THE following narrative, the result of a few weeks' leisure on shipboard, is again presented to the public, with a deep sense, on the Author's part, of the iniquity of an imposture, which, under the name of religion, is spreading extensively in America and in Great Britain. Mormonism needs but to be seen in its true light to be hated; and if the following pages, consisting almost exclusively of the personal testimony of the Author, should assist in awakening indignation against a cruel delusion and a preposterous heresy, he will consider himself amply rewarded.
Since the first edition of this work was issued from the press, the Author has met with the following remarkable prediction of Dr. Southey. This prediction, it must be recollected, was published in March, 1829, fourteen months previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon, and while the American Mohammed was busily engaged in his pretended translation of the "Reformed Egyptian" characters inscribed on the golden plates.
"America is in more danger from religious fanaticism. The government there, not thinking it necessary to provide religious instruction for the people in any of the new States, the prevalence of superstition, and that, perhaps, IN SOME WILD AND TERRIBLE SHAPE, may be looked for as one likely consequence of this great and portentous omission. AN OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN might find dupes and followers as readily as the All-friend Jemima; and the next Aaron Burr who seeks to carve a kingdom for himself out of the overgrown territories of the Union, may discover that FANATICISM IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WEAPON WITH WHICH AMBITION CAN ARM ITSELF, that the way for both is prepared by that immorality which the want of religion naturally and necessarily induces, and that CAMP-MEETINGS may be very well directed to forward the designs of a MILITARY PROPHET. Were there ANOTHER MOHAMMED to arise, there is no part of the world where he would find more scope, or fairer opportunity, than in that part of the Anglo-American Union into which the older States continually discharge the restless part of their population, leaving Laws and Gospel to overtake it if they can; for in the march of modern colonization both are left behind,"--Southey's Colloquies, vol. ii. p. 42, 1829.
For a history of the false prophet and his sect, the reader is referred to "The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, or Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Mormons, or Latter-day Saints," published by Messrs. Rivington, 1843.
Kensington, January 30th, 1843.
THE rise of a new religion exhibits human nature in an uncommon aspect, and therefore affords a highly interesting subject of examination to the thoughtful observer. Although every religion of modern origin must now be regarded as a wicked imposture, it is painfully instructive, on the one hand, to watch the demeanor of the successful founders of a spiritual dominion; and, on the other hand, to notice the conduct of those who rejoice in the supposed advantages of their novel "revelations." It will then be found that, in the present age, neither enthusiasm, nor even outward morality, are essential to the character of a Prophet, and that men may believe themselves surrounded by the full blaze of prophecy and miracle, while they remain alike loose in principle, and profligate in practice.
Nor is the growth of a new religion a subject merely of curiosity. In a historical point of view it is worthy of all the light which careful investigation can bestow. The cause of truth imperatively demands that the progress of error should be diligently noted. How gladly should we receive the testimony of one who had been a witness of the early growth of the religion of Mahomet! How highly should we esteem an authentic account of the process by which the corrupt Christian of the seventh century was gradually alienated from the faith of his fathers, and induced to accept as divine the "revelations" of the Arabian impostor!
To give such a testimony, to describe such a process, is the object of the following narrative. In Western America, amid countless forms of schism, a new religion has arisen, as if in punishment for the divisions of professed Christians. Like Mahometanism, it possesses many features in common with the religion of Christ. It admits the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, it even acknowledges, in a certain sense, the Trinity, the Atonement and Divinity of the Messiah. But it has rejected and denounced that Church which Christ erected upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, and has substituted a system of mock Catholicity in its stead. It has introduced a new book as a depository of the revelations of God, which in practice has almost superseded the sacred Scriptures. It teaches men to regard a profane and ignorant impostor as a special prophet of the Almighty, and to consider themselves as Saints while in the practice of impiety. It robs them of their honesty, no less than of their substance and finally sends them, beneath a shade of deep spiritual darkness, into the presence of that God of truth whose holy faith they have denied.
At the first preaching of Mormonism, sensible and religious persons, both in Europe and in America, rather ridiculed than seriously opposed it. They imagined it to be an absurd delusion, which would shortly overturn itself. But system and discipline, analogous to those of Rome, have been brought to its aid. What was at first crude and undigested, has been gradually reduced to comparative definiteness and proportion. At the present moment Mormonism numbers, probably, a hundred thousand adherents, a large portion of whom are natives of Christian and enlightened England.
The immediate cause of my visit to Nauvoo was the following. Early in April, 1842, business took me to St. Louis, a city of thirty thousand inhabitants, situated on the western bank of the Mississippi, and six miles distant from Kemper College, the most western institution of the American Church. Curiosity led me to the river's side, where about forty steam-boats were busily engaged in receiving or discharging their various cargoes. Here a ponderous consignment of lead had arrived from Galena, four hundred miles to the north, and the crew were piling it upon the shore in regular and well-constructed layers. There a quantity of ploughs, scythes, and other agricultural implements, crowded the decks of a steamer which had just finished a westward voyage of fourteen hundred miles from Pittsburg. In another place, a vessel that had descended the rapid current of the Missouri for many hundred miles in an easterly direction, was landing pork and other produce of the fertile West; while farther down a large steam-boat from New Orleans, crowded with passengers from the South, having completed her voyage of twelve hundred miles, was blowing off the steam from her high pressure engines with a noise like thunder.
Desiring to know something respecting the passengers in the last boat, I proceeded on board; and as soon as the stoppage of the steam permitted me to be heard, I inquired of the clerk of the boat how many persons he had brought from New Orleans. Plenty of live stock," was his reply, "plenty of live stock; we have three hundred English emigrants, all on their way to join Joe Smith, the prophet at Nauvoo." I walked into that portion of the vessel appropriated to the poorer class of travellers, and here I beheld my unfortunate countrymen crowded together in a most comfortless manner. I addressed myself to some of them, and found that they were from the neighbourhood of Preston in Lancashire. They were decent-looking people, and by no means of the lowest class. I took the liberty of questioning them respecting their plans, and found that they were indeed the dupes of the missionaries of the false prophet. I begged them to be on their guard, and suggested to them the importance of not committing themselves and their property to a person who had long. been known in that country as a deceiver. They were, however, bent upon completing the journey which they had designed, and although they civilly listened to my statements, they professed to be guided in reference to Mormonism by that perverted precept of Scripture; "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good."
From this moment I determined to visit the stronghold of the new religion, and to obtain, if possible, an interview with the prophet himself. Accordingly, on Friday evening, April 15th, I embarked on board the fine steamer "Republic," bound, as her advertisement assured me, "for Galena, Dubuque, and Prairie du Chien." I had laid aside my clerical apparel, and had assumed a dress in which there was little probability of my being recognized as a "minister of the Gentiles." In order to test the scholarship of the prophet, I had further provided myself with an ancient Greek manuscript of the Psalter written upon parchment, and probably about six hundred years old. Shortly after six o'clock our paddles were in motion, and we were stemming the rapid current of the "Father of waters," while the booming of our high-pressure engine re-echoed from the buildings and the woods along the shore. [When the Mississippi is at is lowest stage, the depth of water at St. Louis is four feet; when full the depth is twenty-nine feet. The width of the river is three quarters of a mile; the average velocity four miles an hour; the average descent of the stream six inches per mile.] The passengers were principally emigrants from the eastern states, on their way to the new settlements in Iowa and Wisconsin. Those in the cabin were so numerous, that our long supper-table was three times replenished at our evening meal; while a still greater number crowded the apartments of the deck passengers. During the night we passed the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi, and in the morning we were pushing our way through the comparatively clear waters, and along the woody banks of the Upper Mississippi. Occasionally we passed a small village, and two or three times during the day we landed at some rising town; but generally the scene was one in which nature enjoyed undisturbed repose. The river was high from frequent rains in the upper country, and its surface was about one foot lower than the top of the verdant banks. Our cabin windows were frequently brushed by the branches and clustering foliage of the cotton-wood trees; the sugar-maple and the sycamore were putting forth their early leaves at a short distance in the background, and one dense mass of heavy timber covered the picturesque bluffs to their very summit. The day was pleasant, and I sat almost constantly upon the highest or "hurricane" deck, enjoying a fine prospect of the noble river and its shores. During the following night we continued our ascending course, and early on Sunday morning we were at the foot of the "Des Moines Rapids," with Illinois on the right hand, and Iowa on the left. The rapids prevent the passage of steam-boats during the greater part of the year, on account of the shallowness of the water and the strength of the current. As the river was now full, we experienced no difficulty, and slowly made our way against a stream running perhaps seven miles an hour. The Mississippi is here about a mile and a half in width, and forms a beautiful curve. On the western side were a number of new houses with gardens neatly fenced, and occupied, I was told, by Mormon emigrants who had recently arrived. Farther onward the bluffs of Iowa rose boldly from the water's edge, while on the Illinois or eastern side, as the steamer gradually came round the curve, the Mormon city opened upon my view. At length, Nauvoo in all its "latter-day glory" lay before me. The landing-place being difficult of access from the rapidity of the current, the steamer took me to Montrose immediately opposite, and touching for a moment, while I stepped on shore, in the next moment was again ploughing the descending waters.
Here I was in Iowa, two hundred and thirty miles from St. Louis, fifteen hundred miles from the mouth of the majestic river before me, and two thousand miles west of New York by the ordinary course of travel. It was nine o'clock on Sunday morning; the sun was shining brightly, as usual in this region, and a strong breeze had raised a moderate swell on the face of the stream. No ferryman was to be found, and for a few minutes it was a problem how I should cross to Nauvoo. The problem was soon solved by the appearance of a long and narrow canoe, hewed from the trunk of a tree, and lying close to the bank. In this doubtful looking craft, thirteen Mormons on their way to the meeting in Nauvoo, proceeded to take their seats. At my request they accommodated me with a place, and shortly afterwards pushed from the shore, and put their paddles in motion. They worked their way with some difficulty, until they reached two islands near the middle of the river. Between these there was no swell, and little wind; but the current ran against us through a narrow passage with the rapidity of a mill-race. Here I thought we should be effectually baffled, and more than once the canoe seemed to yield to the stream. At length the stout sinews of the Mormons prevailed, and we were again in open water. After labouring hard for more than half an hour we safely landed at Nauvoo.
The situation of the place is rather striking. Above the curve of the Des Moines rapids the Mississippi makes another curve almost semicircular towards the north-east. The ground included within the semicircle is level and upon this site the city has been laid out. The streets extend across the semi-circle, being limited at each extremity by the river. These streets are intersected at right angles by others, which, running in one direction to the river, are bounded towards the south-east by a rising ground, on the summit of which the temple is in the course of erection. It was to this last-mentioned spot that with my companions I directed my steps. Having ascended the hill, I found myself close to a large unfinished stone building, the walls of which had advanced eight or ten feet above the ground. This was the Temple. The view of the winding Mississippi from this elevation was truly grand, and the whole of the lower part of the town was distinctly seen. I was informed by my companions that the population of Nauvoo was about ten thousand; but subsequent inquiry led me to place the estimate three or four thousand lower.
The temple being unfinished, about half-past ten o'clock a congregation of perhaps two thousand persons assembled in a grove, within a short distance of the sanctuary. Their appearance was quite respectable, and fully equal to that of dissenting meetings generally in the western country. Many grey headed old men were there, and many well-dressed females. I perceived numerous groups of the peasantry of old England; their sturdy forms, their clear complexions, and their heavy movements, strongly contrasting with the slight figure, the sallow visage, and the elastic step of the American. There, too, were the bright and innocent looks of little children, who, born among the privileges of England's Church, baptized with her consecrated waters, and taught to pronounce her prayers and repeat her catechism, had now been led into this den of heresy, to listen to the ravings of a false prophet, and to imbibe the principles of a delusion worse than paganism.
The officiating elders not having yet arrived, the congregation listened for some time to the performances of a choir of men and women, directed by one who appeared to be a professional singing-master. At length two elders came forward, and ascended a platform rudely constructed of planks and logs. One wore a blue coat, and his companion, a stout intemperate-looking man, appeared in a thick jacket of green baize. He in the blue coat gave out a hymn, which was sung, but with little spirit, by the choir and congregation, all standing. He then made a few commonplace remarks on the nature of prayer, after which, leaning forward on a railing in front of the platform, he began to pray. Having dwelt for a few minutes on the character and perfections of the Almighty, he proceeded in the following strain:--
"We thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast in these latter days restored the gifts of prophecy, of revelation, of great signs and wonders, as in the days of old. We thank Thee that, as Thou didst formerly raise up thy servant Joseph to deliver his brethren in Egypt, so Thou hast now raised up another Joseph to save his brethren from bondage to sectarian delusion, and to bring them into this great and good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands, and which Thou didst promise to be an inheritance for the seed of Jacob for evermore. We pray for thy servant and prophet Joseph, that Thou wouldest bless him and prosper him, that although the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him, his bow may abide in strength, and the arms of his hands may be made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. We pray also for thy holy temple, that the nations of the earth may bring gold and incense, that the sons of strangers may build up its walls, and fly to it as a cloud, and as doves to their windows. We pray Thee also to hasten the ingathering of thy people, every man to his heritage and every man to his land. We pray that as Thou hast set up this place as an ensign for the nations, so Thou wouldest continue to assemble here the outcasts, and gather together the dispersed from the four corners of the earth. May every valley be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low, and the crooked places straight, and the rough places plain, and may the glory of the Lord be revealed and all flesh see it together! Bring thy sons from far, and thy daughters from the ends of the earth, and let them bring their silver and their gold with them."
