Oliver H. Olney
Absurdities of Mormonism

(Warsaw: Thomas Sharp ?, 1843)

  • TitlePage
  • Introduction
  • Daniteism
  • Polygamy
  • Persecution

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Spiritual Wifery (1845)  |  Times & Seasons (Apr. 1842)  |  Sangamo Journal (Sept. 1842)
    Sangamo Journal (Oct. 1842)  |  Times & Seasons (Feb. 1843)  |  The Portrait (1874)
    Note: For excerpts from Spiritual Wifery see 1845 Warsaw Signal and Sangamo Journal









    March 3d, 1843.


    [ 2 ]

    ( blank )




    The doings and movements of the Church of Latterday Saints has been a theme of things long dwelt upon -- that many [have --- ---], to hear and see the moves of and about [-----].

    Many have spent much time in writing and publishing of their fruits, but as yet, I have not seen an impartial account of [them] that has been published. With the best of feelings, I [commenced about[ one year agoto write of their doings that occurred daily -- that I did, until a short time since, that was taken from my [custody] in my absence, that I have not yet obtained. Now to [answer] my [own feelings], and do the Latterday Saints justice, and the [people at large], I commence anew, with the best of feelings, [as I -----] of writing more than the truth to come short of it. Not [but --- ----] them; as the old saying is "I know them like a book."
    With pen, ink and paper,
    And convenience to write,
    [I so did] unriddle a [secrecy?] of doings
    Of the Church if Latter day Saints.
    But to give a full history of them,
    Would be labor spent in vain [---- ---]
    It is barely the out skirts on which I [----- ---]
    By and by I will write again.

    In the spring of 1831, I became acquainted with the Church then called Mormons, now Latter Day Saints, and their principles; I united with them believing them to be a good people of God, living to serve in accordance with the Bible of the Old and New Testaments that I considered a standard for man to [live by]. I was familiar with their doings and often [--- ----] much that I knew was not right, but laid it to the weakness of man, saying he is fallable and liable to err, that allowances must be [made]. [Thus I ---- pushed] away that much was said and done, that had to be [noticed] by discerning minds. I moved in accordance with the [---- ----] it my duty to be in accordance with the Church, as I with [---- ----- ---- ]. As this was a principle of faith [I took] the liberty to keep a record of their doings, that I still have [in ---- ---- ; but of their ----] doings of late, is what they took from me [with dates ----- ---] &c. that I had designed for publication of about [130] pages.


    I shall first speak of the doings in Kirtland, Ohio. [That --- it] a stake of Zion, in the borders of the East; that was to be an important fathering place for the Churches. Also Jackson County in Missouri, was to be a place of note, for the gathering of the Latter Day Saints, that a City should be reared in honor of God by the Latter Day Saints, that the nations of the earth should flock to it with their valuables, that would eventually become a light to the world.

    Also twelve Stakes of Zion on its borders that was to be reared by the Latter Day Saints, in the due time of the Lord, as the way opened it for them to perform.

    As Kirtland was the first Stake to be reared as an ensign to the nations of the Earth, many came together and commenced to build. All moved speedily. Lots of small dimensions soon raised in price, from fifty to two thousands dollars a lot. Farms in the suburbs of the city soon raised, from ten and fifteen dollars per acre to one hundred and fifty in some cases. All moved fast; all were in business.

    Yet money was scarce. That, almost to a man, they wanted to borrow. And property was continually raising in and around the city of Zion. They at last decided that a city could not prosper without a [currency] of its own. They of the Church soon met by hundreds, and subscribed to a bank. Capital stock was called for, the books were opened, capitalists came forward and showed their good will to establish a Bank, as it was said to be a Revelation from God to do it. They signed from one thousand dollars cash to five thousand dollars. There was no lack of capital to start on. The instalments were soon called in, but those that signed the least, I think, in the most of cases, payed in the most stock. No time was lost to start a currency. Money was soon so plenty that hardly a man but what had a bag full of bills of the Kirtland Safety Funds to do business. Every thing seemed to move with life and animation. Hardly a man but what had credit to get of their currency. Pedlars went in every direction to change and put off as chances should occur. But to their surprise, they were soon sounded. That did many surprise, as their Bank was said to be established by a Revelation from God. Many contended that it could not be put down by man. They soon formed a union with the Monroe Bank of Michigan Territory. That added to their circulation of currency/ But their God soon failed them, it seems, and their currency went down and Monroe currency did but just go it.

    As Pedlars went to and fro from the Bank,
    In connection with business men,
    From different parts of the land,
    They [soon] see themselves in difficulty.
    As gold and silver began to be scarce,
    They got hold of a quantity of boxes,
    And nearly filled them with sand,
    Lead, old iron, stone, and combustibles,


    And covered it up with clean coin.
    That darkened the deception beneath,
    That showed they were not to be run,
    By the men of the world.
    But the skim on the top soon disappeared.
    And the currency, city lots, and farms,
    All went down to their value.
    As thousands on thousands of dollars
    Had been paid out for lands,
    That had made payments but in part,
    Their lands went back to satisfy a security bond,
    To those of whom they had bought.

    At the same time in the city of New York [many] had been credited for goods, to a large amount. Also in other business places; and so many demands about [home] that it was with the greatest difficulty that they got so as to clear out and go to Missouri, from Ohio.

    At the rise or start of the Church in Kirtland, a company went to Jackson county, Missouri, there settled to make ready a city that, of it much was said. But their stay there was but short, as trouble soon arose; that the people of Jackson county arose and threw them out. They mostly went into Clay county, staid there a short time, dissatisfaction arose, that an armed force arose from Kirtland, Ohio, of some hundreds to go up and settle the difficulty. Many of them died of the Cholera, and otherwise, but nobody killed. It appears that they had their labor for their pains.

    Many that went up on this occasion in the heat of the summer, to make all straight, were called to return to the mother dust. Difficulties soon arose in Clay county; that the Mormons were again crowded, that they went into [Caldwell] and Davis counties, in Missouri, and made settlements in both counties.

    They continued there until the summer of 1836, when they were joined by those that had started from Ohio. Of the doings of those in Mo., and why they were driven, I do not pretend to say, as all I know is by hearsay. But those from Kirtland, Ohio, of which I have spoken, seemed to have many besetments that attended them. An unlawful intercourse amongst the two sexes existed, of which testimony plainly spoke. Also an introduction of principles that would lead to bad morals; such as Polygamy, [breathed that] would [soon] be, that the ancient order of God that was formerly, would again have its round, as it was in the days of old Solomon and David. -- They had wives and concubines in abundance, as many as they could support. The secret whispering was, that the [same] will eventually be again. Many arrived at Mo., after a long and tedious journey of about eight hundred miles, and many died on their journey.

    Much excitement existed between the people of Missouri and the Mormons, that seemed daily to gain. All parties seemed to be engaged: armed forces made their appearance. That caused much excitement.


    Threats arose on both sides, until Gov. Bogs of Mo. issued orders to clear the State of them, or exterminate them. The militia were soon called in; the Mormons were forced to submit to them, and agree to leave the State in the course of the winter and spring of 1839. Several skirmishes occurred. Many more were killed on both sides than was made public by either party. I was not in any engagement, but stood as guard with the Mormons, as I moved in accordance with them in Kirtland, and went with them to Missouri.

    They as a people removed to Illinois, left as they agreed, and settled in different parts of the State. They held a council, appointed agents to locate a place at which they might assemble together again. They soon made a purchase at Commerce, Hancock county, Ill., and bought land, or agreed for it, on both sides of the Mississippi river. They soon began a new settlement on both sides of the Mississippi river. They soon changed the name of Commerce to Nauvoo, and established it a Stake of Zion, to be reared up in honor of God, (as was the former Stakes,) thet he might have a resting place for his foot, and where to lay his head. Land was purchased in both large and small quantities, on both sides of the river. Many soon got homes or places to make them. This, as was Kirtland, was to become a light to the world.

    Thousands have been, and are flocking to the new State of Zion, that when war, pestilence and famine shall spread over the land with its ravages, they can have a home to shield themselves from the storms. It is to be an ensign to the nations of the earth; a light shining in a dark place. As they say, we are the only people of God on the earth -- we stand as his agents to officiate for the human family; as they say,

    We as a people are the chosen of God,
    We daily have his word to cheer us up,
    Although persecution on us does rule,
    That we suffer from all classes of men,
    But we, like the ancients it must bare,
    And add to our works perseverance,
    And press our way through.
    As the way is opening, no one can doubt,
    As God has again delivered from oppression,
    That bpeace and plenty now is the theme,
    And no one to harm us, or make afraid.

    After many had gathered to Nauvoo, they commenced to mark off city lots, and sell, until they finall got Nauvoo chartered, that they could form their own laws, and do more to their liking, they said, to form laws to suit their convenience as a city of Zion. They have raised a military force of all ages, that stands as minute men armed and equiped, in and about the city of Nauvoo. They have lands to dispose of at all prices and parcels, in and out of the city. --


    They are also ready to attend to all calls on their part, in and out of their city, to farms, lots &c.

    But when they get there,
    What do they find but men to salute them
    In the name of the Lord!
    The first thing is to know
    How much they possess,
    And what they have a mind to do,
    That opens a door to handle them as they please.
    That to them they can sell, buy or borrow,
    And strip them as they see fit.
    Such men are many, always on hand,
    That they know every man's ability to do.
    From five hundred to two thousand dollars
    Is the common price of their lots.
    That is an exorbitant price
    In a new settled country as is Nauvoo;
    But as they have "thus saith the Lord,"
    No man dares doubt, but give their price.
    Again, their daily trainings speak aloud
    Of something more than to answer the law.
    The weapons they have, speak loud to me,
    In connection with their words,
    That they intend to stand in all cases,
    In self defence and contend for their rights,
    If oppressed, as they have heretofore been,
    By the inhabitants of the land.


    In Missouri was formed a society of Danites, as men of power, to do as thought best by the leading ones of the L. D. Saints, that say to have power with God.

    They stand as minute men on all occasions, ready to fulfill the word of those that stand in high authority in the Church. Much has been said of this company in Missouri and in Illinois. But they have within the past year joined the Freemasons. Their name is changed. They unite with the Lodge free of expense. They now claim the name of Masons; but are a band bound to the Danite principles as before. In connection with the addition of Free Masonry, their oaths are to be true to one another; also to the Authorities of the church; suffer no one to speak reproachfully of them; to be as minute men to fulfil their word; not to let their left hand know what their right hand does. That is to say, keep their doings to themselves in all cases, except to give a history of their doings to their leaders.

    Here we get hold of a company cut and dried for any thing that comes to hand. They quote the case of Ananias and Sophyra. -- That were killed by Peter's chosen men, because they did not


    give up their property, or lie about it. Also of Moses killing the Egyptian, and burying him in the sand.

    Thus they take lenity, as they say like the Apostle Peter, we hold the keys of the kingdom of God. Our rights are not limited. -- The destiny of the wicked is in our hands. That we can do by them as seemeth us good. A part of this band stands as a life-guard to the leaders of the church of L. D. Saints.

    The above company is a'raising,
    That no one can doubt, to put into subjection
    All that does them oppose;
    In an oath they are bound,
    And a penalty annex'd.
    To well do their duty, if it is to take life,
    They in all cases are called,
    To defend each other at law,
    This company is spoken of,
    Under different heads,
    But mostly as the daughter of Zion.

    The above company I was familiar with in Missouri, also have been here, as many of them have supposed me to be one of the band, that they have been free with me.

    But I never united with them. I look upon them as a combined company, gaining fast. They to strengthen themselves in faith and doings, quote the prophecies of the prophet Daniel 2:44, that speaks of the stone cut from the mountain without hand, that was to move until it filled the whole earth. They say to be this branch a'raising, as is spoken of in Isaiah 11:1.


    There is another order of things arising, or has arisen, that speaks loud to me of degraded minds; that is if a person or persons have been in any kind of iniquity, if ever so bad, they have a remedy for it, by being baptised over anew. For remission of sins, this principle is instilled into the minds of all that moves with them, or that comes under their watchful care.

    Since first introduced, it has been a caution to see the river foam with them on Sundays after meeting in warm pleasant days.

    Again, if we allow testimony to speak, it would make the heathen blush too bad to write, much more to talk or read. Yes, those that profess to be the chosen of God, that claim to have power to say, thus saith the Lord, have seduced and abused females, that many have to bear the stain of fornication and adultery.

    In speaking of the above doings, it has often caused me to say,
    Where is there another such a people
    On all the face of the earth.
    From their own mouths we learn,


    Of both male and female,
    That an unlawful intimacy
    Has existed for a number of years;
    But for eighteen months past,
    No one can doubt, of the unwise moves
    That has existed between the two sexes,
    That have lived in and about the city of Navoo.
    Yet we see many that have no minds of their own,
    And would suffer their wives and daughters
    To be abused under their nose
    And not know it, or think it no harm.
    I look at many such in the city of Nauvoo,
    That would think it an honor to them
    For some of their kin to be intimate,
    With some of the chosen ones,
    If they have "thus saith the Lord" for it,
    There is no more to say,
    But Zion prospereth, all is well.


    I must, to do justice to the Latter Day Saints, yet touch on many subjects, that occur to my mind.

    As equality at the rise of the Church, was the theme, all as one must ariseand be equal. The strong bear the infirmities of the weak. But what do we discover but big fish and little fish all mixed up together. No more equality than there is amongst the brutes of the field, all going in the name of the Lord; brother to law with brother daily, and calling one another d___d rascals; finally no bad name excepted. And on Sundays they will come together and put on their Sunday fixings (that is hypocrisy,) preach then partake of the Sacraments, and go home much edified at what has been said.

