Imágenes de páginas

ergies of awakened mind, which wrapt France in of the people burst forth in actual and open viothe flames of a revolution, a Saturnalia of crime lence. They thrust them forth, not without a ushering in the dawn of a brighter day, are here shedding of blood, from their borders, and forbade employed in working out the grand moral problems them, by an order of extermination, from again setof man's mission and destiny on earth, and his ex- ting foot on their soil ; and this persecution has istence in a future state-once, the vexed ques- done more to strengthen the Mormon cause, than tions of a few speculative and daring minds, but any good works of their own could have done ; now entering into the popular mind, and absorbing since, from time immemorial, the sympathies of the attention of the masses of the people. the people have always been with those who suf

Such are the strong and earnest struggles after fer, and against those who persecute, verifying a satisfying doctrine, now convulsing the minds of the words that “the blood of the martyrs is the our countrymen, and driving many of them into seed of the church." "false doctrine, heresy, and schism” against com- The Mormons have themselves published an acmon reason and common sense ; such is the storm, count of these persecutions, the title of which at present black with its angry and rolling clouds, heads this article; from whence our information through which the sun of truth will finally shine on this subject is chiefly derived, which, although forth in triumphant splendor, to flash on the inqui- probably exaggerated, is in its main facts, unhapring minds, now darkened with error, the conviction pily, not entirely devoid of truth, as we learned of these ever-abiding truths, that the ways of God's from the admissions made to us while in St. Louis providence are, and ever will be, inscrutable to the by disinterested persons, who united in deploring finite creatures formed by bis hand, and the ser- the extremities to which the citizens of Missouri vants of his will; and that “the upright heart and were carried by hatred of this people ; stating, at pure” is more earnestly to be sought after and the same time, that ample cause was given them valued, than any new and Titanic efforts to scale for their conduct, by the actions of the Mormons; the heavens by ranting violence, or stormy piety. which the latter, however, sturdily deny.

Viewed in connection with this national ten- The Missouri version of the matter is simply dency, the Mormon movement is one well worthy this, that the “ Latter-day-Saints” have two creeds. of notice; being an attempt to establish a new One Exoteric, or public, which they profess to the Theocracy, to substitute “ Revelations” through world at large; the other, Esoteric, or private, inspired individuals, for fixed and settled rules of known only to the initiated when they become conduct; a daring effort to create an “imperium members of the church, and that the latter is in in imperio ;” and to crush all individual will and fact the real religion and rule of conduct which freedom of thought, under a stupendous church they impose on themselves and are governed by machinery ; a despotism extending not alone to the in their intercourse with the rest of the world; mind and body, but seeking to fetter even the soul; and that this creed simply amounts to this, viz: and all this the work of a poor, ignorant, obscure,

" That the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness and heartless hypocrite; devoid of social position, thereof-that the Saints are the rightful inherimental culture, or even that great world-lever, tors of the earth—that they are the Saints, therewealth—but possessed of a stubborn, dogged ener- fore the earth with all it contains belongs to them, gy, an unflinching effrontery, and a profound know- and is theirs of right.” ledge of human nature in its weakest points. By And that acting upon these principles, the Morthese means, and these alone, he has reared up a mons unscrupulously appropriated the goods and church in the wilderness, who firmly believe in property of the neighboring Missourians, and perhim, as an inspired “Prophet ;” and as the fire petrated divers wrongs and enormities against them; spreads over the wintry prairie, so has their infec- which finally induced them, since mild measures tious zeal multiplied converts to their new doctrine, had failed, to drive them out of the country, as a until the “ Latter-day-Saints” number their tens nuisance which had to be abated; all of which, the of thousands, whose active emissaries never rest. Mormons most solemnly deny ; attributing the con

