E. G. Lee
(Philadelphia: G. Webber, 1841)
M O R M O N S,
GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF THE DISCOVERY
O F T H E G O L D E N P L A T E S:
The translation, and various tricks resorted to -- the proceedings at Kirtland
building a Temple -- establishment of a Bank, a correct specimen of its Notes, of
which two hundred thousand dollars worth have been palmed off upon the Community
the manner in which the community of Frankfort Pa., rid themselves
of the Mormons -- Documents printed by order of the
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
THE WHOLE BEING DESIGNED AS A CAUTION TO THE IGNORANT
AND UNSUSPECTING AGAINST ONE OF THE MOST
BAREFACED AND BLASPHEMOUS DEVICES
WHICH HAS EVER BEEN WITNESSED.
AFFORDING A LAMENTABLE EXHIBITION OF THE CREDULITY
AND WEAKNESS OF HUMAN NATURE, IN SO READILY
ALLOWING ITSELF TO BE MADE THE DUPE
OF ARTFUL AND DESIGNING KNAVES.
BY E. G. LEE, FRANKFORT PA.,
GEORGE WEBBER, 286 S. Sixth st., and WM. FENIMORE, 79 S. 2d st.,
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The following pages contain an account of the discovery of the Mormon plates by means of which Mr. Smith and his "Latter Day Saints," are gaining some notoriety.
It was intended to furnish also some specimens of their pretended translations. On reflection, however, it is thought unnecessary, because those pretended translations being a mere attempt at imitating the scriptures, that they do not use or refer to them at their public meetings. They rely now altogether upon the Christian's Bible, whose style they have attempted to counterfeit, and from whence these "false prophets" now labour to draw doctrines to cloak their iniquity. and mislead and deceive.
Another reason why they appear to have become ashamed of their counterfeit imitation of the scriptures is, that a quarrel among themselves has exposed the infamous character of the three witnesses to the pretended translations from their gold or brass plates.
Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were two of the witnesses who saw the plates, and who have placed their signatures to the impious blasphemy, that they "heard God's voice declare that the plates were translated by his power," &c., The testimony of these witnesses to so awful a falsehood, was necessary in the outset, in order to gain some belief in Jo Smith's plot. The testimony did help to pass off the imposition. But now, those very witnesses themselves have been denounced by Jo Smith himself and eighty-four other Mormons, who in their certificate say, Cowdery and Whitmer, "have violated their promise, have been guilty of stealing" and had "united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs, of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat and defraud." This is Jo Smith's own language. He had a quarrel about dividing the spoils out of which the leaders have fleeced their poor dupes, and this is now the way in which he speaks of a part of his own gang. This is the language in which he denounces Cowdery and Whitmer, two of the witnesses by whose testimony he, in the first place, attempted to establish the divine character of his awful imposture. Well may the Mormons be ashamed of their COUNTERFEIT BIBLE, which by their own testimony is shown to be as gross a trick as are their COUNTERFEIT BANK NOTES.
For a further account and confirmation of these startling disclosures, see the testimony taken from the documents printed for the use of the Senate of the United States -- page 22.
The exposure of the swindling transactions of the Mormons had the effect of banishing them from the borough of Frankfort, where they had previously met with encouragement and favor. Were the same efforts made in every community where they attempt to practice their fraudulent and swindling hypocrisy, the same results must necessarily follow. It is impossible that such wicked practices can succeed, however plausible or pious a garb they may put on, where the people are shown the real character of the imposition, and put upon their guard. This is the object of the present work, and the writer hopes its circulation may be made so extensive as to operate in checking and putting down this scheme of fraud, which is indeed, already actually falling to pieces from the mere weight of its own criminal rottenness.
The wrangling which has already taken place among themselves has led to such disclosures as places the imposition in its true light. More quarreling and then more exposures will follow, until Jo Smith's Mormon Monster will be stripped of its last pretensions, and be made to stand forth in all its naked and revolting deformity.
But in the meantime so many emissaries are sent over the land, prowling about,
seeking whom they may deceive and devour, that many dupes will be made victims of the deception. Their number can effectually and only be lessened by disseminating a knowledge of the real character and designs of Mormonism.
There are in the course of this pamphlet, many harsh terms and offensive epithets applied, which it must be confessed appear in bad taste and which the writer would have been glad to omit altogether. But he has in vain attempted to correct what seems improper, since the harsh terms necessarily grow out of the occasion itself. The language really suits and belongs to the subject. Such phrases as "swindling," "counterfeiting," impostor," &c., are unpleasant, but they correctly describe the transactions to which they relate, and could not be avoided. It is the fault of the subject itself, which could be described or treated in no other way, and on the heads of those who by their wicked acts have rendered this exposure necessary, must rest the blame.
One word in conclusion. It happens that no attempt can be made to charge this exposure to the envy or jealousy of other religious sects, because the author neither is now nor ever has been a member or professor of any religious sect, creed, or denomination. Any advantage which the Mormons or their friends may attempt to gather by ascribing this work to the religious opposition or influence will therefore be futile.
This avowal of disinterestedness simply for the purpose of securing for the author of this exposure any additional advantage which may be supposed to belong to the testimony of an unbiased or impartial witness. It is at the same time to be understood, as by no means implying any, the slightest want of respect or reverence for the holy scriptures, or of a cordial and hearty concurrence in all legitimate efforts for the spread an diffusion of the blessed truths which they contain, and which are spreading so benign and holy an influence throughout the world.
Should any thing appear in the course of this pamphlet which may be construed into any thing like a disposition to abridge in the slightest degree, the liberty of conscience or the freedom of speech, the writer takes this occasion to disclaim any such desire or intention. He maintains the doctrine of free toleration of all sects, creeds and professions, and would not throw a straw in the way of Jo Smith himself, or his proselyting emissaries, in their attempt to spread doctrines, however monstrous. It is only when under the cloak of these doctrines they undertake to issue false tokens, purchase produce on a large scale, of the farmer, labour of the mechanic, and goods of the merchants, without the ability or intention of paying; when they quietly permit a portion of their number to put many thousands of counterfeit dollars into circulation, under pretence of their being stolen, when all their acts show the existence of a deep laid scheme to defraud and swindle, it is then ands upon these grounds, that the writer claims the privilege of stating such facts as may put his fellow citizens upon their guard. With their religious professions or doctrines, the writer has nothing to do. He believes some very honest, well meaning persons have been induced to believe them. He would have every man in the quiet enjoyment of his own opinions. But this immunity should not and cannot be extended to the attempts to deceive in matters of ordinary business. It is the duty of every citizen to aid in exposing vice and arresting crime. The writer has attempted in the following pages to discharge such a portion of his duty in this matter as happened to fall more particularly to his share from being himself an actual sufferer by the frauds he exposes.