    For me to write all their discourses would not be in vain,
    But of them, I will give a sample,
    I am of the mind, I can touch their case.
    They, as leaders and teachers, take the stand,
    And offer some few remarks, pray and sing;
    Some one of note arises to speak,
    It can be told where he begins,
    And when he leaves off,
    As all will look at him,
    To catch every word as it rolls.
    When he gets through, it's hard to tell,
    What his subject was or about.
    They will speak of their doings,
    And of what must be done,
    And of using up different sects,
    And of building up in the name of the Lord.


    Also of the priesthood that they have got,
    And their poor, that they must be helped,
    And their opposers, that they shall be damned.
    We find in their Sabbath devotions,
    All kinds of fixings that need be,
    To say the Latter Day Saints,
    Is not what they profess to be.
    I say they as a people are deep in the mud,
    Or the Bible is false in every sense of the word.


    I will now touch on a subject of which much has been said, that I would cheerfully pass by, but the importance of the subject forbids my doing it. Polygamy was first introduced in Kirtland, Ohio, about eight years ago. Hint after hint has been going, until we have to say, they have begun to do, as well as say. This subject has been kept in the dark, as long as it could be, as it was first said to be too strong meat for the Latter Day Saints to bear. But as some have long waited impatiently, and the plainness of the Scripture is such on the occasion, has forbid any further delay. But to risk to move ahead, I will not pretend to refer to all their scripture to prove their privileges -- only to Solomon and David, that yet have to suffer for their misdoings.

    Again, a dark saying arises in the name of the Lord, in the form of a pamphlet, said to be written by a man by the name of Jacobs, but published by Joseph Smith, Editor. We find that if the pamphlet was not written by the authorities of the church, it by them was revised in Jacobs name. But to come to its contents, it argues polygamy; that there is hardly a saying in the Bible but what misapply to polygamy. As much as the sayings of a noted Miller, in the wast, I have heard him lecture a number of times, I saw there was hardly a saying in the Bible but what he could apply to a winding up scenery of things of this world, in 1843.

    I look at the Bible as a very good book,
    But whether it will support polygamy,
    Ot Millerism, I have my doubts,
    But if either would sway,
    I with Miller would wish to go.
    As little fish like me,
    Will stand a poor chance
    Amongst those of high renown.

    The subject of polygamy, amongst the Latter Day Saints is no longer to be kept in the dark; as many are actually attached to the second living companion; and a door is fast opening on this subject, that many is arguing it to be the will of God. That in these days God designed to raise up a more righteous people on the Earth than has been for many ages past. It is argued that those of the chosen


    of God, is to father them, instruct them, rear them up in the [nature] and admonition of the Lord. That they may have faith, knowledge and wisdom to be directed in wisdom's way. A number of [moves] have been made, to effect that order, and get it established. But nothing seemed to prevail, until they got a wise master Free Mason to come and establish a lodge amongst them. That he accordingly did, in the beginning of 1842. That a general gathering to them insued -- that they for months, took in three a day, and are a taking in yet. Also establishing lodges in the branches of the Church out.

    This master Mason instructed them in many good things, such as there was some few degrees of Masonry for the fair sex of the land. That such encouraged the Mormon sisters. They soon came together and formed a lodge. But altered the name, that they could be distinguished from the lodge of the men. That they called the ladies benevolent society. They often met in union, and received many instructions, in their daily moves, by the authorities of the Church, got their society organized, that much encouraged many; as all, both old and young was privileged to unite with it, by being recommended as worthy sisters, in the Church of Latter Day Saints. -- They continued their meetings from time to time, until it was made known to them, that had been regular members, that there was certain degrees of Masonry for them to receive.

    As I was passing over the Temple lot,
    It being on high ground, I looked on the flats.
    I there saw fixings of different sorts,
    Some near by, others afar off.
    I saw a society formed by the females,
    That of it, much was said.
    I saw their ambition was to go ahead.
    By being governed by the authorities of the Church.
    That from them they received instruction
    In many good things, such as some few degrees
    Of Free Masonry, it was their privilege to receive,
    To be better prepared to meet,
    The coming of the Son of Man.
    They continued their meetings,
    And soon formed a lodge,
    And decided the first degree of Masonry to receive,
    That was for each one to keep their secrets.
    They often met in union,
    With feelings of the best kind,
    And received instruction,
    That added much to their joy.
    As I got somewhat wearied in mind,
    At what I saw daily amongst them take place,
    I on a rise of ground, was catched in a drowse,


    [-------tly and] fishermen of skill,
    Spread a net far into the waters,
    And commence to haul in.
    As the cords were tightened from time to time,
    The fish became uneasy, some flounced and flopped,
    But as they found themselves entangled,
    With cords not a few, they submitted to their lot.
    I soon saw the net arrive near shore,
    That had enclosed, fish of all sorts and sizes.
    I saw the fishermen that had long waited for fish,
    All as one put into the water,
    And picked out such as they liked,
    The rest they let go for some future haul.
    As I awoke from my slumbers,
    In May of eighteen hundred and forty-two,
    The interpretation came to my view.
    As I was still on the Temple Lot,
    I saw many females together meet,
    But to their surprise they were entangled in law,
    That they could not themselves.
    They finally seemed to become submissive to their lot,
    And go forward as instructed,
    By the authority of the Church.
    As the cords were tightened from time to time,
    That they were brought into subjection,
    And a rush was made for a plurality of wives.
    I saw difficulty that soon arose;
    As all pitched for the young and handsome,
    But to get in accordance they cast lots,
    And decided to make another haul.
    The old they let go to toll others in,
    That caused many to mourn,
    To think they had to be left.
    That was the second degree of Free Masonry.


    The Church of the L. D. Saints is a theme of things, that no deserving [sic - discerning?] mind can pass by, that is at all acquainted with them, and their doings. Yet they have united together by being baptized for [remission] of sins, a saving to serve God in accordance with the teachings of the Old and New Testaments. This at the arise of the Church was the first theme. But what do we discover but a complete change, they say the Bible is of little or no account -- they say we have a man of God to tell us what to do -- that we are not dependent on any former writings to mark our path.

    The say we as a people are the blest of God. Our privileges are not to be questioned. These are their arguments. That are of


    the leaders of the Church are so combined together that [not ----] of their stamp that has gathered with them, dares lisp [-------] dissatisfaction, knowing, as all do in Nauvoo and vicinity [of their] rules. I have been not a little surprised to see men of respectability that had gathered from the Eastern States, who I know were in the habit there of speaking for themselves. But when they get to Nauvoo with their all, get settled, get established, and look about themselves, what do they find? They find they have got to be careful how they go to it. I guess I must tell a short story on the occasion. A big chunk of a Yankee from down East, New Haven county, Connecticut, that was noted for strength and good courage, by the name of Roberts; but when he got on, as is a Yankee notion, he began to find fault with something Smith said. He, by the prophet Smith, got a curse, a kick and a cuff. That he went out of the store in a way that it was a caution to see him move. He soon got over his kick and cuff; but the curse used him up, as all said he was cursed, he could not get it off, as all said they could see it in his looks and actions. He soon became the talk of the place. It made him so sick that he went home and went to bed. His friends [set] in that the Elders must be called; but they were afraid to officiate, lest it should be with them as it was with the hogs on a certain occasion, when the devils entered them, and they ran into the river and were drowned. They came and looked at him, but dare not tell the devil to depart. They advised him to send for the offended prophet Smith, and give him satisfaction, that he might condescend to remove the curse. That he soon did, and the man of power attended to his case. They all looked at him as a new creature again in their ranks. -- From that to this he has made much proficiency; he was soon made an officer in the Nauvoo Legion, ordained to the Priesthood, joined the Danites by taking their oath, and took his departure into the Eastern land. He says he thinks he can say that he knows Smith is a prophet, and the Mormons are as they say, the people of God, and that all the stories told by J. C. Bennett and others are lies.

    I will speak of the Elders that are called to go out to preach. They are mostly Danites, or we may say, as at the April Conference in 1842 new regulations were made to send out such as had an understanding of the order of the Church, and those out, to return to Nauvoo. They continued to move in this way until the difficulty arose with Bennett, Orson Pratt and others. Much was afloat at that time, as it was about the time of their selection for spiritual wives, that Dr. Bennett spoke much of in his publication. But, to put every thing in its place, they, as soon as Bennett had divulged much of their doings, called a company to go into all parts to clear up their characters, as they said, that had been scandalized by false reports. As I was then amongst them, I thought that the story was nothing to what was actually doing in Nauvoo.

    I look at the Mormon Elders sent to preach,


    They as a Poetess compared them to a kite;
    As we see the kite, it raises high;
    But to it we find a fastened cord,
    As said the poetess of the latter times.
    By it I see she had a mind to keep the run
    Of the Mormon clan of big and little.
    As big and little is the theme
    Amongst those of the L. D. Saints.
    On them are cords that are far away.
    Before they start they have a charge
    To move in accordance with the head.
    As they are of the Danite Band,
    They by an oath are bound.
    For the Authorities of the Church to contend.
    From time to time I have heard them lie
    By sayings that they knew were false.
    As what I have written up to this time,
    In Nauvoo, is acted over and over again,
    And is known by all except the dupes.


    Of their Times and Seasons, and Wasp. their Editorial department, of it I must speak short, as the saying is, "a short horse is soon curried." I look at their press as under that head being short; at the same time it speaks loud of their doings as a light to the world, or a City on a hill. They speak of using up the Editors of the day, and finally defy them, as they have often done, to come in contact with them, as is a common theme amongst editors, to take a little liberty, as with lawyers, with good feelings. But they have to shun the Wasp, I think, on the same principle that a man well dressed would a skunk or a pole cat, that has but one weapon to defend itself. By it, it has almost become the king of the forest. It is thus with the L. D. Saints; they have a little, low, insignigicent, offensive weapon, that whose garments it touches, it is hard to get off. As a sample I would refer to their controversy with Thomas Sharp, editor of the Warsaw Signal.

    As I look at their Editorial department,
    It's of not much account;
    Yet they boast of wisdom, and that of God;


    But I think if God is with them,
    He must be lost, or turned topsy-turvy,
    From what he anciently was.
    Of the Times and Seasons I now will add,
    It has spread far and wide,
    And speaks for itself.
    But of the Wasp, I barely will hint,
    It has a foundation, that no one can doubt,
    But it is on sand, that is turned by a wink or nod,
    The Wasp that flies from Zion's tower,
    That is there reared by men of power.
    But the little wasp to me does speak
    Of something more than to fly about,
    But is designed to brow beat
    All that do not with it move.
    The little Wasp that flies out and in,
    I think has mistook his name,
    As by his fixing, it must have been hatched
    By a bug in some low place, of some ordinary kind.
    Much of the Times and Seasons might be said,
    But I look at their papers and speak my mind.
    I look at them as at saplins,
    Where the tops have overpowered the roots,
    That they much lack in nourishment,
    For to support their growth.
    I again look at them, as the saying is,
    What the devil said when he catched a hog
    That he mistook instead of a sheep.
    At its squaling he said
    There is a great cry, but a little wool to be got.
    I again look at the insect, the wasp;
    Wasps are of many colors, sizes and forms,
    Of them we see a thing but industry, beauty,
    And independence; If not much love,
    The wasp is an insect, that often stings,
    When insulted, and to its business returns.
    But we look at the columns of the Wasp,
    And see the abuse toward Editor Sharp;
    Month after month he received their slang,
    When he, like a wasp, once them did sting,
    That caused a smarting wound;
    That they long cried and bawled aloud.
    But the little bug that flies from a shrub
    That has sprouted, budded, and bloomed,
    But has withered in bringing forth fruit.



    This is a subject I would cheerfully pass by; but on a principle of honor, I cannot forbear to write, as a door opens far and wide, on every side, that hundreds are convinced of the fact, that fornication and adultery is as common in the city of Nauvoo, as it is to be abhorred by respectable people. Many at this time are suffering under the stigma of being seduced by those that say, 'thus and thus saith the Lord.' For me to go into all their doings, I forbear, as I lack on every side. Much has been made public by John Cook Bennett, and many others, that the new fangled masons have said was all a pack of lies. But let the truth come to light; Doct Bennett did not begin, hardly, to point of their doings. I will now take up two cases, say one of a hundred.

    Miss Nancy Rigdon and Martha Brotherton. Miss Rigdon had repeated calls to visit a Mrs. Hide, until she made a visit. Soon after her arrival at Mrs. Hide's, Joseph Smith visited her; he told her that he had the word of God for her, that God had given her to him for a wife. Miss Rigdon said to him, 'you have a wife.' 'Well,' said he, 'you know the ancient order was, one man had many wives, that is again to be.' Miss Rigdon was obstinate. He then got Mrs. Hide to come in, and made use of her persuasive arguments, that she was first unbelieving in the order, but had been better informed; although she had long been acquainted with Mrs. Rigdon, but her many arguments were of no account. Mr. Smith again used his influence by more rash means, that Miss Rigdon threatened to call for help, that he let her go, but soon a letter was conveyed to her, written by some one of the clan, that argued the doctrine of Polygamy about as well as Jacob's Pamphlet, I should think, as I read it, and it contained about the same, except a few dry compliments to her. Miss Rigdon had been a member of the church with her parents, since eight or ten years old, in good standing. I have been personally acquainted with her since she was a small child, and I know that Miss Rigdon has sustained a good character at home and abroad. But what do we hear of her now, as being of the blackest dye? Yes, she is defamed by all, both high and low, of the Latter Day Saints.

