The ideas in the book were within the young author's ken. His Calvinism need not have been formally derived from the NCI() England Primer, nor his arguments on Deism from Thomas Paine's Age of Benson, since the backwoods pulpit and the political gossip of the taverns supplied these notions. If the internal evidence makes the Book of Mormon indigenous, the external evi dence is equally against a foreign authorship as presented in the ordinary Spaulding-Rigdon theory. This is, briefly, that a romance of pre historic America, written in Ohio in 1812 by a Congregational minister, Solomon Spaulding, was the 'source, root, and inspiration' by which Smith's associate, Sidney Renton, concocted the scheme of a Golden Bible. The recovery in 1885 of the alleged original of Spaulding's "Manu script Story" has been to the Mormons conclu sive proof of its non connection with the Book of Mormon, for there is no real resemblance be tween the two.
The day of the founding of the Mormon Church was April 6, 1830. On that day Smith claimed to have received a revelation beginning: "Thou shalt lie called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle." This is a characteristic sentence from the second half of the Mormon canon, the Book of Commandments. This rarest. of original Mormon sources is in part a book of discipline, containing the "Articles and ('o•e nants of the Church of Christ." To add to the confusion of contents, this pamphlet of 55 chap ters has its biographical side. Like its enlarge ment, the revamped Book of Doctrine and Cov enants, it comprises "revelations to ;Joseph Smith, .Ir., for the building up of the Kingdom of tiod in the last days." Concerning the origin of these vaticinations, David Whitmer, the third witness of the gold plates, asserted that the revelations were given through the stone through which the Book of Mormon was translated, and Parley P. Pratt described how "each sentence was uttered slowly and very distinctly." Smith himself was more cautious as to the divine origin of his messages. saying, "We never inquire for special revelation only in case of there being no previous revelation to suit the case." The local receptiveness, at that time, to new religious ideas is manifest by the success of other leaders. .Jemima Wilkinson prophesied at Crooked Lake; William Miller predicted the end of the world at Rochester; and the Fox sisters started Spiritualism only ten miles from .Joseph Smith's home. The return of apostolic gifts was hoped for
by the local Quakers, Primitive Baptists, and Restorationists. A half-year later, during the revivalistic meetings of the Mormons at Kirtland, remarkable religious phenomena were reported.
The Kirtland revival was the turning point in the life of the infant Church. Because of it there came a "revelation to the churches in New York, commanding them to remove to Ohio." It was now that Sidney Rigdon played his part in the Latter-Day movement. He had been a Bap tist preacher in Pittsburg. and a minister of the Disciples' Church in Ohio. He organized at Kirtland a branch of Saints of one hundred mem bers, and in February, 1831, Smith betook him self thither. David Whitmer asserts that Rig don soon obtained more influence over Smith than any other man living. In exchange for the home made Mormon Bible, Rigdon gave a foreign framework to the Mormon Church. He got hold of some of the transplanted ideas of Fourier the French collectivist. Nineteen families in Eigdon's neighborhood had already formed them selves into a common stock company. A reve lation of February, 1831, runs: "Thou shalt con secrate all thy properties which thou bast to impart unto me with a covenant and a dead which cannot be broken: the bishop shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, inasmuch as is sufficient for himself and family; the resi due shall be kept in my storehouse, to admin ister to the poor and needy, and for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the building up of the New .Jerusalem." Smith's Ohio business enterprises brought finan cial loss. Ile first opened a general storeat Hiram which failed. Land speculation also brought loss. Three farms at Kirtland, costing over $11,000, were to be turned into a permanent city of Zion with 32 streets. Like the Church tannery and the Church sawmill, this paper city had no financial foundation. At the same time a $40,000 temple was begun (the corner-stone was laid July 23. 1833). and although most of the Saints gave one seventh of their time to its building without pay, a debt of from $15,000 to $20,000 was left upon it. Meanwhile an attempt was made to prevent financial disaster by establishing the Kirtland Safety Society Bank. Reorganized in 1837 as the Kirtland Society Anti-Banking Company and uttering at lea,.t, $200,000 of its notes, the crash came within ten months, and Secretary Rigdon and Treasurer Smith fled to Missouri.