MORMON  STUDIES  PRESENTS:


John Hyde's

Mormonism,
Its Leaders...



(NYC, W. P. Fetridge, 1857)

(part 4 of 4)


Chapters: 1   |   2   |   3   |   4   |   5   |   6   |   7   |   8   |   9   |   10   |   11   |   12   |   13

go to:  Title  |  Introductory  |  Contents (with links to all chapters)  |  Appendix


 


return to page 236


[ 237 ]





CHAPTER X.

THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES OF
THE BOOK OF MORMON.

Mormon style of proof -- Attacks on the Bible examined -- Laws of evidence -- Contradictions between statements -- Urim and Thummim -- Affidavits as to Smith's statements -- Contradiction of probabilities -- Weight of book -- Smith's previous character -- Affidavit of eleven citizens -- Of fifty-one -- Of different individuals -- Smith's witnesses -- Contradictions -- O. Cowdery -- Harris -- Whitmer -- Of the eight witnesses -- Analysis of testimony -- False grounds of the Mormons -- Examination of prophetic evidence -- Summary.

A FEW of the many evidences of imposture, contained in the Book of Mormon, have been examined in the last chapter, and the result of which, must be the conclusion that the book does not commend itself, either to the judgment or the heart. The Mormons have two ways of defending their book. One is by a constant retreat to its external evidence, and the other by an acrimonious assault on the Bible. It is not that the nature of the book shall prove the authenticity of its pretensions; but that the pretensions of the book shall prove its authenticity. The idea is not to receive the Prophet for the sake of the book, but the book for the sake of the Prophet. The Mormons have ever shrunk from a full investigation of the internal evidences of their book; but have sought refuge under affidavits and testimony. This is wise policy too, from
 


-----  238                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
the fact that it is more easy to avoid personal attacks, and cripple personal investigation, than to protect a printed book. The book remains, awkwardly remains very often, to refute its advocates. No sympathies can be aroused, no feelings awakened by critical disquisition; whereas, all have so much of the hero in them, that a spice of romance, a dash of suffering, plead loudly in extenuation of grave faults and serious deficiencies.

To attack the Bible is not the way to establish their pretended revelation. Even though they could prove every word of the Bible to be false, it would not prove their book to be true. Not only would it not establish it, but would destroy it -- bury it under the mass of ruins they had created. It is not enough to show that the Book of Mormon is as good as the Bible; it must be better, or it is a forgery. It must be better first, in the subject-matter; because the writers of the Book of Mormon pretend to far greater light on the important themes of human salvation. They assert that God was so much more gracious to them, as to give them so much more knowledge about the coming, mission, and death of the Saviour, that they organized churches in his name; called themselves Christians; obtained the Spirit with all its gifts; died martyrs for his sake, and all hundreds of years before he came, while the Jewish prophets were only cheered by a dim ray and comforted by a hope that the Messiah would come. "They looked forward to his day, and were glad." Men so much more blessed, ought to so much more exceed thleir comparatively neglected brethren. Not only in matter, but it must excel the Bible in style. All that the translators of
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   239  ------
the Bible claim is strong patience and unwearied research. The Book of Mormon translator claims inspiration as his means of production. With the Bible it is only human sagacity, increased by labor and invigorated by study; with this other book, Smith says that "therein is the wisdom of God made manifest." As far then as the wisdom of God is superior to the sagacity of men, so far should the Book of Mormon surpass the Bible. Nor can the "Saints" shirk this corollary. The Bible was handed down in MSS. with considerable differences; singularly preserved, it is true, but not without some important alterations. The Book of Mormon is written by Prophets, engraved on metal plates, hidden by a Prophet, found by a Prophet, translated by revelation. It is God throughout on whom it is charged. If it do not exhibit God throughout, it is a forgery. To attempt to extenuate any failings on the plea of human fallibility, is to charge weakness on the Omnipotent. To show that there are errors in the Bible, is a proof of the fallibility of the translators. To show errors in the Book of Mormon, is either to prove Smith an impostor, or it is to find God at fault!

The book does not commend itself; does the manner of its production commend it? It would be well to determine what are the laws of evidence by which to judge. They may be comprised in the following formula:

  I. Statements must agree with themselves.
  II. Statements must agree with principles previously known.
  III. Statements must agree with collateral facts.
  IV. Corroboration without collusion among disinterested
      witnesses
 


-----  240                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
  V. Their joint evidence must preponderate over conflicting testimony.

First. Statements must agree with themselves.

Joseph Smith, born in 1805, sees an angel in 1820, who tells him his sins are forgiven. In 1823 he sees another angel who tells him of the existence of certain plates, their locality, and his destiny to obtain, translate, and publish them. Next morning, 22d September, 1823, Smith goes to the place, has a look into the stone box containing them, again sees the angel, endures a conflict with the powers of darkness, receives much instruction, and is finallv commanded to cover up the box for four years. On the morning of 22d September, 1827, he goes to the box in the hill and obtains the plates with the "Urim and Thummim," and commences the translation. Now what does he see? The plates, about 7 by 8 inches large, and about six inches thick; besides these there were the "Urim and Thummim, two white stones set in the rim of a bow," and "a brass breastplate worn by the ancients" (vide. J. Smith's Autobiography). This is the first statement with regard to the matter. On page 189 of Smith's Revelations (Doctrines and Covenants) is another statement in which "the sword of Laban and the brass director of Nephi" were added to the list. Which is true? If he only saw the plates, interpreters, and breastplate, as he said he did in his early statements, how comes he to change it two years afterward? Whichever is true, or if they both be false, the first-law evidence would determine his rejection.

Another very serious discrepancy occurs as to this Urim
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   241  ------
and Thummim. In the Book of Mormon there are two mentioned. One, p. 522, is possessed by Jared's brother, who seals them up with his plates, and hides them. These plates and interpreters, according to the Book of Mormon, have never been found. Ether, the last surviving descendant of Jared's company, engraves a succinct history of his fore fathers on twenty-four golden plates and dies, p. 549. These plates of Ether are found by the people of Limhi, about 120 B. C., p. 161. With these plates was brought the breast-plate referred to, but with them neither the plates of Jared's brother, nor his interpreters. They have not been found. Besides these, there is another pair of interpreters, possessed by one Mosiah, who declares he received them, they "having been handed down from generation to generation," p. 204. All that Mosiah knew about Jared was by means of Ether's plates of gold which he interpreted by his two interpreters. The interpreters of Mosiah were handed down to Mormon. If the Book of Mormon be true, these must be the interpreters Smith obtained; but, in his Revelations, p. 189, two years after, he says, "they were those given to Jared's brother." Here is a palpable contradiction between Smith in the Book of Mormon and Smith in the Doctrines and Revelations, and by the first law of evidence, he should be rejected.

Not only has Smith contradicted himself in his own works, but still more extensively in the statements he has made to his companions and neighbors; many of these have testified to such contradictions.

Peter Ingersol, one of Smith's most intimate friends, makes affidavit, and says, " that Smith told me the whole affair was
 


-----  242                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
a hoax, that he had no such book, and did not believe that there was such a book in existence; but, said he, as I have got the damned fools fixed, I shall carry out the fun."

Willard Chase testifies that "Smith came to me, wanting me to make him a chest to put his Gold Bible in, and promised me a share in the book to do so. He told me he was commanded to keep it two years, without letting it come to the eye of any one but himself."

Isaac Hale, Smith's father-in-law, also affirms, "I asked Smith who was to be the first to see the book of plates? He said it was a young child."

Rev. N. C. Lewis testifies that "Smith told me he was commanded to exhibit the plates to all the world at a certain time, then about eighteen months distant, and promised that I should see the plates. When that time came, he said he had been deceived."

Henry Harris testifies that "Smith told me that he could not obtain the plates until he was married, and that no one was to see them but himself and wife."

Alva Hale testifies that Joseph "promised me that I should see the plates, and appointed a time; but when it came, appeared angry, and refused to keep his word."

Levi Lewis testifies that "Smith told me that God had deceived him, and that this was the reason he did not show them."

Sophia Lewis testifies that she " heard Smith say the book of plates could not be opened by another person than his first born, which was to be a male; and that she was present at its birth, and that it was still-born, and much deformed."
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   243  ------
The question is, are these deponents to be believed? Either they are perjurers, or Smith is an impostor. These, one Smith's father-in-law, are parties well known and respected where they lived. They are perfectly disinterested. Its success would cost them nothing. Had they been disposed to assist in the imposture, they could have made a great deal. Although testifying to additional circumstances, they all confirm each other's statements. Either they are all perjurers, or they all tell the truth. The above are but a selection from many. The Smiths never could, and did not, oppose to these affidavits any thing but a bare denial, but moved out of that part of the country, where they could obtain no converts. They must be believed; Smith did contradict himself, and should therefore be rejected.

II. Statements must be probable.

In 1823 Smith disinters the box, looks into it, covers it up, and leaves it for four years. When he first visited it, "the crowning top of the box was visible from the road, though not sufficiently so to attract the attention of the traveler unless previously directed to it." It was thus in 1823. After the snows and rains of four winters such a box would be quite bare, and would have been inspected and robbed. To say that God should act thus in preserving "his holy word" is ridiculous and improbable.

Smith avers, that after receiving these plates, etc., he was "waylaid by two ruffians, one armed with a club; still keeping the plates, etc. concealed, he beats them off, runs from them, and arrives at his father's house, a two miles' run, before them." (Smith's Autobiography.) This may appear a small
 


-----  244                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
feat till we remember what he had to carry. "The plates of gold measure 7 x 8 inches, and six inches thick, and are fastened through the back edge with three rings." A box of tin, 10 x 14, and 3 inches deep, weighs about 125 lbs. gross. The box may weigh 10 lbs., leaving the net weight of tin 115 lbs. Now 10 x 14 x 3: 115:: 7 x 8 x 6: 92 lbs. Had these gold plates been tin, they would have weighed about 90 lbs. But the relative weight of tin and gold is as 19.25 to 7.58. So that 7.58: 19.25 = 92: 220.44. Hence, this mass of gold plates, as they were not so compactly pressed as boxed tin, would have weighed nearly 200 lbs. Besides these plates, he had, according to his third story, a breast-plate of brass, Laban's sword, the crystal interpreters, the "brass ball with spindles" director of Lehi. Yet he packs this horse load, keeps these large and awkward shaped things completely concealed, and, at the same time, beats off and outruns two empty-handed men a distance of two miles. Statements must be probable, and, therefore, these ought to be rejected.

III. Statements must agree with collateral facts.

What is Smith's previous character? While the prophets and apostles were poor, many of them ignorant, and some of them very young, still their characters were irreproachable. Smith's youth, ignorance, and low position would be no valid argument against him; but what was his reputation? Only those who know him best can testify. Such disinterested testimony we subjoin:

Affdavit made by eleven residents of J. Smith's village.

" We, the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, sen., with whom the Gold Bible,
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   245  ------
so called, originated, state, that they are not only a lazy indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and their word not to be depended on, and that we are heartily glad to dispense with their society."

Signed by eleven male residents of Manchester, Ontario, N. Y., November 3, 1833.

On December 4, 1833, fifty-one other men of standing and reputation made affidavit to a similar effect. "We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years while they resided near this place, and have no hesitation in saying, that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for 'visionary projects,' spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth. Joseph Smith, sen., and his son Joseph in particular, were considered entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits."

This was signed by fifty-one men of well-known reputation.

Williard Chase made affidavit before Judge Smith, that "I have regarded Joseph Smith, jun., from the time I became acquainted with him, as a man whose word could not be depended on. After the family became Mormons, their conduct was more disgraceful than before. Although they left this part of the country without paying their just debts, yet their creditors were glad to have them do so rather than to have them stay."

Parley Chase affirms, "I was acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, sen., both before and since they became Mormons, and state that not one of the male members of the
 


-----  246                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
Smith family are entitled to any credit whatever. They were lazy, intemperate, and worthless men; very much addicted to lying. In this they friequently boasted their skill. Digging for money was their principal employment. In regard to their Gold Bible speculation, they scarcely ever told two stories alike."

Joseph Capron testified that "the whole object of the Smith family appeared to be to live without work. While digging for money, they were constantly harassed by creditors who are still unpaid."

Henry Harris testifies that "the character of Joseph Smith, jun., for truth and veracity was such that I would not believe him under oath. I was once on jury before a justices' court, and the jury could not and did not believe his testimony to be true."

Levi Lewis testifies "he knows Smith to be a liar; that he saw him intoxicated at three different times while pretending to translate the Book of Mormon; that he has heard him say adultery was no crime."

Barton Stafford, on oath before Judge Baldwin, testified, "Joseph Smith, sen., was a noted drunkard, that most of his family followed his example, especially Joseph Smith, jun., the Prophet, who was much addicted to intemperance. That he got drunk in my father's field, and that when drunk would talk about his religion."

Here are positive statements made by men who knew Smith well; who had known him long; who had no motive to exaggerate. They are not bare assertions uttered without thought, and repeated without exactness, but deliberate, written
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   247  ------
affidavits. No attempt has been made to meet them, only to cry persecution and run away. To cry persecution is not to answer grave accusations. To run away is to tacitly admit, if not the direct charge, certainly their inability to refute it.

We are bound in all honesty to believe these solemn assertions of over seventy well-known and well-reputed men. To believe them is to reject Smith. To commence God's work of salvation on the earth, required his Son, Jesus Christ, and the new testament of his blood. God would not select such a work as the Book of Mormon to continue the object that needed his Son to commence. He would neither select such a work, nor choose such a man to introduce it, nor in such a manner.

IV. There must be corroboration without collusion among disinterested witnesses.

To judge the Book of Mormon by the precedent laid down in the Bible, it is extraordinary for a Prophet to need witnesses at all. But Smith's only crutch are his twelve witnesses. He has introduced them and they must be cross-examined. A jury who knew him best, believed him the least. If not to be believed by a jury on another's case he ought not to be believed by the world on his own. We have seen that he has so contradicted himself that we can not believe him for his own sake; now, can we believe him on the evidence of his friends? The Book of Mormon says, "There shall be three witnesses." These records were to be shown to no more than three. When Moses brought down firom the mountain the tables of stone, on which God had
 


-----  248                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
written the law, and brake them in pieces before the people, the pieces lay there in the sight of all, a God-marked ruin, symbol of Israel's folly. These plates obtained in secrecy by a drunkard, a liar, and a cheat are to be secretly shown to three persons on whose testimony it is pretended, God will condemn the world. The Book of Mormon says he shall show them to three witnesses, Smith showed them to eleven! Not only the Book of Mormon, but Smith pretends to get a revelation in March, 1829 (Doc. and Cov. p. 172), and makes God to say, "I will give unto these three witnesses power that they may behold and view these things as they are, and to none else will I give this power to receive this same testimony among this generation." This is in March, 1829, yet in 1830 be pretends that eight others saw and handled the plates and bore not only the same but a still more explicit testimony. Out of his own mouth does Smith condemn himself and his witnesses.

