  The war chapters are filled with language that matches George Washington’s movements and actions in Mercy Warren’s book.  Key points:  Troop movements and actions in pre-musket days are not very similar to combat after the Musket was invented.

Spaulding’s Manuscript ALSO has these movements, the descriptions and turns of phrases in it.

May 25, 1829 – Samuel Smith Baptized by Oliver Cowedery

Summer 1829Mr. Z. Rudolph, student of Sidney Rigdon [SpR]

“during the winter previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon, Rigdon was in the habit of spending weeks away from his home, going no one knew where; and that he often appeared very preoccupied and would indulge in dreamy, imaginative talks, which puzzled those who listened. When the Book of Mormon appeared and Rigdon joined in the advocacy of the new religion, the suspicion was at once aroused that he was one of the framers of the new doctrines, and probably was not ignorant of the authorship of the Book of Mormon.”

D&C 10,11 12,13 were received during this time period

 D&C 10 “continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun.” (v3) When he asks what he is to do now, the Lord tells him that he is not to retranslate the portion of the translation which was lost, because it had since been modified by wicked men. Instead, Joseph is to translate the account contained on the plates of Nephi, which is the more full account of that which was lost.

It is very significant that this is where Lorenzo Saunders and Z. Rudolph both put Sidney Rigdon in the area and a corresponding gap appears in Sidney’s history.  Sidney would need to show up at the end of May, when the Book of Mormon was completed up to the end of the book of Mormon but not all of Moroni to make sense this “Revelation” make sense.  Also significant that the Book of Mormon has all things central to organizing a church in Moroni, as well as an epistle mentioning Infant Baptism as a sin (What Sidney had just been preaching while at Walter Scott’s).

Walter Scott’s sequence, not popular until March 1828 shows up in 2 Nephi 31:11-14 3 Nephi 18:11, 27:19-20, 30:2; Mormon 7:8-10; and Moroni 8:11 all translated during the months of April/May and June 1829, during periods of high revelation reception by Smith.  The Walter Scott Sequence is (1) faith, (2) repentance, (3) adult baptism by immersion, (4) the remission of sins, and (5) spiritual rebirth by “the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this sequence, spiritual rebirth comes after baptism, not before. Rigdon learned about it in March 1828

The missing link between Christ and convicted sinners seemed now happily supplied… Rigdon was transported with the discovery. (A. S. Hayden)

The phrase, “Jesus is the Christ” made popular in 1828 also shows up in this sectionMoroni 7:44; Mormon 5:14 and twice in 2 Nephi 26:12 and the title page (Taken from the last leaf)

Baptism by immersion is what Scott taught in 1828, and it is the baptismal rite advocated in The Book of Mormon 3 Ne 11:26 (3rd Nephi would have existed prior to this point outside of the Spaulding/Rigdon Theory and this would be a counter to the theory.  But Parley P. Pratt’s authorship style and wording shows up heavily in 3 Ne 11, and thus the visit by Christ could have been a re-write.  See “Who wrote the Book of Mormon“, by Craig Criddle for more details)

The “children of men,” phrase appears in Rigdon’s autobiography, Joseph’s biography (written by Rigdon) and 130 times in the book of Mormon.  It does not appear in the New Testament.

“Children of Men” in the Doctrine and Covenants – (sections 4, 5 (Blessings, couldn’t be letters from Rigdon), 6, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 29, 35, 38, 39, 43, 45, 46, 58, 63, 64, 66, 93, 96, 101, 104, 109, 112, 121, 128, 135), but especially in sections 11, 17, 18 and 19. It occurs the most number of times (four) in Section 18.  It never appears in a revelation that Sidney and Joseph shared [DUAL]

information on ordination and sacrament prayers (given in Moro 3-5), should logically be found in 3 Nephi where Christ organizes the church (11-27). This makes little sense in terms of rational composition of The Book of Mormon, but makes perfect sense if, in May, 1829, the author of the Book of Moroni was attempting at the same time, to lay groundwork for a new Church, but was unable to revise 3 Nephi, perhaps because it was not available to him or had already been translated.

June, 1829 – Summer revivals conducted (sometimes independently and sometimes in concert) by Rigdon, M.S. Clapp, William Collins & others in the north-central Ohio area. Churches were begun by Rigdon in Birmingham, Erie Co., Elyria, Lorain Co., and Hamden, Geuaga Co. Dates are largely uncertain due to the absence of church records for these times (Hayden, p.459).  The revival lasted for 3 days

In the beginning of the month David Whitmer brought a two-horse wagon to Harmony so as to transport Joseph and Oliver to his father’s home in Fayette, New York. These men were given free room and board until they completed the translation.

1 Nephi 1- Words of Mormon all completed in this month.   D&C 14,15,16, 17 and 18 are during this time period while Rigdon otherwise taken up. 74 is probably during this time period.  Even though baptism was described in Moroni with exact words, clarification was required specifically about infant baptism… a subject that Joseph did not spend much time with, but Sidney was an expert on.

Joseph receives several revelation at Fayette. And, the Eleven Witnesses beheld the gold plates. (D&C 14-18, and Introduction to the Book of Mormon–Testimony of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses respectively)

Joseph receives a revelation (Moses 1:1-42)  at Harmony. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.98-101)
Jun to October with Oliver as scribe.  This kicks off the translation of the bible and may prompt the October 8, 1829 bible purchase. (Stone-in-a-hat method while the plates aren’t even in the house fine for Book of Mormon, but where there is a bible to work from, buy the bible)

12 June, 1829 – A dam is erected to enable baptisms, but during the night it was torn down by a mob (likely comprised of Presbyterians concerned about losing some of their flock, such as Cyrus McMaster, Dr. Boyington, and Mr. Benton). (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.86,98)

13 June, 1829 – Joseph attends Sunday meeting with the Colesville members (as well as some of the mob who tore down the dam), at which Oliver Cowdery preached. That evening Emily Coburn (sister-in-law of Newel Knight) was taken by Rev. Shearer (or Sherer), a Presbyterian, under Power of Attorney to her father’s house. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.86-87)

14 June, 1829 – The dam was repaired early in the morning, and the baptisms proceeded (including Emma Smith and Sally Knight). Joseph and others were later followed by an angery mob of about 50 people (again, likely from the Presbyterian congregation), from Joseph Knight’s to Newel Knights. Joseph was arrested for “being disorderly” and taken to trial at South Bainbridge, New York. The warrant for his arrest was sworn to by Mr. Benton, a Presbyterian. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p. 88-89,97,101)

15 June,1829 – Court commenced, and Joseph was represented by James Davidson and John Reid, Esquires (hired by Joseph Knight), and the prosecution was represented by two Presbyterians, Mr. Seymour and Mr. Burch. Joseph was later acquitted, though immediately arrested and taken to Colesville for trial. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.89-91)

16 June, 1829 – Joseph is brought before the magistrate in Colesville, and he was later acquitted. He then excaped the angered mob, and fleed to his sister-in-laws house where he met up with his wife. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.91-96)

17 June, 1829 – Joseph arrives at his home in Harmony along with his wife. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958.)

19-21 June, 1829 – “A happy three days’ meeting of disciples” in Mentor. (See F.W. Emmons’ “Journal of a Traveler” in Millennial Harbinger, VIII, No.1 [2 Aug. 1830], pg.390.) See end note****:(50)

19 June, 1829 – Sally Knight has a dream that Joseph would visit her this day. The dreamed was fulfilled several hours later when Joseph and Oliver arrived at Colesville from Harmony, with the intent of confirming those who had been baptized on the 14th. However, a mob had gathered, and these two men excaped, and were forced to travel all night back home, where they remained for the rest of the month.(Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.97)

22-26 June, 1829 –  Rigdon in Mentor. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958, p.390-91)

25 June, 1829 – 3 witnesses see plates.  D&C 19 – Telling Martin Harris about suffering also listed as Summer, but would make far more sense being revealed before he  was given the ability to see the plates.

After 25 June, 1829 – Lucy records a few days after they returned to Manchester, the eight witnesses saw the plates.  [See Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor editors, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Bookcraft, 1996. 203]

late June, 1829 – Translation is complete [David Whitmer’s 1887 Address to All Believers in Christ] Oliver Cowdery makes a printer’s copy. [Church History Vol I]

27 June 1829 – Rigdon preaches 1 3/4 hr. in AM (from John XV) and baptizes two. (ibid. pp.391-92.)

July, 1829 – Rigdon holds meeting at Pleasant Valley, Darby Twp., Madison Co., Ohio, possibly at invitation of his cousin Thomas Rigdon, also a Campbellite Baptist preacher, who lived in nearby Mount Vernon, Knox Co. (about 30 mi. NE of Darby Twp.) and through which Rigdon would have to pass on his way. Rigdon is said to have baptized 45 people at this event. Pleasant Valley is a few miles W of Columbus and about 165-175 mi. SW of Mentor (depending on route taken). Given time for round-trip travel, plus two or three weeks for revivals, this trip probably took up the entire month.

Oliver Cowdery (likely during the later half of the month, and in company with John and David Whitmer) traveled from Harmony to the Whitmer home in Fayette, New York, where he began to arrange and copy the revelations. He later corresponded with Joseph in Harmony about what he thought to be an error in one of the revelations. Joseph wrote immediately back requesting to know the authority by which Oliver made this claim. Joseph then returned to Harmony, likely in the company of John Whitmer. (ibid. pp.104-105)

Joseph receives several revelations at Harmony (likely during the first half of the month). Joseph begins to compile the revelations he has received thus far. (HoC,V.1, pp.101-104, and D&C 24, 25, 26 are given [SINGLE])  It is notable that the idea to save all the revelations and compile them come at a time when Sidney Rigdon is missing for 3 weeks.  This is the same time as the Book of Mormon goes to the printer, something to be expected that Sidney would want to be in town for.)

01 July, 1829 -Rigdon Organized church (group) at Perry, Ohio, (Weds.)

(Rigdon Histoy gap of perhaps three weeks, more or less. (Possibly during this time Mr. Z. Rudolph‘s quote and Lorezon Saunders quote are relevant to.)

August, 1829 – Grandin starts type setting and printing of The Book of Mormon. Martin Harris, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery frequently visited the printing office, Joseph Smith only visited once. Hyrum Smith brought the manuscript in for printing a few pages at a time. Each chapter was one paragraph, without punctuation; Gilbert, with permission, added the punctuation.

D&C 27 given (Water instead of wine) [SINGLE]

A Methodist minister told falsehoods “of the most shameful nature”, and turned Emma’s family against Joseph. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.108)

August (early in month) 1829 – c.26 Parley Parker Pratt is sent to New York “on a mission.” (Hist. of the Church [RLDS], I, pg.139.) Parley tells his wife the spirit is directing him to go on a mission and that is restated in his Autobiography [POSSIBLE COVERUP] He steps off a canal boat, is directed to the Smith home, and is converted shortly thereafter. He is baptized by Cowdery at Fayette on 1 September. (Shouldn’t he be nervous returning to Sidney?)

August 1829 – Early in the month Joseph and Emma are visited at Harmony by Newel Knight and his wife (Sally), with the intent of confirming Sally (and Emma) subsequent to her (their) baptisms in June. Joseph went to procure wine for the sacrament, and received and wrote down a portion of revelation (first four verses)–the remainder of the revelation was written down in September at Fayette, New York. (ibid. pp.106-108, D&C 27)
25-26 August, 1829 – Rigdon travels to Austintown (about 60 miles).

29 August, 1829 – Joseph, in company with John and David Whitmer visited the Church at Colesville (Joseph had originally intended to go on the 21st or 22nd, but was unable). Their prayers to God (that He would protect them from the mob) were answered. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.108-109)

27-29 August, 1829 -Meets Alexander Campbell at Austintown, Ohio at the final meeting of the Mahoning Association. Rigdon preaches Sat. Aug. 28th. (Rigdon dissociates himself from Campbell and his brethren following this meeting.)

30 August, 1829 – Joseph and the Whitmers return to Harmony. (ibid. p.109)

30-31 August, 1829 – Probable return travel.

31 August, 1829 – Because of the growing persecution in Harmony, Newel Knight arrives from Colesville with a wagon, and proceeded to move Joseph and his family to the Whitmers at Fayette, New York. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.109)

(Rigdon historical Gap of 51 days.)

September 1829 – Soon after arriving at Fayette, Joseph learned of Hiram Page received “revelations” through a certain stone. This causes the prophet immense grief. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.109-110)

26 September, 1829 – Joseph holds Conference at Fayette. The Conference continues for three days. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.115,118)

September 1829 – Joseph receives several revelations at Fayette. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.116-118, D&C 30-31)

07 August, 1829 – Official founding of church at Perry, Ohio. Rigdon present (Friday).

August, 1829 (after church founded) – Rigdon baptized Mrs. Lyman Wight.

13 August, 1829 – Rigdon marriage of John Strong & Ann Eliza More at Kirtland.

26-27 August, 1829 – Probable travel to Warren (about 50 miles).

28-30 August, 1829 – Annual meeting of Mahoning Baptist Assn. at Warren, Ohio. More than 1,000 assemble, incl. Rigdon.

August 1829 – Joseph leaves Fayette for Palmyra so as to secure a copyright for the Book of Mormon, and to obtain a contract with E. B. Grandin to print 5000 copies at a cost of $3000. (History of Joseph Smith. p.71)

August 1829 – Joseph returns home to Harmony, Pennsylvania. However, he was forced to return to Palmyra to stop Squire Cole from printing the Book of Mormon in his paper, and to calm the fears of E. B. Grandin about his receiving payment for his printing services. (History of Joseph Smith p.75 footnote)

05 September, 1829 – Martin Harri’s description of the plates printed in the Rochester Gem. defined as being 8″x6″x1/8″

11-13 September, 1829 -Rigdon holds (three day) meeting at Mentor. Jesse J. Moss baptized.

14 September, 1829 – Rigdon marriage of Strong and More recorded. Marriage of Darwin Atwater and Harriet Clapp.

30 September, 1829 – Rigdon probable travel to Perry (about 15 miles).

01 October, 1829 – Rigdon marriage of Joel Roberts & Relief Bates, Perry, Ohio.

01-05 October, 1829 – Rigdon at Perry, Ohio. Preaches Sun., Oct. 4th.

07 October, 1829 – Rigdon above two marriages recorded.

08 October, 1829 – Oliver Cowdery buys 1828 H & E Phinney Bible with the Apocrypha and the Grandin book store for $3.75.  Joseph’s handwriting notes the price and the purchase in the bible.  This bible would be used for the bulk of the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible.  It would go to Emma Smith and then in the RLDS church where it is kept today. The bulk of Translation (all but 5 chapters in Genesis) would be done by Rigdon and Smith [GROUP TRANSLATION]

Rigdon lingo and beliefs in the Book of Moses:

“Children of Men” high frequency

The Book of Moses emphasizes foreknowledge of Jesus Christ among Old Testament figures, such as Adam and Eve (Moses 6:51-63)

Sacrificial offerings were depicted as “a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten” (5:6-8). Adam was baptized in water, received the Holy Ghost (5:9; 6:64-68) in the same way as the Disciples of Christ. Adam and Eve and their posterity were taught the purpose of the Fall and rejoiced in the Lord’s plan for redemption (5:10-12).  (exactly where Sidney picked up on the translation).

22 October, 1829 – Rigdon preaches at the Town House in Ashtabula (Fri.) (See vanW. p.55, citing Ashtabula Journal of 16 October 1830.)

Autumn, 1829 – Rigdon mission to Elyria in Loraine Co. & on to Huron probably (within 75 miles of Mentor) with Orson Hyde. (See Barron, H.H., Orson Hyde biog., pg. Oct. thru mid) 21. NOTE: Hyde boarded w/ Rigdon during most Nov. of year 1829. See also Page, John E.,pp.9-10. spring harvest ) Barron notes “they baptized many people & or while weather) organized several branches of the church before still warm. ) returning to Mentor that same fall,” pg.21.)

November, 1829 – Rigdon holds meeting at Waite Hill, Ohio (a few miles west of Mentor on road from Elyria).

(Gap of at least one month to two months.)

31 December, 1829 – Rigdon marriage of Chandler and Johnson, Chagrin, Ohio, about 15 mi. south of Mentor

Fall and Winter 1829. Printing of Book of Mormon under way.  Martin Harris tries to sell his farm to finance the printing of The Book of Mormon. Hyrum Smith becomes impatient and is vexed with Harris and recommends to try to sell the book’s copyright in Toronto. Joseph looks into his stone had receives a revelation to go to Toronto to try and sell the book’s copyright. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery travel to Toronto but failed to sell the copyright, (the revelation sent them to the wrong place). [David Whitmer’s 1887 Address to All Believers in Christ]

1830 – Walter Scott writes a letter to Dr. Richardson about how Rigdon would take other preacher’s ideas (Particularly Alexander Campbell) and incorporate them, many of these teachings end up in the Book of Mormon including the millenial views mentioned in this letter [BOM COINCIDENCE]

Rigdon, who always caught and proclaimed the last word that fell from the lips of Scott or Campbell, seized these views (about the millennium and the Jews) and, with the wildness of his extravagant nature, heralded them everywhere. (A. S. Hayden Early History of the Disciples’ Church in the Western Reserve, p. 186. See:

12 January, 1830 – Rigdon marriage of Chandler and Johnsonbove marriage recorded.

February, 1830 – Convinces Lyman Wight and Isaac Morley to begin communal settlement experiment on Morley’s farm near Kirtland. (van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, p.50)

March, 1830 – Rigdon at Mentor, Ohio.

(Rigdon Historical gap of 2 1/2 to 3 months.)

At the end of this month, the publication of the Book of Mormon was complete, and copies went on sale, 588 pages. 5,000 copies costing $3,000. Sale price $1.75. Joseph Smith listed as Author and Proprietor (as customary).Printed by E. B. Grandin (Publisher of Wayne Sentinel) and funded by Martin Harris who mortgaged 240 acres to Grandin for 18 months (the note was due Feb 5, 1831 and 151 acres of it later sold to Thomas Lakey). [Church History Vol I]

Joseph Smith receives a revelation commanding Martin Harris (under threat of being smitten) to part with his money, settle his debt with the printer, and pay for the printing of The Book of Mormon. [Church History Vol I]

Smith receives a revelation at Manchester, New York. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. pp.72-74, and D&C 19) limiting Joseph Smith only to translation and no other work.  Another mentioned that would gather Israel.  This revelation is changed in the modern D&C (BC 4:2)

“and he [Smith] has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”

2 Nephi 3:8, translated about the same time reads

And I will give unto him  a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

April, 1830 – Joseph receives a revelation (likely at Manchester, New York). (D&C 20)

06 April, 1830 – Smith organizes the Church at Peter Whitmer’s home in Fayette, New York. Joseph receives a revelation. (ibid. pp.74-79, and D&C 21)
Apr. Joseph recieves several revelations at Manchester, New York. (ibid. pp.79-80, D&C 22 and 23)

April, 1830 – Joseph visits the Knight family in Colesville and casts the devil out of Newel Knight. He returned to Fayette shortly thereafter. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.81-84)
May. During the last week of this month, Newel Knight visited Joseph at Fayette, and was baptised by David Whitmer. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958)

11 April, 1830 – Smith at Sunday meet at the Whitmers in Fayette. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.81)


Mormon Emigration.– About two hundred men, women and children, of the deluded followers of Jo Smith’s bible speculation, have arrived on our coast during the last, week, from the state of New-York, & are about seating themselves down upon the “promised land” in this county. It is surely a melancholy comment upon human nature to see so many people at this enlightened age of the world, truckling along at the car of a miserable impostor, submitting themselves, both soul and body, to his spiritual and temporal mandates, without a murmur, or presuming to question that it is all a command direct from Heaven. Such an abject slavery of the mind may endure for a season; but in due time, like the chains of Popery, the links which bind them will be rent asunder, and reason resume again her empire. The above is taken from an Anti-masonic paper. The Anti-masons are generally very hostile to the Mormonites as a rival species of fanaticism.

30 March, 1830 – First Newspaper (THE PAINESVILLE (Ohio) TELEGRAPH) mentions the Book of Mormon

THE BOOK OF MORMON:– or, what is better known by the title of the Gold Bible, has been recently published at Palmyra.Later articles:May 4th:THE PAINESVILLE (Ohio) TELEGRAPH contains an account of the details of some of the fanatical followers of the new religion of Mormonism. His name was Doty, he believed firmly in the divinity of Smith, the leader of the sect, who had promised him that he should live one thousand years, So satisfied was Doty with this prophecy, that he would not permit a physician to visit him. When the approach of death, however, could be no longer unknown, he saw the fallacy of his hopes and sent for a medical man, but it was too late, he died regretting his errors. The Mormonites in the neighbourhood fled from the house where the body lay, but Smith, like the false prophet of Khorassan, soon gathered them around him, by the assurance that the young man’s [fate] was caused by his having fallen from the faith!!! May 21st:A New Excitement — Mormonism versus Anti-masonry:– An elegant new excitement recently started up, like Jonah’s goard, in the anti-masonic district of Ohio, which is marching like a giant, and attacking the very citadels of anti-masonry itself. It is called “Mormonism.” It is already making great progress in the Ohio Reserve, and possesses more fanaticism than even anti-masonry itself. We presume Mr. Bush and the American will give us their sentiments on it, as soon as they can cleaverly get over the recent Sam Patch plunge into anti-masonry. May

About this time: Joseph receives revelation to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon in Canada.  Apologist response.  Martin Harris’ wife and her sister would both bare testimony under oath that Martin thought he would make money on the Book of Mormon.  If the stories that Joseph was not to try and make money off the gold plates are true, why would he try and sell the book?

09 June, 1830 – The first conference of the Church was held at the Whitmers in Fayette. Immediately afterwards Joseph traveled to his home in Harmony with Oliver Cowdery, John and David Whitmer. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. p.86)

13 June, 1830 – THE LOCKPORT BALANCE says,

The Mormonites at present exceed one thousand. The land selected by their Prophet is in and around the town of Kirtland, Geauga county, Ohio. Every day adds to their numbers.

30 June, 1830 – Joseph Smith brought before Justice Joel K. Nobel over

“that he, the said Joseph Smith, Jr., had been guilty of a breach of the peace, against the good people of the state of New York, by looking through a certain stone to find hid treasures, &c., within the Statute of Limitation.”

04 July, 1830 – Joseph Smith arrested by Ebenezer Hatch ([Abram W. Benton], “Mormonites,” Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate (Utica, New York) 2 (April 9, 1831): 120, emphasis omitte)

June, 1830 – Joseph Smith begins translation of the bible with Oliver Cowdery as scribe.  Translation goes until October 1830. Translation from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 4:18

July 1830 – Oliver Cowdery disputes the contents of one of Joseph Smith’s revelations. Cowdery is corrected. [Church History Vol I]

August, 1830 – Annual Mahoning Baptist Association meeting in Warren, Trumbull, OH. Rigdon mentiones a fuller revelation about to come forth, having all things in common, and the need for a complete restoration.

Rigdon introduced an argument to show that our pretension to follow the apostles in all their New Testament teachings, required a community of goods; that as they established this order in the model church at Jerusalem, we were bound to imitate their example.  Hayden

Almon B. Green

…about two months before Sidney Rigdon’s professed conversion to Mormonism, Rigdon preached Saturday afternoon. He had much to say about a full and complete restoration of the ancient gospel. He spoke in his flowing style of what the Disciples had accomplished, but contended that we had not accomplished a complete restoration of the Apostolic Christianity. He contended such restoration must include community of goods — holding all in common stock, and a restoration of the spiritual gifts of the apostolic age. He promised that although we had not come up to the apostolic plan in full yet as we were improving God would soon give us a new and fuller revelation of his will. After the Book of Mormon had been read by many who heard Rigdon on that occasion, they were perfectly satisfied that Rigdon knew all about that book when he preached that discourse. Rigdon’s sermon was most thoroughly refuted by Bro. Campbell, which very much offended Rigdon.

From this meeting Parley P. Pratt sent (by the Campbellites) to preach in New York. [Church History Vol I] & [Parley P. Pratt autobiography].  He goes directly to Joseph’s area and finds a copy of the book of Mormon.  He then heads directly to the Smith home.

August 1830 – Rigdon spoke before the annual meeting of the Mahoning Baptist Association, advocating a community of goods be established in the member churches as a major point in the restoration of Apostolic Christianity, similar to the experiment he was then conducting with members of his own congregation in OH; his suggested plan was demolished by Alexander Campbell’s speech denouncing communal living for modern congregations [BOM COINCIDENCE] Rigdon also mentions a need for a complete restoration of the gospel [BOM COINCIDENCE].

September, 1830 – D&C 28, 29, 30, 31 [SINGLE]  Hiriam page stone is not real, the only revelation stated to be given in front of people (only 6 elders), David Whitmer and Thomas B. Marsh specific revelations.

01 September, 1830 – Parley P Pratt baptized by Oliver Cowdery, his first cousin.  No mention of the relationship anywhere in any account. [POSSIBLE COVERUP]

06, September 1830 – Alexander Cambell prints Sidney’s sermon on this date.  One of his only surviving surmons before he joined mormonism printed

Conference in 1830 – Joseph Smith, at conference, receives revelations:to Oliver Cowdery that Joseph Smith is the only one that can receive commandments, contrary to previous revelation that only Joseph can translate.  Hiram Page began receiving revelations from a stone about this time

October, 1830 – Joseph receives several revelations at Fayette–including the one charging Parley Pratt to visit the lamanites.  He visits says he converts an entire tribe who vanishes never to be seen again (Autobiography of Parley Pratt) and then makes a bee line back to Sidney Rigdon in Mentor. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. pp.118-127, D&C 32-33)

John Whitmer serves as scribe for bible translation until December 1830.  Genesis 4:19 to approximately 5:20

Early November, 1830 – During the forepart of this month, Joseph received a revelation at Fayette regarding Orson Pratt. (D&C 34)

28 October or November 1830 – [Disputed date] Cowdery & P. Pratt arrive at Rigdon home w/copy of Book of Mormon. (Note: vanW., p.58, puts this date at 28 October.)

November 1830 – Rigdon Visits Orris Clapp’s residence and talks about Book of Mormon.

Rigdon is baptized into Mormon faith by Oliver Cowdery (in A.M.). His friend Lyman Wight baptized same day (Sunday).

November and December 1830 – In conjunction with Joseph’s efforts to translate the Bible, he recorded at Fayette several extract that now comprise the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. (PGP Moses 6-7)

01 November, 1830 – Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt travelled directly to the home of Sidney Rigdon and presented him with a copy of The Book of Mormon.

04 November, 1830 – Rigdon marriage of Louis B. Wood & Laura Cleveland at Mentor .

07 November, 1830 – Confesses his conviction (to his Mentor congregation) that the Book of Mormon was possibly “the truth.”

08 November, 1830 – Rigdon Baptized

10 November, 1830 – Warren Isham, the editor of the Hudson, Ohio Observer published his description of Mormonism as “Campbellism Improved.”

11 November, 1830 – Above marriage recorded (Thursday).

13 November, 1830 – (Probable date) Rigdon addresses congregation of friends & neighbors at Methodist hall in Kirtland & tearfully asks forgiveness of any whom he may have formerly offended. Said his soul had suddenly found peace in Book of Mormon.

18 November, 1830 – Hudson Observer reports

“a certain Elder” who had only slightly “hesitated in deciding whether to reject or receive” what the Editor calls “Campbellism Improved” (i. e., Mormonism).

Referring to Rigdon, the implication was that he joined Mormonism very quickly and that Mormonism was very similar to Rigdon’s previous beliefs (Matching Alexander Campbell)

December 1830 – Rigdon was the scribe for translating the bible from early December 1830 until completion of translation on July 2, 1833. The Book of Moses Chapters 2-end was written in Rigdon’s handwriting, and contains his signature beliefs and word usage patterns. Oliver Cowdery was Smith’s scribe for The Book of Moses between June and October 1830, Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 4:18. John Whitmer was Smith’s scribe from October until December 1830 (While Oliver was out finding Sidney with his Cousin, Parley P. Pratt), recording the translation of Genesis 4:19 to Genesis 5:20.

04 December, 1830 – Painsville Telegraph (Closest Big Newspaper to Sidney) reports Sidney is Author of Book of Mormon.  Less than a month after Rigdon’s Nov. 8, 1830 baptism under the administration of “Church of Christ” by Elder Oliver Cowdery, the Dec. 4th issue of the Telegraph spoke of the “Rigdonites,” a break-away group of former Campbellites who were following the teachings of Rev. Sidney Rigdon. The story of Rigdon (the “man of many creeds”) and his conversion to Mormonism was told haphazardly in the Feb.-Apr. issues of the paper, where the former Campbellite minister was branded as the probable “author of Mormonism.” [SpR]

22 December, 1830 – Ontario Messenger (big newspaper close to Joseph Smith’s origin) quotes Rigdon as author of Book of Mormon Rigdon’s “first time” travels to visit with “elder J. Smith, Jr.” were noticed in the New York Ontario Messenger of Dec. 22, 1830 and other newspapers of the region, and some of this intelligence was quickly relayed to the northern Ohio papers for publication. Sidney Rigdon’s new religion (and speculation over his true role within that new religion) soon became a continuing news story. [SpR]

December, 1830 – Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge travel from Ohio to meet Joseph (allegedly for the first time) at Fayette, New York. Joseph received several revelations regarding them. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958 p.128-131, D&C 35, 36, 37) [DUAL]. Sidney Rigdon makes great pains to mention he has never seen Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon before, such that several accounts record it.

