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Vol. XXXIX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Sunday, June 1, 1890.                   No. 205.


From the Empire to the Buckeye State
and Ohio Sojourn.


What They Did and Why They Left --
High Jinks in Kirtland -- Great Cry
and Little Wool -- Lights arid Shades
of Latter-Day Life in Early Times --
A Choice Bit of Church History --
Young Utah, Kise and Read in the
Light of the Present -- Joseph
Was a Daisy, Indeed.

Editor Tribune -- In the light of some recent works on the origin and growth of the Mormon Church, notably Bancroft's "History of Utah," and Brother Jenson's most excellent and suggestive "Historical Record," vols. 5-8, called also "Church Encyclopedia, Book One," whereby much new light (and some darkness) has been thrown on an obscure subject, I feel tremendously moved to give to your readers a plain, unvarnished resume of that portion of the Saints' history covered by the period of their sojourn upon Ohio soil. Those seven years, 1831-8, were chock-full of great events; so much so that though Kirtland stands second in chronological order among the six localities which, one after another, furnished a halting place before a final settlement was made in the Great Basin, for important bearings upon the character and growth of the doctrinal and ecclesiastical system it easily stands first and foremost. It was even while on the banks of the east fork of the raging Chagrin river that the late Joseph Smith with at least one eye began to squint.


while as for almost every other doctrine and practice they got fairly on their feet while the Church center was in Geauga county. When the prophet first touched the Western Reserve he could count but a handful of dupes and co-conspirators, but when he left the number had swelled to 10,000, and a fearfully large sham had been supplied from within the limits of Ohio. So that if western New York is responsible for giving birth to the monster known as Mormonism, to the first commonwealth carved out of the Northwest territory belongs this doubtful honor of supplying shelter and nourishment through all the years of its feeble infancy. And not only is she the proud and glorious mother of presidents, generals and of great men of all sorts, but for many halcyon months she had the only original Yankee Prophet for a citizen; upon her soil was erected the first temple seen upon this Western Continent since the Nephites' day, and a multitude of fine revolutions first sounded out on her air. So it is no common subject to which our attention is turned.

It will be necessary first, in few words, in order to have a clear understanding of things, to inquire what headway the prophet had already made with his pious plans before he determined to turn his footsteps towards the setting sun, and how he came to fix upon that particular spot on the south shore of Lake Erie for a place of gathering for the elect of these last days. It was in 1820 that this humble but wicked lad behold his first vision, and seven years later when, after considerable sparring on the angel's part and hope deferred on his, he held in his hands the plates so long hid up. The next three or four years were given to bamboozling old Harris and to rendering reformed Egyptian into infamous English. By the early part of 1830, Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, etc., had got in their work for Joseph; the ever great and glorious book had rolled forth from the press, and the church that was a church was "organized according to the laws of the country." And how quickly the first and favored few began to be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth: It was but a few days before in Colesvilie, by the casting out of a devil from Newell Knight a branch blossomed forth, while in September four lusty elders were deputed to herald the gospel to the Lamanites resident upon the remote western border.

Meanwhile other forces were getting themselves put into shape to co-operate in their own due time. For example Alexander Campbell, who had already graduated from Presbyterianism into the Baptist faith, had come so to bristle at every point with innovations and theological novelties as to be cut off, and full of belligerancy had started a new sect. Among the wildest of his followers Sidney Rigdon soon appears, also before a Baptist preacher, and as such in 1826 had been located at Mentor, with Kirtland a few miles to the south for an out-station. Two years later he had become a perfervid disciple and had taken over with him the bulk of his two flocks. Making swift advances he soon out-Heroded Herod, and in the summer of 1830 disputed with Campbell on a radical point of doctrine, was badly beaten and retired crestfallen and sulking to his tent. Then finally, in 1826.


Parley P. Pratt, the peerless had emigrated to Northern Ohio and fixed himself in the forest on Black river, thirty miles west of Cleveland. On one of Rigdon's preaching excursions he had caught the ear of this young man and inoculated him thoroughly with Campbellism. But later in a ferment he took to poring over the prophesies and soon, casting away forever the axe and hoe, took also to preaching. Wandering eastward early In 1830, near Rochester he heard of the beautiful Book of Mormon. In a few hours had swallowed it whole from a to izzard and had no rest till he was further baptized. And he was one of the four sent west.

On their journey reaching the region occupied by Rigdon as a stamping ground, what more natural than to halt for a visit, and calling to tell the sweet story he had but recently heard. He even preached it, and with such cogency that almost the entire company of Sidney's sheep leaped incontinently over the fence into Joseph's pasture. The shepherd himself, as was most meet, held out for a season, but finally, constrained by a vision, he also succumbed, and began to pay his devotions to the rising sun. Yes, he hurried off to New York and for two months was closely closeted with the author and proprietor of the whole precious business. And now, just when all things were thus well prepared for the higera, a loud call comes forth from the skies for the Saints to exchange the Empire for the Buckeye State. That is to say, his neighbors by mobs, lawsuits and the like, and more and more, were informing Joseph of their desire and determination that he should emigrate. But other revelations of like tenor were vouchsafed. The State, and county, and very spot were chosen for him. Ohio was expressly named first in inspired writ since the world began in December of 1830, and in these wonderful words, to wit: "It is not expedient in me that ye translate (already Joseph and Sidney had their heads together tinkering up the old Bible) until ye shall go to the Ohio." "And again I give a commandment unto the church that it is expedient in me that they should assemble together at the Ohio. Behold, here is wisdom." "Flee to the West," was the watchword, and to those who find the promise was "a blessing such as is not known among the children of men." So, under the double impulse of


the brethren began to set their houses in order against moving day.

It was late in January, 1831, that Joseph, Emma and Sidney shook the dust of New York from their feet and proceeded to transfer themselves to Kirtland. The prophet alighting from the sleigh displayed a remarkable prescience when he marched straight up to Brother Whitney, whom he had never seen, but with whom he was to have free quarters, and called him by name. Then, further, within a week he played the seer and revehitor even more handsomely by producing a revelation right practical and to the point. "It is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., should have a house built in which to live." This is the substance of heaven's first communication to Ohio. And right on the heels of it came this supplement to make it complete: "If ye desire the mysteries of the Kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth." And thus timely and shrewdly did this thrifty Yankee look out for the well-being of No. 1.

Having fenced the wolf from the door in this most neat fashion, our gifted friend turned him with energy to other portions of his prodigious task. Thus he soon found that the ten score or so of the brethren and sisters had been on a prolonged spree, as it were, ever since Parley P. had gathered them in. Or all winter long they had been fairly intoxicated with religious excitement. In their meetings they would shout, and go into fits and spasms, and drop in a swoon as dead. Then they would rush forth wildly and roll, upon the ground, or imitate the speech and gestures of Indians. Would take to the fields and woods, and mounting stones or stumps road characters written upon the sky, or pick up pieces of parchment, bearing "the seal of Christ." For all this they were taken to task and warned to indulge in no madness but such as their new master countenanced. Next the great outside world was taken in hand, for Joseph would be king over many. Sidney and Parley were ordered off on a mission to a troop of Shakers located near Cleveland to persuade thern to trade off Mother Ann for Mother Lucy's son, and armed moreover with a revelation which gave to their heresies


All this powder appears to have been wasted. But not so at all elsewhere. For in various parts of Ohio this first campaign was marvellously successful, and the elders returned bringing many scalps, and some of them belonging to notable heads. Thus down south a few miles in Mantua one May morning they met Ezra Booth, a Methodist preacher, and after arguing with him a while and then clinching their logic by healing a bad case of chronic ailment, he was won teetotally over to the faith. Nor was he in any wise a dumb dog, but presently he crossed over to Hiram to attend a Campbellite meeting where Symond Ryder, of good Mayflower stock and of excellent parts, was holding forth. After sermon Booth asked permission to add a word, and he told of the angel, and the hill, and the plates, and'the peep-stone, and the ex-money-digger to such good purpose that the great preacher and the bulk of his congregation took the oath of allegiance on the spot, and tremendous was the excitement which followed in all that region. Nor was it long after that Lyman Wright laid siege to Cincinnati. In the courthouse he lifted up his voice for a season, then later it became his want to fish in the river by day and preach in private houses by night. And we read that one evening he stood upon a stone for a pulpit, also barefooted and with pants rolled up to his knees, and argued and exhorted for a solid two hours. As a result, before he left the city he had baptised upwards of 100. Thus did the truth prevail. Of such mighty deeds, more anon.

Meantime due preparations were in progress to receive the Saints only awaiting the advent of spring to emigrate from "the Eastern countries" to the "land of Kirtland." This timely revelation we trust was duly regarded: "Inasmuch as ye have lands ye shall impart unto the Eastern brethren, and inasmuch as ye have not lands, let them buy in the regions round about, for (mark it, my brethren) it must needs be necessary that they have places to live." In early May the wagons began to roll in. Thus Lucy Smith, the worthy mother of her worthier son, led some eighty souls


from Palmyra, N. Y., via the perilous Erie canal, mostly impecunious and altogether a sorry lot. At Buffalo two other troops, in the aggregate about as large, were met. The harbor was yet frozen solid, and the boat which was to bear this human freight to Fairport, Ohio, was able to make a passage through only after a great crack had been miraculously opened in the ice by the mighty faith and prayers of Lucy! Arriving at length, Joseph, Jr., and Joseph, Sr,, were in waiting and ere long the prophet's parents were comfortably fixed on the church farm. And why should a son of Vermont, even though he have a mission to found and build a religion, leave his relatives to starve? Every resident Saint kept open house and did the best possible to supply shelter and food to the new comers.

In June a conference was held, the first on Ohio ground in this dispensation, at which 1000 church members could be counted. Now it was that the heavens uttered an order for some twenty of the elders to set forth even to the land of Missouri in search of Zion. Suffice it to say that they went the 1000 miles on foot, Joseph and Sidney among them, actually discovered the


in Jackson county, selected a site for the city and oven laid the corner stone of a temple to be surely built in this generation. Returning after such an elegant summer's work, the prophet for some reason turned his back on Kirtland and left it to languish, honoring Hiram instead with his abode. True, he had a flourishing branch in the latter place, and not a few influential friends. Among thern was a family of Johnsons who came over from the Campbellites with Rev. Ryder, and later Mrs. J. had been snatched from death's door by the hand of Joseph. In return he was offered free board and bed for himself, Emma and the twins, while Rigdon was ensconced hard by. Now they gave themselves to translating again (by inspiration) and also as they had opportunity carrying the gospel into neighboring towns like Ravenna, Shalersville, New Portage and further south. Their efforts were flanked by dozens of other elders who had soon penetrated well nigh every county and township in the State. As a specimen, we hear of their doings in Huron county near 100 miles west from Kirtlarid and, to this extent: In La Porte, Amherst, Clarksfield, Florence, Berlin Heights, where they recruited Brother Milo Andrus, so fierce and in later times as a polygamist and blood-atoner; and New London, where a his log tabernacle was built, and for weeks baptisms went on at the rate of eight or ten a Sunday. So intense and, wide-spread was tho activity of their period that between September 1st and November 30th, eight conferences were held, and


how the preachers swept everything before them. For example, one day Rigdon and Cowdery held an assemblage at Mayfield on the banks of the Chagrin. A curtain V. J. Card, a lawyer hard-headed and skeptical, heard of the circus and from Willoughby rode over. Both had done their best at inviting and warning and then Rigdon. standing in the water, called candidates for baptism. A frenzy of desire seemed to sieze the crowd and thirty or more, one after another, took the mystic plunge beneath the wave. And of a sudden Card was taken with trembling and turned pale, had only strength to call on a companion to take him away by force, and only by the skin of his teeth was he held back from entering the Kingdom! Verily these were great days for Joseph. At a conference held in January, 1832, twenty-four elders were called by name to preach, of whom four were designated to go to the Eastern countries, four to the Southern countries, two to the Western countries, while seven were to ask the Comforter "whither they should go." Next month


was vouchsafed to Joseph and Sidney in Hiram and so far surpassing anything that even these favorite sons experienced before or after, as to hold in church annals the sole name of "The vision." Chiefly was it that then and there the world celestial, a new continent of truth and being, was discovered. But, alas! in spite of such blissful experiences this brace of seers were yet in this world, and the raging foe was on their track. March 25th the mob set upon them at midnight and on the charge of deviltry in general, dragged them from their beds, insulted and maltreated them without shame, and then finished off with, a coat of tar and feathers. Smith was sufficiently recovered to preach next day, but as for his fellow martyr he was long demoralized and sore both in body and spirit. A trip to Missouri was found convenient and helpful to both.

But Satan had nob yet hurled the deadliest of his darts. True, in the beginning of 1833 the "gift of tongues" was restored to earth after an absence of some eighteen centuries, and by the chosen mouth of Brigham Young, who at his first visit to Kirtand broke out in unknown strains, and was declared by Joseph to have produced a good specimen of the "pure Adamic" speech. Further, the Saints were instructed to begin at once to rear a temple on Ohio soil. Brick was to be the material, but the brethren fizzled so fearfully in their attempts to turn out a tolerable article that later the kind Moroni suffered them to substitute stone. Yet again, a plat of Zion in the Far West, most fair to see, was put on paper, with room for inhabitants by the ten thousand, and spots marked for half a score of temples, etc., and was duly forwarded to the front. But, cruel fate! while it was on the way, the bloody Missourians were upon the poor Saints with fire and sword, and rested not till the last soul of them was driven out of Jackson county. For several weeks thereafter our prophet was in sore distress, being unable, even by the help of Urim and Thummim, to learn why this was thus, or how to retrieve


But early in 1834 the nut was splendidly cracked by a revelation which called for the organization of "Zion's Camp," meant, as all the world knows, to inflict withering vengeance on the "Lord's" enemies. It is not in place here to speak further of this famous scheme, which to the human eye contains no element save of the purely and stupendously ridiculous, except to point out and emphasize the fact that it holds in history the enviable place of being the only military expedition ever organized in Ohio, or for that matter in North America, by revelation pure and simple, and with a live prophet for general.

All along the "school of the prophets" had been growing in Kirtland, and the elders would tug all winter long to learn to read, spell, write and cipher, and then summers they would tug like beavers to roll forth the kingdom into all quarters from Maine to Mississippi. As for the great, store of converts, they were drawn to the Western Reserve, some to tarry and settle, but for the most part to push on to Clay county, Mo., which was now the chosen seat. The walls of the ternpie in Kirtland were steadily rising, and about them were clustered nearly 2000 Saints. But the demon of apostacy now began to roar his head. Ezra Booth had turned traitor and persecutor, and was


of Mormonism in great shape in the Ravenna _Ohio Star._ Symonds Ryder also fell from the faith, doubt finding its first pointer when in his commission as elder, in the hand-writing of the inspired Joseph a bad botch had been made in the spelling of his name. Dr. P. Hurlburt was another Judas, and he began to investigate the matter of how the "Book of Mormon was but a reproduction of the Spaulding "Manuscript Found." And to crown all, E. D. Howe, a Painesville editor, put forth his terrible book, "Mormonism Unveiled," and this right under the prophet's nose.

In 1835 the Quorum of the Twelve was ordained and sent put, and a little later the first quorum of the Seventies, nor did the grass grow under their feet. It was about now that Lorenzo Snow, apparently not knowing what the school of the prophets was able to do towards teaching his young ideas how to shoot, thirsting for knowledge, made his way through the woods to drink at the Oberlin fountain then just bursting forth from the clay. But a few months sufficed, and as he reported to his sister, the late Eliza B., he could find "neither learning nor religion" in that college. Turn we next to glance at


in Joseph's life. I refer to the showman Chandler and his four Egyptian mummies, which at his earnest solicitation some of the brethren bought for him, in whose wrappings were found some rolls of papyrus written upon by ancients no loss renowned than Joseph the son of Jacob and Abraham himself, which rolls were duly translated by the prophet, and published, while the cadavers themselves wore long kept on exhibition for so much cash per head. Among the closing events was the lamentable set-to be between, our seer and his brother, William Smith the apostle, in which the former came out second best. Hear him: "You made towards me, "I thought to pull off my loose coat, you were too soon for me, my side gave way, and I was rescued from your grasp."

My pen fairly itches to go on through the two remaining years of the Saints sojourn in Ohio, but I must forbear. There was a temple dedication early in 1836, at which Israel


And the celebrated visit to Salem, Mass., and the revelations relating to great treasures of gold and silver, of which just then there was fearful need, but which somehow utterly failed to reach the prophet's purse. And his return only to find the Church on the very verge of fatal bankruptcy. Of the starting of the bank, opening of the stores, and the purchasing of farms, everybody running head over heels into debt. And the laying out of Kirtland City, a full mile square. And the sudden and savage way their creditors began to sit down upon them from the greatest to the least, and the sheriff and the courts made it hot and lively. And how within the Church the state of things was as bad as outside. And how to save their necks one night in January, 1838, Joseph and Sidney "fled the scene" on horseback, and left Ohio for Ohio's good and never more to return. And as a final stroke for Geauga county, how in the June following, Kirtland camp, composed of sixty wagons and 565 souls, took about the last of the Saints in the same direction. But a sad and extensive blight was left behind, and the damage done can be traced in hundreds of communities after fifty years. LEO

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XL.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Sunday,  January 25, 1891.                   No. 276.


The Illustrated American of New York City is publishing a series of articles on Mormonism. The articles in the main are fair. From some authority the Illustrated American has received its information, and naturally it reaches the conclusion that the Saints have not, in any honest sense, abandoned polygamy. This is offensive to the Saints, but why it should be we cannot see. With them polygamy is a command from God, and all the change that the most enthusiastic Saint pretends has been made, is that the president of the church, as a man, not as God's vicegerent, advises against its present practice. We all know that it was only political pressure that brought around the advice, and when we come to analyse the words they do not advise much.

But something in the former articles must have stung the Saints deeply, because the News devoted a great deal of space to a reply, and it seems the matter was of so much importance that Apostle Grant and Delegate Caine went to New York to protest and to hint at libel suits. The Illustrated American speaks of the probity of the two gentlemen, says "their address is candid, frank and engaging," all of which we will let pass for what it is worth, only stating that we in Utah know both gentlemen better than does the Illustrated American editor. The article then proceeds as follows:

On the occasion of their visit to the Illustrated American they were excited. It was natural that they should be excited. They believed that a bitter wrong had been done to them and their church, and they used such words as "lies" and "liars" with a freedom bred of those traditions of plain speech left by Brigham Young to the Mormon community.

Apart from these flowers of language, the following is the substance of the conversation that passed between these gentlemen and the Illustrated American:

"We have called," said Mr. Caine, "to protest in a most vigorous tone against the articles on Mormonism which you are now publishing."

"Are they not true?" asked the Illustrated American

"They are such a mixture of truth and falsehood," replied the Delegate, "that they are infinitely more dangerous than a mere parcel of lies. I was in Washington when the first publication was made, and went from one newsdealer to another to buy your paper. So great had been the demand for it that the Washington edition was exhausted, and I had to make a long search before I could buy the copy which I have in my hand. Armed with it I came to New York, and, as you see, I have marked with a pencil those of its statements which we repudiate."

"But," said the Illustrated American, "the article is headed by a quotation from the message of President Harrison. Your grievance, if any, lies not against us, but against the President of the United States."

"Oh," said Mr. Caine, "you know what the President is! You know what church he belongs to. We cannot be responsible for what President Harrison believes or says about us."

With this summary dismissal of President Harrison, Mr. Caine went on to attack Judge C. C. Goodwin, whose article in Harper's Magazine was quoted on the same page. His attack was purely personal. He said that the readers of The Salt Lake Tribune, which is edited by Judge Goodwin, bought it because it was a good newspaper, not because they put faith in Judge Goodwin's editorial utterances. As to Mr. Goodwin's criticisms of Mormonism, and his disbelief in the abandonment of polygamy, "they are simply set down as Tribune lies, said Mr. Caine."

"But," urged the Illustrated American, "are not all recent writers on Mormonism in accord with Judge Goodwin?"

"They are either missionaries or members of a hostile church," said Mr. Caine, heartily supported in this statement by Mr. Grant. Indeed, nothing in this interview was more remarkable than the attitude of the envoys toward all other churches than the Mormon Church. Whatever comments appeared upon their community they instantly attributed to the machinations of rival sects. The whole matter was to them a feud of religion.

"President Woodruff," continued the Congressman, has lately made this declaration:

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I do hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws and to use all my influence with the members of the church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

"This would be excellent testimony," said the Illustrated American, "if we had not the best possible authority from Utah for saying that it is merely a feint."

"Your authority is the 'Old Mormon,'" said Mr. Caine, "and I don't hesitate to assert that the 'Old Mormon' is a myth. I don't believe that there exists such a person."

The similitude of Mrs. Prig's remarks about Mrs. Harris was so great that it provoked an involuntary smile.

"This may be fun to you," said the Delegate, "but it is death to us. I tell you that no Mormon, young or old, would dare to make such assertions as this imaginary Mormon makes. The discipline of our church is stronger than you may fancy."

Mr. Caine went into detail in support of this theory that the "Old Mormon" did not exist. He found in the "Old Mormon's" story these statements: "I was arrested with Joseph Smith." "I put my head out of the window of the jail." "I expected to be shot the next moment."

"Why," said Mr. Cain," there was nobody arrested with Joseph Smith except his brother. There was nobody in jail."

For a decision of this point we refer our readers to Colnel Hay's account of the killing of Joseph Smith; to the story of "Early Mormon Days," recently published by Charles Scribners Sons; and to any standard work on the subject.

"Then," said Mr. Grant, "this old Mormon asserts that George A. Smith rode on a fleet horse ahead of the emigrant train which was massacred in Mountain Meadows. Are you aware that Smith was a man weighing 290 pounds, and could hardly have found a horse to carry him?"

Here we refer our readers to a graphic account of the Mountain Meadows massacre published many years ago by the Chicago Tribune. the correctness of its facts has never been disputed. Mr. George A. Smith's adiposity may have increased in later years, but, as the "Old Mormon" remembers him, he was capable of riding fleet horses.

And that was absolutely all the evidence by which Messrs. Caine and Grant supported their very serious accusation that the "Old Mormon" did not exist -- an accusation which is likely to offend him deeply.

"The truth of the matter," continued Mr. Caine, "is that, in spite of all that we assert, nobody believes that we have abandoned polygamy. The President does not believe it. The Utah Commission does not believe it. I appeared before the Utah Comission. They told me that they had the proof of forty-two polygamous marriages recently contracted. Said I, 'Gentlemen, produce your proof.' They have not produced it yet. They cannot produce it. Why? They have no proof."

"No proof whatever," echoed Mr. Grant.

"Now," said Mr. Caine, "your publication will be read by a hundred people to one who will see the report of the Utah Commission. We have a right to reputation. We demand it."

"You must not demand anything with threats," said the Illustrated American. "We are publishing these articles after long deliberation and investigation. We stand ready to support them in a court of law."

"No, no," said Mr. Caine, "we make no threats: we will consider what course to take. What we want you to print is, that we deny that polygamy has not been actually abandoned; we deny that any policy of deception is being counseled; we deny that Brigham Young or any Mormons in authority aided or abetted the Mountain Meadows massacre; we deny that the Mormons mean to go to war with the Unoted States; and we deny that they have any intention of leaving Utah and emigrating to Mexico. Will you publish these denials?"

"We will publish them with pleasure," said the Illustrated American, as its Mormon visitors rose to go.

And we here keep our word. We repeat that Messrs Caine and Grant are men of the highest standing in the Mormon community, and would impress any listener, however skeptical, by their air of sincerity and by their enthusiasm for the creed to which they place their trust.

At the same time we cannot agree with the New York Sun, which, in an editorial published after the visit of Messrs Caine and Grant, sums up their views under the title, "Is Mormon Polygamy Ended?" The Sun believes that Governor Thomas of Utah and Judge Zane of that Territory, will support it in the belief that plural marriages are "buried, never to be resurrected."

"There is ground for believing," cries the Sun, glowingly, "that the last of avowedly polygamous marriages in Utah has already ocurred. Civilization has conquered."

The report of the Utah Commission, we believe, will show a different state of things. Governor Thomas and Judge Zane, we are sure, will be found less hopeful than the Sun imagines. The Mormon problem was never so bodly tangled as now.

And, while waiting for the unraveling of its complications, the Illustrated American merely wishes to say that it will gladly respond to any libel suit which the Mormon Church wishes to bring against it.

The Saints will not sue the Illustrated American. That is all a bluff. For months they have been bluffing about their strength, but they dare not make a test case to be fairly tried in court.

Note: The Salt Lake Herald, Deseret News, and Salt Lake Times all responded to this article in the Tribune, with caustic comments. History would show the Illustrated American to have been maliciously wrong or artfully misguided in several of its 1890-91 assertions against the Mormons. However, since LDS plural marriages did continue in secret, for several years after Woodruff's "manifesto," that magazine proved to be more or less correct in its published disbelief on that particular subject. For the official LDS reply to the magazine, see President Woodruff's Jan. 9, 1891 letter.


Vol. XLIV.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Sunday,  June 26, 1894.                   No. 57.


The  Assassination  of  Joseph  and  Hyrum  Smith.


Conditions Under Which the People Then Lived -- Nauvoo's Promise of
Becoming a Great Metropolis -- Talks With Catherine Salisbury, Sister
of Joseph and Hyrum -- Lucy Smith's "History of Joseph Smith."


Correspondence Tribune.

Carthage, Ill., June 22, 1894.            
On the 27th of this month, next Wednesday, occurs the fiftieth anniversary of the massacre of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Mormon prophets, at the old stone jail in this city. The old jail still stands, but has been greatly beautified both externally and internally by its present owners and occupants, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Browning. However, this anniversary will hardly be celebrated here, unless a few curious visitors beg admission to the residence to view the dark stains upon the oaken floor and bullet marks in the casements and windows of the upper hallway and room where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot to death, and where John Taylor, late president of the Mormon Church was wounded.

The story of the massacre is familiar to all who have made any sort of a study of the history of Illinois. Mrs. Browning, who is so gracious to all visitors, says that it is surprising how many different versions of the story of the tragedy are rife. She has heard the story told in more than a dozen different ways, and by some Mormons themselves who it is thought, should be better posted. It is not infrequently the case that small delegations from Salt Lake visit the old jail. Not long since a band of Mormons came to the Browning home and begged that they might see the interior of the historic pile. All reputable people are admitted to the building if they ask the permission. This little band of Mormons moved about the sacred old building, and, as they gazed upon the dark, rusty stains where the life blood of Joseph, the martyr, poured out, their tears streamed softly down their cheeks. Some came to beg a leaf or a flower and get a handful of earth from the place where stands the old jail. It is a historic shrine -- the shrine of the martyred prophet.

The Mormons came to Illinois from Missouri in about 1839. They selected a site -- the present location of Nauvoo -- on the banks of the Mississippi river, and here began the erection of buildings for homes, workshops, tithing-houses and, greatest of all, a magnificent temple that cost a million of dollars in money and labor. Nauvoo bade fair to become the leading city of the West. In 1844 she was a city of nearly 30,000 inhabitants. Joseph Smith had issued an edict that all Mormons from all parts of the world, should come to Nauvoo, making this spot the last place -- the new Zion -- where the work of the last days should begin. In answer to this call the faithful began to stream into the city. The Gentiles, so-called, the general populace of Hancock county, became alarmed at the growing religious and political strength of the Mormons, and, as the Mormons charge, became intensely jealous of the material, political and religious progress of the Saints. There can be no doubt that the Illinois Legislature, of which William Smith, a brother of the prophet, was a member by suffrage of Mormon votes, granted unconstitutional charter to the Mormons. Under these special acts it is claimed that Smith and his leaders did a great many illegal things. The culmination of all the trouble, however, was the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor office by order of Mayor Joseph Smith, at Nauvoo, some time about the middle of June, 1844. This led to Smith's arrest. Francis and Joseph Higbee and others had renounced Smith and started the Expositor. But one copy was issued, but it bristled with assaults upon Smith and the Mormons. Its publication was ordered to be suppressed by the City Council of Nauvoo, and the press and type were broken and thrown into the river. It is said that the press has since been on exhibition in Chicago, but it is doubtful whether the parts were ever rescued from the bosom of the father of waters." Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Taylor and a Mr. Richards were arrested and taken to the jail in Carthage. They were treated with considerable condescension by Jailer Walker Stigall, and were placed in a large suite in the upper story, known as the debtors' room. Smith had prophesied his death, and evidently he expected trouble, for when the mob did come, about 4 o'clock on the afternoon of June 27th, 1844, he fired into them several times with an old-fashioned "pepper-box" revolver, wounding two or three of the assailants. The mob was composed of men who wore disguises and who did their work quickly. A detail of local military organization called the "Carthage Grays" were stationed about the jail, but they "stood in" with the mob. Their guns were loaded with only powder and wadding. After discharging their rifles the "guards" ran away and joined the other citizens in leaving the town deserted. Old Artois Hamilton and a few other brave souls remained. Hamilton cared for the dead, and also saw that John Taylor's wounds were dressed. He took the bodies of the Smiths to Nauvoo the following day, where in a short address, he turned them over to the sorrowing people.

(view larger version of this engraving)

Few witnesses to that tragedy now survive. The recent death of Judge Thomas Coke Sharpe, editor of the Carthage Gazette, removed one of the defendants charged with the killing. He and all indicted by the grand jury for the murder were acquited on trial. There lives near Fountain Green, in this county, Mrs. Catherine Salisbury, a sister of the prophet Joseph Smith. She resides with her son Fred Salisbury, who is a farmer of that section. Mother Salisbury, as she is known, is now 82 years old, and has a remarkable memory. She resembles her noted brother very little save in stature. Her chief resemblance is to her brother's son, the present Joseph Smith, president of the Mormon Church at Lamoni, Ia.

A visit to this country home recently found the good lady at leisure, and as ever, in a kindly mood to welcome visitors. She said: "Some of the newspaper men have not always treated us right in their stories of Mormon times. And then there have been historians who have misquoted facts, whether by accident or design I know not, but the facts were sadly at variance. All we aks is justice. We are not ashamed of our church, its teachings or its history. We have nothing to conceal."

Mother Salisbury says she came to Illinois in 1838, a short time prior to the general hegira of Mormons from Missouri into Illinois. Joseph was in bondage in Missouri, and the Mormons first came to Quincy. As soon as Joseph was liberated the people settled at Nauvoo. Mrs. Salisbury says their family, however, located near the present site of Macomb. She was married to Wilkins J. Salisbury June 8, 1831, and moved with him to this State, afterwards locating at Plymouth, in this county. She frequently visited Nauvoo during the Mormon ascendency. Her brothers were very good to her, and every time there was a grand fete or a religious gathering of unusual importance, they sent for Sister Catherine. "I was in Nauvoo a few days before my brothers were brought to Carthage, where they met their death. I shall never forget that Saturday, June 23, 1844, when I last saw my brothers alive. Joseph had preached a sermon to the largest crowd I have ever seen. It was his last sermon. I might say that it was more in the nature of a prophecy than a sermon, for he said, turning on the platform where he stood and facing some of the high priests and Elders sitting there: 'There are those among you who will betray me soon; in fact, you have plotted to deliver me up to the enemy to be slain.' The truth of this prophecy is of history. He was betrayed, and by his own alleged best friends. These same fellows attempted to assume the reigns of the church at his death. They not only attempted this, but they attempted to introduce obnoxious teachings into the church. My nephew, the present Joseph Smith, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Lamoni, Ia., is the true and only successor of Joseph Smith, the martyr.

"I returned to my home that Saturday evening and I shall never forget the parting with Joseph and Hyrum. That picture you hold in your hand shows how Joseph and Hyrum were dressed as they bade me good-bye. Joseph took my hands tenderly in his, saying: 'Good-bye, Sister Catherine. When this trouble blows over I will come down to Plymouth and make you a visit.' Hyrum said 'Good-bye,' simply, but with a deeper feeling than I had ever known him to entertain. It was my farewell to them on this earth."

Mother Salisbury says that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith lie buried in the old family burying lot near the Mansion house in Nauvoo. "There was a price set on Joseph's head, and we concealed the bodies for a day and a night. Then we buried them near the old home. There was no secrecy about their resting place. When 'Aunt Emma' Smith, who later was Mrs. Major C. L. [sic. - L. C.?] Bidamon died, her six nephews buried her near the brick vault where rest the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum. The story that the bodies were taken to Salt Lake is without foundation."

Mother Salisbury very kindly exhibited a number of photographs of her family to the visitor, and loaned him a book, "The History of Joseph Smith," written by the Prophet's mother, Lucy Smith. It gives a detailed account of the origin of the families on both sides, and the genealogy of the families is arranged in a methodical order. She pays a high tribute to Joseph, whom she gives a most excellent and Christian character. She refers to his fortitude in withstanding pain under the surgeon's knife. That she believed her son to be inspired of God, and that his religion and all his acts were authorized from on high, appears upon the very face of the book. She indulges in scathing criticism of the civil authorities of Illinois and Missouri in their alleged failure to hear the appeals of a persecuted and downtridden people. Her story of the murder of her two sons is pathetic in the extreme.

Outside of Nauvoo few landmarks of Mormonism remain in this county. At Webster and Fountain Green, in the vicinity of Mother Salisbury's home, there are yet evidences of the Mormon settlements established there when those people first came to Illinois. The old jail at Carthage and a little old brick house near by are about the only landmarks left of the Mormon era, so far as Carthage is concerned.

Despite the fact that the tragedy occurred fifty years ago, public interest in the story has not grown old, nor will it ever grow old. It is like "Uncle Tom's Cabin," in that the ever rising generation will want to hear the story, and, if possible, visit Nauvoo and the old jail at Carthage.

There are few if any Mormons of the old school in this county. The representatives of the Lamoni Church, however, are very numerous, and they have several meeting-houses. These people are among the best citizens of the county.   GAY DAVIDSON.

Note 1: For record of other interviews with Catherine Smith Salisbury, see the Lamoni, Iowa Saints' Herald of May 6, 1993, The Carthage Republican of May 16, 1894, and the The Kansas City Times of Apr. 11, 1895. The May 16, 1894 interview record is very similar to the June 24, 1894 Tribune text, but does not include Catherine's allegation that her brothers were murdered according to the secret plans of "his own alleged best friends," (who could only be those members of the Council of the Twelve who remained loyal to Brigham Young).

Note 2: Compare Mr. Davidson's quotation from Mrs. Salisbury, as published in the the Quincy Whig of June 24, 1894, with the lengthier version from the Tribune of the same date --- Whig text: "as he finished he turned to several of the church dignitaries who were seated on the platform behind him and told them that there were among them those who had conspired to deliver him up to the enemy." --- Tribune text: "turning on the platform where he stood and facing some of the high priests and Elders sitting there: 'There are those among you who will betray me soon; in fact, you have plotted to deliver me up to the enemy to be slain.' The truth of this prophecy is of history. He was betrayed, and by his own alleged best friends. These same fellows attempted to assume the reigns of the church at his death. They not only attempted this, but they attempted to introduce obnoxious teachings into the church...." --- Carthage Republican text: "Brother Joseph said that there was seated on the speaker's stand beside him those who were conspiring to take his life, and who would be responsible for his death."

Note 3: The journalist conducting the May, 1894 interview with the Salisbury family at Fountain Green, Illinois, was Isham Gaylord Davidson (1860-1956), the son of the managing editor of the Carthage Republican. See notes appended to his article in the Quincy Whig of June 24th for more information on Mr. Davidson.


Vol. XLV.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Tuesday,  April 21, 1896.                   No. 331.



Richfield, Utah, April 19. -- Joseph S. Horne, one of the members of the City Council of Richmond and one of the counselors of the president of the Mormon stake, William H. Clark, lately returned from his post as sergeant-at-arms of the State House of Representatives, and another counselor of the Sevier stake presidency; and William H. Seegmiller, who was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for Representative last fall and is the president of the Sevier stake of Zion, occupied the pulpit at the Latter-Day Saints meeting-house in this city this afternoon....

President Seegmiller's allusions to the much-mooted topic [polygamy] were yet more forcible. He thought man's first allegiance was due his church, and that if he could not conscientiously obey the authorities he should sever his connection with the body. If his political party did not like his views he could not help that. Whenever political belief should conflict with church tenets, he would lay politics on the shelf. Recent mamifestations were but a re-enactment of events that transpired in the early life of the Mormon church. At first Joseph Smith gathered about him the brightest minds of the day. Among his most brainy followers were Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon. In the beginning they were content to assist Joseph in his labors, themselves remaining in the background, but after a while they grew jealous and attempted to depose the prophet and become the leaders of the church. The result was that they were dropped by the Mormon church, and died in ignominy. Just so it is at this time. Moses Thatcher is an eloquent speaker and a great thinker, a man of profound learning. He did much good so long as he was willing to submit to the will of those above him. But now he had taken upon himself the responsibility of dissenting from the minds of his co-laborers and superiors, and had been suspended from his position. In this there could be no cause for so much criticism among his political friends, but in it was contained a good lesson to all true Saints.

President Seegmiller of the Sevier stake says the Thatcher suspension contains a good lesson to all true Saints, and he cites the example of Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon, who because they were not content to obey "were dropped by the Mormon church and died in ignominy." Rough language that, and revolting, too, under all circumstances.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLVI.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Saturday,  Sept. 5, 1896.                   No. 114.



Are also Debarred from Inheritance if They Join Any
Secret Society -- Text of the Document.

Correspondence Tribune.

Provo, Sept. 4. -- Charles Eric Malmstrom of Mapleton, declaring himself of sound mind and body, has filed his last will and testament at the Recorder's office at Provo, disinheriting his children in case they become Mormons, Catholics or join secret societies. In case they do, his property goes to the Baptist church. It is a lengthy paper. His wife is given the use of the estate as long as she is unmarried. If she be divorced or dies, then the children, six of whom are living, are given the use of the estate. The estate is then described by sectional bounds. Then the will proceeds:

"And I do further direct and appoint that should any of my children, as above named, or my grandchildren become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also called the Mormon church, or the Roman Catholic church, or any secret oath-bound society whatever, or who aids any of them, then shall none of those who so join said churches or said societies or who aid them in any manner whatever, be entitled to inherit any portion whatever of my estate, real, personal or mixed, or to which I may be entitled at the time of my death or decease; but all of my estate in equal shares as above specified shall be given to those of my children that do not join or aid said churches or secret societies. That if all of my said children or grandchildren should join or aid in building up either of said churches or societies, or aid them, then shall all of my property, real, personal or mixed, or to which I may be entitled at the time of my decease, be given and bequeathed to the Baptist church in Utah, or nearest to Utah, provided such church has taken action to exclude from membership in such church any and all who join or or belong to any of the above-named secret societies. My estate or the proceeds thereof shall be used by said church exclusively for the purpose to expose and work against Mormonism, by enlightening the Mormond and other people by proving that Joseph Smith was a false prophet; by circulating such books as "The Momron Portraits," by Dr. Wyl; "The Golden Bible," by Rev. M. T. Lamb, and by publishing and circulating my manuscript entitled, "Sidney Rigdon in the Court on the Charge of Personating the (Fictitious Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon."

I further nominate and appoint the United States District Judge of Utah to appoint an honest person as executor of this my last will and testament. And lastly, do I protest against all and any contests against this my last will and testiment, and should any one do, or attempt to do, then that person or persons, their heirs or administrators shall be forever barred from receiving any of my estate, real. personal or mixed, and I further protest against any court entering any proposition for a contest against this my last will and testament.

The document is dated July 28, 1896, and H. T., J. D. and C. A. Reynolds are witnesses.

Note 1: The Utah History Encyclopedia entry for Mapleton includes this tidbit of information: "Charles E. Malmstrom, a Swedish immigrant with an Australian wife, built a home at what is now west Maple Street, about 250 rods west of the present Mapleton City Building, and moved in 1 December 1873...."

Note 2: History does not record the fate of Charles Eric Malmstrom's book, "Sidney Rigdon in the Court on the Charge of Personating the (Dictitious Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon." Evidently his heirs did not spend any of their inherited money to have the manuscript published.


Vol. LVIV.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Thursday,  May 11, 1899.                   No. 27.


Original Book of Mormon Dissected by
Dr. B. D. Pierce, Washington.

Book in Itself, He Says, is Only Grotesque.

Its Adherents, However, Have Discovered in it a Most Dangerous
Weapon Against the Moral World -- Hierarchy of Subtle Brains,
Equipped with Wealth of a Community, Reinforced by a Million Dupes
Willing to Accept with Unquestioning Obedience and Dispensation
Formulated in the Terms of "Thus Saith the Lord," is a Portentous
Danger Sign to Enlightened Civilization -- This the Menace to the
World from Mormonism -- He Repeats Charges About Book.

Post Building, Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D. C., May 10, 1899

Dr. B. D. Pierce of this city read an interesting paper last night before the Anthropological society. It was entitled "The Original Book of Mormon, the Mormon Congressman and a Brief History of the Church."

Dr. Pierce said that the Book of Mormon was not in itself immoral. It was, he said, simply grotesque.

"There is no polygamy in it," he continued. "On the contrary, it is expressly prohibited. The Mormons have been slandered and traduced, unjustly and without warrant, for an immoral 'Bible.' Whatever their practices may be under their doctrine of a new revelation, however, which springs directly from their invention of the Book of Mormon itself, there is nothing immoral in the book. It is, on the contrary, only grotesque.

"It is a melange of plagiarisms from the Old and New Testaments without order or regularity, easily traced, and intermingled with watery parodies of nothing in particular signifying nothing.

"But in this monstrosity, born of deceit and bred in falsehood, obliged to defend itself and its origin with inventions claiming miraculous interpositions of Divine power, its adherents have discovered a most dangerous weapon against the moral world. A hierarchy of subtle brains, equipped with the wealth or the entire community, reinforced with a million dupes willing to accept with unquestioning obedience any dispensation formulated in the terms of 'Thus saith the Lord' is a portentous danger sign to enlightened civilization. This is [the] menace to the world from Mormonism."

In speaking of the Book of Mormon, Dr. Pierce said that more than 3000 corrections to orthography and grammar had been made since the original edition. These 3000 cahnges, he said, are not typographical corrections. A comparison of the first edition with the latest shows that the pronoun "which" is changed to "who" in the latest over 700 times. He said that the vernacular of the backwoods of western New York is found on every page of these works and that silicism which would delight the heart of the modern dialect writer crops out in every sentence.

"The Mormons," said Dr. Pierce, "have from the first repudiated with great intensity of feeling the Gentile charge that their book is but an illiterate plagiarism of a parodic romance on the 'Old Testament,' written as a literary diversion in the early part of this century by a superannuated 'Congregationalist minister,' Rev. Solomon Spaulding, entitled, 'The Manuscript Found.' I believe the evidence to be overwhelming, and that it establishes beyond the shadow of a doubt the fact that had Spaulding's romance never been written, Joseph Smith, Jr., would never have found the box of plates in the Manchester hillside."

Note: The Washington Post, on May 10, 1899, ran a much shorter report on this same lecture, entitled "The Anthropological Society." Evidently the Post did not think Dr. B. D. Pierce's lecture important enough news to feature in its columns, using the longer text produced for distribution by the Post's own wire service copy writers.


Vol. LIX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah,  Sunday,  July 23, 1899.                   No. 108.


Correspondence Tribune.

Springville, Utah, July 25. -- There is living quietly in the pretty little town of Springville an old lady, who was at one time the fourth wife of James J. Strang, prophet and leader of the Strangites, a branch of the Mormon church, which left the mother church under the leadership of Strang after the death of Joseph Smith. The lady in question, who is known here as Mrs. Wing, having married a man by that name after the death of Strang, was called on by your correspondent and asked for an interview about the early days of the Strangite church, its teachings and its prophet, James J. Strang. She very graciously granted the request and gave the following interesting facts about the church and its leader.

    *     *     *

Strang was a lawyer by profession and according to her statement was a very smart and well-educated man. He joined the Mormon church at Nauvoo about a year before the death of Joseph Smith. At the time of the death of the founder of the Mormon church Strang was living at Voree, Wis. Here it was that he received the letter he claimed was from Joseph Smith conferring on Strang the leadership of the Mormon church at his (Joseph's) death. This letter was dated at Nauvoo a short time before the death of Joseph and bore the Nauvoo postmark. This letter Mrs. Wing states that she has seen. Here it was that he was first visited by the angel who told him where to find his first batch of sacred plates, which he dug up on a hill near Voree, known as the Hill of Promise. These plates consisted of three sheets of copper about three inches square and contained the first ordinances of the church. These plates, Mrs. Wing says, she has seen, and that she believes they are still in the possession of the family of one of Strang's wives. The plates were fastened together with a ring run through holes in the corner of the plates, and on the first one was the sun, moon and stars, and the head and base of a man holding a scepter in his hand

    *     *     *

Later on the angel again visited him and told him of some plates on Beaver island, in Lake Michigan, which he found, and from which he translated the Strangite Bible, known as the "Book of the Lord" or "The Ancient Law of Moses." These plates, eighteen in number, she states she never saw, but that she saw the translations, and that thousands of copies which were printed and ready to be bound were destroyed by the mob after the death of Strang.

    *     *     *

Mrs. Wing says that there was no material difference between the teachings of the Strangites and the Mormons of Joseph Smith's time except that the Strangites kept Saturday for the Sabbath instead of Sunday. Both the Mormons and Strangites taught polygamy. Stranf had five wives at the time of his death. Mrs. Wing was the daughter of Finnies Wright, one of Strang's twelve apostles, and was married to Strang when a young girl. She had one child by Strang, a son, who is now living in this city. Two years ago L. D. Hickey, the last surviving member of the original twelve apostles, came here and tried to induce this son, who is now a middle-aged man, to go back and assume control of the Strangite church as its leader. But all the inducements that Mr. Hickey could offer did not make Mr. Strang believe that he was called of the Lord to go and lead his father's people, so he would not go.

    *     *     *

In speaking of the killing of Strang, Mrs. Wing said that he was killed by apostates from his church; that the leader and promoter of the affair was Dr. H. D. McCullah, who came from Baltimore and joined the church, and was for a while a very influential member of the church, but afterward apostatized. The killing was done by Alex Wentworth and Thomas Bradford, two other apostates. The account of the killing as given by Mrs. Wing was as follows. One day a United States gunboat steamed up to the island and a messenger was sent on shore to inform Prophet Strang that he was wanted aboard. Mr. Strang started to go on board, when Wentworth and Bradford came up behind him and shot him in the back, killing him almost instantly [sic]. They then rushed on baord the boat which at once put off from shore and carried the two assassins out of the reach of the vengeance of Strang's loyal followers, and as far as Mrs. Wing knows, nothing was ever done to bring the murderers to justice.

    *     *     *

In her talk with your correspondent Mrs. Wing had to depend entirely on her memory, for she had no papers or books pertaining to the Strangites to guide her, for she had burned up all the books and papers of that kind years ago, when she thought she was going to die, for she did not want them to fall into the hands of her son, for fear that it might lead him to think he was called by God to lead his father's followers. And she said she believed that if the Lord wished to call him to that work he was abundantly able to do so without the help of those papers and books.

Mrs. Wing is an extremely smart, intelligent woman. She has made a profession of medicine for a good many years and has been very successful in her practice.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLI.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, May 20, 1900.                   No. 36.


He Talks of the Early Days
of Mormonism.


John W. Rigdon Son of Sidney Rigdon, One of the Counselors
of Joseph Smith, Visiting Utah for the First Time in
Nearly Forty Years -- His Recollections of the
Time when the Church Was Young --
He Says Joseph Smith Wanted
Nancy Rigdon.

John W. Rigdon of New York City, the only surviving son of Sidney Rigdon, first counselor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is visiting friends in this city. He recently arrived from the East and is at present stopping with his friend Ethan Burrows 528 East Second South.

Mr. Rigdon is a lawyer by profession and a hale and hearty old gentleman, about 70 years of age. When seen yesterday and asked for an interview he declared that he knew nothing which he could say that the public would be interested in. Lawyer-like he suggested that the interviewer should ask him questions and he would answer if he could.

"Are you a member of the Mormon church?" was asked.

Mr. Rigdon replied that he did not know if he was or not. He said he was baptized in 1839, and had never been cut off from the church that he knew of. Like most lawyers, he said he had not attended any church very often and sometimes when he did go, he felt as though it would be necessary for him to knock in order to get in. Speaking of his baptism, he said that in 1839 when he was a small boy, he was very sick and his father, who at was a that time was a devout Mormon, wished to have his son baptized into the church. He was taken from his sick bed, carried to the river and baptized by Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph; his father Sidney Rigdon, and the Prophet Joseph Smith standing on the bank and witnessing the ceremony.


Mr. Rigdon spoke of his father's first association with the Mormon church and his final withdrawal, but claimed that at no time did he repudiate his belief in what he was pleased to call the true Mormon faith.

Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell organized the Campbellite, or Christian church, somewhere about 1828. It was while ministering to a congregation of the new church which he had recently organized that Oliver Cowdery and David [sic] Whitmer came along with the Book of Mormon, and asked permission to preach in his church, which was granted. On leaving that community the two missionaries left a copy of the Book of Mormon with Mr. Rigdon, saying they would call a few weeks later and talk with him further about the new doctrine. Sidney Rigdon became interested in the book after reading it, and afterward joined the church, becoming first counselor to the Prophet Joseph.

Mr. Rigdon said yesterday that his father, Sidney Rigdon, left the church because Brigham Young usurped the presidency, that being the immediate cause of his refusing to follow the Saints to the mountains. The elder Rigdon always claimed that the succession to the presidency did not rightfully belong to Brigham Young. There were other causes which tended to estrange Sidney Rigdon from the church. He always insisted that polygamy came from the devil, although it was introduced by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in 1842.


In regard to the introduction of polygamy by Joseph Smith at this early date, there has always been a dispute. The Josephite branch of the church insists that polygamy was not practiced or sanctioned by Joseph Smith, but was introduced by Brigham Young when he became the head of the church. Mr. Rigdon said yesterday that he had positive knowledge that polygamy was introduced by Joseph Smith as early as 1843. When this statement was questioned by Josephite elder present, and Mr. Rigdon was asked if he had ever heard Joseph Smith preach polygamy, he answered that he had not, but that he had heard Hyrum Smith deny it at Nauvoo in a public address but that he (Rigdon) knew the charge was true.


Mr. Rigdon then went on to say that in the early part of time year 1843, Joseph Smith made a proposition of plural or spiritual marriage to his (Rigdon's) sister Nancy, then a young lady about 21 years of age. The proposal was indignantly refused by the young lady. She at once told her father, Sidney Rigdon, of Smith's proposal. The elder Rigdon was very angry and called Smith to account. Two or three days afterward Smith called at the Rigdon home and attempted to deny the statement of Miss Nancy, when she promptly told the prophet that he was a liar and a scroundrel if he intimated that he had not made the proposition. Mr. Rigdon said yesterday that he was present at this interview, and remembers the circumstances as distinctly as though it had occurred only last week.

After this interview Mr. Rigdon said Smith acknowledged to his father that he had proposed plural marriage to his daughter, and begged forgiveness. Sidney Rigdon pardoned the offense, and the prophet and his first counselor became good friends again.

In addition to this incident Mr. Rigdon said that he knows for a certainly that Joseph Smith married Sarah Ann Whitney in 1843.


His father, Sidney Rigdon, never recanted his belief in the Book of Mormon, and to his dying day always insisted that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, but, like some of the old biblicaI prophets, he fell from grace and paid the penalty with his life. Sidney Rigdon died at Friendship, N. Y., in 1876, when he was 74 years of age. Mr. Rigdon said, in speaking of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, that a short time before his death he went to his father and asked him to tell him anything which he might know about the Book of Mormon which had not been made public. The old gentleman said he had never told but one story about the Book of Mormon, and that Joseph Smith had never told him but one story, and that was that he had found the golden plates upon which the strange characters were engraved, and from that he had translated the book as it was published. Sidney Rigdon always believed Smith's story, and that was his belief when he died.


This is John W. Rigdon's second trip to Utah: he came out first in 1863, crossing the plains with an ox team. He remained here and in Montana for two years. In 1865 he went to Fort Benton, built a flatboat and traveled down the Missouri to St. Joe, Mo.

Mr. Rigdon has two sisters living in Friendship, N.Y. He and his sisters are the survivors of a family of twelve children.

Mr. Rigdon was born at Mentor O., in 1830. He has a wife and three children, two daughters and a son. His son resides In California and the others of the family still live in New York.

When asked if he had come West to renew his connection with the church, he answered that he had not; that he had come to renew his acquaintance with old friends, some of whom he had not seen for almost half a century.

President Snow was a friend of Mr. Rigdon's father and Mr. Rigdon himself knew the president in the very early days of the church.

Mr. Rigdon said he expected to remain some time and would try to see more of the country than he did when he was out here almost forty years ago.

Note 1: Although John W. Rigdon was not an official member of the LDS Church during his 1900 visit to Utah, he eventually did submit a request to join that group and was baptized in New York on Sept. 8, 1904 (see the the Tribune of Oct. 8, 1904, page 12 and the Deseret News of Sept. 24, 1904, pages 4 & 7). The Deseret News of July 29, 1905 featured John's lengthy affidavit, containing a greatly sanitized version of Smith's 1843 attempt at seducing Nancy Rigdon. A somewhat similar account is preserved in the "Life Story" autobiography of his father that John handed over to LDS officials in 1900.

Note 2: John W. Rigdon's membership in the church headquartered at Salt Lake City was short-lived. The Tribune of April 7, 1912 published his death notice.


Vol. XLI.                     Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, April 4, 1901.                     No. 356.


Widow of Brigham Stricken
by Heart Failure.


One of the Leaders of Mormon Women Attacked Yesterday
and Not Expected to Live -- Was Preparing to Attend
Birthday Festivities at the Home of President Snow
When She Was Stricken -- Was Married to
Joseph Smith, and After His Death
to Brigham Young.

The news that "Aunt Zina" Young as she is familiarly known by the people of Utah is critically ill, will be received with the deepest regret throughout the State, for perhaps no woman in Utah Iong been more loved than has she. Until yesterday Mrs. Young was in the best of health and was preparing to attend the birthday festivities at the residence of President Snow when she was suddenly attacked with what was apparently heart failure, and last night while she was resting easy the attending physician gave little, if any encouragement of her recovery. He said she might rally and live a short time but her advanced years were decidedly against the probability, and the members of her immediate family felt little hope of her recovery. Shortly after 10 oclock yesterday morning Mrs. Young took a bath and was partially dressed when her daughter-in-Iaw, Mrs. H. C. Jacobs, was startled to hear Mrs. Young scream.

Rushing to her she found her sinking to the floor and gasping for breath. With the assistance of her daughter Mrs. Jacobs placed Mrs. Young in bed where she lay for hours seemingly struggling between life and death. She was attacked with three severe sinking spells, from which those surrounding her thought she could not possibly rally, but she exhibited wonderful vitality and recovered from each attack. In describing the shock Mrs. Young, who has retained consciousness from the first, said that something seemed to strike her in the face, causing her to fall and then the same feeling went all over her body.

Her adopted daughters, Mrs. Maria Y. Dougall and Mrs. W. J. Beatle, and her son Z. Jacobs, who is guard at the penitentiary, were immediately sent for and her daughter, Mrs. Ana Y. Card of Alberta, Canada, was summoned by telegraph. Another son, H. C. Jacobs of West Weber who has spent most of the winter with his mother, arrived shortly after the first attack.

Zina Diantha Huntington Young was born at Watertown, N. Y., January 31, 1821. She was descended from Revolutionary stock, and her father, one of the first physicians in New Hampshire, fought in the war of 1812. When 15 years of age Zina Huntington embraced the gospel of the Latter-day Saints and soon after went to Kirtland, O., with her father's family. Later she moved to Nauvoo, where she married a man named Henry Jacobs, but this not proving a happy union, she was divorced from her husband. In 1841 she was sealed to the Prophet Joseph for time and eternity. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, she was united in marriage for time to Brigham Young, becoming his twentieth wife, and with the Saints left Nauvoo in the month of February, crossing the Mississippi on the ice. In May 1848 [she] began the journey to Utah, arriving here in September of that year.

When the Relief Society was reorganized in Utah by President Young, Mrs. Young was one of the first identified with that work, being made treasurer of the society. Later she became first counselor to Mrs Eliza R. Snow Smith, and upon her death became the president of the Relief societies in all the world. She was also instrumental in making sericulture successful in Utah, and was a physician of no mean skill. In fact, in all departments of women's labor Mrs. Young has always been found at her post, doing her share of active work in the best manner possible.

Besides Mrs. Zina D. H. Young, the following wives of the late Brigham Young are now living: Eliza B. Young, Lucy B. Young, Sarah B. Young, Margaret P. Young, Naamah Twiss Young and Amelia F. Young.

Note 1: Some biographical accounts, derived from Huntington family genealogical records, indicate that Zina was baptized a Mormon on Aug. 1, 1835. Hyrum Smith's missoinary journal for that year shows that he and David Whitmer departed Kirtland on Aug. 4th and stayed with the Huntingtons at Watertown, from Aug. 31st to Sept. 4th. During that stay the missionaries baptized "Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter, Mr. and Mrs. Dimick Huntington, Mr. Foulton, and the daughter of William Huntington." By Zina's own account, she was baptized on the same "day, as my brother Dimick and his wife Fanny," just before Smith and Whitmer left Watertown -- on September 4, 1835.

Note 2: An historical account (largely derived from John A. Haddock's 1895 History of Jefferson County) published in the Syracuse Sunday Herald of March 12, 1916, supplies this relevant detail: "About 1834 [sic - 1836?] the converts to the [Mormon] faith began to dispose of their farms and stock and outfit with "prairie schooners" to join the Mormon caravan for Kirtland, O., the emigrant train of thirty wagons starting from this city in June of that year and being led by Dr. William Huntington, sr., the founder of the hamlet at Huntingtonville, near this city, a soldier of the war of 1812, and previous to locating here, a leading physician of New Hampshire. In his big wagon rode his daughter, Ziana [sic] Dianina Huntington, then a handsome girl of 15, who was destined to be the spiritual wife of the prophet, Joseph Smith, and the twentieth wife in the flesh of Joseph's successor, Brigham Young."

Note 3: The same 1916 Sunday Herald article tells of "David Whitcomb" visiting Jefferson County, New York in what must have been June of 1835, and his being "one of the 'witnesses' who testified to seeing the golden plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the aid of the 'Urim and Thummim.'" Since the Herald account places Whitmer in the company of the traveling Council of Twelve Apostles, it is obvious that their arrival in the area in June of 1835 was conflated with the subsequent visit by Hyrum Smith and David Whitmer at the end of August. On June 29th, 1835 a few of the LDS apostles met near Kingston, Canada, but most of the quorum were absent, and were likely then visiting members in adjacent Jefferson County, New York. It is reasonable to assume that Zina and her family then had an opportunity to meet several of the apostles, including Jefferson County's contribution to that body, President of the Twelve, David W. Patton.


Vol. XLVI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, July 20, 1903.                 No. 97.


Effort to Establish Church.
in Pennsylvania.


Outcome Is Building of Church
Near Green Castle.

When the Rigdon and Young Factions
Separated, and How Each
Prospered Past Half Century.

Two missionaries of the Mormon church, Elders Jesse L. Smith of Magrath, Canada, and Joseph Glover of Lehi, Utah, are at work building a Mormon church, 40x26 feet in size, near the Fairview schoolhouse, in Quincy township, says the Green Castle, Pa., Echo Pilot.

This church will be the first sanctuary of this denomination. constructed in this county, but it is not the first contemplated. More than half a century ago an attempt was made to build a huge Mormon temple on the McLanahan farm along the creek west of town and to found a settlement of Mormons which should be the parent of the church in the United States.


After the killing of Joseph Smith and Hiram Smith at Carthage, Ill., by a mob, on the 27th of June, 1844, the leadership of the Saints naturally belonged to Sidney Rigdon, but Brigham Young, an ambitious man, and a more recent convert to the faith than Rigdon, was chosen first president. His talented competitor was cut off from the communion of the faithful, cursed, and solemnly delivered over to the devil, "to be buffeted in the flesh for a thousand years."


In a short time Rigdon, with a band of faithful followers, came eastward to Pittsburg, where they established a paper to promulgate their doctrines. While Young and his associates were flying to Salt Lake City, Rigdon and his aderents sought a congenial field among the conservative inhabitants of the keystone state, locating at Pittsburg.


Shortly afterward, Peter Boyer, a wealthy farmer of Allegheny, county, came on and contracted with Mr. McLanahan for his farm there of about 400 acres, at $14,700. Boyer paid $6000 in advance, and gave a mortgage for the remainder of the purchase money. The purchaser took possession in the spring of 1847, and in a short time Sidney Rigdon, Elders Hyde and Huber, Judge Richards, William E. McClellan, Hatch, Hinkle, Zody, Grimes, Ringer and others-joined them.


The band numbered, all told, about 150. Most of them moved upon the farm, where they intended to lay out a grand city, build a magnificent temple and establish extensive manufacturing establishments. Some of them located in town, and some engaged in various business enterprises.


Among other enterprises in which they embarked was the publishing of a newspaper, the Conococheague Herald, of which this paper is the lineal descendant. The original press brought here by Robinson, the Mormon printer, is still preserved in this office.


They did some preaching in town, but were unsuccessful in arousing, on the part of the community the opposition which they had hoped for to make their cause popular. Rigdon boasted that the conflict would rage until the streets of the town were drenched with blood. When the conflicts did not materialize, however, he declared that there was not in the churches of the town religion enough to save a nest of woodpeckers.


Idleness prevailed among the Mormons here and the money brought with them was soon consumed. The house, the barn, the corn crib, the smokehouse even, were used as dwelling places. Crops of grain were allowed to go to waste. Finally, the time for the payment of the mortgage notes arrived, but no money for that purpose was available. Mr. McLanahan foreclosed in August, 1849, and all the visions of the future great city disappeared. Some went to Utah, and some joined the Gentiles and remained here. Of these, the last one, a woman, died here about ten years ago.


There has been a Mormon congregation at Tomstown for a number of years, with a varied membership of from twenty-five to forty. The Mormon doctrine, minus polygamy, has been taught by local preachers and by missionaries who have frequently visited them. Recruits have at times left the community to move to Utah and take up their lives with the faithful there.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLVI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, November 22, 1903.                 No. 220.



Editor Tribune: -- According to the newspaper reports, Elder B. H. Roberts, in his Tabernacle address Sunday, November 5th, threw out a sweeping challenge to the world to show that the Book of Mormon is not of divine origin and authority.

Since Elder Roberts, on the occasion above referred to, confined his attention mainly to the writings of the alleged Prophet Nephi, we will do the same. Now the following are some of the difficulties Elder Roberts will have to explain before he can make any headway toward setting aside the intelligent belief of the American people generally that the Book of Mormon in general and the books of Nephi in particular are fictitious books:


1. The alleged Prophet Nephi claims to have lived and written between 500 and 600 B. C. For he tells us in chapter 1 and 10 of the first book that his father was living in Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, which reign began not far from 600 B. C. This professed prophet Nephi pretends to give a summary of the records made by his father Lehi, about that date, and also "an account of my proceedings in my days." Now the first difficulty for Elder Roberts to remove is this: How could a writer, claiming to live at that time, make repeated quotations from the writings of Christ's Apostles, who were not born until nearly 600 years after the time when Nephi wrote? Yet this pretended prophet Nephi quotes passage after passage from the writings of Christ's apostles Matthew and John and Paul, and also from the writings of the evangelist Luke, and from the words of the Apostle Peter, which Christian writers were born about the beginning of the Christian era. Just take two or three examples of Nephi's quotations, made at least 500 years before the writers were born from whom he quotes: In I Nephi x: 8, we read these words, so familiar to English Bible readers: "Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." This is a direct quotation from the gospel of John 1: 26-7, and also from Matthew 3:1.

On the same page in Nephi are several quotations from the writings of Paul, in the 11th of Romans, about the olive tree, and the "branches broken off," with others "grafted in." In I Nephi 3: 20 we find the expression, "which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets * * * since the world began." These are the words of Peter as recorded by Luke in Acts 3:31. The above is an illustration of the way in which this alleged Prophet Nephi quotes from the writers of the New Testament. This is fraud No. 1, exposing the false claims of Nephi, who pretends to write between 500 and 600 years B. C. and yet quotes from the New Testament writers who were "not born until over 500 years later. The Old Testament prophets were genuine. They did, by the help of God, foretell many important future events. But none of them pretended to be able, either by the help of God, or their own agility, to quote passage after passage from writings that did not exist, and from authors that had not been born. It remained for the favorite prophet of Elder B. H. Roberts, the robust and agile Nephi, to perform this feat, beyond the reach of God's genuine prophets.


2. This alleged Prophet Nephi, pretending to write between 500 and 600 B. C., actually quotes from Shakespeare! This beats the genuine prophets of the Old Testament even worse than before, and shows that, on a prophetic long jump, this elastic Nephi could easily take the cake. In II Nephi 1:14, he is writing down the words of his father Lehi, and represents him as saying, "hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent gave, from whence no traveler can return."

Every reader of Shakespeare will recognize the last phrase as taken, in substance, from a sentence in Hamlet's soliloquy. This great Prophet Nephi (writing, be it remembered, between 500 and 600 B. C.) had probably loaned his copy of Shakespeare to a neighbor and attempted to quote from memory, getting about as near the original as the average Mormon prophet generally does, for example, when attempting to quote the scriptures from memory. Here is fraud No. 2 perpetrated by this pretended prophet Nephi, from which Elder Roberts must vindicate his hero, or else leave us to conclude, as facts seem to show, that the writer of these books of Nephi was quite a modern deceiver.

3. This brings us to another serious difficulty which we ask Elder Roberts to elucidate before we can accept his theory that Nephi was a prophet of God, and that the book of Mormon is a divine revelation. This alleged Prophet Nephi, professing to write between 500 and 600 B. C, quotes many long passages from a book which did not come into existence until the seventeenth century of the Christian era. We refer to the King James English version of the Bible, which was first published in 1611 A. D. Now, perhaps Elder Roberts can tell us how this fellow Nephi, pretending to write in the sixth century before Christ, could quote hundreds of passages, about three hundred, from the New Testament alone, and whole chapters from our English version of the Bible, which did not come into existence for more than 2000 years after he wrote!

This stuffed Prophet Nephi gives himself completely away in the very first chapter, and shows that he is a very modern writer by using such well-known expressions as these from our English Bible: "Pillar of fire," Ex. 14:24; "Filled with the spirit," Ephesians 5:18; "Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty," Rev. 15:3. These hundreds of passages, and these whole chapters in II Nephi and elsewhere, from our English Bible, be it observed, are quoted not from the original, which would not help the matter, for the original of the New Testament did not exist; but they are quoted from the English translation of 1611, mistakes and all, even to the filling in of the peculiar gaps in the way suggested by the English translators.

Now, these hundreds of verbatim quotations, and these whole chapters from our English Bible, which claim to be quoted over 2000 years before it was written, should make it quite clear, even to the average mind, that this pretended Nephi instead of being an ancient prophet was a very modern one, a pious deceiver and falsifier, living about 1829 of our era. But, perhaps, Elder Roberts can explain it all, and show us how this modern deceiver in the nineteenth century was an ancient prophet of God 600 B. C.


4. This alleged Prophet Nephi gives himself away even worse in the 31st chapter of the second book by forgetting that he was pretending to write in the sixth century before Christ and treating the baptism of Christ as actual history, which it really was. He not only refers to it in the past tense, but actually indulges in a regular campmeeting exhortation to the "brethren," exhorting them, in accordance with the revival style of 1828, to "repent of their sins," and "follow their Lord and Savior down into the water," promising that after that they shall have "the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost."

This is deception No. 4, and shows that Sidney Rigdon Nephi, in 1828, forgetting that he was an ancient prophet living six centuries before Christ, broke loose in his regular old camp-meeting style, and just "whooped up" the brethren, without his deceiver's mask. Nephi, a divinely inspired prophet of God! Holy Moses, preserve us! If Nephi, with the above record, or the godless fellow who personated him, deserves honor as a prophet, then great injustice was done to Boss Tweed in not electing him President of the American Bible Society. For clearly he had more religion than this alleged Prophet Nephi with his conscienceless deception in connection with sacred things.

Come, Brother Roberts, if you can't back up that other alleged prophet, Joseph Smith, with something more substantial, something less imaginary and fictitious than these pretended prophetic writings of Nephi, from which we have been quoting, then you better drop Nephi as a prophet and fall back on Coriantumr, Shiz or Robinson Crusoe.


5. If the Book of Mormon, as Elder Roberts claims, is a revelation from God, what moral or religious truth does it reveal which we did not know before? Not one item. If Elder Roberts will point me to one solitary item of moral or spiritual truth in the whole Book of Mormon which it did not take, directly or indirectly, from the Bible, I will present him with a five-dollar Stetson hat. I know it cannot be done, for it has been attempted in vain again and again. What sense is there in calling the Book of Mormon a revelation from God, when it took from the Bible the only moral truth it contains, and is shown on its face to be a counterfeit book?

Now, a few words about the pretended prophecies of the wonderful Nephi, which Elder Roberts claims have been fulfilled. Here is the way in which prophecies are made and fulfilled in the Book of Mormon: It either takes the historic record in the New Testament, using the very words of Scripture, tries to push this history back hundreds of years and then falsely claims it to be prophetic; or else it deliberately appropriates the genuine prophecies of the Old Testament. Then, after mutilating these prophecies more or less, with its peculiar Sidney Rigdon phraseology and most abominable grammar, it attempts to palm off these prophecies as original! The prophecy about the restoration of the Jews to their own land, which Elder Roberts quotes from second Nephi, and thinks is so wonderful, is simply a case of downright plagiarism. The conversion of the Jews and their restoration to their own land is repeatedly foretold by the Old Testament prophets, in such passages as Jeremiah 30:3; Ezek. 37:21; Amos 9:15, and others. Yet the writer of this book of Nephi does not hesitate to take these prophecies from the Bible, modify their language, and then try to palm them off as his own.

As for the two pretended prophecies referred to by Mr. Roberts, in II Nephi 30:3, that "Many shall believe the words which are written," and that "They shall carry them forth to the remnant of our seed," the first is not a prophecy at all, but the simple statement of a well-known historical fact, yet perverted by the attempt to make it bolster up this modern book. In saying that it is the statement of a historical fact, we mean this: The Book of Mormon, as shown above, is made up of hundreds upon hundreds of Bible phrases and verses, and many whole chapters taken from our English Bible. As a matter of course, these Bible quotations which form such a large per cent of the Book of Mormon, are accepted and believed by the 400 millions who make up Christendom.

The other passage Mr. Roberts misreads and misinterprets by making "the remnant of our seed" refer to the Lamanites. Then he assumes, without one item of proof, that the Lamanites are the same as our Indians. According to Nephi, the Lamanites were the decendants of his brother Laman, and were consequently Jews, for Laman was a Jew. Now Ridpath, the American historian, in the second paragraph of his history of the United States, sums up the evidence concerning the connection between the Indians and the Jews in this one sentence: "The notion that the Indians are descendants of the Israelites is absurd."


Futhermore, the writer of the book of Nephi jumbles up his own history and contradicts himself in appearing to make "the remnant of our seed" refer to the Lamanites, as in Nephi 30:6. Nephi writes as a Jew, and his seed or the "remnant" of it, will inevitably be Jews and Nephites, and not Lamanites. The latter descended from Laman and not from Nephi, and hence could not be the "remnant" of Nephi.

But what is the use of talking seriously about the Nephites and the Lamanites when no such people ever existed in this country except in the wild imagination of the writer of a piece of fictitious stuff, out of which this Book of Mormon was manufactured. The Nephites and Lamanites never had one whit more reality than the peculiar inhabitants of the famous island of Lilliput, as described by that model Mormon historian, Lemuel Gulliver, whom Dean Swift portrays.


Abundant proof has been given above that the Book of Mormon is not an ancient, but a very modern book, and not only a modern book, but a modern imposition by pretending to be an ancient book and revelation from God, when it reveals nothing in the way of moral truth which it did not steal from the Bible.

We are sorry to see a man of Mr. Roberts' ability fooling away his time and thought in the useless attempt to bolster up as a divine revelation that which the intelligent reading millions of the American people are persuaded is fabrication. If the fact that 200,000 people, more or less, believe in the Book of Mormon, proves that a false book is a true one, then Mrs. Eddy's book far outranks the Book of Mormon in merit, for her book has a million supporters. But Mr. Roberts is correct in one statement, namely: that it the Book of Mormon is a false book, then it would follow that "the great prophet of the Latter-day movement is a fraud." Well, if there is any one fact which is generally accepted and believed by the reading, thinking millions of this country, without regard to party or creed, it is that Joseph Smith was not a prophet. And they believe this because of the abundant and varied evidence in regard to his life and conduct.

If Mr. Roberts is really in earnest in desiring to know the actual origin of the Book of Mormon, the character of the men who manufactured it and the kind of pretenders they were, socially and morally, let him read the first eleven chapters of the "Origin and Progress of Mormonism," by that well-informed and reilable historian, Pomeroy Tucker of Palmyra, New York. He was well acquainted with Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and other Mormon leaders of that early time, and was for a dozen years near neighbor to the founder of Mormonism and all his family. Mr. Tucker was the editor and proprietor of the Wayne Sentinel, on whose press the first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed, Mr. Tucker himself correcting the proof sheets. His book was published by D. Appleton & Co., New York, in 1867. Mr. Tucker sets forth the character of the false prophet and those associated with the latter at that time from personal acquaintance and knowledge, and his book has been generally accepted as thoroughly honest and reliable.


Now if Mr. Roberts can read the facts as set forth in Mr. Tucker's book, which have been confirmed by scores of reliable witnesses also acquainted with the facts, and still stand up in public and declare it to be his belief that Nephi was a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is a revelation from God, he will force the general public to conclude rather that he is not a sincere man, or else that his peculiar training prevents him from distinguishing between true reasoning and false, between facts and fiction, between honesty and fraud, between true revelation and that which is counterfeit. Because the facts in Mr. Tucker's book, confirmed by scores of witnesses of worthy character, have been amply sufficient to convince the reading, thinking, truth-loving millions of the American people generally that the Book of Mormon is fiction in pretending that a part of it was written 2400 and the rest 1500 years ago, when the proof that it is a modern book is shown on almost every page. The facts in Mr. Tucker's book have also convinced the American people generally that the alleged prophet was not a prophet.

The above has been written with entire good will, in the interests of truth and historic facts. And when Mr. Roberts squarely meets the above difficulties, contradictions and absurdities in the Book of Mormon, not by wordy evasion and logical hair-splitting, however ingenius, but in a way that shall be satisfactory not only to his own mind but also to intelligent, reasoning, truth-loving minds generally, then perhaps he will be entitled to issue another sweeping challenge in behalf of a book which the American people generally, without regard to party or creed, believe to be a fabrication.       M.
     Salt Lake City, November 18, 1903.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLVI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, November 29, 1903.                 No. 227



Editor Tribune: -- If any words of mine in the remarks made in the Tabernacle on the 8th of November could be construed into a "challenge" to a public discussion of the Book of Mormon -- as the writers of headlines on some of the morning papers seem to think they could be -- when the challenge was accepted, the courtesy of debate would certainly require that the acceptance of the challenge should be otherwise than from ambush. I mean that I am entitled to know the name of my opponent, that I may judge somewhat of his character and standing. And why should the gentleman remain in cog? Is he ashamed to be known as engaging in such a discussion? Or is it a precaution he takes so that if his argument does not rise to the expectation of his friends, he may remain unknown behind the mystery of a single initial. If the first supposition be true, it is a difficulty he could easily have avoided; if the second suggestion be the true reason for his remaining unknown, he is to be commended for his cunning. I need say nothing of his courage.


When on Saturday my attention was called to the editorial announcement that the alleged "challenge" had been accepted, and an article against the Book of Mormon would appear in The Tribune's Sunday issue, I remarked to a friend that I thought I could write an answer to the much-heralded article without seeing it; and when on Sunday I read the Unknown's production I felt I had not been overconfident in the assertion, so closely has he followed in the well-beaten, not to say worn out, path of anti-Mormon argument. What a world of trouble Alexander Campbell would have saved many inferior disputants had he only stereotyped the objections he urged against the Book of Mormon in 1831! They then could have pointed to his utterances and said: "Them's my arguments." For from the days of Mr. Campbell until now, anti-Mormon geniuses have but rehashed the great man's arguments, with a uniform decadence in their strength, in proportion to the distance in time from which they are removed from him who first fashioned them. But now to the Unknown's "arguments."


1. The Unknown states the fact that Nephi wrote between 600 and 500 B. C. and then presents what he calls the first difficulty that I am to overcome. "How can a writer," he asks, "claiming to live at that time make repeated quotations from the writings of Christ's Apostles who were not born until 600 years after the time when Nephi wrote? He then charges that Nephi quotes "passage after passage" from the writings of Christ's apostles, Matthew, John, Paul, Luke, Peter, etc.; and gives what he calls just "two or three examples" of such quotations. The gentleman very much overstates the difficulty he presents, by making it appear that the alleged quotations are very numerous, when the fact is that the two or three cases he cites virtually exhaust the alleged quoted passages so far as the New Testament is concerned. In order that your readers may see how flimsy the charge here made is, I set down the quotations in question, (a) Nephi, describing his father's vision of the future coming of the Messiah, says: "And he spake also concerning a prophet who should come before the Messiah, to prepare the way of the Lord; yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. And much spake my father concerning this thing." To make this appear as a plagiarism from the New Testament the Unknown puts together two passages: (1) "I baptize with water; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; he it is, who, coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose," (John 1:26, 27). (2) "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea" (Matthew 3.) Of course, the story of the man who said he could prove that the Bible commanded every one to hang himself may be commonplace; but it illustrates the methods of the Unknown in making out his case of plagiariasm. The proof was supplied in this way: He quoted the passage, "and Judas went out and hanged himself." Then from another passage, from another book, he quoted these words, "Go thou and do likewise." It must be remembered that the Nephites carried with them into the wilderness the Jewish scriptures, and Lehi was doubtless familiar with the prediction of Isaiah concerning this same prophet that should go before our Lord to prepare the way before him, translated in our English version as follows: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert an highway for our God." (Isaiah 40:3.) Is it more remarkable that the Lord should reveal to Lehi what the voice in the wilderness should cry than that he should reveal it to Isaiah? With reference to the Unknown's charge that on the same page quoted above, Nephi makes "several quotations from the writings of Paul in the 9. of Romans, about the 'olive tree,' and the 'branches broken off, with others grafted in,'" etc., the gentleman, if acquainted with the prophets of Israel ought to know that this simile is not original with Paul; but that the ancient prophets used it in illustration of Israel and the judgments that should come upon the people. Moreover, in addition to our books of Jewish scriptures the Nephites had some of the writings of the other prophets of Israel, notably the book of Zenos, in which was given at great length this simile of the tame olive tree and the branches being broken off and others grafted in, etc., from which book, unquestionably, Nephi obtained his ideas.


The Unknown charges that Nephi quoted from the words of Peter, which I give here, followed by the passage from Nephi. Peter: "Whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Nephi: "Behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers; and also that we may preserve unto them the words which have bene spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto the present time." The omissions that are made in order to bring words together to establish the charge of plagiarism, will exhibit to what straits the Unknown is driven to make out his case.

One other thing the Unknown seems to have overlooked, viz., that the Book of Mormon is a translation of the ideas and prophecies of men deriving their knowledge concerning the Messiah and things associated with his life either from the old Jewish scriptures, which were in their possession, or from the revelations of God direct to them; and that the translator, Joseph Smith, being more or less familiar with New Testament and Old Testament expressions, in making the translation, at times used Bible phraseology in representing ideas akin to those found in Jewish scriptures. See also my remarks under heading No. 3, where this defense is more fully stated.


2. The Unknown fairly revels in the thought that he has Lehi quoting Shakespeare many generations before our great English poet was born; and indulges in the sarcasms which Campbell and more than a score of anti-Mormon writers have indulged in who have mimicked his phraseology. Now the fact is there are two passages in Job which could easily have supplied both Shakespeare and Lehi with the idea of that country "from whose bourn no traveler returns." That this may appear I give the passages from Shakespeare, Job and Lehi. It should be remembered always that the Nephites had the Jewish scriptures with them, including the book of Job; hence Lehi could have obtained his idea from the same source whence Shakespeare obtained his.

Shakespeare: "That undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns."

Job: "Let me alone that I may take comfort a little, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death." (Job 10:20, 21.) "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return." (Job 16:22.)

Lehi: "Hear the words of a parent whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave from whence no traveler can return."

It will be observed that the passage from the Book of Mormon follows Job more closely than it does Shakespeare both in thought and diction; and this for the reason, doubtless, that Lehi had been impressed with Job's idea of going to the land whence he would not return, and Joseph Smith, being familiar with Job, and very likely not familiar with Shakespeare, when he came to Lehi's thought, expressed it nearly in Job's phraseology.


3. The Unknown asks me again how it is that Nephi, living in the sixth century B. C., can quote numerous passages, about "three hundred from the New Testament alone, and whole chapters from our English version of the Bible, which did not come into existence for more than 2,000 years after he wrote." When the Unknown says that there are three hundred quotations from the New Testament alone in the writings of Nephi, if he meant that, he simply makes a colossal misrepresentation, for there is no such number of passages in Nephi from the New Testament alone, nor, in fact, in the whole Book of Mormon. But as I think he must have meant this assertion to apply to the whole Book of Mormon, I will take no advantage of his misstatement as to confining that number to Nephi, but will meet the larger question as to all these passages in the Book of Mormon which parallel passages in both the Old and New Testament. Because Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by means of the inspiration of God and the aid of the Urim and Thummim, it is generally supposed that this translation occasioned the Prophet no mental or spiritual effort, that it was purely mechanical; in fact, that the instrument did all and the Prophet nothing, than which a greater mistake could not be made. All the circumstances connected with the work of translation clearly prove that it caused the Prophet the utmost exertion, mental and spiritual, of which he was capable, and that while he obtained the facts and ideas from the Nephite characters, he was left to express those ideas in such language as he was master of. This, it is conceded, was faulty; hence here and there verbal defects in the English translation of the Nephite record. Now when the Prophet perceived from the Nephite records that Isaiah was being quoted; or when the Savior was represented as giving instructions in doctrine and moral precepts of the same general character as those given in Judea, Joseph Smith undoubtedly turned to those parts of the Bible, where he found a translation substantially correct, of those things which were referred to in the Nephite records, and adopted so much of that translation as expressed the truths common to both records; and since our English version of the Jewish scriptures was the one the Prophet used in such instances, we have the Bible phraseology of which the Unknown complains, and of which this, in the judgment of the writer, is the adequate explanation to all of that class of his objections.


4. What the Unknown describes as Nephi giving himself away is based on my unknown friend's inability to comprehend a very simple fact. He says that in the 31st chapter of the second book of Nephi, the writer, forgetting that he was pretending to write in the sixth century B. C. treats the baptism of Christ as actual history. That is, he holds, the writer changes from prophecy to narrative. The fact is that some time previous to this (see I Nephi, chapter 11) the baptism of Jesus had been shown in vision to Nephi, hence to him had become as an accomplished fact, after which, according to this chapter quoted by the Unknown, the voice of the Son of God (then a pre-existent Spirit) came unto Nephi, saying "He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost like unto me; wherefore, follow^ me, and do the things which ye have seen me (i. e., in vision) do." Now Nephi, with this in mind, points out to his brothers in the next verse how, by following their Lord and Savior down into the water, "according to his word" (i. e., given previously in Nephi's vision) promises them that they shall then receive the Holy Ghost. All of which considerations demonstrate that the gentleman has not understood the chapter over which he grows vulgarly hilarious by such expressions as "whooped up," "Holy Moses, preserve us!" and his reference to "Boss Tweed."


5. The next charge of the Unknown is that the Book of Mormon makes known no moral or religious truth, no "not one item," and then the gentleman resorts to a thing which to say the least of it looks strangely out of place in a discussion of this description, and reminds one of the methods of a low order of politicians, who, when unable to maintain their part of a controversy by reason, arrogantly offer a bet, usually at large odds, that their side will prevail; and if the wager for any cause be not taken, with turkey-cock pride they strut about, as if they had demonstrated the truth of their contention. Now I do not know what our Unknown friend would regard as a spiritual or moral truth, but here is at least one that I commend to his consideration: "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." It is quite original to the Book of Mormon, as are the other quotations which follow, but I will not trouble the gentleman for his hat, even though it be a Stetson, as up to date I have been able to clothe my own head without an effort to win wagers or prizes. Whoever the Unknown may be it stands out pretty clearly from his article that he is not familiar with great moral and religious questions. He seems not to be aware that the Jews for many ages have been asking this same question of the Christian, i. e., they demand to know what moral and religious truth Jesus taught the world that was not already taught by Jewish rabbis; and no later than in the October number of the Open Court, a famous rabbi parallels the choicest moral aphorisms of Christ's teachings with quotations from the Talmud; while there has not arisen within the last two centuries an anti-Christian disputant, but who makes the same claims in behalf of the moral and spiritual teachings of Buddha; and not only do they claim that Christ's moral truths were borrowed from more ancient teachers, but that the principal events of his life also, from his birth of a virgin to his resurrection as a God, were stolen from myths concerning Old World heroes and teachings. When Messiah came to the New World, he had the same announcements to make concerning himself, and his relations to the world; the same ethical and spiritual doctrines to teach; and as he had been accustomed to state these doctrines in brief, aphoristic sentences while in Judea, it is not strange that the same things were given to the Nephites, in their language, much in the same order; which Joseph Smith, observing, and finding these truths substantially stated in our English Bible, adopted, where he could do so consistently, the language of that book. Still there are certain statements of moral and spiritual ideas that the Unknown will find it difficult to parallel from the Bible, a few examples of which I here give: "Wickedness never was happiness." "The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." "I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me." Then let the gentleman take into consideration the exclusiveness of the Jews, and of the Christians also, for matter of that, and then contemplate the following passage which breathes such a spirit of universal charity and joins the hands of all the great moral teachers among all nations into one splendid brotherhood: 'The Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word; yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true." Then let the Unknown parallel from the Bible the following great spiritual truth from the Book of Mormon: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy." A sentence which tells, as it is told nowhere else, the purpose of man's existence. The limits of this article preclude the mention of historical and doctrinal truths which the Book of Mormon makes known to the world. Also, consideration of the gentleman's efforts to explain away the existence and force of the prophecies in the Book of Mormon to which I alluded in my Tabernacle discourse, and which may be found at page 122 of the current edition of the Book of Mormon. I esteem what he has there said of so little importance that I shall pass it without comment as its weakness and inaccuracy will be apparent to all who read it. Indeed at this point the gentleman makes it quite clear that he is not familiar with the book he attempts to criticise. In trying to make it appear that Nephi "jumbles up his own history and contradicts himself" the Unknown astonishes us with the statement that Nephi was a Jew, and learnedly tells us that his seed or the remnant of it will inevitably be Jews and Nephites and not Lamanites, and hence the prophecies concerning the Lamanites could not apply to the remnant of Nephi's seed. As a matter of fact Lehi, and hence all of his sons, were of the tribe of Manasseh, and Nephi was speaking with reference to both his own and his brother Laman's descendants of whom the Indians are the remnant. When I reached this part of the gentleman's production I thought I was not only entitled to know who it was I was to meet in discussion, but also to have an opponent who at least was acquainted with the subject.


A word as to the "sorrow" which the gentleman experiences when he sees a man of my "ability" (shades of flattery, leave us!) "fooling away his time and thought in the useless attempt to bolster up as a divine revelation that which the intelligent millions of the American people are persuaded is fabrication!" What a jewel was lost to the anti-Christians of the first or second century by the Unknown being born in the nineteenth, instead of the first century! What an eloquent appeal he could have made, for instance, to the misguided Paul, who wasted his thought and time in an effort (I will not say useless one) to bolster up such a delusion as the Christian religion was at that time thought to be! A delusion which the intelligent millions of civilized Rome regarded as the vilest of all deceptions. Again, how ostentatiously the Unknown could have said to Paul, if the latter was really in earnest to know the character of the men who originated this Christian delusion, that he could learn it from some of the historical facts and the accepted rumors current at that time about Messiah and his immediate followers. From such sources he could have learned that Christ was a blasphemer, a disturber of the peace, a menace to the authority of Rome, the consort of vile Galilean peasants, an associate and sympathizer with women of questionable reputation, and who, at last, for the peace and good order of the community in which he lived, was duly crucified between two thieves. He was buried and his sepulcher guarded, but his vile associates bribed the soldier guards, stole his body, and then gave it out that he was risen from the dead; and on these falsehoods arose the fabric known as the Christian church! There would be no resisting such an appeal as this if only some one had arisen with the intelligence to have advanced it. Undoubtedly Paul would have ceased his labors, and perhaps Christianity itself would not have survived such an attack, and hence many antiChristians may regret that this Unknown gentleman did not live in the period when his services would have been so effective. But since the Unknown, through no fault of his, however, missed his opportunity in that age, he exerts his abilities in this, and appealingly says to me, if I would know the real "truth about the Book of Mormon, and the character of the men who manufactured it,"I should read the '"Origin and Progress of Mormonism,' by that well-informed and reliable historian, Pomroy Tucker!" Shades of primer days, not to say days of the bib and rattle! After nearly a century of existence, despite the efforts of its enemies to destroy it, after surviving as Mormonism has all the floods of falsehood and absurdity hurled upon it, are we now to turn back to what Pomroy Tucker has said in order to get the "exact truth" concerning Mormonism and the character of the men who brought it forth? I must inform tne Unknown, whatever he may think of me, that I must suppose myself utterly incorrigible, for I have read Pomroy Tucker years ago, and also recently, and if he will call on me I will point out to him several score of other anti-Mormon writers I have read, of like ilk with Tucker, and yet I am not reclaimed. Deliberately and proudly, I take my stand with the people whom these writers have maligned, and whose doctrines and history they misrepresent, and announce my absolute faith -- notwithstanding even the argument of the Unknown -- in the divinity of the Book of Mormon.     Respectfully, B. H. Roberts.
        Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 27, 1903.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLVI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 6, 1903.                 No. 234.



Editor Tribune: -- In reply to my article in The Tribune of November 22nd, pointing out, in response to his public challenge, some of the great difficulties in the way of accepting Nephi as an ancient prophet of God, and the Book of Mormon as an ancient revelation from God, Elder Roberts begins by finding fault with me for not writing over my full signature. But the reasons he intimates for my not doing so prove altogether too much, and hence, by a logical maxim, prove nothing. For they would prove that those great and high-minded statesmen, Alexander Hamilton, Chief Justice John Jay, and James Madison, acted an unworthy part, and were lacking in courage because, for wise reasons, they conducted those masterly discussions which made up The Federalist, over an assumed name.

Then the sarcasms about the rehashing by more recent writers, of Alexander Campbell's arguments against the Book of Mormon, are "wasted on the desert air," so far as I am concerned, for I have never seen any article or treatise by Campbell on the subject. It would be quite easy to retort and say that if it were not for the writings of Orson Pratt, the more recent defenders of the Book of Mormon would be without ammunition. But that style of arguing amounts to nothing.

Elder Roberts' defense seems to raise new difficulties without really settling any, although it is ingenious and skillful. On general principles, there is no reason why I should not accept the writings of Nephi and the Book of Mormon as readily as my opponent, if they were true. But the reason why I do not, is because of the extent and variety of the evidence against them, only a few points of which can be discussed in a newspaper article. Since my main object is to establish truth, I wish to treat Elder Roberts and his argument in a fair and candid way.

Let us come now to the main proposition, which is twofold: Elder Roberts affirms that Nephi was a prophet of God, living and writing about 600 B. C.; and that the Book of Mormon is a divine revelation.

The evidence compels me to deny both of these propositions and to declare that neither of them is true. Now let us try to find some common ground on which we can stand. As such ground, I offer these two propositions in reference to books in general, which seem to me self-evident: First, any book which professes to have been written in ancient times, and yet quotes from authors not born until centuries after, is a spurious book.

Second, any book which professes to be a Divine revelation to the people of the present time, and yet reveals nothing, which it did not appropriate from some other book or source of knowledge already in the possession of the people, is a spurious book. I use the term "revelation" in its ordinary sense, as referring to Divine truth. These are two propositions which I think people of all creeds can stand upon, for I think they contain nothing which is not self-evident. The differences of opinion will begin when we come to apply these two fundamental principles. Still, it is my opponent's privilege to dissent from these propositions, if he thinks they are not self-evident. But I think that careful, reasoning people generally, will accept them. Anyhow, I take my stand upon them and proceed to apply them.


1. As to the alleged Prophet Nephi. If it can be clearly shown that he quoted passage after passage from the New Testament writers, who were not born for centuries after he claims to have written, then the first fundamental principle is violated, and we have demonstrative evidence that Nephi was simply a pretender, and his writings are spurious.

In my former article I referred specially to three direct quotations by Nephi, from the New Testament writers, taken from Acts 3:21, John 1:26-27, and Romans 11:17-24, and found in I Nephi 3:20, 10:8, and 10:12-14. I also, under discission of the third point, referred to two other quotations from Ephesians 5:18, and Revelations 15:3. It did not seem necessary to quote other passages, for I deemed these sufficient to establish the point.

The words in Nephi 10:8, "For there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose" is a clear plagiarism from John 1:26-27, which reads: "But there standeth one among you, whom ye know not, He it is who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unlose."

The first part of Nephi 10:8, is: "Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight." This is quoted from Matthew 3:3. The reference of Elder Roberts to Isaiah 10:3, from which the thinks Nephi might have quoted, instead of from Matthew, is irrelevant, because, while the two passages are somewhat similar, the phraseology is different, and the careless Nephi failed to help my opponent out of the difficulty, for he quotes from Matthew and not from Isaiah, demonstrating what a smart fellow he was by quoting from an author that hadn't been born!

So Elder Roberts' reference to the fact that the olive tree is used figuratively by some of the Old Testament prophets is irrelevant, because Nephi quotes Paul's exact phrases, and does not quote from the prophets. Now, in reference to these quotations by Nephi from the New Testament writers, Elder Roberts says: "The gentleman very much overstates the difficulty he presents, by making it appear that the alleged quotations are very numerous, when the fact is that the two of three cases he cites virtually exhaust the alleged quoted passages so far as the New Testament is concerned."

I am not a little surprised at such a statement, as Elder Roberts rather prides himself on his knowledge of the Book of Mormon, and in his article, near the close of his discussion of the fifth point, laments that he is obliged to carry on this discussion with an opponent who does not seem to be much acquainted with the subject. Well, my friend, I don't boast about my knowledge or superiority to other men; I don't assume "to know it all." But I think I know enough about the Book of Mormon to prevent me from making any such careless and utterly inaccurate statements as the above, "that the two or three cases he cites virtually exhaust the alleged quoted passages." Verily, I begin to wonder whether my friend has ever read the books of Nephi through! If he will now follow me for a little, perhaps he may learn something new about them. Let us see whether "two or three passages exhaust the quotations." In my former article I referred to five quotations from the New Testament writers. Let us go on with the count:

6. In Nephi 5:18, the expression, "all nations, kindreds, tongues and people," is from Revelations 14:6.

7. In Nephi 10:17, the words, "by the power of the Holy Ghost," are from Romans 15:13.

8. "For he is the same, yesterday, today and forever," in Nephi 10:18, is taken from Hebrews 13:8.

9. The words "caught away in the Spirit of the Lord," are from Acts viii: 39.

10. In Nephi 11:21, "Behold the Lamb of God," is from John i: 36.

11. In Nephi 11:27, the words, "and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost came down out of heaven, and abode upon him in the form of a dove," are taken from Matthew 3:16, and from John 1:32.

12. In Nephi 11:35, the strange expression, "the twelve apostles of the Lamb," is taken from the only place in the world where it originated, Revelation 21:14.

13. In Nephi 11:22, the words, "Yea, it is the love of God which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men," are taken from Romans 5:5.

14. In Nephi 12:11, "And the angel said unto me, These are made white in the blood of the Lamb," is from Revelations 7:14.

15. In Nephi 14:1, the repeated expressions, "mother of abominations" and "mother of harlots," are taken from Revelation 17:5.

These fifteen quotations have been taken from the first fourteen chapters of I Nephi, leaving eight chapters more in this book and thirty-three chapters in II Nephi for other quotations. I have jotted down on the fly-leaf of my copy of the Book of Mormon forty-four different quotations from the New Testament writers by this alleged prophet. These quotations are largely in the Sidney Rigdon-Nephi style of inaccuracy. Nephi is just about as inaccurate in quoting scripture as in quoting Shakespeare. Then a large per cent of the language in the books of Nephi is a mere paraphrase, and often a parody, of the language of the New Testament. I have quoted nothing from III Nephi, whose thirty chapters and sixty-eight pages are largely in the direct language of the New Testament, three whole chapters being quoted, although the New Testament was not written for fifty years afterward. I have not quoted from this book, for I understood Elder Roberts to be referring to the first two books.

The explanation of Elder Roberts that Nephi had a vision of Christ some fifty years before, which made Christ real to him, is no explanation of the fact that there are eight quotations from three New Testament writers in Nephi 2:31st chapter.


2. Concerning Nephi's quotation from Shakespeare, Elder Roberts thinks he has found a way of escape for Nephi from this fatal blunder. He cites a passage from Job from which he thinks Nephi might have quoted, for he says "the Nephites had the Jewish Scriptures with them, including the book of Job." But now observe that this suggested escape for this ancient prophet is out of the Nephite fryingpan into the Lamanite fire. For Shakespeare died in 1616, and the King James English version of the Bible was published in 1611. Now, so far as the argument against the ancient Nephite is concerned, what difference does it make whether he quoted from Shakespeare or our English version of Job, which is the one Elder Roberts alludes to, and which is the only one containing any resemblance either to the passage in Nephi or in Shakespeare. The only way, therefore, to lift Nephi out of this fatal situation is for Elder Roberts to show that he had, in addition to the Jewish Scriptures, a copy of our English Bible with him back there in the wilderness 600 B. C., or else a copy of Shakespeare. Or else let Mr. Roberts agree with me, according to the evidence, that Mr. Nephi was simply a very modern gentleman from New York or Pennsylvania, having in his possession both the Bible and Shakespeare, and then the difficulty is solved.


Now we come to the second proposition which is, that the Book of Mormon is a Divine revelation to the people of the present time. A large part of what has been said in proof of the spurious character of the books of Nephi applies to the Book of Mormon as a whole. But there are overwhelming special difficulties in the way of accepting it as a new and divine revelation, only three or four of which I can now briefly touch upon.

1. The book claims that the plates, from which it was translated by Joseph Smith, were sealed up and hidden in the hill of Cumorah, New York, about 400 A. D. No one upon this continent ever saw these plates prepared by Mormon except himself and his son, Moroni. They were prepared specially for the people of our time, in this country. After being hidden about 1400 years Joseph Smith claims that the angel Moroni came and disclosed them to him. And the wonderful revelation contained in the plates, about "the restoration to the earth of the everlasting gospel," Elder Roberts says Joseph Smith translated "by means of the inspiration of God and the aid of Urim and Thummim." And, behold, when we come to read this wonderful new revelation and this new everlasting gospel which it discloses, we find that it is simply a feeble and diluted imitation of the Bible revelation and the gospel which had already been in the possession of the Christian people of this country for over two hundred years, and in the possession of their ancestors for over 1200 years.

If this duplicate, pretended revelation had been brought out among the benighted people of China or India, or some other heathen country who were without these Bible teachings, it would not have been such a complete "give away." But, with a great flourish of trumpets, to give to the Christian people of this country a weak and poor copy of the revelation and the gospel whose bright and radiant original had been in their possession for hundreds of years, seems to me so absurd, and so transparent as a deceiving scheme, I do not wonder that the overwhelming majority of intelligent people utterly reject it. And just because this book, while so loftily pretending to be a new and divine revelation, reveals absolutely nothing which the people did not have before in much better form, how can we avoid concluding that it is a counterfeit book? I will attend presently to the specimens of new truth which Elder Roberts finds in it.

2. There are at least twelve persons, worthy and reliable so far as I can discover, who testify that the substance of this Book of Mormon, with all its queer names of places and persons, its strange history, its battles and slaughters, its continual imitation of Bible phraseology, they had heard read several years prior to the publication of this book, from a religious romance. It was in this romance that the Nephites and Lamanites originated, and also the pretended ancient books of Nephi, Alma, Mosiah, Mormon and the rest. I can find no proof whatever that the above peoples and books ever existed except in the imagination of the writer of the religious romance. And I have never been able to see why the testimony of the above twelve witnesses, who had nothing to gain by their testimony, should be arbitrarily brushed aside, and the testimony of the eleven interested witnesses, who declare that they saw and "hefted" the plates, should be gulped down at one swallow. Even if they did see the plates, that proves absolutely nothing essential to the case. They were all ignorant men, and knew nothing about what was written on the plates. Other men saw the famous Kinderhook plates, but what of it?

3. The Book of Mormon, though sealed up and hidden away about 400 A. D., is filled up, from beginning to end, with the phraesology of our English Bible. Not only that, it contains hundreds upon hundreds of the exact phrases and sentences, and about twenty whole chapters from our English Bible which was not published for about 1200 years after the Book was hidden away. In my former article, I intended to state that there are in the Book of Mormon about 300 quotations from the New Testament, and I am obliged to Elder Roberts for interpreting my meaning in that way, for I did not intend to say that the two books of Nephi contain so many quotations.


Now we come to a vital point. I asked Elder Roberts to explain how the above quotations could possibly have been made if the Book of Mormon is honest in its claim of being an ancient book. And here is his explanation:

"Because Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by means of the inspiration of God and the aid of Urim and Thummim, it is generally supposed that this translation occasioned the prophet no mental or spiritual effort, that it was purely mechanical; in fact, that the instrument did all and the prophet nothing, than which a greater mistake could not be made. * * * Now when the prophet perceived from the Nephite records that Isaiah was being quoted, or when the Savior was represented as giving instructions in doctrine and moral precepts of the same general character as those given in Judea, Joseph Smith undoubtedly turned to those parts of the Bible where he found a translation, substantially correct, of those things which were referred to in the Nephite records, and adopted so much of that translation as expressed the truths common to both records."

Now, it seems to me that the above defense and explanation of Elder Roberts are fatal to his position and that of the defenders of the book generally, that it is a thoroughly accurate translation of the Nephite plates, "by means of the inspiration of God and the aid of Urim and Thummim." And it seems fatal for two reasons:

First -- This defense places Mr. Roberts in opposition to his own witnesses. For two of the famous "three witnesses" wholly differ from Mr. Roberts as to the method of translating the plates, and point out that Joseph Smith had nothing whatever to do except simply to read the English sentences as they appeared in translation. Martin Harris says:

"By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished, he would say 'written,' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not correctly written it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates."

Here is the testimony also of David Whitmer, another of the three witnesses. After stating that Joseph put the seer stone into a hat, he says: "A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the translation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it were correct, then it would disappear and another character with the interpretation would appear."

Nothing is said by these witnesses about any Urim and Thummim. That was evidently an afterthought. Nothing is said about any great mental and spiritual effort on Joseph's part.

Second -- The above defense seems to me fatal to Elder Roberts' position, because if Joseph Smith turned aside to quote from our English Bible, as Elder Roberts admits that he did, then what was to prevent him from putting into the Book of Mormon, when it suited him, quotations from other English books, from Shakespeare, from books on geography and history? What prevented him from putting into the Book of Mormon the peculiar and well-known views of Sidney Rigdon, with which the book is saturated? What prevented him from putting in his own views? Undoubtedly, that is just what he did, for the book gives abundant evidence of being a modern compilation, and the evidence that it is an ancient book utterly fails. The statement and admission of Elder Roberts give us all the light we need as to its modern origin and spurious character.

Just a few words now as to the specimens of new truth from the Book of Mormon, of which Elder Roberts presented six:

First -- "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." I see nothing new about that. Everybody mourns sooner or later, and fools with the rest. In Proverbs 14:9, we read: "Fools make a mock of sin."

Second -- "Wickedness never was happiness." I think the prophet Isaiah expresses this idea far better when he says in 57:21, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

Third -- "The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth." Certainly that is not new truth. The very fact that God gives us commandments implies that the way will be open for us to keep them. Perhaps it was suggested by I Cor. 10:13.

Fourth -- "I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me." This idea seems to have been appropriated from II Cor. 12:9: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Fifth -- "The Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word." I do not quote the rest of this verse, for I think this first statement is not true. Many nations are in the darkness of heathendom and do not teach the word of God.

Sixth -- "Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy." I think both statements in that sentence are wholly untrue. Adam fell because he disobeyed God and became a sinner. Two-thirds of the human race are in heathenish darkness, sufferers from cruelty, want, oppression and idolatry and without joy.

In conclusion, I am sorry to spoil my opponent's concluding paragraph, for I admit that it is well written. But it seems to me illogical, for in expressing his regret that I could not have lived in the days of Paul, so that those opposed to Paul and the Christians might have availed themselves of my suggestions, he has to class me with the antiChristians. In this he is illogical, for I do not belong to that class. Suppose that I should express regret that he did not live in the eighteenth century, so as to help the infidels of that day in their contest with Bishop Butler and the other great Christian scholars of that time. My supposition would be illogical, for my opponent does not belong to the infidel class. Now, I have tried to treat my opponent and his arguments with fairness and in a kindly way. I certainly have nothing but good will toward him and to all who are sincere in their opinions. Unless some new phase of the subject should come up, I see no reason why I should continue the discussion any further.         M.
        Salt Lake City, Dec. 4, 1903.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLVI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 13, 1903.                 No. 241.



Editor Tribune: -- The most impressive thing in the second communication of the Unknown "M" is its very striking difference of spirit as compared with the first. His arrogance, if not his confidence, seems to have left him, and he writes in a spirit more in harmony with the nature of the subject. I congratulate him upon the improvement. When a book which is sacred to tens of thousands of intelligent people, and which is accepted by them as a revelation from God, is to be criticised, a decent regard for propriety requires that it should be discussed in a respectful manner, and all the more so if the critic regards those who accept the book as deceived, and would lead them from their delusion.

In this connection also I desire to say a word on an incidental matter on which the Unknown lays some stress, viz., that "the reading, thinking, truth-loving millions of this country" have come to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is fiction. This carries with it the idea that these "millions" have examined the Book of Mormon and intelligently judged it to be fiction -- an impression most erroneous, for out of the ninety millions of the people of our country it is safe to say not more than two or three millions have ever read the Book of Mormon, this in the most superficial manner, and with their minds prejudiced by the misrepresentations made concerning it. In fact, because of these misrepresentations, contempt has preceded examination, a circumstance which keeps men ignorant of the Book of Mormon. This much to remind the reader that there is no force in the appeal of the Unknown to the supposed condemnation of the Book of Mormon by "the reading, thinking, truth-loving millions of this country."


At this point the gentleman proceeds with a show of orderly argument to lay down what he considers two self-evident canons of criticism on which he takes his stand in repeating his objections to the Book of Mormon: The first of these he states in the following terms: "Any book which professes to have been written in ancient times and yet quotes from authors not born until centuries after, is a spurious book." This canon of criticism, however serviceable when applied to books in general, can in no sense be made to do service against the Book of Mormon. When he formulated his canon of criticism, as throughout the discussion, the Unknown fails to recognize the fact that while the Book of Mormon is an ancient book, it is largely a prophetic book; and the strongest complaint that can be made against it along the line of the Unknown's criticism is that some of its prophecies are here and there translated in phraseology somewhat silmilar to that of writers living subsequent to the period in which it was written. In explanation of this fact I have urged that the translator, Joseph Smith, being acquainted with the New Testament writings, and his diction influenced by the phraseology of those writers, sometimes expressed the thoughts and predictions of the ancient writers in New Testament phrases. So that the question at issue at this point of the discussion is, first, whether the ancient writers in the Book of Mormon could have been acquainted with the events, to them then future, found in the Book or Mormon, and is the theory reasonable that in translating their statement of these events Joseph Smith's diction would be influenced by the phraseology of the New Testament? In dealing with the question of the New Testament phraseology in the Book of Mormon it is Joseph Smith that the Unknown has to deal with, not Nephi; with the translator, not with the original writer. A distinction which he persistently refuses to recognize.


And now as to the point whether the. writers of the Book of Mormon could be acquainted with the events, ideas and doctrines which Joseph Smith translated here and there in New Testament phraseology. The Unknown appears ignorant of the great truth that prophecy is but history reversed. He forgets that known unto God are all his works and words from the beginning to the end, and that he has at various times made known future events in the clearest manner to his prophets who, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, have recorded them. The Prophet Isaiah, 150 years before the birth of Cyrus, foretold that celebrated ruler's name; declared that he should subdue kingdoms, including Babylon, set free the people of God, held in bondage there and rebuild the House of the Lord at Jerusalem. And all this as clearly as the historians could write it after the events themselves took place. To Daniel he revealed the rise, fall and succession of the leading empires and nations of the world, even to the time of the establishment of God's kingdom in power to hold universal sway in the later days, an event not yet fulfilled. To the prophets of Israel nearly every important event in the life of the Savior was made known, and that, too, in the language of accomplished fact -- a complaint often made against the prophecies of the Book of Mormon. They foretold that he would be born of a virgin; that his name would signify "God with us;" that Bethlehem would be the place of his birth; that he would sojourn in Egypt with his parents; that he would reside in Nazareth, for "he shall be called a Nazarene;" that a messenger would prepare the way before him; that he should ride in triumph into Jerusalem upon a colt, the foal of an ass; that he would be afflicted and despised; that he would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; that he would be despised and rejected of men; that men would turn their faces from him to his affliction; that he would be esteemed as stricken and smitten of God; that he would be wounded for our transgression, bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of men would be laid upon him, and by his stripes would they be healed; that upon him would God lay the iniquity of us all; that for the transgressions of God's people would he be stricken; that he would be oppressed and afflicted, yet open not his mouth; that as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so would he be silent before his judges; that he would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver; that men would divide his raiment and cast lots for his vesture; that they would give him gall and vinegar to drink; that not a bone of him should be broken; that he should be taken from prison and from judgment, and be cut out of the land of the living; that he would make his grave with the wicked and the rich in his death; but notwithstanding this he should not see corruption (i. e., his body decay), and that on the third day following his death he should rise triumphant from the grave. All this and much more was foretold by the ancient Hebrew prophets concerning the Messiah This is prophetic history. In like manner to the Nephites his prophetic history was made known, and is found in the Book of Mormon in some instances in greater plainness than in the Old Testament, because the Nephite scriptures have not passed through the hands of an Aristobulus, a Philo and other rabbis, who by interpretation or elimination have taken away some of the plain and precious parts of the Jewish scriptures. Surely if the Lord revealed to the Jewish prophets these leading events in the history of the Savior ages before the Messiah's birth. It ought not to be thought a strange thing (especially by one who believes in the fact of revelation) if God imparted the same knowledge to the Nephite prophets. In fact it is but reasonable to suppose that if God gave them revelations at all he would do so.


There remains to be considered under this, head only this question. Is it a fatal objection to the Book of Mormon because Joseph Smith, finding the prophetic history of the Savior in the Nephite record, translated it in phraseology here and there found in the New Testament? Or in the language of accomplished fact. My contention is that it cannot be considered a fatal objection, or even a serious difficulty, especially when one considers upon what slight similarity the Unknown seizes to make good his objection. For example, where he tries to make it appear that I was in error when saying that the several passages he had already quoted practically exhausted the instances of New Testament phraseology in the writings of Nephi, he gave us such cases as these:

Nephi -- Lehi prophesied that "these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people who were of his seed."

Revelations -- An angel should bring forth the gospel to be preached "to every nation and kindred and tongue and people."

Nephi -- For he is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hebrews -- Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.

Nephi -- I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord.

Acts -- The Spirit of the Lord caught Philip that the eunuch saw him no more.

"In Nephi 14:1," says the Unknown, "the repeated expression "mother of abominations" and "mother of harlots" are taken from Revelations 16:5." I here quote Nephi, 14:1: "And it shall come to pass that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks." After reading it I wondered where the Unknown found in it his "mother of abominations" and the "mother of harlots.'" Of course, the gentleman may have given the wrong reference, and I will not press his errors too hard upon him, but how ridiculous to urge the rejection of the Book of Mormon on so flimsy an argument, even if he should find somewhere else his, "mother of abominations" or his "mother of harlots."


Passing over some intervening matter in order to consider this whole question of translation together, next refer to what the Unknown says under the heading, "A Vital Point." I accounted for the imperfections of the language of the Book of Mormon on the ground that while the translator obtained his ideas from the Nephite record, he was left to express that thought in such language as he was master of, and as he was uneducated, that language was here and there faulty, and I accounted for the existence of some passages of the Bible in the Book of Mormon by saying that where Joseph Smith found in the Nephite records quotations from Jewish scriptures which the Nephites had with them or when the teachings of Messiah in their order followed his teachings to be found in the New Testament, Joseph Smith adopted, when he could do so consistently, the language of our English Bible. This the Unknown considers is "vital," and he holds that these quotations would not be found" in this translation of the Nephite record if the Book of Mormon is honest in its claim of being an ancient book. He urges that if Joseph Smith could thus incorporate these quoted passages, then there is nothing to hinder him putting into the Book of Mormon, when it suited him, quotations from other English books, from Shakespeare, from books of geography and history, and the peculiar views of Sidney Rigdon, with which the book is saturated, or his own views; and this, he claims, is just what he did. Well, of course, there is nothing that would prevent Joseph Smith from following a course of this kind if he was the unmitigated impostor and scoundrel that the Unknown tries to make him appear to be, but that is just what Joseph Smith was not; and hence his own honesty and integrity prevented his putting in quotations from the Bible or any other book except just what the facts and statements in the Nephite records justified him in adopting. And as for the views of Sidney Rigdon being incorporated in it, that is impossible, since it is a well-established, incontrovertible, historical fact that Sidney Rigdon never saw either Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon until six months after the book had been published.


The Unknown thinks I run counter to the statement of Martin Harris and David Whitmer as to the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated, as he claims that in their testimony there is nothing said about Urim and Thummim, and nothing is said about "any great, mental and spiritual effort on Joseph's part" in obtaining the translation. True, there is nothing in the statement of Whitmer and Harris quoted by the Unknown to that effect, but there abounds in the historical incidents connected with the coming forth of the Book plenty of evidence that the translation was not mechanical,and in the very book of David Whitmer's, quoted by the Unknown, it is stated that the prophet had to be in a very exalted mental and spiritual state of mind before he could exercise his gift of translation. But we have a better description of the manner of translation than that given by Whitmer or Harris. In the course of translation Oliver Cowdery became desirous to translate, and in a revelation the Lord promised him that power.

"Yea, behold I will tell you (i. e., the interpretation) in your mind, and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you, and which shall dwell in your heart." Oliver made the attempt to translate and failed; whereupon the Lord in a subsequent revelation gave this as the reason of his failure: "Behold you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it (i. e., the translation) unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me; but behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right, but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me." (Doc. and Cov., Sections 8 and 9.)

