Tuttle, Daniel S.

Religious Encylopedia III

(NYC: Funk & Wagnalls, 1891 - 3rd ed.)

  • 1575a: Introduction  1575b: Joseph Smith
  • 1576: Purported 1826 court transcript
  • 1577: Nauvoo, etc.  1578: Solomon Spalding

  • Transcriber's Comments

  • Tiffany's Monthly 1859 article  |  Fraser's Magazine 1873 article  |  "Interesting Document" (1880)
    New S-H Encycl. excerpt (1910)  |  Chenango Co., NY histories  |  W. D. Purple account (1877)
    A.W. Benton (1831)  |  A.M. Badger (1904)  |  Joseph Smith: Con Man?  |  Smith's 1826 Trial
    "Stowell's Gold" (1878)  |  Madsen: "1826 Trial" (1990)  |  Vogel: "Rethinking 1826 Decision"


    MORLIN.                                   1575                                   MORMONS.

    MORMONS.  Mormonism is the name given to the religious belief of the Mormons, a sect having their headquarters in Utah, one of the Territories of the United States. These people call themselves "Latter-Day Saints," and their organization, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints;" but by the rest of the world they are known as "Mormons." The word "mormon," in their etymology, is a hybrid term, from the reformed Egyptian "mon" and the English "more," and means more good. The man Mormon, in their ecclesiastical history, was the last of the sacred prophets of ancient America, who, a leader of the Nephites, perished, in a battle between them and the Lamanites, in A.D. 420. Both Nephites and Lamanites were descendants from the family of Lehi, an Israelite of the tribe of Manasseh, who emigrated from Jerusalem to America in B.C. 000, during the reign of King Zedekiah. In the battle alluded to, the Nephites were exterminated, with the exception of a few individuals. The descendants of the victorious Lamanites are the North American Indians. The Book of Mormon is claimed to be the condensed record, made on golden plates by the prophet Mormon, of the history, faith, and prophecies of the ancient inhabitants of America. These plates he intrusted to Moroni his son. Moroni survived the awful battle of extermination. He died the last of the Nephites, but, before dying, "hid up" the golden plates in the hill Cumorah, the very site of the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, where two hundred thousand of the former had been slain. Among the records of the Book of Mormon are accounts of three migrations to the American continent: 1. Of Jared and his family, soon after the flood, from the confusion of tongues about the Tower of Babel; 2. Of Lehi, as mentioned above; 3. Of a number of Israelites who came over from Jerusalem about eleven years after Lehi. The book also contains accounts of the coming of Christ among these early Americans, about A.D. 34 and 35, and his repeating to them of his Sermon on the Mount, and his appointing of twelve American apostles, and his giving orders to them personally touching baptism by immersion, and his holy communion.

    The buried golden plates in Cumorah, in the Western part of New York State, were discovered by Joseph Smith, Sept. 22, 1823; and on Sept. 22, 1827, he secured them, took them to his home, translated their contents, which were said to be in "reformed Egyptian," and printed and published them as the Book of Mormon. In discovering and securing the treasures, it is claimed he was guided and helped by an angel, perhaps by the spirit of Moroni himself, who had died fourteen hundred years before. And, after the translation was completed, it is understood that the angel resumed the custody of the original plates.

    Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon sect, was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vt., Dec. 23, 1805. He had six brothers and three sisters. In 1815 his father moved to Palmyra, and afterward to Manchester, contiguous towns in Ontario (now Wayne) County, N.Y. In 1820 an unusual religious excitement prevailed in Manchester and the region round about. Five of the Smith family were awakened, and united with the Presbyterians. Joseph, in his own account of his early life, says he "became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect." He says he prayed to be guided aright; and that finally two heavenly messengers bade him not to join any sect, and, three years afterwards, another celestial visitant outlined to him about the golden plates he was to find, and the prophet he was to be. This was on Sept. 22, 1823; and from this time on, he avers, his days and nights were filled, and his life was guided, by "visions," "voices," and "angels." The hill Cumorah was about four miles from

    MORMONS.                                 1576                                 MORMONS.

    Palmyra, between that town and Manchester. Here, in the fall of 1827, he claims he exhumed the golden plates. For more than two years, by the aid of the "Urim and Thummim" found with them, he was engaged in translating their contents into English. In March, 1830, the translation was given into the printer's hands. This is his history of himself. In what light he appeared to others may be gathered from the following extract, never before published, from the records of the proceedings before a justice of the peace of Bainbridge, Chenango County, N. Y.: --

    "People of State of New York vs. Joseph Smith.  Warrant issued upon oath of Peter G. Bridgman, who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person and an impostor. Prisoner brought into court March 20 (1826). Prisoner examined. Says that he came from town of Palmyra, and had been at the house of Josiah Stowel in Bainbridge most of time since; had small part of time been employed in looking for mines, but the major part had been employed by said Stowel on his farm, and going to school; that he had a certain stone, which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold-mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and informed him where he could find those treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them; that at Palmyra he pretended to tell, by looking at this stone, where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra he had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was, of various kinds; that he has occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyes -- made them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having any thing to do with this business.

    "Josiah Stowel sworn. Says that prisoner had been at his house something like five months. Had been employed by him to work on farm part of time; that he pretended to have skill of telling where hidden treasures in the earth were, by means of looking through a certain stone; that prisoner had looked for him sometimes, -- once to tell him about money buried on Bend Mountain in Pennsylvania, once for gold on Monument Hill, and once for a salt-spring, -- and that he positively knew that the prisoner could tell, and professed the art of seeing those valuable treasures through the medium of said stone; that he found the digging part at Bend and Monument Hill as prisoner represented it; that prisoner had looked through said stone for Deacon Attelon, for a mine -- did not exactly find it, but got a piece of ore, which resembled gold, he thinks; that prisoner had told by means of this stone where a Mr. Bacon had buried money; that he and prisoner had been in search of it; that prisoner said that it was in a certain root of a stump five feet from surface of the earth, and with it would be found a tail-feather; that said Stowel and prisoner thereupon commenced digging, found a tail-feather, but money was gone; that he supposed that money moved down; that prisoner did offer his services; that he never deceived him; that prisoner looked through stone, and described Josiah Stowel's house and out-houses while at Palmyra, at Simpson Stowel's, correctly; that he had told about a painted tree with a man's hand painted upon it, by means of said stone; that he had been in company with prisoner digging for gold, and had the most implicit faith in prisoner's skill.

    "Horace Stowel sworn. Says he see [sic seen?] prisoner look into hat through stone, pretending to tell where a chest of dollars were buried in Windsor, a number of miles distant; marked out size of chest in the leaves on ground.

    "Arad Stowel sworn. Says that he went to see whether prisoner could convince him that he possessed the skill that he professed to have, upon which prisoner laid a book open upon a white cloth, and proposed looking through another stone which was white and transparent; hold the stone to the candle, turn his back to book, and read. The deception appeared so palpable, that went off disgusted.

    "McMaster sworn. Says he went with Arad Stowel to be convinced of prisoner's skill, and likewise came away disgusted, finding the deception so palpable. Prisoner pretended to him that he could discern objects at a distance by holding this white stone to the sun or candle; that prisoner rather declined looking into a hat at his dark-colored stone, as he said that it hurt his eyes.

    "Jonathan Thompson says that prisoner was requested to look Yeomans for chest of money; did look, and pretended to know where it was, and that prisoner, Thompson, and Yeomans went in search of it; that Smith arrived at spot first (was in night); that Smith looked in hat while there, and when very dark, and told how the chest was situated. After digging several feet, struck upon something sounding like a board or plank. Prisoner would not look again, pretending that he was alarmed the last time that he looked, on account of the circumstances relating to the trunk being buried came all fresh to his mind; that the last time that he looked, he discovered distinctly the two Indians who buried the trunk; that a quarrel ensued between them, and that one of said Indians was killed by the other, and thrown into the hole beside of the trunk, to guard it, as he supposed. Thompson says that he believes in the prisoner's professed skill; that the board which he struck his spade upon was probably the chest, but, on account of an enchantment, the trunk kept settling away from under them while digging; that, not withstanding they continued constantly removing the dirt, yet the trunk kept about the same distance from them. Says prisoner said that it appeared to him that salt might be found at Bainbridge; and that he is certain that prisoner can divine things by means of said stone and hat; that, as evidence of fact, prisoner looked into his hat to tell him about some money witness lost sixteen years ago. and that he described the man that witness supposed had taken it, and disposition of money.

    "And thereupon the Court finds the defendant guilty."

    While digging for treasure at Harmony, Penn., he boarded in the house of Mr. Isaac Hale. On the 18th of January, 1827, he married the daughter, Emma Hale, much against her father's wishes, having been compelled to take her away from her home for the wedding. In 1828 Martin Harris, a farmer of Palmyra, was amanuensis for him. In 1829 Oliver Cowdery, a school-teacher of the neighborhood, filled the same office. On May 15, 1829, by command of an angelic messenger calling himself John the Baptist, Smith baptized Cowdery, and then Cowdery baptized him. Afterwards he ordained Cowdery to the Aaronic priesthood, and Cowdery ordained him. And, in process of time, it is claimed, Smith received the Melchisedec priesthood at the hands of the apostles Peter, James, and John. Some of the prophet's family, and some of a family named Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca County, N.Y., became converts; and on April 6, 1830, in Whitmer's house, the Mormon "Church" began its history. That day it was organized, with a membership of six, -- the prophet and two of his brothers, two Whitmers, and Oliver Cowdery. Within a week or two the first miracle of the "new dispensation" was wrought; the prophet casting out a devil from Newell Knight of Colesville, Broome County, N.Y., whose visage and limbs were frightfully distorted by the demoniacal possession. In December, 1830, Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite preacher in Ohio, became a convert. Rigdon was erratic, but eloquent; self-opinionated, but well

    MORMONS.                                 1577                                 MORMONS.

    versed in the Scriptures; and in literary culture and intellectual force was the greatest man among the early Mormons. He was born in Pennsylvania, and was twelve years older than Smith. Thereafter the new sect strengthened and spread. Joseph was a veritable Numa Pompilius in the frequency and fitness of the "revelations" he received for the guidance of his people in things great and small. Kirtland, O., two miles from Rigdon's previous cure, was the first "gathering-place" of the saints. In 1831 the settlement was made there; and in the same year Jackson County, Mo., became the seat of another rendezvous. But, wherever the Mormons "gathered," in no long time quarrels ensued between them and the surrounding Gentiles. These arose, for the most part, from the claims of the Mormons to be a chosen people and under special divine direction. They shrank not from urging such prerogatives, and acting upon them. They were the saints, and all other people "Gentiles," in euphony for "heathen." They were the Lord's saints, and the earth is the Lord's. They were led by an inspired prophet. Therefore, whenever the day of election for civil officers came, they must vote solidly the Whig or the Democratic ticket, as the leader should indicate. It is obvious to any one knowing of the fierce zeal of partisan politics, how this course on the part of the Mormons would subject them to constant embroilments with surrounding citizens. In 1843 the Saints carried their arrogance so far as to nominate Joseph Smith for President of the United States. And everywhere the outcome was the same, -- expulsion and banishment, with more or less of outrageous violence. Those that had settled in Jackson County were driven out (1200 of them) into Clay County, in 1833; thence, after three years, into Caldwell County; and in 1839 from Missouri entirely. Meanwhile those that settled at Kirtland were also driven from Ohio in 1838; then all fled, and gathered at Nauvoo, a place built by them, on the Mississippi River, in Illinois.

    Here they remained for five years, and built up a considerable town, and erected a spacious temple. But the animosities engendered and perpetuated by the theocratic claims of the Saints culminated in the cruel murder of their prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, by a mob, in the jail at Carthage, near Nauvoo, June 27, 1844. The two were defenceless prisoners, and the governor of the State had pledged to them safe conduct to the jail and before the court; and their murder was a most foul assassination.

    The martyr-like death of Joseph Smith threw a mantle of dignity over his person and a halo of consecration around his character, that could in no other way have been secured. And it is reasonable to believe, that, had Smith lived on, his own many weaknesses, the vulgarizing of "revelation" at his hands, the growing suspicions and disaffections of the faithful, and the fierce rancor and dissensions of the factions, would have shivered Mormonism into pieces, and sunk the fragments into depths too obscure for the searching of further history.

    The people, leaders and led, with a rare self-control, sought not to take into their own hands any measures of vengeance for the murder of their chief. After recovery from the first consternation over the awful tragedy, they began to ask themselves, Who shall rule the church?

    The "First Presidency" had been Joseph Smith, with Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon his counsellors. Rigdon alone was left. Of the "twelve apostles," Brigham Young was one, and their president. Young hurried to Nauvoo from a "mission" that he was conducting in the Eastern States. By his shrewd sense, firm will, and practical ability he carried all before him. Rig-don, who had been charged with disaffection, even in Joseph's day, was put down, and cut off. The quorum of the twelve was pronounced to be the earthly guide of the church, and Brigham became at once the acknowledged leader.

    Brigham Young was born in Whitingham, Windham County, Vt., June 1, 1801, and was one of a family of eleven children, -- five sons and six daughters. His father removed to Sherburne, Chenango County, N.Y , in 1804, and the family grew up in the latter State. In his twenty-second year, Brigham became a Methodist. In 1831 and 1832 all the members of the family joined the Latter-Day Saints. On the 14th of February, 1835, at Kirtland, Brigham was made one of the newly organized quorum of the apostles. In 1844, when forty-three years old, he became the Mormon chief. He was strong where Smith was weak; viz., in prudence, sagacity, common sense, practical energy. These natural Cromwellian qualities he brought to the front, and put and kept in force. He wasted no time in getting and giving "revelations." Only one "revelation" proper is on record as promulgated by him.

    After the prophet's death, the Gentiles were not a whit more willing for the Mormons to sojourn among them. Contentions, existing and threatened, waxed rather than waned. Brigham's practical sense promptly decided that his people must flee away to some remote region, where collisions and conflicts should cease; and his sturdy will and untiring energy bent themselves to carry out the decision. Early in 1840 he and his people began to leave Nauvoo. Gradually they were massed on the Missouri River, near what is now Council Bluffs. Their chief encampment there they called "Winter-Quarters." And in 1847 Brigham and a hundred and forty-two "pioneers" pushed resolutely westward over a wilderness track of eleven hundred miles, and arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24. Ever since, that day is the great day for celebration to Utah Mormons, quite eclipsing July 4. A few wintered in the valley: most, including Brigham, returned to "Winter-Quarters." In 1848 he led four thousand of the faithful to Utah; and there he lived and ruled in right kingly manner for thirty years, dying Aug 29, 1877.

    At his death the quorum of the twelve apostles became the ruling body of the church. Brigham Young, as "president," had two counsellors, or vice-presidents, who with him constituted the "First Presidency." But it is now an understood thing, that, when a president dies, the First Presidency falls, and rulership devolves upon the quorum of the twelve. John Taylor, who was in jail with the Smiths when they were killed, and who was himself wounded, was president of this quorum, and as such was chief of the church

    MORMONS.                                 1578                                 MORMONS.

    from Brigham's death until Oct. 10, 1880. At this last date he was chosen president of the church, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith his counsellors. The present (1881) quorum of the twelve consists of the following, with one vacancy: --

    Wilford Woodruff (president), Orson Pratt (made one of the first quorum at Kirtland, Feb. 11, 1835, and the only member of the present twelve who was a member of the first twelve), Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young (son of the late president), Albert Carrington, Moses Thatcher, Francis M. Lyman, John H. Smith.

    The Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine AND Covenants. -- These comprise the inspired writings, which, as modern "revelations," the Mormons place by the side of the ancient Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Their own account of the Book of Mormon has been given above. The usual belief is, that the most of it was written by one Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian clergyman of Western Pennsylvania. He had been accustomed to maintain that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the tribes of Israel; and, in a time of infirm health, he wrote a kind of romance supporting this view. This he called the Manuscript Found, and tried to publish. In his work was much repetition of phrases common in Scripture, such as, "and it came to pass," and also the use of the names Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Lamanites, etc. There is substantial evidence of the above-named facts. It is supposed that this manuscript fell into the hands of Joseph Smith. and that he, and perhaps Sidney Rigdon and others, introduced into it, and appended, in a style savoring strongly of revivalism, the large portion found in the Book of Mormon, touching the Lord Jesus Christ's descent in America soon after his ascension from Judaea, and his organization of another apostolate, and establishment of another church, and his reiteration and enlargement of his wishes, doctrines, and commandments. The Book of Doctrine and Covenants is the collection of all the multifarious "revelations" that Joseph Smith claimed to receive, and promulgated, together with the one only written "revelation" put forth by Brigham Young, viz., at "Winter-Quarters" in 1847, to inspire and guide the Saints in their projected western pilgrimage through the wilderness.

    Theoretically the Mormons hold the Bible and these two books to be the divinely inspired "Scriptures," of authority, and for guidance, -- the Old Testament as addressed particularly to the Jewish Church; the New Testament, to the Judaic and European Christian Church; the Book of Mormon, to the "American" Christian Church; and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

    But practically, authority and guidance for them emanate from their living leaders; and few of either chiefs or masses read any of the four sacred books in order to know and ponder and follow the recorded teachings.

    Organization. -- The hierarchy in the Mormon Church is of two classes of priesthood: the Melchisedec, which is the higher; and the Aaronic, which is the lesser. The Melchisedec priesthood includes the offices of apostle, seventy, patriarch or evangelist, high priest, and elder. All of these officers are elders; and their duties are to preach and baptize, to ordain other elders, and also priests, teachers, and deacons, to administer the Lord's Supper, to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, to bless children, and to take the lead of all meetings.

    The Aaronic priesthood includes the offices of bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon. The bishop's is a spiritual office, the chief of the Aaronic priesthood, and yet is of most importance in its care of the temporal interests of the church. The priest's duty is to preach, baptize, administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and visit and exhort the Saints. The "teacher" is to the Mormons what the class-leader is to the Methodists, and the deacon is to help him.

    In practical administration the president of the church, with his two counsellors, forming the First Presidency, is the sovereign authority. Then follow the twelve, the seventy, etc. In matters judicial, the Mormons have a system of their own of courts and appeals, somewhat on this wise: --

    If two brethren cannot settle by themselves, or by the help of friends, any difference arising between them, then they come before their own bishop's court (a bishop is chief administrator over a ward in a city, or a certain territory in the country): this court consists of the bishop and his two counsellors. Every city, or "stake," including a chief town and surrounding towns, has its president, with two counsellors; and this president has a high council of chosen men. If the litigants before the bishop's court are not satisfied, they may appeal to this high council, and, if not satisfied there, they may appeal to the High Council, consisting of twelve high priests pertaining to the First Presidency; and, if still unsatisfied, one more appeal remains, -- to the First Presidency itself.

    Doctrines. -- The Saints adopt the Bible and their own two sacred books as their inspired Scriptures. They believe in and carefully practise baptism by immersion, and baptism for remission of sins may be repeated whensoever needed. They bless little children, but baptize none under the age of eight. They confirm by the laying-on of hands of the elders. They celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, usually every Sunday, and using water instead of wine, in accordance with one of Joseph Smith's "revelations," that, where they could not use wine of their own making, it was not an essential to the sacrament. They are anthropomorphists, teaching plainly that God exists in form of a man, Brigham once boldly preached, "Adam is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." They are Arians, making Jesus Christ the Son of God, but of another and different substance from the Father. They are Macedonians, esteeming the Holy Spirit as no person, but only an influence or emanation. They believe in the pre-existence of human spirits. Multitudes of these spirits are now in a waiting-place, desiring to come to earth; for it is only through the way of fleshly embodiments that they can reach the final bliss of their perfected being: hence it is a work of great benevolence to provide

    MORMONS.                                 1579                                 MORMONS.

    earthly bodies into which they may come to tabernacle. They are millenarians; many of the devout believing, that, when the great temple in Salt Lake City is finished, the Lord Jesus Christ will descend to earth again, and reign with his saints for a thousand years. They practise baptism for the dead. The disembodied spirits of those who were not privileged to know on earth this gospel of the last dispensation may know of it now in the spirit-world, and by repentance and faith may be saved by it unto the perfection of bliss, if only some kinsman or friend yet in the flesh shall be baptized for them, for the remission of sins, by the earthly priesthood. They keep the first Thursday of every month as a day of fasting, on which the earnest ones gather together for prayer, and "bearing testimony," and bring the food saved by self-denial to the bishop, to be given to the poor of his cure. They believe in and practise polygamy. In the Book of Mormon polygamy is forbidden: in the earlier "revelations" of Joseph Smith it was distinctly reprobated; but it was sanctioned in a "revelation" claimed to have been given to Smith at Nauvoo, July 12, 1843, though the said "revelation" was not promulgated till in the fall of 1852, in Salt Lake City, by Brigham Young. They practise certain secret and mysterious ordinances known as "endowments." To the faithful Mormon these are made to seem precious initiatory rites, whereby he is advanced in his knowledge of the true faith, and exalted by the possession of new privileges: in reality, they are a sort of crudely acted religious drama, not unlike the "miracle-plays" of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

    The Deity and Satan, Adam and Eve, and others are persons of the drama. In its course there is a jumble of washings and anointings, of grips and key-words and new names, and of the investiture of each of the initiated in an endowment robe; which sacred undergarment is always thereafter to be worn next to the person, carefully shrouding it at the last for its burial. There are also prayers and solemn promises, and awful oaths, with penalties more awful appended. And only by taking their "endowments" is the marriage of man and wife so consecrated as to be fully authorized and thoroughly blessed. It has been charged against the endowment rites, that they are scenes of indecency and licentiousness; but probably the charge is false. Absurd, irreverent, and even blasphemous, doubtless they are, but, it is to be believed, not indecent. Among the oaths taken is one of resentful hostility to the American nation for not avenging the death of Joseph Smith, or righting the persecution of the Saints. The drama is continued for nearly a whole day, and these Mormon "mysteries" are well calculated to imprint themselves deeply and sternly upon the fanatical persons admitted to them. It is not too much to claim the secret "endowment" ceremonies as a powerful agency in weaving around the participants an iron band of awe and dread, of slavish obedience and compulsory brotherhood, and in ministering an unpatriotic, if not treasonable, bent to the Mormon system.

    Brigham said, endowments are "to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key-words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell."

    They believe the day of miracles has not ceased, but that many such have been wrought, especially healings of the sick, in the time and by the power of this "Latter-Day" dispensation. And they believe in giving one-tenth of their income and increase to the building of the temples, and insuring the progress of the church.

    Schisms. -- One only that is of any considerable importance now exists, known as the "Josephite." The Josephites are so called after Joseph Smith, the son of the prophet, their chief. They call themselves the "Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." They have head-quarters at Piano, Ill., and maintain a few preachers in Utah, who do not, however, make much headway. They repudiate polygamy (say that the prophet never taught it), brand Brigham as a usurper, and claim that Smith the son is the rightful successor of the father in the leadership of the church. Just after the prophet's death there were Rigdonites and Strangites, resisting Brigham's assumption of the succession. And in Utah there have been Morrisites, reproaching Brigham that he was so barren of "revelations;" and Godbeites, refusing to submit to Brigham's dictation in the domain of matters civil and commercial. But the Josephites alone, as an organized body, have been able to withstand dissolution.

    Statistics. -- When the Mormons entered the Valley of the Salt Lake, in 1847, the region belonged to Mexico. By the Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, in March, 1848, it and a good deal of other territory was ceded to the United States; but no civil government was provided by Congress until the Organic Act, of Sept. 9, 1850, created the Territory of Utah. More than a year before this, the Mormons organized for themselves the "State of Deseret" (a word meaning honey-bee in "reformed Egyptian "), elected Brigham governor, and sent a delegate to Washington to ask admission into the Union.

    Utah has an area of 84,476 square miles. By the United States census of 1880, its population is 74,470 males, and 69,436 females; total, 143,906. Of these, perhaps 18,000 are Gentiles. Then, besides the 125,000 Mormons in Utah, probably there are 25,000 more in the Territories of Idaho, Arizona, and Wyoming, and in the States of California, Nevada, Iowa, and Illinois. And, in addition to the 150,000 in America, doubtless as many more of the Saints are to be found in the Kingdom and Colonies of Great Britain, and in Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, and the Sandwich Islands, making about 300,000 of them in all. Mormonism was first preached in Great Britain by the apostles Kimball and Hyde, in 1837. And from the first, the British mission, and of late the Scandinavian mission, have been most vigorous and fruitful nurseries for their church. In 1842 there were 8,265 Mormons in Great Britain; and in 1852, 32,339. And from 1,000 to 3,000 "gather" annually to Utah from Europe.

    Salt Lake City has about 21,000 inhabitants, is situated nearly twenty miles from the Great Salt Lake, and is 4,300 feet above the level of the sea.

    MORMONS.                                 1580                                 MORMONS.

    The corner-stone of the great temple at Salt Lake, to be built of splendid granite, and with foundation-walls twenty feet thick, was laid April 6, 1853. It is about half finished, and has already cost more than $1,500,000. The 125,000 Saints in Utah pay nearly $1,000,000 of tithing yearly. A perpetual emigration fund is managed by the authorities of their church. As early as 1853, there were in it $34,000. From this fund loans are made to the poorer Saints abroad to make possible their emigration. When they get to Utah, they are obligated to pay back the loan into the fund as promptly as possible,

    Present Sources of the Strength of Mormonism. -- It may suffice to mention three principal ones.

    1. Religious Earnestness. -- It is a mistake to count the Mormons a mere horde of sensualized barbarians. Sidney Rigdon was a type of the fervent religious enthusiasm which pervaded the belief and obedience of the early converts. And the British mission especially has always had, and now has, in it large numbers of devout. God-fearing people. The exodus from Nauvoo presented itself as a winnowing van, and the fair-weather followers disappeared. It is remarkable how much of contentment, temperance, heroism, and strivings after the golden age of a real brotherhood, remained, and pushed hopefully westward. It is true, that the religious fanaticism of the Mormons entails deplorable results. It calls for implicit obedience to the "priesthood;" and that kind of obedience changes fair-minded and kind-hearted men into unjust and unfeeling agents of a despotic system. Witness the exceptional favor with which the "blood atonement" idea, viz., that it is good to slay the body to save the soul, is regarded in the Mormon community. And the same "obedience" fired the whole people, in 1857, to the fierce resolve not to allow their governor, Brigham Young, to be superseded by his lawfully appointed successor, Cumming, and not to suffer the United States troops, under Col. Sidney Johnston, to enter their territory. And witness the atrocious massacre, in the fall of 1857, at Mountain Meadows, of a hundred and twenty men and women, emigrants of Arkansas en route to California; and also the dastardly murder of Dr. J. K. Robinson in Salt Lake City, in October, 1866. So fanaticism outworks frenzy and cruelty. And yet, without doubt, the element most promotive of vigorous unity among the Mormons, making them strong to bear, and tenacious to hold, and powerful to act, is the firm belief in the hearts of the masses, that these are the "latter days," and they are the chosen saints thereof, wielding the powers, and holding forth the knowledge, of the true faith for this world, and getting ready for a no distant supreme exaltation in the next.

    2. Organization. -- One need not study long to note how thoroughly and skilfully organized for power the Mormons are. One will directs. (In Brigham's time this was pre-eminently true.) And by ecclesiastical communications and telegraphic wires the direction is speedily known unto the utmost limit of the land of their habitation, and promptly the entire massed body moves in the line directed. Meetings of the high councils, quorums, bishop's courts, teachers, etc., are everywhere held with great frequency. So a vivid and intelligent interest in the "church" is perpetuated throughout all the valleys and outlying districts. Petty offices abound in the system: greater offices are rewards. Twice every year, on the 6th of April and 6th of October, general conferences of the whole body are held. At each and every one of these, the people, by a show of hands, vote to sustain the principal officers of their organization; but the "quorums," in private sessions, have arranged all these names beforehand. At each conference, also, scores of names are promulgated of those called as missionaries to go abroad to preach the "gospel." And within a month or two all these go, largely without purse or scrip; and they do preach fervently, and successfully make converts. And the income from tithes builds meeting-houses and tabernacles and temples, and furnishes supplies to fill up gaps, and tide over difficulties in working the system.

    The Perpetual Emigration Fund is of most practical efficiency to swell their numbers, and increase their strength.

    There is no organization on earth, unless it be that founded by Ignatius Loyola, that is so well fitted as the Mormon to interest and keep loyal its members, to combine their faculties and forces, and to move that combination with efficiency and power whithersoever one master will dictates.

    3. Polygamy. -- In one sense, polygamy is a weakness to Mormonism. It arrays woman's nature in rebellion to the system, and arouses the detestation of Christian civilization. And since 1862 it has put the Mormons in the attitude of disobedience and defiance to the laws of their country. There are no laws of Utah Territory against polygamy, and, indeed, no territorial laws whatever about marriage anyway. All the members of the territorial Legislature being Mormons, this is to be expected. From 1847 to 1862, therefore, it may be said that the Mormons in Utah violated no statute law in practising polygamy. But in 1862 Congress enacted a statute prohibiting polygamy in the Territories of the United States. Since then, at least, all who have contracted plural marriages in Utah are plain violators of law. With decency, civilization, Christianity, and statute law arrayed against polygamy, it may seem strange that it can be rated else than an element of weakness in the Mormon institution, and destined one day to draw destruction upon the system. And yet there are senses in which polygamy contributes unity and strength to Mormonism. Because, first, it ostracises the Mormons from all the rest of civilized mankind; and the forces of repulsion from "the world" drive the Saints in upon themselves, to be welded closer together, and to stay each other up for countenance and protection. And again, the unfortunate women committed to the practice of polygamy, and the children begotten from it, even if they become, as often they do, malcontent and fiercely hating, know themselves to be caught in a net from which they see no escape; and they remain in their place and practice, because, though their hearts are broken, their homes are saved by a religious sanction from foul disgrace. And once more, the thousands who are not polygamists (for be it remarked that not more than one Mormon married man out of six Mormon married men in Utah is a polygamist) will uphold polygamy heartily,

    MORMONS.                                 1581                                 MORONE.

    because some near kinsfolk, as sisters or daughters, are practisers of it. Such as these, therefore, though not in polygamy (and many of them disliking it, and some detesting it), will yet stand up for it; and for them, too, with the actual practisers, it becomes a bond, binding all together into a unity amazingly compact and unbreaking.

    The Mormons and the United States Government. -- In March, 1849, the Mormons organized their territory into the State of Deseret ("the land of the honey-bee"); but Congress refused to recognize it, and, instead, called their country Utah Territory. President Fillmore appointed Brigham Young governor, and United States courts Were set up. The next year Brigham Young led in an open revolt against United States laws, drove out the United-States officials, and successfully resisted all attempts to supersede him in the governorship, until in 1858, through the diplomacy of Mr. Thomas L. Kane, an understanding was effected between the Mormon leaders and Gov. Cumming, the nominee of President Buchanan, whereby the governor was allowed to take his seat in the capital of the Territory. For the first two years an armed force was kept up in the Territory, but in 1860 it was withdrawn. In 1879 the secretary of state for the United States addressed a circular to the United States ministers in Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, instructing them to call the attention of the governments to which they were accredited to the laws of the United States against polygamy, and to request that the governments take steps to prevent Mormon efforts to gain converts. In 1882 the Edmunds Bill to legislate polygamy out of existence passed Congress.

    LIT. -- The publications consulted in the preparation of this article are marked by a *; those written by Mormons, by an M. Liverpool, London, and Manchester are the English cities.

    Mormon Newspapers. -- Times and Seasons * (published first at Commerce, Ill., November, 1839, then at Nauvoo, Ill., until after February, 1846), Millennial Star * (published first at Manchester, May, 1840, afterwards, and still, at Liverpool), Juvenile Instructor * (semi-monthly, published at Salt Lake City, Utah; started Jan. 1, 1868, still continued).

    Books. -- Book of Mormon * (M), last ed., Salt Lake City, 1881; Book of Doctrine and Covenants * (M), Salt Lake City, 1876 ; E. D. Howe: Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville, O., 1834; Charles Thompson: Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon (M), Batavia, N.Y., 1841; John C. Bennett: History of the Saints, Boston, 1842; J. B. Turner: Mormonism in All Ages, New York, 1842; Henry Caswell: Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, * London, 1843; Orson Spenser: Letters * (M), Liverpool, 1848; Henry Mayhew: The Mormons, London, 1852; J. W. Gunnison: History of the Mormons, Philadelphia, 1853; Lucy Smith: Biography of Joseph Smith (M), Liverpool and London, 1853: Thomas Ford: History of Illinois, Chicago, 1854; John Reynolds: My Own Times [Belleville], Ill., 1855; Samuel M. Smucker: History of the Mormons, New York and Auburn, 1856; Franklin D. Richards: Compendium of Faith and Doctrines of Latter-Day Saints (M), Liverpool and London, 1857; Mrs. C. V. Waite: The Mormon Prophet, Chicago, 1857; John Hyde: Mormonism, its Leaders and Designs,* New York, 1857; T. W. B. Taylder: The Mormon's Own Book, * London, 1857; Richard F. Burton; The City of the Saints, New York, 1862; John E. Page: The Spaulding Story exposed (M), Plano, Ill., 1866; Pomeroy Tucker: Origin and Progress of the Mormons, New York, 1867; George A. Smith: Rise, Progress, and Travels of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints * (M), Salt Lake City, 1869; John Jaques: Catechism for Children * (M), Salt Lake City, 1870; J. H. Beadle: Life in Utah, Philadelphia, 1870; Samuel J. Spaulding: The Spaulding Memorial, Boston, 1872; T. B. H. Stenhouse: Rocky Mountain Saints, * New York, 1873; Parley P. Pratt: Key to Science of Theology (M), Liverpool, 1877; Mrs. T. B. H. Stenhouse: Tell it All, * Hartford, Conn., 1878; Journal of Discourses (giving vols. of sermons by B. Young and the Twelve Apostles from 1854 to 1880), Liverpool and London, 1854-80. See also Mann, art. "Mormonism," in Hertzog.   DANIEL S. TUTTLE.
    (Missionary Bishop of Idaho and Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah). ...


    Transcriber's Comments

    Rev. Daniel S. Tuttle (1837-1923)

    Daniel S. Tuttle Article

    Bishop Tuttle provided these thoughts, regarding Joseph Smith, Jr., on page 327 of his 1906 biographical account, Reminiscences of a Missionary Bishop:
    "Nobility of character did not pertain to him, either by inheritance or by acquisition. The dignity of education was not his. Even with all the care that Sidney Rigdon, who was somewhat of a scholar, gave as co-worker with Joseph, I find in the Book of Mormon such sentences as: -- " They done all these things"; "The people did raise up in rebellion"; "Ye had aught to search these things"; "Cometh on all they that have the law"; "Hath set down on the right hand of God." And the translation of Genesis, and I think of other books of the Bible, which Joseph alleged to have put forth by inspiration, was so full of gross blunders that shame and ridicule worked the suppression of the volume. Smith was up more than once, when a youth, before justices of the peace in Central New York for getting money under false pretenses, by looking with his peep stone....
    What Tuttle did not explain in the above remarks, is how he came to the conclusion that the charges of "getting money under false pretenses, by looking with his peep stone" were ever brought to bear against the Mormon leader. Tuttle gave a partial clarification in the Utah Christian Advocate of January, 1886, where he says:
    "The Ms. [of the 1826 court transcript] was given me by Miss Emily Pearsall who, some years since, was a woman helper in our mission and lived in my family, and died here [in Utah]. Her father or uncle was a Justice of the Peace in Bainbridge Chenango Co., New York, in Jo. Smithís time, and before him Smith was tried. Miss Pearsall tore the leaves out of the record found in her fatherís house and brought them to me."
    This helps to explain how Bishop Tuttle gained access to "The MS," since Emily Pearsall grew up in the neighorhood of Joseph Smith's 1826 hearing before Justice Albert Neely (who was the husband of Pearsall's father's sister) and had access to the particular old docket book in which a record of the hearing had been written down. Pearsall evidently carried the excerpted old pages to Salt Lake City and exhibited them to Tuttle, who was her clergyman.

    Fawn M. Brodie reminded the Mormons of the 1826 court transcript in her widely read 1945 biography of Joseph Smith, soliciting this response, by Frances W. Kirkham, in the pages of the official LDS Church magazine:

    According to some researchers it was Apostle Albert E. Bowen (other writers point to J. Reuben Clark and Mark E. Peterson) who wrote an anonymous review of Fawn M. Brodie's book, published in the Deseret News, of May 11, 1946. -- Part of the LDS article read:
    The author [Mrs. Brodie] produces no court record at all, though persistently calling it such.... She carefully avoids saying that it was found among the records of the court, though she clearly intended that the casual reader would assume that it was.... Why didn't she produce it instead of a secondary source, on its face discredited? A justice's court is not what the lawyers call a court of record, the testimony of witness is usually not taken down... This record could not possibly have been made at the time as the case proceeded. It is patently a fabrication of unknown authorship and never in the court records at all.
    Deseret News May 11, 1946.
    Other LDS responses followed, and made clear that the church's leadership was not going to stand idly by and allow Mrs. Brodie to claim that Joseph had made an 1826 confession of his pretended seer's powers. One notable example of the Mormon rebuttal came from the typewriter of Francis W. Kirkham, in May of 1947:

    Joseph Smith in Chenango County New York
    and Its Alleged Court Record

    By Francis W. Kirkham Ph.D.

    Where did the Prophet Joseph Smith spend his time after his first vision in May 1820 to about July 1, 1829, when the writing of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon was completed? What did he do? Who were his companions? Where and what did he read and study? Did he attend school? Did he come under the influence of persons or books that can in any way explain the writing or the contents of the Book of Mormon?

    The Prophet tells us in his story what he did. The Prophet's mother, Oliver Cowdery, John Reid, an attorney, all bear witness to the fact that Joseph Smith went to Chenango County, New York, to work....

    The first reference in the county papers to the Prophet's influence appears to have been in November 1831 and December 1832, when "two or three wretched zealots of Mormonism created much excitement, and made some proselytes in a remote district on the borders of this county and Lucerne. The new converts then propose removing to 'the promised land,' near Painesville, Ohio." (Appendix, History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania)

    The writer thus declares that the first reference in the county papers concerning Joseph Smith came after the Church was organized, and at the time which Joseph Smith in his own records in 1830 states that he was arrested because of his religious activities. No mention is made of an arrest or a court record before this time.

    In 1883, Daniel S. Tuttle, missionary bishop of Idaho and Utah, wrote an article for the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge [sic - Religious Encylopedia?] regarding the "Mormons." (New York, 1883, Vol. II, pp. 1575-1581.)

    After describing the contents of the Book of Mormon, and summarizing the early life of Joseph Smith, Bishop Tuttle wrote:

    [see above for text]...

    This alleged record of the court does not conform to the requirements of the law as quoted below. It gives a long confession by the defendant, Joseph Smith, which the law does not require. It gives the testimony of five witnesses, whereas, the testimony of any witness is not recorded in a justice of the peace court. There is no record that any witness was sworn. It is announced he was found guilty, but no sentence is recorded. The record does not conform with the procedure of a trial. A reasonable conclusion is that the alleged record was written by a person totally unfamiliar with court procedure....

    A careful study of all the facts regarding this alleged confession of Joseph Smith in a court of law that he had used a seer stone to find hidden treasure for purposes of fraud, must come to the conclusion that no such record was ever made, and therefore, is not in existence. These are the reasons...

    The affidavits in Mormonism Unvailed which assert that Joseph Smith had a seer stone which he had found while he was working for Willard Chase at Palmyra, were written for the specific purpose of proving that Joseph Smith by this means practised fraud and claimed to have found the metallic plates of the Book of Mormon. If a court record had been in existence within eighty miles of the residence of the people who signed these affidavits in which Joseph Smith confessed he had used a seer stone, this record would in all probability have been known to the author of Mormonism Unvailed...

    No account... prior to Tuttle in 1883, asserts that Joseph Smith confessed in a court of law that he had used a seer stone for any purpose...

    Oliver Cowdery refers to a possible arrest of Joseph Smith prior to 1830... nothing appears which would justify the assertion that Joseph Smith made a confession in a court of law regarding the use of a seer stone...

    ...If any evidence had been in existence that Joseph Smith had used a seer stone for fraud and deception, and especially had he made this confession in a court of law as early as 1826, or four years before the Book of Mormon was printed, and this confession was in a court record, it would have been impossible for him to organize the restored Church.

    ...The revised statutes of the state of New York printed in 1829, require the recording of certain facts not mentioned in the alleged record. The law does not require the recording of the testimony of the defendant....

    A visit to Norwich, the county seat of Chenango County, New York, and a personal interview with the Mr. Irving D. Tillman, clerk of the county court, revealed that there are no records in this country prior to 1850.... [there is] personal knowledge of the existence of this record.

    ... Joseph Smith did not have the ability to produce the book [of Mormon].... He asserted that it was an ancient record translated by the gift and power of God. Those who denied his statement asserted that, for purposes of fraud and deception, he had obtained the assistance of others who had the ability to write the book.

    The conclusion must be: Joseph Smith during the four years of 1823 to 1827 or from the time of the first visit to him of Moroni, the immortal messenger, to the time he received the ancient record of the Book of Mormon spent considerable of his time in Chenango County, New York. Here he worked as a common laborer. He may have attended school. No one claims he associated with or had access to any knowledge that would have assisted him to write the Book of Mormon. It was known to some of the people that he claimed to have been visited by a messenger from God and that a book of great religious importance was to be expected. There exists no evidence to prove he lived other than a normal life. No record exists, and there is no evidence to prove one was ever made in which he confessed in a justice of the peace court that he had used a seer stone to find hidden treasures for purposes of fraud and deception....
    Full text available on-line. (Improvement Era 50:3, March 1947) -- contents © 1947 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    See also: Marquardt & Walters, Inventing Mormonism, pp. 222-230; and Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism, Appendix A

    (under construction)

    Back to top of this page.

    The Vault   |   The Bookshelf   |   Spalding Library   |   Mormon Classics   |   Newspapers

    last updated: Mar. 19, 2009