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The bill of Constable Philip De Zeng gives further historical evidence and details concerning this trial, by listing: Serving Warrant on Joseph Smith & travel..........1.25 Subpoening 12 Witnesses & travel..........2.50 (3.50? Purple, an eye-witness to the proceedings and a personal friend of Justice Neely.) Attendance with Prisoner two days & 1 night......1.75 Notifying two Justices..........................................1. 10 miles travel with Mittimus to take him............1. "This new evidence corroborates and throws fresh light on two accounts of this 1826 trial published almost a hundred years ago but vigorously disputed by the Mormons since they first came into prominence. The second is the official trial record itself, torn from the Docket Book of Justice Neely and published in three independent printings.
All of these witnesses persuaded me treasure-seeking and vernacular magic were part of the Smith family tradition, and that the hostile witnesses, including the 1826 trial record, had to be taken seriously. BYU historian Marvin S.Neelys bill is the precise terminology preferred by Joseph Smith himself to describe his crystal gazing occupation and is the same that Mr.Benton adopted five years later to speak of Smiths use of a peep-stone or glass placed in a hat, which he employed when hired to hunt for hidden treasures."The first part and conclusion of the alleged court record published by Bishop Tuttle is here reproduced, which indicates that young Joseph admitted to using his seer stone to search for lost property, buried coins, hidden treasures, and gold mines: People of State of New York vs. Stowell had been engaged in digging for them; that at Palmyra he pretended to tell, by looking at this stone, where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra he had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was, of various kinds; that he has occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyesmade them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having anything to do with this business. And thereupon the Court finds the defendant guilty."Recent discoveries have confirmed the reality of the 1826 pre-trial examination of Joseph Smith The Glass looker before Albert Neely, a justice of the peace." (The Creation of the Book of Mormon, La Mar Petersen, Freethinker Press, 1998, pp. Walters, a Presbyterian minister and researcher of Mormon history, went to New York to look for documentation of Smiths 1826 hearing.According to Justice Noble, Smith "was condemned" at that time. " 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 dont come back, and in exchange they will not impose sentence Judge Nobles statement agrees precisely with an early account of this 1826 trial published just five years after the trial had taken place. Abram Willard Benton, a young medical doctor who lived in South Bainbridge at the time. Benton, like Justice 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." ("From Occult to Cult With Joseph Smith, Jr.," Joseph Smiths Bainbridge, N. Court Trials, p.123) Mormon historians are now conceding the reality of the Smith familys involvement with magic. Michael Quinns new edition of his book, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View he observes: "Friendly sources corroborate hostile non-Mormon accounts. Bushman has written: There had always been evidence of it ("money-digging in the Smith family") in the hostile affidavits from the Smiths neighbors, evidence which Mormons dismissed as hopelessly biased.
For example, Joshua Stafford of Manchester recalled that he became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. They then were laboring people, in low circumstances.
A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures, and told marvellous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters. Willard Chase, another friend of the family, similarly recalled, I became acquainted with the Smith family in the year 1820.
1, p.309) This subject is further explored in La Mar Petersens new book, The Creation of the Book of Mormon: "Lucy [Joseph Smiths mother] provided an even more revealing glimpse into the Smith familys involvement in magical abracadabra and other aspects of folk magic: Let not the reader suppose that because I shall pursue another topic for a season that we stopt our labor and went at trying to win the faculty of Abrac [,] drawing Magic circles or sooth saying [sic] to the neglect of all kinds of buisness [.
W]e never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation but whilst we worked with our hands we endeavored to remmember [sic] the service of & the welfare of our souls.
At that time they were engaged in the money digging business." (Inventing Mormonism, Marquardt and Walters, p.64) As early as 1822 Joseph Smith was connected with the magic "seer stone" he found while digging a well for a Mr. Joseph and his father later joined with a group of men to search for buried treasures, aided by Smiths stone.