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Vol. 47.                             Chicago,  Illinois, Saturday, March 17, 1900.                           No. 29.

Pittsburg and Vicinity.

By W. Quay Rosselle.

Mar. 4 was an anniversary for three of our pastors -- Rev. J. A. Maxwell, of McKeesport; Dr. W. A. Stanton, of the Shady Ave. Church, Pittsburg; and Dr. B. F. Woodburn, of the Sandusky St. Church, Allegheny. Dr. Stanton has completed ten years of service with his church, but that seems a short time when compared with Dr. Woodburn's thirty years with his noble church. All of these brethren and their wives were the recipients of handsome and substantial tokens of the esteem in which they are held.

Speaking of long pastorates. I am reminded that the Pittsburg Association has many such. Dr. Barnes has had two pastorates at Fourth Ave.; Rev. J. S. Hutson is pastor of the Beth Eden Church, Allegheny, for the second time. Both of these brethren have rendered long service to their respective churches. Rev. W. W. West has been ten years at the Oakland Church, Pittsburg, and Rev. A. J. Bonsall is in his twenty-second year at Rochester.

Note: For more on the Rev. William A. Stanton, see his article "The Relation of Sidney Rigdon to the Book of Mormon" in The Standard of July 22, 1899. For more on the Rev. Adoniram J. Bonsall, see his recollections concerning his step father, the Rev. John Winter (also Rev. Winter's entry in Cathcart's 1881 Baptist Encyclopedia). James H. Snowden's 1926 The Truth about Mormonism, mentions Bonsall and his connection with the Spalding authorship claims on page 86, as does Edgar E. Folk's The Mormon Monster on page 314. John W. Leonard's 1908 Who's Who in Pennsylvania provides a biographical sketch of Bonsall on page 82.


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Sunday,  August 19, 1900.                     No. ?



Temple Greater than That at Salt Lake City to be Built
at Independence to Fulfill Prophecy of Joseph Smith.

Elders of the Mormon Church of Utah are working vigorously in Missouri to fulfill the prophecy of Joseph Smith, made many years ago, that Independence was the Zion of the church, and that from it was to rise the great temple of the Mormons. There are twenty-four of these Mormon elders...

Jackson County, Mo., is the spot where man first saw the light of day, according to the Mormon belief. Joseph Smith, after his people had been driven out of Nauvoo, Ill., prophesied that Independence was the city in which the new Jerusalem of the church was to be built. They moved to Missouri, and there is little doubt that Independence would have been today what Salt Lake City now is, had not the Mormons been driven out at the point of the bayonet. And ever since that time the Mormons still have been trying to get back to the little Missouri city.

The Mormon Church of Utah has ever been working to get a foothold in Kansas City and Independence. For the last four years the elders have been working in this vicinity for converts. The church is meeting with success, and the elders are enthusiastic....

Utah will not be forsaken when the Mormons come to Independence. "Of course," said an elder, "a great many will come here from Utah, but we will have our churches out there, all of which will be under control of the Independence church. Just when we will come to Independence will be hard to say. But that it will be soon is a certainty. We are in Independence to lay the foundation of the work which will culminate in the building of the temple certainly to come. When we come we expect to buy all the land needed for our city, the new Zion. We will work hard from now on in Kansas City. We do this to prepare the people for the coming."

The day is not far away when the Mormons expect to begin building the new Jerusalem at Independence. The pilgrimage to that city, which is the Mecca of the church, is already on foot. Four years ago there were only four Mormon families in Independence -- now there are hundreds.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LX.                         Chicago, Illinois, Wednesday March 13, 1901.                     No. 73.

(Kalamazoo gentlemen say Joseph Smith did not write Book of Mormon
under construction)

Note: See also a very similar report in the Atlanta Constitution of March 24, 1901. These subject matter for these articles can also be found in Rev. S. F. Porter's contemporary booklet, entitled "The Origin of the Book of Mormon."


Vol. LX.                         Chicago, Illinois, Wednesday March 20, 1901.                     No. 79.


Florida Woman Gives Evidence to Prove
How Principles of Faith
Were Written.


Winter Park, Fla., March 16. -- (Editor of The Tribune.) -- I see in your paper of March 13 an article declaring that Joseph Smith was not the author of Mormonism, but a fraud, and that Rev. Solomon Spaulding is said to have opened a mound at or near Conneaut, O., finding there skeletons, etc., that induced him to write the manuscript which later was used by the Mormons. In the early '30s I was acquainted with the Rev. Jonathan Hovey, a former minister of Conneaut, O., and later of Western New York, where the manuscript originated. Mr. Hovey informed me that he knew the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and was aware when and for what purpose this historical romance was written -- i. e.: for amusement. I lived in Auburn, N. Y., for many years, and remember hearing that Joseph Smith had been arrested there for disreputable conduct. Perchance the "wisdom of Solomon" had not then "struck in!" I indorse S. F. Porter's testimony in relation to this tremendous imposition.
                                               Mrs. Amelia Weed Hopkins.

Note: The Rev. Jonathan Hovey, Jr. (1777-1840) mentioned by Mrs. Hopkins did not live at Conneaut until the1830s, so information supplied by him would have been second-hand accounts, post-dating Spalding's death in 1816. Since Hovey originally came from Solomon Spalding's home county in Connecticut, it is possible that the two Calvinist preachers were acquainted at an early date. It is also possible that Rev. Hovey (or his father) visited the Conneaut area during the period that Spalding lived there. See also Rev. S. F. Porter's contemporary booklet, entitled "The Origin of the Book of Mormon."


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, March 23, 1901.                     No. ?


Grandson of Widow of Solomon Spaulding Explains
How Joseph Smith Secured the Manuscript.

Sterling, Ill., March 21. -- (Editor of the Tribune.) -- I have noticed several articles in The Tribune in reference to the authorship of the so-called Mormon Bible. There can be no reasonable doubt but that Joseph Smith got hold of the book by fraud, and that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the real author. I think I can help to corroborate this fact.

After the Rev. Solomon Spaulding's death my grandfather, Mr. John Davidson, married the widow for his second wife -- they having been old friends in Munson, Mass.

My grandfather brought his wife to his home in Otsego County, N. Y., where they resided for several years. She survived her husband, but spent the last years of her life in Massachusetts. I often heard my father and other members of our family say that she told them how her former husband wrote for amusement, while living in Ohio, a romance about the "lost tribes of Israel;" that she had often heard him read the manuscript to herself and the neighbors, so that she became quite familiar with the story. Her testimony was that the romance written by her husband and the Book of Mormon was one and the same. Her idea, as I remember it, was that some one had borrowed the manuscript and copied it word for word.     GEORGE DAVISON.

Note 1: The marriage of the Widow Spalding (Matilda Sabin, 1767-1846) and John Davison (or Davidson) took place on Nov. 22, 1819 in Cooperstown, Otsego Co. New York. Evidently the Widow Spalding had moved to Otsego Co., from her former, temporary residence at Onondaga Hollow earlier that same year. Exactly how she became involved with John Davison, Jr. remains unknown. He was her first cousin, the son of the widow's Uncle John Davison and her Aunt Mehitable Sabin Davison. John had lost his first wife (Phebe Hoar) some time after 1810. Mehitable was also a widow by the time her neice came to visit -- her husband, John Davison, Sr., had died four years earlier. Eventually the Widow Spalding decided to marry her cousin and that John's home at Hartwick, in Otsego Co., would be her new permanent residence; then she transferred from Onondaga Hollow her various belongings, including those items she had inherited following the death of her first husband, Solomon Spalding, in 1816. According to her daughter's statement: "In 1820 she... sent for the things she had left at Onondaga Valley, and I remember that the old trunk [of Solomon Spalding], with its contents, reached her in safety. In 1828, I was married to Dr. [O]. McKinstry of Monson, Hampden county, Massachusetts, and went there to reside. Very soon after my mother joined me there."

Note 2: The 1820 Census for New York shows a John Davison, about 55 living at Hartwick, with a woman near his own age and several younger members of his household (his children, etc.) By the time that the 1830 census was taken, John had a new and younger female partner -- perhaps that was the reason the Widow Spaulding left Hartwick in 1828 or 1829. Mehitable Sabin Davison died at Hartwick on February 28, 1829 and with her passing Solomon Spalding's widow probably had no remaining strong ties to New York. George Davison says in his 1901 letter, "She survived her husband, but spent the last years of her life in Massachusetts." Perhaps John Davison, Jr. died shortly after the 1830 census was taken. The widow's daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry joined the Monson, Massachusetts Congregational Church in December of 1829. It appears that the widow (under the name of Matilda Davidson) joined the same church group early the following year -- indicating that by early 1830, at least, the widow had left her Davison relatives in Hartwick and had departed for Massachusetts.

Note 3: The John Davison, Jr. who married Solomon Spalding's widow, was born on Apr. 30, 1764, at either Pomfret, Connecticut or (more likely) at Monson, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. About 1800 he moved, along with his father's family, to Hartwick, New York and established a separate residence near his parents. He took with him his wife, Phebe Hoar, whom John had married at Monson on Jan. 29, 1789, and at least three children who were born before 1800: Lemuel, Chester and Polly. At Hartwick the couple had at least five more children: -- Mariam, Lucey, Emmy, William and Hamilton. Any one of the four sons may have been the father of George N. Davison, who was evidently born at Hartwick in about 1833. However, William and Hamilton (who were christened in 1804 and 1806, respectively), appear to have left no male children of George's age -- and Lemuel may have never married. That leaves Chester Davison as the most probable "father" who said that Spalding's widow had told him "how her former husband wrote for amusement, while living in Ohio, a romance about the 'lost tribes of Israel.'"


Chicago  [   ]  Eagle.

Vol. XXV.                         Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, October 26, 1901.                     No. 629.


Death of Mrs. Brigham Young, "Eternity"
Wife of Joseph Smith.

Mrs. Zina D. Young, the most noted of the wives of Brigham Young, the famous Mormon apostle, died recently at Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born in Watertown, N. Y., in 1821, and at 15 became a convert to the doctrines of Mormonism, going directly to the settlement of Kirtland, Ohio. Here her devotion to religion was so great that she was entrusted with a part of the mysteries of the temple. While there she told of a vision in which she had seen an angel and been invested with the "gift of tongues and interpretation," the power to speak in language used only by the chosen ones of God, and to understand this strange speech.

She married one of Smith's converts, and two children were born to them. She deserted them at Nauvoo, Ill., when Joseph Smith had a "revelation" that she had been set aside for him as wife for "time and eternity." She was sealed to the prophet as a plural wife, and was his favorite until he was killed by a mob in Illinois.

Brigham Young, who then had several wives, had a "revelation" that she should be sealed to him for "time." She followed Brigham Young in the eventful journey from Illinois to the Salt Lake valley in the late 40's. She trudged behind wagons, slept in tents, cooked for the travelers and bore many hardships, entering the "Now Zion" with the first settlers. After the death of Brigham Young she lived in Salt Lake City. She was always an earnest advocate of polygamy.

Only four of the widows of Brigham Young now survive. They live in Salt Lake City.

Note: See also the Salt Lake Tribune of April 4, 1901.


Vol. ?                            Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, July 12, 1902.                        No. ?


"The Story of the Mormons," by WillIam
Alexander Linn. Macmillan & Co.

Of the writing of books about the Mormons there would seem to be no end. The most recent work, and in many respects the most comprehensive, all this subject is the 600 page octavo volume by William Alexander Linn. It can hardly be said that the volume contains anything which is new upon this much treated theme. Most other works have treated some phase of the general subject or certain characters prominent in the development of the Latter Day Saints. This author, having had access to several collections, measurably complete, of books, magazines and newspapers concerning this chosen people, has, after painstaking study, aimed to give a thorough and comprehensive history of this singular people.

It cannot be claimed that the author is an impartial historian, and his bias against the leaders of the Mormon people from the beginning of their history is constantly evident. Mr. Linn has studied the personal history of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, with greater detail than perhaps any preceding writer. The story of the boy Joseph, lazy, unthrifty, and dishonest, of the young man with all the weakness and wickedness of the boy strengthened with years, the fortune teller and soothsayer, looking at a piece of glass or semi-transparent rock in his hat and reading the fortunes of his dupes, giving vague hints of the whereabouts of lost or stolen property and traveling about the country seeking new fields for his paltry swindles so soon as his humbugs became evident, is told in minute and painstaking detail. Afterward comes his meeting and alliance with Sidney Rigdon, the superior of Smith in education and intelligence, and their joint work in the manufacture of the Mormon bible. The story of the Spaulding manuscript, written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding as a novel purporting to give the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel, which manuscript from its stupid style and general lack of interest failed of a publisher, is carefully worked out. The story of the working over of this manuscript by Rigdon and Smith, modeling it something after the method and phraseology of the Old Testament by dividing it into books, supposedly written by Mormons, and a long series of prophets giving the story of the wanderings of the lost tribes, interspersing the story with occasional verses and sometimes whole chapters from the Old Testament, is carefully delineated. Then comes the familiar story of the revelation by an angel to Joseph Smith, of the hiding place of the golden plates and of their translation from the unknown language in which they were written by the inspired Joseph Smith, thus forming what is known as the Mormon bible.

This history of the origin and development of the Mormon cult is told more minutely and perhaps more accurately than ever before in the first thirteen chapters of the volume. Then follows the more familiar history of the claims of Joseph Smith as a prophet of the Lord, the moving of the Mormon disciples to various locations in New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and their march ultimately across the almost unknown region from Council Bluffs to the valley of the great Salt Lake.

The picture of Joseph Smith, as given by Mr. Linn, is that of a cheap, dishonest, and vulgar charlatan, who meets his death at the hands of a mob in Carthage, near Nauvoo. After the death of Smith the leadership of the Mormons devolved upon Brigham Young, a man of a far higher order of intelligence, with many qualifications for the leadership of a fanatical, industrious, and generally ignorant community. Brigham Young taught his people the religion of thrift, industry, and commercial honesty in their dealings with the neighboring communities. In regard to the horrible Mountain Meadow massacre Mr. Linn is undoubtedly in a manner wrong and unjust to the leading men among the Mormons. Those who have most carefully investigated this terrible massacre are almost universally of the opinion that Brigham Young and his chief men had nothing to do with it, knew nothing about it until after it was perpetrated, and were too familiar with the manner that such an act would be looked upon and would redound to the injury of the whole people to have for a moment tolerated the idea of so brutal an outrage.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 50.                          Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, September 27, 1902.                        No. 4.

The Mormonism of To-day.

There is an impression abroad that Mormonism has ceased to be a menace to the republic. A movement now in progress for the adoption of a constitutional amendment making polygamy a federal offense needs the ‘support of practically all the better elements throughout the country to offset the organized opposition of the Mormon Church and the powerful political influence which it controls; and at present such support is but indifferently and ineffectively given. People have an impression that the talk about a constitutional amendment is the mere impracticable idea of a few missionary societies and professional reformers. They think there is no need of extreme measures. They suppose that polygamy has died out, and that President Woodruff's proclamation against it is to be accepted as indicating a permanent change of policy and belief in Utah. In some quarters the alarm felt because of the Mormon “invasion" of new states and territories in the West is ridiculed. Mormons are declared to be quiet, industrious colonists, enterprising in the application of irrigation, good neighbors. Here and there in the Southwest Mormon colony is pointed out as a model community; inducements are actually offered by railroads and land companies to secure Mormon settlers. Thus that large class of intelligent people who do not and will not look at the matter as a missionary problem is inclined to doubt if it has any civic importance, and to disparage further legislation.

This hesitation has perhaps been due in some measure to the fact that most of the literature upon Mormonism published in recent years has been prepared by missionary writers or persons actively allied with mission interests. In their endeavor to show two very different things -- that the Mormon people desperately need the gospel. and that the Mormon moral principles are inimical to American society and government -- they have usually laid larger emphasis on the first, and so have failed to convince those who are strangers to the missionary motive. Startling proof of this state of things was developed in the case of Brigham H. Roberts. It is probably well within the truth to say that without the protests from the distinctly religious elements of the population -- churches, reform associations, women's organizations -- Roberts would have been seated. The politicians were averse to “meddling with a man's private life” until they saw how public sentiment was going. The defiance of the federal government by the Utah politico-ecclesiastical machine in knowingly electing a persistent polygamist to congress in utter disregard of the compact made with the people of the state came very near being successful. That it was defeated, by how strong pressure of Christian forces our readers well remember, is no guarantee of future safety.

What Mormonism is to-day can be understood only by a study of its history to correct deceptive appearances encouraged by the contemporary church. "The Story of the Mormons," by William Alexander Linn (The Macmillan Company), is an elaborate and detailed narrative of Mormon history, just published. It has been prepared after a thorough study of the original sources, including many of the early Mormon periodicals and documents as well as contemporary newspapers, official records and other materials. The writer deals with Mormonism from a secular standpoint, touching upon its antagonism to Christianity only as that antagonism led to acts of hostility. He does not deny himself occasional sarcastic references to the amazing effrontery of Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims and the absurd travesties upon scripture found in the Mormon doctrines; in other words, he is not sympathetic; but his fairness can hardly be called in question so far as he deals, as he does for the most part, with facts established by the Mormons' own records.

There are interesting historical questions concerning the share of Spalding and Rigdon in the production of the Mormon Bible, the introduction of polygamy, and other disputed points. Mr. Linn has investigated these with painstaking minuteness, and his results are probably final, for he has apparently had access to many more sources of information than the older writers. matters where there has been doubt as to the actual facts, the entire narrative of early Mormonism down to the settlement in Utah is a fascinating piece of historical writing. It should be read by every one who desires to know what Mormonism really is, and how important a part it occupied in certain phases of the history of the West. Aside from this interest, a psychological study of colossal imposture is always worthy of attention because of the light it throws upon the religious excrescences of other ages and of our own time. The reader of Mr. Linn’s book is struck constantly with the close parallel between Joseph Smith and John Alexander Dowie -- in methods, in charlatanry, in absolutism, in unrestrained abuse and coarse invective, in financial schemes, in opposition to the government, in frequent "revelations," in preposterous interpretations of scripture, in a peculiar "personal magnetism" that holds the dupe even after he realizes that he is a dupe. One comes to see that a certain percentage of otherwise intelligent people, as well as the credulous crowds, can always be found ready to accept a religious system alleged to be based on a new divine revelation. This is due in large measure to the literalism which prevailed in scriptural interpretation until a few years ago, and still prevails in some quarters. Given the exegetical principles of Joe Smith, Dowie, or Mrs. Eddy, and you can prove anything whatever without going outside the Bible.

