Imágenes de páginas

civilization coeval with and as distinctive as that him to while away the tedious hours of a sick of Egypt.

man's chamber. Upon his death, the MS. is supWhence this civilization was derived, whether posed to have fallen into the hands of a man, whose indigenous to the soil, or brought by its framers name (we think) was Sidney Rigdon; a keen, from a foreign land, we have no means of ascer- shrewd, unscrupulous man, of a restless and dartaining now, though many of the customs and cere-ing intellect, but lacking physical courage. Findmonies still lingering among the Indian tribes, ing in Joseph Smith the qualities, which (as he would go to confirm the latter. Some of these are supposed) would make him an useful and obedient peculiarly striking; such for example as the form lool, in case of success; or a convenient scapeobserved in taking a solemn oath among the Wes-goat in the event of failure ; he tutored and drilled tern Indians, where the person affirming placed his him in the part which he was to play; and the event hand under the left thigh of him to whom he was showed, that unfortunately, his calculations as to pledging his faith ; a custom extensively prevailing the “ dupability" of his fellow citizens, were too among the Oriental Nations in ancient times, which correct. The new doctrine took like wild-fire, existed among the Israelites, and is frequently re- Smith was elevated into the dignity of a Prophet ; ferred to as a prevailing and common usage, in and an injudicious persecution endeared him to liis the Book of Genesis, and in other parts of the Sa- followers, by the cement of a common suffering in cred writings. It is from these and some other a common canse ; and Rigdon, too late perceived analogies, that the opinion has been strenuously that he had mistaken his man; that beneath the urged and maintained, by learned inquirers, that rough exterior was hidden an iron will, before the Indians were in fact the lost Tribes of Israel ; which he himself was forced to bend ; and that like and much skill and learning has been employed to the Sorcerers of old, who invoked the Fiend, he set forth and defend this theory. The North-Wes- had gained a master, where he sought a slave. tern passage was supposed to have been the route He had committed himself too far with Smith by which they reached this continent; and the to expose him ; and had shared too much in the transition from the shepherd to the hunter state, imposture to recede; so he was forced to play a was by no means difficult or unnatural : the change subordinate part, but still remains the secret guiof color is, by these theorists, accounted for by the ding spirit of the Mormon policy; of which, he is gradual change wrought in successive generations the head, and Smith the hand to execute. by exposure to the elements and the hardships of a That the account given above ot' the composition hunting life.

of the “ Book of Mormon" is the correct one, is It is this captivating, but wild theory, which has verified (to our mind) by the internal evidence of been arifully seized as the basis of the Mormon the name, of which neither Smith nor his colleagues, faith; which is wrought out with much artistic skill understood the latent meaning; as we presume our and imaginative power in the" Book of Mormon;" readers know, that the word “ Mormon," in Greek, a book far beyond the powers of Smith to compose, signifies a bugbear," or imposition; the name and which as an imaginative fiction, will take a high Moroni" too, next in importance in this book, rank in American literature, long after Mormonism, signifies in the same language " a foolish person. as a faith, shall have shared the fate of all other The division of the work into different books, as falsities, which ever bear within them the seeds of well as the style, is in studied imitation of the their own destruction.

Scriptures, and as far as such imitation can be, Before giving a brief and rapid analysis of the successful. The names of the different books are contents, it may not be amiss to attempt an answer as follows: the Book of Nephi; of Jacob; of Moto the inquiry, whether Smith himself was capable siah; of Alma; of Helaman; of Nephi, Jr.; of of composing this book? To this question an em- Ether; Mormon, and Moroni, prefaced by an exphatic negative must be returned. As before sta- tract from the latter, who was the son of Mormon, ted, the man himself is a vulgar and illiterate im- as follows: postor, whose ordinary conversation is grossly in- * The book of Mormon; an account written by correct and trivial ; totally incapable of composing the hand of Mormon, upon Plates, taken from the a connected sermon, far less a sustained and skilful Plates of Nephi.” narrative ; yet by his deluded followers, this very the people of Nephi and also of the Lamanites;

" Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of argument is used, as a proof of his inspiration, (an written to ihe Lamanites, who are a remnant of the analogy drawn, we suppose, from the case of Ba- House of Israel; and also 10 Jew and Gentilelaam's Ass.) Who then did write the Book of written by way of commandment and also by the Mormon? The belief of the best informed on this Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation. Written and subject is, that it was the production of a young not be destroyed, to come forth by the gift and power

sealed up and hid up unto the Lord, that they might Lawyer, or Divine, in Western New-York; a of God into the interpretation thereof. Sealed up young man of high talent and much promise, why by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the Lordo; was early the victim of a rapid decline ; and that to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; this history of a new Religion was composed by the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.”

Our limits, and the space we have already occu-Ithey remained concealed until, by the ministry of pied, will not permit us to give more than a very an Angel, they were discovered by Mr. Smith, who, brief outline of the contents of these several books, by the gift and power of God, translated them into contained in the book of Mormon. The following, and Thummim, as stated in the foregoing."

the English language, by the means of the Urim which we quote from one of their elders, contains the chief events :

In the year 1829, Mr. Smith and Mr. Cowdery,

having learned the correct mode of baptism, from “In this important and interesting book, we can the “ Book of Mormon,” but knowing that no one read the History of Ancient America from its early of ariy of the denominations had the authority to settlement by a colony, who came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the be- administer it, were somewhat puzzled, until the gioning of the fifth century of the Christian era. difficulty was solved by the appearance of an AnWe learn that America, in ancient times, was in- gel, who laying his hands upon their heads, ordainhabited by two distinct races of people : the first, ed them and ordered them to baprize one another, or more ancient race, came directly from the great which- they accordingly did. Tower, being called Jaredites ; the second race, carne directly from the city of Jerusalem, about

In the year 1830, a large edition of the “ Book six hundred years before Christ, being Israelites, of Mormon” first appeared in print; converts were the descendants of Joseph. The first nation, or made; and in the same year, on the 6th of April, Jaredites, were destroyed about the time that the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints" Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them was organized in the Town of Manchester, State in the inheritance of the country. The principal of New-York; and this was the “cloud no bigger nation of the second race fell in battle towards ihe close of the 4ih century. The remaining remnant

than a man's hand,” which now hangs with ominous having dwindled into an uncivilized state, still con- blackness upon our Western Horizon, presaging a tinue to inhabit the land ; although divided into a terrible storm. Since that time their numbers "multitude of nations, and are called, by Euro- have increased with an amazing rapidity, unparalpeans, the 'American Indians.'

leled by the spread of any other religion. Their “ The remnant of Joseph, after arriving in this country, separated into two distinct nations, the

first move was to a place in Missouri called " Far Nephites and the Lamanites; the former having a West :” here they settled in great numbers, until copy of the Scriptures, engraven on plates of brass, in that neighborhood alone they amounted 10 12 or in the Egyptian language; the Nephites emigrated 13,000. The jealousy of the Missourians, excited towards the Northern part of South America, leav- by religions and political causes, aggravated by ing the Lamanites in possession of the Northern alleged outrages committed by them on the citiand middle parts of the continent. The Nephites throve and Hourished; but the Lamanites, because zens of Missouri, at last burst out into open rioof the hardness of their hearts, brought down many lence, and a war was waged between the two parjudgments on their own heads; and the Lord cur- ties, in which many lives were lost on both sides; sed them in their complexions, and they became a but the Mormons finally worsted and driven from dark, loathsome and filihy people; wild, savage and the borders of the State. They have published ferocious, waging desperate war against the Nephites, by whom they were repulsed with great Missourians with the perpetration of great cruel


their statements of the matter, which charges the slaughter ; tens of thousands being frequently slain on both sides, who were piled together in great ties, but whether truly or not we have no means of heaps upon the ground, with a shallow covering of ascertaining. It is stated, however, that Governor earth; which accounts for the existence of those Boggs of that State issued an exterminating order ancient mounds filled with human bones, so numerous at the present day both in North and South against them to the following effect. America.