Thus he proceeded for perhaps half an hour, after which he sat down, and the elder in green baize, having thrown aside his jacket,--for the heat of the sun was now considerable,--commenced a discourse.
He began by stating the importance of forming correct views of the character of God. People were generally content with certain preconceived views on this subject derived from tradition. These views were for the most part incorrect. The common opinion respecting God made him an unjust God, a partial God, a cruel God, a God worthy only of hatred; in fact, "the greatest devil in the universe." Thus also people in general had been "traditioned" to suppose that divine revelation was confined to the old-fashioned book called the Bible, a book principally written in Asia, by Jews, and suited to peculiar circumstances and peculiar classes. On the other hand, they supposed that this vast continent of America had been destitute of all revelation for five thousand years, until Columbus discovered it, and "the good, pious, precise Puritans brought over with them from England, some two hundred years since, that precious old book called the Bible." Now God had promised to judge all men without respect of persons. If, therefore, the American aborigines had never received a revelation, and were yet to be judged together with the Jews and the Christians, God was most horribly unjust; and he, for his part, would never love such a God; he could only hate Him. He said there was a verse somewhere in the Bible, he could not tell where, as he was "a bad hand at quoting," but he thought it was in the Revelation. "If it's not there," he said, "read the whole book through, and you'll find it, I guess, somewhere. I hav'n't a Bible with me, I left mine at home, as it ain't necessary." Now this verse; he proceeded to observe, stated that Christ had redeemed men by his blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and had made them unto God kings and priests. But in America there were the ruins of vast cities, and wonderful edifices, which proved that great and civilized nations had formerly existed on this continent. If the Bible was true, therefore, God must have had priests and kings among those nations and numbers of them must have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Revelations from God must consequently have been granted to them. The Old and New Testaments were therefore only portions of the revelations of God, and not a complete revelation, nor were they designed to be so. "Am I to believe," said he, "that God would cast me or any body else into hell, without first giving me a revelation?" God now revealed Himself in America just as truly as he had ever done in Asia. The present congregation lived in the midst of wonders and signs similar to those mentioned in the Bible, and they had the blessing of revelation through the medium of that chosen servant of God, Joseph Smith. The Gentiles often came to Nauvoo to look at the prophet Joseph--old Joe, as they profanely termed him--and to see what he was doing; but many who came to scoff remained to pray, and soon the kings and nobles of the earth would count it a privilege to come to Nauvoo and behold the great work of the Lord in these latter days. "The work of God is prospering," he said, "in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; in Australia, and at the Cape of Good Hope, in the East and West Indies, in Palestine, in Africa, and throughout America, thousands and tens of thousands are getting converted by our preachers, are being baptized for the remission of sins, and are selling off all they have that they may come to Nauvoo. The great and glorious work has begun, and I defy earth and hell, men and devils to stop it."
A hymn was now sung; and afterwards a tall, thin, New-England Yankee, with a strong nasal twang and a provincial accent, rose up, and leaning forward on the railing, spoke for half an hour with great ease and volubility. He said that his office required him to speak of business. They were all aware that God had by special revelation appointed a committee of four persons, and had required them to build a house unto his name, such a one as his servant, Joseph, should show them. That the said house should be called the "Nauvoo House," and should be for a house of boarding: that the kings and nobles of the earth, and all weary travellers, might lodge therein, while they should contemplate the word of the Lord, and the corner-stone, which he had appointed for Zion. That in this house the Lord had said that there should be reserved a suite of rooms for his servant Joseph, and his seed after him from generation to generation. And that the Lord had also commanded that stock should be subscribed by the saints, and received by the committee for the purpose of building the house. The speaker proceeded as follows:--"Now, brethren, the Lord has commanded this work, and the work must be done. Yes; it shall be done--it will be done. The Gentiles, the men of the world, tell us that such stock must pay twenty-five percent. per annum, and the Lord hath required us to take stock; surely, then, when duty and interest go together, you will not be backward to contribute. But only a small amount of stock has hitherto been taken, and the committee appointed by the Lord have had to go on borrowing, and borrowing, until they can borrow no longer. In the mean time, the mechanics employed on the house want their pay, and the committee are not able to pay them. We have a boat ready to be towed up the river to the pine country, to get pinewood for the edifice. We have a crew engaged, and all ready to start; but we cannot send out the expedition without money. The committee have made great personal sacrifices to fulfill the commandment of the Lord: I myself came here with seven thousand dollars, and now I have only two thousand, having expended five thousand upon the work of the Lord. But we cannot go on in this way any longer. I call on you, brethren, to obey God's command, and take stock, even though you may not dress so finely as you do now, or build such fine houses. Let not the poor man say, I am too poor; but let the poor man contribute out of his poverty, and the rich man out of his wealth, and God will give you blessing."
During this address, I noticed some of the English emigrants whom I had seen a few days previously on board the steam-boat at St. Louis. They were listening with fixed attention, and, doubtless, considering how many of their hard-earned sovereigns should be devoted to the pious work of building a fine hotel for the prophet and his posterity. The thought arose in my mind, that these earnest appeals for money were designed mainly for the ears of the three hundred green saints who had just arrived.
This address being concluded, two other elders followed in a similar strain. They spoke with great fluency, and appeared equally familiar with worldly business and operations in finance, as with prophecies and the book of Mormon. At length, having, as they supposed, wrought up the zeal of the congregation to a sufficient pitch, they called on all believers in the book of Mormon, who felt disposed to take stock, to come forward before the congregation, and give in their names with the amount of their subscriptions. Upon this appeal, there was much whispering among the audience; and I detected two Mormons, evidently Yorkshiremen, in the very act of nodding and winking at each other. However, none came forward; and one of the elders coolly remarked,--that as they appeared not to have made up their minds as to the amount which they would take, he requested all who wished to become stockholders to come to his house the next afternoon at five o'clock.
The elder who had delivered the first discourse now rose, and said that a certain brother, whom he named, had lost a keg of white lead. "Now," said he, "if any of the brethren present has taken it by mistake, thinking it was his own, he ought to restore it; but if any of the brethren present has stolen the keg, much more ought he to restore it; or else, may be, he will get cotched; and that, too, within the corporation limits of the city of Nauvoo." Another person rose and stated that he had lost a ten-dollar bill. He had never lost any money before in his life; he always kept it very safely; but now, a ten-dollar bill had escaped from him, and if any of the brethren had found it, or taken it, he hoped it would be restored.
A hymn was now sung, and the service (if such it may be called) having continued from half-past ten o'clock till two, finally concluded. As the congregation dispersed, I walked with the Mormon who had brought me over in his canoe, to see the Temple. The building is a hundred and twenty feet in length, by eighty in breadth; and is designed to be the finest edifice west of Philadelphia. The Mormon informed me, that in this house the Lord designed to reveal unto his Church things which had been kept secret from the foundation of the world; and that He had declared that He would here restore the fullness of the priesthood. He shewed me the great baptismal font, which is completed, and stands in the centre of the unfinished temple. This font is, in fact, a capacious laver, eighteen or twenty feet square, and about four in depth. It rests upon the backs of twelve oxen, as large as life, and tolerably well sculptured; but for some reason, perhaps mystical, entirely destitute of feet, though possessed of legs. The laver and oxen are of wood, and painted white; but are to be hereafter gilded, or covered with plates of gold. At this place baptisms for the dead are to be celebrated, as well as baptisms for the healing of diseases; but baptisms for the remission of sins are to be performed in the Mississippi. My companion told me that he was originally a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada; but that he had obtained greater light, and had been led to join the "latter-day saints." [The American methodists are governed by superintendents, who have assumed the title of Bishops and control the inferior preachers in a manner which is often represented as peculiarly despotic and oppressive.] While he was a methodist he felt that he was perfectly right in regard to his belief, and could confute all other sects, except the Roman Catholics. These, he said, had so much of the true and ancient Church mixed up with their corruptions, that he could not readily confute them. Many passages of the Scriptures remained at that time perfectly inexplicable to him, and he saw that no denomination, not even his own, was organized exactly on the primitive plan. But since he had been led to embrace Mormonism, new light had opened upon his soul; the Scriptures had become clear to his comprehension, and he had discovered a Church entirely conformable to the primitive model; having the same divinely appointed ministry; the same miraculous gifts of healing, and the unknown tongues; the same prophetical inspiration; the same close intercourse with the Almighty. I observed, that the truth of Mormonism depended on the previous determination of the question, whether Joseph Smith was, in fact, a prophet of God. He replied, that the inspiration of Joseph could be proved more readily than that of Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel. That Joseph had received revelations ever since he was fifteen years of age; and that the outlines of Mormonism were made known to him at a time when he could not possibly have planned so vast a work, or anticipated its triumphant success. While conversing on these subjects, we arrived at the "Nauvoo House," the hotel founded by "revelation." The walls are advanced about as much as those of the temple, and, when completed, will form a capacious building. Passing the prophet Smith's house, which is one of the best in the city, I arrived at a small, but neat tavern, where I called to get dinner. An old woman; apparently the mistress of the house, was seated by the fire, devoutly reading the book of Mormon, from which she scarcely lifted her eyes as I entered. Here I found a decent, and probably intelligent Scotchman. Conversing with him on the subject of the services which I had just witnessed, I remarked how greatly deficient they appeared in dignity and spirituality; and contrasted them with the decorous and solemn worship of the Church of England, and of the Scottish Kirk. I particularly referred to the keg of white lead and the ten-dollar bill, as well as to the derogatory manner in which the preacher had alluded to "the old-fashioned book called the Bible." Although I endeavoured to speak with mildness, the Scotchman replied with great warmth, that the English and Scottish Churches taught lies, and that their members loved lies more than truth. That all their solemnity was produced by hypocrisy and false doctrines respecting God. That the Mormons despised long faces, and all religions which required people to wear a sanctimonious and hypocritical exterior. He added, that Mormonism was making rapid progress in Scotland.
From the tavern, I proceeded to the landing-place, and engaged the ferryman to take me over to Montrose, on the Iowa side of the river. I found this person to be a Mormon; and learned from him that the ferry was the property of the prophet Joseph. He further informed me, that the number of passengers had become so considerable, that a steam ferry-boat had been purchased, and would soon be in operation. I afterwards found that his opinion of the character of his brethren, "the saints," was by no means flattering to them. He told a person in Montrose, that it was "no use to hoist a flag at Nauvoo as a signal to passengers, for it was sure to be stolen by the people there; they had so much of the devil in them."
On arriving at Montrose, I went to the house of a gentleman to whom I had brought letters of introduction from St. Louis. This gentleman, with his lady and his brother, has resided many years at Montrose; and as he possesses the independence to resist the encroachments of the Mormons, and the ability to expose their designs, he has been an object of constant persecution since the settlement of these people in his vicinity. He at once desired me to make his house my home, and offered me every assistance in prosecuting my researches. Under his hospitable roof I spent a pleasant evening. His family united with me in religious services (for there is no place of worship in the neighbourhood); and, after the awful proceedings of the morning, I felt happy to be once more among Christians.
On the following morning (Monday, April 18th), I took my venerable Greek manuscript of the Psalter, and proceeded to the ferry to obtain a passage. The boatman, being engaged to take over a family emigrating to Nauvoo, had provided himself with a heavy flat-boat, which promised us a long voyage. The family soon came on board. It consisted of a simple-looking American, his wife, and a numerous progeny. They had with them two oxen, two cows and a calf, bedding, tables, chairs, and a wooden clock. As we were about to push off, a traveller on horseback came on board, whom I found to be one of the numerous "Gentiles" induced by curiosity to visit the "Zion" of the West. The father of the family stated that he had become confounded by the conflicting doctrines of the sects, and imagined that Mormonism he had finally discovered the only true Church. Our heavy boat was rowed up about a mile close to the Iowa shore. Having proceeded considerably above Nauvoo, the ferryman and his men began to venture out into the broad stream, in order to cross. As I had little time to spare, I was permitted to take the small skiff alongside, and, in company with the emigrant, to pull over to Nauvoo. On the way, I held some conversation with my companion, and found him to be thoroughly wedded to his delusion. Having arrived at the city, I passed along a straggling street of considerable length bordering on the strand. Perceiving a respectable-looking store (or shop), I entered it, and began to converse with the storekeeper. I mentioned that I had been informed that Mr. Smith possessed some remarkable Egyptian curiosities, which I wished to see. I added that, if Mr. Smith could be induced to show me his treasures, I would show him in return a very wonderful book which had lately come into my possession. The storekeeper informed me that Mr. Smith was absent, having gone to Carthage that morning; but that he would return about nine o'clock in the evening. He promised to obtain for me admission to the curiosities, and begged to be permitted to see the wonderful book. I accordingly unfolded it from the many wrappers in which I had enveloped it, and, in the presence of the storekeeper and many astonished spectators, whom the rumour of the arrival of a strange book had collected, I produced to view its covers of worm-eaten oak, its discoloured parchments, and its mysterious characters. Surprise was depicted on the countenances of all present, and, after a long silence, one person wiser than his fellows, declared that he knew it to be a revelation from the Lord, and that probably it was one of the lost books of the Bible providentially recovered. Looking at me with a patronizing air, he assured me that I had brought it to the right place to get it interpreted, for that none on earth but the Lord's Prophet could explain it, or unfold its real antiquity and value. "Oh," I replied, "I am going to England nest week, and doubtless I shall find some learned man in one of the universities who can expound it." To this he answered with a sneer, that the Lord had chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty; that he had made foolish the wisdom of this world; and that I ought to thank Providence for having brought me to Nauvoo, where the hidden things of darkness could be revealed by divine power. All expressed the utmost anxiety that I should remain in the city until the prophet's return. The storekeeper offered immediately to send an express eighteen miles to Carthage, to hasten the return of Joseph. This I declined, and told him that my stay in Nauvoo must be very limited. They promised to pay all my expenses, if I would remain; and assured me that they would ferry me over the river as often as I desired it, free of charge; besides furnishing me with a carriage and horses to visit the beautiful prairies in the vicinity. At length I yielded to their importunities, and promised that if they would bring me over from Montrose on the following morning, I would exhibit the book to the prophet. They were very desirous that I should remain at Nauvoo during the night. but as I had my fears that some of the saints might have a "revelation," requiring them to take my book while I slept, I very respectfully declined their pressing invitation. They then requested to know where I was staying in Montrose. I mentioned the name of the gentleman who had received me into his house; upon which they used the most violent language against him, and said that he was their bitter enemy and persecutor, that he was as bad as the people of Missouri, and that I ought not to believe a word that he said. They again pressed me most earnestly not to return to Montrose; but I continued firm, and expressed my intention of hearing both sides of the question.
The storekeeper now proceeded to redeem his promise of obtaining for me access to the curiosities. He led the way to a room behind his store, on the door of which was an inscription to the following effect: "Office of Joseph Smith, President of the Church of Latter Day Saints." Having introduced me, together with several Mormons, to this sanctum sanctorum, he locked the door behind him, and proceeded to what appeared to be a small chest of drawers. From this he drew forth a number of glazed slides, like picture frames, containing sheets of papyrus, with Egyptian inscriptions and hieroglyphics. These had been unrolled from four mummies, which the prophet had purchased at a cost of twenty-four hundred dollars. By some inexplicable mode, as the storekeeper informed me, Mr. Smith had discovered that these sheets contained the writings of Abraham, written with his own hand while in Egypt. Pointing to the figure of a man lying on a table, he said, "That is the picture of Abraham on the point of being sacrificed. That man standing by him with a drawn knife is an idolatrous priest of the Egyptians. Abraham prayed to God, who immediately unloosed his bands, and delivered him." Turning to another of the drawers, and pointing to a hieroglyphic representation, one of the Mormons said, "Mr. Smith informs us that this picture is an emblem of redemption. Do you see those four little figures? Well, those are the four quarters of the earth. And do you see that big dog looking at the four figures? That is the old Devil desiring to devour the four quarters of the earth. Look at this person keeping back the big dog. That is Christ keeping the devil from devouring the four quarters of the earth. Look down this way. This figure near the side is Jacob, and those are his two wives. Now do you see those steps?" "What," I replied, "do you mean those stripes across the dress of one of Jacob's wives?" "Yes," he said, "that is Jacob's ladder." "That," I remarked, "is indeed curious."
After this edifying explanation, a very respectable looking Mormon asked me to walk over to his house. This person was one of the committee appointed by "revelation" to build the "Nauvoo House." He informed me that he had migrated from the Johnstown District in Upper Canada. He would have returned to that country before, had he not been desirous of remaining to see the wonderful works of the Lord in Nauvoo. He preferred Canada to the United States; and the British government was, in his opinion, greatly superior to that of the Americans, which he considered little better than an organized mob, especially in the Western States. He regarded a strong monarchy as essential to good government, and believed that this opinion was generally held among the "Saints." In the event of a war between England and America, England might rely upon it that the Mormons would not be her enemies. The Indians, too, whom the Americans had persecuted almost as badly as the Missourians had persecuted the Mormons, were decidedly friendly to England, He had lately been among their tribes, and had found everywhere English muskets bearing the date of 1839. The Indians were already making preparations for espousing the cause of England in a war with America. He foretold that great desolation was about to be inflicted on America by England, with the assistance of the oppressed negroes and Indians. The conversation was now interrupted by the entrance of numerous Mormons, who begged to be permitted to see and handle the wonderful book. They all looked upon it as something supernatural, and considered that I undervalued it greatly, by reason of my ignorance of its contents. It was in vain I assured them that a slight acquaintance with Greek would enable any person to decipher its meaning. They were unanimous in the opinion that none but their prophet could explain it; and congratulated me on the providence which had brought me and my wonderful book to Nauvoo. The crowd having cleared away, my host asked me to give my opinion of Nauvoo. I told him that it was certainly a remarkable place, and in a beautiful situation; but that I considered it the offspring of a most astonishing and unaccountable delusion. He said that he admired my candour, and was not surprised at my unbelief, seeing that I was a stranger to the people and to the evidences of their faith. He then proceeded to inform me respecting these evidences. He: assured me, in the first place, that America had been mentioned by the prophet Isaiah. I begged for the chapter and verse. He pointed to the sentence,--"Woe to the land shadowing with wings." Now to what land could this refer, but to North and South America, which stretched across the world with two great wings, like those of an eagle? "Stop," I said; "does not the prophet describe the situation of the land? Observe that he says, it is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." "Well," said my host, "that may be true; but is not America beyond Ethiopia?" "Have you a map ?" I said. "Yes," he replied, "here is my little girl's school atlas." "Now tell me," I said, "where Isaiah wrote his book." "In Palestine," he answered. "Very well," I replied; "now tell me in what direction from Palestine is Ethiopia?" "South, by the map," was the reply. "In what direction from Palestine is America?" "West," he answered. "Now do yon think that Isaiah would have described a country in the west, as lying beyond another which is due south?" He was silent for a moment, and then confessed that he had never thought of studying the Bible by the map; "but probably this map was wrong." I now requested him to let me know the number of troops composing the Nauvoo Legion. He informed me that they consisted at present of seventeen hundred men. He had taken the oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria, and on this account had not connected himself with the legion. The discipline of this band he considered superior to that of the American militia generally, but inferior to that of British troops, or even of the Canadian militia. He believed that the Mormons held many doctrines in common with the Irvingites and other sects in England. He cherished the belief in a separate place of departed spirits distinct from heaven and hell, and considered that when the restitution of all things takes place, the earth will be purified, and transferred from its present sphere to a brighter and more glorious system.
Having listened with due attention to the instructions of my host, I walked over to the store, where the storekeeper expressed his readiness to show me the mummies. Accordingly he led the way to a small house, the residence of the prophet's mother. On entering the dwelling. I was introduced to this eminent personage as a traveler from England, desirous of seeing the wonders of Nauvoo. She welcomed me to the "holy city," and told me that here I might see what great things the Lord had done for his people. "I am old," she said, "and I shall soon stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; but what I say to you now, I would say on my death-bed. My son Joseph has had revelations from God since he was a boy, and he is indeed a true prophet of Jehovah. The angel of the Lord appeared to him fifteen years since, and directed him to a cave in which the original golden plates of the book of Mormon were deposited. He shewed him also the Urim and Thummim, by which he might understand the meaning of the inscriptions on the plates, and exhibited to him the golden breastplate of the high priesthood. My son received these precious gifts, he interpreted and published the holy record, and now the believers in that revelation are more than a hundred thousand in number. I have myself seen and handled the golden plates; they are about eight inches long, and six wide; some of them are sealed together and are not to be opened, and some of them are loose. They are all connected by a ring which passes through a hole at the end of each plate, and are covered with letters beautifully engraved. I have seen and felt also the Urim and Thummim. They resemble two large bright diamonds set in a bow like a pair of spectacles. My son puts these over his eyes when he reads unknown languages, and they enable him to interpret them in English. I have likewise carried in my hands the sacred breastplate. It is composed of pure gold, and is made to fit the breast very exactly."
While the old woman was thus delivering herself, I fixed my eyes steadily upon her. She faltered, and seemed unwilling to meet my glance; but gradually recovered her self-possession. The melancholy thought entered my mind, that this poor old creature was not simply a dupe of her son's knavery; but that she had taken an active part in the deception. Several English and American women were in the room, and seemed to treat her with profound veneration I produced my wonderful book. The old woman scrutinized its pages, and in an oracular manner assured me that the Lord was now bringing to light the hidden things of darkness according to his word; that my manuscript was doubtless a revelation which had long been hidden, and which was now to be made known to the world, by means of her son the prophet Joseph. She then directed me up a steep flight of stairs into a chamber, and slowly crept up after me. She shewed me a wretched cabinet, in which were four naked mummies frightfully disfigured, and in fact, most disgusting relics of mortality. One she said was a king of Egypt whom she named, two were his wives, and the remaining one was the daughter of another king. I asked her by what means she had become acquainted with the names and histories of these mummies. She replied, that her son had informed her, and that he had obtained this knowledge through the mighty power of God. She accounted for the disfigured condition of the mummies, by a circumstance rather illustrative of the back-woods. Some difficulty having been found in unrolling the papyrus which enveloped them, an axe was applied, by which the unfortunate mummies were literally chopped open. I requested her to furnish me with a "Book of Mormon." She accordingly permitted me to take one of the first edition belonging to a certain Lavinia Smith, for which I paid the latter young lady a dollar.
From Mr. Smith's residence I proceeded to the Mormon printing-office, where the official papers and "relations" of the prophet are published in a semi-monthly magazine, denominated the "Times and Seasons." For another dollar I purchased this magazine complete for the last year, the history of the persecution of the Mormons by the people of Missouri, and other documents of importance. The storekeeper met me at the printing-office, and introduced several dignitaries of the "Latter-day Church," and many other Mormons, to whom he begged me to exhibit my wonderful book. While they were examining it with great apparent interest, one of the preachers informed me that he had spent the last year in England, and that, with the aid of an associate, he had baptized in that country seven thousand saints. He had visited the British Museum, where he affirmed that he had seen nothing so extraordinary as my wonderful book. The Mormon authorities now formally requested me to sell them the book, for which they were willing to pay a high price. This I positively refused, upon which they importuned me to lend it to them, so that the prophet might translate it. They promised to give bonds to a considerable amount, that it should be forthcoming whenever I requested it. I was still deaf to their entreaties, and having promised to exhibit the book to their prophet on the ensuing day, I left them and returned to Montrose.
On arriving at the house of my hospitable entertainer, I was informed by him that the Mormons on the Iowa side of the river had been busily engaged in trying to find out who I was, and whence I came. They had generally come to the conclusion that I was a convert to Mormonism recently arrived from England.
After tea my kind host provided me with a horse, and, in company with him, I took a delightful ride upon the prairie. The grass was of an emerald green, and enameled with the beautiful wild flowers of spring, Far to the North West a line of bluffs seemed to bound the prairie at the distance of eight or ten miles, while in other directions it extended as far as the eye could reach. Numerous clumps of forest trees appeared at intervals, and herds of cattle were reposing on the grass or feeding on the rich herbage. Upon an eminence near Montrose, I was shewn the tomb of Kalawequois, a beautiful Indian girl of the tribe of Sacs and Foxes. She died recently at the early age of eighteen, having lingered six years in a consumption. She was buried on this spot by moonlight, with all the ancient ceremonies of her nation. Adjoining her grave was the tomb of Skutah, a full-blooded Indian "brave," and a distinguished warrior of the same tribe.