Rigdon gives first public sermon as a Mormon in Palmyra and Canadaigua.

Sidney Rigdon becomes scribe for translation of the bible until it is finished on 02 July, 1833.

Joseph receives a revelation at Fayette regarding the gathering of the Church to Kirtland, Ohio. (Preston Nibley ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, 1958. pp.139, D&C 37)

D&C 35 given.  Versus 3-4 link Rigdon to John the Baptist

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, … Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John

1831 –  Legend of Enoch told in Masonry very similar to Joseph’s version of Moroni’s visit written in 1831 list of similarities available here

January, 1831 – Not long after the Conference Joseph receives a revelation at Fayette regarding James Covill. Mr. Covill rejected the word of the Lord, which prompted another revelation. (ibid. pp.143-145, D&C 38 [SINGLE], 39 [Single], 40 [DUAL])

02 January, 1831 – Joseph holds Conference for the Church at Fayette, New York, where he received a revelation. (ibid. pp.140-, D&C 38)

January (late) 1831 –  During the later part of this month Joseph and his wife, in company with Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, moved to Kirtland, Ohio. (Ibid. p.145)

NOTE: The Colesville Saints, those closest to the prophet Joseph and who felt special because they had been baptized by his hand migrate to Kirtland at this time.  They are then pushed to move again to Independence Missouri, where Edward Partidge, an associate of Sidney Rigdon, is put in charge of them.  Why would Joseph, as sole author, let Sidney put people over his people, and drive the people he was closest to, so many miles away?

25 January, 1831The Cleveland Advertiser

[A man] by the name of Whitmer arrived here last week from Manchester, N. Y., the seat of wonders, with a new batch of revelations from God, as he pretended, which have just been communicated to Joseph Smith. As far as we have been able to learn their contents, they are a more particular description of the creation of the world, and a history of Adam and his family, and other sketches of the anti-deluvian world, which Moses neglected to record.

The Book of Moses teaches baptism before spiritual rebirth as taught by Walter Scott in 1828

February  1831– About the first of this month this group arrive at Kirtland, and Joseph and his wife began living with the Whitneys. (ibid.)

In February, 1831, Brother Joseph came to Kirtland where Rigdon was. Rigdon was a thorough Bible scholar, a man of fine education, and a powerful orator. He soon worked himself deep into Brother Joseph’s affections, and had more influence over him than any other man living (David Whitmer)

D&C 41[SINGLE], 42[SINGLE], 43[SINGLE] and 44 [DUAL] given

04 February, 1831 – Joseph receives revelation he should have a house, Sidney should live as seems good, and Edward, an associate of Sidney’s should be made a bishop over the Colesville saints.

09 February, 1831 – Joseph has revelation all men [Elders] should go on a mission except him and Sidney

Joseph receives a revelation shortly after this that only he can receive revelations, still against the current standing revelation that he was to only translate and pretend no other gift.

10 Feburary, 1831 –  Alexander Campbell prints a pamphlet stating that the Book of Mormon answers all the theological questions of the day in curious manner, alludes to Rigdon having written it (Campbell’s subject areas: infant baptism, ordination, the Trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, the right of man, and apostasy. He claimed that phrases such as “your own eternal welfare,” “salvation is free,” “everlasting salvation of your souls,” “an infinite atonement,” “flesh must go to mother earth,” and “death must deliver up its dead”) [BOM COINCIDENCE]


Early 1831 – “early in 1831″”Early in 1831, Mr. Rigdon having been ordained, under our hands, visited elder J. Smith, Jr., in the state of New-York, for the first time; and from that time forth, rumor began to circulate, that he (Rigdon) was the author of the Book of Mormon [SpR]

07 February 1831 – Alexander Campbell denounces Sidney Rigdon and claims him the author of Mormonism

SIDNEY RIGDON.It was with mingled emotions of regret and surprize that we have learned that Sidney Rigdon has renounced the ancient gospel, and declared that he was not sincere in his profession of it: and that he has fallen into the snare of the Devil in joining the Mormonites. He has led away a number of disciples with him. His instability I was induced to ascribe to a peculiar mental and corporeal malady, to which he has been subject for some years. Fits of melancholy succeeded by fits of enthusiasm accompanied by some kind of nervous spasms and swoonings which he has, since his defection, interpreted into the agency of the Holy Spirit, or the recovery of spiritual gifts, produced a versatility in his genius and deportment which has been increasing for some time. I was willing to have ascribed his apostacy to this cause, and to a conceit which he cherished that within a few years, by some marvelous interposition, the long lost tribes of Israel were to be collected, had he not declared that he was hypocritical in his profession of the faith which he has for some time proclaimed. Perhaps this profession of hypocrisy may be attributed to the same cause. This is the only hope I have in his case. He acted in this instance more like one laboring under some morbid affection of mind, than like one compos mentis. He first believed in Smith’s three witnesses, and then went to see Smith in pursuit of the evidence. He found ample evidence of Smith’s honesty, and returned in the full assurance of faith that Smith is some prophet which was to come. ‘Tis true he has not yet found that promise in the book of God which authorized the expectation of Joseph Smith the junior, as the restorer of the Jews and the founder of the New Jerusalem. Smith promised the Holy Spirit in its special gifts to all who have faith in his mission. He told them to pray to God and they should know whether he was divinely sent. While Sidney and Cowdery, the Magnus Apollo of Smith, were in conclave in this matter, Sidney

15 February, 1831Cleveland Advertiser claims Rigdon the author [SpR]

“Rigdon was formerly a disciple of Campbell’s and who it is said was sent out to make proselytes, but is probable he thought he should find it more advantageous to operate on his own capital, and therefore wrote, as it is believed, the Book of Mormon;”

March 1831 – First revelation that a Man should have only one wife.

March 7, 1831 – Joseph is given revelation to retranslate the New Testament, skipping much of the old testament.  Sidney is scribe.

May 1831 – Joseph has a revelation that chastizes Edward Partridge commanding him to repent.  Happens that Rigdon and Partridge are having a spat at the same time.

05 June, 1831 – Dr. Cephas Dodd, tells of the Spalding Story: Manuscript found in the Wilds of Mormon. He claims that The Book of Mormon was copied from it. [SpR]

July, 1831 – Colesville saints are sent to Independence Missouri. In August Martin Harris (a Colesville saint) is instructed to give his money to Edward Partridge.  Ziba Peterson similar

02 August, 1831– Rigdon preaches that the Missouri land has been promised to the Saints

August 15, 1831Morning Courier-NY Enquirer ties rigdon/rangdon to Smith’s treasure digging

August 1831 – en route to Kirtland, Joseph has a bizarre revelation about not traveling on waters.  He, Sidney and Oliver are to split from the rest of the party and the others are to travel on water anyway.  [Suspicious behavior]  This puts three of the men who would have conspired to write the book of Mormon with a lot of time to talk.

Once back in Kirtalnd – Smith received a revelation admonishing Sidney Rigdon for exalting himself.

September 1831 – Smith received a revelation that only he could receive revelations and commandments for the church. (Hiriam Page)

Rigdon preached that the “keys of the Kingdom were taken from us,” and said that he was going to expose Mormonism. Hyrum Smith disputed Rigdon’s claim and said the keys were not lost. Joseph Smith rebuked Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was reportedly flung about a room by an unseen force and laid up for five or six weeks (Philo Dibble Autobiography)

01 September, 1831 – Newspaper article apologists claim is the source for all Rigdon authorship claims [SpR]

Courier and Enquirer journalist, James Gordon Bennet, publishes a full account of the “mormonites”Included is the “Iron Box” with gold plates, Mr. Rangdon (corrected later to “Rigdon” when republished) and a description of the Charles Anthon affair. The phrase for Martin harris “the Ali of the Ontario Mahomet” is first used here. That Rigdon wrote the manual is very clearly stated:

“They were called translaters, but in fact and in truth they are believed to be the work of the Ex-Preacher from Ohio, who stood in the background and put forward Joe to father the new bible and the new faith…”

“Since they went to Ohio they have adopted some of the worldly views of the Shakers and have formed a sort of community system where everything is in common. Joe Smith, Harris, the Ex-pedlar and the Ex-parson are among their elders and preachers — so also now is Phelps one of Mr. Granger’s leading anti-masonic editors in this village.”

Bennett’s report on the recently departed Mormons of Wayne and Ontario counties was a potentially important piece of historical documentation — however, the writer’s imprecise quotation of unsure sources diminished the articles’ future usefulness. For example, Bennett conveys the impression that Martin Harris first took the alleged Nephite writing samples to Charles Anthon, “of Columbia College,” and from there went to visit Dr. Samuel Mitchill, to get his advice regarding the same text — this account reverses the order in which Harris approached the two Gotham savants.

Apologist claims against this newspaper article focus on his mistakes in timing and try to undermine Bennett’s credibility.  It should be noted he later received national recognition for the accuracy and independence of his correspondence and that several events are corroborated by his journal.

November, 1831Book Of Commandments. commanded to be printed.  Oliver sent to deliver the message

December, 1831 – D&C 71 [DUAL] and 72 [SINGLE] given

January, 1832 – D&C 73 [DUAL]  and 75 [Single] given

February, 1832 – D&C 76 [DUAL] given

04 February, 1832 -Rigdon cited by name as author  [SpR]

THECHURCHMAN.Vol. I.N. Y. C., Feb. 4, 1832. No. 46.By a correspondent the Salem Gazette. THEMORMONITES,Marietta, (Ohio) Nov. 16, 1831. You are sensible how celebrated has become western New-York, and the adjacent counties of Ohio, for their sects — their parties — their fanaticism — religious, political, and anti-masonic. Their conceits are wild to the very furthest bonds of imagination. Wild in invention, and singularly successful in carrying into effect their solemn fooleries. You have heard of the Mormonites, newspapers having given detailed accounts of these fanatics; but perhaps their origin is not so well-known. Mormonism is the fruit of religious excitement in this quarter, combined with roguery, ingenuity, and ignorance; frequently operating successfully on those who ought to know better. The inventors of this species of fanaticism are very simple personages, and were unknown until thus brought into notice. They are old and young Joe Smith, one Harris, a farmer, — all of New York; and one Rigdon, a sort of preacher, from Ohio, with several other infatuated, cunning hypocrites. Old Joe was once a pedlar, and possessed all that cunning and shrewdness and small intrigue, characteristic of that description of persons. He had a smooth tongue, was a ready story-teller, full of anecdotes he had picked up in his peregrinations, and had been more fortunate in picking up materials for his tongue, than for supplying his purse. He at one time set up the manufacture of gingerbread, but on the fall of that article, failed in business. Young Joe was an idle, strolling, worthless fellow, although he afterwards flourished so largely in the Mormon religion. He was, however, the son of a Yankee pedlar, and brought up to live by his wits. Harris, whom I have mentioned, was considered as a substantial farmer near Palmyra, of a wild imagination, full of passages of Scripture, had heard and seen much of the extravagance of the day produced by modern revival meetings, and believed fully in the wonders and miracles wrought on these occasions. The Smiths had conceived the idea of getting rich by some short cut’ the usual expedient of digging for hidden treasures was hit upon, Having heard many wonderful stories of men getting rich by digging and stumbling upon chests of money, on the shores of New-England, the fellow succeeded by his oratorical powers, in exciting the imaginations of a few auditors, and made them so anxious to possess themselves of these hidden treasures, that at it they went, with shovel and spade, excavating the ground in many places between Canadaigua Lake and Palmyra. These excavations are still to be seen in many places. They continued their labors until, at length, one of the party, tired of laborious and unsuccessful search, spoke of a person in Ohio, near Painesville, on Lake Erie, who had a wonderful facility in finding the spots where money was hid, and how he could dream of the very spots where it was to be found. “Can we get that man here,” asked the infatuated Smiths. “

08 December, 1831 – First revelation on Polygamy (with Native Americans) given this date by Ezra Booth

February, 1832 – Rigdon and Smith travel on a mission together (alone) to Ravena) (Luman Shurtlif Journal)  Not sure if before or after the report from Spaulding’s neighbors.

14 or 15 February, 1832 – Mormon Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith delivered a sermon on The Book of Mormon at a schoolhouse in Salem (Conneaut), Ohio. Nehemiah King, an old friend of Solomon Spalding’s, recognized it as Spalding’s work. Friends and relatives of Spalding (John Spalding, Martha Spalding, Henry Lake, John Miller, Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, Nahum Howard, Artemus Cunningham) agreed with King. These 8 people, referred to as the Conneaut witnesses, later signed affidavits to that effect. These affidavits were collected by D. P. Hurlbut, and published in Mormonism Unvailed (1834) by Eber Howe

its narrative followed the lines of Spalding’s novel. The plot was the same, the names of [the characters] were the same, the exact language was, in many instances… the same, and the only noticeable change was the addition of scriptural passages and religious matter which did not appear in Spalding’s original work.

16 February, 1832 – D&C 76, vision of Celestial, telestial, terrestial (See Swedenburg theology) given with Sidney and Joseph taking turns in the vision.  [New doctrine revealed just after the original source  was possibly discovered, SUSPCIOUS BEHAVIOR]

March 1832 – Revelation start calling Joseph Smith “Enoch” and “Gazelam”.  Rigdon named “Pelogoram”

24 March, 1832 – The “Tar and Feather” incident.  They are attacked by members who had drunk a barrel of whiskey.  The members state they were worried Joseph and Sidney would take all their property.

25 March, 1832 – After the mob leaves Rigdon called out he would slit Joseph and Emma’s throats [SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR]. Why would he slit Joseph’s throat for a community living plan he came up with? Perhaps he felt that Joseph’s involvement with Nancy Morinda Johnson was reason to kill Joseph, but then why include Emma?  (Emma, I’ll help you slit his throat?).  It seems that Sidney wanted out of a partnership and wanted to kill those in the know.  (Source:  Emma Smith, Mormon Enigma) [Church History Vol I]

31 March, 1832 – Rigdon moves away from Joseph to Chardon

26 April, 1832 – Joseph Smith sustained as President of the High Priesthood.  Sidney and Edward Partridge patch up their feud.

23 May, 1832 – Tar and Feather of Sidney and Joseph reported in Gazette

Outrage. — On the night of the 24th ult. twenty-five or thirty persons in disguise, entered the apartments of Smith & Rigdon, leaders of Mormonism in Cayuga [sic, Geauga?] county, Ohio, carried them from their beds and tarred and feathered them — Newark (Ohio) Gazette

28 January, 1832 – Chardon Spectator Newspaper points to our Rigdon as the probable secret redactor of “a respectable clergyman’s” original composition of the Book of Mormon. [SpR]

05 July, 1832 – Rigdon tries to seize control of the church and is disfellowshipped.

28 July, 1832 – Smith re-ordained Rigdon to the high priesthood “the Second time” on 28 July after he had “repented like Peter of old.”

