A Lecture on Mormonism

1839

A Lecture on Mormonism Stevenson, H.

❮ Home

Stevenson, H. A Lecture on Mormonism, 3-32. Newcastle: J. Blackwell and Co., 1839.

A LECTURE ON MORMONISM, DELIVERED IN THE WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL ALSTON, December 7th, 1838

PREFACE.

—————

ABOUT eighteen or twenty months ago, a person of the name of Isaac Russel, came to Alston, from America, in the character of a missionary, or a prophet, and brought with him the Book of Mormon, which he represented as being the Word of God, and its inspiration equal, if not superior, to the Holy Scriptures. Several Wesleyans and Ranters, and a few who belonged to no religious sects of people, joined him, and were formed into a society. Mr. Russel returned to America; and a Mr. Fielding, from the same country, has occupied his place during a part of this winter, (1838.) The following lecture is intended to show that the Book of Mormon is not an inspired volume, but a foolish and wicked forgery; and that Mormonism is a system [3] of absurdities. The lecture was delivered without any idea of being sent to the press; but a number of my friends, who heard it, having requested me to print it,—it is in compliance with their solitation, that I send it into the world in the form of a little book. If, by the blessing of God, it should be the means of reclaiming any from the errors into which they have fallen, or of establishing any in their most holy faith, the design of its publication will be answered, and I shall feel myself amply rewarded.

H.S. [4]

A LECTURE.

—————

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,—or rather I would address you by the name of CHRISTIAN FRIENDS. I can do so with great propriety, for since I came to reside among you, all with whom I have had any thing to do have treated me with Christian kindness; and on my part, I stand before you this evening, with the pleasurable feelings of respect and friendship. Yet I cannot say that I am altogether without painful emotions. It is a painful reflection that there should be any occasion for a lecture of this description in a town like Alston, which is so full of religious privileges, and the inhabitants of which are so enlightened. But the most surprising thing of all is, that there are some who have borne the name of being religious, who are led away by this strong delusion.

For the information of those who have not read the Book of Mormon, I shall here give a short summary of its history.—It begins by relating an account of a man of the name of Lehi, of the tribe of Joseph, who is said to have lived in Jerusalem. He had a wife of the name of Sariah, and a family of sons, whose names were Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi; and after- [5] ward where were born unto him two other sons, who were called Jacob and Joseph. Lehi was a prophet, as also was his son Nephi, who succeeded his father in that office. The Lord, it is said, informed Lehi that Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Babylonians, and commanded him and his family to leave that city. This command was obeyed, and Lehi, and his wife, and family, departed from Jersualem, in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which was 600 years before the birth of Christ. The family travelled through the wilderness, and pitched their tents near the Red Sea. Here Lehi, by the command of God, sent his sons back to Jerusalem, to a man of the name of Laban, to fetch some brass plates which he had in keeping, on which was engraved the record of the Jews, and the genealogy of the family who were now wanderers in the Desert. The brothers set out, and arrived in Jerusalem, where Laban was found lying drunk in one of the streets. Nephi cut off his head, dressed himself in his clothes, and in that disguise went to Laban’s house, and took out the brass plates, and he and his brothers carried them to their father. Here they were joined by a man of the name of Ishmael, who had a family of daughters. These ladies were married unto Lehi’s sons, by whom they had a numerous posterity. Again they began to traverse the wilderness, nearly in an Eastern direction, though leaning a little to the South, and after having endured many privations, and many sufferings, pitched their tents by the sea-side. Here they built a ship, and all the family, both [6] men, women, and children, went on board; and after having been tossed about upon the ocean by severe storms, the wind blew them all over to the Continent of America, which they call the promised land, where they increased and multiplied abundantly. They who were righteous joined themselves to Nephi, and were called Nephites; and they who were wicked joined themselves to Laman, and were called Lamanites. Both of these people swelled into great nations, between whom were waged many dreadful wars, throughout many generations. Nephi was the first king and prophet who wrote the history of his time; and after him, his successors, as kings, or judges, and prophets, wrote the history of their times, down to Mormon, who, in the 420th year of the Christian Æra, buried the brass plates, on which the records were engraven. At the latter end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni, the son of Mormon, writes an account of 24 other plates of brass, which had been found by the people of Limhi, on which was recorded the history of Jared, who left the tower of Babel at the confusion of tongues; and he and his family were all blown over to America, in a vessel tight like a dish, with one hole at the top, and another at the bottom. These people multiplied into great nations, but being extremely wicked, fought with each other so furiously, that every individual became extinct, and when Lehi and his family arrived on that Continent, they did not find a human being on all the land. These plates were buried with the other, and lay concealed, until Joseph Smith, a few years ago, [7] was directed, in a dream, to go to a certain place and dig. He went, and dug accordingly, and, as might have been expected, found the precious treasure, from which the Book of Mormon has been very marvellously translated, by Joseph Smith, beside whom there were none on the earth, nor under the earth, who were counted worthy to make the translation.

