Joseph Smith’s Last Christmas

Joseph Smith’s Last Christmas December 24, 2015

2 o[clo]ck about 50 couple sat down at my table to dine. while I was eating my scribe called on me to selmnz [solemnize] the Marriage of Doct Levi Richa[r]ds & sarah Griffiths [Griffith] — but. as I could not leave. I referred the subj[e]ct to Presidt B[righam] Young. who married th[e]m. A large party supped at my hosue & spent the evening in Music Danci[n]g &c. <in a most cheerful & frie[n]dly mannr> during the festivities. during the festivities a man apparently drunk. with his hair long & falling over his shoulders came in and acted like a Missour[i]an I commanded the capt of the police to put him out. of doors in the scuffle. I looked him full in the face and to my gr[e]at supprize and Joy untold I discovere[re]d it was orren [Orrin] Porter Rockwell, just arrived from a year’s imprisonmt [imprisonment] in Mo [Missouri].

Although written in the first person, the journal was kept by Smith’s scribe Willard Richards, renowned among historians of Mormonism both for his Don King-like hair as well as his nearly illegible handwriting (unless he was penning something for public consumption). The Joseph Smith Papers project has been posting images of the journals on its website. See this 3 April 1843 entry, for instance, in which Smith observes that [William] “Miller’s Day of Judgment has  arrived. but. tis too. pleas[a]nt. for  false prophets.” In addition to the difficult handwriting, Richards’s entries are often sparse and cryptic. Occasionally Richards sketched one of Smith’s sermons or conversations at great length, but more often he outlined rather than described the day’s events.

Therefore, the most recent publication of the Joseph Smith Papers [Journals: Volume 3, May 1843 – June 1844) is a most welcome event. These journals have been transcribed before, notably by Scott H. Faulring in his American Prophet’s Record. Faulring’s book has been an invaluable source for historians of Mormonism, but the JSP has superseded it for its extensive annotations and its more accurate transcription.

One gets only glimpses of many vital developments during these months, such as plural marriage, the development of ordinances (rituals), and the establishment of the Council of Fifty. As the JSP volume editors note, Richards’s record focuses instead on “more mundane activities such as business transactions, pleasure trips, visits with American Indians, conversations with friends, and observations on the weather.” One learns about land sales, and one learns a great deal about Joseph Smith’s political interests and engagements. In short, one learns a great deal about life in Mormon Nauvoo and the Mormon prophet’s final year. As the editors conclude, the “journal presented here is an essential primary source.”

And Orrin Porter Rockwell returning on Christmas Day, released after being arrested in the attempted murder of former Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs, is hardly a mundane event.

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  • David Tiffany

    2 Timothy 4:14-15, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.”
    Yes, Joseph Smith did, and Mormonism has, caused great harm to the Gospel. Galatians 1:8. By doing so, they have led many to their destruction.

  • Susan Roso

    You are a fool, as you know nothing of what you speak! The LDS Church is the only Church on this earth that follows the structure of Christs Church in the Bible, and if you had any knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ, you would know that! Are you aware that when they unearthed the Dead Sea Scrolls, they found that the prayer that the LDS Church blesses their water and bread during their Sacrament was found was among those scrolls? No the Catholic Church and others have done great harm to the Gospel, like those who baptize infants which goes against God’s teachings!

  • David Tiffany

    Did Joseph Smith have any fulfilled prophecies? No. That makes him a false prophet. Has there been any archaeological evidence to support the claims of the Book of Mormon? No. That makes the Book of Mormon false. Did you know that the Book of Abraham was translated from an ancient Egyptian funerary papyrus having nothing to do with Abraham? And where are the manuscripts Joseph Smith used to come up with the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible? How is it that Joseph Smith conveniently wrote himself into the Book of Genesis chapter 50 as a future prophet?

  • Robert Lloyd

    Unfortunately it seems you have only got your information from cheap anti Mormon tracts, that or you’re lying. How about you do yourself a favor and read works by Hugh Nibley, John Sorenson, Warren Aston, Kerry Muhlestein, John Gee, Michael Ash, Matthew Brown and others before you make these assertions. Also look up the history of your own beliefs (I.e. Sola fide, sola scriptura etc) before you go spouting off your moral and spiritual superiority

  • Robert Lloyd

    Just so you’re aware this individual David Tiffany is a drive by troll who has made it his life’s goal to insult the church in any way he can in any venue he can. He lurks around many LDS and other blogs to “witness” to those he disagrees with instead of having dialogue.

  • Robert Lloyd

    Thanks for the post, I enjoy and appreciate your study of my faith

  • candrews

    Don’t worry about old David Tiffany. He’s a regular on these forums – an original Troll. Best ignored…

  • steveduncan1

    Explain why rapes, beatings, oppression, and terrible sufferings among black slaves and their children owned by Christian Baptists, Churches of Christ, and among other churches was a good thing for the gospel of Christ? Why was the KKK a good thing when hundreds of thousands continued to think blacks were less human, and some thought were non-human; thus, black parents and their children were hanged, beaten and burned to death by those who hid their faces behind white sheets including preachers of these so called “Christian” churches. These include the Southern Baptist Churches and B. Stones Churches of Christ. Maybe Down Town Ministries have boxed up these white sheets to be used in the future. Explain why all this caused “great good” for the true gospel of Christ. I wonder, when the judgment occurs at that last day, will Jesus say to those hundreds of thousands of black slaves and their children that they deserved the rapes and beatings, and then declare that they now are confined to hell? And those Baptist Christian slave owners along with their thugs who did the beatings, rapes, and killings – will they be with Jesus forever knowing no guilt? Guess this is the “great good” of the Gospel because those who supported slavery are forever saved according to the Bible. Oh, I see, Matt.18:3,10; 19:21; 6:33 and 7:21 are some of the teachings of the Savior that are rejected by those who endorsed slavery and the KKK; thus, such words spoken by Christ cannot and will never pertain to them.

  • David Tiffany

    Romans 14:11-12, “For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
    The evil that you speak of above does not justify the evil done by preaching a different gospel and leading others to their destruction.

  • steveduncan1

    Yours is the different gospel that endorses the KKK and black Slavery which destroyed the lives of countless families. Such false churches of a counterfeit Christianity speak for themselves by their fruits as they indeed preached a different gospel. For our gospel comes not in word only but by priesthood power from God, and the laying on of hands for the of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by the testimony of the membership to the truthfulness Christ’s one true church and gospel. See 1st Thess. 1:5.

  • David Tiffany

    I’m not sure how you have gotten on this rabbit trail, that somehow the Gospel that was preached prior to Joseph Smith’s “restored” gospel was somehow associated with black slavery and the KKK. I’ve never belonged to the KKK or owned a slave. You could, however, take a look on Brigham Young’s, the second “prophet” of the Mormon religion, thoughts on blacks:

    But instead of going on this rabbit trail, why don’t we grade this “restored” gospel of Joseph Smith against the Bible. We read in Ephesians 3:21, “…to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

    In order for the church to give glory to God throughout all generations, the Gospel would have to have been preached throughout all generations. The fact is that the Gospel was never lost from the earth. But Mormonism is in the habit of opposing the Word of God: