Daniel P. Kidder
Mormonism and the Mormons
(NYC: Lane & Sandford, 1842, 44)
MORMONISM AND THE MORMONS.
5. When settled on the promised land, they are then fairly under the command of Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, and can be made to build a temple to his honour, or a palace, for his comfort, far easier than if they were scattered abroad.
IN order to understand the theological character of Mormonism, the reader needs to recollect that Rigdon, and several of his associates, had been followers of Alexander Campbell. They had been thoroughly drilled as coadjutors to that self-styled reformer. Immersion for the remission of sins had been their favourite theme, nor did it cease to be so when they embraced the cause of Mormonism. The Campbellite preachers had been famous for their rant and declamation against all creeds and sects. Yet they were going about to establish a new sect, while, to vindicate THEIR CREED, they published a new translation of the "New Testament. From the success, and the temporary popularity of Campbellism, the Mormons manifestly
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took their cue; but they have distanced their forerunners. Not stopping with new translations, they published to the world new revelations. As though the inconsistency of establishing a new sect was not sufficient, they attempted to "found a new religion," still keeping up the clamour about the sectarianism of all but themselves.
Various passages in the Book of Mormon show the writer to have been a Campbellite in his views. E. g., 451, "Eight thousand of the Lamanites were baptized unto repentance." Page 514, "Behold, ye shall go down and, stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them." "And then ye shall immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water." Page 627, "I know that it is solemn mockery before God that ye should baptize little children." "Behold, baptism is unto repentance, to the fulfilling the commandment, unto the remission of sins." Other passages of the same purport might be introduced, but we proceed to show the affinity between Campbellism and Mormonism, by the following extracts, which are designed to exhibit the triumphs of the latter system.
"We learn, verbally, from Elder John E. Page, that within a few weeks past he has baptized nine in the lower part of this county, about eight miles south-west from Carthage, and twenty from this place. Among those who embraced the gospel in that place, is Mr. Sidney Knowlton and family, who have, for several
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years, been zealous members of the Campbellite society, and are personally acquainted with the leaders of that sect, consequently have become perfectly acquainted with all the principles of that doctrine: they are of the opinion that if Messrs. Campbell, Scott, and others, had been attentive hearers to the lectures which had been delivered in their place, they would have become Mormons also." [Times & Seasons, Feb. 1840]
P. P. Pratt, writing to S. Rigdon, from Manchester, England, Jan. 8th, 1841, says, --
"I must now inform you of the fact, that we have reaped the first fruits of Campbellism in England. A few societies have been formed in England upon that principle for some years, but have made but little progress. One society of one hundred members exists about seventy miles from Manchester, at a place called Nottingham. They discovered, about two years ago, that they had been baptized for the remission of sins without authority, and that they had not obtained remission, nor the gifts of the Spirit. From that time till now many of them have been seeking and praying for the Lord to send officers, and raise up his own church. At length some of our writings fell into some of their hands, which soon brought two of their number to Manchester to inquire. They attended our meeting in the hall of Manchester, were well pleased, and called at our office next morning. After spending the day in inquiring, etc., one of them purchased three Voices of Warning, and returned home; the other, (an
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intelligent gentleman,) stayed two or three days, inquired diligently, and at length was baptized and confirmed, and went home to tell the glad tidings; this was a week or two ago. We expect to hear from them soon, and go out and baptize and organize the church there. Tell Friend Campbell to go ahead and prepare the way -- the saints will follow him up and gather the fruits."
Thus it appears that Campbellism has proved the harbinger to Mormonism both in America and in England. The two systems seem still to be identical in denying the necessity of spiritual regeneration, although the latter claims extraordinary spiritual gifts through baptism and the laying on of hands. The Mormons claiming to be much greater reformers than the Campbellites, by no means felt themselves bound to walk in the old paths; on the contrary, they took the liberty to abandon such parts of the other system as did not correspond with their new designs, and to run into every additional extravagance that promised to increase their numbers. Thus miracles and tongues were successively in vogue so long as any thing was to be gained by them. In addition to the light already thrown upon these subjects, we subjoin the following statements of Mr. Bacheler, who, during the progress of a discussion upon the subject of Mormonism investigated three cases of pretended miracles in company with his opponent, a Mr. Adams.
"The first was the case of an infant child,
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which was said to have been rescued from the jaws of death by prayer and the imposition of hands, by a Mormon elder...
(this page is still under construction)
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iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God, I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities. And because of their cursing which was upon them, they did become an idle people full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey. And the Lord God said unto me, [Nephi,] They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and they shall scourge them even unto destruction." for the west, to escape the plagues with which the place was to be visited."
We are now prepared to ask men or angels, to show a baser perversion of Scripture, or of Christian principles, than that by which they
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show their bearing. After all that we have read on this subject, we prefer the authority of Mr. Corill, and shall, to some extent, make use of his words.
That gentleman was personally involved in most of the scenes described, and therefore must have known what actually took place. Writing, as he did, at once for his Mormon friends, and for the people of Missouri, he may be supposed to have stated the facts correctly, and free from the bias which has been given to some of the accounts on either side.
For several years the Mormons had been rapidly settling in Clay county, where they had been received on their expulsion from Jackson. A portion of the people there also began to grow uneasy lest they should be overrun with the new sect. Without any sufficient provocation, these persons continued to stir up excitement, and the Mormons began to prepare for self-degence. At length the more rational part of the citizens saw that bloodshed would follow, unless something was done. They accordingly appointed a committee, who called upon the Mormons to meet them in conference. This was done, and the latter agreed to leave the county, the committee assisting them to procure a new place of residence. A place was found in the territory of Ray county, since organized into that of Caldwell; the people of the vicinity consenting to the arrangement.
"The Mormons purchased great quantities of land in Caldwell, made improvements, and their
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are brought to the aid of Mormonism -- a system of infidelity -- a scheme of deception.
Pages 255 through 286 under construction.
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iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God, I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities. And because of their cursing which was upon them, they did become an idle people full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey. And the Lord God said unto me, [Nephi,] They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and they shall scourge them even unto destruction."
HAVING now given all the important geographical and historical information we have been able to find in the Book of Mormon, including several notable miracles, we pass to observe that it contains numerous prophecies. Some of these are such as any writer of a romance might safely make and verify in the course of his story.
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The following is designed to apply to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, the Moses and Aaron of Mormonism: --
"For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, which shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Yea, Joseph truly said, thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. -- And unto him will I give commandment, that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give him a commandment, that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes: for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt. But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them. Wherefore, the fruit of my loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. And out of weakness he shall
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be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. And thus prophesied Joseph, saying, Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him, shall be confounded: for this promise, of which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of thy loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise. And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father, (J. Smith.) And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation; yea, thus prophesied Joseph. I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever. And the Lord hath said, I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much: for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him, (Rigdon). And the Lord said unto me also, I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him, that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it. And the words which he shall write, shall be the words which is expedient in my wisdom, should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust: for I know their faith. And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even that after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words."
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Another class is made up of passages from Scripture, wickedly garbeled and interpolated. The prophecies of Nephi claim to have been delivered about five hundred and fifty years before Christ. From them we extract the following example: --
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A new and revised edition of the Book of Doctrines and Covenants was being stereotyped on the first of January, to be ready for printing in the spring.
A book entitled, Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon, by Charles Thompson, has been published in Batavia, N. Y., containing 256 pages; 32mo.
Pratt's Voice of Warning has been republished in England.
Joseph Smith, Lieut. General of the Nauvoo legion, issued a circular to his friends in Illinois, telling them whom to vote for in the approaching gubernatorial election.
The minutes of the city council of Nauvoo represent the mayor of that city to have introduced to his aldermen and councillors, in a highly eulogistic address, the New-York Herald, and its editor; whereupon said council in its corporate capacity, solemnly resolved that the high-minded and honourable editor of said Herald was deserving the lasting gratitude of the Mormon community for services rendered their cause. They also resolved to recommend that paper to the patronage of their citizens.
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The Nauvoo legion, by its last annual returns, numbered fourteen hundred and ninety -- "all pretty well-disciplined troops."
The NAUVOO HOUSE. -- The work on this stately edifice was suspended during the winter, and its building committee and agents sent abroad to make further negotiations in stock, &c.
On the 18th of January, 1840, Joseph Smith, president and sole trustee in trust for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, makes known to all men, under his hand and seal, that whereas, in Feb., 1841, said Smith did constitute and appoint Dr. Isaac Galland his attorney, to transact certain business for the church, and for himself individually, he now revokes, countermands, annuls, and makes void all the power and authority given or intended to be given to said Isaac Galland!
What can be the matter? Is Elder Galland usurping too much authority to suit Smith, or is he backing out from the magnificent enterprise of revolutionizing the religious world? -- a scheme too boundless for ambition itself!
The character of Mormon inspiration may be seen in the following VISION OF JOAB, GENERAL IN ISRAEL.
"I stood in Mount Zion, by the TEMPLE of the great King, and looked down through the vista of time, and saw people like great waters, for they were many, gathered from all nations under the whole heavens: and I saw mighty chieftains upon noble steeds, and armies of chariots and horsemen, and strong COHORTS of footmen, great and terrible, with spears and banners, and the implements of war, forming to the sound of the clarion. And a great shout was heard in the camp of the saints, and a
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voice, like the sound of a mighty trumpet, saying, Go and possess your inheritance, and avenge the wrongs of your progenitors; and the battle was set in array, and the armies of the saints moved forward, attended by thunder and hail, and fire and storm, conquering and to conquer. And the armies of the aliens trembled at the voice, like Belshazzar at the handwriting on the wall; and the hearts of their great warriors and valiant men fainted within them, and they fled like grasshoppers, and were consumed like stubble before the devouring flame. The plains were bleached with the bones of the slain, and the rivers flowed with blood. The fierce anger of the Lord returned not until he had done, nor until he had performed the intents of his heart. All were conquered, and the land possessed. Time passed on, and I saw 'their swords beat into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks,' and the goodly land yielding a rich increase; and the luxuries of the earth, and the choice fruits of the field, were in great profusion scattered upon the plains of Eden. And I saw flocks and herds, large and numerous, feeding upon the luxuriant, waving fields; and the saints praising God in his sanctuary, and in the firmament of his power, for his mighty acts, and his excellent greatness, with the sound of the trumpet, psaltery, and harp, with the timbrel and dance, with stringed instruments and organs, and upon the loud and high-sounding cymbals, making melody in their hearts, and singing loud hosannas to God and to the Lamb. And I heard a great shout in the camp of Israel, ringing through their mighty hosts, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come;' and the saints of light were clad in rich attire, decked with jewels and costly pearls, diamonds, and the gold of Ophir. Universal peace, plenteous munificence, and unalloyed happiness prevailed
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with every soul of man: all were habited in rich white robes, and glittering crowns, and gave to God the glory. And a loud voice proclaimed, This is the reward of those who have kept the faith, and endured sound doctrine, and the teachings of my prophets, contrary to the traditions of men."
P. P. Pratt proposes to send one thousand dollars from England toward erecting the temple. He says the "everlasting inheritance" of the saints is called, by Mormons in England, the LAND OF JOSEPH.
J. Blakeslee writes from Utica, New-York, 10th of January, that Mormonism is succeeding to astonishment in that region, and that he cannot fill one tenth of the numerous and pressing calls on him for preaching.
The editorship of the Timers and Seasons was, on the 15th of Feb., transferred to Gen. Smith, the prophet, who promises to make that journal very interesting, by means of the revelations he is receiving from the Most High. As though this device was not smart enough to keep his two-penny sheet going, he has since commenced publishing his autobiography. It is, however, nothing but the old story about the plates and the angel, with a few emendations to save appearances.
That our readers may see what materials are used in making and confirming Mormons, we copy from Smith's paper of March 1st a cut, entitled, "A facsimile from the book of Abraham, No. 1." Any person who will take the trouble to consult the paper, will perceive that the explanation given by the editor is arbitrary and absurd in the extreme. He should have called it
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ILLUSTRATION OF MORMONISM, No. 1.
Fig. 1, which he calls "Abraham fastened upon an altar," may be considered to represent either reason or true religion, which lies prostrate and bound, about to be stabbed to the vitals by No. 2, the black and ugly genius of Mormonism, who stands brandishing his murderous knife in fiendish triumph. No. 3, which Smith has blasphemously denominated the angel of the Lord, is nothing more nor less than the raven of despair, croaking over the doleful scene. The images and reptiles occupying the foreground are fit emblems of the idolatry to which Mormonism consigns its victims, and of the loathsome character of this moral pest.
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About the 1st of April John Snider was sent as a special messenger to the saints in England, bearing revelations designed to hasten their gathering at Nauvoo.
In a long essay upon: "Try the Spirits," General Smith endeavors to "drag into day-light, and develop the hidden mysteries of the FALSE spirits that are SO FREQUENTLY made manifest among the Latter-day Saints." He says, "No man can do this without the priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws by which spirits are governed." He, however, being "a discerner of spirits," doubtless speaks "knowingly and by authority," when he says none of those spirits should be countenanced save his own. One rule by which he distinguishes a good angel from a bad one, is "by the colour of his hair." It should not be sandy.
A weekly paper, called The Wasp, has been commenced at Nauvoo, edited by William Smith, and devoted to the interests of Mormonism.
The work on the temple was progressing on the 2d of May with such rapidity as to give hope that the edifice may be enclosed by the fall of 1842.
Professor Turner, of Illinois College, has just published a work entitled, Mormonism all Ages; or the Rise, Progress, and Causes of Mormonism, with the Biography of its Author and Founder, Joseph Smith, Jr.
On glancing at the title of this book we were inclined to suppose that the prophet would feel himself highly complimented at being installed at once as the AUTHOR and FOUNDER of a system existing in all ages. A perusal of the volume, however, has convinced us that, on the whole, Smith will not feel
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very grateful for the compliments it contains, however much his followers and the public may.
The appearance of such a work gives evidence that the religious community is at length awaking to the necessity of exposing and combating the tremendous infidel agency which is at work under the cover of Mormonism, and threatening to unsettle the grounds of all rational belief, as well as to plunge one of the fairest portions of our country into the vortex of an atheistical anarchy. It appears to us that Professor T. has involved himself in a species of self-contradiction, by maintaining that Joe Smith is the real and sole author of the Book of Mormon, while, at the same time, he proves the identity of that book with the Spalding manuscript, and supposes Joe to have possessed himself of the latter while in the employment of Mr. Stowell, in Chenango county, New-York. The question at issue here is one of comparative unimportance.
We are, however, far from assenting to the position that unity, either of style or sentiment, prevails throughout the Mormon Bible. Those who had seen Spalding's MANUSCRIPT say that the religious parts of the Book of Mormon have been added. Now, these parts bear a distinctive character, (that of Campbellism,) which Smith was utterly unqualified to give them until after his connection with Rigdon. This shows that there were at least three parties to the real authorship; and we think it would be sheer unjustice not to put Oliver Cowdery, the schoolmaster, upon as good (literary) footing as his more ambitious pupil, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Although we regard Professor T.'s philosophy of fanaticism as a little fanciful, and think that a few exceptions should be taken to his view of human testimony, yet we hail his work as one of deep interest, and of an eminently practical bearing.
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Gov. Boggs, of Missouri, was assassinated in his own house at Independence, on the 7th of May. Rumour was immediately set afloat that some adherent of Mormonism had performed the deed as an act of revenge. We are inclined to believe this a false accusation, which the murderer either invented, or supposed would naturally arise, to screen himself from detection and punishment.
Late accounts from England represent Mormon principles to be rapidly spreading there, in the face of all opposition.
Two ship loads of emigrants have recently arrived at Nauvoo, and another is expected soon.
A Mormon by the name of Nickerson is said to be creating considerable excitement in Boston and its vicinity.
Smith's "facsimiles from the book of Abraham" have been copied in one or two eastern prints, at which circumstance the prophetic editor seems highly elated, not perceiving that both his pictures and himself are the butt of ridicule, He seems to court notoriety at any expense.
Benjamin Winchester, Mormon elder at Philadelphia, has been silenced from preaching, until he makes satisfaction for not obeying the first presi- dency at Nauvoo.
As a closing comment on speculalive Mormonism, we subjoin the following statement, on the authority of the newspapers.
"Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, has applied for the benefit of the BANKRUPT act. His debts, he states, are one hundred thousand dollars. Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, the other Mormon leaders, have also petitioned."