Mormonism

1844

Hunt, James H. Hunt, James H.

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Hunt, James H. Mormonism: Embracing the Origin, Rise and Progress of the Sect, with an Examination of the Book of Mormon; Also, Their Troubles in Missouri, and Final Expulsion from the State, St. Louis: Ustick & Davies, 1844.

MORMONISM:

EMBRACING THE ORIGIN, RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE SECT,

WITH AN

EXAMINATION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON;

ALSO,

THEIR TROUBLES IN MISSOURI, AND FINAL EXPULSION FROM THE STATE.

BY JAMES H. HUNT.

WITH

AN APPENDIX,

GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF THE

LATE DISTURBANCES IN ILLINOIS,

WHICH RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF JOSEPH AND HYRUM SMITH.

BY W. WESTBROOK.

St. Louis:

PRINTED BY USTICK & DAVIES.

1844.

PREFACE.

IN presenting this work to an enlightened public, the prefatory remarks we shall indulge in will be few and general. Our chief object has been to give a plain unvarnished account of the difficulties which have occurred between the citizens of Missouri and the “Latter-Day Saints,” since they located on their “eternal inheritance” in Jackson county, Missouri: this we have done with “an eye single” to truth, denouncing and exposing whatever has been done amiss by either party.

Numerous falsehoods have been set afloat by the Mormons regarding their troubles in Missouri, and promulged in the most solemn and impressive manner, amongst those unacquainted with the facts, by which public sympathy has been awakened in many places, and contributions raised to repair their imaginary losses. It has been our aim to disabuse the public mind on this subject, and refute various slanders against the citizens of Missouri. We are indebted to Mr. E. D. Howe’s labors for a portion of the fore-part of this work from which we have selected arguments and facts that, in our opinion, cannot be circulated too extensively, or published too often.

It may appear to some, that we have occasionally treated our subject with too much harshness and levity. To this objection we reply, that Professor Turner [iii] says, “It is difficult to make that which is in its own nature ridiculous appear respectable when truly presented; that it is hard to reason down, by mere argument, what has in no manner been reasoned up. In fact, it has been our purpose to set Mormonism in such a light before those whose reason cannot perceive the truth, that they may nevertheless see its inherent grossness, and look upon it with utter contempt: we feel justified in this, since we see that Mormonism always takes best where it is least known.

Mormonism, in our view, is a dangerous ism—dangerous to the ignorant and unwary, being calculated to mislead them in matters where the eternal welfare of the soul is at stake—dangerous to our political institutions and government, having a direct tendency to overturn the former and subvert the latter; dangerous to the Christian religion, having made more than a hundred infidels to one true believer: hence the necessity for the present work must be apparent to every friend of truth.

We have said that Mormonism increased infidelity: let their arguments speak for themselves, and prove the assertion true. A favorite doctrine with them is, that “if the Book of Mormon is not true, the Bible is false.” Says Elder Rigdon, “the only true church of Christ spoken of in the bible possesses all the gifts bestowed upon the apostles.” “And these signs shall follow them that believe:” they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; take up serpents; if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover,” &c. No church ex- [iv] cept the “Latter-Day Saints” pretend to these gifts, and if they do not possess them, the Book of Mormon, which they held of equal authenticity with the Bible, is not true, and, of course, the Bible is false.

The Mormons now claim to number one hundred thousand in the United States and Canadas, besides a vast number in Europe, and each successive season adds its swarms of paupers to their church. They now number eighteen thousand at Nauvoo; have the State arms in possession; have been in war and blood since their organization, and now engaging in new difficulties with the citizens of Illinois. Joe says he will be to the people of this generation what Mahommed was to the people of his day, and that he will yet make it a gore of blood from Maine to the Rocky Mountains.

Is it not well that these facts should be made public, that the people may be prepared to see to them? We hope, dear reader, that we have discharged all the obligations we were under to the public and ourselves; and if our book should save one soul from the devouring jaws of Mormonism, we shall be amply compensated for our labors.

ST. LOUIS, May, 1844 [v].

HISTORY OF THE MORMON WAR; &c.

CHAPTER I

A SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER OF THE PROPHET JOE AND HIS FAMILY; WITH SOME OF THE PRINCIPAL ACTORS IN THAT SINGULAR IMPOSITION, THE MORMON BIBLE.

THE Smith family, among whom is our hero, the Prophet Joe, emigrated from Royalton, a village in the State of Vermont, about the year 1820, when the Prophet was, as is supposed, about sixteen years of age. They located in Manchester, Ontario county, New York, where they carried on various unimportant operations till the year 1830. From their peculiar habits of life, as will soon appear, they became known to a vast number of persons in that portion of the country, and without a single exception, as I am informed, every person knowing them unite in representing the general character of the family as unprincipled, idle, ignorant, and superstitious—believing firmly in ghosts, witches, and enchantments, fortune-telling, &c. They professed to believe the earth was full of hidden treasures, buried by Robert Kid, or the Spaniards; and being withal too lazy to make a living by honest industry, their minds seemed entirely directed towards discovering where these treasures were concealed, and the surest mode of acquiring their possession.

[5]

Our hero, in the interim, had become an adept in the occult sciences—the use of the divining rod, and looking into what they termed a “peepstone;” his fame had spread throughout the country, and, gathering a horde of idle, credulous young men to perform the labor of digging, he commenced in search of gold and other hidden treasures.

In course of time numerous excavations were made, but, unfortunately, they never dug deep enough to find the object of their search. However, the good resulting from their labors overbalanced their misfortunes, as Joe has since informed us that here the golden plates were found, containing the important facts upon which the salvation of a world depends.

We cannot learn that the Prophet ever entered those excavations, to perform any portion of the labor, his business being to point out the locations of the treasures, which he pretended to do by looking at a stone placed in a hat.

Whenever his dupes became dissatisfied at not finding the desired treasures, his ever-inventive and fertile genius would find a story to hush their complaints. He would sometimes tell them that the treasure was there, but was removed by a spirit just before they came to it, or that it sunk deeper into the earth.

The gross ignorance of this man was looked upon, by his early followers, as his greatest merit, and as furnishing the most incontestible proofs of his Divine mission. This has ever been the wardrobe of impostors: it was the mantle under which that prince of imposters, Mohammed, took shelter, in order to carry in his train the ignorant and superstitious of his time.

Our Prophet either neglected, or was denied, the common advantages of education: his followers have told us, that at the time he was “chosen of the Lord” he could not even write his own name: yet all these [6] deficiencies in Joe’s acquired abilities seemed amply supplied by a natural genius, strong inventive powers of mind, a deep study, and an unusually correct estimate of the human passions and feelings. In fact, from all I know of Joe, I conclude, he is endowed with all the requisite traits of character to pursue, most successfully, the humbug he has introduced. His address is easy, rather fascinating and prepossessing, of a mild and generally sober deportment, when not irritated, though at times inclined to jest and be exceedingly merry. He frequently becomes boisterous by the impertinence or curiosity of the skeptical, and assumes the bravado, instead of adhering to the meekness he professes. His followers, of course, can discover in his very countenance all the indications of a Divine mission.

The next person concerned in this singular imposition is Martin Harris, who is one of the three witnesses to the truth of the Book, having been shown the plates by an angel instead of our Prophet, who always had them in possession. Before his intimacy with the Smith family, he was generally thought by his neighbors to be an honest man, given to habits of industry. He resided in the town of Palmyra, where he had accumulated a handsome property. He was naturally of a visionary turn of mind on the subject of religion, entertaining the same opinion but a short time, having attached himself to several denominations in a few years, and talked so much about the religious dogmas of the day, exposing their absurdities, &c., that he had almost exhausted the subject with himself. He seemed to be a fit subject for Smith to approach, on the New Bible speculation, in which he engaged, with the view of making a handsome fortune from the sale of the books, as he was often heard to say. The whole expense of publishing an edition of 5,000 copies was borne [7] by Martin Harris, to secure the expenses of which he mortgaged his farm at $3,000. After failing in his anticipations about the sale of the books, (the retail price of which, they say, was fixed by an angel at $1.75, but afterwards reduced to $1.25, and since that to any price they can obtain,) he adopted Joe as Prophet, Priest, and King. Since that time, the repeated demands upon Martin’s purse has reduced it to a very low ebb. He seems to have been the soul of the whole imposition, and now carries the most incontestible evidence of a religious maniac. He says, that he had often conversed with Jesus Christ, with angels, and the devil, and that God himself has frequently been present when he was conversing with the devil, yet seemed averse to chatting. Christ, he says, is the handsomest man he ever saw; and that the devil looks very much like a jackass, with very short smooth hair, similar to that of a mouse. He says, he wrote a considerable part of the Book as the Prophet dictated, and at one time, he remembers distinctly, the presence of the Lord was so great, that a screen was hung up between him and the Prophet. At other times, when the presence was not so great, the Prophet would sit in a room or up stairs, while the Lord was communicating to him the contents of the plates.

He does not pretend that he ever saw the wonderful plates but once, although he and Smith were engaged for months in deciphering their contents. He has abandoned his wife, to follow the fortunes of Smith. He frequently takes a turn of prophesying, though he is not generally thought to be the real genuine prophet, like unto Joseph. We here give two specimens of his prophetic powers, that was written for the special information of a friend of his, who placed them upon the wall of his office:—

“Within four years from September, 1832, there will not [8] be one wicked person left in the United States; the righteous will be gathered to Zion, (Missouri,) and there will be no president over these United States after that time.

“MARTIN HARRIS.”

“I do hereby assert and declare, that within four years from the date hereof, every sectarian and religious denomination in the United States will be broken down, and every Christian will be gathered unto the Mormonites, and the rest of the human family shall perish.

“If these things do not come to pass, I will hereby consent to have my hand separated from my body.”

“MARTIN HARRIS.”

Few men can talk faster and say less than Martin, who never appears in his proper element unless engaged in the bar-rooms and streets, discussing the most abstruse theological questions, declaring every thing has been revealed to him by the “power of God.” During these fights of fancy, he often prophecies of the coming of Christ, the destruction of the world, and damnation of such persons as he is not pleased with.

At one time he declared that Christ would be on the earth in fifteen years, and all who did not believe the Book of Mormon would be destroyed, and no mistake. He is so light-minded and whimsical, as to be the source of much trouble and perplexity to the more intelligent portion of his brethren, and undoubtedly would long since have been cast off by Smith were it not for his money, and the fact that he is the key that could unlock the whole delusion. Martin is generally believed, by intelligent people, to be laboring under a partial derangement; and that any respectable jury would receive his testimony, in any case, of ever so trifling a nature, we do not believe; yet, the Mormonites think him a competent witness to establish contraventions in the order of nature, and every kind of strange enigmas. [9]

Oliver Cowdery is next in suit. He was also chief scribe to the Prophet while transcribing, after Martin had lost 116 pages of the precious document in his encounter with the devil. An angel* also has shown him the plates from which the Book of Mormon proceeded, as he says. He is a blacksmith by trade, and sustained a fair reputation until his intimacy commenced with those money-diggers. He was one of that numerous society in the world who devise the ways and means to avoid the toils and cares of honest industry, and live without work. He accordingly quit the more honorable business of blacksmithing, and commenced Joe-smithing, by becoming the editor of a small monthly publication issued under the directions of the Prophet, and principally filled with accounts of the spread of Mormonism, their persecutions, and the visions and prophecies of Joe: since he commenced his latter occupation his fortunes have been various, though not interesting.

David Whitmer is the last trump, and third special witness who signed the certificate with Harris and Cowdery, testifying to have seen an angel deliver the plates to Joe. He is one of the five of the same name and family who have been used as witnesses to establish the imposition, and have since been great men in the Mormon camp. They were noted in their neighborhood for credulity and a general belief in witches, and, perhaps, were fit subjects for the juggling arts of Joe. David first related that he was led by Smith into an open field on his father’s farm, where they found the books of plates laying upon the ground; Smith took it up, and requested him to examine it, which he did for the space of half an hour or more, when he returned it to Smith, who placed it in its former position, alleging [10] that it was in the custody of an angel. He describes the plates as being about eight inches square, the leaves being metal, of whitish yellow color, and of the thickness of tin plates, and the back secured by three small rings of the same metal, passing through each leaf in succession; that the leaves were divided in two parts equidistant between the back and edge, by cutting the plates in two parts, and uniting them again with solder, so that the front might be opened, while the back remained stationary and immovable, and was consequently a sealed book, which would not be revealed for ages to come, and which Smith himself was not permitted to understand. On opening that part which was not secured by seals, he discovered, inscribed on the aforesaid plates, divers wonderful characters, some large and some small, but beyond the wisdom of man to understand, without supernatural aid. This account was sometimes partly contradicted by Harris, and since, wholly contradicted by David himself. While in Missouri, the leaders of the church concluded that David was possessed of a devil; he became turbulent and refractory to such a degree, that they received a commandment from God to take the fellow to the timber and flagellate him for his seditious conduct.

They lynched him; and though the plan may seem novel, they undoubtedly cast a devil out of him, for upon receiving such striking proofs of their affections, he seceded, and

* John Angel. says now, that he testified to seeing an angel deliver the plates to Joe, and that he considers his statement literally true, though people don’t generally understand it in a proper sense. The angel whom he saw deliver the plates to Joe was a gentleman of that name, who he was acquainted with.

Although this statement may have been literally true, yet it was not true in the sense David knew it would be understood. Such apologies to excuse his want of [11] veracity would indeed make milder devils blush. Since his secession from the Mormons, he has been engaged at driving a team about Richmond, Mo., and is making a sustenance more honorable than when among the Mormons, if not so agreeable to his inclination.

Can any rational creature suppose that Deity ever chose such changeling renegades to be the witnesses of a new dispensation to his children?

CHAPTER II.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE MORMON BIBLE—THE IDENTICAL URIM AND THUMMIM MENTIONED IN EXODUS XXVIII. 30, FOUND BY THE PROPHET.

THE various verbal accounts, all contradictory, false, and inconsistent, which were given out by the Smith family, in reference to the finding of certain gold plates, will be found in this work. Since the publication of their bible, they have been less contradictory in their statements respecting it. They say, that some two years previous to the finding of that important postulation, Joseph, junior, began his interviews with angels, or spirits, who informed him of the wonderful plates, and the manner and time of obtaining them.

This was to be done in the presence of his wife and first child, which was to be a son. In the month of September, 1827, Joseph got possession of the plates, after a desperate struggle with a spirit. The remarkable event was soon raised abroad, and the Smith family commenced making proselytes among the credulous and lovers of the marvellous, to the belief that Joseph had found a record of the first settlers in America. Many profound [12] calculations were made about the amount of their profits on the sale of such a book. A pious fraud does not seem, at this time, to have entered into their minds, yet, soon after, it turns out religious speculation. The plates, in the meantime, were concealed from human review—hid up unto the Lord; the Prophet declaring that no man could look upon them and live. They at the same time gave out, that along with the plates was found a huge pair of silver spectacles, too large for the present race of men entirely, but which were, nevertheless, to be used in translating the plates. The translation at length commenced; and strange to tell, dear reader, they were found to contain a language not known on earth! (which they termed, “reformed Egyptian characters”); so the plates so much talked of were found to be of no manner of use whatever.

Howbeit, after all, the Lord showed and communicated to Joe every word and letter of the book. Instead of looking at the “reformed Egyptian characters” upon the plates, the Prophet was forced to resort to the old “peep-stone,” which he previously used in money-digging: this he placed in a hat or box, as formerly, into which the Prophet put his face. Through the stone he then could discover a single word at a time, which he repeated aloud to his amanuensis, who committed it to paper, when another word would appear immediately, and thus the performance continued to the end of the book.

“God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform.”

He writes his will upon a plate,

His prophet reads it in a stone.

Another account given of the transactions is, it was translated with the big spectacles, before mentioned, which were in fact the identical Urim and Thummim mentioned in Exodus xxviii. 30, which were brought away by the heroes of the book from Jerusalem, handed [13] down from one generation to another, and finally “hid up unto the Lord,” in Ontario county, New York, some fifteen centuries since, to enable Joe to translate the plates without looking at them!

Before the work was completed, under the pretence that some person was trying to destroy the plates and the Prophet, they relate that the Lord commanded them to depart into Pennsylvania, where they could proceed unmolested.

Joe, accordingly, removed his family thither; but, it appears, it was at the request of his father-in-law, instead of the command of God. A box, which was said to contain the plates, was conveyed in a barrel of beans, while on the journey. Soon after this, his father-in-law, Mr. Isaac Hale, on account of his daughter, agreed to sell Smith part of his farm, provided he would go to work, and quit his impositions. Joe said he had given up his former occupation, and concluded to labor for a living; but unfortunately, in a few weeks, Harris made his appearance, and soon Cowdery was in attendance, and Joe again commenced looking into his hat and telling of his bible. In the interim, Harris fell in company with the devil, who made an assault upon him, and came off victorious, taking with him 116 pages of their bible, which had been translated. Cowdery was the chosen scribe to finish the work; after which the plates were buried up by command of the Lord, in a place unknown to the Prophet or any other person.