You will here perceive, that the scene of this history is laid in the dark—in a country, which, at the time, was unknown to any other part of the world, and relative to which there is no history to contradict its statements. This, to say the least of it, gives the whole book a suspicious appearance. The author’s cunning appears in giving no chance for any record of events to contradict him. It is the character of falsehood to love darkness rather than light, because its deeds are evil. Base coins pass the best in the shades of night, when their baseness cannot be easily discovered. This precaution has not been overlooked by the writer of Mormon. But the contrivance will naturally make a thinking mind to ask, Is there no evil to be feared amidst these deeds of darkness?—Is there no snare laid for my feet?

As the Book of Mormon has a suspicious aspect, on account of there being no history to contradict it, so, likewise, it has the disadvantage of no history to confirm it. I heard Mr. Fielding, a Mormon prophet, in a public assembly, say, that “there is as much to prove the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, as there is to prove the divine authenticity of the [8] Bible.” What an assertion is this, for its foolishness and its wickedness! There is not a scrap of history on the face of the earth, to prove the truth of the former, and the history of the word unites to prove the truth of the latter. Read the histories of Egypt, Syria, and Assyria, with its two capital cities of Nineveh and Babylon,—the history of the Medes and Perisans,—the history of Greece, with the rapid marches, and numerous conquests of Alexander, the celebrated warrior, and his successors,—the history of Rome, and even of the Northern nations;—all these conspire together, in one way or other, to say, “The history of the Bible is true.” The venerable dead speak for the truth of the Bible; but on the subject of Mormon they are silent as the grave.

But although there is no ancient record to contradict or confirm the book in question, yet, when what is known of America since its discovery, is compared with the history of Mormon, it makes it appear just what it is, a complete fiction. The Book of Mormon, page the 53rd, says, “We did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts of every kind, both the cow, and the ox, and the ass, and the horse, and the goat, and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals.” This cannot be true, because there were neither oxen, nor asses, nor goats, on all the continent of America, when it was first discovered, a few hundred years ago. These kind of animals which are now in such abundance in that country, have been introduced by Europeans, [9] since its discovery. Such strangers were the native Americans to a horse, that when the Spaniards first went among them on horseback, they imagined that both horse and man were but one animal; or that such a strange looking being could not be much less than a god, or the son of a god. Nor are these a kind of animals which would be likely to become extinct. Before we can suppose that these animals, which are said to have been in such numbers, could become extinct, we must believe that all the inhabitants of America ran mad together, and slaughtered all these useful animals which they had in their possession. Or we must believe that all these kind of animals, which were wild in the vast savannas, ran mad, and made war upon one another, until not one was left alive. Or else we must believe that some epidemic disease fell upon all these animals together, and swept away every one from the whole continent of America. And, supposing such dreadful disasters had taken place among them, then their remains would have been found; and I am not aware that any geologist has found in America, bones, as fossils, which were likely to have belonged to any such animals as those of which I am speaking, and which lived and died in those ages of the world, to which the Book of Mormon refers. They who wish to pursue this part of the subject any further, are welcome to go and dig, in the extensive woods and savannas of America, for old horses’ heads, and old asses’ heads, and old cows’ horns, and goats’ bones, and prove that they belonged to animals which lived and died [10] upon the continent of America, between the time that the people left off building the tower of Babel, and the year of our Lord 1492. And suppose such fossils were found, who would choose to build their faith upon such a rotten foundation as old horses’ and old asses’ heads? Nor are there “all kinds of wild animals” in America; the lion, the zebra, the horned horse, and many others, are not now, and it is likely never were, inhabitants of America.

As to the question, How did the native animals, as well as men, get to America, I would refer you to Genesis, x. 25, “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided.” This scripture seems to intimate that the old and new continents were once united, and that by some great convulsion they were split asunder. I know there are different opinions respecting the meaning of this passage, some taking it for a political, and others for a physical division; but the passage itself is physical, and I shall found my opinion upon it, until somebody furnishes me with something that is more substantial.

According to the Book of Mormon, page 371, there were multitudes, both of men and women, on the continent of America, who were called Christians, long before Jesus Christ was born. This contradicts Acts xi. 26, where it is said, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

In the Book of Mormon, page 542, it is said, “And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth [11] year” (of the Christian era,) “the people were all converted unto the Lord upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites.” “They were all made free and partakers of the heavenly gift.” How strange? For when America was first discovered by Europeans, there was not one converted person to be found on that great continent; nor was the name of Christian known; nor was there any tradition in existence, that Christianity had ever been the religion of their fathers. Jesus said, Matthew xvi. 18, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and t0he gates of hell shall not prevail against it.0”

But if Mormon be true, this promise failed in America. The gates of hell completely prevailed, and this fine flourishing church of Christ became extinct. Its very name perished!!! But who can believe that there could be such a state of things as is here described, and in a few hundreds of years, not a vestige of them to be found?

According to Mormon, these native Americans could read, and write, and were engravers on brass; but when that country first became known to Europeans, the inhabitants knew no more about letters than a four-legged animal knows of the rules of logic; and not a scrap of writing was to be found. Surely Mormonism must be a very destructive system, for all things wither and die before it!

In the Book of Mormon, page 156, it is said, that the ancient inhabitants of America, had “Machinery.” What kind of machinery they had is not stated, and therefore the reader is left to his own conjecture. And among such a [12] highly-polished, learned, and enterprising people, which these descendants of Joseph are represented to have been, it cannot be too little to suppose, that they had cotton mills, and worsted-mills, and steam-engines to run on rail-ways. But then, what has become of them all? Why, like other things belonging to Mormonism, they have all been blown up, or by some other means have perished before this Mormon consumptive disease.

The Book of Mormon professes to have been written by many authors. But it is evident that the book was written by no more than one man. One and the same low, groveling style, runs through the whole work. How different to this is the Holy Bible?

Examine the five books of Moses, and you will find a style peculiar to himself. Turn over to the Psalms, and the style is quite different. Read the Proverbs of Solomon, and the style differs again. The style of Isaiah is remarkably sublime. Jeremiah is grave. Ezekiel is highly poetical, and his figures remarkably bold. Some of the lesser prophets have a smooth and easy style, and others of them are rough and blunt. Examine the writings of the apostles, and we see John shining in simple greatness. Peter is warm and sensible.

James is very pointed, and illustrates his meaning by many familiar figures. Paul appears to be furnished with all the learning of his days; he is mighty in argument, his language is powerful, his oratory on certain occasions is overwhelming, and the manner in which he speaks to all classes of people, are marks of his being both a faithful and highly gifted

[13] minister of the gospel. All this variety of style and a great deal more which I have not noticed, is found in holy writ; but from the beginning to the end of the Book of Mormon, one low monotonous style meets you straight in the face, and proves it to be one of the wickedest forgeries that was ever attempted to be palmed upon the world under the name of inspired writings.

As the Book of Mormon has but one man for its author in the stead of many, so this one man was a modern and not an ancient. He must have read the New Testament, because there are so many passages quoted, both from the Evangelists and the Epistles. I believe there are not fewer than two thousand. The following are a few specimens:—

1. “The last shall be first and the first last.”

Matt. xx. 16.

9. “He himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

1. Cor. iii. 15.

2. “One mightier than I cometh, the

1. “The last shall be first and the first latchet of whos shoes I am not worthy to shall be last.”

Mormon, page 35. unloose.”

Luke iii. 16.

2. “He is mightier than I, whose shoe’s

3. “The Lamb of God, which taketh latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” away the sin of the world.”

Mormon, page 25.

John i. 29.

3. “The Lamb of God who should take

4. “Behold the Lamb of God.” away the sins of the world.”

John i. 20.

Mormon, page 25.

