V. 1826 oikeudenkäynti ja Smithin talismani

Joseph Smith's 1826 Trial and His Magic Talisman -- Sandra ja Jerald Tanner
Answering Dr. Clandestine: A Response to the Anonymous LDS Historian Pages 31-33

In Part 1 of Answering Dr. Clandestine, we have already demonstrated that the anonymous Mormon historian has made a serious error with regard to Joseph Smith's 1826 trial. He claimed that the printing of the "court record" appeared in "contradictory versions." We have shown, however, that the versions were the same.

Since we published the 1972 edition of Mormonism-or Reality? Wesley P. Walters has brvought forth a new discovery which also verifies the 1826 trial and shows that Joseph Smith was deeply involved in treasure digging and magical practices. Writing in The Journal of Pastoral Practice, Mr. Walters reveals the following:

"Joseph Smith, Jr., before he became the founder and prophet of Mormonism, had made part of his living as a 'glass looker.' By gazing into a peep~tone or seer stone, placed in a hat to obscure the light, he would attempt to see where buried treasure was hidden or to locate lost objects for people. This money digging activity and the court trials that grew out of that illegal practice have received new clarification through a recently discovered letter from a judge who, in 1830, tried Joseph Smith in Colesville, south central New York. The letter was written in 1842 by Joel King Noble, a justice of the peace in Colesville, Broome County...
"Our knowledge of Joseph Smith's activities in the Bainbridge area had previously, to a large extent, depended on the printed record of a trial at South Bainbridge in 1826, in which Joseph had admitted to his 'glass looking' practices and was accordingly found guilty of breaking the law, though no sentence is recorded.... the discovery in 1971 of the bills of cost handed in to the county by Constable Philip DeZeng and Justice Neely for their services during the arrest and trial of Joseph Smith in 1826 have now established beyond doubt that the young 'Glass looker' (as Mr. Neely's bill calls him) was indeed involved in glass looking for hidden treasure and lost objects, and that he was brought to trial for that crime.... Mormons have recently been inclined to grant that Joseph Smith, Jr., was tried in 1826, but they do not believe he was found guilty, and they therefore tend to regard the printed record as a falsification. Mr. Noble's letter, however, now fills in the missing details and confirms the entire incident, so that there is no longer any reason to doubt the authenticity of the printed docket.

"Judge Noble says quite unequivocally that 'Jo. was condemned' in what he calls Joseph's 'first trial.' Then he adds a detail that provides the clue to why no sentencing appears in the docket record even though Joseph was found guilty. Mr. Noble succinctly states that the 'whisper came to Jo., 'Off, Off!'' and so Joseph 'took Leg Bail,' an early slang expression meaning 'to escape from custody.' What is obviously happening is that the justices are privately suggesting to this first offender to 'get out of town and don't come back,' and in exchange they will not impose sentence. This is why no sentence was recorded in the docket record of Mr. Neely.

"In reporting the court's method of clemency, Judge Noble's statement agrees precisely with an early account of this 1826 trial published just five years after the trial had taken place. It was written by a young medical doctor who lived in South Bainbridge at the time, Dr. Abram Willard Benton, who like Mr. Noble mentions that Joseph had been involved in glass looking, and that he had been 'tried and condemned.' Dr. Benton adds that because Joseph was a minor at the time, being 20 years old, 'and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape.' Therefore, the court, though it found him guilty of being in violation of the law, had intentionally not imposed sentence as a way of showing mercy on this youthful offender.... Thus it is quite clear from all sides that Joseph wove occult religious material into his money digging practices, and this led the communities where he dug for treasure to associate him with divination, necromancy, and wizardry.... Mr. Noble reports that he heard one witness testify that he had asked Joseph on one occasion whether he could actually 'see or tell' more than anyone else, and Joseph had admitted he could not but added, 'Anything for a living. I now and then get a Shilling.' However, it seems likely that he came at least half-way to believe in that realm of the occult, for he carried with him as a prized possession most of his life a talisman bearing the signs of Jupiter, and had it on him at the time of his death. Whatever his personal beliefs, his use of the religious elements of prayer and faith, as well as revelations telling where treasure could be found, shows a certain religious bent to his thinking and an inclination to use religious exercises as a means of manipulating people. Therefore, once he had determined to give up money digging after his close brush with the law in 1826, this occult religious interest made it easy for him to think in terms of producing a religious book from the gold plates he claimed to have discovered through the same stone he had used for his treasure hunting." (The Journal of Pastoral Practice, Summer 1977, pp. 121-123, 127-128)

Wesley P. Walters has photographically reproduced Justice Noble's letter, and we have now included it in the pamphlet Joseph Smith's Bainbridge, N.Y. ,Court Trials. According to Justice Noble, when Joseph Smith was tried in his court in 1830 there was a discussion of Joseph's money digging and use of magical practices. In the History of the Church, Joseph Smith himself admitted that money digging was discussed during the trial:

"Next day I was brought before the magistrate's court at Colesville, Broome county, and put upon trial....
"Mr. Seymour.. .brought up the story of my having been a money-digger; and in this manner proceeded, hoping evidently to influence the court and the people against me." (History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 91-93)