The most important part of "The Story of the Mormons" with reference to the present situation is the narrative of the course of things in Utah since the passage of the Edmunds act. If this story of persistent defiance, under the pretense of acquiescence, does not convince the reader that Mormonism is still a menace, nothing will. We call attention to these words, the utterance of a careful and calm historian:
"By precisely what steps the church may remove the existing prohibition of polygamous marriages I shall not attempt to decide. It is easy, however, to state the one enactment which would prevent the success of any such effort. This would be the adoption by congress and ratification by the necessary number of states of a constitutional amendment making the practice of polygamy an offense under the federal law, and giving the federal courts jurisdiction to punish any violators of this law. The Mormon church recognizes this fact, and whenever such an amendment comes before congress all its energies will be directed to prevent its ratification. Governor Wells' warning in his message vetoing the Utah act of March, 1901, concerning prosecutions for adultery, that its enactment would be the signal for a general demand for the passage of a constitutional amendment against polygamy, showed how far the executive thought it necessary to go to prevent even the possibility of such an amendment. One of the main reasons why the Mormons are so constantly increasing their numbers in the neighboring states is that they may secure the vote of those states against an anti-polygamy amendment. Whenever such an amendment is introduced at Washington it will be found that every Mormon influence -- political, mercantile and railroad -- will be arrayed against it, and its passage is unlikely unless the church shall make some misstep which will again direct public attention to it in a hostile manner."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, October 11, 1902.                     No. ?


I. Woodbridge Riley's Explanation of the Mormon Phenomenon.

As a thesis for the degree of doctor of philosophy at Yale, Mr. I. Woodbridge Riley offered his book, "The Founder of Mormonism: A Psychological Study of Joseph Smith, Jr." (Dodd, Mead & Co.) William Alexander Linn's "Story of the Mormons" was published but a few months ago, but the two books cannot be said to conflict. Mr. Riley has addressed himself to the psychological and not to the historical or biographical side of the question, save where it was absolutely necessary.

The first two chapters are devoted to Smith's ancestry and environment in western New York. In the remaining chapters Mr. Riley endeavors to show that Smith's later acts and hallucinations were the outcome of that ancestry and environmnet. The story of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Mark, as related in Mack's celebrated chapbook narrative, is of great interest, and Mr. Riley evidently considers that the demented beggar-man with his seizures, his visions, his epilepsy, and his religious exaltation is one of the direct casuses which led to Smith's proclaiming himself prophet and vice regent of God. An alienist would have slight difficulty in tracing the connection. The psychologist in this instance certainly leans to this theory rather than to the theory that Smith was a fraud, pure and simple. The prophet's father was an erratic man, more than half vagabond, and notorious as such. His mother, the daughter of Mack, believed in visions and faith cures and asserted that her children's ailments were cured by miracles. Smith himself was early subject to fits of exaltation, seizures, etc., and these continued all his life.

Mr. Riley thinks there was no call for Thurlow Weed's denunciation of Smith as a crazy man or a shallow imposter. "The visionary seizures," he says, "were not consequent on dementia, nor were they feigned. There is a truer and, at the same time, more charitable explanation -- it is, in a word, that Joseph Smith, Jr. was an epileptic... One must rest content with epilepsy as a working hypothesis."

In the appendices of the book there are more chapters on the contents of the Book of Mormon, epilepsy, and visions. the Spaulding-Rigdon theory, and polygamy, and hypnotism. There is a long bibliography added. Mr. Riley does not appear to agree with Mr. Linn in the importance of the part played by Sidney Rigdon in the Mormon drama. George Trumbull Ladd of Yale furnishes a preface ro the book.

On page 317 there is a passage which will strike Chicago readers as analogous to a similar phenomenon passing now before their eyes. It is [a] description of the multiciplicy of Smith's activities in his last years: "To run over his Journal, and to extract but one event a year will give an idea of the number of irons he had in the fire. Besides the United Firm and the Safety bank, he had already started the literary firm and mercantile establishment. In 1833 he dedicated the printing office of the Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, etc.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Sunday,  March 18, 1906.                     No. ?


One of the leaders
tells how followers
Practice Polygamy &
Plot Treason Against
the United States.

A new book of Mormon is about to be published. -- The new book of Mormon is as unlike the original as a ray of sunshine is like a thunder cloud. Joseph Smith Jr. was the agency through which the first book of Mormon was given to the world, and he claimed to have received it engraved on golden plates from the angel Moroni. It contains the fullness of the Mormon religion and is as binding to latter day saints as the awful voice of Jehovah was binding to the children of Israel in the wilderness.

The new book of Mormon was not received from an angel. It never was engraved on golden plates, but is fresh from the pen of Elder Don Carlos W. Musser, who has set himself the work of reformation in his own church.

This book is in no sense a church publication -- its sole object being to show up the crudities and monstrosities of the Mormon religion with a view to their abolition.

"Monstrous God of Brigham."

"I did not question the revelations which Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to have received from the Almighty, and when those revelations came in conflict with my reason I prayed more and reasoned less. But years have rolled by since then. I have grown older and have seen much of the world. I have learned since then that my country is the greatest and most God blessed under the sun, and that when I serve my God I serve my country -- when I oppose either I oppose both. I have looked over the Mormon wall and have seen on the other side that which has so broadened my horizon that I can no longer claim a belief in the narrow dogmas of my church. My faith in the monstrous God of Joseph and Brigham has been completely shattered. I can no longer love him; I no longer fear him."

Sitting in his study in Butte, Mont., surrounded by a litter of books and papers. Elder Don Carlos W. Musser, a seventy in the Mormon church and possessor of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, made the above statement. Aided only by his pen and an intellect ripened by years of study, Elder Musser has undertaken to assist in the reformation of the Mormon church

"Reform or Suppress Mormonism."

"I feel that the time has came," continued Elder Musser, "when Mormonism must either be reformed or suppressed; when the priesthood must render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's; when the men who claim to be living oracles of Almighty and who exercise -- on account of this claim -- absolute dominance over hundreds of thousands of faithful followers, must turn from their lawbreaking and set such examples as common decency would suggest.

"Polygamy must be forever abolished. There must be a complete and lasting separation of church and state. The church must withdraw, and forever remain out of commerce, and the vast funds received through tithing the people of 10 per cent of their incomes must be used for religious purposes only. There must be no more violating of solemn pledges made with the nation, and if the leaders of my church find it necessary to live contrary to and in defiance of the laws of G04 and man they must move to some other country -- under the protection of some other flag.

Seeks to Reform Mormon Church.

"Feeling this way, I have set myself the task of writing this story, and if I succeed in influencing one latter day saint to think and reason for himself, to the end of winning spiritual and temporal freedom; I will have been repaid."

Sincerity is stamped in every lineament of Musser's face. Of commanding stature, every hair in his head is as white as snow at 87, although in his boyhood days he was known as "Red," and boasted a crop of hair that justified the sobriquet. Of pleasing address, his is a form which would attract attention and inspire confidence in any gathering. The smooth shaven face, clear gray eyes, and erect carriage of the elder give no indication of the impelling force which drives him irresistibly on in his work of bringing about the salvation of the Mormon people.

In his home life Mr. Musser seems to be the most satisfied of men, and to talk with him one would never suspect that all was not peace and sunshine within. He has not the appearance of a reformer. To him the world is pleasing, and the people of it all jolly good fellows, who are continually making mistakes, but who, nevertheless, grow better as the world grows older.

But beneath this pleasing and easy going exterior there is a determination which blazes forth when he talks upon the Mormon situation in Utah, or on the Smoot Investigation, or on the countless other things which are found in the Mormon church and which he condemns; and at times his brow clouds while discussing the probable future of his people.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" of Mormonism.

That Elder Musser is qualified to write the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" of Mormonism is evident. Born in the shadow of the temple and reared in the Rocky Mountain Zion, he was at the early age of 20 called and "set apart" as a missionary of Mormonism to Europe. After serving one year on the continent he was again called -- this time to preside over the Turkish mission with headquarters at Constantinople.

Elder Musser served his church in the Turkish empire for several years and was then released and returned to his home in Utah. Later on, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, he volunteered his services and went to the Philippines as a member of the famous Utah artillery. It was in Manila and while still in the service of his country that Mr. Musser founded the first American newspaper, Freedom, now one of the dailies of the orient.

Turns from Mormons in Philippines.

During the years that Mr. Musser was in the Philippines his mind was undergoing a change with regard to his religious belief, so that when he returned to America, in 1904, it was with the conviction that the things which he had been taught in his youth were wrong -- that they were in defiance of the laws of God as well as of the laws of man -- and since that time his purpose has been to declare himself in such manner as to accomplish through his declaration -- as much good for the members of his church as possible. It is the dream of his life to see his own people -- the Mormons of Utah -- become as loyal citizens as there are anywhere beneath the stars and stripes.

The position of Elder Musser is not that of a renegade from his church, nor is his work being done in a spirit of vindication. Although he has renounced the creed of Mormonism as taught by the "prophets, seers and revelators," he has never been charged with unChristian conduct by the members of the church, nor has he been disfellowshiped.

Challenges Smith Before 15,000.

The decision of Elder Musser to do with his pen what he has been denied the privilege of doing by word of mouth came to him last April, when, in the general conference of the church in Salt Lake City, Utah, he refused to sustain Joseph F. Smith as "president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, prophet, seer, and revelator, and trustee in trust for said Church." At that general conference there were about 15,000 persons present. It was the sixty-fifth anniversary of the church, and Joseph F. Smith stood before the assembled saints and proposed that they sustain him in the offices; and as the voting sign of the Mormons is the elevation of the right hand, there were about 15,000 hands shot into the air, denoting that the course of the president met the approval of the people.

"Contrary, if there be any, by the same sign," said President Smith. From that vast crowd there was projected one right hand; it was that of Don Carlos W. Musser, elder in the church, a seventy, one of the priesthood.