5. “I saw the Spirit descending from

4. “Behold the Lamb of God.” heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Mormon, page. him.”

John i. 32.

5. “I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost came down out of heaven

6. “By the deeds of the law there shall no and abode upon him in the form of a flesh be justified.”

Rom. iii. 20. dove.”

Mormon, page 28.

7. “The love of God is shed abroad in

6. “By the law, no flesh is justified.” our hearts.”

Rom. v. 5.

Mormon, page 68.[14]

7. “The love of God which sheddeth

8. “How much more shall these, which itself abroad in the hearts.” be the natural branches, be grafted into Mormon, page 28. their own olive tree.” Rom. xi. 24.

8. “The natural branches of the olive tree should be grafted in.”—Mormon, page

25. “they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree.”

Mormon, page 39.

9. “They shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.”

Mormon, page 62.

10. “Out of weakness were made

10. “Out of weakness he shall be made strong.”

Heb. xi. 34. strong.”

Mormon, page 72.

11. “The sins which doth so easily beset

11. “The sins which doth so easily beset me.”

Mormon, page 75. me.”

Mormon, page 75.

12. Great and marvellous are thy works,

12. Great and marvellous are thy works,

O Lord God Almighty.”

O Lord God Almighty.”

Mormon, page 8.

Mormon, page 8.

13. “The mother of harlots.”

13. “The mother of harlots.”

Mormon, page 34.

Mormon, page 34

The passages from the Book of Mormon, are all selected out of the writings of Nephi, who is represented as the first of the Mormon Authors, and who is stated to have written 600 years before any part of the New Testament was penned, and therefore he could not possibly have seen the New Testament. And it was not possible for any of the New Testament writers to have seen the Book of Mormon, and therefore they could not quote from it. Consequently, we must conclude, that the writer [15] of the Book of Mormon is a modern author, and I believe he is yet alive and in America. I likewise object to the undue liberty which the author of Mormon has taken with the language of the Holy Ghost, in making so many unwarrantable alterations in many of the passages which he has quoted. In many cases after having passed through his hands, they appear like the man who “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves— who wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead.” And in other cases they are completely murdered, like a man who has been slain by the assassin’s knife, and lies bleeding on the ground.

The history of Mormon, imitates, indeed, the history of the Bible. There is some labour bestowed, in different language being used, and different figures being introduced, to prevent the imitation from being observed; but the author, after all, had not brains sufficient to hide the cheat. The Lord appeared in a flame of fire on a mountain and talked with Moses, Exod. iii.

“There came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock” out of which the Lord talked with Lehi, Mor., page 8. God called Moses and Israel to depart out of the land of Egypt, and they obeyed, and departed out of that country, Exod. iii. 10, xii. 41, 42. God is said to have called Lehi and his family to depart out of Jerusalem, and they obeyed, and departed out of that city,—Mor., page 9.

Moses and Israel wandered in the wilderness,—Num. xix. 33. Lehi and his family wandered in the wilderness,—Mor., pages 9, 10, 42, 43. The children of Israel murmured against Moses and [16] Aaron,—Numb. xiv. 2. A party of Lehi’s family murmured against Lehi and Nephi,—

Mormon, page 44, 45. The Lord was angry with the children of Israel for their murmurings,—

Numb. xiv. 26, 27. The Lord was angry with the family of Lehi for their murmurings,—Mor., page 45. Moses went up into a mountain to meet with, and to converse with the Lord,—Exod. xix. 2, 3. Nephi went up into a mountain and talked with the Lord,—Mor. page 46. Moses and Israel were guided through the wilderness by the pillar of a cloud,—Exod. xiii. 21. Lehi and his family were guided through the wilderness by a spindle, which pointed the way that they should go,—Mormon, page 42. Moses and Israel passed through the Red Sea miraculously,—Exod. xiv. 21, 22, 29. Lehi and his family passed over the sea miraculously,—Mormon, pages 51, 52, 53.

After the children of Israel had endured many sufferings, they took possession of Canaan, the promised land,—Joshua xxiv. 13. After Lehi and his family had endured many sufferings, they took possession of America, which is called “The land of promise,”—Mor. page 53. In the Book of Mor., page 583, the daughter of Herodias dancing before Herod, as related by the Evangelists is curiously mimicked. A very beautiful young lady is introduced to our notice, and she dances before a gentleman for the purpose of gaining his admiration and affection; she succeeds, and he asks her father to give her to him for a wife; and the condition on which the lover was to have her was, that he should cut off the head of [17] her grand-father! And this monkey-like mimickry is received by a set of latter-day simpletons, as the word of God!!!

