Prophet of the 19th Century
(London: Rivington, 1843)
The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century;
RISE, PROGRESS, AND PRESENT STATE
OR LATTER-DAY SAINTS:
TO WHICH IS APPENDED.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.
BY THE REV.
H E N R Y C A S W E L L, M.A.
PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY IN KEMPER COLLEGE, MISSOURI;
AND AUTHOR OF "AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN CHURCH,"
"CITY OF THE MORMONS," &c.
PRINTED FOR J.G.F. & J. RIVINGTON,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD,
AND WATERLOO PLACE, PALL MALL.
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IF the base scheme entitled "Mormonism" were designed merely as a gainful speculation, we might be satisfied with exposing the knavery of the impostors who have attempted to fill their pockets by operating on public credulity. Having effected this object, we might suffer it to repose undisturbed among the numerous fraudulent contrivances, which, during their brief day, have entrapped the wonder-loving multitude, and have been finally consigned to merited oblivion and contempt. But Mormonism is not simply a money-making scheme, it is a religion; a religion too, which may he considered as in many respects a natural result of several tendencies which have long displayed themselves in the nominally Christian world. Hence it becomes desirable to expose not merely the fraud.
but the heresy of the system; to exhibit the means by which it has produced not merely temporal disappointment and distress, but spiritual desolation and ruin. To accomplish this double object, it is necessary to give its history, to trace the causes by which the way for its success was prepared, to describe the apparently accidental circumstances by which the foundation of the system was laid, and to show how its vague outlines were gradually reduced to definiteness and proportion. We shall then be prepared to account for the remarkable phenomenon of its extraordinary propagation, and for the circumstance, otherwise inexplicable, of a low juggler, without character, without education, without common prudence or decency, exalting himself to be the prophet, priest, and king of myriads of religious devotees.
There are, perhaps, some who consider Mormonism a subject too contemptible for serious notice; but it may well be doubted whether such persons have ever endeavoured to fathom the depths of human credulity. It is sufficient for the compiler of the following history to know that not
far from a hundred thousand persons, possessed of the average share of capacity, have embraced Mormonism with more than the average share of faith. True, there is much that is ludicrous, and still more that is disgusting in the conduct of the Mormon leaders; and it would be a vain attempt to throw an air of romance over the life of a vulgar swindler, or to render that respectable which is intrinsically absurd. But, apart from the conduct of its founders, Mormonism must stand on the same footing with many other manifestations of religious opinion, and must be regarded by the thoughtful observer with serious interest, as a new pattern of error, produced by the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of the human mind.
An apology, perhaps, is due to the reader, for the insertion of various passages, which are certainly better suited to the pages of a Newgate Calendar, than to a work proceeding from a Christian Clergyman. The task of delineating the prophet's infernal character has been certainly far from agreeable to the author; and he is aware
that, although he has drawn a veil over many circumstances and expressions unfit for publication, he has too often incurred the risk of offending good taste by the exhibition of blasphemy and vulgarity. Yet, if the subject deserve to be recorded, it is of course necessary that all its essential features should be duly noticed and fairly described. Joseph Smith, without his blasphemy and vulgarity, would be a very different being from the "Prophet of the Nineteenth Century."
The Author trusts that the following pages will show that the history of Mormonism is capable of affording much instruction to the student of human nature, and valuable lessons to those who aim at the propagation of truth, or the extirpation of falsehood. A salutary moral is attached to all the leading events connected with its progress; and, strange as those events may appear, they are fully deserving of philosophical investigation in connection with the present aspect of many Protestant communities. At the same time, it is hoped that the narrative is presented in a form which will interest
the general reader, and enable him to trace with facility the gradual progress of this extraordinary delusion.
Mormonism may continue to exist for many years, or it may suddenly explode and disappear; but, in either case, it will not be surprising if thousands should be ready to lay down their lives in its defence. It would be more remarkable if an equal number of persons should be found prepared to adhere to the uncorrupted doctrines of the Saviour, and to defend with resolution, in the unity of the Church, the pure faith once delivered to the Saints.
The Author has given ample authority for the statements contained in the following work, and has endeavoured to exercise rigid impartiality in the examination of testimony. The publications to which he has referred are the following: --
1st. "Gleanings by the Way," by the Rev. John A. Clark, D. D., Rector of St. Andrew's, Philadelphia; printed at Philadelphia in 1842. (pp. 352, 12mo.) From the circumstance that
Dr. Clark was the Rector of the Episcopal Church in Palmyra (New York), at the time when Mormonism originated in that vicinity, his testimony is particularly valuable.
2nd. "Mormonism in all Ages, or the Rise, Progress, and Causes of Mormonism, with the Biography of its Author and Founder, Joseph Smith, Junior; by Professor J. B. Turner, Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois." Printed at New York, in 1842. (pp. 304, 12mo.) This work is designed to expose the wickedness and absurdity of Mormonism, with a view to the benefit of the peculiar classes endangered by its incursions. The character and standing of Professor Turner as a Presbyterian Minister, and his contiguity to the scene of Mormon operations, are sufficient to render his work an important authority.
3rd. "The Book of Mormon, an Account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi; by Joseph Smith, Junior, Author and Proprietor, Palmyra. Printed by E. B. Grandin, for the Author, 1830." (pp. 588,
12mo.) The copy cited is one of the first edition, and was obtained by the compiler from the prophet's mother, in April, 1842.
4th. "Gazetteer of the State of Missouri, with a Map of the State; compiled by Alonzo Wetmore, St. Louis, 1837." (pp. 382. 8vo.)
5th. "Times and Seasons," City of Nauvoo, Illinois; edited by Joseph Smith. Printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, (pp. 766. 8vo.) to April 15, 1842. The statements in this periodical work must of course be received with great caution; still, in many respects, they must be considered as good authority.
6th. "Sketches of Iowa, or the Emigrant's Guide; " by John B. Newhall, New York, 1841. (pp. 252, 18mo.)
7th. " Book of Covenants and Revelations," Kirtland, 1835. (pp. 250. 18mo.) This book has exerted more influence on Mormonism than any other, not excepting the Book of Mormon, and is, therefore, frequently quoted as authority on points of doctrine.
8th. "A Brief History of the Church of Christ,
of Latter Day Saints (commonly called Mormons), including an account of their Doctrine and Discipline, with the reasons of the author for leaving the said Church; by John Corrill, a member of the Legislature of Missouri, St. Louis, 1839." (pp. 50, 8vo.) This pamphlet is the work of a person who was among the earliest converts to Mormonism, and an eye-witness of many of the most important events in its history.
9th. "Mormonism Pourtrayed, its errors and absurdities exposed, and the spirit and designs of its author made manifest; by William Harris, Warsaw, Illinois, 1841." (pp. 64.) This pamphlet is also by a person who was for some time a zealous Mormon.
10th. "An appeal to the American People, being an account of the persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and of the barbarities inflicted on them by the inhabitants of the State of Missouri; by authority of said Church, Cincinnati, 1840." (pp. 84, 18mo.)
11th. "Document showing the testimony given before the Judge of the fifth judicial circuit of the
State of Missouri, on the trial of Joseph Smith and others, for high treason, and other crimes against that State. February 15, 1841." This document was published by authority of Congress, and is of considerable value, as elucidating the spirit and designs of the prophet and his confederates.
12th. "An Address to Americans, a poem in blank verse, by James Mulholland, an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nauvoo, 1841." (pp. 11, 18mo.)
13th. An Oration delivered on the 4th of July, by Sidney Rigdon, Far-West, 1838.
The Author has also occasionally referred to "The City of the Mormons," "America and the American Church," and various newspapers, which assist in tracing the history of Mormonism.
The reader's attention is particularly solicited to a remarkable extract from Southey (inserted opposite the title page), which did not meet the Author's
eye until the greater part of this work was in print. The production was published in March, 1829, fourteen months previously to the publication of the Book of Mormon, and while the American Mohammed was busily engaged in his pretended translation.
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money -- He meets with Spaulding's manuscript and digs for a silver mine -- He falls in love, and pretends to discover another silver mine -- He elopes with Emma Hale, and obliges a Dutchman to pay the expenses of his flight -- He begins to tell a story respecting his discovery of a Golden Bible -- He persuades his own family to believe, and succeeds in enlisting Martin Harris -- Harris visits New York -- The Prophet and Harris produce the Book of Mormon, which is published with the testimony of eleven witnesses besides the prophet.
APPENDIX231 Analysis of the Book of Mormon.
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MORMONISM is a system which could not have been easily produced or readily developed in England. The mature religious institutions of the mother country would have opposed a bulwark against its progress as a fanaticism; while an efficient government and an active police would have stripped it altogether of its military character. Had it been preached in the first place in Britain, it would probably have crept in the dust like other reptile forms of delusion; and the names
2 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
of its prophets and teachers would have ranked with those of Southcote or of Muggleton. But in the Western hemisphere its antecedent probability of success was incalculably greater. Various circumstances had concurred in preparing the way for the introduction of a new system of religion. The fuel was already collected, the pile was duly prepared, and an accidental spark alone was wanting to kindle a blaze of fanaticism, which no existing means would avail to extinguish. It may be well, therefore, before narrating the rise and progress of Mormonism, to consider briefly the condition of the religious world in Western America prior to its appearance.
In the first place then, it must be recollected that Western America has never possessed any institution resembling an influential Church, and strongly controlling public opinion. In New England the Puritan establishment flourished in vigour during nearly two centuries, and its effects are clearly visible in the marked and peculiar character of the eastern people. But to the westward of the river Hudson this curious system never existed, and its indirect influence alone was perceptible. Virginia, during its colonial existence, possessed an establishment professedly of the Church of England. But Episcopacy, which constitutes the basis of the English Church, was unknown there, except
PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM. 3
in name. 1 The colonists indeed petitioned, 2 from time to time, for an American Bishop; but the government of the mother country, for various causes, uniformly declined to comply with their reasonable requests, and they remained ecclesiastically subject to the Bishop of London. Their clergy were either emigrants from Britain, or natives of the colonies who had proceeded to England for ordination. Both sources of supply were inadequate, and the latter was peculiarly hazardous and burdensome. Hence, while dissenting sects met with no considerable obstacle to their progress, the Church appeared to be studiously kept in the back ground, without any effectual means of discipline for the clergy, and without the important ordinance of Confirmation for the laity. There was no visible centre of unity; there were no means for the ready removal of abuses; each clergyman acted for himself, and none dreamed of working in concert with the rest. The Church, therefore, possessed little influence, and finally lost its hold upon the respect and attachment of the community. The Revolution came, and the early Virginian Church, having been founded originally upon the sand, was soon swept away and nearly annihilated. 3 The new government found the American
1 "America and the American Church," p. 169.
2 Ib. 170. 3 Ib. p 174.
4 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
people divided into various denominations, not one of which could claim a majority in its favour. Hence, even though the government had possessed the will, it had not the power to set up any national form of religious doctrine and worship. From that period the idea of an established Church became more and more unpopular, and the people came to the conclusion, that 4 any legislation by which Christianity should be distinguished from Mahometanism, paganism, or infidelity, would be contrary to the first principles of American liberty. In the new states, and finally in all of the older ones also, religion was thrown upon the voluntary support of its friends; and while secular education received a tolerable share of public attention, no general system of Christian instruction was suffered to exist.
As a natural consequence of this state of things, the great mass of the community, being destitute of official guides, were influenced by accident or by caprice in their choice of religious teachers. The Scriptures, indeed, still maintained their ground, and commanded, to a certain extent, the reverence of the multitudes to whom the living Church had ceased to speak. But destitute as those multitudes were of authorized expositors, and unable of
4 "America and the American Church," p. 63,
PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM. 5
themselves to form any consistent scheme of doctrine, it is not wonderful that numerous wild forms of religion soon held extensive sway. It is painful to the Christian mind to reflect on the scenes which often occurred, and which are still too frequently exhibited in Western America at meetings professedly religious. Frequently, not only whole communities, but vast regions, have been subject to the most extraordinary attacks of enthusiasm. 5 In the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, from the year 1800 to 1804, both inclusive, meetings were often held, as at present, in the open air, and lasted for a number of days in succession. During the continuance of these meetings, the people remained on the ground day and night, listening to the most exciting sermons, and engaging in a mode of worship which consisted chiefly in alternate crying, laughing, singing and shouting, accompanied with gesticulations of a most extraordinary character. Often there would be an unusual outcry, some bursting forth into loud ejaculations of thanksgiving, others exhorting their careless friends to 'turn to the Lord ;" some struck with terror, and hastening to escape, others trembling, weeping, and swooning away, till every appearance of life was gone, and the extremities of the body
5 Prof. Turner's "Mormonism in all Ages," p. 272.
6 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
assumed the coldness of a corpse. At one meeting not less than a thousand persons fell to the ground apparently without sense or motion. It was common to see them shed tears plentifully about an hour before they fell; they were then seized with a general tremor, and sometimes they uttered one or two piercing shrieks in the moment of falling. This latter phenomenon was common to both sexes, to all ages, and to all sorts of characters. Towards the close of this commotion, viz., about the year 1803, convulsions became prevalent, and were distinguished as the "rolling exercise," the "jerks," and the " barks," which are thus described by credible witnesses. 6
The "rolling exercise" consisted in doubling the head and feet together, and rolling over and over like a hoop; or in stretching the body horizontally, and rolling through mud and mire like swine.
The "jerks" consisted in violent twitches and contortions of the body in all its parts. Sometimes the head would fly half way round, and backwards and forwards, until not a feature could be recognized. When attacked by the "jerks," the victims of enthusiasm sometimes leaped like frogs, and exhibited every grotesque and hideous contortion of the face and limbs.
6 Turner, p. 273.
PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM. 7
The "barks" consisted in getting down on all fours, growling, snapping the teeth, and barking like dogs. Sometimes numbers of the people squatted down, and, looking in the face of the minister, continued demurely barking at him while he preached to them. These last were peculiarly gifted in prophecies, trances, dreams, rhapsodies, visions of angels, of heaven, and of the holy city. 7
The above will serve as a specimen of the kind of worship deliberately chosen by persons whose private judgment was uncontrolled, and who desired to be considered extremely spiritual. Nor has this description of religion been confined to a few obscure fanatics. It has prevailed most extensively among many sects,8 and principally among the Baptists and the Methodists, bodies which, in regard to number, are the leading denominations in the United States, and contain within the sphere of their direct influence probably not less than six millions of souls. The Holy Spirit is too generally regarded as the author of enthusiastic manifestations similar to those described above, and religion is made to consist in feelings, impulses, and experiences, rather than in the exercise of a living faith, the cultivation of Christian graces, and the performance of holy duties. The
7 Turner, p. 274..
8 "America and the American Church," p. 316. 324.
8 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
preachers and people unite in despising written and studied sermons, and the wandering rhapsodies of illiterate men are almost considered as dictated by heavenly inspiration.
It will thus be seen that a new form of superstition has for some time held extensive sway in Western America. The people have doubtless generally rejected the notion of seven sacraments, the worship of saints and images, and the belief in purgatory and transubstantiation. But it is clear that vast bodies in America, professing strong Protestantism, have for half a century maintained errors perhaps equally dangerous with the worst corruptions of Romanism. A way was thus prepared for the appearance of a Prophet, claiming immediate inspiration, interpreting the Scriptures according to his own fancies, and, in short, leading his followers into the lowest abyss of mental degradation. The abuse of Protestantism seemed rapidly bringing back something akin to Popery; and it was not unreasonable to anticipate that an infallible ruler would soon arise to lead captive those who had made a great boast of their liberty. In fact, long before Mormonism was heard of, many wise and good men, contemplating the state of the religious world in the West, had sorrowfully expressed their apprehension that a new religion would shortly appear, combining in itself many of
PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM. 9
the worst elements of a destructive fanaticism, and decidedly Anti-christian in its tendency. It is perhaps a happy circumstance, that when this anticipation was realized by the appearance of Mormonism, the new religion came out under the superintendence of leaders, whose follies, iniquities, and absurdities have often threatened a dissolution of the entire fabric. Had the founders of the system been men of tolerable character, moderate foresight, and sufficient honesty to become the dupes of their own enthusiasm, it is impossible to estimate the mischief which might have been already effected.
Another circumstance assisted greatly in preparing the way for Mormonism. Together with the practical Antinomianism, and the enthusiastic views of spiritual agency described above, there had grown up a contempt for outward ordinances and regular ecclesiastical discipline. A reaction was ultimately produced, which, without destroying enthusiasm and fanaticism, produced a complete revolution in the opinions of a large portion of the community on the subjects of Baptism and external order. A great reformer, Alexander Campbell by name, became conspicuous in the denomination of Baptists about the year 1827. 9 Being a person of
9 Turner, p. 24. "America and American Church," p. 313.
10 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
considerable property, great boldness, and much real learning, he soon occupied almost the position of an inspired prophet. He published a new translation of the New Testament, compiled from the versions of Mac Knight and Doddridge, with some variations of his own. He taught that immersion was absolutely necessary to render a person a member of Christ, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. He declared that the Holy Ghost was promised only to those who should have submitted to immersion, and that such persons alone could justly expect the remission of their sins. All unbaptized or unimmersed persons were boldly pronounced unregenerate. They were considered unsusceptible of the direct influences of the Holy Spirit, though capable of being acted upon by the moral power of truth, whether contained in the Scriptures or in oral instructions. A scheme of "Church " government also was laid down, which approximated in some respects to the doctrine of the apostolical succession, and which seemed to prepare the ground for something like a priesthood. These new opinions spread like wildfire, and throughout Western Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, numerous enthusiastic persons were soon preaching them to crowded and breathless congregations. They proclaimed with much zeal, and no small share of ability, the duty of all men
PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM. 11
to be baptized for the remission of sins, and the absolute necessity of immersion. They promised the Holy Ghost to all who should be thus baptized, on a profession of faith and repentance; and encouraged them to expect not merely the ordinary, but the extraordinary gifts of the Third Person in the Trinity. This was denominated the "Ancient Gospel," and to these views all men were required to conform. Prodigious success accompanied the efforts of the new sectaries; and notwithstanding the epithet of "Heretics," which was profusely lavished upon them by many who held errors at least equally dangerous, the "Campbellites" continued to increase, and have succeeded in maintaining their position to the present day. By a process which will hereafter be explained, Campbellism was soon made to form one of the main ingredients of Mormonism.
When, in addition to the above leading causes, it is considered that the great mass of the inhabitants of the West have little respect for ancient institutions on the ground of their antiquity; that they are naturally restless, fond of change, and greedy of novelty; and that these peculiarities of their character arise almost necessarily from the circumstances in which they are placed, 1
1 See De Tocqueville on American Democracy.
12 PREPARATIONS FOR MORMONISM.
the reader will be convinced that Western America, in the early part of the nineteenth century, was precisely the locality in which a religion like Mormonism might be expected to take root and flourish. Without a preparation similar to the above, Mormonism never could have been received far beyond the immediate circle of the false prophet's coadjutors. The seed might have been cast into the earth, but it could never have sprung up; much less could it have produced its subsequent abundant harvest of misery and degradation.
An accidental event, which will be detailed in the next chapter, constituted the opening scene in the drama of Mormonism.
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Spaulding's birth and education -- He becomes a preacher -- then a tradesman -- then a bankrupt -- He removes to Ohio and becomes bankrupt a second time -- He writes an historical romance respecting the American Indians -- He removes to Pittsburg, where his manuscript remains in a printing office -- He removes to Amity -- He dies -- the Book of Mormon appears -- It is compared with Spaulding's work, and found to be generally identical with it -- Spaulding's original work is lost.
THE reader is now requested to look backward more than eighty years. In the year 1762, 2 before the Revolution had separated the best portion of America from the British Empire, a person was ushered into existence, who unconsicously became a conspicious character in the history of heresy. This was Solomon Spaulding, who was born in the town of Ashford, in the quiet and steady colony of Connecticut. From his youth he was distinguished
2 Clark's "Gleanings by the Way," p. 249., Turner, p. 207.
14 SPAULDING UNCONSCIOUSLY ASSISTS
by a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. Having completed his preparatory course of study, he proceeded to Dartmouth College, at Hanover, in New Hampshire. This institution was then of recent origin, and derived its name from an English nobleman who had been one of its principal benefactors. Having taken his degree, Mr. Spaulding studied the Calvinistic theology, and was ordained a minister of the Congregational denomination. He officiated in this capacity for three or four years, when, for some reason which has not transpired, he deserted the pulpit, and commenced business as a tradesman at Cherry Valley, in the state of New York. His previous pursuits, and perhaps his speculative turn of mind, seem to have disqualified him for worldly engagements; and an event took place which in other countries would have proved a serious calamity. Solomon Spaulding became a bankrupt. 3 At that period the more western parts of America presented great inducements to emigration. The Indian tribes in Ohio had ceased to be dangerous, and the fertile lands in that agreeable country were eagerly sought by numbers who had the world before them, and who desired to carve out their fortunes by the active energies of their own right
3 Turner, p. 207.
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hands. To a person of Spaulding's imaginative character, the prospect of recovering his position, and of attaining a respectable competence in the new country, appeared peculiarly inviting. He accordingly joined the stream of western emigrants, and arrived at Conneaut, in Ohio, near the southern shore of Lake Erie, in the year 1809. 4 Here he commenced as a speculator in land, 5 purchasing a considerable tract at a small price, and endeavouring to sell it out in small lots at a large profit. He also engaged in building a forge, in the hope of materially increasing his means by the manufacture of iron. He entered into partnership in the following year with a person named Lake, and the two conjointly completed the erection of the forge. This speculation was unfortunate, and the traffic in land appears to have been equally disadvantageous. 6 In fact, the war between Great Britain and America was then raging, and Lake Erie and its shores were, in a great measure, the scene of hostile operations. In 1812, Spaulding had failed once more, and was considerably involved in debt. 7 Whether from disappointment, or from the effects of a sickly climate, or from both causes combined, his health had now given way, 8 and he was disabled from active labours. His mind once
4 Clark, p. 250. 5 Ib. p. 309.
6 Ib. p. 308.
7 Ib. p. 309.
8 Ib. p. 250.
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more reverted to literary pursuits, 9 and he conceived the idea of publishing a book which he had already in part prepared. His sanguine imagination assured him that successful authorship would enable him to discharge his debts, 1 and, perhaps, to acquire a competency. The subject of the work was suited to his peculiar temperament. He had been long in the habit of contending that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the tribes of Israel; and in this opinion, it is but fair to add, he was by no means singular. 2 Several exceedingly ingenious and plausible essays have been written to prove the same point. The arguments most commonly adduced, appear to be derived from the resemblance of some Indian words to the Hebrew, the general belief in one Supreme Being, the practice of various ceremonial rites, and traditions, which seem to point to Asia, as the original cradle of the race. 3 In the vicinity of Conneaut, as in many other parts of the West, there are numerous works of earth, regularly constructed, and bearing the appearance of fortifications, which evidently belong to a period of remote antiquity. 4 On forming excavations in the sides
9 Clark, p. 251.
1 Ib. p. 309.
2 See Newhall's Sketches of Iowa, p. 237.
3 See Bishop M'Ilvaine's preface to the "Antiquities of America."
4 Newhall, p. 234.
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of these mysterious remains, numerous implements were found, 5 some of which evinced a skill in the arts altogether surpassing that of the existing Indians. 6 Spaulding's peculiar views led him to take a lively interest in these developments of antiquity, 7 and he had long devoted much of his leisure time to the construction of an historical romance, 8 describing the adventures of the nations by which these fortifications were reared. Under the guidance of Nephi and Lehi, their ancestors were represented as leaving Jerusalem, to escape the judgments coming on the old world. There was a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America with their leaders. The settlers were described as having various contentions among themselves, and as finally separating into two distinct nations, denominated Nephites and Lamanites. Between these parties cruel and bloody battles were fought; giants performed prodigies of valour, and the ground was frequently covered with the slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, and thus produced the mounds or barrows which are found throughout North America. 9 Their arts, sciences, and civilization were brought into view, and an account was
5 Newhall, p. 232.
6 See Atwater's Antiquities of Ohio.
7 Clark, p. 251.
8 lb. p. 305.
9 Ib. pp. p. 306, 307.
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given of the origin of the curious antiquities in North and South America.
The story was entitled, "The Manuscript Found," 1 and purported to be a translation of a record discovered beneath the earth, and written by one of the "Lost Nation." in order to keep up an appearance of consistency, the author adopted a style of writing similar to that of the English version of the Scriptures. 2 Nearly every sentence was made to commence with the phrase "and it came to pass," or, "now it came to pass." 3 The names of Nephi, Lehi, and Moroni were often repeated; 4 many paragraphs began with "I, Nephi;" and there was a tragic story recounting the particulars of the death of a certain Laban, 5 previous to the departure of the emigrants from the old world. As the author advanced in his narrative, the neighbouring settlers frequently came to his house, and inquired pleasantly how he proceeded in deciphering the manuscript. 6 When he had prepared a sufficient portion, he informed them, and they assembled to hear it read. Much interest was excited among them, although none imagined the tale to be any thing more than an ingenious fiction. Many of those who had been present on these occasions remembered the general outlines of the story, and
1 Clark, p. 251.
3 lb. p. 305.
4 lb. p. 308.
5 lb. p. 307.
6 lb. p 251.
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from their testimony, in the absence of the manuscript itself, the foregoing facts were collected after an interval of twenty years. The widow, the brother, and the partner of Spaulding, are among the witnesses; 7 and their statements are too circumstantial, and too well supported by collateral evidence, to admit of any reasonable doubt. In the year 1812 8 Spaulding removed from Ohio, and, having been furnished by his late partner with the means of defraying his travelling expenses, 9 he arrived at Pittsburg in Pennsylvania, where he resided for about two years. Here he designed to print his book, from the proceeds of which he assured his creditors that he should be enabled to satisfy their demands. 1 Meeting with a Mr. Patterson, 2 the editor of a newspaper, and partner with one Lambdin in the business of a printing-office, he exhibited to him his manuscript, with a view to its publication. Patterson seemed pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and obstacles appearing in the way of publication, it was finally laid upon the shelves of the printing-office, together with other unfortunate productions of genius. Here it was not altogether unnoticed, and it was in the power
7 Turner, p. 210.
8 lb. p. 211.
9 lb. p 210. Clark, p. 252.
1 Clark, p. 309.
2 Clark, p. 252.
20 SPAULDING UNCONSCIOUSLY ASSISTS
of any person frequenting the office, to read it, to make extracts from it, or to copy it entirely. 3 The widow of Spaulding testifies that it was a subject of notoriety and interest to all connected with the establishment; 4 but whether the manuscript was ever returned to the author, is still a subject of uncertainty. In 1814, 5 Spaulding removed to Amity, some distance from Pittsburg, where his numerous disappointments were finally terminated by his death, 6 which occurred in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and in the year 1816. The widow then removed to the county of Onondaga in the state of New York; 7 and, among the small effects of her deceased husband, she took with her a trunk, containing a quantity of his writings, and probably the important manuscript mentioned above. 8 From Onondaga county she went to Hartwick, in the county of Otsego, leaving the trunk and its contents at her brother's house, in a place denominated Onondaga Hollow. In 1820 she married again, on which occasion the trunk was taken to Hartwick, where she left it with a friend on her removal from that place in 1832. At that period she accompanied her second husband, Mr. Davidson, to Monson, 9 in Massachusetts, where it is believed she still resides,
3 Clark, pp. 252. p. 266. Turner, p. 211.
4 Clark, p. 252.
5 Turner, p. 211.
6 Clark, pp. 252.
7 Turner, p. 212.
8 Ib. p. 212.
9 Clark, p. 249.
PREPARING THE WAY FOR MORMONISM. 21
and to which place the trunk and its contents appear to have been ultimately forwarded.
