Henry Caswall's third account of the Greek Psalter incident published in 1852.

Henry Caswall

Henry Caswall, Mormonism and Its Author; or, a Statement of the Doctrines of the "Latter-day Saints." (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1852), 4–6

Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
Henry Caswall, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public

I had in my possession (and have still) a curious and ancient book written with pen and ink on leaves of parchment. This book contains the Psalms of David, and a few other portions of the Bible. The whole of it is in the Greek language, and in letters which (comparatively) few people are able to read. I took this book with me, and set out on my expedition to the town of Nauvoo.

Having reached my journey's end, I went on Tuesday, April 19, 1842, to call upon the aforesaid Joseph Smith. I met him at a short distance from his own house, in company with a good many of his followers, who were aware that I intended to exhibit a wonderful book to their "prophet." The appearance of Joseph was very far from saintly; and, indeed, conveyed the idea of a knave, much more than of a prophet. He seemed very coarse and clownish, and certainly had not the open and straightforward look which we naturally expect to see in an honest man. On entering his house, chairs were provided for Joseph and myself, while a good many "Latter-Day Saints" stood round, anxiously expecting to hear their prophet explain the meaning of the book. I then placed the book in his hands, and said, that, as I had been told that he was a prophet of God, gifted with the power of understanding unknown tongues, I hoped he would explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be the Psalms of David in Greek. "No," he said, "it ain't Greek at all; except perhaps a few words. What ain't Greek is Egyptian; and what ain't Egyptian is Greek. This book is a Dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics." He then said, that the letters in the book were " like the letters that were engraved on the plates of the Golden Book."

I might go on to mention a further conversation which I had with Joseph Smith; and I might describe how suddenly he took his departure, when he began to suspect that I knew a little more than he at first imagined. I might also state the conversations which I held with some of the Mormons, in Nauvoo, in order to convince them that Smith had proved himself to be a deceiver. But the fact which I desire to be particularly noticed is, that the Founder of Mormonism, the Head of the "Latter-Day Saints," boldly and confidently pronounced a part of the Holy Bible to be a Dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

Now this certainly goes a great way to prove that Joseph Smith could not have been a prophet of God, nor even a good man. If he really possessed the power which he claimed, of reading books in ancient tongues, he would have been likely to know the true Bible, even though written in Greek; and, since he said that the letters of the book were like those written on the golden plates, it would have been all the easier for him to understand them, because, by his own account, he had translated the writing on those plates by the help of God. But most surely, if he had been a good man, he would have honestly confessed that he did not know the meaning of the book which I showed him; and would not have positively said to me and to the Mormons who were standing by, that the Psalms of David were an Egyptian dictionary. How foolish, then, it is, for any person who knows this fact, to believe his story about the Angel and the Golden Book!

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