In the western and northern cities, their churches duct of their enemies to a desire of appropriating may be found; and scarce a nook or corner of our their property and goods, which they certainly did Union that has not been visited by their itinerant do, without making (as far as we could learn) any preachers. They have penetrated into Western reparation therefor. Virginia ; in the States further South they rarely For the present, however, we will pass by this venture ; but from the “ East,” as they quaintly controversy, and attempt briefly to skeich the early term the Northern States, are drawn many of their history of the “ Prophet,” Joseph Smith, as deconverts : “the old Puritan leaven" is often knead-tailed in one of the works before us, written by a ed up into this new" bread of life;" and the mighty member of his church, which, as Goethe said of Valley of the Mississippi begins to feel their his own autobiography, is composed both of truth power and to fear their ultimate designs. and fiction, the latter preponderating to a very con

In Missouri especially, the jealousy and hatred 'siderable extent. The book, however, is well

written, and in addition to the imaginative life of chance, or uncertainties, was more than he could Joseph, contains a sketch of the Mormon creed, endure.” 10 which we shall presently call the attention of These thoughts were exceedingly natural and the reader. It is a very curious production alto- probable, as occurring to the mind of an ignorant, gether, considering it as written by an educated uneducated plough-boy, 15 years old ; but the prefaand well informed man in the 19th century, appa- tory remarks are merely intended as a foretaste of rently in sober seriousness, being much better the wonders which immediately after he pours out fitted for the meridian of the 13th or 14th century, with a prodigal hand. So he continues with the when marvels and miracles were not uncommon, meditations of young Joseph, carried on probably but matters of every day occurrence. The narra- while he was running a crooked furrow, or attendtive is quite matter of fact in its tone and style, ing a “cider frolic,” in which the Green Mountain and would compare well with De Foe's “ Robinson boys especially delight. Crusoe,” were it not for the exceedingly unroman- “The great question to be decided in his mind," tic name of its hero; a name, which no skill could quoth Pratt,“ was—if any of these denominations render euphonious, or remarkable.

be the Church of Christ, which one is it? Until he The style and title of this veracious and pecu- could become satisfied in relation to this question, liar liule book, are as follows:

he could not rest contented. The only alternative

that seemed to be left him was to read the Scrip"An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable tures and endeavor to follow their directions." Visions, and the Late Discovery of Ancient Ameri

Finding reading rather fatiguing, probably from can Records, which unfold the History of this Con. tinent, from the earliest ages after the food, to the want of sufficient exercise in that way, although beginning of the 5th century of the Christian era. he “could read without much difficulty,"our young With a Sketch of the Rise, Faith, and Doctrine of "Gallio" hit upon a shorter plan of solving his the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints.' doubts, and here the respectable Pratt, who has By O. Prait, Minister of the Gospel.”

hitherto been rather prosy, and snuffling through From this work (obtained in Nauvoo) is to be the nose, begins to display the imaginative vein, derived all the information, attainable to the unini- which entitles him to be considered a species of tiated, touching the history of "the Prophet” and prose Milton, dealing in “Angels holding converse his doctrine.

with mortals,” etc., though the snuffle through the From it we learn, that

nose, is still at times perceptible; for Joseph "Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr. who made the follow- “ Now saw that if he inquired of God, there was ing important discovery, was born in the town of not only a possibility, but a probability : yea more, Sharon, Vermont, on the 23rd December, A. D., a certainty ihat he should obtain a knowledge which 1805. When ten years old, his parents with their of all the doctrines was the doctrine of Christ, and family removed to Palmyra, New York, in the vi- which of all the Churches was the Church of cinity of which he resided for about eleven years. Christ.” “ He therefore retired to a secret place Cultivating the earth for a livelihood employed most in a grove, but a short distance from his father's of his time. His advantages for acquiring literary house, and knelt down and began to call upon the knowledge, were exceedingly small hence bis edu- Lord. At first he was severely tempted by the cation was liinited to a slight acquaintance with Powers of Darkness, which endeavored to overtwo or three of the common branches of learning. come him ; but he continued to seek for deliverance He could read without much difficulty, and write a unuil darkness gave way from his mind, and he was very imperfect hand; and had a very limited un- enabled to pray in fervency of spirit and in faith. derstanding of the ground rules of Arithmetic. And while thus pouring out his soul, he at length These were his highest and only attainments." saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens

above, which gradually drew near.” It continued It may be supposed, that he had subsequently descending slowly until it rested on the earth, and applied himself, to remedy the defects of his early he was enveloped in the midst of it." training, by diligent study and self-improvement,

