"Labour and the Poor
Letter No. 9"
The Morning Chronicle
London: July 29, 1850
(an expanded version was reprinted in:
The Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints
(London, Nat. Ill. Library, 1851)
Vol. ? London, U. K., Monday, July 29, 1850. No. ?
[ 6 ]
LABOUR AND THE POOR
During the course of my inquiry into the extent of emigration from the port of Liverpool, I learned that the followers of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, who are known by the names of Mormons, Mormonites, and Latter-Day Saints, had many years ago established an emigrational agency in the town, having ramifications in all parts of England, Wales, and Scotland. I learned that the number of Mormon emigrants sailing from the port of Liverpool to New Orleans, on their way to Deseret and Upper California, during the year 1849, was no less than 2,600 -- chiefly farmers and mechanics of a superior class, from Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the southern counties of Scotland; and that since 1840 the total emigration of the sect from Great Britain has been between 13,000 and 14,000. The progress and present position of this remarkable sect both in the United States and in Great Britain, will put the reader in possession of the facts necessary to the due comprehension of the subject. They unfold one of the most curious episodes in the modern history of the world, and certainly the most singular story in the recent annals of fanaticism
The founder of the sect -- Joseph Smith, jun., as he was called till within a year or two of his death -- was born in 1805. The first congregation of Latter- day Saints was organized in 1831, and now, in less than twenty years, the sect numbers nearly 30,000 people in Great Britain, and about four times, or according to some statements six times, that number in America. Joseph Smith was a digger for gold before he took up the trade of preaching and prophesying; and to his people after his people after his death belongs the merit, or the credit, of discovering the gold of California. The Mormons are now the principal inhabitants of a State to which they have given the name of Deseret, a word that occurs in their new Bible, or Book of Mormon, and which is said to signify a honey-bee. They expect, within a short time, by means of immigration from Great Britain, and by the gathering together of their people from all parts of the Union, to muster a sufficient number in Deseret to claim formal admission into the American Union. The number of inhabitants requisite for this purpose is 60,000, and there can be little, if any doubt, that, in a few years, the object of the Mormons will be accomplished. Such is the present position of the Latter-day Saints. The growth of Mohomedanism, rapid as it was, is not to be compared to the rise and growth of Mormonism.
I now proceed to detail more particularly the history of Joseph Smith and the sect he founded -- appending an abstract of their religious belief. To avoid the appearance of unfriendliness towards men who -- whatever the character, or views of their leader may have been, or whatever may be thought of their own fanaticism -- are carrying on a remarkable work, but little understood, or even heard of, in this country beyond the limits of their own body, I shall, whenever it is possible to do so, present their history in the words of their own writers, appending such statements as may be necessary for the exposition of the truth. The following particulars are extracted from the Remarkable Visions of Mr. Orson Pratt, their emigrational agent at Liverpool, a gentleman who styles himself, in the title-page, One of the twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; but who is styled in Liverpool, Head Apostle of the Latter-day Saints in England, and chief Agent for the Church of Jesus Christ for all Europe: --
"Mr. Joseph Smith, jun. who made the following important discovery, was born the town of Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 23d December, 1805. When ten years old his parents, with their family, moved to Palmyra. New York, in the vicinity of which he resided for about eleven years, the latter part in the town of Manchester. He was a farmer by occupation. His advantages for acquiring scientific knowledge were exceedingly small, being limited to a slight acquaintance with two or three of the common branches of learning. He could read without much difficulty, and write a very imperfect hand, and had a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic. These were his highest and only attainments, while the rest of those branches so universally taught in the common schools throughout the United States were entirely unknown to him. -- When somewhere about fourteen or fifteen years old, he began seriously to reflect upon the necessity of being prepared for a future state of existence; but how, or in what way to prepare himself, was a question as yet undetermined in his own mind. He perceived that it was a question of infinite importance, and that the salvation of his soul depended upon a correct understanding of the same. * * * He retired to a secret place in a grove, but a short distance from his father's house, and knelt down and began to call upon the Lord. At first he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavoured to overcome him, but he continued to seek for deliverance until darkness gave way from his mind, and he was enabled to pray in fervency of the spirit, and in faith; and while thus pouring out his soul, anxiously desiring an answer from God, he at length saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above, which at first seemed to be at a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and as it drew nearer it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that by the time it reached the tops of the trees the whole wilderness around was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to see the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed as soon as the light came in contact with them; but perceiving that it did not produce that effect he was encouraged with the hopes of being able to endure its presence. It continued descending slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it. When it first came to him, it produced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole system; and immediately, his mind was caught away from the natural objects with which he was surrounded, and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness. He was informed that his sins were forgiven. He was also informed upon the subjects, which had for some time previously agitated his mind -- namely, that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and consequently that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And he was expressly commanded to go not after them; and he received a promise that the true doctrine, the fulness of the gospel, should at some future time be made known to him; after which, the vision withdrew, leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace indescribable. Some time after having received this glorious manifestation, being young, he was again entangled in the vanities of the world, of which he afterwards sincerely and truly repented.
"And it pleased God, on the evening of the 21st Sept., A.D. 1823, to again hear his prayer. * * * It [seemed] as though the house was filled with consuming fire. This sudden appearance of a light so bright, as must naturally be expected, occasioned a shock of sensation visible to the extremities of the body. It was, however, followed with a calmness and serenity of mind, and an overwhelming rapture of joy, that surpassed understanding, and, in a moment, a personage stood before him. -- Notwithstanding the brightness of the light which previously illuminated the room, yet there seemed to be an additional glory surrounding or accompanying this personage, which shone with an increased degree of brilliancy, of which he was in the midst; and though his countenance was as lightning, yet it was of a pleasing, innocent, and glorious appearance; so much so, that every fear was banished from the heart, and nothing but calmness pervaded the soul. -- The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in his age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam. This glorious being declared himself to be an angel of God, sent forth by commandment to communicate to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard; and also, to bring the joyful tidings that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel concerning their posterity, was at hand to be fulfilled; that the great preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in its fulness, to be preached in power to all nations, that a people might be prepared with faith and righteousness, for the Millennial reign of universal peace and joy.
"He was informed, that he was called and chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God, to bring about some of his marvellous purposes in this glorious dispensation. It was also made manifest to him that the American Indians were a remnant of Israel; that when they first emigrated to America they were an enlightened people, possessing a knowledge of the true God, enjoying his favour, and peculiar blessings from his hand; that the prophets, and inspired writers among them, were required to keep a sacred history of the most important events transpiring among them; which history was handed down for many generations, till at length they fell into great wickedness; the [most] part of them were destroyed, and the records * * * were safely deposited, to preserve them from the hands of the wicked, who sought to destroy them. He was informed that these records contained many sacred revelations pertaining to the Gospel of the kingdom, as well as prophecies relating to the great events of the last days; and that to fulfil his promises to the ancients, who wrote the records, and to accomplish his purposes in the restitution of their children, they were to come forth to the knowledge of the people. If faithful, he was to be the instrument who should be thus highly favored in bringing these sacred writings before the world. * * * After giving him many instructions concerning things past and to come, he disappeared, and the light and glory of God withdrew, leaving his mind in perfect peace, while a calmness and serenity indescribable pervaded his soul. But before morning the vision was twice renewed, instructing him further and still further concerning the great work of God about to be performed on the earth. In the morning he went out to his labour as usual, but soon the vision was renewed -- the angel again appeared, and having been informed, by the previous visions of the night, concerning the place where those records were deposited, he was instructed to go immediately and view them.
"Accordingly he repaired to the place, a brief description of which shall be given in the words of a gentleman named Oliver Cowdery, who has visited the spot: --
"As you pass on the mail-road from Palmyra, Wayne county, to Canandaigua, Ontario county, New York, before arriving at the little village of Manchester, say from three to four, or about four miles from Palmyra, you pass a large hill on the east side of the road. * * * It was at the second-mentioned place where the record was found to be deposited, on the west side of the hill, not far from the top, down its side; and when myself visited the spot in the year 1830, there were several trees standing -- enough to cause a shade in summer, but not so much as to prevent the surface being covered with grass -- which was also the case when the record was first found."During the period of the four following years, he frequently received instructions from the mouth of the heavenly messenger. And on the morning of the 22d of September, A.D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into his hands.
"These records were engraved on plates, which had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not far from seven by eight inches in width and length, being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with three rings running through the whole. This volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters or letters upon the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, as well as much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found "a curious instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in the two rims of a bow. This was in use in ancient times by persons called seers. It was an instrument, by the use which they received revelation of things distant, or of things past or future. * * * Having provided himself with a home, he commenced translating the record, by the gift and power of God, through the means of the Urim and Thummim; and being a poor writer, he was under the necessity of employing a scribe to write the translation as it came from his mouth.
"In the meantime, a few of the original characters were accurately described and translated by Mr. Smith, which, with the translation, were taken by a gentleman, by the name of Martin Harris, to the city of New York, where they were presented to a learned gentleman of the name of Anthon, who professed to be extensively acquainted with many languages, both ancient and modern. He examined them, but was unable to decipher them correctly; but he presumed that if the original records could be brought, he could assist in translating them.
"But to return -- Mr. Smith continued the work of translation, as his pecuniary circumstances would permit, until he finished the unsealed part of the records. The part translated is entitled the 'Book of Mormon,' which contains nearly as much reading as the Old Testament. * * *
"After the book was translated, the Lord raised up witnesses to the nations of its truth, who, at the close of the volume, send forth their testimony, which reads as follows: --
[Such is] the story of Mr. Orson Pratt, derived from himself, and [also from] the corroboration of [the] witnesses. It will be seen that the latter were principally of the two families of Whitmer and Smith. The Smiths were the father and brothers of Joseph.
The next incident is the appointment of Joseph to the priesthood. It is related by Joseph himself in the followhing terms in the Millennial Star, vol. iii, page 148: --
While we (Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery) were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, "Upon you, my fellow-servants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken away from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me. After which I laid my hands upon his head, and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood; afterwards he laid his hands on me, and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded. The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedeck, which priesthood, he said, should in due time be conferred on us -- and that I [should be called the first first elder, and he the second. It was on the 15th day of May, 1829, that we were baptized and ordained under the hand of the messenger.] .... [illegible lines follow]...
[Insert for 1851 reprint: The scheme was now ripe for a fuller development; but as we have hitherto had the story as in the words of Joseph himself, and of his ardent disciples, Mr. Orson Pratt and the "witnesses," it is necessary to go back a little, and narrate a few circumstances relative to one of the most important of these witnesses, and to the manner in which he was originally induced to become a believer in the "prophet" and his book. It will also be necessary to inquire whether the statements of Mr. Pratt, with reference to Professor Anthon, were admitted by that gentleman.]
Joseph Smith having made known his doctrine to various persons, the wonderful plates, began to be talked about. Among the persons who were originally most disposed to join the new sect was Mr. Martin Harris, whose name appears along with those of other witnesses in the above testimony. Mr. Orson Pratt does not, however, state the whole of the facts connected with the interview of Martin Harris with Mr. Anthon, of New York, the learned professor to whom he alludes. A report having, been spread abroad by the Mormons that the Professor had seen the plates, and pronounced the inscriptions to be in the Egyptian character, that gentleman was requested by a, letter, directed to him by Mr. E. D. Howe, of Patnesville, Ohio, to declare whether such was the fact. Professor Anthon returned the following answer...
New York, Feb. 17, 1834. Dear Sir. -- I received your letter of the 9th, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormonite inscription to be 'Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics,' is perfectly false. Some years ago a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer, called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, a paper which the farmer would hand me. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a hoax. 'When I asked the person who brought it how he obtained the writing, he gave me the following account: -- A 'gold book,' consisting of a number of plates fastened together by wires of the same material, had been dug up in the northern part of the State of New York, and along with it an enormous pair of 'spectacles!' These spectacles were so large, that if any person attempted to look through them, his two eyes would look through one glass only; the spectacles being altogether too large for the human face. 'Whoever,' he said, 'examined the plates through the glasses, was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning. All this knowledge, however, was confined to a young man, who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain, in a garret, in a farm-house, and being thus concealed from view, he put on the spectacles occasionally, or rather, looked through one of the glasses, deciphered the characters in the book, and having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who stood outside. Not a word was said about their having been deciphered by the 'gift of God.' Everything in this way was effected by the large pair of spectacles. The farmer added, that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money towards the publication of the 'golden book,' the contents of which would, as he was told, produce an entire change in the world, and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm, and giving the amount to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, he had resolved to come to New York, and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he had brought with him, and which had been given him as part of the contents of the book, although no translation had at that time been made by the young man with the spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax, I began to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my suspicions to him, warning him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which of course I declined to give, and he then took his leave, taking his paper with him.
This letter speaks for itself, and needs no comment. The following summary of the contents of the Book of Mormon, thus strangely issued into the world, is from a publication called the Voice of Warning, by Parley P. Pratt, another apostle
"The Book of Mormon contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph; of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle, in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophiecies, and their doctrine, which he engraved on plates, and afterwards, being slain, the record fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who, being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and should be brought to light in the latter days by means of a Gentile nation, who should possess the land. The deposit was made about the year 420, on a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario county, where it was preserved in safety until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration. And the great Jehovah bore record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declare it to the world."
The question will be asked, could Joseph Smith, a notoriously illiterate man, really write [even so clumsy] a composition as the Book of Mormon? The following short history will throw some light upon the matter. It appears that in the year 1809 a man of the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had formerly been a clergyman, failed in business, at a place called Cherry Vale, in the State of New York. Being a person of literary tastes, and his attention having been directed to the notion which at that time excited some interest, namely, that the North American Indians were the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, it struck him that the idea afforded a good ground-work for a religious tale, hisitory, or novel. For three years he laboured upon this work, which he entitled, The Manuscript Found. Mormon and his son Moroni were two of the principal characters in it. In 1812 the MS. was presented to a printer or bookseller, residing at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, with a view to its publication. Before any satisfactory arrangement could be made, the author died, and the manuscript remained in the possession of the printer, apparently unnoticed and uncared for. The printer also died in 1826, having previously lent the manuscript to one Sidney Rigdon, a compositor in his employ, who afterwards became, next to Joseph Smith himself, the principal leaders of the Mormons. How Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon became connected is not very clearly known, and which of the two originated the idea of making a new Bible out of Solmon Spaulding's novel is equally uncertain. The wife, the partner, several friends, and the brother of Solomon Spaulding, affirmed, however, the identity of the principal portions of the Book of Mormon with the novel of The Manuscript Found, which the author had from time to time, and in separate portions, read over to them. John Spaulding, brother to Solomon, declared upon oath that his brother's missing book was an historical romance of the first settlers in America, endeavouring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of Jews, or the lost ten tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by a land and by sea, till they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi. He also mentioned the Lamanites. [He added] "I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c., as they were in my brother's writings. To the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter."
[illegible lines follow -- possibly Spalding's widow's 1839 statement and Rigdon's reply]
The religious matter derived from the Old and New Testaments has been engrafted upon Solomon Spaulding's romance in a manner that shows the clumsy, the ignorant, and the illiterate workman. Such phrases as the following are of frequent occurrence: --
"Ye are like unto they." -- "Do as ye hath hitherto done." -- "I the Lord delighteth in the chastity of women." -- "I saith unto them." -- "I who ye call your King." -- "These things had not ought to be." -- Ye saith unto him." -- "For a more history part are written upon my other plates." -- Anachronisms are also frequent. The mariner's compass is spoken of before the date of the Christian era; and the Saviour of the world is represented as appearing immediately after his resurrection to the Jews in America -- a people whom Joseph Smith affirms to have known no Greek, and to have [recorded?]...
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning... I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." Joseph did not know that Jesus is the Greek for the Hebrew name of Joshua, and that Christ is the Greek of anointed -- or that Alpha and Omega were the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and could, like the other two words, have had no meaning to a Hebrew people in America utterly ignorant of Greek. Many other similar instances could be cited. Joseph Smith was often asked, both by friends and foes, the meaning of the word Mormon, which occurred originally in Solomon Spaulding's novel, and appears to have been derived by him from the Greek. The following reply of Joseph, as published in a letter to the editor of the Times and Seasons, is highly characteristic both of his cool audacity and his self-sufficient ignorance: --
Sir -- Through the medium of your paper, I wish to correct an error among men that profess to be learned, liberal, and wise; and I do it the more cheerfully, because I hope sober-thinking and sound-reasoning people will sooner listen to the voice of truth than be led astray by the vain pretensions of the self-wise. The error I speak of is the definition of the word 'Mormon.' It has been stated that this word was derived from the Greek word mnioss. This is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of Mormon. Let the language of that book speak for itself. On the 523d page, of the fourth edition, it reads: And now behold we have written the record according to our knowledge in the characters, which are called among us the Reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech; and if our plates were i sufficiently large, we should have written in Hebrew, Behold ye would have had no imperfection in oar record, but the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also, that none other people knoweth our language; therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.' Here, then, the subject is put to silence, for 'none other people knoweth our language;' therefore the Lord, and not man, hath to interpret after the people were all dead. And, as Paul said, 'the world by wisdom know not God,' and the world by speculation are destitute of revelation; and as God, in his superior wisdom, has always given his saints, wherever he had any on the earth, the same spirit, and that spirit (as John says) is the true spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I may safely say that the word Mormon stands independent of the learning and wisdom of this generation. Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say that the Bible, in its widest sense, means good; for the Saviour says, according to the Gospel of St. John, 'I am the good shepherd,' and it will not be beyond the common use of terms to say, that good is amongst the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, Jcalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word Mormon, which means, literally, more good. Yours, Joseph Smith."
In addition to the Book of Mormon, the Latter-day Saints have a book of ''Doctrinesand ''Covenants, purporting to be direct revelations from heaven to Joseph Smith and others, upon the temporal government of their church, the support of the poor, the tithing or taxation of the meinbers, the establishment of cities and temples, the allotment of lands, the emigration of the saints, the education of the people, the gathering of moneys, and other matters. This book abounds in grammatical inaccuracies, even to a greater extent than the Book of Mormon. --
"God, that knowest thy thoughts" -- "A literal descendant of Aaron," meaning a lineal descendant -- "An hair of his head shall not fall." -- "Your father who art in Heaven knoweth" -- "And the spirit and the body is the soul of man" -- "The stars also giveth their light as they roll upon their wings in glory" -- "Her who sitteth upon many waters" -- "Thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon" -- form but a sample of hundreds of similar sentences that might be culled, were it worth while. A few specimens of the kind of Revelations -- and the style in which Joseph Smith represents the Almighty as speaking to him -- will show the height of knavery, the depth of folly, and what absurdity men will believe under the influence of strong fanaticism. The following is part of a revelation purporting to have been given by Jesus Christ, in February 1831. In these revatious the Almighty is invariably represented as giving Joseph his proper designation of Smith junior, that he might not be mistaken for his father, Joseph Smith, senior: --
Hearken, all ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together in my name, even Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Saviour of the world. Behold, verily I say unto you, I give unto you this first commandment, that you shall go forth in my name, every one of you, except my servants, Joseph Smith, jun., and Sidney Rigdon. ... If there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not."
The following is part of a revelation given to Joseph Smith in March, 1829, when Martin Harris desired to see the golden plates, and before he was put off with the paper transcript, which he showed to Professor Anthon: --
"Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me; and now, behold, this shall you say unto him -- 'He who spake unto you said unto you, I the Lord am God, and have given those things unto you, my servant, Joseph Smith, jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things; and I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me that you should not show them except to those persons that I commanded you; and you have no power over them except I grant it you.'... And now, again I speak unto you my servant Joseph, concerning the man that denies the witness. Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself, and does not sufficiently humble himself before me. But if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see."
[illegible lines follow]
... Joseph and his principal assistant, Sidney Rigdon, appear to have soon quarrelled with the three witnesses. The first witness to the truth of his book of Mormon was declared by Smith himself in a revelation given in November, 1831, to be unfit to be trusted with moneys: --
"Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servant Oliver Cowdery's sake. It is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments, and the moneys which he shall carry into the land of Zion, except one go with him who shall be true and faithful."
In a paper drawn up by Sidney Rigdon in June, 1838, when a great schism took place in the church, it is stated that Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and another were united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs of the deepest l dye, to deceive, cheat, and defraud the saints. Martin Harris, the last of the three, is spoken of at the time of the schism by Joseph himself in the following terms, in a paper called the Elder's Journal: -- "There are negroes who wear white skins as well as black ones. Grames Parish and others who acted as lackies, such as Martin Harris &c., but they are so far beneath contempt that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make."
While, by means of revelations, those who were not longer to be trusted were pointed out to true believers, Joseph Smith took care to have special revelations upon matters relating to his own comfort. -- "It is meet" says a revelation of the Lord in February, 1831, "that my servant Joseph Smith, jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate." A second revelation of the same month says: -- "If ye desire the mysteries of my kingdom, provide for him (Joseph Smith, jun.) food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth."
Nor was Smith, according to the revelations, to labour for his living. ''In temporal labours," says another revelation of July, 1830, "thou shalt not have strength, for that is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling, and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures."
An extract from one more Revelation will suffice for the present. It purports to have been given in July, 1830, to Emma Smith, the wife of Joseph, through Joseph himself: --
"The office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph Smith, jun., thy husband. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant Oliver Cowdery whithersoever I will. And it shall be given to thee also to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall he given thee, which is pleasing unto me to be had in my church."
The Hymn-book of Emma Smith does not appear to have been published; but a little Hymn-book, containing hymns selected by Brigham Young, the present head of the church and successor of Joseph Smith, has gone through eight editions. The eighth was published in Liverpool, in 1849, by Apostle Orson Pratt.
A few extracts wtill not be out of place. The following hymn, which is said to be sometimes sung on shipboard in Liverpool, prior to the departure of Mormon emigrants, is, in point of literary merit, among the best in the volume --
All thy scenes, I love them well;
Friends, connections, happy country,
Can I bid you all farewell?
Can I leave thee,
Far in distant lands to dwell?
Home! thy joys are passing lovely,
Joys no stranger heart can tell;
Happy home! 'tis sure I love thee,
Can I -- can I -- say 'Farewell?'
Can I leave thee?
Far in distant lands to dwell?
Yes! I hasten from you gladly,
From the scenes I love so well;
Far away, ye billows, bear me,
Lovely native land, farewell!
Pleased I leave thee,
Far in distant lands to dwell.
In the deserts let me labour,
On the mountains let me tell
How he died -- the blessed Saviour,
To redeem a world from hell!
Let me hasten,
Far in distant lands to dwell!
Bear me on, thou restless ocean,
Let the winds my canvass swell;
Heaves my heart with warm emotion,
While I go far hence to dwell!
Glad I bid thee, Native land,
The next is a hymn for the Twelve Apostles, who are now engaged in different parts of Europe, in procuring emigrants and gathering the saints to the Salt-Lake Valley in Deseret: --
The keys of this last ministry --
To every nation under Heaven,
From land to land, from sea to sea.
First to the Gentiles sound tise news,
Throughout Columbia's happy land;
And then before it reach the Jews,
Prepare on Europe's shores to stand.
Let Europe's towns and cities hear
The Gospel tidings angels bring;
The Gentile nations, far and far and near,
Prepare their hearts His praise to sing.
India and Afric's sultry plains
Must hear the tidings as they roll --
Where darkness, death, and sorrow reign,
And tyranny has held control.
Listen! ye islands of the sea,
For every isle shall hear the sound;
Nations and tongues before unknown,
Though long since lost, shall soon be found,
And then again shall Asia hear,
Where angels first the news proclaimed;
Eternity shall record bear,
And earth repeat the loud Amen.
The nations catch the pleasing sound,
And Jew and Gentile swell the strain,
Hosannah o'er the earth resound,
Messiah then will come to reign."
Many of their hymns and songs are adapted to popular tunles, such as "The sea, the sea, the open sea;" "Away, away to the mountain's brow," &c. One to the first mentioned tune is inserted in the Times and Seasons, page 895, and commences: --
Oh, how I love to gaze upon it
The upper realins of deep on high,
I wonder when the Lord begun it!"
The following additional specimens of Mormon devotional poetry [appear in their authorized organ, the Times and Seasons....]
He has no parts nor body, and cannot hear nor see;
But I've a God that lives above --
A God of Power and of Love --
A God of Revelation -- oh, that's the God for me;
Oh, that's the God for me; oh, that's the God for me!
A church without apostles is not the church for me;
It's like a ship dismasted, afloat upon the sea;
But I've a church that's always led
By the twelve stars around its head
A church with good foundations -- oh that's the church for me;
Oh, that's the church for me; oh, that's the church for me!
A church without a prophet is not the church for me;
It has no head to lead it, in it I would not be;
But I've a church not built by man,
Cut from the mountain without hands;
A church with gifts and blessings -- oh, that's the church for me;
Oh, that's the church for me; oh, that's the church for me!
The hope that Gentiles cherish is not the hope for me;
It has no hope for knowledge, far from it I would be;
But I've an hope that will not fail,
That reaches safe within the veil;
Which hope is like an anchor -- oh, that's the hope for me;
Oh, that's the hope for me; oh, that's the hope for me!
The heaven of sectarians is not the heaven for me;
So doubtful its location, neither on land nor sea;
But I've an heaven on the earth,
The land and home that gave me birth;
A heaven of light and knowledge -- oh, that's the heaven for me;
Oh, that's the heaven for me; oh, that's the heaven for me!
A church without a gathering is not the church for me;
The Saviour would not order it, whatever it might be;
But I've a church that's called out,
From false traditions, fear, and doubt,
A gathering dispensation -- oh, that's the church for me;
Oh, that's the church for me; oh, that's the church for me!"
It only remains to add that the Mormons recognize two orders of priesthood, the "Aaronic" and the "Melchizedek." They are governed by a prophet or president, twelve apostles, the "seventies," and a number of bishops, high priests, deacons, elders, and teachers; that they assert that the gifts of prophecy and the power of working miracles have not ceased; that Joseph Smith and many other Mormons wrought miracles and cast out devils; that the end of the world is close at end; and that they are the "saints" spoken of in the Apocalypse, who will reign with Christ in a temporal kingdom in this world. They assert also that the seat of this kingdom is to be either Missouri -- the place originally intended -- or their present location of the Great Salt Lake Valley of Deseret. They allege that their Book of Mormon and the "Doctrine" and "Covenants" form the fulness of the Gospel -- that they take nothing from the Old or the New Testament -- both of which they complete. They seem, however, not to have formed the same ideas of God which are stated in the Gospel -- but to acknowledge a material Deity. This idea appears in the song or hymn to the tune of the Rose that all are praising, above-quoted, but is stated more broadly in the Times and Seasons, and other works. The following extract from a kind of Confession of Faith, signed by Orson Spencer, one of the apostles of the church, gives the views of the sect upon this and other subjects: --
"In some, and indeed in many respects, do we differ from some sectarian denominations. We believe that God is a being who hath both body and parts, and also passions. Also of the existence of the gifts, in the true church, spoken of in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. I do not believe that the career of sacred Scripture was closed with the Revelation of John, but that wherever God has a true church, there he makes frequent revelations of his will; and as God takes cognizance of all things, both temporal and spiritual, his revelations will pertain to all things whereby his glory may be promoted."
Joseph Smith is more explicit. The following passage occurs in the Millennial Star, vol. vi., under the prophet's authority, and signed with his name: --
"What is God? He is a material organized intelligence, possessing both body and parts. He is in the form of a man, and is, in fact, of the same species, and is a model or standard of perfection, to which man is destined to attain, he being the Great Father and Head of the whole family. This being cannot occupy two distinct places at once, therefore he cannot be everywhere present.
"What are angels? They are intelligences of the human species. Many of them are the offspring of Adam and Eve -- of men, it is said, 'being Gods, or sons of God, endowed with the same powers, attributes, and capacities, that their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ possess.'"
"The weakest child of God, which now exists upon the earth, will possess more dominion, more property, more subjects, and more power and glory, than is possessed by Jesus Christ or by his Father; while, at the same time, Jesus Christ and his Father will have their dominion, kingdom, and subjects, increased in proportion."
Materialism is in fact the strong point of the Mormons; and one of the pamphlets, whichl they circulate most largely, is entitled "The Absurdities of Immaterialism." The Mormons lay claim to the power of working miracles; and mnany ludicrous stories are told by their enemies of the attempts made by Joe Smith and others, to get out of difficulties with their own people, after having promised too much in this respect. These stories are, of course, considered false and scandalous by the Mormons. I shall not reproduce them, but select, in preference, a specimen of their miracles, as recorded by themselves, in their own publication, the Millenial Star. It will answer the purpose far better than any statement made by their opponents. In a letter addressed to Mr. Orson Spencer, and published in the Millenial Star for August 1, 1847, the writer, a Mormon, who dates from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, after detailing the attempts made to ordain one Currell to the Mormon priesthood -- attempts which were defeated by the devil, says: --
When we laid our hands upon him the devil entered him, and tried to prevent us from ordaining him, but the power of Jesus Christ in the holy priesthood was stronger than the devil, and after all the endeavours of the powers of darkness to prevent us, in the name of Jesus Christ we ordained brother Richard Currell to the office of a priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In consequence of what had taken place, many came to our meeting in the evening and paid great attention. The scenes of the twentieth of June will long be remembered by us as a day of rejoicing in the glorious manifestation of the power of God, confirming the faith of the Saints, and spreading the sound of the gospel farther than we could have done it in a long time. I should inform you that when the devil found he was defeated in brother C. he entered a sister, and kept coming in for several hours; as fast as one lot were expelled another lot entered: at one time we counted 27 come out of her. When we rebuked them they would come out, but as soon returned again. How was it they could acknowledge the power, and would damn our power, -- damn our gospel, and tear and bite. The sight was awful, but it has done us all good. I may as well say that some of the devils told us they were sent some by Cain, some by Kite, Judas, Kilo, Kelo, Kalmuonia, and Lucifer; some of these, they informed us, were presidents over sevenities in hell. The last that came, previous to our going to prison, told us he was Kilo, one of the presidents, and his six councillors. We cast them out thirty times, and had 319 devils, from three to thirty-seven coming out at a time. I shall feel obliged for any instruction you can give me on this subject. Yours, THOS. SMITH.
But enough as regards the doctrines and the miraculous pretensions of the Mormons. The reader has by this thine acquired a sufficientt knowledge of them. The full extent of their fanaticism is not portrayed in these extracts, but enough has been said in their own words to show what kind of men they are in a religious point of view. In my next letter I shall proceed to detail the remarkable growth of this extraordinary sect, first amid contempt and laughter, and ultimately amid the most relentless and vindictive animosity and persecutions through good and evil fortune, until the present day, when they number themselves by hundreds of thousands -- when they boast of having an emigration fund of three-and-a-half tons of Californian gold -- when they have emissaries in every country in Europe -- and when they are a prosperous and daily increasing people, and carry on emigration on a larger scale than was ever attempted in modern times by any political or religious society.
(NYC: IV:5 - Dec. 1, 1851)
THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE
NAUVOO AND DESERET
IMPOSTURE AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
Among the many extraordinary chapters in the history of the Nineteenth Century none will seem in the next age more incredible and curious than that in which is related the Rise and Progress of Mormonism. The creed of the Latter Day Saints, as they style themselves, is not, indeed, more absurd and ridiculous than that of the Millerites, but this last sect had but a very brief existence, and is now almost forgotten; while the imposture of Smith and his associates, commencing before Miller began his prophecies, is still successful, and represented by missionaries in almost every state throughout the world.
578 THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE.
It has been observed with some reason, that had a Rabelais or a Swift told the story of the Mormons under the veil of allegory, the sane portion of mankind would probably have entered a protest against the extravagance of the satirist. The name of the mock hero, his own and his family's ignorance and want of character, the low cunning of his accomplices, the open and shameless vices in which they indulged, and the extraordinary success of the sect they founded, would all have been thought too obviously conceived with a view to ludicrous effects. Yet the Mormon movement has assumed the condition of an important popular feature, and after much suffering and many reverses, its authors have achieved a condition of eminent industrial prosperity. In twenty years the company, consisting of the impostor and his father and brother, has increased to nearly half a million; they occupy one of the richest portions of this continent, have a regularly organized government, and are represented in the Congress of the United States by a delegate having all the powers usually conferred on the members for territories. With missions in every part of the country, in every capital of Europe, in Mecca, in Jerusalem, and among the islands of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, all of whom are charged with the duty of making converts and gathering them to the Promised Land of Deseret, they must very soon have a population sufficiently large to claim admission as an equal member to the Union, and perhaps to hold the balance of power in its affairs.
To illustrate the energy and success with which their missions are prosecuted, we may cite the statement contained in a work just published in London, The Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, a Contemporary History, that more than fourteen thousand persons have left Great Britain since 1840 for the "Holy City." The emigrants passing through Liverpool in 1849, amounted to 2,500, generally of the better class of mechanics and farmers, and it was estimated that at least 30,000 converts remained behind. In June, 1850, there were in England and Scotland, 27,863, of whom London contributed 2,529; Liverpool, 1,018; Manchester, 2,787; Glasgow, 1,846; Sheffield, 1,920; Edinburgh, 1,331; Birmingham, 1,909; and Wales, 4,342. And the Mormon census was again taken last January, giving the entire number in the British Isles at 30,747. In fourteen years, more than 50,000 had been baptized in England, of whom nearly 17,000 had "emigrated to Zion." Although the Mormon emigration is commonly of the better class, there are also poor Mormons; and that these as well as their more prosperous brethren may be "gathered to the holy city," there is now amassed in Liverpool a very large fund, under the control of officers appointed by the "Apostles," destined exclusively for the equipment and transportation of converts to their place of Refuge.
The interest which recent events have attracted to the community in Deseret or Utah, will render interesting a more particular survey of its origin, progress, and condition.
