SL09225 Sidney Rigdon: The Baptist Years (1817–1830)

For most of his public ministry, Joseph Smith’s closest advisor was former Baptist minister and evangelist Sidney Rigdon. The prophet was uncomfortable with public speaking while the Baptist was a seasoned orator and the leader of the largest group of converts. Sidney was named Joseph’s spokesman at their first meeting. What attracted him to the new movement? What qualified him to become the public face of Mormonism so early? And years before the Spalding theory of the Book of Mormon origins was advanced, why did Baptists suspect Rigdon of being the real founder of Mormonism? (The Spalding theory itself is not discussed in this paper.)

Scott Kenney