Was it God who sent Joseph Smith?
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J29 [JONES, Dan.] Ai Duw a ddanfonodd Joseph Smith? (Also: Ai dwyfol oedd cenadwri Joseph Smith?) (Was it God who sent Joseph Smith? [Also: Was Joseph Smith’s mission divine?]) Swansea: Printed and published by D. Jones, .
16 pp. 17.6 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 89.
There are two states for this pamphlet, both identical in every respect except for the title. The translated title for the first state is Was it God who sent Joseph Smith?, and for the second state the title is Was Joseph Smith’s mission divine?
The contents of this pamphlet are simply a reworking and translation of much of Orson Pratt’s Was Joseph Smith sent of God?, a 23-page booklet published at Liverpool in 1848. Orson Pratt skillfully combines logic, scripture, and eloquence in his defense of the divine calling of Joseph Smith.
Was it God who sent Joseph Smith?
All the publishing, the lecturing, and the warning to beware of us, all the false accusing, the persecution, and the scorn directed at us, together with the zeal and the tireless devotion of the Saints to convince the world of the truthfulness of their testimony, and the thoughtful and diligent searching of the honest in heart from among every level and station, are as many substantiating facts of the interest of our subject, and prove that the cause of all the uproar and these incomparable consequences deserves an impartial, prompt, and thorough examination. Our country, and the world, whenever they hear of the name of this person, are as if awaken from an eternal slumber,—they marshall their ranks voluntarily and boldly, either for or against him. Those who are impartial are few and infrequent. His name and his memory are as dear and revered by the one part of the world as they are hated and despised by the other part; and the tumult is increasing with unprecedented speed. The commotion is already too much for anyone to hide from the test,—”that he is beneath their notice;” for the great attention that his opponents give him suggests that Joseph Smith’s claim of being divinely sent is highly important; and it deserves consideration and examination as much as the unbiased mind deserves obligatory logic. Apart from his followers, those who know him best testify that his mission contains peculiarities of the ages and the mysteries of God, and that it bears the scent of life to life or of death to death for everyone who smells it.
Believers in the Bible readily acknowledge that all the inhabitants of the world should listen when the Lord speaks from heaven, and their comfort and their benefit, yes, their very lives depend on believing in, and obeying his commandment no matter how contrary it may be to their feelings and their previous beliefs. People, towns, countries, yes, a world, except for eight souls, were destroyed one time, because they scorned the message of God as the “deceit of a foolish man.” The behavior of each one to the divine message in every age has established his fate eternally; and every scorn shown toward his servants God considers scorn toward Him as well.
We do not suggest that a man’s assertion of his own mission, independent of proofs, is sufficient proof that his mission is from God; but his profession of such a thing deserves an investigation, to determine whether it is true or false. There is no account of any of God’s servants who came to our earth without declaring that he was sent by God. It is also a fact that God has never sent a servant to deceive the world or with a message that would deceive. God himself and not his servant is to prove the divinity of his mission and the truthfulness of his message—God never said to any of his servants, “Go to the world and prove to the people that I sent you.” No, we say, he did not expect a man to prove divinity—at best all that man can do is human; we must have God to prove divinity, and since the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith is our question, if there are no proofs of that to be had from God, let his assertion be refused as presumption, and he himself as a deceiver; but, if Joseph Smith can give directions how the reader can obtain from God divine proof of his mission beyond every argument, God will have proven through that, that it was He who sent Joseph Smith; and all the assertions, tales, and skill of all the men of the world together would not be sufficient to refute a proven divine fact. Has anyone of the learned men, the Reverends who profess to have a divine mission, or a leader of a party throughout our country or the world, offered to instruct his followers, as Joseph Smith promises to do, how to receive from God assurance concerning the divinity of his mission? If they do not, one must acknowledge that Mr. J. Smith is more unlike a deceiver than all that do not do so.
