The Quincy Account

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Shulem
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Shulem »

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
We don’t have Quincy’s testimony. We have an account written decades later by an unknown person, based (to an unknown extent) on things Quincy wrote.

We have “FIGURES OF THE PAST”:

“IT is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.” (p. 376)

That seems like a very fair assessment and a generous look at how Joseph Smith influenced his people as well as many other Americans who came to know him.

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
There’s no way of extracting what Quincy actually said. You can still choose to believe what we have, but at best it is something Quincy signed off on shortly before he died, when he was very old and memories were far from fresh.

I think we have a good description of what occurred and it lines up pretty well with what others said in describing their encounter with the prophet and the antiquities. I choose to accept the record from the leaves of old journals found in “Figures in the Past” and deem it an accurate portrayal by those recollecting what happened in the past. The idea of Quincy signing off on it before he died is reminiscent of Martin Harris signing off on his own recollections of joining Smith in spiritual manifestation he thought were important. Apparently, neither men denied their testimonies.

For me it’s pretty easy to imagine Smith saying everything Quincy says he said. I just add that to all the other crazy things that were said. It all adds up.

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
Anyone can believe what they want to believe, but I haven’t heard any logical reason as to why Quincy’s actual journals and letters from the time would not have been a better source of information. If you agree with me that they would be a better source of information, then we are in agreement that the “Quincy account” is not as reliable as we might have expected.

We have what we have and it will have to do. To me it is reasonable and very convincing. When I think about the things Joseph Smith must have told others about the vignette of Facsimile No. 3, there really is no limit to what outlandish things Smith might have said! The sky is the limit. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 PROVE that.
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

Shulem wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 8:13 pm
Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
We don’t have Quincy’s testimony. We have an account written decades later by an unknown person, based (to an unknown extent) on things Quincy wrote.

We have “FIGURES OF THE PAST”:

“IT is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.” (p. 376)

That seems like a very fair assessment and a generous look at how Joseph Smith influenced his people as well as many other Americans who came to know him.

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
There’s no way of extracting what Quincy actually said. You can still choose to believe what we have, but at best it is something Quincy signed off on shortly before he died, when he was very old and memories were far from fresh.

I think we have a good description of what occurred and it lines up pretty well with what others said in describing their encounter with the prophet and the antiquities. I choose to accept the record from the leaves of old journals found in “Figures in the Past” and deem it an accurate portrayal by those recollecting what happened in the past. The idea of Quincy signing off on it before he died is reminiscent of Martin Harris signing off on his own recollections of joining Smith in spiritual manifestation he thought were important. Apparently, neither men denied their testimonies.

For me it’s pretty easy to imagine Smith saying everything Quincy says he said. I just add that to all the other crazy things that were said. It all adds up.

Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 7:01 pm
Anyone can believe what they want to believe, but I haven’t heard any logical reason as to why Quincy’s actual journals and letters from the time would not have been a better source of information. If you agree with me that they would be a better source of information, then we are in agreement that the “Quincy account” is not as reliable as we might have expected.

We have what we have and it will have to do. To me it is reasonable and very convincing. When I think about the things Joseph Smith must have told others about the vignette of Facsimile No. 3, there really is no limit to what outlandish things Smith might have said! The sky is the limit. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 PROVE that.

You are definitely a tough cookie 🍪 you inspired me to do a little extra digging. Thank you.

It turns out that at least one relevant letter about his experience in Nauvoo has been found. It’s apparently quoted in full here:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/josi ... eph-smith/

It’s a letter to his wife, written one day after he met Joseph Smith.

It appears to contradict the book on at least a couple points. I’ll discuss one of them here.

The book says Joseph Smith blessed Adams but not Quincy:

“The greeting to me was cordial — with that sort of cordiality with which the president of a college might welcome a deserving janitor — and a blessing formed no part of it. ‘And now come, both of you, into the house…’”

The letter to his wife says Joseph blessed “us,” i.e. both.

“He however blessed us & requested us into his mansion…”

So, which account is to be believed? Which is more reliable, a letter to his wife written the next day, or an edited version of events put together almost 40 years later by someone else?
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 9:50 pm
You are definitely a tough cookie 🍪 you inspired me to do a little extra digging. Thank you.

It turns out that at least one relevant letter about his experience in Nauvoo has been found. It’s apparently quoted in full here:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/josi ... eph-smith/

It’s a letter to his wife, written one day after he met Joseph Smith.

