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CULTURES ARE LIKE STREAMS, flowing from countless trickles and springs. There are sources everywhere. Tracing these origins is slow work. The way is often hard and slippery, but the rewards are amazing.

For a quarter-century and more, I have pursued Mormon parallels in the most unexpected places, and have exclaimed aloud in frequent surprise. MORMON PARALLELS: A Bibliographic Source was announced January 24, 2008 and made available in February. It is sold by my sole distributor, below.


Each copy is personally hand-made by the author, tagged and numbered in the digital text, and tested individually through a process requiring several days for each batch . . .




When I look up to heaven/ And there my Jesus view,
And faith to me is given/ Those wonders to pursue.
I cry out, O amazing!/ Astonish'd at the sight,
And ever would be gazing/ In raptures of delight.
There on a throne most glorious,/ With sweet delight I see,
Exalted and victorious,/ The Lamb that died for me.

–  From a revival hymn book published in rural
New York State, 1816. Mormon Parallels entry 111.


From proverbial attics, dusty old bookshops, book fairs and catalogs – through auctions, telephone calls, and pleasant drives to small New England towns – a seemingly endless variety of Mormon parallels continues to appear. If these books and papers were conscious beings, they might huddle nervously upon their shelves, rustling their leaves, wondering when the Mormons would come to read what they have to say. Here, then, is a sampling in five hundred entries, a mere introduction to this fascinating material which has awaited our attention for two centuries. As time goes on, we will see more, and understand better. Whatever be the conclusions of coming years, we must at least sound increasingly naïve to exclaim, "Whoever thought such things before?"

— from the Introduction, p. 45




Lafayette, New York: RICK GRUNDER – BOOKS, 2008


More than twenty-five years in the making;  2,088 pages, 500 entries, 293 illustrations (76 in color), nearly 900,000 words  – and things which you have never seen before.  The first edition, published in digital form only (.pdf), on a single CD-ROM.*

Limited to three hundred copies, each signed and numbered on the disc, on the folding container, and numbered in the digital text of the first page of the work itself.

––   CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK    ––      $200

An additional one hundred SCHOLAR COPIES, signed and lettered.  A – VVVV, are not for sale, but will be given to students, private researchers, institutions which have provided assistance for this project, and other friends.


CLICK HERE to download free sample entries from the First Edition.
This is a PDF file of approximately 5½ megabytes.


CLICK HERE to preview or download the free INDEX TO MORMON PARALLELS.
This is a new PDF file of less than 2 megabytes, which automatically comes as part of
the 2014 edition (final 219 pages), but will also work with the 2008 edition.


Click Below to download other free entries from the First Edition . . .:


  • MP 73 (Richard Brothers' prophecies, containing Anglo-Israel ideas of tribes of Israel and other interesting early Mormon concepts).

  • MP 158 (Chronicon Ephratense, containing Melchizedek Priesthood and baptism for the dead parallels in the Ephrata community in Pennsylvania, 1700s).






All inquiries regarding the FIRST EDITION
(currently out of stock) should be addressed to . . .

SOLE DISTRIBUTOR:  Dr. Hugh McKell, Salt Lake City




© 2008 Rick Grunder   —   ISBN 978-0-9814708-0-1


* 389 MB.  No installation required.  Can be used directly on the disc, or copied to your hard-drive for fastest operation.  Uses ADOBE READER ™ software (5.0 or higher), available free of charge online: 






THE FOLLOWING ABBREVIATED ENTRIES were listed on this page several years ago, and generally appear in the book with further detail, some with illustrations.  FOR EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL ENTRIES AND PRESENTATION IN THE BOOK, however, see the link just above.


"AFRICA." [map]; at bottom: "A. Bowen Sc[ulpt.]." No place, no date [ca. 1820?].

11 X 11 cm. + margins. Verso blank. A relatively primitive plate probably taken from a simple family or children's atlas; a previous owner has penciled"1820" in the lower margin.

Includes Jerusalem and much of the Near East. Although this is a small map for such a vast region, with relatively few place names designated, the engraver has identified Comoro, a chain of French-owned volcanic islands (Archipel des Comores) northwest of Madagascar. The Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed.) records volcanic eruptions beginning in 1830 on the island of the Great Comoro where Maroni, the capitol of this territory, is located (not shown here). These islands were a stopping place for Captain Kidd, who figured prominently in the treasure-hunting lore of Joseph Smith's world.



Beloved ! If we are not to think it strang[e] . . . Anonymous manuscript spiritual autobiography by a man of New England born ca. 1802, relating his revival/conversion experiences, including visions during solitary prayer in the fields in 1823-4. No place, written 17 May 1859, "part from memory, & part from a sketch written at the time."

24 X 19 cm. [16] unnumbered pages on four lined sheets loosely stitched together but never bound. Untitled; text begins as above. Approx. 5,000 words.

An excellent original narrative manuscript of revival-inspired struggles of a young man in Connecticut in 1823-4 and earlier. Almost certainly unpublished, this record contains a number of interesting elements reminiscent of Joseph Smith's experiences at the same time.

When about sixteen years of age, the writer felt "a little hardend" and began to reflect on the goodness of God. Suddenly, he reports, while alone one day, ". . . in an instant an uncommon degree of heavnly light beam'd forth upon my soul . . . something similar to that which surrounded Saul of Tarsus . . ." p.3. He was tempted, however, to delay repenting until he was twenty-one.

