(Boston: self-published, 1841)
A COMPENDIUM OF THE
BOOK OF MORMON,
OR, JOSEPH SMITH'S GOLDEN BIBLE.
Also, The Examination of its Internal and External Evidences,
with the Argument to refute its pretences to a revelation
from God: Argued before the Free Discussion
Society in the City of Boston, July, 1841.
ELDER FREEMAN NICKERSON, A MORMON,
AND THE AUTHOR.
T Y L E R P A R S O N S.
B O S T O N:
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR.
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By the reading part of the community it is well known, that about the year of 1827, a sect called Mormons, appeared in the State of New York, pretending to be under the immediate and special direction of God, through Joseph Smith, Jr. a boy of 17 years of age, a pretended prophet from the Lord. Smith's pretensions were as follows, viz: An angel from Heaven appeared to him in vision, when on his bed, and informed him of a Book of Record being hid in the earth, in a certain place, that contained valuable truths to the family of man, -- an account of the race that once inhabited the far West. That God designed him to be an instrument of promulgating this grand secret to the world, as his prophet.
Through this visionary boy, this sect of Mormons have founded their belief; by the influence of others, more artful than this prophet, Smith, this superstitious sect have spread their doctrines over a great part of the habitable world.
The progress this sect is now making by their missionaries, in this and all other countries, seems to me to require the notice of the public, while all the facts may be traced. The many disputations that have attended the truth of Christianity, I presume will justify my remarks. A distinguished believer in the Mormon faith, by the name of Elder Freeman Nickerson, from the State of Illinois, came to Boston, in June, 1841 -- then and there commenced a course of lectures on the subject of Mormonism, with the belief that he should be able to organize a society in this city. In his lectures, he invited all sects, Christians or skeptics, to disprove his Book of Mormon to be of divine revelation.
This challenge I readily accepted, to have it argued between him and myself; this was agreed to. It was commenced in Winchester Hall, the place where the Society for Free Discussion hold their meetings on Sunday afternoons. It was discussed five Sundays in succession, between Elder Nickerson, and all others that chose to support his views, and myself and others that chose to deny the truth of his claim, agreeable to the rules and the regulations of our debating society. This rule did not answer the purpose; there being so many speakers, it became expedient to continue the debate between the Elder, or any other Mormon, and myself; this course was adopted for the better, and continued
four Sundays in succession, in the forenoon, commencing at 10 o'clock -- all of which I shall give you in this pamphlet. One other reason why I submit to this inquiry and publish the same, is believing the time is not far distant, when this deluded sect of Mormons may, by their superior numbers, be induced to dictate to others, what shall be considered canonical; and enforce their system of faith and belief at the point of the sword: as all religious fanatics have done in all ages and places in the world.
To prepare the reader to look over this Mormon delusion, allow me to call your attention to others that have appeared in the world. The many distinguished false Christs that history has recorded, that inundated the Jewish theocracy, which kept them in perpetual confusion; and the many of later ages, some of which I will refer to. Many will recollect the famous account given of the celebrated Sabati Levi, in 1666, that flourished in Smyrna; this arch deceiver, with his prophet Nathan. A man, by the name of Nathan, in Jerusalem, went to Smyrna, nearly two years before Sabati appeared, and prophecied that the Messiah was coming. He assumed the place of Elias, as a fore-runner for Sabati. Thousands believed on him; many of the Jews put on mourning; and sat in sackcloth and ashes, on account of their sins; they believed Nathan much stronger than the Bostonians do in prophet Miller's 1843, Christ coming the second time. Some of the Jews died by fasting, and whipping themselves; some sold and distributed all their property among the poor.
When Sabati appeared, thousands and tens of thousands flocked to his standard. The more rational and intelligent put no confidence in his miraculous pretensions; his followers increased. They held large meetings, and managed all their concerns with such adroitness as to deceive the ignorant and credulous. They had five hundred prophets and prophetesses at one time. This is Mormon-like; they are all of these classes; they asserted they could work miracles; speak with other tongues, other languages. So do the Mormons.
They had the sagacity, and apparent power, to fall into the greatest extacies of joy, or grief, as the occasion should, seem to require. Infants, that could scarcely lisp, would pronounce the words Sabati, Messiah, Son of God.
The community were in great excitement. Voices could be heard in the lower part of the stomach, not unlike the ventriloquist; several voices could be heard distinctly at the same time and place. The devotees could fall into trances, and apparent death. Foam at their mouths, as though they were decomposing. The first words, uniformly, on their recovery to their senses, would be Sabati, the Messiah. This excitement called the attention of the Grand Seignior of Smyrna; he was not to be hoaxed any longer by these fanatics; he called in the Messiah to be tried by his rules, as he, the Messiah, pretended, Mormon-like, he could raise the dead, he would now give him a chance, or any of his aids, to raise him; or, at least, he would give him a chance to ward off death, which, to the Grand
Seignior, would be tantamount to raising the dead. When he was brought before the authority, the evidences, his followers, declared on oath, that they saw a pillar of fire between Sabati and the Grand Seignior. Many there declared the same; others said they believed it, although they did not see the fire. Here was the deception -- Mormon-like.
This stratagem did not fright the old Seignor. He ordered Sabati to be stript naked, to be placed for a mark for his sharp-shooters, with bows, and pointed poison arrows -- sure death where they hit, and sure of hitting the right place.
This false Messiah, Sabati, shrunk from the dose, and cordially confessed his imposition, and turned Mahomedan, before thousands of credulous and astonished Jews.
This is a fair sample of the Mormons: taken in the whole, some of the wire pullers are artful, cunning, while Jos. Smith, and hundreds of thousands of others are duped to the lowest degree of degradation. Thus much on Sabati.
The next that I refer you to, is the famous Munzer Stubner, and Stark. In the time of the reformation, so called, the commencing of the 16th century, they also made great pretences to be governed by the immediate spirit of God, to guide them in all things; they were to dispense with all law, or order; all distinctions of birth, rank, or property, must be destroyed; all must be common stock; and poligamy was not incompatible with reason, or scripture, Old or the New Testament. They also made the same claims to the working of miracles. I am not aware that the Mormons claim the privilege of poligamy, as yet. I presume they will, when they revise their creed.
The next deluded fanatic, is the elect Lady Ann Lessu, called Ann Lee, the authoress of Shakerism. She worked miracles of all descriptions, and spoke seventy-two different languages fluently. She conversed with the dead at pleasure; so do the Mormons, not only converse with the dead, but raise them from the grave, as they declare they have at Nauvoo, in their city. A boy they call a natural son, 14 years of age; he can decipher any thing; he looks into Heaven, or Earth, and tells what is done. This two of the most respectable Mormons related to me. This will make a superior to Jo. Smith. He could see through a pair of stone spectacles, and through a plank floor into a thick wooden box, and decipher, translate, and transcribe Egyptian language into English; notwithstanding, he could not write, or read a word of any language, whatever; but, however, he says he did it, by the power of God. But this boy does it without any stone or other specks. This elect lady produced many disciples; she manufactured the holy dance, the consecrated shivering, where the body would be perfectly cold, and the person swoon away in apparent death.
She was the great enthusiastic devotee to rank the marriage covenant among the list of crimes of the first class. She is gone and left a comparative small number to perpetuate her memory.
Others have appeared, the Barkers, Jumpers, and Mutterers, in,
France, Scotland, England, and America, within 15 years, we have had the famous Miss Campbell, of Scotland. She came back from the dead: she had the gift of tongues, 'tis said; she made many converts; and several Scotch clergymen believed in her pretensions.
I will now ask your attention to the last, but not the least, of all the fanatics and deluded sects the world ever read of. Agreeable to my proposal and promise. I am to give you a compendium of the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith, Jr's Golden Bible. I shall give it to you in as concise and comprehensive manner as possible.
My quotations from their Book will be noted with the page on which it stands, that the reader may refer to the book for the corrector of my remarks, by what I have written the whole character of the book may be discovered; and the reader will learn to judge of its pretences, whether they are divine or romance, novel and vain; written by Solomon Spaulding and others, being well calculated for the ignorant, superstitious, and credulous to be believe in as a revelation from God. With the foregoing remarks as introductory, I will proceed to give the compendium of the Book of Mormon, and recommend the careful perusal to all and every one, and do believe a candid and enlightened public will so far appreciate as to read it.
A COMPENDIUM OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.This book purports to be a revelation from God to certain persons hereafter named, in said book; it is called the Book of Mormon, as the recording angel of this book of Books. It contains 583 pages, octavo, viz: the first and second Books of one Nephi, 122 pages; the Book of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, 21 pages; the Book of Enos, 3 pages; Book of Jarom, 2 pages; Book of Omin [sic], 4 pages; the Words of Mormon, 3 pages; the Book of Mesiah [sic], 68 pages; the Book of Alma, 186 pages; Book of Helaman, 44 pages; Book of Nephi, son of Helaman, 66 pages; Book of Mormon, 20 pages; Book of Ether, 35 pages; Book of Mormon, 14 pages. It commences:
This Book of Mormon, so called, Joseph Smith, Jr., in the State of New York, pretends to have found in the earth, in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, in the State of New York, written in Egyptian language, on plates of gold, about 24 plates, 7 by 9 inches, hung with gold rings, of half moon shape, the leaves said to be about as thick as common glass, of the size of the plates, and my opponent, Elder Nickerson, says, he understood it weighed 30 lbs. I valued it at 9,000 dollars, provided it was pure gold; he said it had the appearance of gold, although he had never seen it. Joseph Smith claims the privilege of finding this book by order of an angel from Heaven; and also claims to be the decipherer of this book, and the translator of these golden plates from the Egyptian to the English, from which we are now getting a compendium. It purports to be printed in Palmyra, by E. B. Grandin, for the author, 1830.
It commences its romantic and novel history of one Lehi, a pious Jew, whose wife's name was Sariah, with their four sons. Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi; this account is found in the 1st Book of Nephi. He says he was born of godly parents, and dwelt with his father, Lehi, in Jerusalem, until the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; that his father dwelt there when the prophets called on the inhabitants of the city to repent, or the city should be destroyed -- p. 1. That his father, Lehi, prayed unto the Lord in behalf of the inhabitants, and, in answer to his prayers there came down from heaven a pillar of fire, and dwelt on a rock before him; and that he saw and heard much, but does not tell what he saw and heard, except the pillar of fire. He became affrightened, and did tremble and quake exceedingly; and he returned to his house at Jerusalem, and cast himself on his bed, and was carried away in vision, in a dream. The heavens were opened. He saw God on a throne, surrounded with numberless angels singing and praising him. One personage, that was above all others, whose brightness exceeded the lustre of the sun at noon-day, came down, with twelve others, to the earth. The most distinguished came to his father and read a book of the fate that awaited the city of Jerusalem -- that it should be destroyed, and many should perish with the sword, and the remainder should be carried captive into Babylon: -- p. 6. Here Nephi, the son and prophet to his father, says he does not give a full account of what his father Lehi saw, in visions and dreams, but what he has written is an abridgment made on the plates by him. He says his father made these visions known to many of the Jews, and they were angry, and sought his life.
He further says, the Lord spake to his father in a dream, and ordered him to depart, leave the city, and flee to the wilderness with, his family; and that his father obeyed and fled; left all his possessions, lands, houses, gold, silver and precious things; that they went through the wilderness to the Red Sea; that not long after leaving Jerusalem, his elder brothers, Laman and Lemuel, murmured at their father for leaving the city, and called him a visionary man for leaving all his valuables, and going into the wilderness to perish.
Here we have the origin of these visionary beings, called the Mormons. His father, he says, replied to Laman and Lemuel with the power of God, and confounded them until their frames did shake before him. It will be remembered that this Nephi, that is giving this account, is a young boy; he says, I am young, but large in stature, and desirous to know the mysteries of God; and the Lord paid him a visit, and he told his brothers of it, viz, Laman and Lemuel; and they did not believe him, but Sam, he says, did. The object of the visit from the Lord, Nephi says, was to command him to return to Jerusalem, with his brethren, and get the records of the Jews, and the genealogy of their family, which were in the hands of Laban, and written on brass -- p. 9.
Agreeable to this command they went, and when they arrived at the city, they drew lots which should go and demand the records of
Laban; the lot fell to Laman; he went, and was treated roughly by his kinsman, and called a robber; and Laman was for returning to his father in the wilderness, to tell him the sad tidings, that there was a failure on the part of God, that sent them after the records to Laban. But not so with this young boy, this Mormon prophet, Nephi; he was all for fight in the name of God. He required his brethren to go with him and get the inheritance of their father, the gold and silver, &c., and then tempt Laban with the cash, and thus get the plates of their origin. They did so. And when Laban found they had cash, he pursued them to take their lives; they fled and left all in his hands, and hid in a cave; there they quarrelled among themselves about the failure. They beat the young prophet with a stick. An angel appeared and reproved them for their conduct, and told them that this young brother was chosen of God to rule them, and that he should succeed against Laban and obtain the plates, because he was faithful. This is the sentiment all through the book, viz: faithfulness to these visionary dreams will always give them success. Nephi, after the angel had left him, tried to get his brother to go to Laban, and thus accomplish the object for which they came. They were afraid Laban would kill them, if he could find them, but Nephi advanced, and his elder brother followed, until they came to the walls of the city. Nephi says he crept into the city, and went toward Laban's house in the night, not knowing which way he went, but he was led by the Spirit; but before he came to the house of Laban, he saw a man fallen to the ground, drunk, and he knew it was Laban: and I beheld his sword and drew it from its sheath; the hilt was of pure gold, and the blade precious steel. And it came to pass that I was constrained to kill him, but I said, in my heart, I have never shed the blood of any man. I shrunk back, that I might not slay him. And the Spirit saith to me again, behold, the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also know that Laban hath sought to take my life; and he has taken away our property. The spirit saith again, slay him, it is better that one man should perish, than a nation should perish in unbelief. I knew that the Lord had delivered him into my hand, that I may obtain the plates of brass: Therefore, I did obey the voice of the spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword. That is well done for a boy, After he had killed him he stript him of his military raiment, and put it on himself, through fear of detection. He went to Laban's house, the treasury, and there met Laban's servant; and by being dressed in Laban's dress, and speaking with Laban's voice, he deceived him. He commanded him to get the keys of the treasury, and get the brass plates, and to accompany him outside the walls of the city, where his brothers were hid. When his brothers saw him dressed in Laban's dress, they supposed it to be Laban, having killed the prophet Nephi, and was in pursuit of them, and they fled. Nephi called on them, and they knew his voice, and came to him. This circumstance gave Laban's servant intelligence of the affair that his master Was killed; he attempted
to flee, but Nephi, this ingenious murderer, held him fast, and promised him, if he would go with them, they would spare his life, and he should be free.
This policy of Nephi was good, to prevent the Jews from following them to the wilderness to detect the murder of Laban. They all proceeded on, and they came to the Red Sea, where the father and mother were. When the parents saw their children with Loram [sic], the servant of Laban, they were comforted, for they had supposed they were Killed by Laban.
Sariah had been scolding Lehi, her husband, for leaving Jerusalem, called him a visionary man; now she knew that God had commanded him to leave the city. I would remark here, that it is common with many women, when their husbands meet with adversity, to think that they are wrong in their pursuits, and visionary, however laudable the pursuit. But, on the contrary, if fortunate, by any means, the Lord prospers them. This is a dangerous sentiment, though many believe it.
The old man took the plates, and found they gave an account, from the creation, of the five Books of Moses -- p. 15. From the genealogy, he found he was of Joseph, that went to Egypt. This filled him with the spirit, he prophesied that these records should never perish. Thus we have the origin of the history of the plate from which the novel writer takes his patterns; and from which the deluded Mormon commences his prophetic career. This ends the first chapter of Nephi; first book. Here I would remark, the writer finding he had no women to people the New World, he says, that Father Lehi prevailed on one Ishmael and his family to go with him, whose daughters his sons took for wives.
He makes Lehi to be a greater prophet than any of the Jewish. He tells all the events that shall take place under the Christian Era. He developes all the records of Matthew, Luke and John, 600 years before John the baptist was born. This puts the prophecy of the Old Testament all in the shade; but when, think ye, it was written? I answer, in 1827. The 2d chapter is an addition of Lehi prophecy, what should befall the Jews, and of the coming of Christ, the particular manner of his birth, where he should be born. Here the novelist makes one of those mistakes usual to them, to cause excitement. He says Jesus was born in Jerusalem. I shall comment on this when I examine the internal evidences. He also speaks of John the Baptist being a messenger to prepare the way: he borrows the precise language of Scripture, viz: prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight; and much, saith Nephi, did my father speak concerning this thing -- p.22.
Here the writer makes another blunder to call the attention, viz: that John was to baptise in Bethebara. From the 1st to the 6th book of Nephi, we have all the minutae of the birth, death, resurrection and baptism of Christ, by John; p. 24, 25, of his miracles, the death of Christ, when the rocks rent; and p. 26, 27, he closes the 3d chapter of his records. I now make an end of speaking
concerning the things which I saw, while I was carried away in the spirit; and if all the things which I saw are not written, the things that I have written are true; and thus it is. Amen.
Thus far we see the object of the writer is discovered, the manner which he has adopted in quoting hundreds of scriptural texts, verbatim, relating to all christian accounts, are sufficient to show the fallacy of its being a prophecy 600 years before the Christian Era. This prophecy of Lehi, from the 1st to the 5th chapter, of itself, proves, to my mind, that it was got up by some novel writer for the purpose of wealth, as a sacred novel, and has been diverted, perhaps, by designing, crafty men -- not Jo Smith -- men not positively known -- perhaps Rigdon, a Scotch priest, now a Mormon; from a general history of him I should suppose he is well calculated to impose on the credulous dupes, such as Smith, and hundreds of thousands of others. The wonderful singularity of style, and complete uniformity of language; the medley mixture of Bible history, its high pretensions to divine authority, its performing miracles on the condition of having the fullest confidence in the letter of the Bible, by saying, as all the Mormons do, that when God says a thing in his word, he intends to perform it to the letter. No sentiment can have a better influence on weak minds and credulous dupes than this. The 4th book is nothing but a continual quarrel between Nephi and his brethren, the sceptics, on the pretended prophecy of Lehi, their father. Nephi had doomed his unbelieving brethren to hell, of which he says he has spoken; and the devil, he says, is the preparator of it. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen -- p. 38.
The 5th chapter speaks of Nephi, the young prophet, taking a wife of one of the daughters of Ishmael, that left Jerusalem with them, for the express purpose of intermarriage; here they invent the bow and arrow, that they may get food in the wilderness. He says, His father had a voice from the Lord, in the night, to make a journey into the wilderness: and in the morning he went to the tent door, there, to his great surprise, he beheld on the ground a round ball, of curious workmanship, made of fine brass and within this ball were two spindles, or pointers, the one pointed the way which they were to go into the wilderness to get food, and the Other which way they were to go toward the promised land. They immediately took all their goods and chattels, and all they had, and travelled four days, in nearly a southeast direction, and crossed the river Laman, then pitched their tents, after getting a supply of food by their bows and arrows, slings and stones. They then travelled by this compass, (his patent ball, which led them to a fertile land, where they remained many days -- p. 40th. Here the prophet Nephi broke his bow. He says it was made of fine steel. This accident gave rise to much contention; his brothers became angry; the old hero, his father, got vexed with his deprivations of food.
However, Nephi says, he made a wooden bow, and; an arrow out of a strait stick. Wonder what his former arrow was made of. He informed his father, who was in sorrow, murmuring against the
Lord. He wanted to know of him which way he must go into the woods to get food. The voice of the Lord came to his father, told him to look on this ball, (compass.) there it should be written so that they all could read it. They all saw it, and their wives; and the pointers would traverse and work according to their faith and diligence; and this writing would alter and change, give directions from the Lord, as their case seem'd to require. And thus we see, says the writer, that by small means the Lord can bring about great things. These silly dupes fully believe this compass hoax.
Allow me here to remark, this compass must have been a valuable acquisition to their journey through the deserts, and this was the same compass they had to navigate the Pacific Ocean with. But, remember, it had a nautical almanac written on it; this is a compass worth having. Is it not very strange that all the Europeans and enlightened never had any compass, to sail by, for twenty-four hundred years after this. What great obligations we must be under, to these ignorant Mormons, by way of Joseph Smith, for so minute an account. What wisdom doth consummate, ignorance here imparts. This account far exceeds the Jewish pillar of cloud, by day, and fire by night. I think this young collegian, or Rev. Solomon Spaulding, put this in here to match the other account, but it sets the other in a cloud. This not only was a guide by day or night, but gave directions how, when, and where to go to get food; for instance, where the game was, the grey squirrels, or any other food. For the prophet Nephi says, they went up into the mountain agreeable to the directions on this ball; and it came to pass that I did get food for our families, and it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts. Then he says, their families did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him -- p. 41.
I think they ought to thank him for such a compass, and especially for making Nephi such a navigator. I suppose he could calculate longitude by this, and thus save the expense of a chronometer. No doubt he could work lunars, although he does not say he did. It appears they went on their course, but by some unaccountable fatality, the father of the women died, viz: Ishmael. His daughters mourned his death, and they murmured against the old prophet Lehi for bringing them out of Jerusalem to perish in the wilderness with hunger. Laman said to his brother Lemuel, and his wives' brothers, "let us slay our father, and our brother Nephi, that have pretended the Lord had talked with them, and that angels had come and ministered unto them. But behold, we know that he lieth unto us; and he telleth us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, and lead us away into the wilderness, and thus make himself king over us. Where is the compass? Laman never saw it, I expect. But, however, they went on their journey eastward; their women ate raw meat. It seems, with all their knowledge of the arts of the compass, they did not know enough to rub two pieces of wood or stone against each other to get fire. But they say, (p. 42,) their women bare them children by eating raw meat; and they gave a
plenty of milk for their children: that they were eight years in the wilderness. I ask, where is the compass? At length they came to a place on the sea shore. They are careful not to tell us where, nor when; they give no dates in all their history. They call the place Ireantum; interpreted, is, many waters. Here was fruit and wild honey. They call the place bountiful. Here commences a new scheme. The novel writer has got them through the desert at last. Here is where the poor deluded fanatics begin their voyage. After many days, prophet Nephi tells them the Lord had visited him again; told him to go up a certain mountain; there he would tell him what to do; there the Lord ordered him to build a ship after the pattern he would give him, that he may cross the waters in. He inquired of the Lord what he should do for tools and materials. Reasonably inquiry. The Lord told him to go to such a place and get ore to make tools of. He says he did so, and made a pair of bellowses. New York yankee phraseology. Remember he makes the bellows to blow the fire, not having any tools yet, and no fire. He says he made them out of skins. He then took two stones and smote them together and produced fire. He then made tools out of ore and molten stone. His brothers called him a fool, to talk of building a ship, and of crossing the waters. They did not believe the Lord instructed him so to do, (p. 43.) Nephi, to reconcile their minds to him, referred them to the adventures of Moses, and the children of Israel over the Red Sea; their 40 years' experience; what they had to contend with; and how they were punished for murmuring against Moses.
They, his brethren, threatened to drown him in the sea; but he told them if they attempted to do it, their hands should become withered. They were so duped they believed him, or feared him, and they repented. But the Lord wanted to show them how they would have been dealt with. He told Nephi to stretch out his hand, and give them a great shock to make them know and remember the Lord their God. He did so; and the shock was terrible: they all fell to the ground. This miraculous shock beats Dr. Collyer's magnetism out and out. From this circumstance, the writer says, they were all convinced that Nephi had received orders from God to build the ship. They all went forth and helped build her, without tools, I presume. None were made, that I have heard of, but a pair of bellows. When the vessel was finished, she was well done, after the pattern given of God, but not of men. I expect she was a superior model. He does not say how big she was; whether she was kettle bottom, or sharp built. However, they put all their family on board, provisions, &c., and put out to sea for the promised lands. They got so merry they began to sing and dance, (p. 48.) and the captain, prophet Nephi, began to check them and admonish them of their danger. They did not relish such advice; they took Captain Nephi, and bound him hand and foot with cords; the Lord suffering it. Now comes this patent compass; I have not heard of it for eight years. Here it is, on board the vessel After they had bound the Captain, he, to show his power
with God, commanded the compass not to traverse. This is power with a witness. Therefore, they could not steer the ship on her course, and they were driven back by a terrible storm, three days; the fourth day they found the Lord was determined to swallow them up in the deep. They let the Captain loose, his wrists and ankles much swollen. Lehi, the old prophet, reproved them for their treatment to Nephi, and they repented. The Captain took the helm of the ship; the compass worked well; the ship went on her course. After many days, the writer says, they arrived at the promised land; South America, I presume. By this account Columbus is all becalmed; his voyage was too late in the age; his adventure is not a circumstance to the Mormons'. A fine land they arrived at; they called it the promised land. They planted the seeds they brought out of Jerusalem. Everything grew in abundance. They found cows, oxen, asses, horses, goats, and all wild animals; gold, silver, copper, and lead ore. Here they engraved the records of all their adventures since they left Jerusalem. They received orders from the Lord to put them on plates, and all that was written on former plates, that these things should be for the ministry, and for other wise purposes known to the Lord, (p. 50) and that these plates should be handed down from generation to generation. He then says he does not write anything on these plates but what is sacred, and if he does, so did they of old. For, says he, some men esteem some things to be of great worth; others set them at naught. This he says, is all written with all his other writings, as the history of the Jews; and quotes many passages of the Old and New Testament, hundreds of years before they were written. Thus ends the 5th chapter of Nephi, 1st book.
The 6th and 7th chapters which makes up the first book of Nephi, is but a scriptural account of the quotations, verbatim, telling what happened to the Jews for their disobedience, and the benefits to the obedient, and concludes his first book of 59 pages with a valedictory Amen.
The second book, 15 chapters, 63 pages, gives an account of the death of Lehi. He endeavors to reconcile all the family; all their bickerings that had occurred since they left home; he advised them to be reconciled to their brother Nephi. He admits he had used sharpness, but it was by the power of God. He excites them to a belief in God, quotes the misfortune of Adam and Eve, not obeying God, of the devil as the father of lies, the coming of the Messiah to redeem them from sin. These words were to his family, and particularly to his two sons born on the passage; and concludes by saying, remember the words of thy dying father, (p. 68.) He died about this time. After this time the children had quarrelled about what Lehi had said to them, and Nephi grieved much, (Chap. 4,) I cried unto the Lord. His brethren threatened his life. He had to flee into the wilderness with his younger brothers. When he fled he took his patent ball compass and the sword that he took off the head of Laban with, that I have spoken of. He says he made many swords by that pattern, to prepare his family to fight the Lamanites; that is, his brother Laman, his families. &c.
Thus we see the Mormons are not Quakers. He says he learnt them to work with him in all kinds of work; gold, silver, brass, steel, and precious stones: that he built a temple; constructed it after the manner of Solomon's temple; the workmanship exceeding fine.
(P. 72 ) -- Here he gives an account of the families. He calls them Lamanites, viz: those that were the descendants by way of the daughters of Ishmael, that left Jerusalem with Lehi, his father. He says they were exceeding white, and very fair and delightsome. He speaks of them as unbelievers from the time they came out of Jerusalem, (p. 73,) and for their unbelief, God gave them a black skin, and cursed them and all that should mix their seed with them. Probably this is where the distortured features and black skin of the negro came from. The novelist has given them credit of giving the original account how they first made the colored people. I think this curse on the blacks was not a very moral act in the Mormons to pray so hard to God as to inflict such a curse, as not only to change their skins and features, but to make slaves out of freemen. The blacks will not thank you, Mormons, for this intercession with God. When they shall have the power, if your history or sect shall be on the face of the globe, a day of retribution will await you, not unlike the day of retribution that will await your persecutors that have murdered your fathers and brothers, mothers and sisters, with their children, in Missouri, for nothing else than your misfortune of being duped and deluded on account of this silly sacred novel.
Having accounted for the race of blacks, I proceed from p. 73 to 86, which is but a repetition from the Old and New Testament, in favor of his sentiments; and from that to p. 122 is but a Jewish prophecy, occasionally mixed with the Mormon faiths; nothing of interest worth giving you. He closes up his sayings as follows: -- "And now, my beloved brethren, all they which are of the House of Israel, and all the ends of the earth, I speak unto you as one crying from the dust. Farewell until the great day shall come; and you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words that shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God; behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell; for these words shall condemn you at the last day. For what I seal on earth shall be brought against you at the judgment bar, for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey, Amen." Thus ends the 15th Chapter, 2d book of Nephi.
Here is where the deluded Mormons put their confidence. If they believe what has been said by Nephi, they shall be able, also, to do mightier works than he has done. They believe he had power to seal their fate at the last day.
The next is the book of Jacob, the brother of Nephi. It has five chapters. Nothing of interest, but replete with wars, excursions, admonitions and warnings to reclaim the Lamanites. There was a threat to the Nephites, that if they did not repent of certain
sins, they should become dark colored. It appears by Jacob's account, an eternal hatred against each other existed. I should suppose this would be" the result of such power, viz: the power to turn the whites into blacks. It would produce an eternal war at this age. Hear one of the declarations from Jacob, in confirmation of my remarks, (p. 128.)
"O, my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins, their skins will be whiter than yours." Meaning those who had been turned into blacks; those I have referred to, (p. 143.) Jacob closes his writings, hands them down to Enos, his son, and says: "I make an end of my writing upon these plates, hoping my brethren may read my words. Brethren, Adieu!"
The book of Enos is short, like Jaron [sic] and Omni. Nothing of moment worthy of much comment. The subject matter there alluded to, is the writing on the plates of Jaron and Omni, and the transmission of them down to the days of King Benjamin; being about 320 years after their departure from Jerusalem.
We now come to the words of Mormon: Chap. 1st. He appears to be a sort of recording angel, having the jurisdiction of all the records; and that he is to transfer them to his son Moroni, as will be seen in the close of this book. He pretends to be one of the conquerors that lived to destroy every one else, or nearly so; and he is selected as one that was the instrument of burying the plates that Jo Smith found under the hill in the State of New York, in 1827. I shall refer more to Mormon, in his epistles to his son. (p. 577 to 585.
The next book is Mosiah, containing 13 chapters. He hails as son to King Benjamin. He migrated to a land of Tarahemla [sic]. It would be too tedious for my purposes, and too tedious for the reader to follow all these several writers in this book of Mormons through all their labyrinths of pretended history. Any person that has ever read the historical romance of Solomon Spaulding, the manuscript from which the subject matter of this book was taken, would be placed in a better situation to understand this romance. The many episodes that seem to occur in this book of Mosiah and other books referred to in this compendium, were they not too voluminous, they might be so arranged as to explain with a greater variety the sentiments that Spaulding intended to convey in his novel. But I shall confine my remarks to the most distinguished features and occurrences said to have taken place, on which this deluded set of people, called Mormons, place their faith as literal truths, and divine revelation.
The Mormons that have come to Boston, and with whom I have conversed, do not appear to be conversant with the Book of Mormon. One of them asserted in a public meeting, that he had never read it through, but he knew it was all true, by the power of God. This is the same way the witnesses swore they saw the golden plates, viz; Cowdry, Harris, and Whittemore [sic], as we shall prove by evidence. Taking this book from my last quotations to p. 425, it is of all books the most unintelligible possible. The novel writer
well knew the propensity of ignorance and credulity to believe impossibilities rather than plain truth. Spaulding was a clergyman, and well knew that any plan or any history that pretends to approve of the Old and New Testament, and especially should it pretend to be more than paramount to it in its marvellous features, it would create an interest among the superstitious part of community, and of course he should not loose his labor. In attempting to account for the first settling of the far west, admitting this was his object, to carry out this, there is thousands of quotations from the Old and New Testament mixed in with ail the appearance of humility, when spoken of by prophecy and otherwise; while at the same time and place the parties are all clothed and fully equipped with the habiliments of pure military costume; ready, willing and able to fight for their God. This, to be sure, corresponds with the Old Testament, but does it accord with the design of the New? Having given the general character of the book of Mosiah, so called, and the general features of many other writers in this book, I now come to the book of Alma. He is chief judge over the people, (p. 231). High priest over the church, he gives an account of the judges, and of the wars, and contention of the perpetual wars between the Nephites and Lamanites; he accredits Mosiah for his good reign. The first man before Alma, to be tried, was a preacher, of great stature, preaching the word of God; declaring to the people that all preaching should be popular; that they ought not to labor, but be supported by the people. And they held all mankind should be saved at the last day, (p. 221,) and that all men should have eternal life. Many believed his doctrine, and they supported him in costly apparel, and established a church of that kind, -- Universalist. As he was going to meeting one day, he met a man who was an Orthodox. They got into contentions about their sentiments. The Orthodox was an old man, by name of Gideon Parr. The Universalist drew his sword, and slew Gideon. He was brought before Judge Alma, for trial. He plead his own cause; but Alma said, this is the first time priestcraft has been introduced before the people. The judge decided the case against him, for killing Gideon. They took him; his name was Nehor; and carried on top of the hill Manti, and hung him between the heavens and the earth, for preaching to the people what was contrary to the Word of God. This is the way the Mormon Judge served the Universalist at that time. I suppose that Spaulding thought that they would serve him so, or as they had done in the State of New-York and Massachusetts before.
This case produced a great clamor among the people; persecution was so severe, that they passed a law against it. They came to the conclusion that the priests were no better than the people. Thus, the writer says, they were all equal -- p. 123. For five years there was peace among the different sects. Judge Alma would have served John Murray the same compliments -- hung him up to dry. This religious war-hatchet was not buried sufficiently deep. The hatchet was dug up; the Liberal and the Orthodox declared
war; 18000 men were slain. One party, under Amlica [sic], the Universalist, and under Nephi, called Nephites, (God's people.) The wars became so severe, and the orthodox beat the liberals so much, that the Liberals joined their forces with the Lamanites, the blaeks, that were turned so by the Nephites; they united all their forces and drove the Nephites to the other side of the river Sidon. The number of the slain was so great that they could not be numbered, -- p. 228.
I have given a true picture of the book of Alma. To the eighth chapter it is all wars and fighting. God's people always conquer, notwithstanding they lose all their soldiers. The character of the contending parties of religionists in the seven first chapters of Alma, are described. They are a fair picture of the religious disputes in the State of New York at the time Solomon Spaulding wrote this manuscript, (p. 250.) The character of lawyers are portrayed as follows: -- "Now these lawyers were learned in all the arts and cunning of the people. The lawyers are charged with design for the sole purpose of getting money. Ye lawyers and hypocrites, ye are laying the foundation of the devil; ye are laying traps, and snares, and plans, to pervert the ways of the righteous." Amulick [sic] had spoken against the lawyers. There was one Teesrome [sic], a lawyer, that got gain by his employ and deceit. He became converted. When he had made confession of his guilt, he said, "Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God." Lawyers, I believe, may make this plea frequently, when they know they have a wicked, fraudulent, and murderous client. He turned on the other side to plead, but the people charged him with being possessed of the devil. Persecutions for religious opinions ran high; it became universal throughout the land. Imprisonment and death was the lot. Great and marvellous were the cases recorded. Lawyers, judges, priests and the people were engaged. One would suppose the novel writer was portraying which time, and when they hung and banished Quakers. Many got into prison. Judges visited them in prisons, to extort a confession and repentance. They threw women and children into the flames. Alma, and Amulick, the lawyer, were taken and carried to a place of martyrdom to witness the distress of the women and children that were writhing in the fire. Amulick was for exercising his Mormon powers to prevent these poor creatures in the flames being burnt; but Alma thought it not best. He thought it best that the Lord should receive them to himself in glory. This sentiment and practice is true, universally, I believe, with the Mormon power. They all say they can work miracles: heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, &c. But they universally let the dead rest, the sick die, and those that were possessed of the devil get clear of him the best way they can. Let the Lord do his own work. I will give a few statements that may be reckoned among hundreds that compose the substance of the Mormons' book, viz. miracles. Alma and Amulick, before named, were cast into prison for their religious belief The judges, lawyers and others visited them in prison. The
judges would interrogate them, and smite them on the mouth; call on them, if they had this Mormon power, to execute it on them. They were stripped of their clothing, kept hungry and thirsty, and bound with strong cords. The judges called on them to deliver themselves from the cords, (p. 264,) and struck them again on the mouth. The power of God came to Alma and to Amulick, and they stood upon their feet. They broke off the cords, the people fled out, and the jail was rent in twain. The judges and lawyers did not get out, but fell on their faces and were destroyed in the ruins. But Amulick and Alma came out unhurt. The people heard the noise, and came forth: and when they saw all was destroyed but Amulick and Alma, they fled from them as they would from two lions. On this case the Mormons give much credit. We take leave of Alma on p. 40. What has become of him I cannot tell. He gave Heleman [sic] a long lecture and disappeared. Not unlike the case of Moses, the devil could not find his body. Neither can we trace Alma.
The book of Heleman, the son of Alma, conies next. It commences the 40th year of the judges. Its whole accounts are of a warlike character, and alternately giving accounts of the adversities and prosperities of the church. Nephi, the judge, his son, yielded up the bench, and became a preacher, and his brother Lehi also, (p. 417.) They produced a great reformation among their enemies. The Lamanites, 8000 of them, were baptized unto repentance. This gave them courage to go as missionaries to the Nephites. They were taken by their enemies and imprisoned. After they had been many days without food, the authorities went into prison to take them to slay them. There they found these prophets encircled about with a great fire: the officers could not get at them. These Mormon prophets were in the middle of the fire, and not burnt. The officers were struck with amazement, while in that place. At midnight, great darkness followed, and the jail trembled and shook repeatedly. They heard a small voice saying unto them; "Repent: do my servants no harm." As this was repeated the third time, they saw through a cloud the faces of the prisoners as the faces of angels. The walls trembled. At length a pleasant mild voice addressed them; "whisper of peace from heaven; because ye have believed, and of your faith in my well beloved son which was before the foundation of the world." The heavens were opened, and angels administered unto them in presence of three hundred souls, that saw and heard all these things. A reign of peace followed for a few years, when the Chief Judge was murdered on the bench, (p. 423,) and his son, by persons unknown. There were gangs of men about that time that bore the name of Gidianton's Band. Out of this company the writer intimates the origin of the Masons. This book was made up about the time of the Morgan excitement in the State of New York and in the neighborhood where this book was probably made, or printed. And it came to pass that when the Lamanites found that there were robbers among them, they were exceeding sorrowful; and
they did use every means whatever in their power to destroy them from off the face of the earth. But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the Nephites, inasmuch as they did unite with these bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatever difficult circumstances they should be placed in, that they should not suffer for their murders or their stealings, or secresy. And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, secret signs, and their secret words; and this, that they might distinguish a brother that may have entered into the covenant; that whatever wickedness his brother should do, he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band who had taken this covenant. And thus they might murder, plunder and steal; commit whoredoms and all manners of wickedness, and their abominations should not be tried by the laws of the country; and whosoever of those that belonged to their band should dare reveal unto the world their wickedness and their abominations, should be tried not according to the laws of the country, but according to the laws of their wickedness, which had been given them by Kishkumen and Gidianton. Behold! it is their secret oaths and the covenants which Alma commanded his son not to go forth unto the world, lest they should be the means of bringing down the people unto destruction, (p. 124.) I remark here that the novel writer probably intended to give his views of Masonic oaths, and of their institutions. He first speaks of a judge being murdered on the bench by some unknown hand, and his son likewise: and they could not trace the murderers. This, he says, was in the 67th year of the reign of the judges. Probably the writer alluded to the abduction and supposed murder of Morgan, the seceding Mason: for he says the murdered persons were not to be found, (p. 423.) He seems to attribute the failure to the grand conspiracy of those combined under secret oaths. In this particular part of this pretended Book of Mormon, there is a manifest similarity of circumstances, and of language that was published in the State of New York, at the time of the great excitement about the supposed murder of Morgan, which took place about the time this novel was got up. The writers, I think, were determined to fasten a stigma on the character of the Masonic Institution; that it had produced a flood of evil and immoral tendency in all ages, from its commencement, (p. 424.)
In confirmation of my remarks, I here state their sayings. He says it is the same spirit that gave Cain the disposition to murder Abel, his brother. He says it is the same spirit that put it into the hearts of the people to build a tower to get to heaven. Further, he says it is the author of all sin, and behold! he doth carry on the works of darkness and secret murders, and doth hand down their plates and their oaths, covenants, secrets and murders, from generation to generation. I have quoted verbatim thus far, for the express purpose of showing this book, or the substance of it, was written by Solomon Spaulding and others, about the time of the Masonic excitement, as I shall prove by the evidences. I shall show from
Mr. Spaulding's wife, called by name of Matilda Davidson, having married again since the death of Mr. Spaulding, published in the Key Stone, a respectable public journal of the State of Pennsylvania, at Harrisburg, December 9th, 1840. The writer ends this book of Heleman, 68th year of the reign of the judges.
The next in this drama is his son Nephi. He commences with the usual threatenings of all the prophetic writers in this novel to the people if they will or do not repent of their sins, God will visit them in his anger. This is ministerial. It will be remembered that the writer of this manuscript was a clergyman. Keep that in view, and you will be able to account for about all these sayings. The whole book of Nephi is a full description of the people of New York city, and all other great places; "for behold," says the writer, "it is to get gain to be praised of men. Yea, that ye might get gold and silver, ye have set your hearts upon this world, &c." (p. 428.) But the prayers and tears of this pious Nephi seemed to be disregarded by the populace. And the prophet consulted God, and received power to afflict them to any extent. This is Popery of 1827. The people, not believing in Nephi as their prophet, he relates a case of murder to show them that his knowledge and power was of God. He spoke to them of their unbelief in the Old and New Testament, and of Jesus Christ, as though the writer was speaking to sceptics, or those that did not accredit the history of Moses and the prophets as Divine Revelation. He exhorts them all to repent, and lay up treasures in heaven; give up their murderous doings and intentions, and secret combinations. Here he alludes to the same Masonic history his father Heleman has so largely discussed in his prophecy. He says, "the murderers are at your doors; go into the judgment seat. Behold your judge is murdered by his brother, and he belongeth to the secret band." As soon as the people heard this, five of them went to find out the truth of this statement. If this proved to be the truth, they agreed to say all his other prophecies were true, and from God. This is a Mormon sentiment, that they universally state at all times. If one word of their bible be true, it is all true. So they say of the Christian and Jewish records. To proceed: when these five men came to the judgment seat, behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and was in his blood. They were then convinced of their unbelief, and became believers. The cry of murder was soon heard. The secret murderer had fled. The people assembled, and finding these five men there, fallen to the earth, they supposed they were the murderers. They bound them and cast them into prison. After the burial and the usual parade was over, the authorities began to ferret out the murderers. The five men in prison told their story how they came there by the prophecy of Nephi, as he had declared, publicly, the judge was slain; and having satisfied the court of their statement, they suspected the prophet Nephi as the plotter of this death. Nephi was brought before the court on trial. There was a great tumult between the court and the believers in the honesty of Nephi, the prophet. Nephi defended himself on the ground
that God had revealed this unto him, to convince them of his being a true prophet. He now says to them, "I will convince you; behold, go to the house of Scantum [sic], the brother of the judge Seezoram. Ask him if Nephi hath agreed with him to slay his brother, and he shall say nay. And ye shall say unto him, have ye murdered your brother? And he shall stand with fear, and wist not what to say. He shall deny it, and appear astonished; he will declare himself innocent. Behold! examine him, and ye shall find blood on the skirts of his garments. Then say unto him, do we not know this is the blood of your brother? He will tremble and look pale. Then charge him with the deed. Because of this fear and paleness you are guilty. Then great fear shall come upon him, and he shall confess the murder; and that Nephi knew nothing of this but by the power of God. And then ye shall say that I am an honest man, and sent of God," (p. 434.)
Here this tragedy ends. Allow me to say, not unlike all novel writers that break off their most alarming stories in the midst, we have no account of the trial; perhaps if we had, Nephi may have been the real conspirator. This looks like all the other marvellous sayings calculated to dupe the credulous. It appears the people were not agreed in the opinion of the innocency of the prophet Nephi. It produced such an effect on him that God gave him power to punish the unbelievers. "Behold, I give you power that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven. And whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven: that if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done." He used this power, and caused a great famine for four years. He prevented its raining on the face of the earth for more than four years. The people died by thousands. Nephi was a hard customer. This outdoes good old Elijah. He thought three years and six months would answer his views. But the Book of Mormon, in all the exploits, appears to exceed all other books. It is on this account the Mormons build all their faith. The novel writer well foresaw this result: he had preached sufficient time to know how to make dupes; to know, that the more improbable and impossible a pretended sacred historian's statements are, it is a fact the more the dupes are likely to accredit it, as truth. But, notwithstanding all the famines and pestilence by the sword, the prophet Nephi could not make the people believe on him to his satisfaction. Thus he ends his valedictory. We read that in that great and last day there are some that shall be cast out from the presence of the Lord. They that have done good shall have everlasting life: and they that have done evil shall have eternal damnation. And thus it is, Amen.
Thus I have quoted much from the prophet Nephi, the son of Heleman, because the deluded Mormons depend much on his account for their faith.
Next in rotation is the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite. He was a missionary to Tarahemla [sic]. The people would not allow him to preach in the city. I suppose it may have been the city of New York.
He made declaration that the sword of justice hung over them. His preaching caused such a stir among the people, they told him he had the power of the devil. They went to take him, but he escaped from them, and was, as he says, never heard more among them. I remark that this book of Samuel, or prophecy, is a rigmarole of nonsense, unworthy of comment.
The next writer is Nephi, son of the Nephi I have spoken of. He gives us a flaming account. He represents the unbelievers to have concluded to put all the believers to death, providing the sayings of the prophets of Samuel and others did not come to pass. That Nephi, the prophet, called on the Lord to sustain him and the believers; that the prophecies that had been spoken, of the coming of Christ, his death and resurrection, and the signs that should attend these days and times, the sun should be darkened, &c. He now undertakes to show its fulfilment. "And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled: for behold! at the going down of the sun there was no darkness, and the people began to be astonished, because there was no darkness. When the night came, the people were affrighted, and believed the son of God would soon appear, (p. 453,) that the night was as light as the day, and that the sun did arise as usual, and from this circumstance the people were to know Christ was born on that day."
I will here remark, a singular night, as light as the day. We Yankees have been taught to believe, that the light was called day, and the darkness called night; but the Mormons, to outdo all others, they have night in the day time. The prophecy of the birth of Christ by Samuel, having come, the people were anxious to see the prophecy fulfilled of his death and resurrection, ascension and descension, as had been prophesied, after the expiration of 25 years of wars and contentions about Christ's coming. The time drawing nigh, Nephi kept up his prophecies: he cast out devils, and raised his brother from the dead, after the people had stoned him to death, (p. 469,) till at length the day of darkness came on the face of the whole earth for three days. It finally turned out to be three hours. I suppose the writer thought best to take the Christian account. He says the city sunk. No such account in the Christian books. He says it was so dark over the whole earth for a time, that fire would not burn, nor candles. There was neither sun, moon or stars. It must be very dark that neither fire or candles would burn. This Mormon writer must carry out his sayings sufficiently to make it impossible with truth, before a full bred Mormon can believe it. However, he says the city Morone sunk, and a mountain came up in its place. That's bravo. No such account given in the New Testament at the death of Christ. The graves opened, and many that were dead arose and went into the city. That is nothing compared with the Mormon's account. They say they heard voices in the earth. "Wo unto the people, for the devil laugheth, and rejoiced because the city sunk, and destroyed all the people." Query? How did they hear him laugh? But at the expiration of three days the darkness disappeared, and the earth closed. I cannot conceive,
for my life, how the earth could close, for the writer before said a mountain came up in the place where the city sunk. However, this is good Mormonism. What especially makes it true, is because it is impossible.
Soon after this ascension of Christ in Jerusalem, there was a great concourse of the Mormons together, and they heard a voice in the heavens, saying "Behold my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Did they not borrow this text, think ye, from the Christian Testament. I think they did as late as 1827. They say they were in the land Bountiful, if you know where that is. This is the place where they saw Jesus descend, (p. 476, chap. 5 Nephi.) They were then talking about the wonderful signs they had seen; the darkness and the sinking of many cities. This voice, they say, was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; it was a small voice. It did not make their frames shake. The third time they heard it, they cast their eyes to heaven, and saw a man descending therefrom, with a white robe on. He came and stood in the midst of them. They thought it to be an angel. But he soon informed them he was Jesus. They all went forth and thrust then hands into his side, 2500 of them, and felt the print of the nails in his hands and feet. There he gave power to Nephi to baptise the people; (p. 490.) He there told them to have no disputations about doctrines. Here he preached all the substance of his sermon on the mount, so called, nearly verbatim; from p. 477 to 493 may be read in the New Testament. There is where the Mormons got it from. In the state of New York, in the western part, is where in truth the land for its richness may be called bountiful, but not by the Red Sea, as the Mormons pretend.
Jesus now ascends. After taking them all by the hand, there came a cloud and overshadowed the people, and they could not see him; but they bear record he ascended into heaven. Here we see it is quite easy for a Mormon to testify he saw a thing, when he says in the same breath he did not see it. Therefore we must give him credit what it is worth for truth, (p. 493.)
Again, the Mormons, not unlike 'Old Virginny neber tire.' This report of Jesus' having descended, they assembled the next day by the waters' edge, to baptize all that Jesus had chosen, viz: 12 American disciples. Angels came down to witness the grand display. Jesus also condescended the second time to come down among them. Where was Miller at this time? Has he forgotten the time is past. The Mormons lead the van. They are ahead of the prophet Miller 2000 years. But, however, that is not a great deal out of the way: all the mistake I can perceive is, that Miller must call his the third time in lieu of the second. Just make the figure 2 into a 3, that is all.
Here Nephi says they ate bread and drank wine, and wrought a miracle to get it. He gave them much instruction; referred them to many prophetical texts in the Old and New Testament, and expounded all the scriptures to them. Then he called for the records and corrected them. Therefore it is written as he commanded, (p. 503.)
Query? -- Has Jo Smith deciphered properly and truly? That is the question. (P. 509.) -- Jesus about leaving them wanted to know what they mostly wished of him to do in heaven for them when he should arrive. All answered but three of them. All they wanted, after living to the age of man, 72 years was named by Jesus to be a fair time, was to come into his kingdom. This he readily granted. He then inquired what he should do for the three: they were afraid to tell, but he knew. They did not want to die at all. Like John, he granted that, and told them they should never taste of death, but should be changed in the twinkling of an eye; they should not have pain nor sorrow. What a fine world this, to have no death, no pain, no sorrow, no trouble; always young. Where are these three happy beings? I should be glad to go a long journey to the far west to see them; but I expect they are like Jo Smith's golden plates; no one has ever seen them or ever will. However, when Jesus said that to his friends, he touched the finger of every individual; and the heavens opened, and every soul went aloft to heaven but the three that have got to live forever on earth. There they saw and heard things they cannot utter. They all say they cannot tell whether they were in the body or not. How dare they say upon oath they were in heaven. However, they were found on earth. They do not tell us how they got down again. They undertook to promulgate this great transaction. The people were sceptical, and did not believe them. They were put into prison; it would not hold them. They were put among wild beasts; they would play with them like lambs, (p. 511.) This beats our common Christians' stories all to smash.
Now listen to Nephi, the son of Nephi we have been speaking of. This is as he says, 100 years afterwards; when he says the disciples that Jesus had chosen had gone to the paradise of God. But the three; he does not tell us where they are. I suspect the prophet did not know. His reign commences; no contentions, no lyings, murders, nor crime; (p. 515.) No Lamanites, he says, nor no manner of ites. I quote his language, that the reader may get a full view of his meaning. The Lamanites are the race of whites that came out of Jerusalem, viz: the daughters of Ishmael that Laman, the sceptic, married, and became numerous; and his brother Nephi prayed God to curse them with a black skin. And God, by Nephi's account, turned them all into negroes. From that time to this they have been fighting the Nephites, and justly. I call this a hard kind of praying; to turn a beautiful white lady into a black. This looks a little like malice aforethought, or wilful murder. Take your choice, Mr. Mormon. I proceed: they prospered; the churches accumulated in numbers and wealth. But these black Lamanites waxed strong and numerous. In about 244 years, (p. 517,) they built up churches in South America, or the State of New York, just as you please. They began to build up the secret oaths and the combinations of Gideanton [sic]. By the way, these Mormons mean the Masonic fraternity; for they have alluded to them throughout the whole book. These Lamanites grew rich; and in
300 years the Nephites became exceeding wicked. Amos [sic], the prophet, that had figured well, had died, and Amaron took the records and hid them up unto the Lord, (p. 518.)
Now we have come to the Book of Mormon, so called. He appears to be the great recording angel. He says: "And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things of which I have seen and heard, and call it the Book of Mormon. About the time Amaron hid up the records unto the Lord, he came to me, I being about ten years of age, and I began to be learned, somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people." Amaron told him he was a sober child, and when he was 24 years old he might go to the land of Antrim, unto a hill called Shim. "And there have I deposited all the sacred engravings concerning this people." Thus you see how this Mormon got the knowledge of the plates, where they are, as he becomes the grand recorder at last, (p. 519.)