After 06 November, 1832 – Joseph Smith writes first version of first Vision with Frederick Williams as scribe [Joseph Smith’s 1832 Journal]

1833 – sometime during this year, Joseph’s diary tells of a “strange account” of vision when he ws 16 years old of “the Lord” who said his sins were forgiven

Apocryphal book of Enoch revised, and reprinted [Possible Plagiarism]

23 January, 1833 – School of Prophets formed.

02 February, 1833 – New testament translation complete

09 March, 1833 – Apocrypha is not to be retranslated (Revelation)

02 July, 1833 – Sidney Rigdon completes translation with Joseph Smith of the bible.  He has been the primary scribe for almost 3 years, starting immediately after his conversion.

October, 1833 – Final DUAL revelation with Sidney Rigdon,  D&C 100 comforting them about families.  It declares Sidney to be Joseph’s Spokesman, but then Sidney doesn’t speak for Joseph in terms of revelation again.

05 October, 1833 – Joseph and Sidney go on mission together to Canada

12 October 1833 – A revelation appointed Rigdon “a spokesman to my servant Joseph.”

11 December, 1833 – Willard Chase confirms that a baby was to translate the Book of Mormon

“In the Spring 1829 [date might be off on this one], Harris went to Pennsylvania, and on his return to Palmyra, reported that the Prophet’s wife, in the month of June following would be delivered of a male child that would be able when two years old to translate the Gold Bible.”

Other statements to this effect:

She states that she heard Smith say “the Book of Plates could not be opened under penalty of death by any other person but his (Smith’s) first-born, which was to be a male.” -Sophia Lewis (no date)

“Joseph Smith, Jr. told him that (Smith’s) first-born child was to translate the characters, and hieroglyphics, upon the Plates into our language at the age of three years;” -Joshua M’Kune (no date provided)

19 December, 1833Hurlburt shows off the Spaulding Manuscript he obtained from Spaulding’s widow in Kirtland starting at a methodist church.  This would be the first of many readings in which the hearers would compare chapter by chapter the two and come to the conclusion they were the same

21 December, 1833Hurlburt claims Joseph Smith threatened his life

31 December, 1833 – Hurlburt shows the oberline manuscript to spauldings associates.  They say it is the same story, but not the same manuscript he read from

1834 – Affidavits from Spaulding’s widow, brother and others who knew him published stating that the Book of Mormon was based on the works of Spaulding including: John Spalding’s, Martha Spalding’s, John N. Miller’s, Henry Lake’s, Aaron Wright’s, Oliver Smith’s, Nahum Howard’s, Artemas Cunningham’s

01 February, 1834 – Hurlburt gave the affadavits and what is now called the Obeerlin manuscript to Eber Howe. Howe believed that Hurlburt had once had possession of Manuscript Found, but had disposed of it.

“The whole matter, then, is between you and Hurlburt.Is there a possibility that the original Spalding manuscript will yet come to light?”

“No, I don’t think so,” he replied, earnestly; “the Mormons had too much at stake to let it exist.”

“Then you think Hurlburt destroyed it?” “I believe he had two manuscripts — the original one and another — the one he gave me, which had no resemblance to the ‘Book of Mormon.'”

“Do you think Spalding wrote a story from which Rigdon and Smith made the ‘Book of Mormon?'”

“Certainly I do,” emphasizing the words…

12 February, 1834 – Sidney Rigdon charges Martin Harris with telling A. C. Russell Esq. That Joseph Smith drank too much liquor when he was translating The Book of Mormon. Also says that Joseph Smith wrestled with many men and threw them. Martin Harris said he knew all about The Book of Mormon before it was translated. Martin confessed that his mind was darkened and was forgiven

17 February, 1834 – First High Council of Church organized in Kirtland. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams are Presidents. Twelve High Priests: Joseph Smith Senior, John Smith, Joseph Coe, John Johnson, Martin Harris, John S. Carter, Jared Carter, Oliver Cowdery, Samuel Harrison Smith, Orson Hyde, Sysvester Smith, and Luke Johnson. [Church History Vol II]  Rigdon is wherever Joseph goes.  Twelve high Priests are a mix of Colesville and Kirtland saints but still the balance is in the Kirtland (Sidney) side.

19 April, 1834 – Smith authorized Rigdon to preside over the church in his absence.

01 May, 1834 – Isaac Hale describes the translation process as being identical to how he looked for treasure.  All accounts of translation verify this methodology

The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods! (Affidavit of Isaac Hale, as printed in the Susquehanna Register, May 1, 1834. See:

03 May, 1834 – Church renamed to “The church of the Latter Day Saints (As proposed by Rigdon)

05 May, 1834 – Zion’s Camp

June, 1834Zion’s camp disband

28 November, 1834 – Mormonism Unvailed published

December 1834 – Oliver Cowdery’s letter published in Messenger and Advocate, of Joseph Smith, when 15, he was stirred by a revival and prayed in his Bedroom.  Angel appeared.

August, 1834 –  Lord commands Sidney Rigdon to write a description of Missouri. 75% exact match to Diary entry by W. W. Phelps is entered into Church History document in conjunction with the revelation. No source cited.

February, 1835 – Doctrine and Covenants published changing the following revelation

I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.

to D&C 5:4

And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished

Oliver Cowdery’s gift of a rod removed. Doctrine and Covenants (formerly Book of Commandments) Revised, with William W. Phelps assisting; references to the Urim and Thummim added. Section 101, verse 4 prohibits polygamy.

This set of changes is part of why David Whitmer left the church.

February 1835 – Messenger & Advocate prints Oliver Cowdery’s letter correcting Joseph Smith’s age at the time of the revival to 17 (as an error in type) and specifies the date as Sep 21, 1823. (Original Source: Oliver Cowdery Letters)

12 March, 1835 – First mention of Melchizedek Priesthood. This is response to a question to Joseph Smith’s Authority (Everyone was an Elder).  Elders are an office in the Aaronic Priesthood at this point.

03 July, 1835 – Papryi and Mummies purchased for the Book of Abraham.  Joseph with Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt and Warren Parrish closely tied to translation effort [GROUP TRANSLATION]


04 August, 1835 – William E. McLellin and Orson Hyde fellowship withdrawn until they can explain their criticism of Sidney Rigdon’s school

17 August, 1835 – Oliver Cowdery introduces Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Also,William W. Phelps reads the Article on Marriage, which is unanimously accepted to be in the book, because the Church had been accused of practicing polygamy.

3 April, 1836 – Kirtland temple revelation where keys are given to Joseph and Sidney.

Spring, 1836 – Orson Hyde meets Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Buffalo on their way to Canada.

25, July, 1836 – Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and Burgess leave for Salem, MA (Treasure hunt). [Church History Vol II] & [Ebenezer Robinson autobiography]

August 1836 – Joseph Smith tells Levi Hancock to take Fanny Algers and go to Missouri. [Levi Hancock autobiography]

Late August – September 1836 – Some propose, (while Joseph Smith was away getting treasure in Salem) that David Whitmer should take over as leader of the Church. Joseph Smith returns and claims that he’s still the prophet and leader.

November 1836 – Sidney Rigdon proposes that God has flesh and bone; Oliver Cowdery opposed. [Book of Mormon Studies site] [SpR] [COINCIDENCE] that Rigdon comes up with theology first

02 November, 1836 – Seeking to turn the land holdings of the church (Consecrated) into liquid cash, Sidney and Joseph create teh bank called the “Kirtland Safety Society”.

Fall 1836 – John Whitmer criticizes Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and other leaders for establishing the bank, promoting the plurality of wives, and for association with the Gidianton bands.

01 February, 1837 – Firm of Oliver Cowdery and Co. Dissolved and the entire establishment is transferred to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon

Spring 1837 – Kirtland Apostasy: Known dissenters (objecting to the course being pursued by Joseph Smith and the Church) are: Frederick G. Williams (1st Presidency), Martin Harris (Witness), David Whitmer (apostle), Luke Johnson (apostle), Parley P. Pratt (apostle), William E. McLellin (apostle), John F. Boynton (apostle), Roger Orton (The 70), and S. Wilbur Denton.  Warren Parrish (Keeper of the books of the Kirtland Safety Society) as well. [Ebenezer Robinson autobiography]

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon stay with the Browns for a few days, after hiding in the woods for three days. [Lorenzo Brown diary]

29 May, 1837 – Sidney Rigdon presides over charges against Frederick G. Williams, David Whitmer, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman E. Johnson, and Warren Parrish; meeting dispersed in confusion as members refused to judge each other. [Church History Vol II]

03 September, 1837 – Conference to reorganize the church

June, 1837Rigdon prints in the Messenger and Advocate

One thing has been done by the coming forth of The Book of Mormon. It has puked the Campbellites effectually; no emetic could have done so half as well…. The Book of Mormon has revealed the secrets of Campbellism and unfolded the end of the system.

24 October, 1837 – Sidney and Joseph convicted of illegal banking (together) and fined $1,000

December 1837 – Joseph Smith returns to Kirtland; finds that Warren Parrish, John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, Joseph Coe and other were united to overthrow the Church and were planing to restore the original name: “Church of Christ.” [Church History Vol II].  Brigham Youn flees the mob for supporting Joseph Smith.

12 Jan. 1838 – Joseph and Sidney escape Kirtland together to avoid lawsuit  (reportedly to escape debts). At night, they travel 60 miles the first night, arriving at Norton, OH. [Church History Vol III] & [Ebenezer Robinson autobiography]To save his life, Smith was taken out of Kirtland in a box nailed on an ox sled. [Zerah Pulsipher autobiography]

21 January, 1838 – Oliver Cowdery confronts Smith with charge of adultery with Fanny Alger.

18 Mar 1838 – Rigdon made first counselor in the First Presidency

12 Apr. 1838 – Smith and Rigdon accused Cowdery of leaving Kirtland because he was about to be indicted for counterfeiting. Cowdery accused them of conscious lying. (Quinn, 1994). Cowdery excommunicated

13 April, 1838 – David Whitemer withdraws from the Church

26 April, 1838 – Church renamed “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”

27 April, 1838 – Begining of the History of the Church.  First vision described as being two years after family’s removal to Manchester NY and after they family had mostly joined the presbyterians.

18 June, 1838 – Hyrum and Uncle John Smith, Sampson Avard, and 83 other Mormons sign an ultimatum directed at Oliver Cowdery, David and John Whitmer, Lyman E. Johnson, and William W. Phelps, warning them to leave the county immediately lest a “fatal calamity shall befall you.”   Why give death threats to Oliver and others connected to the translation if there was nothing to hide (See 1881 letter from Oliver’s partner)

July 1838 – Shortly after Rigdon and Smith relocate to far west, Smith publishes a list of questions and Answers to Joseph Smith.

04 July 1838 – Sidney Rigdon gives the July 4th Oration, leading to Boggs to issue an extermination order according to the times and seasons.

“We take God and all the holy angels to witness this day that we warn all men in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more forever. The men or the set of men that attempts it does so at the expense of their lives. And the mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them till the last drop of blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one part or the other shall be utterly destroyed.” (Sidney Rigdon July 4th Oration).

“Elder Rigdon was the PRIME CAUSE OF OUR TROUBLES IN MISSOURI, by his Fourth of July oration.” (Times and Seasons, p. 667, 1838)

December 1838 – April 1839 – Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail.  Sidney gets out early.

July, 1839Spaulding’s Widow testifies of the Spaulding-Rigdon Theory [SpR] [EYE WITNESS]

Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, …being an educated man, and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement, and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving a historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors.This was about the year 1812. Hull’s surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and, assumed the title of “Manuscript Found.”The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. S. progressed in deciphering “the manuscript,” and when he had a sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people, and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with this work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read. Sidney Rigdon, (* one of the leaders and founders of the sect,) who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript, and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. M’Kenstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the “Book of Mormon” came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding’s former residence, and the very place where the “Manuscript Found” was written. A woman-preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the “Book of Mormon.” The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose…This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem.

29 May, 1839Rigdon writes a letter denying his role in the composition of The Book of Mormon and attacking the character of Spaulding’s widow. His letter contains demonstrable falsehoods.

  • In his letter, Rigdon claimed no prior knowledge of Spalding

Rebecca Eichbaum testimony and mail office records prove that he did

  • Rigdon claimed “There was no man by the name of Patterson during my residence in Pittsburgh who had a print shop”.

It is now known that Rev. Robert Patterson had control of a print shop owned by his cousin, Silas Engles and connected with the Patterson book shop, and that he lived in Pittsburgh for a time period overlapping the time of Rigdon’s residence in Pittsburgh (1821-Feb. 1823). It is also known that Patterson operated as a news agent and bookseller until nearly fifteen years after the death of his Junior partner (J. H. Lambdin) in Aug 1825

  • He attacks Spauldings work as “lying scribblings” and attacks Matilda character as a liar (“I of necessity have a very light opinion of him as a gentleman, a scholar, or a man of piety; for had he been either, he certainly would have taught his pious wife not to lie, nor unite herself with adulterers, liars, and the basest of mankind.”)

Whether she associated with adulterers, liars and the basest of mankind does not, in fact, alter the truthfulness of her statements.  It is an ad hominem attack.  Further, the names, dates and verifiable information she provided seems to be as she stated it.  It is easy to call someone a liar, but they are cheap words if the person’s memories match up with verifiable data.

  • Rigdon claimed  to not even know the print shop”what might have been there before I lived there I know not.”

It is now known that

  1. Rigdon visited Pittsburgh before the time he lived there to collect his mail
  2. Rigdon had an extensive personal library, and Pittsburgh was the most likely place for him to have obtained his books
  3. Rigdon had a personal association with J. H. Lambdin, the clerk, and Silas Engles, the printer for the Patterson publishing house from 1812 to 1816
  4.  Rigdon manufactured leather book bindings for Engles.


  • Rigdon attacked Matilda because Robert Patterson did not recall the Spaulding manuscript, when Matilda Spaulding said her husband has shown it to Mr. Patterson: “Why was not the testimony of Mr. Patterson obtained to give force to the shameful tale of lies?

Rigdon knew that there were two Pattersons: Robert and Joseph, and Rigdon’s dealings were with Joseph. When Spalding took his manuscript to the print shop, Silas Engles was conducting the business. By 1839, when Rigdon made his statement, Joseph had moved away, and both Lambdin and Engles had died.  Rigdon knew it would be Joseph Patterson who would recall the manuscript, not Robert; and seems to be intentionally deceiving the reader.

16 April, 1843 – Robert Wiley “finds” several plates in Kinderhook.  Joseph Smith translates said plates.  Said to contain Egyptian characters, they trace through a main character in the scriptures “contain the genealogy of one of the ancient Jaredites back to Ham the son of Noah”.

