MORMON HOLY DAYS AND HOLIDAYS
Mormons adhere strongly to the HOLY DAYS instituted by the law of God. They accept three sources of the law of God: (1) Bible, (2) Doctrine and Covenants, and (3) Book of the law of the Lord. The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of the laws given through Joseph Smith. The Book of the Law is a translation of a public copy of the law kept in the ark of the covenant; and brought out of Jerusalem six hundred years before Jesus.
Mormons also observe events when God bestows a great blessing upon the people. April 6th is observed in remembrance of the organization of the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830, by Joseph Smith; according to the laws of man. July 8th is observed in remembrance of the establishment of dominion of the kingdom of God on the earth through James J. Strang on July 8, 1850 .
The only Mormon people that I speak for are the followers of Joseph Smith and James J. Strang. James was martyred in 1856; and his murderers were protected by the state of Michigan. The saints were driven from the homes, their property stolen, and their families scattered. With no central leadership, the some individual members have fallen into honoring days neither established by God, nor honorable in His sight.
FIRST. The Sabbath is the major Holy Day. Other Holy Days relate to special events and blessings by God. These are known as Feasts of the Lord and holy convocations.
The second law given to man was to honor the seventh day as sanctified by God. “2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen. 2)
The spiritual law of God is given in perpetuity to be kept by man to a thousand generations. As God does not change, His law does not change. “16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. 18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Ex. 31)
The seventh day Sabbath is a sign between God and His people in all generations. Jesus did not change the law of the Sabbath—He could not! Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians all honored the Sabbath. “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5)
When Constantine amalgamated paganism with Christianity in the early fourth century, he adopted the pagan sun day, “the venerable day of the sun,” in place of the Christian Sabbath. The law of God is like a mark. “5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” (Deut. 6)
The Sabbath is a sign to the world of the people of God. Those who do not obey this law cannot be considered as being the people of God. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) They honor the sun god of Nimrod, Babylon, Greece, Rome, and Constantine. They wear upon their foreheads the mark of the beast.
There are some churches that have realized the error adopted by Constantine; and honor the seventh day. They must also honor ALL the law of God to be recognized as the people of God. God set an immutable organization in His church. Those churches lacking these offices are not the Church of Christ. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)
God established an order in the kingdom of God. The ministers of this kingdom, including Jesus, held the Melchisedec Priesthood. Those who make no claim to this priesthood are usurpers of the name and divine authority of God. “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” (Matt. 7) That rock is the ROCK OF REVELATION, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)
Every true minister of God is called by the spirit of prophecy and ordained at the hands of one holding that priesthood. Not even Jesus was exempt from this law. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee… 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) “7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20)
The law on the Sabbath was given by God after the creation, was given to Adam and all prophets to Moses, and was to be obeyed by all generations in perpetuity. “8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Ex. 20)
Judah was condemned for violating the Sabbath. “17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.” (Neh. 13) Jesus noted that ministers of God are among the only ones permitted to labor on the Sabbath. “5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?” (Matt. 12)
James J. Strang claimed to have translated a copy of the Book of the Law of the Lord that was taken out of Jerusalem shortly before the Babylonian captivity. This was the most sacred book in all Scripture. It was considered too holy to fall into the hands of pagans; and all the copies of the book were destroyed. The Christian Bible fails to include this work; although it is noted over twenty times by name. A testimony of the truth of this book can be discovered in the chapter: The Ten Commandments.
For whatever reason one of the Ten Commandments was deleted from the record in the Old Testament (Ex. 20:3; Deut. 5:7). The various sectarian Christian churches have divided the remaining nine to make ten. The Ten Commandments were still intact in the days of Jesus. “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22) Where is this second greatest commandment in sectarian Christian Decalogue? It is given as the fourth commandment of the Decalogue in the Book of the Law.
The first three laws of the Ten Commandments are sins against God. The rest are sins against man; and as transgression of the law, are also sins against God. The first and greatest commandment was to love God and subject our will to His. The second law, in order, is the command not to usurp the authority of God. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) The third law is to honor the Sabbath.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy womanservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: for in six ages the Lord thy God made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh age: wherefore the Lord thy God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it: [Gen. 2:2, 3] thou shalt keep it holy unto him, that thou forget not the Law, nor be found keeping the company of the vile, nor be despised by the righteous.” (Book of the law, p. 22)
James J. Strang noted, “The day of rest originated in the rest of God, when he ceased the work of creation, at the making of man, to have dominion over the earth. It was had in remembrance as an institution of God, before promulgated by his voice in Sinai; (Gen. ii, 2, 3. Ex. xvi, 23;) and there is no ground for believing that the sanctifying of the Sabbath, was not a law among the Patriarchs and the Antediluvians, because it is not mentioned in the scriptures; for from the time of Moses until that of Solomon, when it was unquestionably in force, it is nowhere mentioned.” (Ibid.)
SECOND. The second Holy Day commanded by God to be honored is the establishment of the dominion of the Kingdom of God on the earth in the last days. Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus were all first degree Kings. Moses was a first degree King with a dominion on the earth. James J. Strang was ordained a first degree King at the time he was ordained a first degree Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver on June 27, 1844. Like Jesus he held no dominion at that time.
