Eber D. Howe
(Painesville Ohio: Telegraph Press, 1834)
Part 3: Chapters 8-14
Founder of The Painesville Telegraph
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We may here stop to remark that an opinion has prevailed, to a considerable extent, that Rigdon has been the Iago, the prime mover, of the whole conspiracy. Of this, however, we have no positive proof; but many circumstances have carried a suspicious appearance; and further developments may establish the fact. Either before or soon after the arrival of Pratt at Manchester, among the Smiths, it appears that an expedition was fitted out for the Western Country, under command of
Cowdery, in order to convert the Indians, or Lamanites, as they called them. As a preparatory step, a long revelation was furnished by Smith, to Cowdery, to serve as his credentials. This curious document will be found in the succeeding pages, from which it will be seen that the prophet, at the outset, feared a rivalship, and took effectual means to put it down. His brother Hiram [Page], it appears, also undertook to write some mysteries from a stone, which was forthwith vetoed, and pronunced to be the work of Satan.
As Cowdery had been a scribe to the prophet, it became necessary to supply his place. He therefore very prudently and affectionately, had the following command for his wife:
A commandment to Emma, my daughter in Zion, A. D., 1830. -- A revelation I give unto you, concerning my will. Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an Elect Lady, whom I have called. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast [not] seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come; and the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph, thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness; and thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, that I may send Oliver withersoever I will; and thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scripture, and to exhort the church according as it shall be given thee by my spirit, for he shall lay his hands upon thee and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost; and thy time shall be given to writing and to learning much; and thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee from the church, for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them whatsoever I will according to their faith; and verily I say unto thee, that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better; and it shall be given thee also to
make a selection of sacred Hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church, for my soul delighteth in the song of the heart, yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads, wherefore lift up they heart, and rejoice and cleave unto the covenant which thou hast made -- continue in the spirit of meekness -- let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come unto him -- keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive; and except thou do this, where I am you cannot come, and verily, verily I say unto you that this is my voice unto all -- Amen.
These were some of Smith's first attempts at making his followers believe that the Lord was to make known his will constantly through him; and the persons chosen were, it must be acknowledged, the best of which the nature of the case would admit -- his wife and Cowdery. In this operation, he abandoned his spectacles, or "peep-stone," and merely delivered it with his eyes shut. In this manner he governs his followers, by asking the Lord, as he says, from day to day. Every difficult question or dispute is thus decided -- from it there is no appeal. He has taught them, that to doubt their divine authority, is to endanger their salvation. We shall have occasion, in the progress of this work, to give many curious specimens of his art of governing.
The expedition to the "Lamanites" was finally fitted out by Smith, and was composed of Cowdery, Pratt, Peterson and Whitmer. In the latter part of October, 1830, under the guidance of Pratt, they arrived at the residence of Rigdon, in Mentor, Ohio, well supplied with the new bibles. -- They professed to rejoice at finding a people walking according to the scriptures, and pretended to acknowledge no other guide. They professed to have no commands for them; nevertheless, they called upon them to receive the
book as from Heaven, which they said mostly concerned the western Indians, as being an account of their origin, and a prophecy of their final conversion to Christianity, and make them a "white and delightsome people," and be reinstated in their lands, of which they have been despoiled by the whites, When called upon for testimony, they appealed (like Mahomet) to the internal evidences of their book . --
The book was read by Rigdon, and pronounced a "silly fabrication." When further pressed upon the subject, they required the people to humble themselves before God, and pray for a sign from Heaven.
Near the residence of Rigdon, in Kirtland, there had been, for some time previous, a few families belonging to his congregation, who had formed themselves into a common stock society, and had become considerably fanatical, and were daily looking for some wonderful event to take place in the world. Their minds had become fully prepared to embrace Mormonism, or any other mysterious ism that should first present itself. Seventeen in number of these persons, readily believed the whole story of Cowdery, about the finding of the golden plates and the spectacles.
They were all re-immersed, in one night, by Cowdery. At this Rigdon seemed much displeased, and when they came next day to his house, he told them that what they had done was entirely without precedent or authority, from the scriptures -- for they had immersed those persons that they might work miracles, as well as come under their new covenant -- showed them that the Apostles baptized for the remission of sins, instead of miraculous gifts. But when pressed upon the point, they said it was done merely at the solicitation of those persons.
Rigdon again called upon them for proofs of the truth of their book and mission; they then related the manner in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an Angel was showed unto them. Rigdon here showed
from scripture the possibility of their being deceived: "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." But, said Cowdery, "do you think if I should go to my heavenly Father, with all sincerity, and pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an Angel; that he would suffer Satan to deceive me?" Rigdon replied, "if the heavenly Father has ever promised to show you an Angel, to confirm anything, he would not suffer you to be deceived, for says John, "this is the confidence we have with him, if we ask things according to his will, he hearkens to us." But he continued, "if you should ask the heavenly Father to show you an Angel, when he has never promised you such a thing, if the Devil never had an opportunity of deceiving you before, you give him one now."
However, about two days after this, Rigdon was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign, which he knew to be contrary to his revealed will; he of course received a sign, and was convinced that Mormonism was true and divine. -- According to his own reasoning, therefore, the Devil appeared to him as an angel of light; but he now imputed his former reasoning to pride, incredulity, and the influence of the Evil One.
On the conversion of Rigdon, a most successful atarting point was thought to have been obtained. Cowdery and his associates then began to develope the pecularities for the new imposition. Scenes of the most wild, frantic and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands upon the heads of the converts, which operation, at first, produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time, apparently lifeless. They thus continued these enthusiastic exhibitions for several
weeks. The fits usually came on, during or after their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. -- The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, go through with all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, ripping open and tearing out the bowels. At other times, they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform all the ceremony of baptizing, &c. Many would have fits of speaking all the different Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, the young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, &c., which they saw moving through the atmosphere.
Before these scenes fully commenced, however, Cowdery had departed for the country inhabited by the Indians, with the expectation of converting them to Christianity, by means of his new bible, and miracles which he was to perform among them. These pretensions appeared to have taken possession of the minds of the young men in their aspirations. Three of them pretended to have received commissions to preach, from the skies, after having jumped into the air as high as they could. All these transactions were believed to be the Spirit of God, by the whole congregation, which now numbered more than one hundred. -- That they were honestly impelled by the same causes which have, on all ages of the world, contributed so much to debase human nature, we have no doubt. One of the young men referred to, freely acknowledged, some months afterwards, that he new not what he did, for two or three weeks. -- Such is the mind of man, when his reason is dethroned by
physical causes. One of these aerial commissions, which they all supposed was signed and sealed by Christ himself, we here subjoin, verbatim:
"Oh my servant, there is a great work for you and the other two of your brethren. I send a messenger to tell you where to go and find a piece of parchment that shall contain these words: -- You shall teach repentance and remission of sins to all who shall come in the sound of your voice -- I command you that you do these things in sincerity and in truth; and if you do, you shall be blessed. -- The time is shortly acoming and is not far distant when you shall be bound together for life -- the names of your brethren are these: Burr Riggs and Edson Fuller, and if they are not faithful I will choose another in their stead -- my work must be done. My servants, you shall go forth from place to place, and if you are true to your trust, they shall hear. Remember that I am the Lord your God -- serve me above all others, and I will bless you, in the end, Amen.
These commissions, they said, came on parchment, and they had only time to copy them before they vanished from their sight. With such papers in their pockets they actually went through the country, preaching, and made many converts. Two of the three afterwards obtained their reason, and left the concern. All these things were afterwards pronounced by Smith to be the work of the Devil, although more than one hundred had been converted to Mormonism, by merely witnessing the exhibitions. They professed, at all times, their inability to work miracles, but were secretly trying to perform them, and frequently proclaimed their success. At a distance from the scene of action, many notable miracles were circulated.
During these performances, it would be remembered, that Rigdon was not present. In about three weeks after his conversion, he repaired to the bible quarry, in the state of New York, in order to have a personal interview with the prophet. Smith was prepared to receive him, of course; and a commandment was soon fitted out for him, every way calculated to suit his case and vanity. This being an important link in the chain of our history, we here transcribe it:
"A Commandment to Joseph and Sidney, Dec. 7. 1830: Saying, listen to the voice of the Lord your God; I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round; the same to-day as yesterday and forever. I am Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even on me as I am in the father, as the father is in me, that we may become one.
me and Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not -- thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto you a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water and give the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old. And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all nations; for I am God, and mine arm is not shortened, and I will shew miracles, signs and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name; and whosoever shall ask in my name, in faith, shall cast out Devils; they shall heal the sick, they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk; and the time speedily cometh that great things are to come and be shown forth unto the children of men; but without faith shall nothing be shown forth except desolation and destruction upon Babylon, the same which hath made all nations drink of the wine of their fornication, and there are none that doeth good except them that are trying to receive the fulness of my Gospel, which I have sent forth to this generation. -- Wherefore, I have called upon the weak things, that they are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my spirit, and their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; I will gird up their loins and they shall fight manfully for me, and their enemies shall put be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them, and the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached to them, and they shall be looking forth for to the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand, and they shall learn the parable of the fig tree, for even now already, summer is nigh at hand, and I have sent
forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph, and in meekness have I blessed him, and I have given unto him the keys of the mysteries of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead; wherefore watch over him that his faith fail not; as it shall be given by the comforter, the Holy Ghost, which knoweth all things. And a commandment I give unto you, that thou shalt write for him, and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect, for they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming, for they be prepared even as I am prepared, and now, I say unto you, tarry with him and he shall journey with thee -- forsake him not, and surely these things shall be fulfilled; and inasmuch as ye do not write, behold it shall be given unto him to prophecy, and thou shalt preach my gospel and call on the Holy Prophets to prove his words as they shall be given him. Keep all the commandment and covenants by which ye are bound and I will cause the Heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish, and Israel shall be saved in mine own due time, and by the keys which I have given shall be led and no more be confounded. Lift your hearts and be glad, for your redemption is nigh. Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold I come quickly, even so. AMEN."