In the meantime a remarkable book had appeared, printed at Palmyra, in Western New York, in 1828, and denominated "The Book of Mormon." It was a volume of 588 pages, 1 consisting of fifteen different books, purporting to have been written at different times, by the authors whose names they respectively bear, and collected by the prophet Moroni, 2 These historical records covered a period of about one thousand years, -- from the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah, to the year of our Lord 420. They professed to trace the history of the American aborigines, referring their origin to the Jews, and giving an account of their contentions, adventures, and wars, from the time of their leaving Jerusalem under the guidance of Nephi and Lehi, down to the final dissolution of their power in the time of the prophet Moroni. Before leaving Jerusalem, Nephi was represented as being constrained by the Spirit of the Lord to kill a certain Laban, the keeper of the genealogy of his forefathers. After their arrival in America, the emigrants were described as separating into two distinct nations of Nephites and Lamanites, and waging the most destructive and bloody wars
1 See Book of Mormon, first edition.
2 See Appendix.
22 SPAULDING UNCONSCIOUSLY ASSISTS
with each other. The whole style of writing was in imitation of the English version of the Scriptures; and the work itself claimed divine authority, as having been translated through miraculous power, by one Joseph Smith, from certain plates hidden in a cave, and discovered to him by an angel. 3
The publication of this book excited, as may be readily imagined, a considerable sensation in a new country, where authorship is by no means a common vocation. 4 A copy of it found its way to Conneaut in Ohio, where poor Spaulding had resided in 1812. A preacher of Mormonism had addressed a meeting in that place in the year 1834, and had read copious extracts from the pretended new revelation. Some of the older inhabitants, who were present, immediately observed the resemblance of the Mormon history to the "Manuscript Found" of the unfortunate Solomon. Mr. John Spaulding, the brother of the deceased, recognized the work, and was penetrated with amazement and grief. 5 Bursting into a flood of tears, he rose up on the spot, and interrupted the preacher by warm expressions of indignation and regret. The Book of Mormon was immediately afterwards examined by Mr. John Spaulding himself, and six other persons
3 See Preface to the Book of Mormon, first edition.
4 Clark, p. 252.
5 lb. p. 253.
PREPARING THE WAY FOR MORMONISM. 23
who had been well acquainted with Solomon and his writings. 6 It immediately brought the "Manuscript Found" to their recollection, after an interval of more than twenty years. It contained the same historical matter, the same names, and many passages which were readily identified as verbatim transcriptions from the work of the deceased. There was, however, much additional matter mixed up with it, 7 together with copious extracts from the Scriptures. Christianity was declared to have been introduced among the American aborigines, and the Saviour was represented as descending in America (after his ascension in Judea), for the purpose of preaching to the people of Nephi. 8 Several hands had evidently been employed in the preparation of this book. Occasional marks of literary skill were displayed in the management of the main story, while in some of the details and hortatory parts, and especially in those passages designed to give a Christian complexion to the work, there were unequivocal evidences of blundering ignorance.
In consequence of this examination of the Book of Mormon, a considerable excitement was produced in Conneaut; 9 some of the more credulous inhabitants expressing their belief in the divine
6 Clark, chap. xxviii.
7 Ib., p. 308.
8 Book of Mormon, 5th chapter of Nephi.
9 Clark, p. 253.
24 SPAULDING UNCONSCIOUSLY ASSISTS
inspiration for the work, and others maintaining that it was Solomon Spaulding's production, with some alterations and additions. They finally commissioned a Dr. Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to the residence of Mrs. Davidson in Massachusetts, a distance of about seven hundred miles, in order to obtain from her the original manuscript, for the purpose of comparing it with the professed revelation.1 This Hurlbut had been a zealous Mormon,2 and a distinguished preacher in that sect; but had lately quitted them, and now professed to be their decided opponent. On his presenting his credentials to Mrs. Davidson, at her residence in Massachusetts, she produced 3 the trunk of papers, which she does not appear to have examined for many years. On opening it, a variety of writings, which it formerly contained, were discovered to be missing. The required manuscript was not there, and in fact nothing but a short unfinished romance, deriving the origin of the Indians from Rome, by a ship driven to the American coast while on a voyage to Britain. This manuscript was taken by Hurlbut, and shown to the persons in Conneaut 4 who had deputed him to obtain the required document. Of course it did not answer their expectations; but they recognized
1 Clark, pg 253.
2 Ib., p. 260.
3 Turner, p. 213.
4 Ib., pg. 213.
PREPARING THE WAY FOR MORMONISM. 25
in it the first plan of Spaulding's romance. They said that he began his work in this way,5 and wrote perhaps a quire of paper to that effect; but finally gave it up, and determined on deriving the origin of the Indians from the Jews.
It is therefore, certain that Solomon Spaulding wrote a book, about the year 1812, similar in all its leading features to the historical portions of the Book of Mormon. That the manuscript, or a vopy of it, was taken from the printing-office in Pittsburg, is probable; but that the original was removed from the trunk, while in Otsego county, appears equally probable. That it is gone, that it came into the hands of the founder of Mormonism, and that it was made subserviant to the purposes of a vile imposition, is as certain as that the Book of Mormon exists.6
5 Turner, p. 213.
6 Ib. p. 214.
26 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
Birth of Joseph Smith, the Prophet -- The Prophet is dissatisfied with all religious sects, and begins to dig for money -- He meets with Spaulding's manuscript and digs for a silver mine -- He falls in love, and pretends to discover another silver mine -- He elopes with Emma Hale, and obliges a Dutchman to pay the expenses of his flight -- He begins to tell a story respecting his discovery of a Golden Bible -- He persuades his own family to believe, and succeeds in enlisting Martin Harris -- Harris visits New York -- The Prophet and Harris produce the Book of Mormon, which is published with the testimony of eleven witnesses besides the prophet.
THE 23rd of December, 1805, was distinguished by the birth of Joseph Smith, 7 a person who was destined to appear as one of the great phenomena of the nineteenth century, and to become, to some extent, a living type of the history, the schism, and the religious imposture of the age. While the
7 "Times and Seasons," p. 727.
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 27
28 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 29
30 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 31
32 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 33
34 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 35
36 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON ]
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 37
38 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 39
40 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 41
42 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 43
44 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 45
46 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 47
48 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AS A DIVINE REVELATION. 49
50 INTRODUCTION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
With a knowledge of the facts stated in this chapter, it is not difficult to account for the introduction of the Book of Mormon as a divine revelation, and for the extraordinary success which afterwards attended the imposition.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
Organization of the first Mormon "Church" -- Missionaries sent to the West -- History of Rigdon, the Campbellite -- Rigdon assists in preparing the way for Mormonism -- He is converted by Smith's missionaries -- His flock follow his example, and are immersed -- They receive the "gift of tongues" -- Rigdon visits Smith, and becomes his prime minister -- Horrible fanaticism breaks out at Kirtland -- Smith declares it to be the work of Satan -- The converts rapidly increase -- A Bishop is appointed, and Mormonism appears in a new aspect.
WE have thus far beheld the prophet feeling his way along the avenues which the credulity of his neighbors opened to him, and with the assistance of Spaulding's manuscript and of his own inventive audacity, gradually completing a work professing to be a revelation from heaven. His views appear to have been limited in the first place to pecuniary gain, 1 which he expected to acquire partly by his influence over the superstitious Harris, and partly
1 Harris, p. 44.
52 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
by his interest in the sale of the Book of Mormon. But the work being now complete and before the public, his diabolical genius took a more extensive range. He had been long engaged in sounding the depths of human credulity, and, having as yet found no bottom, he determined to steer boldly forwards, and to aggrandize himself as the founder of a new religion. 2 Immediately, therefore, after the completion of the book, viz., on the 6th of April, 3 1830, the first Mormon society (almost blasphemously called a "Church") was organized at Manchester in the State of New York. It consisted of only six members, viz., Joseph Smith, the prophet's father, Joseph Smith the prophet, Hyrum and Samuel Smith the prophet's brothers, Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Knight. Of these the prophet was declared to be "called and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ," and first elder of the new society, afterwards entitled "the Church of Latter Day Saints." Oliver Cowdery the scribe was, with like propriety, appointed " second elder," and to old Joseph Smith was assigned the somewhat undefined position of "Patriarch." 4
These six worthies forthwith set themselves with great zeal to the extension of their religion, fully intending that their converts should become their
2 Harris, p. 44. Turner, p. 22.
3 Ib. p. 28.
4 Turner, pp. 22, 23. p. 245.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 53
customers as purchasers of the "Golden Bible."
Soon afterwards a branch was established by them at Fayette, and the June following in Colesville, both villages of Western New York, 5 near the place where Joseph had formerly been employed by Stowell in digging for money. Twenty persons were shortly added to the number in Manchester and Fayette, and thirteen dupes were in like manner entrapped at Colesville. 6 In October in the same year (1830), the believers in the divine mission of Smith had increased to seventy or eighty. 7 But in this vicinity our prophet's character was altogether too well known to allow of the rapid propagation of his doctrine. 8 A few weak and unstable souls indeed had been deceived; but, with these exceptions, the population regarded the pretensions of the money-digger as gross fabrications and impudent falsehoods. It was, therefore, a wise stroke of policy for those concerned in the imposture to emigrate to a place where they were wholly unknown. This idea seems to have been in part derived from a new convert, Parley P. Pratt, a resident in Ohio, and previously a preacher among the Campbellite Baptists. Accidentally, as it appeared, passing through Palmyra, and hearing of the "Golden Bible," this person sought an interview
5 Turner, p. 23.
8 Clark, p. 346.
54 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
view with the prophet, and immediately gave in his adhesion to Mormonism. 9 About the same time, an expedition was fitted out for the western country, with the professed design of converting the Indians. The elders deputed by the prophet on this mission 1 were Oliver Cowdery, the leader, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, and a new convert, named Tiba Peterson. On their way they planted their doctrines in Kirtland, a town in the north-eastern part of Ohio, where they founded a numerous society. 2
This event in the history of Mormonism is somewhat marvellous in the eyes of others as well as in the estimation of the "saints" themselves. It is important, therefore, that we should consider the circumstances which serve to elucidate so remarkable an occurrence. I have already, in the first chapter, alluded to the origin of the Campbellite Baptists. These novel sectarians date their commencement in the year 1827, at which period, Alexander Campbell, their founder, together with Walter Scott, Sidney Rigdon, and others, seceded from the regular Baptists, and established a new connexion of their own. 3 Among these reformers, Rigdon held to the literal interpretation of the prophecies, and taught that the long lost tribes of
9 Clark, pp. 311, 312.
1 Ibid.; Turner, p. 23.
2 Ib. p. 313; Ib. p. 23; Corrill, pp. 7, 8.
3 Turner, p. 24.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 55
Israel were soon to be restored, and that wonderful revolutions were at hand, affecting not only the moral, but the political and even the animal world. 4 But as this person is a conspicuous character in the history of Mormonism, it is important that we should trace his career from as early a period as possible.
We first hear of Sidney Rigdon about the year 1814. 5 At that time, it will be recollected, poor Spaulding and his wife were residing in Pittsburg, while the unfortunate manuscript was deposited in the printing-office of Messrs. Patterson and Lambdin. 6 The widow of Mr. Spaulding thinks that Rigdon was at that time connected with the printing-office, where of course he would have opportunities of reading or copying the manuscript, although there is no positive evidence that he did so. 7 It is certain that, about the year 1823, Rigdon, then a Baptist preacher, returned, after some absence, to Pittsburg, where he resided about three years, continually occupied, as he asserted, in the study of the Bible. 9 During the same three years, it will be recollected that Smith was engaged in a wandering life, employing his stone spectacles, and sometimes digging for mines, near
4 Turner, p. 24.
5 Mrs. Davison's testimony; Clark, p. 252.
8 Clark, p. 319.
56 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
Harmony, in the same state in which Rigdon was now residing. 9 On the supposition that Spaulding's original manuscript, or a copy of it, remained in the printing-office, Rigdon might at this time, if not previously, have obtained a knowledge of it. It has been stated, by credible witnesses, that, about the year 1824, he was on terms of intimacy with Lambdin, and was frequently seen in his shop. 1 In 1827, as already mentioned, Rigdon separated from the regular Baptists, together with Alexander Campbell, and, having left Pittsburg, commenced preaching some new points of doctrine, partly agreeing with those of Campbell, and partly different. 2 These new doctrines related to the literal fulfillment of the prophecies, the return of the Jews, the literal reign of the saints in Zion, and the restoration of miraculous gifts. 3 It was afterwards found that these doctrines were inculcated among the fundamentals of Mormonism. 4 About the time when Rigdon left Pittsburg with his new doctrines, the Smith family began to speak of the discovery of a book, containing a history of the first inhabitants of America. 5 Rigdon removed in 1827 to the neighbourhood of Kirtland, in Ohio, where he immediately began to teach the doctrines
9 See Chapter III.
1 Clark, p. 319.
3 Turner, p. 30.
5 See Chapter III.; Clark, p. 319.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 57
of Campbell, with his own modifications. 6 He preached with considerable versatility, and with much power of popular eloquence. 7 He also brought to his aid the workings of an enthusiastic temperament, which sometimes threw him into spasms and swoonings, similar to those nervous agitations which have so often prevailed in Western America and elsewhere. 8 These nervous fits he ascribed to the agency of the Holy Spirit, as multitudes had done before him, and contended that the miraculous gifts of the apostolic age were now about to be restored to the Church of God. 9
The credulous and simple of course believed all that he taught, especially when he confirmed his doctrine by spasms, rhapsodies, and marvellous visions. 1 Many hundreds were thus deluded, and gathered into a mock church at Kirtland. 2 Other preachers soon united their efforts with his, among whom was Parley P. Pratt, already mentioned, and afterwards the great apostle of Mormonism in England. 3 While this work was going forward, Rigdon made several long visits to Pennsylvania, in which state Smith was at that time engaged with Harris and Cowdery, in the pretended business of translating the golden plates. 4 The Book of Mormon was published, as before mentioned, in
6 Clark, p. 319.
7 Turner, p. 24.
3 Ibid. 4 Clark, p. 319.
58 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
1830. In the August following, Parley P. Pratt, while on a journey, as he says, to his native place, fell in with the Book of Mormon, at Palmyra. 5 He declares that he was greatly prejudiced against it at first; but after praying to God, as he affirmed, he became convinced of its truth, and accompanied Cowdery, Whitmer, and Peterson on their mission to the West. 6
It was either in the May or June previous to this mission, and therefore not more than two months after Joseph Smith had organized his first society, that a Dr. Rosa, a respectable gentleman of Painesville in Ohio, happened to be in company with Sidney Rigdon. 7 Both were on horseback, and they rode together for several miles. They conversed, as travellers in America are wont to do, and religion was the subject of their discourse. Rigdon took occasion to remark that it was time for a new religion to spring up, and that "mankind were all ripe and ready for it." Rosa thought he alluded to the Campbellite doctrine; but was soon undeceived by Rigdon, who remarked that it would not be long before something would make its appearance. He added that he thought of going to Pennsylvania, and that he should be absent for some
5 Clark, p. 313; Turner, p. 25.
6 Turner, pp. 25, 26.
7 Clark, p. 315.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 59
months; but that the time would depend upon circumstances. The doctor was much surprised by this conversation, as Rigdon was at that time a very popular preacher in his own denomination.
The coincidences appearing in the above facts have induced in many minds a suspicion almost amounting to certainty that Rigdon, having obtained by some means the manuscript of Spaulding, (or a copy of it) afterwards embellished and altered it to suit his own views during his three years' study at Pittsburg. 8 It is also supposed that at the death of Lambdin, Rigdon became sole proprietor of the work, and in order to publish it to advantage, originated the scheme of bringing it before the world in a miraculous way. 9 A fit agent was accordingly found in Joseph Smith, whose fame as a wizard had already extended itself far and wide, and to his charge the altered manuscript was intrusted in order to be ushered into notice with eclat. 1 In the meantime Rigdon, with the help of Pratt, was busy in preparing for the triumph of Mormonism in Ohio, from the year 1827, when Smith commenced his pretended translation, up to 1830, when the Book of Mormon was published. 2
On the other hand, it has been contended that
8 Clark, p. 320; Turner, p. 220.
9 Clark, p. 320.
2 Turner, p. 220.
60 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
Rigdon possessed too much talent, power of language, and knowledge of Scripture, to put together such absurdities as are found in the book in question. 3 Nor has it been distinctly proved that Rigdon ever saw the manuscript of Spaulding, or that he was ever in the company of Smith previously to the publication of the work. 4
But whether Rigdon or Smith was the originator of the scheme, it is obvious that, by a course of remarkable circumstances, Rigdon and his followers were altogether prepared for Mormonism, when their colleague Pratt was converted to that faith, and Smith's four elders were deputed on their mission to the West. 5
These four worthies travelled leisurely on their way, preaching their doctrines whenever an opportunity offered. 6 They professed to be special messengers of the Living God, sent to preach the Gospel in its purity, as it was anciently taught by the Apostles. 7 They carried with them numerous copies of their new revelation; they told the story of the miraculous discovery of the golden plates, and declared that the translation had been produced by a special prophet of the Almighty, for the salvation of the house of Israel, and for the
3 Turner, p. 211; see also Corrill, p. 11.
4 Turner, p. 211.
5 Clark, p. 320; Turner, p. 211.
6 Corrill, p. 7.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 61
conversion of the Gentiles. 8 Wherever they went, these doctrines became the topic of conversation, and excited great curiosity. 9 The testimonies of the three and of the eight witnesses, inserted at the close of the book of Mormon, produced much astonishment; although the more intelligent soon concluded that the work had been published on speculation. 1 Under the guidance of Parley P. Pratt, the four elders, having completed three hundred miles of their expedition, were brought to the residence of Rigdon, in Mentor, not far from Kirtland, at the latter end of October, 1830. 2 Rigdon at first received them apparently with suspicion, and objected to the Mormon scheme, and the authority of the prophet: 3 Pratt, however, presented to him the book of Mormon, which he was ultimately induced to read, after much persuasion and argument. 4 In the course of two days, wonderful to relate, all his objections to Mormonism gave way, and he avowed his conversion to the faith. 5
Cowdery in the meantime had converted seventeen of Rigdon's Campbellites. 6 Rigdon immediately assembled his old followers, and, while he harangued them for nearly two hours, both himself
8 Corrill, p. 7.
2 Clark, p. 312.
4 Turner, p. 26.
5 lb.; Clark, p. 312; Corrill, p. 8.
6 Turner, p. 26.
62 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
and his congregation melted into tears. 7 The next morning he was immersed, together with his wife, amid manifestations of overpowering feeling; and within the following month a hundred and thirty of his former flock followed his example. 8
The following individual case is, doubtless, a good specimen of these conversions in general. A person named Corrill, who had been astonished and grieved at the sudden change in Rigdon's opinions, called upon him, and requested leave to converse with him on the subject. 9 Rigdon replied that he was now beyond the land of contention, and had got into the land of peace. 1 Corrill asked him whether the Scriptures were not sufficient for our salvation. 2 He replied that the Scriptures informed us of perilous and distressing times that should come in the last days, and that now God had sent his servants to instruct mankind respecting those times, that they might repent and prepare for them. 3 He added, that if these messengers were rejected, it would be worse with the unbelievers than it was with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. 4 With these declarations, he refused to converse any further on the subject. 5 Obtaining no satisfaction from Rigdon, or from the four elders, Corrill attended several of their meetings
7Turner, p. 26.
