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The Manuscript Found

Also known as "Spaldings Manuscript" or "Manuscript story-Conneaut Creek".

Solomon Spaulding, (also spelled “Spalding”), was born Feb. 20 1761.  He studied at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and was ordained a minister. Later, he left the ministry and lived in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania until his death in Oct. 20, 1816.  
In the early 1800’s, about 1812, Solomon Spaulding wrote a novel, called “The Manuscript Found” which he never finished but attempted to publish to relieve pressing debts.  It was never published in his life time.


In June 1833, Philastus Hurlbut, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was excommunicated from the Church, because of “immoral conduct”. 
Philastus Hurlbut being upset about his being “cut off” from the Church and having bitter feeling because of being excommunicated from the Church preceded to retaliate.  Thus he desired to discredit his former coreligionists. Hurlbut set out in the ensuing months to refute Joseph Smith's claims for the origins of the Book of Mormon. He also proceeded to collect derogatory information about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
As part of his efforts, He interviewed members of Spaulding's family, who swore that there were precise similarities between Spaulding's work and the Book of Mormon. These people signed affidavits claiming that the Book of Mormon was based on Spaulding's story. 
In spite of these claims the problem that Philastus Hurlbut had was that the neglected Spaulding manuscript, had no obvious stimulatory or connection the Book of Mormon. 
Therefore neither Hurlbut, Solomon Spaulding family or other critics of the Church ever published or made available to the public the Spaulding Manuscript at that time, even though it was in their possession.
In 1834, Philastus Hurlbut was involved with Eber D. Howe in preparing a significant anti-Mormon publication, of "Mormonism Unvailed".  Its final chapter dealt with the Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. Howe admitted in the book that the only document known to have been authored by Spaulding had been found, but he asserted that this was not "Manuscript Found". The title penciled on the brown paper cover was Manuscript Story -Conneaut Creek. Howe speculated that Spaulding must have composed another manuscript that served as the source of the Book of Mormon, but no additional writings of Spaulding have ever surfaced.
By the 1840's, the so-called Spaulding theory had become the anti-Mormon explanation for origin and authorship of the Book of Mormon. The Spaulding theory asserts that Solomon Spaulding's novel, Manuscript Found, was stolen by Sidney Rigdon and given to Joseph Smith, thus serving as an original source document for the Book of Mormon. 
Spaulding manuscript was lost from 1839 until 1884 when it was found in Hawaii.
 In 1839, a man named L. L. Rice purchased "the office of the Ohio Painesville Telegraph, owned by Eber D. Howe".   After that office was purchased in 1839 by L. L. Rice, various items were shipped from the office of the Ohio Painesville Telegraph,  to L. L. Rice, who subsequently moved to Honolulu.   L. L. Rice in 1884, discovered the manuscript  while searching his collection for abolitionist materials for his friend James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College.
This  manuscript among some papers he had purchased, and he turned it over to Oberlin College in Ohio. 
L. L. Rice and James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College examined the manuscript and both certified that it could not have been the source of the Book of Mormon.
In 1885, the Spaulding Manuscript was first published as a 115-page monograph, some seventy years after the death of its author, Solomon Spaulding.  (Sources if Information
Spalding Manuscript, Harold B. Library,  Spauldings Manuscript,, LDS Frequently Asked QuestionsSolomon Spalding, Wikipedia, New-York Daily Tribune, Dec. 6, 1850,  What is the "Spaulding Manuscript" theory?, Harold B. Library)
<<  "Manuscript Found"  Manuscript Story, by Rev. Solomon Spaulding,  (Printed from a Verbatim Copy, made from the Original, 1886. )  (PDF file)


The Book of Mormon Translation finished and it was published for the first time in English on March 26, 1830.  
At that time Sidney Rigdon was an ordained Baptist minister who set up a Church associated with the Campbellite faith where Sidney Rigdon was Preacher.  
The fabricated story that was circulated in the 1800's was that Sidney Rigdon had supposedly "stolen", or "copied" "Soloman Spalding's Manuscript" and gave it to Joseph Smith and so that Joseph Smith could use it to produce the Book of Mormon.

The fallacy of this whole story is the fact that Sidney Rigdon did not even meet Joseph Smith until December 1830.
That was 9 months after the Book of Mormon was published.

