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Big, Bad, Boogie-Woman Brodie
Research by Kerry A. Shirts
(A note of explanation - I have a wonderful critic on the newsgroups who constantly harps at me to read Brodie (which I have done) as she is the most objective, bias free, detailed, and accurate historian on Joseph Smith in print. I am constantly accused by him that I don't use logic. In fun and humor I always retort with a deliberate misspelling of "Logic", such as Lijjick, and all sorts of variants of the word. I am having fun in this one, yet the facts are accurate)
Our beloved critic loves to Lijjikally discuss Mormonism, and I believe I have found where he took his Lijjick lessons from! He reads too much Brodie! Reading her material is the most liffickal thing I have ever done! Consider some instances.....Too good to miss.
Brodie says on p. 9 that while the Smith family was preparing to join Joseph's father in Palmyra that Joseph personally watched his mother load the wagon and argue with creditors who were holding notes against his father and snooping around the house and farm bartering for the family's prized possessions. The boys, Joseph and Hyrum, and presumably Alvin as well, stood by in outraged helplessness, miserable and dumb, as "they were no match for the men".
I love this! Oh the melodrama, the weakness of the Smith's, the lijjik of the situation! Soooooo, when we bother to do something that Brodie nor our critic did or does, that is look at her source, we find that in reality, there is no indication in Lucy's history that she sold the farm to pay off creditors, nor that the children were aware of the problem, or that they simply stood by in outraged helplessness both miserable and dumb, while an imaginary horde of creditors bartered for their possessions! This is chapter 16 of her book on the History of Joseph Smith. Pray that our critic looks it up himself or I'll put the entire thing on the newsgroup.
Brodie, with very critic-like Lijjik contends that in order to understand Joseph's childhood and upbringing in his neighborhood in New York, it is very, very bestest to look at a place over 700 miles away! In Kentucky!!! Yeah! and furthermore, forget looking at the years Joseph actually lived, hell lets looky at 1797-1805 ***BEFORE*** Joseph Smith was born! Pure, unadulterated historical lijjick to be sure, and our critic sucks it all in by proclaiming Brodie is the finest way to understand Joseph Smith. (Brodie pp. 14f).
Brodie's next magic trick is to lijiqually suppress evidence in order to bolster her very ahistoric view of Joseph Smith's religiousity. The FINEST way to refute Mormon History, is of course, to suppress what contradicts your own theories, and proclaim with trumpets those sources which bolster your make-up job. Brodie is queen of mastering this lijjik, and her favorite young son, our critic falls for it hook, line, and stinker. Consider Brodie's argument....
She proclaims that the earliest accounts of newspapers ever mentioning Smith have nothing concerning a religious nature in them, so therefore, this is proof that Smith was "irrereligious." And make no mistake about it, Brodie assures us, "I have examined all these newspapers with care." (p. 23, note). Well, to be sure, she certainly HAS, however, she has examined them in order to present her theories of things not said there to be sure, but pssst! No one tell our critic cause this'll cause him concern for his favorite mistress of Mormonism.
Brodie examines the "Wayne Sentinel" to be sure, but notice that she is seriously contending that these newspaper accounts show that Joe was irreligious! Yet consider the "Wayne Sentinel" entry for Fri. June 26, 1829. It tells of Joseph Smith acquiring the Book of Mormon, which is described as "religious and divine nature and origin..." Notice Brodie (p. 23) goes no further than Palmyra Reflector of 1831. Interestingly, had Brodie really read with care, she would have noticed that 3 weeks BEFORE her Palmyra Reflector reference was found an article in the Palmyra Reflector (surprise!!!) that noted, among other things, Joseph's followers claimed he had received a commission from God to restore religion to the world and that he [Joseph Smith - of course!] "had seen God frequently and personally." But since for Brodie, Smith was irreligious up into the 1830's she ignores this account. Typical Lijjikc to be sure. But wait! We want to see what is behind door #2! More Lijjick, but THIS IS GOOD!
Brodie would have us believe that the affidavits against Joe Smith were good, true, and honest, completely damning and proof, surefire, rock solid proof, that Smith was an irreligious scoundrel, and that them thar gold plates, weren't never thar pilgrim! Ain't no way to treat history ma'am. Consider Brodie's lijikcal methods here. She notes that there is an Appendix A at the back of her book with the FULL text of the affidavits (see p. 20, note). Soooooooo, when we look at these in the back of her book (Our critic more than likely looked at the Index, but we'll forgive this slight oversight), we note something quite peculiar. All Brodie includes are some "significant extracts" of the affidavits! Ahhhhhhhh! Sooooooo, instead of gettin the full revelation, the full ball - o- wax, the full skinny, we get what BRODIE thinks are the SIGNIFICANT parts, and they ARE, they ARE significant, FOR HER THEORY. We note that she claims the "complete affidavit" of Hale is in Appendix A (p. 29), and the "complete statement" of Hale (p. 42). Soooooo, we notice something weird though. SEVERAL HUNDRED WORDS are missing from Hale's statement. (oh damn, and just when she thought she was getting clever). Brodie also notes that "the text of Ingersoll's statement" is ALSO in Appendix A (p. 32, note), but when we see what she included, what is more interesting is what she EXCLUDED, nay, OVER 1,000 WORDS are missing! The interesting thing here is that in E.D. Howe's "Mormonism Unvailed [sic], the FULL affidavits ARE there. And Brodie references to E.D. Howe, so how on earth could she have missed so much of the affidavits? Simple. She simply left out the parts that PROVED Joseph Smith WAS, in fact, RELIGIOUS. Hell man, the critics have the methodology that if the evidence refutes yer theory, then either suppress it, or get rid of it, or ignore it. Well shoot, it works for them! Notice Brodie's own words: "And the detailed affidavits of his neighbors would lead one to believe that the youth had been immune to religious influence of any sort." (pp. 23f). Well, what about the parts that Brodie cut out? Consider! Here is what is behind door # 2!