By the account which Nephi, who is represented as being the first Mormon author, gives of himself, he did not know the difference between things which are sacred and things which are profane. His own words are, “I do not write any thing upon plates of brass, save it be that I think it be sacred. And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, would I excuse myself,”—page 54. And this is called an inspired writer, who does not know whether he is writing about sacred, or profane things! He writes about repentance, faith, and obedience, and for any thing that he knows, these may be very profane subjects. And when he tells us that he cut off Laban’s head with his own sword, and robbed his house of the brass plates, these might, for aught he knew, be very sacred and holy actions.

Mormonism is a new gospel, for according to it, none who have heard one of their prophets lecture, or have read the Book of Mormon, can be saved, except they believe both in the doctrines and history of that foolish book. I asked Mr. Fielding, a Mormon prophet, the following question,—Suppose I believe in all the grand doctrines of the Book of Mormon, such as the fall of man, the restoration of the world by Jesus Christ, repentance, faith, justification, obedience to the commandments of God, and a few others of the [18] same kind, and reduce them to practice, can I be saved, if, at the same time, I do not believe that Jared went over to America in a vessel “tight like unto a dish” with “a hole in the top thereof, and also in the bottom?” (Mormon, page 572.) He replied, “I will not answer that question.” I said, no, because you dare not. You have not a face to say that my salvation depends upon my believing that Jared went over to America in a vessel “tight like a dish;” and if you was to say that I can be saved without believing it, you are aware that you would make the whole history of Mormon not worth a rush. But it is the opinion of this people, that a man who has read the Book of Mormon, must believe in its history, and among other things, that Jared went over to America in a vessel “tight like a dish,” or he cannot be saved. Is this new, or is it old? Did anybody hear before these Mormons came among us, that the Salvation of a man depends upon his believing that Jared went over to America in a vessel “tight like a dish?” And St. Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,”—Gal. i. 8

Mr. Fielding, the Mormon prophet, said, “Religion in the first place is to keep the commandments.” Is this true, or is it not? I say it is not true. A man must believe the commandments of God, before he will keep them. Keeping the commandments of God is necessary; but faith must go before. Faith is the root, of which keeping the commandments is the [19] fruit. But to put the keeping of the commandments before faith, is like planting a tree with its branches fixed in the earth, and its roots waving in the air; or something like putting the coach before the horses. But the Book of Mormon goes a little beyond the prophet. It says, on page 168, “Behold, all that he (God) requires of you is to keep the commandments.” Here faith, hope, love, and every other grace are swept away before this Mormon besom of destruction.

In the Book of Mormon, pages 519, 20, and page 605, it is written, “The disciples bear record that he (Jesus) gave them power to give the Holy Ghost.”—“Ye shall have power, that on him whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost.” This is authority which the holy apostles never assumed. We do read of persons receiving the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands; but it was not the apostles who gave it. It was the Lord who chose to give the Holy Ghost on those occasions,—See Acts viii. 17, and xix. 6. But although the Lord chose to give the Holy Ghost by by the impositions of hands on some occasions, he has no where bound himself to give the Holy Ghost by no other means. The Lord has left himself at liberty to give the Holy Ghost either with or without the imposition of hands, just as he pleases,—See Acts x. 44, and x. 15. But Mormonism is endeavouring to make the world believe that the apostolic succession is lost in all the European Churches, and that it is restored to the Mormons, and to no one else. If all this [20] be true, behold what a state the world is in! A man may repent and believe the gospel, but if a Mormon is not at hand, or if the Mormon should not please to lay his precious hand upon his head, he must go without the Holy Ghost as long as he lives, and die in his sins. These gentlemen must suppose that they have gotten the Almighty bound down in such adamantine chains, that He can no more give the Holy Ghost unto them that ask him, except it come through their own finger ends!! “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth.”!!!

