Whitney, Orson F.
History of Utah Vol. I
(Salt Lake City: Cannon & Sons, 1892)
HISTORY OF UTAH.
PRELIMINARY CHAPTERS ON THE PREVIOUS HISTORY OF HER FOUNDERS, ACCOUNTS
OF EARLY SPANISH AND AMERICAN EXPLORATIONS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN
REGION, THE ADVENT OF MORMON PIONEERS, THE ESTABLISHMENT
AND DISSOLUTION OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
OF THE STATE OF DESERET, AND THE SUBSEQUENT
CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE TERRITORY.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
BY ORSON F. WHITNEY.
- - - Illustrated. - - -
"THIS I HOLD TO BE THE CHIEF OFFICE OF HISTORY, TO RESCUE VIRTOUS ACTIONS FROM THE OBLIVION TO WHICH
A WANT OF RECORDS WOULD CONSIGN THEM; AND THAT MEN SHOULD FEEL A DREAD OF BEING CONSIDERED INFAMOUS
IN THE OPINION OF POSTERITY, FROM THEIR DEPRAVED EXPRESSIONS AND BASE ACTIONS. -- TACITUS.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH:
GEORGE Q. CANNON & SONS CO., PUBLISHERS.
[ 28 ]
TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON -- POVERTY AND PERSECUTION -- THE "MONEY-DIGGING" AND "WIFE-STEALING" STORIES -- MARTIN HARRIS -- THE PROPHET REMOVES TO PENNSYLVANIA -- DESCRIPTION OF THE PLATES AND THE URIM AND THUMMIM -- MARTIN HARRIS AND PROFESSOR ANTHON -- THE REPUTED METHOD OF TRANSLATION -- THE STOLEN MANUSCRIPT -- OLIVER COWDERY -- JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD -- BAPTISM OF JOSEPH AND OLIVER -- JOSEPH KNIGHT'S BENEFICENCE -- DAVID WHITMER -- JOSEPH AND OLIVER REMOVE FROM HARMONY TO FAYETTE -- THE MELCHISEDEK PRIESTHOOD -- THE THREE WITNESSES -- THE EIGHT -- THE TRANSLATION COMPLETE AND THE BOOK OF MORMON GIVEN TO THE WORLD._______
Not for some months, according to Joseph, after receiving the golden plates, was he enabled to begin the task of their translation. In the first place he was very poor, and having married, was obliged to labor more diligently than ever for his daily bread. In the next place he was constantly harassed by enemies.
He tells that while on his way home with the plates, he was repeatedly set upon by unknown men, who strove to wrest them from him. Once they dealt him a severe blow with a bludgeon. Thanks to his superior strength, for he was now a stalwart youth of nearly twenty-two, and aided as he believed by the Almighty, he successfully withstood his assailants, and finally reached home in safety. But his enemies did not rest. Falsehood like a flood pursued him, and the waves of prejudice rose higher and higher. The house in which he lived was beset by mobs; armed assassins lay in wait for him and shot at him as he passed; robbers broke into his rooms to carry off the records, and every means imaginable, both of force and strategy, was vainly employed to get them from him.
In the interim of his fourth and fifth visits to Cumorah. Joseph had married Miss Emma Hale, daughter of Isaac Hale, of Harmony,
HISTORY OF UTAH. 29
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. He had formed her acquaintance in the fall of 1825, while working for a Mr. Josiah Stoal, a resident of Chenango County, New York, who had hired him to go with him to Pennsylvania and dig for a silver mine. While thus employed, Joseph boarded in the family of Mr. Hale, and became enamored of his daughter, who returned his affection. The silver mine proving an ignis fatuus, after a month's fruitless labor Joseph persuaded his employer to abandon the useless enterprise. Subsequently he made overtures for the hand of Miss Hale, but her parents withheld their consent to the union. Emma, however, was of age, and a girl of high mettle, and her lover no less spirited and determined. They acted without consent, and went elsewhere to be married; the nuptial knot being tied by one Esquire Tarbill. at his home in South Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, on the 18th of January, 1827.
From these two incidents in his career, -- his being employed to dig for a silver mine, and his marriage with Miss Hale away from her father's home, -- arose the prevalent stories of "money-digging" and "wife-stealing," used against him by his enemies.
The anger of Emma's parents over the independent action of the young couple, now happily wed, evidently soon abated; for at the expiration of a few months after their marriage, we find them contemplating a removal to the home of the Hales in Pennsylvania. And this, owing to the annoyance and persecution to which they were subjected at Manchester. Too poor to pay the expenses of the trip, -- a distance of about a hundred miles. -- Joseph at this juncture received timely aid from a Mr. Martin Harris, a well-to-do farmer residing in Palmyra Township, a few miles from Manchester. Mr. Harris, who had previously become interested in Joseph, gave him fifty dollars to assist him on his journey. This enabled the young couple to reach their destination. They arrived at Harmony in December, 1827. On their way thither, the wagon in which they traveled was twice stopped by officers, or men claiming to be such, armed with search warrants, who ransacked the vehicle in quest of the golden plates. They were secreted, it is said, in a barrel of beans, and thus escaped discovery.
30 HISTORY OF UTAH.
These plates are thus described. They were of uniform size, about eight inches in width, each one a little thinner than ordinary tin. They were bound together by three rings running through one of the edges, forming a book about six inches in thickness, one-third of which was sealed. This part was not to be opened; the time not having come for its contents to be known. The unsealed two-thirds of the volume, -- the plates of which could be turned like the leaves of a book, and were covered, both sides, with strange characters, "small and beautifully engraved," -- were left free to be translated by means of the Urim and Thummim.
This instrument consisted of two precious stones, set in the rims of a silver bow, and fastened to a breast-plate. The breast-plate, like the record plates, was of gold, the inside concave, the outside convex, and four golden bands attached served to fasten it to the person of the wearer.
In February, 1828, Martin Harris, the Palmyra farmer, visited his young friend at Harmony. Being shown certain mystical characters, which Joseph informed him he had copied from the golden plates and translated, Martin, by permission, took these characters to the city of New York, to exhibit them to the savants and linguists of the metropolis.
According to his account, he first submitted them to Professor Charles Anthon, of Columbia College, who stated that the translation was correct, and as to the characters, translated and untranslated, that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Syriac and Arabic -- true and genuine. Being asked for a certificate to that effect, he willingly gave one, addressing it to the people of Palmyra.
"How did the young man learn that there were gold plates there?" asked the Professor, as Harris, having folded the certificate and put it in his pocket, turned to go.
"An angel of God revealed it to him," answered the farmer. A look of dismay, as if doubting the speaker's sanity, stole over the face of the Professor, who, as soon as he could regain himself, exclaimed "Let me see that certificate."
HISTORY OF UTAH. 31
Martin returned the paper, whereupon Professor Anthon tore it in pieces, remarking that there were no such things now as ministering of angels, but that if the plates were brought to him he would translate them.
Martin informed him that a portion of the golden book was sealed, and that he would not be permitted to bring it.
