Appeal Letter For College Readmission Example | …

1. The statement of the 3 witnesses for the Book of Mormon was a single statement signed by all three men. The statement of the 8 witnesses was also a single statement "signed" by all 8 men (Oliver Cowdery actually "signed" each of the eight witnesses' names). This has the appearance of fraud. By contrast, the Conneaut witnesses' statements were individually produced, dated and witnessed by Hurlbut and Howe.

2. The eight Conneaut witnesses signed affidavits that are quite different in content (contrary to Fawn Brodie's incorrect analysis). Their memories were not vague recollections made after reading the Book of Mormon. Spalding read his manuscript to them for entertainment, in a time before television, radio, or newspapers. They were thus reporting on actual events from memory witnessed with the physical senses, not "spiritual eyes". They lived in the vicinity of Spalding from 1809 to 1812, and personally knew him. One way to crosscheck memory accuracy is to seek corroborating evidence regarding the witnesses themselves – their reputations, attention to detail, memory skills, biases, and trustworthiness. Many were leading citizens of the community. One was John Spalding, Solomon's brother, who reportedly heard Manuscript Found repeatedly and in its entirety. Artemus Cunningham was owed money by Spalding. Another was Henry Lake, Solomon's business partner. Yet another, Aaron Wright, was a Justice of the Peace who investigated the mounds of Conneaut and described finding bones in the mounds that disintegrated when he dug them up. These were credible people, with no known conflicts of interest. These people had no connection to Mormonism either before or after their statements were published. They didn't retract or modify what was quoted in "Mormonism Unvailed".

3. Hurlbut went to Conneaut to collect statements because of previous allegations. Those allegations were made when Orson Hyde and Samuel Smith visited Conneaut and read from the Book of Mormon. Nehemiah King, a respected citizen of Conneaut, said they were reading from the book of his deceased friend Solomon. Later, Hurlbut traveled hundreds of miles searching for the Spalding manuscript. This indicates that he thought the Spalding manuscript was authentic.

4. Statements opposing the Conneaut witness statements were made at least a decade after the Conneaut witnesses gave their statements. This is important because the Conneaut witness statements were not attacked at the time their evidence was published. These people lived only 40 miles from Kirtland. Why didn't the Church point out faults in their statements at the time?

5. Eber Howe traveled to Conneaut to interview the witnesses and confirm the facts before he printed their statements.

6. Howe was friendly with Joseph Smith, had dinner at Joseph Smith's house after "Mormonism Unvailed" was published, and was married to a Mormon. "Mormonism Unvailed" is widely respected and widely quoted by both Mormon scholars and non-Mormon scholars. In it, Howe acknowledged that the Spalding manuscript he received from Hurlbut (the Oberlin Manuscript also called Manuscript Story) was not Manuscript Found, and he connects Rigdon to Spalding (more on that later). Howe later said he didn't know what happened to the Spalding manuscript he received from Howe but assumed it was lost in a fire after he sold the print shop. Later, the new print shop owner, L.L. Rice, found the manuscript among the texts shipped to Hawaii. These data do not indicate lying or bias on Howe's part.

7. The 8 Conneaut statements are the tip of the witness iceberg. At least 19 different witnesses linked Spalding to the Book of Mormon. Besides the eight published Conneaut witnesses, additional credible witnesses in Conneaut and in Amity, Pennsylvania, stated that they saw the actual Spalding manuscript, the one that identified Lehi and Nephi. The biggest problem with much of this evidence was the time period that elapsed between their encounters with Spalding's work and their statements. The earliest statements came 18-22 years after Spalding allegedly exposed them to his work; the latest came 74 years after the alleged encounter with Spalding. Old evidence is susceptible to memory fallibility, the possibility of witness tampering. The 8 Conneaut witnesses remembered events that transpired about 18-22 years before their statements were taken. To claim that the witnesses couldn't possibly remember the names or events after 18-22 years, is speculation. Most people remember many people's names and details after 18-22 years. I certainly do (even despite some memory problems).

Another way to crosscheck details of the testimony provided by the 8 Conneaut witnesses and later witnesses is to test the predictive power of their testimony. Based on their comments and Howe's analysis, we can expect to find a link between Spalding and Sidney Rigdon. A strong connection comes through the testimony of Rebecca Eichbaum. Eichbaum was the clerk in the Pittsburgh post office where Spalding and Rigdon collected their mail. Her testimony connects Spalding to Rigdon at the post office. It also connects Rigdon to printer Silas Engles and to J. Harrison Lambdin, the ward of Robert Patterson and eventual junior partner in the Patterson printing and book selling operation. But Eichbaum's testimony was not collected until September 18, 1872 - over 56 years after the alleged incidents! The reliability of her memory could certainly be a problem. Some form of independent confirmation is needed, and in her case, such a confirmation was possible. Several witnesses testified that Eichbaum had a superior memory and was superbly attentive to detail. But more impressive was the predictive power of her testimony: when researchers crosschecked her testimony by investigating post office records, they found the names of both Spalding and Rigdon on the same June 30, 1816, list of unclaimed letters. See:

8. One of the later witnesses for Manuscript Found was Hurlbut's lawyer, Jason Briggs, who wrote five letters to newspapers later in his life claiming that he had seen and handled Manuscript Found in December of 1833. This lawyer had a distinguished career unrelated to Mormonism. Another person was J.D. Dowan, the Justice of the Peace who signed the warrant against Hurlbut. Dowan also had no alleged interest against Mormonism. His statement says that Spalding's manuscript conformed specifically to the Book of Mormon. The statement is attested by his grandchild, and is kept in the Chicago Historical Society.

9. The recent text analyses of the Book of Mormon appear consistent with statements made by the Conneaut witnesses and other witnesses of Manuscript Found, but are inconsistent with statements made by the Book of Mormon witnesses. This is also evidence of the predictive power of the Spalding witnesses: our recent text analyses could have disproved the Spalding-Rigdon theory, but failed to do so.

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