In late 1823, the writer moved "to the upper part of Conn[ecticut]—to a place where they were blest with a revival of religion." p.5. He then experienced something on the order of what Joseph Smith explains had happened to him only three months earlier :

One night after being much troubled . . . [about] my fearful doom . . . I laid down . . . on a sudden the most beautiful person . . . appear'd . . . clothed in a long, white, spotless robe . . . Christ turned & looked on me with the most pleasant & winning smile I ever beheld . . . I awoke!, & although it was nothing but a dream, there was all the light & clearness of an eternal sun-beam upon it, the light was so clear . . . [pp. 6-7. Compare to Joseph Smith's experience: ". . . I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when . . . after I had retired to my bed for the night . . . I discovered a light appearing . . . which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared . . . He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness . . . his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning." (Joseph Smith History 1:29-32)]

Still feeling that he did not know the Lord, however, our writer thought that God directed his steps to a nearby town "among a praying people call'd Methodist . . ." p.7. In January, 1824, he attended most of their meetings, but went through spiritual agony which ". . . can never be described. . . . the pains of Hell had got hold of me . . . I was cut off from hope & sunk in despair . . . the quicker I could know my doom & yield to my fate the better . . . being . . . without rest or sleep . . . with the pains of Hell hold of me What could I do?" pp. 8-9. The answer, of course, was to believe in Christ, and to believe that there would be hope, following this painful chastisement. But hope did not come before Satan tried to interfere:

On Sunday the 13 day of March 1824 . . . I strove, I cried, I wept. I call'd for mercy, but none was to be found. My sins my crimes deserved Hell, & to Hell I thought I must go. . . . About 11 O.Clock at night when in deep distress of soul, these words seem'd spoken'd by the Spirit, "Arise & go to thy Father," & immediately I started off for the woods to comply with the voice . . . but when alone in the field with none but God near, Satan appeard to me in a form I will not now describe. I saw him as really & as truly as I ever saw any form in my life. . . . I was greatly frigh[t]ened & fled from the field, & in coming down to the road I met a br'o[ther] who had been watching me . . . 0! this was satans hour . . . for I then placed no value on anything.= the truth was, -I was going to an old building, to have satan help me to put a period to my earthly existence . . . [p. 10]

The brother hurried the young man into the house, but could not prevent the devil, "in visible form," from troubling him twice again that night and once more in the morning: ". . . I saw that horrid form.== I tell the truth. I lie not.- " p.10. Like the writer of the present manuscript, Joseph Smith writes:

At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must . . . ask of God. . . . I retired to the woods to make the attempt. . . . I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me . . . Thick darkness gathered around me, . . . I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction— not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world . . . [Joseph Smith History 1:13-16]

Additional statements of interest in the manuscript include the writer's memories of how, early in his struggles, ". . . [I] warded off Gods claims upon me . . . Yet. . . Gods claims were upon me & I could not rid myself of them . . ." (p.3; compare to Alma 42). ". . . I had a practice of retiring . . . to the fields for meditation contemplation & prayer . . . & sometimes I would have views of God & Christ . . ." p.14.



DOW, Lorenzo. THE OPINION OF DOW; Or, LORENZO'S THOUGHTS, On Different Subjects, in an Address to the People of New-England. Windham: Printed by J. Byrne, 1804.

15 cm. 164 pp. Only edition thus; one of Dow's earliest books. The Library of Congress owns a 38-page extract printed at Richmond, Virginia, in May, 1804.

In the course of arguing against doctrines of predestination, Dow here reveals early nineteenth-century beliefs in the pre-mortal creation of human spirits. Dow questions such ideas, but records that they were accepted by people with whom he came in contact:

. . . there is something in man abstract from matter, which is spirit, which some call the soul, and which makes him sensible and rational, &c. And to suppose the soul to be a part of God, is inconsistent . . .
. . . . .

Some people have an idea that the souls of infants come right pure from the hand of god, by infusion into the body, and that the body, being of Adam's race, pollutes the soul, and causes it to become impure, just as if the body governed the mind. Allowing the above, When did God make the soul of the child that was born yesterday? [p.107] Why, says one, within the course of a few months past. Hush, I deny it, for the bible says, Gen. 2. 1, 2, 3, that God finished the heavens (that is the starry heavens) and earth and all the HOST of them, and then God rested from the works of creation on the seventh day--he hath not been at work in creating new souls ever since. Therefore your idea that God makes new souls daily, falls to the ground; and you can't deny it, if the bible be true.

But says one, their souls were made in the course of six days.

Where then have they been ever since? Laid up in a store-house in heaven? If they were, they were happy; if so, what kind of a being does this represent the Almighty, especially if connected with the opinion of some who suppose that there are infants in Hell, not more than a span long!

First, God makes Adam happy in Paradise, and these infantile souls happy in a store house, then when Adam falls, prohibits adultery, and at the same time previously decrees that they shall commit it to produce an illegitimate body, and he to help them on to perfect [p.108] the illegitimate, takes one of these pure souls, infuses it into the body, and the body pollutes it, causes it to become impure, and is now a reprobate for Hell fire. Thus you see some people represent God as making souls pure, and keeping them happy some thousands of years, then damning them for a sin they never committed, and now the difference between this BEING if any such there be, and dealeth thus with creatures and HIM that we call the Devil , I leave you to judge. God help you to look at it in the scale of equality, and see whether the above be right or wrong.

But says one, where do you think the soul comes from?

As Adam was the first man, I must suppose from reason and scripture he got his soul right from God, as there is no other source for him to derive it from, but Eve was taken out of Adam, and there is no account of her receiving her soul right from God; and if not, I must suppose the whole of her was taken from Adam and of course she got her soul from him as well as her body.--And as we read that the souls of Jacob's [p.109] children, Gen. 46, 26. were in Jacob's loins and came out, &c. I herefrom infer, that they were laid up in a store house in Heaven, but came by natural generation from the parents as well as the body. . . . [p.110]

Additional Mormon parallels abound in this small volume, and are presented below in the order in which they appear:

. . . finite accountable intelligencies [sic], were created . . . angels were created, and we must suppose they were all happy, holy and good at first . . . [p.31;] Some people say, that there are infants in hell not more than a span long, for Adam's disobedience. But I deny it, upon the principles of scripture and common sense. I acknowledge, however, it would have been just in God to have damned Adam and Eve, for their own sins, but to have suffered Adam and Eve to multiply, and punish their posterity with an actual punishment, for that which they were passive in procuring; would represent God as unjust . . . [p.60; see also the table below;] . . . God's justice demanding infinite satisfaction. A finite being could not make satisfaction beyond his own finite sphere . . . [p.60; cf. Alma 34:10-11: ". . . it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another.";] . . . the atonement . . . would be a sufficiency for all the world, or ten thousand times as many; for what greater satisfaction could be made, than that which is infinite? [p.113;] Certainly, saith the scripture, all things are now ready, now is the accepted time, and behold now (not to-morrow) is the day of salvation. To-day if you will hear his voice. Remember now thy Creator, in the days, &c. and there being no encouragement in the Bible for to-morrow, now is God's time and you cannot deny it . . . [p.99; cf. Alma 34:33;] Says another, I will acknowledge the ancients could talk of the knowledge, but inspiration is now done away; therefore, it is nonsense to expect any such thing in this our day. Answer. We read . . . of a time when all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. . . . Why may not people know him in this our day? nature has not changed, nor God, and if matter still can operate on matter, why not spirit upon spirit. [pp. 102-3;] . . . I again argue, the need that we have of revelation, in order to understand and know our duty aright, and likewise to form proper ideas of God, and eternal things, &c. [p.138;] . . . when you speak of the knowledge of God relative to creation, or his creatures, in the sense they speak, you must necessarily bound God's knowledge by finity, and of course to apply the word infinite, &c. to argue great knowledge is a contradiction, and you can't deny it, because there cannot be an infinite finite. [p.105;] There cannot be a law without a penalty . . . [p. 116; cf. Alma 42:17: "How could there be a law save there was a punishment?";] . . . when we do wrong, we feel misery, and living and dying therein, shall carry our misery to eternity with us; as death only separates the soul from the body, but doth not change the disposition of the mind. [p.116; cf. Alma 34:34;] Some say the Bible is revelation, but deny that there is any in this our day, saying the Bible is sufficient without the influence of God's spirit. But observe, I believe in the Scriptures as much as any person, &c. But with regard to the influence of the spirit, I believe it is strictly necessary . . . [p.120] Some people suppose that all the heathens are damned; but for my own part I beg leave to dissent . . . if Christ lighteth all by his spirit, then he lightens the heathens; and if they, instead of resisting the light, yield to its influence, it will distill the nature of Christ in them, and then they will be Christians, not in name but in nature. And if they act according to the light they have, I must believe it will be well with them in eternity. For I cannot believe any man will be damned for the sin of ignorance, which he could not possibly avoid. [p.134]



Iowa (State). Constitution. 1846. CONSTITUTION FOR THE STATE OF IOWA, Adopted in convention, May 18, 1846; June 10, 1846. Referred to the Committee on Territories, and ordered to be printed. The Constitution. . . . [Washington, 1846] (29th Congress, 1st Session; Senate Document 384).

22½ cm. 14 pp.

The document from which the majority of the first Deseret Constitution was copied. See Peter Crawley, The Constitution of the State of Deseret (Friends of the BYU Library Newsletter, Vol 19, 1982; Two-Millionth Volume Keepsake), pp. 12-13, 25, stating that "Fifty-seven of the sixty-seven sections are taken from the Iowa constitution, in most cases word for word." p.13. This is understandable, since the Saints were trudging through Iowa when this Iowa constitution was adopted. Indeed, Brigham Young first arrived at Mount Pisgah on that precise day, May 18; see Preston Nibley, Exodus to Greatness ; the Story of the Mormon Migration, (Salt Lake City, 1947), pp. 167, 169.



LOWE, Abraham T. THE COLUMBIAN CLASS BOOK, Consisting of Geographical, Historical and Biographical Extracts, Compiled from Authentic Sources, and Arranged on a Plan Different From Any Thing Before Offered the Publick. Particularly Designed for the Use of Schools. Worcester [MA]: Published by Dorr & Howland, 1824.

17½ cm. 355 pp. + woodcut frontispiece & 3 plates. First edition of four in NUC: 1824, '25, '27, '29.

Text book of geography and history, sporting recommendations by four theologians or ministers. The final section, entitled, "Conclusion, Including a Brief View of the Universe. —Goldsmith." (pp. 348-55), includes observations relevant to Mormon interest:

. . . the firmament manifests to our view its grandeur and riches. The sparkling points with which it is studded, are so many suns suspended by the Almighty in the immensity of space, to worlds which roll all around them. The Heavens declare the glory of God . . . Thousands of thousands of suns, multiplied without end, and ranged all around us, at immense distances from each other, attended by ten thousand times ten thousand worlds, all in rapid motion, yet calm, regular, and harmonious, invariably keeping the paths prescribed them; and these worlds, doubtless, peopled with myriads of beings, formed for endless progression in perfection and felicity! [p.351]

Lowe quotes from Christopher Smart's 1750 work "On the Eternity of the Supreme Being," p.289: "Before 'the Morning Stars together sang,'/ And hailed Thee, Architect of countless worlds/ Thou art— . . . / . . . Thou reign'd, and with a mighty hand compos'd/ Systems innumerable, matchless all . . ."



NORTHAMPTON COURIER (Northampton, MA) for August 5, 1835 [VI:33].

Folio, [4] pp.

"Negro Insurrection," an article on p.[3], taken from the New York Commercial Advertiser and the Nashville Banner "of the 15th," reports plots between slaves and whites to rampage the countryside, "murdering all the white men and aguly (not handsome) women—" Several culprits were hanged; "They were allowed but one hour to prepare for death." One white leader of the plot, a Dr. Cotton, is described as "'. . . an old confederate of . . . [John] Murrell, who is now in the Nashville Penitentiary.'" The Mormon declaration on governments and laws drafted by Oliver Cowdery a few weeks later contains a relevant verse at the end warning against preaching to slaves against the wishes of their masters, "nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with the situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude." D&C 134:12 (August 17, 1835).