A divine mission, from the mouth of an inspired servant, differs so greatly from a secular mission, that it is easy for a lover of the truth, one who seeks, to perceive it;—it penetrates his mind like a two-edged sword, it eradicates false traditions from his heart, and pierces the iron seams of old beliefs and heresies consecrated by antiquity, and made respectable and popular by human wisdom. It distinguishes, with perfect precision, between truth and error—between the teaching of Christ and the teachings of men; with ease it subverts all logic and brings human wisdom against it. All opinions, creeds, and organizations previously formed by human wisdom in their academies and colleges vanish, like the morning dew before the rays of the sun—they all sink into oblivion in contradistinction to a message directly from heaven, which shines light into the honest mind like the great heat of the noon-day sun, and it says in the ears of those who search, “Here is the way, walk in it.” While the human endowment of teachings are fears at best, the great characteristics of the divine mission are the “great certainty in the Holy Ghost,” and the knowledge of its divinity from the one who will never leave his followers destitute; it is so different from a secular mission that it does not join with, or mix with, nor does it wish any association with any of them ever; it speaks, “Thus saith the LORD,” with divine authority; and it claims obedience from every station and every nation. Whoever obeys it to the end will be saved; and whoever refuses it will be damned, no matter how great his former justice and goodness—not one exception will be allowed. Such was every divine mission that ever came to our world, and unchangeable God will not send one that is contrary to all the others; if the mission of Joseph Smith is not similar do not believe that it is divine.
To go forward with the examination,—the great and important question is, did Joseph Smith’s mission come from heaven or from some other place? If God sent him, the sooner the better for all to understand that. If he did not, the church he established is not the church of God, rather the scores of thousands who have been baptized in it continue in their sins—their assertions are presumptuous—their testimonies are false, and they are of all men most pitiful.
Although thorough conformity with the plan is essential for a divine organization, the most perfect and detailed imitation of the form, if destitute of the power and authority, is not sufficient proof that its establisher had a divine mission. If Mr. Smith does not bring better proofs of his profession than the form, do not believe that he was a servant of God any more than are the establishers of sects that possess hardly a joint, a bone, or a knuckle of the Body of Christ; rather of the two beware of Smith’s mission, for its form is more dangerous to deceive, inasmuch as it is more similar to the original organization. Other churches do not profess to have apostles, prophets, evangelists, and inspired servants of God, which is a proof as clear and powerful as are the clarity and power of the truthfulness of the New Testament, that they cannot be God’s churches. But the Saints profess that they enjoy all the essential offices and gifts to be the church of Christ, and they profess that they have the essential authority to properly administer in all the ordinances, offices, and ministries of the original church, which proves their similarity to the plan, just as the enjoyment of the same teachings, ordinances, offices, &c., is proof of that. In all these things, then, Mr. Smith taught the same things, and he imitated the servants of God in the early ages; and until now no witness from the New Testament against any part of his mission can be had; until now his divine mission stands or falls on the same foundation as the one on which the authority of those authors stands; and it is the same thing to refuse the churches of the one and refuse the churches of the other with respect to their form and their profession.
One thing is certain and self-evident; namely, if there were no additional proofs of the divine mission of Mr. Smith than its perfect imitation of the church that is acknowledged as divine earlier, no one could refute his mission by the scriptures; for his mission is infallible no matter how great his supposed character flaws may have been. Can this be said as appropriately about any other messenger who delivered his mission or who established an organization in our country, or in any other country for the past two hundred and fifty years? No doubt it cannot; otherwise, let the proof be shown as is done here. Although good men, with a desire to serve and benefit their fellowmen, many of them, have established organizations and societies by human wisdom, their teachings mixed with truth and error, and their clashing opinions about ordinances and the most important things of the church of God, are such that they cannot stand the test of divine inspiration for a moment; the errors appear too clearly to be hidden—something too much or too sparse—noncomformity to the plan,—the faulty administration or total neglect of some ordinance, or some other deviation would show that it was man, not God, who made it. And now, after all the human wisdom the best of the world could manage, and after pondering, and striving their best to lay a foundation for the church of God, whereon to build effectively, we awake in the midst of turbulence to hear the account of the burial of their establishers under the heaps of their buildings, with their followers either trying to rebuild monuments or the originals, or each one by himself using the old stones however he can manage, some that are constantly breaking into pieces—splitting into shreds, and proving that the old human materials cannot withstand the heat of divine fervor, or the moral earthquakes of the last days—they are shadows of the twilight, and images that bear little resemblance to the old form, not to mention their being destitute of its power. How did all this happen? If Mr. J. Smith was a deceiver, where did he obtain so much more wisdom than all of his predecessors and his contemporaries? Who endowed him with the essential wisdom and power to establish a church entirely consistent with the divine portait of old? How could an impostor be so far superior to all the combined wisdom of seventeen centuries in order to create an organization different from all others under heaven, and entirely consistent in every detail and every part with the organization that Jesus and his disciples established? What! an impostor perceiving through the thick, black deceit of the ages, and proclaiming perfect doctrine in every sense, against which not one scriptural proof can be brought! That would be a miracle the like of which we have never heard about in the history of our world!