"I cannot read a sealed book," * replied the Professor, and the interview abruptly ended.
Harris next consulted Dr. Mitchell, another scholar, who seconded all that Professor Anthon had said concerning the characters and the translation.
Such was the report of his errand with which Martin Harris returned to Joseph Smith. So far was he now converted to the latter's views, that he then and there offered to act as his scribe in the work of translation. As Joseph was a poor penman, this offer was gratefully accepted.
The following is the reputed method of translation. The Prophet, scanning through the Urim and Thummim the golden pages, would see appear, in lieu of the strange characters engraved thereon, their equivalent in English words. These he would repeat, and the scribe, separated from him by a veil or curtain, would write them down. A peculiarity of the process was that until the writing was correct in every particular, the words last given would remain before the eyes of the translator, and not disappear. But on the necessary correction being made, they would immediately pass away and be succeeded by others. In this manner the Book of Mormon is said to have been translated. Hence the claim of the Latter-day Saints, -- called "Mormons" for their belief in the book, -- to its plenary inspiration.
From the 12th of April to the 14th of June, 1828, Joseph and Martin continued, with some intermissions, their joint labor of translating. In that interim the latter copied by dictation one hundred
* The Latter-day Saints regard this as a literal fulfillment of Isaiah xxix-11.
32 HISTORY OF UTAH.
and sixteen pages of foolscap manuscript. These pages he much desired to show to his wife and other curious or skeptical persons, with a view to their conversion. After many entreaties and refusals, he obtained Joseph's permission to do so, on condition that they should he shown only to certain persons who were named. Martin, however, broke his pledge and permitted others to see them. The result was that the manuscript was stolen. Neither he nor Joseph ever again beheld it. A temporary estrangement ensued between them, and the Prophet, it is said, having angered the Almighty, lost his gift for a season. Martin, though eventually forgiven, never again acted as Joseph's scribe.
Oliver Cowdery next comes upon the scene. He is a schoolteacher by profession; by trade a blacksmith; young in years, but a man of intelligence and education. Pursuing his vocation of pedagogue at Manchester, New York, during the winter of 1828-9, while boarding in the family of Joseph Smith, senior, he hears of young Joseph, his visions and the golden plates, and is impressed with a belief in their genuineness. He is also imbued with the idea that his future destiny and that of the Prophet are in some manner interwoven. At Sabbath sunset, April 5th, 1829, he presents himself at Joseph's door in Harmony, and volunteers his services as a scribe and secretary. The proffered aid is eagerly accepted. Two days later the youthful twain, -- who are yet to be known as the first and second Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, -- continue the work of translating the Nephite record. The rendering into English progresses rapidly under their united and almost incessant labors, and by the middle of May the greater part of the translation is complete.
Joseph and Oliver testify that on a certain day they suspended their task and went out into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord concerning the doctrine -- then well nigh obsolete in Christendom -- of baptism for the remission of sins, which they had found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While calling upon the Lord, they declare, a heavenly messenger descended in a cloud of
HISTORY OF UTAH. 33
light, and laying his hands upon their heads, spake these words: "Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never again be taken from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."
The angel who thus ordained them said that his name was John, the same who was anciently surnamed "the Baptist," and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood; this, the higher authority, should in due time be conferred upon them, and Joseph should then be the first Elder and Oliver the second Elder in the Church of Christ. The Melchisedek Priesthood would authorize them to bestow the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, a power not conferred by the Priesthood of Aaron. They were then directed to baptize each other by immersion; Joseph first to baptize Oliver, Oliver then to baptize Joseph; after which, in the same order, they were to re-ordain each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. These instructions were carefully obeyed. The date given for these events is May l5th, 1829. According to the record, it was soon after this that the Melchisedek Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph and Oliver by the Apostles Peter, James and John.
In the latter part of May the mobocratic spirit, which till then had lain dormant in that locality, manifested itself at this place of peaceful name, Harmony, where a violent assault upon the two young men was only prevented by the personal influence of Mr. Hale, Joseph's father-in-law. Joseph was now living in his own home, but the gaunt wolf of poverty still hovered round his door. Hearing of his straitened circumstances and having faith in his professions, an elderly man named Joseph Knight, residing at Colesville, Broome County, New York -- thirty miles distant -- came bringing supplies of food and other necessaries, to enable him and his scribe to continue their work without interruption. This act of beneficence was several times repeated.
34 HISTORY OF UTAH.
A family named Whitmer, friends of Oliver Cowdery, at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, had also been apprised of the situation. Early in June David Whitmer arrived at Harmony with a message from his father, Peter Whitmer, senior, inviting Joseph and Oliver to come to Fayette and make their home in his household. This offer was thankfully accepted.
At the home of Father Whitmer, to which they at once repaired, they zealously prosecuted their labors. At intervals Joseph and Oliver would converse with the Whitmers and other people of the neighborhood upon the subject of religion, baptizing such as believed and desired to embrace their principles. During the month of June, Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer and Peter Whitmer. junior, were baptized in Seneca Lake; the first two by Joseph Smith, the last-named by Oliver Cowdery. Samuel H. Smith had been baptized by Oliver at Harmony some time before.
Among the predictions of the Book of Mormon is one to the effect that three special witnesses should be chosen to behold the plates from which it was translated. These plates were to be shown them by an angel. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris were selected as these witnesses. The event is thus recorded in their own words, forming a portion of the preface to the Book of Mormon:
THE TESTIMONY OF THE THREE WITNESSES.Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared. who came from the tower of which hath been spoken ; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us ; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore to be obedient unto the commandments of God. we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid
HISTORY OF UTAH. 35
our garments of the blood of all men. and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen. OLIVER COWDERY, DAVID WHITMER, MARTIN HARRIS.
Eight others also testify, as follows:
THE TESTIMONY OF THE EIGHT WITNESSES.Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands ; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
CHRISTIAN WHITMER, HIRAM PAGE, JACOB WHITMER, JOSEPH SMITH, SEN., PETER WHITMER, JUN., HYRUM SMITH. JOHN WHITMER, SAMUEL H. SMITH.
Among the revelations recorded as "given through Joseph the Seer" during the month of June, 1829, is one making known the calling of the Twelve Apostles of the coming Church. The mission to "search out the Twelve" was given to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. In other revelations, addressed to various individuals, it is reiterated that "a great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men."
As the translation drew to a close, the Prophet and his friends visited Palmyra, the home of Martin Harris, to arrange for the publication of the Book of Mormon. They secured the copy-right and contracted with Mr. Egbert B. Grandin to print five thousand copies for the sum of three thousand dollars. Martin Harris was to furnish the money. The copy-right was secured June 11th, 1829.
Respecting the final disposition of the plates and the Urim and Thummim, Joseph states that the same heavenly messenger who committed
36 HISTORY OF UTAH.
them to his care, reclaimed them when the work of translation was over.
The manuscript of the Book of Mormon was carefully copied, the original retained by the translator, and the copy, -- said to be in the writing of Oliver Cowdery, * -- placed in the hands of the printer. Joseph then paid a visit to his home in Pennsylvania, leaving his more scholarly friend Cowdery to superintend the proof-reading and other details of publication. Early in the year 1830 the first edition of the Book of Mormon was given to the world.
* This manuscript is now in the possession of the family of the late David Whitmer, at Richmond, Ray County, Mo.
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WHAT THE BOOK OF MORMON CLAIMS TO BE -- THE NARRATIVE OF THE NEPHITE RECORD -- HOW THE WORLD RECEIVED IT -- THE SPAULDING STORY -- "MORMONISM UNVEILED" THE SIDNEY RIGDON ANACHRONISM -- DISCOVERY OF THE ORIGINAL "MANUSCRIPT STORY" -- ITS CONDENSED NARRATIVE -- MORMON'S RECORD AND SPAULDING'S ROMANCE COMPARED -- REYNOLDS' "MYTH OF THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND" -- PRESIDENT FAIRCHILD'S OPINION -- NUMEROUS EDITIONS OF THE TRANSLATED WORK.The Book of Mormon claims to be a record of two great races that flourished successively upon the American continent ages prior to its discovery by Columbus. Their combined histories, written by a succession of authors -- prophets and kings -- cover a period extending from the time of the Tower of Babel down to about the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. The records of these authors comprise fifteen books, named in their order as follows: I. Nephi, II. Nephi, Book of Jacob, Book of Enos, Book of Jarom, Book of Omni, The Words of Mormon, Book of Mosiah, including the Record of Zeniff, Book of Alma, Book of Helaman, III. Nephi, IV. Nephi, Book of Mormon, Book of Ether, and the Book of Moroni.
The first of the ancient races referred to, whose histories are briefly given in these records, were the Jaredites, who, in the dispersion following the confusion of tongues, came across the great deep and peopled what is now North America. Their leaders were Jared and his brother, Mahonri Moriancumr, from the former of whom the nation derived its name. Their greatest national character, however, was this "brother of Jared," -- otherwise nameless in the record, * -- under whose inspired leadership the colony left the land of Shinar, and crossing one of the great oceans in ships or "barges " of their own building, landed on these northern shores, made glorious during
* Joseph Smith supplied the proper name, Mahonri Moriancumr.
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the lapse of centuries by their power, wisdom, wealth and civilization. The Jaredite leaders were democratic in their instincts, abhorring the idea of kings and monarchies, which they had been taught to believe could not long flourish upon this goodly land, -- a land destined to be "free from bondage." But their people, like the Israelites of a later period in the far-off land of Canaan, desired a king, and besought them ere they died to anoint one of their sons to rule over them. The thought was repugnant to the great and good founders of the nation, who foresaw the inevitable result, -- the captivity, perchance the destruction of their people. However, they yielded reluctant assent, and one of the sons of Jared -- Orihah -- his three brothers and all the sons of the brother of Jared having declined the proffered purple, was anointed king.
A short period of prosperity followed, for the people served God and were righteous. Then came wealth, class divisions, pride, tyranny, with their usual concomitants, -- luxury, licentiousness and crime. The worship of God was neglected, then abandoned. Self- interest dethroned patriotism, and passion usurped the place of principle. Civil wars broke out, dismembering and dividing the nation. From civilization and refinement the race sank into brutality and savagery, until finally, over the precipice of destruction, of utter annihilation, swept the awful torrent of a mighty people's ruin.
The last of many prophets who taught and warned the Jaredites, seeking in vain to avert their coming doom, was Ether their historian, who, having witnessed the destruction of his people, hid up their records for discovery in after ages, and disappeared from view. A few passages from the Book of Ether*, as abridged by Moroni the Nephite, are here presented:
And now I, Moroni, proceed to finish my record concerning the destruction of the people of whom I have been writing. For behold, they rejected the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this
* Chapter xiii. 1-14.
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land, it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof; And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the Holy Sanctuary of the Lord.
Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land;
And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come; after it should be destroyed, it should be built up again a holy city unto the Lord, wherefore it could not be a New Jerusalem, for it had been in a time of old, but it should he built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord: and it should be built unto the house of Israel;
And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type;
For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph, that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph, that he should perish not;
Wherefore the remnant of the house of Joseph shall he built upon this land ; and it shall he a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end comes when the earth shall pass away.
And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old, save the old have passed away, and all things have become new. And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments' are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.
And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father Abraham.
And when these things come, brinpeth to pass the scripture which saith, There are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.
And I was about to write more, but am forbidden: but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether, but they esteemed him as nought, and cast him out, and he hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people.
And as he dwelt in the cavity of a rock, he made the remainder of this record, viewing the destructions which came upon the people by night.
The sole survivor of the final slaughter, which took place near the hill Ramah, between the two great contending factions of the
40 HISTORY OF UTAH.
fratricidal Jaredites, was Coriantumr, their king. Having slain Shiz, the leader of the opposing host, in a duel upon the bloody field, where all save this twain had fallen, Coriantumr lived long enough to tell the sad story of his people's ruin to their successors upon this northern land. These, the people of Mulek, were a colony led out from Jerusalem under Mulek, son of Zedekiah, king of Judah, about the time of .the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. They did not remain a distinct nation, but coalesced with the Nephites, the second of the two great races mentioned.
The Nephites, with whose history the Book of Mormon begins, -- the discovery of Mulek's colony and the finding and translating of the Jaredite Book of Ether being incidents in their career, -- were likewise from Judea. They were mostly the descendants of Lehi, who, divinely guided, departed with his family from Jerusalem about the year 600 B. C., -- eleven years before Mulek's colony emigrated, -- while the Prophet Jeremiah was pouring his solemn warnings in the ears of king, princes, priests and people of the sin-laden and doomed city. Lehi was descended from Joseph, through Manasseh. His wife's name was Sariah. Their children, when leaving Jerusalem, were four sons, -- Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi, -- and several daughters whose names are not given. Subsequently were born to them two more sons, -- Jacob and Joseph. The other members of Lehi's colony were Ishmael and his family, who were of Ephraim, * and a servant named Zoram. The sons and daughters of Lehi and Ishmael intermarried.
The course of the colony from Jerusalem led to the Red Sea and along its shores; thence eastward across the peninsula of Arabia. On the shores of the Persian Gulf, under the inspired direction of Nephi, who became the virtual leader of the colony, they built a ship, and in it crossed ;i the great waters" -- the Indian and Pacific oceans -- to South America. They are supposed to have landed on the coast of the country now called Chili. Thence, as their nation or nations
* Joseph Smith said that the manuscript lost by Martin Harris so stated.
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grew, and the people multiplied, the descendants of Lehi spread over the whole face of South and North America.
After Lehi's death the colony divided; Laman and Lemuel, who had always been jealous of their younger and gifted brother Nephi, rebelling against his rule, and leading away others to form a separate people. Thenceforth there were two nations; the followers of Laman, who were known as Lamanites, and the adherents of Nephi, who took upon them his name in like manner. The Lamanites, for their iniquity, were cursed by the Almighty with dark skins. They became a loathsome and benighted race, savage and blood-thirsty, roaming the wilderness and subsisting upon wild beasts, killed for game, or by their frequent marauding incursions into the territory of the Nephites. The latter were highly civilized, dwelling in cities and cultivating the arts and sciences. Unlike their dark-skinned neighbors, they were "a white and a delightsome people," fair and beautiful to look upon. Gentle in peace, valorous in war, refined, intelligent, wealthy and powerful, they were at once the envy and the terror of their foes, the ferocious Lamanites, who hated them with an intensity indescribable. Many were the wars and conflicts between the two races; the Lamanites being generally the aggressors, while the Nephites fought in self-defense. Their warriors were highly disciplined, wore armor, and wielded the sword, spear and javelin, while the Lamanites. whose favorite weapons were the bow and sling, went half nude or clothed in skins, affording little protection against the sharp blades and keen points of their adversaries. Still they were fiercely brave, and frequently came off conquerors. When the Nephites served God they prospered, and in war were invincible and invulnerable. When they forgot Him, as they often did, their power waned and departed, and they fell an easy prey to their enemies. But as often as they repented, their strength and valor returned, and the God of battles fought with them and against their foes.
The religion of the Nephites, until the advent of the Savior, -- who appeared to them shortly after His resurrection and established His church among them, -- was the law of Moses; though they also
42 HISTORY OF UTAH.
understood and practiced the first principles of Christ's gospel, revealed to them prior to His coming. One of their first projects. after separating from Laman and his followers, who turned entirely from the Lord, was to build a temple to the Most High, constructed after the pattern, though not on the same scale of magnificence, as the temple of Solomon. .Nephi, his brothers Jacob and Joseph and their descendants were the officiating Priesthood.
The Nephite government was originally a limited monarchy, with Nephi, -- against his own will, for he, like the first Jaredite leaders, was an anti-monarchist, -- as king or protector. His successors, for several centuries, were mostly wise and able rulers, during whose reigns the Nephites enjoyed many periods of prosperity, and the nation, though at times brought to the brink of ruin by the wickedness of its people, spread abroad and became powerful. The Lamanites likewise had kings, who were autocrats, but, as stated, they were a nomadic and savage race, and only at rare intervals. -- and then by fusion or contact with the Nephites, -- reached a standard of civilization.
In the year B. C. 91, the Nephite republic was proclaimed, and for a period of one hundred and twenty years the nation was ruled by judges elected by the people. Wars with the Lamanites and with bands of truculent outlaws known as Gadianton robbers; victories, defeats, internal dissensions, revolutions, disasters, works of glory and deeds of darkness mark this checkered period, -- an era of violent vicissitudes. In the year A. D. 30 the republic was disrupted, and the people divided into tribes and factions.
Then came the greatest, most glorious, and withal most terrible event in the annals of the Nephite nation, -- the advent of the risen Redeemer; His appearance to the more righteous portion of the people, preceded by the appalling, overwhelming destruction and desolation of the wicked. First, according to those annals, an awful tempest, unparalleled in force and fury, swept over the land, leaving death and devastation in its wake. Three hours it endured, -- but what hours! During the prevalence of the storm, while the lightning's
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fiery falchion smote, and the batteries of heaven thundered and reverberated, the whole face of nature was changed, disfigured, like the rage-distorted visage of an angry man. Mountains disappeared, sunken or swept away. Valleys became towering peaks. Impelled by the whirlwind, great boulders hurtled through the air, as if thrown by Titan hands, or rolled grinding and crashing along the quivering earth. The mighty heart of nature throbbed tumultuously. Earthquakes with awful rumblings rent the ground. Great chasms opened, like monster jaws, engulfing cities with their living millions, while others were devoured by fire, or swallowed by the raging seas, heaving beyond their bounds. Three hours of fearful turmoil, with three days of thick darkness following, during which the affrighted inhabitants, survivors of the tempest and its terrors, lay shuddering half lifeless upon the quaking earth, listening to the horrible groanings and grindings of the storm; or when its fury lulled, loudly bewailing their own and their fellows' woes.
At length the tumult ceases; the earth no longer trembles, and the voice of Him who stilled with a word the stormy waves of Galilee is heard from heaven proclaiming in solemn tones the calamities that have befallen. A note of awful warning to the transgressor; a promise of peace and of pardon to the penitent. Subsequently the Savior appears. The more righteous of the Nephites behold Him. He shows to them His wounded side and the prints of the nails in His hands and feet; instructs them in the truths of His gospel; heals their sick, blesses their children, administers the sacrament and establishes His church in the midst of them. Therein are apostles, prophets, etc.. -- the same orders of Priesthood, the same doctrines, ordinances, gifts and graces that characterize the church at Jerusalem. He informs the Nephites that they are the "other sheep," of whom He spake to His Jewish disciples -- though they understood Him not -- who were "not of that fold;" not of Judah but of Joseph; and that from them He goes to visit still "other sheep," not of this land, "neither of the land of Jerusalem." Having fully instructed them He departs; not, however, before giving to three of the Twelve
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whom He has chosen, power over death, insomuch that the destroyer cannot assail them, and to all the Apostles power to preach the gospel, administer its ordinances, work miracles, build up the Church and bring souls to Him.
Then ensue nearly two centuries of unexampled peace and prosperity, during which period the Church of Christ, a pure theocracy, reigns supreme. A community of interests, spiritual and temporal -- more than realizing the theories of a Bellamy -- is established; Nephites and Lamanites throughout the entire land are converted unto Christ, and bask in the light of an almost Millennial era. This happy state continues until the year A. D. 200, when the first signs of disintegration appear. Other churches are then founded, other creeds promulgated, and the order of unity, equality, fraternity, is abandoned. Thirty years later a great separation takes place, and the people are again known as Nephites and Lamanites.
It is the beginning of the end. The period of the nation's decline and downfall has arrived, and the descent is thenceforth ruinous and rapid. Contentions, crimes and disasters follow in succession. Nearly a century rolls by. The great international conflict has resumed. Again have wars between Nephites and Lamanites drenched and deluged the land with blood and tears. The Nephites now occupy " the land northward," whither they have been driven by their victorious foes, who hold possession of the southern continent. The "narrow neck of land" divides them. The struggle goes on. Each army invades alternately the territory of the other; only to be repulsed and driven back. Again and a gain sounds the tocsin of war. Again and again the two nations rush to battle. Peace after peace is patched up, only to be rent asunder. At length the Lamanites gain an advantage. They once more invade the northern continent. The degenerate Nephites no longer prevail against them. Bravely, desperately they contend, but vainly. The God whom they have offended is no longer with them, and victory perches permanently upon the banners of their adversaries. Backward, still backward they are driven, disputing with stubborn valor every inch of ground. The
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whole land reeks and smokes with blood and carnage. Rapine and slaughter hold sway. Each side, drunken with blood, besotted and brutalized, vies with the other in cruelties and atrocities. Finally the hill Ramah -- Cumorah -- is reached, and there, on the spot where ages before the Jaredite nation perished, the Nephites, similarly fated, make their final stand.