He says that his father took him to Tarahemta [sic], where the whole face of the land was covered with buildings; New York perhaps; and the people were numerous as the sand of the sea. There began to be war between the Nephites and Lamanites. He was 15 years of age, of a sober mind, and visited of the Lord. The people were so wicked, that the gifts of healing, the working of miracles had ceased, and his mouth was shut. When he was 16 years old, the Nephites appointed him to the command of their army. He says he was large in stature; that the Lamanites came against him with a great army; that his army took fright, and retreated to the city of Angelah. There they fortified against the Lamanites; but the Lamanites drove them from their forts to the seashore on the west. The Lamanites came against them with 44000; he stood his ground with 42000, beat the Lamanites and they fled. But notwithstanding all this trouble and destruction of war, witchcraft and sorceries in the land, his people did not repent of sin; so much, that they were hewn down and heaped up, he says, as dung upon the earth. For a number of years nothing but war was experienced. Great losses alternately were felt by the people, of wars. And it came to pass that Mormon did utterly refuse to be a commander and leader, on account of their wickedness. Wars increased in the country. His people were killed by thousands. He was induced to take the command again, but without success. The Lamanites gave him battle; his whole army was killed, with the exception of 24. His army numbered 10,000, (p, 529.) Here he gives a particular account of the battle. It is worth noticing, for its horrid destructions. There were 240,000 of the Lord's people engaged against a supposed equal number of the blacks, that they made out of the whites; no wonder God's whites got beat. Now listen to the prophet Mormon's bulletin. He says, on the morrow when the Lamanites had returned to their camps, from the top of the hill Comorah, the 10,000 of my people which were hewn down, being led in the front by me. You see Mormon was no coward; he headed the army. "And we also beheld the 10,000 of my people that were led by my son Moroni." You see
Mormon had a brave son. "And behold! the 10,000 of Gidgiddonah had fallen; and he also had fallen, and Lamah had fallen with his 10,000; and Gilgal had fallen with his 10,000; and Limhah had fallen with his 10,000; and Toneam had fallen with his 10,000; and Cameniah, and Moroniah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their 10,000 each. And it came to pass that there were ten more which did fall by the sword with their 10,000 each. Yea, all my people, save it were those 24 that were with me, and also a few that escaped into the south countries; and a few which had dissented over unto the Lamanites had fallen, and their flesh, bones and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those that slew them to moulder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth, (p. 530.)
This Mormon bulletin or sword fight with the Lamanites sets Napoleon Bonaparte all in the shade. The battle of Waterloo or Trafalgar is not a circumstance to this. Here is 230,000 of God's people killed, but the 24 that General Mormon saved in his 10,000. The Mormons fought bravely, that's a fact. Mormon says he was wounded. He gives us no account of the loss of the Lamanites, the black sceptics. Probably the Lord was on their side, and of course, as in old times, they did not lose a man.
Mormon says, after the battle, his soul was rent with anguish. I should think so, if he had any soul. I have my doubts about such kind of souls, that will fight for God, with the spirit of the devil. However, he seems to lament the battle, and the sins of his people, and calls on them to repent and be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and follow the example of our Saviour according to that which he hath commanded them. "It shall be well with you in the day of judgment, Amen." This is first rate religion; fight, kill, murder and destroy all that do not agree with you in religion, and for such murderous acts tell them it will be well with them in the day of judgment.
Here Mormon disappears, and leaves the story to be finished by his son. Moroni is to remember Mormon is wounded. Now listen to his son's account.
"Behold, I, Moroni, do finish the records of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have a few things to write, which things I have been commanded of my father. And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Camorah, the Nephites that escaped into the country, were hunted by the Lamanites, and all destroyed, and my father was also killed by them. Here he says he wrote and hid up the records to the Lord." A cant phrase with the Mormons. He says the Lord would not admit of these records being a source of gain, but whosoever should bring them to light, him will the Lord bless. That person, the Mormons say, is Joseph Smith, that he eventually found these records on gold plates in the State of New York, in 1827, having been there hid up perhaps a thousand years. When they were hid up in the earth, they were brass; but when found by Jo Smith they were gold. Therefore
we see it takes a thousand years to turn brass into gold. Elder Nickerson, in the examination of these plates at Winchester Hall, said, they had the appearance of gold; although, by inquiry of him, I found he had never seen them. But we must make allowance for the Mormons. All they mean, when they say they see things, for instance, when they see the dead raised, as they often do, they see it by the power of God. When they are or would be likely to be punished for perjury by their statements, they call the power of God, faith, and thus escape the punishment usually inflicted for perjury.
Moroni complains of the unbelief of his people, and warns and exhorts them to have faith in God, and not condemn him, nor his father, nor any that have written before him, (p. 538.)
He is about closing up the records of his father, Mormon, and says: "and now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian; being handed down and altered by us according to our manner of speech. But the Lord knoweth the things we have written: therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof." Jo Smith, for instance, who could not read the English language. He could readily translate, transcribe, and decipher these ancient records by looking through a pair of stone spectacles, that came hid up in the box where the records were found; which Jo got out of the box without opening it. The specks are called by the Mormons, Urim and Thummim, light and perfection. Such as Aaron wore on his breastplate; equal to a dandy breastpin at the present age.
I will now call your attention to the Book of Ether, p. 589, written by Moroni, the son of Mormon; he writes and records all the history of Ether and the epistles of his father, and closes the book of Mormon. Having given an account of the inhabitants of the south, he now pretends to give the history of those that went north, and the account was on 24 plates, called the book of Ether. It will be remembered, when they speak of the book of any one, it is the records of that person on plates; and by their own account they alter, add, or take away as they shall think proper, by the power of God. This book takes its rise of Adam, and of the Tower of Babel; of one Jared and his brother, and their families that were not confounded, when God confounded the rest of the world. That God sent them north of the tower, and they were located in the valley of Nimrod; that the Lord conversed with the brother of Jared in a cloud; gave directions where to go; that they built barges and crossed rivers; carried seeds and honey bees, and fish to inhabit the waters. I suppose, by the power of God, fish would live out of the water, as well as in it.
They at length arrived to a great sea; does not tell where. I suppose Spaulding, the novel writer of this, thought he would leave some part of this to be imagined. However, they call this place Moriancumer. They staid there four years; at the end of that time, the Lord came in a cloud, and conversed with the brother of
Jared three hours, and found fault with him for not praying to him in all that time. It appears to me that he must have been a stupid fellow not to have remembered his old friend that had conversed and sustained him so well. However, God told him to sin no more, but go to work and build barges, and prepare for a land of inheritance. Here we have the intimation somebody is coming to the far west. They did build barges, small and tight. God gave the particular directions. They sat as light as a fowl on the water. He says they would hold water like a dish; the ends were peaked, and the top as tight, and like unto a dish. And the length was the length of a tree. Who knows the length of these barges, as long as a tree? I have seen a tree, and many trees in the western country, over 100 feet in length. One was said to be 170 feet long. I have also seen a shrub oak, full grown, three feet long. Which of these did the Mormon build his barges by. The latter, I should think. The writer says when the doors of the barges were shut, they were as tight as a dish. He does not give us the tonnage or the bigness. I suppose, then, they were as big as a piece of chalk. After he had got the barges done, they were so tight the people could not live in them. Remember they were as tight as a dish, top, bottom and sides. Who could live in them? And they had no light. They called on God to know what they must do as they were under his direction. He told them to make a hole in the top of the barges, and a hole in the bottom, and when they should suffer for air, they should unstop the hole, and receive air. "And if so be the water come upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole thereof." The barges thus finished, he told the Lord they had no light in the barges, and said, "wilt thou suffer that we cross the great water in darkness." A reasonable inquiry. They should have light to cross the Pacific Ocean. The novel writer is now preparing his vessels to come to America by way of the South Pacific, from thence to the far West. We will now see the account of his preparations and passage, (p. 543.)
Now let us remember they have the barges, eight in number, air tight; they are as long as a tree, and as big as a piece of chalk, with a plug in the bottom and top, but no light. Master carpenter called on the Lord for light; but the Lord told him he could not have any windows because the mountain waves would dash them in pieces. But he told him the barges should be like a whale in the midst of the sea. "Nevertheless, I will bring you up out of the depths of the sea."
However the Lord told him he would prepare him with light, (p. 643.) The carpenter, the brother of Jared, he appears to be the boss under God. He went up the mountain, it being a very high mount, he says: and there did mould out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, and transparent as glass. And he cried unto the Lord, and told him of all the evils that would attend the voyage, unless he would touch those stones, and prepare them, that they may give light on board the barges, two stones in each barge. Behold! O Lord, thou canst do this.
And it came to pass the Lord stretched forth his finger, and touched them one by one. Boss saw his finger. From this it appears he did not see the Lord. It appears the Lord then enjoined secresy on the boss carpenter, and told him not to suffer these things to be told to any man, but to treasure them up until the time cometh; and to seal them up, that no one could interpret them. I suppose the Lord meant exclusive of Jo Smith. If he did not mean to except Jo, according to the Mormons' account in this Holy Bible, he outwittted the Lord.
The Lord then furnished the boss with two particular stones; I wish the reader to notice these two stones, because eventually these were the stone specks that Jo Smith got out of this box, that the boss is now sealing up; but remember Jo did not break the seal to get them. Query, How did he get them out?
The Lord told him these stones should magnify to the eyes of men, those things which ye shall write. Here the Lord told him to go down from the mount and write the things he had seen and heard. This, the writer says, was before Jesus was lifted upon the cross. Here Jesus developes the whole plan of the gospel, from the foundation of the world to the end. According to this account, the account by the apostle Paul and others are all too late. The Mormons are in advance, ages. However, they have stone spectacles as transparent as glass; that makes a great difference, (p 547.)
We now come to the 2d chapter of this book of Ether. Here Moroni claims the whole credit of writing the whole story. He says, according to his memory, he takes the whole credit from the boss carpenter. He says he sealed up these records, and therefore touch them not, for that thing is forbidden you. So said Jo Smith, as you will see in the testimony by Martin Harris. And now, says Moroni, if you doubt my authority for these things, in the mouths of three witnesses shall these things be established, and this work shall be shewn forth by the power of God. Here Moroni, as the Mormons say, alludes to the testimony of Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris; all Mormons, and all interested. I shall examine these persons in the evidence.
Now Moroni proceeds to give an account of the barges; via. the record of the brother of Jared the barge builder (Chapt. 3d. p. 548.)
And now I Moroni proceed &c., the stones were prepared for the barges, that they were put, one in each end of the barges, for light; for men, women, and children, were to go in these barges. They took on board food, flocks, and herds, animals, and fowls, &c. they say, and proceeded to sea. The mountain waves broke over them, terrible tempests, but their barges were as tight as a dish. That they had a fair wind: to use their language, the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land; and that they had light in their barges, night, or day under water, or above water, for 344 days, passage. These are sky lights worth having; Jo Smith or some of the followers should in justice to the commercial part of community exhibit these stone lights; it would save much oil on a long voyage. -- However the barges arrived all safe to the promised
land; (across the Pacific, I presume.) This voyage of Jared and his brother, and families, in these barges, were about 22 souls when they set sail, but before they arrived they were many; thus you see they were not Shakers. I suppose the reason they had so long a passage is, because they had no compass. Surprising that the boss carpenter, when consulting God for a sky-light for the barges, should forget the compass; but what is more strange, that his God should forget it. This voyage is equally miraculous, when compared with Capt. Nephi, where they had the patent ball compass. But they are all arrived with the plates, viz the records, that Jo Smith found.
They had not been long in the promised land before they commenced quarreling, who should be chosen King. They grew numerous; rich land; the sons rebelled against their fathers; they alternately imprisoned each other. Murder, treachery, and craft, was the common practice; secret oaths, to conspiracy was agreed on, (p. 553.)
Maroni says he does not write the manner of the oaths, but were the same as the Lamanites had. I have described them on back pages (via) Masonic oaths. They got a King over the people; Jared by name, but the same state of society as formerly; assasinations, and murders, from father to son. Prophets appeared in the land, to warn them of the result of their wickedness. Orders were given to put all the prophets to death; for they had prophecied that great curses should come in the land, (p. 561.)
Moroni now says, (p. 567,) he proceeded to finish his records, concerning the destruction of his people; (the reader will understand by this, what Solomon Spaulding in his novel probably meant.) Supposing he was there imagining a great body of people now inhabiting the great western world; and he is now about giving a novel account how they destroyed each other, and thus left this great country desolate. For it has been supposed by many to have been once inhabited by some great people. He gives a splendid account of a personage, called Ether, from which this book, written by Moroni, derives its name Ether, pretended to prophecy of all the events from the beginning, and the people cast him out; his life being in danger, he hid in the cavity of a rock.
There was a famous war character by name of Coriantumr; there was an exterminating war declared against him and his adherents; the prophet Ether told him, if he would repent and his household the Lord would give unto him the kingdom; otherwise all should be destroyed save himself; (p. 568) and he should only live to see all the prophecies fulfilled. And it came to pass that Coriantumr repented not, nor his household; and the wars did not cease, and they sought to kill Ether; and he hid again, in the cavity of a rock. Societies all in confusion; these secret combinations were at work. The chief priest, murdered, the chief of the nation when on the throne. The next in command pursued Coriantumr, called Lib, and his brother called Shiz; a great warrior, as will be seen; he made great destruction, he burnt cities, and indiscriminately destroyed
men, women, and children. The world around stood in fear; the wars were so long and severe, the face of the whole earth was covered with the dead; (p 570) there was none left to bury the dead. I have told you the Mormons will tell the largest story about any thing they undertake to tell, than any other sect.
However, General Shiz followed Coriantumr, although God told the prophet Ether that Coriantumr should not fall by the sword. I am now about giving the last account of the grand Mormon exploits, that took place in all the experience, from the days the prophet Lehi left Jerusalem to the present time, being over one thousand years, by their time. This account, and battle, so far exceeds all others the world can boast of; it will richly pay to record it.
Solomon Spaulding, the originator of the novel, undoubtedly intended by the closing account to show why, in his novel views, the far west had become freed of its ancient people. Therefore he well knew how to give the exterminating blow by wars. It appears by this account there were about four millions of people belonging to the Lamanites and to the descendants of the Nephites; this you will infer from the circumstances, that Coriantumr lost over two millions in this battle; and all accounts before admit the Lamanites, and their descendants, to have been more numerous, from the time they took the name of Lamanites when Laman and Lemuel married the daughters of Ishmael, that left Jerusalem at the outset of the voyage. The reader will here bear in mind that these Lamanites are the descendants of the brothers of Nephi, the young prophet, that took off Laban's head at a blow when they took leave of Jerusalem; by which means the records of all the ancient accounts, with all those of later dates, which compose this Mormon book, is said to be preserved.
You will remember also that their skin was made black notwithstanding they were the most pure, and delicate race of whites when they left Jerusalem. But their not believing in the superhuman pretency of their father Lehi and brother Nephi. God changed them to negroes; by the prayers of the prophet, and by the account of all the writers in this book, they have been warring ever since. No wonder; and if the story was founded in truth; I should think they have been engaged in a noble war, that should end only with the complete destruction of every white woman that would countenance such a procedure, as coming from God; Nephi, or the devil.
I will now proceed to give the account. I stated there must have been about four millions on both sides. General Shiz pursued Coriantumr eastward; -- say, if you please, as far as the town of Manchester, in the State of N. Y. There he gave battle to Coriantumr, for three days (p. 570.) Shiz's army took fright, and fled, destroying all in their way, that would not join them; at length the armies came in contact the second and third time, with horrid destruction; and Coriantumr got wounded, and was carried off the field for dead (p. 571.) And it came to pass when Coriantumr had recovered of his wound, he remembered he was not to die in battle. He saw there had been slain already nearly two millions of
his people, two millions of mighty men; the prophet Moroni says: and also their wives, and their children. This is worth telling, especially by a Mormon prophet, that cannot lie. He, Coriantumr, required terms of capitulation (viz) that he would give up the kingdom, if he would spare the lives of the people. The answer from Shiz, he would spare the lives of the people, if Coriantumr would surrender himself and let him slay him, with his own sword. (Hard terms from a christian Mormon.) Coriantumr resented the proposition of Shiz; and was with his people, determined to risk another battle. On the morrow they had an exceeding sore battle. Who fought? Coriantumr was again wounded, but his army beat Shiz: and drove them to the hill Ramah. Moroni here says this is the same hill where his father, Mormon, did hide up the records unto the Lord. This is where the Mormons pretend Jo Smith found them. Not contented with this, great loss of millions, both parties took four years to recruit, then to decide the war by one general battle; in which men, women, and children, were to be engaged (p. 572.) The women had shields, breast-plates, and head plates; when the time of four years had fully expired, they marched forth to battle. Bravo. The first day was horrid, they retired at night with deep howlings, and lamentations, that rent the air; because of the great destruction of the people. The next day they commenced battle; and great and terrible was the result; but they conquered not. Coriantumr wrote for an armistice, but no; the Spirit of the Lord prevented; Shiz would give no quarters. He was something like the anecdote of the bravery of the Marblehead officer in the revolution, when engaged in taking his enemy, when asked for quarters; No, we will halve you to night, and quarter you in the morning."
Shiz was for settling the contest on the third day; the prophet says, they were drunk with anger, and when night came they had all fallen but fifty two of the people of Coriantumr and sixty nine of the people of Shiz; this is well done, in three days; kill over four millions. However, these few left slept upon their swords that night, on the morrow fought again; and at night there were left 32 of Shiz's swords men and twenty seven of Coriantumr's. Now for the last battle; the next day at night they ate, and drank, and prepared for death on the morrow; this is Spartan like. They met and the men of Coriantumr fled, and Shiz pursued, and he overtook them; they all fell in battle on both sides, but Coriantumr and Shiz, both generals were alive; as soon as Shiz had got strength from loss of blood, for he was wounded. He met Coriantumr and they fought until Coriantumr with his sword smote off the head of Shiz at a blow; and after taking breath, he lifted up his hands, and fell dead to the earth. This is well done. Here this holy prophet testifies, that after Shiz had lost his head, that he raised up his hands and fell; and after struggling for breath he died. This is more than a match for the guillotine in France, there the head would move about after it was taken off the body.
This battle so far exceeds all the battles ever read of, it would be
vain in any one to attempt to match it. An Alexander, or an Xerxes the great, or any other that may have been accredited for conquering the world, and lamenting there were no more worlds to conquer, is not to be compared with this; in their case they were only conquered; but here they are all killed but Coriantumr, and he fell to the earth as dead, but not killed, nor has been seen, or heard of since. And the Lord said to Ether, go forth; and he went and beheld the words of the Lord; the reader will remember that Ether prophecied that Coriantumr should not be slain in battle. Here the prophet Moroni, has his redeeming clause. Here he finishes his record, and says the one-hundredth part I have not written; and here you have the last words of this famous or infamous prophet Ether. Whether the Lord will, I be translated, or that I suffer the will of the Lord in the flesh, it mattereth not, if it so be that I am saved in the Kingdom of God. Amen.
The next book is that of the recording prophet; Maroni the son of Mormon. Nothing but a short detail of the Epistles of his father, the order of ordaining Priests, Elders &c. &c. then seals up the record, and gives assurance to the world that spiritual gifts shall never fail to the obedient; and that the plates shall be dug up out of the earth; and that the truth of it shall be made known, by the power of God (p. 586.)
He closes his writings on page 583 in these words, And now I bid you farewell, I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge, of both quick and dead, Amen.
The reader will, by a careful examination of my analysis of all the different books as pretended to have been written by various persons, and at sundry times, in ancient days, readily discover there is perfect uniformity of style of writing, the mode of transferring the records and plates from father to son and from one Brother to another in the faith; there is but one sentiment, viz. that they all, by being obedient to the commands of God, they could do and perform any act whatever, to the raising of the dead or lesser miracle; they uniformly say the same at the present day, all of which is founded in the most gross falsehood and delusion.
It will be seen plainly that one cranium was the great originator of this novel, that the allusions to all the religions as taught in the yankee country, are manifest with all the, evils and bickerings among the various sects, skeptic not omitted, the troubles of slavery of the black, the evils of Masonic Oaths, the slavery of the Whites, by the craft of priests, all of which shows this to have been the production of some genius not Joseph Smith, probably Solomon Spaulding, as will appear in the testimony I shall produce to prove it not divine revelation.
Thus I have, as I proposed, given you a compendium of this book of Mormon in as concise a manner as possible to have it understood, the origin and objects of the various writers of this vain romance, for that is the highest name that I am pleased to give it. I
have bestowed as much or more attention to it than I otherwise should have done, because the sect called Mormons are fast accumulating numbers to the belief in their dogmatical Book of Mormon, as a revelation from God. In this and all the civilized countries, the effects of which, if not checked by reason, will most probably in the far west be the most extensive and powerful sect there; and without any prophecy whatever, they, not unlike all others that have deluged the earth with blood, to carry out their religious dogmas, will, like the history they here give us of their pretended prophets, and military leaders in the Book of Mormon, stand th« highest in the bloody ranks of superstition and delusion in the west.
I am now to give you the examination of its internal and external evidences on which the Mormons found their faith as a revelation from God. It requires patience like that of Job to bring out and expose their foolish pretentions.
Their internal evidences are, that the Book of Mormon is truly, and literally founded in truth, that it contains all the revelations contained in the Old and New Testaments, and more than paramount to them, while they give a limited prophecy of the Gospel plan, previous to the christian era, the Book of Mormon gives a full account 600 years previous, with all the subsequent events that have transpired up to the publication of the Book of Mormon, 1830.
The reader will see at once its false pretensions, when compared with the Jewish, or Christian record; this I shall show conclusively in the arguments between the Elder Freeman Nickerson the Mormonite and myself, before the Society of a free discussion in Boston, July and August 1841. My reasons are there given at sufficient length, to satisfy every rational mind.
I would observe, if this Book of Mormon came from God, as they the mormons pretends, it is representing God so much worse, murderous and cold blooded, than the devil is represented to be in the Jewish and christian books; it is impossible to be true, as coming from the same author.
The horrid wars, and the destruction of the human race, with all the privations, and horrid sufferings, the many millions of human beings, as descendants ftom the families of Lehi, and Ishmael, together with those of Jared; and his brother that escaped from the tower of Babel, all of which were under the direction and special advice of God. All of which, in a serious point of view, I should believe it a blasphemy if one can be on God. Having intimated what the Mormons rely on, as internal evidences, in support of their book.
I will now introduce the external evidences that they most strongly offer, as proof of this book being Divine revelation. I shall briefly call up the evidences they produce in this case, and thus refer the reader to the arguments that have been used to prove them false, together with what has been brought by Elder Nickerson, to prove the truth of their evidence -- 1st, Joseph Smith, a boy of 17, about the year 1827, in the state of New York, purports to be under
the direction of an angel from God, finds a Golden Book in the town of Manchester, buried in the earth in a wooden box, enclosed in a stone vault, when found by Smith, the size of the book was 7 by 9 inches, and had 24 leaves as thick as a common window glass, and weighed about 30 lbs., the leaves were bound together with three half moon rings of gold that this book purports to have been written in reformed Egyptian language on these golden plates, containing all that has come to us in this book of Mormon; and much more to be translated at some future time; so much for the Book.
The evidences that they put in the case, in this Book, that most solemnly swear to the seeing of the records and plates, and were required by God to bear record to the truth, are three, viz: -- Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, all Mormons; and their testimony is called the testimony of three witnesses.
Now listen to their testimony, and be astonished. When I shall produce it from their book, will be seen at full length on the recording pages. The next testimony they call to support the truth of the records and plates, as having seen them, and hefted them, that Smith had shown them, and that they did handle them, they also call God to witness to the truth of their testimony. They are called in their Book the testimony of eight witnesses, signed. Christian Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, John Whitmer, all Mormons; of one family, five Whitmers, including the one spoken of before, they are a swearing family, no mistake; and, Hiram page, Joseph Smith, seignor, Hiram Smith, Samuel H. Smith; Smiths are the Father and two brothers of Joseph Smith, the pretended author of this Book, called the Golden Bible.
I shall give a copy of their testimony at full length, the leaf on which the testimony of the three witnesses are recorded; and the leaf on which the eight witnesses are recorded, are not numbered in the paged leaves. At some other day they will be blotted out of existence, for their facility and perjury, when a committee of revisal shall be directed by God.
Having alluded to the principal evidences in support of this book, all other evidences are but circumstantial, Elder Nickerson, the present debator, calls himself an evidence, and as such I shall admit he says it is all true, and he knows it to be such; you will see how much he knows about the truth of this book when you hear him examined on this point.
Another circumstantial evidence is the testimony of Martin Harris. When the Book was first pretended to be found by Smith, please read it carefully.
We have not any evidence from the prophet Joseph direct, therefore we must make out without his perjuring himself direct.
Having brought all the names of the persons that the Mormons rely on in support of this record being in existence, I shall proceed to give it as I have it, how this book was obtained by Smith. It is from Martin Harris, and Elder Freeman Nickerson. Mr. Nickerson
stated on the examination, that Martin Harris was a man of truth and veracity; let us see if this is true.
I have taken the subject matter of Harris's statement from a gentleman that resided in the immediate neighborhood at the time; and was published in the Episcopal Recorder, called the History of Mormonism, August 24th, 1840; it was published and copied in a public journal at Harrisburg, December, 1840.
In the paper called the Key Stone, much respected for its character for truth and candor, this statement of Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses that has sworn in this book, to have seen the golden plates by the power of God. His statement was made to a man of the first reputation, and he has given it to the public, as I give it you. He lived in the vicinity of Palmyra and, nearby where this golden bible was said to have been found; and he was well acquainted with Martin Harris.