The purity and infallibility of the doctrine of this new Prophet is an incomparable witness, of no small moment, to prove his divine mission.
Yet we do not allow that even perfect doctrine is sufficient proof of the divine mission of its founder. We can conceive it possibile, though not probable, for a man to teach a doctrine unmixed with error, and yet be without authority to administer its ordinances. Swedenborg, Irvin, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Campbell, and a host of other well-known reformers taught principles that contained a proportion of truth, yet were mixed with error, which gainsays their divine mission, even though they should perform miracles. We have no example in history of a doctrine perfect in every respect being taught by any person, unless he had a divine mission; and it is the same thing to say that Mr. Smith is an impostor after doing all this, and saying that he has worked a miracle by so doing. If Mr. Smith taught a doctrine in any respect false, he should be rejected as an impostor, though he should, like the magicians of Egypt, turn rivers of water into blood, or create frogs in abundance, or even raise the dead like the Witch of Endor. On the other hand, if he taught a pure and perfect doctrine, he might be sent of God, though he himself should perform no miracle, like John the Baptist, the Prophet Noah, or many others who the Old and the New Testaments say were servants of God.
The scriptures teach us that God sent several well-known prophets in the early ages with missions that contained the destiny of kings, kingdoms, and nations, the disobedience to which would bring damnation; and yet, there is no account of any of those having worked a miracle. Which man is there who is sufficiently wise and powerful to prove the doctrine of Mr. Smith to be false? It is true that hosts have proved themselves sufficiently foolish to assert that, and have done all they could to prove it false; but where is the conqueror who won the battle today? It is true that many egotistical fools have come to the field against it with lying stories and baseless tales about its character, and have proclaimed its death, its burial, and have sung its elegy; but by the time that the first fool had killed it, behold another in the field proclaiming that it was he who had dealt the fatal blow to it, and that what his predecessor had asserted was a lie. And is not our country kept in constant noise and tumult of war against “Mormonism,”—all gainsaying it; every giant killing it in his turn; and despite everything—that it is still very much alive to frighten the superstitious religionists, a fact they themselves prove by their opposition. But, again we say, which great man has proved it false? The rock echoes in answer—which!
Who can show the difference between the teaching of Mr. Smith and the teaching of Christ and his apostles? Did they not teach a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins? So taught Mr. Smith. Did they not lay on hands to give the gift of the Holy Ghost? So taught Mr. Smith. Did they not say that inspired apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, bishops, elders, &c., were essential in the church of Christ? So indeed taught Mr. Smith. Did not the primitive Saints teach the necessity of enjoying new revelations, visions, ministerings of angels, the gift of healing, speaking with new tongues, interpreting through the Spirit, prophesying, and all the other spiritual gifts in the church? So indeed did this last great Prophet teach. Where then is the discrepancy of his doctrine with theirs? It cannot be found. The doctrine of the one is as perfect as the doctrine of the others; and again we say, this perfect agreement in doctrine is a strong testimony that Mr. Smith was sent by God.