At length this omniverous postulatum was got ready for the press, and issued in the summer of 1830, nearly three years from the time it was brought forth from its hiding-place. It is a book of nearly six hundred pages, and is, unquestionably, one of the most unreasonable disgusting works in the English or any other language. It is less interesting than any thing we have ever seen. It was most probably written by an atheist, to try an [14] experiment upon the human understanding and credulity. The author, although a man of learning, studied barrenness of style and expression, without an equal in the annals of literature. It bears the stamp of imposition upon every page. If the God of all creation should condescend to give us a written declaration of his will, it would not be filled with such idle vagaries as would disgrace a common scribbler: the fact is, this Book of Mormon is the most contemptible piece of presumption that has ever come under our own observation, and as an admixture of blackguardism and nonsense we will poize it against the world. It won’t bear examination in any point, yet we will proceed more in detail.

The title-page says:—

“The Book of Mormon; an account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi; wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the house of Israel, and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and revelation: written and sealed up and hid up into the Lord, that they might not be destroyed: to come forth by the gift and power of God, unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of the Gentiles; the interpretation thereof, by the gift of God, and an abridgment taken from the book of Ether.

“Also, which is a record of the people of Jared, which were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven; which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel how great things the Lord had done for their fathers, and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of Jews and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations.

“And now, if there be fault, it be the mistake of men, [15] wherefore condemn not the things of God, that he may be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.

“By Joseph Smith, junior, Author and Proprietor.”

The reader will recollect that Joseph Smith, junior, is always held out as a very ignorant person; so much so, that he can write nothing except it be dictated to him, word by word, by the mouth of the Lord; and consequently the Lord dictated this little page.

Then, here we have a specimen of a little page, according to Infinite Wisdom, constituting Joseph Smith, junior, “author and proprietor,” in order that he may have the sole profit of the work.

Although the Mormons have the Bible at their tongues’ end, and always come down with a torrent of Scripture, sweeping away objections like chaff before a hurricane, proving every thing by the Bible, we think it will puzzle them very much to find an instance where the God of all creation has ever sent a message to his children, and that in the most astonishing and miraculous manner, and constituted any individual its retailer, and sole sharer of its profits! But we are told, “the ways of God are past finding out:” and he has therefore given to Joseph Smith a “copy-right” to sell this last message, and that, too, from the hand and seal of “R. R. Lansing, clerk of the northern district of New York.”

But a saving clause is inserted in the title-page, and several times repeated in the book. It seems that neither the Lord or Smith were willing to avow themselves the authors of the whole imposition: “and now, if there be fault, it be in the mistake of men”!!! Here, then, we have an acknowledgment that there may be faults—a budget of truths and falsehoods, sent forth to imperfect man from the God of all perfection, without a single rule being given whereby to distinguish one from [16] the others!!! Alas! the credulity of man—is he to be ever the dupe of priestcraft?

One thing worthy of remark, as we pass along, is, the manner of speech often used in this Book of Mormon falls in tune with the latest Yankee style: “Now, if there be fault, it be the mistake of men;”—“had ought to be,”—“should ought to have,” &c. Let it be some consolation to the “universal Yankee nation,” that Deity has complimented them so far as to adopt their peculiar style of homely phrases. But the fact is, this frequent assumption of Yankee style detects the antiquity of the book, and proves most clearly, that it is only a late patent Yankee invention. The real author, notwithstanding his studied ignorance, was well acquainted with the classics.

The name of most of his heroes have the Latin termination of i, such as Nephi, Lehi, Maroni, &c. The word Mormon, the name given to his book, is the English termination of the Greek word “Marmoo,” the definition of which we find to mean “bugbear, hobgoblin, raw head and bloody bones.” It seems, then, that the writer gave his book not only a very appropriate, but classical name. His experiment upon the human mind he thought would be more perfect, by giving it a name, in addition to its contents, which would carry upon its face the nature of its true character—a fiction of hobgoblins and bugbears.

Our readers will bear in mind that the boasted antiquity of this Book of Mormon can only be disproved from the internal evidence it contains against itself; from its very nature, it admits of no other testimony; but these evidences are so full and perfect in every respect, as to defy the learned ingenuity of Mormons.

How did the “remnant of Israel,” in North America, (or North American Indians) become acquainted with the classics? How does it so strangely happen that [17] this “reformed Egyptian” falls in beat so admirably with the Latin terminations? Why, the truth is, that Solomon Spalding, who wrote the original romance which was metamorphosed into the Book of Mormon, was a man of letters—an erudite historian, well acquainted with the classics—well skilled in the Latin dialect; and in order to give his novel the appearance of antiquity, chose such names as Nephi, Lehi, Maroni, &c., with the Latin termination; and in converting his novel into a religious work, the stupid blunderers retained the very names which detect the whole imposition. The keys which unlock the whole mystery are left within the reach of every one, although such unexampled caution has been exercised in closing up every avenue, that might lead, through the medium of oral testimony, to a disclosure of its origin. Spalding’s novel will be more fully noticed hereafter.

Next comes the “Preface,” signed, “The Author,” which shows the Lord was willing to approve and adopt the most modern plan of making books, by inserting a title-page, copy-right and a preface. The substance of the preface is, that the author had translated 116 pages from the plates of Lehi, written by the hand of Mormon, which were stolen by some persons:

“And being commanded by the Lord that I should not translate them over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering their words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated, and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of his generation, that they might not receive this work; but, behold, the Lord said unto me, ‘I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing; therefore, thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until you come to that which you have translated, which ye have retained, and behold ye shall [18] publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus will I confound those who have altered my words.’”

The facts respecting the lost manuscript we have not been able to ascertain: they sometimes charged Harris’ wife with hiding it in the fire, but this she denies. They were, however, taken from the possession of Harris, by a miracle wrought by Satan. The Prophet has undertaken to inform the reader how the Lord got him out of this dilemma:

“Thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi until thou come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained, and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi.”

Here the God of Truth, in order to counteract the works of the devil, is represented by Smith as palming off upon the world an acknowledged lie; the records of Lehi must be published as the records of Nephi.

Again: how could Smith know when he came to that which he had translated, without looking at the plates—(which he could not read if he did)—for he does not pretend that there was any miracle in the operation? but expects one not fully endowed with the folly and wickedness of “the Author” can believe, for a moment, that God would make known his will in such language.

Again: an important record, which had been made by a miracle—kept for ages by a miracle—dug from the ground by a miracle, was stolen by some one, so that a miracle could not restore it; and thus were the designs of the Lord counteracted by “Satan putting it into them to tempt the Lord.” Pish!—such stupid nonsense is only fit for impostors to preach, and fools to believe.

“The Book of Mormon” is divided into a number of books, each purporting to have been written by different individuals, upon plates of brass, so far as the history of Lehi, the founder of the vast settlements which were [19] situated on the Isthmus of Darien, were concerned; and upon plates of gold, so far as relates to one Jared* and his posterity, who were not confounded at the destruction of Babel, but were miraculously navigated by the hand of the Lord across the ocean.

The history of Lehi and his posterity commences in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, six hundred years before the Christian era, and ends about four hundred years afterwards, which concludes the history, or fiction. The whole work is written in a miserable attempt to imitate the style of King James the First, and the sameness is such, and with such tautology of phrases, from the beginning to the end of the work, that no one can be left in doubt in identifying the whole with one individual author.

We have yet to learn that the style of King James is better calculated to reveal the will of Heaven than is the modern and more refined language; indeed, we consider it as strong evidence against the work now under consideration. If God chose to reveal himself, it would be done definitely, and in such language as might by all be clearly understood. And why all this periphrastic of history? Why, good heavens, it has nothing to do with salvation: Jesus Christ, nor the writers of the New Testament, furnish no such examples; none of those long, nonsensical yarns, appear there; a simple plan of redemption is laid down, with a few self-evident rules to govern our moral conduct, and here the matter ends, without attempting to reach beyond the utmost ken of human thought. [20]

The first book is entitled, “The Book of Nephi,” and commences its narrative with the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem. He had four sons—Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi; the last of whom is the principle hero in the present book, and is himself his own historian according to this ex-cogitation. He is a gentleman, a scholar, an engraver, and a worker of metals; for he says:—

“Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates of brass, which I have made with mind own hands; wherefore, after that I have abridged the record of my father, then will I make an account of mine own life.”

* As to “one Jared and his family, who were not confounded at the tower of Babel,” those who will read the 9th verse of the 11th chapter of Genesis, will be convinced of its inconsistency with the Bible account, which says, “therefore is the name of it called Babel, (that is, confusion,) because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth, &c.”

Lehi dreams marvellous dreams previous to his departure from Jerusalem, and sees visions truly strange and wonderful. He goes about prophecying of the great calamities that await the Jews, and warns them to flee from the wrath to come. The people at length become vindictive at his clamor, and threaten his destruction. Then, to rescue Lehi, and to bring about wonderful events, God warns him to flee into the wilderness, and leave all his great possessions, his gold and his silver, and take nothing with him but his family, his tents and provisions. A miserable condition, indeed, for the wilderness!—no clothing, no weapons, nor tools to make them with. Not dispirited, however, the command is obeyed, and he travels until he arrives at the borders of the Red Sea.

Then three elder brothers became dissatisfied, probably from their adversity and privations, and accused the father of being visionary, &c. Nephi represents himself as being the particular favorite of the Lord, (or his narrator does for him,) for he says:—

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceeding young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know the mysteries of God,” &c. God blesses him, [21] and makes a covenant with him, and promises him a choice land, which is above all others.

Nephi is commanded by his father, together with his three brothers, to go back to Jerusalem, to the house of one Laban, who has in his possession a record of the Jews, engraven on plates of brass, as he is informed by the Lord in a dream; and that it likewise contained the genealogy of his ancestors. Nephi is ready to go, and by some little persuasion the four brothers embarked for the plates at Jerusalem. Laban, who has them in his possession, refuses to give the plates to the ambassadors; but Nephi was not to be foiled; two unsuccessful attempts are made, and the third time, Nephi finds Laban drunk within the city, and says—“And I, Nephi, beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof, and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine; and I saw the blade thereof was of most precious steel.” (P. 12.) This is the earliest account of steel to be found in history.

Alexander the Great, who lived about three hundred years after the time here named, employed iron for points to his implements of war, as we are told by Josephus, who tells us also that he complained that his weapons were so easily blunted; now, if steel had been in use, either at Rome, Jerusalem, or Damascus, at the period here spoken of, by the time Alexander came upon the stage it would have been common, and he would have used it for his weapons, instead of iron. Damascus was once famous for manufacturing swords, but it was long before the Christian era. A coarse kind of steel, or iron carbonated, was used in the days of Julius Cæsar, about one hundred years before Christ.

The covenant with Lehi gives him a choice land. And again, he says, his father has obtained a promise from the Lord, that he should have a choice land. (P.14.) Whether these are separate lands, we are left to con- [22] jecture. If they are the same, one of the promises are gratuitous: when the Lord covenanted with Abraham, he promised him the land of Canaan, which should be inherited by his posterity forever. It is true the covenant was renewed with Isaac; but he was the rightful heir. If the Lord had covenanted with Abraham and with Isaac for a land, we should naturally infer that they were different countries, especially if the covenant had been made with Isaac first. Nephi says, the promise of the choice land is to him exclusively, as can be seen on page 9; consequently, each have a separate land. But the sequel of the fiction informs us, that they all embarked in one ship—land on this side of the Atlantic, and dwell together until Lehi dies.

Nephi says, he drew forth the sword of Laban, and cut his head off, which enabled him afterwards to obtain the plates, by false pretences and deception. Thus, we see, the author would have us believe, that the Lord sometimes accomplishes his designs by murder and lying. Lehi receives the plates from his sons, examines them, and finds, to his great satisfaction, that he is a descendant from Joseph, the son of Jacob. “And now, when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the spirit, and began to prophesy concerning his seed; that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, which were of his seed; wherefore, he said, that these plates of brass should never perish, neither shall they be dimmed any more by time.” (P. 15.) These plates have not been found: if they have, we have not been furnished with a translation.

Nephi and his brethren are again sent back to Jerusalem, to bring with them, into the wilderness, a man by the name of Ishmael, and his family, which consists of daughters and sons enough to accommodate each family with husbands and wives. Now, in this affair [23]several contradictions appear to us, which we are at a loss how to reconcile. This man, Laban, from the account, must have been a wealthy citizen of Jerusalem; from the description of his sword, a prince might envy its ownership.

He must have been an important character in the city, or the care of these highly interesting plates would not have been confided to him; and yet that this man should have been robbed and murdered, and these circumstances have created no excitement, is, to say the least, a matter of surprise: and some time after the murder being committed, the assassin goes to the deceased’s house, to obtain the plates, still carrying Laban’s sword, we suppose, for he brought it away with him. It was truly a miracle that the murderer was not detected and brought to justice. But, admitting the escape of such a bold assassin, which is next to impossible, it is still more astonishing that he should return to Jerusalem in a few days after, on a courting expedition, and should succeed in his suit, and bring off his lady without being molested. Such glaring incongruities would disgrace a school-boy, much less an inspired penman, or a prophet. And the very fact of this Nephi robbing Laban of his sword, would alone be sufficient to convince us, that he was not the man of God he pretended to be: but when we find him taking a cowardly advantage, and murdering a helpless drunk-man, for refusing to deliver up the sacred trust of a nation that was confided to his care, to a savage woodsman, we conclude that he is better qualified to do the work of the devil than to be the confidential agent of Heaven. But presumption can assume anything, and call it divine, and the most irrational falsehoods contained in the Book of Mormon is believed, by the superstitious portion of them, with a vengeance only known to fanatics [24].

Nephi is the first inspired penman that has attempted to satisfy the curiosity of his readers concerning himself, by giving a description of his own person. He says—“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature,” &c. By the sentence, “And it came to pass,” we understand, that in course of time it came to pass: the sentence implies a lapse of time: so then, in course of time, Nephi became “exceedingly young,”—“nevertheless” he still remained “large in stature.”

How young a person would have to be who was “exceedingly young,” I am at loss to determine; yet I should suppose a person one minute old might with propriety be called “exceedingly young,” but could not, at the same time, be called, “nevertheless, large in stature:” this is indeed a solecism. A person cannot in course of time become “exceedingly young,” though after arriving at the strength of the mind, he might become very foolish, and write falsehoods and inconsistencies, and this possibly was the case with Nephi, or his narrator. The reader will remember, that when Joseph commenced his interview with angels and spirits, he gave out, that the wonderful plates were to be found in the presence of his wife and first child, which was to be a son, and it seems that some profound calculations were made about the future greatness and importance of this son.

However, we are informed that this son, contrary to the Prophet’s prediction, was not present at the finding; and so far from it, that Mrs. Smith, “the elect Lady Emma, “conceived and bare a—little puny daughter,—which died in a few days, and every possible endeavor was used to conceal its birth and death.

But to return to the Book of Mormon: On the return of Nephi from Jerusalem, some quarrels and contentions arise, which Nephi settles in a most mas- [25] terly manner; after which, the males of both families take wives, with which the provident author very kindly provided them. The three next pages, viz., 18, 19, and 20, are taken up in relating a marvellous dream or vision, in which Laman and Lemuel are represented as being finally apostates, and would be cut off. Nephi informs us, that he is at that time engraving or writing on plates, which he calls after himself. We are not informed how the plates of Laban were disposed of.

A little further, on page 21, he says he has a commandment from the Lord, to make plates, for the special purpose of making a record of his own ministry, and of his own people.

Here our hero introduces himself as a minister, and having the charge of a people: he is in the wilderness destitute of every thing, but tents and provisions—every thing was left behind—gold, and silver,—no metals or tools; but the command to make the plates is obeyed. We shall be compelled to institute a chapter of miracles, in order to account for the manner of making brass plates in the wilderness, without tools or metals, and likewise to satisfy our readers upon many other points in review.

Miracles will account for anything, however ridiculous, whenever our minds preponderate in favor of the subject to which the story may be attached. Any thing, however preposterous and false it may be, if believed to be of Divine origin, needs no evidence, because nothing is impossible with Deity. Lehi comes out with a most marvellous prophecy, considering the period in which it is made; not so much on account of the prophecy, as the language which he uses in its expressions. After the doctrine of the fall is familiarly explained, he speaks of Jesus Christ, and calls John by name, and quotes the words from Isaiah, or Matthew’s Gospel, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make his [26] paths straight;” and continues, “for there standeth one amongst you whom ye now not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoes’ latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

(John i. 26, 27.) Here is another miracle, in choosing the precise language of King James’ translation, more than two thousand years before it was arranged, and six hundred before the sentiment was uttered. The plan of redemption is explained at the same time, and the only way of salvation proclaimed; consequently, the law was abrogated at that time, and the Nephites were Christians. These were the earliest Christians we have an account of— that is, six hundred years before the Christian era.

We had imagined, from the Bible account of this matter, that Christ must appear on earth—die, and be raised from the dead before all was fulfilled. If it were possible for the plan of redemption to have been unfolded, without the actual appearance of Christ in the flesh, why did not the patriarchs with whom God made his covenants and his promises preach redemption, through the atonement, instead of sacrifices and ceremonies? But we are informed, by this same prophet Lehi, that “all mankind was in a lost and fallen state; and ever would be, unless they should rely on this redeemer.” (P.22.) From the last paragraph, the author views the matter in the same light with us, that is, that the Christian religion was revealed and made known to the Nephites six hundred years before the advent of Jesus Christ. Lehi speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith in the son of God: “And the son of God was the Messiah.” Let us compare these sentiments with the views and declarations of the writers of the New Testament: “But when the Comforter is come, then I will send you from the Father,”&c. (John xv. 26.) From this we should infer the Holy Ghost was yet in anticipation, because he is [27] promised; and to confirm our view of this subject, we will cite a few other passages:—“It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the comforter will not come unto you.” (John xvi. 17.) “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John xvi. 8.) But ye shall receive, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you.” (Acts i. 8.) In the second chapter of Acts we find all these promises fulfilled.

Lehi continues his preaching, speaks of John and of the Virgin Mary, and calls her the “Mother of God,” and declares the way of salvation, by Jesus Christ, through faith and repentance. (P.25) All the prophets of the Bible were far behind our Lehi, and they prophesied falsely too, if our Book of Mormon is true. If any one can reconcile the contradictions and incongruities between the Scriptures and Lehi’s prophecies, we shall acknowledge it more than we are able to do, and as yet believe it more than can be done.

We are amongst the last that would misrepresent any thing counted sacred, or that would show the least contempt, without the best evidence of its falsehood.

In the examination of this Book of Mormon, the Bible, common sense, and the internal evidences it carries against itself, are the only weapons we have used against its credit; and, taking the Bible as a standard of Divine origin, any thing contravening with the doctrines it contains is regarded as falsehood and imposition. [28]

CHAPTER III.

THE PROPHECY OF JOSEPH, THE SON OF JACOB, WHICH SHOWS JOE SMITH TO HAVE BEEN FOREORDAINED A PROPHET OF THE LORD—ALSO, THE THREE WITNESSES FORETOLD.

Our hero, Nephi, next presents himself in the drama, as a dreamer and a prophet, and is more explicit as to particular incidents than his father. In his vision, he is made acquainted with all the particulars of the birth of Christ, his life, and his baptism, which he witnesses; and sees the Holy Ghost descend in the form of a dove, and abide upon him.

It is worthy of remark, that no circumstance is mentioned by Nephi, in relation to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, only that which can be found in the New Testament.

This fact, however, grows out of this circumstance, that the “author and proprietor” was guided by the New Testament, when his low and pilfering imagination borrowed and scraped together the “Book of Mormon.” He dared not, for fear of detection, fabricate any thing which could not be found in the historical part of the scriptures. But upon any thing which pertains to spiritual affairs, and is not in its nature susceptible of contradiction, only through the medium of reason, every liberty is taken by our author, without regard to rationality or probability. Nephi’s vision takes up about ten pages, from p. 25, and gives, as his own views, a cursory account of the popular doctrines which have been agitated since the Reformation.

Our author pretends that Nephi, together with sundry other prophets, (which he has created,) had the whole Christian system developed to them, many centuries before the twelve apostles. So Paul told a lie, when he said the twelve apostles of the Lamb developed cer- [29] tain secrets which were hid from ages and generations, and were ordained before the world to their glory, that they should have the honor of announcing them.

We leave the candid reader to decide the matter, with the suggestion, that the Mormon prophets have repeatedly been convicted of lying, whereas Paul has stood the test for ages, without being obnoxious to the charge. Not only so; if we are to take the brass plate revelation for sacred truth, we must infer that there has been a great deficiency in the record of Christ’s mission, or that he did not exhibit his truths, while here, as fully and clearly as he did to these Nephites, through their prophets; and consequently left the world in darkness, to grope their way in ignorance and superstition, until the mineral-rod, money-digging prophet, Joseph Smith, junior, searching after Robert Kidd’s money, which was buried in Manchester, Ontario county, New York, found the plates of Nephi, which had been buried there one thousand four hundred and twenty-eight years. How long he kept them we are not informed; but they were taken from him, and hid up again by the Lord, so that no divination, nor legerdemain, will enable him to find them. Next comes what, in vulgar life, would be called a thumper. “And it came to pass,” says Nephi, “that the Lord spake unto my father, and commanded, that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness. And it came to pass, that as my father arose in the morning and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass; and within the ball were two spindles, and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” We are not informed which way the other pointed, but suppose, of course, it pointed the way they should not go. If this ball was a compass, as we are hereafter told by the author, many improvements, since then, has been made [30] in that instrument; except in the construction of the negative spindle, which excels any of the present day inventions. But what is most ridiculous is, that it was a fine brass ball, and yet the spindles could be seen to traverse in the inside. Perhaps Lehi had a stone which favored his vision, and enabled him to look into opaque bodies as well as into futurity.

The revealing stone, and the stone spectacles, will be described hereafter, which will account for many strange and wonderful things, without searching the chapter of miracles. From pp.39 to 42 is mostly taken up in an eight years’ journey to the Red Sea; it will be remembered, that they had started from Jerusalem, and travelled some distance on their journey, before they found the compass; allow they had advanced fifty miles, they were then eight years in travelling the remaining distance of, probably, one hundred and fifty miles, “and arrive at the borders of the Red Sea.” At this rate of travelling, we wonder at the brass plates arriving here against this time:—they were certainly a slothful set of fellows, and had very little faith in this “promised land surpassing all others,” or they would have made more haste in obtaining and enjoying its milk and honey.

However, they arrive at the borders of the Red Sea, and Nephi is commanded by the Lord to repair to the top of a mountain, where he sees a vision, in which he is informed that he must build a ship, and where he can find ore from, with which to manufacture tools.

Here we are presented with our hero in several new characters,—those of a smelter, blacksmith, and shipbuilder; so that, in his youth, he is a scholar, a historian, a smelter, a blacksmith, a ship-carpenter, a prophet, and a priest; and of course, must have had a smattering of other trades and crafts, necessary to carry on his various operations, for it does not appear that he had any assistance [31].

It now seems that tools and ore are necessary, in order to construct a ship; but a little time since neither ore, tools, or metals, were necessary to make brass plates in the wilderness. At length the ship is completed;—we don’t know how he launched it, but they all go on board, and set out for the promised land, but Laman and Lemuel got up a mutiny, and “bound our admiral, Nephi, so tight that he could not move.” But the Lord is on the admiral’s side;—the famous brass ball compass ceased to traverse! “and they knew not whither to steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest.” Reader, we leave you to draw the inference, whether this terrible storm arose from the abuse of Nephi, or because the compass ceased to traverse. (P.48.) Finding the compass would not traverse, they get frightened, set Nephi at liberty, and the magnet again operates,—the seas become calm, and every thing quiet; and it came to pass, that they all landed safe on the promised land.

“And it came to pass, that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forest of every kind, both the cow and the ox.” (P.48.) Here is a miracle, to confirm the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon. We have always thought that oxen were the result of a surgical operation upon bulls, in order to render them docile and useful to man; and nothing can be more ridiculous than to represent the Supreme Architect of heaven—the God of the creation, as engaged in castrating bulls, for no other purpose under heaven only just because he could. It is high time that such tom-fooleries and stupid blackguardisms should be annihilated, to effect which, it behooves all men of understanding to lend a helping hand. But to proceed: We are next presented with the following prophecies [32] of Lehi:—“To be lifted up, according to the words of Zenoch; and to be crucified, according to words of Neum; and to be buried in a sephulchre, according to the words of Zenas, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness.” Here are three new prophets, known to our hero, prophesying of the most important events that ever happened. The last of which, one Zenas, uttered a falsehood, because he speaks of three days of darkness at the crucifixion.

(P.51.) The writers of the New Testament state, that there was darkness over the land from the sixth to the ninth hour, varying from three hours to three days: besides, it is absurd to speak of three days of darkness, or three days in the absence of light; we might as well speak of three nights in the absence of darkness; day and night cannot exist without light and darkness, for it is the light that causes day, and darkness, night. He might have prophesied concerning an equivalent length of time, in which there no light, but to prophesy of three days, in which there was no days, is a solecism. Here our author has relieved us from his ridiculous nonsense by inserting the 48th and 49th chapters of Isaiah in the approved translation, which again detects the antiquity of his book.

We are at length presented with something like a sermon, discussing the prophecies of the Old Testament,—in which the Arian doctrine is denied—of which he, Nephi, has a prophetic knowledge, and instructs his readers after the popular doctrines of the present day. No particular denomination is sustained, but partakes of many, which shows their articles of faith was not yet established; but, in the sequel, they became Anabaptists.

We have now gone through the first “Book of Nephi,” and think, by this time, dear reader, you are satisfied respecting its Divine origin; so we promise to pass hastily through the second “Book of Nephi,” which [33] commences in an attempt at a Christian sermon, by Lehi, in which he explains the law relative to original sin, and many points of doctrine which are now the subject of disputation. (P. 72.) We will insert one remarkable quotation, which was revealed to him, and penned by Nephi, about six hundred years before it really was uttered: “And by the law no flesh is justified. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin.”—“Which layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” From such passages as the foregoing, it is easy to determine whether our Prophet obtains his revelations fresh from Heaven, or is a literary thief. We should have mentioned, that Lehi had two sons born in the wilderness, after he left Jerusalem; the eldest was called Jacob, and the other Joseph; these two sons are somewhat important personages in the como-tragedy hereafter.

But to continue our accounts of Lehi: we next find him addressing his son Joseph, reminding him of the commandments of the Holy One of Israel, and hints, that he is born for some great purpose. “For, behold, thou art the first of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph, which was carried into Egypt. And great was the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph; wherefore Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah,” &c. He then goes on to explain the covenant, by representing himself and his posterity as the branch meant, to which the Messiah should be made manifest in latter days. Next we have a qualification from the prophecies of Joseph: “Yea, Joseph truly said, thus saith the Lord unto me, a choice seer will I raise up out of the fruits of thy loins; and [34] unto him will I give a commandment.” (P. 66.)

“And thus prophesied Joseph, saying—‘Behold that seer will the Lord bless; and those that seek to destroy him shall be confounded.’ Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise. ‘ And his name shall be called after me, and it shall be after the name of his father.’ Yea, thus prophesied Joseph. ” (P. 67.) This is the prophecy which settles the matter as to Joseph Smith, junior, son of Joseph Smith, senior. He is doubtless, from the language of Lehi, the father of the Nephites and the Lamanites, and a descendant of Joseph. The Lord cursed the Lamanites without an exception, and metamorphosed them into Indians: a curse was promised upon all those that should mix with them. The Nephites warred with each other until the whole race was exterminated—save three, who were immortalized. Whether the object of their immortality was to perpetuate the notable branch of Joseph by crim. con., we are left to conjecture.

Again, on the same page: “And the Lord said unto me, also I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman: and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.” This prophecy of Joseph is also fulfilled to the letter in the person of Sidney Rigdon; he is also from this same illegitimate race. It is true, his name is not mentioned in the prophecy, but he fulfils the functions assigned to the character which the prophecy describes. Are not the circumstances mentioned in the prophecies, pointing out so plainly these two persons, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who were the founders, and are the leaders of the Mormon faction, good grounds to infer that they were, at least, advisers of the present form of the Book of Mormon?

We do not think that they composed the Book originally, for there is good evidence to show that it was originally written as a romance, by Solomon Spaulding; [35] but, at the time of amending and copying, we conclude, that they inserted the patent of their commissions, in order to give validity to their undertaking. These matters, however, we leave for future consideration.

Again we find Nephi upon the stage, and a sore rebellion broken out amongst his people. Nephi is again warned of God to flee into the wilderness, which he does,—so we see the promised land is not yet obtained, notwithstanding (on page 49) he says, “we did arrive at the promised land.” Whether the land of both North and South America was included in the charter, we are not able to inform our readers, but a part is surrendered, which is never restored again, therefore it was not the promised land, or the Lord has broken his covenant.

This Nephi offers sacrifices and burnt offerings continually, although he preaches faith and repentance, as the only way of salvation, from the very onset of the campaign.

He tells us—“Notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses,” &c. This is indeed a new system of cutting and shuffling. And we awfully fear the result,—for they preach, as the only means of salvation, the Christian religion, five or six years before it had existence. They could not be saved by a religion which did not exist. Yet the preaching of that doctrine abrogated the law, hence they could not be saved by the law, for its existence had ceased, so far as they were concerned: so they had no religion; and their followers, even to this day, remain in the same woful predicament—with no religion. We find numerous portions of the Old Testament transcribed verbatim: the 50th and 51st chapters of Isaiah is inserted at full length, and as many as thirteen chapters in connexion have been translated, commencing at the second chapter of Isaiah. But what is most remarkable is, that every extract is according to the diction and phraseology of King James’ translators. The choice [36] in quotation from Isaiah, is certainly a good one. The poetic style of Isaiah is truly captivating, after drudging through the dull mummery of Mormon prophets. But I would ask, Why are all the quotations from the Bible in the precise style of the approved translation?—why not in the translation of J. Wickliffe and J. de Travisa—of Tindall and Coverdale—of Luther, and half a dozen others we might mention? Why, the fact is, the stupid Atheists did not know there ever had been any translation but King James’, or he would have used them, and hindered his Book from such easy detection, but he goes ahead, and scrapes together things without thought, judgment, or reflection, which detects the antiquity of his Book on almost every page.

We shall next notice the prophecy which settles the matter as to the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon,—Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer.

It is as follows: “Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said I will establish my word.”

Deity certainly made a bad selection in the choice of Whitmer, for Dave swears it is all a d—d hoax; and as to Cowdery and Harris, they would not be a credible choice to establish any fact, however trifling, much less to establish the truths of Heaven. Reader, trust in a God who needs not such wretched aid to establish his truths, but whose eternal truths stand infinitely above human testimony!

One fact we think worthy of notice; and, indeed, a strong circumstance, to show who transformed Spalding’s novel into a religious work, will appear in the following:

“The book of Jacob, the brother of Nephi; which says, ‘The word of the Lord came unto Jacob, saying, Jacob, get thee up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.’

“And now, behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for [37] gold, and for silver, and all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you, and to your seed, doth abound plentifully.

And the hand of Providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because that some of your have obtained many riches; and because that some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren, ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads, because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren, because that ye suppose that ye are better than they.” (P. 126.) It was an express command of the Lord to Jacob, to get up into the temple, and deliver the foregoing paragraph extatic! Grand! It will be remembered that we have said Joseph Smith was continually digging and searching for hidden treasures; and it will be shown hereafter that this was the chief employment of his early years. So we discover his passion for mining in the characters he has given in the Book of Mormon. These Nephites are represented as the greatest miners in the world after the precious metals. We find them at almost every stage of the game, digging and searching after gold and silver. The prospect appears gloomy to us, for obtaining pirates’ money on the head waters of the Susquehannah, or in the town of Manchester, Ontario county, New York; but Don Quixote told his squire Sancho that great fortune was often very near when we least expected it. Thus it was with Joseph, in digging after hidden treasures; the wonderful brass plates, the gold spectacles, and the interpreting stone, were found when he least expected it; and if the sword of Laban had been added, instead of being found by “Guy of Warwick” some centuries ago, we have no doubt but the mob in Missouri would have been quiet long since, or General Joe Smith would have made pickled herrings of them in less than no time [38].

CHAPTER IV.

A BRIEF NOTICE OF SEVERAL BOOKS, DEEMED UNWORTHY OF SERIOUS ATTENTION.

HAVING thus far examined the “Book of Mormon,” for the benefit of those who read for information, we will now lightly pass over that portion which is not worthy of a serious examination, which may be amusing to those unacquainted with the general character of the work. The reader will certainly, on perusing this chapter, be convinced of the Divine origin of the book.

“The Book of Enos.”—Enos commences with giving his father a good name, like a dutiful son, and then tells us of a tremendous wrestle he had with God, before he received a remission of his sins. We are not able to inform our readers whether they wrestled “the best two in three,” or took a single fall,—whether there was any thing bet, or only wrestling for amusement: nor are we informed which was the best wrestler, or whether they made a fall; perhaps it was a pretty equal yoke, and they made a draw-game. All he tells us is, that “it was a mighty wrestle.” He then says, HE is a great prophet, but prophesies nothing; so we are left as much at a loss to judge of his prophetic powers, as of his “mighty wrestling.” He says, 179 years has passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem,—that’s all. (P.145.)

“The Book of Jarom”—is said to be written by Jarom; he is the son of the puissant wrestler, Enos; is an engraver by trade, and says the plates are so small that he can engrave but little. Positively, the plates are so small that he is only able to engrave two pages! And delivers them over to Omni, 238 years since the hegira of Lehi. (P. 147.) Reader, did you observe Jarom’s apology for engraving only two pages? Why, verily, [39] the plates are too small—there appears to be plates enough, but they are too small!!!