    The sound has gone, her to oppress;
    Yes, Miss Rigdon now has to bear the slang,
    Because she did not conform
    To Joseph Smith's word of God;
    But barely a youth, she for herself spoke,
    And showed that she was not to be duped.

    Miss Martha Brotherton, a youth of about eighteen, was saluted by a member of the clan, that set themselves in the place of God and count themselves as God. Miss Brotherton, a native of England, of respectable parents, all in faith and works, united with the Latter Day Saints and removed to America, and gathered to Nauvoo under


    the instruction of those, who, in one sense of the word, are now her destroyers.

    As the sound has gone both far and near,
    Startled by a clan of the noted ones,
    That Martha Brotherton is of ill fame,
    Yet her character was called good,
    Until she by them refused to be duped.
    Miss Martha by Eber Kimball was called
    To be a second companion to Brigham Young,
    But first was called into a large brick store;
    She there with men had to contend,
    That said to have much power with God.
    They were her former teachers, that had led her
    Far from her native land.
    On them she looked, on them she gazed,
    Being astonished at such an order of things,
    That Polygamy should be their theme.
    They called on her to them unite,
    and become a second companion to B. Young.
    Says Martha, if it is so, I have nothing to say,
    But give me time to think of it.
    All as one did then agree
    To give her until next day.
    She from them to her lodgings went,
    And wrote of what had transpired,
    Her writings I have seen,
    That speaks loud of hard works.
    This noted youth is to be extolled
    Foe her presence of mind,
    That she did not with them contend,
    As they had her at their command,
    In a large brick store. Miss Brotherton was decoyed.
    The above youths of which I have spoke,
    Have honored themselves by their doings.
    If others as they have marked the way,
    Had rejected the salutations made to them,
    But know they in most cases did submit,
    To run fast into the degrees of Free Masonry.
    Of Free Masonry I would not wish to speak;
    As of it I am not versed in its traits;
    But whether its traits is good or bad,
    It is much dishonored by the Mormon Clan.
    But the sound has gone for to oppress,
    Whether male or female, all the same;
    But Martha and Nancy, for themselves spoke,
    And showed that they was not
    By every villain to be duped.


    The Editor of the Wasp John Taylor. Lest some may feel slighted, thinking they are not noticed, I will mention the name of Rev. John Taylor, a noted man for both speaking and writing &c. Not that I think he has any thing to do with the women, as he is not of that breed of dogs, but of the mongrel breed, or like a weather-cock, or a minute man; or in other words, a lacky.

    His hair is of a blackish brown,
    His eyes is grey or grizzle, nothing of him can be said,
    As he is of the neuter gender.
    He is often found on the stand,
    And as often a puffing and blowing,
    Essaying to preach or to instruct;
    But like the Wasp, he is wrongly named,
    When he is called a man of fame.
    As by his moves, he plainly shows
    That he is not of the species man,
    But is rather of the Apeish kind.
    What he does, he is mostly told,
    Although he is counted one of the twelve,
    That is as much honor as it is to edit the Bug
    That flies from the shrub, and throws his perfumes in and about.

    In speaking of the editors amongst the Mormons, I have long been acquainted with them. They say, to be ranked high in the world, men of science and arts. They also profess to be inspired of God; they say the destination of man is in their hands; that as they say, so it is; they ursurp power, and will abuse all that does not with them coincide. In speaking of their editors -- they are all editors that can write. All of the would-be priests of the different grades as they term it, a moving in solid columns, rank and file. -- That if any fellow, for any reason whatever steps aside from them, he at once has to step forward and cord with them, or with him the fat is at once in the fire.

    Dr. John Cook Bennett, a noted man amongst the Mormons; and he was a noted man before he joined them. I think we have reason to say that the Doctor was about as much a military man as could be found amongst the suckers. The Doctor united with the Mormons about the first of their starting in the military line -- that the Doctor arose as a head officer amongst them. They by him was often drilled -- that we had to say Mr. Bennett took an interest for the Mormons. He soon used his influence, that they obtained a City Charter, mostly through his means, that was allowed by all. He took an interest we had to say, for his new brethren. They soon, in establishing their officers in the city, placed Dr. Bennett as Mayor of the city of Nauvoo. He officiated as Mayor a long time. Again, on him was placed their priesthood, that he was called a high priest after the order of the Son of God. In a word, we must say that John C. Bennett was extolled to the highest Heavens. By the authorities


    of the L. D. Saints, he was with them walked hand in hand. I saw him with them, and it appeared to be the most perfect union. Not a sism to lisp, except now and then some one that wanted to grow very fast, would come out on him with some old offence that had long before transpired to his joining the Church. But those that advanced such stories was soon put to silence. The Dr. moved along as did others of the first of the Church, until all of a sudden broke. That did not at all surprise me, as I saw many aspiring amongst them, that seemed to daily gain. The Doctor is well known to be a go ahead man; does not stop to tell long stories or hear them. As I learn he caused the difficulty amongst them that I spoke of in my sleep. In fact I saw that the Doctor was about as forward as any of them, when the rush was made. He too had the advantage, as you know a Doctor can say and do about as they are a mind to, and it is all a doctoring along. I saw that an uneasiness arose because of the Doctor's ability to go ahead.

    But things passed along as they did -- sometimes up, and often down, until Doct. Bennett had to clear out. I think the Doctor must have felt bad to leave as he did. Such prospects a head.

    (under construction)

    But I think that the Doctor did his best for the Mormons until about the time that he was forced to leave them. When he left he did as he thought his best to break them up. But he was not the man to tell of them, as by doing it he must criminate himself. In the case of Ex-Gov. Bogs being shot, Doctor Bennett was bound; he was fastened; that he could not tell the tale of it without mentioning himself in the fault. Now as for me I could not, if called upon, swear under oath, that O. P. Rockwell was hired by about fifteen or twenty of the Mormons to kill Ex-Gov. Bogs of Mo. It is by a multitude of circumstances that I know that he did it. As it was done, it went through the city as if a great prophecy had been fulfilled.

    Let Doctor Bennett know that it shall not hurt his character, influence, or any advantage be taken of him because of what he shall say under oath, and I think that the man would unriddle a scenery of things, as he has been through the Mormon Mill. They of the Mormons


    well know as he left them, and commenced to divulge, there was no other way than to destroy his influence.

    But the truth in most cases will
    Bear its own weight. But as yet amongst
    The Mormons, it has been waived that
    Their doings have not come to light at all.
    I am a'moving as I am, and instead of being against them, in a word,
           I am for them.
    But I look at them as a man at his son,
    That has been where he ought not;
    That for it the old man raised a rod;
    Rod after rod he on him used,
    Until he found it was no use to whip.
    He then made a plaster and on him put,
    That from him arose a mist that took out all his putrifaction:
    But when it was gone, nothing was left
    But an unwholesome lump of no account.


    The Temple is a building that of it much is said. As it is said to be a revelation from God to build it, that takes the attention of all the Mormons. It is said that their salvation depends upon its finish; that if the house is done well and good. The church as a people are a saved people. But it was to be done in such a time, or no salvation for them. They went to work -- laid the foundation with great parade, and soon commenced to build. All engaged to a man to fulfill the Revelation; but the building was large and to be of stone, that was hard to dig, hard to draw, hard to fit for use, that has been to them a slow job to get along with. They are yet to work on the house, but it is slow as the building is very large, and of the best of work. As far as it is done, I think their God will accept of their work; but the time they had to do it has long since run out. I do not yet learn how they fix it with him about the time.

    But I must here let a snake out of the grass. They commenced to build in the name of the Lord; every man was called to put a hand to, and rear up this edifice. Men has been appointed as agents to gather means in the city of Nauvoo. Other traveling agents, that have travelled through America, and as far as the name of Mormons is known. That thousands and thousands of money has been gathered to erect the Mormon edifice. But what is done with it? it is made use of to build up a certain company that say, it is in these days right to have as many wives as they can support. And it is a well known fact, that on such fixings, rooms is convenient on the occasion; rooms cost money that is to be got, we find by tithing the Saints their God has said to them to exact one tenth of all the members that has become a law amongst them of the L. D. Saints.

    Again by the by they found that there was so much to do to get


    their righteous branch started that they gotof their God a new Revelation, that said, you that have properties, whether much or little, it matters not; let it be consecrated by laying it down at the Apostles feet, that they may distribute as seemeth them good; as every man has need, behold the day cometh that Zion shall arise, and put on her beautiful garments; let my servants arise in time, as the time cometh that Zion shall become the glory of the whole Earth; let him that has money, land unto the Lord, and he shall be rewarded ten-fold in this world and life everlasting in the world to come; Amen. The above revelation did not quite come it; it took in some few cases, but it was too strong meat they found, and went on the old plan of taking my every tenth, that is and has long been the theme.

    The Nauvoo House or Inn is going on about the same principle of the Temple. That was to be done in such a time, and the time run out; but in short, it is calculated, as is the Temple, to get away every man's money, or property, whatever it does consist of. There is no doubt but what enough has been paid in to build the two buildings, to have well finished both, if it to them had been applied. -- Hands on these buildings are hired; others give their work; one-tenth of every man's work is required as tithing. This tithing of work is about all that is laid out on the house, in connection with a few hired hands that say they are not paid for what they do. The Mormons are full of notions, and as I said at the start, I would make a brief sketch of their doings, I again will repeat the same words and say, I have my fears that my writings will not, as the Hoosiers say, go it, as I am aware of the Mormon breast work. But I think I have one advantage of them, as I have been amongst them so much that I find their big guns don't carry any thing but wind, and that not far.

    In short, they say to have power to do for those that have long been dead, as they lived in the dark ages, or before the light of Mormonism shined. They say to officiate for them, by being baptized, as they would be if alive, and do it in their name, that it would answer them, either father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, or any near friend, could be administered for to save them. That they can come forth at the first Resurrection as fair as the sun at noon-day. The house is a building, as I said, by direct revelation from God. We that are acquainted find many things of note about this edifice that I will notice. The foundation is on a high spot of land, settled on a cellar dug, and in that a foundation laid; in this cellar is their Baptismal font, of which much is said, where they baptise to raise their dead friends from darkness to light, beneath it is twelve carved oxen of wood, that stand to support it. Again, in this vacant cell is made many small rooms or cells, that with the Baptismal font fills the basement story full; that would make one hundred feet square; and walls, some of them three feet and upwards; that when I have looked at them, and as I did know the intent for which


    such places was made; I ask for an example on the American shores. It is not to be found. Here is a mystery to solve, that hundreds have spoke of. The first and second stories is for public worship; and the loft for schools when finished. But these cells beneath is to imprison all that, in a word, that does not to them conform; by dark holes through the lower floor into them of stone and lime cement; that no man could give an alarm of his condition, when all is finished, because of the solid work of building materials around thim. -- Again, this edifice answers for another purpose, it is said to be done to fulfil a Revelation from God; every man is crowded to put in his mite, not only in Nauvoo, but as far as the name of L. D. Saint is known. All as one is over persuaded by sayings, that whatever they have sacrificed will be to them of no account, unless they add unceasing diligence, in both property and labor. The money that has been paid in, and the commodities of every kind, there is no telling the amount, as every cord has been drawn to gather means. Well, what has been done with it? it has not been put to the building of the Temple; it is used to build and repair houses to accomodate certain ones, of which I have often spoke, that say it is right to have as many wives as they can support. The labor of thousands is mostly put on the house, as they are also interested to get that along, as there is many unruly fellows, such as J. C. Bennett, George W. Robinson, John F. Olney, O. H. Olney, and many more I might mention. Such as Miss Nancy Rigdon, and Miss. M. Brotherton; that they don't seem to have tools to handle yet, for the sisters they have got another edifice in the name of the Lord, of whom I hinted of, the Nauvoo House, that is a building; any way that they can fix it by begging, borrowing, buying, selling rooms; finally, it don't seem to matter, so as the work can be done, as it is impatiently awaiting for the Nauvoo House or Inn to be done. That is a building built of brick above the basement story, with the basement story is to be raised five story high; that will front about, I think, one hundred and forty feet and proportionable width, to be divided into such rooms as will suit their convenience.

    Here I must unfold another mystery. The great Mormon Inn is said to be for the rich of all classes and nations to come to, such as men of pleasure, of taste, &c. For those that have an interest in their eternal salvation; that they can come to Sion and receive such instruction as will tend to forward them in the things of God.

    But beneath this shadow of filthy stuff
    Is a trap set of much account, that is in the dark.
    The building, as is said, is calculated for an inn,
    That the noble, rich and wise, may in Nauvoo,
    For their money, find a decent resting place.
    But over head, and on every side, there is to be
    Rooms of all dimensions, and many in number.
    T accomodate the Mormon spouses. Yes, this band


    of the Mormon clan say their secrets to keep.
    But they have friends, so have I, to learn their tales,
    They say to be wise, but they first must learn
    That the tongue is an unruly member if not governed.
    I have tracked them in their daily mooves,
    That I have got in black and white up to this time.
    But I to a close my writings draw, and say,
    And take an extract from some few letters,
    As they are too long to publish entire.