Smith’s private secretary William Clayton recorded that upon receiving the plates, Smith sent for his “Hebrew Bible & Lexicon,” suggesting that he was going to attempt to translate the plates by conventional means, rather than by use of a seer stone or direct revelation.  Joseph proceeds to “translate” with a group of men. [GROUP TRANSLATION]

1841Orson Pratt writes 14 articles of faith.  This would be used (uncredited) by Joseph to draft the 13 articles of faith later for the Wentworth letter. (Evidence of taking previous works, unaccredited to create revelation)

15 August, 1843 – Sidney, speaking of himself in the third person which he often did, describes his ability to absorb the scriptures

Having received great light on the scriptures, he felt desirous to receive more, from whatever quarter it should come. This was his prevailing characteristic; and if any sentiment was advanced by any one, that was new, or tended to throw light on the scriptures, or the dealings of God with the children of men, it was always gladly received, and treasured up in his mind.
Times and Seasons, Vol. IV, No. 19,

1840Benjamin Winchester publishes a book calling the spaulding-rigdon theory a pure fabrication of Hurlburt.

1841 – Parley P. Pratt states that he owns a copy of “Apocryphal Book of Enoch” which is very similar to the Enoch portion of the Pearl of Great Price, translated 4 years previous. (Millennial Star 1 (July 1840):61) [Possible Plagiarism]

11 April 1841 – Smith and Rigdon rebaptized each other for remission of sins and “renewal of covenants.”

March 15-16,1842 – Joseph Smith becomes Master Mason

Mar 17, 1842 – Relief Society organized, Joseph uses masonic language in the introduction, citation to masonic ceremony not mentioned. [Possible Plagiarism]

May 14, 1842 – Nauvoo Endowment introduced with same grips, tokens signs and penalties as the Masonic except for the fourth grip. Five points of Fellowship Identical. Source: David Buerger,Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, Chapter 3: Joseph Smith’s Ritual (as well as pre-endowed individuals of 1990 who were also Master Masons). [Possible Plagiarism]

1843Rigdon publishes his autobiography in the Times and Seasons.  He describes his pre-1830 ministry comparing himself to John the baptist (again he speaks in 3rd person):

He [Rigdon] accordingly commenced to baptize, and like John of old, there flocked to him people from all the region round about-persons of all ranks and standings in society-the rich, the poor, the noble and the brave, flocked to be baptized of him. Nor was this desire confined to individuals, or families, but whole societies threw away their creeds and articles of faith, and became obedient to the faith he promulgated, and he soon had large and flourishing societies throughout that whole region of country. Courted by all, he now was a welcome visitor wherever he traveled-his society was courted by the learned, and intelligent, and the highest encomiums were bestowed upon him for his biblical lore, and his eloquence.

01 October, 1843 – At a meeting of the anointed quorum, Smith anointed and ordained William Law as first counselor and Amasa M. Lyman as second counselor in anticipation of dropping Rigdon at the upcoming conference.

8 Oct. 1843 – The general conference refused to sustain Smith’s motion to drop Rigdon from the First Presidency

15 October, 1843 –  “The secrets of masonry is to keep a secret ….” Written in Joseph Smith’s diary

13-14 September, 1843 – Joseph attends two lectures in the grove by Mr. John Finch, a socialist from England. After Finch’s speeches, Joseph makes a few remarks in which he recalls the actual inequality that existed in the supposed equal communitarian societies once set up by Alexander Campbell and Sidney Rigdon and reveals, concerning socialism, “I said I did not believe the doctrine.”  He proceeds to point out Sidney Rigdon’s failure prior to mormonism at establishing such a thing(Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology) [Rejection of Utopian ideals like the United order]

Thursday, 14.–I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine. Mr. Finch replied in a few minutes, and said–”I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. I am the spiritual Prophet–Mr. Smith the temporal.” Elder John Taylor replied to the lecture at some length.” (Roberts, Brigham Henry, ed. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1912. 6:33. Emphasis in original manuscript. Google Book Search. Retrieved August 15, 2008)

1841Dr. Storm Rosa, a well-known “botanic physician” of Ohio, said in, an 1841 letter to Rev. John Hall of Ashtabula:

In the early part of the year 1830 I was in company with Sidney Rigdon, and rode with him on horseback for a few miles…. He remarked to me that it was time for a new religion to spring up; that mankind were all right and ready for it.

22 January, 1841 In a letter written to Walter Scott, Adamson Bentley said [SpR]

I know that Sidney Rigdon told me that there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon Book made its appearance, or had been heard of by me.

[Thomas Clapp] Elder Adamson Bentley told me that as he was one day riding with Sidney Rigdon and conversing upon the Bible, Mr. Rigdon told him that another book of equal authority with the bible, as well authenticated and as ancient, which would give an account of the history of the Indian tribes on this continent, with many other things of great importance to the world, would soon be published. This was before Mormonism was ever heard of in Ohio, and when it appeared, the avidity with which Rigdon received it convinced him that if Rigdon was not the author of it he was at least acquainted with the whole matter some time before it was published to the world. (Shook page 121-22)

1844 – An Original History of the Religious Denominations at Present Existing in the United States, edited by Daniel Rupp published, Joseph Smith wrote the chapter on Mormonism (prophesy about some day a textbook might say is interesting in context) contains a different rendition of the first vision

January, 1844 Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott publish that Rigdon taught about a new book of scripture coming forward long before the Book of Mormon was published.  They refer to Bentley’s statement in 22 January, 1841 and support it fully.

20 January, 1844James Jeffrey, a friend of Rigdon, testifies that he heard Rigdon say that Smith used a Spaulding manuscript to fabricate the Book of Mormon in 1844.  [EYE WITNESS] [SpR]

Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo Illinois. I had business transactions with them. I knew Sidney Rigdon. He acted as general manager of the business of the Mormons (with me). Rigdon told me several times in his conversations with me, that there was in the printing office with which he was connected in Ohio, a MS of the Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indians from the lost tribes of Israel. This MS was in the office several years. He was familiar with it. Spaulding wanted it published but had not the means to pay for printing. He (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the MS and read it on Sundays, Rigdon said Smith took the MS and said “I’ll print it,” and went off to Palmyra New York.

6 April, 1844 Rigdon told the general conference:

‘ I have handled, and heard, seen and known things which I have not yet told. After the church began to grow, it was favored with monstrous wise men; they had so much wisdom that they could dispute what God said, and what his servant said. They were opposed to virtue; they would say they had revelations and visions, and were as certain that God had given it, as I was that the devil had.

I cannot imagine who he is referring to.  It is possibly Joseph Smith, but it could be others… it’s very enigmatic in the way he presents his case.

There are men standing in your midst that you can’t do anything with them but cut their throat & bury them.'”

He speaks of false prophets at the outset of the church and the importance of “Secret Meetings” at length

there was no evil concocted when we first held secret meetings, and it is the same now;

He then makes a very odd claim

Their[e] is men in your midst which you must sustain or go to Hell. Save them & you save yourselves. Reject them & you go to Hell. We are 14 years of age now. Ch[o]use your guardeen and when you get to be 21 then do business for youselves. You can save yourselves or Damn yourselves.

Given that Rigdon had applied to be Guardian of the church, and was excommunicated but then allowed to speak, it could imply that the church should choose him to lead over Joseph.  He does make mention of false prophets from the beginning as well.  All of it is couched in anti-mob rhetoric, but why he ends with choosing leadership in the church is not clear.

01 May, 1844Times and Seasons prints Sidney Rigdon’s speech telling his conversion story.  He states explicitly he had never met Joseph or heard of the Book of Mormon.  Speech given April 6, 1844.

Aug 8, 1844 – Rigdon sought to be named “Guardian of the Church”

he was the identical man the ancient prophets had sung about, wrote and rejoiced over; and that he was sent to do the identical work that that had been the theme of all the prophets in every preceding generation. (Orson Hyde, as cited by Van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess (1994), page 337.)

22 June, 1844 – Joseph Smith dies

Rigdon responded in the most sympathetic manner to the death of Elder Joseph Smith saying, he was cut off in an hour when he looked not for it, breaking out into a half crying tone, exclaiming, “Oh, Joseph! Joseph! Joseph! Where art thou! Oh, Joseph! thou wicked servant, thou hast fallen because of thy transgression! Thou hadst the promise that thou shouldst live if thou wert faithful until the coming of the Saviour! Thou didst have the promise of translating more of the sacred Records! Oh Joseph! if thou hadst not sinned thou mightest have been here, to have thundered forth Heaven’s Eternal truth! Oh Joseph, Joseph, I shall not see thee till I meet thee in the Eternal World!”(Grant, J. M., 1844. A Collection of Facts, Relative to the Course Taken By Elder Sidney Rigdon, In the States of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, p. 24.)


02 September, 1844 Sidney Rigdon excommunicated.  In the trial he threatened to expose “The secrets” of the Mormons.

Brother Sidney says, “if we go to opposing him he will tell all of our secrets!” but I would say, oh don’t, Brother Sidney! don’t tell our secrets, oh don’t! But if he tells of our secrets, we will tell of his — tit for tat… (Brigham Young cited in Van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, page 664).

At first glance one might assume he meant polygamy as Nancy, his niece had just been approached by Joseph in April.  However, Orson Hyde followed Sidney and writes more details.


12 September, 1844Orson writes to Brigham that Sidney is in St. Louis (this contradicts Fawn Brodie’s claim Sidney never was in St. Louis)

Rigdon was spouting off in St. Louis, bragging that he had evidence that would have toppled Smith from religious power years before, had he exposed the activities of the late Mormon leader earlier: “Rigdon claimed in St. Louis to be “in possession of facts and power [sufficient] to have hurled Joseph from his station long ago.”

This quote implies that Rigdon had more on Joseph than just polygamy.

16 September, 1844Rigdon publishes that Hyde didn’t approach him because of “feared disclosures”.  Rigdon fears for his life

16 November, 1844Mormon Paper “The Prophet” reports that Rigdon:

“while in Missouri, he… pronounced Mormonism to be a delusion.”

Rigdon clearly is afraid for his life, yet is letting slip bits of the secrets of the church at this point.

07-08 September, 1844 – Sidney Excommunicated.  Notes kept in Nauvoo City Council and high council.  It is evident from the record that Sidney considered himself de-facto in charge and started calling new church leaders.  He didn’t consider the twelve apostles in charge at all, and simply started setting about re-establishing the church with Joseph gone.

1845 – Lucy Mack Smith speaks on three points of her family’s history before the saints after her son’s death and before the exodus from Nauvoo.  Her notes from this speech are later adapted into her book in published into 1853.

Orson Hyde provided a description of the visions that Rigdon claimed to have had while in Pittsburgh before coming to Nauvoo [SpR]

In this discourse he [Rigdon] related the wonderful visions he had received in Pittsburgh just before he left that place… On this occasion, he testified that Joseph had ascended to heaven, and that he stood on the right hand of the Son of God, and that he had seen him there, clothed with all the power, glory, might, majesty, and dominion of the celestial kingdoms: — That he held the keys of the kingdom and would continue to hold them to all eternity, These statements were furnished me by those who heard them…But again, if Sidney was a true man when he came to us from Pittsburgh, he is false now: for he now testifies directly against that which he then declared God had given him by revelation. He now says that Joseph is with hypocrites and unbelievers. If he is true now, he was false then and we, of course, did right in cutting him off from the church: for he was found guilty of attempting to palm upon us a revelation which he said came from God: but we knew it came from himself. He told us some truths, however in order to gain our confidence that we might place him at the head of the church.

06 April, 1845 – Sidney organizes the new “Church of Christ”

12 October, 1845 – Rigdon’s supporters in Pittsburgh publicly sustained him as “first president of the church”

21 October, 1848 – Oliver Cowdery bears testimony near Council Bluffs, Iowa including point 6) “That book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it. Mr. Spaulding did not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet.”(Reuben Miller Diary, October 21, 1848, Church Historians Office; See Deseret News April 13, 1859) This testimony includes key pieces refuting many things that troubled the church in the past including seeing plates with their eyes, Spaulding and much more.  It was given while Oliver was trying to win back favor with the church.

June 1851The Yankee Mahomet published in the American Whig Review  detailing Spaulding theory 

1852 – R. W. Alderman quotes Spaulding-Rigdon thoery [SpR]

R. W. Alderman made another statement linking Rigdon to Joseph Smith. Alderman said that he met Martin Harris in Mentor, Ohio in 1852, who “in conversation told me he saw Jo Smith translate the ‘Book of Mormon,’ with his peep-stone in his hat. Oliver Cowdery, who had been a school-teacher, wrote it down. Sidney Rigdon, a renegade preacher, was let in during the translation. Rigdon had stolen a manuscript from a printing office in Pittsburgh, Pa., which Spaulding, who had written it in the early part of the century, had left there to be printed, but the printers refused to publish it, but Jo and Rigdon did, as the ‘Book of Mormon.’ Martin said he furnished the means, . . . .” Vogel, “Early Mormon Documents”

1853 – Lucy Mack Smith (Joseph’s Mother) publishes The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother.  Note that she includes counter stories to the Spaulding Rigdon theory and Lucy Harris in specific.  She has had plenty of time to tailor her message to counter the critics as the notes for this book were composed a year after Joseph’s death.  According to FAIR, Lucy’s details of Joseph Smith Sr.’s dream were confused with the Book of Mormon

22 May, 1853 – Rigdon expresses interest in gold digging in a letter to former LDS Apostle Lyman Wight, then in Texas.

There is at this time some excitement in consequence of the reports which are circulating through the public papers of a rich gold region discovered in your state… should the prospect in your judgment in relation to the gold be such as warrant the effort, I will make one to visit Texas…  (Cowdrey et al., 2005, p. 316)

1856Emma Smith describes the translation process:

When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, “Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?” When I answered “Yes,” he replied “Oh! I was afraid I had been deceived.” He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.

This indicates that Joseph was reading another text and that he was unfamiliar with the source material.  Further, if he had received the book of Mormon from God and was directly receiving the words by revelation, why would he be afraid of being deceived about Jerusalem’s walls?  This strongly supports an additional document and second author of a non-divine source. [SpR]

1863“Ridgon’s appeal.”  published to be sent out to the Latter Day Saints.  Rigdon states that Smith was supposed to only translate, and his job was to gather, using the same phrasing as the Book of Commandments revelation later altered by Smith (See March, 1829 entries)

The Lord had said, in the Book of Mormon, that he would raise up to Joseph Smith a spokesman; and the Spirit said, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that Sidney Rigdon was that spokesman. The case then stands thus: Joseph Smith was to translate the Book of Mormon, and Sidney Rigdon was to take it, and gather Israel. Here is the sum of the whole matter. The prophet Malachi had said that before Christ came, he would send his messenger, and he should prepare the way before him. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon was that messenger. The Spirit said that the Lord would raise up a spokesman to Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith said that Sidney was that spokesman. The Lord said he would prepare a priesthood with which he would gather Israel. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon held that priesthood.(page 27, compare 2 Nephi 3:17-18)

1865 – Sidney’s son, John Rigdon asks his father about the Spaulding-Rigdon theory.  It should be noted that Rigdon’s family headed the Rigdonite and Bickertonite movements based on the Book of Mormon.  John recounts:

My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said, with tears glistening in his eyes: “My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story.”

