Mormonism Exposed Internally and Externally

1838

Bacheler, Origen Bacheler, Origen

❮ Home

Bacheler, Origen. Mormonism Exposed Internally and Externally. New York, 1838.

MORMONISM EXPOSED.

TO MAKE an earnest attack on Mormonism, as if it had any plausible pretensions to credibility, would argue great want of discernment and good sense on the part of the one who might thus assail it. It would be somewhat like a labored attempt to disprove the story of Tom Thumb, or like the attack of Don Quixote on the windmill. When Solomon Spaulding wrote the romance entitled “The Manuscript Found,” which has since been metamorphosed by Rigdon, Smith, and others into the “Book of Mormon,” he merely intended it as a tale, out of the avails of which he hoped to be able to free himself from pecuniary embarrassment; not once dreaming, that a gang of impostors would befool any human beings into the belief of its authenticity— at least in the present age. And were it not the fact, that some are thus duped, I should deem it altogether a Quixotic undertaking, to spend one moment’s time in noticing the affair in the manner I now do. But as some individuals do really assume sober countenances, and are active in endeavoring to proselyte as many as possible to the belief of this fable; and more especially, as they meet with some success among a particular portion of the community, (as all impostors do;) I feel that it would not be a work of supererogation, briefly to expose some of the defects and absurdities of the book under consideration, and to display in bold relief the characters of the miscreants who are battening on the ignorance and credulity of those upon whom they can successfully play off this imposture. It is to “break the snare of the fowler,” to dissipate the mists of delusion, to draw the line of demarcation between imposture and truth, and to hold up to merited indignation, before the eyes of an insulted community, perhaps the [1] most vile, the most impudent, the most impious knot of charlatans and cheats with which any community was ever disgraced and cursed, that I assume my present undertaking. These considerations will, I trust, be deemed sufficient by my fellow-citizens, to justify the course I pursue, in stooping to notice an affair so intrinsically worthless and contemptible as is the Mormon imposture.

For some time past, the denizens of our goodly city of Gotham have been vastly edified by the “holdings forth” of a Mormon preacher by the name of Parley P. Pratt. When he came to the city, he succeeded in obtaining the use of a church, by concealing the fact that he was a Mormonite, and calling himself a “Latter Day Saint.” This was perfectly in character for a propagator of a religious imposition, and just what might be expected.

Mr. Pratt at length began to reveal himself as a Mormon miracle-monger; and by this means, not by any extraordinary abilities, he succeeded in exciting a degree of public attention.

Having thus raised the breeze, he now commenced the promulgation of his Mormon fooleries, with regard to the finding of the “Golden Plates” of the “Book of Mormon” by Joseph Smith jr., and all that sort of thing. Indignant at his audacious imposition, I called upon him to submit his Book to the test of public investigation. After some hesitancy, and finding he could offer no satisfactory excuse for declining my proposal, he accepted it. A public discussion was then arranged between him and myself. On the fourth evening of the discussion, this champion of Mormonism, this challenger of all Christendom, signified his intention to retire from the field, under the pretence that I had cast unmerited ridicule on the Mormon Book. I insisted on his remaining. He then appealed to the audience; but they, too, insisted on his continuing. On the sixth evening, no sooner had I begun to touch upon the subject of the credibility of his witnesses, than he raised an objection, and declared that if I persisted in that course, he would withdraw altogether from the debate. I informed him that I should examine the character of those witnesses, as a matter of course. It was then pretended, on the Mormon side, that we had agreed not to examine the external evidences in the case. A greater falsehood than [6] this was never uttered. But what better can be expected from men engaged in promoting a system of falsehood?

Not to examine the external evidences indeed! So foolish a falsehood scarcely needs a contradiction. It carries its own condemnation on its very front. Just as if I would agree not to look into the character of such impostors as Smith, Rigdon, and their kidney. No! Mr. Pratt, previous to the commencement of the discussion, asked me what points of evidence we should examine. “Prove your Book in any way whatever,” said I, “whether by itself, or by positive testimony, or by scripture. Prove your Book if you can, by any kind, or by all kinds, of evidence you please. And on my part, I shall disprove it in any way I please.” Accordingly, the very first evening of the discussion, he brought forward his positive testimony—his external evidence— his witnesses to the divine character of the “Book of Mormon.” Yes! he himself brought forward this external evidence—these witnesses—declaring at the same time, that their character was unimpeachable. And I must not look into their character, to see whether or not he told the truth, and they were credible witnesses! Fine rule of evidence! fine mode of discussion!—And because I persisted in my course, and went on examining their credibility, he actually abandoned the discussion! No wonder, however, at this. He could never have kept himself in countenance; it would have made his ears tingle; it would have crimsoned his face with burning blushes, brazen as it is with imposture; had he remained to hear recounted the black deeds of his associate impostors. Of this the reader will be fully convinced, ere he finishes the perusal of this pamphlet.

No wonder, then, that Mr. Pratt wished to prevent my examination of the character of his witnesses. This, however, constituted no reason why he should withdraw from the discussion. It was his business to remain, and defend their character, if it was defensible, and by that means preserve his cause from injury. But no. Off he takes himself at the very moment when, of all others, his services were most needed; in the very heat of the battle, when Mormonism was assailed at its vitals. Then it was, that he beat a retreat, and left poor old “Mormon” to take care of himself! [7]

Mr. Pratt having thus retired, in the midst of the investigation, and the audience in general having signified their wish to have me finish it alone, I occupied two evenings more, making eight in all; when I brought the subject to a close.

Having premised thus much by way of introduction, I will now proceed to the examination of the subject under consideration; in doing which I must observe great brevity, the materials being so abundant, that to go fully into detail would require a large volume, instead of a pamphlet like this.

In treating this subject, the most natural order seems to be, to examine the “Book of Mormon” itself.

The “Book of Mormon” says Pratt’s “Voice of Warning,” “was found in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred, and twenty seven, in Ontario county, New York. It was translated and published in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred, and thirty. It contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph, of whom the Indians are still a remnant: but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrine, which he engraved on Plates; and afterwards being slain, the record fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the Record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and should be again be brought to light in the latter days, by means of a Gentile nation, who should possess the land. This deposite was made about the year four hundred and twenty, on a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario county, where it was preserved in safety, until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration. And the Great Jehovah bore record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declare it to the world.”

Well, friend Pratt, we have heard your statement; but how can we know that these things are so? Any impostor can say as much as this; and other impostors can be [8] found by scores and hundreds, to swear to any thing he may say. How then can we know that your witnesses testify the truth? “Why,” says Mr. Pratt, “I am acquainted with them, and know them to be men of unimpeachable character.” Aye, but who are you yourself, Mr. Pratt? You are a stranger to us.

How, therefore, do we know even that you speak the truth? To be sure, you have a very demure countenance; you are quite moderate in your manner of speech; and you appear very cool and self-possessed. But now, hear what the author of Lacon, that acute observer of men and things, remarks on this point. “Always suspect a man,” says he, “who affects great softness of manner, an unruffled evenness of temper, and an enunciation studied, slow, and deliberate. These things are all unnatural, and bespeak a degree of mental discipline into which he that has no purposes of craft or design to answer, cannot submit to drill himself. The most successful knaves are of this description; as smooth as razors dipped in oil, and as sharp. They affect the innocence of the dove, which they have not, in order to hide the cunning of the serpent, which they have.”

So then, friend Pratt, we cannot take your word as evidence, till we know something more concerning you—nor the word of your witnesses, till we ascertain more respecting them.

Thus far, you give us no evidence which any impostor cannot give; none that many impostors have not actually given. Nay, some impositions have had a hundred times the evidence that you have yet given. Let us see a few of your miracles, and then we will think a little further on the matter. No miracles, however, make their appearance, although we hear some of your followers testifying to them. So did the French Prophets, and various other impostors. Thus you see again, you do not furnish the necessary evidence—the evidence requisite to distinguish truth from imposture.

What next is to be done? No stir having previously been made in the place, on the subject of Mormonism, the people are uninformed with regard to the character of the propagators of the scheme, and that subject is laid aside for the time being. The Book itself now comes forth, and is offered for sale. But it is the second edition, and is issued by [9] Messrs. Pratt and Goodson, and purports to have been translated by Joseph Smith, jr. Well, now, Mr. Pratt, is this just like the first edition? “O! Yes,” says Mr. P. “excepting typographical errors, such as mistakes in spelling, and the like.” On examination of the first edition, however, we find Joseph Smith, jr. denominated the Author.

Well, Mister Pratt,

What say to that.

Excuse my poetry. I have caught the inspiration of Mormonism already. But seriously, Mr. Pratt, what have you to say as to Joseph Smith’s being called the author of the “Book of Mormon”— and likewise as to your assertion, that the two editions were alike, excepting typographical errors. A strange typographical error indeed, to make Joseph Smith jr., the author, instead of the translator. But now, let us look a little into your Book, (second edition,) and see whether it appears like inspiration internally.

This Book, if we may credit the title-page, was not only written, but translated by inspiration. There is therefore no excuse for any blemish whatever in the Book, as it lies before us in its English dress. It is bound to have every thing just as it should be; and a single defect is sufficient to destroy its pretensions. The Bible, making no pretensions to inspired translation, may have defects of certain kinds in the translated copies, without impairing its claims to divine authority; but there is no such excuse of the “Book of Mormon.” It must be perfect in every point of view, or its fate is at once and for ever sealed. Now let us see how this matter stands.

“To come forth in due time by way of Gentile.” Title-page. “By way of Gentile.” Such a half-witted barbarism inspiration? Abominable! And a fellow that had neither learning, nor sense, nor “inspiration”, nor anything else sufficient to enable him properly to express an idea in his own tongue, pretending that he could translate what no other one could!

“And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men.” Title-page. What do you mean by this? Written and translated by inspiration, and yet talk of faults! Verily, you hav’n’t sense enough to conceal your imposition. You are simpletons as well as knaves, and are decidedly be[10]neath contempt. So much for your title page——although I have not noticed have of the ridiculous trash which I find upon it.

______

THE FIRST BOOK OF NEPHI.

Chapter and Contents. Written and translated by inspiration, mind ye. O yes! divided into chapters, with a table of contents, by inspirations! The ignorant forger, in attempting to imitate the Bible, seems not to have known, that the division into chapters is a modern invention, and that the tables of contents are no part of the Bible, but are inserted or omitted at the option of the publisher of any edition. So he makes his “Nephi” attach a table of contents to his chapter, as long ago as the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar—and makes him also say in the same table of contents, “I, Nephi, wrote this record”; thus showing that the contents were to be considered Nephi’s.

“Lehi,” the father of “Nephi,” is represented as a Jewish prophet. Now ask the Jews if they ever had such a prophet; and they are quite as likely to know, as the juggling, money-digging, fortune-telling impostor, Smith.

This “Lehi,” it seems, was of the tribe of Joseph, and dwelt at Jerusalem. The tribe of Joseph at Jerusalem! Go, study scripture-geography, ye ignorant fellows, before you send out another imposition, and make no more such foolish blunders Lehi finally fled from Jerusalem, to escape the impending destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, and left his gold and silver behind. Rather singular—and still more so, that it was all safe when he sent back after it.

Nephi says, (page 10,) that his father’s family consisted of his mother, Sariah, and his elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam! So then, Nephi himself was not one of his father’s children, and one of his brothers was a real Yankee—Sam! Well done, Prophet Smith; you can’t get rid of your Jonathanisms. Sam indeed! Fie, Joseph, how you forget yourself. Can’t you forge better than this? Precious little of the Yankee wit, have you in your composition, to let a Yankeeism creep into the ancient “Book of Nephi” in this manner. [11]

On the same page, “Nephi” speaks of a river’s running into a fountain. Inspiration with a witness! a river running into a fountain!

“And it came to pass—and it came to pass—and it came to pass”— three times in a paragraph of eight lines and one word. A ridiculous attempt to imitate ancient Scripture style— and a complete abortion. This is but a specimen of the style of the work throughout.

But I perceive I am expanding too much for a small pamphlet. So abundant are my materials, that it will be difficult for me to compress them sufficiently to give even the pith of the whole. This must be my apology for the very concise and summary process which I shall adopt for the remainder of the pamphlet.

I will now throw a few of the various beauties and excellencies of the “Book of Mormon” into groups, each group under an appropriate head, and let these serve as specimens of the whole.

And first I will note a few of the violations of the King’s English.

_______

BARBARISMS.

“They durst not utter against him.” Page 10. Utter what, pray? If you utter, you utter something.

“And it had came to pass.” 16.

“They did rebel against I, Nephi, and Sam,” 19. How beautiful!

“Thou art mine elder brethren.”

“That I might engraven.”

“For I had spake.”

“The Lord said unto me, thou shalt engraven,” &c. 79.

Bloodsheds.” 81.

“It supposeth me.” 134, 399, 403.

“We labour diligently to engraven these words upon plates.” 138.

“With our mights.” 146. See likewise three places, page 147.

“He had s omewhat contentions among his own people.” page 162.

“With all your whole soul.” 168.

“A shepherd art calling.” 250. [12]

“They were exceeding fraid.” 361. See likewise 374, 414, and 438.

“They sleepeth.” 401.

“I am Jesus Christ, of whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” 503.

“The whole human family of Adam.” 553. What other family had Adam besides the human family?

“They done all these things.” 587.

“And when these things come , bringeth to pass the scripture which saith.” 598. What bringeth to pass the scripture? Nothing, if we go by this writer of semi-ideas in the “Book of Mormon.”

The foregoing samples are probably not a hundredth part of the gross violations of the propriety of language, that are to be found in the “Book of Mormon.” Words and modes of expression are put into the mouth of the Deity, of Jesus Christ, of angels, and of prophets, that would befit only the most vulgar ignoramus. If this is not a degradation of things sacred, an impeachment of the intellectual perfection of Omniscience, it would be difficult to say what would be so. We find no such barbarisms in the Bible, even in the uninspired translation; and Mr. Pratt’s attempt, in the discussion, to bring forward a parallel from that book, was a complete failure, and proved his own ignorance of the rudiments of the English Language. As an offset to these and many other barbarisms, he produced from scripture, this sentence, “Thou art IT,” &c.

The word IT he seemed to think very much out of order. What is the matter with it? Nothing at all; and he who supposes there is, thereby manifests his own ignorance. And yet, this Mr. Pratt, who thus exposed his ignorance of his mother tongue, really talked of my ignorance, and attempted a display of intelligence on general and theological subjects. Yes, this very individual, who cannot write a sentence of correct English, except by chance, and who, in his conversation and public speaking, is continually murdering the language, and exhibiting the most unpardonable ignorance for a public teacher, talks of the ignorance of those who can teach him his alphabet on any subject——except that of religious imposture——and assumes to instruct all Christendom in Biblical lore! [13] Really, he reminds me of an anecdote of a fellow who set up as a preacher, but who was unable to read. When some one inquired of him how he could manage to preach, without being able to read the Bible, he replied:— “Mother reads, and I spounds and splains.” So with Mr. Pratt: he can’t read very well; but he is a wonderful spounder and splainer. Let that, however, pass.

