Slide 31

For five years after publication of Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed on Nov. 28, 1834, Rigdon and Smith provided no written rebuttal to that book’s central thesis, i.e. that Rigdon had modified Spalding’s work to create The Book of Mormon, On May 27, 1839, however, Rigdon finally wrote a denial, accompanied by a vicious attack upon Matilda Spalding Davison (Solomon Spalding’s widow) after she had provided a statement to the Boston Recorder (April 19, 1839) implicating Rigdon in the fabrication of The Book of Mormon. A portion of her letter read as follows:

“Here [in Pittsburgh] Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance in the person of Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that, if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, as it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and, as Rigdon himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript and copied it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved.”

Rigdon’s denial letter is available at: