Defense of the Saints—Thomas Jones    

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003). 

J6 [JONES, Dan.] Amddiffyniad y Saint versus cyhuddiadau Thomas Jones, Merthyr, ac ereill. (Defense of the Saints versus the accusations of Thomas Jones, Merthyr, and others.) Rhydybont: Printed by John Jones, [1846?]

8 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 8.

In 1846, three years after his baptism into the Church in Merthyr Tydfil, Thomas Jones was excommunicated. Shortly thereafter he was interviewed by David Williams, a Baptist minister who had published a 32-page pamphlet rebutting Dan Jones’s first pamphlet. An account of the interview was printed in The Baptist.

Six weeks later, Thomas Jones admitted in the presence of wit­nesses that he had not been completely truthful in the interview and that he regretted having allowed it to be published. These comments were recorded by Elder Robert Evans in his diary and soon afterwards were printed in another issue of The Baptist.

Upon seeing the retraction of statements Jones had made to him in their interview, David Williams immediately sent another letter to the editor of The Baptist. Williams carefully worded his letter to make it appear that Thomas Jones had made yet another about-face. But Dan Jones, on page 7 of Defense of the Saints, argues that Williams was merely drawing further from his original interview with Thomas Jones for his “latest” derogatory observations about Mormonism.

The foregoing sequence of events prompted three Mormon mis­sionaries—William Phillips, William Henshaw, and Thomas Pugh—to write a letter of defense to the editor of The Baptist. Their letter, which was refused publication, constitutes nearly three pages of Defense of the Saints. An account of their attempt to convince the editor to cooperate with them constitutes the first two pages of the pamphlet. The remaining three pages contain further considerations of the characters of Thomas Jones and David Williams as well as a half-page affidavit signed by eight witnesses stating that they had heard Thomas Jones admit to his untruthfulness about the Church. Furthermore they swear that they had seen Robert Evans record in his diary the words of Thomas Jones.

Defense of the Saints Versus the Accusations of Thomas Jones, Merthyr, and Others

Dear Reader,—The following defense was written with the expectation that it would be allowed to appear in the Baptist. We took it to the office in Cardiff for that purpose and offered it to that same Editor who was sufficiently liberal to publish the terrible false accusations and every other scornful thing about us as a denomination, that is, he who boasts that his Baptist is a publication free to all to defend their character. We implored earnestly and humbly for the opportunity to clear ourselves from the villainous filth with which we were plastered without provocation; but, as usual, the answer we received from him was a shameless refusal! Yes, poor thing, he was terrified; he turned blue, red, black and pale; he fumed and raged without a single cause except the malicious agitations of a guilty conscience until his knees and his whole body trembled worse than those of Belshazzar of long ago. And in the face of all earnestness, logic and justice—it was no use no matter how much he gnashed his teeth and foamed at the mouth, and made additional, baseless accusations and called us bad names, yes, even to our face! He accused the Saints of having said that the William Hughes who broke his leg did not receive assistance from the parish of Merthyr, and that through that they had lost their credibility; and, as a result, they could not defend themselves in the Baptist. We said that even the most godly men who ever lived on the earth could be proved liars according to that reasoning, that is, to believe the false accusations of professed enemies who refused to listen to the other side. We challenged him to prove those shameful accusations against us as a denomination, or even to prove that as much as one Saint has ever said such a thing as that. Oh, the fact that one Edward Lewis from Blackwood had written that to the Baptist was sufficient proof to him, he said. We said that that man had not proven his credibility sufficient for us to believe him. And if that man can prove that W. Hughes did not receive assis­tance from the parish of Merthyr, let him proclaim their names to the world as witnesses of that; then we shall call such to give an accounting, for we have questioned many and have failed to find one who said that. And what if one, two or three were to say this in their ignorance? Would this prove nearly a thousand people to be liars? Do we, by proving your persecuting correspondent a liar so clearly, prove through this that all Welsh Baptists are liars? We do, according to your own reasoning!

We said that the testimony of Wm. Hughes about that matter has been writ­ten, and that his credibility has been attested by many eyewitnesses, that he himself sent his testimony to the Baptist with receipt acknowledged, and it has been refused publication until this very day!—that his testimony was published to the world at that time, a testimony in which Wm. Hughes himself claimed to have received assistance from the parish of Merthyr, all of which proves clearly that the Saints did not ever say that he did not receive assistance from the parish.

