The running narrative within Mormonism is that Joseph Smith was an uneducated backwoods farm boy and that his lack of sophistication leaves the the Restoration as a miracle that no country bumpkin could have pulled off. But what happens when, with critical thinking skills, we take a look at the the Education he did have or had potential access to. Was Joseph Smith uneducated? Was he a middle school dropout as a surface level reading intimates? And what do we see when we look at the education of those around Joseph Smith and specifically within his family?
CORRECTIONS [ There were two errors in the video presentation for this episode. #1 Randall Bell conflated incorrectly that Joseph’s uncle, John Smith (July 16, 1781 – May 23, 1854) was same John Smith (December 21, 1752 – April 30, 1809) who played a prominent role in the early history of Dartmouth. #2 The letter put up on the screen of Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdrey, is in the handwriting of Frederick G Williams.]
RESOURCES: Dartmouth Arminianism And Its Impact on Hyrum Smith And the Smith Family – https://faenrandir.github.io/a_careful_examination/documents/book_of_mormon/translation/Dartmouth-Arminianism-Behrens-2006-JWH.pdf
PDF Reassessing Joseph Smith Jr.’s Formal Education William Davis Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (2016) 49 (4): 1–58. – https://scholarlypublishingcollective.org/uip/dial/article-pdf/49/4/1/1284352/dialjmormthou.49.4.0001.pdf
Randall Bell’s PDF Presentation – https://mormonismlive.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Randy-Bell-Dartmouth.pdf
Joseph Smith’s Pre-1830 Education – https://mormonr.org/qnas/MggWf/joseph_smiths_pre_1830_education
List of Books Joseph Smith owned – https://user.xmission.com/~research/about/books.htm
Treasures and a Trash Heap: An Early Reference to the Joseph Smith Family in Palmyra (Page 201 of the document) – https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1081&context=mormonhistory
William Davis wrote an article “reassessing Joseph Smith Jr’s Formal Education” and notes that when one tallies up all the evidence including the final term with Stowell’s son in Bainbridge such “increases the overall estimated time that Joseph spent in formal education to the equivalent of approximately seven full school years —a notable increase to that proposed in previous historical representations, and one that will require the careful evaluation of future historians” reddit discussion around the Dartmouth Connection – https://www.reddit.com/r/mormonscholar/comments/92e2sl/similarities_between_dartmouth_professor_john/ Adam Clarke’s Book on Tobacco – https://archive.org/details/b30351108#:~:text=A%20dissertation%20on%20the%20use%20and%20abuse%20of,among%20religious%20people….%20by%20Clarke%2C%20Adam%2C%20approximately%201762-1832 History of Moor’s Indian Charity School – https://archives-manuscripts.dartmouth.edu/agents/corporate_entities/786
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Correct me if I am inaccurate, I also recall from other podcasts, Hyrum Smith did not actually attend Dartmouth College. At the time there was a High School equivalent on site that Hyrum attended, the Moor Indian School. Dartmouth was actually send up originally as an missionary school for Native Americans, which was sorta insinuated on your podcast. https://faenrandir.github.io/a_careful_examination/hyrum-attended-moor-school/ Although, it only had 9 Native American graduates in the first century. I had also heard there was actually a Indian Mound there on site of the Dartmouth University, although I can not find that source again. But I did learn that LSU and U-Wisconsin still have an Indian mound on their current campuses . I remember from this podcast I listened to, mentioned that there were 4 native American Students in Hyrum’s class. When Joseph Smith was bedbound from the leg infection, he would listen to Hyrum’s stories of Dartmouth and what he had learned.
Also John Wentworth, from the Wentworth letter, was also originally from New Hampshire and would have been contemporary to both Hyrum and Joseph, graduating from Dartmouth in 1836.
Hanover should be a strong consideration for the first LDS temple in New Hampshire!
I had posted these comments, mid podcast. Some points were clarified towards the end.