_______

OTHER VERBALISMS.

“Sam, Josh, and Gid.” 10, 390, 411, and 499. There’s Yankee for ye. Rather out of place, however, in ancient writings; and not to be offset with “Dan and Gad” from the Bible, as Mr. Pratt attempted to do, merely because those names are words of one syllable. Dan and Gad are whole names, and have their distinct significations. Sam, Josh and Gid, are half names, or Jonathanisms.

“The land of Jerusalem.” 10. There is no such land. No part of Palestine bears the name of Jerusalem, except the city itself.

“Irreantum, which being interpreted, is, many waters.” 46. Proof of this, Mr. Nephi Mormon Moroni Rigdon Harris Cowdery Smith. Let us have the proof. Irreantum signifies a complete ass, nearer than any thing else.

“The Devil of all devils.” 87. A Rigdonism.

“Now these are the words; and ye may liken them unto you, and unto all men.” 92. “Ye may liken them unto you.” What does this mean? There is no sense in it. It is therefore non sense.

But nonsense is not inspiration.

“Ye wear stiff necks and high heads.” 134. Wear necks and heads! A curious kind of stocks and hats, to be sure. Genuine Mormon manufacture.

Tame Fruit.” Why, of course; why not tame fruit, as well as tame animals. Can’t you put fetters on wild fruit, and tame it?

A seer and a prophet different. 184. Really! well, these Mormonites are too learned for dictionaries and other books—more particularly for the Bible.

Neas and sheum.” 186. Pray tell me what kinds of grain neas and sheum are. Joseph Smith’s translation needs another translation, to render it intelligible. [14]

“A fifth part of their ziff.” 189. And what kind of metal is ziff ! Come, Joseph, on with thy goggles, and translate thy translation, and tell us what ziff means.

“The resurrection shall come forth.” 200.

“They scourged his skin with faggots.” 203. Just look into the dictionary, and see what the word faggot means.

The Nephite coin. The golden—a senine, a seon, a shum, a linnah, an antion, a shublon.

The silver—a senum, an amnor, an ezrom, an onti, a shiblon, a shiblum, a leah. 267, 268. This gibberish, and that of the neas, sheum, and ziff, as above, will do very well to be placed alongside of the “new tongues” of the Mormonites, the jabber of Miss Carraboo, and Sheridan’s Greek.

“My brothers and my brethren.” 313.

“My heart is brim with joy.” 313.

“Rameumpton, the Holy Stand.” 330. A pulpit, then, is a Rameumpton. Pray tell us to what language Rameumpton belongs. “It supposeth me, ” that it must be a Carraboo term, the same as neas, sheum, and the others.

“Acknowledge your faults, and retain that wrong which ye have done.” 352. What does this mean? Retain that wrong.” this needs a little Mormon spounding and splaining.

“The hand of Providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly.” 134. Who ever before heard of a hand smiling? and then it smiled most pleasingly. O! subleemity.

“The enormity of their number.” 392. See likewise 409. Enormity signifies great wickedness. Thus: a very wicked number. What a blue idea. a wicked NUMBER! Mormon ERUDITION!

“I am consigned, that these are my days.” 450. More spounding and splaining needed here.

“When ye shall be removed from overshadowing you.” 445. Here also.

“The battle of the battle.” 486. and here.

“The pestilence of the sword.” 461. And here.

“Great infinite.” 463.

“The Devil laugheth,” &c. 498. Quite funny.

“And Jesus said unto them, pray on. Nevertheless they did not cease to pray.” 522. [15]

“And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and the forty and first, and the forty and second; yea, even until forty and nine years had passed away, and also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second.” 542. So then the fortieth and fiftieth years are no years at all! Actually, these “getters up” of Mormonism seem not to know how to count.

“There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, or any manner of ites.” 543. Written and translated by inspiration, no doubt. Ites. Think of that. Ites. Aye, ites.

Only think of it. Ites. Who can any longer doubt that the “Book of Mormon” is very ancient, and that it was written, and has been translated, by inspiration?

“Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God?” 563. Now just look into the dictionary, and see what transfigure means.

To impute such vulgarity, such imbecility, such ridiculous nonsense as the foregoing to inspiration, argues a degree of depravity in the impostors who have been the means of sending the trash into the world, that is seldom equalled indeed. It is quite too bad, to represent the Deity as uttering and inspiring gross barbarisms—language of the most clownish and vulgar description. But when it comes to this, that drivelling, and nonsense such as have just been considered, are attributed to inspiration, it is religious trifling no longer: it is absolute blasphemy.

______

MODERNISMS.

A modern work can be made in some measure to resemble antique style; but no ancient work can contain modernisms. A work claiming antiquity, and at the same time abounding with modes of expression, and with circumstances, peculiar to modern times, may without hesitation be pronounced a modern, and a very shallow forgery. For instance: suppose a book should make its appearance pretending to have been written thousands of years ago, which should contain a description of steamboats and railroads, [16] and be written in the current style of the present day; who would hesitate to pronounce it an impudent, foolish forgery. No man of common sense.

Now, then, let us see how the “Book of Mormon,” stands this test.

“A visionary man.” 16.

“The Five Books of Moses.” 17.

“The days of your probation.” 26.

“The driven snow.” 27. Shakspeare.

“The compass.” 52.

“The cold and silent grave, from whence no traveller can return.” 65.

“I am desirous for the welfare of your souls.” 79.

“That ye may praise him through grace divine.” 92.

“I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.” 130. Words put into the mouth of “Nephi,” five or six hundred years before Christ.

“In a state of never ending happiness.” 170.

“Your own nothingness.” 174.

“And they would not be baptized, neither would they join the church.” 222. A hundred years before the Christian era!

“Scalping.”

“A spark of freedom.” 420.

“Rations.” 401.

“Modern astronomical ideas.” 465.

“That they might have been clasped in the arms of Jesus.” 556.

If the preceding modernisms do not prove the “Book of Mormon” a modern work, no work can be proved modern by its style and circumstances, and no modern forgery claiming to be an ancient work can be detected, on account of any modernisms which it may contain.

______

IMPROBABILITIES.

To speak in general terms, the whole concern of Mormonism is improbable. But there are portions of the Book that are highly improbable in themselves considered, a few of which I will notice.

What can be more improbable, than that the Jews ever had any such prophets as Lehi, Zenock, Neum, Zenos, and [17] Ezias? See pages 9, 55, and 454. No such prophets are mentioned in the Jewish records. Has money-digger Smith a better list of the Jewish prophets than the Jews themselves have?

What can be more improbable, than that Lehi would leave his gold and silver behind, when he set out on his emigrating expedition to America; and likewise, that when he some time after sent back after them, they were perfectly safe? See pages 9 and 13.

What can be more improbable, than that Laban’s servant should mistake Nephi for his master, merely because he had clothed himself in Laban’s garments; and that the servant could not discover a difference in the countenance, the manner, the voice, or the circumstances in any respect, notwithstanding a long conversation in relation to Laban’s concerns and other matters.

See page 15.

Is it probable, that the patriarch Joseph uttered an important prediction in relation to his posterity and Joseph Smith jr. and Sidney Rigdon, of which the Jews know nothing? See page 71.

Is it probable, that the Christian church and its ordinances were established, that its members were called Christians, and that miracles were performed in Christ’s name on the American continent, long before Christ came? See pages 126, 127, 129, 132, 139, 204, 221, 222, 253, 371 Is it at all probable that God would adopt a course in relation to this subject in America, so contrary to that which he pursued among the Jews in Palestine?