HEAD QUARTERS OF THE MILITIA. “The Nephites were favored with the personal

Jefferson City, Oct. 27, 1828. minisıry of Jesus Christ, for after he arose from Sir:-Since the order of the morning to you, I the dead, and finished his ministry at Jerusalem, and ascended into Heaven, he descended in the have received information of the most appalling presence of the Nephites who were assembled character, ch changes entirely the face of round about their Temple, in the Northern part of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of South America."

an avowed defiance of the laws, and of having Finally, a tremendous war took place between made war upon the people of the State. The the Nephites and Lamanites, in the Western part Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be of New-York; where, like the Kilkenny Cars, they exterminated or driven from the State, if necessary actually demolished each other; the records of the for the public peace. Their outrages are beyond Nephiies having been concealed in the hill, “ Cum- all description. If you can increase your force, morah," which is in the State of New York, about you are authorized to do so to any extent you may 200 miles West of the city of Albany; Moroni, think necessary. The whole force will be placed the son of Mormon, escaped from the battle and under your command. continued the record down to the 420th year of the Signed,

L. W. Bocos, Christian era; when he

Gorernor and Commander in Chief." “Hid them up in the hill Cummorah, where This document is very much to the point; stera

enough and merciless, but giving reasons for the back from the water's edge, for six miles, was one terrible severity of his orders, in those brief words. unbroken row of finished and partially finished ** Their outrages are beyond description." What buildings of substantial brick or stone, and on a they are he does not state, probably because well hill, towering above the rest, keeping, as it were, understood by the officers to whom the order is watch and ward over the infant city-its graceful addressed; there is some confirmation afforded, proportion clearly defined against the bright blue too, by the very vindication put forth by the Mor- sky, arose the walls of that classic and stately mons; for in it appears an admission of a secret Temple,” which, when completed, will proudly organization existing among themselves, known by vie with any similar edifice in the United States, the name of the “ Danite Band,” who “ had cer- and which is to make Nauvoo the centre spot and tain signs and words by which they could know rallying place of all the faithful. one another, either by day or night." They are It was indeed wonderful to think of. But four bound 10 keep those words and signs secret. And years before, the wild primeval forest, the silence the author of the “ defence," speaks much of the alone broken by the dashing of the Mississippi against " horror expressed by the mob at some secret clan its banks—and now, a city numbering 17,000 souls, known as the Danites," of whose real character whose population was increasing each day by emiand objects, he professes ignorance, “not being a grants from Europe, and the States. The Prophet member."

himself said to us, “My city has grown up like Driven from Missouri, the "Latter-day-Saints" Jonah's gourd :" he may well beware lest the furtook refuge in Illinois, where they were kindly ther analogy holds good. The city is situated on received, and from the Legislature of which State, the upper Mississippi, about 400 miles above its they have received some valuable privileges; one junction with the Missouri, midway almost between of which is the incorporation of their city, and the Quincey and Galena. The surrounding country is establishment there of a municipal court of their still an unbroken forest, and he who has never seen own, which, as we were informed by the Prophet the forests of the Far-West can form but an imhimself, has jurisdiction of all civil and criminal perfect idea of nature's gigantic products in the causes arising within the corporate limits; thus wilderness. iosuring their civil independence of the State We were strenuously dissuaded from stopping at authorities; the other important privilege being the the city, being warned that it was dangerous; but authorized establishment of the "Nauvoo Legion,” persevered in our original intent, and candor coma military force, which has been subjected to a pels us to admit that we received every kindness thorough and perfect training under able officers, and hospitality at the hands of the Prophet and invited and paid for that special purpose, and which, his people. They are not a polished and courtly animated by fanatic zeal, would be an effective and people; to forms they attach no value ; but in that dangerous force, led by a reckless desperado, truer politeness, which consists in a sincere desire burning with hatred and unsatisfied revenge.

