(Warsaw: Sharp & Gamble, 1841)
ERRORS AND ABSURDITIES EXPOSED,
SPIRIT AND DESIGNS OF ITS AUTHORS
M A D E M A N I F E S T
WITH EMENDATIONS BY A CITIZEN.
TO WHICH IS ADDED AN APPENDIX.
CONTAINING THE TESTIMONY OF THE MOST PROMINENT WITNESSES
AS TAKEN AT THE TRIAL OF JOE SMITH, JR., AND OTHERS
FOR HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE STATE OF
MISSOURI, BEFORE JUDGE KING, OF
THE FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT.
SHARP & GAMBLE, PUBLISHERS.
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The devotion of believers in a false creed, seems to be commensurate with its absurdity. When once a wild and fanatical doctrine is imbibed, it gives a strange and unnatural excitement to the imagination, which produces a zeal and ardor in its propagation truly astonishing. Indeed it may be said, that the absurdities of a doctrine work not more to its detriment, while in infancy, than the assiduity they give to its advocates, does in its favor. It is only on this principle, that we can account for the rapidity with which error at its first appearance is diffused. Were it not for this, the delusion of Mahomet, the nonsense of the Shakers, and the blasphemous ravings of the Mormons had never excited the attention of a reflecting mind. This being the case, the question naturally arises to the lover of truth, how can the progress of fanaticism be arrested? The answer is, in the present state of society it can only be done, by rendering the absurdity and wickedness of its subject so palpable that the way-faring man, though a fool, cannot but see and comprehend. The object of the writer, therefore, in the following pages, is to present the absurdities of Mormonism, and the wickedness of its spirit and design, as exhibited in the works and history of the church, in as plain and simple a manner as possible. In doing this, he wishes to say nothing but what can be substantiated in the most satisfactory manner. The absurdities of the Mormons will be made manifest by reference to their own writings. To say, however, a tenth part of what might be said on the subject, would swell these pages far beyond his purpose; he has, therefore, only selected a few of the more glaring and palpable matters in which the cloven foot of the great beast has been displayed, and from these has endeavored to exhibit its general character,
The only apology which he offers for having treated that which is in itself so contemptibly ridiculous, with so much gravity, is, that well meaning, though weak minded persons are daily imposed upon
by the plausible statements of Mormon teachers; a work, therefore, designed to arrest the progress of Mormonism, must present the [falseness] of its claims, and the absurdities of its dogmas, in the most [direct] manner possible.
The Book of Mormon purports to be the record, or history of a certain people, who inhabited America, previous to its discovery by Columbus. This people, according to it, were the descendants of one Lehi, who crossed the Ocean from the Eastern Continent, to this. Their history and records, containing prophecies and revelations, were engraven by the command of God, on small plates, and deposited in the hill Cumora, which appears to be situated in Western New York. Thus was preserved an account of this race, (along with their religious creed,) up to the period when the descendants of Laman, Lemuel, and Sam, who were the three eldest sond of Lehi, arose and destroyed the descendants of Nephi, who was his youngest son. From this period, the descendants of the eldest sons "dwindled in unbelief," and "became a dark, loathsome, and filthy people." The last mentioned are our present Indians.
The plates above mentioned, remained in their depository, until about the year 1825, when, as the Mormons say, they were found by Joseph Smith, Jr., who was directed in the discovery by the Angel of the Lord. On these plates were certain hieroglyphics, said to be of the Egyptian character, which Smith, by the direction of his being instructed by inspiration, as to their meaning, proceeded to translate. This translation is the work which I propose now to examine.
It will be here proper to remark, that a narrative so extraordinary as that contained in the Book of Mormon, translated from hieroglyphics, of which even [the most] learned have but a limited knowledge, and that too, by an ignorant youth, who pretended to no other
knowledge of the characters than what he derived from inspiration, requires more than ordinary evidence to substantiate it. It will be my purpose therefore, in the remainder of this chapter, to enquire into the nature and degree of testimony which has been given to the world, to substantiate the claims of this extraordinary book.
In the first place, the existence of the plates themselves, has, ever since their alleged discovery been in dispute. To this point it would be extremely easy to give some proof, by making an exhibition of them to the world. If they are so ancient as they are claimed to be, and designed for the purpose of transmitting the history of a people, and if they have laid for ages, deposited in the earth, their appearance would certainly indicate the fact. What evidence, then, have we of the existence of these plates? Why, none other than the mere dictum of Smith himself, and the certificates of eleven other individuals, who say that they have seen them: and upon this testimony we are required to believe this most extraordinary narrative, and are threatened with eternal punishment for not believing it.
Now, even admitting, for the sake of argument, that these witnesses are all honest and credible men, yet what would be easier than for Smith to deceive them? Could he not easily procure plates to be made, and inscribe thereon a set of characters, no matter what, and then exhibit them to his intended witnesses as genuine? What would be easier than thus to impose on their credulity and weakness? And if it were necessary to give them the appearance of antiquity, a chemical process could easily effect the matter. -- But I do not admit that these witnesses were honest; for six of them, after having made the attestation to the world that they had seen the plates, left the church; thus contradicting that to which they had certified. And one of these witnesses, Martin Harris, who is frequently mentioned in the Book of Covenants -- who was a High Priest of the church -- who was one of the most infatuated of Smith's followers -- who even gave his property, in order to procure the publication of the Book of Mormon, having afterward left the church, Smith, in speaking of him in connection with others, said -- "that they were so far beneath contempt, that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make,"
But what reason does Smith give for not exhibiting the plates to the world? The only reason that I have ever heard, is, that God has forbidden him; but at the same time directed that he should show them to the eleven witnesses above spoken of. Now, the foreknowledge of God has never been denied; and is it to be presumed that the Almighty would direct Smith to exhibit the plates to men whom he knew would prove traitors? and more especially to so contemptible a man as Harris is described to be? If these plates are of divine origin. the witnesses to them must be considered as the witnesses of God; but what idea could be more ridiculous than
to suppose that six, out of eleven witnesses, chosen by the Almighty for his own purpose, should prove recreant? Yet this is not more absurd, than to suppose God would require mankind to believe a matter so out of the ordinary course of nature, as are many things recorded in the Book of Mormon, from the simple attestation of eleven men. How different, in this respect, is Mormonism from Christianity! Did Christ exhibit the evidences of his Divinity before the twelve Apostles only? No! nearly every miracle that is recorded was performed in the presence of great multitudes. Did he ask mankind to believe that his mission was from above, merely because the twelve Apostles said that they had evidence of it? No! but he exhibited the prooof wherever he went, and gave such clear, incontestable evidence of its nature, even in the presence of his enemies, that they were everywhere confounded. Now, is it probable that God, in one age of the world, should give such convincing proof of the truth of his word, and in another age, require us to believe upon the mere ipse dicit of but eleven men and the moral character of these equivocal, to say the best of them, and according to the general evidences, very bad?
But admitting the plates to exist, and that they have certain hieroglyphics inscribed upon them, yet how are we to know that the Book of Mormon is a correct translation? Smith, at the time of the alleged translation, was a young man generally ignorant of any language except his mother tongue. There is no way, therefore, in which he could have arrived at a correct translation of the plates, except by the aid of Divine inspiration: indeed the first certificate attached to the Book of Mormon avers that it was translated "by the gift and power of God." Now, the first evidence to show that they really were translated by the "gift and power of God," would be to show that the Book is a correct translation of the plates. -- This could easily be done by submitting the plates to the inspection of learned men, and procuring their attestation to the fact. Has this ever been done? No one of the men to whom the plates were alleged to have been shown possessed any knowledge of the language in which they were said to hve been written. How, then, could they tell whether the book was a correct translation? Why, only by the same means that Smith professed to translate it, -- by inspiration. Indeed, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, in the first certificate attached to the Book of Mormon, claim to be inspired. Speaking of the translation, they say, "It is marvellous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it." Here it will be observed, that there are a number of men, all professing to be inspired, and they are the only evidence of each other's inspiration. Does this not look like collusion? Smith says, "I am inspired," and these men say, "we believe it, for we have the evidence of its truth by inspiration." This is something like thieves proving each other honest men.
