Zion’s Watchman Sunderland, La Roy

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Sunderland, La Roy. “Mormonism.” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 6 (10 February1838): 22.


Mormonites seem to think they have made considerable advances towards obtaining the faith of persons in their pretended revelations, when they tell them that, the book of Mormon is not a substitute for the Bible, but that it is designed to accompany the Bible, to be an appendage to it, the same as the New Testament is to the Old. But, if it be not a new Bible, it has, with them, all the authority which they yield to the inspired writings of the Holy Scriptures. Hence we proceed to show, as we proposed, that,


Perhaps it will scarcely be believed by the reader, when informed of the fact, that an appeal is made to certain passages of Scripture, under the pretence that the book of Mormon was referred to in those predictions.

For instance, Isa. 29:11.

“And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that was sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot for it is sealed.”

Anciently, books were written upon long pieces of parchment, and rolled up, and sometimes sealed, on the outside. A book, written and sealed in this way, a person would, of course, be unable to read who did not understand the alphabet of the language in which it was written; and the prophet proposed the case of a book thus presented to an ignorant person to represent the spiritual darkness of Israel, at the time when he wrote. On this passage let it be observed,

1. Admitting it was a prediction of the existence of the book of Mormon, it does not predict that that book would be a good one. The book of Mormon is not a book of truth.

2. The text speaks of the book’s being presented to a person unable to read it. It has not been proved that the pretended plates were ever presented to any one as above stated.

3. The text speaks of a “book,” or a letter, an epistle, as the Hebrew might be rendered.

It says nothing about “brass plates.” Hence, this passage affords no countenance to the lies uttered by Joseph Smith, jr.

Another passage supposed to predict the existence of Mormonism, is Ps. 85:11.

“Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”

On this it is sufficient to remark:—

1. The book of Mormon is not truth; hence it cannot be referred to in this text.

2. It is not a fact, that the book of Mormon ever sprung out of the earth. We have proved that it had its origin in the brain of some wicked man; and the first edition of this work says, its “author and proprietor,” is “Joseph Smith, jr.” But, MORMONISN IS DIRECTLY OPPOSED TO THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.

1. The New Testament informs us that if we believe what is written in that book, of the Son of God, we shall be saved. John 20:31. But we have already seen, that the book of Mormon says, if we do not believe that, also, in addition to the Old and New Testaments, we must be eternally damned. Hence Mormonism is a lie.

2. God has imperatively forbidden any addition to what is written in the Old and New Testaments. Deut. 4:2. Rev. 22:18. The book of Mormon is an addition to the Bible, as it advocates confess, and the only way they can seem to avoid the curse denounced against such as add unto the things which have been written by Divine direction, is to pretend that God, himself, is the author of Mormonism! But this is the addition itself, this is very pretension, is the sin against which God has threatened his dreadful curse.

3. The Holy Scriptures are fully sufficient, as the rule both of our faith and practice.

John 5:46. 20:31. Rev. 22:18. Acts 24:14. 26:22. Rom. 16:25. Luke 16:31. Ex. 20:3, 17. Lev. 18:6. The doctrine taught in these passages Mormonism denies; hence we find them laying down the following rule, in the Minutes of the organization of the High Council of their Church, Feb. 17, 1834.

“In cases of difficulty respecting doctrine, or principle, (if not sufficiently written to make the case clear to the minds of the council,) the President may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.” — Doct. and Cov. Sec. 5 .

4. The New Testament informs us, that Christ was born in Bethlehem. Matt. 2:1.

But if one of the pretended Mormon prophets, is to be credited, (Book of Mor. p. 240) Christ was born at Jerusalem!

5. The Jews were not allowed to offer burnt offerings, after the temple was built in any other place except Jerusalem. Deut. 12:13—14. The reason for this prohibition was, that the holy fire could be obtained in no other place. Lev. 10:1.

But the book of Mormon gives an account of frequent offerings made, out of Jerusalem, contrary to the above commands of God. See pp. 8, 15.

6. It was a distinguishing feature of the Law of Moses, that none but the descendants of Aron were to officiate before the Lord, as priests. Exo. 40:15. Num. 16:40. And God, we are informed, (1. Chron. 13:9—10,) smote a man with instant death for presuming to touch the sacred ark, an act which none but a priest was allowed to do.

But the book of Mormon gives numerous instances of persons consecrated to the Mosaic priesthood, who were, it is said, of the “tribe of Joseph.” p. 73.

And at the same time, this book tells us, that the people who did this, kept the law of Moses:—

“And we did observe to keep the judgments and the statues, and the commandments of the Lord, in all things, according to the law of Moses.”—p. 72.

7. In the Voice of Warning, p. 105, it is said the “order of the Gospel,” is “first, faith; second, repentance; third, baptism; fourth, remission of sins.” But in the Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 2d, it is said, “remission of sins” must precede baptism.

The latter statement contradict the Bible. See Acts 2:28.

8. On p. 22 of the Voice of Warning, the author says, the dreams of Pharoah were to be “literally interpreted.” But this is a palpable contradiction of the explanation which Joseph gave of them. See Gen. 41: 26—27.