    As I have before said, so I say again, that no person, I don't care what their name is or where they live, or, I was going to say. don't live at all, that once had their name on their roll, and have left them under I don't care whatever circumstances they may be in, I left them as I did; in short, I had long wrote of their doings, but had kept it to myself a dead secret, as I knew it would make dissatisfaction. But a sound of it got out. They called me to an account, as they would fetch a fool to the altar, and demanded my writings. I told them I could take care of myself. I well tho't that with them I was, as the Suckers say, up a stump at once, if they should get hold of all that they did down there in Kirtland and up in Missouri. I guess I have skipped it all over up there amongst the Pukes; you know how they acted as if they was about to rule the roost. I know what they said and did up there away up in the pine country. I know how a real lot of Danites, or new fangled Masons, or the Daughters of Zion. went up there on business. That I guess I know enough to tell it if best. The Brother Mormons and I have long had a fuss, but I have had to see their doings so much that till now I think they had to call me a clever fellow, as they have been a pecking away on me; from big to little, all that had life to grunt, has showed their good will to get me under foot. But you know these 'ere a way down Easterners don't stand much about trifles I guess; so the Mormons and I now will take a round, as I don't think it good to back out. So, you know, I will give them a little out of much that I have written. I was about to write a whole mess as did Dr. Bennett, you know. But I want to make them sick or mad. I want to get my feelings a little roused if I can. As I have got a way down here in Ohio amongst my old friends, I had liked to forgot what I came for, and on the way down I have seen they look some as they did at the April Conference, when they had rag, shag, and bobtail, and the off-sowerings of all God's creation to make ready for a mission to the East, West, North and South, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony. If your big bugs of Latterday-isms think to light on me now, I will give you a little advice, as you know Yankees don't stand to help a little on such occasions. They are Johnny Taylor, or Woodruffe, or any of them little rubbed fellows -- I should, I guess, like a fuss up there with [ ----- ]


    that are kind of a laughing, good natured, spindle shanked Phelps; you know him, that are a fellow that left you in Missouri, cause you acted so up there -- he aint nobody's fool, I guess so. If you can't get some body to write of me, write yourself, as you say you are inspired of God. I guess that would go it. If you don't like to kick me and cuff me, just curse me as you did Roberts. You know how it made him bed ridden or so; you must spur up. As I aint Dr. Bennett, I don't go in such big company, you know, as he did in his fat living with you. He must have had a hard time in weaning, I spose. The Editor of the Bug, Johnny Taylor, said that Doctor Bennett and I was in company. But I guess the Doctor did not say it, as we never spoke together but once up there. As soon, if you please, that you hear from me, write. If I haint time to write, I will send you one of my little nooks, or two, you know; if they take there in your Mormonism, print a real lot, or if you haint time to do that, take extracts from 'em, you know; they will circulate. I aint particular. They cost me nothing. I did it myself you see, so I did. Go ahead, as soon as you hear from me, as I am soon on the way up there. Them ere Danites up there I hate; you know; I don't go around for them so many times as I have done. Let me write of their acts. I don't hint, but tell, what a damnable set they are.

    And again what they have done,
    I expect you will wonder, at the course I have took,
    To skip over so much of importance,
    That you know I might have wrote,
    But my reasons are many; one is, I was afraid
    That because of so big a story, my writing would be overlooked.
    Another is, if this in you should produce a reformation,
    I have no more to say, but to go ahead and that without delay;
    But if you don't straighten, or make crooked straight,
    I will next time give you your characters in full,
    You need not think I am a'joking when I laugh,
    Though I am not often mad, although I think it no harm in some cases
    To act out nature in every sense of the word.
    Again you may ask, how I know of the above tales;
    In a word I can answer and say, I have been there myself.
    And when a boy, I heardmy mother say,
    Don't ever spoil a story for relation sake;
    That is still fresh in my mind, so if I have to suffer,
    I don't see as I can get round it, if I don't tell it of my self,
    The Mormons will, so it goes for what it will fetch.

    Nauvoo, July 15th 1842.      
    An extract of a letter written by Israel Barlow: "Brother O. H. Olney -- after a long and friendly acquaintance with you and your


    family, I at this time address you with no ordinary feelings, as I learn that you have for some reasons, left the church of L. D. Saints. The good opinion that I had of you as a brother in the Church, because of your christian-like conduct, I hardly can say, to give you, up so you must know there is no salvation out of the church. Please to give me your present views of things in writing.
                            Yours as a friend and well wisher,
                                            ISRAEL BARLOW."

    Nauvoo, July 8th, 1842.      
    An extract of a letter, written by Benjamin S. Walker:

    "Brother Olney -- I with singular feelings, address myself to you at this time, as I learn that you have left the church of L. D. Saints. That is to me a singular occurrence, as we have long had an intimacy that is hard to break up, I think we can say we have borne the burden in the heat of the day; as we met in Kirtland, Ohio, went to Missouri, and with the L. D. S. moved back to this place. I have in all the hardships that we have had to pass through, found you ready to do your part. I have considered you a worthy and a good man, and I now ask you to give me your reasons for leaving the church of L. D. Saints.       Yours affectionately.
                                                    BENJ. S. WOLBER.
    O. H. OLNEY.

    June 26th, 1843.      
    An extract of a letter, written by S. Stoddard, Hancock Co.:

    "Mr. O. H. Olney -- After a long and friendly acquaintance with you, I am sorry to hear that you have left the church of L. D. S. You as I must well know, that the spirit of apostacy has been the lot of many that has as you left the church. I have looked on you as a worthy member in the church since our first acquaintance. But of us, one and all stand upon our own merits.
                            Yours in the bonds of friendship,
                                            S. STODDARD."

    June 1st, 1842.      
    An extract of a letter, written by H. G. Sherwood:

    "Mr. O. H. Olney --

    "I address myself to you, that you must be aware of your condition, as I hear you are in contact to or against the high council of the church. There is some where a fault, either in you or them. I will say to you at this time, to beware how you manage, as you know the priesthood is not to be trifled with, that I think you first received under my hand. Be not backward to put yourself in a situation to be free with me in conversation.       Yours a friend,
                                                          H. G. SHERWOOD."
    O. H. OLNEY.


    June 26th, 1842.      
    An extract of a letter, written by John Parker:

    "Mr. Olney --

    "I learn by report that you have left the L. D. S. I would say to you be wise for yourself; as the road to Heaven is various, and many must come short of the prize. If there is but one way to get there, I have had a good opinion of you.
                            Yours a friend,
                                                          JOHN PARKER."

    The High Council in Session and Presidency to preside, }     
    December 15th, 1839. }     
    This is to certify that we give this our worthy brother Oliver Olney, this Letter of commendation as a Preacher of the Gospel and Member of the L. D. S. We recommend him to all wherever his lot may be, as one of the Seventys; it being that he is situated far from the Coram [sic] to which he belongs.
    H. G. SHERWOOD, Clerk.     

    An extract of a letter written by Oliver Snow: --
    Walnut Grove, June 25, 1842.     
    Mr. O. H. Olney:
          Sir: I understand you have left the Church of L. D. S. As I have been acquainted with you since the last of your being a school boy, the high esteem I have had of you previous to your embracing religion, and your daily walk since. I am often asked why you have left the L. D. S. There is somewhat a fault either in you or them. I ask of you an explanation in writing. -- Please be particular, and you will much oblige an old friend.
                      Yours, as ever, a friend,
                                                              OLIVER SNOW.
    O. H. OLNEY.

    Quincy, August 20, 1842.     
    To all whom it may concern:

    That I have been personally acquainted with Oliver H. Olney for ten or eleven years, and say I consider him a worthy citizen
    JOHN CORIL.     

    Iowa Territory, Lee Co., Sept.16th, 1842.     
    This may certif, that we have been personally acquainted with Oliver H. Olney for a number of years, and consider him a worthy man in society.
    DAVID MOORE.     
    CHARLES mOORE.     
    JOHN PHELPS.     

    All the above written letters, except the four last, were written to me by the members of the L. D. S. I have like them over one dozen,


    but I think it not of much use to publish any more [of this writing], all my writings short of what I had calculated. The [--- ----] tend to establish my writings on two prominent points. [The ---] in the most of cases writing to me show that they [think ----] is not in the path after the authorities of the Church [---- -----] a sandy foundation. And the other is to establish [---- ---- ---] a citizen. I am amongst my old friends, who if necessary could add a catalogue of names to establish myself amongst [strangers], but it would take too much time. As the most I have written is a well known truth amongst the Mormons, I expect they will at once coincide with me, and say the half is not yet come to light. It is immaterial whether they say aloud or nothing; as silence in all cases gives consent. I do not contend that there are no honest and well meaning persons amongst the Mormons, but they are deceived by an unprincipled gang of scoundrels whose sole object and aim is to secure their own aggrandizement.

    The church of L. D. S., after writing what I have written, I now feel in dity bound to speak more particularly of them at large. -- Their Elders go out and say to preach the word. They well know the first things to teach. They have their orders to dwell mostly on the gospel plan, that is devised. For the salvation of man, reason and so forth, on the duty of man to God. They have their orders to look to one another out; and [if] as much as a sound arises that is like to make a clash in their ranks, they at once draw on the cord of which a poetess speaks, that is at once a veto on whom it touches. They at once have to go home, settle up all old accounts. If they make all with them straight, they can go ahead again, if not, on them is a veto to rest until they conform to orders.

    A contrast between the Bible and the doings of the Latter Day Saints.

    I will admit that it is the mind and council of the moves of the Latter Day Saints as teachers to preach from the Bible, and say that it is true. That it is a record of the word of God; it is the foundation to build on, or the sure assistant for those that hold the priesthood, as they say we have the priesthood. That puts in our hands the keys of the Kingdom; the same that was conferred on the Apostle Peter. That whatever they do is sanctioned by Heaven, they say to be actuated in all their teachings by the spirit of God. It is also understood, that a man must not preach without the spirit. This is with them a principle. That as soon as a man rises to speak, that the spirit of God is subject to them, as they say, the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. They say, to preach by inspiration. I will here remark, as I have often thought as wellas often heard said, that the Mormon Elders are the most saucy set of men that is to be scared up. They suppose all they say is infallible; that they don't pretend to give their opinions on any occasion; whatever they say is not to be waived by a man of any other


    faith. They, the most ignorant ones of the Mormons, look on all classes of them to be far behind them as teachers, as they say, the spirit of God is their guide. Many has said to me, how is it that people is such fools as to join the Mormons. The question is easily answered at once: the Elders go out, some have relations, and many friends, they labor with them with unceasing diligence; they soon begin to get a sympathy of feeling; that some fall in with them, and honest seekers to know and do the will of God. It at the rise of the church, was a theme to dwell on the book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith and his Revelations; but that is not thought to be so profitable to get members to move with them, as it is to dwell more on the Bible, and dwell more on the duty of man, &c., that this order of teaching is mostly now, and has been their mode of teaching.

    Again it is a theme with them to say at Nauvoo -- all is peace and harmony. We live in a land that flows with milk and honey; it is almost the Garden of Eden; such teaching as we have there, would make you stare, to set under the sound of our brethren of the Presidency. The twelve, and those of our brethren that are advanced in the things of God, have had to suffer by being imprisoned in Mo., tarred and feathered, and finally suffered in perils both by sea and by land. Such teaching is all by the spirit of God they say. -- Many falls in with them of all classes of men, some that are honest seekers after truth. Others that have got run down in society and want a home, almost anything will answer. Others fall in, that I had like to have said that have bulk and in the shape of man. If they had features as an ox or a hog, I think they would do to barrel up and send down the river for beef, as they don't look to me as if God had much to do with them.

    In a round about way I have endeavored to show that the most plausible means are made use of that can be to get people to unite with them, and thus help them to make the city of Nauvoo a Stake of Zion. It has of late been the theme to get all together; by hundreds they are flocking in daily. Thousands after thousands are continually on the wing to establish homes. As I said, all profess to be actuated by the Spirit of God. This spirit, when they are out preaching, teaches them in all manner of good sayings. But when they get their ends answered and get their cobverts to Nauvoo, their spirit changes its theme of teachings, as, even in the first salutation, the Bible is so mangled that it is of but little account.

    They say by the spirit they know the heart of man and the desire of the most high God. That in all cases they can unriddle the doings of the wicked. That no man can take from them their rights. They dote of receiving the Priesthood, and say that with it they receive the gifts of the Gospel, the gift of Wisdom, Faith, Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits, Prophecy, Gift of Tongues, and interposition [sic - interpretation?].

    But their spirits have much business on hand. It hardly makes or


    leads to a union, only when interest calls, when there is more to do than one can perform.

    For me to go into another detail of their doings, [do] I pass by, but refer to what I have written on the first pages.

    They claim and usurp authority in a way that is mysterious to me, many times to see their barefaced moves in and about the city of Nauvoo. No man can know of their doings, and the lenity they take in the name of the Lord. I have often wondered that God should bear with them as he has. But I look back on the scenes of time, of which history speaks, and say that God overrules for good. He towards the children of men is of long forbearance. Yet when the cup of iniquity of men is full, we see that God has power to lay desolate. We look at the children of Israel, because of transgression they were brought into bondage to Pharoah; and when Pharoah and his host was brought to an untimely end, when they was ripened for destruction. We look at the different ages of the world, and see man in the hands of God as clay in the hands of the Potter.


    Persecution amongst the L. S. is a caution to the persecuted. -- They claim as a people, to be infallible, they say to have and to hold the destiny of the Nations of the earth. That on them is conferred the holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God; that they have all the rights that pertain to the plan of Saalvation; that they stand in an attitude to do as is wisdom in God for them to do. They say as the Ancients spoke, so do we, we are persecuted, so was they. Our lives have been in jeopardy -- men and women have suffered death, for Christ's sake; perils have long hung over our heads -- at home and abroad.