“The Book of Omni.”—Omni receives the plates from his father, who commands him to write a little, to preserve the genealogy. How necessary the preservation of the genealogy of those Nephites was to the salvation of the world at the present, is left for the intelligent reader to determine. Omni, however, writes a couple of paragraphs commencing with, “And it came to pass,” and confers the plates upon his son Amaron.

Amaron writes a nonsensical sentence or two, and hands the plates to his brother Chemish, who follows suit for three or four sentences, and asserts roundly that the plates are genuine, though no one had disputed it. We suppose he anticipated the present-day disputations, and concluded to put the matter at rest in advance. Abinadom, the son of Chemish, takes the plates by right, and says he knows of no revelations, save what has been written, and declares most positively that is sufficient. (P. 149.) It seems, however, the Lord was of a different opinion, and proceeded to give new revelations, which, according to Abinadom, was a redundancy.

Amaleki is the son of Abinadom, who takes the plates, and says he has something to say. A certain man by the name of Mosiah was warned by the Lord to flee into the wilderness, with as many as would go with him, &c. Well, now he has said his something, and the reader can decide whether the world is any wiser or better by what he has said. The plates now appear to be full, and were transferred by Amaleki to King Benjamin, for safe keeping. Next comes “the words of Mormon,” which are not worth a passing notice.

I pass on to the history of his honor Judge Alma, who is high priest, and an engraver by trade, keeping his own record: he informs us, that in the first year of his reign, a man was brought before him who had been [40] preaching and bearing down against the church, persuading the people that ministers ought to became popular, and that they ought not to labor, but ought to be supported; and he also testified unto the people, that “all mankind would be saved at the last day.” (P. 221.) This heretic is called Nehor, and is represented as gaining many proselytes.

Gideon, an orthodox Nephite preacher, meets Nehor, and a warm debate ensues between them on Christianity; they are represented as able controvertists; but the Universalist at length gets angry; he draws his sword upon pious Gideon, and kills him, which was the occasion of his being arraigned before his honor, Judge Alma. The declaration contains two counts—the first charging the said defendant with being guilty of priestcraft, the second for attempting to enforce it by the sword. The murder of good old Gideon is not set forth in the declaration, and we therefore infer that it was no crime to murder in those days: this probably will account for preachers wearing swords in early times. Nehor is, however, sentenced to die, as an example to those who might be guilty of the high crime of priestcraft thereafter.

But we are afterwards informed, that the ignominious death of Nehor served no purpose in preventing priestcraft; and from that period the Nephites were greatly annoyed by impostors and preachers from the devil.

We discover one fact in this affair, that we were not aware of before, that the Universalian doctrines were promulgated fifty years before the Gospel dispensation: they can, upon Mormon authority, maintain great antiquity for their order.

About the conclusion of “the Book of Alma,” one Hagoth is ushered upon the stage, as an old ship carpenter: “And it came to pass, that Hagoth, he being an exceeding curious man, therefore he went forth and [41] built him an exceeding large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward.” Reader, here is a problem for solution: Did John Bunyan, when writing his “Pilgrim’s Progress,” pilfer terms from the Book of Mormon, or did the “author and proprietor,” in writing the “Book of Mormon,” borrow the words “Bountiful” and “Desolation” from the Pilgrim’s Progress.

This Hagoth built a great number of ships in two years, (though he had no one to help him:) this is a kind of architectural legerdemain that we are at a loss to understand.

But the reason given for Hagoth building so many ships is still more strange: why, forsooth, “he was an exceeding curious man;” and so he built a great many ships, just because he was curious.”—Humph!

We neglected to say, that his honor, Chief Justice Alma, has explained the doctrine of personal identity, and of the resurrection, in a very definite and masterly style.

Just hear him: “The spirit and the body shall be raised again, in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored in its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt, and be arraigned before the bar of Christ, the son of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.”

It is a great pity that the Bishop of Worcester was not in possession of the above paragraph; he would not have suffered such a disgraceful defeat as he did in the controversy with that deist, John Locke. We notice in the above that Christ is represented as the son of God; but on page 236 he is held forth to us as the grandson of God; he is called, “the Son of the only begotten of the Father.” The Mormonites would have [42] us believe, it seems, that there was Father, Son, Grandson, Holy Ghost, &c.,—a whole family of gods.

Our Prophet decides every thing by the spirit, consequently there is no appeal from his doctrines. When he says he knows a thing to be so, thus it must stand without controversy. For instance, a question is agitated between two elders of the church, whether or not a bucket of water becomes heavier by putting a live fish in it. Much is said by each of the disputants; when, at length, Smith decides it in the negative, by saying, “I know, by the Spirit, that it will be no heavier.” Any person, by trying the experiment, can easily decide, whether a true or false spirit governed our Prophet’s decision. The whole case seems to be big with importance—worthy of discussion by the elders of the Church militant—ah, indeed, worthy of the decision of God, by his Prophet!

Smith says a tall well-built handsome angel appeared to him at different times, until he became so well acquainted with him as to distinguish him from the devil, who also resembles him in everypoint except the head-dress, the angel’s being bright—the devil’s black. We allow it has been the devil, all the time, deceiving Smith, by changing his head-dress.

CHAPTER V.

WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS—DREADFUL EARTHQUAKES — DARKNESS —ATMOSPHERICAL PHENOMENA, ETC.

“THE Book of Helaman.”—Helaman, the son of Helaman, is the next writer of a book, which commences with the fortieth year of the reign of Judges, and reaches down to the nineteenth, and is the year preceding the nativity of Jesus Christ [43].

In the commencement of this book we are presented with mighty wars and battles, with great slaughter; next, with multitudes of holy prophets, prophecying of the coming of the Messiah. Thousands were baptized unto repentance, and for the remission of sins.

“And the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as with fire, and they could speak forth marvellous words.” (P. 421.) Freemasonry is here introduced, and is said to have originated with a band of highwaymen. This institution is spoken of in very reproachful terms, in consequence of the members having bound themselves, by secret oaths, to protect each other, in all things, from the justice of the law. The Nephites are represented as being anti-masons and Christians, which carries with it some evidence that the writer foresaw the politics of New York in 1828-9, or that the work was revised at or about that time.

Nephi, who is the son of Helaman, now receives the sacred charge of keeping the plates, &c., together with the power of loosing and sealing in heaven, and the gift of working miracles. He invokes a famine, which follows as a matter of course, in order to bring the people to the remembrance of their religion. The distress and suffering occasioned by the famine is beyond description, without the aid of Mormon inspiration.

The Nephites, notwithstanding all their wars and difficulties, were not idle; they made progress in the sciences; their arts were not confined to the building of temples, houses, and large ships, &c., but they understood astronomy, of which any one will be convinced after reading the following elegant extract: “If he saith unto the earth, thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours, it is done; and thus, according to his word, the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto men that the sun standeth still; yea, [44] and behold this is so: for sure it is the earth that the moveth, and not the sun.” If the prophet Elijah had taken the same precaution when he commanded the sun to stand still, and explained in such a clear and astronomical manner as did our Nephite prophet, the infidel cavilling of Hume, Gibbon, and others, would doubtless been avoided upon the subject of that miracle. But we perceive that the prophets of the Old Testament were of the minor class, or were only satellites, when compared to an inspired Nephite.

The events of our history are growing more and more important: the heathen, or the Lamanites, send forth a prophet—(in what way it is brought about, after all their curses, we cannot see, but such is the fact)—among the Christians; his name is Samuel, and he foretells the coming of Christ, and says the night before he will be born will be as light as day; but in order that the people may distinguish the two periods of time, they shall see the sun rise and set, but the light would not be extinguished, but remain as bright as day all night. (P. 445.) The crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ is also foretold and described in the following poetic style: “The sun shall be darkened, and refuse to give light unto you; and also the moon and stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land for the space of three days.” And he adds, that there will be great earthquakes and convulsions—hills and mountains shall be levelled, and valleys shall become mountains; and divers atmospherical phenomena, such as thunder and lightening, tempests, &c., will take place. (Pp. 446, 7.)

Samuel likewise prophesies of the restoration of the Lamanites to the true religion of the Redeemer, and that they finally would be numbered among his sheep. Samuel is persecuted as usual among the Nephites, by the infidels, but he is represented as having so much of [45] the spirit of God, that he was invulnerable to their missiles and other weapons.

“The Book of Nephi, the son of Nephi, which was the son of Helaman.” (P. 452.)—The great and notable year has at length arrived, “and it was six hundred years from the time Lehi left Jerusalem.” This is the year in which Christ must be born, and the event is consequently brought about by our author accordingly. During this year the infidels rallied all their forces, and towards the close they had rejoicings and festivities, because they fancied that Samuel had prophesied falsely. They not only rejoiced, but sent forth threatenings against the Christians! But Nephi prayed to God for protection, who informed him that the time was at hand,—that, that very night the sign should be given,— and, lo! the sun set, and the brightness of the day continued, to the discomfiture and confounding of the infidels. A star appeared, which every body saw, even in the bright light of the day! By what kind of vision it could be seen, we cannot conjecture, unless through the medium of those huge magic spectacles: the power of seeing stars in a bright light day was never heard of previous, nor since that time, unless through the medium of optical instruments; but whether the spectacles were used, or whether the star was as large and as bright as the sun, we cannot determine.

We have heretofore mentioned, that freemasonry originated with a band of robbers, and at the present period of history that class of men are the most formidable foes of the Nephites. They inhabited the mountains, and lurked in secret caverns of the rocks, and could not be ferretted out. The only safeguard which the Nephites possessed was to appoint such men as were filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation for their chief captains and generals; and by this means they could not be surprised and destroyed by the mountain robbers. [46]

We do not object to this mode of making rulers over the people; but we cannot see why, when God appointed and anointed Joseph Smith his high priest on earth, and ruler over his people, he did not give him sufficient prophetic knowledge, so that he might have avoided the disturbances in Missouri, and his own tom-fool’s errand, together with about three hundred deluded followers, to reinstate the disinherited from the “promised land.”

In the thirty-fourth year of the reign of the Judges, Samuel’s prophecies are realized: a great and terrible tempest is described, which lasted three hours—thun-thunder and lightning, such as were never before witnessed. The great city of Zarahemla took fire, and the city of Maroni sunk in the depths of the sea; cities which were in vallies were destroyed, and their locations became mountains; the rocks were split asunder, and the face of the whole earth became “deformed. ” (Pp. 470, 1.) After the terrible tempest, then came on darkness, which was so intense that it could be felt, candles, nor torches, nor fires, however dry the fuel, would not give the least scintillation of light,—all was darkness; “the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars,” were any more useful. In this terrible period, sixteen cities were destroyed, together with their inhabitants; some were burned, and others sunk into the depths of the sea!! (Pp. 471, 2.)—I pass!

The troubles of the Nephites, and the destruction at this time, is represented by our author as surpassing all other events, and if the description was true, we should not differ with him in the least. But let us see how it compares with the words of Jesus Christ, as recorded in St. Matthew’s gospel: “For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not, nor ever shall be.” Here our blasphemer is at direct issue with the Son of God. [47]

After the description of the great signs which were seen and heard during the three days of darkness and trouble, the people gather themselves in a great multitude about the temple, which was situate in the land Bountiful: and were expressing their astonishment at the past events, and conversing about Jesus Christ, when they heard a voice from heaven, which “caused their hearts to burn:” they cast their eyes toward heaven and they saw a man clothed in a white robe. Fear came upon all, for they thought it was an angel. The whole multitude are called upon to thrust their hands into his side, and examine the prints of the nails, and they did so, one by one, which satisfied them all that it is the Son of God. After having authorized Nephi and a number of others to baptize, the Saviour issues the following explicit command, in relation to receiving members into the church: “Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them: and now, behold, these are the words ye shall say, calling them by name, saying—‘Having authority given me by Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Amen:’ and then shall ye immerse them in the water.” It seems to us that the instructions here given are wholly gratuitous for this mode, precisely, has already been practised by the Nephites for about four hundred years, or since King Noah was baptized in the river Mormon.

The number which were authorized to administer and preach were twelve, which were afterwards called apostles. After everything is organized, the beatitudes are repeated to them in a translation corresponding with that found in the fifth chapter of Saint Matthew’s gospel, together with the sermon on the Mount, somewhat transposed, but the variations are inconsiderable. The Saviour is represented as continuing to address the multitude with almost precisely the [48] same sentences which are recorded by the evangelists, somewhat picked up, and not very judiciously arranged.

The preaching is finally finished, and Christ departs into heaven, and we are then presented with apostolic writing, from which we extract the following beautiful descriptive sentence: “And after this manner do they bear record; the eye hath never seen, neither hath ear heard before, so great and marvellous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the father, and no tongue can speak, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great marvellous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the father.” (P. 489.)

The only additional commandments which were given to the American apostles, on this special visit of the Saviour, were—“Pray in your families, unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.”—“Meet often, and forbid no man from coming unto you, when you shall meet together.” (P. 492.) Nephi, our present hero, was the archbishop; he baptized himself, and then baptized the eleven, whose names were—Timothy, James, Matthoni, Matthonihab, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah.

“They were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.”—Many marvellous sayings are represented to have been uttered, but not one of them could either be spoken or written, although he spoke for many days!! The plates of Nephi were critically examined, and only one omission could be found, which was, that no mention was made of the resurrection of the saints which were raised in America at the time of the great tempest, who were very numerous!!

“The Book of Nephi, the son of Nephi.”—This book includes only four pages, and contains the whole history [49] of three hundred and twenty years after Christ.

Events appear to be unimportant, or otherwise they are of that character which cannot be written nor spoken.

In the thirty-sixth year, all the inhabitants of the land were converted and baptized, and a perfect community of peace was the result. The condition of Millennial happiness continued for one hundred and seventy years. Three of the apostles were immortalized, and were seen four hundred years after their induction into the sacred office by the Saviour. Where they are at this time has not been revealed, but it is conjectured by some that the three witnesses appended to the Book of Mormon, to establish the truth of the brass-plate revelation, are the identical immortal three. We cannot be dismissed by our author until we are told that sectarianism commenced among the Christians, which terminated in wars and bloodshed, and almost a total extinction of vital religion, which happened in the year A. D. 320.

All the events, from the time when Amaleki delivered the plates to king Benjamin, up to the present period of our history, have been written by Mormon, who is the recording angel of the whole matter; and he now keeps the record under his own observation, and commences a book in the following sublime language: “And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call it the Book of Mormon.” We have never read of so great a general, nor so great a Christian, as was our hero, Mormon: he commanded, in one engagement against the Lamanites, forty-two thousand men, all with splendid equipage, and under complete martial discipline.

The terrible battle was fought, and Mormon came off victorious, as a matter of course: A. D. 330.

A definitive treaty was concluded, after the great battle between the two hostile powers; and the Lamanites took [50] South America, and the Nephites, North America; there being only a small remnant left on either side. Mormon exhorts the people to obey the commands of Christ, and laments over the slain, and represents that thousands of females had fallen in the great battle. (P. 530.)

Moroni is the next on the stage, and finishes what his father left undone, and continues the history down to A. D. 400. He complains that the plates are so small—(the art of manufacturing the sacred brass leaves, we suppose, is lost)—he is obliged to make the record in “reformed Egyptian,” otherwise he would have written or engraved the whole matter in Hebrew.

The whole record “being handed down and altered according to our manner of speech,” (p. 538.)—he says, that no one shall disbelieve his record because of its imperfections! and declares that all who receive it will not condemn it for that reason, and promises those who believe, not doubting, shall know far greater things.—(P. 532.)

He that condemneth it shall be in danger of hell-fire. ”—We are told by Moroni, in a lamentable manner, that free masonry will be very prevalent in the days that the unlearned man shall find the plates, and establish the doctrine that miracles will never cease, unless it be through unbelief.

Previous to baptism, each applicant must relate his religious experience, as being a duty and satisfaction to the church, and be sure not to partake of the sacrament unworthily. [51]

CHAPTER VI.

CLAIMS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON TO CREDIBILITY.

The “Book of Ether” commences:—“And I, Moroni, proceed to give an account of the ancient inhabitants which were destroyed by the hand of the Lord, upon the face of this north country.”

The privilege of recording the great events of the people of Jared has been reserved for our hero, Moroni. The people of Jared are those who were not confounded in their language at the destruction of Babel, but built ships, eight in number, and came to America, nearly 4000 years ago. The record is taken, as we are told, from the gold plates which were found by the forty men whom King Limhi despatched to make discoveries.

One Ether is reputed author of the engraving on the gold plates, and in the translation by Moroni, alias Smith, we are presented with a genealogy of the fathers down to Jared, who left the great tower, together with sundry other families, and embarked for America. The genealogy is somewhat amusing; he gives us twenty-nine generations down to the time of Jared, and the time when the Lord confounded the languages. According to the writings of Moses, the tower was built in the days of Shem, the son of the patriarch, Noah; and, agreeably to the evangelist, Luke, there were only ten generations between Shem and Adam!! If we are not allowed the Bible to prove the Book of Mormon false, we must resort to the reasonableness of the story, and positions taken.