Second.—In what manner does Mr. Smith testify that he received a dispensation of the gospel? He testifies that one of the angels of God, by the name of Moroni, revealed it to him; that this angel was one of the old prophets that was among the remnants of Joseph on the American continent. He testified that Moroni revealed to him where he had hidden the sacred records of his nation, about fourteen hundred years ago; that these records contain the “fulness of the gospel,” as it was taught earlier by this branch of the house of Israel. He gave power to Mr. Smith to reveal the contents of these records to the nations of the earth. Now, how does the testimony of Mr. Smith agree with respect to this matter with the revelation of John on the Isle of Patmos? John prophesies (Rev. xiv, 6) that by the ministering of an angel from heaven, the eternal gospel would be restored to the earth. Mr. Smith testifies that he received a dispensation of the gospel from an angel. The one uttered the prediction; the other testified its fulfillment. Although Mr. Smith brings forth pure doctrine, were he to say that it was not from an angel he received it, everyone could understand by that, that he was an impostor. If Mr. Smith was an impostor, how was he enabled, not only to teach perfect doctrine, but also to understand by what means that doctrine was restored to the earth? If he was an impostor, why did he choose to testify that an angel appeared to him, knowing that the coming of an angel was something incredible and unpopular in the sight of his fellowmen? If he was a sufficiently wise impostor to teach perfect doctrine, why was he not sufficiently wise to say that he had received it by some more credible means, in the sight of the world? Were Messrs. Irving, Wesley, the Pope, Muhammed, or any impostor of the age or the country sufficiently wise, not only to teach perfect doctrine, but also to testify having received it by means of an angel from heaven? If they did not do so, even if they were to teach pure and holy doctrine, we still would not allow that they had received authority to minister its ordinances. If Mr. Smith said that he had found these records by chance, and that he had been inspired to translate them by means of the Urim and Thummim; or if he professed having received his mission from the Holy Ghost, or from some other angel besides Moroni; or in any other manner other than what he said, it would be known immediately, with no further inquiry into the matter, that he was a deceiver. How did Mr. Smith think of all this cryptic exactness if he was a deceiver? Did anyone from among all the wise reformers and theologians of the ages perceive the necessity of all this detailed conformity? Whence his superior wisdom—his unparalleled understanding—and his extensive foresight—that he should so far surpass all the impostors that have appeared during the past 1700 years? Who will not acknowledge all this as strong testimonies of his superhuman mission?
Third.—The restoration of the “eternal gospel” to the earth by the angel Moroni would be of no benefit to men, unless someone had been endowed with authority to preach it and to administer its ordinances. Moroni could reveal a book that contained the beautiful and glorious plan of salvation, but no one could obey, even its first principles, without an administrator of divine authority and ordaining to preach it, to baptize, to lay on hands to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, &c. But did Moroni ordain Mr. Smith to the apostleship, commanding him to administer ordinances? No. Then why did he not give authority by an ordaining, together with revealing the eternal gospel to him? Because it appears that he did not have the right to do that.
Not all angels are equal in authority—they do not all have the same keys. Moroni was a prophet, but we have no account that he held the office of apostle; and, if he did not, he did not have the right to ordain Mr. Smith to an office he himself did not possess. No doubt he did all that he was commanded to do, which was to reveal the “stick of Ephraim,”—a record of his forefathers, containing the everlasting gospel. How, then, did Mr. Smith receive the office of apostle, since Moroni did not have the right to ordain him to that office? Mr. Smith testifies that Peter, James, and John came to him as ministering angels, and by the laying on of hands they ordained him to be an apostle, commanding him to preach, baptize, lay on hands to give the gift of the Holy Ghost, and administer all the ordinances of the gospel, as they themselves did when they were on the earth. Did Swedenborg, the apostles of Irving, or any other impostors in those dark ages profess that the apostleship was given to them by the last ones to have it—by an angel who held the office himself? No; consequently, they are not apostles, rather impostors. If Mr. Smith professed that he had received the apostleship by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, without an ordination under the hands of an apostle, we would understand clearly that his profession would be false, and that he himself would be an impostor. If he was an impostor, how did Mr. Smith discover this? Why did he not falsify the apostleship without an ordination, as did the Irvingites? How did he have so much more wisdom than Mr. Irving, so that he understood that he could not be an apostle unless he was ordained by an apostle? Those who believe that Mr. Smith was a false apostle must acknowledge that he has shown much more wisdom than did all the false apostles that preceded him, despite all their learning and their great talents. Does this not form another very strong presumptive evidence to prove the divine mission of Mr. Smith?