A further remark here. There are two certificates attached to the
the Book of Mormon; the second of which is signed by eight witnesses. Now this certificate does not say one word about the Book being translated through the aid of inspiration; it simply avers that Smith is the translator. The only evidence, therefore, which we have that Smith translated the Book by the aid of inspiration, is the first certificate, signed by Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer. Now as to Harris, by Smith's own showing, he is too contemptible to be noticed by a gentleman, therefore we will lay him on the shelf. The other two, Cowdery and Whitmer, left the church, renounced Mormonism, and contradicted what they had certified. Here, then, are but three witnesses on all the Mormon records, to prove Smith's inspiration, one of which is too contemptible to notice, and the others have discredited themselves.
Some of the Mormons have said, (I know not whether it comes from the heads of the church) that a copy of the plates were presented to Professor Anthon, a gentleman standing in the first rank as a classical scholar, and he attested to the faithfulness of the translation of the Book of Mormon. Now let us hear what the Professor himself has to say of this matter. In a letter recently written by him to the Rev. T. W. Coit, of New Rochelle, N. Y., he professes to make a plain statement of all he knows of the Mormons. In this letter he says:
"Many years ago, the precise date I do not now recollect, a plain looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon, a certain paper, marked with various characters, which the Doctor confessed he could not decipher, and which the bearer of the note was very anxious to have explained. A very brief examination of the paper convinced me that it was a mere hoax, and a very clumsy one too. The characters were arranged in columns, like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley that I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew and all sorts of letters, more or less distorted, either through unskilfulness or from actual design, were intermingled with sundry delineations of half moons, stars, and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac. The conclusion was irresistible, that some cunning fellow had prepared the paper in question for the purpose of imposing upon the countryman who brought it, and I told the man so without any hesitation. He then proceeded to give me the history of the whole affair, which convinced me that he had fallen into the hands of some sharper, while it left me in great astonishment at his simplicity."
He also states that he gave his opinion in writing to this man, that "the marks on the paper, appeared to be merely an imitation of various alphabetic characters, and had no meaning at all connected with them."
The plain looking countryman referred to, the Professor states, he believes to have been none other than the Prophet Smith, himself;
but the probability is, that it was Martin Harris. Here, then, is a beautiful illustration of what Mormonism really is -- a mere hoax, designed to take advantage of the gullibility of mankind, and thus to aggrandize its author and his coadjutors.
The only evidence that has ever been received to prove the inspiration of an individual, is this, that he possessed the power to work miracles; in other words to do some act impossible according to the established laws of nature. Now, has Smith ever performed an act of this description? True, if he establishes the fact incontestibly that he discovered plates on which were engraved certain characters in the Egyptian, or any other ancient language -- and that he, being unlettered, made a correct translation of them, this indeed would be a miracle. But neither of these facts are established; not even by the slightest testimony. For the certificates of the witnesses do not state where, or how, Smith obtained the plates, but simply that an Angel came from Heaven, and brought and laid the plates before their (the witnesses) eyes, that they "beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon." There is, then. no evidence of where Smith obtained the plates, except his own dicta; neither is there any evidence of the nature of the characters alleged to have been written thereon.
As for any other miracles, although I have heard of Smith's having performed such, yet until he appears before a multitude, every opportunity being given for detecting fraud, and performs an act that could not be done without suspending the ordinary laws of nature, no credence can be given to the statements of bigoted and interested persons. His miracles must be performed as were those of Christ, in the presence of thousands, and before the eyes of his enemies. Can he heal the sick? if so, why, when he is himself sick, does he take ordinary medicines for relief? Can he prevent death? Why, then, are his nearest relations and most useful friends suffered to die in the vigor of manhood?
I have now examined the sum total of the external evidence which has ever been given to prove the truth of the Book of Mormon. True, numerous passages of scripture are quoted, and by forced constructions are made to have reference to the Book; but a fair interpretation will always show the fallacy of all arguments that can be drawn from this source. With the same propriety that quotations are made to prove the truth of Mormonism, they can be made to prove it a horn of the great beast referred to by John. -- Equally futile with the last, is the attempt of some to corroborate the narrative of the Book, by producing facts to prove that this continent was once inhabited by a civilized race. This only shows that the author of the book had a knowledge of that fact, and wrote it in reference thereto.
I cannot better close this chapter, than by giving an extract from a revelation to Smith, which will show what idea he has of inspiration. It appears that Oliver Cowdery, who was appointed
to assist Smith in translating the plates, finding that he was but little aided by inspiration, complained of the fact; and Smith, for his encouragement, received the following revelation, which will be found in the Book of Covenants, page 162, and reads thus: -- "Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph, and behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you; do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner. Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me; but behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong." Here is inspiration, with a vengeance! "Study it out in your own mind!" no matter what it is! make the most plausible story that you can, and then, ah! then, you must come and "ask me if it be right." Is this any thing like to the inspiration spoken of in the Bible? Does it bear any analogy to the voice of God speaking to Abraham, when the burning coals, &c. passed between the parts of the sacrifice, at eventide; or to the burning bush of Moses; or the terrific grandeur of Sinai, when in the presence of millions the mountain shook, until Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake?"
Now, it will here be observed that the translators of the Book of Mormon, by their own showing, were not under inspiration at the time of writing the translations. How, then, in the name of common sense, would a set of unlettered men, who could scarcely write their own language, and who were totally innocent of a knowledge of any other, proceed to make a translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics? We are told that they must "study it out in their own minds," without assistance from God; and after they had imagined what the characters meant, then the inspiration should come. Here then, is direct evidence from Smith, himself, of what the Book of Mormon really is -- namely, a mere fiction, conjured up from the brains of Smith, or his coadjutors, and designed for nothing else than to gull mankind, and to aggrandize themselves.
One remark further. We are asked, if Smith was an unlettered youth, is not the fact of his producing a work, such as the Book of Mormon, a proof of inspiration. I answer, that the style and matter of the book is nothing superior; but admitting that it was more than a youth like Smith could produce, is it not well known that he has coadjutors of acknowledged talents -- fully ample to produce such a work? more especially, as in style and matter, it is written
in imitation of the Scriptures. Some have intimated, however that book was obtained by Smith surreptitiously, from the executors of a man who had written it as a religious romance, and altered it to suit his own purposes.
be as a whale, sometimes under the water, and sometimes on top. Of course, when they were under the water they were in as bad a fix as ever; for they had to keep the holes stopped, in order to keep out the floods. But what did they want with that hole in the bottom? I was told by a Mormon expounder, that the holes in the top and bottom were so made, on account of the roughness of the passage -- the mountain waves dashing the boats over and over, so that sometimes the top would be uppermost, and sometimes the bottom...
On page 177 of the Book of Covenants, you have the titles of Smith, in the following language: "Behold there shall be a record
kept amongst you, and in it thou (Smith) shall be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and an elder of the Church." And on page 88, "a revelator, like unto Moses, having all the gifts of God, which he bestows upon the head of the Church."
On page 126, Book of Covenants, it appears that he is the only one to receive revelations for the Church. 'And this ye shall know assuredly, that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations, until he is taken, if he abide in me.'
"On page 177, Book of Covenants, you have his power over the church. "Wherefore, (meaning the church,) thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments, which he shall give unto you, and his words ye shall receive, as if from my own mouth." -- Mark this revelation, for it is important in a political point of view. By this we are told that the church is to obey all the words and commandments of Smith, as though they were from the mouth of the Lord, both in things spiritual and temporal. Now, I ask the community, while men are duped, as we know that they are, is not Mormonism inimical to the institutions of our country? Can not Smith, at any time, set himself up as superior to the civil law? Can he not commit any act of depredation, and screen himself from punishment? Can he, ah! does he not, control the votes of his followers? Let the ballot-box, at every election where they have voted, answer, and it will be found that they have voted, almost to a man, with Smith. Is not this contrary to the spirit of our free institutions? Is is not an imposition on the rights of the other citizens, who enter into the civil compact only on the condition that all shall think and act for themselves? Carry out the principle! Suppose that the Mormons should become a majority of the citizens of the state of Illinois, where they are now concentrating their numbers; would it be right that such a majority, controlled by one man, should rule? Would not such a state of things be a total subversion of Republicanism, and the establishment, in effect, of a despotism? If so, the principle is the same while they are in the minority. But I digress.