ORIGINAL AND SERIOUS REFLECTIONS, CONCERNING OUR IDEA OF THE SUPREME BEING; of the Importance of Matter or Substance, and its Immortality, of Death, and of a Future Ameliorated Existence of Mankind. By Immortalicus. I had rather believe all the fables of all the heathen gods, and become pagan, than that this universal frame is without a mind.—Bacon. New-York: Printed and sold by Elliot and Crissy, 1811.


23 cm. [1]f., 26 pp. Not in the National Union Catalog; Shaw & Shoemaker 23604 locates only the copy at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Copyrighted by Elliot and Crissy, who state in an Advertisement on the back of the title leaf that "The Manuscript . . . was left by its Author in this unfinished state, on account of his departure for Europe, to the care of a Friend, who has presumed to publish it . . ."

The "Mormon" concept of the eternal nature of matter was widely published long before it appeared in Parley P. Pratt's "A Treatise on the Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter" (ca. 1839), Doctrine and Covenants 93:33 (1833), or any other Latter-day Saint context, as may be seen by several entries in this bibliography. The present example is particularly dramatic and to the point. According to this remarkable (if overly precious) text, matter is the "great, magnificent, and only visible Being, called Matter, or Substance—the indispensible, and all-important instrument of the eternal and all-perfect Mind . . ." p.7. In essence, the anonymous writer contends that:

1) God may have existed before matter, but,

2) Matter is "immortal," never destroyed, but simply reorganized.

3) Human beings, at least their bodies, are not immortal, since their matter is renewed every seven years and then dispersed after death.

4) The mind (spirit?) may consist of some "highly refined substance."


The following excerpts contain ideas which I would once have thought to be too "modern" to have been propounded at such an early date:

. . . the original quantity of Matter, or Substance, and the gravity and velocity of our Globe, in its diurnal rotation, and in its annual course round the sun, continue to be, without either increase or diminution, the same they have always been; . . . incessant physical changes, which solicit our attention, by occuring daily and hourly before our eyes, have no effect whatever on the original quantity of its Matter; for so admirably strict is the economy of Nature, that it is not probable that a single particle of this most wonderfully docile and susceptible, yet almost unknown Being, has, since its formation, either escaped, or been lost, or annihilated.

The duration of Matter, or Substance, is, evidently, indispensible, and therefore, it must, consequently and necessarily, be immortal. [pp. 8-9]

If the pre-eminent and all powerful Mind be supposed to have existed prior to matter, the latter must, necessarily, be the second being in the Universe . . . [p.10]

. . . the Matter, or Substance, that constitutes our bodies, the immense Globe of our Earth, the solar system, and the fixed stars, is, in the great operations of the Supreme Being, indispensible, and, therefore, of course, must, necessarily, be immortal . . . [p.20]

. . . [Mankind's] organization, which alone constitutes them Men, . . . and which is manifestly only temporary, has in it nothing (the fœcundity of Nature being inexhaustible) on which they can possibly build so impracticable and needless a circumstance as their personal immortality. Moreover, the small quantity of Matter, or Substance that constitutes their frail bodies [p.21] is, from its instability and activity, according to the opinion of the best informed Physiologists, wholly renewed at least every seven years; a child at seven years old, not having in any part of its body, a single grain remaining of the substance it had at its birth . . . At this rate, a man who lives seventy years, hath his whole bodily mass renewed ten times . . .[pp. 21-2]

The existence of mind, independent of what we call Matter, may be inferred from the existence of the Supreme, or Eternal Mind; but, what mind is, whether any kind of highly refined substance, more subtle and docile than the matter of light, or heat, or not . . . cannot be determined by us in our present state of comparative ignorance . . . [p.23]




[PORTER, Henry H.] THE CATECHISM OF HEALTH: Or, Plain and Simple Rules For the Preservation of the Health and Vigour of the Constitution From Infancy to Old Age. Philadelphia: Published at the Office of the Journal of Health and Journal of Law, 1831.


13½ cm. [3]ff.; [v]-x, [7]-195 pp.; errata cancel slip inserted following p. vi. Several editions were printed this first year of issue, 1831. American Imprints notes a "Ladies edition" and the 5th & 7th editions that year. The National Union Catalog lists an edition "For the Use of Schools," 1831, and I have had another school edition of that year but with different pagination.

Dedicated "to the youth of both sexes throughout the United States . . . " Parallels to the Word of Wisdom permeated the temperance literature of Joseph Smith's day, and the Journal of Health contained the entire essence of the health - and most other - aspects of that Mormon doctrine. The Catechism of Health (by the Journal of Health's original editor) shows these same principles being taught to American children shortly before Doctrine and Covenants 89 was recorded:

Using meat sparingly:


Word of Wisdom (l833)


Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. [D&C 89:12-13]


Catechism of Health (1831)


Q. 246. Ought [food] to consist of vegetables or of the flesh of animals?
A. Of a proper mixture of both.

Q. 247. Of which should it consist principally?
A. Of vegetables; particularly in summer and in warm climates. [p.66]





"Section IX.—Of Tobacco" (pp. 85-7) makes it clear that tobacco is always harmful to man.

Q. 334. Is there any advantage which results to the system from the use of tobacco to counterbalance in some degree its injurious effects?
A. Not the least; its use is to be attributed entirely to a depraved appetite.

Even the use of snuff for cleansing the teeth ". . . has occasioned in . . . the most delicate and polished females a desire for its habitual use." (p.87)

Adequate sleep:


The importance of sleep, and of retiring and rising early, is treated on pages 59-65, 125-6, and 178-9. Compare to Doctrine and Covenants 88:124.

