"... The first idea of a "Book," was doubtless suggested to the Smiths by one Walters, a juggling fortune-teller, who made the ignorant believe that an old book in his possession, in the Latin language, contained an account of the ante-deluvians, &c. and the word was given out that the book Smith was about to find, was a history of hidden treasures.
Smith and his father belonged to a gang of money-diggers, who had followed that business for many years, Jo pretending he could see the gold and silver by the aid of what they called a "peep stone."
The book is chiefly garbled from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocraphy having contributed its share: names and phrases have been altered, and in many instances copied upwards--A quarto Bible now in this village, was borrowed and nearly worn out and defaced by their dirty handling. Some seven or eight of them spent many months in copying, Cowdery being principal scribe....
The whole gang of these deluded mortals, except a few hypocrites, are profound believers in witchcraft, ghosts, goblins, &c. From the best information we can obtain, the work has entirely stopped in this country, and some who have been the most ardent are beginning to have misgivings on the subject. ..."
[Unidentified Palmyra Residents to Editor, 12 March 1831, Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph 2 (22 March 1831): 2., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Palmyra Residents To Painesville (Oh) Telegraph]