To rescue Jared and his people, God marched before them in a cloud, and after reaching the sea, he directed them to construct eight barges,* [52] in which to cross the seas. The whole eight are finally built, after the directions given by the Lord, and when finished, they were air-tight! The Lord directs them how to remedy the evil: they are commanded to make a hole in the top to admit air, and one in the bottom to admit water; in each hole was put a molton stone which, when touched by the finger of Jesus, became as transparent as any glass, and gave them light under the “mountain waves,” as well as above the water. He that touched these stones appeared unto the brother of Jared, and said, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ—I am the Father and the Son.” Two of these stones were sealed up with the plates, according to a prediction before Abraham was born. How and

* Jared’s barges will be more fully noticed hereafter. in what manner they became set in the “two rims of a bow,” and fell into the hands of the Nephites, has not been explained; and what has become of the remaining fourteen molton stones is likewise hidden in mystery. Maroni says, in his Book of Ether, that he that should find the plates should have the privilege of showing them unto those who should assist him in publishing the book, “and unto thee shall they be shown by the power of God: wherefore they shall of a surety know that these things are true.” (P. 548.) These barges are represented air-tight, and after diving and swimming three hundred and forty four days, they all safely arrive at the land of promise.

The people of Jared had the Gospel of Jesus Chris revealed and preached to them, and in the lapse of ages, and generations they became very numerous, and wars and contentions ensue. Two renowned generals take the command of the hostile forces; one is named Coriantumr, and the other Shiz. Shiz pursues Coriantumr to the sea-shore, where a battle is fought with unparalleled slaughter, which lasted three days: three battles more are fought, and Coriantumr is represented [53] successful in every rencounter, but, on the fifth attack, Shiz comes off conqueror.

Coriantumr now remembers the prophecies of Ether, and he counts his slain, and they amount to nearly TWO MILLIONS!!

How many Shiz lost is not computed. However, the cessation of hostilities did not last long: the two generals commenced rallying together their troops, which occupied four years, and every person was enrolled that was in all the land—“men, women, and children, ” on one side or the other, except Ether, who was then the recording angel and prophet. “And it came to pass, that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children—both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields and breast plates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war—they did march forth, one against another, to battle.” (P. 572.)

They fought five successive days without conquering, and the slain could not be numbered; but the remains of Coriantumr’s were fifty-two, and those of Shiz sixty-nine.

The next day the forces met again, and the soldiers of Coriantumr were reduced to twenty-seven, and those of Shiz to thirty-two; and on the next day they fought again.

They were all killed except the two generals: Coriantumr took advantage of Shiz, and cut off his head, and then he “fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life.” (P. 573.) This story cannot be doubted, for Ether went forth and saw it, and finished his record; and adds, that he is uncertain whether he shall be translated or not, and concludes by saying, that it is no matter, if he can be saved in the kingdom of God.

Thus ends the Book of Ether, giving an account of the people of Jared, who were of a different race from [54] the lineage of Adam, because we have their genealogy, which embraces twenty-nine generations, and begins to count back from the days of Shem. Neither Noah nor any other of the antediluvian patriarchs are mentioned, consequently others must have been preserved from the flood than Noah and his family, if this history be true. Besides, the inspiration of Moses is not only contradicted in this particular, but in the plain declaration that the Lord confounded the language of the whole human race. (Gen. xi. 9.)

“THE BOOK OF MORONI.”—Moroni is the last of the Nephites! He has survived his whole race, amidst wars and carnage, for the important purpose of “abridging” the record of the people of Jared, and of sealing up the plates of Nephi, which is done A. D. 420. Contrary to his expectations, he lives, and concludes to write a book for the benefit of his brethren, the Lamanites, which he hopes will ultimately convert them. To avoid discovery by the Lamanites, he remains incognito:* he expresses great fear of assassination by them, if discovered, on account of his great belief in Christ, which he asserts roundly he will not renounce. (P.574.)

The manner of ordaining priests and teachers, and of “administering the flesh and blood of Christ,” is the first subject explained; after which, the particular qualifications for admission into Christ’s visible church is described, together with the ordinance of baptism, which must be done by immersing the candidate under water.

Moroni notices the manner in which the ancient Nephites worshipped, and says they often met to converse about the welfare of their souls, and met often to [55] partake of the bread and wine, in remembrance of the Jesus.

It was customary to forgive their members of their transgressions as often as they required it, and their confessions were made before the elders of the church. Previous to the death of Mormon, he wrote a few epistles to his son Moroni, which he inserts, and then concludes to write something which seems good to him. Spiritual gifts, he assures us, will never cease, only through unbelief and want of faith. And when the plates of Nephi should be dug up out of the earth, Moroni “exhorts you that ye should ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true? and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (P. 586.) Here we are directed how we all can become Mormons, to wit: first, believe all the fooleries and forgeries, and lies, of Joe Smith’s translation of the brass plates; and then, pray to be convicted of its Divine authenticity, not doubting; and then, by the power of the Holy Ghost, it will all be made manifest.

We have now gone through with the new revelation, or the Bible of the Mormonites, the analysis of which we present to our readers. The task has been a laborious one, and we acknowledge but little has been effected, and would cheerfully make an apology to our readers for the uninteresting results, if the forest through which we have travelled had furnished better materials for our review. We should have abandoned the task, were it not that so many of our worthy fellow-citizens have been seduced by the witcheries and mysterious necromancies of Smith and his colleagues, from the paths of wisdom and truth, into folly and madness. We anticipate the bitter vituperation and sneers of the Mormon leaders, and their influence over their already [56] numerous followers, and do not expect to accomplish a reformation among them; but if it shall serve to enlighten any who are not already the slaves to Mormon madness, alias the devil, we will feel richly compensated.

The next subject is the testimony of the “three witnesses,” Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, which is appended to the Book of Mormon, to establish its Divine authenticity, as regards their opinion of the character of Smith, and the facts on which that opinion is founded. No attempt has ever been made by the Mormons to impeach the credibility of any of these witnesses, nor could such an attempt be made with success. They can declaim long and loud, and call all this persecution, and impiously compare it to the persecutions of Christ, whose moral excellence even Deists have been

* Moroni, however, has been seen by Smith, as he says, in Susquehannah county, Pa., since the plates were translated. A more particular account of this interview will be found in a subsequent part of this work. compelled to admire; but they can bring no opposing facts from any source whatever.

They can ASSERT that Smith’s character was good, but they cannot find a man who knew him to admit it, except those leagued with him in his detestable scheme of fraud.

Here is a singular phenomenon of a new revelation, claiming credence, fundamentally, on the ground of mere human testimony; but the moment we admit the credibility of human testimony, even on the ordinary rules of a civil court, both the book and its author are prostrated at once, and their character and credibility destroyed forever.

In one dispensation of faith, God chose Moses, a man skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt,—not faultless, indeed, but at least respectable, even in the judgment of his enemies. In the second dispensation, he chose his own son, in whom even the heathen, Pilate, could find no fault. Now, in a third dispensation, if Mormonism were of God— “the crowning glory” of the whole, as we are impudently told—would he have chosen Joe [57] Smith, the money-digger? If so, he would not only have chosen a weak instrument, but the choice itself would have been preposterous, had he expected any man of common sense to believe on him. True, Moses, David, and the prophets and apostles, were all faulty—all weak and imperfect beings, like other men; but the character of Joe Smith is not merely faulty, it is utterly void and rotten; and so entirely unworthy as to make it more credible that the whole human race should lie than that an All-wise and benevolent God should challenge the faith, and stake the eternal well-being of his dependent creatures on the labors of one so heartless and utterly unworthy of credit as Joe Smith is proved to have been from his youth up. Yet this “crowning sensation of the fullness of the gospel” is impudently promulgated on the bare dictum of Joe Smith! It is compared to that gospel which came “with signs and thunders on earth beneath and heaven above,” through him “who spake as never man spake!” But it is incredible that He in whom Pilate could find no fault—he who once miraculously appropriated to his use the virtue, energy, courage, wisdom, and skill of a Paul to consummate his designs,—it is incredible that He, in these last days, has made choice of an instrument so vile and disreputable. To suppose it possible, would be to degrade the character of God, and bring reproach upon his cause. But it is not so. It awakens in our minds feelings of painful incongruity to admit such an absurdity, though it be only for the sake of argument. Even Smith himself is conscious that he is worthy of no credit, as his conduct plainly shows.

He well knew, from the beginning of his present movements, that nobody either would or could believe a word that he should say: hence he resorted to the despicable subterfuge of getting others equally infamous to testify and endorse his absurd pretensions [58].

According to Smith’s account of this pretended revelation, God first sets one Mormon* to hide away the records of an extinct people in the earth, lest he should forget their history, and he keeps them buried for fourteen hundred years. Then he commissions an angel to disclose the mighty treasure to a money-digger, and orders him to translate the record, as the words are revealed to him through two pellucid stones. In the midst of the process, the devil steals a part of the translation of this precious and indispensable history, preserved through centuries with so much care, and the Almighty, it would seem, could neither recall the events nor again translate the plates, nor force the devil to give up the first—the stolen translation! †Finally, however, with much ado, after three years’ toil to induce the Lord to instruct Joe Smith how to read in the stones, and in preparing Harris

* See Book of Mormon, p. 529.

† See Book of covenants, pp. 156 and 166, and Book of Mormon Preface to first edition. and Cowdery to write, the wonderful history comes forth to the world—all except that part which the devil stole—and Joe Smith, junior, is of course ready to swear to its Divine authority. But will the world believe him? Doubtful. God, therefore, next commands him to get Martin Harris, his scribe—a fit tool for such an enterprise—to come forward and “bear witness. ” Then comes Oliver Cowdery, the other scribe, and he testifies. Then the whole family of Smiths, the old man and all, come on the stand, and they testify; and finally the family of Whitmers,—“fit body to fit head, ”—bring up the rear to this valiant squadron of martyrs. And now, wonderful to tell!—“Infandom O Regina!”—mdash;here are the sainted twelve!—Counting the bellwether of this hopeful flock, (the present general at Nauvoo,) they amount [59] to the present number of the ancient apostles. Nothing more is wanted but to promulgate the lie, and stick to it. They have done so, and found followers.

But when or where did God ever before resort to the miserable expedient of attempting to prove the testimony of one depraved being by that of another just as depraved? What should we have thought of Paul, if he had got Peter, and John, and James, and others to endorse his epistles for him, certifying that they were true? Why, that single fact would have been sufficient to have overthrown the entire credibility of the whole of them. We might still have said that the sentiments in them are true and good, but we never could have believed that a man, concious of a commission from the Most High, could have resorted to such a contemptible expedient. Much less can we believe that God himself would authorize and countenance such a measure, as Smith pretends he did in this case.*

What! God, the omnipotent and the wise, with such a black and dismal scroll as this world’s religious history presents distinctly before his view—God, who did not require us to take even his beloved Son at his word,—would he challenge the faith and confidence of his creatures in the concerns of the immortal soul, on the mere ground of the testimony of twelve depraved human beings? Satan himself would blush to do it, were it not that he is the father of lies, and the father of all such pretended revelations.

Again: it would be more rational to believe that the whole human race had perjured themselves, instead of a dozen indolent sots, than to believe such an absurdity as this is, on the very face of it, even admitting the witnesses to be the purest men on earth.

But we are willing, in this case, to waive all considerations of this [60] sort, and admit that the story is not, on the face of it, absurd, and that a revelation could be made credible in this way, provided the witnesses were trustworthy. On this ground alone, then, let us examine the testimony of the endorsers of the Mormon prophet.

To render their testimony more imposing, these twelve witnesses are marshalled before us in squadrons. First comes the name of the valorous general, on the title-page, as “author and proprietor” of the marvel; then, at a proper distance in the rear, quite on the last leaf, comes the platoon of three: Oliver Cowdery, as sergeant, leads the way; David Whitmer follows; Martin Harris, as corporal, brings up the rear; all of whom have since abandoned the society! So it would seem that Smith’s divinity was almost as unlucky in choosing his select platoon of witnesses, as he was in choosing his translator, or, rather, his “author and proprietor.” Next comes the formidable battalion of eight, “who have seen and hefted, and know of a surety.” Of these, three, viz., Christian and Peter Whitmer and Joseph Smith, senior, have since died, and all the rest, except the two Smiths,

* See Book of Covenants, p. 171. brothers of the Prophet, have apostatized—at least, they have abandoned Joe Smith— viz., Jacob Whitmer, John Whitmer, and their brother-in-law, Hiram Page. This looks rather squally; but, however, there is nothing like faith; let us go on; and, first, let us hear the apostate three of the first squadron.*

THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.

“Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also the people of Jared, which came from the [61] tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know, of a surety, that the work is true.

“And we also testify, that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man; and we declare, with words of soberness, that an angel of God came from, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true: and it is marvellous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us, that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony to these things; and we know, that we are faithful in Christ we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

(Signed)

“OLIVER COWDERY,

DAVID WHITMER,

MARTIN HARRIS.”

The reader is requested to notice particularly the words in italics. One would indeed think, that if honest men had heard and seen such marvels, they ought, at least, themselves have believed it through life, and lived accordingly, as the apostles did. But we will examine their credibility on other grounds than the fact of their apostacy.

The credibility of a witness depends on four things mainly: 1st, His character; 2d, His capacity; 3d, His disinterestedness; 4th, His explicitness. We will examine these several witnesses on these several points, in order.

1. And first, as regards the character of Martin Harris, we have the inspired testimony of Joseph Smith, [62] the Prophet. In the Elders’ Journal, published at “Far West,” Missouri, in August, 1838, and edited by the Prophet himself, on the fifty-ninth page, the reader will find the following explicit and elegant testimony of the Prophet to the character of Harris: “Granny Parish had a few others who acted as lacqueys, such as Martin Harris, &c.; but they are so far beneath contempt, that a notice of them would be too great sacrifice for a gentleman to make. While they were held under the restraints of the (Mormon) church, they had to behave with some degree of propriety; but no sooner were they excluded from the fellowship of the church, than they gave loose to all kind of abominations, swearing, lying, cheating, swindling, with every species of DEBAUCHERY.”

* See Book of Mormon, p. 588.

So says the Prophet himself; and in two respects, this extract differs widely from his other inspired productions. It is both more explicit and more credible, on the face of it. The Prophet seems here to be animated with something like a consciousness that he is, for once, telling the truth. We will not insult our readers, however, so much as to allow him to testify even against himself, without corroborating proof. The saints, doubtless, will believe him; but nobody else can, even when he speaks the truth. We refer the reader, therefore, to the testimony of the citizens of Palmyra, given hereafter, who were well acquainted with all these eleven witnesses, as well as the three before us.

G. W. Stodard and Richard Ford also testify to the same facts with the other citizens, and add, that “Harris was quarrelsome, not only in the neighborhood, but in his family. He was known frequently to abuse his wife, by whipping her, kicking her out of bed, and turning her out of doors, &c. He was first a Quaker, then a Universalist, then a Restorationer, then a Bap- [63] tist, then a Presbyterian, and then a Mormon; but never commanded the respect of his neighbors.” His abused wife has also given her testimony.

We will hear it at length:—

“PALMYRA, NOV. 29, 1833.

“Being called upon to give a statement to the world of what I know concerning the gold bible speculation, and also of the conduct of Martin Harris, my husband, who is a leading character among the Mormons. I do it free from prejudice, realizing that I must give an account at the bar of God for what I say.

“Martin Harris was once industrious, attentive to his domestic concerns, and thought to be worth about ten thousand dollars. He is naturally quick in his temper, and, in mad fits, frequently abuses all who may oppose him in his wishes. However strange it may seem, I have been a great sufferer by his unreasonable conduct. At different times, while I lived with him, he has whipped, kicked, and turned me out of the house. About a year previous to the report that Smith had found gold plates, he became very intimate in the Smith family, and said he believed Joseph could see, in his stone, any thing he wished. After this he apparently became very sanguine in his belief, and frequently said he would have no one in his house that did not believe in Mormonism; and because I would not give credit to the report about the golden plates, he became more austere toward me. In one of his fits of rage, he struck me with the butt-end of a whip, about the size of my thumb, and three or four feet long. He beat me on the head four or five times, and the next day turned me out of doors twice, and beat me in a shameful manner. The next day I went to the town of Marion, and while there my flesh was black and blue in many places. His complaint against me was, that I was trying to hinder him from making money; that is, by the Mormon speculation. When he found that I was going to Mr. Putnan’s, in Marion, he sais he was going too; that they had sent for him to pay them a visit. On my arrival [64] at Mr. Putnan’s, I asked if they had sent for Mr. Harris. They replied, that they knew nothing about him. He, however, came in the evening. Mrs. Putnan told him never to strike me any more. He then denied ever striking me. She was, however, convinced that he lied, as the marks of beating me were plain to be seen for more than two weeks. Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge; for its effects on Mr. Harris have been, to make him more cross, turbulent, and abusive to me. His whole object was to make money by it. I will give one proof of this:— one day, at Peter Harris’ house, I told him he had better leave the company of the Smith’s, as their religion was false; to which he replied, ‘ If you would let me alone, I could make money by it. It is in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts, for they are all well known to most of his former neighbors. The man has now become rather an object of pity. He has spent most of his property, and lost the confidence of his former friends. If he had labored as hard on his farm as he has to make Mormons, he might now be one of the wealthiest farmers in the country. He now spends his time in traveling through the country, spreading the Mormon delusion, and has no regard whatever to his family.

