Review of the treatise of W. Jones
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
D20 DAVIS, John. Adolygiad ar draethawd W. Jones, Bethesda, yr hwn a elwir “Egwyddorion Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf yn cael eu pwyso yn nghlorianau rhesymau ac ysgrythyrau.” (A review of the treatise of W. Jones, Bethesda, which is called “The principles of the Latter-day Saints weighed on the scales of reason and scriptures.”) Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, Printer, .
16 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 62.
The contents of A review of the treatise of W. Jones first appeared in Zion’s Trumpet for 6 September 1851 (pp. 282–87) and 20 September 1851 (pp. 293–303). As the title suggests, John Davis is reviewing a pamphlet about the Church which had been published by a W. Jones a short time before; it had been sent by a fellow member of the Church for Davis’s evaluation.
In the polemic fashion of the nineteenth century, Davis refutes W. Jones’s observations and conclusions one by one while calling attention to Jones’s ignorance and lack of perception and preparation.
Jones, on the title page of his 24-page pamphlet, quotes Daniel 5:27, “Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Davis counters this apparent reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint at the conclusion of his review by advising that no one should shout “Tekel” until he has examined more carefully what is being weighed. Jones concludes his publication with some lines of poetry; Davis does likewise, but with this difference: where Jones predicts that The Church of Jesus Christ will soon be buried and forgotten, Davis prophesies its triumph.
Review of the Treatise of W. Jones, Bethesda,
Which is called “The Principles of the Latter-day Saints Weighed in the Scales of Logic and the Scriptures.”
By John Davis, Merthyr, Editor of “Zion’s Trumpet.”
One of the brethren in the North has been kind enough to send the above booklet for us to review, which we shall do with pleasure. It contains 24 pages, and we must confess that it is somewhat more genteel than many that preceded it in discussing the Saints. It says on the title page, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Indeed, perhaps it was thus; but we must examine the weights, in order to determine whether they are accurate. We feel quite satisfied with the balances, for we have weighed Mormonism in them many times before, and have found them to be accurate.
Our author begins his treatise by likening the Latter-day Saints to Papism, Muhammadism, and Puseyism. “Their doctrines,” says he, “are an interwoven mixture of presumptuous and destructive heresies, if one but examines them in the simplicity of the gospel.” Does he know what the simplicity of the gospel is? We hope that he does not mean the simplicity of the gospels of the sectarians, those who contradict themselves so much, so that nothing similar to simplicity pertains to them. A little further on he says, concerning the Saints, that “the primary tenets of their belief are that they can heal the body by their anointing it with oil, and if one of their ministers immerses it in water, its soul will receive salvation.” Surprising how contrary this is to the teaching of James (chap. v., 14, 15), where he commands to anoint with oil, as well as to the teaching of Jesus Christ, who says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved!” That must be the “divers and strange doctrines” that Paul mentions, those that will be in the last times, because they are so opposite from the scriptures! Our author should not shout “Tekel,” until others can inspect the weights: his end of the scales is the light end here at least; in any event we shall let the scales determine the matter.
“I do not think,” he says, again on the same page (namely, the 4th), “that the deceit is so hidden that all who understand the Bible cannot perceive it readily.” Who understands the Bible? We fear that the men who purchase commentaries do not. Those who pretend to understand the Bible the most, are those who know the least about the Saints; for they are the ones who seek the most diligently for miracles to prove our divinity, as we shall show before finishing. We believe that the “deceit” of the Saints is so hidden, that there are thousands who have joined with them who have failed completely to perceive it. How is it that so many preachers accepted among the sectarians have been enticed to join the Saints, we wonder?
Next, our author tells of two groups who are susceptible to being seduced by the Mormons, namely, silly, ignorant women, and the promising young people of Wales. They are to be pitied, if they believe the “primary tenets” of the Saints, namely, anointing the sick, and baptizing for salvation! “Thus, we counsel my fellow young people,” he says on page 5, “to listen to the gospel in its simplicity, as it is preached in our time, and as it was preached in the time of our fathers for salvation, instead of going to listen to baseless tales, and silly and superstitious imaginings.” Yes, listen to the gospel as it is preached in our time, and in the time of our fathers, and not as it was preached in the time of Christ and the apostles! Listen to it in its simplicity, as it was reformed by men who were excommunicated from the Papist church—as it is by the daughters of the mother!
