Chapter 6

1834

Mormonism Unvailed Howe, E. 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 VI.

A new era has now commenced ; Judge Alma, the high priest, is an engraver, as a matter of course, and is represented as keeping his own record : he tells us that in the first year of his reign a man was brought before him who had been preaching and bearing down against the church, persuading the people that ministers ought to become popular, and that they ought not to labor, but ought to be supported—“and he also testified unto the people that all mankind would be saved at the last day,” p. 221.

The name of our ancient Universalist is called Nehor, and is represented as quite successful in gaining proselytes. Gideon, an orthodox Nephite priest, meets Nehor, and a warm debate on Christianity ensues between them—they [70] are represented as able combatants—but the Universalist finally gets angry, and he draws his sword upon pious Gideon and kills him, which was the occasion of his being arraigned before his honor, Judge Alma. The declaration includes two counts—one of being guilty of priestcraft, and the other for attempting to enforce it by the sword. The murder of good old Gideon, was not set forth in the declaration, and therefore we suppose it was no crime to commit homicide in that early day, although it be a priest who is the victim. Nehor is, however, sentenced to die, as an example to those who might be guilty of the high crime of priestcraft, thereafter. But the sequel informs us that the ignominious death of Nehor, served no purpose in preventing priestcraft, and from that period the Nephites were greatly annoyed by impostors and preachers of the Devil.

The Book of Alma contains 204 pages and reaches down to the sixty-ninth year of the Judges, and is principally taken up in giving accounts of mighty wars and great generals. The civil, the military, and the ecclesiastial authority, were usually vested in the same individual ; representing them as conducting the government much after the Mosaic polity. The miserable manner in which the story is told, renders it extremely irksome to the reader ; but the knight errantry of Don Quixote bears no parallel, nor does the history of the Peloponnesian wars speak of such generals, nor of such brave achievements, as the book of Alma.—Besides, in the sixty-nine years, many large cities were founded and built, fortifications were erected, military costumes of great splendor were manufactured and worn.—Their implements of war consisted of swords, spears, scimitars, javelins, bows and arrows, slings, &c. We can see no propriety in the omission by the author of the use of guns and amunition. We think it would have been as credible as most of the events of the narrative, and would have been matter for Mormon credulity and admiration. [71]

A mint for coining money was probably in operation, for it is mentioned that they had an abundance of gold and silver, and they were used for money. The names of the gold coins were senine, seon, shum, simnah, antion and shubloon, making in all, six varieties ; their relative value is stated, but not within our comprehension. Let the reader fancy for a moment that all these things are true, will he not enquire whether any of the coin which was so abundant, has ever been found. It is a well known fact that gold is not subject to oxidation, and is therefore indestructible—and if such coin had ever existed, specimens would have been discovered among the ancient ruins of our country, which our present Mormons believe, on the authority of their high priest and the golden bible, were the remains of the settlements of the Nephites. Copper and silver have often been found, (but not in the form of coin,) in the mounds on the Ohio River, and other places. The copper is usually in flat corroded plates, and the silver in the form of a ferule.

Next in order, comes the silver coin, which are called senum, amnor, ezrom and onti ; their relative values are stated, but equally unintelligible with the former. Why has none of the silver coin been discovered ? fifteen hundred or even two thousand years would not be sufficient to destroy a piece of silver of the size and value of a dollar, lying in the ground or out of it, p.252.

The doctrine of personal identity and of the resurrection is explained by our chief judge and high priest, which, if John Locke or the Bishop of Worcester had read, that great matter of controversy between them would have been avoided, and they would both have been satisfied of their error. Just hear him—“The spirit and the body shall be raised again, in its perfect form ; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this [72] time ; and we shall be brought before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt—and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil.” If the Bishop of Worcester had been in possession of the above paragraph, he would probably not have suffered such a disgraceful defeat as he did in the controversy with Dr. Locke ; nor would the learned divines of Harvard University spread heresy any longer.

The civil, military and ecclesiastical departments of the government being incorporated and concentrated in the supreme power of our hero and historian—no movement can be detailed, either of the one or the other, without including the whole. If a military campaign is the subject matter of any story in the book of Mormon, civil and ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies are inseparably connected, as best suits the author’s views, to aid him out of difficulties. When any religious matter is interlarded, in a particular narrative of any event, which is usually the case throughout the whole book, they are the opinions of the author concerning the doctrines, together with garbled extracts from the New Testament.