to aid in fulfilling all the wishes excited by the The city of Nauvoo. (a Hebrew word, signifying curiosity of a stranger, the rugged “ Saints" of beautiful,) is the great city of the faith, the Mecca Nauvoo might give some useful lessons 10 the perof Mormonism. It is beautifully situated on a fumed and contemptible dandies of the older cities. range of hills, sloping gently down to the Missis- Justice, too, compels us to admit that during our sippi's edge. As a military position it would be residence in the city we saw or heard nothing almost impregnable, three of its sides being washed which was calculated to offend the most scrupulous by the waters of the Mississippi; and the fourth delicacy, or the nicest morality, and we pried about protected by a range of hills. It merits richly the and questioned, with genuine American spirit, in Dame it has received, for as our noble boat, breast- all directions; and a careful and watchful examiing the rapid current of the Mississippi, majesti- nation and inquiry, forced upon our minds the concally glided up to the city, her deck was thronged viction that whatever the sins of the Mormon peoby eager strangers, and exclamations of delight ple might be, they did not lie upon the surface of and astonishment burst from every lip. We knew their society. Their city is the most quiet and that but three years before, a scattered and perse- orderly of its size we have ever visited ; there are cuted remnant had fled to this spot for refuge, and no loungers to be seen in their streets, all is hard expected only to find a few wretched hovels with work; there are no public houses or drinking squalid and poverty-stricken inmates. And lo, in houses allowed within the city, and they refrain the bright sunlight of an August morning, we entirely from the use of spirituous liquors ; in fact, looked upon a thriving and populous city, from in its police and arrangements, it is a model city. whence arose the hum of labor, and the stir of The only objectionable feature that struck us, peaceful industry. The dwellings on the waters was the bitter fanaticism of the people; not that edge were humble indeed, for here it was the terri- they refuse to argue their doctrines, or speak intolefied and stricken Mormons had first paused to rest, rantly, but any one who looks upon their stern and afler escaping from their enemies; but stretching 'rigid features, flashing forth a fierce enthusiasm on


any allusion to their creed, or listens to their con- physical power; his head is small and phrenologiversation, garnished like that of the old Puritans,cally bad ; the animal greatly preponderating over with Scriptural quotations, must be convinced that the intellectual ; his hair of a light brown brushed with them the passion of religious fanaticism, like back from his face; his complexion ruddy, the Aaron's rod, has swallowed up all others; they may cast of his features heavy, common-place and sulbe dupes, but the mass of them certainly are not len in expression ; his eye small and of a dull gray hypocrites. Every ng revolves around the color, heavy and lustreless when in repose, bat church, of which Joe Smith is the acknow when we mentioned the Missouri outrages, glaring ledged head. The church owns much property, with suppressed passion ; the whole face indicawhich he holds as trustee, and the profits of which ted but little intellectual power, but much lowle manages. The old system of tithes has been cunning and subtlety, with an hypocritic humility revived among them, and he who has no property upon it, evidently not its natural expression. must contribute a tenth part of his labor to the His whole aspect and appearance was that of erection of the “ Temple;" the walls of which are a rough, ignorant countryman; and no stranger already upwards of thirty feet in height; the build- meeting him by chance, would ever dream that ing is of yellow stone, which can be procured in that heavy, inert looking individual was the celegreat abundance near the city, and the design of brated “ Prophet” of the Mormons; the founder of the temple is both novel and imposing. In the a New Faith; verifying the scornful words of basement story is placed a baptismal font, in imita- Oxenstiern to his sontion of that in Solomon's Temple, supported by “Nescis, mi fili, quam parva sapientia regitur mundos.” twelve oxen, carved out of hard wood, the size of