My host stated, that previously to the arrival of the Mormons, his only neighbours were the Indians, with whom he lived on the most friendly terms. Nothing could exceed their honesty and good faith in all their intercourse with him: and although heathens, he considered them superior in morality and common sense to the "Latter-day Saint." Keokuk is the present chief of the Sacs and Foxes, having succeeded to the jurisdiction on the demise of the venerable Black Hawk, who died of grief at the age of eighty, in consequence of the treatment experienced by his nation at the hands of the United States. The residence of Keokuk and the chief village of his tribe, are situated near the Des Moines river, and about a day's journey westward of Montrose. The tribe consisted, before the war, of about nine thousand persons, who are now reduced to three thousand. The two sons of Black Hawk still survive, and are noble and princely both in person and character. The Indians have the greatest possible contempt for Joseph Smith, and denominate him a Tshe-wal-lis-ke, which signifies a rascal. Nor have other false prophets risen more highly in their estimation. A few years since, that notorious deceiver Matthias made his appearance one evening at the door of Keokok's "waikeop," or cabin. For an account of Matthias, see that extraordinary work entitled "Matthias and his Impostures," by Col. Stone, of New York.] He wore a long beard, which was parted on each side of his chin; a long gun was on his shoulder, and a red sash around his waist. Keokuk demanded who he was, to which question the blasphemous impostor replied that he was Jesus Christ, the only true God, and that he was come to gather the Indians, who were of the seed of Israel. "Well," said Keokuk, who is a very dignified man, "perhaps you are what you allege, and perhaps you are not. If you are, you cannot be killed. If you are not, you are a rascal and deserve to be shot. Look at these two fine rifle pistols--they were made in New York--they never miss their aim. Now see me sound them with the ramrod. They have a tremendously heavy charge. Now I point them at you. Now I am going to fire." At this Matthias suddenly bolted, being unwilling that his claims should be tested by so novel and so striking a mode of theological argument. He afterwards obtained admission, at Keokuk's request, to the waikeop of an old Indian man and woman who lived alone. They gave him supper, and when he had fallen asleep they made a fire, and watched him all night, believing him to be the devil, whom they had heard described by the Roman Catholic missionaries.
These Indians have many remarkable customs. Before undertaking a war, their warriors fast forty days in a solitary cabin constructed of bark During this period, they eat barely sufficient to keep themselves alive. They also sacrifice dogs; and having tied the dead bodies to trees about six feet above the ground, they proceed to paint the noses and stomachs of the victims with a deep red colour. They consult prophets, who are provided with sacred utensils, denominated medicine bags; and which contain the skins of "skunks," with other precious articles. When the warriors return from their fast, the people make a great feast on dogs which have been fattened for the occasion. None but men are allowed to attend. At the appointed hour, the warriors may be seen travelling to the rendezvous; each carrying, with great solemnity, his wooden bowl and wooden spoon. At the house appointed for the feast, the dead dogs are in readiness, together with a profusion of boiled Indian corn and beans. My host was present on one of these occasions, and took particular notice of the ceremonies. Some of the warriors began by cutting the dogs into equal portions, which they placed in a large iron kettle over a fire, and boiled for about half an hour. The remainder of the guests reclined upon mats on both sides of the house, while the fire burned briskly at the centre, the smoke escaping through an opening in the roof. The corn and beans were placed all round the room in wooden dishes upon the ground. The dog-meat being sufficiently boiled, the pieces were taken out, and every person present received his share. A distinguished "brave" now arose, and made a speech; after which, a second stood up and repeated the monosyllable, "ugh." At this signal, all began to eat; holding the pieces of canine flesh in their hands without knives or forks, and devouring with all their might. This feast on dogs is considered a sort of penance. Whoever swallows the whole of his portion is called a big brave; while those who are made sick by it, are denominated squaws. The men of this tribe enjoy themselves exceedingly at their villages during the winter, visiting one another with great sociability. All the hard work devolves upon the women, who cut down trees for firewood, make the fires, and minister like slaves to the comfort and luxury of their lords. These Indians, notwithstanding their neglect of the squaws, have many courteous and gentlemanly habits. They have no profane word in their vocabulary, and the most abusive words employed by them are liar, rascal, hog, and squaw. They, however, catch with facility the profane expressions of the whites, which they use with great readiness, and without understanding their signification. Thus, they will often employ an oath as a friendly salutation; and while kindly shaking hands with a friend, will curse him in cheerful and pleasant tones of voice.
The following morning (Tuesday, April 19th), a Mormon arrived with his boat and ferried me over to Nauvoo. A Mormon doctor accompanied me. He had obtained, I was told, a regular diploma from a medical school as a physician: but since the Mormons generally prefer miraculous aid to medicine, it is probable that his practice is somewhat limited. He argued with me while we were on the passage, and evinced a tolerable share of intelligence and acuteness. The success of Mormonism in England was a subject of great rejoicing to him. I observed, that I had reason to believe that the conquests of Mormonism in Britain had been principally among the comparatively illiterate and uneducated. This, he partially admitted; but he maintained that God had always chosen people of that description, for they were rich in faith. I replied, that the class of persons to whom he referred, abounded in wrong faith no less than in right faith: and that among the lower class of persons in England, the wildest delusions, of the most contradictory character, had, from time to time been readily propagated. I further remarked, that the same class of people who believed in Joanna Southcote might easily be persuaded to credit the divine mission of Joseph Smith. Changing the subject, I begged him to inform me whether the Mormons believed in the Trinity. "Yes," he replied; "we believe that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; that makes three at least who are God, and no doubt there are a great many more." Having uttered this horrid blasphemy, he proceeded to state, that the Mormons believe that departed saints become a portion of the Deity, and may be properly denominated "Gods."
On landing at Nauvoo, I walked with the Doctor along the street which I mentioned before as bordering on the strand. As I advanced with my book in my hand, numerous Mormons came forth from their dwellings, begging to be allowed to see its mysterious pages; and by the time I arrived at the prophet's house, they amounted almost to a crowd. I met Joseph Smith at a short distance from his dwelling, and was regularly introduced to him by the storekeeper. I had the honour of an interview with him who is a Prophet, a Seer, a Merchant, a "Revelator," a President, an Elder, an Editor, and the Lieutenant-General of the "Nauvoo Legion." He is a coarse, plebeian, sensual person in aspect, and his countenance exhibits a curious mixture of the knave and the clown. His hands are large and fat, and on one of his fingers he wears a massive gold ring, upon which I saw an inscription. His eyes appear deficient in that open and straightforward expression which often characterizes an honest man. His dress was of coarse country manufacture, and his white hat was enveloped by a piece of black crape as a sign of mourning for his deceased brother, Don Carlos Smith, the late editor of the "Times and Seasons." His age is about thirty-seven. [By his own account in the "Times and Seasons," Joseph Smith was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, (U.S ) on the 23rd of December, 1805.] He led the way to his house, accompanied by many elders, preachers, and other Mormon dignitaries. On entering the house, chairs were provided for the prophet and myself, while the curious and gaping spectators remained standing. I handed the book to the prophet, and begged him to explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be a Greek Psalter; but that I should like to hear his opinion. "No he said; "it ain't Greek at all, except, perhaps, a few words. What ain't Greek, is Egyptian; and what ain't Egyptian, is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said: Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics; and them which follows, is the interpretation of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates." Upon this, the Mormons around began to congratulate me on the information I was receiving. "There," they said; "we told you so--we told you that our prophet would give you satisfaction. None but our prophet can explain these mysteries." The prophet now turned to me, and said, "This book ain't of no use to you, you don't understand it." "Oh yes," I replied; "it is of some use; for if I were in want of money, I could sell it for something handsome."
"But what will you sell it for?" said the prophet and his dignitaries. "My price," I answered, "is higher than you would be willing to give." "What price is that?" they eagerly demanded. I replied, that I would not sell it to them for many hundred dollars. They then repeated their request that I should lend it to them until the prophet should have time to translate it, and promised me the most ample security; but I declined all their proposals. I placed the book in several envelopes, and as I deliberately tied knot after knot, the countenances of several among them gradually sunk into an expression of great despondency. Having exhibited the book to the prophet, I requested him in return to show me his papyrus, and to give me his own explanation, which I had hitherto received only at second hand. He proceeded with me to his office, accompanied by the multitude. He produced the glass frames which I had seen on the previous day; but he did not appear very forward to explain the figures. I pointed to a particular hieroglyphic, and requested him to expound its meaning. No answer being returned, I looked up, and behold! the prophet had disappeared. The Mormons told me that he had just stepped out, and would probably soon return. I waited some time, but in vain: and at length descended to the street in front of the store. Here I heard the noise of wheels, and presently I saw the prophet in a light waggon, flourishing his whip and driving away as fast as two fine horses could draw him. As he disappeared from view, enveloped in a cloud of dust, I felt that I had turned over another page in the great book of human nature.
The Mormons now surrounded me, and requested to know whether I had received satisfaction from the prophet's explanation. I replied that the prophet had given me no satisfaction, and that, on the contrary, he had proved his own ignorance most effectually. They wished to know my own religious opinions. I informed them that I had been educated in the Church of England, to which I was conscientiously attached. One of the Mormons said that the Church of England had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof, and that it was the duty of all men to turn away from her. I asked him what he understood by the power of godliness. He replied, "the power of working miracles and of speaking in unknown tongues." He maintained that the Church of England denied that the gifts of the Holy Ghost are communicated at the present day to the people of God. I told him that he was mistaken, referring to the passages in the "Service for the Ordering of Priests," "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God." And again,
"Thou the Anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy sevenfold gift impart."
"Thou in thy gifts art manifold,
By them Christ's Church doth stand."
Another said that the ministers of the Church of England were dumb dogs, that its bishops were regardless of the advancement of the gospel, that their belly was their God, and that money was their idol. I inquired whether he was particularly well acquainted with the English bishops and clergy. He replied, that he had never been out of America; but that he had received these accounts from travellers. I told him that I had been personally acquainted with many of the bishops and clergy of the English Church, and that his very general assertion was decidedly contrary to the truth. A renegade now came forward, who stated himself to have been a member of the Established Church of Ireland. He said that the Thirty-nine Articles were a bundle of inconsistencies from beginning to end. I begged him to specify some of the inconsistencies. He said that the first Article asserts that God is without body, parts, or passions; that the second Article teaches that Christ is God; and that the fourth Article states that Christ ascended into heaven with his body, flesh, and bones. Thus, he maintained, the fourth Article was inconsistent with the first. I replied, that the same charge of inconsistency might be applied to the Scriptures with equal fairness, and quoted some texts by which the doctrines of the first, second, and fourth Articles are respectively proved. He flew off at once to another subject, and maintained that baptism in the Church of England is not valid, inasmuch as it is not administered by persons having authority. I asked him what constituted a sufficient authority. He replied, "a commission from Christ, proved by the possession of miraculous gifts." I said that the English clergy possessed a commission from Christ, which could be proved to belong to them, even in the absence of miraculous gifts at the present time. He wished to know how their commission could be proved without miracles. I told him that the bishops of the English Church, from whom the inferior clergy derive their authority, are apostles just as truly as St. Barnabas and St. Timothy were. This statement took him altogether by surprise; he looked at me incredulously, and requested me to give him proof. I presented him with a brief outline of the clear and simple argument for the Apostolic Succession, and referred him to the historical fact, that bishops have been consecrated by bishops from the age of inspiration to the present time. I said that the commission of our Saviour to the eleven, extending as it did through all time and all the world, implied an apostolical succession till the day of judgment; that Scripture testifies to a succession of Apostles as long as Scripture can testify to it: and that afterwards the continuance of the succession is proved by a vast number of Christian writers down to the present time. He considered for a moment, and then said, that such a succession must have come through Rome; that Rome was the mother of harlots, and that the Church of England was the eldest of her numerous family of daughters. "The Church of England," said he, "reminds me of a story I heard about an old cow--" As he was becoming abusive I thought is best to check him, and seriously requested him to inform me whether it was an English cow or an Irish bull of which he was speaking. At this the younger Mormons began to laugh, and my opponent seemed rather disconcerted and was silent.
An old American in a blue home-spun suit, and with a disagreeable expression in his face, now entered the lists against me. He told me that I was in great darkness and unbelief, and that I ought to repent, obey the gospel, and be baptized. I replied, that as for repentance, I hoped I repented every day; as for obedience, without boasting, I believed I might claim to be equal to the "Latter-day Saints;" and as for baptism, I had been lawfully baptized by one having authority. He said that Church of England baptism possessed only the authority derived from Acts of Parliament, and that the English Church was merely a Parliament Church. I replied, that the English Church had a double sanction: first, that of Christ--who founded the Catholic Church, of which the English Church is a portion; and secondly, that of Parliament, by which, long after its foundation, it was acknowledged as the National Religion. "But," I proceeded, "it is now my turn to say something about your religion, since you have spoken freely of mine. It is easy for you to argue as you do about the descent of the Indians from Israel, the existence of miraculous powers in the Church, and the supposed errors and inconsistencies of professed Christians. In regard however to the real question at issue, on which your religion depends, namely, the inspiration of your prophet, you have not given me the slightest satisfaction." They requested me to state what evidence I should consider satisfactory. I replied, "When the Jewish dispensation was to be introduced, God enabled Moses to work great wonders with his rod. God smote a mighty nation with miraculous plagues. He divided the Red Sea and the River Jordan. He came down on Mount Sinai amid clouds and lightnings and the terrific sound of the trumpet of heaven. He caused Moses to strike the rock and the waters gushed forth. He rained down manna for the space of forty years in the wilderness. Again, when the Christian dispensation was to be established, Christ walked upon the waters; He controlled the winds and the waves; He fed assembled thousands with a few loaves and fishes; He healed the sick; He opened the eyes of the blind; He brought the dead to life: and finally. He raised Himself from the grave.