Such correctness as this in fulfillment of things of such immense importance in contrast to the fact that millions have erred concerning them before, indicates something more than human,—it indicates inspiration of the Almighty. The purity of Mr. Smith’s doctrine—the perfect coincidence of his testimony with that of John’s, in relation to the manner of the restoration of the eternal gospel to the earth, and the consistency of his testimony in relation to the manner of the restoration of the apostleship, are strong evidences that beautifully harmonize with and strengthen each other; the evidence is therefore accumulative, and increases with every additional condition or circumstance in a multiplied ratio, and seems almost irresistibly to force conviction upon the mind that Mr. Smith was divinely sent.
Fourth.—Joseph Smith not only professes, through the medium of angels, to have received a dispensation of the gospel, and the power and authority of the apostleship, but he also professes to have received, through revelation and commandment from God, a dispensation for the gathering of the Saints from all nations. Now, the doctrine of the gathering of all the Saints is either true or false; if false, then Mr. Smith must be an impostor. His incomparable correctness on all other points of his system cannot be sufficient to justify it; if this one point, the doctrine of the gathering, be false, that itself is sufficient in our view to prove him an impostor beyond any argument. Why? Because he professes to have received this, as with all his other doctrines, by revelation and commandment directly from heaven. On the other hand, if the doctrine of the gathering be a true doctrine and scriptural, that will form another evidence that will help in no small way, with all that has been noted, to prove that Mr. Smith was sent of God.
A doctrine may be true and yet not be mentioned at all in the scriptures; for example, Noah’s doctrine of gathering into the ark,—Lot’s doctrine of fleeing out of Sodom, and Christ’s doctrine to depart out of Jerusalem and flee to the mountains for deliverance, were all true, divinely commanded; nevertheless, it could not be proved or disproved by the scriptures given to any of the former prophets. It is just as possible for Mr. Smith’s doctrine of the gathering of the Saints in the latter days to be a divinely commanded truth, even if not one scripture mentioned a word about such an event; but Mr. Smith’s proclamation of the doctrine would not be any kind of evidence, under that circumstance, that he was sent of God; but if this doctrine can be proved to be scriptural, that is, if there are prophecies in the ancient scriptures that the Saints would gather in a certain age, in a certain way, and through certain means, and if Mr. Smith were to come in the certain age, professing that he had received a message to gather the Saints in that certain way, and by the means the scriptures foretold, then the perfect and exact agreement of Mr. Smith’s profession of receiving his message, with the scriptural predictions relating to such a work or message, will be a presumptive evidence that it was God who sent him.
The doctrine of the gathering of the people of God, including Israel, in the latter days, is too self-evident throughout the scriptures to need very many quotations here to prove it. Paul called the dispensation that contained the gathering of the children of God together the “dispensation of the fulness of times, in which He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.” He places this dispensation in the future to his age, and he says that the gathering would be holy, since “He,” namely God, would effect it. John, nearly one hundred years after the birth of Jesus, saw the great and wondrous things that would take place during the coming centuries. He saw the churches of Asia, which were at that time under his personal care, going to lukewarm apostasy. The universal apostasy from the purity of the gospel that was to take place over the face of all the earth, was portrayed before his eyes, under the reign of the “Mother of harlots of the earth”—the great Babylon that should make all nations drunk with the wine of the wrath of her wickedness. He saw that, after all the nations of the world had been in thick darkness for ages, deprived of the church, without apostles, without prophets, without the ministering of angels, without one cheering message from heaven, there would be one more message of mercy proclaimed to all people—that one more dispensation of good news from heaven would be sent by the ministering of an angel, having the restoration of the eternal gospel, whose universal proclamation through the whole world would be followed with a loud cry, that “the hour of God’s judgment is come.” Following the universal proclamation of this warning message, he saw another angel proclaiming the complete destruction of Babylon. Between the interval of the flying of these two angels, he heard another voice from heaven crying, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Remember that it was to be a “voice from heaven” that would call the Saints out of Babylon, not a human voice or plan, and not by human ingenuity alone, but by a “voice from heaven”—a direct revelation from God—a new revelation contemporary to the gathering that John saw, calling the people of God out from the contemporary Babylon a little before its fall. If Mr. Smith was an impostor, how did he come to get