We before, had Moses and Aaron in the persons of Smith and Cowdery, and we now have John the Baptist, in the person of Sidney Rigdon. Their plans of deception appear to have been more fully matured and developed after
the meeting of Smith and Rigdon. The latter being found very intimate with the scriptures, a close reasoner, and as fully competent to make white appear black, and black as white, as any other man; and at all times prepared to establish, to the satisfaction of great numbers of people, the negative or affirmative, of any and every question, from scripture, he was forthwith appointed to promulgate all the absurdities and ridiculous pretentions of Mormonism, "and call on the Holy Prophets to prove" all the words of Smith. But the miraculous powers conferred upon him, we do not learn have yet been put in requisition. It seems that the spirit had not, before the arrival of Rigdon, told Smith any thing about the "promised land," or his removal to Ohio. It is, therefore, very questionable, "what manner of spirit" it was which dictated most of the after movements of the Prophet. The spirit of Rigdon, it must be presumed, however, generally held sway; for a revelation was soon had, that Kirtland, the residence of Rigdon and his brethren, was to be the eastern border of the "promised land," "and from thence to the Pacific Ocean." On this land the "New Jerusalem, the city of Refuge," was to be built. Upon it, all true Mormons were to assemble, to escape the destruction of the world, which was so soon to take place. The width of this Mormon farm, we have not heard described. The revelation concerning the promised labd, we have not been able to obtain a copy of; it is explained, however, in the following letter from Rigdon, written to his brethren in Ohio, soon after he became acquainted with the movements and designs of the prophet.
I send you this letter by John Whitmer. Receive him, for he is a brother greatly beloved, and an Apostle of this church. With him we send all the revelations which we have received; for the Lord has declared unto us that you pray unto him that Joseph Smith and myself go speedily
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unto you; but at present it is not expedient for him to send us. He has required of us, therefore, to send unto you our beloved brother John, and with him the revelations which he has given unto us, by which you will see the reason why we cannot come at this time. The Lord has made known unto us, some of his great things, which he has laid up for them that love him, among which the fact (a glory of wonder it is) that you are living on the land of promise, and that there is the place of gathering, and from that place to the Pacific Ocean, God has dedicated to himself, not only in time, but through eternity, and he has given it to us and our children, not only while time lasts, but we shall have it again in eternity, as you will see by one of the commandments, received day before yesterday. Therefore, be it known to you, brethren, that you are dwelling on your own eternal inheritance; for which, cease not to give ceaseless glory praise and thanksgiving to the God of Heaven. -- Yes, lift up your heads with joy, for the kingdom is ours till the Savior comes, even so, Amen -- therefore, prepare your hearts to receive salvation which God has sent unto you, knowing that they have come from God; and know assuredly if you receive them, you shall receive greater things, yes, things unspeakable and full of glory -- "such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive," for our God hath in visions shown it unto me. Therefore, I write with the greatest certainty of these things which he hath prepared for us -- yes, even us, forever, who receive the revelations of the last days, are the very people of whom the prophets spoke, and the very saints who shall rejoice with Jesus"!!!This communication caused a great rejoicing in the congregation. They were then residing upon their "eternal inheritance"!!! Rigdon tarried with Smith about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in that vicinity.
and proving by the prophets that Mormonism was true, as he imagined. He then returned to Kirtland, Ohio, being followed in a few days after by the prophet and his connections. This being the "promised land," in it their long cherished hopes and anticipations of "living without work" were to be realized. Thus, from almost a state of beggary, the Smiths were immediately well furnished with the "fat of the land" by their fanatical followers, many of whom were wealthy.
C H A P T E R I X.On the return of Rigdon, many of his old friends called upon him to enquire about the new faith. The particulars of one of these interviews, we have on record by an eye-witness, which we shall give in his own words, with his remarks thereon: --
Feb. 1, 1831. -- Mr. Rigdon just returned from the state of New York. His irascible temper only left him for a little season. Two friends went from Mentor to see him -- required of him a reason for his present hope, and for his belief in the Book of Mormon. He declined; saying he was weary, having just come off his journey, had lost much sleep, and the like. After a number of words had passed, by way of solicitation on one side, and refusal on the other, one of the friends from Mentor said he thought there was no more evidence to confirm the Book of Mormon, than the Koran of Mahomet. At this, Mr. R. seemed very angry, rose up and said, "Sir, you have insulted me in my own
house -- I command silence -- if people come to see us and cannot treat us with civility, they may walk out of the door as soon as they please." The person then made some apology. Mr. R. said he had borne every thing; he had been insulted and trampled upon by old and young, and he would hear it no longer. The two friends then departed. Two days after, I accompanied several friends to Mr. R.'s residence, and found him in conversation with a Methodist elder. That being soon broken off, one of my friends modestly approached Mr. R. and solicited him to give some reason for his present faith. Mr. R., with a great show of good nature, commenced a long detail of his researches after the character of Joseph Smith, he declared that even his enemies had nothing to say against his character; he had brought a transcript from the dockets of two magistrates, where Smith had been tried as a disturber of the peace, which testified that he was honorably acquited. But this was no evidence to us that the Book of Mormon was divine. He then spoke of the supernatural gifts with which he said Smith was endowed; he said he could translate scriptures from any language in which they were now extant and could lay his finger upon every interpolation in the sacred writings, adding that he had proven him in all these things. But my friend knowing that Mr. Rigdon had no knowledge of any language but his own vernacular, tongue, asked him how he knew these things, to which Mr. R. made no direct reply.
Mr. Smith arrived at Kirtland the next day, and being examined concerning his supernatural gifts, by a scholar, who was capable of testing his knowledge, he confessed he knew nothing of any language, save the king's English.
Mr. R. asserted that our revelation came to us upon testimony -- this we denied, and gave him reasons, which he himself formerly urged against deists. He then said the
old revelations were confirmed by miracles, but the Book of Mormon would not be; it was not designed to be thus confirmed. (And Mahomet said, nearly twelve centuries ago, "Moses and Jesus were empowered to work miracles, yet the people did not receive them, wherefore, God had sent him without that attestation, to be the last and greatest prophet.") But in this Mr. R. contradicted his book, for that declares it is to be thus established.
We then asked Mr. R. what object we could have, in receiving the Book of Mormon -- whether it enjoyed a single virtue that the Bible did not, or whether it mentioned or prohibited a single additional vice, or whether it exhibited a new attribute of Deity? He said it did not. "The Book of Mormon, (said he) is to form and govern the Millennial Church; the old revelation was never calculated for that, nor would it accomplish that object; and without out receiving the Book of Mormon there is no salvation for any one into whose hands it shall come." He said faith in the Book of Mormon was only to be obtained by asking the Lord concerning it. To this, scriptural objections were made. He then said, if we have not familiarity enough with our Creator to ask of him a sign, we were no Christians; and that if God would not condescend to his creatures, in this way, he was no better than Jugernaut!!!
Thus I have given a simple statement of facts. They proclaim the ancient gospel, putting their own appendages to it. When they think it will best suit their purposes, they say nothing about the Book of Mormon, and at other times make it their chief topic. Mr. R. said it was no part of his religion to defend the Book of Mormon, he merely wished the people to give heed to the old revelation. Again, there is no salvation without believing the Book of Mormon. -- Mr. R. blames Cowdery for attempting to work miracles, and said it was not intended to be confirmed in that
way. How then are we to obtain faith> Does the book offer any internal evidence for its divinity: It contains nothing but what might have been, and evidently was, borrowed from the sacred writings and from the history of the world. Was it so with the revelation that was from the beginning? Far otherwise. Respecting Smith and his followers, do they give anty proof of their honesty? They can give none but their own assertions. They have no sacrifice to make -- no loss of fortune or reputation to sustain. They are in a land of liberty -- very different were the circumstances of those who first promulgated the faith "once delivered to the saints." They had to forsake their friends and relations -- leave their possessions, and forfeit their reputation. Twelve apostles sealed their testimony with their blood. So, whether their religion was true or false, they proved their honesty. But Mormonism is to be proved, from beginning to end, by assertions, and this we have in whole numbers. But we know that they cannot more roundly and positively assert, than hundreds of impostures who have gone before them."
From this point in the history of this delusion, it began to spread with considerable rapidity. Nearly all of their male converts, however ignorant and worthless, were forthwith transformed into "Elders," and sent forth to proclaim, with all their wild enthusiasm, the wonders and mysteries of Mormonism. All those having a taste for the marvelous, and delighting in novelties, flocked to hear them. -- Many traveled fifty and an hundred miles to the throne of the prophet, in Kirtland, to hear from his own mouth the certainty of his excavating a bible and spectacles. -- Many, even in the New England States, after hearing the frantic story of some of these "elders," would forthwith place their all into a waggon, and wend their way to the "promised land," in order, as they supposed, to escape the
judgements of Heaven, which were soon to be poured out upon the land. The State of New York, they were privately told, would most probably be sunk, unless the people thereof believed in the pretensions of Smith.
On the arrival of Smith in Kirtland, he appeared astonished at the wild enthusiasm and scalping performances, of his proselytes there, as heretofore related. He told them that he had enquired of the Lord concerning the matter, and had been informed that it was all the work of the Devil. The disturbances, therefore, ceased. Thus we see that the devil, for the time being, held full sway in making converts to Mormonism.
We must here stop to introduce another document, which belongs to this history. Soon after the return of Rigdon to Kirtland, in some of his eloquent harangues on the subject of his new faith, he gave a challenge to the world to disprove the new Bible, and the pretensions of its authors. Elder THOMAS CAMPBELL, of Va. being in the neighborhood, addressed him the following Letter: --
and New Testaments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- which you now say is superceded by the book of Mormon -- is become a dead letter -- so dead, that the belief and obedience of, without the reception of the latter, is no longer available to salvation; to the disproof of this assertion, I understand you defy the world. I here use the epithets infernal and supernal in their primary and literal meaning, the former signifying from beneath, the latter from above, both of which are truly applied, if the respective authors may be accredited; of the latter of which, however, I have no doubt. But, my dear sir, supposing you as sincere in your present, as in your former profession, (of the truth and sufficiency of which you have frequently boasted with equal confidence,) neither yourself, your friends, nor the world, are therefore bound to consider you as more infallible in your latter than in your former confidence, any further than you can render good and intelligible reasons for your present certainty. This, I understand from your declaration on last Lord's day, you are abundantly prepared and ready to do. I, therefore, as in duty bound, accept the challenge, and shall hold myself in readiness, if the Lord permit, to meet you publicly, in any place, either in Mentor or Kirtland, or in any of the adjoining towns, that may appear most eligible for the accommodation of the public.
you have asserted, that even those who have lived and died in the faith and obedience of the old book, in the triumphant assurance of a glorious resurrection and a blissful immortality, may be in hell for aught you know; therefore, I say again, the sooner this matter is publicly settled, the better. For my part, I do cordially assure you, sir, that if I were in the possession of a nostrum, upon the knowledge and belief of which, the salvation of every soul of man depended, I should consider myself responsible to the whole world for the speedy and effectual confirmation and publication of it; and if it be at all a revelation from God for the salvation of man, he must be wonderfully changed since he gave the former revelation of his will, for that important purpose, if he do not require you so to do, for he was then willing that all men should come to a knowledge of his will and truth and be saved; and therefore, he not only charged all to whom he made it known, by special revelation, to go into all the world and declare it to every creature, but also furnished them with such potent and evincive arguments, both prophetic and miraculous, as no candid inquirer could mistake, without abandoning both his senses and his reason.
a challenge, which, no doubt, the purest and most benevolent motives excited him to propose, for the purpose of promoting, as fast as possible, the benign intentions of his mission? Taking this for granted, I shall further add, in relation to the manner of conducting this all-important investigation, that, seeing it is purely for the discovery and confirmation of the truth, upon the belief and obedience of which, depends the salvation of the world, the parties realizing the deep and awful responsibility of the undertaking, and having no private and personal interest at stake, separate from the rest of mankind, will not only afford each other every facility of investigating and exhibiting the truth by all manner of fairness, both of argument and concession, but also by the mutual allowance of any assistance that can be contributed by the friends on each side, either suggesting matter to the speakers, or by correcting any mistakes that may occur in quotations, references, &c, in an amicable and an obliging manner, without giving or taking offence on these accounts; that for these purposes, each party shall be at liberty to select as many of his intelligent friends as he pleases to assist him as prompters; and if any difficulty occur, respecting time, order, &c, it shall be refered to a competent board of moderators, equally chosen by the parties, that the whole investigation may be conducted without the least shadow of disorder or partiality.
truth. The proposition that I have assumed, and which I mean to assume and defend against Mormonism and every other ism that has been assumed since the Christian era, is -- The all-sufficiency and the alone-sufficiency of the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, vulgarly called the Bible, to make every intelligent believer wise to salvation, thoroughly furnished for any good work. This proposition, clearly and fully established, as I believe it most certainly can be, we have no more need for Quakerism, Shakerism, Wilkinsonianism, Buchanism, Mormonism, or any other ism, than we have for three eyes, three ears, three hands, or three feet, in order to see, hear, work, or walk. This proposition, I will illustrate and confirm by showing --
as far as documents for that purpose may have come to hand.
also insisted as much upon the supposed duty of common property, and have spoken as certainly of the near approach of the millenium, and of their relation to that happy state, as any of the Mormonite Prophets, especially the Shakers, who pretend to be living subjects of that happy period, and and [sic] who have also given us an attested record of their miraculous operations.
I would not have you think, although I consider things just as I have spoken, that I suppose myself more infallible than you do yourself; but I should blush to fall short of any one, of any sect whatever, in my expressions of confident certainty of the truth of my profession, which has stood the test of most rigorous investigation for nearly eighteen hundred years, and which I have scrupulously examined, for upwards of forty, especially when the investigation is with sectarians of little more than three months standing.It is only necessary to say, that after Rigdon had read a few lines of the above, he hastily committed it to the flames.
==> They had one or two root doctors among them, for whose benefit it is presumed the Lord made known his will, if at all. Notwithstanding, the prophet himself was the first one to break over the rules he had received from the Lord. Being much alarmed for the fate of his "elect lady," in an obstetrical case, he applied to the world, (after all the Mormon remedies had failed,) for an eminent physician. This gave dissatisfaction to some of the followers, but like every thing else, was easily smoothed over.
About the last of March, a young man about 20 years of age, by the name of Dota, became suddenly ill and died. He was duly commissioned, after their manner, to preach, was very active and zealous in the cause, and so fully did he believe in the divine mission and miraculous powers of Smith, that he had a firm expectation of living in the world a thousand years. This he made known to a near relation of his, about four weeks before his disease. Five days before he expired, he was suddenly attacked with an inflammation in the bowels. He was immediately removed
to the residence of his parents, living in the neighborhood, who had no faith in the Mormon remedies for the cure of diseases. No persuasion, however, could induce the young man to have a physician called, so strongly was he impressed with the supernatural powers of Smith. Several of the Elders assembled around the sick man, where they continued to encourage him to persevere, and ministering to his delusion, by telling him that he was getting better, and would soon be well, till they saw he was about to expire, when they left him to his fate. Smith was sent for soon after he was taken sick, and proceeded towards the house of Dota, to heal him, but soon returned back, saying that he had received a commandment not to "cast pearl[s] before swine." He, however, visited the sick man a day or two after, and protested against calling a physician, saying that he would get well. A physician was finally called, a few hours before he expired, who told him he had fallen a victim to his delusions. When the young man discovered that death was nigh, his faith in Smith's pretensions seemed to forsake him. He said, "what a wonderful mistake I have made." Addressing himself to an old man of the Mormon faith, he said, "you are a friend to every body -- I must shake hands with you -- this is a lesson which I have learnt by actual experience, by which you ought to profit, but with me it is too late."
The Mormons soon began to assemble in considerable numbers at and about Kirtland, the supposed "eternal inheritance," and those who were able, bought land; but the greater part of their dupes had thus far been the poor and needy, and came there with a view of enjoying all things "in common," as such doctrine had gone forth. Many, however, found out their mistake after their arrival; and the revelation appeared to be only that the prophet and some of his relations should be supported by the church. --
In consequence of their inability to purchase lands adjoining head-quarters, they were scattered about in several townships, much exposed to "wild beasts," and subject to have their faith shaken by the influence of reason. Several renounced it. They were daily running to the prophet with queries and doubts which were constantly arising upon their minds. He generally satisfied them by explaining; nevertheless, they annoyed him much, and the necessity of withdrawing them from the influences which surrounded them, became apparent; hence, their removal to Missouri, where they could, in time, purchase all the land which they should need at a low rate, and become a "distinct people."
As before noticed, Cowdery and his companions, proceeded on to the west, with the avowed intention of converting the Indians, under a command of the Lord. On their way they tried their skill on several tribes, but made no proselytes, although their deluded brethren at home could daily see them, in visions, baptizing whole tribes. They finally arrived at the western line of the State of Missouri, late in the fall of 1830, with the intention of proceeding into the Indian country, but were stopped by the agents of the general government, under an act of Congress, to prevent the white people from trading or settling among them. They then took up their winter quarters in the village of Independence, about 12 miles from the State line. Here they obtained employment during the winter. In the following spring, one of them returned to Kirtland, with a flattering account of the country about Independence. About the 1st of June, the prophet assembled all his followers, for the purpose of a great meeting, at which time it was given out that marvelous events were to take place. Here many new attempts were made by Smith to perform miracles and otherwise deceive his followers. Previous to this time, it should be remarked, nearly all the Mormonites
had arrived from the State of New York, under a revelation, of course, to take possession of the "promised land." There were, in all, about fifty families. At the above mentioned meeting a long revelation was manufactured, commanding all the leading men and Elders to depart forthwith for the western part of Missouri, naming each one separately, informing them that only two should go together, and that every two should take separate roads, preaching by the way. Only about two weeks were allowed them to make preparations for the journey, and most of them left what business they had to be closed by others. Some left large families, with their crops upon the ground, &c. &c., and embarked for a distant land, from which they have not yet returned. For further particulars of this expedition, its objects and return, we shall refer the reader to the statements of an eye-witness, who was one of the party, which are given at length hereafter, (see Booth's Letters.)
On arriving at the village of Independence, they proceeded to purchase a lot of land, upon which the prophet directed Rigdon and Cowdery to perform the mock ceremony of laying the corner stone of a city, which he called Zion. Of the future prosperity and magnificence of this city, many marvelous revelations were had by the prophet and many more marvelous conjectures formed by his dupes. Among others, it was said that it would in a few years exceed in splendor every thing known in ancient times. Its streets were to be paved with gold; all that escaped the general destruction which was soon to take place, would there assemble with all their wealth; the ten lost tribes of Israel had been discovered in their retreat, in the vicinity of the North Pole, where they had for ages been secluded by immense barriers of ice, and became vastly rich; the ice in a few years was to be melted away, when those tribes, with St. John and some of the Nephites, which the Book
of Mormon had immortalized, would be seen making their appearance in the new city, loaded with immense quantities of gold and silver. Whether the prophet himself ever declared that these things had been revealed to him, or that he had seen them through his magic stone, or silver spectacles, we will not say; but that such stories and hundreds of others equally absurd, were told by those who were in daily intercourse with him, as being events which would probably take place, are susceptible of proof.
The prophet and his life-guard of Elders, stayed in their city about two weeks. Revelations were had for a part of them to return to Ohio, a part to stay and take charge of the city, and a part to commence preaching "in the region round about." Much dissatisfaction was manifested by some of the dupes, as to the selection of the site, and the general appearance of the country. Smith, Rigdon and Cowdery returned to the old head-quarters in Kirtland. -- Their followers immediately commenced selling their lands, mostly at great sacrifice, and made preparations for emigrating up the Missouri. All were now anxious to sell, instead of buying more land in Ohio. A special command was given to seventeen families, who had settled in one township, some three months previous, to depart forthwith to the promised land, who obeyed orders, leaving their crops to those who owned the land. Besides a great variety of special revelations relating to individuals, and other matters, a general one was given to the proselytes to sell their lands and other property and repair to Missouri as fast as possible, but not in haste. Accordingly, many went during the year, making sacrifices of property, (those few of them who had any,) in proportion to their faith and their anxiety to be upon their "eternal inheritance." In the mean time, thirty or forty "Elders" were sent off in various directions in pursuit of proselytes. This year passed off with a gradual
increase, and considerable wealth was drawn in, so that they began to boast of a capital stock of ten or fifteen thousand dollars.