Next, our author gives, on pages 5 and 6, some of the opinions of the Mormons, which are as follows:—
“1. They believe that the true church, or the Christian church, and the gospel of the Son of God, together with the influence of the Holy Ghost, were taken from the earth following the apostolic age—and that it is full of oppressive abodes, with no one to uphold the remembrance of the Lord for 1,600 years.
“2. They believe that God sent an angel of light to reveal the gospel to one Joseph Smith, and that he was authorized to reestablish the Christian church on the earth, by preaching the gospel himself, together with authority to ordain others to the word.
“3. They claim to have the same commission that the Apostles received from Jesus Christ,—that they are to establish the church in the same way, and on the same conditions, and that they possess the same authority as the Apostles.
“4. They claim to have the same qualifications to make a Bible as did the holy Apostles and Prophets, and that they do not know how soon they shall have a commandment to do so.
“5. They believe there is to be a probationary condition after death, and that all who were in the world from the apostolic age to the time that the gospel was revealed to Joseph Smith, are subject to it,—and salvation will be offered to them, by preaching the gospel in Paradise, (or as the Pope calls the place, purgatory).
“6. They believe that the day of judgment will last for a thousand years.
“7. They believe there are two heavens, not counting the celestial heaven, or the starry heaven.
“8. They believe that after they go to California, Jesus Christ will come to meet them, and that they will reign with him for 1,000 years, when everyone else will be destroyed, &c.
“I shall not mention here the deceit of the Book of Mormon; its destiny for my part is the same as that of the Koran of Muhammad. May humanity blush because of it, and refuse to have anything to do with it; may it be buried in the land of its birth, and may its remembrance go to the whirlpool of perdition.”
Now, before we examine the foregoing items, we inform our readers that we will have to jump from place to place in our author’s book, in order to get hold of the different reasons that have a connection with some of the items under scrutiny, because his treatise is so untidy. We shall examine them in the following order:—
(1.) It is true that we believe the church was taken from the earth following the apostolic age; but we do not see this as “unworthy of a powerful God of mercy, who wishes for every man to be saved.” Since it was men who refused the gospel, God cannot be considered merciless in any way at all. Our God is merciful, and sends missionaries to preach to the spirits in prison, and to those who did not hear the gospel in the flesh; while the God of the sectarians leaves thousands of our fellow creatures to go to perdition without ever hearing a preacher; “for how shall they believe without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?” With respect to the church’s being taken from the earth, we can show that it is quite logical and scriptural, and very important. Since the sectarians of the land say that Papism is not the church of God, the church must not have existed on the earth when none of the present-day sects were in existence, except for Papism. It is from the Papist church that all the sects of our land derived, as can be proved with historical evidence. What became of all those who died when Papism filled the land, when not one of the different sects of this age had been heard of? God was quite unmerciful, if he did not give them an opportunity in the other world. The creed of the Saints concerning this matter is not only logical, but scriptural as well. “Let no man deceive you by any means,” says Paul; “for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (2 Thes. ii, 3). See also in Rev. xii, 14‚17. What falling away is this, except it be a falling away from the faith? One can have further clarification of this in our treatise on “The Body of Christ, or the Church,” so there is no need to elaborate on this topic here.
(2.) It is true that we believe that an angel of light appeared to Joseph Smith, and presented him with the eternal gospel, and with authority to preach it to every creature. There is nothing illogical in that, nor anything unscriptural. The work of angels in every age of the world is to minister; and since the gospel was not on the earth, there was no one more appropriate than an angel to reveal it; for John says, in Rev. xiv, 6, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Another angel is to follow after that one, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city.” If there is an angel to proclaim the fall of Babylon, there is also an angel to restore the gospel. Next, it is amusing to read what our author says concerning this topic, namely, that “the book of God, and the Book of Mormon are contradictory; the book of God says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children, and the Book of Mormon claims that the kingdom of heaven was not extended to them. The conclusion is that all the little children who died from the time of the Apostles until the time of Joseph Smith, are lost,” (page 7). Has this man ever seen the Book of Mormon? We know that it has never been read by him; for the Book of Mormon mentions more about the salvation of little children than does the Bible. Let him try to see the Book of Mormon somewhere, and let him read on pages 557 and 558 of the second English edition, where he may see that “little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world,” and that they are “partakers of salvation.” We could indicate many stronger phrases, but we consider that sufficient to shame our author, and to show his incorrect weights again.
