Mormonism and church finances/Kirtland Safety Society/False charges against Warren Parrish
|Joseph Smith, Jr.|
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Critics claim that Joseph Smith lied about Warren Parrish, falsely charging him with financial misconduct, and trying to shift the blame.
There is hard evidence that Parrish was signing new notes for a large amount ($100) when the bank was already in deep difficulty. Whether intentionally fraudulent or not, this was unwise in the extreme—Joseph's caution was appropriate and well-founded.
An examination of surviving Kirtland Safety Society notes provides concrete evidence for Joseph's charge:
- Some light is shed on one other point. One of the notes, with a face value of $100, is signed by Warren Parrish in July 1837. This is independent evidence supporting the charge by Joseph Smith and the Daily Herald and Gazette that Parrish was issuing and circulating notes after Smith had publicly removed himself on June 8 from the bank's operations. Subsequently, Smith warned that
- . . . the brethren and friends of the church . . . [ought] to beware of speculators, renegadoes and gamblers, who are duping the unsuspecting and the unwary, by palming upon them, those bills, which are not of worth here. I discountenance and disapprove of any and all such practices. I know them to be detrimental to the best interests of society, as well as to the principles of religion.
- Thus Dudley Dean misunderstood the situation when in a recent article he called Joseph Smith's denunciation one of the "most astounding and bizarre announcements ever made by a bank founder." Smith's might more accurately be viewed as a timely attempt to thwart Parrish's ill-advised and perhaps fraudulent effort to revive the ill-fated bank.
- [note] Marvin S. Hill, Keith C. Rooker and Larry T. Wimmer, "The Kirtland Economy Revisited: A Market Critique of Sectarian Economics," Brigham Young University Studies 17 no. 4 (Summer 1977), 449. PDF link