Coffee and Tea:


The use of coffee and tea is discouraged on pages 72, 110, 130, and 168-70. Particular emphasis is placed on the detrimental effects of strong coffee and tea on the stomach. The temperature of these drinks should not be too hot, (pages 110 and 169); compare such advice to Doctrine and Covenants 89:9, "And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly."



In no instance must one take hard liquor. Even beer, ale, and wine should be used with great care if at all. See pages 78-85 and 162-7.

Other points of interest:


Walking is the best exercise, p.5l; Dancing is good exercise, pp. 56; 174; Girls require as much exercise as boys, p.50; "Moderation" (p.76) and temperance always advised. See pp. 7-15 as an example.

Many of the principles in this book would still be accepted today, although the author seems perhaps overly concerned with problems of digestion. The answer to Question 385 on page 99 tends to summarize the guiding theory of this work: ". . . temperance in eating and drinking, regular bodily exercise, a due amount of repose, pure air, proper clothing, and the most scrupulous attention to personal cleanliness." While these concepts may seem obvious today, I believe that most scholars familiar with habits and conditions of Joseph Smith's day will agree that there was indeed a great need in 1831 for these words of wisdom.




PORTER, J[ames]. T. Masonic apron. Hand-colored blue engraving on white leather. At base of design in minuscule letters: "J.T. Porter. Sc[ulpt]. Middletown. Con[necticut]." No date, but ca. 1820.

15 X 14¾ inches. The printed image is identical to an example preserved at St. John's Lodge No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, illustrated in Bespangled, Painted & Embroidered; Decorated Masonic Aprons in America, 1790-1850 (Lexington, Massachusetts: Scottish Rite Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage, [c.1980]), item 54 (p.92). The dating is based on other known work by this engraver while in Middletown, 1815 and 1823; Porter is listed there in the 1820 census only (ibid., p.93). The apron examined retains its bright gilt highlights and hand coloring in green, red, yellow and brown, and is surrounded except along the top edge by a pleated scarlet silk border. It is in fine condition, with some minor restoration.

Displaying numerous familiar "Mormon" symbols, and resembling the apron worn by a certain "evil" figure in a ceremony presented live in the older LDS temples. Covering the apron flap at the top is a large all-seeing eye, beneath which is engraved, "holiness to the lord." Below the flap appear the sun, moon and stars, and below them the Masonic arch supported by the two pillars between which may be seen a large gold triangle and an altar (on a checkered floor) upon which lies a compass and square. Resting on the ground are the Ark of the Covenant and the triangular plate of gold engraved with the name of God which in Masonic lore was buried underground behind a stone door by Enoch. In the foreground are the rough and smooth ashlars (stones) to which Joseph Smith once compared himself. This apron is made of lambskin or similar white leather, referred to as being worn by the Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 4:7).



QUINCY, Josiah, 1802-82. AN ORATION, Delivered July 4, 1832, Before the City Council and Inhabitants of Boston. By Josiah Quincy, Jr. Boston: John H. Eastburn, City Printer, 1832.


24½ cm. 21 pp. Printed white wrappers with ornamental border, reading, "Mr. Quincy's Oration. July 4, 1832." Only edition in the National Union Catalog; American Imprints 14434. There were several Josiah Quincys; this is the one who wrote Figures of the Past (1883; Flake 6787), famous for the description and prophecy about Joseph Smith based on the author's personal visit to Nauvoo. The following interesting news blurb appeared in the Albany agricultural weekly, The Plough Boy, for August 4, 1821 (III:10), p.78: "Havard [sic] University.—The Bowdoin prizes for this year, have been awarded to the following young gentlemen:—To Josiah Quincey , Jr. of Boston, Senior Class, a First Prize; to Ralph Emerson, of Boston, Senior Class, a Second Prize . . ."

An eloquent speech, pleading for the preservation of the Constitution and the Union. Half a year before Joseph Smith dictated the prophecy on war (D&C 87, December 25, 1832), Josiah Quincy issued these warnings:

'But what cause for alarm?' cry the indifferent and the indolent. 'Our prosperity is unrivalled. The sounds of danger have always been heard, but they have hitherto produced no ruin.' But a feeling of security is not always a proof of safety. . . .

Oceans are not required to divide the interests of nations, nor to create discords among a people. The dangers of a great confederacy are from within, and the more therefore to be dreaded. . . . [p.9]
. . . . .

And what are the signs of the times? Do we not hear, even on the floor of Congress, of incompatibilities of interests,—of sectional rivalries,—of calculations of the value of the Union,—of conventions, and nullification? And do these portend nothing to be dreaded? [p.10]
. . . . .

Suppose the times, some sanguine spirits so complacently anticipate, come. Suppose the union gone, and every State independent. What a conflict of interest,—what an excitement of passion,—what an accumulation of animosity among rival, powerful and discordant nations!

. . . Our rivalries would not be confined to our native shores. . . .

. . . Foreign nations would foment and quicken it. . . . The hostile powers of the old world would take sides with the powers of the new, and America would again become the battle-ground of Europe. . . . Every height would be crowned with a fortress,—every frontier bristle with bayonets! [p.11] . . . Ingenuity would be spent in devising new modes of destruction. . . . The light of civilization, like the sunbeam on the dial-plate of Hezekiah, would go backward, and that revolution, which we this day celebrate as the commencement of a new era in the history of the liberties of our country and our race, the future patriot may be compelled to consider a greater curse on the prospects of our species, than the tyranny of all the monarchs who have sat upon the thrones, of Christendom. [p.12; compare to D&C 87:6, "And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and . . . be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; . . ."]

. . . what we have yet witnessed is but the breath of the South over a bed of violets, in comparison with the tempest that will then ensue. [p.13]



Royalton, Vermont. Church of Baptised Bretheren. THE CHURCH OF BAPTISED BRETHERIN, ROYALTON, VERMONT; A Record of its Meetings, Conferences and Councils for the Years 1790 to 1806; From the Original Manuscript. Woodstock, Vermont: The Elm Tree Press, 1919.