The voting went on until the entire fifteen "prophets, seers, and revelators," the patriarch of the church, the presiding bishopric, the seven presidents of the seventies, and others constituting the ruling quorums of the church had been sustained by the congregation. To nearly all of these Elder Musser alone of that immense gathering, voted to the contrary, and each time his hand was raised on high it was to the horror and consternation of the hundreds of friends who surrounded him -- friends with whom he had played during childhood and with whom he had sat in the tabernacle since early boyhood.

"The voting had been unanimous throughout with the exception of one vote," said President Smith. "If the party voting negatively will state his grievances -- " here Mr. Musser rose to his feet and thirty thousand eyes were riveted upon him -- "privately in my office," continued the president "satisfaction will be given him; the choir will please sing;" and as the chorus of 500 voices filled the majestic structure, Elder Musser resumed his seat -- there was nothing else to do.

His first attempt to declare himself publicly had been a failure.

Attacks Right to Use Tithes.

Later, with Charles W. Smurthwaite of Ogden, Utah, who on Feb. 9 of this year, testified before the committee on privileges and elections investigating the apostle senator, Red Smoot, Elder Musser swore to a complaint seeking to restrain president Smith from using the tithes of the church for political and commercial purposes, and to force him to render an accounting of nearly $2,000,000 received annually from the Saints. After months of delay the demurrer of the church was sustained, and as yet the complaint of Musser and Smurthwaite has come to naught.

Loves Church but Sees Its Errors.

The single purpose of this man, the honesty of his intentions, are made clear in the opening chapter with this impressive statement:

"The Mormons are my people. I love them. I love my native state, Utah. I love her giant mountains with their majestic peaks eternally diademed in glistening snow. I love the clear blue of her heavens; her crystal, life-giving streams; her silent river flowing through valleys marvelous in their production; the witchery of her mountain lakes and the magic of her Dead Sea. But above all, and over all, I love her people.

"My father is a pillar in the Mormon church. He is now carrying the burden of nearly four-score years, and though the vicissitudes of life have whitened his hair and enfeebled his body, his mind is still clear, vigorous, and active. Among men he is a prince. The kindest of fathers, the tenderest of husbands, generous and dependable as a neighbor, broad minded and sympathetic at all times and upon all matters, save only that of religion. In his religion, my father is so snugly wrapped and bound that he can see God in nothing else. To his mind there can be but two religions -- the religion of Christ, known to the world as Mormonism, and the religion of Satan, which embraces everything outside of Mormonism.

Praises and Defends His Mother.

"My mother's name is Mary. She was born on the frontier, in a little cottage where want and hardship were close and intimate neighbors, and she grew to womanhood in a polygamous family -- seeing and knowing nothing outside of Mormonism. My mother is as pure, as gentle, and as lovable a creature as the world ever has known, and I am her only sorrow. She has buried children, but they died in the Faith, and my brothers and sisters who live are staunch supporters of the leaders and the traditions of the church. To them I am an apostate doomed to suffer God's 'heaviest cursings.' To me they are religious fanatics, honest and sincere and lovable in spite of their being dupes to a false and treasonable priesthood.

"I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, under the Covenant, which means much to the Faithful. I am --if there is anything in Mormonism -- a chosen spirit retained in the heavens until the present -- 'The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times' -- in order that I might be born under the Covenant and assist in rolling on this great latter day work."

Starting Revelations Made.

The literary style of Mr. Musser is one peculiarly his own and a feature of it is its forcefulness. One reading the tale cannot doubt from the pathos, the feeling, thrown into the lines, that Elder Musser is acquainted with his subject and deals with that which he knows to be true.

The descriptions of the customs, the ways of the people and the doings of the few whom Mr. Musser writes about in particular, are all told in a style so vivid, so startling, as to leave not the shadow of a doubt as to the man's ability and his feelings in the matter. He has in reality laid his very soul upon the paper.

Story of Mormon as Novel

The chief character of this book is introduced as a young man, and at a time when Salt Lake City was a mere camp on the frontier. This young man had just crossed the plains in the capacity of one of the "captains of ten" in a large wagon train of Mormon emigrants. In one of the wagons under this young man's captaincy, traveled a family consisting of father and mother and two young daughters. Captain Mahrud, the hero of the narrative, falls in love with the younger of the two daughters, and wins from her her promise to marry him as soon as they arrive in Zion. One of the first favors he asks of the prophet, Brigham Young, after his arrival in Salt Lake City, was that he perform the ceremony uniting him to this beautiful girl for time and eternity. This the prophet promises to do, and a few days later young Mahrud, with his promised bride and a few of her friends, including her sister, repair to the prophet's home where the wedding is to take place. The prophet, without consulting either bride or groom or the bride's sister, marries young Mahrud to both sisters with one and the same ceremony.

Declares Story of Weddings True.

To relieve the mind of any doubt regarding the marriage alluded to, as actually having taken place Mr. Musser calls attention to a portion of the narrative which deals with another marriage, in which this same man was the bridegroom and which took place a great many years subsequent to his first marriage, after his first wives had grown old and seen their children all married off.

The graphic manner in which Mr. Musser tells of this third courtship of his Mormon hero, fills the mind with amazement that such a man could have lived. Yet Elder Musser says that he not only did live, but that he still lives and today is a patriarch in the church.

In dealing with the hero's fourth marriage, which came as a result of his third courtship -- for it will be remembered that he did not court one of his first wives -- Mr. Musser brings out one of the peculiarities of Mormon belief: where a member of the church marries for time only, in order to raise up posterity to the honor and glory of a dead relative or friend. Here is that portion of the story.

"As a matter of fact, Mrs. Alexander Muhrud IV. was Mrs. Alexander Muhrud IV. for time only; for eternity she was Mrs. Joseph Brigham Johnson. She was permitted to become Mrs. Alexander Muhrud IV., for time only, through the deep piety and bigness of heart of the bishop, who married her in order to raise up posterity to the name, honor, and glory of his greatly lamented brother-in-law, Joseph Brigham Johnston, who would have claimed her for both time and eternity but for the accident of death.

"Bishop Mahrud was always more or less interested in Emma Beckstead, and now that a great sorrow had pressed upon her, he was more than ever anxious to demonstrate his friendliness for her. In many ways he strove to alleviate her sufferings and make bright and hopeful her future path. He called her daughter and stroked her wealth of brown hair and kissed her on the forehead; and almost daily reminded her that the Lord was ever merciful, and that in calling Joseph home he had acted wisely and for the best. Both at morning and evening prayers, Bishop Mahrud called down the blessings of the Lord upon Emma, and mightily prayed that He who watches the sparrows fall and clothes the lily, would show to His grief stricken daughter His will concerning her.

Bishop Courts and Comforts Widow.

"'Daughter, the ways of the Lord are indeed strange to mortals and far beyond the puny comprehension of man. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." We must not, we dare not, call into question the Lord's holy will, and it were ten thousand times worse than madness to nurse our sorrows while wishing they had never been. It behooves us as children of the Most High to see nothing but good in all that He does, and to rejoice even though our hearts seem ready to break. God's ways are not ours. But we should always endeavor to make our ways the Lord's.

"'Joseph is not dead; he has been called to a higher sphere of activity, and if you are faithful, you may, sometime in the future, join him in that place where sorrow and sickness and suffering can never enter, and where all are forever happy. Would you like that?

A sweet smile Illuminated the pale face of Emma as she replied: 'Yes, indeed. How sweet and welcome the change called death, if it would but take me to his side.'

"'Yes, yes, daughter. I understand how you feel and I thank God for the purity, the tenderness and the loyalty of your heart. But you have a mission to perform for Joseph before you can go to him. God has put it within your power to do that for Joseph that will exalt him among the gods and insure him glories the mortal mind may not even dream of. If you are true to yourself and your God in this matter, you will have the eternal love of Joseph, and such happiness as none may never know in this life, and but comparatively few of the saints may experience in that life which is to come. It is this holy mission that I wanted to talk to you upon, and I trust that you will take what I say as being dictated by the Holy Spirit for your good, and in answer to our prayers.

Bishop Denounces the Government.

"'Come nearer, daughter; here, sit on my knee. So, now I can talk to you with less effort. What a beautiful day it is without, and yet, those Gentile hounds have forced me to remain indoors. But the work of the Lord continues to roll forth and the idea of this government, or any other government, trying to put a stop to it, is enough to make the angels of heaven weep. A mouse may as well attempt to drink dry the Mississippi, as for the congress of the United States to attempt to thwart Jehovah, in his determination to raise up a righteous generation through the practice -- by his celestial marriage.'

"The bishop paused for a moment, but his fair auditor made no comment. She sat lightly on his knee as she might have sat on her father's had he been alive. She trusted the bishop as she would have done her father, for he had been kind to her, and in her mind was no fear. To Emma Beckstead the bishop was a man of God, enjoying at all times the companionship of the Holy Spirit, and she trusted him as a child would have done. And yet, she felt strange and as if it would be more in keeping with the solemn question they were discussing, if she were to move and occupy a chair. Indeed she made an attempt to do this, but there was some subtle force that held her, and so she remained. Bishop Mahrud was a man of exceptionally strong personality, and his wishes were generally deferred to by those who had in any degree learned to confide in him.

Proposes to Take Joseph's Place.

"'But, dear little girl, I invited you in to talk to you regarding your mission in life,' the bishop proceeded, 'your duly to your maker and to Joseph. You were to have married Joseph, and somewhere on the other side of the veil, he is waiting for you to fulfill your promise. It pleased our heavenly Father to call Joseph away before he had wives and children, but it does not follow that he is released from that divine commandment to be fruitful and multiply.

