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Clearing out the Mormon Cave (Part 4 of 6)

As you know, KC Kern and Greg Pavone hit pay dirt and found the Mormon Cave.  Now we’re going to talk about the dig inside the cave where they tried to clear it out.  What did they find in the cave?

Greg:  So, at the base of the cave, there were these wooden boards, and we, honestly, not being archaeologists, didn’t want to damage anything. So, we dug down, probably 10 feet or so.

GT:  Inside the cave?

Greg:  Inside the cave, cleared all the dirt out, but there So, at the base of the cave, there were these wooden boards, and we, honestly, not being archaeologists, didn’t want to damage anything. So, we dug down, probably 10 feet or so.

GT: Inside the cave?

Greg: Inside the cave, cleared all the dirt out, but there were these wooden boards that we didn’t want to necessarily fully [destroy.] We didn’t want to keep going down.

KC: We were running out of time.Greg: And we were running out of time.

GT: Kind of like a boardwalk.

Greg: Yeah. What I would love to see if I had the time and the resources and the expertise, would be to have a full archeological dig occur on that site. To go down, dig farther down, like I said, and to really do it right with experts and professionals who can both safely and properly archive and protect anything that could be there. It’d be even better, I would think, if the Church, if they were interested, would maybe purchase the property, and then restore the cave to its original 40-foot dimensions to say, hey, this was a part of the Restoration and maybe turn it into a visitor’s center, so people can see what it originally looked like. That would be interesting.

KC: That would be a big project. It would require, probably like installing a big culvert or some sort of structure that would keep things in place. Then, of course, do all the earth moving to bring it back.GT: You’ll have to get [some universities involved.] I know BYU has got an Archaeology Department. Of course, Utah State and Utah both have Mormon Studies departments. I think you should talk to them. I know Utah State has done some archaeological research with the Bear River Ma were these wooden boards that we didn’t want to necessarily fully [destroy.] We didn’t want to keep going down.

KC:  We were running out of time.

Greg:  And we were running out of time.

GT:  Kind of like a boardwalk.

Greg:  Yeah.  What I would love to see if I had the time and the resources and the expertise, would be to have a full archeological dig occur on that site. To go down, dig farther down, like I said, and to really do it right with experts and professionals who can both safely and properly archive and protect anything that could be there. It’d be even better, I would think, if the Church, if they were interested, would maybe purchase the property, and then restore the cave to its original 40-foot dimensions to say, hey, this was a part of the Restoration and maybe turn it into a visitor’s center, so people can see what it originally looked like. That would be interesting.

KC:  That would be a big project. It would require, probably like installing a big culvert or some sort of structure that would keep things in place. Then, of course, do all the earth moving to bring it back.

GT:  You’ll have to get [some universities involved.] I know BYU has got an Archaeology Department. Of course, Utah State and Utah both have Mormon Studies departments. I think you should talk to them. I know Utah State has done some archaeological research with the Bear River Massacre site.

Check out our conversation….

What did KC Kern & Greg Pavone find when clearing out the Lost Mormon Cave?

Don’t miss our other conversations with KC and Greg!

540: Finding the Mormon Cave

539: History of Mormon Cave

538: Raiders of the Lost Mormon Cave

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Smith Farmers Were Spiritual Not Religious (Part 3 of 5)

What was Joseph Smith Jr’s religious upbringing like?  It turns out his parents were quite different.  Joseph Sr, might be describes as spiritual but not religious, while Lucy was more of a visionary.  We’ll learn more about their family religion with Dr. Mark Staker.

GT:  Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of the family? It sounds like Lucy was very spiritual, and Asael wasn’t, and influenced Joseph, Sr, as well, to be non -religious.

Mark:  They’re spiritual, but in very different ways. Lucy grows up. She’s part of that great awakening that moves up through the Connecticut River Valley. She comes from kind of the eastern side of the Green Mountains where it’s really going on. She’s involved in the revivals there in the area. We can document a lot of revivals up in Chelsea township area north of them, out in Randolph, where they ended up moving and other places, and so very much a part of their experience. Joseph goes to those with her, but apparently to appease her more than anything.  But, he’s religious, just in a different context,  The family’s Universalists.  Asael and Mary, and the children are all drawn into the Universalist doctrine to a greater or lesser extent. They are very much seen as heretics there in the area. In Randolph Township, there’s a church where they bring everybody in and they have to sign a document, saying that they’re opposed to the Universalists who have nothing to do with them.

GT:  Who signed it?

Mark:  Members of the Congregationalists.

GT:  Lucy was a congregationalist. Is that right?

Mark:  Lucy is a congregationalist.  Here in Tunbridge, the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians meet together. Out in Palmyra, they do the same thing. She eventually becomes part of the Presbyterian [church] but it’s the same thing that she’s grown up with. They have kind of a combined community. The Universalists, Asael and Mary appeared to be involved in the universals before they even come to Vermont. The gentleman that helps them move to Vermont, he’s from a Universalist congregation, but he doesn’t live in their Township. So, you wonder, how did they meet him, if he wasn’t part of the religious denomination that they were involved in all that? But, there are other things that suggest that they’re Universalists early.  The very first meeting that Joseph, Sr. and his brother Jesse go to in the township, before their families even moved north, that’s the meeting where there’s this big controversy over not everybody wants to support the main church in town, and that some people have different religious perspectives. So, it all kind of falls apart at that first meeting that they go to.

Were you aware of the spiritual dynamics of Joseph Smith’s parents?  Check out our conversation….

Joseph Smith’s parents were quite different when it came to religion.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Mark!

534: When Joseph Met Lucy

533: Smith Family Farm in Vermont

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When Joseph Met Lucy (Part 2 of 5)

Dating in the late 1700s wasn’t quite the same as today.  In our next conversation with Dr. Mark Staker, author of “Joseph & Lucy Smith’s Tunbridge Farm,” we’ll learn more about how Joseph Senior met his future with Lucy Mack Smith.

Mark:  Lucy, then comes into the picture. Joseph meets her, down in the village.

GT:  Joseph, Sr.

Mark:  Joseph, Sr. meets her down in the village where her brother introduces her to his customer, who was Asael. He introduces her, his sister, to his customer’s son. So, that was how the two met.

GT:  She was Lucy Mack. Is that right?

Mark:  Lucy Mack. Her brother was Stephen Mack. At that time, you didn’t walk up as a young man to a young woman and say, “Hi, what’s your name? Can I have your phone number?” That just was not done. You waited until you were properly introduced. I tried to follow through. This story has developed how Joseph Sr. and Lucy met. She was working in her brother’s store. They met somehow there. He came in to buy stuff. First, he wouldn’t have just walked up and introduced himself to her that way. Second, young women didn’t work as clerks in the store. I know in the movie, in the TV series Little House on the Prairie it happened and it did occasionally happen, husbands and wives working together. But, it probably wouldn’t have happened in this circumstance for a number of reasons, one of them being that her brother didn’t have a store right hand, he says that later. He had a lot of other businesses, including a sawmill where he would come and get his lumber for his barrels. So, he introduces Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Mack and they get married and move in to this home that we’ve been talking about, that Aesel and Mary had their family in.

Do you know any other stories of the Joseph Smith, Sr family? Check out our conversation….

Dr. Mark Staker tells how Lucy Mack met Joseph Smith, Sr.

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Dr. Mark Staker.

533: Smith Family Farm in Vermont