Joseph Smith Jr. Is Put On Trial As A 'Disorderly Person'

The evidence from published accounts and public records seem to allow one to be fairly certain in concluding that JS was detained and brought before Judge Neely under the disorderly person accusation.

However, there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that JS was ever brought before the "Court of Special Sessions" necessary to indict or hand out a verdict.

The accounts are all well removed from the occurrence, the earliest being published forty-seven years after the fact. Given the excitement and negative publicity surrounding the publication of the Book of Mormon and the organization of the Mormon Church in 1830, the lack of published concern over the 1826 incident casts doubt as to its significance. Instead, the increased interest in the incident almost fifty years later seems to coincide with a changing culture in which things such as "seer stones" and digging for treasure were not as publically acceptable.

During the next four years, Smith made annual visits to Cumorah, only to return without the plates because he claimed that he had not brought with him the "right person" required by the angel. Meanwhile, Smith continued to travel western New York and Pennsylvania as a treasure hunter, for which occupation he was tried in 1826 as a "disorderly person".