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In the town of Manchester, near the village of Palmyra; might still be seen an excavation in the side of a hill, from whence, according to the assertion of the Mormon prophet, the metallic plates, sometimes called THE GOLDEN BIBLE, were disinterred A writer in the NEW YORK EVENING EXPRESS, who has been recently travelling in the West, remarks that "the Mormons have assumed a moral and political importance which is but very imperfectly understood." He then proceeds to add in relation to them, that "associated on the religious principle, under a prophet and leader, whose mysterious and awful claims to divine inspiration make his voice to believers like the voice of God; trained to sacrifice their individuality; to utter one cry, to think and act in crowds; with minds that seems to have been struck from the sphere of reason on one subject; and left to wander like lost stars, amid the dark mazes and winding ways of religious error; these remarkable sectaries must necessarily hold in their hands a fearful balance of political power. In the midst of contending parties, a single hand might turn their influence with tremendous effect, to which-ever side presented the most potent attraction, and should they ever become disposed to exert their influence for evil, which may Heaven prevent, they would surround our institutions with an element of danger more to be dreaded than an armed and hundred-eyed police." It is not however, in reference to their political, but to their religious influence, that we entertain a degree of apprehension. This sect has been organized only about ten years, and yet they profess to number, in their society, one hundred thousand souls. This undoubtedly is an exaggeration, but it has been stated from a source upon which reliance can be placed, that there are probably not less than sixty thousand persons now professing the Mormon faith. It is said also that they are putting forth the most indefatigable efforts by itinerant missionaries, both in this country and in Europe, to make proselytes to their creed. These facts show the importance of spreading upon the columns of our religious journals from time to time statements that tend to unveil the trickery and artifice by which this system of imposture was got up and continues to be perpetuated.
There are two or three reasons why the Mormon delusion has spread so rapidly, and which will probably continue to give it more or less currency.
One cause is, that it fully and cordially admits the truth of the sacred Scriptures. Did it discard all previous revelation, -- pour contempt upon the Saviour of the world, and set up an independent claim for a revelation wholly new, it would have gained comparatively few adherents. But recognizing the truth and credibility of the sacred Scriptures, and retaining as it does, many doctrines which are held in common by different denominations of Christians,
6 M O R M O N I S M.
and covering its own absurdities with imposing forms and lofty pretensions, it opens a winning asylum for all the disaffected and dissatisfied of other persuasions, and contains much that is congenial to almost every shade of radicalism, or erratic religious character.
Another cause which has contributed to the rapid spread of this imposture, is that it appeals strongly to the love of the marvellous, -- to that thirst and anxiety, so rife with a certain class of mind, to know more than God would have us know, -- to find some discovery that will carry us farther than revelation, -- to get some one to come back from the grave, and tell us what is in eternity, -- to see with our own eyes a miracle, and obtain some new glimpse of the invisible world. There is certainly existing in a certain order of men, in every part of the world, and in every period of time, a strong propensity of this sort. What but this propensity would have given such potent and almost irresistible influence to Joan d' Arc, who, from an ostler maid in an obscure country inn in France, by claiming heavenly inspirations, and pretending to see visions, and to hear divine voices calling her to re-establish the throne of France, and to expel the foreign invaders, rose to such surprising eminence and power, as to be the very pivot upon which the destinies of the whole nation turned! -- as to be invested with the military conduct of the French army, -- directing and raising sieges, -- inspiring the troops with invincible courage, and spreading disaster and defeat through all the ranks of the British army, so that the Duke of Bedford, after all the previous success and triumph of the English arms at Verneuil and Orleans, and with all his tact and ability, could scarcely keep any footing in France? What but this deep-rooted propensity could have prepared men to have received the dreams, and reveries, and pretended revelation of * * * * * * * , or of Anne Lee; or to have yielded up their reason to a belief in the clairvoyance of animal magnetism? And not to multiply instances abroad, what but such a propensity as the one to which we have now referred, attracted the * * * * * * * around Jemima Wilkinson, and gave her so much power over a large community of men and women? What but this, opened the way for the monstrous claims set up by the execrable Mathias, who drew after him, as by the power of enchantment, and subjected to his dictum, whole families, -- persons of education and refinement, and among the number, several men of intelligence, respectability and fortune? It is to this same principle, this anxious desire to look deeper into the hidden mysteries of the invisible world, than any mortal has hitherto been privileged to do, that the originators of this "cunningly devised fable" of Mormonism have appealed. While they admit to the truth and credibility of the sacred Scriptures, they profess to have obtained an additional revelation, by which new illumination is shed over every page of the sacred word, -- all controversies settled, and the obscurity that hitherto hung over many religious subjects dispelled. They profess to bring to light a historical and religious record, written in ancient times, by a branch of the house of Israel that peopled America, from whom the Indians are descended. This
M O R M O N I S M. 7
record, which engraven upon metallic plates, lay deposited in the earth for many centuries, not only corroborates and confirms the truth of holy writ, but also opens the events of ancient America, as far back at least as the flood. They pretend that this record "pours the light of noon-day upon the history of a nation whose mounds and cities, and fortifications, still repose in grand but melancholy ruins, upon the bosom of the western prairies." The Mormons not only claim this new revelation, but profess to have still among them the gift of prophecy and miracles. They contend that miracles and revelations from heaven, are as necessary now, and as important to the salvation of the present generation, as they were in any former period, and that they alone possess this privilege of immediate and constant intercourse with heaven.
But that which has given vastly the greatest strength to Mormonism is the violent persecution which its disciples have suffered in the West, and especially in Missouri. Nothing can be more impolitic, or unjust, or farther removed from the spirit of the gospel, than to oppress and persecute any set of men on account of their religious tenets; and certainly nothing can give them more strength or rapid growth than such a procedure.
The Mormons first located themselves, as a body, in Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Some difference arose among their leaders on account of certain banking operations which they attempted, and they separated, and a portion of them went to Independence, Jackson Co., Mo. The people in the neighborhood of that location became unfriendly to them, and drove them away by force, subjecting them to great sufferings and loss of property. They were at last entirely and forcibly expelled from the state of Missouri. They afterward purchased the town of Commerce, said to be a situation of surpassing beauty, at the head of the lower rapids on the Illinois shore of the Mississippi river. The writer to whom I have already referred, and who has revisited these western Mormons this present summer, remarks: -- "The name of the place where they now reside, they have recently changed to Nauvoo, the Hebrew term for fair or beautiful. Around this place, as their centre, they are daily gathering from almost every quarter: and several hundred new houses, created within the last few months, attest to the passing traveller the energy, industry, and self-denial with which the community is imbued. They have also obtained possession of extensive lands on the opposite side of the river, in that charming portion of Iowa Territory, known as the 'Half Breed Reservation;' and there upon the rolling and fertile prairies they are rapidly selecting their homes and opening their farms. As the traveller now passes through those natural parks and fields of flowers, which the hand of the Creator seems to have originally planted there for the inspection of his own eye, he beholds their cabins dotted down in the most enchanting perspective, either on the borders of the timbers, or beside the springs and streams of living water, which are interspersed on every hand."
The other portion that remain in Ohio, have erected a stone temple in Kirtland, of splendid appearance and singular construction.
8 M O R M O N I S M.
The first floor is a place of worship, with four pulpits at each end; each pulpit calculated to hold three persons. These pulpits rise behind and above one another, and are designed for different grades of ministers according to their rank in office. These are the two principal settlements of these people, although there are small societies of them found in almost every part of the United States. In some instances not only members but ministers of orthodox churches have been led to leave their own churches, and identify themselves with the Mormons.
It is time that I should acquaint you with some facts that came to my personal knowledge full thirteen years ago, connected with the rise of this imposture.
It was early in the autumn of 1827 that Martin Harris called at my house in Palmyra, one morning about sun-rise. His whole appearance indicted more than usual excitement, and he had scarcely passed the threshold of my dwelling, before he inquired whether he could see me alone, remarking that he had a matter to communicate that he wished to be strictly confidential. Previous to this, I had but very slight acquaintance with Mr. Harris. He had occasionally attended divine service in our church. I had heard him spoken of as a farmer in comfortable circumstances, residing in the country a short distance from the village, and distinguished by certain peculiarities of character. He had been, if I mistake not, at one period, a member of the Methodist Church, and subsequently had identified himself with the Universalists. At this time, however, in his religious views he seemed to be floating upon the sea of uncertainty. He had evidently quite an extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and possessed a manifest disputatious turn of mind. Mr. Harris had always been a firm believer in dreams, and visions, and supernatural appearances, such as apparitions and ghosts, and therefore was a fit subject for such men as Smith and his colleagues to operate upon. On the occasion just referred to, I invited him to accompany me to my study, where, after having closed the door, he began to draw a package out of his pocket with great and manifest caution. Suddenly, however, he stopped, and wished to know if there was any possibility of our being interrupted or overheard? When answered in the negative, he proceeded to remark, that he reposed great confidence in me as a minister of Jesus Christ, and that what he had now to communicate he wished me to regard as strictly confidential. He said he verily believed that an important epoch had arrived -- that a great flood of light was about to burst upon the world, and that the scene of divine manifestation was to be immediately around us. In explanation of what he meant, he then proceeded to remark that a GOLDEN BIBLE had recently been dug from the earth, where it had been deposited for thousands of years, and that this would be found to contain such disclosures as would settle all religious controversies and speedily bring on the glorious millennium. That this mysterious book, which no human eye of the present generation has yet seen, was in the possession of Joseph Smith, Jr., ordinarily known in the neighborhood under
M O R M O N I S M. 9
the more familiar designation of Jo Smith; that there had been a revelation made to him by which he had discovered this sacred deposit, and two transparent stones, through which, as a sort of spectacles, he could read the Bible, although the box or ark that contained it, had not yet been opened; and that by looking through those mysterious stones he had transcribed from one of the leaves of this book, the characters which Harris had so carefully wrapped in the package which he was drawing from his pocket. The whole thing appeared to me so ludicrous and puerile, that I could not refrain from telling Mr. Harris, that I believed it a mere hoax got up to practice upon his credulity, or an artifice to extort from him money; for I had already, in the course of the conversation, learned that he had advanced some twenty-five dollars to Jo Smith as a sort of premium for sharing with him in the glories and profits of this new revelation. For at this time, his mind seemed to be quite as intent upon the pecuniary advantage that would arise from the possession of the plates of solid gold of which this book was composed, as upon the spiritual light it would diffuse over the world. My intimations to him, in reference to the possible imposition that was being practiced upon him, however, were indignantly repelled. He then went on to relate the particulars in regard to the discovery and possession of this marvellous book. As far as I can now recollect, the following was an outline of the narrative which he then communicated to me, and subsequently to scores of people in the village, from some of whom in my late visit to Palmyra, I have been able to recall several particulars that had quite glided from my memory.
Before I proceed to Martin's narrative, however, I would remark in passing, that Jo 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. Jo 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, Jo 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.
According to Martin Harris, it was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor. This divine messenger assured him that he, Joseph Smith, was chosen of the Lord to be a prophet of the Most High God, and to bring to light hidden things, that would prove of unspeakable benefit to the world. He then disclosed to him the existence of this Golden Bible, and the place where it was deposited -- but at the same time told him that he must follow implicitly the
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divine direction, or he would draw down upon him the wrath of heaven. This book, which was contained in a chest, or ark, and which consisted of metallic plates covered with characters embossed in gold, he must not presume to look into, under three years. He must first go on a journey into Pennsylvania -- and there among the mountains, he would meet with a very lovely woman, belonging to a highly respectable and pious family, whom he was to take for his wife. As proof that he was sent on this mission by Jehovah, as soon as he saw thos designated person, he would be smitten with her beauty, and though he was a stranger to her, and she was far above him in the walks of life. she would at once be willing to marry him and go with him to the ends of the earth. After their marriage he was to return to his former home, and remain quietly there until the birth of his first child. When this child had completed his second year, he might then proceed to the hill beneath which the mysterious chest was deposited, and draw it thence, and publish the truths it contained to the world. Smith awoke from his dream, and according to Harris, started off towards Pennsylvania, not knowing to what point he should go. But the Lord directed him, and gained him favour in the eyes of just such a person as was described to him. He was married and had returned. His first child had been born and was now about six months old. But Jo had not been altogether obedient to the heavenly vision. After his marriage and return from Pennsylvania, he became so awfully impressed with the high destiny that awaited him, that he communicated the secret to his father and family. The money-digging propensity of the old man operated so powerfully, that he insisted upon it that they should go and see if the chest was there -- not with any view to remove it till the appointed time, but merely to satisfy themselves. Accordingly they went forth in the stillness of night with their spades and mattocks to the spot where slumbered this sacred deposit. They had proceeded but a little while in the work of excavation, before the ysterious chest appeared; but lo! ubstantly it moved and glided along out of their sight. Directed, however, by the clairvoyance of Jo, they again pemetrated to the spot where it stood and succeeded un gaining a partial view of its dimensions. But while they were pressing forward to gaze at it, the thunders of the Almighty shook the spot and made the earth to tremble -- a sheet of vivid lightning swept along over the side of the hill, and burnt terribly around the spot where the excavation was going on, and again with a rumbling noise the chest moved off out of their sight. They were all terrified, and fled towards their home. Jo took his course silently along by himself. On his way homeward, being alone, in the woods, the angel of the Lord met him clad in terror and wrath. He spoke in a voice of thunder, and forked lightning shot through the trees and ran along the ground. The terror of the divine messenger's appearance, instantly struck Smith to the earth, and he felt his whole frame convulsed with agony, as though he [was] stamped upon by the iron hoofs of death himself. In language most terrific did the angel upbraid him for his disobedience, and then disappeared. Smith went home trembling and full of terror. Soon, however, his mind became more composed. Another divine communication was made to him, authorizing him to go along by himself and bring the chest and deposit it secretly under the hearth of his dwelling, but by no means to attempt to look into it. The reason assigned by the angel for this removal, was that some report in relation to the place where this sacred book was deposited had gone forth, and there was danger of its being disturbed. According to Harris, Smith now scrupulously followed the divine directions. He was already in possession of the two transparent stones laid up with the GOLDEN BIBLE, by looking through which he was enabled to read the golden letters on the plates in the box. How he obtained these spectacles without opening the chest, Harris could not tell. But still he had them; and by means of them he could read all the book contained. The book itself was not to be disclosed until Smith's child had reached a certain age. Then it might be published
M O R M O N I S M. 11
to the world. In the interim, Smith was to prepare the way for the conversion of the world to a new system of faith, by transcribing the characters from the plates and giving translations of the same. This was the substance of Martin Harris' communication to me upon our first interview. He then carefully unfolded a slip of paper, which contained three or four lines of characters, as unlike letters or hieroglyphics of any sort, as well could be produced were one to shut up his eyes and play off the most antic movements with his pen upon paper. The only thing that bore the slightest resemblance to the letter of any language that I had ever seen, was two uprights marked joined by a horizontal line, that might have been taken for the Hebrew character |^|. My ignorance of the characters in which the pretended ancient record was written, was to Martin Harris new proof that Smith's whole account of the divine revelation made to him was entirely to be relied on.
One thing is here to be noticed, that the statements of the originators of this imposture varied, and were modified from time to time according as their plans became more matured. At first it was a gold Bible -- then golden plates engraved -- then metallic plates stereotyped or embossed with golden letters. At one time Harris was to be enriched by the solid gold of these plates, at another they were to be religiously kept to convince the world of the truth of the revelation -- and, then these plates could not be seen by any but three witnesses whom the Lord should choose. How easy it would be, were there any such plates in existence, to produce them, and to show that Mormonism is not a "cunningly devised fable." How far Harris was duped by this imposture, or how far he entered into it as a matter of speculation, I am unable to say. Several gentlemen in Palmyra, who saw and conversed with him frequently, think he was labouring under a sort of monomania, and that he thoroughly believed all that Jo Smith chose to tell him on this subject. He was so much in earnest on the subject, that he immediately started off with some of the manuscripts that Smith furnished him on a journey to New York and Washington to consult some learned men to ascertain the nature of the language in which this record was engraven. Martin had now become a perfect believer. He said he had no more doubt of Smith's divine commission, than of the divine commission of the apostles. The very fact that Smith was an obscure and illiterate man, showed that he must be acting under divine impulses. That he was willing to "take of the spoiling of his goods" to sustain Smith in carrying on this work of the Lord; and that he was determined that the book should be published, though it consumed all his worldly substance. It was in vain I endeavoured to expostulate. I was an unbeliever, and could not see afar off. As for him he must follow the light which the Lord had given him. Whether at this time Smith had those colleagues that certainly afterwards moved unseen the wheels of this machinery, I am unable to say. Even after Cowdery and Rigdon were bending the whole force of their minds to the carrying out of this imposture, Jo Smith continued to be the ostensible prominent actor in the drama. The way that Smith made his
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transcripts and transcriptions for Harris was the following: Although in the same room, a thick curtain or blanket was suspended between them, and Smith concealed behind the blanket, pretended to look through his spectacles, or transparent stones, and would then write down or repeat what he saw, which, when repeated aloud, was written down by Harris, who sat on the other side of the suspended blanket. Harris was told that it would arouse the most terrible divine displeasure, if he should attempt to draw near the sacred chest, or look at Smith while engaged in the work of decyphering the mysterious characters. This was Harris' own account of the matter to me. What other measures they afterwards took to transcribe or translate from these metallic plates, I cannot say, as I very soon after this removed to another field of labour where I heard no more of this matter till I learned the BOOK OF MORMON was about being published. It was not till after the discovery of the manuscript of Spaulding that the actors in this imposture thought of calling the pretended revelation the BOOK OF MORMON. This book, which professed to be a translation of the golden Bible brought to light by Joseph Smith was published in 1830 -- to accomplish which Martin Harris actually mortgaged his farm.
In addition to the facts with which I myself was conversant in 1827 and 1828, connected with the rise of Mormonism, I have been able to lay hold of one or two valuable documents, and obtain several items of intelligence, by which I shall be enabled to continue this sketch of the rise and ongin of this singular imposture. To my mind there never was a grosser piece of deception undertaken to be practiced than this.
The preceding account was written by the Rev. John A. Clark, now of this city, a gentleman of unquestionable veracity, in whose statements every confidence may justly be placed. It bears on its face the evidence of sincerity and truth. From it the reader will learn all that is essential to know of the origin of the singular imposture by which Smith and his Mormon aiders and abettors have succeeded in making so many weak and miserable dupes.
The statement which follows, traces their career up from the period at which the preceding narrative leaves them. It is written by Mr. Cyrus Smalling, a citizen of Kirtland, Ohio the place where Smith and his followers made an attempt to establish themselves, but from whence their dishonest swindling, and disgraceful conduct has driven them. It furnishes a plain detail of transactions that makes us grieve over the weakness and depravity of human nature.
KIRTLAND, Ohio, March 10th, A. D., 1841.