(3.) The Saints do not claim to have the same commission that the apostles received from Christ, rather a new and similar commission; but they do claim that they are establishing the church in the same form, and on the same conditions, and that they have the same authority as the apostles. Were we to claim that our church is not in the same form, &c., as the primitive church, then we would be seeking to prove our church false, while claiming it to be just the opposite. Here again we are consistent with logic and scripture.
(4.) He says that the Saints claim to have the same qualifications as did the holy apostles and prophets to make a Bible. Quite true; if God and his Spirit have not changed, he can inspire apostles and prophets to write additional scriptures, for there is a great need for them, especially by the sectarians, for they do not understand half of the scripture already given.
(5.) It is true that we believe that the spirits in prison have an opportunity to hear the gospel preached, so they can be judged according to men in the flesh; and that has been proved in our treatise about “Preaching to the Spirits in Prison, and Baptism for the Dead.” It is remarkable that our author would not read the books of the Saints, instead of appearing so obtuse. To say that is the same as saying that we believe in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Let him read in 1 Peter iii, 18—20; and iv, 6, and he shall have proof that the above doctrine is scriptural, and that no one can shout “Tekel” at it. Were not the dead preached to by Christ, so they could be judged according to men in the flesh? What difference does it make that Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Elias from Anglesey, Williams from Wern, Christmas Evans, &c., are good men? They are not too good to hear the preaching of the fulness of the gospel in the spirit world, and to be lifted up to an even brighter glory. Those men did their best while they were on the earth, and certainly they will be rewarded for their labor, and they will have an opportunity to have the fulness of the eternal gospel. Also, there is hope for all the wicked who have not heard the gospel, to hear it in their prison in the other world, after they have paid the last farthing; for they were no worse in the flesh than were the antediluvians. Christ preached to those spirits, while others on the earth were baptized for them. The only ones that will remain in the fire forever are those who have committed the unpardonable sin; many will be cast into the eternal flame, without being there eternally, if they have not committed the unpardonable sin. If someone does not believe in the other world, he will be justly condemned. No writer should take occasion to publish books to oppose any sect from the sayings of “silly, ignorant women,” while there is an abundance of books published by that sect. Those who do this show dishonesty. Now, the biggest part of William Jones’s book has been answered previously, as he could see were he to read our books.
(6.) “They believe,” he says further, “that judgment day will last for a thousand years.” From which old woman did he hear that, pray tell? We have heard reverends of our country say that every sinner who dies goes directly to judgment, and that his fate is determined for all eternity. If that is so, the sectarians believe that the judgment will last for more than two thousand years.
(7.) “They believe there are two heavens,” says Mr. Jones further, from the mouth of some old women, we suppose, “not counting the celestial heaven, or the starry heaven.” What the Saints believe is, that “there are many mansions” in our Father’s house.
(8.) “They believe that, after they go to California,” he says further, Jesus Christ will come to meet them, and that they will reign with him for a thousand years, when everyone else will be destroyed.” Perhaps William Jones has read this, for the biggest part is true. Zion is commanded to get up on a high mountain, and to build a city and a house for God; and when Jesus Christ comes on the clouds of heaven, those who are alive and dead in Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; and we shall reign with him for a thousand years. (See Isaiah xl, 9; 1 Thes. iv, 17; Rev. xx, 4, 6.) With respect to the destruction of others, we believe that “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God [namely, those who do not believe in the revelations of that time], and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” not as it is preached by the sects of the age, and our fathers, rather as it was preached by Jesus himself and by his apostles, or as it is preached by the Latter-day Saints. (See 2 Thes. i, 7, 8.) All who do not know God, and who fail to say by the Holy Ghost that Christ is the Lord, a witness which is received by revelation, will be destroyed. Saints is the name of those in whom he will come to glory, and not any who call themselves by the names of men.
“I shall not mention the deceit of the Book of Mormon,” he says further on; no, he will not, we hope, before he reads it. Our author knows as much about the Koran of Muhammad, as he knows about the Book of Mormon, and as much about the two as he knows about “the whirlpool of perdition.”
