D. Michael Quinn arvosteli aikoinaan Jerald ja Sandra Tanneria
The failure to cite well-known evidence that challenges their
conclusions occurs repeatedly in the Tanner's analysis of the
seven-volume History of the Church. For example, it is
implied (pages 34-35) that the prophecy of Joseph Smith about
the Mormons moving to the Rocky Mountains (HC 5:85) was a falsification
added to the history after the Mormons were actually in the Great
Basin. However, in 1964 (eight years before this edition of Shadow
or Reality) Stanley B. Kimball published a bibliography of
sources for the Nauvoo history of Mormonism (of which the Tanners
should have been aware) where he noted that the Oliver H. Olney
Papers (written in 1842-43) at Yale University, 'recorded the
early plans of Joseph Smith to move west....' If the Tanners did
not trust that description, they or their widely scattered friends
could have read the versified, anti-Mormon manuscript by Olney,
dated July 2, 1842:
As a company is now a forming
In to the wilderness to go
As far west as the Rocky mountains. ...
If this was not the secret whispering
Amongst certain ones of the Church of L.D.S.
And could be easily proven
If man could speak.
The Tanners are aware that the History the Church was
compiled from a variety of sources (many of which were only loaned
to Church historians, to be returned once they had extracted pertinent
information), and that the exact source for the account of Joseph
Smith's prophecy of August 6, 1842 is not clear. Olney recorded
the rumors about the move west in July, and someone else recorded
the prophecy in August.1
Quinn seems to feel that the Olney manuscript sheds new light on
the Rocky Mountain Prophecy. Actually, we read this manuscript before
we published the 1972 edition of Mormonism--Shadow or Reality?
and even cited a reference to plural marriage in our book Joseph
Smith and Polygamy, p. 7. It was, in fact, partly because of
Olney's manuscript that we said that there "is some evidence that
Joseph Smith considered going west to build his kingdom."2
In his zeal to prove that we suppressed evidence, Dr. Quinn seems
to have completely overlooked this statement in our book.
In any case, while Olney does indicate that the Mormons were looking
west, he says nothing about a prophecy given by Joseph Smith. The
reader will notice that Quinn says that "Olney recorded the rumors
about the move west in July, and someone else recorded the prophecy
in August." He is unable, however, to tell us just who this "someone
else" might be, and has to admit that "the exact source for the
account of Joseph Smith's prophecy of August 6, 1842 is not clear."
In the past Mormon writers maintained that Joseph Smith supervised
the writing of the History of the Church. New evidence, however,
has forced the admission that over 60% of the History was not compiled
until after his death.
When we published our enlarged edition of Mormonism-Shadow or
Reality? in 1972, we demonstrated that the famous Rocky Mountain
Prophecy, attributed to Joseph Smith, was actually an interpolation
crammed in between the lines of the original handwritten text in
a much smaller handwriting.3 This indicated that the famous
prophecy had been added to the manuscript sometime after this page
was originally written.
We cited a study by Dean C. Jessee, of the Church Historical Department,
showing that the original page of "Joseph Smith's Manuscript History"
was not even written until July 4, 1845--over a year after Smith's
death! We reasoned that if the page was not written until July 4,
1845, then it was likely that the interpolation containing the prophecy
was not added until after the Mormons came to Utah. We have recently
found new evidence which further undermines the authenticity of
this prophecy. Fortunately, in 1845 Brigham Young ordered the scribes
to make a "duplicate hand written copy of the History."4
We examined a microfilm of this second manuscript, Book D-2, p.
2, and found that the "Rocky Mountain Prophecy" was written in very
small hand writing between the lines. In other words, it was obviously
added at a later time to this manuscript as well.
The situation, then, boils down to the following: we have two handwritten
manuscripts, books D-1 and D-2. Neither of these books was even
started until after Joseph Smith's death.
In both cases the prophecy concerning the Mormons coming to the
Rocky Mountains has been interpolated in a smaller handwriting.
From this evidence we can reach only one conclusion: the famous
"Rocky Mountain Prophecy" is a forgery.
The Church Historical Department has Joseph Smith's diary for
1842-43, but the first entry does not appear until Dec. 21--some
four months after the prophecy was supposed to have been given.
Mormon scholars have been unable to come up with anything to support
the authenticity of this prophecy.
