Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J13 JONES, Dan. Adolygiad ar ddarlithoedd y Parch. E. Roberts, (Gweinidog y Bedyddwyr yn Rymni,) yn erbyn Mormoniaeth, pa rai a draddododd yn Nghaersalem, Medi yr Ail, ac yn Bethania (Capel yr Annibynwyr,) Medi y Trydydd, yn Nowlais. (A review of the lectures of the Rev. E. Roberts, [a Baptist minister in Rhymni,] against Mormonism, which were delivered in Caersalem, September the Second, and in Bethania [a Congregational chapel], September the Third, in Dowlais.) Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by Capt. Jones. Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, 1847.
40 pp. 17 cm. Printed wrapper. Welsh Mormon Writings 17.
The Reverend Edward Roberts was invited to lecture against the Mormons in the Caersalem chapel in Dowlais by the Reverend W. R. Davies, the Baptist minister at Caersalem. In the audience the night of 2 September 1847 was Captain Dan Jones. To the chairman Jones gave a handbill announcing his rebuttal to Roberts’s lecture the following evening with the request that an announcement be made from the pulpit. The chairman refused; instead, Roberts went to the pulpit and declared that he would give another lecture the following evening—an obvious attempt to keep people from attending Jones’s lecture.
Jones assigned others to take notes at Roberts’s second lecture, and a short time later he prepared a pamphlet to answer the charges Roberts leveled at members of the Church in his two lectures. In true polemic fashion Jones ridicules Roberts’s points of argument one by one. He accuses him of raising money for a Baptist chapel by preaching lies. With respect to Roberts’s observation about Joseph Smith’s large hands, Jones replies, “You, workers of Dowlais, remember to keep your hands hidden from this preacher lest you be condemned as badly as Joseph Smith” (p. 5). Jones laments that Roberts had resorted to fantasies and stories about the Church instead of dealing with principles and doctrines. Over one-third of the pamphlet considers the charge that Joseph Smith had borrowed from Solomon Spaulding’s manuscript in writing the Book of Mormon. This segment is essentially a translation of Benjamin Winchester’s 1840 The origin of the Spaulding story.
William Howells, a lay Baptist preacher from Aberdare (about seven miles from Merthyr Tydfil) and later the first Mormon missionary to France, gave Jones’s A review credit as the key element in his conversion to the Church, and he thanked W. R. Davies and Edward Roberts for helping to open his eyes with their anti-Mormon antics (Zion’s Trumpet, May 1849, p. 93).
THE LECTURES OF THE REV. E. ROBERTS,
(A BAPTIST MINISTER IN RHYMNI,)
WHICH WERE DELIVERED IN CAERSALEM, SEPTEMBER THE SECOND,
AND IN BETHANIA (CHAPEL OF THE INDEPENDENTS,)
SEPTEMBER THE THIRD, IN DOWLAIS.
BY CAPT. D. JONES, MERTHYR.
PUBLISHED, AND SOLD BY CAPT. JONES,
AND ALSO ON SALE FROM OTHER BOOKSELLERS.
PRINTED BY JOHN JOHNES, RHYDYBONT.
Price Four Pence.
To the Reader __________
Dear Reader, —
Here you have an orator talking about a man from the heart of America whom he has never seen—about a man’s character without a single witness but his enemies; yes, here you have a man making a public debate about such things, against another man known by that American, and that is the character argued about. What did the accuser have as a basis for his statements? Nothing but bare claims, and often the blasphemies of men who openly profess themselves to be enemies of Joseph Smith and his organization. It seems he never thought that a man’s enemies could misrepresent him—his persecutors falsely accuse him—and his murderers justify themselves, washing their hands of his innocent blood, by trying to show that they had killed a wicked man. If he had been more like a man of reason, Mr. Roberts could have stood on the basis of the Bible and attacked our principles, rather than base himself on the accusations of our enemies, and attack our persons. Also, if it was some sort of system that contained within it the main teachings of his own dear religion which he attacked, Oh—a pity—a shame, that he could not stop mocking, disgracing and blaspheming! The article out of “all respect for the conscience of a reasonable creature of my Creator” calls for reason in a debate of this kind, instead of laughter—a Bible, the great standard of Christianity, instead of the Spaulding Romance; and an appeal to the understanding of the listeners instead of to their passions.
But agitation, even of this kind, is better for the truth than still waters. The persecution in Philippi, and the uproar in Athens were better for the spreading of the principles of Paul’s preachings than unnoticed and tranquil stillness. The bulls and the anathemas of the Pope, and the conspiracies of the papist friars regarding the life of Luther, were better for the spreading of his reformation than all the previous peace and sufferance. And the blasphemies and unfounded claims of Mr. Davies of Dowlais, and Mr. Roberts of Rhymni; yes, the public blasphemies on the streets made by their followers are better for the spread of Mormonism than the stillness to be found in some other places; and while persecution and shame, although falling on myself and my brothers, are a means of spreading the truth in my dear country—welcome persecution! welcome pain! welcome shame! Behold the bodies, the characters and the feelings that suffer them are happy, even though they flow from men who should know better. Yours faithfully,
MERTHYR, October 18th, 1847. D. JONES.
The first lecture was announced by notices on the walls. And in order to understand the prejudice and enmity of the Reverend before he began his task, we shall note his advertisements. In the largest letters he announced that his lecture was to be on the “DECEIT OF MORMONISM.” He tried to make the public take for granted that the religion he opposes is deceit, without first testing it. He also shows how prejudiced blood flowed right through him to his fingertips in the following words, “or the superstitious claims of the Latter-day Saints.” Take care, Sir; this remains for you to prove first. He promised to give the story of “the rise and fall of Joe Smith as well as an irrefutable explanation of the deceit and enchantment that are throughout all his principles.” What? Throughout all of them without exception? Is there not as much as one sincere principle in him? Joseph Smith believed in Christ, and urged others to do so. Is that deceit? He advised everyone to repent of their sins and to obey the ordinance of baptism. Is that deceit and enchantment? He practiced the sacrament as well as other ordinances of God’s church, and his rule was the New Testament. This is what he preached, and this is what he proclaimed; he lived for this; and we are witnesses that he was martyred for doing so. And yet, “deceit and enchantment” is all of this, is it? In whom is the “deceit?” Is it not in you, by professing to be a “minister of the gospel,” while at the same time proclaiming that your fellowman’s profession of it is deceit and enchantment? And in addition, it seems to me that you prove yourself a reviler; and further again, you prove yourself untruthful by claiming that you base the whole thing on true history, and a free and completely unprejudiced opinion. Who was to give an impartial opinion? He who condemned the thing as deceit before searching it? This free reviler? Let the reader judge how free and impartial is a professed enemy such as this; and what credence can be given to anything he says? It will be seen before the end how irrefutable his claims are.
“Entry will be through purchasing tickets for 6d each, and all the collection will go toward paying the expenses of Elim chapel;” this is one of the chapels of Mr. Davies of Dowlais. This is an excellent way to pay the debt of a house of worship to God, is it not! Is the Holy Spirit in favor of men who charge their fellowmen 6d to hear false accusations of others who worship the same God as conscientiously as they themselves? Has God divided himself up? How much better than building chapels through blood is holding meetings like this which tend directly to excite those who believe in spilling innocent blood? But, actions like this are completely opposite to the actions of the Spirit of the merciful and gracious God; yes, as completely opposite to godliness as is light to darkness. God’s servants did not persecute anyone for their religion, and neither will they. The Spirit of God has never lived, nor will it ever live, in any chapel built, or maintained, in such a way as this. We have heard many plans to pay chapels’ debts, but this is a completely new way; and it is the most cruel of all.
The next scene is in Caersalem chapel. Many people had gathered there and seemed very keen to hear Mormonism delivered a fatal blow and be buried forever. Having begun the great and needless campaign by singing and praying for the help of God’s Spirit, the Rev. John Hughes, Bethania (a famous minister with the Independents) was chosen as chairman of this Sanhedrin; this was seconded and warmly applauded by the Rev. D. Jones, Baptist, Cardiff. There were quite a lot of other ministers there, unknown to me, under the pulpit, and it seemed as if they were all in their element, and completely believing that their champion was going to preach the funeral sermon of that dangerous sect that causes so much discomfort by going under the roots of their crafts and stealing their deceived ones like firebrands from the lighted fire, endangering their hope of profit. I have never seen anything in Wales so similar to that Sanhedrin that was held the night the innocent Jesus was betrayed. When I pushed myself forward into the midst of the singers in order to have light to write, O! the necks that were stretched in order to stare from every corner, as if there were horns on our heads! The chairman, once he had announced the purpose of the meeting was to show the deceit of those who called themselves Latter-day Saints, ensured us on his word that the name was most unsuitable for them; and so he proved that the enmity of his heart to the Saints, poor things, was so great that it ran over his lips in a flood, before the start of the examination. Take note that none of them came there to show to the listeners whether Mormonism is deceitful or not, and they did not intend to let anyone else put an if in the presentation; they came only to proclaim their anathemas on it all as irrefutable. “A meeting to condemn Mormonism” would have been the most suitable name for such an event.
Next, and full of the same merciless and critical spirit, the orator appeared in full view in the pulpit. He made a long introduction in which there were many claims and admissions that form a standard by which he himself may be judged. Having ordered very authoritatively that the doors be shut so that no one should hear him except those who had paid, he said that he was not going to deal with people—he was too polite for that—only with principles. And at almost the next breath, and with ungentlemanly mocking he dealt with the person Joseph, alias “JOE Smith” from head to foot; his eyes, his hands, his dress, his white straw hat with the black crepe on it; yes, even his finger, the ring upon it and also the carvings that were on the ring. And “not going to deal with people,” indeed! What did his dress, his ring, &c., have to do with his principles, I wonder? Here’s an example of his professed politeness from the very first minute. He claimed that Joe was dishonest and a cheat, that his eyes were half closed, as told by his witness, namely, that lying “Casswell,” whom he quoted. But that is a wrong description of his eyes to begin with. Next, he said he had big hands, “which signified that he lived well.” But alternatively, I thought that big hands signified that a man was a conscientious, hard worker. Through his comments here the reverend professes to be quite a phrenologist and that science admits that the increase in size of the limbs is according to how they are used; and yet he breaks the rules of that art, contradicting reason and all else in order to have something to blame on Joe Smith, poor thing; and he brings even the size of his hand as evidence against him! You workers of Dowlais, remember to hide your hands in your pockets, or somewhere out of sight of this reverend, or he will condemn you also as cheats as bad as “Joe Smith!” What evil, or what principle, does the straw hat prove against him, Sir? As for the crepe, you should be still because this shows that even Joe Smith had natural feelings, like other men, to mourn the dead; yes, and you should show more respect for his memory than you show towards him even when dead, yes, and being dead he is completely free from all your malicious false accusations; furthermore, he died like a host of godly people who died before him, that is by sealing his belief with his blood. Yes, indeed,—he also had “a gold ring on his finger;” and what about it? This is a common custom in that country. Joseph Smith’s character was so high and the important people of the land thought so highly of him that he was presented with the aforementioned ring by one of the chief men of that country, that is J. Arlington Bennett; and it was worth forty dollars; and Joseph Smith returned his gratitude for it through the printing press. That’s the story of the ring for you, Sir. The lecturer gave many assurances that he would give “a fair and true story” in case men would not believe the contradictory rubbish that he was about to force down their throats as truth. But let the reader himself judge its truthfulness.
We had one very good declaration from the speaker,—”Christianity is unchangeable,” he said. We believe every word of that, and it will soon confront him again. Another sentence of his is, “Of all extremes, extremes in religion are the worst.” We cannot understand why he used that sentence, unless to suggest that “Mormonism” reached extremes in religion beyond him. He did not see fit to inform us of the limits in which one should be religious, but since he claims to be a “minister of the gospel,” surely he would not refuse to take his measure of those limits from the plan set out by the Son of God and his apostles in the religion they professed. Therefore, since he declared the immutability of Christianity, it is fair to test him according to what is in the New Testament about that religion. We are glad to see persecutors like this discussing our principles, which is only what should be done, instead of blackening the characters of men of whom he knows nothing besides the tales of their professed enemies. Read Paul’s history of this Christianity, which our persecutor declares immutable, in I Cor. 12, 28:—”And God hath set some in the church, first apostles [professing them now is extremes, is it?]; secondarily prophets [are these the extremes, Sir?]; thirdly teachers, after that miracles [this is what you call “witchcraft” in us, for professing them; and is this not extremes of blasphemous deism?]; then gifts of healings, [this is what Christianity WAS, Mr. Roberts, according to your Bible and mine; and you say it is unchangeable!], helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” What are your boundaries, Sir? How shall we know when we go beyond the limits? Show your boundaries and their author to the world. You will see that the New Testament is the standard of the Saints; and here is Paul as far in the extremes as we are. Where are you? If you do not come as far forward as this, remember that you are under Paul’s verdict in Gal. 1, 8, and that its “anathemas” are hanging above your head, although you are in the pulpit; remember that your own rope hangs you as well, namely, that “Christianity is immutable!” What will you do? If you deny Paul, let that be between you and him. But never again climb into a pulpit under the name of “a minister of the gospel” unless you preach this unchangeable gospel. Even if the Mormons, as you call them, do not possess these gifts and offices, the fact that they profess the unchangeable order and strive for the promised blessings is more constant than your barefaced denial, persecution, and reviling of those who seek after these blessings as witches. Furthermore, we see in Eph. 4, that the express purpose of the placing of these offices and gifts in the church was, “for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry [namely, that ministry you declared to be unchangeable], for the edifying of the body of Christ.” God’s work sets them out for that purpose and proves that is was not possible to “perfect the Saints” nor to minister without them at that time; and your confession says that this cannot be done without them now. Why then persecute us for professing these things? Now you are head to head in conflict with your preaching brothers! for they all, almost unanimously, claim that these things are unnecessary and that they were needed only to establish Christianity. But Paul says that they were “for the benefit and edifying of the church” and to “perfect the Saints.” That’s what we say, and you can no longer deny it. Paul urged the saints to “increase in all things,” namely, the above things which “God placed in the church.” Why do you deny this? By following this course they would increase and reach the “extremes” of sanctity in religion, yes, until taken up to the third heaven, some of them. Paul declared in 1 Cor. 1, 7, that they did not come behind in any gift. He also urged them to hasten to, and to wait for, the coming of the day of the Lord, &c.; yes, Christ and all his servants urged them to try to reach ahead with that religion, until they reached its “extremes.” These are the “extremes” of that Christianity which Mr. Roberts claims to be unchangeable. This mocking is the purpose of this reverend who says that the “extremes in religion are worst of all;” this is what he does through his spiritual gifts. Such a claim is not suitable for the mouth of anyone but a professed deist. Connect this with his following sentences and one can see that the man is a professed deist. He said, “If infidelity were the topic at hand it would be much more glorious; then he would be able to show his gift with more excellent ideals than are had in Mormonism; that this is the most insignificant, the poorest, lowest, and filthiest of all subjects.” We ask what that poor subject is? The only answer is, That unchangeable Christianity professed by the Mormons!
Our lecturer also said that he did not intend to teach reasonable men, nor put arms in their hands to fight against Mormonism, but only to teach the wanderers and the babbling children how to insult it as something beneath their attention [and yet he brings the matter to such attention himself!], so that they will shut their ears and their doors to it; so that they will not listen to anything they say, but that they will classify it with the interludes of Twm o’r Nant and cast it to the witches. Yes, here’s the advice of this reverend! Oh, how merciless he is to the dear religion of his fellowmen, which proves that in all their sufferings and their losses, that they are more conscientious in professing it than he is in his religion. He obviously has no Christian feelings, nor gentlemanliness, or he would have saved this cruel verdict on his neighbors’ religion, at least until he could give as much as one piece of evidence against it. Paul’s advice was completely opposite to this, that is, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” yes, good, even in Mormonism. Obviously Paul did not belong to the church of these persecuting Baptists. “Do not listen to them,” is it, Sir, i.e., lest they may see your trick to keep them in the dark? You knew that if they were to come to hear both sides that your false accusations would be made obvious and that you would receive the scorn that befits such attackers without a cause. Your craft, persecutors, is based upon the other side’s “not listening;” and as soon as some of your enchanted ones come to search without prejudice they will be convinced of your deceit. This is what causes pain to you and your preaching partners. Every reasonable person considered that you were insulting their senses by such advice. Are you to choose the religion of your fellowmen? Are reasonable men to be judged by your ipse dixit? If not, why are they not as fit to judge for themselves as you are? A clear sign of a knowing deceiver is when he shouts, “Do not listen to them.” This popular teaching has been preached in every age, and above every message sent by God to the world. It must have been that this Rev. had many brothers in the old world for they taught all but eight “not to listen” to Noah. This teaching of “not listening to them” was very popular after the flood as well, and had hosts of proselytes, such as the numerous churches in Admah, Zeboim, Sodom, Gomorrah, &c. When they were warned to leave their harmful traditions and to return to the truth, hosts from the colleges were sent to shout with all their might, “do not listen to them.” Without mentioning those big churches in Babylon, in Tyrus, Sidon, Jerusalem, &c., which had been based on the teaching of “not listening” to anything said by anyone else, we refer to that popular one in Athens, and the ones who had taught the doctrine of “not listening” to Paul. It is true that there was an occasional one there, as there is in Dowlais, who was not too strong in the faith of “not listening,” but who came to listen for themselves, and on hearing everything from the Saints so opposite to the false accusations of their accusers, they opened their eyes and embraced the truth. But the majority passed by shaking their heads, with some gnashing their teeth, under the influence of the warning they had had from the pulpit “not to listen.” But the leaders of this sect are more faithful in their disciplinary rules than their forefathers; because these make the transgression of this commandment “not to listen to them” an excommunicable sin, so that once they have gone to the unpopular sect who say “prove all things” their sins are unforgivable! They can never return to them. This brings to mind the Jailer who threatened to turn the prisoners out into the world as a punishment for talking to each other! “Do not listen” to them was that man’s motto, like these Jailers, while the greatest blessing for these poor prisoners would be to be cast out of such a prison to freedom, so that they could prove all things they chose, especially a system that professes to be a holy mission to them. Thus it can be seen that this Rev.’s craft is very old and very popular; and the prophecies show that they will be just as successful in the latter days in getting the common folk “not to listen,” as in the previous days. As it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot, namely, “do not listen to them,” so it will be in the days before the coming of the Son of man. And it is clear that a very large church is to be on the earth in the latter days preaching this doctrine, namely “do not listen to them,” to those to whom it is said, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;” i.e., “they did not listen.” “But ye have set at nought all my counsel (by ‘not listening,’), and would none of my reproof.” The reason was that their preachers were shouting “do not listen to them.” “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” What do they fear? These people fear their members will go over to the Saints, and they fear that the hope of their profit will cease; this is what they fear. How long, responsible Welshmen, will you let men like these pull the wool over your eyes so that they can unbutton your pockets, and whip you afterwards, if you dare to give your opinion in a matter! Why mention the black slaves of America while there are so many slaves near us, who are as much more pitiful as their skin is whiter! The orator admitted that the more terrible the religion the greater the impudence. He himself proved this true by his “impudent” and terrible claims. He claimed that the Saints are creatures of the mud, and that they flee to the mud when they are beaten. But take care, Mr. Asserter; it will soon be seen who the “creatures of the mud” are! and whether you will admit to being beaten “honorably,” as you said should be done. Though it is pointless to mention all the “impudent” claims of this man, we shall show an example of his deceptive reasoning in quoting from the “Chambers’ Religious Impostors’ the story of the sinful tricks of some Hamer, Munser, R. Brothers, and others; he is trying to choke his listeners with such terrible stories and condition their hatred toward Joseph Smith. What did these persons and their actions have to do with Joseph Smith any more than with Mr. Roberts himself? Nothing! His reasoning is that evil men have existed, and this proves Joseph Smith to be the same. What young lad, let alone Collegian, could not reason better than that! and it is just as easy for one to say to Mr. R., “Thou art the man,” as it is for him to refer to J. Smith. What “examples” of Mormonism are these? One of this Rev.’s other examples is one Ann Lee, professing that she was “the wife of the lamb.” And so was Joe Smith, is that it? Again he says, “Joanna Southcott claimed that she was pregnant of the Holy Ghost, when she had the dropsy.” Well, Roberts, you poor thing, did “Joe Smith” claim to be pregnant of the Holy Ghost? How can you claim that these are true examples of “Joe Smith?” What madman ever spoke such foolishness and made such comparisons? Let the “babbling children” he addressed, judge who the “idiot” is. We thank you, Mr. Roberts, at the same time, for admitting that Jemima Wilkins was the source of the story “of walking on the water.” For your preaching brothers proclaimed and preached that Joseph Smith was the father of that too, and it’s very strange that you did not attribute that one to him as you have every other lie. But you will doubtless be believed for this, as for everything else, despite your contradictions!
Having made his bed in the minds of his listeners with these stories, as does a pig in the straw of his dungheap, and having found them ready to swallow whatever he chose, like the chicks in the nest ready to receive whatever is dropped into their beaks, he read a large part of that untrue “Mormonism Unveiled,” which accuses “Joe Smith” of digging in the earth for silver, of being a Necromancer, fortuneteller, witch, a player with thimbles, and of looking through a peepstone for treasures, &c., &c. And it is strange how the whole thing was swallowed as the truth; but here again the cook spoiled his broth by claiming that Joe Smith was a madman and bringing a host of “witnesses” of this; and at the same time he claimed that Joe employed many men to dig for silver, and none was found. What! many men following and working for a madman for years, until their mines were obvious all over the country, and for no wages. Whoever heard of such a thing? And yet his witnesses claim that “Joe was very skillful” in this task. The lecturer boasted that he had over 50 good and godly “gentlemen” to prove these accusations; but one could get ten times as many witnesses just as godly and gentlemanly as his witnesses to testify to worse accusations against even the Son of God. We shall show to his shame, if he has any shame, what sort of people his witnesses are, and who his partners are; for those who love and spread lies are no better than their inventors. We also say, from personal knowledge, that these are untrue stories, invented some years after the establishment of the church of the Saints; that professed enemies made them up especially in order to try to prevent their enchanted followers from listening to the Saints and searching for the truth. Their history and their pedigrees and their ungodly intentions are to be found in the story of the “Spaulding Romance.” The truth is that neither Joseph Smith nor his father ever spent a single day digging for hidden treasures in the earth, and there was never talk of this until years after he had obtained the plates. The only cause they had for this crafty trick was that Joseph Smith, on behalf of his father, helped a farmer who lived nearby to get his harvest in; that farmer, thinking that there could be treasures in a mound that was in one of his fields, dug for just part of the day along with all the men who worked for him on that day. This is all the digging for silver there was; and J. Smith never dug for hidden silver for his own sake. But what if he had done so, what harm would it have done? None whatsoever! “But that peepstone,” they say, “through which he professed to see into the earth, was the trouble.” Well, reader, in case that troubles you, I can assure you that every word of the story is a lie, all of it but that noted. There is not, I say, and has not been any foundation or shadow of truth to those accusations against Joe Smith. They are imaginary things invented to maintain their own crafts and take revenge on the innocent. Joseph Smith and all his relatives were people of noble character and completely without blemish; his father was a respectable farmer, and all the others had respectable and comfortable livings, notwithstanding the claims to the contrary of his five witnesses. As for the “golden Bible” he mentioned, this Rev. knew or should have known, for we have announced to the world many times, that we do not have a “golden Bible;” who knows best, we or our enemies? Our Bible is the same as the Bible of all Christians, namely, the Old and the New Testaments. Why do you assert slanderous lies like this, Sir? Is it not to provoke hatred of us, and prepare arms for bloodthirsty men like yourself with which to martyr us. Yes, we say, to pave the way for this in the minds of your enchanted followers is your main aim in asserting such lies about us, warning the people “not to listen.”
This Rev. claimed with much scorn, that the angel who appeared to J. Smith informed him in great detail about the wife he would have and a child which was to be; but he said nothing about his mission, he said, namely, the most important thing, “no particulars about that.” To show an example of the incomparable shamelessness and boldness of this Rev., note that neither Joseph Smith, nor any of his friends, said that an angel ever mentioned a word about his wife and child; not a word. It is all a lie on the part of his enemies! And as for the other claim, that he did not give an account of his mission, that’s a knowing lie of the rhetorician Reverend; for as this came from his mouth he held a book in his hand in which was a detailed account of the angel’s mission; but no word about either a wife or a child in the matter! See “History of the Saints,” pages 15—22. What is too wicked for an accuser like this to say from a pulpit? As for his claims that the plates would be found when the child was a year old, and the chest moving in the earth, and that a child would see them first; the earthquake and the burning, &c., &c., they are lies without a word of truth, as can be seen by reading the Saints’ own history of these things. We ask, what, besides a love of lies greater than his love of the truth, could cause this Rev. to quote the imagined lies of our professed enemies, instead of taking note of our story of the matter? Is it we, or they, who can most correctly describe our history and our principles? Why believe everything testified against us and reject every defense on our part? Is this fair; is it human? He says that J. Smith moved the chest from the place where it had been for ages and hid it under his own hearth to protect it better than God was able to. Who said this, Sir? Not one of the Saints, for they know that it is a trick to try to discolor the truth. Does God not work through instruments? If not, who and what do you claim to be? And if he uses tools, why could not God have protected the “chest” as you call it, through even Joe Smith, yes even under his hearth if he so chose to command? Yet we have proclaimed, and the book in the lecturer’s hand showed, that Mr. Smith hid them while the plates had been entrusted to him to translate, and that at times evil men attacked his house to try to steal them from him. Note the Rev. hanging himself again. He claimed that some of his witnesses said that Joe had the stone when digging for silver, years before any mention of the chest and the plates; then he claimed that the stone through which Joe translated was in the chest! The Rev. hanged his own witnesses here. How, we ask, could that stone have been in his possession to look for treasures for years and at the same time be in the famous chest in the earth? Come on Mr. R.; here is a chance for you to show more of your sophistry to untie this knot of yours. We thank you for bringing forward the testimony of Mr. Hales, even if he was an enemy and the father of Joseph Smith’s wife. You remember that he admitted that he had seen the chest that contained the plates, that it was in his house and that he had felt its weight with his own hands. Very good; its existence is no longer doubted then! He did not see its contents, yet you say “Joe” was turned out of his house for its sake, and much more. He valued it so highly and he obeyed the command about it, despite Mr. Hale’s not allowing his daughter to become his wife because of it. The purpose and outward appearance of that chest did not matter, for it was one of J. Smith’s own making to safeguard the plates he had got from the old stone chest. As for Mr. Smith’s marriage, many have mocked, and said that he stole his wife, &c. But you neglected to inform us that the aforementioned Miss Emma Hale was over 22 years of age at the time; that all her relatives without exception were agreeable to the marriage and eager for it, except for her father alone; these facts I heard from the mouth of Mrs. Smith herself; and as a result it was completely legal for her to marry whomever she chose. But you admitted that the only reason for the father’s refusal was his enmity towards Joe Smith’s religion. And are there not many such as this, even in Wales, taught to be such hotheaded persecutors, under the influence of your stories and those of others, that they behave more cruelly than did Mr. Hale? We know of those who belong to the Baptists, who have exiled their children from their homes and who persecute them to the limits of their ability, just because they have conscientiously chosen their religion. I know of dozens of similar cases. What wonder, either? it is only a natural result of your lying tales and of your persecuting partners. So Mr. Hale, you say; and at the same time you admitted that he refused his daughter to him because “Joe was digging for silver!” Another objection the lecturer brought against Joseph Smith was that 116 pages of the manuscript had been lost, and that Joe could not translate them afterwards. Well, let us examine what that proves. Here are his enemies admitting the existence of the manuscript, or at least as much as this of it. And they say, “It was a manuscript written by Martin Harris and dictated to him by Joe Smith, who translated the plates from the other side of a blanket with his head in a hat.” This is a very good admission by the worst of his enemies; for none of this is the story of Joe Smith and his friends; they never mentioned a word about a “blanket,” or a “hat,” or a “peepstone” or “digging in the earth for treasures,” &c., as the Rev. would understand if he looked for the truth, for he held one of our books in his hand, one which gives a very different story to what he quoted from “Mormonism Unvailed,” the work of the hostile “Caswell,” and other enemies of ours. As for the second translation, Mr. Smith caught the tricksters in their trick by not translating, for his enemies had plotted together and had altered the original manuscript. Had he translated the same thing word for word, they would have brought a case against him, and it was possible to prevent this only by not translating the second time. The work of your manuscript thieves in stealing and then, on your admission, telling a lie that they had lost the manuscript, proves that they were wicked enough to alter it and spread a lie to oppose the truth. Many of his claims are almost too terrible to review and go too far for anyone who loves the truth to believe; such as “that Martin Harris was to follow Joe Smith’s footsteps in the snow in order to see where the plates were,” while at the same time holding in his hand the account that showed that Joseph Smith obtained the plates on the 22nd of September! and whoever saw snow on the ground in the United States, or in Wales, in that hot weather? Even to such a claim as this his listeners noisily applauded and stamped their feet as if they were in a gaming house; and the more such applause the lecturer had, the more he straightened himself up, perspired, and shouted his untrue and unfounded claims. And more than once in the midst of such shouting he condemned the Book of Mormon as a lie every word from beginning to end; the most obvious and shameless lies without as much as one grammatical sentence in it; the most foolish and useless book in the world, &c., &c. Yes, he did this without giving an example or reading a single sentence from it, and I greatly doubt if he ever saw the book. Yet we ask, if it is such a book, if the author was a madman, why the need to lecture so much against it, for on his own admission, it is not possible for such a book to deceive men in this enlightened age! The main proof he offered of this claim was that “Joe’s eyes were half shut.” What proof is that, even if true? But we say again, this is a completely false picture of him as a person; are you not blaming the work of the creator by saying this, Sir? Since you admit the great importance of an eyewitness, such a one truthfully testifies that all your claims are false accusations against Joseph Smith and the religion professed by him. That eyewitness has published an account of the above matters, yes, an accurate account, and he challenges you and all the world to disprove it with scripture, reason, or witnesses. That account was in your hand or in front of your face when you claimed the complete opposite to it, which proves to every honest man that you love a lie more than the truth. Let the reader judge what were the feelings of that eyewitness when he was in the midst of such a scene, listening to a man who professed to be a “minister of the gospel;” yes, claiming such harmful and unfounded lies from his pulpit, completely opposite to what he had seen with his own eyes and heard with his own ears,—listening to all this, I say, without any means to open his mouth to disprove it or to convince his fellow travelers who swallowed the untrue flow as keenly as does the stag the river waters! The pitiful state of these enchanted ones reminded us of the proverb that says, “a lie sets the world on fire while the truth lights the match.” With great bombast the Rev. made many claims about second sight, declaring that there was a new Bible in the night, &c. That, too, was one of his own devices to influence the common folk to believe that the Saints do not believe in the same Bible as themselves; and by so doing he kindled the flame of persecution hotter against them. Scornfully, he made many claims, that Joe had struggled greatly with the angel and that he had ordered him to move the plates to another place. If the first claim were true, did not his deistic reasoning condemn the Old Testament equally for informing us of the great battle between Jacob and the angel? But in order to see the falseness of those claims also, see “History of the Saints,” page 20. Next, he claimed that “Joe Smith had promised that Martin Harris could have the plates to show to everyone.” We boldly object to that too; there is not a word of truth in it. If one were to consider how much work that would be, one would see the unreasonableness of such a claim. If he were to take them around the world containing so many hundreds of millions of people, how much would the journey cost? It could not be completed in thousands of years! Then he says that Joe had had a new revelation, saying that only three could see the plates; and that revelation was the one in the Book of Nephi, page 548, he says. Well, let us read that page, and there is no mention to anything similar to that, except for page 549 where there is mention of three persons; there is no mention there about being “witnesses of the plates,” none at all we say; and the book is widely available throughout the country, yes, in Mr. R.’s neighborhood also. What is said about three persons in the place to which he refers is the promise of Jesus Christ to three of his disciples that they would not experience death until he came on the clouds of heaven, but that they would live until the final transformation; that’s all! And this is an example of the false reasoning, false quotations, and deceit of this lecturer. Why call what was already in the book “a new revelation,” unless it was to suggest that Joe Smith said that he had opposing revelations, and that all he claims is false. Instead of this, here you have yourself fallen into the dirty ditch that you dug for the innocent. Apart from that, your lie in claiming that only three were to see the plates can be seen in the testimony of eleven eyewitnesses who said that they saw and felt that which was before your nose at the time you claimed such a lie. See “History of the Saints,” page 36. About those who could see the plates the Book of Mormon says:—”Save it be a few according to the will of God,” that is, a few. There must have been some incomparable shamelessness in you to claim your chatter about Martin Harris seeing the plates with the eyes of his faith through the black cloth, &c., when the man’s own testimony, completely opposite to this, was before your eyes. The next objection he quoted from his foolish essays against the Book of Mormon was that it mentioned the changing of color of the Indians to yellow; but does not the same reasoning condemn the Bible because it says that even the blackest Negroes originated from the same lineage of white people, for critics admit that God’s judgment or mark on Cain’s lineage is the blackness of their skin; and here again one can see that all accusations brought against us are rather deistic objections! Another objection against the Book of Mormon, he says, is that there is “Alpha and Omega” in it; and so he denies the book of Revelation according to the same reasoning, for the same words are to be found there four times! Then he denies that the writers of the scriptures were under the influence of God’s Spirit when they put those words in the New Testament: why could not Joseph Smith have been under the influence of the same Spirit when translating the same words in the same way in the Book of Mormon? Another of his objections is that the Book of Mormon mentions such a thing as a compass, then he shouts victoriously and very boastfully that the “Mariners’ Compass” had not been invented until hundreds of years after the time the Book of Mormon was written. But hold on once again; this is false reasoning also. There is no such word as “Mariners’ Compass” in the Book of Mormon, nor any sort of reference to it. If there is, note the page and the sentence; otherwise, let the book be a witness against your asserted lie to all who may read it. This is an easy way to prove who the deceiver is, Mr. Roberts; will you stick to your claim, or if you choose we will present you with the book so that you may prove us to be lying. What could be fairer than that? Otherwise, never lecture against a book before seeing it and understanding what it is. Putting in that word “Mariners” is your work, or the work of the wicked Caswell whom you have much quoted, and who, like all your other authors, was effectively disproved to your shame and theirs some time ago. The only “compass” the Book of Mormon mentions is described on page 37, in the following words,—”a round ball [is the Mariners’ Compass like this?] of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” Do you not see, Sir, the great difference between that “ball” and the Mariners’ Compass? I see a great difference between them, and I have followed the directions of the latter for almost twenty years across practically all the oceans of the world. The mariners’ compass points to the north pole, and there are not two spindles in it, and neither is it a round ball. On page 39, one can further see the difference between the “ball” and the “mariners’ compass,” for there appeared writings on the “pointers” in the “ball,” which were understandable to its owners, and directions to them on their journey according to their needs, like the “Urim and Thummim” shone previously; with regard to this they were both parallel to one another; and when you disprove the one you also disprove the other on the same principle, and you will then be an even greater anti-Biblicist. But this is already enough to prove that the Book of Mormon does not refer to the Mariners’ Compass, as you say; and up until now your false accusations do not spoil the Book of Mormon any more than they do the Holy Bible. As for the use of the word compass, one cannot object at all, for it is a common word in the country, and using incomprehensible words would rather prove that they were not given under the direction of the Spirit of God; for then you would say, and with more consistency than in this objection, “What’s the use of using uncommon words? The Spirit of God urged the use of the most understandable words at the time, for God wishes everyone to understand and come to know the truth.” This is what you would say, is it not? And now when it is done in this way you jump to the other side of the fence in order to hear the sound of your own voice. The “Mormons,” poor things, and “Joe Smith” are popular topics for every lad, from the school teacher to the “Jacks,” as they are called, and the would be Revs. to show their talents and their impudence by lecturing on them, persecuting them and falsely accusing them. Yes, it’s the great accomplishment of the occasional hotheaded collegian, like that Caswell, to climb into pulpits, and with pomp and fuss show their foolishness, their enmity, and their prejudice against the dear religion professed by their neighbors, before ever researching it. But never before have we heard that such a huge accuser as this one lives between the mountains of Wales. He has surpassed even his foster father, himself from Caersalem, and his impudence was proverbial and a public disgrace. Now, Mr. R., we wish you to know that other boys besides you have been in the North and here in the South for longer than you, learning common sense and perhaps more refinement. After traveling the world they had the opportunity to understand something of human nature, and the advantage of being eyewitnesses to the things that you falsely portray. They know what they are about and they call upon you either to leave them in peace or to oppose their principles fairly like a reasonable creature, and take the scriptures as a rule;—to do this through the press, and you will get some of the boys from the North to treat their topics side by side with you to the extremes you wish. This will be a better way for you to show yourself than bellowing from the pulpits. Next, the lecturer says: “One can include the claims of the system under three headings; namely, 1. Prophecy; 2. Miracles; 3. Witchcraft.” Again he assured his listeners that he offered nothing to them to prove this but “facts.” He said none of the Saints ever prophesied anything truthful; and in the same breath he admitted having heard that Joseph Smith had prophesied about his own death! That and many other things took place, as he foretold before thousands, a long time ago. Where did this gentleman search for the prophecies of Joseph Smith, I wonder? Was it in the college or in the lying tales of his professed enemies, or does he claim omniscience again? As for the prophecy of Martin Harris that he mentioned, namely, that “all the sects in America would be destroyed within 4 years,” this is one of his unfounded claims. And if any man had said such a thing, would that be a fair example to condemn the religion that so many thousands of people profess? As for the “miracles,” he suggested with great bombast, that God does not perform miracles anywhere in the world, because he has never seen any; and once having established his own claim as a foundation he loudly claimed—”their profession is all lies.” “They claim that miracles are performed in church,” he says. But we say that miracles are performed wherever, and whenever the only one who can perform miracles, namely God, so wishes; whether that be in church or elsewhere. It is so foolish to ask men to do works that only God can do, and that to satisfy their own whim, when in the same breath they refuse to believe the words of God! This gentleman thought that he had won completely by shouting, “when they fail (to work miracles) they blame the faith of the sufferer.” Well, poor thing; is faith not necessary for this? Can one work miracles if God is unwilling? for it is said—”without faith it is impossible to please God.” His example to prove that faith is not necessary is the “fish in the sea.” And according to his own reasoning men and fish are equal! This is quite a lowering for rational creatures! Was the same law given to the one as to the other? Are their duties equal? Are they judged according to the same law? Yes, says the reasoning of Mr. Roberts. In order to prove his point he brought forward a scripture that completely shatters him, namely, “He (namely Christ) did not many miracles there because of their unbelief; save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” And thus one can see that their faith was among “a few;” thus, if there had been more faith there would have been more miracles; that is what the Saints say too. Since the unbelief of those people was to such a degree that it prevented more miracles, how can you, Sir, expect the Saints to perform many, when your unbelief and that of your sect is much greater than theirs? For you deny it all! But, “according to your faith be it unto you” was the motto of Jesus Christ and his servants, and according to your unfaith be it unto you, we say. We have already published so much about this controversy in response to Mr. Davies, &c., that we shall not add to it here. The Rev. labored very diligently, and as successfully as any professed deist, to prove that prophecy is witchcraft. He tries to prove this by referring to men seeing the “blue Devils,” and bogeymen of all sorts. For the same purpose he gave Sir W. Scott’s Explanation, and the story of some madman in the Lunatic Asylum who claimed that he owned the great palace and all in it, and that he lived on the delicacies of the land, when all he had was porridge; and he admitted that everything tasted of oat flour and water. He talked much of some man and his horn to show the deceit of the ears as well and claimed that Mormonism is just like that. These are the Atheists’ objections against miracles and prophecies as described in the Holy Book. And they clash equally against these as against Mormonism. He also claimed that men behave like that when in their senses, and so Joe Smith, he says; as so too himself, perhaps! A short while ago he claimed that Joe Smith never was in his senses, but that he was a “madman.” What is this but insulting the logic of his listeners!