He says that Martin Harris came to his house early in the autumn of 1827. One morning, about sunrise, his appearance indicated more than usual excitement; and when he had passed the threshold of his door, he inquired whether he could see me alone. Remarking that he had a matter to communicate to me that he wished to be purely confidential. I then invited him to my study. He closed the door, and drew a package from his pocket with caution; suddenly he stopped, and inquired if there was any possibility of their being interrupted. I answered him in the negative; he proceeded, by saying he reposed great confidence in me, and what he had to communicate to me must be at present confidential. He said he verily believed that an important era 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 his meaning, he said a golden bible had recently been dug from the earth, where it had been deposited for thousands of years; and this would be found to contain such disclosures as would settle all religious controversies; and soon bring on the Millennium; that this bible was a mysterious book; that no human eye had seen it; that it was then in the possession of Joseph Smith, Jr.; that there had been a revelation to Smith, by which he had discovered this sacred deposite; that Smith had two transparent stones, that came in the ark, where the bible was deposited; Smith had got in possession of them without opening the ark; that Smith used them as spectacles; by looking through these stones, he could, and had transcribed from one of the leaves the characters that he had taken from his pocket so carefully. It appeared to me so perfectly ludicrous and puerile, I told Harris it was all a hoax, got up to. practice on his credulity, for the purpose of extorting money from him. He told me he had already advanced twenty-five dollars to Smith, as a kind of copartnership in this new revelation. He seemed to me to be intent on making it a source of wealth, as well as a new revelation. The idea that the golden leaves would not only be valuable as gold, but would impart great spiritual wealth throughout the world. Harris seemed to repel, with indignation,
my remarks of its being an imposition on him; he proceeded to relate more particulars in regard to the discovery of the marvelous book; he communicated the same in substance to many others; he said after Smith had been out in the night on one of his money-digging excursions, as he was in the habit of, and had returned home, while he lay in bed, he had a remarkable vision, an angel of God came to him clad in a celestial splendor; and assured him that he, 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 great and unspeakable benefit to the world. Smith told him where it was deposited; and that he was to follow certain divine directions. If he did not, he should draw down upon himself the wrath of heaven, that the angel told him how the book was written on plates of metallic substance of gold, and where they were deposited in the ark; that he, Smith, must not presume to look into the ark, under three years from that time. Before he could be allowed to look at these plates, he must go a journey to the State of Pennsylvania, there, in the mountain, as described by the angel, he would find a very lovely woman, belonging to a very respectable family, whom he should take as wife, and as proof of the mission of the angel sent of God, that Smith should be a chosen prophet of God, this should be the test, as soon as he should see this stranger, this woman in the woods, he should be smitten with her beauty, although she is a stranger, and far above you in the walks of society. She will be willing instanter to go with you to the ends of the earth.
The angel told, him after he shall be married, he must return home, and remain perfectly quiet until the birth of the first child; and when this child shall have completed his second year, he may then proceed to the place where this golden bible was deposited, and get it, and publish the truth to the world. As soon as Smith awoke from his dream, he arose, and started for Pennsylvania, not knowing what way he should go, but the Lord directed him; when he came to the place where the angel directed him, he found the woman, took her as wife, and returned home, all as the angel told him; when he arrived home, he became so impressed with the great and awful task to be a prophet of God, he communicated the thing to his father and family; this was a violation of the angelic rules and orders. The propensity of the old man was so great at money-digging, he importuned with Jo, the young prophet, to go with him and dig, to see if the ark was there, not with the intention of removing it, or opening it, before the time of three years had expired, according to the orders of the angel. Accordingly, Jo and his father, in the stillness of the night, went to the place with their spades, and commenced operations where the angel said it was deposited; they had not proceeded long in the excavation, before they came to a stone-arched cave, cemented where the box or mysterious chest was deposited; on opening this arch, the ark moved with locomotive power out of their sight. This so far exceeds Fulton on steam power, no wonder a Mormon believes it; no wonder he says it is by the power of God; this corroborates Mr. Nickerson's
story, and I think they both got lessons from the same deluded source, viz: Jo Smith. However, Harris says they pursued to find the chest again; they got in sight of it, and when taking a view of its form and extent, and stood gazing at it, a thunder clap came from Heaven, and shook the earth, a sheet of forked lightning swept over the ground, and burnt terribly about that spot; and the chest removed again, with a rumbling noise, out of their sight. They were so terrified, they fled home. Joseph, the prophet, took himself one way alone, and his father, Joseph, another way. Joseph, Jr., the prophet, when in the woods, the angel met him, clad in terror and wrath: he spoke in the voice of thunder and forked lightning. The terror of his divine majesty smote him to the ground; his whole frame, he says, became convulsed with agony. In language most terrific did the angel upbraid him for his disobedience; that is, for prematurely going to see this deposite of the plates. The angel disappeared, and Smith went trembling home, full of terror; his mind became composed, and another divine communication was made to him, authorising him to go, and get the ark; but he must go alone, and get it secretly, and deposite the same under the hearth, but by no means to look into it until the time had expired which the angel ordered, viz: in the fourth year. The reason Smith assigned to Harris for the angel not allowing him to get the ark, and remove the deposites, was this, that Jo had told his father of the secret, and the report might get about and there was danger of the deposites being taken by others; that was a good caution; but one would think the angel of such a power as Jo declared him to be, might prevent that; but, however, too close an examination would spoil their story: it being gold, no wonder the angel wanted it protected. However, Harris says that Smith most scrupulously observed the divine direction of the angel; he says Smith had a pair of stone spectacles, that he got out of the ark, without opening it; that he could decipher and transcribe the writings on the plates in the box without opening it. This completely outwitted the angel; Smith was forbid to open the box; but with Jo's specks he could look through the cover and read just as well as any way. No doubt he could read reformed Egyptian better through a brick hearth than any other way. Remember the prophet Jo could not read at all, any language whatever. Harris says Smith took him to his dwelling, where the ark was deposited, and hung up a thick blanket between them: Smith was concealed from him on the side where the deposites were, and he forbid him to look the other side of the blanket; Smith said if he did it would arouse the divine displeasure; if he should draw near him, or dare look at the sacred ark while he was decipher[ing] these mysterious characters, with these stone spectacles; he called them Urim and Thummim.
This ends Harris's statement, and he told the same in substance to many in the neighborhood of Palmyra; they had been published with thousands of other circumstances, equally marvellous. -- Harris was so engaged with Smith in this business, he took some
of the manuscripts that Smith gave him, and went to New York to Dr. Mitchell, and to Dr. Anthon, at Columbia College, the Professor, and that they could not read the characters. I shall give some account of Dr. Anthon's account of Harris's visit to him, recently published. The remarks of this person that Harris called on, and made the foregoing statement, says, that soon after this conversation with Harris, he moved out from that part of the country, that he heard but little more of it, until the book was about to be published, it was not until the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding had been published, of which there has been a full description given. He says that Martin Harris mortgaged his farm to his knowledge to publish this book. The facts connected with the rise of Mormonism, I have been enabled to get hold of, by which we can show the rise of this imposition; to my mind, it is the grossest of all impositions ever imposed on the community.
I remark here, that notwithstanding Harris swears he did not see Smith the other side of the blanket, yet he swears Smith had on the stone spectacles, and did look through the hearth, and lid of the ark, and decipher the language, and give him the same in English. Harris, not unlike all Mormons I have seen, can swear through thick and thin. How did Harris know what Smith had on his eyes? Has Harris not perjured himself in his statement? Yes. Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon, has stated that he believed Harris to be a man of truth. From this testimony of Harris, relating to Smith, it will be seen that Mr. Nickerson's opinion is not worth much in this case. For, out of Harris's own mouth he must be condemned.
I will here record the oath of the three witnesses, as a perpetual monument of perjury and falsehood, that will live when the deluded fanatics shall have mixed with the clods of the valley.
THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower, of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; .and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man; and we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from Heaven, and he brought, and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bare record that these things are true and it is marvellous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; therefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony
of these things; and we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God, Amen.
Signed, OLIVER COWDRY.
The falsehood and corruption of their testimony, you will see proved in the last part of the arguments on the external evidences.
THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES.Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the author and proprietor of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which hath the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and curious workmanship. And this we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
PETER WHITMER, Jr.
JOSEPH SMITH, Sr.
SAMUEL H. SMITH.
The three witnesses swear the angel has the plates. The eight swear Joseph Smith has the plates. Who is false? All of them, notoriously so. What did these children of the Whitmers know about ancient workmanship? Or Joseph Smith's father and his boys know of this affair? They say as many of the plates as Joseph Smith translated, they handled. And so did I, -- because he never translated any. Did not these ignorant Smiths know that their brother Jo was ignorant of all languages. Comparatively speaking, he did not know his right hand from his left. So says his neighbors at that time. I have given an exposition of the eight evidences in my closing remarks.
Having given you the statement of Martin Harris to one of his neighbors, at the time the book was said to have been found, and have given you the testimony of the three witnesses, and the testimony of the eight witnesses, that the deluded Mormons rest all
their faith on, in support of the fact of the book being found and seen, before I proceed to the question in debate. I will give some general views founded on facts, relative to Jo Smith, the pretended finder of this book, and Martin Harris, this poor deluded fanatic, a runner for Smith. We shall then be better prepared to make proper allowances for their delusions.
A gentleman well acquainted with Martin Harris, says in a public paper I have alluded to, that he, Harris, attended religious service in their church; that he had known and heard of him as a farmer in comfortable circumstances. He says, ["]he resided but a short distance from our village of Palmyra. Harris was always distinguished for certain peculiarities of character. He had been a Methodist, and of late had identified himself with the Univeralists. At the time he came to my house to reveal the secret of the found book from Jo Smith, he made no pretensions to anyone faith, but appeared to have an extensive knowledge of the scriptures: and possessed a manifest disputatious turn of mind. I learned from himself and others, that he had been a firm believer in dreams, visions, ghosts, witches, supernatural apparitions, &c." Having given you a general description of Harris, which appears to me to have the peculiar traits of him, by his own testimony, where he says that he saw the plates by the power of God, I will now give you the peculiarities of Jo Smith, which will enable the reader to judge of the merits of the whole concern; all of which will be found true by various public documents, and private statements.
The family of Smiths always bore the general reputation of money diggers in the place of their nativity: always hunting for buried money, under pretence of magic knowledge. This I understand to be the general character of the Smiths. That they were perfectly idle, and vagrant; that Jo from a boy lived this kind of life; that he had no education; completely destitute of all school education; living then in Vermont; his father a money digger. He considered Jo, his son, to have the science of second sight, or called by others clairvoyance. That he had power of sight to look into the earth, and discover hidden treasures. This was years before the pretended discovery of this bible. This family would frequently make excursions in the night time, that they might conceal the knowledge from others if they should find the treasures. This young Jo was the guide; his mode was to put into a hat a certain stone he had with him, and hold the hat over the ground, and then look through this stone speck with one eye. By this process they would determine where to commence digging. I have given a clue to the general character of the young prophet Jo, the finder, author, and translator of this golden bible, with his origin in Vermont; the life and habits of his father, that has subscribed his name as one of the eight witnesses as having seen and hefted the plates. The reader will now be prepared to read this book understandingly, being fairly apprised of all their pretences and delusions. When you may read the testimony of Harris, Mr. Nickerson, and others, you will observe there is sufficient collateral testimony to prove all
my remarks, and the extracts from others to have been based on the truth. I shall now proceed to show the examination and arguments that were brought before the Boston Free Discussion Society, on the following question:
Question for discussion, -- The Mormon Bible: -- Is there any proof from the internal or external evidences of that book, or from any other history or fact, to prove it is Divine Revelation? Or is it not the novel writings of Solomon Spaulding, Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, an imposition on the public, well calculated to inspire the ignorant, superstitious, and credulous, with the belief it is a revelation from God, by way of Joseph Smith, Jr., in or about the year 1827, in the state of New York.
Persons of every religious persuasion were invited to attend. The meeting was pledged to permit, with a liberality not usually evinced in other associations, any observations or remarks any person may judge it useful to make. I would here remark this is a constitutional privilege of the Boston Free Discussion Society.
The respective debating parties met on Sunday, at two" o'clock, P. M., per agreement, a chairman having been appointed. The question was read by the chairman, and the meeting declared to be open for debate; that the affirmative of the question would be in order to commence. Accordingly, Elder Freeman Nickerson, the Mormon, commenced by observing he should endeavor, by the help of God, his heavenly father, to prove to the full satisfaction of all present, and as many as should hear his arguments, or read them, that the Book of Mormon, then in his hand, was a revelation from God, to the prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., in or about the 21st of September, 1823, in Manchester, in the State of New York; and that he knew it was all true, by the power of God, for his voice had made it known to him, by his obedience to his commands. He said the history of the Book of Mormon was the history of and from creation, from Adam to Noah, from father to son. At that time it did not require any records or writing to be made. People lived so long, it was contained in their memories.
Having said thus much on the origin of the Jewish scriptures, believing every word of them to be the word of God, he commenced reading a chapter from the Mormon book; the first book of prophet Nephi, saying, it is in perfect accordance with the Old and New Testament, and that he must have his own way of explaining, commencing where he pleased; and before he should get through his arguments, or leave the city of Boston, every soul would believe in the Mormon faith, if they did not acknowledge it, and that he felt himself under great obligation to this society, for the privilege of speaking for God, and showing the word of God was sharp, and powerful; dividing asunder the joints and marrow. That he was a christian, and that now was the time for the christians to come out and show they were washed in the blood of the Lamb; and unless they did, they would be chastised for their neglect and disobedience. They that are not for me, are against me. That he knew what he said, for the word of the Lord
had declared it to him, and all that would be obedient to their heavenly father, should have the evidence of the signs that should follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils, take up deadly serpents, and take deadly things, and they should not hurt them: should they lay their hands on the sick, they should recover; and all those that would believe, and be baptised with the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, as it had been on him, could do the same; and all that were sent of God could do as God said they should do, which he should prove to them before he left the city. At this time the chairman informed him that the time allotted him of 20 minutes was fully expired. I remark here that the time allotted to the speakers was 20 minutes; and no speaker was to speak twice on any subject, to the exclusion of any other person's speaking on the other side of the question.
As this question was agreed on between the elder Nickerson and myself, it required I should reply to him. Reply. -- My friend Nickerson has improved his time in exhorting you to become Mormons; and if you will, you shall have the power of working miracles, as he says he has, and that his Mormon book is a revelation from God, and was revealed to Joseph Smith by the power of God, and he swears he knows it is all true, for the voice of the Lord hath declared it to him. His great object appears to be, by what he has said, to prove the Mormon book is in perfect accordance with the Old and New Testament; but he was very careful not to say much about the Book of Mormon, but put the burthen of proof on the negative side, to show all they could. He observed in his remarks, he should begin where he pleased, and the audience have seen how, and in what manner he had supported the question. That my course must be to examine the evidences that were put in the case, viz: -- the eleven depositions that were attached to the book: but before I should do this, having remarked on the statement of Mr. Nickerson, sufficient to show how I understood him, I observed to the audience, this question respecting the Book of Mormon being divine revelation, is of the first importance. They are a growing people in the far West, and all over the European world; they are fast settling the West with Mormons from all quarters; their faiths were well adapted to the feelings and sympathies of the credulous, and the marvellous. Should it progress as it had done since 1827, when the sentiments contained in the book were first published in the State of New York, it would, in process of time, become a powerful engine of religious power, if not the leading religious sect in this country. If so, they or their children, or race would probably resent the persecutions and unjust oppressions, they, as a sect, have been compelled to endure from the inhabitants in the State of Missouri. They have been driven from that State by an exterminating act of the State, and greatly abused for their religious delusions. A day of retribution will come, when their power shall be as strong as their delusions. This has been the case in all countries, and alternately with all religious sects. I shall examine this book as I should any case of murder, and that the audience and the readers were the jury to try the issue of this
question. In order to bring it fairly before the audience, I must call the evidences the Mormons rest the truth of their revelation on. First evidences called by me, were Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, Martin Harris. These three witnesses' testimony on a preceding page was read. This being done, the eight evidences were called up, viz: -- Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hiram Smith, Samuel H. Smith. Here the reader will see I was compelled to call up their evidence that they rely on to support the book, for the purpose of showing its fallacy, credulity, fanaticism, and perjury.. All of which you will see in their testimony on a preceding page, which will be clearly proved to all unprejudiced minds.
Having thus far proceeded with my evidence, I commenced questioning Elder Nickerson, the debating Mormon.
Question to Mr. Nickerson. -- Do you know Joseph Smith, Jr., the reputed author of this Book of Mormon?
Answer. -- Yes.
Q. -- Is he reputed to be a man of truth?
A. -- Yes.
Q. -- Was he at the time this book was said to have been found?
A. -- I have so heard.
Q. -- Do you know of his digging certain golden plates out of the earth, in the town of Manchester, in the State of New York?
A. -- I did not see him dig them up.
Q. -- Then how dare you say in your statement to the audience, that you knew it was all true, for the voice of the Lord had declared it? What do you mean by the voice of the Lord?
A. -- From hearsay; from those that know it by the power of God.
Thus, all their knowledge is hearsay, I believe. By this time I was informed by the chairman my time allotted me had fully expired. One of the audience required a suspension of the rules, that I might proceed with my examination. It was granted me, and I proceeded.
Q. -- Mr. Nickerson, did you ever see those plates?
A. -- No.
Q. -- Do you pretend to say they are gold?
A. -- I think they are.
Q. -- Do you know it?
A. -- I have never seen them cut or tried. They have the appearance of gold.
Q. -- How do you know that? How much did they weigh?
A. -- About 30 pounds.
Q. -- Did you see them weighed?
A. -- No.
Q. -- How do you know what they weighed then?
A. -- So said by others.
I asked these questions to determine the value of this golden bible. A christian friend rose to a point of order; stating my mode
of questioning and cross-questioning was too severe, and not in accordance with free discussion, and of the house.
My reply was, the Mormons have come to the city of Boston, and introduced a book, called the Book of Mormon, a new revelation from God; and they have given out a challenge to all and every sect, Christian or Sceptic, to show the contrary. Mr. Nickerson, the debating Mormon, says he is willing to be inquired of as close as I please, on all questions of their book or faiths. Therefore, I believe I have a perfect right to examine the evidences as close as though they were under oath in a case of murder. Proceed, -- was the voice of the audience.
Q. -- Mr. Nickerson, do you know the rules by which they valued this golden bible?
A. -- No.
Q. -- What weight, 12 or 16 ounces to the pound?
A. -- I do not.
I ask this, because it will make about $2000 difference in value; one will give $7,000, the other $9,000, more or less.
Q. -- Mr. Nickerson, do you suppose Cowdry, Whitmer and Harris, the three witnesses that have testified to seeing these plates, have sworn by the same rules you have stated, viz: hearsay?
A. -- I do not know.
Q. -- Do you know who translated the languages from the golden plates, into English?
A. -- The prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Q. -- How do you know that?
Q. -- What language was there written on the plates?
A. -- Reformed Egyptian.
Q. -- How do you know that ?
Q. -- Do you understand Reformed Egyptian language?
A. -- No.
Q. -- When and where did Jo Smith translate the language?
A. -- I was not present.
I forbore to ask Mr. Nickerson any more questions, then believing him to be in a perfect state of unadulterated delusion, and that his evidence would be as likely to be as much yes as no. By this time my second allotment of time was fully expired. My friend, Elder Nickerson, took the stand to reply; and commenced as usual for him, that his heavenly father had given him this opportunity to answer for himself; that he was happy to appear in proof and defence of the revelation of God, as made known to him. He did not wish to keep anything back. Notwithstanding he was not learned, yet he was taught of God, and was obedient to him: he had left all for him and his cause; had made great sacrifices of all his property, and was ready to lay down his life, if the case required it; that he had been a firm believer for years, had been baptised into the faith, and had received the forgiveness of his sins, by laying on of hands, of those that had power to forgive sins;
that he had received the Holy Ghost, and had become a partaker in all its benefits; that he was well acquainted with all the concerns relating to the digging up the plates that had been spoken of. Here he gave some account of the book, and said, the prophet, Joseph Smith, when he returned to his home one night about the 21st of September, 1823, and lay down on his bed, he was informed in a vision by an angel, that he was to be a prophet for God; to promulgate to the world a new revelation: that he should find it hid up unto God, in a certain place, and described the place to Smith; and told him it was the history of the prophet Nephi, &c.; that he must not attempt to get it until the fourth year from that time. And the angel gave him all the directions; all of which, he, Nickerson, had got written down, he said; and Joseph, the prophet, did disobey the commands of the angel, and went to the place previously to the time set, and commenced digging for the golden plates in the box or ark, that the angel told him they were in. At length he came in contact with a stone arch, which he took up, and saw the chest, and got hold of it, but could not get it then. But in due time he obtained it, and was permitted to translate it, by the power of God, viz: by the aid of two stones, called the Urim and Thummim, all of which he knew by the power of God, and his will to him by being obedient to his commands. This is the way Mr. Nickerson says he knew this thing. God told him all this. Having said this much, says Mr. Nickerson, about the digging up the plates, he said as he had heretofore said, that Cowdry, Whitmer and Harris, and the testimony of the eight witnesses, were reported to be men of truth. He then read their testimony, as it is reported in the Mormon book, and on a preceding page, and offered them to the public, on which he should rely, in support of the Book of Mormon being found by Joseph Smith. He observed, when he said a thing, he meant what he said. When he speaks of healing the sick, or performing miracles, personally, he meant the audience should believe what he said, literally. If he spoke of healing a broken bone, or a crooked arm, he meant so. He attempted an illustration. He bent his arm akimbo, then, with much muscular force, threw it quite straight. Like that, said he. A gentleman rose, and asked him if he meant by physical force? Yes, said he, by physical force or any other force, he did not care what force it was, if it straightened the limb. This, he said, I have seen and done. More than that, being interrogated by some of the audience on his working of miracles, he related two of them; perhaps they were easy cases. He said that an elderly lady, who had been bowed down to the earth, crooked by long infirmity, sent for him to heal her. He obeyed the command, and when there, he prayed to his heavenly father, and anointed her with oil, and laid his hands on her. (Laughter.) She became straight immediately. This occasioned a loud smile with the audience.
The chairman requested the audience to retain their countenances, and to preserve order, if possible.
Mr. Nickerson proceeded by saying, this is no laughing matter.
He appeared affected by his own stories. I imagined a magnetizing influence, by way of sympathy, among the female part of the audience, would be produced. This was wonderfully apparent; had I not seen something of the same before, I may have partaken of its magnetizing fluid.
Mr. Nickerson will excuse these remarks. I proceed to give his statements of the other miracle he performed. A brother Mormon was sick, nigh unto death, for a long time, till at length he received the gift of faith that he could be healed by the prayers of brother Nickerson; he was informed of the fact, and went immediately, nothing doubting; when he saw him, he read to him the 15th chapter of James, the 14th and 15th verse particularly -- look at the texts, they are to the point, no mistake. He then knelt down by the bedside, after anointing him with oil, and prayed to his heavenly father. His Mormon brother arose from his bed, on which he had been so long confined with a consumption, and eat a hearty meal, and then walked six miles. Mr. Nickerson then said he did not come there to tell anything but the truth, and what had been done by him and others, by the power of God. Mr. Nickerson's time being expired he took his seat. Mr. S. took the stand in reply to Mr. Nickerson, and said he should not occupy but a few moments on the negative of the question, before the audience. He I gave us an off-hand speech, much to the purpose; not only in reply to the Mormons, but to christians generally. He showed the absolute impossibility of such powers as Mr. Nickerson has spoken of, being in use, being above and contrary to all rules of the laws of nature, and sound philosophy, he did not entertain a doubt that the imagination of Mr. Nickerson, or others, may have been wrought up to that belief, that their prayers may have had the desired effect, and they be serious in their pretensions, and think they had or could perform miracles. But his experience, although short, compared with that of Mr. Nickerson, had confirmed him in the belief that sincerity was no safeguard against delusion. His readings of facts, that are well known to thousands, will vouch for the correctness of my remarks. He then referred the audience to the case of the Hindoo widows at the funeral pile, as a specimen of their sincerity and faith, he observed, the Mormons appeared to be sincere; that they called themselves christians, and pretended to embrace the christian faiths -- if so, the christians were bound to support them, or show where the errors of the Mormons are. He first thought the question was not of any importance to society at large, but, on more mature reflection, he had come to the conclusion that this question is of great importance to the community. That the Mormons were becoming quite a leading sect in the far West; they were spreading their faith throughout the civilized world -- they already boast of their hundred thousand followers, most of which are communicants; and if this be true, they may ultimately be the predominant religious sect in this country. He illustrated his views by the influence of other sects, in other ages; all of which had produced like results, whenever their numbers and physical
powers were sufficiently strong, as to carry their dogmas and delusions into effect. His remarks were well timed, and to the entire satisfaction of the audience. He was followed in reply by Elder Olney, a Mormon, quite a novel man in his language, as you will see by what I took minutes of at the time. He commenced by saying, My friends, the fact is this, all that brother Nickerson has told you I know to be true, by the power of God. Allow me to say, I think it likely he never saw Mr. Nickerson before; but remember, once for all cases, when the Mormons swear for each other, as they do, I believe, in all cases, they swear by the power of God -- pardon this digression, friend Olney, He said, I have been a preacher in the faith of Mormon nine years; and the fact is, now my friends, that you may know this is all true that I tell you, when you will obey the commands of God, for the fact is, now my friends, you will know that the whole account of Christ is true. For the fact is, my friends, I am a believer in the doctrines of Christ. And the fact is, now my friends, I know what is said is all true by the power of God; I have preached it nine years; and the fact is, now my friends, I have made great sacrifices, and have done and suffered much; and the fact is, now my friends, I have done and seen greater miracles than brother Nickerson has told of. The fact is, now my friends, that if the dead was to be raised ten rods from this, I should not go to see it. For the fact is, now my friends, I have seen greater things done by the power of God. The fact is, now my friends, I would not care if all the Mormon books were destroyed. I do not know of reading the book of Mormon through in my life. But the fact is, now my friends, I know it is all true, by the power of God. I have a book in my soul, which teaches me wisdom, and knowledge. I believe I have read the book of Mormon once. But the fact is, now my friends, it is the Word of God; and it is sharp and powerful, and dividing asunder the joints and marrow, soul and spirit. And the fact is, now my friends, I am glad to have this opportunity to speak for God. He then took his seat. When the Rev. Mr. Collier took the stand in reply to the Mormons, he felt disposed to accredit them for showing a spirit of humility and christian meekness; and he could not doubt their sincerity and candor, and that this meeting had been conducted with its usual good feelings; but he was compelled to say he believed his Mormon friends were mistaken and deluded. He believed the cannon of the Scriptures were closed, and no additional or new revelation was expedient or scriptural; he did not intend to make but few remarks on what had been said; he was inclined to think the question was of such an import, and in such hands, as would be fully investigated without him. He should adduce but two texts of scripture, which he thought would establish his position, relating to the addition or new revelation, as spoken of in the promulgating of the book of Mormon. He hoped all would look seriously at these texts, he should present, and pay particular attention to their import. One of which is recorded in the 4th chapter of Deuteronomy, 2d verse: For ye shall not add unto the
Word which I command you; neither shall ye diminish aught from it. That ye may keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I command you. The other text quoted, was in the last chapter of Revelations, 18th and 19th verses; For I testify unto you, that every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man should add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues therein written. The texts thus far quoted would apply to the arguments of the Mormons. He then took his seat. After Mr. Collier had taken his seat, Elder Olney, the previous speaker, wished the privilege of a moment to reply to Mr. Collier, that the text spoken of did not mean what Mr. Collier supposed, but simply meant to be confined, the first text to a particular tribe; and the second text to that particular book of Revelations generally. The time having been fully expired for the meeting to be adjourned, to the following Sunday, at 2 o'clock, P. M., it was accordingly done: adjourned to Sunday, the 4th of July, to meet at Winchester Hall.
