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Showing posts from October, 2014

Forgotten Messiahs: Arnold Potter, or "Potter Christ"

The face of history is pockmarked by those who believe themselves to be prophets and Messiahs. Like pockmarks, some leave lasting scars while others fade and disappear with time. Arnold Potter, a self-declared Mormon Messiah of the late 19th century, is one such example of a prophet who had faded into obscurity.

Born in Herkimer County, New York, in 1804, Potter moved with his wife and children to Indiana where, four years later, the family was baptized into the Mormon faith by missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Five moths later, in April of 1840, Potter was ordained an elder of the faith by Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Potter and his family then settled in Sand Prairie, Iowa, where Potter was the presiding elder of the church.

In the following years, Potter traveled to Utah as a Mormon pioneer. By 1856, he had moved from Utah Territory to California. Later that year, Brigham Young called upon to serve as a missionary in Australia, leaving California for…

Is the Book of Mormon a Hoax? Part III

In our previous two installments examining the credibility of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, we presented readers with convincing evidence which seems to substantiate the popular belief among scholars that the Mormon religion is built upon a foundation of fraud and deceit.
In Part I of our examination, we explored the Spalding-Rigdon theory, which casts serious doubts on the "divine" origin of the Book of Mormon. There are numerous credible sources which offer compelling proof that the Book of Mormon was, in essence, plagiarized by an earlier work of fiction by an obscure author named Solomon Spalding.

In Part II, we examined dozens of depositions, testimonials and affidavits, sworn before respected judges, written by Smith's contemporaries. These men and women, who were neighbors and acquaintances of the Smith family, told their stories to 19th century newspaper editor and author Eber Howe, who published them in a 1834 book entitled &…

Forgotten Messiahs: Joanna Southcott and Shiloh

In the annals of human history there have been hundreds of self-proclaimed prophets, prophetesses and Messiahs. Most are dismissed by the public and soon forgotten. However, others are remembered for centuries; some for leaving an enduring legacy, and others for their sheer delusional insanity. Joanna Southcott, a self-described religious prophetess from England who lived during the 18th century, is a shining example not only of the latter, but of human gullibility in general.

Raised in the village of Gittisham in Devon, England, Joanna was the daughter of a farmer and was brought up in the Church if England. However, in 1792, at the age of forty-two, Joanna become convinced that she possessed supernatural powers. She began writing down prophecies, before convincing herself that she was the woman spoken of in Revelation 12:1–6, who gives birth to a son who would become the ruler of all nations.

Southcott began writing letters to the English clergy, condemning them for their indifferenc…

Remembering William Mumler: The Pioneer of Ghost Photography

Most of us have seen photographs allegedly depicting ghostly apparitions, yet few of us are familiar with the name William H. Mumler. It was Mumler who is credited with the invention, and subsequent popularity, of spirit photography. While Mumler might not be a household name, you have perhaps encountered some of his work- such as the above picture which famously shows the "ghost" of Abraham Lincoln standing behind his widowed wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

While Mumler's photographs have long been proven to be hoaxes, there is a certain ethereal beauty about his work. Unfortunately, his hoaxer reputation overshadowed his abilities as a photographer and has robbed him of the worldwide fame he enjoyed in the years following the Civil War, when he capitalized on the large number of Americans who had lost relatives in the conflict.

Mumler was a silversmith in Boston when he stumbled upon the process for creating spirit photographs. Despite having a minimal knowledge of the art, …

The 10 most hauntingly beautiful grave markers in the world

Whether it's a simple slab of granite, a towering marble spire, or an elaborate angelic sculpture, most of us have a desire to leave behind some sort of monument after we die, if for no other reason than to prove to passing generations that our lives held some sort of meaning; to say "we were here". Perhaps it's a tribute to our own egos, or perhaps it's an innate desire not to be forgotten, but whatever the reason may be, we have been marking our final resting places for centuries and will continue to do so for centuries more.

Yet, out of the millions of graves which mark the final resting places of our loved ones, only a select few are exquisite enough to create a lasting impression upon those who view them. The following are ten of the world's most hauntingly beautiful grave markers.

10. Julio Ruelas (Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France)

Ruelas (1870-1907) was a Mexican-born artist who died from tuberculosis at the age of 38. The sculpture is a work by Ar…

Is the Book of Mormon a Hoax? Part II

Back in 2012 we published an article entitled "Is the Book of Mormon a Hoax?", in which we fully explained the Spalding-Rigdon Theory, whose supporters believe that the Book of Mormon was, in essence, plagiarized by early Mormon leader Sidney Rigdon, from a fantasy novel written years earlier by an obscure author named Solomon Spalding.

Naturally, such a controversial article resulted in a deluge of reader email and even though it's been a few years since we first published the article, we continue to receive feedback about our Mormonism-as-a-hoax stance. As a result, we decided it was time to post a follow-up article, in order to provide readers with further evidence that Mormonism is not a religion, but a money-making scheme originated by Joseph Smith and his cadre of frauds and hucksters.

In this installment, we will delve into historical accounts and explore the lives of early Mormon leaders, supported by affidavits given by those who actually knew Joseph Smith, Marti…