Dear Sir -- By request, and the duty I owe to my fellow-man, I consent to answer your letter, and your request as to Joseph Smith, Jr., and the Safety Society Bank of the Latter Day Saints, as they call themselves at the present, or Mormons. As to the character of Joseph Smith, Jr., I do not feel disposed to attack, and therefore, shall only state facts as they are, and leave the people to judge of character. In his youth, he and the whole family were money-
M O R M O N I S M. 13
diggers, and the first knowledge I have of him, is a Harmony, Susquehannah county, Pa. where he was translating the Book of Mormon. Soon after he was taken up and tried as an impostor; but was cleared on account of the testimony that was given of the chests of money moving so that they could not get them. I then lived in that county, they soon begun to build up the Church of Christ, as they called it, and they said by a revelation from the God of heaven; and many in that region joined themselves to them, and also in the western part of New York, especially at Palmyra and Fayette. The followers of Smith believe him to be a prophet, and he had a revelation that the church must move to the Ohio, which they did, selling their possessions and helping each other as a band of brothers, and they settled in this place. The Smith family were then all poor and the most of the church. I visited them in 1833, they were then building a temple to the Most High God, who, Smith said, would appear and make his will known to his servants, and endow them with power in their last days that they might go and preach his gospel to all nations, kindred tongues, and people, and for this purpose they wrought almost night and day, and scoured the branches in the east for money to enable them to build, and the people consecrated freely, as they supposed for that purpose, for they supposed they were to be one in the church of Christ, for so Smith had told them by his revelations, and that they must consecrate all for the poor in Zion, and thus many did until they finished the temple, and in the meantime the building committee built each of them a house, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. By this time the leaders of the church, Smith, Rigdon, Carter and Cahoon, &c. I may say all the heads of the church, got lifted up in pride, and they imagined that God was about to make them rich, and that they were to suck the milk of the Gentiles, as they call those that do not belong to the church, or do not go hand in hand with them, and then they would make the whole church rich; this pattern you will see in the book of Covenants, page 240, a revelation given to Enoch, concerning the order of the church for the benefit of the poor. Gazelom is the fictitious name of Joseph Smith, Jr. and the lot which was dedicated to him is about 160 acres in the village of Kirtland. Pilagoram is the name used for Sidney Rigdon; the Tahamus is a tannery that was revolated to him, the land in the whole revelation was bought with money consecrated for the poor in Zion, as revolated for the brethren, as I suppose you can have access to the book, and this little sheet will be to small to ever begin to tell the whole story that I should like to tell, if I was there with you, then it could not be told in one day, but from this you can see they have a great desire for riches, and to obtain them without earning them; and about this time they said that God had told them, Sidney and Joseph, that they had suffered enough and that they should be rich; and they informed me, that God told them to buy goods and so they did, to some thirty thousand dollars, on a credit of six months, at Cleveland and Buffalo. In the spring of 1836 this firm was, I believe, Smith, Rigdon & Co., (it included
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the heads of the church). In the fall, they formed other companies of their brethren, and sent to New York as agents for them, Hiram Smith and O. Cowdery, and they purchased some sixty or seventy thousand dollars worth, all for the church, and the most of them not worth a penny, and no financiers. At this time the first debt became due and not any thing to pay it with, for they had sold to their poor brethren, who were strutting about the streets in the finest broadcloth, and imagining themselves rich, but could pay nothing: and poverty is the mother of invention. They then fixed upon a plan to pay the debt. It was, to have a bank of their own, as none of the then existing banks would loan to them what they wanted and the most refused them entirely. They sent to Philadelphia and got the plates made for their Safety Society Bank, and got a large quantity of bills ready for filling and signing; and in the meantime, Smith and others, collected what specie they could, which amounted to some six thousand dollars. The paper came about the first of January, 1837, and they immediately began to issue their paper and to no small amount: but their creditors refused to take it, -- then Smith invented another plan, that was to exchange their notes for other notes that would pay their debts, and for that purpose he sent the Elders out with it to exchange, and not only the elders, but gave large quantities of it to others, giving them one half to exchange it, as I am informed by those that peddled for him, -- and thus Smith was instrumental in sending the worthless stuff abroad, and it soon came in again. There was nothing to redeem it with, as Smith had used the greater part of their precious metals, and the inhabitants holding their bills came to inquire into the Safety Society precious metals, and the way that Smith contrived to deceive them was this: he had some one or two hundred boxes made, and gathered all the lead and shot that the village had or that part of it that he controlled, and filled the boxes with lead, shot, &c.; and marked them, one thousand dollars each -- then, when they went to examine the vault, he had one box on a table partly filled for them to see, and when they proceeded to the vault, Smith told them that the church had two hundred thousand dollars in specie, and he opened one box and they saw that it was silver, and they [hefted] a number and Smith told them that they contained specie, and they were seemingly satisfied and went away for a few days, until the elders were sent off in every direction to pass their paper off: among the elders were Brigham Young, that went last, with forty thousand dollars; John F. Boynton, with some twenty thousand dollars; Luke Johnson, south and east, with an unknown quantity. I suppose if the money you have was taken of those, it was Smith's and their profit; and thus they continued to pass and sell the worthless stuff until they sold it at twelve and a half cents on the dollar, and so eager to put it off at that, that they could not attend meeting on the Sabbath, -- but they signed enough at that price to buy one section of land in the Illinois. There was some signed with S. Rigdon, cashier, and J. Smith, Jr. president, for the purpose, as it was then said, that if they should be called upon when they could not well redeem, that they would call them counterfeit,
M O R M O N I S M. 15
but they had no occasion to call any counterfeit, for they never redeemed but a very few thousand dollars, and there must be now a great many thousands of their bills out. There was some which others signed pro. tem. that were genuine too, the name of F. G. Williams, N. K. Whitney, and one Kingsburg, all those are genuine.
The church have not now nor never had any common stock, * all that has been consecrated, Smith and the heads of the church have got, and what they get now they keep, for to show this I send you a revelation which is as follows: -- Revelation given July 9th, 1837, in far west, Caldwell county, Missouri, -- O Lord, show unto us, thy servants, how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tything? Answer: Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus properties to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church of Zion, for the building of mine house, and for the laying the foundation of Zion, and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the presidency of my church, and this shall be the beginning of the tything of my people, and after that, those who have been tythed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood saith the Lord: Verily, I say unto you, it shall come to pass, that all those who gather unto the land of Zion, shall be tythed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you; and behold, I say unto you, if my people observe not this law to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me that my statutes and my jugments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy; behold: Verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you, and this shall be one example unto all the [states] of Zion, even so. Amen." They left here in a great hurry, as there was many debts against them, for the principal part that Smith had was borrowed, as also the heads of the church in general, and they had to keep the poor brethren lugging their boxes of silks and fine clothes from place to place, so that they should not be taken to pay their just debts, and mostly borrowed money, until they succeeded in getting them off in the night. They were pursued, but to no effect, they had a train too numerous, so the people could not get their pay, and thus they have brought destruction and misery on a great many respectable families, that are reduced to distress, while they live in splendor and all kinds of extravagance. Thus I send you a few, and this is, in comparison, as one drop of water would be in comparison of the Skuylkill, or in other words to Lake Erie. Those statements are well known here, and I presume will not be contradicted there, unless by some fanatic that has no knowledge of things as they do exist, or those deeply interested in the frauds of the saints themselves. I am yours, &c.
CYRUS SMALLING, of Kirtland, Ohio.
* Instead of the stock being common, it appears the intention of the ringleaders is to monopolize it, and leave their poor dupes at last to shift for themselves.
M O R M O N I S M.
I have charges to bring against the promulgators of the doctrines we have been listening to this evening, which I trust will go far toward opening the eyes of every individual, and cause them to turn with disgust from those lying prophets whom I here plainly and unhesitatingly brand, not only as religious impostors, but as swindlers.
In doing this I shall not attempt to expose the Mormon imposture or to combat the creed by which they are striving to delude and deceive the weak minded and ignorant. It is not my intention to hold up, to scorn the miserable trick of the golden plates found in a potato, or some other field in the State of New York, from which it is pretended their new religion has been derived. I shall have nothing to do with their blasphemous stories and their forged miracles, or with those who are weak enough to be gulled by them, but I wish to ask the attention of this audience, to the worldly, business matters which can be understood by every man, and upon the strength of which I here venture the bold and deliberate charge of swindling.