Their general, Mormon, foreseeing the destruction of his people, has committed to his son Moroni, -- like himself one of a righteous few left of a degenerate nation, -- the records of their race, including an abridgment of their history written with his own hand upon plates of gold.. These are accompanied by certain instruments called "interpreters" -- Urim and Thummim -- used by the Nephite prophets in translating.
The carnage of Cumorah ensues; the Nephite nation is annihilated, and the Lamanites, -- ancestors of the dusky aborigines whom Columbus, centuries later, found and named Indians, -- are left in absolute, undisputed possession of the soil. Moroni, having survived the awful massacre, abridges the Jaredite record, adds it to the Nephite history written by his sire, and deposits the golden plates and interpreters in the hill Cumorah, A. D. 420.
Such, briefly, is the story of the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith and his confreres had now given to the world; the famous "Gold Bible," so styled in derision by opponents of Mormonism, but revered by the Latter-day Saints as an inspired record, of equal authority with the Jewish scriptures, containing, as they claim, the revelations of Jehovah to His Israel of the western world, as the Bible His revelations to Israel in the Orient. The Saints hold that the Book of Mormon is the veritable "stick of Joseph," that was to be one with the "stick of Judah" -- the Bible -- as foretold by Ezekiel. *
The book being published and circulated, speculation at once became rife as to its origin. Of course nobody believed, or comparatively
* Chapter xxxvii. 16-19.
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few, that it had come in the way its translator and the witnesses declared. The same skepticism that repudiated the idea of the Father and the Son appearing to Joseph Smith, now ridiculed the claim of the Book of Mormon to being a divine record. That it was purely of human origin, or worse, was very generally believed. Passing by the many minor theories put forth to account for it. we will merely take up one, the celebrated Spaulding story, which obtained greater credence and notoriety than any other, and still forms the back-bone argument of objectors to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
In the year 1816, at Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania, died Solomon Spaulding, a native of Ashford. Connecticut, where he was born in 1761. A few years prior to his decease, he had resided at Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio. At one time in his life he was a clergyman, -- at least he wore to his name the prefix of " Reverend," -- and is said to have been a graduate of Dartmouth College. Though not a man of much ability, nor of much education, if we may judge from his work, he cultivated a taste for literature, and aspired to the distinction of authorship. His mind ran upon ancient and archaic themes, insomuch that about the year 1812, while living at Conneaut, he wrote a romance entitled "Manuscript Story," giving a fabulous account of the pre-historic races of North America. The romance was suggested by the discovery, near the author's home, of certain relics, such as bows and arrows, and the existence in that vicinity of the ruins of an ancient fort. Two years later, Spaulding removed from Ohio to Pennsylvania, stopping awhile in Pittsburg, and then settling at Amity, where, as stated, he died in 1816.
The romance, unpublished, remained in the possession of his widow until 1834, -- four years after the Book of Mormon was published, -- at which time she was living at Monson, Hampden County. Massachusetts, and having re-married was then Mrs. Matilda Davison.
During the year 1834, D. P. Hurlburt, an apostate Mormon, came to Mrs. Davison and procured the "Manuscript Story" written by her
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former husband. His avowed purpose was to use this work, of which he had heard in Pennsylvania, in an expose of Mormonism, which certain opponents of the Saints, -- whose headquarters were then at Kirtland, Ohio, -- were helping him to publish in that state. Hurlburt's reason for desiring the romance was that he had recognized, from the account he had obtained of it, a supposed resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon, which he was then zealously decrying. He agreed with Mrs. Davison to publish the story and give her half the profits realized from its sale. She reluctantly consented to part with the relic, giving him an order for it addressed to Mr. Jerome Clark, of Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, with whom she had temporarily left an old trunk containing the manuscript. Hurlburt, having secured it, returned to Ohio. A perusal of its pages, however, failed to afford him and his colleagues the satisfaction they had anticipated. The supposed resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon, they found to be indeed suppositional, or at all events so vague as to poorly subserve their purpose. They therefore suppressed it. Hurlburt wrote to Mrs. Davison that the manuscript "did not read as he expected," and that he should not publish it. He did not return it, however, though repeatedly urged by the owner so to do, but gave out that it had been accidentally destroyed by fire, claiming to have been so informed by Mr. E. D. Howe, a publisher at Painesville, with whom he had left the romance to be read and then returned to Mrs. Davison. From that time, until fully fifty years later, nothing further was known of the fate of the Spaulding manuscript.
"Mormonism Unveiled" -- Hurlburt's expose -- appeared in due time; not, however, in the name of D. P. Hurlburt, but of E. D. Howe, who had purchased the work and published it. It was a satirical assault upon Mormonism in general, and upon Joseph Smith in particular. It announced to the world that the Book of Mormon, in all probability, was Solomon Spaulding's romance revised and amplified. The assertion was supported, not by extracts from the two records, compared, but by depositions from various persons who claimed to be
48 HISTORY OF UTAH.
familiar with both, touching the points of alleged similarity between them. It denied, on the authority of these deponents, that the writing obtained of Mrs. Davison was the "Manuscript Story," and claimed that it bore no resemblance to it. Mrs. Davison, however, though no friend to Mormonism, stated that it was the "Manuscript Story," that Hurlburt obtained of her, and her statement is borne out by the fact that no other manuscript of like character, claiming Solomon Spaulding as its author, has ever yet appeared.
The theory put forth by the author of "Mormonism Unveiled" regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon was this: that Sidney Rigdon, -- then Joseph Smith's "right-hand man," -- who had formerly resided at Pittsburg, where Mr. Spaulding once tarried for a time, had procured the dead clergyman's manuscript from the printing-office of Messrs. Patterson and Lambdin, in that city; that being a man of ability and education, Rigdon had altered and enlarged the original work, adding the religious portions, and then, through Joseph Smith, had palmed it upon the world as an ancient and inspired record. This hypothesis found many believers, and even to this day, among non-Mormons generally, is accepted as authentic and reliable.
On the other hand, Mormon pens and tongues have been busy for fifty years denying the truth and consistency of the Spaulding story. They have always affirmed that until after the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph Smith had not been seen, nor scarcely heard of, in those parts traversed by the Spaulding manuscript; that Sidney Rigdon did not visit Pittsburg until years after the removal of the Spauldings from that city; that he never was connected, as alleged, with a printing-office in that place; that up to the fall of 1830, several months after the Book of Mormon was published, he had not so much as seen the book, and that until December of the same year he and Joseph Smith had never met. In short, that Rigdon's alleged connection with the origin of the Book of Mormon was an anachronism pure and simple, and that any theory seeking to identify that record with the Spaulding romance was susceptible of the easiest disproof.
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But all in vain. The world had made up its mind. The Mormon side of the story was too miraculous for belief; the Hurlburt-Howe theory too plausible for disbelief; and the Spaulding romance, with Sidney Rigdon or "some other designing knave" as its amplifier and embellisher, has continued to be regarded as the literary nucleus of the Book of Mormon.
In the year 1884, fifty years after its disappearance and alleged destruction, the missing Spaulding manuscript was brought to light. Its discoverer was Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. Being visited that year by President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College. Ohio, Mr. Rice, at his suggestion, was looking through his papers in quest of certain anti-slavery documents, when he came upon a package marked in pencil on the outside "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek," which proved upon examination, to their great surprise, to be the long-lost romance of Dr. Spaulding. Its presence among the private papers of Mr. Rice was explained by the fact that about the year 1840 he and a partner had purchased from E. D. Howe, the publisher of " Monnonism Unveiled," the business and effects of the Fainesville " Telegraph." At that time Mr. Rice, -- who in Ohio was an anti-slavery editor, -- had received from Howe a collection of miscellaneous papers. which, prior to Mr. Fairchild's visit, he had never taken time to thoroughly examine. The original of the " Manuscript Story" Mr. Rice presented to President Fairchild, but an exact copy, procured of the former by a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was published verbatim et literatim at Salt Lake City in 1886. *
As stated by Howe -- or Hurlburt -- it is "a romance purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave;" its author thus anticipating a method in vogue among popular novelists of the present period, -- notably of the H. Rider Haggard school. It contains perhaps a tenth as much reading matter as the Book of Mormon, and unlike that record is
* Josephites -- dissenting Mormons -- have also published the "Manuscript Story." Their edition was the first to appear.
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written in modern style. None of the proper names, and few if any of the incidents, are similar to those of the Nephite narrative. Its rhetoric is exceedingly faulty, -- more so than the usually criticised passages of the Book of Mormon, -- and the pamphlet throughout is largely mis-spelled and poorly punctuated. Rehabilitated and condensed, the story would run about as follows:
In the reign of the Emperor Constantine, a young patrician named Fabius, secretary to his imperial majesty, sails from Rome for Britain, with an important commission to the commander of his country's legions stationed there. After safely traversing the Mediterranean, the ship encounters near the British coast a terrific storm, which drives her oceanward until she is utterly lost in the midst of the watery wilderness. Five days the tempest rages, and the vessel flies westward before a furious gale. On the sixth day the storm abates. The black mists which have hung over the deep, obscuring the lights of heaven, are dispelled, and the sun dawns in glory upon a cloudless sky. But no land is in sight; only "water, water everywhere." Consternation reigns, and the ship is still driven westward. Finally a mariner comforts his fellow castaways by announcing that the Almighty has revealed to him that land is not far off, and that gentle breezes will soon waft them into a safe harbor and to hospitable shores. Five days later the prediction is fulfilled. Land heaves in sight, and the storm-beaten ship enters the mouth of a spacious river. Sailing up many leagues, it arrives at a town on the river's bank, the home of the king and chiefs of a savage nation, upon whose domain the outcasts have entered. They are the "Deliwares," one of several tribes or nations inhabiting the land. The Romans are kindly received, and conclude to remain. The seven damsels of the party select husbands from their male companions, leaving the residue to lead lives of celibacy, or choose mates from the ranks of the copper-colored maidens of the land. Two years later the white colonists leave the country of the "Deliwares," and migrating to the north-west, take up their abode among the "Ohons," another native tribe vastly more numerous, powerful and civilized.
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The remainder of the story, which is disjointed and incomplete, includes a series of philosophic, geographic, and astronomical observations by Fabius ; descriptions of the religious teachings and traditions of the natives, their social and political customs and an elaborate narration of their glorious antecedents. Their great oracle and law-giver, a sort of Moses and Hiawatha combined, -- though there is no allusion to Israel in all the text, -- was one Lobaska, an illustrious character, a portion of whose biography is given. After dwelling upon the manner in which Lobaska united all the tribes or kingdoms of the land under one government, gave them their "sacred roll" of religious tenets, and framed their political constitution, it describes their subsequent wars and dissensions, and closes abruptly on the eve of a great battle between the hosts of the militant empires of "Sciota" and "Kentuck."
The latter is by far the best written portion of the narrative, the quality of which differs so in places, and descends so often from the half sublime to the wholly ridiculous, as to tempt the reader to believe that more than one pen was employed in its composition.
To enable the reader to compare the respective styles in which the two books are written, brief selections from each are here presented:
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HISTORY OF UTAH. 53
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A portion of Christ's prophecy to the Nephites, concerning the gathering of Israel and the destiny of the Lamanites in the last days, is also here given:
BOOK OF MORMON. III. NEPHI, CHAP. XXI.And, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place, that I shall gather in from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion. * * * *
Therefore when these works, and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter, shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed, which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
For thus it behoveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may shew forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause, that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;
And when these things come to pass, that thy seed shall begin to know these things, it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who arc of the house of Israel.
And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and marvellous work among them; and there shall be among them who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
Therefore it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, whom the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said.) they shall be cut off from among my people who arc of the covenant
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And my people who are a remnant of Jacob, shall be among Hie Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.
Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles, except they repent, for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots, * * * *
And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
But if they will repent, and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant, and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom 1 have given this land for their inheritance.
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also, as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall he called the New Jerusalem;
And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst;
And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily 1 say unto you. at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people; yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.
Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father, to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.
In a little work called "The Myth of the Manuscript Found," * by Elder George Reynolds of Salt Lake City, the arguments pro and con upon the question of the alleged identity of the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding romance, are clearly and intelligently set forth. Mr. Reynolds, being a believer in the Book of Mormon, devotes himself to the task of puncturing and shattering the Hurlburt-Howe hypothesis, but this does not prevent him from doing justice to the other side in the controversy, by stating fully and fairly the position that he assails.
* "Manuscript Found" is the more generally known title of the Spaulding tale
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President James H. Fairchild, in the New York Observer of February 5th, 1885, speaking of the discovery by Mr. Rice of the Spaulding romance, says: "The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. * * * Mr. Rice, myself and others compared it (the Spaulding manuscript) with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail. There seems to be no name nor incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required."
Here we take leave of the subject. Up to the present time -- 1892 -- the Book of Mormon has passed through no less than thirty American and English editions, aggregating many tens of thousands of volumes, scattered broadcast upon both hemispheres. It has been translated and published in eleven foreign vernaculars, namely : English, Welsh, French, Spanish. Italian. German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Hawaiian and Maori, -- including, as seen, all the leading languages of modern times. It has also been translated, but not published, in Hindoostanee and the Jewish. A Russian translation, unauthorized, is likewise reported to have passed through the press....
