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Excerpts From Joseph’s Smith’s Diary

Notes by Donna Morley and others where indicated.


Excerpts are written as they appeared in Smith’s journals, this includes misspelled words, and wrongful grammar. The only editing performed were a very few periods, commas, or colons where needed.

A THREAT GIVEN TO JOSEPH BY DR. HURLBUT (who would eventually leave the church): “Doctor Philastus Hurlbut came to my house. I conversed with him considerably about the Book of Mormon. He was ordained to the office of an Elder in this Church under the hand of Sidney Rigdon on the 18th of March in the same year above written. According to my best recollection, I heard him say, in the course conversing with him, that if he ever became convinced that the Book of Mormon was false, he would be the cause of my destruction....” (March 13, 1833)

JOSEPH’S THREAT AGAINST HURLBUT: “The Lord shall destroy him who has lifted his heel against me, even that wicked man Docter P. Hurlbut. (April 1, 1834)

HURLBUT TO BE PUT TO SHAME: “Also that I may prevail against that wicked Hurlbut and that he be put to shame. (April 7, 1834)



NOTE: Joseph Smith turned against Dr. Hurlbut because he (along with Eber D. Howe and Arthur B. Deming) collected numerous affidavits from Joseph Smith’s neighbors, to expose the general opinion these people had of Smith and his family. The comments made by the neighbors were not complimentary.

DEBT: “...THAT IN A SHORT TIME THE Lord would arrange his providences in a merciful manner and send us assistance to deliver us from debt and bondage.” (November 30, 1834)

NOTE:Smith wrote a "revelation from the Lord," that can be found in D&C 10:78, 80, 83) that reads:

And again, verily I say unto you, concerning your debts--behold it is my will that you shall pay all your debts....I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, until I shall send means unto you for your deliverance....I give unto you a promise that you shall be delivered this once out of your bondage."

The above is one of many false prophecies. Although there was a boost in the economy when the Kirtland Temple was built, it was very temporary. A little over two years had passed, since the revelation, and the people had not, as of yet, been "delivered," nor did their creditors have "soften hearts." It's uncertain if the Mormons were thinking of the above revelation when Smith's illegal bank, The Kirtland Society (November 2, 1836), renamed, the Anti-Banking Company. Perhaps it was in the back of their minds---after all, it was a revelation. Therefore, could the bank be their deliverance, especially for those who wanted to invest in it? Possibly. Unfortunately, the bank failed and quite a few lost their money. As a result, many left the church, questioning if Smith was truly a prophet. Smith wasn't delivered himself, either. He, too, was in debt. He left Kirtland, for awhile, trying to avoid the many lawsuits against him. [Regarding Smith's banking practices, refer to What Do I Say to Mormon Friends and Missionaries?

CHURCH DISCIPLINE: “High Council met and tried Brother Gladden Bishop. He was reproved, repented, and was re-ordained. The next was Lorenzo L. Lewis for fornication. He was cut off from the Church.” (September 24, 1835)

EGYPTIAN ALPHABET: “This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet....” (October 1, 1835)

         NOTE: Joseph Smith’s Egyptian alphabet has been reviewed by the world’s top Egyptologists. Each and everyone of them claim that it is “fraudulent.” [For more information on Smith’s Egyptian work see What Do I Say to Mormon Friends and Missionaries?, pgs. 82-85].

ASTRONOMY: “The system of astronomy was unfolded to us.” (October 1, 1835)

ANCIENT RECORDS: “In the afternoon waited on the Twelve [Apostles], most of them at my house....exhibited to them the ancient records in my possession and gave explanation of the same.” (October 3, 1835)

ANCIENT RECORDS AND MUMMIES: “Mr. Goodrich and his lady called to see the antient Records. also called at Doct F G Williams to see the mummies.” (October 24, 1835)


NOTE: Joseph Smith claims that these mummies dated back to Abraham’s day. Professional scholars clearly state their doubts.

PERSECUTION: “This we feel was a want of fidelity to his client, and we consider it a base insult practiced upon on the account of faith, that the ungodly might have unlawful power over us and trample us under their unhallowed felt” (October 26, 1835)

ALPHABET OF RECORDS AND MUMIES: “Exhibited the Alphabet of the ancient records to Mr. Holmes and some others. Went with him to F G Williams to see the Mumies.” (November 17, 1835)


NOTE: For information as to how Joseph Smith and the Mormon church became the owners of the ancient records (payrus scrolls) and the mummies, see either the Mormon’s History of the Church, 2:235, 348, 350 (footnotes) or Morley’s “Understanding Mormonism”, p. 81.

