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Vol. XVIII.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 4, 1880.                No. 72.


Among the false teachings of the Mormon press and pulpit to their deluded followers is the oppression visited upon them by the American Government. The object of this is to set them against republican institutions and to keep them under the heel of the priesthood...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, January 20, 1880.                No. 85.


Lecture Delivered by Rev. George W. Gallagher,
in Ogden, on Sunday Evening. January 18th,
on the Opening of the Presbyterian Church.

The fountain of Mormonism was Joseph Smith. The character of the prophet is well known. The neighbors of the Smith family when the Smiths lived in Palmyra, Manchester and Fayette, New York, testify to the loose, immoral habits of the Smiths and especially of Joseph Smith, Jr. To the testimony of the neighbors is added the testimony of Mr. Hale, Joseph Smith's father-in-law. Brigham Young himself said "the prophet was of mean birth, and that he was wild, intemperate, even dishonest and tricky is nothing against his religion. I care not if he gamble, lie, swear, and run horses every day, for I embrace no man in my faith."

But the character of Joseph Smith has a great deal to do with Joseph Smith's religion, for that character either establishes or impeaches his credibility as a witness to the truth. As one reads the "revelations" given to Joseph and enunciateed in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, he cannot help being struck with the number of times that the Lord tells Joseph to repeant of his sins and to cease his "transgressions." It seems as if the Lord had hard work to keep Joseph straight. This man, admitted by friends and opponants, to have been of loose and immoral habits is the one whom


chose as a medium of a new and wondrous revelation...

That the Book of Mormon is a fraud can be proved in two ways, first, by the internal evidence, second, by the external evidence.... When the Book of Mormon was first published, the widow of Solomon Spaulding, a lady of pure moral character, whose testimony has not been impeached, testified under oath [sic] that the Book of Mormon was her husband's lost novel interpolated and changed to suit the purposes of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. To this testimony was added that of John Miller, a partner in business with Mr. Spaulding, and that of scores of neighbors who lived near Mr. Spaulding in the different towns where he had resided. Such evidence is sufficient to convince any mind that can be influenced by the weight of testimony that the so-called revelation of Joseph Smith is a fraud.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, January 24, 1880.                No. 89.



It is not known to the great body of Mormons in Utah that the Mormon church has been during, its history of half a century several times re-organized. Yet the books show such to be the fact...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 25, 1880.                No. 90.



"The New England fathers," says the historian Motley, "had no notion of establishing a democracy. The virtues of the Puritans were many and colosal, their vices were few but formidable, for they were intolerance, cruelty, tyranny and bigotry. They came here to establish, not liberty of conscience, but the true church. They people, as such, had no rights at all. * * * A true picture of those early times would present this quaint, solemn, arbitrary government keeping the people as tight as a drum, prying about and thrusting its primitive and patriarchal nose into everybody's business and meddling with the most minute and trifling matters."

Mormonism, polygamy and all, is not so much a relic of barbarism as a relic -- indeed, the bitter kiss -- of Puritanism. Salt Lake is much closer to Boston, to-day, than it is to San Francisco. The vices of these old Puritans were indeed but few, but, as Motley well says, "formidable."

We shall never be able to account for the practice of polygamy amd the concomitant idea of "blood atonement" in our day, in Utah Mormonism, until we divine the true cause and source of these things. Their roots are deep and to the many unknown and unguessed of.

Polygamy is superficially berated as if it were one with -- had its origin in common with -- ordinary libertinism and licentiousness. Such a thing is bad enough, people think, in irreligious people, but in a community professing itself religious a thousandfold less excusable -- horrible --incredible -- unaccountable.

Nothing can be wider of the mark than to arraign polygamy in this wise. The secret of polygamy is to be found in the perversion of the sexual instincts, and a blind, wild craving of outraged nature to right itself.

[Onddaism?] and kindred sexual [craves?] have one and all the same root in perversion. And while this is true, physically and practically considered, it is equally true, literally and ideally, that they have sprung from a certain morbid cnsciontiousness, which is widely removed from reckless and lawless licentiousness, although its tendency has been more and more, as normal conditions of physical health and soundness have supervened, to sun in parallel lines with the libertine spirit and even [embrace] with it. Thank God, "the quadruped opinion" is not humanity's ultimate.

A clear and full understanding of the peculiar nature and character of the man Rigdon throws such a flood of light upon all Mormonism as nothing else can. The fons et principaux of the whole thing is to be found in him.

The most aggravated cases of polygamy are where a pure and unperverted natural woman has found herself "unequally yoked" with a diseased and perverted man. Such a woman never could understand where polygamy came in. Her whole nature has felt itself outraged by it, and she is revolted from it. And yet, her thought, her partially reconciling reflection has been, "well, man's nature is essentially more gross than woman's." The same God who made my nature to revolt at polygamy, made my husband's which is disposed to it."

Poor woman, thus generalizing from a disordered and morbid specimen of mankind, you are nearer to nature and to the God of nature than is your husband. The conditions of your birth, your extraction, your life course, have run harmoneously along with that God of nature, while some and perhaps all of his have been running counter thereto. That is the difference -- the sad gulf -- between you, and diseased conditions of body and mind the secret of the introduction or, more properly and exactly, of the first germinating and eventual establishing of polygamy. Most likely two quite different characters and dispositions, first evolved the thought (S. Rigdon), and finally established the practice of polygamy (B. Young), but much more closely akin to one another than to the third party (J. Smith), who has had the nsame and borne the stigma of introducing it.

The ever deepening horror of the thing is that the young and unperverted should be still enmeshed, when a full knowledge and comprehension of what is here briefly hinted at would save them.

"Blood Atonement," which may be justly viewed as a blood-relation of polygamy, seems to have had its principal source in the dyspeptic habit, amounting to hypochondria, of J. M. Grant, though Rigdon may have been before Grant in this, as he was before Joseph in the religio-polygamic idea. Rigdon had a temperament tinged with sadness and inclining to melancholy (black bile,) whereas the natural character of "the prophet" was jovial. But the bonhommie of the latter was lost to the Mormon system in the acerbatica amd vindictiveness of Brigham Young, and the two, Rigdon and Young -- have given its tone to Mormonism in Utah.

The strongest men are the gentlest. The most virtuous are the most charitable. The best people are the most natural. Society makes us humane. Isolation leads to barbarism. The healthiest people are the most sociable.

Had the Mormon prophet lived to be fifty and eschewed vanity, his more highly toned wife would have saved him and the Mormon Church from the curse and degradation of polygamy. Their son, the present Joseph, possesses the best elements of both his parents and may yet redeem the name of Joseph Smith and (as a religo-sensual craze) the polygamy of Mormondom.

Note 1: The above article was most probably written by James T. Cobb. It seems reasonable to conclude that Cobb was himself much too close to polygamy (and too much impacted personally by that pernicious system), to "see the forest, for the trees," when it came to objectively describing its origins. LDS dispensationalism arises out of the belief that, at different periods of time in history, "the gospel" is retored to its original purity and then is again "lost." Proto-Mormons, like Sidney Rigdon, must have struggled with decisions regarding just which of the many manifestations experienced in "prior dispensations" were to be included in the final (Mormon) scheme of religion. Rigdon's doctrine of an American Zion, where the twelve tribes of the polygamous patriarch Jacob were to be "restored," naturally opened the way for an idealization patriarchal polygamy as a former divine institution. In the Book of Mormon's Book of Jacob, the writer denounces the polygamy of David and Solomon, but holds open an "escape clause" by which the biblical practice can be instituted for patriarchal purposes. That was, perhaps, as much as Rigdon and other early Mormon leaders were willing to acknowledge, regarding the "blessings of Jacob."

Note 2: If this text appars to be incomplete and its thesis not fully developed, it is probably because Cobb's original article was published in two separate parts. See the March 16, 1880 issue of the Tribune for what appears to be its conclusion. There Mr. Cobb traces polygamy to the "sealing power" of the Mormons' top leader -- which Cobb speculates originated as a doctrine of Sidney Rigdon's concoction. Certainly the theological apology for celestial polygamy rests upon the possiblity of a widower being eternally "sealed" to both a deceased first wife as well as to a living second wife. In this religious development, Rigdon appears to have provided priestly justification for a post-mundane continuation of Joseph Smith's secret plural wifery. So long as Joseph was only married "spiritually" to his plural wives, the logical (?) extension of Rigdon's doctrine might allow multiple "spiritual wives" during earthly existence. Smith, according to most reports, paid no attention to such fine points of theology -- and extended Rigdon's doctrine to the sphere of carnal intercourse with his "plurals" well before his passing "beyond the veil."

Note 3: Mr. Cobb, who was not trained in sociology, understandably overlooks the peculiar group dynamics that often come into play in religious cults led by a single, charismatic and despotic "alpha male." In such groups (where the leader speaks in God's place and the members are breaking away from many established cultural norms), it is not unusual for such a male leader to initiate, develop and control diverse intimate relationships with several his most devoted female followers. In polygamic Mormonism, this particular phenomenon was managed by the top leadership and eventually sanctioned by them, amongst the lower churchly ranks, as an integral part of building up an isolated and separatist society. Institutionalized LDS polygamy was a complex manifestation, which indeed may have sprung from Puritanical idealization of "Old Testament virtues" and the bigoted, cultish control exercised by certain religious leaders, who managed a largely ignorant membership, grounded both in traditional New England religion and in New England's hallmark fringe of fanatical non-conformity. See the story of Cochranite polygamy, for a parallel example of this phenomenon.


Vol. XVIII.                    Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, March 12, 1880.                    No. ?


Elder Forscutt Details his Experiences With these Murderers.


(Chicago Tribune, February 23d.)

Mr. Mark H. Forscutt, an Elder of the Reorganized Mormon Church, who holds services every Sunday at No. 213 West Madison street, discoursed yesterday morning upon the Danites. He had no doubt, he said, that the subject would be surprising to many of his audience, and might to some of them seem hardly a fit subject for a religious discourse, yet it would be seen that it was really of great importance. It had been said that the Latter-day Saints had bands of men connected with them called "Danites," and during the past week there had been produced in one of the theatres of this city a play purporting to give an insight of the workings of that body. The speaker had heard a great deal of it, and when he went to see it last week the play bill informed him that the piece was the best lecture on Mormonism that could be heard, a statement with which he could not by any means agree. He had been connected with the Church since boyhood, and had been where, it was said, the Danites ruled. While there he knew something of what the world charged against them, -- knew enough to be able to say that their misdeeds, of whose existence he was fully satisfied, were not chargeable to the Church of Latter-day Saints.

In considering the subject it was necessary to go back in history. The speaker described briefly the successive movements of the Mormons up to their expulsion from Nauvoo, at which time, according to the general belief, the entire Church went to Utah. This was a mistake. The Church then numbered 150,000 to 200,000 souls, of whom not more than 20,000 went to Utah. The rest were, and still are, scattered throughout the States and, though they still followed the doctrines of the Church, yet for fear or policy's sake they kept themselves aloof from it. These all hold that such institutions as exist in Utah were not believed in in Nauvoo. The Utah institutions grew up under the leadership of Brigham Young, and are condemned, their followers being simply apostates from the Church, whose constitution they have violated from the beginning. The speaker knew he was expressing their sentiments when he denounced them as wrong and the church as an illegal one.

The speaker was in Missouri at the time of the persecution of the Saints in that State, in consequence of which a band of Minute-Men was organized. Col. Hinkle was authorized by the military authorities of Missouri to organize the Latter-day Saints in defense of the Church and its [associates?]. This was well in itself, but there not wanting those enthusiasts who wanted to go further, until at last the organization for defense grew into one for offense, and thence came the body known as the Danites, so called after Dan, their secret method of evil doing being patterned after the words of the Bible, "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." The Danites had surreptitiously and secretly worked for the destruction of all not in accord with their way of thinking. By the endowment system they were bound by horrible oaths not only to sustain the dynasty of Utah, but also to punish all who held a different opinion, and in carrying out their work they have been guilty of many atrocities and numberless cruel murders. So far, however, from the Latter-day Saints having any complicity in their deeds, they have been the greatest sufferers from them. The speaker himself was, during his residence in Utah, continually in difficulties because he constantly fought the secret band who sought by every means in their power the destruction of himself and family. His house was watched night and day, attempts to poison the family had been made, bullets had buzzed close by him, either the protection of Providence or the poor aim of the assassins alone saving him. After suffering thus he came to the States and continued to declare against the aims and policies of the bands as he had done in Utah.

During the time when Gen. Conner from California was in Utah protecting and anti-Brighamites the latter started a paper called the Vidette. The speaker and Dr. Robinson were connected with its publication and it came to his (the speaker's) ears that they had been doomed to die within a week. He informed Dr. Robinson of the fact, but he refused to take warning. The speaker left for Colorado, and the same evening Dr. Robinson was called from his bed to attend a man who, the visitor said, had a broken limb. The rest of the family begged the doctor not to leave the house, but he insisted that he could not decline to go on such a message. He had got only a few feet from his house when he was knocked down and killed.

In one of the stores of the place, next day some women were heard to engage in conversation upon the Robinson murder, and one of them remarked, "Two more have got to go yet. They other asked, "Is Forscutt one of them?" and when the woman answered in the affirmative she responded, "Thank God, he is out of the way." It was decreed, the speaker said, that he was to go the same way, and assassination was so lightly thought of as to be the subject of every day conversation in the common resorts.

He insisted it was wrong, after they had suffered as they had, that the Latter-day Saints should be charged with the very horrors which they had endured in greater proportion than the rest of the world. The Saints' Church did not teach these evils.

The speaker then referred to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants of Joseph Smith, than which he claimed no book demanded greater purity on the part of those who followed its precepts. The book demands that members should come under the law of the land, and also that they shall deliver unto the law those who have transgressed against it. In proof the the obediencve which the Saints gave to the precept, the speaker cited a case which occured some little time ago in Pittsfield. A man wanted to be baptized in the Saints' Church, and the speaker declined for good reasons. The party succeeded better elsewhere, and shortly afterwards married a well to do widow. It turned out shortly that he was already married, whereupon the Saints gave him up to the law and prosecuted him, and so it has been everywhere, that body invaribly paying that respect and obedience to the law required of them in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

The speaker then cited the words of Bishop Lee, the Mormon [---d] and Bill Hickman, both of whom wanted it understood that that they did not believe in Brigham Young, but did believe in Joseph Smith. The latter said with tears in his eyes that if he had never done other than what Smith had taught him he would not have got into his trouble. At Nauvoo Smith might have escaped, and even, if he had chosen, might have vanquished his enemies, but he was prepared to be judged by the law of the land, and [suffered] accordingly.

The speaker then read a letter from William B. Smith, a brother of Joseph stating that there was no resemblance whatever between the doctrine of Joseph Smith and the apostasy of Brigham Young, which he characterized as not only sacrilegious but a libel upon his brother's name.

The Book of Mormon said that no secret oaths or covenants should be allowed to the people, The doctrine was plain, but, notwithstanding this, it is not followed to the letter. People held that the doctrine meant that there should be no secret organization for gain or evil, and in this belief secret bodies were started. The speaker joined one or two covenants when he was in Utah, and, though he had left them, he had never revelaed their secrets. At the same time he felt bound to say that the organizations were not good. They were an outcome of polygamy, and intended to support that evil institution. In contradiction to the theory that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, the speaker stated that Mrs. Smith had herself told him that he was not, and previous to her death had specifically denied that such was the case.

In general defense of the Saints' Church, the speaker stated that the records of the jails and penetentiaries showed that while members of the other congregations had helped to fill them, the Saints had not got a representative there, and this, too, though in point of numbers the Saints fifth among the different denominations. In conclusion, the speaker read the marriage service of the Church, in which contracting parties not only agreed to keep themselves for each other, but from all others, as a proof that the Reorganized Church is opposed to the doctrine and practice of polygamy.

Note 1: The above article gives readers the impression that "the speaker" of the the summarized sermon was Elder Mark Hill Forscutt, and him alone. Forscutt did not emigrate to the United States from England until 1860. He became a Reorganite in 1865, after having spent about four years with the Mormons in Utah. His knowledge of LDS Church history in Missouri, during the 1830s, could have come only from second-hand reports. If he said he was in Missouri, he lied -- but perhaps more than one elder spoke at the meeting and the report was a composite from various accounts. There were many older RLDS members still alive in 1880 who knew perfectly well of the secretive organization and activities of the "Danites" in Missouri -- and their successors at Nauvoo and later in Utah. The RLDS leaders of the nineteenth century were generally reluctant to divulge embarrassing details from the Missouri period in Church history. They evidently preferred that their followers believe the first "Danites" were merely enthusiasts within the Caldwell Co. Militia: saintly "Minute Men" -- who fell into "evil" ways while fighting off the invading Missouri Gentiles. This sanitized view of history ignores altogether the role played by Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, in organizing the "Danites" as an anti-apostate secret police well before any violence broke out between the Far West Mormons and their non-Mormon neighbors. While it might be argued that the Danites were not an official part of the LDS Church, and that President Joseph Smith, Jr. did not attend and preside over each and every one of their secret meetings, the top Mormon leadership's use of such a paramilitary force before, during, and after the 1838 "Momron War" is are undeniable facts. The RLDS "party line" -- professing that the creation and maintenance of the Danites was the work of "the dynasty of Utah" (that is, the "Twelve") is but a partial truth, designed to shield the vulnerable reputation of the "Lord's Anointed," Joseph Smith, Jr. It may be true that most of the Hosea Stouts and Porter Rockwells did go west to Utah, leaving the RLDS relatively free of Danite influence -- but it is just as true that numerous early RLDS members knew that this Mormon secret police force was the creation of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr.

Note 2: The RLDS Elder calls upon the testimony of William B. Smith and Emma Hale Smith, to confirm the purported purity of Joseph Smith's religious system and of Smith's personal family life. He might just as well have called upon the family of Brigham Young, to prove that Young was a true prophet and faithful promoter of Smith's religion as it was practiced at Nauvoo. To a convert, such as Forscutt, the Smith family affirmations might have sounded believable -- however, those in his Chicago audience who actually knew William Smith, could have been forgiven for just then rolling their eyes and hiding their blushes.


Vol. XVIII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, March 16, 1880.               No. 133.



It is a cardinal point in Mormon, as in other theologies, that without repentance, there is no remission of sin. In the Book of Mormon, the argument is that if mercy were not [sic - were?] allowed to rob justice, and to pardon a sinner without repentance, "God would cease to be God." This doctrine is plainly stated in the Book of Mormon, page 322.

According to justice, the plan of redemption could not not be brought about, only on condition of repentance of men in this prohibitionary state, yea, this preparatory state, for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.

We are further taught in the Revelation on Celestial Marriage

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

In the Book of Mormon, page 177, we read,

But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins * * * these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore had ye not ought to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; * * * for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

In the revelation on Celestial Marriage, we find this further doctrine

If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this Priesthood * * * and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood * * * they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue, * * * then shall they be be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. * * * This is eternal lives, to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

The old Serpent shows his brazen crest in that word "wise." Jesus taught us, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." But according to this Latter day dispensation, "eternal lives," is endless propagation.

Without ever having repented of their sins, then, "If a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise," if they commit any sin whatever -- murder alone excepted, "whereby they shed innocent blood" -- they may come forth in the first resurrection and enter into their exaltation. With their sins unremitted they can enter into their exaltation (according to the teaching of the so-called Revelation on Celestial Marriage) if they have only been "sealed up to this glory" "by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood."

If Mormonism should ever decide to abandon the practice of pluralizing it would still hold, in the sealing prerogative of its priesthood, a more than Roman Catholic claim and power of exclusiveness in controlling the marital relations of its devotees. This is shown in some utterances of Joseph Smith in March, 1841, and printed in the Deseret News June 10-17, 1857, as follows:

"I will make every doctrine plain that I present, and it shall stand upon a firm basis, and I am at the defiance of the world, for I will take shelter under the broad cover of the wings of the work in which I am engaged. It matters not to me if all hell boils over; I regard it only as I would the crackling of the thorns under a pot. what you seal on earth, by the keys of Elijah, is sealed in heaven, and this is the power of Elijah. The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek priesthood, and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God. Again, the doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows: If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be crafty; the first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters to yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, and go ahead, and not go back, but use a little craftiness, and seal all you can; and when you get to heaven tell your Father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven, according to his promise. I will walk through the gate of heaven and claim what I seal, and those that follow me and my counsel. The Lord once told me that what I asked for I should have, etc."

At the April conference, 1844 (about ten weeks before he was killed,) the prophet Joseph gave utterance to the following blasphemy (Deseret News, July 15, 1857):

"God made Aaron to be a mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and he will make me be God to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me, and if you don't like it, you must lump it."

The sealing idea (irrespective of pluralizing), could not have originated from Joseph Smith, but with Rigdon. Of course polygamy was its natural fruit. A careful reading of the so-called revelation of Celestial Marriage shows the two hands (and heads) and the two ideas -- the "celestial" and the patriarchal, which later may be interpreted the carnal and polygamic. We may be sure that Rigdon would never have bestowed upon his prophet the sole keys of this tremendous sealing power; and Smith's claiming them, was undoubtedly the rock of offense upon which the pair split.

Upon comparison it is seen that the promises offered in the so-called revelation on Celestial Marriage are couched in similar terms and evidently come from the same source as the promise of the serpent to our first parents in the Garden:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good from evil.

In a second and greater Fall, it would be strange, indeed, if the Devil should not reveal himself, but in a way so subtle and plausible and cunning as to deceive even the very elect.

Note 1: The above text is the logical conclusion of the more or less unfinished article published in the Tribune on Jan. 25, 1880

Note 2: This article was reprinted in the Albert Lea, MN Freeborn County Standard of Apr. 22, 1880


Vol. XVIII.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, March 18, 1880.                No. 135.



We find in the Saints' Herald (Josephite organ) of the 15th inst., the findings of the Court of Common Pleas, of Lake County, Ohio; Hon. L. J. Sherman, judge, in the suit of the Reorganized Church for the quieting of the title to the Kirtland temple, the substance of which has already reacehd us by telegraph. The parties to the suit were the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, plantiff, against the Church in Utah, John Taylor, president of said Church, and others, defendants. The findings rehearse in some detail the organization of a religious society by Joseph Smith at Palmyra, New York, on April 6th, 1830, under the name of "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The same year this society moved in a body and located at Kirtland. This Church held and believed and was founded upon certain well defined doctrines, which were set forth in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the book of Doctrine and Covenants. On the 11th of February, 1841, William Marks and his wife Rosannah, conveyed by deed to Joseph Smith, as trustee-in-trust for this Church, the lands and tenements described in the petition, upon which lands the Church had erected a temple, and remained in possession and occupancy of the same, until the disorganization of the Church, which event occurred about 1844. The main body of this Church society removed from Kirtland, and in 1844 were located in Nauvoo, Illinois, when Joseph Smith died, and the membership, estimated at 100.000, scattered and located in different States and places, each fragment claiming to be the original and true Church above named. One of these fragments, estimated as 10,000, emoved to Utah Territory, under the leadership of Brigham Young, where it located, and , with accessions since, now constitutes the Church in Utah, under the presidency of John Taylor. After the departure of this Utah contingent, a large number of the officials and members of the original Church, reorganized under the name of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and on Feb. 5th, 1873, became incorporated under the laws of Illinois, and since that time all other fragments of the original Church (except the Church in Utah) have dissolved, and become largely unincorporated with the Reorganized Church, the plantiff in this action. Then the Court launches into theological jurisprudence, in words and figures to the following effect:

That the said plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a religious society, founded and organized upon the same doctrines and tenets, and having the same church organization as the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, organized in 1830, by Joseph Smith, and was organized pursuant to the constitution, laws and usages of said original Church, and has branches located in Illinois, Ohio and other States.

That the Church in Utah, the defandant, of which John Taylor is president, has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws, ordinances and usages of said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and has incorporated into ist system of faith the doctrines of Celestial Marriage and a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of Adam-God worship, contrary to the laws and constitution of said original Church.

And the court do further find that the plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the true and lawful continuation of, and successor to the said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized in 1830, and is entitled in law to all its rights and property.

The further findings of the court (which we give in condensed form,) are that the parties now in possession of the property own it by a pretended title, the legal title vesting in the heirs of Joseph Smith, disceased, in trust for the legal successor to the original Church. "The white haired and learned judge," as the Saints Herald calls him, who delevered the opinion, is brother to the Secretary of the Treasury and general of the army, and has long borne a high reputation as a jurist. This gives weight to the decision, and the Utah Church, if it carries the case on appeal, will find it hard to ovrturn."

The Church organs in Utah have been discretely mum on the issue of this suit. It must be a humiliating set-back to the arrogance of our infallibles, and it is a case where railing will not help them. Their unfailing logic, "It's all a lie," does not apply here with nay pertinency. Now the question is whether the Church property held here in the name of "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," can stand an attack from the true and lawful successor to the original organization. We have heard it hinted that the issue will be tried.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, March 20, 1880.               No. 137.



It is time both parties, Brighamite and Josephite, squarely faced the facts -- time the true character of Joseph Smith, the so-called prophet of the Lord, was known, and if it be really true that he was accustomed to teach and practice one sort of morality publically and privately another, high time it was seen that, for the first decade of Mormonism he was not the real head centre of the concern, but that Sidney Rigdon was, time that the real author of the revelations accredited to the Lord through the instrumentality of His prophet, was known and nailed. For until this is done nothing of a substantial and enduring character in the way of re-organizing and purifying the Latter-day dispensation can be accomplished, and no real program can be made. There is no class of fiction so damaging as pious fiction. Truth asks no concession and makes none, makes no apology and needs none. It disdains to stoop to finesse, which is the essential element of falsehood. It is fully to blind our eyes to the fact that in and through Mormonism there has been an awful betrayal of human confidence. It is not fair, is not just, to place the whole responsibility of this betrayal upon Brigham Young. Let all the doors and windows of the Mormon 'House of the Lord' be thrown open, and let in the fresh air of truth to ventilate it; let all the secrets be told, or it will soon be deserted of the upright in heart and given over to the unclean and those who love deceit. What is wanted is more of Christ and less of any man or book whatever.

And in the matter of preaching Christ the Josephites can not be too warmly commended and encouraged. The main stress of their preaching is Christ. And it goes against a strong and pervasive desire to see them win "on this line" when a syllable is dropped in austere criticism of them or a straw is laid in their way. But it should be borne in mind that Mormonism was not at first the monster of such hideous men as the world sees it, that (like Cardinal Wolsey) it was full of heavenly stuff -- that imposture always creeps before it strikes blatantly forth. Mormonism has been a school of sharp practices from the beginning. But only when flown with insolence and drunk with power was it announced by Brigham that "we" have the greatest and smoothest liars, the greatest experts in all manner of deviltry, although a hint of this is afforded by his master Rigdon when he said at the last conference in Nauvoo, April, 1844,

We gather of all kinds, if we get all Nations, we get all wisdom, all cunning, and every thing else. The sectarians cannot be as wise as we are, for they have only got the plans of man for salvation, but we have got man's plans, the devil's plans and the best of all, we have God's plan.

This "God's plan" is found to be of Sidney Rigdon's own devising. "Josephism" as well as all Mormondom has the ugly fact to face that, had there been no Joseph Smith there would have been no Brigham Young, and had there been no Sidney Rigdon there would have been no prophet Joseph Smith. It, as well as all Mormondom, must face the fact that Mormonism itself is the child of spleen and in turn the parent of intolerance and hate. It will yet be brought to light that the "Inspired Translation and Correction of the Holy Scriptures," which is doubtless the "sealed portion" of the sacred plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and which is all in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon, is chiefly if not exclusively his own handiwork. It will be seen that, as has been pointedly suggested, from the time the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was published, in 1835, there has existed in the "Book of Commandments," published two years before, and really the first edition of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," proof, plain and convincing to the meanest understanding, of the fraudulent character of both versions; that the amendments, the [-----ments] and amplifications, being so patent and glaring, the idea that an All wise Being could in 168 pages, 32mo., make so many blunders as have been corrected -- if the alterations can be called corrections -- is in the highest degree preposterous. The Book of Mormon is of the same stamp, only "more so." The key to Mormonism is in a correct estimate of the character of Sidney Rifdon, and in a knowledge of the fact that he and Joseph Smith were secretly co-operating for some years prior to the launching of the Mormon ship, Zion.

Mr. Gallagher lately arraigned Mormonism in four columns in The Tribune. In his discourse at the Institute, on the evening of the day on which Mr. Gallagher's lecture appeared, Elder Blair took up "the Spaulding Story," which Mr. Gallagher briefly touched upon. Possibly

      Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

The knowledge of the deep duplicity of which the human heart is capable is apt to make us sadder with that wisdom. Says the sacred penman:

Thus saith the Lord. Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and invoketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desporably wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the veins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

It is certainly an ungracious work to shake the faith in the minds of good people. So let brother Blair and his companion Elders and Saints, and let all good Saints and honest Elders throughout Mormondom e'en "live and learn." But let neither Brighamite nor Josephite, nor any other "ite," lay the flattering unction to their souls that "the baseless Spaulding story has ever been demolished or that it has ever been one whit shaken. Truth by its own weight stands. A good deal has been put forth upon that subject in the columns of The Tribune. It is to be observed that no position therein taken upon the matter of "the Spaulding story" has been overthrown, and considerable fresh light has been shed. Of Utah Mormonism it is its insincerity that is the most exasperating feature of it -- the pretense, the persistent bluff, in the matter of polygamy especially. Utah Mormonism is to all intents and purposes infidel. It is a huge excuse. And brother Gallagher shows himself not so much a careful and scrupulous investigator of Mormonism, as but one more of the thousand and one confusing echoes, when he sagely starts out with, "The fountain of Mormonism was Joseph Smith." Prodigious! Granting Joseph to have been this (human) "fountain" of Mormonism, fairly necessitates a superhuman "fountain" behind him. But when the facts are known that ingenious human brains, with a plentiful supply of curious biblical lore, were secretly at work behind Joseph and through him, putting him forward; that Rigdon, having hit upon and elaborated with the greatest care a string of Biblical passages and out of the way texts which seemed to sustain a novel and unique line of argument, possessed considerable facility in writing, that he was a force among the so-called Campbellites long before he turned his talents in the direction of Mormonism, that he was an unscrupulous innovator of mature years and ripe experience in preaching, of a [quiet?], commanding and popular eloquence when his prophet was in his nonage, that with the Millianrian bee in his bonnet he was led on by a hare-brained fervor and zeal, when it is noted that with all his hardihood of mingled fanaticism and "skull-duggery," he had never the face to deny the part he was often charged with taking in the colossal plagiarism and imposition, but maintained a stolid reticence to the last, that he was in turn the blask sheep of Campbellism and the Black Pope of Mormonism, the knotty problem is at once comprehensible. Mormonism then no longer presents a nodus that requires the lugging in of divinity to account for and unravel.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, April 23, 1880.                   No. 8.


Articles of Agreement Between Joe Smith,
the Father of Mormonism and Other Persons, in 1825.

April 12, 1880.
EDS. TRIBUNE: Knowing how interested you are in any matter pertaining to the early history of our Church, I enclose a slip cut from the Susquehanna (Pa.) Journal of March 20, which will throw some light on the subject. The Journal is published near the scene of our martyred Prophet's early exploits.
Respectfully yours,
       B. WADE.


The following agreement, the original of which is in possession of a citizen of Thompson township, was discovered by our correspondent, and forwarded to us as a matter of local interest.

The existence of the "buried treasures" referred to was "revealed" to Joe Smith, jr. who with his father, the Prophet at the time resided on what is now known as the McKune farm, about two miles down the river from this place, and upon the strength of which revelation a stock company was organized to dig for the aforesaid treasure. After the company was organized, a second communication was received by Joseph Jr., from the "other world" advising the treasure seekers to suspend operations, as it was necessary for one of the company to die before the treasure could he secured.

Harper, the peddler, who was murdered soon after, near the place where the Catholic cemetery in this borough is now located, was one of the original members of the company, and his death was regarded by the remainder of the band as a Providential occurrence, which the powers had brought about for their special benefit. The death of Harper having removed the only obstacle in the way of success, the surviving members, recommenced operations, and signed an agreement giving the widow Harper the half of one-third of all the treasures secured. The following is the agreement, written by the old humbug, Joseph Smith, himself:


We, the undersigned, do firmly agree, and by these present bind ourselves, to fulfill and abide by the hereafter specified articles:

First -- That if anything of value should he obtained at a certain place in Pennsylvania near a William Hales, supposed to be a valuable mine of either gold or silver and also to contain coined money and bars or ingots of gold or silver, and at which several hands have been at work during a considerable part of the past summer, we do agree to have it divided in the following manner, viz: Josiah Stowell, Calvin Stowell and Wm. Hale to take two-thirds, and Charles Newton, Wm. I. Wiley, and the widow Harper to take the other third. And we further agree that Joseph Smith, Sen. and Joseph Smith Jr. shall be considered as having two shares, two elevenths of all the property that may be obtained, and shares to be taken equally from each third.

Second -- And we further agree, that in consideration of the expense and labor to which the following named persons have been at (John F. Shepherd, Elijah Stowell and John Grant) to consider them as equal sharers in the mine after all the coined money and bars or ingot are obtained by the undersigned. Their shares to be taken out from each share; and we further agree to remunerate all the three above named persons in a handsome manner for all their time, expense, and labor which they have been or may be at, until the mine is opened, if anything should be obtained; otherwise they are to lose their time, expense and labor.

Third -- And we further agree that all the expense which has or may accrue until the mine is opened, shall be equally borne by the proprietors of each third and that after the mine is opened the expense shall be equally borne by each of the shares.

Township of Harmony, Pa., Nov. 1, 1825

In presents of:

Isaac Hale         Chas. A. Newton
David Hale        Jos. Smith, Sen.
P. Newton         Isaiah Stowell
         Calvin Stowell
         Jos. Smith, Jr.
         Wm. I. Wiley

The place where treasure was supposed to lie buried was on the place now owned by J. M. Tillman, near the McCune Farm, then the property of William Hale. Excavations were also made on Jacob Skinner's Farm, some of which remain well marked today. It was while pursuing this unsuccessful search for treasures, that the Prophet Smith pretended that he unearthed his famous "tablets."

(Brother Wade may have made a mistake in directing his letter to the proper church journal. If he has, Granny has our permission to copy the above by giving the Tribune proper credit.)

Note 1: "Granny" was the Tribune's nickname for the LDS Church's Deseret Evening News and/or that paper's editors.

Note 2: For more information regarding the context of this reprint from the Susquehanna Journal, see Emily C. Blackman's History of Susquehanna County and Frederic G. Mather's "Early Days of Mormonism."


Vol. XI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, May 1, 1881.                  No. 18.


The Early History of the
Prophet Joe Smith.

In corroboration of the statement published in yesterday's issue of The Tribune, taken from a late number of the Susquehanna (Pa.) Journal, is the following from the History of Joseph Smith...

In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman, by the name of Josiah Stowell, who lived in Chenango county, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna county, State of Pennsylvania, and had, previous to my hiring with him, been digging, in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me, among the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger. * * * During the time that I was thus emplpyed I was put to board with a Mr. Isaac Hale, of that place; it was there that I first saw my wife (his daughter) Emma Hale. On the eighteenth of January, 1827 we were married while yet I was employed in the service of Mr. Stowell. * * * Immediately after my marriage I left Mr. Stowell's, and went to my father’s and farmed with him that season.

Mrs. Lucy Smith, in her "Life of the Prophet Joseph" says:

A man by the name of Josiah Stowell came from Chenango County, New York, with the view of getting Joseph to assist him in digging for a silver mine. He came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.

The pretense that Joe was engaged as an ordinary day-laboror to dig is as false as the other yarns about his finding plates and translating them. "Tis all of a piece, his own wife's father and brothers and cousins, who were upon the spot where the money-digging wasengaged in, being witnesses to its falsity, several of whom, years ago, published their affidavits to the world. The straight and incontestable fact, as clearly proven as need be to all who wish to know the truth of the matter, is that at that time "the prophet Joseph" rejoiced in the less imposing pseudonym of "Peeper Joe," and that he was hired (as plainly intimated in the above extract from Mrs. Smith's life of her hopeful son) not to dig, but to peep. His brother-in-law, Alva Hale, declares he never threw out a shovel of dirt. Joe went on from point to point and from grace to grace, until at last many thousands of people -- sane ones, too, among them -- respectable people not a few -- were so outrageously sold as to tako stock in this "peeper" when he, a few years late, assumed to play the role of prophet and his peep stone was converted into a Urim and Thummim.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XIX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, July 11, 1880.                   No. ?


Sermon Preached by the Rev. George E. Jayne
at the M. E. Church, Provo City, Utah,
Sunday Evening, June 20th, 1880.


Text -- "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." -- Matt. vii, 15.

Christ and his apostles expressed a deep solicitude for the safety and salvation pf coming generations, and left on record warnings of false Christs and false prophets, which would arise and deceive many....

I cannot accept Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God because he tried to impose the Book of Mormon on the world as an inspired book. The facts are these, and there is no doubt concerning them among all anti-Mormons, though the Mormons consider them a base fabrication. The Book of Mormon was a religious novel, written by one of the members of the Spaulding family -- a quondam clergyman -- stolen by Joseph Smith, revised, interpreted and rearranged by Smith and Rigdon to escape detection. When it was published a controversy sprung up regarding its real authorship. Evidence was brought forward by the opponents of Smith to show that with the exception of certain illiterate and ungrammatical interpretations, bearing on religious matters the whole thing was copied nearly verbatum from the religious novel of the before mentioned Solomon Spaulding, (see Library of Universal Knowledge, vol 9, page 772). This very reliable work you will find for sale at the Mormon book store in this city near the Brigham Academy. I saw it there on the shelves a few weeks ago, and the innocent proprietor recommended it to me as the most authentic encyclopedia in use and as being in every way reliable. We believe he told the truth. It is a reprint entire of the last Edinburgh and London editions of Chambers Encyclopedia and [deserves] a place in every student's library. It is from this reliable work and also the following encyclopedias, Johnson's, Chambers', American, and Appleton's that I have gathered this and other facts contained in this sermon. These standard works are considered trustworthy in all other matters and it is passing strange that they should all agree and yet all be in error on the subject of Mormonism. If we reject such testimony, then we might as well reject all testimony and believe nothing at all....

Note: For this same expression of opinion, see old editions of Chambers' Encyclopedia, which say: "Evidence was brought forward by the opponents of Smith to show that with certain interpolations bearing on religious matters, the so-called Book of Mormon was really borrowed or stolen nearly verbatim from a manuscript romance written by a quondam clergyman named Solomon Spaulding, who died in 1816. It is unnecessary to go over the arguments pro and con, suffice it to say, that anti-Mormons generally think them conclusive, while the Saints consider the whole story of Spaulding's romance a scandalous fabrication."


Vol. XIX.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, August 5, 1880.                No. 98.


An Affidavit From the Daughter of
Solomon Spaulding.

Regarding the Manuscript Found,
and the Mormon Bible.

Another Convincing Proof of the
Book's Fraudulent Character.

In the last Scribner there is an interesting paper on "The Book of Mormon," from the pen of Ellen E. Dickensen, a grandneice of Solomon Spaulding, the author of "Manuscript Found," from which the Mormon Bible was copied by that errant rogue and scamp, Jo Smith. In her article Mrs. Dickensen recapilulates the history of the work, as she remembers hearing it from her relatives, and advances one thing which is new, and only one, the affidavit of Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter of Spaulding. The affidavit is given below, and was copied four times before she would subscribe to it, such was her desire that it should be true to a word.


(read original article from source)

Note: See also the belated Mormon response to the McKinstry statement, as offered in the Deseret News of  Jan. 3, 1881


Vol. XX.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, October 28, 1880.            No. 14.


The Mormons are a people. That is the main secret. They are not a political body of people; they are not exclusively, a religious body of people. They are a people.

Professing to be Christ's people, and sheep of his pasture, they understand the world of Jesus in the fullest and most literal sense, "except ye are one, ye are not mine."

All, then, who are one with this idea are, so far, one with them.

But this idea, carried into practice involves a "gathering together in one." It involves exclusiveness (real, though it need not be bitter or narrow), from those who hold no such idea, or deride such an idea.

"It must needs be that offences come, but woe be to him by whom they come." Did Christ here speak his own condemnation? Was such unity as he meant an offence, God-ward or man-ward?

Grant the Christians of unity offences, but is it essentially a just ground of offense? Whom does it most offend?

Unity? Can even two ever become one?

Mormons do not claim to be "one" in any dangerous or disloyal sense, in any fanciful, extravagant, or absurd sense. They have entered into no conspiracy against God or against the best interests of humanity. They are not such idiots as to conceive that two human beings can ever become one human being. But yet, the desires, the hopes, the interests, aims and purposes of two persons may surely become identical, may become "one," and what is claimed for two may become practicable for twenty, for a hundred, ten thousand, a million -- may become true -- gloriously true -- of a whole people. Why not?

Whether such unity as Christ meant be practicable or not, whether it be desirable or not, may (if it please you) be questioned. But if it be conceded that such unity as Christ meant would be beneficial -- is desireable -- what possible harm to any can result from the attempt to bring it about?

However feeble and faulty in practical application (as selfishness is the toughest of all "tough customers" to fully extirpate, and "earthen vessels" are not celestial conduits), this would seem really to be the whole gist of the "strange" Mormon argument and doctrine and position in the matter of "1-ness."

We say "would seem to be," for we have been writing of the subject as a good (real good) "Latter-day Saint" might express his views, And thus put, isn't it plausible enough?

Mormon "one-ness" means simply, one-man power. He rules, bogusly, as the vicegerent of God on earth -- absolutely.

A stream, 'tis said, cannot rise higher than its fountain. IF the fountain of Mormonism were in Christ, the stream might rise incalculably. But if this fountain, however hidden and obscured, be in the crazy crotchets and splenetic vanity (aping Christ while none of His) of Sidney Rigdon, however skillfully the thing was contrived, however dextrously the knowledge of the real originating genius of Mormonism has been suppressed, however plausible to many the scheme may appear, it is a broken cistern at best, and the sham and pretense can not "stand forever." Who originated the idea of temple-building in Mormondom? And who is the master, today, in Mormon temples and tabernacles? Why, Sidney Rigdon. And of all people on earth Mormons are best exemplifying the need of that warning, "Except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." Who instituted "the gathering" -- saying "Lo here is Christ," (in Ohio,) "Lo there is Christ (in Missouri)? Why, Sidney Rigdon. Who instituted "sealing" and the endowment? Why, Sidney Rigdon. And finally, who is father of the brilliant culminating ideas of Mormon "1-ness?" Who made it compulsory, who "breathed forth threatenings and slaughter" for the sake of compassing this "1-ness," and, following out this crazed, this autocratic, this fatal, deadly idea of "1-ness," who (according to Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and other Mormon leaders) "was the prime cause of our troubles in Missouri,"and "although Brother Joseph tried to restrain him he would take his own course" (vide Times and Seasons, pp. 651 and 667)? Why, "Elder Rigdon." And so, in a very pertinent and added sense, can Mormons confess, "all we like sheep have gone astray"

Now, if the spirit that was in Christ Jesus, or, that is Christ's bud, been in Sidney Rigdon, the real founder and contriver of Mormonism, why deceive at all? Surely one fails to find in Mormonism the simplicity that was in Christ, [aye?], that us His. On the contrary, do we not see in Mormonism endless subterfuge and chicane? Is not the thing "all a muddle?"

"Unity among ourselves" even? Was the same spirit manifest at the recent Conference in the remarks of Moses Thatcher and of old Joseph Young that deformed the utterances of some others?...

Before the Mormons had gone from Ohio to Missouri, who said "Missouri, the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies?" And this in June, 1831. The Mormon "Lord," the "Lord" of Mormon revelation, is primarily responsible for the sins of "this people." Christ was no sect builder. Sidney Rigdon was, and his "Lord" (if he had one, outside his own addled brains) was a sect builder. His (or their) wonderful "plan of salvation" involved intense "unity" on the one hand, intensest acrimony on the other hand. Think ye well of this, Oh "Latter day Israel."

The Deseret News is right. Government and the world at large insist upon making a "problem" of Mormonism when none exists, or, if it does, 'tis of easiest solution -- when Sidney Rigdon furnisheth the key: Joseph Smith, the prophet, Joseph Smith, the first President of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Concede this point, and you concede about everything Mormonism asks of its [enemies?]. Prick that bubble and Mormonism collapses, for Mormonism is nothing if it is not divinely originated through "the prophet Joseph." Humanly speaking, he was incapable; humanly speaking, Rigdon was, on the contrary, quite capable of the whole contrivance.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XX.                Salt Lake City, Utah, FRiday, October 29, 1880.                No. 15.



It is not generally known among the Latter-day Saints that the name first given to their organization was "The Church of Christ." This name was continued about four years when, on May 3, 1834, at the instance of Sidney Rigdon, the name was changed to the "Church of Latter-day Saints." The history of Joseph Smith (Mill. Star, vol. xi, p. 65) says at this time the style was changed to "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," but this cannot be true, since the "Doctrine and Covenants," published in 1835, has for title page, "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of [the Latter Day Saints] carefully selected from the revelations of God and compiled by Joseph Smith, jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rifdon, Frederick G. Williams, presiding elders of said Church, proprietors," etc. No compilation of "Joseph Smith, President," was ever submitted to the Saints, and in 1835 when the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was submitted, it was done by Rigdon and Cowdery, Joseph Smith not being present. "The Prophet" was in Kirtland just before and after this event, but happened not to be "on hand" when the revelations which the Lord had given him were submitted, with much ado, to the Saints for their acceptance.

It was in 1838 that the Mormon organization received its present name, "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints." Hence all those allusions, in Mormon Church History, which refer to the organization, prior to 1838, under this title, are falsifications.

In 1844-5 Sidney Rigdon re-established, at Pittsburg, his original "Church," first styling it "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints" and later"Church of Christ." At a Conference held in April, 1845, when he fully reorganized his "Church of Christ" he gave, to the careful student of the great Latter day work, some very importnat clews to the mystery of its origin -- and its originator. In what follows one can clearly discern the abnormal genius out of which Mormonism sprang:

Friday, 9 o'clock a. m., April 11.
Conference met persuant to adjournemnt, President Rigdon read a hymn from page 147, "How often in sweet meditation my mind," which was sung. Prayer by Presidnet Cowles.

The Prsident (Rigdon) said this Conference is drawing to a close, and the most solemn part is now coming, which is that of covenant making. We have covenanted with each other, it is now our duty to covenant with heaven. To complete the victory of this Kingdom we must bind the heavens by a covenant. It is in the power of this KIngdom to bind the heavens. From the earliest period of the history of God's dealing with men, there was one promise handed down from generation to generation, that whenever there were any people found on earth who would obtain and organize the Kingdom of God, God promised to that people that He would bear them off triumphant, with the Kingdom they had organized, and with it give them all things.

In all the past time, God bound men on earth, but now, by virtue of the promises God has made us, respecting His kingdom, we must turn around and bind the heavens, that the promises which God has made concerning his kingdom may be fulfilled upon our heads, inasmuch as we have obtained the power and organized the kingdom of promise. In explanation of the covenant by which we bind the heavens, let me ask a question. Upon what principle did this kingdom come into existence?

Question momentous, elder Sidney. And you the man of all others best qualified to answer. Hear, hear.

It was by one man alone, between him and his God, bowing in a secret place before God, where there was no eye to see him, or ear to hear him, but that of Jehovah's alone, decreeing in his heart, (But Daniel purposed in his his heart,) in the presence of God, and calling upon heaven to witness the decree, that if the kingdom of promise spoken of by Daniel did not come into existence in this generation, it shall not be the fault of him who now presented himself before the heavens in his heart, and ready to do the will of his God, whenever made known, thus binding the heavens to that promise, to set up and organize that kingdom, etc.

According to this covenant, thus made with the heavens, and this bond wherewith the heavens were bound, you are here from almost every part of the United States and Europe, strangers to each other in the flesh, of different religious opinions. each one for himself declaring "the Lord had sent him," many of you not knowing for whatm until you came; and few, if any, understanding the great object for which you were sent. That you may understand why it was the Lord operated upon your minds to come hither, we have given you the account of the foregoing covenant before our God, the result of which is, the organization of the kingdom of promise, of which you, individually, form a part.

Of course Rigdon was not the simpleton to inform his dupes, in so many words, that this was the modus operanda of establishing "the kingdom of promise" fifteen years or so before 1845. Verbum sap. A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse. He continueth:

Now, brethren, it becomes your privilege to bind the heavens, by another covenant, that this kingdom in your hands may triumph, each one for himself, presenting himself before God with uplifted hands to heaven, declaring in the presence of God, the holy messengers and one another, at the same time decreeing in your hearts before God that if this kingdom does not triumph and prevail, according to the promise made through the prophet Daniel, it shall not be your fault, thus binding the heavens for a fulfillment of the promises made concerning it. After which the covenant was entered into before God, by all standing on their feet, with their hands lifted to heaven, while the President pronounced the covenant which was sealed by the loud amen of every individual.

Here we have, as in a manner, the whole crazy, fanatical "grip," the fierce undying tenacity of the Mormon to his "faith."

But this is only part. From what follows one can see clearly where the great Mormon doctrines of "sealing for eternity," "proxy" baptism for the dead, etc. all came from.

We have another covenant to make, that is solemn, sublime and grand. It is to bind the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers that when the Lord comes the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse, and we may secure our line of progenitors and descendants from one end of the line to the other. It is an established principle in the kingdom of heaven that those whom God has chosen to be kings and priests unto himself in his kingdom have the right before God to bind the heavens in solemn covenant, to perfect their own; and without which their salvation never could be perfected.

In order to make this covenant, each one for himself must stand before God, with his hands lifted to heaven, and in the presence of God, as a king and a priest unto God, express before the heavens his will and his desire, in relation to his fathers, and his and their descendants, and ask God to seal in the heavens this promise and this blessing, to be fulfilled upon their heads, when the redemption of the promised possession shall come, thus binding the hearts of the children to the fathers, by which covenant we bind heaven and earth together, for unto this end was the dispensation of the fullness of times [is] the same as the dispensation of the kingdom spoken of by Daniel, which dispensation God, in his mercy, has been pleased to give unto us, and we, under his direction, have now organized it.

There are, to day, in houses and streets and stores of Salt Lake City not a few of these "kings and priests unto God" who owe the fact that they are such to the crotchets of this man Sidney and to nothing else. Rigdon did not regard himself in the light of anti-Christ. By no means. On the contrary, he was quasi Christ, a sort of ad interim Christ; he was the very "messenger of the covenant" spoken of in Malachi. When Christ came he was ready to yield up the Kingdom he had built up for him to Christ, but to none other. Who was Joe Smith, pray, or Brigham Young? Mere pupets in his hands, who without Rigdon, would have been probably alive and "peeping," and painting in some sequestered vale of life to this day.

The President then said, I am determined, when we come to the end of our consecrations, to present the kingdom to the heavens spotless before God, and say, Father receive it, and bear it off triumphantly, for it is thine. (Had not Rigdon the crazy notion in his muddle that he was a sort of Christ? There have been others, but none with so much method in his madness as the founder of Mormonism). We have moved cautiously since we commenced. Brethren, let me [atone] to-day. Let me go forward as the Lord directs, and no evil spirit shall have dominion over us, or prevent us from accomplishing the great object before us. I have confidence in you, brethren, that you will do so. Be patient, until we get all the machinery prepared and put together, every wheel in its place, with all its parts oiled, and then we (we!) will set it in motion, and God will make it roll through the earth in majesty and in great power, until the glory thereof shall fill the whole earth.

"We" set Mormonism agog in 1830. God never did.

Note: The above article has all the earmarks of having been crafted by James T. Cobb, Esq. If so, it was evidently one of his final contributions to the Tribune on the subject of Mormon origins.


Vol. XX.           Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, November 17, 1880.           No. 31.


Our evening contemporary, editorially comments on the so called new discoveries in Central America, points to the Rev. Spaulding's stupid romance (worked over into the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith) as containing the true history of this continent, prior to Columbus, and claims that the ruins of Central America, explored and to be explored, confirm it as such. It is humiliating to have to treat seriously such a claim, made, we must hold, only to impose on the ignorant constituency of the News, and, of course, with no foundation in fact. We never have read the Book of Mormon -- God forbid we ever should. There are too many good and true books, and life is too short to be filled, even in part, with the work of charlatans and mountebanks. But we understand it derives the peoples of this continent from the "Lost Tribes." Such an idea was quite prevalent half a century ago, and books to establish it were written by others than Mr. Spaulding. He only took what, with some, was a hobby and wove it into his romance. All of the great men who have explored that country, or who have made the whole subject a study, are agreed that the aborigines of America, North and South, so-called, entered it from Asia before mankind had domesticated any animals or grains or fruits, and probably before man had acquired language. This removes the event back beyond the earliest dawn of written history, and leaves it to be certified to by that history preserved in the crust of the earth itself, in the remains of man and of animals and of man's workmanship found in the caves and river gravels; in the distribution of the races of man and the fauna and flora; in the relations of oceans and continents, and the relative levels of the sea and shore. This kind of history does, in the opinion of all learned investigators, certify first, that the Americans entered the New from the Old World freom the northwest, secondly, that they are a branch of the Yellow Race, thirdly, that their origin was one, as proved by the construction of their languages nd dialects and by many other things; fourthly, that their civilizations, such as they were, were one in kind, and different from Old World civilizations in toto, showing that the latter was acquired after the migration, and differing brtween the Iroquois, the Aztec, the Peruvians, the Assiniboine, and the Eskimo, only in degree, and that owing to differences in climate, habitat, situation and surroundings, and fifthly, that, consequently, there was never any other civilization on this continent save that of the Indians whom Cortez conquered and the Spaniards all but destroyed. It was indigenous, entirely so. What has M. Charnay discovered, now? Simply a pueblo, a house with rooms and pottery in it, such as may be seen in New Mexico with the Indians living in it who built it. There isn't the slightest probability that anything will ever be discovered on this continent to change the well settled opinion of scientific men, travelers, investigators and explorers, as to the origin and nature of the New World civilization.

Note: The writer of the above article would have done well to have at least consulted with a person who had read the Book of Mormon -- if for no other reason than to ascertain just which Old World peoples it alleges migrated to the Americas. Had he done that much, the writer might have understood that the Book of Mormon does not claim that all of the "lost tribes" of Israel came to the New World, or that even a substantial number of them ever made such a journey. Following the extinction of the Jaredites, the Americans remaining in the New World were said to be an unspecified combination of Israelites, including representatives from the tribe of Joseph, Judahites from Jerusalem, etc. Hardly the "lost tribes," or even a tiny fraction of their kinsmen. In fact, in 1857 the LDS Millennial Star published a doctrinal article refuting the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, basing its argument primarily upon old testimony to the effect that Spalding wrote his story about these same "lost tribes," while the Book of Mormon relates an entirely different history.


Vol. XX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, December 17, 1880.                   No. 57.


The Deseret News (semi weekly) Dec. 11, contains a "discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered July 4, 1880." The discourse was not a very long one, for Elder Woodruff, occupying only two columns and a half... This discourse of Woodruff's was delivered at a priesthood meeting of the elders of Israel and those bearing the priesthood.

"Many a time," says the elder, "in my reflections I have wished I could fully comprehend the responsibility I am under to God, and the responsibility every man is under who bears the priesthood in this generation."...

Without multiplying words, the points here to be noted and settled are (imprimis) as to this "holy and everlasting priesthood," which Mormon elders claim and affect to hold, which some really fancy they do hold, no doubt, and Elder Woodruff, we will believe, is one of the last....

sons and daughters of the "Elders of Israel"... should inform themsleves all they can about this so-called "holy and everlasting priesthood," not by praying themselves into a fog or a maze concerning it, they should seek to disabuse their minds of all preconception or superstition concerning it, and trace it back to its origin, the real origin of Mormonism. They will find that it was not given miraculously at all, in the first place; but that it was an evolution from the brain of Sidney Rigdon. If they pursue this inquiry with a candid, fearless mind, desiring only to get at the facts in the case, they will as surely find this statement to be the simple truth, and susceptible of proof, convincing and overwhelming, as that they themselves are living beings. A full and correct understanding how this wicked piece of priesthood came about, and who is really to be held responsible for it, would materially lighten the weight of responsibility Elder Woodruff feels himself to be staggering under.

It has been on several occasions heretofore pointed out, in these columns, that Joseph Smith was not the person who "laid the foundation of this work," but that Sidney Rigdon was; this, too, is susceptible of complete demonstration. "We have borne our testimony" -- albeit in the most readable and not to be read Tribune, and what is better, backed up that testimony with any amount of the hardest kind of facts, which no Mormon elder has had the temerity to try to controvent -- "and when the judgments of God come, men cannot say they have not been warned" and informed...

Who first drew upon his imagination for the fact, spoken of by Elder Woodruff as if it were gospel truth, that Enoch was taken up to heaven with his city? In that precise shape the idea was evoluted by the brain of Rigdon, who, having created an imaginary sanctified city of Enoch, dubbed it Zion, but he got the suggestions, the keys to this, and a great deal besides, (elixer of moonshine) which we find in his revelations given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, from that curious apocryphal Book of Enoch, which first came out (in English) in 1821. This work that Saints will see Rigdon rtefers to in his "Section 8," Book of Doctrine and Covenants, at the close of that wonderful spurt on "the order of this priesthood," telling how certain onces were ordained under the hands of Adam. "These things were all written," says Rigdon, "in the Book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time,"

Well, the "due time" must surely have arrived, for these and kindred pretensions and fabrications are being "testified of" truthfully at last by one who is not afraid to proclaim the facts, cut where they may, content with the great John Milton, "fit audience to find, though few." That genius is now more potently at work than it ever has been, and its inevitable result will finally be isolation indeed...

What a world of unnecessary responsibility Elder Woodruff, and others who bear the holy priesthood, might save themselves if they only would, even at the eleventh hour, use their common sense and resolve to overehaul and squarely face the facts of this huge Mormon imposition. Their premises are [faint] and unsubstantial. That's what's the matter. Elder Woodruff, Jeremiah though he be, is a Yankee of the Yankees, and must at bottom have "gumption" and motehr wit sufficient to assure him, by candidly putting this and that together, that Mormonism (so far as his relation thereto) is a transcendent mistake.   AJAX.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, March 4, 1881.                   No. 120.


Whenever the organs of Mormonism refer to the Spalulding story in connection with the Book of Mormon, their reluctance to ventilate the subject is very evident. They deign to refer to the unsavory topic only by particular request, the doubters and curious [about?] this exploded Spaulding story, even in the Mormon fold, are not yet all dead, or quite converted, it would seem. "Our apology to our readers for alluding at any length to this dead and almost forgotten issue." "All the absurd accusations and remarks which have emanated from our enemies, from the pulpit and the press, in regard to this ridiculous Spaulding matter." "No foundation except in the bowels of hell, for this stupid Spaulding story," etc. Such is the unvarrying temper in which this much too [delicate] and difficult and not dangerous subject is handled by them. It is sought to be instilled into the minds of young Utah that tehre is nothing in it and very little to it, that the whole absurd and wicked story was promptly met and fully refuted many years ago at the time of its invention.

Now the fact of the matter is, "this stupid Spaulding story" never has been squarely met, but that it has been persistently, unscrupulously and most cunningly dodged by those who have best known its crusging and fatal force. It is said and it is commonly understood by Mormons, that Sidney Rigdon did meet, deny and utterly refute this story, or if he did not completely refute, that Parley Pratt put the final extinguisher upon it. The careful and candid investigator will find, however, that Mormons have never met the charge; that persons just named did not meet the charge and answer it, but simply succeeded in throwing dust and dirt, and in creating a diversion from it. The stupid story, the wicked story, never can be met and refuted, because it is the truth. If the Deseret News, or if any Mormon preacher or writer, whoever they are, fancy themselves in possession of papers sufficient to refute this story, they either egregiously mistake, or they are wilfully deceiving themselves and others.

Said Apostle Wilford Woodruff, 12th December, 1880, (See Deseret News 22d February, 1881):

"There has been a great deal said by our enemies since the organization of this church concerning Joseph Smith; concerning the Book of Mormon having been written by Spaulding as a novel; and of this work being a deception. * * * Let any man take the Book of Mormon and read it through from beginning to end -- read that history, etc. * * * and let them ask themselves if they suppose that Solomon Spaulding could sit down in a corner and write a novel covering these principles? No; they know better. Any reflecting mind on earth knows very well that the Book of Mormon never originated from a source of that kind, any more than they can accuse the Bible of having been brought forth by the same cause. If one originated from God, the other did.

"It is rather a wonder to the world that an illiterate boy like Joseph Smith, if he was not taught by the God of Israel and by the spirit of revelation, could possess the power to bring forth such principles as are recorded in the Book of Mormon and in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and to organize a system of government, a system of religion, upon the face of the earth, that was far beyond all the combined power of the whole Christian world. You may take all the learned men of the earth, all the doctors of divinity, with all the knowledge that they possess, put them all together, and they had not the power to oeganize such a church as has been organized by Joseph Smith. * * * There is no language I ever read in any record given to the human family, that will compare with the sublimity and power of tehse revelations, given through that boy, Joseph Smith."

Apostle Wilford Woodruff is a man of advanced years. He appears thoroughly sincere. Is it possible he has been fooled? Let us see.

The extract just made from his discourse covers, pretty well, the Mormon claim. In true Mormon fashion it darkens counsel in a haze of contraties. At first, that an illiterate youth like Joe Smith should have accomplished so much. Surely this is, as Apostle Woodruff may justly hold, "rather a wonder," were there no sequel at the heels of all this admiration -- utterly ignoring the real, though secret, founder and shaper of the Mormon scheme, the not illiterate, the "heady," self-opinionated, splemetic, envious, unscrupulous, pettifogging fanatic and master zealot concealed in the background and behind the scenes, Sidney Rigdon. But when this secret plotter is discovered -- a person exceptionally versed in the letter of the Bible -- the marvel concerning the illiterate Joe quickly melts in air. Joe was but the target and figure head. Sir Oraclke, yes; but only in name and pretense, as this was part of the programme.

De gustibus non est disputandum. That Apostle Woodruff or others sgould find unapproached sublimity and power in the Mormon revelations -- changed materially from teh way in which they were first put forth, as taste improved or exigency demanded, although the average Mormon is not aware of this interesting fact -- well, there's no accounting for tastes, as the _____ almost any Sam Wellerism may finish this sentence.

But further, as to Solomon Spaulding, a la Little Jack Horner, sitting in a corner, etc. The assertion is, and there is evidence enough to substantiate it, that Sidney Rigdon revised and to a considerable extent rewrote the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, expanding and converting it from a unique and harmless religio-historical romance to a blasphemous and tedious quasi Bible, to be received as of equal validity with veritable history and of equal authority with Holy Writ.

Woodruff's appeal to "any reflecting mind on earth" is not happy. The Book of Mormon is one of those dreadful books that must be read and inwardly digested, if at all, as a religious duty or as a critical study -- a very desert of Sahara of a book, the oases of relief and satisfaction few and far between. "Young Utah" can only take the voluminious bosh in broken doses, and then only as sugared and spiced for them in the columns of the Juvenile Instructor. But Spaulding should have the credit for whatever of interest is to be found in the book -- for the oases, though not for the pitfalls. Spaulding was not the man to blasphemously represent the Savior and "His ministrations upon the land." Pratt and Woodruff, and their fellow defenders of the divine authenticity of this Mormon Bible (justly called so) may give either Rigdon or Joe Smith, or their special and specious Mormon deity full credit for this piece of blasphemous pretense, so they do exonerate the dacetious but truth loving and God respecting Spaulding. And it is just at this point that the Book of Mormon reaches its climax.

It has never been held that the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Found of Spaulding were identical in every detail the one with the other. It is maintained, and can be controverted, that many of the principal names and leading incidents, as well as a great amount of the subject matter being identical, offered conclusive evidence, to any unbiased mind, of the plagerism, and this substantial identity between the two works is far too well and solidly authenticated to be "whistled down the mind" by persistently dwelling upon the differences or minor points, or by any amount of "testimony of the spirit" (the Mormon strong hold in this as in all other matters of their faith) that the utterly preposterous claims of the pseudo-Bible can impress any reasonable, sensible mind.

Spaulding was not (from all accounts) a man to make a corner on the religious sentiments of his time, however erroneous he may have [calculated] them. Nor did he get up his work, save by compulsion, in a corner at all. But this whole iniquitous scheme of Mormonism was done in a corner -- is always operating in a corner -- binding down the souls and bodies of foolish men and women in a corner, and this is indeed its chief and patent condemnation, arousing at the very first blush, the suspicions and hostile thoughts of any reflecting mind. Secrecy is the great bane of the body politic, of family and neighborly life -- of every human breast. Christ's Gospel is open -- is free.   VINDEX.

Note 1: See also the "Vindex" letter to the editor in the Tribune's issue of Apr. 7, 1881

Note 2: The writer of the above article seems to have made little effort to study the various Mormon responses to proponents of the Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. Elder Benjamin Winchester's 1840 tract offers a substantial, if not especially convincing, LDS refutation of at least a portion of those claims -- as does that pamphlet's successors of 1841 and 1843. Similar, but less extensive, LDS responses were published through the course of many years, culminating in post-1881 contributions by Edmund Kelley, Joseph Smith III, George Reynolds, Joseph F. Smith and B. H. Roberts. When early Mormon "organs" spoke of the Spalding claims as having been "exploded," they were, of course, speaking of these sorts of in-house publications intended for the Mormon audience. Not until the final years of the nineteenth century did Mormon writers seriously believe that various published refutations had truly "exploded" the Spalding claims in the opinion of non-Mormons.

Note 3: While it is generally conceded that it is a very difficult thing to "prove a negative," it is nevertheless a striking fact that none of the early, topmost Mormon leaders ever attempted to prove the Spalding claims false. Sidney Rigdon penned a limited and generally ineffectual response to a small portion of those claims in 1839. His small contribution was followed by some media manipulations by Parley P. Pratt and other Mormon leaders, culminating in the 1840 publication of Winchester's pamphlet. But none of this -- not even all of this put together -- constituted a reasonable and methodical Latter Day Saint response to (or explosion of) the threatening alternative authorship claims. In 1840, Joseph Smith, Jr. visited in the Washington, D. C., and his personal physician later stated that Smith then pronounced an effective curse upon the life of a prominent local minister who was advocating the Spalding authorship claims (saying that the Book of Mormon "was nothing but an irreligious romance, and that Smith had obtained it from the widow of one Spaulding"). If this story is a true one, it relates the only known response from Smith in the matter -- though Parley P. Pratt gave a fictional Lucifer and a fictional Joseph Smith scripted lines regarding such "silly fabrications as the Spaulding Story" in Pratt's equally silly 1845 fabrication, entitled "A Dialogue Between Joe Smith & the Devil!" Sidney Rigdon, through the Mormon "organ" in Pittsburgh, promised to refute the "error relative to the origin of the Book of Mormon as being but the product of one 'Solomon Spaulding'" in June of 1844. Unfortunately, other pressing business interferred with Rigdon's scheduled refutation and the world was left unblest by his hopeful explanations. In 1901, the soon-to-be President of the Mormon Church seemingly put the issue beyond all disputation, when he pronounced the Spalding authorship claims to be "the deep-laid schemes of wicked men, inspired by the great enemy of all truth, in their vain attempts to overthrow the work of God." These "wicked men" (the earliest proponents of and witnesses for the Spalding claims) used "slanderous and villainous methods of compassing their pernicious ends." So, according to this ordained latter day prophet, seer, revelator and translator (not to mention nephew of the very founder of the LDS Church), there were "downright falsehoods" in the "affidavits" given by the Spalding claims witnesses -- those "determined enemies of the Book of Mormon," who were ever ready "to bolster up their pet theories and deep-laid schemes to deceive the world" with any change or development that those alternative authorship claims might ever seem to require. Well then -- if the Spalding claims witnesses were such, "wicked men" and minions of the Devil himself (knowingly or unknowingly), it makes perfect sense that the supreme leaders of the LDS Church never endeavored to interview them, investigate their testimony, or publish to the world the results of any such impartial investigation in an objective report of their own.


Vol. XX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, April 7, 1881.                   No. 149.


Baptism for Remission of Sins First Preached by the Campbellites.

"We did not receive any doctrine which we believe in, nor ordinance that has ever been taught, nor any principle pertaining to the salvation or exaltation of the human family, from men, nor from any system of divinity or theology. For everything we know we are indebted to the revelations of Jesus Christ made unto us. Now is this the Church of man? I do not think it is."

The above extract is from remarks made recently by John Taylor, President of Mormonism, published in the Deseret News of March 19, 1881.

"Now is this the Church of man? I do not think it is." This may be fairly taken as Mr. Taylor's ironical and sarcastical way of putting the matter. He surely knows Mormonism is not the Church of man, only he may be tired of reiterating that, and hence, (with a wink to the initiated) "I do not think it is."

Baptism for the remission of sins is a cardinal principle, doctrine and ordinance, lying at the very basis of Mormonism. It is, however, nowhere [sic] taught or even referred to in the suppletory Mormon bible -- the Book of Mormon. In "His ministrations upon this land," an account of which is given in the Book of Mormon, the American Jesus nowhere commands his American disciples to be baptized or to baptize others for the remission of sins.

To the so-called Campbellite and Irvingite systems of divinity or theology Mormonism is much more largely indebted than its dupes and unread, simple minded adherents have any idea of. It is not generally known among Mormons that the Disciples, (Campbellites,) unlike ordinary sect founders, announced the ushering in and establishment of Christ's kingdom on earth. And this is where the Mormon Kingdom idea originated. Ridiculously wrested as the idea was by Sidney Rigdon to suit his idiosyncrasies and hobbies of a literal kingdom, with one man, (himself secretly) at the head of it, representing and inspiring, in loco Dei, until Christ should come, still the conception in its germ is to be found among the Campbellite disciples long before Mormonism was heard of.

President Garfield, himself a born Disciple, (Campbellite,) must know the utter fraud and fungus upon his own religion Mormonism is. The President's religion -- I should say, speaking in general terms, the Disciples' religion -- had the Bible alone for its base. Belonging to the town of Mentor, Ohio, where in 1830 the sham conversion of Rigdon to Mormonism occurred, although the President belongs to a younger generation, he, with the Clapps, the Haydens and others from that quarter of Ohio, known as the Western Reserve, must be exceptionally well informed respecting Mormonism and, despite his little lapse or, possibly, complaisence in referring in his inaugural to the Mormon institution as "the Mormon Church," the President knows that there is no such thing in the book as the Mormon Church, but that the concern thus designated is a most barefaced and outrageous imposition. Church indeed! Charlatanry never yet founded a church. "Tis a contradiction in terms.

The Reformation (or, more properly, Restoration) of the Disciples, as an organic movement, may be dated from the appointment, in the fall of 1827, of Walter Scott as its Evangelist.

At this Conference Jacob Osborne was moderator and John Rudolph clerk. Mr. Rudolph is the father-in-law of President Garfield. At this great conference of Campbellites convened in New Lisbon, Columbiana county, Ohio, August 23d, 1827 (the Mormon claim is that Joe Smith received from "the angel" his sacred plates, from which he translated the Book of Mormon, Sept. 23d, 1827), Sidney Rigdon was present and took part in the proceedings of the Disciples Conference, doubtless fully expecting that he himself would be set apart as its Evangelist. Rigdon was at that time living in Mentor, Ohio, close to Kirtland, having recently left the little town of Bainbridge, Ohio, where (from information for which the present writer is indebted to the neice of Mrs. Rigdon, who lived under the Rigdon roof at that time) greatly to the concern of Mrs. R. for her husband's health, Mr. Rigdon was for some months secretly and [seduiously?] engaged over a mysteriously and carefully guarded manuscript of a very questionable character, which manuscript is known to have been in Rigdon's possession in the year 1823 -- the annus mirabilis in Mormon history -- as it was shown by Rigdon at that time to Rev. John Winter (father-in-law of Justice Miller of the United States Supreme Court) and then described by Rigdon to his visitor, Mr. Winter, as "a Biblical romance that had been brought by a clergyman, whose health had failed, to a Pittsburg printer for publication."

But, in order to show conclusively and beyond cavil, to the misguided and imposed upon Mormon that this doctrine -- baptism for the remission of sins -- was no matter of special "revelation" whether to a Mormon or to any one else, but that it was gradually evolved by dint of critical and scholarly investigation, some gleanings may be given from the writings, personal and general, of that dear saint in glory now, who was the Disciples' historian, and who, with his brother, founded the Hiram Eclectic Institute, the Presidency of which Garfield left to go into the war, in a letter of the 3rd of April, 1879, Mr. Hayden writes:

"Mr. Campbell never learned the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins from the Baptists, as I understand President J. Smith, (the 'Josephite President,) to say. He got a help toward it in a work by A. McLean, of Scotland, in a treatise, titled 'The Great Commission,' but he laid fully hold of it only from an extended and critical study of the New Testament, He was long coming to it. In his great discussion, in 1823, with W. L. McCalla, of Kentucky, he used the doctrine in an argumentative way against his opponent. Sidney Rigdon attended that most instructive debate. From that time the doctrine was occasionally the subject of essay in Mr. Campbell's periodical, the Christian Baptist, afterward the Millennial Harbinger. But in 1827 it was practically put forth and used in conversions, and set this whole land ablaze."

Rigdon's defection from the Baptist society occurred in 18[23]. On page 141 of his history, Mr. Hayden says

"Perhaps Bro. Osborne, more than any other man, prepared the way for the more complete ministration of the gospel which was soon to surprise the churches, and reform their modes of speech and action. He led on biblical investigations quite regardless of the dogmata of creeds and conventional forms of speech. He saw clearly the need of an extensive and thorough revision and correction of the terms and phrases, hackneyed and human, in which people were accustomed to talk of conversion and its kindred themes, and the substitution for them of the more appropriate and divinely authorized language of the Holy Spirit. In all this he was only abreast, scarcely ahead, of many others."

At a meeting between Osborne, and Scott, and Bentley in the fall of 1827 (Hayden's history, p. 69)

"Osborne, turning to Scott, asked him 'if he had ever thought that baptism in the name of the Lord was for the remission of sins?' * * * adding, 'it is certainly established for that purpose.'"

"A little later Scott said to Osborne, 'You are the boldest man I ever saw! Don't you think so, Bro. Bentley?' (Bentley was Rigdon's brother-in-law) 'Why he said in his sermon that no one had a right to expect the Holy Spirit till after baptism.'" -- (page 70)

In the winter of 1827-8 Brother Scott opened


"He contended for the restoration of the true, original Apostolic order, which would restore to the Church the ancient gospel as preached by the Apostles. In powers of analysis and combination Scott has been rarely equaled. Under his classification the great elements of the gospel bearing on the conversion of sinners, assumed the following definite, rational, and scriptural order: 1, faith, 2, repentance, 3, baptism, 4, remission of sins, 5, the holy spirit; 6, eternal life, through a patient continuance in well doing. * * * The Key of Knowledge was now in his possession. * * * The whole scripture sorted itself into a plain and intelligible system in illustration and proof of this elementary order of the gospel. The darkened cloud withdrew. A new era for the gospel had dawned."

Mr. Hayden says: "In 1827 baptism for the remission of sins was practically put forth and used in conversions, and set the whole land ablaze." No words I have power to put together and employ can adequately measure the awful, the stupendous iniquity this man Rigdon has, under the guidance of wicked spirits, and still all in the economy of Divine Providence, been instrumental in working out. Lying in the name of the Lord -- can anything go beyond that in enormity? Is not murder itself involved in it? Has not murder, nay massacre, been the fruit, the natural, the inevitable fruit of that first taking the name of God in vain? Ah, young Utah, think of these things and lay them well to heart. So far as finite vision or judgment can reveal, so far as one may measure, not judge, between man and man (only He who sees everything can judge righteously of aught) the wrong doing of Joseph Smith sinks almost into insignificence alongside the crazed, colossal iniquity of Sidney Rigdon. Try the spirits. Yes, never was it more imperatively incumbent to try the spirits than at this very hour. 'Tis a master spirit of delusion, this Mormon master spirit. And yet, for all that, a child may master it. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, but yield to him a hair's breadth and, a million to one, he will get you in his fatal, benumbing clutch. The Book of Mormon -- that's the first hair's breadth in this Satanic delusion. Find out with your own natural, God given powers all you possibly can about that wretched book and its real origin, counting no fact valuless, no way to the exact truth laborious, and if then you are not satisfied in your inmost soul that that book is fraud, if you still have any feeling of doubt concerning its truth or falsity, then it may become a proper subject of petition; then if you find that you still "lack wisdom" in the matter ask God to enlighten the eyes of your understanding concerning it. You will get an answer to prayer then, and a truthful one. But most Mormons have neglected to take this all essential first step, (as it was fully calculated they would,) and the consequence has been, a spirit, whose power is not to be underrated nor despised, but borne testimony, in thousands upon thousands of cases, that a palpable lie is Heaven's own truth. Thus this poor infatuated people have been led deeper and deeper into the vortex of folly and delusion and sin. The spirit of truth never yet bore testimony to one single soul that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be....

It only required some Rigdon (the Disciples' Judas and Janus) to claim special divine authority and commission to baptize. This was done. Mormonism is the result. "No counterfeit," says Mr. Hayden, "ever showed more clearly a corrupted copy."

Is to-day the 7th of April, 1881? That is no surer than that authoritative Mormonism is a bogus thing.

This is a sweeping assertion, and it is meant to be. The qualifying word, "authoritative," is not loosely but designedly here placed before "Mormonism," since, while the possession of spiritual mediumship, with all that term implies, may be conceded -- a fatal dowry -- to Joseph Smith, extenuating and in some sort accounting for him and his vagaries, in view of all the well known and compromising facts of his career, in which the dupe and the charlatan are both palpably to be seen, neither he nor his sayings and doings can, by any impartial jusgment, be received as authoritative. And it is of prime importance to every thoughtful and conscientious Mormon man and woman to separate the strange youth Joe -- the visionary spiritual medium, and eventually the "Prophet Joseph" -- (Rigdon's "Prophet") from the conscious and responsible impostor. This is a work of no slight difficulty, but it can be done and it will be done. A long step was taken in this direction by the "New Movement" of Godbe and Harrison some years ago (Their "coming man," by the bye, never came. He died near Pittsburgh, 1876). But there must be no more blinking of ugly and patent facts. What is demanded is the exact truth, the round unvarnished facts so far as these can now be dragged to light, with malice toward none, living or dead, but with charity to all stat justitia, ---- ------

Once [you] get the clew of this Mormon labyrinth in the concealed hand of Sidney Rigdon and the whole mystery is as plain as A. B. C., and it is almost incredible that old Mormons should not have discovered it years and years ago. But "judge not." It is possible that you are so infatuated with it, so fatally involved in it, that you do not know Mormonism to be a fraud, John Taylor? And yet hundreds, perhaps thousands, of persons who are but born idiots, are looking up to you for spiritual light and guidance, temporal and spiritual, yourself by no means a born idiot.   VINDEX.

Note: The above anonymous correspondent contributed a number of similar letters to the Tribune editors during the early 1880s. His familiarity with both the situation in Utah and the early history of the LDS movement, suggests that he was a serious, albeit it religiously zealous, student and critic of Mormonism. The correspondent's reference to his being "indebted to the neice of Mrs. Rigdon" for certain historical information, links him in some way with the 1879 statement of Mrs. Amos Dunlap, as first published on page 434 of Boyd Crumrine's 1882 History of Washington County, Pennsylvania -- in Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr's. section on "Religious History." Evidently the Tribune's anonymous contributor was also in contact with Pittsburgh's Rev. Patterson at an early date.


Vol. XXI.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, July 12, 1881.                     No. 74.


The Bad Position of Those Who Have Both --
Sidney Rigdon the Basis.

Eds. Tribune. The Mormons have two spurs to prick the sides of their intent -- a Mission and a Grievance. Fortunate Mormons. They believe God gave them the first and the United States the last. Wofully deceived Mormons. As their mission was given to Mormons by Sidney Rigdon, so, likewise, indirectly and directly too, is the whole sum of their grievence to be fairly traced to him. He commanded "Latter day Israel" to gather out from the four quarters of the earth; and they gathered, and are still gathering. He commanded temples to be erected. It was done, and is yet doing. ("Some one has evidently got Sidney Rigdon on their brain -- badly." Some one? Some thousands have S. R. dreadfully on the brain, if they but knew it.)

Said George Q. Cannon at the Mormon Tabernacle Sunday, July 3:

"President Garfield knows betterconcerning us than any other man in public life; he was brought up in Ohio, near where our people had lived, in early days, in the days of his childhood. He was familiar with men who had been members of our church, and I believe was connected remotely by marriage with some of our people. [Yes. John Boynton, probably; an early Mormon who got his eyes open to see the absolute fraud Mormonism was and to detect Rigdon and Smith through all their disguises and to track them through all their doublings,] and while President Garfield has no sympathy with some of our doctrines, nevertheless he had opportunities of knowing many things concerning us that others do not know. He has visited this city twice, etc."

President Garfield was born in Mentor, Ohio, just about the time Rigdon was going through the shameless farce of being converted to Mormonism. Cannon would have it appear that President Garfield, while having no sympathy with some of our doctrines (meaning of course polygamy) yet he has sympathy with other [ones]. President Garfield is a man of immense geniality and cordiality toward persons -- a whole-souled, high-souled sympathizer with persons, especially if they are in trouble, but -- clear the track! He has no sympathy with fraud. And President Garfield knows the fraud Mormonism is, just as well as Hon. A. G. Riddle, of Washington, knows it, or as this present writer knows it, and we may be sure he will govern and shape his executive contact and action respecting the Mormons in accordance with the intimate personal familiarity with the case. May he live and may God bless him.

The Tribune never said a truer thing than what it said but a few days since. 'Tis the very institution of Mormonism that is to blame; an institution that cannot help betraying its hatred of all other institutions, because this is the very essence of its nature and being, and the institution has such hold of Mormons that they must be its slaves. It is an institution that makes a man, if not a fiend outright, less a man than he naturally is. (What can be more demoralizing than causeless and persistent hatred?) The enmity between Mormonism and mankind is claimed, we know, as the necessary and customary enmity between a good God and his bad children; but how if, as appears in this case, the children are far less malignant and devilish than the God? These are your sentiments and reflections. They are mine. They are truth's.

Now the one thing supremely needful is to get clearly down to the personality of this vindictive, unscrupulous, malignant, and crazy Mormon deity. And if no one else sees with entire clearness the personality of this Mormon God, I see it, and it is none other than Sidney Rigdon. Let fools and knaves -- but O pity, pity for the single-hearted, the honest! -- continue to be led by him, through his specious and damnable revelations, to their final, their certain ruin and discomfiture, if they will, if they must. Over and above (and yet through) the Government of these United States the very genius of justice and truth has a controversy with the stalwart and heaven daring Fraud. The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly fine.    VINDEX.
    SALT LAKE CITY, July 9, 1881.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, August 4, 1881.               No. 94.


He is Supposed to Have Been Murdered by Mormons.

News has reached Pioche, says the Record, that bishop Philip Klingensmith, at one time a man of high standing and great influence in the Mormon Church, and the exposer of the Mountain Meadows massacre, and the names of the men who participated in the bloody deed, is dead. His body was found in a prospect hole, in the State of Sonora, Mexico, and a letter from there, which was received in the vicinity of Pioche, states that the mystery surrounding the body indicates that Klingensmith had been murdered. Klingensmith died just as he expected, for on his return from Beaver in 1875, after testifying in the trial of John D. Lee, we met Klingensmith in town, in a sort of secluded spot, and during the conversation Klingensmith remarked: "I know that the Church will kill me, sooner or later, and I am as confident of that fact as I am that I am sitting on this rock. It is only a question of time; but I am going to live as long as I can." Immediately after Klingensmith's return from Lee's trial, as his wife at Panaca refused to have anything to do with him, being so ordered by the Church, he started southward and lived in Arizona for a while following prospecting. During his residence in the mountains of that Territory two attempts were made upon his life, but by whom he never was able to discover. Klingensmith made the exposure of the butchery at Mountain Meadows more for self protection than anything else. In early days, when Hiko was the county seat of Lincoln and the flourishing and only prominent mining camp in this southern country, the Mormons used to haul all the freight from Salt Lake to Hiko. Klingensmith was engaged in freighting, and his son, Bud Klingensmith, was assisting him. During one of these trips father and son had [a] quarrel and Bud went to Hiko and obtained employment. It was during the winter of 1867-68, when Klingensmith arrived in Hiko with a load of freight, his son pointed him out to the people, and told them that just after the massacre he pointed out a young girl to him and ordered him to kill her, saying that if he (Bud) did not kill her he (his father) would kill him." Then Bishop Klingensmith turned upon the poor girl himself and knocked her brains out with a club. This was the first inkling to anything authentic in connection with the massacre, and caused considerable excitement among the settlers of Hiko. Wandell, one of the county officials at that time informed Bishop Klingensmith what his son exposed, and hurried him out of town. After that, while engaged in handling freight, upon his arrival at Panaca, Klingensmith would always hire some one to drive his team over to Hiko. In 1871 Bishop Klingensmith made affidavits before the Clerk of Lincoln county, making the exposure of the massacre, and the names of those connected therewith, which was published in the Record and made public for the first time. Mrs. Klingensmith is now living at Bullionville, and is married to a man named Dolf Laundrich. Mrs. Klingensmith is an intelligent old lady, and is the mother of seventeen children by Klingensmith, the last two being girls, who are now about sixteen years of age. Most of the Klingensmith family reside in Lincoln county.

There was always something incomprehensible about Klingensmith and the actions and exposures of the Mountain Meadows massacre. In the first place it is remarkable that he should have told his story at all, for he possessed no such keenness of conscience as would compel him to divulge the crime as an act of justice to the world. Then, when he did tell it, he never would tell it all, but stopped just where it was most desireable that he should continue; again, he never told the story alike any two tellings, and it always stopped just short of being legally conclusive against any person. That he professed fear of his life on account of what he had told is certain, that he actually felt and realized such fear is not so certain. When he was found in 1875, and brought to Utah as a witness in the second Lee trial, he was living with two Indian squaws near the river, below Ehrenburg, Arizona. He was with some difficulty persuaded to come after being assured the fullest protection against the Mormon violence he professed to fear. On leaving Beaver, however, he requested not to be returned by the safe way he had come, but desired to have a horse, saddle and traveling outfit, and on being supplied he struck off through the southern Mormon settlements to go back to Ehrenburg by the southern overland trail, alone and unprotected, as he had asked to do, thereby ignoring the very protection he had insisted upon. That did not look as if he had any particular fear of assassination at that time, whatever he may have really felt at other times. He was certainly a most reckless liar, and probably a cruel villain, who did his full share of the bloody work at the Meadows. If he was really killed by the Mormons at the last, all we have to say is, they waited an unconscionable while before taking their revenge upon him and missed many a good and more convenient opportunity than that of which they finally availed themselves.