"You maintain that your prophet is sent to establish a third dispensation. I demand, therefore, what signs are given to prove his commission?"
The old man replied, that the healing of the sick, the casting out of devils, and the speaking of unknown tongues, were very frequent in the "Latter-day Church." I said that signs of that kind were of a very doubtful description, since the imagination possessed great power over the nervous system. I inquired whether Smith had ever walked across the Mississippi, or brought a dead man to life. He replied in the negative; but said, that among them the blind received their sight, and the ears of the deaf were opened. I then observed, "You perceive that I am rather deaf, and you say that I have no faith. Now can you open my ears so that I may hear your arguments more distinctly?" Immediately the old man stepped forward, and before I was aware of his object, thrust his fore fingers into my ears, and lifting up his eyes, uttered for about a minute in a loud voice some unintelligible gibberish. "There," he said finally, "the Holy Ghost prompted me to do that, and now you have heard the unknown tongue." "But my hearing is not improved," I said. "That," he replied, "is because you have no faith. If ever you believe the Book of Mormon, you will immediately recover perfect hearing, through the gift of the Holy Ghost." I looked at him somewhat severely and said, "Take care, old man, what you say. When you employ holy names, you should speak with awe and reverence; but you and other Mormons here, as far as I have observed, employ the most sacred terms with the most disgusting levity. How miserable were your services on last Sunday; how cold your worship, how unedifying and farcical your preaching. The Holy Ghost was manifestly absent from your assembly, which resembled a Jewish Synagogue more than a Christian congregation. There was no Bible, there was no Lord's Prayer, there were no motives presented to humiliation, self-examination, or any branch of devotion; there was little besides senseless speculations on the character of God, idle assertions of special revelations and miraculous gifts, and disgraceful advertisements of stolen goods." Here they interrupted me and said that their preachers did not need the Bible, being immediately inspired by the Holy Ghost. "No," I said, "it is not inspiration, it is a Satanic delusion. Your prophet himself has proved to me that he is not inspired, and I will make the fact known to the world. Would you believe a man calling himself a prophet, who should say that black is white?" "No," they replied "Would you believe him if he should say that English is French?" "Certainly not." "But you heard your prophet declare, that this book of mine is a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and, farther, that it is written in characters like those of the original Book of Mormon. I know it most positively to be the Psalms of David, written in ancient Greek. Now what shall I think of your prophet? They appeared confounded for a while; but at length the Mormon doctor said, "Sometimes Mr. Smith speaks as a prophet, and sometimes as a mere man. If he gave a wrong opinion respecting the book, he spoke as a mere man." I said, "Whether he spoke as a prophet or as a mere man he has committed himself; for he has said what is not true. If he spoke as a prophet, therefore, he is a false prophet. If he spoke as a mere man, he cannot be trusted, for he spoke positively and like an oracle respecting that of which he knew nothing. You have spoken severely; without regard to my feelings, respecting the Church to which I belong, but I hardly like to tell you all that I think respecting your prophet and yourselves." "Speak out," said some. "Go on," said others. "We are above prejudice," said the old man. "If Smith be not a true prophet," I proceeded, "you must admit that he is a gross impostor." "We must," they replied. "Then I will freely tell you my opinion, so that yon may not think that I intend to say at a distance what I would not say in Nauvoo itself. I think it likely that most of you are credulous and ignorant, but well-meaning persons, and that the time at least has been when you desired to do the will of God. A knot of designing persons, of whom Smith is the centre, have imposed upon your credulity and ignorance, and you have been most thoroughly hoaxed by their artful devices. Mahomet himself was a gentleman, a Christian, and a scholar, when compared with your prophet. And oh! how mournful to look round, as I can at present, and to reflect, how many have been enticed away from their homes, dragged across earth and sea, and brought to this unwholesome spot, where, with the loss of substance and of health, they are too often left to perish in wretched poverty and bitter disappointment." One of the Mormons who had listened attentively to what I said, now remarked with some solemnity of manner, "If we are deceived, then are we of all men the most miserable." "Indeed I believe you are the most miserable," I replied, "and I pity you from the very bottom of my heart. And oh! how gladly would I see you delivered from this awful delusion. and returning to the bosom of that holy Catholic Church, from which many of you have apostatized. There you may find plain and honest teaching, without these lying signs and wonders. There you may find holy and solemn services fitted for the edification of the people of God. There you may find a true baptism, a true communion, true gifts of the Holy Ghost, and true ministers who descend in one unbroken line from the Apostles sent forth by Christ Himself." Several of them now said that faith is the gift of God, that God had promised to give wisdom to those who should ask it; that they had prayed to God to guide them into all truth, and that He had led them to believe in the book of Mormon. I replied that God had appointed other means of ascertaining the truth, and that if we reject those means it will be vain to pray to Him for guidance. Thus He had declared his Church to be the pillar and ground of truth. But it was evident that they had deserted the true ground, since they had attached themselves not to any branch of the apostolic Church, but a sect barely fifteen years old." The old man in blue now told me that they pitied me as much as I pitied them. "Come, my friend," he said to me, "let you and I go down to the Mississippi, only let me put you under the water and baptize you, and when you come up again, you will see all mysteries clearly, and will believe in our great signs and wonders." I told him in reply, that to submit to such a baptism would be almost the greatest sacrilege which could be committed. "I must now leave you," I proceeded; "I have been among you three days; I have expressed my sentiments freely respecting your religion and your prophet, and I heartily thank you that you have listened to me with attention, and that although you have had me altogether in your power, you have not put me under the Mississippi and kept me there."
I walked to the ferry with the Mormon who had brought me over in the morning, the Mormon doctor, and one or two others. When we arrived at the boat we found it safe, as it had been carefully padlocked in the morning. The oars, however, were missing, a circumstance which caused great vexation to the owner. He exclaimed, "My oars are gone; somebody has hooked my oars." "Who has taken your oars?" I asked. "Some of the boys, I guess," he replied. "What! some of the young Latter-day Saints?" I said. "I guess it was," he answered. "But do not the young saints learn the ten commandments," I demanded, "and especially the eighth, 'Thou shalt not steal?'" "I guess they know them all," the poor man answered, "but any how they don't practice them." Accordingly he took a piece of board in his hands, and having given another piece to one of his companions, he proceeded rather awkwardly to paddle across the wide and rapid stream. A third piece of board was given to the doctor, who sat with me in the stern, to be used as a rudder. For some time we advanced tolerably well; but before long the doctor began to argue with me vehemently. He said that no man could obtain salvation, who devoted so little attention to the truth of God as I had done; and that instead of spending only three days, I ought to have remained at least three weeks at Nauvoo. I told him that I had seen quite enough to convince any person of ordinary understanding, that Smith was an impostor. He replied that Smith might be as bad as he was reported to be, but that his prophecies would not thereby be proved false. He might be a swindler, a liar, a drunkard, a swearer, and still be a true prophet. David was a murderer and an adulterer, and yet was a true prophet. St. Peter said that even in his time "David had not yet ascended into heaven." David was in hell, for no murderer had eternal life abiding in him. So Smith might be as infamous as David was, and even deny his own revelations, and turn away from his religion, and go to hell; but this would not affect the revelations which God had given by him. It was in vain that I attempted to correct the doctor's false positions; the stream of his heretical eloquence had begun to flow, and, finally, I suffered it to flow unchecked. He said that the truth of Mormonism did not depend on the character of Smith or of any other man. That our Lord had told the Jews that there were other sheep, not of that fold, whom He intended to bring, and that in accordance with this declaration, after his ascension into heaven, He descended again in America and preached the Gospel to the Indians, as the veracious history of the book of Mormon assured us. That for his own part, his faith had been produced solely by the power of God, and that if he was deceived, God Almighty had deceived him, and no other. I was once an honest Atheist," he proceeded; "I felt that Christianity could not be true, since Christians have not yet decided among themselves what Christianity is. I was induced by curiosity to listen to the preaching of a Mormon elder. My attention was strongly arrested; I began to believe in God, and for many weeks and months was earnest in my prayers to Him for a knowledge of the truth. After the space of six months, I was one night lying awake in my bed meditating, when suddenly a conviction of the reality of the Christian religion flashed upon my mind like lightning. I saw the truth of the Scriptures and of the book of Mormon. I felt powerfully convinced that the prophecies of Joseph Smith were from God. At the same time I was filled with a supernatural ecstasy which resembled heaven itself. I could not restrain my feelings, but cried out, O my God, if it be thus to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, what must it be to be baptized with fire! From that time I have been a member of the 'Latter-day Church,' and, believe me, I would rather be an honest Atheist again, than embrace the doctrines of any of the sects. If the religion which I profess be false, there is no true religion upon earth." [There are known to be persons living at Nauvoo, who have inwardly renounced Mormonism, and with it all religions. They say, however, that they profess conformity to Mormonism, because it is equally good with, or not worse than any other religion. This fact exhibits the tendency of Mormonism to infidelity and atheism.]
The doctor's zeal had so completely carried him away, that he quite forgot his duty as helmsman. The boat was now about the middle of the Mississippi, and after sundry tortuous windings, seemed about to return to Nauvoo. The poor fellows were paddling with the boards complaining of the doctor's steering, I volunteered to take the helm, and the medical gentleman forthwith resigned his piece of board into my hands. The skiff now proceeded with a straight course, and we shortly landed in Iowa. The doctor, on parting from me, complimented me somewhat equivocally on my seamanship, by observing, that if I knew the way of salvation as well as I knew how to steer, I might have a good chance of getting to heaven.
During the remainder of the day, I employed myself in obtaining testimony from persons residing in Iowa in reference to the conduct and character of their Mormon neighbours. I have every reason to believe that this testimony is correct, partly because it agrees with what I myself saw and heard in Nauvoo, and partly on account of the character and respectability of the witnesses.
The reader must have already inferred from my description, that the false prophet himself is a coarse and gross personage, by no means punctilious in regard to truth. The following facts related by actual witnesses will not therefore appear incredible. Before the Mormons settled in the vicinity, no shop for the sale of spirituous liquors had been established in Montrose. After their arrival two of their preachers commenced a grog-shop in that place, which was principally supported by the "Latter-day Saints." In September 1841, the prophet being in Montrose; became intoxicated at this shop. While in this condition he told the by-standers "that he could drink them all drunk," and requested the shop-keeper to treat all his friends at his expense.
On another occasion, having been discharged from arrest, through informality in the writ requiring his apprehension for high treason against the State of Missouri, Smith gave a party at Monmouth, and, after a regular frolic with his lawyers and friends, became thoroughly intoxicated. On being asked how it was that he, a prophet of the Lord, could get drunk, he replied, that it was necessary that he should do so, in order to prevent his followers from worshipping him as a God.
While intoxicated at Montrose, at another time, he was heard by several persons saying to himself, "I am a P. R. O. F. I. T. I am a P. R. O. F. I. T,"--spelling (or rather mis-spelling) the word deliberately, and repeating the letters in solemn succession.
About two years since, at a political convention held in Nauvoo, the prophet became intoxicated, and was led home by his brother Hyrum. [This name is always spelt thus in Mormon documents. It is asserted in the Gazetteer of Missouri that the prophet Joe Smith formerly spelt his name "Go Smith."] On the following Sunday, he acknowledged the fact in public. He said that he had been tempted, and had drunk too much; but that he had yielded to the temptation for the following reason:--Several of the elders had often got drunk, and had never made confession; but he got drunk that they might see how bad it looked, and now confessed his sin in order to set the elders a good example.
The language of the prophet, even in his sermons, is gross in the extreme. A Mormon, for example, having said that it was a pity that the "elect lady," Mrs. Smith, had not broken her neck, her husband the prophet was dreadfully exasperated. He endeavoured to find out the name of the offender; but, being unable to do so, he alluded to the subject in a sermon, preached in the open air before five hundred Mormons, at Montrose, on the 9th of May, 1841. He said, "I hope I may never find out who made that remark; for if I do, my appetite shall never be satisfied till I have his blood. I will follow him as the hound follows the heart's blood of the hare, and if he ever crosses my threshold I will send him to hell."