9. He says again, p. 21, that the Sodomites “stood gazing after” Lot when the angel led him out of that city, and they cried after him, “delusion, delusion.” But from the account given in Gen. 19:1, 23, it does not appear that the Sodomites knew any thing about Lot’s leaving their city.

10. Mr. P. says, p. 152, “that it repented Noah, that God had made man, and it grieved him at the heart,” thus affirming that this is said in the Bible not of God, but of Noah. But this is a contradiction of God’s word. See Gen. 6:6.

11. The Gospel covenant, Mr. P. affirms, has been broken, and totally annulled.—pp. 68, 69, 71. But God informs us, that the Gospel covenant is to last forever, and never to be succeeded by another.— Heb. 7:21, 28. 8:6, 13. 6:13, 20.

Here, then, is proof positive, that these books can never be reconciled either with themselves, or the Scriptures of unerring truth.

We proceed to show, that,


To be convinced of this fact, one has only to read the book of Mormon, which, as we have before observed, is one continued history of wars and murders. But the cruelty of which we now speak, is in the system, (so far as it can be called a system,) which is taught in the writings and doctrines of the Mormonites. Mormonism is cruel.

1. In requiring faith without evidence. It is true, that eleven men have said the book of Mormon is true; and ten thousand others can be found who will testify that it is not true. Out of the eleven witnesses, whose testimony is appended to this book, it will be seen, that five are named “Whitmer,” and three are named “Smith,” from which it would seem to be a kind of a family concern. But no evidence is given, none can be given, to prove this book true.

2. Mormonism is cruel in taking from its votaries their property, and in refusing to restore it again, when they are convinced of its falsehood. We have before proved, that one grand aim of this scheme is to get money, and when it is once in the hands of the Mormon leaders, it is gone forever. A distinguished literary gentleman, who has lived in the neighborhood of a settlement of the “Thaumaturgists,” as the followers of Smith are called at the West, informs us, that he has seen and conversed with numbers of men belonging to the Mormon church, who have said to him, that they would leave them, forthwith, if it were not for the fact, that all their property is now in the hands of the Mormons, and out of the hope, that they may, possibly, get some of it back again, they continue with them. Many women, also, it is well known, would not continue with them for a single day, were it not for their husbands, who cannot well get away from them.

3. Its cruelty appears, again, in its requiring its votaries to leave their homes, and go to the western part of Missouri. This requisition of Mormonism is so perfectly preposterous, and cruel, so evidently a figment of a covetous combination, that it almost tortures the human imagination to conceive how any man, in his senses, can believe it has the sanction of truth or the Bible. But, so its is, and that persons are found, professing faith in the Christian Scriptures, and, yet, ignorant enough to be duped by such a monstrous and bare-faced delusion, is an evidence of the inefficiency of human reason, to discern between the claims of truth and the absurdities of error.

4. The unrelenting and monstrous cruelty of Mormonism is seen, again, in its pretending to consign all to hell, who do not believe it. We know, its advocates pretend to explain this horrible dogma of their creed, by saying that those only are sent to hell who reject their testimony, after they have had an opportunity of either reading it or hearing it preached. But this explanation, does not save those who die in the belief of infant baptism, and all such, the book of Mormon informs us, are consigned to the miseries of everlasting damnation! Here, therefore, we have the perfection of cruelty, cruelty unmixed, and unequaled by any system of heathenism that ever cursed the world.

But again:—


Take the following as specimens:—

“Behold, I, God, have suffered this for all, that they might not suffer if they will repent; but if they will not, they must suffer even as I; which sufferings caused me, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore.”— Doct. and Cov. Sec. 44.

What impious blasphemy, to attribute such language to the lips of the infinite God! And, indeed, it would be difficult to find one passage, in any of their writings that we have seen, which conveys any thing like good sense, to say nothing of the gross violations of grammar, which abound in them. Look at the following, from a “Revelation” called the Olive Leaf:—

“He (Christ) is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power by which it was made.

As also, he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power by which it was made. As also, the light of the stars,” &c. “And the earth, also,” &c.

“Through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body is the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.

“And the saints shall be filled with glory, (Christ’s) and be equal with him.”

“Now I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among you; and their children also are growing up in wickedness: they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.” “And a commandment I give unto you, that he that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people.”— Ib. Sec. 7.

Such is some of the nonsense and blasphemy of Mormonism. Look, also, at the following, which, like the above, we are told, is the language of God himself!

“And, again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in the house, and establish a store that he may sell goods without fraud; that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the saints.” “And let my servant, Sidney Gilbert, obtain a license, (behold here is wisdom, and whoso readeth, let him understand) that he may send goods in unto the people, even by whom he will, as clerks, employed in his service, and thus provide for my saints.”

“Let my servant, Wm. W. Phelps, be planted in the house, and established as a printer unto the church: and let all the world receive his writings, (behold here is wisdom;) let him obtain all he can obtain in righteousness, for the good of the saints. And let my servant, Oliver Cowdery, assist him” “to copy, and to correct, and to select, that it may be right before me.”—

Ib. Sec. 27.

“To copy, and to correct, and to select, that it may be right before me!”

And, yet, though the Book of Mormon professes to have been written under divine inspiration, as we shall see in the sequel, it is full of blunders and contradictions, and in this respect, it is not equaled by any other book we ever read. . . .

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