Mormonism Unveiled: Testimonies of Nahum Howard and Oliver Smith

Nahum Howard
Conneaut, August, 1833

I first became acquainted with Solomon Spalding, in Dec, 1810. After that time I frequently saw him at his house, and also at my house. I once in conversation with him expressed a surprise at not having any account of the inhabitance once in this country, who erected the old forts, mounds, &c. He then told me that he was writing a history of that race of people; and afterwards frequently showed me his writings, which I read. I have lately read the Book of Mormon, and believe it to be the same as Spalding wrote, except the religious part. He told me that he intended to get his writings published in Pittsburgh, and he thought that in one century from that time, it would believed as much as any other history.

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Oliver Smith
Conneaut, August, 1833

When Solomon Spalding first came to this place, he purchased a tract of land, surveyed it out and commenced selling it. While engaged in this business, he boarded at my house, in all nearly six months. All his leisure hours were occupied in writing a historical novel, founded upon the first settlers of this country. He said he intended to trace their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till their arrival in America, give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, wars and contentions. In this way, he would give a satisfactory account of all the old mounds, so common to this country. During the time he was at my house, I read and heard read one hundred pages or more. Nephi and Lehi were by him represented as leading characters, when they first started for America. Their main object was to escape the judgments which they supposed were coming upon the old world. But no religious matter was introduced, as I now recollect. Just before he left this place, Spalding sent for me to call on him, which I did.--He then said, that although he was in my debt, he intended to leave the country, and hoped I would not prevent him, for, says he, you know I have been writing the history of the first settlement of America, and I intend to go to Pittsburgh, and there live a retired life, till I have completed the work, which will enable me to return and pay off all my debts--the book, you know will sell, as every one is anxious to learn something upon that subject. This was the last I heard of Spalding or his book, until the Book of Mormon came into the neighborhood. When I heard the historical part of it related, I at once said it was the writings of old Solomon Spalding. Soon after, I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spalding had written, more than twenty years before.

 

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