On page 112, Book of Covenants, he claims exemption from temporal labor. "And in temporal labor thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling; attend to thy calling, and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thy office. And again I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth, to accomplish the work." Now, every one who has any knowledge of Smith, knows that the averment in this revelation is not true; for he is a large, portly man, remarkable for his physical strength. It was, then, evidently designed merely to excuse his laziness, and enable him to suck a livelihood from his followers.
On page 180, Book of Covenants, Smith claims to have been ordained
by John the Baptist, in the presence of our ancient fathers, Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham and Adam, to the Aaronic priesthood; and also, on the same page, is an account of his ordination to the Melchisedec priesthood, by Peter, James and John. Now, what better evidence can be adduced, of the total ignorance of this man, respecting the nature of the priesthood, than is here afforded. What is the office and calling of a priest? St. Paul says, it is to "offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." A priesthood cannot, therefore, exist in the Christian church -- Christ having been offered as a complete sacrifice for all. And St. Paul, in Heb. vii. 18, speaking of the priesthood, says, "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandments going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof;" and in the 17th verse, he says, "For he, (the Father,) testifieth, thou, (Christ,) art a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec." Now here, as by the whole tenor of the apostle's argument, it appears that the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods were done away, and Christ created the sole priest; forever, after the order of Melchisedec. He, then, is the only priest known to the Christian religion. But this Latter Day Prophet has risen up to tell the world that God has annulled his former decrees, and revised the old priesthood which was abolished for its weakness and unprofitableness; and that Christ is stripped of the office which was given him forever, and he, Smith, made successor to him -- claiming, thereby, to be equal in official dignity to the Mediator; and that too, when Christ. according to the apostles, was made a priest after the order of Mechisedec, because the priesthood would be in him unchangable. Was there ever more abominable blasphemy?
By reference to page 181, Book of Covenants, it will appear that Smith is at the head of the Mormon Church. "And thou shalt not command him who is at the head of the church." And, in the Book of Mormon, page 66: "And he shall be great, like unto Moses."
Search the annals of infallible Rome! Read the history of her most aspiring pretenders, and when was there ever assumed higher titles, greater authority, or more immaculate holiness, than is now assumed by this image of the beast, arisen in these latter days!
In reviewing these claims of Smith, what a striking contrast is presented between him and the apostles! They acknowledged no head but Christ; they sought no titles but those of apostles, servants, or ministers of the New Covenant. -- All were permitted to receive revelations for the church -- all were on a level, as regards their authority. But Smith, not satisfied with calling himself a seer, a prophet, and a revelator, claims to be "great like unto Moses." It almost seems like blasphemy, but, as thousands profess to believe in the claims of this empty pretender, it becomes a duty to expose their weakness in the most effectual manner possible.
Let us, then, ask, where is the least point of analogy between these men? We read of Moses being sent by God, from the burning bush to deliver the Israelites from under the tyranny of Pharoah, of the signs and wonders that attested his mission, of his leading the people out, of their journeying through the wilderness, of the division of the Red Sea, of the cloudy and fiery pillar that went before to guide them in the way, of angel's food and quails for their subsistence, of rivers of water flowing from the flinty rock to satiate their thirst, of the miraculous durability of their clothing, of their glorious reception of the lively oracles, the cloud overshadowing, the mountain shaking, the trump of God waxing louder and louder, the voice of Nature's Author heard, his glory manifested, the people quaking, and all this in attestation of the divinity of the mission of Moses, and the laws of Jehovah.
Now, what is there in the history of your Latter Day Prophet, that can compare with this? Where was the power of this pretender to work miracles, when his followers, fainting with hunger, were famished on the way? Where was he, when their enemies pressed sore upon them, threatening destruction? Did he then give even the slightest assistance to his people? No! on the contrary, he led the flight. Give us, then, at least, one well authenticated and incontestable instance of the miraculous power of this man, before he is claimed to be great like unto Moses.
But where is there any analogy in the character of the two men? Moses was said to be the meekest and one of the most benevolent and upright of men. Now, is there any of this meekness in the character of Smith? Let his harangues to his people speak, let his own writings speak, and they will show him to be one of the most vindictive men that can be produced. And what evidence is there of his benevolence? At the very time that the widows of the church, and, indeed, the poorer class, were suffering for want of the common necessaries of life, Smith, and his co-adjutor, S. Rigdon, demanded at the hands of the people, twelve hundred dollars per year, in order to aggrandize himself, and enable him to live in luxury. And when some complained that this would be a violation of the rules of the Church, he remarked, that if he could not obtain his demand, his people might go to hell, and he would go to the Rocky mountains! And this, too, when the Bishop is appointed by revelation, to deal out to every man according to his wants. Here, then, is a beautiful specimen of his benevolence -- he must have his enormous demands satisfied, though his people starve, even by breaking through the laws of the church. Where was there any thing like Moses in this? But look at his example before his people. At the very time that their enemies were pressing them, he was found, like a giddy boy, or an abandoned renegade, wrestling for amusement, on the Sabbath day; and when reproved, said, "Never mind, it is a time of war." Those who were with Smith at the periods referred
to, know that these things are true. And what do they show? Any thing but a Moses.
Having now shown the emptiness of Smith's claims, let us, for a moment, inquire into his real origin and character. The following remark is from the Rev. John A. Clark, of the city of Philadelphia, but formerly of Palmyra, New York:
"Joe Smith, who has since been the chief Prophet of the Mormons, and was one of the most prominent ostensible actors in the first scenes of this drama, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra. They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as Money-Diggers. Joe, from a boy, appeared dull, and utterly destitute of genius; but his father claimed for him a sort of second sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid. Consequently long before the idea of a GOLDEN BIBLE entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place where they struck upon treasures, Joe used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig."
This account of Smith is corroborated by Mr. Hale, his father-in-law...
"From this prophecy we learn, First, that America is a chosen land of the Lord, above every other land; Secondly, that it is the place of the New Jerusalem, which shall come down from God out of heaven, upon the earth when it is renewed: Third, that a New Jerusalem, is to be built in America, to the remnant of Joseph (The Indians) like unto or after a similar pattern, to the old Jerusalem in the land of Canaan; and that the old Jerusalem shall be rebuilt at the same time; and, this being done, both cities will continue in prosperity on the earth, until the great and last change when the heavens and the earth are to be renewed: Fourth, we learn that when this change takes place, the two cities are caught up into heaven, and being changed and made new. The one comes down upon the American land, and the other to its own place as formerly; and Fifth, We learn that the inhabitants of these two cities are the same that gathered together and first builded them. The remnant of Joseph and those gathered with them, inherit the New Jerusalem. And the tribes of Israel, gathered from the north countries, and from the four quarters of the earth, inhabit the other; and thus all things being made new, we find those who were once strangers and pilgrims on the earth, in possession of that better country, and that city, for which they sought."
Here then is a picture of the Mormon Paradise. Let us now, for a moment, compare it to the Paradise of God, or the city of inheritance, spoken of, and sought for by the Prophets and Apostles.
Christ said, when on earth, "In my father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Now where did Christ speak of going? To the earth?
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." -- Now in the revelation giving directions for building the Mormon New Jerusalem, they are to build a Temple, &c., and, according to Pratt's account, the cities are to be caught up into heaven, and are to be let down after the earth is renewed; of course, there are to be temples literally speaking. A great number of other passages might be quoted, to show the dissimilarity between the Mormon Paradise and that which is described in the scriptures; but enough has been said to prove theirs a mere invention of the imagination.