In this connection we publish the following letter, just received.

Dillon, M. T., July 30, 1881.
Eds. Tribune. I see by an item in the Ogden Pilot of the 27th inst., a notice of the death of Phillip Klingensmith, and referring to the Tribune from which the item was taken. I write now to ascertain how the news was obtained and all the particulars. He was my brother, and I have a deep interest in knowing all about his death, which I have long expected at the hands of the Mormons. Very truly,   Mrs. D. H. Simmons.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, August 12, 1881.                  No. 101.


David Whitmer and the Danites -- Some Extracts
from the "Divine Revelations" of Sidney Rigdon.

The Deseret News of this city, and the True Latter-day Saints' Herald, of Plano, Ill., have lately republished the Kansas City Journal's account of an interview held this summer with old David Whitmer, of Richmond, Mo., over David's fifty years' connection with Mormonism. But neither the News nor Herald gave the report in full, both papers (by a happy conscientious impulse of propriety, and out of tender regard for the susceptabilities of all Saints) suppressing the same portion of the interview.

Regarding David Whitmer as an excellent person (albeit a double-distilled dupe) and willing to take his testimony on all matters of a sublunary character, I thought I would send for the Kansas City Journal, in order to see what there was in the reported interview which the head-censors of Mormonism in Utah and Illinois did not care to give. It was this:

"Reporter -- What became of the Church after their expulsion from Jackson county?

"David Whitmer -- In 1835 W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, accompanied by a large number of our people, went to Far West, Caldwell county, Mo. and established a Church. They lived there and multiplied very rapidly until 1838, when Elders Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon came out from Ohio, and were dissatisfied with the Church, and gave new laws, revelations, etc. The leaders of the Far West church refused to conform to the new laws of Smith and Rigdon, and they issued a decree organizing what was termed the 'Danites, or Destroying Angels,' who were bound by the most fearful oaths to obey the commandments of the leaders of the Church. The Danites consisted only of those selected by Smith and Rigdon. They threatened myself, John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and Lyman Johnson with


unless we took the same oath, but we refused, and fled for our lives to Clay county, and since that time I have had nothing to do with the so-called 'Latter-day Saints' Church, but I still hold to the truth of the original Church of Christ, as organized in New York. During the fall of 1838 the Church of Far West became very violent towards the citizens of Caldwell county, which terminated in an uprising similar to that in Jackson county 1n 1833,


"Smith and Rigdon were arrested and kept prisoners for some time, but finally escaped and went to Nauvoo, Ill., followed by the Saints from Far West, and established a church and built a fine temple. They remained in Nauvoo until 1844, when they became very corrupt, upheld polygamy, established an endowment house, etc., which occasioned an uprising of the people, and Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum and John Taylor, the present head of the Church in Salt Lake, were arrested and cast into prison, and the two Smiths afterwards shot and killed through the windows of the jail. The temple was destroyed and the Church scattered, a portion going to Salt Lake under the leadership of Brigham Young and John Taylor, where they have remained ever since, practicing the vile system of polygamy and spiritual wifeism.

"I belong to the original Church, organized 1n 1829, and have never associated myself with any other, and never upheld the reorganization or change of name to 'Latter-Day Saints,' at Kirtland, O. -- Kanses City Journal, June 5, 1881.

(N. B. -- The moral to be drawn from the above is: Don't imagine that an institution whose four corner-stones are Fraud, Greed, Lust and Blood, is to be created -- to stand -- in the blazing noon of the Nineteenth Century and on American soil)

In capituation of D. W.'s remark in his last paragraph -- On May 4th, 1834, the Mormon institution, which had called itself up to that time the Church of Christ, at the instance of Sidney Rigdon changed its name to Church of Latter-day Saints. Four years later, in 1838, all the [hoblem?] was put on, and the Mormon institution received (doubtless from its original founder, Rigdon,) the swelling appellation, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 'Tis odd, this being the Lord's work and marvelous to our eyes, the "Lord" did not christen his bantling just as he wanted it the first send off, but that it should have twice been rechristened, now ain't it?

But old Davie claims to belong to the original Church, organized in 1829. Mormons in general fancy their institution dates from the 6th of April, 1830. Davie is a little ahead there, too, though he is a little behind when he declares that Joe Smith told him "he first found the plates in the early spring of 1828." If this is a fact, Mormon history must be revised materially.

In further explanation as to the original source of Mirmon troubles in Missouri or elsewhere, two or three passages may be cited from the Lord's revelations in the Mormon Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which every true Mormon is bound to hold as sacred as the Bible itself (or even more so). In June, 1831, the "Lord" of these revelations (to wit, Sidney Rigdon,) declared:

"And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies."

The spirit sure to be engendered among a credulous amd ignorant body of colonists, from such a Lord's revelation as this, is a dangerous and incendiary spirit, however prudence may for a while hold it in check.

Again, pertaining to this same matter of emigration from Ohio to Missouri, this "Lord" declares Sept. 1831:

"Behold, it is said in my laws, or forbidden to get in adebt to thine enemies; but behold, it is not said at any time that the Lord should not take when he please, and pay as seemeth him good; wherefore, as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord’s errand, and whatsoever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord’s business, and He hath set you to provide for his Saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion (i. e. Missouri -- 'Zion' was in Missouri in 1831,) and behold, I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it. But all things must come to pass in their time, etc."

As the next extract is general, upon the oaths and covenants of the Mormon priesthood, it should be carefully digested. There's a strong odor of Ku Klux about it. It purports to have been given in September 1823, and before the unmistakable earmarks of Sidney Rigdon, who was the father of all the Latter-day covenanting among Saints in Utah, Saints in Illinois, or Latter-day Saints anywhere or any time since Mormonism was hatched:

"All they who receive this priesthood receiveth me, saith the Lord, for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father, and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore, all that my Father hath shall be given unto him; and this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which He cannot break, neither can it be moved; but whoso breaketh this covenant, after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come."

Isn't this a high old how-come-you-so? Isn't this cool, for any Rigdon Lord God Almighty to think to palm upon intelligent people of this free government? But the laugh comes in when Rigdon's prophetic mouth piece, Joe Smith, (by way of pitting bogus masonry against his master's bogus divine revelations) turns or assays to turn Mason. He says:

"In the evening of the 14th of March, 1842, I, Joseph Smith, receivd the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge assembled in my general business office.* * * He understood that the chain of Masonry is the endless chain of brotherhood and priesthood linking all worlds, the heavens and the earth."

This being so, what was John the Baptist, or what were Peter, James and John sent expressly to Joe for?

On whatsoever side you lap it Mormonism is hollow and bogus. As a pretense to be thought a religion it deserves not the least consideration, being rooted and grounded in demonstrable fraud, as a political issue its importance has been and is persistently and vastly overrated. But it delights (as vanity always does) to find itself stared at and talked about, no matter how Mormonism is on its last legs.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, October 8, 1881.                  No. 39.


Hurlburt and the Spaulding Manuscript --
The Great Fraud.

EDS. TRIBUNE: The Deseret News has another long article last evening on what it persists in calling "the oft-refuted fable known as the Spaulding story." It amounted to little beyond giving still further evidence how the true Mormon genius delights to befog and bamboozle.

I am one of those blind and preposterous persons, gentlemen, who have no more doubt that the Book of Mormon was, in its primitive shape, the lucubration of Solomon Spaulding than I have that the book, in its present shape, is a bundle of puerile incongruities and a blaspheming and tedious imposture, and my conviction, resulting in great measure from a protracted effort to draw from the man Hurlburt what I fully believe he could tell concerning the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, and more particularly what became of the original manuscript of Spaulding's romance, the "Manuscript Found," which he received written authority from Spaulding's widow to obtain -- she having left it at Hartwick, N. Y., on visiting her daughter in Massachusetts, I say my conviction is, that Hurlburt was guilty of playing a desperate and despicable four-sided game, between (1) Mrs. Spaulding (Davison), (2) E. D. Howe, Esq., (3) the converter of the "Manuscript Found" into the Book of Mormon, and (4) his own soul. He tells to-day quite another "yarn" about his obtaining the Manuscript (or a manuscript) of Spaulding's, from what he told Mr. Howe (by whom and others he was commissioned to visit Spaulding's widow) in 1834. This is not a little significant; but the main point to settle is not how or where he got it, but what he did with it."It seems the fragment of Spaulding's writing which Hurlbut handed over to Mr. Howe was not the Manuscript Found; but even had that fragment been carefully compared with the Book of Mormon, such comparing must have shown that the Book of Mormon contains (in garbled form) indicia of that fragment of Spalding's fictitious history written a cave, upon twenty-four rolls of papyrus, by one of the lost nation; this description of the fragment (which is given in the Howe book) at once suggesting the twenty-four plates of pure gold inscribed by the solitary prophet Ether in a cave (vide Book of Mormon.)

For some reason Mr. Howe seems, after a time, to have relaxed his efforts to nail the imposture. Perhaps he turned infidel or may always have been an infidel (both Hurlbut and he are now ardent Spiritualists,) and, upon second thought, fancied the Book of Mormon a good enough offset to the Bible, an engine to be used against the Bible, which indeed it is and cannot but be.

In 1834, at Kirtland, Ohio, Dr. P. Hurlburt was a marked personage. The history of the prophet Smith gives account of solemn and anxious prayer circles held at that time to the end that the Lord's prophet and His church might be shielded from the machinations of their arch-enemy, "even Doctor Hurlburt." Hurlburt himself declares that another 'party' was shot in Kirtland, one night, the "blood-atoner mistaking his victim. Joe tells us that he was charged by some of the brethren, at this juncture, (see his history) with being a false prophet, and with having taken "consecrated monies;" Hurlburt, suddenly comes in possession of money enough to purchase a farm, and Joe's history further refers to a plan more subtle than all others, having been laid to entrap and destroy him and the great Latter-day work; but later, congratulates himself and the brethren that it had happily been foiled. In the history a dreadful curse is launched upon Hurlburt's head (and bones) -- which still remains unexecuted; Hurlburt is now past 70, and has long been badly palsied. His bones (barring those of his mouth) are still in his body. But here's the curse, culled from the Millennial Star, vol. xv., p. 24:

"My soul delighteth in the law of the Lord, for He forgiveth my sins, and will confound my enemies. The Lord shall destroy him who has lifted his heel against me, even that wicked man, Dr. P. Hurlburt: He will deliver him to the fowls of heaven, and his bones shall be cast to the blasts of the wind, for he lifted his arm against the Almighty; therefore the Lord shall destroy him."

Hurlburt, for some reason, was a terror to the Lord's anointed.

When the "Spaulding Story" is fully and clearly told, every honest believer in the divine origin and authenticity of the Book of Mormon will be ashamed of his (or her) simplicity.   VINDEX.
SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 29, 1881.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXII.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, January 13, 1882.                  No. 74.

Come  Up  to  the  Scratch.

In union is strength. But one person conscious that he is on the side of right, and qualified and equipped to demonstrate it, though standing alone, is stronger than a host proclaiming this consciousness of right, yet lacking the power to make good their claim....

But to draw in and specialize; to formulate a case, Mormons say, "We know we are right," and some of them go farther and add, "Knowing we are right we ask no odds," etc. But this, it will be readily seen, affords no case...

Well, then, says Mr. Mormon, warily, and feeling very shaky and half conscious at the [contact], that he is sure to be cornored, "I know -- the -- Book of Mormon is what -- it claims to be." Ah, now, that's worth while, brother. That is commonsensible. That's his. And now I, on my part, know that the book is not what it pretended to be, but that it is a wretched fraud. Now, who feels qualified and equipped to take the affirmative in this proposition? John Taylor, do you?

Deceive and deck itself out as it may, a big, pompous, swelling, high blown fraud is really no more respectable than a petty fraud. On the contrary, the bigger and more blatant it is, the more rotten and less respectable it is. Boss Tweed had his day. Mormonism will have its day, and pass. The aspiring, "celestial" baloon, starting [Kolobward], has been pierced in mid career by an arrow from the bow of truth, and the gas is slowly, surely escaping. Mormons, know this: Sidney Rigdon is the author and finisher of your foolish faith in this wild craze.

At the dedication of the Mormon Assembly Hall last Sunday, John Taylorsaid, if this Nation lifted its hand against the Saints, the Lord would lift his hand against it. This is the old bull-dozing, bloody bones cry, as old as Mormonism, but not in the least terrifying to any person who clearly comprehends, as does this writer, who this violent and vindictive Mormon Lord is. The Mormon Lord has been mouldering in the grave since 1876, but his soul is marching on, inspiring the utterances of John Taylor, as it inspired the dead Brigham and the Prophet Joe, before John's time. Mormon Saints are indebted and always will be, to Lord Sidney Rigdon for their revelations, and for the spirit of wrath they are vainly wrestling with in their siuls. It is a dark and damning chapter in the history of human folly and fanaticism.

This Nation stands not in awe of any such Lord.

But let us not forget the case. It the Book of Mormon what it pretends to be, or is it a fraud? That point disposed of, another will be in order; say, who fabricated and fixed up Mormon Priesthood? Then, polygamy, etc., etc. But one point at a time.

And now, to conclude, having flourished a little thus far in this note, due, perhaps, to the contagious influence of Mormonism, which inclines the most deliberate to spouting and superlatives, let me come down to the point of this communication, and propose that "the Mormon problem" -- the great "bug-a-boo" of the country and the age, be solved in this wise.

1. Mormonism rest upon the Book of Mormon. If that book be a fraud, then the prophet Joe Smith was an imposter, and hence, as a system, the whole outfit is a deception and a delusion. If Solomon Spaulding wrote that book, in its incipient form, then the prophet Joseph did not by angelic guidance dig it up and translate it by Urim and Thummim from the Reformed Egyptian, as he solemnly averred that he did. Spaulding, by the way, though a clever fellow in his way, did not write his "Manuscript Found" in mouldy Egyptian, but in quaint and racy vernacular.

2. The eliciting and making known the precise facts in this case being the full immediate scope of the proposition, matters must not be confused.

3. The Book of Mormon either is what it pretends to be, or, it is a monstrous and cruel fraud.

4. If John Taylor, the Presidency of this Mormon community, or its Twelve Apostles, who are the responsible proclaimers and abettors before the world of the Book of Mormon, and hence the proper ones for me to meet, are so thoroughly convinced that they have in the [preeminent] right and truth on their side, that they are ready to meet me in a full and fair and open canvassing of this grave question, I am ready to meet them...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXII.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, June 3, 1882.                  No. 192.


If a pack of rogues were to combine together to palm off a great fraud upon the world, if they were of low character and were ignorant persons; if their imposture succeeded beyond their dreams, so that the profit and credit of the origin were worth contending for, we should naturally expect that these rogues would fall by the ears and denounce each other for all that is vile, expose each other in their robberies and other crimes and struggle like brutes each to oust the other and save to himself the profit of the swindle. We should expect, moreover, that in general all through their quarrels and strife none would absolutely denounce and expose the original swindle as long as there was any hope that he himself might yet succeed in reaping a harvest from it. Nothing could be more natural than that all should come about in just that way. If to an ordinary swindle the element of religious feeling and zeal were added, we should naturally expect all these contentions to assume added bitterness, and the divisions to be intensified by sectarian bigotry. Let us see how closely the [genesis] of Mormonism corresponds to this general outline.

Joseph Smith stands for the originator of the business. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris were his witnesses. Sidney Rigdon was soon added, and he gave the whole business its shape and impetus. Let us see how these five got along together. Martin Harris was undoubtedly a lunatic after he had gone into the business, though his wife made affidavit that he first took part with an idea of making money. In September 1832, he "prophesied" that "within four years of the date [thereof] every sectarian and religious denomination in the United States will be broken down, and every Christian will be gathered unto the Mormonites, and the rest of the human family shall perish. If these things do not come to pass, I will hereby consent to have my hand separated from my body." His subsequent recantation of the imposture, and whimsical reflections in regard thereto, brought him into great disrepute with the Mormons, and he was visited with their extremest condemnation. A religion whose principal use is to denounce the witnesses upon which it relies to establish its truth is of frail tenure indeed. It was not long before Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were under a cloud. They openly accused Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon of various and sundry of the crimes they had committed, and made the issue with them in public assembly at Kirtland. They continued the same course in Missouri, and finally became so troublesome that Rigdon wrote a letter to them in the most approved style of vigilante literature, ordering them to leave Caldwell county within three days or take the consequences. In this letter he accuses them of being thieves, forgers, counterfeiters and liars. Their assaults had been directed equally against Rigdon and Joseph Smith, who then had complete control of the Mormon community. So Cowdery and Whitmer, having had experiences in Mormon ways to know what was good for them, lost no time in getting away. It is instructive to note the vigor and directness of the charges made by Rigdon against the two Mormon witnesses. All the crimes were recited with time and circumstance, so there was no doubt of their guilt on all the charges. They were clearly shown to be the worst of knaves and the most despicable of men. So Rigdon said to them, "Out of the county you shall go, and no power shall save you; and you shall have three days after you receive our communication to you, including twenty four hours in each day, for you to depart with your families, peaceably; which you may do, undisturbed by any person; but, in that time, if you do not depart, we will use the means in our power to cause you to depart, for go you shall; we will have no more promises to reform, as you have already done, and in every instance violated your promise."

After all that one would naturally think the belief in their testimony as to the truth of the Book of Mormon wpuld be waekened, for surely the testimony of men known to be thieves, forgers, counterfeiters and liars could not have any weight, especially in heavenly things. But it was not so. In the same letter Rigdon tells them he still believed their testimony as to the Book of Mormon, "as much as before you had so scandalously disgraced it." Why he should so believe is wholly inexplicable on any other ground then that he was so much interested in maintaing the fraud that he had no choice but to maintain its truth through thick and thin. So much for the three witnesses; they fell by the way side, condemned even more heartily by their own dupes and confederates than by anybody else. As to Rigdon, it is well known that he was turned over to the buffetings of Satan as a fraud and a rogue, by the official action of the head of the Mormon system. There remains but Smith, and there is nothing his own witnesses, Cowdery and Whitmer, failed to charge upon him; they said he was guilty, among other things, of every form of swindling, practiced on his dupes, of gross deception, of treason, murder, licentiousness, and the most contemptible cowardice. That is how the sponsors of the Mormon system got along between themselves. We submit that it exactly corresponds to the definition of what we should expect to see in case a gross and stupid imposture were attempted to be put upon the world by ignorant and unscrupulous persons. There is no doubt at all but that is exactly what Mormonism and its founders amount to. That there has not been since its settlement in Utah a renewal of the old quarrels and schisms is explainable by the simple fact that every attempt of that kind has been put down by the ruling powers in blood. The Morrisite schism was the strongest outbreak here, and the way it was broken up served as a warning to others that that sort of thing wouldn't do any more. Brigham Young announced publicly that sooner than be troubled by "Apostates" as they had been in the past, he would "unsheath his bowie-knife and conquer or die." He kept his word.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIV.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, March 15, 1883.                  No. 27.



The controversy between the two branches of the Mormon church as to the origin of polygamy is becoming interesting. On the one hand, we have Joseph Smith, oldest son and heir of the Prophet...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXV.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, June 24, 1883.                  No. 62.

The  Dead  Nauvoo.

A writer in the Quincy Herald, who has recently visited Nauvoo, says:

Nauvoo, once a flourishing city, with as before stated 26,000 inhabitants, is now a village of about 1,400. The fine temple, supposed to have cost over $1,000,000 burnt, the walls torn down and used to construct residences, barns, pavements, etc. A fine hotel, half built, left to the mercy of the elements and time's destroying power; the prophet's residence, and the pride of the city, now a dilapidated concern scarce inhabitable; and the substantial residence of that human fiend, "Bishop" John D. Lee, razed to the earth, not a vestage remaining; the magnificent arsenel, now a Christian Academy, for the education of young ladies, in charge of the Sisters of the Benedictine order; the large and commodious residence of the noted Heber C. Kimball, a mass of ruins; all that once bore traces of advancement and prosperity is no more. What business is now here thrives in its way. The community is a wealthy one but lacks enterprise.

Everything that once savored of Mormonism is fast disappearing. The basement of what was intended to be "The Mansion" is now filled with growth of brush and trees of over thirty years standing; in fact all that once was thrift and enterprise is a mass of ruin, over which the hand of oblivion is rapidly spreading its pall. In a short time all that was once known of Mormonism in thee parts will be forgotten, and a future generation will ask, "Who were the Mormons?"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXV.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, July 1, 1883.                     No. 71.


The telegraph says the Pope is ill and is much worried over affairs in France and Ireland. Every day almost there are reports of difficulties between the Vatican and Germany. The secret of all this, is, the Catholic authorities persist in interfering in the affairs of State throughout Europe. It is the old trouble which Europe has been fighting for 150 years, in the old days it cost the sacrifice of thousands and tens of thousands of men; it remains yet a source of infinite trouble even in countries where almost the entire population are Catholics. It was to avoid all this in this Republic that the founders fixed things so that church and state here should never conflict; so that the state should be free to control the business of the country, and the several churches should, in their sphere, attend to the country's religious wants. The need of such a regulation was most manifest. The penalty for having so much stipulation in Europe was written all over that region in blood and sorrow. Men are fond of power, and no religion has yet been powerful enough to neutralize that fondness in their hearts. Men are avaricious for money, and the natural tendency is to prey upon their fellow men to obtain it. No religion can [kill] this instinct. The best way to obtain unearned tribute from the people is through their superstitious fears, and by fixing things so that their whole time shall be occupied in paying that tribute and in providing poor clothes and food for those they love. So it was the policy of Mother Church through many centuries to keep the masses of her followers ignorant and poor. It continued so until poverty and ignorance was the rule, and a period of such wretchedness descended upon Europe that ever since it has been called "the dark ages." So dreadful was the eclipse that there was no rallying from it except through revolt and violence. Our fathers knew that history well and determined to provide against a repetition of it on our soil. Their plan was never seriously interfered with until Jo Smith and Sidney Rigdon appeared. Then something was founded outside the laws which was to be a law to itself, then a plan was devised through which men should be advanced through regular promotions, the advance to be not according to merit, but to obedience; then a plan was formed whereby the free laws of the land, and the rights of the people were to be ignored; it was a bold stroke to gain and keep power and money through the rule over men's superstitions, and through the incentives supplied by lust. It was the crudest and wickedest device ever coined in depraved brains, but it drew to it a certain character of people, men and women, and through its varying fortunes it has grown until it has become a menace to our country. When it is rightfully understood by the masses of the people it will be wiped out, unless its leaders are shrewd enough to remove the cause which will precipitate a crisis; but it shows how prone the old Adam is in men to rule and rob, and dupes can be obtained as easily now as when there were no school houses, newspapers or books in the world. It shows that notwithstanding the examples of the past and all the bitter experiences which the world has felt from the same cause, men are still credulous, still haunted by superstitious fears, and still incapable of realizing how mighty is the boon of free government. This fungus in Utah will by and by pass away, but it will be strange if it does not pass of as such things generally do, in fire and from under a battle canopy.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVI.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 16, 1883.             No. 51.


Judge Cradlebaugh's Speech in Congress in 1863...

... Mormonism is in part a conglomerate of illy cemented creeds from other religions, and in part founded upon the eccentric production of one Spaulding, who having failed as a preacher and shopkeeper, undertook to write a historical novel. He had a smattering of biblical knowledge, and chose for his subject "the history of the lost tribes of Israel." The whole was supposed to be communicated by the Indians, and the last of the scribes was named Mormon, representing that he had buried the book. It was a dull, tedious, interminable volume, marked by ignorance and folly. The work was so flat, stupid and insipid, that no publisher could be induced to bring it before the world. Poor Spaulding at length went to his grave, and the and the manuscript remained a neglected roll in the possession of his widow.

Then arose Joe Smith, more ready to live by his wits than by the labor of his hands. Smith had, early in life, manifested a turn for pious frauds. He had figured in several wrestling matches with the devil, and had been conspicuous in giving in eventful experiences in religion at certain revivals. He announced that he had dug up the book of Mormon, which taught the true religion; this was none other than poor Spaulding's manuscript, which he had purloined from the widow. In his hands the manuscript became the basis of Mormonism. Joe became a prophet; the founder of a religious sect; the president of a swindling bank; the builder of the City of Nauvoo; mayor of the city; general of the armies of Israel; candidate for President of the United States, and finally a martyr, as the Saints choose to call him. But the truth is that his villainies, together with the villainies of his followers, brought down upon him the just vengeance of the people of Illinois and Missouri, and his career was brought to an end by his being shot while confined in jail in Carthage. It was unfortunate that such was his end, for his followers raised the old cry of martyrdom and persecution, and, as always proved, "the blood of the martyr was the seed of the church."

Mormonism repudiates the celibacy imposed by the Catholic religion upon its priesthood, and takes in its stead the voluptuous impositions of the Mohammedan church. It preaches openly that the more wives and children its men have in this world, the purer, more influential and conspicuous will they be in the next; that wives, children, and property will not only be restored, but doubled in the resurrection. It adopts the use of prayers and baptism for the dead, as a part of its creed. Mormons claim to be favored with marvelous gifts -- the power of speaking in tongues, of casting out devils, of curing the sick, and of healing the lame and the halt. They claim that they have a living prophet, seer and revelator who holds the keys of of the Kingdom of Heaven, and through whose intercession alone access can be had. They recognize the Bible, but they interpret it for themselves, and hold that it is subject to be changed by new revelation, which, they say, supercedes old revelation. One of their doctrines is that of continued progression to ultimate perfection. They say God was but a man, who went on developing and increasing until he reached his present high capacity; and they teach that Mormons will be equal to him; in a word, that good Mormons will become gods. They teach the shedding of blood for remission of sins, or, in other words, that if a Mormon apostatizes, his throat shall be cut, and his blood poured out upon the ground for the remission of his sin. They also practice other revolting doctrines, such as are only carried out in polygamous countries, which is evidenced by a number of mutilated persons in their midst. They hold that the prophet's revelations are binding upon their consciences, and that they are bound to obey him in all things. They say that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord's; that they are God's chosen people on earth; that their mission on earth is to take charge of God's property, and, as faithful stewards, that it is their duty to obtain it, and are taught that, in obtaining it, they must not get in debt to the Lord's enemies for it; in other words, they teach that it is a duty to rob and steal from Gentiles. They have christened themselves "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." They claim that Mormonism is to go on spreading until it overthrows all the nations of the earth, and if necessary for its accomplishment, its success shall be consummated by the sword; that Jackson county, Missouri, is to be the seat of empire of the Mormon Church; that here the Mormons are to be finally gathered, and that from that Zion shall proceed a power that will dethrone kings, subvert dynasties, and subjugate all the nations of the earth.

I have said that their doctrines were repulsive to every refined mind. Every other false faith which has reigned its evil time upon this goodly world of ours, has had some kindly and redeeming features. Even the semi-theocracy of the Aztecs, as Prescott tells you, disfigured as it was by horrid and bloody rites, was not without them. Buddhism and Brahmanism, with all their misshapen fables, still inculcated, in no small degree, a pure code of morals. Nor is the like assertion untrue of Mohammedanism. It was reserved for Mormonism, far off in the bosom of our beloved land, to rear its head, naked in all its hideous deformity, and unblushingly, yes, defiantly, proclaim a creed without the least redeeming feature, and of such character that the Thugism of India cannot match it.

"So at variance is the practice of polygamy with all the instincts of humanity, that it has to be pressed upon the people with the greatest assiduity as a part of their religious duty. It is astonishing with what pertinacity through all their "sermons and discources" it is justified and insisted on. Threats, entreaties, persuasions, and commands, are continually brought in play to enforce its cheerful observance. So revolting is it to the women, that to aid in its enforcement they are brutalized, their modesty destroyed by low, vile, vulgar expressions, such as I could not repeat, and would not ask the clerk to read in your hearing. If, however, my conjugal friend, the Delegate from Utah, will undertake such task, I will most cheerfully furnish them for him; certainly he ought not to hesitate. If they are proper to be repeated before large congregations of women and children in Salt Lake City, the representative of the Church ought not to be ashamed at reading them to this House. Will the Delegate from Utah read them?


But their teachings, officially reported by themselves, give you a better idea of their estimation of woman than anything I could say. I shall read to you from a few of their sermons on this subject, only observing that you may pick other passages inculcating similar doctrines, containing like threats, rebukes, and complaints, in nearly every sermon published in the Church organ...

[a number of quotations follow -- not copied

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XV.                 Salt Lake City, U. T., Thursday, March 20, 1884.                 No. 12.


Bishop West of Juab, on the God-Forsaken
Gentile Government.

Stenographical report of Bishop West's harangue in the Juab school-house, Sunday, March 9th, 1884. Reported by Tobias Tobey for The Salt Lake Tribune:

Juab, Utah, March 9th. -- It is time, my brothers and sisters, that we ceased this cowardly silence and humble submission to the rulings and machinations of the devil and his fiery imps at the capitol of this God-forsaken Gentile Government; and it is time for us to fling their defiance and scurrilous domination back in their faces. We are the elect of Christ, and the day of judgment is at hand, and it's our turn then if it isn't now, which I say it is. When Gabriel sounds his trumpet on that awful day, the Gentile hell-hounds will find the Saints of God have got all the front seats reserved, and that they can't find standing room for themselves in the gallery. The cause is flourishing in the Juab stake of Zion, and many souls are being daily rescued from the flames of heathenism. If I had my way not a house would be left standing which sheltered a knavish Gentile. They are eyesores in the sight of the Lord, and His vengeance is sure to come. They persecute His Saints and He has commanded them to destroy their persecutors. He has commanded the Saints to rid the earth of the sin-besmudged heretic. He has revealed unto us the foundation of the Gentile Church that it is the devil. (II. Nephi ch. 4, verse xx.) Hell is filled with the scurrilous Gentiles and the floors of hell are paved with the skulls of apostates. He who kills a Gentile rids the earth of a serpent and adds a star to his own crown. The Saints are gathering together from sea to sea and they will rise in their awful might and fall upon the enemies of Zion. Let the tabernacles resound with joyful voices for the fulfillment of the prophecies of Moroni are at hand. The minions of the devil are set loose in our midst by the crime soaked politicians who rule our land. The shades of the sainted martyr Smith call aloud for vengeance at the hands of his followers. The blood of the Gentile persecutors shall be spilled on their own thresholds to appease the anger of our prophet. Tune the lyre and beat the cymbals, for our revenge is now at hand. We will wipe out the scum of the Washington blood suckers and the high priest of the devil who assumes to rule in our very midst shall be cut off with a sharp instrument. The thieving Murray issues orders to the Saints of God, and defies every one but the devil, who is his sponsor. His head will be placed upon the walls of our city and his entrails scattered throughout the street of Zion, that every Gentile adventurer may behold and take a care that we are left to pursue our road to Paradise unmolested. Our strength is greater than the world believes and our will is powerful and undaunted by heretic menaces. The Lord is our shepherd and we cannot fail. The red man is our firm ally and he thirsts for the blood of the enemy of Zion. We are powerful and unassailable in our mountain home and we will roll the massive boulders of destruction down from the mountain tops upon the heads of the unregenerate. Our secret places are stored with crafty explosives with which we will surely destroy the strongholds of the government of Satan. Our young men are drilling for the conflict, and pure wives and daughters are making themselves ready to minister to our wants, and the day is close at hand. Let the Gentile leeches and poltroons beware and win our forbearance, if yet they may. The Lord is sorely angered at our persecutors, and He has said to our counselors in a vision that He will deliver our enemy into our hands as He delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi. He will visit the earth, through us, with a worse destruction than He did in the days of the flood, and the ungodly will bite the dust with rage and their blood will flow in the streets of Zion even as much as the waters in the day of Noah. Behold, I declare unto you, all ye Saints who revere the memory of the prophets that you must begin to gird up your loins and whet your knives. Let the religious fervor of the Saints who are dead and gone recur to your weaker spirits and fire you with the zeal of the destroying angels. Eli Murray is the Cain of our generation. He hates our people and he works for our destruction that he may win for himself a reputation of valor among the ungodly. He is a damned scoundrel, and a pestiferous leper. He is the polluted scum of corruption. He reeks with ungodliness, and he is rotten with heresy. I command every true disciple of Christ to watch out for this damned Yankee interloper, and ye know that there is protection enough for you in Zion if ye kill the whole Gentile race. Last night, as I lay in my bed thinking over the affairs of the Church, and possessed of a strange restlessness, and praying the while for inspiration from the Most High, that I might see the way more clearly to a sure release of my brethren from bondage, behold a great and glorious light suddenly filled my apartment with a glow brighter than the sun. I was at first afraid, and inclined strongly to leap from my bed and flee. But of a sudden I heard a voice which caused my heart to beat with tumultuous joy, for it was that of Joseph Smith. I gazed at him earnestly, expecting and hanging on the words which should perchance fall from his lips, and I beheld that his garments were of a dazzling whiteness, and that his skin was of a dazzling and heavenly whiteness, save the blood red spots and livid wounds where the bullets of the cursed Gentiles had entered his sainted body, and which were now visible to their eternal damnation, as were the marks of the nails which pierced the hands and feet of Christ. Joseph spoke to me in a voice of wondrous sweetness blended with strains of the direst severity when he spoke of the fate in store for those Saints who neglected what he should now command them. Joseph bade me to cast my eyes about and behold the presence in the midst of the Saints of an emissary of the devil. It was the will of the Most High that this man should be removed, and if other emissaries were chosen to fill his place, even as many as were so chosen should be similarly dealt with. If allowed to remain in our midst, the sin would be on our heads, for it was the command of the Most High God of Abraham and Isaac. It lay in our power to be our own rulers, and our cowardice was the cause of sore distress to the departed Saints who had left us a kingdom. Eli H. Murray was possessed of a devil, and had only the outward semblance of a man. He should and must be trod upon until his bowels gushed out in the streets. The incarnate fiend lurked invisibly behind his hellish disciple, and was intent upon the destruction of Zion. The time was short, and vigorous and immediate action premptory. The curses of eternal damnation awaited those who failed in this holy mission. The work must not stop at the destruction of only one of these hell-hounds, these Erebus-like pestilences in the folds of the anointed, but must extend even to the farthermost corners of the earth, until every heretic out of hell was sent home, and the Latter Day Saints were rulers of the land. Much more the beloved Joseph said to me which I am commanded not to reveal unto you until you prove the sincerity of your faith and love for the prosperity of Zion from what has already been revealed. The direst plagues shall be immediately visited upon you and your children if these divine commands go unheeded. I call upon you who sit there trembling in your seats to beware, and to rise in your strength and win your crown. Let every Saint in Zion be present at the meeting in this building on Sunday next at this hour, and I will discourse further upon these matters which I have, for wise reasons, kept from you during the day up to this minute. The Lord bless you. Amen.


To-day we print a verbatim report of an address delivered by Bishop West at Juab on the 9th inst., as forwarded by a friend. It reads like the old-day Tabernacle harangues, and the devout brethren and sisters of the former time would have warmly enjoyed and commended it as being ''full of the sperret," indeed, we are not sure but away down deep in their hearts they will approve it now. It is a very violent harangue, full of bitter malice and the usual untruths of the fanatics when they undertake to deal with subjects wherein they are opposed. The common dreary twaddle of exclusive holiness and a monopoly of honesty is disgustingly paraded by this dishonest parasite in behalf of a set of rogues whose crimes, peculations, public and private, robberies and unblushing piracies are the amazement of every one who has had to do with the facts. No spot in the Mormon administration, from the tithing yards to the county and Territorial treasuries could bear the light of day. Elder West's main insistance was, in plain words, that it was the command of the Lord, communicated through Joseph Smith, "the martyr," in a vision, about the beginning of the present month, to himself (West), that Governor Murray must be assassinated, and that his successors must in like manner be "removed," until the Gentiles were faint with terror, and let the Saints alone to manage "their own kingdom" in their own way. Of course the howling of such a noisy blatherskite in that vein simply means that he is filled with a murderous hate, but is too cowardly to himself to do the deed he undertakes to spur others up to commit. There is no danger from him, and even in the worst times the brethren had too much discretion and wholesome fear of the consequencies to undertake any such villainous programme. In former years Elder West would, however, have been sure of promotion in the church for his efforts, especially if they had been well kept up; for the sect in its wretched development of Brighamism has need of such tools. He starts in too late in the day, however, and will neither win cross, which he might have won in Jackson county, Missouri, nor crown, which he might have gained during the fanatical "reformation" which led up to the Mountain Meadow massacre.

Note 1: There is good reason to suppose that the "Stenographical report" submitted by "Tobias Tobey" was not originally intended to be a news item published in any Utah newspaper. The fact that there was no "Bishop West" present in Juab (nor anywhere else in the territory) on March 9, 1884, was a conclusion too easily reached to allow for a serious attempt at fraud. The outlandish language of the "red-hot address" matched nothing else then being promulgated in the LDS meeting-houses, and that evidence must have alerted all but the least observant Salt Lake Tribune employee to the impossibility of the alleged address. It somehow slipped past any conscientious editorial review and ended up on the front page of that paper (daily edition of March 16th) by an unjustifiable oversight. Indeed, on the very same day that the Weekly Tribune was reprinting the "address," its daily number (printed a few hours later) was offering a mortified retraction of the "forgery" -- an admission of "regret to have been made the vehicle of this imposture."

Note 2: Why would any correspondent submit such a "verbatim report" for publication, knowing full well that the hoax would be almost immediately detected? While the tone of the "red-hot address" was reminiscent of what might be discovered in 1850s bowery discourses voiced by the old LDS Apostles, its structure, wording and assumed authority (counsel to the entire Church coming from a lowly bishop) indicate that the person who composed the text was neither an ex-Mormon nor a Gentile who had lived for very long among the Saints. In short, the report bears the hallmarks of a failed, quasi-humorous satire, written for a remote and largely uninformed readership -- and yet it ended up in the pages of the Tribune. An examination of the pen name "Tobias Tobey" confirms that just such a foreign writer was submitting similar material for periodic publication in a New York paper that spring. This writer was young, inexperienced and prone to unbelieveable exaggeration -- minus any tongue-in-cheek hints of leg-pulling that a Samuel L. Clemens would have naturally included in his contemporary fictional forays. See the notes appended to the Tribune's article of Mar. 27th for more details.


Vol. XV.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, March 23, 1884.                     No. 15.


During the week the Mormon press had much to say about the bogus Bishop West address, which was imposed upon us last Sunday. In editorial reference to that faction, we said it had the old ring. That it had is unquestionable, although experts on closer examination admit that it is not quite put the usual Mormon way. We admit this criticism to be just, yet as the sentiments are old and of well-known Mormon origin, it was possible that a country elder would not have the skill, at this late day, to quite catch the spirit of "the authorities" of old. We supposed when the alleged report of this address was sent us that it was imply the breaking out of some hot-head in the old vein, and certainly had no purpose or thought of doing injustice to anybody. And, as far as the spirit of the address was concerned, we do not think even now that it does the sectaries any injustice. That the sentiments in general ate thoroughly rooted Mormon sentiments is certain; that they are not now openly promulgated is true, but that they are abandoned, nobody believes. As the compiler of the West address writes us, he said no more than is to be found in the undoubted utterances of the spokesmen of the sect; his offense was in putting them forth now when Mum is the word, and attributing them to Bishop West at Juab, March 9th, 1884. Identical sentiments uttered by Brigham Young fifteen years ago, cannot be challenged. To say, then, that this spurious report of an address that was never delivered, is a libel, is nonsense; it libels nobody. If the Mormons have outgrown those sentiments, they have never made it known. On the contrary, it is the universal belief of all who know their leaders, that they would resort to the old bluster and the old methods at any time when they might feel safe in so doing. If they want to avoid the odium of such utterances, let them come out publicly and repudiate them; say they were the talk of rough men in unsettled times, when reason and decency were lost sight of, and there was no patriotism reckoned except fealty to the church, which last, indeed, is about as true now as ever it was. Until they do this, let them claim no misrepresentation, when what is said is simply a reproduction of a number of "discourses," boiled down, with much of the ribaldry and indecency eliminated.

In order to set ourselves right on the record, and to show that the Mormon scribes who have professed so much horror over this matter have no real cause to complain, especially after our explanation of the occurrence, we print herewith a number of extracts in the same line as the purported West address, which in many cases are far stronger than anything contained therein. We could give any quantity of the same sort, and even worse, and shall perhaps take occasion to add to this collection of unsavory morsels as we have time to search them out.


"Just at this moment of great alarm I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the power that held me bound. I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spoke unto me and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved son, hear him." -- History of Joseph Smith. "While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in the room * * * when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen. * * * The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi." History of Joseph Smith.


Last night as I lay in my bed thinking over the affairs of the Church, and possessed of a strange restlessness, and praying the while for inspiration from the Most High, that I might see the way more clearly to a sure release of my brethren from bondage, behold a great and glorious light suddenly filled my apartment with a glow brighter than the sun. I was at first afraid, and inclined strongly to leap from my bed and flee. But of a sudden I heard a voice which caused my heart to beat with tumultuous joy, for it was that of Joseph Smith. I gazed at him earnestly, expecting and hanging on the words which should perchance fall from his lips, and I beheld that his garments were of a dazzling whiteness, and that his skin was of a dazzling and heavenly whiteness, save the blood red spots and livid wounds where the bullets of the cursed Gentiles had entered his sainted body, and which were now visible to their eternal damnation, as were the marks of the nails which pierced the hands and feet of Christ. -- The West Hoax.


Heber C. Kimball said, July 12, 1857:
"What! Sustain a woman, a wife, in preference to sustaining the Prophet Joseph, Brother Brigham, and his brethren? Your religion is vain when you take that course. Well, my wife may say, 'If you will sustain Brigham in preference to me, I will leave you.' I should reply, 'Leave, and be damned!, and that very quickly. That is a part of my religion. Leave quickly, you poor snoop.' * * * There are poor, miserable curses in our midst; and there is not a thing spoken of but what there are men and women who will go and tell them what is said (thank God for that), and tell more than what is true. There are men and women in this congregation of that stamp. I wish I had some stones; I want to pelt your cursed heads, for you lie like hell. Are you valiant to stand by the work of God, and by your brethren? If you are not, you had better put out, you poor curses. * * * May God Almighty curse such men (voices all through the congregation, 'Amen.') and women, and every damned thing there is upon the earth that opposes this people. * * * Women are to be led. If I should undertake to drive a woman, I should have to drive her before me; and then she becomes my leader the moment I do that. I should lead her; and she should be led by me, if I am a good man; and if I am not a good man, I have no just right in this church to a wife or wives, or to the power to propagate my species. What, then, should be done with me? Make a (eunuch) of me, and stop my propagation. * * * I am telling you solemn truths."


Brigham said August 2d, 1857: Brother Heber says that the music is taken out of his sermons when Brother Carrington clips out words here and there; and I have taken out the music from mine, for I know the traditions and false notions of the people. Our sermons are read by tens of thousands outside of Utah. Members of the British Parliament have those Journals of Discourses, published by brother Watt; they have them locked up, they secrete them, and go to their rooms to study them, and they know all about us. They may, perhaps, keep them from the Queen for fear that she would believe and be converted.


Extract from a discourse by Brigham Young on the last day of the October Conference, 1869. It was taken stenographically by J. H. Beadle of the Corinne Reporter, published at the time, and frequently referred to since. Its accuracy has never been denied:

Whom did they send for officers? The vilest scalawags that could be raked out of hell; the d___dest set of rascals they could pick up, who did us all the harm they could. But we have grown in spite of them; we ask no odds of them, and if these d___d low-lived fellows that are now crowding in here give us any trouble, we will rise up and put every one of them right out of the Territory! We will make them leave; we won't have such a d___d set among us! There was old Drake, the d___dest old rascal in the country, that said he "loved to d__n the Mormons; he'd get up at midnight and walk ten miles over thistles to d__n them, and he'd d___n any man that wouldn't d___n them, and I say, God d__n him, and God will d__n him, and all the scalawags they send out here. And these men are the representatives of Congress! And of the President! And the Vice President is the same. Who goes into the White House in these days? A gambler and a drunkard, or a (We here expunge words to indecent for publication. -- Ed. Tribune) or a thief! And who goes to Congress? You may hunt clear through the Senate and the House, and if you can find any men that are not liars, thieves, (We here expunge words to indecent for publication. -- Ed. Tribune) gamblers, and drunkards, I tell you they are mighty few, for no other kind of men can get in there!

Now I suppose some of their reporters will set down what I say and publish it, (fixing his eye savagely on a gentleman with book and pencil.) Set it down and publish it as far and wide as you please. But don't say I abused the Government. I am only abusing the d__d scalawags that now manage the Government; and I tell you the whole thing is as rotten as hell. They've hammered and hammered at the Constitution till there's nothing left of it, and the whole country is going to the devil. They sent an army here to destroy the Saints. And when that army got to Fort Bridger I told them to stand off. I sent word to the Colonel: That land where you are is mine; I bought it and paid my money for it. But you can stay there; but if you attempt to encroach any farther upon us, we'll kill you all! The Colonel said if I caused one drop of blood to be shed, there would be millions shed in return. I told him to keep off, to go where he would, but not to come on us. And they did keep off; and they didn't hurt anybody; no, nor they never will be able to hurt anybody, as long as the saints are united. They came and they went, as so many others have come and went, and now if these Gentiles give us any more trouble we'll drive them every one, right out of the country. We won't be bothered with them. The d__d scallawags can't hurt us as long as we're united. We defy them all.

Now they talk about plurality of wives, and say it is such a bad thing, and some of them want our women to vote, and vote us down! And some of them have said to me: 'How many wives have you got?' Why, brethren, I couldn't really say. I never troubled myself to think about it. I've got a good many women one place or another; I guess I've got a dozen or fifteen that I take care of and support. And some day I will take the trouble to count them all up, so I can tell the world just how many I've got. I have one wife and many women. And I take care of them and their children. But these poor wretches in Washington that are talking about me have children that they won't take care of or even acknowledge. They have children all around, and if one of the mothers was to come and show one of them his child he'd deny it. He wouldn't own his own his own child. And I say God d___n the man that does such a thing; and God will damn him too. Yes, and He'll damn the nation that permits it. Now you'll say I oughtn't to swear about this. But I say to them: Give up your women, and then we'll talk about giving up our plurality of wives. So much for that. But here's an evil right among the Saints. Some of these young women are so foolish as to say they must go to the Gentiles to get husbands. And some of these young men talk as if they wouldn't marry till they can have a fine house, and piano for their wives to finger, and all that sort of thing. Now, I want you young women to go to them and tell them you are willing to marry without these things, and to go to work and help them get a living. But the young men are lazy dogs, and are full of excuses.

Now, I say for all the saints to stick together and be united, and all the d___d scalawags in the country can't hurt us. We defy them all! and we ask no odds of the Government."


John Taylor, August 23, 1857, said:
"I remember that one of the Legislators who had annulled our (Nauvoo) charter, named Dr. Charles, went to President Young, and says he, 'Mr. Young, I am very much imposed upon by the people around here; there are a lot of boys following me with long knives, and they are whittling after me wherever I go; my life is in danger." * * * (Voice: 'We still have whittling societies.') Yes, we still have whittling societies, as brother Kimball says."


Brigham Young, September 21, 1856: "There are sins which men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood split upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world."

Jedediah M. Grant, March 12, 1854:
"Then what ought this meek people who keep the commandments of God to do unto them? 'Why,' says one, 'they ought to pray to the Lord to kill them.' I want to know if you would wish the Lord to come down and do all your dirty work." Many of the Latter-day Saints will pray, and petition, and supplicate the Lord to do a thousand things they themselves would be ashamed to do. * * *

I wish we were in a situation favorable to our doing that which is justifiable before God, without any contaminating influence of Gentile amalgamation, laws, and traditions; that the people of God might lay the ax to the root of the tree, and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit might be hewn down.

"What! do you believe that people would do right and keep the law of God by actually putting to death the transgressors? Putting to death the transgressors would exhibit the law of God, no matter By Whom it was done. That is my opinion."

Brigham Young, February 8th, 1857:
"That would be loving themselves even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant. He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness. He never intended any such thing. * * * I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance in the last resurrection, if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil, until their elder brother, Jesus Christ, raises them up, conquers death, hell and the grave. I have known a great many men who have left this Church, for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation; but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them. The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

"This is loving our neighbor as ourselves: if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation, and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it."


From the Deseret News of Feb. 1st, 1860: [A man named Oats was driving a team] to Camp Floyd, and on January 26th stopped at the Point of the Mountain south of this city, where Port Rockwell kept a [dead-fall]. At this place a difficulty arose, so the News says, between Oats and Hereford, who was in charge of the place.

--- Finally after all was over the man started on his journey southward. The account continues: "Some time after Oats had thus been started off and the two men who escorted him had returned to the hotel, Rockwell mounted his steed and started for Lehi, his place of residence; but before reaching the point where the Camp Floyd road diverges from the road to Lehi, he overtook Oats, who had not made good speed, or had been loitering along by the way for no good, and as Rockwell was passing, he sprang, seized his animal by the bit, and renewed his abuse and threats; whereupon Rockwell, after trying every expedient to make the fellow desist, and giving him proper warning of the consequence that would follow if he did not let him alone, shot the villain: the ball taking effect in the breast, producing almost instantaneous death. Rockwell returned to the hotel and informed Mr. Hereford of what he had done, requested him to send out some men and take care of the body and the dead man's team, and then went to Lehi and gave himself up to the civil authorities. An investigation of the matter has since been had, and Mr. Rockwell has been honorably acquitted. The result seems to have given general satisfaction to all parties." Of course it did.


Because, as Brigham Young said, November 9, 1856, and which was published in the News, Vol. 6, page 290: [Nov. 19, 1856] "We can pick out elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling, who can handle the cards, cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God's footstool. I can produce elders here who can shave their smartest shavers, and take their money from them. We can beat the world at any game. We can beat them, because we have men here that live in the light of the Lord, that have the holy priesthood, and hold the keys of the kingdom of God. But you may go through all the sectarian world, and you cannot find a man capable of opening the door of the kingdom of God to admit others in. We can do that. We can pray the best, preach the best, and sing the best. We are the best looking and finest set of people on the face of the earth, and they may begin any game they please, and we are on hand, and can beat them at anything they have a mind to begin. They may make sharp their two-edged swords, and I will turn out the elders of Israel with greased feathers, and whip them to death. We are not to be beat. We expect to be a stumbling block to the whole world, and a rock of offense to them."

In view of all the facts, and of the record, we submit the "Bishop West address" was no libel at all, though it was non-genuine. But the genuine is even worse than the spurious, as fact is stranger than fiction. But to profess such outraged virtue over a mere concentration and consolidation of undoubted churchly sentiments, simply because the way and manner of setting them forth was wrongly stated, is supremely ridiculous. It will be time enough for the Mormon scribes to feel genuine horror at such statements when they have in truth abandoned them; at present their affectation of horror is altogether too much like masquerading. They are not horrified at the sentiments, but at the idea of letting the public know they entertain them.

Note: See the weekly Tribune of Thursday, March 27, 1884, which reprinted the first part of the article. See also the notes appended to the weekly version of the article for detailed comments.


Vol. XV.                 Salt Lake City, U. T., Thursday, March 27, 1884.                 No. 13.


During the week the Mormon press has had much to say about the bogus Bishop West address, which was imposed upon us last Sunday. In editorial reference to that faction, we said it had the old ring. That it had is unquestionable, although experts on closer examination admit that it is not quite put the usual Mormon way. We admit this criticism to be just, yet as the sentiments are old and of well-known Mormon origin, it was possible that a country elder would not have the skill, at this late day, to quite catch the spirit of "the authorities" of old. We supposed when the alleged report of this address was sent us that it was imply the breaking out of some hot-head in the old vein, and certainly had no purpose or thought of doing injustice to anybody. And, as far as the spirit of the address was concerned, we do not think even now that it does the sectaries any injustice. That the sentiments in general ate thoroughly rooted Mormon sentiments is certain; that they are not now openly promulgated is true, but that they are abandoned, nobody believes. As the compiler of the West address writes us, he said no more than is to be found in the undoubted utterances of the spokesmen of the sect; his offense was in putting them forth now when Mum is the word, and attributing them to Bishop West at Juab, March 9th, 1884. Identical sentiments uttered by Brigham Young fifteen years ago, cannot be challenged. To say, then, that this spurious report of an address that was never delivered, is a libel, is nonsense; it libels nobody. If the Mormons have outgrown those sentiments, they have never made it known. On the contrary, it is the universal belief of all who know their leaders, that they would resort to the old bluster and the old methods at any time when they might feel safe in so doing. If they want to avoid the odium of such utterances, let them come out publicly and repudiate them; say they were the talk of rough men in unsettled times, when reason and decency were lost sight of, and there was no patriotism reckoned except fealty to the church, which last, indeed, is about as true now as ever it was. Until they do this, let them claim no misrepresentation, when what is said is somply a reproduction of a number of "discourses," boiled down, with much of the ribaldry and indecency eliminated....

Note 1: The Tribune editor resorts to circuitous explanations, in order to provide his readers with the appearance of an apology, for printing the "bogus Bishop West address." He remarks: "We admit this criticism to be just," but then backtracks a little, by adding: "As the compiler of the West address writes us, he said no more than is to be found in the undoubted utterances of the spokesmen of the sect." This latter wording matches well with a certain would-be journalist's admission, as published on Nov. 7, 1919, in the Livonia Gazette: "I gathered such a sermon piecemeal, a few sentiments at one tabernacle, a few at another, together with some individual expressions of sentiment here and there, and consolidated these into what purported to be one sermon, delivered at the tabernacle of Juab, Utah." --- The source of this frank admission was Walter George Patterson (1857-1930) a professional telegrapher, fiction writer and sometime newspaper columnist, who spent part of the year 1884 in Ogden and Salt Lake City. To clinch the fact of this identification, Mr. Patterson submitted a set of articles to the Livonia Gazette that year -- a series of letters from Utah that came to an abrupt end on June 2, 1884 (after which date Patterson suddenly left Utah and returned to New York).

Note 2: An examination of Walter G. Patterson's career offers a partial explanation for his fabricating the 1884 "red-hot address." Beginning in 1880 Patterson was trained as a telegraph operator in Cincinnati, where he went to work for the Western Union corporation. In 1884 he was transferred to that company's office in Ogden, Utah, where he lodged with a Widow West, the plural wife of the late Bishop Chauncey W. West (1855–1870). The Bishop's son, Joseph Alva West, was at one time the manager of the Ogden telegraph offices (occupied by Deseret Telegraph and Western Union). At the time of the driving of the "golden spike" near Ogden, one of the wives of Joseph's father was a telegrapher, on the scene, reporting that event to the outside world. This was evidently Martha Joiner West (1836-1909) and she must have been the Widow West who provided lodging for Western Union employee Patterson when he first came to Utah. In his 1919 reporting of old West family reminiscences to the Livonia Gazette, Mr. Patterson displayed an evident habit of journalistic exaggeration and fabrication. The same can be said for the overly fictionalized autobiographical accounts that he wrote for The Wide World Magazine in 1916-1917. In concluding Walter G. Patterson's obituary in 1930, an admiring staff writer was forced to admit that Mr. Patterson was a "man with extreme peculiarities -- Unbounded talent gone for little. -- One of the saddest of cases." The implication of which was to reveal that Patterson was more of a fictionalist than he was a journalist, and that his own imagination and faulty judgment generally got in the way of his reliability.


Vol. XXVII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 27, 1884.               No. 12.


In the May number of The Century Magazine is an article on "The Women of the Beehive," by Helen Jackson, the famous "H. H." of literary renown. In this article on the Mormon women, she keeps up her literary repute, but the title is a little misleading, in that it does not especially treat of the women of what is known here as the Beehive, but of the general Mormon question...

Her article opens with a sympathetic and rather dramatic account of the conversion of a man in Massachusetts, whom we take to be one of the Spencers.... Then comes a sketch of the story of Joseph Smith, in which the utter absurdity of his pretended revelations is pointedly shown and fitly characterized. It leaves out, however, any mention of the strongest character of all, Sidney Rigdon, the man who doubtless pirated the Spaulding manuscript, and finding Joseph Smith a loafer and dreamy vagabond, undertook to use him as a prophet, but miscalculated the ambition and force of the young man, who came much nearer using Rigdon. As to this portion of the origin of the Mormon so-called revelations, and the facts showing the fanatical claims in regard thereto to be wholly false, Mrs. Jackson very justly says:

But the chain of evidence [for] this (the imposition of the Spaulding manuscript as the Book of Mormon) is not complete and after all it matters very little, to any present view of the Latter-day Saints as a people, or of their history as a great religious movement, what the Book of Mormon really was, or where it came from. What the Mormons were brought up to accept it for is the main fact of importance, and of this over one hundred thousand people in Utah Territory to-day are witnesses."

We take it that H. H. is mainly right in this; but though the chain were complete, and the forgery perfectly proved, it would make no difference; the Mormons would still deny it, or insist that it was yet the work of God. Religious movements are not destroyed by proving their origins to be historically untrue, but by the introduction of a purer and more living faith, to supplant them....

But when Mrs. Jackson comes to treat of the troubles between Mormons and the other settlers in Missouri and Illinois, she does so entirely in the Mormon spirit, recognizes no encroachment, persecutions and unbearable outlawry on the part of the Mormons toward their neighbors, but writes of the whole question as if the Mormons were meek, long-suffering and altogether on their rights, and those who opposed them all wrong. But, as she herself says, the history of that period has never been fully written out. When it comes to be written, however, it will not be complete if it omits the oft-repeated claims and instances in proof that the Mormons wherever they were, constituted virtually a band of outlaws by themselves, appropriating without scruple and in a wholesale way the property of their neighbors, that they were more than suspected of being counterfeitors and audacious robbers, whom it was not safe to molest by the ordinary processes of law, which they found means to thwart altogether by various devices, from the "whittling societies" that forced officers out of their settlements at knives' points, to getting some of their own crowd on the juries and so defeating conviction....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVII.                     Salt Lake City, U. T., Friday, July 4, 1884.                     No. ?


Apropos of the present position of the News touching the Mountain Meadow Massacre, to it may not be out of place to recall some bits of history, and to repeat some statements of fact. First, there is no question that there never has been an organization under better discipline than the Mormon organization was under Brigham Young in 1857. His command made every Mormon the friend of every man whom he liked; it made every Mormon hostile to any man whoml he disliked. It is a well known fact that John D. Lee was a warm friend of Brigham Young's, a bishop in the church, and Young's brother-in-law and second adopted son. It is known, too, that when the doomed company left this city, word was sent ahead of them to withdraw all supplies from them, so that their march of over three hundred miles from this city was through an enemy's country. One man that met an old friend in the company and sold him or gave him some fresh milk for his little children, was cut off from the Mormon Church for the act. Finally they were all, save a few little children, foully murdered, their murderers being Mormons and Indians under the immediate direction of Lee, Haight, Higby and others. Very much of the rich plunder of their camp was sent to this city and appropriated by the saints here. When, many years afterwards, Lee and others were arrested for the crime, the Deseret News inveighed against the arrests, declaring it was but another attempt to "persecute some out best citizens." On the second trial, however, in order to make a scapegoat, Lee was given up, convicted by Mormon witnesses, and the stolid brute was executed, declaring to the last that he had been betrayed. It is known that prior to the massacre, some hearts fainted in contemplation of the tremendous contemplated horror, and sent a letter to Brigham Young asking for instructions. An answer was sent, but before it reached Cedar City the tragedy had been consumated. That letter, if innocent, could years ago have cleared the heads of the Church here from suspicion. A copy of it is on file in this city, and has been all the time. Now after all these years the News creeps from its hiding place and produces what purports to be the testimony of a man in Iowa who says the letter read as follows:

"Let them pass, and treat them as you would like to be treated were you passing through their land."

Does the News belive that of Brigham had ever written a letter like that, he would not have produced it in his lifetime? Does any one believe that had those been his sentiments he would have made no effort to have the murderers brought to justice? Did any one ever hear of any message from Brigham touching Gentiles that was at all like that? Does any one who knows anything of Mormon discipline, believe that had those been Brigham Young's sentiments, those emigrants would have been unable to purchase vegetables and eggs and milk from the Mormons on the route, who were so poor and who wanted a little money so badly? On short, has there ever been in Utah an attempt at a more glaring fraud than the attempt of the News to palm off the words of one of the sorriest old humbugs and liars that ever was in the Territory, as a complete explanation of the feelings of Brigham Young toward those emigrants, and of the part he took in regard to them? The News simply makes the matter worse by ots attempted, wretched explanation.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVII.           Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, September 20, 1884.           No. 133.


He Entertains a Tavern Audience at the Chapel Last Evening.

Rev. Alexander Smith of the Reorganized Church of Latter day Saints, spoke to a full house at the chapel of his sect last evening. He took his text from the 12th chapter of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, which he compared with the latter portion of the 6th chapter of St. Luke in the New Testament, and said that he would have something to say as to the causes which had led a large portion of the people astray.

In his efforts here he had been trying to show why he and his brother could not join hands with the people of these valleys. If any person failed to follow the revelations given by his father, that is no evidence that he was a false prophet. There were plenty of evidence in his revelations to prove his authority, and that the judgments which are denounced against the people have been fulfilled. He quoted from Revelation 10. 5, in which the prophet, his father, had received direct instructions from heaven in regard to settling the country in Missouri. In this revelation they were admonished to be at peace with the surrounding people, and some of the old Saints may still be found in these places in Missouri, down whose cheeks the tears will course when they hear the sound of the real gospel again, and recognize the old spirits which animated the religion of the prophet.

The speaker gave a sketch of the ravages of the war of the rebellion in Jackson county, and said that many of the old people there say that the Lord has meted again to them what they meted to the Saints in those early days. He told of the inconsistencies of one Wm. B. McClelland, who professed the true gospel in the meetings held by the reorganized Latter day Saints, and would afterwards go out and curse himself in the street for being such a fool. He then referred to the experience of T. B. Marsh, who rebelled on account of some difficulty over a pint of milk, and was excommunicated from the church. In his old age he returned to a contemplation of the faith. He said that Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer had both become disconnected from the church, but that they had never gone back upon their testimony, and all this was in consonance with the revelations given to the prophet concerning the people, and the judgments they must suffer for transgression. His efforts are directed, he said, to the redemption of those who have departed from the primitive faith, and he read further selections from the Book of Mormon to prove what this faith is, and to what extent the branch in these valleys had gone astray. The speaker then proceeded to prove that the Utah Zion was not the one referred to in the revelations of his father, and that Independence, Nauvoo and Kirtland are the component parts of the real Zion, which will be built up by the Saints when the true faith is understood. He denounced in strong language the pretence that his father had ever said that his people would come and build Zion in the mountains, and cited as evidence the fact that Brannan took his party by ship to upper California, to which section all of Brigham Young's movements were directed until he halted here in these valleys.

The speaker said much else to show that the work he represents is the only true version of his father's cause now remaining in the world, and that the dominant church here, is sailing under false colors.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVII.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, October 12, 1884.                     No. ?


A Recent Visitor Describes her Position on the Polygamy Question.

Many people believe that the man in whose crafty mind the mighty system of Mormonism had its origin was also the husband of at least two wives, and in consequence the possesser of a duplex mother in law. All the living members of Joseph Smith's family strenuously deny this statement, and the writer of this sketch had an opportunity to discover that it would have required some temerity to make such an assertion in the presence of the "original and only" Mrs. Joseph.

In the summer of 18[54?] I went with a friend to the town of Nauvoo, from which the Mormons had removed a few years earlier. Soon after that a colony of French socialists had taken possession of their homes, but the widow of Joseph Smith, who was now Mrs. Biddison [sic], still lived in the house she had occupied when her first husband was killed. Mrs. Biddison was the hostess of the Nauvoo Arms, the only hotel in the town, and she had occupied the same position during the days when Nauvoo was the headquarters of Mormondom.

She was about forty five years old, of medium height, and rather stout, but quick and active in her movements. Her complexion was clear, though somewhat sunburnt. Her features were good and regular, her eyes very black and piercing, and her hair of the same color, slightly turned grey. She had married Joseph Smith in the state of New York, some years before he announced his discovery of the Mormon Bible. She accompanied her husband in all his subsequent movements, and they had three children -- two boys and one girl.

Mrs. Biddison acquired a good deal of property in Nauvoo during the lifetime of her first husband, and, as she had never [sic] been a member of the Mormon Church, she did not leave the town after his death.

Mrs. Biddison expressed herself very freely and openly about the members of the Mormon Church, and spoke in a contemptuous manner of their profession of faith,

After dinner Mrs. Biddison conducted us through the house, and showed us the portrait of Joseph Smith, painted by one of the most skillful artists in Europe. It represented him as a commonplace, ordinary person and we found it hard to believe that such a man could have acquired absolute power over a large body of people.

My companion had the boldness to mention to Mrs. Biddison the report that Joseph Smith had set his followers the example of polygamy. The mere mention of such a rumor made her very indignant. "No sir!" she exclaimed. "Joe Smith had but one wife, and I was that one. It wouldn't have been well for any other woman to assert any claim to him in my presence. If other women chose to do such things it was none of my business. Joe Smith knew very well that he couldn't have another wife, here or anywhere else. No, sir! Joe Smith had but one wife. He ruled the Mormons, and I ruled him." As Mrs. Biddison spoke, her eyes flashed, her nostrils expanded, and her whole form shook with passion. We were thoroughly satisfied that Mrs. Biddison had the ability to keep Joseph Smith, or any other man to whom she might have a claim, straight in the narrow road of morality and decency. -- Lippincott's Magazine.

Note: See also the New York Wellsville Daily Reporter of Oct. 27, 1884.


Vol. XXVIII.                    Salt Lake City, U. T.,  November 9, 1884.                    No. 22.


Brigham Young and Mormon Leaders
Mostly Responsible for it.

Penrose's Infamous Attempt to Palliate
that Atrocious Crime.

Brigham Said, "Keep Alive the
Spirit of the Refirmation."

Elder C. W. Penrose, on Sunday last, the 25th of October, again put himself forward before the public in the Twelfth Bishop's Ward of this city as a self appointed of the Mormon Church, to apologize for the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and to palliate, if not approve, that horrible crime; but all the waters of the Jordan, applied with all the authority of their unholy priesthood will never, in time nor eternity, was away the indelible stain from that church. He began by declaring that the report of the horrid murder had spread throughout the civilized world, and wherever the elders had gone to preach their gospel, they were confronted with it, and the church led by Brigham Young was charged with the crime, especially by ministers of Christian churches. Yes, and well it may. In fulfillment of Jesus's words that which was done in secret is declared openly: that which the elders of the Church swore never to divulge, and the Deseret News, the organ of the murderous priesthood, would not publish, is told to the whole world, from press, pulpit and platform. It is an eternal principle and law of nature and morals, that that which men sow they shall reap; they may cover it over with dirt and rubbish but the very covering finally strengthens the growth. That church sowed the wind and it is reaping the whirlwind. It must be so to the very nature of things, and the more the elders, by their apologies and explanations, stir the filthy matter, the more the foul stench arises, and pure, sensitive natures are disgusted.


Penrose was not in Utah during that period of the Reformation, and knows not the [spirit] or actions of the Church, yet he attempts to defend it from the truthful attacks of those who know much better than [he. But] can we say in charity towards him, that "where ignorance is bliss; 'tis folly to be wise?" No, for he distorts his vision as he speaks, and is unable to weigh evidence [correctly] by reason of his deep-rooted bias and hatred of the truth... That Brigham Young and the whole Church is morally responsible for the horrid deed, as the result of their [infamous] preaching during the years previous, no sane mind can honestly deny, and Penrose's acknowledgment that blood atonement was preached by the "First Presidency" is indubitable proof. Brigham lighted the torch and others applied it as a duty. He seemed to be ignorant of human nature and of the elements he dealt with, and this massacre, with other murders, were the legitimate consequences.

In Penrose's harangue, giving his version of the deed and its circumstances, he states that reports were rife that the company alluded to spoke disrespectfully of Brigham, Joseph Smith, and of the whole Church: that they robbed hen roosts, flipped off the heads of chickens while passing through the streets poisoned springs of water and beef given to the Indians and threatened the Mormons with the United States Army. But he will not vouch for the correctness of such accusations. He is not quite hardened enough yet to do so. Then if he cannot say such reports are true, why does he give them? Why pursue such a line of argument though, when he acknowledges thay may be false? To


to hearers and readers, and such a purpose and such language are really not unworthy but dishonest; such reports never were obtained or heard of until after the evil deed was perpetrated. And such reports were absolutely unreasonable. Was it at all likely that any respectable and rich company as they were, would be guilty of such folly? Would they not, in passing through the several settlements where Mormon laws and officers existed, have been justly arrested and punished? Could they [have possibly] escaped escaped through all the Territory to the southern boundary without being detected in such nefarious acts and arrested and punished in those times? Utterly impossible! Who ever heard of emigrants who had to travel thousands of miles, day after day, day after day, having quantities of poison with them for any purpose? The very question is preposterous, and the accusation carries the lie on its face. That such a false report was [owed] to Lee and others is no doubt true, first uttered at the place of plotting the murder. But the slightest reflection would have shown its absurdity, did men not wish it to be true. Even Penrose does not certify to its correctness, yet uses it for a sinister motive. But if these emigrants did speak disrespectfully of Brigham, old Joe Smith, and the Church, should they be murdered for it? Were they worthy of such a cruel death by a holy church?

Penrose palliated the massacre, by stating that those at that hellish council held in Cedar City, composed of the ruling priesthood and common elders there, took into consideration the depredations which had been made by this party of emigrants, and were excited, thinking of the persecutions they had experienced beforetime, and thus he is himself guilty of the murder morally. His language conveys that feeling to every perceptive mind.

He affects to prove that Brigham was neither accessory before nor after the facts. He tries to analyze the testimony implicating George A. Smith, to exonerate him, but he falls. What right has any man to order, counsel or command farmers or tradespeople not to sell their surplus produce and goods to emigrants or Gentiles? The advice or threat or desire is in itself


to prevent persons from selling or giving to the hungry or naked is to be guilty of murder, and in no other part of our broad continent would such counsel be ordered and carried out. Of what value is George A. Smith's affidavit that he was innocent? Would he not avail himself of the provision of the law, not to criminate himself? The testimony of many is that he, in his tour southward shortly before the massacre, instructed the people to sell no grain or provisions to the emigrants, and his acknowledged coupling the coming of the army with the keeping of the grain for emergencies shows his secret desires. Though George A. Smith states in his affidavit that he "encamped with Jacob Hamblin, Philo T. Farnsworth, Silas S. Smith and Elijah Hoops," he never mentions having journeyed to several settlements with John D. Lee, of which there is ample proof. Was it merciful in said Smith to counsel not to sell the emigrants something which they needed, even for their teams?

If Brigham was not accessory before the fact, what does he mean in his published letter to Col. W. H. Dame dated September 14, 1857 "In case the United States Government should send outan overpowering force, we intend to desolate the Territory, and conceal our families, stock and all our effects in the fastnesses of the mountains, where they will be safe, while the men waylay our enemies, attack them from ambush, stampede their animals, take the supply trains, cut off the detachments and parties sent to the canyons for wood, or on other service. To lay waste everything that will burn -- houses, fences, fields and grass, so that they cannot find a particle of anything that will be of use to them, not even sticks to make a fire to cook their supplies. To waste away our enemies and to lose none; that will be our mode of warfare. Thus you will see the necessity of preparing, first, secure places in the mountains where they cannot find us, or, if they do, where they cannot approach in force, and then prepare for our families, building some cabins, caching flour and grain" "Conciliate the Indians and make them our fast friends." "In regard to letting the people pass and repass, or travel through the Territory,


and suspected persons. Yourself and Brother Isaac C. Haight, in your districts, are authorized to give such permits. Examine all such persons before giving them such permits to pass. Keep things perfectly quiet, and let all things be done peacefully, but with firmness, and let there be no excitement. Let the people be united in their feelings and faith, as well as works, and keep alive the spirit of reformation. And what we said in regard to saving the grain and provisions we say again. We do not wish to shed a drop of blood if it can be avoided." (signed) Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells."

This extract purports to be from Brigham Young's copying book, attested to by James Jack, Notary Public, August 16, 1876. But what a horrible letter, and terrible instructions and designs from a professed follower of Jesus! A part of it is quoted by Penrose, namely: Save life always if possible, "we do not wish to shed a drop of blood if it can be avoided," to prove that Brigham was not a man of blood, nor even a warrior, but a statesman of a high order, who did not delight in physical conflict nor the shedding of blood." But if there is not hellish and murderous design in that letter, what is there? They were to waylay and attack the United States Army in every conceivable manner that diabolical spirits could suggest: to waste away our enemies and to lose none (meaning none of our party,) rob them of their provisions, burn up everything even to kindlings; and in covert expressions, Save life always if possible, and not shed a drop of blood if it can be avoided. If it is not bloody is is not murderous? Is it any wonder that such instructions and purposes given to such men as Dame, Haight, Higbee, Lee and others as many would see them and read, would incite to cruelty, murder and rapine? Yet call that man, innocent, no warrior, hating human bloodsheding, and a statesman of a high order, Great God! what an apostle of peace and wisdom, and a man of mercy! But, coward as he was, he did not waste or burn -- he ran away.

But were Brigham and his Church guilty as


We think that we can prove positively that they were. Penrose states that The Tribune had called repeatedly for a copy of the letter from Brigham Young to Isaac C. Haight, in reply to the dispatch received by James Haslem, and declares that he searched for that letter and found it in a letter copying book in the President's office and be read it before that large congregation. It purports to be dated September 16, 1857, giving instructions about the progress of the United States Army, and closes by advising them to "let the emigrants go in peace; that the people must protect their own lives, but not to interfer with the emigrants." Now that must be a cool, intentional falsehood, a willful and deliberate lie. No such letter ever was written and copied. As soon as the Church was charged by the outside world with the ordering of the massacre, diligent search was made through Brigham's copying books in his office for any letter in reply to the message by Jas. Haslam, and no letter nor copy was found, from Haight or Lee, or a reply to their letter, though it was invariably the rule and practice of the office, not only to copy letters sent, but to preserve and "pigeonhole all letters and communications received. Brigham Young gave bis deposition, sworn to on the 30th day of July, A.D. 1876, before Wm. Clayton, Notary Public, under his seal, which was made part of the proceedings of the last trial of John D. Lee. The questions asked were constructed and shaped in such a way as to be easy on Brigham and not "criss-crosses" as he once said -- by whom they were propounded is not known -- and he answers as


"Thirteenth -- Did you about the 10th of September, 1857, receive a communication from Isaac C. Haight, or any other person of Cedar City, concerning a company of emigrants called the Arkansas company?

Answer -- I did receive a communication from Isaac C. Haight or John D. Lee, who was a farmer for the Indians.

Fourteenth -- Have you that communication?

Answer -- I have not. I have made diligent search for it, but cannot find it.

Fifteenth -- Did you answer that communication?

Answer -- I did, to Isaac C. Haight, who was then acting President at Cedar City.

Sixteenth -- Will you state the substance of your letter to him?

Answer -- Yes. It was to let this company of emigrants, and all companies of emigrants, pass through the country unmolested, and to allay the angry feelings of the Indians as much as possible.

(Signed)     Brigham Young."

It is very evident to a legal mind that the questions in Brigham's deposition were framed purposely to protect him, and to shield him from complicity in the transaction. The defendant's counsel had no part on the questioning, or he would have asked for a copy of that letter itself to be seen and [inspected] or extracts from it. But Brigham produced no letter nor copy nor did he say that there was a copy, which he would only have been too glad to have produced; and it either in court, or a certified copy of it, would have been conclusive evidence in his favor. But he did not produce it, could not produce it, for it was not in existence. He would not have had the Haight letter "searched for diligently," if the answer was come-at-able. He could recollect it was received about September 10th, but did not know whether from Haight ot Lee. He could recollect the substance of that reply nearly eighteen years afterwards, but did not tell the substance of Haight or Lee's letter, nor produce the copy of his reply to refresh his memory or give its date. The date of Haight's letter was also furnished him in the question, which should not have been if an honest desposition. The document of itself is of no real value, only so far as it tells against Penrose's presumption, as coming from Brigham.


We assert upon evidence that Brigham was informed fully of the facts of the murder and the persons concerned in the same, by John D. Lee, in less than one month after the occurrence. He wrote out a list at Brigham Young's order of fifty-five Mormon elders concerned in the dreadful massacre, in the presence of a lady of this city who supplied him with the paper at his request. And to her exclamation, "What, Brother Lee, you don't mean to say that our people were engaged in that affair?" He laughed an "eldrich laugh." There were fifty-eight members of the Mormon Church, which included presidents, bishops, counselors and elders. As a record for his heroic conduct the knowing Brigham gave him very shortly after the recital of the deed, a woman for his sixteenth wife, whom he inveighed from her man to whom she was a second. We can give the name, with Brigham's welcome plaudit, slapping him on the shoulder, "Yes, my boy, you deserve another wife." In the year 1868, ekeven years after the faithful murderous act he was sealed to another woman in the Endowment House in this city. We have the witness. He lodged and ate at Lee's houses many times several years after the occurrence. It is but shameless audacity and falsehood to deny that he knew Lee and the priesthood in authority were guilty until 1870. Jacob Hamblin told Brigham Young all about it himself a very short time after the deed was done. A good Mormon in this city, who knows, says so emphatically, to whom Hamblin told what he said to the prophet. And Jacob Hamblin said on his oath at Lee's trial that he told Brigham Young and George A. Smith -- "Well, I did speak of it to Brigham Young and Geirge A. Smith, pretty soon after it happened. I told them everything I could," and told them more than he swore to in court at the trial, or would swear -- he testified that Lee was pretty zealous in what is called Mormonism. These are conclusive evidence that Brigham knew it very soon after the occurrence -- less than two months, and yet kept it a secret for nineteen years, and requested the brethren to


until a favorable opportunity opened. Thirteen years elapsed before any action was taken towards excommunicating a few of those concerned in it. Indeed, John D. Lee was never cut off legally by the Church, and hence died a member of it. He had no chance for a hearing or even an appeal, both of which are guaranteed by the laws of the Church to the accused. But a church that bids defiance to the wholesome laws of the land, will pay no respect to its own rules.

Where are Haight, Higbee and Stewart? Report has it that Haight and Higbee are on missions abroad, and Stewart in Arizona, under assumed names. I. C. Haight's wife said that if the same traitorous treatment was shown to her husband as to Lee she would produce evidence that if not exonerating him legally, would implicate some very high in authority.

Brigham said a few weeks after the deed in the old tabernacle before thousands of people, some of whom are in this city, that the blood of those emigrants and of the whole people of Arkansas would but atone for the blood of Apostle P. P. Pratt. He also justified and palliated the wholesale murder of the men, women and children, in the Seventies Hall in this city before many witnesses. These cannot be honestly denied. Everybody that cared anything about the matter believed that John D. Lee and others of the priesthood were the instigators and


It was the common belief throughout the Territory and certainly they could not believe it and Brigham the prophet be ignorant. Nathaniel V. Jones told Brigham about it also, but a very few weeks after the act. He passed through the settlements there on his way to this city, and such was the murderous sporit of the brethren that he barely escaped with his own life because he denounced the deed. Threatening them with Brigham saved his life. Erastus Snow's affidavit and Wilford Woodruff's present notes of the innocency of Brigham and John W. Young's account are worthless to any honest mind, they are ex parte.

George Q. Cannon passed through that region of country shortly after the massacre, and [he heard about it]. He had been editing the Western Standard in San Francisco, and was glad to return to the Territory, as such outrages were popping up so rapidly he would not defend them in his flashy-headed paper. He knew that the brethren did that deed, although for years after he charged it on the Indians.

Brigham it is well known, used all his influence and the machinery of the Church to prevent the trial of the participants in the crime. The guilty parties were always warned of the approach of judge and officers. As Governor of the Territory then and for some time after, and as superintendent of Indian affairs, it was his duty to investigate the whole affair, but he connived with Lee to have it kept secret as to the brethren, and they cast all the blame on emigrants traveling through as first maltreating the Indians.

Penrose says that the court then in operation only wanted to implicate the Church authorities, and hence palliates Brigham's opposition. He asks "if Brigham Young counselled Isaac C. Haight, why should Haight be afraid of its being reported to him?" We ask if the Church authorities were not guilty, why should Brigham or the Church be afraid to be implicated, or tell Hamblin to say nothing about it until the proper time came, which the latter swore Brigham said when but a "pretty short time" after he had told it all minutely to him? But the Mormon Probate Courts were in full operation at the time and had equal criminal jurisdiction with the District Courts, yet he did not think the time came until he found it necessary by outside and harrassing pressure, to arrange with Attorney Howard to use John D. Lee as


Penrose quotes from the Doctrine and Covenants to prove that the Mormons do not believe in committing murder. What other church in the wide world has an article in their creed against murder? Who would think of charging a religious body with being guilty of or encouraging or palliating murder in any way, if that body was not suspect of such secret dreadful acts? But what boots it for Penrose to read from the Doctrine and Covenants that they do not believe in shedding blood or murder? Did he not two Sundays previous read from Brigham's and Jeddy's discourse that some men, apostates and the like, would yet be blood atoned when the proper time arrived? Did not Apostle John Taylor in France read from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants to prove that the immaculate Church did not believe in or practice polygamy when he himself had TEN wives then living, and had had thirteen in his brief time? It is sheer hypocrisy and hollow deceit to read either from the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon or Bible to prove their sincerity, practices or belief. It is too thin, Brother Penrose. The books are had recourse to only that your vile and deceitful purposes may be subserved. You can say and prove from the Bible that adulterers should be killed, but you teach, solemnize and practice marriage with a man to a woman and her mother, although a few verses further on in the same chapter the Word says that the three should be burned.


He says that the blame, the guilt of the massacre should not be laid at the door of the church because certain of the perpetrators were Mormons. But there were upwards of fifty persons engaged in it who held the priesthood, and each elder has as much authority add power as an apostle. Several persons, witnesses for the Church, swore that there were at least forty men of the Church there, and that it was dangerous, as we know to refuse to obey the orders given. Isaac C. Haight, W. H. Dame, John M. Higbee, and P. Klingensmith were the authorized representatives of the whole Church, and to question that, or disobey them, was damnation and blood atoning. That is absolutely true, so that the whole Church, as a church, is guilty, whether individual members are or not. With petty quibbling he says that "the officers of the Church are not the Church; so that If Brigham Young had ordered the massacre, which he did not, it was not the work of the Church, but his indivudual transgression. The Church never endorsed the horrid crime and never forgave it." Now he knows that Brigham was the Church, that the First Presidency are the Church, and disobedience to them entails death here and damnation hereafter. Brigham was the head and brains, and all the body mustmove. The whole Church is responsible for what the officers do. The Church overlooked the horrid crime for thirteen years, and numbers of the guilty are still In it, and will remain in it until death, if not disturbed by by the U. S. officers and the courts.


The reckless denier says that "Lee was taken to the Mountain Meadows, and there shot on the 23d day of March, 1878, for dramatic effectBishop's book (the truthful confession of Lee) is a dramatic one, and this was intended as a dramatic end to It, to extend its sales, the profits to be given to Messrs. Howard, Bishop and Nelson." Now, if the shooting at the Meadows was for dramatic effect, it was done justly and truly, nevertheless. It did not neutralize nor lessen the justice of the long-delayed judgment. So, if the book of Lee's confession, and his continuous obedience to a villainous priesthood was published for dramatic effect, It is none the less true and unanswerable, none the less a proof of perfidious "prophets" and a vile, Godless system of religion, keeping thousands in mental and moral slavery. But such contemptible slurs and sneering attempts at belittling from such a depraved source as Penrose and his Church, cannot affect the honor, honesty, integrity, truthfulness, and humane purposes of the Hon. Wm. H. Bishop, a man vastly superior to the detracting Penrose In Intellect, education, ability and goodness.

Penrose's vileness is only equal to his falsehood. His charges that those gentlemen, Mr. Bishop and Mr. Wm. Nelson, were to share in the profits of the sale of the book, which prompted them to publish it, is not only base and untrue, but is thrown back into his face contemptuously and is only in keeping with the manly denials of his discourse and his scheming Church. Mr. Nelson had nothing to do with the manuscript but to deliver it to Mr. Bishop. The latter only performed a duty to his client and to the world and the book carries with it evidence that It is truthful and reliable -- a tremendous testimony against Mormonism.

Note: The above "Vindex" essay was reprinted in the Tribune's 1886 booklet, A Few Choice Examples of Mormon Practices and Sermons. The writer was perhaps James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City.


Vol. XXVIII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 11, 1885.               No. 73.


Having Rounded the World, He Will Now See America.

Looking Over the Old Mormon
Stamping-Ground at Kirtland.

The Garfield Home -- Old Time Souvenirs
of the Great Man.



In half an hour we surmounted a slight eminence, and the village of Kirtland stood revealed as distinctly and entirely as Jerusalem is seen from the Mount of Olives. Indeed, I should not be far astray if I call it the Jerusalem of Mormonism...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.           Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, February 15, 1885.           No. 103.


On Questions Affecting Their Fanatical Tenets and Practices...

Eds. Tribune: It is a sad and serious charge to make against any persons, or body of persons, who claim to be religious, that to shield their doctrines, members and name from fair and honest trial before the world, they will, in open court, under the most solemn oaths, swear falsely, prevaricate, and not only keep back the truth of the facts, but swear absolutely the opposite to them. We charge the Mormon Church, the Mormon priesthood, and faithful believers of the Mormon creed, generally, with false swearing...


The revelation on polygamy was said to be given by Joseph, [Jphn] Taylor himself had at that time other women than one wife. The honest spoken elder, Hiram Brown, was "cut off" and used as a scape goat to save the Church and deceive the world. The fact of truth was of no consequence or weight to the Church -- the truth was opprobrious and damaging to the Church, and the latter must be saved by publishing lies and denials in the most solemn manner.

In 1850, "apostle" John Taylor lied emphatically in France, while in discussion with truthful, conscientious gentlemen. When polygamy was charged upon the Church, he prevaricated, and read his "refutation," that polygamy was not taught and practiced by the Mormons, and used the same manner of denial that was employed by Joseph Smith, and others against Bennett's exposure. If Taylor triumphed over his opponents at all, it was the triumph of falsehood and deceit, so that his word and oath cannot be received in a court when doctrines and practices of Mormonism are under investigation. It is not now denied by the Church that


But to make the abomination of lies more abominable, at the very time that Taylor denied the facts in France by reading from the Doctrine and Covenants, he had ten women as wives -- he took the tenth woman in 1847 or 8...

