Salem Witch Trials and Joseph Smith’s Relatives

24 August

Salem Witch TrialsWhile 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  If you’re interested in finding out who married who there’s lots to explore in the LDS databases and historical documents from government marriage records.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;

Michelle

1 Cor 1:18

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4 Responses to “Salem Witch Trials and Joseph Smith’s Relatives”

  1. Chelsea January 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    Actually what you discovered is that Joseph Smith Jr.’s ancestors were opposed to witchcraft, no? All of the victims of the Salem Witch Hysteria were innocent. His ancestors were among the many who wrongly accused them under the guidance of their Puritan leaders.
    This doesn’t change his immediate family’s involvement in stone-gazing and treasure-hunting, but I think to be fair, 1) you discovered his ancestors were anti-, not pro-, witchcraft, and 2) most notable American figures with ancestry going back to the pilgrim colonies have Salem witch-hunters lurking somewhere in their genealogy.

  2. Melanie November 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Yes, you have this all wrong. Joseph’s family was opposed to witchcraft. My 9x great grandmother was Rebecca Nurse. And I am LDS. I have long felt that this tragedy of which the Smith grandfather was a part, shaped and molded his family into seekers of truth. All of Joseph Smith’s paternal grandfathers on the Smith side (from Robert Smith down) abhorred organized religion (probably due to what it caused during this Salem Witch hysteria), and if you read Lucy Mack Smith’s History, her husband, Joseph Smith Sr, and young Joseph’s father was not a member of any church, (a fact that Lucy worried about tremendously), and had several dreams in which a heavenly being told him that truth was lost from the earth, and that “manna” would soon come from heaven. Is it any wonder Joseph’s parents believed him immediately when he told them of his visions? And that Joseph would be counseled several times by heavenly messengers to first “go and tell your father.” Joseph’s parents were his most passionate supporters — good, pure, noble people, who had a love of truth and of the Savior Jesus Christ. I respect your feelings, but to twist this into something evil is purely wrong. God works through free agency, he can’t force people, but can help shape them, through events, into the people he needs them to be to do his work. Paul the Apostle is a great example of this. Good luck to you.

  3. Melanie November 15, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Yes, you have this all wrong. Joseph’s family was opposed to witchcraft. My 9x great grandmother was Rebecca Nurse. And I am LDS. I have long felt that this tragedy of which the Smith grandfather was a part, shaped and molded his family into seekers of truth. All of Joseph Smith’s paternal grandfathers on the Smith side (from Robert Smith down) abhorred organized religion (probably due to what it caused during this Salem Witch hysteria), and if you read Lucy Mack Smith’s History, her husband, Joseph Smith Sr, and young Joseph’s father was not a member of any church, (a fact that Lucy worried about tremendously), and had several dreams in which a heavenly being told him that truth was lost from the earth, and that “manna” would soon come from heaven. Is it any wonder Joseph’s parents believed him immediately when he told them of his visions? And that Joseph would be counseled several times by heavenly messengers to first “go and tell your father.” Joseph’s parents were his most passionate supporters — good, pure, noble people, who had a love of truth and of the Savior Jesus Christ. I respect your feelings, but to twist this into something evil is purely wrong. God works through free agency, he can’t force people, but can help shape them, through events, into the people he needs them to be to do his work. Paul the Apostle is a great example of this. Good luck to you.

  4. Melanie D. November 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Yes, you have this all wrong. Joseph’s family was opposed to witchcraft. My 9x great grandmother was Rebecca Nurse. And I am LDS. I have long felt that this tragedy of which the Smith grandfather was a part, shaped and molded his family into seekers of truth. All of Joseph Smith’s paternal grandfathers on the Smith side (from Robert Smith down) abhorred organized religion (probably due to what it caused during this Salem Witch hysteria), and if you read Lucy Mack Smith’s History, her husband, Joseph Smith Sr, and young Joseph’s father was not a member of any church, (a fact that Lucy worried about tremendously), and had several dreams in which a heavenly being told him that truth was lost from the earth, and that “manna” would soon come from heaven. Is it any wonder Joseph’s parents believed him immediately when he told them of his visions? And that Joseph would be counseled several times by heavenly messengers to first “go and tell your father.” Joseph’s parents were his most passionate supporters — good, pure, noble people, who had a love of truth and of the Savior Jesus Christ. I respect your feelings, but to twist this into something evil is purely wrong. God works through free agency, he can’t force people, but can help shape them, through events, into the people he needs them to be to do his work. Paul the Apostle is a great example of this. Good luck to you.

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