I have already stated some circumstances which may appear to reflect on the common honesty of some of the Mormons. My host mentioned that he had lived five years among heathen Indians, and had never been robbed by them of the most trifling article. During the three years which have elapsed since the settlement of the Mormons at Montrose and Nauvoo, fourteen robberies, to the amount of two thousand dollars, have been committed upon his property. 1st, his store was robbed of goods worth five hundred dollars; 2nd, his warehouse was plundered of one barrel of pork, two barrels of sugar, and five kegs of lard; 3rd, his smoke-house was despoiled of thirty-three hams and eleven shoulders; the 4th robbery deprived him of a barrel and a half of salt; the 5th, of another barrel of salt; the 6th, of a saddle, bridle, and martingale, which were taken from his stable; 7thly, four wheels were taken from his waggon; 8thly, three saddles and bridles and a martingale from his stables; 9thly, sixty bushels of wheat from his granary, 10thly, six boxes of glass, a hundred and fifty pounds of bacon, and two boxes of axes, from his warehouse; 11th, six more barrels of salt; 12th, between three and four hundred bushels of Indian corn; 13th, one wheel was stolen from his chariot within an enclosure, and, 14th, his store was robbed of forty-two pieces of dark prints, five or six pieces of satinette, and other articles, worth about four hundred dollars.
Joseph Smith, alluding to these robberies in a sermon, said that he "did not care how much was taken" from the gentleman in question. He cited the example of Christ and his apostles, who, he said, when hungry, scrupled not to steal corn while walking in the fields. He added the following words,--"The world owes me a good living; if I cannot get it otherwise, I will steal it, and catch me at it if you can."
He has, however, thought fit to disavow these principles. In the "Times and Seasons" of Dec. 1, 1841, we have the following official document:
"State of Illinois,
Hancock County, SS.
"Before me, John C. Bennett, Mayor of the City of Nauvoo, personally came Joseph Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called Mormons), who, being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith, that he has never, directly or indirectly, encouraged the purloining of property, or taught the doctrine of stealing, or any other evil practice; and that all such vile and unlawful acts will ever receive his unqualified and unreserved disapproval, and the most vigorous opposition of the Church over which he presides; and further this deponent saith not.
President of the Church of Latter-day Saints."
[Bennett has since declared, that on the 17th of day, 1842, Smith obliged him to certify another document, under the threat that he would blow out his brains instantly, and make cat-fish bait of him," unless he would comply with his wishes in that respect. The reader will therefore be able to appreciate the above document.]
After this follows an account of two unlucky Mormons, who seem to be selected as scape-goats. Being officers of the Nauvoo legion, they are tried by court martial, found guilty of theft, and sentenced to be cashiered. Joseph Smith solemnly approves of this sentence, and the proceedings are published in the Times and Seasons." About the same time, five Mormons are gazetted as being expelled from the church for larceny
The following circumstance was mentioned as a specimen of the manner in which these singular heretics endeavour to rid themselves of the imputation of thievishness universally cast upon them. In the winter of 1841, a Mormon was committed to the penitentiary on a charge of horse-stealing. Upon this, the "Saints" denied that he was a Mormon. Two Mormon preachers, however, offered themselves as bail for the prisoner, and having effected his liberation, speedily decamped. When the spring session of the court of Lee County for 1842 had arrived, it appeared that the accused had followed their example, for neither he nor his securities were to be found.
The sufferings experienced by many of the English emigrants at Nauvoo were described as truly appalling. Nauvoo is one of the most unhealthy spots on the Mississippi, between New Orleans and the Falls of St. Anthony. This insalubrity is produced by the low islands adjoining the city, which are frequently overflowed. Sufficient evidence of the unhealthiness of the place is furnished in the following extract, from a "revelation given to Joseph Smith, January 19th, 1841," and published in the "Times and Seasons" for June 1st, 1841:
Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant, Joseph Smith,--I am well pleased with your offerings and acknowledgments which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth. * * * * * Let no man go from this place who has come here assaying to keep my commandments. If they live here, let them live unto me, and if they die, let them die unto me; for they shall rest from all their labour here, and shall continue their works. Therefore, let my servant William put his trust in me, and cease to fear concerning his family, because of the sickness of the land. If ye love me, keep my commandments, and the sickness of the land shall redound to your glory." I was informed again and again in Montrose, that nearly half of the English who emigrated to Nauvoo in 1841 died soon after their arrival. Far from the graves of their fathers, remote from the ministers of the true faith, they ended their days in want and wretchedness, and were buried without that respectful solemnity which in England is not denied even to the pauper from the workhouse. [In October 1842, eight destitute orphan children from England, named Cope, were living near Nauvoo. In August their father and mother, aged 38 or 40, were in excellent health; soon afterwards they were attacked with common bilious fever; the Mormon elders came and laid hands on them, anointing them with oil, but no medicine or medical aid was allowed them; and they died, leaving their offspring in wretchedness and want. See also Appendix.]
In his sermon at Montrose on the 9th of May, 1841, the following words of most Christian consolation were delivered by the prophet to the poor deluded English.
"Many of the English who have lately come here have expressed great disappointment on their arrival. Such persons have every reason to be satisfied in this beautiful and fertile country. If they choose to complain, they may; but I don't want to be troubled with their complaints. If they are not satisfied here, I have only this to say to them,--Don't stay whining about me, but go back to England, and go to hell, and he did."
One of Joseph's missionaries, having returned from a mission to England, preached a sermon at Nauvoo on Sunday, July 4th, l840. Having given an account of his proceedings during his absence, and alluded to the converts whom he had persuaded to settle near Nauvoo, he proceeded to speak as follows:--"I have not had an opportunity to visit these English brethren since my return. I cannot spend my time in visiting them. If they are as much dissatisfied as they are said to be, I have only this to say to them,--You had better go back to England; but if you go, go like men and he d--d, and don't whine about it."
The Secretary for the territory of Iowa was present on this occasion, and remarked to my informant, that he was astonished at hearing these expressions from the very man who had brought these poor people a distance of six thousand miles.
The method in which the Mormons baptize is a perfect burlesque on the holy initiatory sacrament of the gospel. On one occasion a hundred and sixty-five persons were "baptized" by immersion at Nauvoo, some for the remission of sins, and some for their deceased friends, which is their baptism for the dead. This business was done by seven elders, who enjoyed it as a capital frolic. One of these elders immersed a woman six times during the same day. Not satisfied with this, she presented herself a seventh time, when the elder jocosely remarked, "What! haven't you got wet enough already?" A very tall man offering himself, the elder, who is very stout, laughed aloud, and said, "I am the only one big enough to put tall chaps like you under water." [The Mormons profess to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper every Sunday. See "The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century," p. 99.]
The Christian reader will feel that he has now had enough of these awful profanations and I assure him that nothing but a sense of the duty of exposing imposture could have induced me to commit them to paper. A mere selection from the sayings, writings, and doings of the leading Mormons, equal to the preceding in horrid wickedness, would fill volumes. Enough has been said, however, to prove that Mormonism is associated in the minds of its most zealous advocates with dispositions and actions the very reverse of those which are inculcated by the Gospel, and exhibited in the example of Jesus Christ." [Smith has lately claimed the privilege of taking many wives, and numerous English and American females are known to have become his victims. "Prophet of the Nineteenth Century," chap. xii.]
In the evening subsequent to my last visit to Nauvoo, I walked by the western banks of the noble Mississippi. Beside me flowed its smooth waters, undisturbed by the slightest ripple. On the eastern bank the rays of the setting sun were reflected from the windows of Nauvoo, and his parting beams illuminated the white dwellings of the prophet and his followers. It was time adapted to serious reflection. I felt convinced, that palpable as are the absurdities of Mormonism, it is a system which possesses some elements of strength and of extension. When the present generation of deceivers and of dupes shall have gone to their graves, a new class of Mormons may have arisen, educated in the principles of the sect, and taught by experience to disavow some features in their religion which are at present its shame and its disgrace. They may consign Joseph Smith to perdition, together with the sweet Psalmist of Israel; while his doctrines, somewhat refined, may be a rule of faith and action to admiring millions. It remains (under God) for Christians of the present day to determine whether Mormonism shall sink to the level of those fanatical sects which, like new stars, have blazed for a little while, and then sunk into obscurity; or whether, like a second Mahometanism, it shall extend itself sword in hand, until, throughout western America, Christianity shall be leveled with the dust.
And how shall Christians effectually assist in averting the possible calamity? I reply, by encouraging the feeble and infant Christian institutions already existing in that wonderful land which Mormonism, even now, claims as its own. As a Churchman, I feel almost ashamed for my Church, when I reflect upon the heavy discouragements which are suffered to afflict the amiable and patient missionary bishop of Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Where are the zealous missionaries who should be flocking to his assistance? [The author is happy to state that three young clergymen, celibates, have lately established themselves in a central part of Wisconsin, from which they diffuse a knowledge of the Church and the Gospel throughout a region 200 miles in circumference. The Protestant Episcopal monastery (if the word may be employed) is considered by Bishop Kemper his most promising mission.] Where are the means which should be provided for the support of a learned clergy in the rising cities of the west? Why is Kemper College, the first and only institution of the Church beyond the Mississippi, permitted to languish, while the Mormon temple, and the Mormon university, offer their delusive attractions to the rising generation? Why is the venerable bishop of Illinois permitted to labour almost alone, while the missionaries of Joseph Smith, with a zeal worthy of the true Church, perambulate his diocese and plant their standard in every village?
If the Churches of England and America possessed the activity of the Mormons, questions like the above would soon be needless. Churchmen would contribute from their poverty as well as from their riches; churches would be erected, missionaries maintained, and colleges, in which a learned clergy could be educated, would be liberally endowed. Fanaticism, no longer rampant, would hide itself in the darkest recesses of the forest; while pure and genuine religion would be the comfort of the weary emigrant, and the faithful guide of the fifty millions who, doubtless, before another century, will occupy the valley of the Mississippi.
How present exigencies shall be met, is a question worthy of the careful consideration of all, both in England and America, who are solicitous for the advancement of truth and piety. The appointment of a self-denying missionary to reside in the immediate vicinity of Nauvoo, might in some degree check the rising heresy. Such a missionary should be thoroughly acquainted with the Mormon controversy; patient, willing to endure contradiction and persecution, and able to accommodate himself readily to all circumstances, and to all classes of people. Those who become disgusted with Mormonism might thus be saved from embracing Atheism; the poor disappointed English might be relieved, encouraged, and restored to their Mother Church; the progress of the delusion might be closely watched, and the artifices of its leaders duly exposed.
It is also worthy of remark. that the success of Joseph Smith appears to warrant a system of emigration and settlement conducted on religious principles. The notorious Owen, as is well known, attempted the establishment of an Infidel community at New Harmony, in Indiana, and totally failed. Joseph Smith has availed himself of the religious principle natural to man, and has triumphantly succeeded. If a false faith has thus prevailed, true religion might accomplish wonders. Whatever may be said, and much may be said with truth, respecting the superior claims of the British colonies; it is certain that a vast proportion of those who emigrate from Great Britain and Ireland, proceed to the United States. Numbers of these have been educated in the principles of the Established Church; and yet, from various causes, few of them comparatively attach themselves to the Church in America. Many connect themselves with various dissenting denominations; while still more, it is to be feared, sink into heartless apathy and irreligion. But we will suppose that a large body of members of the Church determine upon emigrating, on a system which shall secure mutual co-operation and religious fellowship. Before leaving home, the outlines of their plan are fixed: they are accompanied by a sufficient number of well-educated pastors and teachers; they purchase a district of four or five thousand acres in a healthy portion of Iowa, for example: they obtain from the Legislature charters for a city, a college, and a church, respectively: they erect their own dwellings upon a handsome and tasteful design: they elect a mayor and a corporation for their rising city. A substantial Church is built, which may afterwards form one transept of a Gothic Cathedral. Schools and teachers are provided for the children, professors are appointed for the college, libraries are commenced, and halls are erected. Allotments of land are set aside for the perpetual maintenance of religion and Christian education. The clergy, if sufficiently numerous, elect, with the approbation of the laity, some learned and active man as their bishop, who is afterwards duly consecrated by the authorities of the American Church. The Church now appears in its fulness and dignity; and missionaries go forth from the city, in sincerity and truth, to traverse the land and to convert its inhabitants.
This is not a chimerical idea, it is a sketch of what might be realized with little difficulty. Discouragements would occasionally arise; but ultimately, with proper management, such a plan would undoubtedly succeed. A new point of attraction would thus be presented to European and American emigrants, and the power of the false prophet would be shaken to its foundation.
Bishop Kemper gives the following information on this subject, in a recent appeal to the European Churches.