Their common stock principles appear to be somewhat similar to those of the Shakers. Each one, however, is allowed to "manage his own affairs in his own way," until he arrives in Missouri. There the Bishop resides; he has supreme command in all property matters, according to the revelations given by the prophet. The one relating to this branch of business reads in these words:
"If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep my commandments; and behold thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the Bishop of my church, and two of the Elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose. And it shall come to pass that the Bishop of my Church, after that he has received the properties of my Church, that it cannot be taken from the Church, he shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received, inasmuch as shall be sufficient for himself and family; and the residue shall be kept to administer to him who has not, that every man may receive according as he stands in need; and the residue shall be kept in my store-house, to administer to the poor and needy, as shall be appointed by the Elders of the Church and Bishop, and for the purpose of purchasing land, and the building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed; that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in the day that I shall come to my temple; and this I do for the salvation of my people. And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto me: For it shall come to pass, that which I spoke by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled, for
I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles, unto my people which are of the house of Israel."The next year commenced with something like a change of operations. Instead of selling their possessions in Ohio, they again began to buy up improved land, mills and water privileges. It would seem that the Missouri country began to look rather dreary to the prophet and his head men, supposing that they could not enjoy their power there as well as in Ohio. They could not think of undergoing the hardships and privations incident to a new country. Besides, the people there were not much disposed to encourage the emigration of such an army of fanatics -- and their "Lamanite" brethren under Gen. Black Hawk, were about that time commencing a war upon the whites.
They, therefore, continued to extend their impositions by sending abroad every thing that could walk, no matter how ignorant, if they had learnt the tales and vagaries of their leaders. All that were so sent, were dubbed Elders or High Priests, and furnished with a commission, purporting to have been dictated by the Lord to the Prophet. These requisites being added to their credulity, they were of course inspired will all necessary self-sufficiency, zeal and impudence. They were thus prepared to declare that every thing which they stated or imagined, was absolutely true -- for the Spirit had so informed them. Many of them actually carried their power of discerning spirits, and their enthusiasm, so far that they frequently declared, that if Smith and all his witnesses were now to come forward and say that his pretensions were a wicked deception, they would not believe a word of it -- because the Spirit had shown that it was true. Here again, the intelligent mind will readily discover one of the principal sources of all error and delusion. Here is the sure refuge, the fast hold, of every impostor. This something, which is the Spirit, or the Holy Spirit, has been the
standing, unequivocal, incontrovertible and true witness for at least 24 false Messiahs, for Mahomet, who is considered the prince of impostors, and for nearly fifty others who have come with pretended commissions from Heaven. They all had, or may still have, numerous followers, whose faith was wrought and confirmed by what they suppose to be the Spirit.
During the year 1832, considerable progress was made in writing out, and revising the Old and New Testaments, which the prophet pretended to do by inspiration, or by the guidance of the Spirit. In this business, most of his leisure hours were occupied, Rigdon acting as scribe. They say that the Scriptures, in their present form, retain but little of their original purity and beauty, having been so often copied and translated by unskilful hands. The whole of the old Bible is now said to be ready for the press, in its amended form, and will be forthcoming, as soon as the state of their finances will permit. The curious, perhaps, may be anxious to learn what alterations the prophet has made in the numerous verses and chapters which he has copied into his book of Mormon, almost verbatim, and especially the thirteen chapters of Isaiah.
Revelations and commandments still continue to be received. Visions were frequently had, and extraordinary prophecies given out verbally by Smith, to his followers, to strengthen and prolong their faith. Although he has assumed the name and title of prophet, he is very cautious how he commits himself. His predictions are always found far off, equivocal, and ambiguous, and always relate to some events which every one supposes to be quite probable, and delivered in such a way, that their failure is susceptible of an easy explanation, but if he happens to guess right, in any case, it is immediately placed to his credit as a true prophecy. We will give but a single specimen of this
branch of his business: After the Cholera had eased its ravages in New York, in 1832, Smith prophesied it would return the ensuing year, with much greater severity and violence, and nearly depopulate the city. From the known character of that disease, its return was apprehended by most people, and with more fatal effects. This was thought by our modern prophet, to be too good an opportunity to pass unimproved, for establishing his reputation as a true prophet of God. But the prediction wholly failed..
C H A P T E R X I.On the opening of the year 1833, the "gift of tongues" again made its appearance at head-quarters, and from thence extended to all their branches in different parts. Whether the languages now introduced, differed materially from those practiced two or three years previous, (and pronounced to be of the Devil,) we have not been informed. It appears that this last device, was all that was then lacking to make the system perfect. They had long before professed to be fully endowed with the power of healing all manner of diseases, discerning spirits, and casting out devils. But a succession of failures had rendered them rather stale, and given distrust to many of the faithful. A new expedient was therefore indispensably necessary, in order to revive the drooping spirits of the deluded, and at the same time, insure a new crop of converts. The scheme proved eminently successful. Hundreds were soon convinced of the truth of the whole, by hearing of and seeing the manner
in which the "tongues" were performed, although the trick would seem more susceptible of discovery than any previous one. This gift was not confined to the Elders and high priests, who, in other respects, were supposed to have a superabundant share of "the spirit"; but nearly all the proselytes, both old and young, could show their faith by speaking with "tongues." And it would appear, from all the facts which we have been able to gather upon this subject, that if this gift were not supernaturally bestowed, it required but a few moments instruction from a priest, to render his pupil expert in various dead languages, which could never be understood by man or beast, except a supernatural power was at the instant given to some one present to interpret it. -- They sometimes professed to believe that these "tongues" were the same which were "confounded" at the building of Babel.
Some curious particulars are related respecting these blasphemous practices, by a Mr. Higby, who was eight months an Elder in the Mormon church, and which he published in a small pamphlet. He says that shortly after he joined them, a Mormon Elder said to him, "you must go to work in the vineyard of the Lord as a preacher of the Gospel. I have viewed your heart by the spirit of discernment; I see what is in your heart, and what the will of the Lord is, concerning you all," Mr. Higby says that he was soon after ordained an Elder in the said church, and commissioned to preach and baptize, ordain Elders, confirm the churches, heal the sick, in short, that he was ordained to all the gifts of the church, which were the same as given to the apostles of old. He continues -- "about the 10th of April following, R. Cahoon and D. Patton came again to the place -- a meeting was called, and previous to the meeting, they said that some one would speak with tongues before they left the place. Accordingly he set himself to work at that meeting
to verify his prophecy. During the meeting he said, 'Father H. if you will rise in the name of Jesus Christ, you can speak in Tongues.' He arose immediately, hesitated, and said, 'my faith fails me --I have not faith enough.' -- Said Patton, 'you have -- speak in the name of Jesus Christ -- make some sound as you list, without further thought, and God will make it a language.' The old gentleman, after considerable urging, spoke and made some sounds, which were pronounced to be a correct tongue. Several others spoke in a similar manner, and among them was myself. I spoke as I listed, not knowing what I said, yet it was declared to be a tongue. The sound of the words used by some, in speaking in tongues, was a medium between talking and singing -- and all, as I am now convinced, a mere gibberish, spoken at random and without thought.
"We had another meeting shortly after, at which there were present several others, besides those of the church . -- Cahoon spoke in unknown tongues, as he pretended, going on at considerable length, which Patton interpreted nearly as follows: that the judgment of God should follow the men of this generation; that their tongues should be stayed that they should not utter; and their flesh should fall from off their bones; their eyes pine away in their sockets; and it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them, nearly as it is written in the prophets. He then asked me to speak, which I did, and he interpreted as he though proper.
"The next time those men came among us, they gave us a rule for speaking in unknown tongues, and also for interpreting what was spoken by others. This rule, they said, was perfect -- that as long as we followed it we could not err. And so I believe; it was a perfect rule to lead men astray. The rule, as given by Cahoon, is this: rise upon your feet and look and lean on Christ; speak or make some sound;
continue to make sounds of some kind, and the Lord will make a correct tongue or language of it. The interpretation was to be given in the same way."
Upon this, Mr. H. justly remarks: -- "Men of sense may smile at this recital; and those who scoff at all religion and know nothing of those feelings of the human heart which the devotional man enjoys, in converse with his Maker, will doubtless ridicule what they consider the weakness of folly; but the man of religious feeling will know how to pity, rather than upbraid, that zeal without knowledge, which leads a man to fancy that he has found the ladder of Jacob, and that he sees the angel of the Lord ascending and descending before his eyes; while the Christian philosopher, who has read the history of mankind, will find abundant apology for that man, who, by a constant and over anxious exercise of mind, is led at length to fancy himself on the banks of the Ulai with Daniel, or on the Isle of Patmos with St. John."
his glory to-day, and all that will exercise faith, shall see the Lord of Glory." They then concluded to spend the day in fasting and prayer. Each one kept his seat with his eyes closed, and his body inclined forward. Soon after Joseph says, "Sidney (Rigdon,) have you seen the Lord?" He answered, "I saw the image of a man pass before my face, whose locks were white, and whose countenance was exceedingly fair, even surpassing all beauty that I ever beheld." Then Joseph replied, "I knew you had seen a vision but would have seen more were it not for unbelief." Sidney confessed his faith was weak that morning. Hiram Smith said he had seen nearly the same as Sidney, which was pronounced by Joseph to be the Redeemer of the world. Upon this, R. Cahoon fell upon his knees, holding his hands in an erect position. In fifteen or twenty minutes he arose and declared he had seen the temple of Zion, filled with disciples, while the top was covered with the glory of the Lord, in the form of a cloud. Another one then placed himself in the same position, but saw no vision, his faith being weak. Joseph next arose, and passing round the room laying his hand upon each one, and spoke as follows, as near as the narrator can recollect: --
"Ak man oh son oh man ah ne commene en holle goste en haben en glai hosanne hosanne en holle goste en esac milkea jeremiah, exekiel, Nephi, Lehi, St. John," &c. &c. After administering the sacrament, several of the brethren were called upon to arise and speak in tongues. Several of them performed with considerable applause. Our informant says he was at length called upon to speak or sing, "in tongues," at his own option -- preferring the latter mode, he sung, to the tune of Bruce's Address, a combination of sounds, which astonished all present.
This gibberish for several months was practiced almost daily, while they were about their common avocations, as well
as when they assembled for worship. But we will not dwell upon this part of our history. A particular recital of such scenes of fanaticism, gives too much pain to the intelligent mind, and excites a contempt for our species.
We would here, barely ask the subjects of this delusion, and all others who may become so, whether it be possible, that the great and intelligent Ruler of the Universe, can be thus miraculously engaged in bestowing all sorts of language upon a few people merely for their own amusement? -- languages that can neither benefit themselves, or any one else, because no one can understand them. For the full introduction of the Gospel, the gift of tongues was wisely confered upon the Apostles & some others who were engaged in its first promulgation. But for what purpose? was it a mere pastime to them, by means of which they could divert each other, while assembled in their private rooms, without knowing the import of any thing they said? If such were the facts, then these modern tongues may be genuine -- But no -- they were for a wiser and more noble purpose -- a purpose every way worthy of that exalted Being. The gospel was to be proclaimed and published to "every creature," to perhaps a hundred different nations, all speaking a distinct tongue -- and to be preached, too, by a small number of men, who had been taught only a single language. Whenever they spoke in a language not their own, it was most clearly understood, by themselves and others, who had assembled from various nations, without the intervention of sooth-sayers, or one pretending to have the "spirit of interpretation." Will any one presume to compare the wisdom of God in those manifestations, with what has been related by Smith and his followers? Yes -- a distorted imagination can discover infinitely more power and glory in the unintelligible jargon of Mormonism.
If what has been exhibited here, are truly languages, they
must be such as are spoken and understood by human beings somewhere: otherwise the names of "tongues" or languages will not attach to them. But they are a mere gibberish. If these people had the "gift of tongues," as they impudently assert, how much more consistent with rationality, and worthy of the Deity, would it appear for them to show it forth and test its true character, before an audience of French or Spanish, or some of the numerous Indian tribes in our country, all speaking different tongues, and to whom they profess to be more especially sent? No -- such an attempt would explode the whole system of folly and delusion. It would seem that they would much rather be talking their nonsense to each other, and declaring it to the world as an extraordinary manifestation of the power of God.
C H A P T E R X I I.The difficulties which had been for some time accumulating between the inhabitants of Missouri and the followers of Smith, began now to assume a more serious aspect. About a year previous, a small newspaper had been started at Independence, in which were published, monthly, the orders and decrees of the prophet, which were called revelations, together with all the other wild and fanatical dogmas of the sect. Like pilgrims to the tomb of Mahomet, they continued to wend their way from different parts, to the "promised land." To accomplish this journey was the
MORMONISM. 139height of their ambition. They really supposed their prophet had at that place opened the very gates of Heaven to them, and nothing else was necessary to insure all temporal and spiritual blessings, but their arrival there. Those of them who did not choose to sacrifice their property, however, stayed behind, leaving the poor, and those not encumbered with property, to be the pioneers. Their numbers, men, women and children, were now about 1200 in Jackson county. Besides the printing apparatus, they had also a mercantile establishment, (denominated the "Lord's Store House,") and some mechanic shops in Independence. This village was made their head quarters, although their converts had effected small settlements in different parts of the country. Smith had appointed as his Bishops, one Edward Partridge, a very honest and industrious hatter, of Painesville, Ohio, who had, withal, a comfortable stock of the good things of the world. He was stationed at Independence, and had the sole control of all the temporal and spiritual affairs of the colony, always obedient, however, to the revelations promulgated by Smith, who still sat perched upon his throne, in Kirtland, with Rigdon, and most of his family connexions.
Under these circumstances, the people of Jackson Co., became somewhat excited and alarmed for their civil rights. Enmity had been for some time increasing, till finally an open rupture ensued. On the 20th July, 1833, a meeting was held of 400 or 500 persons, at Independence. They avowed their object to be, to take some effectual means to rid themselves if their fanatical neighbors. Col. Richard Simpson was appointed Chairman, and Col. J.D. Lucas and J.H. Flournoy, Postmaster, Secretaries. A Committee was then appointed to report an address to the public, in relation to the object of the meeting. This Committee soon after submitted an address, which was unanimously adopted.
The address represented that the Mormonites in that county numbered about 1200 souls, -- that each successive spring and autumn poured forth its swarms among them, with a gradual falling off of their characters, until they had nearly reached the low condition of the black population -- that the citizens were daily told that they were to be cut off, and their lands appropriated to the Mormons for inheritances -- that they sometimes said this was to be accomplished either by the destroying angel, or by their own power, under the direction of God. The said Committee expressed their fears, that, should this population continue to increase they would soon have all the offices in the county in their hands; and that the lives and property of the other citizens would be insecure, under the administration of men who are so ignorant and superstitious as to believe that they have been the subjects if miraculous and supernatural cures, professing to hold converse with God and Angels, -- possessing and exercising the gift of divination and unknown tongues, and are withal so poor, as to be unable to procure bread and meat. The Committee further state, that "one of the means resorted to by them, in order to drive us to emigrate, is an indirect invitation to the free brethren of color in Illinois, to come like the rest, to the land of Zion." In conclusion, the Committee say, "of their pretended revelations from Heaven, their personal intercourse with God and his angels -- the maladies they pretend to heal, by the laying on of hands, and the contemptible gibberish with which they habitually profane the Sabbath, and which they dignify by the appellation of "unknown tongues," we have nothing to say. Vengeance belongs to God alone. But as to the other matters set forth in this paper, we feel called upon by every consideration of self-preservation, good society, public morals, and the fair prospect, if not blasted in the germ, that awaits this young and beautiful country, at once to declare: --
"1st. That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.
"2d. That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention, within a reasonable time, to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they shall have sufficient time to sell their property, and close their business without any sacrifice.
"3d. That the editor of the "Star," be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county: and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case comply with the terms strictly, agreeably to the 2d article of this declaration: and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.
"4th. That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this country, and counsel and advise their brethren to comply with the above requisitions.
"5th. That those who fail to comply with the above requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gift of tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them."
After the propositions of the Committee had been considered and adopted, it was "Resolved, That a committee of twelve be appointed forthwith to wait on the Mormon leaders, and see that the foregoing requisitions be strictly complied with by them; and upon their refusal, that the said Committee do as the organ of the county, inform them that it is our unwavering determination and fixed purpose, after the fullest consideration of all the consequences and responsibilities under which we act, to use such means as shall insure their complete and full adoption; and that said Committee, so far as may be in their power, report to this present meeting."
The Committee of twelve were appointed, composed of the most prominent men in the county, both civil and military. After an adjournment of two hours, the meeting again convened, and the Committee reported that they had called upon the Editor, the Bishop, and the "keeper of the Lord's Store House," and others, "who declined giving any direct answer, to the requisitions made of them, and wished an unreasonable time for consideration, not only with their brethren here, but the prophet in Ohio." Whereupon, it was unanimously resolved by the meeting, that the printing office should be razed to the ground, and the type and press secured. This is said, by the meeting, to have been accomplished with but little noise or disturbance, or any personal injury. The Mormon account, however, is, that there was a great tumult, books and printed sheets destroyed, the Bishop and one other person tarred and feathered, and that the keeper of the Store was compelled to pack up his goods and close his door.
The meeting was then adjourned for three days, when a much larger assemblage took place. Another Committee of seventeen was then appointed to wait upon the Mormon leaders, who had intimated a wish to have a conference. -- In two hours this committee reported to the meeting, that they had entered into an amicable agreement with them, in writing, and that they had assured the editor of the Star that whenever he was ready to remove, the amount of all his losses should be paid to him by the citizens. The contract was in the following words:
Memorandum of an agreement between the undersigned of the Mormon society, in Jackson County, Missouri, and a Committee appointed by a public meeting of the citizens of said County, made the 22d day of July, 1833:
That Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps. Wm. McClelland, Edward Partridge, Lyman Wight, Simeon Carter, Peter and John Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock, shall remove with their families out of this county, on or before the 1st day of January next; and that they, as well as the two hereinafter mentioned, use all their influence to induce all the brethren now here, to remove as soon as possible -- one half, say, by the 1st of January next, and all by the 1st of April next; to advise and try all means in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this county; and as to those now on the road, they will use their influence to prevent them settling permanently in this county, that they shall only make arrangements for their temporary shelter, till a new location is agreed on for the Society. John Carol and Algernon Gilbert are allowed to remain as general agents to wind up the business of the Society, so long as necessity shall require: -- and said Gilbert may sell out his merchandize now on hand, but is to make no new importations.Tranquility was thus measurably restored for a time. -- The Mormons made no pretensions for removing, but applied to the Governor for relief. He informed them that
he could furnish them no aid in the business, until they had resorted to the laws, and ascertained that they could not be enforced. They, therefore, commenced civil suits for the loss of property. From this proceeding the citizens began to conclude that the Mormons did not intend to perform any part of their stipulation, and about the last of October, the people of the county again commenced depredations. Forty or fifty made an attack upon a small portion, about ten miles from the head-quarters, unroofed several houses, whipped some of the men, and frightened some of the women and children. The next night attacks were made upon another branch, and upon the "Lord's Store House," and the dwelling of its keeper, in Independence. For two or three days following, several parties met each other with fire arms, in which two of the citizens and one of the Mormons were killed. The Mormons were finally compelled to cross the Missouri river into Clay county.
These proceedings, on the part of the people of Jackson county, were in total disregard of all law, and must be condemned by all. They were wholly at war with every principle of right, and the genius of our institutions. Outrages can never be justified upon any ground, although the reasons which induced them, ought to be stated. Among the Mormon fanatics, as among every other combination, there are the prudent and the imprudent -- some who are very civil agreeable citizens, and some who are extremely intolerant, unmannerly, bigoted and supercilious -- priding themselves greatly upon their being supposed the peculiar favorites of Heaven, and their possession of greater light than all the world besides. These latter it is who deal out the anathemas, disclose the secret plottings, and expose the fanatical notions and opinions which have been conceived by the leaders of this sect. The Mormons have endeavored to inculcate the belief, as extensively as possible,
that their difficulties with the people of Jackson county, have arisen solely on account of their religion -- because they were more pure and holy than any of their neighbors, and for that reason alone, they have been persecuted as were the Apostles of old. This we are not disposed to believe. Their first salutations to every community that does not believe their book and pretensions, are, that destruction awaits them for their unbelief -- that there has been no Christian church upon earth for 1400 years -- no one has had any authority to administer ordinances till Smith dug out his golden bible -- that he is the appointed one of God, to re-establish a church, and all that do not come to him for power and instructions will be damned. Add to this, some among them frequently boast of their increasing strength, and that consequently they will soon be enabled to possess themselves of all the secular power of the country, as they already have the spiritual. This they calculate to accomplish by concentrating their forces in particular neighborhoods. We have been credibly informed that Rigdon has given it as his opinion that the Mormons will be able to elect a member of Congress in five years, and that in three years they would take the offices in the town of Kirtland. They say that when they get the secular power into their hands, every thing will be performed by immediate revelations from God. We shall then have Pope Joseph the First, and his hierarchy.
Such things have been thrown out, and have no doubt, had a strong agency in bringing about the outrages in Missouri.
Again, one of their articles of faith is, that the Indians of North America, in a very few years, will be converted to Mormonism, and through rivers of blood will again take possession of their ancient "inheritance," As their bible pretends to be a record of the aborigines, every
effort will be made to inculcate a belief in it among them. To facilitate this project, was one strong ground for their establishing themselves in Missouri, knowing that the general government was taking active measures to remove all the Indians west of the Mississippi. Were it possible, therefore, for Mormonism to be inculcated among the tribes of the west, a religious spirit would be easily excited. -- One of the imaginary prophets in the Book of Mormon, says that such events will take place. He says. "Therefore, I write unto you, Gentiles, (the whites,) and also unto you, house of Israel, (the Indians,) when the work shall commence (Mormonism) that ye shall be about to return to the land of your inheritance." Again, in speaking to the Indians, "Know ye that ye are of the House of Israel. Know ye that you must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you" -- (through the mouth of Smith.) He also prophesyed that they should be "driven and scattered by the Gentiles," and after that the Lord would remember his covenant with Abraham. -- And then, "O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God -- therefore, repent ye, lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob (meaning the Indians) shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you to pieces, and there is none to deliver."
They were trying times, requiring the combined wisdom of the prophet and his head men, in bringing out a revelation upon the subject, which would astonish his dupes and strengthen their faith in the imposition, which had been so far shaken in many, that they proposed selling their new "eternal inheritance," in Jackson County, for a "mess of pottage." But the prophet more readily discovered the new advantages that would ultimately accrue to his cause, by a little perseverance. He well knew that the laws would not continue to be violated in our country for any length of time, and that he and his followers would, in the end, be the greatest gainers, by the cry of persecution which they could raise, and by showing to the world, in their ultimate triumph, that the Lord was on their side and directed all their movements in putting their enemies to flight. The following was accordingly issued from their press in Kirtland, in the form of a handbill:
Verily, I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance. I the Lord hath suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted in consequence of their transgressions; yet, I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son; for all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
joy, to build up the waste places of Zion. And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.
the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof; things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven. And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake, yet shall they partake of all this glory.
their lord commanded them; and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build the tower. And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves, and what need hath my lord of this tower? And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves, What need hath my lord of this tower? seeing this is a time of peace! -- Might not this money be given to the exchangers? for there is no need of these things!
straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard, for it is mine, I have bought it with money. -- Therefore get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen; and inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies; that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you, and in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandments which I have given concerning these things, which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints; all the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand.
sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
And, again I say unto you, it is contrary to my commandment, and my will, that my servant Sidney G. [Gilbert] should sell my store house, which I have appointed unto my people, into the hands of mine enemies. Let not that which I have appointed, be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name; for this is a very sore and grievous sin against me, and against my people, in consequence of those things which I have decreed, and which are soon to befall the nations.
On the publication of this proclamation, it was taken up by all their priests and carried to all their congregations, some of which were actually sold for one dollar per copy. Preparations immediately began to be made for a crusade to their Holy Land, to drive out the infidels. As it was hinted in the revelation, "All the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also, among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house," began to make ready for battle. -- Old muskets, rifles, pistols, rusty swords and butcher knives, were soon put in a state of repair and scoured up. Some were borrowed, and some were bought, on a credit, if possible, and others were manufactured by their own mechanics. The 1st of May following being finally fixed upon, as the time of setting out on the crusade, "my warriors," which were scattered in most of the Eastern and Northern States, previous to that time, began to assemble at the quarters of
the Prophet in Kirtland, preparatory to marching. Several places further west, were also selected for rendezvous, to those living in that direction. All the faithful pressed forward; but the services of some were refused by the prophet, in consequence of their not being able, from their own resources, to furnish some instrument of death and five dollars in cash. Old men, invalids, and females, not of the 'strength of mine house,' who could not endure the toils and hardships of a pedestrian excursion of 1000 miles, felt it to be a great privilege to contribute liberally, in the way of funds, and the materiel of war. Poor fanatical females, who could save no more than a shilling per day, by their exertions, threw in all they could raise, for the purpose of helping on with the expedition, and, as they supposed, thereby securing the smiles and blessings of the Lord.
About the first of May the grand army of fanitics, commenced its march, in small detachments, from the different places of concentration. On the 3d, the Prophet, with a life guard, of about 80 men, the elite of his army, left his quarters in Kirtland, with a few baggage wagons, containing their arms, amunition, stores, &c.
The day before his departure, being Sunday, the Prophet had a general meeting of his troops and all the brethren in the neighborhood, on which occasion he and his vicegerant, Rigdon harangued them to deeds of valor, to perseverance, and to a renewal of their faith in his commandments -- dwelling largely, of course, on ancient persecutions of the Christians -- their own persecution, and the beauties of martyrdom, as sure passports to glory -- assuring them that they should all return, safe and sound, if they followed his instructions. On the morning of their departure, a meeting was assembled, and proceeded to business, after the "manner of the world," by appointing the Prophet Chairman, and Cowdery Secretary. Whereupon, Rigdon
moved that they hereafter assume the title and name of the "Church of the Latter Day Saints," discarding the name of Mormonite, which they began to consider rather a reproach. This was carried unanimously, of course. What their particular object was in the movement, at that particular crisis, we have not been able to understand, unless for the purpose of denying, in the most positive terms, as they passed through the country, that they belonged to the sect known as Mormonites, thereby deceiving the people as to their true character, objects and intentions. But why was not this question settled, as all others are, by a revelation. The Lord had before given them directions not to vhew tobbacco, nor feed corn to their horses; but in the important matter of giving them a name, by which they were ever after to be known, he had wholly refused to interfere, or they had not time to ask him.
During the progress of these preparations, the brethren in Missouri waited patiently the coming of the "liberating army," or some new revelations, not daring to take any steps which their circumstances or necessities might seem to require. In the month of February, several of the Elders, at their request, were escorted back to Independence, by a company of the militia from another county, by the order of the Governor of the State, for the purpose of testifying before the court then sitting for Jackson county, against those who had been concerned in the former outrages and riots. After staying one night under the protection of the gaurds, they were, in the morning informed, by the public prosecutor, that no indictments would be had, for the reason that the members of the Grand Jury were more or less implicated. Neither could any private suits be instituted for the loss of property, for similar reasons. The Elders were then marched back, it is said, to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," and set across the Missouri.
In the mean time, the people of Jackson county were not inattentive to the premediated attack of Gen. Smith, the Prophet.
C H A P T E R X I V.But to return to the grand army. On the second day of their march, they arrived at New Portage, about 40 miles distant; where about 100 more fell into the ranks. Herre organized into bands of fourteen men, each band having a captain, baggage wagon, tents, &c. Just before leaving this place, Smith proposed to his army, that they should appoint a treasurer to take posession of the funds of each individual, for the purpose of paying it out as he should think necessities required. The measure was carried, without a dissenting voice, of course. The Prophet was nominated and voted in, as Treasurer, no one, of course, doubting his right. After pocketing the cash of his dupes, the line of march was resumed, and a white flag raised, bearing upon it the inscription of "PEACE," written in red.
Somewhere on their route a large black snake was discovered near the road, over five feet in length. This offered a fair opportunity for some of the company to try their skill at miracles, and Martin Harris took off his shoes and stockings, to "take up serpents," without being harmed. -- He presented his toes to the head of the snake, which made no attempt to bite; upon which Martin proclaimed a victory over serpents; but passing on a few rods further, another
of much larger dimensions was discovered, and on presenting his bare foot to this one also, he received a bite in the ankle, which drew blood. This was imputed to his want of faith and produced much merriment to the company.
A large mound was one day discovered, upon which Gen. Smith ordered an excavation to be made into it; and about one foot from the top of the ground, the bones of a human skeleton were found, which were carefully laid out upon a board, when Smith made a speech, prophesying or declaring that they were the remains of a celebrated General among the Nephites, mentioning his name and the battle in which he was slain, some 1500 years ago. This was undoubtedly done to encourage the troops to deeds of daring, when they should meet the Missourians in battle array.
On arriving at Salt creek, Illinois, they were joined by Lyman Wight and Hiram Smith (brother of the prophet,) with a reinforcement of twenty men, which they had picked up on the way. Here the grand army, which being fully completed, encamped for the space of three days. -- The whole number was now estimated at 220 rank and file. During their stay here, the troops were kept under a constant drill of manual exercise with guns and swords, and their arms put in a state of repair -- the Prophet became very expert with a sword, and felt himself equal to his prototype Coriantumr. He had the best sword in the army (probably a true model of Laban's, if not the identical one itself,) an elegant brace of pistols, which were purchased on a credit of six months, a rifle, and four horses. Wight was appointed second in command, or fighting general, who, together with the prophet, had an armour bearer appointed, selected from among the most expert tactitions, whose duty it was to be in constant attendance upon their masters with their arms. The generals then appointed a new captain to each band, organized two companies of rangers, or sharp
shooters, to act as scouts or flankers, when they should arrive upon the field of carnage. After this they dubbed themselves the "army of Zion," and Hiram Smith was chosen to carry the flag, which he kept unfurled during the remainder of the march.
The march of the grand army was then resumed for two or three days, when it was agreed to spend half a day in a sham fight. For this purpose four divisions were formed, and took positions, and went to work, agreeably to the most approved forms of Bonaparte, Black Hawk, Coriantumr, or Shiz. After coming to close quarters, however, all discipline was lost sight of; and each one adopted a mode agreeable to his taste. Some preferred the real British push with the bayonet, some the old Kentucky dodging from tree to tree, while others prefered the Lamanite mode of tomahawking, scalping and ripping open the bowels. The final result was, that several guns and swords were broken, some of the combatants wounded, and each one well pleased with his own exploits.
After crossing the Mississippi, spies on horseback were kept constantly on the look out, several miles in front & rear. The Prophet went in disguise, changing his dress frequently, riding on the different baggage wagons, and, to all appearance, expecting every moment to be his last. Near the close of one day, they approached a prairie, which was 30 miles in extent, without inhabitants. Here an altercation took place between the two generals, which almost amounted to a mutiny. The prophet declared it was not safe to stay there over night, as the enemy would probably be upon them. Gen. Wight totally refused to enter the prairie, as they would not he able to find water, or to build a fire to cook their provisions, besides the great fatigue it would cause the troops. Smith said he would show them how to eat raw pork. Hiram said he knew by the spirit
that it was dangerous to stay there. The prophet finally exclaimed, "Thus saith the Lord God -- March on;" this settled the matter -- and they all moved on about fifteen miles, and thinking themselves out of danger, they encamped beside a muddy pool, and went through the raw pork operation. Here the controversy was again renewed between the two generals. Smith said "he knew exactly when to pray, when to sing, when to talk, and when to laugh, by the Spirit of God -- that God never commanded any one to pray for his enemies." The whole seemed much dissatisfied, and came nigh breaking out into open mutiny.