Joseph Smith, jun. and Mr. Rigdon are the two acknowledged heads, plotters, contrivers, and in short the fathers of this "latter day," Mormon humbug. They are the arch impostors -- the wicked authors of this wicked scheme which the speaker to-night has been laboring to palm off upon this audience. I wish it to be distinctly borne in mind that these two men, Smith and Rigdon, are the avowed and acknowledged fabricators of the scheme of Mormonism. The Speaker to-night, one of the tools, the pliant cat's paw, by which they are attempting to operate upon the community.
I hold in my hand a bank note -- a ten dollar bank note, which as I wish to ask the particular attention of the audience to I will read. (Mr. Lee here read the note, an exact copy of which will be found on the second page.)
It reads fairly -- promises largely -- and bears the veritable signatures of the arch impostors themselves, J. Smith, jr. and S. Rigdon.
Now this $10 Mormon note is one of the grossest pieces of fraud in a mere pecuniary point of view -- religion out of the question -- that has ever been perpetrated in this swindling age, a downright, villainous piece of swindling.
In the first place the plate itself from which the worthless trash was printed, has never to this day been paid for -- the engraver, printer, paper maker, and all having been regularly cheated out of their hard earnings by this set of swindling hypocrites.
In the second place, thousands and thousands of the spurious trash was passed off for goods of all kinds, with no other earthly design or intention than that of swindling.
In the West in like manner thousands upon thousands of the
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trash has been passed off upon the honest farmer and the hard working mechanic.
But a few months ago both these speculating gamblers, these Mormon, latter day saints, who like their tool this evening, busy themselves in running down the religion of others, and slandering better men than they ever can hope to be, were in Philadelphia.
The owner of this note, a gentleman who is now in this room, called upon them -- but they would not be seen. He saw one of their elders who declared that Rigdon had been sick for six weeks in the city, but declared he did not know where he was -- no, he did not know the house or the number, or even the street or part of the city in which his own, suffering, sick brother resided. This monstrous inhumanity on one side or deliberate lying on the other, with the prevarication and falsehood in relation to Smith also, convinced the holder of the note that he could obtain no satisfaction from those, whom if possessed of a particle of honesty would not have been ashamed to show their faces.
That they are swindlers in the rankest sense of the term is evident from the foregoing facts, as well as from the fact that their gambling bank was put into operation in direct, open violation of the laws of Ohio, in which state their swindling shop was located -- that this $10 note is not worth and will not bring two cents, and in short, that for the same or a similar offense the gray-haired and comparatively innocent Dr. Dyott is this very night incarcerated within the walls of the Eastern penitentiary.
Now without any reference to the truth or falsehood of their new religion or the golden plates which they had better convert into coin to pay off their notes -- without regard to this latter day Mormonism, which is as much beneath the dignity of argument as they themselves are beneath contempt. I would ask one question.
I would ask this audience gravely to consider the question, whether any set of men combining together to swindle and defraud the community are to be believed in any scheme of religion, however plausible which they may attempt to get up?
Is it at all likely men of such characters would be selected to promulgate divine truths? are such men entitled to your confidence? are they the kind of men who are even fit to hold the strings of the purse into which they are persuading their poor dupes to pour in their money -- their little all? :
Confidence? Rather should they not be scouted from the society through which they are prowling like wolves in sheep's clothing "seeking whom they may devour," scouted from the community which they disgrace. Or rather should not the strong arm of the law be made to punish those hypocritical impostors, whose sole practice, object, and business it is to deceive the weak minded, to cheat the credulous, to rob the unsuspecting, and defraud the public? They should be narrowly watched wherever they go; for men of such characters would no more hesitate to pick your pocket or seize any opportunity of robbing you, than they would to engage in this impious mockery of religion, this gross and wicked imposture.
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The following account of the Mormon meeting in Frankfort, at which the preceding remarks were produced by Mr. Lee, appeared in the Daily Chronicle, a penny paper of Philadelphia, a day or two after the occurrence:
A MORMON DISTURBANCE. -- The Mormons, or as they prefer calling themselves, the "Latter Day Saints," have for a few weeks past disturbed the quiet of the peace-loving borough of Frankfort, with their attempts to make converts. Several we understand, have been already so far imposed upon by their representations as to sell out and put their funds into the common stock. On Wednesday evening last, their third lecture was delivered to a very crowded house. After the delivery of which, it was distinctly announced by the Mormons themselves, of whom there were several present, that any person disposed to make any remarks, was at liberty to do so.
Availing himself of this permission, or rather invitation, Mr. E. G. Lee, a gentleman of Frankfort, and who is attached to no religious sect or denomination, addressed the audience. He stated that it was not his intention to enter into a discussion of the merits of the system they were endeavoring to impose on the community, but simply to call attention of the audience to the character of the men themselves, and to prove, as he conclusively should, that whatever merits their system might possess, that they are not the men to promulgate. Mr. Lee then produced a ten dollar note, purporting to be issued by the Kirtland Safety Society Bank. Ohio, which note was signed by Joseph Smith, Jr. the author and head of the system of Mormonism; and by S. Rigdon, his associate, and likewise one of the chiefs.
Mr. L. was prepared to show the swindling character of this transaction, transcending in atrocity the offence for which Dr. Dyott is now suffering the penalty of the law, because the Mormon notes had no basis whatever, and never were worth a farthing. While the gentleman was thus engaged in detailing the character of their leader, he was interrupted by the Mormon preacher, who insisted that he should not proceed, and declared that his whole statement was a falsehood. He went on to assert his knowledge of the transaction -- that he was himself at Kirtland at the time -- that the notes were issued by Smith, because he was in debt, and that they were regularly redeemed until the counterfeits came in so freely that they were obliged to suspend. He farther declared, the note produced and exhibited to the meeting, was a counterfeit, and this, too, before he had been within ten feet of it. The audience were desirous of hearing the speaker out, but the Mormon insisted with great vehemence and anger that he should not go on, thus furnishing the clearest evidence of the guilt which was charged upon them. For he was solicited to allow Mr. Lee to get through with his statement, and then he could reply, and have every opportunity of showing the falsehood of the charges alleged against them. This course did not suit them, and by their violence and clamor the meeting was broken up in disorder.
The gentlemen who has furnished us with the foregoing particulars,
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assures us that he has submitted the note to Messrs. Underwood, Bald and Spencer, the respectable firm by whom the plate was engraved, who unhesitatingly pronounced it genuine, thus proving the falsehood of the vender of Mormonism in this particular. We are farther assured that even the plate itself never has been paid for -- that as to redeeming the notes, a few were paid at the banking establishment in Ohio, in the outset, merely sufficient to establish some sort of character for them at home, and until their agents could reach the Eastern States, where they were immediately put into circulation. Upwards of two hundred thousand dollars of this worthless trash has been passed off upon the community, and by the same men who are now engaged in passing off their religious imposture, which has for its great object the same result. viz: to fleece the miserable dupes who may be induced to convert their property into cash to be placed in a common fund, under the control of such characters as we have exhibited above.
