Mormonism Unveiled: Testimonies of Roswell Nichols and Joshua Stafford

Manchester, Ontario County, Dec. 1st, 1833

I, Roswell Nichols, first became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. nearly five years ago, and I lived a neighbor to the said family about two years. My acquaintance with the family has enabled me to know something of its character for good citizenship, probity and veracity -- for breach of contracts, for the nonpayment of debts and borrowed money, and for duplicity with their neighbors, the family was notorious. Once, since the Gold Bible speculation commenced, the old man was sued; and while the sheriff was at his house, he lied to him and was detected in the the falsehood. Before he left the house, he confessed that it was sometimes necessary for him to tell an honest lie, in order to live. At another time, he told me that he had received an express command for me to repent and believe as he did, or I must be damned. I refused to comply, and at the same time told him of the various impositions of his family. He then stated that their digging was not for money but it was for the obtaining the Gold Bible. Thus contradicting what he had told me before: for he had often said, that the hills in our neighborhood were nearly all erected by human hands -- that they were all full of gold and silver. And one time, when we were talking on the subject, he pointed to a small hill on my farm, and said, "in that hill there is a stone which is full of gold and silver. I know it to be so, for I have been to the hole, and God said unto me, do not it now, but at a future day you shall go find the book opened, and then you shall have the treasures." He said that gold and silver was once as plenty as the stones in the field are now-- that the ancients, half of them melted the ore and made the gold and silver, while the other half a read it deeper in the earth, which accounted for disease hills. Upon my inquiring who furnished the food for the whole, he flew into a passion, and called me case in their, and said he, "you must be eternally damned."

I mentioned these facts, not because of their intrinsic importance, but simply to show the weak mindedness and low character of the man. ROSWELL NICHOLS

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Manchester, Ontario County, Nov. 15th, 1833.

 

I, Joshua Stafford, became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1819 or 20. They then were laboring people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures, and soon after they became indolent, and told marvelous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters. Joseph once showed me a piece of wood which he said he took from a box of money, and the reason he gave up for not obtaining the box, was, that it moved. At another time, he, (Joseph, Jr.) at a husking, called on me to become a security for a horse, and said he would reward me handsomely, for he had found a box of watches, and they were as large as his fist, and he put one of them to his ear, and he could hear it to "tick forty rods." Since he could not dispose of them profitably at Canandaigua or Palmyra, he wished to go east with them. He said if he did not return with the horse, I might take his life. I replied, that he knew I would not do that. Well, said he, I did not suppose you would, yet I would be willing that you should. He was nearly intoxicated at the time of the above conversation. JOSHUA STAFFORD

 

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