Within the Commercial Advertiser, dated 26th July 1836, we find and read the following report, quote. ‘Mormonism was thus introduced and spread like wildfire in Geauga County. The impulses given by the eloquence of Rigdon soon lead to sciences of the most wild, frantic, horrible fanaticism. The Holy Ghost was communicated to the converts by the laying on of hands, the effect of which was at first to cause a prostration of mind and body by which many fell upon the floor, and remained apparently lifeless for a long time. Occasionally they were taken with fits of rolling about, making ridiculous grimaces and contortions of the body, creeping upon their hands and feet and exhibiting the various feats of Indian warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, ripping open and tearing out the bowels. Sometimes they would run through the fields, get up on stumps and preach to imaginary congregations, entering the same time into the water, and baptizing their imaginary converts. Some were seized with fits of speaking the different Indian dialects, which though not understood, were believed to be genuine. Some of the young men were seen running through the fields in pursuit of light and balls of fire, which they saw floating in the atmosphere.’ (Ref: 177) With such activities reported, Mormonism has started to attract interest, and concern from the residents of Geauga County, Ohio. If you, as the careful reader, had neighbors acting this way, what would you think and do?
When Smith arrived at Kirtland in February of 1831, he encountered members of his Church running around acting like displaced persons. In the same newspaper report, dated 26th July 1836, we read, quote. ‘On the arrival of Smith at Kirkland, the principal scene of these excesses, he was astonished at the extent to which they had been carried, and having as he pretended inquired of the Lord, he was informed that they were the works of the devil. The ravings ceased, but the enthusiasm still prevailed.’ (Ref: 177)
As with most points of view, the correlation of information helps provide interested parties understand all positions in any human interaction. The Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, provided his understanding of this challenging situation when he said, quote. ‘The branch of the Church at Kirtland had become numerically stable, for it numbered nearly one hundred members.
But they had been led into strange errors and darkness. False spirits had crept in and had manifested themselves in the subjugation of the physical and mental powers of their victims, as Newel Knight had formerly been controlled and possessed by the evil power at Coleville. The Saints at Kirtland, not having had the experience to enable them to distinguish between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, and believing these things to be divine manifestations, were yielding to them and imperiling their earthly and eternal salvation. When the Prophet came and by his presence and the prayers and faith of those Elders, who accompanied him, banished all these dark influences from the congregation of the Saints. When the faith of the Saints was aroused and exercised, the miracle which had been wrought at Coleville was here repeated. Joseph, by the power of God, rebuked the vile one and his crew; and his brother Hyrum, under the Prophet’s direction, laid his hands on the sufferer’s heads and cast out the devils.’ (Ref: 250.)
Within this report, we read that Joseph Smith by the quote. ‘Power of God rebuked the vile one and his crew.’ There is no written confirmation regarding the identity of the vile one; however, the understanding that it is the leader or commander of his crew is without question! Ensconced in the knowledge that they are engaged in a battle between the forces of demonic spirit entities, Joseph Smith confirmed in writing that some of his baptized church members residing in the area of Kirtland, Ohio, are demonically possessed!
During this encounter between Smith and the so-called devils, we find Hyrum Smith, under the direction of his brother Joseph stepping forward and placing his hands on the heads of the Mormon members who were suffering from claimed demonic possession. Male priesthood holders in the Mormon Church give blessings to heal the sick, undoubtedly Hyrum Smith performed this same priesthood ordinance; only this time, the healing process included the casting out of devils! (Ref: 250)
Shockingly this was not the first time the Mormon Prophet had encountered such demonic challenges. Smith, a few months previously, found himself swimming in deep water as he fought against a most remarkable set of diabolical circumstances! The story centered on a man by the name of Newel Knight, who lived with his family in Colesville, Broome County, New York.