As for the missionaries going to the Indians, getting lost, and convincing none of the Indians to believe after Joe had had a revelation that they would, &c. We ask, how could they get lost within forty miles, when Indians have lived throughout the western forest for over two thousand miles before them? “Not one of the Indians believed:” this is an obvious lie, for I saw hosts who believed, and it is a fact that they protected the lives of the Saints when the Christians exiled them to the forest after burning their houses about their heads and butchering many of them, and hunting them like bloodhounds;—the fact that the uncivilized Indians saved their lives from the wrath of persecuting preachers like this enemy of ours, who tries to kindle the same flame to burn us here, proves that his story is false.
He asserts that the Mormons prophesied that their New Jerusalem would be in Missouri. Well, Abraham prophesied that his home would be in the land of Canaan, and yet he did not possess as much as a foot of it before he died. Our persecutor should wait as long for the fulfillment of the Saints’ prophecy as was waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and his seed; otherwise, his reasoning conflicts against one as it does the other. The Saints never claimed “that they would have peace and quiet forever in Missouri,” nor in “Nauvoo;” no, for their belief and their profession were always the opposite. This is all the false reasoning of our persecutor, too. These establishments were always considered places to gather for those times alone. And can this Rev. prophesy how long it will be until the Saints possess these places again? Well, let him cease his foolishness until then. It is obvious that the more terrible the deceiver, the louder and more boldly he shouts “deceit” at the truth. He himself admitted this.
“Joe said (says he) that there was a great church on the banks of the Missouri River, but on going there there were only four women.” What good would it have done to say this if it had not been so? From the state of Ohio where Mr. Smith lived, there were hundreds, yes, thousands who moved to Missouri when he said that. It’s a well known fact that their enemies exiled about 15,000 Saints from Missouri soon after they moved there; and how could they do that if there were only four women there? These are four strange women then, who multiplied to 15,000 in about a year; for they say that the people of Missouri did not turn to the Saints! This is an example of this Reverend’s “facts!” Having reviewed the speaker’s main false accusations so thoroughly, next we shall note how diligently, excellently, and successfully he pulls his castle into bits around him and buries himself in the rubble. After toiling through sweat and fatigue for about an hour and a half to blacken J. Smith’s character and seal his whole story on the testimony of his professed enemies, which is completely unfair and intolerable in the sight of reasonable men,—he also quoted from the account of his enemies, remember, who assured him that they were truthful and that Joe Smith was the author of the Book of Mormon, that he translated while looking through a peepstone with his head in a hat;—then he quoted the testimony of Mr. Hale who, although he is still an enemy, declared that he had seen with his own eyes the box that contained the plates; that it had been in his house for a while; and that he (namely, this enemy, remember) had felt their weight with his hands. Note this admission. We thank him for proving the honesty of Mr. Hale, for he is a witness on the side of J. Smith. He also verified that Joseph Smith was the author of the Book of Mormon by saying that 116 pages of it were lost, and through this admitted their existence. He also admitted that it was a manuscript that Martin Harris had written, dictated by Joe Smith, (namely that “madman”) while translating the plates from the other side of a blanket. He proved conclusively again (said he) that it was Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris who translated the Book of Mormon from papers, and that the Book of Mormon itself, as it was all a lie, was without a single sentence of truth or grammar throughout, and he assured everyone that the foolishness and contradictions of the book prove it too stupid for anyone else to have produced it but an imbecile or a madman like Joe Smith: yes, take note, all this was after this excellent orator had brought forth many truthful, godly, and unimpeachable witnesses of gentlemen, ministers, and the best people of the land, to ensure and verify all the above things; and O! how his listeners swallowed their words like cream, licking their lips, sealing them all and clenching them by stamping their feet and applauding their approval and signifying that their champion had proved every statement fairly and conclusively, so that one would have thought that the speaker had finished his work, and that everyone believed that that was the true origin and story of the Book of Mormon, and it was thought that by the Reverend’s zeal and frequent verification of the witnesses and their story that he himself believed that Joe Smith, in the way his enemies claimed, was the true author of the Book of Mormon. But to our great surprise, and when we were happily expecting him to release us from such a prison to breathe the fresh air, we saw the Reverend straighten up in his pulpit, and when the noise abated, and with just as much boldness and arrogance, the same speaker began from the same pulpit, yes, and before the same crowd, in the same lecture, and from the same lips; he began to deny all the previous story about the origin of the Book of Mormon and he continued to claim until he brought a host of witnesses as “honest” and “irrefutable” as the others, and just as godly, said he, to prove every word and every syllable of the previous story as false! He did not leave one stone of the building standing. Listen reader to his own words! “No, no (said the same man!) it was not Joe Smith who made the Book of Mormon.” Well, why did you bring so many “truthful” and “irrefutable” witnesses from his enemies to prove that Joe did make it? And here you yourself are now refuting them all, although you said they were so “irrefutable.” Well, note who he next says is the author of the Book of Mormon. “The truth is, [says Mr. R., yes, he admits that the above story was a lie and that the truth will be had now:] that Joe was too stupid to create such a book.” And then he claimed just as definitely that that book which he previously described as being without a word of truth or a grammatical sentence in it, that that book which was too stupid for anyone but a madman like Joe Smith to have written, &c., yes, he claimed that that book was so organized and showed such learning and wisdom, &c., “and smelt so much of the classics,” that the book itself now proved that some very able classical scholar who had been taught in the Dartmouth Academy, and who was an able and godly minister with the Presbyterians by the name of Solomon Spaulding, was the author of the Book of Mormon. Yes, he proved all this as “irrefutable” as the other story, which is completely opposite to it from its foundation up. Well, what shall we do now, Mr. R.? You have proved too much by far! Here you are having put all your witnesses into two excellent troops, face to face, head to head, nose to nose, and tooth to tooth with each other; and here you are yourself, Sir, in the middle between the two “respectable and godly” armies in full view like Joab of old between the two horns of the altar, or like Absalom hanging by his hair from the oak branch between heaven and earth. Well, what will he do now? I wonder whether he will deny the previous story about the author of the Book of Mormon, and stick to this last one? Oh no, his first witnesses are all “truthful,” he says, and have presented proofs too solid for him to deny! Yes, they are all “godly” and “irrefutable” witnesses, he says. And yet, he assures everyone that the last story is as true and irrefutable as the first one, yes, “the testimony of the true godly widow, and godly daughter, of the saintly Reverend Mr. Spaulding, on oath, which is affirmed even more strongly by the Reverend Mr. Storrs, and the Reverend Mr. Austin, &c., reveals that it was not Joe Smith but Mr. Spaulding who was the true author of the Book of Mormon.” In the name of reason, Mr. R., tell us who is the author of the book, because it is impossible for them both to be its authors! Well, let’s put the two troops of “true” and “godly” witnesses before the bar, and let’s put Mr. R. himself to cross examine them. Who do all of you there on the left, respectable gentlemen, say is the author of the Book of Mormon? They reply,—”We testify that Joe Smith pretended to translate it from some plates, and that Martin Harris was the writer.” All right, gentlemen; your testimony must be true, because “all of you were familiar with all the particulars; you lived there at the time, besides being men of high character and great patriots, and lovers of the truth.” All right; but who do you say, “godly widow and her daughter on oath,” was the author of the same book? for you should know concerning the matter with considerable certainty, before putting your names on oath before the public to testify, apart from the fact that your relationship is very advantageous. I will believe you also, says Mr. R., whatever you say, so long as you are sure to say something against the Mormons. These reply on oath, remember, that Solomon Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon! Now, Mr. R., read a chapter of the book of Esther, where one “Haman” is depicted in the same situation as you yourself, and the poor Mormons are freed from your verdict, just as those Jews were saved from him. But first wait for this trial to end. There are still one or two questions to brighten the image, and decorate the gallows for you. Where do you, godly witnesses on the left, say the Book of Mormon was written? Oh, some of us testify that it was in Manchester; others, in Palmyra, the western corner of the state of New York; and others, in Susquehanna County, state of Pennsylvania. But we all agree on the method, that is by the use of the “peepstone,” the “blanket,” and the “hat,” &c.; yes, indeed, no one doubts the testimony about this of the respectable Mr. Hale, and Mr. P. Ingersoll, &c. But where do you, there on the right, say the book was written? Reply: It was written in New Salem, the state of Massachusetts, and we say this on oath. Question: Are you, Rev. Mr. Storrs, sure of this? Reply: True, every word, and irrefutable, says this Rev. The Rev. Mr. Austin, pious and truthful, will you endorse the aforementioned oath that the book was written in New Salem? Oh yes, says he, and even the still more godly Rev., namely, John, the brother of the late Solomon Spaulding, together with all the most godly people of New Salem, will affirm that the book was written there. Now Mr. R., here you are winding yourself up to the gallows; but, one further question, please, before you ascend; namely, What is the distance between these places and New Salem? Everyone answers: about a thousand miles. But wait one more minute, Sir; you forgot to cross examine your witnesses about one further important thing, namely, the chronology of the story. You there on the left, in what year was the Book of Mormon composed? Reply: In the year 1827, or 1830. All right, is that true? Oh yes, every word. In what year do you, the widow, the Revs., &c., there on the right, say the content of the book was written? Reply, (still on oath, remember). In or before the year 1812. Well, well! here are witnesses as if on oath to contradict each other on purpose. Which are the most “irrefutable,” Mr. R.? What do you make of them? What do you make of yourself? Now call upon the great seat full of the learned Revs. that were beneath your pulpit, listening sweetly to such lies, and laughing mockingly. Call upon them to untie the rope you put around your neck. You have pulled the knots too tight for them to undo with their nails. Are you not starting to turn blue by now,—you impudent persecutor? Will you now obey your own teaching, Sir; that is, “give up like a gentleman when you are beaten?” This is the place to prove you. But remember, you are conquering yourself, for this trial is between you and your witnesses. The “Mormons” have nothing to do with it. You said before that the Saints are creatures of the mud, but who is now to be seen in the mud up to his neck! Yes, how many of you are there? Yes, who are the “creatures of the mud” do you yourself suppose, Sir? Our feet are on the rock of truth, and you are sinking deeper into the mud with every topic. Do you want help, gentlemen, to get out of that mud? or are you so much creatures of the “mud” that you prefer to sink deeper into it? Your condition and your behavior remind me of the story of the traveler going along the bank of a great marshy river; before him he saw a hat on the ground, and when he picked it up he saw a man’s head beneath it; he took hold of the hair with all his might thinking to lift him to the shore and save his life, but the poor man shouted hoarsely, “don’t, don’t, (he said) for I have a good horse beneath me, and a pair of new boots on my feet, and I would prefer to sink with them than lose them.” And I wonder whether you gentlemen would prefer to lose your lives with your craft and your profit, and your honor, by struggling against the important message of heaven to you? You see it is possible for you to come out of the dirty mud your champion has led you into only by denying one host of witnesses or the other; and you can no longer do that without admitting yourselves to be lying. I wonder, do you think that Joe Smith was ever so “insane” as to jump into such mud as that, or to wind himself up to the top of the gallows as you are doing? Oh no, facts like these are a better proof to show who the “idiots” really are. Is it too much to say that that man who claims that two parties of witnesses so irreconcilably contradictory as the above are all true is a “madman?” Believing such a thing would be the extremes of madness; and claiming such a thing can only be the fruits of the mind and heart of a madman, to say the best of him. And they cannot be reconciled with the truth until a truth and a lie can be reconciled together, and darkness with light; until it is proved that Joe Smith and Solomon Spaulding are one and the same, until they move the great town of New Salem about a thousand miles to the other places mentioned; or until they prove that 1812 and 1827, or 1830, are the same time. This is quite a task for them; and when achieved, these deniers of miracles will have worked great miracles themselves; and nothing less than miracles will do to pull them from this mud and wash their dirt away. Well, says the reader, which of the two stories about the Book of Mormon is true? for it is impossible for both the above to be true. We reply that it is the work of Mr. R. to answer that; and after the conquering of the one or the other of his two contradictory armies, then we shall prove that the conquerors are false witnesses. While they are all soaking in that mud, and Mr. R. with them, we shall show some of the wicked and untruthful tricks and the forgeries of his last witnesses, and his 50 gentlemen, &c., so that one may see the sort of company these our persecutors like.