Let’s take a look at the letter the honorable Josiah Quincy posted to his dear wife the day after meeting the prophet, Joseph Smith. The letter is from his heart and articulates every expression of a gentleman providing informative and descriptive details of his journey so that his wife may empathize with his difficult surroundings and also feel joy in the positive things he was experiencing. I highlight portions that I consider important especially those that pertain to the discussion we are having.

Josiah Quincy’s May 16, 1844, Letter wrote:law enforcement Clare House, Davenport, Iowa. Ter.
Thursday Mg May 16. 1844.

My very darling wife,

I closed my last letter at St Louis on Monday [May 13] and took passage in the Steamer Amaranth. We passed rapidly that night and the next day through a beautiful and clean river nearly as wide as at St. Louis & studded with innumerable islands through which we passed sailed brushing the trees with the sides of our boat. during the day we reached Quincy, which being situated in the town of John & the County of Adams possessed a claim on our notice, we accordingly stopped the boat for half an hour & from the top of the Quincy house beheld for the first time a prarie. It appears more like a view out to sea than any thing else to which I can compare it. The perfect level stretching to the horizon & the living green almost amounting to blue with which its clothed giving it the appearance of water. But no description can convey any idea of the rich fertility of the soil, which requires & for years will require no manure to produce the most abundant harvests. The town of Quincy is acknowledged to be the most beautiful, regular & New England like town in the west, & really seems to deserve the honor conferred upon it by its name. As we found we had a day to spare we determined to devote it to the service of the Mormon prophet Joe Smith, and accordingly landed at his city of Nauvoo at midnight between Tuesday [May 14] & Wednesday [May 15]. As we were some distance from his residence we stopped at a poor tavern at the landing, under the guidance of a Dr Goforth, the most perfect personification of Don Quixote that was ever seen. He had been a surgeon in Genl ackson’s army at the battle of New Orleans & seemed simple as a child with a strong inclination to the Mormon faith. The City of Nauvoo is the promised land of the Mormons, is situated on a bend of the Mississippi, that commands a view for miles in both directions. Five years ago there were not fifty inhabitants on it, now they say there are twenty five thousand, & I should think there might be half that number. The town is laid out with perfect regularity & every house has attached to it an acre of land. Of course the prophet priest & king, who is the head of the sect & who numbers of 200.000 followers in his train could not but be an object of interest. Dr Goforth at early morning dispatched a messenger for “the chariot of the prophet” which soon appeared not like that Elisha saw, but on four good wheels with a substantial pair of sturdy horses. We entered & soon arrived at the seat of this “prophet, priest, king, Mayor, Lt General & tavern keeper” for as each & all of these is he inspired to act. The door was surrounded by dirty loafers, from among which our Quixotic guide selected a man, in a checked coat, dirty white pantaloons, a beard of some three days growth and introduced him as General Smith Your Prophet He had the name but certainly but in few respects the look of a prophet. He however blessed us & requested us into his mansion, which was about as dirty as the prophet himself. As the lower floor was crowded he invited us to ascend & throwing open a chamber door, we entered, a close uncured room on the bed of which lay one of the faithful, sound asleep, and we had the evidence of more than one sense that the Mormon saints were not freed from some of the necessities of humanity. This however was a small matter for a prophet. He covered his disciple as well as he could with the bed clothes and down we sat to theological conversation. Breakfast was soon announced & when it was finished we found “an upper chamber” properly prepared for our reception. We passed the whole day in his society, & had one of the most extraordinary conversations I ever participated in, he preached for us, prophesied for us, interpreted hieroglyphics for us, exhibited his mummies and took us to his temple which he is now erecting on a most majestic site of hewn stone. Every inhabitant dedicates the labor of his tenth day to its structure, it will be finished within a year & whether Mormonism expires or not, must remain a massive memorial of its existence for centuries. I have neither time nor space to describe the faith or works of this most extraordinary man but reserve them for a future occasion. The power he exercises both civilly & religiously is immense, & is a living proof of the insceptibility of human nature to imposition. We left Nauvoo yesterday morning and reached this place at 12 last night. The scenery around is lovely beyond description & I & my companion have just ordered “a barouche landau”, alias a two horse waggon for the purpose of making an exploration. I trust I shall yet have power to write to you again from this place for whether with priests or prophets I am ever most truly & devotedly your own Josiah Quincy Jr.