The treachery and guile of this crooked invention can be seen clearly. The aim of the enemies of the truth in forming that accusation is to try to prove the Saints liars in one thing, so that it will not be believed that Wm. Hughes even broke his leg or was healed! It is a wonder how they succeed in their slanderous invention. Notice their proof and their constructed sophistry! Some Edward Lewis says [some one, two, or three, I suppose, did not see fit to say, but] that the Saints in Blackwood said that Wm. Hughes did not receive assistance from the parish of Merthyr, and that lying “Quick in Water” got the relieving officer to say that Hughes had received assistance. And here is proof, says the editor of the Baptist, that the man did not break his leg and that he was not healed! What proof is that? How does that relieving officer know whether the man broke his leg? Which one was it—he or “Quick in Water” who wrote that? The two are of the same speech, taste and purpose. The mad tricksters ought to be ashamed of such malicious deceptive reasoning! But this is the best they can come up with against the Saints; and they prefer this to admitting the truth and acknowledging the power of God in this thing. If one of the Saints said that he had not received anything from the parish, how in the name of rea­son would this prove the entire denomination of people liars? And why would this prejudiced editor refuse them space to defend their mistake? I answer that it is because he foresaw himself in his proper color through that, that is, as a cruel persecutor and a constant slanderer. He meant to keep his readers under his paws, and keep the Saints in the dirt which he daubed on them. What else could he do? What else could we ourselves do? We offered him plenty of proofs of their innocence, and in face of it all he pranced around like a wild man, shouting, “Pooh! pooh! pooh!—deceit, all deceit.” He did not wish to hear anything from us, nor to look at our writing. “I shall have nothing to do with you,” said he; and away he went to his hole in a bad temper, slamming the door after him! Yes, Welshmen, this is the behavior of the editor of this reli­gious Baptist, in spite of all his boasting of “freedom.” This is very one-sided freedom—yes, freedom for him to make false accusations as he wishes, and freedom for us to suffer it all, defenseless, as far as he was concerned. We are thankful for the freedom of the press and the truth to defend us, and we shall make the proper use of them also, in spite of him and his slanderous party. We are sorry that we have nothing to do with him; that is his fault. But so much like this has been done by him—that it is too late for him now to shout, “I shall have nothing to do with you” after slandering us and publishing every kind of calumny about us for years. As soon as we begin to cleanse ourselves he throws the basin down and full of envy shouts, “I shall have nothing to do with you.” And as soon as some of his sycophants have fashioned some story sufficiently bad and lying to suit his taste, out it comes in the Baptist like a shooting star, and perhaps the name of some respected person is attached to it, so that it will be more easily believed by the people; and immediately upon our beginning to defend ourselves, he escapes like the fox to his hole, his posterior first, gnash­ing his teeth from there, shouting, “I shall have nothing to do with you!” What is that except to say he will continue with our head under his armpit as long as he can, and that he will invite every Rev. Mr. Davies from Dowlais, Rev. Mr. Tobit by the Bridge, Rev. T. ab Ieuan, Rev. D. Williams from Abercanaid, Thomas Jones from Merthyr, lying Quick in Water, illogical Meiriadog, and every other barking mad dog and coward throughout the principality, to hit us on the forehead and to help himself to his rush arrows every opportunity that he gets. It is loathsome to us to have to soil our hands to treat such a stinking fox, nor would we bother except that his readers ought to get to see him by his tail in front of their faces, so that they can see what kind he is, and understand how to believe him and his slanderous Baptist from now on. Let them read the following to start with, and they will have even more odors from his lair so that everyone can form his own opinion of the color and shape of his heart.




[Copy of the letter to the Editor of the BAPTIST.]

Mr. Editor,—We owe it to you, to the public, to our own characters, and especially to the religion which we rely on for eternal life, to defend ourselves against the shameful false accusations which are brought against us by a man by the name of Thomas Jones, Merthyr, and which appear in the October issue of the Baptist.

1. He accuses us of using the names of some “Ahiram and Joseph Smith upon blessing,” which is totally baseless, in fact.

2. “They can own their places in Nauvoo,” &c. This is not so either; but that which we believe with respect to the “emigration to America,” is that which is in the holy scriptures; and the above man knows that no ownership was promised to us, nor to him, in Nauvoo, nor in any other specified place on the continent.

3. “We claim (says he) to have seen Jesus Christ in red whiskers,” &c. This accusation is not true in any way, shape, or form, in fact, as far as the Saints have anything to do with it. What he could be after by asserting such a thing, we do not know, and we are not answering for him.