Joseph Smithin Jupiter-talismani

Two years after we published the Enlarged Edition of Mormonism--Shadow or Reality? Dr. Reed Durham, who was Director of the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah and President of the Mormon History Association, made a discovery which was so startling that it caused great consternation among Mormon scholars and officials. Mr. Durham found that what had previously been identified as the "Masonic jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith" was in reality a "Jupiter talisman." This is a medallion which contains material relating to astrology and magic. Dr. Durham, apparently not realizing the devastating implications of his discovery, announced this important find in his Presidential Address before the Mormon History Association on April 20, 1974:

"...I should like to initiate all of you into what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like esoteric, and yet Masonically oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith... All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred. His talisman is in the shape of a silver dollar and is probably made of silver or tin. It is exactly one and nine-sixteenths in diameter,... the talisman,... originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman. It carries the sign and image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to as the Table of Jupiter. And in some very real and quite mysterious sense, Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess. Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case appropriately described.
"The characters on the talisman are primarily in Hebrew, but there is one inscription in Latin. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical equivalent and those numerical equivalents make up a magic square. By adding the numbers in this Jupiter Table in any direction... the total will be the same. In this case, on the Jupiter Table 34....
"There is the one side of the talisman belonging to the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can see the Hebrew characters... you see on the margins, at the bottom is the Jupiter sign,... The cross at the top represents the spirit of Jupiter, and you will see the path of Jupiter in the orbit of the heavens, and then again the Jupiter sign.
"I wasn't able to find what this was, for--as I said--two months; and finally, in a magic book printed in England in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester, and to New York. It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and, lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic seals the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession at the time of his martyrdom.... To the Egyptians, Jupiter was known as Amman, but to the Greeks he was Zeus: the ancient sky Father, or Father of the Gods....
"In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status. And I quote: 'Typically a person born under Jupiter will have the dignity of a natural ruler....He will probably have an impressive manner... In physical appearance, the highly developed Jupiterian is strong, personable, and often handsome.... the Jupiterian influence produces a cheerful winning personality, capable of great development.'...
"So closely is magic bound up with the stars and astrology that the term astrologer and magician were in ancient times almost synonymous. The purpose of the Table of Jupiter in talismanic magis [magic?] was to be able to call upon the celestial intelligences, assigned to the particular talisman, to assist one in all endeavors. The names of the deities which we gave to you, who could be invoked by the Table were always written on the talisman or represented by various numbers. Three such names were written on Joseph Smith's talisman: Abbah, Father; El Ob, Father is God or God the Father; and Josiphiel, Jehovah speaks for God, the Intelligence of Jupiter.
"When properly invoked, with Jupiter being very powerful and ruling in the heavens, these intelligences--by the power of ancient magic--guaranteed to the possessor of this talisman the gain of riches, and favor, and power, and love and peace; and to confirm honors, and dignities, and councils. Talismatic magic further declared that anyone who worked skillfully with this Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female." (Mormon Miscellaneous, published by David C. Martin, Vol. 1, No. 1, October 1975, pp. 14-15)

Reed Durham was severely criticized by Mormon scholars and officials for giving this speech. He was even called in by Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, and finally found it necessary to issue a letter in which he reaffirmed his faith in Joseph Smith and said that he was sorry for the "concerns, and misunderstandings" that the speech had caused. Richard Steven Marshall claimed that in an interview on April 11, 1977, Dr. Durham told him, "'I had to write that. They wanted me to bear my testimony. I hadn't done that in my talk. They had me do that so people would know where I stood.'" ("The New Mormon History," p. 54) Kuva lausunnosta

We feel that Dr, Durham's identification of Joseph Smith's talisman is one of the most significant discoveries in Mormon history and that he should be commended for his research. That Joseph Smith would own such a magic talisman fits very well with the evidence from his 1826 trial. W. D. Purple, who was an eyewitness to the trial, claimed it was reported that Smith said certain talismanic influences were needed to recover a box of treasure:

"Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness.... Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences.... the box of treasure was struck by the shovel, on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach.... Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure... but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained." (The Chenango Union, Norwich, N.Y., May 3, 1877, as cited in A New Witness For Christ In America, Vol. 2, pp. 366-367)

Dr. Durham was unable to determine just when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, but the fact that he was recommending "certain talismanic influences" around the time of the 1826 trial is certainly interesting. The Jupiter talisman is probably the type of talisman a money digger would be interested in because it was supposed to bring its possessor "the gain of riches, and favor, and power,..."

Regardless of when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, we do know that he possessed it up to the time of his death. He must have felt that it was very important because the Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett reveals that "This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage Jail." The Wilford C. Wood Collection, 1972, Vol. 1, page 173)

The discovery of evidence to prove Joseph Smith's 1826 trial was certainly a devastating blow to Mormonism, for it proved that Smith was a believer in magical practices. Reed Durham's new find that Joseph Smith possessed a magic talisman is also very significant because it shows that Smith probably held these ideas until the time of his death.



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