8 Ib.; Corrill, p. 8.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 63
in Kirtland. 6 At one of these meetings, which continued all night, they professed to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. 7 They also administered a pretended sacrament of the Lord's Supper, after which they prophesied, and spoke in unknown tongues. 8 Persons in the room, who took no part with them, declared that the tongues spoken were regular Indian dialects, with which the persons who spoke were never known to have been conversant. 9 Corrill returned home under the conviction that supernatural agency had been at work, and soon became a professed Mormon. 1 In the glowing language of Pratt, "the Holy Spirit was mightily poured out, the Word of God grew and multiplied, and many priests were obedient to the Word." 2 In the course of the following winter and spring the number of Mormons in Kirtland and its vicinity increased to more than a thousand. 3
During November 1830, in about three weeks after his conversion, Sidney Rigdon visited the prophet Smith at his residence in the state of New York, accompanied by one Edward Partridge. 4 Joseph was prepared to receive him, and declared that a revelation had just been made to him by the
6 Corrill, p. 9.
2 Turner, p. 26.
4 Ibid.; CIark, p. 312; Corrill, p. 17.
64 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
Lord in reference to this new convert. 5 This pretended heavenly communication, which is recorded in the "Book of Covenants," was in the following words 6 -- "Behold, verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works; I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold, thou wast sent forth even as John, to prepare the way before me, and Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto you a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water and fire of the Holy Ghost, by laying on of hands, even as the Apostles of old."
Rigdon professed to make many impartial inquiries into the evidences of the new religion, and finally to become fully convinced of its truth. 7 He afterwards told Alexander Campbell, his former colleague, that if Smith should be proved a liar, or should say himself that he never discovered the Book of Mormon, as he reported, he should still believe, and also believe that all who rejected it would be damned. 8
5 Turner, p. 16; Clark, p. 312.
6 "Book of Covenants," p. 117.
7 Turner, p. 27; Corrill, p. 17.
8 Turner, p. 27.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 65
After this meeting, Mormonism became more fully matured and developed. 9 Hitherto it had been deficient in spirit and power, its aim extending little beyond the habitual aspirations of Joseph the money-digger. 1 Before his meeting with Rigdon in 1830, few of the peculiarities of Mormonism, as it now exists, were broached by Smith, or found in the Book of Mormon; nor had Smith ever taught them, unless in loose generalities, which might be interpreted to suit circumstances. 2 But after Rigdon's conversion things assumed a different aspect. 3 Smith's revelations became more explicit and decisive. 4 He proceeded to organize his disciples, and to propound their doctrines and discipline. 5 As to the doctrines, they were to be substantially the same with those which Rigdon had been teaching since 1827. 6 As to the discipline, there were to be two distinct priesthoods, distinguished respectively by the names of Melchisedec and Aaron, both containing a sufficient number of presidents, bishops, prophets, priests, elders, and other officers, to make every Mormon a man of authority. 7 Smith was at the head of all, and Rigdon became his prime minister, an
9 Clark, p. 313.
1 Turner, p. 31.
6 Ibid.; Clark, p. 320.
7 Turner, p. 32; Clark, p. 321; Corill, pp. 24, 25.
66 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
elder, a high priest, and a scribe, and, in short, "the orator and oracle of the faith." 8
Rigdon being familiar with the Bible, a close reasoner, and prepared to establish to the satisfaction of numbers, the negative or affirmative of any question from Scripture, was commissioned to promulgate the absurdities of Mormonism, and to prove the words of Smith by demonstrations from Holy Writ. 9 A "revelation" was soon received that Kirtland, the residence of Rigdon and his brethren, was to be the eastern border of the promised land, 1 which was to extend westward to the Pacific Ocean. 2 On this land, it was further declared that the New Jerusalem, the City of Refuge, was to be erected. 3 Upon it, all true believers were to assemble, to escape the destruction of the world, which was soon to take place. 4
While Smith and Rigdon were thus concocting their schemes at Manchester, the work was advancing rapidly in Kirtland, under the superintendance of Cowdery and his associates. 5 During the autumn and winter, the village was continually crowded with visitors, who came from different parts of the United States and Canada, to inquire after the "New Religion." 6 As the peculiarities
8 Turner, p.27.
9 Clark, p. 313.
2 Ibid.; Harris, p. 28.
6 Turner, p. 27.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 67
of Mormonism became developed, scenes of the most frantic and horrible fanaticism ensued, the actors in which were principally young persons of both sexes. 7 Cowdery and his companions pretended that the power of miracles was to be given to all those who embraced the new faith; and they professed to communicate the Holy Spirit by laying their hands upon the heads of the deluded multitude. 8 This operation at first produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind, and was often followed by a gift of tongues, which it was believed that none could understand except by inspiration. 9 Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time apparently lifeless. 1 The fits usually came on during or after their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. 2 Some, in imitation of the prophet, employed magic stones, through which they professed to see, and to describe not only the persons, but the dress and employment of people hundreds of miles distant. 3 Their conduct grew more and more eccentric and absurd, till they resembled a party of raving Bacchanalians. Sometimes they imitated the wild modes of Indian warfare, such as
7 Clark, p. 313; Turner, p. 27; Corrill, p. 17; " Times and Seasons," p 747.
8 Clark, p. 314; Turner, p. 28.
2 Turner,p. 283; Clark, p. 314.
3 Turner, p. 28.
68 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
knocking down, scalping, and tearing out the bowels of the victims. 4 At the dead hour of night they ran through the fields and over the hills in pursuit of balls of fire, which they declared they beheld in the atmosphere. 5 Sometimes they mounted on the stumps of trees, and while absorbed in visions, they plunged into the waters of baptism, or harangued the imaginary multitudes by which they thought themselves surrounded. 6 Others fell into a trance, and having continued apparently lifeless for a long time, awoke to relate what they had learned respecting the future glory of the saints, and the destruction of the unbelieving. 7 Sometimes their faces, bodies, and limbs were violently distorted and convulsed, until they fell prostrate on the ground. 8 Three of the young converts pretended to have received a commission to preach from the skies, after having first leaped in the air as high as they could. 9 All these performances were believed to emanate from the Spirit of God. 1
Rigdon continued with Smith in Manchester about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in the vicinity, and trying to establish the truth of Mormonism. 9 But meeting with little success, he
4 Clark, p. 314; Turner, p. 28.
5 Ibid.; "Times and Seasons," p. 747; Corrill, p. 16.
9 Clark, p. 314.
2 Ibid. Corrill, p. 17; Clark, 321.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 69
first wrote to the converts in Ohio, disclosing to them that Kirtland was to be the seat of empire, and in January, 1831, returned to that place himself. 34 Smith and his whole family, together with Harris and about fifty Mormon families from the state of New York, followed him a few days afterwards. 4
On the arrival of Smith in Kirtland, he appeared astonished at the wild enthusiasm and scalping performances of his proselytes. 5 Some of the less insane having appealed to him on the subject, he very wisely produced a new "revelation," informing them in substance that it was all the work of the devil. 6 Upon this announcement the disturbances ceased for a time, while Smith and Rigdon took to themselves the entire monopoly of all wonders, and commended to the "saints" the more appropriate duty of believing. 7 In the following winter, however (1831), a new fanaticism gained ground. The opinion was propagated among the Mormons, that they should never taste death; and that all diseases would yield to the faithful and devout use of prayers, herbs, oil, and imposition of hands. 8 The prophet himself, however, in the
3 Clark, p. 314.
4 Turner, p. 27; Clark, p. 321; Corrill, p. 17.
5 Clark, p. 321; Turner, p. 29.
6 Ibid.; Corrill, p. 17.
7 Turner, p. 29.
70 RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM.
case of his wife (now denominated "the elect lady"), had recourse to a surgeon, greatly to the grief and scandal of his disciples. 9 Persons of less distinction were religiously left to die in the hands of the gifted and wonder-working elders.
After Rigdon's return to Kirtland, with his new companions and his new faith, Alexander Campbell, his former associate and guide, challenged him to a public debate, in which he undertook to show the foolish absurdities, shameless pretensions, and manifest imposture of the Mormon scheme. 2 This challenge, however, Rigdon prudently declined accepting, and Mormonism continued to extend itself with considerable rapidity. 3 Nearly all the male converts, however ignorant or worthless, were transformed into "elders," and sent forth to proclaim with all their wild enthusiasm, the wonders and mysteries of Mormonism. 4 All those who had a taste for the marvellous, and delighted in novelties, flocked to hear them. 5 Many travelled fifty or a hundred miles to the throne of the prophet in Kirtland, to hear from his own mouth, the story of the discovery of the golden bible and the stone spectacles. 6 Many, even in New England and the British provinces, after hearing the frantic declarations of the travelling elders, forthwith placed their
9 Turner, p. 29.
2 Clark, p. 322.
4 Clark, p. 321.
RAPID PROPAGATION OF MORMONISM. 71
all in a waggon, and took their way to the "promised land," in order to escape the judgments of heaven. 7 They were privately told, that the state of New York, with the adjacent countries, would most probably be sunk, unless the inhabitants believed in the divine inspiration of the prophet Joseph. 8
Shortly after Smith's arrival in Ohio, he published a "revelation," appointing Edward Partridge, already mentioned, Bishop of the Church, an office which implied little more than a commission to attend to the wants of the poor. 9 This step occasioned some surprise, but the people, "recollecting that there were bishops in old times, said nothing against it." 1 Soon afterwards Smith received the "revelation called the Law, which contained some good moral precepts, and required a consecration of property for the work of the Lord." 2 But we must now consider Mormonism as it appeared in its new aspect, together with some of the causes which gave it the elements of strength and extension.
7 Clark, p. 321.
9 Corrill, p. 17.
[ 72 ]
The Prophet tells a new and complete story respecting the golden plates -- Smith's Theory of Inspiration -- Book of Mormon and its claims -- Book of Covenants and its inconsistencies -- New version of the Old and New Testaments, with the Prophet's alterations and interpolations -- Pratt's "Voice of Warning." "Times and Seasons," &c.