The Prophet had, besides his other weapons, a large bull dog, which was exceedingly cross during the nights, and frequently attempted to bite persons stirring about. One of the captains, (a High Priest,) one evening, declared to the Prophet that he would shoot the dog, if he ever attempted to bite him. Smith replied, "that if he continued in the same spirit, and did not repent, the dog would yet cut the flesh off his bones, and he would not have the power to resist. This was the commencement of a controversy between the Prophet and his High Priest, which was not settled till some time after their return to head-quarters, in Kirtland, when the former underwent a formal trial on divers serious charges, before his Priests, honorably acquitted, and the latter made to acknowledge that he had been possessed of several devils, for many weeks. The dog, however, a few nights after the controversy commenced, was shot through the leg by a sentinel, near the Prophet's tent, and died instantly.
When within twelve miles of Liberty, Clay county, Mo. (the head-quarters of the fanatics in that state,) the "army of Zion" was met by two Gentlemen, who had been deputed by the citizens of another county, for the purpose of enquiring into the motive and object of such a hostile and warlike appearance upon their borders. These gentlemen
openly warned the military band and their Prophet, to desist from their intended operations, and leave the settlement of their difficulties with the people of Jackson county, in other hands -- advised them to he very careful what they did and said, as the citizens of not only Jackson, but some of the adjacent counties, were very much enraged and excited, and were fully determined to resist the first attempt upon them, by an armed force from other States. A few hours after, this the Prophet brought out a revelation, for the use of his troops, which said, in substance, that "they had been tried, even as Abraham was tried, and the offering was accepted by the Lord, and when Abraham received his reward, they would receive theirs." Upon this, the war was declared to be at an end. A call for volunteers, however, was made, to take up their abode in Clay county, when about 150 turned out. The next day they marched to Liberty, and each man received an honorable discharge, under the signature of Gen. Wight. The army then scattered in different directions, some making their way back from whence they came, the best way they could, begging their expenses from the inhabitants. Thee Prophet and his chief men, however, had plenty of money, and travelled as other gentlemen do. Before leaving Liberty, the Cholera broke out among them, and carried off thirteen of their number, viz.: John S. Carter, Eber Wilcox, Seth Hitchcock, Erastus Rudd, Algernon S. Gilbert, Alfred Fisk, Edward Ives, Noah Johnson, Jesse B. Lawson, Robert McCord, Eliel Strong, Jessie Smith and Betsey Parish. A new revelation was now had, that the brethren could purchase land and settle in any of the adjacent counties, or "regions round about."
The particulars of this expedition have been related to us by an eye witness, who was one of the sharp shooters, and marched the whole distance, full of faith in the assertions
of Jo Smith, that "Zion was to be delivered." He came back, well satisfied with Mormonism, and is esteemed a man of truth and veracity, by his acquaintances. And now, had we the pen of a Cervantes, we should be strongly tempted to draw out another volume, as an appendix, from the valorous deeds of our modern Knight of La Mancha, for we do not believe that in all the history of knight errantry, whether true or fabulous, an excursion by any set of men, so fraught with delusion and nonsense, can be found. And, in fact, it came well nigh loosening the scales from the eyes of most of the dupes to that imposition -- and the whole camp came near breaking up, after the return of the Prophet to Kirtland. There was a constant uproar among the brethren, for three or four weeks, which only terminated in a sham trial of the Prophet; wherein, as near as we can learn, he was judge, jury and witness; and, as one of the brethren said, (very imprudently,) a more disgraceful transaction never took place. The Prophet considered it a trying time with himself, and a point on which his future prospects turned. He accordingly put in requisition all his powers of speech and tact at deception, to cover over his transactions, and reclaim his refractory followers. On one occasion he harangued and belabored them for six hours upon a stretch, and finally succeeded in restoring order, with the loss of two or three members. It would seem that the Prophet anticipated trouble, on his return, as he secured a deed of a valuable farm, just before starting, by the contributions of his followers. He also took a deed of the ground on which stands a huge stone temple, sixty by eighty feet; and which is now nearly completed. Possessing himself, personally, of this edifice, gave such dissatisfaction, that the deed was finally altered, so as run to him and his successor.
But to return to the Missouri war. On hearing of the
approach of the prophet and his troops, the people of Jackson county had a general meeting, organized a military force, and appointed a committee of ten persons to proceed to Liberty, in order to effect a settlement of their controversy with the Mormons, They met the Mormon leaders, in a public meeting, when the following correspondence passed between them; but as the Prophet had not then arrived, nothing could be accomplished.
"The undersigned committee, being fully authorized by the people of Jackson county, hereby propose to the Mormons, that they will buy all the land that the said Mormons own in the county of Jackson; and also, all the improvements which the said Mormons had on any public lands in said county of Jackson, as they existed before the first disturbances between the people of Jackson and the Mormons, and for such as they have made since. They further propose, that the valuation of said land and improvements shall be ascertained by three disinterested arbitrators, to be chosen and agreed to by both parties. They further propose, that should the said parties disagree in the choice of arbitrators, then ----- is to choose them. They further propose that twelve of the Mormons shall be permitted to go along with the arbitrators, to show them their land and improvements, while valuing the same, and such other of the Mormons as the arbitrators shall wish to do so, to give them information: and the people of Jackson hereby guarantee their entire safety while doing so. They further propose, that when the arbitrators report the value of the land and improvements, as aforesaid, the people of Jackson will pay the valuation, with one hundred per cent. thereon, to the Mormons within thirty days thereafter. They further propose that the Mormons are not to make any effort ever after
to settle, either collectively or individually, within the limits of Jackson county. The Mormons are to enter into bonds to insure the conveyance of their land in Jackson county, according to the above terms, when the payment shall be made; and the committee will enter into a like bond, with such security as may be deemed sufficient, for the payment of the money, according to the above proposition. While the arbitrators are investigating and deciding the matter referred to them, the Mormons are not to attempt to enter Jackson county, or to settle there, except such as are, by the foregoing proposition permitted to go there. They further propose that the people of Jackson will sell all their lands, and improvements on public lands in Jackson county, to the Mormons -- the valuation to be obtained in the same manner -- the same per cent. in addition to be paid -- and the time the money is to be paid is the same as above set forth in our proposition to buy -- the Mormons to give good security for the payment of the money, and the undersigned will give good security that the land will be conveyed to the Mormons. They further propose, that all parties are to remain as they are till the payment is made, at which time the people of Jackson will give possession.
"Your proposition for an adjustment of the difficulties between the citizens of Jackson county, and the Mormons, is before us; and as explained to you in the court house,
this day, we are not authorized to say to you that our brethren will submit to your proposals; but we agree to spread general notice, and call a meeting of our people in all, the present week, and lay before you an answer as soon as Saturday or Monday next. We can say for ourselves, and in behalf of our brethren, that peace is what we desire, and what we are disposed to cultivate with all men; and to effect peace, we feel disposed to use all our influence, as far as would be required at our hands, as free born citizens of these United States. And as fears have been expressed that we designed to commence hostilities against the inhabitants of Jackson county, we hereby pledge ourselves to them, and to the hospitable citizens of Clay county, that we will not, and neither have designed, as a people, to commence hostilities against the aforesaid citizens of Jackson county, or any other people.
"Our answer shall be handed to Judge Turnham, the Chairman of the meeting, even earlier than the time before stated, if possible.
"N. B. As we are informed that a large number of people are on their way, removing into Jackson county, we agree to use our influence immediately to prevent the said company from entering into Jackson county, until you shall receive an answer to the proposition aforementioned."
About the same time the following correspondence appeared in the Missouri Enquirer, a paper printed at Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri:
"Being a citizen of Clay county, and knowing that there is considerable excitement among the people thereof, and also knowing that different reports are arriving almost hourly,
and being requested by the Hon. J. F. Ryland to meet the Mormons under arms, and obtain from the leaders thereof the correctness of the various reports in circulation -- the true intent and meaning of their present movements, and their views generally regarding the difficulties existing between them and the citizens of Jackson county -- I did, in company with other gentlemen, call upon the said leaders of the Mormons, at their camps, in Clay county; and now give to the people of Clay county their written statement, containing the substance of what passed between us.
"Being called upon by the above named gentlemen, at our camp, in Clay county, to ascertain from the leaders of our men our intentions, views and designs, in approaching this county in the manner that we have: we, herefore, the more cheerfully comply with their request, because we are called upon by gentlemen of good feelings, who are disposed for peace, and an amicable adjustment of the difficulties existing between us and the people of Jackson county. The reports of our intentions are various, and have gone abroad in a light calculated to arouse the feelings of almost every man. For instance, one report is, that we intend to demolish the printing office in Liberty; another report is, that we intend crossing the Missouri River, on Sunday next, and falling upon women and children, and slaying them; another is, that our men were employed to perform this expedition, being taken from the manufacturing establishments in the East that had closed business; also that we carried a flag, bearing peace on one side, and war or blood on the other; and various other too numerous to mention. All of which, a plain declaration of our intentions, from under our own hands, will show are not correct.
In the first place, it is not our intention to commit hostilities against any man or body of men. It is not our intention to injure any man's person or property, except in defending ourselves. Our flag has been exhibited to the above gentlemen, who will be able to describe it. Our men were not taken from any manufacturing establishment. It is our intention to go back upon our lands in Jackson, by order of the Executive of the State, if possible. We have brought our arms with us for the purpose of self-defence, as it is well known to almost every man of the State that we have every reason to put ourselves in an attitude of defence, considering the abuse we have suffered in Jackson county. We are anxious for a settlement of the difficulties existing between us, upon honorable and constitutional principles. We are willing for twelve disinterested men, six to be chosen by each party, and these men shall say what the possessions of those men are worth who cannot live with us in the county, and they shall have their money in one year; and none of the Mormons shall enter that county to reside until the money is paid. The damages that we have sustained in consequence of being driven away shall also be left to the above twelve men. Or they may all live in the county, if they choose, and we will never molest them if they let us alone, and permit us to enjoy our rights. We wish to live in peace with all men, and equal rights is all we ask. We wish to become permanent citizens of this State, and wish to bear our proportion in the support of the Government, and to be protected by its laws. If the above proposals are complied with, we are willing to give security on our part; and we shall want the same of the people of Jackson county for the performance of this agreement. -- We do not wish to settle down in a body, except where we can purchase the lands with money; for to take possession by conquest is entirely foreign to our feelings. The shedding
of blood we shall not be guilty of until all honorable means prove insufficient to restore peace. Attest:
"Clay County, June 21, 1834."
