Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 27 No 3
The Locations of Joseph Smith's Early Treasure Quests
The Locations of Joseph Smith's Early Treasure Quests Dan Vogel In mid-1971 Wesley P. Walters discovered Justice Albert Neely's bill of costs for 1826 in the damp basement of the Chenango County Jail in Norwich, New York, confirming Joseph Smith's involvement in treasure digging. Rather than defend Smith's later statements that limited his involvement as a treasure seer to a single, brief instance with Josiah Stowell in November 1825 in Harmony, Pennsylvania, many scholars now accept the essential accuracy of the March 1826 court transcript. In this court record Smith confessed that "he had a certain stone, which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures . .. were . . . and had looked for Mr. Stowell several times . . . that at Palmyra ... he had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was... that he has occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years." 1. Mormon apologist Richard L. Anderson has noted his change of opinion in "The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching," Brigham Young University Studies 24 (Fall 1984): 491-92, and his review of Rodger I. Anderson's Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990) in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 3 (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), 63. In the absence of the original document, Gordon A. Madsen and Paul Hedengren have argued that the concluding statement ("And therefore the court find[s] the defendant guilty") in the published version is "a later inclusion" or "an afterthought supplied by whoever subsequently handled the notes" (Gordon A. Madsen, "Joseph Smith's 1826 Trial: The Legal Setting," Briglwm Young University Studies 30 [Spring 1990]: 106; Paul Hedengren, In Defense of Faith: Assessing Arguments Against Latter-day Saint Belief [Provo, UT: Bradford and Wilson, 1985], 216-17). Otherwise Madsen and Hedengren accept the general accuracy of the published record. 2. The original court record has evidently not survived, so researchers must rely on three independent printings: Charles Marshall, "The Original Prophet. By a Visitor to Salt