[ 84 ]
Doctrine of faith -- Doctrines of baptism, confirmation, and miraculous gifts -- Doctrine of apostolical succession -- Papal authority of Smith -- Priesthoods of Melchisedec and Aaron -- Zion, in Missouri, the centre of faith -- Mormon stakes -- Trials of transgressors -- Patriarchs -- Twelve Apostles -- Seventies -- Theological preparation of preachers -- Tithes -- Democratic theory of Mormonism, and theocratic practice -- Witness of the Spirit -- Saints equal with the Deity -- Transmigration of souls -- The Deity material, and matter eternal -- Literal interpretation -- Baptism for the dead -- Doctrine of the resurrection -- Doctrine of the Eucharist -- Smith the interpreter of Holy Writ.
[ 101 ]
Causes of the growth of this heresy -- 1st, It admits the Scriptures -- 2d, It is congenial with erratic religious character -- 3d, It is adapted to wild views of religion -- 4th, It teaches authoritatively -- 5th, It possesses no strict standard of morals -- 6th, It is in the hands of artful leaders -- Cowdery and others proceed to Missouri -- Smith holds a convocation, and appoints the "Melchisedec priesthood" -- He sends his elders to Missouri, and proceeds thither himself -- He founds the city of Zion, and prophesies respecting it -- He returns to Kirtland -- Rapid diffusion of his religion -- A new batch of elders sent forth -- The Mormons begin to emigrate to Missouri -- Alarm of the Missourians -- Change of operations -- Sacred firm established -- Commencement of the temple -- Description of it -- Its cost.
[ 121 ]
The Mormons assume the name of Latter-day Saints -- Warlike expedition in aid of their persecuted brethren in Missouri -- Smith and Rigdon form a mercantile house, and run in debt -- The elders are conducted to learning by a royal road -- A grand endowment takes place -- Blessings and cursings are poured forth -- Smith establishes a bank -- The prophet shows to hundred boxes of specie -- The bank breaks -- Harris and others apostatize and the prophet runs away -- Mormonism is introduced into England -- Methods of persuasion adopted by its missionaries -- Statistics of English Mormonism -- Craft of its teachers.
[ 141 ]
History of the Mormon settlement in Missouri -- The "Saints" claim the country as their inheritance -- The "Gentiles" are exasperated -- The Mormon Bishop is "tarred and feathered," and the Mormons are driven from Jackson county -- They appeal to Governor Dunklin without success -- Their sufferings at their expulsion -- They flee to Clay county -- The prophet issues a "revelation" on the subject of their persecutions -- He marches to their relief with 250 men, a distance of 800 miles -- He holds a council with the mob, and returns to Kirtland -- The Mormons settle in Caldwell county -- Smith, Rigdon, and Co. remove to Missouri -- Mormonism increases -- The "Gentiles" are alarmed -- The Mormons prepare for the worst -- The Danite band is formed, and the "Dissenters" are expelled -- Bloody schemes of Smith and his Danites -- The timid Mormons are prevented from removing -- Smith declares that hereafter he will not obey the laws of Missouri -- Election fracas -- Smith is apprehended for violence to a justice of the peace, and bound over to appear for trial..
[ 165 ]
The Missourians seize the arms of the United States -- The militia are called out -- The mob obtains a cannon, and expels the Mormons from Dewitt -- The mob invades Davies county -- The Mormons rise, disperse the mob, and plunder the houses of their enemies -- They capture the cannon and enter Far West in triumph -- Battle between Mormons and Methodists -- Death of Paton -- Massacre of Mormons at Haun's mills -- Far West capitulates, our prophet is given up, and sentenced to be shot -- He is imprisoned and brought to trial with his accomplices -- The Mormons are expelled from Missouri, under a threat of extermination -- They settle in Illinois -- The prophet and his comrads escape from jail and join them.
THE excitement of the multitude was not allayed by Smith's surrender, for the Missourians gathered in Davies county under one Austin, to the amount of several hundreds, while the Mormons collected at Adammondiahman in the same county, under the valorous Lyman Wight, and prepared themselves for defence. 1 The Missourians sent a party
1 Corrill, p. 35. "History of Persecutions," p. 28.
166 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 167
168 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 169
170 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 171
172 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 173
174 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 175
176 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 177
178 THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE.
for the damages done by the Danites. 3 hey were then commanded to leave Missouri before the ensuing spring, under pain of certain death 4 A court martial was next held upon the prisoners, under Gen. Lucas, the members of the commission consisting of nineteen militia officers, and seventeen preachers of various sects, who had served as volunteers against the Mormons. 5 This singular court came to a determination that our prophet and his comrades should be taken into the public square of Far West, and there shot in the presence of their families. 6 Had this decision been enforced, myriads might have been saved from the infamy of Mormonism, and Smith would have gone into eternity under a less onerous burden of unpardonable guilt. But Providence had decreed that, on this occasion, Joseph should not become a martyr; and that he should be allowed a career which, by fully unfolding his character, would deprive him of all hope of sympathy in his fall, or of canonization after death. General Doniphan, a lawyer by profession, declared that the sentence was illegal, and that he would not sanction its execution by his presence. 7 He succeeded in deterring the others from carrying their purpose into
3 Ibid. "History of Persecutions," p. 50.
5 "History of Persecutions," p. 51.
7 Ibid., p. 51
THE PROPHET SUSTAINS A REVERSE. 179
[ 187 ]
The Mormons gather strength from their reverses, and the prophet is courted as a great political leader -- The prophet again speculates in "town-lots" -- He sends Elder Hyde on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- The pilgrim sees great signs in heaven, arrives in Palestine, and offers up a prayer on the Mount of Olives -- The prophet obtains charters for the Nauvoo legion, the city of Nauvoo, the Mormon university, &c. -- Ordinances of the mayor and aldermen -- Professorships in the university -- A "revelation" obtained for a hotel and for a temple -- Tithes imposed on the Mormons -- Descriptions of the temple and the font -- Egyptian mummies -- Book of Abraham -- Times and Seasons -- Letter to Queen Victoria -- Designs of the Prophet.
IT might have been expected that the fearful downfall detailed in the last chapter would have extinguished the credut of Joseph Smith, and annihilated the prospects of his sect. Calculation after calculation had failed, plan after plan had been overthrown, and the professedly inspired prophet had never known the event until too late. 1 If he told
1 Corrill, p. 48.
188 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 189
190 THE PROPHET
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192 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 193
194 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 195
196 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 197
198 THE PROPHET
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200 THE PROPHET
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202 THE PROPHET
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Smith had obtained, while in Kirtland, four Egyptian mummies, which had accompanied him in his flight to Missouri and thence to Illinois. These were now set up in an open case, and exhibited to the wondering spectators, as a king of Egypt with his two wives, and the daughter of another king. 1 Old Smith, the patriarch, being now dead, his widow, the aged mother of our prophet, frequently took upon herself to recount fabulous histories of these mummies, and to declare the extraordinary "providences" by which they came into her son's hands. The papyrus in which they were enveloped was removed by the application of a backwoodsman's axe, and exhibited as containing the actual handwriting of Abraham, "written with his own hand while in Egypt." 2 Our prophet went so far as to produce a translation of the inscriptions, which he published under the title of the "Book of Abraham" with explanatory cuts taken from the figures of men and animals on the papyrus. 3
Soon after the prophet's arrival at Nauvoo, a periodical publication was commenced at that place, entitled the "Times and Seasons." This work appeared once a fortnight. in sixteen pages, 8vo., and was circulated throughout the Mormon congregations
1 Corrill, p. 45. "City of the Mormons," p. 28.
2 Ibid. p. 28.
3 "Times and Seasons," p. 703.
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 205
in England, the United States, and the British Colonies. For some time, "Don Carlos" Smith, the prophet's brother, was the editor; but after his death, our indefatigable prophet, General Smith, assumed the publication. The "Times and Seasons" is edited with a great degree of ingenuity, and acquaintance with the popular theology of the age. It answers all the purposes of an "Ecclesiastical Gazette," a "Missionary Herald," a religious magazine, and a common country newspaper. Within its pages may be seen "Proclamations to the Saints scattered abroad," signed by the triumvirate; essays in vindication of Mormonism, with laboured evidences of its truth; together with reprints of entire acts of the friendly Legislature. It contains also numerous "revelations" from the editor as prophet, obituaries, marriage-notices, and advertisements of farms, shops, and every description of quack medicines. There also the curious examiner will find the reports of the Mormon missionaries throughout the world; orders to the Nauvoo legion, issued by the editor as Lieutenant-General; choice specimens of Mormon poetry; and marvellous scraps of news from all quarters. He will not fail to be struck, and perhaps amused, by the appearance in the 38th number, of a long letter from Parley P. Pratt to Queen Victoria, in which Her Majesty is solemnly warned to "dispense
206 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 207
208 THE PROPHET
RETRIEVES HIS MISFORTUNES. 209
210 THE PROPHET
[ 211 ]
Estimate of the number of Mormons -- Smith, a source of corruption to his followers -- His wicjedness no argument against Mormonism -- Evidences of Mormonism -- Views of other denominations -- Roman Catholics -- Church of England -- Presbyterians -- Methodists -- Irvingites -- Character of the Mormons -- Character of the prophet -- The author's visit to Nauvoo -- The personal appearance of the prophet -- His opinion of a Greek Psalter -- Mormon congregation -- Smith's fraudulent bankruptcy -- The prophet plans the assassination of Ex-governor Boggs -- He takes many "spiritual wives" -- Rigdon, Bennett, and others apostatize -- The prophet is arrested and released -- He fortifies Nauvoo, and defies the government -- Conclusion
ALTHOUGH the author of this work has in round terms spoken of the Mormons as amounting to 100,000, it has often been questioned whether they have at any time actually attained to that number. 1 The Mormons themselves claim a population of more than 120,000, while the lowest estimate of others places it at about 60,000. 2 In the absence
1 Turner, p. 3. Clark, p. 217.
2 Clark, p. 217.
212 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 213
214 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 215
216 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 217
218 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
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A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 221
222 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
greatly superior to those of their master. On the contrary, it might be reasonably anticipated, that the standard of virtue would gradually sink, until it approached the same level as that of the professedly inspired and infallible prophet.
