BOOK OF MORMON
Biblical scholars have searched for many decades for collateral proof that the person Jesus Christ actually existed. The Book of Mormon provides that proof. It gives a history of one part of the House of Israel led by a Prophet of God to the Western Hemisphere about 600 years before Jesus. When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, it was not even known that such an advanced civilization existed. Several of the books of Scripture were brought with them providing evidence of the truth of those books. The people soon divided into one group that followed the Prophets of God and were generally a righteous people. The other group was rebellious and sought to kill the other. It tells of Jesus’ mission among the righteous people—the “other sheep” that he had told the Jews. “16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10) About 400 years after Jesus’ mission, the people turned wicked and were destroyed down the last man, a Prophet of God, who hid their records to be recovered at a future time—by Joseph Smith. This page includes three sections: (1) Essay on the Book of Mormon by Wingfield Watson in 1899, (2) 31 questions for anyone that questions the authenticity of the Book of Mormon to answer, and (3) evidences of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon by Apostle John E. Page in 1848 and 1849; but, never completed. Those who are called of God (Eph. 1:5), open their heart, earnestly seek the kingdom of God, and pray for such understanding will have their minds opened to the truth.
“We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. [“3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down unto the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:3-5]
“Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.” (Introduction, Book of Mormon)
“14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!” (2 Nephi 27:12)
AN ESSAY ON THE BOOK OF MORMON
ON ITS CLAIMS AND PROPHECIES, BY WINGFIELD WATSON, AN ELDER IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
Among the many remarkable discoveries of this very remarkable and productive generation, the Book of Mormon occupies no very ordinary place. There is no book in the English language, or perhaps in any other, that has received so widespread and bitter denunciation from both press and pulpit, as the Book of Mormon; nor is there anything, looking at it from our Mormon standpoint, having well investigated and tested its claims, that is, we feel, more unjust and undeserved. Briefly, it claims to be an abridgment of the sacred records kept by the forefathers of the aborigines of this American Continent, very much as the Bible is such a record of the Israelites, on the Eastern Continent.
It claims that the American Indians, as we call them, are but a remnant of a once great and powerful nation, which sprang from a few families of the lineage of the Patriarch Joseph, who were brought to this land under the immediate direction of God, a little previous to the Babylonish Captivity. This history extends over a period of about one thousand year, ending about the close of the fourth century of the Christian era. This book informs us that this colony brought with them the Five Books of Moses, written upon brass plates, and the prophecies of the Holy Prophets given from the days of Adam down to the time of their departure from the Land of Palestine ; and includes some of the prophecies of Jeremiah. That this people sometime after their coming here divided into two peoples; the one called Nephites, being led by prophets, who led them by the counsels of God, warned them of judgments, and often led them successfully in battle against the other people, who were called Lamanites, who became regardless of God, and his counsels, and were cruel, revengeful, and terrible; delighting in wars, robbery, and bloodshed, seeking continually to utterly destroy their brethren, the Nephites, from the face of the earth.
These prophets, we are informed, predicted many great national events; foretold the coming ministry, persecution, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; pointed out signs that would be given on this land, both of his birth and of his death, and finally, that he should after his resurrection appear to and manifest himself to the righteous in this land; that he should greatly bless them, and establish his church among them, and that it would continue for some four hundred years afterward. That at the time of the crucifixion of Christ, there were great darkness all over this land; that the earth groaned and the rocks rent; that nanny cities were sunk, and waters came up in their stead; that others took fire and burned up, and that mountains were carried up upon others, and that so great were the judgments over all [Page 2] this land because of the wickedness of a great part of the people, that the whole face of this Northern Continent of America was changed from its usual and natural appearance. That it was while in the act of weeping and mourning for the loss of their kindred and people after the darkness had receded, and the quaking of the earth had ceased, that Jesus stood in their midst, in his glory, and ministered unto them as he had ministered to the saints in Jerusalem. Now, it was the desire and the prayer of the righteous upon this land, that the gospel of Jesus Christ, as had here among them, in its purity should be preserved, and come by way of the Gentiles to their posterity in the latter days; having full knowledge by the spirit of prophecy, that the Gentiles would in the future, be led to discover and inhabit this land. Accordingly a prophet of the name of Mormon, being the last one among them, was commanded of the Lord to make an abridgment of all the sacred writings had among them. Which he did, and put all in the hands of his son Moroni, who also by command of the Lord hid them up in a hill which he calls Cumorah, where they have lain from about the close of the fourth century till they were delivered, by the direction of an angel, into the hands of Joseph Smith, in 1829, who, we are informed, translated them by the gift and power of God, into the English language. This book is therefore called the Book of Mormon, because of its being an abridgment of sacred things by the Prophet Mormon. Here we must refer the reader who wishes to get a further knowledge of these things to the works of different other authors, who have given a more particular account of these matters, as Oliver Chowder’s Letters, Orson Pratt’s Visions of Joseph the Seer; A Voice of Warning to all Nations, by Parley P. Pratt, and others.
Not withstanding the ordeal of pious slander, and priestly and editorial denunciation, which the Book of Mormon has passed through, it still reminds one of one of those celebrated lighthouses, imbedded and bolted into the solid rock, against which the immense billows and mountain waves of ocean may foam and swell and dash themselves, but bass by to their own place, leaving it entirely uninjured and still casting its cheering light to guide the tempest tossed mariner and send him on his way rejoicing. Again it would remind one of some grand hidden treasure, which the more it is tested the better one is satisfied of its golden genuineness. Or of a true witness at court who, the more he is buffeted, brow-beaten, and roughly handled by his opponent, the better are the court and an honest jury satisfied of his veracity.
Here we will say a few things which we feel we can say of the Book of Mormon, in truth, and without fear of successful contradiction.
- That there is not a man, nor set of men, upon the face of the earth capable of proving the Book of Mormon an imposition.
- That there is not a man, nor set of men, on earth, who can give any well-grounded reason for rejecting it, as a revelation from God.
- That it is supported as a revelation from God by a number of witnesses, such as are sufficient to settle or decide any case in law or equity, anywhere under heaven, in a court of justice.
- That it harmonizes with archeology, chronology, and history, and is not opposed in any way to science.
- That the more thoroughly it is investigated, examined, and tested by the unerring laws of truth, the better one is satisfied of its claim of being a divine record.
- There is not a line in the Book of Mormon that opposes in any way the divine teachings of the Bible.
- There is not a true Mormon on earth, man or woman, but will say that the perusal, study, and investigation of the contents and claims of the Book of Mormon, has given them at least double the regard for the Bible and its teachings, that they ever could have without that Book.
- That the faith of the Mormons in the promises and decrees of God as set forth in the Bible, is at least [Page 3] doubled by means of the Book of Mormon.
- That they are much better men and women in every way with the Book of Mormon, than they would ever have been without it.
- That it is impossible that, as a people, they could ever have endured the persecution, the privations, want, and destitution consequent upon the whole people being several times robbed and driven from their homes, and accomplished the prodigious undertakings which their enemies give them the credit of accomplishing, in the same length of time, if they had no faith in the Book of Mormon.
- That the temperance, chastity, hospitality, industry, cheerfulness, fair dealing, general devotion, and self-denial of the Mormon people which many distinguished Gentiles have given them credit for, is due in great measure to their faith in the Book of Mormon, and in Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.
- That there are various conjectures and theories among the learned as to the origin and authorship of the Book of Mormon, each making war upon the other, and no two of them alike; the whole making a very grand bundle of contradictions.
To this we must add that the chief means resorted to as a weapon against the Book of Mormon, is the constant effort to blacken the character of Joseph Smith, and his early associates, in order to render them infamous, and their testimony worthless; relying upon slander and defamation instead of testing the book on its own merits and letting it stand or fall on that. In these matters, these reverend and learned gentlemen exhibit a skill in knavery, and the perversion of facts and history that is really so unblushing and surprising as to make it difficult to really find a parallel elsewhere.
Now then, we ask where is the sin of believing in the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God? The Almighty requires men to have a living faith in Him and in His promises, precepts and commandments, and that they be obedient, temperate, chaste, industrious, sober, kind, gentle, persevering, and, just; and our enemies being the judges, we know of no people on earth, where these good traits are possessed in so high a degree, as among the Mormons
But is this all that can he said of the Book of Mormon? Most assuredly it is not. The Book of Mormon, besides being correct in doctrine, and in perfect harmony with the New Testament, making many things in it of vital interest, but in dispute among the learned, very plain and easy to the understanding of the simplest capacity, contains also many important prophecies in relation to this present generation, many of which are fulfilled and are still fulfilling since it came forth in 1830; prophecies which, let us say, no human foresight, however sagacious, could have anticipated or expected.
And how that Joseph Smith, a mere youth, with but at common school education, and very meager at that, being very poorly able to write his own name or commit his thoughts to paper, could by his own unaided judgment have foretold such events as have taken place since the Book of Mormon was printed, with such accuracy and precision, is merely preposterous.
First, The Book of Mormon gives us to understand that after its publication into the English—which took place in 1830—that “many will believe the words of the book,” “and the Jews which are scattered, shall begin to believe in Christ, and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land. And it shall cone to pass that the Lord God shall commence His work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of His people upon the earth.” (See 2nd Book of Nephi, chap. 12)
For such a youth, with such an education, to predict such events with such remarkable certainty is certainly most extraordinary to say the least of it. To say nothing of the fulfillment of the saying that man should believe in the Book of Mormon after its publication—verified in so remarkable a manner, and still going on—the prediction that the Jews [Page 4] who had been scattered in all nations for over seventeen centuries, should begin to return to their own lands, was something that no man, unaided by inspiration, could have the least hope would take place. Yet this has actually taken place, and many thousand Jews are now living in Palestine , though at the time of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon they were prevented from returning to that land by some of the severest enactments passed by the Turkish government against it. Enactments which, we understand, forbade any more than three hundred Jews to reside there at any time.
Moreover upon the statute books of nearly all nations up to this time, there had been very illiberal and oppressive laws enacted against the Jews; but since then, these laws have been and still are being repealed one by one, till scarcely any of them now remain in force anywhere; and the Jews are now as free to exercise the rights of citizenship in nearly all nations, as any of the people of those nations themselves. Consequently they have not only returned in many thousands to the long sought lands of their fathers, but the way for the entire return of all the Jews from all lands, who wish to do so, has been, and is being constantly prepared, and every hindrance to it is being removed. Again, the number of Jews who have become believers in Jesus Christ as their long expected Messiah, since the Book of Mormon has been published, is very remarkable.
Second, The Book of Mormon tells us that the fullness of the gospel as it is contained in that Book, must first go to the nations of the Gentiles, and then it must go to all the House of Israel, who are scattered upon all the face of the earth, to gather them out of all countries, and establish them in their own lands, no more to be scattered for ever. (1st Book of Nephi, chap. 3, par. 46, 47; chap. 4-5.)
And now when we see the Gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon harmonizing and uniting as it does with the New Testament, and, as it were, making these two Books one, going into all nations, and bringing many thousands of the honest in heart out of all these countries year after year, till now it has gone into nearly all Europe and many other countries, we cannot hide it from ourselves if we would, that this very gospel will yet soon go to all Israel; and that by means of it, Israel will be gathered from all lands. That indeed shall hinder it from a accomplishing this great mission?
Nothing on earth is easier than to put forth predictions; but to predict a thing that will be truly fulfilled in every particular is altogether another and different thing.
The carrying of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament to the nations of the earth, without purse or scrip, is attended with a good deal of sacrifice upon the part of those who do it, and is most certainly no child’s play.