A PATRIARCHAL BLESSING,
In the spring of 1831, Smith, Rigdon, and others were directed by revelation, (see Book of Covenants, page 193) to go on a journey to Missouri, and there the Lord was to show them the place of the New Jerusalem. This journey was accordingly taken, and when they arrived, a revelation was received, (see B. C., p. 154) pointing out the town of Independence, Jackson county, as the central spot of the land of Promise, where they were directed to build a temple, &c. Shortly after their return to Kirtland, a number of revelations were received commanding the saints throughout the country, to purchase
and settle in this Land of Promise. Accordingly, many went and began to build up Zion, as they called it.
In the mean time, Smith, Rigdon, &c., devoted their labors in Kirtland to building up themselves and the church.
In 1831, a consecration law was established in the church by revelation. It was first published in the Book of Covenants, page 93, and in the Evening and Morning Star, 1st. ed. no. 3, Vol. I. It reads thus: -- "If thou lovest me, thou shalt keep my commandments, and thou shalt consecrate all thy properties unto me with a covenant and deed which cannot be broken." This law, however, has been republished, in the Book of Covenants, page 122, and in the republication, has been altered. As modified, it reads thus: "If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all of my commandments, and, behold, thou shalt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them with a covenant and deed, which cannot be broken." Let me digress for one moment, and ask why this alteration. It does appear to have been done by command of God, but purports to be the same revelation as was first published. This is demonstration that Smith makes and alters revelations, to suit his own purposes.
The details of this consecration law will be found in the Book of Covenants, page 159, and reads thus: "Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, and I will speak unto my servant Edward Partridge, and give unto him directions; for it must needs be that he have directions how to organize the people; for it must needs be that they are organized according to my laws. If otherwise, they will be cut off; wherefore let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portion, every man equal according to their families, according to circumstances, and their wants and needs; and let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing, that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the church, until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice of the church, to belong to the church, according to the laws and covenants of the church; and if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong in the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the Bishop, for the poor and the needy of my church, therefore he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him. -- And thus, all things shall be made sure according to the laws of the land."
"And let that which belongs to this people, be appointed unto this people, and the money which is left unto this people, let there be an agent appointed unto this people, to take the money to provide food and raiment according to the wants of this people. And let every man deal honestly and be alike amongst this people, and receive alike, that he may be even as I have commanded you."
"And let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church; wherefore if another church would receive money of this church, let them pay unto this church according as they shall agree, and this shall be done through the Bishop or the agent, which shall be appointed by the voice of the church."
And again, "Let the Bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church, and let all things both in money and in meat, which is more than is needful for the want of this people, be kept in the hands of the Bishop. And let him also reserve unto himself for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business." Again, speaking of this law, "Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches, and whoso is found a faithful, a just and a wise steward, shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life. Verily I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who cometh quickly, in an hour you think not; even so, Amen."
The penalty attached to a breach of this law will be found in the Book of Covenants, page 241, thus: "Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of the gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall with the wicked lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment."
These were the provisions of the consecration laws, which, so far as I am informed, are yet unrepealed. They have never, however, been put in full operation; because the people would not suffer it. The whole scheme was evidently designed for the benefit of Smith & Co., as will more fully appear by what follows.
In April, 1832, a firm was established by revelation, ostensibly for the benefit of the church, consisting of the principal members in Kirtland and Independence. (See B. C., pages 219 and 220.) The members of this firm were bound together by an oath and covenant, to "manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric, both in Zion (Missouri) and in Shinahar (Kirtland). According to the consecration law, above quoted, the Bishop was to have charge of all consecrated property, also to have charge of the storehouse of the church; consequently, as this firm superseded the Bishop, it had charge of all the consecrated property. In June, 1833, a revelation was received to lay off Kirtland in lots, and the proceeds of the sale were to go to this firm, (B. C. p. 234), In 1834 or 5, the firm was divided by revelation, (B. C. 240,) so that those in Kirtland continued as one firm, and those in Missouri as another. In the same revelation, they are commanded to divide the consecrated property between the individuals of the firm, which each separately were to manage as stewards. Previous to this in 1833 a revelation was received to build a temple, (B. C. p. 213,) which was to be done by the consecrated funds in the management of the firm. In putting up this structure, the firm involved itself in debt to a large amount; wherefore, in the revelation last mentioned above, the following
appears: "Inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful, and call on my name, behold I will give you the victory; I give unto you a promise that you shall be delivered this once out of your bondage, inasmuch as you obtain a chance to loan money by hundreds and thousands, even till you have obtained enough to deliver yourselves out of bondage." This was a command to borrow money, in order to free themselves from the debt that oppressed them. They made the attempt, but failed to get sufficient to satisfy their purposes. This led to another expedient.
In 1835, Smith, Rigdon, and others formed a mercantile house, and purchased goods in Cleveland and in Buffalo, to a very large amount, on a credit of six months. In the fall, other houses were formed, and goods purchased in the eastern cities to a still greater amount. A great part of the goods of these houses went to pay the workmen on the Temple, and many were sold on credit, so that when the notes came due the house was not able to meet them. Smith, Rigdon, & Co., then attempted to borrow money, by issuing their notes payable at different periods after date. This expedient not being effectual, the idea of a Bank suggested itself. Accordingly in 1837, the far-famed Kirtland Bank was put into operation, without charter. This institution, by which so many have been swindled, was formed after the following manner. Subscribers for stock were allowed to pay the amount of their subscriptions in town lots, at five or six times their real value -- others paid in personal property at a high valuation; and some paid the cash. When the notes were first issued, they were current in the vicinity, and Smith took advantage of their credit, to pay off with them the debts he and the brethren had contracted in the neighborhood, for land, &c. The eastern creditors, however, refused to take them. This led to the expedient of exchanging them for the notes of other banks. Accordingly, the elders were sent off the country to barter Kirtland money, which they did with great zeal, and continued the operation until the notes were not worth twelve and a half cents to the dollar. As might have been expected, this institution after a few months, exploded, involving Smith and his brethren in inextricable difficulties. The consequence was, that he and most of the members of the church set off, in the spring of 1838, for Far West, Mo., being pursued by their creditors, but to no effect.
I will now go back for a short period. In 1836, an endowment meeting, or solemn assembly, was called, to be held in the Temple at Kirtland. It was given out that those who were in attendance at the meeting should receive an endowment, or blessing, similar to that experienced by the Disciples of Christ on the day of Pentecost. When the day arrived, great numbers convened from the different churches in the country. They spent the day in fasting and prayer, and in washing and perfuming their bodies; they also washed their feet and anointed their heads with what they called holy oil, and pronounced blessings. In the evening, they met for the endowment.
The fast was then broken, by eating light wheat bread, and drinking as much wine as they saw proper. Smith knew well how to infuse the spirit which they expected to receive; so he encouraged the brethren to drink freely, telling them that the wine was consecrated, and would not make them drunk. As may be supposed, they drank to the purpose. After this they began to prophesy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies. If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than was uttered that night. The curses were pronounced principally upon the clergy of the present day, and upon the Jackson county mobs in Missouri. After spending the night in alternate blessings and cursings, the meeting adjourned.