    I would ask how many have had to suffer for unwise sayings and doings? I ask the candid reasoner if there is any society or denomination but what can establish themselves to be of God, let persecution tell the story as is common in this age, where parties get together and contend as is often the case. I know the Mormons have suffered; I at the same time know that they have many times escaped censure when it to them was due. But if others talk to them as they talk to others, it is all persecution, it will go through their ranks without a jog.I think if I could take up a course of reasoning with them of the doings as they actually occurred at Kirtland, Ohio; then go to Mo. and talk over things there. I am of the opinion that the Mormons would say that they did about as they was a mind to, and it was no body's business. I do not suppose the suckers would like to have it said that the Mormons could get the start of them. -- But I long since heard of some prophecies uttered, that may touch them by and by on a tender spot. I am aware of feelings on both sides, but if I take the second round, I shall unfold the Mo. doings, as what I did not see I well got the run of sayings, doings &c.



    The Mormons commenced their rise to become in notice about 1830. Before that time there was but a handful of them. Since that time they daily have been gaining. They have broke their way through America, England, Ireland, and many of the islands of the sea. By their moves, as they have managed, they have become numerous. They as a people have much to encourage them. They are growing up in an age and country of freedom. They have a military force at their command, that are armed and equipped, at all times, and are ready on all occasions to act when called upon. That is well understood. Most of them are equipped by the State of Illinois; yet it is so well understood that their company are mostly formed and drilled to stand in their own defence, in case of an attack by their neighbors of the adjoining States.

    They sometimes in conversation speak of attacking Missouri. But Missouri, until they get something stronger, need not trouble herself, as they seem to grow up by degrees. Of the Mormons I think we have a sample.

    We look at the case of Mahomet. How did he arise? Was it by his foreknowledge of events and a very wise head? No: it was by a low, mean, cunning, ambitious desire in him to become great.

    And it is a well known fact, that nothing like the name of Religion will sway like it. It speaks of futurity, of living again after death. It is solemn to see the body of a person laid in the silent grave, much more to say to live eternally, saved or unsaved, in happiness or misery. All classes catch at the sound from the wise Man on the throne. To those in heathenish darkness, of all grades of men and sex; that there comes the language of the Poet:
    "My all, my all to heaven is gone,
    No chance, no chance for to return;
    If I mismove my all is gone,
    That I am damn'd, I am damn'd.
    For worlds to come, to come."

    The above is the run of the theme of man in his natural mind of things. That of the same that he plants he will reap his harvest.

    It is also an idea at the present time with many that any thing that has the name of religion is a saving ordinance. It makes no difference of what sex or party. If the name is attached, it is salvation to the soul of man, in every sense of the word it is all in all.

    We from history may look at Mahomet's followers trampled under the cars of the juggernaut, men women and children. We look near home and view all the christian societies on their way to Heaven, honest before God. Their aim is salvation, to a never dying soul. -- We then look at their teachers, that each denomination adheres to. -- They feel in duty bound to preach for the good of man; thus each teacher has his influence, that he moves as he feels. If his feelings


    is to do the will of God, that is his theme; if to gain by usurping authority that has its besetments, enough is ready with it to move.

    As the mind of man is a'looking,
    And a constantly of the strain
    Aspire for something, if not quite so good.

    As we find the "twig is bent so is the three inclined," but the sap to support, arises from the roots in all cases.

    Thus it is the case, the Bible is called a very good book, I believe it is. But what do we discover, we find all the teachers agree in one point, that is, the Bible is true; but they do not see its contents alike. Some say, free salvation for all; others say, on condition.

    Rev. Miller, in the old country east, says and proves it from Scripture, that the present 1843, this world is coming to an end. We understand thousands are flocking to his standard, becauseof their faith in his reasoning. But if Rev. Miller is right I have no more to say; I have heard him lecture, I think him honest in his belief: yet I think if he lives forty-three round, he will see the sun, moon and stars performing their daily moves, and the earth make its obeisance, once in twenty-four hours, to the sun.

    Again, the Mormons say, to live long on the earth, and prove it, as do others, from the Bible, that they have but just begun to live. They have their peculiarities, as do others; they say they have just begun to live. They promise themselves much good; that they will yet live many years, and seem as much engaged as does Rev. Miller; but I don't vouch for their honesty. That a man may take to himself wives to his liking, and say there is no lack of Scripture to prove the fact that a woman was made for man, not man for the woman. That in the round, we find them as the Mormons would say, property as brutes of the field, that is the run of their pamphlet that goes in Jacobs name, to introduce polygamy in this enlightened age. But what did I say, the buds take nourishment from the roots. That no man will doubt we see the principle carried out amongst the Mormons. We look at them but a few years ago, there was but a handful of them; but as they say, have now increased to about 150,000 in all parts, or proselyteing. Let them once gather as is their theme in a thin settled country as Ill. How soon would they root out of office by moving as they do with one or the other parties, thus they slip along as they please as they say by proxy to accomplish much, and all receive their nourishment from the roots, or in other words their instruction how to proceed, thus by the most perfect union they move ahead in the name of the Lord, sayingour salvation depends on our teachers, until an institution is reared, that they can force as they please in measures.

    Before I close I speak to all both far and near,
    That has a name of L. S., of the Female sex,
    That every day they stay away counts one.
    That they will see when my book they peruse.


    [----- --- -- ] that has need to hasten [in]
    [----- -- married] or unmarried, its all the same;
    As when they get there, their husbands go a'preaching,
    The sisters then soon have a chance
    To [comm----] on the degrees of Masonry.
    Of Masonry I would not wish to speak,
    As it is much extolled amongst the L. S.
    But its charms to me are all in the dark,
    [--- ---- ---] took one degree;
    Yet I have friends that have learnt the theme
    Of [those] Masons in the city of Nauvoo.
    As for my name it's very plain
    As I have wrote it over and over again,
    But of late I have replaced the letter H.,
    That I am known by the name of
                                                    OLIVER H. OLNEY.
    Hancock County, Illinois, April 1, 1843.


    Vol. III. No. 11.                   Nauvoo, Ill., Friday, April 1, 1842.                 Whole No. 47.

    For the Times & Seasons.


    ...We have also had brethren and sisters that have had written revelations, and have started forward to lead this church. Such was a young boy in Kirtland -- Isaac Russell of Mo. and Gladdon Bishop, and Oliver Olney of Nauvoo. The boy is now living with his parents, who have submitted to the laws of the church Mr. Russell stayed in Far West, from whence he was to go to the Rocky mountains, led by three Nephites, but the Nephites never came and his friends forsook him all but some of his blood relations, who have since been nearly destroyed by the mob. Mr. Bishop was tried by the high council his papers examined, condemned, and burned, and he cut off from the church; he acknowledge the justice of the decision and said "that he now saw his error; for if he had have been governed by the revelations given before he might have known that no man was to write revelations for the church but Joseph Smith," and begged to be prayed for and forgiven by the brethren. Mr. Olney has also been tried by the high council and disfellowshiped because he would not have his writings tested by the word of God; evidently proving that he loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.   Ed.

    Notes: (forthcoming)



    Vol. XI.                     Springfield  Illinois,  September 23, 1842.                     No. 4.

    More of Joe Smith's Villainies!
    Communication of J. F. Olney,

                              La Harpe, Hancock Co., Sept. 10, 1842.
    Editor, Sangamo Journal:

    Dear Sir: -- I wish to make through the medium of your paper, a public withdrawal from the church of Latter Day Saints, as I cannot longer consent to remain a member of said church while polygamy, lasciviousness and adultery are practiced by some of its leaders. That crimes of the deepest dye are tolerated and practiced by them, cannot be doubted.

    I have heard the circumstances of Smith's attack upon Miss Rigdon, from the family as well as herself, -- and knowing her to be a young lady who sustains a good moral character, and also of undoubted veracity, I must place implicit confidence in her statements, the foul insinuations of that miserable little insect the Wasp, to the contrary notwithstanding.

    And having a personal knowledge of Smith's lying at different times in the name of the Lord, I cannot for a moment doubt but he did so in the case above alluded to. Smith is so fearful that his character (which is poorest where best known) is about to take a sudden flight to parts unknown -- that he has lately either by himself on the public stand, or by his organ the Wasp, attacked the character of every person, who he thinks will demur and proclaim against his conduct, and been called upon by the public to state what they know about the matter, and who have thus far refrained from taking part with either side -- these are they who feel the indignation and wrath of the Prophet Smith, and who suffer in the MORMON community by foul calumny of these debauchees.

    I know that Miss Rigdon has been greatly mortified by being obtruded before the public -- nevertheless it was unavoidable on her part, and if Smith succeeds in extricating himself from the awful dilemma in which he has placed himself, by obtaining her certificate to the contrary, then I am much mistaken in the character of Miss Rigdon. It is true that Mr. Rigdon has endeavored to allay the excitement upon this subject, and has evaded a direct answer to the public, as far as he could consistently with truth, but that part which is true he has left untouched. -- The fact of Smith's wishing to marry Miss Rigdon as a spiritual wife, of his attack upon her virtue, his teachings about his having the blessings of Jacob, &c. &c., as stated in General Bennett's letters, ARE TRUE; and if I am called upon to prove it, I SHALL DO IT to the satisfaction of the public, and to the chagrin and mortification of Smith and others. The letter published purporting to be from Smith to Miss Rigdon, was not in Smith's hand-writing, but in the hand-writing of Dr. Willard Richards, who officiated not only as scribe, but post boy, for the Prophet, and who DID say that he wrote the letter as dictated by Joseph Smith, and said Joseph Smith did say, on a certain occasion, that he did direct said Richards to write a letter to Miss Nancy Rigdon; and I now say I stand ready to prove these allegations by as respectable WITNESSES as can be produced in Hancock County, and if Smith has no other means by which he can extricate himself from this complexis argumentum bicornis, then by endeavoring to blast the characters of the innocent and unoffending, to shield himself from infamy and disgrace, then let him fire his Tormentum Murale -- and be gathered unto his Fathers.


    I have been acquainted with this gentleman upwards of ten years. I have only to say where he is known, and in the community and circle in which he moves, he is far above the reach of that foul Wasp, and is altogether above reproach, I was present when the transaction took place between this gentleman and said H. S. Eldridge, who then and there expressed himself perfectly satisfied, and I presume that feeble effort would never have been made to injure the reputation of Gen. Robinson, if he had not made public his withdrawal from the church. -- Said Robinson was formerly Joseph Smith's secretary, and was General Church Clerk, and Recorder for the Church, and I have heard Smith say that Robinson was the bravest man in the Mormon band, and that he (Robinson) had not a drop of cowardly blood in his veins, and other eulogiums of the same nature, But alas, how fallen! -- how fallen!!


    Who has favored the public with his affidavit, * with the apparent design to help Smith out of his dilemma in the extraordinary affair with Miss Rigdon, is a man of little or no reputation, and I could not believe his statement, although made under oath; and Smith, it appears in 'The Wasp' of 3d inst., has already become disgusted with this worthy help-meet, and it certainly is a wonder that others of the same character should not share the same fate, for Smith must know they are an injury to his cause. The Mormon Elders are now scattering in every direction through our country, laden with lies to injure the innocent and oppressed.
                  Very respectfully, &c.
                          J. F. OLNEY.

    P. S. Please publish the above, and you may hear from me again soon. My family sickness, as also my own, may be sufficient excuse for the long delay to respond to your call.
                          J. F. O.

    [N. B.]
    Dear Sir: -- Since writing the above, I have received several certificates, and many others proffered, to show to the public in what light they may look upon the certificate of Stephen Markham, against the character of Miss Rigdon. You will confer a favor by punishing them to the world, and requesting other periodicals to do the same; for Smith has just sent out about three hundred Elders from Nauvoo, and many others from other places, heavily laden with such certificates, to rebut the statements of General Bennett. I have not entertained the least doubt, but that the certificates of Miss Brotherton, Mrs. Schindle, and many others, are true to the very letter, concerning the conduct of Smith and others.
                          J. F. O.

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. XI.                     Springfield  Illinois,  October 7, 1842.                     No. 4.


                                              KNOX COUNTY, Sept. 18, 1842.

    MR. EDITOR. -- Having for many years belonged to the Church of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons), in which time I have done the utmost in my power to proclaim and publish the doctrine of said Church to the world of mankind -- having suffered with cold, hunger, and almost every deprivation which ever falls to the lot of mortals -- having traveled on foot for thousands of miles, been without food; lodged in the open air, almost naked and friendless, exposed to the rages and violence of persecutors -- all of which I have experienced with a conscience void of offence, believing the same to be required of me by the Almighty; and cheerfully spending my time, money, and bodily strength, to do the supposed work of God -- having full and implicit confidence in the recent Revelation coming through Joseph Smith, as Prophet of the Last Days -- and faithfully adhering to his teachings, as such, until being led to a fearful crisis, my eyes were opened, and with painful feelings to behold, that if passively to be led, like many, should find myself lamentably in the paths of INFAMY and DISGRACE, a sure reward, sooner or later, meeted to all Liars, Adulterers, and Fornicators.

    Thus, seeing the ungodly course pursued, and hearing of the corrupt and corroding doctrines privately taught; and witnessing the debaucheries of some of the would-be great and good in the last days, a coinciding feeling on my part, with that of an ancient writer was the result, "that WOMEN and WINE were two great evils to fools." Thus at once seeing my hopes blasted, my confidence in some of the leaders destroyed; and a total shipwreck made of all the pretended morality, virtue, temperance, and even truth and righteousness -- attributes of which so much noise and boasts have been made by said Church as belonging to its votaries, I feel it an imperative duty before God, to warn all mankind against such impositions; and I hope and pray to be forgiven for the part I have ignorantly taken in propagating them. For the good of mankind -- the duty I owe to my Maker, as well as to expose to the public the theory, practice and life of an unparalleled impostor, and in part to atone for many years ignorantly aiding and abetting him -- I shall publish to the world, either in letters or pamphlet form, the history of the acts, teachings and doings of the notable Prophet of the last days, as well as some of his worthy helpmates, which are the results of my close observation for the last two years, a memorandum of which I have always taken at the time and place, the better to insure its correctness.

