While gathering resources for an article the other day I came across a snippet of info about Joe Smith’s family. After this many years I keep telling myself nothing else will surprise me and I’m reminded yet again I need to stop saying that!
The article I’m working on is about Joseph Smith’s participation in witchcraft so this little info is a type of precursor to what we’ll be looking at in a few days.
I discovered that Samuel Smith (Joseph Smith’s great-grandfather) and John Gould (Samuel’s father-in-law) testified against two innocent women in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Both of their testimonies helped lead to the executions of both women, Mary Easty and Sarah Wildes.
Sarah Wildes was 2nd wife of John Wildes, who just happened to be the former brother-in-law of John Gould. John Gould’s sister was John Wildes deceased wife. Years earlier Sarah had been accused of being too intimate with a fellow in the nearby town of Ipswich and later that year she married John Wildes shortly after the death of his wife, Priscilla. Sarah became the instant mother of 9 kids. With charges of her being intimate with the other man still pending, she agreed to plead guilty of wearing a silk scarf in Ipswich.
John Gould and John Wildes (Sarah Wildes’ husband) had been fighting for years. Wildes and John Gould began fighting over land, then it was inheritance money, amongst other things, long before the Salem Witch Trials came about.Sarah was the innocent victim caught in the middle of a family fight.
Samuel Smith (Joseph Smith’s great-grandfather) who lied about his age,testified against Mary Easty and based on his testimony, and the testimonies of others, she too was sentenced to hang. Mary was a well respected member of society, the mother of eleven children and never mentioned in any nefarious deed in her life.
To confuse things even more I found at least three different versions of who Samuel Smith was married to. Some say it was Priscilla and others say it was Priscilla’s cousin also named Priscilla. If you’re interested in finding out who married who there’s lots to explore in the LDS databases and historical documents from government marriage records.
The lesson in all this?
Joe Smith and his family were involved in witchcraft from the early days of Colonial America. Why would anyone take this man’s word that he was called of God based on historical evidences from his past and the family history?
His claim that he was involved in youthful indiscretions (JS History 1:28-29) and that his family was always known for their good name (Comprehensive History of the Church 1:39-40) are nothing but lies millions have bought into.
The other lesson? God isn’t a God of confusion and would never lead you on rabbit trails as Smith has done in his lifetime.
And lastly, why isn’t the average Mormon privy to this info?
If you’re LDS we’re praying that you look into these things for yourself and weigh the evidences for yourself. Know that we’re praying for you!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18