Sunday, the 4th, met according to the adjournment, and called to order by the chairman. Mr. Nickerson opened the meeting in the affirmative of the question, in his usual form, that he was thankful to his heavenly father for the opportunity of showing the Book of Mormon to be a true revelation from God; that it was in accordance with the old and New Testament; that he believed every word, both of the Jews, Christians and Mormons; and he would call on the christians, of all sects, to come out and show themselves on the Lord's side, and not to be half-way christians. Now was a good time; God was on his way: the latter days spoken of were at hand; and if any one meant to have any part in the first resurrection, he must brave the storm of pride and self-love, and covetousness, and become like their Elder Brother, Jesus Christ; that he had left all, and had been with him, having made a sacrifice of all his property; and if required, he would lay down his life in the cause. He hoped that his friend, Mr. Parsons, that enquired so closely in the evidences to the book of Mormon, last Sunday, would not reject them, because eight of them, out of the eleven, belonged to two families, viz: Joseph Smith's, and the Whitmer's. He, Mr. N., considered these evidences as good as Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and that the testimony was complete, and sanctioned by the Holy Ghost, and is so believed by all in the true Mormon faith; and that he was made to believe it by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the power of God, and that by the laying on of hands. He should be glad if his friend Collier was present, but as he was not, he should not say much about the meaning of the texts he, Mr. Collier, referred to, last Sunday, to prove the book of Mormon not of divine revelation -- his brother Olney had already answered that part, and fully shown the texts of friend Collier were misapplied. Having said thus much on the book of Mormon, he had no objection to be examined by any one; he did not come to Boston to deceive any one, but to speak the truth, and he hoped the christians would come out to the help of the Lord
against the mighty, and not fear those that denied the truths of the Bible, and the book of Mormon, and said they could prove it a novel, and a hoax on the community. I am thankful to God, my Heavenly Father, for this opportunity of speaking for him and his cause. I have said much in favor of this society, because they are willing to investigate; and I expect, before I leave Boston, to convince them I am an honest man, and that the book of Mormon is the truth, and divine revelation; and that the miracles he had spoken of, were nothing compared with what he could tell by the power of God. He then took his seat, and seemed to be much refreshed, in giving his testimony in behalf of the book of Mormon, and of the evidences that had sworn to it.
I then proceeded, by way of reply to my friend Nickerson, stated that I had every good reason to believe the book of Mormon was got up by a Mr. Spaulding, formerly of Ohio, a young clergyman, as a religious novel, a few years previous to its appearing in New-York State; and that the manuscript, or book, had since been remodelled, and so matured, as to inspire the ignorant and credulous, with the belief that it was a revelation from God; that I expected to show, conclusively, to the unprejudiced mind, that I should produce a great variety of testimony to prove my position correct; and that I expected to have Mrs. Spaulding's deposition to that effect; that I expected to prove that the eleven evidences that had sworn to the plates of the book of Mormon, had all perjured themselves; and that was, in my opinion, clearly shown in their testimony, as I intended to show, when I shall argue the case to the audience. I then commenced my enquiry of Mr. Nickerson, why it was that Joseph Smith could not, or did not, obtain the plates when he first attempted, as was stated in his evidence, given the last Sunday. Mr. Nickerson did not answer me. The chairman, a young man that generally fills the chair to the satisfaction of the audience, seemed to think my mode of inquiry was not in accordance with the rules we had established in the Society for Free Discussion. This occasioned a reply from me, and some remarks from others. I expressed a perfect willingness to comply with our constituted rules, but I believed this case required a different course, especially from me, as I had agreed to publish an analysis of the book of Mormon, with all that should be said upon the subject before the Society of Free Discussion; and in order to get at the evidence on which the Mormons rely, in support of their claims, to prove the affirmative of the question, I should be allowed to ask any and all questions relating to that book; and that Mr. Nickerson had said he had gotten all the particular transactions written down, and if so, I have a good claim to know what they were; for I supposed they would corroborate all I expected to establish; and unless I was allowed to proceed in my mode of inquiry, to get at the existing facts, I should be compelled to abandon the subject, in a great measure, and should have the case argued between Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon, and myself exclusively; where I should, by an agreement, have the privilege of
enquiry, in any shape I should choose, to get at the truth; and he, Mr. Nickerson, thought this most advisable, and, eventually, it was adopted. There were so many speakers on the question at issue, that I omitted my mode of enquiry, and reserved it for the time when it was to be argued before the society by me, exclusively, as you will see in the sequel, when on the external evidences, that the Mormons rely on, in support of the book of Mormon being of Divine Revelation. I then took my seat.
A Mr. Sweet then took the stand, an elderly man, a man of good understanding, apparently a stranger to the greater part of the audience. He was inquired of, by the chairman, on which side of the question he intended to speak? This question was, in order, you will see, with the constituted rules of the society, viz: that speakers, on all questions, shall follow each other alternately, on the affirmative and negative. Mr. Sweet answered in the affirmative, that is, the principal of what he should say was what he heard from the Mormons a few years since, that he called that the affirmative side. He proceeded, and stated that he heard two Mormon sermons, from Mormons that came to Boston not long after they had got up the Mormon Bible, and that Joe Smith was there, or a man that called himself so; that they preached in Fanny Brewers's chamber, corner of Belknap and Myrtle streets. This fact is well known to thousands in Boston, as the people congregated about the house to hear them. Joe Smith, the pretended prophet, told him, in presence of witnesses that he could produce, that he, Smith, dug up the plates that the Mormon Bible was translated from; and that he translated the language from Egyptian to the English, as it is now written; that an angel called on him three times to give him instructions about the plates -- I will not be positive whether it was two or three times, but let it go at two -- that he, Smith, opened the plates when he first dug them up, but could not understand or translate them. Directly, a self-moving machine began to rise up perpendicular, written in English what it contained in Egyptian, page by page, so that he could read it legibly, or any one else; that the plates were found in a stone box; that he opened it by the force of a bar; that the ark, or box, that contained the plates, was in the shape of a cocked hat, of old fashion style, &c.
The story of Mr. Sweet was believed by the audience, as the simple truths heard from Joe Smith; as the same, in substance, spoken by other Mormons, about the same time, at Julian Hall, in their lectures.
Mr. Sweet concluded by giving his opinion, and said, he did not believe a sentence of what any of the Mormons had said about their book being a revelation from God. He then took his, seat. I remark, here, that Mr. Nickerson seemed to be disconcerted by the closing remarks of Mr. Sweet, and also about the stone box being in the shape of a cock'd hat; but the audience will remember that Mr. Nickerson had said it was encased in a stone vault. Mr. Nickerson made enquiries of Mr. Sweet of his name, and where he
could be found. Mr. Sweet, in his usual intelligent manner informed him, as being well known in Boston. Allow me to observe, that the next Sunday Mr. Sweet appeared, and in reply to Mr. Nickerson, offered to produce the evidence to what he had stated the previous Sunday; but I told him, in private, that in that stage of the inquiry it did not require it, that there might be found one hundred in Boston that could swear to all the principal facts that he had stated, from these men that came to Boston at the time he spoke of; for I could testify to it in substance myself, as I was one of the number that examined them in Julien Hall, where one of them stated that the angel had taken the golden Bible, and left a facsimilie in its room; and that I observed to the Mormons, at the time, that they made a bad beginning with the angel. Thus far my knowledge of the statements of the Mormons, when at Boston, at the time Mr. Sweet alluded to, agrees with his.
When Mr. Sweet had taken his seat, the chairman informed the audience that the last speaker had not improved his whole time by twelve minutes. Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon, rose to reply, and observed, he should like to improve the remaining time -- it was granted him by a vote of the audience. He proceeded in his usual form of introduction, and said that he was willing to impart all he knew about the book of Mormon, but the course adopted by me, the writer of this book, the mode that I had chosen to examine the witnesses, was to prepare the minds of the audience to disbelieve the book of Mormon; but he should show it all true, by the power of God; that when he should be ready to meet me in single combat, -- by this time he was informed that the few moments allotted to him were expired. He concluded by saying he always meant to observe the rules of the house, with as much decorum as any other person or speaker, whatever. He was then seated.
I will remark that Mr. Nickerson or any other Mormon that spoke, did observe the rules of time, when informed by the chairman, as much, and prompt as any one. Although they usually appear to be under the spirit of what they call the Holy Ghost, that is a determined resolution which seemed to me to engage the whole muscular force of the body, they would make the cushions of the desk smoke: and their delivery was so rapid, and coming with such power, it would remind us of the day of pentacost, when they appeared as though they were drunk before nine of the clock, (bible account,) though there is no evidence they were so, but I believe they were in the same state of mind of the Mormons. I am rather sceptical about any peoples' speaking different languages correctly, not having learned them.
The next person that rose to speak, in the negative of the question, was Mr. S., that had spoken the Sunday before. He addressed the audience in his usual happy and convincing style of argument. The audience listened with their accustomed silence, when he took a general view of the apparent objects of the Mormons, that they, were probably sincere in their intentions to spread their faith; and many of them were honest believers in the evidences
reported in their book; but he believed they would not be able to make many converts to their faith out of the infidels, for they had no confidence, generally, in any religious dogma. If the Mormons expected to succeed with them, they must produce some actual experiment, some one case, viz: that of raising the dead, healing of the sick miraculously, or some other paramount case, and that which is above and beyond all human powers; such as they have testified they have done, and can perform by the power of God. If they will do this, we infidels will all be Mormonites in spite of ourselves; but until that is done, intelligent infidels will be compelled to remain as they are.
He believed it was the duty of the christians to come out in support of the mormon faith, or, otherwise, if they are deluded, they should show to them the contrary. The Mormons supported all their books and dogmas; all the difference he could discover between them was, the Mormons believed the Bible to the very letter, while the christians believed it figurative and spiritual.
He felt a degree of sympathy for Mr. Nickerson, as he seemed to be nearly alone in this part of the community; that they had been abused and persecuted by the Missourians, to that degree of cruelty which characterised all sects of religionists, of whatever faith or age. He should not pretend to make any remarks on their Bible, as it was not familiar to him, never having read it; but from what he had already heard, and admitted by the Mormons, it must be a great delusion, and as a friend to Mr. Nickerson, he should advise him to return home to the bosom of his family, and abandon the idea of establishing a society of mormons in the City of Boston. He then took his seat. I presume his speech and advice was replete with good sense, and gentleman-like treatment to the Mormons, and so admitted by Mr. Nickerson.
When Mr. S. was seated, a Mr. C. took the stand in the affirmative of the question, quite contrary to the expectation of the audience. When asked by the chairman which side of the question he intended to support, it was understood he said the affirmative. He proceeded to read a number of long extracts from the Mormon books, and pretended to expound them, in his usual philosophic manner, shewing the texts to agree with the morals and sayings of the New-Testament; that they harmonized with the fundamental principles of the christian religion, and that he felt a deep interest in the faith; that it was a kind of transcendentalism, fully in accordance with the age. True, he thought there was a considerable heterogeneous matter in their writings, but not unlike all other sacred writings; we must make a proper discrimination and. allowance, considering the circumstances under which they were written, and the persons by whom they had been brought to light. When his time was expired and he was seated.
It appeared to me, and I presume it did to the audience generally, that the Mormon had made a deep conviction on the mind of our friend, he being a christian member. I concluded that he intended to become a christian of the Mormon stamp, from what
he said and read. The select readings were calculated to produce this opinion. They were on the keeping of the Sabbath, and other christian moral duties and practices, when our friend took his seat. I noticed he seemed to enjoy his usual smile. I was then at liberty to pursue my former remarks in the negative of the question. I commenced by introducing the speaker that had just taken his seat, to Mr. Nickerson, as a brother Mormon in the faith. This introduction occasioned a smile on the countenances of the audience, which the new convert appeared to enjoy as well as the rest of us. I observed our friend was a better subject for a Mormon than most of us; more refined in his notions and feelings in the philosophy of religions; that he was not so calloused to the reform of the age. Any remarks seemed to create a sentiment in the mind of the new convert, something contrary to what I expected, and I believe the audience had the same impression. The gentleman arose in his seat, and observed with his usual apparent sincerity, that he did not intend to be identified with the Mormons in sentiment, or faith, and that the next Sunday he should speak on the negative of the question; that the Book of Mormon was the most ridiculous subject he ever read. I was perfectly at a loss: thunderstruck; and if I had been a Mormon, I should say by the power of God. The re-conversion of the Mormon convert was so sudden, it occasioned a cheering smile on the audience, more especially the Christian department: finding their ranks were not yet broken. My remarks being concluded, Mr. Nickerson had a few minutes to reply to Mr. C. The old veteran expressed his sentiments on this occasion; said he should be glad to see men and women converted, and become partakers in the blessings of the obedient and the faithful; but he did not want any half way converts. Rather a hard hit, it was thought, on the returning penitent.
By this time the chairman observed there was about 20 minutes before the usual hour of adjournment; that he should like to say a word or two on what had been said. It was granted. He commenced by saying he thought there had been quite too liberal use made of personalities by some particular speakers. It was so spoken by him that the audience knew who he alluded to; Mr. S., that had given advice to the Mormon to retire to the bosom of his family, and myself were alluded to. The chairman was arrested in his remarks by Mr. S., that he was not in order, and quite uncalled for at that time and place: and to prove the correctness of his opinion, he requested by a motion, that it be tested by a vote of the audience. This occasioned some debate, and was argued to
be a bad precedent. The arguments went so far as to believe the audience would not sustain the chairman in his remarks, and the person that debated the question of propriety, requested Mr.S. to withdraw his motion, which was done. The chairman, in that stage of the case, gave way to the Mormon, Mr. N. He observed that he did not take anything that had been said by Mr.S., or myself, as designed to hurt his feelings, but thought the subject had been treated with that usual good feeling that fairly belonged to that Society. Mr. S. then rose and said he believed all I had said on the subject of Mormonism was with that usual good feeling ,that was well known by the society; such as I had uniformly on all occasions strictly observed. This remark from Mr. S. called out a gentlemanlike acknowledgement from the chairman, that he had been too fast in his remarks, and he hoped it would be excused.
It was, then voted to adjourn to Sunday, the 12th of July next, at 2 P. M., at Winchester Hall.
Met according to adjournment. The meeting was called to order by the chairman. Elder Nickerson commenced with the affirmative of the question. He remarked that he should bring some different proof from what he had previously given, to prove the Book of Mormon is a revelation from God. Although the evidences in the book, viz: the eleven that swore to the plates were unimpeachable, and were on the same ground of character as much entitled to be believed as those in the Christian Bible, and therefore the Mormon book will be found a true revelation from God, and he knew it, for his heavenly father, whom he obeyed, had made the truth manifest to him, by his power; and that God had ordained one, and sent him forth to declare his word, and promulge his sayings and his doings to the world, that had long been hidden up from us. I asked him if he meant Jo Smith. He said no, that he meant himself. (Smiles.) He said it was a high stand to take, but it was true. To show the power of God to choose men, and enable them to carry into effect his will, he referred to Peter; what he saw in a vision; a sheet drawn up to heaven. From that he said, God was about convincing the world by him that the Book of Mormon was a revelation of his doings; and if any one would come out on God's side and be faithful, they would see God was as good as his word, and that he knew he was, and that he came to Boston to obey him, in answer to a good conscience; not to tell what he believed, as Christians say, but to promulge what he knew. He did not come there to deceive the people, but speak for God. Net to work miracles, as some unbelievers wanted him to, nor to sell the Holy Ghost to the Yankees, for them to sell again to make
money. (Smiles.) That we were all immortal, and like the dry bones that Ezekiel saw, 57th chapter. That bone came to his bone; it was a truth and no fiction, nor figure; that it meant what it said; that the bones did actually come to life. Just so in the Book of Mormon; it means what it says, and if it is not true, the Christians ought to come out and prove by their Bible what the dry bones mean: and if the Book of Mormon is not true, let them show it; not leave the task to infidels to do it; them that did not believe in any revelation but that of Nature's God. The chairman called the Elder to a point of order, for dwelling so extensively on the Jewish and Christian bible to prove the Mormon bible true, not being relevant to the question.
I rose and observed to the chairman that the Mormon should have all possible indulgence, as he had a bad case to make out; such as it would be folly in any one but a Mormon to attempt. He was allowed to proceed, and said he should prove in the end, that the Old and New Testament proved the truth of the Mormon Book, and that the Mormon bible proved the truth of theirs; that the Christian and Mormon may well be compared to the two sticks spoken of in Ezekiel; and if any of you will be obedient to God, my head for it you will receive its blessings and its promises. The Elder was informed that his 20 minutes was fully expired. My remarks, perhaps, should have been in order to have followed. But a lady, A. F., rose, and claimed the floor. She said she was for truth; but not like the Mormons, that had killed a brother, as she believed they had. I here remark she is a non-resistant; and having been informed of the Mormons' making some defence to save their lives in the State of Missouri, occasioned that remark. She was called to order, being too personal. She, however, was determined to proceed with her favorite topic, without any formal rule of argument, to the question. From different individuals the house became quite confused. Some one asked her not to get mad; she thought it came from me, but it did not. She believed she was not mad nor insane, but spoke the truth in her usual engagedness. I made a few remarks, that when ladies spoke to any question, I should be pleased to hear them in a style that was becoming their feminine character. When such spoke, and were intelligent, and susceptible of being governed by the rules and orders of the society or house, it would be so received by all societies, more especially the free discussion society. She took her seat. The Elder Nickerson thus spoke. He pretended to take a review of what Mr. Sweet said the last Sunday: and said the statement that Mr. Sweet gave, what Jo Smith had said to him
in Boston, some years since, in Fanny Brewer's house, could not be correct, so far as related to the box that contained the golden plates. (See Sweet's statement on the preceding pages.) That Smith said the box was in shape of a cocked hat. The Elder, however, did not deny the possibility of the truth, but said Mr. Sweet, like himself, was getting old, and liable to forget. That Smith had uniformly told all that no one had seen the box or plates except the eleven evidences in the book. There were evidences then in the room that would swear to the truth of Mr. Sweet's statement, and Mr. Sweet consulted me on the propriety of bringing them to the stand. I gave advice to the contrary. (See preceding pages.) The Elder proceeded by saying the Mormons were fast spreading their truths and their faiths both in South and North America; that many were sent of God as in ancient days, when John, the forerunner of Jesus was sent, and so were the Mormons, not all; and every man is sent, but if any one come and preach not this doctrine that I preach, or shall preach any other gospel, let him be accursed. I stand here boldly before you, to promulge the truth. Will not one of you stand up with me to the help of the Lord against the mighty? No one appeared to aid the old veteran. He took his seat.
Mr. S. took the floor, and observed, that much had been said about the divine authority of the Book of Mormon, but little had been said to prove it. The Mormons cannot prove any book to be inspired. To do this, they must be inspired themselves to understand it, and is it not charging God foolishly, to say he has given such a revelation. God has inspired all, or he has not inspired any. It would be derogatory to his character, to do anything to the contrary. That the origin of the Mormon Bible is not in accordance with the general character of God, or his revelation. Agreeable to the christian belief, they have declared theirs to be the closing up of the cannon of the revelations of God to man. Would he have communicated in the manner and form as reported in the Book of Mormon? The true character of God is portrayed in the laws of universal nature. There it may be seen in the greatest splendor, in the proud lakes and pleasant fields, where nature is in her glory: there his greatness may be seen, and by the contemplative mind enjoyed. But the Mormons come to us with ancient pretences, such as have been doubted and denied by millions: they declare to us they have the superhuman power to work miracles. I shall hold them to their statements; this is the stand they have taken. They must be willing to stand or fall by this rule. If they get defeated on this trial, others that have like pretences must fall with them, and
in their fall they will carry down to the grave of oblivion, all fanaticism founded on the belief of miracles, such as will find themselves in one common grave, where there is no hope of resurrection.
The evidences of all that had believed, or should believe, is recorded, 16th of Mark, 17th and 18th verses and the Mormons have referred to them as proof. I shall not take their ipse dixit. They are here, and we must have something tangible. When they perform any one of those miracles recorded in that chapter, we sceptics shall be compelled to believe, in spite of ourselves. If the Mormons refuse, or neglect to give us a demonstration of their power, I shall remain in unbelief, and still believe they are a deluded sect. However, I must say they have been shamefully abused for their credulity. I wish, to treat them with candor and fair arguments, for the purpose of showing them the absolute falsity of their pretences. Mr. S. was informed of his time being fully expired, and he was seated.
Mr. L., an old sailor, has the floor next, and spoke in the affirmative of the question. He never heard a Mormon before. I think it is all true, what he has said, viz: that God will do as he says he will. I have experienced something like it in my life. Particularly one time at sea; I promised God if he would give us a fair wind, I would always be obedient to him; and the captain cursed me for my foolishness, for my pretensions or promises in my prayers. A fair wind came, and I have ever since been a believer. I admit I have not always been so good a child as I could wish, or such as I promised God to be. The promises to Abraham, and many others in the Bible, were proofs of God's doing as he said he would. That goes to establish the statements of the Mormons. He had heard the infidel speak on these subjects, but never heard any one deny the power of God to do all things, but always found them disposed not to believe what others had pretended to have seen; and unless they could see the same themselves, they could not believe. He concluded, and was seated.
I concluded from what he said, and the materials of which he is made, he, Mr. L. would make a first rate Mormon in sentiment. His gift of speech is not quite so rapid as the Mormons, but is equally novel and eccentric, and probably strictly honest in his remarks.
Mr. W. has the floor, and in his usual style, which is generally radical, and in many instances pithy and to the point. Said he, I hold in my hand a paper, called a chart of all religions, among which is that of Jo Smith, the Mormon's, creed. He referred to a number of texts to show their high pretences
to work special miracles, John, xiii. 14, Mark xvi. &c. So much for their pretended miracles that they say they can perform. He, Mr. W. did not believe that Deity had ever performed any one miracle by man; and if so anciently, he could, now; and if the Book of Mormon is a revelation from God, why do they not prove it such. If they will not give us the proof, such as they say they have in their power, of what use is it for us to discuss this question with them. If we should continue it to all eternity, they will not be able to prove the affirmative of the question at issue. What the Mormon has said, is all straw; he must prove what he has said to be a special revelation from God, or I shall conclude it is false; and further, they must prove by what source and power they work miracles, providing they could do that. I am assured in the Christian Bible that the devil had such power, and did deceive the christians. I think he has deceived my friend, the Mormon. Therefore, how shall we be able to decide which is the true or false. I think the Mormons are more consistent than the Christians, but believe it all false. Therefore all those that propagate such doctrines, are false men. By way of explanation, he said, if a falsehood be stated by any one, however sincere he may be that makes it, it does not make truth of it; therefore it implies falsehood, come from whom it may. This remark, by way of explanation was after Elder Nickerson had replied. Mr. W. was then seated.
Mr. N., the Mormon, replied to Mr. W. He began the attempt to describe him to the audience, by giving him some professional title, but could not readily recollect what Mr. W. was by profession, but he believed it was some kind of a magnetizing of the head, or something else; he could not tell precisely what it was. Mr. W. wants me to cut off my head, then put it on again, and then he will believe me; and if I should do that, and should put my head on sideways, or some other way, then he would not believe, unless it was put on precisely as it was before. He thought a man would be in a bad fix, and in an awkward situation, if he should try the experiment, if he should get his head on crossways, his feet going ahead, and his head strongly inclined to go sideways for safety. But he thought Mr. W. with his knowledge of feeling of the head, would be in a pitiful situation to tell what the predisposition of a man was, should one apply to him without any head on his shoulders. The Mormons give some hard cuts. The Elder was seated, when a Mr. R. claimed the floor. He made no pretences to a familiarity with the origin of the Mormons, he remarked, on the pretended miraculous manner in which the Book of Mormon was found by Jo Smith. He inquired if
any one could believe it came from God. It was unreasonable. He had been taught to believe the christian revelation was the closing of the books of revelation from God to man. He referred to Smith, the reputed author, as deciphering or translating the Book of Mormon from the Reformed Egyptian language, when it is said he cannot read his own language. That these circumstances were enough to doubt the truth of the whole concern, and the high, pretensions of the Mormons must go down, and unless the Mormons could give better evidence, he must conclude it all absurd; but if true it will stand the test of inquiry, if otherwise. If it will not bear that test practically, it must, like all other false faiths, fail. When Mr. R. had taken his seat, Mr. C. occupied the stand in favor of the Mormon book, as was supposed by the chairman, when he was inquired of which side of the question he intended to take. It was understood he said the Mormon. Notwithstanding the Sunday before he said he should be on the other side, I concluded I was not mistaken the last Sunday, when I introduced him to the Mormon as a young convert. He proceeded in the defence of the Book of Mormon, as being in accordance with the Christian Bible in many places. That no one book, however good and extensive it may be, could contain all the truth: therefore the Book of Mormon was a new era. He was not one of those persons that gave limits to free inquiry and science. He did not pay homage to any man, however great their pretensions, or ancient their records. He should not, like some that had spoken on this subject, say the Mormons were false men. Circumstances in history had given rise to the belief that great nations had been located in the far west, and in the south, and North America. The pilgrims, when they came here, they produced some new things to others unknown; and the Mormons may, and probably will do the same. He observed that one of the Mormons that had signed the book, as a witness, was originally a man of good reputation, by the name of Harris; therefore, if that be true, he could not reconcile himself to the cruel treatment the Mormons had received in Missouri, on account of their discovery. But this mode of treatment is in perfect accordance with all sects and ages, when any new or strange thing becomes developed. The Mormon sentiment may be more correct than many imagine, because it makes a kingdom in the mind, and is the true philosophy of all books, and all religions, come from whom they may, or wherever found. However, in conclusion, he said he had concluded as he gave intimation last Sunday, that he believed it was all from the devil, and immediately took his seat. Smiles by the audience. Thus his early conversion proved, as I expected, abortive, notwithstanding the pains I had taken to introduce him to the Mormon the last Sunday, as an indented apprentice.