    It is already well known to the public, that as soon as a member of said Church claims the rights and makes use of the freeman's proudest and boasted blessing, the liberty of speech, a certain gang, with their pot-hooks and trammels, rake up and secure the inebriate, the liar and adulterer, two swear away the character of the person who has honor and moral courage to withstand evil and rebuke the wicked; the affidavits are then placed in the hands of that old sinner, notorious in the Missouri difficulties, who is no more or less than propatrius ad diabolius, and reminds us of an ancient saying, "Clodius accusat Mocchos" -- the devil rebukes sin; -- they are then heralded to all parts of the world, where the shout of that miserable insect has obtruded.

    But, sir, such affidavits can do no harm to any in the community and circle of the acquaintance of each. You have probably noticed a sample of what I now say; in the affidavit of Stephen Markham vs. Nancy Rigdon, every person knows (that knows any thing about it) that Stephen Markham's affidavit was for the express purpose of helping the elders who (were going out to preach) to refute the statements of Gen. Bennett, which statements I believe to be true as far as I have seen Bennett's writing. I have been personally acquainted with Miss Nancy Rigdon from her infancy to the present time, and a more virtuous lady I believe never lived. I do not believe that any act in her life, could give the least suspicion to the most designing and eager of mischief makers. Those affidavits also against Gen. Robinson were a good sample of the fag end of creation. Those in store for me I am not in possession of, but presume they will be some monstrous thing, perhaps eating too much suckertash, or my potatoes baked instead of boiled, or some mighty sin of omission. More anon.
    Very respectfully, &c.      
    OLIVER H. OLNEY.      

    Notes: (forthcoming)


    Vol. IV. No. 6.                   Nauvoo, Ill., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1843.                 Whole No. 66.

    For the Times & Seasons.


    Seldom have we been called upon to witness a more painful scene than one that occurred in the mayor's Court last night. (Friday Feb. 10)

    It will be recollected that in the 11 no. vol. 3, there was a long article written upon the nature and effects of false spirits, which was headed, "Try the Spirits." Among other individuals that were mentioned as having false spirits was Oliver Olney, who thought that he had "seen and conversed with the ancient's of days, and who stated that he had received many revelations; but refused to bring them forward and to have them investigated; we quote the following: "Mr. Olney has also been tried by the High Council, and disfellowshiped, because he would not have his writings tested by the word of God; evidently proving that he loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds are evil."

    Since his expulsion from the Church, he has been engaged in a campaign against Mormonism, and has been one of John C. Bennet's right hand men-he was also one of the contributors to the filthy columns of the Sangamo Journal," making or professing to make, a great expose of the corrupt principles of Mormonism. Recent development however prove him to be altogether incompetent to the task and shew [show] that he is not much better than his great compatriot in crime, John C. Bennet, for it has been clearly proven that he is a most notorious scoundrel, and a thief. About a month ago a great excitement was created in this city in consequence of the store of Bro. M. Smiths having been broken into in the night, and robbed both of money and goods. About one thousand dollars worth of goods were stolen, and fifty dollars in money. The officers made dilligent [diligent] search for the goods, but apparently without effect until through a variety of small circumstances suspicion attached itself to Mr. Olney. A search warrant was issued, and the goods were found in his house; he was immediately taken prisoner, and brought before the Mayor's Court, where it was fully and satisfactorily proven that he was the thief. This he did not attempt to deny; but openly confessed the whole circumstances of the theft. A bill of Grand Larceny and Burglary, was found against him, and as he did not procure bail, he was committed to the county jail, to await the decision of the Circuit Court.

    Mr Olney has long been a member of this church, and until within two or three years ago, has always maintained a consistent character. He began to be wild and visionary about that time, and having become loosed from the moorings of eternal truth, and been dashing about on the waves of superstition, fanaticism and uncertainty, he became a fit subject to be duped by the notorious Bennet, and it would seem has become engulphed [engulfed] in the whirlpool of destruction: and he now stands as a lasting monument of folly and disgrace to those who may be tempted to tread in his footsteps. This learns us another lessen [lesson] about Bennet and his motley associates; and while we cannot but feel sorry that he should have fallen into such a snare, (particularly on account of his rising family) we cannot express our indignation too strongly at such infamous and corrupt deeds, and we are pleased that the offender has been brought to justice.

    The work of the Lord is progressing with great rapidity on every hand; from the north, south, and east we are continually receiving accounts of the progress of eternal truth; we cannot find room for many communications. -- Elder Andrew L. Lamareaux writes from New Trenton, Franklin County, Indiana, and tells us that the work is rolling forth in that neighborhood, with unprecedented rapidity, and that there are more doors open than it is possible for them to fill. This seems to be generally the case where our elders are laboring, throughout the Union, as well as in Great Britain.

    It is with great pleasure that we announce the arrival of our much esteemed, and highly respected brother, Elder Parley P. Pratt. He has been laboring for several years past in England, where he has edited with great ability and talent, a monthly periodical, called the "Millennial Star;" in which was defended with a masterly hand, and in an unflinching manner, the principles of eternal truth.

    Any eulogium from us, however, would be superfluous, as he is generally known and beloved by the saints: suffice it to say, that we welcome him to the "City of the Saints"-the beautiful Nauvoo:-and hope that he may have many years of prosperity in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting.

    We expect that the readers of the "Times and Seasons" will now be furnished with some useful articles from his pen. At any rate we can assure him that they would be highly acceptable.

    Notes: (forthcoming)

    Oliver H. Olney
    Spiritual Wifery at Nauvoo

    (St.Louis: self-published, 1845)

  • TitlePage
  • decline of Nauvoo
  • poetry
  • Wm. Smith letter

  • Transcriber's Comments




    -- ALSO --


    BY  O.  OLNEY.

    P R I N T E D   F O R   T H E   A U T H O R.


    [ 2 ]

                  Of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints;
    To you and all other lovers of honesty, peace, truth and righteousness I recommend the perusal of the following pages, in order that you may be truly informed of the corruption and iniquity of the people of Nauvoo, and also the present movements and future designs of the leaders of that community.

    Having lately visited Nauvoo and spent a few days in the city, and being an Elder in the church, I have had a good opportunity to become acquainted with the secret designs and measures of the twelve and their adherents, and can vouch for the truth of the information herein given.

    Were it not that I have heretofore upheld by my voice and influence the people of that place, and especially their leaders, I should consider my testimony against them at the present uncalled for, but in view of the foregoing fact, I publish to the world the few following items of truth that all who may choose to gain information, may be truly informed upon this (to many,) very important subject, and if it shall be the means of saving a few souls from the wily and practised destroyers of innocence, the writer will have gained his point.
    THE AUTHOR.    

    [ 3 ]


        Being an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is therefore my Priesthood and calling, to teach the pure principles of truth and righteousness to all ranks and conditions of the Itemast family, and also to warn them against the multitude of errors and false doctrines that are abroad in the land, and with this view of things before me I enter with no very pleasant feelings upon the duty which now seems to devolve upon me.

    It is well known to most of you at least, (who are members of the church) that upon the death of our beloved Prophet and patriarch Joseph and Hyram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, then resident at Pittsburgh, Pa., returned to Nauvoo and was excommunicated from the church, and since that time the church has been under the sole guidance and management of the Twelve."

    How far their management and practice has been in accordance with the principles of Peace, Virtue and Truth, I shall leave the candid and mind unbiassed to judge after becoming acquainted with the principles taught and practised by them at the present time.

    If you have not heretofore been informed of the fact, I will now inform you that the orders of the twelve are to every member of the church throughout the United States, who can, to make ready to leave Nauvoo as soon as grass grows sufficient to sustain teams on the way and go to California, in order that they may be free from the persecutions of the Gentiles, and also to fulfil the words of The Prophet, where he warns the people to "hide themselves in their chambers as it were, for a little moment until the indignation be overpast." (Isa. 26-20.) Thus claiming the projected move of themselves and followers into the western wilderness to be the fulfilment of the words of the Prophet.

    Again, in order to stir up the lukewarm and "to confirm the weak hands and strengthen the feeble knee," it has been proclaimed on the stand in the Temple, by Orson Hyde, one of the twelve, that this very anticipated emigration of the church will fulfill the saying of John the Revelator: 12th chapter.

    "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven -- a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, (5th verse). And she brought forth a manchild, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught unto God and to his throne, (6th verse). And the woman fled into the wilderness where she hath a piece prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days. Mr. Hyde said, "This church is the woman, Brethren and Sisters, and Joseph is the man child, and be has been caught up, and we have the testimony of Rigdon, that he is in heaven, for he says he has seen him sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High. Thus you see brethren and sisters, that this scripture is its actual fulfilment, and the church Will be nourished in the wilderness for a time, times, and a half which will be about --- but I will leave the time for your own consideration."

    Thus spake the Great Apostle Orson, upon the application of that Scripture which forms the first necessary prerequisite to the establishing of the church in 1830, viz: (the fact that it must have been in the wilderness or it could not have come out of it,) thereby fulfilling Rev. 14-6. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, &c."

    Now those of my readers who are at all acquainted with the pure principles of Mormonism as taught by the Elders heretofore, most assuredly know, that from our martyred Brothers Joseph and Hyrum down to the weakest Elder who has ever spoken or written upon the subject, we have been taught that the woman represents the church with its officers at its head, and the manchild representing the authority of said church was taken from their midst, at which time the church went into the wilderness or in other words, descended into popery, (570 after Christ,) since which time it has remained in the wilderness unto the consummation of the 1260 days (or years,) which brings us to the year 1830, the time of the restoration of the priesthood and establishing of the church with its attendant blessings, thus fulfilling Rev. 14-6 concerning the mission of the angel and forming a bulwark and foundation which fifteen years of the most powerful opposition has not be enable to overthrow.

    As may well be supposed I was much astonished at such an application of Scripture as was given by Mr. Hyde, and supposed it was so applied to cheer up some, if any there were, who might hesitate about joining the general movement.

    I therefore spoke to some few with whom I was acquainted, upon the subject, and was still more astonished to hear those whom I had supposed to be capable of exercising, an opinion of their own declare they had never heard it applied

    ( 4 )

    otherwise and that it wag perfectly plain, that it would be fulfilled when the church emigrated and not before.

    I endeavored to reason with them and show them that, according to the Scripture, the woman brought forth the marrchild, but if it applied to the church emigration and to Joseph, it will be assuming that the manchild brought forth the woman, for Joseph brought forth and established the church in the year of our Lord, 1830.

    Such plain reasoning as this had no effect and bore no weight with them. Thus I discovered that any thing spoken by the twelve was swallowed down without any regard to its truth or falsehood.

    I remarked that the Elders who had preached heretofore had preached by the spirit of God, and I believed they had made a right application of said Scripture, and I did not believe that God was so much of a lawyer as to make a portion sacred writ apply one way to-day and another way to-morrow.

    From an old lady present who had been ordained to the priesthood under the hand of Brigham Young and who had been practicing the duties of an Elder, viz; the laying on of hands, I received the following answer:

    "Brother Olney, Br. Brigham says "Learn to mind your own business, to obey counsel and to hold your tongues, and you will all get along well enough.

    On the following morning I met Mr. Hyde in the street and asked him if the saints were to receive his explanation of the said scripture as correct, or whether he so explained for the purpose of encouraging the fainthearted.

    With a foppish turn of the body, a nod of the head accompanied by a wave of the hand, he replied, "That is as I understood it, good morning Brother Olney," and passed along, leaving me to wonder a this deceit which was but too apparent.

    Let us now, for a moment, see whether God requires us to follow the teachings of such men and thus be led into the wilderness. They say to the people that it is the will of God for all his saints to flee into the wilderness, and to this end there has been Elders sent to almost every State in the Union to proclaim to the saints that if they will obey the counsel at the twelve and go into to the western wilds they will there establish a government and kingdom in which they can enjoy, unmolested, that liberty of conscience and freedom of speech which they have in vain sought for at the hands of the rulers of this republic and that God will sustain them and protect them from their enemies until they are secure from them, and then the wicked will destroy the wicked and thus leave the broad lands of the continent of America to them and their posterity, at which time they will inherit thrones, dominions, principalities and powers which will continue through the countless ages of eternity.

    See last Edition Book Cov., page 400; given of Jan. 19th, 1841.

    "I will show unto my servant Joseph, all things pertaining to this house (the Temple) and the Priesthood thereof and the place whereon it shall be built, and, ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it. If ye labor with all your mights I will consecrate that spot, that it shall be made holy, and if my people will hearken unto my voice and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people. behold, verily, I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place."

    *   *   *

    And it shall come to pass that if you build a house auto my name and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands saith the Lord, for instead of blessings, ye, by your own works bring cursings, wrath, indignation and judgments upon your own heads by your follies and by all your abominations which you practice before me saith the Lord." Now behold ye and see, my friends who believe the revelations which have come forth by our Prophet Joseph "that if the saints would hearken unto the voice of God they should not be moved out of their place."

    And again, even if the house should be built, if they have not observed to keep the commandments of the Lord, they should not receive their expected blessings and endowments but should bring curses, wrath, indignation and judgments upon their own heads. Now let the twelve take which horn they please and see if they can make such removal coincide with the revelations of God, in which they profess to believe.

