“Mormonism.” Daily Morning Post (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) no. 64 (23 November 1842).
We find in the Boston Bulletin, a review of the work recently published by the notorious Bennett, giving a history of the rise and progress of the “Latter Day Saints” from the early days of Joe Smith, to the present time. No confidence can be placed in the assertions of a man, so hardened in villainy and hypocrisy, as the author of this book; yet, among the innumerable lies and perversions which, no doubt characterize the work, much truth may be found. The history of Joe Smith is interesting, as portraying a man ambitious, deceitful, and possessing a degree of cunning, which fits him remarkably well for the task which he has so successfully carried out.
The family of Smiths, consisting of an old man with three or four sons, lived in the Western part of New York; their only employment was “digging for money,” which occupation brought them into communion with the departed spirits, which spirits, they supposed, had the ‘collecting, safekeeping, and disposing’ of the hidden treasures. The experience which Joe acquired in his avocation, soon led him to make the discovery that some people were easily gulled, which discovery suggested to him the idea of distinguishing himself by establishing a new religion. Having a profound knowledge of human nature, he soon succeeded in gaining followers, principally from the ignorant and superstitious.
The discovery of the book of gold is thus related:—“He repaired to the place of deposite and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box, something like a toad, which assumed the appearance of a man and struck him on the side of his head. Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously.”
The Golden Bible, or Book of Mormon, was first published in 1830, being written much in the style of the old Testament, and giving an account of the departure of the Lost Tribes of Israel from Jerusalem under command of Nephi and Lehi—their journey by land and sea, till they arrived in America—their quarrels and contentions until the Nephites were entirely destroyed by the children of Lehi, who afterwards dwindled in unbelief, and became a dark, lothsome, and filthy people—to wit, the American Indians.
The first Mormon Church consisted of six members; and after a number of converts the prophet received a revelation from Heaven, that the “Saints” should remove to Kirtland, Ohio, and there take up their abode. Many obeyed the command—selling their possessions, and helping each other to settle in the spot designated. The place was the Head Quarters of the church and the residence of the Prophet until 1838.
The leaders in this community having become deeply involved in debt, by trading and their efforts to erect a Temple, in 1837 the far famed Kirtland Bank was put into operation without a charter. When the notes were first issued, they were current in the vicinity, and Smith took advantage of their credit to pay off with them the debts he, and the brethren, had contracted in the neighborhood for land, &c.—The eastern creditors, however, refused to take them. This led to the expedient of exchanging for the notes of other banks.—Acordingly the elders were sent off thro’ the country to barter off Kirtland money, which they did, with great zeal, and continued the operation, until the notes were not worth twelve and a half cents to the dollar. As might have been expected, this institution, after a few months, exploded, involving Smith and his brethren in inextricable difficulties. The consequence was, that he and most of the members of the church, set off in the spring of 1838, for Far West, Mo., being pursued by their creditors, but to no effect. (pps 135 136.)
Previous to the breaking up of the com [line missing in scan] had emigrated to Missouri, where having become very arrogant, claiming the land as their own by a title directly from the Lord, and making the most haughty assumptions—they had so exasperated the citizens, that in several places where they attempted to locate, mobs were raised to drive them from the country.
Smith and his associates from Kirtland, brought them to a stand. His Apostles and Elders were instructed to preach that it was the will of the Lord, that all his followers should assemble in Caldwell county, Mo., and possess the kingdom—that power would be given them to do so, and that the children of God were not required to go to war at their own expense. It was estimated that the Mormons now numbered in this country, and in Europe, about 40,000. The scenes of depredation which brought on the Missouri war—a struggle between the Mormons and civil authorities of the state—are matter of history. The result was their entire expulsion from the state—and the capture of Smith and several of the ringleaders, who after several months’ imprisonment, found means of making their escape to Illinois, whither their comrades had been driven.
The Mormons, as a body, arrived in Illinois in the early part of 1839. At this time they presented a spectacle of destitution and wretchedness, almost unexampled. This, together with their tales of persecution and privation, wrought powerfully upon the sympathies of the citizens, and caused them to be received with the greatest hospitality and kindness. In the winter of 1840—they applied to the legislature of this state to charter the City of Nauvoo, which is situated on the Mississippi river at the head of the Lower Rapids—a site equal in beauty to any on the river.—They asked also, for other and peculiar chartered privileges, and such was the desire to secure their political favor, that they were granted for the asking. The progress of the church, from this time to May 1842 was rapid; the city of Nauvoo having reached a population of 10,000 in number—the legion, consisting of 2,000 soldiers, well drilled and disciplined; and the whole Mormon strength, as has been publicy stated, being about 100,000 souls. The Prophet was in frequent communication with Heaven and taught that his Nauvoo was a resting place only, that there was to be a great gathering of all the Saints, to conquer Missouri, and rear the great Temple in Zion, from which they had been driven, and build the new Jerusalem there.
The story of the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs, and the several rumors of the arrest of Joe Smith and Rockwell, together with the revolting tales of the prophet’s “Amours,” &c., are familiar to our readers.
The true origin of the Book of Mormon is this: Solomon Spaulding, of Connaught, Ohio, during his leisure hours, wrote for his own amusement, a historical romance, which he read in manuscript to several personal friends, who testify to its identity. He came to Pittsburgh in 1812, with the view of getting the book printed, and it was left at the office of Mr. Patterson. He was never heard from again, but how Joe Smith got possession of the “manuscript found” remains a mystery.