"Under a canon of the Protestant Episcopal Church, passed in the year 1835, I was consecrated a missionary Bishop for Indiana and Missouri, to which were afterwards added Wisconsin, Iowa, and the country beyond the Mississippi, extending southward to latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes, northward to the British possessions, and westward to the Pacific Ocean. This region contains a million of square miles, a million and a quarter of white and negro inhabitants, and numerous Indian tribes amounting in population to not less than three hundred thousand souls. I proceeded forthwith to my field of labour, and found many members of our Catholic and Apostolic Church straying from her fold through want of pastors, Romanism, heresy, schism, infidelity, paganism, and a new religion--known as Mormonism, extensively pervading the land; and not more than six or seven clergymen of our church scattered at wide intervals over this prodigious surface. I also found that about thirty thousand emigrants from Europe annually settled within my jurisdiction, a large proportion of whom were members of the Reformed Churches of Great Britain; Germany, Prussia, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, in addition to a vast influx of settlers from the eastern parts of the United States and British America."
Speaking of the Roman Catholics, the Bishop says,
"Within the bounds of my mission, where I have (1841) but twenty-three fellow labourers, they have three bishops and one hundred and six priests. They annually receive large funds from Vienna, Lyons, &c., by which they are enabled to erect splendid cathedrals, extensive colleges, large convents, and substantial stone churches. In St. Louis alone, they have a large cathedral, which cost, it is said, eighty thousand dollars, to which, beside the bishop, there are attached four clergymen, who preach and catechise every Sunday in English, French, and German. They have also four chapels, and a splendid church, as yet unfinished, one hundred and twenty feet in length, and eighty in width. The present position of their diocese of St. Louis is as follows:--fifty-six churches, nine churches building, sixty other stations, seventy three clergymen, two ecclesiastical seminaries, two colleges for young men, one academy for boys, ten female convents, ten academies for young ladies, four schools, and eight charitable institutions."
"A New Book." The Book of Mormon contains five hundred and eighty-eight duodecimo pages, consisting of fifteen different books, purporting to be written at different times, and by different authors, whose names they respectively bear. The period of time covered by these spurious records is about a thousand years, commencing with the time of Zedekiah, and terminating with the year of our Lord 420. It professes to trace the history of the American aborigines, from the time of their leaving Jerusalem in the reign of Zedekiah under one Lehi, down to their final disaster near the hill Camorah, in the state of New York, in which contest, according to "the prophet Moroni," about 230,000 were slain in a single battle, and he alone escaped to tell the tale. These records, with which various prophecies and sermons are intermingled, are declared by Smith to have been written on golden plates in "the reformed Egyptian character," and discovered to him by an angel in the year l823. An English edition of the Book of Mormon, revised and corrected, has been published at Manchester, for the benefit of British "Saints."
"a large portion of whom are natives of Christian and enlightened England."
I am permitted by a clergyman [The Rev. Thomas Dent, of Billington, near Whalley, Lancashire.] of the diocese of Chester to give the following extracts from a letter, addressed by him to me, February 4th, 1842.
"For your very kind and satisfactory information as to that arch-impostor, Joe Smith, I most cordially thank you. Mormonism is a heresy of a very dangerous and disgraceful tendency; and I am sorry to add, it has produced effects already in some parishes in England which, in this enlightened age, one could scarcely imagine possible. They first of all laid their blasphemous scheme at Preston, in Lancashire, after taking out a license at the quarter sessions. This occurred about the year 1836 or 37; and they soon numbered in that locality nearly 500 converts. In 1838, they extended their iniquitous operations to various villages on each side of the Ribble. At Ribchester, the famous Roman station of Ribcunium, they seduced many; and the same results followed in other places nearer Clitheroe. Since that time, itinerant preachers among the Methodists and Calvinists have joined the unholy compact; and even farmers, labourers, mechanics, and others,--in short; whoever among them could supply the needful,--have been persuaded to sell their property, and emigrate to Nauvoo. In 1838, every Mormon in one village, and in other villages probably the same, received a certificate, or passport, of which the following is a copy:
"We do hereby certify that A. B., the bearer of this, is a regular member, and in good standing and fellowship, in the Church of the Latter-day Saints in Waddington, and is a worthy member of the same; and as a token also of our love and good will, we give unto him this letter of commendation to the esteem and fellowship of the Saints, in any land or country to which he may be pleased to remove.
"March 29, 1838.
H. C. KIMBALL,
"Presiding Elders of said Church.
This will be called for."
Three hundred of these certificates were printed at Clitheroe, by which speculation about £15 were realized.
The way in which a Mormon prophecy is given to produce effect on the converts, is artfully designing. A young man, for instance, is immersed. After his immersion, the elders write a letter, unknown to the proselyte himself. As long as he remains faithful, all is right; the letter remains carefully sealed, and is kept by third parties. If he leaves them, a meeting of all the Mormons in the neighbourhood takes place, the letter is brought out with solemn pomp, the seal is broken, and the contents are read publicly. The following will serve for an example of these prophetic letters:
Liverpool, April 13, 1838.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Preston,--It seemeth good unto us, and also unto the Holy Ghost, to write to you a few words, which cause pain in our hearts, and will also pain you when they are fulfilled before you; yet you shall have joy in the end. Brother Webster will not abide in the Spirit of the Lord, but will reject the truth, and become the enemy of the people of God, and expose the mysteries which have been committed to him, that a righteous judgment may be executed upon him, unless he speedily repent. When this sorrowful prediction shall be fulfilled, this letter shall be read to the church, and it shall prove a solemn warning to all to beware.
Farewell in the Lord,
H. C. KIMBALL.
In England, the preachers of Mormonism generally begin by insinuating among the astonished natives of rural villages, or the weak and wavering classes in larger towns, that our Bible has suffered by translation, and that it is deficient and uncomplete in many particulars. They next declare that the Book of Mormon and the revelations bestowed on Smith and Rigdon are additional favours from the Deity, designed to explain the obscurities and supply the deficiencies of our Scriptures. It never enters into the minds of their dupes to inquire as to the credentials of these preachers. They are the eye-witnesses of no miracle: they see no dead raised to life, no dumb qualified to speak, no blind enabled to see.
One night the Mormon elder commences by observing to his congregation that he does not know what to say, but that he will say whatever the Lord shall put into his mouth. On another night, he gravely announces his intention to read a portion of the old Scriptures for edification; invariably, however, taking care not to confine himself to any particular subject, but to have as extensive a field as possible, in order to weave in from time to time such portions of the "Book of Mormon" as he knows to be best adapted to effect his object. The American edition of this book had no index to guide its readers to any particular passage or doctrine; it was not generally circulated in England, even among the converts; and hence very few were able to know precisely when the preacher's words were Mormonic, and when they were not. This peculiarity was remarked upon at the time, and in an English edition, printed at Manchester, an index was inserted.
For the continuance of the fraudulent scheme, they proceed to enact a mock ordination, choosing out of the whole body of converts certain individuals who are deemed most trustworthy. These assume the blasphemous calling on the pretended sanction of the Deity, immerse converts after dark, confirm the parties next day, and administer, in the course of two or three days at the farthest, a mock sacrament, to individuals who in the bewildered state of their minds scarcely know their right hand from their left.
It is under the very convenient cloak of night, however, that Mormonism in England performs most of its operations. It is then in the zenith of its glory, converting ignorance into the tool of delusion, chaining it fast by iniquitous discipline, order, and system, and trying wish all its energy to make the worse appear the better cause. In such beguiling hours, the secret "Church Meeting" is held, to the exclusion of every individual except the initiated. High and mighty is the business transacted on such occasions. It consists of exhortations to stand firm, instructions given, explanations offered, visions and revelations stated, gifts received for the "Bishop of Zion," confessions made, threatenings held out, converts reprimanded, apostates excommunicated, the successes of Mormonism described, and suggestions offered for removing the difficulties in its way; Enquiries are made in reference to other particulars; for example,--"What kind of people reside in this neighbourhood? What places of worship do they frequent? What opinions have you formed as to the natural bent of their respective dispositions? Will they be disposed to join us, or will they exercise an influence against us? Are they principally in the humble walks of life, or are they of some knowledge and understanding? If the answer to these and other questions be apparently favourable, the necessary advice is given to the first converts how they may prevail upon more. Suggestions are thrown out how to persuade; and the next step is to urge in every possible way the grievous sin of baptizing infants, and the absolute necessity of dipping, as the very sine qua non, the only effectual path to everlasting salvation.
It was the opinion of many of our clerical brethren in England, at first, that the evil would upset itself. But system, order, and discipline are powerful ingredients, even in a bad cause. Smith writes to England as follows:--"The Nauvoo Legion embraces all our military power." "The University of Nauvoo will enable us to teach our children arts, sciences, and learned professions. The regents of the university will supervise all matters of education, from common schools up to the highest branches."
"St. Louis, a city of thirty thousand inhabitants."
St. Louis was founded in 1764, under the auspices of the French government, by M. Laclede, who named it in honour of the reigning monarch, Louis XV. In 1770, it passed into the possession of Spain, and as the seat of government for Upper Louisiana was occupied by a Spanish governor. In 1800, Louisiana was retroceded to France, from which government it was purchased by the United States during the presidency of Mr. Jefferson. St. Louis increased slowly until the introduction of steam navigation on the western rivers; but during the last seven years its population has increased from 8000 to 30,000. It contains fifteen places of worship, viz., two Episcopalian churches, two Roman Catholic, two Methodist meeting-houses, two Presbyterian, one Associate Reformed Presbyterian, one German Lutheran, one Baptist, one Unitarian, an African Methodist, and an African Baptist meeting-house, besides a Jewish synagogue. A third Roman Catholic church is in progress, and the number of Roman Catholics in the city is not less than 14,000. The buildings are of brick or stone, and generally present a handsome appearance.
"This was the Temple."
The following are some of Joseph Smith's "Revelations" on the subject of the Temple, extracted from the "Times and Seasons" for June 1, 1841.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Let all my saints come from afar, and send ye swift messengers, yea chosen messengers, and say unto them, Come ye with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and all who have knowledge of antiquities that will come, may come; and bring the box-tree, and the fir-tree, and the pine-tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth; and with iron, and with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth; and build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein: for there is not a place found upon earth, that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
" * * * And again, verily, I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable onto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? For this cause, I commanded Moses that be should build a tabernacle; that they should-bear it in the wilderness, and to build a house it the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was. * * * *
"And verily I say unto you, Let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people; for I design to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from the foundation of the world; things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times. And I will show unto my servant Joseph, all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built. * * * * And it shall come to pass, that if you build a house unto my name, and do not the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you; neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord: for instead of blessings, ye by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgment upon your own heads by your follies, and by all your abominations which you practise before me, saith the Lord."
"In Palestine," &c.
The following is from the "Times and Seasons" for Apr. 1st, 1842.
"Another letter has just come to hand from Elder Hyde, dated Jaffa, Oct. He was then on his way to Jerusalem, the date being much earlier than the one inserted in another page. We have only room for the following extract, which we publish as among the most extraordinary signs of the times.
'On my passage from Beyroot to this place (Jaffa) the night before last, at one o'clock, as I was meditating on the deck of the vessel as she was beating down against a sultry wind, a very bright glittering sword appeared in the heavens, with a beautiful hilt, as plain and complete as any cut you ever saw. And what is still more remarkable, an arm with a perfect hand, stretched itself out and took hold of the hilt of the sword. The appearance really made my hair rise, and my flesh, as it were, crawl on my bones, The Arabs made a wonderful outcry at the sight. Oh, Allah! Allah! was their exclamation all over the vessel. I mention this, because you know there is a commandment of God for me, which says, 'Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the sign of the coming of the Son of man.
Yours, in Christ,
The following is a further extract from the "Revelation" of January 19, 1841, quoted above.
"Verily, I say unto you, let my servant George, and my servant Lyman, and my servant John Snider, and others, build a house unto my name, such an one as my servant Joseph shall show unto them, upon the place which he shall show unto them also. And it shall be for a house of boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein. * * * * Let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it; and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation. For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the heads of his posterity after him: and as I said unto Abraham, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, in thee and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Therefore, let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house from generation to generation, for ever and ever, saith the Lord; and let the name of that house be called the Nauvoo House, and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveller, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this corner-stone thereof."
"The writings of Abraham."
Smith's pretended version of these documents may be found in the "Times and Seasons" for March 1, and March 15, 1842, with the following heading:
"A Translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus."
"The Nauvoo Legion."
The subjoined will serve as a specimen of "General Orders," issued by Joseph Smith, in his military capacity:
"Head Quarters. Nauvoo Legion, City of Nauvoo.
May 25, A. D. 1841.