On page 189, Doctrines and Covenants, Smith pretends that God has said, these three witnesses should see the plates, and breast-plate, and sword of Laban, Urim, and also the miraculous directors of Lehi. "You shall testify of them, that you have seen them with your eyes." Now, in their testimony, prefixed to the Book of Mormon, they assert nothing of the kind. They say that they did see the plates, but not one of the other things that God said they should testify about. If they had seen them they would have testified of them; if they had seen the plates they would have seen these other things also, according to their pretended God's word; they did not testify of them, therefore, they did not see them.
 


------                    THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   249  ------
They did not see these curiosities; either then, they did not see the plates or Smith's god is a false and deceiving god. If they did not see the plates their testimony fails. If they did see the plates, and not these other things also, their god fails, and Mormonism falls in either case. It may be urged this promise was contingent on their faith; and that may have failed them. Paragraph 3 of the same revelation says, "Wherefore you have received the same power and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him" (Joseph Smith). They had the faith but yet did not see these things. Paragraph 2 of the same revelation says, "You shall testify you have seen them even as my servant Joseph has seen them." If Smith had seen, they should see; if they saw, they should testify. They did not testify, therefore, they did not see them. They did not see these things, consequently Joseph Smith never saw them either, for they were "to see them even as Joseph saw them." This conclusion is inevitable. Smith's witnesses, therefore, only prove him an impostor!

THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES.

"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people 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, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the 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
 


-----  250                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
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 down from heaven, 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 behleld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord comnmanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if 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.

"OLIVER COWDERY,  
"DAVID WHITMER,  
"MARTIN HARRIS."  

Several sound objections can be urged against this testimony. 1. There is no date nor place. 2. This is not three separate affidavits, "corroborating without collusion," but one testimony, signed by three men. 3. Who wrote this statement -- which of the three -- was it the three conjointly -- or neither of them? Compare these words with Smith's pretended revelation, Doctrines and Covenants, p. 173, and any one will see the author of the Revelation is the author of the testimony. This testimony is, therefore, drawn up by Smith himself. There is necessarily corroboration, but there certainly must hlave been collusion!

But who are these witnesses? As the salvation of the
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   251  ------
world is made to depend on their testimony, it is important we know how much their evidence is worth. O. Cowdery was a school-master, became clerk for Smith to write his translation, in 1829, after Harris had become dissatisfied. He, too, soon grew to desire a stronger evidence of Smith's pretensions; so, in April, 1829, Smith gets a revelation to appease him, saying, "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have from a god? (In passing, it is a singular coincidence that Mohammed used this same argument.) And, behold, I grant unto you a gift, if you desire it of me to translate, even as my servant Joseph;" but not these plates; oh! no, but (par. 12), "there are other records kept back; you shall assist in bringing to light those parts of the Scriptures." He begins to write again, but is again disturbed in mind, and another revelation is obtained for him. He tried to exercise "his gift," but failed, and Smith puts these words into the mouth of God:

"Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and, behold, it is because that 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 if me that I have dealt with you after this manner. 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, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right,
 


-----  252                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be 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 can not write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me. Now, if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold, it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared, and the time is past."

Can any man read this wire-working, and charge it on the Being who says, " As far as the east is from the west, so are my ways from men's ways?" Oliver is foiled, and submits. A short time after the organization of the Church, Hiram Smith charges Oliver Cowdery, in print, with going to his house, while he, H. Smith, was in prison, "and ransacking and carrying off all the valuables; compelling my aged father, by threatening to bring a mob over him, to deed over to him about one hundred and sixty acres of land, to pay a note, he said I had given, for $160, which note was a forgery!" Sidney Rigdon, J. Smith's counselor, at Independence, Mo., in 1838, charged Cowdery and David Whitmer, both witnesses, with being "connected with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive and defraud the Saints." Joseph Smith (Times and Seasons, vol. i., pp. 81, 83, 84) charges Cowdery and Whitmer with being "busy in stirring up strife and turmoil among the brethren in 1838 in Missouri;" and that "they were studiously engaged in circulating false and slanderous reports against the Saints," and he demands, "Are they not murderers at heart? Are not their consciences seared with a hot
 


------                    THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   253  ------
iron?-" These vile men were consequently cut off from the Church, being too deeply implicated to deny their testimony, and too thoroughly defamed beforehand for such denial to have weight.

Martin Harris was a rich farmer. Before he became acquainted with Smith, he had been Quaker, Universalist, Restorationist, Baptist, Presbyterian. He was a violent, quarrelsome man, "known to frequently whip and kick his wife, and put her out of doors." (Richard Ford and G. W. Stoddard's affidavits.) Lucy Harris, his wife, affirms that "her shoulders and back were often black and blue in many places;" "once he beat me so severely that marks remained more than two weeks;" "once he struck me over the head several times with the butt-end of a whip three or four feet long." His first acquaintance with Smith was by Smith's "going to him and saying, 'I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet to give me $50 to help me to do the Lord's work in translating the Golden Bible.'" Martin believed, contributed, grew intimate, and became scribe. Not satisfied, however, he wished to see the plates; but Smith put him off, giving him a slip of paper, with some of the characters inscribed, and sent him to Professor Anthon of New York, who warned him of being hoaxed. Harris returned dissatisfied, and still wanted to see the plates; and Smith, to give him a quietus, obtained a revelation, March, 1829 (Doc. and Cov., p. 171), and says, par. 2, " Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, even if it were possible for you to show them all these things I have committed unto you. Oh! this unbelieving generation, mine anger is kindled
 


-----  254                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
against them;" and in par. 5, Harris is commanded to say no more about it, "except he shall say I have seen them, and they have been shown me by the power of God, and not of man." Observe, this is March, 1829. The revelation given immediately previous to their seeing the plates was in June, 1829; so that here is Smith's pretended God, wanting Harris to testify that he had already seen the plates, three months before he pretended to have seen them at all. God wanting Harris to lie!

Harris, however, is not satisfied even with all this spiritual machinery at work around him. He determines to steal 118 pages of translation he had made, hoping that Smith would reproduce it, and by comparing the two to examine how far verbatim were his revelations. Smith is too cunning. He obtains a revelation commanding him not to retranslate, but promising that a better and fuller account of the same matters should be found in the next book; and he then plays off Cowdery against Harris as scribe. The book is finished, the "testimony" is gotten up, his signature extorted the last when it ought to have been the first, and it goes to the world. But we may, perhaps, be astonished to find, that though Harris's testimony has convinced many thousands who have embraced Mormonism, it did not convince Harris himself, nor deter him from desiring to commit murder and adultery. In March, 1830, Smith has to severely rebuke him, and got a revelation commanding him to "repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph, in my name; and it is by my almighty power that you received them." "Repent, lest I smite you and
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   255  ------
your sufferings be sore -- how sore, you know not; how exquisite, you know not; yea, how hard to bear, you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things -- which suffering caused even God, the greatest of all, to tremble, because of pain and blood at every pore. I command thee not to covet thy neighbor's wife, nor seek thy neighbor's life. And again I command thee to impart freely of thy property to the printing of the Book of Mormon. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer!" (Doc. and Cov., p. 194.)

In 1837 Smith prints this language about his coadjutor and witness: "There are negToes who have white skins as well as black ones. Granny Parish and others, who acted as lackeys, such as Martin Harris! But they are so far beneath my contempt, that to notice any of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make." (Elder's Journal, 1837.) This is rather hard, remembering that he had completely ruined Harris. We must, however, believe the prophet, and urge that to notice the testimony of Martin Harris is "too great a sacriffle for a gentleman to make!" And yet it is on the testimony of such a man, the Mormons believe and contend, that God will condemn mankind.

Notwithstanding the declaration of the Book of Mormon, or of Smith's pretended revelation of March, 1829, that God would give the testimony to "these three, and to none else," yet Smith felt that their testimony wanted bolstering up, and he has, therefore, added the testimony of eight otlhers. Although by the revelation above, it is evident that the testimony could not have been given by God, and is, therefore, worthless; still it ought to be examined.
 


-----  256                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
"Testimony of the Eight Witnesses.

"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the 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."

CHRISTIAN WHITMER.           HIRAM PAGE.
JACOB WHITMER.         JOSEPH SMITH, Sen.
PETER WHITMER, Jun.         HIRAM SMITH.
JOHN WHITMER.           SAMUEL H. SMITH.

Observe, there are three Smiths, four Whitmers, and Page, a relation of Cowdery's, who make the above statement. There is no need to investigate their characters. To acknowledge their testimony true, will add no weight to the Mormon cause.

But their testimony destroys itself. First. There is neither date nor place. Second. It is not an affidavit. Third. It is evident that Joseph wrote it himself. Fourth. It contradicts the testimony of the three. It needed an " angel from heaven" to show the plates to the three witnesses who were, it is said, chosen by God; Smith himself showed these things to these eight whom he himself chose. Fifth. The three, although chosen by God, saw only
 


------                    THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   257  ------
with the "eye of faith," saw, but touched not; these, forbidden by God, "handled and hefted them." They were so sacred that Smith divided his translating room with a blanket, he sitting on one side, his scribe on the other, to prevent Harris from seeing them; so professedly sacred, that it needed many revelations, the delay of three years, many warnings, menaces, and maledictions, the maintenance of profound secrecy, and the adoption of subterfuges and fanatical paraphernalia, before these three could get a glimpse of them; and now, it is pretended, they were freely handled and loosely hefted by these eight men, who had been forbidden by God. These statements differ; one is certainly false, and whichever it is, Smith is an impostor. Sixth. Smith says, that "when the plates were translated, they were given back to the angel." How then could he show them to these eight men? Seventh. Smith pretends to have found one book "bound by three rings passing through the back edge, and a part of them was sealed." These men "handle the leaves," not of the whole, sealed as well as translated, but of the part that "Smith had translated." Either he must have broken those sacred rings, or they must have handled the whole. It is to confirm this ringed book their testimony is advanced. But they did not see this ring-bound book, and therefore their testimony is worthless. Eighth. If Smith did show them some plates, which we are willing to believe he did; they could not tell whether they were "the leaves Joseph Smith had translated;" they could not tell that " they were the plates of which have been spoken;" they could not tell whether they were "as many" as translated. All they had was Smith's bare word.
 


-----  258                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
All we have is Smith's bare word too. But we have already shown that that word, even on oath, would not be believed by a jury of his acquaintances. Unbelievable in trivial matters, how shall we credit him when universal salvation is at stake? Ninth. They were confessedly ignorant men. Their statement of "ancient work and curious workmanship," is the opinion of men who necessarily know nothing about it. For an astronomer to obtain the testimony of an infant school as to the correctness of the "nebular theory," or the undulation of light, and who should require the world to believe it on their testimony, would be just as wise as to require the world to believe the Book of Mormon on the testimony of these men. Who shall charge God with making the salvation of the world depend on the contradictory opinions of these men, as to something of which they are entirely and confessedly ignorant?

V. The testimony of the witnesses must preponderate over conflicting evidence.

The testimony produced against Smith has never been met. Recrimination or silence has been their manner of treating it. The cry of "persecution" has been raised, and they "ran away." Such evidence demands attention and refutation, or it demands belief. Orson Pratt, the ablest Mormon writer, says, "We must prove these men did not see what they pretend, before we can disprove the Book of Mormon." (Authenticity of Book of Mormon.) This is an error. The onus probandi rests with the affirmative. It is impossible to prove a negative. Truth is that which is. Falsehood is that which is not. We can prove truth, or that which is,
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   259  ------
but we can not prove that which is not. The affirmative produce their case, and the negative examine it. It is for them to prove that Smith's previous character was good; that his word is to be believed; that his statements were consistent; that they were probable; that they did agree with collateral facts; that there was no collusion; at the same time that there was full harmony among disinterested witnesses of unimpeachable character. Till they do this, the world is not responsible for unbelief. Till they do this, to believe Smith, is a sign of a hastily and easily satisfied mind. They have not done this, therefore men should not believe.

Still they are not without an argument. They rely greatly on their prophetic proof. They try to show that God was to reveal himself to Ephraim; quote the promises made to that tribe; refer to Ezekiel, xxxvii. 15, 28, inferring thence that the stick of Judah is a book, the Bible; that the stick of Ephraim is also a book, the Book of Mormon. To establish the identity of the Book of Mormon with this book or stick, is now the grand difficulty. They use Isaiah, xxix., and attempt to wrest it to mean the coming forth of the Book of Mormon from the ground; the inability of Professor Anthon to decipher the characters, etc., etc. This is their tower of strength,

"Which if to totter, is their all to fall."

"And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hands of the spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his
 


-----  260                  THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                  -----
sight: there was none left, but the tribe of Judah only" (2 Kings, xvii. 18, 20). God says he rejected them, and cast them out of his sight. Smith says he led them to America, and blessed them "above the house of Judah." Which is right? It is a question between God and Joseph Smith. To believe the one, is to reject the other.

Admitting that Ephraim was to be blest, as pretended, it does not help the Book of Mormon. There was not a single Ephraimite on the continent of America, according to their book itself. The Nephites were descendants of Manasseh (Book of Mormon, p. 235). The people of Zarahemla were Jews, and were of the "seed of Zedekiah" (Book of Mormon, p. 411). These not being Ephraimites, their record can not be the "stick or records of Ephraim." The Mormon prophetic argument falls to the ground, therefore, because Ephraim's promises do not refer to others. Again, Ezekiel says, "Write, for Joseph the stick of Ephrain and for all the house of Israel, his companions." Wherever Ephraim is, all the house of Israel are there also. Not an isolated family, as Smith pretends, separated by thousands of miles of sea and land, but with Israel, his companions. If the papyrus roll of the Bible be properly symbolized by a stick, a stick can not mean a book of gold plates. We find, then,

I. Statements must agree with themselves.

Smith has over and over again contradicted himself, and must, therefore, be rejected.

II. Statements must agree with known principles.

Smith has transcended all probability, and must, therefore, be rejected.
 


------                   THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCES.                   261  ------
III. Statements must agree with collateral facts.

Smith's character, both previously and at the time, was notoriously bad, and, therefore, must be rejected.

IV. Disinterested and unimpeachable witnesses must, without collusion and preconcert, confirm each other's statement.

There was preconcert and collusion among Smith's witnesses; they were all deeply interested; they were men of such bad character that the Mormons themselves accused and criminated, and finally cut them off; and their testimony is contradictory. Therefore Smith must be rejected.

V. Their evidence must preponderate over all conflicting testimony.

So far from this, their testimony destroys itself, and, therefore, Smith must be rejected.

As Joseph Smith is the founder of Mormonism, and as, consequently, the truth of Mormonism depends entirely on the pretensions of Smith, so, therefore, all should reject Mormonism.




 


[ 262 ]




CHAPTER XI.

REAL ORIGIN OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.

Credibility of testimony -- Money-digging in New York -- Chase's peep stone -- Smith's mode of translating -- Page's stone -- Smith's plates -- Wiley's plates -- Cupidity of Smith's family -- Smith's object -- W. Harris's inducement -- O. Cowdery's inducement -- Origin of name -- Origin of matter -- Spalding's relations testify -- Smith's means of obtaining MS. of Spalding -- Incidents of Book of Mormon -- Religious decisions -- Religious style -- Grammatical construction -- The Bible.