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God— and his mother shall be called Mary.” 170, 171. Is it probable that a prediction in relation to Christ should have been made in America, so much plainer than predictions made by the Old Testament prophets among the Jews?

Is it probable, that the manner of baptizing would be particularly specified in America, viz. that the administrator and candidate should go down, and stand in the water, and the latter be buried or immersed in the water; and that this manner would be thus specified, to forestal disputations concerning baptism prior to their existence; when no such particularity was observed by Christ in commissioning his Apostles in Palestine to baptize? See pages 204, 504.

[18]

Is it probable, that there was a prophet among the Nephites by the name of Samuel, whom they could not hit with stones and arrows; when none of the prophets nor Apostles of Palestine, nor even Christ himself, were thus screened from the assaults of enemies? See pages 474, 475.

Is it probable, that when Christ was born, the inhabitants of America were notified of it by a supernatural light, insomuch that it was a light as noon-day during a whole night; and that, at the time of his death, they were notified of that event by such a tempest as never had before been known; that “many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth; that some individuals were carried away in the whirlwind, and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away,” that “there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapour of darkness, and there could be no light because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches, neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceeding dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;* and there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were which were upon the face the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days, that there was no light seen.” See pages 478, 496, 497. I ask if it is at all probable, that events occurred in America at the birth and death of Christ, so much more wonderful than those in the very country where he was born, and where he died?

Is it probable, that as long ago as the time of Christ, and even before, there was in America a Republic much like our own? See pages 371, 373, 419, 420.

Is it probable, that God made such a revelation in America as the following, while he said nothing on the subject among Christians in the East:—“Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism, is [19] in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, nor hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.— Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me.” Epistle of “Mormon” to his son “Moroni,” about “four hundred years after Christ,” pages 613, 614. When I brought the foregoing passage of the “Book of Mormon” into view, at the time of my discussion with Mr. * What a lying ignoramus! In such a state of the atmosphere as this, where lights and fire wouldn’t burn, men couldn’t breathe. [19]

Pratt, he seemed not a little fearful that it would excite the indignation of the Pedobaptists who were present against Mormonism. So he undertook to soften it down by saying, that it was meant for those only who had great light on the subject, like the churches of that country in those days!

Just as if those who have the New Testament, containing the life and doctrines of Christ, and the writings of the Apostles, have not as much light on Christian duties, as juggler Smith can give through his pretended “Book of Mormon.”

Thus we perceive, that if we regard merely the improbabilities contained in the Book, of which the foregoing samples are but a few, it is totally unworthy of belief. It has the air of falsehood throughout. It has no appearance of truth. It seems just as a forgery would seem, and has not one redeeming trait in this respect to counterbalance. If such a work is not a forgery, then the landmarks of evidence fail, and we have no means of this nature for detecting forgery, and discriminating between falsehood and truth.

_____

ABSURDITIES.

Nephi creeps into Jerusalem by night. 14. How did he get through the city gate?

“I beheld wars, and rumors of wars.” 29. Beheld rumors!

When the company of emigrants from Jerusalem, headed by Lehi, arrived in America, it is stated that they found the forests stocked with beasts of every kind, among which was the ox!

53. Think of that:— a natural, forest ox.

“Now it came to pass, that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and [20] cried, saying,” &c. “And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose,”&c. “And again, Alma took another, and went forth a second time into the water, and baptized him according to the first, only he did not bury himself in the water.” 204, 205. A new way of baptizing indeed, for the administrator to bury himself with the candidate.

The “Book of Mormon” represents the Christian church, with all its ordinances, baptism, the Lord’s supper, the imposition of hands, and so on, as having been established in America long before the coming of Christ! It likewise represents the law of Moses to have been obligatory at the same time! 312, 370, and various other places.

“And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them.” 343.

The “Book of Mormon” states, that Christ appeared to the inhabitants of this continent after his resurrection, and not only exhibited his pierced side, as he did to Thomas, but that the multitude actually thrust their hands into it.” 503. * * * * * * * * This beats Gulliver, and every body else.

“And behold he” (Jesus) “prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.” 516. Why cannot the things which he prayed, and which the multitude heard, be written?

The “Book of Mormon” represents Christ as having chosen twelve American Apostles.

520. For what purpose, pray. The twelve Apostles in Palestine were to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, &c. Why then choose twelve American Apostles?

The “Book of Mormon” says, that a company emigrated to America soon after the confusion of tongues at Babel; and that they took with them not only the fowls of the air, and various kinds of creatures, male and female, but even “the fish of the waters.” 570. How provident! to carry fishes across the ocean! Think they took along with them any bottles of air?

The leader of this company of emigrants, was, it seems, one Jared. This Jared had a brother who could work miracles “just as easy as nothing.” Don’t you think, “he [21] said unto the mountain Zerin, ‘Remove!’ and it was removed.” I DECLARE! I never heard anything like it, except the Hindoo miracle of Vishnoo, who, it is said, drank a sea dry. What objects were accomplished by these miracles, does not appear. Perhaps Vishnoo wrought his to slake his thirst; and Jared’s brother his, because he “took a notion to.”

“The brother of Jared went forth unto the mount—and did moulten out of a rock sixteen small stones.” 573. To say nothing of the barbarism, “did moulten,” just consider the idea. What does the term moulten (properly spelt molten,) mean? Why, melt. So Jared’s brother, according to this passage, melted sixteen stones out of a rock!

But the “beat all” remains to be told. It seems there was, on this continent, long prior to the Christian era, so immense a population, that a single monarch by the name of “Coriantumr,” after having lost in one war “two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and children,” making in all something like eight or ten millions, succeeded in collecting another army, composed of men, women, and children, all “armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and headplates.” This army met another of the same description, under “Shiz.”

Well, at it they went; and after fighting days and days, they completely annihilated each other.

Not a soul was left on either side. “Coriantumr” and “Shiz” were the last, and they killed each other. There is no parallel for this in all history, excepting the battle of the Kilkenny cats, which was terminated by their eating one another entirely up, insomuch that not a single tip of a tail of any of them remained.

To put forth such absurdity as the foregoing, even in a novel, would ruin the work, because it is untrue to nature, and befits only those monstrous productions called “Stories for Children,” such as Fairy Tales, Little Red Riding Hood, and the like. But that it should be presented to the world as a matter of faith, and that any could be found who would actually believe it, is more wonderful than would be the occurrence of the events themselves. If absurdities like these can be believed, what is there too absurd for belief and why not believe every extravagant tale that any impostor may choose to utter? [22]

_____

CONTRADICTION OF SCRIPTURE.

I now approach a more important point in the investigation, and shall proceed to show, that Mormonism contradicts scripture, and moreover, that it strikes a blow at its very foundation.

While I was engaged in the discussion with Mr. Pratt, he several times complained that I brought up objections against the style and verbal inaccuracies of the “Book of Mormon,” instead of showing that it contained anything contrary to scripture. And I find the same idea reiterated in the Beacon, an infidel paper in this city, by a correspondent signed “E.” Now the assertion is utterly untrue. I did indeed notice many barbarisms, modernisms, absurdities, and nonsensical passages in that book, showing that the writer had neither inspiration nor common sense; but I likewise noticed more serious objections, such as contradictions of scripture, contradictions of fact, self-contradictions, and so on, some of which I am now about to notice again in this pamphlet.