My remarks should have followed the Elder Nickerson; but there being so many speakers, prevented it this time. I commenced by informing the audience that I had concluded to publish a compendium of the Book of Mormon, and an account of all the arguments that had been used for and against the question between the
Mormons and their opponents. I should give the subject matter of all the debates, which will make about 200 written pages, or 100 or more of full printed octavo; and should be pleased to have a corrected copy of their speeches. It will gratify the public, I presume, save me the trouble of taking them, which I should do as correct as possible. Should the speakers decline giving me the minutes of their statements, and not wish to be known publicly, I shall report them without giving their names at length, merely giving the first letter of their surname. As all speeches are public property, as soon as delivered, I presume no one can object to having the subject matter made public. I will now proceed; I have examined the evidences of the Mormon book, and such as my friend, the Mormon, relies on as the external evidences, and all other Mormons, as truth, viz: the eleven evidences that have sworn to the seeing, hefting and handing, the plates, and saw the engravings thereon, all of whom must have perjured themselves, as will fully appear, when you examine their statement, as I shall show, when I argue the case with the Mormon, and before the society, Sunday, in the forenoon, commencing about the first of August. As there are so many speakers on the subject, it is quite difficult for me to examine and argue the subject, having but twenty minutes of time to make any remark on the Mormon book, and the Elder is extremely cautious; he does not give the audience, as I expected, and had good right to demand, his book, to be brought forward by him and call on him to prove it a revelation from God, agreeable to the question at issue; therefore I have to show what his book contains. Unless I do, the audience must be in midnight darkness, never having read it. Therefore the audience will indulge me with their patience, while I shall give them a brief account of their pretences. If we find their statements will not bear the test of examination, of fair and unbiased research, let us condemn them. With this introduction, I will proceed to read the origin of the plates, taken from the 1st chapter, 1st book of the prophet Nephi. He, in the first ten pages, as will be seen in my compendium, gives an account that they were left in Jerusalem, and when, and what transpired before they got to the Red Sea, what occurrences took place in obtaining the plates, and records in them; they learn their genealogy of themselves and their ancestors: there we have an account of all their bickerings, and the many impossibilities they relate, all of which will be set forth in the compendium of this book. It will be seen to be a novel of no ordinary character, when it commenced from the pen of Solomon Spaulding, a clergyman, as I shall produce sufficient evidence to show, from Mrs. Spaulding, the wife of Spaulding, who has since become a widow, and name changed by marriage to that of Mrs. Davidson. Her statement, with the statement of many of the neighbors that lived in the neighborhood at the time this manuscript of Spaulding was got up and published, will be sufficient to show every one that this Mormon Book, by the artful and designed, has been made out of that novel, by many alterations, and studied craft, not by Jo Smith, as it
purports, but by some parsons that well know how to operate on the ignorant and credulous; they make a good selection in making Joe Smith a cats-paw, a kind of scape-goat; all of which, and the testimony I shall alternately produce, will establish, and, to every rational mind, show the negative of the question at issue, to be well settled. With these remarks I will conclude, my time of twenty minutes having expired.
Mr. Hill, a Mormon, rose to reply, and asked leave to make a few remarks. He was a man of no ordinary talent. I extremely regretted the time of adjournment of the meeting had arrived, and was called, which prevented Mr. Hill from proceeding. It would have been pleasing to heard his reply to what I expected to prove. He would have told us, I presume, that he knew the book of mormon to be true by the power of God, as Martin Harris saw the plates, not with his natural eyes, but by the power of faith; what he and I believe, the Mormons generally call the power of God: by this pretence, that faith is the gift of God. Voted to adjourn the meeting, 19th of July, at 2 of the clock, P. M., at Winchester Hall.
Sunday, 19th, met according to the adjournment. Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon, has the floor, in support of the question, that the book of Mormon is a revelation from God. He observed he had received a new revelation the past week, more evidences of its origin being divine; a confirmation of the plates being found; that the hand-writing of a letter from old father Abraham, the patriarch, was found; that he had received such knowledge from a friend, his name not to be mentioned, that a Mr. Michael Chandler had a copy of this letter deciphered. He also had the biography of Joseph Smith, the prophet. I should think the biography of Joseph Smith and this letter from the good old patriarch would appear well together. Chandler says he was in Kirkland [sic], Ohio, a Mormon town, at the time there were two mummies found, and that this letter was with them preserved; and if that is true, said the Elder, and I have no doubt it is, it would silence all that had been said, or could be said, about the falsity, and perjury of the witnesses to the book of Mormon. He read, or attempted to read, a part of a letter, purporting to be an extract from the Abrahamic letter, that was found with the mummy; it was a perfect jargon of nonsense, such as would disgrace any audience; it was so written that the Elder could not be understood what he did read, therefore, I did not report any of it. I concluded that he had better take the letter to the prophet Joe, and let him review the translation. This letter, the Elder said, would be of great value to the cause of the book of Mormon, for every one would see how God was determined to establish the truth, and he would do it in spite of men or devils. By the help and power of God, he expected to convince every person in Boston, that would hear and repent of their sins, and be baptised, and become obedient; they would see the whole proved to their satisfaction, notwithstanding what had been said by his friend, that he would satisfy every rational mind that it was the work of Solomon
Spaulding, that gave out the first manuscript as a sacred novel, and that it was made up to suit the ignorant and the credulous; if so, they had many well read men that embraced the faith, and these our opponents pretend to say, are the wire-pullers to carry on the farce. The Elder's time being expired, he was seated.
I then commenced my remarks, which was in order, as I wished to hear what others should say, for the purpose of publishing it. I was tired of waiting for evidence to prove the book of Mormon divine; there had not been any attempt of any kind; the burden of proof was on the affirmative; but I am aware the Mormon does not intend any such mode, but merely divert the attention of the audience, by making appeals to them, telling them what God will do, not what the book of Mormon is, and where it was found. No, this would destroy his whole scheme. The absurdity in that book, he is well aware, must seal his fate on that question; therefore, the task must fall on me to give an exposition of it. This book of mormon, which purports to be the prophecy of one Lehi and others, his leaving Jerusalem through fear of the Babylonians, and under the express orders of God, is false, and not in accordance with the Old Testament.
Every person, well read in the history of the Jewish nation, will see, in the history of the pious Jews, which shows plainly that God required them never to leave the place of their fathers, on no account, but put their trust in God, and that the temple in Jerusalem was the place assigned them and their children to worship. Hence David said he had rather be door keeper in the house of the Lord, than dwell in tents of wickedness. Again, when Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians, and the Jews under marching orders, they halted, and sat down by the river and wept; -- for what? Because they were compelled to leave Jerusalem, the place where they assembled to worship -- they were grieved. They hung their harps on the willows by the side of the river -- they refused to sing the Lord's song in a strange land. They all, as one, swore by their God, that their right hand should forget its cunning, and their tongues cleave to the roof of their mouth, before they would forget thee, O Jerusalem. If I have given a fair description of the feelings of the pious Jews, then the inference is, if Lehi, the prophet, left the city with his family, as the book says, he must have been an impious Jew, and every one will think so, to look at his subsequent life. Provided it is true, Lehi must have been of a reprobate character. He never had any wish to return, notwithstanding he left possessions that were very valuable, gold and silver, houses and lands, and underwent severe privations. We do not hear any grief from him on account of having to leave the temple of the Lord; no breathing, after holiness for temple worship; no loss of friendship in parting from all his relatives, when, as he pretends, and says, he was told, of God's angel, to fly and leave the city, for God would suffer it to be trodden down of men. The whole story, as you will see, is doubtful fact; but when viewed as ft novel) it is romantic and vain. There is not a man on earth
that can make sense of its history. Any person of common sense will see in the book of Mormon, that every transaction related is of the marvelous, from the commencement to the end; and their superhuman acts far exceeds all other acts in any other history. The children of Israel had a pillar of fire by night, that is, a continual blaze ascending upward, by the aid of the officers, to let the immense army know, of a truth, that their leaders had not deserted them. But what is this to Lehi? -- nothing, not a circumstance. Here Lehi went out in the morning in the wilderness, where the foot of man could not be found, there he finds a brass ball, within it was a compass, that told them how to steer for the Red Sea, or any where they desired to go; added to this, was writing on that ball, that would alter as their faith should wish, or wherever they wished to go and get food, or any other thing or place, the writing would change; and was legible, so that their wives and children saw it, and read it; and this compass was always subservient to their wishes so long as they obeyed God, either on the land or sea; when they should disobey God or the prophet Lehi, or his son Nephi, this patent compass would not traverse: all of which I have alluded to in my compendium. I remark on the absurdity of the compass found out twenty five hundred years since, by this stupid Lehi, and kept hidden from enlightened nations until about three hundred and fifty years since. I referred to the absolute absurdity of their building vessels, to cross the ocean, without tools or mechanics. I also referred the audience to the state of ignorance they admitted themselves in, not knowing how to get fire, or make any apparatus to blow it when got; they must receive all this knowledge by information from angels; he told them to smash two stones together to get fire, and took skins and made bellowses. I remark here, that the phraseology is a New York Yankee phrase, about those days 1827. I wonder if the same phrase was common among the Jews twenty five hundred years before? Think ye they spelt it the same? However, they said the women had to eat raw meat before, but they grew strong and gave much milk for their children, as you will see in the compendium. The reader will see, by a careful perusal of all the Mormon book, -- among all the writers they pretend to be about fifteen of them -- there is a perfect sameness of style throughout all the book, plainly indicating that one hand, and one cranium, got up this yankee romance, as I shall show you in the further prosecution of my inquiries.
I was notified that my time had fully expired. I took my seat. When Mr. R. S. rose and said he intended to say a few words in favor of the Mormons. As the Gospel preachers, now a days, are coming out, preaching rank infidelity, (reference to Mr. Parker's ordination sermon,) and if true, he should bring some strong arguments in favor of the Mormons So far as to compel the Mormons to comply with the christian books, to heal the sick, take up serpents, to cast out devils, drink deadly poisons and it should not hurt them. They think they do comply with these injunctions when they take up the serpent of infidelity, and when they lay their
hands on those that are sin sick, and point them to the true way of life. He had heard Mr. N., the Mormon, say, he had healed the sick, and he had laid his hands on one lady, that was undergoing the infirmities of disease, and she was healed; and though bent with age, she became straight immediately. Cannot the Almighty work by means, through the Mormons, as well as by any one else? For his part he did not see why the Mormon magnetism was not as likely to be true as Dr. Collyer's magnetism. He had not time to bring his strong arguments, and was seated. I am of the opinion that the Mormon cause did not receive great support from our friend R. S. When he brings his strong arguments, as he stated they were, I think the Mormon question will not flourish. Many of the speakers, I believe, from what they said, intended it as a satire, covered over with honest pretensions. The great object was to see the effect of flattery on the Mormons; it had that effect at times. Whenever anything favorable to their cause was spoken, it seemed to raise their degrees of faith.
Mr. W. W. commenced by saying, the question touching the divine origin of the book of Mormon was perfectly nugatory; and the pretences they set up, to comply with the conditions of their belief, as being signs that shall follow them that believe, as related in the Bible, is not only false, and inconsistent, but criminal; and any person that pretends to any of its requirements, unless he can demonstrate it, by practically performing some one of these superhuman acts, is not only inconsistent with himself, but is practically dishonest with others. That the pretences set up, by any of the book writers, of the performance of miracles, is criminal. The book of Mormon was brought as collateral security to support the Jewish and christian religions, with the highest expectation that those books and their patrons would approve of the Mormons; that the ultimate object is to contend for the whole, when they must know they are equally untrue, and unreasonable; that Deity has no where revealed himself but of the laws of nature, notwithstanding all the arguments to the contrary. Such miraculous power never had been given to the church; in all ages people had been deceived by believing such power existed. There is no criterion to judge and try the books on their merits. If the Bible is to be accredited, devils can cast out devils, and perform other miraculous things; then where is the security of such belief? The falsehood of their testimony is not more miraculous than what they relate. If devils can work miracles, and we cannot decide between divine and satanic, we shall be more safe to disregard all pretenders whatever. It appears to me that these pretenders to work miracles, whoever they are, and wherever found, are but so many baptisers of crime, subject to the severities of common sense; and if it is possible for any of them to be honest, they are the fit subjects for the sympathy of humanity.
With these closing remarks Mr. W. W. took his seat, and was followed by Mr. S. Can the Mormons be sincere? I believe they can; and if so, I cannot see, for my life, where the charge of dishonesty
is with the Mormons, which my friend has so lavishly bestowed on them.
It does not follow, because a man may be deceived, he is, or must be, practically dishonest. The criterion of a man's honesty is his conscience, and motive of action. A hypocrite is denominated by doing something contrary to what he knows to be right, or believes to be just. Is this the case with the Mormons? I have thought the contrary, and believe them to be deluded; that they have been abused, and have sacrificed all their possessions, and have had to stem the current of the tide, the torrent of persecution and the storm of public sentiment, and general degradation. But they tell us the false go with the stream; they glide down the current of time, always ready to turn the streams to their private interest. I believe sincerity is no evidence of truth, but it is of honesty of intention. The Mormons, like multitudes of others that have, and do exist, pretend to the belief and to the practice of working miracles, as proof of their mission from God. I have uniformly said, and shall demand of them the practical demonstration of their performing some one superhuman act, and thus prove their revelation complete; and until they do that, I must remain an unbeliever in all their religions. I sincerely believe the Mormons are in a perfect hallucination of mind. I am willing to give them every opportunity to rid themselves of the charge I have made against them. They must ever remain deceived by the powers of their imagination, so long as they pretend to any acts above the laws of nature. Mr. Chairman, I have briefly given my opinion on the question, as it is in future to be continued between Mr. Nickerson and Mr. Parsons. I understand this is the proposed arrangement between the respective parties. I think it will give them a better opportunity to get a correct exposition of the Book of Mormon, as but few of us know anything of its merits or its pretensions, except what we have heard in the course of this discussion, which has been quite limited on the part of the Mormon.
The usual hour of adjournment having arrived, it was proposed to have the Mormon question adjourned to Sunday next, at ten of the clock, A. M., to give Mr. Parsons an opportunity of arguing the question with Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon. This was proposed by Mr. Parsons, and Mr. N. was perfectly agreed. This arrangement gave the respective parties one hour each in the forenoon. The meeting was adjourned to Sunday next, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
Having given the subject matter of all the debates by Mr. Nickerson, the Mormon, and those that chose to take any part in the debate, I am now to give you, as proposed, the internal and external evidences, with arguments from scripture and reason, to refute its pretences to a revelation from God.
According to the adjournment, the audience assembled, Sunday, August 1st, at 10 A. M., at the Hall. Mr. Nickerson, as usual, commenced in support of the affirmative of the question, by remarking he was happy to have the opportunity to appear in the Cause of his heavenly father, and that he had been engaged in his
cause the past week; and he had many things to relate, such as would astonish many. He then read a long account from Kirkland, in the Ohio, relating to the Egyptian mummies spoken of before, together with the letter written on papyrus, and was accredited by the Mormons to have been written by the father of the faithful Abraham; that it had excited the attention of the learned to have it deciphered; and it was referred to Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet, and he did it. He attempted to read a copy of it, but it was so complicated and confused, friend Nickerson could not read it so well as probably he would have done, if Jo Smith could decipher it again. It was such jargon, I could not disgrace this pamphlet with it. The object of pretending to read this hoaxing story, was to impress the audience with the belief that Jo Smith had not lost the art of translating the languages. He called the name of Chandler, to test the truth that Jo Smith told him this story.
This is all the new revelation, and the astonishing story he said he should relate. Remember Chandler is not present. He observed he sincerely knew it was all true, by the power of God. He said he did not suppose I should believe it, neither did he suppose I believed anything in the Book of Mormon. By my remarks, he supposed I did not believe the Jewish history to be of God. He cautioned the audience against all that I had said, or may say, as it was all carefully studied, and put together for the purpose of proving the Mormons a deluded set of fanatics, and thus destroy the Mormon faith. But that cannot be done, because it is of God. He then introduced one half sheet of texts, from Genesis to Revelations, to show the connection between the Jewish, Christian and Mormon, such as the Mormons rely on as internal evidences to prove the Book of Mormon of divine revelation. I will not trouble the reader with the texts, but simply refer to some of the most prominent quotations. I will not impose such a hardship to quote them at length. You will turn to them at your leisure. Ephesians i. 10 -- Acts xxi. -- Mark iv. -- Daniel ii. -- Hosea vi. -- Isaiah xvi. -- Jeremiah xxxix. -- Ezekiel xvi., -- all of which he read a few verses, and to the end. I could not discover any argument he could raise from those texts quoted, neither did he attempt any. He said all these passages, and thousands more, may be quoted to prove the Book of Mormon divine, but he would now close, and hear what I had to offer to disprove what had been said or written in the Book of Mormon, on its internal or external evidences. He cautioned the audience repeatedly against what I should say, "for he does not believe in miracles, in any book, and if so, how can he believe the Mormons." Having occupied his time, he was seated.
The audience will see, by a careful perusal of what Mr. Nickerson has said, from the first commencement, he has not spoken of any part of his Book of Mormon. He has been cautious not to relate what it contains. He must well know, if he does know anything about truth, that the whole internal and external evidences to the Book of Mormon are as false as they are delusive. He must know, by hearsay, at least, or by the power of God, as he knows
everything, that this book of his is the work of some eccentric genius, a novel account, for the purpose of accomplishing the object of a paramount revelation from God. It must be made so as to accredit it to the ignorant and unlearned as its authors, then it would be in accordance with the New Testament; got up by the ignorant. With these circumstances before them, they made a good choice to fix the authorship on a boy of 17 years of age; as lazy as a Mohone soldier, and as ignorant as he was indolent; belonging to a family celebrated for their visionary powers and credulity in all kinds of craft. The general character of the whole family of Smiths bears this general stamp, vulgarly called money diggers; too indolent to work, and always in the pursuit of money hid in the earth. The universal testimony of all that have been quoted, give the Smiths this character, as above described. I ask, are such persons and circumstances as I have described, to be accredited for giving a correct history taken from the Egyptian languages, being perfectly ignorant of all languages? How absurd for the Mormons to carry out their principles of evidences to be in accordance with the Jewish and Christian books. They pretend to believe every word of the Old and New Testament, and that their book contains like special revelations and prophecies, accompanied with abundance of miracles. That the Book of Mormon contains all the various rules, orders, institutions, ordinances and commandments from God to the ancient patriarchs, prophets, Jews and Gentiles, from creation to the year 1830, at the time the Mormon Book was printed in Palmyra, in the State of New York. This proves too much, Mr. Mormon. It therefore proves nothing in support of the Book of Mormon, but proves to a demonstration that this novel book was got up by some novel writer about the year 1827. A man by the name of Solomon Spaulding wrote the general manuscript from which this was probably taken, as will fully appear. Therefore we can account for it; references to all the circumstances and ordinances, doctrines, customs, style of Yankee languages, together with all the religious bickerings, sentiments, religious, civil and political, such as was the order of the day through the Yankee States at the time this book was written. How absurd to suppose a book like this to completely put the Jewish history in the shade, and gives the history the lie. The Mormon Book is as familiar with the words Christian and Christianity 600 years before they, the people, were first called Christians, at Antioch. Who asserted this falsehood, the Christiins, or Jo Smith? Again, to refute their pretences, God made a strong and solemn covenant with the Jews at Mount Sinai, and established a priesthood; that he gave it exclusively to the tribe of Levi, and a superior or high priesthood to Aaron, and his sons for an everlasting covenant; and they were not to be revoked so long as the temple should stand, and until the Messiah should come. Then God said, Moses shall appoint Aaron, and his sons, and they shall wait on the priest office; and the stranger, any person of any other family who cometh nigh, shall be put to death: Numbers iii. 10. In this chapter, my position is clearly
established. If correct, God could not have covenanted with the prophet Lehi, as is stated in the Book of Mormon, 7th page, to take his family and go to a promised land; there build a temple, and set up a new priesthood. Who is false here? Again, the priests of the sons of Levi shall come near, for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their words every controversy and every stroke shall be tried. Here, then, Mr. Mormon, you see the power of the priesthood was exclusively given to the priests, the sons of Levi, to carry out the whole Jewish laws: Numbers xviii.; and if any other should make any claims whatever to this right, he should surely die. Where then are the pretences that God ordered Lehi out of Jerusalem to go to some unknown land, and there get up a new system? Either the Jewish system is a hoax, in all its parts, or the Mormons' is a perfect humbug, a medley mixture of nonsense. Thus I have shown the Book of Mormon not to be in accordance with the Old Testament, that its internal evidences, as relied on by the Mormons, so far as relates to the old Jewish history, are false. In my next speech I shall call the attention of the audience to farther evidences in the Old and New Testament, which I shall produce to refute your pretences, Mr. Mormon.
My time of 30 minutes having expired, Elder Nickerson took the stand, and with his uniform introduction, that I have so often repeated, I think it not worth while to repeat again. He cautioned the audience listening to what I had said, relating to the internal evidences that the Mormons relied on in the Old and New Testament. I assure you, we believe every word of the Old and New Testament, as the word of God; if God said one word of it, he spoke the whole of it; but my opponent, I believe, does not make any pretences to believing it the word of God; but is the work and word of man, a work of nations, regulating their national religions, to govern the people; believing it expedient to have some established rules of faith, and uniform practice, to govern their subjects. Therefore you see he will so manage his arguments, and so construe all his texts of scripture as will best answer his designs. He is about publishing all that has been said, and will be said, that he may put the Mormon Book down, or make it appear ridiculous; but, my friends, God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, as I shall show you before I leave this city: my friend is going to get money by this, therefore he wants watching. He is making a great effort. Therefore I think if there is any true genuine Christians present, they should come to the help of the Lord against the mighty. If my time would permit me, I would refer to the texts he has quoted, and show you that the Book of Mormon is all true. I know it by the power of God; and it proves the Old and New Testament true, and those books prove the Book of Mormon true. But my opponent does not believe either of them; of course he will do all he can to put them down.
But my friends, it is of God, and will stand; the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I feel thankful for this privilege of
speaking for God at this time, to bear witness to his word. Having said thus much, I will say I have been treated with all politeness by this Society: they have shown themselves friendly, and my friend that has been in debate with me on the Book of Mormon, I find no fault with him; and in what he has said, I believe him perfectly sincere; but as I said before, we must watch his arguments, and see if they are in accordance with the word of God. His mode of showing up the Book of Mormon is to read some astonishing and miraculous account, and then ask you if you can believe a word of it. I tell you, my friends, I did not come here to tell you what I believe, but what I know by the power of God; the devils believe, and tremble. Having said thus much, my friends, and my time is about expiring, I shall take my seat, and listen to my friend, and reply to him the next Sunday. The Elder then took his seat.
I replied, Elder Nickerson has spent much of his time exhorting you to watch my arguments relating to his Book of Mormon; that I am about making it lucrative, and I wish that was true, and capable of proof. If I can obtain sufficient patronage to pay me for my time spent, I shall be satisfied by the belief that the public will be benefitted. I will now proceed agreeably to my closing remarks in my last speech. I dwell on this part of my remarks, because the whole plan of the artful Mormons, is, to base the origin, back and front of their book; and all its subsequent acts. On the express orders of the Jewish and Christian books, not only a confirmation of the truth of theirs, but its pretences, are more than paramount in truth and quality, but they, in effect, are a part and parcel of the same. Now allow me to examine a text to see if my friend Mormon will dare to deny as collateral security for what I have already advanced, and such as he must destroy, or explain away, or he will be compelled to acknowledge the system of Mormonism, as stated in his book, is spurious, and cannot be sustained; all of which I shall submit to the audience and to the public, most cheerfully, for their candid consideration. Hebrews vii. Paul was so sanguine with the sentiments I have advanced, that if Jesus were present on earth, he could not have been a priest, under the law. For says he, Jesus was of a tribe concerning which Moses spake nothing of priesthood. This being the opinion of Paul, how will the delusions of the Mormons correspond. Paul's arguments are, the covenant from God, or grant to the Levites; and the high priesthood to Aaron and his sons, were irrevocable to all intents and purposes, and that Jesus was excluded from all official orders under the law. I have bestowed more
pains on this part of the evidence, perhaps, than was required; but I am determined to investigate the subject fully and fairly.
How absurd the Mormon statements, when compared with the Jews, that are said to be expressly from God, and so admitted by my friend Nickerson. He says that every word is from God. Here we find a grand violation of all the fundamental laws of the Jews, in every particular, recorded 560 years before the Jewish economy was completed. Here we see the old Jew Lehi, the prophet, left Jerusalem, and notwithstanding this gross outrage on the covenant rights of God, and of the well established laws of the Jews. This young prophet Nephi, a son of Lehi, claims the privilege of being under the laws of Moses, and represents himself as acting under all its laws. When 35 years from Jerusalem, they make a new priesthood, and say, God approbates it. He consecrates a high priest, and all this time teaching the laws of Moses, and exhorting the people to keep it. Page 146 and 200, there says, we entered into covenant with God to keep his commandments. Thus we see, Mr. Mormon, the absolute falsehood; while you pretend, on one page to keep the laws of God, on the next page you utterly destroy it, by your practice. Then, I ask my audience, where is the claim to a divine origin or inspiration, providing the Jewish or the Christian scheme, are to be considered a revelation from God? One or the other must be false. Which is it, Mr. N.? You have sworn they are both true, and God's word.
Again, to put the question to rest on this point, notwithstanding God had covenanted with the priests, that they should have all the fat pieces of all the lambs, beeves, &c., and be supported by the people. And in confirmation of that law, our ancestors have received one tenth, that is the priesthood. But the Mormons, on page 122, say, under the king Mosiah, he issued a law, that the priests and teachers should work and earn their bread. I approve of that law, the laws of God to the contrary notwithstanding. I think it a great improvement in society; but for the Mormons to do this, under the pretence that they were in obedience to the laws of God, it shows, as large as life, their false pretences. I have proved, by this statement, recorded in the book of Mormon, that the God of the patriarchs, and of the Jews, have made false records, or Joe Smith and his associates have. Which do you think it is, Mr. Mormon?
In proving this fact, it is not intended, by me, to prove, or to have the reader understand that I believe all the Jewish records are divine; but comparing the book of Mormon, its pretensions with the Jewish records is fabulous, novel, and vain. Thus far I have proceeded with the internal evidences, to show the Mormons their books are false.