Now, we shall go further along in our author’s book, and quote what he says on page 10:—“Theologians view the general government of our world in three parts, namely, from the fall of Adam until John the Baptist, the Father governed; from John the Baptist until the day of Pentecost, the Son governed, and from the day of Pentecost until the end of the world, the Holy Ghost shall govern. * * * In the Mosaic dispensation, God spoke on the earth through his angels; in the dispensation of John the Baptist, God spoke on the earth in the flesh; but in the present dispensation God speaks on the earth through his Spirit; and the ministry of the Spirit is called the last days,” (referring to Acts ii, 17, 18). We prefer to believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost govern from the beginning to the end, than to believe what the theologians say. God spoke through his Spirit before John the Baptist, and also spoke through his angels after him, which shows the foolishness of the theologians.
In the foregoing quote, our author says that the ministry of the Spirit is called the last days; and then he recites the following verses:—“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.’” Here he asks, “Was it on the day of Pentecost, 1,800 years ago, or in the time of Joseph Smith, 23 years ago, that the dispensation of the last days began?” It is very easy to know which days are the last days; they are the last days, and not the others. These days are closer to being the last days than is the day of Pentecost. When God spoke of the last days, he knew which ones they were; and he said that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, which did not take place on the day of Pentecost, or any other day since then. Who on that day prophesied, or saw visions, or dreamed dreams? Yes, let us read the two following verses, which are as follows:—“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” Did all these things happen on the day of Pentecost, or on the following days? No, never. What happened on those days was a pouring out of the “firstfruits of the Spirit,” about which Joel prophesied, which will be poured upon all flesh. When the words of Joel are fulfilled, the wolf and the lamb will be seen dwelling together, for the Spirit of God will have been poured upon all flesh. What Peter said on the day of Pentecost was, that “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” namely, the Spirit that was to be poured upon all flesh in the last days, and which was given as a firstfruit to them at that time. Therefore, it is not blasphemy and presumption to say that in the days of Joseph Smith, or the last days, the prophecy of Joel will be fulfilled. When God speaks of the last days, we can be sure that he knows that they are the last ones, and not some days previous to them. It is clear that our author has weighed this again with the incorrect weights.
Furthermore, on page 11, “The Mormons say,” says he, “that Joseph Smith was the first of the Latter-day Saints, and that there is no one else by that name except for his followers. I myself believe St. Peter, that the 3,000 who received his word willingly on the day of Pentecost, were Latter-day Saints.” If so, we must believe that the believers on the day of Pentecost were Latter-day Saints, and that the Saints of the former days were followers of Joseph Smith. It was quite easy for Paul to prophesy concerning the men who would leave the faith in the last days, when those days were in his own time!
On the same page, our author shows “the great foolishness of saying that the gospel and the church were taken from the earth!” “What a terrible thought,” he says, “after gracious God gave his Son to die for sinners;—for him to leave the world, for which his Son had suffered pain and agony on the cross, in darkness, despair, and misery, without hope and without God in the world, for 1,600 years.” That is practically how it was, according to the sectarian creed of the country. Do they not know that it was Papism that overspread the Christian world during the majority of the above time? God permitted the mother whore of the earth to fill the world with religion for centuries; and presently he gives the same permission to her daughters, or those which derived from her. But if the religion of Christ was not on the earth during the above time, who was at fault? we are certain that God was not at fault, rather it was men. And if we allow that true religion was in the world at that time, God did not care for more than just a small handful of his creatures, although “the gift had been purchased,” and “a fountain had been opened.” God is merciful and just, and has organized a plan to preach the gospel to every creature, whether in this world or in the other world, whether in this age or some other age. Cease to weigh so unfairly, Mr. Jones.
