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LaRoy Sunderland

Mormonism Exposed and Refuted

(First edition: NYC, 1838)

  • Title Page   Preface
  • Ch. 01  What is Mormonism?
  • Ch. 02  Mormonism ... imposture
  • Ch. 03  Mormonism... claims
  • Ch. 04  Mormonism... Money-Making
  • Ch. 05  Mormonism... opposed to the Gospel
  • Ch. 06  Mormonism... no... from the Bible
  • Ch. 07  Mormonism... opposed to Scriptures
  • Ch. 08  Mormonism is... cruelty
  • Ch. 09  Mormonites... and blasphemy
  • Ch. 10  Beauties of Mormonism
  • Ch. 11  Plagiarisms
  • Ch. 12  Contradictions
  • Ch. 13  Marks of Fraud
  • Ch. 14  Origin of the Book of Mormon
  • Ch. 15  Testimony of 80 witnesses

  • Transcriber's comments

  • Sunderland's text first appeared in articles published by his NYC Zion's Watchman in 1837-38, written partly in response to P. P. Pratt's 1837 A Voice of Warning. Pratt responded with his own Mormonism Unveiled in 1838 and Sunderland issued a totally new edition of Mormonism Exposed in 1842.

    William Harris' Mormonism Portrayed (1841)









    No. 7 Theatre Alley.




    P R E F A C E.

    The efforts are now in operation, in many places, to spread the peculiar views of a sect, generally known by the name of Mormons, or the "Latter Day Saints," as they call themselves, induces us to believe, that it may not be labor lost for us to furnish a few facts upon this subject, for the consideration of the public. Many innocent and well meaning people are frequently embarrassed by attacks from Mormonites, merely because they do not know what the principles advocated by this sect are, and least of all do they know the sandy foundation upon which their claims to infallibility are so confidently rested.

    And though it cannot be supposed, that any number of intelligent people are in much danger of being carried away by a delusion so manifestly monstrous and absurd, yet we doubt not but many will be interested in reading the following pages, as they may be, thereby, more than ever convinced of the exceeding wickedness into which man may fall, even when pretending to infallible inspiration, and also, the great value of the Holy Scriptures, which are so necessary to guard us against the seductions of error.

    It is not generally known, perhaps, that "Joseph Smith, Jr." the author of the "Book of Mormon," pretends pretends to number, at the present time, in this country; not less than fifty thousand converts. Indeed, if one hundreth part of this number of persons, can be found in any part of this nation, silly enough to believe the blasphemous absurdities set forth in this book, we think it is time something more were done to enforce the claims of God's word against such monstrous libels upon truth and religion, as are put forth in the preaching and publications of this sect. But, one patient reading of this book, would probably suggest to any one the true reason, why more notice has not been taken of it, and more efforts made to expose and confute its pretended claims to inspiration. The meanness of its diction from beginning to end, the

    iv                               PREFACE.                              

    errors in its language, the evident contradictions which abound in it, contradictions both of Scripture and of itself, as well as the gross blasphemies in the language which it so wickedly attributes to the lips of the infinite God, are abundantly sufficient to lead any person of ordinary intellect, who reads it with attention, to suppose that but few, if any, who believe the Bible to be a revelation from God, could be led away by such barefaced hypocrisy. But so it is, the human heart is not invulnerable to temptation, and when men neglect the more sure word of prophecy, it is not so much to be wondered at, that they sometimes become entrapped in a delusion as ridiculous as that of Mormonism. Indeed, it is a fact abundantly confirmed in past history, that among all the impositions ever broached upon the world, under the garb of religion, there has not been one, but has found persons foolish enough to believe it, not one. And, generally, among those who are duped by fanaticism, some will be found too proud, or ashamed to own the cheat, after they themselves have found it out. It is reasonable to suppose, however, that the most of those who are carried away with Mormonism, like all other radical errorists, are of the number who are not very conversant with the Holy Scriptures, and especially, not with the grounds upon which they claim the faith of human intelligences. Hence they cannot be very ready to discern between the claims of the pretended revelations of J. Smith, Jr., and the genuineness and authenticity of the Old and New Testaments. They do not so readily perceive the vast, the momentous difference between the miracles recorded in the Bible, and the juggling tricks of Smith and his associates.

    Still, perhaps, some may imagine, that we pay more attention to this delusion than it really deserves, and that the attention we call to it, will result in more harm than good, as many seem so much more ready to embrace error than they do truth, when both are laid before them; but if this objection applies here, it will certainly apply against an attempt to expose any other error, for who does not see, that, if we may not expose Mormonism because it is, in our view, a very great IMPOSITION, upon the thousands who may have embraced it as a revelation from God, then, for the same reason, we should never attempt to arrest the prevalence of any other error, but let all sinners go down to perdition, deceiving and being deceived.

    NEW-YORK, Feb'y. 1, 1838.


    [ 5 ]


    What is Mormonism?

    In answering this question, of course, it will be proper to appeal to the books which the Mormons have published of themselves. The only books we know of, published by them, are the following, and to which we shall refer for the authority on which we state the facts we are about to lay before the reader...

    The remainder of Chapter I has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 9 ]


    Mormonism does not materially differ from other
    systems of imposture, which have obtained
    converts in various ages of the world.