Every man, not only the polygamist, but every man who believes in Mormonism, is not only a polygamist in embryo and must obey it sometime, but must swear falsely and prevaricate and deceive if the interests of the Church and its practices are called in question. See to it, loyal citizens and friends of humanity, that all such politicians and religionists receive their proper disfranchisement, limitations and punishment as traitors to our country and dangerous enemies to the institutions of our Government.
            One of the Priesthood.
Salt Lake, Feb. 12, 1885.                         

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.         Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, February 26, 1885.         No. 114.


There is one view of Mormonism which those who do not like it do not often press. And yet, it is important. Stripped of all disguises and petty details, Mormonism is a conspiracy against all free governments and especially against the Government of the United States...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.             Salt Lake City, U. T., Thursday, March 7, 1885.             No. 122.


The Expositor, published at Oakland, takes the Tribune to task on a quibble. We said that polygamy must have been practiced in the early days of the Mormon Church, because when John Taylor denied in France that there was any such thing permitted, he had, at the time, four wives in Nauvoo. The Expositor quibbles on the word Nauvoo, because at the time the Mormon colony had left Nauvoo. We wrote from memory, and easily blundered about the date. But that was on the 11th of last month. On the 15th, however, we published a full statement, prepared by "One of the Priesthood," which shows that at the time Brown (referred to by the Expositor) was cut off from the church for preaching polygamy in February, 1844, John Taylor had other wives, and that he took his fourth wife in 1847 or 1848, giving their maiden names. Bennett exposed the "secret marriage" system in 1841 [sic 1842?]. June 7th, 1844, the Nauvoo Expositor produced the certificates of the same thing; in 1878 Orson Pratt declared that "Joseph Smith, the prophet, had not only commended the practice of that principle himself, and taught it to others before President Young and the Twelve had returned from their missions in Europe in 1841, but that Joseph actually received revelation upon that principle in 1831." Further, he cited several instances of Joseph's having had wives sealed to him as early as April 5th, 1841. Eliza Smith Snow Young states in her family history that she was so married to Smith, though she signed the Bennett card denying it. "One of the Priesthood" gives plenty more of the same testimony in the article, and the Expositor should answer that article if it would convince the world that Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, March 29, 1885.                 No. 141.


Its Wicked Spirit and Utter, Failure --
of a Piece with the Others.

There is, perhaps, no class of persons in the world, calling themselves religious, that are so void of discrimination, so illogical and so unreasoning as the defenders of Mormonism, both as publishers and preachers. They seem to be lost to all sense of propriety, and blinded as to the results of their course and the narrowness of their ways. They have become so infatuated by their vain and pompous presumptions, so obstinate in their dogmas and pretentions that they are dupes of folly and marked by obtruseness. They have for years accepted the ravings fanaticism for prophecy, the speculations of unlearned and half-read men for doctrines; their want of common discernment and wisdom is so apparent in their publishing, preaching and argument, that we are led to the conclusion that they have received more credit for smartness and ability than they have deserved. The thousands of false prophecies uttered by their pseudo-prophets and apostles that are afloat, unfulfilled, and seeking some nook, creek or harbor to hide in, have not shamed them nor taught them any wisdom, and they still unblushingly, as occasion serves, obtrude


before their gullible hearers and readers, which share the dishonesty and insincerity of their leaders. They seem to snatch the snallest and most insignificant incident with desperation to save them from the opprobrium of being known as "false prophets of the last days," as a drowning man catches at a straw.

Your scathing article on Sunday on the prophesy of Orson Pratt, produced by the poor miscalled editor of the Deseret News, exposes their folly ans fanaticism. Permit me, however, to show the wicked spirit and false utterances -- called prophecy -- of the other apostle and the other Pratt, the beloved Parley P. Pratt of infamous memory. The following incidents are but samples of all the prophetic effusions of the whole priesthood from Joseph Smith down to the present editor of the News, including John Taylor.

Parley P. Pratt, in 1838, in New England, when he was not quite so corrupt as in the years before his ignoble death, was preaching the peculiar doctrines of his church and publishing them to the world. A good, brave and pious man LaRoy Sunderland, editor of Zion's Watchman, then and afterwards opposed his speculative assumptions and exposed his errors fearlessly. Parley was much annoyed and incensed during the controversy, at the power and influence of his opponent, and uttered


full of evil and cruelty about the good man, as appeared in Parley's Mormon work as follows:
"Within ten years (1838) the people of this country who are not Mormons, will be entirely subdued by the Latter-day Saints or swept from the face of the earth, and if this prediction fails, then you may know that the Book of Mormon is not true." "And furthermore, as Mr. La Roy Sunderland has had concerning the truth of Heaven -- the fulness of the Gospel, and has blasphemed the Word of God, (that is, Mormonism) except he speedily repent and acknowledge his lying and wickedness, and obey the message of eternal truth which God has sent for the salvation of His people, God will smite him dumb that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord, and trembling shall seize his nerves, that he shall not be able to write and deceive the public, and he will wander a vagabond on the earth until sudden destruction shall overtake him, and if Mr. LaRoy Sunderland enquires, when shall these things be? I reply It is nigh thee -- even at the doors, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." From P. P. Pratt's Zion's Watchman Unmasked, New York, 1838.

This is a specimen of the vicious, vindictive, wicked Mormon prophecy, such as villanously bad men only could utter; corrupt [hearts] alone could conceive such a spirit to be from God and impious must the system be that could pronounce such vile cursing in the name of Jesus, who said, "Bless and curse not." This is a common specimen of the ravings of Mormon lunatics. But God did not inspire the prophet Parley, and Jesus knew him not. These "prophesies" were but the vicious desires of a low-bred, uncultivated spirit, and as he belched forth the vindictive, hellish spume of his false heart, he blasphemously attributed it to the spirit of God, when it only came from the spirit of


-- "The wish was father to the thought." His religion put no restraint on his murderous feelings, nor rose higher than his bad desires. Had he possessed the power as he did the will, Mr. Sunderland would have been a miserable victim. But thank God, the latter still lives, while the Mormon "apostolic" blasphemer fills an ignominous grave, sent there by the hand of an outraged husband.

The foregoing elaborate, inphamous prophecy and declaration had the same spirit of truthfulness and power in it, as the ten thousand testimonies of Parley Pratt, Orson, and the Mormons generally when they testify that "I know Mormonism is of God, and the work is true and I know it." LaRoy Sunderland is still alive, now a very old man, of clear bright mind, is still very outspoken against the Mormon delusion, and according to Parley's words, is a living proof that "the Book of Mormon is not true." In Spetember 1878, shortly after "The Life of Parley P. Pratt," published by his son, appeared, a gentleman of Salt Lake City wrote to Mr. LaRoy Sunderland, at Quincy (Mass,) making certain pointed enquiries about Parley and Mormonism at the time of the controversy. The old gentleman replied promptly and courteously, in an


splendidly and plainly written in a clear, firm, unshaken hand, and I copy the same letter, which lies on the table before me, for the edification of your many intelligent readers. The handwriting would be a credit to young men for clear wording, correct spelling and regular letters, without a tremulous stroke. It is as follows.
"Quincy, Mass., Sept. 27, 1828.    
Mr. _______, My Dear Sir: Yours of the 4th inst. is at hand, and I have to say that my acquaintance with Parley P. Pratt and the Mormon delusion commenced forty-five years ago.

        And time the impression stronger makes,
        As streams their channels deeper wear.

The discussion I had with Pratt began while I was in Andover, Mass., and I met him in Haverhill in 1838. It was renewed in New York and Brooklyn in 1842. I was then editor of the New York Watchman, an anti-slavery newspaper, in which my views on Pratt and his nonsense were published. That, you will see, was thirty-six years ago; and I now have it in my power to put you in possession of the proof that Parley P. Pratt was a false prophet, whatever else he may have been, good or bad. And you will see that if his son knew the facts of his father having uttered such a false prediction, he may be excused from publishing the evidence of his infamy. In one of his harangues in Brooklyn, Parley P. Pratt uttered the following prediction about me, under the false pretence that he was inspired by the Infinite God, by whom the words were put into his mouth. He said he was not responsible for his utterances about the Watchman editor, as he was inspired and controlled by the Holy Ghost to hold him up before the gaze of the whole world, as a manument of divine vengeance in this prediction: 'That LaRoy Sunderland, for and in consideration of his opposition to the Mormon faith


Forthwith, in a few days, in a short space, this shall be done, and he shall wander over the earth dumb and smitten of God, and afflicted.'

Well, now thirty-six years


was uttered, I have to say that I never was struck dumb, and never enjoyed better health than I do at the present time. My eye is not dim with age, and my opinion is that Mormonism is so great a delusion that it justifies all the labors Mr. ____ may feel it in his power to bestow for its exposure. And I say this, while I know very well by what power the human mind is held when under the control of faith in the unknown. Errors that men and women trust in without the authority of sound reason and science, they are not often persuaded to give up, even when their utter falsehood has been fully demonstrated."
    (signed)     LAROY SUNDERLAND.
We note the gladness of the old man's heart in the forgoing letter, and the impregnable fact that Parley P. Pratt, the Mormon apostle, was a wicked, false prophet, the Mormon God was on a journey, or asleep, or deaf, as was Baal of olden times, that the spirit which influenced Pratt, like the spirit of Mormon testimony was that of evil, and accepting the challenge thrown out, "the Book of Mormon is false." As I said, the grand old hero still lives, healthy and wonderfully preserved, as if God kept him as a living testimony to all Mormons that their pretensions and system are false, and a warning to all such that "they know not what manner of spirit they are of."

Do we ask, what will the poor Mormons say to these wicked prophecies, and their undeniable non-fulfillment? I am sorry to say that even those who will read this will not see see it as they should. For "seeing they will not see and not understand," "they are given over to strong delusion," and will not reason and act.

But Parley was not only


in Mr. Sunderland's case. He uttered many such during his wandering career. In 1841 in Liverpool he prophesied that the temple of Nauvoo would be finished. and when finished and dedicated, the angel that came to Joseph Smith with the everlasting gospel would be there and he would shout with a loud voice which the inhabitants of the whole world would hear, "Fear God and give glory to Him. for the hour of Hos judgment had come." The temple was never finished, nor to any permanent purpose built, the angel did not appear, and the voice was heard by none.

A correspondent to the Deseret News about two years ago informed the readers that Sam Brannan (a man once very prominent among the Mormons as the person who took a ship load of Saints to California in 1847, I think,) was in Arizona and very poor, judging from appearance. On this bit of news being read in the columns of the News, a man in Fillmore, in this Territory, named B. Pratt, wrote that paper that Brannan's poverty reminded him of a prophecy uttered by Parley P. Pratt many years ago in California. When P. P. P. was there, it was told him that Brannan, who was then very rich, (but who would not assist the Mormon beggars without purse and scrip,) was afraid some one would kill him for his money. Said the Prattling prophet Parley, "Go and tell Sam Brannan that he shall not die until he is so poor he will not have ten cents to buy a loaf of bread." The impudent prophecy


and B. Pratt thought the idle talk of the ignorant correspondent was a fulfillment, and so held it up to the world to strengthen the faith of the Mormons especially. Now the report was itself false, for Sam Brannan was then living in a dangerous place on the border of Sonora, so that he might excite no suspicion of having money. Nogales is on the line dividing Arizona and Somora, and is a resort for smugglers. Brannan was negotiating for and preparing to obtain a grant of land from the government of Sonora. He has succeeded in his purpose, and is in possession of tens of thousands of acres of good land north of Arizpe, and is immensely rich. To secure this grant he has spent a great deal of money in living, surveying, paying fees, having maps, etc. While, however, the enterprising Brannan stilllives, is in good health and is very rich, let me ask where is the Mormon prophet, seer, revelator and apostle Parley P. Pratt? Echoe answers, Where? He would fain fortell the miserable destiny of an independent, enterprising man, who refused to be gulled by impostors, but he knew not his own ignoble death, and B. Pratt was blind and callous hearted to the facts and fate of both men.

I make a present of the foregoing facts, and of this article to the Mormon Church, charging them "not a cent" if they will publish it among the "Faith Promoting Series," in juxtaposition with the prophecies they say were made and fulfilled in former times by their elders.

Will anything open the eyes of the poor dupes of Mormonism?
                                    AN ELDER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, May 24, 1885.                No. 33.


New Light on Mormonism, by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, with
introduction by Thurlow Weed. New York: Funk & Wagnalls,

This book seems to have been written by a sincere and capable author. It begins with a life of Solomon Spaulding, and his authorship of "The Manuscript Found;" the fate of the book from 1816 to 1834 is followed; a sketch of the life of Joseph Smith, and of the printing of the Book of Mormon is given, and a sketch of Sidney Rigdon. There are reminiscences of Solomon Spaulding, with Hurlburt and Howe; a description of the Kirtland Temple; the history of the Mormons in Missouri and Nauvoo, and a description of the Nauvoo Temple; the election of Brigham Young as President, and the expulsion of the Mormons from Illinois. The early political history of the Mormons in Utah follows; the influences of the Mormons over the Indians; and an account of the massacre at Mountain Meadows. There is a sketch of Brigham Young; a dissertation on polygamy; the trial of Rudger Clawson; a description of Salt Lake City, and an account of the Mormon organization. The closing chapter is devoted to the Josephites. There is not much in the book which is new to residents here, but it is well-written and interesting.

Note: Mrs. Dickinson's New Light on Mormonism was published in the spring of 1885 and apparently copies had reached Utah by mid-May. Recalling how readily the Tribune had opened its columns to articles on Solomon Spalding, Sidney Rigdon, etc. a few years before, it seems strange that its editors in 1885 had essentially nothing to say about Dickinson's book and the several key pieces of documentation it made available to followers of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. A review of the Dickinson book embodying considerably more description and analysis of her work may be found in the June 27, 1885 issue of The Literary World.


Vol. XXIX.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, May 27, 1885.             No. 35.


His Lawful Wife Settles Some Points That Have Been Raised.

In Sunday's Tribune we copied some circulars Elder William Jarman is circulating in England to make [interesting] the labors there of Elders Wells and Penrose. In one of those circulars Mr. Jarman makes a reference to the late Apostle Orson Pratt, which is thus corrected by Mrs. Pratt of this city:


Editor Tribune: Allow me to correct Mr. Jarman's statement in your Sunday's issue. Orson Pratt never had twenty wives; he never had but ten that he called wives. He never palmed himself off as a single man. Eliza Crooke perfectly understood that he had five women in Utah that he called wives. She married him knowing exactly what her position would be on her arrival here. She told me this after she came. She never had any children in England, but had four in Utah, and died with choldbed fever, leaving the youngest two or three weeks old. She was not deceived, but was a firm believer in Mormonism and polygamy. She was as well provided for as any other portion of his family. All were poor, for his constant labors abroad for the Church, which he (unfortunately) believed it was his destiny to attend to, prevented his attending to home duties as he should have done. He expected the Mormon God to do what he should have done himself. He did not do it, and thus his family were the sufferers.

Orson Pratt was not a bad man. He was as strictly honest as he could be, with his firmly fixed fanatical belief in Mormonism. He was honest in his adherence to this terrible delusion, which I have had so much cause to regret. I am the wife of his youth; he is the father of my children, and I kniw what I have said to be true.
                                   SARAH M. PRATT.
First and only lawful wife of Orson Pratt.
      SALT LAKE CITY, May 24, 1885.

Note: See also the Cleveland Leader of Dec. 4, 1892, the New York Herald of May 18, 1877 and Wilhelm R. von Wymetal's 1886 Mormon Portraits I.


Vol. XXIX.                Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, June 19, 1885.                No. 53.


JOSEPH SMITH, the president of the real Mormon Church, is in this city, and he will stay long enough, we understand, to look the ground over thoroughly, and will, if the work proves encouraging, visit the various settlements in the Territory and speak to the people. The time is propitious. The self-assumed leaders of the church here are in hiding to escape the consequences of their false teaching and their rebeliousness. It must needs be that many of the people will see that true teaching could never have reduced their leaders to such extremities, and that following the truth could never harass a people as the Mormon people are now being harrased in consequence of their own headless and reckless misdeeds. Such as have awakened to this truth (and there are many who have) will welcome the coming of Joseph Smith, and without doubt, more and more of them will from time to time welcome him as their true leader. As a question of faith, the Mormons must see that the chief dividing line is drawn on the belief in the revelation commanding polygamy, and right here is where they are in the sorest straits; once give that up (and the proof that they ought to give it up is abundant), and the clouds clear away at once for the masses of the people. They will soon see that in accordance with the general tenor of their faith the polygamy revelation must necessarily be false; it places them at swords point with the law, just where they have a right to expect to be at peace; it was kept hid for many years, and only given out at the convealence of certain unscrupulous men, which is a very bad feature about it. We trust that Mr Smith may be able to convince them altogether that it ought to be dropped at once.

As to the difference in practical church work, aside from polygamy, the Mormon people have even less reason to oppose Mr. Smith and his teachings. He brings them their own gospel, simply. Instead of the domineering methods of requirements, he brings them back to their own freedom, guided by conscience. Instead of a claim that the church leaders shall control men in their politics, business and social life, he disclaims all interference with men in these matters, leaving them free Americans instead of [sectarian] serfs. The change he proffers, therefore, is altogether one of individual and general relief to an overburdened people. In his efforts in this line he is already assured of a hearty welcome from many of the people he would help; he should also have, and we believe he will receive without stint, the heartiest encouragements from those who have departed from the polygamous Mormon branch on account of its wrong-headedness, and from all good citizens who wish to see the hideous nightmare lifted off from Utah that has made groanings and sufferings unspeakable here for these many years.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, August 5, 1885.             No. 91.


Superstition and Devotion Have Given Ancient Paganism a New Start.

Editor Tribune: It is not without some diffidence that I venture a few remarks in regard to this vexata quaratro, since I realize how inadequate are mere words to combat successfully a superstition so deeply rooted that it has defied, and still continues to defy, the combined influences of modern science and civilization.

Superstition indeed! What a curse, what a dread and scourge you have been to the human race in all times and climes! From the remotest period of the past, when Pandora first opened on the earth that uncanny box of hers, flooding it with all the ills frail flesh is heir to, down to the day when old Solomon Spaulding dreamed dreams and beheld visions and [tricked] them out in fairy fiction in order doubtless in these degenerate days, to arrest the triumpahnt progress of Anti-christ whose awful fate is so well drawn in the tragic ending of Sherem and Korihor -- in all these stages of the world's history your remorseless demon has played a conspicuous part. Enthroned in barbaric empire, you have been the willing tool of tyranny and priestcraft. But even now your invincible spirit with all its wonted terror seems to culminate in


In this last dispensation, to wit: The Kingdom of Mormonism...

After an experience with Mormonism of nearly three and twenty years, including the earliest and greater portion of my life, I consider that I am qualified to speak of it with somewhat of certainty, and to judge it from an impartial and disinterested standpoint. As a Saint, when yet the spirit of Brigham Youngism had not become so universally rempant as it now is, I have felt in turn all the glow and enthusiasm which an


To a religious cause can impart, with not a little of its sorrows, vexations and degradation. And now, as a clam student of history and comparative events in the evolution of progress, I must candidly confess it is one of the barefacedest frauds that was ever fostered upon credulous humanity. I have yet failed to find the [precise] degree of difference between Latter-day Saints, so called, and every day sinners, unless it consists in the extreme "gullability" of the former.

I alluded incidently to the spirit of Brighamism. Perhaps some readers would like to know what that really is. For their benefit I will parenthetically suggest that it is nothing more or less than the restoration of the Phallic worship, or the ancient worship of Priapus, which obtained so extensively among the early Egyptians thousands of years ago, and which is here reduced to a practical economy.

There are quite a number of the older Mormons who esteemed Brigham Young as the very incarnation of the devil. That he was the incarnation of sensuality and lust is too obvious a fact for any one to dispute. Whatever of beauty, or spirituality the church ever possessed, (if indeed it ever possessed any,) he and his worthy initiates have relentlessly and effectualy crushed out. In his own cursed way he was as great an iconoclast as Bob Ingersoll; in fact, Mormonism taken as a whole is simply iconoclasm applied to Christianity.         OLD RESIDENT.
    Salt Lake City, July 31st.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXX.             Salt Lake City, U. T., Saturday, January 9, 1886.             No. 71.


Another "Proof" of the Authenticity
of the Book of Mormon.

Editor Tribune: Cannot we get the fact circulated, and obtain the witness -- "three" or "eight" -- to bear testimony to the same, that the "petrified head" is another evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon? It was found buried below the surface, laid up to come forth in "due time of the Lord," and certainly more reasonable than plates to "speak from the dust" in "fulfillment of prophecy." hether or not it can be thus shown to be authentic to the public, it has just as good a claim upon the credence of reasonable men as that of the Book of Mormon.

I see that the Herald and Democrat gave full belief to the genuineness of the ancient relic, by which they both proved to be good Mormons, willing to swallow the cock-and-bull story, if not the "head." The Herald is at last convimced of the hoax. But, really, Mr. Editor, what difference is there between the acceptance of this new story and the belief in the Kinderhook plates which "discovery" has done


for the Mormon Church in by-gone days. The plates were no more a forgery than the Sandy head; and yet the Mormon Church published the story of the finding of the plates with the flourish of witnesses in the United States and in England several times, on an evidence that plates were used in "ancient times" on this continent. Not only did the church publish the fraud as true, but Joseph Smith, the prophet, in his journal record says that he translated the plates found, and that they were "a record of the man whose bones were found with the plates," etc. etc. This was not only a deception on the part of Holy Joe, but it was done in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Priesthood and the especial gift of God. All this is [----ed] in the villainous pretence of translating it. The progenitors of the editors of the Herald and Democrat as firmly believed in the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates as in the plates of the Book of Mormon -- both were forgeries -- and both believed and preached, and yet it was not more a forgery than the "petrified head."The sapient writer of the Herald should not be too fast in poking fun at the head while he believes in the brazen story of the brass plates.     VINDEX.
Salt Lake City, Jan. 8.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 11, 1886.                  No. 140.


His Connection with the Spalding Manuscript
and Book of Mormon.

Other engagements prevented my hearing President Fairchild's lecture last evening upon the Book of Mormon and its relation to the Spalding manuscript. It has been the popular belief among the older citizens of the Reserve, and especially among those who had [personal] observations and contact with early Mormonism, that the Book of Mormon was compiled or rewritten or at least made up in part from the Spaulding document, and yet there was no direct or positive evidence to prove it. From some facts and incidents connected with the career of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon when they were in Geauga and Portage counties preaching their alleged new gospel, I came to the conclusion some years ago that the Book of Mormon was the work of Sidney Rigdon, with perhaps some chanegs or additions by Smith or others. So far as I know these facts and circumstances have never been published. The truth or falsity of the Spalding matter in no way affects them, and they came to me in a way that leaves no doubt on my mind that the Book of Mormon, or a large part thereof, was written by Rigdon within two miles of the spot where I am now writing.

George Wilber, one of the early pioneers of Geauga County, taught school in the winter following the alliance of Smith and Rigdon, in a log school-house a mile south of the centre of Bainbridge. Rigdon lived in a log house about 200 yards from the school-house, and young Wilber, who has heard Rigdon preach before his alliance with Smith, often called on him during the noon hour of recess and sometimes in the evening.

Rigdon had acquired the reputation of being something of a biblical scholar among the pioneers, and was always a very persuasive and eloquent preacher. Some of the keen-sighted people, however, had lost confidence in him. They discovered that he had a strong religious ambition that was not tempered by Christian grace and humility. For a year or more before the advent of Smith they saw that Rigdon was bent on devising some new dogma: in short, to start a new church or sect that he could call his own or whose leadership he could share with only a few.

It may be proper to state that George Wilber was at that time a young man of high character and good education, and for more than forty years no one in Geauga or Portage had a better reputation for truth and moderation. He was the father of Prof. C. D. Wilber now of Nebraska, who was a room-mate of Gen. Garfield at Williams College. He died about four years ago at Aurora, Ill.

Wilber's statement, moreover, of the work and conduct of Rigdon that winter was corroborated by some of the neighbors in the school district.

Rigdon did not preach that winter, but was almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising. Wilber noticed that towards the close of the term there was much more of it than there was the first time he saw it. Rigdon had before that time been free and communicative, especially upon religious topics; he now appeared reserved reserved and at times reticent. Whenever any reference about his manuscript he seemed disposed to parry inquiry by some general explanation that he was making notes or preparing some papers to throw light upon some portions of the gospel.

The following spring Smith appeared and he and Rigdon went off together and were gone some months. IT was reported that they had gone to Pittsburg, but whether true or not no one could say. It was generally believed, however, that Smith at least visited Western New York before either returned to Ohio. Soon after their return the Book of Mormon was announced. Smith was mysterious and silent, assuming familiarity with the supernatural. It was difficult to measure or discover his powers or qualities, because of his silence and professions as a prophet. Those who were not awed by the glamour of mystery became convinced of one thing -- that he was a man of little or no education, while Rigdon was a fine orator, a fair writer, and among the men of that day a good scholar. Rigdon believed that his own attainments would put him at the head of the new church. It did not take long, however, to see that he had failked to measure properly those masterly powers of his companion in acting the part of the prophet. In a few months he saw that he must take a subordinate part, and from that time onward his zeal flagged. He drifted along, though still a leader, until the death of Smith, when he found that Brigham Young, a natural leader of the class of men who composed their followers, held the reins of power with a strong hand. Rigdon became disgusted and disheartened. He soon left them forever, and died some years ago in Pennsylvania.

Ten years ago this winter I spent two weeks in Salt Lake City. Elder Orson Pratt had been for many years the historian [sic - theologian?] of the Mormon Church. As my father had been acquainted with him in his younger days, I called upon him and made myself known. He was then an old man of about 80 years. During our conversation I inquired of him why it was that his people crossed what was called the Great Desert and settled at Salt Lake. He replied that they had Fremont's narrative, and that he carried a copy during their journey over the plaisn and mountains.

In the history of the Mormon Church it is stated that Pratt was with the advance guard, and on their arrival at Salt Lake Pratt made observations, and found the latitude and longitude. Soon after the interview I examined a copy of Fremont's narrative, and found the latitude and longitude given. Now, Pratt was not scholar enough to take an observation of that kind, so he must have announced their locality from the information given by Fremont. It is due to Elder Pratt to say that I do not believe he wrote this statement. He was more of a custodian of Mormon records than a historian, and probably permitted the statement to be made.

The Book of Mormon contains many internal evidences that Sidney Rigdon was the author of at least a good portion of it.

How many others had a hand in it, or what other manuscripts, if any, assisted in the work, it would be difficult now to determine.
C. E. HENRY.      
GEAUGA LAKE, O., March 9.

Note 1: This letter was reprinted from the Mar. 14, 1886 issue of the Cleveland Leader; it was also featured in the Mar. 27th issue of the Chicago Tribune-- no other copies of Mr. Henry's report have yet been discovered in 1886 publications. Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild lectured in Cleveland on the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship on Mar. 23, 1886, and again on Mar. 25th. It is not currently known where he might have lectured on that subject, the day before Mr. Henry wrote his letter. However, see notes appended to the article's reprint in the 1942 book Captain Henry of Geauga.

Note 2: Mr. Henry unfortunately provides no date for his allegations regarding Sidney Rigdon's being "almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising" at Bainbridge, Ohio. Nor does he supply dates for George Wilber's supposed recollections of the first and second appearances of Joseph Smith, Jr. upon the Western Reserve of Ohio. Rigdon moved from his home in Bainbridge during the fall of 1826 and relocated at Mentor. Thus, if George Wilber conversed with Sidney Rigdon during a winter school term in Bainbridge, it must have either been at the beginning of 1826 or else just prior to Rigdon's leaving that place, late that same year. Since Rigdon's writing of the "manuscript" recalled by Wilber occured during a "winter" when "Rigdon did not preach," the only logical time period for that secretive activity would have been during the winter of 1825-26, four years before Sidney Rigdon had any documented contact with Joseph Smith, Jr. By the time he thus met Smith (during the last days of 1830) the Book of Mormon had already been circulating in Ohio for several weeks. Although it is not impossible that Smith paid an unrecorded visit to Rigdon's home in Ohio as early as 1826, there is no historical evidence of such a meeting between the two men. Most likely, Mr. Henry's implied Rigdon chronology is a jumbled conflation of events, some occurring before and others after Rigdon's 1830 conversion to Mormonism.

Note 3: George Wilber was not the only person who recalled that Sidney Rigdon's attention was greatly occupied in mysterious manuscript writing, while he lived at Bainbridge -- see also the 1879 statement of Rigdon's neice (on his wife's side of the family), Mrs. Amos Dunlap. Of course, testimony to the effect that Rigdon did much private writing while living at Bainbridge, is of very limited import, unless accompanied by an eye-witness description of exactly what it was that he was writing. See also Mrs. Dencey Adeline Thompson Henry's recollections, as reported in the Portland, Oregon New Northwest of Sept. 9, 1880.


Vol. XXXI.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, August 22, 1886.               No. 95.


Tullidge far Outdone -- German Portrait pf the Prophet.


EDITOR TRIBUNE. It is indeed enough to bedew the cheeks of the Sphinx with briny tears, or even to cause the granite walls of the Salt Lake temple to sweat profusely for very grief and fear, the wicked carryings on of the Gentile world of late, and the terrible way it is going with the Kingdom... as if the Latter day cup did not yet contain wormwood enough, one Dr. Wyl comes along and opens his batteries... in the shape of a book...

As a zealous anti-Mormon I feel bound to conclude that he was verily inspired to compose and put in print his Mormon Portraits, as were the fathers to write our sacred and glorious Constitution. He was raised up for this self same purpose, even as Joseph Smmith was to be a prophet. And such being the fact, it is not strange that a work of exceptional excellence is the result.

The authorship of the volume under view is unique in several particulars. It comes from no apostate pen, or brain overflowing with disgust and hatred and with real or fancied wrongs to avenge. Neither did any religious bigot inspired by sectarian zeal gather the facts set forth, or pervert them for the interests of a rival creed. Dr. Wyl evidently has slight admiration for any of the faiths, and would have slight objection if the Saints worshipped Joseph's peep stone, or Taylor's great toe....

Besides his course of procedure was excellent to help him on in the right direction. He did not make haste, as is the vicious and irrational manner of too many writers, to gather up and scatter abroad all sorts of rumors and gossip, and count any tale true in proportion as it is full of blood and thunder. He sought


He consulted the lips of such as had seen, and therefore knew, of men and women who were in the church in the days of Kirtland and Far West and Nauvoo. He makes large use of the Deseret News, Journal of Discourses, Times and Seasons, the Wasp and such like, standard Mormon authorities each and all; and quotes from Bennett and Lee and other apostates only for corroboration. It is therefore well worth while for us to see what conclusions such an investigator reaches by such methods....

Dr. Wyl evidently has an eye for a joke, and his wit is keen and merciless. He pokes endless fun at the prophet and his poor dupes.... His earnestness and indignation over deception, falsehood, hypocrisy and evil doing of all kinds is never far to seek. For one I was never so well persuaded that the very best and most effectual way to handle and to end Mormonism is for Uncle Sam to hire, and send, and turn loose here in Utah a dozen or two of such gifted wags and humorists and wits as Ward, and Twain, and Nasby and Nye, with a Nast or two to help with their pictures....

The way he sets out, the very texts he takes are ominous of evil, and promise tough things for the brethren, albeit they are taken every one either from the founder or the builder of the Latter-day concern. In other words, with the insight and instincts of a genuine seer he detects the true inwardness, the key note of "the kingdom" in these choice and most famous utterances of Joseph and Brigham...

I come now to the portrait of the shining genius of the [Smith] family, the immortal Hamlet of the astounding play. Look at his features, and consider them well. Here is what our truthful James has to say about the Yankee Prophet, the chief of the kingdom, the person second in history only to the Jewish Messiah! He was taught the first rules of grammar in Kirtland in 1831, at the age of twenty-nine. A minimum of reading, and still less writing, were the limits of his education. He owned up to his illiteracy, and affirmed it to be fulfillment of prophecy. He studied Hebrew one winter, through Urim and Thummim, surpassed all creation in Reformed Egyptian, and later in life committed to memory a score or two of phrases in divers tongues ancient and modern, and then fired them off in his letters and speeches with great show of erudition. He became so conceited over this cheap and vulgar smattering of knowledge, as to declare before a vast audience in the last year of his life, "I know more than all the world!!"


were the ruling traits of his early career. He was possessed of an innate and incorrigible hatred of all serious work, and thereby was made first "a money digger and then a prophet," though he would as soon have been a slave dealer or the captain of a pirate ship. "The Lord" made haste to give a revelation... to the effect that "it is meet... that my servant have a house built in which to live,"and "whatsoever he needeth," and a few years after in Nauvoo that "a house of boarding should be provided in which he and his [family] should have places, from generation to generation," and all because "in temporal labor thou (Joe, to wit,) shalt have no strength, for this is not thy calling."...

We read further that our darling Joe was "the calf that sucked three cows." He learned with the speed and accuracy of true genius the sharpest tricks of all the able and efficient corps of scoundrels about him and out-Heroding Herod, soon went far beyond his teachers. He milked Rigdon and Bennett and many another to the last drop of knavery and then beat them at their own game and cast them out. Brigham and Taylor and the elders of our time learned from Joseph how "to fix the fools and carry out the fun." -- how to bamboozle the dupes and rob them. Take one case from a thousand (Dr. Wyl's book furnishes some fine specimens), that of Sister Vienna J. She gathered early to Zion and brought some $1500 in hard cash. "The Lord" happened to be out of change h=just then, and so at once stumped Sister V. for "a loan." O! yes, certainly. But, alas, never a cent did our over-confiding spinster Sister V. ever behold again. As equivalent thereafter, however, she was made rich by the promise of an "inheritance" in Jackson County, and her name embalmed in a revelation in the book of Doctrine and Covenants!...

The pages which tell of the closing scenes of Joseph's mortal career furnish a picture truthful but most terrible. "Joseph got crazy about his greatness in Nauvoo. His success went to his head and made a fool of him. In this state of vertigo he conceived the idea of being a candidate for the Presidency of the United States!" But all his talents for leadership were overborne by his follies and crimes. "He was too great and too hot a brute to be successful as a schemer. On page 161 is as fearful a setting forth of the steady but swift development in depravity and iniquity as can well be found in literature. So abandined in wickedness did he at length become, that he "would rather be damned than confess." So it sounds apochryphal when we hear that on the way to Carthage he repented of the spiritual wife doctrine, and said it was of the devil. Surely Dr. Wyl's farewell volley at this most criminal wretch and also at the hifalutin of one of his biographers, for accuracy of deadly aim has never been approached. If this does not pierce the bull's eye, then I am no judge of what constitutes a center shot. He has quoted Tullidge's fulsome and absurd and blasphemous pangyric as follows: "Thus died the martyr prophet. And even as One of old was he betrayed and sacrificed. Back to that scene on Calvary leaps the thought of man!" Oh! Oh!! Oh!!! Then follows the brief, calm, crushing, anniilating comment (alone worth the price of the book). "Calvary and Carthage -- the comparison is just after all. But leave out the cross in the center will you?" Set the Dr. down as a sharp shooter. Not the best of the boys at Forst Douglas can beat that. He must have had large practice under Bismark the man of "blood and iron." And, finally, how moderate and well chosen and carefully guarded are our author's words concerning the prophet's bloody taking off. "The assassination of Joseph Smith was no common murder: it was the execution of a most dangerous criminal by the people. The men who did it were entirely right in their view of the character of their man!"

Mr. Wyl by no means deals exclusively with the illustrious Smith family, but on the contrary he


on every hand, giving to every man his due. Of course Sidney Rigdon receives his share. Sidney's picture reminds him "of some ancient, seedy, half-dazed Israelite, with a strong admixture of the Jesuit." He was also "the most conceited crank of the century, and in moral make up wholly lacking." He is always regarded as particeps criminis with Joseph in the stupendous imposture, or the two are co-conspirators. Rigdon put the Book of Mormon in shape while Smith by getting it printed became "author and proprietor" under "the Lord." Evidence is introduced to show that these consummate frauds were together months and years before Rigdon's "conversion." He was the heart and soul of Mormonism at first, and thought to rule, but soon found in Jo the peeper a master. In Kirtland days he was President and Lucy's son Cashier, but in Nauvoo the latter had sunk to postmaster; in days between many a time did Rigdon "try to play first violin to the prophet, but was always put back among the common fiddlers." And we are treated to a scene truly idyllic and most edifying, in which when "my servant the Branch" essayed to meddle with the prophet wrestler he was nearly put hors de combat, and had his clerical broadcloth torn from collar to waist, and so learned that Joseph was boss. Nevertheless he was the chief speaker, and used to get tremendously excited and foam at the mouth. The Dr. informs us that Jeddy Grant of "Reformation" fame was Sidney's successor in this particular.

"Pistol-Joab-Bennett"finds favor in Dr. Wyl's eyes, second only to that accorded to Jo Jr., "Physician, quartermaster-general, master in chancery, major-general, mayor, chancellor of Nauvoo University, deserter of wife and children," lecher and general scamp, and meteor as well. "He thought to use Lucy's pride and darling as a ladder to greatness," but by said pride and darling was used as a tool instead, all his tricks were mastered and improved upon, and then he was cut off and cast out. And yet even Bennett is father or inventor of the revelation on polygamy, for he suggested the idea to Joseph as a raft on which he could safely outride the tempest which his wholesale sealing had stirred. Martin Harris is dished up somehow thus, a sort of [financer?]: "The Book of Mormon must be printed, but neither Jo nor Sidney has a dollar in the world. So some substantial


or else the fun will cease. And in there steps the greatest and best fixed of all the innumerable fools fixed by this faith. He believed everything and the more miraculous it was, the easier he swallowed it." Parley P. Pratt was "brutally sensual and utterly unscrupulous." So much for the chiefs and elite of Mormonism.

A few concluding facts as to the state of things in general under the regime of Joseph. I grieve to state on authority of Dr. W. that there was aberration from the truth among the elders. "They can't do a thing without lying." "Joseph and the church must be saved." So let us deny and conceal, and by all means see to it that the swine do not have access to the pearls.We swap wives, and we are numerously sealed to "celestials," but yet such things are not known among us. Palsied be the tongue that charges us therewith. Lee takes nine wives inside of one year! Such lewdness as the world has not seen this side of Sodom, and yet we are the purest people! Never another such whirlpool of secret vice, such a demonical bacchanal including all the preminent men, and many "ladies." "God don't care if we have a good time, if only other people don't know it." "Adultery is no sin," etc. etc.

There was pilfering also, in those days, or rather "consecration" of Gentile movable property. "You can't steal from Gentiles," teaches John Taylor. Phineas Young is orthodox authority for the affirmation that "we were driven from Missouri and Illinois because the people stole too many horses and scores passed counterfeit money." The Dr.does well to rate this single confession as worth fifty volumes. Heber Kimball's first wife, Vilate, also owns up that her house used to be a depository for stolen goods, whole pieces of calico, muslin, etc., stolen from Gentile stores. The elders used to go out at nights over a circuit of twenty miles and steal the washings from the lines of their "enemies." Bishop Miller once stole a whole boat load of flour from a mill, etc. etc. Nor were saintly skirts at all free from the blood of murdered victims, etc. "The official murderers of the Mormon Church were always called city police in Nauvoo, and have been ever since." Yes, and thereon hangs a tale. The Danites were verily a church institution in Missouri days, and moreover, Heber Kimball is quoted as authority that in 1858 they were reorganized and "fifty of the brethren were sworn in."

Finally the Dr. startles us by affirming that the "original" plates of the Book of Mormon are on deposit in the Historian's Office, and have been seen, and this though Joseph declares that the angel took them back and hid them up. They are of brass and cost about $3.00, and the church might and should put them on exhibition at two bits a peep, and so coin a pile of money to use in Washington and elsewhere. But he does not startle us worth a cent when he also solemnly alleges that "the Book of Mormon is the most somniferous of existing books." Even so. Amen. Dr. Wyl, your head is level. But buy the book (Mormon Portraits, not Book of Mormon) and get great enjoyment and instruction for yourself.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXI.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, October 17, 1886.               No. 3.


Interview With Him on the First Book of Mormon.


Joe Smith Did Not Remain Faithful, and the Spirit of Revelation was
withdrawn from Him, so He Did not Live to see the Second Coming
of Christ, as Promised -- Whitmer has the Original Book of Mormon
and Early Church History -- Manifold "Revelations" Responsible
for the Drivings -- The Nauvoo Pentecost was a Fizzle -- Attempt
of the Danites to Assassinate Whitmer -- He is the Only True
Mormon -- All the "Witnesses Apostatized" -- Open Offer of
Pratt for the Whitmer Manuscript.

RICHMOND, Mo., Oct, 9. -- David Whitmer, the only living witness to “the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon” is nearly 82 years of age. One would scarcely infer from his erect carriage and wonderful nerve power any more than from the exceedingly fine control he exercises over a retentive and well-stored memory, which responds readily to his call with accurate details. Newspaper reporters are not admitted to his presence, and it is no wonder when one recalls the shameful misrepresentations which have been sent out as "interviews." Your correspondent has just finished the last of a series of interesting conversations with the old gentleman, in which, after considerable coaching, he expressed himself without reserve by reason of our personal friendship. David Whitmer is one of those three "special witnesses" who in 1829 sent out to the world the following quaint proclamation:

[Testimony of the "Three Witnesses" follows]

Oliver Cowdery never followed the Church after the disaffection of the Whitmer party in 1838, but remained in Missouri, and in 1852 [sic] was laid under the quiet green sod at Richmond. Harris became estranged from the Church about the same time and from the same causes also, but long after he had become feeble in both body and mind he was persuaded by per-tent importuning to join his destinies with the Utah Mormons, and thither he went more than ten years ago, only to lay down his bones in the shadow of e great tabernacle. Mr. Whitmer entertains no doubt whatever that this sigular action upon the part of Harris was wholly chargeable to the enfeebled condition of his mind, which had begun to manifest certain positive symptoms of imbecility even before he entertained the overtures from the Rocky Mountain Saints. His step in this direction was greatly deplored by his old-time associates, "the witnesses" (there were eight other witnesses who testified to having handled the plates,) who had come out solid from the Church in 1838 and remained, with this one exception, in perfect accord. When this serious rupture in the organization occurred it took from the fold among others John Whitmer, the Church historian, and with him the Church records covering their early history up to that date. These records are in this town [Richmond] in the possession of John Christian Whitmer, a son of one of the "eight witnesses," and with the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which David Whitmer holds, are really the


of the Church, and are much sought after by the Utah Mormons. In 1879 two of the Mormon "apostles," Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith (a son of Hyrum Smith who was killed with the prophet,) visited Richmond for the express purpose of obtaining these time-worn sheets, and they came admirably prepared to pay for them. Mr. Whitmer received them courteously, and Apostle Pratt said:

"Father Whitmer, we desire to purchase the manuscript, and we are authorized to say that you may name your price, and (with a patronizing air) be sure you put the price high enough, for the church has plenty of money in the treasury, you know."

It was a brilliant overture, but how dismally it failed. Old Mr. Whitmer replied with quiet emphasis: "Elder Pratt, there isn't gold enough in the world to buy it."