On July 8, 1850 , he was crowned as a first degree King with dominion on the earth on Beaver Island. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion [people of God in America ], unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem .” (Micah 4) “He hath chosen his servant James to be King: he hath made him his Apostle to all nations: he hath established him a Prophet, above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion : by his own voice did he call him, and he sent his Angels unto him to ordain him.” (Book of the Law, p. 169)
Ecclesiastical officers on Beaver Island were also civil officers. They were bound first to obey the law of God; and to obey the law of the land to the extent that it did not violate the law of God. The law reads, “The day [July 8] that James, the Prophet of God, was established King, and sat upon his throne, is a notable day; it shall be kept in remembrance forever.
“As oft as this day returneth shall all the Saints assemble together. It shall be a holy convocation. They shall assemble in their Temples , and in their Synagogues, and in publick places, to offer a thankoffering, an offering of praise unto God, because he has given the Kingdom to the Saints.”
THIRD. The Feast of First Fruits was instituted by God; and a commission to observe this feast was given to Adam. The law of God required bringing the best of the first fruits. Abel offered the best of the firstlings of his flock. His offering was found acceptable before God. Cain offered an inferior offering of the fruit of the ground. Cain’s offering was not found acceptable before God. This inferior offering caused a change in the countenance of Cain, resulting in his killing Abel.
“2 And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4)
“At every Temple where the name of the Lord your God is named, shall the Priest appoint the day of firstfruits, according to the days of your principal harvests of food; and by that day shall ye all bring your offering of firstfruits unto the Priest, in the Temple and the Synagogues, and ye shall have a holy convocation before the Lord in every place to which ye bring the firstfruits.
“Ye shall lift up unto the Priest who ministereth unto the Lord a portion of firstfruits, by the day of the holy convocation of the harvest; on the selfsame day ye shall offer an offering of flesh also; a clean beast, or a clean fowl: it shall be a sacrifice and feast of thanksgiving unto the Lord, for the abundance of the harvest.” (Book of the Law, p. 296)
James J. Strang noted that this feast is only required when the saints are gathered; and receive an inheritance. “Firstfruits are required of all who dwell upon the inheritance of the Saints.” It was observed under James J. Strang on Beaver Island until his death.
FOURTH. The Feast of Tabernacles was established under Moses. “Speak unto the children of Israel , saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” (Lev. 23:34)
It was kept in the days of Jesus, “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.” (John 7:2)
It will be kept by all the nations of the earth after Jesus returns. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zech. 14:16)
FIFTH. At any time the Lord grants a great and choice blessing upon the people, they are bound to observe that event and teach their children to celebrate the same.
“WHEN, in blessing, the Lord thy God shall bestow upon thee any great and choice blessing; or, in his abundant charity, shall deliver thee from any great calamity, thou shalt assemble together thy wives, and thy children; thy friends, and thy neighbours; and shalt celebrate his glorious goodness with thankofferings, and feasting, and musick, and dancing.
“And for the chief blessings of God to thee, shalt thou keep it in remembrance from year to year, and teach it to thy children, that they who inherit the blessing may not forget gratitude to the giver, and the remembrance of the goodness of thy God be preserved throughout all generations.” (Book of the Law, Thanksgiving, p. 104,)
The only days of this type, observed today, are the day that the Church of Christ was organized according to the law of man in the latter days and July 8th. On April 6, 1830 , Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ (later known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints). This was a notable day; and most of the followers of Joseph Smith and James J. Strang celebrate this day.
THANKSGIVING. Many churches do not allow dancing and festive occasions. The important element in all of these celebrations is praise and thanksgiving to God, who is the fountain of all good things. “17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
James J. Strang wrote of thanksgiving, “1. There is a natural buoyancy of spirits in the constitution of man, which will not live down to the demands of misanthropy. It is the native thankfulness of the heart, for blessings bestowed, favors conferred, and happiness enjoyed.
“2. In that false system of religion, which condemns all the pleasures of life as sinful, and enjoins on us the selfinfliction of gloom, pain and misery, in this life, as the price of happiness in another, this natural thankfulness is condemned as sinful. “3. Give it a voice, and it will speak the praises of God; motion, and it will act the gratitude of the heart, inspired with an afflatus from the heart of the Redeemer of men. “4. In the Jewish Church, singing, instrumental music feasting, and dancing, were all used in praising God. But it is worthy of remark, that they used them or not, according to the extent of their blessings or calamities. (Ps. cxxxvii. 4.) “5. While in Egyptian bondage they had no national feasts but on the destruction of the firstborn of Egypt , the feast of the Passover was instituted. (Ex. xii, 3-10.) “6. On different occasions new feasts, sacrifices, and dances were instituted, and new psalms and songs composed for their various thanksgivings; both national, sectional and individual. “7. The use of all these modes of praising God, and giving thanks to him, prevailed among them, and were anticipated in the Church of the latter days. They were regarded as most acceptable forms of worship. (Ps. cxlix, cl.) “8. Dancing and instrumental music should, therefore, be regarded as forms of religious worship, acceptable to God, when done to his praise, and the magnifying of his name. “9. And though it may not be positively sinful to join in a dance which was not instituted to the praise of God, yet as tending to an unprofitable mixing with unbelievers, the practice should be avoided. It may cause some to stumble “10. Be admonished, therefore, that whatsoever you do, you do it in reference to the law of God, being guided thereby in all things; rendering due thanks and praise unto him for all his goodness, and assembling your neighbors with you to be joyful in the Lord.” (Book of the Law, p. 104)
CHRISTIAN HOLY DAYS
As Christianity devolved back into paganism by the fourth century, many of the pagan celebrations were brought into Christianity. Such celebrations represent a type of idolatry and blasphemy. Whether we worship either pagan gods, or pagan holy days, we become involved in honoring evil. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Cor. 6:17) “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20)
The traditions of the Jews were anchored in direct association with the true and living God. Nimrod, a grandson of Noah, was the father of idolatry. He developed a system of worship that was directly contrary to that of God. These doctrines and celebrations were handed down through Greece and Rome directly into the Christian Church; when Constantine in the early fourth century amalgamated paganism with Christianity. The former gods of paganism were still honored; but, they were given Christian names. The festivals of paganism were adopted directly into Christianity with only the names changed.