    Their removal will be proof ample that they are in transgression, if not, "they shall not be moved out of their place." And if they endeavor to remain, they must be driven by the people of Illinois (so says P. P. Pratt) which will go conclusively to show that they have not kept the commandments, and hearkened to the counsel of the Lord; see, Book Cov., page 385, given 1834, 2nd verse "But verily, I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them. Behold, they shall, for I have decreed it begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour, and by hearkening, to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet and the earth is given to the Saints to possess it for ever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them, for they were set to be a light unto the world and to be the saviors of men, and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is, thenceforth, good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of man." Thus you see that if they are moved out of their place, it is in consequence of their transgression, and if they remain and are prevailed against, it is a proof of transgression, and the twelve say they must be driven unless they leave of their own will. But remember God decreed that if they hearkened to his counsel and obeyed his precepts they shall not be prevailed against but should prevail against all the kingdoms of the world. Thus I have given in short, abundant evidence to show that the saints are not required to go into the wilderness but may remain where they choose at present, and with an eye single to

    ( 5 )

    the glory of God, wait until you can see the disorganized and headless body of the church re-organized and established by having its proper authority and priesthood at its head: See Book of Cov., page 129, 3d verse.

    "Therefore, thus saith the Lord, unto you with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs according [to] the flesh and have been hid from the world with Christ in God, therefore, your life and the priesthood hath remained and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began." Now inasmuch as it is plain that the church as well as the leaders, are in transgression. We must come to the conclusion that the head and body both being corrupt, the purity and chastity of the whole organization has fled to parts unknown. Therefore, let us, as servants of God, be watchful and prayerful -- watchful that we be not caught in the snares of the evil one, and prayerful that the Lord will speedily call to the work one of that linage with which the priesthood must needs come by power, therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man who shall lead them like as (not where) Moses led the children of Israel, for ye are the children of Israel and of the seed of Abraham."

    This was given in the year 1834 before which time the Prophet Joseph was raised up, yet here is a positive declaration to have its fulfilment in the future from that time, thereby showing that another prophet must be raised up, and according to page 129 which I have, heretofore quoted, he must be of that lineage with whom the priesthood has remained, and must still remain, -- Therefore Brethren and Sisters let us in view of this important subject; follow no man or set of men, until we can see who will next rise up at the call of God, and show forth a true authority and a pure priesthood; I freely acknowledge that the twelve should have stood in their office and held the keys of the priesthood, and guided the affairs of the church, (unless they were found in transgression,) in connection with the other authorities of the church, until God should raise up a head to the quorum of first Presidency, or in other words until such times as one of that lineage should stand up to claim and exercise the authority of his priesthood. But, the twelve having gone into measures not compatible with the pure principles of righteousness have fallen from high and exalted station to which God has raised them to a level with The brute beast that yields every motion to the promptings of that passion, which at the time may chance to have the preeminence.

    Perhaps some of you my readers may think this to be the overflowings of a heart full of prejudice, but I assure you I visited Nauvoo with the intention and expectation of making it my winter's residence, and for the purpose of receiving blessings and endowments in the Temple. yes, I expected to realize the truth of what I had read in the "Times and Seasons," and "Nauvoo Neighbor," and had on my way to that place used my utmost ability to free the twelve from what I considered foul calumny and vile aspersions against their character, but judge my surprise and disappointment when I came to see with my own eyes, and hear with my own ears, I found Nauvoo a sink of iniquity inhabited by a people whose leaders are whoremongers instead of those who I fondly thought were among the first to contemn vice and foster the germs of virtue and truth, that thereby the saints might be brought into the bonds of perfectness. Our prophet Joseph said to the people that he did not want any to leave Nauvoo till the Temple was finished, and then after receiving their endowments they might scatter abroad upon the face of the land and preach the Gospel, raise up the branches, establish stakes and build Temples on all the land of Zion, which he said was the continent of America knowing as he did that if they kept the commandments of God, they should never cease to prevail. Thus the important question is, will the people of Nauvoo prevail or are they in transgression in consequence of which they are to be moved out of their place.

    Methinks every honest lover of truth must agree with me that the church is now guided by such men as are not led by the spirit of the living God; but are speedily forsaking every principle of truth and honesty, and are now living on the ill-gotten spoils of their corrupted authority, while thousands of the honest hearted scattered abroad in the world are (by paying tithing) supporting them in their luxury and extravagance. Although as I have written that I found Nauvoo a sink of iniquity, I do not mean to be understood that all are so practising upon their own judgment, but hundreds are so bound up in the belief that the twelve are pure, paying no regard to the reasonableness of their requirements that it is often said, "If we obey counsel and commit sin to so doing it will not lie at our doors but will be answered upon the heads of the twelve for so teaching us." This is the confidence which that people have in the twelve, to the exclusion of all honor, truth, justice. peace, mercy and righteousness.

    The building of the Nauvoo House is wholly abandoned, its bare walls and large piles of brick near by exposed to the weather, presenting a striking contrast to the view which would be presented if the measures of the martyred Prophet were to he carried out as he designed. A desperate effort is being made to finish the Temple, although hundreds yea thousands of dollars of the tithing is appropriated to the subsistence of the twelve, the bishops and their prostitutes, thereby requiring an extra amount of tithing to what would be necessary for the use to which it should be applied. In view of such a state of things, my heart bleeds and my feelings burst forth in sorrow to think of the many who must be as I am sadly disappointed, when they learn that they are led by those who are utterly destitute of every principle that tends to exalt a man in the scale or being, or make him noble in the eyes of his Creator, in consequence of which, our mites which have been joyfully cast in for the building of the House of the Lord, are applied to the subsistence and aggrandizement of themselves and their prostitutes; and the honest hearted left no relief or consolation but to mourn over the depravity of fallen man, and strive to

    ( 6 )

    shun the vortex of ruin into which others are daily plunging. And such are the men influenced by such passions, who have only to speak the word, and no crime is too horrible, no act however mean and degrading, too low for their police, (as they are called,) to perform in order to carry out the designs of their superiors.

    Having given a few testimonies from the Book of Covenants, and also from my own personal observation, I shall leave this part of the subject matter of my little work, trusting that the honest in heart will treasure up the truth, which will enable there to judge between good and evil, that they may practice the good all the day long that when the night cometh they may be called upon to enter into the joys of their Lord.

    Since writing the foregoing I have perused a pamphlet written by Wm. Smith, Brother of the Prophet, and formerly one of the twelve, and patriarch in which be has (as far its my knowledge extends) set forth plainly and clearly the corruptions of Nauvoo and its leaders, and I can recommend the perusal of it to all honest hearted saints to whom it may come, by which it will be seen that he renounces all their secret designs and unhallowed measures, and still stands forth as a herald of the pure Gospel of Cbrist.

    (From the Times & Seasons.)

    Oh give me back my Prophet dear,
       And Patriarch, O give them back;
    The Saints of latter days to cheer,
       And lead them in the gospel track.
    But ah! they're gone from my embrace,
       From earthly scenes their spirits fled;
    Those two, the best of Adam's race,
       Now lie entombed among the dead.

    Ye men of wisdom tell me why,
       When guilt nor crime in them were found,
    Why now their blood doth loudly cry,
       From prison walls, and Carthage ground
    Your tongues are mute, but pray attend,
       The secret I will now relate,
    Why those whom God to earth did lend,
       Have met the suffering martyr's fate.

    It is because they strove to gain,
       Beyond the grave a heaven of bliss;
    Because they made the gospel plain,
       And led the Saints in righteousness.
    It is because God called them forth,
       And led them by his own right hand
    Christ's coming to proclaim on earth,
       And gather Israel to their land.

    It is because the priests of Baal
       Were desperate their craft to save;
    And when they saw it doomed to fail,
       They sent the Prophets to the grave.
    Like scenes the ancient Prophets saw,
       Like these, the ancient Prophets fell;
    And till the resurrection dawn,
       Prophet and Patriarch -- Fare well.
    A brief outline of the transactions in and about Nauvoo may be found in the remainder of this work, As I before stated I visited Nauvoo with the strongest assurance that I should find it a place of piety and virtue, but I found it a place where profane language is in common use with all classes, yea I have heard God's name profaned in the presence and hearing of the twelve, and instead of reprimanding the swearer one of them excused the matter to me by saying that "the person used to be an infidel, but is a first rate fellow now."

    The twelve often meet in council, to give advice to any who may choose to ask it, and also to give orders to those in authority under them; and one such occasion I have witnessed where three six shooters (revolving Pistols) were laid on the centre table and one fifteen shooter (rise) stood in the corner to protect the persons of the twelve, although an armed guard are posted every night around the city and every street guarded by police, armed with (some of them) large heavy canes with an iron or steel point, also pistols and bowie knives, and others around the houses of the twelve thus shielding them from any intrusion in the night time, and in the day time they are (unless they are secreted for fear of being arrested for some of their misdemeanors) walking in the streets, in their Broadcloths while their followers are tolling to support them in their luxury and extravagance.

    As it respects the late troubles in the county I am prepared to say in truth as follows:

    The twelve by their unbounded influence over their subjects, and by teaching that the people round about them are gentiles and that the saints are to "suck the milk of the gentiles," have created such a state of feeling in the breasts of their followers that they think it is no sin for them to "suck a little," just now, and in fact, I have heard prominent men such as High Priests and Presiding Officers say that if a gentile comes in their way the best way to do is to put him "out of the way," as quick as possible. Such sentiments thrown out by the people at Nauvoo have not failed to create a response on the part of the settlers, and the feeling has been fanned into a flame that will ere spring (I opine) burn too hot for Mormons. Yea, even to their expulsion from the state, and for this reason.

    A stipulation has been mutually agreed to by both Mormons and anties, that hostile operations and maneuvers should cease on both sides, and also that the Mormons should leave Nauvoo as soon as grass grows sufficient for teams to subsist upon.

    Yet still the Mormons have been visited by writs to bring some offenders (of which class there are many) to justice; which serves as a pretext for the Mormons to send out armed forces, numbering from 50 up to 200, who on horseback scour the prairie between Nauvoo and Carthage, (as they say) in search of "Prairie Chickens," and latterly as if this was not enough; a body of these men have been to Carthage, and entirely broken up the court which was in session at that place, (so I heard one of the men engaged in the transaction declare,) so that none of the brethren could be tried at that court if arrested, but probably there will be none arrested, for Brigham says to the people to "give them what is in their guns first and then use them to the best advantage before they submit to an arrest."

    The judge of the court in company with some of the lawyers of the county, visited Nauvoo to inquire the reason of the breaking up of the court in such a manner, but received nothing satisfactory, except a tirade from John Taylor (one of the twelve,) which, he the judge carried away rankling and festering in his own bosom.

    Another evidence of their purity and holiness, may be gathered from the fact that at the houses of some of the twelve, I have seen from three

    ( 7 )

    to five young females, whose prolific appearance indicates a great increase of posterity in the temporal kingdom, to say nothing of a great number of married women who are sealed to different ones in high standing in the church, and (as I have been taught from their own mouths,) believe it to be their privilege before God to raise up as many children here in the flesh as they can, that they may have a greater kingdom to rule over in eternity; and on being asked how many women it is one's privilege to beget children with, the answer was, "As many as he can maintain." Thus making it an object among themselves, (except the twelve, the bishops, the Temple committee and some other privileged characters,) who help themselves out of Temple funds; to enter largely into speculating engagements, that thereby upon their income they may support (if they have no husbands to support them) those unhallowed and polluted vestiges of humanity, with whom they practise such abominations under the guard of righteousness; as must make the heavens weep, and the earth mourn, in witness to the fallen and degraded state of those who are to be "a light unto the world and also the saviors of men." And whose privilege it was to bring in everlasting righteousness, to make the earth bloom as Eden and to gather Israel from the dispersions, preparatory to the coming of the Messiah and establishing of the celestial kingdom of God, when the earth and the fulness thereof shall be given into the hands of the most High.

    Another important item in the present teachings of the twelve, is that "At the time of receiving their washings and anointings of their endowments, all marriages will be declared void, and every person have the privilege of choosing for him or herself, by a mutual agreement, that is, if two choose to remain together it is their privilege to do so, but neither one can retain the other, if he or she chooses to depart and live with another. Oh shame! where is thy blush? Furthermore, it is said by the redoubtable Brigham, that "when the church once gets away from Nauvoo, if any find any fault with the twelve, their heads shall come off, and none shall ever return to tell their tales!"

    Another of his sayings is, "It is better that an innocent man should suffer death, than that a crime should be proven against any one of the twelve, even if he were guilty."

    Another is, "The Bible is no more to the people of this generation than a last year's almanac, for I am all the bible needful for the people now, if they will obey my counsel."

    Another testimony of the purity of that people is the fact that a High Priest of that place told me that he had witnessed the deaths of five mobocrats at the hands of Mormons on the prairie, and also that the catfish of the Mississippi had scraped the bones of some who had better have kept away from Nauvoo.

    The "anointing and washing" as it is jocosely called, is practised frequently upon those offenders who are not judged worthy of death, which is covering them from head to foot with filth obtained from the vault of some necessary in the city, and then casting them into the river.

