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 Post subject: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:53 pm 
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I believe it was Uncle Dale who once made the interesting suggestion that the angelic visitation to the three witnesses might have been a Joseph Smith accomplice dressed as an angel. This was also recently proposed to me as a possible explanation for the visionary experiences of Smith's prospective polygamous wives, reassuring them about polygamy. I don't particularly buy this explanation myself, but I thought I'd nevertheless pass along the following anecdote, which a "traveler" heard from a hermit. The traveler noted that the story was told in "rather a rid'lous manner" and that he was "no voucher for the story," but was merely reporting an amusing tale he'd been told.

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One sabbath evening, when the services of the congregation of the Mormonites were over, the Rev. Joe Smith, priest and prophet, announced to his expectant tribe, that on the seceeding sabbath, the baptismal sacrament would take place, at which time an angel would appear upon the opposite bank of the stream -- Next sabbath came, and "great was the company of the people" to witness the miraculous visitation.

The baptism commenced, and was no well nigh concluded. -- "Do our eyes deceive us! can such things be! The prophecy! The angel!" were exclamations, which ran through the multitude, as a fair form robed in a loose white garment, stood suddenly before the assembled multitude, upon the opposite shore, and then disappeared! All was amazement, consternation, awe! But where is Joe Smith? In a few moments Joe Smith was with them, and their faith was confirmed.

Again was a baptism appointed. Again was the angel announced -- a larger congregation assembled -- and yet again did the angel appear. At that moment two powerful men sprang from a thicket -- rushed upon the angelic visitant, and, amid mingling exclamations of horror and execrations of pity, from the spectators, tore away his long white wings, his hair and robe, and plunged him into the stream. By some unaccountable metamorphosis, the angel in a few moments emerged from the river honest Joe Smith, priest of Mormon, finder of the golden plates, etc. and the magi of the enchantment were revealed in the persons of two brawny pukes. Since then -- the story concludes -- not an angel has been seen all about Mount Zion!

http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/MO ... htm#052937


I strongly suspect that if the story were true, it would have been told by more reliable witnesses. It's a pretty standard folktale about religious fraud, sorta like the story of the missionary who plans to fake a resurrection, only to be foiled by a skeptic who pulls out a knife and says, "Just to make your miracle a little more spectacular, let's cut the corpse's throat first"β€”at which point the missionary's supposedly dead confederate jumps up and runs away.

Anybody else know of evidence that might support humans having played the roles of angels?

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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:04 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Anybody else know of evidence that might support humans having played the roles of angels?


The endowment.

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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:31 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
I believe it was Uncle Dale who once made the interesting suggestion that the angelic visitation to the three witnesses might have been a Joseph Smith accomplice dressed as an angel. This was also recently proposed to me as a possible explanation for the visionary experiences of Smith's prospective polygamous wives, reassuring them about polygamy. I don't particularly buy this explanation myself...


I could see Martin Harris falling for someone dressed as a angel, as he was a complete imbecile ("a man not distinguished by strength of intellect" as one critic put it) but I doubt David Whitmer would.

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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:58 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
The endowment.

Interesting point!

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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:27 am 
Seedy Academician
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
Kishkumen wrote:
The endowment.

Interesting point!


Also, there are the stories of encounters with Moroni the little old man with the knapsack filled with gold plates.

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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:25 am 
God
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
I believe it was Uncle Dale who once made the interesting suggestion that the angelic visitation to the three witnesses might have been a Joseph Smith accomplice dressed as an angel.

This theory makes an appearance in William H. Whitsitt's unpublished MS on Sidney Rigdon:

Quote:
It is suspected that Mr. Rigdon was somewhere present in the undergrowth of the forest where the little company were assembled, and being in plain hearing of their devotions he could easily step forward at a signal from Joseph, and exhibit several of the most faded leaves of the manuscript, which from having been kept a series of years since the death of Spaulding would assume the yellow appearance that is well known in such circumstances. At a distance from the station which they occupied the writing on these yellow sheets of paper would also appear to their excited imagination in the light of engravings; Sidney was likewise very well equal to the task of uttering the assurances which Smith affirms the angel was kind enough to supply concerning the genuineness of the "plates" and the correctness of the translation.

http://sidneyrigdon.com/wht/1891WhE5.htm#pg392

Jeff Lindsay mocks the theory here.


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 Post subject: Re: Angelic accomplice?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:47 am 
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Mormon angels don't have wings. So i can't see this story being accurate. Unless early Mormon angels did have wings and the wingless angel concept came later.


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