THE Book of Mormon is not what it pretends to be, a revelation from God; then what is it? What is its real origin? Is Smith the author, or had he assistance? If he had accomplices, who were they, and what were the inducements out to them? What was their object? Were they victims to his deceit or accessories to his fraud? These become not only interesting but important questions. To these questions a reply is attempted in this chapter.

It is very difficult to detect, in ordinary cases, evidences of fraud. Unless by the exposure by an accomplice, it is necessary to make a minute investigation of the circumstances of the case, remembering the third law of evidence, "Things must agree with collateral facts."

The apologists for the Book of Mormon boldly demand "What object could Joseph Smith and these witnesses have had if the transaction be a fraud?" There are three motives
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  263  ------
that induce deceit -- the desire for wealth, reputation, and power. The whole of these actuated Smith; the first of these induced the witnesses. This will be clearly established.

It is important here, however, to determine what testimony is credible on this subject? The Mormons ever brand as "liar and perjurer" any who oppose and testify against them. They require us to believe Smith on testimony that no jury would receive. We require them to disbelieve Smith, on testimony any jury would credit; the testimony of disinterested witnesses well cognizant of the facts, corroborating each other's statements without collusion, which are also confirmed by circumstances known, and which would compel the assent of any unprejudiced examiner.

It was quite common in the western part of New York, about thirty years ago, for men to dig for treasure which they supposed had been hidden by Captain Kidd and others. Many plans were tried and much imposition practiced by means of divining-rods, dreams, and seeing-stones. It was not at all a new thing for Smith, therefore, to pretend to the power of seeing where gold was by the use of a "peep-stone," nor did it surprise the inhabitants of that locality.

Willard Chase, before Judge King, Wayne county, N. Y., swears that, in 1822, as Joseph Smith (then seventeen years old) and himself were digging a well, he found a curious white stone, about twenty feet from the surface. "Joseph Smith put it into his hat, asserting that by putting his face to the top of it, he could see the stone." The next day Smith borrowed the stone, which Chase reluctantly lent. Smith soon began to publish what wonderful things he could see in
 


------  264                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
it. Chase ordered its return. In 1825, Smith borrowed it again, alleging he wanted it for an important purpose and promised its immediate return. In the fall of 1826, Chase sent for it, when Smith refused to restore it; Chase insisted on its restoration, Smith persisted in his refusal. In 1827, Chase swears, "Smith told me of having found his Golden Bible, and he said, 'If it had not been for that stone of yours (acknowledging it to be mine), I could not have obtained the book.' He then wished me to make him a chest to put his book into, but I refused." In 1830, Chase again demanded the stone of Hiram Smith, Joseph's brother, in the presence of Martin Harris. "Hiram replied that I could not have it, for Joseph used it in translating the new Bible." "I represented to him that the stone was mine and that I must have it; when Martin Harris flew into a rage, called me a liar, and took me by the collar. Hiram joined in the scuffle, shaking his fists at me and abusing me in the most scandalous manner." Chase could never afterward obtain that stone.

The testimony of Willard Chase is confirmed by Isaac Hale, Smith's father-in-law, who affirms "I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith in November, 1825. He was then in the employ of a set of men who were called 'money-diggers,' and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat and his hat placed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasures. The manner in which he pretended to read an interpret his plates was the same as when he looked for 'money-diggers.' with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at
 




 

------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  265  ------
the same way." Peculiar importance attaches itself to the testimony of Isaac Hale, from the fact of some of the "translation" being done at his home, till he became disgusted with their knavery and turned them all out of doors; and that Smith was still cheating in 1825; two years after pretending to have had his vision.

In the stone of W. Chase, was the real origin of Smith's Urim and Thummim. the ancient Urim and Thummim was in Aaron's breastplate, "on his heart." Ex. xxviii. 30. Smith, however, fixed his into golden rims, and put them on his eyes. "Each was so large," says Martin Harris, "that a man could look, with both eyes, through one stone."

Nor was Smith's the only stone among his believers. In September, 1830, Smith had to get a revelation, commanding Cowdery to "take his brother, Hiram Page (one of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon) between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceived him." (Doc. and Cov., p. 203.) While Page conceived he had an equal right to obtain revelations through his stone, Joseph could endure no rival to his pretensions. His only means of power was by keeping himself the sole revealer of God's will and word. To share with another the raft that was bearing him on, was to sink himself. It was a contest between Joseph Smith and Page. Page was the weakest, and he went down.

Here, then, is the origin of the Urim and Thummim idea; what suggested that of the golden plates? It is a fact that Smith did copy some characters on to a slip of paper, which
 


------  266                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
he sent by Martin Harris to Professor Anthon. It is also a fact, that the description of the characters made by the Professor, does somewhat resemble the description of the glyphs of Otolum, made subsequently by Professor Rafinesque (Atlantic Journal, 1832, Professor Rafinesque). Of this similarity O. Pratt makes great capital as a proof of the Book of Mormon. I admit the resemblance. It is also a fact that eight men testified that Smith had shown them several plates curiously engraved; that they "did handle and heft them;" and that they knew Smith had them. Although, as before shown, these plates could not have been the pretended golden Bible, yet I think there can be no doubt that these men told the truth as to seeing and handling certain plates, and that Smith had them. Unless Smith had got something, he could never have originated the idea of the book; could not have copied the characters sent to Professor Anthon by Martin Harris; still more, those characters could not have happened to resemble engravings subsequently found; and as these eight do not pretend, as to the three, to have seen them with all the ridiculous concomitants of the eye of faith and coming of angels, it is reasonable to believe that Smith really possessed some plates. If their testimony is credible, it proves that he not only had them, but that he kept them, and not delivered them "up to the angel," as he elsewhere pretends. To possess the plates is one thing, to have received them from God is quite another. To admit that he had them does not admit the truth of the Book of Mormon.

"How did he get them?"
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  267  ------
"on the 16th of April, 1843, a respectable merchant, by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place. He excavated to the depth of ten feet, and came to rock. On the 23d. he and quite a number of the citizens, with myself, repaired to the mound, and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones, that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found, that consisted of SIX PLATES OF BRASS, of a bell-shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps. the ring and clasps appeared to be of iron, very much oxydated: the plates first appeared to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates. Accordingly, I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woolen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed, I treated them with dilute sulphuric acid, which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with characters, that none, as yet, have been able to read. They were found, I judge, more than twelve feet below the surface of the top of the mound.
"I am , respectfully, a citizen of Kinderhook,

"W. P. HARRIS, M. D."    

The following certificate was forwarded for publication at the same time:

"We citizens of Kinderhook, whose names are annexed, do certify and declare, that on the 23d of April, 1843, while excavating a large mound in the vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound six brass plates, of a bell-shape, covered
 


------  268                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxydated. The bands and rings on said plates moldered into dust on a slight pressure."

ROBERT WILEY,         J. R. SHARP,
GEORGE DECKENSON,         IRA S. CURTIS,
W. LONGNECKER.         FAYETTE GRUBB,
G. W. F. WARD,         W. P. HARRIS,
W. FUGATE.
 
The characters on these plates also resemble Professor Anthon's description: "The characters were arranged in columns like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley I ever saw. Greek, Hebrew, and all sorts of letters, more of less distorted, were intermingled, with sundry delineations of half moons, stars and other natural objects,
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  269  ------
and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican Zodiac." (Professor Anthon's letter.) Professor Rafinesque describes the glyphs of Otolum, Mexico, as being "written from top to bottom like the Chinese." "The most common way of writing is in rows, and each group separated." (Atlantic Journal for 1832). This similarity between the characters on Wiley's plates and Professor Rafinesque's description, does not prove that Wiley got his plates from an angel. However much the characters on Smith's plates may have resembled either of the above, it does not any the more prove that Smith got his plates from an angel either. Wiley found his plates while digging for water. It would be just as natural for Smith to have found his plates while digging for gold! To prove the resemblance only proves the possession, and not the means of obtaining possession. We have before shown that any impartial person must disclaim all ideas of Smith getting his book as he pretends. Every careful reader must be compelled to admit that Smith did have some plates of some kind. Smith;s antecedents and subsequents, show that he did not have genius sufficient to originate the whole conception, without some palpable suggestion. the having chanced to have found some plates in a mound, as Wiley found his, or as Chase discovered Smith's "peep-stone," would be just such an event as would suggest every particular enticement Smith made about his plates, at the same time account for what is known; and, therefore, it is more than reasonable to conclude that Smith found his plates while digging gold. This entirely destroys all the shadow or argument so laboriously compiled by the Mormon apologists,
 


------  270                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
which, even without this, although their strongest argument, only proves that he had some plates, but at the same time has no force of proof as to Smith's obtaining them from an angel.

It is certain that Smith began to feel his friends on the subject of this Golden Bible for some time before he pretended to possess it. Peter Ingersol testifies on oath that "J. Smith, sen., told me a book had been found in a hollow tree in Canada, giving an account of the settlement of this country before its discovery by Columbus." The views excited by Smith among his family were, that they should grow wealthy by this Gold Bible discovery. Abigail Harris, on the 28th November, 1833, testified:

"In the early part of the winter of 1828 I made a visit to Martin Harris, and was joined in company by Jos. Smith, sen., and his wife. The Gold Bible business, so called, was the topic of conversation, to which I paid particular attention, that I might learn the truth of the whole matter. They told me that the report that Joseph, jr. had found Golden Plates was true, and that he was in Harmony, Pa. translating them. The old lady said also, that after the Book was translated, the Plates were to be publicly exhibited -- admittance twenty-five cents. She calculated it would bring in annually an enormous sum of money -- that money would then be very plenty, and the Book would sell for a great price, as it was something entirely new; that they had been commanded to obtain all the money they could borrow for present necessity, and to repay with gold. The remainder was to be kept in store for the benefit of their family and children. The old lady took me into another room, and after closing the door, she said, 'Have you four or five dollars in money that you can lend until our business is brought to a
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  271  ------
close? The Spirit has said you shall receive four fold." I told her that when I gave, I did it not expecting to receive it again, and as for money I had none to lend. In the second month following, Martin Harris and Lucy, his wife were at my house. In conversation about Mormonites, she observed, that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it was all false and delusion. To which I head Mr. Harris reply: "What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!" I was both an eye and an ear witness of what has been above stated, which is now fresh in my memory, and I speak the truth and lie not, God being my witness.

This lady was a member of the Society of Friends, and was widely known, and universally esteemed.

Joseph Capron testifies that "Joseph Smith, jun., at length pretended to find his plates. This scheme, he believed, would relieve the family from all pecuniary embarrassment. His father told me, that when the book was published, they would be enabled, from the profits of the work, to carry into successful operation the money digging business. He gave me no intimation, at that time that the book was to be of a religious character, or that it had any thing to do with revelation. He declared it to be a speculation, and said, 'When it is completed, my family will be placed on a level above the generality of mankind!'"

The Book of Mormon, p. 510, says. "No one shall have the Plates to get gain." Did Smith make nothing by his imposture? Mohammed was rich, and became poor; was respected, and became despised; was elevated to positions of authority and influence, and had to flee for his life; but Smith was miserably poor, universally despised and hopelessly
 


------  272                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
degraded, and his imposture opened before him prospective wealth, influence, and power. In 1843 he owned mansions at Nauvoo; he had given revelations commanding the faithful to support him; and although he was proverbially the best wrestler in the county, he pretended that the Lord said, "My servant Joseph shall not have strength to work!" and therefore, compelled the "Church" to sustain him. Smith had inveigled Harris into paying the printer, and the profits of the Book of Mormon came to him, who called himself on the title-page of the first edition, "Author and Proprietor." He was the Mayor of the city and General of the Legion. Who will say that this "money-digging youth, living by his wits," had made nothing by his imposture? Who can not but perceive abundance of motive for attempting it? Who can not but be convinced that it was imposture he attempted?

What inducements could this poor boy hold out to Martin Harris and others to obtain his connivance? The testimony of Abagail Harris (his own sister!) can not be impeached nor misunderstood. Lucy Harris (his wife!) confirms this statement in every respect. In her affidavit she affirms:

"Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge; for its effects on Martin 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 a proof of this. One day, at Peter Harris's (Abigail Harris's husband) house, I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false. To which he replied, 'If you would let me alone, I could make money out of it.' It is
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  273  ------
in vain for the Mormons to deny these facts, as they are all well known to most of his former neighbors."

Testimony so positive and direct must be received, especially coming from his sister and wife.

The inducement held out to Oliver Cowdery is evident from Smith's own revelation. (Doc. and Cov., p. 108.) "Seek not for treasures but for wisdom; and, behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded to you; and then you shall be made rich." This was in April, 1829, just after Cowdery began to write for Smith; and even then it is necessary to rebuke him for his too impetuous desires to be rich.

The real origin of the Urim and Thummim, of the form of the record, its material, and copying of some of the characters; Smith's object and inducements to his coadjutors is evident. Now, how account for the matter? "There are over five hundred different names, many incidents, and much doctrinal information. How could an ignorant boy compile such a work?" First, It;s name. The only language in which the word is found is Greek. Mormo, Mormos, a bug-bear. (Vide Donnegan's Lex.) Smith, however, finds for it the following singular etymology;

"Before I give a definition, however, to the word, let me say, that the Bible, in its widest sense, means good; for the Saviour says, according to the gospel of John. 'I am the Good Shepherd;' and it will not be beyond the common use of terms to say that GOOD is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still the meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god;
 


------  274                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word MORMON, which means literally more good. Yours,

"JOSEPH SMITH.    

"NAUVOO, May 19, 1841."

We remark on this: First, For "an ignorant man" it is a ridiculous affection of pedantry. Second, As it is the "reformed Egyptian that no man knoweth," we have only Smith's word for it. Third, It is singular that the "reformed Egyptian that no man knoweth," should have the Saxon word "more" for a prefix, especially in the Anglicized contracted form or "mor." And Fourth, That though perfectly consonant with an ignorant impostor, the above would be perfectly absurd from an inspired prophet.

Second, Its matter.

John Spalding, brother to Solomon Spalding, of Crawford, Penn., testifies that

"Solomon Spalding was born in Ashford, Conn., in 1761, and in early life contracted a taste for literary pursuits. After he left school, he entered Plainfield academy, where he made great proficiency in study, and excelled most of his class-mates. He soon after entered Dartmouth College, with the intention of qualifying himself for the ministry, where he obtained the degree of A. M. and was afterwards regularly ordained. After preaching three or four years, he gave it up, removed to Cherry Valley, New York, and commenced the mercantile business, in company with his brother Josiah. I made him a visit in about three years after, and found that
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  275  ------
he had failed, and considerably involved in debt. He then told me had he been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was a historical romance of the first settlers of America -- endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived inn America, under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterward had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I found nearly the same historical matter, names, etc. as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'And it came to pass,' or 'Now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jun., I am unable to determine.