19 April, 1867 – Letter to Sidney Rigdon by an Eye Witness placing him in Palmyra, New York in 1830 speaking at the hall of the Palmyra Young Men’s association.  The lack of this date of speaking being recorded by Sidney when he studiously recorded all others should be noted. [SpR]

Mr. SIDNEY RIGDON, Friendship, Allegany County, N. Y.

DEAR SIR: I am emboldened to address you, without the benefit of a personal acquaintance that you will recognize, from having received a personal introduction to you here in 1830. I heard your sermon at the hall of our Palmyra Young Men’s Association in that year, in reference to the then new Mormon revelation according to Joseph Smith, Jr.

Are you willing to be consulted personally regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon? Or, will you favor me by mail with any information such as may suggest itself to you as useful to me in carrying out a design in hand to write up for publication, a brief, connected, and truthful history of Mormonism and its founders, from the commencement to the present date of that system?

I was acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., and with his father and the family, during their residence in Palmyra and Manchester.

I shall feel obligated, at any rate, for an intimation of your views and disposition in this matter, at your early convenience, and would be happy to reciprocate your kindness.

Very respectfully,                  POMEROY TUCKER

Prior to april 1867 – Pomeroy Tucker, Esq., a native of Palmyra, NY and editor of the paper Wayne Sentinel publishes the book: Origin and Progress of Mormonism.  He proofread much of the Book of Mormon and had frequent interviews with Joseph Smith.

“In the employment of the printer Patterson was a versatile genius, one Sidney Rigdon, to whom no trade came amiss, and who happened at the time to be a journeyman printer at work with Patterson.  Disputations on questions of theology were the peculiar delight of Rigdon; and the probable solution of the mystery of this Book of Mormon, is found in the fact, that he had made a copy of Spaulding’s manuscript, and communicated information of the existence of the fictitious record to Joseph Smith, Jr.,” after becoming acquainted with Smith’s money-digging operations. Patterson died in 1826 [sic].(There is evidence that he had read E. Howe’s book and was familiar with the theory, hence this is not an eyewitness account)

Sept 1, 1868 Rigdon writes letter to the saints claiming to know what was contained in the Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon [SpR]

1869 – Joseph Miller gives a statement connecting Spaulding to the Book of Mormon

1870Life in Utah published by J. H. Beadle. Beadle states that in 1812 Rev. Spalding presented Manuscript Found to a bookseller named Patterson in Pittsburgh, wishing to have it published as a “historical romance, to account for the settlement of America”, and proposing to write a fictional preface describing “its having been taken from plates dug up in Ohio.” Patterson declined, as he “did not think the enterprise would pay.” Beadle states that Rigdon was then at work in the office of Patterson, who died in 1826

18 September , 1872Rebecca Johnston Eichbaum, from the post office gives a statement connecting Spaulding and Rigdon and disproving a component of Rigdon’s 1839 denial [SpR].  Eichbaum’s testimony is backed up by the Commonwealth list of unclaimed letters.

My father, John Johnson, was postmaster at Pittsburgh for about eighteen years, from 1804 to 1822. My husband, William Eichbaum, succeeded him, and was postmaster for about eleven years, from 1822 to 1833. I was born August 25, 1792, and when I became old enough, I assisted my father in attending to the post-office, and became familiar with his duties. From 1811 to 1816, I was the regular clerk in the office, assorting, making up, dispatching, opening and distributing the mails. Pittsburgh was then a small town, and I was well acquainted with all the stated visitors at the office who called regularly for their mails. So meagre at that time were the mails that I could generally tell without looking whether or not there was anything for such persons, though I would usually look in order to satisfy them. I was married in 1815, and the next year my connection with the office ceased, except during the absences of my husband. I knew and distinctly remember Robert and Joseph Patterson, J Harrison Lambdin, Silas Engles, and Sidney Rigdon, I remember Rev. Mr. Spaulding, but simply as one who occasionally called to inquire for letters. I remember there was an evident intimacy between Lambdin and Rigdon. They very often came to the office together. I particularly remember that they would thus come during the hour on Sabbath afternoon when the office was required to be open, and I remember feeling sure that Rev. Mr. Patterson knew nothing of this, or he would have put a stop to it. I do not know what position, if any, Rigdon filled in Pattersons’s store or printing office, but am well assured he was frequently, if not constantly, there for a large part of the time when I was clerk in the post-office. I recall Mr. Engles saying that “Rigdon was always hanging around the printing office.” He was connected with the tannery before he became a preacher, though he may have continued the business whilst preaching.

July 14, 1876 – By Sidney’s death, all his papers are burned

Prior to Phebe’s death [Sidney Rigdon’s wife], according to some family members, she burned all Sidney’s private papers. Granddaughter Jessie Rigdon Secord related in 1967: “I was told that [grandfather] made grandmother promise that upon his death everything he had ever written would be destroyed so a short time after, on the absence of the family, she burned all the records, and the brilliant sermons and orations lay in a heap of ashes.” Grandson Edward Hatch, a New York Supreme Court justice, stated in 1896 that “during the last six or seven years of his life” his grandfather “wrote a great deal, daily using from seven to nine pages of foolscap paper; but as to the subject matter no one knew anything, as at his death all the manuscripts were burned, the family not considering them of any real worth; today they regret their haste in thus destroying.”(Van Wagoner (1994) Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, p.456)

January, 1879Rev. Joseph Miller  gives another statement connecting Spaulding to the Book of Mormon

Febuary, 1879Rev. Joseph Miller gives another statement connecting Spaulding to the Book of Mormon

My recollection is that Spalding left a transcript of the manuscript with Patterson for publication. The publication was delayed until Spaulding could write a preface. In the meantime the manuscript was spirited away, and could not be found. Spaulding told me that Sidney Rigdon had taken it, or was suspected of taking it. I recollect distinctly that Rigdon’s name was mentioned in connection with it. (Cowdrey et al., 2005, p. 124)

02 May, 1879 – Affidavit Abel D. Chase [EYE WITNESS] [SpR]

I was well acquainted with the Smith family, frequently visiting the Smith boys and they me. I was a youth at the time from twelve to thirteen years old, having been born Jan. 19, 1814, at Palmyra, N.Y. During some of my visits at the Smiths, I saw a STRANGER there WHO THEY SAID WAS MR. RIGDON. He was at Smith’s several times, and it was in the year of 1827 when I first saw him there, as near as I can recollect.(Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, His Family and His Friends (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886))

15 October, 1879 – John H. Gilbert, Letter to James T. Cobb, 14 October 1879

Last evening, I had about 15 minutes conversation with Mr. Lorenzo Saunders of Reading, Hillsdale Co. Mich. He has been gone about thirty years. He was born south of our village in 1811, and was a near neighbor of the Smith family – knew them all well; was in the habit of visiting the Smith boys; says he knows that RIGDON was hanging around Smith’s for EIGHTEEN MONTHS PRIOR TO THE PUBLISHING OF THE MORMON BIBLE. (2:529)

07 December, 1879 – Mrs. Amos Dunlap [EYEWITNESS].  This record occurs while the family was in Warren, Ohio in 1825, placing it in the right time frame to line up with the testimony of Dencey Adaeline Thompson (Likely took over the care of Rigdon’s children from Mrs. Dunlap after the move).

“When I was quite a child I visited Mr. Rigdon’s family. He married my aunt. They at that time lived in Bainbridge, Ohio. During my visit Mr. Rigdon went to his bedroom and took from a trunk which he kept locked a certain manuscript. He came out into the other room and seated himself by the fireplace and commenced reading it. His wife at that moment came into the room and exclaimed, ‘What! you’re studying that thing again?’ or something to that effect. She then added, ‘I mean to burn that paper.’ He said, ‘No, indeed, you will not. This will be a great thing some day!’ Whenever he was reading this he was so completely occupied that he seemed entirely unconscious of anything passing around him.”

09 September, 1880Woman who lived with Rigdon says he wrote the Book of Mormon by seance:

We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. O. P. Henry, an Astoria subscriber, who says, in reference to an article in the Oregonian of recent date concerning the origin of the Mormon Bible, that his mother, who is yet alive, lived in the family of Sidney Rigdon for several years prior to her marriage in 1827; that there was in the family what is now called a “writing medium,” also several others in adjacent places, and the Mormon Bible was written by two or three different persons by an automatic power which they believed was inspiration direct from God, the same as produced the original Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament. Mr. H. believes that Sidney Rigdon furnished Joseph Smith with these manuscripts, and that the story of the “hieroglyphics” was a fabrication to make the credulous take hold of the mystery; that Rigdon, having learned, beyond a doubt, that the so-called dead could communicate to the living, considered himself duly authorized by Jehovah to found a new church, under a divine guidance similar to that of Confucius, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Swedenborg, Calvin, Luther or Wesley, all of whom believed in and taught the ministration of spirits. The New Northwest gives place to Mr. Henry’s idea as a matter of general interest. The public will, of course, make its own comments and draw its own conclusions.

An early Bainbridge pioneer recalled Rigdon’s secretive writing efforts during that period, while an Auburn resident reported both Rigdon’s literary work and an otherwise unrecorded early visit by Joseph Smith. Jr.

See also:
See also:

1881 – John H. Gilbert, Interviewed by William H. and Edmund L. Kelley, 1881 [SpR]

Q: How do you account for the production of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Gilbert, then, if Joseph Smith was so illiterate?

A: “Well, that is the difficult question. It must have been from the Spaulding romance – you have heard of that, I suppose. The parties here then never could have been the authors of it, certainly. I have been for the last forty-five or fifty years trying to get the key to that thing; but we have never been able to make the connecting yet. For some years past I have been corresponding with a person in Salt Lake, by the name of Cobb, who is getting out a work against the Mormons; but we have never been able to find out what we wanted.”

Q: “If you could only connect Sidney Rigdon with Smith some way, you could get up a theory.”

A: Yes; that is just where the trouble lies; the manuscript was put in our hands in August, 1829, and all printed by March, 1830, and we can not find that Rigdon was ever about here, or in this State, until sometime in the Fall of 1830. But I think I have got a way out of the difficulty now. A fellow that used to be here, by the name of Saunders, Lorenzo Saunders, was back here some time ago, and I was asking him about it. At first he said he did not remember of ever seeing Rigdon until after 1830 sometime; but after studying it over a while, he said it seemed to him that one time he was over to Smiths, and that there was a stranger he never saw before, and that they said it was Rigdon. I told him about Cobb, of Utah, and asked him if he would send his affidavit that he saw Rigdon before the book was published, if he (Cobb), would write to him; he finally said he would, and I wrote to Cobb about it, and gave Saunders’ address, and after a long time, I got a letter from him, saying he had written three letters to Saunders, and could get no answer. I then sat down and wrote Saunders a letter myself, reminding him of his promise, and wrote to Cobb also about it; and after a long time Cobb wrote me again, that Saunders had written to him; but I have never learned how satisfactory it was, or whether he made the affidavit or not.” (2:110)

19 June, 1881 – John H. Gilbert, Letter to Thomas Gregg, 19 June 1881

I told Kelley I thought the Spaulding MS. was the foundation of the M[ormon]. B[ible]., and gave him my reasons for thinking so. The long paragraph in relation to Mr. Cobb and Lorenzo Saunders is a mixed mess of truth and falsehood. When I asked Mr. S. if he knew whether Rigdon was hanging around Smith previous to the publication of the M. B., he said, “Yes, at least eighteen months before.” There was no hesitancy about it; and this is what I told Kelly. You can see how he reported the matter. (2:531) (John H. Gilbert letter to Gregg)

05 November, 1881 –  According to his close friend and law firm colleague, Judge W. Lang, Oliver Cowdery admitted that the Book of Mormon was a hoax, manufactured from Solomon Spaulding’s unpublished novel, “Manuscript Found.” In a letter from Lang to Thomas Gregg, , Lang wrote [SpR]:

“Dear Sir: . . . Once for all I desire to be strictly understood when I say to you that I cannot violate any confidence of a friend though he be dead. This I will say that Mr. Cowdery never spoke of his connection with the Mormons to anybody except to me. We were intimate friends. The plates were never translated and could not be, were never intended to be. What is claimed to be a translation is the ‘Manuscript Found’ worked over by C[owdery] . He was the best scholar amongst them. Rigdon got the original at the job printing office in Pittsburgh, as I have stated. I often expressed my objection to the frequent repetition of ‘And it came to pass’ to Mr. Cowdery and said that a true scholar ought to have avoided that, which only provoked a gentle smile from C[owdery].

12 November, 1884 – Lorenzo Saunders, Interviewed by E. L. Kelley, 12 November 1884 [SpR]

E.L.K. How soon after Joseph Smith claimed to have received the revelation did you see Rigdon?

Mr.S. It was in the spring I went there to eat sugar. Samuel Lawrence went with me; There was 4 or 5 men making sugar; Their camp was right on the farm; They made several thousands pounds of sugar; You see there was a bounty in the state of New York & they was making a great deal of sugar & they had several boiling places & emploied some men; The men that was there stood down by the fence; There was Peter Ingersoll; Peter’s now dead. he died near Pontiac. His land joined the Smith farm on the north. Well he was at work there, & he came there & he was in this group with them, & Samuel Lawrence & there was the old man Rockwell; father to Port Rockwell. And one George Proper. I do not know Whether he came to Kirtland or not. Della was baptized before they left

E. L. Kelley How did they happen to be all together there?

Mr. S. There was George Proper & Rockwell I supposed there were men to work for them in the sugar bush; I never asked any questions about his help. Samuel Lawrence came along & I went to the house. And there was a man better dressed than the rest come along up to smiths & Stood out door. I says, to Hiram Smith what well dressed man is that that stood out there? And he said, it was Sidney Rigdon. This was in the time of making sugar along in march about the 10th or 15th, & they was in full blast & they used to invite us over to eat sugar. They made sugar every year.

E.L.K.How are you enabled to identify the time

Mr. S.Because, I know it was before Jo. claimed to have taken the plates from the hill Cummorah. And there was some two or three of us traveled that ground over, & we could not find a hole. There was a great raft of them digging for money. (2:150-52)

E.L.K. By what train of circumstances, Mr. Saunders, can you tell the exact time, you first saw Sydney Rigdon there?

