The Religious Creeds and Statistics

1836

Hayward, John Hayward, John

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Hayward, John. The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States and British Provinces, with Some Account of the Religious Sentiments of the Jews, American Indians, Deists, Mahometans, &c. Alphabetically Arranged, 132–38. Boston:John Hayward, 1836.

Analysis of the Book of Mormon.—The volume contains 588 duodecimo pages, and purports to have been written at different times, and by the different authors whose names they respectively bear. The following are the names of the different Books in the order in which they occur:

1. First Book of Nephi.

2. Second Book of Nephi.

3. Book of Jacob, brother of Nephi.

4. Book of Enos, son of Jacob.

5. Book of Jarom, son of Enos.

6. Book of Omni, son of Jarom.

7. Words of Mormon.

8. Book of Mosiah.

9. Book of Alma.

10. Book of Helaman,

11. Book of Nephi, son of Nephi, son of Helaman.

12. Book of Nephi, son of Nephi, one of the disciples of Christ.

13. Book of Mormon.

14. Book of Ether.

15. Book of Moroni. [132]

The Book begins with the religious adventures of one Lehi, whose wife was Sariah, and their four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. Lehi lived in Jerusalem all his life, up to the first year of Zedekiah, King of Judah; and when the prophets appeared, foretelling the utter destruction of Jerusalem, Lehi humbled himself, and after various visions and revelations, started with his sons into the wilderness. Lehi forgot to bring with him the records of his family, and that of the Jews; but Nephi, his younger son, with much pious courage returned and succeeded in getting upon plates of brass, the records of the Jews, from the creation down to the first year of Zedekiah, King of Judah, and also the prophets, including many prophecies delivered by Jeremiah.

From the records, it appeared that this Lehi was a son of Joseph. He prevailed on one Ishmael and his family, to accompany him into the wilderness, whose daughters the sons of Lehi took for wives.

Lehi was a greater prophet than any of the Jewish prophets, and uttered all the events of the Christian era, and developed the records of Matthew, Luke and John, six hundred years before John the Baptist was born. These pilgrims travelled several days journey in some wilderness, “a South, South-east direction, along the borders of the Red Sea.” A ball with pointers on it, inscribed with various intelligence, legible at proper times, was the pillar and index in passing through the wilderness for many, very many days. By their bow and arrow they lived for eight years, travelling an Easterly course from Jerusalem, until they came to a great sea.

By divine revelation, Nephi constructed a ship, and although opposed by his unbelieving brethren, being greatly assisted by the Holy Spirit, he succeeded in launching her safely, and got all his tribe, with all their stock of seeds, animals, and provisions, safely aboard. They had “a compass,” which none but Nephi knew how to manage; but the Lord had promised them a fine land, and after many perils and trials, and a long passage, they safely arrived at the land of promise. Nephi made brazen plates soon after his arrival in America, for that was the land of promise to them, and on these plates he marked their peregrinations and adventures, and all the prophecies which God gave to him concerning the future destinies of his people, and the human race.

After his father’s death, his brethren rebelled against him. They finally separated in the wilderness, and became the heads of different tribes; often in the lapse of generations making incursions upon each other. The Nephites, like their father, for many generations, were good Christians, believers in the doctrines of modern theologians, and preaching baptism and other Christian usages, hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born.

Before Nephi died, which was about fifty years from the flight of Lehi from Jerusalem, he had preached to his people every thing which is now preached in the State of New York, and annointed or ordained his brother Jacob, priest over his people, called the Nephites. Jacob brought up his son Enos “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” gave him the plates, and left him success- [133] sor in office over the people of Nephi. Enos says, “there came a voice to me, saying, Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.” And, I sayeth, “Lord, how is it done?” And he sayeth unto me, “Because thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast not heard, or seen.” p. 143. Enos died one hundred and seventy-nine years from the era of Lehi; consequently, this happened four hundred thirty-one years before Jesus Christ was born. He was a contemporary with Nehemiah.

Enos gave the plates to Jarom, his son. In his time “they kept the law of Moses, and the Sabbath day holy to the Lord.” During the priesthood and reign of Enos, there were many commotions and wars between his people and the Lamanites. Then the sharp pointed arrow, the quiver, and the dart were invented. Jarom delivered his plates to his son Omni, and gave up the ghost, two hundred thirty-eight years from the flight of Lehi. Omni died two hundred seventy-six years from the era, and gave the plates to his son Amaron, who in the year three hundred and twenty, gave them to his brother Chemish; he, to his son Abinidom; he, to his son Amaleki; and he, having no son, gave them to the just and pious King Benjamin. King Benjamin had three sons, Mosiah, Helorum and Helaman, whom he educated in all the learning of his fathers. To Mosiah he delivered up the plates of Nephi, the ball which guided them through the wilderness, and the sword of one Laban, of mighty renown. King Benjamin addressed his people from the new temple which they had erected, for they had, even then, built a temple, synagogues, and a tower, in the New World.