The sacrifice of home, family, friends, and the neglect of business for long periods of time to travel in a foreign country, meeting constantly the scorn, reproach, and buffetings of a fashionable clergy, and their fashionable and refined congregations, strangers in strange lands, without knowing from day to day where one was going to lay his head, or break the bread of life; and where countless impediments and opposition are laid in the way to prevent the spread of this gospel: where one has constantly to look to God, and him alone, to make provisions for one’s natural wants, is self evidently a state of mind that it takes much more to bring about than the mere misguided utterances or prophecies of a vain impostor.
Those who imagine such things natural to man give Joseph Smith greatly more credit for foresight and natural ability, than any Mormon can give him credit for, we most emphatically assure the reader.
The orthodox clergy of the present day are oft at their wits ends to know how to get up revivals and make converts, but many times utterly fail. Yet they say that Mormonism spreads and increases its converts with rapidity unequalled [Page 5] by any other church or denomination. But why don’t those very shrewd clergymen who pretend they “know all about Jo Smith,” and “how Mormonism was conjured up,” originate some creditable and praiseworthy plan of reviving their tottering churches, if it is a matter which a “vile impostor,” such as they imagine Joseph Smith to be, can accomplish so easily?
Third, The Book of Mormon, in various places in it, teaches that every man in every age, and of all conditions, from the days of Adam down to the present day, and onward to the second coming of Christ in the latter days, who is honestly seeking the kingdom of God, to know the will of God, and the way of salvation, that he may be saved, and avoid being deceived by the cunning craftiness of men or devils, has a right to receive revelation from God, and the manifestations of his Holy Spirit as it was enjoyed in the apostolic times and in the days of Moses; as for instance: “For he that diligently seeketh shall find, and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times (that is, in the sixth century before Christ) as in times of old; and as well in times of old, as in times to come;” assuring us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that “his course is one eternal round.” (1 Book of Nephi, chap. 3, par. 9) Again: “when ye shall receive these things,” that is, the Book of Mormon, “I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it, unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost: and by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” “And Christ truly said unto our fathers, if ye have faith, ye can do all things which is expedient unto me. And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth, that if the day cometh, that the gifts and power of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And woe be unto the children of men, if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the gifts and power of God. And woe unto them that shall do these things away and die, for they shall die in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God .” (See chap. 10, Book of Moroni , Book of Mormon)
While the leaders of the many churches of the present day have been denouncing the precious things of the Book of Mormon, as imposition and fraud, they have not been aware that many Latter Day Saints or Mormons have, through the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus Christ according to the above admonitions, and also many such admonitions of the New Testament, obtained for themselves a certain knowledge that the Book of Mormon and the revelations of Joseph Smith are true; a knowledge which makes their hearts glad and that gives them a peace, a courage, and a consolation that the world and the orthodox clergy know nothing about. And herein, we may truly say is the key to their success in building up that church under every known difficulty, adversity, and opposition. This is why the Mormon people increase in such a. ratio as it does, while the churches that denounce and oppose them constantly decay and go over to infidelity.
We have quoted the above sayings as prophetic; simply because neither Mormons nor any other people, know that they are true, till they search and compare them with the scriptures, and test them by the prayer of faith, as above admonished and required; and we feel safe in saying that very few Mormons, if indeed there are any, have ever went out to preach the gospel, who could not say that they knew their faith was true by evidence that they could not possibly be mistaken in; for God has shown it to them by one or another of those various gifts, by which he manifested himself to men and women in days of old, who were faithful to his precepts.
[Page 6] All these precious gifts of God as possessed by the Church of Christ in days of old are possessed by the Latter Day Saints, according as they follow the directions given in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament; while the orthodox are everywhere preaching that revelation ceased in John the revelator; and since his day no more revelation is to be expected; giving all to understand that “our wisdom and our knowledge is now so all-sufficient that we no longer need revelation to guide us.” O, fools and madmen! Pray where did these learned divines get this precious knowledge from? Most truly not from the scriptures; for these, even the revelations of St. John themselves, very gravely give the lie to all this. It is enough, however, for us that the scriptures from beginning to end, uphold the Book of Mormon and the Mormons in this matter of continued revelation, and very clearly condemns the enemies of it, in all generations, learned, and unlearned.
Take for instance the following: Heb. 5: 4-5. “No man taketh this honor,” that is, the honor or office of the priesthood “unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron;” and here we are also informed that even Jesus Christ did not glorify or magnify himself by taking this honor until he was called to it by the Almighty, who said to him, “Thou art my beloved son, this day have I begotten thee.” We contend then that, if no man can act in the name of God as a priest or minister, but he that is called of God as was Aaron, that is, by revelation, that all the so-called ministers and priests of God throughout christendom, are simply usurpers and impostors; for they every one, deny the necessity of revelation, for any purpose whatever. This is rather severe language we know; but they will have to charge it upon the Almighty, and not upon the Mormons.
But this is not all, by very great odds. This same Paul who wrote the above, has also told us, that God has set in his church apostles and prophets, evangelists [high priests], pastors [elders], and teachers with the various gifts of the Holy Ghost, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body or church of Christ . Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the son of God, into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4, 8-13. See also 12-14 chapters of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians) Every reasonable man should know that if the church in Paul’s day could not be perfected, nor edified, nor kept in the unity of faith, and from being carried about by every wind of doctrine, and the cunning craftiness of deceivers without apostles, prophets, and evangelists called of God, as was Aaron, that is by revelation from God—for that was truly how Aaron was called (Ex. 28:1)—and possessed of the various gifts of the Holy Ghost to qualify them for their ministry, that surely such things cannot be done now without such officers, and gifts, in the church God.
The three chapters above referred to in 1 Cor. are occupied by Paul in showing the necessity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit of God, in the church, and at the conclusion he says, “If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write unto you, are the commandments of God.” (1 Cor. 14:27) That being the case, then it becomes a matter of the highest importance to all men to know whether the Almighty has ever abrogated these commandments or not. But not only do we find no evidence of the abrogation of these most important commandments, but we find throughout the scriptures that they remain in full force, and must till the consummation of all things. A mere glance at modern Christendom with its vast number of clashing and contradictory creeds, and contending priests and ministers, should convince anyone that there [Page 7] is no “unity of faith” among them and that men are carried about with every wind of doctrine, and misled upon nearly every principle of the faith of Jesus Christ, and that darkness everywhere covers the earth, and gross darkness the minds of all people, for want of revelation and the gifts of the Gospel, as set forth by Paul, and Jesus, and all the apostles. We find everywhere, the same need for all these precious things that there has been at any time in the history of mankind. Nor is there the slightest hope that it will ever be any different among them until they begin to regard the Almighty as all prophets and apostles regarded him); that is, as “a revealer of secrets,” one “who revealeth the deep and secret things,” who knows what is in the darkness, the light being ever with him. (Dan. 2:19-22, 28, 29, 47)
Joseph in Egypt says: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” In other words, do not the revealing of all secrets of any importance to man, which cannot be settled by human wisdom, belong to him? (Gen. 40:8.) Moses says, “Would to God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that God would put his spirit upon them.” (Num. 11:26-29) He did not teach men to trust to their own wisdom certainly.
Again he says, “The secret thins belong unto God;” that is, they belong to God to reveal; “but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children for ever,” etc. (Deut. 29:29.)
Job says, “He (God) discovereth—revealeth—deep things out of darkness, and bringeth to light the shadow of death,” or the place of the departed dead. (Job 12:22 )
Paul says, “I would that ye all spake with tongues; but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh in tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying, “that is enlightenment, strength, knowledge, wisdom and encouragement in righteousness. (1 Cor. 14, 5)
Solomon says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18) And again he says, “Evil men understand not judgment; but they that seek the Lord understand all things,” that is, they understand all that they enquire of God in relation to (28:5). “I said not,” says the Almighty, “to the House of Israel, seek ye me in vain.” This shows very plainly that God has not only commanded men to seek knowledge from him, but that they will not seek it in vain. (Is. 45:19) Saul’s father once lost some asses, and sending his son to look for them, the latter failing to find them, was simple minded enough to go and enquire of God for them through Samuel the prophet. Samuel did not scold him nor call him superstitious or anything of that kind; but seemed to be well pleased with the young man for so doing. (1 Sam. 9 chap)
Says Jesus, “what man is there of you who if his son ask for bread will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7:7-11)
Not withstanding all this, the clergy of all denominations, actually believe where an innocent young man, like Joseph Smith, who was suffering much in his mind in consequence of not knowing which of all the clashing systems of faith now on the earth was the true one, and was encouraged by various scriptures to enquire of God that he might know this most important thing, that God actually gave him a serpent when he asked for a fish;–simply deceived and bewildered him, when he asked to be enlightened upon the most important question that was ever presented to man. And when God answered him in a most glorious vision that none of them were right, and that they were all following erroneous and abominable creeds, it is no wonder that they all, with here and there a rare exception, persecuted him with a most bitter persecution, as their fathers of old persecuted the prophets, for telling them the truth.
The scriptures are full of evidence that “God is a revealer of secrets” to [Page 8] all mankind in every age, in every country, and to every people who call upon him faithfully, and even more; that he is actually well pleased with men and women and children, who seek knowledge and wisdom from him. Moreover, as the apostle James tells us he will not only not upbraid any man for asking him, but he will give him liberally of the things asked. (James 1:5)
Most unquestionably then, the Book of Mormon is right in contending for, and teaching the necessity of continued revelation from God; for the scriptures, when we once get the scales of sectarianism removed from our eyes, most truly condemn the priests and divines of all ages, who contend against revelation from God looking at all these things in the light of revelation we may truly say that all the gross delusions, deceptions, and frauds, that have in the shape of religion in all the past, cursed, blinded, oppressed, and deluded mankind, have been palmed upon them, and have been fostered and built up among men because they either would not enquire of God, or else knew not that it was their privilege so to do. In modern times it is this same disregard of revelation that has fostered, and fastened a hundred clashing and nonsensical creeds upon mankind, and led their advocates to contend one with another, and to so grossly pervert the written things of God, that almost every thinking man turns away from them in disgust and despair of finding that good way wherein if a man walk, he shall not stumble, but find rest to his soul.
Here we shall leave this matter with the reader to decide with himself whether God will not or ought not to give knowledge by revelation to the honest seeker after truth; and whether the Book of Mormon is right or wrong upon this subject.
To this we could have added a very considerable array of prophecy from the Bible showing unmistakably that God will in the near future reveal great things to the House of Israel, who are now scattered in all lands; preparatory to their being gathered to their own lands; but will not now.
The next point which we shall test on the veracity of the Book of Mormon is that it accuses the old mother church of Rome of suppressing and taking away “many plain and precious parts” from the Bible; or the sacred writings of the prophets and apostles; so that after these writings came down through that church to the time of the Reformation, there are many precious things and covenants, which God had previously revealed and made with his people, entirely lacking; and that the object of this great and abominable church, as she is here called, in taking away these precious things, was that “she might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.” (See 1st Book of Nephi, chap. 3:43)
This raises another very serious question between the Book of Mormon and all those divines who say that “the canon of scripture is full, and we need no more revelation,” etc. We are quite willing that the scriptures themselves shall decide this great point, either against the Book of Mormon, or against modern divines. We shall first examine Acts 3:18 to 24. “But these things which God hath spewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” It is here plain then that all the prophets of God, before Jesus Christ came into the world, had said at least something in reference to the sufferings, trials, persecutions, and death that Jesus was to die, but in looking over the prophecies of the Old Testament, we find it very sadly lacking in any such prophecies.
1st. In some eleven of the sixteen prophets now remaining in the Bible, there is not one word in reference to either the sufferings, death or coming of Jesus Christ; or in any way referring to him whatever; and 2d, there is so little of anything definite as to time or place referring to him in the five or six other prophets that remain, we feel at a loss—yes greatly at a loss—to know how the greater part of it could be applied to Christ, anyway.
