Mormonism Unveiled: Testimonies of Barton Stafford and Henry Harris

THE TESTIMONY OF BARTON STAFFORD

Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y. Nov. 3d, 1833

Being called upon to give a statement or the character of the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. as far as I know, I can state that I became acquainted with them in 1820, and knew them until 1831, when they left this neighborhood.--Smith, Sen. was a noted drunkard and most of his family followed his example, and Joseph, Jr. especially, who was very much addicted to intemperance. In short, not one of the family had the least claims to respectability. Even since he professed to be inspired of the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon he one day while at work in my father's field, got quite drunk on a composition of cider, molasses and water. Finding his legs to refuse their office he leaned upon the fence and hung for sometime; at length recovering again, he fell to scuffling with one of the workmen, who tore his shirt nearly off from him. His wife who was at our house on a visit, appeared very much grieved at his conduct, and to protect his back from the rays of the sun, and conceal his nakedness, threw her shawl over his shoulders and in that plight escorted the Prophet home. As an evidence of his piety and devotion, when intoxicated, he frequently made his religion the topic of conversation!

BARTON STAFFORD. State of New York, Wayne County, ss:

I certify that on the 9th day of December 1833, he personally appeared before me, the above named Barton Stafford, to me known, and solemnly affirmed according to law, to the truth of the above statement and subscribed the same.

THOS. P. BALDWIN, a Judge of Wayne County Court.

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I, Henry Harris, do state that I became acquainted with, the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1820, in the town of Manchester, N. York. They were a family that labored vary little--the chief they did, was to dig for money. Joseph Smith, Jr. the pretended Prophet, used to pretend to tell fortunes; he had a stone which he used to put in his hat, by means of which he professed to tell people's fortunes.

Joseph Smith, Jr. Martin Harris and others, used to meet together in private, a while before the gold plates were found, and were familiarly known by the name of the "Gold Bible Company." They were regarded by the community in which they lived, as a lying and indolent set of men and no confidence could be placed in them.

The character of Joseph Smith, Jr. for truth and veracity was such, that I would not believe him under oath. I was once on a jury before a Justice's Court and the Jury could not, and did not, believe his testimony to be true. After he pretended to have found the gold plates, I had a conversation with him, and asked him where he found them and how he come to know where they were. He said he had a revelation from God that told him they were hid in a certain hill and he looked in his stone and saw them in the place of deposit; that an angel appeared, and told him he could not get the plates until he was married, and that when he saw the woman that was to he his wife, he should know her; and she would know him. He then went to Pennsylvania, got his wife, and they both went together and got the gold plates--He said it was revealed to him, that no one must see the plates but himself and wife.

I then asked him what letters were engraved on them, he said italic letters written in an unknown language, and that he had copied some of the words and sent them to Dr. Mitchell and Professor Anthon of New York. By looking on the plates he said he could not understand the words, but it was made known to him that he was the person that must translate them, and on looking through the stone was enabled in translate.

After the Book was published, I frequently bantered him for a copy. He asked fourteen shillings a piece for them; I told him I would not give so much; he told me had had a revelation that they must be sold at that price.

Sometime afterwards I talked with Martin Harris about buying one of the Books and he told me they had had a new revelation, that they might be sold at ten shillings a piece.

State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, ss:

Personally appeared before me, Henry Harris, and made oath in due form of law, that the foregoing statements subscribed by him are true.

JONATHAN LAPHAM, Justice of the peace.

 

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