The effects of this light were somewhat peculiar bat such is not the case ; any one conversing with

upon Joseph's system, being somewhat similar to him can easily perceive, that he is an illiterate, those produced by the inhalation of the Nitrous ignorant and vulgar inan, rough in his exterior, ind boorish and unpolished in manners and address; known the feelings of Smith on that occasion,

Oxide Gas, for Pratt, who seems intuitively to have so that we can confirm the statement of the vera

proceeds to say, ions Pratt. The author then proceeds to say, that

“When it first came upon him, it produced a

peculiar sensation throughout his whole system ; " When somewhere about 14 or 15 years of age, and immediately his mind was caught away from le began seriously to reflect on the necessity of the natural objects with which he was surrounded, eing prepared for a future state of existence; but and he was enwrapped in a glorious vision, and ow, or in what way to prepare himself, was a ques saw two heavenly personages, who exactly rejon as yet undetermined in his own mind. He sembled each other in their features or likeness. aw that if he understood not the way, it would be He was informed that his sins were forgiven. Ho npossible to walk in it, except by chance, and the was also informed that none of the existing churches hought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon was the true church ; and that the fulness of she

VOL. X-67

Gospel should at some future time be made known ancient Israel concerning their posterity was at 10 him. After which the vision withdrew, leaving hand to be fulfilled; that the great preparatory his mind in a state of calmness and peace inde- work for the second coming of the Messiah was scribable.”

speedily to commence; that the time was at hand We have quoted this bare-faced lying and mis- nations, that a people might be prepared with faith

for the Gospel in its fulness to be preached to all erable iwaddle, merely as a specimen of the gene- and righteousness for the millenial reign of univerral tone and temper of the book, which abound in sal peace and joy. similar scenes. The impression would be purely

· He was informed that he was called and choone of unmitigated disgust, did not the reader re- sen to be an instrument in the hands of God, to flect, that this wild raving was accepted as truth bring about some of his marvellous purposes in this

glorious dispensation. It was also made manifest by numbers of intelligent and apparently rational

to him that the · American Indians' were a rembeings; and we have ourselves heard Joseph's di-nant of Israel; that when they first emigrated to vine mission, and communications with celestial America they were an enlightened people, posvisitants, sustained with rare powers of argument sessing a knowledge of the true God, enjoying his and reasoning, in a squallid garret at Nauvoo, by the Prophets and inspired writers among them were

favor and peculiar blessings from his hands. That analogies drawn from the New Testament, and required to keep a sacred history of the most imthe meek and lowly character of the Founder of portant events transpiring among them; till at the Christian faith.

length they fell into great wickedness; the most The vision has not even the merit of originality, part of them were destroyed and the Records, by since it was evidently suggested, and in fact al- commandment of God to one of the last Prophets most copied, from a scene in the life of poor Cow- among thein,) were safely deposited to preserve

them from the hands of the wicked who sought to per, whose diseased imagination once suggested to destroy them. He was informed that these Records him a similar phenomenon, with the exception of contained many sacred Revelations pertaining to the heavenly shapes; but in his case, it was evi- the gospel of the Kingdom, as well as Propberies dently the phantom of an excited and diseased ima- relating to the great events of the last days; and gination acting upon a nervous and shattered

that they were to come forth to the knowledge of frame, the precursor of that madness, which after-ment who should be thus highly favored in bringing

the people. If faithful he was to be the instruwards prostrated his powerful intellect; but which these holy things to light. After giving him many this coarse impostor seeks to appropriate for his instructions concerning things past and to come, he own purposes of deception.