They knew it too, and no further importuning was indulged in. The tavern keeper makes the very reliable statement that before leaving Richmond Orson Pratt told him that they would have willingly paid $100,000 for the manuscript. Much speculation has been indulged in regarding the particular reason for the anxiety on the part of the church to possess this relic, some going so far as to assert that it is traceable to an important difference which is said to exist in the text touching on polygamy, as between the original manuscript and the present reading of the Book of Mormon.

In glancing through this original manuscript your correspondent discovered the notable text which so completely annihilates the morality which Mormons claim for polygamy. It is found in the second book of Jacob, sixth chapter, and the copy herewith furnished is a faithful and accurate tracing -- a perfect fac-simile of the original translation in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Mr. Whitmer's


for the manuscript may be easily accounted for. He is one of the very few who saw it written -- that is, parts of it -- and one may infer from the tenor of his testimony and the sincerity with which he still adheres to it, that he entertains no shadow of a doubt that the record came forth by divine inspiration. His recital of reminiscences which take him back to the days of his devotion to the Mormon prophet, are pathetic and interesting.

He was but [24] years of age, and working on his father's farm near Palmyra, N.Y., when the village school teacher, Oliver Cowdery, at that time a stranger to him, mentioned in a somewhat serious way, the reputed finding of the gold plates by Joseph Smith -- a topic on everybody's tongue for miles around. Cowdery was visibly impressed by the report, and announced his intention to visit Smith and investigate the matter for himself, promising Whitmer, at the latter's request, to advise him of the results of his investigation upon his return. A letter from Cowdery, a few days later, urged his friend to come immediately to where Smith and the plates were, in order that he (Whitmer) might receive the personal assurance that Smith's claims were substantial. He went. It was a two day's journey. The prophet received him with open arms, and he remained long enough to become strongly and favorably impressed with the situation.

It was not long after this incident that Whitmer while plowing in the field one afternoon, was visited by Smith and Oliver Cowdery who requested him to accompany them into the woods for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation which should qualify him and Cowdery to testify as witnesses of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon; for Smith explained that this action was in pursuance of clearly defined instructions


of the Lord. The woods were not distant more than a stone's throw from the farm house and thither they repaired and engaged in "fervent prayer." All of a sudden, Mr. Whitmer says, he beheld a dazzlingly brilliant light that surpassed in brightness even the sun at noonday and which seemed to envelope the woods for a considerable distance around. Simultaneous with the light came a strange entrancing influence which permeated him so powerfully that he felt chained to the spot, while he also experienced a sensation of joy absolutely indescribable. While trying to realize what had come over him, there appeared immediately in front of the little party, a personage clothed in white, and near him a table containing a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the urim and thummum, the sword of Laban, and some other articles. Whitmer and Cowdery were requested by the personage to examine these things, and after the inspection they were told that the Lord would demand of them that they bear witness to all the world. Mr. Whitmer describes every detail of the "vision" with great precision and much fervency, and insists that he handled and scrutinized the plates, and that the form and appearance of the strangely engraved characters were so impressed upon his memory that he would never forget them. At this particular state of the recital, an inspection of a copy of the hieroglyphics made from the first of the gold plates by Joseph Smith and preserved with the same solicitude that is thrown around the original manuscript, becomes of curious interest. The accompanying cut is a perfect fac-simile of the little sheet which took Joseph Smith a whole week to copy, so particular was he that the characters should be


and that the "reformed Egyptian" language should be shown up in all its native simplicity, for, it must not be forgotten, there was a singular significance in errand which this scrap of paper was destined to perform.

Martin Harris, who had received a similar "visitation" to that recounted of the other two witnesses, was despatched to New York with this copy of the gold plate, which he presented to Professor Anthon with a request for the learned linguist to read it, in fulfillment of a prophecy of Isaiah, which is here literally applied and which reads:

And the word of the Lord has become unto them as the leaves of a book which are sealed, and which is delivered unto him that is learned, saying Read this, I pray thee, and he saith, I cannot for it is sealed, etc.

Much of the translation of the plates was accomplished at the house of Peter Whitmer, the father of David, and the latter witnessed demonstrations, on more occasions than one of the prophet's manipulation of the stone spectacles. He states that the work of translation occupied fully eight months, and that at times this peculiar instrument would refuse to perform its functions. On such occasions the prophet would resort to prayer, and after a short season he would return to his work to find that the urim and thummim reflected the words of the translation with its wonted power. He had to be humble and spotless in his deportment in order that the work might advance. On one occasion the prophet had indulged in a stormy quarrel with his wife. Without pacifying her or making any reparation for his brutal treatment, he returned to the room in the Whitmer residence to resume his work with the plates. The surface of the magic stone remained blank, and all his persistent efforts to bring out


proved abortive. He went into the woods again to pray, and this time was gone fully an hour. His friends became positively concerned, and were about to institute a search, when Joseph entered the room, pale and haggard, having suffered a vigorous chastisement at the hands of the Lord. He went straight in humiliation to his wife, entreated and received her forgiveness, returned to his work, and, much to the joy of himself and his anxious friends surrounding him, the stone again glared forth its letters of fire.

The urim and thummum, in this strange process of translation, would reflect number of words in pure English, which would remain on its face until the party acting as scribe had got it correctly written, and the occasional disposition of the characters to remain long after they had been so written was ways an infallible evidence that there was something wrong in the translation of the record, and a close comparison would invariably reveal this fact. When the necessary corrections has been made the words would instantly disappear from the urim and thummum and new ones take their place.

The first 116 pages when completed were by permission of the prophet intrusted to hands of Martin Harris, who carried them home to his incredulous relatives in triumph, hoping by the exhibition to convert his family and kinfolk from their uncompromising hostility to the religious premises he had adopted. Upon retiring at night he locked up the precious pages in a bureau drawer, along with his money and other valuables. In the morning he was shocked find that they had been stolen, while his money had been left untouched. They were never found and were never replaced, so that the Book of Mormon is today minus just 116 pages of the original matter, which would increase the volume fully one-fourth its present size. This


evoked the stormiest kind of chastisement from the Lord, who took from the prophet the urim and thummum and otherwise expressed his condemnation. By fervent prayer and by otherwise humbling himself, the prophet, however, again found favor, and was presented with a strange oval-shaped, chocolate-colored stone, about the size of an egg, only more flat, which, it was promised, should serve the same purpose as the missing urim and thummim (the latter was a pair of transparent stones set in a bow-shaped frame and very much resembled a pair of spectacles). With this stone all of the present Book of Mormon was translated. It is the only one of these relics which is not in the possession of the Whitmers. For years Oliver Cowdery surrounded it with care and solicitude, but at his death, old Phineas Young, a brother of Brigham Young, and an old-time and once intimate friend of the Cowdery family, came out from Salt Lake City, and during his visit he contrived to get the stone from its hiding place, through a little deceptive sophistry, expended upon the grief-stricken widow. When he returned to Utah he carried it in triumph to the apostles of Brigham Young's "lion house."

In reciting this early experience of the church Mr. Whitmer rises to his feet and with an intense earnestness and a clear and forcible iteration he carries the listener along through every detail with wonderful precision. "Do I still believe that Joseph Smith was a divinely inspired prophet?" repeats the old man, "I know he was; it is not a matter of belief. But he fell; yes, he fell like David, like Solomon. They were great prophets and wise men, greatly favored of the Almighty; but God did not sustain them in their sins and corruptions, and He did not sustain Joseph, either." In narrating the circumstances of the prophet's fall Mr. Whitmer becomes especially emphatic in his denunciation of the action that changed the name of the Church and altered many of the revelations and commandments so as to admit


as the "high priesthood," baptism for the dead, polygamy, and others. Here the old man takes from a well-worn trunk several volumes of the first editions of the Book of Commandments, which he proceeds to contrast with the present "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" as published by the Utah Mormons. The comparison undoubtedly reveals some strange cuttings out and fillings in. The first of these early volumes has the following title page, "A book of commandments for the government of the Church of Christ, organized according to law on April 6, 1830, Zion. W. W. Phelps & Co., 1833." This volume was supplemented in 1835 by one published in Kirtland, Ohio, which bears the title: "Doctrine and Covenants, Church of the Latter Day Saints, carefully selected from the revelations of God, and compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, presiding elders of said Church, proprietors, Kirtland, Ohio," &c. From several texts in the Book of Mormon as well as by the early revelations given to Joseph Smith, Mr. Whitmer contends that the name first bestowed upon the organization -- "The Church of Christ" -- is the only title approved by the Lord, and that the changes since made are unmistakable evidence of the apostacy of the Utah Mormons. But this is not all. There have been whole paragraphs injected into some of these early commandments, and matter, too, entirely foreign to the texts. An instance of this appears in the clause referring to the Melchisidek priesthood, not a mention of which system is found in the revelations until after the "revision." A comprehensive statement of Mr. Whitmer's views on these improvised doctrines, made in refutation of a scandalous misrepresentation invented and sent out by some reporter, contains the following salient points.
I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book (the Book of Mormon), as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear it was no delusion! What is written is written, and he that readeth, let him understand. And that no one may be misled or deceived by this statement, I wish here to state that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of religion. It is of men and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself. I do not endorse the change of the name of the Church, for, as the wife takes the name of the husband so should the Church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ. It is the Church of Christ. As to the high priesthood, Jesus Christ himself was the last great high priest, this, too, after the order of Melchisedek, as I understand the Holy Scriptures. Finally, I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon, for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God.
Mr. Whitmer denies that apostles, presidents and councillors and high priests are legitimate appurtenances of the church, and the assertion is substantially borne out by the records. The tendency of Smith to abandon the primitive faith and introduce these damnable doctrines, Mr. Whitmer assures me, began to develop quite early in the history of the church. He manifested an alarming disposition to get revelations to cover every exigency that would arise, and in this he was eagerly urged on by some of his associates, who would frequently come to him with the request that he "ask the Lord" about this thing or the other. The first striking instance of it, and one that gave rise to grave apprehensions in the minds of David Whitmer and others of his kind, occurred in connection with the publishing of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was a well-to-do farmer, and he was expected to mortgage his property for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for the printing of the book. His seeming reluctance to act in the matter, which Mr. Whitmer attributes to the cautious business-like manner in which he did everything, offended some of the brethren, and Hyrum Smith, the "Patriarch," proposed that some of them take the manuscript to Canada, and there sell the copyright for sufficient money to enable them to get out the publication. A


"to order" and "warranted to fit," a thing which occurred with remarkable frequency afterwards and which caused it to be a matter of foregone conclusion that whatever the desires of the favored few expressed, or the pressing emergency of the hour demanded, it would be admirably embodied in the "message from heaven." Thus "the word of the Lord came," directing that two of the brethren go to Canada as suggested. They went. They also returned, but they brought no money with them, and no promise of any. Revelations came in the same manner respecting the establishment of the high priesthood system, which was the work of Sydney Rigdon, an ambitious Biblical scholar, who yearned for authority and notoriety. As well might they restore, says Mr. Whitmer, circumcision and the typical ordinances that were annihilated by Christ's coming as to ornament the church premises with Melchisidek priests.

Another of these solicited revelations, which, by the way, came several years after Mr. Whitmer left the church, but for the facts in regard to which he is supplied with unimpeachable testimony, was that introducing the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits or rather advises against the use of tobacco, tea and coffee, and meat in hot weather. The premises for this were suggested on the occasion of quite a little party of the brethren and sisters being assembled in Smith's house. Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith (who, Mr. Whitmer insists, was a lady of predisposed refinement) to make the ironical remark that "it would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression." The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggesting that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter "dig" at the sisters. Sure enough the subject was afterward taken up in dead earnest, and the "Word of Wisdom" was the result.


There is no doubt, he continues, that the beginning of the mobbings and persecutions of the church dated from the bold and aggressive announcement of these many revelations, which in their nature were calculated to stir up a spirit of antagonism among a people who ordinarily were peaceable. There was no occasion for the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He should have lived to witness the coming of Christ, as it was promised him he should if he remained faithful. His death was conclusive evidence of his having fallen from grace, as it was in direct conflict with what had been promised by the Lord on the condition of his remaining faithful. Many of the declarations of the prophet, after he lost the spirit of revelation, which were called prophecies, signally failed to come to pass. The great heavenly "visitation," which was alleged to have taken place in the temple at Nauvoo, was a grand fizzle. The elders were assembled on the appointed day, which it was promised would be a veritable day of Pentecost, but there was no visitation. No Peter, James and John, no Moses and Elias, put in an appearance. "I was in my seat on that occasion," says Mr. Whitmer, "and I know that the story sensationally calculated, and which is now on the records of the Utah Mormons as an actual happening, was nothing but a trumped-up yarn. I saw a great many of these things, which I know were not right, but I clung on, in patience, trusting everything would eventually be put right.

The brethren had received their "everlasting inheritance" in Jackson county, Mo., where it was declared that Zion and the great temple were to be built, and where Jesus would come in power in "this generation." Joseph Smith went so far as to mark out a particular tract of country near Far West, Mo., which he declared was the site of the Garden of Eden. From all of these places the church was driven, and their everlasting inheritances were


The spot where Eve had plucked the fated apple fell into the hands of the unbelieving, and the "Center Stake of Zion," located by "divine injunction," was transplanted and moved around promiscuously from one locality to another, according to the disposition of the Saints.

At Far West, Mo., the most serious split in the church occurred. It was in 1838. The Whitmers, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Hiram Page, and others of the original stock protested against preaching some of these strange revelations as doctrine, and this called forth the most violent attack from the autocratic priesthood. The Danites were organized and instructed to bring these belligerent brethren to terms or visit upon their heads the desperate consequences. There was no mistaking the alternative. David Whitmer was the first man to act, and he acted promptly. Without waiting to argue the question further, he proceeded to run the fearful gauntlet, and one shudders to hear the recital of the thrilling incidents that attended that memorable flight. If the whistling of bullets was to be taken as evidence of an intention to dispose forever of this uncompromising witness, than Mr. Whitmer was assuredly left in no doubt as to the desires of the church concerning him. He succeeded in passing the vigilant sentinels of that terrible night's watch, and reached Richmond in safety, where he has ever since resided.

A person residing not far from the picturesque town of Richmond declares that he met Porter Rockwell, the Danite who shot Governor Boggs, immediately after the shooting had been executed, and that Rockwell asked him for $10 to enable him to leave the country. This party, who was himself a pretty rough character,


asked for, after Rockwell had confessed to having shot the Governor as a retaliation for the memorable order which was sent out by Boggs to exterminate the Mormons. His story is well substantiated. None of these things is told by Mr. Whitmer in a spirit of hatred; in fact his consideration for all the "transgressors" is most commendable. He does not entertain a doubt that Joseph Smith was a practical polygamist, and has no sympathy whatever for the position of Joseph Smith, Jr., who is at the head of the Reorganized Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and who avers that his father (the prophet) never adopted or advocated polygamy. He is satisfied that this faction, like that which followed Brigham Young into the Rocky Mountains, is a withered branch, without the vitality of divine approval; and along with this he insists that there are lots of good, honest people among them all.

David Whitmer, during his residence of nearly half a century in Richmond, has at different times filled the offices of mayor and councilman. He is surrounded with comfortable circumstances, and is very highly and very highly [generally] respected. Some time ago he baptized his nephew, John Christian Whitmer, whom he has since ordained an elder, and who is as valiant for the cause as his father, Jacob Whitmer, was before him. The old gentleman's son, David J. Whitmer, his grandson[s], George W. L. Schweich, and Philander Page, are also zealous members of the little Church of Christ, which at the present time comprises a fair-sized membership. They are working along quietly and are "looking forward to the time when the Lord shall send the Gospel to the remnant of the seed of Israel," the Lamanites or American Indians.

Note: Note: This lengthy, illustrated David Whitmer interview article was compiled by Omaha Herald journalist David Cameron Dunbar (1858-1938), a Mormon who had previously worked at the Salt Lake Herald. Several different versions of the report were published during the second and third weeks of October, 1886. Each paper evidently appended its own unique heading -- some of which gave the impression that the paper exployed the reporter who conducted the interview with Whitmer. The Omaha Herald was the first paper to run the piece -- on Oct. 10th. Among the newspapers featuring somewhat different versions of the article on Oct. 16th was the Des Moines Daily News. Two papers that printed the interview on the 17th were the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and the Philadelphia Press. See notes appended to the Los Angeles Times notice of Oct 3, 1886. See also pages 21-23 of the 1886 book, A Few Choice Examples of Mormon Practices and Sermons.


Vol. XXXII.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 2, 1887.                 No. 67.


The Might of the Latter-Day Israel's Elders.


Hosts of Signs and Wonders -- Marvels
in Rich Profusion -- Visions and
Dreams amd Healings, Etc. Etc.
Priestly Claims Proved by Prodigies --
Never Such Strange Things Seen as in
These Last Days.

Editor Tribune: -- Mormonism itself, being a most fearful and wonderful system of faith and practice, a religion without a peer or parallel, and its prophet "author and proprietor" ranking with the noblest, wisest and purest minds the ages have produced, and both it and he being the choicest output of the grandest century and mightiest nation the sun ever shown upon, a very bonanza of blessings to humanity, we need not be surprised if at their humble birth, by their ignoble cradle, and all along through their surely tempest-tost youth and early manhood, stunning phenomenon should dance attendance and perennial outbursts of the supernatural should appear...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 17, 1887.                   No. ?


A Utah Meteor Strikes the Dead Calm of the East


Unsavory Character of the Memories Left Behind by the Original "Saints"
-- Great Interest in the Utah Situation
-- The Original Zion and its Work --
Ugly Reminiscences.

Editor Tribune: -- From the Great Salt Lake Basin to the Buckeye State, from the scene of the fierce and irrepressible conflict to a region where men dwell together in relations peaceful and fraternal, how sudden and complete the transition! And yet, four days and three nights sufficed to make the change... I took up immediately a two-months' campaign to talk upon Mormon matters. The programme embraces the entire northern portion of Ohio. Arrangements are made by others, and notices are given in every prominent city and village for one, two or three addresses each day. The evident interest is cheering and inspiring to notice. The public


Concerning the situation seems to grow with what it feeds on. After listening for an hour and a half the call is for more. And, what is even better, a fair understanding of the situation seems at length to have been attained by the average citizen.

As was eminently fitting, the first fortnight was devoted to a section lying within thirty miles of Kirtland, the first spot defiled by those matchless Harpies, the early apostles of Mormon imposture and knavery. In a sense, though, speech in those parts concerning Joe Smith's, his humbug and fraud is carrying coals to Newcastle, for fifty years after the last Saint left the neighborhood, wending his way westward in search for "fresh woods and pastures new," his name and the character of his work are a synonym for all that is shameless and loathsome, and the blight of his perfidious presence is still felt far and wide in loose morals and crazy speculations. What he said of polygamy is equally true of his entire scheme of doctrine and practice, "it will damn two times as many as it will save"! It is also interesting to notice as showing the earthly origin and animus of the whole pestiferous concern, that the tales told by such as knew the brethren in 1831-8 tally exactly with what the readers of The Tribune find everywhere, present in the lives of the priesthood today. So corrupt was the source that how could the stream be otehr than yet even full of filth and sending forth moral malaria to scatter disease and death on every hand.


Indeed I have had a rare opportunity to trace the precious Latter-day work far back towards its conception in folly and sin. To begin with I passed a day in Conneaut on Lake Erie near the Pennsylvania line, and where early in the century dwelt Rev. Solomon Spaulding, possessed of more imagination than ducates, that most hapless of all good men, the patriarch Job not excepted, for it was his woeful lot, that with no worse intent than with romancing pen to pay his honest debt, to put on paper the famous "Manuscript Found" which, (all recent discoveries and stout allegations to the contrary notwithstanding) formed the basis and substance of "the more history part" of the Golden Bible, alias Book of Mormon. Verily this modern Solomon, erudite theologian though he doubtless was, then and there took his pen in hand only to grievously put his foot in it. In other words, he made an exceedingly bad break, or builded infinitely more unwisely than he knew. It would have bene vastly better if the lovers of truth and righteousness had put their hands in their pockets and pais the Reverend's liabilities, or even if his creditors had lost every cent. The spot is still pointed out to pilgrims by the creek side, and I have looked upon it, whence erstwhile stood the log cabin in which the above named impecunious and seedy divine spun out the dreary story of Jared and his wonderful barges whose "length was as the length of a tree" and whose "bottom was tight like a dish, the blood-curdling


And the never-to-be-forgotten valorous deeds of Shiz, Coroantumr and Sam! Having piously cursed the spot and shaken the dust from my feet as a testimony against the Mormon monstrosity, I turned away.

Then later it was my lot to make a pilgrimage to the renowned former center stake of Zion, videlicet Kirtland, once all glorious with the presence of prophets, apostles, angels and such, including "the Lord's" bank and gifts innumerable and unspeakable of the spirit (of the demijohn), etc., whose streets were thronged with inspired elders, newfledged but big with expectation of riches and honor at hand, but, alas! like so many other sacred places, long since profaned by alien and hostile feet, and left to utter desolation. As for the streets thereof, they are numerous and goodly, straight as an arrow, and cut each other at right angles. There are thirty in all and each one bears the name of some saint of renown. Thus there are Joseph, and Hyrum, and Sisney streets, and Smith street and Rigdon street, while others are graced by the truly saintly cognomens of M. Harris, O. Cowdery, the three Whitneys, et al., too many of whom have since gone ecclesiastically to the dogs, though then numbered among the "chiefs" and the "elite." Yes, and even more, my unworthy eyes have beheld the plat of


Done by actual survey and put on record in Geauga county, early in 1837, A. D. It lies four square each side, having a liberal length of two miles, and is composed of not less than 225 blocks or squares, each 40 x 40 rods, and in all containing some 1350 lots, which sold at the low average of $100 each, would bring to Joseph and his partners the snug sum of $135,000. Truly a nice sugar plum for a prophet. And I cheerfully bear my testimony that seldom, if ever, have I seen, or heard, of a city finer, more regularly laid out, and generally more complete (on paper) than this very one. That is, save it be those others erected in teh same easy, inexpensive and expeditious manner in Jackson county, at Far-West and Adam-Ondi-Ahman, MO., and one or two besides in Utopia.

Not though, that the actual city was ever was compararble to the ideal. Such things are never so, as it were. In this particular case the prophecy was all right, and it was only the fulfillment that was at fault. That is, the Prince of Evil


Jut then. Or, the "Safety Society Bank" failed in an evil hour, and in consequence the revelator President and Cashier, finding the mid-winter climate all too torrid for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, fled between two days never to return, and so the city failed to materialize into brick and stone and wood. But, as for the site and ruins thereof, they lie some sine miles southwest of Painesville, and a short three miles south of Mentor or Willoughby on the Lake Shore railroad. The exact town is on the bottom and adjacent cliffs, or clay banks, of the east branch of the Chagrin river and is a seedy and unsightly settlement of some fifty houses. The revealed plan was to fulfill prophecy by humbling these hills and exalting these valleys with pick and shovel, but the grand and final skedaddle too soon ensuing, the prediction remains unfulfilled to this day. Though by the hundred the cheap mushroom growths of 1830-7 have disappeared, several of the old-time dwellings still survive. Notably the ancient brick tavern where the Saints of both low and high degree were wont to solace themselves with generous [quantities] of inebriating [fluids].

All accounts derived from the lips of such of their neighbors as still survive agree that the early elders in every point relating to morality (that is, immorality,) fully equaled, if they did not even surpass, their extant peers and successors. Smoke houses and hen roosts could never be left unlocked with impunity. Their penchant for


Was immense, but for making payment they had no gift. With faith and zeal enough easily to cast out devils and raise the dead, not Wilkins Micawber's purse was in such a state of perpetual collapse. Do what they would, they could not milk the Gentiles fast enough. Columns could easily be filled with well authenticated accounts of the large liberties they took with the Ten Commandments one and all. In fact, the moral law appears to have been as good as null and void on those four square miles lying adjacent to the Temple, and the Saints would seem to have lived under a "higher law" as they do today; that is, each one was a law unto himself.

But the Temple dedicated in 1836 still stands, and is the chief reminder of Kirtland's halcyon days. After a long period of eclipse, during which it was desecrated and despoiled with a high hand, the elements stained and scarred its walls, and within it sheep and cattle sought refuge from frost and storm. It seems likely now to again rise and shone. I learned that


Named brick as the material chosen of heaven for the walls of the sanctuary, but that when several abortive attempts had been made to manufacture a fit article, a supplementary communication allowed stone to be substituted. Upon this an uncircumcised Gentile inquired if "the Lord" didn't know before hand that Kirtland clay was no good, and the prophet with a sly wink and a hearty laugh declared that the revelation was good enough at any rate, since the building was done and dedicated! Here the Pentecost of 1836 was poured out as the buckets of wine went round among the elders day and night. Here were shed forth the great and glorious endowments, while white robed angels flapped their wings and gave snatches of celestial melody (so they say), and while up in the attic the brethren were wont of winters to wrestle with the four R's against great odds, and delve deep in the mysteries of Hebrew grammar.

But when in 1838, chasing that ignus fatuous, "the Kingdom," such as did not leave the church disgusted, took their journey to Missouri, to Illinois and finally to Utah. The temple erected at such ruinous cost was left deserted, and for forty years tehre was none to shield it from vandal hands. But four years ago the hearts of the Josephite remnant returned to it once more; the work of repair was undertaken within and without, and to-day not a little of the former comliness is again to be seen. There is some talk of making Kirtland once more the center stake; of opening a school in the upper chambers as of old, and which shall in due time blossom into a university! It seems it was prophesied that the waste places should be restored, and so the Reorganized are quietly buying up lots and a regathering to the


Of the Chagrin may at any time be looked for. On the 6th instant a few scores of delegates from widely separated places met in the temple to hold conference, to praise and pray and preach and prophesy, to tell of visions and healings, to give their testimony to the truth of this work, and with great joy and enthusiasm meditate on glories past and other greater glories to come to all who accept the mission of Joseph Smith, Jr., and walk in his footsteps, polygamy only excepted. It was evidently a gathering of well meaning and honest-hearted, if not wise-headed, people, and against whom the charge of bad citizenship would not be likely to hold.

One point further and I am done for this time. So much has been said against the life and character of the late lamented Brigham Young, and, I fear, too often with too much of truth, that a dark cloud rests upon his reputation. Especially did his marital relations seem to be badly mixed and left in a muddle. So much so, indeed, that no man knoweth just how many partners his patriarchal bosom possessed, and hence I fear that he is suspected and charged with more than the measure of his guilt. Therefore, as a lover of even weak and wicked humanity, I take pleasure in stating that I am able to prove that he had at least one legal wife. Here is the documentary evidfence which none can gainsay, and which I am sure you will be glad to put into print:

Records of the Probate Court of Geauga County, Ohio. License issued to Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angel to marry Feb. 10, 1834, by the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of Geauga County, Ohio.

Said parties were married March 31, 1834, by Sidney Rigdon at Kirtland, Ohio.     LEO.

Note: Compare the Tribune correspondent's 1887 visit to Conneaut with that of Ellen E. Dickenson, seven years earlier. She says: "The very spot where this [Solomon Spalding's] house once stood is pointed out -- a log cabin, containing some relics of New England comforts, and the best dwelling in the vicinity at the time.... There is no trace of this primitive homestead now, or of the earth-mound close to it; but there are many people living in Conneaut who remember both. Just below this locality, and close to the creek, was the foundry of the Spalding brothers and Mr. Henry Lake, which was so prosperous until the war of 1812 made its proprietors bankrupt."


Vol. XXXIII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, July 3, 1887.                   No. 68.


Three Letters from William Law on Mormonism.


The Nauvoo Hell -- Its Deviltries Touched Upon -- The Sort of
"Kingdom of God" Joseph Smith Fixed up for Himself -- A Plain Portrayal.

EDITOR TRIBUNE: -- Dr. Wyl, author of "Mormon Portraits," has made a study of Mormonism in its past and present; has so penetrated its secret machinations and wicked workings, and presented such an array of facts, that his book is the most valuable on the subject that has ever been published. If there are any errors they are only in dates, names and minor details, and of no importance to the history and the facts -- mistakes only of memory and small matters that affect nothing. It is to be remembered, however, that Dr. Wyl has not willfully misrepresented anything, but has good foundation even for incidents in which he cannot relate minutest particulars correctly. Considering the time that has elapsed since the history of this "peculiar people" began, the distant or obscure places where the acts were committed, the lying spirit of the fraud, and the character of the people, and the willful perversion of facts recorded by themselves in their own history of the "church," he has produced a wonderful work.

But Dr. Wyl continues the study of the system and produces new testimony, or rather old testimony from parties whom he has ferreted out, who kept themselves aloof from writers and interviewers. In his investigations he is presistent [sic] and cannot be bluffed or turned aside. His knowledge of human nature, is insight and foresight enable him to wind his way into the confidence of his subjects, and draw from them truths that they would otherwise unwillingly reveal.

By the merest accident, while Dr. Wyl was in Denver, preparing his second volume of "Mormon Portraits" he learned that Mr. William Law, whilom [sic - who was?] Jos. Smith's "counselor" in Nauvoo, is still alive, and practicing medicine in Wisconsin. Dr. Wyl set his wits to work on obtaining information from Mr. Law, and to have the pleasure of interviewing him. He wrote to the gentleman and received three letters in reply to his several letter of inquiry. Mr. Law absolutely refused to be interviewed. A fund of valuable, reliable testimony was elicited by this correspondence and subsequently by aid of the mediation of Mr. Law's son an interview was obtained containing the most interesting disclosures, and incidents in the life of Mormonism in Nauvoo while Mr. Law resided there.

We give below a copy of three letters received by Dr. Wyl fro Dr. William Law, in which will be seen the honesty, truthfulness and sincerity of the writer, and that he feels it an eternal disgrace to be mentioned even that he lived among such an infamous community, although opposing their diabolical teachings and corrupt practices. The old gentleman is exceedingly sensitive and really condemns himself for his innocent weakness. In being once with such a treasonable, wicked crew, running under the name of religion.


SHULLSBURG, Wis., Jan. 7, 1887.
Dr. W. Wyl:-- Dear Sir: I received yours of the 24th ult. also your book. Please accept thanks. I have not been well for three or four weeks, hence delay answering. You say it is very important to you to know, "if I am the Law who played such an important part in the Nauvoo events of 1843 and 1844." I am unfortunately the one. I cannot see how you are at all interested in my identity, for I assure you I have retired for ever from the Mormon controversy. When I left Nauvoo I left Mormonism behind, believing that I had done my part faithfully, even at the risk of my life, and believing. also, that the Expositor would continue to do the work it was intended to do. The Smiths thought they had killed it; whereas, by destroying the press, they gave it a new lease of life and extra power to overthrow them and drive their followers from the State. I have looked over your book, and am astonished at the amount of matter you have gathered together; it seems to me that you know at least ten times as much about Mormonism as I do, or ever did. I never resided with the Mormons as a people, only during my short stay in Nauvoo. I think that to have a thorough knowledge of any people it is necessary to live amongst them a considerable length of time. Before reading your book I had but very little knowledge of the family history of the Smiths or Rigdon; had never inquired into the particulars. After I left Nauvoo I did not care or trouble myself about them. I had no personal knowledge of the swindling and other wicked doing at Kirtland, nor did I know anything about the Missouri trouble; was told that their troubles in Ohio and Missouri all grew out of "religious persecution." I went from my home in Canada to Navuoo and found a very poor, but industrious people; they appeared to be moral and religiously disposed; the Smiths and others preached morality and brotherly kindness every Sunday. I saw nothing wrong until after the city charter was obtained. A change was soon apparent; the laws of the country were set at defiance and although outwardly everything was smooth, the under current was most vile and obnoxious. Time revealed to me and to many others much that we had not even suspected. We were kept in the dark as long as possible and held up before the public as examples of the Mormon people. Well, you know what followed. I believe you have endeavored to give a true account or history of the Mormons and Mormonism and I think you have succeeded wonderfully well. Your informants, however, may, now and then, have drawn a little on their imagination, may have reached false conclusions in some instances judged from circumstances and not from facts; doing injustice, perhaps, to the innocent. Where testimony conflicts it is sometimes very difficult to form conclusions. Mormon history is rather a mixed up affair. I would call your attention to one or two little mistakes concerning myself. You say I was a general in the Nauvoo legion. I never was, never held a commission of any kind in it. I sometimes (by request) assisted in drilling the men. having a little knowledge of military tactics. My Brother Wilson held a general's commission from Governor Carlin. My brother was not a Mormon. On page 108 you speak of "swapping wives," and state that you have it from one who knows. Now let me say to you that I never heard of it till I read it in your book. Your informant must have been deceived or willfully lied to you. Joseph Smith never proposed anything of the kind to me or to my wife; both he and Emma knew our sentiments in relation to spiritual wives and polygamy; knew that we were immoveably opposed to polygamy in any and every form; that we were so subsequent events proved. The story may have grown out of the fact that Joseph offered to furnish his wife, Emma, with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in her house and to be well treated, etc.

The great mistake of my [life was my] having anything to do with Mormonism. I feel [it to] be a deep disgrace and never speak of it when I can avoid it; for over forty years I have been almost entirely silent on the subject and will so continue after his. Accept my kind regards.

                               Wm. Law.
In the foregoing it will be seen that Mr. Law was innocent of the many evils that existed in Nauvoo, hence he can tell but little, but that little is true and of value; and being unsuspecting in disposition he does not pretend to know all, but what he knew he knew. He believed for years the "priesthood" tales of persecution, without inquiring or questioning. On "exchange of wives" he was not fully informed, but there is abundant testimony that it was practiced there frequently.

His remarks on the Nauvoo Charter are in consonance with the whole history, spirit and purpose of Mormonism, and it is valuable at the present time when the "Church" and its "heads" are clamoring for Statehood. Let the words of Dr. Law, which are the expression of his experience forty-four years ago, be kept in memory: "I saw nothing wrong until after the City Charter was obtained. A change was soon apparent, the laws of the country were set at defiance, and although outwardly everything was smooth, the undercurrent was vile and obnoxious. Time revealed to me and many others much that we had not suspected." etc. Let our Gentile friends fast read and ponder, and our fellow citizens in Utah be prepared to avert the fearful evil and its consequences of Statehood in Utah as present.

We can see now more clearly as we have seen all along, that Joseph Smith withdrew his proffer to give Emma a "substitute", for it is so stated between the lines in the pseudo "revelation" on polygamy and all corroborative of Dr. Law's Testimony.

Sidney Rigdon "was a disappointed man" indeed! He, the originator of the fraud, the manipulator of Spalding's story into the "Book of Mormon," a visionary and speculator on the teachings and prophecies of Scripture, aspired to be a Church founder and a leader, as were the Campbells, and he used young Joseph Smith, the peep-stone fellow, for that end, but Joe liked the ruse, like the honor himself and kept Sidney back as well as he could. Sidney now and then appeared as the "head," as when he washed Joe's feet in imitation of Jesus washing his followers' feet. Sidney, the originator of Mormonism "was disappointed."


SHULLSBURG, La Fayette Co., Wis. Jan. 20, 1887.
Dr. W. Wyl: Sir: I duly received yours of the 12th inst. I now reply: in looking over your book again. I remain of the opinion that your knowledge of Mormonism or the leaders of it is very extensive and as I said before, far greater than mine. I admit also, that the work may do some good in the world; and yet to me it brings humiliation, deep mortification and pain. The case stands like this: in your book you give a most appalling, black and horrible history (true, no doubt) of the Smiths. Rigdon and many others, leaders and members of the organization, show them guilty of almost every form of crime and abomination, murderers, robbers, thieves, swindlers, perjurers, fornicators, adulterers, polygamists denying the laws of God and man, a people not fit to live with or to associate with in any way. And then you go on to speak of different individuals, amongst them Wilson law and William Law as generals in the Nauvoo Legion, and that William Law also held the office of "vice-president" of the Church. You say, however, that the Laws were a "pretty good kind of men," and "would not be forced to prostitute their wives and daughters" etc. For this admission I thank you. Now see how this looks before the world! Associated with; residing with and doing business among such fiends, no matter how we endeavored to redeem ourselves, how we risked our lives and sacrificed our property, the world will only see the dark side that is given, for somehow it is natural for most people to see the faults and errors of their fellow beings, rather than the good that may be in them. For more than forty years I have kept Mormonism and all my past connected with it, out of my mind, and away from my friends and acquaintances so far as possible. Have never read any of the books published about the Mormons; never read Bennett's book, have kept no papers published in Nauvoo; haven't a scrap of any kind; the only number of the Expositor I had, some one carried off. My wife (at an early day) burned up the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. She said no Mormon work could find a place in her house. We have lived down a great measure the disgrace following our unfortunate association with the Mormons. We committed a great error, but no crime, This is my consolation, that we only erred in judgment.

I said that in your book you spoke rather favorably of my brother and myself; of my wife, however, your remarks were far from flattering. She, were she living, would consider them insulting. You said she was much "admired and desired" by Smith; that Smith admired and lusted after many men's wives and daughters, is a fact, no doubt; but they could not help that. They or most of them considered his admiration an insult, and treated him with scorn. In return for this scorn, he generally managed to blacken their reputations -- see the case of your friend, Mrs. Pratt, a good, virtuous woman. I will now take the trouble of showing you just how my wife and Joe Smith stood toward each other. Sometime in 1843 (I think), he ordered the Twelve to meet, and cut off from the Church William Law and his wife, also Dr. Foster, and to publish it in he Times and Seasons at once. They did so. A few days after I saw the notice in the paper, I think it was the same day, met Elder John Taylor and remarked to him: You have been cutting off my wife and me from the Church. I asked him what the charges were, and who had made them. He said: "Brother Joseph ordered you cut off." He said further that Joseph had known for a long time that we were apostates, and further that my wife had been speaking evil of him for a long time; he had found it out, said she had slandered him, had lied about him without cause. I said: "Elder Taylor, my wife would not speak evil of yourself or anyone else without good cause. Joseph is the liar and not she, and as to the cutting off, it is illegal and contrary to the laws of the Church to cut off or condemn without a trial, simply by the command of a base tyrant, but you can tell His Majesty that we withdrew from the Church months ago; so his cutting off comes too late." My wife is dead over four years, and a truer, purer, more faithful wife never lived. My brother Wilson is also dead, these ten years. He stood by me in all my troubles at Nauvoo, risking his life, defying the "Destroying Angels" and all the rest of them. You would not wonder then that the reputation and memory of such a wife and such a brother, should be as dear to me as life itself.

You asked me if the Expositor continued? No. When I spoke of its work continuing. I meant that its destruction gave it a new life and power to destroy its destroyers. For it was the chief factor in bringing about the death of the Smiths, and the expulsion of the Mormons from the State of Illinois. As to Emma's deathbed declaration, it was like her life, FALSE. If she ever had any good in her, Smith so demoralized her, that she had none left. Anything for money and power and gratification while she lived, and the same to her sons after her. She and the Smiths, as many as I knew, were infidels, if not atheists, at least I believe so.

As to the history of Joseph Smith, I have but little to add to your knowledge of him. One trait was his jealousy of his friends, lest any of them should be esteemed before him in the eyes of the Church or of the public. He would destroy his best friend for the sake of a few hundred dollars. It was his policy to get away with a man's money, first, because he wanted it, and second, because he believed that in getting a man's money he deprived him of power and position, and left him in a measure helpless and dependent. He was a tyrant; self-exaltation and gratification of his grosser passions with an entire disregard of others rights. And of all morality, led to his destruction at last. Hyrum Smith was as evil as Joseph, but with less ability; he had, I think a little more caution. Joseph had a wonderful memory. Hyrum was short in that; was a very poor public talker, but a pretty good secret worker. Sidney Rigdon was very close. I could never fairly understand him. While I knew him he appeared like a disappointed man, very retired in his ways. He professed to be a great Biblical historian; he was an eloquent preacher. I can hardly think he intended to be a bad man; would be leader if he could. Bennett was a scoundrel, but very smart. I never became closely acquainted with him. Joseph thought he was using him, and he was using Joseph. They were a bad pair. Bennett wrote out the Nauvoo charter and was perhaps the one who got it granted. It was a wonderful charter; gave too much power; it was a curse to the Mormons. The Higbee boys (or young men) were strong supporters of the Smiths until the death of their father; after that event they became bitter enemies; it was whispered that heir father had been foully dealt by, the Smiths being the cause; I never knew the facts; I believe the boys meant to do right.

Dr. Foster was an Englishman, a fine surgeon and a wholehearted man, when I knew him. He was zealous in the cause, until he found out the wickedness of the Smiths and other leaders. He stood by me faithfully throughout our troubles, left Nauvoo with me and remained near me for more than a year, his family and mine being close friends. He afterwards moved south and I lost track of him. I never knew much of Orson Pratt, as he was off on missions most of the time that I was in Nauvoo. Brigham Young was a deep, quiet, wicked man; kept his thoughts mostly to himself; I never understood him. John D. Lee was a leader in the Danite band; I knew but little of him.

I cannot think of anything that you do not know already. For forty-five years I have kept from thinking (as far as I could) of my horrible experiences in Nauvoo; the dangers through which my family and myself and my brother passed; the disgrace attached to our names, on account of our association with such a gang. Consequently I have forgotten many things that I once knew; cannot bring them to my mind and it is exceedingly painful to me to try to remember anything connected with Mormonism; you must therefore be content with the effort that I have made; with what little information I have given you. I do not wish to be discourteous; but I cannot be interviewed. I have denied many others and must deny you. I trust you will not be offended, I am now in my 78th year and these things annoy me very much. I wish to pass the remainder of my life in quiet, in peace if I can. Since my wife's death I have been very lonesome and unhappy; while she lived I got along very well. I have prospered very much, notwithstanding Joseph's curse; I have done a large medical practice -- think I have been fairly successful; am retiring from it as fast as I can.

I will say now, that were you here I could not give you any more information than I have already given. We will therefore drop the matter just here. Wishing you success.

                        I am yours,     Wm. Law.
In this letter he keenly feels the disgrace of his association with the Mormon fraud. His sensitiveness makes him unjustly condemn himself. But no honorable person will so apply [a] stigma to him. The theory of the Mormon "religion" is calculated to deceive the masses; it is the practical part, the hidden mysteries and treasonable purposes of the institution that are so mischievons [sic]; and when a man drawn by false pretense, and pious presumption into such a vortex of iniquity, rids himself of its pollution, and manfully opposes its arrogance; he is to be praised rather than censured.

Mr. Law shows the low cunning of the Church in making a virtue of "cutting off" members who withdraw, in order that the Church may hold up its hands in hold horror at sin, and try to blacken the character of people much their superior in morals, intellect and disposition. The same "dodge" is carried on still, but the public see through the little farce. Mormonism has learned nothing during its infamous history, and is no better now than when it ordered United States troops out of the Territory, and the spirit of its teachings led to murder at Mountain Meadows and many other places. Mr. Law shows that the Nauvoo City charter was a curse to the "Saints" -- it gave them political power, as it would be a dreadful curse to Utah, and to none so much as to the Mormons, to bestow Statehood now on a rebellious community hiding from, or protecting those who hide from, or protecting those who hide from the consequences of persistent law-breaking.

With what discrimination and truthfulness does he describe the persons alluded to in his letters. And yet the "half is not told," and never will be until eternity discloses the acts and infidelity and deception of the "church" if eternity will ever do it.