It is true that the Christian dispensation is to stand its ground, and that Jesus Christ said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That rock is revelation, and not that which will be affected by flesh and blood, or human wisdom. No one is a worthy rock to be placed as the foundation of the Church, if he does not know by the Spirit that Christ is the Lord. That the Church or the woman flew from the dragon to the wilderness was no proof that it was defeated; for the church was “nourished there for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” (See Rev. xii, 14.) It was necessary that there come a “falling away first,” before the Church could meet Jesus Christ (2 Thes. ii, 1—3); and it was not defeated by the serpent or the gates of hell, since it received “two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place.” If the bodies of the apostles and others were destroyed, the church was in no way destroyed: if it was not seen on the earth for a season, yet it was alive somewhere, and it is logical to suppose that its gospel was being preached also, though not among those who had refused it. Weigh more correctly, dear friend.
Next, on page 12, our author says that the Mormons claim “that some of them are apostles, some are prophets, some are teachers, and some have the gift of healings, others the gift of speaking with strange tongues, others the gift to interpret, and others the gift to work miracles.” Then he strives to prove by the light of reason and scriptural revelation, that those who call themselves apostles of the latter days do not fill the characteristic of apostle, because there is no one who can say that he has received his sight from them. We wish for our author to read the different publications of the Saints, so he can have the opportunity of knowing what it is that is done by the Saints. We dare not offer proof of the divinity of our religion by referring to our miracles, for that is the way used by the false prophets, when they draw fire from heaven to prove their divinity. If our author says that the Mormons have many excuses not to work miracles, he should note that even Jesus Christ had some also; for he did not work many miracles in one place, because of their unbelief (Matt. xiii, 58): we could note many excuses if there were need to do so. “One reason they have is,” says he, “that they cannot satisfy men; 2nd, they cannot without the faith of those who ask; 3rd, they cannot unless the one on whom the miracle is worked believes.” Now we ask, did Christ satisfy men when on the cross, or did he cast out the deaf and dumb devil from the young boy without faith or belief on the part of his father (Mark ix, 23, 24)? Read also as an answer, Matt. viii, 5—13; ix, 2; xv, 28; xvii, 14—21; besides scores of other places we could note. “Christ had not,” he says further, “mentioned the thinking of the governors of the feast before turning the water into wine; rather he did it without the governor’s knowledge.” Christ’s mother and the servants were faithful, and the miracle was worked because of their faith. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” said his mother, which shows that she had considerable faith with respect to getting more wine. “Also,” says our author, “Christ performed a miracle to satisfy strangers, yes, even his enemies.—St. Matthew xvii, 26, 27.” Let Mr. Jones read these verses again. Who saw this miracle, except for Peter? The piece of money was to satisfy the strangers, and not the scene of Peter fishing, and opening the mouth of the fish. That was a private miracle, and was worked because money was lacking.
On the following page, (namely, 13) he says, “It is reasonable to ask for the proofs they have of their authority, in order to have the standard of their doctrines in accordance with the truth of the scriptures, if it is so.” If the Saints cannot give miraculous proofs, then their doctrines are not in accordance with the Scriptures, even though the doctrines of the sectarians of the age are amply in accordance without giving one proof whatsoever. Oh, such inconsistency and blindness! Christ did not do miracles to satisfy anyone in this matter, for miracles are not proofs to prove truth. The Spirit of God is what proves truth. “If any man,” says Jesus Christ, “will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Now, the men who ask for miracles, if they have read that, are behaving foolishly, and deserve to be called a wicked and adulterous generation; and indeed, no sign will be given them, though they request their entire lives, except the sign of the false prophets.
At the bottom of the same page, and the beginning of the other, our author mentions Christ’s raising of the daughter of Jairus, his casting out the devil from the young boy, and his healing of the lame man at the temple, as deeds that were done without faith, and without anyone’s asking for them. Our friend does not even try to understand his Bible. Did not Jairus have faith? and did not Jesus command him, “Only believe?” (See Mark v, 35—43.) With respect to the young boy, Jesus said to his father, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark ix, 23); and after he believed, the devil was cast out. The reason the apostles could not cast it out was because of their unbelief (Matt. xvii, 20). And with respect to the lame man of the temple, it is better to read our halfpenny pamphlet, namely, “Prove all things.” There we prove that the gift of receiving health was in possession of the lame man, and that through that he received the blessing. It is too much work for us to answer the same thing several times.