I now return to Missouri. The Mormons who had settled in and about Independence, having become very arrogant, claiming the land as their own, -- saying, the Lord had given it to them -- and making the most haughty assumptions, so exasperated the old citizens, that a mob was raised in 1833, and expelled the whole Mormon body from the county. They fled to Clay county, where the citizens permitted them to live in quiet till 1836, when a mob spirit began to manifest itself, and the Mormons retired to a very thinly settled district of the country, where they began to make improvements. -- This district was, at the session of 1836-7 of the Missouri Legislature, erected into a county, by the name of Caldwell, with Far West for its county seat. Here the Mormons remained in quiet, until after the Bank explosion in Kirtland, in 1838, when Smith, Rigdon, &c. arrived. Shortly after this, the Danite Society was organized, -- the object of which, at first, was to drive the dissenters out of the county. The members of this society were bound together by an oath and covenant, with the penalty of death attached to a breach, to defend the Presidency, and each other, unto death -- right or wrong. They had their secret signs, by which they knew each other, either by day or night; and were divided into bands of tens and fifties, with a captain over each band, and a general over the whole. After this body was formed, notice was given to several of the dissenters to leave the county, and they were threatened severely, in case of disobedience. The effect of this was, that many of the dissenters left; amongst these were David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Hiram Page, and Oliver Cowdery, all witnesses to the Book of Mormon; also Lyman Johnson, one of the Twelve Apostles. The day after John Whitmer left his house in Far West, it was taken possession of by Sidney Rigdon. About this time, Rigdon preached his famous "salt sermon." The text was -- "Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted; it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
He informed the Mormons that the church was the salt -- that dissenters were the salt that had lost its savor,and that they were literally to be trodden under the foot of the church, until their bowels should be gushed out. In order to give weight to this interpretation, he attempted to sustain his position from the Bible! He referred to the case of Judas, informing the people that he did not fall headlong and his bowels gush out, without assistance, but that the apostles threw him, and with their feet trampled them out! He also said that Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, did not fall down dead, as translated; but that Peter and John slew them, and the young men, or deacons, carried them out and buried them.
In one of the meetings of the Danite Band, one of the leaders informed them that the time was not far distant, when the elders of the church should go forth to the world with swords at their sides, and that they would soon have to go through the state of Missouri, and slay every man, woman, and child! They had it in contemplation at one time to prophesy a dreadful pestilence in Missouri, and then to poison the waters of the state, to bring it about, and thus to destroy the inhabitants.
In the early part of the fall of the year 1838, the last disturbance between the Mormons and the Missourians commenced. It had its origin at an election in Davies county, where some of the Mormons had located. A citizen of Daviess, in a conversation with a Mormon, remarked that the Mormons all voted one way: this was with warmth denied; a violent contest ensued; when, at last, the Mormon called the Missourian a liar. Upon this the Missourian struck him. A row between the Mormons and Missourians followed.
A day or two after this, Smith, with a company of men from Far West, went into Davies county, for the purpose, as they said, to quell the mob; but when they arrived, there was no mob there. This excited the citizens of Davies, and they gathered in turn. But the Mormons soon collected a force to the amount of three or four hundred, and compelled the citizens to retire. They fled, leaving the country deserted for a number of miles around. At this time they killed between one and two hundred hogs, a number of cattle, took at least forty or fifty stands of honey, and at the same time destroyed several fields of corn. The word was out, that the Lord had consecrated, through the Bishop, the spoils unto his host. All this was done when they had plenty of their own, and previous to the citizens in that section of the country taking aught of theirs. They continued these depredations for near a week, when the Clay county militia were ordered out. The history of what followed will be found in the appendix. Suffice it to say, here, that Smith, Rigdon, and many others were finally taken, and, at a court of inquiry were remanded over for trial. Rigdon was afterwards discharged on habeas corpus,
and Smith and his comrades, after being in prison several months, escaped from their guards, and reached Quincy, Illinois. -- The Mormons had been before ordered to leave the State, by direction of the Governor; and many had retired to Illinois previous to Smith’s arrival.
Of this Missouri war, as it has been called, a great deal has been said, and public opinion, at the time, generally censured the conduct of Missouri. That the Missourians carried the matter too far, and treated the Mormons with an unnecessary degree of cruelty, in many instances, there can be no doubt; but that there was great cause of aggravation, there can be just as little. The truth is, that while the Mormon body, as a church, interfere [sic] with the pecuniary and political acts of its members -- assuming the sole direction of both, it will be impossible for them to live in peace in any community. The necessary consequence of their regarding the words of Smith as the words of the Lord, is, that he can unite them whenever it may be necessary to effect his purposes. This, probably, would produce no jealousy, if his acts were confined to ecclesiastical government; but when they extend to controlling the political and pecuniary interests of his followers, it must inevitably produce distrust and enmity. Such a community, thus united, hold the rights of the neighboring citizens in their own hands; and in every contest they must come off victors. They have a capacity for secrecy, which enables them to commit any act of depredation, without the fear of detection; and when a crime has been committed by one of them, they are so united to each other's interests, as to render it almost impossible, through a legal formula, to obtain a conviction. Is it any wonder, then, that a body thus controlled -- their interests confirmed within themselves, and inimical in its nature to that of the other citizens -- should excite jealousy? And when we consider the materials of which the church is made, the amount of ignorance, bigotry, and arrogance, that is displayed by its members, is it at all surprising that an explosion should take place between them and those by whom they are surrounded? Now, even admitting that the Mormons were honest, yet, taking all things into consideration, the Missourians acted, in the commencement of the difficulties, as would almost any community in the country. I do not justify their mobs; on the contrary, I say that a mob is in no case justifiable; but I do say, as society is now constituted, mobs will arise, under certain circumstances, in any community. Let then, those who have regarded the Missourians as a set of unprincipled desperadoes, because of their conduct towards the Mormons, bethink them, that the same scenes, under the same circumstances, would, in all probability, have been enacted in their own neighborhoods. It was not the mere religion of the Mormons, that exasperated the Missourians; it was their arrogance, -- their united purpose
to protect each other, and to infringe on the rights of other citizens -- their thefts, and their concealments of each other's crimes, -- these were all, under the circumstances, injuries without legal remedies, and, although this does not justify a mob, yet there are few communities in this country, that would not, if placed in the same situation, have been exasperated to violence.
The Mormons, as a body, arrived in Illinois in the early part of the year 1839. At this time they presented a spectacle of destitution and wretchedness almost unexampled. This, together with with their tales of persecutions and privation, wrought powerfully upon the sympathies of the citizens, and caused them to be received with the greatest hospitality and kindness. After the arrival of Smith, the greater part of them settled at Commerce, situated upon the Mississippi River, at the head of the Des Moines, or Lower Rapids -- a site equal in beauty to any on the river. Here they began to build their habitations, and in the short space of two years have raised quite a city. At first, as was before said, on account of their former sufferings, and also from the great political power which they possessed, they were treated by the citizens of Illinois with great respect; but subsequent events have served to turn the tide of feeling against them. In the winter of 1840 they applied to the Legislature of the State for several charters. One for the city of Nauvoo, the name Smith had given to the town of Commerce -- one for the Nauvoo Legion, a military body -- one for manufacturing purposes -- and one for a University. The privileges which they asked for were very extensive; and such was the desire to secure their political favor, that all were granted for the mere asking. Indeed, the great ones of our Legislature seemed to vie with each other in sycophancy, to this set of fanatical strangers -- so anxious was each party to do some act that would secure their gratitude. This, together with the syncophancy of office-seekers, tended to produce jealousy in the minds of the neighboring citizens, and fears were expressed, lest a body, so united, both religiously and politically, would become dangerous to our free institutions. The Mormons had nearly all voted at every election with their leaders, and evidently under their direction; this alone made them formidable. The Legion had got under its direction a great portion of the arms of the state, and the whole body was placed under the strictest military discipline. These things, together with complaints similar to those which were made in Missouri, tended to arouse a strong feeling against them; when at last, in the early part of the summer of 1841, a political move was made by them, and the citizens organized a party in opposition. The Mormons were beaten in the contest. The disposition now manifested by the citizens, appears to be, to act on the defensive; but to maintain their rights at all hazards. If the Mormons consent to act as other citizens, they will not be molested on account of their
religion; but freemen will not submit to be trampled on by an organized body of men, no matter by what name they are called, or whose standard they follow.
As regards the pecuniary transactions of the Mormons, since they have been in Illinois, -- Smith still uses his power for his own benefit. His present operations are to purchase land at a low rate, lay it off into town lots, and sell them at a high price to his followers. Thus lots that scarcely cost him a dollar, are frequently sold for a thousand. He has raised several towns in this manner, both in Iowa and in Illinois.