We have been in the habit of viewing human nature in a state of moral depravity, but not wholly without some redeeming qualities—not such, indeed, as would justify any one before the all-searching scrutiny of an Omnipotent God, but such as constitute a social being. But the contents of the work before us presents the author, and consequently human nature, in an entirely new light. We could not have believed that any man would have attempted to have prostituted every moral virtue which wisdom and ages have established. If the Bible is a fabrication and a [73] forgery, it is the foundation upon which our rights, our civil privileges, our personal safety, and in fine the whole of human happiness are based. If any one denies this position, let him examine those countries where they have not the Bible, or even communities where it is disregarded, and we will venture to predict that his opinion will be with ours. We have carefully examined the works of Hume, Gibbon, Voltaire and Volney, and with all their sarcasm against the divine authority of the Bible, they have addressed themselves to the most noble and learned of the human family ; they left the field covered with rubbish, it is true, but of such materials as soon evaporated to the four winds. But the work before us—which is doubtless, not only an attempt to institute a new religion, but to bring contempt and reproach upon Christianity—is fabricated upon the pretension of inspiration, and is placed at an era which denies all research. If a history or a doctrine be known to have been revealed from God, the subject matter is not to be questioned, however improbable it may appear; consequently, whenever the fact is established in the mind that the Book of Mormon is true, the victory is gained, and whatever fictions, absurdities, contradictions or doctrines it may contain, they will be received as unerring as Deity himself.

In our review, we are left without weapons to combat the crodulous Mormon believer ; but we trust that to any man who is not a Mormon maniac, who has not inhaled the malaria of the impostor, enough has been said to place the matter beyond a shadow of doubt, that the Book of Mormon is a fabrication, and that the author has addressed the work to the lowest of our passions. No one but the vilest wretch on earth, diregarding all that is sacred, intrepid and fearless of eternity, would ever dared to have profaned the sacred oracles of truth to such base purposes. [74]

We have not yet done—the task, however loathsome, shall be honestly pursued, and placed before the reader.

Above, we have seen that the doctrine of Universalism was preached by Nehor, for which he was put to death.—The next sect was a kind of Episcopalians, who were also heretics—who “gathered themselves together on one day of the week, which day they called the day of the Lord—and they had a place which was high and lifted up, which held but one man, who read prayers, the same prayers every week, and this high place was called Rameumptom, which being interpreted is the holy stand, p. 311. The Episcopalians and the Universalists can claim, on Mormon authority, great antiquity for their orders, at least fifty years before the gospel dispensation.

To amuse the reader, we will narrate an event which is found on page 271. One Ammon, a gospel missionary, who had previously devoted himself to the missionary cause, went among the Lamanites to preach baptism, repentance, and the remission of sins, through Jesus Christ. The servants of king Lamoni of the Lamanites, took Ammon prisoner and brought him before the king, who being rather pleased with his sober honest deportment took him into his service. The king’s servants, together with Ammon, were sent to water the flocks at some distance. On their way they were met by another party of Lamanites, who sought a quarrel by scattering the king’s flocks—a loss of any one of the cattle was punished by death. This circumstance presented a fine opportunity for Ammon to distinguish his knight errantry ; for he was a brave knight, as well as a priest. The servants of the king were greatly frightened, as they might well be, in consequence of the severe penalty, in case any of the flock should be lost, which would unavoidably be executed.

But Ammon seized upon this favorable opportunity, and said to the other servants, “en- [75] circle the flocks round about, that they flee not ; and I go and contend with these men which do scatter our flocks—Ammon stood forth and began to cast stones at them with his sling ; yea, with mighty power he did sling stones amongst them ; and thus he slew a certain number of them, insomuch that they began to be astonished at his power ; nevertheless they were angry because of the slain of their brethren, and they were determined that he should fall ; therefore, seeing that they could not hit him with their stones, they came forth with clubs to slay him. But behold, every man that lifted his club to smite Ammon, he smote off their arms with his sword, insomuch that they began to be astonished, and began to flee before him ; yea, they were not few in number ; and he caused them to flee by the strength of his arm. Now six of them had fallen by the sling, but he slew none, save it were their leaders ; and he smote off as many of their arms as was lifted against him, and they were not a few.” In this Don Quixote adventure, there are two important circumstances worthy of our consideration and investigation, to wit: that this horde of Lamanites should be astonished twice, inasmuch as Ammon only killed six and cut off the arms of, perhaps, not more than twenty ! ! And the other is, that they got angry because Ammon slew a few of them. Ammon certainly showed great forbearance, for he only killed their captains and leaders, and punished the rest by simply loping off a few of their arms. The result shows us that the battle was very unequal, much more so than the conflict between Sampson and the Philistines ; for Sampson had no sword, but our hero not only had a sword, (which afterwards fell into the hand of Guy of Warwick,) but he doubtless understood the scientific use of it.

Missionaries in those days wore swords, and for aught we know the chapeaux des bras. We are ready to give full credit to the whole account, pro- [76] vided it can be proven that those Lamanites got angry once and were astonished twice—those circumstances seem improbable on so slight an occasion.

Chief Justice Alma has three sons, viz : Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton—towards the end of his career, three commandments, one for each son, were written, each in separate chapters. We should view them rather as patriarchal valedictories, if they were not headed commandments.

