The White Salamander



If you were like me, you assumed the White Salamander was referring to the sordid Mark Hoffman affair. He forged a letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, in which Joseph Smith while retrieving the Gold Plates, was struck by a Salamander. President Hinckley and Dallin H. Oaks were in the process of buying the letter from Mark Hoffman when everything literally blew up in their faces. Mark Hoffman killed several people with letter bombs, and the Salamander Letter itself became obscured by the events surrounding it. 


I was surprised to find out that there was an affidavit by a friend of Joseph Smith, in which the Salamander reappeared. It is important to note that the leaders of the Church thought that Mark Hoffman’s letters were genuine. They have other historical artifacts and records that echoed the “Salamander Letter”, and shed light on a completely different side of LDS history than what is known by the current membership. Listen to what the Church leaders say about it; then read the affidavits. The real problem with the Salamander is that it is absolutely and completely occult. Most LDS have no idea of the dark origins of the Church.

Dallin H. Oaks


"Another source of differences in the accounts of different witnesses is the different meanings that different persons attach to words. We have a vivid illustration of this in the recent media excitement about the word 'salamander' in a letter Martin Harris is supposed to have sent to W.W. Phelps over 150 years ago. All of the scores of media stories on that subject apparently assume that the author of that letter used the word 'salamander' in the modern sense of a 'tailed amphibian.' 


One wonders why so many writers neglected to reveal to their readers that there is another meaning of 'salamander,' which may even have been the primary meaning in this context in the 1820s.... That meaning... is 'a mythical being thought to be able to live in fire.'...A being that is able to live in fire is a good approximation of the description Joseph Smith gave of the Angel Moroni:.. the use of the words white salamander and old spirit seem understandable.


"In view of all this, and as a matter of intellectual evaluation, why all the excitement in the media, and why the apparent hand-wringing among those who profess friendship or membership in the Church?" Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, 1985 CES Doctrine and Covenants Symposium," pages 22-23, Aug. 16, 1985     (Hell is an eternal lake of fire, home to demons or “old spirits”.)



“For people of a magical frame of mind, Moroni sounded like one of the spirits who stood guard over treasure in the tales of treasure seeking.- Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 49  

Stories of spirits guarding buried treasure were deeply enmeshed in the region’s rural culture. In Vermont, too, buried treasures and lost mines were detected through dreams, divining rods, or stones.- Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 50

Buried treasure was tied into a great stock of magical practices extending back many centuries.” -Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 50

“The so called credulity of the money-diggers can be read as evidence of their general faith in invisible forces. Christian belief in angels and evils blended with belief in guardian spirits and magical powers. -Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 50

Benjamin Saunders was a good friend of the Smith’s. “His entire statement of 1884 defended the Smith’s.”-Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, pg.148

“I heard Joe tell mother and Sister how he procured the plates. He said he was directed by an angel where it was. He went in the night to get the plates. When he took the plates there was something down near the box that looked some like a toad that rose up into a man which forbade him to take the plates… He told his story just as earnestly as anyone could. He seemed to believe all he said.” Benjamin Saunders interview(1884),22-23, also quoted in Richard Anderson, "Alvin Smith Story”, 64


Willard Chase was a friend of Joseph Smith. It was in his well that the seer stone that was used to translate the Book of Mormon was found. He and Joseph Smith were partners in a company of treasure hunters (money-diggers).


“When his men failed to locate the cache, Stowell enlisted the Smith’s help, and Joseph Smith Sr. and Joseph Smith J agreed to join the diggers in Harmony. A set of “Articles of Agreement”, dated November 1, 1825, indicated that Joseph Smith and his father were to receive two-elevenths of the ore in the mine or “coined money and bars of ingots or Gold or Sliver” reputed to lie under hidden ground.” - Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 48

“As Joseph’s former partners, the treasure-seekers thought the plates were partly theirs. “The money diggers,” Martin Harris explained, “claimed that they had as much right to the plates as Joseph had, as they were in the company together.” - Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 61

“It should be added, parenthetically, that Joseph Smith had belonged to a group of fortune seekers that also included Willard Chase. The members if this group made a pact, or articles of agreement: that if any of their members found buried treasure, it was his obligation to share the wealth of his find with the other members. Now, however Joseph was not sharing his find. Rather, from their perspective, he was secretly hoarding it, keeping it from them.” Brenton G.Yorgason, Little Known Evidences of the Book of Mormon, quoting Donna Hill from Joseph Smith, the First Mormon., pg.66

“Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well of Mason(Willard)Chase, twenty-four feet from the surface.  In this stone he could see many things to my certain knowledge.  It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.” Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany’s Monthly, 1859, New York: Published by Joel Tiffany, vol. v.—12, pp. 163. 

 Willard Chase, one of the Smith’s neighbors and a friend of Joseph’s, found one of the stones.”- Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 49

Willard Chase Affadavit

“In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen. related to me the following story: ‘That some years ago, a spirit had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in the following manner: On the 22nd of September, he must repair to the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They accordingly fitted out Joseph with the suit of black clothes, and borrowed a black horse.  He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning around, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. – Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he inquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders.

“… In the fore part of September, (I believe,) 1827, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand at the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a share in the book. … “A few weeks after this conversation, he came to my house and related the following story: That on the 22nd of September, he arose early in the morning, and took a one horse wagon, of someone that had stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book.  He left his wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree top, and returned home. … He then observed that if it had not been for that stone [Joseph's money-digging seer stone], (which he acknowledged belonged to me,) he would not have obtained the book.  A few days afterwards, he told one of my neighbors that he had not got any such book, nor never had such an one; but that he had told the story to deceive the d—d fool, (meaning me), to get him to make a chest.  His neighbors having become disgusted with his foolish stories, he determined to go back to Pennsylvania, to avoid what he called persecution. His wits were now put to the task to contrive how he should get money to bear his expenses. He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; ‘I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible.’ Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money.”

 "Sir Walter Scott says that the old astrologers affirmed that they could bind to their service, and imprison in a ring, a mirror, or a stone, some fairy, sylph or salamander, and compel it to appear when called, and render answers to such questions as the viewer should propose."  -Theodore Besterman, Crystal-Gazing


“I remember sitting in a sacrament meeting several days after Mark Hofmann had confessed... I felt an overwhelming emotional and spiritual relief.... that white salamander that had bedeviled me for so long at last was exorcised. I felt spiritual channels once hindered and partly clogged renew themselves.” (Professor Ronald W. Walker, Brigham Young University, August 6, 1987)


 “The so called “Martin Harris letter” [Salamander Letter] is no repudiation of Joseph Smith, but rather probably is a further witness of the Prophets own account of the discovery of the gold plates.” -Deseret News, Church Section, Sept. 9, 1984.



  (It is if you believe that Prophets of God do not practice witchcraft.)



"And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers," Malachi 3:5



         “. . . thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shalt not be found among you any one that . . . useth divination, or is an observer of times (astrology), or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits [demons], or a wizard, or a necromancer [one who communicates with the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD.”                                        Deuteronomy 18:9-12