Before I proceed to give specimens of contradictions of scripture, as contained in the “Book of Mormon,” it is proper to state, that it is a standing rule with the Mormonites, that the Bible is not a safe guide as it now exists. Ezra Booth, a Methodist clergyman, who was an early convert to Mormonism, but who renounced it on discovering its nature and design, says, in one of a series of letters addressed to a presiding Elder, dated Nelson, Portage Co., Sept. 1831, that the Mormon “revelations entirely supersede the Bible; and in fact, the Bible is declared too defective to be trusted in its present form, and it is designed that it shall undergo a thorough alteration, or, as they say, translation. This work is now in operation.— It was intended to have kept it a profound secret, and strict commandments were given for that purpose.” The reader will get an idea of the character of this altered Bible, from what Mr. Booth states in another of his letters. Speaking of Joseph Smith Jr. he says:—“In translating, the subject stands before his eyes in print, but it matters not whether his eyes are open or shut; he can see as well the one way as the other.” So it appears, that this Mormon alteration of the Bible is not made by means of a critical examina[23]tion of the original, according to the established rules of language; but by Smith’s inspiration. No regard is paid to the original; Smith tells, not what it is, but what it ought to be. The Mormon edition of the Bible, therefore, is not a new translation, but a new revelation— another gospel. Hence, as might be expected, Mormonism abounds with contradictions of scripture, and is in one sense a system of infidelity. It is a very common thing to hear its preachers, who know nothing of Hebrew or Greek, and very little of English, pronouncing such and such a passage erroneous, and telling how it should be. I find in Pratt’s “Voice of Warning,” page 152, an instance of this alteration or contradiction of scripture, as follows:— “It repented Noah that God had made man, and it grieved him at his heart.” This is the manner in which these Mormonites treat scripture; and what do infidels more? Let us now consider a few instances of the contradiction of scripture by the book itself.

“If Adam had not transgressed, they (Adam and Eve) would have had no children.” 69.

Now the Bible says, Gen. i. 27, 28, “God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Why male and female? What says common sense? Aye, and what says scripture too. Look. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” All this before man fell. And yet, “they would have had no children, had they not fallen,” saith the “Book of Mormon.” “They had no blood in them, and couldn’t have children before the fall,” saith Mr. Philosopher Pratt. How sage! Friend Pratt should write a work on natural and immortal history. But now again, “They would have had no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.” 70.

Mighty logician! Does the Deity, does Gabriel, suffer and sin? And yet, do they have no joy, and do no good? Once more. “If our first parents could have partaken of the tree of life, they would have been for ever miserable.” 273. What a wonderful punishment, then, must it have been, to expel them from the garden, and prevent their partaking of the tree of life. O mighty, mighty logician!

“Thou hast multiplied the nation, and increased the joy.”[24] “Book of Mormon,” page 101. “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.” Isa. ix. 3. Mr. Pratt acknowledged the contradiction in this instance, but strenuously contended that the “Book of Mormon” was right.

The “Book of Mormon” makes Christ both the Father and the Son, thereby destroying the distinction made in Scripture, and admitted both by Unitarians and Trinitarians; thus inculcating anew the long exploded doctrine of Sabellianism. See pages 198, 574.

Priests are to depend on their own labor for their support. “Book of Mormon,” pages 205, 225. Under the Jewish dispensation, they were to be supported, Numb. xviii. 21, 28, 29, 30, 31; Deut. xii. 18, 19; xvi. 27, 28, 29. Under the Christian dispensation, Paul says, “Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Cor. ix. 14. And common sense itself says, that if a man devotes his whole time and energies to any calling whatever, he should receive a fair support from those whom he serves. Well, then, as Mormonism says that priests shall depend on their own labor, it belongs neither to the law nor the gospel dispensation, nor yet to the dispensation of common sense; and it must therefore be considered a dispensation by itself, namely, lawless, Christless, senseless Mormonism. Mr. Pratt’s pretence, that this direction for priests to labor was intended only for the times when the church was poor, is unsustained by the circumstances in connexion with the direction, in one of the instances at least, and is at war with another position of his, that if it were to be reduced to practice, the priests even now, when churches are able to maintain them. “would have to strip off their gloves, and go to work.” Moreover, Paul gave his direction in the case when the churches were poor. But notwithstanding the command in the “Book of Mormon,” it would seem that the Mormon wire-workers pay no regard to it. Mr. Booth says, “Smith has commanded himself not to labor, and, by his mandate, has enjoined it upon the church to support him; and the Bishop, when we were in Missouri, intimated that he and others were too much inclined to indolence. He replied: “‘I am commanded not to labor.’” [25] “And behold he” (Christ) “shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem.” “Book of Mormon,” 225. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king,” &c. Matt ii.1. Bethlehem is six miles from Jerusalem. The expression, at Jerusalem, means in it, not near it. Here then is a flat contradiction of scripture.

“Behold the scripture saith, the Lord took Moses unto himself.” 369. Behold the scripture saith no such thing.

“That it should be shown unto the people a great many thousand years before his” (Christ’s) “coming.” 454. Adam himself was created only four thousand years before the advent of the Messiah. So, Mr. Nephi Smith, there were no people on the earth “a great many thousand years before Christ’s coming.”

“Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek.” 454.

“And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes.” 2 Kings, xxv. 7. Thus the Bible makes no exception, and therefore holds out the idea that they were all slain.

“The Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.—And the Lord had compassion upon their friends, and their families also, that they were not confounded.” 569. “The Lord did there confound the language of all the earth.” Gen. xi. 9. What can be a plainer contradiction of scripture than this?

There are many other contradictions and alterations of scripture, but I have not space to notice more. Let those who, in view of these contradiction, still adhere to Mormonism, relinquish at once their pretensions to Christianity, and a belief in Scripture, and avow themselves Mormon infidels.

_____

CONTRADICTION OF FACT.

America is called, in this Mormon Book, an isle of the sea. Page 91. This goes to destroy all distinction between islands and continents, and to confound terms, and render them unmeaning. America is not an isle of the sea; and this statement in the “Book of Mormon” is therefore untrue.

A hundred years is called in that Book a generation. [26] 543. But a hundred years is not a generation; and the Book itself shows this, in another part of it.

It is stated, that three of Christ’s American Apostles, and likewise the Apostle John, are yet alive on the earth—and that they go round about among the nations. 537, 545. Now, how do we know that the whole human race, from Adam till now, are not alive, and among us? By our senses, to be sure. They are not to be seen. In the same way we know, that John and Smith’s immortal three are not among the nations, and that the writer of the “Book of Mormon” is a most abominable liar, and the believers in it very great dupes.

“And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared, what will ye that I should do, that ye may have light in your vessels? for behold ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces.” 572. Here we have the idea of glass windows held out to us, immediately after the confusion of tongues at Babel, ages before glass was invented.

“And now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the Reformed Egyptian, being handed down, and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.” 567. We will now just examine this humbug of Reformed Egyptian.

The Mormonites have frequently declared, that the engravings on the plates, copied speciments of which had been shown to some of our learned men, have been by them pronounced to be “Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” or “ancient short-hand Egyptian.” Among others, Professor Anthon of this city has been mentioned, as having given such an opinion. Now, the following are some of the facts with regard to Professor Anthon.

Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the divine character of the “Book of Mormon,” called on Professor Anthon, about the period of the publication of that book, and presented for his inspection a paper purporting to contain a copy of some of the characters on the “plates.” “This paper,” says Professor Anthon, “was in fact a singular scrawl. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before, him at the time, a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, [27] crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted, or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calender given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained any thing else but ‘ Egyptian Hieroglyphics.’”

This settles the question of the “Reformed Egyptian” characters, and the “Golden plates,” in the mind of all who will regard evidence. Those who will not, must keep on making fools of themselves, for aught I see; for when men shut their eyes to the light, their case is hopeless indeed.