disappeared, and the light and glory of God withBut this was only the first act: the interest is drew, &c. But before morning the vision was much heightened in the second, where the scene

iwice renewed with further instructions. In the

morning he went out to his labur as usual, but soon opens with Joseph in bed, (another lame imitation the vision was renewed, the Angel again appeared ; of Samuel's vision.) thus detailed by the veracious and having been informed by the previous visions and imaginative “ Minister of the Gospel.” And of the night concerning the place where those

Records were deposited, he was instructed to go “It pleased God on the evening of the 21st of immediately and view them." September, 1823, again to hear his prayers. For he had retired to rest as usual, only that his mind

He accordingly repaired to the place, which is was drawn out in tervent prayer, and his soul was minutely described by one Oliver Cowdery, a neighfilled with the most earnest desire to commune bor and proselyle of Smith's, in Western Newwith some kind messenger who could communicate York, from whose narrative we extract the followto him the desired information of his acceptance with God;' and also unfold the true doctrines of

ing particulars. Christ, according to the promises which he had “As you go on the Rail-road from Palmyra to received in the former vision. On a sudden, a Canandaigna, in the State of New York, before light like that of day, only of a purer and far more arriving at the little village of Manchester, you glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the pass a large hill on the east side of the road, as

Indeed the first sight was as though the large perhaps as any in that country.” house were filled with a consuming fire. This sud

The southern side of this hill was the place den appearance of a light so bright, as must natu- where the discovery of the pretended Records was rally be expected, occasioned a shock or sensation visible to ihe extremities of the body. It was, made. Mr. Cowdery goes on to sayhowever, followed by a calmness and serenity of “How far below the surface these Records were mind and an overwhelming rapture of joy that sur-anciently placed I am unable to say, but from passed onderstanding, and in a moment a person- the fact that they had been for some fourteen hun age stood before hini." “ The stature of this per- dred years buried, and that too on the side of : sonage was a little above the common size of men hill so sleep, one is ready to conclude that they in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and were some feet below, as ihe earth woald naturally had the appearance of being without seam.” “ This wear away more or less in that space of time." glorious being declared himself to be an angel of “ A hole of sufficient depth was dug; at the bottom God sent forth by commandment to communicate of this was laid a stone of suitable size, the upper to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his surface being smooth. On this stone rested foar prayers were heard ; and also to bring the joyful others bedded in cement, forming a bos impervisas iidings that the covenant which God made with '10 rain or moisture. This box was sufficiently


large to admit a breast-plate, such as was used by he determined to leave that part of the country, the ancients to defend the chest, &c., from the and " putting the plates in a barrel of beans," says arrows or weapons of their enemies. From the his biographer, “emigrated to the northern part of bottom of the box, resting on this breast-plate, arose three small pillars of cement, and upon these three Pennsylvania,” after having been iwice stopped pillars were placed the Records. This box con- and searched vainly for the plates of gold; which, iaining the Records was covered with another by a special miracle, we suppose, were hidden from stone; the bottom surface of which was flat, the the eyes of the searchers. upper crowning.” “When it was first visited by Mr. Smith, on the morning of the 220 September,

“Having provided himself with a home, he com1823, a part of the crowning stone was visible menced translating the Record by the gift and above the surface, while the edges were concealed power of God. through the means of the Urim and by the soil and grass. After arriving at the re-Thummim; and being a poor wriler, (inspiration pository, a little exertion in removing ihe soil from not being a school-master,) he was under the the edges of the box, and a light pry brought to necessity of employing a scribe, to write the transhis natural vision its contents."