P.S. We shall probably go to the falls of St Anthony as it will only delay us five days, & is an opportunity we shall never have again. After we leave this [place] my opportunities of writing may not be frequent so if you do not hear [from me] you must not be anxious. Write me at Buffalo.—Good bye—God bless you.

[postmarked Davenport Iowa May 17]
Josiah Quincy
(for Mrs Quincy)
Boston
Mass

Note that Quincy’s boat arrived in Nauvoo at 12:00 midnight. It was quite late, indeed. After landing, they immediately walked to the nearest tavern to seek assistance and lodging. Early the next morning a chariot was dispatched to pick Quincy and Adams up and drive them to the prophet’s mansion to formerly begin a tour. Note particular, that every respect was given to the names and titles held by Joseph Smith who led the Mormon faith. Josiah expressed matters in dignified terms and yet was honest in expressing the differences between the frontier and its people compared to a more refined society back east. Upon entering the front entrance of the mansion, they were met by Joseph Smith! Although the prophet seemed untidy and dirty, Quincy makes the point that “He however blessed us & requested us into his mansion.” Thus, all was well, the homeowner, Joseph Smith, uttered the standard greeting which is:

God Bless You

In this case, Quincy was accompanied by Adams so the “YOU” in God bless you was in the plural, NOT in the singular. One cannot greet two people at their doorstep and say “God bless you” and invite them in unless they are blessing both persons. The greeting was cordial and the standard salutation one would give to others to show respect. Note at the bottom of Quincy’s letter he extends the same blessing to his wife upon closing the letter, “Good bye—God bless you.” So, after Joseph Smith extended the salutation of “God bless you” to his visitors he let them in.

Upon entering the mansion Quincy notes that the lower level was crowded with a lot of people. The prophet escorted them upstairs and opened the door leading into a room. Quincy specifically mentions how the prophet caringly spread the body of a sleeping disciple with a blanket rather than wake or disturb that person. That seemed rather touching. Breakfast and conversation then followed and most importantly they were escorted to a special room “upper chamber” where they were formerly given a presentation from the prophet and shown the Egyptian antiquities to include the mummies and papyrus.

Note our key phrase of interest in which Quincy states while Smith prophesied and exhibited the mummies was that he interpreted hieroglyphics for us which is to say he read the writing on the papyrus! The learned Josiah Quincy makes no bones about it when he says he saw the mummies and that Joseph Smith interpreted the hieroglyphic writing that was upon the papyrus. Smith had already published the Book of Abraham and for him it was no problem interpreting the writing on the papyrus since he had already translated it!

So, what writing did Smith translate specifically? How about the idea that the name of Abraham was on the papyrus, after all, it was the roll of Abraham written by his own hand! The testimony given by Josiah Quincy to his wife makes perfect sense. You’d think if there was just ONE word on the papyrus that Smith could interpret or translate for Quincy it would be the name ABRAHAM.

More later
Ryan Larsen
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Re: The Quincy Account

Post by Ryan Larsen »

The book has Quincy saying, about Joseph Smith’s greeting to him, that “a blessing formed no part of it.”

The book depicts this as being in contrast to Smith saying “God bless you” to Adams.

It sounds like both you and Quincy disagree with the writer of the book, and are more inclined to trust instead Quincy’s letter to his wife.
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Shulem wrote:
Wed Mar 23, 2022 1:18 am
Josiah Quincy’s May 16, 1844, Letter wrote: he preached for us, prophesied for us, interpreted hieroglyphics for us, exhibited his mummies

Note our key phrase of interest in which Quincy states while Smith prophesied and exhibited the mummies was that he interpreted hieroglyphics for us which is to say he read the writing on the papyrus! The learned Josiah Quincy makes no bones about it when he says he saw the mummies and that Joseph Smith interpreted the hieroglyphic writing that was upon the papyrus. Smith had already published the Book of Abraham and for him it was no problem interpreting the writing on the papyrus since he had already translated it!

So, what writing did Smith translate specifically? How about the idea that the name of Abraham was on the papyrus, after all, it was the roll of Abraham written by his own hand! The testimony given by Josiah Quincy to his wife makes perfect sense. You’d think if there was just ONE word on the papyrus that Smith could interpret or translate for Quincy it would be the name ABRAHAM.