Verse 22, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the [Page 9] Lord our God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you;” etc.
True, we find these words in Deuteronomy; but how anyone in the days of Christ could apply them unto him, without something more in the connection, clearly pointing to Christ, is anything but easy to see. At any rate if the Mormons should pick up a prophecy so indefinite in itself as to time, place, or tribe, and apply them to Joseph Smith for instance as proof that he was some great prophet promised in these days, we should expect that the whole christian world would laugh at us; and indeed who could blame them? The words as they now stand in the text no more point to Christ than they do to any other prophet before him.
Verse 24, “Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, AS MANY AS HAVE SPOKEN, have LIKEWISE foretold OF THESE DAYS.”
Now you may begin with the prophet Samuel—great a prophet as he was—and you cannot find a line in all his writings, that alludes to Christ in the most distant manner whatever. Then go through the prophets Jeremiah, and Ezekiel—two other great prophets—and not a line is there in them that alludes to Christ or his times. Then turn to Hosea, Jonah, Amos, Nahum, Habakuk, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Haggai, and nothing in relation to Christ whatever is found in their writings. And to these eleven prophets, all following Samuel, we may add some five other noted prophets, who also followed Samuel, whose works are wholly and entirely lost, and who according to our text must have spoken of the days of Christ: as the Book of Nathan the Prophet, the Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29), the Book of the Prophecy of Ahijah, the Book of Iddo the Seer (2d. Chron. 9:29 ), and the Book of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chron. 12:15 ).
So when we come to consider the little that is now remaining in reference to Christ in the other few Books, viz.: Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, Malachi and Psalms, we find a good deal of difficulty in applying most of them to Christ’s days at all; for a considerable part of even this, refers to the times of Christ’s second coming and not to the first.
In connection with all this, including the saying that “Oppolis mightily (powerfully and overwhelmingly) convinced the Jews and that publicly, showing by the scriptures, that Jesus was the Christ,” (Acts 18:28; 9:22) we are compelled to believe that a wholesale robbery and suppression of holy scriptures have taken place since the fathers of the New Testament fell asleep. Surely Peter, on the day of Pentecost, in the presence of a host of Jews from all quarters of the globe, all of whom were in possession of these prophecies, could not have had the effrontery to tell this people of prophecies in relation to Christ, written in all these books that had never had an existence. And surely also, if in the days of Paul there were only the few isolated sayings in the prophecies, in relation to Christ, that we now find there, neither Oppolis, nor anyone else, could mightily convince the Jews or any other people that Jesus was the Christ. Had he only lived in our day, we cannot but think that he would have an up-hill business in convincing the Jews of that fact, with just such means.
The Book of Mormon then, so far is a true witness in relation to “many plain and precious things” being taken away from the Holy Scriptures. Again: “To him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall have remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43 )
Here again the same lack of testimony is found; eleven of these prophets having nothing whatever remaining in relation to Christ, and five being entirely lost. And by the way, this text includes all the prophets since the world began, as well as those from Samuel afterward. So far from testimony being found in all the prophets that whosoever believed in Jesus Christ should receive a remission of their sins, we cannot find [Page 10] such testimony in any definite shape in any of them, except about two; but most anyone who was a little particular would reject them as alluding very definitely to Christ, or to any known person in particular.
Here again is evidence of wholesale robbery and suppression of sacred things. Yet the chief Priests and Scribes of modern times tell us very gravely that “the canon of scripture is full and we need no more revelation or prophets!” An awful comment is this surely upon their wisdom and learning!
In the Book of Mormon we read that Joseph when in Egypt, prophesied very pointedly in regard to the raising up of Moses to deliver the house of Israel out of bondage in that nation. (2d chap. Second Book of Nephi, par. 1) In Stephen’s apology (Acts 7), speaking of Moses when he had to flee out of Egypt , he says that “he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God, by his hand, would deliver them, but they understood not.” (5:25) Now if there had been nothing written by any prophet previous to Moses, in relation to Moses being their deliverer, we do not see why Moses should suppose that Israel should expect or hope that he should be their deliverer any more than anybody else. To expect them to understand anything of that kind, without being informed of it by revelation, would be very unreasonable indeed. Hence this saying of Stephen is evidence of still more loss of sacred things.
Paul, in his defense before King Agrippa, says, “Having therefore, obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing unto small and great, saying none other things than those which Moses and the prophets did say should come, that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead,” etc. (Acts, 26:22) Here again we find loss of sacred things. First, there is not a word in all the writings of Moses that Christ should either suffer, or that he should be the first that should rise from the dead. Nor is there a line in all the prophets that he should be the first that should rise from the dead. Then again, Paul certainly taught some very important things in his preaching not now found in either Moses or the prophets; as baptism for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament of the Lord’s supper—(Acts, 19:1 to 6; Rom. 6:1 to 6) Then again, he taught “baptism for the dead,”—an ordinance now unknown to all the divines of modern Christendom, and nowhere mentioned now in either Moses or the prophets; and yet he says he said nothing in his preaching but what “Moses and the prophets did say should come,” etc. This also indicates robbery—and suppression of Holy Scripture, plain and sacred. (1 Cor. 15:16) In another place, Paul reminds his followers that Israel were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.” (1 Cor.10:1 to 5) Now the Book of Mormon teaches that the gospel as taught in the days of Jesus Christ and his apostles, is as old as Adam, and was preached among; the antediluvians, and in Abraham’s day, and that it was practiced by the saints in all ages; and that faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins: and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, was known to them all. But through Paul tells us that all Israel were baptized in the days of Moses, and all ate of the same spiritual meat, and drank of the same spiritual drink of the gospel of Jesus Christ, (Heb. 4:1), yet there is not a line in all the Books of Moses, nor in the prophets, that makes any mention of these ordinances being had among them from Adam to Christ. Here again is evidence of “plain and precious things” being robbed from the scriptures. In his writings we find two epistles of his also lost. (See Col. 4:16; 1 Cor. 5:9) If these thins were all necessary in the days of old to the [Page 11] welfare of God’s people, who will say that they are not necessary now? Who says that, “the canon of scripture is full?” God or man? Most certainly God has never said so.
On a certain occasion the Saducees came to Jesus with a question growing out of the Law of Moses in relation to marriage. That law required that as often as a man died, leaving a wife but no posterity that the next oldest brother should take her, and raise up posterity to his dead brother, “lest his name be lost in Israel .” (Deut. 25:5-10; Ruth 4:9-12)
Now said they, a certain case occurred where seven brothers had such a woman, one after the other, and all died leaving no posterity by her. “In the resurrection, therefore,” said they, “whose wife of the seven shall she be,” for they all had her. Jesus answers, “ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”
Here, it would seem very plain that in the days of Jesus Christ there were scriptures in being, that would have very easily set those Saducees right if they had only searched them in regard to this question. Why should Jesus speak of the scriptures at all in this case if there had been nothing in them pointing directly to the solution of this question? Again, why should the Saducees put such a question as this to Jesus or anybody else unless there had been something written showing that marriage concerned the life to come as well as this? But you may search the scriptures from beginning to end and you will not find a line that refers to this matter, in the most distant manner. Here again one may reasonably infer that very interesting scriptures are suppressed.
Paul again tells us that “the eye hath not seen, neither hath the ear hoard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” But said he again “God hath revealed them to us (his saints) by his spirit; for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.” Paul meant of course that the natural or the unregenerate man knows nothing of these great things; but it was not so with the saints of God. By the spirit of God they were enabled to discern them in the inspired writings of the prophet”, and also by the manifestations of the spirit itself. But ask those divines who oppose the Book of Mormon and tell us that “the canon of scripture is full and want no more revelation,” to tell you anything definite in relation to “the things which God has prepared for them that love him,” and what can they tell you? Very much the same as nothing at all. A thinking man needs something more definite than mere allusions to ‘’the Shining River,” “the Mystic Shore,” “the Shining Shore,” “Jordan’s banks,” ‘’Canaan’s happy shore,” “Heaven and the realms of bliss,” and “the golden streets,” and “over there,” and “beyond the swelling flood,” “beyond the bounds of time and space,” and a hundred other pious nothings.
The apostle Jude tells us that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of the second coming of Christ in the Latter days, saying: “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14) But where now is this great and good Book of Enoch? Gone;–suppressed with all the rest. Indeed, we have come within a very little of losing even this prophecy; for when one considers that all we now have of so clear and forcible a writer as the apostle Jude, is one little scrap of a letter, we cannot but think that both prophecy and letter had a very narrow escape from being buried in the oblivion of all the rest.
Again we may very reasonably ask if it has been necessary to preserve the writings of some eight of the apostles why should not the writings of the other four be preserved? What has become of these great and holy men’s works? Did not all of the Twelve travel and preach and have the heavens opened to them, and receive [Page 12] revelation, and knowledge, and power, and suffer martyrdom, one as well as the others? Who will say that the writings of these remaining apostles might not occupy a very important place in the salvation of man, and might not settle some very important questions now in dispute among the orthodox sects, and parties of the present day? Saint Luke in the preface to his gospel says, “For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, …it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first,” to write and to bear witness of the gospel of Christ. (See Luke 1:1-4)
Now there are only eight writers of what is now called the New Testament; Matt., Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. Luke is placed third in the order of these writers; yet for all we know, he might have been the first of the eight, yet he says that many had written an account of the works and claims of Jesus Christ before he commenced. But if his place among the eight is right, surely two are not many. These things all taken together show a loss of sacred writings that is at once apparent and alarming, and forces the conclusion that if the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants among the Latter Day Saints, are not revelations from God, most certainly they ought to be! As the Book of Mormon says, it is no great wonder, “that an exceeding great many do stumble, because of the many plain and precious parts taken away from the book of the Lamb of God.” Every reflecting man knows that infidelity in these days has taken very lengthy and rapid strides. We cannot but think that if they had had the many plain and precious things above referred to, and plainly shown to have been robbed from the scriptures that infidelity could not have taken the gigantic strides that it has.
Still we often hear the remark that “If God saw that we had need of any more scripture, he would no doubt have given it to us.” A very shortsighted and foolish remark indeed. God has frequently given commandments to men neither to add to nor diminish from his words, and all this implies that man—especially wicked men when they get into power—may and will do it, just as they do many other things forbidden. (Deut. 4:2, 12, 32; Pro. 30:6) Moreover he has frequently commanded that his word be written on monuments, that it might not only speak to the passerby, but that they might also preserve them from generation to generation; but the hand of time and barbarism, destroys almost the best monuments, and unless well protected from the elements, they must be renewed from time to time, or else eventually go to ruin and decay.
Thus was Joshua and all Israel , and their prophets commanded to preserve them. (Deut. 27:1-8; Hab. 2:2) The remains of many such monuments are still in existence; but time has so preyed upon their testimony that they are anything but complete. But aside from all this, we have the precious promise that God will, in spite of all the efforts of wicked men to destroy them, preserve all his words from generation to generation, for ever and ever, as “choice silver tried in a furnace of earth, and purified seven times.” (Ps. 12:6, 7; Pro. 2:7; Is. 55:11; Math. 5:18) Now in all the above reference we find the decree that God will preserve his word and that it shall accomplish the thing for which it was sent, and that none of it shall be lost though the heavens and the earth pass away; yet all this furnishes no argument that it will be found always among those who oppose and disregard it, and seek to destroy it. We may rest assured that when the Romish power “cast down the truth to the ground,” as foretold by Daniel, and destroyed the “mighty and the holy people,” the almighty had his eye upon this matter, and measures were taken by him to hide up and preserve his holy words to come forth again, in his own good time in the Latter Days to build up his church again, and establish his Kingdom no [Page 13] more to be thrown down forever. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon in these days is the very vast evidence that God thus preserves his words forever and ever; and that they will accomplish that which he pleases, and prosper in that which he has sent it to do.