In the Book of Mormon, page 70, we are taught to believe, that if Adam and Eve had continued in a state of innocence, “They would have had no children.” Now we see how much we are indebted to sin and the devil! If Mormon be true, we owe our existence to the devil! At this rate, none of us would have been here if it had not been for the devil!! And consequently, none of us would ever have enjoyed the pleasures of religion, or the glories of heaven, if the devil had not prevailed over our first parents, and enticed them to sin. On this ground there would not be much impropriety in saying, “Come let us sing to the praise and glory of” the devil.

Glory be unto his un-holy name.

In the Book of Mormon, page 116, it is said, “The Lord God hath given commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love, and except they should have charity they were nothing.” These word are true; but when they are explained by a Mormon, they are made to mean, that all men should think and speak [21] well of the Mormons, and love them; but that the Mormons should neither think nor speak well of any body but themselves. They compare all churches but their own to so many Bables, which must be overthrown, and the people must either become Mormons, or be damned. I have therefore presumption to think, that my Christian charity is better than theirs. For instance, we have in Alston, Church people, Dissenters, Primitives, Quakers, and Wesleyans; and I have charity to believe that all among these sects, who fear God and work righteousness, will be saved. But the charity which these latter day gents extends to no body but themselves. It is a charity which begins at home, and keeps at home, never going one step beyond its own door.

In the Book of Mormon, page 504, it is said, “Neither shall there be any disputations among you, concerning the points of my doctrine; for, verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, ( Christ) but is of the Devil.” Here the world is required to believe in the Book of Mormon without disputation, and he who dares to contend on the subject of religion with one of these people, is represented as being a child of the Devil, and, according to their tenets, must be destroyed. At the same time, there is no body who is more contentious than the Mormons. Their prophets give public challenges for any person, or any ministers, or any kind, to come forward and dispute with them on any subject belonging to their religious peculiarities; but when any one accepts of the challenge, they [22] cry out “persecution, contention, a child of the Devil.” It is my opinion, therefore, that if being contentious is a mark of a man being a child of the Devil, there are no people in the world who are more like the children of the Devil than the Mormons; for they are just about the most contentious people under the sun.

The Mormon prophets, and the Book of Mormon, pages 565, 6, condemn all churches as having lost the Holy Spirit, because they work no miracles, such as healing the sick, and raising the dead, and yet the Mormons themselves work none of these miracles; and therefore, on the same principle, they have none of the Holy Spirit, and cannot be true believers. But I heard Mr. Fielding say, that his brethren in America do work miracles; and if all accounts be true which come from that country, he was not far from being correct. The news from Philadelphia state, that in the state of the Missouri, the Mormons mustered a band of 400 strong, on the 25th of October, 1838, and plundered and burned every house in the town of Gallatin, together with the court-house, and post-office; driving helpless women and children into the wilderness—and attacked and slaughtered a company of 50 militia men, except three or four who made their escape with great difficulty; and when the account came away, the Mormons were gone to attack the town of Richmond, where they intended working more miracles of the same kind, and if the President of the United States should have no more charity than to send a stronger body of soldiers to put a stop to these [23] miracle-workers, they will then cry out again, “persecution, contention, children of the Devil.”

It is true that Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover,”—Mark xvi, 17, 18. This Scripture was fulfilled in the days of the Apostles, over and over again; but there is no promise that such signs shall accompany or follow every individual that believes, in all ages, in all places, and down until the end of time The Holy Spirit is promised to abide with the Church for evermore; but there is no such promise respecting miracles, and we have no right either tobelieve, or to pray for, what the Lord hath not promised.

Nor is the Lord a changeable being, because he does not work the same miracles now as he did hundreds and thousands of years ago. The Lord once divided the Red Sea, but there is no change in him because he does not divide it once every year.

It is my opinion, that a Church which pretends to work miracles in these latter ages, proves itself to be an apostate Church. “They are the spirits of devils working miracles,”—Rev. xvi. 14. “Doing great wonders, and deceiving them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles whichhe had power to do,”—Rev. xiii. 13, 14. “Whose coming is after the workings of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.”—2 Thes. ii. 9. But the Alston Mormons can neither show us a [24] genuine wonder, nor a “lying wonder.” As to the American miracles which I have described, we want none of them. The true signs of a Christian Church are, when a people love God and one another, and manifest their love by keeping the commandments.