And so, while Joseph is in heaven waiting for you to fulfill your promise to marry him, he is not glorified. He is not with the Father and Son and the prophets Joseph and Brigham, and Hyrum, nor can he ever be with them until he has lived that law. Jesus said, "In my Father's house there are many mansions," and the mansion Joseph inhabits now, and must continue to inhabit until you fulfill your promise and marry him is nothing more than a place of detention in the spirit world which the saints know as Paradise, a spiritual prison.

"'Of course, you will go through the temple and be sealed to Joseph for eternity; but this is not sufficient, Emma, dear. Joseph must have children raised up to his name's honor and glory on this side of the veil. On the other side there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. No, this all has to be done in this world, and those who are called to heaven before they have wives, or husbands, or children are dependent upon the loved ones they leave behind for any exaltation they attain in the hereafter.

"'God in his wisdom has made this clear by revelations to the prophet Joseph, and so, while you may be sealed to Joseph for eternity, it will be necessary -- in order that you may fulfill your duty to him and to yourself -- for you to marry some one for time only.' Here Bishop Mahrud reached for the small bible on the center table and, opening it at the twenty-fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, he read as follows:

"'"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger; her husband's brother shall go unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her."

Proposal in Mormon Style.

"'And so, you see, dear,' proceeded the bishop, closing the sacred book, 'the house of God is a house of order, and the spirit of revelation has made our duty clear to me. I love Joseph enough to do any thing possible for his eternal happiness. I love you both, in fact, and your welfare is, after serving God, the greatest desire of my heart. But, more than all else, I love the sacred institutions of high heaven, and I stand ever ready to lay my possessions on the altar of my religion and to earnestly endeavor, without thought of the cost, to live up to every requirement of the Lord.

"Emma's tear stained face dropped to the bishop's shoulder and his arm tightened around her waist as he went on:

"'Dear little woman, I am more than interested in you. To me you have become at once daughter and sweetheart. I desire with my whole soul your complete salvation, and no heavenly vision vouchsafed me of the Almighty stands out so gloriously clear as the one wherein you are revealed as mine for this short life, and for the sublime and noble purpose of perpetuating throughout the endless ages to come the name of our sleeping brother and husband.'

"Tenderly the bishop raised the flushed face from his shoulder and, holding that beautiful head between his hands, he kissed her lips, and then, drawing the shrinking form more tightly to his, he continued:

"'God has not only made our duty plain to us, he has kindled a love within our breasts such as I have never felt in all my life before -- a love for his purposes, a loving desire for the triumph of his holy cause -- and I ask you in the fullness of that great love and in the name of that great cause, to consent to this thing, to be my wife, loved, cherishes, and honored above all else on earth; and this far the exaltation and glory of your first love, Joseph Johnston."

Becomes Bride for Time Only.

"That same week Emma Beckstead became Mrs. Alexander Mahrud IV. for time and Mrs. Joseph Brigham Johnston I. for eternity, and the foul fiends of the pit below and all the imps of hell raged and wailed, and gnashed their teeth, for the cause of heaven had again triumphed and the ultimate redemption of the world from its sins was more than ever assured.

"What is more blessed than to give and do for others? The noble, generous, self-sacrificing, self-denying side of Bishop Mahrud's nature was never more beautifully illustrated than in his marriage to this beautiful girl in order to promote the eternal happiness of one who had gone before. And what a lesson this should be to the Gentiles, they who love wicked better than godliness -- darkness better than light. And how the angels of heaven must have rejoiced and tuned their harps to a new song when Emma and Alexander stood before the veil in the holy temple and consented to the great sacrifice for time only."

And so Elder Musser tells of the "courtship of the fourth wife by the hero of the story. It will be at once appreciated that the peculiar beliefs embodied in the wooing of the woman is a custom of the Mormon church which has never before been brought to the attention of the outside world.

Rebellion Among Bishop's Wives.

The marriage of the fourth wife by the bishop proves a critical point in the story. The third wife rebels when she finds that her husband has assumed new marital obligations. Notwithstanding he had two wives when she married him, it did not occur to her that she was wronging anybody. She became the favorite, as a matter of course, and in the dally association of her husband she found no time to think of the cruel neglect of the first wives who had grown old and careworn before their time. So long as she was the favorite her world was a bright and happy one.

With the advent of the fourth wife she found herself left alone, presumably as the first wives had been left at her advent into the Mahrud family. She loved her husband, and to be neglected as she was, was to her worse than death. A complete change came upon her. and she bitterly regretted the wrong she had done the first two wives in robbing them of the affections of their husband.

The keen edge of sorrow and grief was replaced by bitterness, and in time she openly rebelled. The bishop strove to break her iron will with all manner of brutality, and, failing in this, he starved her to death. And that all of these things have actually happened is the solemn statement of Elder Musser. Awful in its intensity, the tale is startling in its vividness and fascinating in its word painting. The thoughts of the woman, innocently erring, perhaps, but awakening from her lethargy, alone furnish a theme for volumes, and Mr. Musser has dealt with them as they merit. The death of the woman ends the story.

Biting Sarcasm of Narrative.

The vein of sarcasm which the reader will have noticed cropping out continuously in Mr. Musser's writing sets well upon him. He is in a position to be sarcastic, for he knows whereof he speaks, and he can no more control his sarcasm when speaking of certain things pertaining to the Mormon church than a baby hand can control an affrighted horse. He is not sarcastic for effect; it is in his heart, and is the outgrowth of the rank inconsistencies and hypocrisies which his study and investigation has succeeded in unveiling.

A feature of Mr. Musser's book which not only lends interest to the story which he relates but makes it a valuable addition to literature are numerous and copious quotations from "The Journal of Discourses" which he has cleverly woven into the narrative.

Exposes "Journal of Discourses."

"The Journal of Discourses," be it understood, consists of sermons preached in the early days of Utah when Brigham Young was not only the head of the church and, as such, the mouthpiece of the Lord to men who dwell on the earth, but was also the governor of Utah. These sermons were accepted by the Saints as the inspired word of God unto them, and were held as binding upon the Mormon people as the direct voice of Jehovah could have been.

As the state began to fill up with people not of the church, the Mormon leaders saw the futility of trying to foist upon the people such things, and, hence, the printing of "The Journal of Discourses" was long since discontinued. A few copies of the work still are in existence, and these are jealously guarded. They contain many extremely rabid and treasonable utterances of the church leaders, many of which were given to the people from the tabernacle pulpit during the civil war. A few extracts from "The Journal of Discourses" may prove interesting at this time. Here is a part of a sermon delivered by the prophet, seer, and revelator, Heber C. Kimball, as it is recorded in "The Journal of Discourses,'' volume V., page 95:

"May the Almighty bless you. May the peace of God be with you and upon your children and your children's children, forever and ever. And may God Almighty curse your enemies. (Voices: 'Amen!') I feel to curse my enemies; and when God won't bless them, I don't think he will ask me to bless them. If I did, it would be to put the poor curses to death who have brought death and destruction upon me and my brethren -- upon my wives and my children that I buried on the road between the states and this place.

Curses President from Pulpit.

"Did I ever wrong them, a man or a woman of them out of a dime? No; but I have fed thousands where I have never received a dime. Poor, rotten curses! And the president of the United States, inasmuch as he has turned against us and will take a course to persist in pleasing the ungodly curses that are howling around him for the destruction of this people, he shall be cursed is the name of Israel's God, and he shall not rule over this nation, because they are my brethren; but they have cast me out and have cast you out; and I curse him and all his coadjutors in his cursed deeds, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy priesthood; and all Israel shall say amen.

Send 2,500 troops here, my brethren, to make a desolation of this people! God Almighty helping; me, I will fight until there is not a drop of blood in my veins. Good God! I have wives enough to whip out the United States; for they will whip themselves. Amen."

Predicts Mormons Will Rule.

On another occasion this same living oracle preached a sermon in which he gave utterance to this prophecy. These remarks are recorded in the same "Journal of Discourses," volume V., page 319:

"The church and kingdom to which we belong will become the kingdom of God and his Christ, and Brother Brigham Young will become president of the United States. (Voices responded, 'Amen.')

"And I tell you he will be something more: but we do not want to give him the name; but he is called and ordained to a far greater station than that, and he is foreordained to take that station, and he has got it: and I am vice president, and Brother Wells is the secretary of the interior -- yes, and of all the armies of the flesh."

These incorporations have caused the following bit of sarcasm to fall from the pen of Mr. Musser:

"O, what good times they were when the prophets of this dispensation stood boldly forth and, without fear or favor, proclaimed in trumpet tones the will of the Lord. How glorious seemed the prophet, Heber, as he stood before Israel and declared that he had wives enough to whip the United States and pronounced the awful curse of God upon this nation. How magnificent is man when he speaks by the power of the holy priesthood, and how foolish, and even senseless, it is for others not to listen and heed that voice and counsel. Does any Latter Day Saint deny that Brother Heber C. Kimball is now a god, enthroned in the heavens with kingdoms, and principalities, and dominions to rule over? If there are such within the church they have drifted away from the truth, and it is only a matter of time until they shall be cut adrift and given over to the buffetings of Satan."

Claim Political Power Over People.

Here is an extract from a sermon preached by Brigham Young, who was at the time God's vice regent on earth. And in view of the fact that the friends of Senator Smoot have insisted throughout his investigation that the church in no way assumes the political guidance or dictation of the people, it may be found especially interesting at this time:

"There is not a man upon the earth who can magnify even an earthly office without the power and wisdom of God to aid him. When Mr. Fillmore appointed me governor of Utah I proclaimed openly that my priesthood should govern and control that office. I am of the same mind today. We have not yet received our election returns, but, should I be elected governor of the state of Deseret, that office shall be sustained and controlled by the power of the eternal priesthood of the son of God, or I will walk the office under my feet.