SHULLSBURG, Wis., January 27, 1887.
Dr. W. Wyl: -- Dear Sir: Have just received your very kind letter and hasten to thank you for the good will expressed therein. I suppose you will have left Denver when this reaches that place. Years ago, soon after I left Nauvoo I was annoyed very frequently by receiving letters from parties asking for interviews and items about Nauvoo and the Mormons. I got tired of it all and said that no man or woman should ever interview me on that subject, and none ever shall. I am heartily sick of it all. I wish you all the success you can desire and think you must admit that I have done pretty well by you, and I wish you to believe me when I say that I have forgotten many things, which might be interesting. I cannot help it, would give you more information if I could. Will mention one item in relation to the Book of Mormon. You will find in the Book of Jacob (I think) a strong condemnation of polygamy. Read a little further and you will find; "If I the Lord will raise up a pure seed unto myself. I will command my people," or words to this effect. I have no Book of Mormon and may not quote correctly. This last passage opened a door for Joseph to command the priesthood to get all the wives they could and raise a pure seed to the Lord (I say to the Devil).

Young Joe Smith, President of the "Reorganized," is a "chip off the old block" and would be just as bad as his father if he had the ability. David Whitmer is a crank and always was and so was Martin Harris.

I shall say no more. I wish you God speed, and goodbye.

Yours,     Wm. Law
We can all sympathize with William Law, and thank him that even now his last words will vindicate him. The laws were honest, upright men; William was Joseph's counselor, and a prominent citizen, drawn into Mormonism by guile, their course was honorable, and their characters pure; they were held up as such by Smith and his associates, and were a source of pride to the "church." When, however, Mr. Law saw the immoral conduct of the leaders, learned their true purpose, and realized that their ambition was to subvert our republican principles, and make their adherents a brand of rebels, he and his friends withdrew from the unholy alliance like honest men. Joseph "cursed" him for effect, but -- he was not cursed. What though Smith tried to blacken his character and that of his wife? The church has always pursued that course; and does so to this day, to better men and women than the maligners ever were.

is latest testimony will do much to inform the country as to the beliefs -- falsely called religious -- designs and secret practices of the Mormon system to blind the eyes of American citizens, destroy our Republican Institutions under the guise of religion, and to build up the most tyrannic theocracy the world has ever seen, or fanatical and corrupt minds ever imagined.

We are authorized to state that Dr. Wyl went to Shullsburg, Wisconsin, and succeeded in having an interview with the good man, William Law. He first visited Judge Law, his son, and by his mediation was introduced to the father. Dr. Wyl assures us that he secured such points and facts as put into the shade everything that has hitherto been published -- facts showing the infamous history of the people of Nauvoo, during the reign of the Smiths and their apostles. We are promised the report of the interview which occupies fifty pages in the writer's journal.   INVESTIGATOR.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIII.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, July 31, 1887.                   No. ?


Elsewhere in this impression will be seen an interview between Wm. Law and Dr. Wyl. Of course THE TRIBUNE cannot vouch for the truth of the statements of Mr. Law; but he was for a long time First Counselor to JOSEPH SMITH; he was better loved than almost any other man by the Mormons; it seems he is now reverenced by his neighbors as one of the most loveable of men. He broke with the SMITHS when he found what a measureless and wicked fraud he had become involved in; he started a newspaper in Nauvoo to expose that fraud, but it, with the office, was destroyed by a mob shortly after the first edition was printed. Men here whose honesty no one doubts, vouch for the perfect truthfulness and superior abilities of the man. The career of JOSEPH SMITH, as portrayed in this interview, is something fearful when we consider that he pretended to be an oracle of God; but it was practically repeated in this valley. How a delusion so awful can continue to hold in thralldom the minds of men in other ways sensible, is one of the marvels of the age. A creed founded on fraud and enforced by assassination, here in this free country is most strange. That any pure woman was ever persuaded to accept its cruelties is only accountable on the theory that some women delight in sacrifice, if thereby they imagine that they are serving God. How any Government with all the accumulating proof can sill regard this as a religion and entrust with political power the men who entertained it, is beyond all comprehension. To Gentiles of Utah this story of JOSEPH SMITH'S life and ways in Nauvoo; the patching of one revelation to make it in accord with another; the preying upon women; the financial dishonor; the treachery in politics; the means resorted to to silence enemies; they have seen all this paralleled right here, and yet have seen the chief instrument in all the filth and wickedness worshipped as a god. If it was possible here why was it not in Nauvoo? It seems to us there is no remedy for the hallucination except to strike all power from this creed, and all men who believe in it, and then compel the children to attend school and to study mathematics and the other exact sciences, until their eyes shall be opened. The reference to the wife of JOSEPH SMITH clears up much which has always been obscure. Had she been all that the Saints here pictured her to be, her course could only be explained on the theory of woman's devotion. If she and her husband were working in accord to delude the rabble, then the whole thing is plain, because a vicious woman is more vicious than a vicious man. If she knew that another man had to make good the sums belonging to others that her husband had spent, and felt neither sorrow nor remorse, then she was bad clear through. If all SMITH'S property was in her name, then she was bad clear through. A man may secure his wife a homestead; if, when rich, he puts all his property in her name, it means he has acquired his means dishonestly, or is meditating a steal.


A Deeply Interesting Talk on Old Nauvoo Days.


Political Chicanery, Trickery, Deceit and Murder -- Licentiousness and Fraud -- Drunkeness and Avariciousness -- Robbing Men of Their Money to Make Them Submissive -- An Unprecedented Interview.

EDITOR TRIBUNE:-- In your issue of July 3rd, by your courtesy, we gave a copy each of three letters from William Law, once one of the "heads" of the Mormon "Church," to Dr. W. Wyl. Those letters spoke for themselves as from a truthful, conscientious and intelligent man, still suffering in his feelings from his former connection with the religious and political fraud, Mormonism. In the remarks accompanying the letters, in your paper, we stated that Dr. Wyl had succeeded in obtaining an interview with the venerable Dr. Law -- a privilege never accorded to any interviewer before, and we said that it would be furnished ere long for the information and study of your many readers.

In perusing this interview we are impressed with the goodness of heart, the honestly of purpose, the hatred of imposition under guise of religion and politics, and the remorse of soul in being caught in the meshes of such a corrupt and deceitful class of religious adventurers and speculators, displayed by the good old man; and we see, as well, the innocent, unsuspicious and confiding gentleman and Christian becoming a dupe in the system by the pretension and sophistical arguments of the delusion. Many fearful deeds and horrible acts were perpetrated in Nauvoo, of which he knew nothing, and only whisperings and innuendoes caught his ear of many of the dark plots and secrets. But when their trickery and treason became so bold and daring his eyes with those of many other good men and women, were opened and they saw more and more that shocked their sensibilities and they exposed the hypocrisy and schemes of the unholy priesthood. Like an honest man, that had the courage of his convictions, he dared to beard the lions in their dens, dared to speak out, and try to counteract the designs of the leaders. His statement of the false revelation on polygamy is interesting as showing how it was tinkered up afterwards to make it more plausible, and, also, that as in many of the so-called revelations of that church many alterations were effected to deceive the credulous and uncritical. Poor innocent Mr. Law thought that Joe Smith would repudiate the document and pronounce it false, but the dear Mrs. Law knew more of Joe's falsity, impure teachings and practices than did the man, and she said at once that the false prophet would declare it was from God.

The low cunning and deceit of Joe and Hyrum Smith--par nobile fratrum!!--on the political question is well exposed by their dragging in their God to father their little schemes. Let the reader notice well how the brothers


Both political parties to their selfish end. Joe's nefarious ending of the presumption and double dealing is a study of itself that all those who sympathize with Mormon politics under the mask of "rights" would do well to consider. It is no better now, and would be no better hereafter -- Mormonism never learns or improves. It is well-known that the heads and feet of the Mormon Church pose and pretend that they are Democrats, but if both houses of Congress were largely Republican the Mormons would be Republican too, to gain an end, especially Statehood. This is proved beyond contradiction to be true by the fact that both "apostle" Geo. A. Smith and "apostle" Geo. Q. Cannon, representing the "church" by Brigham's revelation were sent to and presented themselves as Republicans delegates at the great Republican convention held a few years ago in Philadelphia -- they were rejected, however, and the American gentleman and patriot, Judge McKean with another were accepted; and from the other fact that Geo. Q. Cannon, as Delegate from Utah appeared upon the Records of Congress as Democrat and as Republican in two different terms. Legislators, Americans, be not deceived by the apostles or prophets of Mormonism either in politics or religion.

The testimony of Dr. Law is a fearful arraignment of Emma, Joe's wife, but it is in accordance with other facts well known to many here, and it ought to be a matter for the better class of Mormons, the Josephites, to reflect upon -- false, false, all false, the words and testimony she gave.

The ostracism that characterizes Mormonism here existed in Nauvoo, and ever will with its leaders -- like Ishmael, "their hand is against every man, and every man's hand is against them." But we hope that this expose of the whole treasonable and deceitful theocratico-politico government which not only threatens our liberties here but would sap the foundation of all just democratic government, will enable some of our Mormon neighbors and Gentile sympathizers to diagnosis the disease that affects the body politic.

But I give at once the interview obtained by the intelligent, careful and persistent Dr. Wyl with the honest, truthful and good-hearted Dr. Law. Let our readers ponder it carefully -- it is worth more than gold:

Interview with Wm. Law. Mch. 30, 1887

Dr. William Law lives with his son, Judge "Tommy" Law. The house is a fine cottage, large, well-kept grounds surround it. We entered a cheerful looking room and there sat William Law, dressed in black, a most venerable looking figure. The head has a striking expression of intelligence, the large clear eyes are of a remarkably deep steel blue; the general impression is that of a thinker, of a benevolent and just man. He greeted me in a fatherly way. I expressed my joy at seeing at last so important a witness of a history, to whose study I had devoted two years.

I sat down near the venerable figure. I hesitated to put any question to him, but he made my task easy by saying: "You speak, in your book, of Joseph Smith having sent Rockwell to kill Governor Boggs. Let me tell you, that Joe Smith, told me the fact himself. The words were substantially like this, "I sent Rockwell to kill Boggs, but he missed him, it was a failure; he wounded him instead of sending him to Hell."

This beginning gave me some courage and I began the pumping business, in a cautious way, though, that I might not frighten my subject. I had put down in my note book a score of questions or so. So I glanced over them now and then, stealthily, and ventured this or that question, waiting till the good doctor would get warm in the recollections of the past. This happened soon and then I could ask with more liberty.

"What position had Rockwell in Joseph's house?"

"Rockwell was the lackey of the house. He used to comb and shave Joseph, blackened his boots and drove his carriage. He would have done anything Joe wanted him to do. I never saw a horse or carriage belonging to Rockwell which you say he got from Joseph for the attempt to kill Boggs."

The reader will easily understand that I had particular reasons to ask about the Expositor, Wm. Law being the only surviving publisher and editor of that celebrated sheet, born and killed June 7th, 1844. So I began:

"I suppose that you originated the Expositor, Doctor Law?"

"Yes, I originated the idea to publish that paper. I had friends in many parts of the country. They knew that I had become a member of the Mormon religion. I wanted to show them, by publishing the paper, that I had not been in a fraud willingly (here the old man's eyes filled with tears and his voice trembled). I started the idea, and my brother, Wilson, stood to me like a brother should. I don't remember whether it was I, or not, who gave the name "Expositor." But I and my brother, we gave the money, about $2000. I gave the biggest part. The Higbees etc., had scarcely a dollar in it."

"You were well off at that time. Dr. Law?"

"We had property to the amount of about $30,000, which was a good deal in those days. We had farms in Nauvoo, city lots and our residences. My brother had a fine brick two story building. By starting the Expositor we lost nearly everything."

"Didn't you have a store and a mill?"

"Yes, we had a large steam flour and saw mill and a store. It would have been the smart thing to do, to remain quiet, sell our property without noise for what we could get and move away. That would have been smart, but I wasn't cool and smart then. I wanted to do my duty and nothing else, and didn't care for the consequences, not a bit. Many friends advised me to be smart and remain quiet, but I would not hear of it and spoke my mind whenever an opportunity offered. When the Smiths saw that we were against them, then they applied to us their usual system, that is, to freeze us out. Secret orders went out that nobody could buy property without the permission of Joseph Smith, Hyrum or the authorities, as they called them, so our property was practically worthless. Yes, my brother Wilson stood to me like a man, fully, fearlessly. He died, here in Shullsburgh, of a stroke of apoplexy, after an illness of three days, ten years ago. He was a very fine and tremendously strong man. He wrestled with Joe in Nauvoo and threw him on his back."

"How did you become a Mormon, Doctor?"

"John Taylor and Almon W. Babbitt came as missionaries to Canada and preached where I lived, twenty-five miles south of Toronto. I believe that Taylor was sincere then and I believe he was to a late day. Finally the greed of power and money killed his conscience. There was, now and then, a good man in Mormondom, for instance Wm. Marks. He was a very good man and knew as little of the secret crimes of the leaders as I knew myself."

"The letters you wrote me, made me suppose that the Smiths tried to kill you when they saw an enemy in you?"

"They tried to get rid of me in different ways. One was by poisoning. I was already out of the church when Hyrum called one day and invited me for the next day to a reconciliation dinner as he called it, to his house. He said Joseph would come, too. He invited me and my wife. He was very urgent about the matter, but I declined the invitation. Now I must tell you that I, in those dangerous days, did not neglect to look out somewhat for the safety of my person and that I kept a detective or two among those who were in the confidence of the Smiths. That very same evening of the day on which Hyrum had been to my house inviting me, my detective told me that they had conceived the plan to poison me at the reconciliation dinner. Their object was a double one. My going to the dinner would have shown to the people that I was reconciled and my death would have freed them of an enemy. You may imagine that I didn't regret having declined that amiable invitation."

"Have you had any knowledge of cases of poisoning in Nauvoo, ordered by the authorities?"

"I know that several men, six or seven, died under very suspicious circumstances. Among them were two secretaries of the prophet, Mulholland and Blaskel Thompson. I saw Mulholland die and the symptoms looked very suspicious to me. Dr. Foster, who was a very good physician, believed firmly that those six or seven men had been poisoned, and told me so repeatedly."

"What may have been the reason for poisoning the secretaries?"

(With a smile) "They knew too much, probably."

"What do you know about the Danites?"

"Nothing of my personal knowledge. They existed, but their workings were kept very secret. I never belonged to the initiated. Smith tried very hard to get them to kill me. One day my detective told me, that two Danites had gone to Joseph and told him that they wanted to put me out of the way. Joseph said: "Don't -- he (Law) is too influential; his death would bring the country down upon us; wait." Later when I was thoroughly aware of my danger, they tried in all manners to use me up and had Danites all day and night after me, but I looked out and kept myself safe. Whatever there was of crime in Nauvoo, was kept secret. On the outside everything looked nice and smooth. There were lots of strangers every Sunday as visitors and then the best speakers were put on the stand as samples of the fruits of this fine religion."

"Did Emma, the elect lady, come to your house and complain about Joseph?"

"No. She never came to my house for that purpose. But I met her sometimes on the street and then she used to complain, especially because of the girls whom Joseph kept in the house, devoting his attention to them. You have overrated her, she was dishonest."

"Do you mean to say that she was so outside of the influence Joseph had over her?"

"Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Let me tell you a case, that will be full proof to you. Soon after my arrive in Nauvoo the two L[awrence] girls came to the holy city, two very young girls, 15 to 17 years of age. They had been converted in Canada, were orphans and worth about $8000 in English gold. Joseph got to be appointed their Guardian, probably with the help of Dr. Bennett. He naturally put the gold in his pocket and had the Girls sealed to him. He asked me to go on his bond as a guardian, as Sidney Rigdon had done. "It is only a formality," he said. Foolishly enough, and not yet suspecting anything, I put my name on the paper. Emma complained about Joseph's living with the L[awrence] girls, but not very violently. It is my conviction that she was his full accomplice, that she was not a bit better than he. When I saw how things went I should have taken steps to be released of that bond, but I never thought of it. After Joseph's death, A. W. Babbitt became guardian of the two girls. He asked Emma for a settlement about the $8000. Emma said she had nothing to do with her husband's debts. Now Babbitt asked for the books and she gave them to him. Babbitt found that Joseph had counted an expense of about $3000 for board and clothing of the girls. Now Babbitt wanted the $5000 that was to be paid Babbitt, who was a straight, good, honest, sincere man, set about to find out property to pay the $5000 with. He could find none. Two splendid farms near Nauvoo, a big brick house, worth from $3000 to $4000, the hotel kept by Joe, a mass of vacant town lots, all were in Emma's name, not transferred later, but transferred from the beginning. She always looked out for her part. When I saw how things stood I wrote to Babbitt to take hold of all the property left by me in Nauvoo and of all claims held by me again in people in Nauvoo. And so the debt was paid by me -- Emma didn't pay a cent." [Image] We had chatted about an hour when Dr. Law said that he felt a little tired. I kept silent for a few minutes. The old gentleman rallied very soon, and began to speak without being questioned.

"I told you that the Smiths tried to poison me. When Joseph saw that I had no great appetite for reconciliation dinners, he tried with the Indians. The plan was, that somebody should use me up who was not openly connected with the church, he was yet afraid of the people because of my influence. Later he would have killed me without any regard. One day about one hundred redskins came to town and twenty or thirty were sent to my house. We tried to get rid of them, but could not and we saw clearly that they had a dark plan for the night. But we had to keep them, gave them blankets and they were all night in our hall. Wilson Law, I and some friends, though, kept good watch all night, with barricaded windows and doors and guns and pistols ready."

"You have known the parents of the prophet, old Lucy and old Joe, the Abraham of this new dispensation?"

"Oh, yes, I knew them. Old Lucy was in her dotage at that time; she seemed a harmless old woman. Old Joe sold blessings, so much a head, always in the same style -- that my sons should be emperors and my daughters mothers of queens, and that everybody should have as many children as there was sands on the shore. Old Joe was an old tramp."

"How about Dr. Bennett?"

"Bennett was very smart and clever, but a thorough scoundrel. Never could find out the reason of his downfall. Mrs. Pratt was a most excellent, pure woman, but the fact that Bennett visited her sometimes, was used by Joseph to ruin her character. He had his spies everywhere, and if a woman refused him, he sent his fellows out to whisper stories around abouther."

"What do you remember about Emma's relations to the revelation on celestial marriage?"

"Well, I told you that she used to complain to me about Joseph's escapades whenever she met me on the street. She spoke repeatedly about that pretended revelation. She said once: "The revelation says I must submit or be destroyed. Well, I guess I have to submit." On another day she said: "Joe and I have settled our troubles on the basis of equal rights." * * * Emma was a full accomplice of Joseph's crimes. She was a large, coarse woman, as deep a woman as there was, always full of schemes and smooth as oil. They were worthy of each other, she was not a particle better than he."

"You think that Joseph was an infidel?"

"Yes, that he was I have not the slightest doubt. What proofs have I? Well, my general and intimate knowledge of his character. And is it possible that a man who ascribes all kinds of impudent lies to the Lord, could have been anything else but an infidel?"

"Did you ever see the celebrated peepstone?"

"No. I never saw it and I never saw Joseph giving a revelation. But Hyrum told me once that Joseph, in his younger years, used to hunt for hidden treasures with a peepstone."

"Was Joseph a habitual drunkard?"

"I don't believe he was. I only saw him drunk once. I found Joseph and Hyrum at a place where they kept quantities of wine. I remember that Joseph drank heavily, and that I talked to Hyrum begging him to take his brother away, but that was the only time I saw the prophet drunk."

"Have you ever heard of the old woman that was drowned in the interest of the church?"

"I have heard of a woman being put aside. They said she had been brought over the river and buried on an island near the shore or on the other shore, near the water. But at that time I did not believe a word of rumors of this kind, and did not investigate them."

"Did you ever hear of abortion being practiced in Nauvoo?"

"Yes. There was some talk about Joseph getting no issue from all the women he had intercourse with. Dr. Foster spoke to me about the fact. But I don't remember what was told about abortion. If I heard things of the kind, I didn't believe in them at that time. Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this."

"What do you know about robbery being practiced for the benefit of the church?"

"That sort of business was kept very secret. Hyrum had once a very fine, bran [sic] new blue suit, and people told me the suit was the produce of the spoils of the Gentiles. I have no doubt, that Hyrum played an important role in this department of church affairs. I think I can prove it. There was one day a "little council" called in Hyrum's office, and I was invited to come. Joseph called at my house and took me to the little council. Eight or ten were present, all leaders in the church. Hyrum made a long argument -- said he: "The Missourians have robbed, plundered and murdered our people. We should take our revenge on them as thoroughly as possible, and regain what we have lost in Missouri. The simplest way would be if our people would go to Missouri and buy their horses and cattle on credit and then not pay for them; and our merchants would go to St Louis and take their large quantities of goods on credit and then, when the notes became due, simply not pay them; our people always go there and pay for everything. That's foolish, very foolish, but it is just the thing that, for instance, Brother Law is doing. He has paid thousands of dollars there; but get all these things from them for nothing, horses, cattle and goods, that would help the people wonderfully. Our merchants should transfer all they have -- not only their stock in trade, but their lots, houses and farms, too; to their wives and friends in general, so that the creditors could not get a cent out of them." Some of those present applauded the proposition, and said that would be only fair. I said nothing. Then somebody said: Brother Law has said nothing. I said: This seems to me not only wrong and unjust, but at the same time very ridiculous, because it is not practicable. You cannot buy horses and cattle on credit without having established a credit by long trading; and as to St. Louis, I was always of the opinion that the people there had been very good to the Mormons. So you would ruin your friends to injure your enemies, punish the innocent to hurt the guilty. The St. Louis merchants were surely not the men that persecuted you in Missouri. Hyrum got up, furious. ready to attack me. But Joseph rose and said: "I move that we adjourn this meeting. Brother Law has said his opinion, and that is all you wanted from him. Joseph went home with me and on the way he told me that he shared my views fully, and that I had exactly spoken his mind. He praised me very much for the justice and honesty of my views. 'I did not talk,' said he, 'since you took the very words from my lips.' I need not tell you, that this was diplomacy on Joseph's part, but Hyrum hated me from that moment, and never forgave me for what I had said at that little council. But Hyrum hated me for another reason."

"Was that in the robbery line, too?"

"No. That was from a political reason. It was because I opposed him in the dirty political trade he made with Hoge against Walker. Walker had bought Joseph's influence by declaring that the city charter of Nauvoo secured the habeas corpus. I stood by them when Joseph promised that he should have nine out of every ten Mormon votes. But Hyrum went to Galena to meet the Democratic convention there, and promised the support of the church to Mr. Hoge for a seat in Congress. Yes, General Hyrum Smith was to sit in Congress next year. Saturday came and I went to Hyrum and had a talk with him. He said he would tell the people to vote for Hoge, and I said I would oppose him on the stand. He made objections but finally had to consent to my speaking on the stand in this matter. When it came to the speaking in public Hyrum did all he could to obstruct me by putting longwinded speakers on the stand, one after the other, so that it was nearly dark when I got on the stand. Now, I showed the people how shamefully they had treated Mr. Walker, and I made such an impression that they began to shout for Mr. Walker. Then, Hyrum jumped on the stand and declared that he had a revelation from the Lord, that the people should vote for Mr. Hoge. This was Saturday. Sunday morning I went to Joseph and told him what Hyrum had done. We went over to the meeting and Joseph told Hyrum what I had said. Hyrum insisted that he had had a revelation. Oh, said Joseph, if this is a revelation, then it is all right, and he went on the stand and said to the people: 'My office is so high, that I could not think of bothering the Lord with political affairs. But brother Hyrum has had a revelation -- when the Lord speaks let the people obey.'"

"Had you ever some dramatic scene with Joseph about the difficulties between you and him?"

"He avoided me. But once I got hold of him in the street and told him in very plain terms what I thought of him. I said: 'You are a hypocrite and a vulgar scoundrel, you want to destroy me.' Instead of knocking me down, which he could have done very easily, being so much bigger and stronger than I, he went away hurriedly without uttering a single word."

"Were you in Nauvoo when the Expositor was destroyed?"

"No. I was in Carthage. There was a meeting at the court house, many people were present and it was considered what should be done regarding the Mormons. I think Stephen A. Douglas was present at the meeting. My friends urged me to come to Carthage with the press immediately. No conclusion was arrived at, however. The same evening we went home and when we came to Nauvoo we rode over our type, that was scattered in the street, and over our broken office furniture. The work of Joseph's agents had been very complete; it had been done bv a mob of about 200. The building, a new, pretty brick structure, had been perfectly gutted, not a bit had been left of anything."

"Had anything been prepared for a second number?"

"Yes, the inside of number two had been set up. Seeing what had been done, I my abode, for safety's sake, at my brother's. I left Nauvoo on a large new steam ferry-boat, which transported me, my family and my brother to Burlington, Iowa. While we had people packing our things in my house, we rode, my brother and I, through the city in an open carriage, to show that we were not afraid."

"Did yon ever see Joseph again after you left Nauvoo?"

"Only once. I saw him in Carthage at the trial. We spoke not to each other and he seemed greatly preoccupied. We left Nauvoo on the second day after the passing of the ordinance which put the press under the absolute will of Joseph and his creatures. This ordinance gave them power to imprison and fine us at liberty."

"What opinion have you of Governor Ford?"

"Ford made a good impression upon me; he was surely a good, straight man."

"What kind of a life did the prophet lead in Nauvoo?"

"Joseph lived in great plenty. He entertained his friends and had a right good time. He was a jolly fellow. I don't think that in his family tea and coffee were used, but they were served to the strangers when he entertained as tavern-keeper. At least, I suppose so. The Smiths had plenty of money. Why, when I came to Nauvoo I paid Hyrum $700 in gold for a barren lot and at that rate they sold any amount of lots after having got the land very cheap, to be sure. Their principle was to weaken a man in his purse, and in this way take power and influence from him. Weaken everybody, that was their motto. Joseph's maxim was, when you have taken all the money a fellow has got, you can do with him whatever you please."

"What became of Dr. Bennett?"

"The last thing I heard of him was that he went up the river with a large lot of fancy fowls, a speculation of his."

"What do you know about the revelation on polygamy?"

"The way I heard of it was that Hyrum gave it to me to read. I was never in a High Council where it was read, all stories to the contrary notwithstanding. Hyrum gave it to me in his office, told me to take it home and read it and then be careful with it and bring it back again. I took it home, and read it and showed it to my wife. She and I were just turned upside down by it; we did not know what to do. I said to my wife, that I would take it over to Joseph and ask him about it. I did not believe that he would acknowledge it, and I said so to my wife. But she was not of my opinion. She felt perfectly sure that he would father it. When I came to Joseph and showed him the paper, he said: 'Yes, that is a genuine revelation.' I said to the prophet: 'But in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants there is a revelation just the contrary of this.' 'Oh,' said Joseph, 'that was given when the church was in its infancy, then it was all right to feed the people on milk, but now it is necessary to give them strong meat' We talked a long time about it, finally our discussion became very hot and we gave it up. From that time on the breach between us became more open and more decided every day, after having been prepared for a long time. But the revelation gave the finishing touch to my doubts and showed me clearly that he was a rascal. I took the revelation back to my wife and told her that Joseph had acknowledged it. 'That is what I fully expected.' said she. 'What shall we do?' said I. She advised me to keep still, try to sell my property quietly for what I could get. But I did not follow her advice. My heart was burning. I wanted to tread upon the viper."

"You returned the revelation to Hyrum?"

"Yes, I did. I was astonished to see in your book that the revelation was such a long document. I remember DISTINCTLY that the original given me by Hyrum was MUCH SHORTER. It covered not more than two or three pages of foolscap. The contents are substantially the same, but there was not that theological introduction. The thing consisted simply in the command of doing it, and that command was restricted to the High Priesthood and to virgins and widows. But as to Joseph, himself, the Lord's chosen servant, it was restricted to virgins only, to clean vessels, from which to procure a pure seed to the Lord."

"In what manner would Joseph succeed to keep you and others from knowing what was going on behind the curtain?"

"Marks, Yves, I and some others had, for a long time, no idea of the depravity that was going on. This was simply the result of a very smart system adopted by the prophet and his intimate friends like Brigham Young, Kimball and others. They first tried a man to see whether they could make a criminal tool out of him. When they felt that he would not be the stuff to make a criminal of, they kept him outside the inner circle and used him to show him up as an example of their religion, as a good, virtuous, universally respected brother."

"Was Joseph a coward?"

"Yes, he was a coward and so was Hyrum. You see it already in the fact that when I attacked him on the street with most violent words, he did not dare to answer a word."

"How did the prophets dress?"

"Joe and Hyrum were always dressed well, generally in blue, sometimes in black. Joseph was a fine man, no doubt of it."

"How was it with Joseph's wrestling?"

"The forces of the prophet in this line have been exaggerated. My brother Wilson wrestled once with him and he laid him down on the floor like a baby. Wilson could throw a lead bar much farther than Joe could. But Wilson was an uncommonly fine and strong man, over 6 feet. He could hold a weight of 56 pounds on his little finger and write his name on the wall in big letters. Joseph was flabby; he never worked at anything and that probably made him so. Rockwell did everything about the house."

"Had you any idea that there was a sort of conspiracy to kill Joseph in jail?"

"No. I had no idea, no idea. I had been ruined by that man; all my property was gone; all my dearest illusions destroyed, and through my connection with him I got a black spot on my life, which will pain me to the very last minute of my existence. But I tell you (The old gentlemen buried his head in his hands and when he removed them, his eyes were wet.) I tell you, no, if I had had any idea of any such scheme, I would have taken steps to stop it. I have always considered the killing of Joseph Smith a wrong action. It is my opinion that he deserved his fate fully, much more than thousands of men who paid the penalty of their crime to Judge Lynch -- but I would have preferred that he should have been tried by court and sent to the Penitentiary."

"Did you practice medicine in Nauvoo, Doctor?"

"Only occasionally. I came to Nauvoo with money. I had had a mill in Canada, already. Joseph said to me: 'You must not be a doctor here. Buy lands, build mills and keep a store to keep you running. As to practicing and not making anything, let some Gentiles come and do that. You look out for business and profit. I practiced, however, occasionally. Once John Taylor was taken with a very malignant fever. He was treated by his regular physician. I think Dr. Wells was his name. He grew worse and worse. At last I was called in, saw him and prescribed for him. They followed my prescriptions and he got better. This is, I believe, the worst thing I did in Nauvoo or anywhere else!" -- Dr. Law followed this joke with a chuckle, so as to give me to understand that it was a sin to cure so great a rascal."

"What kind of men were the other editors of the Expositor?"

"Dr. Foster was a fine physician and surgeon and a very agreeable, lively, interesting man. The Highees had been very good friends of Joseph in Missouri and had served his cause there with a kind of boyish enthusiasm. Frank died long ago and Chauncey only lately. He had studied law, was an attorney and sat on the bench for a while. He was quite intelligent. The father of the Higbees had been an excellent man. He died rather suddenly, and from that time there was something between his boys and Joseph."

"What kind of a physician was Dr. Bennett?"

"He was a physician of the old school. I could not say whether he was very successful as a doctor or not. He was so much occupied for Joseph, that he had no time to attend the sick."

"Did Joseph pay any salary to this Bismarck of his?"

"I don't know, but in that honeymoon of favor, which he enjoyed in his first Nauvoo time, Joseph gave him surely all he wanted."

"Did you ever hear Joseph speak of his money?"

"Oh yes, he used to boast of his riches. He expressed the opinion, that it was all important that he should be rich. I heard him say myself, 'it would be better that every man in the church should lose his last cent, than that I should fall and go down.'"

After pumping the dear, good old Doctor for two hours. I relaxed my hold on him and our conversation began to run on in an easier style. He made some interesting remarks, still, indeed he didn't say anything that wasn't interesting, every instance bearing the strong impress of his keen intelligence and interesting strong, manly character. Let me quote one more detail. Said Wm. Law: "What saved me from death in 1844 was, 1, my caution; 2, the devotion of my detectives and 3, Joseph himself. He had inculcated into the minds of his followers the rule, that the "heads" of the church must be safe before all. This became a strong superstition in the minds of his people, so strong that they did not dare to touch me. And he himself feared me so much because of my popularity and good standing, that he tried for a long time to put me out of the way in a manner that the church could not be charged with it. At last, however, he became desperate and would have killed me in any manner -- but then it was too late in the day."

What I got out of the venerable Patriarch, William Law, the friends of the study of Mormon History owe entirely to the masterly tact and diplomacy of Judge Law, the son of the good Doctor. Judge Tommy J. Law is an attorney and the publisher of a very successful weekly paper. He is a splendid figure of a man, with a flowing beard, every inch a whole hearted, frank gentleman. He venerates his father and the memory of his mother. "My father," he says proudly, "was considered the best speaker in the Mississippi valley; many men said he would have beaten Beecher had he followed that career. I heard him myself some thirty years ago, deliver a Fourth of July speech. He kept his audience spellbound, his influence was truly magnetic. Wilson Law was one of the finest and strongest of men, but intellectually he was below my father. He was a few years older and died 70 years old. He had been a farmer for many years. We are five boys, two are lawyers, two doctors, and one is a merchant. John is a leading physician in Leadville, Colorado. He is 45 years. The merchant, now a man of about 54, R. S. Law, lives in California. William Law junior lives in Chicago and is a very successful law practitioner. W. R. Law, a physician, about 40 years old (the youngest) lives in Darlington, Wisconsin. Our only sister, Mrs. Douglas, is the wife of the president of the Shullsburgh Bank. My mother was a most excellent woman, good to the people in the highest degree, charitable, visiting the sick. Everybody loved her and the whole country turned out when she was buried. My father received a terrible shock through her death. I don't believe there was ever a happier couple. For many months after her death he used to break down whenever he saw anybody who had known her. We all thought he would follow her soon. But he rallied, though he is yet unable to speak of her without tears. What has been said about Joseph having made an attempt on her is not true. In such a case my father would not have started a paper against him -- he would have shot his head off. No man can be more delicate and conscientious about the relations of husband and wife and more apt to be terrible in such a case, than my father. Two years ago he had an attack of pneumonia. My brother came from Leadville and nursed father for two weeks. His life was despaired of but he rallied once more. He said at that time: "Well, my life has anyhow been a failure." Nobody can cure him of this idea, that Mormonism has ruined his career. A man less sensitive, less retiring would have made capital out of what he knew, lectured all over the country, etc. After leaving Burlington, Iowa, my father came to Wisconsin and lived for many years on a farm. He was the confidential physician of all his neighbors for ten miles around, the most popular physician there ever was. We always want him to give up practicing, but there are so many people who absolutely must have Dr. Law when they are sick."

"Yes, I was once in Utah, I saw Brigham Young but had no talk with him. One of his brothers, a very stout man, who kept a store, told me not to be on the street after dark. 'There are always some hotheaded young fellows,' said he, 'who would think of gaining great merit and reputation if they would injure a man of your kind. It is so very difficult to control them -- so you had better keep at home after dark.'"

This is what Judge Law told me about the history of the Law family: "My father was born in Ireland, Tyrone County, his parents were of Scottish descent. They emigrated to America, when William Law was nine years old. He lived with his parents for years in Pennsylvania; he studied in Philadelphia and Pittsburg [sic]. His father was a wealthy farmer. Wm. Law later emigrated to Canada and married there a lady of the Silverthorn family and lived there till he went to Nauvoo. Wilson Law never lived in Canada. William Law was the youngest of five brothers, and he is the only surviving one."

I have tried hard to verify Judge Law's opinion about his father by asking lots of people in Shullsburgh and on the train. I heard nothing but "Oh, Dr. Law is a fine old gentleman; the most popular man we have round here." Mr. Sheaby, who keeps the hotel, in which I spent two days, said: "Dr. Law is a good, fine old man, honest and very kind to the people. I don't think that this old man has a single enemy, and his wife was loved by everybody, too, she was the soul of kindness."

The good Doctor had been quite sick for a good many weeks and it was very doubtful, whether he would receive me or not. Judge Law convinced him, that I was a pretty decent fellow and succeeded in getting admission for me, though the Doctor had said, pretty energetically, when he heard of my arrival: "I don't want to be interviewed." When I had finished my operations, the Dr. said: "I hope you will do the Laws more justice now" -- and he said it with a good, dear look in those wonderfully eloquent, steel-blue eyes.

There is nothing in the aspect of the old gentleman that indicates 78 summers, except the white hands, that tremble a little. I said: "God bless you, Dr. Law," when I went to the door. I looked round and I couldn't help it -- went back to shake his hand once more. I held out both hands; he put aside his black staff and grasped both my hands, and gave me such a hearty, warm, good shake. I said: "Doctor, be cheerful. You will live twenty years yet like William of Prussia. The Williams are a good race, I belong to it myself."

There is a strong resemblance between the Law and the Godbe movement and still a stronger one between the great heart of Wm. Law and the deep, unselfish, noble soul of Wm. S. Godbe. The rebellions of 1844 and 1870, both came from great hearts, that had been destroyed by the lies and driven to despair by the cruel egotism of the Mormon leaders. And while speaking of hearts crushed by Mormonism, was there ever a kinder, a purer, a braver one than that beating in the bosom of Mrs. Sarah Pratt? And was this grand woman's heart not martyrized a thousand times worse, than those of our justly celebrated friends Law and Godbe? Men can resist, oppose, fight and wound and finally win and overthrow -- but the wife and mother, what is her prize? The tears of her children on her grave -- that is all. Well, may the Lord -- not Joe's Lord -- bless those three Great souls and all those excellent friends that helped me to study and understand Mormon History; and may they all see the downfall of one of the greatest infamies in human history. God bless them all and may He bless the great, good, patriotic paper, the joy of the student, the consolation of the philosopher, the hope of the Gentile and Mormon sufferer.   THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE!       W.WYL.


As the foregoing has never before been published on the Mormon question. It may aid the cause of liberty in Utah, and prevent the success of Mormon movements looking towards Statehood. To some Mormons it may help to bring them to the standstill and make them think of the origin and development of this stupendous fraud; but to the mass of the people who may read it, yet the majority may never see it, we fear that they are in as hopeless a condition as was the ancient Ephraim. "He (Ephraim) is joined to his idols, let him alone."     INVESTIGATOR.
Salt Lake City, July 23, 188[7].

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIII.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, August 7, 1887.                     No. ?


Their Abandonment of Revelation Looks Queer


Not a Voice Lifted for "the Lord" -- Strange Silence of the
Prophets and Spokesmen -- A Forthcoming Work Which Will
Throw Dismay into the Ranks of Mormon Historians.

Editor Tribune: I confess to you and your readers that of late, in common with thousands all about me, I have been in a state of mind, in a quandry [in regard to Mormon polygamy, etc.]...

I could name a certain professor of church history in a certain theological seminary who, in the course of his erudite investigations into the state of religious matters and things existing in the Middle and Western States from 55 to 75 years ago, has hit upon some choice facts of which hitherto little has been known and less has been made. I have been permitted to read his manuscript through from end to end, for it is well nigh ready for the press, and your readers may be sure there is richness in it, and some fine music in store for the Saints, Already in fancy I behold the church press craw-fishing, wiggling, affirming, denying, protesting with [reckless] though delicious disregard of the facts of history, and darkening counsel with multitudinous words. For this man with the true instincts and keen scent of a scholar, in a word, has been hunting away back in the record for the large ear marks and foot prints of the illustrious Elder S. Rigdon, apostate from the Baptists and Campbellites, and later from Mormons, sometimes John the Baptist, President of Kirtland "Safety" Society Bank, author of famous Salt Sermon and postmaster at Nauvoo, and fetching up finally as repudiator of celestial marriage and of the whole Brighamite regime. Our professor finds this man of many summersaults to have been always ambitious, unprincipled, vain. fickle, fanatical, crazy, continually after the last theological notion, and never doubting that the next step will bring him to a veritable bonanza of truth and blessedness. He follows this uneasy and conceited soul through all his Quixotic pereginations until he has out-Campbelled Alexander Campbell in novelities of doctrine and practice, or until he has attainted to that toothsome sugar plum known as the creed of the Latter-day Church.


But this more particularly he is able to prove and to illustrate in a way both thorough and original. He finds the same lucubrations of Sidney R. scattered everywhere throughout the Book of Mormon, which volume he has gone through and through with a critic's eye, and assigns on its "religious" side wholly to Rigdon's pen. With Spalding's manuscript, or some other as a basis, Saint Sidney proceeded to manufacture a pious fraud that he might be the better able to force his theological fancies upon the new religion. In that desperately dull volume he is able to trace the work of revision. He concludes that no other hand than Rigdon's could have done it, and even thinks he finds evidence that this man Friday was "the angel" who appears to Joseph "in vision," and at length placed in his hands "the plates." So I much fear it will go hard with the Mormon history, between this Prof. and Dr. Wyl.   LEO.

Note: The theology professor here alluded to was none other than the Rev. Dr. William H. Whitsitt, author of the manuscript Sidney Rigdon biography now on file in the Library of Congress. Whitsitt's writings on the Mormons remained largely unpublished, however. See his 1888 booklet, Origins of Disciples of Christ, and his 1891 paper, "Mormonism," for some samples of what Whitsitt was able to get published before his death in 1911. Much the same argument (based upon Whitsitt's work) has been more recently taken up in a paper by Craig Criddle.


Vol. XXXIIII.           Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 11, 1887.           No. 42.


The Very Latest from the Newest Heavenly Kolob.


Which it is David Whitmer's Book, Showing the True forwardness
of the Latter-day Diabolism -- Murder Will Out --
Tell the Truth and Blame the Devil...

Editor Tribune: -- Hip, hip, hurrah! Glory Halleujah!... I simply feel the full effects of D. Whitmer's book of which hath lately been spoken in your columns...

A word about the man to whom we owe the little volume. He is past eighty and is the last survivor of the eleven "witnesses," and was the third person to receive baptism in these last days, only Cowdery and the original Joseph having been initiated into "the kingdom before him. For years he


With the prophet, and so knew everything intimately from the inside. Indeed, he stood so high in favor with the Great Translator that in July, 1834, "he ordained me his successor or as prophet, seer and revelator to the church." This deed was done in Zion's Camp and on Fishing River, Missouri, and hence Brother Whitmer is chief mogul of the Mormons. For such a man to tell what he knows is a great thing, and we may well be glad and grateful that his life has been spared and that after fifty years of dead silence he has concluded to unseal his lips. And all the more since he is evidently one who not only knows whereof he speaks, but also a good man and true, and eager to tell the truth. Every line of the pamphlet proclaims his hinesty and sincerity. He has no foes, no wrongs to revenge, but overflows with charity for all...

[Mormon leaders] all went astray in all directions from the first and in fashions divers and sundry, while Rigdon, the Mephistophelesof the business, just rioted in error and iniquity and was Joseph's evil genius, though when first baptized he was thought to be a parlous philosopher and Saint. He it was that without rhyme, reason, or Scripture for the innovation added high priests, apostles and various other attachments to the church machine, and he also was concoctor of the Danite devilry, etc., etc. 'Twas a bad day when P. P. Pratt baited the hook which caught Rigdon...

we soon find Joseph and Sydney tinkering with the revelations; clipping, enlarging, overhauling to suit themselves. Which Brother David thinks was


As it were. It not unreasomably looks to him that "the Lord" ought to have known what was what beforehand, and so no amendments in his messages to men would be needed. But the Smith-Rigdon combination got at it on this wise rather. Some of the revelations and prophecies were too plain and too precious, and so in a few months did not read well or did not fit the march of events. On the principle that circumstances alter cases, and, better late than never, they proceeded to revamp things, or bring them down to date, and cause the first to conform to the last, and that in a way very deceitful and shameless...