In 1825 there lived near the village of Palmyra, in New-York, a family of small farmers of the name of Smith. They were of bad repute in the neighborhood, notorious for being continually in debt, and heedless of their business engagements. The eldest son, Joseph, says one of his friends, "could read without much difficulty, wrote a very imperfect hand, and bad a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic.'' Associated in some degree with Sidney Rigdon, who comes before us in the first place as a journeyman printer, he was the founder of the new faith. The early history of the conspiracy of these worthies is imperfectly known; but it is evident that Rigdon must have been in Smith's confidence from the first. Rigdon, indeed, probably had more to do with the matter than even Smith; but it was the latter who was first put conspicuously forward, and who managed to retain the pre-eminence. The account of the pretended revelation, as given by Smith, is as follows: He all at once found himself laboring in a state of great darkness and wretchedness of mind -- was bewildered among the conflicting doctrines of the Christians, and could find no comfort or rest for his soul. In this state, he resorted to earnest prayer, kneeling in the woods and fields, and after long perseverance was answered by the appearance of a bright light in heaven, which gradually descended until it enveloped the worshipper, who found himself standing face to face with two supernatural beings. Of these he inquired which was the true religion? The reply was, that all existing religions were erroneous, but that the pure doctrine and crowning dispensation of Christianity should at a future period be miraculously revealed to himself. Several similar visitations ensued, and at length he was informed that the North American Indians were a remnant of Israel; that when they first entered America they were a powerful and enlightened people; that their priests and rulers kept the records of their history and doctrines, but that, having fallen off from the true worship, the great body of the nation were supernaturally destroyed -- not, however, until a priest and prophet named Mormon, had, by heavenly direction, drawn up an abstract of their records and religions opinions. He was told that this still existed, buried in the earth, and that he was selected as the instrument for its recovery and manifestation to all nations. The record, it was said, contained many prophecies as to these latter days, and instructions for the gathering of the saints into a temporal and spiritual kingdom, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah, which was at hand. After several very similar visions, the spot in which the book lay buried was disclosed. Smith
NAUVOO AND DESERET. 579
went to it, and after digging, discovered a sort of box, formed of upright and horizontal flags, within which lay a number of plates resembling gold, and of the thickness of common tin. These were bound together by a wire, and were engraved with Egyptian characters. By the side of them lay two transparent stones, called by the ancients, "Urim and Thummim," set in "the two rims of a bow." These stones were divining crystals, and the angels informed Smith, that by using them he would be enabled to decipher the characters on the plates. What ultimately became of the plates -- if such things existed at all -- does not appear. They were said to have been seen and handled by eleven witnesses. With the exception of three persons, these witnesses were either members of Smith's family, or of a neighboring family of the name of Whitmer. The Smiths, of course, give suspicious testimony. The Whitmers have disappeared, and no one knows any thing about them. Another witness, Oliver Cowdrey, was afterwards an amanuensis to Joseph; and another, Martin Harris, was long a conspicuous disciple. There is some confusion, however, about this person. Although he signs his name, as a witness who has seen and handled the plates, he assured Professor Anthon that he never had seen them, that "he was not sufficiently pure of heart," and that Joseph refused to show him the plates, but gave him instead a transcript on paper of the characters engraved on them. It is difficult to trace the early advances of the imposture. Every thing is vague and uncertain. We have no dates, and only tlie statements of the prophet and his friends.
Meantime, Smith must have worked successfully on the feeble and superstitious mind of Martin Harris. This man, as we have just said, received from him a written transcript of the mysterious characters, and conveyed it to Professor Anthon, a competent philological authority. Dr. Anthon's account of the interview is one of the most important parts of the entire history. Harris told him he had not seen the plates, but that he intended to sell his farm and give the proceeds to enable Smith to publish a translation of them. This statement, with what follows, shows that Smith's original intention, quoad the alleged plates, was to use them as a means for swindling Harris. The Mormons have published accounts of Professor Anthon's judgment on the paper submitted to him, which he himself states to be "perfectly false." The Mormon version of the interview represents Dr. Anthon "as having been unable to decipher the characters correctly, but as having presumed that, if the original records could be brought, he could assist in translating them." On this statement being made, Dr. Anthon described the document submitted to him as having been a sort of pot-pourri of ancient marks and alphabets. "It had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him a book containing various alphabets; Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters, inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with numerous strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived." This account disposes of the statement that the characters were Egyptian, while the very jumble of the signs of different nations, languages, and ages, proves that the impostor was deficient both in tact and knowledge. The scheme seems to have been, at all events, inpetto when Smith communicated with Harris; but a satisfactory clue to the fabrication is lost in our ignorance of the time and circumstances under which Smith and Rigdon came together. It must have been subsequent to that event that the "translation," by means of the magic Urim and Thummim, was begun. This work Smith is represented as having labored at steadily, assisted by Oliver Cowdrey, until a volume was produced containing as much matter as the Old Testament, written in the Biblical style, and containing, as Smith said the Angel had informed him, a history of the lost tribes in their pilgrimage to and settlement in America, with copious doctrinal and prophetic commentaries and revelations.
The devotion of Harris to the impostor secured a fund sufficient for defraying the cost of printing the pretended revelation, and the sect began slowly to increase. The doctrines of Smith were not at first very clearly defined; it is probable that neither he nor Rigdon had determined what should be their precise character; but like their early contemporary the prophet Matthias (the interesting history of whose career was published in New-York several years ago by the late Colonel Stone), they had no hesitation in deciding on one cardinal point, that the revelations made to Smith at any time should be received with unquestioning and implicit faith, and the earliest of these revelations contemplated a liberal provision for all the prophet's personal necessities. Thus, in February, 1831, it was revealed to the disciples that they should immediately build the prophet a house; on another occasion it was enjoined that, if they had any regard for their own souls, the sooner they provided him with food and raiment, and every thing he needed, the better it would be for them; and in a third revelation, Joseph was informed that "he was not to labor for his living." All these "revelations" were received, and though the impostor seemed to intelligent men little better than a buffoon, his followers soon learned to regard him as almost deserving of adoration, and he began to revel in whatever luxury and profligacy was most
580 THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE.
agreeable to his vulgar taste and ambition. As in the case of the scarcely more respectable pretender, Andrew Jackson Davis, it was asserted that his original want of cultivation precluded the notion of his having by the exercise of any natural or acquired faculties produced his "revelations." Everywhere his followers said, "The prophet is not learned in a, human sense: how could he have become acquainted with all the antiquarian learning here displayed, if it were not supernaturally communicated to him?" But to this question there was soon an answer equally explicit and satisfactory. The real author of the Book of Mormon was a Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who wrote it as a romance. Its entire history and the means by which it came into the possession of Smith are described, in the following statement, by Mr. Spaulding's widow: --
"Since the Book of Mormon, or Golden Bible (as it was originally called), has excited much attention, and is deemed by a certain new sect of equal authority with the sacred Scriptures, I think it a duty to the public to state what I know of its origin.... Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was married in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth college, and was distinguished for a lively imagination, and great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage, he resided in Cherry Valley, New-York. From this place, we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated on Conneaut Creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health failed, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These relics arrest the attention of new settlers, and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement, and furnish employment for his mind, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of the long-lost race. Their antiquity led him to adopt the most ancient style, and he imitated the Old Testament as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this imaginary history was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth; and he gave it the title of 'The Manuscript Found.' The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. Spaulding advanced in deciphering the manuscript; and when he had a sufficient portion prepared, he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people, and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania. Here Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was much pleaded with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and, as
NAUVOO AND DESERET. 581
Rigdon himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and copied it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, where Mr. Spaulding died, in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. M'Kenstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the Book of Mormon came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the 'Manuscript Found' was written. A woman appointed a meeting there; and in the meeting read copious extracts from the Book of Mormon. The historical part was known by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, and recognized perfectly the production of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed to the meeting his sorrow that the writings of his deceased brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible -- to satisfy their own minds and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, which was signed by Messrs. Henry, Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all of whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided at New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus, an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions, and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as Divine."
Similar evidence as to the Spaulding MS. was given by several private friends, and by the writer's brother, all of whom were familiar with its contents. The facts thus graphically detailed have of course been denied, but have never been disproved. Indeed, without them it is impossible to explain the hold which Rigdon always possessed on the Prophet; for he was a poor creature, without education and without talents. At one time -- a critical moment in the history of the new church -- a quarrel arose between the accomplices; but it ended in Smith's receiving a "revelation," in which Rigdon was raised by divine command to be equal with himself, having plenary power given to him to bind and loose both on earth and in heaven.
The remaining history of the Mormons is eminently interesting. Ignorant and superstitious as have been the chief part of the disciples, and atrocious as have been the tricks of the knaves who have led them on amid all the varieties of their pood and evil fortune, there have occasionally been displayed among them an enthusiasm and bravery of endurance that demand admiration. Nearly from the beginning the leaders of the sect seem to have contemplated settling in the thinly populated regions of the western states, where lands were to be purchased for low prices, and after a short residence at Kirtland, in Ohio, they determined to found a New Jerusalem in Missouri. The interests of the town were confided to suitable officers, and Smith spent his time in travelling through the country and preaching, until the real or pretended immoralities of the sect led to such discontents that
582 THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE.
in 1839 they were forcibly and lawlessly expelled from the state. We are inclined to believe that they were not only treated with remarkable severity, but that there was not any reason whatever to justify an interferance in their affairs.
From Missouri the saints proceeded to Illinois, and on the sixth of April, 1841, with imposing ceremonies, laid at their new city of Nauvoo the corner-stone of the Temple, * an immense edifice, without any architectural order or attraction, which in a few months was celebrated every where as not interior in size and magnificence to that built by Solomon in Jerusalem. Nauvoo is delightfully situated in the midst of a fertile district and a careful inquirer will not be apt to deny that it became the home of a more industrious frugal, and generally moral society, than occupied any other town in the state. Whatever charges were preferred against Smith and his disciples, to justify the outrages to which they were subjected, the history of their expulsion from Nauvoo is simply a series of illustrations of the fact that the ruffian population of the neighboring country set on foot a vast scheme of robbery in order to obtain the lands and improvements of the Mormons without paying for them. We have not room for a particular statement of the discontents and conspiracies which grew up in the city, nor for any detail of the aggressions from without. On the 27th of June, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered, while under the especial protection of the authorities of the state. A writer in the Christian Reflector newspaper, soon after, observed of Joseph Smith:
"Various are the opinions concerning this singular personage; but whatever may be thought inreference to his principles, objects, or moral character, all agree that he was a most remarkable man..... Notwithstanding the low origin, poverty, and profligacy of these mountebanks, they have augmented their numbers till more than 100,000 persons are now numbered among the followers of the Mormon Prophet, and they never were increasing so rapidly as at the time of his death. Born in the very lowest walks of life, reared in poverty, educated in vice, having no claims to even common intelligence, coarse and vulgar in deportment, the Prophet Smith succeeded in establishing a religious creed, the tenets of which have been taught throughout America; the Prophet's virtues have been rehearsed in Europe; the ministers of Nauvoo have found a welcome in Asia; Africa has listened to the grave sayings of the seer of Palmyra; the standard of the Latter Day Saints has been reared on the banks of the Nile; and even the Holy Land has been entered by the emissaries of this impostor. He founded a city in one of the most beautiful situations in the world, in a beautiful curve of the 'Father of Waters,' of no mean pretensions, and in it he had collected a population of twenty-five thousand, from every part of the world. The acts of his__________
* The temple was of white limestone, 128 feet long, 83 feet wide, and 60 feet high. Its style will be seen in the above engraving. It was destroyed by fire, on the 19th of November, 1848. The town of Nauvoo is now occupied by another class of socialists, the Icarians, under M. Cabet, of Paris.
NAUVOO AND DESERET.
life exhibit a character as incongruous as it is remarkable. If we can credit his own words and the testimony of eye-witnesses, he was at the same time the vicegerent of God and a tavern-keeper -- a prophet and a base libertine -- a minister of peace, and a lieutenant-general -- a ruler of tens of thousands, and a slave to all his own base passions -- a preacher of righteousness, and a profane swearer -- a worshipper of Bacchus, mayor of a city, and a miserable bar-room fiddler -- a judge on the judicial bench, and an invader of the civil, social, and moral relations of men; and, notwithstanding these inconsistencies of character, there are not wanting thousands willing to stake their souls' eternal salvation on his veracity. For might we know, time and distance will embellish his life with some new and rare virtues, which his most intimate friends failed to discover while living with him. Reasoning from effect to cause, we must conclude that the Mormon Prophet was of no common genius: few are able to commence and carry out an imposition like his, so long, and so extensively. And we see in the history of his success, most striking proofs of the credulity of a large portion of the human family."After some dissensions, in which the party of Brigham Young triumphed over that of Sidney Rigdon, the sect were reorganized and for some time were permitted quietly to prosecute their plans at Nauvoo. But early in 1846 they were driven out of their city and compelled in mid winter to seek a new home beyond the farthest borders of civilization. The first companies, embracing sixteen hundred persons, crossed the Mississippi on the 3d February, 1846, and similar detachments continued to leave until July and August, travelling by ox-teams towards California, then almost unknown, and quite unpeopled by the Anglo-Saxon race. Their enemies asserted that the intention of the Saints was to excite the Indians against the government, and that they would return to take vengeance on the whites for the indignities they had suffered. Nothing appears to have been further from their intentions. Their sole object was to plant their Church in some fertile and hitherto undiscovered spot, where they might be unmolested by any opposing sect. The war against Mexico was then raging, and, to test the loyalty of the Mormons, it was suggested that a demand should be made on them to raise five hundred men for the service of the country. They consented, and that number of their best men enrolled themselves under General Kearney, and marched 2,400 miles with the armies of the United States. At the conclusion of the war they were disbanded in Upper California. They allege that it was one of this band who, in working at a mill, first discovered the golden treasures of California; and they are said to have amassed large quantities of gold before the secret was made generally known to the "Gentiles.'' But faith was not kept with the Mormons who remained in Nauvoo. Although they had agreed to leave in detachments, as rapidly as practicable, they were not allbwed necessary time to dispose of their property; and
584 THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE.
in September, 1846, the city was besieged by their enemies upon the pretence that they did not intend to fulfil the stipulations made with the people and authorities of Illinois. After a three days' bombardment, the last remnant was finally driven out.
The terrible hejira of the Mormon emigrants over the Rocky Mountains has been described by Mr. Kane of Philadelphia, in an interesting pamphlet, which is honorable to his own character for good sense and for benevolent feeling. No religious emigration was ever attended by more suffering, no emigration of any kind was ever prosecuted with more bravery. It resulted in the permanent establishment of the "Commonwealth of the New Covenant," in Utah, or Deseret, one of the most attractive portions of the interior of this Continent, near its western border. Of this territory Mr. Kane says:
Deseret is emphatically a new country; new in its own characteristic features, newer still in its bringing together within its limits the most inconsistent peculiarities of other countries. I cannot aptly compare it to any. Descend from the mountains, where you have the scenery and climate of Switzerland, to seek the sky of your choice among the i many climates of Italy, and you may find welling out of the same hills the freezing springs of Mexico and the hot springs of Iceland, both together coursing their way to the Salt Sea of Palestine, in the plain below. The pages of Malte Brun provide me with a less truthful parallel to it than those which describe the Happy Valley of Ragselas or the Continent of Ballibarbi.
The history of the Mormons has ever since been an unbroken record of prosperity. It has looked as though the elements of fortune, obedient to a law of natural re-action, were struggling to compensate their undue share of suffering. They may be pardoned for deeming it miraculous. But, in truth, the economist accounts for it all, who explains to us the speedy recuperation of cities, laid in ruin by flood, fire, and earthquake. During its years of trial, Mormon labor had subsisted on insufficient capital, and under many difficulties, but it has subsisted, and survives them now, as intelligent and powerful as ever it was at Nauvoo; with this difference, that it has in the mean time been educated to habits of unmatched thrift, energy, and endurance, and has been transplanted to a situation where it is in every respect more productive. Moreover, during all the period of their journey, while some have gained by practice in handicraft, and the experience of repeated essays at their various halting-places, the minds of all have been busy framing designs and planning the improvements they have since found
NAUVOO AND DESERET. 585
opportunity to execute. Their territory is unequalled as a stock-raising country; the finest pastures of Lombardy are not more estimable than those on the east side of the Utah Lake and its tributary rivers, and it is scarcely less rich in timber and minerals than the most fortunate portions of the continent.
From the first the Mormons have had little to do in Deseret, but attend to mechanical and strictly agricultural pursuits. They have made several successful settlements; the farthest north is distant more than forty miles, and the farthest south, in a valley called the Sanpeech, two hundred, from that first formed. A duplicate of the Lake Tiberias empties its waters into the innocent Dead Sea of Deseret, by a fine river, which they have named the Western Jordan. It was on the right bank of this stream, on a rich table land, traversed by exhaustless waters falling from the highlands, that the pioneers, coming out of the mountains in the night of the 24th of July, 1847, pitched their first camp in the Valley, and consecrated the ground. This spot proved the most favorable site for their chief settlement, and after exploring the whole country, they founded on it their city of the New Jerusalem. Its houses are diffused, to command as much as possible the farms, which are laid out in wards or cantons, with a common fence to each. The farms in wheat already cover a space nearly as large as Rhode Island. The houses of New Jerusalem, or Great Salt Lake City, as it is commonly called, are distributed over an area nearly as great as that of New York. The foundations have been laid for a temple more vast and magnificent than that which was erected at Nauvoo. The Deseret News, a paper established under the direction of the ecclesiastical authority came to us lately with several columns descriptive of the fourth anniversary celebration of the arrival of the disciples in their Promised Land.
Since the preceding paragraphs were written some important information has been received from Utah, justifying apprehensions that the ambition of the chief of the sect, and territorial governor, Brigham Young, will be continually productive of difficulties. It appears that in consequence of his unwarrantable assumptions of authority, the larger and most respectable portion of the territorial officers, including B. O. Harris, Secretary of the Territory, G. K. Brandenburg, Chief Justice, E. P. Bracchas, Associate Justice, H. R. Day, Indian Agent, and Messrs. Gillette and Young, were preparing to leave for the Atlantic States.
The particulars of the difficulty are not stated, but it is said that $20,000 appropriated by Congress for territorial purposes had been squandered by Young, and an attempt made by him to take $24,000 from the Treasurer, who refused, and applied to the Court to support him. This was done, and an injunction granted restraining the proceedings of the Governor.
Littell's Living Age
(Boston & NYC: E. Littell)
"Mormonism, part 1"
"Mormonism, part 2"
"Origin of the Mormon Imposture"
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE. - No. 530. - 15 July, 1854.
From The Edinburgh Review.
1. * Patriarchal Order, or Plurality of Wives. By ORSON SPENCER, Chancellor of the
100 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 101
102 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 103
104 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 105
106 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 107
108 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 109
110 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 111
112 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 113
114 M O R M O N I S M.
LITTELL'S LIVING AGE. - No. 531. - 22 July, 1854.
From The Edinburgh Review.
148 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 149
150 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 151
152 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 153
154 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 155
156 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 157
158 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 159
160 M O R M O N I S M.
M O R M O N I S M. 161
162 M O R M O N I S M.
R E P O S I T O R Y.
Vol. VII. London & Edinburgh, 1852. No. 53.
[ 01 ]
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
The origin, growth, and present condition of the singular sect calling themselves the 'Church of Latter-day Saints,' form a curious and instructive chapter in the history of fanaticism. Within the space of twenty years since they first sprung into existence, they have gone on rapidly increasing in influence and numbers, and are now an established and organised society, amounting to not less than 300,000 people. They have home the brunt of calumny and misrepresentation, endured the severest persecutions, and, in spite of every conceivable obstruction, triumphantly vindicated the earnestness and sincerity of their mistaken faith, and the practical objects which they have considered it their special mission to realise in the world. Their progress within the last ten years has been extraordinarily rapid, and is utterly unparalleled in the history of any other body of religionists. They are now a distinct and
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 2
peculiar community, with a complete and effective organisation: they possess and enjoy in common great wealth and material resources; their final settlement of Utah or Deseret, in New California, is in the highest degree flourishing, peaceable, and orderly; and they appear not unlikely to become an important and independent nation, whose influence, politically and socially, may be expected to affect, and possibly to modify, the older and neighbouring forms of civilisation. To trace the beginnings and progressive advancements of so remarkable a people, and thus to render their opinions, actions, sufferings, and successes familiar to a more extensive class of readers, may be considered work not unsuitable for us in the present pages; and therefore, with as much impartiality, soberness, and fair appreciation as may be at our command, and without an^ disposition or temptation to speak contemptuously of their peculiarities, we will here endeavour to represent these much-derided Mormons and their proceedings in such a way as shall seem warranted by their actual character and achievements.
It is generally known that the founder and acknowledged 'prophet' of this people was a young man named Joseph Smith. Between twenty and thirty years ago, when he first attracted notice, he was living with his father on a small farm near the town of Manchester, in me state of New York. He is said to have been a person of a loose and irregular way of life, and this was afterwards urged as an objection to his pretensions: but he used to reply confidently, that he had never done anything so bad as was reported of King David, whom his orthodox enemies could not consistently deny to have been 'a man after God's own heart.' That he was a good deal of a sinner, there is sufficient reason to believe, but yet it does not appear that he was given up for any length of time to habitual and confirmed wickedness. Very early in life he had decided impressions of the religious sort, and his mind seems from the first to have taken a fanatical and enthusiastic turn. We are told that when he was 'about fourteen or fifteen years of age, he began seriously to reflect upon the necessity of being prepared for a future state of existence.' He used to retire to a secret place in a grove, a short distance from his father's house, and there occupy himself for many hours in prayer and meditation. Once when so engaged, he 'saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above, which at first seemed to be at a considerable distance;' but as he continued praying, 'the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him, and as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that by the time it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness around was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner.' The account of this vision, which is given by a Mormon apostle, Mr Orson Pratt, goes on to say, that the light 'continued descending slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it. When it first came upon him, it produced a peculiar sensation
3 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
throughout his whole system; and immediately his mind was caught away from the natural objects with which he was surrounded, and he was inwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features and likeness.' These wondrous beings informed him that his sins were forgiven; and they furthermore disclosed to him, that all the existing religious denominations were 'believing in incorrect doctrines;' and that, consequently, 'none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom.' He was expressly forbidden to attach himself to any of them, and received a promise that in due time 'the true doctrine, the fulness of the gospel,' should be graciously revealed to him; 'after which the vision withdrew, leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace indescribable.'
But inasmuch as Joseph was very young, and was assailed from time to time by those inevitable temptations which beset the carnal mind, he subsequently became 'entangled in the vanities of the world,' and for awhile demeaned himself so much like a 'vessel of dishonour,' as to be rendered temporarily unfit for seeing visions. Moved eventually, however, to repentance and amendment, and again devoting himself to the habit of secret prayer, this gift again returned to him. On the 21st of September 1823, the miraculous light reappeared, and 'it seemed as though the house was filled with consuming fire.' Its sudden appearance, as aforetime, 'occasioned a shock of sensation;' and what is more remarkable, we learn that it was 'visible to the extremities of the body.' This time only a single 'personage' stood before him. 'His countenance was as lightning,' yet of so 'pleasing, innocent, and glorious an appearance,' that, as the visionary beheld it, every fear was banished from his heart, and an indescribable serenity pervaded and possessed his soul. 'This glorious being declared himself to be an angel of God, sent forth by commandment to communicate to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard; and also to bring the joyful tidings, that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel concerning their posterity, was at hand to be fulfilled; that the great preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in its fulness to be preached in power unto all nations, that a people might be prepared with faith and righteousness for the millennial reign of universal peace and joy.' The reader, doubtless, is now prepared to hear, that on this occasion Joseph received an intimation that he was 'called and chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his marvellous purposes in this glorious dispensation.' By way of preparing him for the work, the brilliant 'personage' gave him some verbal revelations, informing him, amongst other things, that the American Indians were a remnant of Israel; that when they originally emigrated to America they were a pious and enlightened people, enjoying the pecuhar favour
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 4
and blessing of God; that prophets and inspired writers had been appointed to keep a sacred history of events transpiring among them; that the said history was handed down for many generations, till at length the people fell into great wickedness, and afterwards the records were hidden, 'to preserve them from the hands of the wicked,' who were seeking to destroy them; that these records contained 'many sacred revelations pertaining to the gospel of the kingdom, as well as prophecies relating to the great events of the last days;' and that, finally, the time was come when, to accomplish the divine purposes, they were to be brought forth to the knowledge of the people, Joseph Smith was given to understand that, if he should prove faithful, he was to be the instrument favoured in bringing these sacred writings before the world. And with this announcement the shining personage disappeared, although he seems to have come back twice in the course of the night to repeat his communication, and to add a thing or two he had forgotten.
Up to this time Joseph Smith had been in the habit of working on his father's farm, and on the morning after this vision he went to his labour as usual, apparently not supposing that his mission as a messenger of a new and peculiar gospel was yet to be commenced. But while he was at work, the angel again appeared to him, and gave him direct instructions to go and 'view the records,' which for many ages had been deposited in a place which was pointed out to him. This was 'on the west side of a hill, not far from the top,' about four miles from Palmyra, in the county of Mayne [sic - Ontario?], and near the mail-road, which leads thence to the little town of Manchester. Oliver Cowdery, a 'witness of the faith,' who visited the spot in 1830, has favoured us with a minute description of it, mingled with various of his personal speculations concerning the position of the records at the time they were discovered. He says, innocently: 'How far below the surface these records were placed I am unable to say; but from the fact that they had been some 1400 years, and that, too, on the side of a hill so steep, one is ready to conclude that they were some feet below.' Oliver is willing to 'leave every man to draw his own conclusion,' and proceeds: 'Suffice to say, a hole of sufficient depth was dug.' At the bottom of this was found 'a stone of suitable size, the upper surface being smooth; at each edge was placed a large quantity of cement, and into this cement, at the four edges of this stone were placed, erect, four others, their bottom edges resting in the cement at the outer edges of the first stone. The four last named, when placed erect, formed a box; the corners, or where the edges of the four came in contact, were also cemented so firmly, that the moisture from without was prevented from entering * * * The box was sufficiently large to admit a breastplate, such as was used by the ancients to defend the chest from the arrows and weapons of their enemy. From the bottom of the box, or from the breastplate, arose three small pillars.
5 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
composed of the same description of cement used on the edges; and upon these three pillars were placed the records.'
While contemplating this extraordinary treasure with great astonishment, Joseph Smith became aware of the presence of the angel who had previously visited him, and who now, with due solemnity, called on him to 'Look!' 'And as he thus spake,' says the Mormonite apostle before quoted, 'he beheld the Prince of Darkness, surrounded by his innumerable train of associates. All this passed before him, and the heavenly messenger said: -- "All this is shewn, the good and the evil, the holy and impure, the glory of God and the power of darkness, that you may know hereafter the two powers, and never be influenced or overcome by the wicked one. You cannot at this time obtain this record, for the commandment of God is strict, and if ever these sacred things are obtained, they must be by prayer and faithfulness in obeying the Lord. They are not deposited here for the sake of accumulating gain and wealth for the glory of this world, they were sealed by the prayer of faith, and because of the knowledge which they contain; they are of no worth among the children of men only for their knowledge. In them is contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was given to his people on this land; and when it shall be brought forth by the power of God, it shall be carried to the Gentiles, of whom many will receive it; and after will the seed of Israel be brought into the field of their Redeemer by obeying it also."'
Joseph had to wait four years before the records were finally delivered by the angel into his hands. During that time, however, he had numerous interviews with the 'heavenly messenger,' and 'frequently received instructions' from his mouth. At length, on the morning of the 22d of September 1827, when he was about two-and-twenty years of age, he was formally permitted to take possession of his discovery. 'These records,' says our authority, Mr. Pratt, 'were engraved on plates which had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not far from seven by eight inches in width and length, being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with three rings running through the whole. This volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters or letters upon the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, as well as much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found "a curious instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in the two rims of a bow. This was in use in ancient times by persons called seers. It was an instrument, by the use of which they received revelation of things distant, or of things past, or future."'
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 6
Being in an unknown tongue, the book required to be translated before its contents could be intelligibly communicated to mankind; and Joseph having now provided for himself a separate home, straightway commenced turning this ancient record into what he probably regarded as the 'American language.' It seems he translated 'by the gift and power of God, through the means of the Urim and Thummim; and being a poor writer, he was under the necessity of employing a scribe to write the translation as it came from his mouth.' In this way the work proceeded, as Mr. Smith's 'pecuniary circumstances would permit,' until he had finished what he describes as the 'unsealed portion of the records.' This is that part of Joseph's revelations which is styled the Book of Mormon, the recognised Bible of the Latter-day Saints, and which is deemed by them of equal authority with the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, and represented to contain that 'fulness of the gospel' which was to be revealed in the latter days.
When this astonishing volume was completed, and lay at length, legibly in fair manuscript, there arose an obvious difficulty respecting its publication. As no man is accounted a prophet in his own country, who would believe the miraculous story about its origin, and the way in which the work had been brought to light? How was any one to know that it was not utterly a fabrication, and that Joseph Smith, junior, was not an arrant knave and impostor? Assuredly there ought to be witnesses to testify concerning the facts set forth, and vouch in some sort for the credibility of Mr. Joseph Smith's pretensions. This circumstance was accordingly provided for; witnesses, such as could be got, were providentially 'raised up' in the persons of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris; and the testimony which they sent forth was to the effect, that the original plates had been shewn to them by an angel. This statement was presently supported by eight other witnesses, who testify expressly that 'Joseph Smith, junior, the translator of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; * * * and we know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates * * * and we give our names unto the world of that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness to it.' It might strike a sceptic as a suspicious circumstance, that the 'eight,' with one exception, belong to two families, evidently on terms of intimacy with each other; and further, that three of them belong to the family of Joseph Smith -- being, in fact, his father and two brothers: but this, to a genuine believer in the prophet's claims, no doubt appears to be a consideration of no manner of moment. Certain it is, that from this point Joseph rises before us as the conspicuous founder of a sect, and begins to draw after him no inconsiderable number of converts.
Having made known his doctrine and pretensions to various persons, it was not unnatural that the wonderful plates should
7 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
be a good deal talked about, and that some should even hesitate to believe unless they might be permitted to get sight of them. It was this difficulty which seems to have first suggested the publication of the statements of the witnesses. Among the first three, it will be seen, stands the name of Martin Harris; who -- though in the subscribed document he professes to have seen the plates -- was clearly not so privileged at the time when he first shewed a disposition to join the sect. Martin Harris was a farmer, whose religious opinions had for a long while been unsettled; he having been successively a member of the Society of Friends, a Wesleyan, a Baptist, and a Presbyterian; and on making Joseph Smith's acquaintance, was already prepared for another change. Having 'more credulity than judgment,' he was at once captivated by the doctrines and pretensions of the youthful prophet, and generously lent him fifty dollars to enable him to translate and publish his new Bible. While the work of translation was going on, Harris often desired to see the plates; but Joseph, with more than a prophet's cautiousness, invariably refused to shew them, alleging, as a sufficient reason for the renisal, that Mr. Harris was 'not of pure heart enough' to be allowed a sight of such extraordinary treasures. However, he at length consented to make a transcript of a portion of them on paper, and presenting him with this, he told him that if he wished to be satisfied about the character of it, he might submit it to any learned scholar in the world. Smith could hardly have anticipated the consequences of this proceeding. Martin Harris, being an earnest man, went off with the paper to New York, and obtained an introduction to Professor Anthon, a gentleman well known both in America and Europe for his serviceable editions of the classics. The result of the interview was not known until three or four years afterwards, when the Book of Mormon, apparently through Mr. Harris's assistance, had been published. Then, as a report was spread abroad by the Mormons that the professor had seen the plates, and pronounced the inscriptions to be in the Egyptian character, that gentleman was requested to declare whether such was actually the fact. In a letter written in February 1834, the professor says distinctly that the whole story is a falsehood. Some years before, Martin Harris had called on him with a paper filled with 'all kinds of crooked characters, disposed in columns,' which 'had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets:' there were rude distortions of Greek and Hebrew letters; Roman letters inverted or placed sideways; with crosses and flourishes interspersed throughout; and 'the whole ended with a rude delineation of a circle, divided into compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican calendar, given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived.' Some time after, the farmer paid him a second visit, bringing with him the printed Book of Mormon, of which he begged the
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 8
professor to take a copy. That gentleman endeavoured to convince him that he had been imposed upon, and advised him to apply to a magistrate, and get the thing investigated. Harris, however, expressed a fear that if he did so 'the curse of God' would come upon him. But on being pressed, he said that he would take steps to have the matter examined into, if the professor would take the 'curse' upon himself. To this the latter good-naturedly consented, and the poor man took his leave in a state of much hesitation and perplexity.
One can perceive from this what sort of stuff Mr. Harris's head was made of, and can readily judge of the value of his 'testimony' in regard to Mormonism and its pretensions. The presumption is, that the other witnesses were persons of similarly confused minds, or that they consciously participated in a fraud. At any rate, we do not find that any other individuals, Mormonites or otherwise, ever professed to have seen the plates; and certainly, of late years, all knowledge or account of them has been confessedly traditional. When unbelievers say: 'Shew us the gold plates, the original records of the Book of Mormon,' the Mormonite replies: 'Shew us the original manuscripts of any part of the Old or New Testaments,' and conceives that to be sufficient to silence all gainsayers. As to the book itself, the Mormons implicitly accept it; its origin and authenticity, as Smith and his associates have represented them, are matters of pure faith; no true Mormonite entertains a doubt about the genuineness or plenary inspiration of the volume. The general belief concerning it is thus summed up by one of the 'apostles,' in a publication called the Voice of Warning: -- 'The Book of Mormon contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph, of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrine, which he engraved on plates, and afterwards being slain, the records fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who, being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and should be brought to light in the latter days by means of a Gentile nation who should possess the land. The deposit was made about the year 420, on a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario County, where it was preserved in safety until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration. And the great Jehovah bare record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declare it to the world.'
Overlooking the incidental statement of Professor Anthon, the account so far given of the Book of Mormon will be understood to be that of the Mormonites themselves; but there remains to be presented another relation of its origin, which the American
9 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
opponents of Mormonism consider to be the true one. According to this account, it would appear that, in the year 1809, a man of the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had formerly been a clergyman, and had afterwards failed in business, having his attention attracted by the notion, which at that time excited some interest and discussion, that the North American Indians were descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, it struck him that the idea might be turned to account as the groundwork of a religious novel. He accordingly set about a work of that description, which he entitled, The Manuscript Found; and labouring at it at intervals for three years, he in that time completed it. Two of the principal characters in this production are Mormon and his son Moroni -- the same who act so large a part in Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon. The reason for this coincidence will presently appear. In the year 1812, Spaulding shewed his manuscript to a printer named Patterson, residing at Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania; but before any satisfactory arrangement had been made in regard to its publication, the author died, and the manuscript is said to have remained for some time thereafter in Mr. Patterson's possession. While here, it came under the notice of a compositor in his employ, named Sidney Rigdon, who was also a preacher in connection with some Christian sect, whose proper designation has not been stated. Rigdon appears to have borrowed the manuscript, and, according to one account, it would seem to have been in his hands when Mr. Patterson died in 1826 [sic]. Spaulding's widow, however, states that it had been returned to her husband before his death in 1816, and that it was subsequently read by several of her friends. But after her husband's decease, she seems to have spent the next three years in visiting her friends in different parts of the States; and during this period the manuscript was left at her brother's, somewhere near the residence of the Smiths. Whether Rigdon had, as she asserts, taken a copy of it, or whether the original now fell into the hands of Joseph Smith, there is no evidence for deciding. One thing only is clear, that by some person or other the manuscript was freely used as material in the composition of the Book of Mormon.
Whether Sidney Rigdon was concerned in the fabrication has not been distinctly ascertained; but it is a significant circumstance, that he afterwards became, next to Joseph Smith himself, the principal leader of the Mormons. How Joseph and this person became connected is not known, and which of the two originated the idea of making a new Bible out of Solomon Spaulding's novel, is equally uncertain. The wife, several friends, and the brother of Solomon Spaulding affirmed, however, the identity of the principal portions of the Book of Mormon with the novel of The Manuscript Found, which the author had from time to time, and in separate portions, read over to them. John Spaulding declared upon oath, that his brother's book was a historical romance, relating to the first settlers in America, endeavouring to shew that
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 10
the American Indians were descendants of the Jews, or of the lost ten tribes. He stated, that it gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem' by land and sea, till they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi; and that it also mentioned the Lamanites. He added, that 'he had recently read the Book of Mormon, and to his great surprise he found nearly the same historical matter and names as in his brother's writings. To the best of his recollection and belief, it was the same that his brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. The widow of Solomon Spaulding, afterwards married to a Mr. Davison, made a statement in a Boston newspaper, in all substantial respects similar, clearly and distinctly identifying the historical portions of the Book of Mormon with her husband's novel, and claiming the whole as his own composition, with the exception of various pious phrases and expressions which had been here and there interpolated. We presume that the evidence thus supplied must decide the question of the authorship, and that there can hardly remain a doubt that the Book of Mormon was founded on the manuscript romance of Solomon Spaulding.
As regards the fabrication, it is not unlikely that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon acted in concert, and, mingling the materials thus provided for them with odds and ends of religious matter derived from the Old and New Testaments, produced that singular amalgamation which is now regarded as the Bible of the sect. As a literary composition, the work is but a bungling affair; the religious matter ingrafted upon the original romance being full of ungrammatical and illiterate expressions. For instance, such phrases as the following very frequently occur: -- 'Ye are like unto they;' 'Do as ye hath hitherto done;' 'I saith unto them;' 'These things had not ought to be;' 'Ye saith unto him;' 'I, the Lord, delighteth in the chastity of women;' 'For a more history part are written upon my other plates.' Anachronisms are also frequent, and blunders of almost every imaginable kind abound. But all errors of grammar, all anachronisms, all proven contradictions, are admitted by the Mormons, and treated as things utterly indifferent. They allege that the Old and New Testaments contain ungrammatical passages, and yet are holy, and the undoubted Word of God; and that anachronisms and contradictions do not militate against the plenary inspiration either of the Bible or the Book of Mormon. They acknowledge all possible faults and objections which mere critics may detect; but affirm them to be of no account. Joseph Smith, say they, was a chosen vessel of grace, and it was not necessary, in the inscrutable purposes of Providence, that he should accurately write the English language; nor can they regard his mission as being any way invalidated by a few human mistakes in his rendering of inspiration.
What the Book of Mormon was professedly framed to teach cannot easily be shewn, without going further into detail than is possible within present limits. It may, however, be mentioned,
11 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
that the Mormonites regard it as an inspired volume, suitable to the exigencies of the Christian life in these latter times. They allege that the Book of Mormon, and a certain book of 'Doctrines and Covenants,' containing the substance of subsequent revelations made to the prophet, on various matters relating to the management of the church, form and constitute the 'fulness of the gospel;' that while they do not supersede or take anything from the Old or the New Testament, they have been designed to complete both, and are therefore to be included within the authentic canon of religious scriptures. Nevertheless, they seem to have formed ideas of God and of men's relations towards Him different from any which are promulgated in the Gospel. They acknowledge a material deity, and describe him as a being in human form, and as having the senses, passions, and all the particular attributes of humanity. 'We believe,' says Orson Spencer, an apostle of the church, 'that God is a being who hath both body and parts, and also passions;' and this notion is prominently set forth in many of the publications of the sect. In some other respects they profess to differ from the ordinary sectarian denominations. They believe in 'the existence of the gifts, in the true church, spoken of in Paul's letter to the Corinthians,' in what they describe as the 'powers and gifts of the everlasting Gospel;' and mention in particular 'the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophecy, revelation, healing, tongues and the interpretation of tongues, wisdom, charity, brotherly love,' and some indefinite 'et cetera.' They believe also 'in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the ten tribes; that Zion will be established upon the western continent; and that Christ will reign personally upon the earth for a thousand years.' They recognise two orders of priesthood, which they call the Aaronic and the Melchisedek. The church is governed by a prophet, whom they sometimes call president; they have twelve apostles, a number of bishops, high-priests, deacons, elders, and teachers; and they assert on behalf of Joseph Smith and many other distinguished leaders, that they had the power of working miracles and of casting out devils. 'They affirm that the end of the world is close at hand; and that they are the saints spoken of in the Apocalypse, who will be called to reign with Christ in a temporal kingdom on the earth.
The manner in which Joseph Smith professed to have received his priestly ordination is so curious and characteristic, that it cannot be justly overlooked. He relates that while he and Oliver Cowdery, his scribe, were engaged in translating the Book of Mormon, and while they were 'praying and calling upon the Lord' to aid them in the proper execution of the work, 'a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light,' and laying his hands upon them, ordained them, saying: 'Upon you, my fellow-servants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 12
and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.' He says, the messenger told them that 'this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,' but that this should be conferred on them thereafter. 'And,' says Joseph, 'he commanded us to go and be baptised, and gave us directions that I should baptise Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that he should baptise me. Accordingly, we went and were baptised. I baptised him first, and afterwards he baptised me. After which I laid my hand upon his head, and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood; afterwards he laid his hands on me, and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded. The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament; and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedek, which priesthood, he said, should in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first elder, and he the second. It was on the 16th day of May 1829 that we were baptised and ordained under the hand of the messenger.'
Before the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph had already gathered to himself a small number of adherents. In 1830, the year after he began to announce his visions and to speak of the discovery of the plates, his followers amounted to five persons. Among these were included his father and three brothers; but in the course of a few weeks the number increased to thirty. On the 1st of June, in the year just mentioned, the first conference of the sect, as an organised church, was held at Fayette, where the prophet at that time resided. As the people of the neighbourhood generally regarded him as an impostor, his proceedings from the outset met with considerable opposition. Joseph, on the present occasion, had ordered the construction of a dam across a stream of water, for the purpose of baptising his disciples. But before the ceremony was commenced, a mob collected, and broke down the preparations, using such language towards the prophet as was anything but flattering to him or his followers, threatening him with violence, and accusing him of robbery and swindling. They derided his prophetical pretensions, charged him with having lived the life of a reprobate, and in every way did their utmost to make him the object of ridicule and suspicion, Joseph, however, was nothing daunted. With singular tact, as well as courage, he bore down all detraction by confessing boldly that he had once led an improper and immoral life; but, unworthy as he was, 'the Lord had chosen him -- had forgiven him all his sins, and intended, in his own inscrutable purposes, to make him -- weak and erring as he might have been -- the instrument of his glory. Unlettered and comparatively ignorant he acknowledged
13 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
himself to be; but then, said he, was not St Peter illiterate? Were not John and the other Christian apostles men of low birth and mean position before they were called to the ministry? And what had been done before, might it not be done again, if God willed it?' By arguments such as these he strengthened the faith of those who were inclined to believe in the divinity of his mission, and partially foiled the logic of those that were opposed to him. Absurd and fanatical as his theology may seem, it is not to be denied that he shewed thus early an unquestionable talent for influencing the opinions and commanding the sympathies of persons in any way disposed to credulity and enthusiasm.
He appears to have had many contests with the preachers and leading people of other religious sects, and to have signally exasperated them against him by the boldness of his self-sufficiency, and the boundless resources of his ingenuity and impudence, in asserting and defending his pretensions. Yet if he was arrogant and presumptuous, they were not the less dogmatic and intolerant. When Joseph proved himself utterly invincible by their logic, and was not to be put down by any taunts concerning his unworthiness as a man, or his incompetency as a scholar, they had recourse to the ordinary expedient of persecution. Their animosity rose so high at last, that the prophet and his followers found the place too strait for them; and, accordingly, to escape from the virulent opposition they had to contend with, the whole family of the Smiths and the most pertinacious of their adherents deemed it prudent to remove from Palmyra and Fayetteville, and to settle themselves in other quarters. The place they selected was Kirtland, in Ohio; but this they regarded only as a temporary resting-place. The attention of the sect was directed, from the very commencement of their organisation, to the desirableness of establishing themselves in the 'Far West' territories, where, in a thinly-settled and partially-explored country, they might squat down or purchase lands at a cheap rate, and clear the wilderness for their own purposes. Shortly after their removal to Kirtland, Oliver Cowdery was sent out on an exploratory expedition, and, coming back, reported so, favourably of the beauty, fertility, and cheapness of the land in Jackson County, in Missouri, that Joseph Smith himself determined to go and visit the location.
Leaving his family and principal connections in Kirtland, he proceeded with Sidney Rigdon and some others upon a long and arduous journey, his object being to fix upon a site for the 'New Jerusalem' -- the future city and metropolis of the divine kingdom, where Christ was to reign over the saints as a temporal king, in 'power and great glory.' They started, apparently, about the middle of June 1831, travelling by wagons or canal-boats, and sometimes on foot, as far as Cincinnati. From this place they proceeded by steamer to Louisville and St. Louis, where at length all the civilised means of transport failed them. The rest of the journey, a distance of 300 miles, had to be performed on foot.
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 14
With brave hearts and hopeful faces, however, they toiled along through the wilderness, and finally reached the town of Independence, in Jackson County, in the middle of July. Though footsore and weary, they were not sad; for the country, with its grandeurs and conveniences, surpassed their most sanguine expectations. It is pleasant to see how the prophet was enraptured at the sight of it, and how, in his description, there is even a touch of poetry. Looking intently on the landscape, he notes, 'as far as the eye can glance, the beautiful rolling prairies lay spread around like a sea of meadows.' It is a fruitful and smiling land -- a land overflowing with com and fruits, and cotton and honey, and bountifully, though not too thickly, overspread with timber; the buffalo, the elk, and the deer, with a sprinkling of less attractive animals, roam over it at pleasure; and there are turkeys and geese, and swans and ducks, and every variety of the feathered race; and altogether it is an abundant and delightful region, and seems meet for the heritage of the elect of the Most High. Here, then, decides the prophet, shall be built the future Zion; and hither shall the Saints be gathered, that they may inherit and enjoy the land in all its plenty.
That there might be no doubt among his followers that this was assuredly the spot marked out by a considerate Providence as their place of settlement, Joseph Smith contrived to obtain a direct revelation on the subject. Indeed, whenever he had any difficulty, or was about to do anything that might startle or surprise the Saints, his course was invariably smoothed before him by a timely revelation. He had only to announce: 'Thus saith the Lord your God,' and add whatsoever he deemed convenient, and the matter in hand was authoritatively settled. On the present occasion, it was revealed to him that a certain district in Jackson County was 'the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.' 'Behold,' says the document which he issued as a celestial communication, 'behold, the place which is now called Independence is the centre place, and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from, the court-house; wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the Saints; and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile. And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands.' The blending of scriptural phrase with business-like minuteness in this document is somewhat curious. It goes on to say: 'Let my servant, Sidney Gilbert, stand in the office which I have appointed him, to receive moneys, to be an agent unto the church, to buy lands in all the regions round about.' Another servant, Edward Partridge, is oracularly commanded 'to divide the Saints their inheritance.' And again, it runs: 'Verily, I say unto you, let my servant, Sidney Gilbert, plant himself in this place, and establish a store, that he may sell goods without fraud: that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints.'
15 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
Sidney Gilbert is also enjoined to 'obtain a license that he may send goods unto the people,' so as to provide for the preaching of the gospel 'unto those who sit in darkness.' William Phelps is to be established 'as a printer unto the church;' 'and, lo!' says the revelation, 'if the world receiveth his writings, let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness, for the good of the Saints. And let my servant, Oliver Cowdery, assist him * * * to copy, and to correct, and select, that all things may be right before me, as it shall be proved by the spirit through him.' And concerning the gathering, it is said: 'Let the bishop and the agent make preparations for those famihes which have been commanded to come to this land, as soon as possible, and plant them in their inheritance.'
On the first Sunday after his arrival, Joseph preached in the wilderness to a miscellaneous crowd of Indians, squatters, and a 'respectable company of negroes.' He made a few converts, and soon had another revelation, to the effect chiefly, that Martin Harris should 'be an example to the church in laying his moneys before the bishops of the church;' the said moneys being required to purchase land for a storehouse, 'and also for the house of the printing.' On the 3d of August, after a sojourn of about three weeks, the spot for the temple was solemnly laid out and dedicated; and Joseph, some days afterwards, having completed all his arrangements, established a bishop, and acquired, as he conceived, a firm footing for his sect in Jackson Comity, prepared to return into Ohio, to look after his affairs at Kirtland. On the homeward journey, nothing of consequence occurred, except that once 'Brother Phelps, in open vision, by daylight, saw the Destroyer (otherwise called the Devil) ride upon the waters' of a river near which the party was encamped. 'Others,' says Joseph, 'heard the noise, but saw not the vision.' The devil, however, was quite harmless; and after a journey of twenty-four days, the pilgrims all arrived at Kirtland.
It is a peculiarity of our project, that he always had the keenest eye to business. On his return to Kirtland, by the aid of others, members of the church, he established a mill, a store, and a bank. Of the latter, he appointed himself president, and intrusted Sidney Rigdon with the office of cashier. It was the object of himself and of the sect to stay in Kirtland and make money for the next five years; until, in short, the wilderness should be cleared, and the temple built in Zion.
Meanwhile, Joseph lost no opportunity of propagating his religion, and of planting branches of his church wherever he could find a soil adapted to his doctrines. He travelled about preaching in various parts of the United States, making converts with great rapidity. He had two great elements of persuasion in his favour -- sufficient novelty, and unconquerable perseverance. His doctrine was both old and new. It had something of the old that was calculated to attract such as would have been repelled by a creed
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 16
altogether new, and it had sufficient novelty to strike the attention and inflame the imagination of many whose minds would have been totally uninfluenced by current and established dogmas, however powerfully preached. Basing his faith upon isolated passages of the Bible; claiming direct inspiration from Heaven; promising possession of the earth, and limiting eternal blessings, to all true believers; and, moreover, announcing his mission with a courage and audacity that despised difficulty and danger; it is not surprising that ignorant and credulous people should everywhere have listened to him, and reverently credited his extravagant pretensions. Nevertheless, his success as a propagandist was not without some drawbacks. Never, perhaps, until this enlightened nineteenth century, was it the lot of a prophet to be tarred and feathered! Such, however, was the ridiculous martyrdom which Mohammed Smith was called upon to suffer at the hands of lawless men. One night, in the month of March 1832, 'a mob of Methodists, Baptists, Campbellites,' and other miscellaneous zealots, broke into his peaceable dwelling-house, and dragging him from the wife of his bosom, stripped him naked, and in the way just indicated, most despitefully maltreated him. Under the bleak midnight sky, they carried him into a meadow a little distance from the house, and there, with curses and wild uproar, anointed his sacred person with that dark impurity which Falstaff mentions as having a tendency to defile; and then rolling him well in feathers, set him at liberty -- a spectacle not inappropriate for a scarecrow! Sidney Rigdon was similarly handled, and rendered temporarily crazy by the treatment. As to the prophet, it took the whole night for his friends to cleanse his polluted skin. Yet, the next day being the Sabbath, with his 'flesh all scarified and defaced,' he preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptised three individuals. Thus, under the absurdest persecution, the church prospers and increases, and Prophet Joseph loses nothing of his natural audacity, nor abates one whit in his confident self-assertion.
However, calling to mind the scriptural injunction: 'If they persecute you in one city, flee into another,' Joseph seems to have thought that it would not be amiss to absent himself a little from the scene of so bathetic a disaster. Accordingly, he started on the 2d of April, with a small company of adherents, for the settlement in Missouri, designing, as he said, to fulfil the revelation. Some of his inhuman persecutors dogged his steps as far as Louisville, taunting and harassing him by the way; but getting protection from the captain of a steam-boat, he arrived in safety at Independence on the 26th. Here he found the Saints going ahead with great rapidity. In obedience to a revelation which he had sent them, a printing-press had been established, and the work of proselytising was advancing famously. A monthly periodical, called the _Morning and Evening Star,_ was conducted by Mr. Phelps, the printer to the church; and a weekly newspaper, devoted exclusively
17 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
to the interests of Mormonism, had been started under the title of the _Upper Missouri Advertiser._ The number of the disciples amounted to nearly 3000; while in Kirtland, including women and children, they had not yet exceeded 150. The new Zion was clearly thriving, and would soon be ready for the gathering of the brethren from other quarters. Being enthusiastically received by the congregation, and solemnly acknowledged as their 'prophet, seer, and president of the high-priesthood of the church,' Joseph, after a brief and pleasant sojourn, left the place in perfect confidence that all was going on prosperously.
Perhaps he ought to have remembered, that often when things are most prosperous in appearance, there is apt to be some latent mischief or misfortune in process of development. And, to speak truly, the manner in which the Saints behaved themselves in Zion, was anything but calculated to make friends among the Gentiles. They assumed an offensive superiority over their neighbours, and spoke rather too boldly of their determination to take possession of the whole state of Missouri, and to permit no one to live in it who did not conform themselves to the Mormon creed and discipline. Strange rumours also began to spread concerning their peculiarities of intercourse and ways of living. They were accused of communism, and not simply of a community of goods and chattels, but also of a community of wives. This charge appears to have been utterly unfounded, but it was not the less effective in arousing the indignation of the people of Independence and Missouri against the Mormons. A party was secretly formed, whose object was to expel them from the state. The printing-office of the _Star_ was razed to the ground, and the types and presses confiscated. A Mormon bishop was tarred and feathered, and Editor Phelps had a narrow escape from a touch of the like treatment. Outrages of almost every description were committed by armed mobs upon the Mormons, till at length they saw no chance or likelihood of ever being left at peace; and the final result was, that -- having no other resource -- the leaders agreed that, if time were given, the people should remove westward to some other situation.
Under circumstances of such peril and humiliation, the Saints, not unadvisedly, despatched Oliver Cowdery to Kirtland with a message to the prophet. Joseph Smith, as became his situation, proved himself not unfertile in resources. He decided that the _Morning and, Evening Star_ should be thenceforth published in Kirtland, and that another newspaper should be started to supply the place of the one lately printed in Missouri. He also resolved to apply to the governor of that state, and to demand justice for the outrages inflicted upon the sect. Anything that could be done to aid the brethren from a distance he was prompt and ready to undertake; but, under the circumstances, he did not deem it circumspect to venture personally into Zion. He sent his followers a prophet's blessing and a word if comfort; and then, in company
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 18
with Sidney Rigdon and another, made a journey into Canada, with the design of gaining converts.
Meanwhile, in reply to a petition which had been sent him by the Mormons, the governor of Missouri responded by a sensible and conciliatory letter. He alluded to the attack upon them as being illegal and unjustifiable, and recommended them to remain where they were, and to apply for redress to the ordinary tribunals of the country. Acting on the strength of this advice, the Mormons commenced actions against the ringleaders of the mob, engaging, by a fee of 1000 dollars, the best legal assistance to support their case. But on the 30th of October, the mob again rose in arms to expel them. Several houses of the Saints were sacked and partially demolished. The Mormons, in some instances, defended their possessions, and a regular battle ensued between them and their opponents. In this encounter, it happened that two of the latter were killed; and thenceforth the fray became so furious and alarming, that the militia was obliged to be called out to suppress it. The militia, however, being anti-Mormon to a man, took sides entirely against them, and the hapless Saints had no alternative except in flight. The women took alarm, and fled with their children across the Missouri river, where, being afterwards joined by their husbands, they all encamped in the open wilderness. They ultimately took .refuge for the most part in Clay County, where they appear to have been received with some degree of kindness.
The public authorities of Missouri, and indeed all the principal people, except those of Jackson County, were exceedingly scandalised at these proceedings, and sympathised with the efforts of the Mormon leaders to obtain redress. The attorney-general of the state wrote to say, that if the Mormons desired to be re-established in their possessions, an adequate public force should be sent for their protection. He also advised them to remain in the state and organise themselves into a regular company of militia, promising to supply than with arms at the public expense. About the same time a message arrived from the prophet, who had now returned to Kirtland, urging them to abide by their possessions, and not in any case to sell any land to which they had a legal title, but hold on 'until the Lord in his wisdom should open a way for their return.' Nevertheless, for present emergencies, he recommended them to purchase a tract of land in Clay County, and to tarry there awhile, abiding their time. He likewise communicated to them a revelation, by which they were commanded to importune the courts of justice to reinstate them in their possessions, and promised that, in case of failure, 'the Lord God himself would arise and come out of his hiding-place, and in his fury vex the nation.'
The Mormons, however, were never more restored to their beloved Zion. They remained for upwards of four years in Clay County. The land on which they settled was mostly uncleared,
19 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
but being an industrious and persevering people, they laid out farms, erected mills and stored, and carried on their business as successfully as in their previous location. But here also the suspicions and ill-feeling of the people were soon aroused against them, and were eventually the cause of their expulsion from the whole state of Missouri. The bearing of the Mormons towards the slavery question, the calumny about their community of wives, their loud pretensions of superior holiness, their repeated declarations that Missouri had been assigned to their possession by divine command, and the quarrels that were constantly resulting, brought about the same kind of misunderstandings and collisions which they had experienced in Jackson County.
At this juncture -- namely, on the 5th of May 1834 -- Joseph Smith, the prophet, resolved to visit his persecuted church, and try what he could do to put the affairs of his scattered and dispirited disciples into order. He brought with him an organised company of 100 persons, mostly young men, and nearly all priests, deacons, teachers, and officers of the church. Twenty of them formed the body-guard of the prophet, his brother, Hyrum Smith, being captain, and another brother, George Smith, his armour-bearer. On the way, he was intercepted by the people of Jackson County, one of the leaders of whom, named Campbell, swore 'that the eagles and turkey-buzzards should eat his flesh, if he did not, before two days, fix Joe Smith and his army so that their skins should not hold shucks.' Joseph, who relates the story, says, however, that Campbell and his men 'went to the ferry, and undertook to cross the Missouri river after dusk; but the angel of God saw fit to sink the boat about the middle of me river, and seven out of the twelve that attempted to cross were drowned. Thus suddenly and justly,' he adds, 'they went to their own place by water. Campbell was among the missing. He floated down the river some four or five miles, and lodged upon a pile of drift-wood, where the eagles, buzzards, ravens, crows, and wild animals, ate his flesh from his bones, to fulfil his own words, and left him a horrible-looking skeleton of God's vengeance, which was discovered about three weeks afterwards by one Mr. Purtle.' But, though sustaining no material damage from the vindictive Mr. Campbell, Joseph lost thirteen of his band by the ravages of cholera. Marching onwards, however, he arrived in Clay County on the 2d of July; and in the course of his brief stay of seven days, succeeded in establishing the Saints in their new settlement, on a better footing than he found them occupying on his arrival.
The history of the sect for the next three years is one of strife and contention with their enemies in Missouri. The numbers of the Mormons increased with the numbers of their opponents; and the warfare raged so bitterly, that the whole people of the state were ranged either on one side or the other. At length, in the autumn of 1837, Joseph's bank at Kirtland suddenly stopped
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 20
payment; the district was flooded with his paper, and proceedings were taken against him and the other managers for swindling. At this untoward juncture, the prophet received a convenient revelation, commanding him to depart finally for Missouri and live among the Saints in the land of their inheritance. A scandal runs, that he obeyed the call by departing secretly in the night; or, in Yankee phraseology, he went off 'between two days,' leaving his creditors to such remedy as might be open to them. On arriving in Missouri, he found the affairs of his church in considerable confusion. The Saints had become a numerous and powerful body; but they did not agree among themselves, and occasional seceders spread abroad all sorts of rumours and strange stories in condemnation of their polity. A great schism broke out in 1838, when Joseph Smith took occasion to denounce some of his oldest and most intimate confederates. Among these were Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and Sidney Rigdon, and several other distinguished apostles and disciples. Sidney Rigdon was afterwards received back into favour and forgiven, inasmuch as he was too important a personage to be converted into an enemy. During the progress of these internal squabbles, the Gentiles of Jackson and Clay counties persisted in their persecutions, making constantly repeated efforts to expel the Mormons altogether from Missouri.
This object was finally effected in the latter part of the year 1838; and the Mormons, to the number of 15,000, took refuge in Illinois. They purchased lands in the vicinity of the town of Commerce, and shortly afterwards changed the name of the place into Nauvoo, or the City of Beauty. The country was rich in agricultural resources, and the Mormons failed not to turn them to account. 'Soon,' says Lieutenant Gunnison, 'the colonists changed the desert to an abode of plenty and richness: gardens sprung up as by magic, decorated with the most beautiful flowers of the old and new world, whose seeds were brought as mementoes from former homes by the converts that flocked to the new state of Zion; broad streets were soon fenced, houses erected, and the busy hum of industry heard in the marts of commerce; the steam-boat unladed its stores and passengers, and departed for a fresh supply of merchandise; fields waved with the golden harvests, and cattle dotted the rolling hills.' A site for the temple was chosen on the brow of a hill overlooking the town, and the building was commenced according to a plan or pattern which the prophet professed to have received by revelation. Flourishing centres of dense settlements sprung up in the neighbourhood of the city, and the accessions and exertions of emigrants enlarged the borders of the faithful. In the course of eighteen months, the people had erected about 2000 houses, besides schools and a variety of public buildings. The place became a populous and imposing looking town. Joseph Smith was appointed mayor, and for awhile enjoyed an undisturbed supremacy. His word was law;
21 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
he was the temporal and spiritual head of the community; and, besides his titles of prophet, president, and mayor, he held the military title of general, in right of his command over a body of militia, which he organised under the name of the Nauvoo Legion. Somewhere about the time at which we have now arrived, the sect began to be heard of in England. Missionaries from America appeared in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, and in several towns and places in South Wales. Their preaching was attended with very considerable success, and in three or four years the sect numbered in this country upwards of 10,000 converts. A copy of the Book of Mormon was forwarded, at the prophet's desire, to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert -- a circumstance whereat the Saints in Nauvoo were much delighted, though what reception the volume met with has not been publicly ascertained. The English converts were generally urged to emigrate; and great numbers of them for some years past have been flocking to the various Mormon settlements. Numbers in these years arrived and settled at Nauvoo. But it was not to these alone that the increase of the population was confined. As Lieutenant Gunnison has related: 'Horse-thieves and housebreakers, robbers and villains, gathered there to cloak their deeds in mystery, who, caring nothing for religion, could take the appearance of baptism, and be among, but not of them. Speculators came in and bought lots, with the hope of great remuneration as the colony increased. The latter class, unwilling to pay tithes, soon fell into disrepute; and when proper time had elapsed for conversion without effect, measures were taken to oust them.' The manner of effecting this was characteristic and somewhat singular. 'A proper sum would be offered for their improvements and lands, and, if not accepted, then petty annoyances were resorted to. One of these was called "whittling off." Three men would be deputed and paid for their time, to take their jack-knives and sticks -- downeast Yankees, of course -- and, sitting down before the obnoxious man's door, begin their whittling. When the man came out, they would stare at him, but say nothing. If he went to the market, they followed and whittled. Whatever taunts, curses, or other provoking epithets were applied to them, no notice would be taken, no word spoken in return, no laugh on their faces. The jeers and shouts of street urchins made the welkin ring, but deep silence pervaded the whittlers. Their leerish look followed him everywhere, from "morning dawn to dusky eve." When he was in-doors, they sat patiently down, and assiduously performed their jack-knife duty. Three days are said to have been the utmost that human nature could endure of this silent annoyance. The man came to terms, sold his possessions for what he could get, or emigrated to parts unknown.'
Notwithstanding these discreditable accessions, the Mormons proper continued to increase in numbers. While settled at Nauvoo, they boasted of having 100,000 persons professing their faith in
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 22
the United States. They began to be a distinct and impeding power in the country, and in various places influenced the elections. On all political questions they were perfectly united. So bold did they become, that in 1844 they put Joseph Smith in nomination for the presidency. This was considered an absurd movement; but the Mormons, nevertheless, assert that had he lived for the next trial after, he would have been elected. No opportunity, however, was afforded him to test the truth of the prediction. A dark day for the Mormons was approaching. The people amidst whom they lived complained that their property was constantly disappearing, and that traces of it were often found in the city of Nauvoo. The redress proposed to be given them by the Mormon courts was declared to be unavailing, as the causes tried there always went against them. No Mormon could by any chance be brought to justice, they said. The leaders of the sect were likewise charged with political aspirations. It was said that they aimed to rule the state, and, under the pretence of a spiritual direction, set the laws at defiance. But, more than all, intestine quarrels conspired to bring about a distressing crisis in their affairs. Many influential and talented persons, finding themselves deceived, both in the sanctity of the prophet and in advancing their temporal fortunes, deserted his standard, and denounced him for licentiousness, drunkenness, and tyranny. Women impeached him of attempted seduction; which his apology, that it was merely to see if they were virtuous, could not satisfy. Criminations brought back recriminations against certain men (see Gunnison). A newspaper under the prophet's control lashed the dissenters with great bitterness; and, on the other hand, the dissenters set up a counter-organ, wherein they detailed the most offensive charges of debauchery against the prophet and his principal supporters. A city-council was then convened, and measures were immediately taken to silence the defamers. A mob of the 'faithful' destroyed their printing-press, scattering the types in the streets, and burning an edition of their paper. After finishing this work of demolition, they repaired to head-quarters, and were complimented by the prophet and his brother Hyrum, and received from them the promise of some appropriate reward. This, however, they never got, for a grand and fatal outrage was presently transacted, which brought both the power and me life of the prophet suddenly to an end.
It being impossible to bring the Mormon mob to justice through the Nauvoo courts, the officer who undertook to deal with them procured a county writ, and attempted to enforce it in the manner resorted to against ordinary offenders. But this attempt was opposed and prevented by the people and troops in Nauvoo; and when at length the militia were called out, Joseph Smith, as mayor and commanding-general of the legion, declared the city under martial law. Thereupon an appeal was made to the governor of
23 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
the state, who forthwith ordered out three companies of the state militia, to bring the prophet and his adherents to submission, and to enforce their obedience to the laws. An officer was despatched to arrest Joseph and his brother Hyrum; but to avoid the indignity, they crossed over the Mississippi into Iowa, and there stayed to watch events, keeping up by a boat a correspondence with the Mormon council. Finding at length that their own people were incensed at their desertion, the council advised the Smiths to surrender to the governor, and to stand their trial for such a violation of the law as they could be charged with. They, accordingly, repaired to Carthage, the seat of government, and were there indicted for treason, and, in company with two of their apostles, were lodged in the county jail.
It is zzzzrdated that the prophet had a presentiment of evil in this affair, and said, as he surrendered: 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer morning; I have a conscience void of offence, and shall die innocent.' As the mob still breathed vengeance against the prisoners, and as the militia sided with the people, and were not to be depended on in the way of preventing violence, the governor was requested by the citizens of Nauvoo and other Mormons to set a guard over the jail. But the governor, seeing things apparently quiet, discharged the troops, and simply promised justice to all parties. It now began to be rumoured that there would be no case forthcoming against the Smiths, and that the governor was anxious they should escape. Influenced by this belief, a band of about 200 ruffians conspired to attack the jail, and take justice into their own hands. 'If law could not reach them,' they said, 'powder and shot should.' On the 27th of June 1844, they assaulted the door of the room in which the prisoners were incarcerated, and having broken in, fired upon the four all at once. Hyrum Smith was instantly killed. Joseph, with a revolver, returned two shots, hitting one man in the elbow. He then threw up the window, and attempted to leap out, but was killed in the act by the balls of the assailants outside. Both were again shot after they were dead, each receiving no less than four balls. One of the two Mormons who were with them was seriously wounded, but afterwards recovered; and the other is said to have escaped 'without a hole in his robe.'
Here, then, ends the life and prophetic mission of Joseph Smith. Henceforth the Mormons are left to be guided by another leader. Of himself it has been said: 'He founded a dynasty which his death rendered more secure, and sent forth principles that take fast hold on thousands in all lands; and the name of Great Martyr of the nineteenth century, is a tower of strength to his followers. He lived fourteen years and three months after founding a society with six members, and could boast of having 150,000 ready to do his bidding when he died; all of whom regarded his voice as from Heaven. Among his disciples he bears a character for talent, uprightness, and purity, far surpassing all other men with whom
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 24
they ever were acquainted, or whose biography they have read. Nevertheless, it is added: 'But few of these admirers were cognizant of other than his prophetic career, and treat with scornful disdain all that is said in disparagement of his earlier life. With those who knew him in his youth, and have given us solemn testimony, he is declared an insolent vagabond, an infamous liar of consummate impudence. He is regarded by the "Gentiles," who saw him in the last few years of successful power, to have been a man of unbridled lust, and engaged with the counterfeiting and robbing bands of the Great Valley; but these charges have never been substantiated. The man had faults enough, no doubt; but it would be the grossest injustice to deny that he had also some sterling and commanding qualities. Much of the impostor as one may detect in the beginnings of his career, any one who carefully observes his progress, may perceive that his character and designs became developed into something that was at least partially commendable. A rude, uncouth genius, who, like many another genius, for a long while apprehended not his mission; knew not the things which Nature had appointed him to do; and yet, with a blind unconscious instinct -- manifested through many follies and insincerities -- he struggled, and could not help but struggle, to make felt the influence and administrative power which he was born to exercise among mankind. We may call him a sort of mongrel-hero, and non-commissioned leader of the unguided; a charlatan-fanatic, whose work was half knavery and half earnest, and whom, probably, Nature had ordained to do the rough pioneering of civilisation in the waste places of her kingdoms. That he had available powers for leading and for ruling men, there is proof in the multitude and successful consolidation of his adherents: Saint or sinner, Joseph Smith must be reckoned a remarkable man in his generation; one who began and accomplished a greater work than he was aware of; and whose name, whatever he may have been whilst living, will take its place among the notabilities of the world.
