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Views of General Joseph Smith (Part 1 of 8)

Most Mormons know that Joseph Smith ran for the presidency of the United States.  Was it a serious run?  Did Joseph really think he was going to win?  Dr. Derek Sainsbury will answer those questions, and we’ll talk about Joseph Smith’s Presidential platform.  I was surprised to learn that General Joseph Smith was pushing his military expertise!

Derek: On January 29, 1844, they nominate him. And he immediately starts writing a political pamphlet called “The Views of General Joseph Smith,” on the powers and policy of the United States government. And it’s mailed to all the leaders of government in the United States, and to all the major newspapers.

GT:  General Joseph Smith!  He is emphasizing his military background.

Derek:  Right, because obviously he can’t win our election or even affect an election as Prophet Joseph Smith. Right? Because  it’s got to appeal to a wider group and he is a general in the Navajo Legion by state commission. In fact, he’s a Lieutenant General. He’s the only Lieutenant General between George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant in the history of the United States.

GT:  So who mentioned Lieutenant General?

Derek:  Governor Carlin.

GT:  Oh really?

Derek: Yeah,  not necessarily because he thinks he deserves it, but that’s the commission when they do the Nauvoo Legion. That’s the commission that Joseph Smith requests. Both parties when in those early days, are [courting the Mormon vote.] It’s so evenly split [between] Democrat and Whig in Illinois. They’re stumbling over each other.

Now for those of you on YouTube, you’ll notice a 3-D reproduction of Joseph Smith in his military dress uniform.  It was done by a fantastic artist named Adam Worthington.  He has kindly allowed me to use it in this video, and if you would like a copy of it yourself, please go to Adam’s website, knowbrotherjoseph.com and you can not only see this amazing reproduction, but other 3-D renderings of Joseph Smith and Emma.  These are available for purchase, so please support Adam’s amazing artwork!

Dr Derek Sainsbury tells about General Joseph Smith’s 1844 campaign for President of the United States.
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Learning from Mormon Cousins (Part 3 of 5)

While the LDS Church is the largest Mormon group, there are lots of other churches tracing their founding to Joseph Smith.  John Larsen of the Sunstone Podcast sat down with Rick Bennett to discuss some of these groups who aren’t well-known. Rick refers to them as “our Mormon cousins.”

Rick: I was back in Independence earlier this summer. I wanted to go to the Temple Lot of church. I talked to that guy, probably for six or seven hours. It was amazing. I wish I could have gotten than one recorded. I asked and he said, “No.”  I went to the Cutlerite Church, and I talked to that lady for probably two hours. I got a tour of the church. I even got a quote in Sunstone because it’s something I learned from her. So listen to Mel Johnson’s Sunstone presentation if you want to hear that. I tried to talk to the Remnant Church because I got some friends there and their building was closed. I went to the Community of Christ temple, and then I just would drive around and I would see something that looked–I’m trying to remember what it said. It was like the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. I said, “That’s got to be one of our churches.”  So, sure enough, it was this guy, he was missing a bunch of teeth. He was out fixing a fence on their church property. I talked to him for probably an hour and I felt bad because he was trying to fix this fence, and I’m stopping him. He’s telling me about angels. He showed me this picture.  He goes, Do you see this white area here? That’s like an angel.”  It was just so interesting to listen to him. I think he was surprised because I listened without judgment, like that’s not an angel. I was like, “Wow, what a story.” The guy named Randy Sheldon at the Temple Lot Church. I found out that they still do speaking in tongues.

We talk about several other groups.  Check out our conversation….

Rick talks about interactions with several other Restoration groups. (Sign in front of Cutlerite Church.)

Don’t miss our previous conversations!

414:  LDS Leaders and Historical Issues

413:  Intro to Gospel Tangents

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Joseph’s Magical Masonry (Part 6 of 7)

Many people in the 19th century believed in magic.  We’re not talking parlor tricks.  We’re talking about real magic.  In our next conversation with Clair Barrus, we will talk about how these magical spirits and magic circles were believed to help people like Joseph Smith find buried treasure.  We’ll talk about the combination of magical masonry.

Clair:  Lucy Mack Smith, when she was writing her family memoir. She had several drafts, and we have the earlier drafts. In this early draft, she says something to the effect, “Well, we didn’t spend all of our time trying to win the faculty of Abrac, or soothsaying or drawing magic circles, we did attend to our business and took care of it.” That’s it, in essence, and then she doesn’t go on and then the next draft, there’s nothing.  So we have this tantalizing tidbit and it’s interesting to go, “Hmm, what in the world is she talking about?” Well, we know, of course, the Smiths were heavily involved in treasure seeking. This phraseology is, I believe, about treasure seeking. But it also has a Masonic origin, an interesting Masonic origin. So Abracadabra was a magic word.  It goes way, way back. It probably had something to do with trying to conjure up the deity Abraxas and you can find it in all sorts of books going way back. If you narrow that down, though, to the word Abrac, so Abracadabra. If you draw a triangle, a magic triangle, and the bottom line has Abracadabra, and then it’s a little shorter and shorter. At the top is letter A, that is a magic abracadabra triangle.

Abracadabra triangle. Courtesy Clair Barrus

Clair:  Magic Circle is not in the Leland manuscript, but it is something that the Smiths did, and other treasure seekers [did] when trying to recover a buried treasure. When you draw a magic circle with a dagger, and the Smith’s had a ceremonial dagger with an occult symbol in it, it was quite likely used for drawing magic circles in the ground. When a magician would draw a magic circle, it was used to either keep spirits out or keep them in or to protect the magician that was in the circle or protect others that were in the circle. It was creating a magical barrier that couldn’t be crossed.

GT:  When you’re saying magician, you’re not using that in today’s term where it’s just a guy who does optical illusions.

Clair:  This is not parlor tricks.

GT:  This is actually, they believed they were doing magic.

Clair:  Yes, this is ceremonial magic. This is something the Smiths did.  If we want, I can read a very interesting quote about Joseph Smith, Sr.  Well, I’ll just summarize it. Joseph Smith, Sr. drew two magic circles. Then he puts rods of witch hazel sticks around the two circles and then in the very center he draws in a rod of iron. What he’s really doing is creating a cone. There’s an outer circle and an inner circle and then a point. It’s supposed to represent a 3D cone going down into the ground, holding the treasure at this point inside of this cone. Then Joseph Smith, Sr. walks around the circle three times, and he’s described as muttering.  Well, he’s probably using magic words, a spell, some kind of ceremonial magic and maybe the word abracadabra might have been part of it.  We don’t know, or Abrac or something.  Then that’s supposed to help protect the treasure from the spirits.

Clair:  He then goes into the house and asks Joseph Smith, who is looking in his seer stone in the hat and he says, “Joseph.”  And then they dig.  They had dug, and there’s no treasure. They go in the house, “Joseph what happened?” he says. He [Joseph, Jr.] has been watching the spirit interacting with this cone, these magic circles that Joseph Smith, Sr. has drawn. Joseph [Jr.] said that the Spirit was able to get the treasure and move it through the earth and they lost it. They had made a mistake during some part of the ritual, and that’s why they lost the treasure. It’s a fascinating account. I can’t remember if it’s William Stafford that wrote this. It’s a fascinating account. It gives you [a] very detailed [account] into what the Smiths would do.

Find out more about magic lamens!  Check out our conversation…and don’t miss our previous conversations with Clair!

410:  Masonic Legends & Golden Plates

409:  Different Types of Masonry

408:  Is Book of Mormon anti-Masonic?

407:  Oliver Cowdery’s Rod of Revelation

406:  Masonic Connections in Oliver Cowdery’s Family