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MORMONISM'S MISSION TO THE LAMANITES -- ITS SIGNIFICANCE -- OLIVER COWDERY, PARLEY P. PRATT, PETER WHITMER. JUNIOR, AND ZIBA PETERSON THE CHOSEN EVANGELISTS TO THE RED MEN -- THEIR DEPARTURE FOR THE WEST -- THE CATTERAUGUS INDIANS -- KIRTLAND AND THE CAMPBELLITES -- SIDNEY RIGDON -- HIS CONVERSION TO MORMONISM -- EDWARD PARTRIDGE -- NEWEL K. WHITNEY -- SUCCESS OF THE ELDERS IN OHIO -- THEIR PILGRIMAGE RESUMED -- ELDER PRATT'S ARREST AND ESCAPE -- SIMEON CARTER -- AMONG THE WYANDOTS -- STORMS AND PRIVATIONS -- ARRIVAL AT INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI -- PREACHING TO THE DELAWARES -- GOVERNMENT AGENTS AND CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES -- THE ELDERS ORDERED OUT OF THE INDIAN COUNTRY.The significance of the missionary movement inaugurated by the Prophet, in sending forth Elders to evangelize the American Indians and distribute among the dusky tribes copies of the Rook of Mormon, is only to be fully comprehended by those who have made careful study of the contents of that record, and of the various revelations voiced to the world by Joseph Smith. Indeed, the only key to the real history of Mormonism, from Cumorah to Carthage, and from Carthage to Deseret, is a knowledge of the aims and motives of its founders and disciples, as learned from their own lips or reflected from the pages of the records esteemed by them divine. Neither the enemies of a people, nor the disinterested, uninitiated observers of that people, however fair and honest, are trustworthy oracles and reliable exponents of their views and doctrines. Methodism, Catholicism, Mormonism, or any other ism, in order to be properly understood, must be permitted, like Paul before Agrippa, to speak for itself. In this light let us take a brief general glance at Mormonism.
First of all it must be borne in mind, as a basic fact, upon which to found all further argument or theory in relation to the
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Saints and their religion, that they sincerely believe themselves to be literally of the blood of Israel; children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, -- mostly of Joseph through the lineage of Ephraim. The loss of their tribal identity, and their scattered state among the nations, -- whence the gospel, they say, has begun to gather them. -- is explained to them by the scriptures, which declare that Ephraim hath "mixed himself with the people;" that is, with other nations, presumably from the days of the Assyrian captivity. They believe, moreover, that in this age, "the dispensation of the fullness of times," -- a figurative spiritual ocean, into which all past dispensations of divine power and authority like rills and rivers run, -- it is the purpose of Jehovah, the God of Israel, to gather His scattered people from their long dispersion among the nations, and weld in one vast chain the broken links of the fated house of Abraham. They quote from Jeremiah: "Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock." This gathering of Israel, they claim, is a step preparatory to the "gathering together in one" of "all things in Christ," both in heaven and on earth, as spoken of by Paul the Apostle. Mormonism, to its disciples, is no more nor less than primitive Christianity restored; and Christianity in its primitive state, unpaganized, unapostate, no more nor less than the restored religion of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Melchisedek, Abraham, Moses and other ancient worthies who received the same from God, successively, all down the dispensations. Israel's gathering in the "last days," -- the closing period of our planet's mortal probation, -- is a cardinal doctrine with the Latter-day Saints, accounting as it does for their world-wide proselytism, the wanderings abroad of their Apostles and Elders in quest of the seed of Ephraim, their fellows, and their migrations from the ends of the earth to the American continent, believed by them to be the land of Zion. * Upon this land, which they hold to be the inheritance
* This in a general sense; specifically their "land of Zion" is Jackson County, Missouri.
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of Joseph, -- given him by the Almighty in the blessings of Jacob and Moses,* and occupied for ages by his descendants, the Nephites and Lamanites, -- is to arise the latter-day Zion, New Jerusalem, concerning which so many of the prophet-poets of antiquity have sung. It was for this purpose, say the Saints, that the land was held in reserve, hidden for ages behind Atlantic's waves -- the wall of waters over which, in Lehi and his colony, climbed Joseph's "fruitful bough." Next came the Gentiles, with Columbus in their van, to unveil the hidden hemisphere; then a Washington, a Jefferson and other heaven-inspired patriots to win and maintain the liberty of the land, -- a land destined to be "free from bondage." And all this that Zion might here be established, and the Lord's latter-day work founded and fostered on Columbia's chosen soil. Yes, these Latter-day Saints, -- false and fanatical as the view may seem to most, -- actually believe that the greatest and most liberal of earthly governments, that of the United States, was founded for the express purpose of favoring the growth of what the world terms Mormonism.
Ephraim and Manasseh, the half tribes of Joseph, are to combine for the up-building of Zion, which is to become, in due time, "the joy of the whole earth," the glorious head and front of the world's civilization. "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." Much of the seed of Ephraim is mixed with the Gentiles; therefore is he to |be gathered from among them. Manasseh is largely to be found among the Lamanites, the American Indians, and the dark-hued dwellers of the neighboring ocean islands. Though cursed of God and smitten by the Gentiles, the red men are yet to be reclaimed and the curse lifted from off them. Then will they become "white and delightsome," as of yore. The Book of Mormon and its believers declare that these Lamanites -- Manasseh -- will yet build the Zion of God, the Jerusalem of America, in which work they will be joined -- some say
* Genesis xlix: 22-26. Deuteronomy xxxiii: 13-17.
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assisted, some directed -- by the Latter-day Saints, the children of Ephraim.
But the gathering of Israel is to include the whole house of Jacob; not merely the half tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. It involves the restoration of the Jews and the re-building of old Jerusalem, prior to the acceptance by Judah of the gospel and mission of the crucified Messiah; also the return of the lost Ten Tribes from "the north country" and their re-establishment in Palestine, their ancient Canaan.
The preliminary work of founding Zion, as well as a greater spiritual mission to follow, when the Ten Tribes from the north will receive in Zion their blessings under his hands, devolves upon Ephraim. the "first-born," empowered by a restored gospel and priesthood unto this very end and purpose. Hence, say the Saints, the mission and calling of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of Ephraim, who claimed to be a lineal descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Again, the message borne by Ephraim in the last days, reversing the order of ancient-day evangelism, is first to the Gentiles, and then, when "the fullness of the Gentiles" has "come in," to the whole house of Israel. Perhaps it was a type, designed to foreshadow the anticipated fulfillment, this sending of the Elders, in the fall of 1830, after several months proselyting among the Gentiles of New York and Pennsylvania, to Lamanitish Israel, mostly inhabiting the wilderness beyond the nation's western frontier. The mission of these Elders was to preach the Gospel to the red men, as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, -- the sticks of Judah and of Joseph now "in the hand of Ephraim," -- * deliver to them the record of their forefathers, and inasmuch as they received their teachings to establish the Church of Christ among them. In other words, to prepare Manasseh for his part of the work of building up Zion. Such. from a Mormon standpoint, was the significance of that Lamanite mission, and such in general is the Mormon view of Mormonism.
* Ezekiel xxxii: 16-20.
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(image -- not copied)
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the Prophet was then living in Pennsylvania. He met Hyrum Smith, however, who entertained him kindly, presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and subsequently accompanied him to Fayette. There, being fully converted to the new faith, he was baptized, as stated, confirmed and ordained an Elder. He then revisited his old home in Canaan, Columbia County, where he converted and baptized his brother Orson, then a youth of nineteen years; destined like himself to achieve fame as a Mormon Apostle, and as one of the pioneer founders of Utah. Returning westward, Parley met for the first time Joseph Smith, who had returned from Pennsylvania and was visiting his parents at Manchester. Soon afterward, being called to accompany Elders Cowdery, Whitmer and Peterson upon their mission, he set out for the land of the Lamanites.