Speaking of the blinding, foolish, conflicting, and false teachings of the present day, and the corruption and pride of religious leaders, it goes on to say, “Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false, and vain, and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord, and their works shall be in the dark; and the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.” (12 chap., 2 Book of Nephi, par. L)
The reader will bear in mind that the time alluded to, is that following the coming forth of the Book of Mormon it 1830; and the saints whose blood would cry to heaven against their murderers are those who believe in the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God, and Joseph Smith, the chosen instrument in the hands of God to bring it to light. The Book of Mormon recognizes none others in this generation as saints. In less than eight years from the publication of the Book of Mormon, many of the saints were literally slaughtered, shot down in cold blood for no other reason than that they were Mormons, and this too by mobs led and harangued into the maddest fury and violence by reverend divines and ministers of various religious denominations, in Missouri, and afterward in Illinois. The prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, and different others even since that time, have all been murdered for their faith in the Book of Mormon and in the Almighty as a God of revelation.
In a country like the United States where but a short tune before, a new system of government had been established, based principally upon the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, he must be a very shrewd and foresighted young man, who, as the founder of a system of religion, could predict that his followers would be martyred in the coarse of a single generation for their faith in that system; and by the very class of men too of whom it was prophesied it would be done, all this has been done.
Again we are told in the Book of Mormon that the period or generation immediately following the coming forth of that book would he a period of great wickedness, and that calamities, storms, tempests, earthquakes, accompanied by great noise from the bowels of the earth, thunder and lightning, great fires, and famines and pestilences, and bloodshed or wars, would be upon the face of the earth in consequence of such wickedness. (See 2d Book of Nephi, chap. 5, par. 4; chap. 11, par 13) Moreover it informs us in various places that we are now living in that generation which Jesus said would be like that in the days of Noah, that would precede his second coming at the end of the world when he would blot all wickedness from the face of all the earth, in flaming fire; when all the righteous will come with him, and the saints who are on the earth and in their graves, shall be caught up to meet him in the air, and dwell with him on the earth, in its purified state, a. thousand years in rest and peace, and again, for ever and ever.
When one considers that crime, since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, has greatly increased instead of lessened; and again, of the vast wars, earthquakes, storms, tempests, and tornadoes: the fires, famines, pestilences, and destructions by fierce and vivid lightning; to say nothing of many other judgments that have taken place and are still increasing in the earth in this generation, he can only conclude that the knowledge necessary to predict all this with such marvelous accuracy must necessarily have been given by inspiration of God; for the wisdom of man never pointed it out.
The Book of Mormon comes forth in this generation in fulfillment of many prophecies of scripture, notably the following: “And THIS gospel of [Page 14] the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations” that the end is drawing near, and then shall the end come. In days long gone by I have been much perplexed to understand this passage in its true light, as all the orthodox churches were, it was claimed, preaching what they understood as the gospel whether anyone of them was preaching it, or they all were preaching it, or whether none of them were preaching it, was the question. But when Jesus said, “and THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached,” etc., the little word THIS” in the saying settles it, and settles it beyond dispute too. What could he mean then only that the very gospel that he was then preaching, with all that pertained to it, its faith, its repentance, its baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, its laying on of the hands of its ministers for the gifts of the holy Ghost, its healing of the sick, its miracles, its gifts of prophecy, its power to cast out devils, its tongues, dreams, and visions, and revelations, and the ministry of angels; these and various other things, as well as the keeping of all the commandments of God, all taken together, are what constituted “THIS gospel,” which the Savior and his Apostles were then preaching. (Matt. 24:14)
And now this is the gospel that is contained in the Book of Mormon, and the Latter Day Saints are preaching it in all the world, and these promised signs follow the honest believers in it. And such a gospel is not preached by any other of the modern orthodox sects; but Jesus and his apostles never authorized any other gospel, and never preached any other. But he has both himself and his apostles solemnly charged us saying: “Though we or an angel from heaven preaches any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto yon, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:6-12)
“’Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard lest at anytime we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast (fixed and certain) how shall are escape if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by our lord Jesus Christ, and was afterward confirmed unto us by them that heard him: God also bearing them witness with signs and wonders,” etc. (Heb. 2:1-4)
“Now brethren, I beseech you, mark then who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them, for they that: are such serve not our lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, and with good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple “ (Rom. 16:17, 18)
“Moreover brethren I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you etc.” (1 Cor. 15:1, 2)
“Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye shall continue in the Father and in the Son.” (1 John 2:24 )
“Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9)
“Beloved when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to invite unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude)
“He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word which I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’.” (John 12:47-50)
These are the warnings, admonitions and charges which we find throughout the New Testament, and they show very clearly that the gospel of Jesus Christ does not change with time; hence when he said THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, in the latter days, for a testimony to all nations that his coming is close at hand, and that [Page 15] all who will be saved must prepare to meet him at his coming by receiving and obeying it, we may rest fully assured that it means just what it says; that the very principles that he and his apostles laid before men in their day, with all its promises gifts, and requirements, are all included in “THIS gospel” that is to be preached in the latter days. No one can reasonably or justly argue anything else.
The Book of Mormon also heralds to us the glad news that this is the generation in which the eleventh chapter of Isaiah is to he fulfilled, the 12th verse of which reads thus: “And he (God) shall set up an ensign to the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”
Indeed the Book of Mormon itself is the principle part of that ensign; for as an army follows its ensign, so the honest in heart follow the Book of Mormon to the gathering places of Zion, and all this because of its harmony with the Bible.
It comes moreover to herald or proclaim the precious news that the 20th chapter of Ezekiel, and verses 33 to 38 are about, or close at hand to be fulfilled. They read thus: “As I live saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and an out stretched arm, and with fury poured out will I rule over you. And I will bring you out from the people, and I will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt , so will I plead with you saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and will bring you into the bond of covenant.”
Men, learned men, the clergy of this generation tell us that revelation and the raising up of prophets ceased in John, the revelator. But in the above chapter we have a very grand contradiction of all this mere clerical, human wisdom.
How God can plead with all Israel face to face when he gathers them out from all nations as he pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness, in the days of Moses, without raising them up such a “RULER and DELIVERER” as Moses was, some one skilled in making the Almighty say one thing and mean another, and very different thing, must tell, we can’t. Yes, and at the same time, he is going to “bring them into the land of the covenant,” and this without doubt is the fulfilling of the words of Paul and Jeremiah, who say: “Behold the days come when I will make n new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah .” (See Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-11) Yes, surely great things are promised, and to be done for Israel , in this very generation.
Although Israel has sinned, yes greatly sinned, and transgressed in the past ages, and God has scattered and given them into the hands of their enemies many times, and hid his face from them, the promise of God is that he will never be wroth with them any more, that they will never be scattered any more, and that they will be made no more a reproach among the heathen; but are going to be made as God promised them, a nation of kings and priests to the nations of the earth; literally the head of the nations.
And surely this present, generation is the time for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36, 37 and 38 chapters. According to these Israel is to be gathered from all lands where he has been scattered, (Chap. 26:4), and placed in their own lands which, though it had long been desolate, it shall become as the garden of Eden. Because of the multitudes of men it will be “a land of unwalled villages.” And because of its riches in gold and silver and cattle and wealth of all lands, the king of the North, the Emperor of Russia, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, or Moscow and Tobolsk, with other nations, tempted with avarice and jealous of the growing greatness of Israel will confederate their forces, [Page 16] and will come up “like a cloud to cover the land,” to crush, to spoil, to rob, and to carry away great wealth, hoping to subject Israel and prevent them from ever becoming a nation again. But they know not that it is the God of their fathers whose hand has gathered them in fulfillment of his promises and decrees; and they will think it an easy matter to accomplish their hellish designs. But surely as the prophet says, when they get already into that land and are about to accomplish their unholy work, they will find themselves entrapped by the judgments of God, in such a manner as perhaps has never had a parallel in the history of man, since the days of the flood. “And it shall come to pass at the same time, when Gog—this Russian Prince—shall come against the land of Israel , saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in the fire of my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. …And I will plead against him with pestilence and blood, and I will rain upon him and upon his bands, an over flowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself; and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 28:18-23)
If any man supposes when these mighty judgments fall upon these wicked nations that there will be no mighty prophet there like unto Moses, or like Elijah, to whom God will speak and counsel Israel , he will find himself very gravely mistaken! For it is written touching Israel in these last days: “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning; afterward thou ( Jerusalem ) shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (Isaiah 1:21-27)
Now if God restores Israel’s judges AS AT THE FIRST, and their officers as at the beginning, then surely there will be a mighty prophet among them, such as Moses was, who chose ‘’able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens; and they judged the people at all seasons; the hard causes they brought unto Moses but every small matter they judged themselves. (Ex.18:25, 26) “And I charged your judges at that time saying: Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of him, for the judgment is God’s; and the cause which is too hard for you, bring it unto me and I will hear it. (Deut. 1:9-17)
So then when the Almighty does this; when He restores Israel’s judges, AS AT THE FIRST, and their COUNSELORS AS AT THE BEGINNING that is, in Moses’ time, when Moses and Aaron were raised up to be Israel’s counselors, immediately under the instruction of God, it is safe enough to assume that a mighty prophet like unto Moses will be there when these wicked nations invade the land of Israel in these latter days, through whom the Almighty will speak and work these judgments upon these wicked men, and it will not be long after this till Jerusalem becomes “the city of righteousness, the faithful city,” as the prophet says.
And now as they have already begun to gather in great numbers to the land of Palestine, according to the predictions of the true and faithful Book of Mormon, some of the nations are already beginning to speculate as to what kind of a government, Israel is going to have; whether a monarchy, all aristocracy, or a republican form of government; but they need not trouble themselves about it, for the Almighty himself [Page 17] will fulfill his covenant made with their fathers, and will raise them up one of the house of David to be their kin; and protector: “For Lo! I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall to the ground. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say the evil shall not overtake nor come nigh unto us, in that day.” That is, in the day when God commands and sifts Israel in all nations for the purpose of restoring them again to the land of their fathers, and to his favor—in that day I will raise up the tabernacle or house of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen who are called by my name.
In the dispute upon circumcision in the days of the Apostles, James says: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first, did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name; and to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, AFTER this,” that is, after God finishes the work of taking out of the Gentiles a people for his name. “After this,” I will return and build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and set it up that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord that doeth all these things. (Acts 15:12-17)
Now what we gather from all these things is, first, that Israel , after he has been scattered in ALL nations, the American nations as well as all others—God is both to “command” and “sift” them among all these nations for the purpose of gathering them out of all nations to their own lands. Second, that God is first to finish the work of taking out of the Gentiles a people for his name; before he commands and sifts Israel among the nations. Third, that when the commanding and sifting of Israel among the nations takes place, God will set up the throne of David over Israel to be their ruler and protector and defender. And, fourth, that all the people who have been taken out of the Gentiles in the finishing up of the work of taking out of them a people for his name will all finally come under the throne or kingdom of David.