This is the Lord's description of how Oliver could have translated had he persevered, and beyond question it is the manner in which Joseph Smith did translate. This is sufficient to establish the fact that the Unknown is speaking upon a subject with which he has but a very slight acquaintance, and further I may not enter into it here, because of the necessary limits of this article.


Having disposed of the question relating to translation, I take up the Unknown's second canon of criticism, which he states in these terms:

"Any book which professes to be a divine revelation to the people of the present time, and yet reveals nothing which it does not appropriate from some other book or sources of knowledge already in the possesion of the people, is a spurious book."

The Book of Mormon reveals the fact that there existed two great civilizations on the American continent. The first was established by a colony which left the valley of the Euphrates in very ancient times, established themselves in the North American continent, and in time grew to be a great nation far advanced in civilization. This race passed through all the vicissitudes incident to national existence; periods of prosperity, times of disaster; periods of great righteousness, when prophets with their divine message influenced the people to keep the commandments of God, followed by long periods of moral and spiritual depression, and ultimately succumbed to the fate which overtakes all nations that depart from truth and righteousness. The second civilization resulted from two colonies which came from Judea; one led by Lehi, landing in South America; the other colony was led by Mulek, who escaped from Palestine after the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This colony landed in North America. These colonies subsequently united and formed one great nation. This nation, like others, followed the beaten track of the history of other nations. In periods of righteousness they advanced in civilization. They had their prophets, philosophers, statesmen, patriots, traitors, and passed through all the experiences incident to national existence. Their history is the poet's moral of all human tales:
"'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past:
First freedom, and then glory -- when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption -- barbarism at last;
And history with all her volumes vast hath but
one page!"
After he had completed his ministry in Judea, the resurrected Messiah appeared among the Nephites, in fulfillment of his promise to their fathers by the prophets. He announced his divinity, taught them the gospel, conferred divine authority upon certain men whom He chose among them, authorized the establishment of the Church for their instruction and development in righteousness. He taught them every moral truth which He had imparted to those living on the eastern hemisphere. He fulfilled all the prophecies relating to him up to this point in the Jewish scriptures, which their fathers had carried with them from Jerusalem. He assured them of the reality of life beyond the grave, and, in a word, planted here the whole system of truth which makes for the salvation of men, and is called the fulness of the everlasting gospel. The Book of Mormon gives a voice to the ruined cities and half buried monuments upon this land of America. It confirms all the revealed truths made known in the Jewish scriptures. In sustaining the truth, inspiration and authenticity of the Bible, the Book of Mormon is more valuable than a thousand Rosetta Stones; it is superior to all the clay tablet libraries found in old Babylon and Egypt; it is the voice of sleeping nations speaking as from the dust of ages, bearing witness to the existence of God, the divinity of Messiah, and to the truth of the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation. It vindicates the justice of God in that it reveals the fact that he did not leave untold millions of people to perish on this western hemisphere without the knowledge of God and the means of salvation. It banishes from the minds of men that narrow, sectarian dogma of an apostate Christendom which undertakes to limit the word of God to the few books contained in the Bible. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon contradicts that equally erroneous sectarian notion that God had ceased to give revelations to men and had spoken for the last time to his children. And yet in the presence of this array of great facts and truths which the Book of Mormon makes known, and which are made known nowhere else (and the half has not been told here), men of the order of intellect of this Unknown critic stand chattering like parrots about there being nothing new or of value in the Book of Mormon, and seek to cast discredit upon it by their carping criticisms upon the defects of the language in which it is translated, and because its translator has couched some of its glorious truths in the New Testament phraseology familiar to him. How puerile all such criticism seems, and how refreshing it is to hear God saying, "He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully, for what is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord," (Jeremiah 23:28). The letter still killeth. It is the spirit that giveth life.


In the background of the Unknown's discussion one may see the influence of what is called the Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon, and in his second communication he indirectly refers to it by saying that "there are at least twelve persons, worthy and reliable so far as I can discover, who testify that the substance of this Book of Mormon, with all its queer names of places and persons, its strange history, its battles and slaughters, its continual imitation of Bible phraseology, they had heard several years prior to the publication of this book, from a religious romance (The Spaulding Story). It was in this romance that the Nephites and Lamanites originated, and also the pretended ancient books of Nephi, Alma, Mosiah and Mormon," etc. And later the gentleman says that he cannot see why the testimony of these twelve witnesses should not be received, etc. In all this the gentleman shows what a "back number" he is in the matter of controversy relating to the Book of Mormon. He seems not aware of the fact that Spaulding's manuscript has been found and published now these several years, and is safely lodged in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio. There appears upon this manuscript the indorsement of Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and D. P. Hurlburt (who, by the way, are among the twelve witnesses to whom "M" alludes) as being the very manuscript from which they affirmed that the Book of Mormon had been written. And now comes L. L. Rice, an anti-slavery editor, for many year state printer of Columbus, Ohio, who says: "Two things are true concerning this manuscript. * * * * * First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spaulding, and second, it is not the original of the Book of Mormon. * * * * It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible (Book of Mormon) would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this." While President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin College says over his own signature: "Mr. Rice, myself and others compared it (the Spaulding manuscript) with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. * * * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found." The truth of President Fairchild's statement can be verified by any one who will compare the two.


The Unknown has certainly plunged into the fog respecting his alleged connection between Nephi and Shakespeare, and by some sort of mental contortion, utterly inexplicable, has arrived at the conclusion that we must suppose that Nephi had a copy of our English Bible as well as the Jewish scriptures, and also a copy of Shakespeare, in order to account for the passage in the Book of Mormon which he alleges is a quotation from the English poet. I must come to the rescue of the Unknown in this matter: I begin to have some degree of commiseration for him in his mental struggle to comprehend even this very simple matter. Attend, then: Lehi lived in Judea in the seventh and sixth century, B. C. He was acquainted with the Hebrew scriptures, including the book of Job, and when he departed from Jerusalem for the western world his colony took with them those same scriptures. Through them he became familiar in the Hebrew with Job's -- "Let me alone, that I may take comfort a little before I go whence I shall not return." Also Job's -- "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return." When Lehi's own hour of departure hence had come, impressed with this solemn thought of Job's, he gave expression to it in Hebrew. The saying was recorded by his son Nephi in the Egyptian characters employed by him in making his record. Observe that we have traced these ideas of the "land whence I shall not return" into the Nephite records without the aid of the English Bible or Shakespeare. When Joseph Smith came to this thought in Nephi, the thought, mark you, he translated it into the English, and being familiar with the book of Job, his translation followed somewhat the phraseology of Job in our English version. Shakespeare nowhere appears in all this, and if he did, if Joseph Smith had expressed this old Hebrew and Nephite thought in Shakespeare's exact phraseology instead of that of our English version of Job, it would have been no valid objection to the Book of Mormon, for Shakespeare died in 1616, and the English version of the Bible was published in 1611, only five years before the poet's death! Are we to infer from this that "M" thinks Shakespeare had no English Bible from which to paraphrase his passage? If so -- and I can see nothing else in his reference to these dates -- then I would inform the gentleman that as there were brave men before Agamenon, so were there English Bibles before the 1611 edition; Wycliff's English Bible, 1380-1384; Tyndale's English translation, 1530; Miles Coverdale's English translation, 1535, dedicated to Henry VIII, and for a time issued under the royal sanction. From any of these versions Shakespeare could have paraphrased Job's words.

The Unknown seems somewhat distressed in his efforts to account for the few original and moral religious truths, I quoted him from the Book of Mormon. Especially "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." He "sees nothing new in that," since in Proverbs it is said "fools make a mock of sin." True, but it appears from the context where the Book of Mormon passage occurs that the particular "fools" the writer had in mind were those who mocked at righteousness and truth, and hence he predicts that they shall come to grief; while Solomon's "fools" mock at sin, and the consequences are not stated, at least not in that passage. I trust, however, the Unknown will not worry over much. The star of hope may yet appear above life's horizon for him. The javelin-like sentence, "Fools mock;, but they shall mourn," is immediately followed by "My grace is sufficient for the meek;" and it appears to me if this discussion continues through a few more papers, and there should continue to be manifested as much difference between each succeeding communication of "M's" as there is between the arrogance of his first letter and the humility of his second, in time I am sure he would be prepared to enter a contest even with Moses for the distinction of being the meekest of men.

As to the rest that "M" says of these matters, the limits of this writing preclude further comment. Neither is it necessary, for it is all as shallow, not to say as silly, as what he says upon the passage here criticised.


Just a word in conclusion, not to the Unknown, but to the readers of these papers. I would have them remember that in this discussion the evidence that can be marshaled to sustain the truth of the Book of Mormon has not yet been presented. The manner in which the discussion began made this impossible. There was before the reader no evidence on the positive side concerning the Book of Mormon when the discussion began, and the paper of Unknown was on the negative side of the question. A proper discussion of the Book of Mormon would require that we who affirm its divine origin should have the opportunity of presenting the affirmative evidence, followed by an argument against that evidence, with answer and rejoinder to follow. All of which, of course, are in no way a complaint as to the present opportunities presented to the writer by The Tribune, as to him has been extended equal opportunity and courtesy with his opponent, for which I desire to express my appreciation. I am satisfied with this discussion, but merely desire to call attention to the enforced limits of its scope.    Respectfully yours,
B. H. ROBERTS.              

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, October 21, 1904.                   No. 149.



Record of Evidence in Smith Trial.

It Is Unearthed in Library of
Missouri State Historical Society.

Accurate Account of Conflicts in
Northwest Part of the State.

A Columbia, Mo. dispatch to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says an old moth-eaten volume, unearthed in the library of the State Historical society, throws new light upon the Mormon troubles in Missouri sixty-six years ago. The book is a record of evidence taken before Hon. Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial circuit, at the courthouse in Richmond, on the trial of Joseph Smith. Jr.,and forty other persons charged with high treason and other crimes against the State. Two thousand copies were ordered printed by the Legislature in 1841, and it is believed that only one copy besides the one in Columbia is now in existence.

In the course of the testimony occurs the most accurate account of the conflicts in the northwestern part of the Stale yet discovered. Furthermore, sensational charges are preferred against David R. Atchison and others in which grave offenses against public welfare are alleged.

Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader, came to Missouri in 1831, searching for a place to locate "New Jerusalem." After a careful survey of' the State he decided upon Independence, in Jackson county, as a suitable location. He returned to his home in Kirtland. O., and the year following brought several hundred followers to Independence. A complete civil government was instituted, and the publication of a newspaper, called The Evening Star, undertaken. In its columns occurred violent [sic - implicit?] denunciations of the Gentiles living in the neighborhood. The latter stood the insult for several months and then coolly tossed the printing press and type into the Missouri river.

First Encounter.

The bad feeling thus engendered continued to grow, and culminated in an encounter on October 31, 1833, two miles east of Wesport, in which two Gentiles and one Mormon were killed. The Mormons, however, had won the day, only to be conquered three days later by a largely increased body of citizens. The terms of the surrender contained a provision that the Mormons were to leave Jackson county immediately. Accordingly an exodus into Clay, Carroll and Caldwell counties took place, and a village called Far West, eight miles south of the present town of Hamilton, was decided upon by the refugees as their central rendezvous. For three years comparative peace prevailed and then the construction of a magnificent temple was begun.

Conflicts began to manifest themselves again, however, and on September 21, 1838, a severe battle occurred at DeWitt, a small town in Daviess county, into which several Mormon families attempted to move. A short time after a skirmish five miles south of Breckenridge occasioned the death of eighteen Mormons. On October 4, occurred an engagement at DeWitt, in which 600 men took part, and by the middle of the month Daviess county, which the Mormons had thickly settled, was so terrorized that not a Gentile remained in its borders.

Although Gov. Boggs had ordered out nearly 4000 soldiers, the Mormons pushed their campaign steadily on. It was their purpose to conquer the immediately adjoining counties, then march down the Missouri river to St. Louis and capture it. Joseph Smith declared his intention of being a second Mahomet, and promised make a path of gore from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic ocean.

Declared Independence.

On July 4, in an oration, Sidney Rigdon, one of the leaders of the church, declared it Independent of the State, and asserted that the time of consecration of the riches of the Gentiles to the true Israel had arrived. Public notice was given all dissenters to leave the country and such barbarous punishment as that of allowing buzzards to eat a man alive were threatened.

Smith claimed to have 14,000 Indians at his command, and threatend to turn them loose upon the country if the Gentiles refused to leave. Over 800 armed men, called Danites were sworn to support Smith and Lyman Wight, whether their commands were right or wrong, opposed to State laws or in harmony with them.

A select band of twelve called "Destructives" was especially charged with burning houses and other property. Notice was to be given to the 40,000 Mormons in Europe and America to come at once to Far West to take the kingdom.

On October 28 every house in Gallatin was plundered and burned and the citizens driven out. The little village of Millport was treated in the same way. Richmond, Liberty and Buncombe, a town twelve miles north of Richmond, were to be the next victims.

In the meantime Gov. Boggs had issued proclamations calling out over 5000 soldiers, but serious charges were being made against their officers, accounting for the lack of success in putting down the insurrection. Capt. Bogart of the volunteers complained in a letter of October 13, addressed to the Governor, that officers are seeking popularity with the Mormons for vote-gaining purposes.

Accuse Atchison.

In a letter written a week later by Col. Peniston of the Sixtieth regiment, David R. Atchison, ex-United States Senator, was accused of "political juggling" in his "reports and circulations setting the conduct and character of the Mormons favorably before the community, which are believed by the people of Daviess county to be prompted by the hope of interest or emolument." No official investigation of these charges were made, but the feeling of the people in regard to them was not in the least ambiguous.

The State troops marched up the river to Far West. In an encounter on October 24, ten men out of Capt. Bogarts' company were killed, several others wounded, and the rest taken prisoners by the Mormons. On October 30 Smith surrendered and 600 prisoners were taken. The conditions of surrender were that the leaders were to be given up for trial, restitution of all stolen property was to be made, and all but the leaders should at once leave the State. The latter condition was later modified, so as to permit the offenders to remain during the winter, but in the spring of 1839, 4000 Mormons moved back to Nauvoo, Ill.

Of the leaders six were charged with treason, eight with murder and twenty-seven with other felonies. A change of venue was taken to Boone county, and on the way Joe Smith escaped. It is generally believed that he had success fully bribed his guard.

For lack of exact evidence the prosecuting attorney filed nolle prosequies in the cases of the minor leaders and they were released.

Thus ended the first civil war in Missouri.

Note: Stephen C. LeSueur's 1987 The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri provides this information regarding Atchison and Doniphan (who were Joseph Smith's legal counsel, besides being militia officers): "Following the disturbances in Carroll County, Captain Bogart, a member of Parks's brigade, wrote to Governor Boggs and criticized Parks's apparent pro-Mormon bias. 'Too many of our officers are seeking popularity with the Mormons, supposing their votes in time would be of some service to them,' Bogart said, probably referring to Atchison and Doniphan as well as Parks. -- Col. William Peniston of Daviess County also wrote to the governor and condemned the 'political juggling' of Atchison and others. Their favorable reports of the conduct and character of the Mormons, Peniston said, were 'prompted by the hope of interest or emolument.' Bogart and Peniston, both bitter opponents of the Saints, expressed what many of their fellow citizens probably suspected: the generals had allowed their political and business connections with the Mormons to affect their judgment and handling of the disturbances. No evidence exists to support these claims; nevertheless, Atchison, Doniphan, and Parks found themselves caught in the middle of the conflict."


Vol. LXX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, November 7, 1904.                   No. 24.



Revealed Plan of New Religion.

Chum in After Years Related
Circumstance to His Son.

Son Now in Salt Lake Unwittingly
Told Story to Church Officers,
Who Showed Interest.

When Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, was an unsuccessful young man back in New York State, he made the mistake of confiding to his chum his scheme of establishing a new religion for the sake of personal success, and yesterday that chum's son, A. H. Petty, told the story to a Tribune reporter. He told it simply, as his father had given it to him, and it was all the more interesting for that reason.

"Joe told my father that he thought he could make this plan a winner," said Mr. Petty. "He said he was sure it would make him a successful man. He said he intended to go to a clay mound there in Alleghany county and dig Into it. And then he would claim that he found a set of copper plates within the earth. From these plates he intended to get his revelations."

Told It Once Before.

Mr. Petty lives in Correctionville, Ia. He is staying with his wife at 167 East Third South street, en route to Los Angeles, Cal. He looks at the story as highly amusing. And the most amusing part of it all, from his standpoint, is the fact that a set of high officers in the Mormon church listened to it a year ago last summer as he told it at Saltalr. He did not know who they were. He found out when they tried to get him to stop over on his journey to the G. A. R. convention in California. To this day he can't exactly understand the reason for the urgency of the invitation.

"The funniest thing about it is that one of them was a relative of old Joseph Smith," said Mr. Petty. "And they all were bound I should stay and visit them so that we could talk it over. They said it was mighty interesting to them. But I had to go on, and I never saw them from that day."

And so it happened that Mr. Petty was able to give the story to the public for the first time last evening. As he told it, it is:

Schoolmate of the Prophet.

My father's name was Charles Benjamin Petty. He lived in Alleghany county, New York. He and Joe Smith were schoolmates. Joe was a dull boy in the district school. He was a slow fellow at mathematics, and all that sort of thing. But he was one of these shrewd-eyed fellows, and when it came to seeing his way ahead he was wise, all right.

"Now, when Joe grew up to be a young man he wasn't making very much of a success; that is, not so far as making money goes. He and my father were chums still and used to tell their troubles and plans to each other. One day Joe said he was going to found a new religion. He said he was sure he could get up one that would take. He said he had thought on the thing for a long time and he was positive he had a scheme with features that would make it a winner. It would make him a successful man.

"Well, my father didn't go much on the plan, and he told Joe he didn't think a great deal of It, but Joe said he had gone over the details of it and knew it would win. He said that that sort of thing always did well, and he was going to try a whirl, anyhow. Then he told my father some of the details of this plan, just as young fellows tell one another such things, you know.

Divulged His Scheme.

"Joe Smith said he was going to claim that he got a revelation and that he got it from a set of copper plates. He said he would claim he had found these plates in a clay mound there in Alleghany county. Then he said he would go into a sort of a cabinet, or behind a curtain, and read out his discovery. He would have a man on the outside taking down what he said.

"And he did all this afterward. He went to the clay mound and dug it up, and then he claimed he had found the plates. And he went into a cabinet, and what he read was taken down. Now, he told my father that what he had in that cabinet was King James's translation of the Bible and a novel. I don't remember the name of the novel, but it was some book about those old Eastern races, and it had a lot of names in it that he used in the Book of Mormon; anyway, that is the way he told it to my father, and my father told it to me.

Reminded of Boyhood Confidence.

"That was the beginning of the Mormon religion, my father said, and then Joe Smith went away from New York. I did not hear the story until years afterward, back in Michigan. It was there my father told it to me. At the time the Mormons were in Nauvoo, Ill., and they were having trouble. Joe Smith was killed In some sort of a mix-up. Well, the talk that all this trouble made caused my father to think of it, I suppose, and he used to go over the story to me.

"I afterward saw copies of those copper plates that never existed. They were supposed to be in some unknown characters that only Joe Smith could read. Of course, the copies I saw back in Iowa were on paper. They looked like Chinese. They were some sort of cryptograms, so I was told.

"But that isn't my story. The funniest part is, that I told it to a number of Mormon church officers when I was coming through Salt Lake on my way to the G. A. R. convention in California a year ago. We all went out to the Saltair beach. I fell in with these fellows and they were entertaining us. They got to telling about Mormonism, and that brought on the story. I told it as I told it to you, and you ought to have seen how interested they were. They said it was something they wanted to know more about, and they asked me a lot of questions and took me into the pavilion. When I found they were Mormons, and that one of them was Joe Smith's relative, I said:

High Officials Interested.

"'Say, you fellows have the advantage of me. I didn't know you were Mormons. But I was just telling that story because I know it is true, coming from my father,' and they said of course it would be true coming to me that way. They said it interested them greatly, and kept trying to get me to tell them everything.

Note: A very unlikely account.


Vol. LXX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 4, 1904.                   No. 51.


Origin and Cause of Its Existence.

John C. Young Shows That Revelation
Is Not Basic Principle.

Due to Fanaticism of Sidney Rigdon and
Catalepsy of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

Baker City, Nov. 30. -- When the religion formerly received is rent by discords, and when the holiness of the professors of religion is decayed and full of scandal, and withal the times be stupid, ignorant and barbarous, you may doubt the springing up of a new sect; if then also there should arise any extravagant and strange spirit to make himself author thereof; all which points held when Mahomet published his law. If a new sect have not two properties, fear it not, for it will not spread; the one is the supplanting or the opposing of authority established; for nothing is more popular than that; the other is the giving license to pleasure and a voluptuous life; for as for speculative heresies * * * though they work mightily upon men's wits, yet they do not produce any great altercations in states; except it be by the help of civil occasions. -- Francis Bacon.

Must Consider Religion

It is not possible to discuss the peculiar political situation in Utah without taking into consideration the Mormon religion, for that really, is the nut of the whole thing. However distasteful it may be, however much to be regretted that religion must be made a subject of investigation and criticism in dealing with the problem that confronts your State, it is to be born constantly in mind that the Mormon religion itself is responsible for the necessity. Not because it is a new or peculiar form of faith; not because it is not as rational in some of the peculiarities as are those of other sects, but because in its entirety it stands in opposition to "authority established," and gives license and sanctity to practices that are out of harmony with the higher ideals society is struggling to establish. Not for the purpose of holding the Mormon religion up to ridicule for the mere sport of the thing; not with any desire of raising antagonism and bitterness; not to disturb the sincere believer's convictions, but to enlighten the understanding of adherents, it should be stripped of its assumptions of divinity, as a Mormon would strip Mohammedism of like assumptions.

Those features of the Mormon creed that are strictly matters of faith and those practices that affect not the social order, but only the parties engaged are entitled to the same respectful consideration that is the due of all other forms of religion. But there are many people in the world, and among them the Mormons, who cannot or will not draw, the line where their own religious rights and liberties end, and society's begin. In the Mormon's case this arises from the "two properties" pointed out by Bacon in the quotation at the head of this article. Wilfully or ignorantly the plain meaning of that provision of the Federal Constitution inhibiting Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof, is distorted by the priesthood to mean liberty to establish a treasonable form of government within the republic and a license to fly in the face of society and the law.

Not Entitled to Be Respected.

Assuming it to be in obedience to "new revelation" does not entitle it to be respected as such by the world, but does bring the pretensions upon which the new sect is founded within the purview of legitimate investigation. It may be profitable, therefore, to the common people to review some of the founders of their faith, stripped of their vestments of divine inspiration as prophets and revelators. Of these the first and worthiest of consideration is Sidney Rigdon, who, I believe, was the prime mover and founder of the sect. He was a Scotsman by birth [sic - by ancestry?], and was educated for the ministry. With the sect to which he first belonged he fell out on points of doctrine, only to join and leave one after another until he had run pretty nearly the whole scale of isms, becoming discredited with them all and finally pulpitless. None of the churches, nor all of them together, filled his idea of what the church and kingdom of God should be. To his mind religion was a thing all embracing and not to be worn lightly. It should include every rule of human action and constitute the basts of the whole fabric of society. With this religio-materialistic Scotsman everything in the scriptures was literal. Christ's kingdom should be a real thing, with an exchequer and war chariots. A belief in the heart of men in Christ as the redeemer of the world did not fill his conception of what should constitute the kingdom of God on earth. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was a rule not abrogated by that of turning the other cheek. He was born too far north and 3000 years after his time. And this was the man -- about 55 years of age -- that, after having quarreled with every sect in Christendom, discovered young Joseph Smith. In the view of your Mormon readers no special harm can come from shying a brick at Sidney Rigdon, for he has been duly anathematized by the priesthood he founded. But coming to the prophet Joseph, we reach the hub of the Mormon wheel, in the estimation of the Saint, and no offense must be offered.

Catalepsy and Visions.

Some thirty years ago there was published in the Eclectic Magazine quite an exhaustive article on catalepsy, its symptoms and its relations to "visions," "revelations" and the various phases of that which the "new thought" now commonly designates as psychic phenomena. A person who had read the article, thinking to check up on the prophet, asked one of the founders of the church who was quite near to Smith from the days of Kirtland down, if he had ever been present and seen the prophet when he was having a revelation or vision. He said, no; but that he had been present on one occasion "when the prophet came pretty near having one." Questioned as to his appearance while the spell was on, this churchman described the symptoms of the cataleptic stale with absolute precision.

The point to be made is this: That Joseph Smith belonged to that class of human phenomena known to the world of psychic research as hypnotic, mesmeric, mediumistic and cataleptic subjects, whose relations to one another, and whoso respective positions in metaphysical science, have not yet been definitely fixed. To which particular type Joseph Smith belonged, or more nearly approached, it is difficult with the information now obtainable, to determine. To ths cataleptic class belonged Washington Irving Bishop and Andrew Jackson Davis, in both of whom the mental suggestion phase was largely developed, and in view of the fact that Brigham Young declared that every revelation given to the "Prophet Joseph" was given in answer to a suggestion, it would appear that Smith belonged to the Bishop-Davis type, and that under Sidney Rigdon's mental suggestions the whole Mormon scheme was launched by "new revelation," through Smith as the mere subject.

It is a fact to be noted in this connection, that the revelations in the "Doctrine and Covenants," through the seership of Brigham Young, are chiefly conspicuous for their absence, and that so soon as he seized the helm of the good ship Zion and kicked Rigdon overboard, he carried the inspiration compass under his own hat, and new revelations, such as Smith had, were at an end. All this may or may not signify. It is according to the view point of the reader.

Brigham Was Different.

There is no question as to the fact that the many men not in the Mormon church seek revelations by consulting the spirits. One of the most successful gold miners in the world never makes a move except by direction of his medium, and always wins. But thousands go a-miss, and we never hear of them. The world has had its cataleptics and mediums since the dawn of history. Brigham Young was neither the one nor the other. The Mormon machine was made to his hand through "new revelation," and he proceeded to operate it. He was as materialistic as Rigdon, and infinitely more practical, though Rigdon's construction through Smith of so perfect a piece of governmental mechanism as the Mormon scheme is, stamps him as a man of no mean ability. He was particularly well versed in theological subjects, though if he had a hand in the putting out of the Book of Mormon, as he is credited with, he could never be accused of being scholarly, nor of having a high rejard for popular intelligence.

"The primary conditions essential to the establishment of a new and dangerous creed, including the "extravagant and strange spirit," as designated by Bacon, seems to have furnished Rigdon the key in the establishment of his enterprise. So far as he and the early converts to the new faith were concerned, they seem to have been exactly fitted to the conditions and the work undertaken. Rigdon in particular was anxious to follow the example of Mahomat by converting people with the sword, and Smith was not a bad second in that regard. But Rigdon was not the prophet. By no possible trick could he place himself on the throne, for Smith took himself and his revelations as seriously as did ever any hopeless cataleptic in an insane asylum, and while in his days of lucidity and trouble was prone to forget about the sword as a religious persuader; on the contrary, not even being loath to take leg bail when circumstances required and opportunity offered.

License for Pleasures.

But the gist of Bacon's rule for the successful establishment and growth of the new creed, is in the "two properties" -- the supplanting and opposing of the established authority of government, and the granting of license for pleasures and voluptuous life as rewards for loyalty and services. Rigdon, Smith and Young were the founders of this Mormon scheme of empire, which has become a serious menace to the institutions of American liberty in the Rocky Mountain States, and the question is, are they and their scheme so sacred that they must not be analyzed because a comparative handful of adherents insist on clothing their enterprise in the garb of religion? Mahomet is regarded as having been a cataleptic, and Carlyle wrote him down a hero: Martin Luther, with all his practical German hard sense, occasionally slipped over the border: Swedenborg, Plato, Zoroaster and Buddha, like nearly all the ancient and modern founders of religious sects and creeds, belonged to the cataleptic or psychic types of human phenomena. The Latter-day Saint may, therefore, console himself with the reflection that his prophet, Joseph Smith, is in notable company, though that fact can lend no sanctity to his claim to being divinely inspired in other or different ways from that in which other cataleptics have been.

In Mormondom the question then again recurs: Where shall American citizenship build its shrine, under "new revelation" by Sidney Rigdon through Joseph Smith, or under the great shield of the Declaration of Independence? Is the dictum that all men are created equal to be superseded by "new revelation" that sets men in order according to rules similar to those of the ancient Incaism of Peru? No one aside from the Mormons cares whether Rigdon was the real instigator of the kingdom or not; no real American cares whether Joseph Smith was a cataleptic, spiritual medium or prophet of God; nor whether Brigham Young was knave, saint or hero. No one on earth cares what the Mormons believe with regard to the sufficiency of Joseph Smith's authority, but society in general, and the people of the United States in, particular, care a great deal about, and will continue to object with increasing emphasis, to the establishment of a new Mohammedism in the midst of Christendom.
JOHN C. YOUNG.            
Formerly known as a writer for The Tribune over the signature of "Giux."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXX.                   Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, March 12, 1905.                   No. 149.



...Case of Sidney Rigdon.

Mr. Lyman: ...Sydney Rigdon was the councilor to the Prophet Joseph --

Mr. Worthlngton: Joseph Smith?

Mr Lyman: Yes, Joseph Smith; and Sidney Rigdon got on the background, was something like a backslider, in a spirit of apostasy, and neglected his duties and went off from the church to Pittsburg from Illinois. The prophet got tired of keeping him in his place and he undertook to cast him out and cast him off, and he chose my father in his place; but when the case was presented to the church, in general conference assembled in Nauvoo, the church held to Sidney Rigdon, and the will of the prophet or the will of the Lord was not complied with in that instance. They held on to him in spite of the prophet -- the people did; and he said: "I shall shake him off. You may have him and carry him if you want to, but I shall not carry him any longer." But the action of the people prevailed and he remained as a councilor to the Prophet Joseph.

Mr. Tayler: Was Rigdon one of the original apostles?

Mr Lyman: Sidney Rigdon?

Mr. Tayler: Yes.

Mr. Lyman: No, sir; he never was one of the twelve; he was one of the first presidency....

Note: Apostle Lyman's logic in this instance appears to have been a little flawed. The "general conference assembled in Nauvoo" prior to Sidney Rigdon's 1844 move "from the church to Pittsburg," was one at which Rigdon officially addressed the assembled Mormon audience, as a member of the LDS First Presidency and Joseph Smith's running mate in the Mormon quest to win the office of President of the United States. It seems very strange that "the will of the Lord" was not "complied with in that instance." Probably Lyman had his chronology and his theology both confused, and the instance he was attempting to relate did not occur in 1844. Why the personal predilections of Joseph Smith, Jr. should be accepted as "the will of the Lord," Apostle Lyman did not explain, (however, despite his official titles, Rigdon's earlier authority in the Mormon First Presidency was practically ursurped, first by John C. Bennet and later by William Law).


Vol. LXXI.                 Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, August 27, 1905.                 No. 135.


The vigor of the Deseret News these days is about on a par with its timeliness. It is now dealing with the Solomon Spaulding story as related to the alleged origin of the Book of Mormon. This is supposed to be satisfactory to the average Mormon who wants to know what has become of his tithes. When a member of the Mormon church distresses his mind with the remote and useless questions as to why Smoot was elected to the Senate to disturb, the peace of Utah; why Joseph F. Smith is upheld as a prophet when he breaks the laws of God and defies the revelations; why the poor tithe-payer is left to public charity in his old age; the Deseret News answers all these impertinent questions by a conclusive argumentation concerning the "Spaulding Myth."

The sawdust cakes which the News prepares are supposed to be entirely satisfying to Mormon hunger.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXIV.              Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, February 11, 1907.              No. 119.



Mormon Inclination to Return
to Former Scenes of Power.


A Writer Who Knows Old Stories
Revives Some of Them.

From The St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

From three States come reports of the proposed return of the Mormons to the Missouri valley, where they held forth sixty years and more ago.

Not only are missionaries being sent back to Missouri, Illinois and Iowa from Utah to carry on the awakening of Mormonism in the State which once attempted by force of arms to stamp it out, but the Utah branch of the church is acquiring property rights and officially recognizing the historic places which have been ignored before.

A year or two ago an effort was made by the Utah Mormons to acquire the temple lot of the church at Independence, and adjoining property was, in fact, secured. Emlssaries came to Missouri from Utah and negotiations were carried on for some time.

Last fall the Utah Mormon elders of the northern and southern Illinois and Iowa conference held their annual meeting in the old Mormon stronghold of Nauvoo, Ill., from where their fathers had been driven by force of arms sixty years ago. The Utah Mormons revisited the site of the original temple and of Joseph Smith's historic house, and fraternized with the sons of the men who had persecuted jim.

Still more recently, the Utah Mormons, twenty-one in number, made a pilgrimage to Carthnec, Ill., and purchased the old jail in which the founder of the church, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hiram, had been killed. Whether the jail is to remain simply a shrine for pilgrimages or is to be converted into a modern tabernacle has not yet been disclosed.

Utah Mormons in large numbers have recently revisited places in Lee county, Iowa, Garden Grove and Kanesville, in the western part of the State, where the original Mormons settled after being driven out of Nauvoo, and before going en masse across the plains to Salt Lake City.

In Missouri, Illinois and Iowa more Mormon proselyting has been carried on in the past few years than ever before. There is a general awakening of interest in the places which once knew Mormonism, but stamped it out. No attempt is being made to return secretly. The deed to the Carthage Jail property reads: "To Joseph F. Smith, in trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, residing in the city and county of Salt Lake, in the State of Utah "

The Nauvoo reunion was remarkable in many ways. It was the first official re-visiting of the first great stronghold of Mormonism. Seventy elders were in attendance for three days, were given the freedom of the quaint old town and "had a fine spiritual and social time," on the testimony of a Nauvoo newspaper.

In Iowa the revival of interest has been especially marked. That State is the headquarters of the monogamous branch of Mormonism headed by Joseph Smith, a son of the original prophet and seer. The two branches of the church are at enmity, but on the occasion of the recent fire in Lamoni, where many valuable records of the Iowa church were destroyed, sincere expressions of sympathy were received from the Utah branch. Valuable papers handed down from Joseph Smith I., to his son, Joseph Smith II., and intended for transmission on to Frederick Smith, the future head of the Iowa and Missouri Latter-day Saints, were destroyed.

Early Mormonism.

This revival of interest in Mormonism and the apparent coming together in a friendly feeling of the Utah and the Mississippl valley branches of the church founded by Joseph Smith serves to recall the story of Mormon settlement and occupation in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa more than half a century ago, the persecutions of the time which drove the Mormons westward, and that remarkable hegira across the plains of 16,000 people, which is one of the most romantic and unusual pictures in the panorama of American history.

The first attempt to found a colony of the followers of Joseph Smith, after his remarkable discovery in New York of the saced tablets and the glasses by which to translate them, was made at Kirtland, O., with the aid of Sidney Rigdon, an eloquent preacher of the Christian, or Campbellite, church.

April 6, 1830, these two [sic - six?] men organized the Church of Latter-day Saints. By the first of the following year, thanks to Joseph Smith's sincerity in telling the story of his finding of the sacred tablets and to Sidney Rigdon's eloquence, more than 1000 converts had been secured.

Then came the epochal revelation to Joseph Smith. The Mormons were commanded to found a colony in the far West and build a temple in this New Jerusalem.

A location was chosen in the vicinity of Independence, Mo., and there the devout converts, strong in their faith, moved. A large tract of land was secured, houses were built, farms opened, and the foundation laid for the temple. Mormons from Kirtland and converts from all quarters -- for the new faith had spread rapidly -- gathered at the New Jerusalem in Missouri, until several hundred were assembled. The original building lot selected as the site for the templewas the one which the effort was made by the Utah elders a year or two to secure.

But while Missouri was a New Jerusalem to the Mormons, Missouri did not yearn for the company of the religious enthusiasts. The citizens of the western part of the State became intensely hostile to the new sect, and finally a large mob gathered, attacked the Mormon colony, destroyed its printing office and other buildings and flogged some of the Mormon Ieaders.

Matters finally became so bad [five years later] that Gov. Boggs called out the State militia and volunteers, 5000 strong, under Gen. J. B. Clark, with orders "to exterminate the Mormons or drive them beyond the borders of the State." Little time was lost in obeying the instructions. A large number of the Mormon leaders were arrested, their families driven from their homes at the point of the bayonet and the entire Independence [sic - Far West?] colony hurriedly sent destitute out upon the bleak prairie, without even tents to protect them from the driving storms. The rivers and creeks were unbridged and filled with floating ice; the snow was deep, impeding progress. Many of the Mormons were killed, others desperately wounded, families were separated, women and children sick and dying for want of food, shelter and proper care. The oxen, which were the outcasts' only teams, died of starvation. Disease and death claimed daily victims. This was in November, 1838.

The plight of the Mormon outcasts was pitiable. Mothers carried their starving children, themselves perishing with hunger and fatigue. The dead were thrust into rude bark coffins and sunk in the rivers. At last 1200 people, emaciated, in all stages of disease and starvation, reached the bank of the Mississippi river, after having crossed Missouri.

The strongest crossed over, the weaker remained behind. The people of Iowa and Illinois treated the refugees kindly, furnishing them food and such shelter as was available. Still, the lot of the religious enthusiasts was enough to arouse sympathy. Their leaders had been captured, such as had not been killed, and paraded from one jail to another. At Haun's Mills twenty prisoners were confined in a log building, the door fastened and the angry mob fired through the crevices between the logs until all twenty were dead or wounded. One little boy, 9 years of age, who had escaped the massacre in the log shop by hiding under a forge, was dragged out and murdered in cold blood.

Quitting Ohio voluntarily and being driven out of Missouri, the Mormons straggled across the Mississippi river and the Missouri boundary line into Illinois and Iowa. Some of them settled in Lee county, Iowa, near the present site of Keokuk and Montrose, but the larger number crossed over into Illinois, erecting temporary shelter for the winter. Dr. Isaac Galland, a Mormon elder, was the owner of a large tract of land on both sides of the Mississippi, and sold it to the refugees on liberal terms. In February, 1840, Dr. Galland wrote to Gov. Lucas of Iowa inquiring whether their people would be permitted to purchase land and settle in the Territory of Iowa. Gov. Lucas replied that he knew of no authority that could deprive them of that right; that as citizens of the United States they were entitled to the same rights and legal protection as other citizens.

Thus encouraged, a few Mormon families expelled from Missouri settled in thesoutheast corner of Iowa Territory in 1839 and 1840. Bishop Knight bought for his church a part of the town sites of Keokuk, Nashville and Montrose, in Lee county. Ia., and larger tracts in the vicinity. In 1840 there were over 100 Mormon families living in that county of Ohio [sic]. Across the Mississippi from Montrose was the little town of Commerce, started by New York speculators: this the Mormon refugees purchased, changing its name to Nauvoo. Joseph Smith, their prophet, came from imprisonment in Missouri, and pronounced Nauvoo the official seat of the church. Nauvoo soon became quite a city, famous all over America and in foreign lands. A liberal charter was granted by the Illinois Legislature for the establishment and government of the city. The city grew rapidly. On April 6, 1841, the foundation of the beautiful temple, to cost $300,000, was laid. The population increased to 20,000. Joseph Smith became a power. He was president of the church, mayor of the city, Lieutenant-general of the military body known as the Nauvoo legion, and in 1844 went so far as to become a candidate for president of the United States. Nauvoo became an applicant as the capital city of the nation.

Evil Days for Nauvoo.

An alleged revelation, in 1843, permitting a plurality of wives, raised a storm of indignation in the surrounding settlements. It became bruited about, moreover, that the Mormons were harboring criminals and violating State and Federal laws. Clashes and riots followed and the situation quickly became as bad in Illinois as it had been in Missouri.

Finally, Gov. Ford of Illinois ordered out the State militia and also sent a force of ten men to Nauvoo to arrest Smith and his leading followers, assuring them they would be given a speedy and impartial trial. Protection from violence also was guaranteed.

Joseph Smith and his council surrendered and were taken to the Hancock jail at Carthage, June 23, 1844. Smith is said to have had a premonition concerning his fate, predicting that he would be "murdered in cold blood." He and his brother were booked on a charge of treason.

Following the incarceration of the Mormon leaders, Gov. Ford disbanded all but three companies of the militia, leaving one to guard the prisoners, and sending the others to Nauvoo. The slight guard over the Carthage jail decided [sic] the most reckless opponents of Mormonism to make an attack. About 150 blackened their faces and assembled at Carthage about 5 p. m. on June 27, 1844. Here they learned that only eight of the soldiers were actually on guard at the jail. This little detachment made no resistance when the jail was stormed. Hiram Smith was shot dead. A few minutes later Joseph, the prophet, fired his revolvers and succeeded in wounding four of the assailants, but when he sought to escape through a window, was killed by the mob below.

These troublous times soon gave way to worse, the conflicts between the Mormons and their opponents being almost continual. Finally the futility of trying to remain where they were was borne in on the Mormons.

In the fall of 1845 they began to dispose of their property and prepared to emigrate westward into Iowa. Brigham Young, who had succeeded Joseph Smith, led the main body across the river, beginning the Journey in February, 1846. A large number, including many sick, aged and poor, had to be left behind until a new home could be provided. The line included, however, fully 16,000 people, 3000 wagons, 30,000 head of cattle, horses and mules and large flocks of sheep. Such a caravan was never seen in America before.

Heavy cold rain fell, and the soil was converted into bottomless mud. Some days but two or three miles' progress could be made before the weaker gave out and a camp had to be made on the water-soaked ground, where death often came to end the suffering of the sick. The burials were pathetic. In place of a coffin, the body was inclosed in bark stripped from green logs and buried in a shallow trench, the grave being marked with a post.

Stopping Places in Iowa.

On April 27, 1846, the first party stopped in what is now Decatur, la., and built rude log houses for shelter, while breaking up the prairie to raise crops upon which to subsist when they should resume their march. This settlement they named Garden Grove, and here several hundred made a temporary home for such as were worn down by suffering.

When the high bluffs of Grand river were reached, in what is now Union county, Iowa, on June 17, 700 of the Mormons determined to stop and raise crops to supply provisions for themselves and those who were to follow. They selected a beautiful grove of oak and elm. Here they built log cabins and dug caves on each side of the long street on the summit of the ridge.

A mill was built by the Mormon mechanics: native bowlders were dressed into millstones and the machinery run by horse power. They erected a tabernacle in the grove and provided a cemetery in which their numerous dead were buried. A great spring furnished an abundance of pure water for the entire population of Mount Pisgah, as this rude wilderness city was called.

For two and a half years the Mormons dwelt here, thousands finding it a most welcome place on their journey to Kanesville and westward. The remnant left at Nauvoo was persecuted beyond endurance, and on September 17, 1846, they were driven out. Crossing the river, under the lead of Heber C. Kimball, wagons and hand carts were procured, and in October they started west.

Poorly equipped for such a Journey over the unsettled prairies, the women and children suffered greatly from insufficient clothing and food. Traveling by day over trackless prairies, fording unbridged and swollen streams, amid floatlng ice and fierce snowstorms, camping nights on the snow-covered ground, protected only by the tents, their sufferings were fearful. Sickness from exposure prevailed to an alarming extent and death by the wayside ended the misery of hundreds.

The trail of the Mormons across Iowa could be followed for years by the graves that marked the pathway of their journey through Van Buren, David, Appanoose, Decatur and Union counties. More than 100 men, women and children who died from the effects of exposure and hardships of the exodus of 1846-47 were buried in the Mormon cemetery at Mount Pisguh. In 1888 the Utah Mormons caused a monument to be erected here in memory of the dead, who, for the most part, lie in unmarked graves.

The main band of the refugees gradually became separated. Many families remained at Garden Grove. Mount Pisgah, Lost Grove, Sargent's Grove and Indiantown. Others made claims, built cabins and opened farms along the line of march. The main body, however, pushed on to the Missouri river, where a village was built at the southwest corner of Mills county, Iowa. The greater number went northward and located on Indian creek and built a town near where Council Bluffs now stands, which they named Kanesville,

In 1847 Brlgham Young led an expedition from Iowa over the plains to Salt lake, where he selected a location for the future home of the church. In June, 1848, the second expedition, consisting of 623 wagons and nearly 2000 persons. joined the Salt lake colony. Those who remained spread over the country now embraced in Mills and Pottawattamie counties, Iowa, making their headquarters at Kanesville. Under direction of Elder Orson Hyde, a tabernacle of logs was erected for religious meetings and another for school purposes. Farms were settled and peace seemed assured at last. In 1849, however, cholera of a deadly type was brought into the settlement and prevailed for nearly two years. Hundreds died without medical attendance. The bluffs became thickly dotted with newly-made graves. Each year large parties of Mormons left the Iowa settlement to Join the Salt lake colony.

In 1852 an imperative order was issued for all to emigrate to Utah, and, disposing of their farms and homes, the remainder of the refugees crossed the great plains. Some remained, however those who were opposed to polygamy and reorganized the Church of the Latter-day Saints, finally establishing headquarters at Lamoni, Iowa, under the lead of Joseph Smith, Jr., son of the original prophet and seer. It is this branch which is now established in such large numbers at Independence, Mo., and Lamoni, Iowa.

In the fifty years that have passed Mormons have been absent from their old haunts in the Mississippi valley. History will never repeat itself to the extent of seeing once more Mormon occupation and persecution; but evidence multiplieson every side showing that the Mormons of Utah are looking longingly and peaceably on the spots where their fathers founded the faith.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXVI.              Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 1, 1907.              No. 48.



Every complete, critical discussion of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon naturally divides itself into three parts: first, an examination as to the sufficiency of the evidence adduced in support of its miraculous and divine origin; second, an examination of the internal evidences of its origin (1), such as its verbiage, its alleged history, chronology, archaeology, etc.; third, an accounting for its existence by purely human agency and upon a rational basis, remembering that Joseph Smith, the nominal founder and first prophet of Mormonism, was probably too ignorant to have produced the volume unaided. Under the last head, two theories have been advocated by non-Mormons. By one of these, conscious fraud has been imputed to Smith, and by the other, psychic mysteries have been explored (2) in an effort to supplant the conscious fraud by an unconscious self-deception....

(Read full text in 1901 original pamphlet)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXVI.              Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, December 3, 1907.              No. 50.



Editor of The Tribune -- I had the honor of being for several years most intimately acquainted with Solomon Spalding's daughter, Mrs. McKinstry. I do not know what light my statements may throw on the authenticity of the Spalding manuscript, but I would beg leave to state that in the year 1881, at which time Mrs. McKinstry related to me the story of the so-called "Book of Mormon," she was in full and perfect possession of her faculties, the memory was unusually good, and she could recall events of years long passed and of dates when the events occurred, with perfect accuracy,

She told me that her father had a habit of reading at night to the assembled family what he had written during the day. She remembered very distinctly, that a character in Spalding's romance was called "Mormon." This romance she declared to me was stolen from the family, and that the thief (whom, out of regard for our Mormon friends shall be nameless), altered and amplified her father's manuscript, leaving, she asserted, enough of the minister's work to be perfectly recognizable by the family. Mrs. McKinstry was a woman of high moral character, and her testimony I would regard, from my knowledge of her, derived from years of intimacy, as unusually reliable   ELIZA E. CARTWRIGHT.
      Ogden, Utah, Dec. 1, 1907.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXVI.              Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, April 3, 1908.              No. 172.

"The Spaulding Myth" Again

Editor The Tribune:
       Under the heading, "The Spaulding Myth," the Deseret Evening News of March 28 devotes a whole column in refutation of the claiim made against the Book of Mormon, that it was the product of one Solomon Spaulding, the manuscript of which was supposed to have been purloined by Sidney Rigdon or by some other person, and by him and Joseph Smith, Jr., worked over into what was published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. Speaking of the endeavor of some to revive the old myth of the Spaulding manuscript, the News says:
If the Book of Mormon is not the work of Spaulding and Sidney Rigdon, who wrote it? Under the pressure of this question, they have reverted back to the Spaulding myth. They admit that the Book of Mormon can not be an elaboration of the Manuscript Found, but, they say, there was another Spaulding manuscript that has not been found, and that is the one upon which the book is elaborated.

This is a rather convenient argument. It virtually says that, although it has been proved that the Book of Mormon was not an edition of the Spaulding manuscript that is known to exist, yet it remains to be proved that it is not founded on a Spaulding manuscript that is not known to exist, as to have had any existence. That is "higher criticism" with a vengeance.

Fortunately. Sidney Rigdon's testimony in this subject has been preserved, and that is conclusive. Sidney Rigdon became disconnected with the Church, and we fancy any statement from him concerning fraud in the bringing forth of the sacred volume would have been worth a fortune to him.
No one, so far as we are aware, ever seriously claimed that the "manscript found" was the manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was produced. It would create the greatest surprise imaginable if the original manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was produced were to be found. No one expects it to be found. In fact, no one, after a moment's thought could at any time have expected the original manuscript to have been produced. Ashes, properly disposed of, tell no tales, and it is only reasonable to suppose that Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, after making their copy from the original manuscript would effectually destroy that manuscript. Why preserve that manuscript as a telltale relic of their perfidy?

"Fortunately," says the News, "Sidney Rigdon's testimony on this subject has been preserved, and that is conclusive." Here is the testimony:

My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith, he never told me but the one story, and that was that he found it engraved upon the gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him, and directed him where to find it; and I have never to you or to any one else, told but the one story, and that I now repeat to you.

Is that testimony "conclusive?" Is the testimony of the accused before the bar of justice that he is innocent of the crime alleged, conclusive? Is the testimony of the man on the scaffold that he is innocent of the crime for which he is about to be executed, conclusive? Was the testimony of Joseph Smith, Jr., given to the clerk of the Northern District of New York, that he was the author of the Book of Mormon, conclusive? Was the testimony of Hyrum Smith and Joseph Smith, Jr., given in 1844, that polygamy was neither taught nor practiced by the Mormons, conclusive, when at that time Joseph Smith. Jr., was living in polygamy and had been, for two years, since 1842? "Was the testimony of John Taylor, given in France in 1850, that the Mormon church neither taught nor practiced polygamy, conclusive, while it was a fact that the so-called revelation on polygamy had been received seven years previous to this testimony and Taylor himself was living in polygamy at the time? Was the testimony of Joseph F. Smith, given by him in Washington, conclusive, wherein he stated that the Mormon church did not teach polygamy "publicly or in any other way,'' when at the same time the Sunday schools of the church were having as a lesson one Sunday in October of each year the subject of marriage, in which section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants was given to be read and without one mention of the Woodruff manifesto? If Sidney Rigdon connived with Joseph Smith, Jr., to bring forth fraudulently the Book of Mormon, would it cause any surprise if he should adhere to those misrepresentations in after years?

The News editorial following this testimony, says:
Sidney Rigdon, although at that time he had been disconnected with the Church for about 20 years, added that Mormonism is true, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and "that this world would find it out some day."

This testimony of Sidney Rigdon as to his knowledge of the origin of the Book of Mormon settles any Spaulding myth, and forces the opponents of Mormonism to attempt some other solution of the vexed problem.
If Mormonism is true and Sidney Rigdon sincerely believed it to be true,then he believed that there was no salvation outside the Mormon church and that there was no possible hope for an apostate. Sidney Rigdon was an apostate, and had deliberately gone back on what he here declares to be true, or else he was disfellowshiped by the man whom he here testifies was a prophet, and for what? Was it because of his obedience to the demands of the priesthood, or because he rebelled against their authority? We care not which horn of the dilemma is taken. Admitting that all that Sidney Rigdon knew about the Book of Mormon was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith, Jr., and the witnesses, told him, how does that settle the Spaulding manuscript theory? It only lets him out of the manuscript deal, and Joseph Smith, Jr., who lied to the clerk of the Northern District of New York, that, he might secure to himself the benefits of copyright protection on the publication of the Book of Mormon, would not hesitate to lie to Cowdery, Pratt, Rigdon et al., to keep up the deception as to the real origin of that book. The News further says:
But what other conclusion is there, than this, that the book Is genuine, and that it was translated through the Holy Spirit?

There is no other reasonable answer to the question: "Who wrote that book?" Internal evidence, as well as external, points to that conclusion.
So far as the internal evidence to the genuineness of the Book of Mormon is concerned, "Claims of the Book of Mormon Critically Examined," by the Rev. Mr. Helmick. completely refutes any such claim. And one reading that tract carefully cannot help but be convinced of the practice of fraud in the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. As to who wrote the Book of Mormon, we have little concern. A book that shows on its face such glaring evidences of fraud as are to be found in the first edition of the Book of Mormon is not worth the time necessary to an investigation of its origin. That first edition, standing alone, has nothing at all to commend it to a candid, thoughtful mind.   H.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXIX.              Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, September 21, 1909.              No. 160.


At the tabernacle on Sunday Apostle Orson F. Whitney took occasion to dispute a statement made in a recent issue of The Tribune. Said he: "I read in a recent paper that Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered by their own people, and that the latter had blackened their faces to conceal their identity from the prophet and his brother. This is not true." To which denial we desire to except, with proof.

When The Tribune made the assertion referred to by Mr. Whitney, it did so with the full consciousness that it would be denied by some distinguished speaker for the Mormon church. Therefore, we followed our usual custom of first having the proof in order to substantiate our position. It is presumed that the testimony of high officials of the church who were contemporary with Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and who were closely associated with them and bound to them in the strong ties of the Mormon priesthood, will be accepted. The authorities to which we will make reference in this matter were participants in the scenes that characterized Mormon life in Nauvoo. They were conversant with the inner troubles that threatened the saints there, and they had full knowledge of the identity of the malcontents within the church who had made threats against Joseph. As to whether or not these rebellious ones had sufficient cause or justification for their belligerence toward the founder of Mormonism need not enter into this consideration; albeit we will say that if a tithe of their charges against Joseph were true it, would appear that finally the prophet had merely reaped that which he had sowed. Much more space than The Tribune cares to devote to that matter at this time would be required to make such showing of evidence in this respect as would justify the reader in forming a conclusion one way or the other -- so numerous are the priestly truths and countertruths and lies and counterlies, as to the prophet's dereliction and trespasses and the resentment of these by the saints. But as to the matter touched upon by Apostle Whitney on last Sunday, here are the proofs upon which The Tribune felt free to base its former assertion:
In all the general persecutions, from that time to the present, I do not recollect of a single instance, that the general storm was not brought about by men from among ourselves, professing the name, membership, and priesthood of the Latter-day Saints, traitors to the cause that they professed to believe. This was the direct means of the suffering, and the breaking up, of the community in Kirtland; of the breaking up of the community in, and the expulsion of them, from Missouri. It was the direct means of this last persecution which led to the martyrdom of the prophet. -- From sermon by Apostle Parley P. Pratt in Salt Lake tabernacle, March 27, 1853: Journal of Discourses, volume 1, page 85.


I wish to say to the elders of Israel, to all people, I shall tell you of your iniquity and talk about you just as I please, and when you feel like killing me for so doing, as some of the people did who called themselves brethren in the days of Joseph Smith, look out for yourselves, for false brethren were the cause of Joseph's death, and I am not a very righteous man. From sermon by President Brigham Young in Salt Lake bowery, October 6, 1855; Journal of Discourses, volume 3, page 19.


I remember what Joseph said, a short time before he was slain, in one of the last sermons I ever heard him preach. Said he. "Men are here today who are seeking my blood, and they are those who have held the priesthood and have received their washings and anointings; men who have received their endowments." I saw the faces of those men at that time, and they had a hand in slaying the prophet. -- From sermon by Apostle Wilford Woodruff in Salt Lake tabernacle, December 21, 1856; Journal of Discourses, volume 4, page 149.


In tracing the history of this church through the records, I make myself acquainted with circumstances, and I can not but see illustrated, before the eyes of the whole people the fatherly care that God had to take in revealing to this people the law of exaltation. Finally, He revealed so much of it that William Law, one of the first presidency, and one of the most sanctimonious men in Israel, got alarmed for fear that Joseph was going to kill him, and he called the whole of the police force before the city council, and had them all sworn, and cross-examined, to find out if Joseph had instructed any of them to kill him. I told some of the boys at that time, that he knew he had done something that he ought to die for, or he would not be so afraid of his best friends. Joseph said to the council and police, "I might live, as Caesar might have lived, were it not for a right hand Brutus;" and the illustration of that saying is most clearly shown by William Law's operations in bringing about the murder of the prophet. The men who were in his bosom, shared his confidence, and professed to be his warmest and best friends, were the men to trencherously shed his blood. -- From sermon by Apostle George A. Smith in Salt Lake tabernacle, March 18, 1855: Journal of Discourses, volume 2, page 217.
We give the last quotation in some length for the reason that it is partially explanatory of conditions in Nauvoo just prior to the death of Joseph and Hyrum. It shows the deadly nature of the internal strife that existed among the chief authorities of the church that led directly to the killing of the prophet and patriarch.

In order to clear up a little ambiguity which appears in Apostle George A. Smith's treatment of the situation, The Tribune will say that it has been frequently testified to by the present church authorities that polygamy was first preached and practiced secretly in Nauvoo; and they have often said that some of the favorites to whom this doctrine was taught were so shocked by what appeared to them to be its gross immorality that they became enraged to learn of its teaching and, practice. These men did everything in their power to have the doctrine and the practice suppressed before it had gone so far as to produce disruption and ruination for the church. This is the "law of exaltation" spoken of by Apostle Smith. These were the men who are accused by high contemporary authority with having plotted and consummated the Carthage murders. Two other facts appear in Mr, Smith's remark; and, although somewhat veiled, they are quite clear to one acquainted with the history of the Mormon church. The first is that there was some sanguine and murderous oath connected with the acceptance of knowledge concerning polygamy, and some bloody punishment promised to any who chose to expose the lecherous doctrine; otherwise William Law, first counsellor to Joseph Smith (who abhorred and opposed the doctrine), could not have lived in fear for his very life. The second is that the agencies for meting out this murderous punishment existed within the church, else William Law (apprehensive of bloody reprisal) would not have taken the trouble to cause a rigid examination of the Mormon police force, (every member of which held the Melchisedek priesthood and was absolutely under the control of the chiefs of that priesthood) to detect possible instructions for his taking off. When all the evidence is taken (and The Tribune has volumes of it in proof) it is readily seen that right within the higher circles of the Mormon church at Nauvoo there was a war to the death in progress. One side or the other must necessarily get the worst of it -- either the chief leaders must die or those opposed to them must fall under the assassin's blow. In either case the murderers would have been Mormons; and it just happened that it was the chief leaders who fell at the hands of those who were opposed to them. That is all there is to it. At that time there were "Danites," and there were "Destroying Angels," both within the church -- each being a faction within one priestly and murderous secret organization, and each separately controlled by violently opposed factions within the Mormon hierarchy.

Now, it doesn't concern The Tribune one particle whether Apostle Whitney shall accept one horn of the dilemma or the other -- whether he shall say the "Danites" were the murderers, or the "Destroying Angels" did it -- but it does expect him to accept from The Tribune proofs of its position that are vastly superior to the twaddle that he brought forth in his impotent effort, to deny our statement. He must either take the word of his forerunners in the hierarchy, who were in the church and on the ground at the time of the killing of the Smiths, or he must apostatize from his church by reason of his non-acceptance of their authoritative presentations. At any rate, we have no doubt that the unbiased reader will agree that we have vindicated our former assertion: and it matters not whether even the Mormon shall blame the Carthage murders to the "Danites" or to the "Destroying' Angels," just so he will quit uttering the damnable lie that the Gentiles "martyred" his prophets.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXIX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, October 10, 1909.               No. 179.

(Criticism of Elder B. H. Roberts's "Defense")

The entire fabric of Mormonism rests on the important question of whether or not the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired. If it was divinely inspired, it must, as is alleged in the book itself, and which is "testified" to by all devout Latter-day Saints, have been "translated by the gift and power of God."

In a matter of such transcendent importance to the human family as is the truth or falsity of the allegations concerning the Book of Mormon, there should be no cloud on its title to divinity. And if the truth or falsity of the generally accepted modus operandi of its translation has any bearing on the truth or falsify of the book itself, then it is well to investigate that subject with the view of determining the kind of foundation upon which Mormonism rests.

That the leaders recognize that the manner of its translation has an important bearing on their claims of divinity for the Book of Mormon is amply proved by a red-hot controversy that, during a number of years, raged among some of the leading Mormons. The controversy among the brethren became so acute that, as I understand it, Elder Brigham H. Roberts, whom every one in Utah recognizes as the most able writer, speaker and logician in the Mormon church, was delegated to straighten out the "inspired" tangle. In his "Defense of the Faith of the Saints," vol. 1, 1907, Elder Roberts devotes fifty-six pages to an effort settle the vexed question as to how, and by what means, the Book of Mormon was translated. And which proves that the question of translation is vital to the faith of many of the saints.

There are a few of the more intelligent of the younger saints who dare use the brains that God gave them in preference to the dictum of the present alleged vicegerent. Unlike hungry goslings, they decline to swallow without question anything that is thrown to them. And the great pity is that there are not more of them. Against those few independent investigators are a very host who are so cock-sure that the Book of Mormon is divine that they do not care what the difficulties of acceptance to other people, they allege that they "know it is true."

To those cock-sure saints, Elder Roberts repIies as follows:

"What of the young men in the church who hear the objections urged by the opponents of the Book of Mormon, based upon the hitherto popular conception of the manner in which the translation was accomplished -- what of them? What of the earnest inquirers, in the world, whose knowledge of languages, and of transIation, teaches them that, the hitherto popular conception of the translation of the Book of Mormon is an absurdity, not to say an impossibility -- what of them?" -- Defense of the Faith, page 287.

In the above declaration Elder Roberts is not only candid but courageous.

Of the manner of the translation the Prophet Joseph Smith vouchsafed only the following meager statement:

"With the record (the gold plales) was found a curious instrument which the ancients called a 'Urim and Thummim,' which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God." -- Defense of the Faith, page 254. (Except where otherwise indicated, the page hereinafter given will be from the book just named.)

Oliver Cowderv was the chief amanuensis of Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and has furnished only the following brief statement:

"I wrote with my own pen the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by that book, 'Holy Interpreters.'"

In addition to the "Holy Interpreters" as a means of translation, the prophet had a "peep" or "Seer Stone," which he used indifferently with the Urim and Thummim, or in lieu of the latter, and of which Elder Roberts gives the following description:

"The Seer Stone referred to here was a chocolate colored, somewhat egg shaped stone, which the prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum. It possessed some of the qualities of a Urim and Thummim, since by means of it -- as described above -- as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was enabled to translate the characters engraven on the plates." -- Page. 257.

Also, on page 257, Elder Roberts introduces the following footnote:

"Nearly all the anti-Mormon works dealing with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon speak of the 'Seer Stone,' and reiterate the falsehood that the prophet stole it from the children of Willard Chase, for whom Joseph and Hyrum were digging a well."

In justice to the neighbors of Joseph Smith, those who charged that the prophct stole his "peep" stone from the Chase children, it is well to quote from "'Joseph Smith, the Prophet," written by his mother, Mrs. Lucy Smith, on the subject of "conjurors" and peep stones:

"My husband soon learned that ten or twelve men were clubbed together with one "Willard Chase, a Methodist class leader, at their head; and what was still more ridiculous, they had sent sixty or seventy miles for a certain conjuror, to come and divine the place where the plates were secreted." -- Page 102.

The devil was surely after the record, for we find on page 209 of Mrs. Smith's book the following:

"In a few days afterwards we learned the cause of this last move why their curiosity led them in the direction of the cooper's shop. A young woman by the name of Chase, a sister to Willard Chase, found a green glass (a peep stone) through which she could see many very wonderful things, and among her great discoveries she said that she saw the precise place where 'Joe Smith kept his gold Bible hid,' and, obedient to her directions, the mob gathered their forces and laid siege to the cooper's shop."

By the aid of her "Seer Stone" Miss Chase actually discovered the place where the "chest with a good lock and key" was hidden in the cooper's shop, but the plates had been removed to a hole under the hearth of the Smith home. The foregoing is vouched for by Mrs. Smith page 209 and constitutes a greater miracle than any as well-authenticated miracle wrought by the prophet with his "Seer Stone." And the foregoing serves to illustrate the dense superstitions of the Smith family and their neighbors in their belief in "conjurors" and "peep" stones.

From the foregoing it is inferred that the immediate vicinity of the Smith home abounded with peep stones. Because of their abundance, there is little doubt that each of the Chase children had several of those magic stones. And it is hardly fair on the part of Elder Roberts to charge Willard Chase and his neighbors with falsehood because of their allegation that the prophet stole his "peek" stone from one of Chase's children. But, in the plentitude of thoso "peek" stones, the fact that the children knew that one of the stones was missing is the elusive factor in the problem.

It would also be interesting to know to which one of the ancient Nephite prophets the Joseph Smith "peek" stone belonged. Also, it should have been stated at what depth Joseph found the stone -- whether it was found above, within or beneath the glacial drift. Archaeologists could then, very likely, have determined whether or not the stone was of Nephitic origin, or was the property of a pre-glacial seer.

On page 25S Elder Roberts quotes from a statement made by Martin Harris to Elder Edward Stevenson on the use of the "Seer Stone." Martin Harris was Joseph Smith's first scribe in the work of translation, and, as such, was a much bettor authority than is Elder Roberts or any other modern critic of the modus operandi of translation. Mr. Harris avers that:

"By the aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say 'written,' and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."

Again, on page 256, Elder Roberts has the following:

"David "Whitmer, anothor of the three witnesses, is more specific on the subject. After describing the means the prophet employed to exclude the light from the 'Seer Stone,' he says: 'In the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by tho gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

On page 257 David "Whitmer is quoted more definitely as to the man ner of translation:

"* * * He (Joseph) did not see the plales in translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment * * *."

The foregoing description of the method, and the means by which the Book of Mormon was translated, is as old as the Mormon church, and is the only way in which and by which it could have been accomplished unless the Urim and Thummim and the "Seer Stone" are discarded as aids to translation. And if is well to here point out that inasmuch as the embryo prophet, years before he received the plates and interpreters, could "describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode, their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingIy, as if he had spent his whole life among them." (Mrs. Smith's "Joseph Smith, the Prophet") there was absolutely no need for the gold plates and Urim and Thummim.

Elder Roberts's chief objection to the Harris-Whitmer method of translation, and in which he is supported by the chief Mormon prophets, is that it involves a purely mechanical process -- leaves no room for inspiration, or the mental volition of the translator. Replying to a troubled brother, on page 303, Elder Roberts has the following:

"Frankly, then, in the first, place, I cannot see that it (the troubled brother's explanation) helps us out of our difficulties at all. In the second place, it still involves us in the absurdity of supposing some kind of intellectual or mental force in the transparent stones of the Urim and Thummim."

On page 304, Elder Roberts admits that the troubled brother's theory of translation "'Lands us back into the midst of all the difficulties from which we are trying to escape."

Another objection of Elder Roberts to the Harris-Whitmer theory of translation is that:

"If God created such an instrument (the Urim and Thummim), and conferred upon it the power to give a translation of the Nephite characters, how is it that he did not give the power to translate the meaning into reasonable and readable English * * *." Page 304.

Elder Roberts 's chief objection to the theory that "the translation was just as it was engraven on tho plates, precisely in the language then used," is that it "requires us to charge all the faults of diction and errors in grammar to the Lord; * * *" Page 286.

The following paragraphs, compiled by Elder Roberts, are some of the "errors" of which he complains:

"'And the things (the Urim and Thununim) are called interpreters: and no man can look in them, except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he had not ought, and he should perish; * * * but a seer can know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come * * * and hidden things which shall come to light, and things which is not known shall come to light, and things which is not known shall be made known by them." -- Book of Mormon, page 173.

"But they had fell into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God." Page 310.

"I have always retained in remembrance their captivity, yea, and ye had ought to retain in remembrance, as I have their captivity; * * * for ye had ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall not keep the commandments of God, ye shall be cut off from his presence." -- Page 337.

The following gems were compiled by Rev. M. T. Lamb, and occur in the ''Golden Bible": "Wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings, and the wars, etc." Page 18.

"For a more part history are written upon mine other plates." -- Page 68.

"And thus did the more part of the year pass away. -- " Page 449.

"And yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel." -- Page 516.

"And a more short but a true account was given by Nephi." -- Page 487.

The "more parts" and the "more shorts" given above will no doubt be ample to gratify the reador'a curiosity regarding the "inspired" diction of the Book of Mormon.

The modus operandi of translation championed by Elder Roberts, in lieu of the Harris-Whitmer mannor of translation, is purely an inference derived from what the Lord is alleged to have said to Oliver Cowdery in answer to his desire for the gift of translation. Following some preliminary remarks the Lord is alleged to have replied as follows:

" * * * Behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right. And if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from Me." -- Page 265, and Doctrine and Covenants, section IX.

Thus, with a few strokes of his masterful pen, in copying from an alleged revelation, does Elder Roberta sweep aside the heterodox cobwebs that have been gathering about the vexed question of how, and by what means, the Book of Mormon was translated. But without intending to be sacreligious, the Lord should have been more specific in describing the nature of the "burn," so that, in a matter of such tremendous importance, there could have been no disputes.

Eliminating the "burn," there was remaining in the revelation to Olivor Cowdery a certain test by which the would-be translator could determine as to whether or not the "thing" he thought was correct. If wrong, he would "have a stupor of thought" that would cause him "to forget that which is wrong," and therefore that which remained would have been the correct translation. Therefore, if the "stupor of thought" enabled Mr. Cowdery to translate correctly, the "burn" was unnecessary, and vice versa.

There is, however, a very grave objection to either of the above-described tests as applied to the truth or falsity of translation. Either of them would be merely an impression entiroly dependent upon the physical and mental condition of the patient. And in order to prove by the highest authority in the Mormon church that "impressions" are not revelations, the reader is referred to volume 1, page 483 of the Proceedings Before the Committee on Privileges and Elections in the matter of the retention of Apostle Reed Smoot in the United States senate. The present president of the Mormon church, Joseph F. Smith, was a witness and testified as follows:

Question by Senator Dubois: "Have you received any individual revelations yourself since you became president of the church, under your own definition even, of a revelation?"

Mr. Smith: "No, I cannot say that I have."

Senator Dubois: "Then you do not know whether you have received such revelations as you have described, or whether you have not?"

Mr. Smith: "Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should live in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the Spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time; just as any good Methodist, or any other good church members might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes. I have had impressions of the Spirit on my mind quite frequently, but they are not in the sense revelations."

As before stated, "burn" and "stupor" are mere sensations, or "impressions on one's mind," and, therefore, could not have been revelations to Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery that the translations were correct. And wherein, then, is Elder Roberts's theory any improvement over the Harris-Whitmer formula?

And if the prophet had to "study it out," and then "ask" the Lord "if it" were "right," wherein was Urim and Thummim useful in the translation? And wherein does Elder Roberts's amended formula relieve the Mormon Deity of ultimate responsibility in the matter of bad English?

On page 265 Elder Roberts affirms that "* * * the phraseology (of the Book of Mormon) was superior to that he (Joseph Smith) ordinarily used, because of the inspiration of God that was upon him." And will not Elder Roberts kindly answer as to why the Lord did not add a little more "inspiration" and thereby perform a real miracle by making the "phraseology" of the Book of Mormon so perfect that it would have been regarded as the classic of the Enelish language?

The "inspired" muddle into which the Mormon chiefs have plunged themselves and followers in their efforts to harmonize the translation with truth and common sense leads the unbeliever to inquire: "Why doesn't the Lord speak to one or more of those 'holy prophets, seers and revelators' of the Mormon church and straighten out the difficulty that is now vexing the old and young saints, and thereby close the mouths of non-Mormon critics"? What, in the name of reason, is that choice aggregation of "prophets" good for if it cannot untangle such a small puzzle as that embraced in the pros and cons of translating the "American Bible."

Economy of space precludes the pursuit of Elder Roberts any farther in his purely human groping for a hole big enough to permit him to escape from the web of inconsistencies he has woven around himself in his efforts to extricate the Book of Mormon from the maze of difficulties that must forever surround its alleged "inspired" translation.

In his despair because of his failure to satisfy even himself, Elder Roberts cries out: "I wish Messrs. Whitmer and Harris had left the whole matter where the Prophet Joseph left it; * * *" -- Page 280. And again he wails: "Yea. let God be true but every man a liar," and to that worthy sentiment every unbiased reader of his voluminous effort to harmonize the translation of the Book of Mormon with common sense, will utter a fervent, "Amen!"
                            J. F. GIBBS.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, December 2, 1909.               No. 49.


Speaking still further upon the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, The Tribune again takes pleasure in making reference to the witness that the Deseret News presented, namely, "Something of Men I Have Known," written by Hon. Adlai E. Stevenson. It is a significant paragraph to Latter-day Saints -- meaning those of them who can read between the lines.

Mr. Stevenson, speaking of the time immediately following the death of the"prophet," says:
Sidney RIgdon now aspired to be the head of the church as the successor to the martyred prophet. His claims were verified by a protended revelation direct from heaven. He was, however, at once antagonized by the "quorum of the twelve," and after a bitter struggle, Apostle Brigham young was chosen, and Rigdon expelled from the church and "given over to the buffetings of Satan."
Now, in considering the causes making for the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, it must be borne in mind that the church which they had organized upon the religion which they are said to have invented had become a very profitable affair. In an incredible short time the Smiths and their coadjutors had gathered together a considerable body of people. Nauvoo was, at that time, probably the largest municipality in the State of Illinois. On that account it had been granted a charter that was formidable in its political deformites. Under the physical and political achievements of the Smiths a weapon had been formed that was especially alluring and attractive to men of ambitious mind. Rigdon was one such, and no man in all the earth will say that Brigham Young ran a whit behind him in this respect, although not possessing anywhere near the educational qualifications. But here we see two men contending for this "purse" that had been accumulated by the Smiths. There were wealth and power in it. Sidney Rigdon even went so far as to have a "direct revelation from heaven" to prove that he owned the treasure. But he was not as cunning as Brigham Young. Brigham (the sly old fox that he was!) arose in the Nauvoo temple and had the people to think that the "mantle of Joseph" had fallen upon him, and that this was unto them a sign. Besides, Apostle Amasa M. Lyman and Apostle Orson Pratt were no slouches as Brigham's assistants. They went to and fro among the audience for the purpose of convincing those who could not see the "mantle of Joseph" that it was actually there. To the doubtful and the doubting ones, they exclaimed in hushed tones, "Don't you see it? There it is! There is Joseph standing before us now! The mantle has fallen! Behold your leader!" Meantime Brigham was cramming it into the heads of his hearers that he was "It." And he was.

Thus ended that part of the conspiracy. Of course, The Tribune does not pretend to say who, in all, had hands in the matter of the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; but there have been less men than Brigham and Heber and Jedediah who have done more for less; and quotations we have made from their own lips show that they considered themselves under suspicion.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, December 6, 1909.               No. 53.


For the purpose of showing one of the causes for the trouble which ever took the Mormon people at Nauvoo, we will again go to the book of Hon. Adlai E. Stevenson, "Something of Men I Have Known," which the Deseret News brought into this controversy. Mr. Stevenson quotes the late Governor Ford as follows:
A city charter drawn up to suit the Mormons was presented to the Legislature. No one opposed it, but both parties were active in getting it through. This charter, and others passed in the same manner, incorporated Nauvoo, provided for the election of a mayor, four aldermen and nine councillors, and gave them power to pass all ordinances necessary for the benefit of the city which were not repugnant to the Constitution. This seemed to give them power to pass ordinances in violation of the laws of the State, and to erect a system of government for themselves. This charter also incorporated the Nauvoo Legion, entirely independent of the military organization of the State, and not subject to the commands of its officers, Provision was also made for a court-martial for the Iegion to be composed of its own officers; and in the exercise of their duties they were not bound to regard the laws of the State. Thus it was proposed to establish for the Mormons a government within a government, a Legislature with power to pass ordinances at war with the laws of the State. These charters were unheard of, anti-republican and capable of infinite abuse. The great law of the separation of the powers of government was wholly disregarded. The mayor was at once the executive power, the Judiciary and part of the Legislature. One would have thought that those charters stood a poor chance of passing the Legislature of a republican people, jealous of their liberties, nevertheless they did pass both houses unanimously. Each party was afraid to object to them, for fear of losing the Mormon vote.
In connection with, and corroboration of, this description of the monstrous provisions contained in the Nauvoo charters, we shall quote a little from an address made by Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, June 30, 1843, as we find it in the Journal of Discourses; volume 2 page 101, as follows:
Relative to our city charter, courts, right of habeas corpus, etc., I wish you to know and publish that we have all power; and if any man from this time forth says anything to the contrary, cast it into his teeth. There is a secret in this; If there is not power in our charter and courts, then there is not power in the State of Illinois, or in the Congress or Constitution of the United States, for the United States gave unto Illinois her constitution or charter, and Illinois gave unto Nauvoo her charters, ceding unto us our vested rights, which she has no right or power to take from us; all the power there was in Illinois she gave to Nauvoo: and any man that says to the contrary is a fool.
So it will be observed that, exercising the power of the church to interfere in and influence the affairs of state, the Mormon leaders had practically forced the Legislature of Illinois to grant them powers and privileges such as never were before heard of under a republican form of government. The Mormon leaders could use their followers in any manner they pleased, religious, political or commercial. First they commanded them to gather into a compact, body at and around Nauvoo. Then they directed their votes at elections, threatening any party that opposed them with defeat at the polls. By their complete domination of their people the Mormon leaders had thus built up within the church a political machine that could dictate to either or both of the two parties, because they had the largest voting entity in Illinois. Thus it was that they were able to practically set themselves up as a government of themselves and independent of the State government. Through political chicanery and the rankest perfidy, they had placed themselves in a position to defy all parties and even the State itself. The address of Joseph Smith plainly indicates the object of those dishonest political movements. Indeed, at different times during that address Joseph gave voice to his arrogant defiance in such expressions as "I will spill the last drop of blood in my veins, and will see all my enemies in hell!" And in order to procure the militant support of the saints, he declared, then and there, that they were "at liberty to give loose to blood and thunder. But be cool, be deliberate, be wise, act with almighty, power, and when you pull, do it effectually -- make a sweepstakes for once!"

