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Who Stole the Lost 116 Pages? (Part 9 of 12)

If Lucy Harris didn’t burn the lost manuscript, who stole it?  Historian Don Bradley thinks a big suspect might have been an extended member of the Harris family.  What else does he know?

Don:  It turns out, for instance, the Harris’s had a son-in-law who was a con man. He was a swindler. His name was Flanders Dike. Flanders Dike came from an entire family of swindlers. Two years after the manuscript disappeared, Flanders Dike is mentioned in a newspaper article saying he has skipped town. He’s left Palmyra, with about $1,000 of other people’s goods and money. There’s another notice in the paper several years later saying he’s escaped from jail after doing similar shenanigans again. There are accounts of other swindles carried out by various [relatives] like his father and his brothers. Lucy Mack Smith gives an account in her memoir, saying that Flanders Dike, at one time before the manuscript disappeared, he stole the Anthon transcript temporarily. So, this guy had already stolen documents, other documents associated with the coming fourth of the Book of Mormon. Then just four months later, the Book of Mormon manuscript goes missing. Why wouldn’t we suspect this guy?

I was also surprised to find out that Martin Harris missed his daughter’s wedding because he was helping Joseph translate the Book of Mormon!  What other surprises does Don have in store?  Check out our conversation….

If Lucy Harris didn’t burn the manuscript, who stole it? Historian Don Bradley has a likely suspect.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Don!

361: Exonerating Lucy Harris (Bradley)

360: Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology (Bradley)

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages (Bradley)

358: Laban Killed During Passover (Bradley)

357: More than 116 Pages Lost? (Bradley)

356: How Much of BoM is Missing? (Bradley)

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape? (Bradley)

354: Dating Fanny Alger

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Exonerating Lucy Harris (Part 8 of 12)

Who stole the Lost Pages of the Book of Mormon?  Up to now, suspicion has been squarely laid at the feet of Lucy Harris, Martin’s wife.  Historian Don Bradley believes that Lucy is innocent of the charge.  How does he come to that conclusion?

Don:  Lucy Harris was a very devout Quaker. She also was someone who really tended to speak her mind. She had a reputation for being combative. She’s not somebody who tended to slink around, lie, do things behind people’s back and hide them. She was very forthright, and she was very devout in her Quaker beliefs. For her to say before God, on her death bed, which is what the account says, that she didn’t know what happened to the manuscript gives us pretty good reason to believe that she didn’t know what happened to the manuscript. Someone who was completely convinced by this was Martin Harris. So even though they had been estranged for eight years, Martin Harris was no stranger to the fact that his wife had become an enemy to Mormonism. She was certainly an antagonist to him. She was a combative person. She had her faults, but he could not bring himself to believe, when he found out she said this on her deathbed, that she had lied on her deathbed about this as she’s about to meet God. He couldn’t believe it. So he then completely abandons the view for the rest of his life that Lucy Harris had anything to do with the theft. Recall, he never thought she burned the manuscript.

Don further explains how the story about her burning the manuscript came about decades later.  (By the way, here is a link to Don’s book on Amazon.)  Check out our conversation….

Historian Don Bradley thinks Lucy Harris is unfairly blamed for stealing the Lost Pages of the Book of Mormon.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Don!

360: Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages

358: Laban Killed During Passover

357: More than 116 Pages Lost?

356: How Much of BoM is Missing?

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape?

354: Dating Fanny Alger

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Masonic Golden Plates & Temple Theology (Part 7 of 12)

Historian Don Bradley says that masonic implements were found with the golden plates.  What were these implements, and how are they related to modern LDS temple ceremonies?

Don:  Joseph, Sr. tells this guy [non-Mormon named Fayette Lapham] about the plates. He tells him that on the top plate there were the implements of masonry, as used by Masons of the present day. So I found this really interesting. Wow, Masonic stuff way back at the beginning of Mormonism.

In every single masonic lodge in the world, one of the things that they have in common is that there’s an altar. On that altar, there’s a sacred book, usually the Bible, and in Muslim countries/Islamic countries, it can be the Quran, and so on. There’s a sacred book.  Do you know what’s on top of that book?  A compass and square. You set a compass and the square on top of that sacred book.

Joseph, Sr. was very steeped in, at the very least, Masonic lore, but he is apparently also a member of a Masonic Lodge, apparently a Mason.  He’s saying, based on Joseph, Jr.’s descriptions of the plates, and by this time he would have seen them himself, actually, as one of the eight witnesses, he’s saying, the basic Masonic implements, which at minimum, are going to be compass and square, were on the top of the Sacred Book. That’s how it is in masonic lodges. So, the specific Masonic implements that are on top of sacred books in the lodge are compass and square. So of course these are significant symbols for more than just Freemasons. They’re already showing up. Joseph Smith first goes to the hill, first sees the plates, first describes the plates to his father in 1823. Joseph Smith becomes a Freemason in 1842, when he’s 36.  Almost 20 years before Joseph becomes a Freemason, he’s already describing the sacred relics of the Nephites in Masonic terms that have extra-Masonic/more than Masonic relevance for Latter-day Saints of sacred symbols. So again, why is it that it seems that Latter-day Saints would, post-Nauvoo, really recognize as part of our faith? He’s already there in the 1820s.  Everything that I’ve talked about, where these Masonic or Nauvoo temple elements are popping up:  First Vision, Joseph Smith’s first encounter with the plates in 1823, Joseph Smith’s translation of the lost pages in 1828, Joseph Smith’s translation of the extant Book of Mormon text–book of Ether, 1829. That’s all 1829, so far, before he, himself, becomes a Freemason, and already you’ve got loads of symbolic and structural content elements of the Nauvoo endowment.  There’s something going on.  Nauvoo endowment isn’t just Nauvoo.  In fact, Nauvoo Mormonism is not really just Nauvoo.  It’s already there, since you have Nauvoo elements in the stories of the brother of Jared, and Mosiah. [With] the Nauvoo temple, what Joseph is about is trying to bring people into the presence of God. This is what he says in his sermons. So you’re trying to give them keys. You can go talk to God yourself. You can stand in God’s presence.

Check out our conversation….

Joseph Smith, Sr said masonic implements were with the Golden Plates.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Don!

359: Temple Endowment in Lost Pages

358: Laban Killed During Passover

357: More than 116 Pages Lost?

356: How Much of BoM is Missing?

355: Re-Writing Oliver’s Words: Dirty, Nasty, Filthy Scrape?

354: Dating Fanny Alger