Slide 83

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Rigdon is sometimes dismissed as a candidate author because the 1830 Book of Mormon is replete with grammatical errors, and Rigdon was described by Orson Hyde as a “grammarian” who taught grammar. But Rigdon was raised near Pittsburgh, where the Appalachian English dialect was dominant.

No Rigdon writing is available prior to 1830 (when the Book of Mormon was published), and material after that date is likely edited.  An exception is the late period material in the Stephen Post Collection. Rigdon used Appalachian English and Early Modern English in the Post Collection. Here are examples:

1. “Has” is used instead of “have” (Appalachian English):

Post collection Section 51 reads:

“For since the signs of the gospel has confirmed the truth before ­­­their eyes they can have no excuse for their sin.”

Moroni 8:5 (1830) reads:

“for I have learned the truth, there has been disputations among you concerning baptism…”

Moroni 10:1 (1830) reads:

“Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites and I would that they should know that *more than four hundred and twenty years has passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ.”

2. “Was” is misconjugated (Appalachian English):

Post Collection Section 92 reads:

“The two scoundrels who did this work was George W. Robinson who had married his daughter, and a connection of his own with him whose name was John Olney.”

Moroni 8:29 (1830) reads:

“prophecies which was spoken by the prophets…”

Moroni 10:27 (1830):

“Did I not declare my words unto you, which was written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?”

The word “is” is used when the plural “are” should be used:

Post Collection reads:  “…Thus ended the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints,” and it never can move again till the Lord inspires men and women to believe it. Assembleys of men collected together since then is not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints nor never can there be such a church till the Lord moves it by his own power, as he did the first.”

3. Use of the word “needeth”  (Early Modern English):

Post Collection Section 44 reads:

“Let my servant William (whose surname is Swett) stir up his quorum to enter the field of labour and shew themselves workmen that needeth not to be ashamed & let the elders also be called on that all may go forth as one man for the day is approaching when great things must and will be done.”

Moroni 8:20 (1830):

“he that saith that little children needeth baptism denieth the mercies of Christ…”

4. Use of the term “sufferings” (Early Modern English):

Post Collection Section 4 reads:

“For she was sharer in all his afflictions, tribulations and sufferings.”

Moroni 9: 19 (1830):

“And they have become strong in their perversion; and they are alike brutal, sparing none, neither old nor young; and they delight in everything save that which is good; and the sufferings of our women and our children upon all the face of this land doth exceed everything; yea, tongue cannot tell, neither can it be written.”

5. Misuse of “which is” (Appalachian English):

Post Collection Section 7:

“Thus saith the Lord by the spirit of holiness, the time has come for the Children of Zion to begin to prepare to escape from the desolations of Babylon which is about to fall on the heads of those who dwell in the eastern lands.”

Mormon 10:23 (1830):

“And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which is expedient unto me.”

6. Use of “shew” (both early Modern English and Appalachian English):

Post Collection uses the word “shew” 19 times.

Mononi 10:29 (1830):

“And God shall shew unto you, that that which I have written is true.”

On May 3, 1836, Rigdon wrote to the the Editor of the Messenger and Advocate:

“Those who did not shew guns openly, had boxes of the size usually made to contain guns. At the last advices from Kirtland all the County Officers were filled with Latter day saints. H. C”.

In May of 1836, Rigdon wrote the following letter to Cowdery:

“Simons would do well also to say to his brother Darwin Atwater, as he has a great deal of labor to carry about and read Howe’s book, that he can be favored with the history of old Clapp, his wife’s father, to carry with him; so that he can shew the people Campbellism unveiled also”.

7. Use of “shewing” (both early Modern English and Appalachian English):

Post Collection Section 42 reads:

“The book of Mormon teaches of principles shewing the Children of Zion the requirements of the Lord pertaining to purification with the laws of obedience and all things pertaining to the gospel.”

Moroni 9:25 (1830) reads:

“and the shewing his body unto our fathers..”

8. Misuse of do” (Appalachian English):

Collection of Facts, Relative to the Course Taken by Elder Sidney Rigdon, in the States of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania. By Jedidiah M. Grant, One of the Quorum of Seventies.Number One. Published by Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, Printers, No. 56 North Third Street, Philadelphia, 1844:

“At times he would say, (as he did in this city near five years ago,) the Lord suffers me to be afflicted because I aspire to get ahead of Br. Joseph, thinking myself more capable to lead the Church than he is. But the Lord (said Elder R.,) don’t think so.”

9. “a-prefixing” (Appalachian English):

Rigdon used a-prefixing in the Post Collection:

“The people of the Lord will then neither be Church of Christ nor Zion by denomination but will be the kingdon of ‘heaven’ into the likeness of which it is a going to be assimilated.”  Van Wagoner, p.  141.

Rigdon’s 1873 Letter to Chs. L. Woodward:

“We know nothing about the people called Mormons now. The Lord notified us that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints were a going to be destroyed and for us to leave we did so, and the Smiths were killed a few days after we started. Since that I have had no connection with any of the people who staid and built up to themselves churches and chose to themselves leaders such as they chose and then framed their own religion.”