To Helaman he commits the plates of Nephi, or the records, as he calls them, which he says shall be preserved by the hand of the Lord, and shall go forth into every nation, kindred and tongue, p. 326.

We are presented with another method of translating the plates—possibly the spectacles may get lost, or they may not suit the eyes of all. “And the Lord said, I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people which serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren ; yea, their secret works, their works of darkness and abominations,” p. 328.

Now, whether the two methods for translating, one by a pair of stone spectacles “set in the rims of a bow,” and the other by one stone, were provided against accident, we cannot determine—perhaps they were limited in their appropriate uses—at all events they plan meets our approbation.

We are informed that Smith used a stone in a hat, for the purpose of translating the plates.

The spectacles and plates were found together, but were taken from him and hid up again before he had translated one word, and he has never seen them since—this is Smith’s own story. Let us ask, what use have the plates been or the spectacles, so long as they have in no sense been used ? or what does the testimony of Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer amount to ?

They solemnly swear that they saw [77] the plates, and that an angel showed them, and the engravings which were upon them. But if the plates were hid by the angel so that they have not been seen since, how do these witnesses know that when Smith translated out of a hat, with peep-stone, that the contents of the plates were repeated and written down ? Neither of the witnesses pretend that they could read the hieroglyphics with or without the stone ; and, therefore, are not competent testimony—nor can we see any use, either in finding the plates or the spectacles, nor of the exhibition of them.

The notable ball is committed to the charge of Helaman, by the right of the law of primogeniture, with the following descriptive and pathetic remarks from his father—“And now my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball or director, or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass: and the Lord prepared it.”

The sons of Alma were all priests, and were called missionaries, because they devoted their time to traveling and preaching among the heathen, declaring unto them the glad tidings of great joy.

Alma now prophecies of the destruction of Nephites ; he says, that four hundred years after the coming of Christ they will entirely lose their religion, p. 348.

The following extraordinary doctrines were preached in the days of the Judges ; and believers were called Christians, and “baptism unto repentance” was declared the only door of salvation. “And it came to pass that they did appoint priests and teachers throughout all the land, over all the churches, p. 349. “And those who did belong to the church were faithful ; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them gladly the name of Christ or Christians, as they were called, because of their belief in Christ,’ p. 301. “And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord [78] Jesus Christ: thus they went out of the world rejoicing,” 353. The word was preached by Helaman, Shiblon, Corianton, Ammon, and his brethren, &c. “yea, and all those who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptised unto repentance,” (John’s baptism) “and sent forth to preach unto the people,” p. 362. “And that great and last sacrifice will be the son of God; yea, infinite and eternal ; and thus he shall bring salvation to all those who believe on his name ; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith and repentance, p. 320.

It will be remembered that the author pretends that the above doctrines were preached from about fifty to an hundred years before Christ’s nativity. The clumsy manner in which the above quotations are written, cannot be attributed to the veil which hangs over the spirit of prophecy, for the doctrines are as distinctly explained as the same author can do it at this time, unless he has, since writing the Book of Mormon, undergone a classical drilling, which is far from probable.

Moroni is the next important personage in the drama; he is represented as master of all the modern military tactics, according to the record of Helaman, and is now the scribe of all the important matters that are passing ; but not the author yet of a book.

Moroni, who now commands all the forces of the Nephites against the Lamanites, is represented as conducting the war with great skill, and the number which was slain in the battles surpasses any other account in the annals of history. The prowess of Gen. Moroni is only equalled by Ammon in his battle with the Lamanites, where he killed six and cut off the arms of

not a few.”

In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of the Judges, Helaman [79] dies, and delivers the old legacy over to Shiblon, which consisted of the brass plates, gold plates, the compass, the big sword, the stone spectacles and the peep-stone, all sacred relics ! ! In the thirty-sixth year, Moroni dies, after having in a pious manner killed hundreds of thousands of the heathen.

At about the conclusion of the Book of Alma, one Hagoth is ushered on the stage as an old ship carpenter—“And it came to pass, that Hagoth, he being an exceeding curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceeding large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the West Sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward.—Query—did John Bunyan, when writing his Pilgrim’s Progress, pilfer terms from the Book of Mormon, or had the author of our new revelation become familiar with the words Bountiful and Desolation by reading that eccentric but excellent production ?

The ship which Hagoth built, was large and commodious for passengers. Many are said to have embarked in this ship for other countries northward, and our ship carpenter built a great many more within the term of two years! —This furnishes the credulous Mormon with a plausible account of the first inhabitants upon the Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and of those west of the Rocky mountains.

The sacred legacy, consisting of the plates and the peep stone, is next confered upon Helaman, the son of Helaman, which ends the account of Alma, and his sons Shiblon and Helaman, p. 406.

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