When I heard the Mormon prophet lecture, he read Gen. xiix. 22—26. When he came to the words, “From thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,” he said, “this is the Book of Mormon, which comes from the native Americans, who are a branch of the tribe of Joseph.”

Could any thing be a greater perversion of Holy Scripture? The whole verse runs thus, “But his (Joseph’s) bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong, by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, (from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.)” Examine the former part of this verse, and you will see, that the things mentioned relative to Joseph, are “his bow,” and “the arms of his hands,” which “were made strong.” The latter part of the verse speaks of the “hands of the mighty of God of Jacob,” and “from thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.” According to these words, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life,”—John iii. 16. In Holy Scripture, a book is no where compared to a Shepherd, nor to a Stone; but Jesus is called the Great Shepherd, and also a Stone, which is laid in Zion, as a Chief Corner-stone, and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [25].

Mr. F., in his lecture, quoted Psalm 1xxxvii., “Truth shall spring out of the earth,” and he said, “This is the Book of Mormon, which sprung out of the earth, when Joseph Smith dug into the ground in America, and found the brass plates, from which this Book was translated.” Now, if such an explanation as this was needed, I could find many a man who has taken the Bible into a lead-mine, or into a coal-pit, and it sprung up out of the earth again, when both the man and his Bible were twirled up, from many fathoms deep. But Jesus calls himself the truth, and he was crucified and buried, and the third day “sprung out of the earth,” when he arose from the dead.

Mr. F. in his lecture, read Ezekiel xxxvii. 16, 17,—“Take thee one stick, and write upon it for Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick, and they shall become one in thine hand.” “Now,” said Mr. F. “The stick of Judah means the Bible, and the stick of Joseph means the Book of Mormon;” which Mr. F. laid one upon the other, and added, “These two sticks are become one, and will go through the world.” They who could sit and hear, and believe such wicked perversions of the Word of God, must have bidden farewell to reason, and every grain of common sense. Let any man read from the 18th to the 22nd verse of the same chapter, and he will easily perceive that the sticks have no reference to [26] a book of any kind. But the two sticks in the hand of the prophet becoming one, was a sign unto both the nations of Israel and Judah, that they should become “one nation—and one king should be king to them all; and they should be no more two nations, neither should they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” Now I object to the Holy Bible being called a stick; but I have no objection to the Book of Mormon being called a stick, and especially as their own prophet has given it that title. (Here the Rev. J. Harper, who was in the front of the gallery, called out, “And it is a rotten stick, too.”) I was just going to say, it is a crooked stick—it is both rotten and crooked. When I heard this title applied to the book in question, it made me examine my Bible, to see what it says upon the subject of sticks, and I will just refer you to three places where the word stick or sticks is mentioned, and you will perceive that the title, when applied to Mormon, is rather appropriate than otherwise. In Numbers xv. 32-36, we are informed of a man who “gathered sticks”—that is, according to Mr. F., the Books of Mormon—“upon the Sabbath-day,” and the congregation of Israel stoned him to death for his trouble. I do not mean that the Mormons should be pelted with stones; they should rather be pitied, and prayed for. When the prophet Elijah, as related in 1 Kings xvii. 8–13, went to a widow of Zerephath, he found her “there gathering sticks,” that is, the Books of Mormon, to make a fire of them, and he approved of what she was doing, and encouraged her in her proceedings. [27] I do not mean from this, that the Book of Mormon should be committed to the flames, although it richly deserves such a fate; yet I would preserve it as an ill-written novel, and as a monument of human folly. Those little books called Tom Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer, and Cock Robin, are gentlemen, when compared with this queer thing. In Acts xxviii. 3–6, we read of St. Paul gathering “a bundle of sticks,” that is, “a bundle” of the Books of Mormon, “and laid them on the fire,” and “there came a viper out of the heat.” To carry on the figure, this would be the old serpent the devil, who came out of Mormon, and if he had not been in, he could not have come out. He could not stand fire, but came out all in a rage, “and fastened on his (Paul’s) hand.” Many who stood by, thought Paul would be killed; but he very deliberately “shook of the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.”

Now, my Mormon friends, shake off this Mormon beast, shake him off into the fire, from whence he came; and a more sacred fire, the fire of love divine shall all your sins consume, while you escape like a lamb which has been taken out of the jaws of the lion, and the paw of the bear, and shall be introduced into a purer element than that in which you have lately lived and breathed.