Refuses to Aid United States.

On another occasion President Young, preaching about the war of the secession, used this language:

"The waste of life in this ruinous war now raging is truly lamentable. Joseph the prophet said the report of it would sicken the heart. And what is all this for? It is a visitation from heaven, because they have killed the prophet of God, Joseph Smith Jr. Has not the nation consented to his death and to the utter destruction of the Latter Day Saints, if it could be accomplished? But they found they could not accomplish that.

"We have done everything that has been required of us. Can there anything reasonable and constitutional be asked that we would not perform? No. But if the government of the United States should now ask for a battalion of men to fight in the present battlefields of the nation I would not ask one man to go. I would see them in hell first.

"Have they got through? No. They have only just commenced the work of wasting life and property. They will burn up every steamboat, every village, every town, every house of their enemies that comes within their reach. They will waste and destroy food and clothing that should feed and comfort woman and children, and leave them destitute and beggars, without homes and without protectors, to perish upon the face of all the land, and all to satiate their unhallowed and hellish appetite for blood. And this awful tornado of suffering, destruction, woe, and lamentation they would hurl upon as if they could: but they cannot, and I say, in the name of Israel's God, they never shall do it."

Prays Union May Be Destroyed.

Here is a gem from the prophet, seer, and revelator, Orson Hyde, recorded in volume VI. of "The Journal of Discourses," on page 13: "Do I believe that the United States will be divided? Yes, I do; and the prayers of all the Saints throughout all the world should be to that effect: for they wage war against the kingdom of God, and have fallen upon that stone with an army; and let them be broken, even according to the words of Jesus."

Elder Musser, when asked, what connection, what weight these discourses have with the Mormons of today, said:

"Simply this. Every Latter Day Saint in full fellowship believes that the leaders quoted were really and truly prophets of their God and spoke through his inspiration. They not only believe this but they testify solemnly whenever occasion presents itself that they know these men were divinely inspired -- that they were the earthly representatives and spokesmen of Christ. No Latter Day Saint can believe otherwise -- and retain his fellowship -- than that Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and others are now gods in the celestial world.

Believe Mormons Will Rule World.

"From its nature, Mormonism is a state of religion. So long as the revelations contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants are held to be the word of Jehovah to Joseph Smith Jr. and the church he established, Mormonism must be considered by its devotees as the kingdom of God which Daniel saw in his vision, and which was to fill the whole earth, breaking and consuming all other kingdoms. The church is as much a political organization as it is a religious institution. Its founder not only held local political offices -- he was not only lieutenant general of the armies of the Lord, known as the Nauvoo legion, but he became a candidate for the high office of president of the United States and called the elders of his church on special missions to stump for him. It was the dream of the early leaders of the church to establish a government in the west absolutely independent of the United States, and the teachings of the Mormon leaders from the foundation of the church in 1830 until the present time bear out this statement.

Smith Claims All Political Power.

"I could show scores of quotations from sermons delivered by living oracles of our church in the last few years which have a bearing on this point and which no Latter Day Saint would dare to deny was the voice of the Lord unto him. Just a few months ago President Joseph F. Smith, who is now, according to Mormon belief, the only man on the face of the earth empowered and authorized to speak and govern in the name of God, made this statement in a sermon delivered in Provo.

"'The fact of the matter is, when a man says you may direct me spiritually, but not temporally, he lies in the presence of God -- that is, if he has got intelligence enough to know what he is talking about.'

"If President Smith's declaration means anything, it means that as has the power and authority to guide any man in the church in all matters. Senator Reed Smoot cannot get out from under that authority without apostatizing from the church. If President Smith saw fit to instruct Reed Smoot how to vote on any legislation that was up before congress, Reed Smoot, as a member of the church, is bound to take that instruction as the word of God unto him. And it is the same way with every member in the church to full standing. Joseph F. Smith is not only his spiritual guide but his guide in all things of a temporal nature. He has not only the right -- thought to be divinely bestowed upon him -- to proclaim the spiritual law unto members of the church, but also the right to say who shall hold the political offices the Gentiles have always believed to be within the gift of the state, and that he exercises this power no person informed on conditions in Utah can truthfully deny."

It is easy to see where Mr. Musser stands in the Smoot matter.

Third Wife Starved to Death.

As an illustration of the ease with which Mr. Musser switches from biting sarcasm and bitter irony to pathos and denunciation of conditions his book portrays, the closing paragraphs of his narrative are sufficient. After awaiting on the starvation of the hero's third polygamous wife, which he ironically justifies from the standpoint of a husband's right to rule and dictate, he finishes in this manner:

"Rita was starved. Her husband not only broke her heart and trampled the rich love she gave him under his feet but he shut off the flow of life's necessities -- in so far as he was able and Rita sickened and died. The bishop still lives. Some day he will read this and bitterly curse the writer, but he will know what is written is true, even as God knows it is true; and even as Rita's orphaned children know that it is true. Rita was starved to death. Her sweet and gentle spirit was called to heaven after her enfeebled and fever tortured brain and body became too weak to hold it longer, and at a time when her little ones needed her above all else on earth.

"Hero" of Story Mormon Ruler.

"Bishop Mahrud still lives. His real name is not Mahrud, and he is so-called here merely to protect the innocent victims of his priestly and licentious brutality from needless publicity. I have known the bishop for years, and though I have so desire to shield or protect him, I am desirous of protecting the innocent family of the sainted Rita. Rather than bring her children into the limelight for the public to gaze upon I would leave the tale untold. It were better to let the guilty escape than to punish the innocent with them. And while from all laws, human and divine, Bishop Mahrud merits the penitentiary, he has young sons and daughters who came into this world through no choice of theirs, and they deserve all the protection a Christianized public spirit can throw around them.

Charges Bishop with Murder.

"They know their polygamous father killed their mother with his shameful brutality, and they know that the neighbors of the bishop and his ecclesiastical superiors know it. And, thank God, they know that the bishop, their father, is no worse than many others in the church who have mistaken the voice of their prophet for the voice of God, and who have grown coarse and vulgar, and brutal in consequence thereof.

If Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's doctrine of plural marriage is from heaven, as is claimed, and as thousands of the Saints devoutly believe, then must gentleness give way to savagery, virtue to license, self-sacrifice to greed, and, in the end, heaven to hell, for the inspiration of that so-called revelation is from the lower regions and not from above.

"Do you ask what became of the bishop? Was he ever captured and sent to the penitentiary? No. He was pardoned by this great and benevolent government and his children were legitimized by an especial act of congress. But did his church not disfellowship him, was he not excommunicated and socially ostracized? No. He was promoted. He is no longer a bishop, he is a patriarch in the church with power and authority to bless and curse, and bind and loose for time and eternity. Whomsoever he blesses or curses on earth shall be blessed or cursed in heaven.

Four Wives Victims of "Holy Man."

"But his wives; what of them? Emma is dead, gone to join her eternal husband; Jennie is a broken woman slaving on the farm, and Elizabeth lives in town. Soon she will pass on, and soon the patriarch will follow and there in the celestial world, he will be crowned a god and with his royal consorts, Martha, Elizabeth and Jennie -- Rita died in rebellion -- he will reign throughout the endless ages. Angels will be his servants, and men who have lived their Iives on earth without harshness, or malice, or envy, whose hearts beat with love for their single families, and who never willfully wronged a soul in all their lives, will look up to his dazzling throne and pray for the light of his gracious smile. Happy patriarch, may God have mercy upon you."

Note: The Tribune article was syndicated and was featured in the illustrated weekend sections of various U. S. newspapers, such as the Rochester Democrat Chronicle of March 17, 1908. Elder Musser's intended book was titled "Polygamy -- A Story of Utah." See the Salt Lake Tribune of Jan. 5, 1908 through April 12, 1908 for the copyrighted newspaper serialization. The first eleven chapters relate a fictional story of Mormons, while the last four chapters give the history of LDS polygamy.


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Wednesday,  December 2, 1903.                     No. ?

Police on Trial in "Crank" Case.

NEW YORK BUREAU CHICAGO TRIBUNE, New York, Dec. 1.... To find out why 500 policement, thoroughly instructed in advance, were unable to prevent an aged man from reaching the president of the United States at the funeral of James King Gracie last Friday, a formal investigation was begun today... on the ground that it was their specific task to so carefully guard the entrance of the church where the funeral services were held, that no unauthorized person could pass, but in spite of which Arthur B. Deming, a harmless crank, not only did pass but contrived to put a letter in the hands of the president. Deming was released today.

"It is only a matter of good luck," Gen. Green said, "that Deming proved to be a harmless crank. He might have been a harmfyl one, and the blame must be placed where it belongs."...

Note: See the New York Times of Nov. 28, 1903 for a lengthy report on Deming's actions at the Gracie funeral. A similar article (with a portrait sketch of Deming) was published in the Syracuse Journal of Dec. 2nd. An interesting follow-up article appeared in the Utica Herald-Dispatch of Nov. 28, 1903



Vol. XXVIII.             Englewood (Chicago), Illinois, Friday, February 26, 1915.         No. 27.


We are learning every day, but one of the most important announcements that we can make at this time is the coming of ex-Senator Frank J. Cannon of Utah to our community next Monday evening, to speak on "Mormonism." He will speak in the First Presbyterian church, corner Yale Ave. and 64th St., at 8 p. m. sharp.

