Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Ettie V. Smith

Ettie V. Smith claims Brigham is her saviour?


A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods
A work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims


One Nation under Gods, page 223 (hardback and paperback)

  • "[S]alvation for the Mormon rested on their obedience to Brigham..." When Mary Ettie V. Smith asked Brigham, "are you my Saviour?" she claims that Brigham said, "Most assuredly I am....You cannot enter the Celestial kingdom, except by my consent. Do you doubt it?"

Author's Sources


Endnote 94, page 554 (hardback); page 552 (paperback)

  • Quoted in Nelson Winch Green, Mormonism: its rise, progress, and present condition. Embracing the narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, 201.


Question: Did Brigham Young tell Ettie V. Smith that he was her savior?

Nelson Winch Green's work and "Mrs. Ettie V. Smith" are notorious among LDS historians for their inaccuracy

The book One Nation Under Gods claims that "salvation for the Mormon rested on their obedience to Brigham..." When Mary Ettie V. Smith asked Brigham, "are you my Saviour?" she claims that Brigham said, "Most assuredly I am....You cannot enter the Celestial kingdom, except by my consent. Do you doubt it?" [1] The author cites Nelson Winch Green, Mormonism: its rise, progress, and present condition. Embracing the narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, 201.

Green's work and "Mrs. Ettie V. Smith" are notorious among LDS historians for their inaccuracy.[2]

For example, in her discussion of plural marriage, Ettie gets virtually every detail wrong—-she insists that William Law, Robert Foster, and Henry Jacobs had all been sent on missions, only to return and establish the Expositor to oppose the plural wife teaching. While Law and Foster were involved with the Expositor, they were not sent on missions. Jacobs, had served some missions, but he did not object to plural marriage and was a faithful Saint who was not connected with the Expositor.

Even the anti-Mormon Fanny Stenhouse considered Ettie Smith to be a writer who "so mixed up fiction with what was true, that it was difficult to determine where one ended and the other began,"[3] and was a good example of how "the autobiographies of supposed Mormon women were [as] unreliable"[4] as other Gentile accounts, given her tendency to "mingl[e] facts and fiction" "in a startling and sensational manner."[5]


Notes

  1. Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, Endnote 94, page 554 (hardback); page 552 (paperback).
  2. The historical accuracy of Nelson Winch Green’s Fifteen Years among the Mormons (1858), purporting to be the experiences of Mary Ettie V. (Coray) Smith, has been investigated from a variety of sources. Many parts of the story dealing directly with Mary Ettie’s family have been confirmed, though names, dates, and other important facts have been purposely misstated. The more sensational claims cannot be verified. They are most likely an artful combination of real events that happened to other people, rumors, and fiction, concocted by Mary Ettie in order to control her own destiny." - John W. McCoy, PhD, "True Grit and Tall Tales: How Mary Ettie Cory (1827–1867) Got Her Man," 2006, 25 pages. off-site
  3. Mrs. T.B.H. [Fanny] Stenhouse, "Tell It All": The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism (Hartford, Conn.: A.D. Worthington & Company, 1875 [1874]), 618, the footnote confirms the identity of the author referred to as Ettie V. Smith..
  4. Stenhouse, "Tell It All", x.
  5. Stenhouse, "Tell It All", xi-xii.