Nauvoo and its greater abominations followed hard after. As to Joseph's connection with polygamy, friend Whitmer well says that all the world believes he was the father of it, and as for himself, "I have as much evidence that he received the revelation and gave it to the church as I have to believe that Geo. Washington ever lived. Good for David! And right here he brings the case of the Josephites, or the Reorganized Church, into court in a very startling way. And quotes their own mouths to prove conclusively that they are of genuine Latter-day stock, by proving that they, too, can say and unsay, know how to back water, conceal, etc....

I testify that I have brough to it [Book of Mormon study] all the candor and docility that one poor heart can hold, and barring the large parts extracted from the Bible, I can find absolutely nothing but chaff, not a grain of wheat. "The wise men of the world could not write it." I should say so, but thousands of otherwise [really] could. As a matter of the Spalding manuscript, I am inclined to agree with Mr. W. that there is no evidence direct and positive which connects it with the Book of Mormon. But the indirect and circumstantial evidence does so closely that something near to the certain is established. But as to the manuscript lately found in Honolulu and now in Oberlin College, it cuts no figure at all. "Be it known to all mankind" that I have seen and hefted it, and that though it is without doubt a Spalding manuscript, there is not a particle of proof that it is the document called The Manuscript Found. That question remains exactly as it was. Thus I confess that somehow that famous document of the witnesses duly signed and sealed never struck me solemnly or impressed me to any great extent... And right here let me tell what I think was the matter with Joseph and Sidney, and the rest; what led them astray so soon, and brought the whole business to grief in gross error and wickedness. It was not that Joseph got himself chosen Prophet, Seer and Revelator, or that high priests were added to the hierarchy, or that the name of the church was changed, or even that the revelations


And put into print. Bit it was rather that they ever got any revelations at all. The main thing is not, Brother W., how the church is organized, but who and what sort are in it... When they concluded the Bible was not enough and the Book of Mormon was needed, and got the heavens opened, and the angels to coming down, with visions, tongues, healings, revelations, etc., etc., etc., the dam was broken, the flood began to poor in, and the delughe insued. That was the nose of the camel entering the tent, which being allowed, in due season the whole beast follows sure as fate, head and hoofs, neck and legs, body and bones. The devil found his chance. There was too good an opportunity for endless knavery, and for the weak and silly to get fooled. Continual revelation may do for angels, but it won't work here on earth. at least not except for odd spells. So, cut up the whole evil root and branch, all ye Latter-day Saints, and come back to the Bible alone.

And finally, it much grieves me to learn, as no doubt it also will all pious and judicious persons on the Tribune staff or among its readers, that we are not yet through with Smiths and Rigdons,


(From God, man, or the devil) are in store for humanity, already so sadly afflicted, that is, that additional Books of Mormon are liable to come out of the ground "in mine own due time." Or, as D. W. has it, "more records are yet to come forth from the book that is sealed," and we all know that by the gift and power of God Joseph only got his stone eye on a part of the contents of the plates, while the rest was kept. Remembering the amazing and interminable mischief already wrought through that old hat we all cry with one accord. From all further calamities of that sort, good Lord deliver us....   LEO.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIIII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 15, 1888.               No. 155.


Sidney Rigdon's Grandson Says Their Family
Understood it to be a Fraud.

EDITOR TRIBUNE: -- In the intervals of my literary labors here I have many talks with men who were in Utah at a very early day, and occasionally with original Mormons or their sons, which would be interesting had I the time to detail them. But my chance talks with one of these are so agreeable that I report him briefly for you. Mr. Walter Sidney Rigdon is a citizen of Carrolton, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., and a grandson of Sidney Rigdon, the partner of Joe Smith. He talked with old Sidney hundreds of times about the "scheme of the Golden Bible," and his father still has many of the old Sidney's documents.

"Grandfather was a religious crank," says Mr. Rigdon, "till he lost money by it. He started in as a Baptist preacher, and had a very fine congregation for those days, in Pittsburg. There was no reason at all for his leaving, except that he got 'cracked.' At that time he had no ideas of making money. Indeed, while he was with the Mormons, his chances to make money were good enough for most men; but he came out of it about as poor as he went in."

B. -- "But how did he change first?"

"Well, he tried to understand the prophecies, and the man who does that is sure to go crazy. He studied the prophets and baptism, and of course he got 'rattled.' Daniel and Ezekiel and Revelations will 'rattle' any man who gives his whole mind to 'em -- at any rate they did him, and he joined Alexander Campbell. Campbell then believed that the end of the world was nigh --his Millennial Harginger shows that they 'rattled' all who listened to them in Ohio and other places; then grandfather got disgusted and decided on a new deal. He found Joe Smith and they had a great many talks together before they brought out the plates. None of us ever doubted that they got the whole thing up; but father always maintained that grandfather helped get up the original Spaulding book. At any rate he got a copy very early and schemed on some way to make it useful. Although the family knew these facts, they refused to talk on the subject while grandfather lived. In fact, he and they took on a huge disgust at the whole subject.

Grandfather died at Friendship, Alleghany County, N. Y. in 1876, over eighty years old. His son Sidney, my father, was born at Mentor in 1827 and remembers the stirring times of Mormonism. He lives where I do. Grandfather had preached to his old neighbors in Alleghany and taken converts to Nauvoo, so after the break up in 1844, he returned to live at Friendship. For a while he spoke of Mormonism as an attempt to improve Christianity; but the later phases of the thing in Utah were totally different from what he had taught. His daughter Nancy Rigdon is now Mrs Ellis of Pittsburg, and her husband is a journalist in that city. Her testimony against Joe Smith is very strong. The Prophet was no doubt a thoroughly bad man, etc."

I only report that part of Mr. Rigdon's talk which shows the history of the "Golden Bible," as accepted in the family. Of course, if Sidney Rigdon had wanted the world to believe the Smith story of the plates, he would have told them so. But, though the family do not care to ventillate it, he evidently taught them to treat the whole thing as a fraud.
J. H. BEADLE.           
NEW YORK, April 7, 1888.

Note 1: John Hanson Beadle (1840-1897) was the author of the 1870 book Life in Utah, which went through several printing and name alterations, each of which preserved his sub-title: "Mysteries & Crimes of Mormonism." He is the same correspondent who wrote "Jackson County: Early History of the Saints" for the Tribune issue of Oct. 6, 1875, which featured an interview with former LDS Apostle William E. McLellin.

Note 2: Walter Sidney Rigdon (c.1856-aft. 1893) was the son of Algernon "Sid" Rigdon (1828-aft. 1893), who in turn, was the fifth child of Sidney Rigdon.

Note 3: Although the family of Algernon "Sid" Rigdon may have believed that Sidney Rigdon made use of a Spalding manuscript to produce the Book of Mormon, some other members of the Rigdon family did not support this explanation. For example, see the 1893 statement made by Sidney's son, John Rigdon (1830-1912). See also the May 1884 report of a Pittsburgh reporter's interview with Sidney's daughter, Nancy Rigdon Ellis (1822-1887). In a letter written Sept. 6, 1879 by Robert Patterson, Jr. of Pittsburgh, to James T. Cobb of Salt Lake, Patterson says: "I have just called on Robert Ellis... his wife is Nancy Rigdon... Mrs. Ellis is much annoyed at the imputations cast upon her father. She has unbounded confidence in his innocence of the charge against him in the Spaulding matter. In this Mr. Ellis agrees with her; and says that both before and after his marriage, Mr. Rigdon personally and solemnly pledged his word and honor that he had nothing to do with making up the Mormon Bible, & had never heard of the Spaulding MS until after he became a Mormon himself..."


Vol. XXXVI.         Salt Lake City, U. T., Wednesday, December 26, 1888.         No. 62.


She Passed Away Suddenly Yesterday Shortly
After Noon -- Her Life Work.

Sarah M. Pratt, first and only wife of the late Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, aged 72, died suddenly yesterday at 12:26 p. m., at the residence of her son, Arthur Pratt, 105 B street. She has for some years been afflicted with rheumatism, which, three weeks ago, reached the vicinity of her heart, and terminated with suddenness yesterday noon.

Mrs. Pratt was a native of Henderson, Jefferson county, New York, where, as Miss Bates, she married the rising young Mormon elder, Orson Pratt. Elder Luke Johnson officiating. The couple went to Kirtland with Joseph Smith, and followed the ever varying fortunes of that rattle brained fanatic all through to Nauvoo. While there she began to realize the shallowness and flatulency of Mormonism, and from becoming "weak in the faith," she grew to be "rebellious," and it was not long after coming West in 1851 with her family, that the "beauty and holiness" of celestial marriage disgusted her into casting the entire rattle-trap of a creed overboard for good. As a result, Mrs. Pratt embittered the church against her, and added further fuel to the flame by exposing Mormon iniquities unsparingly, and by supplying much material to leading writers in their attacks upon the system, among others at a later day, giving Dr. Wyl valuable points for his monograph on Joseph Smith. For a number of years before the Apostle died she refused to live with him because of his polygamous relations, and brought up her children to [scorn?] the creed and its hypocrisy. Mrs. Pratt was a woman of uncommon ability, of great force and stability of character. Her individualism was strong, her ideas on right and wrong were remarkably clear and she held to her own course with fearlessness and independence. Of sterling worth, as a true American Christian mother, and as one who never failed to command respect wherever she went. Mrs. Pratt goes before her Maker to receive the injunction, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Of her twelve children only five are still living, viz., Orson, Harmel, Laren, Arthur and Mrs. Celestia L. Tyler, all of this city. And the high character and standing of these bear constant witness to the worth of her who has now crossed to the other side.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, June 15, 1889.                     No. 51.


Discrepencies Pointed Out and Blunders in the
Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, June 23, 1889.                     No. 58.


Whence it Came -- Origin of the Mormon Hodge Podge.


Purely a Product of the Times....

Editor Tribune: -- The fact at length is fairly well established that in this world nothing happens, nothing occurs by mere accident. We live instead under the reign of law. Fore every event and adequate cause exists. Apply this principle to the origin and growth of Mormonism, and we are compelled to ascribe it to the natural result of conditions existing in the generation and the region which gave it birth.... It is but a crude conglomeration of hobbies which just then, like the exiant dogs, were having their day of freaks and fancies fresh from the mint, of the new-born notions of which the Western World at that date was over full. Smith was simply the most ignorant and conceited and reckless and impudent and conscienceless representative the alive, of the class which was madly rushing in where angels fear to tread....

Alexander Campbell... with his logical and exegetical pyrotechnics startled, and dazzled, and it is to be feared blinded, a great multitude. Considering that he contributed Rigdon, the Snows, and thousands more to the Latter-day enormity and that his Biblical interpretations developed a little further became folly and absurdity and wrought damage incalculable, it looks as though that Son of Thunder lived largely in vain, and might almost better never have been born. Yea, the Campbellite creed was the storehouse, at least the quarry, of which the Saints made liberal use.... Then, as to the community of goods feature of the Latter-day scheme, which the leaders are unable to give up, and to which they continually return, though various attempts to set it [in] operation have come to utter grief. Rigdon brought it over with him from Campbellism, while scores of others have cherished similar hopes fond, but wholly vain. But in those days communism was in the air of Christendom. The vageries of Owen and Fourier were popular in 1825-45, and the former tried his disasterous experiment at New Harmony on the Wabash. Boston, too, had her pet of a transcendental Brook Farm where Arcadia and Utopia and all that were to be realized.... (under construction)     LEO.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, September 14, 1889.             No. 128.


Benjamin Winchester Who Joined the Mormons in 1833, Now in Zion.

There arrived in this city yesterday from Council Bluffs, Iowa, a prominent representative of the Mormon Church in the early days of Mormonism in the person of Benjamin Winchester. Mr. Winchester, who is now 72 years of age, joined the Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, and remained with the church until 1844, when he withdrew from it and has ever since stood entirely aloof from the concern. At Nauvoo [sic - Kirtland?] he lived in the family of Joseph Smith for a long period; was associated in the publication of the Mormon Church organ there, and was the author of several church publications which are in use among the Josephites at this time. He was associated in missionary work in behalf of the church, and was himself a missionary to some of the Eastern States, and at one time he was stake president in Philadelphia.

Perhaps no man living to-day had a more intimate acquaintanceship with the so-called prophet and his family than Benjamin Winchester. He was well acquainted with Joseph's parents; he received from the father of the alleged prophet the patriarchal blessing. This blessing exhonerated him from all sin that he might commit ever thereafter on account of the great good he had rendered the church, so he has reason to feel that he is on a higher plane than many other "apostates."

Mr. Winchester will visit for several days with friends and relatives in and near this city before returning to Council Bluffs, in which city he has been a highly respected resident for the past thirty five years.

Note: The following biographical excerpt is taken from David J. Whittaker's Fall, 1995 article from the Journal of Mormon History, entitled "East of Nauvoo: Benjamin Winchester and the Early Mormon Church," copyright © 1995 by David J. Whittaker:
...on 16 February 1843, Peter Hess [presiding elder of the Philadelphia LDS branch] wrote Hyrum Smith an overview of the Philadelphia difficulties as he saw them. Hess reviewed the events of the October conference, describing increasing disagreements between George J. Adams and [Benjamin] Winchester over Winchester's continued insistence on dealing harshly with "refractory" members who had been meeting at the Marshall Institute. Thus, he felt that the conference had failed to support Winchester's leadership between April and October. Winchester also made numerous charges of adultery, which later turned into accusations of polygamy and spread to include members in Boston and New York. Hess had opposed these recommendations, recalling that Hyrum Smith had counseled "mildness" in dealing with transgressors.

It is clear that Winchester was again out of favor with the Philadelphia leaders, but the exact problem is not clear... George J. Adams, back from Boston, agreed with others that Winchester was guilty of "back-biting and bickering." He had also said that Sybbella Armstrong of Philadelphia had been seen publicly drunk. The witnesses against him failed to give any information that was not hearsay, Winchester strongly denied all charges, and the meeting adjourned to the next day in "some little confusion." No record of a second meeting exists, and both women wrote to Joseph Smith in May "complaining of the slanderous conduct of Benjamin Winchester." Joseph Smith immediately directed the Twelve to act upon the matter, then met with the apostles, Adams, and Winchester five days later on 27 May to investigate Winchester's conduct.

About two months after the investigations in Nauvoo, Adams wrote to Peter Hess: "Winchester was entirely used up by Bro. Joseph and Bro. Young before the council of the Twelve and his license [was] taken from him. It was his last kick until he reformed. I never heard a man get such a scoring since the Lord made me as Winchester got at that time."

...The group heard several letters read, including Sybbella Armstrong's complaint, then Winchester made a lengthy speech justifying himself. Adams gave testimony against Winchester, to which Winchester again responded in his own defense. At this point, Joseph Smith stood up and "rebuked Elder Winchester in the sharpest manner; said he had a lying spirit and had lied about him, and told him of his many errors." ...After Winchester had asked for time to investigate the merits of Armstrong's letter, of which he had just learned the contents, Young suggested that the Nauvoo high council hear the matter. Joseph Smith instructed the Twelve that they were "to regulate the churches and elders abroad in all the world" while the high council concerned itself only with Nauvoo.

...Joseph Smith then counseled that Winchester be silenced and that his license for preaching be taken from him, that he and his family move to Nauvoo, "and if he would not do that, let him go out of the church." The body unanimously accepted this counsel, and Winchester agreed not to preach... Two days later, the Twelve sent a special message to the Saints in Philadelphia, counseling in the strongest tenus that these members gather without delay to Nauvoo.

Winchester obediently went back to Philadelphia and prepared to move his family to Nauvoo. We have little information on his activities during this period, but Brigham Young traveled with Winchester and Heber C. Kimball in the Philadelphia area in August 1843, and he became involved with personal conflicts Apostle William Smith was having in New Jersey in the fall of 1843. According to a pamphlet Smith published in early 1844, Winchester told Smith that Abraham Burtis, the presiding elder in the branch at New Egypt, New Jersey, was planning to sue Smith for defamation of character, claiming that Smith had forged a letter purporting to be from a Dr. Lee that slandered his wife's morals. Smith gave Winchester Lee's letter, which convinced Burtis that the letter was valid. At a special conference on 18 October 1843 at New Egypt, Burtis was excommunicated for rejecting the authority of the Church, for circulating slanderous reports, and for unchristian-like conduct. Winchester's vote was negative, suggesting either hurt feelings about his own May trial in Nauvoo or possibly stronger ties to Burtis. Winchester had opened this area of New Jersey to missionary work in 1838, and Burtis may have been one of his converts. William Smith calls Burtis "a particular favorite of Bros. Winchester and [E.] Snow."

Eighteen forty-three was obviously a critical year for Benjamin Winchester. His commitment to the Church had reached both a high and a low point. His History of the Priesthood was in many ways his best work, but his trial had brought him rebuke and rejection from the very priesthood leaders whose authority his book had sought to legitimize....

When Joseph Smith declared his candidacy for U.S. president in February 1844, Winchester was among the 340 missionaries called to carry both Smith's campaign views and the religious message throughout the country in April. He was obviously in full fellowship, for he was put in charge of a group of fourteen, and these instructions appeared at the bottom of the published minutes: "Elder B. Winchester is instructed to pass through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, to visit the churches, hold conferences, and preside over them." His departure date from Nauvoo is not known; but by June he and Elder John Brown were in Noxubee County, Mississippi, with "special instructions for the saintS." When he received word on 1 July of Joseph Smith's death, he left for Nauvoo.

The city was in a turmoil of grief and anxiety but also deeply divided on succession. Many individuals close to Joseph had questioned the growing secularism of his administration months before his death. Joseph Smith's involvement in land speculation, city government, military affairs, and even the quest for the American Presidency seemed evidence that the Church was becoming too worldly. Brigham Young, because of his position as leader of the powerful Quorum of the Twelve, established his claim as the rightful successor. But his strong personality and a dissatisfaction with some of his arguments and decisions led to numerous schisms during the next ftfteen years.

Winchester was one who, in those critical months, withheld his support from Brigham Young and the Twelve. His reasons for doing so were mixed. In 1889 he recalled the growing secularism of the Church, the doctrine of plural marriage, and his dislike of William Smith as motives. Certainly Young's semi-public tonguelashing did not endear him to Winchester. However, for Winchester, the succession crisis had begun before 1844.

By moving to Nauvoo, Winchester had become aware of the then-secret practice of plural marriage. It is not known if plural marriage was actually being practiced as early as 1843 in Philadelphia, though Parley P. Pratt says Joseph Smith taught him and others in 1840 in Philadelphia the concepts of "eternal family organization, and the eternal union of the sexes." During the winter of 1843-44, Winchester later recalled, Hyrum Smith, "who had always been a particular friend," attempted to explain the doctrine to him. When Winchester refused to believe that the practice was anything more than satanic, Joseph Smith summoned him and "explained it in as plausible a manner as he could and requested [him] to take a mission and go to the Southern cities saying that it was the command of the Lord."

Although Winchester suggests that he was introduced to polygamy by the Smith brothers, rumors of the practice (and denials of it) had circulated since John C. Bennett had been excommunicated the year before. According to Winchester family descendants, Winchester's parents had sheltered Joseph Smith when he was pursued by bounty hunters. There is a strong possibility that Joseph Smith married Benjamin's sixteen-year-old sister, Nancy Mariah, in late 1843 or in early 1844. She was sealed vicariously to Joseph Smith on 3 February 1846 and to Heber C. Kimball for time. Benjamin's repugnance for polygamy, expressed in 1842, would only have been exacerbated by discovering his sister's marriage, if it occurred.

These developments help explain Winchester's actions and place his personal trials in the larger context of Church growth, both doctrinally and ecclesiastically. He was clearly on a collision course with the men who would become leaders of the Church after Joseph's death....

Information on the remainder of Winchester's life is sketchy. The Zion's Camp roll of 12 October 1864 notes that Benjamin Winchester had become a "spiritualist"; and Winchester, on a trip to Salt Lake City in 1871, perhaps to visit his father, called on Amasa Lyman, an apostle excommunicated, among other things, for spiritualism. Winchester retired in 1887, wrote a biographical sketch two years later for the Salt Lake Tribune, died at Council Bluffs on 25 January 1901, and was buried in its Walnut Hills Cemetery.


Vol. XXXVII.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, September 22, 1889.             No. 135.


Personal Narrative of It by Mr. Benjamin Winchester.


How he repudiated Polygamy -- Joseph Smith and His Capacity for Deceit, Lewdness and Confidence Games -- The Contradicting Revelations -- An Absorbing Narrative.

It was in the month of February, 1833, when I a boy, not quite sixteen years of age, living with my parents in Elk Creek township, Erie county Pennsylvania, that two Mormon Elders came into our neighborhood. Their names were John Boyington and E[v]en Green. Like many other sensational proselyters they created a great deal of interest upon the subject of religion and succeeded in making a considerable number of converts there, among whom were my parents and myself and several relatives. In November of the same year I left my parents and went to Kirtland, Ohio, which place at that time had been designated as the rendezvous of the Saints. Soon after my arrival there I made my home with Sidney Rigdon. Following that time and prior to the beginning of May, 1834, the Mormons organized what they termed "Zion's camp." This organization was effected with the understanding that they were to fight their way, if deemed necessary to redeem Zion. More than 200 left, then, I among them, on that expedition to Missouri, During that trip, Joseph Smith who was of course at the head, had a number of revelations, all beginning with his stereotyped formula, "thus saith the Lord," and the belief he imparted to the company was that the Lord would protect us all, and if necessary to gain a crossing of the Missouri River, it would open its waters and let us over, even as the Red Sea was reputed to have opened in ancient times. When we reached Clay county, Missouri, Joseph stated to me that he had received another revelation that this Zion's camp programme was simply a matter of the Lord's will


Of the Saints and that it was not the Lord's will that they should go into Jackson county then but that He had expected this offering as a tribute to their faith and the Zion's camp expedition was then abandoned. Joseph said at that time that the keys of the kingdom had been given to him through the angels, Peter, James and John, and that he himself had finished his work so far as a complete organization of the church was concerned. He then, in a conference ordained David Whitmer to be his successor in case of accident to himself. Whitmer, by the way, as the world knows, repudiated Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the polygamous doctrine that came after this time. Directly after the majority of us returned to Kirtland the best way we could get there -- it was a good deal like "every fellow for himself and the devil take the hindmost." When I returned to Kirtland the temple was nearly completed, and during that winter -- 1835 and 1836 -- its dedication occurred. That ceremony ended in a drunken frolic -- one of the worst I ever saw. Joseph Smith


And his father and brother, Hyrum, begged that the wine should be taken away, so that the carousal might be stopped as soon as possible. I did not know Joseph to be what is termed a "common sot," but that was not the last time I saw him intoxicated.

After that dedication the Mormons organized what they termed "the school of prophets." A revelation prior to that time had given Oliver Cowdery the privilege of nominating the twelve apostles of the Church. About the time of this organization there was a good deal of scandal prevalent among a number of the Saints concerning Joseph's licentious conduct, this more especially among the women. Joseph's name was then connected with scandalous relations with two or three families. Apparently to counteract this he came out and made a statement in the Temple, before a general congregation that he was authorized by God Almighty to establish His Kingdom -- that he was God's prophet and God's agent, and that he could do whatever he should choose to do, therefore the Church had


Anything he did, or to censure him, for the reason that he was responsible to God Almighty only. This promulgation created a great sensation -- a schism occurred and a large portion of the first membership, including the best talent of the Church, at once withdrew from it. This was during the summer of 1836. 

In the autumn of 1837 Joseph received a revelation especially concerning Kirtland. It was to be the great center of the world. Kings and queens were to come there from foreign lands to pay homage to the Saints. It was to be the great commercial point of the universe, and on the strength of this revelation the famous bank there was started. A boom of huge proportions was then inaugurated, and it became so great that a large number of Gentiles in the surrounding country were attracted, and they came by scores and hundreds, and depleted their savings, taking receipts or checks, as we would call them now. I have seen men come there with large quantities of Mexican dollars, even in the night, and they would wake up Sidney Rigdon, the


For the purpose of making deposits, seemingly with the belief that there was a big thing in it. Joseph was president, and Rigdon was cashier of the concern. This went on until the bank had absorbed a large proportion of the money in that section of the country, and a considerable number of people began to find out that they had some need of some of their deposits. When the demands for redemption began to accumulate the deposits were paid in the paper of an almost defunct bank at Monroe, Michigan, which the schemers had bought. Of course the depositors soon became uneasy after finding that their checks were paid in worthless bank notes of the bank of Monroe, and when the prospect of mob violence became apparent, Smith, Rigdon, and a man named Boyd of New York, connected with the first two in the swindle, decamped between sunset and sunrise. The trio had the money and the people had their experience. Soon afterwards came the collapse of Kirtland.

Among the visionary schemes at Kirtland which I well remember was the canal scheme. This was a project to connect Kirtland with


From Lake Erie at the mouth of a small river some five miles away. It is almost needless to say that Joseph's name was first and foremost in this proposed enterprise.

After the collapse at Kirtland, to which I have referred, all of the so-called witnesses to the Book of Mormon, with the exception of the members of the Smith family, left the fold and were never afterwards identified with it at Nauvoo under Joseph Smith, or in Utah under Brigham Young, and two-thirds of the best talent of the Church then left, and never after had any connection with the concern at either place above named.

During this period I will say in extenuation for myself, that I was young, and, like most other youthful religious enthusiasts, I was fanatical as well as credulous. I was induced to believe that many things which seemed to me wrong and absurd would come out right, and with many misgivings about what seemed to be foolish and absurd, I kept on hoping that the outcome would justify the faith I had reposed in the concern.

Still strong in the faith, I was ordained as an elder and started out to preach what I believed to be the first, and pure principles of the Gospel of Christ, and during two or three years of service in that capacity I made more converts than any half dozen of the leading elders of the entire Church.

When, as I have stated, Joseph fled from Kirtland in the night, he, with his brother Hiram, and Sidney Rigdon, went to Missouri. Not long after their arrival there they were driven out by a mob and came to Nauvoo, Illinois, which became a common rendezvous for the Saints from Kirtland, from Missouri and from every other place in which they had gathered in any considerable number. In the winter of 1839 and 1840 Smith, in company with Rigdon and with Porter Rockwell, acting as a sort of body guard,


That were after them, acting for the State of Ohio, on the charge of criminal practice at Kirtland, and they came to Philadelphia where I was stationed and where I was stake president. There they remained with me in the best degree of secrecy that could be maintained. Smith and I slept in the same bed and Porter Rockwell occupied a bed near the foot of our couch in the capacity of a body guard for the "prophet." It was there and at that time that I had a good opportunity to study the character of the "prophet." It then began to be apparent to me that he was tyrannical by nature, a libertine, in short a gross, sensual, corrupt man, but I was then still young and hopeful and it remained for events in a few brief years thereafter to fully open my eyes to the gigantic delusion I had been drawn into.

During the time of Smith's sojourn with me in Philadelphia we visited quite a number of members of the Church there. Among them was a Mrs. Smith, foreman or forewoman of a glove factory, and some eight or ten girls were working in that factory who were, like Mrs. Smith, members of the Church. Smith, after several silly flirtations with the girls which I witnessed and which created


And caused me some trouble, finally became enamored with Mrs. Smith and induced her and two girls to leave there and go to Nauvoo. I subsequently met Mrs. Smith at Nauvoo, when she told me that she had lent Joseph all of her money and he had gotten her married to a man by the name of Debble -- that through the "prophet" she had lost her all and was reduced to a condition of abject poverty. But to repeat all I heard at Nauvoo in the way of complaints of poor people who had been


In the same way by the prophet would take a great deal of your time and mine.

Up to the year 1843 "spiritual marriage" or polygamy had never been preached or inculcated as a doctrine of the church. Prior to that year my experience had been that the church was fully as strict and as pure with respect to virtue and morality as any other religious organization. In the autumn of 1843 I moved my family to Nauvoo and I there became fully conscious of the new departure of the prophet in regard to the polygamous doctrine which he sought to ingraft into the church. In the preceding year John C. Bennett, a sleek plausible man, came to Nauvoo. An adept in flattery, he soon became intimate and influential with the "prophet." He developed into a noted libertine and this characteristic eventually bore fruit as his connection with his friend Joseph Smith, for the polygamy doctrine was not long after promulgated. That winter there was a great deal of excitement in Nauvoo over the doctrine of "spiritual marriage," as it was then called, but which was really polygamy. In our social gatherings many were opposed to it while a considerable number favored it. Hyrum Smith, the elder brother of Joseph, had always been a particular friend of mine. He came to see me when I was convalescing after illness and said he had been strenuously opposed to polygamy until he had become convinced that it was the will of the Lord, and advised me to cease my opposition to it. I told him I could not do it for the reason that a very strong point of the 'Latter Day Saints' doctrine was in condemnation of it and the Book of Mormon emphatically condemned it and that it was a violation of nature's laws. In a conversation with Hyrum subsequently, when I spoke to him about the numerical equality of the male and the female sexes he explained that that difficulty could in time be surmounted 


Of surplus men who should be "hewers of wood and drawers of water," and that the church dignitaries and the more worthy brethren would be left the choice of plenty of women. Subsequently Joseph Smith sent for me and explained it in as plausible a manner as he could and requested me to take a mission and go to Southern cities saying that it was the command of the Lord. At this time Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney Rigdon and some other officials of the Church imparted to me their theory of just what they intended to do and that was to get out from under the authority of the Government of the United States so that they might be able to establish a kingdom and government of their own where they could have the power and privileges of practicing the doctrine of polygamy with no authority to interfere or molest them.

It was a subject of common talk among many good people in Nauvoo that many of the elders were sent off on missions merely to get them out of the way, and that Joseph Smith, John C. Bennett and other prominent Church lights had illicit intercourse with the wives of a number of the missionaries, and that the revelation on spiritual marriage, i.e. polygamy, was gotten up to protect themselves from scandal. Of the open scandal concerning


With married women by Joseph Smith, Bennett and others I forbear to speak, for those women have, I believe passed away and some of their descendants now live in this city and Territory.

Joseph was very bitter in some of his public discourses relative to the talk among people about his lewdness, especially the women gossipers. On one occasion he said these women deserved to be threshed. One of the brethren, Badlam by name, took his suggestion in a literal sense: he went home from the meeting and gave his wife a severe whipping, which circumstance became the talk of the town. 

The Book of Mormon was written up about the time of the excitement upon the subject of Free Masonry in Western New York. I think any one who has read that book will agree with me that it condemns Masonry, for it certainly condemns secret societies. About the time that the polygamy revelation was received, Smith and Bennett, in connection with old Dr. Modesa, secured a charter from the Grand Masonic Lodge of Illinois and started a lodge in Nauvoo. They got nearly all the leading men into the lodge and then began to admit indiscriminately, taking in boys even. Their lodge work became so scandalous that the Grand Lodge revoked their charter, but they continued to run their local organization just the same. In this connection I will say that I have more than once heard the statement made that Joseph was shot at the instigation of enraged members of the Masonic order, but I do not personally know of this.

Thus it was in nearly everything as it was in this Masonic business; inconsistency following upon inconsistency in rapid succession. The doctrines and practice of one day were set aside for something new and contradictory on the next day. From almost the very beginning of the church up to the time of Smith's death the word of the Lord today became half-forgotten history on the morrow.


In regard to Joseph's literary work -- his "translations" -- I well remember some of it at Kirtland. They had there in the temple some Egyptian mummies, four of them I am positive. From one of them Joseph had taken a scroll lettered over with what purported to be Egyptian characters. It was kept on exhibition in a glass case. To this scroll Joseph applied his peep-stone or "Urim-Thummim" and made out a translation purporting to be a vision of Abraham in which the modern theory that the world is round and that it revolves was sustained against the ancient theory prior to the time of Galileo. It also purported to enlarge upon the Biblical account of the creation of the world and to make clear the solar system. I am not sure whether this work was ever published or not.  

I observe that THE TRIBUNE has made mention of some of my literary work. Many Mormons in Salt Lake doubtless remember about my publications, some of which are still in use among the Josephites. I was on the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo only for a brief time after the death of Carlos Smith, brother of Joseph. John Taylor afterwards took hold of that publication.


I knew the Smith family well and was on very intimate terms with its members. Joseph's parents were good people. The mother's great weakness was her faith in Joseph and her ambition for the success of his work which has wrought but little good and an infinite amount of mischief and misery. Hyrum, the eldest brother, I always had a high regard for, and I deeply regretted when he went off into the advocacy of polygamy, swayed as he was by his brother Joseph's unhallowed ambition. The other members of the family were Samuel H., William, Carlos, Lucy, and one or two more daughters. Lucy was a bright-looking girl and a true woman -- the youngest of the family. Joseph did all in his power to make her accept the polygamous doctrine, promising her that she would be chief among the women of the church, offering to raise her in the dignity of priestess, but all to no purpose, she would have none of it. She married a man by the name of Milliken, I believe. and the last I heard of her, some years ago, she was living in Harrison county, Iowa. It is full forty-five years since she repudiated the so-called religion of her brother. The brothers, Samuel H., and Carlos, I always regarded as good men, Joseph and William were the two black sheep of the flock. The widow of Carlos repudiated Mormonism away back in the forties. She was a most estimable woman.

Joseph Smith had a fair degree of dramatic talent by nature and he was cut out by nature for a writer of fiction. Although not an educated man he had a wonderful capacity for weaving and unraveling plots. I believe that the Book of Mormon was mainly the production of the brains of himself and Cowdery, and by chain of events and reasoning, I say most emphatically that I do not believe that the Spaulding manuscript was utilized in any way in making up that book. Joseph was away behind Brigham Young in executive ability; he could not hold his adherents together as did Brigham and he was almost constantly in trouble over dissensions and frequent schisms in the Church. His pictures, which I see in windows and cabinets here, flatter him very much. The photographs do not show the peculiar shape of his head, especially the retreating forehead which any observer of the man in life could not fail to notice. He was possessed with an inordinate degree of vanity and was quite susceptible to flattery. He was a perfect adept in the use of abusive and obscene language. 


Referring to myself, I left the Church in 1844 and went into business in Pittsburg, Pa., where I remained for something over nine years. In 1854 I removed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, which city has ever since been my home. My parents came to Utah with the Mormons in 1848, and they both died here. My only surviving brother, living in this country with his family, repudiated Mormonism several years ago. I am not altogether a stranger in this locality, having been here in comparatively early days. I was here last about sixteen years ago.


If I may be pardoned for digression I will remark here that Joseph Smith, once in the presence of my mother at Nauvoo, when walking across the room with his hands clasped behind him as was his habit when in deep meditation, broke out in a tirade against Brigham Young and he wound up with this expression, "If Brigham Young ever gets control of the church he'll run it to the devil." It was the only prophecy Joseph ever made which has come anywhere near literal fulfillment.

The Mormon organization is the most artfully devised system in modern times for enriching the few from the result of the toil and privation of the many, and a most deplorable feature of it is that the system paralyses free thought and free agency.


I am well advanced in years, being now seventy-two, but I hope to live to see the offensive features of Mormonism completely removed -- its one man political power completely broken. I hope the younger Mormons, at least, will soon realize the folly and fraud to which they are environed, and come out boldly as free men to the end that they may become worthy citizens of this great republic. To me it is as clear as the light of the noonday sun that no adherent of this Mormon Church can be worthy of the privileges of an American freeman, for by adherence to the power of the priesthood and to the obligations a member of the Church must assume, he is clearly in a position that is utterly and wholly antagonistic to the institutions and government of our common country.


The  Mormon  Monarch  of  a  Lake  Michigan  Island.


Strang's Early Connection With the Mormon Movement and History -- His Mixed Record as to Polygamy -- Flight to Beaver Island -- He Would Marry His Stepdaughter -- The Flight Just as the Gentiles Began the Extorpation of the Vile Nest -- Strang's Death by and Indian Rifle -- A Staunch Defender of the Red Man.

(Copyright Correspondence, Tribune)

Beaver Harbor, Lake Michigan, Sept. 10.

Out in Lake Michigan twenty miles from the main land on the east and fifty from that on the west, in latitude 45 deg. 16 min. north, is Beaver Island...

(under construction)

Note: The following biographical excerpt is taken from David J. Whittaker's Fall, 1995 article from the Journal of Mormon History, entitled "East of Nauvoo: Benjamin Winchester and the Early Mormon Church," copyright © 1995 by David J. Whittaker:
...Initially, Winchester did not publicly take sides in the [1844] leadership controversy. In fact, he was probably not in Nauvoo for the final contest between Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon on 8 August 1844, since The Prophet in New York published a warm notice: Elder Bing. [sic] Winchester is in Philadelphia. We hope to lay before our readers, ere long, something from his able pen. Brother W. has written much during the last twelve years: his works have had a very extensive circulation -- and his style is forcible and pleasant, they have been the means of throwing much light on a "dark and benighted world," and thousands are now rejoicing in the blessings of the Gospel, who owe their joy to the knowledge imparted by Brother Winchester's Tracts.

But by October, Winchester had allied himself with SidneyRigdon, probably because Winchester despised plural marriage and there is ample evidence that Rigdon, too, fought its practicebefore Joseph Smith's death. The second issue was the priesthood claims of the Twelve as presented in the meetings held in Nauvoo in August 1844. Winchester's History of the Priesthood had not dealt with succession, except in the most general of terms, so his support of Rigdon was probably less doctrinal than personal. Winchester was not involved with Rigdon's losing struggle with the Twelve nor his excommunication in September 1844. In fact, it was not until Rigdon had launched an attack on the Twelve, their secular interests, and polygamy that he allied himself to Rigdon's cause, and then only briefly.

Winchester attended a conference in Philadelphia on 31 August and 1 September 1844 in which William Smith reproved Winchester for his past actions. Winchester, possibly still smarting over the Burtis episode, arose and expressed his candid feelings toward the Twelve. Among other things he accused the Twelve of slandering him, of forcing him to spend over four hundred dollars in going to and returning from Nauvoo the previous year, and of never explaining the reason why he had been suspended. For these reasons he stated that he would neither sustain the authorities in Nauvoo nor "go out to preach the gospel." When the time came to sustain the new authorities of the Church, Winchester refused to do so.

Three days later, Jedediah M. Grant, who had attended the conference, reported the conference to Brigham Young, adding that Winchester had turned against the Twelve because they had fought against him and his attacks on the "spiritual wife system." According to Grant, Winchester was traveling from house to house in Philadelphia, stirring up conversations about polygamy, while refusing to preach because he did not want to bring any female to her ruin, as he claimed other missionaries had. William Smith followed it up with a letter from New York urging Young to take immediate action, for Winchester "has taken a stand that will tend materially to the injury of the Cause in the East." He was drawing to him "a number of 'discontented' spirits" who were using their influence against the Twelve....

Brigham Young... convened a Church court on 26 September, Benjamin and Mary Winchester were excommunicated; Benjamin, in part, for "unchristian like conduct" and "slandering the Church," and "railing against, and speaking evil of the Twelve and others." Mary's offenses were the same, according to the published notice.

Brigham Young's talk at the general conference on 6 October 1844 dealt, in part, with "Anti-Christs" who attacked the character of Joseph Smith and other Church leaders.

The 12 October issue of The Prophet published a letter from George Adams attacking Winchester, beginning a cycle of increasingly spiteful and slanderous reports. Adams warned the Church in the East against Winchester, but called Winchester "this giant of an Anti-Mormon," insisted his disobedience had begun in 1840 when Joseph Smith visited the Philadelphia conference (the date when Parley P. Pratt said he first learned about celestial marriage), claimed that Joseph and Hyrum Smith just before their martyrdom had said Winchester "was rotten at heart, would apostatize, and injure the church as much as he could," and accused him of staying with the Church as long as he did so that he could "dispose of a lot of old books he had on hand." Such vituperation suggests that Winchester had begun to include Adams in his public charges of immorality. Winchester must have replied, though it has not been preserved, for Adams sued Winchester for slander in November....

On his way to England on 3 December 1844, Wilford Woodruff wrote a letter to Brigham Young from Philadelphia, warning Young that {G. J.] Adams and [Wm.] Smith were working for their own benefit, gratifying their own "propensities," and using for their own purposes money collected to build the temple in Nauvoo. Further, William Smith was sending missionaries out to collect money to help pay for his lawsuits. However, in spite of the "Winchester friction," Elder Jedediah M. Grant had "saved the Church in Philadelphia."

While all of this was happening, Winchester took every opportunity to attack the doctrine and practice of plural marriage. One episode concerned the case of John Hardy, president of the Boston Branch from February 1843 to 7 October 1844 when he resigned and accused Smith, Adams, and Brannan of practicing plural marriage. He was right but was excommunicated for slander. He then prepared and printed a twelve-page pamphlet defending his position and continuing the attack on Smith and Adams. Included in the pamphlet was a letter from Winchester commending Hardy in November for his public position. [129]

On 13 November Rigdon and Winchester held their first conference in New York City attended by about twenty. Two days later Winchester addressed another sparse assembly. Rigdon was deemphasizing himself as the "guardian" of the Church and, in January 1845, accused Joseph Smith of being a fallen prophet, primarily because of his espousal of polygamy. After that point, Rigdon and Winchester concentrated their efforts in Pennsylvania where both he and Winchester had numerous contacts. Approximately 40 percent of the Philadelphia Branch were excommunicated between September 1844 and 1847, most for rejecting apostolic succession. A number of Philadelphia converts signed a broadside publicly supporting Sidney Rigdon, then also gave their support to James J. Strang, and finally rejected him as his own polygamy became public.

In December William Smith belittled Winchester for saying he supported Rigdon because Rigdon "advocates the principles of virtue and righteousness," then editorialized on the faults of both men in such a way as to encourage a split between them. In early 1845, Rigdon's supporters published an editorial commending Winchester for his courage in standing up to Smith's attacks.... Winchester claimed that Joseph Smith had a vision ten days before his death and that, because of transgression, Smith lost his calling.... In early April Rigdon held his organizational conference in Pittsburgh. Winchester, among those listed as "absentee," was named an apostle in the new church. When Nauvoo rumored that Winchester was no longer supporting Rigdon, Winchester immediately penned a letter saying that he remained convinced that "if there is any truth in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; the friends of Elder Rigdon have the whole of that truth." In July Winchester wrote a report of successful proselyting meetings on Rigdon's behalf in Philadelphia, but apparently his second thoughts about Rigdon began that month. Winchester's bitter enemy, George J. Adams, excommunicated by the Nauvoo leaders in 1845 for immorality, was welcomed with open arms by many of Rigdon's followers. Rigdon failed to provide strong leadership, and the group fragmented.

In addition to Rigdon's fierce attacks on plural marriage, he led his church to help in establishing a literal Kingdom of God in Pennsylvania. This establishment of a temporal kingdom, combined with other doubts, surely pushed Winchester to reconsider his commitments. The minutes of Rigdon's 6-8 October conference in Philadelphia reveal Winchester's growing disillusionment. By 9 December 1845, Rigdon's grand council was hearing charges of transgression against Winchester and Richard Savary; while procedural problems prevented specific action, by 13 December Winchester had withdrawn from the Rigdonites....

Information on the remainder of Winchester's life is sketchy. The Zion's Camp roll of 12 October 1864 notes that Benjamin Winchester had become a "spiritualist"; and Winchester, on a trip to Salt Lake City in 1871, perhaps to visit his father, called on Amasa Lyman, an apostle excommunicated, among other things, for spiritualism. Winchester retired in 1887, wrote a biographical sketch two years later for the Salt Lake Tribune, died at Council Bluffs on 25 January 1901, and was buried in its Walnut Hills Cemetery.


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