THE STORY OF “THE SPAULDING ROMANCE,” OR THE “MANUSCRIPT FOUND.”
One of the main arguments put forward against the truth of “The Book of Mormon” is the “Spaulding Story;” and since we possess enough material to prove there is not as much as one truthful idea or claim in the whole of it, with respect to its claim to have a connection with the Book of Mormon, we consider it our duty to enlighten our compatriots about it, and the harmful false accusations based on it by authors, lecturers, &c., in our country.
The aforementioned story says that the historical part of the Book of Mormon was written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, under the title “Manuscript Found;’ and after the author’s death in some unknown way the manuscript fell into the possession of one Sidney Rigdon, who added the religious part of it; and this now makes up what is called the Book of Mormon. In order to correct this, there will be brought forward the evidence of Mr. Spaulding’s widow, Aaron Wright, Henry Lake, John Spaulding, Mr. Austin, Mr. Storrs, and others. These things were first published in a treatise entitled “Mormonism Unvailed” by E. D. Howe, Painesville, state of Ohio, America. But the original author of the book was D. P. Hurlbut. And in order to understand the story clearly, it is beneficial to give a little of the history of this man and his character. To disprove his shameful accusations, one Mr. B. Winchester published the following; yes, he published this at the time in that place, and no one ever tried to disprove it. “I came to know Mr. Hurlbut in Jamestown, the state of New York. He had been an assistant preacher with the Wesleyans, but had been excommunicated for adultery. A short while later he joined the Saints, went to Kirtland in Ohio, where he was eventually called to be a preacher, and he successfully preached for a while in Pennsylvania; but he fell to shameful sins such as adultery, &c., and he was excommunicated by the conference; and they took his license from him. He seemed to be obstinate and unrepentant at first, and then he appeared to have changed, professing great sadness and making many good promises if he could but come back into the church, but the church there feared to receive him without the permission of the main conference. Nevertheless, because of his repentance and good promises he was finally allowed membership in Kirtland. On his return from there he attacked one of the daughters of Mr. Thompson, from Geauga County, Ohio; he tried to rape her, and was caught in the nefarious act. He was released on conditions; and he was excommunicated from the church forever for this. When Hurlbut saw that he had ruined himself in the sight of the Saints and their acquaintances, he set about the work of taking revenge on Joseph Smith, &c. He went around the country lecturing against the leaders of the Saints, making all sorts of false accusations against the character of Joseph Smith and his family, pulling down, to the utmost of his ability, what they had previously built. While Hurlbut was with the Saints he was accused by preachers, religious people, &c., and his acquaintances as the worst man in the land; they greatly blamed the Saints for allowing such a man into their midst, and that he was an obstacle for others to come forward, &c., but when the same Hurlbut turned against the Saints, the doors of chapels and houses were opened before him, and the same preachers and religious people flocked in great numbers to listen to him, and they swallowed his invented lies, without a word of truth in them, very keenly and sweetly; yes, as eagerly, with their mouths open, as the scribes previously waited for Pilate to sign the sentence of the Son of God. Instead of harming Mormonism with this, Hurlbut saw that interest in it was increasing remarkably, because he was drawing the attention of thoughtful men to investigate it, and since his stock of lies became stale from his constant repetition of them, he decided to devise some other trick to fight more successfully against the Saints. About this time he came to know a man by the name of Mr. Jackson, and others, in the Township of Jackson, Pa., who were personally acquainted with a man by the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had written the aforementioned “manuscript” many years before. This was the first word Hurlbut had heard of Mr. Spaulding or his manuscript. None of these people had ever thought that there was any similarity, let alone connection, between that manuscript and the Book of Mormon. After this, Hurlbut hatched the ungodly plan, “that the Book of Mormon originated from the manuscript;” and when he returned here, having fashioned his story, and tried to get Mr. Jackson and others, who had read the manuscript, and also the Book of Mormon, to attest to the likelihood that the Book of Mormon was made from the manuscript, they were greatly appalled; and, urging him to earn his bread in an honest way rather than by making up an unfounded story to deceive his fellowmen, they drove him away. These people testify to this, especially Mr. Jackson, who had read the manuscript and the Book of Mormon. And in trying to persuade Hurlbut to leave his awful trick he said that there was no similarity between the two books. “And,” he said, “Mr. Spaulding’s was a very small treatise, in the form of a novel. It did not mention a word about, or refer to the children of Israel; but it professed to give the history of some nation that came from Rome; Mr. Spaulding professed to have translated this history from a Latin parchment he had found. But as for the Book of Mormon, (he said), it professes to have been written by one of the tribes of Israel in a completely different style from the other.” This is the testimony of one of the men of highest character in that county. And Mr. Jackson refused to allow Hurlbut to put his name to such a shameful strategem. Yet so great was Hurlbut’s hatred of the truth, his desire to prevent people from believing, and thinking that he would earn a few dollars from this, he did not pass up this opportunity to try to prove it was that novel that was the origin of the Book of Mormon. Having failed to succeed in that district, he went to Kirtland, and he announced a meeting and invited everyone who disbelieved “Mormonism” to assist him “to put it down completely and forever.” He had many on his side from among preachers, prejudiced professors and everyone who hated the Saints because of their religion; they formed themselves into a committee to aid Hurlbut against Mormonism, under the name Anti-Mormons. Hurlbut informed them that he had heard in Pennsylvania that one S. Spaulding had written a novel, and that the likelihood could be shown that S. Rigdon had obtained it, and called it the “Book of Mormon.” He said that he was about to write a Book for that purpose, and that he would oppose Mormonism in every other way he could, if they would help him with money for that. Great was the joy this caused to his committee, and others of the same opinion; they unanimously decided to set him to work with great urgency. One preacher with the Campbellites, by the name of Newel (a notorious mobocrat), presented him with 300 dollars to publish the book, the title of which was to be “Mormonism Unvailed;” others contributed to the same cause. This enabled Hurlbut to quickly set out on horseback, and the first place he headed for was New Salem (the place where Mr. S. lived when he wrote his “manuscript”). Having arrived, he called together several of those who were hostile toward the Saints, and he informed them of his intention to try to prove that it was from the “Manuscript” that the Book of Mormon originated; and no one there, yes, even in the place where the Manuscript had been written, had ever thought of such a trick, or mentioned that there was any similarity between them; but his strategem was completely new to all of them; in spite of that the majority agreed, and they gave him money, and they urged him to go to Spaulding’s widow, (now Mrs. Davieson,) who lived in Monson, Massachusetts. The Saints had been preaching and baptizing many around New Salem for some time, and were steadily increasing, although the partisan “shepherds” had grown angry against them because they were losing their members, and the hope of profit was paling; although they had already searched at length for any kind of material or stories to try to oppose them, yet none of them had ever thought there was any connection between, or similarity between, the “manuscript” and the Book of Mormon; although that was the place where the manuscript is said to have been composed. But to return to the story.
When H. arrived at Monson, Mrs. Davieson put the aforementioned Manuscript in his hand (which H. himself denies in his treatise, namely “Mormonism Unvailed”). She also informed him that she had a trunk in the state of New York that contained other writings that he could have if he wished. On his way back, H. called at Palmyra, N. Y., (close to the home of J. Smith when he obtained the oracles); there he collected as many names of men opposed to the Saints as he could, under a list of the worst accusations any son of Belial could devise, blackening the character of J. Smith and his family. Afterwards he added to it many noble names and titles, in order to give an appearance of truth to his lies, because he believed that they would be better received when supported by D. D.’s, Revd’s, and A. M.’s, &c. Yes, this is the original source of the stories “that J. Smith had been digging in the earth for silver,” “that he was a fortune-teller,” “a drunkard,” “a thief,” “of a disreputable family,” “without character,” &c., &c. Yes, this is the gang by whom the shameful stories published and proclaimed against him to this day were fathered! But all who know him consider the bad word of people such as these a recommendation of J. Smith, for it proves that he did not agree with their wicked and ungodly ways.
In his conversation with Mrs. Davieson, H. learned that Mr. Spaulding had moved from New Salem to Pittsburgh in the year 1812; and soon afterwards from there to the town of Amity, Pa., and that he had died in 1816. He thought that this would help the plan along admirably; and as soon as he returned to New Salem, his fellow conspirators urged him to go to Pittsburgh to find out whether Mr. S. had left his manuscript there on loan. His only purpose in all of this was to try to convince the public that S. Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon. And as does every liar when he wishes to force his lie on the public, so did he; for he knew that S. Rigdon had been in Pittsburgh before this time, and thus he tried to establish that S. Rigdon had seen Mr. S.’s manuscript there. After this H. returned to Kirtland to look for more material and to compose his book, and while here he tried to murder Joseph Smith. But mercifully he was caught in his murderous trick before succeeding, and after a trial he was found guilty of trying to kill him, and he was forced to pay surety of 500 dollars to keep the peace. Here he added the names of his chief supporters to the list he had got in Palmyra, to blacken J. Smith’s character. But before long, he showed himself in his true colors by committing his old sinful tricks, and he was forced to flee from the laws of the land. When his most faithful supporters, and those who were the most eager for the book to become public, saw that H’s character had been damaged forever in the sight of all his acquaintances, they urged him to sell his writings to a man by the name of E. D. Howe, Painesville, for fear that it would not be bought by anyone who knew H; and so not only did they suffer a loss, but they did not have the pleasure of persecuting and getting revenge on “Mormonism” and its leaders. Howe bought Hurlbut’s writings for 500 dollars; thus that filthy and lying book, namely “Mormonism Unvailed,” became the stepson of this Howe, who was greatly opposed to the Saints because his wife, his sister, and others of his relations had joined the Saints. With his “unjust gain” Hurlbut went and bought a small holding in the county of Erie, Pa.; and he married a wife and soon turned out to be the most disreputable drunkard in the land; he spent everything he had until he became a tramp, yes, and worse than that, for he took up the craft of stealing for his livelihood; and when he was caught stealing a chain from a neighbor, he fled the country lest he receive lodgings in the jail, and that is the last I heard of his story. I have given a detailed account of this Hurlbut so that the public may know the author, first inventor, and lying progenitor of the “Spaulding story” as the origin of the Book of Mormon. And so that the public may understand about the foundation and authority of this story, as well as its author and its supporters, those who call preachers, authors and lecturers “respectable gentlemen.” These witnesses were considered professed and paid enemies, and untrustworthy among their acquaintances. This proves that those who tell the story after them are under the influence of the same spirit, servants of the same master, and perform the same task as those who prefer a lie to the truth. What man can be found who is so good in any country, that one cannot get plenty of such men as these, to accuse him of similar things as those they bring against Joseph Smith? Especially when “the learned men of the age” preach this and hire them to do this. In what age or country was there not a prophet or apostle who was not similarly accused by such witnesses? Yes, remember that great trial in the court of the high priest, when such witnesses were employed against our blessed Savior, and who were doubtless believed against him as easily in that age as these accusations are now believed against his servants. We remember his saying, “Blessed are you when everyone says all manner of evil against you.” And it is obvious that they were no more untruthful than these. And as for that treatise, namely, “Mormonism Unvailed,” the character of its authors was so disgraceful that they could sell hardly any copies of it in those parts. And instead of Howe’s becoming rich, it was a burden upon him, so that he could not sell it despite his hawking it around for half price. And anyone who reads it will see that there is no foundation to the accusations in it, only imaginations; “I suppose,” “maybe,” “perhaps,” &c. Yet when the “religious” authors of the eastern states got hold of these stories they published them widely, declaring that they were true.