23 cm. [l]f.; 71 pp. The first appearance of this manuscript in print; only edition in the National Union Catalog.

Are Latter-day Saints unusual when they teach that people cannot take the sacrament until they are baptized? Or that baptism must absolutely be performed by immersion? Was the Book of Mormon original in recounting that Satan taught antichrists that all men could sin a little and still be saved? The answer, of course, is that these issues were current among various religious groups of Joseph Smith's time. The record at hand displays them in Joseph Smith's home town, just before he was born. The "Baptised Bretherin" were a group of essentially Closed-Communion Baptists who met alternately in Sharon and Royalton, Vermont, before and throughout the time when the Smith Family lived on the borderline between these towns. Through endless disputes, their church minutes record - in deliciously quaint language - several future "Mormon" doctrines which were insisted upon by the neighbors of young Joseph Smith:

Baptism by Immersion:

----after som Conversation. it was asked all round to the Bretheren present if they Did believe and Be Baptised, and that Baptism is Diping, or Emertion under water - the whole war in the afarmetive [p.36]

. . . we hold that none have a right to the holy ordenance bot Believers neither Can it be administred Rightly: but by Emersion Dipintgon the boddy in water in the name of the triune - God . . . [p.48]


Taking the Sacrament (of the Lord's Supper) only if one has been baptized: A serious dispute threatened to break up this little church group, over whether or not unbaptized persons could commune. It was eventually resolved that they could not:

. . . after much Deliboration they Come to a Vote of the Ch[ur]h whather the Chh Could walk with a Brother that holds to Open Communion or not - it was Voted in the Negetive . . . the Bretherin ware Called upon to Give their minds whether they Could walk with a Brother that Could Reseve an unbaptised Brother to Communion --- at the Lords table --- . . . [p.32]

. . . we Cannot admit to our Communion at the Lords table aney Person whatsoever, although we believe he is a Christian or a Converted person unless he has bin baptised in the Gospel way after Confescion of faith and was Dipte or Emersed undor wator in the name of the sacred trinity . . . [p.40; see also pp. 46-7]


Anti-Universalism: The doctrine of universal salvation, espoused by Asael Smith and his son Joseph, Sr., was despised by most Protestants as a deception by Satan, designed to lull mankind into apathy (see Jacob 7:18, Alma 30:53). That same simplistic reaction also appeared in Joseph Smith's birthplace, as we see here:

. . . they to there Grate Greaf found that he had imbraind and Did seame to believe that uneversal Salvation was Gospel Doctrin-- . . . the Commity then Reported that they had faithfully laibored with Brother David Smith: and that they find him still (as he Saith) fairm in the Believeff: that all the Hew man lump will be saved by Christ from Eternal misery or Eternal Punishment in the world to Com
. . . . .

. . . Salvation for all Adams Raice Eternaly . . . they were satisfide that he Did imbraice this Bainfull Doctrin . . . we Cannot walk with a Brother that Dus Believe in the Same Doctrin that the Sarpant Preached to our first Parance in the Gardin - thou Shalt not Surely Die [pp. 21,23; see Alma 11-12]


On September 22, 1806, the generally-patient Brethren excommunicated "Sister Abagil Denison" for - among other things - having "imbibed the Doctrin of universal Salvation to all men Shewing no Differance betwene the holy and profane nor the unclean and clean see Ezekeil 22-26- Such Doctrin we Cannot fellowship being not agreeable with the eternal word of truth . . ." (p.71). It is interesting that the infant Joseph Smith, Jr., had apparently been delivered here only ten months earlier by Dr. Joseph Adam Denison of nearby Bethel, Vermont. -See Larry C. Porter, A Study of the Origins of the Church . . .1816-1831 (BYU Thesis, 1971), pp. 19-20, n.23. Other subjects of interest in this record include voting on church doctrine and leaders by both men and women (passim); reference to ". . . the hands of Error and that limb of Rome: infant Baptism" (p.50); evils of drinking, pp. 46 and 69; serious disputes over support of ministers, pp. 24-30 & elsewhere; and letters of recommendation given to traveling members of the church, pp. 31 and 68 (compare to D&C 20:84).




SPALDING [or SPAULDING], Solomon, 1761-1816. THE "MANUSCRIPT FOUND." Or, "MANUSCRIPT STORY," of the Late Rev. Solomon Spaulding; From a Verbatim Copy of the Original Now in the Care of Pres. James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Ohio. Including Correspondence Touching the Manuscript, Its Preservation and Transmission Until it Came into the Hands of the Publishers. Lamoni, Iowa: Printed and Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1885.

17 cm. 144 pp. First edition. Flake 8309. Second edition published the following year by the LDS (Utah) Church, then published again by the RLDS Church in 1903 and in 1908, followed by another LDS Church edition in 1910.

The first appearance in print of the manuscript which (until it was finally located in Hawaii) had presented for half a century the most serious threat of being the "source" of the Book of Mormon according to many writers. It is to James Harris Fairchild, president of Oberlin College 1866-89, that we owe the discovery and exposition of the Solomon Spaulding manuscript. Fairchild concluded that it could not have been the source of the Book of Mormon. See his "Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon" in Magazine of Western History 4 (May-October 1886), pp. 30-39; also published separately as Tract vol. 3, no.77 of the Northern Ohio and Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, before which he read that paper on March 23, 1886, with the original Spaulding manuscript at his side. Spaulding's text was printed by the RLDS Church in order to demonstrate how little it resembles the Book of Mormon.