"JOHN SPALDING"    

Martha Spalding, the wife of John Spalding, says:

"I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spalding, about twenty years ago. I was at his house a short time before he left Conneaut; he was then writing a historical
 


------  276                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
novel founded upon the first settlers of America. He represented them as an enlightened and warlike people. He had for many years contended that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the lost tribes of Israel, and this idea he carried out in the book in question. The lapse of time which has intervened prevents my recollecting but few of the leading incidents of his writings; but the names of Nephi and Lehi are yet fresh in my memory, as being the principal heroes of his tale. They were officers of the company which first came off from Jerusalem. He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea, till they arrived in America, after which, disputes arose between the chiefs, which caused them to separate into different lands, one of which was called Lamanites and the other Nephites. Between these were recounted tremendous battles, which frequently covered the ground with the slain; and their being buried in large heaps was the cause of the numerous mounds in the country. Some of these people he represented as being very large. I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spalding; and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it, is the same that I read and heard read, more than twenty years ago. The old, obsolete style, and the phrases of 'And it came to pass,' etc. are the same.     Signed,

"MARTHA SPALDING."   

This Solomon Spalding appears to have been, like some other authors, exceedingly vain of his productions; and read his manuscripts so often to his friends that they still recollect its style and harsh.

"CONNEAUT, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, Sept., 1833.    

"I left the State of New York, late in the year 1810, and arrived at this place, about the 1st of January following.
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  277  ------
Soon after my arrival, I formed a co-partnership with Solomon Spalding, for the purpose of rebuilding a forge which he had commenced a year or two before. He very frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' and which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings, and became well acquainted with its contents. He wished me to assist him in getting his production printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with a rapid sale. I designed doing so, but the forge not meeting our anticipations, we failed in business, when I declined having any thing to do with the publication of the book. This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes -- gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find, to my surprise, that it stands there just as he read it to me then. Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible, put it into my pocket, carried it home, and thought no more of it. About a week after, my wife found the book in my coat pocket, as it hung up, and commenced reading it aloud as I lay upon the bed. She had not read twenty minutes till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spalding had read to me more, than twenty years before, from his 'Manuscript Found.' Since that I have more fully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally, if not wholly taken from the 'Manuscript Found.' I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words 'And it came to pass,' 'Now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him the means to carry him to Pittsburg, where he said he
 


------  278                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
would get the book printed, and pay me. But I never heard any more from him or his writings, till I saw them in the Book of Mormon.

"HENRY LAKE."    


These affirmations are abundantly confirmed by similar affidavits by John N. Miller, Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, Nahum Howard, Artemas Cunningham, and many others, all well acquainted with Spalding, and most of them entirely unacquainted with Smith.

Whatever the cause, it is evident that the leading ideas of the two works are identical. If Smith tells the truth, it is still evident that Spalding imagined a novel containing the truths that it "needed God to reveal," long before God revealed it; so that, if Smith be believed, it makes a novelist as wise as the angel. It is absurd, however, to say this; such a resemblance without plagiarism would be a greater miracle than all the rest. Either Smith plagiarized Spalding's work or Spalding, Smith's. Spalding died before Smith wrote, therefore Smith must have plagiarized Spalding's novel.

But how did Smith obtain Spalding's book?

Spalding wrote this MS. during the years 1810, 11, 12, in Ohio. In 1812, he left Ohio for Pittsburg, where he resided two years, and went thence to Amity, Pa., and died in 1816. After his death Mrs. Spalding, widow, went to reside at Onondaga county, N. Y., remained there till 1818, when she removed to Hartwick, Oswego county, N. Y., where she resided till 1832. Mrs. Spalding, widow, says that she believes the MS, was put into a trunk with some others, and that she had it at Hartwick, from 1820 to 1832.
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  279  ------
In 1835 Smith, by his own statement, was employed by a man named Stowell, to dig for him. Stowell's residence was close to Hartwick, where this trunk was. After the publication and recognition of the Book of Mormon, this trunk was examined and only one manuscript was found. The other papers that had been in the trunk were gone. This MS., that was then found, was the commencement of a novel on the subject of the Indians, purporting to bring their forefathers from a colony of Latins. Spalding, after writing a few pages, had abandoned this idea as being too recent; and had commenced the other MS., which was then missing. This real MS. of Spalding's has never since been found. Where is it? Who had taken it? Mrs. Spalding declares that this trunk was full of Mr. S.'s papers, and among them, she believes, [was] this now missing MS. The trunk is emptied of all but one paper. Shortly before she missed them, a book is published, which every one recognizes as a plagiarism from this identical MS. Smith, the author of this plagiarism, is proven to have been in the vicinity about the same time that he began to talk about having found "this book," What is the inevitable conclusion? It was there in the trunk; he was there to take it out of the trunk; he publishes a book, and every body recognizes the plagiarism; the trunk is searched, and it is not found. The case is clear. Smith stole the MS., altered and used it. But it had been altered; there were many things in it that Spalding would never have written. Smith was from 1825 to 1827 "obtaining instruction," as he calls it. He was a year less in altering and extending it, than Spalding was in writing it! The
 


------  280                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
objection is urged that "Smith was too ignorant to adapt and alter this novel. Spalding described an idolatrous, Smith a religious people."

These adaptations and additions are the very strongest evidences of imposture. the religious incidents are copied from the Bible, and from the best-known events of history subsequent to the Christian era. Book of Mormon, p. 235, contains an imitation of Daniel reading the writing on the wall: pp. 23, 28, quote the Apocalypse, and talk of "the Church of Rome;" p. 24 tells of the American Revolution; pp. 179, 184, 249, 280 are borrowed from the history of Nero, Caligula, and Fox's Book of Martyrs; p. 201 has an imitation of Paul's miraculous conversion; with this difference, Paul was struck blind for three days, and Alma was struck dumb for three days; p. 207 teaches the modern vox populi - vox Dei; pp. 232, 251, contain a copy of Peter's miraculous escape from prison. Ananias lying to the Lord, imitated on p. 241. All the spiritual gifts enjoyed hundreds of years B.C. on p. 234. the fall-down Spirit of modern camp meetings anticipated, on pp. 263, 272. Preaching from pulpits, introduced on p. 296. A prophet of God introducing "scalping," on p. 401. Elijah's rain and drought miracle plagiarized, on p. 417. Imitations of Daniel in lion's den, on pp. 489, 495. Raising of the dead, p. 449, "Candles" invented, on p. 451. Animal magnetic shocks anticipated, on p. 41.

The above quotations speak for themselves as to the sources
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  281  ------
whence Smith derived his incidents. The Mormons not only contend for incidents, but "important decisions on points of religious controversy." He determines none of the great questions pending in the world at large, but only the minor difficulties that would have been likely to have reached a western village. he was "awakened at the age of thirteen" by Mr. Lane, an earnest Methodist minister. His proclivities are decidedly Methodist therefore, and consequently "free grace" abounds in the Book of Mormon. The Campbellites convince him of "adult baptism for remission of sin," hence this dogma is propounded and administered in the name of Christ, four hundred years before he came. Infant baptism he ferociously attacks. On p. 567 he says, "Behold, I say unto you, that he who supposeth little children need baptism, is in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity (plagiarism), for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity (plagiarism), wherefore, should he be cut off in the thought, he must go down to hell!" Universalism affects his sympathies, and he teaches "different amounts of punishment as well in duration as in degree," Roman apostolic succession pleases him, and he gets ordained. "Total depravity" is disputed, Smith decides in the negative, with a wire-drawn distinction between kinds of sin. Calvinism repels him, and he opposes it. Christ's atonement does not satisfy him, and he runs into Pelagianism, yet he makes Christ's blood "cleanse swords and cimeters" a hundred years before it was shed, B. M., p. 285.

This is a fair sample of Smith's controversial decisions. His theses do not commend him or his work.

Specimens of his religious style of expression prove their
 


------  282                THE BOOK OF MORMON.                    ------
nineteenth century origin. "The cold and silent grave, whence no traveler returns," on page 55. Shakespeare quoted 2,200 tears before Hamlet was written! "Final state of our souls;" "arms of mercy extended;" "pour out their hearts in prayer;" "awakened to a sense of their condition;" "live without God in this world;" "from nature up to nature's God;" "oh! blessed Jesus, who saved me from an awful hell" (400 years before he came); "sing redeeming love and grace" (400 B.C.); "vital parts of body" (2,000 years before Harvey's discovery); "satisfy demands of justice and encircle them with the arms of mercy."

Examples of grammatical structure plead loudly for his claims to inspiration. "More history part," p. 16. "Shepherd hath called and art calling," p. 223. "Nevertheless they did not remain an entire peace," p, 400. "Stabbed by a garb of secrecy," p. 412. "They yieldeth." "They buried their weapons of peace," p. 278. "No afflictions save swallowed up in joy." p. 298. "I, the Lord, delighteth in the chastity of women," p. 118. "Harrow in my desires, the firm decrees of a just God," p. 288. These are in the third European edition! Hundreds of graver errors were expunged in the course of the six editions that preceded this.

Any candid reader must feel that such incidents so glaringly plagiarized from the Bible and school-books, such decisions on points of religious controversy, such cant phrases, and such a style of composition is unworthy of God; that, indeed, to associate the name of God with ideas so gross and ridiculous, is an outrage against his wisdom and glory; and, therefore, can not but conclude that Smith's pretensions are imposture.
 


------                  THE BOOK OF MORMON.                  283  ------
There is no new truth to be learned from the Book of Mormon. Destroy the Bible, and two thirds of the world's literature is destroyed; for, however controverted and disobeyed, it has molded ages and tones all thought. Take away this book, and its loss would be unknown. Some deny the authenticity of the Bible; but no lover of gorgeous poetry, sublime description, profound reason, massive simplicity, and melting tenderness; no admirer of historical antiquity, legislative polity, unity of design yet variety of authors, has ever failed to applaud the Scriptures. Independently of its claims as a revelation, but viewed in the light of its merits as even a human work, it is an ornament to its nation, a monument of literature, a text-book for the world, and deserves its high title, "Bible," the book above all books. The heart sickens as we turn to the Book of Mormon. Not because it is not clothed with the veneration of centuries, but its indistinctness of narration, its universal plagiarism, its glaring solecisms and anachronisms, its direct contradictions, and its mouthing can disgust while they bewilder the reader. To attribute to God a work that would disgrace a literary man, is to degrade God below that man's level.




 


[ 284 ]




CHAPTER XII.

THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.

Position -- Anti-scriptural -- Adam -- Noah -- Lamech -- Abraham -- Jacob David -- Book of Mormon denounces David -- Christ -- Paul -- Christian dispensation -- Anti-natural -- Proportions of the sexes -- Nature confirms Scriptures -- Irrational -- Woman's position the test of progress -- Children's dependence on the mother -- Wife -- Races -- Different laws of marriage -- Single prophets -- Lowest races most prolific -- "Polygamy a preventive of prostitution" examined -- Anti Mormon -- Revelation -- Utah census.

PRACTICAL polygamy results in many evils wherever it exists. As we can only well judge causes by effects, we must conclude it to be practically erroneous. It then becomes an important query, Can a principle be practically false, and yet remain theoretically true? It is certain, say its apologists, that polygamy was practiced, and woman degraded, in the Hebrew nation; it is not evident that God blamed the practice or punished its adopters therefor. Were it so heinous an offense, it is probable that he would have expressed his disapprobation; and, as the Scriptures are silent, we must conclude he favored and intended it. This is all their real argument when stated in brief. It needs but the slightest smattering of logical acumen to discern the sophistry of the whole; as it is merely the argumentum ex silentio, which is the weakest of all proof.
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               285  -----
As this dogma is made a strong-hold of faith, with these deluded people, a brief investigation of its evidences may perhaps be useful and interesting:

I affirm,
    I. Polygamy is anti-scriptural.
    II. Polygamy is anti-natural.
    III. Polygamy is irrational.
    V. Polygamy is anti-Mormon.
I. Polygamy is anti-scriptural.

1. In investigating this position, it is necessary to view the whole of the Scriptures, neither limiting ourselves to the ante-Abrahamic nor the ante-Christian periods. God's dealings are to be viewed as a whole. In the beginning Adam was created pure and holy, and God bestowed on him one wife. If polygamy had been the Lord's way of "peopling the earth," then, of all other times, polygamy would have been instituted. Why was it not? Malachi, ii. 15, tells us the reason: "And did he not make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth." God had the residue of the Spirit; had it pleased omniscient wisdom to have created more, omnipotent power would have performed it. He did not do so, "because he sought a godly seed." The only inference that can be deduced fiom this passage, is, that as the seed of monogamy is godly, because of the monogamy then the seed of polygamy must be ungodly. History, sacred and profane, will sustain this position. Polygamy produced men like Ishmael, whose first greeting was a curse, "His hand shall be against every man, and every man's
 


-----  286              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
hand against him;" brothers, like Joseph's brothers, selling him to slavery, and dooming him to death; women, like Rebekah, cheating her husband on his death-bed; wives, like Leah and Rachel, contending disgustingly together about Jacob's bed; sons, like Reuben, committing incest with his father's concubine; or, like Amnon, defiling his sister Tamar; or, like Absolom, threatening his father's life; or, in later times, like the Chinese, the Turk, and the savage; or the neglected children of Mormon parentage. God sought a godly seed, and monogamy was the means he instituted.

2. When Adam and Eve were formed, and God rested from the work of creation, he gazed at the labor of his hands, and pronounced it "very good." The fiat of universal approbation went forth. Monogamy was then instituted and practiced, and that was "very good." To seek to amend that monogamy by polygamy, is for man to attempt to improve the God-approved institution of divine appointment. Until Jehovah just as explicitly declares polygamy to be "very good," we have no right to charge it on his wisdom or design. Two things essentially opposite can not be both true at the same time. Monogamy was "very good;" polygamy must, therefore, be "very bad."

3. When the Lord destroyed the inhabitants of the earth, because of their wickedness, he saved Noah and his three sons, and only one wife each. Peter says, "eight persons were saved in the ark." Any argument as to "more rapid increase of population," will certainly apply to Noah. Any argumient as to polygamy "being a peculiar blessing," will apply to Noah too; for, while holy enough to be saved from
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               287  -----
the flood, he was far more holy than many subsequent polygamists. But God destroyed the inhabitants of the earth, because they were ungodly and corrupt. He saved Noah and his family in order to repeople the world with upright and holy descendants. To obtain this end a second time, he a second time instituted monogamy. Had he selected a polygamist, he would have contradicted his prior sanction and institution of monogamy. To produce the same result, he adopted the same cause. "Therefore gave he one, because he sought a godly seed."

4. God sought a godly seed by means of monogamy. Was it a godly man who first infringed this law of purity? Gen. iv. 19, 23. Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. But we learn from ver. 23, that Lamech was a murderer. The Mormons believe that the "mark" put on Cain by God was a black skin; that he and his descendants, the negroes, are peculiarly and especially cursed; that in fact they can not be saved in the "celestial kingdom." They also contend that a murderer can not be saved "in this life, nor in that which is to come." Lamech, this twice-cursed man; cursed in being a black descendant of Cain, doubly cursed, according to their own faith, in being a murderer, was the first example of polygamy. In adopting the principle, they have accepted a murderer as their model.