Among other reverends who declared that the above story was true, one Presbyterian preacher, by the name of Mr. Storrs from Massachusetts, published it; and so that the great desire of these men to spread a lie can be seen, we shall show how these two treatises contradict and destroy each other, although they both profess to give the same story, and the truth of both is attested to by men with noble titles. Mr. Storrs, in that which he claims to be the testimony of Mrs. Davieson, Spaulding’s widow, says “that this new sect (the Mormons) use the Book of Mormon in place of the Bible.” This Rev. knew well enough that the Saints believe the Bible completely and base their whole teaching upon it, for he heard them preaching. He says that Mr. S. moved to Pittsburgh, became acquainted with and showed his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, the Editor of a newspaper, who liked it very much and borrowed it. Now, if this is true, why did they not get Mr. P.’s testimony? We reply that it is because they knew that Mr. P. would not agree to their lying plot. From the other side, based on Mr. P.’s testimony, the above is an obvious lie. As soon as this appeared to the world, Mr. J. P. Green went to Mr. Patterson and asked if it was true. Mr. P. replied that he had never before heard a word of such a thing, that he did not know such a man as Mr. Spaulding, nor his manuscript. Furthermore, in his treatise Hurlbut says that he had been with Mr. P., and that he said that he knew nothing of such a manuscript as that of Mr. S. Behold the two authorial partners at loggerheads already! Yet, it is said that S. Rigdon was in contact with Mr. Patterson’s press in Pittsburgh. But the truth is, Mr. Rigdon had never been in any sort of contact with a printing press, and there is a good reason why not, because such a press was not in existence when Mr. R. was in Pittsburgh. Here one can see that the Rev. Mr. Storrs has been guilty of plotting and publishing a known lie. Whatever he does, he cannot deny it; and it is too obvious for his cloak of holiness to be able to hide the horns and hooves of this monster. Again he says, “Here he (Rigdon) had an opportunity to copy the manuscript of Mr. S.” Note that his only purpose is to try to prove that S. Rigdon made the Book of Mormon from the manuscript of Mr. S.; but a good memory is necessary to publish a lie, and one only has to look at his own story to disprove it. Mr. R. lived in Pittsburgh only from the year 1822 until 1826, and that he had anything to do with the Book of Mormon, we utterly deny; and he knew not a word of its existence for years afterwards, as we shall prove as we go on. But first, note how these authors contradict each other. Mr. Storrs says that Mr. S. wrote his manuscript in New Salem in the year 1812. But he conceals the time he moved to Pittsburgh, for he knew that otherwise he would destroy with the one hand that which he tried to build with the other. His partner, but now his opponent, namely Hurlbut, said that Mr. S.’s widow told him that they moved to Pittsburgh in 1812 and from there to Amity in 1814. But Mr. Storrs has the widow saying that the manuscript had been returned to its author before they moved from Pittsburgh to Amity, and that she had safeguarded the manuscript. Note when this was admitted true, that they themselves admitted that the only time Mr. Rigdon could have gotten hold of that manuscript was between 1812 and 1814; for since that time Mrs. Davieson admits that she safeguarded it in her own possession. Note, Mr. Rigdon is now 47 years old; consequently, he was born in 1793, and thus in 1812 (namely the time it is said that he wrote the Book of Mormon from the manuscript) he could have been only 19 years old. His mother assured me (says one witness), that before they ever heard of Mr. Spaulding, he had never been within hundreds of miles of Pittsburgh, nor any distance from home, but worked the land with his parents until he was over 26 years old. Here are the two traitors fighting each other again, with the truth coming into the open! And indeed, whoever could believe that an uneducated young lad, who scarcely did anything but follow the plough, composed a book containing over 600 pages, and then kept it hidden for about 20 years so that not one syllable concerning it was heard from him or anyone else;—I say, he who thinks this possible can also believe Mahomet’s story of his seven heavens. Take note, that Mrs. Davieson, on their own admission, kept the manuscript from 1814 until the time she gave it to Hurlbut; and compare this with the fact that Mr. Rigdon had never been in Pittsburgh before 1822, about eight years after the manuscript was under lock and key with Mrs. Davieson!! See how these devoted plotters reveal their trickery, and hang themselves, and each other, by putting dates down, which they did to give an appearance of truth to their stories.
They also claim that some woman brought the Book of Mormon to New Salem, and called a public meeting to preach, and that she read parts of it in public; that John Spaulding (the brother of the late S. Spaulding) was there, and that so great was his anxiety at seeing such use being made of his blessed brother’s manuscript, that he wept bitterly. We oppose this story, in the first place, by announcing that no woman ever preached with the Mormons, and that no woman ever had the authority to call a meeting; and we have never before heard that any woman of the Saints did such a thing. The Saints do not believe in feminine priesthood as anyone who knows anything about them well knows. Next, I myself lived in New Salem at the time referred to, and I bear witness that no such meeting was held, nor anything similar. Again, nobody called John Spaulding lived there, nor in that state either, and thus, from an undeniable base, I bear witness that every syllable of those claims is also false, concocted expressly to deceive; and they cannot refute me, for I challenge them to bring forth their proof. It was a poor undertaking for the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, who professed to be a servant of God, to compose a Romance (that is invented lies), to force it upon the public as truth, and it was a poor inheritance to leave behind to support his family. Compare this with what Hurlbut himself says, namely, “And the fact also that Solomon Spaulding tended towards atheism before his death, as the letter from his own work which is now in my possession will prove.” Thus here again, notice Hurlbut and John Spaulding contradicting each other in the Sanhedrin, and by this proving, like those of the Sanhedrin, whose servants they are, for the works of the father of lies is what they do. Remember that Hurlbut obtained Spaulding’s manuscript from his widow, promising her that he would publish it, and that she would have part of the profit, and that’s the last anyone heard of him. Where is the original manuscript now? Let Hurlbut answer. Why does he not bring it out into the open, when all his tricks are so obviously refuted in its absence? Why was the original manuscript not published so the public could compare it with the Book of Mormon for themselves, and see if they were similar? They dare not say they cannot do this, when Mrs. Davieson proves that she placed it in his very hand. Let our readers put their powers of reasoning to work, to consider the reason for this silence and the hiding of that manuscript, and then they will see that this in itself is enough to stamp the lie on the face of the whole trick from one end to the other. Neither this H., nor Mr. Storrs, nor any of their supporters, can excuse themselves from publishing it, by claiming that it is not worth their attention; for their great efforts already, the treatises they have published, the lecturing and the quoting to the newspapers, prove that they themselves consider the thing to be of great importance. Well, why do they not publish the manuscript that is in their own hands and, which would prove more easily and effectively than anything else, that that is the source of the Book of Mormon, if what they say is true? We shall furnish them the only answer they can give, which is, if they were to publish the manuscript their lies would be made as obvious as the noonday sun, and yet their refusal to publish it proves the same thing just as clearly. I wonder if all the godly Reverends, and the faithful and true patriots, who have been so diligent in devising and spreading this story all over the country, will allow the Mormons and the public to call upon them in vain to bring that manuscript into the open, while they themselves stand before the court of truth, like trembling culprits before the bar, until it comes? This is their only defense now; and neither will they do this, for it would be tantamount to calling back their lies. And again, we say, could it be that these men, who profess so much love for their fellowmen, and so much desire to enlighten them by their having the truth, and who have done so much already with this story,—will not finish it, I wonder, by publishing that incomplete manuscript, to substantiate their previous claims, while knowing that many thousands of people believe the truth of the Book which they call a lying Romance, and by so doing endangering their souls? What! will they be silent despite all their boasting of zeal, and goodwill, and love, &c., so that they will not enlighten the public about such an important thing, when (if their story is true on their admission) it is so easy for them to do this through that manuscript? What do you say, reader, about a pack of men who shout (about a book which so many believe to be holy), that they know it is false, and that it was published by a man in order to get money for his family, and that they possess the manuscript that proves this, but who in spite of all of this refuse to reveal that manuscript on any account? Do they not stand self-condemned before the conscience of every thinking man for the gross neglect of their duty, or for purposefully plotting an evil trick like this to deceive their fellowmen, and to prevent them from searching for the truth? Of the two possibilities, it must be that one is true, and now there is no doubt which one, we think, especially when one remembers the trickery and great diligence of these people to prevent the spreading of the truth, in order to ensure their hope of profit.
The following letter is a mortal blow to the treatise called “Origin of Mormonism,” which letter Matilda Davieson herself signs, and which proves the above book, the work of the Rev. Mr. Storrs, from Holliston, or D. Austin, or both, to be a shameful forgery, stemming from jealousy, because their members and one of their deacons had joined the Saints; and this is how they tried to hold onto the rest and prevent them from doing likewise.
“It will be recollected that an article appeared lately in several Newspapers purporting to give an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon. How far that article has effected its author’s purposes, or what his purposes were, I shall not attempt to say at this time, but I shall present the other side of the story before us through the following letter, so that the public may judge the matter according to the article itself.
“Copy of a letter written by Mr. John Haven, of Holliston, Mass., to his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Haven, of the town of Quincy, Ills.
“Your brother Jesse passed through Monson (where the widow Spaulding lives), where he had the company of Mrs. Davieson, her daughter, Mrs. M. Kinestry, and Dr. Ely, for several hours; and during this time he asked her the following questions; and he had the following answers in the presence of Dr. Ely, word for word as closely as I can remember: viz, did you, Mrs. Davieson, write a letter to Mr. John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon? Answer: I did not; neither did I ever see the letter till I saw it in the “Boston Recorder,” with my name on it. The letter was never brought to me to sign. Ques. What did you have to do with that letter? Ans. Dr. R. Austin came to my house, and asked me some questions, and wrote some things at the time. Ques. Is what is written in the letter true? Ans. Some things are as I answered him. Ques. Have you read the Book of Mormon? Ans. I have read some in it. Ques. Is there any similarity between Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript and the Book of Mormon? Ans. No, except there are some names in them that are rather similar to each other. Ques. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An idolatrous people. Ques. Where is the manuscript? Ans. P. Hurlbut came here and took it away, promising to publish it, and I was to have half the profit. Ques. Has Hurlbut published the manuscript? Ans. No, he notified me in a letter that when he looked at the manuscript it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it. Ques. How large is the manuscript? Ans. About one-third as large as the Book of Mormon. Ques. to Mrs. M. Kinestry. How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript? Ans. About five years of age. Ques. Did you ever read the manuscript? Ans. When I was about 12 years old I used to read it for diversion. Ques. Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An idolatrous people. Ques. Do you think that there is any similarity between the manuscript and the Book of Mormon? Ans. Perhaps some of the names are rather similar. Ques. Are you certain that as much as one of the names is the same? Ans. No. Ques. Have you ever read as much as one word of the Book of Mormon? Ans. No, not one word. Ques. Did you give permission for your name to be attached to Mr. Storr’s article in the “Boston Recorder”? Ans. No; I never meant that my name should appear under such a thing. I was very sorry to see it there.
“You see by the above, that Mr. Austin in his great zeal to destroy the Book of Mormon, and to show his hatred for the Saints, has asked Mrs. Davieson a few questions in order to have the occasion to write his own thoughts to Mr. Storrs in her name. Mrs. Davieson is about 70 years old now, and aging rapidly.”
