Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
P15 DAVIS, John. A dialogue between the reverend and the boy. [Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis], 1852.
1 p. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 66.
A dialogue has the date of 28 May 1852 at the bottom as well as the name of the poet, “J. Davis.” Missing, however, is the bottom line of information which Davis normally included with his publications: “J. Davis, Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil.”
This is an English version of Davis’s first and very successful poem (P2). The basic content is the same; however, the phraseology differs somewhat for the sake of rhyme and meter.
R. Come hither, boy, and now confess; art thou a Saint indeed?
Hast thou been dup’d and led astray by that old Mormon creed?
B. The truth I’ll say, my Reverend Sir, I am a Mormon bold;
And this because the Mormon faith is just the faith of old.
R. What knows a little boy like you about the faith of old?
The Mormons lead all men to hell, if true what I am told.
B. ‘Tis true that I but little know—yet know so much as this,
That God revealed this faith to me to be the way to bliss.
R. No one in these enlighten’d days should dare believe such stuff;
God did reveal in ancient times, and then reveal’d enough.
B. No, sir, he also now reveals—I know of God ‘tis so:
Whoever does his holy will, this for himself shall know.
R. Come, hold thy peace, thou foolish boy; thou art presumptuous now.
Dost thou pretend to teach what I, God’s servant, do not know!
B. You may be learned, Sir, and wise, like many sons of men;
But, mind, before you’ll know the truth, you must be born again.
R. Is it the Saints that teach thee thus to treat a man of God?
Good child, repent, and turn away from that deluded lot.
B. Where can I go, and learn the whole that Christ revealed to man?
I find that all your sects don’t half believe the Gospel plan.
R. Believe no word the Mormons say, they are despised by all;
Join such as are respectable, and don’t remain in thrall.
B. All who claim false religion are respected by the world;
But Christ said of us, that we would be constantly persecuted.
R. Don’t lose thy soul, my dear boy, by following such a foolish sect:—
I’ll place thee in a splendid position if thou wilt turn back.
B. All false religions are, good Sir, respected by all men;
But when we do the will of God, we shall be hated then.
R. Thou little rascal!—now I’ll go—I’ll talk no more with thee;
Believe the Saints, and go to hell, where Mormons all shall be.
B. The tempter’s gone—and, O my God, to thee all thanks I owe,
For thou didst give thy strength to me to triumph o’er my foe!
May 28, 1852. J. DAVIS.