It was because of gross impositions and injustices thrust upon Gentile and Mormon alike, under this imperialistic assumption, backed by a military force, that William Law and the other Mormon conspiritors revolted and planned Joseph's death. And in view of the political debauchery herein exposed, and the utter defiance of the State which is exhibited, is there any wonder that the Mormons succeeded in getting a few others to join them? Everybody in Hancock county, except the fanatics who believed that the "prophet" could do no wrong, was goaded to the extremest desperation. Yet the hypocrites of today urge upon their people that the Mormon leaders of Nauvoo were saints superior to the angels, and that the people were persecuted and driven without any cause or provocation whatever.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, December 9, 1909.               No. 56.


As going further to show the imperialistic defiance of the Mormon leaders at Nauvoo, we present another quotation from the book, "Something of Men I Have Known," by Hon. Adlai E. Stevenson, which authority has been brought forward by the Deseret News in a comparison of positions as between that paper and The Tribune. We find the following on page 207 of Mr. Stevenson's work:

In order to protect their leaders from arrest, it was decreed by the city council of Nauvoo that no writ unless issued and approved by its mayor should be executed within the sacred city, and that any officer attempting to execute a writ otherwise issued, within the city, should be subject to imprisonment for life, and that the pardoning power of the governor of the State was in such cases suspended. This ordinance when published created great astonishment and indignation. The belief became general that the Mormons were about to set up for thomselves a separate government wholly independent of that of the State. This belief was strengthened by the presentation of a petition to Congress praying for the establishment of a Territorial government for Nauvoo and vicinity.

Apparently oblivious of the gathering storm, Joseph Smith early In 1844 committed his crowning act of folly by announcing himself a candidate for the high office of President of the United States.
It will be remembered that in the narration of Bishop Denison L. Harris concerning the events of that period, he said that it was in the spring of 1844 that the Mormon conspirators held those three meetings which he attended at the house of William Law, who was first counsellor to Joseph Smith. It was immediately after Joseph "committed his crowning act of folly." As indicating the magnitude of this conspiracy which was then in its formative period, Bishop Harris stated that there were two hundred persons at the third meeting who subscribed to the oath of vengeance upon Joseph. At that meeting, too, all sorts of complaints were lodged against Joseph and Hyrum, from political to moral turpitude. That politics entered very largely into this Mormon disaffection is evidenced in the nature of that oath taken as against "Joseph Smith and his party." We will again reproduce that oath, as recited by Bishop Denison L. Harris and as printed in the Contributor (an official Mormon publication) for April, 1884, as follows:
You solemnly swear, before God and all holy angels, and those your brethren by whom you are surrounded, that you will give your life, your liberty, your influence, your all, for the destruction of Joseph Smith and his party, so help you God.
There were none but Mormons who subscribed to that deadly oath, as will be observed in the fact that the obligation was entered into before "these your brethren by whom you are surrounded." It is a matter of history, as shown in these columns heretofore, and as taken from Mormon writers and historians, that in the final events immediately preceding the killing of Joseph and Hyrum the warrants for the arrest of Joseph were issued at the instigation of the Laws and other Mormons. Their hatred for the "prophet" was so intense that when he was released upon one charge he was immediately re-arrested upon another -- the last and most damaging accusation being that of "treason -- in levying war against the State, declaring martial law in Nauvoo, and ordering out the Legion to resist the execution of lawful process." The acts recited were committed, as even Mormon history will show, and the recalcitrant Mormons at Nauvoo and vicinity were made to suffer under the tyrannies possible of imposition under the extraordinary charter of Nauvoo.

The more this matter is looked into, the more apparent it becomes that they were Mormons who formed the final and fatal conspiracy; that they were Mormons who banded themselves together under a bloody oath to execute that conspiracy; that they were Mormons who actually fired the fatal shots. The latter fact is attested by one of the witnesses at the trial of the supposed murderers, who testified that after the shooting a bright and shining light descended upon the head of Joseph, und that several of the conspirators were stricken with total blindness, and that he heard supernatural voices in the air confirming the divine mission of the murdered "prophet." No one but a Mormon would have given such testimony, because others did not believe in Joseph sufficiently to imagine any such circumstance, and if this Mormon had not been one of the mob he could not havesworn that he saw anything of the kind.

As we have asked before, is it not about time for the Deseret News and the church authorities to stop trying to perpetuate Mormon hatred of Gentiles by means of their false story that it was Gentiles who slew the "martyrs?"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 12, 1909.               No. 59.


It is gratifying to note that some newspapers, like some people, never become too old to learn. In the Deseret News editorial columns of last Wednesday evening we find the following:
The reference to the "Danites" reminds us that a strange misunderstanding exists in the minds of non-Mormons regarding that band. They generally suppose it to have been a Mormon institution sanctioned by the church. By anti-Mormon writers it has even been represented as a "body guard" to the prophet Joseph. The truth is that it was an abortive attempt at forming a secret organisation to fight the church, as well as all law and order.
Of course, the principal item to be regarded with the utmost seriousness is the fact that the Deseret News has finally come to the point where it will confess that there ever was such an organization as the "Danite Band." For "nigh on to forty years" The Tribune has attested that truth, and for an equal number of years the Deseret News has denied it. Now to "the law and the testimony.''

Another admission that there was such an organization as the "Danite Band" is made by the church organ in such vivid brightness of truth as to be dazzlingly surprising when it says: "The organization known as 'Danites' and 'Destroying Angels' was the conception of Dr. Sampson Avard at Far West, Mo. He was an unscrupulous fanatic who was expelled from the church as soon as his vile schemes became known to the prophet." That isn't all, either. Here is a most astounding admission from the News:
This is the famous "Danite" organization. It never was a church institution. Thomas B. Marsh at one time made an affidavit stating that the Latter-day Saints "have a company consisting of all that are considered true Mormons, called Danites," and Orson Hyde partly corroborated this falsehood.
Now, with respect to this thing, just as in the contention concerning new polygamy, The Tribune promises to give the Deseret News a fair chance to abandon its position. Meantime, (as in the new polygamy controversy) we shall proceed to tell truths and name names.

Elder Sampson Avard was a Danite, as the News says. However, we must dispute that he was excommunicated from the Mormon church on that account. The hand of fellowship was withdrawn from him simply because, as a Danite, he made things a little too warm for Joseph Smith, Danite.

Sidney Rigdon was a Danite. He was one of Joseph's closest advisers. He even went so far as to aspire to the chief leadership after Ihe death of the alleged prophet. He was only excommunicated after Brigham Young, Danite, had succeeded in gaining the upper hand in the Danite gang.

Thomas B. Marsh was the president of the high council at Nauvoo [sic - Far West?]. He was a Danite, and he was one of those who made most strenuous objection to Joseph Smith's conjugal looseness. It was to Thomas B. Marsh [sic - Wm. Marks] that Joseph Smith, just the day before his death, said that polygamy would yet prove to be the destruction of the Mormon church. It was a confidence between Danite and Danite, as we can show by the testimony of David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

Apostle David Patton was a Danite. He was never excommunicated from the church for having been such -- in fact, they now revere his name as that of a "martyr." But he was killed while engaging in one of the Danite raids in Missouri. He was an incendiary and a freebooter, as were all of the Danites, in addition to holding the Melchisedek priesthood.

Elder Dimmick B. Huntington was a Danite. He "remained faithful to the end." Danite though he was. And many a scurvy trick he turned at the behest of the chief Danite, Joseph Smith.

Elder John Corrill was a Danite. He it was, together with Thomas B. Marsh, who told Elder Reed Peck of the first secret meeting that was to be held at Far West.

Hyrum Smith was a Danite, being one of the movers to bring about the first meeting and form the organization. He was not unlike his illustrious son, though, in that he permitted the other fellows to do the dirty work while he reaped the benefits.

Lyman Wight was a notorious Danite, and any Mormon of middle years has a poor memory (provided he had Mormon parents) who can not recall the fireside tales of the wonderful Dick Turpin exploits of Brother Lyman Wight. He was, to utilize a common expression, "a holy terror." Blood dripped from his bowie and his musket was never silent. Lyman Wight "died faithful."

Alexander McRae was a Danite -- and any saint who ever lived in the Eleventh and Twelfth Mormon wards of this city will have heard him brag about it. He died a Mormon bishop, and even in that capacity he betrayed his Danite tendencies. The police court records will show that some of his offspring "partook of the spirit" of being no sucking doves.

Elder Charlie Baldwin was a Danite. They didn't do anything to him, in the way of ecclesiastical punishment, because of it; although he frequently engaged in doing things to any neighbor who happened to be a Gentile.

Elder George W. Robinson was a Danite. He was among the first organizers of the gang, and personally has testified many times that he executed several "nice little jobs for Brother Joseph."

Elder Bill Hickman was a Danite. In his case he was retained in the employ of the first presidency of the Mormon church in that capacity up to the day of his death in Utah. He was an especial favorite of Brigham Young.

Elder Seymour Brunson was a Danite. Who is there that ever lived in Fillmore, Millard county, and doesn't know that to be true? Brother Brunson wasn't a bad one, though, because, so far as The Tribune has been able to learn, he never committed any gross wrong. He was too honest, and therefore Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon couldn't trust him with anything very particular. We think the worst thing he ever did, in his capacity as a Danite, was to hold the horse while Elder Lyman Wight and some others raided a few Gentile houses in Missouri and carried off the furniture. Meantime the looters set fire to a little country store that the pillaging might be expedited by its light.

Elder W. W. Phelps was a Danite. He was of a poetic turn of mind, though; and it is probably bad enough to say of him that his chief crime was assaulting saints and sinners alike with his alleged poetry.

There were Danites, and the Danites belonged to the Mormon church. No Gentile ever was a member of the gang, any more than it would be possible for a Gentile to practice new polygamy without going to jail for it -- where the other polygamists ought to be. There never was a Danite that didn't hold the Melchisedek priesthood -- and the Mormon church claims to be the exclusive agency through which that priesthood may be conferred.

And finally, as to Apostle Orson Hyde and his assertion that there was an organization of Danites within and approved and countenanced by church authority. The News conveys the idea that in this matter Apostle Orson Hyde was an untruthful man. Mr. Hyde was not such and we believe that, so far as honest expression of belief and sentiment is concerned, there never was in the Mormon church either a more faithful or a more intelligent exponent. The Tribune does not agree with his theories, but it is altogether wrong for the Deseret News to impute to him a vice that he did not possess. Even in the presentation of his most brutal beliefs, his language was such as to provoke the jealous comment of coarse men like Heber C. Kimball. When Orson Hyde said there was a Danite gang in the church, he told the truth; and if he ever revoked that testimony, we have no doubt that he was compelled to do so in order to save himself and his dear ones to himself -- as who would not?

Note: The Tribune editor was in error when he said that for forty years the Deseret News had denied that "there ever was such an organization as the 'Danite Band.'" It was not a topic that the News editors and writers cared much to discuss, but in the paper's columns of June 26, 1878 (and occasionally thereafter) the 1838 existence of the Danites was confirmed. -- But, of course, the Mormon apologists also asserted that the secret organization had been the ephemeral creation of Dr. Sampson Avard, organized without the knowledge or permission of higher ranking LDS authorities and responsible for little or no hostile activities against the Missouri Gentiles. Implicit in the Mormon stance was the notion that none of Avard's Danites had continued their membership in the Mornon church -- none of them did anything to assist the Mormon cause -- and most certainly, none of them ever made it to Utah.


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 19, 1909.               No. 66.


"We have written for further particulars," said the Deseret News on December 8, 1909, when making editorial comment upon a "Danite" story which had previously appeared in the columns of a Pittsburg newspaper.

There is no desire to hurry the News in this matter; but The Tribune suggests that when the church organ shall have received the information for which it has applied it should permit no delay in making the same public. We infer from the tone of the News at the time, that its application was made to a source from which it could depend upon getting the facts concerning the organization in the Mormon church which has been variously named "Daughters of Zion," "Danites," and "Destroying Angels." The public is entitled to any and all advices received by the News as a result of its inquiry, simply to set at rest a controversy that so far has found no settlement in the minds of the unadvised.

The Tribune has asserted, and has produced proofs in support of that assertion, that there was a secret avenging organization in the Mormon church at Far West, Missouri; that this organization continued in existence through the days succeeding into Nauvoo and even into the early days in Utah. The News has denied this assertion in toto until recently, when in the article referred to it admitted that there was such an organization, but not that it was within the Mormon church.

Now it has written for information upon the matter, so it says, and it is to be hoped that it will print every word of the correspondence which it may receive in response to its inquiry. Every interested person is entitled to it; and we suggest to the church organ that if it fails to print all of the correspondence, The Tribune will.

Note: During the next several months the Tribune editor chided the Mormons for not publishing "further particulars" on the Pittsburg article. But the Tribune also demanded that the Deseret News launch into a vigorous defense of the Mormon position regarding the origin and development of the 1838 Danites -- a topic that the News obviously wished to avoid. The official Mormon explanation for the Missouri Danites was essentially indefensible. All the LDS writers could produce were Joseph Smith's old assertions on that matter: not a single eye-witness, document, or contemporary news report existed to back up the Mormon position. Even the more notable LDS dissenters who had become temporarily separated from their Mormon brethren in 1838-39 (Orson Hyde, Thomas B. Marsh, W. W. Phelps, William Smith, etc.) failed to submit affidavits supporting the claims of the Mormon First Presidency's innocence in the establishment of that secret society. Lacking the ability to produce substantial and compelling evidence to prove their case, the Mormon journalists wisely avoided further discussion of the old controversy.


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, December 20, 1909.               No. 67.


Lincoln Daily State Journal.

Paxton, Neb., Nov. 29. -- To the Editor of the State Journal: It was with much surprise that I read in the Lincoln papers the defense made by Mr. Huff, state prison chaplain, and comments thereon by the one sending the same. That a man pretending to be the expounder of the tenets of any sect should show such ignorance of its real history is strange, to say the least, though of course it may be wilful. At the time the first Joe Smith pretended to have found the plates of gold (not brass) my mother lived in Manchester, N. Y., and was well acquainted with that branch of the Smith family to which Joe belonged.

He often came to her father's home to persuade her brother to go with him to dig for buried money. He, as well as the rest of the family, were shiftless -- what we would call no account people, especially Joe, who would not work if he could avoid it, but preferred to hunt for money which he imagined had been buried.

Such a man was just what Sidney Rigdon and his associates wanted, as he was possessed of much native shrewdness and quite imaginative.

When the plates of gold were first found, or at least when they were first brought to light, Smith would put on the "specs" sitting out of sight behind a curtain which separated the two rooms and translate from time to time a little of the wonderful things to the ignorant crowd who were attracted by them. No one ever saw the plates, but had to take his word for it. It was not Young who had the revelation in regard to polygamy, but Joe Smith himself, to appease the wrath of his wife, Emma, when she found he was living with other women after he went to Nauvoo. There he gathered to himself many outlaws and ignorant persons, and they committed so many depredations upon the people around Nauvoo by stealing their cattle, sheep and horses, to say nothing of earlier crimes, that they, the people, arose in their wrath against them.

It is true, as Mr. Huff asserts, they take their texts from the King James version of the Bible, when they are trying to proselyte, never mentioning the book of Mormon till they have woven their web about their converts, then little by little they bring that to the front.

Mr. Huff also asserts that we read in the Old Testament that in the time of Hezekiah there lived a man named Lehi who sent his sons abroad to find a home. As a matter of fact the name Lehi is found only in the book of Judges and is there spoken of as a place. Wouldn't it be well for the chaplain to study his King James Bible more carefully? Wasn't it the fact, too, that the angel was a man who handed a manuscript to Joe, instead of the plates of brass as he, Huff, asserts? At the first Joe did not pretend they were handed to him, but he dug them out of the little mound. The angel part was put in afterward.

My mother knew whereof she spoke and I have these statements direct from her.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, December 22, 1909.               No. 69.


The late Governor Ford of Illinois, whom the Deseret News brought forward as a witness in the controversy as to the causes for the troubles which fell upon the Mormon people at Nauvoo, is quoted by Hon. Adlai E. Stevenson as follows:
The Mormons openly denounced the Government of the United States, as being utterly corrupt, and about to pass away and be replaced by the government of God, to be administered by His servant Joseph. It is at this day certain, also, that about this time, the prophet instituted an order in the church called the Danite Band. This was to be a body guard about the person of their sovereign, sworn to obey his commands as those of God Himself.
As to the first proposition, it was not only true at Nauvoo, but it was true in the early days of Utah; it was true when Joseph F. Smith, as late as August 10, 1879, roared his defiance at the Government and its officials. It is true today. In order to establish this part of the case, we herewith produce a few brief quotations:

And if the authorities that are on the earth will not sustain us in our rights, nor give us that protection which the laws and Constitution of the United States, and of this State, guarantee unto us, then we will claim them from a higher power -- from heaven -- yea, from God Almighty. -- Joseph Smith, June 30, 1843.

"When ye see these things come to pass know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." It is a systom of government to organize and gather the people? Yes, a people that will not have their heads cut off any more by the Government that has deceived the whole world, and drunk the blood of the saints of the Most High. -- Brigham Young, January 30, 1853.

It would please me much if the congregation that assembles here from Sabbath to Sabbath could hear the details of the foul slanders of men that have been here (Federal officials who had been driven out of the Territory by threats of Young and his coadjutors), that they might know what they will spew out. The great majority of this people have no idea what rottenness those characters carry within them; and they did not find it here: they brought it from the places from whence they came. -- Brigham Young, June 7, 1857.

The day will come when the United States Government, and all others, and the kingdoms of this world will be united into one, and the kingdom of our God will govern the whole earth, and bear universal sway; and no power beneath the heavens can prevent this taking place. -- Orson Pratt, July 8, 1855.

They will threaten us with U. S. troops! Why, your impudence and ignorance would bring a blush to the cheeks of the veriest campfollower among them. We ask no odds of you, you rotten carcusses! Jedediah M. Grant, March 2, 1856.

We are going to possess the earth. * * * Now, ye kings and emperors, help yourselves if you can. -- John Taylor, April 8, 1853.

God Almighty helping me, I will fight until there is not a droop of blood left in my veins. Good God! I have wives enough to whip out the United States! -- Heber C. Kimball, July 26, 1857.

We have stood the damned villainy of these scoundrels for thirty years in this Territory. * * * I would sooner live among savages than among these cursed Government officials, and the Government itself is as corrupt as its officials. It is a disgrace among the nations, and will soon be wiped out of existence. -- Joseph F. Smith, August 10, 1879.

The fact of the matter is, when a man says you can direct me spiritually, but not temporally, he lies in the presence of God -- that is, if he has got intelligence enough to know what he is talking about. -- Joseph F. Smith, Deseret News, April 25, 1896.

As to the second matter, there were not only Danites at Nauvoo, but there have been Danites in Utah. The statement of the purpose of that organization is also true. At Far West, Missouri, there was a secret organization out of which the Danites grew. The members of that organization were called the "Daughters of Zion." Reed Peck was a member of that gang. Because of his exposures later made he was called "The Mormon Judas." Of its purposes, Reed Peck says:
I was appointed adjutant of the band in consequence, I suppose, of my holding that office in the 59th Mo. militia. I did not think it policy to reject the appointment, though I declared to MY TRUSTY FRIENDS that I would never act in the office. All the principles of the society tended to give the presidency unlimited power over the property and persons, and I might say with propriety, lives of the members of the church, as physical force was to be resorted to if necessary to accomplish the designs. The blood of my best friend must flow by my own hands if I would be a faithful Danite, should the prophet command it. Said A. McRae (later well known to have been a Danite -- in fact, a boasted one --), in my hearing. "If Joseph should tell me to kill Van Buren in his Presidential chair, I would immediately start and do my best to assassinate him, let the consequences be as they would."
The remark of Reed Peck that he "did not think it policy to reject the appointment," is sanguinely significant. He know the bloody danger of rejection, even though his soul revolted at what was to be expected of him in case of emergency.

If was a treasonable and gory beginning in which the Mormon hierarchs laid the roots of their pretended priesthood; and the record shows that Governor Ford was not only right in these respects, but that he did not even tell all that there is to be told about them -- as the future will demonstrate, upon the motion of the Deseret News or of any speaker for the present hierarchs.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.             Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, December 29, 1909.             No. 76.


"Lest we forgot." About a month ago the Deseret News made mention of the fact that a writer had printed a story in "a Pittsburg paper" concerning the Danites. In making comment thereon the church organ stated that while there was such an organization as the Danite band in Missouri and Illinois, it had been in no wise attached to the Mormon church. It also announced that it had written for particulars and information upon that subject, and that it would advise the public as to its findings in the matter.

It seems to us that sufficient time has elapsed since then to have brought reply to the inquiry made by the News and that there should be publication of the result. But we are disposed to be patient, and to wait yet a little longer. However, we merely present this as a reminder, as well as to indicate that The Tribune is not in the habit of permitting promises of that nature to pass from memory. Meantime, too, we repeat what we said before upon this subject, that the News should publish all of the correspondence which it might receive, without elision, repeating our former promise that if the News does not do so The Tribune will.

As the church organ is wont to say just previous to election times, and in finishing off between-the-lines instructions to the voters of its church, "A hint to the wise is sufficient."


The Tribune has a copy of a document which throws some light upon the nature of the injustices which were practiced by the Mormon hierarchs at Nauvoo, even toward their own brethren in the church. It is in the form of one of a set of resolutions in protest which were passed by a gathering of the saints, and which were published in the Nauvoo Expositor. Here is the particular resolution:
Resolved, first. That we will not encourage the acts of any court in this church for the trial of any of Its members which will not suffer the accused to be present and plead their own cause; we therefore declare our decided disapprobation to the course pursued last Thursday evening (the 18th inst) [April, 1844], in the case of William Law, Wilson Law, Mrs. William Law, and R. D. Foster, as being unjust and unauthorized by the laws of the church, and consequently null and void; for our law judgeth no man unless he be heard; and to all those who approbate a course so unwarranted, unprecedented and so unjust, we would say beware lest the unjust measure you mete to your brethren be again meted unto you.
The Nauvoo Expositor deserves credit as a competent and reliable witness in matters characterizing the events of those days, because it was printed right on the ground and therefore speaks at first hand concerning contemporary happenings. According to that paper. Elder R. D. Foster was on April 15, 1844, served with a notice to appear before the Nauvoo high council on the following Saturday, April 20th, to answer to charges preferred against him by Joseph Smith. Elder Foster announced that he would be present at the meeting with his witnesses; and in the meantime he proceeded to notify those witnesses, forty-one in all. On the Saturday he was fully prepared to meet the charges against him; but lo and behold! he was met previous to the meeting hour, by Presidont William Marks of the high council, and informed that his trial had occurred the preceding Thursday and that there and then he had been excommunicated from the church. Similar action had been taken in the cases of William Law, Wilson Law and Mrs. William Law.

Now, it must be evident that there was a potent reason for this dishonest action on the part of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and their willing tools. The Laws and Foster had expressed perfect willingness to submit to trial before an authorized and fair tribunal, and that they were prepared to meet the charges made against them by Joseph. The Expositor says that those elders in the church had made accusations against Joseph of a very serious character, and William Law having been counselor to Joseph Smith, his participation in these accusations gave (them great weight. Therefore there was great commotion among the people, and it was evident that action of some kind was an absolute necessity to a settlement of the disturbance. The charges made against Joseph and Hyrum were of unchastity; teaching false and corrupt doctrines in secret; inveigling zealous Mormon females into private quarters and gradually accomplishing their ruin; land frauds in inducing converts to hurry to Nauvoo for the purpose of unloading upon these confiding people land at enormously advanced prices; revelling, dancing, frequenting dram shops and theatres; the practice of deceit and chicanery to screen themselves from consequences under the law; harboring fugitive criminals for a price, under the unjust habeas corpus law enforced at Nauvoo; attempts to unite church and State; promising to those who obeyed the secretly-taught doctrine of polygamy absolution and consecration [sic] from all consequences of all crimes barring the shedding of innocent blood or consenting to or conniving at the same; misappropriation of church funds; forming secret combinations under penal oaths; and practical apostasy from the original faith, doctrine and law of the Mormon church. It appears that the accusers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were so well fortified in their position, and were so amply prepared to prove up on their charges, that there was but one course for the tyrannical rulers to adopt as a means of self-protection. They adopted that course by excommunicating their accusers at a scret meeting prior to the time appointed for the trial. Thus were the accusers of Joseph and Hyrum rendered harmless, so far an their charges were concerned, under the rule of the church that no notice will be taken of any accusation made against a member by an outsider.

Besides, the Nauvoo Expositor (which had printed all these charges) was permitted to issue but one number, for Joseph ordered the destruction of the plant. It was destroyed, thus rendering further exposure from this source impossible. There is a story under the "martyrdom" of Joseph and Hyrum Smith which the Deseret News does not dare to print, and in dread of the exposition of which the present Mormon chiefs live in fear and trembling.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, January 22, 1910.               No. 100.


With reference to that Danite story with which the Deseret News some time ago promised, to interest the public, but which it has not not produced, The Tribune is of the opinion that sufficient time has been allowed to the church organ and that it is simply afraid to produce the evidence which it pretended to be searching for, and which it really may have obtained.

The Tribune has a copy of an affidavit made by Mr. Justus Morse, signed and sworn to on January 3, 1910, -- before D. T. Keel, a notary public in and for Pike county, Kentucky, and which also has the signatures of a witness and of six attestors to the genuineness of the copy. Mr. Morse was one of the Danite band and therefore knows whereof he speaks. He joined the Mormon church in 1833, and later became successively an elder, a seventy and a high priest. As to the connection of the Danites with the church, and his connection with both organizations as a member of each, he says:
In the year 1838, at Far West, Caldwell county, Mo. I was made a Danite in an organized meeting for that purpose in a schoohouse at that place. Brother Dr. Sampson Avard had charge in organizing this band, divided into tens, fifties and hundreds. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith were present frequently at our meetings and were cognizant of what was going on, being present at our secret meetings when a guard wore placed around us, admitting none but members, excepting the said Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith.
It must be borne in mind that, after years of denial of the existence of such an organization as the Danites, the Desert News finally admitted that there was such a band, but protested in all earnestness that it was not of or connected with the Mormon church. It was in promised support of this latter contention that the church organ said it would produce the evidence which so far is not forthcoming. The Tribune now proposes to show precisely what the Danite band was, and how it originated and for what, purpose it was intended. In this purpose the above, is presented as an opening chapter, with more to come.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, January 24, 1910.               No. 102.


There was a line of conduct mapped out for the Danites of the Mormon church in Missouri, which exhibits the desperate character of the band; and in the meantime we have from Mr. Justus Morse, under oath, a designation of the parties who outlined that conduct and delivered the instructions. Mr. Morse says:
I further state that in company with nine others of the Dantes, I was taken not far away from Far West, in a deep ravine, in the year 1838 aforesaid, and with a guard around us on the high ground to prevent interruption or of being heard, was there taught and instructed by Joseph Smith. Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith that the church could not advance without means. and we must obtain, must get money and means to carry on the work whether right or wrong, honest or dishonest -- that the church should "suck the milk of the Gentiles," that we had been injured by the mob in Missouri, and to take from the Gentiles was no sin; but should we get caught in this work, then in that case we were to stand by each other and help each other out of trouble at any cost or hazard, and the said Hyrum Smith particularly emphasized, that if we found it necessary in helping each other out of trouble to swear to a lie, to do so, and to do it with such positiveness and assurance that no one would question our testimony.
We present this matter in pursuance of our promise to produce the evidence respecting the Danite band and its affiliations and activities, since the Deseret News has failed to fulfill a similar promise which it made in this same matter. The church organ a couple of months ago mentioned a letter that had been printed in a Pittsburg paper upon this subject. The News admitted that there had been such an organization as the Danite band, but took the stand that it was not connected with the Mormon church or countenanced by its leaders. We took the position that the gang was organized by church authority, and that its activities were directed by church authority. It is in support of this position that we print the foregoing, with the promise to produce still further evidence along this line. And this that the people may know the truth, notwithstanding the shirking of the News.


A writer in the Philadelphia North American of January 16 makes the claim that the Mormon church had its rise in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, and urges in support of his assertion that there are several physical evidences of its truth. One paragraph in the article reads as follows:
The fact that the first Latter-day church was organized at Manchester, N. Y., April 6, 1830, doubtless is responsible for the story that the plates were taken from the New York hills. Old Susquehanna, in Pennsylvania, is the original birthplace of the Book of Mormon, and the old house of the prophet, the four half-filled excavations made by Smith and his associates in Oakland township, with the traditions handed down from the early settlers, seem to bear out the assertion that after the Susquehanna county exposure the story of the finding of the plates was transferred to the place where the first church was organized.
The fact is that there are so many conflicting stories connected with this matter that it is difficult, in this instance, to settle upon any final conclusion other than that the whole thing was a rank fraud. Indeed, what is purported to be the official history of the thing, as approved by the church here in Utah, is so full of inconsistencies that one must be of an extremely confiding disposition to bring himself to belief in its supposed truth. The writer in the American says that Joseph Smith's activity in Susquehanna county in the treasurer-hunting line began as the result of an interview that Joseph had with an old Indian. This Indian, it appears, told Joseph that if he would dig in the top of a certain hill he would find an immense amount of treasure. The experiment was tried, and was repeated in other localities, but all failed and almost bankrupted the credulous men who assisted Joseph's digging with their money. The writer goes on to say that the notion of the plates was conceived only after the treasure-digging experiments had failed, and was merely another phase of the effort to get money easily. That may be true; but the public is entitled to its own choice in the matter.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, January 26, 1910.               No. 104.


As to that investigation of the Danite band which was promised by the Deseret News about two months ago, we have so far had no evidence of activity. It is not pleasant to The Tribune to take up the burdens of the church organ; but duty must always precede pleasure.

In the affidavit of Mr. Justus Morse upon this particular question, we have a description of one side of the activities of the Danite band. We have heretofore explained that Mr. Morse was consecutively an elder, a seventy, and a high priest in the Mormon church at Far West, Missouri, and was a sworn member of the Danites, instructed by and countenanced of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Speaking of his experiences in the winter of 1841-2, Justus Morse says:
Danite brethren came to my house in McDonough county, Illinois, and asked me to secrete goods which they had taken, from a store, one of whom stated to me where and how they had "sucked the milk from the Gentiles," by robbing the store. I refused to accommodate them at this time and they never forgave me up io the time of their death, dying in full faith. And I further state as I have reason to believe, that this and similar practices was continued hy members of the church during the remainder of their stay at Nauvoo.
This affidavit was signed by Mr. Morse at Pleasanton, Iowa, before Royal Richardson, a notary public for Decatur county, Iowa, March 24, 1887; and the copy from which we quote was attested by six witnesses before D. T. Keel, a notary public for Pike county, Kentucky, January 3, 1910.

The Tribune submits this evidence to the public in order that each individual who is minded to investigate the subject may have all the testimony available. It is apparent, too, that the word of a man who was of the Danite organization at that time is of more value than that of church organs or speakers of today.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, January 30, 1910.               No. 108.


In his recent sermon, delivered in the tabernacle, Mr. Brigham H. Roberts made reference to Sidney Rigdon. His remarks concerning Mr. Rigdon were intended to refute the idea that he had anything to do with the authorship of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Roberts says:
When he came he was appointed the scribe to the prophet and forever afterward he held that subordinate position to Joseph the prophet. He was a man 37 years of age. The prophet was about 25. We might ask our anti-Mormon friends how it came, if Sidney Rigdon was the master spirit in bringing forth the Book of Mormon and the church, the real Mephistopheles of the great drama that was being enacted -- how comes it that after playing this part for a number or years, when he comes out into the public work with all his advantage of education and experience he now consents to take second place in the great drama; not even second place, for that had been conferred upon Oliver Cowdery, who had been ordained as second elder, and Sidney Rigdon becomes the Prophet's scribe? Is there any consistency in claims of that sort?
It is somewhat difficult to see why Mr. Roberts should have said that, provided he were earnestly engaged in an effort to publicly defend Joseph, the Book of Mormon and the Mormon church. He plainly suggests that there was a Mephistopheles, but denies that Sidney Rigdon enacted that role. He calls the whole thing a drama and thus plays directly the hands of those who contend that the story told by Joseph was a farce. And, again, he is not accurate; for while he declares that Sidney Rigdon never rose higher in such honor as may be considered to attach to the activities of Joseph and his friends than to be merely a scribe to the alleged prophet, history shows that Sidney was counselor to Joseph as president of the church in the days of Nauvoo. Indeed, Sidney Rigdon claimed the right to succeed to the presidency at the death of Joseph Smith, and this claim on his part precipitated an intense struggle between himself and Brigham Young for the supremacy.

As to the matter of a man of his ability and experience and education remaining in the background while Joseph Smith was always to the forefront, there is not anything in it that should be in the least surprising. A similar condition has existed in many instances before and since, and exists today, and will likely be repeated in the future. It may be a tribute to Rigdon's wisdom that he did consont to thus remain behind the scenes, so to speak, and he may even have gone so far as to urge upon Joseph the advantage of that very thing. It is not the first time in the world that a man of superior brain has set one of inferior attainment to the forefront while he remained in the rear and did all the planning.

As to whether or not Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon makes little difference to the absurd claim that is made authoritatively concerning its origin. The physical impossibilities attaching to that claim are what are most considered by investigators. And there is one evidence that casts discredit upon the story of the golden plates, the angel Moroni and the supposed method of translation. The first edition of the book contained the name of Joseph Smith as "author." In view of the story told concerning its origin it was soon decided that the naming of Joseph Smith as its author was absurd, because it was claimed in the book and the story concerning it that the authors were ancient inhabitants of this continent. So that was changed to fit the yarn, and in subsequent editions of the book Joseph Smith was simply called its "translator." "Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun.," is the way the inscription now reads.

If all that is claimed for Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the manner of establishment of tie Mormon church were true, it is difficult to see why it would require so much defending. And that is one of the chief occupations of proponents. They are eternally endeavoring to defend and to explain -- simply for the reason that it is difficult to compel the world to swallow self-evident falsehood.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, February 1, 1910.               No. 110.


In the death of Mr. James T. Cobb in this city yesterday, the old-timers will feel a throb of awakening interest, and will experience a stir of memory. Mr. Cobb many years ago was a prominent figure in this city, personally and intellectually. He had the repute of being one of the finest Shakespearean scholars in the western country. His personality was attractive; he was a fine talker; and a good many people swore by him and his opinions. For a score of years past, however, he has been obscured, seeming to age more in character and disposition than in years. His final end was peaceful, and though he was a man well calculated to take a high position in the community he had stepped down from that position, and was practically unremembered by the mass of the people here. To his friends he was very dear, and with those friends and his near of kin the public of Salt Lake will extend the most heartfelt sympathy.


Man of Splendid Literary Attainment Succumbs After Severe Suffering.


Many Deeds of Kindness Toward Afflicted Humanity
Are Recorded of Him

James Thornton Cobb died at the family residence, 87 Canyon Road, in this city, early Monday morning, of kidney trouble, from which he had suffered severely for six weeks prior to his demise.

Mr. Cobb was born at Beverly, Mass., December 15, 1833, making him a little more than 70 years old at the time his death. He came to Utah in the year 1858, and was associated with his contemporary pioneers in many works of good for the whole community. He was a graduate of Dartmouth college, and in addition he had received a valuable technical education and training along varied lines. His literary taste was of a high order, and this inclination had led him to close association with Oliver Wendall Holmes, Phillips Brooks and others of the old literary school of New England. Shakespeare was one of his favorite authors and he was well versed in the writings of the Bard of Avon. Among his local efforts in his literary pursuits were contributions written for the Tribune, and indeed he was for a time engaged on this paper's staff.

Included in his activities, too, were many efforts in company with other kindly disposed persons in lines of charity and the general uplift, his gentleness and considerate disposition enabling him to take broad views of humanity's frailties.

Surviving him are his wife, Ives Cobb, Mrs. Nat M. Brigham, a daughter living in Illinois, Henry Ives Cobb, Rufus K. Cobb and James Kent Cobb of San Francisco. No arrangements for the funeral services have as yet been made, pending the receipt of word from members of the family residing outside the city; but full information in that matter will be made public as soon as perfected.

Note: For more on James T. Cobb, see the Spalding Saga, Episode 10.


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, February 5, 1910.               No. 114.


There are some very interesting things snid in the letter of Reed Peck, written in 1839, concerning the "Danites" of Missouri days. Mr. Peck was once a lieutenant in the band, but upon becoming disgusted with the outfit he left them and later exposed some of their doings.