During the last year, he has made two proclamations to his followers abroad, to settle in the county of Hancock. These Proclamations have been to a great extent obeyed, and hundreds are now flocking in, from the Eastern States, and from England. What is to be the result of all this, I am not able to tell; but one thing is certain, that in a political point of view, the Mormons are already dangerous, and as a consequence, they will be watched with jealousy by their neighbors.
"If we did not know, that the people of this generation, love lies more than the truth, or at least a great many of them, it would be a matter of some astonishment to us to see with what eagerness, they give audience to every hypocrite and iniquitous wretch we detect in his wickedness, and bring to an account. It matters not how scandalous is his conduct, the priests and all their coadjutors rally around them the very instant they are excluded from the church and listen with most intense interest to their lies; and soon, the papers are filled with their lies and abomination. But such is the piteous situation of the priests of all denominations, for there are no exceptions to be made; for to say the [least] of them, they have pleasure in lies, but in the truth they have no pleasure, neither have they any part. Within the last six months, they have been making
one of their greatest efforts. The church in accordance with her laws, excluded from her fellowship a set of creatures, whose behavior would have disgraced a Heathen Temple, and as might have been expected, they had recourse to the foulest lying and basest slander, in order to hide their iniquity. This served as a favorable opportunity, to the persecuting priests and their adherents. They gathered round them in swarms, like the flies round AEsop's foxes, and opened both their eyes and ears, to enjoy a good feast of lies, which pleased them more abundantly than any other sound could, except the voice of Beelzebub the prince of the whole brood; his voice would doubtless have been more delightful to them than an angel of light to the ear of a prophet of the living God. All these pious soul's papers were put into requisition; and this gang of [horse] thieves and drunkards were called upon immediately, to write their lies on paper, and let them print them, so that all the world might have as great a feast of lies as they had. Accordingly, to work they all went with one accord; and after this mighty mountain of bustle and human folly had filled its full time of gestation, behold! and lo! it brought forth a mouse, from the bowels of Mr. Warren Parrish, and the priest's papers have flown abroad to tell the world of it! No animal, we presume has been produced in the last century, which caused more agony, pain, and groaning, than this wonder of modern times: for during the time of gestation, and a long time before the birth thereof, he kept up such an unusual groaning and grunting, that all the devils whelps in Geauga and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio, were running together, to [see] what was about to come forth from the womb of granny Parrish. He had made such an awful fuss about what was conceived in him, that night after night and day after day, he poured [fprth] his agony before all living, as they saw proper to assemble. For a rational being to have looked at him, and heard him groan and grunt, and [saw] him sweat and struggle, would have supposed that his womb was as much swollen as was Rebecca's when the angel told her that there were two nations there. In all this grunting business he was aided by Leonard Rich who, however, was generally so drunk that he had to support himself by something to keep him from falling down; but then it was all for conscience sake. Also a pair of young black-legs; one of them a Massachusetts shoemaker by the name of John F. Boynton, a man notorious for nothing but ignorance, ill-breeding and impudence. And the other by the name of Luke Johnson, whose notoriety consisted, if information be correct, in stealing a barrel of flour from his father and other acts of a similar kind. Thus aided, Mamma Parrish made a monstrous effort to bring forth; and when the full time of gestation was come, the wonder came forth, and the priests who were in waiting, seized the animal at its birth, rolled it up in their papers and sent it abroad to the world. But Rich, Boynton,
and Johnson in the character of midwives, waited around the bed of Mamma Parrish to get away the after-birth; but awful to relate! They no sooner got it away than Mamma expired, and the poor bantling was left on the hands of the Priests, to protect and nurse it without any other friend. A short time after the delivery of granny Parrish, a little ignorant blockhead, by the name of Stephen Burnett, whose heart was so set on money, that he would at any time sell his soul for fifty dollars; and then think he had made an excellent bargain; and who had got wearied of the restraints of religion and could not bear to have his purse taxed, hearing of the delivery of granny Parrish, ran to Kirtland, got into the Temple and tried [with all] his powers to bring forth something, nobody knows what, nor did he know himself; but he thought as granny Parrish had been fruitful, so must he; but after some terrible gruntings, and finding nothing coming but an abortion, rose up in his anger, proclaimed all revelation lies, and ran home to his daddy with all his might, not leaving even an egg behind, and there sat down, and rejoiced in the great victory he had obtained, over the great God, and all the holy angels; how he had discovered them liars and impostors.
There was also a kind of secondary attendant, that waited upon this granny of modern libels, whose name is Sylvester Smith; in his character there is something notorious -- and that is, that at a certain time in Kirtland, he signed a libel, in order to avoid the punishment due to his crimes; and in so doing, has disqualified himself for taking an oath before any court of justice in the United States. That libel can be forthcoming at any time, if called for. Thus armed and attended, this modern libeller has gone forth to the assistance of the Priests, to help them fight against the great God and against his work. How successful they will be, future events will determine. A few words on the history of this Priests help-mate may not be amiss. He went into Kirtland Ohio some few years since to live, and hired his boarding in the house of one Zerah Cole. He had not however been there but a short time until Mr. Cole began to make a grievous complaint, about his taking unlawful freedom with his (Cole's) wife. Parrish was, accordingly, brought to an account, before the authorities of the church, for his crime. The fact was established, that such unlawful conduct had actually taken place between Parrish and Cole's wife. Parrish finding he could not escape, confessed, and pleaded for forgiveness like a criminal at the bar, promising in the most solemn manner, that if the church would forgive him, he never would do so again -- and he was accordingly forgiven. For some considerable time there were no outbreakings with him, at least, that was known; but a train of circumstances, began at last to fix guilt on his head, in another point of light. He had the handling of large sums of money; and it was
soon discovered, that after the money was counted and laid away, and came to be used and counted again, that there was always a part of it missing. This being the case repeatedly, and those who owned it, knowing that there was no other person but Parrish who had access, suspicion, of necessity fixed itself on him. At last, the matter went to such lengths, that a search warrant was called for, to search his trunk. The warrant was demanded at the office of F. G. Williams Esq., but he refused to grant it; and some difficulty arose on account of it. The warrant was, however, at last obtained, but too late; for the trunk in question was taken out of the way, and could not be found; but as to his guilt, little doubt can be entertained, by [those] acquainted with the circumstances.
After this affair, Parrish began to discover that there was great iniquity in the church, particularly in the editor of this paper, and began to make a public excitement about it; but in a short time, he had an opportunity of proving to the world the truth of his assertion. A poor persecuting booby, by the name of Grandison Newell, and who, in fact, was scarcely a grade above the beast that perish, went and swore out a state's warrant against the editor of this paper, -- saying that he was afraid of his life. In so doing, he swore a palpable lie, and every body knew it, and so did the court and decided accordingly. One of the witnesses called in behalf of Mr. Newell, was Warren Parrish.