After his death, the Mormons were somewhat agitated by the question of the succession to his seership. Sidney Rigdon and others came forward with claims and pretensions to the office; but finally the council of the twelve unanimously elected Brigham Young. 'This man,' says Lieutenant Gunnison, 'with a mien of the most retiring modesty and diffidence in ordinary intercourse in society, holds a spirit of ardent feeling and great shrewdness; and when roused in debate, or upon the preacher's stand, exhibits a boldness of speech and grasp of thought that awes and enchains with intense interest -- controlling, soothing, or exasperating at pleasure the multitudes that listen to his eloquence.'
One of the first things which the new president had to do, was to conduct the removal of the Mormons from Nauvoo, and to establish them in a settlement where they should no longer be molested. Almost as soon as he was elected, arrangements began
25 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
to be made for abandoning the city; and in the spring of 1845, several parties set out on a dreary journey still further to the west. Numbers, however, remained behind to complete and consecrate the temple -- a work which they ultimately erected amid general rejoicings. But no sooner was this labour of piety accomplished, than they were compelled to leave the honoured edifice, and the city in which it stood, to be 'profaned and trodden down by the Gentiles.' The hostility of their neighbours never once abated until they had driven them utterly out of the state; and on the part of the Mormons it was finally resolved to seek out and colonise some new and remote territory.
With this object, men were sent to the mountains, to the heads of the Missouri branches, and to California, to spy out the land; and the Calebs and Joshuas of the expedition brought such a report of the Great Salt Lake Valley, that it was immediately chosen for what the Saints were pleased to call 'an everlasting abode.' In the spring of 1847, a pioneer-party of 143 men proceeded to open the way; and the rest of the people, in parties of tens, fifties, and hundreds, followed. The strictest discipline of guard and march was observed by the way. After many perils, and hardships almost indescribable, they at last reached their destination. Great joy to the weary wanderers was the first sight of the goodly valley, as they beheld it before them from the final mountain summit. 'As each team rose upon the narrow table, the delighted pilgrims saw the white salt beach of the Great Lake glistening in the never-clouded sunbeam of summer -- and the view down the open gorge of the mountains, divided by a single conical peak, into the long-toiled-for vale of repose, was most ravishing to the beholder. Few such ecstatic moments are vouchsafed to mortals in the pilgrimage of life, when the dreary past is all forgotten, and the soul revels in unalloyed enjoyment, anticipating the fruition of hope.' A few moments were allotted to each party to gaze and admire, and then with measured pace they journeyed forward, and after some sixteen miles further travelling, emerged into the valley which was to be thenceforward their unmolested home.
The journey ended, work was instantly commenced. The industry of the Mormons has, ever since they became a sect, been pre-eminently exemplary. In five days a field was consecrated, fenced, ploughed, and planted! Tents and cabins were rapidly erected for the temporary service of the emigrants; but very shortly a city was laid out, and a fort, enclosing about forty acres, built for its protection. Everywhere the most cheerful and prosperous activity went on. As yet, however, the hardships of the Mormons were not ended. During the first year, every month was so mild that they constantly ploughed and sowed; but though the winter was thus auspicious, and all things promising, they were so reduced in provisions as to be obliged to eat the hides of the slaughtered animals, and even eagerly searched for them out
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 26
of the ditches, and tore them from the roofs of the houses, to boil them for that purpose. They also dug up the wild roots used for food by the Indians. But, we are informed, the most formidable enemy they had to contend with, as the crops were nearing maturity, was an army of black ungainly crickets, which, descending from the mountain-sides, destroyed every bit of herbage in their way. No wonder the Mormon farmers considered it a miracle, when, in despair from the ravages of these 'black Philistines,' they at length were visited by large flights of beautiful white gulls, which in a short time exterminated the enemy. The next season they came earlier, and thereby saved the wheat from any harm whatever; and since then they have regularly appeared, and move hither and thither about the settlement, as tame as household pigeons. Since the first year, the crops of the Mormons have amply met their wants; and for the last three years there has been a surplus of food among them, which was sold to the gold emigrants at a less price than provisions were selling 400 miles nearer the States, and of course that distance further from the California diggings.
The social condition of this remarkable people in their present settlement is thus described by Lieutenant Gunnison, who lived among them for more than a year, in an official capacity connected with a recent exploring expedition to the Deseret or Utah territory, under direction of the United States government. He says: 'Their admirable system of combining labour, while each has his own property, in land and tenements, and the proceeds of his industry, the skill in dividing off lands, and conducting the irrigating canals to supply the want of water, which rarely falls Between April and October; the cheerful manner in which every one applies himself industriously, but not laboriously; the complete reign of good neighbourhood and quiet in house and fields, form themes for admiration to the stranger coming from the dark and sterile recesses of the mountain-gorges into this flourishing valley: and he is struck with wonder at the immense results produced in so short a time by a handful of individuals. This is the result of the guidance of all those hands by one master-mind (Brigham Young) and we see a comfortable people residing where, it is not too much to say, the ordinary mode of subduing and settling our wild lands could never have been applied. To accomplish this, there was required religious fervour, with the flame fanned by the breezes of enthusiasm, the encircling of bands into the closest union, by the outward pressure of persecution; the high hopes of laying up a prospective reward, and returning to their deserted homes in great prosperity; the belief of re-enacting the journey of the Israelitish Church under another Moses, through the Egypt already passed, to arrive at another Jerusalem, more heavenly in its origin, and beautiful in its proportions and decorations. Single families on
27 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
that line of travel would have starved, or fallen by the treachery of the Sioux, the cunning of the Crows and Shoshones, or the hatred of the savage Utahs. Concert and courage of the best kind were required and brought into the field, and the result is before us -- to their own minds, as the direct blessing and interposition of Providence; to others, the natural reward of associated industry and perseverance. * * * Their comparative comfort and degree of prosperity is significantly shewn by the fact, that they canvassed the country, to ascertain how many inmates there would be for a poor-house, and finding only two disposed to ask public bounty, they concluded that it was not yet time to build a house of charity; and this among the thousands who, three years before, were deprived of their property, and could with the utmost difficulty transport their families into the valley!'
Among no people is the dignity of labour held more sacred than by the Mormons. The excellency and honourableness of work is exemplified in their whole polity and organisation. 'A lazy person,' we are told, 'is either accursed, or likely to be; usefulness is their motto; and those who will not keep themselves, or try their best, are left to starve into industry * * * The labour for support of one's self and family is taught to be of as divine a character as public worship and prayer. In practice, their views unite them so as to procure all the benefits of social Christianity without running into communism. The priest and the bishop make it their boast that, like Paul the tent-maker, they earn their bread by the sweat of their brow; and teach by, example on the week-day what they preach on the Sabbath.'
The territory of Utah is extensive, but it is calculated that hardly one acre in ten is fit for profitable cultivation. Immense tracts of pasturage around the cultivable spots are held in common, and are not intended to be given up to the possession of individuals. It is worthy of being mentioned, that when the Mormons arrived in the valley, they did not quarrel about the fertile, eligible plots, but put a portion under cultivation jointly, and made equitable apportionment of the proceeds of the crop, according to the skill, labour, and seed contributed. The city was laid off into lots, which, by mutual consent, were assigned by the presidency, on a plan of equitable and judicious distribution. It is true, after the assignments were made, some persons commenced the usual speculations of selling according to eligibility of situation; but this called forth anathemas from the spiritual power, and no one was permitted to traffic for the sake of profit. If any sales were to be made, the first cost and actual value of improvements were all that was to be allowed. 'The land belongs to the Lord,' it was said, 'and his Saints are to use so much as each can work profitably.'
The Great Salt Lake city, which is laid out in squares, is described as a place of great attractions. The streets are 132 feet wide, with 20 feet side-walks; and a creek which runs through
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 28
the city, is so divided as to run along each walk and water a colonnade of trees, and is made likewise to communicate with the gardens. The lots contain nearly an acre each, and face on alternate streets, with eight lots in every block. The site of the city is slightly sloping, with the exception of a part to the north, where it rises into a sort of natural terrace. It is four miles square, and is watered by several small streams, and a canal twelve miles long, besides being bounded on the western side by the Jordan river. Besides this central city, there are four other colonies which have branched off from it; and towns, with thickly-populated and rapidly-growing suburbs, extend along a line of 200 miles of country. Various public edifices have been built, or are now in progress of erection. In one place, a large and commodious state-house was completed in 1850; and there is a wooden railway laid down to certain quarries some miles distant, for the purpose of transporting the fine red sandstone to a situation called the Temple Block, 'where a gorgeous pile is to be erected, which shall surpass in magnificence any yet built by man, and which shall be second only to that finally to be constructed by themselves, when the presidency shall be installed at the New Jerusalem, on the temple-site of Zion.'
The system of government under which the Mormons live is described by themselves as a 'Theo-democracy.' They are organised into a state, with all the order of legislative, judicial, and executive offices, regularly filled, under a constitution said to be eminently republican in sentiment, and tolerant in religion. The president of the church is the temporal civil governor, and rules in virtue of prophetic right over the community. They profess to stand, in a civil capacity, like the Israelites of old under their leader Moses. The legislature can make no law to regulate the revelations of the prophet, save in so far as may be necessary to carry them into practical effect. The entire management and ultimate control of everything is vested in the presidency, which consists of three persons -- the seer, and two counsellors of his selection. It is this board that governs the universal Mormon church -- called universal, because they claim to have preached in almost every nation, and in every congressional district of the United States; and have established societies called 'Stakes of Zion,' on the model of their home-assembly, on the islands of the ocean, and on either continent. All are bound to obey the presidency -- at home, in all things; and abroad, in things spiritual, independent of every consideration -- and the converts are commanded to gather to the mountains as fast as may be convenient and compatible with their character and situation.
The reason for this command is grounded in those peculiar spiritual pretensions which have all along conduced to separate the Mormons from other civilised communities. The leading pretension is, that they constitute the only true church of God and Jesus Christ; and they profess to rest their hopes on the
29 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
expectation of divine intervention in gathering to themselves all who are destined and prepared to embrace the 'true and ever-lasting gospel.' When their numbers shall be complete, they suppose that all the sects of Christendom will be absorbed into the one which will be most concentrated and numerous. This amalgamated host will then constitute what they seem to regard as the army of Antichrist, which, 'under the banner of the Pope of Rome,' will prepare to confront the Saints of the Latter Days in mortal conflict. In the contest, the Saints expect to be victorious; and then the earth will become their undivided property, and Christ will descend from heaven to reign over them through a blissful millennium.
It were idle to say anything about the absurdity of the claims thus cursorily summed up; and, indeed, it is matter of question whether the Mormons will long continue to entertain them. We suspect that even now they obtain but little recognition, except among the speculative and most visionary of the priestly orders, and are by them for the most part reserved as esoteric mysteries. We are told that the preaching from the pulpit, and the usual extempore teachings, are restricted to the promulgation of doctrines like those commonly inculcated by the Christian sects which hold to faith, repentance, baptism, and the resurrection of the body. 'Their mode of conducting worship is to assemble at a particular hour, and the senior priest then indicates order by asking a blessing on the congregation and exercises, when a hymn from their own collection is sung, prayer made extempore, and another sacred song, followed by a sermon from some one previously appointed to preach, which is usually continued by exhortations and remarks from those who "feel moved upon to speak." Then notice of the arrangement of the tithe-labour for the ensuing week, and information on all secular matters interesting to them in achurch capacity, is read by the council-clerk, and the congregation dismissed by a benediction.' (Gunnison) Everything of a gloomy or sombre character is excluded from the ordinances; and during the assembling and departure of the congregation, their feelings are exhilarated by an excellent band of music playing marches, waltzes, and animating anthems.
In all their social and domestic relations, the Mormons are represented as being uniformly cheerful. Though professedly living in anticipation of a miraculous millennium, they object not to enjoy the hour that now is, and cordially participate in all the healthful and gladdening satisfactions which this temporary state affords. It is one of their peculiarities to blend the serious with the gay, and to invest their most light and frivolous pastimes with a kind of religious sanction. 'In their social gatherings and evening-parties,' says Lieutenant Gunnison, 'patronised by the presence of the prophets and apostles, it is not unusual to open the
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 30
ball with prayer, asking the blessing of God upon their amusements as well as upon any other engagement; and then will follow the most sprightly dancing, in which all join with hearty good-will, from the highest dignitary to the humblest individual; and this exercise is to become part of the temple-worship, to "praise God in songs and dances." These private balls and soirees are frequently extended beyond the time of cock-crowing by the younger members; and the remains of the evening repast furnish the breakfast for the jovial guests. The cheerful happy faces, the self-satisfied countenances, the cordial salutation of brother or sister on all occasions of address, the lively strains of music pouring forth from merry hearts in every domicile, as women and children sing their "songs of Zion," while plying the domestic tasks, give an impression of a happy society in the vales of Deseret.'
In only one respect can the Mormons be said to outrage the ordinary morality of mankind -- and that is in what has been styled 'their peculiar institution of polygamy.' 'That many have a large number of wives in Deseret,' says Gunnison, 'is perfectly manifest to any one residing long among them; and, indeed, the subject begins to be more openly discussed than formerly; and it is announced that a treatise is in preparation, to prove by the Scriptures the right of plurality by all Christians, if not to declare their own practice of the same.' This we must regard as a serious and debasing blemish in their 'patriarchal' form of life, tending, as it manifestly does, to the inevitable dishonouring of women, and the desecration of the holy ties of family. It seems probable, however, that among a people so generally earnest and sincere, there is natural health and virtue enough to lead them back eventually to a nobler and purer relation of the sexes -- to that sacred and only natural relation which from the first has been ordained to man and woman.
There are some other disturbing elements in Mormonism, which are most likely destined to be cast out or modified, if their peculiar social polity is ever to be anything but a temporary experiment. Right as they may be, theoretically, in holding that just and proper human government rests upon a true interpretation of the divine will, their practical exemplification of the principle is nothing more than a product of the human will -- the will, namely, of the seer -- supported and directed by such judgment, intelligence, and other mere natural ability which he may happen to possess. If the voice of the seer were, in fact, the voice of God, all would indeed be well, and their theocratical pretensions might seem to be sufficiently established. But so long as we have only the seer's word, and the assertions of his disciples in support of the assumption, the claim of a divine right to govern must be tested by its results; and whether these be admirable or the contrary, the power of a ruler acting by so indefinite a right, resolves itself into a manifestation of pure despotism. While the despotism is just, and the people comparatively incompetent to take part in the management of
31 HISTORY OF THE MORMONS.
their political affairs, such a system of government may be productive of advantages, and in most respects answer the needs and ends of the society; but as education spreads, and the perennial inspiration of the seer comes to be doubted or denied, a pretension so arrogant and preposterous will inevitably produce rebellions, and must finally go the way of all the shams that have been annihilated. This the present president, Brigham Young, apparently perceives, for we hear that, with praiseworthy caution, he is 'wary of giving revelations,' and seems to be waiting for the time when they may be quietly dispensed with. He tells the people that the prophet has left more work carved out, than several years of faithful diligence will accomplish; and until all the duties thus entailed have been fulfilled, he does not consider it needful to ask for any more light from Heaven!
In drawing what we have written to a close, our own conclusion is, that the Mormon doctrines are for the most part nonsense, but that what the Mormons do is in many ways commendable. The world may very well permit them to indulge in their millennial fancies and patriarchal crotchets, so long as they live peaceably and honestly among themselves, and make no intolerant aggressions on the beliefs and religious systems that differ from their own. Their steadfast and honourable industry, the unity of aim and sentiment that subsists among them, their zealous devotion to a central idea, their reverent, if perverted, recognition of a Supreme Power over them, the pleasant fellowship that results from their social regulations, and the robust and sterling independence by which they are distinguished as a community; these, and other highly creditable qualities and characteristics, assuredly entitle them to the honest respect of all candid and discriminating persons, and must sooner or later secure for them an extensive and deserving admiration. Nothing but good-will and an indulgent charity are due to these earnest, stalwart children of the desert -- these rough and intrepid backwoodsmen of the universe -- who, called by a voice which they but imperfectly understand, have nevertheless gone forth to subdue and cultivate a remote and barren region, so that, instead of the heath and the brushwood, it may bear grain for the food of man, and become a blossoming and fruitful garden for his habitation and delight. Not inaptly have they been likened to the Puritans of New England; for although their professing faith is different, they resemble them thoroughly in their hardy isolation and exclusiveness, and are endowed with the like invincibility of purpose; they are as energetic and as enduring; they have sustained persecutions more fiery and desolating, have toiled against all imaginable obstructions for liberty to work and live, contended bravely with wild Indians and the hordes of pestilent outlaws that lurk about the frontiers of civilisation; they have passed through many and enormous perils in roadless prairies and primeval forests, in rocky fastnesses and on the waves of bridgeless rivers; and after the severest struggles and endurance, they have at last made for
HISTORY OF THE MORMONS. 32
themselves a prosperous and peaceful home in the bosom of the wilderness. These people are not to be despised, nor too much taunted with the impositions or irregularities of their founders; for whatever may have been the moral state of Mormon society in times past, according to all reliable testimony, great improvement has been for a long while steadily going on, and is sufficient to justify us in the belief, that in regard to the few peculiarities of conduct which demand our reprehension, there will eventually be a decided and permanent reformation. Their successful exemplification of a great social principle -- the principle of concert in employments, and in the distribution of the products of their industry, along with the many solid and generous virtues which are daily manifested by their common lives and conversation -- may be fairly considered proof of a large preponderance of worth, sufficient to overbalance the few admitted sins they may be guilty of; and considering that there is no society in which there is so little habitual crime and misery, and so large an amount of general comfort and well-being, the Mormon polity may be said to be admirably suited to the people living under it, and to answer all the ends for which it has been constituted. As a plan for obtaining the aggregate result of single efforts, it is the best social and industrial experiment that has yet been tried on any considerable scale. Summed up in the words of one of the Mormon writers -- a man of no indifferent learning and ability -- it is a polity intended to enable and induce 'each person to operate at what and where he can do best, and with all his might; being subject to the counsel of those above him.' In an enterprise so nobly philosophical and judicious, no unprejudiced or discerning mind can wish them anything but a continued and prolonged success.
The Edinburgh Christian Magazine.
Vol. VI. Edinburgh, U. K., 1854. No. ? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When the pen of inspiration fell from the hand of the venerable John, an awful woe was pronounced on all who should add to the record of the will of God for man's salvation. Yet, from age to age, men have been made the dupes of religious impostors. It matters not how absurd and impious their pretended revelations may be; thousands have embraced their doctrines with fanatical zeal, and established churches which exist at the present day. Such a church is that of the Mormonites, or so called "Latter Day Saints." And as it now comprehends 350,000 members, -- as its agents are labouring, not only in America, where it originated, but in this and many distant lands, -- as their converts are enticed across the Atlantic by false and wicked promises, -- and as the rise and progress of Mormonism is one of the strangest pages in modern history, -- we introduce to the notice of our readers, -- I. The history of the Mormonites; and II. The claims of their new religion as a revelation from God. This paper we devote to --
I. THE HISTORY OF THE MORMONITES.In the year A.D. 1805, Joseph Smith was born. When a youth of fifteen years of age, he was notorious as a common swindler in Palmyra, a town of the State of New York, in America. Yet, at that early age, with little or no education, and winning his bread by fraudulent practices, he resolved to invent a new religion, and to claim the rank of the Moses or Mohammed of modern times. According to his own account, his mind was distracted with the number of conflicting religious sects; and not knowing which of these was the Church of God, he one day retired to a grove near his father's house, and prayed that God might lead him to join the true Christian Church. That, he confesses, was the first time in his life he had made an attempt to pray; and yet he had scarcely bent the knee, when a pillar of light descended from heaven, and filled the landscape with celestial glory. In the midst of this light, he tells us, he beheld two personages, whose glorious majesty defied description. But one of these addressed him, saying; "Joseph Smith! This is my beloved Son; hear Him!" Joseph then ventured to ask what religious sect he ought to join; and the same speaker declared that all existing sects were an abomination in his sight; and that, at a future period, he would reveal to his youthful servant the fulness of the Gospel. This was the first of a series of visions; for, in 1823, he declared that an angel appeared to him thrice in one night, and once again on the following day, informing him, that the great work preparatory to the second coming of Christ was now to be commenced; that "the Golden Bible," or "Book of Mormon," was deposited in the earth; and that he was to find it buried in the hill of Cumorah, near Palmyra, in the United States. In consequence of this revelation, Joseph dug up the box in which the writings were buried. But when about to examine its contents, the angel of the Lord appeared, shewed him Satan and his evil spirits, and filled him with the Holy Ghost!!! The box, however, was not consigned to his care till the autumn of 1827.
When this famous ark was disinterred and opened, within it was found a volume of plates, having the appearance of gold. These plates were loosely bound together by several rings, and were covered with engravings in Egyptian characters. These Joseph could not decipher; but, along with the plates, he discovered a curious instrument, formed of two transparent stones, fixed within the rims of a bow, like a pair of enormous spectacles. These stones, which he calls "the Urim and Thummim," were used, he informs us, by the seers or prophets of ancient times; and by their assistance he interpreted the
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 41
engravings on the golden plates!! The Book of Mormon, thus brought to light by successive visions, was found to contain the history of the ancient inhabitants of America. These it describes as a branch of the house of Israel, of whom the Red American Indians are still a remnant. It further declares, that their principal nations having fallen in battle, two or three centuries after the death of Christ, one of their prophets, named Mormon, engraved their history, doctrines, and prophecies, on plates of gold, as a new revelation of vital interest to the world at large in the latter days. What its doctrinal and prophetical contents are, need not here be specified; but we add that, after the death of Mormon, Moroni, his son, is represented as having buried the golden plates at Cumorath, in the year 420 of the Christian era.
About this time, a simple farmer, named Martin Harris, lent Joseph Smith fifty dollars, and soon afterwards sold his farm to enable the pretended prophet to publish the Book of Mormon. In order to secure its extensive sale, a false report was spread that Professor Anthon, a distinguished scholar, had pronounced the engravings on the sacred plates to be really characters of the Egyptian language. Moreover, a declaration was published and signed by eight individuals, to the effect that they had seen the plates of the Mormon Bible; while Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery -- whose vicious characters will hereafter be exposed -- signed and circulated a testimonial, affirming that an angel had shewed them the golden plates, and that the voice of God had commanded them to bear witness to this extraordinary fact. As a crowning and conclusive evidence of his heavenly mission, Smith himself asserted, with almost all the solemnity of an oath, that John the Baptist appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery; that he conferred upon them the priesthood of Aaron, and promised them also the priesthood of Melchizedck; and that he commanded them to baptize one another, as "priests of the Most High God." This, accordingly, they did with all due reverence, in 1829, when the Mormon impostor was twenty-four years of age.
Imagining that matters were ripe at last for action, the new prophet went forth to preach a false and mongrel Christianity, -- dwelling especially on his own inspiration, on the forgiveness of sin by immersion in water, on the reign of his followers as the Latter Day Saints, and on their inheritance of the earth in temporal power and glory. Like Mohammed, he borrowed much from the sacred Scriptures, while he corrupted the truth by blasphemous additions, suited to the natural tastes and passions of men. Every comet and meteor -- every war or rumour of war -- every monstrous birth among the lower animals -- every public calamity by tempest, fire, or steamboat explosion, was set forth as a proof and warning of the predicted coming of Christ. Appealing thus to the lowest faculties of credulous and unprincipled men, this crafty impostor, in 1830, was followed as a prophet by thirty disciples. But, as his character was too notorious in Palmyra, he removed to Kirtland, in the State of Ohio, where he established a bank, a general store, and a tavern. As the bank, however, was nothing else than a swindling concern, he selected a place called Independence, in the State of Missouri, as the site of the New Jerusalem -- pretending that he did so by revelation from heaven! During the next two years he preached with success in various parts of the United States, till his impious doctrines, and certain charges brought against him by one of his chief disciples, led to his being stripped, tarred, and feathered, by a furious mob. Meantime, the Mormonites in Missouri excited the rage of the surrounding populace. Friends and foes alike accused them of communism in wives; and of boasting that the time was at hand when they would seize the country and exterminate their enemies by fire and sword. Inflamed by these reports, the people rose against them, and blood was shed. A massacre of twenty Mormonites led to the formation of a Mormon regiment, named the "Dannite Band," or destroying angels, who were bound by an oath to take
42 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
vengeance on their adversaries at the bidding of the church. This impolitic step exasperated the public mind to tenfold fury; and, to escape a general onslaught, the Mormonites surrendered their arms, and engaged to quit Missouri for ever, for the neighbouring State of Illinois. Accordingly, they removed to Commerce, a village on the banks of the Mississippi; and as their numbers now amounted to 15,000 souls, their leaders resolved to build a city, which they called "Nauvoo," or "the Beautiful," and also "the Holy City." Here, at length, Joseph Smith enjoyed a short season of prosperity and peace. He was prophet, priest, and chief magistrate of the new community, and commander-in-chief of a body of militia, raised under the title of the Nauvoo Legion. When thus at the pinnacle of his power and greatness, he sent his missionary agents to England, and succeeded in presenting copies of the Mormon Bible to Queen Victoria and her royal consort! As another fruit of the prophet's zeal, the foundation of a gorgeous temple was laid in 1841, and finally built at a cost of a million dollars. It was styled the Temple of Zion -- being erected, according to Smith, in obedience to the last revelation which he pretended to receive from Heaven. The first stone was laid by the prophet himself, amid the carnal pomp of a procession of troops, and ladies on horseback, military music, and the shouts of assembled multitudes.
Having reached the climax of his earthly grandeur, the power of the Mormon leader was so great, that he proclaimed himself candidate for the Presidency of the American States; but, like Jonah's gourd, which grew in a night and perished in a night, his life and greatness were drawing fast to a close; and we must ascribe his downfall to the spiritual pride and aggressive ambition of his followers, who arrogantly threatened their opponents with the judgments of God. Besides, the laws of the government were trampled under foot. Nauvoo waged constant war against nine surrounding counties. The governor of Missouri -- the old enemy of the Mormonites -- was nearly assassinated; and Smith was prosecuted for the crime. To crown the whole, Sydney Rigdon, his chief coadjutor, introduced the disgraceful doctrine of "spiritual wives," -- alleging that God authorized the saints to make other men's wives and daughters their lawful concubines!! This scandalous charge originated with Dr. Foster, a Mormonite, whose wife the prophet had tried to corrupt; and if we allude to such atrocious doctrines and practices, it is because silence here would be treachery to truth, and because this very matter led to the violent death of the Mormon impostor, and his favourite brother, Hyram Smith. For Dr. Foster, fired with revenge and indignation, published a newspaper, The Expositor, in Nauvoo itself; and in the opening number he copied the affidavits of sixteen women, who declared on oath that Joseph Smith and his friends had attempted to make them their "spiritual wives," with the special permission of Heaven. Thereon the council of the city denounced the Expositor a public nuisance; and a mob of fanatics razed the newspaper office to the ground, destroyed the printing presses, and made a bonfire of the papers and furniture. In consequence of this new outrage, Dr. Foster fled for his life to Carthage, and applied for a warrant against Joseph and Hyram Smith. The warrant was granted; but the brothers refused to surrender themselves, till the magistrates prepared to besiege Nauvoo. On the evening of the 27th of June 1844, a ruffian mob, with blackened faces, attacked the prison, and fired on the brothers Smith, and two of their friends, who had paid them a visit. Hyram was slain in the place of confinement; and Joseph, after leaping from a window, was pierced by four bullets as he lay in a fainting state against a wall. Thus fell this extraordinary man. He was a criminal indeed in the sight of the law, but the victim of popular rage and violence. The perpetrators of his cruel murder were never discovered; and though they had been brought to justice, their death on the scaffold could not have prevented the deplorable consequences of their crime. For the death
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 43
of the wretched impostor did more for his church than fifty years of his life could possibly have accomplished. His disciples regarded him as a martyr for the faith. Both friends and foes foretold that his crimes would be forgotten, and his cause promoted by his melancholy fate. And the prophecy was fulfilled; though not till the Mormonites had suffered another and severer period of suffering, provoked by their own vainglory and infatuation.
W. L. W.
(To be continued.)
In our last Number we sketched the history of this modern sect down to the death of Joseph Smith. On their subsequent movements we will not dwell, as the main interest of their progress terminates with the death of the arch-impostor. A few sentences, however, we must devote to --
THE MORMON EXODUS TO UTAH.After the solemn funeral of the prophet, Sydney Rigdon aspired to be chief of the Mormon Church. But he was ignominiously excommunicated, and "handed over to the buffetings of Satan;" and Brigham Young was elected successor to the departed "prophet." As the
86 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
latter had rashly predicted, that at Nauvoo "the saints" were to dwell for ever, the building of the temple of Zion was carried on, and the city was named "The City of Joseph." But once more his disciples indulged in threats against the neighbouring states and counties; pitched battles were fought, Nauvoo was besieged and taken by storm, and in 1846 its citizens commenced their pilgrimage across the Rocky Mountains to the unknown wilderness of New California, leaving their temple to be gutted by fire, and demolished by a furious hurricane. The distance travelled was 1200 miles. The perils by the way were great. The bones of thousands still whiten the prairies. Famine, plague, and Indian hostility, thinned their ranks. But, at last, they arrived at the valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1847 and 1848 -- a territory including the said "Dead Sea," the "Sea of Galilee," and the "Western Jordan," on the banks of which they have founded the "New Jerusalem." No sooner, however, had they seen their first crops waving, like a fair oasis in the desert, than a new calamity threatened the settlers with death by famine. Myriads of wingless locusts, black, hideous, and mounted on "legs of steelwire and lock-spring," descended from the mountains, and marched, in desolating nests, to devour the rising grain. Against this plague the Mormonites fought and prayed in vain, till flocks of sea-gulls arrived from the western coast, and gorged themselves on the invading foe. This danger passed, a greater threatened to disperse and overthrow the Mormon community. This was the discovery of gold in California by some of their own exploring bands; but, by published appeals, incessant preaching, and dire denunciations against the lust for "filthy lucre," the great mass of "the saints" remained in Utah, inclosing their farms, building houses, and making arrangements for gaining admission as a new state in the American Union. Accordingly, they now occupy a tract of country, locked in by lakes and mountains, at the height of upwards of 4000 feet above the level of the sea. This region is bounded on the west by the state of California; on the north, by the territory of Oregon; and on the east and south by the ridge of hills which separate the waters flowing into the Great Basin from those flowing into the Colorado River and the Gulf of California. In 1850, the American Government appointed Mr. Brigham Young the governor of this new state, with a staff of seven subordinate officers, of whom four are members of the Mormon Church. As, however, the Mormonites in Utah could not be recognized as an organized state till their population amounted to 60,000, the most desperate exertions have been made to "gather the saints from the ends of the earth to the land of promise," This is the secret spring of their missionary enterprise, which the gold of California enables them to prosecute, and whose rapid success is attributed to the lying wonders, and alluring bribes held out to ensnare the poorer classes in Christian lands.
We now proceed to examine --
II. The Claims Of The Mormon Religion to be
1st, The character of the Mormon prophet.
This is a point of paramount importance; for Joseph Smith pretended to converse with God and angels, inculcated doctrines inconsistent with our Christian faith, and proclaimed himself an inspired and "chosen servant of the Most High God, and equal with the Saviour of the world!" Now, as we are commanded to
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 87
"try the spirits whether they be of God," and as Christ himself authorizes us to test and know them "by their fruits," it is no presumption, but a solemn duty, to inquire, whether the Mormon prophet was a man of God, like Moses, the prophets, and apostles; or a crafty deceiver, a daring blasphemer, and a sordid, sensual, ambitious profligate.
In his youth, as we hinted in our former article, Smith gained a precarious living by gross and shameful imposition. On the testimony of his father-in-law and other parties, he pretended to possess a magical stone, by means of which he could discover gold and silver mines, and hidden treasure. Some were credulous enough to believe in his enchantments; and while his dupes were digging for the precious metal, he enticed them to pay him for his share, and left them to seek the imaginary spoil. This, however, seems not to have proved a lucrative trade; for, having resolved to elope with Miss Hale, the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman, and being destitute of funds with which to effect his purpose, he persuaded a Mr. Stowell that he had discovered a bar of gold in a cave, and offered to share it with him for a sum of money. The trick succeeded. Its author fled with his bride to Manchester, an American town, and left his victim to lament his cupidity and infatuation. Such was his infamous mode of life in early manhood: and that this was a matter of notoriety, is proved by the following declaration, signed at Palmyra, Dec. 4th, 1833, by fifty-two influential citizens: -- "We, the undersigned, having known the Smith family for many years, have no hesitation in saying that they are destitute of moral character. Joseph Smith, the prophet, was, in particular, entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits." Nor did this wretched man discontinue his fraudulent practices after he claimed a mission from God as the prophet of the latter days. Removing from his native place, he commenced a system of wholesale swindling, by establishing a bank at Kirtland, in Ohio. For obvious reasons, however, a charter having been refused by the Government, some individuals who had accepted Smith's bank-notes, became anxious to learn what amount of precious metal "the company" possessed. In anticipation of this demand, Smith filled a box with 1000 dollars, and two hundred similar boxes with heavy rubbish. Each of these was marked in front, "1000 dollars;" and when the pretended prophet coolly opened the single box which was filled with silver coin, his creditors felt ashamed to prosecute their inquiry, and retired, imagining that the bank was solvent. This base deception was carried on till the public were robbed to the amount of 100,000 dollars. But, at last, the bubble burst, and the fraud exploded. The "prophet" was condemned as a fraudulent bankrupt in open court; but he fled with his booty, pursued by the officers of justice till he crossed the boundary of the state, and joined his disciples in Missouri!
These facts may render it unnecessary here to expose Smith's deliberate lies and impious blasphemy, in pretending to receive revelations from Heaven commanding the people to provide him with a house, food, clothing, and their wives and daughters as his concubines! Indeed, on such "revelations" we could not dwell without polluting these pages; for they bear on their front the stamp of intense selfishness, gross sensuality, and atrocious wickedness; so that, were the founder of the Mormonites tried by his so-called "revelations" alone, they would convict him (to quote the words of his reverend father-in-law) as the author of fabrications "got up for speculation, that he might live on the spoil of those who swallowed the deception." Suffice it that we notice another feature of his character, -- insatiable ambition. The following is a copy of an affidavit, sworn to by Thomas March, a Mormonite, and confirmed on oath by Orson Hyde, an ex-apostle of the Mormon Church: -- "The plan of Joseph Smith is to take the state of Missouri, the United States, and ultimately the whole world. I have heard him say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean: for, as Mohammed's motto in treating for
88 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
peace was: 'The Alcoran, or The Sword!' so it would be eventually with us: 'Joseph Smith, or The Sword!'"
We close this sketch of the American impostor with two testimonials of his flagitious character. The first is extracted from a letter addressed to himself by Professor Turner of Illinois: -- "I have charitably sought to find some ground for believing that you and your comrades were only a new species of religious maniacs; but I have sought in vain. After a thorough examination of your career, a man might as well attempt to believe your religion, as to regard yourself in any other light than that of a deliberate, cold-blooded, persevering deceiver!" His moral deformity is thus portrayed in the Christian Instructor, a highly respectable American periodical: -- "If we can credit his own words, and the testimony of eye-witnesses, he was, at the same time, the vicegerent of God and a tavern-keeper -- a prophet of Jehovah and a base libertine -- a minister of the religion of peace and a lieutenant-general -- a ruler of tens of thousands and a drunkard, a profane swearer, and a slave to all his own base and unbridled passions!!"
2d, The real origin and history of the Book of Mormon.
The first idea of the "Golden Bible" occurred to Smith after he heard that such a book had been found in Canada. According to the evidence of Peter Ingersol, one of his intimate friends, given on solemn oath, Smith had found some strange white sand, and took it home, wrapped up in his frock. On his friends inquiring what his frock contained, he answered in jest: "It is the Golden Bible; but no man can see it with the naked eye and live!" To his own surprise, they superstitiously believed him; and he afterwards said to his friend already referred to: "I have got the cursed fools fixed, and I'll carry out the fun!" Here, then, we have the germ of the Mormon imposture. Like the spider hungering for the blood of his victims, this cunning and unprincipled youth set his brain to work, and wove a web of ingenious falsehood, light as gossamer to an intelligent Christian, but strong as chains of steel to the ignorant and carnal-minded sinner.
In other words, for the sake of money and sensual gratification, this common swindler speculated on the credulity and depravity of his fellow-men, and invented the story of the golden plates, covered with Egyptian characters, and interpreted by means of the gigantic crystal stones, "the Urim and Thummim!"
Here we need not dwell on the fact, that God of old revealed His will to prophets and apostles, not by means of parchment, golden plates, or any engravings on material tablets, but by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. But we must observe, that the "Urim and Thummim" were not spectacles, nor instruments used in the interpretation of written language, hut mysterious component parts of the dress of the Hebrew high priests. Be it also remembered, that the Mormon "prophet" was totally ignorant of the Egyptian language and characters; for when the Rev. Henry Caswell shewed him a Greek psalter, he pronounced it "a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics!!" "But," asked Professor Caswell, "does it not look like Greek?" "No," answered Smith, who claimed the miraculous "gift of tongues;" "it ain't Greek at all, except perhaps a few words. What ain't Greek is Egyptian; and what ain't Egyptian is Greek!" In fact, the truth of the matter appears to be, that the golden plates never had existence; for no man, Mormonite or Christian, ever enjoyed the privilege of seeing them! True, Smith declared in "the Book of Mormon," that he was permitted to shew them to three individuals. But these very men at first confessed "that they saw them with the eye of faith alone, while the plates were concealed from bodily vision." True, moreover, a copy of some of the golden plates was brought by Martin Harris to Professor Anthon; but that learned scholar declares, that the whole affair was a scandalous hoar, and that the engravings were a wretched forgery, borrowed from the Roman, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets, and Humboldt's Mexican Calendar!"
Though the prophet's witnesses at first acknowledged that they had never seen
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 89
the plates with the bodily eye, they subsequently published a declaration, in which they stated: "That an angel from heaven brought the plates unto them; and that these plates were shewn unto them by the power of God, and not of man." Therefore the character and credibility of these three witnesses become a question of vital importance. Their names are Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. First of all, as to Oliver Cowdery. Joseph Smith himself published the following "revelation" against him in A.D. 1831: "Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God; it is not wisdom in me that Oliver Cowdery Be Entrusted With The Monies which he shall carry into the land of Zion, unless one go with him who shall be true and faithful." Again, as to David Whitmer. In a paper drawn up by Sidney Rigdon, and signed by eighty-four Mormonites, it is stated that the said D. Whitmer and O. Cowdery, were members of "a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs of the deepest die," combining to "cheat and defraud the saints of their property." Once more, as to Martin Harris. He had sold his farm to enable Smith to publish the Book of Mormon; but his wife bore witness, that when she strove to convince him of Smith's imposition, he doggedly replied: "What if it is a lie f If you let us alone, I will make money by it!" But not only was this witness a Mormonite for filthy lucre's sake, -- Professor Turner testifies that he was "a domestic tyrant, frequently beating and kicking his patient wife;" and when he seceded from the Mormon Church, denouncing Smith as "a perfect wretch," his master repaid the compliment by describing him in one of his journals as "a negro with a white skin, so far beneath contempt, that a notice of him would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make!" Such were the men who declared that they had seen and handled the golden plates. They were leading office-bearers in the Mormon Church; yet, on the testimony of their own friends and fellow-impostors, they were arrant knaves, and utterly unworthy of belief.
But, still it may be asked, how an uneducated man like Joseph Smith could compose such a work as the Book of Mormon? Our answer is, that he was not its author -- that in this respect, as in other matters, he was convicted of theft and falsehood; and that this new charge is established by a chain of evidence as clear, unbroken, and condemnatory, as ever was heard in a court of justice. In 1812, there lived in the town of New Salem, the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who, in consequence of illness, had resigned his pastoral charge. To occupy his leisure hours, he spent three years in writing a historical romance, or rather a religious tale, representing the Red American Indians as the lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Its style was a studied imitation of that of the Old Testament histories. Its principal heroes were Mormon, and his son Moroni. As its author pretended that he had dug it up from an Indian mound, its title was "The Manuscript Found;" and Mr. Spaulding's wife, his brother John, and many of his friends and neighbours, heard it read from time to time. Soon afterwards, the Rev. Mr. Spaulding and his family removed to Pittsburg, where he lent the manuscript tale to Mr. Paterson, the editor of a newspaper; and thus it fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, who was a Baptist preacher, and a compositor in Mr. Paterson's printing-office; and who afterwards became the chief accomplice of Joseph Smith in founding the Mormon Church. As the author refused to publish the work, yet left it in Mr. Paterson's hands for a considerable time, S. Rigdon copied the M.S.; and after Mr. Spaulding's death in 1816, he lent it to Joseph Smith, who made it the groundwork of the celebrated "Book of Mormon." This was very providentially proved; for after the "Book of Mormon" was published, copious extracts from it were read by a female Mormon preacher in a public meeting held at New Salem, -- the very town where "The Manuscript Found" was written! At that meeting, Mr. John Spaulding, and certain of his friends were present; and the former at once recognized the extracts rend as stolen from his departed brother's work! Amazed at the strange discovery, and
90 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
bursting into tears of grief and indignation, he rose and expressed his bitter sorrow at the writings of his brother being used for a purpose so vile and blasphemous. These withering facts he subsequently confirmed by his solemn oath; and thus, in the words of its author's widow, "A historical romance," with alterations and additions, has been converted into "a new Bible, and palmed off" on a sect of poor deluded fanatics as a divine revelation!"
W. T. W.
(To be concluded in our next Number.)
In examining the claims of Mormondom to be received as a revelation of the will of God, we have already considered, 1st, The character of its Founder; and, 2d, The real origin and history of the Book of Mormon. And the result of our inquiry was, that the character of Joseph Smith was a combination of knavery, ambition, sensuality, and impiety; -- and that the "Mormon Bible" was nothing else than Spaulding's historical romance, "The Manuscript Found," with such additions and alterations as might conceal its origin, and palm it off on the credulous multitude as a divine revelation. In further exposing this most transparent, but most dangerous imposture, let us glance --
3d, At the literary and religious characteristics of the Book of Mormon.
In defining the meaning of the word "Mormon," Smith unmasks his own unblushing impudence, and gives the world a ludicrous illustration of the proverb, that "a little learning is a dangerous thing." "The Bible," he tells us, "means good; for the Saviour says: 'I am the good Shepherd.' We say from the Saxon, good; from the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, Mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word Mor-Mon, which means, literally, More-Good." Here is a learned definition, which reminds us of Dr. Johnson's definition of higgledy-piggledy, -- "a conglomerated mass of heterogeneous matter!" Here is a man inspired to interpret tongues, blindly asserting that the word Bible means good! -- though every tyro in Greek knows that it signifies the book. Here is a pretended prophet who claims divine inspiration, and yet maintains that the name of Mormon, the Nephite prophet, who lived two centuries after the birth of Christ, is composed of the Saxon word more prefixed to the Egyptian word mon! But his definition was craftily invented to serve a purpose. He argued thus: -- "The very title of this book means More-Good, -- that is, more of the Gospel, -- a new Revelation for the Latter Days, equally genuine, authentic, and infallible, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christianity is the development of preceding dispensations, Mormonism is the development of Christianity; and I am the angel of the everlasting Gospel, whom John beheld, in vision, flying through heaven, to preach the fulness of the truth to every creature!"
Now, as J. Smith acknowledged the Bible to be the Word of God, and as one of the articles of the Mormon creed is as follows: -- "We believe in the word of God recorded in the Bible, and also the word of God recorded in the Book of Mormon," -- we are entitled to expect that the latter volume contains no glaring errors, no rank absurdities, no anachronisms, no heresy whatsoever, nor the slightest inconsistency with the Old and New Testaments. This, we say, we are entitled to demand. As the colours of the rainbow blend and form a pure and dazzling light -- as the attributes of God harmonize, and constitute Him the all-perfect One -- as the books of nature, providence, and grace, illustrate and interpret heavenly truth -- and as Moses and the Prophets, and Christ and the Apostles, revealed the same great truths from age to age, as inspired and infallible teachers sent by God, -- this book of Mormon, if it is the Word of God, must be free from human errors, and must bear the impress of its divine original; -- in other words, it must harmonize with the sacred Scriptures, and communicate truths plainly and essentially necessary to man's salvation and the glory of God.
116 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
Such portions of the Book of Mormon as remained as Mr. Spaulding wrote them, possess no inconsiderable literary merit, though he undertook the impracticable task of imitating the style of the Old Testament writings. Not so, however, with J. Smith, the "inspired interpreter of the golden plates." Wherever he altered Mr. Spaulding's romance, he betrays the cloven hoof of an impostor. He is the stone-mason replacing a limb on the Venus de Medici. He is a sign-painter restoring a masterpiece of Claude or Rembrandt. He is a schoolboy adding to the classic simplicity, and poetic grandeur, and heroic chivalry of Homer's Epics. Not to speak of his utter ignorance of Hebrew idioms, ellipses, and terse but comprehensive style, -- the Book of Mormon is full of grammatical blunders, so very shameful that the schoolmaster in America is evidently not abroad. Such phrases as these are of frequent occurrence: -- "I saith unto them," -- "I, who ye call your king," -- "Ye saith unto him," -- "Ye are like unto they," -- These things had not ought to be," -- "For a more history part are written on my other plates." How unlike the style of the shepherds and fishermen who wrote the books of the incomparable Bible!
J. Smith was not inspired with chronological knowledge. He represents Mormon the prophet as guilty of anachronisms as absurd as those of any Arabian, Hindu, or Chinese pretender. The Book of Mormon relates, that the Nephites sailed by the guidance of the compass to America, more than a thousand years before that instrument was invented. It mentions our Saviour by the titles "Christ" and "Jesus;" whereas, had Mormon been a Hebrew, and the engraver of the so-called golden plates, he would have designated our Lord "Messiah" and "Joshua." It speaks of "Christians" centuries before the coming of Christ, though we know from Acts xi. 26, that "His disciples were called Christians first at Antioch," in A.D. 41. It represents the Israelites of the tribe of Joseph as using the Gospel ordinances and Christian sacraments many ages before the Mosaic law was abolished, or the Christian worship instituted in its stead. It even quotes Paul's Epistle to the Romans, (xi. 17, 19, 23,) some hundred years before Paul was born; and its compiler absurdly misapplies the terms "alpha" and "omega," as if he deemed them possessed of some mystic meaning, and as if he little imagined that they are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and could have no place in a book so ancient, and composed by one whose mother tongue was Hebrew, and who engraved the reformed Egyptian characters on the golden plates. Such are a few of the anachronisms which prove the Book of Mormon an illiterate work of modern date. The mariner's compass in use in the days of the prophets! Christ, Christians, and Christian ordinances recorded by an ancient orthodox Jew! The Epistle to the Romans quoted before it was written! As well might this base fabrication speak of Knox and Luther, of railways to London, or the bombardment of Odessa; and, nevertheless, be held by its blasphemous author a divine revelation of the Gospel!
Some of the stories of the Book of Mormon are sublimely ridiculous. The most fabulous writers of the Apocrypha would have rejected them. Mohammed would not have dared to insert them in the Alcoran. In the middle ages, some Romish monk might have penned them on the illuminated page of a book of holy legends. But, alas! for the light of the nineteenth century! -- Joseph Smith has given them a prominent place in "The Book of the New Everlasting Gospel!" Take the following specimen: -- When the Jaredites were about to emigrate to America, they built eight boats, "made like unto dishes." These vessels were air-light, and yet had a hole in the roof, (to admit fresh air?) and a hole in the bottom, (to admit salt water?) These extraordinary barges could swim on the sea, or dive to its channel, with equal ease. They had two windows each, formed of molten stones; and two of these windows were preserved, and became "the Urim and Thummiin" which J. Smith used as spectacles in translating the Golden Plates!! Strange, indeed, that
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 117
men who laugh at Aesop's Fables, popish legends, and Gulliver's Travels, can credit such inventions as the Word God!
Not unfrequently this spurious volume flatly contradicts the sacred Scriptures. We quote one instance, of itself sufficient to brand that volume as a wretched forgery, and its pretended author as a lying prophet: -- The sceptre was to continue in the tribe of Judah till Shiloh came, (Gen. xlix. 10;) but the Book of Mormon describes the descendants of Joseph as legitimate kings in Israel. It is equally certain that the priesthood was conferred on Aaron and his sons, (Num. iii. 10,) -- that the service of the sanctuary was imposed on the tribe of Levi, -- and that Jehovah threatened those who should usurp the priestly office with the doom of "Korah and his company," and sternly commanded that they should be "put to death." But of this fundamental law of the Mosaic economy the American "prophet" was profoundly ignorant. He represents Lehi and his sons, of the tribe of Joseph, as priests in accordance with the law of Moses; and, with a daring impiety, seldom heard of far from the Roman Vatican, he himself usurped the prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices of Jesus Christ!
4th, Heretical doctrines of the Mormonites.
In addition to the Book of Mormon, Smith published a "Book of Doctrines and Covenants." His followers have published tracts, pamphlets, and series of essays, in explanation and defence of the Mormon creed. But as these remarks must be drawn to a close, we must not dwell on all their heresies, nor dare we glance at their vulgar and horrible notions of heaven and hell. They profess to believe in the Holy Bible; yet Orson Pratt, their English apostle, declares, that because they cleave to the Holy Bible, the whole Protestant clergy "are as destitute of the authority of God as the devil and angels!" "What, then, would this man have us to believe? In living prophets, apostles, and high priests, -- in the gift of tongues and modern miracles, -- in the baptism of the dead and baptismal salvation, -- in the divine right of revenge, fornication, and adultery, -- in the saintship of a monster of wickedness, -- in the divine original of a book formed out of a romance, and replete with errors, falsehoods, and blasphemies, -- and, of course, in his own infallibility, honesty, and worth, as an apostle to the Gentiles!
The Mormonites teach the atheistical doctrine, that matter is eternal; -- in other words, they deny that "God created the heavens and the earth," -- the prima materia of the present universe. This dogma is so opposed to reason, science, and revelation, that we dismiss it with Dr. Adam Clarke's observation: "If there were an eternal Nature besides an eternal God, there must have been two self-existent, independent, and eternal Beings, which is a most palpable contradiction."
They maintain that forgiveness of sins is obtained by immersion in water, apart from faith in the blood of Christ; and that sanctification begins in the soul, not at conversion, and by the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit, but by a sacramental process involved in "baptismal regeneration."
They tell us that angels are human beings, -- that God is not a Spirit, but a man like ourselves, -- and that, in another world, man will be exalted above God! In proof of a statement so extraordinary, I quote the following from "the Millennial Star," Vol. VI., printed on the "Prophet's" authority, and signed by his own name: -- "The weakest child of God who now exists upon the earth will possess more dominion, more property, more subjects, more power and glory, than is possessed by Jesus Christ or by His Father! * * * What are angels? They are intelligences of the human species. Many of them are the offspring of Adam and Eve, -- of men, it is said, being gods, or sons of God, endowed with the same powers, attributes, and capacities, that their heavenly Father and Jesus Christ possess. * * * What is God? -- He is a material organized Intelligence, possessing both body and parts. He is in the form of a man, and is, in fact, of the same species, and is a model and standard of perfection, to which man
118 THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
is destined to attain. This Being cannot occupy two distinct places at once, therefore He cannot be everywhere present." Such gross infidelity, such hideous blasphemy, constrains us to ask: Did J. Smith ever read the Bible? If so, did he believe it? Was he inspired to contradict Jesus Christ's declaration, "God is a Spirit?" -- to contradict the Holy Ghost, who moved holy men of old to teach us that God is invisible, omnipresent, and enthroned "in light inaccessible and full of glory?" But our English Mormonites advance, if possible, further atill in frightful impiety, They insolently say, that the God whom Christians worship is "a newly-invented God, resembling nothing in heaven, or earth, or hell;" and that our worship of Him "far surpasses, in absurdity, the worship of frightful serpents, or images of wood, or stone, or brass!" It is exceedingly painful to quote these ravings of infidels, -- infidels more insane, and more inveterate in enmity to God than Paine, Voltaire, or Rosaeau! Yet thousands of our countrymen are forsaking the God of their fathers for a god who is a man, who eats and drinks, who sins and repents, who very little excels ordinary men in stature, and who knows nothing that is done under the sun, unless an angel ascends to heaven to inform him!!
5th, Prophecies and miracles are adduced in support of the Mormon imposture.
When Mormonism was in its infancy, J. Smith predicted "by revelation from God," that Sidney Rigdon would live to accomplish "a great work" in advancing the kingdom of heaven. The revelation was falsified by the event. Rigdon was a scandal to the Mormon Church. His doctrine of "spiritual wives" led to the murder of "the prophet." And he himself was "handed over to Satan," by a public council of his fellow-apostles. In three distinct revelations, J. Smith foretold that Zion was to be built for ever at Independence in Missouri. Unfortunate prophet! his disciples were banished from Missouri, and founded Zion in New California! One prophecy, however, Smith was determined to fulfil. In 1841, he foretold that his old enemy, Governor Boggs, would die within a year. Mr. Bennet, the mayor of Nauvoo, deposed, that for a reward of 500 dollars, one of the Daoite band fired a shot at the governor, and soon after appeared in Nauvoo with abundance of money. Next day, the fulfilment of the prophecy was proclaimed on Smith's authority; but Governor Boggs survived the assassin's bullet, and within the year, actually assisted in bringing Smith himself to a premature death!
As a worker of miracles, we need not say J. Smith was not more successful. When the Asiatic cholera broke out among his followers, he attempted to heal them by "laying on of hands and prayer;" and when he failed, he consoled them with the heartless assurance, that their enemies would suffer more than they by the deadly plague! On another occasion, he proclaimed his intention to walk across an American river, as a decisive proof of his being a prophet of God. The appointed day arrived. Multitudes were assembled. But, when on his way to the Mississippi, he stopped and refused to fulfil his promise, on the hypocritical pretence that many of the people had no faith! -- as if their conversion from unbelief were not the very end to be served by his working the miracle!
At the present day, miraculous powers are claimed by the Mormon "prophets" and "apostles." A list of miracles has been published by the apostolic Orson Pratt. It rivals, but does not surpass, the catalogue of wondrous cures performed by "Parr's Life Pills," and such quack medicines. Can Pratt deny that several Mormonites died of cholera in Glasgow, because their apostles "cast physic to the dogs," and tried their miraculous gifts in vain? Can he deny that Cecilia Howe expired at Cardiff, after three days spent in vain attempts to cure her by a miracle, and fifteen minutes after a leading Mormonite declared she would not die? Can he deny that two "apostles" called a public meeting at Newport, to witness the raising of a man from the dead, -- that a gentleman present, suspecting conspiracy, inflicted a sound whipping on the pretended corpse, -- and that the latter rose and fled from
THE EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE. 119
the place in shame and terror? These are specimens of Mormon miracles! but they are not the most disgusting that might be referred to. In the following extract from the Millennial Star, published 1st Aug. 1847, a Mormon preacher gives an account of his casting out devils at the ordination of Richard Currell to the priesthood: -- "When we laid our hands upon him, the devil entered him, and tried to prevent us from ordaining him; but the power of Jesus Christ in the priesthood was stronger than the devil. When the devil found he was defeated in brother Currell, he entered a sister. The devils kept coming in for several hours. As fast as one lot was expelled, another lot entered. At one time, we counted twenty-seven come out of her. I may as well say, that the devils told us they were sent, some by Cain, and some by Kite, Kilo, Kelo, Kalmonia, Judas, and Lucifer. We cast them out thirty times, and had three hundred and nineteen devils, -- from three to thirty coming out at a time!!!" Surely such vulgar nonsense needs no comment. Impiety and impudence can go no farther. We only hope, that the man who wrote the foregoing report, may himself be exorcised from a spirit of falsehood, and that our countrymen may laugh to scorn such absurd and soul destructive delusions!
We have written these articles on Mormonism for the special use of the working-men in town and country. The bait held out to them by lying emissaries, is not without its own peculiar allurements: "Become a Mormon; and we offer yon a western paradise -- rocks of gold -- land for nothing -- -freedom from jails, police, &c. -- 'perfect liberty' to desert wife and children in Britain, and to marry another woman, or any number of spiritual wives -- and, at the same time, pardon of sin by simple immersion in water!" Excepting, indeed, the Mormonite toleration of polygamy, these enticements are fallacious bribes. According to Kelly's "Excursions in California," the Mormon valley is a "bald and level plain, without bush or bramble to cast a shade from the scorching rays of a flaming sun." There is no crop there without toil and hardships; no gold at the diggings without labour, disease, and the probability of robbery, or even murder; no crime detected without "lynch law," or the more regular laws of the United States. A thousand times happier is life at home, or on the fields of Upper Canada, or the pastures of Australia!
Nor should our countrymen forget, that Mormonism is a new form of foul and detestable infidelity. "The great danger is, that it is clothed in the garb of Christianity to deceive the unwary. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is atheism in Bible-binding. It is Satan's brass with the name of the Saviour on it, to make it pass current, and deceive, corrupt, and destroy. It is a lie dressed up with a garnish stolen from the Word of God!" The sacred Scriptures, on the other hand, bear on every page the stamp of divine inspiration. They challenge investigation. They have triumphed over all the assaults of scepticism and false philosophy; and from every furnace of scorn and sophistry, they shall come forth refined, and more impressively than ever vindicate their claim to be, -- "The Word Of God."
"Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, -- let him be accursed!" What an inscription for the tomb of Joseph Smith! What an inspired apostolical anathema on him and all his preachers! What an argument in favour of the Christian clergy combining in a holy war against Mormon heresy, and blasphemy, and immorality, -- by lectures, tracts, pamphlets, and the organized visitation of the lanes and closes of our populous cities!
W. L. W.
Vol. II. London, U. K., March, 1854. No. 3.
[ 96 ]
Mormonism and the Mormons.Everybody knows that the most valuable of the recent territorial acquisitions of the United States is California. This amazing country is naturally divided into two portions, called the Coast and Inland Sections. The former extends inland from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, and varies in breadth from one hundred and fifty to two hundred miles. The latter, comprising at least four-fifths of the area of California, is bounded on the west by the Sierra-Nevada, and on the east by the Rocky Mountains. Its principal feature is an enormous depression between these ranges, five hundred miles each way, known as the Great Interior Basin of California. Many rivers flow from all sides towards its centre, which is "mountainous, the ranges generally from two to three thousand feet high, and parallel with the main ones on the sides; with some partial cross ridges, that form minor basins." It "is desert in character, with some fertile strips flanking the bases of the highest ridges." In the eastern part of this basin, "along the western foot of the Wahsatch range, for three hundred miles, is a region of alluvium, from one to two miles in width," capable, however, in certain localities, of being considerably widened by irrigation from the neighbouring streams.
It is, farther, separated from the older portions of the United States; an irreclaimable desert, to the east of the Rocky Mountains, extending almost from their bases to the banks of the Mississippi. Our readers are doubtless acquainted with the suffering encountered in this desert, of late years, by Californian emigrants. But few pilgrimages across it have been more important in themselves, or characterized by more romantic incidents, than those which appertain to our present subject. In the summer of 1847, a band of about one hundred and forty men, with about seventy waggons, and a due proportion of
Head Location of the Mormons. 97
admirable horses, descended one of the gorges of the mountains, and pitched their tents on the right bank of a river, which runs into the Great Salt Lake, and which, from its striking resemblance to the course of the Jordan into the Dead Sea, and on religious grounds, they called "the Western Jordan." The pioneer band was speedily followed by other companies of emigrants; the site for a large city was selected; and the busy hum of industry broke the primeval silence of the wilderness. Year after year, the steady flow of emigration has since brought vast numbers of people from the States of the Union, and other parts of the world; and the population of the Salt-Lake city, with its circumjacent territory and townships, now falls, probably, little short of forty thousand, the number still increasing in a surprising ratio. Wonders have already been achieved by the associated skill and labour of the community; and so prosperous has the country become, that, at the demand of its inhabitants, the Federal Government has constituted it the "Territory of Utah," preparatory to its erection into an independent and sovereign State of the Great American Confederation, -- a dignity which it is hastening to assume, under the designation of Deseret, "the Land of the Honey Bee."
This rapid sketch of the present location of the Mormons, and of the wonderful manner in which it has repaid their industry, appears necessary to redeem the subject from absolute contempt. Most of our readers, probably, have been accustomed to think of this singular people only as an ignorant and fanatical sect, the dupes of one of the most vulgar religious impostors that the world ever saw. No doubt, this view is, in the main, correct. We cannot but despise, while we pity, the half-crazed fanatics, who, at the bidding of Smith and his successors, have been hurrying, from all parts of the world, for nearly twenty years past, to one "Zion" after another, on the American continent. But the intensity of their belief, the severity of their sufferings, the compactness of their organization, the far-sighted policy of their leaders, their equivocal pretensions, and their warlike array, -- inspire, at least, the respect which fear implies, and compel thoughtful men in America, whether philosophers, statesmen, or divines, anxiously to ponder their actual progress and future destiny.
The existence of fanaticism is no strange event. It would, therefore, be traversing a much-trodden field, to discuss the reasons why "Joe Smith" has so many devout believers in his claims, in the nineteenth century, and in the two most enlightened of the Christian nations. Love of the marvellous; anxiety to pry into the future; ignorant credulity; aversion to the study of the Scriptures; dislike of the restraints of time religion; the cupidity which favours the success of any scheme proposing to re-construct society on a more equitable basis: -- these and similar
98 Mormonism and the Mormons.
causes have always assisted in the production of results like that before us, and have furnished important matter of speculation to the psychologist and the divine. Only, in the present instance, the sagacity and cunning of "the Prophet," and of his still more astute confederates, appear to have given to these causes an unusual intensity of influence. We shall, therefore, abstain from farther inquiry in that direction, and confine our attention to a historical review of the actual origin and progress of Mormonism, and of that strange medley of truth and falsehood, real infidelity and pretended evangelism, which by a questionable courtesy is denominated "the Mormon Faith."
The origin of Mormonism is identified with the alleged discovery, by Joseph Smith, Jun., of certain gold leaves or plates, to which the name of the "Book of Mormon" has been given. Smith's own account of this discovery was published in the "Millennial Star," and relates that, in his fourteenth or fifteenth year, he was involved in distressing perplexity, as to which of the many sects in America possessed the true religion; that, while reading, in the Epistle of James, that passage, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him," -- "it seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of" his "heart;" that, after much reflection, he retired to the woods to pray; and, while so engaged, suffered a long and severe conflict with some mysterious evil presence; that, when ready to sink into despair, he saw "a pillar of light exactly over" his "head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon" him. "It no sooner appeared," he continues, "than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, (pointing to the other,) 'This is my beloved Son; hear Him.'" In answer to his inquiry, with which of the religious sects he should unite himself, he tells us he was forbidden to join any; for that all were wrong: but he received "a promise, that the true doctrine, the fulness of the Gospel, should, at sonic future time, be made known unto him."
After a brief relapse (?) into sin, he is represented as having received a still more remarkable visitation, in his own house, "on the evening of the 21st of September, 1823." On this occasion, "a personage," who is minutely described, is said to have appeared to him thrice, (declaring himself to be an angel of God,) and to have informed him that his sins were forgiven, and that he was "called and chosen" to be an instrument in the hands of God to commence "the great preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah;" moreover, "that the American
Discovery of the Book of Mormon. 99
Indians were a remnant of Israel;" that, when they emigrated to America, they possessed a knowledge of the true God, &c, and had Prophets and other inspired writers, who preserved a record of their national history; but that they fell into great wickedness, and were destroyed. The sacred records, however, were safely deposited, and he was to be the honoured instrument of bringing them to light. At the same time he was directed to the place of deposit.
Accordingly, he repaired to the spot, -- "a large hill, on the east side of the road, as you pass from Palmyra, Mayne [sic] County, to Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York." A hole was dug, and a box, containing the mysterious records, lay exposed to view. Our Prophet, however, was not allowed to gain possession of them, till he had prepared himself "by prayer, and by faithfulness in obeying the Lord." He continued to receive visits from the angel, and, at the end of four years, "on the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827, the golden plates" were delivered into his hands.
Such, in substance, is the Prophet's own story of the discovery of the Book of Mormon. It is, of course, implicitly believed by his followers, and is circumstantially related by Mr. Orson Pratt, one of the most zealous and able of the Mormon apostles. After a variety of incidents, to be noticed hereafter, the Book was published in 1830, having emblazoned on its title-page, -- since altered, -- "Joseph Smith, Jun., author and proprietor."
Smith and his friends were soon prepared with direct evidence in favour of the authenticity of the book. But, before examining that evidence, and the character of the parties concerned in "getting it up," some attention must be given to a previous question, -- a question important not so much in relation to Mormonism, as on other and broader grounds. Mr. Orson Pratt, mentioned above, -- "one of the twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," -- has published a series of tracts on the "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon." Before adducing his direct evidences, he endeavours, according to orthodox usage in another case, to prove that the prospect of a farther revelation than that which is contained in Scripture, is neither unscriptural nor unreasonable; that, in fact, such farther revelation is indispensably necessary. His argument on these subjects is subtle and elaborate, though by no means ingenuous; and he appears sometimes to some advantage in dealing with certain isolated texts, on which the proof of the sufficiency and completeness of the existing Scriptures has occasionally been made to rest. But this great doctrine, like all scriptural verities, does not rest so much on isolated texts, as on the broad principles and general scope of Scripture itself. It must be obvious, for instance, that, in relation to this matter,
100 Mormonism and the Mormons.
there is a great difference between the Old and the New Testament. In the former, the reference to a future and fuller revelation is everywhere prominent; and the whole scheme is "the shadow of good tiiings to come." But, in the New Testament, the stamp of completeness and sufficiency is everywhere seen. And in all cases of scriptural comparison between the New Testament and the Old, such comparison is drawn as between perfection and imperfection, -- a contrast wholly delusive, if the New Testament were but another step in a progressive revelation, and not the final disclosure of "the whole counsel of God." This distinction is tacitly admitted by Pratt himself; for he quotes but one passage, in support of his views, from the New Testament, namely, Rev. xiv. 6-8: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth," &c. He professes to make it mathematically certain that this "everlasting Gospel" is Mormonism! As to his quotations from the Old Testament, none but a designing or fanatical mind could interpret them as referring to any revelation posterior to that of the New Testament.
The direct evidence of the "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon" rests chiefly on the testimony of certain witnesses to the truth of Smith's statements, -- on miracles alleged to have been performed, -- and on "the inward light" and personal convictions of the leading Mormonites. The last point is, of course, unworthy of attention; of Mormon miracles we shall have something to say, as we proceed: for the present, let us look at the testimony of the "witnesses," as given in two documents, -- one signed by three, and the other by eight, persons: --
"The testimony of Three witnesses. -- Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare, with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes: nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be
Alleged Evidences of Authenticity. 101
found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with Him eternally in the heavens. And the honour be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
"And also the testimony of Eight witnesses. -- Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Junior, the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
"Peter Whitmer, Jun.,
Joseph Smith, Sen.,
Samuel H. Smith."
These documents are prefixed to every edition of the Book of Mormon. But what is their real value? 1. It will be observed, that of the eleven witnesses, five are Whitmers, and three are Smiths. 2. There is no date to either of these documents. In March, 1829, (the book being published with these vouchers in 1830,) the plates were in Smith's possession; but he professed to have been forbidden to show them to Harris. It would be satisfactory to know, when and why this prohibition was removed, and at what time Harris and his friends were favoured with a sight of the plates. 3. Smith obtained the plates, as he says, in 1827, and published his translation in 1830. Was it during this interval that the "angel of the Lord" showed the plates to the three witnesses? And why was Smith so much more gracious than the angel, as to allow the eight to handle, as well as see, the plates? The angel is, altogether, a most clumsy contrivance. 4. Granting that Smith did show certain engraved plates to the eight witnesses, what proof had they, beyond his bare assertion, that they were what he had translated, -- just so many, and no more? or that he had translated them at all? He told them so, and they report to the world what he said. This is exactly the amount of their testimony. As to the statement of the three witnesses, that they were assured by "the voice of God," -- who does not see that it stands just as much in need of confirmation as the story of "the Prophet" himself?
This being the whole of the original evidence upon the point in question, our readers might safely be left to judge of its value.
102 Mormonism and the Mormons.
But it is fair to inquire into the credibility of these witnesses, and to refer to other accounts of the origin of the book. Sixty-two "men, of character and standing," in Manchester and Palmyra, testify, that the Smiths were lazy and intemperate, and that their word was not to be depended on; that Smith Senior and Junior, in particular, were entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits; and that Martin Harris was "perfectly visionary on moral and religious subjects, sometimes advocating one sentiment, and sometimes another." It further appears, that he had been connected successively with almost every religious denomination, -- having thus been "every thing by turns, and nothing long."
Smith seems at first to have trusted a confidential (?) friend or two with his secret, though he did not, in each instance, tell the same story. One Peter Ingersoll deposes: --
"One day he came and greeted me with a joyful countenance. Upon asking him the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied: -- 'As I was passing yesterday across the wood, I found in a hollow some beautiful white sand, that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock, and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On my entering the house, they were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in Canada, called the Golden Bible; so I told them it was the Golden Bible. To my surprise, they were credulous enough to believe what I said. Accordingly I told them that I had received a commandment to let no one see it; for, says I, no man can see it with the naked eye, and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it, and left the room. Now,' said Joe,' I have got the d___d fools fixed, and will carry out the fun.' Notwithstanding he told me he had no such book, and believed there never was any such book, yet he told me that he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest, in which he might deposit his Golden Bible. But, as Chase would not do it, he made a box himself of clap-boards, and put it into a pillow-case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case." -- Kidder, pp. 22, 23.
Willard Chase confirms, on oath, that part of Ingersoll's testimony that relates to himself; and adds, that he would not make the box because Smith would not show him the book, having been commanded to keep it secret for two years; yet that, in less than that time, twelve men professed to have seen it; that shortly afterwards Smith told a neighbour that he had no such book, and never had, but told the story to deceive "the d___d fool;" that he got money from Martin Harris, "a credulous man," by pretending that God had commanded him to ask the first man he met for fifty dollars, to assist in publishing the Golden Bible. Parley Chase declares that the Smiths hardly ever told two stories alike about the book. Sometimes they said it was found in Canada; sometimes, in a tree; sometimes, dug
Proofs of Smith's Duplicity. 103
up from the earth. Abigail Harris, a Quakeress, affirms, among other things, that all that Martin and the rest appeared concerned about was to make money by the book; that Harris's wife expressed her conviction that the whole was a delusion: -- to which he replied, "What if it is a lie? If you will let me alone, I will make money out of it -- and that, on one occasion, when Joe's mother asked her (Abigail) to lend money, to pay her hopeful son's travelling expenses home, she replied, "He might look in his stone, and save his time and money;" at which the old lady, very naturally, "seemed confused." Martin's wife confirms this affirmation. Joseph Capron states that Smith, Senior, told him that when the book was published, they would be enabled, from the profits, to carry into successful operation the money-digging business. Mr. Hale, Smith's father-in-law, with whose daughter the latter had run away, and whose character for veracity is guaranteed by two "Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for Susquehannah County, Pennsylvania," relates the following particulars: --
"I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Junior, in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called 'money-diggers;' and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure * * *
"I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them. I was shown a box, in which it was said they were contained. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, into which, however, I was not allowed to look * * *
"About this time Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage; and Smith began to interpret the characters, or hieroglyphics, which he said were engraven upon the plates; while Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said, that Hands wrote down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after this, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a greater witness, and said, that he had talked with Joseph about it. Joseph informed him that he could not, or durst not, show him the plates, but that he (Joseph) would go into the woods, where the book of plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should follow his track in the snow, and examine it for himself. Harris informed me that he followed Smith's directions, and could not find the plates, and was still dissatisfied." -- Kidder, pp. 30, 31.
Of Smith's method of translating at this time, Mr. Hale says, it was --
"The same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods." -- Ibid., p. 33.
Finally, he deposes: --
"Joseph Smith, Junior, resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him and his
104 Mormonism and the Mormons.
associates; and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, that the whole 'Book of Mormon' (so called) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators may live upon the spoils of those who swallow the deception." -- Ibid., p. 34.
This affirmation is subscribed, "Isaac Hale," and countersigned, "Charles Dimon, Justice of the Peace." The Rev. N. Lewis, a Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and several other parties, have come forward with similar testimony, and additional statements, on oath, as to the drunkenness and debauchery of the concocters of the plot.
We are thus minute on this part of the case, because the whole question, of course, turns upon the validity of Smith's claims, and the authenticity of his pretended revelation.
But, at this point, another story appears, which, if true, accounts satisfactorily enough for Smith's "inspiration," and for the appearance of his "Golden Bible." It discloses, moreover, a fraud so vulgar and clumsy, and, withal, so unusually impious, that we are almost confounded at its success. According to various testimonies, the Book of Mormon was originally neither more nor less than a dull novel, written by one Solomon Spaulding. We quote the deposition of Solomon's brother, John; premising that it is confirmed by the written declarations of John's wife, of Solomon's widow, of a former business-partner of his, of one who lodged with him during the period of the composition of the book, of one with whom Spaulding himself had lodged, and of others with whom he had conversed about it, or to whom portions of it had been shown: --
"Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761; and in early life contracted a taste for literary pursuits. After he left school, he entered Plainfield Academy, where he made great proficiency in study, and excelled most of his class-mates. He next commenced the study of law, in Windham County, in which he made little progress, having, in the mean time, turned his attention to religious subjects. He soon after entered Dartmouth College, with the intention of qualifying himself for the ministry, where he obtained the degree of A.M., and was afterwards regularly ordained. After preaching three or four years, he gave it up, removed to Cherry Valley, New York, and commenced the mercantile business, in company with his brother Josiah. In a few years he failed in business; and in the year 1809 removed to Conneaut, in Ohio. The year following I removed to Ohio, and found him engaged in building a forge. I made him a visit in about three years after, and found that he had failed, and was considerably involved in debt. He then told me he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled 'The Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, -- endeavouring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost
True Origin of the Book of Mormon. 105
tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterward had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations; one of which he denominated 'Nephites,' and the other 'Lamanites.' Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences, and civilization, were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c., as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with, 'And it came to pass,' or, 'Now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon; and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter." -- Kidder, pp. 37, 38.
To account for Smith's obtaining possession of this "Manuscript Found," we are next introduced to one Sidney Rigdon, who figured conspicuously in the history of Mormonism, almost from its commencement. Solomon Spaulding placed his novel in the hands of Messrs. Patterson and Lambdin, printers, of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania. In the year 1823 or 1824 [sic], Rigdon came to reside at Pittsburgh, and was either in the office of Patterson and Lambdin, or on very intimate terms with the latter; and Spaulding's widow testifies that he repeatedly spoke of having seen and copied the manuscript. At the end of three years, -- or about the time when Smith professed to obtain possession of the plates, -- he removed to Geauga County, Ohio, where we shall find him, when his ostensible connexion with Smith begins. He resided here during the four following years. During this time he paid repeated and protracted visits to Pittsburgh, and, it is believed, to the Susquehannah, where Smith then lived, digging for money, and pretending to be translating the plates. He professed to abandon every other pursuit for the study of the Bible, which helps to account for the profuse quotations of Scripture, -- the "religious matter" to which John Spaulding refers, and with which the Book of Mormon abounds. He began also to preach "some new points of doctrine, which were afterwards found in the Mormon Bible;" and "prepared the minds of nearly a hundred to embrace the first mysterious ism that should be presented." During this time he had no ostensible connexion with Smith; and Lieut. Gunnison appears to doubt his complicity in the original fraud. But the facility of his apparent conversion, the eagerness with which he seconded Smith's views, his immediate elevation to be second in command, and the removal of the whole party to the neighbourhood of his residence in Ohio, form, together with the facts mentioned above, a chain of coincidences which leave no doubt
106 Mormonism and the Mormons.
on our mind, that he was the author of the Book of Mormon, in the form in which Smith published it; and that the concealment of his connexion with it, and his sudden conversion, were parts of the original plot. Smith's necromantic habits had given him an extensive notoriety, and he was just the man to answer Rigdon's purpose. The latter, indeed, published a formal denial of the allegations of Spaulding's widow and others; but it is little more than a tissue of the most vulgar abuse and recrimination; and we cannot but agree with Mr. Mayhew, that, upon a review of the whole evidence, "the question of the authorship of the original romance, upon which the Book of Mormon was founded, will be decided in favour of Solomon Spaulding."
The period of "translation" extended from 1827 to 1830; and, on this subject, some amusing and instructive stories are told. Mr. J. N. Tucker, a printer in the office of Patterson and Lambdin [sic], at the time of the publication of the Book, relates the following: --
"We had heard much said by Martin Harris, -- the man who paid for the printing, and the only one in the concern worth any property, -- about the wonderful wisdom of the translators of the mysterious plates; and resolved to test their wisdom. Accordingly, after putting one sheet in type, we laid it aside, and told Harris it was lost, and there would be a serious defect in the book in consequence, unless another sheet like the original could be produced. The announcement threw the old gentleman into quite an excitement; but, after a few moments' reflection, he said he would try to obtain another. After two or three weeks another sheet was produced, but no more like the original, than any other sheet of paper would have been, written over by a common school-boy, after having read, as they did, the manuscripts preceding and succeeding the lost sheet."
It must have been at this time, (May, 1829,) that Smith received a revelation, "informing him of the alteration of the manuscript of the fore part of the Book of Mormon." This is a curious document, very indicative of Smith's shrewdness in at once detecting the trick which the wags at the printing-office were playing upon him. It forbids the re-translation of the abstracted portion, points out to Smith where, "upon the plates of Nephi," a more particular account might be found, commands him to translate that, and adds, "Thus I will confound those who have altered my words." Perhaps our readers will think that the only person "confounded" is the Prophet himself.
We have mentioned Martin Harris's desire, in the commencement of the business, to get a sight of "the plates," and Smith's pretence that this was unlawful. He, however, professed to copy a part of the engravings upon paper; and with this Harris hastened to consult Dr. Charles Anthon, of New York. Some years afterwards, the Mormons reported that Professor Anthon
Pretended Translations. 107
had pronounced the inscriptions to be "reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics." This drew forth an instantaneous denial from the Professor, whose letter supplies the following information on the method of translation: --
"When I asked the person (Harris) who brought it, how he obtained the writing, he gave me the following account: A 'gold book,' consisting of a number of plates, fastened together by wires of the same material, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York; and, along with it, an enormous pair of 'spectacles!' These spectacles were so large, that if any one attempted to look through them, his two eyes would look through one glass only; the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the human face. 'Whoever,' he said, 'examined the plates through the glasses, was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning.' All this knowledge, however, was confined to a young man, who had the trunk, containing the book and spectacles, in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain, in a garret in a farmhouse, and, being thus concealed from view, he put on the spectacles occasionally, or, rather, looked through one of the glasses, deciphered the characters in the book, and, having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who stood outside." -- Mayhew, p. 28.
During the process of "translation," mysterious hints had been uttered about the forthcoming book, and great efforts made to secure for it a favourable reception. Smith began to preach, and success soon crowned his efforts. On the 1st of June, 1831, the first Conference of the sect was held at Fayette, New York, and "the Prophet" found himself at the head of about thirty disciples, including the members of his own family. A mission to the Indians -- the "Lamanites" of the Book of Mormon -- was undertaken by Cowdery and Parley Pratt; and the second epoch of the history of the imposture commenced.
The Missionaries contrived, oh their way to the "Lamanites," to call on Rigdon. At first, he pretended to discredit their story; but, in a very short time, notwithstanding that he had rebuked them for tempting God by seeking "a sign," he committed the same sin, and professed to be converted. He immediately repaired to the Prophet, and became his most zealous and able coadjutor. Smith's previous immorality, ignorance, and impudence, having created many enemies, the whole party were ordered, by "revelation," to remove to Kirtland, in Ohio, (Rigdon's residence,) "the eastern border of the promised land." In the mean time, Cowdery and Pratt had reached Missouri, had reported favourably of the country, (Jackson County,) and had, at the Prophet's instance, begun to purchase land. Hither, after a few weeks. Smith, Rigdon, and some others, proceeded; and Smith published a "revelation," selecting this as the future Zion, although that honour had but recently been assigned to Kirtland. After devising rules for the allotment of land
108 Mormonism and the Mormons.
and the organization of the Church, and laying the foundation-stone of a temple, he returned to Kirtland. Most of his disciples removed to Missouri, while he remained to itinerate and make converts. But he made enemies here, as well as in New York; and at Hiram, on the 25th of January, 1832, he and Rigdon were tarred and feathered, and otherwise maltreated, by an infuriated mob. Upon this, he hastily returned to Independence, narrowly escaping the vengeance of his pursuers, who tracked him to Louisville. He was obliged, however, in a few months, to go back and look after his mill, farm, store, and even the bank (!), at Kirtland. He was solemnly acknowledged, at this time, by about three thousand disciples. Soon, however, a formidable schism, productive ultimately of great calamities, broke out in the community; and Smith, hoping to check, while he appeared to gratify, the ambition of his dangerous coadjutor, and thereby to strengthen his own influence, associated Rigdon and another with himself, as the supreme governing body. In the mean time, the old non-Mormon settlers became alarmed at the increasing numbers, intolerant claims, and infamous practices, of the new sect. Hostilities commenced, and raged so furiously, as to lead to the abandonment of Jackson County by the Mormons, and the purchase -- by "revelation" from Kirtland -- of lands in Clay County. The towns of Far-West and Adam-on-Diahman were founded, and prosperity began once more to dawn upon the colony. On the 5th of May, 1834, the Prophet set out on a journey to Missouri. Mr. Mayhew speaks of this journey as if it had no object but the peaceable regulation of the affairs of the sect. But from what Dr. Kidder says, it is evident that the Mormonites meditated retaliation upon their enemies in Jackson County, and that Smith's journey, accompanied as he was by nearly a hundred persons, was, in fact, a military expedition on a small scale. The company was called "the army of Zion," and was regularly drilled and equipped. Smith published a "revelation," amounting to a declaration of war; and his band was considerably increased, by recruits from Mormon settlements, as he approached Missouri. He was, however, met by a deputation from the old settlers, who protested against his advance, and threatened the army with public vengeance. Smith became frightened; issued a "revelation," declaring the war at an end; left about one hundred and fifty volunteers in Clay County; and travelled back, "like a gentleman, with plenty of money," leaving the remnant of his band to return as they could. Many of them were compelled to beg their way back.
"In 1836 they formed among themselves several large mercantile firms, the Prophet, of course, heing a partner in each; and continued, moans of falsehood and deception, to procure goods in Buffalo and New York to the amount of more than thirty thousand dollars. With
Mercantile Speculations. 109
these the Prophet and his Priests rigged themselves out in the most costly apparel, at the top of the fashions.
"Subsequently, they had a 'revelation,' commanding them to establish a 'bank, which should swallow up all other banks.' This was soon got into operation on a pretended capital of four millions of dollars, made up of real estate round about the temple. By means of great activity, and an actual capital of about five thousand, they succeeded in setting afloat from fifty to one hundred thousand dollars. This concern was closed up, after flourishing three or four weeks. During this period, the land speculation had been fully entered into by the gang. They contracted for nearly all the land within a mile and a half of the temple, laid it out into city lots, and proceeded with the operation of buying and selling lots to one another at the most extravagant prices.
"But their career was soon brought to a close. Suits were instituted against them under the laws against private banking, and Smith and Rigdon were fined one thousand dollars each. Their printing establishment, with a large quantity of books and paper, was taken, and sold to pay the judgment. On the same night the whole was consumed by fire, set by the Mormons. This was followed by the flight of the Prophet and his head-men for Missouri, and a general breaking up of the establishment in this quarter." -- Kidder, pp. 128, 129.
In the mean time things were growing worse in Missouri; and, at last, a war of extermination commenced, -- the people of the State being determined no longer to tolerate the Mormons among them. A party of Mormons was massacred by a corps of militia, acting, it is alleged, under the orders of Boggs, the Governor of the state. Partly to resist the assaults of their neighbours, and partly to exterminate 'certain dissenters among themselves, a secret society was formed, called, "The Daughters of Zion," and, afterwards, "The Danite Band." Orson Hyde (an ex-apostle) made affidavit, that the members of this band took "an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong;" that they appointed from among their number a company of twelve, to burn and destroy the neighbouring towns; that Smith's plan was to take the State; that he pretended to his people, that they would have possession of the United States, and, ultimately, of the whole world; that he had said he would tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies, &c., &c. Hyde professed to leave the Mormons, on account of their immorality and impiety; and Lieut. Gunnison, who resided among them in Utah for a year, and whose gratitude for the kindness of his Mormon hosts induces him to put the most favourable construction on their doings, admits that at this time, according to the confession of the Mormons themselves, this band were sworn to exterminate obnoxious persons; and "that persons suddenly disappeared, or 'slipped their breath;' but they say they were horse-thieves, and vile wretches, who left society for its good."
110 Mormonism and the Mormons.
Before long, the leaders of the sect were betrayed and imprisoned; while their followers were mercilessly hunted from Missouri to the prairies, -- men, women, and children, -- in the depth of winter. Early in the following spring, Smith rejoined his followers, and induced them to settle in Illinois, just above the DesMoines Rapids, on the river Mississippi. Hither, in a few months, about fifteen thousand souls were collected; and, in a year and a half, they built two thousand houses, besides schools, and other public edifices. The new city was named Nauvoo, or, "The Beautiful."
Smith had now attained the zenith of his power and popularity. He became temporal and spiritual head of the community; and, according to the varied duties which he discharged, he was "Prophet," "President," "Mayor," or "General." It is certain that he meditated great aggressive designs, as is evident from a curious correspondence of his with one James Arlington Bennett, whom the Prophet, quoting Mahomed, designated his "right-hand man." Bennett offered his services, in what Mr. Mayhew drily calls, a "too candid" epistle; that is, he treated Smith's enterprise as a clever and profitable hoax, in the profits of which he proposed to have a share. The latter, in reply, while pretending to reprove the worldly spirit and sinister hints of his friend, most cunningly contrives to accept his offer. Besides the craftiness which it developes, Smith's letter contains some specimens of his learning. (?) For instance: --
"Were I an Egyptian, I would exclaim, Jah-oh-eh, Enish-go-on-dosh, Flo-ces, Flos-is-is; 'O the earth! the power of attraction, and the moon passing between her and the sun;' a Hebrew, Haucloheem yerau; a Greek, O Theos phos esi; a Roman, Dominus regit me; a German, Gott gebe uns das licht; a Portugee, (!) Senhor Jesu Christo e libordade; a Frenchman, Dieu defend le droit." -- Mayhew, p. 110.
During this period, Smith actually became a candidate for the Presidency of the United States; and, in that character, issued an address to the people of the Union. This is a very curious document, most comically sprinkled with scraps of bad French, Italian, Latin, Dutch, and Greek.
Meantime, the enrolment of the male inhabitants, under the designation of the "Nauvoo Legion," proceeded vigorously; and American officers became alarmed at their discipline, equipments, and tactics. The foundation-stone of a magnificent temple was laid, with military pomp, by "General Joseph Smith." In the plenitude of his pride, he gave to the Nauvoo Corporation a jurisdiction independent of that of Illinois; and this body refused to acknowledge the validity of any legal document, not countersigned by their President. At the same time, the germs of the polygamy which they now practise more openly, began to appear among the leading Mormons. Sidney Rigdon is said to have introduced the "spiritual wife" doctrine; (a mere cover for
Murder of the Prophet. 111
any amount of promiscuous licentiousness;) and "Joe" is said to have acted upon it, if more discreetly, not less freely, than his friend. Lieut. Gunnison (always a most reliable authority, when he admits anything disadvantageous to the Mormons) says, that "women impeached him of attempted seduction, which his apology, that 'it was merely to see if they were virtuous,' could not satisfy." We should think not!
It is no wonder that, under these circumstances, public prejudice rapidly increased against the Mormons. Dissenters, too, multiplied fast in Nauvoo, and exasperated the passions of the surrounding population, by the disclosures of violence and sensuality which they professed to make. At last, matters came to a crisis. A Dr. Foster, who professed to have caught the Prophet in an attempt to seduce his wife, set up a newspaper, called the "Expositor," which contained some most shocking accusations. It was voted a public nuisance, and ordered to be abated. The order was executed by the destruction of the printing-office, types, &c. Foster and his partner fled to Carthage, and procured warrants for the arrest of Smith and sixteen other rioters. Smith refused to acknowledge the warrant, and marched the officials, who attempted to serve it, out of Nauvoo. This breach of the law of the State could not be overlooked, and preparations were made for a deadly struggle. The Governor of the State took the command of the militia in person. By his moderation and tact, however, he persuaded the Smiths to surrender and take their trial for the riot; and thus the sackage and pillage of Nauvoo were, for a time, prevented. The prisoners were lodged in the gaol of Carthage. Both the mob and militia were violently excited against them; and, as it began to be rumoured that they were likely, after all, to escape, the brutal rabble took the law into their own hands, overpowered the guard, rushed into the prison, and deliberately shot Joseph and Hiram Smith dead on the spot. The murderers were never arrested; the brothers, of course, were regarded as martyrs; and, as all reasonable men had foreseen, the sect began to spread more rapidly than ever.
Dr. Kidder gives us an outline of the sworn testimony of many witnesses, "on the trial of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others, for high treason, and other crimes against" the State of Missouri. This testimony imputes the most murderous intentions and inflammatory speeches to the Prophet and his coadjutors; and gives specimens of the compliments which the former paid to his Missourian neighbours. The forces of the State were "a d___d mob," "if they came to fight him, he would play h_ll with their apple-carts;" and very much more, of a worse kind. The Mormons, indeed, allege that the witnesses for the defence were hocussed, and driven away. But Smith's refusal to administer state-law is matter of unquestionable history. It is also abundantly
112 Mormonism and the Mormons.
clear, that he taught his followers to look forward to the day when they should "spoil the Egyptians," or, as he facetiously termed it, "milk the Gentiles." And what sort of morality does the following "revelation" teach?
"Behold, it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get into debt to thine enemies; but, behold, it is not said, at any time, that the Lord should not take when He pleases, and pay as seemeth Him good: wherefore, as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord's business," &c. -- Doctrines and Covenants, p. 156.
It would not be very wonderful, if the more indiscreet and unscrupulous members of the sect should have acted on this hint, and given a very literal interpretation to the promises and denunciations of their Prophet, especially when they saw him quietly accumulating his military force. Indeed, according to Lieut. Gunnison, the Mormons "themselves acknowledge that this was the case.
"They allow that mistakes have been made by individuals in carrying out their doctrines: for instance, many have supposed that the time was come when they should take possession of the property of the Gentiles; and that it would be no theft to secure cattle and grain from neighbouring pastures and fields, thus 'spoiling the Egyptians;' and we are told by themselves, that such conduct had to be forbidden from the public desk. This instance of wrong application of the dogma, that they are 'the stewards of the Lord, and the inheritance of the earth belongs to the saints,' shows that some foundation exists for the charges against them, on the score of insecurity of property in Illinois and Missouri; and that abuses can easily arise from their principles, when residing near people of other religious views." -- Gunnison, p. 66.
Other less exceptionable, but most annoying, modes of dealing with obnoxious residents in Nauvoo, are mentioned by this author. There is something exceedingly grotesque in the following: --
"One of these was called 'whittling off.' Three men would be deputed, and paid for their time, to take their jack-knives and sticks, -- down-east Yankees, of course, -- and, sitting down before the obnoxious man's door, begin their whittling. When the man came out, they would stare at him, but say nothing. If he went to the market, they followed and whittled. Whatever taunts, curses, or other provoking epithets were applied to them, no notice would be taken, no word spoken in return, no laugh on their faces. The jeers and shouts of street urchins made the welkin ring; but deep silence pervaded the whittlers. Their leerish look followed him every where, from 'morning dawn to dusky eve.' When he was in-doors, they sat patiently down, and assiduously performed their jack-knife duty. Three days are said to have been the utmost that human nature could endure of this silent annoyance; the man came to terms, sold his possessions for what he could get, or migrated to parts unknown." -- Gunnison, pp. 116,117.
The "Prophet's" Successor. 113
We put it to our readers, whether a community, in which such doctrines and practices prevailed, could avoid making enemies, or hope to escape the vengeance of those whom they had injured or annoyed? America is not a persecuting nation; the utmost latitude of religious opinion being permitted throughout the Union. Why should Mormons form an exception? Why should they be persecuted, while Shakers, Millerites, Campbellites, and the whole brood of sectaries, for which the land is famous, escape? For ourselves, we believe the true answer will be found in the statements now given. As to the anti-social tenets and practices of "the Prophet" and his disciples, candour, surely, obliges us to allow, that, among communities on the frontiers of civilization, and in so rude a state as the population of Missouri and Illinois, the absence of persecution against such a sect as this would have been more wonderful than its presence. With all moderate men in America, we deplore the lawlessness of some of the enemies of Mormonism; but we cannot be surcharge of having wilfully and deliberately provoked it.
The murder of the Prophet greatly excited the people of Nauvoo; and, as might have been expected, curses and threats of vengeance were muttered against their neighbours. By the influence of the Governor, however, and, still more, by the tact and address of the leading Mormons, the crisis passed over quietly; and, after "the martyrs" had been buried, amid sincere and general lamentation, the sect proceeded to elect a successor to "the Seer." There were two or three candidates, including Sidney Rigdon, Smith's second in command. The usual electioneering tactics appear to have been adopted by "the Saints." The choice finally fell on Brigham Young, the present head of the Mormon Church; who, according to Lieut. Gunnison, --
"With a mien of the most retiring modesty and diffidence in ordinary intercourse in society, holds a spirit of ardent feeling and great shrewdness; and, when roused in debate, or upon the Preacher's stand, exhibits a boldness of speech, and grasp of thought, that awe and enchain with intense interest, -- controlling, soothing, or exasperating, at pleasure, the multitudes that listen to his eloquence." -- Gunnison, p. 129.
But there was to be no rest for the new sect, so long as they remained in the vicinity of their fellow-countrymen. "From January to October, 1845, they lived a life of sturt and strife;" and, at last, after much deliberation, it was agreed to "retire into the wilderness to grow into a multitude, aloof from the haunts of civilization." The first movements westward were made in the spring of 1846; and the bands of emigrants had to encounter the most heart-rending sufferings. Meanwhile, the work of erecting the temple at Nauvoo was perfected. On the day of consecration, Priests, Elders, and Bishops, even from among the
leaders of the sect from the
114 Mormonism and the Mormons.
pioneers of the desert-pilgrimage, were present; and "from high noon to the shade of night was there a scene of rejoicing and solemn consecration of the beautiful edifice, on which so much anxiety and thought had lately been expended." But as soon as the consecration was finished, all the ornaments, symbols of faith, &c., were removed in haste, and the temple deserted. Then commenced the general emigration; but, as the Mormons did not remove quickly enough to satisfy their enemies, the remnant in Nauvoo, in spite of an agreement allowing the exodus to take place in successive detachments, had to sustain a regular siege, and, after three days' bombardment, were finally driven out by fire and sword.
The pioneer-band started for the Great Salt Lake in the spring of 1847. They arrived on the 21st of July; and were followed on the 24th by the Church Presidency, headed by "Brigham, the Seer." The latter day is their grand epoch, and its anniversary is celebrated with great solemnity. Their progress since their arrival in the mountains has been truly marvellous. "The dignity of labour" is an article of their social faith; and they seem to have literally adopted, and universally applied, the scriptural rule, that "if a man will not work, neither shall he eat." Notwithstanding the almost total destruction of their first crops by locusts, and the consequent pressure of famine; and in spite of repeated conflicts with the predatory Indian tribes around them, their indomitable perseverance has been rewarded with complete success. Their great city on the Salt Lake --
"Was laid out into squares in 1847: the streets are one hundred and thirty-two feet wide, with twenty-feet side walks; and the City Creek, divided to run along each walk, and water a colonnade of trees, and also to be led into the gardens. The lots contain each nearly an acre, and face on alternate streets, with eight lots in each block. The site is on a scarcely perceptible slope, except the northern part, which rises upon the first natural terrace, and lies in the angle of the main Wahsatch range, running north and south, and a giant spur that makes out directly to the west, and terminates one half-mile from the Jordan River. The city is four miles square, and touches the river bank on the west side." -- Gunnison, pp. 32, 33.
Besides this, they have spread themselves over the adjacent country, built several towns and cities, and are fast developing the agricultural and mineral resources of a region which, six or seven years ago, was a mere desert. In July, 1852, Lieut. Gunnison estimated the population of Utah at about 30,000; and it has surprisingly increased since then. The "travelling college" is compassing sea and land to make proselytes; and the Mormon apostles have been very successful in Europe, especially in Germany. They have Missionaries even in the Pacific Islands; and, except in this last instance, wherever they go, they expend all their energies in stimulating the emigration of the
Rapid Increase and "Faith." 115
faithful to Zion, where the grand "gathering" is to take place, preparatory to their final triumph, and the advent of the millennial glory. Their progress in our own country has been wonderful indeed. They first appeared in England in 1837, and in sixteen years they profess to have won over 300,000 souls. From two to three thousand persons, on an average, annually leave our shores for the great Salt Lake Valley, "principally farmers and mechanics, with some few clerks," &c. They are described as generally intelligent and well-behaved, and many of them highly respectable. Their arrangements for the maintenance of order, cleanliness, &c, on board, are admirable; and, altogether, it is quite clear that this system is, year by year, abstracting a large number of our most valuable fellow-countrymen.
It is this consideration which gives importance to the subject, and renders an analysis of the history and faith of Mormonism something more than a disgusting task; as will farther appear, if we turn our attention to the Mormon faith, and to the practices that have grown out of it. Would to God that our remarks might deter some of our farmers and mechanics from committing themselves, and especially their wives and daughters, to the "tender mercies" of this shocking compound of infidelity, heathenism, immorality, and cant!
And, first of all, the Mormons are avowed Materialists. They utterly ridicule the notion of spiritual, as distinct from material, existence; and remorselessly apply their doctrine to the Deity himself. Thus, among them, --
"'God the Father' is held to be a man perfected; but so far advanced in the attributes of his nature, -- his faith, intelligence, and power, -- that, in comparison with us, he may be called 'the Infinite.'" -- Gunnison, p. 43.
"First. God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves: that is the great secret. If the veil was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power, if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God: Adam received instruction, walked, talked, and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another * * * I am going to tell you how God came to be God. God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on earth, the same as Jesus Christ did; and I will show it from the Bible. Jesus said, 'As the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power,' to do --- what? Why, what the Father did; that answer is obvious: in a manner to lay down his body, and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life, as my Father did, and take it up again." -- Smith's Last Sermon, as quoted by Gunnison, pp. 43, 44.
Again: they say, --
"Now, God, our Father, dwells on his planet, (Kolob,) and measures
116 Mormonism and the Mormons.
time by one of its revolutions * * * Being finite, he employs agents to bring and communicate information through his worlds; and all the material agents of light, electricity, and sound, or attributes, are employed in this thing." -- Gunnison, p. 56.
Once more, we quote a passage from Orson Pratt, as given by Dr. Kidder: --
"'Here, then, is the Methodist God, without either eyes, ears, or mouth!!! And yet man was created after the image of God; but this could not apply to the Methodists' God, for he has no image or likeness! The Methodist God can neither be Jehovah nor Jesus Christ; for Jehovah showed his face to Moses and to the seventy Elders of Israel, and his feet too: he also wrote with his own finger on the tablets of stone. Isaiah informs us that 'his arm is not shortened; that his ear is not dull of hearing,'" &c. -- Kidder, p. 238.
Of Jesus Christ they hold, that he --
"Is the offspring of the Father by the Virgin Mary. The eternal Father came to the earth, and wooed and won her to be the wife of his bosom. He sent his herald-angel Gabriel to announce espousals of marriage, and the Bridegroom and bride met on the plains of Palestine; and the Holy Babe that was born was the 'tabernacle,' prepared for, and assumed by, the Spirit-Son, and that now constitutes a God." -- Gunnison, p. 43.
Of the Divine Spirit Pratt says, --
"The Holy Spirit, being one part of the Godhead, is also a material substance, of the same nature and properties, in many respects, as the Spirits of the Father and the Son. It exists in vast, immeasurable quantities in connexion with all material worlds. This is called God in the Scriptures, as the Father and the Son. God the Father and God the Son cannot be every where present; indeed, they cannot be even in two places at the same instant. But God the Holy Spirit is omnipresent: it extends through all space, intermingling with all other matter; yet no one atom of the Holy Spirit can be in two places at the same instant." -- Pratt's Kingdom of God, pp. 4, 5.
It is not without a sickening shudder that we have compelled ourselves to transcribe this farrago of abominable blasphemy; but our duty requires us to expose the real character of Mormonism. We shall not insult the judgment and piety of our readers by any attempt at refutation, but shall leave these declarations to make their own impression.
The Mormon notion of Faith is very peculiar, and, in one aspect, profane. It is thus defined: --
"'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.'
"By this we understand that the principle of power, which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith * * *
"It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal, as well as eternal, things." -- Doctrine and Covenants, pp; 2, 3.
Mormon Notion of Faith. 117
Thus, by a most ridiculous perversion of Scripture, that faith in divine testimony, by which we learn the creation of the universe out of nothing, is transferred to God, as if it were "the principle of" creative "power" in him! We are surprised to find that Mr. Mayhew is half captivated with this nonsense. He says, --
"On this point, Mr. Bowes, the author of a pamphlet entitled 'Mormonism Exposed,' and a public debater against the Saints in the manufacturing districts of England, has not been fortunate in attacking their theology. He charges them with ignorance of the word 'faith:' he has only proved his own. Faith, he says, is crediting testimony, and asks, 'What testimony God had to credit?' and therefore concludes that faith is not an attribute of God, but of believers. Mr. Bowes has here confounded speculative belief with practical faith. With the Mormons, on the contrary, 'faith is the principle of power,' both human and divine." -- Mayhew, p. 291.
We confess we do not understand Mr. Mayhew; and we doubt whether he understands himself. Of all vague expressions, nothing can be more so than to call faith "the principle of power." This explains nothing. Let us be told that faith in the divine testimony, (concerning Jesus Christ, for example,) while it stops short at mere credence, is speculative faith; but that, when it so receives that testimony as to trust in him for salvation, and to work by love, and purify the heart, it is practical faith; and we can understand what is said: but to say that "belief in testimony" is speculative, and "the principle of action in all intelligent beings" is practical, faith, is to utter so much unmeaning nonsense. Mr. Mayhew decries the Reformation of Luther, as "directly opposed to the mystical spirit that lies concealed in the bosom of all religious communities;" and prefers the authority of "the great American sage, Mr. Emerson."
Upon the subject of Baptism, they teach the necessity of immersion, by a properly-qualified person, (that is, one of themselves,) for the remission of sins. This is an element of "Campbellism," and is adduced as an internal evidence of Rigdon's original complicity in the fraud, inasmuch as he officiated as a Campbellite Preacher during the "translation" period. But Smith early improved on the original notion, and taught a strange doctrine on the subject of "baptisms for the dead." The following is Lieut. Gunnison's outline of this doctrine, drawn from the "revelations" in "Doctrine and Covenants," p. 300, et seq.: --
"The further peculiarity of the subject consists in a vicarious immersion of living persons for their dead friends, who have never had the opportunity, or neglected it, while living. This is called 'Baptism for the dead.' There being, according to their view, a probationary state in the spiritual world while that on earth exists, so that by proxy one can fulfil all 'righteousness,' by submitting to all prescribed rites, of which baptism is one, it is presumed that those gone before have repented, and are now desirous of baptistic benefits; and hence
118 Mormonism and the Mormons.
it is enjoined, that the 'greatest responsibility that God has laid on us, is to look after our dead,' and ordered, that a man he baptized for deceased relatives, tracing back the line to one that held the priesthood among his progenitors, who, being a saint, will then take up the place of sponsor, and relieve him of further responsibility. All those who are thus admitted to salvation will be added to the household of the baptized person at the resurrection, who will then prefer his claim, or do as our Lord did at the grave of Lazarus, and call them forth in the name of Jesus; over whom he, as the most distinguished of the line, will reign as Patriarch for ever; and his rank and power among kingly saints will be in proportion to the number of his retinue." -- Gunnison, pp. 45, 46.
It is only necessary to add, that, after sufficient time has been allowed to build a temple at Zion, or any appointed "stake," no other places are permitted to be used for the baptisms for the dead. The design of this is obvious. Members, as they gather to "Zion," or its "stakes," are required, under severe penalties, to contribute largely for the service of the temple, and the maintenance of "the Presidency." The above doctrine, therefore, appealing to the sympathy of survivors for the unquiet souls of their departed friends, is admirably fitted, like the kindred doctrine of purgatory, and its associated vicarious masses, to fill the coffers of the priesthood, and to promote the aggrandizement of the leaders of the sect. There can be no baptism but by a proper person in the proper place; and of course the faithful will hasten to "gather" to that place; where they must pay handsomely for their privileges.
We may pass over all that is said of Mormon cosmogony, and of their views as to the millennium. But we must not forget to mention that the continuance of the power of working miracles is an essential article of the faith of this sect; and that its Missionaries every where pretend to exercise that power. But, even were we unable, in any case, to prove collusion and jugglery, we should refuse to be convinced by apparent miracles, wrought by bad men, in confirmation of unscriptural dogmas. The world has often been cheated by "lying wonders," and the "deceivableness of unrighteousness;" and, considering the vicious character of the authors of this imposture, and the nature of their peculiar tenets, we pronounce their success to be only another instance of the same melancholy kind.
"The gift of tongues" was early exercised by the more zealous Mormons; but, at that time, Smith found it convenient to denounce these gifts, by revelation, as "works of the devil." Nevertheless, when his prophetic stock in trade ran low, in consequence of some unfortunate guesses, he began to speak with tongues himself. The following is a specimen of his "gifts:" -- "Ak man oh son oh man ah ne comrnene en holle goste en haben en glai hosanne hosanne en holle goste en esac milkea Jeremiah,
Pretended Miracles. 119
Ezekiel, Nephi, Lehi, St. John" &c. &c. A seceder testifies, that he himself, on one occasion, "was at length called upon to speak, or sing, 'in tongues,' at his own option. Preferring the latter mode, he sung, to the tune of 'Bruce's Address,' a combination of sounds which astonished all present." One Higbee, formerly an Elder, gives this as the rule: "Rise upon your feet, and look and lean on Christ; speak or make some sound; continue to make sounds of some kind, and the Lord will make a correct tongue or language of it." This is "the-gift-of-tongues-made-easy," with a witness.
Great pretensions have also been made to the gifts of healing, and of casting out devils. The specimens of the latter are too silly and profane to be inserted here; and, as to the former, when we find that, whether the patient recover at once, or only by slow degrees, or whether he die quietly, the miracle is equally genuine, we know what value to attach to these supernatural pretensions. A Mr. Bacheler, during the progress of a discussion with a Mormon teacher, investigated three cases of pretended miracles, and, in every instance, compelled his opponent publicly to confirm his testimony, that there was nothing miraculous about them. *
A singular story is related by Mr. Tucker. He says, that on one occasion a stranger, who had obtained accommodation for the night at the house of a farmer, awoke the family by the most dreadful cries and groans; and, in spite of all that could be done for him, expired before morning. At an early hour, two travellers came to the gate, and requested entertainment. On hearing of the disaster which had occurred, they requested to see the corpse; and, after looking at it for a few minutes, one of them said they were Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and empowered to work miracles, -- concluding by offering to bring to life the dead man before them. At their request the neighbours were summoned, and, --
"The Mormon Elders commenced their task by kneeling and praying before the body with uplifted hands and eyes, and with most stentorian lungs. Before they had proceeded far with their prayer, a sudden idea struck the farmer, who quickly quitted the house for a few minutes, and on his return waited patiently by the bedside until their prayer was finished, and the Elders were ready to perform their miracle. Before they began, he respectfully said to them, that, with their permission, he wished to ask them a few questions upon the subject of their miracle. They replied, that they had no objection. The farmer then asked, 'You are quite certain that you can bring this man to life again?' 'We are.' 'How do you know that you can?' 'We have just received a revelation from the Lord, informing us that we can.' 'Are you quite sure that the revelation was from the Lord?' 'Yes: we cannot be mistaken about it.' 'Does your power to raise this man to
* Kidder, pp. 218-221.
120 Mormonism and the Mormons.
life again depend upon the particular nature of his disease, or could you now bring any dead man to life?' 'It makes no difference to us; we could bring any corpse to life.' 'Well, if this man had been killed, and one of his arms cut off, could you bring him to life, and also restore to him his arm?' 'Certainly: there is no limit to the power given us by the Lord. It would make no difference, even if both his arms and his legs were cut off.' 'Could you restore him if his head had been cut off?' 'Certainly we could.' 'Well,'said the farmer, with a quiet smile upon his features, 'I do not doubt the truth of what such holy men assert, but I am desirous that my neighbours here should be fully converted, by having the miracle performed in the completest manner possible; so, by your leave, if it makes no difference whatever, I will proceed to cut off the head of this corpse.' Accordingly, he produced a huge and well-sharpened broad axe from beneath his coat, which he swung above his head, and was apparently about to bring it down upon the neck of the corpse, when, lo and behold! to the amazement of all present, the dead man started up in great agitation, and swore he would not have his head cut off for any consideration whatever.
"The company immediately seized the Mormons, and soon made them confess that the pretended dead man was also a Mormon Elder, and that they had sent him to the farmer's house, with directions to die there at a particular hour, when they would drop in, as if by accident, and perform a miracle that would astonish every body. The farmer, after giving the impostors a severe chastisement, let them depart, to practise their imposition in some other quarter." *
The most succinct and intelligible account of the discipline and polity of Mormonism which we have found, is thus given by Dr. Kidder, from the summary of Mr. Corrill: --
"There are in the Church two priesthoods: first, the Melehisedec, or high, priesthood, also called the greater priesthood; second, the Aaronic, or lesser, priesthood. In the first, or Melehisedec, priesthood, were ordained High Priests and Elders; in the second, were ordained Priests, Teachers, and Deacons. Each different grade chose one of its number to preside over the rest, who was called 'President,' and whose duty it was to call together those over whom he presided, at stated times, to edify one another, and receive instruction from him. The first, or high, priesthood was to stand at the head of, and regulate the spiritual concerns of, the Church; the second, or lesser, priesthood was to administer in the ordinances, and attend to the temporal concerns of the Church. Three of the High Priests were chose[n] and set apart by the Church to preside over all the Churches, of that order, in all the world, and were called 'Presidents,' and constituted what is called 'the first presidency.' * * * The Church that was to be established in Jackson County was called 'Zion,' the centre of gathering; and those established by revelation, in other places, were called 'stakes of Zion.' * * * Each stake was to have a presidency, consisting of three High Priests, chosen and set apart for that purpose, whose jurisdiction was confined to the limits of the stake over which they took the watch-care.
* For this, and the story about the abstraction of part of the Book of Mormon, we are indebted to our very valuable contemporary, 'The British and Foreign Evangelical Review."
Discipline and Polity. 121
There was also to be a high council, consisting of twelve High Priests, established at each stake; also a Bishop, who stood at the head of the lesser priesthood, and administered in temporal things; he had two Counsellors, who, with himself, formed a court to try transgressors. If two members had a difficulty, they were to settle it between themselves, or by the assistance of another, according to the Scriptures; but, if they could not do this, then it went before the Bishop's court for trial; but, if either party was dissatisfied with the Bishop's decision, he could appeal from it to the high council. There was also a travelling high council, consisting of twelve High Priests, called 'the Twelve Apostles,' or 'The Twelve,' whose duty it was to travel and preach the gospel to all the world. They were also to regulate the Church in all places where it was not properly organized. One of their number presided over the rest in their councils. There were other bodies formed, called 'the seventies,' consisting of seventy Elders each, (not High Priests,) seven of whom presided over the rest in their councils. These seventies were to travel and preach in all the world, under the direction of the twelve, who were to open or lead the way, and then call upon the seventies for assistance. There were three of these bodies formed, called the first, second, and third seventies. The first presidency, the high council, the twelve, and each of the seventies, were equal in power; that is to say, each had a right to discipline their own members, and transact other business of the Church within their calling; and a decision of either one of these bodies, when in regular session, could not be appealed from to any other; for one had no right or power to reverse or overthrow the judgment or decision of the other, but they could all be called together and form a conference, consisting of all the authorities, to which an appeal could be taken from either one, and the decision reversed. These were the regular constituted authorities of the Church; but, besides this, Smith and Rigdon taught the Church, that these authorities, in ruling or watching over the Church, were nothing more than servants to the Church, and that the Church, as a body, had the power in themselves to do any thing that either or all of these authorities could do." -- Kidder, pp. 121-123.
We are not told how far this privilege is reconciled with the prerogatives of the Seer and others, in receiving and issuing "revelations;" but we know that Smith and his colleagues always exacted, and generally secured, implicit obedience to their orders. It must be borne in mind, too, that the prerogatives of these various orders extend to civil, as well as ecclesiastical, administrations. The Mormons delight to call their system a "TheoDemocracy," but it is quite evident that Brigham Young is "the most autocratic ruler in the world." By means of his high council, he knows as much about the private opinions and concerns of all around him, as a French Minister of Police, and probably far more; and, backed by the authority of "revelation," can easily secure the obedience of his vassals.
But one of the darkest features of Mormonism remains to be mentioned. We have hinted at the personal profligacy of the Prophet and his coadjutors; and in the system, as practised in
122 Mormonism and the Mormons.
America, we find the image of the debasing lusts of its originators. This is a heavy charge, constantly denied by English Mormons, and, no doubt, disbelieved by many of them. But it can be abundantly made good.
The troubles at Nauvoo were immediately occasioned by the "spiritual wife" doctrine of Sidney Rigdon, and its application by the Prophet in the instance of Mrs. Foster. The charges then urged on this head were indignantly denied; but subsequent events have corroborated them. Indeed, Lieut. Gunnison testifies that equivocation on this subject is quite common: --
"An intelligent lady informed me that she had considered it right, when asked by her friends, during an eastern visit, to say, that 'it is no doctrine of ours to have spiritual wives;' and this, although the interrogators may have had in their minds nothing more than plurality and its supposed abuses." -- Gunnison, p. 67.
The following statements on the subject of polygamy are from the same pen: --
"That many have a large number of wives in Deseret, is perfectly manifest to any one residing among them; and, indeed, the subject begins to be more openly discussed than formerly; and it is announced that a treatise is in preparation, to prove by the Scriptures the right of plurality by all Christians, if not to declare their own practice of the same." -- p. 67.
"They go so far as to say that our Saviour had three wives, -- Mary, and Martha, and the other Mary whom Jesus loved, -- all married at the wedding in Cana of Galilee." -- p. 68.
"That polygamy existed at Nauvoo, and is now a matter scarcely attempted to be concealed among the Mormons, is certain * * * It is a thing of usual and general conversation in the mountains. I have often heard one of the Presidency spoken of with his twenty-eight wives; another with 'forty-two, more or less;' and the third, called an old bachelor, because he has only a baker's dozen." -- p. 120.
It is not for us to enter further into this disgusting subject, nor to discuss the reasons which, according to the above friendly author, are adduced in justification of the practice. It should be enough to have established the truth of the accusation. The Missionaries of the sect in England continually deny it; and no wonder: for, were they to preach and practice polygamy among us, they would not make many converts. But there cannot be a doubt that' Mahommedanism itself is not more remarkable for this form of licentiousness. And is it into a system like this, that our English matrons and virgins are to be enticed? And will our "farmers and mechanics "abandon the severe and holy virtues of the Christian commonwealth, for a people among whom the honour of their daughters and sisters is a thing of so small account? How will they feel when commanded by "revelation" to hand over their beloved ones to the harem of
Demoralizing Tendency. 123
the High Priests of this scheme of sensuality and lust? O that their eyes could be opened to see the social and moral perils into which so many of them seem disposed to rush!
Of course, such a practice poisons the very sources of society, and the moral taint affects all classes. Listen again to Lieut. Gunnison: --
"Of all the children that have come under our observation, we must, in candour, say, that those of the Mormons are the most lawless and profane. Circumstances connected with travel, with occupations in a new home, and desultory life, may in part account 'for this: but when a people make pretensions to raising up a 'holy generation,' and are commanded to take wives for the purpose, we naturally look at the quality of the fruit produced by the doctrines; and surely they would not complain of the scripture rule, -- 'By their fruits ye shall know them.'" -- p. 160.
In like manner, profaneness and extreme vulgarity are common among them, "both in the pulpit, and out of it." Smith could swear like a trooper; and so, it seems, can his successors, the only caution used being, not to mention the name of God in their swearing.
These statements are confirmed by letters from emigrants to their friends in this country. The writers, in many instances, bitterly bewail their folly in being duped by the Mormon apostles. They represent them as "a gang of speculators and gamblers, who don't value a man's life more than that of a cat;" "unsatiated despots;" addicted to "gaming of every description on the Sabbath, such as horse-racing, rolling the ten-pins, playing cards, dancing, swearing, and every thing else that is beyond decency."
Such is Mormonism: -- "of the earth, earthy," a religion of sensuality and blasphemy. Its steps "go down to death; its feet take hold on hell." The rapid spread of such a plague among our agricultural and manufacturing population is a portentous occurrence. We are glad to find that the Religious Tract Society and the Wesleyan Book Room have issued tracts on the subject. In this country there has been, there will be, no persecution; but the surprising growth of the system shows that it is as unsafe to ignore, as it would be unwise to persecute, it. Let us, depending upon God, use all the weapons that reason and religion allow, to effect its suppression.
In the United States, Mormonism is felt to be a threatening political fact. The Territory of Utah has been recognised by the Federal Government; and already the Government officers have come into collision with the inhabitants. Indeed, it could not be otherwise. Their settled policy, in such matters, is thus described: --
"Their President of the Church is the temporal civil governor, because he is the seer of the Lord, and rules in virtue of that prophetic
124 Mormonism and the Mormons.
right over the home and catholic 'Latter Day Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ,' usually styled 'the Mormons.' And should one he assigned to them not of their creed, or other than their chief, he would find himself without occupation. He probably would be received with all due courtesy as a distinguished personage, cordially received in social intercourse, so long as his demeanour pleased the influential members and people; but, as Governor, -- to use their own expressive phrase, -- 'he would be let severely alone.' Were he to convoke an assembly, and order an election, no attention would be paid to it, and he would be subject to the mortification of seeing a legislature, chosen at a different time, enacting statutes, or else the old ones continued, and those laws enforced, and the cases arising from their conflict adjudicated, by the present tribunals of justice, under their own Judges." -- Gunnison, p. 24.
Accordingly, the Judges originally sent from Washington either fled, or were recalled; and Mormon functionaries now administer Mormon law in the Territory of Utah. But how long will the inhabitants be content with the inferior position of a Territory? And, when they shall claim to be incorporated with the other States of the Union, how will the difficulties arising from their peculiar views and polity be adjusted? These difficulties have recently been forcibly put by the New York correspondent of "The Times" newspaper. He says, --
"There is rising into view, in the very centre of the American Republic, a structure of spiritual despotism, which puts to blush the pretensions of Hildebrand * * * The whole system of Mormonism is utterly repugnant to all our moral, religious, and political ideas; and incompatible with the scope of all our institutions. The Church is every thing, and intermeddles with every thing. It utterly blots out private conscience. It controls the bodies, the souls, and the fortunes of its followers. The ascendancy of the priesthood treads under foot the great principle of popular suffrage. Let the popular voice take what direction it may, it is at once overborne by the awful and imperative voice of the heresiarchs at the head of the community. The Mormon district has already been inaugurated as a Territory, and in this capacity sustains important relations with our Federal Government. They send a Delegate to Congress, who may participate in debate, without the right to vote. The President also appoints their principal officers, -- Governors, Judges, Marshals, Postmasters, &e. These officers are sworn to obey the laws and constitution of the Republic. Some serious conflicts have already arisen between the Mormons and the Federal officers. The laws and the authority of the Republic have been openly set at defiance, and its agents driven from their posts; while the President yielded so far for the time as to recall his official delegates, and intrusted Mormons with the execution of those laws which they had defied * * * Utah will soon display a new phase: it will, in accordance with our constitution, become a sovereign State, but owning, thereby, a higher, more clearly defined, and far more sacred allegiance to the Federal Government."
The writer then goes on to show that its constitution must be
Probable Correctives. 125
in accordance with that of the United States; that, therefore, religious intolerance must cease, polygamy he abandoned, and the country be open to settlers from every part of the earth; that not a vestige of the priesthood can be admitted into the civil government, nor the slightest interference of the ecclesiastical power be for a moment tolerated; and that, when any Mormon law tolerating polygamy, or any other social vice, comes up on appeal before the Supreme Court of the United States, it will be declared immoral and unconstitutional. He anticipates the most determined adherence to their own laws and usages on the part of the Mormons; and certainly their past history favours this anticipation. For a time, this may retard the incorporation of the Territory as a State; but, in the end, "the laws of the nation must be rigorously carried out in Utah, or the Republic submit to the utter prostration of its authority, which it will never do."
We hope that the serious aspect of affairs presented in the above remarks of an able and impartial American writer, will be deemed a sufficient apology for the length to which our own observations have extended. A question arises, as to what will be the solution of the difficulties enumerated. The writer suggests the probable good effect of that intercourse with their fellowmen, which the Mormons had intended to escape, but which Divine Providence has forced upon them by the discovery of gold in California, and by the measures in progress for constructing the high road from the eastern States to the American El Dorado through the very heart of their territory. The contact with modern ideas and influences, and the transforming power of steam, which the Great Pacific Railroad will introduce, may gradually ameliorate the character of the Mormons, and assimilate them, in spite of themselves, to the enterprising and progressive community, in the midst of which they are compelled to live, and may even effect the entire destruction of the system.
To this estimate of the influence of external circumstances must be added a still more comforting consideration arising out of the elements of disruption contained in the system itself. The student of Providence is often called to adore that retributive justice by which various evils, by the law of their own development, are made to work out their own cure. In the present case, Lieut. Gunnison enumerates at least five elements of disturbance in the social condition of the Mormons: -- 1. Polygamy, with its uniform attendant, the social degradation of woman. These men say, --
"That to give the post of honour or of comfort to the lady is absurd. If there is hut one seat, they say, it of right belongs to the gentleman, and it is the duty and place of a man to lead the way, and let the fair partner enter the house or room behind him. The glory of a woman is constantly held forth to be a 'mother in Israel,' or, literally, a child-tender.
126 Mormonism and the Mormons.
The delicate sentiment of companionable qualities and mental attachments finds no place in the philosophy of plurality of wives, separate from grosser sensuous enjoyments. While introducing this great cause of disruption and jealousies into families, they cultivate in schools the arts of peace, that tend to soften and elevate a community; and the antagonistic principles, one of rolling back to Asiatic stationary civilization, the other of progressive enlightenment, must come into collision." -- Gunnison, p. 157.
Our readers will join with us in saying, "The sooner the better!" 2. Another cause is, the want of sympathy among the young with the views of the adult members of the community. The former are, generally, "no fanatics," care nothing for doctrines, are many of them quite opposed to "plurality," because of the mutual insecurities inseparable from it; and, by their liberal education, and occasional contact with Christian influences, are acquiring a dislike to the sensual and despotic hierarchy, under whose government they are living. 3. There is a project for publishing an edition of the Bible, "amended" by Joe Smith. This will be "no more the Christian book of the present Churches than the Alcoran, or the Zendivesta;" but will "necessitate an apostasy from one religion to a different creed, and to the worship of a different God." Then, many who have embraced Mormonism, under the belief that it was the purest form of Christianity, having their religious principles shocked by such impiety, may be expected to abandon the system. 4. The system of tithes is another element of disruption.
"By this engine, immense sums are accumulated, and put at the disposal of the Presidency; and its corrupting influences of irresponsible expenditure will, sooner or later, be developed. It cannot be long before those restless, ambitious, and talented persons, who are denied the great privileges which untold treasures secure, will become dissatisfied at the sight of ease and luxury in the managers of what they may consider a religious speculation; and some may envy the harems of the shepherds of the flock, supported indirectly by the labours of the hirelings," &c. -- Gunnison, p. 162.
5. A fifth cause arises from the probability of disunion in the Presidency itself, as illustrated by the quarrels of Smith and Rigdon in the earlier history of Mormonism. Indeed, internal dissension has generally been the forerunner of the external assaults to which the people have been exposed. In fine, --
"All these seeds of distrust, ambition, and discontent are sown in a fruitful soil; and, if they are left quietly to germinate by the powers at a distance, cannot fail to destroy that unity which renders the Mormon community so formidable to any that might seek to control it." -- Gunnison, p. 163.
We hope that these anticipations will be speedily realized. That Mormonism can exist for any great length of time, now that it is, in spite of its promoters, once more brought into contact
Probable Correctives. 127
with the advancing civilization of the nineteenth century, we by no means believe. This and all similar outrages upon the common sense and religious convictions of the Christian world are under the ban of Him who has said, "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is." Until He come! Are we near His coming? Is the hideous brood of heresy, contention, superstition, and infidelity, now arising in the bosom of evangelical communities, an evidence that "the last days" have already begun? a presage of the approach of the last and greatest conflict between truth and error, Christ and Belial? Questions of religion are now, more than at any former time, awakening the attention, arousing the passions, and marshalling the forces, of the world. A war of religious opinion impends over Europe; China is convulsed to its centre, and the throne of its Tartar Emperor, and the religion of the country, are tottering with the shock of an insurrection; the Churches of our beloved fatherland are torn by strife and division; and (let not our readers smile at the anti-climax) behind the rampart of the Rocky mountains, Mormonism is accumulating its resources, and preparing its array, for a conflict, not so much with the Republicanism, as with the Christianity, of America. "Not the earth only, but the heavens," are shaken. Let us pray and hope for the advent of "the Desire of all nations," and for the universal establishment of that "kingdom which cannot be moved."
Arthur's Home Magazine
(Philadelphia: T. S. Arthur & Co.)
"Nauvoo, Illinois -- the Mormons"
by Rev. John M. Peck
See also Rev. Peck's 1835 article
Volume III. January, 1854. Number 1.
NAUVOO, ILLINOIS -- THE MORMONS.
With this place is associated a long train of imposture, superstition, fanaticism. Lynch-law, robberies, burglary, arson, murder, rebellion and civil war! The name itself -- Nauvoo -- pretended by Mormons to have been of Hebrew origin, intimates the most extraordinary religious imposture and wide-spread fanaticism the world has witnessed in modern times.
THE MORMONS. 39
Scripture, when used, are perverted, being mixed up with the most extravagant and monstrous fictions, with quite a sprinkling of vulgar, cant words and phrases.
40 ARTHUR'S HOME MAGAZINE.
where he died in 1816. His widow still retained the manuscripts in her possession, which were read by her and her relatives.
THE MORMONS. 41
Kirtland, in 1837, which involved Smith, Rigdon & Co. in inextricable difficulties, these leaders and rulers came to Missouri, followed by a large proportion of the members of their church, to escape the pursuit of their creditors, and the indignation of the people whom they had swindled. Soon after their arrival they organized the "Danite Band," first called "Daughters of Zion." The members of this military corps were bound together by an oath or covenant, with the penalty of instant death attached to a breach to "do the Prophet's bidding," to "defend the Presidency (their rulers) and each other." They had "pass-words," and "secret signs," by which they could recognize each other by day or night. There were at first about 500 desperate men in this association, armed with deadly weapons, and divided into bands of tens and fifties, with a captain over each band. They were instructed by the Prophet and his Council to drive off, or "give to the buzzards," all Mormons who dissented from these "new revelations," and proclamation was made accordingly. Among many dissentients who left the country, were David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Hiram Page, all witnesses to the Book of Mormon!
42 ARTHUR'S HOME MAGAZINE.
political change. With an outlandish oath, (for this pious Prophet often swore profanely,) he announced, -- "Every Mormon may vote as he pleases, but (with an oath) I'm for old Tippecanoe, for he'll do the right thing." A terrific explosion of hurrahs made the welkin ring; and the whole Mormon force in Illinois turned Whigs for that season.
THE MORMONS. 43
as that, on each successive day of the week, the complements of laborers were provided.
44 ARTHUR'S HOME MAGAZINE.
law, met the strong condemnation of the Governor and people.
(New York City: Carlton & Phillips.)
"Nauvoo and Deseret"
"Nauvoo and Deseret"
NAUVOO AND DESERET.
Among the many extraordinary chapters in the history of the Nineteenth Century, none is more incredible and curious than the rise and progress of Mormonism. The creed of the Latter Day Saints, as they style themselves, is not, indeed, more absurd and ridiculous than that of some other delusions; but their existence was brief, and they are now almost forgotten; while the imposture of Smith and his associates is still successful,
and represented by missionaries in almost every state throughout the world.
It has been observed with some reason, that had a Rabelais or a Swift told the story of the Mormons under the vail of allegory, mankind would probably have entered a protest against the extravagance of the satirist. The name of the mock hero, his own and his family's ignorance and want of character, the low cunning of his accomplices, the open and shameless vices in which they indulged, and the extraordinary success of the sect they founded, would all have been thought too obviously conceived with a view to ludicrous effects. Yet the Mormon movement has assumed the condition of an important popular feature, and after much suffering and many reverses, its authors have achieved a condition of eminent industrial prosperity. In scarcely more than twenty years the company, consisting of the impostor and his father and brother, has increased to half a million; they occupy one of the richest portions of this continent, have a regularly organized government, and are represented in the Congress of the United States. With missions in every part of the country, in every capital of Europe, in Mecca, in Jerusalem, and among the islands of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, all of whom are charged with the duty of making converts and gathering them to the Promised Land of Deseret, they must very soon have a population sufficiently large to claim admission as a State of the Union, and perhaps to hold the balance of power in its affairs.
The interest which recent events have attracted to the community in Deseret or Utah, will render interesting a more particular survey of its origin, progress and condition.
In 1825 there lived near the village of Palmyra in New-York, a family of small farmers of the name of Smith. They were of bad repute in the neighborhood, notorious for being continually in debt, and heedless of their business engagements. The eldest son, Joseph, says one of his friends, "could read without much difficulty, wrote a very imperfect hand, and had a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic." Associated in some degree with Sidney Rigdon, who comes before us in the first place as a journeyman printer, he was the founder of the new faith. The early history of the conspiracy of these worthies is imperfectly known; but it is evident that Rigdon must have been in Smith's confidence from the first. Rigdon, indeed, probably had more to do with the matter than even Smith; but it was the latter who was first put conspicuously forward, and who managed to retain the preeminence. The account of the pretended revelation, as given by Smith, is as follows: He all at once found himself laboring in a state of great darkness and wretchedness of mind -- was bewildered among the conflicting doctrines of Christians, and could find no comfort or rest for his soul. In this state, he resorted to earnest prayer, kneeling in the woods and fields, and after long perseverance was answered by the appearance of a bright light in heaven, which gradually descended until it enveloped the worshiper, who found himself standing face to face with two supernatural beings. Of these he inquired which was the true religion. The reply was, that all existing religions were erroneous, but that the pure doctrine and crowning dispensation of Christianity should at a future period be miraculously revealed to himself. Several similar visitations ensued, and at length he was informed that the North American Indians were a remnant of Israel; that when they first entered America they were a powerful and enlightened people; that their priests and rulers kept the records of their history and doctrines; but that, having fallen off from the true worship, the great body of the nation were supernaturally destroyed -- not, however, until a priest and prophet, named Mormon, had, by heavenly direction, drawn up an abstract of their records and religious opinions. He was told that this still existed buried in the earth, and that he was selected as the instrument for its recovery and manifestation to all nations. The record, it was said, contained many prophecies as to these latter days, and instructions for the gathering of the saints into a temporal and spiritual kingdom, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah, which was at hand. After several very similar visions, the spot in which the book lay buried was disclosed. Smith went to it, and after digging discovered a sort of box, formed of upright and horizontal flags, within which lay a number of plates resembling gold, and of the thickness of common tin. These were
bound together by a wire, and were engraved with Egyptian characters. By the side of them lay two transparent stones, called by the ancients, "Urim and Thummim." set in "the two rims of a bow." These stones were divining crystals; and the angels informed Smith, that by using them he would be enabled to decipher the characters on the plates. What ultimately became of the plates -- if such things existed at all -- does not appear. They were said to have been seen and handled by eleven witnesses. With the exception of three persons, these witnesses were either members of Smith's family, or of a neighboring family of the name of Whitmer. The Smiths, of course, give suspicious testimony. The Whitmers have disappeared, and no one knows anything about them. Another witness, Oliver Cowdrey, was afterward an amanuensis to Joseph; and another, Martin Harris, was long a conspicuous disciple. There is some confusion, however, about this person. Although he signs his name as a witness who has seen and handled the plates, he assured Professor Anthon that he never had seen them, that "he was not sufficiently pure of heart;" and that Joseph refused to show him the plates, but gave him instead a transcript on paper of the characters engraved on them. It is difficult to trace the early advances of the imposture. Everything is vague and uncertain. We have no dates, and only the statements of the prophet and his friends.
Meantime, Smith must have worked successfully on the feeble and superstitious mind of Martin Harris. This man, as we have just said, received from him a written transcript of the mysterious characters, and conveyed it to Professor Anthon, a competent philological authority. Dr. Anthon's account of the interview is one of the most important parts of the entire history. Harris told him he had not seen the plates, but that he intended to sell his farm and give the proceeds to enable Smith to publish a translation of them. This statement, with what follows, shows that Smith's original intention, quoad the alleged plates, was to use them as a means for swindling Harris. The Mormons have published accounts of Professor Anthon's judgment on the paper submitted to him, which he himself states to be "perfectly false."
The Mormon version of the interview represents Dr. Anthon "as having been unable to decipher the characters correctly, but as having presumed that, if the original records could be brought, he could assist in translating them." On this statement being made, Dr. Anthon described the document submitted to him as having been a sort of pot-pourri of ancient marks and alphabets. "It had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him a book containing various alphabets: Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters, inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with numerous strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived." This account disposes of the statement that the characters were Egyptian; while the very jumble of the signs of different nations, languages, and ages, proves that the impostor was deficient both in tact and knowledge. The scheme seems to have been, at all events, in petto when Smith communicated with Harris; but a satisfactory clew to the fabrication is lost in our ignorance of the time and circumstances under which Smith and Rigdon came together. It must have been subsequent to that event that the "translation," by means of the magic Urim and Thummim, was begun. This work Smith is represented as having labored at steadily, assisted by Oliver Cowdrey, until a volume was produced containing as much matter as the Old Testament, written in the Biblical style, and containing, as Smith said the angel had informed him, a history of the lost tribes in their pilgrimage to and settlement in America, with copious doctrinal and prophetic commentaries and revelations.
The devotion of Harris to the impostor secured a fund sufficient for defraying the cost of printing the pretended revelation, and the sect began slowly to increase. The doctrines of Smith were not at first very clearly defined; it is probable that neither he nor Rigdon had determined what should be their precise character; but like their early cotemporary, the prophet Matthias, they had no hesitation in deciding on one cardinal point, that the revelations
made to Smith at any time should be received with unquestioning and implicit faith, and the earliest of these revelations contemplated a liberal provision for all the prophet's personal necessities. Thus, in February, 1831, it was revealed to the disciples that they should immediately build the prophet a house; on another occasion it was enjoined that, if they had any regard for their own souls, the sooner they provided him with food and raiment, and everything he needed, the better it would be for them; and in a third revelation, Joseph was informed that "he was not to labor for his living." All these "revelations" were received, and though the impostor seemed to intelligent men little better than a buffoon, his followers soon learned to regard him as almost deserving of adoration, and he began to revel in whatever luxury and profligacy was most agreeable to his vulgar taste and ambition. It was asserted that his original want of cultivation precluded the notion of his having, by the exercise of any natural or acquired faculties, produced his "revelations." Everywhere his followers said, "The prophet is not learned in a human sense: how could he have become acquainted with all the antiquarian learning here displayed, if it were not supernaturally communicated to him?" But to this question there was soon an answer equally explicit and satisfactory. The real author of the Book of Mormon was a Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who wrote it as a romance.
Its entire history, and the means by which it came into the possession of Smith, are described in the following statement, by Mr. Spaulding's widow: --
"Since the Book of Mormon, or Golden Bible, (as it was originally called,) has excited much attention, and is deemed by a certain new sect of equal authority with the sacred Scriptures. I think it a duty to the public to state what I know of its origin. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was married in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination, and great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage, he resided in Cherry Valley, New-York. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated on Conneaut Creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health failed, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New-Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to he the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These relics arrest the attention of new settlers, and become object of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement, and furnish employment for his mind, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of the long-lost race. Their antiquity led him to adopt the most ancient style, and he imitated the Old Testament as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this imaginary history was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great
interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth; and he gave it the title of 'The Manuscript Found.' The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. Spaulding advanced in deciphering the manuscript; and when he had a sufficient portion prepared, he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people, and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it. From New-Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania. Here Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Patterson, and editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and, as Rigdon himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and copied it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington County, where Mr. Spaulding died, in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. M'Kenstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the Book of Mormon came out, a copy of it was taken to New-Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the 'Manuscript Found' was written. A woman appointed a meeting there; and in the meeting read copious extracts from the Book of Mormon. The historical part was known by all the older inhabitants as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, and recognized perfectly the production of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed to the meeting his sorrow that the writings of his deceased brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New-Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible -- to satisfy their own minds and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, which was signed by Messrs. Henry, Lake, Aaron, Wright, and others, with all of whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided at New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus, an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions, and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine."
Similar evidence as to the Spaulding MS. was given by several private friends, and by the writer's brother, all of whom were familiar with its contents. The facts thus graphically detailed have of course been denied, but have never been disproved. Indeed, without them; it is impossible to explain the hold which Rigdon always possessed on the Prophet; for he was a poor creature, without education and without talents. At one time -- a critical moment in the history of the new Church -- a quarrel arose between the accomplices; but it ended in Smith's receiving a "revelation," in which Rigdon was raised by divine command to be equal with himself, having plenary power given to him to bind and loose both on earth and in heaven.
The remaining history of the Mormons is eminently interesting. Ignorant and superstitious as have been the chief part of the disciples, and atrocious as have been the tricks of the knaves who have led them on amid all the varieties of their good and evil fortune, there have occasionally been displayed among them an enthusiasm and bravery of endurance that demand admiration. Nearly from the beginning the leaders of the sect seem to have contemplated settling in the thinly populated regions of the western states, where lands were to be purchased for low prices; and after a short residence at Kirkland, in Ohio, they determined to found a New Jerusalem in Missouri. The interests of the town were confided to suitable officers, and Smith spent his time in traveling through the country and preaching, until the real or pretended immoralities of the sect led to such discontents that in 1839 they were forcibly and lawlessly expelled from the State. We are inclined to believe that they were not only treated with remarkable severity, but that there was no reason whatever to justify an interference in their affairs.
From Missouri the saints proceeded to Illinois, and on the 6th of April, 1841, with imposing ceremonies, laid at their new city of Nauvoo the corner-stone of the Temple, an immense edifice, without any architectural order or attraction, which in a few months was celebrated everywhere as not inferior in size and magnificence to that built by Solomon in Jerusalem. It was of white limestone, one hundred and twenty-eight feet long, eighty-three feet wide, and sixty feet high. Its style will be seen in the engraving.
[ graphic not copied ]
This building was destroyed by fire on the 19th of November, 1848. Nauvoo is delightfully situated in the midst of a fertile district, and a careful inquirer will not be apt to deny that it became the home of a more industrious, frugal, and generally moral society, than occupied any other town in the State. Whatever charges were preferred against Smith and his disciples, to justify the outrages to which they were subjected, the history of their expulsion from Nauvoo is simply a series of illustrations of the fact that the ruffian population of the neighboring country set on foot a vast scheme of robbery in order to obtain the lands and improvements of the Mormons without paying for them. We have not room for a particular statement of the discontents and conspiracies which grew up in the city, nor for any detail of the aggressions from without. On the 27th of June, 1844, Joseph and Hiram Smith were murdered, while under the especial protection of the authorities of the State.
The death of their leaders now threw the saints into the utmost confusion. Various pretenders to the supreme power and influence at once appeared. After much dissension, the party of Brigham Young triumphed over that of Sidney Rigdon; the sect were reorganized, and for some time were permitted quietly to prosecute their plans at Nauvoo. But early in 1846 they were driven out of their city, and compelled in midwinter to seek a new home beyond the farthest borders of civilization. The first companies, embracing sixteen hundred persons, crossed the Mississippi on the 3d of February, 1846, and similar detachments continued to leave until July and August, traveling by ox teams toward California, then almost unknown, and quite unpeopled by the Anglo-Saxon race. Their enemies asserted that the intention of the Saints was to excite the Indians against the government, and that they would return to take vengeance on the whites for the indignities they had suffered. Nothing appears to have been further from their intentions. Their sole object was to plant their Church in some fertile and hitherto undiscovered spot, where they might be unmolested by any opposing sect. The war against Mexico was then raging, and, to test the loyalty
of the Mormons, it was suggested that a demand should be made on them to raise five hundred men for the service of the country. They consented, and that number of their best men enrolled themselves under General Kearney, and marched two thousand four hundred miles with the armies of the United States. At the conclusion of the war they were disbanded in Upper California. They allege that it was one of this band who, in working at a mill, first discovered the golden treasures of California; and they are said to have amassed large quantities of gold before the secret was made generally known to the "Gentiles." Hut faith was not kept with the Mormons who remained in Nauvoo. Although they had agreed to leave in detachments, as rapidly as practicable, they were not allowed necessary time to dispose of their property; and in September, 1846, the city was besieged by their enemies upon the pretence that they did not intend to fulfill the stipulations made with the people and authorities of Illinois. After a three days' bombardment, the last remnant was finally driven out.
The terrible hegira of the Mormon emigrants over the Rocky Mountains has been described by Mr. Kane of Philadelphia, in an interesting pamphlet, which is honorable to his own character for good sense and for benevolent feeling. No religious emigration was ever attended by more suffering, no emigration of any kind was ever prosecuted with more bravery. It resulted in the permanent establishment of the "Commonwealth of the New Covenant," in Utah, or Deseret, one of the most attractive portions of the interior of this continent, near its western border. Of this territory Mr. Kane says: --
"Deseret is emphatically a new country; new in its own characteristic features, newer still in its bringing together within its limits the most inconsistent peculiarities of other countries. I cannot aptly compare it to any. Descend from the mountains, where you have the scenery and climate of Switzerland, to seek the sky of your choice among the many climates of Italy, and you may find welling out of the
same hills the freezing springs of Mexico and the hot springs of Iceland, both together coursing their way to the Salt Sea of Palestine, in the plain below. The pages of Malte Brun provide me with a less truthful parallel to it than those which describe the Happy Valley of Rasselas, or the continent of Ballibarbi."
The history of the Mormons has ever since been an unbroken record of prosperity. It has looked as though the elements of fortune, obedient to a law of natural reaction, were struggling to compensate their undue share of suffering. They may be pardoned for deeming it miraculous. But, in truth, the economist accounts for it all, who explains to us the speedy recuperation of cities, laid in ruin by flood, fire, and earthquake. During its years of trial, Mormon labor had subsisted on insufficient capital, and under many difficulties; but it has subsisted, and survives them now, as intelligent and powerful as ever it was at Nauvoo; with this difference, that it has in the mean time been educated to habits of unmatched thrift, energy, and endurance, and has been transplanted to a situation where it is in every respect more productive. Moreover, during all the period of their journey, while some have gained by practice in handicraft, and the experience of repeated essays at their various halting-places, the minds of all have been busy framing designs and planning improvements they have since found opportunity to execute. Their territory is unequaled as a stockraising country; the finest pastures of Lombardy are not more estimable than those on the east side of the Utah Lake and its tributary rivers; and it is scarcely less rich in timber and minerals than the most fortunate portions of the continent.
From the first the Mormons have had little to do in Deseret, but attend to mechanical and strictly agricultural pursuits. They have made several successful settlements: the farthest north is distant more than forty miles, and the farthest south, in a valley called the Sanpeech, two hundred, from that first formed. A duplicate of the Lake Tiberias empties its waters into the innocent Dead Sea of Deseret, by a fine river, which they have named the Western Jordan. It was on the right bank of this stream, on a rich table land, traversed by exhaustless waters falling from the highlands, that the pioneers, coming out of the mountains in the night of the 24th of July, 1847, pitched their first camp in the Valley, and consecrated the ground. This spot proved the most favorable site for their chief settlement, and after exploring the whole country they founded on it their city named New Jerusalem. Its houses are diffused, to command as much as possible the farms, which are laid out in wards or cantons, with a common fence to each. The farms in wheat already cover a space nearly as large as Rhode Island. The houses of New Jerusalem, or Great Salt Lake City, as it is commonly called, are distributed over an area nearly as great as that of New-York. The foundations have been laid for a temple more vast and magnificent than that of Nauvoo. Indeed, the foundation of a mighty State is laid in the far West, having laws and institutions peculiar to the faith of its founders.
Such has been the history of the Mormons in the past—their future is as yet unknown. But it needs not the eye of a seer to behold, through the dimness of that future, with some distinctness the dark form of contention. Among the applications hereafter to be made of the long-asserted principle that an American citizen has the right to remove anywhere in our public domain with his family and his property, will be found some most momentous questions connected with the laws and institutions of Deseret. It is yet to be decided whether other Territories and States are bound to acknowledge and honor polygamy in the sons of Joseph Smith, and at the same time punish it most severely in the instance of others: or, whether the door is to be thrown wide open to the most unbridled licentiousness. Christian philanthropists, it may be even at this early day, are bound to consider the propriety of pitching a tabernacle to Jehovah amid those distant tents of an impure religion which, like the handful of corn in the top of the mountain, may one day fill the whole land.
NAUVOO AND DESERET.
Reviewed Errors Corrected -- Origin of The Book Of Mormon -- Other Standards --
Enormities -- Expulsion From Nauvoo -- Death of Joe Smith.
The author of the first article in the June number of the National Magazine for the present year has presented a very incorrect view of the subject upon which he treats, calculated to lead to conclusions entirely erroneous, not only in regard to Mormons and Mormonism, but specially in regard to the people of Hancock and the adjoining counties, and the circumstances leading to, and accompanying the Mormon expulsion from the state. My father emigrated from Vermont, and was the first settler in an adjoining county, (Schuyler,) two years before the first "log cabin" was built in Hancock County, subsequently the seat of the Mormon difficulties.
In 1836 I was admitted into the Illinois Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church; preached more or less in Hancock County every year for the next eight years; included a good part of Hancock County in the Macomb District, which I traveled in 1838-9; was stationed the two following years in Quincy; the year after at Rushville, all in counties adjoining Hancock; knew Joe Smith and many of the leading Mormons personally; have been conversant with some of the leading men of the sect who had left them, and who were fully convinced of their iniquity before they left Missouri, and had many private and some public discussions of their doctrines; so that I may say without boasting, "having had perfect understanding of all these things from the very first, it seemed good to me also to write." And I may add further, from personal acquaintance with many of the citizens of Illinois who were active in effecting the expulsion of the Mormons, that they will not suffer by comparison with an equal number of citizens from any other part of the Union, in regard to intelligence, morals, or love of law and order. Some of a different class were engaged in it; but these formed the exceptions, and not the rule.
Heretofore they have not undertaken a vindication of their conduct, for the simple reason that they needed none with those who were acquainted with the facts; and as to others who, under the influence of a false and morbid sympathy, are forever seeking after something to weep and sigh over, it was thought they had as well exhaust themselves on this subject as any other. And it is not that Illinois needs a vindication, but for the sake of truth that I write.
With the first part of the article I have no particular controversy, (one item excepted,) as the writer is evidently shaking out his pinions for a flight, and may be allowed to substitute rhetoric and fancy for truth and fact. The item to which exception is taken relates to their numbers. No doubt the assertion that they now number "half a million" will make Elder Snow, Orson Hyde, Apostle Pratt, and even Governor Young himself stare amazingly. All nonsense, and nothing like truth. In 1850 they numbered in Utah eleven thousand three hundred and eighty, and the estimated population of the entire territory in 1853 is only twenty thousand, while the great majority in Carson's Valley (included within the territory) are not Mormons. Everybody knows that out of the territory, and within the United States, their numbers are but nominal. Strang, at the Manitou Islands, in Lake Michigan, and Rigdon, near Pittsburgh, are leaders of small companies, say from two to three hundred in all; and these are growing "small by degrees and beautifully less," continually. Out of the United States their converts are numbered by a few thousands, according to their own showing, which is much more likely to magnify than minify the facts in the case. "Half-a-million!!" Even the veritable Madam Rumor herself, with her well-known proclivity to fiction, falsehood, and exaggeration, would have choked at this. Thirty thousand is much nearer the truth.
The history of the Smith family is sufficiently correct to pass without special note, although the picture might have been darkened greatly.
The story of the Spaulding manuscript, &c., as the origin of the Mormon bible, is probably correct so far as it goes; but if correct to any extent, the original document has been greatly mutilated, as no "graduate" of an ordinary common school -- not to say "Dartmouth College" -- would be guilty of so many gross vulgarisms and glaring violations of the plainest rules of grammar.
The style is low and vulgar, and, if written by Mr. Spaulding, as it was subsequently printed, it will doubtless stand peerless and alone, as the most successful effort of the violation of every rule of taste and language which the history of our vernacular has ever furnished. Internal evidence is not wanting that some manuscript has furnished the ground-plan of the work, but that another hand has greatly enlarged the text, making such additions as the peculiar doctrines, &c., of the system required.
A few extracts will show that a considerable portion of the book was suggested by the anti-masonic excitement of western New-York, which commenced in the neighborhood, and near the time that Joe Smith professes to have found the platos from which the record was taken. The Lamanites, a wicked and ungodly race who figure largely in the work, are represented as originating and perfecting a "secret combination," bound with "oaths," and having "signs" by which they could recognize each other, &c.; and one Gadianton, a kind of Jeroboam-the-son-of-Nebat character, introduced this "secret combination" among the Nephtes, or religious portion of the people. The following, as a specimen, will sufficiently illustrate this portion of the book: --
"And now, my son, these directors were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled which he spake saving, I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations. * * * And I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land. * * * Yea, their secret abominations have been brought out of darkness and made known unto us. * * * Retain all their oaths and their covenants and their arguments. * * * Yea, and all their signs. * * * And only their wickedness and their murders shall ye make known. * * * Ye shall teach them to abhor such wickedness and abominations and their murders. * * * And the blood of those which they murdered did cry." -- Book of Alma, chap, xvii, pp. 328-9, first edit., Mormon Bible.
Also the following, from another part: --
"Yea, woe be unto yon because of that great abomination which hath come among you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton. * * * Behold there were men which were judges which also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry," &c., &c. -- Book of Helaman, chap, iii, p. 428.
Any person conversant with the periodical literature of the locality and time cannot be at a loss as to the origin of the above.
The last part of the book is to a considerable extent made up by presenting in an awkward way objections to infant baptism, (Smith was educated in the Baptist Church,) mingled with Rigdon's doctrine of "baptism for the remission of sins," which he (Rigdon) embraced when a Campbellite preacher, and made a prominent feature of Mormonism. Take the following as an illustration: --
"And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you. For if I have learned the truth, there has been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children. * * * For immediately after I had learned these things of you, I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, * * * I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; wherefore little children are whole, for they arc not capable of committing sin, * * * wherefore, my son, I know that it is solemn mockery to baptize little children. * * * this thing shall ye teach, repentance and baptism unto they which are accountable, and capable of committing sin. * * * and their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. * * * Behold, I say unto you that he that supposeth that little children needeth baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; wherefore should he be cut off while in the thought he must go down to hell, * * * And he that saith that little children needeth baptism, denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him, and the power of his redemption. Woe unto such; for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment." -- Book of Moroni, chap, viii, pp. 581-2.
Much more twaddle of a similar character will be found in the book. This, doubtless, will be deemed sufficient.
These quotations furnish strongly presumptive evidence that all similar portions of the book were not written by Mr. Spaulding. As his manuscript was finished some years before the mysterious disappearance of Morgan, and the great excitement consequent upon that event, and at a time when secret fraternities were flourishing and popular, it is hardly supposable that he would hold them forth in the unfavorable light above; and as Mr. Spaulding was a Presbyterian or Congregational minister, if I am correctly informed, he would not have doomed everybody to "death, hell, and eternal torment," who held to infant baptism.
"The Book of Covenants," and "Pratt's Voice of Warning," are rather better so far as style is concerned, yet equally heterodox in doctrine, and worse in morals than their bible; both of which are received as inspired, and binding on the conscience and life. The latter is a 2 Imo. volume, of some one hundred and fifty pages, given by Pratt, one of the twelve apostles I think, or at least a prophet, and is a savage philippic against the people of these United States, because they refused to embrace Mormonism -- announcing that" God's sword was bathed in blood in heaven;" that he had delivered it to the saints, (Mormons;) and that whosoever would not submit to the saints (Mormons) within ten years, I think, should become food for the vultures and wild beasts. It was published, as near as I recollect, in 1838, and is just as clear a denunciation of destruction to the American people by the Mormons, if they do not embrace Mormonism, as is the denunciation of destruction to the Canaanites by Israel, in the Bible.
The former is made up of various revelations, given at different times, to different individuals, and on different subjects. These two volumes and their bible, coupled with the convenient arrangement for obtaining a revelation at any time and upon any subject as occasion may require, constitute the Mormon rule of faith. One important revelation, and one on which the Mormons practiced largely, establishes the two following propositions: -- 1. The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof in every sense. 2. The saints (Mormons) have a right, as the Lord's children, to take the Lord's property wherever they can find it, and whenever they want it. And it was their bold and open practice upon these principles, connected with many other kindred and inherent evils that led to their expulsion from Illinois.
Who the writer of the article under review is we are not informed, and certainly it is not a matter of importance to know. Evidence is furnished that he is moderately well acquainted with the earlier history of the sect, but lamentably ignorant of their latter history. Why did he not tell his readers of the bogus money, and shinplaster bank, &c., of Smith and Co., while residing in Kirtland, Ohio? Or narrate their two days' drunken frolic at the "endowment" of their temple there? Why did he not say something of the murders and thefts committed in Missouri? Or of Rigdon's famous "Salt Sermon," delivered on the fourth of July [sic] in Far West Mo., in which he asserted that Judas was murdered by the apostles for betraying his master; that Ananias and Sapphira were killed by the young men for lying; and all this to stimulate the "Danites" to murder any who should dare to leave the Mormon fraternity; and in the same discourse proclaimed war to the death with Missouri if she should dare to interfere civilly or otherwise with the Mormons. All this and much more is passed over in silence! If the writer was ignorant of these facts, what business had he to write on the subject? If not, where is the honesty in suppressing them? Yet all this "eminently interesting history" is passed over in entire silence, while others, whose fathers, brothers and sons had been murdered by the Mormons, are held forth as the "ruffian population of the neighboring country," simply because they would not allow a horde of pirates to fatten in their midst.
The greatest outrage upon truth, however, remains yet to be noticed. It reads as follows: -- (See p. 487, Nat. Mag., June, 1854.)
"Whatever charges were preferred against Smith and his disciples to justify the outrages to which they were subjected, the history of their expulsion from Nauvoo is simply a series of illustrations of the fact that the ruffian population of the neighboring country set on foot a vast scheme of robbery, in order to obtain the lands and improvements of the Mormons without paying for them."
The above rash and unqualified sentence I have read with perfect astonishment. How any respectable man would dare to risk and ruin his reputation for candor and veracity, in the estimation of all who know the facts in the case, by such a non-truth is more than I can comprehend; and I am bold to say that a more flagrant perversion of truth was never perpetrated in (he English or any other language.
Please permit me to ask, What is to be done when the bands of civil society are all broken? -- when the terms law and order are made the mere catch-words to authorize violence, outrage and murder? -- when frequent appeals to the civil authorities have only resulted in the defeat of justice and increased outrage? Is there
nothing in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, worth contending for? Are we not to be allowed to appear and remove those who will not allow us to possess those blessings quietly?
The bare supposition that any portion of the American people would "set on foot a vast scheme of robbery" to drive off a flourishing city of fifteen or twenty thousand peaceable and orderly inhabitants is absurd. Permit me to state what can be proved by a thousand unimpeached and unimpeachable witnesses now living.
Within less than a year from the establishment of the Mormons in Nauvoo, and some time before they became an object of either fear or favor politically, there had been a concerted plan of theft and plunder carried on by the Mormons in all the surrounding country. It was no very strange thing for a Mormon to take his team, drive into a neighboring field, load his wagon with oats, corn, or wheat, and take it off to Nauvoo; or to ride out upon the prairies, herd as many beeves as he liked, and drive them to the same place; rather stealthily at first, but boldly toward the last. When an appeal was made to the civil authorities and the criminal arrested, fifty or a hundred Mormon witnesses were called in, an alibi was proved, leaving the sufferer to pay costs, with a threat that if he was troublesome about it his house would be burned, or some other evil inflicted. To avoid paying their debts the following arrangement was made: --
"It was discovered," says Governor Ford, in his History of Illinois, p. 405, * * * that that people had an institution in their Church called 'Oneness,' which was composed of five persons, over whom 'One' was appointed as a kind of guardian. This 'One,' as trustee for the rest, was to own all the property of the association; so that if it were levied upon for debt by an execution, the Mormons could prove that it belonged to one or the other of the parties as might be required to defeat the execution."
This arrangement enabled them to swindle all to whom they were indebted; and they were not backward in carrying it out. This overbearing and perfectly lawless course had been pursued until all, or nearly all the original inhabitants of Nauvoo had left, and was then commenced on the old settlers of the county in general. When they proposed to sell and move away, none would buy but Mormons, and they would offer only from $1.50 to $2 per acre, for farms that were worth from $15 to $25 per acre. Many of the old settlers had been plundered, swindled, and dragooned in this way out of their property, and it was boldly proclaimed by the Mormons, that they intended to take the entire county and the adjoining counties in the same way.
Add to this the following picture from Governor Ford's "History of Illinois," already alluded to: -- (See pp. 320-322.)
"No further demand for the arrest of Joe Smith having been made by Missouri, he became emboldened by success. The Mormons became more arrogant and overbearing. In the winter of 1843 and '44, the common council of Nauvoo passed some further ordinances to protect their leaders from arrest on demand by Missouri. They enacted that no writ issued from any other place than Nauvoo for the arrest of any person in it, should be executed in the city without an approval indorsed by the mayor -- (Smith was mayor:) that if any public officer, by virtue of any foreign writ, should attempt to make an arrest in the city without such approval of his process, he should be subject to be imprisoned for life, and that the governor of the state should not have the power of pardoning the offender without the consent of the mayor. "When these ordinances were published, they created general astonishment. Many people began to believe, in good earnest, that the Mormons were about to set up a separate government for themselves, in defiance of the law of the state. Owners of property stolen in other counties made pursuit into Nauvoo, and were fined by the Mormon courts for daring to seek their property in the holy city. To one such I granted a pardon. Several of the Mormons had been convicted of larceny, and they never failed in any instance to procure a petition signed by fifteen hundred or two thousand of their friends for their pardon. But that which made it more certain than anything else that the Mormons contemplated a separate government was, that about this time they petitioned Congress to establish a Territorial Government for them in Nauvoo, as if Congress had any power to establish such a government, or any other, within the bounds of the state.
a temporal prince as well as a spiritual leader of his people. He instituted a new and select order of the priesthood, the members of which were to be priests and kings, temporally and spiritually: these were to be his nobility, who were to be the upholders of his throne. He caused himself to be crowned and anointed king and priest far above the rest; and he prescribed the form of an oath of allegiance to himself, which he administered to his principal followers. To uphold his pretensions to royalty, he deduced his descent by an unbroken chain from Joseph, the son of Jacob; and that of his wife from some other renowned personage of the Old Testament history. The Mormons openly denounced the government of the United States as utterly corrupt, and as being about to pass away, and to be replaced by the government of God, to be administered by his servant Joseph. It is now at this day certain also, that about this time the prophet reinstituted an order in the Church called the 'Danite Band.' These were to be a body of police and guards about the person of their sovereign, who were sworn to obey his orders as the orders of God himself. About this time he gave a new touch to a female order already existing in the Church, called 'spiritual wives.' A doctrine was now revealed, that no woman could get to heaven, except as the wife of a Mormon elder. The elders were allowed to have as many of these wives as they could maintain; and it was a doctrine of the Church, that any female could be 'sealed up to eternal life,' by uniting herself as wife or concubine to the elder of her choice. This doctrine was maintained by an appeal to the Old Testament Scriptures, and by the example of Abraham and Jacob, of David and Solomon, the favorites of God in a former age of the world."
Add to all this, and much more, that their city charter organized the Nauvoo Legion, which was now drilled regularly and well furnished with arms, partly from the state, but mostly from other sources, and numbered from four thousand to six thousand men, as they reported; -- that Smith had sent several expeditions or secret embassies to Missouri, to murder the governor of that state, and had threatened several prominent individuals with the same fate; -- that he had his Danites sworn to obey his commands as the commands of God -- who looked upon him as the followers of Mohammed looked upon their prophet -- all this, and much more, carried on at the bidding of a coarse, loafing, vulgar blackguard, called a prophet, backed by twenty thousand people, all of the same spirit; -- that Nauvoo was the head-quarters of a well-organized band of highwaymen, burglars, thieves, and cut-throats; -- that no arrest could be made in the city; -- that this had been growing worse and worse from the beginning of their settlement there; -- that many appeals had been made to the law, and that justice could not be obtained there; -- that society had been dissolved; -- that the Legion had been ordered out to oppose the serving of a civil process in Nauvoo: -- thus committing treason against the United States and the state of Illinois. And I submit it to any man of sense, whether the people were not justifiable in expelling them from the state. "Ruffian inhabitants!" indeed. It is a slander, and utterly false. Many of them were from "ruffian" New-England, and have been as orderly and as quiet before and since the expulsion of the Mormons, as their fathers and brothers who were left behind.
The death of Joe Smith was an unlawful, high-handed affair; but neither Hancock County, nor the adjoining counties, nor the state of Illinois, are responsible for it. It was the work of a company of men mostly from Missouri, who had some old debts, and probably the murders of fathers and brothers to avenge murders committed by the Mormons while in that state. Part of the company was from Hancock and adjoining counties, and was composed of men whose feelings and rights had been outraged in the most egregious manner. But the act was wrong; Smith was under arrest on the charge of treason, and the executive of the state had pledged his word that his person should be secure. The Carthage Grays had pledged their word to the governor that the persons of the prisoners should be protected. Soon after the governor left Carthage for Nauvoo, the Grays, left as a guard, learned that some two hundred desperate men, well armed, were in the neighborhood, and determined on the death of the Smiths. They could not have defended them if they had tried; but they should not have tacitly consented to their death. Rather, they should either have fought to the last, or let the prisoners go free, and favored their escape. They did neither, and are justly censurable; although any course afforded but a poor prospect of escape for the prisoners. But why charge Illinois or Hancock County with their death? It was neither known, planned, nor executed by the one or the other. We might as well charge the author of the article reviewed with their murder.
That the settlers had no part in the matter -- indeed were afraid to have committed
the act -- is shown from the fact that they almost universally fled, lest the Nauvoo Legion should subject them to an indiscriminate massacre. And all that prevented such a catastrophe, probably, was the fact that Governor Ford arrested the two messengers that had fled from Carthage to Nauvoo with the intelligence, just as they were about to enter the city; took them back to Carthage; and then sent a letter, probably dictated by himself, and written by two Mormon leaders, of a pacific character, which, with measures immediately adopted, gave them to understand that though they might obtain a temporary advantage, they would soon have the whole force of the state arrayed against them, and of course, sooner or later, would either be hung or shot, if they went to war.
Thus was illegally punished a knave with the blood of scores of murdered victims on his hands.
For about a year after the death of the prophet, the depredations of the Mormons ceased to some extent, and the country was comparatively quiet. After this the apostles and preachers of Mormonism were all called in; and, says Ford, (Hist., pp. 360-1) --
"It was announced that the world had rejected the gospel by the murder of the prophet and patriarch, and was left to perish in its sins. In the mean time, both before and after this, the elders at Nauvoo quit preaching about religion. The Mormons came from every part pouring into the city; the congregations were regularly called together for worship; but instead of expounding the new gospel, the zealous and infuriated preachers now indulged only in curses and strains of abuse of the Gentiles; and it seemed to be their design to till their followers with the greatest amount of hatred to all mankind except the 'saints.' A sermon was no more than an inflammatory stump speech relating to their quarrels with their enemies, and ornamented with an abundance of profanity. From my own personal knowledge of this people, I can say with truth, that I have never known many of their leaders who were not addicted to profane swearing. No other kind of discourses than these we heard in the city. Curses upon their enemies, upon the country, upon government, upon all public officers, were now the lessons taught by the elders to influence their people with the highest degree of spite and malice against all who were not of the Mormon Church, or its obsequious tools."
From this time burglary, theft, counterfeiting, and robbery, were practiced by them, and the perpetrators were protected and secured in Nauvoo. The county officers were all Mormons or Jack-Mormons, and no criminal could be convicted. In this state of affairs, a company of Mormon thieves had been followed to a Mormon neighborhood, near Lima. Search was made for the stolen property, (a wagonload of leather,) and it, with many other stolen articles, were found hid under the floors of the Mormon cabins. The people (mob if you please) then ordered them to leave in two days -- after which they tore down the cabins, and burned them in whole or in part. The Mormons left for Nauvoo, some twenty miles distant. Backinstos, the Jack-Mormon sheriff, ordered out the posse-comitatus -- but not a man would go. He then went to Nauvoo, where he raised several hundred armed Mormons, with which he swept the whole country, took possession of Carthage, and established a permanent guard there. The people fled everywhere from this horde of plunderers -- some to Missouri, some to Iowa, and some to other parts of Illinois. During the ascendency of the sheriff and his posse, and in the absence of the people, the Mormons "sallied forth and ravaged the country, stealing and plundering whatever was convenient to carry or drive away." M'Bratney was shot by this gang; another party murdered a man by the name of Daubneyar; F. A. Worrell was waylaid and shot, and then pierced many times with bayonets by the Mormons; and a man by the name of Wilcox was murdered in Nauvoo, "as it was believed, by the order of the twelve apostles."
This, of course, brought matters to a crisis. Troops were ordered out; and when they arrived at Carthage it was very evident that the Mormons or the people must leave. The governor, and other influential men in the state, used all their influence to induce the Mormons to leave; and they finally agreed to do so as soon as the grass grew. The reason that some of them left in the winter was, they were told by those in high authority, that if they remained until the Mississippi opened in the spring, the United States troops would be upon them, and that every criminal would be arrested and tried. The "apostles," and leaders of course, left, although they might have remained until spring. The reason is at once obvious. Many went in the spring; yet from one thousand to two thousand remained, who still continued their old practices, saying, that they did
not intend to go until September; when, after much litigation and an array of officer against officer, and posse against posse, and some fighting, in which quite a quantity of powder was burned and very little blood shed, they were removed by a large force from several adjoining counties, not with violence, but by agreement.
Much might be added in regard to their polygamy and licentiousness -- but I forbear. The stream is too filthy for an ordinarily decent man to attempt to ford, sound, or swim it.
All that is said in the article under review upon the subject of "unmatched thrift," "sufferings," &c, is mere fustian put in to fill out the picture -- make out a case. Their hardships are trifles, compared with what some "Of the California and Oregon emigrants have suffered; and their thrift is far behind Iowa, Wisconsin, or Minnesota.
(New Haven: G. B. Bassett & Co.)
"Utah and the Mormons"
Vol. VIII. October, 1855. No. 3.
Art. III. -- UTAH AND THE MORMONS.
Utah and the Mormons. The History, Government, Doctrines, Customs and Prospects of the Latter Day Saints, from personal observation during a six months' residence at Great Salt Lake City. By BENJAMIN G. FERRIS, late Secretary of Utah Territory. New York, 1854. Harper & Brothers.
368 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
1855.] Utah and the Mormons 369
370 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
1855.] Utah and the Mormons 371
372 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
1855.] Utah and the Mormons 373
374 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
1855.] Utah and the Mormons 375
376 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
1855.] Utah and the Mormons 377
378 Utah and the Mormons [Oct.
The Tribune Amanac
(NYC: New York Tribune press)
"Utah and the Mormons"
A report compiled from 1857-59 articles
from Horace Greeley's New York Tribune
TRIBUNE ALMANAC FOR 1859.
UTAH AND THE MORMONS.
38 THE TRIBUNE ALMANAC AND POLITICAL REGISTER.
UTAH AND THE MORMONS. 39
40 THE TRIBUNE ALMANAC AND POLITICAL REGISTER.
UTAH AND THE MORMONS. 41
42 THE TRIBUNE ALMANAC AND POLITICAL REGISTER.
The Atlantic Monthly
(NYC: New York Tribune press)
March - Part One
April - Part Two
May - Part Three
Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 17, March, 1859.
THE UTAH EXPEDITION;
If General Henry Knox, of Revolutionary memory, the first Secretary of
War of the Republic, had dreamed that the successor to his portfolio,
after an interval of seventy years, would recommend to Congress the
purchase of a thousand camels for military purposes, he would have
attributed the fancy to excited nerves or a too hearty dinner. Had he
dreamed, further, that the grotesque mounted corps was to be employed
in regions two thousand miles beyond the frontier of the Anglo-Saxon
pioneer of 1789, to guard travel to an actual El Dorado, the vision
would have appeared still more extraordinary. And its absurdity would
have seemed complete, if he had fancied the high road of this travel
as leading through a community essentially Oriental in its social and
political life, which was nevertheless ripening into a State of the
American Union. Yet if General Knox could be roused from his grave at
Thomaston, he would see the dream realized. On the Pacific lies El
Dorado; among the fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains there is a community
which blends the voluptuousness of Bagdad with the economy of Cape Cod;
and within two years a regiment of camel-riders will be scouring the
Great American Plains after Cheyennes, Navajoes, and Camanches.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
[To be continued.]
362 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 363.
364 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 365.
366 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 367.
368 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 369.
370 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 371.
372 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 373.
374 The Utah Expedition. [March.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 375.
[To be continued.]
Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 18, April, 1859.
THE UTAH EXPEDITION:
In the mean while Congress had assembled. The agitation on the subject
of Slavery, far from being suppressed, or even overshadowed, burned more
fiercely than ever before. The Pro-slavery faction in Kansas, stimulated
by the constant support of the National Administration, was engaged in a
final effort to maintain a supremacy over the affairs of that Territory
which the current of immigration from the Free States had been steadily
undermining. Against the will of nine-tenths of the population, it had
framed, with a show of technical legality, a Constitution intended to
perpetuate Slavery, which the Administration indorsed and presented to
Congress with an urgent recommendation for the admission under it
of Kansas as a State. In the commotion which these events excited
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
[To be continued.]
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 475.
476 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 477.
478 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 479.
480 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 481.
482 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 483.
484 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 485.
486 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 487.
488 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 489.
490 The Utah Expedition. [April.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 491.
[To be continued.]
Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, Issue 19, May, 1859.
THE UTAH EXPEDITION:
On the 3d of July, the Commissioners started on their return to the
States. During their stay at Salt Lake City, the doubt which they had
been led to entertain of the wisdom of the policy which they were the
agents to carry out, had ripened into a firm conviction.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
The Utah Expedition.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 571.
572 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 573.
574 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 575.
576 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 577.
578 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 579.
580 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 581.
582 The Utah Expedition. [May.
1859.] The Utah Expedition. 583.
584 The Utah Expedition. [May.