4. The Mormons make much capital of Abraham being a polygamist. One important fact must be observed here. There is a great difference between example and precept. To adopt any practice, because a certain good man did so, is often folly. Christ is a model in all things, because "in him
 


-----  288              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
there was no sin." Before even prophets and patriarchs can be imitated as models, they must be proven infallible and immaculate. "All Scripture is written for our instruction," all Scripture however, is not written for our example. Abraham practiced polygamy; true, but Abraham drove out his wife and child to die in the wilderness. If the mere fact of Abraham's practicing polygamy be a warrant for me to commit it, then, pari passu, his wife and child desertion should be also imitated, for the same reason. The most rabid Mormon will not advocate child-desertion, even though Abraham practiced it; and ought not, therefore, to advocate polygamy, even though practiced by Abraham. To deduce from the apparent silence of God on this polygamy, an approval of it, is fallacious. God did not apparently condemn the driving out Hiagar and Ishmael to die in the wilderness. Who will infer from that silence an approval of abandonment and murder? If the taking of Hagar be right, per se, then her desertion is right, per se; but if desertion be wrong, as it is; then polygamy is wrong, as it is.

It is well to remember, too, that all the blessings promised to Abraham were received by Isaac, the son of Sarah, his first and lawful wife. It should also be remembered that this Isaac was a monogamist, and that his blessings were none the less sure, and none the less glorious.

5. Jacob's polygamy is a "tower of strength" for the Mormons. Especial emphasis is laid on his sons being the heads of the house of Israel. View Jacob's polygamy first as a temporal matter, and let any pure mind read the sacred historian's simple and unsparing account of Jacob's household
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               289  -----
as written in Gen. xxx., and they will not enty Jacob's polyg amy. View it as a spiritual matter, and compare the blessings pronounced on the monogamist Joseph, and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and that on Jacob's own head. "Thy blessing is above the blessing of thy father's, even to the bounds of the everlasting hills," Gen. xlix. Jacob practiced polygamy, doubtless true; but Jacob cheated his father, defrauded his brother, and out-maneuvered his father-in-law. If Jacob's example may be urged as an argument in favor of one, it may in favor of all these practices. If the apparent silence of God be construed into approval of the one, then equal silence may be construed as an approval of all. Noah got intoxicated, therefore, I ought to drink. Jacob was a polygamist, therefore, I ought to take four wives. They are both equally forcible, and both equally fallacious!

6. David's practicing polygamy, while being a man after God's own heart, is another powerful Mormon argument in favor of polygamy. "Have I not given thee thy master's wives?" demands Nathan. David was Saul's son-in-law. For David to have cohabited with his father-in-law's wives, would have been incest. Yet David was certainly a polygamist. To say that "David was a man after God's own heart," to be king over Israel, does not involve divine acquiescence in all David's deeds. So far from this, David was severely rebuked and especially cursed, and the Mormons believe that he is still in hell. Viewing his polygamy in a temporal light, it entailed care and misery upon him; it surrounded his life with pain, and shortened his days. Viewed in a spiritual light, it led his heart from God to the gratification of the lusts of tha
 


-----  290              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
flesh; it brought upon him the full force of the word of Malachi. His "seed was ungodly" because he had more than "one." He had "dealt treacherously with the wife of his youth." He had not "taken heed." To contend that God approved polygamy because Jacob's sons were offsprings of a polygamist, is fallacious. We know that God disapproved of David's adultery with Bathsheba; and yet Solomon, whom he afterward blessed, was Bathsheba's son. As he pleased to bless the child of one marriage he condemned, he may also have condemned the marriages that produced other men whom he blessed. It is evident that "in the beginning it was not so," and either God must have changed or polygamy must be ungodly.

Mormons, however, above all, should never use this argument. Smith's Book of Mormon, page 118, says, "Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord." To say that God approved the practice, on their own faith, is to say that he approved of what to him was abominable. For them to insist on its practice because of David's example, is to destroy their own book. If this book be correct, it was abominable before God. If it was not abominable before God, their book is false. If their book be false, then Mormonism is a humbug; but if the book be correct, then David's polygamy was abominable, and to urge his example, is only to destroy the force of all the rest, by putting all the rest on the same level with his "abominations." Their book aside, however, it needed God to give the wives of Saul to David, even if we admit the illustration as of force; if, then,
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               291  -----
David be any example, before I can practice polygamy, God must give me the wives: but God's command to all men is, "Take heed and do not treacherously against the wife of thy youth."

7. Whatever be the opinion left on the mind by the Old, the New Testament is explicit on this subject. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, except it be for fornication, and marrieth another, committeth adultery." (Matt. xix. 9.) Here are two actions concerned; 1, the repudiation; 2, the second marriage. In one of these two is involved adultery. It is not in the repudiation, be it just or unjust. It must, therefore, be in the second marriage. Though you put away your first wife altogether, cease to live with her entirely, unless she has committed fornication, even then, says the Saviour, you can not take a second wife without committing adultery. If marrying a second wife, the first being put away, is adultery, certainly marrying a second, the first being not put away, must be adultery also. Grant that the law of marriage and divorce under Moses permitted polygamy; Jesus, in changing the law of divorce, changed the law of marriage. The practice of the church is the best exponent of their doctrine, and it is certain that the early Christian church did not only not practice polygamy, but many of the apostles did not marry at all.

8. Paul, however, is still more definite on the subject. 1 Cor. vii., 2: "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband." Each man is to "have his own wife" to and for himself. If she infringe that law it is adultery. So likewise, each woman is to "have her own husband," and to herself and for herself also. If he
 


-----  292              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
infringe that law it is adultery. The fourth verse gives a reason: "For the wife hath no power over her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath no power over his own body, but the wife." In marriage he just as much becomes hers as she his. Her exclusive right, therefore, to a pure husband is just as stringent as his exclusive right to a pure wife. If it be not adultery for him to have many wives, it is no more adultery for her to have many husbands. She is bound, however, to keep herself solely for her husband, and he is equally bound to keep himself solely for his wife. "The bed undefiled is honorable," Heb. xiii. 4. The husband can defile the bed equally with the wife. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ." That which is the law of Christ for the male, is, therefore, for the female also; equally as much as that which is the law for the Jew is the law for the Greek. Say that the law of Christ accords to the man unlimited choice, it must also to the woman, for "they are both one in Christ." God makes men and women one. Mormonism makes men kings and women slaves, therefore Mormonism is not of God.

9. Christ told the murmuring Jews that "Moses truly said so, for the hardness of your heart, but in the beginning it was not so." If, in the course of man's decadence, woman was degraded, it was the mission of Christ to save those who were lost; to restore them as they were "in the beginning." If, in the course of man's religious education, at the times of man's ignorance, God hath winked, he, in the revelation of a hioher law, has elevated humanity to a higher position. As man draws his mental and moral natures more from the
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               293  -----
woman than man, so to elevate mankind God must elevate their mothers. In the beginning men and women were equal and one, "a male and a female." Christ is the "restorer of all things as in the beginning," and, therefore, according to the Scriptures, monogamy must prevail. We can easily grant and only strengthen our position, that Jacob and David degraded women, for it is only an additional proof of the superiority of Jesus' gospel over Moses' law; in that he lifts up the fallen, and that in him ancient superstition and female slavery is abolished; for "there is neither male nor female, they are all one in Christ Jesus." They were one before the fall, God formed them "one pair," pronounced them "one flesh;" Christ makes them "one" again in the redemption.

II. Polygamy is anti-natural.

Nature in the proportion of male to female births distinctly manifests her will on the subject of marriage. There are more males than females born into the worid. In the United States' census of 1850, the whole number of nativities in the United States were stated as 19,553,068 persons. Of these 10,026,377 were males, and only 9,526,691 females; leaving a surplus, in the United States alone, of nearly 500,000 on the male side. Had all these lived, attained the age of maturity, and intermarried, there would still have been nearly half a million of men without wives. By the British census of 1851, it is seen that'the increase of the population of England during the then preceding fifty years, was 102 per cent. in the proportions of 105 males to 97.5 females; the increase of Scotland, for the same period, had been 78 per cent.; in the proportions of 84 males to 73 females. Instead, therefore,
 


-----  294              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
of a surplus of females, as the polygamy argument would require, there are, at least, 5 per cent. more males born. These, however, are but the births; the deaths may be unequal. After all the heavy demands of the fifty years ending 1851, on the male population of Great Britain, to supply men for the continental war, by sea and land; the East Indian war, and increase of soldiers after the cessation of the war; the war on the Cape of Good Hope; the many accidents on the ocean, and the draining emigration of an enormous plurality of males to the United States and Australasian colonies; still the population of Great Britain and Ireland was 13,537,052 males to 14,082,814 females, or an actual plurality of females of only three per cent. In Prussia, 1849, there were 8,162,805 males to 8,162,382 females, an actual plurality of males living. In the United States, and Australasian colonies, this is also the fact. As there are more males than females who emigrate, therefore, in all countries to which emigration comes, there is a plurality of males found; and in all countries whence they come, there are more females left. In the Sandwich Islands, in 1853, there were 37,079 males and only 33,940 females; a positive plurality of 3,139 males, or nearly 10 per cent.

While it is true that more males die from accidental, it is also true that more females die from natural, causes. This, also, helps to maintain the constant equilibrium of the sexes, and even leaves a small plurality of males. The works of nature are not, however, to be computed from one people or for one period. A census of the whole world, if taken, by centuries, would prove that the greater liability of males was
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               295  -----
more than compensated by the plurality of births ot nearly 5 1/2 per cent., or a surplus of 55,000 to every 1,000,000 of nativities. It must be so. Were the plurality of births female instead of male, with a constantly-increasing and excessive mortality of the males, and a constantly-increasing proportion of female births, the relative proportion of the sexes would become frightfully deranged in a few years. Any mathematician can add figures to this formula. Nature, in this respect, proves a very glorious truth; that the God of revelation who created man and woman "one pair," is the God who in nature preserves man and woman in pairs too! and, therefore, polygamy is anti-natural, because, for any one man to take more than his one woman, is a robbery inflicted on the rest of mankind!

III. Polygamy is irrational.

Reason is the faculty that adapts means to ends, and is founded on experience. What are the objects of marriage and how are they best subserved? Paley and others have ably shown, that one object of marriage is not only the procreation, but also the elevation of children. Now the history of the world's progress is traceable by that of women. The nation that degraded women was itself degraded. Those nations who most respected her mission and position, were the most celebrated and powerful. Those nations were always monogamist. The priests of Egypt, the conservators of human knowledge, were monogamists. The Grecians, who have given to every science a name and to many sciences a birth-place and master, were monogamists. Rome, whose very name recalls visions of universal dominion, intellectual preeminence, and physical strength, was monogamist. Roman
 


-----  296              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
matrons, mothers, wives, virgins, would have despised polygamy; they helped to make Rome the thing it was! Woman is the inciter of the artist and the model for the art. Had it not been for being the chosen recipients of God's word, the polygamist Jews might have lived unnoticed and died unknown.

2. The position of children depend on their mothers. Children assimilate more to their mother's than their father's nature. Universal philosophy, confirmed by universal experience, testifies that to make slaves of women they will bear but slaves. The child's earliest and hence strongest education depends on the mother. "If ever I was any thing, or am any thing, or ever shall be any thing, I must attribute it to my mother," said J. Q. Adams. "My mother," said Napoleon, "first inspired me with the wish to be great." Memory loves to linger round the names of such women as Washington's mother; those of Cromwell, Edwards, Wesley, Kossuth, Lamartine and others -- mothers and men polygamic countries could never have produced.

3. Woman's influence as a wife is by no means inferior to that of a mother. The caliber of a man's mind is determinable by the female society he prefers; because the man's mind is toned by the female society that he keeps. Those who entertain a low opinion of woman's mission, generally act so as to keep them degraded. Some of the greatest men have had the best wives. She helps to form the character that he exhibits to the world. She is often the real artizan, but whose name is not on the production. Degrade the wife, and consequently you degrade the husband, the possessor of the wife.
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               297  -----
The true glory that a woman adds to a man is not, can not be the mere sensual extension of gratification, nor the material benefit of numerous posterity, but mental and moral. Gems are valueless and unknown if they be not polished. To say that three fifths of the world are polygamists, is to say, therefore, that three fifths of the world are degraded. Polygamy compares with monogamy as Greece with Persia, Assyria with Rome; or, in our own day, as England compares with Turkey; North America with India; France with China. The Anglo-Saxon race who are giving language, laws, literature, commerce, and religion to all the earth; who are filling the world with their steam-engines and printing-presses; directing by their stronger energy, and instructing with their superior wisdom, are the monogamic descendants of monogamic ancestors. Degrade the position of Anglo-Saxon women to that of Circassian slaves, and you degrade Anglo-Saxon men to the level of the Turks, those slaves' masters; for universal experience asserts, that to degrade the woman, is to share her fall.

4. No rational argument can be drawn from the marriage laws of any one people for the peremptory regulation of any other. The laws of marriage have been as various as circumstances of nations. Among the Jews marriage was obligatory. An unmarried youth of eighteen was disgraced. Girls might marry at twelve years and one day; boys at thirteen and one day. The Medes compelled the citizens of one province to take each seven women; while in another, they compelled each woman to take five husbands. In Pegu a woman can be purchased for a certain time; while among the Chinese,
 


-----  298              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
the wealthy buy their wives, and the poor beg theirs from foundling-hospitals. The good-looking girls were sold among the Assyrians, to furnish dowers for those whose good looks could not win a husband. Some modern reformers advocate the breaking down of all restraints, and let passion roam wild, unchecked by any thing but satiety, and undirected but by caprice. The objects of marriage, however, which are "private happiness, production, best eduction, and establishment of most healthy offspring; peace of society, administration of government, and encouragement of industry," are best subserved by monogamy. Political science repeats the command of revelation, "Let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband!"

5. The Mormons contend that a man's glory will depend on his kingdom, and that kingdom on his family. Hence, it is argued, no family, no kingdom. Many of the greatest prophets were not married men. There is no right to suppose that Enoch or Elijah were married, and whose glory surpasses that of these men? Samuel was not married, and what prophet greater than he? John the Baptist was not married, and yet "a greater prophet was never born of woman," said Jesus. John the beloved, Peter, and others of the apostles, preferred "to be eunuchs for the kingdom of God's sake;" and Paul himself advises the Church, "He that giveth in marriage doth well, but he that giveth not in marriage doth better;" and, himself a bachelor, set an example of celibacy to the Church.

6. Such a principle as the above, would be unworthy of God; because it would favor the gross and animal, to the
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               299  -----
prejudice of those who, by their predominant intellectuality, are far better fitted to govern families. It is a well-known fact that the lower we descend in the scale of animated nature, the more prolific do the races become. Swine are more prolific than horses. This is not only a fixed principle that seems to obtain in the animal, but may also be traced in the human economy. Those races not most famous for mental energy, are often most famous for their numerous families. The men of great genius who have, by the powers of their intellect and mental resources, enlightened and advanced the world, have been remarkable for the smallness of their families. In many cases they have left no children after them, either to disgrace their names or increase their renown. Washington, no son! Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, no sons! Shakspeare, Milton, Byron, no sons! The direct families of Coleridge, Walter Scott, Earl Chatham, and Napoleon, and scores of others, are extinct. It almost seems as though their mental consumed their physical nature; and like the blossom of the giant aloe, could only bloom once in a hundred years.