“With regard to Mr. Harris being intimate with Mrs. Haggard, as has been reported, it is but justice to myself to state such facts as have come under my own observation, to show whether I had any grounds of jealousy or not. He was very intimate with this family for some time previous to their going to Ohio. They lived, for a while, in a house which he had built for their accommodation; and here he spent most of his leisure hours, and made her presents from the store and house; he carried these presents in a private manner; and frequently, when he went there, he would pretend to be going to some of the neighbors, on an errand, or into the field. After getting out of sight of the house, he would steer straight for Haggard’s house, especially if Mr. Haggard was from home. At times, he would stay until twelve or one o’clock, and sometimes until daylight.

If his intentions were evil, the Lord will judge him accordingly;[65] but if good, he did not mean to let his left hand know what his right hand did.

“The above statement of facts I affirm to be true.

(Signed)

“LUCY HARRIS.”

In addition to the above, it may be stated, that Harris visited this same forsaken and broken-hearted wife during her last illness; and when near her end, as he was sitting and carelessly writing by her side, she anxiously asked him what he was writing? Reader, can you imagine the prompt reply? He said, “I am writing a letter to the woman I intend to marry after you are dead!” and he actually married in about two weeks!!* This is Mormonism! And here is the scribe and chief witness!—We can now believe the Prophet, when he accuses Harris, his compeer, of all sorts of debaucheries.

As regards the character of the two remaining witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, we would also refer to an inspired article, published in the “Times and Seasons,” at Nauvoo, Illinois, (vol. i., p. 81, 83, and 84,) over the name of the Prophet himself. The Prophet there informs us, that certain persons, among whom are the names of Cowdery and Whitmer, “were busy in stirring up strife and turmoil among the brethren” in Missouri, in 1838, and “that they were studiously engaged in circulating false and slanderous reports against the Saints.” On page 83, speaking of Whitmer, this inspired “Prophet of the Lord,” himself exclaims—”Poor ass! whoever lives, will see him and his rider ( W.W. Phelps, another Mormon leader) perish, like those who perished in the gainsaying of Core. On page 84, speaking of the same witnesses, the Prophet again exclaims—“Are they not murderers at heart?—are not their consciences seared with a hot iron?” [66]

Query. —Was this the first time these Saints were engaged in circulating falsehood?—was this their first folly? No. The world saw both their knavery and their “long ears” long before the inspired Prophet revealed them. But, whether they are really “asses” and “murderers,” as the Prophet pretends, or not, there can be no doubt that “their consciences, long ago, were seared as with a hot iron.”

* Harris married Mrs. Morgan, formerly wife of Wm. L. Morgan, the author of an attempt to expose Masonry.

The Prophet and his friends improve every year in the quality of their revelations to the world; they are becoming hourly more explicit and rational. If the ungodly

“Gentiles” will only let them alone, they will not only tell the truth by-and-by, but the WHOLE TRUTH.

But Smith has not yet acquired sufficient credit to be believed, even when he testifies against himself and his cause. If he should affirm that he himself is a knave, that declaration alone would create the only rational doubt we can entertain that he is one. We cannot believe that his witnesses are as bad as he represents them to be, merely because he affirms it; although, before he affirmed it, there could be no doubt of it. We quote him, therefore, only for the edification of the “Saints,” and endeavor to remove the doubts which his testimony ought to create in other minds, by proof from other sources.

David Strafford, of Manchester, N.Y., closes his testimony before judge Smith in the following words:

“I can also state, that Oliver Cowdery proved himself to be a worthless fellow, and not to be trusted or believed, when he taught school in this neighborhood. After going into the ministry, while officiating in performing the ordinance of baptism in a brook, William, brother of the Prophet, seeing a young man writing down what was said on a piece of board, was quite offended, and attempted to take it from him, kicked at him, and clinched for a scuffle. Such was the conduct of these pretended disciples of the Lord.” [67]

As regards Whitmer, we leave him to his subsequent apostacy, and the tender mercies of his Prophet.

In respect to these three witnesses, then, the only difficulty seems to be this: we cannot clearly see how “profane swearers, cheats, liars, swindlers, slanderers, murderers, debauchees, and asses,” by inspired testimony, in 1838, should have been “men of most unimpeachable veracity, as the Mormons tell us they were, when they endorsed Smith’s revelations in 1830.

We need the stone spectacles here. True, Judas fell from among the disciples, but we apprehend that, if the credulity of the Gospel rested, either solely or mainly, on the testimony of Judas, few, except the Mormons and others gifted with extraordinary powers of faith, could believe it. We believe Christ and his apostles partly on account of their intrinsic moral excellence, admitted even by their enemies. We reject Joe Smith and his comrades on the ground of their inherent infamy, admitted both by themselves and dearest friends. This is the precise analogy between Mormonism and the Gospel, of which the Saints talk so much.

So much for the character of the three witnesses, taking the testimony of the Prophet and that of the abused and broken-hearted wife of the infamous Harris to corroborate him.

2. As regards the capacity of the witnesses, the reader is referred to a revelation given June, 1829, through Joseph Smith, to these three identical witnesses, the year before they appended their names to the Book of Mormon, which we will transcribe.

“Revelation to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, given through Joseph Smith, June, 1829, previous to their viewing the plates containing the Book of Mormon.

“1. Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word; which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a full view of the plates, and also of the breast-plate, [68] the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the Mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directions which were given to Lehi in the wilderness, on the borders of the Read Sea; and it is by your faith you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

“2. And after you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them by the power of God; and this you shall do, that my servant, Joseph Smith, junior, may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work. And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant, Joseph Smith, junior, has seen them; for it is by my power he hath seen them, and it is because he had faith. And HE HAS TRANSLATED THE BOOK, even that part which I have commanded him, and AS YOUR LORD AND YOUR GOD LIVETH IT IS TRUE.

“3. Wherefore you HAVE received the same power and the same faith, and the same gift, like unto him. And if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you; and you shall be lifted up in the last day. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen.

A revelation given to Martin Harris, by Smith*, March, 1829, also contains the identical word paraded forth to the world in the testimony of the three witnesses.

Verse 5: “And then shall he (Harris) say unto the people of this generation, ‘Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown to Joseph Smith, junior, and I know of a surety that they are true, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God, and not of man,’ and these are the words he shall say,” &c. [69]

The voice of the Lord, then, it seems, which informed the witnesses that Smith had translated the plates, and caused them to know of a surety that they are true, and commanded them to bear record of it, in 1830, in the Book of Mormon—this same voice came to them through the mouth of the Lord’s Prophet, Smith, in March and June preceding, that is, in 1829.

They are told, in this revelation, that they should obtain a view of the plates, or see them, not with their natural eyes, but with those spiritual eyes of faith with which the Mormons see so many marvels, viz. by the “eye of faith, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.” This accords with the admissions of Martin Harris, who expressly stated that he did not see the plates with his natural eyes, but with “the eye of faith.”

Here, then, is the “mighty power of God, the angel and voice of the Lord,” which reveals such marvels in 1830, all concentrated in the person, and pouring from the mouth of the Lord’s Prophet in 1829. Was there ever impudence and stupidity like this? Why did not the dunce publish that revelation to the world, especially since he has retained in his own hands, to this day, hundreds of others equally inspired?—was it for the express purpose of disclosing his own impudence and knavery? Or was it (as he himself once remarked to Peter Ingersoll) to see what the “d——d fools would believe?”*

But after all, these witnesses of inspiration did not testify to one-half that Smith’s divinity commanded them to declare. They were so absorbed in their visions and golden dreams about the plates, that they forgot to testify, as commanded, of the “breast-plates,” the “sword of Laban,” the “Urim and Thummim,” the miraculous “directions,” &c [70].

* Book of Covenants, p. 160.

* See affidavit of Ingersoll, before Judge Baldwin, of Wayne county, N.Y.

Perhaps this negligence was the reason that the said divinity gave them all over to subsequent unbelief and hardness of heart, to work all kinds of abominations, and be “guilty of all manner of debaucheries,” as the Prophet assures us is the fact.

Their CAPACITY as witnesses, then, to say nothing of their honesty, amounts simply to this:—Joe Smith puts the words of the Lord into their mouths in 1829, and they repeat a part of the same to the world in 1830. Surely, if the Prophet, in his pious rebuke of his witnesses, had only thought to have referred to this transaction, he might not have called them “knaves and asses,” but proved them such: doubtless, he thought the world would take his inspired testimony to the fact, without logical proof; we only supply the proof, without questioning the fact.

3. The DISINTERESTEDNESS of these witnesses is apparent, from the fact, that Harris expended the fortune which he had before possessed, in transcribing and publishing the book,* in hope of a greater fortune, as his wife testified afterwards: but, as the Prophet did not see fit to redeem his pledge in this respect, Harris left the church in disgust and despair; that is, so far forth as such a creature could be either disgusted or despondent. We do not intend, by this, to deny that the usual anathemas against dissenters followed him, so as to make his apostacy seem to the world a matter of discipline.

Cowdery was also Smith’s scribe, after the devil stole a part of the transcript, through the negligence of Martin; and, inspired with the same hope, he ran the same rig, and came to the same end with Harris.

As to Whitmer, we commend him again to the tender mercy of his Prophet and friends at Nauvoo. Their inspired testimony proves much more in regard to each [71] of these witnesses than our cause demands; the surplus we leave for the edification of the Saints.

The explicitness of their testimony is equally apparent. They give neither dates, place, time, nor circumstances of any kind whatever. Whether the angel appeared to them by night or by day—while asleep or awake—in this century or the last; (for all Mormons claim to have existed from eternity;) whether in the fields or in a temple—in a pig-sty or a brothel, does not appear; though, from Harris’ known character, we might presume the latter. At all events, it was where Joe Smith was in 1829, when he received the revelations given above. By looking at the pretended revelations, given while the work was preparing for the press, it will amuse the reader to notice by what artifices Smith’s divinity courted up his witnesses, from time to time, to induce them to hold on and complete the work. Probably the next time he attempts to select aids and witnesses, he will endeavor to make a better choice.

True, if Peter, Paul, and John had all apostatized, it would not necessarily have ruined, though it might have seriously impaired the credibility of the New Testament, for it does not rest, either in whole or in part, on their naked testimony. Smith’s book, on the contrary, is avowedly based on this rotten foundation, and necessarily falls with it; or rather, it fell in the very act of attempting to rear and plant it on such a foundation. The sublime testimony of the second phalanx, of eight witnesses, is as follows:

“Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, jun., AUTHOR and PROPRIETOR (!!) of this work, has shown unto us the plates, of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many leaves as the

* See Book of Covenants, p. 176.

said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands, and we saw the [72] engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken, and we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

(Signed) “CHRISTIAN WHITMER.

JACOB WHITMER,

PETER WHITMER, JUN.

JOHN WHITMER [Whitmers.]

HIRAM PAGE, (brother-in-law of the)

JOSEPH SMITH, SEN. (Prophet’s father.)

HYRUM SMITH, (Prophet’s brother.)

SAMUEL H. SMITH, (Prophet’s brother.”)

By turning to the same revelation quoted above, the reader will again see how this second platoon of witnesses “hefted,” and “knew of a surety, that the said Smith had the plates “of which hath been spoken. It is Joe Smith—thought, style, and all, from a to z.

And what does it all prove? First, that Joe Smith is “author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon, as all the world knows; second, that they saw and “hefted” some plates shown them by Smith. What if they did? How did they know what, or how many, plates Smith had translated, when, by their own confession, they could not read a word on any of them? Joe Smith TOLD THEM SO.

And this is all their testimony amounts to, on the face of it, by their own showing.

We are not only willing, but anxious, to admit that Smith did show some plates, of some sort; and that they actually testified the truth, so far as they were capable of knowing it, we are not only willing, but anxious, to admit, in order to keep up a just and charitable equilibrium between the knaves and fools, in Mormonism, and the world at large. Three to eight is at once a happy and reasonable proportion: we will not disturb it. It is gratifying to human phi- [73] lanthropy to be able to account for all the facts in the case by this charitable solution.

Three of these witnesses, we are boastingly told, died in the faith; and we should naturally have expected that any man who could have been induced to set his name to such a silly paper as that is, would have died in almost any faith. The only thing that looks strange about it is, that all the rest, except the brothers of the Prophet, have had sense enough to apostatize and leave the church, (with proper discipline, of course.) Perhaps it is well for the world, and well for these three, that they did not live to go the same way with all the rest, and fall with Harris into “all manner of abominations.”

The whole, then, of this mighty array of bombast, nonsense, and blasphemy, resolves itself into this:—Joe Smith is not only Author and Proprietor of the Book of Mormon, as both he and his witnesses declare, but he is also “power of God,” “angel,” “voice,” “faith,” “eyes,” “ears,” and “hands, ” for the witnesses themselves; that is, all the evidence the world has for the Book of Mormon, after all this bluster, is “Joe Smith’s say so. He says, that God instructs him; he instructs the witnesses, and the witnesses instruct the world, Quad erat demonstrandum. David Whitmer reported that the angel, which appeared unto him, “was like a man in gray clothes, having his throat cut.” This was probably a prophetic vision, indicating the true desert of the real author.* Since, then, we are obliged, after all, to take Joe’s word, simply, for his new Bible, it may be interesting to the world to know how he was enabled to [74] translate it, out of the reformed Egyptian, into “patent English.” He has told us that he looked into his stone spectacles and saw the words pass before his mind. But he informs us more explicitly still, in the famous book of Revelations and Covenants, in which, after all, it must be candidly admitted that the Lord has clearly revealed some things—at least one, and that is, the knavery of Joe Smith.

If the reader will turn to the revelation given by Smith to O. Cowdery, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, April, 1829, while translating the Gold Bible, (see Book of Covenants, 110,) he will perceive that Oliver’s faith had begun to fail. He had got tired of writing the gibberish of Smith, and needed a word of exhortation and encouragement.

Smith’s divinity gives him both, of course, and also, to pacify him, grants him the gift to translate, “even as my servant Joseph.” (V.11.) At this, it appears that Oliver took courage, put on the spectacles, planted himself, in due order, before the mystic plates, and looked with all his might, but saw nothing. Oliver, of course, becomes more uneasy and intractable than ever. He complains more than before, and with more reason too. And now for a new revelation, of the same date, pat upon the other, which contained the grant of the gift to Oliver to translate.*

We will quote a verse or two of this revelation from Smith’s “unchanging Deity.”†

Verse 2, page 162: “Be patient, my son Oliver, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph. And behold, it is because you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me [75] that I have dealt with you after this manner.” (Undoubtedly!!)

Verse 3: “Behold, you have not understood. You have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me. But behold, I say unto you, YOU MUST STUDY IT OUT IN YOUR OWN MIND. (!) Then you must ask me if it be right; and if it is right, I will cause that YOUR BOSOM SHALL BURN within you. THEREFORE (!!) you shall FEEL that it is RIGHT. But if it is not right, you shall have no such feelings; but you shall have a STUPOR of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.

THEREFORE(!!) You cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.” (2d edit.) Here, in the first place, we see that Smith’s divinity found it expedient “to deviate a little,” and retract the divinity-given gift conferred the same day: in the second, we have his patent divine prescription for writing things sacred in detail; and, of course, the method which Smith has followed in translating his Bible, and giving his other revelations to the world. He “STUDIED IT OUT IN HIS OWN MIND,” and when he got it right, “his bosom burned,” of course. With this patent recipe before him, we see not why any man might not translate, or give revelations, as well as Smith, unless he was afflicted

* In further elucidation of what Mormons mean by the “power of God,” the reader is referred to the Book of Mormon, 420, 421, and Book of Covenants, 122, v. 12, 173, v.5; it will there be seen, that this voice and power of God is a small affair, which every enthusiast can have, and see at any time he pleases, especially if Smith is at hand.

* Book of Covenants p. 162.

† Ibid., p. 150. with that unaccountable stupor of thought, which seems to unfit all other Mormons for the work except Smith. Perhaps, if brother Cowdery should try his hand at it now, since he has had wit enough to leave the Mormons, he would succeed in raising the needful heat better than before.

Those in other churches, who are in the habit of practising upon the same principle, would do well to commit Smith’s rule to memory, since it accurately describes the process of securing miraculous confirmations of any known or imagined truth. [76]

CHAPTER VII.