Granted, Josiah’s letter to his wife says nothing about the signature or autograph of Abraham but that does not mean it was not said. It only means we can conclude that Josiah didn’t express that specific point in the letter. But, theoretically speaking, what else might Josiah have written his wife about how Smith interpreted hieroglyphics from the roll of Abraham?

Well, it’s plausible (favorite apologetic word) that Smith might have pointed at Fig. 2 in Facsimile No. 3 and said that is, “King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.” Smith could have pointed at Fig. 4 and interpreted that person as “Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand.” A bold interpretation of the hieroglyphics might posit the black man in the vignette as an Egyptian slave in Pharaoh’s court and decipher the hieroglyphs designating him as “Olimlah”. Moreover, we know that Smith interpreted the hieroglyphic characters above Fig. 5 as the name “Shulem” and revealed that he was a servant to the king.

So, the point of this little exercise is to make it abundantly clear that it’s very, very, easy to accept the testimony contained in “Figures of the Past” whereby it states explicitly that the name of “Abraham” is also found on the papyrus and like others names in the vignette of Facsimile No. 3, Smith pointed at particular characters in the hieroglyphs and said, “There, that is the signature of the patriarch Abraham.” Add to that, it’s very reasonable that Josiah might have responded with, “It is indeed a most interesting autograph, and doubtless the only one extant. What an ornament it would be to have these ancient manuscripts handsomely set, in appropriate frames, and hung up around the walls of the temple which you are about to erect in this place.”

All seems in perfect order at this point. And no doubt Joseph Smith would be all too happy to hang the framed manuscript in the temple along with the translations.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

:o

In light of everything I expressed in adding additional hypothetical information to Josiah’s letter to his wife, something further he might have said to his dear wife had he time to do so, seals the deal. What is that? He might have said, “The prophet then pointed at Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, and above his head is his name written by his own hand and is said to be his signature.”
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Ryan Larsen wrote:
Wed Mar 23, 2022 11:37 am
The book has Quincy saying, about Joseph Smith’s greeting to him, that “a blessing formed no part of it.”

The book depicts this as being in contrast to Smith saying “God bless you” to Adams.

It sounds like both you and Quincy disagree with the writer of the book, and are more inclined to trust instead Quincy’s letter to his wife.

Patience. See post above for more.

;)
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Ryan Larsen wrote:
Wed Mar 23, 2022 11:37 am
The book has Quincy saying, about Joseph Smith’s greeting to him, that “a blessing formed no part of it.”

The book depicts this as being in contrast to Smith saying “God bless you” to Adams.

It sounds like both you and Quincy disagree with the writer of the book, and are more inclined to trust instead Quincy’s letter to his wife.

Ryan,

Yes, there are differences between Josiah’s personal letter to his beloved wife and those found in the leaves of ”Figures of the Past”, thus different strokes for different folks and I will explain those differences shorty.

Often the differences in telling a story provide additional details or reflect certain aspects from different points of view. In that respect, I’m reminded of the serious differences in the multiple First Vision accounts! I have a thread in the Celestial Forum about key differences of The First Vision that indicate these differences prove deception rather than just providing additional information from another point of view. I hope you read that thread, Ryan.

Let’s take a peek at the difference you seem to have objections to and feel it discredits the testimonial in which Quincy approved later in life. The part about the blessing. You sense a contradiction between the accounts or is it just another viewpoint with additional feeling and insight expressed at a later date? Do recall that the letter was written after the fact and the leaves of the journal came later.

Josiah Quincy “Figures of the Past” wrote:This was the founder of the religion which had been preached in every quarter of the earth. As Dr. Goforth introduced us to the prophet, he mentioned the parentage of my companion. "God bless you" to begin with !" said Joseph Smith, raising his hands in the air and letting them descend upon the shoulders of Mr. Adams. The benediction, though evidently sincere, had an odd savor of what may be called official familiarity, such as a crowned head might adopt on receiving the heir presumptive of a friendly court The greeting to me was cordial — with that sort of cordiality with which the president of a college might welcome a deserving janitor — and a blessing formed no part of it ''And now come, both of you, into the house !" said our host, as, suiting the action to the word, he ushered us across the threshold of his tavern.

From what I gather, there is a kind of repudiation in Josiah Quincy’s feelings towards Joseph Smith and Mormon polygamy and in a personal blessing coming from such a people. I think in the end, Quincy rejected any blessing and considered it null and void and would have no part in it upon learning more about the prophet as time went on. Polygamy and the spiritual wife system was something that greatly disturbed Quincy and he mentions that in his testimonial.

