Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Joseph hit a baptist preacher

Joseph Smith hit a baptist preacher?


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

Author's Claims


One Nation under Gods, page 179 (hardback and paperback)

Jedediah Grant said that "Smith hit the [Baptist] preacher and threw him to the ground so violently that the minister 'whirled round a few times, like a duck shot in the head'" (emphasis added)

Author's Sources


Endnote 39, page 544 (hardback); page 542 (paperback)


Question: Did Joseph Smith hit a Baptist preacher and throw him to the ground?

Jedediah Grant says nothing about Joseph Smith actually wrestling, much less 'hitting,' the Baptist preacher. He only states that the preacher was "shocked" at the Prophet's proposal

One critic of the Church claims that Jedediah Grant said that "Smith hit the [Baptist] preacher and threw him to the ground so violently that the minister 'whirled round a few times, like a duck shot in the head'" (emphasis added) [1]

However, the critic fails to tell us that this was in the context of the preacher being shocked by his senses, not "hit" by the Prophet.

Let's look at what Jedediah Grant actually said (the portion extracted by the author is highlighted in bold):

Before the Baptist priest, I have referred to, came to Nauvoo, he had heard brother William O. Clark, who could preach a bible and a half at a sermon, and could use the fashionable old tone, the blessed old tone. This Baptist imbibed a notion that we were as much ahead of his ideas of piety, and that our tone was as much longer than his, as the strength of the arguments produced by Clark were stronger than his; and supposed that our sanctimoniousness was co-equal with what he considered the merits of our doctrine.

Under these impressions he came to Nauvoo, and was introduced to the Prophet. In the meantime some person came up that brother Joseph would have a talk with, but while doing this he kept his eye upon the stranger, on this priest. After he got through chatting, the Baptist stood before him, and folding his arms said, "Is it possible that I now flash my optics upon a Prophet, upon a man who has conversed with my Savior?" "Yes," says the Prophet, "I don't know but you do; would not you like to wrestle with me?" That, you see, brought the priest right on to the thrashing floor, and he turned a summerset right straight. After he had whirled round a few times, like a duck shot in the head, he concluded that his piety had been awfully shocked, even to the centre, and went to the Prophet to learn why he had so shocked his piety. The Prophet commenced and showed him the follies of the world, and the absurdity of the long tone, and that he had a super-abundant stock of sanctimoniousness. [2]

This source says NOTHING about Joseph Smith actually wrestling, much less 'hitting,' the Baptist preacher. It only states that the preacher was "shocked" at the Prophet's proposal -- evidently because he could not imagine that a prophet of God would do such a thing as engage in physical sports. This apparently softened his outlook sufficiently for Joseph to have a talk with him about avoiding "the long tone" and sanctimony.

Notes

  1. Richard Abanes, One Nation under Gods, page 179 (hardback and paperback)
  2. Jedediah M. Grant, (24 September 1854) Journal of Discourses 3:67.