Davis Bitton, an Assistant Church Historian, has written almost
five pages concerning this matter. He frankly states that "there
is no such prophecy in the handwriting of Joseph Smith or published
during the Prophet's lifetime, but it was referred to in general
terms in 1846 during the trek west. After the arrival in the Salt
Lake Valley the prophecy was frequently cited and became more specific
as time went on."5
Davis Bitton goes on to state that "The manuscript history covering
this period was written in 1845..." This is, of course, a year after
Joseph Smith's death. Mr. Bitton then admits that the prophecy is
an "insertion" which was added into the manuscript as "an afterthought."6
Although Davis Bitton cannot find any real evidence that Joseph
Smith made the famous "Rocky Mountain Prophecy," he does feel that
there was "a time when something like this might have been said
by Joseph Smith with considerable plausibility. Anytime during the
last four years of his life,... the Prophet had good reason to consider
possibilities for relocation. It can be demonstrated that he considered
the possibility of settling in Oregon (or on Vancouver Island).
He was attempting to negotiate some kind of colonization venture
Davis Bitton admits that other changes were made in Joseph Smith's
documents to support the idea that he knew the Mormons would come
to the Rocky Mountains:
And in February 1844 the Prophet was organizing an exploring
expedition to go to the West. There are some interesting changes
in the way the description of this expedition was written by Willard
Richards, secretary of Joseph Smith at the time, and the later
revisions. The original, handwritten version reads: 'Met with
the Twelve in the assembly room concerning the Oregon Expedition.'
This has been modified to read 'the Oregon and California Exploring
Expedition.' Continuing, the Richards manuscript reads, 'I told
them I wanted an exposition of all that country,'--which has been
changed to 'exploration of all that mountain country.' There are
other such changes that make one suspect that the later compilers
of the history, notably George A. Smith and his assistants in
the 1850s, were determined to have Joseph Smith contemplating
the precise location where the Saints had by then settled. Oregon
would not do; Oregon and California as then defined at least included
the Rocky Mountains. If the Prophet could be made to say 'mountain
country' instead of just 'country,' it would appear that he clearly
had in mind the future history of his followers.8
Although some Mormons would like us to believe that Brigham Young
knew all along that he was going to lead the Mormons to "the midst
of the Rocky Mountains," there is evidence to show that he was somewhat
confused about the matter. In a letter dated Dec. 17, 1845, Young
...we expect to emigrate West of the mountains next season. If
we should eventually settle on Vancouver's Island, according to
our calculation we shall greatly desire to have a mail route,...
if Oregon should be annexed to the United States,... and Vancouver's
Island incorporated in the same by our promptly paying national
revenue, and taxes, we can live in peace with all men.9
In any case, Dr. Quinn seems to miss the whole point with regard
to the "Rocky Mountain Prophecy"--i.e., the Mormon Church always
claimed that it was dictated by Joseph Smith himself, but all the
evidence now indicates that it was not written in "Joseph Smith's
Manuscript History" until after his death. It is interesting to
note that on page 42 of his rebuttal, Quinn admits that
"Joseph Smith's autobiographical 'History' was written in large
part after his death by clerks and 'historians' who transformed
third-person accounts by others than Joseph Smith into first-person
autobiography of Joseph Smith,..."
Quinn would try to excuse all this by saying that "until quite
recently official LDS history was written by men (often of limited
education) who were not trained in methods of editing and history."
Now, while the early Mormons may not have been trained in "methods
of editing and history," they certainly knew enough to criticize
their enemies when they broke the rules. We feel, therefore, that
Dr. Quinn's explanation for the falsification is a very poor excuse.
- Jerald and Sandra Tanner's Distorted View of Mormonism,
- Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? p. 135
- Ibid., pp. 133-135.
- Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 469
- "Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory," The John Whitmer
Address, delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer
Historical Association, Lamoni, Iowa, Sept. 28, 1974, unpublished
manuscript, p. 16
- Ibid., p. 18
- Ibid., p. 17
- Ibid., pp. 17-18
- Photograph of letter in Prologue, Spring 1972, p. 29
Teksti alunperin kirjasta Answering Dr. Clandestine: A Response
to the Anonymous LDS Historian, pp. 29-31 Joseph Smith's Rocky
Mountain Prophecy. Tällöin ei tri. Quinnin henkilöllisyys
ollut selviö, vaan hän oli kirjoittanut anonyymisti (ilmeisesti
viran puolesta), ja Tannerit kutsuivat häntä sen vuoksi
Dr. Clandestineksi, Salatohtoriksi.