We ask the question, which is the heading of this reader: "What do you know about Mormonism?" Do you know that the truth about Mormonism has been suppressed, is being suppressed as much as possible, and will so long as the people of our country are lethargic? Do you know that Mormonism is a temporal kingdom set up in this republic? Do you know that Mormonism is ruled by a man who lives with five wives -- a polygamous sultan in America? Do you know that the polygamous Mormon kingdom keeps an ambassador in the senate of the United States? Do you know that Mormonism is a huge commercial trust that reaches its tentacles across our fair land to the dishonor ot our lair name? Do you know that this is the oath which the United States senate committee says is administered by the Mormon satellites to their followers: "You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray, and never cease to pray Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and your children's children unto the third generation"? Do you know that this is the claim and prediction of the Mormon kingdom: "The priesthood holds the power and right to give laws and commands to individuals, churches, rulers and nations of the world; to appoint, ordain and establish constitutions and kingdoms; to appoint kings, president, governors and judges." Do you know that this is the insolent challenge which the polygamous Mormon kingdom offers to the Christian world: "If plural marriages be unlawful, then is the whole plan of salvation, through the house of Israel, a failure, and the entire fabric of Christianity without foundation."...

Mr. Cannon is the greatest living authority on the Mormon kingdom. He was the last delegate in congress and the first United States senator from Utah. His father was the most powerful man in the Mormon church after Brigham Young. He was the chief negotiator of the "treaty" between the national government and the Mormon church when the Mormon chiefs surrendered. When those same chiefs violated their pledge he denounced them and raised a revolt against their perfidy. He is in our community, and in our city, on a mission carrying that denunciation throughout the land. He is a speaker of marked power. He is the author of "Under the Prophet in Utah" and "Brigham Young and His Mormon Empire." These books are accepted as final authority by historians and commentators and are as dramatic as anything in modern literature...

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. LIV.                           Chicago, Illinois, Friday, June 11, 1926.                       No. 36.

When Mormons Inhabited
Southern Part of Illinois...


Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, was murdered on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois. I visited the little limestone jail the other day. On the floor of the room in which Smith was shot are blackish stains. The venerable keeper of the one time jail, now the property of the Mormon church, told me those black stains were made by Joseph Smith's life blood -- still visible after eighty-two years!

The building stands much as it did in in 1844, on that memorable night when a mob of white men disguised as Indians, broke into the building to commit historic murder. The heavy stone [sic] door that swung shut on Smith has rusted from its hinges. It lies in front of the house where we stepped upon it from a motor car as we drove up.

They still talk of the "Mormon War" in Carthage, county seat of Hancock county. I shall not go much into the story of the Mormon war. Stories told by the Mormons are one thing; those told by those who opposed them another.

The Mormon church was founded in 1830 in New York state by Joseph Smith, who had "visions." Following persecution, the Mormons moved to Missouri after [a] temporary sojourn at Kirtland, O. They fled to Nauvoo, Ill., in 1838. Here, on the Mississippi river they started a city and immediately became entangled in Illinois politics.

Nauvoo grew swiftly. Followers of Smith flocked in; at one time there were 15,000 people there. Today perhaps 1,200. It has no the railroad. It is one of Illinois' ghost cities. A few Mormons still live hereabouts. Traces of the old homes they built exist. Vineyards grow on the hills. Farmers today still turn up foundation stones as they guide their plowshares. Most of the wells the Mormons dug have been filled. The manufacture of strawberry wine, once a famed beverage, is not quite a lost art.

Warsaw, one time arch enemy of Nauvoo, is down the river a few miles. Once Warsaw had 1,000 inhabitants; today, 2,100. Dallas, up the river a bit from Nauvoo, still exiists as a fishing town. It too has shrunk with the years.

Since the Mormon church bought the ancient jail it has become a Mecca to the elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints who go out to preach the "Word." It is a legend in Carthage that every Mormon evangelist, when he starts out to search the world for converts, must first sleep one night in this house where Joseph Smith died.

A record book showed that more than 300 of them thus came last year; about 250 the year before. Seemingly the number is growing with each succeeding year. And many of them drive over a few miles to Nauvoo where the elaborate old houses the Mormons built, mostly of brick or stone, many now vacant, are slowly crumbling and falling down.

Little of the hate that once ruled the passions in Hancock counity stlll lives. Citizens say that their fathers, now gone, related strange stories of the Mormons, how Smith would have visions that some man's cattle should be seized for the church and that they were sezed; how he might cast an eye on some settler's daughter, fair of face and form and that she would be taken and whisked to Nauvoo.

They recall a bit how warrants were out in Missouri charged Smith with plots to murder; how he became so strong in Illinois politics that he snapped his fingers at the law; how, he finally declared himself a candidate for the presidency of the Unted States; how he was charged in an idictment with treason; how he was arrested and -- the murder.

They relate that after his murder all the gentiles taking part in it fled eastward, crossing the Illinois river, and how the Mormons, fearing attack, fled west and crossed the Mississippi. They say that the factions filtered back into the country.

More strife, sudden deaths in a sort of gang war, the breaking of the Mormon power and finally the retreat west, to Utah, under command of Brigham Young who had seized control. Two years after Joseph Smith's death Nauvoo was almost a deserted city.

Hancock county today? It is a quiet agricultural community. Rough and hilly in spots, there are places where farming is hard. There are also rich valleys and richer bottom lands. Concrete roads have been delayed but they are coming in.

Carthage, county seat, is in almost the exact center of the county. It has about 2,500 inhabitants. The little city appears to be prosperous...

Scars and ruin, crumbling homes, 82 year old blood daubs on a pine floor, memories of murder -- that is the heritage of an era of hate, mobs, and "Mormon War." Now -- concrete roads, good homes, farm bureau work, fat hogs, young folks in college, neighborhood praise for men who plan and think... Is not co-operation and goodwill the better way?

Note: The above article was reprinted from the Edwardsville Intelligencer of June 10, 1926.


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Thursday, August 12, 1926.                     No. ?


Strangest place in Illinois, and one of the strangest
in the modern world...


For the pilgrimage to Nauvoo, temple town of the Mormons in the days when they controlled elections in the western part of Illinois, and their premier shrine place seven years before Salt Lake City was thought of... Nauvoo is petrified history.

Eighty years ago it was larger than Chicago then was and a good deal solider. It was the scene of hard constructive work that made the prairie turn gold with great crops, the scene of as amazing credulities and impostures as there is record of in the annals of this continent, and the scene of outrages and tragedies which conferred a kind of saintship on a York state Yankee whom 70,000 devotees call to this day "the martyr" and "Joseph of Palmyra."

Today Nauvoo has a population of 1,000 -- and no railroad.

Most Interesting Relic of All.

As sheer curio Nauvoo is the most interesting relic in Chicagoland.

All the entrancing ironies of history, all the mockeries and admonitions of cynical Father Time, stalk out at you from the highways and the byways, from the lowlands of the old Mormon residential area and from the heights where most of Nauvoo's present population dwell.

I said stalking. Nay, here is one comes comes tripping -- pious, pretty Sister Robera, who pauses on her way to St. Mary's convent yonder to answer a traveler's questions. She trips away and is lost to view beneath the cross-tipped portals of her convent home.

And that structure was the Mormon arsenal in days when Prophet Smith -- also mayor and generalissimo -- and his Nauvoo legion gave Hancock county its bellyful of fighting!

Home Built from Temple.

And yonder ivy clad house of buff colored limestone, where dwells Father Tholen, Roman Catholic pastor at Nauvoo -- that was built from the ruins of the vast Mormon temple which had 30 hewn pilasters costing $3,000 each, and, in its secret chambers, a baptismal font supported bt twelve colossal carved oxen, and which was to have cost a million dollars and to have had a tower 200 feet high.

The Mormons would have expended the million and finished their Nauvoo tower -- for they were indefatigable builders and shrewd financiers -- save that Hancock county and shires adjacent on both sides of the great river made Illinois too hot to hold them. So the end of the temple was a wagon shop, and in it were built, under Brigham Young's driving gaze, the thousands of wagons in which he transported at first 2,000 and later twelve or fourteen thousand more of his exiles from the banks of the Mississippi to the basin of the Salt Lake, a feat in generalship more than comparable to Xenophon's maneuvering of the Ten Thousand across desolation and into safety.

Still Shrine for 100,000.

But the departure of Brigham and his hosts did not end the history of Nauvoo as a shrine city. As such it functions to this day. I said the place is petrified history. But there are a hundred thousabd members of the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" -- that is the present ecclesiastical name of the body of descendants of the Mormons who did not follow Brigham -- who devoutly believe that "In the Lord's own Time" Nauvoo will be restored to its glory of 80 years ago, when it had a population of, some say 25,000 and some 50,000, and was the best built city in our state.

These descendants and their co-religionists -- for their church is steadily growing -- point you to the chapter and verse in the Hebrew and the Mormon Bibles, in both of which they believe, for proof that the prophecy is a certainty. The sentence is, "And the waste places shall be built again," and if it comforts them to apply that to Nauvoo, who shall begrudge them? They are good, order-loving, gentle, industrious people now, whatever they may have been in Prophet Joseph's turbulent time. Anyway, he paid with his life for his truculence.

To Rise by Revelation.

The "reorganized" Mormons at Nauvoo, who declare their forebearers never did believe in plural marriage -- chapter and verse for that too -- assured me that the town now drowsing on the Mississippi, where it makes a mighty bend twelve miles above Keokuk and broadens into a great lake, will be restored "by revelation." Pending that, they ought to engage a good, live go-getter and develop a chamber of commerce. Those are genuine aids to the Lord's work nowadays.

We were speaking of history's ironies.

Look yonder! There is one now: A mild faced elderly man who is driving a hay wagon in from the placid fields that surround Nauvoo, except where some of the places of the vanished Mormon magnificoes come close to the river's bank. And the driver of the hay wagon is, if you please, high priest in the Melchisedek priesthood, which is the highest priesthood in the Mormon church -- reorganized or otherwise -- and the keys of which are held, so Mormons believe, by St. Peter, St. John, and St. James.