    Every age has its impostures; and what is remarkable, there are a number of traits in the different impositions which have been offered to the world as revelations from God, which perfectly agree with each other. So that in comparing one delusuon with another, we shall find there is a most singular family likeness among them all, and by which we may easily determine the source from which they all had their origin...

    The remainder of Chapter II has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 14 ]


    Mormonism cannot show any claims to
    Divine Inspiration.

    We have before shown, that one of the most distinguished peculiarities of Mormonism is, its pretensions to INSPIRATION. Its real believers profess to stand on an equal footing with the apostles...

    The remainder of Chapter III has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 21 ]


    Mormonism is a System of Money-Making.

    In examining the medley of contradictions and errors which abound in the book of Mormon, one is naturally led to ask, what could have been the object of the man who wrote it...

    The remainder of Chapter IV has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 25 ]


    Mormonism is another Gospel, directly opposed
    to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The remainder of Chapter V has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 28 ]


    Mormonism receives no countenance from
    the Bible.

    Mormonites seem to think they have made considerable advances towards obtaining the faith of persons in their pretended revelations, when they tell them that, the book of Mormon is not a substitute for the Bible...

    The remainder of Chapter VI has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 30 ]


    Mormonism is directly opposed to the
    Holy Scriptures

    The remainder of Chapter VII has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 33 ]


    Mormonism is a system of unrelenting cruelty.

    To be convinced of this fact, one has only to read the book of Mormon, which, as we have before observed, is one continued history of wars and murders. But the cruelty of which we now speak, is in the system...

    The remainder of Chapter VIII has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 35 ]


    The writings of the Mormonites are replete with
    nonsense and blasphemy.

    Take the following as specimens...

    The remainder of Chapter IX has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 38 ]


    Beauties of Mormonism.

    The following extracts purport to be inspired translations of what were written, long before the English language was in existence...

    The remainder of Chapter X has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 40 ]



    The following passages are found in the book of Mormon, and it is said they were used by different writers, some of whom wrote long before the Christian era...

    The remainder of Chapter XI has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 41 ]



    Of the many contradictions which abound in Mormonism, both of itself, of facts, and of the Scriptures, look at the following:--...

    The remainder of Chapter XII has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 44 ]


    Marks of Fraud.

    The remainder of Chapter XIII has not yet been transcribed.


    [ 49 ]


    Origin of the Book of Mormon.

    Since the preceding articles on Mormonism were written, a book has been handed us, which not only unveils the imposition of this whole scheme, but satisfactorily accounts for the origin of the Book of Mormon. It is entitled, "Mormonism Unveiled," by E. D. Howe, published at Painesville, Ohio, in 1834. From the testimony of many unimpeachable witnesses, given in this work, it is proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the "Book of Mormon" was originally written by one Solomon Spaulding, who was born in Ashford, Conn., in 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth College, and became a minister of the Gospel, but afterwards left the ministry, and entered into business in Cherry Valley, N.Y., where he failed in 1809. He afterwards removed to Conneaut, Ohio, where it was well known, at the time, that he was engaged in writing a novel, with the avails of which he expected to pay his debts. This work he called "The Manuscript Found," and it purported to be a historical record of the first inhabitants of this country, whom it represented as descendants from the ancient Jews.

    The vanity of Spaulding led him often to speak of his book, and to read portions of it to numbers of persons, who testify, as may be seen in the work above named, that, with the exceptions of the quotations from Scripture, the book of Mormon reads very much like the novel of Spaulding which they heard read in 1810. To the existence of such a manuscript, we have the testimony of Mr. John Spaulding, of Crawford Co., Pa., a brother of the man who wrote it, and, also, that of his wife. This fact is also proved by the testimony of Mr. Henry Lake, of Conneaut, Ohio, who was in


    50             M O R M O N I S M    R E F U T E D.            

    business with S. Spaulding at the time he wrote that novel; Mr. John N. Miller, of Springfield, Pa., Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and Nahum Howard, of Conneaut, Ohio, and A. Cunningham, of Perry, Geauga Co., Ohio, testify to the same fact. These witnesses inform us, that they well remember many of the names and incidents mentioned in Spaulding's manuscript, and they pronounce them the same as those found in the Book of Mormon.

    The existence of the above named "Manuscript Found," is further proved by the testimony of S. Spaulding's widow, who says, it was carried to Pittsburgh, Pa., by her husband in 1812, where he died soon after. It was put into the hands of a printer by the name of Lamdin, (who died in 1826,) with whom Sidney Rigdon was very intimate, during his residence in that city. Rigdon obtained the manuscript from Lamdin, and after a few years, spent in rewriting and altering it, it was ushered forth to the world by Joseph Smith, Jr., Rigdon and others, as a revelation from God! Such was the origin of the "Book of Mormon."


    [ 51 ]


    Testimony of eighty witnesses.

    A t the close of the book of Mormon we find what is called "The testimony of eleven witnesses," who affirm that they had "seen and hefted" the plates...

    The remainder of Chapter XV has not yet been transcribed.

    Transcriber's Comments

    LaRoy Sunderland (1802-1885)

    LaRoy Sunderland's 1838 Pamphlet

    (under construction)"

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