    Alas! for the purity of such a people, when their renowned head is upholding them in, and urging them on to deeds of shame and degradation, no where equalled in the annals of history, but which must stand forth in bold relief, as a warning to any who may hereafter be called to stand in as high and holy a calling as were these men who have now sacrificed every honest and virtuous principle at the shrine of female corruption, and justly merited a portion with those who are left without the city, such as (see Rev. 22:16) "Dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

    Another heart-rending fact in the present history of Nauvoo is that hundreds of honest hearted females are there, who have no means with which to get away, and scarce any means of subsistence there, except at the expense of virtue, and who are continually subject to the importunities of those fiends in human shape who, after having gratified their passions for lust, will, straightway, upon the public stand, declare before God and the Angels, that no system of spiritual wifery is practised or tolerated by them, when perhaps some of their victims are at the very time upon their knees in secret beseeching God to forgive them for yielding in an unguarded moment to their seducers, and to open a way for their escape from he folds of their destroyers, that, perchance, by a life of morality, virtue and piety, hey may atone for the weakness of a moment, and at last gain an inheritance with yhe saints of God. Think not, my readers, that this is a fancy piece, or the suggestions of an over excited imagination, for it is but a few out of the thousands of the testimonies that might be brought to show that virtue and truth have fled from their midst, and vice, in almost every form, has stalked forth, and holds, unchecked by any pure principle, the sway over almost the entire community, while the publications -- "Times and Seasons" and "Neighbor" -- would fain make the people at a distance believe that Nauvoo is pure as was Eden at first, and that the people are the innocent but persecuted people which they once were. I blush for the depravity of my fellow-man, and were it not for some hopes for the future, I should be disposed to loathe the society of human intelligences, and in the deep recesses of the forest learn the man was exalted only that he might be abased, and virtue nourished only, for a time that vice might the more strikingly exhibit the contrast, and cast mankind to a depth from which they might never arise, but to witness their own depravity, and weep over the last sad remains of a miserable existence.

    But I yet hope for the future, and pray God that he will soon reorganize, his kingdom, and preserve all the honest in heart from the hand of the spoiler until everlasting righteousness is brought in, and his saints inherit the kingdom prepared for them from before the foundation of the world, even so, Amen.
    O. OLNEY.      

    ( 8 )

    Copy of a letter received from Br. Wm. Smith, dated,
    St. Louis, Nov. 4th, 1845.    
        Dear Brother, -- I understand you have arrived in this city from Nauvoo, on this steamer Boreas, and as many of the saints are leaving that that place, the cause is plainly evident to every honest and discerning mind, whether their stay has been long or short there, that such is the declining state of morality, and such the departure from the old and pure principles of religion, as laid down in our books and as taught by my brothers, Joseph and Hyram, that hundreds must be inevitably ruined by the damnable heresies that have crept into the church, whereby many are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, &c., unless they are redeemed by a speedy and bold exertion on the part of the honest and uncorrupted Elders of Israel.

    As I understand you are about to publish your sentiments, for the, purpose of exposing their works of darkness, it is to be hoped that your praiseworthy and laudable undertaking of exposing these wolves in sheep's clothing, their secret abominations, their plans of seduction, crime, cruelty, false claims, unhallowed pretensions and base subterfuges, may be blessed to the saving of souls from ruin. It is my counsel and advice that all the saints remain where they are, and not remove to Nauvoo. Let the Elders continue preaching the gospel in its original purity, and follow no spurious twelve. Let the saints continue to hold meetings, preach and pray, do good &c., until a general conference can be held, and all things regulated according to the pattern given by the revelations of God, and if you please you may give this, entire, a place in your pamphlet for the benefit and instruction of the saints. Wishing them and all mankind, in company with yourself, salvation through obedience to the requirements of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
                Your friend and brother,
                            In the new and everlasting covenant.
                                  WM. SMITH.
                            Patriarch of the Church.


    Albert G. Riddle
    The Portrait
    (Cleveland: Cord & Andrews, 1874)

  • Excerpts taken from the 1889 Cleveland
    Medical Gazette's
    article on Dr. H. A. Ackley,
    which portray both Ackley and Oliver H. Olney
    in the fictional setting of Ravenna, Ohio in 1845.


    [ 34ff. ]


    Horace A. Ackley was born in Genesee county, New York, in 1815; died in Cleveland, Ohio, April 24, 1859. He attended the public schools of his native town and also a private academy. His medical studies began immediately on leaving school; he received some instruction at Elba and Batavia, took a course of lectures at Fairfield, Herkimer county, New York, and there graduated in 1833, at the age of eighteen. Next year he practiced with Dr. Havill at Rochester, and gave a course of lectures in anatomy for Dr. Delamater at Palmyra.

    He came to Akron, Ohio, in 1835, and practiced there. In 1836 he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy at the Willoughby Medical college, and gave a course of lectures. He then moved to Toledo, where he practiced for three years. He then came to Cleveland, and in 1842, in conjunction with Drs. Jared Potter Kirtland, John Delamater and J. Lang Cassells, founded the Medical.Department of Western Reserve College (now University), which was generally called Cleveland Medical College. He was appointed to the Chair of Surgery in that institution, and retained the position until 1858, when he resigned it. He was the most noted surgeon of his day in this section of the United States, and enjoyed a considerable reputation as an expert witness.

    In a book entitled 'The Portrait,' a romance of the Cuyahoga valley, by A. G. Riddle, now of Washington, D. C. (Cleveland: Cobb, Andrews & Co.; Boston: Nichols & Hall. 1874), Dr. Ackley is introduced as one of the characters. He appears as medical expert in a murder trial. As in this story, in 1 Bart Ridgley' and in various tales, the distinguished author has presented also B. F.,Wade, Giddings and other political, legal and other notables of the Western Reserve, with a fidelity which has been highly commended, we venture to extract a few pages of his novel in which Dr. Ackley appears. It was in 1845.

    Page 224:

    "Intense excitement prevailed all through the country. Acts of violence were rare, and in many of the Reserve counties a homicide had never occurred. The newspapers were full of the tragic event, and the wildest and absurdest rumors prevailed among the people. The authorities, unfamiliar with such cases, were on the most confused alert, investigating and blundering in the most compendious way.

    "The coroner called a jury and held an inquest on the body, where it lay in the woods, with the March flowers crushed under it. Hundreds of people attended, and many from twenty miles distant.

    "It was in proof before the jury, that a man similarly dressed, and riding the horse afterwards found, was seen to enter the woods just at twilight, a mile from the scene, and that a young man, on his way to his sugar bush, found the body early next morning.

    "Three or four doctors concluded that death was caused by a blow from a bludgeon upon the head, and other evidence was given that the body had been robbed. Finally, a man came forward who identified the body as that of Oliver Olney. The horse was produced and inspected. The jury returned that the man known as Oliver Olney came to his death by a blow from a bludgeon in the hands of some person to the jurors unknown.

    "Two days later the body was buried with great solemnity in the presence of a concourse of more than a thousand people.

    "The officiating clergyman preached a most acceptable sermon from the words, 'Whoso sheddeth man's blood,' etc."

    Appearances were very much against Jake Green, who bore no good reputation, and was captured suspiciously near the scene of the alleged murder, and jailed. Then a talented young lawyer, Fred Warden, the hero of the story, volunteered to defend him, and went to work to hunt up his evidence and prepare the defense.

    Page 230:

    "The proceedings concluded with the disinterment of the remains, and a most careful and scientific examination of them, conducted by Dr. Ackleyof Cleveland, in the presence of a distinguished practitioner from Warren and one from Ravenna. This act was thought to be little short of an outrage upon public decency and propriety; and the folks said that if there was no law to prevent such shameful carryings on, it was time there was.

    "What earthly use was there in digging up a dead man, as if he could be made to tell anything on their side of the case?

    "Of course, that was all the doings of the doctors; they would make anything an excuse to dig up and cut into a body; and it was popularly believed that Dr. Ackley actually carried off the head of the murdered man to Cleveland, and pickled it in spirits, and that each of the others took some choice bit."

    Finally the trial came off.

    Page 285:

    "The state produced witnesses, proving the finding of the deceased, and the doctors, who swore that life was destroyed by a blow or blows on the head, fracturing the skull, and so forth.

    "Fred, in a very quiet way, put these men under the gentle torture of a cross-examination, such as the learned M. D. 's sometimes enjoy at the hands of their brethren of the bar.

    "In this instance it was the more embarrassing, as the dreaded Ackley was observed to be a grim listener. When asked to explain how they knew that the man died of a blow on the head, their reasons were not satisfactory. They made no examination of any kind; did not deem it necessary. He was dead, his skull was fractured, and most men would deem that sufficient. Of course it could be done by a blow, and in no other way. Had they removed the scalp? No.

    "How did they know the skull was fractured?

    "Did they know whether the neck or spine was injured? They made no examination.

    "The questioning was cool, quiet, but long and exhaustive. It was evident that here lay one position of the defense, and the state's medical testimony left it dubious as to the means and cause of death. The quick, cool, shrewd spectators saw the weakness of the case.

    "Some marks and bruises were found on other parts of the body, produced, as was said, by dragging the body after the murder; it was left quite doubtful whether they were not made before death, or might have been. It appeared that it had snowed on the night of the murder, and the snow was two or three inches deep in the morning, covering the body of the slain man; and also that a watch and a small amount of money were found on him."

    Page 293:

    "When Dr. Ackley took the stand, there was a general movement to gain a good sight of the famous surgeon and somewhat distinguished scientific witness, certainly the most remarkable of his day in the west.

    "Slightly above the medium height, and large, with a little stoop in his shoulders, a strong-marked face, dark, with black eyes that could flash out the original ingrained savage, or melt with the tenderness of the enthroned woman who sometimes ruled them, which were overhung with heavy brows, while from his forehead were swept back heavy masses of coarse, black hair. His manner was careless and free; a man of little culture, of commanding talents, iron nerve, and a cool, shrewd, artful, artless method of dealing and swearing, at once impressive, conclusive and exceedingly dangerous.

    "Like other distinguished medical experts, he was to be retained, and his evidence was an ingenuous argument under oath. Nothing was ever more simple and plain, and as to nothing did he ever seem so utterly indifferent as to the wants and wishes of the side which called him; nothing was often so helpful as the seemingly unconscious blows that he appeared to give to his own side.

    "He was an intense hater, capable of narrow, mean and cruel prejudices, and wielded a tongue sharp, bitter and caustic, as well as soft, soothing and seductive.

    "When called, he lazily arose, moved forward, and declined to be seated; stated his profession and residence; he had had some little experience in surgery; was a professor in the Cleveland Medical College, etc.; saw the body of the deceased; it was disinterred, and found in a state of good preservation. He went on to say that, assisted by his distinguished friends, Dr. Bond of Warren and Dr, Jones of Ravenna, he had made a partial examination.

    "They removed the entire scalp from the cranium, and dissected away the soft parts of the neck so as to lay bare the spinal column; no injury of any kind had been sustained by the bones of the cranium, no fracture and hardly an abrasion of the scalp; the skull was removed and the condition of the brain demonstrated that no serious injury had fallen upon the head; the neck had been dislocated, broken, as people say, and that had caused death, which followed instantaneously; it was not produced by a blow on the head, could not have been by any possibility; it was undoubtedly occasioned by the man's being suddenly and violently thrown from his horse, so as to fall and receive the whole weight of the body on the head and neck. A horse suddenly rearing, so as to give an increase of height and throwing a man clear from the saddle, would be equal to the injury.

    "The man was found a little at the left of the road through the woods. As he was riding along, cold and weary, something at the right and nearly in front of his horse had frightened the animal, when he reared, turned suddenly, partly on his hind feet to the left, throwing his rider helplessly upon his head and breaking his neck, and where he fell he was found.

    "If care had been used, when the snow melted the tracks of the horse would have been found where he turned and ran back, the imprint of the man's head in the ground would have been discovered, and the profession would have lost the brilliant and useful example of its two members, who swore that the man was killed by blows on his head from a bludgeon, in the hands of a man on the ground, which had fractured his skull. Dr. Ackley was put under a close crossexamination—as close as he ever permitted himself to endure, for he had great power in good-naturedly holding his cross-questioner at long range, just as suited the exigencies of his case.

    "He was asked whether he did not think that if a man, the defendant, for instance, had suddenly sprang at the horse, it might not have frightened him so as to have produced the result named.

    "Fred asked 'if that was a question for an expert.' Ackley turned and scanned Jake with apparent care for a moment, and answered 'that he thought that he might scare a horse, possibly. Horses had their own views of men '—a laugh, but, lingering a moment, 'he thought that if even Jake Green had been there to kill the man, he would not have commenced by trying to induce the horse to run away with him.' This produced a sensation marked and distinct.

    "When Ackley left the stand the chances for the edification of the people, by a public execution, were much diminished. In his testimony as to the injuries to the deceased, he was fully sustained by the two doctors who assisted him."

    In Dr. Ackley's time surgery was but little known or practiced in the west. He has been called the pioneer surgeon of Northern Ohio. He had a wide field, and he was just the man to fill it. Of splendid physical proportions and great powers of endurance, he was enabled to undergo the fatigues of the rough roads and rude accommodations of the newly-settled country. He was in constant demand in all this region round about; if there was even a broken leg within forty miles of Cleveland, Ackley was wanted. And for cases of importance his "ride" extended halfway to Chicago, which was the next surgical center in the west.

    He was independent and often arbitrary in his ideas and methods, and could brook no control and heed nobody's opinion, unless it was Dr. Delamater's, for whom he had great regard. He was fond of horses, dogs and guns, and nothing outside of professional work suited him any better than a fox-hunt or a steeple-chase across country. In manner he was ordinarily brusque and off hand, in expression sometimes witty and often humorous. It has been remarked that for a man of such fine physical proportions he was strikingly uncouth in his motions. There was a surprising, odd originality in his language, thought and mode of doing....



    Oliver Olney's 1840s Pamphlets

    (under construction)

    Back to top of this page

    History Vault   |   Bookshelf   |   Spalding Library   |   Mormon Classics   |   Newspapers

    last updated: June 23, 2011