The noted ecclesiastical historian, Mosheim, wrote of the first century after the Apostles, “There is no institution so pure and excellent which the corruption and folly of man will not in time alter for the worse, and load with additions foreign to its nature and original design. Such, in a particular manner, was the fate of Christianity. In this century, many unnecessary rites and ceremonies were added to the Christian worship, the introduction of which was extremely offensive to wise and good men… Both Jews and heathens were accustomed to a vast variety of pompous and magnificent ceremonies in their religious service. And as they considered these rites as an essential part of religion, it was but natural that they should behold with indifference, and even with contempt, the simplicity of the Christian worship, which was destitute of those idle ceremonies that rendered their service so specious and striking. To remove then, in some measure, this prejudice against Christianity, the bishops thought it necessary to increase the number of rites and ceremonies, and thus to render the public worship more striking to the outward senses. This addition of external rites was also designed to remove the opprobrious calumnies which the Jewish and pagan priests cast upon the Christians, on account of the simplicity of their worship, esteeming them little getter than Atheists, because they had no temples, altars, victims, priests, nor any thing of that external pomp in which the vulgar are so prone to place the essence of religion. The rulers of the church adopted, therefore, certain external ceremonies, that thus they might captivate the senses of the vulgar, and be able to refute the reproaches of their adversaries.” (Mosheim, Eccles. Hist., Century II, Part II, chap. 4:1-3)
Of the fourth century, he wrote, “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God… Nay, it would seem as if all possible means had been industriously used, to give an air of folly and extravagance to the Christian assemblies.” (Century IV, Part II, chap. 4:1, 4)
CHRISTMAS. Christ Mass was established by the Catholic Church as a Sacrament for the observance of the birthday of Jesus. No encyclopedia will fail to note that Dec. 25, was a pagan holiday; and had no association with Christianity. Anyone can observe in Rome on Dec. 26 that the days are truly becoming longer. The sun is born again.
No Biblical scholar will give any weight to Dec. 25, being the birth day of Jesus. The best conclusions they are able to make is that Jesus was most likely born in the Spring.
The celebration of Dec. 25, as the birth day of Jesus, was an adoption of the pagan festival of the same date. One can only imagine the difficulty in converting pagans; and taking away their most beloved celebrations. It was much easier for the Catholic Church simply to adopt the pagan celebration; and give it a Christian name. Consider the source.
“How comes it that that festival [Christmas] was connected with the 25th of December?… it could not have been on the 25th of December… Christ could not be born in the depth of winter… How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December 25th as Christmas-day? Why thus: Long before the fourth century [and Constantine], and long before the Christian era itself a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ… That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt… ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’… The christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt … Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth, was held at the Natalis invicti solis, ‘The firth-day of the unconquered Sun.’ ” (The Two Babylons, Rev. Alexander Hislop, pp. 91-98)
The (Strangite) latter day saints have been scattered according to prophecy. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion [ Church of Christ in America ], unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion [ July 8, 1850 ]; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem . 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee [they were murdered under protection of State and Federal governments]? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to [spiritual] Babylon ; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Micah 4)
This scattered condition of the people, the loss of Apostles and Prophets, and the tendency of man to drift from the simple worship of pure Christianity has caused some to adopt pagan practices celebrated by their Christian neighbors. True Mormons do not accept Christmas as the birth day of Jesus. As most do not have to work on that day, many use it as a day for family celebration and thanksgiving; even as Jesus used the “venerable day of the sun,” when most were not required to work, as a day for holy convocation. It is not the day that is evil; but, the honor bestowed upon it. Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians always honored the seventh day Sabbath. Dec. 25 is not the birth day of Jesus. Honoring it is honoring its pagan origin. It may be another mark of the beast—a departure from pure Christianity to paganism.
The knowledge of the relationship of the Christmas tree with the birth of the son of the Mother of Heaven seems to have been entirely lost. The simple use of a tree, and the exchanging of gifts, can add happiness to a family gathering. With the symbolism of mysticism gone, many Mormons simply celebrate the day like another Thanksgiving.
EASTER. Easter was a direct adaptation from paganism. Nimrod, King of Babylon, had done his work well. For fifteen hundred years the pagans had celebrated this spring festival. They could not give up the spring rites anymore than they could give up the winter rites. Again, consider the source.