Mr. S.At first I told him [John H. Gilbert] I could not remember exactly, but says I look here I will go back to my brother’s house, (Orlan), & he will jog my memory & in this way I will be able to get at it. I talked with Able Chase & spoke to him about it. He finally says: you have got the book of Book of Mormon the first book in your brothers house. And I wanted it & tried to get the it I wanted to fetch it home with me but he said he wanted to keep it while he lived. And after taking the dates I had forgot what year the book was printed in till I got it My brother could not remember anything. I says cant I tell you a circumstance? but his intelect seemed to be gone. I cited to him this case of Hiram Smith talking in the harvest field, & he says I do remember that now, but it was gone I would never have thought of it again. I says, it was in the spring of 1827 that I went there; He thought a minite & said: “I guess it was”Says I you know father died in 1825 & says I he died in the fall & it was two years from that spring that I first saw Rigdon. Judging from the time that they made that large quantity of sugar in that year

E.L.K. Dont you think you might have been mistaken as to the date?

L.S.(Excited) No, sir, I am not mistaken I will tell you that if you are a Mormon I dont tolerate Mormonism, I say that I have nothing against that family at all: But say so far as Mormonism is concerned I do not tolerate it at all. The first that Mormonism was started there I investigated it from top to bottom & I found it out to be a humbug. I do not think Joseph Smith ever got any plates or ever had any plates. He got a glass box. I saw where the box was that was all. They claimed it was in that box. Now, if the plates was the thickness of tin the box could not hold one quarter of them. aided Tucker in getting out his book

L.S. Why yes cited them to some dates. I was there & he had a sister that was very sick & died soon after that I came away & staied there 3 weeks, so I was into Tuckers out & in. So you see how far he had advanced in his book I could not tell. I never asked him one word about Sydney Rigdon being there. He wrote to Sidney Rigdon to try to get something out of him; It was generally said that the Mormons had shut his mouth by paying him a pension to keep him silent We was coming from Palmyra I said I do not know Sidney Rigdon if that was Sidney Rigdon down there I did not know him

E.L. In the house when you saw him afterwards & heard him preach could you identify him?

L.S. No, I could not I was not near enough to see his face before I heard him preach. Joseph Smith & this well dressed man stopped & talked with Peter Ingersoll. That was the time that Peter Ingersol told Jo. Smith, he guessed he had not got any plates the neighbors say it is all a humbug. Jo. Smith said: “what if it is now I have got the fools caught. This man was with him at the time & after we past on, I asked Peter Ingersol who that man was? & he said, it was Rigdon. That was in 1827 late in the fall

E.L.K.So you saw Rigdon in 1827?

A. Yes sir. Is not it possible that it was in 1830?

Mr. L.S. No. because it was when Jo. Smith claimed to get the plates. Jo. Smith told the story but he told so many stories, it was a hard thing to get the fact in any way or shape. (2:157-59)

L.S.. . . Cobb at Utah wrote three letters to me. I did not send him an affidavit. I wrote him off a statement with what I could remember throughout. I then lived a mile south of here. And just as I got it ready, I had not sealed it up, my house took fire & burned up & everything I had; And no insurance. And that burned up the papers. I had no chance & I thought I was not doing justice not to reply to matters, so I did, and set down & wrote a short list of my misfortunes; & why I had replied to him before, but not anything of amount to him or anybody els.

E.L.You sent it to CobbA. Yes sir. (2:162)

1882 – Rev. Joseph Miller states connection between Spaulding and Book of Mormon including Rigdon

1884 – a Spalding manuscript known as Manuscript Story was discovered and published, and the manuscript now resides at Oberlin College in Ohio, hence it is called the “Oberline Manuscript”

18 May, 1884 – Sidney Rigdon’s daughter publicly states that her father never new the origin of the Book of Mormon

I will say this, that my father, who had the respect of all who knew him, and at a time when he had but little hope of living from one day to another, said…”As I expect to die and meet my Maker, I know nothing about where the manuscript of the Mormon Bible came from.”(Pittsburgh The Leader, May 18, 1884)

16 December, 1884Rueben P. Harmon statement.  Early neighbor of Sidney, and appraiser of the Kirtland Temple’s value.

 I have heard Rigdon several times say in his sermons that before long the Indian mounds and forts about there would all be explained.

March, 1885 – Isaac Butts, Statement to Arthur B. Deming, March 1885  [SpR]

Many persons whom I knew in New York joined the Mormons and came to Kirtland. They told me they saw Sidney Rigdon much with Jo Smith before they became Mormons, but did not know who he was until they came to Kirtland.

06 March, 1885S.F. Whitney testifies that Rigdon talked about the mound builders and records coming from them in 1827 – 1828 [SpR]

07 March, 1885 – W. A. Lillie, Statement to Arthur B. Deming, 7 March 1885 [SECOND HAND] [SpR]

About 1834 Mr. Pearne, of Chester, told me he used to live in the neighborhood of the Mormon Smith family in Palmyra, N.Y., and was well acquainted with all of them. He said they were a low family and of no account in the community. He told me the summer before Jo Smith, the Mormon prophet, first came to Ohio, he often saw Jo Smith and Rigdon together. It was the first he knew of Rigdon, and it was before the “Book of Mormon” was published. He saw Smith and Rigdon start together in a buggy for Ohio. Mr. Pearne knew Rigdon well after coming to Ohio and said he believed he (Rigdon) was at the bottom of Mormonism. My father borrowed the “Book of Mormon” and when he had finished reading it laughed and remarked Rigdon had done pretty well. (2:188-89)

20 September, 1885New York Times prints Spaulding-Rigdon Theory as end of Mormonism

24 June, 1887 – S. F. Anderick, Statement to Arthur B. Deming, 24 June 1887 [SpR] [EYE WITNESS]

He [Joseph Smith] was from home much summers. Sometimes he said he had been to Broome County, New York, and Pennsylvania. Several times while I was visiting Sophronia Smith at old Jo’s house, she told me that a stranger who I saw there several times in warm weather and several months apart, was Mr. Rigdon. At other times the Smith children told me that Mr. Rigdon was at their house when I did not see him. I did not read much in the “Book of Mormon” because I had no confidence in Jo. Palmyra people claimed that Jo did not know enough to be the author of the “Book of Mormon,” and believed that Rigdon was its author. I was acquainted with most of the people about us, and with Martin Harris.

July 21, 1887 – Lorenzo Saunders, Statement to Arthur B. Deming, 21 July 1887 (only statement published in Saunders’s lifetime)

That my father died on the 10th day of October, A.D. 1825. That In March of 1827, on or about the 15th of said month I went to the house of Joseph Smith for the purpose of getting some maple sugar to eat, that when I arrived at the house of said Joseph Smith, I was met at the door by Harrison Smith, Jo’s brother. That at a distance of ten or twelve rods from the house there were five men that were engaged in talking, four of whom I knew, the fifth one was better dressed than the rest of those whom I was acquainted with. I inquired of Harrison Smith who the stranger was? He informed me his name was Sidney Rigdom with whom I afterwards became acquainted and found to be Sidney Rigdon. This was in March, A.D. 1827, the second spring after the death of my father. I was frequently at the house of Joseph Smith from 1827 to 1830. That I saw Oliver Cowdery writing, I suppose the “Book of Mormon” with books and manuscripts laying on the table before him; that I went to school to said Oliver Cowdery and know him well. (2:213) (Lorenzo Suanders Statement published)

12 February – 08 March, 1888Kelly/Braden debate including a witness of Rigdon, John Rudolph:

For two years before The Book of Mormon appeared Rigdon’s sermons were full of declarations and prophecies that the age of miracles would be restored, and more complete revelations, than those in the Bible, would be given. When The Book of Mormon appeared, all who heard him were satisfied that he referred to it.

07, April 1888 – In the tribune, Walter Sidney Rigdon, Sidney Rigdon’s grandson, says that his grandfather’s role in fabrication of The Book of Mormon was a family secret. [SpR] [EYEWITNESS]

He talked with old Sidney hundreds of times about the “scheme of the Golden Bible,”

He ‘found’ Joe Smith and they had a great many talks together before they brought out the plates. None of us ever doubted that they got the whole thing up; but father always maintained that grandfather helped get up the original Spaulding book. At any rate he got a copy very early and schemed on some way to make it useful. Although the family knew these facts, they refused to talk on the subject while grandfather lived. In fact, he and they took on [a] huge disgust at the whole subject….”

1892Philo Dibble gives his eyewitness account to what happened during the revelation of Section 76

The events and conversation, while they were seeing what is written (and many things were seen and related that are not written), I will relate as minutely as is necessary.

Joseph would, at intervals, say: “What do I see?” as one might say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at. Then Sidney replied, “I see the same.” Presently Sidney would say “what do I see?” and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph would reply, “I see the same.” This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and Sidney…Joseph sat firmly and calmly all the time in the midst of a magnificent glory, but Sidney sat limp and pale, apparently as limber as a rag, observing which, Joseph remarked, smilingly, “Sidney is not used to it as I am.”(page 112 in Van Wagoner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess (1994))

Van Wagner Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess on page 163 also points out that it was Rigdon who gave Joseph authorization to alter the revelations in the Book of Commandmetns

many of the brethren objected strenuously to it but they did not want to say much for it was Brother Joseph and the leaders who did it… I was told that Sidney Rigdon convinced Brother Joseph and that committee that it was all right.

1897 – Book “The Spalding Memorial: A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF EDWARD SPALDING OF VIRGINIA AND MASSACHUSETTS BAY AND HIS DESCENDANTS” written by Charles Warren Spalding, originally published in 1897.  This book contains the following:

Not only did Smith hear the manuscript read, but on one occasion, as Mrs Davidson frequently testified before her death, he borrowed it for a week or so, giving as a reason that he wanted to read it to his family, who had been unable to attend on Mr. Spalding’s readings. Not long afterward, it will be remembered, Smith claimed that an angel had revealed to him the existence of a buried history of aboriginal America, the plates of which it is alleged were dug up, and the book of Mormon made as a translation of their inscriptions.

In addition it gives several additional witnesses stating that the Spaulding manuscript was the origin of the Book of Mormon.  This was discovered in 2012 by a descendant of Spaulding.  Full scans here.  Full transcripts here

1902Darwin Atwater, a patriarch in the Discipels church whose father knew Rigdon said that Ridgon taught that a book was going to be published about the indian mounds:

That he [Rigdon] knew before of the coming of The Book of Mormon is to me certain, from what he said the first of his visits to my father’s some years before [at about the close of January 1827].” “He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said they must have been made by the aborigines. He said there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these in his eloquent, enthusiastic style as being a thing most extraordinary.

1980 – a study done by John Hilton  claims to debunk via word print analysis, the Spaulding-Rigdon theory.   It claims to have been done with non-mormons as well.  I personally contacted each of the non-mormons on the study and both said they had never heard of it, nor had anything to do with John’s report.  Jockers and Criddle directly point out the blatant flaws in methodology in this study in their appendix as well as it should be noted, this article was not peer reviewed before BYU decided it was good enough to publish.

1994 – Van Wagoner prints a  Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess on Sidney’s prominence in the church in part it reads:

The window of opportunity during which Rigdon achieved co-equal billing with Joseph Smith, lasted from 1831-39. During this era he and the prophet, both gifted visionaries, jointly developed the church’s infrastructure and its governing agenda. Retrospectively, the duo seem mismatched. Rigdon was highly educated and well read while Smith possessed only rudimentary education. Rigdon was pessimistic while Smith demonstrated joie de vivre. Smith was remarkable for his charisma, Rigdon for his eloquence. But despite occasional friction, they were virtually inseparable. Their burdens, in fact, were their bonds.

2004FAIR Contributer Chandler identifies erros in the original hand-written fragments of the Book of Mormon.  Dictation errors are possible, but the type of errors may suggest mistakes taken from an original manuscript [SpR]

2008Jockers and Criddle, trying to find the authors of the federalist papers, apply their techniques as a test on the book of Mormon.  They find strong evidence of the spaulding-rigdon theory. The Schaalje peer-reviewed study also published in the Journal of Literary and Linguistic Computing critiqued the methodology used by Jockers et al. in their 2008 study by noting numerous problems.  Full study is second link here

Sometime about this time: Maxwell Institute runs its own wordprint study

September, 2009Jockers reprints study including Joseph Smith writings.  Determines scribes conflate the data too much for a conclusion.

19 October, 2009Craig Criddle presents a verbal presentation on the Spaulding theory and the wordprint analysis

December, 2009 – BYU Masters thesis(pro-LDS) proves multiple authors and finds Rigdon statistically likely to have written parts of the Book of Mormon.  The author downplays this because “There were clearly other authors too”.  The thesis is Brenda F. Ginos, “Parameter Estimation for the Lognormal Distribution,”.  Curiously, BYU seems to have removed this thesis after it was linked with the Spaulding-Rigdon theory.

10 November, 2010Ben Blatt (not connected to the church in any way) uses the same methods and Jockers used determining the authors of the Federalist Papers (and the Book of Mormon) on a set of sports writers.  Comes up with perfect match

08, August 2011Deseret News prints an article by apologists defending against the Criddle/Jockers paper by citing their own admitted limitations in the paper’s beginning as well as throwing out the science of wordprint analysis in its entirety

Most surprising, Fields said, is that the authors failed to include Joseph Smith as a candidate author.

“If anyone would have been the author, it must have been Joseph Smith, one would think, being otherwise uninformed,” he said.

Despite Jockers and Criddle clearly stating why they would not include Joseph Smith (The effect of Joseph always using scribes) in the paper itself.

07 January, 2013Journal of Mormon History article by Adam Jortner proposes that Spaulding’s manuscript should be used to view Jeffersonian views on transitioning Indians.  Ignores that Book of Mormon also espouses Jeffersonian views contemporary with Smith.

June 2013 Jockers publishes rebuttal to FAIR including Joseph Smith.  Concludes the scribes are far to involved to get a good data set.

As of last update to this page: Fair defends the Book of Abraham by claiming lost materials are evidence while discouraging the Spaulding-Rigdon theory because it relies on lost materials.  They fail to see irony:

Of these original materials, only a handful of fragments were recovered at the Metropolitan Museum. The majority of the papyri remains lost, and has likely been destroyed.”

“Until the purported second manuscript appears, all these critics have is a nonexistent document which they can claim says anything they want. This is doubtlessly the attraction of the “theory” and shows the lengths to which critics will go to disprove the Book of Mormon.”

