Rigdon's Argumentative Analysis

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According to Orson Hyde, the fact that Brigham held the position of Joseph was apparent and did not require further proof. To Sidney Rigdon however, no such spiritual manifestation or transfiguration ever occurred. In fact, Rigdon went so far as to claim that Young’s affirmation that the spirit of Joseph had entered into him was a lie. In a letter to Brigham Young dated December 6, 1870 Rigdon wrote:

O vain man. ... Did you suppose that your hypocritical and lying preten[s]e that the spirit of Joseph Smith had [e]ntered into you, was going to prevail with God and man. You knew you lied when you made that preten[s]e. Your ignorance was such that you did not know that there were those living who knew that there never was[,] is[,] nor will be[,] such a metamorphosis on this earth as you wickedly, heaven enduringly pretended had taken place with you. (An undated copy is in the Stephen Post Collection, box 1, folder 1, LDS archives; and also is listed as Section 61 in Copying Book A. The mailed letter to Young is in the Brigham Young Collection (Box 42, fd. 2, reel 73).)

Rigdon’s perspective isn’t shared by contemporary witnesses of the event however, leading one to believe that he had
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A rational and likely explanation for this faulty group memory is that a “contagious” thought can spread through the populace to create a “collective mind.” This phenomenon is what social scientists call contagion theory or scenario fulfillment, whereby one sees what one expects, especially belatedly. Memory is more than direct recollection. It springs from tales harbored in the common fund which may then effect a re-shaping of a community’s sense of itself. Joseph Smith had truly ushered in an age of miracles and wonder. Every streaking meteor in the heavens seemed to portend marvels for the Mormon
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