Benjamin G. Ferris
Utah and the Mormons
(NYC, Harper and Brothers 1854, 56)
UTAH AND THE MORMONS. 81
These appeals were all subsequently made without success; but, unfortunately for the prediction, the Lord does not seem to come forth from his "hiding-place;" and, although Missouri was to be overflowing with Saints before the "stakes for the curtains" were appointed, yet they have been compelled to appoint these "stakes" without returning to Independence at all. The truth is, these revelations in regard to the seat of Zion were a little too definite. The prophet, in due time, discovered that he led the Mormon deity into a mistake, and did all he could to explain the failure. It was difficult, however, in the face of such predictions, to change the venue, and the notion is therefore still prevalent among a portion of the Saints that they are to return in triumph to Missouri and drive out the Gentiles.
82 UTAH AND THE MORMONS.
UTAH AND THE MORMONS. 83
(pages 83-under construction)
(continued on part 3)
Benjamin Ferris was called to the governorship of Utah Territory in 1852 by President Millard Fillmore. Prior to his being given this responsibility, Ferris had been a lawyer and local notable in Ithaca, New York. It was there that he married Cornelia Woodcock on May 26 1830. Cornelia accompanied her husband to Utah and later wrote her own book recounting her experiences in the west. For more on Ferris see John H. Selkreg's 1894 Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York, expecially the section: "The Town of Ithaca."
Ferris first published his account of travels and experiences in the west in 1854. Two years later he revised and expanded this text of Utah and the Mormons. The 1856 edition was the last one published of his book and Ferris soon after slipped into obscurity. He is last mentioned as having been in the Ithaca area in 1855. Perhaps he died soon after that.
Ferris' account of early Mormonism is a pedestrian presentation typical of the times. Despite his having lived among the Mormons in Utah for several months, he was unable to solicit from them much in the way of original and unique historical material on the rise and progress of the sect. He adopts the Spalding-Rigdon explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon, adding little to the "Spalding theory," except for his labeling Rigdon a "religious Ishmaelite" -- a term other writers picked up and applied as well descriptive of Rigdon's pre-Mormon years.
The following is a brief notice of the first edition of the book, as published in the "Critical Notices" section of The Southern Quarterly Review for Oct 1854:
Utah and the Mormons. By Benjamin G. Ferris.
A similar review appeared in the pages of the New Haven New Englander in Nov. 1854. The North American Review of July 1856 gave some column space to noticing both the books of Mr. Ferris and Mrs. Ferris:
UTAH AND THE MORMONS.