King Benjamin assembled the people to sacrifice according to the law, around the new temple; and he enjoined upon them, at the same time, the Christian institutions, and gave them a Patriarchal valedictory. After they had heard him speak, and had offered up their sacrifices, they fell down and prayed in the following words: “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ, that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things, who shall come down among the children of men. Then the Spirit of the Lord fell upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins.” p. 162.

King Benjamin ordered his people to take upon them the name of Christ, and in these remarkable words: “There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that you should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God, that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.” p. 166. They all took upon them the name of Christ, and he having ordained them priests and teachers, and appointed his son, Mosiah, to reign in his stead, gave up the ghost four hundred seventy-six years after Lehi’s escape from Jerusalem, and one hundred twenty-four years before Christ was born. Mosiah gave up the plates of brass, and all things which he had kept, to Alma, the son of Alma, who was appointed “chief judge and high [134] priest,” the people willing to have no king; and Mosiah died five hundred sixty-nine years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem.

In the fourteenth year of the Judges, and sixty-nine years before the birth of Jesus, they sent out missionary priests, who preached through all the tribes of the country against all vices, holding “forth the coming of the Son of God, his sufferings, death and resurrection, and that he should appear unto them after his resurrection: and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.” p. 268.

Alma’s book reaches down to the end of the 39th year of the Judges. These were wonderful years; many cities were founded, many battles were fought, fortifications reared, letters written, and even in one year, a certain Hagoth built an exceeding large ship, and launched it forth into the West sea. In this embarked many of the Nephites. This same ship-builder the next year built other ships, one was lost with all its passengers and crew. p. 406.

Many prophecies were pronounced; one, that in 400 years after the coming of Christ, the Nephites would lose their religion. During the time of the Judges, many were called Christians by name, and “baptism unto repentance,” was a common thing. “And it came to pass that they did appoint priests and teachers through 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 Jesus Christ: thus they went out of the world rejoicing.” p. 353.

The word was preached by Helaman, Shiblon, Corianton, Amnon, and his brethren, &c.; yea, all those who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach unto the people. p. 623. This happened in the nineteenth year of Judges, seventy-two years before the birth of Jesus. Before this time synagogues with pulpits were built, “for the Zoramites,” a sort of Episcopalians, “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 Rameumpton, which being interpreted, is the holy stand.” p. 311. The book of Helaman reacheth down to the ninetieth year of the Judges, and to the year preceding that in which the Messiah was born. During the period embraced in Helaman’s narrative, many ten thousands were baptized. “And behold the holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as with fire, and they could speak forth marvellous words.” p. 421.

Masonry was invented about this time: for men began to bind themselves in secret oaths to aid one another in all things, good or evil. p. 424. Powers of loosing and binding in heaven were conferred upon Nephi, the son of Helaman, and all miraculous power, [135] such as the apostles possessed. One Samuel, also foretold that “Christ would be born in five years, and that the night before should be as light as day; and that the day of his death should be a day of darkness like the night.” p. 445. The book of this Nephi commences with the birth of the Messiah, six hundred years from the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem. In the midst of the threats of the infidels, to slaughter the faithful, the sun set; but lo! the night was clear as mid-day, and from that period they changed their era, and counted time as we do. A star also appeared, but it is not stated how it could be seen in a night as bright as day; but it was universally seen throughout all the land, to the salvation of the pious from the threats of their enemies. The terrors of the day of his death are also stated, and in the thirty-fourth year from his nativity, after his resurrection, he descended from heaven and visited the people of Nephi. Jesus called upon them to examine his hands and his sides, as he did Thomas, though none of them had expressed a doubt. Two thousand five hundred men, women and children, one by one examined him, and then worshipped him. He commanded Nephi to baptize, and gave him the words which he was to use, viz: “Having authority given me, of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.” He commissioned eleven others, who with Nephi, were his twelve American apostles, and promised himself to baptize their converts, “with fire and the Holy Spirit.”