But there is a large class of men among the Jews, who will say to those sent to warn them, “’The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us,” who care nothing for the land of their fathers, whose god is their wealth, and who quiet their consciences as the antediluvians by treating the message or the command to gather out with indifference and even contempt, who will as surely perish by the sword as the former did by water; for that God who has revealed the Book of Mormon, has informed us that there will be a time in this generation when the Latter Day Saints will be the only people on the earth, that shall not be at war one with another, and that “all who will not take up the sword against their neighbors must needs flee unto Zion (or the Latter Duty Saints) for safety.” “Hard to believe that,” says one. Certainly it is hard for some, but nevertheless as Joseph Smith, the instrument which God has chosen to bring forth the Book of Mormon, has predicted so many other things equally hard to believe, many of which have already come to pass, notably the Civil War of the United States, and the very place or state where it would begin, with all its leading features, and also the desolating wars of other nations that immediately followed, we are fully confident that this almost universal war will follow, before all the people who were living in 1832 will have passed away. And these unbelieving Jews will no doubt, perish by the sword, as God hath said.
To these things we might add many others of a similar character; and yet we are told that God has shut his mouth and will reveal nothing more till the day of final judgment! And yet there are but two reasons given between the lids of the Bible why [Page 18] God reveals nothing to man, and these two reasons are simply sin and unbelief. We know of no other reason written.
In this little work we have shown not only that God was, in all the past, a revealer of secrets, and that such is his character yet, but that he will also reveal mighty and wondrous things yet in the very near future to his people of Israel. But not withstanding all this and much more we are fully assured that none of the wicked will be able to understand; for, as Daniel says: “the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10) Who are they? In the first place, they are those who wish to understand. “Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, he will destroy them and not build them up.” (Ps. 28:5)
“The Bereans were more noble than they of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed,” etc. (Acts 17: 11, 12) A disposition to “prove all things which God sends as a dispensation by any man whom he calls and sends and to hold fast that which is good,” is another trait in a man’s character well calculated to lead him to be a wise man. (1 Thess. 5:21)
A desire to know what God wishes us to do is pretty certain to lead a man to salvation, or to obey the true gospel.
It is written: “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that putteth darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” (Is. 5:20) The man who is careful in these matters, careful that he does not call evil good, or good evil, etc., these are the traits that eventually will lead to be wise.
Just such men will eventually be led to see the dispensation that God has revealed in this generation. But the man who says, “the religion of my father and mother is good enough for me,” and the man that takes everything for granted that the popular preachers set before him, and never opens his Bible to see whether it is true or false, takes no pains to seek after the truth or to find out what God would have him to do to be saved, will certainly be found among the wicked in the day of God’s righteous judgment, and although God will fulfill all his words given in the past in reference to this generation in mighty power and demonstration of truth, none of that class of men will be enabled to see it.
Do not forget, reader, also, these words: “Behold, I will send you”— Zion and Jerusalem- “Elijah before the coming of the GREAT AND DREADFUL day of the Lord, and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers lest I come and smite the [whole] earth with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5) The great and dreadful day of the Lord is the day of the coming of the Lord Jesus.
“Repent and receive the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and be thereby prepared to meet him at his coming” is the voice of the Lord to all the people of this generation.
Truly and Sincerely,
Spring prairie, Wis., March 24, 1899
Those who question the authenticity of the Book of Mormon should ask themselves the questions which follow. This piece was given to me by Richard Price in Independence, Missouri, many years ago. The author is anonymous.
Occasionally you hear someone say, “I could believe your doctrine if I just did not have to believe the story about Joseph Smith being a prophet of God, and that he translated the Book of Mormon from some golden plates which he claimed he found in a hillside.”
The answer is that the Book of Mormon had to have been written under divine direction because it could not have been written by any person under ordinary circumstances, for such is humanly impossible. Let us consider the facts or conditions listed on the following pages, which would have to be complied with, in order to produce a similar record under comparable conditions.
Could You Write the Book of Mormon Under the Same Conditions that Joseph Smith Wrote It?
- You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
- You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
- Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
- You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet , covering a period from 2200 BC to 421 AD.
- You must write a book with 102 chapters, twenty-five of them about wars, ten about history, twenty-one about prophecy, thirty-two about doctrines, five about missionaries, and nine about the mission of Christ.
- You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
- Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
- You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.
- When you start to produce this record covering a period of over 2,600 years, you must finish it in approximately eighty days (less than three months).
- When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever (this does not include grammatical errors, etc.).
- After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you. You must start right where you stopped previously.
- Your history or record must be long, approximately 777 pages with over 500 words per page.
- You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language (William Shakespeare added thirty).
- You must announce that your “smooth narrative” is not fiction, but true, yes, a sacred history.
- In fact, your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
- You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
- You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
- Tens of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 164 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth is manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
- Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.
- There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book (except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, etc.).
- Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations, of which you will write about, is not known when you publish your manuscript.
- Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
- Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their thousands of years of history.
- You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care. You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.
- After 164 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproved, but all are vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin rise and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
- Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 164 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.
- Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 164 years.
- Three honest, creditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.
- You must hear out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer declaring to you and those three witnesses that your record is true, and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of it and that they do.
- Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight, and that they handled them and felt the engravings thereon.
- The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their deaths.
- You must talk a friend into financing your book with the understanding that he or you will never receive any monetary remuneration from it. This person must mortgage his farm to have it printed. You must sell the book at cost or less.
- Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for twenty-four years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God.
The Book of Mormon has met the above requirements, which is evidence that it could not have been written by an uninspired man. It was translated by the gift and power of God from ancient records. It is worthy of being classed as Scripture, which it is.
(The author of this article is unknown. The article was circulated in the Independence area in 1948. Dates and numbers relating to how many years have passed since the Book of Mormon was printed have been changed to correspond with the year 1994.)
Price Publishing Company 915 E. 23rd Street Independence , MO 64055
John E. Page one of the Twelve Apostles under James J. Strang began a series of articles on evidences of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon in the official church journal the Gospel Herald. It was to be completed and published in book form; but, was never completed. He did, though, complete six articles on the subject.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 81, July 13, 1848 :
THE BOOK OF MORMON.
What an interesting book is the Book of Mormon! Because of all American Antiquities it is the most valuable and marvelous specimen; because with all American Antiquities it is associated in the most important and interesting relations; because the most valuable discoveries in American Antiquity must appeal to the Book of Mormon for interpretation; and the registers of long lost events and generations inscribed upon the rocks and buried in the fossil remains of far distant ages, or scattered far and wide in the ruins of once mighty empires on the American continent, are so many WITNESSES constantly multiplying to confirm the truth of the history contained in the Book of Mormon.
As a SPECIMEN of American Antiquity, what is comparable in point of interest with this Book? Suppose that, in searching the tumuli that are scattered over this country, the silent, aged, mysterious remembrances of some populous race, once carrying on all the business of life, where now are only the wild forests of many centuries, a race of whom we ask so often who they were, whence they came and whither they went. Suppose that under one of those huge structures of earth which remain of their works a book was accidentally discovered, an alphabetic history of that race, and all undeniably composed many hundreds of years before any of the white nations now possessing this continent were here. What a wonder such a book would be! What intense interest would attach to such a relic! What price would not the learned be willing to give for it! Not all the fragments of Egyptian inscriptions–not all the unintelligible characters among the ruins of the tower of Babel–not all the remains from the bowels of the earth on the eastern continent telling of national convulsions, the overthrow of mighty and renowned cities, and the final downfall of empires and ancient kingdoms, could be compared in value to such a book of ancient American origin, a detailed history of a nation otherwise unheard of. But much more than this is the Boos of Mormon. It points us to the people who, the time when, and places where certain notable events transpired in Central and Northern America, (the book being published in Palmyra, Ontario county, State of New York, in the spring season of 1830,) detailing to us a minute account of things that anciently transpired with the ancient inhabitants of Central America, as since confirmed by their developments as recorded by Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood, Antiquarians, in Central America, as published in the city of New York, 1841, ’43. The truth of the history of the Book of Mormon is also confirmed in almost innumerable instances by Mr. Josiah Priest’s history of the Antiquities of North America, as published in Albany , N. Y., 1833.
A book entitled “An Inquiry into the Origin of the Antiquities of America, by John Delafield,” published in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1839, is an overwhelming confirmation of the truth of the Book of Mormon, in such minute and numerous important particulars, that if any person (after being made acquainted with the corroborating facts as found in the Book of Mormon and the authorities quoted above) should deny the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon they would be considered as unsound by all reasonable, logical and philosophical minds.
To all the saints of God, the honest in heart; to all lovers of confirmed truth; to all that are looking for the ushering in of the latter day glory and the rest of the people of God, so much spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began; to all that are looking for the return of Israel from the “north country,” and the Jews from the four corners of the earth to the land of Canaan, given to their fathers “for an everlasting possession;” to all that wish the amelioration of the condition of the house of Israel, the descendants of Joseph, (the son of Jacob,) in the west; in fine, we call upon the rich and the philanthropists of all grades in life to step forward with your wealth and your mites to assist the subscriber in laying before the reading world a book that will be entitled the COLLATERAL and POSITIVE EVIDENCES of the truth and divinity of the BOOK OF MORMON. The nature of the work is such that it can be published in two volumes. The first will contain illustrative; pictorial plates, the engraving of which will cost two hundred dollars and perhaps a trifle more, which will swell the aggregate cost of publication to range from 75 cents to $I,00 per single copy. The important inquiry now is, who among the thousands that have subscribed to the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that have the means, be it little or much, are willing to make an investment to assist me in this all important work? I am well persuaded that should I succeed in publishing the proposed work it will do more to convince the honest in heart of the truth of the claims of the faith of the Latter Day Saints than all the elders can do without it. Can I but succeed in obtaining means to publish the first volume, I shall stand on a sure basis for publishing the second, which will cost more than twice as much; it will embrace more than three times as many engraved plates.
If this notice should reach the eye of any person or persons that should feel desirous to be secured for their money until the work is done, to such I will say, I will make any arrangement with them that is practicable with me for their security that is rational, honorable and fair. All my brethren and friends who have either personally or historically acquainted themselves with the history of my career in the gospel ministry for twelve years past, know well that I have devoted wholly, solely and totally all my time and means to that purpose and none other, so that I possess no means whatever to defray present incidental expenses by way of postage on communications. Therefore should this notice wake up the attention of any on the subject of assisting me in publishing the proposed work so much that they would wish to correspond with me on the subject, they must expect to bear the expense of such correspondence.
The work of which I have spoken is of such vast importance to me there is no one thing that I can do for my fellow men that I more desire to do, before I go hence or depart to be with Christ, than to [Page 62/374] leave as a legacy to the world evidence indisputable (as such a work will be) of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. In the course of my ministry I have met with thousands who could freely subscribe to the theory of my faith except the Book of Mormon, or rather the identity of the book as being the record of the law of God written to Ephraim as called for by the Bible or Jewish prophets, for the commencement of the literal gathering, the temporal and spiritual salvation of all the scattered branches of the progeny of the sons of Jacob. To all such as are or may be rationally convinced of the fact that such a book as the Book of Mormon professes to be is called for by the Jewish prophets, the work which I propose to publish is designed to show the indisputable evidence of the Book of Mormon as being that book, by comparing its historical matter relative to things of antiquity, which are found on the face of the book, and corroborated by those authors which are quoted above. I shall seek principally to confine myself to such items as have been developed since the Book of Mormon was published.
