Joseph Smith, the Great
(London, Hall & Co., 1852)
J O S E P H S M I T H,
GREAT AMERICAN IMPOSTOR;
MORMONISM PROVED TO BE FALSE,
BY A FAIR EXAMINATION OF ITS HISTORY
BY THOMAS TYSON,
(Late of SOUTHAM,)
HALL & CO., 25, PATERNOSTER ROW.
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22. SECTION 2.— THE PRIESTHOOD.
25. SECTION 3.— THE APOSTOLATE.
29. SECTION 4.— BAPTISM FOR REMISSION OF SINS.
35. SECTION 5.— HISTORY OF MORMONISM.
We purposely avoid commencing our review of Smith, or Mormonism, with the history of Joseph Smith -- we do so for the two following reasons, first, because we have no wish to prejudice his scheme before it has been considered -- and secondly, because the points at issue do not, in the least, depend upon him, in any shape -- the subject can be equally fairly discussed and settled if we either admit, for the sake of argument, that he was as pure as an angel of heaven, or that in reality he was an angel of heaven. What then is Smith, or Mormonism? It is an attack on Christianity for the purpose of subverting it! This, of course, is denied by the Mormonites, but that does not signify if we can prove our assertion.
There are four prominent features of Mormonism, first, that it is a Revelation from Heaven -- secondly, that it has a Priesthood -- thirdly, Apostles, which, it appears, is only a modification of the Priesthood -- and fourthly, Baptism for the Remission of Sins.
First, then, we shall enquire whether Joseph Smith had revelations from heaven! The solemn and awful admonition of God himself, upon this subject, is as follows: -- "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar!" * Now, we think that we shall find Joseph Smith convicted under this sentence of the word of God, and it is an awful fact, if it be true, for he has gone to his own place!
The first account that Joseph gives of a revelation is reported to have been when he was "young," and that subsequently "he was again entangled in the vanities of the
* Prov. xxx. 5, 6.
world, of which he afterwards sincerely and truly repented." Now, although we do not believe that ever such a man was converted, it must be admitted, by those who for the sake of argument say he was, that he could not have been converted previous to his "entanglement in the vanities of the world!" If, however, it be affirmed that such a man could be converted, all the circumstances taken into consideration, and that notwithstanding he was afterwards "entangled in the vanities of the world," this is substantially to affirm that God is the minister of sin! What! a man so highly beloved of the holiest of beings that he saw visions of God? that God's cause in the earth should henceforth be committed into his hands? and yet after all this, "being young he was again entangled in the vanities of the world." Truly we should think, with the Mormonites, that God could not be omniscient if all this were true! but truly in God's own language "There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings." * We could only conceive of such a man being chosen of God, as a prophet, for the important purpose assumed by Joseph Smith, under a mistake! and, under the circumstances, a mistake being impossible, it must be evident that Joseph Smith never saw angels -- never conversed with them, nor received any assurance from God that "the fulness of the gospel should at some future time, be made known to him." But to add to the absurdity, it is declared that this prophet, while evidently in his unconverted state, having been "again entangled in the vanities of the world," "was informed," by the heavenly messengers that were sent to him, "that his sins were forgiven." This is sadly too great a mistake for the Omniscient Being to have committed! We therefore do not, cannot, believe without evidence, this revelation, viz: that Joseph Smith's sins were forgiven, and that this announcement was made to him by the angels! But this is not the worst of it, we are not only told to believe this revelation without evidence, "being young, he was again entangled in the vanities of the world," (an event subsequent to the direct assurance from heaven that his sins were forgiven) "of which
* Job, xxxiv. 21, 22.
he afterwards sincerely and truly repented!" Now Whoever likes to gulp this may, but it would be difficult to persuade us that any man of sense could, were he to make ever such an effort! The question is not whether a man can live without sin, for we are told that after Joseph had this glorious revelation he lived after the course of this world -- "being young, he was again entangled in the vanities of the world." Taking the most favourable view of this account, (which we have on the authority of Orson Pratt, one of the twelve apostles of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,") the assumption that Smith was appointed by God to the prophetic office, and that afterwards "he was again entangled in the vanities of the world," is, in sober earnest, out of all character. Moses had a glorious revelation from heaven, and was chosen to be a prophet, is there any such thing subsequently stated of him? Ezekiel? Saul of Tarsus had a glorious revelation -- any such thing subsequently stated of him? John the divine? There are besides absurdities in this revelation which we cannot condescend to make any particular remarks upon; such as "that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines; and, consequently, that none of them were 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." But to return to the subject, if God could not find on the earth a man more eligible for a prophet than such a man, as the Mormons themselves say Joseph Smith was, then we think that God has acted in opposition to his nature, which we do not think! such a proceeding on the part of God would be without a precedent, and in opposition to the immutability of his Attributes! Taking the Mormons' own account then, the character of God, and the character of Joseph Smith, at the time when he reported that he had revelations from God, and his subsequent character, are two facts, in the matter of Mormonism, which cannot be reconciled; in fact, which are irreconcilable! Let it still be borne in mind then, that we do not deny the possibility of a good man falling into sin, but this case, as we have
shown, is altogether of a different character. No artifice can clear up the matter of Smith's eligibility for a prophet, either with respect to his character previous to the first alleged revelation, at the time, and much less subsequently.
But we come now to investigate the matter of this alleged Revelation a little more closely. Of course, this first revelation is somewhat appropriately introduced; we shall give the account as it comes to us by the "Apostle Pratt." It is therefore necessary to connect the vision with those introductory steps by which the writer leads us to it, which are as follow: --
"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 saw, that if he understood not the way. it would be impossible to walk in it, except by chance; and the thought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon chance or uncertainties, was more than he could endure. If he went to the religious denominations to seek information, each one pointed to its particular tenets, saying -- 'This is the way, walk ye in it;' while at the same time, the doctrines of each were, in many respects, in direct opposition to one another. It also occurred to his mind, that God was not the author of but one doctrine, and therefore could not acknowledge but one denomination as his church; and that such denomination must be a people who believe and teach that one doctrine (whatever it may be,) and build upon the same. He then reflected upon the immense number of doctrines now in the world, which had given rise to many hundreds of different denominations. The great question to be decided in his mind, was -- if any one of these denominations be the Church of Christ, which one is it? Until he could become satisfied in relation to this question, he could not rest contented. To trust to the decisions of fallible man, and build his hopes upon the same, without any certainty and knowledge of his own, would not satisfy the anxious desires that pervaded his breast. To decide without any positive and definite evidence on which he could rely, upon a subject involving the future welfare of his soul, was revolting to his feelings. The only alternative that seemed left to him was, to read the scriptures, and endeavour to follow their directions. He Accordingly commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible with sincerity, believing the things that he read. His mind soon caught hold of the following 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.' -- James i. 5. From this promise he learned that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving liberally, without
being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering information to him, tidings that gave him great joy. It was like a light shining forth in a dark place, to guide him to the path in which he should walk. He now saw that if he inquired of God, there was not only a possibility but a probability, yea more, a certainty that he should obtain a knowledge which of all the doctrines was the doctrine of Christ, and which of all the Churches was the Church of Christ. He therefore 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 that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen 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 upon 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."
Without remarking upon any thing until we come to the vision, at present, "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 that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen 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."
This vision is thus represented as an answer to prayer: now passing by any remarks as to Smith's character as a christian, or otherwise, at the time, is it not strange that such a fact, "a glorious and brilliant light so great as to illuminate the whole wilderness around!" is not attested by any credible witnesses who saw it by accident? Our author does not say that any one saw it except Joseph Smith, and yet it appears that such a phenomenon must necessarily have been seen by others and therefore well attested! Owing then, to the entire absence of such credible testimony (which had the statement been true nothing we should imagine could have prevented,) we cannot believe it! But again, it is easy to see how Joseph, or whoever invented this vision, caught the idea. It is plainly an imitation of the vision which Moses saw at "Horeb the mount of God." * Smith it appears "saw two glorious personages!" Moses only saw one! Of course, this may partly be accounted for owing to the superior importance of Smith compared with Moses! and the greater importance of the revelations to be made to him! In Exodus Moses writes, "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses." Joseph "expected to have seen the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed!" And Moses said, "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." There is not a doubt, were we to trace the analogy no further, that Smith here stands convicted! Every one capable of judging of this matter must be convinced,
* Exodus iii.
that if Joseph had not known the Bible story of "the angel of the Lord" appearing to Moses "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush!" we should never have heard of his vision! But then as to the matter of Smith's vision, except the analogy that is drawn from Moses, it is grossly contemptible; it has no precedent, as to its matter, in either the old or new testament scriptures. All that belongs to the revelations, said to have been made to Smith, which is evidently an ill-disguised invention, in order to lay the foundation of his scheme, is to bring him at once into note as a person of importance, and to give effect to the sophism of what the Mormonites call the "one doctrine," together with their infamous representation of the size and appearance of God. The evident objects of this alleged vision as clearly give the lie to it as it is unlike in its tendencies, and objects, those veritable appearances recorded in the old and new testament scriptures. But these objects do not characterize this vision alone, and thus render it unlike all Bible precedents, they are, alas! for Mormonism, the great and prominent characteristics of all that follow; only the disguise is scarcely so good in any of the remaining revelations.
The next thing that we shall notice is the finding of the plates that looked like gold. This is the master stroke of the scheme, all the rest hangs upon this! The account given of this affair is very unfortunate for Mormouism. The first account, which, of course, required the most management, is fearfully betrayed by the evident consciousness of the fact in the mind of the inventor But even clumsy and ill-contrived as this is for a "discovery" by revelation, it is certainly the best of it, for the account of the translation and the subsequent account of the matter, after it is translated, which, although it may be very passable for Joseph, who by the way is not allowed by some to play so important a part, is perhaps a pretty fair attempt at something artful, but so poorly defended from detection, considering the magnitude of the scheme, that one cannot read it without greatly wondering how Joseph and his friends could, after all, think of drawing so largely on the gullibility of the world! We shall give their own account of the plates in the language of their own Apostle Pratt.
"And it pleased God, on the evening of the 21st of September, A.D. 1823, to again hear his prayers. For he had retired to rest as usual, only that his mind was drawn out in fervent prayer, and his soul was filled with the most earnest desire 'to commune with some kind messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God,' and also unfold the principles of the doctrine of Christ, according to the promise which he had received in the former vision, while he thus continued to pour out his desires before the Father of all good, endeavouring to exercise faith in his precious promises, 'on a sudden, a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room. Indeed the first sight was 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 or 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.'
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, &c., they were to come forth to the knowledge of the people. If faithful he was to be the instrument who should be thus highly favoured in bringing these sacred things to light; at the same time being expressly informed, that it must be done with an eye single to the glory of God, that no one could be entrusted with those sacred writings, who should endeavour to aggrandize himself, by converting sacred things to unrighteous and speculative purposes. After giving him many instructions concerning things past and to come, which would be foreign to our purpose to mention here, he disappeared, and the light and glory of God withdrew, leaving his mind in perfect peace, while a calmness and serenity indescribable pervaded the 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 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.
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.'
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. Behold, whatsoever enticeth and leadeth to good and to do good is of God, and whatsoever doth not is of that wicked one. It is he that filleth the hearts of men with evil, to walk in darkness and blaspheme God; and you may learn from henceforth that his ways are to destruction, but the way of holiness is peace and rest. 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. On 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 fold of their Redeemer by obeying it also. Those who kept the commandments of the Lord on this land desired this at his hand, and through the prayer of faith obtained the promise, that if their descendants should transgress and fall away, that a record should be kept, and in the last days come to their children. These things are sacred and must be kept so, for the promise of the Lord concerning them must be fulfilled. No man can obtain them if his heart is impure, because they contain that which is sacred.' * * * 'By them will the Lord work a great and marvellous work; the wisdom of the wise shall become as nought, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid, and because the power of God shall be displayed, those who profess to know the truth but walk in deceit shall tremble with anger; but with signs and with wonders, with gifts and healings, with the manifestations of the power of God, and with the Holy Ghost, shall the hearts of the faithful be comforted. You have now beheld the power of God manifested and the power of Satan; you see that there is nothing desirable in the works of darkness; that they cannot bring happiness; that those who are overcome therewith are miserable; while, on the other hand, the righteous are blessed with a place in the kingdom of God, where joy unspeakable surrounds them. There they rest beyond the power of the enemy of truth, where no evil can disturb them. The glory of God crowns them, and they continually feast upon his goodness and enjoy his smiles. Behold, notwithstanding you have seen this great display of power, by which you may ever be able to detect the evil one, yet I give unto you another sign, and when it comes to pass then know that the Lord is God, and that he will fulfil his purposes, and that the knowledge which this record contains will go to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people under the whole heaven. This is the sign : when these things begin to be known, that is, when it is known that the Lord has shown you these things, the workers of iniquity will seek your overthrow. They will circulate falsehoods to destroy your refutation, and also will seek
to take your life; but remember this, if you are faithful and shall hereafter continue to keep the commandments of the Lord, you shall be preserved to bring these things forth; for in due time he will give you a commandment to come and take them. When they are interpreted, the Lord will give the holy priesthood to some, and they shall begin to proclaim this gospel and baptize by water, and after that they shall have power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands. Then will persecution rage more and more; for the iniquities of men shall be revealed, and those who are not built upon the Rock will seek to overthrow the church; but it will increase the more opposed, and spread farther and farther, increasing in knowledge till they shall be sanctified, and receive an inheritance where the glory of God will rest upon them; and when this takes place, and all things are prepared, the ten tribes of Israel will be revealed in the north country, whither they have been for a long season; and when this is fulfilled will be brought to pass that saying of the prophet, -- 'And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.' But, notwithstanding the workers of iniquity shall seek your destruction, the arm of the Lord will be extended, and you will be borne off conqueror if you keep all his commandments. Your name shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice and the wicked to rage; with the one it shall be had in honour, and with the other in reproach; yet with these it shall be a terror, because of the great and marvellous work which shall follow the coming forth of this fulness of the gospel. Now, go thy way, remembering what the Lord hath done for thee, and be diligent in keeping his commandments, and he will deliver thee from temptations and all the arts and devices of the wicked one. Forget not to pray, that thy mind may become strong, that when he shall manifest unto thee thou mayest have power to escape the evil and obtain these precious things.'
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 seen. It was an instrument, by the use of which they received revelation of things distant, or of things past or future.'
Now if Oliver Cowdery's testimony be good for anything, as here given by the Apostle Pratt, it is condemnatory of Mormonism; he is no longer a Mormonite! having dissented from Mormonism. In consequence of his dissent, he with many others also dissenters, were served with notices to leave the provinces of the Mormonites in Missouri. Several it appears left, and among them no less personages than the very principal witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon. We shall just substantiate this before going any further. The witnesses to the Book of Mormon are given by Pratt, and they are as follow: -- "Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris," then follow "Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, jun., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, sen., Hyrum Smith; Samuel H. Smith." Lyman Johnson, one of the twelve apostles, was among the expelled! Now it appears that with the exception of Page, Harris, and Cowdery, all the other witnesses belong to two classes of names, and therefore we presume to two families, but these three witnesses, not relatively connected, Page, Cowdery, and Harris, have all deserted Mormonism! We consider these persons because of their want of relation to each other as to family, as the three most important witnesses; and having lost them, the loss is fatal to the whole scheme, and especially to the Book of Mormon, for as we shall subsequently have occasion to show Oliver Cowdery, and it is said Harris as well, took part in the translation.
And now with respect to the first class of names, there are five, David Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, and John Whitmer, all these have
repudiated Mormonism! Where then is the testimony of the witnesses? * This tells upon Mormonism with awful vengeance! Thus it is evident that the witnesses who have now repudiated Mormonism must be considered as the principal witnesses, the remainder being the father and two brothers of Joseph Smith! But we proceed: -- "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." We do not know whether Joseph Smith, or any of his friends, may have seen a Book called Brown's Dictionary of the Bible, but, if my memory does not deceive me, Brown hazards an opinion with respect to the Urim and Thummim similar to this. It is possible therefore that Brown's opinion may have constituted the sole authority for this description of the Urim and Thummim. However this may be, such description of the Urim and Thummim has been given before Joseph Smith was born, by John Brown of Haddington. We do not, however, think that the description is at all satisfactory. The Urim and Thummim are spoken of by Moses, in the twenty-eighth chapter of Exodus, and at the thirtieth verse, as distinct from the stones that were in Aaron's breast-plate. To represent the Urim and Thummim as a mere piece of jewellery will not do! We can scarcely forgive John Brown for hazarding such an opinion, but we certainly cannot forgive Joseph Smith for affirming it. Besides, the idea of the Urim and Thummim being in America and, at the same time, in the breast plate of the Ephod of the High Priest in the land of Judaea, is a difficulty in the way of our believing such a thing, but which perhaps either did not present itself to Joseph, or, if it did, was of too trifling a nature to have any claim on his attention. Perhaps it did not occur to Joseph either but we never read,
* On reminding a Mormon with whom I was contending in a public assembly, that the testimony of the witnesses had fallen through, he told me that the persons I had mentioned were dead -- now, without questioning this fact, I merely repeat that their testimony died first!
Upon consulting Brown since writing this I And that my statement is substantially correct in as much as he quotes opinions with which he seems to agree.
except in the history of Mormonism, of the Urim and Thummim being used to translate hieroglyphics!
There is a remark here too which we must notice, as it is no doubt intended that we should do particularly, for it is evidently given as a set off, but never was a flourish more unfortunate: -- Speaking of the Urim and Thummim as "a curious instrument" -- a phrase at least certainly more "curious" than, according to our notions, appropriate in designating the Jewish Oracle! -- it is added: -- "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." Now, was ever anything more ridiculous! This Oracle was only responsive when through the medium of the High Priest the consulter enquired of God; not through the medium of a seer, i.e. a prophet, either for his own revelations or on the behalf of others. This account of the use of the Urim and Thummim, is a clear mistake in making Mormonism! But, of course, we must make all due allowance for the makers of Mormonism as well as for the makers of other things -- every one is liable to mistakes when he commences to make any thing of which he has no previous knowledge, or concerning which his knowledge is only limited -- the makers of Mormonism, in this instance, could have no proper idea of the use of the Urim and Thummim! We do not merely charge them with this mistake, we have quoted their own assertions to prove it. "This was in use," i.e. the Urim and Thummim, "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." "This," we say, "was in use" for no such purpose -- the assertion is as grossly ignorant as it is false! But again, and we shall continue this story with the apostle Pratt's observations.
"In the mean time the inhabitants of that vicinity, having been informed that Mr. Smith had seen heavenly visions, and that he had discovered sacred records, began to ridicule and mock at those things. And after having obtained those sacred things, while proceeding home through the wilderness and fields, he was waylaid by two ruffians, who had secreted themselves for the purpose of robbing him of the records. One of them struck him with a club before he perceived them: but being a strong man and Urge in stature, with great exertion he cleared
himself from them and ran towards home, being closely pursued until he came near his father's house, when his pursuers, for fear of being detected, turned and fled the other way.
"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." Now, with this part of the plan we have to find very great fault, it is a lame account of a most important part of the performance. We can scarcely forgive a prophet for not
managing this important department in better keeping with his character. We have such a terrible descent here from the high office of a prophet, that really we are sorry to see him so unaccountably annoyed; for such perplexity we think must seldom happen in the course of the labours of a prophet, except, and we had almost forgotten, something of the same kind might certainly occur during the labours of Mahomet. We do not find fault with his having a scribe, we think this is sufficiently dignified, but the idea of Joseph looking into two transparent stones, and then, of course, being no wiser, as he could not translate the characters, (being wholly ignorant of such an orthography,) however much they might be magnified! If it be replied that he translated by "the gift and power of God," then the Urim and Thummim were unnecessary! God did not require the Urim and Thummim in order that He might decipher the characters which puzzled poor Joseph. But this is just what we should have expected; he had no business with the Urim and Thummim in translating from the golden plates, it was never before attempted to translate by such things! "The gift and power of God" were quite sufficient for the business; but these pretty stones seemed to have quite bewitched Joseph and plagued him all the way through for even after that "by the gift and power of God" he had "translated," he actually "accurately," so it is said, "transcribed and translated a few of the original characters," and sent them "by a gentleman of the name of Martin Harris * to the city of New York where they were presented to a learned
* One of the three witnesses who declared that an angel came down from heaven, but we cannot go on to give their testimony except in their own language, it is such an Indefinite and wretched document to which their names are attached. After summoning "all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people," with a deal of other cant, they say, "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 the 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 so on to the end of the testimony including the names of the three witnesses, (No 6, p 11. of Remarkable Visions, &c.) Every one must see that there never could be anything more grossly ridiculous than such a story -- just think of this farce in which an angel of God is represented to be the principal actor -- Smith found the plates and had them in his possession, but here it is said, "and he," i.e. the angel, "brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon!" Is not this an abominable story. This witness with the other two have all repudiated Mormonism.
gentleman of the name of Anthon, who professed to be extensively acquainted with many languages both ancient and modern. He examined them; but was not able to decipher them correctly; but he presumed that if the original records could be brought, he could assist in translating them." Now this is a marvellous proof of the foolish preference Joseph gave to the Urim and Thummim instead of relying entirely, like all the prophets that we read of in the old and new testament, on "the gift and power of God!" This gentleman of the name of Anthon was not permitted to assist Joseph in translating by the use of the Urim and Thummim, and thus he is taught the necessity of "the gift and power of God" alone, independent of transparent stones, or yet Mr. Anthon, and so casting himself upon God, we must presume for the sake of argument, he finishes the whole translation of the "unsealed part of the records." This, be it remembered, is their own language, but again: -- "the part translated is entitled the Book of Mormon, which contains nearly as much reading as the Old Testament." Now, who can believe this account of the translation of the Book of Mormon? Who ever heard of a prophet getting through his work in such a miserable way before? The Urim and Thummim are only a torment to poor Joseph! The gentleman in America, New York, cannot help him! strange that a prophet should have required it! but after much to do, and we believe this, he gets through! This is altogether a poor affair for the masterpiece of the performance. The invention of the plates is only a clumsy act for a pretended prophet -- it is a bad imitation of inspired men; Moses, who wrote the history of the world hundreds of years after its creation -- the writers of the gospels, and other parts of the new testament. We submit, without prejudice, that the weakness of the whole affair must sufficiently demonstrate its character. Thus we have fairly proved the whole story of Joseph Smith being a prophet, and of his having revelations, to be an infamous lie! We might now safely leave the matter, for having exposed these two assumptions, the whole superstructure of Mormonism falls to the ground! We shall, however, pursue the plan which we have proposed. But as the revelations, &c. which we have ju»t reviewed have
turned out so wretchedly, and they are the best of them, what we have yet to offer, under this division of the subject, will leave us little to say by way of exposing it. We shall only now make a few selections as it is not unlikely that something of the same kind may come in our way in other parts of this review,
According to a revelation given in 1831 for the establishment of what was called a consecration law, it was specially revealed that "Joseph Smith was to have a house built 'wherein he might live and translate,' and he was to ' live as seemed him good.' 'Sidney Rigdon was also to live as seemed him good,' because he had been faithful." Hence it appears that the Mormons in those palmy days that are gone by, did not need to go to Rome for an indulgence! Joseph Smith was to "live as seemed him good!" -- and Sidney Rigdon was also to "live as seemed him good!" Had these revelations purported to have come from the bottomless pit, we might have been so indifferent as to have overlooked their want of importance, in the line of revelations from the world of spirits, but purporting, as they do, to come from heaven, we cannot overlook, not even their very much more than suspicious character but, their total want of character! The mere fact of Smith's house having to be built by revelation is certainly laying such an unnecessary burden on revelations, that we cannot conceive that the theory of revelations will bear it, but when we add to this the monstrous idea that Smith and Rigdon were permitted by express revelation, (from heaven!) to "live" each "as seemed him good," and "because Rigdon had been faithful," and so we presume had Joseph Smith, we must, at once, declare that God had not given these revelations, either by Joseph Smith or any other being in the universe. The moral character of God is here attempted to be compromised, and the abandoned wretch who will venture thus far to place his polluted foot on holy ground, must be steeped in wickedness indeed. We must now, however, leave these "revelations" and "remarkable visions," as the apostle Pratt calls them, and go on to discuss the theory of the Priesthood!
We must here requote a few sentences from page fifth of remarkable visions, by Orson Pratt, and about the middle of the page, we have the following things ostensibly declared, by divine authority, to Joseph Smith. "This is the sign: when these things begin to be known, that is, when it is known that the Lord has shown these things, the workers of iniquity will seek your overthrow. They will circulate falsehoods to destroy your reputation, and also will seek to take your life; but remember this, if you are faithful and shall hereafter continue to keep the commandments of the Lord, you shall be preserved to bring these things forth; for in due time he will give you a commandment to come and take them. When they are interpreted, the Lord will give the holy priesthood to some, and they shall begin to proclaim this gospel and baptize by water, and after that they shall have power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands." Here then is the theory of the Priesthood, according to Mormonism. From the functions of the Priesthood, as here described, it is evident that this office is intended to mean nothing more than the primitive apostolic office. This is ridiculous enough, but we pass it by, it is no worse, as a matter of sheer ignorance, than the assumption of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of England.
It is a matter of indifference, in one point of view, whether the Smithites claim the Aaronic or Melchisedec priesthood, either being incompatible with the office of a Minister of Christ by whose unchanging priesthood, all other priesthood, the Apostle Paul assures us, on the authority of God's word and oath, is superseded! The Levitical priesthood was only typical, and, of course, like every thing of that kind imperfect, and therefore principally pointing to that which should come, and by the appearance of which the type itself could no longer have a necessary existence. Thus the
apostle reasons with the Hebrews in the seventh chapter and the eleventh verse, "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." Now we conceive that this is the grand turning point in the apostle's argument, "the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." Had Christ not taken upon himself the whole and undivided office of the priesthood, there would not have been any necessity for a change of the law, the law, as it was, would have been absolutely necessary: and hence says the apostle with respect to the Aaronic priesthood verse twenty-third, "and they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." Thus the apostle shows how very far the gospel dispensation surpasses its type under the law, they had many priests; they had many priests because the law made men priests who had infirmity; but under the gospel we have one man who has no infirmity, and therefore can perform all the offices of the gospel priesthood alone! and, as the apostle has said, "such a high priest," only, "became us," for the great antitype of priesthood, under the law, must perform the awful work of his sacrifice alone! -- and as of all the people there was none with him, so it was for this reason, because there could be none with him, for it was impossible that any subordinate priest, or order of priesthood, could render him the least assistance! The great work of sacrifice then, being accomplished by the Redeemer alone, as the priest, he is as able to be the intercessor, and therefore the apostle adds in the ninth chapter and at the twelfth verse, "he entered in once into the holy place!" What a beautiful and dignified expression and illustration of all priesthood as terminating in Christ! "He entered in once into the holy place!" Glorious Redeemer! and there not only as a priest but as a king he must reign until "all his enemies," all presumptuous invaders of his offices, whether the vile king priest in Rome,
his vassals in the two churches which pay him homage by usurping with him the titles of Christ, or the followers of the great American impostor Joseph Smith, "are made his footstool!" The fact that there can be no priesthood after the Redeemer's One Atonement has been made, is such a clear induction that we shall not dwell upon it, for we presume that we shall not beat down either a knave or a fool if we were writing by inspiration.
As to the matter of the priesthood, then, we think that its weakness is sufficiently evident, and therefore we may on this ground likewise, throw Joseph Smith's system overboard. But what point in Mormonism is not weak? It is in vain to tell us of the doctrines of the gospel which they have mixed up with their obnoxious system, these have no more to do with Mormonism, because they have attempted to make their own of them, than if they had made no such attempt. All the good that these doctrines of the gospel will do them they are welcome to, but we should not like to share in the benefit. Let those daring impostors beware! for "God is not mocked!" But we must leave these infatuated men to follow their own devices, and shall now give these three corollaries which follow from the discussion of the priesthood. 1st. -- If Mormonism has a priesthood, it is the direct rival of the priesthood of Christ, for he claims the whole priesthood for himself! 2ndly. -- Again, if Mormonism has a veritable priesthood, christianity having none, except in the person of Christ, rejects them with loathing and abhorrence, as it does all who practise, in common with them, the same ridiculous imposture 3rdly. -- But Joseph Smith said that the Lord promised "the holy priesthood" &c. to his followers; hence, Joseph Smith evidently uttered a most scandalous and impious falsehood!
The third point in Mormonism, which we propose to review, is their claim to the apostolic office.
The functions of this office seem to be all that is invested in the priesthood: -- "the Lord will give the holy priesthood to some, and they shall begin to proclaim this gospel and baptize by water, and after that they shall have power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands." The apostles themselves ever pointed men, (either directly or indirectly,) to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only priest of the New Testament dispensation; hence we could not suppose that the apostles assumed that they were priests! The office of the apostles, and the office of the priests, were two different things; so much so that the latter belongs to the Mosaic, and the other to the christian dispensation. But then the Mormons tell us in reply to these facts, that "this, i.e. Mormonism, "is a New dispensation to bring in the Latter-Day glory the fulness of the Gentiles" &c. We have this assertion on the authority of Alfred Cordon and John Toone, jun., both Mormonites, published in a hand-bill and dated, "Leamington, June 27, 1850." Cordon, indeed, is the High Priest at Leamington. But it would seem that this dispensation goes beyond everything for "fulness," for there does not appear any want of men in the very highest offices.
I have now before me the July number (1850,) of "the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star," from which I copy verbatim the following notice: --
"Elder George B. Wallace, High Priest, arrived in Liverpool on Sunday the 9th of June, in good health and spirits, per ship Hemisphere, from Boston." But perhaps we can throw a little light upon the real intrinsic value of this office. Messrs. Cordon and Toone attended a meeting, called by themselves, a few months ago at a village in the neighbourhood
of Leamington. A gentleman rose and asked Alfred Cordon what the two initials appended to his name, in the bill announcing the meeting, were put there for? He replied that they stood for High Priest. Upon receiving this reply, the gentlemen requested one of them to read the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, which he did, and then turning to Alfred Cordon he asked him how he could be a priest when the apostle positively limited the office to the Redeemer? The very satisfactory reply that he received, from no less a personage than the High Priest himself was, "It is only a name!" and so we say with respect to the apostolic office which is blended with it, "it is only a name!" and how, in fact, could it be anything else? seeing the apostles were not authorized to appoint any successors to their office, as apostles, neither any being appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ to succeed them, from whom they all received their commission as well the apostle Paul as the twelve, for "last of all," says the apostle, "he was seen of me also as of one born out of due time." * But the Latter-Day Saints are in reality too late! they are indeed born out of due time as candidates for the Apostolic office. There has been no one appointed to that office since Paul could say in proof of his real Apostleship, "have I not seen the Lord?" But then we would just say for the consolation of those men who call themselves apostles, that as an Apostle, such as Paul turned out to be, was very much wanted by the great Head of the Church at that time, that if they had not, unfortunately, been Latter Day Saints, but contemporary with Paul, just at the nick of time, one, or perhaps all, at least some of them might have got the office instead of Paul! I dare say this is not too much for any of them to dispute! and so, of course, they will give us credit for our high opinion of their suitableness and pretensions, providing they had not been Latter-Day Saints, and lived at the time when an Apostle or two were wanted; but being Latter-Day Saints this altogether puts a bar in the way of their pretensions -- they are, alas! born out of due time! There was just one wanted for the office when the Apostle Paul was appointed by the Redeemer, and he seems to say that he was almost too late for obtaining it, but as Christ
* 1. Cor. XV. 8.
thought him a suitable person he got it notwithstanding. Now, Paul having been born quite on the latter end of apostolical authority, and so near the extreme point that there was none reserved, not even for his fellow labourers, the Mormonites are evidently too late -- born out of due time -- for any preferment of this kind, whatever qualifications they may have for the office -- the time is past! they should have been born about two thousand years sooner! What a disappointment!!! The Apostles of Smithism, notwithstanding lay claim to all the varied gifts and miraculous powers which the Apostles of Christ possessed! Of course, there is no one who will vouch for the fact of any such thing except themselves. But if we are to hear their testimony there is no doubt their miracles are far more numerous, and far more curious too, than perhaps any that were ever heard of before! But however surprising this bare announcement may be, a few words of explanation may check it for a moment. It appears that under the fulness of the dispensation of Mormonism miraculous gifts are not confined, as in the first age of christianity, to the Apostles in chief. We do not here allude to tongues particularly, but to healing the sick, raising the dead and so on. These supernatural powers are a kind of common stock, and may be used almost without limitation by all the Latter-Day Saints, without distinction of rank or office. This is, at least, substantially what is affirmed by many of them; and, as far as we know, disputed by none. Without the least wish to strain the matter, we suppose too, that this is simply what Messrs. Cordon and Toone mean in the following paragraph taken from their Manifesto, to which we have already referred: -- Fourth -- Man should believe in and seek to enjoy the gifts of the Holy Ghost as they were anciently enjoyed; viz, the ministry and communion of angels and spirits, the gift of seeing visions, and of prophecy and revelation, the gift of healing the sick and being healed -- in short all the gifts promised by Jesus Christ, and by his ancient Prophets and Apostles and enjoyed by the Saints."
It appears, however, that there has been a terrible apostacy among the dignitaries of the Mormon Church, and that the apostolic office has not been spared. Thus it has become
a much commoner thing, under the Mormon dispensation, both of access and abandonment, than it was in the first age of christianity! From the whole it appears that the apostolic office being founded upon the most gratuitous assumptions, -- as how could it be anything else? we are bound to conclude that Mormonites, particularly the Apostles and other dignitaries, are a gang of the most scandalous impostors that ever infested any country. Of course, we shall substantiate all we affirm before we have done with them. We may therefore mention in passing that they have been expelled from their two great settlements in America, Missouri, and Illinois, (where the Temple of Nauvoo stands,) because of their base and thievish propensities! We shall give a history of their good deeds for which they were expelled by and by.
We now come to the fourth point which we propose to notice, -- Baptism for the Remission of Sins.
In the Manifesto issued by Messrs. Cordon and Toone it is stated, -- "Third -- Man is required to be baptized by immersion in water, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of the apostles and elders of this last dispensation of mercy to man." Before commenting on this paragraph we shall just introduce the discussion by citing the first and second in this series: -- "First -- man is required to believe in Jesus Christ as a crucified and risen Messiah. Second -- Man is required to repent and forsake sin, and lead a new life of righteousness and truth." We may just inform the Mormonites that it was not necessary for them to take these doctrines out of the New Testament, and to return them to us among their lies, except it was to set them off, as they are certainly not likely to recommend themselves alone. We do not, of course, object to the doctrines of christianity which the Mormonites have taken from the New Testament, in order to give a colouring to the falsehoods which make up their system. Against these two principles, therefore, we can have nothing to say, (that "First man is required to believe in Jesus Christ as a crucified and risen Messiah. Second -- man is required to repent and forsake sin, and lead a new life of righteousness and truth,)" we only wish the Mormonites would believe them, and then we should hear no more of the imposture of Mormonism!
Baptism for remission of sins has this condition, it is to be, say the Mormons, "by immersion!" But we find, from Orson Pratt, that it has another very important one -- we quote his language:
"We believe that that there has been a general and awful apostacy from the religion of the New Testament, so that all the known world have been left for centuries without the Church of Christ among them; without a priesthood authorized of God to administer ordinances; that every one of the churches has perverted the gospel; some in one way and some in another. For instance, almost every church has done away 'immersion for remission of sins.' Those few who have practised it for remission of sins, have done away the ordinance of the 'laying on of hands' upon baptized believers for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Again, the few who have practised the last ordinance have perverted the first, or have done away the ancient gifts, powers, and blessings which flow from the Holy Spirit, or have said to inspired apostles and prophets, we have no need of you in the body in these days. Those few, again, who have believed in, and contended for the miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit, have perverted the ordinances or done them away. Thus, all the churches preach false doctrines and pervert the gospel, and instead of having authority from God to administer its ordinances, they are under the curse of God for perverting it. Paul says, Gal. i. 8, '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.'
So far Orson Pratt -- and so we say, and we shall bring the same apostle here, from the thirteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, to curse Orson Pratt, and all the false prophets and priests, &c. of Mormonism! Verse eighth: -- "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away!" We consider what Paul here affirms a conclusive answer to all these vague and ridiculous charges which Pratt has here alleged against the various sects of evangelical churches -- as well to the tissue of imposture which we have elsewhere quoted from Cordon and Toone -- viz: that "Man should believe in and seek to enjoy the gifts of the Holy Ghost as they were anciently enjoyed; viz, the ministry and communication of angels and spirits, the gift of seeing visions, and of prophecy and revelation, the gift of healing the sick and being healed -- in short all the gifts promised by Jesus Christ, and by his ancient Prophets and Apostles and enjoyed by the Saints." This, by the way, does not come with a very good grace from Mr. Toone either, for having had a personal interview with him, (and when conversing about the book of Mormon and the Bible) he unhesitatingly declared that to him there appeared to be
better evidence to confirm the truthfulness of the book of Mormon than the Bible. This led us into a long discussion as to the authority of the Manuscripts from which the Bible was translated, which we cannot introduce here However, the Mormonites are generally chary as to any reflection against the scriptures, their more usual plan is to take refuge in and to try to get the book of Mormon substantiated by them, an attempt which, we assure them, will not succeed. Hence we have the following statement from Orson Pratt.
"The gospel in the 'Book of Mormon,' is the same as that in the New Testament, and is revealed in great plainness, so that no one that reads it can misunderstand its principles. It has been revealed by the angel, to be preached as a witness to all nations, first to the Gentiles, and then to the Jews, then cometh the downfall of Babylon. Thus fulfilling the vision of John, which he beheld on the Isle of Patmos Rev. liv. 6, 7, 8, 'And I saw,' says John, 'another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying, with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hoar of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.'"
But to return, "baptism for remission of sins" is not only to be "by immersion," but it has a second condition, it is to be by the "priesthood authorized of God to administer ordinances!" and hence follow all the gifts "of prophecy, revelation, healing the sick and of being healed -- in short all the gifts," &c. &c. Now this attempt, by the Mormonites, to revive things which have ceased in the christian church, as we find from the unquestionable authority of Paul himself, "whether there be prophecies they shall fail, whetherthere be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away," is as evident a proof of the imposture as any of the many proofs which we have before adduced. Those beatitudes which are everlasting verities, and which are the great principles that it is the grand object of christianity to graft now, and throughout all ages, in the minds and hearts of her followers, are the only and stable possessions of the Church by which, after the apostolic age, as the apostle here plainly shows, she was to be known and preserved. "Charity never faileth: but whether
there be prophecies, they shall fail! whether there be tongues, they shall cease! whether there be knowledge," (that is, evidently, that extraordinary information which the Apostles and others received by supernatural agency, as visions, angels, revelations, &c.) "it shall vanish away!" And again, verse thirteenth: -- "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three!" (mark these great characteristics which instead of prophecies, and visions, and angels, and revelations are to distinguish the Church after the apostolic age! alas! that the Church in our day should be so little distinguished by them! this is what has fostered heresy and fanaticism both in this country and in America!) "these three! but the greatest of these is charity!" Thus baptism for the remission of sins with its accompaniments, is of a piece with all the other sleight and cunning craftiness of the Mormonites whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
It will be unnecessary for us to enter upon another discussion as to the language of Peter in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and thirty-eighth verse, "then Peter said unto them repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," we have, in substance, given that discussion already. In sober earnest this is our opinion that the man who would contend that there is anything more in baptism, as a beautiful and significant initiatory rite in the christian Church, than a mere emblem, is sadly too great a fool for us to argue with, for there could be no reason in it.
Next, then, as to the right performance of the service, (for it was revealed to Joseph that it was to be "by immersion!") that cannot depend upon the mode, (waiving the question of the time,) for as to the other Ordinance, the Lord's supper, the manner of observing it is different, in different sections of the christian Church, and yet, I dare say, it never entered into the mind of any christian to question whether his brother, belonging to a different communion, really received the Lord's supper, as he did not, at any rate outwardly, receive it in the same manner that he did. The thing signified is all that is contended for, among orthodox Churches, i.e. to "show the Lord's death till he
come." * They are both emblems. Baptism for the remission of sins, 0r baptismal regeneration, (if anything like this be its meaning,) as it involves either the possession or communication, in some sense, of supernatural influence, such influence or possession is ever the ready artifice of the impostor -- the snare of the weak and superstitious -- and the easily credited possession of the proud but ignorant pretender to Christianity. Perhaps, and we suggest this with all humility, this fatal tendency in weak and erring man was one reason why the infinitely wise God did confine supernatural gifts, and powers, to the first age of christianity. But it is evident that those gifts, even then, were abused by private christians, and never could have been for the edification and establishment of the Church in all ages.
Again, as to the Mormonite assumption that the dead may be baptized by proxy, we believe that it will be equally as efficacious in saving them as the living; for baptism in any form, or by whomsoever administered, can save neither, and simply for this reason, because the scriptures teach that we are saved by faith in Christ. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." The common explanation of Paul's language which occurs in the fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians and twenty-ninth verse, is conclusive against the absurd idea of the proxy system of the Mormonites -- hence the language might be thus paraphrased; else what shall they do who have been received by baptism into the Church of Christ, believing in this declaration, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" Perhaps after all we should not have gone so fully into these doctrines if it had nut been as well to expose some of the absurdities of puseyites, and other fanatics of the same school. We submit, however, that we have now fully demonstrated the question of Mormonism; and while, therefore, it is evident that it is a great imposture, it is equally evident, of course, that it will not bear the approach of truth, but falls like Dagon before the
* 1 Cor. xi. chap. 26,
Eph. ii. 8, 9.
John xi 25, 26.
Ark of God. When tried by the word of God, his breath scatters it to the four winds of heaven. Christianity will not be misrepresented by Mormonism any more than it could be by Mahometanism; there is a broad line of demarcation between these two kindred frauds and christianity. Having thus proved Mormonism to be a delusion of so scandalous a character, without prejudice to its history, we shall now give that history pro and con, i.e. as far as we consider it necessary.
The fact is that there could scarcely be a more likely place in the whole world than America for getting afloat a scheme like Mormonism. This will account for its apparent success there for a short time. Of course, they were only despised beyond their own settlements, i.e. in Missouri and Illinois, and from both of which they were in a short time driven as impostors and marauders.
There are a class of persons in America that are rather fond of inventing things and these matters have long passed among us as "yankee jokes" -- their invention of tales is now as notorious as the wit of the Irish. Besides, America being a new country greatly favoured such a thing. The invention, therefore, is not so much a wonder, taking this view of the matter, for many things which Mormonism pretends to reveal, (as the origin of the Indians,) are matters of speculation with respect to America, but the wonder would be if any sensible person could be imposed upon by such an infamous trick.
Joseph Smith, who was to have been the great man in the earth, is somewhat novelly introduced by his apologist, and brief biographer, Orson Pratt. It appears that the materials for writing a history of Joseph's life had been rather scanty with Mr. P. although, as we shall have occasion to show, many important facts of that kind have been in the possession of others. But we say the prophet is somewhat novelly introduced -- so much so indeed, that had we taken up the sketch of his life given by Mr. P. in perfect ignorance of Joseph Smith and his Mormonism, we should certainly have thought, at once, that he was going to tell some wonderful story about somebody, but we should not have
imagined that it could be about a prophet -- a prophet! yes, Joseph proclaimed himself a prophet! well then, if Mr. Pratt took upon himself the important task of writing the history of such an august personage, why did he not acquaint himself better with the style that was befitting the dignity of the subject? It does not fall to the lot of every man, and is certainly not a piece of every-day work, to write the history of a prophet! Hence, how unworthy is the trite and hacknied introduction of this modern seer: -- "Mr. Joseph Smith jun., who made the following important discovery." Well, after reading this, I certainly feel a little touched for the prophet's dignity myself. I greatly wonder that Smith's Ghost did not appear to Pratt and show him the flagrant impropriety of introducing a prophet to the world as though he had been no greater a personage than Columbus, who first discovered the new world, or even the every day discoverer of gold in California, where some of his followers have been obliged to go to make discoveries, since they were expelled from Nauvoo! We had always been accustomed to believe that events of awful and eternal importance to man had been revealed by Jehovah to those holy men who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost! This phraseology of Pratt's forms a strange contrast as to the idea we have of a prophet. But not to be too hard upon Mr. P. it may be that this apparent want of courtesy turns out on the right side after all. Joseph Smith made an important discovery! Well, we believe he did! but as this does not prove him to have been a prophet, let us gently remind Mr. Pratt that as his biographer he may have told the world one truth about his singular subject in a mistake. This is certainly a wonderful age for invention, and we are constantly hearing of some new "discovery," and we concede the point, at once, that Joseph Smith takes rank with the very first men of the age for inventing Mormonism! But to proceed with the Apostle Pratt's account of his prophet.
"Mr. Joseph Smith jun., who made the following important discovery, was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23rd of December, A. D. 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. lie 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."
The quotations which we were obliged to give before, immediately follow, but we do not think it necessary to re-quote them. This account of Joseph Smith's history, as will now be seen, is the best side of it. The Mormonites complain very much of falsehoods told against them -- now, however this may be, it is a great pity that their delusions should have been so much favoured -- for we consider that they have rather got an advantage than otherwise, if anything of the kind has been proved, for their own history, which cannot he denied, when it is fully known, must ever prove fatal to Mormonism. This we need not tell the Mormonites, they have shown that they know how to appreciate the advantage that an oblivion of their history would be to them. Hence there is nothing said of them, however true, that makes known their abominable practices, but they raise the cry that they are calumniated! But, of course, such practices and such assertions cannot always remain matters of doubt, for their late settlements in America were not, and are not now, inaccessible. We shall here give a few extracts of the history of Joseph Smith and Mormonism from the pamphlet published by Dr. John Thomas, * of Virginia, U.S. of America. Dr. Thomas states that he resided in Illinois, (the province in which the Mormon city of Nauvoo and its famous Temple stand.) four years, a period long enough for him to gain much important information with respect to Mormonism, which, at the time when he was there, was, it appears, every day canvassed. We should think, therefore, that he ought to know something about it. We have heard the Apostle Pratt, now we shall hear Dr. Thomas. Of course, we have already proved Mormonism, if there be any truth in the world, and especially in the word of God, to be a most scandalously impious imposture; still, it is necessary that we should know its history.
* Dr. of Medicine.
"There is a class of people in the United States, to which the following pages refer, who style themselves 'Mormons.' This is a word, which belongs to no language living or dead, save that called 'gibberish;' it was coined by a Presbyterian preacher, and bestowed upon one of his fictitious characters in a novel he wrote for his own amusement, during a chronic malady with which he was for sometime affected. This fiction he termed the Book of Mormon. It is said, he never intended to publish it; but lent the manuscript to a friend in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, through whom it fell into the hands of a bookseller there, who either had a copy of it written, or retained the original manuscript. The preacher died. In process of time afterwards, the manuscript appeared in print, professing to be the translation of certain Golden Plates, exhumed from the earth in the state of New York. These plates were stated to have been revealed to one "Joe," of the universal family of Smiths; a fellow of no parts, but of that soft, or semi-daft, and impressible, nature, by which he was admirably fitted for the tool of abler, and more ingenious knaves. He was made to pretend that an angel had appeared to him, and revealed the existence, and whereabouts of the plates; which were alleged to be engraved in a very ancient character. When urged to produce these valuable gold plates, a fiction was invented to the effect, that the angel had only promised Joe (who never knew any other than his own vernacular, and that very imperfectly,) to make a translation, which, he pretended, he was enabled to do by inspiration. This was published as the Book of Mormon, and offered to the people of the United States as a Revelation from the author of the Holy Scriptures.
these things conspicuous in their preachings. But the Advent, and Baptism for Remission, are no part of the original traditions of Joe Smith's book; they were merely grafted upon them, and presented in the foreground as bait to catch the unwary. When they had made Campbellites of them in effect, they were then introduced to "the Mysteries" which were reserved for the initiated, and they were converted into Mormons. They obtain the name from this cause They received the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God and Joe Smith as his prophet, and therefore received the name of Mormon.
Alexander Campbell gave a thorough exposure of the imposture in his Millennial Harbinger, about the year 1833; information also appeared in the papers on the alleged authority of the Presbyterian preacher's widow as to her husband being the real author of the Book of Mormon under the circumstances previously stated.
the Indians to their schemes. If they could have succeeded in this they would have put at MIS in their hands, and by their aid have tried to subdue as much of the earth for their inheritance as they could in anticipation of the 'good time coming' when they would get it all! But on the Missouri frontier they found a squad of stiff-necked un« believers in the pay of the United States, who were stationed there by government to keep the Indians at peace among themselves, and to protect the settlers against their incursions. When the commander of these troops came to comprehend the object of their visitation, he very promptly ordered them off to the interior. They found no scope for disputation with the men of the sword upon the merits of Joe Smith and his Indian schemes. The commander had trouble enough to keep the Indians in order, which would be rendered impossible, if he permitted a band of unprincipled fanatics to get in among them; whose object it was to persuade them that they were the Ten Lost Tribes of the Great Spirit's peculiar people, and that they were destined under the conduct of Joe Smith and his Mormons, aided by the still living, but invisible, Indian apostle John, to recover their country, the true Promised Land, from the pale faces who had robbed them of it. Without any more ado, then, they had to move to the right about, and take a settlement at a distance from the frontier.
States, they made many proselytes; so that the population of their city in its most prosperous time, is said to have amounted to 15,000. They erected the Temple referred to in the following pages, and organized a government of their own; and even succeeded in getting Nauvoo appointed as a depot for a portion of the State's military materiel, which was entrusted to a quack doctor of their 'church' whom I have often seen in Louisville, Ky., since their break up, with the commission of 'General' but whether the patent was from the Governor, or Joe Smith, I am not able to say.
known by the soubriquet of "Long John," being much over sit feet, and a representative in Congress; a man whose want of principle admirably adapted him to the constituency he illustrated -- the journal be conducted became the special flatterer of the Nauvoo Prophet; indeed, it was jocosely remarked that 'Long John was about to become a deacon in the Mormon church!' But, John Wentworth had no such idea. He was only coquetting with Mormon knavery and impiety for the sake of the 2000 Mormon votes. The Mormon elder, taken under Universalist patronage to bother me, because having converted two out of three of their trustees into friends, I was enabled to use their meeting house, sorely against the preacher's will, as long as I pleased, to lecture in; this elder who made such a disgraceful retreat, was a special hero of the Chicago Democrat. He was dubbed 'Reverend,' and puffed off to admiration. The result of the matter was that the Mormon Votes contributed to the election of the Locofoco candidate, an Illinois lawyer, who afterwards became the agent of their discomfiture. In this way many religious sects may become 'respectable' and powerful in the United States. The politicians, (and the vast majority are politicians,) care nothing about Bible principles: but if a number of people rally round those principles, and become numerous, and therefore influential, they will bow sown and even profess to worship them for the sake of their votes. It would be the same with the absurdities of the Koran. They would proclaim Mohammed to be as good a prophet as Jesus, and certainly much more suited to their taste, if they thought it would give them a victory over their rivals, it being a political maxim, that 'all things are fair in polities' (but truth) because, I presume, the Devil reigns political Chief of their domain. Upon the same principle, the Irish, and the adherents of 'the False Prophet,' now at Gaeta, are courted by Whig and Locofocos; and nothing is allowed to appear in the leading papers, about the time of election especially, which would tend to bring their principles into disrepute. I know this by experience. I sent a communication to the New York Tribune, but Horace Greely, the editor, would not insert it, because it might offend the Papists, and prejudice the Whig prospects, as the election was at hand. But with politicians the world over, it is self and faction, lucre and power; and by what means attained imports not, though truth and righteousness be rooted out of the earth.
scriptural intelligence, it is extremely probable, that neither would have any just ground to boast of their illumination over the other. Any community where Popery is deemed respectable, is reprobate to the 'wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, and then peaceable * * * full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy:' and shaded by the wisdom from beneath, which is 'earthly, sensual, and devilish.' Let my remarks then be received as impartial; for, as far as Protestant nationalities are concerned, I have as much faith in one as in the other; they are certainly more moral and orderly than purely Romish communities; but viewed in the light of God's word, they are one and all blind, ill-favoured, and lighter than vanity itself.
might be, was far from rivaling that of his more successful prototype. Joe was certainly 'born out of due time.' He doubtless belonged to the seventh century, and should have flourished in the desert. He might then have astonished the world, and lived in the remembrance of all future time as Lieutenant Commander of all faithful Moslems. But, unhappy Joe! No victorious laurel wreathed his brow. He fell into the hands of the 'infidels;' and was carried with other chief robbers to the town of Alton [sic] on the left bank of the Mississippi, there to be kept in 'durance vile,' until further orders. But Joe by no means relished this disposition of his person. He determined therefore to escape. Had he been a real prophet he would not have tried it; for he would have known that the attempt would fail. But judicially deluded, he undertook it, and in the trial was shot by the sentinel and 'died as the fool dieth.'
them as 'the idle wind which they respect not;' to the 'doctrines concerning demons' they will give no heed; but 'built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets' they will 'grow into a Holy Temple in the Lord; builded together in him for a Habitation of God through the Spirit.'"
There can be but one opinion of this account of Smith's history and the worthless character of his followers -- when brought in juxtaposition with the Apostle Pratt's account, the contrast is alarming! America has produced, as might be expected, several histories of the Mormonites; and in some of these, there are many more disgraceful things stated than are stated by Dr. Thomas. But before speaking of the Mysteries of the Temple of Nauvoo, I shall just give a quotation or two from Dr. Thomas' Preface.
"The rapid sale of the first edition of 3000 copies of this pamphlet, and a continual demand for more, have induced the proprietor to publish a second in an improved form. Though Mormons are said to be springing up like dragon's teeth in some places, it is gratifying to know that in others where this pamphlet has appeared, their foolishness has received 'a heavy blow, and great discouragement.' In Edinburgh, 'Joe Smith's Disciples' were stirred up mightily against it. They placarded the streets of Auld Reekie, announcing to the modern Athenians, that it was 'all lies.' But unfortunately for them circumstances were untoward. The spirit of divination with which they are filled, failed to glorify their assertion. It had prompted them to declare the pamphlet untrue, and thus exposed them to confusion of face by the counter-testimony of a former disciple, or 'prophet of their own.' This was a very unkind cut of the Mormon spirit! The least it could have done would have been to suggest that they should show their wisdom, if they had any, in holding their peace. But no! Instead of 'guiding them into all truth,' it precipitated them upon an assertion characteristic of their creed, which evoked the indignation of a Mr. Hebern, formerly a Mormon in America, who averred in public assembly, that the account was 'all true.'"
The history of Mormonism, as given by Dr. Thomas, being thus confirmed, to say nothing of others who have equally proved it to be a delusion, we can conceive of no honest person of common understanding, who has read Dr. T.'s pamphlet, becoming a Mormonite. Such a scheme as Mormonism, of course, will suit impostors such as Smith himself, and, his worthy counterpart and successor, Brigham Young, and as there are, no doubt, many such in the world, this satanic magnet will, we certainly believe, number vast hordes of these woful specimens of human depravity among its adherents. If any simple-hearted and honest persons
are drawn aside into the way in which these destroyers go, it is greatly to be lamented.
"There are some forms of error too palpably ridiculous to admit of grave examination. Mormonism is one of these, and Joanna Southcoteism another. The proprietor being convinced of this presents the present edition of the pamphlet in an illustrated form. The woodcuts are sketches of the 'Mysteries,' as described by Van Dusen. The designer has thrown a good deal of character into the faces and attributes of the figures, which cannot fail of imprinting Joe Smithians with a celebrity unrivalled in the annals of tomfoolery. There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, which will be duly appreciated in the Mormon Mysteries of Van Dusen, in the tub, and his greasing with the Temple oil!"
The account published by Dr. Thomas respecting the "mysteries" was first published by a person of the name of Van Dusen, and Dr. T. quotes the following also from his preface: -- "Our object for offering this work to the public is, that it may prevent thousands that are now calculating to go west, both from the American and Asiatic continents, after the present Mormon Leader in the Salt Lake Valley, (California,) who is now calling them on the plea of revealing to them those Mysteries that were revealed to some thousands in secret in the Nauvoo Temple, United States, in the year 1846, which all the Mormons in the wide world are anxious to know having been held in suspense so long."
After this quotation, and immediately prior to the story of the "Temple Mysteries," we have an account of the "City of Nauvoo," and the history of the "Temple" itself, and for those who wish further information, and indeed to all, we would recommend Dr. Thomas' pamphlet. * We shall quote a few sentences. -- "Directly under the tower, in front, is the following inscription in golden letters:" -- "The house of the Lord, built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Commenced April 6th, 1841. Holiness to the Lord."
"This grand structure was commenced in 1841, under the following circumstances: --
* Published by Arthur Hall & Co.
continued three years; at which time, Smith was killed under circumstances already known to the public; By which unexpected circumstance, the whole body of Mormons were thrown into confusion, supposing the object for which the house was built, had vanished with Smith, their prophet. Consequently it was not long before there arose a hot contest between Sidney Rigdon and some more of the ambitious ones, which should be great as was the prophet Joseph. Finally, a man by the name of Brigham Young (now heading thousands off to the remote part of the earth, to their literal ruin in many instances) -- he being more crafty than the rest -- succeeded in getting Smith's place. After which he commenced his stratagem to carry out and prosecute (as he says) Smith's measure in secret. Accordingly, after a secret preparation in the temple, of a few individuals selected for that purpose, with closed doors, unknown to the main body of the people, we are called in, by two at a time, male and female, and are initiated into the following mysteries -- and bound, at the expense of life, not to tell another -- not even a Mormon."
With respect to the "Mysteries," it appears that there are seven degrees; and, as they are illustrated by engravings, we would rather refer to the pamphlet than attempt to give anything like a particular account; and we premise that those honest persons who were not previously thoroughly disgusted with Mormonism, will be after they go through these "Mysteries" in company with "Van Dusen" and his "Wife." The "Mysteries of the Temple of Nauvoo" will rank with the most foolish and monstrously ridiculous and disgusting rites and practices, either of the Roman or any other idolatrous system even in the heathen world. But there are wickedness and treachery connected with them also which will vie with Rome herself in her most prosperous days of treason and pollution. We shall just give Van Dusen's winding up of the affair in his remarks on the "Seventh Degree in the Temple."
"In this room, when thus assembled, are all the Mysteries of the Kingdom taught, such as what is called the Spiritual Wife Doctrine. The women are here instructed by this Leader, through his roundabout stratagem, that they are no more under obligations to their husband, if they have one (if he or his associates take a notion to her,) and it is their privilege to leave their lawful husband, and take another; and it is the privilege of some kings to have scores, yes, hundreds of queens, especially the King of kings, Brigham Young, the present Mormon God in California -- (or devil, I should say, for I have reason to believe he is the wickedest man now on the face of the earth); and, farther, as we are all made kings and queens by this secret farce the foundation for a kingdom is laid, also. And here is the secret of the Spiritual-Wife Doctrine: -- Their kingdom is to consist in their own
posterity, and the more wives the greater his opportunity of getting a large kingdom, of course; so it is an object to one that holds this doctrine sacred, as thousands do, to get all the women he can, consequently, it subjects that portion of the female sex which he has influence over, eventually to literal ruin.
highest degree; and as I know many consequences of enormous magnitude, I have, after much reflection, written it out and published it, to prevent others going after it."
But perhaps it would be well to give the whole of this remark, as it certainly contains some alarming facts which cannot be too widely known.
"Now the man that led twelve or fifteen thousand through this farce has gone with the main body of the Mormons, to California, with the express understanding to my certain knowledge, of carrying out these principles among the Western Indians, and all whom he has influence over. He told others that were at Nauvoo, those who were not let into these Temple Mysteries (for all did not go in for want of time and opportunity,) that when they get to California, there would be a tent pitched in the wilderness for the Indians' benefit and all others that had not an opportunity at the Temple of Nauvoo. The idea is, if they had not been driven from Nauvoo, all the Mormons in all the world would have gone there in their turn, and received their great anticipated blessing, which I have described in these few pages to the very letter, in substance particularly for the benefit of those who are under the wicked leader's influence."
at their destined home [borne?], between the Rocky Mountains and the west sea, with good reasons, as they suppose, for forming this conspiracy against the government. Thousands already, under their influence, all calculating to go to that place, with an inducement that the Lord has, in the Nauvoo Temple, and will reveal great secrets, essential to their salvation. Now this is all brought on by degrees, and stratagem covered over with sanctimony and religious costume, &c., giving powerful impressions on the mind which cannot be realized by the reader in these limited remarks.
The whole account as given by Van Dusen finishes with a Declaration on Oath by him and his wife. The following is the "Declaration" verbatim: --
"Declaration on Oath of the truth of the foregoing account: --
We might follow up these remarks with others equally affirmative of the infamous character of Mormonism, but we really do not think it necessary. There is a coloring given to the writings of the Mormonites pretty generally which, as it is intended to catch the unwary, is done with no small degree of subtlety, and has no doubt in many instances effected its object. Orson Pratt is certainly an adept at this species of deception; we shall just give a few extracts from his "Remarkable Visions," in order to illustrate this point.
"We believe that there are a few sincere, honest, and humble persons who are striving to do according to the best of their understanding; but, in many respects, they err in doctrine because of false teachers and the precepts of men, and that they will receive the fulness of the gospel with gladness as soon as they hear it."
We omit the paragraph that immediately follows as we have referred to it elsewhere, we give the next in order however.
"Many revelations and prophecies have been given to this church since its rise, which have been printed and sent forth to the world. These also contain the gospel in great plainness, and instructions of infinite importance to the Saints. They also unfold the great events that await this generation; the terrible judgments to be poured forth upon the wicked, and the blessings and glories to be given to the righteous. We believe that God will continue to give revelations by visions, by the ministry of angels, and by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, until the saints are guided unto all truth, that is, until they come in possession of all the truth there is in existence, and are made perfect in knowledge. So long, therefore, as they are ignorant of anything past, present, or to come, so long, we believe, they will enjoy the gift of revelation. And when, in their immortal and perfect state -- when they enjoy 'the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ' -- when they are made perfect in one, and become like their Saviour, then they will be in possession of all knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence; then all things will be theirs, whether principalities or powers, thrones or dominions; and, in short, then they will be filled with all the fulness of God. And what more can they learn? What more can they know? What more can they enjoy? Then they will no longer need revelation. "We believe that wherever the people enjoy the religion of the New Testament, there they enjoy visions, revelations, the ministry of angels, &c. And that wherever these blessings cease to be enjoyed, there they also cease to enjoy the religion of the New Testament.
in their ears, if they reject it, they will be overthrown and wasted away until the earth shall no longer be encumbered with them. New and unheard of plagues will sweep through the nations, baffling the skill of the most experienced and learned physicians, depopulating whole cities and towns, and carrying off millions of wretched beings in every quarter of our globe. Nations, no longer restrained by the Spirit of God which will cease striving in them, will rise against nations till the whole earth, comparatively speaking, shall be filled with blood and carnage. Thrones and empires shall be cast down -- new governments will be erected but to meet with the same fate. Peace shall be taken from among the nations, and it shall happen as with the Papists, so with the Protestants, as with their ministers so with the people whom they have deceived -- they shall all fall into the ditch and perish together because they reject the voice of the Lord from the heavens, and the voice of his servants whom he hath sent to testify against their wickedness, and prepare the way of the Lord for his second coming.
Gentiles and Jews, and cease from all your evil deeds, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and be baptized in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, by laying on of the hands of the Apostles or Elders of this church; and signs shall follow them that believe, and if they continue faithful to the end they shall be saved. But wo unto them who hearken not to the message which God has now sent, for the day of vengeance and burning is at hand, and they shall not escape. Therefore, REMEMBER, O reader, and perish not!
This daring and unhallowed mixture of truth and error, which are here used as a bait, will one day torment the soul of this bold impostor, and eat his flesh as with fire. Every one that he is successful in thus deluding will fearfully add to the amount of his punishment when he shall fall into the hands of the living God! How different the language of those holy apostles he pretends to imitate: -- *
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
The ostensible objects of the Mormonites in sending their Missionaries out at present are to make proselytes and get them all packed off to America. This is what they technically call the "Gathering." They are to do great things in the golden regions of California where many of them are already, and whither it would seem many are preparing to follow. We shall here give an extract from another subtle article on this subject of the gathering. it is signed "Eli B. Kelsey," and is from the "Star" of July, 1850.
"And now, while you are making preparations to gather yourselves, do not forget the poor among your brethren, whom you are leaving behind. If you can do so without materially injuring your own emigration,
* 2 Cor. iv.
contribute liberally to the Perpetual Emigration Fund, and the Lord will bless you for it; and, if you continue faithful, He will controul the winds and waves for your benefit, and stay the hand of the destroyer in your midst, whilst journeying to the land of the Saints' rest.
And what, as Van Dusen says, will not be the end of all this! They have been rooted out of all their previous settlements in America, and their principles being such that it will be impossible for them to live in harmony with their neighbours, a similar, or perhaps more disastrous, fate may yet await them! but however it may end as to their temporal affairs, many, who may not be concerned in the imposture, may go under the spell of the delusion, aud it is really shocking to contemplate the misery into which such persons will sooner or later be plunged! There is a solemn and important duty resting upon Ministers and Pastors, (and all who in any way have souls committed to their charge,) in relation to their flocks and the people generally. Mormonism ought to be laid open, so that the people may see their danger, lest they should be devoured by these wily emissaries of satan, who in this instance has marvellously attempted to transform himself into an angel of light. -- We must now draw our review of Mormonism to a close. It may be remarked without entering into detail that it is reported there have been innumerable foolish and absurd arts resorted to by the Mormonites, in order to support the high assumption
of their supernatural powers. But notwithstanding, there is considerable cunning, for which it appears Smith was always remarkable, displayed in the concoction of the whole scheme. It is in many respects equal to Mahometanism. The farce of their priesthood and apostolate is a terrible plunge in Mormon depravity -- but they are not alas! without the most disgusting and shameful examples, in this kind, both in the Church of Rome and the Church of England! The craft of the scheme of immediate revelation is a very convenient artifice for religious adventurers. Whatever an impostor invents and wishes to curry into effect he can do whenever he can get persons gullible enough -- witness the revelations about Smith and Rigdon's houses, and each of them was "to live as seemed him good!" the proclamation to build the "Temple of Nauvoo!" The ridiculous account of Smith's "Visions!" finding the "plates" and the "translation of the Book of Mormon through the means of the Urim and Thummim!" taken altogether form a terribly weak point, and should have been the best. Their various expulsions, however, for rioting and thieving, if this were even required, leave no doubt both as to the true character of Mormonism and the shameful impostor Smith who met his terrible end in the very midst of his awful career of crime and deception.
The "Temple Mysteries" we have not particularly described, yet we hope that they will be universally known, and we doubt not they will be duly appreciated. It is evident too that the pretended prophet instead of setting up Mormonism fully rather succumbed, in the first instance, to Campbellism. Campbell it seems taught that the second advent would take place in 1847 -- but 1847 came, but Christ did not come; it closed, but its history does not record the second advent of the Redeemer! Now if Smith had been a prophet he could not have taken part in this delusion! -- hence also his ignorance of things which he professed to know! Had he not been a false prophet his superior enlightenment would have saved him on the one hand from being led astray by one who was in error, and his integrity on the other would have prevented him from being a party in propagating a delusion; for allowing that
Campbell might be deceived, we could not suppose, without a contradiction of terms, that a prophet could be in ignorance of those things which form such a great and prominent part of his own revelations! We think any further remark upon this is unnecessary, as it certainly tells its own tale pretty plainly. But allowing for the sake of argument, what there is not the slightest evidence of, that Joseph Smith had revelations, we may even charitably infer that at the time he was preaching Campbellism, which so signally failed, God had ceased to answer him either "by dreams," ("visions" if Smithites like it better,) or "Urim," * so that we may fairly enough conclude that he was finally cast off and reprobated. But after all it is really dreadful to think for a moment of the eternal destiny of such a man! Behold, however, according to Mormonism, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth! The fact is that Joseph had craft enough to discover that the business of prophesying must be prosecuted upon a different plan, particularly as about 1833 Mr. Alexander Campbell exposed the scheme of Mormonism, and hence he finds it more safe and profitable to keep his own secret, and generally to bring out such revelations as shall best subserve both these ends. Thus it is evident that Smith was not the natural fool that some have imagined him to be, but a deep, designing, and most artful impostor. All through his history, as the parent of Latter-Day Saintism, there are the broad and unmistakable features of a reflecting, and hence bold, energetic, and dauntless religious adventurer. Joseph has been a hero, of his kind, people may say what they like -- indeed, we have such an admiration for any strong development of the human mind, that we could almost for a moment waive the thought of his wickedness, at which in reality we shudder, and admire Joseph Smith, the great false prophet of Mormonism, for his courage and genius! It is true that it is suspected by some that Sidney Rigdon, formerly a baptist preacher, was the real inventor of Mormon, or Latter-Day Saintism, still, (and without at all damaging the strongly fact that the Book of Mormon does not owe its origin to Joseph, nor yet to Rigdon, but to a presbyterian
* 1 Sam. xxv, 5.
minister, who wrote it as a fiction for his own amusement,) Smith makes such an astonishing figure in the whole affair that we are constrained to dignify him with the title of a great impostor!
There are two features in Mormonism exceedingly striking, and so much the more so as they are, beyond almost everything of the kind, so exceedingly opposite. I allude to its high pretensions, and its horrid vileness. It is first tinctured with Judaism in order to catch the American Indians who it is thought are of Jewish extraction -- again, it pretends to christianity and is largely tinctured with heathenish superstitions, in order, like the Church of Rome, we presume, to catch the pagan world ! This is a tolerable sweep! -- and as there is a deal of speculative religion at present, the second advent of the Redeemer to reign as a temporal as well as spiritual prince has been adopted to suit the demand of the times. This is, indeed, among all sects a notorious age for talking about making christianity to suit the times -- but we may just remark, by the way, that the infinitely wise Author of christianity holds all such proud and impious attempts in derision. Christianity is unalterable; the times must be made to suit christianity, otherwise its gracious Author is not obliged to continue to offer it to a stiff-necked and gainsaying people. God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap: those enemies of God and his Christ that would break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from them, the Lord shall break with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel!
But in speaking of the pretensions of Mormonism, however ridiculous, they are of the utmost magnitude. There is far more depth in this scheme than many who think that it is comparatively harmless are at all aware of. Like the Jesuits of Rome its emissaries try various baits to catch the wavering. This is the grand stratagem to catch all they can, founded upon this principle, that nothing is either too sacred or profane but what they may practise it in order to carry out the deception. This the pretensions and history of Mormonism have clearly taught the world, otherwise they have taught us nothing.
We are sorry to add, in taking our leave of Mormonism, that from the accounts that are continually arriving in this country from the "Salt Lake" (the present settlement of the Mormons in California,) the very worst predictions, respecting the intentions of the Leaders which are hazarded by Van Dusen and others, are actually already being fulfilled. Indeed the accounts are of such an infamous character that we forbear to go into particulars, but they may be read in the "Times" and other newspapers. It is very sad to learn that in the face of all this abomination and impending ruin (at which we have merely hinted,) great numbers of our countrymen are emigrating to the Mormon provinces. Perhaps it will be useful if I insert the postscript of a letter I received, in answer to some of my inquiries on the subject, from a gentleman who knew Mormonism only too well some few years ago in America.
"In America the Mormons do not dream of making converts. A few of the baser sort flock to them to help in plucking the sincere ones, -- who are almost entirely English. It is only for want of information that our countrymen are thus deceived."
From the accounts, up to the latest date, it appears that the prominent features of the Mormons at the "Salt Lake" are much the same as those set forth by the Socialists, of whom, though we happily hear little now, Robert Owen is the head. Owen's system indeed is even less obnoxious than "Latter-Day Saintism," for he would scorn the hypocrisy of endorsing his system with the name of christianity, which the Mormons, however evident the absurdity of the fact, we need not say, have so shamefully attempted to do.
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