I. M. Van Dusen
A Dialogue Between Adam and
Eve, The Lord and the Devil
(Albany: Self-published, 1847)
(view 1847 Syracuse edition cover)
ADAM AND EVE,
THE LORD AND THE DEVIL,
As was acted by Twelve or Fifteen Thousand, in secret, in the Nauvoo
Temple, said to be revealed from God as a Reward for Building that
Splendid Edifice, and the Express Object for which it was built.
PRINTED BY C. KILLMER.
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Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1847,
By I. McGee V. D. and Maria his wife,
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.
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(the account given on another page,) unexpected to all of us. By this circumstance, we were all thrown into confusion, not knowing whether to proceed with the Temple, or leave it in its unfinished state. While in this condition, there arose a controversy, which should be the greatest. After a hot contest with Sidney Rigdon and a few others, a man by the name of Brigham Young succeeded in getting, as he supposed, Joseph's place. He now comes out and says, before the Prophet was murdered, he revealed to him all concerning the Temple secrets, the object for which it was built, &c., and now if you will go on and finish the house, I will take you in and reveal all that the Prophet would if he had lived, for I am in possession of all concerning the matter. We now go on with renewed courage, and in a few months enclose the Temple. About this time a mob is gathering, crying out with all vengeance, the Mormons shall all leave the state. The reasons, whys, wherefores, &c., were given. After a number of skirmishes, with the loss of some valuable lives, there is a treaty signed by the Mormons to the effect, that if the mob will leave and not trouble them until spring, (it is now fall,) they will then all leave the state.
The great object now is, to secure the blessing in the Temple, the object for which it was built. There is now a secret preparation going on, in preparing the inside of the Temple, by a few, selected for that purpose, unbeknown to the main body of the people. The upper main floor of the Temple, in the attic story, is temporarily partitioned, by drawing heavy canvass promiscuously across the floor, in different directions, forming rooms, some large, others smaller, all furnished and fitted, representing certain things, with doors, halls, &c., like other partitions, only this is all temporary, calculated expressly for acting what I shall now describe.
First Degree in the Temple.The following process is what myself and wife were personally taken through, in turn with twelve or fifteen thousand others, in the Temple, in February, 1846, said to be our reward, as revealed from God to Joseph Smith, for erecting that splendid edifice, and the express object for which it was built.
The Drama (as I call it,) runs thus: -- We have a notice to appear at the Temple at five in the morning. I am instructed to wear white drawers. My wife is to bring her night clothes with her. What
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those orders are for, we have no idea in the least. We go according to orders at five precisely, for we are anxious to receive our long expected blessing from God, for which we have labored faithfully, and for the knowledge of which we have been held in suspense, with thousands of others, for years, especially for the last number of weeks, while others have been going on in their turn before us. We are met at the outside porch of the Temple and ordered to pass up the main winding stairway, from the base to the upper attic story; here is a sitting room; we are ordered to be seated, where we lay off the hat, cloak, bonnet, &c.; our anxiety now begins moderately to increase, by some curious and strange movements we see here, such as carrying water to and from a certain direction, &c. A few of such and other similar strange movements are here accidentally crossing our observation, as we sit here on this singular occasion, conducted, to begin with, where we did not expect to go, in the attic story of the Temple. We are now called out of the sitting room and placed in front of a closed door, that opens on a floor the whole size of the Temple. I am ordered now to take my wife and pass through this door, which opens as we approach it. We are brought immediately into a narrow hall formed by the canvass I spoke of; at the further end of the hall stands a man; as we approach him, he says, you must here separate; directs me through a door to the right, my wife through one to the left, in an opposite direction. I am now ordered to be seated; I next pass through an examination to this effect; whether I am sufficiently responsible to receive what they are about to commit to me, &c. If I am known to be so, I am initiated through; if not, I go no further. After undergoing an examination of this kind, I am ordered by the conductor to lay off my outside clothes, such as coat, vest, pants, boots, &c, and lay them on a pile in the centre of the floor. After some more ceremony of not much consequence,
Second Degree in the Temple.I am conducted through a door into another room, this room is considerably shaded nearly to twilight. There is a variety of ceremony going on in this room, some of rather to delicate a nature to speak of as this work is designed to be read by all classes of both sex. I am however divested of the remainder of my clothing, and placed in a horizontal position in a bath of water that has been prepared
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for this purpose, and am washed from head to foot, with the following ceremony: "I wash you that you may be clean to perform the work assigned to you; your eyes, that you may see the glory of God; your ears, that you may hear His voice; your mouth, that you may speak forth His praise; your arms and breast, that you may be strong to perform His work; and so down to your feet, that you may be swift to run the race," &c. All this time I am rolled and tumbled about from one side of the bath to the other. Head a part of the time under water, half strangled under a constant excitement, not knowing what was coming next. At last the priest lays his hands on my head, and pronounces me clean in the name of the Lord, and prepared for the further ordinances of his house.
I am now ordered out of the bath in a standing position, and have sweet scented oil poured from a horn on the top of my head, until it runs all over my body. I am now said to be the Lord's Annointed, as in the days of old, when they were annointed to the office of King, &c. After this I am seated, and the priest lays his hands on my head and ordains me to be king in time and eternity. After receiving this ordination I am presented with, and have put on, what they call an under garment. This is a tight fit, made of white cotton cloth, with two marks on it; a square in the breast, and a compass on the knee. I am told this garment represents the white stone in scripture, in which was a new name given. I here have a new name given me. I am told also, that I am always to wear this garment under my clothes, while I am in the world. God has ordered this; and I can receive no harm while I have it on. The name I received was Lehi, one of the names of the Book of Mormon. This name I was forbidden to reveal to any one but the one at the door of the Celestial Kingdom. What this meant, I found out afterwards. The compass on the knee signifies our willingness to bow always; the square, God's protection, &c. I now have put on me, over _this_ under garment, a common shirt open at the collar. In this dress, after so much ceremony, I am conducted into a third room, where a lesson commences. It will readily be perceived by the intelligent reader, that this whole ceremony is designed to represent a certain thing, and what has been acted in the two rooms already described, consists altogether in a preparation of what follows, probably designed to represent some of the ancient customs where the children of Israel were required to wash their clothes &c. to appear in the presence of the Lord
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(The reader will perceive that this conversation differs from Moses' history of the creation. Moses says, "And the Lord sayed let there be light &c." and there was light, speaking of the Deity in the third person. It is here as if the Almighty himself is first in the act of creation; and this is the idea intended in the farce.)
After the individual thus representing the Lord behind the curtain (as in the act of creation,) is supposed to have created the heavens and the earth, cattle, beasts, creeping things, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, &c., he continues his work farther and says, "Now let us go down and make man in our image, after our likeness." All this time I am in silence, hearing, but not seeing any thing, and knowing not what is to take place the next moment; for all is new and unexpected, from first to last, of this whole drama. When he says, "Let us go down and make man," I hear his footsteps approaching the room where I am; he comes in -- comes to where I am -- puts his hand to the floor, and then on me, as if fulfilling this scripture: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." After going on, as if forming me newly of the dust of the ground, he stoops down and breathes on me, and now I am supposed to first spring into life. I am next ordered to change my position to a sleeping one, as if fulfilling, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept." I am now ordered to put my head down low and feign myself in a deep sleep. The individual representing the Almighty, continues his work, as if fulfilling, "And he
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took a rib, and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." After he has taken the rib, he passes out of the room and is supposed to have formed the woman of the rib; he soon returns with a woman and places her directly before me, as I am sitting, head down, as if in a deep sleep. I am now saluted with a loud voice, "Adam, here is thy companion. I give her to be with thee -- what wilt thou call her?" I now raise up my head and awake out of my feigned sleep, and to my surprise, here stands a female directly in front of me, about 3 1/2 feet from my knees, as I am seated; her dress consists of an under piece of linen, white stockings, long night gown all tied down before, and a kind of white head dress of book muslin, looking me directly in the face, without a smile. As I raise up my head from the voice, "Adam, here is thy companion -- what wilt thou call her?" I now answer by direction, "This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man." After a second squint at this supposed new made Eve, I found her to be my wife that I had separated from me on first entering the Temple. This was the first time I had seen her, or even thought of her, from the commencement of this very queer and excitable farce, my mind being altogether taken up with the novelty of this unexpected ceremony. -- She tells me after leaving me where we were ordered to part, on first entering, she has gone through two rooms, and the same ceremony precisely, only conducted by females exclusively. We are now supposed to be Adam and Eve, and the reason of my shirt's being outside, and she having on night clothes, is to represent nature. I now am ordered to take Eve and follow our conductor out through a partition door into another apartment.
Fourth Degree in the Temple.This is a much larger room than the others through which we have passed, the floor all nicely covered with green trees, shrubbery, plants, flowers, &c., one varying from the other in height as they stand on the floor, forming allies, walks, &c., representing the garden of Eden. This place being a little shaded, at least as dark as twilight, and the shrubbery interspersed with human beings, dressed in this peculiar way, acting out so sublime a piece, formed a sight both novel and sublime m the extreme.
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We follow a man here through the aisles and walks of the garden, representing the Almighty, beholding the strange and unexpected scenery that has just presented itself to our view. He says, "This is a beautiful place, every thing delightful for the eye and taste -- of all these things you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (pointing to a certain tree,) thou shalt not eat; neither shalt thou touch it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." He leaves the garden, and in a few moments another individual comes in, representing the Devil. He walks round between the trees and peaks and skulks, as if intent on some mischief, and coming to the tree which we have been forbidden to partake of, he says to my wife: "This is the best of all the fruit of the garden," and solicits her to partake. She takes, eats and gives to me. While we are amusing ourselves with the delicious taste of the fruit, (which is raisins tied on a small tree on the floor,) the conductor starts up all of a sudden, and says, "Hark! the Lord is coming; let us hide!" We are ordered to squat down behind the shrubbery on the floor. The feigned Lord's foot steps are now heard -- coming in, he walks on the floor, at last calls out, "Adam! where art thou?" We answer, "We heard thy voice and foot steps in the garden, and were afraid, and hid ourselves." And he says, "Who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I command thee not to eat?" The answer is, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat." He then turns to my wife, and says, "What is this that thou hast done?" She answers, "The Serpent beguiled me and I did eat." He now turns to the individual representing the Devil, and says, "Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." After the man representing the Devil receives the curse from the one acting the part of the Lord, he gets down and crawls out of the room on his belly, dragging himself slowly along, as if cursed indeed. To my wife the Lord now adds, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children," &c. And to me he says, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; in the sweat of
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thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for dust thou art, and unto the dust shalt thou return." We now have aprons put on of white cloth, about eighteen inches square, with green silk leaves pasted on. We are ordered to kneel down to an altar that stands on the centre of the floor, where we are instructed in a variety of things, such as the folly and impropriety of being deceived by the devil, and our not obeying the command of God, &c. We are also strictly cautioned not to be led astray again by the devil's influence in any shape that may come hereafter. We now say on our knees, we renounce the devil forever, and promise also to keep the commandments of God. We now have certain signs, grips, key-words, &c., given, and all the whys and wherefores explained. One of the grips is, the two right hands clasped with the end of the thumbs on the upper joint of the fore fingers; second, the end of the thumbs directly between the upper two joints of the first and second fingers. One of the key-words is the Sun. We are particularly instructed in these signs, key-words, grips, &c., three of each.
Fifth Degree -- A Burlesque on all the Sects.After some more ceremony of not much consequence, we are conducted into another, a fifth room, which is a representation of the present Religious world. This room is darker than any of the others through which we have passed, I suppose expressive of what the Mormons say of the sects, that they are all wrong and in gross darkness The idea conveyed of what is in this room is, that we, Adam and Eve, have strolled away from the true ways of the Lord, and have become contaminated with some or all of the sectarian religion of the day; or in other words, a lapse of six thousand years is supposed to, have intervened between what is here acted and that in the room we were in previous to this.
Our attention is now attracted by an individual coming in from an adjoining room, representing, the Devil. He comes in great glee, hopping and skipping about the floor, holding in his hand a long-handled wooden noggin, which holds about a pint. He says, "Good morning brother Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Universalist, Shaking Quaker, Millerite, Campbelite," &c., enumerating all the sects of the day, except the Mormons: "Come, let us drink the cup of fellowship this morning," He now drinks, and hands the noggin to us; we drink, and hand it back. He then goes on
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with a long ceremony, as follows: Well, brethren, you must have done well -- had a great many revivals -- gained a numerous host of converts, and would have succeeded in getting the world into some of our churches, had it not been for that Joe Smith and the Mormons. They are round everywhere, preaching that we are all wrong -- not organized according to Scripture, and say we (Protestants) have no authority to preach, except what we have got from the Catholics, and all the world agrees that is good for nothing. And now, brethren of the sects, I tell you that Mormon plan is an almighty one, and much to be dreaded -- It strikes at the very root and foundation of all our holy religion, and will eventually become the prevailing religion, unless something can be done to stop it. It has been supposed a humbug, and would soon come to naught. But this supposition is founded altogether in ignorance. Now, who can not but see this (Joe's) plan is well calculated to undermine all of us. He says, 'God has nothing to do with our churches -- he has never sent us to preach; and they have the impudence to ask us to show our authority, and this we cannot do, of course. It is true, we read in the Bible, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature;' but they say that commission is not to us, but to men of the generation in which it was given. (And is not this true?) Now, the world has been long wondering how so many ways could be right, and differing one from the other; and Mormonism is calculated to unravel all this mystery. They come right out and say we have all been preaching men's precepts for the commandments of God. And now, I tell you there is much truth in their sayings. We might as well know the truth, and then prepare ourselves accordingly. We could do well when our authority was not questioned; but when they come with the evidence they bring, and say, 'They are sent by Revelation;' I tell you it is not easy to withstand them. And finally, brethren, I am satisfied that it will not do to undertake to hold an argument with them, and we had better let them entirely alone, and neither hear nor read any of their books, but keep up the popular cry, 'Oh, how great is the delusion of Joe Smith and Mormonism! Oh, how great!' and as long as we can keep the people ignorant of their real principles, we shall do well. Now, brethren, of all sects, we are talking over things this morning among ourselves -- and it must not go to the world," &c.
After a long ceremony, of this kind in favor of the Mormon Fraternity, we are interrupted by an other individual coming in, representing the Almighty. He commands the Devil to depart and let these
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deceived people (the sects,) alone, and trouble them no longer; for the time has come when they shall be delivered from his Satanic influence and power, by which they have been bound since the Apostolic age of the world.
The Devil now reluctantly withdraws, and makes towards the door looking back over his shoulder at the heavenly messenger, and halts, as if at a loss to leave or stay. He is now commanded again, to leave, and let the sects alone. He now drops his noggin and flees out of the room with great haste and fury. The supposed Lord that has acted the last part and conquered the Devil, takes us now and teaches us the folly of every other way, that is all the sectarian ways and recommends the one true way to us, i.e., the Apostolic way which he tells us is Joseph Smith's doctrine in every particular. We are now supposed to be converted to the Mormon faith exclusively, in token whereof, we have our clothing changed, and are dressed in white linen, exactly alike with a curious cap of the same material. Another idea is here conveyed in this room, that is all the other religions have to be renounced in turn, and this the particulars of which we are here instructed in must eventually be embraced.
Sixth Degree in the Temple.We are now conducted through a partition door into a room that represents the Millennial Morning, or the holy, not the most holy, place; on the center of this floor stands another altar erected, with three Books on it -- the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, (the revelations of Joseph.) We are required to kneel at this altar, where we have an oath administered to the effect, that we will, from this time henceforth and forever, use our influence to murder this nation, and teach it to our posterity and all that we have influence over, in return for their killing the Prophet Joseph. They say the murdering of Smith is a national offense. It is true that all was not personally engaged in the act; but the nation has long winked at the abuse of the Mormons, and in this way they have encouraged mobs from time to time, until they have finally taken the life of the Lord's Prophet, and now it is the will of the Lord, that the nation should be destroyed; and this is his will, that we shall enter into this secret conspiracy against the Government, &c., for the above reasons and many more given. We are also sworn at this altar, by a solemn oath, that we will never reveal to any person what we here do
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and see in the Temple, during this whole farce, from first to last. If we give the least idea or intimation of it, our lives are to be taken; and the way of taking it is described; our bowels are to be taken out, tongue taken out by the roots, throat cut across, &c. The Lord, his holy angels and all that are in the room are called on to witness the solemn covenant we here make. The individual that administers this oath, next takes hold of the hand and gives other grips, signs, words, &c., of a higher order than those given in the Garden of Eden.
A REMARK.Now the man that lead twelve or fifteen thousand through this farce, has gone with the main body of the Mormons, to California, with the express understanding, to my certain knowledge, of carrying out these principles among the Western Indians, and all whom he has influence over. He told others that were at Nauvoo, those who were not let into these Temple Mysteries, (for all did not go in for want of time and opportunity,) that when they got to California, there would be a tent pitched in the wilderness for the Indians' benefit and all others that had not an opportunity at the Temple at Nauvoo. The idea is, if they had not been driven from Nauvoo, all the Mormons in all the world would have went there in their turn, and received their great anticipated blessing, which I have described in these few pages to the very letter, in substance particularly, for the benefit of those who are under this wicked leader's influence.
After Smith's death, he issued his proclamation to all the Mormons in the United States, that they must come forthwith to Nauvoo, and the Lord would tell them what to do, when they get there. He takes us in the Temple in secret, and says, this is the Lord's will, that you are to cease preaching to these United States, and go to other nations. This is the reason why you see so few preaching here. (Hence the remark -- "I think they are about broken up.") I know of thousands of young and able bodied men, who had all this secret instruction with me in Nauvoo the winter before they left, and are now actively engaged in making converts in foreign nations and the Islands of the sea, and are instructed to go west after this Brigham Young, the wickedest man probably now on the earth. While I am writing this, let no one say it is persecution or fiction. I would not say one word on the subject, if I did not know the awful consequences of carrying out that aspiring man's principles. Look for one moment at its awful effects. He has actually issued his proclamation to all the Mormons in all the world where they are, to now center at California, and build another city. They are some of them already there, with access to some of the most secluded and powerful tribes of Indians in the world. Now suppose his principles are carried out, as I am certain they will be, who cannot, see but there will be great trouble and loss of thousands of the lives of innocent men, women and children?
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Now if there was no deception in this Almighty Machine and Engine of Death, (this secret farce,) I would say nothing. But how can I hold my peace, when I know the foundation of a scheme that cannot fail of the literal ruin of my fellow men? Oh, if I was in possession of sufficient eloquence, I could here write a true picture of consequences, that would make the hair raise on the reader's head.
Only contemplate for one moment: -- A few thousand have already arrived at their destined home, between the Rocky Mountains and the west sea, with good reasons, as they suppose, for forming this conspiracy against the government. Thousands already under their influence, all calculating to go to that place, with an inducement that the Lord has, in the Nauvoo Temple, and will reveal, great secrets, essential to their salvation. Now this is all brought on by degrees. By the time they pass through all the hardships they necessarily must in getting there, they are pretty well instructed and prepared to believe it is of God; I mean this great farce that they are all calculating to go through when they get there. The consequence must follow, that if this principle is carried out only for a very few years, it must result in a civil war; for, depend on it, when people make any thing their religion, I don't care what it is, they will fight for it with good courage.
Now, if Black Hawk could make so much trouble with the western whites, without any particular premeditation, or secret organization, or plan, what can the Indians do headed by a cunning, designing white man, such as the one I have named? The Mormon Bible claims to be the Indian's record; and they are told this American land is legally theirs; that the whites have an unlawful possession and the Indians are finally to drive off the whites, and possess their father's land.
But I must close this subject, for my mind is weary with contemplating the awful consequences of this Temple farce, which I believe, at least as far as a part of it is concerned, is a cunningly devised fable of a few designing wicked men, and is in magnitude in keeping only with other enterprises of this advanced age of the world. If any think the Mormons are dying away, they can, with the same propriety say, it will never rain any more, because a great shower has just passed, and there are no clouds to be seen now. But oh, fools, can you reason on this subject with half the propriety? Is there not a cloud in the west already as big as a man's hand to be seen? I think there is, and if you are such fools as to say, as I have frequently heard of late, 'they are about dead,' you ought to receive the contents on your head.
Well, after all this, what do you believe? In answer, I would say, for the benefit of such, that I believe just what I please. There are many things concerning this Fraternity that I as fully believe in as I did when I first went with them, and always shall, from the fact that they are true; but at the same time I am free to say, that I am set against the proceedings of the Mormons at Nauvoo, and am in the full belief that as that body existed there, they were abominably corrupt,
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and are now cursed of God; and according to Smith's last letter, (that is said to be written by him,), it shows that if he ever was a good man, he died in consequence of sin. My only apology for writing this Temple Secret, as I said before, is, that it tends to evil; and as I know many consequences of enormous magnitude, I have, after much reflection, written it out and published it, to prevent others going after it.
I will now return to the Temple ceremony: -- After being instructed in many other things in this room of less consequence, I am taken by a female conductor and led to another partition which they call the Veil that separates the Holy from the Most Holy place. This thin cloth, called the Veil, is something like book-muslin, covers a vacancy left in the partition for this purpose, behind which stands a man in the Most Holy place. With him I converse, through this thin cloth. I here give him the new name I confidentially received, signs, motions, grips, &c., given to me at the different altars, which is a condition of my entrance through a door about three or four feet to the left, called the Door of the Celestial Kingdom of God. My conductor knocks at this door -- it is opened by one from within, who asks, "Who is there?" My conductor replies, "One having kept all the commandments of God, (referring to the carrying out of the principles represented and acted in this farce,) desires to enter the kingdom and be forever with the Lord."
Seventh Degree in the Temple.I now pass through this door, which brings me into a very large and spacious room, perfectly light, all nicely furnished, representing the Celestial Kingdom of God, or the highest degree of glory that man is to arrive at in the eternal world. This being the last room representing the final rest of man, we are now all clothed exactly alike, in fine white linen, with crowns on our heads, representing what we are finally to come into possession of -- that is what we were ordained to in the second room, king and queen, for that is the object of this whole drama, to represent what has been and will be through time and eternity. This being the last room, we come in turn, two at a time, through all the others, here we remain as long as we please, sometimes numbering hundreds, all in white as before described, male and female, with crowns on our heads, all conversing of course on the singular and unexpected blessing just received, as pretended, from the hand of the Lord, for which we have labored so hard, presenting a
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most curious and novel sight. There is another door that enters this room. Many come in from that direction, that have gone through the initiation previously. This is the reason of so many being in that room: -- the law is, that all who have thus been initiated have the privilege of coming in this last room when they please, by going first to a certain place in the Temple and preparing themselves with the kingly apparel before described, for none are permitted to enter this holy place on any other condition than that he is one that can give the signs, &c. that he receives going through this ordeal. In this room, when thus assembled, are all the Mysteries of the Kingdom taught, such as what is called the Spiritual Wife Doctrine for instance. We are told that this ceremony is the commencement of the law of God, and the laws of the land are no more binding on us; all our former ties of marriage, &c., are all now cut asunder, and we are all thrown loose upon the world as if never married. It is now the woman's privilege to choose whom she sees fit; if she likes the one she has been living with, she can keep him; if not, she is at liberty to ship him and take another; and it is the man's privilege to have one, two, four, ten, or twenty, according to his standing in the church, and the influence he has with the leader, for he is the one whom they are brought before and married over. He says every other marriage as performed by ministers, justices, &c., is null and void, and it is strictly essential to our salvation and future prosperity, both in time and eternity, that we are thus joined together. The philosophy of this is, we are ordained to be king, for instance, and what is the title good for if we have no kingdom to rule over? A king without a kingdom, would be without honor. Here you see in a hint, the foundation of this plurality of wives' system, and the object a man has in getting more than one wife. He is to be promoted through all eternity according to this theory, by his posterity, which are the subjects of his dominion; and of course the more wives, the more numerous his posterity.
I might write a volume on this principle, of facts, as taught by this leader, but I forbear, fearing it will be considered as persecution, and the object that I intended will not be accomplished; that is, giving to the world this bare Temple Ceremony, from the fact, that it is kept a secret from most of their own people and that it tends to evil,
The question has been frequently asked me, if you have bound yourself by an oath to keep this a secret, where is the propriety of
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your revealing it? My answer to such questions is, the man that conducted us through this farce, did it by cunning intrigue and usurped authority, and is himself, with the farce, an imposition on the Mormon Church, and their original principles, let them be what they may. For instance, they have it recorded on their Church Record, that a man shall have but one wife; &c.; here he says we may have more, but makes us swear not to tell it at the expense of life. Again: five minutes previous to my going to that altar, I know not what they would require of me. All this came on unexpected and new, from the beginning of the farce; consequently, for the reasons above and many more that might be given, I feel under no obligation to keep it; but a duty to publish it, that all who are and may come under this leader's influence, may be warned against what will prove their ruin, if his principles are carried out.
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front, is this inscription in golden letters: -- "The House of the Lord, built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-Day Saints. Commenced April 6th, 1841. Holiness to the Lord."
In the center of the basement, which is the full size of the Temple, converging to the center, is a baptismal font, (the object of which I will briefly describe below,) supported by twelve oxen as large as life, heads fronting out each way from the center, executed in solid stone. Two stairways lead into the font from opposite directions. All around the outside of this main floor are small rooms, designed for a purpose I cannot here describe for want of room. It is connected with the principle of the Baptism for the Dead, according to the Mormon Theory, that I shall hint at below. On the first floor are three pulpits, and a place for a large choir; and on either side eight arched windows. Over the Prophet's Throne is this inscription: "The Lord had beheld our sacrifice come after us." Between the first and second floors, on either side, are two long rooms appropriated to the use of the Patriarchs, lighted from without by eight circular windows each; the rooms of the second floor are similar to that of the first. Around the hall of the spacious attic, are twelve small rooms, each lighted with a beautiful circular window, and a massive lock on the door. The walls of the building are about six feet thick. The summit of this splendid edifice is gained by two winding stairways from the base. The probable cost is about One Million Dollars.
It is almost impossible however to give much of an idea on this subject, although perfectly plain to a Mormon. It opens into a field that might occupy a volume. The farther philosophy of sinners not being damned and christians not being saved is, the christian and sinner are both placed on a level by the Mormons. They do not believe God has any thing at all to do with these sectarian church organizations; consequently the whole world is unorganized at present, in the estimation
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of God; and a good man in the world is as good as one that has gone to some man's creed and subscribed to that. The idea is, the whole world is and has been without a church of God since the Apostolic Age, until it was reorganized by Joseph Smith; consequently none have been damned since that authority was taken from the earth, from the fact, that there has been no law transgressed. I mean by law, the Gospel plan, which are those ordinances which God has commanded the people to comply with as a condition of salvation, Baptism, for instance. The commission is to the Apostles, "He that is baptized shall be saved;" the inference is, he that is not baptized, if he has an opportunity, shall be damned, &c. Then if there has been no one legally authorized, in the name of the Lord, to preach and administer the ordinances, of course they can not be condemned of God for not complying with them. Consequently all the world is yet in a salvable condition, whether dead or alive. Well, says one, what good will it do the dead to be baptized for them? The idea is that the spirit is of eternal duration, consequently it never had a beginning; (any thing that never has an end, never had a beginning;) and the body's being separated from it for a while, does not change its relation to God in the least, but is susceptible of right and wrong, can refuse or choose, the same as if connected with the body. If a man has died during the time I have referred to, when the priesthood was not on the earth, is it reasonable to suppose that he is damned when the law has not condemned him? But says one, does the bible not condemn all that do not comply with its requirements? Yes. This is coming to the point. The Mormon theory is, that God has not required any thing of the people for sixteen hundred years, more than to observe all right principles, and reject all wrong; the same as is required of the heathen, where the law is not written. The only difference between us and the heathen is, they have no law written; we have one but no legal officers to administer the ordinances thereof. Perhaps I will be better understood in these words: The Bible has been to us, for past centuries the same as a copy of the Constitution of the United States would be to future generations, if there were no legal officers appointed to succeed those now in office, after their death. Of course, if every man should hereafter go according to his own notion, why, the Constitution of the U. States would only remain in being as a reference to show the noble principles therein contained; and although the future generations should continue from age to age to keep up the cry and say to all they might have influence over, 'on the good and noble principles of the Constitution of our land,' and at the same time have six or seven hundred other Constitutions framed, differing essentially in many instances from the one so highly applauded what would you think of such a course of conduct? Now thisis precisely the condition of the religious world. Is it not evident that if the Bible is a copy of God's law, it is one things and not what every body's notion might be of it?
This is the reason why they place all ministers and other professors of religion on a level with what are called sinners or the world's
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people. Their preaching, baptizing, or administering any of the ordinances is of no aceoant, from the fact, that when we come to examine the laws by which they are governed, we find them all differing from the law of God; and the fact that their laws differ from the law of God is evident, that they differ one from the other. It would be folly in the extreme, to suppose that our Constitution could be twisted to accommodate itself to six or seven hundred other different ones that might be got up by other men within itself. The assertion is that all the present existing churches have been got up by men on that principle, and have come out of the Catholic Church. If they have any authority to preach, she (the Catholic Church) has conferred it, and they say themselves she is the abomination of all the earth, consequently the authority she has conferred on the founders of the Protestant churches is good for nothing according to their own confession. Then by what authority are they acting? Is it from God, the Catholic Church, or none at all? They say it is not from the Catholic Church, (although it is the only authority they can show.) Then it must be either from God, or none at all. Well, they all say it is the height of folly to suppose God would call men in this age by revelation; so it can not be of God, according to their own theory. The conclusion then is, they have none at all; but are preaching on their own hook, have run without being sent, which God has strictly forbidden.
It need not be wondered at then that there are so many different professing sects on the earth at present, taking this view of the subject. Men have been framing constitutions within the Constitution of God, for centuries, at the same time crying out to all around, "Oh what a blessed book, containing the (in the singular) Law of God!" but at the same time calling men several hundred different ways at once. The religious state of things at present is the same, precisely, as the political world would be, if our present officers should be cut off and no more elected. In the course of time, we would have as many different little governments within this nation, (although the Constitution would be the same,) as there are different churches within the government of God. Now if the law of the land is one thing and can't be altered until revised, why not God's law one and the same until revised. Well, has God's law been revised by himself since it was given? If it has been, it argues he is an imperfect being, for if he is perfect, as he most certainly is, his law can never be altered. Then the law which was given eighteen hundred years ago, is eternally the same, throughout all ages. Now the law of God, as it was eighteen hundred years ago, having been perverted, and a variety of other laws instituted, argues a necessity of some provision being made in the wisdom of God, for those that have died during this period, and here comes the necessity of baptizing for the dead, which is inseparably connected with the authority of the Priesthood.
The reason why none have been saved during this space, since the Priesthood has been taken from the earth, is simply because the means of salvation has not been among them. A man's salvation consists in
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coming in possession of the knowledge of all truth as it is in Christ, and he never will be fully saved until he arrives at this period. The means God has instituted to effect this great object, is baptism for remission of sins, after repentance and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of God's Ministers, (not assumed authorized ones.) This is a part of God's law. Now the simple reason why the Holy Ghost is given, is by degrees, in the course of time, to perfect believers; that is, that it may commence, and as fast as the person lives for it and God sees fit, take of the things of the Father and reveal them to the believer. As we read in John's Gospel, until he becomes perfected, (that is, that God continues to reveal unto him, on condition of his continual perseverance in faith and good works,) until he comes in possession of the knowledge of all things, even as it is in Christ. Now this is what constitutes salvation according to Mormon Theory, and the argument runs thus: -- Where there is no true priesthood, (as we have been reasoning above,) that is, no legal authority from God to administer the law of the constitution of God, (the Bible,) the only means of man's salvation (the Holy Ghost,) is withheld as a matter of course. There has been no person really saved since the Holy Ghost was among the people in the Apostolic age. The means of their salvation now, is Baptism by Proxy, by their living friends, so that when they come forth in the resurrection and receive a literal tangible body, according to promise, they will then go on the one that lives, until that period arrives with the resurrected one receiving all intelligence with regard to what is yet in the bosom of the Deity, by the agency of the same Holy Ghost that they commence with, until they come, as I said before, in possession of the knowledge of all things even as it is Christ Jesus. Now if there had been a true succession of God's ministers, from the Apostolic age to this time, there would have been no such thing as Baptizing for the Dead. There would have been no necessity for it, from the fact of their having an opportunity for themselves; and the simple reason why it must be complied with by proxy is, that it is a part of God's law. When Christ was baptized, it was only to fulfil the law. As he was the first fruits of the resurrection; all that compose the number of the Church of the first born will have fulfilled this law themselves or by proxy, from the fact that the Holy Ghost, which is (as I have shown,) the only means of their perfection, is given on condition that this law it complied with. (To be Continued.)
(The following is designed to show the foundation and claims of the Second Mormon Prophet, now actively engaged in Wisconsin, by the name of James J. Strang, a lawyer, formerly of the state of New-York.)
JOSEPH SMITH'S LAST VISION,
In which he appoints his Successor, nine days before he was murdered.
I have long felt that my present work was almost done, and that I should soon be called to rule a mighty host; but something whispers
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me it will be in the land of spirits, where the wicked cease from troubling and the bands of the prisoners fall off. My heart yearns for my little ones, but I know God will be a father to them, and I can claim face to face the fulfillment of promises from him who is a covenant keeping God, and who sweareth and faileth not to the uttermost.
The wolves are upon the scent, and I am waiting to be offered up, if such be the will of God, knowing that though my visage be more marred than that of any, it will be unscarred and fair when archangels shall place upon my brow the double crown of martyr and king in a heavenly world.
In the midst of darkness and boding danger, the spirit of Elijah came upon me, and I went away to inquire of God how the Church should be saved.
I was upon the hill of the Temple, (at Nauvoo.) The calm father of waters rolled below changeless and eternal. I beheld a light in the heavens above and streams of bright light illuminated the firmament varied and beautiful as the rainbow, gentle yet rapid as the fierce lightning.
The Almighty came from his throne of rest. He clothed himself with light as with a garment. He appeared and moon and stars went out. The earth dissolved in space. I trod on air, and was borne on wings of Cherubims. The sweetest strains of heavenly music thrilled in my ear, but the notes were low and sad as though they sounded the requiem of martyred Prophets.
I bowed my head to the earth and asked only wisdom and strength for the Church. The voice of God answered: My servant Joseph, thou hast been faithful over many things and thy reward is glorious, the crown and sceptre are thine and they wait thee. But thou hast sinned in some things and thy punishment is very bitter. The whirlwind goeth before and its clouds are dark, but rest followeth and to its days there shall be no end. Study the words of the vision, for it tarrieth not.
And now behold my servant James J. Strang hath come to thee from far, for truth, when he knew it not, and hath not rejected it, but had faith in thee, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel, and to him shall the gathering of the people be; for he shall plant a stake of Zion (Mormon city) in Wisconsin, and I will establish it, and there shall my people have peace and rest, and shall not be moved, for it shall be established on the Prairie on White River, in the lands of Racine and Walworth, (25 miles from Southport, Lake Michigan.)
And I will have a house (another Temple,) built unto me there of stone, and there will I show myself to my people by many mighty works, and the name of the city shall be called Voree, (already established,) which, being interpreted. Garden of Peace: for there shall my people have peace and rest, and wax fat and pleasant in the presence of their enemies.
So spake the Almighty God of heaven. Thy duty is made plain, and if thou lackest wisdom, ask of God, in whose hands I trust thee,
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and he shall give thee unsparingly; for if evil befall me, thou shall lead the flock to pleasant pastures. God sustain thee,
JAMES J. STRANG. JOSEPH SMITH.(This letter was received at Burlington by regular course of mail, coming through the distributing office at Chicago, and bears the Nauvoo Postmark of June 19, the day following its date.) --
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had retired to rest as usual, only that his mind was drawn out in prayer and earnest desire to commune with some kind messenger on subjects which had agitated his mind. While he thus poured out his soul in prayer to God, on a sudden, a light like that of day burst into the room. At first, it was as if the room was filled with consuming fire, which caused a sensation to the extremities of his body. In a moment a personage stood before him, with an additional glory around him. His countenance was like lightning, his stature a little above the common size of men, his garments perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam. This personage declared himself to be an angel sent from God, to inform him of important things concerning the establishment of the true church once more for the last time on the earth. He was also informed, that the American Indians were once a prosperous and mighty nation, having prophets and inspired men among them, and the records which those inspired men wrote were hid in the earth, (the Mormon Bible,) and he was now the instrument God had chosen to bring them forth, &c. After giving much instruction concerning things past, present and future, he disappeared, but before morning, appeared twice, giving instruction concerning where the plates were, how to obtain them, &c, Those plates were in a hill near Manchester, between Palmyra and Canandaigua, N. Y. The plates were of metal, of the thickness of tin, engraved close with hieroglyphics, enclosed in a stone box, under ground. From these records, the book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, and the Mormon Church organized on the 6th April, 1830, with six members. -- O. Pratt's History, a Mormon.
The substance of his doctrine was, that all the sects are wrong -- that the church must be now exactly as it was 1800 years ago; organized with Apostles, and Prophets, &c., of which he claimed to be one, in no less sense than Isaiah, Jeremiah, or any of the old Prophets.
Van Dusen's 1850 Spiritual Delusions Frontispiece (detail)
The Increase Van Dusen Pamphlets
Increase Van Dusen's 1850 Misteries of Mormonism (detail from a fold-out sheet)