What is "Mormonism"?

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

J23 JONES, Dan. Pa beth yw “Mormoniaeth”? (What is “Mormonism”?) Swansea: Printed and published by D. Jones, [1854].

4 pp. 17.3 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 83.

Except for the first two paragraphs, all the contents of this edi­tion of What is “Mormonism”? are in the first edition of this pamphlet published about eight years earlier (see J5). A long quote from the Book of Mormon that appeared in the first edition is omitted in the 1854 Swansea printing, as are three other paragraphs. Also a different introduction is used. Because a larger print and wider spacing are used in the 1854 printing, the quantity of content is substantially reduced, although both editions consist of four pages.

The Welsh title of the 1854 edition (Pa beth yw “Mormoniaeth”?) is slightly different from that of the earlier edition (Beth yw “Mormoniaeth”?). But since both pa beth and beth mean “what,” the meaning, and therefore the English translation, is unaltered.

What is “Mormonism”?

ALL the lecturing, preaching, publishing, and uproar of its oppo­nents, together with the great zeal of its supporters in explaining it, proves that “Mormonism” is not only important and interest­ing, but it also proves that there is a need to understand what it is. Who will answer the question correctly? If its opponents, why are not the opponents of every other sect and organization the most suitable to teach us what they believe? If Baptist preachers are the most suitable to preach Mormonism, then the Mormons are the best ones to preach Baptist beliefs;—the Independents say most correctly what Calvinism is;—the Unitarians ought to be believed in preaching Trinitarianism; and one should go to the Papists cha­pels to truly understand what are the true tenets of Sectarianism, &c. Yet it is more reasonable to believe its own preachers explain­ing it so the reason will be believed about everything else except for “Mormonism.”

The author has researched carefully into it for over a dozen years, and has had better opportunity to truly comprehend it than any other man of this nation, and he has proved to the satisfaction of thousands of its followers that he has no other purpose than to give a true portrayal of its principles, which are as follows, namely:—

I. That there is but one true gospel or plan revealed among men, whereby a sinner may be reconciled with God, sanctified, and prepared to have a part in the “adoption, that is the redemp­tion of the body,”—to enjoy the company of the firstborn, and all the saints perfected, when they will reign with their Lord for a thousand years, and thereafter may dwell eternally in the presence of Him who is “a devouring fire,” and the “everlasting burnings” of all imperfections. That this plan is perfect, like its Author, conceived in the divine council before the world existed, that it is, like its Author, unchangeable, in all its parts and its movements, bearing the same fruits, or answering such purposes in every age in the world, in which it has been, and is. Price Halfpenny.

II. That this same perfect plan was revealed by the good Creator and Father of mankind to his children in the beginning, by himself, by angels sent from him, by visions, the spirit of prophecy, and revelations in all manner of ways.

III. That this same perfect plan has been corrupted and perverted by men, in many ages of the world to such an extent that it became necessary for its author, the Creator and Sustainer of the world and its inhabitants, to restore it, through the same means as it was first established.

IV. That that perfect plan that was established by Christ has been changed and corrupted by men to such an extent, for hundreds of years, that it was no longer to be found in its power, its purity, and its essential glory among men; and this is the cause of all the various divisions and sects that overwhelm the world, namely because men are seeking to rediscover that plan, and having failed they make ones of their own as similar to it as they can, and give it the name of “Christianity,” “deny­ing its essential power,” as the prophecies say they would do in the “last days.”

V. That this same perfect plan has again been restored to the earth, and established in this age in the same manner, and by simi­lar means as in every previous dispensation; namely, by the voice of God in heaven, by angelic ministry, visions, and revelations from the Lord. This is a new dispensation, not a new plan, but a complete restoration of the original plan, namely the one which was purchased in the eternal council, which was established by the patriarchs, the prophets, by Christ, and the apostles, and this last time, that is the “eleventh hour,” by an angel from heaven to bring in “the latter-day glory,” “the fulness of the Gentiles,” “the restoration of Judah,” and “the remnant of Israel,” yes, that “the times of the restoration of all things” that God spoke through the lips of all his holy prophets ever might come, to prepare the way for the second coming of the Messiah to reign triumphantly over all his enemies in glory, for a thousand years. That is part of true “Mormonism.”

Next, we shall show the first principles in the fulness of the eternal gospel in this age, as in every previous age, which are as follows:—

1. All must believe in Jesus Christ, as abundant Savior, crucified and resurrected.

2. To repent of all their sins, and leave them, walking a new life, doing justice to all men, and serving God.

3. To be baptized, namely buried in water, by one of God’s chosen servants, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. See Acts ii, 38, and xxii, 16; 1 Peter iii, 21, &c.

4. To receive the Holy Ghost, through the laying on of hands by the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See Acts viii, 17, 18, 20, and xix, 6; 1 Tim. iv, 14; 2 Tim. i, 6; Heb. vi, 1, 2.

5. To believe in, and pray to enjoy the spiritual gifts, and the good blessings, that were enjoyed by those who obeyed this heavenly plan in former ages; such as, speaking wis­dom—speaking knowledge—miraculous faith—the gift of healing, and being healed, through anointing with holy oil in the name of the Lord, the prayer of faith, and the laying on of hands. See James v, 14, 15; Mark xvi, 18. Also, to endeavor to gain the gift of prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking with strange tongues, interpreting the same, receiving revela­tions from God, angelic ministry, the company of good spirits from the eternal world in visions, &c., and all other blessings that are promised in the scriptures to the children of God. See 1 Cor. xii, and xiv, 1, 5, 18, 39; Acts ii, 39; Mark xvi, 17, 18; Eph. iv, 11—14.

6. All who profess this plan should live in holiness and righteousness, praying with every prayer, as the Spirit lends them expression; do good to all, especially to the family of faith; pray for those who do them harm and persecute them; disassociate themselves from all the Babel-forms, and every form of unsound doctrine, remembering that such things cor­rupt good morals; “Come out of Babylon, that ye be not par­takers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”—Rev. xviii, 4.

And lastly,—Those who come into the bond of this new covenant, and the fulness of the gospel, should watch and pray, lest they fall into temptation, but be ready, waiting for the coming of the Son of Man; for he will come suddenly and immediately on the children of darkness, when they say, “Peace, peace;” when they, after all the warning, as in the days of Noah, are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and casting the evil day far away from them; there­fore, the Son of Man will come in such an hour as they think not.

This is the correct depiction of the evangelical plan according to the scriptures, and as the Latter-day Saints have it, and all that is contrary to this comes from evil; and what comes from evil is not Mormonism though all the sectarian preachers of the world claim that it is; and if anyone should come to you, professing to be servants of God, without bringing this doctrine—yes, “though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than these things, let him be accursed.” As John says, so say we—”If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” The Saints are frequently accused of preaching a new gospel, throwing these scriptures in our faces, yes, by some as guilty as David was, when he gave the verdict on himself; and it was not more appropriate for Nathan to say to him, “Thou art the man,” than it would be for us to say the same thing to these accusers. And whosoever takes the trouble to compare our profession with the scriptures will see clearly that it is a completely false accusation, for it is the eternal plan we have—it is our accusers who are preaching new gospels, if in fact they are gospels. Dear Welshman, do not believe them, rather look to yourself; for some of these prefer to see you lose your life, than see the hope of their profit fading; and then they shout loudly, “Away with these people, they speak against our ‘great goddess,’ whom our fathers have worshipped.” But we say, may he who has eyes read our books—may he who has ears hear our message, for it is godly, and our testimony is abiding truth. This is Mormonism!

Says your true friend,