4. With respect to the frightful invention which he accuses us of, that is, our pretending to receive revelation, accusing the first president of misconduct with another man’s wife, so that the other man could have his office, &c. His own lips condemn him, as follows—”We judged that the latter would do bet­ter,” says he. And in the next breath he says, “The latter was considered the first president” already! Needless to elaborate, because this lie is sufficiently obvious. But we state soberly that this accusation, yes, every word of it, has been proved entirely false in a detailed inquiry which was held here on the matter in front of hundreds, to which they will testify also. It was proved that such a presumptuous and ungodly invention never existed except in his own jealous heart. He asserts that others agreed with him in this. Never before did he say that there was but one; and in spite of getting every exhortation from us to prove this in the same thorough inquiry which was held about it, he failed to prove that even one of us knew anything about such an atrocious calumny. And strange, if the accusation were true, that Thomas Jones uttered not a word about such a thing for many months after the time he says it took place!

Such an invention was not necessary, nor any other invention to meet the purpose which he mentions, because the coming of the latter president to this country had no effect in any way on the one who was residing here before. And—”No object in view, no design.” If this man were to tell the truth, he knows full well that he did not see an accusation received against any of us except by eyewitnesses. As for his work of asserting that he heard one of us claiming to have received revelations, which decency does not allow him to put before the public—may you, Sir, or anyone else, not believe it. And we suppose that if you were to know this man, as he is known here in his home, that not one of his claims would be allowed to appear in your columns, that is, if you have any respect for your publication. We do not wish to blacken the character of this man in any way, but we would very much like to leave it in the hand of a just God. To remain silent about them in the face of such accusa­tions would be to suffer like a murderer or a thief. But it is he who has obliged us to come out like this, to show him in his proper color, so that you and your readers can understand the character of the only witness who stands up against the testimony of hundreds of Welshmen, to degrade them beneath humanity and all which is worth living for (if his assertions were true). But in fact, Sir, his accusations against us are no different from the poisonous effects of his own vindictive heart, accusations which were made after he was excommunicated from our church and after he was proven guilty of many sins more atrocious than we wish to name. He tried to come back several times; yes, even after his first letter appeared in the Baptist, he said that he would be glad to come back to our church. There are hundreds who testify that they heard him say, after being cut off, that “no one else has the true religion except our church.” Despite that, his immoral and unrepentant behavior continued as such, so that when he stood up before our church to request his place in our midst, not so much as one of nearly three hundred members raised his hand in his favor! He asserted at that time that he had not made the above accusations to the Baptists, when we knew that he had already done so. When he saw that he would not be accepted, he had such an emotional outburst that he made public threats, saying that he wished revenge against us somehow, and that he would publish everything he could against us in the Baptist, &c., which proved to everyone that he was not truly repentant for his previous sins; and as a result, our church rules did not allow him, or anyone else like him, membership in our midst. This man became so unruly that the officers were obliged to turn him out of one meeting before the end. After being refused by us, he offered himself to the Baptists again; but we heard that they themselves refused him in more than one church, and that their members threatened to leave rather than associate with such a man. And last of all, he was sanctified with the holy water of the Papists. He baptized his children with them, and he claims now that only they have the true religion! Why does your correspondent consider the contradictions of a professed and excommuni­cated enemy like this as being worthy of space in a religious publication, rather than the more accurate testimony of hundreds of neighbors, the direct opposite of him? He knew perfectly well that this vindictive witness was considered by his brethren as being too bad to be allowed to come into their midst; and yet, he considered him sufficiently righteous to condemn the denomination of other men. Would not such a witness be sufficient against his denomination or against some other church besides the Saints, perhaps? Most certainly not, any more than the testimony of Judas Iscariot was sufficient against the denomination to which he belonged. What reasonable man would expect to hear much truth from an excommunicated man, sufficiently bad to admit that he had battled volun­tarily for over three years against God and conscience?

If the assertions of this man or any like him were true about our religion, would over half a million reasonable people of this enlightened age cling to it under every scorn and persecution, the greater part of them having been with other denominations previously? If deception were what we have, do you seriously suppose that these deceivers would persecute us so severely? Once again we testify, in truth, that the great profession which this man makes about his conscientiousness to “expose deceit,” &c., is nothing more than shameless hypocrisy, to get others to believe him; and his only purpose is revenge against those who can no longer put up with his evils. From the first time he came to us we had a lot of trouble trying to get him to walk in the paths of righteousness; but at last we had to cut him off, and here he has shown who he is, and that “an accuser of brothers” has turned into “an angel of light.” True is the maxim that says: “A bad man with a bad treasure in his heart will bring forth bad things.”