not only all the other particulars which we have mentioned, perfectly exact, but also to understand that there must be a gathering of the Saints out of Babylon, and that that work must immediately follow the restoration of the eternal gospel by the angel? Why did he not say, “My doctrine will truly save those who obey it and who stay in their country?” If he was an impostor, why did he place such a heavy cross to lift as it is for men to leave the country and the graves of their fathers? Why pierce strong family lines, which by nature bind hearts so tightly, and which make it difficult to obey its call? We are frequently told, “I believe and admire all your principles except the one about leaving the country: why can I not worship God here as well as in any other part of the world?” This seems reasonable to the human mind; and why did Mr. Smith not foresee that by requiring this he was fettering his deluded followers, while at the same time he was sufficiently wise to foresee the perfect exactness in all other things? But had he taught his followers to stay among the corrupt nations of the earth without gathering, although all his doctrine but this was perfect, that one mistake would be an irrefutable proof that his profession was false, and that he himself was an impostor. The silence, without exception, of all the reformers of the previous ages, and the fact that no one else of the millions who professed to be servants of God in our age, claimed to have received a commandment by revelation to gather the people of God, is proof as strong as it is divine of the prophecy that none of them received a dispensation of the eternal gospel, or authority to establish the kingdom of God. Had they received the latter, they would also have received a commandment to gather the Saints from Babylon; for on the truthfulness of John,—the one and the other are inseparably connected to each other. Before the restoration of the eternal gospel, God had no people in Babylon, and therefore he could not call them out.
It is impossible for a man who is destitute of divine authority, by an uninspired priesthood, and by preaching a degenerate gospel, to adopt people to God in Babylon, for they themselves are Babylon, and since,—
“Like father, like son,
In size and tongue.”
Thus would the Babylonian idol be on their conversions or on their adopted children despite everything. After the restoration of the gospel, only the apostleship, and the indispensable power, can possibly make men “God’s people” among the Babylonian nations. After and not before that would the “Voice from heaven” be heard calling such people from out of the nations. Despite how incomprehensible all this was to all the human wisdom of the early ages, it was not hidden from the piercing gaze of Mr. Smith, and he did not forget to tell us correctly about all its exactness. Is it not remarkable, seriously, if not incredible, that an impostor could include in his plan, as this one does, all the doctrines and every particular that pertain to the great dispensation of the latter days? It is true that men who for scores of years visited the libraries of the theologians and drank of the wisdom of the ages have established organizations that contain many truths, and show considerable wisdom; but here we have a young boy seventeen years old, with none of those advantages, reared in the woods of the western wilderness, without ever understanding the stars, much less the suns of our highly refined firmament, who unassisted has successfully devised and established a plan irreconcilably contrary to all the others, independent from them all, which is a perfect likeness of the divine plan in every particular, principle, and detail! This young boy was an incomparable impostor, was he not? It seems that he did not pay the least regard to how contrary he taught to the popular doctrines of our world—he did not ask the opinion of anyone in an Academy or a College, nor did he take counsel with the commentary of any commentator in the world. He did not give even a moment’s consideration as to whether his teaching would suit the feelings or the popularity of the age. He did not inquire as to whether it would be congenial or offensive to the feelings of the wealthy who would leave their palaces, and their splendid estates, and their luxury of life, nor did he mention the cost of emigrating. No, there is not even one sign that he gave any thought to counseling with flesh and blood, or to considering which things would be offensive or congenial to human feelings; rather in every circumstance he spoke as one having authority, saying,—”Thus saith the Lord,” about every doctrine, duty, and promise contained in his plan. Now, for a young man, inexperienced and illiterate, to profess to give the word of the Lord upon subjects of so great a moment—to reveal doctrines which were directly opposed, not only to his own traditions, but to the teachings and doctrines of the most popular, numerous, and powerful sects of the day, and at the same time have those doctrines exactly accord, not only with the ancient gospel, but with every minute prediction relative to the dispensation of the last days, is an evidence that carries the word “TRUTH” upon the face of it in a manner too obvious to be mistaken, and leaves a deep and lasting impression upon every reflecting mind, that we can hardly refrain from assenting in our hearts, that surely, “There is no doubt that it was GOD who sent Joseph Smith.”