Joseph Smith's Vision.

Ninety-seven years ago Joseph Smith, founder and first "revelator" of the Mormon church, said John the Baptist told hom that about the keys and the saints when John appeared to him in a vision, and today 700,000 persons, including two of the shrewdest, most useful members of the United States senate, believe it.

That old high priest on the hay wagon is John W. Layton, the most important man in the Mormon congregation at Nauvoo, which numbers 50 to 60 members and which has for pastor Heber -- name outstanding in early Mormon annals -- C. Snively.

So you see Nauvoo is no dead shrine.

It functions, and has Mormon pageants and solemn anniversary services near the supposed grave of its murdered "martyr" -- and entering the stately old mansion by the river bank, once the martyr's manor house, where High Priest Layton now lives, I heard one of the strangest tales I ever heard, and tomorrow I will tell it to you.

(Tomorrow: Over to the "Shrine Jail" at Carthage.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Friday, August 13, 1926.                     No. ?



Carthage Jail Recalls Fate
of Martyred Smith.



"Yes," said gentle-speaking Mrs. John W. Layton, when we were seated in the cool "mansion house" at Nauvoo, Ill., that once was Prophet Joseph Smith's home and that now is a shrine place for Mormons the world over -- "Yes," she said placidly, "my husband and I became Latter Day Saints 43 years ago. We lived in Nova Scotia then and were Baptists before we were converted. I've been happy in the church, but it was hard then to have the finger of scorn pointed at you and be jeered at for a Mormon polygamist...

...I heard far echoes of a mother wailing in the cool bright room where we were sitting on a summer afternoon -- wailing as she bent, two and eighty years ago, over the bodies of her dead sons, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!"

The Smith Succession.

And the whimper of a twelve year old boy crept through the house as he laid his cheek against the cold face of Joseph Smith and cried, "O, my father!" Above Mrs. Layton's head, on the wall of the sunny room, hung a portrait of that boy, bearded and patriarchal, who became, "by revelation, successor to his father as "prophet, seer and revelator" of the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints." He was Joseph the Second, and he died in 1914, full of years and uncontentious honors -- which was a change from his short lived, truculent father's tradition -- and today in his place stands, also as a result of revelation, Frederick M. Smith, whose seat of power is at Independence, Mo.

Schism in the Church.

His, be assured, is no negligible power, for he has but to open his lips and say, "So saith the Lord to me his prophet," and a hundred thousand "reorganized" Mormons, some of them in remote islands of the sea, jump to it. But not the 600,000 Mormons whose seat of power is in Salt Lake City. They acknowledge Joseph the First -- called "the Martyr" -- as founder of their church, but they do not acknowledge his grandson, the present Frederick the First, as prophetm seer and revelator. In short, in 1846 -- two yars after the assassination of Joseph the First and his brother, Hyrum, by the mob of insensate Illinoisians that stormed Carthage jail -- there was a schism among the twenty-five to fifty thousand Nauvoo Mormons, and Brigham Young seized the presidency of the church and led the majority of its children on the empire-building, state-making trek to Utah.

Some Not So Gentle.

Mrs Layton always spoke of Brigham's followers as "those who departed from the original church," but some of her co-religionists, not so gentle spoken as she is, call the Utah hierarchy "the rejected church." "We," said Mrs. Layton, "have not changed one item of our doctrine as given us by the Martyr and Founder, and twice the United States courts have decided that we are his lawful successors. The Utah Saints -- they don't allow our elders to preach in their churches, but we allow them to preach in ours. We treat them courteously, as we would treat you."

And so she did treat me, showing me most interesting places which she will also show you, for the Saints welcome visitors, even from among the gentiles.

Much as I Was 80 Years Ago.

In this shrine city of the Mormon magnificoes much remains as it was eight decades ago when Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and Orson Hyde and Heber Kimball and Sidney Rigdon were scheming and building there and more or less furtively tampering with the practice of polygamy. Mrs. Layton said that Joseph the First never so tampered, and pointed me to verses 33 and 36 in chapter II of the Book of Jacob in the Mormon bible -- the bible which Joseph said he translated from gold plates that an angel brought him from heaven and which Mark Twain in "Roughing It" called "chloroform in print" -- to show that "the martyr" never could have countenanced plural marriages. But the evidence, I fear, is against her pious claim, for Mr. Werner in his great life of Brigham Young (page 146) prints the names of twenty-eight damsels who were "sealed" to Prophet Joseph.

Views Martyr's Mansion.

But Mrs. Layton and I did not argue. Instead, she cheerily showed me the rooms of the Martyr Joseph's mansion house -- it looks like the old manor house of Daniel Webster near Franklin, N. H. -- and the silent massive Bauvoo hotel at the river's very edge. That is the only boarding house, I believe, ever built "by revelation from the Lord." The very words of the Lord's alleged utteranceon the project are extant. They are specific, numbering several hundred, and begin, "And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers" -- and so on to the minutest details of finance. Any way, it is a well build boarding house and is still used as such in times of church conferences.

The magnificoes' houses are in such good condition that every one of them would restore beautifully. You can instantly identify some of them from the lack of north windows -- safeguard against the wind sweeping down the river.

Massive Is Their Style.

Massive foundations, thick walls, deep casements -- such is the note of surviving Mormon architecture at Nauvoo.

When you make your Nauvoo pilgrimage you will stand by the lilac bush on the river bank near where "the martyr" is said to be buried. After his and Hyrum's bodies had lain in state at the mansion house, Emma, the martyr's wife, fearing grave robbers, somehow devised that coffins containing only stone were publicly buried. But the bodies she buried secretly, dying without revealing the exact spot. Others in later years described it, so fully, however, that now the Mormon dirge beginning, "There's an unknown grave in a green, lowly spot," has lost its poignancy. Emma's body lies near her husband's.

Murder Jail Now Shrine.

You will wish to round out your afternoon at Nauvoo with the ride 13 miles eastward, over a fine road, to the beautifully treed town of Carthage, where the Hancock county mob, maddened by the political meddlings and suspected polygamy of Joseph and his followers, wantonly shot them down in the jail whither they had been brought for safekeeping by Gov. Ford. The Saints now own the jail, and preserve it as a shrine, and the custodian, turning back the carpet in the main upper chamber, shows you the faint stains made by wounded Joseph's blood when he rushed the window to escape the mob leaders upstairs, only to meet death before the guns of other leaders who were waiting for him in the yard below....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Chicago, Illinois, Sunday,  November 25, 1945.                     No. ?


Biography of Joseph Smith
Is Scholarly and Readable.

"NO MAN KNOWS MY HISTORY: The Life of Joseph Smith,"
by Fawn M. Brodie,
(Knopf, $4.)

Reviewed by Kelsey Guilfoil

Mormonism, as it is commonly called by the "gentiles" who are not members of the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a purely American product, a growth of the American soil, owing nothing to other religions and ethical systems except to the Judeo-Christian roots from which Joseph Smith derived it. It has its own Bible, the Book of Mormon, supplementing the Judeo-Christian Bible, and its own interpretation of prehistoric America.

Its founder was Joseph Smith, an imperfectly educated young man who had soaked himself in biblical lore, but otherwise was virtually illiterate. On a set of golden plates, to which he had been guided by a vision, he found the history of the early inhabitants of this continent who built the great mounds found in the northern and central states. These builders were he announced, a part of the lost 10 tribes of Israel, and their history was a new Bible, or a supplement to the Bible.

All this is familiar to many people who have found the strange and turbulent record of the Mormons an engrossing subject. Much has been written, in many books and articles, on the Mormon church and its leaders. Nearly all of the writers, however, from Mark Twain down to the humblest scribbler who has tackled the subject, have exhibited bias, or lacked scholarship, or were ax-grinders and special pleaders.

Now Fawn Brodie has out a superb biography, probably the best popular biography of the year, which is also a scholarly and definitive study of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and a lively and entertaining history of the Mormon church up to the time that Smith was shot by the mob in Carthage, Ill.

Mrs. Brodie is sympathetic to her subject. Meager biographical data indicate that she is a Mormon by birth, and I do not find that she has ever quit Mormonism. Yet her portrait of Joseph Smith and the church he founded is about as impartial as any Mormon or "gentile" could write. It bears the unmistakable stamp of scholarship and painstaking research; it lets the facts speak for themselves.

She does not blink many things which are often glossed over by Mormon apologists: the deficiency of the evidence concerning the authenticity of the golden plates, and Joseph Smith's more or less futile attempts to prove their sacred origin and character, the absurdity of his calling the language in which they were written "reformed Egyptian," and other things that sometimes make the non-Mormon smile at the pretensions of Joseph Smith's religion.

The troubles caused by the introduction of plural marriages are fully told, too, and the troubles were many, both among the Mormon dissenters themselves and with the enemies of the church. But Mrs. Brodie is too wise to try to interpret the custom of having more than one wife, or to explain it away, or to denounce it: she has told just how it was started and what became of it. The reader is left to make his own judgment.

The author makes clear what must be admitted by all but the most prejudiced anti-Mormon: that the persecution of the Mormons in their early days in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri was savagely unjust, and generally lacking in legality. She has much to tell about this and other affairs of the Mormons which has not been told before.

Winner of an Alfred A. Knopf fellowship in biography, Mrs. Brodie's work is a monumental and lasting piece of work, good alike for the student and the general reader.

Note: See also Dale Morgan's review in the Nov. 24, 1945 issue of Saturday Review of Literature.

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