"Messrs. KELLEY & DAVIS:
Gentlemen: Having understood that a communication from the Mormons, addressed to the people of Clay county, a copy of which was also forwarded to us, dated 21st inst. has been left with you for publication, we have thought proper to give the said communication a passing notice, especially as it bears the signatures of Jo. Smith, Jr. F. G. Williams, Lyman Wight, Roger Orton, Orson Hyde, and John S. Carter.
We are unable to say with precision, who of the Mormons hold land in Jackson county, by any earthly title; but, so far as we can obtain any information at the Register's office at Lexington, so far as the sales of Seminary lands, of the 16th sections of the Township School Lands, inform us, and so far as the Recorder's Office furnishes any information of lands transferred by deeds recorded, neither of the above gentlemen Mormons own any lands in Jackson County; although, throughout their whole communication, they hold out the idea, that their only wish and desire is to return to their lands in Jackson. From the above, it would seem that if those who signed the communication above alluded to, have titles to any lands in Jackson county, they are titles unknown to the laws of the State, and of a character not known to common conveyances. -- Why men, who do not, so far as we can learn, own any lands in Jackson, should promulgate to the world, that they
have been expelled from them, appears to us inexplicable; unless, indeed, it is done with a view to deceive. Why men, living in the State of Ohio, should there raise an armed force, and march the distance of 6 or 800 miles, under the pretense of taking possession of their lands in Jackson, when, in fact, they have no earthly title to any, that would be to us also inexplicable, had we not the best possible reasons to know and believe their true intent and purpose. -- Joseph Smith, Jr., whose name is first to the paper of which we speak, we confidently believe does not, neither did he ever, own a foot of land in Jackson county. Said Smith, two years or more ago, was in Jackson county some two or three weeks; since which time, he has not been, or at least known publicly to have been, in Jackson county. F. G. Williams, the second signer, we are informed, on competent authority, has never been a resident of Jackson county. But, if here at all, his stay was short, (our informant was, if not yet, a Mormon.) Lyman Wight had been for some time a resident of this county, but had no title to any land, as we believe, for the facts above stated. Roger Orton is unknown to any of the citizens of this county, so far as we have been able to make inquiry, and is unknown to some of the Mormon faith. Orson Hyde is known, and of famous memory to most of the people of this county, not by personal acquaintance, for, as we are informed, he had been but a short time here; but, by his communications, which appeared in the St, Louis Republican last November, (with what truth we will not here discuss.) John S. Carter is unknown to any person in this county, so far as we can learn.
"Thus it would seem, that the signers of the above paper, or a majority of them, have no interest whatever in this county, any further than the Mormon church is concerned; and yet, they avow to the citizens of Clay, that
their sole object in arming and marching to this county was, and is, to take possession of their lands, when in fact they had no lands to take possession of: that the abuse they received here last Fall is sufficient to warrant them coming here armed. What abuse, we ask, did the Prophet Jo, Smith, Jr., receive in this county last Fall, and he not in the State? None, indeed to his person. Again, they say that they never intended to get possession of Zion, (that is Jackson,) by the shedding of blood! But, in Revelation No. 54, given in Kirtland, Ohio, August, 1831, near three years since, which we find in a Book of Revelations, printed by the Mormons, we discover the following in the thirteenth verse, to wit: 'Wherefore, the land of Zion shall be obtained but by PURCHASE or by BLOOD, otherwise there is no inheritance for you,' Thus it would seem, that either the Revelation is false, or the statement made by Jo. Smith and others to the people of Clay county is false. -- And we cannot but conclude, that the statement was got up for the sole purpose of allaying public excitement against them, and without much regard to their real object in coming here. The fact is, that an armed force coming from another State, many, and indeed most of whom have never, as we are informed and believe, been here before, produces the strongest conviction to our minds, that the Mormons do not intend to rely upon the arm of the civil law for protection, and redress of grievances; but that under the pretence of getting back to their lands in Jackson county, a pretence which, applied to nineteen out of twenty of them, is false, they intend to redress of themselves their real as well as imaginary wrongs. We have already offered them two prices for their lands; they will not sell -- neither will they buy ours on the same terms. All this pertinacity and infatuation of theirs, show that they are determined, at all hazards, and regardless of all consequences, to shake and
convulse not only Jackson but the surrounding counties, to their very center, and to imbrue the while upper Missouri in blood and carnage. We will here observe, in conclusion, that our proposition to the Mormons to sell their lands to us on the same terms which we offer ours to them, must be regarded as a proof of our desire to do them justice, and thus put a final termination to this controversy.
"Chairman of Jackson county Committee,
State of Missouri, to Col. James Thornton, dated
CITY OF JEFFERSON, June 6, 1834.
advice I had given, it might be said, that I either advised wrong, or acted wrong; or that I was partial to one side or the other, in giving advice that I would not, as an officer, follow. A more clear and indisputable right does not exist, than that of the Mormon people, who were expelled from their homes in Jackson county, to return and live on their lands, and if they cannot be persuaded as a matter of policy, to give up that right, or to qualify it, my course, as chief Executive officer of the State, is a plain one. The Constitution of the United States declares, --- "That the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States." Then we cannot interdict any people who have a political franchise, in the United States, from emigrating to this State, nor from choosing what part of the State they will settle in providing they do not trespass on the property or rights of others. -- Our State Constitution declares that the people's 'right to bear arms, in defense of themselves, and of the State, cannot be questioned.' Then it is their constitutional right to arm themselves. Indeed, our militia law makes it the duty of every man, not exempt by law, between the ages of 18 and 45, to arm himself with a musket, rifle, or some firelock, with a certain quantity of ammunition, &c. And again, our Constitution says, 'that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.' I am fully persuaded that the eccentricity of the religious opinions and practices of the Mormons, is at the bottom of the outrages committed against them.
"They have the right constitutionally guaranteed to them, and it is in defeasible, to believe and worship Jo Smith, as a man, an angel, or even as the true and living God, and to call their habitation Zion, the Holy Land, or even Heaven itself. Indeed, there is nothing so absurd or ridiculous, that
they have not a right to adopt as their religion, so that in its exercise, they do not interfere with the right of others.
"It is not long since an impostor assumed the character of Jesus Christ, and attempted to minister as such; but I never heard of any combination to deprive him of his rights.
"I consider it the duty of every good citizen of Jackson and the adjoining counties, to exert themselves to effect a compromise of these difficulties, and were I assured that I would not have to act in my official capacity in the affair, I would visit the parties in person, and exert myself to the utmost to settle it. My first advice would be to the Mormons to sell out their lands in Jackson county, and to settle somewhere else, where they could live in peace, if they could get a fair price for their lands, and reasonable damages for injuries received. If this failed, I would try the citizens and advise them to rescind their illegal resolves of last summer; and agree to conform to the laws in every particular, in respect to the Mormons. If both these failed, I would then advise the plan you have suggested, for each party to take separate territory and confine their members within their respective limits, with the exception of the right of egress and regress upon the highway. If all these failed, then the simple question of legal right would have to settle it. It is this last that I am afraid I shall have to conform my action to in the end. And hence the necessity of keeping myself in the best situation to do my duty impartially.
"Rumor says that each party are preparing themselves with cannon. -- That would be illegal. It is not necessary for self-defence, as guaranteed by the Constitution. And as there are no artillery companies organized in this State, nor field pieces provided by the public, any preparations of that kind will be considered as without right; and in the present state of things, would be understood to be with a
criminal intent. I am told that the people of Jackson county expect assistance from the adjoining counties, to oppose the Mormons in taking or keeping possession of their lands. I should regret it extremely. if any should be so imprudent as to do so; it would give a different aspect to the affair.
"The citizens of Jackson county have a right to arm themselves and parade for military duty in their own county independent of the commander-in-chief; but if the citizens march there from other counties, with arms, without orders from the commander-in-chief or some one authorized by him, it would produce a very different state of things. Indeed, the Mormons have no right to march to Jackson county in arms, unless by order or permission of the commander-in-chief. Men do not 'levy war' in taking possession of their rights, any more than others should in opposing them in taking possession.
"As you have manifested a deep interest in a peaceable compromise of this important affair, I presume you will not be unwilling to be placed in a situation, in which, perhaps, you can be more serviceable to these parties. I have therefore taken the liberty of appointing you an Aid to the commander-in-chief, and hope it will be agreeable to you to accept. In this situation you can give your propositions all the influence they would have, were they to emanate from the Executive, without committing yourself or the commander-in-chief in the event of a failure.
"I would be glad if you or some other gentleman who joined in your communication, would keep a close correspondence with these parties, and by each mail, write me.
"The character of the State has been injured in consequence of this unfortunate affair: and I sincerely hope it may not be disgraced by it in the end.
Signed: "DANIEL DUNKLIN."
Thus ended the far-famed Mormon war, and thus the difficulties stand at the present time. It was set on foot, as they constantly held out, by a command of the Lord, for the sole and express purpose of "redeeming Zion," as the dupes who marched under the orders of the prophet, firmly believed. They entertained not the least doubt that they were to have a brush with the people of Jackson county, and some were sorely disappointed and chagrined, when it was first announced that no blood was to be spilt; so much so, that one, at least, manifested a determination not to submit to the decision of the Prophet, and was only pacified by an exhibition of the revelation to his view. After all, Smith had the hardihood and affrontry to declare, after his return, that his sole and only object in marching his troops thither, was to carry money and other supplies to his brethren, who were in destitute circumstances. But the reasons why the expedition was so suddenly terminated, may be readily discovered in the Governor's letter, and the manifestations of the citizens in that part of the country. Smith and his High Priests supposed that they had nothing to do but to make a display of their instruments of destruction, and their flag, to restore peace to the country. All the benefit, therefore, which was derived from his long march and expenditure of money, was, for the Prophet to get the information that he had no business there, and that it would be the most prudent course to "march back again."