“What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country… The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain … If Baal was thus worshipped in Britain, it will not be difficult to believe that his consort Astarte was also adored by our ancestors, and that from Astarte, whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar, the religious solemnities of April, as now practiced, are called by the name of Easter– that month, among our Pagan ancestors, having been called Easter – monath… To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity–now far sunk in idolatry–in this as in so many other things, to shake hands… the date of the Christian era, or of the birth of Christ Himself, was moved FOUR YEARS from the true time… Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character. The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed egss of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now.” (The Two Babylons, pp. 103-108)
True Mormons do not celebrate Easter; as it bears the very name of idolatry upon its forehead. Easter was translated from Astarte—the pagan queen of heaven. Like Christmas, it is most likely another mark of the beast. The resurrection of Jesus is the central theme of Christianity not the crucifixion. Mormons offer great honor to this event; but, they do not celebrate it on Easter. Many Mormons combine the celebration of the resurrection with the celebration of the establishment of the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830 .
The spring rites of fertility have been lost in the commercialization of the holiday. Who even knows the origin and use of the Easter egg as it was in paganism? Some Mormons have adopted the Easter egg festivity. It is not the egg that is evil; but, the use of it in its pagan context. “15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. 17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” (Isa. 66)
Saint Valentine’s Day. Although this day was solemnized by the Catholic Church, to the extent that it is used for good and love, Mormons often observe this day. It is only observed as a thanksgiving to God for the blessings of love that we enjoy; and a special moment for the sharing of our love with our family and friends. It is becoming another commercialized day, like many other gentile holidays. Love is a blessing that should be shared on every day throughout the year; and not just on a single day. A healthy dose of daily affection will cure many of man’s infirmities. We should make every day special. The law of God is founded on love.
Saint Patrick’s Day. This is another holiday solemnized by the Catholic Church. For those of Irish descent, it would not seem objectionable to remember the day as a celebration of the blessings of that homeland. Mormons do not keep it as a day for drinking and rowdy parties.
Holidays fall into two categories. The first type is those that were discussed above. These have roots in religious events. The second is those with roots in the traditions of man. Each must be considered in its own context.
New Year’s. This day has been celebrated among Mormons to keep in remembrance all the blessings they have received from God throughout the preceding year. They are not to become involved in the drunken parties and rowdy activities often associated with it. It is a time of joy to praise God and offer thanksgiving for all the good things that enjoyed during the year. It is also a time to greet the New Year and to offer up our prayers for those things which are proper and edifying, that we cannot provide for ourselves.
Thanksgiving. Mormons honor Thanksgiving as a day to unite their families and offer their thanks to God for all the blessings they have received. This is the only National Holiday that deserves the celebration of Mormons; even though they received some of the worst persecution of any people on this presumed land of the free. Thanksgiving is a daily Mormon activity; but, and they enjoy have honoring it with their neighbors.
National Holidays. Mormons should do not honor holidays established by any government of man. Every government is a usurpation of the authority of God; as none claim to have received authority from God. Most do not even believe in revelation. God established a perfect government; and gave them divine authority to act according to their offices. It was called a Theocracy; as officers held both civil and religious authority. Their directions came from the throne of grace. One such King was called Moses. Their laws were the laws of God. All governments of man will fall when Jesus returns.
The house of Israel will be gathered from the four corners of the earth to be His people once again. The kingdom of God will then reign over the entire world. “16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zech. 14)
4th of July. Mormons have honored this day; because it represents the freedoms this country was able to realize. Through the first amendment of the Constitution, religious rights and equal justice were to be assured for all. To the extent the holiday is used for this purpose, it is truly a time of celebration. Freedom and equal justice should be a natural right of citizenship. The early Mormons honored the freedoms granted through independence. More recently it is becoming a day to align people with the doctrines of Nationalism and Patriotism. Mormon allegiance should only be pledged to God and the kingdom of heaven. Man cannot serve two masters. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21)
Many of the ideals of our founding fathers have been lost in the greed of politics, money, and power. The History Channel broadcast a series called “The Men Who Killed President Kennedy.” Their findings were nearly as dreadful as the killing of the Mormons. Through their research they concluded that President Kennedy was likely assassinated by Lyndon B. Johnson. It appears that both state and federal agencies combined to execute the killing and the cover up. It was noted that the government will never be same; after being infiltrated with such evil powers. What we see and are told is not always the real story.
The rights that were supposed to be granted to the Mormons with this independence and freedom, though, were consistently denied. They were treated as though they were foreigners in their own land. They were refused the right to equal justice and protection from criminal acts done upon them. After being persecuted in Kirtland, Ohio, they settled in Independence, Missouri. The Governor of the State of Missouri actually issued an extermination order to either kill, or drive the Mormons from the state. The Governor had been party to many mob activities. They were not driven for violating any laws; but because their religious doctrines were intolerant of the wild abuses of civil law present in the wild mobs of Missouri. Religious discrimination, administered by the state, caused them to be murdered, scattered, and driven from their homes, without provisions, in the middle of winter. Their blood stains remain on the soil of Missouri . When they petitioned the national government for protection, under the law, they were ignored.