From original public domain historical records that are almost two hundred years old, we find the statements of Joseph Smith and Newel Knight fascinating; we read, quote. ‘On 6th April 1830, by revelation and commandment from God, a Church was organized, called, The Church of Jesus Christ, which consisted of only six members, viz., Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdrey, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer Jun., Samuel H. Smith, and David Whitmer. On Sunday, 11th April 1830, the first public discourse, preached by a Latter-day Saint, was delivered by Oliver Cowdrey, at the house of Peter Whitmer, Sen. During the same month the Prophet honored me with a visit, during which time I received a great manifestation, one long to be remembered, and in order that my children may know how the Lord has dealt with me I will make this extract from Joseph Smith’s history. During this month of April, I went on a visit to Mr. Joseph Knight, of Colesville, Broome County, New York, with whom and his family I had been previously acquainted, and of whose name I have made mention as having been so kind and thoughtful towards us while translating the Book of Mormon. Mr. Knight and his family were Universalists, but were willing to reason with me upon my religious views, and were as usual friendly and hospitable. We held several meetings in the neighborhood; we had many friends and some enemies. Our meetings were well attended, and many began to pray vocally to Almighty God, that He would give them wisdom to understand the truth. Among those who attended our meetings regularly, was Newel Knight, son of Joseph Knight. He and I had many serious conversations on the important subject of man’s eternal salvation; we had got into the habit of praying much at our meetings and Newel had said he would try and take up his cross, and pray vocally during a meeting, but when we again met together he rather excused himself. I (Joseph Smith) tried to prevail upon him, making use of the figure, supposing that he should get into a mud hole, would he not try to help himself out? And that we were willing now to help him out of the mud hole, he replied that provided he had got into a mud hole through carelessness, he would rather wait and get out himself than have others help him, and so he would wait until he should get into the woods by himself, and there he would pray. Accordingly, he deferred praying until the next morning, when he retired into the woods; where according to his own account afterward he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling that he had not done his duty, but that he should have prayed in the presence of others. He began to feel uneasy, and continued to feel worse both in mind and body, until upon reaching his own house; his appearance was such as to alarm his wife very much. He requested her to go and bring me (Joseph Smith) to him. I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner. His visage and limbs were distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally, he was caught up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully. His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives, and in a short time, as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great earnestness requested of me, that I should cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out. I (Joseph Smith) replied, if you know that I can, it shall be done, and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil; and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel spoke out and said that he could see the devil leave him and vanish from his sight.
This was the first miracle which has been done in this Church, or by any member of it, and it was done by God, and by the power of godliness; therefore let the honor and the praise, the dominion, and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever, Amen.
The scene was now entirely changed, for as soon as the devil had departed from our friend, his countenance became natural, his distortion of body ceased, and almost immediately the Spirit of God descended upon him, and the visions of eternity were opened to his view. He afterwards related his experience as follows: I now began to feel a most pleasing sensation resting upon me, and immediately the visions of heaven were opened to my view. I felt attracted upwards and remained for some time enrapt in contemplation, insomuch that I knew not what was going on in the room. By and by I felt some weight pressing upon my shoulder and the side of my head; which served to recall me to a sense of my situation, and I found that the Spirit of the Lord had actually caught me up off the floor and that my shoulder and head were pressing against the beams. All this was witnessed by many, to their great astonishment and satisfaction, when they saw the devil thus cast out, and the power of God and His Holy Spirit thus made manifest. As soon as consciousness returned, his bodily weakness was such that we were obliged to lay him upon his bed and wait upon him for some time. As may be expected, such a scene as this contributed much to make believers of those who witnessed it, and, finally, the greater part of them became members of the Church.’ (Ref: 185)
The first claimed miracle of the Church has nothing to do with the book of Mormon and the alleged gold plates: Additionally, it is no heavenly vision or uplifting, joyful occasion! Most members of the Mormon Church are blissfully unaware that the first claimed miracle of their Church involves demonic possession, and the casting out of evil spirits!
Digging deeper into the historical facts on reported demonic possession: we find the information directly from the Prophet Joseph Smith. This report indicates that Smith’s church was significantly affected by evil spirits or demonic possession, while still in its formative years! From the evidence presented, it’s the members of Smiths church, who experienced horrific attacks of claimed evil spirits, on a monumental scale! Incredibly the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his faithful disciples view demonic possession and the casting out of demonic spirits as the first official miracle of the church! (Ref: 185)
The attack of claimed evil spirits on the body and mind of Pierson was undoubtedly horrific and emotional for all concerned. Pierson’s sufferings, then eventual death, could be a single attack or possession by one or more evil spirits. One claimed demonic possession, compared with the multiple demonic possessions within the church that Smith was attempting to establish, required further investigation.
Unfortunately, many innocent victims suffer within the membership of Smith’s newly formed church. Below you will find the words of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith as he attempts to present what happened with the members around Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831. The Mormon Prophet said, and I quote. ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also had its false spirits; and as it is made up of all those different sects professing every variety of opinion, and having been under the influence of so many kinds of spirits, it is not to be wondered at if there should be found among us false spirits.