The Spaulding narrative is an example of an attempt by an American of the early nineteenth century to produce a piece of literature based on the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent. The original manuscript was written in what is now Conneaut, in the extreme northeast corner of Ohio, ca. 1810-12, when the Western Reserve was still quite primitive. Indian mounds and a large ancient burying ground existed in the village, supplying ample inspiration for an indigent local novelist in quest of both entertainment and money:

Among the human bones found in the mounds [in Conneaut] were some belonging to men of gigantic structure. . . . The burying ground referred to contained about four acres, and with the exception of a slight angle in conformity with the natural contour of the ground, was in the form of an oblong square. It appeared to have been accurately surveyed into lots running from north to south, and exhibited all the order and propriety of arrangement deemed necessary to constitute Christian burial. . . . The graves were distinguished by slight depressions disposed in straight rows, and were estimated to number from two to three thousand. . . . Traces of ancient cultivation observed by the first settlers on the lands of the vicinity, although covered with forest, exhibited signs of having once been thrown up into squares and terraces, and laid out into gardens. [Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio (Cincinnati, 1848 edition), p.40]

Before moving to Conneaut in 1809, Spaulding lived in Otsego County, New York, for some fourteen years. A Dartmouth graduate, he died in 1816 without ever seeing his cherished manuscript published. During the 1985 Hofmann forgery investigations, I was rather hastily accused by a Salt Lake County investigator of having conspired to forge Solomon Spaulding's signature on a document dated years after Spaulding's death! This common tendency to look for conspiracies to explain uncommonly perplexing events or books may help explain why the Spaulding theory of the Book of Mormon has persisted so long in some quarters, even after the discovery of Spaulding's manuscript in 1884.

It is only fair, however, to concede that some parallels do exist between Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon. In Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look (Ogden, Utah: Zenos Publications, [1983], 45 pp.), Vernal Holley presents rather extensive examples of similarities shared to one degree or another by the two works. According to Holley:

While the Book of Mormon contains much more religious material than the Spaulding text, the outlines of the two stories are essentially the same. Each record was found in exactly the same way, was written for the same purpose, tells the story of the same ancient American inhabitants, has the same sea voyage, has light- and dark-skinned people, tells of the same arts and comparable Christian theology, presents a white God person, involves the use of seer stones, and tells of a war of extermination between two nations whose people were once brothers. The final battle in each story is fought on a hill. . . . [pp. 10-11]

Spaulding's first cousin once removed, of the same name (Solomon Spalding [1797-1862] md. Arvilla-Ann Harris), apparently wrote an unrelated but equally fascinating work entitled "The Romance of Celes, or the Florentine Heroes and the Three Female Knights of the Chasm." In an undated letter to me (ca. September, 1984), Anthony A. Hutchinson reports this manuscript at the Library of Congress, including "a boring trip through the solar system, visiting the various inhabitants of the spheres. . . . and . . . ref[erence]s to T[homas]. Dick, the Rocky Mountains, the priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, etc."




THOMPSON, D[aniel]. P[ierce]. MAY MARTIN: Or The Money Diggers. A Green Mountain Tale. Montpelier [VT]: E.P. Walton and Son, 1835.

14 cm. 231 pp. First edition in book form; first printed as a prize-winning entry in the New England Galaxy. For historical background and analysis, see John E. Flitcroft, The Novelist of Vermont; A Biographical and Critical Study of Daniel Pierce Thompson (Cambridge, MA, 1929), pp.79-90. Cited three times (1852 edition) by Ronald W. Walker in "The Persisting Idea of American Treasure Hunting," BYU Studies 24 (Fall "1984"), pp. 442, 447, 451 + notes 78, 108, and 133, noting that some fifty editions were published.

Thompson, future author of The Green Mountain Boys, practiced law in his native state and often went fishing with local oldsters, learning the folklore and traditions of the region. This highly engaging novel, which won the writer a $50 prize, contains the basic elements of money digging, complete with occult divinations, a seer stone, a "slippery" treasure (p.98; compare to Mormon 1:18), and a threatening spirit - in this case a confederate who helps the villain take advantage of local farmers (particularly one Martin), some of whom even mortgage their farms to raise the required capital. The following extract typifies the intrigue:

'But what can be the reason that you cannot see in the stone at one time as well as another?'

'No one can exactly tell. A friend of mine who has the faculty . . . supposes it is the devil that casts a mist before the stone . . . One must keep his mind intently fixed on what he expects to discover, and wait with patience till the stone clears, and then if there is any thing to be found, he will be sure to see it, and all the objects by which it is surrounded.'

'How wonderful! By heavens, if I only had the faculty, I—

'Hush—hush—Martin, it begins to clear.' [pp.46-7; compare to D&C 5:23-9; 6:7, 10-12; and 9:7-11]

In the end, the charlatan who once could be seen "with his face protruded into his hat which he held in his lap" (p.45) turned to better ways as a "preacher of the gospel, laboring in the far west." (p.229).



WORSLEY, Israel. A VIEW OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS, Their General Character, Customs, Language, Public Festivals, Religious Rites, and Traditions: Shewing Them to be the Descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. The Language of Prophecy Concerning Them, and the Course by Which They Travelled from Media into America. London: For the Author by R. Hunter, June, 1828.

18 cm. [l]f.; xii, 185 pp. Only edition.

Worsley (1768-1836), a British Unitarian minister, begins here by referring to the writings of Elias Boudinot and Ethan Smith. He then cites a host of other writers and launches into a highly detailed rehearsal of similarities between ancient Israelites and the American Indians. The arguments are at times gratuitous, but always insistent and surprising in number and scope. "In the book of Ezekiel 37. 16.," writes Worsley, "we have this striking passage, 'Moreover, thou son of man, take thee a stick and write upon it, "for Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions." And then another stick and write upon it, "For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel, his companions."' And the fact has been as the prophet intimated." p.l9; for a modern explanation of this scripture in the context of Mormon studies, see Brian E. Keck, "Ezekiel 37, Sticks, and Babylonian Writing Boards: A Critical Reappraisal," Dialogue 23 (Spring 1990), pp. 126-38.