Since your publication is sufficiently free for these shameful accusations, we are very confident that it will be sufficiently free to likewise receive this letter in our defense. We could give to you many additional names of repu­table men, but we hope these which follow will suffice for now in the face of ONE witness:—Samuel Morris, John Phillips, David John, William Morgan, Daniel Williams, David Rees, Thomas Rees, Thomas Smith, Morgan Morgans, Howell Williams, David Jones, Jenkin Hughes, Joseph Davies, Edward Edwards, William Hughes, Hugh Jones, Jenkyn Thomas, John Griffiths, Timothy Wosley.

In addition to that which has been said, here is the testimony of William Henshaw, himself:—”Since I myself am that first president to whom Thomas Jones refers, I must state that what he says is entirely untrue. Never did Capt. D. Jones seek my office. His office has no effect whatsoever on my duties; and furthermore, there was not one of the Saints guilty of inventing the ter­rible calumny that Thomas Jones mentions, except he himself. Even to think of such presumption fills us with fear and terror.”

Yours, &c.,




The reader will see further that the testimony of this excommunicated Thomas Jones is not worthy of his trust, because he states too much to be true and contradicts himself. In the previous issue of the Baptist, this man calls the Saints deceivers, &c. He claims that the spiritual gifts that they profess are fake, and gives an example of speaking in strange tongues, and the interpretation, &c., “to prove the deceit of the Saints.” And after all, does he not prove our truthfulness irrefutably to every reasonable man? Certainly; for this our professed enemy admits that we speak in tongues, interpret, &c., and as a result, that we imitate the apostolic church in our profession at least. They said, “Desire spiritual gifts;” here is the admission that we do so. “Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues,” says Paul; Thomas Jones admits that we do that. Furthermore—”Let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret,” was the apos­tolic commandment; and behold our chief enemy testifying that the Saints do so. Is this perhaps not a sufficiently unbiased witness for even the Editor of the Baptist to believe? We preach to the world, and profess ourselves that we enjoy these gifts of the spirit in our churches. The world doubts, our enemies deny; but at last here is a strong enough witness for them, we would suppose, that we believe that we enjoy the gifts; and who knows better than those who profess the heavenly gifts by the hundreds? Had Thomas Jones been so clever as to deny that we claim to enjoy the gifts in the church, then, as far as his word can be believed, he would have succeeded in his ungodly purpose. But it is too late for that now, for he has already admitted that we practice them. It is true that Thomas Jones asserts that the gifts are fake, but it is also as true that he does not offer any kind of proof of that; no indeed, in any way, except his own word alone: and what is his assertion in the face of hundreds who know better? Can anyone reasonable believe that hundreds of those who were gifted preachers, faithful deacons, and respected members with the various other sects, would continue to pretend to have spiritual gifts for years, in unity and love, without getting one bit of benefit, pay or profit by so doing? Oh no, such a thing is impossible; and anyone who asserts this, asserts in the same breath that the practice of the same gifts in the same kind of causes by the saints of the early days was fake. Professed deism is the one denial as well as the other.

A Glance at that David Williams from Abercanaid, who has put his Finger so Deep in this Salty Pottage.

