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The Catalog of Antimormon Accusations
They Generally Avoided Organized Religion
by Woody Brison

This is one leaf of a review of "Inside Mormonism: What Mormons Really Believe" by Isaiah Bennett
Back to the main page of the review

Bennett's statement: The Smith family ... generally avoided organized religion...
<=== Found on p. 22
15% of the way down the page

It would be difficult to guess why Bennett puts these seemingly random statements in his book, if we didn't know that he's writing to dissuade a Catholic audience away from the Lord's church. They are so used to organized religion, that the mention of someone who avoids it is probably enough for them.

The problem is, this statement is just another one of Bennett's falsehoods.

Let's take a look at the family tree of Joseph Smith below. At the left are Joseph Smith and his siblings, then the previous generations in the columns to the right, with his direct ancestors on the lines:

children
       parents     grandparents     ggparents     gggparents
     Phebe Smith   
       Mary Smith   Samuel Smith 
       Capt. Samuel T. Smith   
       Rebecca Smith   Rebecca Curtis 
     Priscilla Smith   Elizabeth Smith   
     Samuel Smith   Hephzibah Smith   
     Vashti Smith   Robert Smith   
     Susannah Smith   Suzannah Smith   
     Asael Smith   Hannah Smith   
       John Smith   
         Zaccheus Gould 
       Pricilla Gould   
       Elizabeth Gould   Elizabeth Curtis 
       Mary Gould   
   Jesse Smith     John Gould   
   Priscilla Smith     Sarah Gould   
   Joseph Smith Sr.     Abigail Gould   
   Asahel Smith     Zacheus Gould   
   Mary Smith     Eleazer Gould   
   Samuel Smith     Susanna Gould   
   Silas Smith       
   John Smith     William Duty, Jr.   
   Susanna Smith     Sarah Duty   
   Stephen Smith     Matthew Duty   
   Sarah Smith     Samuel Duty   
       Andrew Duty   William Duty 
       Moses Duty   
       John Duty   Elizabeth Hidden 
         
     Mary Elizabeth Duty   Elizabeth Palmer   
       Daniel Palmer   
 unnamed (baby)       Jane Palmer   John Palmer 
 Alvin Smith       Mary Palmer   
 Hyrum Smith *       Hannah Palmer   Mary Stickney 
 Sophronia Smith *       Sarah Palmer   
 Joseph Smith Jr.       Sarah Palmer   
 Samuel Smith *       Mehitable Palmer   
 Ephraim Smith (baby)       John Palmer   
 William Smith         
 Catherine Smith       John Mack, Jr.   
 Don Carlos Smith       Sarah Mack   
 Lucy Smith       Elizabeth Mack   
       Lydia Mack   
       Josiah Mack   
       Orlando Mack   
     Phebe Mack   Jonathon Mack   John Mack 
     Deborah Mack   Ebenezer Mack   
     Solomon Mack   Mary Mack   Sarah Bagley 
     Hannah Mack   Rebecca Mack   
     Samuel Mack   Johanna Mack   
     Hepsibah Mack   Deborah Mack   
     Stephen Mack     Aaron Huntley Jr. 
     Elisha Mack   Hannah Huntley   
     Azubah Mack   Aaron Huntley   Deborah Dewolf 
       Solomon Huntley   
       Deborah Huntley   
       Ruth Huntley   
   Jason Mack     Stephen Huntley   
   Lovisa Mack     Phebe Huntley   
   Lovina Mack     Esther Huntley   
   Lydia Mack     Nathan Huntley   
   Stephen Mack     Jemmima Huntley   
   Daniel Gates Mack     Timothy Huntley   
   Solomon Mack Jr.       Daniel Gates 
   Lucy Mack *     Daniel Gates   
       David Gates   Rebecca Dutton 
       Rebecca Gates   
       Abigale Gates   
     Lydia Gates   Joseph Gates   
     Jesse Gates   Mary Gates   
     Nathan Gates   Ruth Gates   
     Daniel Gates   Ephriam Gates   
     Hannah Gates   Judah Gates   
     Joseph Gates     Shubael Fuller 
       Lydia Fuller   
       Ephriam Fuller   Hannah Crocker 
       Thankful Fuller   
       Lornah Fuller   
       Hannah Fuller   
       Shubael Fuller, Jr.   
       Jonathan Fuller   
       Rachel Lovel Fuller   
       Leah Fuller   
         
 

One thing that stands right out, most these families had a lot of children. That right there should reassure a lot of Catholics as to the goodness of this family.

Another thing that stands out, there's a LOT of Biblical names here for people that didn't supposedly go to church! There are 145 individuals here, 144 named, 128 of whom (89%) have first names from the Bible. All the other first names are definitely Christian names. For instance, Lucy is a feminine form of Lucas, or Luke. Sophronia was a Christian maiden of Jerusalem in La Gerusalemme liberata, a 1581 poem about the First Crusade by Torquato Tasso. The earliest use of the name William that I've found was William of Gellone, aka Guillaume d'Orange, b.755, canonized a Catholic saint in 1066.

Now, consider carefully. Of these 145 individuals, how many of them do you think Bennett researched to find out how often they went to church?

These were typical British colonists, not some anti-religious sect; they probably went to church about as much as anybody else, which is to say many of them. Except that on the frontier, churches didn't always exist. Also, Joseph's parents didn't agree with some of the strange doctrines taught by frontier ministers of the area (and most Catholic authorities wouldn't either.) Still, says Joseph, four of his family (marked with * above) joined the Presbyterians. His uncle Jason Mack started a church.

JSH 7

Joseph's immediate family - his parents and siblings - were pretty much all involved in his search to learn which church was right. So they could join.

Why is this important? Because these people were the pioneers of our nation. Some of them fought in the Revolution, or the War of 1812, or the French & Indian War; they all endured hardships we can barely comprehend, to give us our freedom; and those that went to church, did so in spite of difficulties, because they loved God. Little Bennett has no right to issue such falsehood about them, just so he could manufacture some little prejudice against Joseph. It's indefensible.

You might think by this point, let's just chuck the book in the trash, but it's possible to get some good out of studying Bennett's errors. Here we can see that it's a bad idea to make up facts. It's wrong to lie hoping to advance what you suppose is a good cause.
DC 10:28

Notes

1. Woody Brison is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but this website is not affiliated with the church. It may be thought of as an additional, somewhat independent witness.

2. I want this page to be as accurate as I can make it. If you have a correction, please email me.

3. All biblical quotations are from the King James unless otherwise noted.

Copyright 2013 Woody Brison. All rights reserved.