TESTIMONY OF A MORMON ELDER AND PREACHER.The following letter was directed to the Daily Chronicle in reply to the foregoing account of the Frankford exposure. It is signed by B. Winchester himself, the chief Elder, preacher and expounder of the Mormon imposture in Philadelphia. The Daily Chronicle refusing to publish, what they had reason to believe was a tissue of falsehood, it was taken to the Public Ledger and printed in that paper on the 23d February, 1841, as an advertisement. Read it carefully, as it furnishes in itself conclusive evidence of the truth of the charges made against these imposters, who, not satisfied with counterfeiting religion, add the double infamy and guilt of counterfeiting the currency.
(Written for the Daily Chronicle.)==> MESSERS. EDITORS. -- I have just had the perusal of a piece in your paper of this morning, headed "Mormon Disturbance," which took place at Frankford, and justice to an injured, quiet, and inoffensive community demands an immediate answer to the same. * * * * * The subject that audience was addressed with, was the second coming of Christ, and the establishment of his kingdom on earth. The invitation that was given, was not to invite any person to make remarks about Bank notes or shinplasters; but to any that should have any remarks to make upon the subject already presented. (1.) Mr. Lee arose, and commenced belching forth his foul insinuations, (2.) and invective applications, and ranked us with the very dregs of vulgarity. He then read his ten dollar note. As the object of the meeting was not to discuss matters of the kind, (3.) I invited him to desist, that the meeting might be dismissed in peace (4.)
As for the bank note, I will here take the liberty to state that in 1837, at the time of the suspension, our people were engaged building a meeting house, and in order to forward the work of building they issued a quantity of shinplasters, handsomely engraved by Messrs. Underwood, Bald & Spencer (5.) Part of them were signed by Messrs. Rigdon and Smith, who were engaged in the
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above work. The genuine had the word Anti prefixed to Banking Company) not engraved on the plate, but inserted (in the office) before signed and put in circulation. (6.) One Mr. W. Parish who was employed as clerk at the time, assisted by a Mr. Boyd, availed themselves of an opportunity, and stole several thousand of the real plate, and forged the named of Messrs. Rigdon and Smith, and issued them without prefixing the word Anti Some was put into the hands of men who went West, and purchased droves of horses. Others came East, and purchased goods. At length it came pouring in upon the firm like a flood, but on examination of their books, they found that they had redeemed all the genuine. Of course they suspended. These are facts that can be well authenticated if necessary.
Admitting, for the sake of argument, that Messrs. Smith and Rigdon were not able to pay their debts, does it necessarily follow that they are the most dejected and dishonest of all men. (8). Moses slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand, and fled from Egypt to escape the penalty of the law, David feigned himself crazy by letting the spittle run down his beard; but this does not prove that they were false prophets, or that God did not approbate them on any occasion. (9.) Indeed every virtue and moral of our society is narrowed down to almost nothing, but on the other hand every thing is magnified to an astonishing rate. The columns of newspapers have been open and free to any thing that would excite prejudice against us, but closed to any thing on the part of the defensive. B. WINCHESTER.
Friday, February 19.
COMMENTS.1. Nothing was said as to what remarks should be allowed. At the close of his lecture Winchester stated that any one disposed to make any remarks was invited to do so. This general invitation was at once accepted.
2. The mildness and meekness of a Christian teacher is here exemplified with a vengeance. Other portions of this Mormon Saint's letter in the Ledger, is omitted, as entirely too vulgar, coarse, and indecent, to reprint. As to any foul insinuations, this pious Saint is mistaken, there were no insinuations at all, but a plain, downright charge of imposition and swindling. Honest men would not call this insinuating.
3. The Mormons did not want to "discuss matters of this kind." Of course not. The very last thing in the world that a rogue would think of discussing would be his own conduct and character. But, whatever might have been the object of the meeting, its very first object should have been to show that its leaders were deserving of the confidence they asked for. Truth, honesty, and fair dealing, always court investigation.
4. The whole audience will bear testimony to the fact that instead of "inviting" Mr. Lee to desist, this Mormon hypocrite, undertook to brow-beat him into silence, and like a guilty criminal drove to smother down the freedom of speech. He had no desire
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or intention of "dismissing the meeting," as he now pretends, because a further attempt was to have been made to make converts to the faith. The only thing like a disturbance of the peace arose from the impudent manner in which Mr. Lee's exposition was interrupted. The audience had listened patiently and quietly to the Mormon's denunciation of all professions but his own; had indulged him in the fullest liberty of speech; and, however unjust, impious or abusive might have been the preacher, the audience would have sat him out nor thought of any attempt to interrupt his gross mockery. Not an individual manifested towards them the slightest disposition to check the fullest liberty or freedom of speech.
Now had this spirit been reciprocated, there would have been not the slightest interruption to the quiet sad good order which had existed. No matter how wrong, how false, or how slanderous may have been Mr. Lee's allegations, the Mormon could have answered his accuser face to face, and let the audience judge between them. Mr. Lee's remarks would have occupied but a few minutes -- he simply wanted to bring the charges plainly before them -- openly and above board -- that if false, the Mormons might contradict them, or if true, as he verily believed, that then the audience might be put upon their guard. It certainly was proper that the charges should be brought forward, in order that the accused might have an opportunity of refuting them, since they were of so serious a nature. If innocent, the Mormon would, no doubt, have set and quietly smiled at the impotent slander, would have heard his accuser patiently through, and then arose and set the matter in its true light. But no! conscious guilt got the better of his judgment of his true policy, and, although the audience expressed a wish to hear Mr. Lee out, the Mormon was determined he should not go on. In this attempt to smother down the freedom of speech, originated a scene of confusion and disorder. It was the fear and confusion of shame, of detected guilt and exposed imposition.
Now for the Mormon Saint's own confirmation of the swindling and fraudulent character of the banking transactions.
5. The old adage, that liars should have good memories, is exemplified here. He says, "In 1837, at the time of the suspension," they issued their shinplasters; his object being to convey the impression, that the trash was issued in consequence of the suspension. Now the fact is, that the bank was got up, and the arrangements made before the suspension was thought of. In proof of which, the suspension took place 11th May, 1837, and the note, it I will be seen, is dated March 9, 1837, and of course must have been decided in Ohio some months previous, in order to allow time for the expensive engraving to be finished in Philadelphia and returned to Ohio. This is an evident, premeditated falsehood, the more wilful, because this Mormon asserted at Frankford, that he was himself at Kirtland where the bank was, and knew all about it.
6. Again, he says, "Anti" was prefixed to "Banking Company." Now, by examining the copy of the note it will be seen that "Banking Company" is not on the note at all. There is no space for the word "ANTI" on the plate, and what is more, if
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there, it could have no other meaning or design than that of deception. This is obvious to the plainest understanding. If the word "Anti" was not on the note, then is Winchester convicted of falsehood by his own testimony. On the other hand, if the word "Anti" was actually on the note, as he asserts it was, it must of course have been done for the purpose of deception and fraud to enable the Mormons to cheat with the greater impunity. Either way Saint Winchester furnishes evidence that these Mormon shinplasters were issued for the express purpose of swindling the community.