Now, must not their case have been bad when they would forge the names of two women to substantiate it? And proving this forgery shatters their fabric, because this was its basis. None of the above people were Saints; and it can be seen that Mrs. M. Kinestry’s desire in trying to suggest that even some of the names were quite similar, when she admitted that she had not read a word of the Book of Mormon, proves that she too did her utmost against that book. And I wonder if any man would be clever enough to compose the Book of Mormon from such a small manuscript, and make it such that all the wisdom of the wise men of the age could not find refutations in it, without concocting lies based on forgery; sufficiently clever, we say, to do all this, and yet sufficiently foolish not to change the names that had been in the Manuscript? Reason! Reason now! Apart from that, if S. Rigdon had been able to compose the religious part of it, why could he not have composed the other part also without seeing Spaulding’s manuscript, when it was a small one at that? And furthermore, whoever reads the Book of Mormon can see that the historical part and the religious part of it (as they are called), are interwoven, so that it is not possible to separate them. Note also that Storrs makes one to believe that Mrs. Davieson said that the manuscript was lost. And here she herself says that she gave it to Hurlbut, and that he had promised to publish it. See the trick of Hurlbut and his supporters hiding their true purpose of getting the Manuscript from Mrs. Davieson, again inventing a lie as an excuse, namely that they could publish it, and that she would receive half of the profit! It is amazing the tissue of contradictory lies that these people told freely and knowingly, to deceive the public in cold blood. We wonder at God’s great patience in tolerating such injustice. Yet their madness had become obvious to all who read it. And I wonder if they would have labored so energetically to oppose the Book of Mormon had it not been of holy origin, and true? Oh no; a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
I thought that the cunning device of using the “Spaulding Romance,” to try to show the origin of the Book of Mormon, had been completely destroyed, and clearly refuted to all who choose to understand, so that there is not a trace of truth in it. Yet since so much use is being made of it by authors and lecturers, even in our country, we shall add the testimony of P. P. Pratt, which he published in New York in reply to a man by the name of L. R. Sunderland, and which proves beyond any argument, that S. Rigdon knew nothing of, and heard not a word about the Book of Mormon, until quite some time after it had been published to the world; and that he knew nothing about the aforementioned manuscript until this Hurlbut published this lie about it. Having declared his acquaintance with Mr. Rigdon for years, when they were both preachers with the Baptists, and of their nonconformity under the name “Disciples,” or what is called “Campbellites,” &c., the historian shows the manner, and the time he himself first heard mention of Mormonism, as follows:—”In August 1830, when on my preaching trip in the county of Ontario, the state of N.Y., I first came to know of the Book of Mormon. At this time it had been published to the world for over six months and had won about 50 believers; and these were the only “Latter-day Saints” in the world at that time. At first I had a very strong prejudice against the Book of Mormon, and then I remembered Paul’s advice, “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.” Having sat down and read it in detail and compared it with the holy scriptures, I fervently prayed to God for him to somehow show me if it was true; and it was not long before the Lord in his grace gave me evidence of its truth through his Holy Spirit. And what was I to oppose God? Soon I obeyed the ordinances of the gospel, and I was called to the ministry through the revelation and laying of hands of the servants of God, and as a result I went around preaching the gospel. Having returned to the county of Ontario, N.Y., I saw Joseph Smith for the first time ever. About the 15th of October 1830 I set out with O. Cowdery and P. Whitmer towards the state of Ohio. We called to see Mr. S. Rigdon, and at this time he first saw the Book of Mormon, and I had the pleasure of first putting it in his hand. He was very surprised when I offered it to him telling him what it was; and it was not without sincere persuasion and much reasoning with him that I succeeded in getting Mr. R. to take the book and read it; he considered it too incredible in his sight that such a thing as a holy book was to come forth. There were great efforts made before he could completely believe its content. And when at last he was convinced of its truth he called upon all his relatives, his friends, and his congregation, and a great crowd gathered together. He addressed them very seriously for about two hours on this matter, and the majority of the congregation wept the whole time, under the pressure of his appeals and his reasons. He asked for the forgiveness of all those to whom his previous behavior or teaching could have been an obstacle, because before he conscientiously taught them according to the light he possessed; he gave notice of his intention to obey the gospel and the following morning he and his wife were baptized by Mr. O. Cowdery. I was present; the scene was serious and majestic; hosts of onlookers, mostly under a special influence; several others were baptized at that time, and after that until during that winter and the following spring the numbers of Saints had increased to over a thousand; the Lord bestowing the Holy Spirit in its powerful acts upon the Saints, and the word of the Lord increased more and more, and many preachers obeyed the gospel. Early in the year 1831 Mr. Rigdon was ordained by us, and he visited brother Joseph Smith and saw him for the first time ever. Soon after this our enemies began trying to say that it was S. Rigdon who made the Book of Mormon. Yet, none of them imagined a word about the “Spaulding Romance” at that time, nor for years afterwards, until Hurlbut published his deceiving forgery in “Mormonism Unvailed.” In the western states nearly whole neighborhoods obeyed the doctrine, even after the “Spaulding Romance” had been published among them; and indeed we did not consider it worthy of opposition until after religious authors and preachers of this town (New York) had published it assuring that it was the truth. Now, I seriously bear witness that those who designed the “Spaulding Story” (about Mr. Rigdon, &c.) are false witnesses similar to those who accused the disciples of stealing Christ’s body from the grave. This in short is the history of the “Spaulding Story.” Doubtless many have used it as an excuse for not believing and obeying the truth, but it did not prevent anyone with an honest heart, keen for the truth, from accepting the holy and gracious message which God sent to the world. For such as these search the thing, and prove it instead of following the stories of professed enemies of the truth! I seriously bear witness that I know that the Book of Mormon is divine truth revealed through the power of God. And in spite of all the tricks and false accusations of the devil and all his servants, they will never shake any of its foundations. They can never disprove its witness, rather it will spread faster the more it is opposed, and it will shatter all its opposers like the fine dust of the scales.”
“P. P. PRATT.”
One need only consider the excellence of the testimony of a witness like this about the stories and imaginings of professed enemies, out of jealousy, to prove the truth of that Book to every reasonable man. This man is a witness,—his testimony is based on knowledge, and not on the newspaper stories like the others: and if the public knew this witness as well as we know him, and if they understood how much he suffered for the sake of his testimony, not a single word he says on this matter would ever be doubted.
Since the “Spaulding Story” claims that it was Mr. Rigdon who composed the Book of Mormon, we shall next quote a letter of Mr. Rigdon himself, which he wrote to the Editors of a newspaper that published the “Spaulding Story,” and this testimony remains unanswerable to this day.
“MESSERS. BARTLETT AND SULLIVAN. In your publication dated the 18th, I saw a letter signed by someone who calls herself Matilda Davieson, pretending to give the history of the origin of the Book of Mormon, by telling some moonshine story about a certain Solomon Spaulding, of whose existence I never before heard a single word, until I read the above letter, and that which D. P. Hurlbut says about him; and that which I now understand about his character is what I gather from the work of his wife in bringing my name before the public, to try to prove that I know of something which I never knew, on the testimony of his own wife, something of the lying manuscript of her husband; for she admits that her “pious husband” during his life wrote a Romance (lies) for profit! How many lies he preached in his life for money she does not inform us, but it is easy to judge that he who would do the one would not be too good to do the other. Since this is the only story I have about such a man as the Rev. S. Spaulding, I only have a poor opinion of his gentlemanliness, his scholarship, and his piety, for if he had been given one or the other he should have taught his wife not to lie, or unite herself with liars, adulterers, and the worst sort of men.
“As for the lengthy and filthy story which says that Spaulding’s manuscript had been in the hands of Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburgh, who owned a printing press there, and that I had said that I was in contact with such an office, &c., &c., it is necessary only to inform you that they are imagined lies every word, without as much as a shadow of truth in one of them. In Pittsburgh there was no man called Patterson who had anything to do with a printing press while I was there. I heard that one of that name had been there, and had been unfortunate, and was broken up years before I ever went there. Yet if I were to say that I had ever heard a word mentioned about such a man as Solomon Spaulding, or his hopeful wife, before D. P. Hurlbut published the above story about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves. If they are telling the truth, why did they not get Mr. Patterson’s testimony to substantiate it, since it is mainly from him that they could get this? and the absence of his testimony shows that there is no basis to the fabric. The reason was that Mr. Patterson was too truthful and good a man, to be a means of spreading such lies; and if he were to be called upon, Mr. Patterson would testify that I am telling the truth about this.
“Next, gentlemen, allow me to give you the history of this Dr. Hurlbut (as he is called; not because he is a Physician, but he got the title of Dr. because he was a seventh son) and his supporters who plotted and spread this shameful pack of lies. For if you were to know as much about this Hurlbut’s character as I know, I do not think that you would ever stain your columns by publishing any of his work. [Then our witness gives a story of this man’s terrible behavior, similar to the first story we gave, as well as an additional story about how some of his supporters were caught in bed with his wife by H. himself, and because of this for the sake of peace, he got a hundred dollars from them, and a yoke of oxen, and in this way peace was made between the authors of that book called “Mormonism Unvailed,” for of course it was to H.’s benefit as well that that book should appear, for it was on those conditions that he had sold his right in it to Howe; then says our historian,] H. took his wife and went to another part to live, leaving the old deacon Clap, his sons, Mr. Bentley, Howe and Co., to suffer the shame of trying treacherously to invent lies to blacken the characters of those men they feared to face in a debate. The tale that is in your publication is one hatched up by this gang before they split up. What but lies can one expect from such people as this? It has been a source of no ordinary satisfaction to me, to know that my enemies have no better weapon to use against me, or against the religion that I embrace, than lies; for if they had any better they would certainly use them. I must confess, however, that there is some constancy in our persecutors in this, for, as truth never can destroy truth, it would be vain for our persecutors to use truth against us, for this would only build us up; they seem aware of this, when they clutch at the only weapons they can get, namely, lies, &c. This is the only weapon ever brought against the truth.
In order to give their lies an attractive and fair appearance, they dress them in much false holiness and religion; for everyone knows that a falsely religious lie will be accepted more readily by many than a lie of any other sort; and hence the lies of these people come signed by a pious widow of a pious priest. Yet it appears that the most notable of all his pious deeds has been to write a bundle of lies, for profit, themselves being witnesses; but they think that his wondrous piety sanctifies them as the truth, and that lies become the truth under the breath of such holy men, especially when they are graced with the titles of “Reverends,” &c. But that dark time has passed for reasonable men, when bare lies were shone up and mended by the falsely religious and the appearance of holiness. The public well knows through experience that those who claim the title of Rev. are not infallible, but that many of them think that this mantle will hide their lies from the disgrace they deserve.
The only reason my persecutors assail me with lies is because they do not dare to face me in a debate, for they know that if they were to do this they would lose; then they try to prevent the public from investigating our doctrine by publishing falsehoods. This I consider a high encomium on both myself and the doctrine I profess.”
“I am, yours respectfully,
By now it is well known to the public that the authors and the American Revs. we have been talking about, have brothers of the same father in England, and alas even closer to us; yes, in Wales; and they are clearly recognized at their work using the same weapons against the same divine truths in the same way. We shall give an example of their recent work in England, to illustrate their great desire to oppose the truth, and show that they are forever contradicting each other. And to show to those Welsh people who tread the same path, that the shameful fall of all of these into the ditch they dug for the innocent, signifies that their fate will doubtless be similar. Only the truth will withstand thorough testing.
We quote the following of Mr. John Taylor’s review of the work of the Rev. Mr. Heys, a Wesleyan minister, against the Book of Mormon, in which he tries to show the origin of that book. Fairly compare face to face the story of his brother the Rev. Mr. Livesey about the same thing:—
“Mr. Heys says that Joseph Smith is the author of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Livesey says that S. Spaulding is its author. Here are two claims so incompatibly opposite to each other as it would be to claim that Mr. Heys and Mr. Livesey are the same man. The one claims that Martin Harris and O. Cowdery wrote it from the mouth of Joseph Smith, while he looked at a stone he held in his hat. The other declares that S. Rigdon wrote it by modifying a manuscript by one S. Spaulding. The one asserts that it was written in the county of Susquehanna, and by M. Harris and O. Cowdery. The other just as strongly affirms that it was written in Conneaut, the state of Ohio, and then declares that it was written in Pittsburgh, Pa. Each of the above places is many hundreds of miles from the other; and it is impossible for more than one of their claims to be true. So much for the consistency of the testimonies of the Revs., which they offer as facts against the Book of Mormon! Another example of the lies of the Revs. can be seen in the following; in “Mormonism Unvailed” three of them, that is the Rev. John Spaulding, Rev. John Miller, Rev. O. Smith, and others of the same “devout” taste, claim that they listened for hours on end to Mr. S. Spaulding reading his manuscript, until they were quite learned about its content, and that it professes to give the history of the ten tribes of Israel who were lost, and that it was from them the American Indians originated. These Revs. also bear witness “that they have read the Book of Mormon, and that the historical part, the names, &c. are similar in the two.” Now, in order to see how much trust should be placed in the testimonies of these Revs. who have rather filled the world with stories against the Book of Mormon, in order to see that all they say is lies, for the Book of Mormon does not profess to give the history of “the ten tribes of Israel,” neither does it profess that “the American Indians originated from them” as they claim, but it is now to be seen that the Book of Mormon gives the history of the tribe of Joseph. If they had read it as they claim, they would surely see the difference and they would have been saved the shame of this lie. Here are the best authors of Mr. Heys and Mr. Livesey, and the authors of the Welsh lecturers as well. They are both respectable ministers with the Wesleyans. They both claim that their story is based on facts. Mr. Heys assures us that his witnesses are credible, most certainly; but Mr. Livesey claims just as strongly that his witnesses are just as truthful and irrefutable! What is to be done? And one must believe both sides, for the two Revs. claim that they are true, when they are as opposite to each other as is possible. And if both sides of the story assured by such men as these are not true, who will believe that one of them is true? We answer that no reasonable man will believe them, any longer than he has the opportunity to hear both sides.”
We shall not enlarge upon the “Spaulding Romance,” but wish in our hearts that the above is a means, under the approval of the Spirit of truth, to convince our dear fellownation, lest they hide in the refuges of a lie from the arrows of the truth; and so that they will not believe these unfounded tales and the like which are told against the Saints, in spite of sometimes being endorsed by high titles; but may “Prove all things and hold fast that which is good” be the motto of us all.
The only notification we had of this second lecture was by the gentleman himself announcing it at the end of his lecture the other evening; for he did not mention a word of it in his Handbills. I had announced through Handbills that I would be reviewing his first lecture the following night, that is, on the 3rd. We also promised, instead of charging 6 pence for entry as he did, to sell for sixpence a book worth a shilling, to everyone who came to listen; which contained the true story of the Saints themselves with regard to the majority of the false accusations the lecturer brought against them.