CLAIMS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON TO CREDIBILITY AND AUTHORITY—

(CONTINUED.)

THE next claim which the Mormons set up is, that they can prove the truth of their Book from the prophecies of the Scriptures. We confess we enter with reluctance upon a field which has, in all ages, been the favorite resort of enthusiasts and dreamers; the prolific fountain from which fanaticisms of all shapes have leaped forth, like John’s frogs, out of the mouth of the dragon, to swell and prance for a time, and then retire, and leave the world to gaze at other wonders, equally sublime, equally demonstrable, and equally absurd.

These self-complacent conjurors can all handle the mystic symbols of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and St. John, with the same ease and grace that a well-bred lady does her tea-pot; and each can divine the coming destiny of the world, from the resplendent bubbles in his own chosen urn of prophecy, with the same facility and certainty as an old woman can predict the next visiter, from the grounds in her cup.

Alternate famines, plagues, wars, and milleniums start up on all sides; the world comes quite up the day of final retribution, misses it, and starts off again, in quest of new waters of life, and visions of glory, in the mirage ahead. But visions, dates, wonders, and expositors, all retreat as it advances, to make room for a new corps of conjurors.

Doubtless, we are now on the eve of great events; all say so, even the inspired general at Nauvoo; and many things, indeed, seem like it. But be this as it may, we are surely under the eaves, and amid the continual droppings of new schemes of theological nonsense. [77] Our credulity is drenched through and through, and what little common sense there ever was in any of us has become so plastic and pliant, that it fits all surfaces equally well. We doubt not that the prophecies of the Scriptures will all be both fulfilled and understood, in their own due time; but, with the immortal Newton, we also believe that God, in giving them, did not design to make men prophets. On this point we differ from Joe Smith and all his coadjutors, however pious or impious, learned or unlearned.

But as the General has taken his stand, not only among the humble interpreters of prophecies already fulfilled, but also in the ranks of those who look deep and far ahead in things divine, we must hear him.

The fundamental propositions upon which we are to proceed, as the “Saints” assure us, are these:

1. All prophecies which have been heretofore fulfilled have been literally fulfilled; therefore,

2. All which are to come, must be literally fulfilled also.*

* See Pratt’s Voice of Warning, p. 18.

We will not contest this ground. We will admit, if the Mormons chose, the literal return of the Jews, the literal rebuilding of their temple and city, and the literal reign of the Messiah. But, after all, we fear there may be some difficulty in deciding what is and what is not the literal interpretation of the prophecy. Since, for example, according to the “Saints,” own showing, trees, and golden heads, iron legs, lions, bears, and brutes with iron teeth, in the prophetic visions which are explained, mean kingdoms and nations, according to the interpretation both of Daniel and the “Saints,” we would ask how, in the name of common sense, it happens that the same or similar things may not mean the same or similar things in those prophetic visions which are unex- [78] plained. Or are we literally, hereafter, to hear trumpets blowing, see angels flying, vials pouring, dragons crawling, horses prancing, devils fighting, scorpions stinging, pits smoking, frogs leaping, and harlots riding? Are these things to constitute the millenium glory of the “Church of Latter-Day Saints?” We confess they look somewhat like it. Or have these things been already literally fulfilled? We know of but one event, in the past history of the world, which much resembles it, and that was in the conflict between Joe Smith and Governor Boggs, of Missouri. But perhaps these, and similar wonderful literal displays of prophecy, are reserved for Mount Zion, in Jackson county, Missouri. If so, we pardon the announcement, and dismiss our fears for the present.

In this business of interpreting prophecy, the author confesses that he is by no means an equal and suitable champion for his Mormon friends. He will not, therefore, enter profoundly into the subject, lest he should be worsted in a good cause. The spiritual Goliath, which the sublime sanctity of their faith calls for, should be able throw himself boldly and at once upon the teachings of the Spirit, without at all relying even upon the capacity to read intelligibly the English text, and trust to the Mormon deity, or at least to Joe, and Sidney, and Parley Pratt, to help him out. I confess I have not faith. On their own principles, they ought not, therefore, to expect much from me; and the public surely will not want much. The first point to be made out by the Mormons, from Scripture, is that the North American Indians are the descendants of Joseph, as the Book of Mormon asserts.

To this end, they refer to Jacob’s blessing on the seed of Joseph (Genesis xlix. 22-26.) In order to interpret and apply this passage literally, they make Joseph’s bough “running over the wall,” (ver. 22) to mean the progenitors of the American Indians crossing the Atlantic ocean to this country. The [79] Atlantic ocean is, therefore, the literal wall.

Whether it is a plastered wall, stone wall, or a brick wall, we are not informed, though it’s a literal wall. We would respectfully suggest to these interpreters whether it would not do to consider it a mud wall; for the prophet Shakespeare speaks of the “slimy deep,” and when we interpret literally we must compare all prophets of the Mormon school together, and proceed according to the analogy of the faith. This is clear enough then.*

Verse 23: “The archers have sorely grieved him, shot at him and hated him.” This, they say, was fulfilled when our forefathers fought with the Indians;—with bows and arrows, of course, for we must take it literally, and all know that the people of the United States usually fight with bows and arrows. Besides, it is in the past tense; of course, our forefathers had already fought the Indians before Jacob pronounced the blessing upon their progenitor, Joseph.†

* See Joshua xvii. 14, 15.

† Compare Genesis chap. xxxvii., for hatred of his brethren.

Verse 24: “But his bow abode in strength, and his hands were made strong by the mighty God of Jacob,” &c. This verse has been literally fulfilling upon the Indians ever since the discovery of the continent, as their immense increase and prosperity shows. Ask Cotton Mather and the United States Congress whether it is not so.

In the literal interpretation of the 25th verse, the Prophet and the Book of Mormon are to come in and play a conspicuous part in the restoration and blessing of the Indians.

But, not having the stone spectacles at hand, we are unable to give the exact literal interpretation. We have heard the Mormons do it to admiration; but it requires a man under the immediate guidance of the Spirit, that is, the spirit of Smith; but here again [80] our faith fail us. We can assure our readers, however, that the verse is regarded as having undoubtedly a special reference to Joe Smith and the Book of Mormon. We have heard the most gifted Mormon interpreters so expound it.

Verse 26: “The blessings of thy fathers hath prevailed to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills.” “Now, reader,” says Parley Pratt, “stand in Egypt, where Jacob stood, and measure to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, and you will land somewhere in the central parts of America.” Bravo! Precisely so. The exact spot, however, in order to be particularly literal, would, no doubt, be found to be Mount Zion, Jackson county, Missouri. But we would respectfully advise the reader, as he brings the sweep of his spiritual compass round near Missouri, to keep a good look-out for Governor Boggs, lest he should jog the moving foot a little, and cause an error in the data. With this precaution, the measure will be found accurate.

This inspired exposition also throws light upon several other and kindred passages of scripture which have perplexed commentators not a little, as Matt. xii. 42, where it is said, the queen of Sheba came from the uttermost parts of the earth; and Acts i. 8, where the apostles are commanded to be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth: for, by parallel reasoning, the said queen came from the central parts of America, and the apostles were to preach there too. This, too, accounts for the fact, that the North American Indians knew so much about the gospel, before Christ was born, as the Book of Smith shows that they did.

Again, Genesis xlviii. 16: “Let the sons of Joseph grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth,” and “Ephraim’s seed shall become a multitude of nations.”

Again, says Pratt: “One of the prophets says, in speaking of Ephraim, ‘when the Lord shall roar, the [81] children of Ephraim shall tremble from the west.’” “Now,” says Pratt, “put these three things together; first, ‘Ephraim shall grow into a multitude of nations in the midst of the earth;’ second, Joseph was to be greatly blessed in a large inheritance as far off as America; third, this was to be west from Egypt or Jerusalem.

Therefore, these scriptures must apply to America, because they can apply no where else.” This inspired logic reminds one of the boy who said oranges grew on pine trees, for, if not, where did they grow?

Having thus got the seed of Joseph safely over the “wall,” we are next referred to the 37th chapter, 16th verse, of Ezekiel, where we are told, that the stick of Ephraim or Joseph means the Book of Mormon,* and the stick of Judah, the Bible. Joe Smith is, of course, the literal Ezekiel, in whose hands they are to be joined. I suppose the Book of Mormon is here literally called a stick, because it is the instrument with which Joe Smith belabors the backs of his dupes. But why the Bible should be literally called a stick, or

* Book of Covenants, pp. 180, 182. why Joe Smith should be the literal Ezekiel, it is not so easy to divine. Moreover, this said stick of Joseph, the Book of Mormon, was to be found in the hands of Ephraim, that is, in the hands of the North American Indians, from whom Smith professed to have inherited it. But by comparing the first part of chapter seven of the Book of Alma,† with the title-page, the first page, and the testimony of the witnesses, on the last page of the Book of Mormon, the reader will see, that according to the Book of Mormon itself, there never was a literal descendant of Ephraim on this continent, but that the several tribes were all from Manasseh. Still we must take it literally. Where, then, are the Ephraimites, or the ten tribes, who are to [82] hold this stick? The Book of Mormon says not a word about the tribe of Ephraim, or any of the ten tribes, except that of Manasseh. This was a sad mistake in the Prophet: probably the type will need correcting, as regards this genealogy of the Indians, in the next inspired edition of Smith’s book.

Again, this union of sticks, whether we interpret literally or metaphysically, or grandiloquently, or spiritually, must still refer to a union, not of two sticks, but of two people, viz., the ten tribes, or children of Israel, and the children of Judah, as the 21st and 22d verses plainly show. Where are these ten lost tribes? Does the Book of Mormon tell?

Can Smith tell? Pratt, on this point, exultingly exclaims—“Can any one tell whether the Indians of America are of Israel, unless the Lord should reveal it?”* Answer—“No.”

Therefore, Joe Smith cannot tell, any more than Cock Robin can. But as we are informed, on the same page, that, “our very existence depends on an immediate understanding of the important prophecies of the Book of Mormon,” we would beg to have some of these difficulties solved.

Again, we are told, that the verse in the 85th Psalm—“Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven”—refers to Smith’s digging the Book of Mormon out of the hill Camorah! On that memorable night, say the “Saints,” truth sprang out of the earth. We are disposed to admit, that, on that woful night, so far as Smith and his followers are concerned, truth, and common sense too, sprang away from the earth, and righteousness has looked down everywhere, and with good reason too. We would gladly encourage her to look up again.

We have now not only got Israel over the “wall,” but also beyond the utmost bounds of the everlasting [83] hills; and we are content to leave them there, books, sticks, and all, without tracing further either the literal Mormon interpretation of the 29th of Isaiah, or of the other prophecies of the Old Testament. We will, however, stop one moment to look at the angel spoken of in chap. vi. v. 7 of Revelations, as flying in the midst of heaven, &c. And who, gentle reader, do you think this angel is, according to the “Saints?” Why, we are told that it is the angel who delivered the plates to Joe Smith, on the hill Camorah, New York!* We must remember to take it literally. Smith pretends that the gospel which the angel had when John saw him, was the Book of Mormon. When Smith saw this angel, he says, he was standing on the hill Camorah, and the book, or gospel, was lying in a stone box, where it had been lying for fourteen hundred years.

John, of course, therefore, saw him in his vision after Smith saw him personally, and after he had got the book, and was flying away with it; and neither John nor Smith pretends that he ever brought it back again. The angel, it seems, flew away with the book, and left

† Book of Mormon, fol. 248 of the 1st edition, and 264 of the 2d.

* Voice of Warning, p. 135.

* See Book of Covenants, p. 248

Smith to patch up his lying marvels, as best he could, out of whatever old manuscript he might chance to find, whether Spaulding’s, or those of others. Probably he made the best of his way towards the ten lost tribes, near Symmes’ Hole, where Smith at first told his dupes these tribes had been for centuries, hedged in by mountains of ice, which the fervor of his inspiration was soon to melt, and let them flow down on rivers of gold, to Mount Zion, in Jackson county, Missouri. In one respect, however, it must be confessed, that this divine prophecy applies literally to Smith. The angel said that the hour of God’s judgment had come, as indeed it has, upon all the dupes of Joe Smith. If these specimens of inspired literal interpre- [84] tation of prophecy do not satisfy both the “Saints” and the reader, we will give more when we write again on this subject.

We will next consider, in brief, the claims of the Book of Mormon on the ground of its own internal excellence.

The “Saints” contend that there has been no true church on earth, before their own, for several hundred years. In this we think they are too fast; for we read in the Book of Mormon, page 192, that one Alma went into the fountain of Mormon, and baptized both himself and his companions.

Now, the “Saints” do not positively know, that, in the general darkness of the church, some other pious individual may not have been taught of the Mormon Spirit to do the same thing, and thus to institute a pure church even amidst the heathenish darkness.

Who baptized Joe Smith before he baptized the rest, in Fayette, N.Y.? Did he, also, first baptize himself?—or did a good or a bad angel do it for him? For, according to his own showing, there was no man on earth fit for that purpose.

We read, in 2 Kings, xvii. 20, “That the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, (the ten tribes,) and delivered them into the hands of the spoiler, until he had cast them out of his sight.” Verse 18: “There was none left, but the house of Judah only.” 1 Kings, xii. 20:

“There was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.” How, then, came Joe Smith to find out that one of the families of Manasseh were not only spared, but followed, with the peculiar and miraculous care of God, for hundreds of years after?

In Numbers, iii. 10, Deut., xxi. 5, Numbers, xvi. 19, and chap. xviii., it will be seen, that the Lord irrevocably conferred the priesthood on the house of Aaron, slew two hundred and fifty officiates and above fourteen [85] thousand of the people, as a memorial that no other tribe should intermeddle therewith.

Paul also informs us, (Heb., vii. 13,) that even Christ could not be a Jewish priest, because he was not of the house of Aaron.

Yet Smith finds the North American Indians, who were, by his own showing, every soul of them of the tribe of Manasseh, not only building temples five thousand miles from Jerusalem, where alone the Jews were to worship, but offering sacrifice, and performing all the functions of the priesthood acceptably to the Lord, and still exhorting each other to keep the law of Moses.*

Moreover, even God himself is represented as inspiring this Manassite, whom the Bible informs us he had cursed “out of his sight,” guiding him across unknown wastes and trackless floods, and finally miraculously establishing and ratifying his sacrilegious worship in these western wilds. Here they baptize, found churches, and discuss and decide all the petty theological controversies which have happened to rage, in the State of

* See Book of Mormon, pp. 146, 208, 9.

New York, since Joe Smith was born. For obvious reasons, these inspired visions seem to have concentrated solely upon a single age and a single State. They make, also, some very judicious suggestions as regards republican freedom, freemasonry, navigation, shipbuilding, manufacturing glass, &c., and all this, in part before the birth of Christ, and in whole before the close of the fifth century; while still they did not know either where Christ was born,† or that the Jews were not Christians before his birth.

The Prophet may either class the above among the internal evidences of his book, or set them down as proofs of its inspiration, derived from the Scriptures, [86] as he chooses; and when he has satisfactorily settled their location, it will be easy to furnish him with many more proofs of the same kind.

That there is not much important truth in Smith’s book, no one will affirm. The Bible, and the abundant quotations from it, garbled and perverted though they are, have shed a moral light upon its pages, which not even the stupidity, the vulgarity, and sacrilegious profanation of Smith could wholly extinguish. This often deceives the stupid, the credulous, and the unwary. They pronounce it a very good book, and so, indeed, it would be, so far as its moral teaching is concerned, did it only profess to be what it really is, “a vulgar romance of the lowest order.” But, in that case, it would soon not be on the shelves of the antiquary. Many, on reading it now, say, “It is not so bad as we thought it was;”—“It reads much like the Bible!”—“How people have misrepresented it!” They do not consider that there is not a single idea in it excepting such as have been stolen from the Scriptures, which is not either useless, ridiculous, or absurd.

We will give but one specimen of its originality, and that is, the description of Jared’s barges, in the book of Ether, page 542 of the first edition. It must be remembered, that our Prophet had been raised in the interior of New York, and probably never saw even a correct picture of a ship in his life. When he entered upon the task of describing one, therefore, the attempt was more hazardous than even repeating the substance of Spaulding’s old manuscript, or stealing extracts from the Bible. The reader will judge of his success.

“And it came to pass, that the brother of Jared built barges, 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 they were built after a manner that they were exceeding tight, even [87] that they would hold 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 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 made the barges, according as thou has directed me; and behold, O Lord, there is no light in them, whither we shall steer. And, also, we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save the air which is in them; therefore, we shall perish.’ And the Lord said unto 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 be that the water come in upon thee, behold ye shall stop the hole thereof, that ye may not perish in the flood.’ And it came to pass, that the brother of Jared did so as the Lord had commanded. And he cried again unto the Lord, saying—‘O, Lord, I have done as thou hast commanded: I have prepared the vessels for my people, and, behold! there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord! wilt thou suffer that we should

† Ibid. 240. cross this great water in darkness?’ 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. Neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire: for, behold! ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea, for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and, also, the rains and the floods have I sent forth. And, behold! I prepare you (?) against these things; for howbeit ye cannot cross this great deep, save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds that have gone forth, and the floods that shall come: therefore, what will ye that I shall prepare for [88] you, that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?’