Barton Stafford: "He professed to be inspired of the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon." (How could he?!?! Had Joseph Smith not read Brodie's "detailed" theory against him or something????)
Henry Harris: "He said he had a revelation from God that told him they [the gold plates] were hid in a certain hill."
Hezekiah M'Kune: "He said that he was a prophet sent from God." (Perhaps Joseph felt himself an irreligious prophet in order to please Brodie, so he threw in God as sort of a side trick meant to throw off the blood hounds of anti-Mormonism in order to bolster their own pet theories.... who knows.......)
Parley Chase: "The Mormon Bible is said to be a revelation from God."
Nathaniel C. Lewis: "He said that God had commanded him to translate it [the golden plates]."
Alva Hale: [mentions that Joseph told him that his gift was from God]
Isaac Hale: "I enquired whose words they were and was informed by Joseph or Emma that they were the words of Jesus Christ."
So, we find that Brodie, after stating that the documents in question indicate that Joseph Smith had been "immune to any religious influence of any sort" Brodie omits those documents and segments of documents that indicate that Joseph Smith was VERY RELIGIOUS, of EVERY SORT! More Lijjique!
So we find that early newspaper articles are suppressed by Brodie because they confirm Joseph's religious claims, and then we are given select articles that question his religious motivations, and we are told these articles are the first, when in fact they are later, and we are told THIS, YES THIS is the REAL history of Mormonism and Joseph Smith!
Now regarding Joseph Smith's fine and upstanding education, we find that before and after the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was "hampered by meager education and grinding poverty." (p. 18). However, for the production of the BofM itself, Joseph's abilities all the sudden become pronounced and we are informed that "to belittle his creative talent is to do him as great an injustice as to say that he had no learning." (p. 62). And then in the very next paragraph, we are informed that "his talent, it is true, was not exceptional."!!! Still more lijjikc!
And finally, behind door #3!
Brodie notes that Joseph Smith "reflected the irreligion and cynicism of his father." (p. 16). Then Brodie later notes that "there is no evidence of cynicism even in Joseph's most intimate diary entries." (p. 80).
So here we have the cynical, yet non-cynical irreligious prophet who was most religious, uneducated, creative genius in all of America. The Lijjik here is perfect.
Brodie claims from pgs. 168-180 that Joseph's study of foreign languages was phenomenal. He is even referred to as "an amateur Egyptologist." (p. 170). Joseph also studied Greek while he was at Kirtland. Then Brodie turns right around and later claims that Joseph didn't know the different between Egyptian and Greek. (p. 290f)
Brodie claims "the casual readers will be shocked by his deceptions." (p. 84). Then turns right around and says Joseph acted "with real sincerity." (p. 85).
Brodie states that "those who knew at first hand" that the accusations of Joseph's enemies were true merely dismissed then as "juvenile folly." And then she illustrates this with a quotation from Brigham Young, as if this is an admission to Joseph's immoral character. The quotation as Brodie gives it is thus:
"If he acts like a devil, he has brought forth a doctrine that will save us, if we abide by it. He may get drunk every day of his life, sleep with his neighbor's wife every night, run horses and gamble... But the doctrine he has produced will save you and me and the whole world." (p. 145f).
Now, the REAL quotation by Brigham Young is this:
"I RECOLLECT A CONVERSATION I HAD WITH A PRIEST WHO WAS AN OLD FRIEND OF OURS BEFORE I WAS PERSONALLY ACQUAINTED WITH THE PROPHET JOSEPH. I SAID I HAVE NEVER SEEN HIM; AND DO NOT KNOW HIS PRIVATE CHARACTER, THE DOCTRINE HE TEACHES IS ALL I KNOW ABOUT THE MATTER. BRING ANYTHING AGAINST THAT IF YOU CAN. If he acts like a devil, he has brought forth a doctrine that will save us...... etc."
In other words, Brigham was NOT describing Joseph Smith's character at all here. But Brodie would have us believe otherwise. More Lijique!
This is enough to at least indicate what we have. Brodie, the Mormon Historian par-excellence, so long as she can control the sources, and bolster her own view of history by suppressing evidence that is against her, and distorting things to fit her theory.