Here is that man who published the fruit of his mixed-up brain and his dirty slander against the Saints in a small treatise lately. And here is the man who was weighed so fairly in his own scales and found wanting with respect to logic, scripture and truth; and he was proven a libelous deist through his little booklet. And after that, instead of proceeding in a fair battle through the press after beginning, he got revenge in every way he could from behind the bush. We do not claim that it was he who persuaded one of his members to turn all the Saints from their work and from their homes, on the assertion that only because of their religion was that done. But this we shall say, If he was not the instigator of this shameless persecution and incomparable cruelty, this David Williams did not prevent one of his flock from doing it. Does he not profess to be a pastor over a flock of gentle Jesus? But this is more like the madness of a wolf. The Bible tells us that “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Also, he who proclaims God freely to anyone who does such a thing is an associate in his evil doings. It is said also, “Do not seek vengeance;” but revenge is sweet to this one. And after all that, he is heard in the pubs on Saturday nights scolding the Saints, among drunks, swear­ers and profaners. We are reminded of the saying “birds of a feather flock together.” We heard of some persecuting preacher who failed to keep his feet under him, and where do you suppose he found himself, rather, where he was found by others, upon returning from preaching on Sunday night, but in a duck pond! We shall not give the identity of that unfortunate wretch. But we do know that David Williams, from Abercanaid, is the correspondent who fashioned, who inquired, who wrote, and who sent the answers of that Thomas Jones to the Baptist, and who wished for its readers to believe his individual testimony against all the Saints and their religion. But hear the opinion of David Williams himself about the truthfulness and character of that Thomas Jones. There are witnesses who happened to hear him say that that witness was a bad and lying man and that his word was worth noth­ing in his sight, and that all his members refused to accept Thomas Jones as a member of their church; and yet, he expects the country to believe his testimony against the Saints. Readers of the Baptist, what do you think of this? Let it be between you and him. Next, we shall show the false perplex­ity which these two partners have woven and how they hang themselves with the same rope. In the preface to his catechism in the October issue of the Baptist, David Williams says to the editor: “The conversation [with T. Jones] did not end with that [namely that which had come out in an earlier issue], rather we continued on.” Did they “continue on” with the account that is in the October issue? What else could it refer to? And if so, why does the same D. Williams ask T. Jones in that conversation: “Are you staying with the same decision at the present time [notice, with what tense?] as you were when we were conversing about this matter before?” What! Did he not say the minute before that the conversation had not ended at that time? Does he not say that he has four religious witnesses, that the whole conversation, i.e., that which was in the previous issue, and the one being considered, had taken place on the same “work afternoon” in the same Chapel of the Baptists? Yes, that is what David Williams says. But let it be noticed how Thomas Jones affirms the complete opposite of that! He says that it was some other time that this last conversation took place, and that he continued in the same brave decision, namely to malign the children of God, that he had stated the previous time. Which of the two is to be believed? It is impossible to believe both of them. No reasonable person can believe either of them, say I. It is better for him to have so few witnesses like this, is it not, because they turn out to be witnesses against him. Who would be so foolish as to expect to hear the truth from such genial friends as these? The lie is a lame man. Once again, as for this David Williams, he says that he did not think the Saints were worth any further notice, until that “Meiriadog” asked Thomas Jones, by way of the Baptist, if he had admitted to Robert Evans that what he had written about the Saints was lies and if he was repentant. And then, who do we see jump into the gap, because he could not get Thomas Jones to deny this now, but David Williams, like a tiger seeing his chance to get his prey in his claws; and the way that he arranged the previous answers of Thomas Jones to do the trick now, and to prove Robert Evans a liar, and to keep the first impressions in the mind of the country, is to change his first question to make it appear that he had asked it after Meiriadog had come to the field, and so the answer would seem to answer Meiriadog also. Thatʼs a bit of clumsy work, is it not? We have already proved that he hanged himself in his own net by admitting in his preface that the later answers were given before T. Jones reneged. It is obvious that his preface was intended to be private to his dear partner, namely the editor, and that he, either in his haste or by some other unfortunate mix-up, allowed it to slip out.

It is a pity, for the benefit of their cause that the two traitors did not understand each other better. Let the Goliath of the rail workers take care next time to send his poisonous secrets separately, for shame. But how could his correspondence be the answer of Thomas Jones to Meiriadog, except that he be a prophet, and answer questions before they are asked? But in order to see more of the shameful business which this preacher carried on with his salaried Judas, as sly, so they supposed, as sheep-killing dogs, read the following, and the new member of this sanhedrin, namely Meiriadog, will be pulled through the mill again on his own, and he will see that he has begun a worse job than that treachery of stealing the body of Christ from the tomb, and that he is in worse company than those liars.

Robert Evans Versus Meiriadog

“We testify to having heard Thomas Jones say to Robert Evans these state­ments which Meiriadog sent to the Baptist, and we heard Thomas Jones say a lot more at the time, and for the same purpose. Robert Evans asked Thomas Jones three times over, in the presence of over twenty men, of the world, for the most part, these questions and others, and he received these answers. Thomas Jones admitted that those accusations that were published in the Baptist against the Saints are untrue. Question by Robert Evans—’Do you, Thomas Jones, admit in the presence of this crowd that you are repentant for causing those things to go to the Baptist?’ Answer from Thomas Jones—’I am repentant, and I did not think that they would appear there.’ Question by Robert Evans—’Do you give me permission to use your name to retract them?’ Answer by Thomas Jones—’I do, and say that I state that they are untrue.’ We saw Robert Evans write some of Thomas Jones’as answers in his journal on the spot in the presence of us all; and so we know to be true that which Robert Evans said to Meiriadog about this matter.”