It is Mr. Jones who says that the miracles of Christ and the apostles were public, and that through them they proved their divine mission. The Jews tell another story; Christ and the apostles were killed by them because of their deceit. If the New Testament testifies of their miracles, a great number of other books among the Jews deny them. They reason that Christ had an opportunity to work a miracle on the cross, but he was unable to do so. In no way do we doubt the miracles of Christ and his apostles; rather we wish to show that there were not as many who believed in them at that time as believe in them now. If Christ were to come to the earth in this age, and if he were to do the same works as earlier, promising the Spirit of revelation to everyone, we believe that he would receive just as bad treatment as he received earlier, treatment from the most prominent reverends and godly men. The people of every age of the world tend to disbelieve the works of God in their age. Now, the behavior of the world in this age, with respect to miracles, is the same as it was in the time of Jesus Christ. In primitive times, this proverb was said, “Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” In like manner our author says, on page 15, in this age; namely, “Now, I ask where have those who call themselves Latter-day Saints given a sign so obvious that it cannot be denied, or that it can be believed: it is said in this area that a remarkable miracle was performed in Machynlleth; there they say that it was in Carmarthen the thing happened, and in Carmarthen they say that it was in Merthyr Tydfil the blind man received his sight; there they say again that they heard that one of the apostles calmed the storm on the voyage to California.” Are not the two languages similar? The two parties wish to be eyewitnesses themselves, and then they will believe. There will be those like this who depend on seeing signs, who will be deceived by false prophets and false teachers, when they come to show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. There are no doubt many examples of men who believed in the time of Christ, and also in this age, by seeing the power of God, but those are not the men who seek signs. They are men, most often, who came to believe in the normal way, namely through preaching.
On pages 15 and 16, our author intimates that the Mormons believe that “the church of God cannot exist without having twelve Apostles in connection with it.” Perhaps the church can exist, under some circumstances, without having twelve apostles; but it appears that twelve are more normal than fewer than that; and we also think that the church can also exist having more than twelve. But the church cannot exist without apostles. Mr. Jones says that Mathias was chosen in place of Judas; and he gives the impression that no other apostles were ordained. “Consider,” he says also, “that all met with death, except the apostle John; but we have no account of twelve other apostles being ordained in their place. If the Latter-day Saints have an account of that, we would like to know who they were by their names;—and before their witness is solid, it must be from the book of God, and not from the Book of Mormon.” Our author now shows, not only his ignorance of the Book of Mormon, but also of the book of God. Does he not know of the apostles Barnabas and Paul (Acts xiv, 14), and of “Andronicus and Junia, who are of note among the apostles” (Rom. xvi, 7)? Furthermore, read the following:—“And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all of the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. xv, 5—9). It is seen from this that there were not only twelve apostles, but quite a few more of them. Is that witness solid enough, pray tell? there are more proofs available if necessary. “The opinion of the theologians [simpletons] of the ages is that no more than twelve apostles were ordained.” That is not the opinion of the scriptures, nor the Book of Mormon. “An apostle was one,” says our author, “ who saw the Lord Jesus in the flesh, and who was a witness of his resurrection.” Further, “The speech of St. Paul proves that he could not have been an apostle, if he did not see Christ in the flesh; and had he waited a little it would have been too late for him.” Now, Paul did not see Christ before his resurrection, and he could not have been a witness of his resurrection; nevertheless, Paul was an apostle. That which the sectarians understand by seeing “Christ in the flesh,” was to see him before his crucifixion, which Paul did not; but Paul did see him in his resurrected flesh, and apostles in this age could see him thus also; and how does Mr. Jones know that the apostles of the latter days have not seen him also. How much better was anyone for seeing Jesus Christ before his crucifixion, to be a witness? they could not say, in spite of that, that Christ was the son of the living God, without having a revelation from heaven. Paul was, despite not having seen Christ before resurrecting, as much a witness of him as they; for not one of them saw him resurrect any more than Paul did; and the apostles in this age, by revelation, can be as good witnesses of that as can any of the early apostles.