“The “Book of Mormon” mentions various kinds of spiritual gifts and miracles, such as, the “word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, exceeding great faith, the gifts of healing, mighty miracles, prophesying concerning all things, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits, all kinds of tongues, the interpretations of languages and of diverse kinds of tongues;” and it says, that these gifts will never be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, (which is more than the scriptures say,) only according to the unbelief of the children of men; that without faith of this miraculous nature, (for of this faith it speak in this connexion,) men cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and that if there be one good man, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

618, 619. At this rate, it would be a difficult matter to find a Christian, a good man, an individual who is in the way to heaven, in any religious denomination whatever. Where is a performer of miracles among them? Nay, where have been the miracle-workers in any period since the Apostolic age? And have there been no Christians, no good men, from that time till now. Have all mankind been damned during the last seventeen hundred years. Has the church of Christ been so long extinct, and his prediction, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, thus miserably failed? But now [28] these Mormonites—do they themselves perform miracles? If they do not, nay, if they do not perform all the miracles enumerated above, even they, according to their own book, are not believers, are not good, and will not be saved. But they say they do perform them. We say they do not. Now, if they can work miracles, it is in their power to prove the truth of what they assert, and their obligations to society require them so to do. Christ and his apostles, according to scripture, (which Mormonites profess to receive,) wrought real miracles, of a nature that admitted of no possibility of deception, such as making the maimed whole, giving sight to the blind, and raising the dead; and this too in the presence of multitudes, and before enemies. Let Mormonites give such evidence of their miracles, or make up their minds to be viewed and treated by an insulted community as a gang of lying impostors. But they can do nothing of the kind. There is evidence in abundance of their false predictions, and of their failure in attempting to work miracles, as will presently be seen. Thus we are enabled to prove the negative in their case—enabled to prove them false prophets and deceivers— and their book a shabby forgery, contradicted by plain matter of fact. And those who will still believe it under such circumstances, must either have lost their wits, or never have had any to lose.

In reply to our call for Mormon miracles, the Mormonites tell us that their Book contains an account of miracles, just as the Bible does, and that they therefore give as much evidence of the divine authority of the former, as we do of the latter. Supposing this to be the case, still would they themselves be under obligation to perform miracles, seeing this same Book of theirs, not only says that miracles were performed in past ages, but that they shall continue to be performed by believers to the end of time, which latter assertion, the Bible does not make; and hence the two Books, together with their adherents, are, in this respect, on very different grounds. Nor is this all. There is no evidence of the existence of the “Book of Mormon” prior to 1830, except the word of Joseph Smith jr. who presented it to the world, and three other witnesses; and consequently, there is no evidence of the miracles that Book states to have [29] been performed, excepting the testimony of four men who lived fourteen hundred years afterwards! Not so with the Bible. That is known to have existed ages and ages ago. And there is a very wide difference between presenting a book to the world ages after any are alive to confront its statements; and presenting one at or near the period to which it refers.

These four witnesses, then, occupy the place of the founders of a new religion. They present to the world, for the first time, what claims to be a new revelation, which any four impostors can do. Under these circumstances, it is necessary for them to furnish some evidence which impostors cannot. And what evidence can they furnish, under the circumstances of the case, except miracles? None whatever. Failing, therefore, to exhibit to us their miracles— such miracles too as the Bible mentions, that admitted of no deception, and that were performed, not in confirmation of absurdity, nonsense, and falsehood, but of good sense and truth:—failing, I say to exhibit to us such miracles, under such circumstances, they do not give the evidence which those who promulgate a new revelation are bound to give, but merely the evidence that impostors furnish; and hence there is the same proof of their imposture which there is of any imposture, viz. a failure to prove their pretensions by the requisite evidence. Unless, therefore, the Mormonites perform miracles as above specified, their non-performance proves them impostors.

_____

MISCELLANEOUS.

It is stated in the “Book of Mormon,” that the Nephites in America kept the law of Moses in all things. Page 77. It likewise speaks further of their keeping the law, Pages 113, 138, 165, 312. Now the priesthood was confined, by the law of Moses, to the tribe of Levi, and not even Christ himself, who was of the tribe of Judah, could be a priest under that law. Uzziah, king of Judah, was smitten with leprosy for undertaking to act the priest; and death was the penalty for intermeddling with the duties of the priesthood, on the part of those who were not legally designated. Sac[30]rifices and oblations were to be made only Jerusalem, after the establishment of the Temple worship there; and in that place alone were the Feast of the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles to be celebrated; to observe which, all the Jewish males were to go up to Jerusalem thrice a year, once to each Feast. The anointing oil for the priests, &c., together with a certain kind of perfume, was to be compounded in a specified manner, and it was made unlawful to make any other like it. None but a lawful priest was to offer sacrifice, and none but a particular kind of fire was to be used. And no addition or diminution was to be made to or from the law.—See Numb. iii. 10; xviii. 2, 3, 6, 7, 22; Heb. vii. 14; 2 Chron. xxvi. 16, 17; Deut. xii. 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 26, 27; xiv. 24, 25; 26; xvi. 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16; Ex. xxx. 22—33, 34—38. Lev. vi. 13; x. 1; Numb. iii. 4; xxvi. 61; Deut. vi. 2; xii. 32. Thus we perceive, that it was impossible that they could have observed the law of Moses in America They could have made no lawful sacrifices and oblations. They had no lawful fire for sacrifice, nor lawful anointing oil, nor lawful perfume. In the next place, the priesthood and the religious services which the “Book of Mormon” represents as having been established, not being Levitical, but of the tribe of Joseph, was a direct violation of the law. Moreover, the coexisting establishment of the Christina church and ordinances described in that book, being an addition, was also a violation of the law!

In the book under consideration, there are numerous plagiarisms from the Old and New Testaments, and from various other sources, put forth as the words of the prophets and prominent characters of ancient America. In some instances, the writers of scripture are quoted and credited before they were born! Thus “Nephi” five or six hundred years before Christ, quotes the words of Malachi, who lived but four hundred, (B C,) as follows:—“For behold, says the prophet, the day soon cometh, that all the proud, and they who do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned. 62.

“Now there was no law against a man’s religious belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God, that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal [31] grounds.” 323. Fine representation, most assuredly! The law of Moses, like the law of Draco, was written in letters of blood; and this for the very good reason, that God himself, not Moses, was the actual legislator. Talk of religious liberty in such a case! Ridiculous! transcendently ineffably ridiculous! As if a man were at liberty to hold an argument with the Almighty, on the propriety or impropriety of Divine revelations, and to believe and regard his law, or not, as he might see fit! No! there was no liberty under the Mosaic law, to deviate from it one iota. It was death! death! death!—death for idolatry, death for sabbath-breaking, death for false prophesying, (or Mormonizing, death for numerous exercises of “religious belief.” So much for the idea of religious liberty under the Jewish Theocracy!

It is particularly worthy of notice, that when scripture is quoted in the book, it is given in the language of our present translation. As if the Holy Spirit would inspire Joseph Smith jr. to give the same translation verbatim, as that given by the uninspired men who translated the Bible in the time of King James! Another notable circumstance is, that when any additional language is put by the writer of the book in to the mouth of the prophet, or Apostle, or scripture-writer, or character whom he quotes, there is at once a most miserable falling off in the style, and we are furnished with the swish-swash of Smith, or the forger of the Book, whoever he may be, couched in his beautiful “of which hath been spoken” idiom. Blind indeed is he who cannot perceive the forgery in these instances.