7. It is however urged that polygamy prevents prostitution. This is a powerful argument in the conviction of women's minds and hearts in its favor; besides giving scope for fervent declamation to their Elders. The fact is gladly admitted that there are no prostitutes and bawd-houses at Utah. The enunciated penalty on discovered adultery is death! It is far more the dread of this penalty, therefore, than the practice of polygamy, that prevents prostitutions. Even were it otherwise, the remedy is worse than the disease. Appalling though the number of prostitutes mny be, they are still comparatively
 


-----  300              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
few when the whole number of virtuous women is remembered. Happy homes by far exceed the number of degraded unfortunates. To save these degraded few, all womanhood must be degraded according to this strange view. To prevent comparatively few from ruin, all must be sacrificed. The evil is partial, while the remedy is universal; or to use a forcible but common phrase, "the plaster is bigger than the sore!" Besides this, universal polygamy presupposes a plurality of females, when the real fact evinces a plurality of males. Polygamy, as a remedy for prostitution, is therefore unreasonable, because impracticable.

If the superstitious terror of the power of the priesthood -- the dread of their supernatural discernment, and the fear of death were removed from the minds of the Mormon women, hundreds would obey the instincts of their natures, and Utah would become a pandemonium of licentiousness. Prostitution has its victims, and they are thousands; were polygamy as universal as monogamy, then polygamy would count its victims by millions.

The practice of polygamy among the Jews did not prevent prostitution. Judah went in unto Tamar; and Solomon needed to give the injunction, "Go not after strange women." Viewing Mormonism as a religion, it is still worse. None but bad men in the world encourage prostitutes; the Mormon best men practice polygamy; grant then for a moment that polygamy is a less evil than prostitution, it only proves that the Mormon best men are only one remove above the world's worst!

Even the Mormon women admit that it would be far better for the world were monogamy instead of polygamy the institution
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               301  -----
of God. A Mrs. Nixon, at Salt Lake City, told me, "I believe polygamy is an institution of God, Mr. Hyde, and I therefore submit to it; but I have very often wished it were otherwise." This was wrung from the heart of a pure but infatuated woman; and must be echoed by all women's hearts. Let us compare, for a moment, Christianity with Mormonism, in this particular. Christians do not practice prostitution, but monogamy. Mormons do not practice prostitution but polygamy. In the non-practice of prostitution, they are therefore equal; but in as far as monogamy is superior to polygamy, and the Mormon women admit that it is, just so far is Christianity certainly superior to Mormonism. To blame Christianity because bad men encourage prostitutes, is ridiculous; and yet the Mormon Elders are constantly doing this. It is just as unfair as it would be to say Mormonism countenanced indiscriminate thieving, because William Nobody stole a horse. The general practice of the leaders is the exponent of the general principles of the body.

Whether viewed, therefore, in the light of the Scriptures, of nature, or of reason, polygamy is untenable and false.

IV. Polygamy is anti-Mormon.

1. There can be but one system called by one name. If one scheme be Mormonism, certainly the contradiction of that scheme can not be Mormonism too. The system first estabished by J. Smith was Mormonism. Polygamy entirely contradicts and opposes that system, and is, therefore, anti-Mormon. Those who received that system ought to reject polygamy. Smith, on p. 118, Book of Mormon, states:

"For behold, thus saith the Lord, this people begin to wax
 


-----  302              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
in iniquity; they understand not the Scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the thIings which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord; wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. For, behold, I the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem; yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me, against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts; for they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people, because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction: for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts."

God threatens, according to Smith, "to smite them
 


-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               303  -----
with a sore curse, even to destruction," if they do thus take other wives. They have taken them: they will be cursed.

2. The Mormons try to elude all this by the words, "For if I will raise up seed, I will command you." A. B. does an abominable thing. For C. D. to do the same, it would be abominable too. If God were to command C. D. to do it, he would command an abomination. When God desires to raise up a godly seed, it will be as Malachi has said, "He made one!" If he were to institute any other method, he would contradict himself. There can be no evasion; the Book of Mormon curses them if they do it. Either they must cleave to their book, in spite of polygamy; or to polygamy in spite of their book. If polygamy be right, then the book is wrong, and Mormonism falls in its origin. If the book be right, then polygamy is wrong, and Mormonism falls in its present position. But whether it fell in the beginning, or since, it is equally fallen; and men are mad to adhere to a fallen system.

3. More entirely to enmesh himself, Smith pretended to get a revelation, February, 1831, in which he says that God commanded him, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her, and none else; and he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not shall be cast out." (Doe. and Cov., p. 124.) This was the pretended word of the Mormon unchangeable Lord in 1831; yet in 1838 Smith was cohabiting with several women!

4. In 1842, it began to be whispered at Nauvoo, that polygamy was a part of the Mormon faith. The Elders
 


-----  304              THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.              -----
strenuously denied it; and, in 1845, an appendix was added to the Revelations of Smith, in which the Mormon authorities state, although most of them were polygamists at the time, and they all knew they were lying! "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crimes of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband; except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." The writers of this infamous affair knew that Smith had children living, the offspring of polygamy, at the very day that they wrote it.

5. At length, in 1852, Brigham publishes to the world a pretended revelation, bearing date July, 1843, commanding polygamy, and asserts that this is the origin of their practice. This is another falsehood, as the pretended revelation itself proves. Par. 20 says: "And let mine handmaid Emma Smith receive all those who have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me." It is not said, receive all those who may be; or, shall hereafter be; but who "have been given;" not they they shall be pure; but "who are pure and virtuous before me." The tense is the past and not the future; and proves, therefore, that Joseph had taken them previously; that, previous to this date, their virtue and purity was questionable; that this pretended revelation was got up in fact only as a mollifying plaster for Emma Smith! If this revelation be the origin of modern polygamy, Smith practiced it before commanded, and was therefore an adulterer, according to his own showing. If he was commanded by a previous revelation, to publish
 





 

-----                   THEORETICAL POLYGAMY.               305  -----
this revelation as the origin and defense of polygamy is deceiving the people; and this males Smith an impostor. Either then he was an impostor, or an adulterer; and impostor he was in either case.

There existed another and still more forcible reason why the Mormons in Utah should not practice polygamy. By the census returns of 1851, made by the Mormons themselves, it was shown that there were in Utah 6,020 males to only 5,310 females, an excess of males over females of 710 persons. Now, when it is considered that some of those men had over twenty wives, and many from two to six wives each, it was defrauding so many more young men of wives; and, therefore, homes; and, therefore, happiness; and as the Mormon doctrine is "No wife, no glory; no glory, no salvation," it was, according to their own faith, building up their own kingdoms at the expense of the salvation of their own brethren. Damning hundreds to get glory!

Every physical and moral crime carries within it the elements of its own punishment. Polygamy is theoretically incorrect, and should, therefore, exhibit its fallacy when practically adopted. The worst argument against the Mormon polygamy is its practical results, as proven in chap. iii. Polygamy being theoretically erroneous, reasoning men and women should discard it as a principle; being actually debasing, they should reject it as a practice.

The charge of polygamy was invariably denied by the Mormons for fourteen years, although it was true; and it behooves every man to demand, "Are not the other charges made against them equally true, although they may have been equally denied?"




 


[ 306 ]




CHAPTER XIII.

FINAL SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.

Mormonism as a religion and as a civil polity -- Cause of Mormon persecution at Missouri -- At Nauvoo -- J. Smith, a candidate for presidency of the United States -- Smith a Mohammed -- Brigham successor to his designs as well as office -- His mismanagement -- Famine v. ambition -- His cause of fall -- Mormon politics -- The objects to be accomplished with regard to Mormonism -- The Mormon polygamy -- Ethical and legal crimes -- Two methods of suppressing polygamy -- Legislation and annexation -- Duty of Congress, in the matter -- The advantages of annexation -- On the women -- On the men -- Majority of Mormons foreigners -- Poverty and discontent -- Women would leave Utah -- Many would apostatize -- Efects of merely appointing a governor and sending troops -- Mormonism as a religious evil -- Means to uproot it -- Duty of seceders -- Of Christians -- Its fundamental errors and weakest points.

WHAT shall be done with this strangely-infatuated people? This has become an important inquiry, as their position and developments will soon demand action.

There is a difficulty on both sides of the subject. The Mormons contend that the Constitution guaranties the fullest and freest enjoyment of religious opinion. Mormonism, say they, is our religion; to oppose our doings is an infringement of our religious rights, and that is violating the Constitution.

Others insist on viewing Mormonism as a civil polity
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             307  -----
alone; and as such demand the interference of the federal power.

It is ridiculous to think that the government can have a desire to oppress any portion of its citizens, or that it has the slightest motive to limit human freedom in its broadest constitutional sense. If the doings in Utah compel the Congress to regard and act toward it merely as a civil polity, irrespective of its religion, the Mormons must remember that it is themselves who have united their ecclesiastical with their civil organization. As a church, they have the extremest right to worship whom and what they please. Rites the most ridiculous and fantastic; deities the most monstrous and fiendish; altars the most costly and magnificent; dogmas the most atrocious and profane; leaders the most bigoted or corrupt; people the most fanatic and suicidal may be tolerated as to religion. But when that religion nerves the arm and grasps the sword of secular power, it comes in contact with secular authority. Its claims of toleration then merge into assumptions of sovereignty, and wise men need to hesitate before acceding to its demands.

As a religion, Mormonism can not be meddled with; as a civil polity it may. The arm of government should never be stretched to crush fanatics, but the sword of justice must attack conspirators. Men have every right in the world to be the devotees of error; but no right at all to be the devotees of crime.

It has been their constant anxiety and incessant truckling for political ascendancy that has induced much of their sufferings already. The Mormons grasped at and obtained power in Missouri, and by force of numbers, knowing no
 


-----  308            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
motive other than self-aggrandisement, outvoted, and rose at the expenise of all the other inhabitants. The same policy of political wire-working first incensed the mass of the Illinoians. It is folly to suppose that in the then new country, where every emigrant added to the value of property, and every new town enhanced every other town, that the whole mass of the people, comprising men of every sect and many of no sect at all, should persecute an industrious people merely on religious grounds. It is unnatural; it is absurd. The real secret was, the efforts of the Mormons to get the county-seat removed to Nauvoo, and thus to control the county. Those living in the immediate vicinity of Nauvoo, were enraged by the thefts committed on their property; but it was the Mormon political chicanery that induced their expulsion. Smith juggled so extensively and became so inflated by his success, that he presumed to offer himself as candidate for the presidency of the United States, in 1843, '44, and cursed the country for not promising him their support. HIe strutted from off the stilts of a religious impostor, to the balancing-pole of a political empiric, and fell. It was not for his religion or because of his prophetic pretensions, but for his political designs and his modus operandi in endeavoring to secure them. Having imitated Mohammed in his pretended mission and revelations, like him, having become the chief of a second Medina, he wished to extend the resemblance still further, and aspired to rule the continent. Brigham Young sympathises in his views and is sanguine enough to think that he can accomplish them. With more tact and greater pertinacity, he more carefully approaches the desired goal. His little world in
 


-----             SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             309  -----
Utah grew too narrow for him, and he spread out his boundaries. San Bernardino on the south, Carson Valley on the west, and Salmon river on the north, were taken possession of. A settlement was sent into Nebraska to make a fort and permanent location, if possible. St. Louis and Cincinnati were created "Stakes of Zion, abiding-places for the Saints," in 1854. Missionaries were sent to the Indian tribes, to obtain their friendship and secure their support. Brigham said, "I will drive the wedge in with little taps; but will never draw back till the tree is split."

Hope beat high in Mormon hearts, that the Church would make a great move to retake Independence, Jackson county, Mo., which they believe they yet have to do, preparatory to conquering the world. War with England, the rising of the slaves, the triumph of the Saints, and the coming of the Messiah were prognosticated freely. The famine cooled down this boisterous effervesence. The pressure from outside began to bear heavily, and now the Carson Valley settlement is abandoned, San Bernardino is evacuated, the Saints at Cincinnati are recalled, and the St. Louis Stake is commanded to "come home." Brigham has withdrawn the foot he had planted so pompously, and, fearing difficulties at home, he is drawing his men around him. Still his ambition and belief remain unchanged. He is tired of the platform of his Tabernacle, or the paraphernalia of his endowment room; he covets the ermine and scepter of an emperor; and when he falls, it will not be because of his pretensions as a prophet, nor an infringement of his religious rights as a man; but for his criminal efforts to gratify his ridiculous ambition.
 


-----  310            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
Having invested their religion with the Nessus shirt of political jugglery; having made their ecclesiastical influence the stepping-stone to civil power; not being content with supporting the laws, but covering, under a Jesuitically-assumed veneration for the Constitution, the most treasonable designs and oaths of conspirators; determining the overthrow of their country as the rubbsh on which to build their throne, and the center from which to sway their empire; inducing thousands of poor deluded men and women to sacrifice their all in order to embrace such objects; boldly defying the power of the government, and expelling its authorized agents; educating their children, as Brigham has said, "to be able and ready to carry fire and sword, if needs be, to the very gates of the capitol;" it is themselves who have divested their system of its religious character, and, therefore, subjected themselves to political interference. It is themselves who are guilty of placing their adherents in their dangerous position; and it will be themselves who must be responsible for the consequences. Their political ambition has ever been the curse of their system, and it will prove its downfall.

What shall be done? To answer this, it is necessary, first, to see clearly what are the objects to be accomplished. Mormonism is a moral, religious, and political evil. As a moral evil, it degrades women and curses the rising generation. As a religious evil, it dooms thousands of old and young to perdition, for its ablest polemic, O. Pratt, says, "The message in the Book of Mormon, if false, is such that none who persist in believing it can be saved." * As a political'evil, it is a system

* Tract, "Divine Authenticity of Book of Mormon," p. 1.
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             311  -----
of treason, sworn to subject the government, and hoping to usurp its place; an autocracy in the center of a republic.

The glaring moral evil of their system is polygamy. This is an anti-natural and a degrading practice; but still it is not a crime for the Mormons to be polygamists. There is no law against polygamy in Utah. There is a law against it in every other State and Territory, and, therefore, in every other State and Territory it is a crime. For it to become a crime, either Congress must enact a law against it extending over all the Territories, or Utah must enact such a law for herself. Until such a law be enacted it is no crime. Until it be made a legal crime, it can not be legally punished. Before the executive can inflict a penalty, the deliberative must prescribe one. Such a penalty has never been prescribed. So far, therefore; as polygamy is concerned, the people are legally innocent. The legislators of Utah are almost all polygamists; Brigham is too astute a tactician to repose much confidence, or elevate to much honor, any but those whose interests are inextricably enmeshed with that of Mormonism. They will never make polygamy a crime. If it be made criminal, Congress must do it. Till it becomes a legal wrong, it is only an ethical wrong; aud for ethical wrongs there can only be ethical remedies. To attempt to adopt these in Utah would be folly. No man however informed or however eloquent would be heard. To call in question its propriety in Utah, would be as senseless as disparaging Washington in a fourth of July oration. They urge it as the perfection of purity. Outside Utah moral means may be effectual; but it has attained too strong a hold, entangled too many persons, and combined too
 


-----  312            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
many interests in Utah ever to be thus uprooted. Were it not for the fact of its being under the restraint of fanaticism, and all the Mormons being equally infatuated, it would fall to pieces of its own weight. It has become a cankering sore, but it is rigidly restrained to one spot; and excision is its only remedy. If, therefore, it is ever abolished, it must be by law. It must be made a legal wrong, or it better be let alone. Complete inaction as to Utah, or else thorough and vigorous action. It is mere child's play to blate at what can not be meddled with or improved. Polygamy must be either sanctioned or opposed; if it be sanctioned, and to ignore it is a tacit sanction, all is said; if it be opposed, it is a sign of imbecility if that opposition be not successful. For such opposition to be successful, it must be made a legal crime, and its penalty must be legally enforced.

