The second great awakening is the name given to the revitalized religious enthusiasm. In general terms, neither Prophets Matthias nor Smith instigated this excitement. Undoubtedly both American Prophets were influenced by events, opportunities, and claimed contact with spirit entities!
Excorcism involving Joseph Smith.
The area of Colesville is the epicenter of the claimed first miracle of Joseph Smith’s newly established church. Scholars and Mormon historians are aware of all the details of the first official claimed miracle of their church. Without any introduction or explanation, the first claimed official miracle of the re-named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints was an exorcism, or the casting out of demonic spirit entities. After successfully casting out or exorcising the demonic spirit entities, the Mormon founder and Prophet Joseph Smith said, and I quote. ‘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.’ (Ref 76 & 77 & 78)
Innocent or Guilty of Murder?
Regarding the Mormon Prophet’s declaration that he believed Matthias to be, quote, ‘a murderer.’ The evidence, along with the final decision of the judicial system, stands against the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith. Undoubtedly public opinion, the newspapers, and the higher echelons of New York society were against Matthias and Sojourner-Truth; however, as stated, they are as far as the law is concerned, innocent of all charges laid against them. Together all the evidence confirms the innocence of Matthias and Sojourner-Truth thus resulting in their acquittal by the Grand Jury.
The idea or principle of a Prophet of the Mormon church being wrong, especial when the Mormon Prophet confirms that he is acting on so-called revelation in answer to prayers offered, is offensive to most members of the Mormon church! Joseph Smith said that his God told him that Matthias’ God is the devil. The recorded quotation from Smith, as presented and preserved by the Mormon church is, quote. ‘I told him, that my God told me that his God is the Devil, and I could not keep him any longer, and he must depart, and so I for once cast out the Devil in bodily shape.’ Giving credit to Smith, he did not say that his God said that Matthias was a murderer. Smiths’ words, when referring to Matthias were, quote. ‘I believe a murderer.’ There is a difference between saying God said a person is a murderer as opposed to I say a person is a murderer. Undoubtedly Joseph Smith claimed authority as a Prophet of God and as such Smith conveyed his so-called message from God to Matthias, then speaking as a man Smith said that Prophet Matthias was a murderer. The words used by Smith were, quote. ‘I believe a murderer.’ After examining all the available historical documents, we can categorically state that Smiths’ belief that Matthias murdered Elijah Pierson is incorrect. It should be noted however that Smith never actually named Matthias’ murder victim!
On the day of his departure, Matthias, in his customary manner, declared; evil spirits also influenced Joseph Smith. Amazingly to all intents and purposes, both Prophets denounced each other. In simple terms, each Prophet condemned the other with accusations of evil spirit entities. Unfortunately for these two American Prophets, there was no happy ending! Like most events in the lives of both Prophets: the newspapers reported part of the story when they said, quote. ‘Matthias the Prophet was at Kirkland Ohio about the 15th inst, and had not joined the Mormons.'(Ref: 314.)
The doctrines of Matthias and Smith are fascinating, even bewitching, as both Prophets are claiming authority via the Melchizedek Priesthood! In this climate of religious excitement, Matthias and Smith are men claiming to be Prophets of God. Both men have a vision of the future connected with this priesthood and temple building, which, if accepted by their followers, will lead to untold wealth and power.
After reviewing Prophet Matthias’ claim to the Melchizedek priesthood, we must consider the interests of the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith. For the past four years, Smith testified to the world that he has received the higher authority previously promised to him. In the words of Smith, we read, quote. ‘The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and John who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which priesthood he said would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and (OliverCowdrey) the second. (Ref: 74.)
After the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith testifies that he is now waiting for the higher priesthood. This higher priesthood has taken the name quote, ‘Melchizedek Priesthood.’ A short time later, possibly in June 1829, we are informed by Smith that he was with Oliver Cowdrey when they received an answer to their petition. According to Smith, Peter, James, and John, three of the ancient Apostles of Jesus Christ appeared and gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Additionally, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey received claimed priesthood authority in the form of the, quote. ‘Melchizedek Priesthood.’ (Ref: 77.)
Incredibly neither Smith nor Cowdrey recorded the date of their claimed heavenly manifestation. Unfortunately, Mormon leaders and missionaries are unable or unwilling to provide additional information as to the exact date and location of this claimed occurrence! In many ways, the details of this alleged event remain a mystery! We know from the limited available evidence, gleaned from a variety of sources, that this important claimed divine manifestation occurred sometime between the 16th of May 1829 and August 1830. After consideration, the idea of such a remarkable event happening, with no detailed account of its date or exact location on the Susquehanna river recorded in the Mormon church historical records, is extremely challenging and unsatisfactory to say the least!
Putting the challenging deficiency of no confirmed date to one side, the claimed restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood took place somewhere on the banks of the Susquehanna River, between Colesville, Broome County, New York, and Harmony in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania which covers a distance of about three hundred miles.
Interestingly both Prophets have doctrines on the Melchizedek Priesthood. Amazingly no other Protestant Christian church at this period was either teaching, preaching, or practicing, this form of direct priesthood authority. The Roman Catholic Church finds the roots of their ministry in the tradition of Melchizedek, for more information, please read the Catholic Encyclopedia. (Ref: 128) A more mainstream Protestant theological understanding just holds that the mysterious Melchizedek priesthood refers to Jesus as the eternal priest. (Ref: 76 & 80)
The bronze statue in Temple Square, Salt Lake City, represents Peter, James, and John in the act of conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey. Worthy male members over 18 years of age within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints can receive the authority and blessings of the claimed Melchizedek Priesthood. We have information on the Melchizedek Priesthood from the Old Testament of the Bible, at which point we read, quote.