On April 6, 1830 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized and thereafter the first Missionaries were sent out.
One of those Missionaries was Parley P. Pratt.
Sometime "in October of 1830 Sidney Rigdon was introduced" to the restored Gospel and "Church" of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "by Parley P. Pratt...." 
Sigdon Rigdon was later "baptized on 14 of November 1830."
  (Spalding Manuscript, Harold B. Library)  (Sidney Rigdon, Who's Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black, p. 247-247)
Note:  Soloman Spalding Manuscript has virtually no religious content.  
Sidney Rigdon had nothing to do with the Origin of the Book of Mormon!

Efforts of the early Latter-Day Saints to testify of the truth and stop the“fabricated tale".

<< Times & Seasons Jan. 3, 1840
Efforts of the early Latter-Day Saints to testify of the truth and stop thefabricated tale".






A letter to the Editor of the New-York Daily Tribune, by "Justitia ", published Dec. 6, 1850. 

Authorship of the Book of Mormon.

To the Editor of the New-York Tribune, -- Schenectady, New York, Monday, Nov. 25, 1850

“In your paper of 19th inapt, my attention was drown to an article headed “Author of the Mormon Bible,” wherein it is stated a certain Judge Campbell asserted at a recent public meeting… that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the actual composer of most ot what is known as the Mormon Bible….
The story was started by an infamous character named D.P. Hulburt. Who was cut off from the Church for immoral conduct, and whoso disappointed ambition prompted him to a wrongful retaliation.  He heard of this romance entitled “The Manuscript found” and thinking it would suit his malicious purpose, obtained it from Miss Davieson (widow of Mr. Spaulding) to get it out of the way, under pretense of having it published to pay her half the proceeds arising from the sale there of.  He then writes her that the Manuscript does not read as he expected, and he should not print it.  Hulbert finding little or no affinity between the writings to cover his retreat, endeavors to make out that Sidney Rigdon, during a temporary stay in Pittsburg, where Miss. S. formerly lived, obtained the Manuscript, but there the dates disagree.  Mr. Rigdon did not live in Pittsburg until 1822, and resided there until 1826.  Mr. Spaulding wrote his romance in 1812, in New Salem, Ohio; removed to Pittsburg, according to Hulbert’s statement, the same year, and thence to Amity in 1814.
Mrs. Davieson says, in the “Origin of Mormonism,” published by La Roy Sunderland, “At length the MSS. Was returned to its author and we removed to Amity.  The MSS. Then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved,” --so that the only time Mr. Rigdon could have possibly have obtained it was between the years 1812 and 1814, for since that time it has been carefully kept by Mrs. Davieson until delivered to Hulbert.  Mr. Rigdon was then a mere lad
far distant and engaged at home in agricultural pursuits, and moreover the Book of Mormon was not published until after an interval of eighteen or twenty years.  Thus we see the publishers of the Book of Mormon had not the benefit of the, Reverend novel…, [Solomon Spalding’s], production, and it remains with Mrs. Davieson or Mr. Hulbert to bring it to light.  They have or should have it between them—bring it forth, publish it to the world as the Book of Mormon is published, and let us see the identity of the two publications, or let the advocated of the imposture forever hold their peace, and invent a story that is mort consistent and plausible.”
my only object and aim is to expose a popular error…and falsehood…too generally disseminated by the pulpit and press….  Very truly, Yours  Justitia."     "Authorship of the Book of Mormon" (A newspaper article from the New-York Daily Tribune, Dec. 6, 1850)


Various 1839-1841  newspapers published various articles, which claimed that Sidney Rigdon stole or copied the Manuscript so as to help Joseph Smith produce The Book of Mormon.  (The Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) May 14, 1839 --  Burlington free press. (Burlington, Vt.) May 3, 1839, --   Sunbury American and Shamokin journal. (Sunbury, Northumberland Co., Pa.) March 6, 1841),  --  The Polynesian. (Honolulu (Oahu), Hawaii) Aug 8, 1840  --   Southern Argus. (Columbus, Miss.) May 28, 1839)

Additional Information 
What is the "Spaulding Manuscript" theory?   (Brigham Young University, Most Popular Questions) 
Spaulding Manuscript  (BYU Harold B. Lee Library)  & Spaulding Manuscript  (The Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S)  (PDF) 61KB

The following Link is another very good summary.
Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon  (by Matthew B. Brown, FairMormn)  (PDF) 74KB