Newell had no doubt but great things would be proven by Parrish. When the day of trial, however, came, Parrish was not forthcoming. Newell's counsel demanded an attachment to bring him forthwith, and accordingly Parrish was brought. But behold the disappointment when Parrish was called, instead of fulfilling Newell's expectation, when asked by the lawyers, 'Do you know of anything in the character or conduct of Mr. Smith, which is unworthy of his professions as a man of God?' the answer was, 'I do not.' The countenance of Newell fell; and if he had possessed one grain of human feelings, would went off with shame; but of this there is about as much in him as in other beasts. In giving the answer Parrish did, he has given the lie to all he has said, both before the since; and his letter that is now going the rounds in the Priest's papers, is an outrageous pack of lies, or else he took a false oath at Paynesville. Take it which way you will, and the Priests have but a feeble help-mate in Granny Parrish! The truth is, at the time Parrish was called on to give testimony in Painesville, he had not gotten his nerves so strengthened as to take a false oath, and though he could lie most insufferably, still, he had some fear about swearing lies. But no doubt if he were called upon now, he would swear lies as fast as tell them; since he denies all revelation, all angels, all spirit, and has taken the liar Sylvester Smith by the hand, and become his companion. Some time after Parrish had given
in his testimony at Painesville, he began again to rail. The church would hear it no longer, and cut him off. A short time after he was cut off, he plead with them to receive him back again, and in order to get back, he confessed all he had said to be false, asking forgiveness for it, and by much pleading and confession and promising reformation, was received back again. Thus once under oath, and another time voluntarily, for sake of getting back into the church, he confessed himself, that all that he had said, and all that he had written, were falsehoods; for his letter that is going the rounds in the papers, is no more than a reiteration of what he had before declared, and denied himself. This is the poor pitiful resort, then, of the Priests, in order to stop the progress of the truth. But this is not all concerning Mamma Parrish. The next business we find him in, is, robbing the Kirtland Bank of twenty-five thousand dollars at one time, and large sums at others. The managers had in the mean time, appointed him as Cashier and F. G. Williams as President, and they managed the institution with a witness. Parrish stole the paper out of the institution, and went to buying Bogus or counterfeit coin with it, becoming a partner with the Tinker's creek black-legs and in company with Julius Granger, in buying different kinds of property with it, and devoting it to his own use and soon entirely destroyed the institution. He was aided by his former associates to take his paper, and go and buy Bogus with it from the Tinker's creek black-legs and on the way coming home, they would way-lay Parrish and his gang and rob them, so they would lose the Bogus money at last. Parrish sold his horse and carriage for Bogus money, and behold when he came home and opened his box of Bogus, it was sand and stones. Parrish was somewhat chagrined at this, so he gets out a state's warrant, takes his coadjutor, Luke Johnson, and off to Tinker's creek they go, -- Johnson as constable; the pretended object was, to take the man who had them, (the horse and carriage) one for stealing them, and the others as stolen property. Coming to the place where they were, Johnson takes after the man and drives him into a barn. Parrish in the mean time, takes the horse and carriage, and clears to Kirtland with it, and when Johnson had pretendedly tried to take the man, until he supposed Parrish had got off with the horse and carriage, he ceased the pursuit and went home. For this, Parrish was taken by the Sheriff of Cuyahoga county, his hands bound behind his back, and held in custody until he paid two hundred dollars, and if he had not paid it, he would have stood a chance for the work-house. Thus, O ye Priests, what a blessed company of associates you have got, to help you on the work of persecution. You ought to rejoice greatly at the venerable addition which you have added to your numbers. No doubt they are men as much after your own hearts, as ever David was after the heart of God; and you, Mr. Sunderland
in particular, you have no doubt, in Warren Parrish, an helpmate after your own image, and your own likeness. Congratulate yourself greatly, for having obtained a man after your heart to help you to lie and persecute.
O ye Priests! but you are a heaven-born race! and that all the world may well know, by the company you keep; you have got Warren Parrish for an associate, a man notorious for lying, for adultery, for stealing, for swindling, and for villainy of all kinds, but for nothing else; are you not happily yoked together with believers, precisely of your own characters? -- surely you are, since it is company of your own choosing. For our parts we shall consider it an honor to be belied and persecuted by debauchees; in it we will rejoice as long as we have breath, knowing if these men speak well of us, that we are not doing the will of God, for the friendship of such is enmity against God, and the friendship of God is enmity to such. And there, O ye Priests, we leave you with your holy company, until it shall be said to you all, 'Depart ye workers of iniquity, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'
There is another character who has figured somewhat in the affairs of Granny Parrish -- a Doctor W. A. Cowdery. This came to Kirtland a few years since, with a large family, nearly naked and destitute. It was really painful to see this pious Doctor's (for such he professed to be) rags flying, when he walked the streets; he was taken in by us in this pitiful condition, and we put him into the printing office, and gave him enormous wages, not because he could earn it, or because we needed his service, but merely out of pity; we knew the man's incompetency all the time, and his ignorance and inability to fill any place in the literary world, with credit to himself or to his employers; but notwithstanding all this, out of pure compassion, we gave him a place, and afterwards hired him to edit the paper in that place, and gave him double as much as he could have gotten anywhere else. The subscribers, many at least, complained of his inability to edit the paper, and there was much dissatisfaction about it, but still we retained him in our employ merely that he might not have to be supported as a pauper. By our means he got himself and family decently clothed and got supplied with all the comforts of life, and it was nothing more nor less than supporting himself and family as paupers; for his services were actually not worth one cent to us, but on the contrary, was an injury; the owners of the establishment could have done all the work which he did themselves, just as well without him as with him. In reality, it was a piece of pauperism, but now reader, mark the sequel; it is a fact of public notoriety that as soon as he found himself and family in possession of decent apparel, he began to use all his influence to our injury, both in his sayings and doings. We have often heard it remarked by slave-holders, that
you should not make a negro equal with you, or he would try to walk over you: we have found the saying verified in this pious Doctor, for truly this niggardly spirit manifested itself in all its meanness, even in his writings, (and they were very mean at best). He threw out foul insinuations, which no man who has one particle of noble feeling would have condescended to, but such was the conduct of this master of meanness; nor was this niggardly course confined to himself, but his sons also were found engaged in the same mean business. His sons, in violation of every sacred obligation were found among the number of Granny Parrish's men, using all their influence (which however was nothing, but they were none the less guilty for that, for if it had been ever so great it would have been used) to destroy the benefactors of their family [who raised their family] from [rags] poverty and wretchedness.
One thing we have learned that there are negroes who wear white skins as well as those who wear black ones. Granny Parrish had a few others who acted as lackies, such as Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Cyrus P. Smalling, etc. but they are so far beneath contempt, that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make. Having said so much, we leave this hopeful company, in the new bond of union which they have formed with the Priests.
While they were held under restraints by the church, and had to behave with a degree of propriety, at least, the Priests manifested the greatest opposition to them; but no sooner were they excluded from the fellowship of the church and gave loose to all kind of abominations, swearing, lying, cheating, swindling, drinking, with every species of debauchery, then the priests began to extol them to the heavens for their piety and virtue, and made friends with them, and called them the finest fellows in the world. Is it any wonder then, that we say of the priests of modern days, that they are of Satan's own making, and are of their father, the Devil? Nay, verily nay; for no being but a scandalous sycophant and base hypocrite would say [otherwise]. * * * Therefore, until we have more evidence than we have now, we shall always think when we see men associating with scoundrels, that they themselves are scoundrels; and there we shall leave them for the present, firmly believing that when the day of decision has come, that we shall see all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day, with all their followers, without [an] exception, receive their portion with the Devil and his angels."
Search the annals of billinsgate, and where will you find a more accomplished blackguard than the writer of the foregoing has proved himself to be! Such a filthy, foul-mouthed production has never been made public, even through the most violent political prints in the country. Now, what man, no matter how bigoted, can believe that the author of such obscene slang can be the Prophet of the Almighty. It is said by some that Smith did not write it, but that it
is the production of Rigdon. No matter -- Smith, as editor, adopted its sentiments, and is responsible, unless it can be shown that it was published without his knowledge or design.
It may not be uninteresting to give some account of the persons spoken of in this production. Warren Parrish was one of the first seventy elders of the Mormon church. Leonard Rich, and Sylvester Smith, were two of the seven presidents of the seventy elders. -- John F. Boynton, and Luke Johnson, were two of the twelve apostles. Stephen Burnett was an elder. Zerah Cole was one of the seventy elders. Frederick Williams, one of the presidency of the church. Martin Harris, a high priest, and a witness to the Book of Mormon. Cyrus Smalling, one of the seventy elders, and Doct. Warren A. Cowdery, a presiding high priest. Here then, by Smith's own showing, a great number of the highest officers of the church, selected by himself, were a pack of scoundrels. Is not this proof positive that the whole scheme of Mormonism is a system of rascality, when so many rascals have been chosen as leaders.