The “Book of Mormon” professes to have been written by various individuals, at different periods, from the time of the Confusion of Tongues, till 420 years after Christ. It is divided into about a dozen different books under different names. But the same style characterizes the work throughout, demonstrating it to be a bungling forgery.

“The Lamanites, because of their faith in me,” (Christ) “at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost; and they knew it not.” 500.

“And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth, and is baptized in my” (Christ’s) “name, shall be filled.” 536. Shall be filled with what? with nothing, so far as appears by the passage. [32]

It is laid down as a fixed principle in the book, that unless miracles are wrought in every age, God is changeable. 565, 566. Wonderful! Miracles must be performed, whether there is occasion for them or not! Is not that splendid! But what miracles have been all along performed during the last sixteen or seventeen hundred years?

“Wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” 593. Thus are we required to believe Mormonism without evidence. Why then not believe anything else without evidence? Christ made no such requisition as this. He appealed to his miracles, and the excellency of his doctrines, in proof of his divine mission.

It is worthy of observation, that there are no Indian traditions of the Judaism and Christianity, and the astonishing and miraculous events, described in the Book of Mormon; although the Indians—pardon me, the “Lamanites”—have traditions of the Deluge, and of many other remarkable events. Think of this, ye “Latter Day Saints.”

The “Book of Mormon” is another Gospel. Jesus Christ declared, that he that believes his gospel, and is baptized, shall be saved. The “Book of Mormon” contains various statements and considerations unknown to the gospel, and requires our belief of these also, threatening us with damnation in case of our unbelief; thus requiring what the gospel does not, as a condition of salvation. It is therefore another gospel; and consequently a preacher of it, though he be an angel from heaven, is, according to Paul, to be holden accursed. Let the dupes of Mormonism, then, beware, at the peril of their souls’ salvation, how they continue to adhere to this “damnable heresy.”

I will close under this head, by giving a brief account of the “barges’ built by Jared’s brother and companions, at the time of their emigration from Babel to America.

“And the Lord said, go to work and build, after the manner of the barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord.

And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water; and [33] 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 were 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. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me. And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light, whither shall we steer. And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish. And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared, behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top thereof, and also in the bottom thereof; and when thou shalt suffer for air, thou shalt unstop the hole thereof, and receive air. And if it so be that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole thereof, that ye may not perish in the flood.”

After following this sage direction, and giving the second finishing touch to the barges, according to the “Lord’s” command, the brother of Jared found that they still needed another finishing; for, “behold,” said he, “there is no light in them.” This was a sad oversight, to be sure; so the “Lord asked the brother of Jared what he should do that they might have light;” “for behold,” says the “Lord,” “ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you.” In fact, these barges, from the description of them given above, would look very much like a whale, or, at least like a sea-sarpint. But not to be tedions, the brother of Jared finally went, without any direction from the “Lord,” unto mount Shelem, “and did moulten out of a rock sixteen small stones.” He then cried unto the Lord; whereupon “the Lord touched the stones with his finger,” and caused them to shine. And Jared’s brother “saw the finger of the

“Lord,” and it was the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood.” At length the brother of Jared descended from the mount, and put the stones into the vessel; “and they did give light unto the vessels thereof.” And then they set out a[34]swimming these “vessels thereof” across the ocean, to America; and they were like “a whale in the sea”—or at any rate like a sea-sarpint, “of which hath been spoken.” See pages 571, 572, 573, 578.

_____

FALLIBILITY ACKNOWLEDGED.

The “Book of Mormon,” as has been seen, pretends to have been written and translated by inspiration. There is therefore no excuse for any error or mistake in the work; much less ought we to expect acknowledgments of fallibility by the work itself. But so it is, that this “inspired” book not only abounds with gross errors of various kinds, but it acknowledges that it has faults.

Hear its own words.

“And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men.” Title-page.

“Behold I mistake.” Amulek, a preacher and prophet, while uttering a prediction, page 264.

“Whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it, because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these.” Words of “Moroni,” the son of “Mormon,” who “buried the plates” of the “Book of Mormon.” Page 561.

“If there be faults, they be the faults of men; but behold we know no fault. Nevertheless, God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware, lest he shall be in danger of hell-fire.” Words of “Moroni,” page 562.

“Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God, that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” Words of “Moroni,” 567.

We have indeed, as “Moroni” says, great cause of thankfulness, that the faults and imperfections of the writings in the “Book of Mormon” are manifest to us. But this being the case, the threat of “hell-fire” for unbelief in the book, comes with a very bad grace from the said Mr. “Moroni,” and will frighten none but simpletons. If there are faults in the book, how do we know what part to[35] believe, and what to disbelieve, seeing no distinction is made between those faults, and other portions of the book, and we have no ancient versions to compare.

I have now completed my review of the “Book of Mormon.” Many things I have omitted to notice for want of room. But enough has been brought into view to show, that it is perhaps the most gross, the most ridiculous, the most imbecile, the most contemptible concern, that was ever attempted to be palmed off upon society as a revelation. To name it the same day with the Koran of Mohammed, would be an outrageous libel on that book. It has no merit even as a forgery. I have sometimes been inclined to believe, that it was not the object of the writer to produce an ingenious forgery; but that, for the sake of trying an experiment on the human mind, he took pains to make his book as bad as he thought by would any means answer, to see how great fools he could make of some, by getting them to gulp it down in this condition. Surely, there are errors of which the writer must have been aware, if he possessed common sense. My conclusion therefore is, that he was either a quiz, or a blockhead; for no ingenious impostor would ever have written such a work, intending it for general belief. As to the poor, deluded creatures who believe in its divine original, with all its numerous barbarisms, inconsistencies, modernisms, improbabilities, absurdities, contradictions of scripture, contradictions of fact, and CONFESSIONS OF ERROR, they are objects of pity, and are not to be confounded with the knaves who dupe them. It is most fervently to be hoped, that when they duly consider these circumstances, some of them at least will wake from their delusive dreams, and return to reason and truth, as many have already done.

There are certain predictions in the Bible which the Mormon preachers claim, as proving their Book to be divine. Those predictions have about as much reference to the “Book of Mormon,” as Jack’s pack of cards had to an almanac, a prayer-book, and a Bible. Even on the supposition that scripture prophecy shows, that a Book is to be found, in the manner in which the “Book of Mormon” is pretended to have been found, the latter cannot be the Book. A work filled with nonsense, absurdity, and false[36]hood, like the one under consideration, cannot be divine; and though miracles were not only pretended, but actually wrought; though “false Christs and false prophets should show great signs and wonders” in confirmation of it; still it would remain unproved; for nothing can make falsehood truth; and the miracles, if any there were, (though there is no danger of the occurrence of any Mormon ones,) would be attributable to diabolical influence, wrought, as in such an event thy would be, in confirmation of imposture. I say then, that if the Mormonites could work miracles in proof of their book, they would prove it to be, not a revelation from God, but a delusion of the Devil. As it is now, however, with nothing but pretended miracles to sustain it, it may be considered the production of silly knaves. There is not a single mark of genuineness and authenticity which it has; not one of imposture which it has not: and the principle that would lead to the adoption of this book, would also lead to the adoption of any imposition whatever.

_____

CHARACTER OF THE WITNESSES.

Before I bring this pamphlet to a close, it is necessary for me to examine the credibility of the witnesses who testify to the truth of the “Book of Mormon.” But I shall be compelled to observe great brevity, as my space is waning fast.

Three witnesses, namely, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, state that they have seen the plates of the Book “of which hath been spoken” that God’s voice declared to them that they had been translated by his gift and power; that the engravings on the plates had been shown to them by the power of God, and not of man; that an angel of God had laid the plates and engravings before their eyes; and that the voice of the Lord commanded them that they should bear record of it.