In regard to the prophet himself, it is difficult to imagine a human being more corrupt, or more destitute of redeeming qualities. The reader of the preceding history can have distinguished little in his character besides unscrupulous audacity, reckless falsehood, low cunning, grovelling vulgarity, daring blasphemy, and grasping selfishness, combined with a genius eccentric in its aims, fertile in its expedients, and mad in its ambition. To the above traits of natural disposition it is necessary to add, that, although a married man and the father of a large family, Joseph Smith is notoriously addicted to several kinds of gross debauchery. He has been often intoxicated; and has sometimes justified his inebriation by asserting, with characteristic invention, "that it was necessary that he should be seen in that condition, to prevent his followers from worshipping him as a god." 9 He has even acknowledged the fact in his public discourses, "in order," as he has affirmed, "that he may set a good example to the elders, and induce them openly to confess their sins." 1
9 "City of the Mormons," p. 49.
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 223
In consequence of the immense numbers of English Mormons, who passed near Kemper College on their way to the prophet and the temple, the author of this work visited Nauvoo in April 1842, and had the honour of an interview with Joseph Smith and many of his people. Smith is a coarse plebeian person in aspect, and his countenance exhibits a curious mixture of the knave and the clown. His hands are large and awkward, and on one of his fingers he wears a massive gold ring. He has a downcast look, and possesses none of that open and straightforward expression which generally characterizes an honest man. His language is uncouth and ungrammatical, indicating very confused notions respecting syntactical concords. When an ancient Greek manuscript of the Psalms was exhibited to him as a test of his scholarship, he boldly pronounced it to be a "Dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics." Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said, "Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics, and them which follows is the interpretation of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian language. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates." He afterwards proceeded to show his papyrus, and to explain the inscriptions; but probably suspecting that the author designed to entrap him, he suddenly
224 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
left the apartment, leaped into his light waggon, and drove away as fast as possible. The author could not properly avoid expressing his opinion of the prophet to the assembled Mormons; and was engaged for several hours in a sharp controversy with various eminent dignitaries. As the City Council had passed an ordinance, under which any stranger in Nauvoo speaking disrespectfully of the prophet might be arrested and imprisoned without process, 2 the author deemed himself happy in leaving Nauvoo unmolested, after plainly declaring to the Mormons that they were the dupes of a base and blaspheming impostor. During a visit of three days, he had an opportunity of attending their Sunday services, which were held in a grove adjoining the unfinished temple. About two thousand persons were present, and the appearance of the congregation was quite respectable. Many grey-headed old men were there, and many well-dressed females. There were also numerous groups of English emigrants, together with many little children, who had been removed from the privileges of their mother Church, and led by their besotted parents into this den of heresy, to imbibe the principles of a delusion worse than paganism.
It has since appeared that, at the period of the
2 Testimony of Bennett, "Louisville Journal," Aug. 3, 1842.
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 225
author's visit, the prophet was engaged in a scheme of the most fraudulent description. 3 Having privately secured to his family, and consequently to himself, the title to many valuable pieces of property in Nauvoo, he proceeded. under the new bankrupt act of the United States, to get himself declared insolvent, and thus to deprive his creditors of their undoubted rights. This step was followed by others of a still more reckless and profligate description. Smith had publicly prophesied in 1841, in the presence of thousands, that his old enemy Boggs, the ex-governor of Missouri, would die by violent hands within a year. He now offered a reward of five hundred dollars to several of the Danites, if they would assassinate the gentleman in question. One of the terrible band accordingly proceeded more than two hundred miles, to Independence, where the ex-governor resided. Smith being asked by Bennett, the mayor, to inform him where this Danite had gone, promptly replied, with a significant nod, that "he was gone to fulfill prophecy." In the course of two months, the Danite returned to Nauvoo; and on the day following his arrival the news reached that place that the ex-governor had been assassinated. The Danite, who had previously been miserably poor,
3 Bennett's testimony quoted above, from whence most of the following facts are derived.
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now appeared in possession of an elegant carriage and horses, and with his pockets filled with gold. The "Nauvoo Wasp," a paper, edited by the prophet's brother William, in conveying intelligence of the supposed assassination, gloried in the act; and, while defending Joseph from any participation in the crime, dared to use these expressions: "It remains to be seen who did the noble deed."
But this was by no means the worst part of that career of stupendous villainy, upon which the prophet had now entered. He had already taught the doctrine, that "the blessings of Jacob were granted to him;" in consequence of which he asserted that he might indulge, like David and Solomon, in unrestricted polygamy. In conformity with these instructions of their infallable head, many English and American women, whose husbands or fathers had been sent by the prophet on distant missions, were induced to become his "spiritual wives," "believing it to be the will of God." In these iniquitous proceedings he was assisted by several of his "apostles," who had attained eminence as successful preachers of Mormonism in England. His audacity however, at length, carried him too far, and plunged him into difficulties which all good Christians must hope will prove inextricable. Having attempted to add the daughter of Sidney Rigdon to the number of his "wives,"
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 227
the father, who had accompanied him without hesitation in his long course of imposture, proved that he was not dead to natural affection, by resenting an insult which he ought to have foreseen, and by dissolving his association with the abandoned prophet. Bennett, the mayor, had advised Smith to desist from his intemperate course: in consequence of which advice the prophet accused him of being his enemy, and a quarrel ensued, which terminated in the apostasy of the mayor of Nauvoo. Bennett immediately attacked Joseph in the public prints, and exposed his nefarious proceedings in terms of unmeasured severity. 4 He spoke of him as "a polluted mass of corruption, iniquity, and fraud; a beast, and false prophet, who must be washed in the laver of the law until his polluted carcass and corrupt soul shall be purified by fire." On the other hand, Smith applied to a person who is said to have witnessed a former murder committed by him, and told him that "Bennett could be easily put aside, or drowned, and no person would be the wiser for it; and that it ought to be attended to for the benefit of the 'church,' and the sooner the better." Bennett declared that twelve Danites, disguised in female apparel, came subsequently to his residence by night in order to kidnap him; but
4 See "Louisville Journal," "Burlington Hawk-eye," "Sangamon Journal," "St. Louis Bulletin," "Warsaw Signal," &c.
228 THE PROPHET IS LEFT IN
that being well prepared for their reception, he obliged them to retire.
The apostasy of Rigdon, Bennett, Robinson, Orson Pratt (brother of Parley), and other Mormons of distinction, might have discouraged a person less determined than our prophet. But he still felt himself secure, and believed that, however overwhelming the proofs of his habitual perpetration of the blackest crimes, the "democratic" authorities of Illinois would not dare to punish him, or venture to throw away the benefit of his immense political influence at the approaching elections. 5 He knew, likewise, that the faith of the great body of his followers remained unshaken; and that the apostasy of Rigdon had left him the sole commander Of perhaps a hundred thousand Mormons. On Sunday, the 21st of June, he addressed his numerous congregation as usual, and taking for his subject the doctrine of consecration, required all his followers "to come forward and consecrate all their property to the Lord, by placing it at the Apostles' feet." 6 On the 4th of July, the anniversary of American Independence, we find him at the head of the Nauvoo Legion, reviewing his troops, and exhibiting their maneuvers to a large number of admiring visitors. 7
5 "Louisville Journal," Aug. 3, 1842.
7 "Burlington Hawk eye" of July 7, 1842.
A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT. 229
It appears, however, by later intelligence, that the governor of Missouri ultimately demanded the prophet for trial, at the hands of the governor of Illinois; and that the latter, finding public opinion on his side, issued a warrant for his apprehension. Joseph was accordingly arrested; but the municipal authorities of Nauvoo immediately granted a writ of habeas corpus, and he was released. The governor ordered the re-arrest of the culprit declaring the habeas corpus to be a nullity, and offering a reward of 200 dollars for his apprehension. The Mormons had prepared for this crisis; and having fortified Nauvoo with the cannon of the State, defied the authorities with impunity; and expressed their determination to fight to the last, in defence of their prophet and their faith.
In this predicament we are compelled to leave the hero of our narrative. The reader will, no doubt, join with the author in a sincere and hearty wish that the supremacy of law may be finally vindicated, that the local government may be in some measure redeemed from the disgrace which it has justly incurred, and that an example may speedily be made of the iniquitous being who has outraged revelation and reason, set heaven and earth at defiance, and forfeited, at least, all claim to mercy at the hands of man.
[ 230 ]
[ 231 ]
Henry Caswall: British clergyman and writer, born in Yateley, Hampshire, England, in 1810; died in Franklin, Pennsylvania, 17 December, 1870. Caswall, the son of a clergyman, came to the United States in 1828, and graduated from Kenyon College in 1830. He became a clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church in 1837, being the first ordained graduate of the College. After serving as a Christian minister and Professor of Theology in the United States and Canada, he returned to England in 1842, and became vicar of Figheldean in Wiltshire. He visited the United States again in 1854, and was honored with the degree of D. D. by Trinity College, Hartford. Dr. Caswall came back to America in 1868 and remained until his death. Among his published works were: "America and the American Church" (London, 1839); "The City of the Mormons" (1842); "The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century" (1843); "Scotland and the Scottish Church" (1853); and "The Western World Revisited" (1854).