It is a very important question, however, Is it the duty of Congress to suppress polygamy? Arbitrary exercise of power is a dangerous experiment, and would form a very dangerous precedent. Interference in domestic matters is contrary to the true policy of all governments; but do the affairs of Utah warrant this interference? Were a colony of Hindoos to emigrate to Nebraska in sufficient numbers to control the State Legislature, and to practice the burning of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands, ought they to be interfered with? The society of "free love" was resolutely suppressed by law in New York; yet they manifestly had as much right to the enjoyment of their religious conception of marriage as any. To say that their numbers were insignificant and their organization feeble compared with that of Mormonism,
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             313  -----
only makes Mormonism the greater evil, and, therefore, more urgently demanding an effectual remedy. For government to attempt to punish without Congress previously legislating on it, would be an infinitely more arbitrary exercise of power than to confront the question and legislate at once. To send soldiers to endeavor to seduce Mormon girls, as some suggest, and by thus enraging the Mormons provoke murderous hostilities, is fiendish. In the name of humanity, if it be suppressed, let it be done legally, and not with the passions and injustice of mob violence. The great difficulty is polygamy, it can not be evaded; if its suppression be the object desired, it must be the object attacked. If it be not done with the temperate firmness of law, any other course will only aggravate the evil.

There are two methods of making Mormon polygamy criminal. The first is by enacting a law directly against it by Congress. This is the simplest method, but open to much dispute on the score of "legislating for the Territories." The second plan is to repeal the act organizing the Territory of Utah, and to place the Mormon settlements under the jurisdiction of the adjoining States, whose laws punish polygamy; or by Congress legislating for squatters on public grounds. This method would be as directly effectual, and not open to the same objections as the others. Annex the northern portion of Utah to Oregon, and the southern and western to California. Let these States-call on the Federal Government for assistance to execute their law against polygamy. If the Mormons forcibly resist the execution of law, they become traitors de facto as well as de volontas; and the duty of the government
 


-----  314            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
will be evident, while the responsibility will be on their own heads. These policies will be effectual, and one of these will be the only effectual policy to adopt.

Not only on the sole ground of polygamy is such a course justifiable. The Mormons are conspirators; the real object of Mormonism is treason. The power they have so much misused may be legitimately wrested from them. They have used their freedom as a means of founding a political as well as an ecclesiastical autocracy. It may be urged as a dangerous precedent, but should a similar case occur again, it would be a precedent that would demand to be renewed. If Congress do not make such a law, or so repeal the organization, all other efforts at abolishing polygamy will be ineffectual. Out of Utah the Mormons do not practice it; in Utah they can neither be frustrated or punished. Not only would such a course accomplish this particular object, but it would also tend materially to the breaking up of the whole system. The Mormons owe their power to their isolation; destroy their isolation and you subvert this influence. Any thing that tends to bring Utah nearer to the rest of the world tends to complete the destruction of this system of folly and fraud. The Mormons fled from the world because their principles could not prevail where monogamy obtained. Their present seclusion disables any from inspecting their domestic arrangements; it prevents right minded women from using their influence, lending their assistance, offering their advice, or urging their argurments on the poor deluded wives. It pre vents these wives themselves from seeing other and happier homes, mingling with other and happier hearts, being saddened
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             315  -----
by other and happier faces. It makes them grow accustomed to their lots, and habit speedily engenders a species of contentment. Break this seclusion and you break the chain of their thralldom. We can not bring the Mormons to the world, but it is easy to take the world to Utah by uniting Utah to others of the States. Any thing done to encourage emigration through Utah, or to facilitate communication and intercourse, will be the most effectual means of subverting this imposture. A wagon-road and weekly mails will be much; the late official appointments, if wisely sustained, will do much; a Pacific railroad would be more;. annexation to Oregon and California would do more than them all.

It must be remembered that the vast msjority of the Mormons are foreigners; that they have been in this country only for several years; that the majority of them have not made the first step toward naturalization; that they did not come here in the love of republicanism; that it is not this love that retains them here; that they are by predilection, by instinct, and by preference monarchical in their feelings; that they still cling fondly to their fatherlands; that they came "not to America but to Zion;" not in the admiration of American institutions, but in the confident expectation of assisting to subvert them; that were that system proven false, many of them would return again to old homes and old friends; that while here they are the dupes and victims of designing fanatics; and that these fanatics will force them into crime and danger if not prevented. These things must be remembered.

There are large numbers of persons very desirous but quite
 


-----  316            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
unable to leave Utah, for lack of the necessary means. They, deceived by false representations, and cajoled by false pronmises, have spent their little all in toiling there; many of them going into debt in order to get there at all. With large families dependent on them, they have to labor wearily, to provide the barest subsistence for them; some of them just dragging out a wretched existence, and groaning in poverty and misery. Were Utah annexed to California and Oregon, the citizens of those States could not only offer inducements by land and otherwise for people to come to the western portions of their States, but also advance means to assist them. It might be done as a loan, it might be done as an act of charity, it might be paid by improvements. A dozen plans of "Emigrant Aid Societies" can suggest themselves to every one's mind. They are now a thousand miles from civilization. They need two months' food in advance, when it is more than they can do to provide a week beforehand. They need a wagon to carry that food, when many of them are sleeping in mud-hovels on stick bedsteads. They need a team to haul it, when they have now to go to the mountains and pick sage-brush and dried sunflowers for the scanty fuel to cook their shadow of a meal. They are poor and helpless, and helpless because they are poor. Could outfits be provided, and a brighter and better future shown to those poor unfortunates, hundreds of them would gladly leave. It is not protection, but assistance, that they require. The Mormons do not use any other physical restraint than by making and keeping them poor. Their chains are mental and moral duress, folly, and fanaticism. Not only are there
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             317  -----
men, but many women who are now suffering and sorrowing. When Colonel Steptoe's command passed through Salt Lake, dozens of women implored him to allow them to travel through to California under his protection. Six ladies were accommodated, who notwithstanding the ferocious denunciations, the malignant slanders and the soul-searing anathemas of Brigham Young and his compeers, left Salt Lake. Could fifty more have been taken, fifty more would have gone. If a means could be adopted whereby they might be assisted in leaving and protected from danger on the road, their reputations preserved from the attack of calumny or the taint of suspicion, and a hope of something brighter presented, hundreds would leave; joyfully leave. There are hundreds of as pure and virtuous women at Utah as ever lived, who would be a blessing and a comfort to as many single young men in the western States, and who only ask assistance to enable them to remove. Such a vigorous course of procedure would alarm many who are mere "summer Saints," who, while Mormonism pampers their pride, supports their idleness, or licenses their passions, will uphold it. These will willingly secede, and though their secession be no accession to the ranks of purity and truth, will still decrease the number and dispirit the remnant. The only argument that has persuaded the belief of others is the astonishing success of Mormonism. Their faith is dependent on this success. To arrest this progress would be to overturn their confidence. To prove by a firm, decided action that the authority of Congress is not to be defied with impunity, nor its institutions successfully outraged, will denude Mormonism of many of its votaries, not yet fatally entangled. This will
 


-----  318            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
render success easy, opposition ridiculous. These desiderata depend, however, on the boldness of the design, and the vigor of its execution. Vigorous and radical measures will have to be adopted; the sooner they are adopted the better will it be for the country and for the Mormons themselves. Thousands are swelling their numbers every year from Europe and the States. Hundreds are being born every year at Utah. Every year, while augmenting their force, consolidating their position, strengthening their influence, and increasing the number of polygamists, also confirms their audacity. The longer action is delayed, the worse matters become; the more expensive will be their subversion, and the more disastrous the finale. Whether Congress determines to act in the premises, or sanction, by their silence, all Mormon doings, remains to be seen. In great emergencies, tardiness is imbecility: energy is success. It is not to shed blood, but to spare it: not to sacrifice citizens, but preserve them. Let Brigham alone, and he will cause bloodshed in abundance by-and-by. To act vigorously now, is to prevent the fearful consummation of his intentions.

Notwithstanding all the bombastic menaces of Brigham, I do not think that they will resist now. They are not yet prepared to resist, but are steadily preparing. For this purpose are they calling in all their outer settlements, as San Bernardino and Carson Valley. It is but few men, however, who can not play at soldiers at parades and target excursions; it is but few men who will act as soldiers when soldierly daring is demanded. It is, therefore, not force that is demanded, but firmness. Every one must deplore the absurd and brutal violence suffered by the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois.
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             319  -----
They have had already too many martyrs to their creed. Hundreds of women and children, whose only sin was their credulity, have already suffered fiendish inflictions of barbarities. It is not to re-enact such ruthless scenes of mob violence and madness; but with the gentle but unyielding arm of the country to maintain the dignity of the law. The rock breaks not the sea that dashes against it, but it is the sea that breaks itself upon the rock.

It is for the government to affix their boundary with reference to these people; to let it be distinctly defined, wellchosen, and resistless. So well-defined as to be unmistakable; so well-chosen as to be universally approved, and so resistless as to intimidate opposition. When the Mormons are made to feel that resistance is madness, Brigham is too practical a genius to command rebellion, or

"To let loose the dogs of war."

The mere appointment of a governor or the bare sending of troops to Utah can accomplish but little. Something more thorough is demanded. While the Legislature is Mormon with the Mormon people to vote for and support them; with Mormon officers to baffle a United States appointed judiciary; with Mormon juries to perjure themselves, by disregarding evidence; and acquitting their friends and convicting their enemies; with the whole Mormon population to sanction and sustain them, very little can be done. Before requiring troops to do any thing it is necessary to state distinctly what they are to do. They can only enforce the law. The laws of Utah protect polygamy, and punish adultery with death
 


-----  320            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
they must enforce the law. The troops already sent will be quartered at Rush Valley, thirty-five miles west of Salt Lake City, and will only eat, sleep, parade, or punish refractory Indians. It is said they can protect judges from personal violence, but personal violence has never been employed. If they do any thing something must be prescribed, and until such a remedial law be enacted, they had better stay at home.

The new governor, all Brigham's vaporing to the contrary notwithstanding, will be courteously received at Salt Lake, but what can he do? The people are the Church; Brigham is the head of the Church and, consequently, of the people. They elect, under their Territorial constitution, their own Legislature; they are all Mormons, and are Brigham's most obedient votaries. In ecclesiastical councils all measures are discussed and decided, and are then only enacted at the Legislative sessions. On these measures they all vote in unison. The veto of the governor can be overruled by two thirds of the two Houses, but there every thing is done by the majority of the whole. Hence his veto power would be useless. Their laws he must execute, or else arbitrarily refuse. To subject the people to the arbitrary will of any individual is certainly improper, and the people would be justified in rebellion. Give him some well-defined law to execute; make polygamy a crime; be it his to preside over the enforcement of the penalty; give him something to do, and then there is some utility in his appointment. Else, very much perplexed and aggrieved, feeling himself unable to do, any thing when so much is expected from him, he will want to return before he
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             321  -----
is there one year, or else, like Colonel Steptoe, resign his appointinent and advise that of Brigham Young. All the good a governor can accomplish, will be to intimidate immediate and active hostilities, while their preparations are maturing under his eyes, and their endowments being a portion of their religion, he will be unable to arrest their progress.

The slightest consideration must convince all that less than such measures can only result in failure, so far as the suppression of polygamy is concerned. Many women will, doubtless, without such a law being enacted, leave, but they will be a small minority. Many more will come in to supply their places. Many men may quit, but those who are fatally entangled must remain; and hundreds of enthusiasts are flocking from Europe to strengthen their confidence by augmenting their numbers. I am very much mistaken, if after completely investigating the affairs of Utah the new governor does not advise such a course of procedure as above suggested.

Mormonism is also a religious, as well as a political evil. Philanthropy and Christianity should feel that they have some duty toward the Mormons abroad. This strange delusion is not retrograding either in boldness of assertion or in zeal of proselytism, or in the enthusiasm of its neophytes, or in its disastrous tendency. The love for Smith is toning down into a deep reverence. As time passes he will become more and more venerated. The force of prejudice often dies with the person; the force of affection clings to the memory. It is more natural for men to love than it is for men to hate; and while others forget or despise Smith and his system, the
 


-----  322            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
Mormons make it the one great object of their lives, and regard him as the regenerator of the world. They think that God has conferred upon him no ordinary authority, and sealed it with no ordinary success. They are willing to suffer any thing for this creed they neither understand nor fully obey; and are aching to retaliate the sufferings they have endured.

Bigoted in their faith, many have got beyond the pale of reason altogether. Like the Seekers of 1645, the Cumisards of 1688, the Leeites of 1776, and the Wilkinsonians of the same year, the Mormons think they have received a supernatural testimony of the Spirit. This nothing can shake; being superior to all reason, it is unassailable by reason. Some have gone so far as to declare, "Even though Smith were proven a liar and were to acknowledge it, I would still believer him a prophet." (Sidney Rigdon, 1833.) "I would rather go to hell with the Mormons, than the Christians." (Lyman Wight, 1842.) Men so completely sunk are completely hopeless. Such may see and suffer, while what they see and suffer only makes prejudice obstinacy. It is not toward these that useful efforts can be directed. There are thousands, however, who are not yet, but who are yearly becoming Mormons. men of superior intelligence, of approved conscientiousness, and of deep sincerity, who are earnestly desiring to find truth, and restlessly roaming from party to party. these lend the prestige of respectability, the power of superior talent, the influence of position, and the assistance of wealth to the systems they adopt. Such hear Mormonism, are fascinated with its novelty, attracted by its
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             323  -----
pretensions, confounded by its sophistries, and seized hold on by its enthusiasm. They believe, obey, and are immediately set to preaching. Men in real earnest always arouse the sympathies of earnest men. Religious enthusiasm is a part of our nature; however dormant, it may be excited to fanaticism by a more active enthusiasm than our own. This is the case with these men, and it is the secret of Mormon success. There are more weak than wicked minds in the world; more fanatics than impostors.

