Monday, April 26, 2010

Lucy Harris vs. Joseph Smith: The 1829 Proceedings

April 26, 2010
by Tim Barker

Note: A more detailed and expanded study of this subject is available here.

Lucy Mack Smith's Account

The only known source describing a court case regarding Joseph Smith's character, as instigated by Martin Harris' wife Lucy, is the Joseph Smith family biography dictated by Lucy Mack Smith in 1844-1845.  Orson Pratt published the manuscript in London in 1853, and entitled it, "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations." 

About a year after the loss of the 116 pages, Martin Harris wanted to visit Joseph in Harmony, PA, to see how the work was progressing.  Lucy Smith explained that in order to prevent Martin from visiting Joseph during the summer of 1829, Lucy Harris went from house to house stirring up trouble, and after ascertaining the "number and strength of her adherents, she entered a complaint against Joseph [Smith], before a certain magistrate of Lyons."  She explains the day of the proceedings as follows: