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The Genesis of Mormonism.

Some novel particulars concerning the origin of Mormonism have been made public in an influential Massachusetts newspaper. The grist of the story is that the religion established by Joseph femith was actually the continuation of a movement begun before his birth. At the opening of the present century several persons in the State of Vermont, the native State of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon Prophet, and Brigham Young, his successor, fancied that they were able to do miracles through the medium of “ St. John’s rods.” With one of these rods in their hands they alleged that they could find herbs and roots which would cure ah diseases, could walk in thin garments through deep snow without h df'eri', cold. could discover hid fen t.v sure • 1 sc ! and silver. These perfcv-r c ’.;o vinol that the time was

ao liana .-.ip- r l j L;.tt -v-Day Saints should • od in and ihe now Jerusalem s’ o il'i fc» !;•;.;]• Th-> topics on which J ’' ,e: or.tlnrnar.ls evpniiaied in 1801 are

h f h ise which formed 1,'.: -,' basis fn- Ohuroh of the LatterP Saints at its foundation in 1830. J oseph Smith is said to have experimented with a St. John's rod in searching fortho precious metals, one of his earliest employments being “ prospecting for a silver mine which the Spaniards were supposed to have worked in Pennsylvania. But he did not profess to have discovered the repository of the mysterious, if not mythical, gold plates on which the Mormon Oospel was engraved through any other agency than a dream. Indeed the popular belief in the efficacy of these rods had faded away before he grew to man’s estate. The chief expounder of their virtues had been charged with being a coiner, and with belonging to a gang who carried on the trade of making false money in concert with persons who imagined that they were helping forward a religions work. Wingate, the chief of the evildoers, played his part in a way similar to Dousterswivel when he employed his divining rod to impose on and impoverish Sir Arthur Wardour. The story itself is a strange, but not an improbable one. Though some of the names are misspelt and though there are a few errors of fact, yet the narator does not fail to give a character of versimilitude to the whole. He is wrong in saying that the mother of Joseph Smith lived in Rutland county when her son was born ; she really lived in Windsor county. It is possible that the strange doings which took place shortly before his birth and during his infancy may have been related to him, and that he merely supplied another form and another sanction to the movement of which Wingate, the convicted coiner, was the originator.— “ Times.”

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The Genesis of Mormonism. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 18, 6 November 1879

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