There is just one thing more unto which I mean to call your attention, and that one thing is more serious than all the rest. The Mormons do not worship the Lord Jesus. They do not think it right to pay divine homage unto Jesus. I will state to you how this fact was ascertained. [28] In the first prayer which I heard a Mormon prophet offer up, the name of Jesus was not mentioned, any more than if there had not been a Jesus in existence. A few days after, as I was thinking about this prayer, the thought struck my mind, perhaps this people do not worship the Lord Jesus at all. Soon after this, I heard the same prophet offer up another prayer, and I observed the name of Jesus was mentioned in this second prayer; but not all as an object of worship. After a few more days had passed away, I accidentally fell into the company of two Mormons, and I asked them, Do you worship the Lord Jesus? One of them answered, “No, we pray unto the Father in the name Jesus, but we do not worship Jesus.” And no longer since than yesterday, my friend, Mr. Stephens, who is in the corner of the seat at my left hand, was in the company of several of these people altogether, and brother Jacob, who I expect holds an important office in their church, told my friend, Mr. S., that “They can neither find precept nor example in the Scriptures for worshipping Jesus.” Mr. S. pointed out the following Scripture passages. The “Wise men from the east, saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him,—

Matt. ii. 1, 2. “He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him,”—Heb. i. 6. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and honour, and glory, and blessing,—Rev. v. 12. To these passages they made no reply, and the reason was, because they did not [29] know how.* That these people do not worship the Lord Jesus is very strange, while their own beloved Book of Mormon, at page 55, says, “The God of our fathers—the God of Abraham and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men to be lifted up, and to be crucified, and to be buried in a sepulchre;” and on page 350, the prophet Alma is represented as giving an example of prayer to Jesus. The words are, “And never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him, and I did find peace to my soul.” But this Jesus, this God of their fathers, the Alston Mormons are either too ignorant, or too proud to worship. They will [30] not praise and glorify the Lamb that was slain. They will not even with their own prophet “cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, or as it is expressed in the 343rd page of Mormon, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.” But the Holy Ghost itself has said, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; of things in * I understood that this Lecture was delivered, the Alston Mormons are ashamed at its being known that they do not worship the Lord Jesus, and they deny having said that they do not worship Jesus; but they did say the very words which I have stated. And when I reasoned with them upon the subject, Mr. T. asked me “How many Gods I would have them worship?” And as to brother Jacob having denying what he said to Mr. S., there was a person, or persons present, who heard the conversation, and bare witness of what I am saying, being true. Besides all this, I have been at their meetings, and have heard both the prophet and people pray several times, and I am sure that not one of them ever worshipped Jesus in my hearing. They appeared as if they studiously avoided all prayer and praise unto Jesus Christ. At the same time they have a little foolish book of Hymns of their own composing I should think, in which the American mountains are praised and magnified to a very high degree. heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,”—Phil. ii. 10, 11. How is it possible for Mormons to die in the Lord, while they disdain with dying Stephen to pray, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”—Acts vii. 59. It is said of the Mormons, that they love cold water, and it is very clear that they are far more fit to be ducked in a river than to go to the heavenly world; for how can they join with saints and angels round about the throne, in saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever,”—Rev. v. 13.

I shall conclude these few remarks, by advising the Mormons to begin again to read the Holy Scriptures diligently and with prayer, that they may see the necessity of retracing their steps, and turning again unto the Lord, from whom they have so grievously revolted. And at the same time I shall remind Churchmen, Dissenters, Primitives, and Wesleyans, that a common enemy has appeared among them, one that aims at the destruction of them all. He has already struck a bold, though feeble blow at our common Christianity, and his aim is to lay [31] every section of the Christian church on a level with the dust. He is nothing like Joseph’s “Fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall,” that the daughters of Israel might gather the delicious fruit; but his attempts are to break down “the wall,” and on its ruins, and on the wreck of nations, the downfall of which they are constantly predicting, they mean to erect a temporal empire, to the exclusion of every body but themselves. Every sect of Christians holding the grand doctrines of the Bible, should begin in good earnest to love each other fervently, to pray for each other faithfully and effectually; “For so is the will of God, that with well-doing they might put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,”—1 Peter ii. 15.

FINIS.

❮ Back