Worsley quotes generously from Isaiah, and speaks of ". . . promises which have not yet been fulfilled, a restoration in the latter days. They are called Ephraim . . ." p.21. The God of the Jews, he contends, "has still taken care of his chosen but rebellious people . . . still keeps them as the apple of his eye." p.13. Other Mormon parallel references of interest include "a land where no man dwelt," (p.180; compare to Ether 2:5); Urim & Thummim, pp. 49, 80-81; ". . . their knowledge of the blazing stones of the urim and thummim . . ." p.81; "a transparent stone of supposed great power," (p.81; cf. Ether 3:1-4, 6:2-3); Indian equivalents to the Ark of the Covenant carried into battle, pp. 50-51 & elsewhere. ". . . They had once a holy book," Worsley concludes, "which while they kept, things went well with them; they lost it, and in consequence of the loss fell under the displeasure of the Great Spirit; but they believe they shall one day regain it - they are looking for and expecting some one to come and teach them the right way." p.182; one year later the Book of Mormon went to press.



[WELLS, Seth Youngs, compiler] MILLENNIAL PRAISES, Containing A Collection of Gospel Hymns, in Four Parts; Adapted to the Day of Christs's Second Appearing. Composed for the Use of His People. Hancock [MA]: Printed by Josiah Tallcott, Junior., 1813.

17 cm. viii, 288, [4 (index)] pp. Words only. Second Edition, Richmond 1416 (". . . generally attributed to Seth Y. Wells. This first Shaker hymn book was published for circulation and use among Believers exclusively."); Shaw & Shoemaker 30511. First published 1812 (same publisher and pagination). The Mormon parallels which this Shaker book contains are primarily linguistic rather than doctrinal, but they are often surprising and refreshing to read.

Now Zion's foundation forever shall stand,
Upheld by our Father's Omnipotent hand;
And our blessed Mother shall certainly bear
All souls that shall find an inheritance there:
[p.42: Hymn I:XVIII, "Ye are God's building."]

In this last great dispensation,
O, what glory does appear!
We have found a just relation
To our blessed Parents here:
[p.188: Hymn III:XX, "Mother's Children."]

Children of the heavenly Queen,
Bright and lovely, pure and clean,
Sent from the celestial band,
Welcome to this western land!
Here we see the heavens bend,
And the elder saints descend,
Down to souls in nature's gloom,
Gospel infants in the womb.
[p.198: Hymn III:XXV, "The Bread of Life."]

Establish'd in the latter days,
On mountains of eternal praise,
Shall be the house which God will raise,
By Judah's holy Lion;
And many nations there shall come,
The lame and blind, the deaf and dumb,
Shall find an everlasting home,
And praise the Lord in Zion.
[p.265: Hymn IV:XXV, "Micah's Prophesy."]



The introduction to my Catalogue Six, LIKE A FIRE; An Offering of Early Mormon Background and Parallels (Bloomington, Indiana, 1984) . . .

ANALOGIES based on fire appeared frequently in the religious literature of the early nineteenth century. The phenomena [encountered in the study of Mormon parallels] spread according to the fuel and the receptacles presented - either kindling, illuminating or consuming - in a variety of hues and patterns as diverse and unpredictable as the most capricious flames.

"The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!" resounded against walls of the Kirtland Temple ablaze with fine porcelain crushed into the mortar in quiet acts of sacrifice typical of that deliberate righteousness Tocqueville is said to have seen as the font of the greatness of America. The Mormon Pentecost did not ignite in a vacuum, and if angels were "coming to visit the earth," the channels had been opened by a thousand religious, political, fraternal and missionary adepts of different persuasions who had already blazed their way into that spiritual wilderness that ever burns but is never consumed.

"It is a conviction I cannot resist, " declared Richard Price after the Revolution, "that the independence of the English colonies in America is one of the steps ordained by Providence to introduce these times." A spark was in the air, and the atmosphere was charged with a transcending vision of the workings of God leading toward some millennial effulgence worthy of the glorious beginnings of the Western Eden and of its future enlightened citizens, both white and red. "Speed, speed, ye sons of truth!" cried Timothy Dwight to Columbus' little crew,

let Heaven befriend,
Let angels waft you, and let peace attend!
. . . See verdant fields the changing waste unfold;
See sudden harvests dress the plains in gold:
In lofty walls the moving rocks ascend,
And dancing woods to spires and temples bend!

Ormond, the Mormon-like catalyst of Sarah Hale's Genius of Oblivion (1823), roamed the temporal wilderness of America, wondering where volumes describing his ancestors lay forgotten, and learned in a forest vision - complete with beings in flashing light - that the first Americans came from the Holy Land some 585 years before the birth of Christ. Publishing the same year, Ethan Smith reasoned that "it would be strange if so great a section of Christendom as our United States, could claim no appropriate space in the prophetic writings," and saw the promises of Isaiah fulfilling in the remnants of a once-noble race now fleeing the very forests his generation was striving to tame.

To refuse the concepts of such works for fear they might detract from some uniqueness of the Mormon faiths is to deny Joseph Smith his right to adhere to anything he found "virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy." Even essays written by Emerson within weeks before or after certain revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants contain strong parallels to concepts cherished as tenets of the Faith today. Such resemblances between Mormon thought and its precursors and early contemporaries go only so far as one will see them - hopefully never beyond limits of judicious research and comparison. Like the myriad colors that spring from unexpected sources at the base of a flame, the light of Mormonism is only richer for the countless beginnings from which it may be seen to partake.


Picture at the top of this page:  The broad rock base of the main creek turns into a short slide at the lowest corner of my property. A bit difficult to reach, and quite a surprise the first time I saw it after buying the house & land.

Picture further below:  Mennonite children play at the site where some of the earliest Mormon services were held in "Whitmer's School House," 1830-31 (corner of Miller and County House Roads, Fayette, New York). Photograph by Rick Grunder, 1980s;  detail of the wrap-around CD folder illustration for Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source).