Soon after the gospel was established in Kirtland, and during the absence of the authorities of the Church, many false spirits were introduced, many strange visions were seen, and wild, enthusiastic notions were entertained; men ran out of doors under the influence of this spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagances were entered into by them; one man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air until he came to a precipice when he jumped into the top of a tree, which saved his life; and many ridiculous things were entered into, calculated to bring disgrace upon the Church of God, to cause the Spirit of God to be withdrawn, and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which had been developed for the salvation of the human family. But when the authorities returned, the spirit was made manifest, those members that were exercised with it were tried for their fellowship, and those that would not repent and forsake it were cut off. At a subsequent period, a Shaker spirit was on the point of being introduced, and at another time, the Methodist and Presbyterian falling down power, but the spirit was rebuked and put down, and those who would not submit to rule and good order were disfellowshipped. We have also had brethren and sisters who have had the gift of tongues falsely; they would speak in a muttering unnatural voice, and their bodies be distorted like the Irvingites before alluded to; whereas, there is nothing unnatural in the Spirit of God. A circumstance of this kind took place in Upper Canada, but was rebuked by the presiding Elder; another, a woman near the same place, professed to have the discerning of spirits, and began to accuse another sister of things that she was not guilty of, which she said she knew was so by the spirit, but was afterwards proven to be false; she placed herself in the capacity of the ‘accuser of the brethren,’ and no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.
There have also been ministering angels in the Church, which were of Satan appearing as an angel of light. A sister in the state of New York had a vision, who said it was told her that if she would go to a certain place in the woods, an angel would appear to her. She went at the appointed time, and saw a glorious personage descending, arrayed in white, with sandy colored hair; he commenced and told her to fear God, and said that her husband was called to do great things, but that he must not go more than one hundred miles from home, or he would not return; whereas God had called him to go to the ends of the earth, and he has since been more than one thousand miles from home and is yet alive. Many true things were spoken by this personage and many things that were false. How it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? By the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation. We have also had brethren and sisters who have written revelations, and who have started forward to lead this Church. Such was a young boy in Kirtland, Isaac Russell of Missouri, and Gladden Bishop, and Oliver Olney of Nauvoo. The boy is now living with his parents, who have submitted to the laws of the Church. Mr. Russell stayed in Far West, from whence he was to go to the Rocky Mountains, led by three Nephites, but the Nephites never came, and his friends forsook him, all but some of the blood relations, who have since been nearly destroyed by the mob. Mr. Bishop was tried by the High Council, his papers examined, condemned, and burned, and he cut off the Church. He acknowledged the justice of the decision, and said that he now saw his error, for if he had been governed by the revelations given before, he might have known that no man was to write revelations for the Church, but Joseph Smith, and begged to be prayed for, and forgiven by the brethren. Mr. Olney has also been tried by the High Council and disfellowshipped because he would not have his writings tested by the word of God, evidently proving that he loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.’ (Ref: 240)
Once again, we have overwhelming positive proof from Matthias, Joseph Smith, and the newspapers of the day, that something genuine was happening in the minds, spirits, and at times bodies of different, honest, hard-working citizens of America! These two historical Mormon events happened within weeks of each other, more than 200 miles apart between the recognized, witnessed, and reported demonic possessions. One cannot but wonder in amazement as to why these claimed demonic possessions occurred! Could it be possible that these were, in fact, not connected? Maybe the written historical statements are just untrue? Perhaps the information has been exaggerated and expanded beyond all recognition? Let’s review and think for a moment, shall we!
Item 1. Joseph Smith and Matthias both recognized the existence of demonic or evil spirits.
Item 2. Together, Joseph and Matthias believed that they had the power to cast out these evil demonic spirits.
Item 3. The victims of possession all experienced the same kind of madness of mind and twisted contortions within the body.
Item 4. After his encounter with demonic spirits, Prophet Joseph Smith is successful due to the reported removal of these evil spirits at Coleville and Kirkland.
Item 5. After his encounter with evil spirits, the outcome for the Prophet Matthias is the death of his disciple Mr. Elijah Pierson.
Item 6. The first contact with evil spirits at Coleville is reported and recorded in history as being the first miracle of the Church, as claimed by the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.
Item 7. After encountering evil spirits, Smith continued to build up his Zion, which is now called ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.’
Item 8. Prophet Matthias, after his encounter with claimed evil spirits, has the shadow of scorn and shame resting upon his actions and words. He has accusations of murder and neglect of health care, casting aspersions against his character.
Item 9. After many encounters with evil spirits, Prophet Matthias and his Zion deteriorated, and eventually disappeared into the dark pages of modern-day history!
Item 10. The medical profession confirms that 70% of all epileptic fits are unexplained by medical science. With such a large percentage of unexplained medical cases, the chances of evil spirits playing their part in people living with epilepsy shouldn’t be pushed to one side, just because we do not like the idea of evil demonic spirits being among us!
Item 11. Historical evidence from every religion upon the face of this earth confirms the existence of both good and evil spirits.
THESE FACTS ARE POINT NUMBER 95