They found refuge in Nauvoo, Illinois south of St. Louis. Their industrious nature led to the establishment of the largest city of that time. But, after building up this flourishing city and neighboring towns, religious prejudice, political interests, and commercial rivalry combined to destroy them. With the help of the Governor of the State of Illinois , Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered; while under the pretended protective custody of the state. Their houses and property were burned and an entire community, amounting to 25,000, was banished from the state. How can anyone honor a nation that combines to murder and injure its citizens; and deprive them of equal justice under the law?
After the murder of Joseph, James J. Strang was called of God to stand at the head of the people. They first settled near Burlington, Wisconsin; and later on Beaver Island, in upper Lake Michigan. Again, they encountered the same religious discrimination that had followed them from Kirtland, Independence, and Nauvoo. Again, on April 6, 1850, the Mormons pleaded to the President, Congress, and people of this nation for religious freedom and equal protection under the law. Again, they were ignored.
The citizens of Mackinac were among the lowest order of morality among a Christian people; and became set upon the destruction of the Mormons. The Mormons prevented many of them from selling cheap Indian whiskey; which caused the Native Americans tremendous injury.
On June 16, 1856 , the captain of the steamer Michigan landed at Beaver Island ; and sent for James. As he stepped on the dock, Tom Bedford and Alexander Wentworth shot him. He survived the shooting for a number of days, although the ship’s doctor pronounced the wounds mortal. Bedford and Wentworth rushed back aboard the Michigan, where they were given protection, returned to Mackinac, given a mock trial, and released. James was taken back to his home near Burlington, where he died on July 9, 1856 . The rest of the saints were driven from the island; and their lands and properties confiscated by the mobs. Innocent blood again stained the soil of America . Religious freedom and equal justice again became a pretension rather than a fact. The blood of innocent citizens again stained the soil of land supposed to provide freedom and equal justice. At some point along the continuum of persecution, men naturally lose all respect for the hand that is supposed to protect them and grant them freedom and happiness. God remembers such sins four generations. That time has not expired. The final judgments of God will mix the blood of persecutors with those of martyred saints. “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentile] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1)
James J. Strang, in one of the last issues of the church paper on Beaver Island before his assassination, wrote, “The 6th day of April, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized at the town of Fayette, in the State of New York, consisting of only six members, two of whom, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, were Elders; being the only true and living Church existing by the commandment of God on earth.
The members of this Church, guided by revelations of God, have always sought to come out from among unbelievers, and be separate. Knowing that others were offended with their religion, they endeavored to avoid giving offence by removing from among them, keeping the commandment, “Come out from among them, that ye be not partakers of their sins, and receive not of their plagues.”
Almost immediately after the organization of the Church, the Saints commenced assembling at Kirtland, Ohio, for a temporary rendezvous; but at the same time a few went up to Missouri, to locate a permanent residence, and selected the site of Independence, Jackson county, as their future home, and commenced a settlement there.
Agreeable to a commandment which God gave them, they purchased large quantities of lands of the government of the United States , and paid the full price therefore to the officers of the United States , the ministers of your predecessors in office. Upon these lands our brethren, the saints, made extensive settlements, continually showing themselves the most industrious, peaceable and law-abiding citizens of that section of the country.
At the time of which we speak no one among them was accused of any violation of the law, or of a want of attachment to the constitution and government of the United States , or of the state of Missouri .
Notwithstanding these facts, and the legal rights of our brethren, a numerous meeting of citizens of Missouri was held at Independence , in Missouri , which decreed the expulsion of the saints from that part of the State. This meeting issued a manifesto to the public, giving to the world the reasons for banishing from their neighborhood a numerous class of citizens; the entire church of the Latter Day Saints.
In giving these reasons they stated that our religious sentiments and domestic habits were incongruous with theirs, and that it was necessary for their happiness that our brethren should leave; and as the grievances of which they complained were not recognized by the laws, and the saints had not violated any existing law whereby they were subject to regular prosecution in the courts, therefore they would take redress into their own hands, and compel us to leave the country, peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must.* This decree was carried out by the expulsion of the saints from Jackson Co., Missouri.
*The western Monitor, of 2d August, 1833 , contains this manifesto. We extract from it the following: “The evil is one that no one could have foreseen, and is therefore unprovided for by the laws, and the delays incident to legislation, would put the mischief beyond remedy.
“it requires no gift of prophecy to tell that the day is not far distant when the civil government of the country will be in their hands. When the sheriff, the justices, and the county judges will be Mormons, or persons wishing to court their favor from motives of interest or ambition.
We do hereby most solemnly declare:–
“That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.
“That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice.
“That the editor of the `Star’ be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.
“That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions.
“That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.
After adopting this manifesto a committee was sent to exact a pledge of compliance from the Mormons, and on their refusing to give it, “It was unanimously resolved by the meeting, that the `Star’ printing office should be razed to the ground, the type and press secured,” which was immediately done.
They then settled in various counties on the north side of the Missouri river, but continual collisions took place, till finally they were banished from the State by authority of a mandate guilty issued by Lillburn W. Boggs, acting Governor, distinctly commanding that the saints (in derision called Mormons) be banished from the State, or exterminated. We are perfectly aware that this mandate of the acting Governor was unauthorized by the law, and in violation of the constitution of the State of Missouri .