Jared Carter, in the year 1832, as we find by reading section 70 of the Utah edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, was "called of the Lord by special revelation." Paragraph 4 of that section, which concludes the pretended revelation, says, "Wherefore, let your heart be glad, my servant Jared Carter, and fear not, saith your Lord, even Jesus Christ. Amen." Jared, therefore, was one of the supposed special instruments in the hand of the Mormon Lord for the accomplishment of certain purposes. One of these purposes was later developed when Jared Carter (who was called "the terrible brother of Gideon," because he had a brother, Gideon Carter), was made "Captain General of the Lord's Hosts" at and near Kirtland, Missouri. While he was thus actively engaged with the "Danite" band, Jared Carter complained to Joseph Smith concerning some observations made by Sidney Rigdon in a sermon, and was tried for having found fault with one of the first presidency, and was deprived of his office, and Elias Higbee was appointed in his stead. Under the rules and oaths of the band, Carter's punishment should have been death; but doubtless his special designation by "revelation" saved his neck. Reed Peck says in his letter that on the evening after Carter's trial he was in conversation with Sampson Avard, Dimick B. Huntington, Elias Higbee and Apostle David W. Patton, all of whom had sat in the trial. Mr. Peck's letter has the following to say of this conversation:
Sampson Avard related at the same time the arrangement that had been made by the presidency and officers present at the trial, respecting the dissenters. Said he: "All the head officers are to be furnished by the presidency with a list of dissenters, both in Ohio and Missouri, and, if, for example, I meet with one of them who is damning and cursing the presidency, I can curse them too, and if he will drink I can get him a bowl of brandy, and after a while take him by the arm and get him one side in the brush, and I will [be] into his guts in a minute and put him under the sod. When an officer has disposed of a dissenter in this way he shall inform the presidency, and them only, with whom it shall remain an inviolable secret.
Probably this is some of the evidence discovered by the Deseret News in its promised investigation of the "Danite" question, which if declared would show that the gang was not of the Mormon church in those days, and was not approved by church officials, nor directed by the heads of the church. The Tribune merely presents it on account of the fact that the public is entitled to it, since the News promised it to the public and has not since shown any disposition to keep its promise.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, February 11, 1910.               No. 120.


The Tribune is in possession of a copy of a letter written by Mr. Reed Peck, under date, "Quincy, Adams Co., Ill., Sept. 18, 1839." Reed Peck was adjutant in the band that was known in Far West, Missouri, as "The Daughter of Zion," whose members individually called themselves "Danites." We shall call attention to part of the contents of this letter, because the Deseret News has failed to keep its promise to inform the public with respect to the facts as they concern the organization commonly called "Danites."

Mr. Peck declares that in the year 1838 he learned of several secret meetings that had been held at Far West, and which had greatly excited those who were privileged to attend. None but holders of the Melchisedek priesthood in the Mormon church had been invited to these secret gatherings, and the general whisperings that ensued quietly intimated that some movement of extraordinary import was on foot. Of the real nature of these meetings, however, Mr. Peck declares he was in ignorance; but, he was a member of the Mormon church and an elder in Israel, as they are called and call themselves, and he responded to an invention which finally came to him to attend one of these secret meetings. It was at Far West in the month of June, and his attendance there did two things for him -- disclosed to him the objects of the gatherings and organization, and so fixed him in control of the band that he could do no other than seem to join in its activities. There was no alternative except great personal danger and perhaps death; for the villains who formed the group were a bloodthirsty lot. Mr. Peck was an officer of the Missouri militia, and on account of his experience thus gained in military matters he was immediately made adjutant in the "Danite" band. Of this incident Mr. Peck says, "I did not think it policy to reject the appointment." The Tribune well understands the significance of that simple suggestion.

As Reed Peck records the facts in his letter, it was about the last of June when he attended the first secret meeting to which he had been invited. He says, that there were about sixty new members voted and sworn in at that time, and inasmuch as the oath was delivered to all at the same time he takes comfort out of the fact that his silence in the responses absolves him from any charge of having really sworn to do the deeds prescribed in the duties of the gang. Mr. Peck's letter goes on to say:
Jared Carter, George W. Robinson and Sampson Avard, under the instructions of the presidency (meaning the first presidency of the Mormon church at that time), had formed a secret military society called "The Daughter of Zion," and were holding meetings to initiate members. The principles taught by Sampson Avard as spokesman were that, "As the Lord had raised up a prophet in these last days like unto Moses, it shall be the duty of this band to obey him in all things, and whatever he requires you shall perform, being ready to give up life and property for the advancement of the cause. When anything is to be performed, no member shall have the privilege of judging whether it would be right or wrong, but shall engage in the accomplishment and trust God for the result. It is not our business or place to know what is required by God, but He will inform us by means of the prophet, and we must perform. If any one of you see a member of the band in difficulty in the surrounding country, contending for instance with an enemy, you shall extricate him, even if in the wrong. If you have to do with his adversary as Moses did with the Egyptian, put him under the sand, and both pack off to Far West and we will take care of the matter ourselves. No person shall be suffered to speak evil or disrespectfully of the presidency. The secret signs and purposes of the society are not to be revealed on pain of death," etc., etc.
This is information that belongs to the public, since the Deseret News denied that the "Danite" band was a church oganization, and since the church organ has failed to fulfill its promise to inform the people upon this subject after the bluff it made to disclose the results of an investigation. It is probable that in making that investigation the News has found out somothing that it did not expect and did not care to learn and which it does not now dare to give to the public.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, February 12, 1910.               No. 121.


Further dealing with the investigation into the "Danites" and their connections, we give the following from the affidavit of Reed Peck, who was a member of the gang and an officer in the organization. In speaking of the trial of .Jnred Carter, a "Danite" leader who had dared to utter criticism of one of the first presidency of the church, Mr. Peck says:
In the evening after the trial, I was in company with Major-General Sampson Avard, D. B. Huntington, captain of the guard: Ellas Higbee, the new captaln general, and David W. Patton, one of the twelve apostles and a member of the high council of the church, all of whom had sat with the presidency on the trial. D. B. Huntington stated that Joseph declared during the examination that he should have cut Carter's throat on the spot if he had been alone when he made the complaint concerning Sidney Rigdon.
The more this matter is looked into, the more it becomes apparent that the murderous outfit which came to be known as the "Danites" was an organization given existence at the behest of high officials of the Mormon church, and that the members of the gang were sworn to protect the bogus prophet and his close associates from attacks that criminals of their stamp would naturally expect to threaten. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had engaged in an illicit banking business at Kirtland that resulted in the robbery of the people of thousands of dollars of their money. They had speculated in lands, using their ecclesiastical influence in the promotion of schemes whereby the people were swindled right and left. Naturally there was criticism of these acts, and being altogether lawless in disposition, intent and action, the swindlers conceived the idea of organizing a band of cut-fhroats to silence the complainers by force, and even by murder if necessary. It was Sampson Avard whom they put forward to practically engineer the enterprise, and while the heads of the church did not participate in the robberies, arson and murder committed by the "Danites," they nevertheless blessed and consecrated their activities and received stolen property accumulated in the robbing raids as helps to the "establishment of Zion." David W. Patton, an apostle of the church, was killed during one of these criminal raids upon the Gentiles, and now the church goes so far as to idealize him as a martyr to the cause of God, Patton was a "Danite," and the tribute paid to him by official Mormondom as being a valiant soldier in the Mormon battle is merely recognition of the fact that the "Danite" band was an official Mormon organization.

There is much futher evidence along these lines upon this subject, and we believe that the public should be apprised of the nature of this proof. For that reason, and because the Deseret News has failed to make known the facts, even after seriously promising to do so, we shall continue to bring forward the matter by which the people shall have opportunity to judge for themselves.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, February 27, 1910.               No. 136.


We here present another very brief but exceedingly effective bit of testimony by an eye witness and a personal participator in the scenes and doings of practically the earliest days of the Mormon church. It is as follows:
I do know, as I testify, that men who are recognized and noticed in the revelations of Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants as men of God were Danites and practiced the obligations of their oaths at the selfsame time.
JUSTUS MORSE.           
Pleasanton, Iowa, March 23, 1887.
This witness was himself a member of the Danite band, as he declares under oath in the affidavit from which the foregoing is taken. He was seventy-eight years old, he says, at the time he made that affidavit and had been a Mormon for fifty-four years before he finally repudiated the church. He held high position in the organization and was a confidential friend of Joseph Smith. In this same paper he testifies that he was taught and embraced the doctrine of spiritual wifery or polygamy long before Joseph's death, notwithstanding the latter's repeated public and official denials of its existence. The outrages committed by the Danites, the secret immorality practiced under the celestial marriage teaching, together with the numerous other impositions thrust upon the States of Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, finally drove the people to exasperation, and destruction followed.

As previously noted, the Deseret News denied that the Danite band was a Mormon organization, but here is a member of the gang giving irrefutable evidence in conviction of the church organ as a rank falsifier. It will be remembered that the News promised to give to the public testimony to prove its contention, but it has not done so, simply because it could not, and did not dare to make public the result of its investigation.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, March 5, 1910.               No. 142.


The Tribune confesses that there is no pleasure in the performance of this duty. But it is a duty.

As we have heretofore stated, there has been a feud between the Cannon and the Smith families within the Mormon church. As The Tribune has set forth before now, there is an organization of Danites within the Mormon church. As we have asserted previously, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was the father of the Danite gang. It appears that he was so wrong in his daily conduct, that it was necessary for him to employ thugs to defend him in his wrongdoing. In those days -- speaking, now, of Missouri and Illinois -- these Danites used to punish "enemies'" by use of the bullet or the knife, or the firebrand. That system of reprisal, however, almost brought about the destruction of the Mormon church. It has, therefore, been abandoned.

The modern Mormon Danite doesn't work in that way.

Joseph F. Smith is a nephew of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and the father of the Danite gang. Joseph F. Smith desired to be the leader of the Mormon church before he possessed sufficient wisdom to control himself. George Q. Cannon was a counselor with him to the late President Wilford Woodruff. Mr. Cannon was a much wiser man; and through the exercise of his wisdom he brought upon himself and his family the hatred that was born in the Danite successor to the original Danite. Revengefully, Joseph F. Smith married Abraham H. Cannon to Lillian Hamlin. Under the same spirit he married Hugh J. Cannon to Vilate Peart. The blackness of his hate turned even toward a minor arm of the Cannon family and forced John M. Cannon and Lewis M. Cannon, and George M. Cannon into new polygamy. And there is Angus J. Cannon, also a Smith-prompted new polygamist, presented as a victim of the Smith hatred.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 3, 1910.                  No. 171.


During the latter months of 1909 we were favored with some attention from the Deseret News because of our assertion that in the early days of the Mormon church there was within that organization a sceret body of men known as "Danites," and that the activities this gang of marauders and murderers were directed by the highest officials in the church at that time.

It happened that while this controversy was going on here upon this question, there appeared in a Pittsburg paper a communication from a Pennsylvanian which made similar presentations to those made by The Tribune. Upon noting this letter the Deseret News told its readers that it had sent inquirjes out in order to get at the truth, and that upon, receipt of replies to these investigative missives it would give the results publicity. It has not fullfiled that promise, for obvious reasons. The News had contended that the "Danites" had nothing whatever to do with official Mormondom; that the organization was formed without the knowledge, consent or approval of church authorities. The Tribune at once produced affidavits to show that Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon were the chief directors of the gang at and near Far West, and that during the Nauvoo period the services of this secret outfit were always available to the "prophets." We brought forth statements from Reed Peck, who was a lieutenant in the organization, and Justus Morse, who was a member, as well as being a seventy and high priest and one of Joseph's close friends and political exponents. Numerous written evidences were produced by this paper, all going to prove the accuracy of our position, and none of which the News has been able to refute. For that reason the church organ has broked down and has remained silent upon the subject ever since.

One by one the falsehoods are being exploded and the public is getting at the truth of Mormon history.


It was just the other day that the Deseret News reiterated one of those little bits of deception that are calculated to impress the minds of the saints with the divinity of the calling of their alleged, prophets, and to frighten them into meek submission and away from apostacy. It called attention to the fact that the last of the daughters of the late Governor Ford recently died in poverty at Peoria, Illinois, declaring that this fate was the direct result of the curse of the Almighty set upon her father on account of the part he took in early church history.

This subject ought to be of great interest to the Mormon people, because, according to the belief promulgated among them, it would a serve as evidence either that the Lord approved or disapproved the Mormon "prophets" and their work. It is a matter of historical fact that where one "outsider" who was active in early church scenes has come to grief, a dozen "insiders" have fallen under the supposed curse of God. As we pointed out, "if God punished in the case of the Fords, He certainly damned in the case of the Smiths;" for Joseph and Hynim fell by violent hands. If Ford had done such wrong that the Lord saw fit to visit him with certain judgments, and that the poverty of his progeny was evidence of that disapprobation, then the Smiths must have sinned far more grievously to have brought upon themselves the curse of a violent and bloody death. The argument, such as it is, works with equal facility and reason both ways and in all cases. Then there was Apostle David W. Patten, who was killed while engaged in one of the old-time "Danite" raids; and Apostle Parley P. Pratt, who was followed and slain by the man whose wife he had seduced and alienated away from her home, her husband and her children. Besides, Apostle John Taylor, who was a polygamist while denying the existence of the doctrine and practice, was so severely wounded in Carthage jail that for a time his life was despaired of. And to crown the whole matter with a wholesale example, the saints were obliged to flee bodily out into these mountains in order to get away from what the Deseret News says in effect, was the wrath of the Almighty.

As we have said, this subject should interest the Mormon people, because a clear yiew of it, and a fair conclusion in the light of the facts and the logic, or illogic, applied by the church organ, would have the effect of disillusioning their minds and unburdening their souls from the weight of rank superstition, as well as to give to them an insight into the false methods pursued by their leaders and publicists for the purpose of deceiving them and frightening them into slavish groveling under their tyrannies.


Merely by way of review, and not with the purpose of repeating the authoritative testimony upon the subject, we shall here refer to the matter of the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage, Illinois, June 27, 1844. Some time ago The Tribune made the assertion that Mormons and apostate Mormons were responsible for those two murders. The Deseret News, of course, denied the truth of our statement to that effect. Thereupon we produced, at various times, extracts from sermons delivered by Joseph Smith, showing that he knew that some of his brethren were seeking his life. We also brought forward sermons delivered in Utah by Brigham Young, George A. Smith, Jedediah M. Grant, and other high ecclesiasts. in which it was declared unequivocally, time and again, that false brethren and apostates plotted and planned for the killing of Joseph, and that they executed those plots and plans to the bitter end. By Mormon authority we have shown that when Joseph Smith, seeing that to remain in Nauvoo among his outraged and rebellious brethren meant certain death to him, made, up his mind to flee out into this Western country, and had actually crossed the Mississippi river in his proposed flight, he was induced by his own brethren to return and face his enemies. This was in execution of the plan of rebellious Mormons to prevent his escape. They had determined that Joseph should die, probably having what they considered to be sufficient reasons and justification for this determination. Joseph was brought back and surrendered himself to the officers, which was exactly according to the plans made by hostile Mormons and apostates. It was arranged that he be taken out of the city of Nauvoo, and he was removed to Carthage. He was about to be released upon one charge when certain of his brethren and excommunicated saints swore to another complaint for the purpose of keeping him in jail, which was done, and the next day the murders were accomplished by these Mormon malcontents and their allies. Perhaps the strongest evidence upon this matter that we have been able to find is that furnished by Elder Denison L. Harris, formerly bishop of Monroe, Sevier county, Utah, and which The Tribune has heretofore reproduced at great length. The matter was taken from the issue of the Contributor for April, 1884, and was written by Elder Horace Cummings from dictation by Bishop Harris. (The matter may be found in the Contributor, volume 5, number 7, pages 251-60.) Denison L. Harris lived a near neighbor to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo. He was intimately acquainted with the Laws, the Higbees and the Fosters, who were high in the church (William Law having been a counselor lo Joseph), and was familiar with most of the saints in Nauvoo at the time of the murders at Carthage. Denison L. Harris, then a young man, and a friend of his by the name of Robert Scott, also a young follow, received an invitation to attend a secret meeting at the house of William Law upon, a certain named evening. Denison went to Joseph and told him of the invitation and sought his advice as to what to do in the matter. Joseph told the two young men to go to the meeting and report to him all that went on. They did so, attending three of these assemblages of the Mormon conspirators. The leaders, says Mr. Harris, in the plotting and conspiring were William and Wilson Law, Austin A. Cowles, Francis and Chauncey Higbee, Robert Foster and his brothers and two men named Hicks -- all of whom held or had held prominent places in the community, in the priesthood, in Mormon official circles and in the Nauvoo high council. Bishop Harris says that at the last of the three meetings attended by him there were upward of three hundred Mormons present. At the close of the deliberations, declares the bishop, each and every one took and swore to the following oath:
"You solemnly swear, before God and all holy angels, and these YOUR BRETHREN by whom you are surrounded, that you will give your life, your liberty, your influence, your all, for the destruction of Joseph Smith and his party, so help you God!"
Whitney's history says that it was on June 2, 1844 (five days before the assassination) that Joseph, accompanied by Hyrum Smith, Apostles Willard Richards and John Taylor, together with a few other friends, crossed the river and started to escape to the Rocky mountains. "Messages from home intercepted him," says Whitney, "inducing him to reconsider his design,and he returned to meet his doom. 'We are going back to be butchered,' said he, and resigned himself to his fate."

Note that the messages were from "home," and that Joseph knew what was the significance of those messages from "home," and also that he was about to return "home" to meet the fatal vengeance of those at "home." Not a word about any Gentile enemies was uttered by Joseph at, the last, when he knew his doom was impending. There is absolutety no question but that the plans were laid and the plotting and conspiring to Joseph's death were accomplished by Mormons and apostates, and that the murder of Joseph and Hyrum is traceable directly to conspirators within the church.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, April 11, 1910.                  No. 179.


We have still another, bit of documentary evidence to present in the matter of the Mormon "Danite" organization, about which the Deseret News promised to do so much and then did nothing at all. Here is a copy of the oath by which the members of that gang were bound together:
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to regard the prophet and first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the supreme head of the church on earth, and to obey them in all things the same as the supreme God; that I will stand by my brethren in danger or difficulty, and will uphold the presidency, right or wrong, and that I will ever conceal and never reveal the secret purposes of this society, called the Daughter of Zion. Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture, in a caldron of boiling oil.
This was the oath that was administered to and subscribed by members of the murdering, pillagng secret gang at Nauvoo, long after Doctor Sampson Avard (whom the News credits with the origin and operation of the gang in Missouri) had been "bounced" from the church and ths "Danite" organization. The church organ in last December assured its readers that the Mormon authorities had nothing whatever to do with the murderous outfit; but the oath shows that the "band" was organized for the express purpose of "doing business" in the name and for the sake of the first presidency, and under their absolute direction.

But that was by no means the last of the "Danite" band, when the church organization removed from Nauvoo and came out to the West. The Tribune has it from the testimony of a well-known Mormon lady, the first wife of a once distinguished Mormon polygamous apostle, that the gang was revived in Utah at one time. She says that one day, in 1868, just prior to the last illness which carried off President Heber C. Kimball, Heber C. came home from a secret meeting that had been held in the old endowment house which stood in the northwest corner of the temple block. The lady of whom we speak was intimately friendly with Vilate Kimball, the first wife of Heber C., and was visiting with her at the time the apostle returned from that secret meeting. Confidentially President Kimball said to the visitor, Sister Pratt, we have just reorganized the Danite band in the endowment house. Fifty brethren have joined and been sworn in." And upon being asked what need there was at that time for the "Danites," Kimball replied, "We'll have plenty of work for them to do pretty soon."

That was when the Union Pacific railway was approaching Utah, and it was anticipated that the consequent influx of Gentiles here would furnish employment for the gang in executing "the judgments of the Lord" upon those who would dare to offend against the will of the Mormon leaders or "persecute" the saints.

There are numerous other evidences alonag these lines which The Tribune shall present from time to time; and we have not the slightest doubt that surprising discoveries in this respect are what impelled the Deseret News to flee its promised "expesures" at the close of the investigation which it declared it had under way about three months ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXX.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, April 14, 1910.                  No. 182.


The following matter is taken from a written statement by Thomas B. Marsh, uttered at Richmond, Missouri, under date of October 24, 1838:
They have among them a company consisting of all that are considered true Mormons, called Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in aII things that they say or do, whether right or wrong.
Mr. Marsh was at one time president of the twelve apostles of the Mormon church; he was closely associated with Joseph and Hyrum Smith; he was in the confidence of those men, as his position gave him the right to be. It was the Danite movement, the Kirtland bank swindle, and the numberless robbings, burnings and murders committed by the official destroyers in the employ of the bogus prophets that caused him to leave the church. In his letter, which is too long to reproduce in its entirety here and now, he adds that a special company from among the Danites were set apart to destroy Clay and Ray counties by fire, and to sweep down all who opposed their raidings. Liberty and Richmond were to be special objects of attack, and none were to be spared except Mormons, or those outsiders who obeyed the order to leave that part of the countny. At the meeting at which this plan was devised it was also determined that no Mormon dissenter or apostate should leave Calclwell county alive, and that "such as attempted to do it should be shot down and sent to tell their tale in eternity." Sampson Avard, who was a prominent member of the Danite organization at that time, proposed to start a pestilence of some kind among the Gentiles and to lay it to the Lord's vengeance; also to poison the water and I the corn and grains that men, women and children, and the cattle of the Gentiles should die in such mysterious fashion as to bring about terror of the power of the Lord as exerted through His chosen prophet. It was the expressed intention at that meeting to first take the State of Missouri by force, and then to march on, overrun and conquer the entire Nation. So fanatical were the Melchisedek Danites in their faith that they actually believed that one of them could whip a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight. With this wild thought in their minds they decided to go forth and conquer and slay; and they got into some awful trouble over it, being finally driven from the State of Missouri by a people whose patience and endurance had been maliciously imposed upon and over-burdened beyond further submission.

These are truths, and they are becoming better and more widely known every day -- much, we confess, to the discomfort of our local bogus prophets who break the laws today as their predecessors defied it in Missouri.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, April 23, 1910.                  No. 9.


On Thursday evening the Deseret News quoted from a speech that it said was made by "the prophet Joseph, when fleeing from the persecutors at Kirtland."

Chief among the "persecutors" of Joseph Smith at Kirtland were those of his own brethren whom he had sorely grieved and many of whom he had defrauded of money and property, he and Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith were instrumental in founding the Kirtland Safety Society bank. It was a wildcat institution, operated without a charter such as the law required to be secured before such concerns could legitimately do business. The money of the Mormon people was taken in deposit and worthless bills and notes issued as currency. Even today there are numbers of these old bills in Utah, kept as souvenirs by their owners. So far as we have been able to learn not a dollar of these spurious bills was over redeemed, but the people were compelled to pocket their losses while Rigdon and the Smiths pocketed their cash. This was one of the causes for the quarreling and fighting that occurred among the Mormons at Kirtland, and in the midst of which Joseph was compelled to flee.

Then there were some land schemes gotten up by the "prophets" that imposed gross swindles upon the people. Joseph and the others induced persons all over the country, even getting contributions as far away as Canada, to deposit with them sums of money with which they pretended they would purchase tracts of land as "an inheritance for the saints." Several tracts of ground were procured for a little more than the mere cost of surveying, but when the people who had contributed their money to the fund went there to got their "inheritances they were compelled to buy at the Smith-Rigdon figures. There was much complaint and murmuring on this account, and it was the means of adding fuel to the flame of anger that was brought into being through the imposition of other injustices.

Another thing that, had much to do with the rebellion of the saints at Kirtland occurred in connection with the temple there. Money was raised fur the building of that supposedly sacred edifice, and then it was turned into a house of drunken orgies and most immoral riotings. Mormons whose wives had been inveigled into its unholy precincts, and there forced or cajoled into sin, became angered, and they finally banded themselves together for the purpose of driving Joseph and his pals away from Kirtland or killing them if they refused to go. There were quarrels and fights in the Mormon meetings; one elder threatening to bodily harm or even to kill another elder; and a general reign of terror held sway among the Mormon people. Meantime such depredations had been committed against surrounding neighborhoods that the whole vicinity of Kirtland was aroused.

These were the "persecutors" who drove Joseph out of Kirtland. The man was naturally criminal, and he seemed to be surprised because people objected to his criminality, complaining eternaly that he was being "persecuted." And whenever the Deseret News speaks of these "persecutors" it is never honest enough to explain who they were, but merely uses the expression with the hope and understanding that the Saints will think that only Gentiles are meant, and will consequently increase their hatred for anybody and everybody not of the Mormon church.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 24, 1910.                  No. 10.


The story of Nancy Rigdon, daughter of Sidney Rigdon, is another one of those recitals that expose the utter depravity of the bogus prophets at Nauvoo. We will give it in brief form.

As is a well known fact, Joseph Smith had a private office at Nauvoo in which was transacted certain "business" that would scarcely bear the light of day. Scores of young girls and married women were enticed into this foul place, some of them to indignantly repulse the unclean advances made toward them and some to fall victims to the lust of the chief priests. One day Joseph told John C. Bennett that he had fallen in love with the comely Nancy Rigdon, and desired Bennett to procure her presence at his private office. Bennett told Joseph that, inasmuch as he was a prominent member of a certain secret order, and as Nancy was the daughter of a brother in that order, it would be dangerous for him to attempt to invade the home of his friend. Joseph was insistent, however, (as he always was when his passion was aroused) and urged Bennelt to do as he requested. The latter consented, but in the meantime he warned Nancy Rigdon of what she might expect when she visited Joseph at his private office. The young woman went according to appointment, but was prepared to receive the "prophet's" advances in the spirit which they deserved. Upon her arrival at the place Joseph locked the door and began to importune the girl, saying that he had asked the Lord for her and had received permission to take her to his bosom. He said, though, that if she had any scruples in the matter he would marry her immediately, but that (his would not prevent her from afterwards marrying some other man if she so desired. It was when Joseph attempted to kiss Nancy that she flew into a rage, and so great was her indignation, and her threats of exposure were made in such earnestness, that the "prophet" was glad to release the girl from his grasp and unlock the door so that she could depart.

This was in the summer of 1841. Miss Rigdon immediately went home and told her father of the occurrence. Sidney at once sent for Joseph, who came to his house with a brazen front. Nancy told her story before the whole household, and in the presence of Joseph Smith. Smith attempted to deny it at first, according to the account given by George W. Robinson (who was once a church clerk), and, endeavored to browbeat the girl with a lot of lies. But it happened that the story of Miss Rigdon was so straight, and she told it with such impressiveness, that Joseph was finally obliged to admit its truth and to fall back upon an excuse for his action. With the assumption born of his impudent claims to complete jurisdiction over the conduct of his followers, he told the family that he had merely had the interview with Nancy to try her, as he desired to test her virtue!

Many of the saints withdrew from the church when they heard of this outrage, and upon repetition with other women and girls of the course pursued with Nancy Rigdon, a large segment of the Mormons at Nauvoo began to conspire against the life of Joseph. The persistent attacks made by the bogus prophet upon the family virtue of bosom friends awakened a fury that eventually brought about the death of the Smiths at Carthage. The history of Nauvoo is filled with such stories, and there is no member of the church who can successfully dispute their accuracy -- there is too much proof of their truth. And, what is more to the point, there is now no attempt made by church publicists and preachers to deny them, because they know that such denial would only have the effect of bringing forth the evidence that would completely destroy their case.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, May 10, 1910.                  No. 26.


While it has been the object of the Deseret News and every pulpiteer of the Mormon church to attempt to show that "outsiders" were responsible for the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, The Tribune has truthfully contended that Mormons brought about the "martyrdom." As with the proposal (voluntarily made and never carried out by the church organ) to investigate and make a showing concerning the old Mormon church Danite gang, it appears to be the duty of The Tribune to give the truth that is withheld by the Deseret News.

Lucy Smith, the mother of the alleged prophet who founded the Mormon church, has written a history of her son. Even as carefully revised and censored by George A. Smith and Elias Smith, the book vindicates this paper's position upon the "martyrdom." We observe that in the announcement made upon the title page of the work from which we get our information, there is no mention made of the fact that Joseph F. Smith had a hand in the revision; but that does not alter the fact, because President Smith was probably one of the most persistent and interested censors.

On page 274 of the "History of the Prophet Joseph" we find that Lucy Smith says that Joseph, in organizing the city police of Nauvoo, declared that "were it not for enemies within the city, there would be no danger from foes without." At that time it was practically impossible for any but Mormons to live in Nauvoo. For confirmation of this statement this paper, will take the liberty of referring to any member of the Nauvoo Legion now living. Conscious guilt of crime committed is usually expositive of the crime itself. Had Joseph been simply a disciple of the Christ, there would have been no necessity for the Nauvoo Legion, nor would it have been a part of his religious economy to surround himself with an additional body of thugs under the guise of a police force. Out of the history of Joseph Smith we find that he had the Danites, the Nauvoo Legion, the Nauvoo police force, (a member of which was John D. Lee, who was also a Danite) in order to protect him in his activities. There is no decent man, speaking of one who observes and keeps the law inviolate, who would need any such armed protection. The "enemies within the city" were those who opposed the criminal Joseph Smith -- men who saw that he and the other ringleaders in his immoral cult were dragging women into the snare of their lechery in the pretended name of God.

According to Lucy Smith, her son suspected that when he said "If it were not for a Brutus I might live as long as Caesar might have lived," Joseph had some reference to William Law, once a counselor to Joseph Smith. So strenuous was the action of that day that Joseph became alarmed, surrounded though he was by his Danites, the Nauvoo Legion and the Nauvoo police force, and he sent for William Law. At the meeting every effort was made to show William that Joseph had no evil intent against him. Witnesses were brought in from all over the city in the effort of the conscience smitten and thoroughly frightened Joseph to convince William Law that he was not the "Brutus" of the bogus prophet's creation. It was Law, the wronged man, who compelled Joseph, the fiendish, attempted destroyer of the Law family virtue, to call together his armed gangs to have an understanding concerning their enmity. And from that moment the feud grew more vindictive. It was at that time that the secret meetings were held in William Law's house, and of which Bishop Denison L. Harris has told in a church publication here. At the last of those meetings there were about three hundred Mormon attendants. They all took an oath to destroy Joseph Smith, the oath being subscribed to with the express understanding that it was given and taken in the presence of "these your brethren, by whom you are surrounded." Within a mouth Joseph and Hyrum were killed at Carthage. As Lucy Smith tells it, the Mormon brethren who murdered their lascivious "prophet" had their faces painted red and blue and black and yellow -- anything to hide their identity from their victims.

History is not of the strident voice, but its silent pages teach lessons that should not be forgotten even by the present-day Smith, who glories in defying God and man.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, May 17, 1910.                  No. 33.


Under date of May 7, 1910, the Cleveland Plain Dealer printed a dispatch from Tiffin, Ohio, one paragraph of which reads as follows:

In recent years it was charged Cowdery subsequently gave up Mormonism and affiliated with the Methodist Protestant church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints strenuously denied it. The denial led to a further investigation, and it was found that Cowdery joined the Methodist Protestant church in this city and remained for number of years a consistent member of that faith.

This refers to Oliver Cowdery, one of the chief witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The facts are that Cowdery connection with the church was severed April 12, 1838. He then moved to Michigan, where he practiced law for a few years. Then in 1843 he went to Tiffin, Ohio, and joined the Methodist Protestant church, as is shown by an old minute book of that organization there, and which is now in the possession of Mr. Charles T. Yingling, wealthy merchant of that place. When the statement was first made that Cowdery had become a Methodist after having left the Mormon church, the Mormons instantly set about to combat it. There was a good reason for this. It was plain to them that Cowdery's adherence to a sect that Joseph Smith had claimed the Lord told him was in error, and which "revelation" was in great part made an excuse for organizing the Mormon church, would prove to be a sore blow to Joseph and his pretensions. It was also seen that an act of this sort on the part of Cowdery would be in complete renunciation of the Book of Mormon story, to which he had subscribed his name as chief witness. Nevertheless it is true that Cowdery did become a Methodist Protestant after leaving the Mormon outfit, and that he did thereby renounce the Book of Mormon story as a myth and Joseph as a false prophet.

If any Mormon will lift from his eyes the blinding wool that the bogus prophets have drawn over them, it will take but a short time for him to come to an intelligent conclusion.

Note: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reprised its original assertions in a second article, on May 7, 1922. See also The Helper, Apr.-May, 1905 and the G. J. Keen affidavit in Naked Truths, April 1888. While no evidence exists for an Oliver Cowdery baptism into the Methodist congregation in Tiffin, he was obviously closely associated with that group and his adopted daughter married a member of that church. While the term "renunciation" is perhaps too strong a word to characterize Cowdery's actions, it is clear that he tacitly abandoned Mormonism and sought fellowship with the Tiffin Methodists during his residence in that place.


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, May 23, 1910.                  No. 39.


It appears that the Deseret News, upon many counts, has abandoned the fight. At one time and it was no longer ago than last November it made faithful promise to its readers that it would explode the whole Mormon Danite theory by producing the proofs after having made exhaustive investigation, the which it declared it had on hand at that time.

But it has failed in fulfillment of that promise. And there is probably a reason for the failure. As soon as the church organ proposed to direct attention to the Danite matter it became apparent to decent citizens here that they were again to be swamped with a lot more falsehoods to cover up another of the secret lawlessnesses of which the Mormon church had been guilty. Therefore these citizens, together with The Tribune, determined to fortify as against these lies. The only fortification against lies, in the minds of truthful men, is the truth. And so The Tribune proceeded to get the truth. As a consequence, the Deseret News has dropped the matter entirety, and has become silent in its cowardice. We have shown that the Danite gang originated with Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Doctor Avard Sampson, all men prominent in the Mormon church in early days. It has been demonstrated that the Danites were organized by the Smiths and Rigdon for the sole purpose of maintaining and sustaining in lawlessness the Mormon lawbreakers. The Tribune has clearly proved that apostles of the Mormon church notably "Martyr" David W. Patten, were ringleaders and active murderers in the Danite gang. Neither of these presentations has the Deseret Nows dared even to attempt to disprove.

And it is for this reason, as distinguished from many others equally important, that we say that apparently the church organ has abandoned the fight. It has fled from every position that it has unrighteously occupied from its very beginning; and it is still fleeing.

There has been another investigation on foot, in which the Mormon church organ pretended to take part, and in which The Tribune has been left to present the conclusion. This was with reference to the identity of the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It was with some bravado that the Deseret News at first attempted to combat the truths set forth by this paper. We set out to show that the murder of the two Smiths was directly traced to a certain and definite conspiracy within the Mormon church. We have shown from church-approved records that certain meetings of these conspirators were held in the house of a counselor to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo; and that the men who attended these meetings were finally bound in an oath, "in the presence of these your brethren by whom you are surrounded," to "destroy Joseph Smith and his party." Former Bishop Denison L. Harris of Monroe, Utah, told the whole story in the Contributor of April, 1882, as the story was written by Elder Horace Cummings. We have reproduced statements made in sermons of church leaders, including Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant, George A. Smith and othors, substantiating the matter published in the Contributor by authority of former Bishop Houston L. Harris. These statements have been taken from the Journal of Discourses, printed as authoritative reports of sermons delivered by Mormon officials in the early days of Utah. We have quoted Whitney's History of Utah to prove that the Mormon murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were so afraid of being recognized in their nefarious work that, they blackened their faces as a disguise while prosecuting their bloody enterprise.

And in the midst of it all the Deseret News has fled the controversy and left its readers and the public generally in an attitude of expectancy as to what other foolish undertaking it may engage in.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, May 28, 1910.                  No. 44.


The church organ is a skillful evader and artful dodger. It never wants to squarely face the music on any proposition. A few instances in point will illustrate the course of that organ of strife, lawlessness, robbery, and lasciviousness.

It began a contention that Gentiles "martyred" the "prophet" Joseph Smith. We showed by abundant proof that it was his own brethren who slew him on account of his lecherous invasion of their families. And the church organ all at once grew anxious to discuss the nearness of Mars to the earth.

It denied that the Danite organization was a church affair. We proved conclusively that it was so. And the organ at once dropped the subject, and has been silent upon it ever since, even though it made a positive promise to take up the subject in a complete exposition; and it became instead intensely interested in the approach of Halley's comet.

It claimed that the church and the church leaders had kept faith with the Nation in the Statehood pledges made. We showed beyond the shadow of a question, this from the open record, that those pledges had been made and utterly disregarded. Then the church organ became absorbed in the peace movement.

It claimed unusual and extraordinary probity in business affairs by leading church priests. We showed up the Oneida ditch swindle, carried out by a president of a stake -- a bit of rascality unparalleled. Then the church Sunday school movement became the organ's leading topic.

It claimed that there is no new polygamy. When we showed the falsity of this by printing the names of a hundred, new polgamists (representing a score in secret for every one known), the organ said anyhow that Gentile men kept mistresses. When we put the question whether or not it considered this the same thing, the organ took to praising the princely beneficence of American millionaires.

It railed at the "red-light" district, while painting its life sometimes in dark and sometimes in bright colors, and demanded that the source of supply be shut off. We deplored the existence of that district, and pointed to the church teachings and practices as the source of much of the sexual wickedness; it then began a lament on the death of King Edward.

It raised a storm about the dreadful automobile fatalities in this city, in an attempt to blame the city administration. We also deplored these accidents, but showed that the State had undertaken full jurisdiction of the running and speeding of automobiles, as well as of the qualifications of those who should run them. It then became mightily interested in the Jeffries-Johnson fight in San Francisco.

The Presbyterian General Assembly deplored the sexual sinfulness prevalent under Mormon teachings and priestly example; and at once this church organ became absorbed in the question of predestination.

And so it goes all the time; the organ springs one question after an other, and as soon as it finds itself cornered, it crawls out of it by turning with zeal to another subject. It is weak beyond compare, and a sneak of the first water.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, May 31, 1910.                  No. 47.


In order to make illustration of the flimsy ground upon which the Mormon leaders will proceed to work out their plans in suppression of their "enemies," we give the following brief extract from the charter of the city of Nauvoo, Illinois:
Sec. 7. To make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, to declare what shall be a nuisance and to prevent and remove the same.
In a letter written to Governor Thomas Ford by Joseph Smith, mayor of Nauvoo and president of the Mormon church, under date of June 14, 1844, this section was pleaded as justification for the destruction of the plant of the Nauvoo Expositor. That paper had severely criticised Joseph and his associates of the church leadership, and it was therefore looked upon as a menace to the "general health of the inhabitants" of Nauvoo. Upon that ground it was declared a nuisance and removed. The removal came at the hands of lawless tools of the lawless church chiefs. Upon orders received from the mayor (Joseph Smith), a gang of Danites went to the Expositor office and threw out the types and presses, burning all copies of the first and only number of the Expositor to be found upon the premises. All this was done "to secure the general health of the inhabitants" of Nauvoo!

But that was not the latest exhibition of intolerance exhibited by the Mormon chiefs. Brigham Young adhered to the Nauvoo precedent for many years, driving out of Utah or crushing within her borders all those who opposed him or criticized him. There were a few instances, of course, in which he failed to do this; but they were very few, and their existence is due to the fact that Brigham's efforts in these cases were directed against men who were equally determined and much more courageous than he. Joseph F. Smith, the present head of the church, once thought to visit upon The Tribune the fate that had befallen the Expositor, but he fell short in his nefarious purpose. In a sermon in the tabernacle he urged the saints to arm themselves and to pounce upon The Tribune, which he designated as "a dirty, damnable, blackguard sheet that wouldn't be tolerated in any other community." And only because The Tribune had criticised the law-breaking practices of Smith and his associates.