The propriety of such a work as I design to bring forth, will appear on the face of the following considerations: I have in the course of my ministry sought diligently to obtain and carefully investigate several authors, viz.: Howe of Painsville, Ohio, Kidder of New York, Turner of Springfield, Ill., who have written books at some considerable length against the claims of the Book of Mormon. I have read pamphlet authors too numerous to mention, all of the same character. All of which authors of books and pamphlets have brought down upon themselves the indignation of all just men, in the manner they have treated upon the Book of Mormon, by quoting sentences from it detaching them from their connection at both ends so as to make them appear absurd, ridiculous and contemptible to those readers who were not familiar with the Book of Mormon, or perhaps never saw it. Most of the authors of books and pamphlets who have written against the Book of Mormon have in some shape or other pretended to give some credit to the divinity of the Bible, and no doubt would in turn, and perhaps have, deprecated much the manner in which Thomas Paine, B. D. White and numerous other skeptical writers have treated the Holy Bible. I have as diligently sought to investigate those who have written against the Bible as I have those that have written against the Book of Mormon. Relative to the two classes of writers I must say, in strict justice to my fellow men, I must give the laurel to those who have written against the Bible as having displayed more common sense justice, more reason, sounder logic and philosophy in ten pages reading than all that has been written against the Book of Mormon. Those who have written against the Book of Mormon seem to have labored under an idea that there were none but themselves that ever read the book, consequently their falsehoods could never be exposed, or the infamy they intended to heap upon the Book of Mormon would never recoil on their own heads.
What should we know of the history of ancient America and its nations from the beginning of the world until the day of Christopher Columbus, if all that has been derived exclusively from the Book of Mormon were obliterated from all memories and all books?–Where should we go for knowledge of that immense extent of time which has given birth to such astonishing wonders as are now and have been for some fifty years past developing themselves to the observing eye of the traveler, the historian and efficient antiquarian? As geographers thrust into the extremities of their maps those countries that are unknown to them, remarking at the same time that “all beyond is hills of sand and haunts of wild beasts, frozen seas, marshes and mountains that are inaccessible to human courage or industry,” so it is to the traveler, the historian and antiquarian relative to the history of America. When he traces the history of America back to the days of Columbus, behind that period all would be prodigy and fiction, a region for poets and fabulists to speculate upon, wrapped in clouds and unworthy of belief; to which we have no clue of certainty but by the Book of Mormon, and even that loses its force with many simply because it is presented to its by the special providence of God, and not by mere accident.
As we new wander among the mysterious remains of the race which possessed all this land, and pausing beneath some lofty mound crested with sturdy oaks, which have stood for centuries and are now nourished with the decayed materials of a former generation, or measuring the exact angles and regular outlines of some vast system of warlike defense, we are deeply impressed with the evidence that we are constantly walking ever the graves of an immense population, and pained with a sense of utter darkness as to every thing connected with them, except that they bequeathed to posterity these existing and confounding traces of their existence, and the veil would still remain upon our minds were we not in possession of the Book of Mormon.
We should have the vast heaps of tumuli which are scattered over the wide extended and fertile” fields of the woods,” (the prairies of North America,) the frightful heaps of desolations that are to be seen on the ruined tombs and temples of “Palanqua,” “Copan,” “Uxmal,” and “forty ” more “cities” of Yucatan, all of ancient origin, sculptured with characters which no Champolian as yet has been able to decipher. We have the gigantic remains of the distant antiquities of South America , all presenting themselves to heighten our wonder and astonishment, but the Book of Mormon has rolled back the veil, the mystery is fled and satisfaction takes the place of wonder and surprise. Exceedingly insignificant as are all the resources for the earliest history of ancient America independently of the Book of Mormon, yet they may be of great consequence in connection with it. They may add no facts to what it contains, but they may confirm it.
One discovery of the antiquarian or the geologist perfectly authenticated, accurately interpreted, certainly speaking the truth, certainly corroborating the history contained in the Book of Mormon, what an evidence of its inspiration! Then how singularly has the Book of Mormon exposed itself along the whole line to attack; what an immense frontier has it had to defend; what a chain of pests in the wilderness to protect. Relating minutely the most important events that has transpired from the confounding of the languages at the tower of Babel down to four hundred and twenty years into the christian era, telling of events such as traditions and inscriptions and monuments and strata of the earth, if they speak of any thing, can hardly avoid recording in some shape or other. Thus the Book of Mormon is inviting investigation, challenging attack along the whole line of its details. What book in such circumstances, and from so distant an age, could stand such a trial were it not given by direct inspiration?
We are thrice happy to say that every search into the traditions of the American Indians, every interpretation of inscriptions, every trace of the Indian nations, every remnant of their ancient works, every development of the geology of the earth thus far has confirmed the truth of the Book of Mormon. Assaults have been made, fears excited, but when the smoke of the artillery had blown off truth has always appeared, as ever, resting her right hand on the Book of Mormon, so that even now, after a trial of eighteen years since the first copy was published, the people of God, viz., the Latter Day Saints, may exclaim in triumph: Walk about the dilapidated walls of the ancient cities of the Jaradites, Nephites and Lamanites, God has given us their true history and will establish it forever.
For my part I have no fear that any future discoveries in the developments of the antiquities of America will really militate against [Page 63/375] the disclosures of the Book of Mormon. The book is so far sustained by collateral testimony. It puts the matter beyond the power of human imagination, with all the advantages of the literature of the nineteenth century, to account for the fact how or by what means that a certain amount or kind of matter it contains crept on to its pages in the spring season of A. D. 1830, and so minutely corroborated by the developments of the antiquities of Chiapas and Yucatan as published in New York in 1841 by Stephens and Catherwood. The whole book of Ether, as contained in the Book of Mormon, is corroborated by “the curious hieroglyphic map,” some eighteen feet long, as published by John Delafield in Cincinnati , 1839. The map begins with a hieroglyphic representing the tower of Babel, where the book of Ether begins its account of the Jaradites, and ends with the hieroglyphic representation of two men with sword in hand, where the Book of Ether terminates the account of the Jaradites, with the account of the combat between Coriantumr and Shiz, the two last commanding generals of that nation.
I first obtained a copy of Mr. Delafield’s work in Boston , Mass. , 1843. I gave it a critical perusal and knew not at first where to apply this map as corroborating any thing contained in the book, but my mind was strongly impressed with the idea that if the map could be truly interpreted it would divulge something directly either for or against the Book of Mormon. So there I was left entirely in suspense on the subject, having not the advantages of a Champolian. I strove to quiet my mind, believing that the day would come when that map would be understood in its true sense; but still my anxiety was on tip toe to know or understand the general outlines of its true meaning, whether it would militate for or against the Book of Mormon; consequently I gave it a very frequent review. Not many days passed until I was sitting on a sofa in the city of Boston taking a review of the “curious map,” my eyes became heavy with sleep; I reclined my length on the sofa and, as I suppose without doubt, fell into a sleep, and dreamed I was reviewing the map, still anxious to know where to apply it; of a sudden there appeared the face of a personage before me, apparently far advanced in years, and says, “Read and compare with the Book of Ether,” and then disappeared; and I suddenly awoke and did accordingly, and gave it a critical comparing with the book I assure you, and to my great satisfaction I find that the collateral corroboration of the map with the history of the Jaradites as found in the book of Ether of the Book of Mormon that one is the other in point of history.
Accordingly I detached the map from the book to which it was connected and fastened it to a piece of white muslin cloth and suspended it across the Boylston Hall of Boston,& commenced lecturing for the first time to show the collateral corroboration of the map with the history of the Jaradites contained in the book of Ether of the Book of Mormon, to an assemblage of more than a thousand people. I then proceeded to the city of Washington, D. C., and made the same exhibition, but not to so numerous a congregation, my means being too limited to hire a hall of sufficient attraction to suit the taste of that proud populace, but still there were some condescending enough to give me a hearing, and gave me the following certificates:–
TO THE PUBLIC.
Washington , March 12, 1844 .
We, the undersigned, having had ample opportunities of forming an agreeable acquaintance with the Rev. John E. Page, now preaching in this city, take pleasure in stating, that we believe him to be a gentleman worthy of respect and public esteem: and, to say the least, can but recommend all to hear him before coming to any positive conclusions touching his merits, and claims to public attention.
In regard to his religious views, so peculiar in their character, we have but one remark to make, viz: That, as the age in which we live, has been one so wonderfully characterized by fallacy, sophism, logical artifice, deceitful arguments, and gross religious impositions, we can but expect from a community whose indignation has been so often excited against these repeated attempts at deception, a treatment alike severe, to the introduction of any modern Faith.–And however reasonable, in reality, it must expect to meet, at first, with inconsideration; and, however pure its doctrine, it must anticipate a cold and unwelcome reception, and endure the scorn, ridicule, and buffets of the world–until time shall permit its expounders to lower the popular emblem of error, and raise in its stead the standard of truth. But, whatever may be the name of the sect or church, whose doctrines Mr. Page professes to preach and inculcate, or under what estimation they may have heretofore been held by a prejudiced mind un-inquiring community, so far as they bear, as their main characteristic, a literal and unqualified interpretation of Scripture, and followed by a strict belief in Biblical doctrine, and accompanied by such an explanation as the dictates of nature and reason teach an impartial mind to be correct, so far are we bound to coincide with them. We are vulnerable to truth–all sects and churches pretend to wield it as their weapon–but it matters not to us by what name they are recognized, we accept the wound from those who pierce the deepest.
In regard to the book, commonly termed “Mormon,” we nave now but little to say. In relation to its origin, &c., we are of opinion that it merits a fair, candid, and impartial examination; in relation to a portion of its contents we are compelled to make some farther acknowledgments.
At a recent lecture, given by Mr. Page, we were struck with the extraordinary character of the evidence adduced to sustain the claims of the Book of Mormon. If we are to rely upon the veracity of men standing high in public estimation, and Government favor, Messrs. Delafield, Priest, Stephens and Catherwood, whose recent important discoveries of ancient antiquities of America, have astounded all, under whose supervision their statements in relation thereto have come, then must their evidence reprove, in a great degree, the doubts at present existing in the public wind, in relation to the character of this book; the plate of which, if we are to rely upon the statements made, were found some seventeen years previous to the discoveries made by the gentlemen named above; the most important of which, were the fossil remains of ancient cities, found immured in the dense forests of the west, and the many bright specimens of human ingenuity, and ripe mechanical skill, found buried many feet beneath the trunks of towering oaks, proving beyond the possibility of a doubt, that the very land now known as the “wild western forests,” have at some former period been densely populated by a wise and intelligent people–beautified by noble cities, ornamented with grand statuary, and towering monuments erected to the memory of their popular rulers. The book gives the exact location and character of these cities, while treating upon the extinct race that once inhabited and enlivened the crumbling walls that now barely mark the spot, and tell us of the “exceeding curious workmanship,” which characterized the ingenuity of the people of that age, as found carved upon the blocks of fallen monuments, and broken statuary, that now moulder beneath the forest rubbish.
Need we say, that it was beyond the power of mortal being, or human understanding to have possessed any knowledge of the existence of these buried cities, at the time the book was written, or previous to the discoveries made by the above named gentleman, which were seventeen years after. Yet the statements of the book, and the discoveries made, have proved in no particular inconsistent with each other.
The question then arises, from whence did the Book of Mormon receive its information, 17 years before these discoveries, that these ”people,” ”cities,” “curious workmanship, “statuary,” “monuments,”& c., were all flourishing at some former period?
Without coming to any conclusion upon this important point, or the remarkable evidence alluded to above, we leave all who feel an anxiety to become acquainted with this book, to give it a proper examination and thorough investigation, and then draw their own conclusions from the evidence they can readily procure in relation thereto. We are with respect, &c. FRANKLIN LITTLE, Clerk at the Globe Office.
