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Obediah Dogberry

One of the first to try and discredit Joseph Smith with referred to as Esquire Cole. He was an ex-justice of the Peace, who under the name of Obediah Dogberry was publishing the Palmyra Reflector. Since he had access to the the printing establishment of E. B. Grandin, Mr Cole decided to use that opportunity to print a modified version of the Book of Mormon in his weekly paper. It didn't matter to him that the copyright prohibited such a venture. Oliver and Hyrum found him one Sunday preparing prospectus that promised to print portions of the Book of Mormon each week. They observed that he had "thrown together a parcel of the most vulgar, disgusting prose, and the meanest, and most low-lived doggerel, in juxtaposition with a portion of the Book of Mormon." When Hyrum challenged him he responded, "I don't care a d--n for you: that d--d gold bible is going into my paper, in spite of all you can do." (Smith 1912, 177-178) And so begins an example of how willing the critics are to deal honestly with truth.

Nevertheless, he published from 1 Nephi 1:1 to 1 Nephi 2:15, and Alma 43:22 to 43:40 until Joseph could come from Pennsylvania to insist that the copyright not be violated. After the Book of Mormon was published, Dogberry published a parody of the Book of Mormon called "The Book of Pukei." Although these stories are not portrayed as being factual, they nevertheless portray Joseph Smith being a dupe of Walter the Magician. (Kirkham 1951, 51)

Hugh Nibley has commented on how these and other stories from the area where later applied in the same form to Joseph Smith and his family. "Since your work is the earliest on Smith, Mr. Dogberry, later investigations, honoring its high antiquity, have picked out of the extravaganza whatever suited their theories of Joseph Smith. Mrs. Brodie chooses to believe that Walter's mantle actually did fall on Smith, though you don't say so in your serious attack written later; . . . But let no one claim hereafter that because there "must be something behind all these stories" that something is the true history of Joseph Smith. That is Brodian logic. Now since all these full and close parallels between Joseph Smith and Walters and the Rochester Smith and the Belcher boy and Northrop cannot be accidental, either Smith's doing were transferred to those other people, or theirs to him. . . For a hundred years the unanimous charge against Joe Smith was that he was the author of all this nonsense, a unique and original character. He didn't get it from them, and they didn't get it from him. And there is not a shred of proof that he got it from Walters." (Nibley 1961, 188)