These men demand our attention. They have not embraced Salt Lake Mormonism, but that taught outside Utah. This has combined Campbell's baptism by immersion for remission of sins with other dogmas, and many on hearing the Elders preach are struck with the apparent difference between the accusations and their style of address. Many admirable and scriptural objects have they incorporated in their system, Bible bait to catch the public ear, accompanied by piteous narrations of their persecutions, etc. They withhold the theories which constitute Mormonism as it is: the dogmas and doings denounced by all right-minded men. Many who embrace their ideal of Mormonism would not receive the reality. Their minds have to be Mormon-toned and Mormon-trained before they can be safely instructed in the real principles, sympathize in the positive hopes, or be initiated into the actual secrets of this system. Let the facts be circulated among such men; facts neither blackened by prejudice nor extenuated by partiality. Let them be circulated not with the narrow influence of individual exertion, but by the broad hands of general effort. Before they embrace the system, let
 


-----  324            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
them know what the system is, and not be entrapped by plausible falsehoods, and then lured to destruction by stratagetic man-management. There are hundreds who receive their doctrines in Europe who would be disgusted were they first to hear them in the filthy obscenities of Kimball, or in the menaces of Grant, or in the blasphemy of Young.

There are a great many persons who have been to and left Utah. It is a duty that they owe to God and humanity to .et their testimony be known. They ought, every one of them, to write their reasons for leaving, the facts they have witnessed, the dogmas they have heard. Speak them, spread them, print them. Let them be so confirmed as to compel universal conviction as to their personal veracity, as well as the accuracy of their statements. While individual testimony is often suspected and discarded, every wise man can not but respect a "great cloud of witnesses." On as many of such as see this chapter, I would urge the importance of acting on this suggestion.

All fanaticisms feed on excitement; they must increase or they die out. Like a tumor, corruption must be in constant action or nature will heal it up. It is thus with Mormonism. There is no other system that has had so many apostates in the same length of time. Trying to maintain a constant extra-natural illumination and spiritual testimony, requires too unnatural a strain of the mental energies. It needs a constant and a constantly increasing stimulus, or it fades out. The accession of new members, boiling over with enthusiasm, and full of "testimony;" the enunciation of new dogmas, for the origin of which the Elders claim revelation to Smith;
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             325  -----
the excitement of continual emigration to Salt Lake, and the stirring news from their Zion; the heavy tax on their purses to "support the cause;" the fresh arrivals of new Elders from Utah; the active exertions at opening meeting-houses, and their incessant controversy, all these things rekindle their zeal already in its decadence. To arrest this progress and calm down this excitement is to destroy the system. As fever will often delay death, so to check this fever is to accelerate dissolution Stop the accession to Mormon numbers, and the "Churches" will soon die out of themselves. Mormon proselytism is not in a steady continuous stream, but in "fits and starts," just as their enthusiasm rises to the requisite temperature.

Any thing that will tend to cool the ardor or damp the energies of this system must tend to destroy it. All their Elders feel this. When Mormonism begins to stagnate, it perishes. Hence all their efforts are directed to excite the people; hence, too, the yearly appointment of scores of new missionaries, who replace those who may have lost their first warmth of zeal. Hence, also, all their preaching is doctrinal; moral teaching they despise. To make men believe their theories is their only object. Whether their theories make men and women holier and purer is a matter of indifference to them. It is not with them to convert souls, but merely to convince minds. This accounts for the startling numbers who enlist in all species of imposture, while despising religion. Men give up their minds to the molding hands of other men very willingly, when they will not give up their hearts. A philosophical hypothesis, a religious dogma, a scientific theory, or any mere object of belief, however ridiculous,
 


-----  326            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
will gather around it scores of devoted advocates, when very often the most correct principles of moral action will be neglected and despised. Thousands, too, will admit the force, admire the beauty, and even defend the claims of such well-springs of purity and happiness; but would never dream of making them their rules of action. Any system that promises a more lax regime of morality, that allows the gratification of more sensuous if not sensual appetites, that encourages levity, self-confidence, and vain glory, that bases its dependence on the observance of mere outward forms; neither reaching our deeper instincts of mentality, nor supplying the higher necessities of our souls, will always attract most disciples, and be most enthusiastically preached.

It is thus with Mormonism. It pretends to decry all regenerating change of the heart; makes conversion merely contrition for past sins, and a resolution of amendment in future. Salvation is then the simple obedience to certain ordinances. Remission of sins is obtained by baptism; the gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred by the laying on of hands of an Elder, quite irrespective of whether that Elder have any of the Spirit himself. To go to Utah is the next law of obedience, then the payment of tithing, then their secret endowments, and baptisms for the dead, then the practice of polygamy, and all the rest of their carnal observances. It is nothing but a long string of ceremonies and especial obediences. From the liberty and light of the Gospel, back into the vague symbolism and forms of Judaism, with its robes and allegories; sacrifices and costly Temple; glittering ornaments and golden vessels; regal priesthood and absolute authority
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             327  -----
have the Mormons stepped. It is a return to a lower law; and their members are accordingly all of the lower order of minds. They ought to have lived in David's day. They would have made excellent Jews. Jesus has come in vain for them, for they return to the "yoke too grievous to be borne." Unable to grasp or comprehend the higher or spiritual religion, they have gravitated to their own level, and reinstated the lower or ceremonial religion.

This necessitates, and seems to justify their polygamy to them; and it is why many good men practice it with, I am satisfied, the purest of motives. Purity of motive, however, in short-sighted mortality, does not always constitute purity of action. Re-adopting the formalism of Judaism, it is natural they should re-adopt the polygamy of Judaism; and wish women to become second Ruths, as they are willing to become a Boaz. Here is the great religious error of Mormonism. It is gradual training in these material views, a great deal more attention being paid to the Old Testament than the New, that has induced Mormon men and women to sincerely believe and obey the "authorities." As a natural consequence of their stand-point, they have adopted the Aaronic and Melchisedec priesthoods as those authorities; they have literalized all the Old Testament passages about the person of the deity, till Professor Pratt has got God into "the shape, appearance, and size of a man," Smith has given him'many wives, and made him physically beget Jesus Christ; and Brigham has made him into being Adam himself. It is the re-adoption of this old ceremonial law, even to a belief in sacrifices of sheep and doves, that gives their system
 


-----  328            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
its partial consistency, and secures attention in the woild, because affording many Scripture proofs and much specious controversial argument. The building a physical Zion, a literal gathering of the Jews to Jerusalem, a literal separate hiding away, and not dispersion, of the ten tribes, and their return to Palestine, etc., etc., are Mormon dogmas, and they inevitably follow the assumption of the old law, which was instituted as a course of tuition, and intended only as a "school-master to bring men to Christ." His is the higher law of perfect liberty; the practice of right more than the observance of forms, pure morals rather than mere dogmas, holy love of truth, and not implicit obedience to priesthoods.

These forms and ceremonies, priesthoods and dogmas, were but the abacus with which God has instructed his children in their arithmetic of religion. The love of the abstract principle has been diverted to attachment for the material object; and in the worship of the truth, they have ignorantly adored the symbol. As the perception of the concrete must precede the conception of the abstract, so must the material and symbolic precede the refined and spiritual. As children can not separate the idea of "one and one make two" from the marbles or sticks with which it was illustrated and by which it was taught; so children in religion had to be taught by means of forms and ceremonies, and now many are still unable to separate the two. When the child can perceive the abstract truth as exhibited in, but not belonging to, the material illustrations, then the material illustrations are discarded. So when men can appreciate the abstract truths of religion as exhibited in, but not belonging to, certain ceremonies, then
 


-----              SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.             329  -----
the mere ceremonies are discarded. They cease to be more than the representations, and are no longer the embodiments of truths. So purity was loved instead of the spotless lamb; the power of God, and not the power of priesthoods; universal worship, and not the Temple; the adoration of the Spirit, and no longer obedience to forms. Without these sticks and stones, God in the New Testament has come nearer to man, because, by his previous education, man has risen up nearer to God. To sink back into the mysticism and symbolism of the past, is a relapse into barbarism and ignorance. It is the return of the mathematician to the marbles and sticks with which he learned addition; and such a doctrine is therefore only as the drivelings of senility when sinking into second childhood.

It is on this radical and fundamental error that the whole of Mormonism is founded. Instead of ascending from the concrete and material to the abstract and spiritual, they have fallen from the abstract to the concrete. Like the children returning to the abacus of their infantile arithmetic, they have gone back to the symbols and forms of Mosaic religion. Many able and estimable ministers have completely failed in their opposition to this system, because they have not descended to Mormon ground. Fighting from different elevations, they only beat the air. It is not Mormon piety, but their contempt for it; not their moral theses, but their enunciation of law that arrests the attention of honest unthinking men and women. It is natural to prefer forms, because it is easier to obey than it is to feel; baptism of the body is easier performed than regeneration is obtained. A. Monod, the
 


-----  330            SUPPRESSION OF MORMONISM.              -----
great French evangelical orator, uttered a wise remark when he said, "Les hommes aiment plus les sacrifices que la religion, parce que c'est plus facile de trouver des victimes que des vertus."

To successfully controvert Mormonism, it must be met on its own basis. The key to the whole system is this re-adoption of the ceremonial law. Its whole authority depends on the pretensions of Smith. These are their fundamentals; and not only, therefore, the proper places to attack, but they are also, necessarily, their weakest points to defend.
 


[ 331 ]




LETTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.

SIR:-- To perform an action without being prepared to assign the reasons inducing that action, is the conduct of a fool. I have renounced your system, and denounced your designs. My reason for doing the first is my conviction of your error; my reason for the last, is my desire to avert the sacrifice of your deceived followers.

I have not resolved on this important and final step without much deliberation; and I am entirely persuaded of doing my duty to God and man in taking it. To the full extent of my limited opportunities and abilities I have investigated your faith. Increasing insight into your dogmas produced an increasing conviction of your error. I carefully weighed my responsibility and decided on my course.

I have revealed the mysteries of your secret order with its treasonable oaths. I did it, sir, not to gratify a merely morbid curiosity of the public; but to show your adherents abroad, what are the schemes to which they are required to lend themselves; and what are the blessings that you assert God has in reserve for them. I have done so, also, to direct the attention of the government of the United States to the real character and object of your system. Not only that they should be beforehand prepared, but also that they might be
 


-----  332                LETTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.                  -----
induced to adopt vigorous measures, as to delay action is only to afford you opportunity to increase your numbers, and if you will not forego your treasonable intentions, to increase also the number of the sufferers. I feel perfectly sanctioned by God and reason in violating the oaths of secrecy; equally as much as I feel justified in disregarding my covenant of obedience.

That by this violation, I render myself liable to the penalty you have affixed to your obligations, I am aware; but I believe my duty surpasses my risk. If your system be true, it ought not to shrink from the broad glare of universal sunshine. If it be false, the more thoroughly it is known, the better will it be for yourselves and for mankind at large.

I have endeavored in the chapters on yourself, to render you as you are; neither distorted by prejudice, nor favored by partiality. I do not wish to unduly inflame men's anger, nor excite men's approbation toward yourself. You have made yourself notorious; and have, therefore, given yourself to the public. I do not cherish any feeling of enmity to yourself, or your adherents. I only wish that your really great abilities had been devoted to a worthier cause, and for the promotion of a nobler object; and only regret that you have so fatally involved your believers in your policy, who are so blindly infatuated in your interests.

That you are sincere in your confidence in Joseph Smith, and in your own pretensions, I believe and acknowledge; but, at the same time, that you are leading confiding thousands to misery and ruin, is evident. Charity for them would induce the frustration of your designs.
 


-----                 LETTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.                333  -----
I admire the industry of your people, their notable labors and their general sincerity, but I deplore their delusion, and I denounce their deceivers. I have carefully chosen my course, and shall, with the help of God, pursue it.

That you will ever be made, in this life, to see your madness and its inevitable consequences, I can not believe. That you would forsake it if you did see it, I can not hope. One thing is certain, you have forged your own chains, as well as the fetters that you have fastened on your deluded people. You are as hopelessly your own slave as ever you wished to make others.

But while you can not retract the past, you are still able to prevent much sorrow and difficulties in the future. The political ambition of Joseph Smith entailed suffering, exodus, and death upon his blindly devoted and fanatically infatuated followers. Your political ambition will involve in the same disastrous consequences your still more numerous adherents. Your own wisdom must teach that your object of founding an independent kingdom is hopeless; and that to attempt it is to insure your own destruction. You must be aware, too, that while religious martyrs are pitied, political adventurers are despised; and that such a course will divest you of all sympathy, and hand you and your ambition down to universal execration and contempt. If you do push matters to so lamentable an extremity as to come into collision with the federal authorities, remember that it is YOU and not THEY who will then be the real cause of the suffering and bloodshed that will ensue! Were you the President of the United States to-morrow, and were such another system as Mormonism, with
 


-----  334                  LETTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.                  -----
such another leader as yourself, to attempt to defy or outrage your country and its institutions, remember that you would be the first man to crush them, as you crushed Sidney Rigdon at Nauvoo! What you would yourself do as President, will be done by the President, should occasion require such energy and action. To oppose the government is to expose yourself; to oppose it so far as to shed blood, is to bring the blood that may be shed on your own hands and head. Wisdom should dictate caution, and caution would advise the renunciation of wild and impracticable schemes, which can only end in confusion, and involve the ruin of simple and devoted thousands.

Not alone could you prevent such ruin, but you could accomplish much good; and, instead of being remembered as only a curse to your race, leave some gleam of a better heart and a sounder mind. Your position would enable you to accomplish much toward the advancement of the interests of your country and the consummation of human progress. That you have energy sufficient to arrest and break up the whole system of Mormon politics, that you could quell the disturbance and control the shock which would ensue from such an attempt, that you could divert the attention and direct the power of your followers into a far higher and more rational pursuits, I do not for a moment doubt. That you have not sufficient moral strength to attempt it, I know. The most the wcrld can hope and ask- from you is to save yourself, and spare your believers from the suffering and destruction consequent on the struggle to which you are endeavoring to incite them. I will say nothing to you of the wickedness or of the treason of your effort to establish such a kingdom in
 


-----                  LETTER TO BRIGHAM YOUNG.                 335  -----
the center of your country. All I urge on you is its folly and its impossibility. This, in your serious moments, you must feel. Those sanguine aspirants of your advisers, who really entertain the hope of ultimate success, confide too much on the neglect or the imbecility of their country's government. Such a confidence is ridiculous. Perhaps you may rely on supernatural assistance: if so, where were your gods at Missouri, at Carthage, at Nauvoo? Your Adam-deity, like the Baal of Elijah's day, was "sleeping or taking a journey."

It is not presumption in me thus to direct your attention to this subject. Having made yourself so conspicuous, you have given any one the right to address you. I have spoken to you as a prophet; as a man to a man I now write to you. I admire your genius, but I deplore its exercise. I no more dread your enmity than I fear your priestly anathemas. The slanders your coadjutors may attempt to circulate, I despise. You told the people once, that your "words were but wind;" as wind they may be safely encountered.

I confidently believe the time will come when honest men will be undeceived, desert your standard, and leave you forsaken and sorrow-stricken to remorse for the past and terror for the future. To this end I shall labor, and constantly and fervently pray that your power and your system may find a speedy and an eternal grave; that it may be sunk in the oblivion of its own mysteries, and be buried under the mountain of its own ignominy.

JOHN HYDE, JUN.    

NEW YORK, July, 1857.





go back to  page 1


back to top of this web-page