Once more, let us examine this conclusive proof of Mormon villainy -- shown to be so by Winchester himself, and that too without a particle of the evidence contained in the startling letter from Kirtland, p. 14. This Mormon aider and abettor, of one of the most infamous pieces of fraud that has ever disgraced this or any other country, gives himself, the strongest evidence of its criminal character.
7. He names Mormon Parish and Mormon Boyd as stealers and counterfeiters of this Mormon trash. He says that they stole the plate. The best proof that they were not stolen is, that they were never advertised -- the public was never put on their guard -- no caution was ever issued -- thus showing the whole thing to be a Mormon trick. But how did they get the plate printed? The plate could have been of no use unless bills were printed from it. Jo Smith let them use his Mormon copperplate press, perhaps, and allowed them to forge his name. This would go to confirm that part of Mr. Smalling's letter from Kirtland, which says some trick of this kind was resorted to, so that when brought in to be redeemed they could be called counterfeit, and so refused. A precious piece of villainy truly. This is obviously the case, because it will be observed that Winchester actually admits that these Mormon thieves were sent out with their Mormon counterfeits to buy droves of horses and purchase goods, some of the very extra superfine broadcloth, no doubt, in which the beggarly, swindling Saints strutted about the streets of Kirtland. And, wretches of this stamp, prowling through the country to preach piety, daring to pollute the moral atmosphere with the stench of Mormonism.
8. "Admitting they couldn't pay their debts" indeed. Why that is not the charge at all, Master Winchester. Many an honest man is in that same predicament and still maintains his integrity. Couldn't pay their debts, eh? Why, where is their six thousand dollars in gold and silver? Where is the two hundred thousand dollars worth of houses, lands, goods, &c. out of which the public have been swindled? Where are the thousands out of which the prophet has fleeced the Mormon flock? Where are the other thousands got by "scouring the branches," as they term it, of the Mormons through the states, or filched from the poor, miserable dupes who have put their little all at the mercy of such ravenous creatures. But all this is nothing, the merest trifle, in comparison with what follows.
9. Such unheard of audacity, such cool, brazen-faced impudence
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as is this allusion to Moses and David is, we must confess, unparalleled in the annals of depravity. What! attempting to compare offences committed in the heat of passion, and regretted and atoned for -- compare such offences with the cool, calculating villainy, of a gang of freebooters, who deliberately set themselves down to plot crimes of the blackest dye? impious and wicked wretches, who for long years lay their deep schemes, under the garb of piety, to deceive, to lie, to mislead, and plunder the community? That an excuse so paltry, should even be thought of, indicates a degree of depravity rarely witnessed, but that the shameless avowal should be published to the world in an outrage on public decency, more monstrous than could be looked for even from Mormonism itself, steeped in iniquity and fraud as it has been from its birth. Even supposing Moses and David to be ten times worse than this Mormon would have them appear, what have their sins to do with Jo Smith and his gang of marauders? how can the sins of others justify or even palliate the blasphemy, counterfeiting, and crimes of swindling Mormonism? No two wrongs can make one right. The principle which these impostors would establish, may serve to cloak their own guilty doings a little longer, may give them a further chance to cheat the credulous, to rob the poor, to put off a little further the just and fearful retribution that must sooner or later overtake them; but the very atrocity of such sentiments must eventually startle even their poor dupes from their stupid dreams, and open their eyes to the true character of this strange delusion, this wicked and horrible imposture.
From the Philadelphia Reporter and Counterfeit Detector of April 1, 1840 -- page 10.We have been shown a ten dollar note of the Kirtland Safety Society, signed by J. Smith, Jr. cashier, and S. Rigdon, president, believed to have been passed in this city, among others, by the veritable Joe Smith himself, of Mormon notoriety, about two years since. Of course it is valueless, and if he did but know how many hard names he received from the person on whom the deception was practiced, he certainly would repent of his evil deeds.
From the Baptist Advocate.
The Mormons have been generally regarded as a harmless sect of deluded fanatics, unworthy of any particular notice; and the common impression seems to be, that they have been wronged and persecuted by the state of Missouri. For my own part, having had occasion to become better acquainted with their principles and history than many others, I have for a long time been endeavouring, as opportunity offered, to open the eyes of the community to their character, and to show that mischief lurks beneath this cover of apparent
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insignificance, and that there are two sides to the story of the Mormon war in Missouri.
Near the close of the recent session of Congress, a pamphlet was printed by order of the United States' Senate, for the use of the members of Congress, entitled a "Document showing the testimony given before the judge of the fifth judicial circuit of the state of Missouri, at the court-house in Richmond, in a criminal court of inquiry, begun November 12th, 1838." A list of fifty-three individuals is given, as being charged with the crimes of high treason against the state, murder, burglary, arson, robbery and larceny. Among the number are Joseph Smith, jr. Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt * * *
A paper was draughted by Sidney Rigdon against the dissenters from Mormonism and signed by eighty-four Mormons It was addressed to Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer, William W. Phelps and Lyman E. Johnson. Of these, Oliver Cowdrey and David Whitmer were two of the three witnesses that testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon. This will therefore serve to show how much credit is to be attached to their testimony. These eighty-four Mormons, in the letter, say to the dissenters, (Cowdrey, Whitmer, &c.) that they had violated their promise, and disregarded their covenant; that Oliver Cowdrey had been taken by a state warrant for stealing, and the stolen property was found in the house of William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdrey having stolen and conveyed it; that these dissenters had endeavoured to destroy the characters of Smith and Rigdon by every artifice they could invent, not even excepting the basest lying; that they had disturbed the Mormon meetings of worship; that Cowdrey and Whitmer had united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat and defraud the Mormons out of their properly, by every art and stratagem which wickedness could invent, stealing not excepted; that they had attempted to raise mobs against the Mormons; that Cowdrey attempted to pass notes on which he had received pay; that Cowdrey, Whitmer and others, were guilty of perjury, cheating, selling bogus money, (base coin,) and even stones and sand for bogus! that they had opened, read and destroyed letters in the post-office; and that they were engaged with a gang of counterfeiters, coiners, and blacklegs.
There, Mr. Editor, is the character of two of the three witnesses who testified that they had seen the plates of the book of Mormon; that God's voice declared to them that they had been translated by his gift and power, that an angel of God laid the plates and engravings before their eyes; and that the voice of the Lord commanded them that they should bear record of it. This is the character of two of the three witnesses, according to the testimony of eighty-four Mormons and not opposers of Mormonism. To how much credit these two witnesses are entitled, you can judge for yourself
Such then is this SACRILEGIOUS IMPOSTURE, such the INIQUITY and infamy of MORMONISM.