Eight witnesses, namely, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer jr. John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, sen. Hyrum Smith, and Sam’l. H. Smith, state, that Joseph Smith jr. had shown them the plates “of which hath been spoken,” that they had the appearance of gold; [37] that they handled the translated ones with their hands, and saw the engravings thereon, all of which had the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship; and that they had seen and “hefted” the plates.

As to the first three witnesses, if they really saw and heard something supernatural, as they pretend, it must have been of the Devil; because the God of truth, would never have made a revelation in confirmation of such a work as we have seen the “Book of Mormon” to be. With regard to the eight witnesses, if they saw plates, as they say they did, they had only the word of Joseph Smith jr. that they were the plates “of which hath been spoken;” whose credibility we shall consider anon. And we have already seen, by the statement of Professor Anthon, what kind of “ancient work, and curious workmanship,” the engravings were.

I have said, that if the three witnesses saw and heard something supernatural, it must have been of the Devil. I now say, that it is quite too much to suppose, that such fellows have been favored, even with diabolical vision. Mr. Booth, in his third letter, says:— “When I was in Missouri, I had an opportunity to examine a commandment given to these witnesses, previous to their seeing the plates. They were informed, that they see and hear those things by faith, and then they should testify to the world, as though they had seen and heard, as I see a man, and hear his voice.” There’s Jesuitism for you! Lo! the deceivers stand revealed! Saw and heard supernatural things by faith, and yet represent to the world as if they saw and heard literally!

But now again, I say, that such deceivers as we see these men to be, are not to be supposed to have seen and heard any thing even by faith. The whole “Golden Bible” fraternity, from Joseph Smith jr. down to Samuel H. Smith, at the “tail end of the heap,” can be viewed in no other light than that of lying impostors. Of this the reader will be convinced in a few moments. Look at the following statements. . . .

For the foregoing statements and affidavits relative to the character of the leading individuals concerned in “getting up” the Mormon imposture, as well as for much that follows, together with the design of the fronstispiece-engraving that adorns this pamphlet, I am indebted to a work entitled “Mormonism Unveiled,” a volume of 290 pages, written, printed, and published by E. D. HOWE, of Painsville, Ohio, in 1834—a work containing a rich fund of information in relation to Mormonism, from its rise, to the period in which said work was written. The statements and affidavits in that work are given at much greater length than I have presented them. Indeed, I have not even given an abridgment, but only some scattering extracts,

[45]

EXPLANATION OF THE FRONSTISPIECE.

Having spoken of the frontispiece, it is proper in this place to explain it. It is no caricature, but is a representation of an event described by the Smiths, as having transpired at the time of Joseph’s finding the Plates of the “Book of Mormon.” It would seem that they told various and contradictory stories at different times, in relation to the finding of the Plates; but the statement which constitutes the subject of our engraving, and which I copy from “Mormonism Unveiled,” is as follows:—

“After Joseph had obtained the Plates, a spirit assaulted him, with the intention of getting them from his possession, and actually jerked them out of his hands. Jo, nothing daunted, in return seized them again, and started to run, when his Satannic Majesty (or the spirit,) applied his foot to the prophet’s seat of honor, which raised him three or four feet from the ground!”

Speaking of the finding of the Plates, it would not be amiss, to say something respecting the disposition afterward made of them But this I shall defer, and make it the ground of another frontispiece, should I issue a supplement pamphlet.

_____

THE WITNESSES AGAIN.

What follows respecting the witnesses, I likewise extract principally from “Mormonism Unveiled.”

Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses to the truth of the “Book of Mormon,” frequently declares, that he has conversed with Jesus Christ, angels, and the Devil. Christ, he says, is the handsomest man he ever saw; and the Devil looks very much like a jackass, with very short, smooth hair, similar to that of a mouse. In addition to his excellent moral character, as already exhibited, viz. liar, adulterer, wife-whipper, &c., Martin made a prediction as followeth:—“Within four years from September, 1832, there will not be one wicked person in the United States; the righteous will be gathered to Zion, [Missouri;] there [46] will be no President of the United States after that time; every sectarian and religious denomination in the United States shall be broken down; every Christian shall be gathered unto the Mormonites; and the rest of the human race shall perish.”

Oliver Cowdery is another of the three. He, as well as Martin, assisted Smith, as scribe, in getting up the “Book of Mormon.” He is now associated with the leaders of Mormonism, and appears in easy circumstances. According to the affidavit of David Stafford, already brought into view, he was a worthless person, and not be trusted or believed when he taught school in Stafford’s neighborhood; and, from the following Mormon revelation, extracted from the Mormon “Doctrines and Covenants,” it would seem that Prophet Smith is of the same opinion as Mr. Stafford, in relation to Cowdery. The extract follows:—“Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servant Oliver Cowdery’s sake. It is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the moneys which he shall carry up unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who is true and faithful. Wherefore, I, the Lord, willeth, that my servant, John Whitmer, shall go with my servant, Oliver Cowdery.”— Sec. 28.

David Whitmer, another of the three witnesses, is one of five of the same name and family who have been used as tools in the fabrication of the Mormon imposition. He is a man of small capacity, and extremely fond of the marvellous. He is a leader among the Mormonites, and finds his advantage in the success of Mormonism. He states, that he was led by Smith into an open field, where they found the Book of Plates lying upon the ground; that he examined it; and that Smith said, it was in the custody of an angel!

The eight witnesses, who say they saw the Plates, not that they were divine, consist of three members of the Smith family, four of the Whitmer family, and one Hiram Page—all “birds of a feather,” prominent among the Mormonites, deriving great benefits from the success of the imposture, and proving nothing to the purpose, even if their testimony were credible.

So much for Joseph Smith, jr. and his witnesses; and [47] this much must suffice, although I have much more matter on hand of a similar nature, all calculated to show them to be perhaps the most infamous liars and impostors that ever breathed. One might as well believe the stories of a strolling band of gypsies, as the statements of such creatures. Indeed, they are ten thousand times worse than gypsies; for, to all the vices of the latter, they add the sacrilegious crime of polluting things sacred, and holding up the character of the Eternal to ridicule and contempt. I respect the rights of conscience; I am opposed to persecution for opinion’s sake.

Towards the dupes of the Mormon imposture, I would exercise all due forbearance and compassion. But as for the lying knaves who dupe them, such as Joseph Smith, jr. and other Mormon leaders, they are entirely out of the pale of charity. For their conduct, there is no excuse, no palliation. Mormonism is not with them a matter of faith. They know better. They know it to be an imposition. They know, that they themselves are impostors. They know they utter false predictions. They know they cannot work miracles. Hence they can be viewed in no other light than that of monstrous public nuisances, that ought forthwith to be abated. Every member of the community is under certain social obligations, one of which is, that he shall not knowingly deceive and impose upon that community. These vagabonds violate this obligation.

They do knowingly practise imposition of the worst description on as many of their fellow-citizens as possible. By their deception and lies, they swindle them out of their property, disturb social order and the public peace, excite a spirit of ferocity and murder, and lead multitudes astray on the subject in which, of all others, they have the deepest interest. The Mormon leaders, therefore, are nuisances of the worst descriptionBut I perceive I must draw to a close. The price of this pamphlet to subscribers having been fixed at twelve and a half cents, I cannot exceed my present limits as to its size. I find I have matter on hand quite sufficient for another pamphlet of the size of the present one. Should the public furnish me with a subscription for one thousand copies of such a pamphlet, I shall immediately proceed to publish it, as a supplement to this. [48]

❮ Back