“And it came to pass, that the brethren of Jared went forth unto a mountain, and did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent as glass. And he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried again unto the Lord, saying—‘O, Lord, touch these stones with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness, that we may have light when we shall cross the sea.’ And it came to pass, that the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones, one by one, with his finger; and the brethren of Jared saw the finger of the Lord’s and it was the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood!”

It will be observed, that these barges, or boats, were built “according to the instructions of the Lord;” that they were made tight as a dish, bottom, sides, top, door, and all; though it is as difficult to say how tight the top of a dish is, as it is to say, definitely, how long a tree is, or how peaked the ends were, or what sort of fowl is intended. But, as they were built from definite instructions, we may presume that they were as tight as a teapot, about as long as a “piece of chalk,” as light as a turkey-buzzard, and as peaked as a hay-stack, or thereabouts. This is as near as we can approximate to the exact idea, without the inflatus of direct Mormon inspiration.

It will be seen at once, that in barges intended to traverse the Atlantic ocean, a hole in the bottom would be indispensable, in order to furnish the crew with seawater to drink; and a hole in the top would be equally necessary for fresh air, especially when these sea-fowl barges should choose to dive, and sail under water for a while. Hence the plugs for the holes would be equally necessary after they had “squenched” their thirst, as the Prophet would say. [89]

The only wonder is, that the Mormon deity did not think of these things, and of the sixteen stones “molten” out of a rock, before Jared’s brother suggested them; but, in building so many great barges, how could he think of everything? Perhaps, too, the devil had just been plaguing him about the hundred and sixteen pages!

CHAPTER VIII.

PROGRESS OF THE NEW FAITH, WITH SUNDRY REVELATIONS, ETC.

SINCE we have given such a desperate account of Mormonism in all its ramifications, the reader may be curious to know how such an absurd doctrine could ever meet with success in the world; and in order fully to satisfy every one on this point, we should have to write more than we intend for the present work: we will, however, give as much satisfaction as our prescribed limits will admit. Before the publication of the book, Smith found many to believe its contents from the ghost stories concerning it which he had related. Soon after it was issued from the press, a person by the name of Parley P. Pratt happened to be passing on the canal through Palmyra, and hearing of the wonders of the gold plates and huge spectacles, called on the Prophet, and was soon converted. This Pratt then resided in Lorain county, Ohio; and had, some time previous, formed an intimacy with Sidney Rigdon, and became a convert to his doctrines. This Rigdon was a man of great eloquence, belonging to a denomination of Christians who style themselves “Disciples,” or “Reformers,” and who are also, by their opponents, in derision, called “Campbellites.” He resided in the county of Geauga, and but a few miles from the place which has been the head-quarters of Smith. He was a very popular preach [90] er, and had large congregations in different parts of the country. If there was a man in the world that could successfully spread and give a name to the vagaries of the Smiths, it was Rigdon. They soon became convinced of this, by the representations of Pratt. We may here stop to remark, that an opinion has prevailed, to a considerable extent, that Rigdon has been the Iago, the prime mover, of the whole conspiracy. Of this, however, we have no positive proof; but many circumstances have carried a suspicious appearance; and further developments may establish the fact. Either before or soon after the arrival of Pratt at Manchester, among the Smiths, it appears that an expedition was fitted out for the western country, under command of Cowdery, in order to convert the Indians, or Lamanites as they call them. As a preparatory step, a long revelation was furnished by Smith, to Cowdery, to serve as his credentials. This curious document will be found in the succeeding pages, from which it will be seen that the Prophet, at the outset, feared a rivalship, and took effectual means to put it down. His brother Hiram, it appears, also undertook to write some mysteries from a stone, which was forthwith vetoed, and pronounced to be the work of Satan.

As Cowdery was no longer a scribe to the Prophet, it became necessary to supply his place. He therefore very prudently and affectionately had the following command for his wife:—

“A commandment to Emma, my daughter in Zion, A.D. 1830.—A revelation I give unto you concerning my will. Behold, they sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an ‘Elect Lady,’ whom I have called. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come; and the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph, thy husband, in his afflictions, with [91] consoling words in the spirit of meekness; and thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him a scribe, that I may send Oliver whithersoever I will: and thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound the Scripture, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my spirit; for he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost; and thy time shall be given to writing and to learning much; and thou need’st not fear, for thy husband shall support thee from the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them whatsoever I will, according to their faith; and verily I say unto thee, that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better; and it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me to be had in my church, for my soul delights in the song of the heart, yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads; wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenant which thou hast made; continue in the spirit of meekness; let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him; keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive;—and except thou do this, where I am ye cannot come; and verily I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.”

These were some of Smith’s first attempts at making his followers believe that the Lord was to make known his will constantly through him; and the persons chosen were, it must be acknowledged, the best of which the nature of the case would admit—his wife and Cowdery. In this operation he abandoned his spectacles, or “peep-stone,” and merely delivered it with his eyes shut. In this manner he governs his followers, by asking the Lord, as he says, from day to day. Every difficult question or dispute is thus decided— from it there is no appeal. He has taught them, that to doubt their divine authority, is to endanger their salvation. We shall have occasion in [92] the progress of this work, to give many curious specimens of his art of governing. The expedition to the “Lamanites” was finally fitted out by Smith, and was composed of Cowdery, Pratt, Patterson, and Whitmer. In the latter part of October, 1830, under the guidance of Pratt, they arrived at the residence of Rigdon, in Mentor, Ohio, well supplied with new bibles.

They professed to rejoice at finding a people walking according to the scriptures, and pretended to acknowledge no other guide. They professed to have no commands for them; nevertheless, they called upon them to receive the book as from heaven, which they said mostly concerned the western Indians, as being an account of their origin, and a prophecy of their final conversion to Christianity, and make them a “white and delightsome people,” and be reinstated in their lands, of which they have been despoiled by the whites. When called upon for testimony, they appealed (like Mahomet) to the internal evidences of their book. The book was read by Rigdon, and pronounced a “silly fabrication.” When farther pressed upon the subject, they required the people to humble themselves before God, and pray for a sign from Heaven. Near the residence of Rigdon, in Kirtland, there had been for some time previous, a few families belonging to his congregation, who had formed themselves into a common-stock society, and had become considerably fanatical, and were daily looking for some wonderful event to take place in the world. Their minds had become fully prepared to embrace Mormonism, or any other mysterious ism that should first present itself. Seventeen in number of these persons readily believed the whole story of Cowdery, about the finding of the golden plates and spectacles. They were all re-immersed in one night, by Cowdery. At this Rigdon seemed much displeased, and when they came next day to his house, he told them that what they had done was entirely [93] without precedent or authority from the scriptures—for they had immersed those persons that they might work miracles, as well as come under their new covenants;—showed them that the apostles baptized for the remission of sins, instead of miraculous gifts. But when pressed upon the point, they said it was done merely at the solicitation of those persons. Rigdon again called upon them for proofs of the truth of their book and mission; they then related the manner in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an angel was showed unto them. Rigdon here showed them, from scripture, the possibility of their being deceived: “For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” “But,” said Cowdery, “Do you think, if I should go to my heavenly Father, with all sincerity, and pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an angel—that he would suffer Satan to deceive me?” Rigdon replied, “If the heavenly Father has ever promised to show you an angel, to confirm any thing, he would not suffer you to be deceived, for, says John, ‘This is the confidence we have with him, if we ask things according to his will, he hearkens to us.’ “But,” he continued, “if you should ask the heavenly Father to show you an angel when he has never promised you such a thing, if the devil never had an opportunity of deceiving you before, you give him one now.”

However, about two days after this, Rigdon was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign, which he knew to be contrary to his revealed will; he, of course, received a sign, and was convinced that Mormonism was true and divine. According to his own reasoning, therefore, the devil appeared to him as an angel of light; but he now imputed his former reasoning to pride, incredulity, and the influence of the Evil One.

On conversion of Rigdon, a most successful starting point was obtained. Cowdery and his associates then [94] began to develope the peculiarities of the new imposition.

Scenes of the most wild, frantic, and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretend that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands upon the heads of the converts, which operation at first produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time apparently lifeless. They thus continued these enthusiastic exhibitions for several weeks. The fits usually came on during or after their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium.

They would exhibit all the apeish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, go through with all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, ripping open and tearing out the bowels. At other times, they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform all the ceremonies of baptizing, &c. Many would have fits of speaking all the different dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, the young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, &c., which they saw moving through the atmosphere.

Before these scenes fully commenced, however, Cowdery had departed for the country inhabited by the Indians, with the expectation of converting them to Christianity, by means of his new bible, and miracles which he was to perform among them. These pretensions appear to have taken possession of the minds of the young men in their aspirations. Three of them pretended to have received commissions to preach from [95] the skies, after having jumped into the air as high as they could. All these transactions were believed to be the Spirit of God, by the whole congregation, which now numbered more than one hundred. That they were honestly impelled by the same causes which have, in ages of the world, contributed so much to debase human nature, we have no doubt. One of the young men referred to freely acknowledged, some months afterwards, that he knew not what he did for two or three weeks.—Such is the mind of man, when his reason is dethroned by physical causes.—One of these aerial commissions, which they all supposed was signed and sealed by Christ himself, we here subjoin, verbatim:

“Oh, my servant, there is a great work for you and the other two of your brethren. I send a messenger to tell you where to go, and find a piece of parchment that shall contain these words:—

‘You shall teach repentance and remission of sins to all who shall come in the sound of your voice. I command that you do these thing in sincerity and in truth; and if you do, you shall be blessed. The time is shortly a coming, and is not far distant, when you shall be bound together for life. The names of your brethren are these:—Burr Riggs and Edson Fuller; and if they are not faithful, I will choose another in their stead: my work must be done. My servants, you shall go forth from place to place; and, if you are true to your trust, they shall hear. Remember, that I am the Lord, your God! serve me above all others, and I will bless you in the end. Amen.

“That, that you had a messenger tell you to go and get the other night, you must not show to any son of Adam. Obey this, and I will stand by you in all cases: my servants obey my commandments in all cases, and I will provide.

“Be ye always ready,}

“Be ye always ready,}

Whenever I shall call.”

“Be ye always ready,}

My seal”[96].

“There shall be something of greater importance revealed when I shall call you to go. My servants, be faithful over a few things, and I will make you a ruler over many. Amen, Amen, Amen.”

These commissions, they said, came on parchment, and they had only time to copy them before they vanished from their sight. With such papers as these in their pockets, they actually went through the country preaching, and made many converts.

Two of the three afterwards obtained their reason, and left the concern. All these things were afterwards pronounced by Smith to be the work of the devil, although more than one hundred had been converted to Mormonism by merely witnessing the exhibitions.

They professed, at all times, their inability to work miracles, but were secretly trying to perform them, and frequently proclaimed their success. At a distance from the scene of action, many notable miracles were circulated.

During these performances, it should be remembered that Rigdon was not present.

In about three weeks after his conversion, he repaired to the bible quarry in the State of New York, in order to have a personal interview with the Prophet. Smith was prepared to receive him, of course; and a commandment was soon fitted out for him, every way calculated to suit his case and vanity. This being an important link in the chain of our history, we here transcribe it:

“A commandment to Joseph and Sidney, December 7th, 1830, saying:—‘Listen to the voice of the Lord, your God! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round; the same to-day as yesterday, and for ever. I am Jesus Christ, was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God; even on me, as I am in the Father, as the Father is in me, that we may become one. Behold! verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have [97] looked upon thee and thy works; I have heard thy prayers and prepared thee for a greater work; thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold! thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me and Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not: thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they secured not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto you a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and give the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old. And it shall come to pass, that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all nations; for I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs and wonders unto all those who believe on my name; and whosoever shall ask in my name, in faith, shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick, they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk; and the time speedily cometh that great things are to come and to be shown forth unto the children of men; but without, shall nothing be shown forth, except desolation and destruction upon Babylon, the same which hath made all nations drink of the wine of fornication; and there is none that doeth good, except them that are trying to receive the fulness of my Gospel, which I have sent forth to this generation.

“Wherefore, I have called upon the weak things, they that are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my spirit; and their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler: I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me, and their enemies shall be put under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them; and the poor and the meek shall have the Gospel preached to them; and they shall be looking forth to the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand; and they shall learn the parable of the fig-tree, for even now already summer is nigh at hand; and I have sent forth the fulness of my Gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph, and in meek-[98] ness have I blessed him; and I have given unto him the keys of the mysteries of those things which have been sealed, even things which have been from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time till the time of my coming, if he abide in me; and if not, another will I plant in his stead; wherefore, watch over him, that his faith fail not—as it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, which knoweth all things. And a commandment I give unto you, that thou shalt write for him; and the Scriptures shall be given, even as they are in my own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect, for they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming, for they be prepared, even as I am prepared: and now I say unto you, tarry with him, and he shall journey with thee,—forsake him not, and surely these things shall be fulfilled; and inasmuch as you do not write, behold it shall be given unto him to prophecy; and thou shalt preach my Gospel, and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him. Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound, and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble, and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish; and Israel shall be saved in mine own due time, and by the keys which I have given shall be led, and no more confounded. Lift up your hearts and be glad, for your redemption is nigh. Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold! I come quickly: even so. AMEN.”

We before had Moses and Aaron in the persons of Smith and Cowdery, and we now have John the Baptist in the person of Sidney Rigdon. Their plans of deception appear to have been more fully matured and developed after the meeting of Smith and Rigdon. The latter being found very intimate with the Scriptures, a close reasoner, and as fully competent to make white appear black, and black white, as any other man, and at all times prepared to establish, to the satisfaction of great numbers of people, the negative or affirmative [99] of any and every question from Scripture, he was forthwith appointed to promulgate all the absurdities and ridiculous pretensions of Mormonism, “and call on the holy prophets to prove” all the words of Smith. But the miraculous powers conferred upon him we do not learn have yet been put in requisition. It seems that the Spirit had not, before the arrival of Rigdon, told Smith anything about the “promised land,” or his removal to Ohio. It is, therefore, very questionable “what manner of spirit” it was which dictated most of the after movements of the Prophet. The spirit of Rigdon, it must be presumed, however, generally hell sway; for a revelation was soon had, that Kirtland, the residence of Rigdon and his brethren, was to be the eastern border of the “promised land,” “and from thence to the Pacific Ocean.” On this land, the “New Jerusalem—the City of Refuge” was to be built. Upon it all true Mormons were to assemble, to escape the destruction of the world, which was so soon to take place. The width of this Mormon farm we have not heard described. The revelation concerning the “promised land” we have not been able to obtain a copy of it is explained, however, in the following letter from Rigdon, written to his brethren in Ohio soon after he became acquainted with the movements and designs of the Prophet:—

“I send you this letter by John Whitmer: receive him, for he is a brother greatly beloved, and an apostle of this church. With him we send all the revelations which we have received; for the Lord has declared unto us that you pray unto him that Joseph Smith and myself go speedily unto you; but at present it is not expedient for him to send us. He has required of us, therefore, to send unto you our beloved brother John, and with him the revelations which he has given unto us, by which you will see the reason why we cannot come at this time. The Lord has made [100] known unto us some of his great things which he has laid up for them that love him; among which, the fact (a glory of wonders it is) that you are living on the land of promise, and that there is the place of gathering; and from that place to the Pacific Ocean God has dedicated to himself, not only in time, but through eternity; and he has given it to us and our children, not only while time lasts, but we shall have it again in eternity! as you will see by one of the commandments, received the day before yesterday. Therefore, be it known to you, brethren, that you are all dwelling on your eternal inheritance, for which cease not to give ceaseless glory, praise and thanksgiving to the God of heaven. Yes, lift up your heads with joy, for the kingdom is ours till the Saviour comes: even so, Amen. Therefore, prepare your hearts to receive salvation, which God has sent unto you, knowing that they have come from God; and know, assuredly, if you receive them, you shall receive greater things,—yes, things unspeakable and full of glory, ‘such as eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive;’ for our God hath, in visions, shown it unto me. Therefore, I writie with the greatest certainty of these things which he hath prepared for us,—yes, even us, for ever, who receive the revelations of the last days, are the very people of whom the prophets spoke, and the very saints who shall rejoice with Jesus!”

This communication caused a great rejoicing in the congregation. They were then residing upon their eternal inheritance!” Rigdon tarried with Smith about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in the vicinity, and proving by the prophets that Mormonism was true, as he imagined. He then returned to Kirtland, Ohio, being followed, in a few days after, by the Prophet and his connections. This being the “promised land,” in it their long-cherished hopes and anticipations of “living without work” were to be realized. [101]

Thus, for almost a state of beggary, the family of Smiths were immediately well furnished with the “fat of the land” by their fanatical followers, many of whom were wealthy. . . . [102]

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