Tapestry of Faith Part 2:
Barnstable and Topsfield, MA
New England Ancestry of the Prophet Joseph Smith Transcript

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Craig J. Ostler: There is one particular individual that we believe we have identified, that Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that he had seen in vision that was his maternal ancestor. His name was John Lothrop. Orson Pratt is our source for this. In 1853, he wrote to his brother Parley, “I have published the history and genealogy of Joseph Smith as written before his death: this included six or seven generations of his ancestry. You will recollect that Joseph had a vision and saw that our fathers and his all sprang from the same man a few generations ago. I should be pleased to trace both genealogies back to their junction, if it be possible.”1
Orson, at that time of 1853, they still didn’t know who that individual was, and from what we can tell that
is John Lothrop.2 John Lothrop was not only an ancestor of the Pratts and the Smiths, but also of Oliver Cowdery and Wilford Woodruff. In fact, he is an ancestor to [six] presidents of the United States.3

Elder M. Russell Ballard:4 Now see the hand of the become even more evident in life of a special man, his name was John Lothrop he was born in 1594, in Yorkshire, England. He died in 1653, in Massachusetts. John Lothrop was a minister in the Church of England. He firmly declared that the gospel should be taught more freely to the common people and that should read the Bible for themselves. He was arrested for his teachings, along with about 42 of his followers.5

Craig J. Ostler: John Lothrop began as a pastor in England, and he was in Egerton in England in the early 1600’s, and when he broke away from the Church of England,he was actually thrown in prison for doing so. Our indications are that he was put into Newgate Prison for some time. He left behind, in his imprisonment, a family and while he was in prison, his wife dies.6

Elder M. Russell Ballard: The Church of England did not know what to do with him because he had such a large following. Finally he was released from prison on condition that he would leave England. So John Lothrop packed up his few belongings and came to America with his children and many of his followers.7

Craig J. Ostler: And that is when John comes to the colonies at that time, or to New England and sets up his own congregations. One of them that he sets up, as he moves with his congregation, is in Barnstable. While he is there, they live according to the Bible, as closely as we have ever found any group.8 If you want to look for someone who was actually a city set upon a hill as an example to the world, it would be this community that John Lothrop is able to set up. Being that they did not need any policeman, they did not need a court or magistrates because they treated each other as Christians in the community during that time. It must have been like the city of Enoch, or Zion, or the Zion society that existed after the time of the Savior visit to the Nephites.

Jeffrey Marsh: The Sturgis Library in Barnstable includes a home that was originally built about 1645 by early colonist and early religious reformer, John Lothrop.

Craig J. Ostler: In a room that was part of the original home of John Lothrop, they have on display a Bible that belonged to John Lothrop.9 He had purchased it from Robert Barker in London, before he sailed to the Americas back in 1605. So when he sails in 1634, to the Americas, he’s bringing with him a Bible that he has used for nearly 30 years, it is a well-read Bible and they have that Bible on display. And in the Bible it actually shows that during the crossing, that while he was reading the Bible, he read it by candlelight, this was on the ship, on the ocean. And some of the wax from the candle fell on the pages of the Bible and burned through the pages. The Bible on display shows a hand-repaired page of the Bible, with handwritten words that apparently John Lothrop knew from memory.

Elder M. Russell Ballard: In 1638, Robert Smith, a sturdy yeoman from England, immigrated to the New World. He settled in Essex County, Massachusetts.10

Craig J. Ostler: The privately owned, New England style home, that now exists on the Smith Homestead site was built in the 19th century. But, the Dorman-Smith House, which used to be on the site, was the birthplace of Joseph Smith Sr. The Paternal Ancestors to live here were, Robert, Samuel, his son, also named Samuel, Asael, and Joseph Sr., the prophet’s father.11 Situated on Topsfield Common, were three Congregational meeting houses, both Asael and Joseph Sr. were baptized in the second meetinghouse on this site.12

Elder M. Russell Ballard: It was Asael Smith who made this remarkable statement: “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.”13