But the Legislature of that State, in failing to impeach the Governor, and by appropriating the money to pay the expense of executing his order, has affirmed and adopted the act as the crime of the State. In accomplishing this expulsion ten thousand persons,, men, women and children, were plundered of their possessions, exiled from their homes, and driven in destitution, hunger, and want, in mid winter, to a distant land, passing much of the way in the midst of hostile foes, who not only refused them shelter and food, but kept them in continual danger.
Many were separated from their families and incarcerated in prison, whence, after long detention, they escaped only by paying large sums of money to prison keepers, judges and lawyers, as the price of their enlargement. Besides a feeble few, who, after learning that their persecutors were without compassion, were slain while defending their wives, their children and their firesides; eighteen persons, unarmed, and engaged in the worship of God, were murdered unresisting, and in cold blood, in the early part of these persecutions; one of them a mere child, who died mixing together the words of his prayer to God, and his supplication for mercy from his murderers; another, an old man, bowed down with suffering and sorrow, scarred with the wounds he had received fifty-seven years before in defense of American liberty and American independence; all yielding up their lives for the name of Jesus, and the witness of the gospel. Others, at different times, shared the same fate; how many, we know not.
Subsequently the saints settled in great numbers in the State of Illinois, and built up, besides many villages, the city of Nauvoo, at one time the most populous city in that State. At their first settlement they were kindly received; but after building up flourishing towns, becoming numerous as a religious people, and strong in their political influence, religious prejudice, political interests and commercial rivalry combined together to destroy them.
On this occasion our persecutors sought to justify their violence by accusing the saints of enormous crimes, and the most astounding corruptions. That these accusations were utterly unfounded is clearly shown by the fact that with courts, jurors and prosecuting officers constantly and assiduously selected from among our persecutors, few of the saints were ever prosecuted on criminal charges, and very few indeed ever convicted.
That the best informed and most intelligent men of the nation are fully aware of their entire innocence, is shown in the fact that territorial government has been organized under an act of Congress, possessing as full powers as any other territorial government can, organized under the jurisdiction of the United States; giving its entire executive and legislative power to the same people then exiled; and the men among them who exercised most influence and control in their affairs, and who if they were criminal were most guilty, have received the offices of Governor, Marshall and Secretary of a Territory, as well as numerous minor appointments under the United States government both Whig and Democratic administrations.
The very high character given them by Senator Douglass who presided over the criminal courts of the Mormon District of Illinois, during the period of their sojourn there; by Col. Kane of the United States army; who witnessed their expulsion; and Captains Stansbury and Gunnison, of the Topographical Engineers, who spent a year with a large body of them in their new mountain home, have dissipated all suspicion in the minds of intelligent men that they had given any occasion for the harsh treatment which they received at the hands of the people of the State of Illinois.
The unequivocal testimony of Thos. Ford, Governor of Illinois, at the time of their expulsion, who was present most of the time at the scene of action, is that their character and conduct were far better than those arrayed against them.
Nevertheless this persecution was carried on until our fellow servants, the prophets, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, were martyred; the houses of hundreds of the saints burned down before their eyes; the entire community amounting to 25,000 banished from that section of the State, and four millions of dollars worth of property sacrificed.
After the banishment of the Saints from Illinois, a few of them came into Michigan, and commenced settlements on the Islands of the Great Lakes, then uninhabited, but occasionally occupied by roving borderers, engaged in fishing and selling liquor to the Indians, in violation of law, and in criminal courses still more reprehensible.
The attempt to build up permanent and populous communities in the midst of these valuable lake fisheries, especially at Beaver Island, where there is an excellent harbor, and every facility for an extensive and prosperous commerce, excited the jealousy of those who at Mackinac had for a long time monopolized the entire Indian and fishing trade.
The wretched men of the borderers who had sought a home beyond the haunts of civilization, that they might indulge in unrestrained debauchery and enjoy impunity in crime, could only regard settlers who sought good order and legal government as invaders and enemies. They early exhibited a hostile disposition, and a determination to prevent the establishment of legal government.
As early as 1849 we were subjected to numerous injuries, for which it was impossible to obtain redress. Women were insulted, and men assaulted with impunity. At the same time a concerted effort was made throughout the lake country to render us infamous, by telling false tales upon us. The numerous whiskey dealers on the fishing grounds, whose entire income was derived through criminal means, joined by most of the merchants at Mackinac, who were most seriously alarmed at the growing up of a commercial rival at Saint James, engaged in the undertaking and enlisted the officers and men on nearly all the boats and vessels in the upper lake trade, by means of their acquaintance with them. Every manner of false tale was thus continually put afloat, and no matter by what falsehood originated, was circulated through respectable newspapers, on what was taken for good authority.
By such means, in a short time the mass of the public were persuaded that the Saints at Beaver Island were the offscourings of all things, and the dregs of the inhabitants of the earth.
Under these circumstances, with no means of becoming generally known to the public, except through the representations of those thoroughly enlisted against us, in 1850, extensive preparations were made throughout the fishing region for an armed assault upon us, by a force more than four times as numerous as we could furnish for defense. The Saints were thoroughly schooled in the practice of nonresistance, and were unarmed.
But by the prophecies and commandments, it appeared that having three times fled before their persecutors, it was now our duty to withstand them, and that in doing so God would give us the victory. We resolved to repel force with force, and return blow for blow, and stroke for stroke, publicly announced one determination and prepared for the issue; and our enemies gave way without bloodshed.