However, it appears that the Mormon people had another thought occur to them at the close of Joseph F.'s sermon they didn't follow his advice, preferring to let the heathen rage and to take no personal chances.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, August 21, 1910.                  No. 129.


The Tribune feels that it has a right now to again admonish the Deseret News with respect to the promise it made in the latter part of last year to thoroughly investigate the "Danite" matter and report its findings to its readers.

Although that gang of thugs is well known to have been organized, operated and controlled by the chiefs of the Mormon church, the News declared that they had nothing whatever to do with it. Having seen a communication printed in a Pittsburg newspaper on that subject, the church organ stated that it had sent out inquiries which would result in getting at the facts. It announced that as soon as replies to these inquiries had been received, they should be given proper publicity. Soon it will be a year since that promise was made, but there has been nothing from the News on the subject. It is more than likely that if any investigation at all was made, the results were so unsatisfactory that the church paper did not dare to print them.

We have a pamphlet written by the late David Whitmer, who was one of "the three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon." It is entitled "An Address to All Believers in Christ." On pages 27 and 28 of that pamphlet Mr. Whitmer gives considerable information upon the subject of the "Danites." "In June, 1837," he says, "at Far West, Missouri, a secret organization was formed, Doctor Avard being put in as the leader of the band; a certain oath was to be administered to all the brethren to bind them to support the heads of the church in everything they should teach. All who refused to take the oath were considered dissenters from the church, and certain things were to be done concerning these dissenters, by Doctor Avard's secret band." Mr. Whitmer declares that the evil acts of this robbing and murdering outfit, organized under the direction of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon, became so numerous and startling that he personally protested against them and beseeched the organization to disband. In that same June, 1838, and on account of his opposition to the "Danites," Whitmer was obliged to flee from Far West to save his life. He says that he was compelled to hurriedly leave the town on horseback in order to escape the punishment which the gang intended to inflict upon him as a "dissenter." From forcing obedience to the heads of the church, even in matters admittedly wrong, the gang went to making incendiary raids and thieving expeditions among their Gentile neighbors. From that they went to "putting men away" who were objectionable to the Mormon leaders. Mr. Whitmer declares that the outfit caused so much trouble with the officers of the law that even those who had caused its organization repented of their damnable work. But the incendiary and an archistic spirit had by that time gained such a hold on the "Danite" gang that they continued their work as a matter of choice, leaving a gory trail that extended far into the earlier days of Utah.

If the News went into that investigation in sincerity, and with a desire to have the truth known, why does it not come forward with those promised results?

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.                  Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, August 31, 1910.                  No. 139.


Concerning that old and worn-out story to the effect that there was no just cause for the drivings of the Mormon people in the early days of their church, there is an interesting and authoritative witness in the late David Whitmer. In his pamphlet, "An Address to All Believers in Christ," on page 28, he says:
All of the eight witnesses who were then living (except the three Smiths) came out; Peter and Christian Whitmer were dead. Oliver Cowdery came out also. Martin Harris was then in Ohio. The church went deeper and deeper into wickedness. They were driven out of Missouri, and went to Nauvoo; and were driven out of Nauvoo, and went to Salt Lake, where they are today, believing in the doctrine of polygamy.
David Whitmer was one of the three men whose names appear as the first witnesses to "the divinity of the Book of Mormon." If the Mormon people are content to take his word on that subject, surely they must credit him with speaking the truth in other matters concerning the church. In his pamphlet from which we quote, Mr. Whitmer does not endeavor to make an anti-Mormon display before the Gentiles. He addresses himself particularly and especially to members of the church. With reference to his assertion that the organization "went deeper and deeper into wickedness," we have here before noted his testimony to the effect that when he expostulated with Joseph and the others upon their misdeeds he was obliged to flee horseback from Far West. An organization then known as the "Daughter of Zion," and later as the "Danites," sought his life because of his friendly criticism of the church chiefs. These lawless men pursued toward others, both in and out of the church, the vicious course directed against David Whitmer. Their first mission was to drive out or destroy all who opposed the first presidency, and to uphold the desires and commands of these men, whether right or wrong. They attempted to throttle political freedom in their immediate locality in Missouri, and to prostrate the people to the political ambitions of the pretended prophets. They raided and pillaged and burned and shed the blood of their neighbors. Their sole mission was to spoil the Gentile and terrorize their "enemies." Under this system the leaders of the church indulged every evil bent that occurred to their perverted natures until the people of Missouri were driven frantic and beyond their own self-control. The result was the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri; and a similar course in Illinois brought a similar result.

Of course, nowadays we hear much less of the "unjustified persecution of the saints on account of their religion," but it is high time that the whole story be dropped altogether. If the saints were driven from Missouri and Illinois on account of their religion, their creed must have inculcated a chromatic gamut of crime. The testimony supporting this assertion is ample, and from the inside of the church; and David Whitmer told the truth when he said that in Missouri and Illinois "the church went deeper and deeper into wickedness."

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXI.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, September 25, 1910.               No. 164.


Reviewing a magazine article written upon the early history of the Mormon church by President Brigham H. Roberts, the Deseret News says that "pride and worldly mindedness proceded the temporal troubles, and when these came the people accused each other of sin and folly, and there were bickerings, fault-finding and bitterness 'until the spirit of the gospel in Kirtland was well nigh eclipsed.' Apostasy was rife."

One of the "temporal troubles" that afflicted the saints at Kirtland came in the form of a wild-cat banking concern started by Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Money was gathered in from the Mormon people and deposited in the "bank," and bills were issued in return. These bills were never redeemed, and there are some of them still held by descendants in Utah of the saints at Kirland. Widows and spinsters were the favorite prey of the greedy and fraudulent prophets, thousands of dollars being taken from these that was never returned. The financial frauds of the heads of the church became so notoriously rotten that the saints themselves began the trouble which finally caused the church to remove from Kirtland into Missouri. It has been the same each time there was an exodus. Internal dissension is what caused the church to pick up stakes and shift to other quarters. That is what caused the removal from Nauvoo to the West; and it was on account of the machinations and plottings of discontented saints that Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed at Carthage,many of the malcontents actually having a hand in the slaying of those two men. And yet though "temporal troubles" have constantly attended their meddling with civil, political and business affairs, nothing seems strong enough to prevent the continual meddling of the priesthood in those things. We find that Mr. Roberts and the News do not make any reference to another great source of trouble in Missouri. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, pays somewhat extended attention to it, however. He tells of the Danite gang that was organized there under the direction of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. That outfit, he declares, was especially instructed to drive out, or otherwise "remove," men who criticised the acts of the first presidency of the church, even though they had been robbing the people right and left through their wild-cat banking concern at Kirtland. David Whitmer himself, being highly regarded by the Mormon people, and having in turn a great affection for them, sought to defend the mass against the grafting of the few. He deprecated the organization of the Danite gang to enforce acquiescence in or submission to the robberies and other injustices. David Whitmer was compelled to mount a horse and flee from Far West for his very life.

It is a pity that when Mormon history is written the facts are not all told. The purpose always evident is to endeavor to create the impression that the saints have been the wronged ones; that, their own conduct was angelic; and that the Gentiles have been the causeless persecutors of a religion and its adherents. Mr. Roberts does not depart from that custom, and his work is therefore of little value in the interest of truth.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, November 25, 1910.               No. 42.


Why is it that we have heard nothing from the Deseret News concerning the promise that it made months ago to investigate the "Danite" question, and report its findings to the public?

From the best information at hand, we are justified in replying for the News, that it found such a condition of facts that it was afraid to report them. It discovered that the testimony, both of living witnesses and in written documents, was so overwhelming on the side of The Tribune that it found that discretionary silence would be a good substitute for its former pretended valor. The facts are that the testimony of David Whitmer, and others who were victims of the murderous gang organized by Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon, was found by the News to be too strong to be overcome by its own weakling denials. David Whitmer, who was one of the "first three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon" (as you will hear any Mormon "bearing testimony" describe him today) was compelled to flee for his life because of the threats against him by the banditti organized under the direction of the first presidency of the Mormon church at Far West, Missouri. This lawless outfit, first called the order of the "Daughter of Zion," murdered, plundered, piillaged, burned, and outraged -- all in the name of the "prophets," and in criminal blasphemy of the name of the Lord.

It would be interesting to the public, however, to learn the Deseret News side of the story, since it promised, months ago, to reveal the results of the investigation which it then bargained to make.

Note: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 4, 1910.               No. 51.


The late Reed Peck was once induced to attend a meeting of the Mormon Danites at Far West, Missouri. Although he never became actively engaged with the murderous gang, he saw and heard enough at that meeting to give value to his testimony upon this matter.

Mr. Peck claims that the origin of the Danites, or the order of the "Daughter of Zion." as it was first called, was to rid the church of certain prominent men who disapprobated the wicked acts of the first presidency and other leaders. It seems, according to Mr. Peck, that the Cowderys, the Whitmers, Lyman Johnson, and others, were most active in opposing Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. It was desired by the first presidency that these men be driven out of the community at Far West, and it was on that account that a meeting was called by Jared Carter and Dimick B. Huntington to form a secret organization to enforce the demands of the Mormon chiefs and to crush all opposition that might be offered to their wishes. Sidney Rigdon was the chief figure at the first meeting, and his teaching was such that it incited to sanguine deeds, even though the actual verbiage could scarcely be regarded as incendiary. That he was well understood by the elders present, however, was amply proved in the subsequent activities of the gang. There were secret signs adopted by which members of the gang could make themselves known to each other wherever they might be, and passwords and appeals in distress were imparted to those present. As to the objects of the outfit, Mr. Peck gives us a good idea. He says "The blood of my best friend must flow by my own hands if I would be a faithful Danite, should the prophet command it. Said A. McRae, in my hearing. 'If Joseph should tell me to kill Van Buren in his presidential chair, I would immediately start and do my best to assassinate him, let the consequences be as they would.'"

It is a bit strange that, after having made a promise to investigate this Danite matter, and to report its findings thereon, the Deseret News should maintain such a blank and continuous silence. It is about a year ago that the church organ made its promise, and the public has heard no more from it upon this subject since that time. It ought at least to say something, even if only to confess that it was mistaken when it asserted that there never was a band of Danites connected with the Mormon church.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesdayday, December 7, 1910.               No. 54.


In view of the fact that the Deseret News, about a year ago, promised to make investigation of the Mormon Danite matter, and to report according to its findings, we have wondered if it happened to run across the subjoined matter, and thought it best to hush the thing up if possible. Reed Peck, who was one of the men invited to attend the first meeting of the embryo Danite organization, is an authority. He speaks of one of the methods employed of "spotting" dissenters from the theory of personal liberty as practiced by the first presidency of the church. On this point he says:
A friend of long standing asked me If I did not think the dissenters were dealt harshly by, and that the presidency did wrong in exciting the people against them, saying, at the same time, that he "blamed Joseph," etc. I answered that the dissenters deserved punishment IF THEY WERE GUILTY AS REPRESENTED. Thinking from my answer that I had become satisfied with what had been done, he acknowledged that he was only endeavorlng to learn the true state of my feelings; and then to give me an idea of his attachment to the cause, said that if Joseph Smith should tell him to cut my throat, he would do it without hesitation.
It is quite likely that this is one of the discoveries made by the News in its investigation of the Danite question, and one of the many which has caused it to back down ignominiously upon the proposal which it made about a year ago. There is no doubt, though, that the people of Utah would think vastly more of the church organ if it came out and honestly acknowledged that it has discovered evidence which convinces it that its statement to the effect that there never was a Danite organization in the church, with the approval and encouragement of its leaders, was a mistake.

Of course, it is not expected that the News would be so straightforward; but it is a certainty that the church organ will not repeat its old falsehood "never again!"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 11, 1910.               No. 58.


By this time it has been observed by all that tho Deseret News has ignominiously fled from its position with respect to the controversy it proposed to maintain with The Tribune concerning the Danite gang which was organized by the first presidency of the Mormon church at Far West, Missouri, in the year 1837. But there are some other facts that should be brought forth, merely for information's sake, which have large bearing upon the objects and purposes of that pillaging and murderous outfit. In the historical matter written upon this subject by Reed Peck (who attended the meeting at which the lawless gang was instituted, but who withdrew upon learning its purposes), it is stated:
Having been taught to believe themselves invincible in the defense of their cause, though the combined powers of the world were in array against them, and that the purposes of God were to be accomplished, through their instrumentality, the wicked destroyed by force of arms, the "Nations subdued," and the kingdom of Christ established on the earth, they considered themselves accountable only at the bar of God for their conduct, and consequently acknowledged no law superior to the "Word of the Lord through the Prophet."

"Do you suppose," said a zealous Danite at the time when the Sheriff of Daviess Co. held a State's warrant against Jos. Smith, "that the prophet will condescend to be tried before a Judge?"

I answered that Smith would in all probability submit, knowing that in case resistance was made the officers "would call in the strength of other counties to enforce the law. "What," said he, "do we care for other counties, or for the State, or whole United States?"
That indicates the rebellious spirit that actuated the gang. The proposition was that the Mormon church, rebellious in itself, and dominated by thoroughly disloyal men, was to be maintained in exclusive independence of all law and all authority under the law. It was intended that the behests of the first presidency, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon, were to be supported and enforced in secret ways by this secret Danite gang, under the leadership of Jared Carter, the "terrible brother of Gideon," (Jared Carter had a brother named Gideon,) who also bore the proud title of "Captain General of the Lord's Hosts." This "terrible brother of Gideon" had for subaltern officers Major General Sampson Avard, Brigadier General C. P. Lott, Colonel George W. Robinson, as well as a lieutenant colonol, a major, a secretary of war, an adjutant, and captains of fifty and captains of ten. It was agreed that the entire military organization was to be under the final and supreme control of the first presidency of the Mormon church. When the organization was completed, Sampson Avard presented it with much pride and great flourish to the first presidency, who were present at the meeting, and the chief church leaders there and then "blessed" the murderous outfit and "consecrated" it to the "service of Jehovah." The heads of the church made addresses to the gang, urging them on to their black deeds by promising them wonderful victories in the name of the Lord, telling them that "one should chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight."

Perhaps these are some of the details discovered by the Deseret News in its self-imposed investigation of the Danite question, and which may have induced it to drop the subject, although it made faithful promise to its readers and to the public generally to report its findings after due inquiry.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Friday, December 16, 1910.               No. 63.


Hon. B. H. Roberts has brought out another of his series of articles on Mormon church history, which is running in a certain magazine. One of the chief items treated is that of the Danites. Of this portion of the article the Deseret News says, in part:
President Roberts gives the supposed oath by which Dr. Avard said the number (members, presumably) of the band were bound to secrecy and also the constitution as presented to the court by the doctor. He also gives an account of the "band,'" condensed from Joseph Smith's Journal History, from which it appears that Dr. Avard himself was the originator of the organization, and that he lied when he represented to his dupes that he had authority from the heads of the church to do what he did. By and by he began to teach his men that it was lawful for them to rob and plunder non-Mormons. As soon as the villainy of the man became known to the church authorities, he was excommunicated, whereupon he, of course, joined the mob in conspiracy against the church. The history of Avard is the history of so many apostates. They do wrong, and when they are rebuked they become enemies and sink lower and lower in darkness and degradation.
And then the News goes on to quote from the article of Mr. Roberts the words, "A lie once hatched, how long it lives! How easy it is for people to believe what they desire established as fact!" Indeed, in very deed, how true that is! "A lie once hatched'' that the first, presidency of the Mormon church had nothing to do with the organization of the Danites at Far West, Missouri, "how long it lives!' And how easy it is for the News to believe it, since it desires to establish it as fact!

But there is David Whitmer, who was one of the original three witnesses to the "divinity" of the Book of Mormon, and in whose said testimony every Mormon in the world partly bases his belief in Mormonism, tells a different story. He declares that the Danite band was formed at Far West for the purpose of enforcing the authority and the demands of the first presidency of the church. The members of that gang, says Mr. Whitmer, were sworn to support the first presidency in all their desires and acts, "right or wrong." In this presentation of the case. Mr. Whitmer is fully supported by Mr. Reed Peck, who was asked to join the outfit, and who attended a meeting of the gang and learned their purposes, the bloody nature of their oaths, and the authority under which they acted. There was in attendance at that, meeting no one but Mormon elders and high priests. No other was accepted in the membership. Sidney Rigdon addressed the gang, as did Joseph Smith. The latter told the gang a story of a military captain who told his men that he did not desire to tell them to steal a farmer's potatoes in a field near them, concluding by saying, "Now, don't let a man of you be CAUGHT stealing that old Dutchman's potatoes." "In the morning," continued Joseph, "there was not a potato in the old man's field." Sidney Rigdon followed Joseph Smith in addressing the Danites, and he violently attacked certain members of the church who were afraid of the consequences because the gang's members were breaking the law, describing them as cowards and dissenters.

Mr. Whitmer was one of the men who disapprobated the work of the Danites, and especially as that was directed to the support of the first presidency in all things, "right or wrong." As a consequence he was forced to flee Far West, on horseback between two days; and never since that time did he return to dwell with the body of the church.

Mr. Roberts speaks of the fact that Thomas B. Marsh was excommunicated from the church because of his connection with the Danite band. That is an untruth, for Thomas B. Marsh was cut off [from] the church for the sole reason that he denounced the gang and its work in behalf of the first presidency. Mr. Roberts also declares that W. W. Phelps was excommunicated for having identified himself with the gang. That is another falsehood; because Phelps was cut off for having joined Marsh in his denunciation. John Corrill, Reed Peck, and John Clemenson were likewise excommunicated for having voiced opposition to the plundering, murderous activities of the Danites in support of the first presidency.

Just previous to an election held in Caldwell County, Joseph Smith caused to be printed a ticket which he desired all the Mormon people to vote. He named the candidates at a meeting between himself and his counselors, and the very man, Doctor Avard, whom Mr. Roborts so severely condemns. Joseph gave the printed slips to Doctor Avard, instructing him to distribute them among the members of the Danite gang, directing them, in turn, to distribute them among the people.

Apostle David W. Patten, ("Captain Feanaught," as Joseph called him), who is now sung by the saints as a "martyr," was one of the chiefs of the Danites. He was killed in one of the murderous Danite raids. Lyman Wight, who was one of the most vindictive of the Danite leaders, was a high priest, counselor to President John Smith of the Adam-ondi Ahman stake of Zion, and was afterward rewarded for his bloody deeds in behalf of the first presidency by being elevated (in 1841) to the apostleship. He was one of the most active Danites, but was not excommunicated. On the contrary, Marsh, Phelps, Orson Hyde, John Corrill, Reed Peck, John Clemenson and others, who had denounced the murderous outfit were excommunicated therefor, and Marsh, Hyde, and Phelps were compelled to bow the humble knee before being received back into the church. The others remained excommunicate. They had offended by criticism of the first presidency and the means those men employed for enforcing their authority. The villains who had been most active in the Danite raids, plunderings, burnings, and murderings were elevated in the priesthood. The only reason why Doctor Avard was excommunicated was because even he rebelled against certain murderous orders issued to him by the first presidency: and in order to make it appear to the world that they did not approve of Avard and his murderous gang, Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon openly denounced him to the world which was a mere trick, such as has been repeated in effect hundreds of times since. Elder Roberts could write from now till doomsday in an effort to clear Joseph Smith of responsibility for the Danite gang, but history will constantly rise against, him to the end of time and render his efforts fruitless.

Note: In the issue for Dec. 13, 1910 the editor of the Deseret News finally met (and neatly side-stepped) the challenge presented by the Salt Lake Tribune of Dec. 12, 1909, to address the Missouri "Danite" origins controversy with contemporary LDS apologetics. None of the Mormons' indirect replies, however, proved that Orson Hyde, Thomas B. Marsh, W. W. Phelps, John Corrill, Reed Peck, Justus Morse, the Whitmers, or other Caldwell County Mormons of 1838 ever provided controverting testimony, in order to refute (or replace) their original statements regarding the origin and development of the Danites. Thus the Tribune never got its desired journalistic debate with the News over the "Danite" question. -- The Tribune could continue to claim that the old secret society was a Mormon institution, and the News could avoid responding to historical details by saying that the Danites were not formally a part of the official LDS Church organization. In a way, both newspapers were right, and because of that odd fact, both of them missed any opportunity of constructively engaging the other on the facts of early Mormon history.


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, December 18, 1910.               No. 65.


Hon. Brigham H. Roberts has written to The Tribune a letter, in which he takes exception to a statement made by this paper on the morning of Friday, December 16, 1910. This statement was made in an article entitled "Elder Roberts on the Danites."

It is not within The Tribune's intent to misrepresent Mr. Roberts. If the distinguished gentleman will take further notice of our article, he will find that our excerpt was from the Deseret News. Our idea was to simply present the truth that the Danite gang was of Mormon origin; that none but Mormon elders were embraced in its membership. It seems, too, that our idea in this respect is approved by Mr. Roberts, for in his communication he says that "Neither in the chapter dealing with the 'Origin of the Danites,' nor in Americana for November, nor in any other of my writings have I ever said that Marsh or Phelps were excommunicuted for being connected with the Danites."

First of all, The Tribune quoted from the review of the Roberts article which was published, in the Deseret News, and it was that which we declared to be false. Now Mr. Roberts denies saying it, and that denial is good with us. This paper afterwards stated that any presentation which would appear to fix Thomns B. Marsh or W. W. Phelps as being apostate from the Mormon church, simply because they were members of the Danite gang, was and is untrue. There is no doubt in the mind of The Tribune that if Mr. Roberts had before him all of the facts, his Mormon church history would be differently written.

We do believe that Mr. Roberts should have written his letter to the Deseret News; for that paper put the construction upon his writing that The Tribune quoted. We further say, as we have said before, that David Whitmer, John Corrill, W. W. Phelps, Orson Hyde, John Clemenson and others of the Mormon church were excommunicated because of the fact that they denounced the Danite gang as lawbreakers. We say now that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith were prime movers of the lawless outfit. In effect, it is admitted by Mr. Roberts that there was a Danite gang. It might as well be stated by any proponent of the Mormon cause that the Melchisedek priesthood is not of Mormondom, as to say that the Danite gang was not of Mormon origin. It was a murderous, pillaging outfit of vandals. Its binding force was in its support of the founder of Mormonism and his coadjutors. There is no claim other than that it was of Mormon origin. It is not denied by the News, or by Mr. Roberts, that this is the case. There seems now only to be a desire to throw off responsibility for the outfit.

However, it is fair to say for Mr. Roberts that he did not say that which the Deseret News said in its review of his article, and that we quoted. And we gladly accord him the benefit of the correction made necessary by the misleading of the News.

Note: Roberts was technically correct -- he hadn't ever said that dissenters like Orson Hyde and W. W. Phelps had been excommunicated because they had joined (or had not joined) the Missouri Danites. See also the notes appended to the Deseret News of April 28, 1934 for comments regarding Thomas B. Marsh, the Danites and his 1839 excommunication.


Vol. LXXXII.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Monday, December 19, 1910.               No. 66.

"Why  the  Danites."

Editor Salt Lake Tribune: Under the above caption, in one of your editorials, as it appeared In the columns of The Tribune for Sunday, December 4, 1910. I was interested in reading the following:
"The late Reed Peck was one induced to attend a meeting of the Mormon Danites at Far West, Missouri. Although he never became actively engaged with the murderous gang, he saw and heard enough at that meeting to give value to his tesitimony upon this matter.

"Mr. Peck claims that the origin of the Danites or the order of the 'Daughter of Zion,' as it was first called, was to rid the church of certain prominent men who disapproved the wicked acts of the first presidency and other leaders. It seems, according to Mr. Peck, that the Cowderys, the Whitmers, Lyman Johnson, and others, were most active in opposing Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. It was desired by the first presidency that those, men be driven out of the community at Far West, and it was on that account that a meeting was called by Jared Carter and Dimick B. Huntington to form a secret organization to enforce the demands of the Mormon chiefs and to crush all opposition that might be offered to their wishes. Sid ney Rigdon was the chief figure at the first meeting, and his teaching was such that it incited to sanguine deeds, even though the actual verbiage could scarcely be regarded as incendiary. That he was well understood by the elders present, however, was amply proved in the subsequent activities of the gang. There were secret signs adopted by which members of the gang could make themselves known to ench other wherever they might be, and passwords and appeals in distress were imparted to those present. As to the object of the outfit, Mr. Peck gives us a good idea. He says. 'The blood of my best friend must flow by my own hands if I would be a faithful Danite, should the prophet command it.' Said A. McRae, in my hearing: 'If Joseph should tell me to kill Van Buren in his presidentlal chair, I would immediately start and do my best to assassinate him, let the consequences be as they would.'

"It is a bit strange that, after having made a promise to investigate this Danite matter and to report its findings thereon, the Deseret News should maintain such a blank and continuous silence. It is about a year ago that the church organ made its promise, and the public has heard no more from it upon this subject since that time. It ought at least to say somothing, even if only to confess that it was mistaken when it asserted that there never was a band of Danites connected with the Mormon church."
I have been a reader of The Tribune for several years, and during that time I have noticed more than once that you have called attention to the readers of your paper to the disreputable methods of the Deseret News in covering up and concealing the facts as they have been made in the history of the Mormon church. If l have understood the editor of The Tribune correctly, they have contended that the facts should be published, not concealed, that the church and the public in general may learn all the facts relating to the history of the Mormon church; and that is what they have been doing for many years past. I will ask you to kindly publish the following excerpts taken from the writings of Joseph Smith, Jr., as published in different periodicals in the early rise of the church, along with the above editorial which you have once before published. By so doing you will furnish to one of your renders proof that in this one thing at least you are more fair in dealing with the facts that go to make up the history of the church you call the "Mormon Church," than the Deseret News is.

I am not a member or the church here in Utah, neither do I want it understood that I am defending the Deseret News. Far from it. I have but little patience to read editorials published in any paper that are known to me to be untrue; I have respect for the man who writes the facts, when they are known to him, in his editorials. What are the facts relating to that organization Mr. Reed Peck refers to at Far West, Missouri?

The following excerpt is taken from the history of Joseph Smith, as published in the Millennial Star, vol. 16, pp. 458-460. (First written in 1838):
"And here I would state, that while the evil spirits were raging up and down the state to raise mobs agsinst the Mormons, Satan himself was no less busy in striving to stir up mischief in the camp of the Saints; and among the most conspicuous of his willing devotees was one Doctor Sampson Avard, who had been in the church but a short time, and who although he had generally behaved with a tolerable degree of external decorum, was secretly aspiring to be greatest of the great, and become the leader of the people. This was his pride and his folly, but as he had no hopes of accomplishing it by gaining the hearts of the people in open strife, he watched his opportunity with the brethren, at a time when mobs oppressed, robbed, whipped, burned, plundered and slew, till forebearance seemed no longer a virtue, and nothing but the grace of God without measure could support men under such trials, to form a secret combination by which he might rise a mighty conqueror, at the expense of the overthrow of the church; and this he tried to accomplish by his smooth, flattering, and winning speeches, which he frequently made to his associates, while his room was we guarded by some of his pupils, ready to give him the wink on the approach of any one who would not approve of his measures.

In this situation, he stated that he had the sanction of the heads of the church for what he was about to do; and by his smiles and flattery, persuaded them to believe it, and proceeded to administer to the few under his control an oath binding them to everlasting secrecy in everything which should be communicated to them by himself. Thus Avard initiated members into his band, firmly binding them by all that was sacred in the protecting of each other in all things that were lawful, and was careful to picture out a great glory that would soon burst upon the Saints as a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, and would soon unveil the slumbering mysteries of heaven which would gladden the hearts and arouse the stupid spirits of the Saints of the latter day, and fill their hearts with that love which is unspeakable and full of glory, and arm them with power that the gates of hell could not prevail against them; and would often affirm to his company the principal men of the church had put him forward as a spokesman and a leader of this band, which he named Danites.

"Thus he duped many which gave him the opportunity of figuring largely. He held meetings daily, and carried on his work of craft great haste, to prevent a mature reflection upon the matter, and had them bound under the penalties of death to keep the secrets and certain signs which they had to know each other by, by day and night.

After those performances, he held meetings to organize his men into companies of tens, and fifties, appointing a captain over each company. After this organization, he went on to teach them their duty in compliance with the orders of their captains. He then called his captains together and taught them in a secluded place, as follows:

"My brethern, as you have been chosen to be our leading men, our captains to rule over this last kingdom of Jesus Christ, who have been organized after the ancient order, I have called upon you here today to teach you, and instruct you, in the things that pertain to your duty, and to show you what your privileges are, and what they soon will be. Know ye not, brethren, that it soon will be your privilege to take respective companies and go out on a scout on the borders of the settlements, and take to yourselves spoils of the goods of the ungodly Gentiles? For it is written, the riches of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to my people, the house of Israel, and thus waste away the Gentiles by robbing and plundering them of their property: and in this way we will build up the kingdom of God, and roll forth the little stone that Daniel saw cut out of the mountain without hands, until it shall fill the whole earth. For this is the very way that God destines to build up his kingdom in the last days. If any of us should be recognized, who can harm us? For we will stand by each other and defend one another in all things. If our enemies swear against us, we can swear also. (The captains were confounded at this, but Avard continued.) Why do you startle at this, brethren? as the Lord Iiveth, I would swear a lie to clear any of you, and if this would not do, I would put them or him under the sand as Moses did the Egyptian, and in this way we will consecrate much unto the Lord, and build up His kingdom; and who can stand against us? And If any of us transgress, we will deal with him amongst ourselves. And if any one of this Danite society reveals any of these things, I will put him where the dogs cannot bit him.

"At this lecture, all of the officers revolted, and said it would not do, they should not go into any such measures, and it would not do to name any such things: such proceedings would be in open violation to the laws of our country, and would be robbing our fellow citizens of their rights, and are not according to the language and doctrine of Christ, or the Church of Latter-day Saints.

"The modern Samson replied, and said there were no laws that were executed in justice, and he cared not for them, this being a different dispensation, a dispensation of the fullness of times. 'In this dispensation I learn from the Scriptures that the kingdom of God was to put down all other kingdoms, and He Himself was to reign, and His laws alone were the only laws that would exist.'

"Avord's teachings were still manfully rejected by all. Avard then said that they had better drop the subject, although he had received his authority from Sidney Rigdon the evening before. The meeting then broke up, the eyes of those present were then opened, his craft was no longer in the dark, and but very little confidence was placed in him, even by the warmest of the members of his Danite scheme.

"When a knowledge of Avard's rascallly came to the presidency of the church, he was cut off from the church, and every means proper used to destroy his influence, at which he was highly incensed, and went about whispering his evil insinuations, but finding every effort unavailing, he again turned conspirator, and sought to make friends with the mob.

"And here let it be distinctly understood that these companies of tens and fifties got up by Avard were altogether separate and distinct from those companies of tens and fifties organized by the brethren for self-defense, in case of an attack from the mob, and more particularly that in this time of alarm no family or person might be neglected; therefore, one company would be engaged in drawing wood, another in cutting it, another in gathering corn, another in butchering, another in distributing meat, etc., etc., so that all should be employed in turn, and no one lack the necessaries of life. Therefore, let no one hereafter, by mistake, confound this righteous purposes with the organization of the Danites of the apostate Avard, which died almost before it had existence."
The following Is an extract from a letter to Bishop Partidge by Joseph Smith, Jr., and others while in prison, Liberty Jail, Clay county, Missouri, written March 20, 1839.
"We further caution our brethren against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies, by covenants, oaths, penalties, or secresies, but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffice, and let our covenants be that of the everlasting covenant, as it is contained in the Holy Writ, and the things which God has revealed unto us, pure friendship always becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servants intend from henceforth to disapprobate everything that is not in accordance with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and which is not of a bold, frank, and upright nature." -- Millennial Star, vol. 1, p. 196.
The following extract taken from an affidavit made by the city council of Nauvoo, III., May 19, 1842:
"We do further testify that there is no such thing as a Danite society in this city, nor any combination other than the Masonic lodge, of which we have any knowledge." Millennial Star. vol. 3, p.104.
The last two excerpts were copied into the Millennial Star from the Times and Seasons, published In Nauvoo, III., in the lifetime of Joseph Smith.
J. D. STEAD.            
1509 Washington Avenue, Ogden, Utah.            


Under the caption, "Why the Danites," and printed elsewhere in this issue of The Tribune, is a communication from Mr. J. D. Stead of Ogden. It has reference to the Danite question, and is composed in the main of extracts from writings by Joseph Smith.

We gather certain conclusions from the letter of Mr. Stead. One is that the writings of Joseph Smith show that such a gang as the Danite outfit existed, and that it was organized by men within the Mormon church. Joseph, of course, disclaims all responsibility for the organization, and his testimony must be taken as that of one man, and an interested one. Heretofore we have given the word of several men that Joseph was one of the chief sponsors for the gang at Far West, and that Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon were his supporters in the project. We have distinctly shown -- and it is impossible to make any other showing -- that none but Mormon elders over had a part in organizing the outfit, or that any but men of the Mormon faith was included in the membership. We believe, as David Whitmer says, that Joseph eventually repented his connection with the organization; but that only goes to prove that he was once identified with it. David Whitmer was driven out of Far West by the Danites, and his sole offense was one of opposition to the first presidency. Doctor Sampson Avard had the approval and authority of the first presidency to organize the Danites, and he was assisted by Huntington, Carter, Wight, Patton and other Mormon elders and high priests. There was nothing at all about it that was not Mormon from beginning to end. Brigham Young belonged to it at Nauvoo, as did O. P. Rockwell, Joseph's coachman, and numerous others of Joseph's close friends and associates. Smith admits that there were companies of tens and of fifties, and so on, organized under his direction, but wishes to leave the impression that these were not identical with the Danites. He has also denied that he ever taught or practiced polygamy at Nauvoo, and he has been found out later to have been a barefaced liar in that matter. His word is worth nothing, except as it may be of value in still further proving his hypocrisy. But it ought to be sufficient to note that in the letter written by Smith when he was in Liberty jail, he regretted the Danite gang and his connection with it, and vowed that "FROM HENCEFORTH" he would have nothing to do with it. The affidavit of the Nauvoo city council is absolutely worthless, because it denies that there existed in Nauvoo a Danite gang at all, without qualifying by adding "with the approval of the church authorities." There isn't a reader of Nauvoo history who does not know that statement to be a perjured one. Brigham Young was a member of the gang there, and in a sermon which he later preached in Salt Lake City he referred to the big bowie knife which he said he wore in Nauvoo as a scarf pin.

There is no question with The Tribune that the Danite gang existed -- there are too many proofs to that effect and there is quite as little doubt with us that it was organized at Far West, Missouri, by and with the knowledge and consent of the first presidency of the Mormon church. There are three witnesses to prove these points as against every one against them.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXII.           Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday, December 28, 1910.           No. 75.


David Whitmer, in his pamphlet, "An Address to All Believers in Christ," pages 57 and 58, calls attention to one certain change that has been made by the "revisers of the Lord" in an alleged revelation printed both in the old Book of Commandments and the later book of Doctrine and Covenants. Mr. Whitmer says:
This part of this revelation in the Book of Commandments reads thus: "And he (Joseph) has a gift to translate the Book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift."

But in the Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed and reads thus: "And you have a gift to translate the plates, and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you and I have commanded you that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished."
Mr. Whitmer, it must be remembered, was one of the first three witnesses to the "divinity'' of the Book of Mormon. His signature stands in the book today as such. Therefore, if his word is to be accepted in that matter most important to the church, it ought to carry equal weight as concerning other things. David Whitmer, in the pamphlet named, makes complaint, that for selfish purposes Joseph Smith and others deliberately and without right added to and took from what was originally proclaimed to be the word of God. He says that in this particular case the changes were made to fit the pretensions and ambitions of Joseph, who went from claiming only the gift of translation to assuming that he also was gifted as a prophet, seer, and revelator. The contention of Mr. Whitmer is that when the church was organized, April 6, 1830, there was no such person or office mentioned as "prophet, seer and revelator," and that this title was later assumed by Joseph for his personal aggrandizement. This was one of the reasons put forth by David for leaving the church one of the very many reasons. His claim was that the original word of the Lord was changed, departed from, and subverted; that after the founders of the Mormon church began to feel the power over men resulting from successful enforcement of their supposed divine authority, they began impositions in the name of the Lord that the original "word" had not contemplated.

The truth is, although David Whitmer does not say as much (yet we firmly believe that late in his life he recognized the fact), that Sidney Rigdon was the "god" from whom Joseph Smith received his "revelations." Notwithstanding the circumstances that Rigdon is not supposed to have met Joseph Smith until the latter had his religions project well under way, we have direct evidence going to show that Rigdon and Smith were fellow conspirators in the Book of Mormon fraud. If the other evidence which we have in our possession did not exist, we could point with some effect to the fact that the Mormon church leaders have taken more than ordinary pains to attempt to convince the world that Sidney Rigdon was unknown to Joseph Smith until some years after the "plates" had been "discovered."

Our claim is that Sidney Rigdon had more to do with the production of the Book of Mormon than had Joseph Smith (except as the latter was a mere figure-head), and that the "god" from whom Joseph Smith received his pretended revelations was no other than the man, Sidney Rigdon. We make these claims, just as we made claim to the truth of the assertion that the Danite gang was of official Mormon origin at Far West, Missouri, and we invite a similar investigation.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXXXIV.               Salt Lake City, Utah, Sunday, April 7, 1912.               No. 176.


John Wycliff Rigdon, aged 82 years, son of Sidney Rigdon, one of the first men to be associated with Mormonism, died early yesterday morning at the L. D. S. hospital of the infirmities of age. He had been confined since early in March and his death had been expected for some time.

Mr. Rigdon had been a resident of Salt Lake since 1904, when he became a Mormon convert. Prior to that time he gained some distinction on the lecture platform and with the pen. He was looked upon by those of Mormon faith as something of an authority in matters of the church's early history, owing to his associations with Joseph Smith, the founder, and with Sidney Rigdon, who is known to the church as one of the "three witnesses" to [sic - author of?] the Book of Mormon.

A widow and several children living in Los Angeles survive Mr. Rigdon. There are other relatives living in the east. For several years he had been indigent and had been cared for by friends, among them being several prominent officials of the Mormon church.

Funeral arrangements have not been made pending communication with the widow, who is in ill health at her home in Los Angeles.

Notes: (forthcoming)

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