lation as it came from his mouth ;" Then follows another blasphemous description

Though the name and residence of this scribe, so of the reappearance of the “ Angel of the Lord” important a witness of the truth of this statement, and his instructions and admonitions to Joseph is no where given. He then continues to state Smith: he also exhibited to him “ The Prince of that Darkness, surrounded by bis innumerable asso- “ Mr. Smith continued the work of translation ciales," whose old title of the “Father of Lies” as his pecuniary circumstances would permit, until has been fairly wrested from him by this new he finished the unsealed part of the Records. The • Prophet.” He was informed that he was not part translated is entitled the Book of Mormon, yet quite purified enough in heart to obtain the Testament."

and contains nearly as much reading as the Old " Records,” but should at some future time ; followed by a long string of prophecies touching the

He then proceeds to give an analysis of the confuture glory of his people, which the pious narra

tents, to which we will presen!'y recur. tor summarily disposes of in the following words-Faith. The name of “ Latterday-Saints” was

Such is the pretended origin of the Mormor Although many more instructions were given adopted by them from a passage in the propheby the mouth of the Angel to Mr. Smith, which cies of Daniel, which they have applied to themwe do not write in this book, yet the most impor- selves, which is as followstant items are contained in the foregoing relation. During the four following years he frequently re

And the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatceived instruction from the mouth of the heavenly ness of the Kingdom, under the whole Heaven, messenger: and on the morning of the 22nd Sep shall be given to the people of the Saints of the teinber, 1827, the Angel of the Lord delivered the Most High; whose Kingdom is an everlasting Records into his hands."

Kingdom ; and all dominions shall serve and obey ** These Records were engraved on plates which him.”—Daniel vii, 27. had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not far from seven to eight inches in length and width, Smith actually discovered any plates at all, divest

A very interesting question here arises, whether being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings in Egyp- ing his narrative of its supernatural machinery, tian characters, and bound together in a volume, as and making allowances for a poetic amplification of the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with his materials ? On this point conflicting opinions three rings running through the whole. This prevail, among those best qualified to decide. It is volume was near six inches in thickness, a part of irue that he parades the “ Testimony of Three which was sealed. The characters or letters on Witnesses," and also the “Testimony of Fight the unsealed part were smail and beautifully en

Book of More graved. The whole book exhibited many marks Witnesses” in the sequel of the “ of antiquity in its construction, as well as much mon,” to prove the existence of the plates; but skill in the art of engraving. With the Records their testimony goes for nothing, for they prove was found a curious instrument, called by the too much, more than they possibly could have Ancients “Urim and Thummim,' which consisted known; and are all of them, friends, kinsmen, of two transparent stones clear as crystal set in two rims of a bow. This was in use in ancient converts, and probably assistants in imposture with times by persons called Seers. It was an instru- the Prophet. The “ Testimony of the Three Witment, by the use of which, they received revelations nesses,” laying claim to their knowledge " through of things distant, or of things past or future.” the actual presence and direct communication of

“ Soon the news of his discoveries spread abroad an angel,” we will not insult the understandings of throughout all those parts. False reports, slanders, etc., flew as if upon the wings of the wind our readers by quoting. It is sigued by Oliver in every direction. The house was frequently Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. beset by mobs; several times he was shot at, and The “ Testimony of the Eight Witnesses" is very narrowly escaped ; every device was used to more plausible and reasonable, and is in the fol. get the plates away from him.”

lowing words, Finally, being wearied out by these annoyances,

“Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues

upon them.

and people unto whom this work shall come, that, ence, that he concealed the plates in this mound, Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, hath at Kinderhook,* for his future uses, and that either shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, by artful management or accident they were diswhich have the appearance of gold ; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, covered and sent to him as above mentioned, formwe did handle with our hands. And we also saw ing an additional link in the chain of his proofs. the engravings thereon, all of which has the appear- We have now before us a fac-simile of these ance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. brazen plates, and the hieroglyphics they contain And we give our names unio the world to witness are certainly very curious, bearing but a slight reunto the world that which we have seen.