It was late in October, 1830, that the four Elders departed for the west. As was customary then with itinerants, unable to afford a nag or vehicle, or to pay coach and steamboat fares, they started afoot, husbanding their scanty means and trusting in Providence to "open up the way." They first visited the Catteraugus Indians, near Buffalo, New York. By them they were kindly received, much interest being manifested by the red men in the strange things told them by the Elders. Presenting them with copies of the Book of Mormon, for the perusal of such of the Indians as could read, the missionaries bade them farewell and continued their journey westward.
The scene now changes to northern Ohio, a region at that time almost if not quite a wilderness, in the midst of which, among the hills and dales and glens and groves and streams that beautify the shores and give back the echoing music of Erie's rolling waves, not only these Mormon Elders, -- who were merely the vanguard of a general migratory movement having westward as its watchword and religion as its guiding star, -- but Mormonism itself, their parent church, was destined soon to plant its pilgrim feet.
Kirtland, a few miles inland from Lake Erie, was a picturesque and flourishing little town of one or two thousand inhabitants, doing
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business across the lakes with the fur-trapping regions of Michigan and some of the principal cities of the east. The leading "store" of the town, and indeed in all that region, was owned and conducted by Messrs. Gilbert and Whitney, who had formerly been* in business at Painesville.
In this vicinity the Campbellites, or Disciples, as they called themselves, had made many converts. Among those now associated with them were Edward Partridge, of Painesville, and Newel K. Whitney, of Kirtland, both merchants, -- the former a native of Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and the latter of Marlborough, Windham County, Vermont. Like Parley P. Pratt, these men, who became the first two Bishops of the Mormon Church, were converts in the Campbellite faith of Sidney Rigdon's.
The prominent part played by this notable man in the affairs of Mormonism entitles his past record to some mention. Sidney Rigdon was born in St. Clair Township. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on the 15>th of February, 1793. Connecting himself in his twenty-fifth year with the regular Baptist Church, he became, in March, 1815). a licensed preacher of that persuasion. Two months afterward he removed to Trumbull County, Ohio, where he subsequently married. Called in 1821 to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, he there became a very popular minister. Less than three years later, becoming dissatisfied with the doctrines of the Baptists, he conscientiously resigned his pastorate and withdrew from the society. During the next two years he labored in a tannery for a livelihood. Again removing to Ohio, -- this time to Bainbridge, in Geauga County, -- he there re-entered the ministry. He now preached the Campbellite doctrines. It seems that the founder of that sect, Alexander Campbell, had been one of Rigdon's parishioners at Pittsburg. Following his pastor's example, he had left the Baptist Church, and with Mr. Walter Scott, and warmly supported by Mr. Rigdon, had founded the society of Reformed Baptists, or Campbellites. Rigdon's success, always pronounced, was now remarkable. The fame of his eloquence and reasoning powers spread far and wide.
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After a year's effective service in and around Bainbridge, he accepted a call to Mentor, thirty miles distant. There, in the midst of much persecution, occasioned by his phenomenal success, he continued to flourish. He converted and baptized multitudes, and organized congregations in all the country round. One of these was near the mouth of Black River, where Parley P. Pratt was converted. Sidney Rigdon was at the summit of his fame and popularity as a Campbellite preacher when Oliver Cowdery and his confreres, -- the first missionaries sent westward by the Latter-day Saints from the cradle of their Church, -- set out for the land of the Lamanites.
It was to Kirtland, not far from Mentor, that those Elders now made their way; Parley P. Pratt being desirous of laying before his former friends and associates the principles he had recently espoused. As a reminder to the reader of what those principles comprised, the Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as formulated a few years later by the Prophet, are here presented:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ all men may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.
4. We believe that these ordinances are: First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God by "prophecy, and by the laying on of hands," by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, viz.: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten
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Tribes. That Zion will be built upon this continent. That Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisic glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men: indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, "We believe all things, we hope all things," we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Such were the doctrines that Parley P. Pratt desired to present to his former friends in and around Kirtland. The commission of the Elders being to "preach the gospel to every creature," regardless of creed or color, they were nothing loth to tarry for a season within the confines of civilization and "thrust in their sickles and reap," wherever the field of souls appeared "white unto the harvest." Calling on Mr. Rigdon, they presented him with the Book of Mormon, at the same time relating to him its history. This was his first knowledge of the record which, a few years later, he was accused of assisting Joseph Smith to create out of the materials of the Spaulding story. He entertained the Elders hospitably, and promised to read the book carefully. The result was his conversion to Mormonism. After due deliberation he offered himself to the Elders as a candidate for baptism. Many of his flock were likewise converted. Within three weeks after their arrival at Kirtland, the Elders baptized one hundred and twenty-seven souls. Among these were Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Frederick G. Williams, Isaac Morley, Lyman Wight, John Murdock and others whose names became more or less notable in the annals of Mormonism. Edward Partridge was also converted, but was not immediately baptized.
But the Elders must not tarry too long at Kirtland. The season is far advanced, the storms of winter will soon burst forth, and a vast journey still lies before them. They now prepare for departure. Ordaining Sidney Rigdon and others to the priesthood, and setting
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them apart to minister for the rest, the four Elders reported by letter to the Prophet, and bidding their new-found brethren and sisters adieu, resumed their westward pilgrimage. Frederick G. Williams accompanied them.
Near the mouth of Black River, in the neighborhood of Parley P. Pratt's former home, they stopped one night at the house Of Simeon Carter. Here Parley was arrested on some trivial charge and held in durance till morning. Escaping by strategy he rejoined his companions, and they trudged on through mud and rain toward the interior. Everywhere they found that their fame had preceded them. Though ill-treated by some, they preached to crowded congregations, and sowed the seed broad-cast of a future bounteous harvest. Simeon Carter, at whose home Parley, on the night of his arrest, had left a copy of the Book of Mormon, perused it carefully, was converted, and walked fifty miles to Kirtland, where he was baptized and ordained an Elder. Returning, he began himself to preach and baptize, and built up a branch of the Church in his neighborhood numbering sixty members.
At Sandusky, Elder Cowdery and his companions came upon another Indian nation, the Wyandots, with whom they spent several days very agreeably. Like the Catteraugus Indians, they warmly welcomed the missionaries, listened with interest to their teachings, and at parting gave them God-speed. They also requested the Elders to write to them regarding their success among the tribes farther west. Proceeding to Cincinnati, the Elders tarried certain days, preaching, and in the latter part of December took passage on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. The mouth of the Ohio River being blocked with ice, their boat could proceed no farther. At that point, therefore, they landed and continued their journey afoot. Two hundred miles traveled in this manner brought them to the vicinity of St. Louis; Heavy storms of rain and snow now detained them for over a week, during which they were kindly cared for by hospitable people in that section.
With the opening year -- 1831 -- they resumed their journey...
Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931)