But Mr. Smith’s message contains one characteristic that forms a correct scales, in which those who choose to do so can weigh and prove beyond any doubt whether he was a true or a false prophet. He promised by revelation, which he professed to have received from God, that the apostles of this church, and those who obeyed them, would enjoy blessings that no one else but God could give them: see Doct. and Cov., page 80,—”Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature. And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me,—ye are my friends; therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost,—and these signs shall follow them that believe:—In my name they shall do many wonderful works; in my name they shall cast out devils; in my name they shall heal the sick; in my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; and the tongue of the dumb shall speak; and if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; and the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them. But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation. Verily, verily, I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father’s kingdom where my Father and I am.” See here, this, our last Prophet, roaring boldly through the veils of darkness to a quarryman of our country, and giving a definite promise publicly before the whole world to every soul, male and female, rich and poor, of every color, people, and nation, who obeys his message—a promise, we say, that no impostor would dare to give on any conditions with one degree of hope that it would be fulfilled. A promise impossible for the human powers of our earth to fulfill; consequently, the enjoyment of this he promises would be divine proven facts of his mission. If an impostor were to promise the aforementioned blessings to his followers, his senses would teach him that they would not be fulfilled. By promising the blessings, Mr. Smith proves himself a more unlikely impostor than their deniers prove themselves. He believed in his own divine mission before daring to promise things that no one but God could impart. Now, if these signs had not followed according to his promise, the hundreds of thousands who gave obedience to his message would be bound to know by that, that Mr. Smith was an impostor,—every soul would have turned from him immediately, and the deceit would have been put to an end. But the fact that multitudes are obeying his message annually and continue in the church, is strong evidence that the promise is fulfilled—that the Holy Ghost is being enjoyed, and that the miraculous signs also follow. The denial of blind men outside is no proof that the gifts are not in the church where they belong, any more than the denial of blind men on the street is proof that furniture is not inside the house. Would any impostor, or leader of a party, or an Archbishop, or any man in the world, who doubts his own mission, give the foregoing promise to his followers? Is this promise being proclaimed by anyone from the pulpits of our country? Oh, no, they dare not promise any such proofs as these of their divine mission; they know full well that it would be the downfall and the exposure of the bareness and disgrace of their false, secular, uninspired, and powerless religions; it is easier for them to hide their shame and their heresy by asserting, “There has been no necessity of them since the apostolic age,” and that it is presumption to promise them. Oh! foolishness! a need for a divine religion and yet no need for divine proofs of which one it is! No need for healing the sick, is it? For what purpose are there thousands of doctors in our country? No need for modern-day revelations? For what purpose is there a need for the Holy Ghost, then? Oh, what a wide difference there is between the religion of Mr. Smith and Papism, Protestantism, Mohammedism, and every other ism of false religion—between his authority and the authority of the sectarian theologians of our world! The one promises his followers the enjoyment of all the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and a knowledge of his divine mission, while all the others deny the entire power of religion, until they are like dry stubble awaiting the fire, and teaching at best just to doubt and to live in endless fear and trembling.
Having called attention to these few of the many evidences of the divine mission of Joseph Smith, the author adds his witness that God has proved this fact to him in many extra-terrestrial ways, and thousands throughout our land testify of this also. May everyone obey his message and enjoy its promises, by which everyone may know that all the tales that are told against the character of Joseph Smith and his plan are false; those who do so will be saved; and those who refuse will be judged guilty by these evidences before the God who sent Joseph Smith.
That these evidences, under the approval of the Spirit of truth, may convince the reader to harken to this divine call, and enjoy the witness of the Holy Ghost, as do we, is the prayer of