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Since 1981, he has been writing about rare Mormon documents.
Since 1991, half of all new discoveries in Mormon history have been by him.
Specializing in the (Palmyra, 1830) first edition Book of Mormon.
|Calico print patten
by Sutcliffe Maudsley, Nauvoo Mormon, circa 1842
Posted March 07, 2019
I am a discoverer and preservationist of legendary and priceless, and often unrecognized and undervalued, sacred Mormon relics. My friends call me the Indiana Jones of Mormonism, boldly seeking out things not quite equal to the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grailbut maybe like Joseph Smith Jr.s own document file and his own copies of the Mormon scriptures, letters between his Book of Mormon witnesses, a sun-stone from the old Mormon temple in Illinois, a map of the Far West village that Joseph carried in his pocket, or paintings of Joseph made from life.
I became interested in rare books at an early age. While I was being raised Catholic, our family investigated disputed events in Mormon history between 1972 and 1978, eventually moving to a Mormon historic site in 1980 where I lived on a county-line highway called Mormon Road, in Burlington, Wisconsin. Burlington was made a Mormon center by Joseph Smith Sr. in 1835. In the 1840s this was a outpost of the Mormon headquarters at Nauvoo, Illinois, and some say was Joseph Smith Jr.s hope for a new headquarters in 1844. The Mormon remnant in Burlington was a quaint following of a dozen elderly descendants who invited me into their esoteric inner circle, and instilled in me a love for their heritage. In 1982 I bought my first Joseph Smith-period Book of Mormon for $2,000 from Ken Sanders bookstore in Salt Lake City. In 1991 I preserved an early hand-hewn stone Mormon house in Burlington. After 1988, though, I emigrated part-time to Independence, Missouria more famous Mormon history headquarters from 1831. In fact, Independence was the place where the rarest Mormon book of all was printed in 1833, and I found a few. My homes in Wisconsin and Missouri allowed me to crisscross Illinois a hundred times to stop in Nauvoo and Carthage, and appreciate the Illinois citizens view of Mormon history. Certainly there were Mormons in the Carthage Jail who were shooting, when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot in their backsand then Brigham Young ordered the scorched-earth burning of the Nauvoo temple as the Mormons left. I grew to love the Nauvoo temple from my special knowledge of its architecture, artisans, stonework, use, and its fiery fate. My Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri experiences helped me become an expert on the divergent views of Mormonism and gives me a free-thinking perspective of Mormon history that vindicates the citizens of Hancock County while having compassion for the emotions of both the fearful Mormons and their frustrated neighbors.
In the course of this immersion experience, I
a serious private
collector and church purchaser, responsible for buying $25 million in church library, archives, and museum holdings
50,000 items. By 2019, I purchased over 100 copies of the first edition
Book of Mormon, 25 copies of the first Doctrine and Covenants, seven
copies of the first Mormon hymn book, and four copies of the Book of
Commandments; as well as hundreds of other books printed before 1844. I
have now been a student of obscure Mormon history for 47 years, buying rare Mormon books for
37 years, had the
worlds largest private collection for over
28 years, and have been buying books on this Mormonism.com site for 23 years. Along the way, my discoveries made me broaden from my Midwestern
Mormon expertise and I developed an open-minded expertise in early
Mormon origins, particularly in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania
(1791-1831). Half of all new discoveries of Mormon history in the
past 28 years have been by me. I am working a multi-volume
supplemental history entitled Discoveries in Mormonism which will be
heavily illustrated with art, photographs, and rare books that I have
unearthed, and especially early documents. This book will validate the neighbors of Joseph Smith
Jr. from Vermont to Illinois, while remaining friendly to Joseph and the
Book of Mormon as a rightfully consequential literary work.
|I am a friendly person and everyone is welcome to call me.|