Gen 14: 18. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Heb7: 1. For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.
Heb 5: 6. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Psalms 110: 4. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent; Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
The principal of authority contained within the Melchizedek Priesthood: as presented via the Old Testament, repeatedly confirms the existence of this priesthood authority. Surprisingly the Melchizedek Priesthood appears forgotten in most Christian churches.
One important point to remember regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost is the timeline for such events. The historical records provide us with all the facts, which are.
Item one: Joseph Smith received the Melchizedek Priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost between the 16th of May 1829 and August 1830.
Item Two: Matthias first talks of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost in 1833 after his first meeting with Elijah Pierson!
Regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood, we see Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet as the forerunner with Matthias as his copycat contemporary!
As we continue to explore the coincidences between the two Prophets, the reasons behind the connections become apparent. As students and careful readers, we just need to keep an open mind and an open heart and explore the possibilities!
Smith & Matthias Temple Ceremony.
Unfortunately, Matthias did not keep a written record of his intentions, or doctrines, however, the evidence is overwhelming regarding the curious connections between Matthias and Joseph Smith. The idea of washing and anointing is firmly established within the Mormon temple ceremony, as taught and practiced by faithful members of the Mormon Church. Without fear of contradiction, the Mormon Church teaches the doctrine of washing and anointing, along with baptism for the dead. These religious ceremonies involved water and claimed authority, which is the same method practiced by Prophet Matthias and his disciples! Incredibly the Mormon Church has the faithful observance of washing and anointing inside their Temples, while Prophet Matthias has his religious ceremony of washing and purifying. As leaders, Smith and Matthias believed in practicing what they preached. Regarding the washing ceremony, both Prophets Matthias and Smith undoubtedly have yet another curious coincidence!
Matthias had items of clothing worn or used by Captain William Morgan. We understand that the Masons have garments that they use for their ceremonies, much like the Mormons use inside their temples. Captain William Morgan wrote a book that exposed the secrets of both the clothing and rituals used by Masons in their lodges. The publication of this book was in the year 1826. Inside this book, we find details of freemason traditions, along with illustrations of the garments used in connection with these activities. The Mormons have garments that they call sacred and use them in their ceremonies inside the Mormon Temples. Once again, from the historical records, we see another curious coincidence between Prophets Matthias and Smith. The unique connections between these two claimed American prophets, Lucinda Morgan, and Captain William Morgan are overwhelming!
Nature of Spirits.
Communications between mortal humans and eternal entities are a fundamental occurrence recorded on numerous occasions throughout the archives of recorded history. Joseph Smith was no exception; he testified to the world that he had received a series of heavenly messengers; who directed the restoration or setting up of Smiths Church. Fearlessly Joseph Smith had clear doctrines regarding the dark demonic forces of Lucifer or Satan. He accepted the reality of Satan and his evil spirits: he believed in visions, along with visitations from immortal realms. Turning to his understanding of the nature of spirits, and their governing laws, the Mormon Prophet Smith, claimed many revelations.
For almost two hundred years, the L.D.S. church archives, primarily located at Salt Lake City, have preserved Smith’s original documents. In recent years these files have become accessible through the internet and the official L.D.S. website.
Common Stock Policy
It is well documented in American history that both Matthias and Smith understood the benefits of this common stock policy. Both Prophets had specific reasons for implementing such policies. They had disciples who were happy to engage in such expressions of faith. However, in time their attempts are severely challenged by the implementation of these common stock policies. Both Prophets had a vision of the distribution of wealth and possessions within their membership. Unsurprisingly each failed to establish a financial common stock policy from within the ranks of their devoted, committed disciples!
Matthias’ achievements trying to implement this policy were limited. He was, in fact, a financial failure in every aspect of his life. However, Joseph Smith having the foresight to change his common stock policy to the law of tithing, succeeded in its application. Like Matthias, finances were challenging for Smith as his attempt to start a bank failed miserably. The lessons remembered from history are on most occasions from the winners or the victors. The Mormon Church eventually changed from a common stock policy into operating a ten percent tithing system and is extremely successful in implementing its financial program. Matthias, on the other hand, stood alone, did not adapt, and had no legacy to his name!
The year of 1832 has been full of highs and lows: a precursor of future challenges for Matthias and his dupes! Facing opposition, persecution, financial ruin, and death, all disciples of Matthias and Joseph Smith are continuing to burn in the refiner’s fire as they struggle to build each respective Zion or New Jerusalem!
Joseph Smith & Documents.
The Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith continually recorded in writing most of his actions and desires. His original documents are by law public domain material. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, complies with American law regarding all publications of Historical documents.
Turning to the canonized Mormon scriptures, and the original history of the Mormon Church as dictated, lived, and experienced by its founder Joseph Smith.
The Book of Mormon. The Mormon Prophet said that this was the most correct book on earth!
The Doctrine and Covenants. This historical document is a collection of revelations and commandments which Joseph Smith claims to have received.
The History of the Church cited as H.C. This historical document was originally entitled History of Joseph Smith. The nickname or, as some say, the scholarly name is: Documentary History of the Church or in short, D.H.C. The book entitled The History of the Church is a compilation of historical records and writings, which were, for the most part, dictated by Joseph Smith to his personal and church appointed scribes.
Without a doubt, the Mormon Church is correct when it states that Prophet Matthias was the contemporary of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith. Surprisingly Smith shares the story of his first vision with Robert Matthews! In hindsight, the actions of Smith casting the pearls of his claimed first vision, before such a man as Prophet Matthias, is questionable. Sensing grave concerns, Smith attempted to find his answers in prayer.
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