The space we have already occupied, warns 05 life, and beautifully executed. The Prophet is said

to close this article on a subject, which we fear to have been the architect who planned the build-,

may not interest the generality of readers; the ing; if this be true he has displayed as much skill

importance of which, however, we have by no in fabricating buildings as religions.

means exaggerated. He deserves no credit for it, however, since his followers declare that he received the plan by line of their doctrine or rule of faith, which we

It only now remains for us to give a brief outspecial revelation; as well as the plan of a very shall extract from an “Address” by one of their extensive hotel, now in the course of erection, by elders to the people of the United States, the capwhich revelation, himself and children are to have tion of which heads this article. and hold a suite of rooms in the said hotel, when finished, in perpetuity, rent free, which the infatuated people have willingly assented to, on condition CREED OF THE LATTER-DAY-SAINTS. that the “ Prophet" keeps the tavern, which he has The Latter-day-Saints believe in God the Eteractually agreed to do.

pal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in The Temple being unfinished, in favorable wea- the Holy Ghost who bears record of them, throughther their religious services are conducted in a out all ages the same, and forever. grove, bordering on the Temple; and here we saw They believe that in Adam's fall all men sioned, assembled upwards of 5,000 people, men and wo- but that Christ's atonement was all sufficient for the men, listening with eager attention to the words removal of " original sin” in man and ibat all men which fell from the lips of the Prophet, who preach - not transgressing some law in their own persons ed to them on that day. They came in carriages, are guiltless in the sight of God. For which they carts and wagons, and remained seated as they quote Romans v., 28. John xii., 32. came. Others were ranged upon benches, set out All infants, by their creed being incapable of upon the grass. The Prophet stood upon an ele- knowing good and evil and of obeying or disobeying vated platform of boards, with 12 of his elders a law, and there being no transgression where seated behind him; his appearance was by no there is no law, if they should die in their infant means prepossessing; his voice harsh and untuna- state would enjoy eternal life, being neither transble, his sermon a compound of ranting violence and gressors themselves, nor accountable for Adam's scraps of Scripture badly applied, and ungrammati- sin. cal to the last degree. Judging of him by this They believe that all men will be judged by the specimen of his powers, we should have regarded light that is in them, and that those who do not him as a stupid, ignorant ranter, devoid of intellect know a law can not transgress it. or sagacity; but a subsequent interview in private, They believe in the Holy Scriptures of the Prodispelled these opinions, and convinced us, that if phets and Apostles ; and that all mysticism, or prinot an orator, he was eminently fitted for a man of vate interpretation ought to be done away with. action ; a rude Cromwell on a smaller scale, of he Scriptures should be taught, understood and dauntless energy, and fertile in resources. In per- practised in their most plain, simple, easy and lineson, he is large and bulky, upwards of six feet in |ral sense, according to the legitimate meaning of height, and broad in proportion, possessing great the words and sentences, precisely the same, as if found in any other book. The prophetical and consider the Book of Mormon as a historical and doctrinal writings contained in the Bible are mostly religious record, written in ancient times by a adapted to the capacities of the simple and un- branch of the House of Israel, who peopled Amelearned—10 the common

rica and from whom the Indians are descended.

sense of the people. The Book of Mormon corroborates and confirms They are designed to be understood and practised, the truth of the Scriptures by showing that the without which none can profit by them.

same principles were revealed and enjoyed in a The Latter-day-Sainis believe that the country far remote from the scenes where ihe Jew

ish Bible was written. "Gospel dispensation revealed and established

Many Revelations and Prophecies have been one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Holy Spirit ; given to this church since its rise, which have in short, one system of religion, one church, or been printed and sent forth to the world. They assembly of worshippers. united in their doctrine also contain the Gospel in great plainness, and imand built upon the truth; and all bearing the gene- portant instructions 10 the Saints.

