New Harmony: A different view of Lucy Harris

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  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2015 4:02 p.m.

    "Lucy Harris was a determined soul with the temperament of a mother bear.

    She protected her own.

    And though history has cast her in the role of a Judas of sorts, the truth is — if you believe Rhett James — she was really just a mother and homemaker at the end of her wits.

    Like the mother in the musical "Les Miz," she could feel the tigers coming at night, with voices loud as thunder.

    She felt she had no other choice."

    11 And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;

    12 ...the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;

    13 For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.

    —D&C 10:8–13

    Lucy "felt she had no other choice"? Speculation on what Lucy did, and why she did it, seem to be countermanded by what God said "they" did. I believe in God, not in wild speculation.

  • clau NEW ALBANY, MS
    Aug. 20, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    To: yarrlydarb | 1:24 p.m. Aug. 18, 2011
    Ogden, UT

    Well, If they are "equally active church members"... I agree. But if they aren´t... We have Lucy Harris, we have Emma Smith, and others around church history and church families. I´m just saying that women in history have been ignored as part of their husband´s sucess and curse by some historian o religious leader when they decided to focus on family instead of focus on church

    Thank Deseret News for allow us to comment, mere mortals...

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Aug. 18, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    If I read your post correctly Lucy Mack Smith was NOT Martin's wife. She was Joseph Smith Sr.'s. Martins wife was Lucy Harris. While it is second hand it is interesting to note however that Lucy Smith claims that Lucy Harris told her that Moroni had appeared to her and shown her the plates.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Aug. 18, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    To: clau | 5:21 a.m. Aug. 18, 2011

    I beg to differ with your view a bit.

    I believe that there is just as much or more of a tendency on the part of members to jump to the conclusion that when there has been a marital problem resulting a separation or even a divorce between seemingly equally active Church members, it is the husband/father who is viewed most often with a jaundiced eye.

    Thank the Lord that He is all-seeing and all-understanding and that the judgments of mere mortals does not come into final play.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Aug. 18, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    What original source materials are available that firmly establish these new historical claims by this author?

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Aug. 18, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    What a great story. Thank you for this point of view. Martin Harris, in spite of being chosen as a witness to the Book of Mormon, must have been a belligerent man, who probably mistreated his wife because of his violent temper. (Lucy Mack Smith) No wonder the Lord was upset with Joseph Smith for bugging Him until he let Martin take the 116 page manuscript and trusting in the arm of man, not the Lord. I tend to believe Lucy did burn those pages and Joseph was not allowed to retranslate them because Martin, who liked to glorify himself and not the Lord, would have taken credit for the translation. Of course, he would have had to make changes so he could prove Joseph Smith to be wrong. Then Martin and his cronies would get the glory for the "correct" translation and Joseph would have been proved a charlatan. Perhaps it was a Divine work that after Martin took those pages, they went missing and even that they were destroyed.

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Aug. 18, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    i have always wondered why no one asked lucy directly what happened to the 116 pages- if they did, did she deny/lie/dissemble. did she confide the whereabouts to another at some point in her life?

    btw the historical record shows MH to be a religious loon- his beliefs and testimony blowing with every religious fad that came along throughtout his life. consequently his life and end of life "testimony" of mormonism" is highly, highly suspect.

    concerning lucy's relationship with martin, it was a rocky one, not because of lucy but because her husband was mentally disarranged.

    juast saying!

  • clau NEW ALBANY, MS
    Aug. 18, 2011 5:21 a.m.

    Women in history... found always guilty by second hand witnesses, for not supporting men on their callings... When will we do the same with men for their lack of support to their wiwes? Women have a sacred calling as well.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 17, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    If she burned them, why didn't the Lord have Joseph re-translate the 116 pages?

  • Gracie Boise, ID
    Aug. 17, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    A thoughtful analysis of this woman and her life has been long overdue. Thank you. It's always easier to do sound bites on a person's character when that person is shown to be less than stellar under stress. That makes the rest of us feel stronger in a sad way and also vindicates our desire to believe we would have done well in that person's stead. Of course, our own failings are glossed over or ignored at that time; we're grateful to realize, after all, we'll not get the chance to be scrutinized and found wanting as the one under our scrutiny. Our trials are different and walking a mile in their shoes is rather painful. The Lord will bless each of us for doing the best we can in our own particular circumstances, as I believe he is doing for Lucy Harris now and forever.

  • Nayajja Ephraim, UT
    Aug. 17, 2011 7:11 a.m.

    Thanks for the interesting speculations. I have often thought that we may have some embarrassing moments on the other side when we meet up with people that we easily criticized while here, thinking that they were dead anyway so it didn't matter--or at least that we may be humbled a little when we learn the whole story about them.