Was Joseph Smith a treasure digger? Did he dabble in magical and occultic practices? In Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman advocated a new progressive interpretation of Joseph Smith, depicting him as being involved in ritual magic and using peep stones to find treasure. What if we fact-checked Bushman’s sources against verifiable and quantifiable data?
In this vidcast, L. Hannah Stoddard presents careful research and analysis of the available historical data published by Donald L. Enders with the intent of fact-checking Mormonism Unvailed and other slanderous reports, circulated early on against Joseph Smith and his family. Enders realized that by evaluating the scientific data, he could likely either authenticate, or disprove, their accounts. In this trailblazing research, he examined “[l]and and tax records, farm account books and correspondence, soil surveys, and interviews with archeological reports, historic building surveys and interviews with agricultural historians and specialists of early nine-teenth-century New York.”
The long-awaited results of Enders’ research would have a decisive impact on the truth claims surrounding Joseph Smith and the Church. If the testable claims in Mormonism Unvailed were proven fraudulent, it would serve as a decisive blow to the progressive, New Mormon narrative.