He delivers them the sermon upon the mount, and some other sayings recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He healed all their diseases, and prayed for their children; but the things spoken were so great and marvellous, that they could not be spoken nor written.

He ordained one to administer the supper, who alone had authority to dispense it to the disciples baptized in his name. The only new commandments which were given to the American Christians on his occasional visits which were repeated, were, “Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” “Meet often, and forbid no man from coming unto you when you shall meet together.” p. 492.

Nephi was chief among the twelve apostles: he baptized himself, and then baptized the eleven, whose names were Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, and Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shimnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah. They were baptized in fire and the Holy Ghost.

Not a new word, however, should be written in addition to those found in the New Testament; for although he spake for several days, to these American disciples, none of the new and marvellous sayings could be uttered or written! He inspected the plates of Nephi, and only found one omission, which was, that he failed to mention the resurrection of many saints in America at the time of the tempest and earthquake. He commanded these Nephites to be called Christians.

The book of Nephi, the son of Nephi, gives, in four pages, the history of 320 years after Christ. In the thirty-sixth year, all the [136] inhabitants of the land were converted; there was a perfect community, and no disputations in the land for one hundred and seventy years. Three of the American apostles were never to die, and were seen four hundred years after Christ; but what has become of them no one can tell, except Cowdry, Whitmer and Harris, the three witnesses of the truth of the plates of Nephi, be these three immortal men. Towards the close of the history of Nephi, or the record Ammaron, sects, divisions and battles became frequent, and all goodness had almost left the continent in the year three hundred and twenty.

Mormon appears next in the drama, the recording angel of the whole matter, who, by the way, was a mighty general and great Christian; he commanded in one engagement, forty-two thousand men against the Lamanites. This dreadful battle was fought A.D. 330. The Lamanites took South America for themselves, and gave North America to the Nephites.

Moroni finishes what Mormon, his father, left undone, and continues the history, till A.D.

400. He pleads that no one shall disbelieve his record because of its imperfections, and declares that none who receive it will condemn it on account of its imperfections, and for not doing so, the same shall know greater things. p. 532. “He that condemneth it shall be in danger of hell fire.” He laments the prevalency of free-masonry in the times when his book should be dug up out of the earth, and proves that miracles will never cease; because God is the same yesterday, to day, and forever. He exhorted to “take heed that none be baptized without telling their experience, nor partake of the sacrament of Christ unworthily.” p. 537.

Moroni, in the conclusion of his book of Mormon, says, if his plates had been larger, we should have written in Hebrew; but because of this difficulty, he wrote in the “Reformed Egyptian,” being handed down and altered unto us according to our manner of speech. p. 538.

“Condemn me not,” says he, “because of mine imperfections: neither my father, because of his imperfections, neither them which have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that you may learn to be more wise than we have been.” p. 538.

Moroni writes the book of Ether, containing an account of the people of Jared, who escaped from the building of the tower of Babel unconfounded in his language. These people of Jared, God marched before in a cloud, and directed them through the wilderness, and instructed them to build barges to cross seas; and finally they built eight barges, air tight, and were commanded to make a hole in the top to admit air, and one in the bottom to admit water, and in them were put sixteen windows of molten stone, which, when touched by the finger of Jesus, became as transparent as glass, and gave them light under “the mountain of waves,” and when above the water. He that touched these stones, appeared unto the brother of Jared, and said, “behold I am Jesus Christ, I am the [137] father and the son.” Two of these stones were sealed up with the plates, and became the spectacles of Joseph Smith, Jr., according to a prediction uttered before Abraham was born. It was also foretold in the book of Ether, written by Moroni, that he that should find the plates, should have the privilege of showing the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work, and unto three shall they be shown by the power of God: wherefore they shall of a surety know that these things are true. p. 548.

And the eight barges, air-tight, made like ducks, after swimming and diving three hundred and forty-four days, arrived on the coasts of the land of promise. The book of Ether relates the wars and carnage among these people. In the lape of generations, they counted two millions of mighty men, besides women and children, slain; and finally, they were all killed but one, and he fell to the earth as if he had no life. So ends the book of Ether. p. 573.

The book of Moroni details the manner of ordaining priests and teachers, the manner of administering ordinances, and the epistles of Mormon to his son Moroni. Moroni seals up the record, A.D. 420, and assures the world that spiritual gifts shall never cease, only through unbelief. And when the plates of Nephi should be dug up out of the earth, he declares that men should ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, “If these things are not true.” “If with a sincere heart and real intent, having faith in Christ, such prayers are made, ye shall know the truth of all things.” p. 586….

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