In 1851 they succeeded in enlisting the United States government in a violent and lawless crusade against us, in the course of which immense quantities of private property was seized, and taken from us; numerous individuals were arrested on charge of felonies and misdemeanor of almost every manner, and carried prejudged and foredoomed, to distant places for trial, in the courts of their enemies; the United States military and naval force was put in requisition to awe our families in the absence of nearly all the men, while numerous armed bands of our persecutors were left to roam undisturbed through our settlements, taking and destroying what they pleased, and insulting and assaulting when they would.
From all these perils God delivered us. Every one of the accused were acquitted. Though numerous persons were assaulted and cruelly beaten, every one recovered. Only a small portion of the property which had been taken from us was ever restored; but the justice of our cause was vindicated by the decision of the proper officers that we were entitled to all of it, and the actual loss was by the outright stealing of public officers.
While these acts were going on, a few people from Mackinac, and a numerous horde of border ruffians, sometimes under pretence of legal process, but oftenest by mere force of arms, seized nearly all the movables of value possessed by our population. For these acts we pursued many of them at law to final judgment, who have abundance of executable property, but in very few of these cases have we been allowed to make collections on executions.
This persecution resulted in separating our enemies from among us, and leaving us the undisturbed occupancy of a territory sufficient for our use for many years to come; and at the next session of the Legislature acts were passed for establishing the necessary municipal authorities in that territory, organizing town and county government, and a regular judiciary.
Irritated at this, and suffering a great loss of trade by our growing prosperity, the people of Mackinac set on foot an armed invasion, for the avowed purpose of resisting all legal government in the county of Emmet , a purpose not concealed, but declared in the resolutions of their public meetings, and published in the newspapers.
A conflict ensued in which several of the Saints were wounded, and several thousand dollars of property destroyed; but the invasion failed, and the invaders fled as the wicked often do, when no man pursued. The criminals engaged in this invasion were duly indicted, but by the connivance of officers and citizens they were able to escape a trial and have gone unpunished. But their flight from this region left us in the enjoyment of peace and undisturbed order.
But the action of the State Legislature, at its next session in cutting up the county of Emmet , legislating its officers out of office, and denying a judiciary to the new county of Manitue , indicated a settled determination to deny us legal protection, and secure from punishment those who had committed crimes against us.
For all these wrongs the laws and institutions of the country offer us no redress. It is vain to answer that such acts are contrary to law, and that the courts are open to us. There is a law in the land stronger than statutes–more potent than the usages of courts. The will of the masses, however vicious and partial, no matter by what influences produced, has been able to trample on all precedent, and ride down all law. It has done more. It has produced legislation according to its wishes, in violation of all constitutional securities; and not merely contrary to precedent, but destructive of natural right.
This unrecognized law, found only in the will of the masses, has been enforced in destroying houses, offices and valuable papers of some of the most distinguished citizens of the country, public buildings of various kinds, printing presses and rail roads owned by wealthy companies, churches and convents of the most ancient and numerous religious denomination in the country, and to overthrow contracts which had stood the vicissitudes of two hundred years, the ordeal of civil war and national revolution, though defended by the sanctity of constitutional and statute law; usages older than the language we speak; the power of a great State; the wealth that seven generations of thrift had accumulated; and backed by an aristocracy made honorable by deeds of benevolence, justice, patriotism and valor as boundless as the sources of its greatness.
If these cannot resist the power of this new element of national and state government mob law, how shall we? We are aware that our name is cast out as evil, as a kind of apology for the uncounted injuries which have been heaped upon us. But you will not forget that in early times among all the most polished nations the name christian was looked on as a name for fanaticism and debauchery; that the learned Greeks and victorious Romans held them cannibals, and that, even now, in half the civilized and christian nations democracy is considered synonymous with anarchy and lawlessness–how justly, you can judge.
And if the sanctity of the ancient Christian faith, and the greatness of your nation have not protected them from these aspersions, what shall protect us from equal wrongs? We protest against this nearly universal practice of assuming that we are guilty of great crimes, as an excuse for denying us the regular protection of the government in our legal rights. But when we examine the evidence of the truth of these assumptions, they are most conclusively falsified.
Joseph, the martyred prophet, whose blood stains on the jail at Carthage are as indelible as those of Jesus on the cross, has been arrested thirty-nine times on criminal charges. Thirty nine times he has been tried in the courts of his enemies; many times at the bar of men who advocated his murder. And thirty-eight times, in such courts, at the bar of such men, has he been acquitted.
The only offence of which he was ever convicted is that of unlawful banking–an offence committed with impunity by other men in nearly every State in the union. Nor did he escape conviction by the testimony of his brethren. Such men would stop their ears against it. If this is not a sufficient vindication of him as a law-abiding man, no array of facts could be.
That the charge on which he was finally arrested and imprisoned was merely trumped up for the purpose of seizing upon him and detaining him till a convenient time for his destruction, is as clearly proved as any fact whatever in the history of the country.
And when we add that his murderers were indicted, arraigned and acquitted at the instance of their own friends, without any attempt to introduce the necessary evidence against them, and merely for the purpose of interposing a legal bar to their punishment, in some more healthy period of the public mind, we think it will not require argument to convince all mankind that, the State of Illinois has adopted that murder as its own.