We believe ral name of Saints. God is not the author of jar- that wherever the people enjoy the religion of the ring and discordant systems-His kingdom is not New Testament, there ihey enjoy visions, reveladirided against itself; and for this reason we have tions, the ministry of Angels, &c.; and that wherno confidence in the sects, doctrines and teachings ever these blessings cease to be enjoyed, there they of modern times, so far as they are at variance also cease to enjoy the religion of the New Teswith each other, and contrary to the Seriptures of tament.” truth. We have therefore withdrawn from all these systems of error and delusion, and have endeavored to restore the ancient doctrine and faith of this strange faith and people, drawn from their

Such is a faint and imperfect outline and sketch which was once delivered to the Saints, and to obuild a society thereon, hoping thereby to enjoy own lips, and from personal observation ; a new the peculiar gifts and blessings which were so and startling product of our free institutions ; showabundantly bestowed upon the churches in ancient ing how far men may be misled by a confidence in times."

their own judgments and contempt for established "We hold it as the duty of all men to believe forms ; rejecting a creed for its alleged inconsistenthe Gospel, to repent of their sins; and to be immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ · for

cies, and embracing in its stead one which is a tisthe remission of sins.' The Latter-day-Saints sue of contradictions and absurdities ! also after immersion lay on hands in the name of As a sect already important and powerful, and Jesus Christ for the gift of the Holy Ghost; they every day gaining accessions of numbers and are then considered Saints, or full members of the strength; fortified in an almost impregnable posichurch."

“ The Latter-Day-Saints believe that the gath- tion, and consumed by a fanatic seal, which sends ering of Israel and the second advent of the Mes. its missionaries to Jerusalem and the “farthest siah are near at hand; that it is time for the Saints Ind”—which has already drawn into the Holy City to gather together and prepare for the same. converts from Calcutta ; and whispers its words of

In accordance with this article of faith, the Pro- consolation to the Australian savage,—this new phet has summoned the faithful from all parts of doctrine may be wondered at and dreaded, but may the world to remove to Nauvoo by a special order,

not be despised. which is so curious and characteristic, that we can

To us, its import is sad and humiliating; weaknot refrain from quoting one addressed to the peo- ening our confidence in the strength of the human ple in Philadelphia.

intellect; and clouding our brightest visions of the

onward progress of the human mind in successive " Special Message to the Church in Philadelphia. ages. That an imposture so palpable, gross and

All the members of that branch of the Church of monstrous as this, should succeed, even for a day, Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day-Saints which is lo- in duping so many thousands of rational beings, as cated in Philadelphia, Penn., who are desirous of are even numbered in the city of Nauvoo, is indeed doing the will of Heaven, and of working out their own salvation by keeping the laws of the Celestial

a mortifying reflection on human wisdom and human Kingdom, are hereby instructed and counselled to pride. It may serve as a warning and a lesson remove from thence without delay, and locate them to the Sciolists of the present day, that in all resselves in the city of Nauvoo, where God has a pects the XIX century has not progressed so far work for them to accomplish. Done at Nauvoo, in advance of the so called “dark ages" of the 29th day of May, 1843.

world, as their own inflated vanity would induce By order of the quorum of 12. BRIGHAM YOUNG."

them to believe; and furnishes yet another proof,

even in this practical age, that “ Man can not live Similar circulars were sent elsewhere, and met on bread alone,” but yearns after some spiritual with prompt obedience. In relation to the Book food, and as the mariner, tossed on the billows of of Mormon and the Revelations of Smith they use an unknown and mighty ocean, in the dark mid the following language.

watches of the night, looks to the bright Polar “We have implicit confidence in the Book of Star to guide him safely on his course into a safe Mormon, not however as a new Bible to exclude harbor, so the soul of man, involved in a black the old, as some have falsely represented. We'chaos of uncertainty and doubt, tempted, tried,

VOL. X-68

« AnteriorContinuar »