Having been favored with an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the Rev. John E. Page, listened to his conversation, sat under his ministry, and, in some degree, become familiar with the [Page 64/376] peculiar doctrines of his sect, (peculiar as regards the Book of Mormon,) being satisfied of the correctness of his deportment, and the soundness of his religious views, (taking the Bible as the standard of faith,) and of his ability to explain, illustrate and elucidate, and carry conviction of the truths therein contained to the minds of his hearers, we cheerfully avail ourselves of the opportunity presented by this publication, to recommend him to the attention of all sincere and candid inquirers after truth; feeling convinced, that after a patient hearing, they will be both edified and profited. We the more cordially invite public attention to his discourses at this time, as they fully, conclusively and convincingly prove the statements and calculations of Mr. Miller, which have caused so much excitement, distress and misery throughout the country, to be false, fallacious and unfounded: that his (Miller’s) arguments, professedly drawn from the Bible, are garbled extracts–isolated texts–which, taken in connection with the preceding and succeeding text, prove the very reverse of that which they are made to sustain by the application of Mr. Miller and his coadjutors. This he (Mr. Page) is able to do–and for this alone, he deserves the thanks and kind consideration of all who have the happiness and well being of their fellow citizens at heart. HEAR AND JUDGE. CHARLES W. FENTON, Printer. L. A. EDMONSTON.
Washington , D. C., March 7, 1844 .
I am as well assured of the fact as I am of my personal existence that it is as far from the reach of the cunning device of man or man to have conjured up that kind of matter as is presented on the face of the Book of Mormon in 1830, and corroborated by the developments made since, to confirm its truth, as it is for men to clinch the horns of the moon and tear it from its orbit, or to blow out the light of the sun, or change the revolution of the earth on its axis, except they are aided by the supreme power of the divine mind who created them. We remember how in by gone ages self-made ecclesiastics set themselves against the true servants of God, who were presenting to the world the revealed wonders of the heavens, & calling on all men of every grade in life to investigate and hold fast that which proved to be good, yet the learned prodigies of the leading class, apprehensive that the new theories were subversive of their peculiar learned notions of God and his word, set themselves to prejudge every new thing or theory as having derived itself from some erroneous source, Jesus Christ and his servants, the apostles, not excepted, as being prejudged and cast out of men and denounced as heretics, and inhumanly persecuted, to stop the spread of their new yet pure doctrine. But truth triumphed; bigotry and ignorance could not long prevail to the hiding from the world the harmonious walkings forth of the rays of light emanating from the divine mind. So also in this case the power of that same fountain of intelligence which assisted in the translation of the Book of Mormon, which has laid open in a great degree the past wonders that have transpired on the American continent, has proved itself almighty and efficient to still reveal secrets far beyond the learned philosophers gaze.
And thus I am persuaded shall it always be; science may scale new heights and explore new depths in search of American antiquities, and may yet add ten thousands of additional testimonies to confirm the truths of the Book of Mormon, but she shall bring nothing back absolutely contradictory. Sectarian infidels may watch their progress with eagerness, exulting in the thought that they are furnishing material with which the Book of Mormon may be successfully assailed, but the champions of revelation may confidently attend it (the Book of Mormon) in its onward march, assured that they will find nothing which will successfully contradict it, but many things which will confirm the word, which they know to be divine.
Times will doubtless come again and again when, in consequence of imperfect investigations, hasty theories and rash conclusions, the calm surface of a settled belief in the divinity of the Book of Mormon may in some minds be troubled, as has already occurred with some, and the progress of this cause be threatened with storm and wreck, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (” the memorial by which he should be known among all nations”) is in the ship and in his time will rebuke the winds and the waves and the little faith of his people, and the light of truth shall shine out as when “the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled their host and took off their chariot wheels.” The Book of Mormon asks nothing but mature accurate investigation of all departments of knowledge connected with its statements, whether in the traditions of the American Indians, the developments of American antiquities, or the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 88, August 31, 1848
COLLATERAL TESTIMONY OF THE TRUTH AND DIVINITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.–No. 1.
For want of room I cannot make many comments to introduce this subject at this time, I shall therefore leave my readers to make their own comments and draw their own conclusions. I have many corroborating facts to lay before a candid public, of traditions and the developments of American antiquities, that have come forth to the reading world since the year 1830, the date of the first edition of the Book of Mormon.
According to the Book of Mormon there was a prophet who dwelt in the city of Jerusalem contemporary with Jeremiah the prophet, by the name of Lehi. His family consisted of a wife and four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi. Nephi, although the youngest of the four sons, became the prophetic leader of the company, consisting of his father’s family and a number of others. By the commandment of the God of Israel they left Jerusalem “in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah ,” (600 years before Christ,) and started for this land, ( America .)They traveled to the Red Sea , and then “on the borders thereof,” an eastwardly direction, until they were commanded to stop and “build a ship to cross the great waters,” (the ocean.) They landed on the Pacific side of the southern part of Central America . Read Book of Mormon, 7th, 8th and 9th pages, stereotyped edition. As collateral testimony to the truth of the above, I present the following, copied from the “Incidents of travels in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, by John L. Stephens, Vol. 2, 1841, page 172:–
“According to the manuscript of Don Juan Torres, the grandson of the last king of the Quiches, which was in the possession of the lieutenant-general appointed by Pedro de Alvarado, and which Fuentes says he obtained by means of Father Frances Vasques, the historian of the order of San Frances, the Toltecas themselves descended from the house of Israel, who were released by Moses from the tyranny of Pharaoh, and after crossing the Red Sea, fell into idolatry. To avoid the reproofs of Moses, or from fear of his inflicting upon them some chastisement, they separated from him and his brethren, and under the guidance of Tanub, their chief, passed from one continent to the other, to a place which they called the seven caverns, a part of the kingdom of Mexico, where they founded the celebrated city of Tula. From Tanub sprang the families of the kings of Tula and Quiche, and the first monarch of the Toltecas– Nimaquiche, the fifth king of that line, and more beloved than any of his predecessors, was directed by an oracle to leave Tula, with his people, who had by this time multiplied greatly, and conduct them from the kingdom of Mexico to that of Guatemala. In performing this journey they consumed many years, suffered extraordinary hardships, and wandered over an immense tract of country, until they discovered the Lake of Atitan , and resolved to settle near it in a country which they called Quiche. Nimaqueche was accompanied by his three brothers.”
The reader will doubtless make all necessary allowances for whatever deviations or corruptions of facts which might have taken place in the traditions that have been handed down through savage hands of the American Indians for so long a period of time.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 89, September 7, 1848
COLLATERAL TESTIMONY OF THE TRUTH AND DIVINITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.–No. 2.
The Book of Mormon was published in the spring season of 1830, Palmyra . N. Y. It contains a book called the “Book of Ether,” giving an abridged account of a people called in the book “Jaradites,” who emigrated to this continent ( America ) from the tower of Babel at the time of the confounding of the languages, as spoken of in the book of Genesis. This people it appears became very numerous on this land, built many cities and became very rich according to the following account. They were destroyed by the severe judgments of God, in consequence of their wickedness.–Their overthrow and final destruction took place in the latter part of the seventh century before Christ. The forefathers of the American Indians emigrated to this continent from Jerusalem at the commencement of the sixth century before Christ.
“And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants; and they were exceeding industrious, and they did buy and sell, and traffic one with another, that they might get gain. And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and [Page 115/427] silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth; to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of COPPER.” Book of Mormon, stereotyped edition, page 544.
COPPER REGION.–A correspondent of the Buffalo Express writing under date of June 14th, from Ontonagon, Lake Superior , says:–
“Mr. Knapp, of the Vulcan Mining Company, has lately made very singular discoveries here in working one of the veins, which he lately found. He worked into an old cave which had been excavated centuries ago. This led them to look for other works of the same sort, and they have found a number of sinks in the earth which they have traced a long distance. By digging into these sinks, they find them to have been made by the hand of man. It appears that the ancient miners went on a different principle from what they do at the present time. The greatest depth yet found in these holes is thirty feet. After getting down to a certain depth, they drifted along the vein nearly to an open cut. These cuts have been filled nearly to a level by the accumulation of soil, and we find trees of the largest growth standing in this gutter; and also find that trees of very large growth have grown up and died, and decayed many years since, in the same places there are now standing trees of over three hundred years’ growth.
“Last week they dug down into a new place, and about twelve feet below the surface found a mass of copper that will weigh from eight to ten tons. This mass was buried in ashes. It appears they could not handle it, and had no means of cutting it, and probably built fire to melt or separate the rock from it, which might be done by heating, and then dashing on cold water. This piece of copper is as pure and clean as a new cent; the upper surface has been pounded clear and smooth. It appears that this mass of copper was taken from the bottom of a shaft, at the depth of about thirty feet. In sinking this shaft from where the mass now lies, they followed the course of the vein which pitches considerably; this enabled them to raise it as far as the hole came up with a slant. At the bottom of the shaft they found skids of black oak, from eight to twelve inches in diameter–these sticks were charred through as if burnt. They found large wooden wedges in the same situation. In this shaft they found a miner’s gad and a narrow chisel made of copper.
I do not know whether these copper tools are tempered or not, but their make displayed good workmanship. They have taken out more than a ton of cobble-stones, which had been used as mallets. These stones were nearly round, with a score cut around the center, and looked as if this score was cut for the purpose of putting a withe round for a handle. The Chippewa Indians all say that this work was never done by Indians. This discovery will lead to a new method of finding veins in this country, and may be of great benefit to some. I suppose they will keep finding new wonders for some time yet, as it is but a short time since they first found the old mine. There is copper here in abundance, and I think people will begin to dig it in a few years. Mr. Knapp has found considerable silver during the past winter.”
There are other evidences that a distinct race of men inhabited this continent previous to the American Indian race. Different authors of the developments of the antiquities of America concur in the fact that human skeletons are often taken from the American tumuli (mounds) measuring from eight to nine feet in length each. The Book of Mormon says that the Jaradites were “large and mighty men in stature.” JOHN E. PAGE.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 90, September 14, 1848
COLLATERAL TESTIMONY OF THE TRUTH AND DIVINITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.–No. 3.
In the Book of Mormon, published in 1830, on page 433, stereotyped edition, is presented the following account of a prophecy:–
“And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophecy a great many more things which cannot be written. And, behold, he said unto them, Behold, I give unto you a sign: for five years more cometh, and, behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. And, behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for, behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day; therefore there shall be one day and a night, and a day, as if it were one day, and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun, and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold there shall be a new star arise, such an one as ye have never beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.”
On pages 440 and 441 is presented an account of the fulfillment of the above prophecy, as follows:
“Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in these traditions should be put to death, except the sign should come to pass which had been given by Samuel the prophet. Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceeding sorrowful. And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God, in behalf of his people; yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers. And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all the day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, Lift up your head and be of good cheer, for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men, from the foundation of the world, and do the will, both of the father, and of the Son of the Father, because of me, and of the Son, because of my flesh.–And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
“And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken: for behold at the going down if the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished, because there was no darkness when the night came. And there were many who had not believed the words of the prophets, fell to the earth, and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the word of the prophets, had been frustrated, for the signal which had been given was already at hand; and they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth, from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished, that they fell to the earth; for they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given, was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
“And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given. And it came to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets. And it came to pass also, that a new star did appear, according to the word.”
As collateral testimony to the truth of the above, I present the following account of a tradition had among the Central American Indians, copied from the “incidents of travels” of John L. Stephens in Chiapas and Yucatan, Vol. 2, 1841, page 173. The account of a certain division of the ancient American Indian nation into three nations, says:–
“This division was made on a day when three suns were visible at the same time, which extraordinary circumstance, says the manuscript, has induced some persons to believe that it was made on the day of our Savior’s birth.”