Craig J. Ostler: When Asael Smith receives the Book of Mormon from his son, Joseph Smith Sr., he was very receptive. In the summer of 1830, after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and the organization of the Church of Christ, Joseph Smith Sr. visited his aged father, who at that time lived in St. Lawrence County. The believing blood of Israel flowed in Asael’s bowels. The paternal grandfather of the Prophet received the message of the Restoration carried by his missionary son. Asael’s eighth child, who was present at the time wrote, “The subject of the Book of the Book of Mormon was introduced. Father received with gladness that which Joseph communicated; and remarked that he had always expected that something would appear to make known the true Gospel.”14 A grandson, George A. Smith recorded, “My Grandfather Asael fully believed the Book of Mormon, which he read nearly through, although in his eighty-eighth year, without the aid of glasses…”15 Sadly, Asael was not baptized because of his weakened and aged condition, and he died soon thereafter.
Being that Joseph Smith’s ancestry came from that time period of the colonizing of New England and
then the Revolutionary war, near equal with their passion for religious liberty, is the liberty that comes through the Revolutionary War and then the Constitution of the United States, the independence from England.

Elder M. Russell Ballard: Samuel II was a captain in George Washington’s army, and his son Asael was in his company as they served their country during the Revolutionary War.16

Craig J. Ostler: Joseph indicated, “It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul. Civil and religious liberty were diffused into my soul by my grandfathers while they dandled me on their knees… “17 He took great comfort in the knowing that the hand of the Lord had prepared a place where people could have religious freedom.18 Asael Smith and his family including Joseph Smith Sr. moved from the home in Topsfield Massachusetts, in 1791, and they then moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts, and later to Tunbridge, Vermont, which will become important because that is where the Smiths and the Macks meet.19

Elder M. Russell Ballard: On July 12, 1771, Asael Smith and his wife Mary Duty had a son whom they named Joseph. We know him as Father Smith. He married Lucy Mack, who was the daughter of Solomon and Lydia Mack. Now, that may not mean very much until you realize that the Mack family were descendants of John Lathrop. John Lathrop was the fourth great-grandfather of Lucy Mack Smith.20

1 Orson Pratt to Parley P. Pratt, October 11, 1853, from Washington D.C., Church History Library, MS 2248_b0001_f0008_d0003_00001 and MS 2248_b0001_f0008_d0003_00003.
2 Richard Price, John Lothrop (1584-1653): A Puritan Biography & Genealogy, (Salt Lake City: Richard W. Price and Associates, 1984), 33.
3 Helene Holt, Exiled: The Story of John Lathrop, 1584-1653, (New York: Paramount Books, 1987), 219-221. Also see Price, John Lothrop, 5.
4 M. Russell Ballard, “The Tapestry of God’s Hand”, https://www.lds.org/pages/the-tapestry-of-gods-hand?lang=eng (accessed 9/15/2014).
5 Holt, Exiled, 69-70, 213.
6 Price, John Lothrop, 8-11.
7 http://minerdescent.com/2010/06/02/john-lathrop (accessed 10/2/2014).
8 Price, John Lothrop, 19.
9 John Lothrop in Barnstable, comp. Lucy Loomis, (Barnstable, MA., 2009), 8-21.
10 John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet, (New York: The Macmillian Company, 1933), 20-21.
11 Joseph F. Smith, Jr., “Asahel Smith of Topsfield, with Some Account of the Smith Family,” The Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, ed. George Francis Dow, (Topsfield, Mass: the Merrill Press, 1902), Col. VIII,44-5, 87-89; photo insert between pages 44 and 45.
12 Larry C. Porter, Sacred Places: New England and Eastern Canada, LaMar C. Berrett, Ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000),30-31.
13 George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 32; Journal Discourses, (Latter-day Saints Book Depot, Liverpool, 1858), 102. See also: Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1971), 112; Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, (Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1971), 25; Joseph Smith. History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1932-51) 2:443.
14 John Smith, Journal, cited in Lucy Mack Smith, Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir, ed. Lavina Fielding Anderson, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 482.
15 George A. Smith, “Memoirs,” handwritten ms., 4 See https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE714718
16 Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, 90-91.
17 The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, ed. Scott H. Faulring. (Signature Book, Inc, Salt Lake, 1989), [July 9, 1843], 395. “Dandled”: to bounce up and down in a playful or affectionate way.
18 Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, 128.
19 Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, 100-101, 204.
20 Price, John Lothrop, genealogy on end page.