Now, by reference to the Mormon works, it will appear that the officers are chosen by revelation. See Book of Covenants, page 225. It is, therefore, to be remarked, that either "poor, pitiful beggars," "masters of meanness," and men in whom there was "not one particle of noble feeling," were chosen by the Almighty, to fill high and responsible stations, or else they became corrupt while living under the influence of Smith. Let the Mormons then answer: Did God select a pack of scroundrels -- or did Joe Smith make them so? one of these two conclusions is inevitable; or else Smith is a liar and a slanderer.
Another instance of the spirit of Mormonism I extract from Parley Pratt's answer to L. Sunderland's remarks. It is in the form of a Prophetic curse, and reads thus:
"As Mr. L. Sunderland has lied concerning the truth of heaven, (the Book of Mormon,) the fulness of the gospel; and has blasphemed against the word of God: except he speedily repent, and acknowledge his lying and wickedness, and obey the message of eternal truth, which God has sent for the salvation of his people; God will smite him dumb, that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord; and a trembling shall seize his nerves, that he shall not be able to write; and Zion's Watchman shall cease to be published abroad, and its lies shall no longer deceive the public; and he will wander a vagabond on the earth, until sudden destruction shall overtake him; and if Mr. L. Sunderland enquires when shall these things be, I reply, it is nigh thee, even at thy doors; and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ -- amen.
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," is a declaration of scripture, which of course, clearly enough shows where "cursing and bitterness" were to be found in abundance, and supercedes
the necessity of commenting upon the spirit of the "curse." In addition to this, there is a desire to know how the utterer of this curse will deliver himself from the dilemma into which he has, for the purposes of venting his spleen, plunged himself. Will he say that he's not inspired? What then becomes of his loud sounding pretences, set forth in the "Voice of Warning"? Will he acknowledge himself mistaken? If in this, why not in other things? Now not one of the declarations in this curse has proved true -- Sunderland still lives, and "Zion's Watchman" is still published, although "it was even at the door," several years since. Where then are Pratt's claims to the character as a man of truth?
In the first place, Smith, by Proclamations and by revelations, has called all his followers to settle immediately around him. The last revelation on this subject is published in the "Times and Seasons" dated June 1st, 1841, from which I extract the following, "Awake! O! Kings of the Earth! Come ye, O! Come ye, with your gold and your silver, to the help of my people, to the house of the Daughter of Zion, * * * And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar; and send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them, come ye with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with your antiquites"' &c. They are further informed, in the course of this revelation, that after sufficient time has been allowed to build a baptismal font at Nauvoo, their baptisms for the dead shall not be acceptable in other places. The object of Smith, in all this, is evidently to collect all his followers into one place, and thus to concentrate all his power and enable him the better to secure wealth.
These quotations and statements are introduced to show that they are concentrating all their energies at one point, and that they teach their proselytes that it is the will of God that they should thus concentrate themselves. In accordance with this, I wish to make a few remarks: First, it is a notorious fact that they (the Mormons) are gathering from every part of the world, and all their teachers are instructed, by revelation, to gather them together at Nauvoo. Secondly, they have obtained an act of the Legislature, organizing the 'Nauvoo Legion,' (which may be increased to an indefinite number,) have obtained arms of the Government, and are at this time more than one thousand strong, and increasing continually. Now, I ask, why all this gathering, so different from every other denomination, unless they have designs against the rights and liberties of others? Why are they using their best exertions for, and actually raising up, a large, well drilled, well armed, standing army? There can be no religion in this, every one knows; and hence it follows that they are not only contemplating, but actually preparing for, the execution of some murderous design. But as an illustration of what they intend to do, I will make the following extracts from Rigdon's oration, delivered at Far West, July 4, 1838, and from their standard writings.
In his oration, Mr. Rigdon said, "We take God and all the holy Angels to witness this day, that we warn all men in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more forever, * * * The man, or the set of men, who attempts it, does it at the expense of their lives. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us; it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them, till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us. For we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed. Remember, it then, all men. * * * No man shall be at liberty to come into our streets, to threaten us with mobs, for if he does, he shall atone for it before he leaves the place, neither shall he be at liberty to villify and slander any of us, for suffer it we will not in this place. We therefore take all men to record this day, * * * as did our fathers. And we pledge this day to one another, our fortunes, our lives, and our sacred honors, to be delivered from the persecutions which we have had to endure, for the last nine years, or nearly that. Neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious law suits against us, to cheat us out of our just rights; if they attempt it, we say wo be unto them. We this day, then, proclaim ourselves free, with a purpose and a determination, that never can be broken, -- No Never! NO NEVER!! NO NEVER!!!'"
What gives this testimony the more importance is this; it was uttered some time previous to the disturbance in Missouri, in which they were driven away, and hence shows conclusively, that Rigdon
and Co. expected a disturbance, which could only have arisen from an intention to act in such a manner, that the Missourians would not bear with them. But further:
"Book of Covenants, page 191. "Wherefore, I say unto you, that I have sent unto you mine everlasting Covenants, (namely, the Book of Mormon,) even that which was from the beginning, and that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and if not of themselves, they shall come down; for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power." Also, on page 76, "Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may; prepare ye, prepare ye, for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is sheathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth; and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the * * * voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people." Also, on page 95, (perhaps it ought to be remarked here, that in all their revelations, and by all their declaimers, they represent themselves and Indians as the instruments by which these desolations are to be brought about) "Go ye forth, as your circumstances shall permit, in your several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days; for with you, saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms." Also, page 117, "Wherefore, I have called upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my spirit; and their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler, and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf; and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them."
"Voice of Warning, by Parley P. Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles, page 186: "The Government of the United States has been engaged, for upwards of seven years, in gathering the remnant of Joseph (the Indians) to the very place where they will finally build a New Jerusalem; a city of Zion, with the acquisition of the believing Gentiles, who will gather with them from all the nations of the earth; and this gathering is clearly predicted in the Book of Mormon, and other revelations; and the place before appointed, and the time set for its fulfilment; and except the Gentiles repent of all their abominations and embrace the same Covenant, (namely, the Book of Mormon) and come into the same place of gathering, they will soon be destroyed, from off the face of the land; as it is written by Isaiah, 'the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish.
Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.'" It is further stated in the same work, that the Indians shall be gathered, and that they, in connection with the Mormons, shall be among the Gentiles as "a young lion among the flock of sheep, and none can deliver," and that the Gentiles (all anti-Mormons) shall be "as a thing long since passed away, and the remembrance of it almost gone from the earth."
But, to cap the climax, read the following: "All who will not hearken to the Book of Mormon, shall be cut off from among the people; and that too, in the day it comes forth to the Gentiles and is rejected by them." And not only does this page set the time for the overthrow of our Government, and all other Gentile Governments on the AMERICAN CONTINENT, but the way and means of this utter destruction are clearly foretold; namely the remnant of Jacob (or Indians) will go through among the Gentiles and tear them in pieces like a lion among the flocks of sheep. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. This destruction includes an utter overthrow, and desolation of all our cities, forts and strong holds -- an entire annihilation of our race, except such as embrace the Covenant, and are numbered with Israel!!! "And I will state, as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile on the face of this continent fifty years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged and in a great measure overthrown within five or ten years from this date, (1838) then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false." This last quotation comes from Pratt's "Mormonism Unvailed, or Truth Vindicated;" a work, by the way, so popular among them that it has already passed through several editions. Comment is unnecessary here; the fact stands proved, clearly and incontrovertibly proved, that they contemplate nothing less than the butchery! murder!! and entire annihilation!!! of all who will not subscribe to their ridiculous teachings. And what adds injury to insult is this: that they raise a long and loud cry of "PERSECUTION," when people are only defending themselves against their unlawful aggressions. In conclusion, permit me to ask my countrymen whether they are prepared to allow these "wolves in sheep's clothing" to impose upon them by false cry of peace, when it is evident that they have only "religion on their tongues," at the same time "holding a dagger in their hands, and murder in their hearts."
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[ 49 ]
A P P E N D I X.
(pp. 49-64 under construction)
William Harris' 1842 Booklet