All who are familiar with the Book of Mormon are probably aware of the fact that the whole account of the history of the fore fathers of the American Indians, called the Nephites, Lamanites and Zoramites, is confined to Central America entirely until the 394th page. The 30th chapter of the book of Alma, commencing on that page, commences the account of one Hagoth, who built a ship on the shores of the Pacific ocean opposite or nearly west of the southwest part of the Gulf of Mexico, and sailed northward.–Consequently the above account, copied from the Book of Mormon, originated in Central America, where Mr. Stephens picked up the corroborating tradition.
The reader will doubtless observe that the account of Samuel’s prophecy and its fulfillment is a later account than that of Hagoth building a ship and sailing northward. Yet by reading the 5th chapter of Helaman you will observe that Samuel delivered his prophecy at the city of Zarahemla, which, at some future period, I intend to show clearly that it is the veritable city of Palenque, the ruins of which is situated some miles south-west of the Gulf of Mexico. Read Stephens’ travels, 1841, Vol. 2, page 289, &c.–The reader will keep in view that the city of Zarahemla was not built by the Jaradites nor the descendants of Lehi, but by the descendants of Mulek, who left the city of Jerusalem in Palestine in the eleventh year of the reign of king Zedekiah, the year that Zedekiah and all Jerusalem was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar.–Read Book of Mormon, pages 411 and 419 inclusive.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 91, September 21, 1848
COLLATERAL TESTIMONY OF THE TRUTH AND DIVINITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.–No. 4.
In the Book of Mormon, pages 191, 192,193, published in 1830, I find the following curious narrative:–
“Now there was a place in Shemlon, where the daughters of the Lamanites did gather themselves together to sing, and to dance, and to make themselves merry. And it came to pass that there was one day a small number of them gathered together to sing and to dance. And now the priests of king Noah, being ashamed to return to the city of Nephi , yea, and also fearing that the people would slay them, therefore they durst not return to their wives and their children. And having tarried in the wilderness, and having discovered the daughters of the Lamanites, they laid and watched them; and when there were but few of them gathered together to dance, they came forth out of their secret place and took then: and carried them into the wilderness; yea, twenty and four of the daughters of the Lamanites they carried into the wilderness.
“And it came to pass that when the Lamanites found that their daughters had been missing, they were angry with the people of Limhi; for they thought it was the people of Limhi. Therefore they sent their armies forth; yea, even the king himself went before his people; and they went up to the land of Nephi , to destroy the people of Limhi. And now Limhi had discovered them from the tower; even all their preparations for war did he discover; therefore he gathered his people together, and laid wait for them in the fields, and in the forests. And it came to pass that when Lamanites had come up, that the people of Limhi began to fall upon them from their waiting places, and began to slay them.
“And it came to pass that the battle became exceeding sore, for they fought like lions for their prey. And it came to pass that the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them, yet they were not half so numerous as the Lamanites. But they fought for their lives, and for their wives, and for their children; therefore they exerted themselves, and like dragons did they fight.
“And it came to pass that they found the king of the Lamanites among the number of the dead; yet he was not dead, having been wounded and left upon the ground, so speedy was the flight of his people. And they took him and bound up his wounds, and brought him before Limhi and said, behold, here is the king of the Lamanites; he having received a wound, has fallen among their dead, and they left him; and behold, we have brought him before you; and now let us slay him. But Limhi said unto them, ye shall not slay him, but bring him hither, that I may see him. And they brought him. And Limhi said unto him, What cause have ye to come up to war against my people? Behold, my people have not broken the oath that I made unto you; therefore, why should ye break the oath which ye made unto my people? And now the king said, I have broken the oath, because thy people did carry away the daughters of my people; therefore in my anger did I cause my people to come up to war against thy people. Now Limhi had heard nothing concerning this matter; therefore he said, I will search among my people, and whosoever has done this thing shall perish. Therefore he caused a search to be made among his people. Now when Gideon had heard these things he being the king’s captain, he went forth and said unto the king, I pray thee forbear, and do not search this people, and lay not this thing to their charge.–For do ye not remember the priests of thy father, whom this people sought to destroy? And are they not in the wilderness? And are not they the ones who have stolen the daughters of the Lamanites? And now behold, and tell the king of these things, that he may tell his people, that they may be pacified towards us: for behold they are already preparing to come against us; and behold also, there are but few of us. And behold, they come with their numerous hosts; and except the king doth pacify them towards us, we must perish. For are not the words of Abinadi fulfilled, which he prophesied against us? and all this because we would not hearken unto the word of the Lord, and turn from our iniquity? And now let us pacify the king, and we fulfill the oath which we have made unto him: for it is better that we should be in bondage, than that we should lose our lives; therefore, let us put a stop to the shedding of so much blood. And now Limhi told the king all the things concerning his father, and the priests that had fled into the wilderness, and attributed the carrying away of their daughters to them.”
As collateral testimony to the truth of the above, I present the following extract from Stephens’ “incidents of travels in Central America ,” Vol. 2, 1841, pages 173 and 174:–
“In the reign of Balam Acan, the next king of Quiche, while living on terms of great intimacy and friendship with his cousin Zutugilebpop, king of the Zutugiles, the latter abused his generosity and ran away with his daughter Ixconsocil, and at the same time Lloacab, his relative and favorite, ran away with Ecselixpua, the niece of the king. The rape of Helen did not produce more wars and bloodshed than the carrying off of these two young ladies with unpronounceable names. Balam Acan was naturally a mild man, but the abduction of his daughter was an affront not to be pardoned. With eighty thousand veterans, himself in the center squadron, adorned with three diadems and other regal ornaments, carried in a rich chair of state, splendidly ornamented with gold, emeralds, and other precious stones, upon the shoulders of the nobles of his court, he marched against Zutugilebpop, who met him with sixty thousand men, commanded by Lloacab, his chief general and accomplice.–The most bloody battle ever fought in the country took place; the field was so deeply inundated with blood that not a blade of grass could be seen. Victory long remained undecided, and at length Lloacab was killed, and Balam Acan remained master of the field. But the campaign did not terminate here. Balam Acan, with thirty thousand veterans under his personal command, and two other bodies of thirty thousand each, again met Zutugilebpop with forty thousand of his own warriors and forty thousand auxiliaries. The latter was defeated, and escaped at night. Balam Acan pursued [Page 126/438] and overtook him; but while his bearers were hastening with him to the thickest of the fight, they lost their footing, and precipitated him to the earth. At this moment, Zutugilebpop was advancing with a chosen body of ten thousand lancers. Balam Acan was slain, and fourteen thousand Indians were left dead on the field.”
The strong corroborating points in the two above accounts are, that women were “carried” off or “run away” with by the clandestine measures of men, and a dreadful and bloody war ensued as the consequence, in which many were slain. According to the Book of Mormon the above circumstance transpired in Central America , the country where Mr. Stephens obtained the traditional corroborating account. The Book of Mormon says “24 of the daughters of the Lamanites” were taken, and the traditional account says two were taken. One of the two was the “daughter” of the king, the other was “his niece.” It being an established custom among all nations, both ancient and modern, that kings’ relatives should have on all occasions waiters of their own sex, the two spoken of in the tradition being one a daughter and the other a niece of the king they probably had with them their waiting maids, which accounts for the fact of there being “24” females “taken away,” according to the Book of Mormon. And as two of them were ladies of the blood royal they were the only ones that were taken into the account of the tradition and perpetuated in remembrance.
At all events I think it will puzzle any sectarian diviner to account for how it happened that the Book of Mormon should contain such an account in 1830 as transpiring in Central America, and ten years after be corroborated by a traditional account of the Indians in the same country, at such a vast distance as it is from Ontario county, N. Y., to Central America, and that account picked up by a gentleman as much disinterested concerning the truth of the Book of Mormon as though it had never been heard of. I know at least that if such a species of collateral testimony was found to sustain the truth and divinity of the Bible the religious Bible believers would snatch it with avidity and hurl it to the four winds of heaven as indisputable evidence of the divinity of the Bible, and point the finger of scorn at him who would feign to cherish a doubt in the case, and charge him with incredulity that was beneath common human reason. But with many the old adage holds good–
“Convince a man against his will, And he is of the same opinion still.”
But the fact is, God holds all men accountable at the tribunal of truth, and will not change his purposes or waive his law to accommodate the caprice, ignorance or stubborn will of any man. Truth alone sanctifieth unto salvation, and it alone will acquit us at the bar of God.
From the Gospel Herald, Vol. 4, No. 127, May 31, 1849
COLLATERAL TESTIMONY OF THE TRUTH AND DIVINITY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.–No. 5.
All who are familiar with the Book of Mormon know that the peculiar, dark, swarthy complexion of the skin that distinguishes the Anglo Saxon race of American Indians from the present race of the Anglo Saxon origin of men, is in consequence of a direct curse of God on them, (the Indians,) called in the Book of Mormon “Lamanites,” (page 223,) as distinguishing them from the Nephites, who descended from the same family of one “Lehi,” who left Jerusalem (of Palestine) six hundred years before the christian era. Said “curse” was placed on the progeny of “Laman,” (one of the sons of Lehi,) because of their apostasy and intolerable wickedness and persecutions which they practiced on the progeny of Nephi, (Laman’s brother.) The Book of Mormon informs that the Nephites were a “white and delightsome people,” and so were the Lamanites until a certain time, when God placed a severe and chastising curse on them, for the reasons above stated; which “curse” is still manifest in both their complexion, filthiness and barbarous practical character.
And further, the Book of Mormon informs us that said “curse” is to remain on the Lamanites until they are restored to the favor and blessings of God in the “latter days,” through the medium of the gospel of Jesus Christ contained in the Book of Mormon, the record of their fathers The Book of Mormon further informs us that the Lamanites declared an exterminating “war” against the Nephites, near the close of the fourth century of the christian era, in the country now called “Mexico,” near the head of the gulf of the same name. Said war was pushed on with great rage and fury, the Nephites continually falling and retreating before the “battle ax, sword, arrows and spears” of the Lamanites, until the Nephites were all destroyed to a man, except “twenty-four” persons, who fled to a place unknown to “Moroni,” the only remaining person left to record the sad tale of woes and disasters that had befallen his brethren, the Nephites, leaving the Lamanites the principal masters of the American continent. This war closed at the hill “Cumorah,” Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y., in the A. D., 420. As collateral to the point that the people spoken of in the following account are probably the descendants of the “twenty four” persons spoken of above, I present the following. The same is strongly hinted at by Messrs. Catherwood and Stephens in their account of their antiquarian researches in Central America , as published in New York , 1841.
“North of about latitude 30 and west of longitude 107, comprising a portion of both the Californias , lies a vast tract of country, as yet wholly unexplored. No map presents the slightest feature of its configuration, drawn from any other authority than that of conjecture, and the foot of no civilized adventurer has broken the stillness of its seclusion. It is the Ethiopia of the American continent. Until recently the world knew not even if it were inhabited, nor as yet have we learned much of other value than merely to assure us that it is peopled by a peculiar race, and to stimulate the desire to explore the country and learn its history and condition. The California Indians report the existence of a people of whom they have only a slight knowledge, and whose habits are entirely different from their own. The Catholics of Mexico have endeavored to pierce the country, for the purpose of establishing missions, but have failed–not having been permitted to enter. They are said to be a semi-civilized race, with blue eyes, and straight, light hair. So far as accounts furnish ground for opinions, they are supposed to be a nation of independent farmers, decently clad, dwelling in good houses, with some fine towns, rich in precious metals and stones, practicing the arts to some degree of perfection, and worshiping fire. They are thought by some to be the descendants of the people who have left their memorials and all the history the world has of them, in the mysterious and remarkable ruins of Mexico and Central America . Doubtless ere long, by some means or other, the country will be explored by the adventurers now populating the Pacific coast.”– Beloit Journal.
Look for more of the same nature soon. JOHN E. PAGE.
[The work was never finished