The same degree of ignorance, impudence, and error, runs through the whole Mormon book, for the time of 600 years before the Christian Era. They make the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, grossly abuse and violate his own promises to Israel and Judah, concerning the land of promise, viz: that of Canaan, inasmuch
as the Mormon book, by their prophet, says God promised a new land or world to Lehi -- a reprobate Jew, as I call him -- if he would run away from Jerusalem, when in danger. The reasons assigned is, because God could not protect it from the Babylonians. How absurd, when applied to God, for to advise one solitary old man to leave the city with his family, to leave that holy place, that he had wrought so many mighty wonders, in their favor, to locate them there, then tell them to put no confidence in him any longer unless they depart; and all others of God's people not know a word about all this secrecy, from that date to this! This is so palpable a falsehood, and so replete with absurdity, it is not worth my notice or time to argue it, before an intelligent audience. And were it not coming before a world that has been inundated with errors and false revelations, outbreakings of ignorance and delusions, which have bled the world to every pore, I should not have accepted this Mormon challenge. This book of Mormon, with their hundreds of thousands of honest, ignorant dupes, bids fair to become a powerful sect, in the far West, unless they can be convinced of the gross errors and delusions they have embraced. The day is not far distant when some ambitious leader will lead there on as the vanguard of a great and powerful number, all armed and equipt, to give battle in obedience to their God; and like all religious fanatics, when possessed with power, will again deluge the earth with human blood; and all this cruelty with, -- thus saith the Lord. I will quote one more case to show the Mormon history is false, and not in accordance with the Jewish. This is the last, but not the least, of all the Jewish prophecies to this point, viz: Malachi iii. 16. It appears, that when dangers surrounded them, they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought on his name. How does this compare, friend Nickerson, with your Mormon prophet Lehi. In lieu of his calling on God, and congregating with the pious Jews in time of danger. He cut stick, ran away and left all his old friends, his country, the holy temple, and his God; and in lieu of grieving, praying and mourning for the situation of Jerusalem, as the pious Jews did, when they sat by the river Babylon, the Mormons killed the recording secretary, and stole the records, and ran off; and, by their own account, have been fighting and murdering each other ever since. This is fully shown in my compendium from the book of Mormon.
I have given the audience sufficient evidence to show that the Mormons have no claim on the Jewish records, to support the truth of theirs. In my next speech, on Sunday next, I shall examine the New Testament, and see if their claims be well founded. I expect to prove them equally false and delusive.
The meeting was adjourned to next Sunday, the 8th. Met according to adjournment, at 10 of the clock, A. M. in Winchester Hall. Mr. Nickerson commenced his remarks in support of the book of Mormon, in his usual manner. As before described, he was happy
to have the chance of proving the truth of his book. My opponent has not produced one sentence to prove it false. But I have shown and proved, by what I have said, that 'tis all of God, from Adam to Noah, that afterwards all the Mormon records were handed down from father to son, and that is the way they have been preserved from the prophet Lehi, to the prophet Joseph Smith; and they all have been most miraculously saved through all the hardships and destructions of those that had the care of them. What do you want of better proof than this? I did not come to Boston to deceive any one, nor to tell what I believe, but to tell the truth, and what I know, by the power of God on my own soul. My antagonist has told a long and ingenious story, well put together, to deceive the people, to make the christians believe the prophet Lehi was an impious Jew, and run away from God and his country. Who would not run away when God said run? Would ye stay and be killed or imprisoned? No, obey God, and he will do all he says he will. I believe he will do all he has agreed to do. He will cause the Jews to inhabit the land of Palestine. I believe every word of the Bible. And, as sure as we live, the Mormons will yet have their inheritance in the New Jerusalem, in the State of Missouri, from which they have been driven. We believe God will restore it to us, with interest.
I should admire to know why it is the christians do not come out to the help of the Lord. Do they expect the infidels will turn christians because one of them is attempting to put down the faith of Mormons? It is well for my opponent that he has not attempted to show the eleven evidences is false, and I am the twelfth -- smiles by the audience. I thought he had belter wait till I come to these true blues, and see what the truth will make of them or their evidences. He proceeds and says, his opponent is determined to tear the book of Mormon all to pieces, and expose the whole of it to public ridicule, but he cannot do that, with all his industry and honesty; for that book, like all God's Word, is powerful, to the dividing asunder the joints and marrow. Every one that comes to God must come with his whole heart; God does not want any half-way christians; you must come out now, when you may be of some use. Now the storm rages, then it is when the ship's crew is wanted; not when it is fair weather and fair wind. Having said thus much, I desire all those that mean to be on God's side, to come out and be baptised for the remission of their sins, and receive the Holy Ghost. This made a loud smile on the audience. I intend, said the Mormon, in my next speech, to show the fallacy of all my opponent has said. Have I not produced 15 to 20 chapters already to prove my claims? Has he refuted any of them? I desire you would watch him close. You recollect he does not believe your book, where it speaks of miracles, no more than he does of the Mormons. All religious books that come from God consists of miracles; and if we obey God we have the power to perform all things. Does not God say, where two or three have met together in his name, and shall ask of him
anything, it shall be granted? Do you think God will not do as he says? My life for it he will. I will now wait to hear what my opponent has to say further about the Mormons, or their internal evidences, from the New Testament. No doubt he will show some very plausible texts; look sharp at him -- smiles by the audience.
Mr. Nickerson then took his seat, his time being fully expired. I then proceeded, by way of reply, agreeable to my notice in my last speech. My friend N. has made the same remarks in substance that he has now made seven times, viz: that I had not proved any one thing false in the book of Mormon. He had forgotten it is on the affirmative of the question to prove it true, but we must make some allowance for him, as he is probably not much versed in debates. The audience will judge of all his rigmarole, or harangue, for I cannot call it any thing else; what is it but a course of whipping of the Christians over the backs of Infidels. The Christians present must have smiled at his weakness; and have pitied him in his happy delusions; in his mixture of religious piety, and his usual quantity of acrimony, served to make the audience smile frequently. I will now proceed to the New Testament evidences, as I proposed to refute the Book of Mormon. Paul made the twelve apostles the grand source whereby the development of the gospel was made known; the same, says he, that has been hidden with God for ages, and generations which were ordained before the world to their glory, as the missioners of Christ; this you will find in the 3d chapter of Ephesians.
But what says the Book of Mormon? It developes the same scheme 600 years before the Messiah began to disclose the grand secret; the Mormons knew of it previous to Jesus knowing any thing about it. Where, Mr. Mormon, did you get this intelligence. I answer, you got this novel account out of Solomon Spaulding's sacred manuscript, written in the State of Ohio, or elsewhere. Not written by Jo Smith, nor translated by him from Egyptian language, as you have falsely stated; as I shall prove to the satisfaction of the audience, how absurd the Mormon pretensions. Now hear Paul's testimony, Mr. Mormon. I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, "for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of this dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you ward, how that by revelations he made known the mystery, as I wrote before, in a few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets, by the spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel.
This statement of Paul's is a flat denial of all the Mormon pretences, as it relates to the revelation of the Mormon prophets. They have in their book declared and published the whole scheme of the gospel plan, 600 years before Paul says it was made known to the sons of men. Who tells the truth in this case, Paul, or Jo Smith,
Mr. Nickerson. You may make your choice. You have repeatedly said to the audience that every word of the Old and New Testament, and the Book of Mormon is true, and you knew it was by the power of God. Again, you say in your book, that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, p. 240. viz: and behold he shall be born of Mary, in Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers.
What an outrage on the truth. Let us examine the Christian Book, 1st, by prophecy; he was to be born of the tribe of Judah, and in the village of Bethlehem. Here is the proof, Mr. Mormon. Mark 2d. -- Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born of the Jews, for we have seen his star, and have come to worship him. Herod issued out his orders to the chief priests and scribes, to know where he was to be born, and they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judah -- Matthew ii. 5. Here, Mr. Mormon, your book must be false in this statement. Who would be likely to know best, the inhabitants of Bethlehem of Judah, where they first found the child, or the prophet Alma, in South America, as reported in your book, p. 232, chap. 3d. Or did the famous Jo Smith, the Mormon General, make a mistake in deciphering Solomon Spaulding's narrative? Mr. Nickerson tell not these Mormon falsehoods, as written in your bible, to the inhabitants of Boston. Publish them not in our streets as truths, lest the fair daughters of this city publish you, and all the Mormon fraternity, as a deluded people. Again, your prophet Nephi says, that John the Baptist should baptise in Bethabary. Here one would think the prophet should tell the truth; he uses all the language concerning John, 600 years before John was born, viz: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Here the Mormon is false; look at the proof. Matt. ii: 13v. then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan, to be baptised of John; 3d ch. 4v. then went out to him out of Jerusalem and all Judea; and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptised of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
I will not dwell long on your patience; I could quote 100 texts to the purpose, to show the falsity of the Mormon pretences, when compared with the Old or New Testament. I have shown sufficient to prove their book to be completely at war with all the principal facts on which the truth of their history depends. Again: The Book of Mormon is evidently written by one person; its style, and Yankee vulgar language, is the language of all the prophets, viz: about 15 of them; they write as familiarly about all the sects of religionists 2500 years since, as Solomon Spaulding could in 1823 [sic]; they use all the language, and repeat whole chapters in the New and in the Old Testament, verbatim; they speak of the Christians, a word as common in their book 2000 years before Christ as it is now a days. How does this, Mr. Nickerson, compare with truth of the New Testament; hear the proof, and blush for your ignorance, which you frequently admit. Acts xi: 26 -- and the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
For the Mormons to pretend to call a sect Christians 600 years before Christ was born, is a falsehood of the deepest die, in my opinion. In review of the internal evidences of the Mormon Bible, when compared with the history of the Jewish, or the Christian, it is as false as it is fabulous, to say the Christian institutions were in use and practice among the Mormons, and among the Israelites; and that there were a people called Christians 600 years before Christ was born, when the name was derived from him, is absurd; these and a thousand of other fanatic blunders, and bare faced falsehoods in all and every part of their history, it proves the falsity of its pretensions: while it purports to be the writings of 12 or 15 prophets of God, ordered to write at different times, for the space of more than one thousand years, and in different countries, Jerusalem, and the Red Sea, on the Pacific Ocean, and in South and North America, thence to the State of New York, there buried, until Jo Smith, the prophet, dug it up, as before described, all written in the language common to Yankees, of 1827, when it appeared all the product of one's cranium, not Jo Smith, but some one that first wrote a manuscript, from which this was remodeled, that had long since forgotten more than the prophet Jo Smith, and thousand of his dupes ever knew, or ever will know.
Should an instrument be found written, where large sums of money were pending, and the same came before any of the high courts to be adjudged; the high Court of St. Petersburg, in Russia, France, England, Germany, or America, they would adjudge it written all by one person, and about the same time; thousands of passages in the book may be quoted to show the truth of my remarks, but it would swell my pages quite too voluminous to be read. Was the novelist that originated the manuscript now living, he would smile to see the tens of thousands, and the probable millions of dupes he had made without the least design, but merely wrote to please himself, to see how he could people the far west in its origin. Having concluded my remarks, and proofs of the internal evidences to refute the pretences of the Book of Mormon being divine revelation, I shall close all my remarks or proofs next Sunday, on the external evidences, showing them to be equally false in support of the affirmative of the question at issue. The meeting was then adjourned to Sunday next, at 10, A. M., at Winchester Hall.
Met according to adjournment. Mr. Nickerson commenced in his usual style; his introduction is generally uniform, as you will see, therefore I shall not repeat it. He observed, that he expected a man from New York to preach, but as he is not come, I shall proceed to discuss the question with my opponent on the Book of Mormon. He has told us he shall conclude his remarks; I have no doubt you will all acknowledge the truth that I have advanced about the divine revelation of the Book of Mormon -- for it is all true as the Old and New Testament; they are both true, and they swear for each other; they prove the Book of Mormon divine, and the Book of Mormon proves them divine, and all that believe on
them will have a part in the first resurrection; I hope all in divine presence will not be led astray by my opponent's arguments, for he will undertake to-day to make a clean sweep of all the external evidence of the Book of Mormon; but he cannot do that; if eight of them are of two families, cannot they be honest men as well as though they belonged to eight families; there are eleven of them, and Brother Joseph, the prophet, will make twelve, and I can endorse for all of them -- (smiles by the audience.) He is going to prove or to show the probability that Solomon Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon, or as he says it, was taken from his novel, that was published about 1823. Yes, all this hue and cry about the Book of Mormon, is just such as is made about Infidels. How does my friend like that? but my head for it, we shall find it all true, and we shall be glad to have this book to show we were honest believers in it, when we shall be called to account for our stewardship. My friends, I have been here arguing all the great truths with my friend, and he is about closing all his remarks, and remember he is about publishing all that has been said by us all, and his book will show I have told the truth; I do not pretend to be learned, but I pretend to be an honest man; and therefore, I call on you to believe, and be baptized for the remission of sins, as Peter said to Cornelius, what hindreth. I am ready to baptize you, and receive you; and to lay down my life if necessity requires: without this, no one can be sent of God; no one can be saved; therefore, I caution you today against the closing address of my opponent: he will make his best effort; and where he will lead you, no one can tell; his whole object you will see is to destroy the book of Mormon, that is, to show it is not a revelation from God; if he can do that, he must be an Infidel, indeed. -- Smiles by the audience. But I am of God; and I pray God he will convince you of its truth. I have set before you life and death, in the name of Jesus, that you may be obedient thereunto. I have proved sufficient to every man and woman, that the book of Mormon is the word of God; hundreds of thousands are now believing it; the Latter-day Saints are all engaged in proving it by practising all its requirements, performing miracles, healing the sick, casting out Devils, speaking with new tongues, receiving gifts for men. I must close, as it was late when we commenced. I will give notice that there will be preaching at this place Sundays, in the forenoon, when I shall have a better chance to show you the truth, than I have had in this debate. I shall be what my friend Parsons says of a diamond, the harder it is rubbed, the better it will shine: so it will be with me. May God be with you. Amen.
My closing reply, agreeably to the notice last Sunday. Ladies and gentlemen, I am to close my remarks on the evidences of the Book of Mormon, its external evidences, that they rely on to prove the truth of the plates that are said to have been written in the Egyptian language, and found by Jo Smith, and by him translated, I have discussed the subject matter of all the Mormon faith before you. I have endeavored to show the folly and falsity of its pretensions. I have shown you it is not in accordance
with truth, nor with the Old and New Testament. I have referred you to the general character of the writers of that romance, for such it is; that it was all written by one hand, and style of Yankee language, or the products of one brain, remodeled, probably, from Solomon Spaulding's novel of peopling the far west. Having proved to your satisfaction, as I believe, that the internal evidences they rely on are as false as they are fabulous, I now proceed to call the external evidences they rely on, viz: Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, Martin Harris; these three men swear positively, as you will see by referring to their testimony on back pages, that an angel from Heaven showed them the plates from which this book was translated; they are careful not to say Jo Smith translated it. How came this angel, this winged gentleman with the plates, when Harris was with Smith at the translation, and the blanket between them; Smith had the plates, be not deceived. Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris must, be of all men, the most corrupt and false. They have attempted to make the community believe their testimony as literal truth, and thousands of ignorant dupes have believed them. They have seen these plates, and the engravings thereon; how, by the power of God and not of man? What does that mean; nothing more than Mormon faith. This sentiment runs through their whole book. What did Mr. Nickerson say, when asked about the plates? Did he ever see them? Where are they? what was his answer? the prophet, Joseph Smith Jr. has them. Three perjurers and false swearers say an angel from heaven brought them and laid them before their eyes; and that they knew they were translated, for the voice of God had declared it to them. What is the inference from this blasphemous statement? Jo Smith had told them so; therefore, Jo Smith's voice is the voice of God, by which they solemnly swear by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and on these three blasphemers is the principal of their external evidence to support this book as divine revelation. My friend Nickerson, you are entitled to the sympathy of the community, if you are honestly deceived and duped by such deluded fanatics.
I will proceed to the eight evidences, as recorded in that book, and show them equally false, viz: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith senior, Hyram Smith, Samuel H. Smith.
They all swear positively, by God, that Joe Smith Jr. had the plates, and had shown them to them, that they had the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as said Smith had translated, we did handle with our hands, and through fear of not being believed, they repeat it, that Smith has shown them unto us. Mr. Nickerson, hear their false and foolish statements -- as many of the plates as Jo Smith translated, they handled, so did I. They well knew that Joe Smith never translated any; therefore they expect to escape from the charge of perjury. Where, think ye, Jo Smith got the plates? Cowdry, Harris and Whitmer, swear that the angel from heaven
had them. When did the angel transfer them? Can you or any one tell? Until you prove that, all your eleven witnesses stand, in my estimation, justly chargeable with blasphemy, perjury and fraud, provided the word blasphemy can have any possible meaning attached to it, when coming front so corrupt a source. They swear they hefted them, and when I made the inquiry of Mr. Nickerson, he said that he understood the weight was thirty pounds, that they were of gold. And further, these eight witnesses swear they he not, God bearing witness. It is very rare that a person tells the truth that is in the habit of swearing by God, that he is not lying, unless he is compelled, as in Court, to swear by God.
Thus my audience will see the external evidences are all false, that there was not any book of plates found; and, I verily believe, if these witnesses had borne any character for truth, in the world, the authorities of the State of New York would long since have punished them for the crime of false swearing by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But as all these Whitmers are of one deluded and degraded family; and the three Smiths of a family of the same class, as appears by universal consent, 'tis presumed that the government thought them not of sufficient consequence to notice them, or to make an example of them. Here, Mr. Nickerson, I leave them and you to your own reflections. I will now refer you to the testimony of Mrs. Matilda Davidson, once the wife of Solomon Spaulding, that wrote a sacred novel, from which this book in part was framed, together with all other circumstances, which shows conclusively that you, and hundreds, of thousands, have been duped by your own ignorance and superstition, to believe the Book of Mormon is divine revelation, when it is in truth, in its origin, the novel history written by Solomon Spaulding, altered, fixed and remodelled by artful, cunning men. Probably, in my mind, Mr. Rigdon had an agency in the plan; and that it has had the effect to inspire the ignorant, superstitious and credulous with the belief that it is a revelation from God by way of Joseph Smith, Jr., of the State of New York, in or about the year 1827.
I will ask the attention of the reader to the facts and circumstances that have been published at the time the Book of Mormon made its appearance, with the testimony of Mrs. Davidson, formerly the wife of Solomon Spaulding, that originally wrote a novel, from which this Book of Mormon took its origin. The impartial reader, after reading what Mrs. Davidson has said on the subject, and what has been already proved and explained in this pamphlet, with the testimony of the father-in-law of the prophet Jo Smith, how he ran away with his daughter. You will see that Harris says Smith was directed by an angel to go and take her. Mr. Hale, the father of Smith's wife, has given a full statement; I give it entire. It shows the character of Smith to be more degraded, if possible, than what I had supposed. The character of Harris is
there published; and he also is not so reputable as our friend Nickerson, the Mormon, has stated to us. You will see a full account of Harris, Smith and Rigdon. The account will be headed, "Gleanings by the Way, No. 10." I take this from the Key Stone, a public Journal of extensive circulation, printed at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, of December, 23, 1840. Also, from the same journal, "Gleanings by the Way," Dec. 9, 1840, there is a full account of Mrs. Davidson's statement, written and signed by her, all of which was taken from the Episcopal Recorder, called the History of Mormons, in "Gleanings by the Way, No. 7," Fairfield, August 31, 1840, published in the Key Stone, as above stated. I have selected these two numbers, as they go to prove, beyond doubt, the position I have taken in this question at issue with Elder Nickerson, in the debate before the Society for free discussion in Boston. I have been informed that the other numbers relating to the Mormons, from those papers, have given quite a history of the book. I have not seen the numbers, neither did I obtain these in season to use them before the audience at our debate. I will here show you the statement from the Beacon, New York, 7th of August, 1841, headed "The Mormons."
These are making such rapid strides, that if they progress as they have done, they will eventually become a sect equally important with some of the most prominent parties already existing. We therefore think it desirable to place on record some facts and some documents we have procured, for the sake of correct information, if not arrestation of this new specimen of assumed revelation.
I should be glad to see the testimony of the parties. I have never seen Howe's publication of Spaulding's manuscript. It would swell my columns too much for my purpose. Believing I have produced sufficient to convince any one but the Mormons of the falsity of their pretences. The reader will have noticed I have frequently spoken on the probability of the Mormon power in the West, and
when they shall have their millions, as they will have soon, by the same ratio they have already got, then it will be seen what all fanatics have produced in all ages. As declamation is not argument, allow me to show their movements in their building a temple, and their military forces. The Mormons publish a periodical paper at Nauvoo, Illinois. I am in possession of one dated April 15, 1841, giving an account of the church anniversary, their military parade, &c. President Rigdon's address, their holy proceedings; laying the four corner stones of the temple. Jo Smith is their lieutenant-general, John C. Bennett is major-general. Their forces are called the Nauvoo Legion, by an act of the Legislature. They have eleven full companies of minute men, armed and fully equipped as their laws direct. They have one company of lancers to every regiment, or cohort, as they call them: that is a Roman number, 500. I will now read from their account, an order from Smith to the minute men, on the 3d of July last.
"The eleven companies will at all times hold themselves in readiness to execute the laws, as originally instructed by the general officers, that the officers and troops of the Legions are directed to treat with proper respect and decorum, all other officers and troops in the service of the state, or of the United States. Officers receiving copies of their orders will promulgate the same without delay, through the bounds of their respective commands.
General Smith remarks: I am pressing upon you the necessity of placing ourselves in a condition of complete defence, and exact the fulfilment of duties toward us. The people ought not to indulge a persuasion contrary to the order of human events. There is a rank due to the nations which will be withheld, if not lost by the known weakness and absolute, neglect to improve ourselves of defence. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be ready to repel it.
Thus we see the Mormons are first rate fighting characters. They have been learnt these tactics from the Missourians. This they have practised from the time prophet Lehi left Jerusalem, by their own accounts. I ask the Mormon, is this the peaceful doctrine of Jesus? Do they believe General Bennett, when he says the people ought not to indulge a persuasion contrary to the order of human events? Why then do you dupes indulge the belief that your Elders can work
miracles? Is not a miracle, in its general acceptation, contrary to, and above human power?
On the 6th of April last they had a splendid parade. The Mormon Ladies presented them with a splendid national silk flag, in compliment of Col. Robinson, under the roar of cannon. They are now assembled to lay the corner stones of a magnificent temple, to be dedicated to Jesus Christ and the Mormon church, under roar of cannon. Rigdon delivered the address in good style. I have not room to state it at length; I will show some extracts.
"This is the third time I have officiated in laying the corner stone. I have seen the blood of the innocent flow, and heard the groans of the dying as witnesses for Jesus. (He alludes to Missouri, by the blood-thirsty Christians, where they shot down the Mormons.) Remember, without prophecy, I say a day of retributive justice will take place. The Mormons will require principal and interest under that flag. Thus saith the Lord."
This is their language. Their escort was, 14 companies of Nauvoo Mormons, several uniform companies from Iowa, a splendid band, and a number of companies of artillery.
Procession formed. Cohort of 500, then Lieutenant-General Smith, Major and Brigadier Generals, with their aids -- conspicuous strangers -- general staff -- band -- cohort of 500 -- ladies, eight in breast -- 1st cohort of horse -- 3d cohort of foot 2d of horse. When arrived at the temple ground, the ladies were protected and stationed at the walls, private gentlemen in the rear of them, protected by the infantry. Then they are paraded to hear President Rigdon's oration. No one intoxicated, no one to disturb, no obscene language, and ten thousand people.
The ladies had previously delivered the flag. They were driven in a splendid barouch on to the field, protected, and when they alighted, it was delivered to General Jo Smith in good style. He received it in behalf of the church and defence of Jesus. He bowed politely to the ladies, and made declaration, so long as he had command of the Legions, that flag never should be disgraced. That Jesus had assembled this military force, for the devil could not do it. What think ye, Christians, of all this? Is there no danger nigh? Jesus plainly declares his kingdom is not of this world. But the Legions, of Mormons deny it, and say it is. That they have commissioned him as their captain. This is Christianity and non-resistance with a witness, although this does not agree with christian theory. It does with their practice in all ages. Will not the vast prairies of the West be one vast field of
blood, think ye? No doubt. Will not ignorance, superstition, and physical force fight for God? Yes, unless they can be convinced from the laws of reason that no such parade is required of them from any God whatever. But so long as they can be duped by the artful and intriguing, and made to believe God requires it at their hands, the world of man will delight in conquest, retaliation and revenge.
Under all this information I have derived from your periodical, Mr. Nickerson, and confident as I am of the results of such pretences, allow me to give you, before I close, my best advice as a friend, and I think, Sir, if you have a friend on earth, he will say to you and all Mormons, return to the embraces of your wives and families; there make all suitable provisions for their comfort, and not undertake to compete with the Almighty in the raising of the dead, or of the devil. Be contented to fill your stations as one of the human family: do all you can to prevent such a bloody scene as always has, and always will be the product of ignorance and superstition. Believing, as I do, if you and all of you shall thus conduct, I see no great danger of your being molested, or made to be afraid. But if you persist in competition with God, without being able to give evidence of the truth of it, you will most assuredly have to suffer the natural consequences resulting from such credulity.
In conclusion of my remarks, I give you Jo. Smith's last revelation from God. Here you will see his orders to build a temple, the laying of the corner stones. I have given you the account of the great parade in April last, at Nauvoo. Not having this revelation at that time, I give this in conclusion, that you may see the Mormons depend on a new revelation for all their doings. This temple is to exceed all in the far west; the projection in front is to rest its vast pillars on twelve huge carved oxen, and they are to be laid over with pure gold, of the order of Solomon's temple; Jo has called on all the kingdom's of the world to contribute to it; all the believers in Mormon must bring in all their gold and silver to accomplish this great purpose of God; together with their best wood, and other materials, and we are told, it is coming in from all quarters; the north of Europe are adding large numbers to them, with their cash. You see in his orders and revelations that God intends to visit their enemies in Jackson County, in the state of Missouri, with retributive justice to the third and fourth generation.
Horrid sentiment! to punish the innocent for the guilty, the unborn children of the state of Missouri; some century hence must suffer for the sins of the parents. Horrid, indeed. Hear the
prophet Jo in his last revelation to those that prevented him from building a temple to the Lord in Missouri. If they do not repent and make full restitution; and this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those that have been commanded to do a work, and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God. For I am the Lord your God. Here the prophet takes strong Mormon ground; here Jo declares to the Lord their God, and says, he will save ail those of their brethren, that have been pure in heart, that aided not their enemies. I suppose he means here to distinctly refer to those that have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord. Jo has given them timely notice, and he is fast collecting materials; in twenty years from this his military force will not be intimidated by the forces of the state of Missouri; they will demand the land with interest.
[From the Beacon, Aug. 1841.]