"The 1st Company (riflemen), 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Cohort, will be attached to the escort contemplated in the general order of the 4th instant, for the 3rd of July next. In forming the Legion, the Adjutant will observe the rank of companies as follows, to wit:
"1st Cohort.--The flying artillery first, the lancers next, and the riflemen next, visiting companies of dragoons next the lancers, and cavalry next the dragoons.
"2nd Cohort.--The artillery first, the lancers next, the riflemen next, the light-infantry next, visiting companies in their appropriate places, on the right of the troops of their own grade: the ranking company of the 1st Cohort will be formed on the right of the said Cohort, and the ranking company of the 2nd Cohort will be formed on the left of the said Cohort, the next on the right of the left; and so on to the centre. The escort will be formed on the right of the forces.
"JOHN C. BENNETT, Major-General,
JOSEPH SMITH, Lieutenant-General."
"The Mormons prefer miraculous aid to medicine."
The following is abridged from a London paper;--"On Wednesday an investigation was gone into before Mr. Baker the coroner, at the Royal Oak, Galway Street, St. Luke's, on the body of Elizabeth Morgan, aged fifty-five years, whose death was alleged to have been caused through improper treatment by unqualified persons. Maria Watkins said she had known deceased about twelve months, and on Tuesday week witness was sent for to attend her. Witness found her very ill; but no medical gentleman was called in, it being against the religious tenets of the sect to which the deceased belonged to do so. The sect to which she belonged styled themselves, 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints;' their place of meeting being in Castle-street, Cow-cross. They treated their sick according to a text taken from the last chapter of the Epistle of St. James. Witness had known of healing under such circumstances, but the deceased sank and died on Saturday last. No surgeon was sent for. The coroner said he hardly knew how to deal with the case, as he had his doubts whether it was not one of manslaughter. The jury, after some deliberation, returned a verdict of 'natural death,' with a hope that the present inquiry would act as a caution for the future."
"A knot of designing persons."
Professor Turner of Illinois College, thus addresses Joe Smith.
"I have charitably sought to find some ground for believing that you and your comrades were only a new species of religions maniacs. I have sought in vain. A man, however kindly disposed to think well of you, after a thorough examination of your career, might as well attempt to believe your religion, as to regard you in any other light than that of a deliberate, cold-blooded, persevering deceiver. I do not pretend that in the outset you even anticipated the final result. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that at first your aims rose no higher than those of ordinary vagrants and jugglers. You have not even the poor merit of either talent or originality. Your highest aim has ever been to crawl among the droves of reptile impostors who have preceded you, and though your ignorance and utter incapacity have not suffered you to turn aside from their loathsome track, your fortunate union with others of greater ability, who have entered into your secrets, and the lamentable credulity of the times, have enabled you to attain a more signal and desolating success than most of your predecessors."
In the course of the trial of Joseph Smith and others, for high treason against the state of Missouri, George M. Hinkle testified as follows:
"I have heard Joseph Smith say, that he believed Mahomet was a good man; that the Koran was not a true thing, but that the world belied Mahomet as they belied him, and that Mahomet was a true prophet."
John Corrill also testified that he had heard Joseph Smith say publicly, "that if people molested him he would establish his religion by the sword; and that he would become to this generation a second Mahomet.
"David was in hell.
In a report of Smith's sermon of May 16th, 1841, in the "Times and Seasons" of June lst, 1841, we find the annexed passage:--
"Even David must wait for the times of refreshing before he can come forth and his sins be blotted out; for Peter speaking of him says, 'David hath not ascended into heaven, for his sepulchre is with us to this day;' his remains were then in the tomb. Now we read that many bodies of the Saints arose at Christ's resurrection, probably all the Saints, but it seems that David did not. Why? because he had been a murderer."
"He descended in America and preached the Gospel to the Indians.
See Book of Mormon, 5th chapter of Nephi. "And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together of the people of Nephi; * * * * and they cast their eyes up towards heaven, and behold they saw a man descending out of heaven; he was clothed in a white robe, and he came down and stood in the midst of them, and the eyes of the whole multitude was turned upon him, * * * and it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people saying: 'Behold I am Jesus Christ of which the prophets testified that should come into the world, and behold I am the light and life of the world, and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father, in taking upon me the sins of the world.'"
"Baptism for the dead."
Joseph Smith says in an article on this subject in the "Times and Seasons," for April 15th, 1842.
"What has become of our fathers? will they be damned for not obeying the Gospel, when they never heard it? Certainly not. But they will possess the same privilege that we here enjoy through the medium of the everlasting priesthood, which not only administers in earth, but in heaven, * * * they will come out of their prison upon the same principle as those who were disobedient in the days of Noah were visited by our Saviour, * * * and in order that they might fulfil all the requisitions of God, their living friends were baptized for their dead friends, and thus fulfilled the requirements of God: 'Except a man be born again of water, and of the Spirit, he can in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven;' they were baptized of course, not for themselves, but for their dead. Crysostum says, that the Marchionites [This is the prophet's own orthography.] practised baptism for the dead, 'after a catechumen was dead, they hid a living man under the bed of the deceased; then coming to the dead man, they asked him whether he would receive baptism; and he making no answer, the other answered for him, and said that he would be baptized in his stead,--and so they baptized the living for the dead."
It appears by the above extract, that the prophet is beginning (in his own way) to quote the fathers.
"The amiable and patient missionary bishop of Missouri," &c.
It is pleasing to turn from Joseph Smith, to the contemplation of the truly estimable person in question. Bishop Kemper is of German descent; his immediate ancestors having emigrated from Manheim on the Rhine. For many years he was assistant minister to the late bishop White, in the parochial charge of Christ-Church, Philadelphia. He was subsequently elected and consecrated by the House of Bishops, as the first missionary bishop. The expenses of his mission are borne by the Church-Committee for domestic missions in the United States. He is absolutely without a home, being almost perpetually engaged in visiting various portions of the enormous region committed to his ecclesiastical superintendence. A more difficult field of missionary duty can scarcely be imagined.
This institution is the most western Protestant Episcopal college in the world, being nearly half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The main building was completed externally during the year 1841, Bishop Kemper having solicited and obtained funds for the propose, to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars, from zealous Christians in New York and Philadelphia. In the same year a considerable amount of valuable books was presented to the college by pious individuals in England, as well as by several of the great Societies. The object of the college, is the preparation of young men for the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and, under the enlightened and active presidency of the Rev. E. C. Hutchinson, it bids fair ultimately to realize the sanguine expectation. of the Church.
"The Mormon University."
Under an act of the Illinois legislature, incorporating the city of Nauvoo, the following provisions are found:--
"Sec. 24. The city council may establish and organize an institution of learning within the limits of the city, for the teaching of the arts, sciences, and learned professions, to be called the 'University of the city of Nauvoo,' which institution shall be under the control and management of a board of trustees, consisting of a chancellor, registrar, and twenty-three regents, which board shall thereafter be a body corporate and politic, with perpetual succession, by the name of the chancellor and regents of the university of the city of Nauvoo, * * * provided that the trustees shall at all times be appointed by the city council, and shall have all the powers and privileges for the advancement of the cause of education, which appertain to the trustees of any other college or university of this state."
"Few attach themselves to the Church in America." The indifference of the poorer class of English emigrants to the Church of their fathers is truly lamentable. The Roman Catholic emigrant, however poor or friendless, retains his attachment to his faith. The German Lutheran is firm in his allegiance to the principles which he held in the land of his nativity. The same may be said of the Scottish Presbyterian, and of the Irish and Scottish Episcopalian. But the English labourer, mechanic, or small farmer, on his arrival in the United States, too often forgets his churchmanship, and, through ignorance or carelessness, readily connects himself with any schismatic conventicle which may be at hand.
THE MORMON CREED.
The Mormon Creed, as published by Joseph Smith himself, is given below. (See "Times and Seasons," vol. iii. p. 709.)
"We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
"We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
"We believe that these ordinances are, 1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2nd, Repentance; 3rd, Baptism by immersion, for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on of hands, for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
"We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy, and by laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel, and administer in the ordinances thereof.
"We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, viz. Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, &c.
"We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpreting of tongues, &c.
"We believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as far as it i& translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.
"We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
"We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed, and receive its paradisaic glory.
"We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honouring, and sustaining the law.
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, 'we believe all things; we hope all things;' we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
THE following extracts are taken from a letter received from an American gentleman near Nauvoo, since the publication of the first edition of this narrative, and dated October 20, 1842.
"Rigdon has not been in full fellowship with Smith for more than a year. He has been in his turn, cast aside by Joe to make room for some new dupe or knave, who, perhaps, has come with some money. He has never been deceived by Joe. I have no doubt that Rigdon was the originator of the system, and fearing as to its success, put Joe forward as a sort of fool in the play; but he finds now, to his chagrin and mortification, that Joe has the power (as he has always the disposition, when any of his men seem to be rising too fast in influence) by a word to destroy all confidence in them, and cast them into the shade * * * Orson Hyde is on a mission to the Jews, he has been absent some two years, Kimball enjoys the same reputation as the other leaders. By all honest and respectable men in this country, the leaders of this community are counted as blasphemers, swindlers, &c.
"In regard to the land which Joe pretends to have purchased, it is included in a tract of 120,000. acres known as the Half-Breed Sac and Fox Indian reservation; but he has not a valid title to a single acre. If an English Mormon arrives, the first effort of Joe is to get his money. This in most cases is easily accomplished, under a pledge that he can have it at any time on giving ten days' notice. The man, after some time calls for his money; he is treated kindly, and told that it is not then convenient to pay. He calls a second time; the Prophet cannot pay, but offers a town-lot in Nauvoo for 1000 dollars, (which cost, perhaps, as many cents,) or land on the above mentioned Half-Breed Tract, at ten or fifteen dollars per acre. The poor man declines the offer on the ground that he is suffering for want of money. He calls the third time; the Prophet is then enraged, inquires if he expects to live in ease, tells him that he (the Prophet) has need the money for the advancement of the great work of the Lord in these last days; that he has suffered all but death for Christ's sake, and finally winds up by telling the man that he will not be troubled in this way, and if he does not cease his importunity the curses of God shall rest upon him. Finally, some of the irresponsible bishops or elders execute a deed for land to which they have no valid title, and the poor fellow dares not complain. This is the history of hundreds of cases * * *
"The history of every dupe reaches Nauvoo in advance. When an elder abroad wins one over to the faith, he makes himself perfectly acquainted with all his family arrangements, his standing in society, his ability, and (what is of most importance) the amount of ready money and other property which he will take to Nauvoo. These facts being faithfully reported to the Prophet, he knows how to approach the man when he arrives, and make him an easy prey. So that all who join the Mormon community enter upon the road to beggary and ruin. I do not even except the knaves. Their poor are left to die of neglect and actual want. They desire nothing more of a man than his money, and he is then at the mercy of the leader of the Mormon Banditti.
"They make no converts in this neighbourhood, and it appears to me that they would never make another, if all could witness their conduct at Nauvoo for one month. Smith is ambitious of notoriety; but he is a knave of the basest kind, seeking to win indulgence in the two very basest passions, Lust and Avarice, through the highest of all sentiments, the religious.
"You will probably have heard before this reaches you, that Smith has been charged as an accessory in an attempt to murder Ex-Governor Boggs, of the state of Missouri. Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, some two months since, made a requisition on Governor Carlin, of. Illinois, for the surrender of Smith. Governor Carlin issued a warrant, and Smith was arrested at Nauvoo; but he made his escape from the officers, and was for several days on the Iowa side of the river secreted. A requisition is now in force on that side for his arrest; but he has thus far eluded the officers of justice of both sides. A reward of 600 dollars is now offered for him as a fugitive from justice by the Governor of Missouri. Sometimes his people say that be has gone to England; but the fact is he is secreted in Nauvoo. I saw him there myself about a week since. I heard one of the 'Saints' boasting that 'brother Joseph' had spoken with the officer who was in pursuit of him at Nauvoo. The story as told by the Mormons themselves is this, that Smith clothed himself with garments of rags, and otherwise disguised himself, and with a large fresh fish hung on his back accosted the officer, and offered to sell him the fish.
"Soon after Governor Carlin issued his warrant for Smith's arrest, he had a fine horse stolen from his stable The thief was detected, and the horse recovered about 200 miles distant. The thief is a Mormon, and had been up to the time the horse was stolen in Smith's employ. We believe that he is constantly sending out emissaries to do deeds of darkness and abomination throughout the land. Many here are afraid to speak out, because it is well understood that their lives and property will be in danger.
"In regard to this communication I prefer, on account of my own safety, that you should not make known the author publicly. You cannot appreciate these fears (in England). You have no idea what it is to be surrounded by a community of Mormons, guided by a leader the most unprincipled. HIS WORD IS LAW WITH THEM, AND HIS APPROBATION AND BLESSINGS ARE SAVING GRACE.".