Joseph Smithin ennustus Kalliovuorista

D. Michael Quinn arvosteli aikoinaan Jerald ja Sandra Tanneria näin:

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.

Kopio mikrofilmistä

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 in Texas..."7

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 stated:

...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.


  1. Jerald and Sandra Tanner's Distorted View of Mormonism, ss. 14-15
  2. Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? p. 135
  3. Ibid., pp. 133-135.
  4. Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 469
  5. "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
  6. Ibid., p. 18
  7. Ibid., p. 17
  8. Ibid., pp. 17-18
  9. 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.


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 2000-11-29 — 2003-08-17