And we

semblance to either the Mexican or Egyptian lie not, God bearing witness of it."

hieroglyphics, with which we have compared Signed.

them. The mound from which they were taken CHRISTIAN WHITMER, JACOB WHITMER, Peter WHITMER, JR., JOHN WHITMER,

was in the shape of a sugar loaf; the usual shape Hiram Page,

JOSEPH SMITH, SR, of the mounds which abound in the valley of the HYRAM SMITH,

S. H. Smith.

West. So much for the plates; now for the preNone others have ever seen these plates, and tended translation of the hieroglyphics inscribed the weight of evidence would be therefore strongly against the probability of any such discovery, were The ancient mounds and other antiquities which it not for one or two corroborating circumstances; have been brought to light upon this Western colthe first of these is, that at or about the period of tinent, many of which bear marks of a much higher Smith's discovery of the plates, a few of the ori- civilization than the Indian tribes ever could have ginal characters transcribed by him were sent by attained t0,the bones of a race different from the a person named Martin Harris to Professor An- Indian, which have been discovered in cares in thon of New York, who examined them, but pro-Ohio, Kentucky and elsewhere, and the thousand fessed himself unable to decipher them, expressing traditions among the Indians relating to events, however the opinion, that were the original records recorded only on the pages of the sacred solume, brought he might be able to decipher them. It can have all combined to induce the belief among the not for a moment be supposed that an ignorant learned who have made this matter their peculiar country boy as Smith then was, destitute of all study, that the Indians were not the aborigines of culture or knowledge, could have imposed his own this country, but dispossessed and destroyed a far clumsy fabrications upon so learned and acute a superior and more civilized race, the relics of scholar as Dr. Anthon is universally acknow-whose skill in the arts still remain to testify the ledged to be ; but must have copied them from proficiency they had made in the comforts and some originals in his own possession, in some way refinements of life. discovered or procured; and this view of the matter

The recent and stariling discoveries of Stephens is somewhat confirmed by the second corroborating in Yucatan and central America, who has stumcircumstance before alluded to, which is the dis- bled upon the ruins of magnificent and splendid covery of six brass plates," similar in shape and cities, unknown to history or tradition, which must character to those described in the narrative of in former times have been the seat of some powerSmith, which were discovered near Kinderhook, ful but vanished race, extending back into the earin the State of New York,* in April 1843, buried in lier ages of the world; The strange and peculiar the centre of a large mound, surrounded by human civilization of the Aztecs, as graphically described bones, which apparently had been burned. The by Prescott in his delightful history, evidently a communication to the newspaper relating the par- rude graft upon some purer and higher sivilizationticulars of the discovery, was made by a Dr. Har- the origin of which their own traditions ascribed ris of that place, 10 which was appended the fol- to a white stranger coming from the East; The lowing certificate.

many rites and ceremonies prevailing among the “We, citizens of Kinderhook, whose names are rude Indian tribes, resembling, or copied from those annexed, do certify and declare that on the 23d of April, 1843, while excavating a large mound in of the Eastern nations, though strikingly perserted this vírinity, Mr. M. Wiley took from said mound from their original intent-and the relics of an “six brass plates” of a bell shape, covered with older and higher civilization daily disentombed ancient characters. Said plates were very much from the mounds of the Western valley-all comoxydated. The bands and rings on said plates bine to prove with irresistible force, that the lomouldered into dust on a slight pressure. The above described plates we have handed to Mr. dian Savages were not the earliest and only inhaSharp for the purpose of having them taken to bitants of this Western continent, and that the so Nauvov." Signed by nine citizens of Kinderhook. called New World, although its records have per

It will be recollected that when Smith left the ished, leaving only a few crumbling ruins to altest State of New York for Pennsylvania he was twice the existence of a former people who dwelt within stopped upon the road, and subjected to a strict its borders, may yet have nourished in her bosom search; yet the plates could not be found; is it not

* Hardly probable. The plates spoken of were found st then, under the circumstances, a reasonable infer- 'Kinderhook, Illinois. -[Ed. Mess.

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