“The Mormons.” Alton Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) 4, no. 22 (25 May 1839).
As a considerable number of these people have recently arrived in this State, where it is not improbable that they may attempt to make a permanent settlement, any thing that relates to them, or their peculiar religions tenets, cannot be wholly uninteresting to our fellow citizens. We have therefore extracted into our first page, from an eastern paper, a singular account of the Origin of the “Book of Mormon, or “Golden Bible,” which they profess to regard as a direct revelation from Heaven, but which the rest of the world generally consider as a gross imposture.—How far Mrs. DAVISON’S statement is entitled to implicit credence, we cannot under take to say. Let it suffice to remark, that its authenticity is attested by a few reputable names, and that it bears at least the appearance of probability. It may nevertheless be a mere fiction; while the book of which it speaks may be worthy of more attention than those by whom it is ridiculed are willing to allow. Be this, however, as it may: the experience of all ages and countries, our own not excepted, clearly proves that there is not absurdity; either in religion, politics, or science, which may not rank some really honest and worthy individuals among its supporters and advocates; and the general knowledge that such is the fact, and that neither the light of nature, nor the influence of education and instruction, can bring all men to think alike on any subject, should teach every one to practice universal toleration, and to treat the opinions of others with courtesy and forbearance. Nothing is more certain than that, however deluded and fanatical the Mormons may be, they have an undoubted right, under the Constitution of the United States and of this State, to worship their Creator agreeably to the dictates of their own consciences, provided that, in so doing, they do not infringe on the acknowledged rights of others; and we hope that, so long as they shall conform to the laws, and discharge the ordinary duties of good citizens, their persons and property will remain unmolested.