In this place, during the persecutions of 1851, ninety-nine men were arrested on false charges, taken to distant places and tried in the courts of their accusers, and though prejudged and foredoomed, were every one of them acquitted.
For all these wrongs we are denied redress. We have not forgotten that there are tribunals in which causes partially similar in kind, immeasurably less in aggravation, are sometimes examined, perhaps occasionally righted. But these tribunals are closed against us by the law now, and at all times by the power of that law already referred to, which is above statute, precedent and right.
If a period cannot be put to these wrongs, then there is presented to the world the melancholy spectacle of the greatest republic on earth, a Christian nation, acknowledging itself powerless to judge; unable to protect the right; a nation on whose righteousness half the earth rest the hopes of man, confessing that there is a power above the law, riding down the constitution, which stalks abroad to plunder and banish the citizens, and none to rebuke; murders the unoffending innocent, and none to say, “why do ye so?” which sanctifies its deeds of violence, even in the eyes of religious men, by blackening the fame of the glorious dead, with the name of crimes which in their life time it dared not attempt to prove, even in its own tribunals.
The administrators of the government have been appealed to in vain. Unless the wrongs redressed, they must rest on the nation forever, and bring down the wrath of God on those who have done, and those who have permitted them? If you fear not God, how will you answer to mankind and to posterity, for such a desecration of republicanism, in a Christian country.
For all these wrongs we do not ask a grant of lands, nor a State or Territorial government–We acknowledge that we have had enough of these. We shall never sell the lands of our brethren and ourselves, the inheritance of the martyred and of their children, for new grants of which we are equally liable to be deprived by some new act of violence.
There is now in the States of Missouri and Illinois four millions of dollars worth of houses and lands purchased with the money and produced with the skill and industry of our brethren the saints, which they are not permitted to occupy.
Courts, State Legislatures, and State executives are deaf to us. When we speak, they cannot hear. When we ask justice, their faces are turned from us. True, when they do speak, their voice is for us. But it comes after the deed is done, or it is so faintly heard that the lawless do not think it earnest. The forms of law hold us as victims, and the power that is above law overwhelms us. Thus have two of our prophets died in the hands of public officers, and under the destroying protection of a State Governor, personally superintending the proceedings, and no one act of public indignation has rebuked the deed. By every form of .judicial proceeding known to the laws of the land, the perpetrators have been legally shielded from the punishment which the law itself denounces against such crimes.
The fact that our brethren are the owners of large tracts of land, purchased of the United States, and secured to us by the name and seat of the President, which they have never sold, and which they are not permitted to occupy, by the powers actually existing, and that our brethren have been banished and murdered, and their persecutors are un-rebuked, and positively and legally screened from punishment, is as indelibly stamped on the history of the country as the declaration of independence, or the victory of Buena Vista.
We do not ask compensation in money or land for the blood of the dead, or the persecutions of the living. The lands we have been robbed of, we shall continue to claim for the banished, and for the widows and orphans that murders have made, till the day when the judgment of God shall be revealed on the nation, and his wrath no longer slumbers; and they shall go up and possess it, though the nation ceases.
But these things admonish us that we are not to expect peace or protection in the midst of the people who have done us this iniquity. Both by the commandment of God and from the necessity of our situation, we are seeking a home in a land where religious sects and political parties are far removed from us, a land uninhabited.
We have not been suffered to live with other men. Shall we not be permitted to live alone? God made the earth for all men. Of the vast all he has given us a few little islands. They are the work of his hands; not man’s. Why should man sell God’s work?
For nine years our communities have dwelt here in peace among themselves. The few small schisms which have arisen, have yielded to the ordinary course of discipline, and the wrong doers have either amended or departed from among us, doing us very little injury, except as they were abetted by public officers, religious boobies, the newspaper press, and bands of lawless men. Yet we are pursued from day to day with continual threatening. An effort is continually made to convince us that we are to have no rest forever.
Three times have we fled before our persecutors, because we would not repel injuries by force. We understand by the word of God that it is our duty to flee no further. We do not learn from the divine writings that it is our duty never to resist evil deeds.—The time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue.
While men around us have for years threatened us with fire and blood, and we only asked legal justice, they have been continually commended for the forbearance, and we continually menaced with invasions, expatiation and death.
We have ceased to take to ourselves any trouble about these matters. We have known for years what our persecutors seem so anxious to impress upon us, that, when the public vengeance is waked up the law will not protect us and that among an angry people innocence is no shield.
We do not expect Governor or President to protect us against mobs. We live in the continual assurance that any one of us might be murdered in a neighboring county, and not a magistrate could be induced to issue process against the murderer.
Yet we trust in God. We walk in conscious security. We laugh in bitter scorn at all these threats. And we tell these wolf hounds, marshal your myrmidons, and send them along, to make a spoil of beauty and booty, as soon as you please. We bid them a bloody welcome to hospitable graves; over which, each year, we will pile stones, with a muttered curse, against the day of the resurrection of damnation.
We will neither purchase temporary peace and future calamities by dishonorable trafficking with political jugglers, nor will we yield our homes to enemies. If we live, here will we live. If we die, here will we die, and here shall our bones be buried, expecting in the resurrection of the just to possess the land forever, and dwell with the righteous during the lifetime of the Eternal.
God judge between us and all men. Saint James, June 1, ’56 .