Saturday, August 13, 2005


116 pages

(This was originally posted to free-saints by Bill Barton on 5/1/2001)

It's not hard to figure out what happened to the pages.

Martin Harris intended to mortgage his farm to finance the printing of the BoM. Martin ignored pleadings from his wife Lucy not to endanger their future in this reckless manner.

So when Martin brought the pages home to convince his wife of their worth, Lucy took them and burned them. No pages, no book, no mortgage.

Joseph's problem at that point was not the pages at all, rather his problem was Martin Harris. If Joseph tried to reproduce what he had dictated, he would certainly miss some details, and Martin would certainly pick up on some of that. Joseph wasn't willing to engage in this scenario, so he had another revelation of convenience directing him not to reproduce the pages at all.

Martin did eventually mortgage 151 acres of his farm to BoM publisher Grandin. The deal was that Martin had to pay the $3000 printing charge within 18 months (for 5000 leather-bound BoM) or Grandin could sell the land.

Joseph of course had no intention of ever repaying the loan. So when Martin panicked because the books weren't selling, Joseph had another revelation that Martin shouldn't be concerned about such temporal things.

Eventually Martin was forced to sell the 151 acres himself. On April 7,
1831 he deeded them over to early Palmyra settler Thomas Lakey. As part of the deal Martin had to vacate the farmhouse within a month. On May 27 Martin Harris joined the march to the promised land of Kirtland, following the person who had ruined his marriage and bilked him out of his property.

Martin later sold the remaining portions of his farm. He had deeded 80 acres to his wife Lucy in 1825.

The average Mormon will likely give a million dollars to the LDS leaders over 30 years (allowing for 5% compounded interest). And if he ever comes to his senses and leaves, it will possibly/likely cost him his marriage.
So the experience of Martin Harris established an important early paradigm.

See Vogel, "Early Mormon Documents Vol. 3" for documentation concerning the Harris farm.


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