The speaker admitted from the pulpit that he knew of our intention to review his lecture the following evening; and yet, he announced his own lecture for the same time! What could his purpose have been in doing this but to keep people from coming to hear both sides? Did this not spring from a guilty conscience, because he could not expect less than the revelation of his trickery and bold lies. “Do not listen to them,” was still his motto; and now he announces his next lecture to be free, and at the same time as mine, purposefully in order to keep his listeners from coming to listen to us. What more unfair thing could he do? If this is not his purpose, why did he not delay his lecture another day, or publicize his second as he did his first lecture? This second lecture was held in Bethania chapel, namely, the chapel of the Independents. It is surprising how fond of each other these two sects now are! A short while ago nothing was too evil for them to say about each other, and the one had his fist in the face of the other all along the streets. But now they are arm in arm, and nose to nose to persecute and falsely accuse the poor Saints. Well, if unity is good, and love like this toward each other, they should admit that the Saints caused this much goodness, if nothing else.
As for his second lecture, there was not much new that was of importance in it, rather the old rigmarole we have reviewed many times before; a repetition of parts of the previous lecture, the “Mormon Bible,” denial of revelation, and teaching his listeners not just against Mormonism, but setting them up at loggerheads with its supporters also; namely, starting up a hot persecution against persons, either to exile them or kill them, of course, as he suggested the other evening. We have said that the natural consequence of his false accusations would be to excite men to kill each other, and now here he is himself cruel enough to admit in public, that this is his bloody purpose! Is this fitting in a man who professes to be “a minister of the gospel” of peace? Is this your way, Sir, to convince men? From your fruits it is obvious whose servant you are. Yes, it is quite clear that you are not a servant to him who said “blessed are they the peacemakers.” Is it not in your vicinity that the innocent blood you cause to be spilt is sought? The speaker shouted loudly (say our reporters) “that Mormonism is the worst sort of infidelity.” And in a short time he admitted that the Mormons believe in the Old Testament! And remember his sentence the evening before, “if infidelity were the subject at hand instead of Mormonism, it would be much more glorious.” Who can believe that such an accuser possesses human reason? He showed an example of his arrogance and his ungodliness comparing his neighbors to the “baboons,” or the monkeys in Africa, and saying that their tricks are similar to each other!! How amazing that reasonable men degrade humanity to such extremes of ungodliness! And great was the “ha-ha-ha,” that went through the crowd.
Next we shall note his false reasoning and misquoting from the book called “History of the Saints.” He promised to review it the previous evening, and we should announce that the only example he quoted to show the deceit of the book at the end of his previous lecture was as follows; he quoted from page 100, the story of the “quail” falling about the Saints. And then he read from page 102, “They are now (namely, the Saints) through the injustice of the state dying from hunger and cold in the wilderness, &c.” His purpose in this was to prove the stories contradictory. But whoever takes the trouble to read the book for himself will clearly see the wickedness and deceit of Mr. R. himself, for there is not as much contradiction in the story as there is in his eyes and his heart to the truth. The former was a quotation from the “Millennial Star,” mentioning the remaining few who were driven from the city of Nauvoo by the mobs, and that they were opposite the city on the other side of the river when the “quail” came, and had not gone to the wilderness; but the latter story is a quotation from the “New York Sun,” referring to the first camps that had gone from Nauvoo about a year before the others, and who were many hundreds of miles from those who had received the “quail.” Apart from this, remember it was not the Saints, but the Editor of a Newspaper, who was a serious enemy of the Saints, who published the last story; and he bases his story not on facts, rather his own natural conclusions were to think that men could not have been plundered and exiled as the Saints were, let alone die from starvation. This is all that is suggested in the story, Mr. R., and why are you so dishonest as to distort our words and our principles voluntarily and purposefully? Do you not ever remember that there is a day to come when the Saints will have as much justice as you? Remember you are an accountable man! But, on to the review of the book the second night,—He read some sentences, inserting his own old lying meanings as if he were reading them from the book; for example, when reading the story of Joseph Smith and the plates, he said, so our witnesses say, that the angel had said that J.S. could not have the plates until he learned the Egyptian language, &c. This claim is a lie every syllable, and Mr. R. knew very well that there was nothing like this in the book, and there was a great deal of laughter about that lie at the expense of the innocent. What will a man who distorts and claims known lies like this from the pulpit not do? Does he not reject every offer of truth, and prove that he loves a lie, and that it is a lie he wants more than anything else? The stories of his “traveler” as he calls him, about “a temple beside a greenwood,” “carrying twelve men on stretchers,” and that “Joe had spent the temple money before it was finished, and had to sell his box, &c.,” are all without a word of truth. The Saints did not put two stones together to build a temple in Missouri, nor collect twopence for that purpose. And as for the temple they built in Nauvoo years later, they finished it; and Joe did not have that money either. Leave the dead in peace lest you be shamed when you meet them again before the bar! We cannot pass without comment that lying claim of our speaker; namely, that the Saints were the rioters in Missouri, like the Chartists were here [yes, remember the prattle of your father Davies, to be sure, trying to excite the government against us, and to give permission to the Revs. to take up their swords here to kill us like scores of your preaching, bloodthirsty brothers did to the innocent brothers in Missouri!] and that it was some peaceful society there that exiled the Mormons for the sake of peace. Hear the peace conditions of those “peacemakers” according to the Reverend’s own admission!
1. “That not one of the Mormons was to stay in their midst.” What freedom is in that?
2. “That they would have time to sell their belongings.” They promised this on purpose to throw the Saints off their guard, and then after a while they attacked them at night killing several in their beds without warning, and others when defending themselves and their children from the midst of the flames of their own homes, which were burned by their enemies.
3. “That their printer must not print anything else.” What greater slavery is there than the slavery of the press? Its freedom was ensured even in the Constitution of the U.S.; and does not the admission of the refusal of the people of Missouri to let the Saints publish anything prove who are the mobs and the attackers? Why turn the thing completely upside down, while at the same time bringing forward your own facts to prove this? Also, the laws of America do not acknowledge exile for any crime. And who but these “peacemakers,” says Mr. R. who exiled every one of the Mormons, yes, every woman, every child, every grey-haired old man, and all without a trial or anything. Spare us from such peacemakers, and their defenders even in Wales! The justifiers of such atrocious conditions are not a bit too good to help to fulfill them as well, if they could. But in order to see the true story of the cruel and needless persecutions of the Saints in Missouri, see the book called “The History of the Saints.”
I remember hearing Mr. R. say on the first night that only four women were in the Saints’ church in Missouri. But now he admits that they were sufficiently numerous to attack the country, until it was dangerous even for the government so that they had to be exiled!! Four women endangering the United States! The handful of Mormons against armies who had conquered the best of Europe, and the entire navy of Great Britain! Rather brave people, are they not, when they thought to conquer about 20,000,000 people, for they knew that they would all defend their country from them. When will your foolishness end, Sir? Next, there’s a new publication of the old shattered story of “Casswell,” and his “Greek Psalter,” which has been disproved so often that nearly everyone is ashamed to tell it. But all sorts of rubbish is sweet and new in the mouth of our lecturer. We shall say what we know of that man and his book, and “itʼs a great thing to be an eyewitness,” said Mr. R. himself last night. This Caswell when on his journey from St. Louis to Nauvoo boasted in our midst, “This is the instrument (he said about his old book) which will overturn old Joe Mormonism;” and he admitted (a witness who heard him told us) “he was going to Nauvoo with the express purpose of getting the material for a treatise against Joe.” He wished to have a private interview with Joseph Smith, but he refused, “because (he said) many people like this come to me, and if I have no witnesses, they publish any sort of false accusation they choose about me once they have gone.” Joe had “different spirits” did he not, Mr. R., so as to be able to understand the purpose of that evil man at first sight? As for his book, J. Smith said that it was very old Greek, apart from a few pages in one end of the book, which were Egyptian Hieroglyphics; that is nearly all the basis there was to Casswell’s disgusting story. Later he was challenged to show his book, if that is what it was; and all he did was to exit over to England. A worse exit than Joe made when he went out for a ride. Mr. Smith understood Greek and Hebrew well, and there were hundreds in Nauvoo besides him who understood them. The work of Mr. R. proves his witness to be lying when he tells Joe that he got the Psalter miraculously, and at the same time denying miracles, proving that he is not too truthful to publish all the other lies which are in his story and his book.
Having ransacked his old essays and the newspapers, and every sinkhole, for every tale he could pick upon and show his own deceptive reasoning, yes, having racked his brains to the highest degree of Hydrophobia in his pulpit, the Rev. remembered the book called “History of the Saints,” and while beating it against the pulpit, and nearly tearing it to shreds, out of rage for the paper and ink, he showed what he would do with its author; and before showing a single heresy in it, or bringing any reason or scripture to gainsay it, except for his own claims and those of his partners, he condemned it wholesale in the following evangelical sentences:—”If you wish to buy a worthless book, here it is. If you want a book full of deceit, here it is. [If this was true it would have been easier for him to give one example of the deceit.] If you want a book showing the DEVILISHNES OF JOE, here it is,” &c. Now there’s an evangelical and gentlemanly way to review a book, isn’t it? But, it is lucky that we are not within reach of the teeth and nails of biters like this, or woe betide us. One could think that his teeth were harder even than the teeth of the iron press, and that he was angry enough to chew it to bits, judging by the fury he showed against the press that publishes our books. Oh, how he urged everyone to oppose them with all their might. Louis Philippe of France was never as hostile to the freedom of the press as is this man! Poor thing! prevent the Saints from publishing your tricks and your deceit and those of your partners, is it! You remind us of the murderer who shouted for the gallows to be pulled down, saying that it was an evil thing.
How could Mr. R. show the oppression and unfairness in his heart, more than by trying his utmost to prevent us from publishing our principles, and defending our characters, and our religion, through the press? He had already warned the people not to listen to us, and there is scarcely an audience for us in the places where he and his like have an influence; but the above foolish tales, and the like, are asserted to our faces, in order to raise commotion, and to prevent us from worshiping God, to the point of being a disgrace to Christianity even in the sight of atheists. He also did his best to bring the revenge of the government upon us, by comparing us to the Chartists who previously caused trouble here, suggesting that we would do likewise unless we were soon exiled. And in addition to all this, if he could close the press to us, he thought that he would be able to do and say as he wished without opposition. Yet he could not, and he cannot show one example to prove the Saints agitators. They do not preach or do anything against the freedom of any man, without mentioning the religious persecutions of their neighbors; but they preach the gospel in which they believe, for which the government allows them as much freedom as it does for others. If our religion is unscriptural, let that be proven, and we assure you that we will be glad to leave the heresy immediately. Are we not Welshmen, and reasonable creatures, born free in a free country, and hundreds of us having been respectable members, holding church offices, with the various denominations for many years? Why can we not enjoy the same freedom now as we enjoyed then, since we have the same God, but that we have changed our denomination? Why stir up trouble and tell these unfounded tales against us, and raise up a crowd of vengeful men to harm us, and gather around our meetinghouses, shouting, complaining, and throwing stones through the windows, gnashing your teeth at us. And what is the reason for so much commotion, and trying to get people to get the masters of the Saints to sack them from their jobs? It is not the Saints who start such tumult, although attempts are made to place all the blame on them. If one of the Saints is guilty of disturbing anyone’s worship,—if he tried to get anyone’s possessions deceitfully;—if he transgressed the laws of the land or the laws of morality, there is a court to determine this, and we assure you that the Saints will be as keen to bring the criminals there, as is anyone else. What fairer can be expected than that? Again we say, that our religion has nothing to do with political or business things, or any other things, but only with what is evangelical. Why, then, are we not left in peace? If our religion is such an obvious deceit, as is claimed, reasonable people “of this enlightened age” will come to see this without our being persecuted with lies; but if it is divine truth, we have a dispensation from God, and a commission to proclaim it; therefore, permit us to do so, just as others who profess similarly are permitted. Also a short time will prove this, and if it is true, our persecutors should beware, lest they persecute God’s beloved ones in their ignorance! This is not the first time that has been done.
Perhaps our reader thinks that we have stooped too low in following our opposer, and have used too severe a scourge; but it is excuse enough to remind him that we were forced to follow his sentences and his shameful accusations. One could not have done other than “answer the fool according to his foolishness,” since there is nothing else for us to grasp throughout all his assertions. Remember that we are defenders, yes, we are defending our religion and our characters; and not to do so would be “to suffer like a murderer or a thief.” He did not suggest a principle or a topic to be treated according to the scripture; otherwise, it would have been much sweeter to write fair reasonings to shed light on some point of doctrine, with the scriptures as a standard. But if it were thus, one can see that it would rest upon us to continue both sides of the argument, while our opponent merely proclaims false accusations on people’s characters. Whoever blames our review for doing this, then, should blame the one who forced us to follow him. And if he appears again, let us hope that the Bible will be his standard—the truth his motto—that godly love for men’s welfare will be his principle, and that the press (which today is free, thanks to the government) will be his medium. If his preceding sentences are doubted, there are plenty of witnesses who heard them, and who wrote them down at the time. And now we present these defensive observations for the consideration of the reader, praying with all our hearts for the blessing of the Spirit of truth upon them to convince our dear fellow nation of the truth of our religion, and to bring them to embrace it and to enjoy the fulfillment of its divine blessings. Amen.