Primary Sources:

Translation timeline taken from:


CLOSING NOTES Rigdon and Campbell (Taken from Craig Criddle’s 2005 Thesis)

Campbellite doctrines:

  • A Great Apostasy necessitating a Restoration of the doctrines and practices of New Testament Christianity. Campbell referred to this as a restoration of the “Ancient Order of Things.” Rigdon referred to it as a “restoration of all things.” 1 Ne 12:11; 13:26; 2 Ne 26:9-10, 20; Hel 13:5
  • A “New Bible” –

“He contended ably for the restoration of the true, original apostolic order which would restore to the church the ancient gospel as preached by the apostles. The interest became an excitement; …the air was thick with rumors of a ‘new religion,’ a ‘new Bible.'” (Amos Hayden about Walter Scott’s preaching in 1828.  Walter is talking about Campbell’s 1820 edition of the New Testament)

  • Restoration and Gathering of the Jews 1 Ne 15:19-20; 2 Ne 29:4
  • Restoration and Gathering of the House of Israel 3 Ne 29:1

  • Imminent millennial reign of Christ.  Alexander Campbell referred to Rigdon as “a flaming literalist of the school of [Elias] Smith a Millennarian of the first water.” (Dec. 1837, Millennial Harbinger 1:578) 1 Ne 20:26

There were many at that time who believed the millennium was at hand, and in 1830, there were many who were convinced it had dawned… the long expected day of gospel glory would be ushered in… These glowing expectations formed the staple of many sermons… they were the continued and exhaustless topic of conversation. They animated the hope and inspired the zeal to a high degree of the converts and many of the advocates of the gospel. Millenial hymns were learned and sung with joyful fervor and hope surpassing the conception of worldly and carnal professors. It was amid a people full of these expectations, and with hearts fired with these things, that Mormonism was brought, and small wonder that it found a welcome. (van Wagoner, 1994 Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, p. 61).

Rigdon Said that he had, prior to mormonims:

proved to a demonstration the literal fulfillment of prophesy, the gathering of Israel in the last days, to their ancient inheritances, with their ultimate splendor and glory; the situation of the world at the coming of the Son of Man-the judgments which Almighty God would pour out upon the ungodly, prior to that event, and the reign of Christ with his saints on the earth, in the millennium. (Times and Seasons 1838

  • Campbell’s followers used the “Bethany dialect,” and especially what was referred to as the “word alone system.” This is a belief that religious experience came from hearing the divine word alone. (Campbells remarks Dec 1, 1828

Mosiah 25:15-16

Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone, which thou hast spoken unto them.

  • Sacrament prayer and partaking of the sacrament bread and wine as a memorial rite in frequent gatherings — Moroni 4:3, 5:2, 6:6.
  • Rejection of infant baptism and original sin — Moroni 8:1-12, 14, 20, 22. This doctrine is at odds with Methodism. This is relevant because of Smith’s documented attraction to Methodism, even during the translation process.
  • Adult immersion for the remission of sins as the central ordinance of the Gospel — 3 Ne 11:26. This elevation of the importance of baptism happened at a time when practically no other group of Christians made baptism that important or so easy to obtain. Calvinist churches demanded proof of a spiritual conversion experience before acceptance into a congregation. Campbellites merely asked for a statement of belief, and baptism was possible at a moment’s notice. In Mormonism, acceptance of The Book of Mormon qualified a new convert for immediate baptism, quick confirmation, and speedy ordination of male converts. This was a useful strategy for rapidly acquiring new converts among those who had been turned down for membership in other faiths.
  • Missionaries of the church should provide their own support — Mos. 18:24-26; Mos. 27:4-5; Alma 1:3, 26; Alma 30:31-32; 2 Nephi 26:31 — and the clergy as well — Alma 1:3. Alma 35:3, 1 Nephi 22:23.
  • September 1824, Campbell publicly commended Scott and Rigdon, the “two bishops” of a church in Pittsburgh, “who while they watch over and labour among the saints, labor, working with their own hands, according to the apostolic command; and not only minister to their own wants, but are (ensembles) to the flock in beneficence and hospitality” (C.B., p. 93).
  • Elders set apart by the laying on of hands. Alma 6:1

The Christian Messenger on October 25, 1827, Disciple preacher Walter Scott commented on the laying on of hands:

If a church have elders, and desire others, the elders in that particular Society, can proceed to set them apart by the imposition of hands. (The Christian Messenger 1: 283-286. See

  • Speaking as if authorized by Jesus Christ — Words of Mormon 1:17; Mos. 13:6; Mos. 18:13; Alma 17:3; 3 Nephi 5:13; 3 Nephi 11:25; Moro. 7:2; Moro. 8:16. Disciples’ preachers understood that they spoke directly for God. Referring to the preaching of Rigdon and Bentley, after a visit to Scott in March, 1828, Hayden said: “They spoke with authority, for the word which they delivered was not theirs, but that of Jesus Christ.” See:
  • Reference to “the Holy Spirit” as a kind of shared divine nature — 1 Nephi 2:17; 2 Nephi 2:28; Jar. 1:4; Mos. 3:19; Alma 5:46; 11:44; 13:28; 18:34; 31:35. According to Vogel (1989), Campbellites made unusually frequent use of the term “Holy Spirit.” See:  Rigdon reportedly was an ardent reader of Campbell’s Christian Baptist, which makes frequent reference to the “Holy Spirit” (see, for example, the issue of Dec, 1824).
    See also:
  • Translation of the bible: As noted by Whitsitt, the “Inspired Version” of the Bible that Rigdon worked on with Smith has similarities to Campbell’s edition of the Bible: both documents use the word “Testimony” as titles for the Gospels (for example, “The Gospel of Matthew” becomes “The Testimony of Matthew”), and both dropped use of special pronouns when addressing deity. The Book of Moses, now a part of the Pearl of Great Price, but initially fabricated as the first chapters of the “Inspired Version” of the Bible, clearly teaches Walter Scott’s pet doctrine of baptism by immersion before spiritual rebirth (Moses 6:52, 59; 8;24).

NOTES: Public Ridgon and Campbell disagreements in the Book of Mormon

    • Rigdon believed that members of the restored church should have common property; Campbell did not. 3 Ne 26:19; 4 Nephi 1:3, 25.
    • Rigdon believed the restored church must carry Christ’s name; Campbell did not. Mos. 5:10; 3 Nephi 27:8

A difference between Campbell and the other Reformed Baptist leaders, including Walter Scott, Thomas Campbell, Barton Stone, and evidently Sidney Rigdon as well. Scott insistence that the church should bear the name of Christ, whereas Campbell favored Disciples of Christ. Their disagreement over the name divided the two major Churches that grew out of the Reformed Baptist movement (the Disciples of Christ from the Church of Christ).

The kinship of Christ was one of the notions that lay at the foundation of Sidney’s consuming desire that the disciples whom he obtained should “take upon themselves the name of Christ.” Scarcely any other concern sat so near to his heart: “all of those who were true believers in Christ took upon them gladly the name of Christ, or Christians, as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come (Alma 46:15). He took the nicest pains to have this question regarding the name settled at the outset among the Mormons; it has already been shown that down to the year 1835 they [the reformed Baptists] were all called “Christians,” and in their collective capacity “The Church of Christ.” By this it was clear that Rigdon espoused the side of Walter Scott as opposed to the views of Mr. Campbell in the controversy which was then raging with more or less vigor about the name their church should bear; which indeed, has not yet been decided and threatens to continue forever.”

Whittsitt evidently picked up on the fact that the Reformed Baptists were debating the name of the church around 1828-30 — just like the Nephites were debating it in the Book of Mormon (3 Ne 27: 3,8).

Whittsitt referred to was the controversy among the Reformed Baptists around 1828-1830

When Rigdon formed his own Church in 1845, he named it the “Church of Christ.

Oliver Cowdery’s notes of the 1834 meeting in which the Church leadership decided that members of the restored church should be called “Saints,” and that they should use the name “Latter Day Saints” to distinguish them from the “early Saints.”

With respect to the names that are applied to the church and its followers, The Book of Mormon is most consistent with the views of Walter Scott: it refers to the church as the “Church of Christ” (Mosiah 18:17; 3 Ne 26:21, 28:23; 4 Ne 1, 26, Moroni 6:4), and it refers to the members of the Church as “Christians”. However, the Book of Mormon does give a nod to Campbell’s view, referring to the 12 Nephite apostles as Christ’s “Disciples” (1 Ne 12:8; Alma 45:14; 3 Ne 15:12; 18:1, 3; 5, 8, 10, 17, 26, 36, 37; 3 Ne 19:4, 6, 15, 16, 17, 24, 30, 35; 20:1, 3, 6; 23:10; 26:17; 27:1, 33; 28:1, 4 Ne 1, 5, 13, 14, 30, 37, 44, 46; Morm 1:13, 16; 3:18; 8:10; 9:22; Ether 4:10; 12:17, 31; Moro 2:1, 3; 3:1).

    • Rigdon believed that the restored church must have spiritual gifts and miracles; Campbell did not.

Mr. Rigdon confidently affirmed that Christianity would never be “restored” until the power of speaking with tongues and working all kinds of miracles was also restored. (See:

2 Ne 26-28; Mormon 8-10; Ether 12, and Moroni. Rigdon was a firm believer in miracles.

Private Rigdon Campbell disagreements

    • Rigdon believed in divine authority revealed by God; Campbell believed that authority came from the Bible.

Rigdon’s pre-1830 views on the need for divine call or summons are found in The Book of Mormon. In 1 Ne 10:22, Nephi cites the Holy Ghost as his source of authority. In 2 Ne 29:10, the adequacy of the Bible is questioned. Mosiah 23:16-17 states that “none received authority to preach or teach except it were by him from God.” Ammon claims to be called by the Holy Spirit (Alma 13:34). Alma claims to have been called by God (Alma 29:13), as does Nephi the Disciple (3 Nephi 5:13), and Moroni (Moroni 8:1-2).

    • Rigdon viewed the Old Testament and the New Testament as a continuous and consistent narrative — “one eternal round”; Campbell viewed the two testaments as discontinuous; with the Old Testament supplanted by the New.

To Campbell, the Old Testament was the scripture of the Patriarchal and Mosaic Dispensations, and was not relevant to the Christian Dispensation, except as referenced in the New Testament. Prior to 1830 and throughout his life, Rigdon was enthralled with Old Testament prophets and prophecies. He viewed the gospel of the New Testament as a continuation of the “gospel” of the Old Testament. Rigdon evidently supported the early Mormon doctrine of seven gospel epochs, increasing by three the number of Old Testament dispensations recognized by Campbell. Speaking in the third person, Rigdon described his own preaching in Mentor, Ohio, around the year 1826:

[Rigdon in 3rd person] Not only did the writings of the New Testament occupy his [Rigdon’s] attention, but occasionally those of the ancient prophets, particularly those prophesies which had reference to the present and to the future, were brought up to review and treated in a manner entirely new, and deeply interesting. No longer did he follow the old beaten track, which had been travelled for ages by the religious world but he dared to enter upon new grounds; called in question the opinions of uninspired men; shewed the foolish ideas of many commentators on the sacred scriptures — exposed their ignorance and contradictions — threw new light on the sacred volume, particularly those prophecies which so deeply interest this generation and which had been entirely overlooked, or mystified by the religious world — cleared up scriptures which had heretofore appeared inexplicable, and delighted his astonished audience with things “new and old” — proved to a demonstration the literal fulfillment of prophesy, the gathering of Israel in the last days, to their ancient inheritances, with their ultimate splendor and glory; the situation of the world at the coming of the Son of Man. (Times and Seasons, Vol IV, No. 12, May 1, 1843.

Sections of the Old Testament that were copied almost verbatim include Isaiah 48-49 in 1 Nephi 20-21, Isaiah 50-51 in 2 Nephi 7-8, Isaiah 2-14 in 2 Ne 12-24, Isaiah 54 in 3 Nephi 22, and Malachi 3-4 in 3 Nephi 24-25. The text that elaborates on these Biblical passages equates “times of old” and “times to come” as “one eternal round”, arguing that God’s method of revelation — the Holy Ghost — has always been the same (1 Ne 10:17-19). In 2 Ne 29:10, the author further argues that the existence of the Bible does not preclude more revelation.

Power Struggles:

The threatening of Slitting Joseph and Emma’s throats after the tar and feathering makes no sense in a non-powerstruggle context.  Polygamy, as a source of turning Kirtland-Rigdon faithful members into loyal advocates of Joseph, via the masonic rites and endowment would make sense as well.

Edward Partridge, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney, Isaac Morley were all key appointments. Oliver Cowdery (which under the SpR theory had ties to Rigdon) was called to a prominent position during the Kirtland time period.

Colesville saints are sent off to Missouri, while the Kirtland saints surround Joseph.  Only after the KSS goes bust do the saints in Missouri get real attention.  Even then, their leaders are mostly Kirtland saints.

Correlation between polygamy and colesville-like loyalty.  Endowments mainly among Colesville saints in Joseph’s lifetime?  Brigham, Porter, both colesville.  Orsons are both Kirtland, excommunicated.  Thomas B. Marsh- Colesville.  Whitmer and Harris, both Colesville (Excommunicated during KSS time period).  Warren Parrish- Kirtland.

This may explain why the three witnesses were set up as equal in power to the first presidency, if Frederick G. Williams (First Counselor) would side with Sidney, as well as why Joseph added so many Whitmers and so many of his own family as the “Eight Witnesses” when the book of Mormon makes no mention of eight witnesses but does talk about three witnesses.

And also explains Brigham’s rise to power. He was a Smith convert from the Palmyra area, and stayed loyal when the apostasy in Kirtland (mostly Rigdon converts) went full swing. Joseph goes on to Missouri which is where most of the Palmyra originals continued on to


This entry was posted in Early Church History (1800s), Timelines. Bookmark the permalink.
Last edited by Mithryn on July 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

5 Responses to Spaulding-Rigdon Timeline

  1. Pingback: What does the Spaulding-Rigdon timeline mean | Exploring Mormonism

  2. You might wish to check out a book published in 2005 by Concordia Publishing House entitled, “Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? – The Spalding Enigma”, written by
    Wayne Cowdrey, Dr. Howard Davis, Arthur Vanick, and edited by Bill Moore. It goes into great detail about the Spalding theory. It is the sequel to the 1977 “Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon” that was published by Vision House (Dr. Walter Martin) and authored by Wayne Cowdrey, Dr. Howard Davis, and Donald Scales. I find it interesting that you mention Craig Criddle’s work and not ours. You also don’t make any mention of the work of Tom Donofrio, which is similar to Criddle’s in that it deals with unique words and phrases used in Spalding’s work and the Book of Mormon – words and phrases that were “borrowed” from prominent authors of the day.

  3. Scotty P says:

    I believe you have given up on this theory. I’m not sure you should have. I think Spalding’s Manuscript Found may have had a great influence on portions (but not all) of the BOM, including the Lehi and Nephi narrative. Other portions of the BOM may have been made up or inspired by other sources, which would explain why wordprint analysis supports differing authorship of differing parts.

    • Mithryn says:

      “given up”… possibly not. I believe it was not the main source, based on Data. However Rigdon may still have had an influence.

      But as far as statistically significant influence of Spaulding’s document and writing style, I think we can eliminate that.

      But key pieces of this still, in my mind, need explanation. Such as the power dichotamy between Rigdon and Smith

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