Chapter 5

1834

Mormonism Unvailed Howe, Eber D., b. 1798

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Howe, E. D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, From Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in which the Famous Golden Bible was Brought Before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries Into the Probability that the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written By One Solomon Spalding, More than Twenty Years Ago, and By Him Intended to Have Been Published As A Romance. Painesville, Ohio:E. D. Howe, 1834.

CHAPTER V.

If any man is curious to know the origin of the American Indian, he has it here. “That inasmuch, as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” This is prophecy that Nephi pretends to repeat as coming from the Lord, against all those who would not hearken to him as their ruler. Nephi describes the Lamanites as being very white, fair, and delightsome, and very enticing to his people. “Therefore the Lord God did cause a skin of black to come upon them.”—“And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed.” p. 73. The known habits and characteristics of the Indian, are briefly set forth, in order to satisfy the credulous inquirer. “And thirty years have passed away from the time we left Jerusalem,” p. 73. Jacob and Joseph are now consecrated priests. It may not be improper to examine this subject of consecrating priests out of the families to which it belonged ; and it will be recollected, that, according to the account given by the author, that neither Jacob, nor Joseph were yet thirty years old. God made a covenant with the Jews at Mount Sinai, and instituted three orders, the high priests, priests, and Levites. The high priesthood was made hereditary in the family of Aaron, and the first born of the eldest branch of that family, if he had no legal blemish, was the high priest. “Thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on the priest’s office, and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.—Numb. chap. III, 10.

The priesthood was conferred upon the tribe of Levi, and the covenant gave them the office, and it was irrevocable [47] while the temple stood, or, until the Messiah came. “And the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried.—Deut. XXI, 5. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with two hundred and fifty men of renown, rebelled against the institution of the priesthood, and the Lord destroyed them in the presence of the whole congregation. This was to be a memorial that no stranger invade any part of the office of priesthood, Num.bers XIV, 40. Fourteen thousand seven hundred of the people were destroyed by a plague, for murmuring against this memorial. Even Paul declared, that Christ, while on earth, could not be a priest, for he descended from a tribe concerning which Moses spake nothing of priesthood. So fixed was the covenant in regard to the priesthood in Levi, and of the high priesthood to Aaron, that even the Savior was excluded by the law !

Our author being ignorant on this subject, makes Lehi the offspring of Joseph, and represents him as “offering sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord.” p 15. And to cap the climax of absurdity, after preaching faith and repentance as the only way of salvation, from the very commencement of the campaign, Nephi tells us, “Notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look with steadiness unto Christ until the law shall be fulfilled.” ! ! !

p. 105. In answer, to the above difficulty, into which the author has plunged himself, the priests say that Lehi’s priesthood was of the order of Melchisedic.—In what way the laws of Moses could be kept under a new order of priesthood, we cannot determine. Paul says “For that after the similitude of Melchisedic, there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Heb. [48] VII, 15–16. Here then the matter is set at rest, that a priest after the order of Melchisedec could not exist under the law, nor could such a priest offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, nor could the law of Moses, in any sense, be fulfilled without the three orders of priesthood. From what has been seen, the opinions of Paul, and the law of Moses, are at direct issue with the Book of Mormon.

Jacob and Joseph having been consecrated priests, they commence the duties of their holy office, with a few prefatory remarks, interlarded with quotations from the prophecies. p. 74.

The 50th and 51st chapters of Isaiah, is inserted at full length for our relief. Whether the quotation was made as a matter of necessity by the young priest, or as being appropriate, we cannot determine from the connection in which it stands.

The choice in the quotation is certainly a good one, and is a great relief to the reader. The sublimity of sentiment and poetic style of Isaiah, is truly captivating, and in what manner it became inserted, according to the diction and phraseology of King James’ translators, is, with us, a mystery—unless it was copied. Why not in the translation of J. Wickliffe, and J. de Travisa, of Tindal, and Coverdale, of Luther, and of half a dozen others we might mention ? Perhaps the author had not, while composing the Book of Mormon, any of the above copies ; and he might not have known that any such translations were ever made.

After the accurate quotation from Isaiah, Joseph, who is now preaching, anticipates the apostle Paul in his own language, nearly, on the subject of the resurrection, baptism, and repentance, and many other leading points upon which he was so pre-eminent for his clearness of thought and doctrine. We should conclude from the manner in which the quotations are made, that it was done by the au- [49] thor from recollection, and that he had a tolerable knowledge of the gospel doctrines. The following are a few of the sentences quoted, or, as is pretended, that Joseph is the original author of, instead of the apostle, or the Savior.—“They which are filthy, are filthy still,” ‘and they shall go away into everlasting fire,’ p. 80. ‘And he commandeth all men that they must repent.’ ‘And where there is no law given, there is no punishment, and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation.’ p. 81.

There are a variety of other sentences in this sermon which are take promiscuously from the Old and New Testaments. Who can be credulous enough to believe, that a preacher, five hundred and fifty years before the ministry of the Savior and his apostles, who taught the way of salvation, did preach and instruct not only the same principles, but the very words and phrases were used to convey the sentiments which are found in the evangelical writings?

Nephi next takes the stand, and testifies roundly to the truths which Joseph, his brother, had been preaching, and adds that they both had seen the Savior, and he had declared that he would send his word forth to the people of Nephi. “Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said I will establish my word.” Who the three are, here referred to, we cannot say. It may be Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmar, and Martin Harris, who are appended to the Book of Mormon, to establish its divine authenticity ; and they may be the immortal three, selected out of the three American apostles. The chapter of miracles will reconcile all this. Nephi says “his soul delights in the words of Isaiah,” and he says he will write some of them for the benefit of his people, that they may “rejoice for all men.” p 86.—Thirteen chapters of Isaiah are then copied, commencing with the second chapter.

Nephi, after the quotation from Isaiah, comments upon it, [50] and concludes by offering to prophecy a little plainer, so that all could understand him. The doctrines which are found in the new Testament, in relation to the coming Messiah, and his rejection by the Jews, is explained ; a task not very difficult for any one in the nineteenth century. Nephi says it had been told him concerning the destruction which came upon those who remained in Jerusalem, immediately after his father had left it, and that they then were destroyed, and carried captive into Babylon, p. 103.

We have been told by our author, a number of times, that Christ would make his appearance just six hundred years after Lehi left Jerusalem, and we have been told, likewise, that Lehi, and his family, travelled eight years about the borders of the Red sea, in the wilderness, after which time Nephi builds his ship. And between thirty and fifty five years, after the crusade commenced, he tells the people that Jerusalem is destroyed, and the Jews carried captive into Babylon. According to history, and according to Jeremiah, in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadrezzar, King of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem, which was six hundred and six years before the christian era. Here we see the ignorant author has made too great a mistake, for, according to the Bible, Jerusalem must have been besieged six years before the pretended departure of Lehi from Jerusalem, and the city destroyed, and the Jews carried captive into Babylon, four years and six months, for the seige lasted only eighteen months. So much for dates, which are given by Mormon inspiration.

We will give for the benefit of our readers, a specimen of Mormon inspired language.

“And behold it shall come to pass, after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto his people, unto as many as will believe on his name, behold Jerusalem shall be destroy- [51] ed again ; for woe unto them that fight against God and the people of his church. p. 104.

In the valedictory of Nephi, we have the doctrines of salvation through Jesus Christ preached, and about twenty pages of the book are taken up. A great many of the incidents which transpired in the days of our Savior, is prophetically mentioned, together with the reasons why it was necessary to baptize Christ, p. 108. We are likewise told, in the same discourse, that the plates, or book, would be sealed up, and should finally be found by an unlearned man, who should see them, and show them to three others, and then hide them again, for the use of the Lord. All this the Mormons believe that their prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. translated, and as having been engraved by the hand of Nephi, on plates of brass, two thousand four hundred years ago !

(when the plates were hid by Smith, but did not know where,) by means of a stone in a hat !

Before Nephi concludes to die, he appoints a king over his people which they call second Nephi, p. 124.

The ignorance of the author, has caused the sceptre to depart from Judah, hundreds of years before Shiloh came. It must be recollected, that all their people were Jews, living under the law, to the fulfilling of it, and preaching the Gospel, baptism, and repentance, making priests out of those families, concerning which Moses spake nothing of priesthood, and kings, contrary to the blessings of Jacob, which he pronounced upon Judah.

Nephi prophecies that after the book of which he has spoken, shall be found, and written unto the Gentiles, and afterwards sealed up again unto the Lord, many would believe and carry the tidings to the remnant of their seed, which is the Lamanites, or the aborigines, and that they were of the Jewish parentage, and that they had had the Gospel preached to them six hundred years before there was a gospel.

[52] “And it came to pass, that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land, and as many as shall believe in Christ, shall also become a delightsome people.” p. 117.

From the above prophecies, we may expect to see our Indians and the Jews flocking in, becoming Mormons, and the former laying aside their dark skins for white ones.

The prophecies continue, and inform us that at this time, the Lord will commence his work among all nations, kindred, tongues, and people, in order to restore them ; and that great divisions will take place among the people, and terrible anathemas are pronounced against those who will not become Mormons, and quotes Isaiah’s poetic description of the commencement of the Millennium. p. 117.

The sin against the Holy Ghost is defined as follows : after repentance, baptism by water, and by fire, and by the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, with the tongue of angels, and then deny the Savior, the unpardonable sin is committed, p. 119. He tells the people he is not “mighty in writing like unto speaking,” p. 121. For he says that he speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost.—We know not what kind of a speaker he was, but we have a sample of the author’s composition, and we should readily concur with him that the inspiration of God had no agency in composition. The Evangelists both spoke and wrote by inspiration, as we believe ; at all events we find no apology made by them for not being able to convey their ideas, for want of language.

Our author finally closes his sermon by making his hero possess the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and as having the power to seal on earth, &c. p. 122.

[53]

CHAPTER V. [CONTINUED]

We have thus far looked over the Book of Mormon, endeavoring to treat the sacred truths of the everlasting God, which have been profaned for one of the vilest of purposes, with the solemnity which it deserves ; and to expose in a becoming manner, the falsehoods which have been interwoven for the purposes of fraud and deception. If the book had been presented to us, for our inspection, we should never have anticipated that a religious sect could ever have been established from its doctrines. We should have come to the conclusion that the author was a fearless infidel, and had attempted a ridicule upon the Holy Bible ; and we still think that it is not improbable that the original design of the author was to bring down contempt upon the inspired writers, and the religion of Jesus Christ.

“THE BOOK OF JACOB THE BROTHER OF NEPHI.”

Jacob commences his book fifty-five years after Lehi left Jerusalem, p. 123. Jacob says, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, “Jacob, get thou up into the temple, on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee, unto this people.”

“And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which this a land of promise unto you, and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.

And the hand of Providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches ; and because that some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren, ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and [54] wear stiff necks and high heads, because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren, because that ye suppose that ye are better than they.” p. 126. Jacob received a special command from the Lord to get up into the temple and declare the above paragraph ! ! ! There seems to be a prevailing passion in the writer to represent the Nephites as being great miners after the precious metals. They are often represented as diging and searching after gold and silver—which will perhaps be an apology for Joseph Smith’s early habits in searching after hidden treasures, he being a remnant of the Nephites. The love of gold among the Jews is proverbial ; and it is a far more laudable method of obtaining it by diging after the deposites of pirates than by over reaching in commercial, or in other business transactions. There would seem but little prospect of obtaining pirate’s money, either on the mountains, near the head waters of the Susquehannah, or in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y. But Don Quixote told his squire Sancho, that great fortune was often very near when we least expected it ; thus it was with Smith in diging after hidden treasures—the famous brass plates, the gold spectacles and the interpreting stone were found, perhaps, when he least expected it ; and if the sword of Laban had been added, instead of being found by “Guy of Warwick,” in England, some centuries ago, we have no doubt but the mob in Missouri would have been quiet before this time, or Gen. J. Smith would have slain the whole. A similar adventure will be noticed which can be found on page 272, Book of Mormon.

In the third discourse, which Jacob favors us with, he informs us that only a small part of his doings can be engraved on plates ; and in the close of the second discourse, he says that a hundredth part of the doings of these people could not be engraved on plates on the account of their hav- [55] ing become so very numerous, p. 129, and all sprang from five or six females, in about forty years ; and in the mean time they had had wars and contentions, and the reigns of kings, the history of which is written upon larger plates, which are called the plates of Jacob, p.129.

According to the most extravagant calculation, in point of increase among five or six females, the whole could not have amounted to more than about sixteen hundred, in the time mentioned, allowing no deaths to have occurred ; besides, about one half of that number would be under ten years old. The story of wars and contentions, and of kings having passed away, is too ridiculous and inconsistent to be noticed and refuted in a serious manner.

Jacob reminds the people of a parable which the prophet Zenos spake, p. 131. In this parable, the author has no means of dissembling, there not being such a prophet nor such a parable, he is compelled to use his own phraseology, as he penned it.

The style of the Book of Mormon is sui generis, and whoever peruses it, will not have a doubt but that the whole was framed and written by the same individual hand. The phrases, “And it came to pass,” is at the beginning of every paragraph, with a few exceptions, throughout all the original part of the work. “Behold,” “Beholdest,” “exceeding,” “Thereof,” “also,” “grieveth,” are favorite phrases.

Let us compare a paragraph which the author pretends was spoken by the prophet Zenos, and repeated by Jacob, with one translated from the gold plates of Jared, about seven hundred years afterwards by the hand of Moroni.

The following are the words of the prophet Zenos :

“Ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof ; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof, all at [56] once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish.”

Seven hundred years afterwards, Moroni translated the following elegant description of the ships in which the Babelites navigated themselves across the ocean:

“And they were built after a manner that they were exceeding tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish ; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish ; and the sides thereof was tight like unto a dish ; and the ends thereof were peaked ; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish ; and the length thereof was the length of a tree ; and the door thereof, when it was shut was tight like unto a dish,” p. 542. We leave the intelligent reader to draw his own conclusions.

The parable of Zenos occupies about nine pages, and is followed by Jacob with an explanation, and a short Christian exhortation to his people. The last chapter of the book of Jacob is principally taken up in relating an anecdote about a man by the name of Sherem, who came and preached to the people, denying the Christ ; Jacob finally confounds him by the power of the Lord, which struck Sherem to the earth, p. 141. Jacob is now grown old, and he give the plates of Nephi to his son Enos, together with the commands which Nephi gave to him. Enos promises obedience, and Jacob bids farewell to the reader, p. 143.

“THE BOOK OF ENOS.”—Enos commences with giving his father a good name, as any dutiful son would do, and then tells us of a mighty wrestle he had with the Lord before that he received a remission of his sins, he then exhorts the people to repentance and faith in Christ ; he tells us he is a great prophet, but prophecies nothing. He says an hundred and seventy-nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem, p. 145.

“THE BOOK OF JAROM” is said to be written by Jarom [57] the son of Enos, who is an engraver like all his predecessors in the priesthood ; he tells us the plates are so small that he could engrave but little. About two pages in the Mormon translation is all, and delivers the plates to Omni, two hundred and thirty-eight years since the hegira of Lehi, p. 147.

“THE BOOK OF OMNI.”—Omni receives the plates from his father, who commands him to write a little to preserve the geneology. Omni writes a couple of paragraphs, each commencing with, “And it came to pass,” and confers the plates upon his son Amaron. Amaron writes a few sentences and delivers his plates to his brother Chemish. He follows the example in three or four sentences, and declares the plates genuine. Abinadom is the son of Chemish ; he takes the plates by right, but declares he knows of no revelations, save what has been written, and says that is sufficient, p. 149. Amaleki is the son of Abinadom who takes the plates, and says he has something to say. A certain man, by the name of Mosiah was warned by the Lord to flee into the wilderness, with as many as would go with him. They all, with Mosiah for their leader, arrive at a place called Zarahemla, and bring with them the plates of brass, which pleased the people very much, because they contained the record of the Jews.

The people of Zarahemla, Mosiah discovered, came out from Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonish captivity, and had become very numerous. Their language had become degenerated so much that Mosiah could not understand them at all ; but Mosiah causes them all to learn the language of the Nephites, and they make him king over the land, p. 149. Mosiah discovered upon a stone which was brought him, with hieroglyphics engraved upon it, which he interpreted by the gift and power of God—and it gave an account of another people, which escaped the confounding of languages [58] at the tower of Babel, and of their destruction at the north. They were called the people of Coriantumr. Amaleki says he was born in the days of king Mosiah, and is acquainted with Benjamin, who is his son, and succeeds his father in the regal office, p. 150.

Three of four more paragraphs, and the plates of Nephi are full. The plates were transferred to king Benjamin by Amaleki for safe keeping.

“THE WORDS OF MORMON.”—The scene is now changed by the author, and we are carried forward, “many hundred years after the coming of Christ.” But the inspired historian, who is called Mormon, begins with his record at the precise period when Amaleki delivers the plates to king Benjamin. Mormon commences his history with a kind of preface, in which he mentions that king Benjamin fought great battles with the Lamanites, and says “he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban,” p. 152. We suppose the sword of Laban was probably a kind of keep-sake, and descended to their generals ; and we are sorry to say that our Gen. Smith has not been favored with the possession of it. Such a specimen of antiquity, as a sword made 2400 years ago, which had slain so many in the hands of such renowned kings and prophets of God, would be a great curiosity.

Mormon is the author of the “Book of Mosiah.” King Benjamin is the father of three sons whose names are called Mosiah, Helorum and Helaman, who were taught in the language of their fathers, p. 154, which was the Egyptian ; thereby they were enabled to read the engravings upon the plates, p. 155. Lehi has been represented as a pious Jew, living in Jerusalem, and of the tribe of Joseph, who separated himself from the Jews, and departed into the wilderness, and never again associated with any community or nation of people, until king Mosiah found another settlement, who came off at the time of the Babylonish captivity, in the land [59] of Zarahemla, who were likewise Jews. The sacred records of the Jews, and all their religious ceremonies in the temple, were in the Hebrew language ; and it is well established that no other language was in use among that nation in Jerusalem, until the temple was destroyed. It may be true that Jews who were born and lived in other countries, spoke other languages. But the known hostility of the Egyptians towards every other nation, and particularly towards the Hebrews, renders it improbable that the Egyptians had sufficient intercourse with the Jews, so as to have them adopt their language and literature. The Jews have a religious veneration for the Hebrew tongue, which also furnishes a strong argument against the position that our pious Hebrews spake the Egyptian language, and recorded their holy religion in it upon plates of brass, to be handed down to posterity.

After king Benjamin, had finished the education of his sons, he “waxed old”—and as it became necessary to confer the kingdom on some one, he caused Mosiah to come forth. He orders him to issue a proclamation that on the morrow he would preach in the temple, and proclaim Mosiah king, p. 154.

King Benjamin took care to give his son charge as to the affairs of the kingdom ; and handed down the old legacy, consisting of the sword of Laban, the brass ball or compass, and the records on brass plates, p. 155.

The people assemble, according to the request of King Benjamin, in great multitudes—

“And they took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings, according to the law of Moses,” p. 155.

In the sermon which king Benjamin is now preaching in the temple, where the people are now offering sacrifice, we find the following sentences: “I am come unto you to declare the glad tidings of great joy,” p. 160. “And he shall be [60] called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning, and his mother shall be called Mary, ! ! p. 160—for salvation cometh to none such, except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ,” p. 161. We are at a loss, inasmuch as it is not defined, what kind of dispensation it was, to preach salvation through Christ and offer burnt offerings at the same time, according to the law of Moses, which they could not do agreeably to the law, not having legal priests to officiate. “And moreover I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given, nor no other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent,” p. 161. We cannot gather from any part of the sermon of Benjamin, any disapprobation of the ceremonial law, but infer that both the law of Moses and the gospel were binding upon them at one and the same time ! !

The sermon is continued with many good doctrines extracted from the New Testament, with a pretence that it had been revealed to him by an angel.

The author doubtless had some knowledge of the revivals of religion, in the different churches ; for he represents the whole congregation prostrated, crying for mercy through the atoning blood of Christ—“For we believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God,” p. 162. This would be judged, a priori, wonderful preaching, considering the period in which it took place, at least 300 years before the nativity of Christ.

Permit us to propound a few interrogatories to the reader, if he be a Mormon, or even has doubts in relation to the divine origin and authenticity of the new revelation: 1. When did God institute the ceremonial and moral laws ? If upon Mount Sinai, when did it terminate, and in what ? 3. For what purpose was those laws instituted ? 4. If at the coming of the Savior, all the ceremonies of the law were done [61] away, why were they in force among the Nephites as early as the gospel was made known to them, not relying upon the law and obedience to it, but upon the Gospel, six hundred years before the shepherds heard the glad tidings of great joy, which was unto all nations ? except the Nephites, with whom the author pretends it was an old story.

Mosiah is the next king, and is son to king Benjamin : he is consecrated a priest. The king’s and priest’s office seems to be inseparably connected at this time among our ancients.

Mosiah’s reign commences four hundred and seventy-six years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem. He despatches sixteen of his strong men to reconnoitre and search after another settlement of the Nephites, which appears to be disconnected from the land of Zarahemla. They lose their way, not having been provided with the brass ball to direct them, and are taken prisoners by Limhi. After king Limhi ascertains that they are from the land of Zarahemla, he recounts to them his troubles, and represents himself as being under bondage to the Lamanites ; and that one half of all their products were paid to them, annually, as a tribute. The prisoners are set at liberty ; and plates containing their record, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla.—

Ammon, who is represented as captain of the scouts, reads the record upon the plates. After which, king Limhi asks him if he could interpret languages—being answered in the negative, he commences a narrative of having sent out forty three of his men in search of the land of Zarahemla ; and that they all got lost, and after many days they returned—having discovered a land covered with the bones of men and beasts! and was also covered with the ruins of buildings, having the appearance of being peopled as numerous as the hosts of Israel. As a testimony of the truth of their discovery, they brought home with them twenty-four plates of pure gold, containing a history of a people to [62] which we have alluded, called the people of Jared, who were not confounded at the destruction of Babel. Ammon is again enquired of, whether he knows of any one who can translate languages—he answers in the affirmative, and says “for that he hath wherewith to look, and translate all the records that are of antient date : and it is a gift from God ; and the things are called interpreters ; and no man can look in them, except he be commanded”— the king of Zarahemla is the man, p. 173. We will make no remark on the gold spectacles, but will leave the intelligent reader to infer whether the story and the manner in which it is told, comports with his views of divine revelation or not.

THE RECORD OF ZENIFF.—Zeniff is the leader of a band of Nephites, who left the land of Zarahemla, and is the father of Noah, who is the father of Limhi the king, of whom we have been speaking.

Zeniff confers the kingdom upon his son Noah, whose people become wicked, and wars ensue between them and the Lamanites, and they are mostly all destroyed ; hence they became tributary, as above alluded to. About this time, a prophet makes his appearance, by the name of Abinadi. He attempts to imitate Isaiah in his prophecies, and quotes many passages from the Old Testament, which were pronounced against the Jews for their wickedness and rebellion, and foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem—pretending that he is the author of the sentiments, and declares them against these Nephites, upbraiding them for heir disobedience to the commands of Christ, and describes the awful calamities which shall follow, and concludes with the decalogue, p. 184.

The decalogue here inserted, is in our approved translation, like every thing else which is taken from the Old and New Testament. It is true that the pronoun which is used twice or three times, instead of that, consequently, we [63] should infer that the quotation was made from recollection. The fact that so great a proportion of the whole book being made from quotations from the Bible, a part of which was not written until six hundred years after the pretended period of our author, places the matter beyond controversy, and is conclusive testimony that the author was an infidel.

The prophet Abinadi was somewhat expert in the sacred scriptures, and measurably understood the views of modern theologians;—he says, “And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye keep the law of Moses as yet ; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses,” p. 185. The doctrines of salvation and the law, according to our prophet, were inseparably connected in their time, and both were indispensable to salvation. Whether the ceremonial and moral laws were both included by our pophet, we cannot determine ; but to reconcile the idea that the ceremonial law which was typical of Christ, and was only obligatory until the gospel church was erected, with the literal obedience of it, by a community of people who had the gospel as fully revealed to them, as it was to the rest of mankind at any future period whatever, is a task beyond our abilities, so long as we view the writings of St. Paul as inspired of God. In immediate connection we are told that the Jews were a “stiff-necked people, quick to do iniquity”—“therefore, there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly”—“But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things to come,” p. 185. We are next led into the doctrines of the New Testament ; and are told of the coming of the Messiah, and of his doctrines and crucifixion, about as well as any tolerably well informed man, who [64] made no pretensions to literature, would do at the present time, having the scripture before him.

In the following quotation, we have the views of our author on the resurrection—“And if Christ had not risen from the dead or have broken the bonds of death, that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection,” p. 189. In this quotation the cloven foot is uncovered—the deformity brought into open day light. The prophet is represented by the author, as living some centuries before our Savior’s nativity ; but the slightest examination of the text quoted, will show the reader that the subject is spoken of in the imperfect tense, representing the event of the resurrection as past and finished, which was doubtless the truth, at the time it was written. The phrase, “if Christ had not risen” implies past time; again, in the same sentence, “there could have been no resurrection,” implies past time ; but if the author had said, if Christ does not rise, &c.—there will be no resurrection, we could have understood him, in reference to the time in which he represents his prophet speaking, to wit, some centuries before the great event of which he spake, took place, according to his own calender.

The sagacity of our impostor has not been sufficient in all instances, to avoid detection.

His deliberations were insufficient to supply the place of erudition, and consequently, he plunged himself into a thousand absurdities, equaling the one just quoted. We are no less of the opinion, than heretofore, that divine inspiration would be an unerring guide in all things, as well in language as in the matter to be conveyed by it, which renders the book in question, good evidence against itself, that it is a miserable forgery and a libel upon the Christian religion. We will venture to predict that if the golden bible should be rendered into intelligible English, there would not remain a single [65] honest Mormon who should examine the book, (provided he possessed common capacity,) among “the latter day saints.”

Alma is the next hero, who is represented as a descendant of Nephi, and having repented of his sins, commences preaching and repeating the prophecies of Abinadi, who had recently fallen a victim, by the hands of king Noah’s priests. Our hero is more successful than his predecessor, as he succeeds in converting king Noah to the Christian faith, together with many of his subjects.

After their conversion, the ceremony of baptism is to be performed, and the manner in which it was accomplished, in the first exhibition, is somewhat unique. The priest with his disciple are represented as going down into the water, in the river Mormon, and at the same time the believer is buried in the water, he buries himself with him. We are not told whether it was accidental or intentional that they both were immersed at the same time, but we learn, in immediate connection, that the mode adopted at the present day by the anabaptists, was followed and practiced afterwards.

The gospel doctrines, according to the views of our author have, in his clumsy manner, been spread before us, beginning with the hegira of Lehi, pretending that the whole plan of redemption was exhibited by a special revelation to an apostate Jew, six hundred years before our Savior expressly declares the ceremonial law was abrogated and the gospel preached—“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it,” Luke 16. We will leave the controversy whether the book of Mormon is true, on the subject of this special revelation, or the words of Jesus Christ, as recorded by the evangelist, to be determined at the great BAR of Justice.

The Book of Mosiah is continued by narrating the most [66] ludicrous events, of wars and church schisms, imaginable, under the pontificate of our first immersed king, and the last one in our notable history.

Alma being warned by the Lord to flee his country, he gathers a large concourse of people, and they all start into the wilderness, and travel eight days where they pitch their tents, and afterwards build buildings. The sojourners with Alma endeavor to make him accept the royal sceptre, but he piously declines, and establishes a pontificate and builds a church, p. 203. Alma consecrates divers priests, and they were all just men, and they built a city and called it Helam ; but in the midst of their prosperity and devotions, an army of the Lamanites appeared upon their borders, and they all fled, and finally arrived at the land of Zarahemla, under king Mosiah. The king receives the pilgrims with great kindness, and Alma is continued his high priest. He is authorized by the king to establish churches and ordain priests over them. Seven churches are forthwith built and dedicated to the Christian religion, in which, faith, repentance and baptism is preached by king Mosiah’s priests, in its primitive purity. Alma has a son who has at this time arrived at manhood, (we should infer from this that he was not a Catholic Pontiff,) who persecutes the Christians, to their great annoyance. But the Lord would not suffer his chosen Christian Jews to be persecuted ; and therefore, in the full tide of his wicked career, he is converted, not very unlike that of Paul the Apostle, according to our narator, p. 213. The miracle of young Alma’s conversion is described in the following language. An angel appeared unto Alma and said, “Go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered”—“And now Alma, and those that were with him, fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment” &c.—“And it came to pass, after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two [67] days and two nights, the limbs of Alma receive their strength; and he stood up and began to speak,” &c. and said, “I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the spirit.”

Mosiah’s sons are zealous Christians, all of them ; they decline, severally, the regal honors, and choose the humble station of missionaries. They consequently all embark with a view of christianizing the heathen. Mosiah suggests the propriety of abolishing the office of king among them, because his sons had all refused, and that if any other should be crowned over them, the rightful heir might return and claim the crown as his legal patrimony, which would create contention, &c. among the people, p. 217.—King Mosiah’s sons are represented as being extremely humble and devout, they are willing to abandon all for the cause of Christ—home, country, and their princely fortunes—and go missionating. But the eagleeye of the king looks upon his sons with suspicion, or the author of the Golden Bible is under the necessity of bringing up this kind of reasoning, in order to frame a pretence to change his government to one which will appear to the ignorant reader as much like the Jewish polity as possible. The reign of the Judges is next instituted, as answering the author best. Previously, however, we are presented with the following tirade of nonsense. Mosiah causes all records to be revised—“therefore, he took the records which were engraved upon the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi ; and all the things which he had kept and preserved according to the commandments of God, and after having translated and caused to be written upon the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi, which was delivered to him by the hand of Limhi : and this he done because of the great anxiety of the people, for they were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people [68] which had been destroyed. And now he translated them by the means of two stones, which was fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now, things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages ; and they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature which should possess the land, the iniquities and the abominations of his people : and whosoever has these things, is called seer, after the manner of old times.”

We were told by Lehi that the plates should not perish, nor be dimmed by time ; but our king has found it necessary, not only to revise, but to transcribe them ; so much for Mormon promises.

Mosiah, after a long period, is enabled to translate the gold plates, by means of a pair of goggles, which he must have had in his possession from the time he was made king, because he says they had been kept with the plates from the beginning. It is certainly very remarkable that he should have kept in his possession a pile of gold plates, known to have been found by Limhi, for thirty years, with every facility for reading them, and yet never bestowed one leisure moment to examine their contents.

After the gold plates were examined, and were found to contain a full and complete history of a people who came from Asia, and which God had preserved at the time of the destruction of the tower of Babel, and navigated in a miraculous manner to this continent at that time, but now, or at the pretended period of our history, were totally extinct ; he expresses great satisfaction at arriving to such important information ! ! In connection, we are promised a detailed account of these Babelites, by giving a translation of the plates in full. In the Book of Ether, which is placed [69] at the end of the Book of Mormon, we shall see the wonderful translation, and make our remarks.

Mosiah reigned thirty-three years being sixty-three years old, and he dies—making the whole time since Lehi’s departure from Jerusalem, five hundred and nine years, p. 221. Thus endeth the reign of the Mormon kings. Alma, of renowned conversion to the doctrines of the New Testament about an hundred years before it was published, is constituted Judge over the people of Zarahemla, and is also high priest over the church of Christ. He was the exclusive law-giver and umpire in all matters, both civil and ecclesiastical, and the most absolute monarch of which we have ever heard or read.

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