DEBATE: “The question was this: was or was it not the design of Christ to Establish his gospel by miracles? After an interested debate of three hours or more, during which time much talent was displayed, it was desided by the presidents of the debate in the negative, which was a righteous decision.” (November 18, 1835)

EGYPTIAN RECORDS: “I returned home and spent the day in translating the Egyptian records.” (November 1835)

TRANSLATING: “We spent the day in translating and made rapid progress (November 19, 1835)

HEBREW: At evening, President Cowdery returned from New York bringing with him a quantity of Hebrew books for the benefit of the school. He presented me with a Hebrew Bible, lexicon and grammar, also a Greek Lexicon and Webster’s English Lexicon.” (November 19, 1835)

HEBREW ALPHABET: At evening met with our Hebrew class to make arrangments about a Teacher. It was decided by the voice of the School to send to N York for a Jew to teach us the language, if we could get released from the engagement we had made with Doct Piexotto to teach the language, having asertained that he was no qualified to give us the knowledge we wish to acquire.” (November 21, 1835)

RECORDS & HEBREW: “Several brethren called to converse with me and see the records. Recd a letter from Jared Carter. Spent the day in conversing and in studying the Hebrew language.” (November 23, 1835)

MATRIMONIAL CEREMONY (Joseph had no legal right to marry the couple):


I had an invitation to attend a wedding at Br Hiram Smith’s in the evening. Also to solemnize the matrimonial ceremony between Newel Knight and Lydia Goldthwaite. I and my wife went...The bridegroom and bride came in and took their seats which gave me to understand that they were ready. I requested them to arise and join hands. I then remarked that marriage was an institution of haven institude in the Garden of Eden. That it was necessary that it should be Solemnized by the authority of the everlasting priesthood.”


The ceremony was original with me. It was in substance as follows: You covenant to be each others companions through life and discharge the duties of husband and wife in every respect to which they assented.... I dismissed them and returned home.” (November 24, 1835)


NOTE: The above account of Joseph Smith marrying Newel Knight and Lydia Goldthwaite is disturbing simply because while Newel Knight was a widower, Lydia Goldthwaite was still married to another man. Her husband refused to divorce her, as well, follow her to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph had no legal right to marry them. Also, Joseph was not licensed to perform marriages.

TRANSLATING: “Spent the day in Translating. (November 25, 1835)

HEBREW: “Spent the day in reading Hebrew at home (November 27, 1835; also see December 4, and 5, 1835, December 26, 1835, December 30, 1835)

FATHERS OF ISRAEL: “Elder Morley preached and Bishop Partridge in the after noon....The Saints appeared to be much pleased with the beautiful discourses of these two fathers in Israel.” (November 29, 1835)


NOTE: Mormons believe they are the true Jewish people. Gentiles are non-believers.

MOCKING: “When we were passing through Mentor Street we overtook a team with two men on the sleigh. I politely asked them to let me pass. They granted my request and as we passed them they bawled out, “Do you get any revelation lately,” with an adition of blackguard that I did not understand. This is a fair sample of the character of Mentor Street inhabitants who are ready to abuse and scandalize men who never laid a straw in their way....I was led to marvel at the long suffering and condescention of our Heavenly Father in permitting these ungodly wretches to possess this goodly land....” (December 1, 1835)

UPSET WITH A YOUNG GIRL: “At about 12 o’clock a number of young person called to see the Egyptian records. I requested my Scribe to exibit them. He did so. One of the young ladies who had been examining them was asked if they had the appearance of Antiquity. She observed with an air of contempt that they did not. On hearing this I was surprised at the ignorance she displayed and I observed to her that she was an anomaly in creation for all the wise and learned that had ever examined them without hesitation pronounced them antient. I further remarked that it was downright wickedness, ignorance, bigotry, and superstition that caused her to make the remark and that I would put it on record. I have done so because it is a fair sample of the prevailing spirit of the times showing that the victims of priestcraft and superstition would not believe though one should rise from the dead.” (December 12, 1835)

GREEK: “In the forenoon at home studing the Greek language.” (December 23, 1835)

SLANDER: “Having prefered a charge against Elder Almon Babbit for traducing my character.” (December 28, 1835)

DEVIL: “The Devil has made a violent attack on Br William and Br Calvin [Calvin Stoddard–Joseph’s Brother-in-law). (January 1, 1835)


NOTE: Joseph Smith was arrested for assault and battery on his brother-in-law, Calvin W. Stoddard, most likely the result of “Stoddard Charging Joseph with being a false prophet” (Edwin Bronw Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1900 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), Morley, What Do I Say to Mormon Friends and Missionaries? Mormonism)


Apparently, Joseph was also upset with his brother. In his diary, Joseph Smith writes, “Br. William made a humble confession and asked our my forgiveness” (January 1, 1836, “our” is lined out).

POWERS OF DARKNESS: The powers of darkness seemed lower over their (William Smith and Calvin Stoddard) minds. Not only theirs, but cast a gloomy shade over the minds of my parents and some of (“parents and some of” was crossed out) my (“my” crossed out) brothers and sisters, which prevents them from seeing things as they realy are and the powers of Earth and hell seem combined to overthrow us and the Church by causing a division in the family. Indeed the adversary is bring into requisition all his subtlety to prevent the Saints from being endowed by causing division among the 12 also among the 70 and bickerings and jealousies among the Elders and official members of the Church. So the leaven of iniquity foments and spreads among the members of the Church. (January 1, 1836)


NOTE: The 12 that Smith is referring to in the above paragraph (and future accounts) are the Mormon church’s 12 Apostles.

