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"The Angel Moroni" As a Treasure Guardian In Bloody Clothes

 

as recorded in

 

Money Digging Folklore and the Beginnings of Mormonism: An Interpretive Suggestion —Marvin S. Hill, BYU Studies

 

"That the Chase account appears in a collection of testimonials published by an anti-Mormon while the Knight narrative comes from a faithful Latter-day Saint whose statement was not published until very recently suggests that the anti-Mormon material cannot be lightly dismissed because of its origin. The anti-Mormon statements have to be checked against what is admitted by the Mormons themselves. Willard Chase very likely heard his story from Joseph Smith, Sr., as he reported this is further evidenced by an independent account published by Fayette Lapham in 1870 of an earlier interview with Joseph Smith, Sr., as to the origin of the golden plates. This report corresponds closely in some respects to what Knight and Chase recounted."

...

he was murdered or slain on the spot and the treasure had been under his charge ever since

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The interesting thing about the Fayette Lapham account above is that it describes what becomes "the angel Moroni" as a treasure guardian in bloody clothes:

 

"... he [Joseph Smith] had a very singular dream; but he did not tell his father of his dream, until about a year afterwards. He then told his father that, in his dream, a very large and tall man appeared to him, dressed in an ancient suit of clothes, and the clothes were bloody. And the man said to him that there was a valuable treasure, buried many years since, and not far from that place; and that he had now arrived for it to be brought to light, for the benefit of the world at large; and, if he would strictly follow his directions, he would direct him to the place where it was deposited, in such a manner that he could obtain it." — Fayette Lapham Account

 

The Fayette Lapham account corresponds with with the account of a bleeding ghost told by Joseph Smith's neighbors — Joseph and Hiel Lewis:

 

"The statement that the prophet Joseph Smith, jr. made in our hearing, at the commencement of his translating his book, in Harmony, as to the manner of his finding the plates, was as follows.

 

Our recollection of the precise language may be faulty, but as to the substance, the following is correct:

 

He said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down. Then he exclaimed, 'Why can't I get it?' or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here. (Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach) with his (the ghost's) throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone ...

 

In all this narrative, there was not one word about 'visions of God,' or of angels, or heavenly revelations. All his information was by that dream, and that bleeding ghost. The heavenly visions and messages of angels, etc, contained in Mormon books, were after-thoughts, revised to order." (The Amboy Journal, April 30, 1879, page 1.)

 

 

For more information on this subject:

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Excerpts from LDS.org — Joseph's Seer stones

Enchantment — Magic and Money Digging
Joseph Smith Money Digging Accounts 
Chase Account
Peter Ingersol Account
Joseph Knight Account
The Amboy Journal 
Fayette Lapham Account
 

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