Note that when Joseph Smith pronounced the “God Bless you”, he raised his hands in the air and then landed them on the shoulders of Adams. Nothing is said about hands upon the shoulders of Quincy who considered the greeting cordial, sincere, and yet “an odd savor”. It seems Quincy in the end was happy enough he didn’t have hands placed on his shoulders because he seemed somewhat apprehensive, so in that regard he had “no part” of the physical blessing exhibited during the “God bless you” routine. Quincy felt he was being looked down on like a university president would look down on the school janitor. For him, it did not ring true.

I see absolutely no problem or contradiction between the statements Quincy made to his wife and those found in Figures of the Past. We are getting the story from different perspectives and its all Josiah Quincy approved!
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Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary

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Image


Noah Webster 1828 dictionary INTERNET ARCHIVES

Webster 1828 Dictionary wrote: AU'TOGRAPH,
AUTOG'RAPHY,
n. [Gr. αuτoς, self, and γράφω, writing.]
A person's own hand writing; an original manuscript.
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Ryan Larsen wrote:
Wed Mar 09, 2022 2:53 pm
In his introduction, Quincy states:
... a friend, who had read my journals with interest, offered me his most valuable aid in what may be called the literary responsibilities of the undertaking. My narratives have gained in grace of expression as they passed beneath the correcting pen of my obliging critic, and I am confident that a stern exercise of his right of curtailing reflections and omitting incidents has been no less for the reader's advantage.

I trust that all of us better understand or appreciate what Quincy may have meant by the “grace of expression” as he tendered his views to different parties whether it be his beloved wife, his own journal, or someone else. But the testimonials came from him as he saw fit to explain it and as it was understood by others.
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Re: The Quincy Account

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Ryan Larsen wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 9:50 pm
Shulem wrote:
Tue Mar 22, 2022 8:13 pm



We have “FIGURES OF THE PAST”:

“IT is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.” (p. 376)

That seems like a very fair assessment and a generous look at how Joseph Smith influenced his people as well as many other Americans who came to know him.





I think we have a good description of what occurred and it lines up pretty well with what others said in describing their encounter with the prophet and the antiquities. I choose to accept the record from the leaves of old journals found in “Figures in the Past” and deem it an accurate portrayal by those recollecting what happened in the past. The idea of Quincy signing off on it before he died is reminiscent of Martin Harris signing off on his own recollections of joining Smith in spiritual manifestation he thought were important. Apparently, neither men denied their testimonies.

For me it’s pretty easy to imagine Smith saying everything Quincy says he said. I just add that to all the other crazy things that were said. It all adds up.





We have what we have and it will have to do. To me it is reasonable and very convincing. When I think about the things Joseph Smith must have told others about the vignette of Facsimile No. 3, there really is no limit to what outlandish things Smith might have said! The sky is the limit. The Explanations of Facsimile No. 3 PROVE that.

You are definitely a tough cookie 🍪 you inspired me to do a little extra digging. Thank you.

It turns out that at least one relevant letter about his experience in Nauvoo has been found. It’s apparently quoted in full here:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/josi ... eph-smith/

It’s a letter to his wife, written one day after he met Joseph Smith.

It appears to contradict the book on at least a couple points. I’ll discuss one of them here.

The book says Joseph Smith blessed Adams but not Quincy:

“The greeting to me was cordial — with that sort of cordiality with which the president of a college might welcome a deserving janitor — and a blessing formed no part of it. ‘And now come, both of you, into the house…’”

The letter to his wife says Joseph blessed “us,” i.e. both.

“He however blessed us & requested us into his mansion…”

So, which account is to be believed? Which is more reliable, a letter to his wife written the next day, or an edited version of events put together almost 40 years later by someone else?
Hi Ryan and a belated welcome.

If there were a direct contradiction between the letter and the later account, all other things being equal, I’d place more weight on the letter. Given what we know about memory, the account written closer in time is more likely to be correct.

But I’m not seeing that type of contradiction here. The letter is a fairly brief summary of several events. I don’t think that the absence of any mention of the autograph is evidence that Smith didn’t say it. In Bayesian terms, I don’t see the absence of that specific detail from the letter as significantly changing whatever the prior was.

Interesting discussion. Carry on!
he/him
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