Further on the above topic, our author says, on page 17, “Have I not chosen you the twelve, and ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. St. John saw, in the Revelation, the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God; and the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. From this it appears beyond any argument that only one apostolic age was ordained.” Did not the Lamb have twelve apostles when he began to edify his church? We do not see that there is any impropriety in having the names of those twelve apostles placed on the twelve foundations. But were Paul and Barnabas, &c., not apostles, because their names are not on those foundations? They were, says everyone. Well, if they were, can others not be in this age also? Indeed, how are the saints perfected without apostles and prophets? It is said in Eph. iv, 11—13, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” By this we see that a church cannot exist without apostles, for it is necessary to have them for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ; and they will be necessary until we all come together in the unity of the faith, or until the edifying of the church is finished. The scaffolding is not taken down from the building until after it is finished; and apostles, prophets, &c., are not taken from the church until its edifying is finished. If Jesus Christ is to be with his church until the end of the world, and to continue as its Chief architect, he will no doubt keep the apostles and prophets working, until he completes his purpose, namely, finishing building the body of Christ. The apostles are the head of the church or the woman on the earth, and Christ is the Bridegroom, who is another head, in the same sense as the man is the head of his wife. The body cannot ever exist without a head, as it possibly could without feet. A head was the first member which God placed on the body, for it was one of the most essential members for leading the body. Read our treatise “The Body of Christ, or the Church,” and you will see many additional reasons for the continuation of apostles in the church, and the necessity of having them to complete the building.
We see nothing on pages 18 and 19 that is worthy of attention, since it is all nothing more than the author’s supposition; and on page 20, our author quotes a few verses that shatter his whole building; they are as follows:—“For he will yet come a second time in all the majesty and glory of his Father, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And whoever takes it upon himself to preach any other gospel than this, let him be anathema Maranatha.” “Preach the word being instant in season, and out of season; for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Now, we ask, who is it that professes to know God? Not those who deny revelation. And who but the Saints preach the same gospel as Paul, by exhorting men to seek the best gifts, and do not forbid speaking with tongues, and scorning prophecies? And who fails to tolerate that which the apostles preached earlier from being preached in this age? The sectarians of the country: it is they who dare to persecute the Saints for preaching all things as did the apostles; and it is they also who heap to themselves teachers, as we prove in our treatise “Sound Doctrine.” The above verses speak so clearly in favor of the Mormons, that there is no need to say another word.
At the end of the 20th page, Mr. Jones says, “For my part, I would believe Muhammad as soon as I would believe Joseph Smith, and the Koran as soon as the Book of Mormon; and it would be a full hundred times easier for me to give credence to the foolish and insane assertions of Joanna Southcott, or to any other of the religious deceivers who arose before him, or after him, as it would be for me to believe theirs.” That is true, for our author knows nothing about any of them. He describes Joanna Southcott as a man, poor thing; and a little further on, he shows more of his ignorance, by mentioning the “Valley of the Salt Glen.”
On page 21, our author tries to prove that Joseph Smith was not a prophet. “They say,” says he, “that he (J. S.) was the sun of the justice.” Oh, the foolishness of the man, when he still listens to the little old ladies, instead of reading our books: let him show that in any book if he can. If he wants to see the prophecies of Joseph Smith, let him read the “Book of Doctrine and Covenants,” newly published in Welsh, and he will see how many have been fulfilled. He could also benefit from reading more in his Bible, instead of saying things such as what he says on page 22, namely, that “all will be caught up to the air to meet” Jesus Christ. The dead and those who are alive in Christ will meet him, and not everyone, unless they are all “ever with the Lord.” With respect to the coming of Christ to his temple on the earth, there is nothing more logical and scriptural. Inasmuch as John, in the Book of Revelation, proves that Christ will reign on the earth for a thousand years, then why can he not go to his temple? We have neither space nor time now to note the scriptures; and therefore, we shall leave the reader to search for himself, while we hasten to finish.
Now, we shall leave the “Principles of the Latter-day Saints” in the scales of logic and scriptures, confident that no one will shout “Tekel,” until he looks at the weights. This, our author, on the whole, has made a better effort than many; but we hope that he will read a little more before he ventures to write another treatise. Since he ended with a bit of poetry, we shall do the same, confident that it will be beneficial.
Let Mormonism continue in its progress,
It is succeeding remarkably throughout the world;
Let the sectarians come to the light,
Before they are all deceived;
The false prophets, &c., will come,
To trip them up presently.
Before long the kingdom will be given,
Not to the sects, but to the Saints;
The unrighteous will be destroyed,
And the righteous will be rewarded.
May the time come, &c.,
When the Saints are seen at the head.