EGYPTIAN MANUSCRIPTS: “This after noon a young man called to see the Egyptian manuscripts and I exibited them to him. He expressed great satisfaction and appeared verry anxious to obtain a knowledge of the translation.” (January 9, 1836).

RULES AND REGULATIONS: “Presidents Joseph Smith, J, S. Rigdon, W. W. Phelps, D. Witmer, H. Smith were nominated and seconded to draft rules and regulation to govern the House of the Lord. Vote called and carried by the unanimous voice of the whole assembly. (January 13, 1836)



I then retired to the council room in the printing office to met my colleagues who were appointed with my self to draft rules and regulations to be observed in the House of the Lord....


         1st   It is according to the rules and regulations of all regular and legal organized bodies to have a President to keep order.


         2nd    The body thus organized are under obligation to be in subjection to that authority.


         3d     When a congregation assembles in this house they shall submit to the following rules, that due respect may be payed to the order of worship, viz:


                  1st     No man shall be interupted who is appointed to speak by the Presidency of the Church, by whichy any disorderly person or persons in the congregation, by whispering, by laughing, by talking, by menacing Jestures, by getting up and running out in a disorderly manner. Or by offering indignity to the manner of worship or the religion or to any officer of said Church while officiating in his office in any wise whatever by any display of ill manners or ill breeding from old or young, rich or poor, male or female, bond or free, black or white, believer or unbeliever. If any of the above insults are offered, such measures will be taken as are lawful to punish the agressor or agressors and eject them out of the house.


                  2nd    An insult offered to the presiding Elder of said Church shall be concidered an insult to the whole body. Also an insult offered to any of the officers of said Church while officiating shall be concidered an insult to the whole body.


                  3d     All persons are prohibited from going up the stairs in times of worship.


                  4th     All persons are prohibited from exploring the house except waited upon by a person appointed for that purpose.


                  5th     All persons are prohibited from going into the several pulpits except the officers who are appointed to officiate in the same.


                  6th     All persons are prohibited from cutting, marking, or maring the inside or outside of the house with a knife, pencil, or any other instrument whatever under pain of such penalty as the law shall inflict.


                  7th     All children are prohibited from assembling in the house above or below or any part of it to play or for recreation at any time, and all parents, guardians or masters shall be ameneable for all damage that shall accrue in consequence of their cfhildren.


                  8th     All persons whether believers or unbelievers shall be treated with due respect by the authorities of the Church.


                  9th     No imposition shall be practiced upon any member of the Church by depriving them of their /rights/in the house. (January 14, 1836)


WINE:         “We then took some refreshment and our hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine.” (January 14, 1836)


NOTE: Joseph and a several church leaders were at a wedding when their “hearts were made glad with the fruit of the vine.” We might want to ask our Mormon friends, “Is it okay to drink wine at weddings? Does the Word of Wisdom make allowances for this? (Word of Wisdom put into effect on February 27, 1833)


SONG:        “We sung the song Adam-Ondi-Ahman and open by prayer and proceeded to buisness by reading the rules and regulations to govern the House of the Lord in Kirtland.” (January 15, 1836, also see March 27, 1836)


                  Note: Joseph Smith called God the Father, “Ahman” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:20; 95:17). He, along with Brigham Young, spoke of God the Father as “Father Adam.” (See Joseph’s “Father Adam” accounts: January 21, 1836, and April 7, 1843) Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses even preached a sermon about Adam being God.

HARSH LANGUAGE, JOSEPH ASKS FORGIVENESS: “I also stated to the 12 that I do not countinanc the harsh language of President Cowdery to them, neither in myself nor any other man. Although I have sometimes spoken to harsh from the impulse of the moment. And inasmuch as I have wounded your feelings brethren, I ask your forgiveness....” (January 16, 1836)

THE GIFT OF TONGUES: “The Lord poured out his spirit upon us and the brethren began to confess their faults one to the other. The congregation were soon overwhelmed in tears and some of our hearts were too big for utterance. The gift of toungs come upon us also like the rushing of a mighty wind and my sould was filled with the glory of God.” (January 17, 1836)

KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGES: “This day we commenced reading in our Hebrew Bibles with much success. It seems as if the Lord opens our minds in a marvelous manner to understand his word in the original language. My prayer is that God will speedily indu us with a knowledge of all languages and toungs that his servants may go forth for the last time to bind up the law and seal up the testimony” (January 19, 1836)

WINE: Elder O. Hyde, Eldr L. Johnson, and Eldr W. Parrish who served on the occasion then presented the Presidency with three Servers filled with glasses of wine to bless. It fell to my lot to attend to this duty, which I cheerfully discharged. It was then passed round in order, then the cake in the Same order. Suffise it to say our hearts were made cheerful and glad, while partaking of the bounty of the earth which was presented untill we had taken our fill.” (January 20, 1836)


NOTE: “cheerful and” was written in, then crossed out. Again, there was drinking of wine during the time the Word of Wisdom was to be obeyed (Word of Wisdom put into effect on February 27, 1833)

WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE, THEY DO NOT: “He [Reverend John W. Olived] then asked me wherein we differ from other Christian denomination. I replyed that we believe the Bible and they do not. However he affirmed that he believed the Bible. (January 21, 1836)