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offerings and acknowledgments which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth. Your prayers are acceptable before me, and in answer to them, I say unto you, that you are now called, immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a corner stone of Zion, which shall be polished with that refinement which is after the similitude of a palace. This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof -- to the honorable President elect, and the high minded Governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad. Let it be written in the spirit of meeknesss, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same; for it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befal them in a time to come. For, behold! I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her.
safety of my people? and refuge for those who shall be left of them? 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.
[Then follows instructions to individuals, which we omit, except the following, which we give as a specimen.]
And again, verily, I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile, he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony, I the Lord loveth him. I therefore say unto you, I seal upon his head the office of a bishoprick, like unto my servant Edward Partridge, that he may receive the consecrations of mine house, that he may administer blessings upon the heads of the poor of my people, saith the Lord.
for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord: for it is ordained that in Zion and in her Stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.
iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments, I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God. Therefore, for this cause have T accepted the offerings, of those men whom I commanded to build a city and a house unto my name in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God; and I will answer judgment, wrath, indignation, wailing, anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generations, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God. And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation, concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work, and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God; for I am the Lord your God, and will save all those of your brethren, who have been pure in heart, and have been slain in the land of Missouri, saith the Lord.
[Here again follows instructions to individuals to carry this object, and also that of a private boarding house for the accommodation of strangers.]
Behold! verily I say unto you, let my servant, George Miller, and my servant, Lyman Wight, and my servant, Peter Hawes, organize themselves, and appoint one of them to be a president over their quorum, for the purpose of building that house."
We shall follow up the above account with the documents before referred to, which we shall publish for preservation. -- G. V.
GLEANINGS BY THE WAY. -- No. X.Dear Brethren. -- Although I have occupied your attention so long with the history of the origin and rise of Mormonism, T have a few words more to add before closing the subject. Several facts which have come to my knowledge, since commencing these sketches, lead me to apprehend that the developments we have been attempting to make are not ill-timed. Is there any one who would have formed so low an estimate of the Christian intelligence of this land, as to have concluded a priori that a deception so barefaced, and withal so ridiculous, as the disinterment of the Mormon Bible from one of the hills of Western New York, and this -- set on foot by an illiterate vagrant hanging on the skirts of society, and of exceedingly doubtful character, and backed by the pecuniary means of a man of the most credulous and superstitious cast of character, whose sanity of mind was greatly questioned by all his acquaintance, should have gained, in a period of ten years, such dominion over human belief, as
to be received as the undoubted truth of God by more than sixty thousand persons? We are surprised to hear of the success of this imposture in the Great Valley of the West, although there is material there for almost every erratic conception of the human mind to act upon. But what shall we say of the success of Mormonism in the Atlantic states, -- gathering its converts from orthodox and evangelical churches? Will it not fill intelligent Christians with surprise to learn that the Mormons are establishing themselves not only in many parts of New England, but that they are spreading through Pennsylvania, and that they already have two churches formed in Philadelphia, and that a portion of the members of these churches have been regular communicants in the Methodist and Presbyterian churches? Such, however, is the fact. And we shall be greatly surprised, if this "mystery of iniquity" continues to work, and that those who have dared to "add to the words" of God's finished revelation, shall receive the threatened curse. We shall not be surprised if "God shall send upon such, strong delusion, that they should believe a lie," and that they "wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."
One thing however, is distinctly to be noted in the history of this imposture. There are no Mormons in Manchester, or Palmyra, the place where this Book of Mormon was pretended to be found. You might as well go down into the Crater of Vesuvius and attempt to build an ice house amid its molten and boiling lava, as to convince any inhabitant in either of those towns, that Jo Smith's pretensions are not the most gross and egregious falsehood. It was indeed a wise stroke of policy, for those who got up this imposture, and who calculated to make their fortune by it, to emigrate to a place where they were wholly unknown. As soon as they had arranged their apparatus for deceiving weak and unstable souls -- as soon as the Book of Mormon was printed and their plans formed, the actors in this scene went off en masse to a part of the country where their former character and standing were unknown, and where their claim to divine inspiration could be set up with a little more show of plausibility than it could have been any where in the state of New York. Mormonism had to grow a number of years in a western soil, and there acquire a sort of rank and luxuriant growth, before it could be transplanted with any success to a point nearer its birth-place. And even now it keeps very much in the back ground its grand peculiarities. The Mormon preachers, I am told, in this region, generally dwell upon the common topics of Christianity, rather than upon the peculiarities of their system. The object of this is manifest. They wish to strengthen themselves by a large succession of converts, before they stand on the peculiarities of their system. But all Christians should be aware of their devices. Their whole system is built upon imposture. They believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, when there is not a man in our Penitentiary, that might not with just as much plausibility lay claim to that character. They believe the Book of Mormon to be a divine revelation, when it can be proved, that the whole ground-work of it was written by
Mr. Spaulding as a Religious and Historical Romance. They believe that they have the power among them to work miracles, when even Satan, with all his power and signs and lying wonders, and with all his disceivableness, has not been able to sustain their claim in a single instance.
Martin Harris, after he went to Kirkland, Ohio, where the first Mormon settlement was formed, used occasionally to return to Palmyra. As one of the three witnesses, he claimed divine inspiration, and is, I believe, to the present day, regarded by the Mormons as one of the greatest and best among "the latter-day saints." In these visits to the place of his former residence he not only endeavored to proselyte his old acquaintances to his new faith, but used sometimes to edify them with very solemn prophecies of future events. I was informed by Judge S____, of Palmyra, that he came to his office so much and uttered his prophecies so frequently that he at length told him that he would not consent to his uttering his predictions any more orally, but that he must write them down and subscribe his name to them, or else seek some other place for the exercise of his prophetic gift. Harris instantly wrote down two predictions, attaching his signature to each.
The one was a declaration that Palmyra would be destroyed, and left utterly without inhabitants before the year 1836. The other prediction was that before 1838 the Mormon faith would so extensively prevail, that it would modify our national government, and there would be no longer any occupant of the presidential chair of the United States. To these predictions he subjoined the declaration that if they were not literally fulfilled, any one might have full permission to cut off his head and roll it round the streets as a football. Bear in mind that this was one of the pretended chosen witnesses of God, to testify to the truth of the Book of Mormon. I need not say that both these prophecies, in their entire failure of fulfilment, convicted him of falsehood, and show how little is the value of his testimony.
Another fact worthy of note in this connection is, that as Harris, Smith, Rigdon, &c., all expected to make their fortune out of this scheme, when the banking mania began first to prevail in our country, they caught the contagion, and embarked in a banking enterprise. In the end it liked to have proved a ruinous operation to them all. Ultimately this speculation served Harris from Smith and Rigdon, who went farther west, and commenced operations in Missouri. Harris, in one of his late visits to Palmyra, remarked to a friend of mine, that Jo Smith had now become a complete wretch, and that he had no confidence either in him or Rigdon. Recollect that this is the testimony of one of the three chosen witnesses by which the truth of the book of Mormon is to be established.
One fact more. You recollect that it was mentioned in a former No. of these sketches, that Martin Harris' wife could not be induced to come over to the Mormon faith. He consequently abandoned her, visiting her only once or twice a year. She at length declined in health, and was evidently sinking down to the grave. A gentleman
of undoubted veracity in Palmyra told me that a few days before her death, Harris returned, and on one occasion while sitting in the room with her, appeared to be very much occupied in writing. She inquired what he was writing? He replied that he was writing a letter to the girl to whom he was going to get married when she was dead! According to his words he was married in a very few weeks after her death. What are we to think of Mormonism, when we remember that a man of such feelings and such morality was one of the chosen witnesses to attest its truth.
I have already said, that the Mormons in this region cautiously keep out of sight the peculiarities of their system, and principally dwell upon the common topics of Christian faith and practice. One proof of this is, the very few copies of the Book of Mormon, that are found among them. I am told that among all the members of the two churches in Philadelphia, there are not more than twenty copies of the Book of Mormon. This book I suppose is only for the initiated -- for those whose faith is well established.
In illustration of this remark, I will here insert a written statement given by Joseph Young of Kirkland [sic], Ohio, an elder of the Mormon Church, while on a visit to Boston, to establish his faith in that city.
"The principal articles of the faith of the Latter day Saints called Mormons, are
1. A belief in one true and living God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who came into this world 1800 years since, at Jerusalem; was slain, rose from the dead, ascended on high, and now sits on the right hand of his Majesty in the heavens; that through the atonement thus wrought out, all men may come to God, and find acceptance; all of which they believe is revealed in the holy Scriptures.
2. That God requires all men, wherever his gospel is proclaimed, or his law known, to repent of all sins, forsake evil, and follow righteousness; that his word also requires men to be baptized, as well as repent; and that the direct way pointed out by the Scriptures for baptism, is immersion. After which, the individual has the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit; that this divine communication is absolutely promised unto all men, upon whom "the Lord our God shall call," if they are obedient unto his commandments. This gift of the Holy Spirit was anciently bestowed by the laying on the apostle's hands: so this church believes that those who have authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel, have this right and authority, through prayer; and without this authority, and this gift, the church is not now what it anciently was; consequently cannot be recognized as the true Church of Christ.
3. That God will, in the lasts days, gather the literal descendants of Jacob to the lands, anciently possessed by their fathers; that he will lead them as at the first, and build them as at the beginning. That he will cause his arm to be made bare in their behalf? his glory to attend them by night and by day. That this is necessary
to the fulfilment of his word, when his knowledge is to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. And that, as men anciently saw visions, dreamed dreams, held communion with angels and converse with the heavens, so it will be in the last days, to prepare the way for all nations, languages and tongues, to serve him in truth.
4. That the time will come when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven, accompanied with ten thousand of his saints; that a mighty angel will lay hold on the dragon, bind him, cast him into the pit, where he will be kept from deceiving the nations for a thousand years; during which time, one continued round of peace will prevail every heart. And,
5. They believe in the resurrection of the body; that all men will stand in the presence of God, and be judged according to the deed, or works, done in this life; that the righteous will enter into eternal rest, in the presence of God, but the wicked be cast off, to receive a just recompense of reward; and that, to ensure eternal life, a strict obedience to all the commandments of God, must be observed, to the end."
You see there is not even a remote allusion to what constitutes the gist of their whole system. But I will here leave the subject for the present. Yours, &c. J. A. C.
GLEANINGS BY THE WAY, -- No. VII.Fairfield, August 31, 1840.
Dear Brethren: -- According to the intimation given in my last, I proceed to furnish you with some further facts in relation to the origin and history of Mormonism. In developing the history of this imposture, and showing the several steps by which it has won its way to the regard, and gained the confidence of thousands, it becomes necessary to account for the existence of what is denominated The Book Of Mormon -- a volume containing 588 duodecimo pages, consisting of fifteen different books, purporting to be written at different times, and by different authors, whose names they respectively bear. The period of time which these historical records profess to cover, is about a thousand years -- commencing with the time of Zedekiah, king of Judea, and terminating with the years of our Lord, 420. Should not your patience be exhausted by the present long article, I may in another number give you a sort of an analysis of this volume.
This volume, as I have already intimated, has exerted a most important influence in giving some plausibility to the claims set up by the originators of the Mormon imposture. I am quite confident there never would have been any permanent converts to Mormonism, had not this volume been ushered into existence. The story of the Golden Bible, like a thousand previous and no less marvellous tales told by Jo Smith, would have long since sunk into
oblivion before the publication of this book. The origin of this volume -- how it came into being -- is a grave question. It is quite certain that neither Jo. Smith nor Martin Harris had intelligence or literary qualification adequate to the production of a work of this sort. Who then was its author? The Mormons say that it is a revelation from God. They claim for it a divine character. They say that the successive narratives spread upon the pages of this volume, are the identical records engraven upon the metallic plates to which we have already referred, and which, like the leaves of a book, were deposited in a box and hid in the earth: that the writing on these plates was in "the Reformed Egyptian language" that Joseph Smith was directed by an angel to the spot where this sacred deposit lay; and subsequently inspired to interpret the writing, by putting two smooth flat stones, which he found in the box, into a hat, and then putting his face therein. * This is the claim set up for the Book Of Mormon, and which has seduced many unstable souls.
Had the originators of this fabulous history, called the Book of Mormon, kept entirely behind the scenes up to the present period, and had there been no clue by which the authorship of this figment of the imagination could be traced, it would still have been abundantly evident to every intelligent person, that it was the product of some shrewd and designing mind, who calculated to find his advantage in gulling the credulous and superstitious. The people of Palmyra, at the commencement of the printing of this book, only laughed at the ridiculousness of the thing, and wondered at the credulity of Harris. As the publication progressed, and the contents of the book began to be known, the conviction became general that there was an actor behind the scene, moving the machinery, of far higher intellectual qualifications than Smith or Harris. Suspicion in some degree rested upon a man by the name of Cowdery, who had formerly been a school teacher, if I mistake not, and was now known to be in some way connected with Smith in preparing this volume for the press.
I will here insert documents which I have in my hands, and which may tend to throw some light upon the origin and authorship of the Book Of Mormon, which I found in a little work, entitled "Religious Creeds And Statistics." The author gives a brief sketch of Mormonism, and among other things inserts a letter or statement written by Isaac Hale, the father-in-law of Jo Smith, giving some account of his acquaintance with Smith. I had, previously to meeting with this letter, felt anxious to obtain some facts in relation to Smith's marriage, in order to ascertain how those facts could agree with the statements made by him to Martin Harris, which I noticed in my last letter. While at Palmyra, I met with a respectable clergyman of the Episcopal Church who had formerly belonged to the Methodist connection, that was acquainted with Mr. Hale. He represented him as a distinguished hunter,
* See Religious Creeds and Statistics, page 130.
living near the Great Bend in Pennsylvania. He was professedly a religious man, and a very zealous member of the Methodist Church. The letter to which I have referred, is accompanied with a statement, declaring that Mr. Hale resides in Harmony, in Penn.; appended to the letter also is Mr. Hale's affirmation or affidavit of the truth of the statement there made, taken before Charles Dimon, Justice of the peace, and there is also subjoined the certificate of Thompson and Davis Dimock, Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Susquehanna, declaring that "they have for many years been personally acquainted with Isaac Hale, of Harmony Township, who has attested the foregoing statement, or letter, and that he is a man of excellent moral character, and of undoubted veracity."
The letter or statement above referred to, is as follows: "I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., in Nov. 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called "money-diggers;" and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time was that of a careless young man, not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith and his father, with several other "money diggers," boarded at my house, while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young Smith gave the "money diggers" great encouragement at first, but when they had arrived in digging too near the place, where he had stated an immense treasure would be found, he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to marry my daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave him my reasons for so doing; some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed a business I could not approve. He then left the place. Not long after this, he returned; and while I was absent from home, carried off" my daughter into the State of New York, where they were married without my approbation, or consent. After they had arrived at Palmyra, N. Y. Emma wrote to me, enquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In a short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersoll, and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out, and reside upon a place near my residence.
Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called "glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so. Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them. I was shown a box, in which it is said they were contained, which had, to all appearance, been used as a glass box, of the common sized window glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand,
that the book of plates was then in the box: into which, however, I was not allowed to look. I inquired of Joseph Smith, Jr. who was to be the first that would be allowed to see the book of plates. He said it was a young child.
After this, I became dissatisfied, and informed him, that if there was any thing in my house of that description, which I could not be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that, the plates were said to be hid in the woods.
About this time, Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage; and Smith began to interpret the characters or hieroglyphics, which he said were engraven upon the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said that Harris wrote down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a greater witness, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it; Joseph informed him that he could not or durst not show him the plates, but that he, (Joseph,) would go into the woods where the book of plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should follow his track in the snow, and find the book, and examine it for himself. Harris informed me afterwards, that he followed Smith's directions, and could not find the plates, and was still dissatisfied.
The next day after this happened, I went to the house where Joseph Smith, Jr. lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in their translation of the book. Each of them had a written piece of paper which they were comparing, and some of the words were -- "My servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness, can be given to him." -- There was also something said about "three that were to see the thing; meaning, I supposed, the book of plates; and that, "if the three did not go exactly according to orders, the thing would be taken from them." I inquired whose words they were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma, (I rather think it was the former,) that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them, then, that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money diggers with a stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods!
After this Martin Harris went away, and Oliver Cowdery came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted, as above described. This is the same Oliver Cowdery whose name may be found in the book of Mormon. Cowdery continued a scribe for Smith, until the book of Mormon was completed, as I supposed and understood.
Joseph Smith, Jr. resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and somewhat acquainted with his associates; and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole "Book of Mormon," [so called,] is a silly fabrication of falsehood
and wickedness got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators might live upon the spoils of those who swallowed the deception."
I shall have occasion hereafter to refer to the loss of one hundred and sixteen pages spoken of by Harris, and to the manner in which they were lost; as this fact will not only tend to illustrate Harris's character, but to throw some farther light upon the sinuous track which was pursued to palm off the Book Of Mormon as a divine revelation. Whether Smith and Cowdry were acting alone at the time referred to by Mr. Hale, or were then deriving their illumination from Rigdon, I have no means of determining. It is highly probable, however, that they then had access to a copy of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding, of which we shall soon speak, and this copy was undoubtedly obtained through the agency of Rigdon. The true authorship of what constitutes the basis of the Book Of Mormon, unquestionably belongs to Mr. Spaulding. I do not, however, believe that the Book of Mormon is an exact copy of Mr. Spaulding's "Historical Romance" as Mrs. Davidson very properly denominates it. No intelligent or well educated man would have been guilty of so many anachronisms and gross grammatical errors as characterize every part of the Book of Mormon. While Mr. Spaulding's Historical Romance is unquestionably the ground-work of the volume, the christianized character of the work -- the hortatory clauses about salvation through the blood of Christ, and the adaptation of the whole to meet the peculiar religious views of Martin Harris, and to tally with the pretended discovery of Jo Smith, are evidently parts of the work added to Mr. Spaulding's manuscript. In farther corroboration of this idea, I will just advert to two facts. First: in this record, some portions of which were professedly written 600 years before the appearance of our Saviour, the various dramatis Personae seem as familiar with the events of the New Testament and all the doctrines of the gospel, as any preacher of the present day. Now no intelligent and well educated man would be guilty of such a solecism as that of putting into the mouth of a Jew who lived four hundred years before the birth of Christ, a flippant discourse about things as though they were then familiarly known, when they did not occur till some 500 years afterwards. Hence I infer that these parts were added to the original document of Mr. Spaulding by Jo Smith, Cowdery, Rigdon, or some of the fraternity. Another reason, leading me to the opinion that considerable alterations were made in the document referred to, stands in connection with the fact to
which I have already adverted -- the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages, which were never replaced. These pages were lost in the following way. Harris brought home the manuscript pages and locked them up in his house, thinking them quite safe. But his wife, who was not then, nor ever afterwards became a convert to Mormonism, took the opportunity, when he was out, to seize the manuscript and put it in the hands of one of her neighbors for safer keeping. When it was discovered to be missing, suspicion immediately fastened upon Mrs. Harris. She, however, refused to give any information in relation to the matter, but simply replied: "If this be a divine communication, the same being who revealed it to you can easily replace it." Mrs. H. believed the whole thing to be a gross deception, and she had formed a plan to expose the deception in the following manner. Taking it for granted that they would attempt to reproduce the part she had concealed, and that they could not possibly do it verbatim, she intended to keep the manuscript until the book was published, and then put these one hundred and sixteen pages into the hands of some one who would publish them, and show how they varied from those published in the Book of Mormon. But she had to deal with persons standing behind the scene, and moving the machinery, that were too wily thus to be caught. Harris was indignant at his wife beyond measure -- he raved most violently, and it is said actually beat Mrs. H. with a rod -- but she remained firm, and would not give up the manuscript. The authors of this imposture did not dare to attempt to re-produce this part of the work; but Jo Smith immediately had a revelation about it, which is inserted in the preface of the Book of Mormon as follows:
"As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work; I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person, or persons, have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again: And being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written, and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would
stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing; therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work: yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil."
This was the expedient to which they resorted, in order to avoid replacing the lost pages. Had those pages, however, been transcribed verbatim from Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, they would undoubtedly have re-produced them, and urged the act of their being able to do so as a still farther proof of their divine inspiration. But on the supposition that there was considerable new matter mingled up with Mr. Spaulding's sketches, it would be impossible for them to produce the one hundred and sixteen pages just as they were before, and they would therefore naturally devise some expedient to relieve themselves from the necessity of re-producing those pages. In all probability, Cowdery, Smith and Rigdon, had all more or less to do in combining these additional parts with Mr. Spaulding's work.
The origin of this work of Mr. Spaulding, to which I refer, and which unquestionably forms the entire ground-work of the Book of Mormon, is thus described by Mrs. Davidson, formerly the wife of Mr. Spaulding. This statement of Mrs. Davidson was published some time last winter in the Boston Recorder, to the editors of which it was sent by the Rev. John Storms [sic], the Congregational minister in Hollistown, accompanied with a certificate from two highly respectable clergymen, the Rev. Mr. Austin, and the Rev. A. Ely, D. D., residing in Mason [sic], Mass., the present place of residence of Mrs. Davidson, -- stating that Mrs. Davidson, the narrator of the following history, was formerly the wife of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and that since his decease she had been married to a second husband by the name of Davidson, and that she was a woman of irreproachable character, and an humble Christian, and that her testimony was worthy of implicit confidence.
"As the 'book Of Mormon or Golden Bible' has excited much attention, and has been put by a certain new sect in the place of the Sacred Scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin. That its claims to a divine origin are wholly unfounded, needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition, is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England; and even by those who have
sustained the character of devoted Christians. Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some with its gross delusions, so that ex-communication has been necessary; I am determined to delay no longer in doing what I can to strip the mask from this mother of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations.
would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do, for reasons which I cannot now state. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and copy it it he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKenstry, of Monson, Mass. with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the "Manuscript Found" was written. A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized, perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction, and request for the manuscript; which was signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided at New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the Sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor, deluded fanatics as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and the author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.
The whole mystery of the origin of this book seems to be cleared up by this statement, and I have seen no attempt made to gainsay or deny its truth. The farther, however, Martin Harris went into this delusion, the more he seemed to become infatuated. He had already embarked a large portion of his property in bringing out the publication of the book of Mormon, and though many things had occurred that we should think would have convinced any rational man that he had been made the subject of a deep laid scheme of deception, he still seems to have shut his eyes, and gone on in the dark. As I have already mentioned, at first Martin Harris was assured that the golden plates on which this record was engraven, would be his, and that it would be perfectly lawful to subject them to public inspection, -- but as the managers of this imposture proceeded they found it necessary to advance with more caution, lest they should put into the hands of others the very elements which could contribute to their own utter explosion. Hence it is revealed to Jo Smith, that he would be authorized to show them only to three individuals who should assist in bringing forward this book. This was a lure to secure the continued co-operation of Harris. To convince Harris that he would be highly privileged it was foretold in the book of Ether, written by Moroni, (see Book of Mormon, page 548) that he should find the plates, should have the privilege of showing them to three persons. The passage referred to is as follows. "Behold ye may be privilege that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true. And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established: and the testimony of three and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God, and also his word, of which the Father and the Son, and the; Holy Ghost beareth record, and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world, at the last day."
In order to satisfy Harris, and those whom they hope to delude, it became necessary that three witnesses should see the plates. And accordingly we find appended to the book of Mormon the following certificate, headed with the caption: --
THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.
"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain the record, which is the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower, of which had been spoken: and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice has declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld
and saw the plates, and the engraving thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes: nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore to be obedient unto the commandments of God we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid ourselves of the blood of all men and be found spotless before the Judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens, And the honor be to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God, -- Amen.
To know how much this testimony is worth I will state one fact. A gentleman in Palmyra, bred to the law, a professor of religion, and of undoubted veracity, told me that on one occasion, he appealed to Harris and asked him directly, -- "Did you see those plates?" Harris replied, he did. "Did you see the plates, and the engraving on them with your bodily eyes?" Harris replied, "Yes, I saw them with my eyes, -- they were shown unto me by the power of God and not of man." "But did you see them with your natural, -- your bodily eyes, just as you see this pencil-case in my hand? Now say no or yes to this." Harris replied, -- "Why I did not see them as I do that pencil case, yet I saw them with the eye of faith; I saw them just as distinctly as I see any thing around me, -- though at the time they were covered over with a cloth."
This was the way that Harris saw the plates, Cowdery, another of the witnesses, was one of the prime actors in getting up this "cunningly devised fable." Whether Whitmer, the third witness, was a deceiver, or one of the deceived, I am, unable to say, but he and four of his brothers were among the earliest avowed converts to Mormonism. But as he was thus privileged because he assisted to bring forth the work, there can be but little doubt that he bore the same relation to it that Cowdery did. The declaration in the testimony "that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought, and laid before our eyes, that we behold, and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon," show but too well what sort of jugglery to blind people's eyes this certificate is. They seem themselves not to have been satisfied with the testimony: and therefore although it was expressly revealed that only three should see the plates, and that it should be established by the witness of three, (see Book of Mormon, page 548,) yet they immediately subjoin the testimony of eight additional witnesses in the following words: "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr. the author and proprietor of the work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands: and we also saw the engraving thereon, all of
which had the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And thus we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith hath shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith hps got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen: and we lie not, God bearing witness of it." This is signed by Hiram Page, Jo Smith's father, -- two of his brothers, and four of the Whitmers, brothers of the Whitmer, who was one of the three witnesses. They were all persons deeply interested in the success of this imposture, and expecting to make their fortunes by it. As I have before taken occasion to remark, Harris was ready to be duped by any thing which the jugglers were disposed to tell him. He seemed to think at length that he himself was inspired, and that revelations from heaven were made to him in reference to the most minute affairs in life. After the Book of Mormon was published, it was revealed to him that he should sell it for one dollar fifty cents per copy. But as it did not sell very briskly at that price, he declared that another revelation was made to him from heaven, and that he was ordered to sell the book for one dollar per copy. No matter where he went, he saw visions and supernatural appearances all around him. He told a gentleman in Palmyra, after one of his excursions to Pensylvania, while the translation of the Book of Mormon was going on, that on the way he met the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked along by the side of him in the shape of a deer for two or three miles, talking with him as familiarly as one man talks with another. With a knowledge of the facts that have now been stated, the existence of the Book of Mormon can well be accounted for, and also the success of this imposture. There are a few facts farther I have to communicate, which I shall be obliged to reserve til the next number. J. A. C.
Tyler Parsons' 1841 Booklet
Street Scene in the City of Boston -- 1841 Engraving