Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 7/Letter from J. M.
To the Editor of the Messenger.
DEAR BROTHER:—Happening a few days since to take up the "Ohio Atlas" of the 26th inst. my eye caught an article in the shape of an anonymous letter to the Editor, dated Painesville, March 16,—from which, if you please, I beg leave to make some extracts accompanied with such remarks as I may deem proper.
The writer, in speaking of the church of "Latter Day Saints" vulgarly styled "Mormons," at this place, commences his tirade, by saying:—"I have been to Kirtland, and witnessed the operations of that most deluded set of visionaries, that our land, or any other enlightened land has ever witnessed." You will see, that he is positive in his assertion, and does not rest with giving a conjecture, or a maybe—so, that we are a "deluded set of visionaries." Noah Webster says, that the word "deluded" means deceived, misled, disappointed:—Now, if, to believe in the existence of a God, and that that same God gave his only begotten Son, to be sacrificed as a propitiation or atonement for the sins of the whole world, even as many as believed on him; to follow the precepts and commandments of the Almighty, as laid down in the old and new testament, for the government of his creatures; to throw aside the creeds and dogmas of men; to follow the preachings of the Apostles of our Lord and Savior; going as the Apostles did, into all the world, warning our fellow men, to "repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins;" to live uprightly, walk humbly before God, and to deal justly, love mercy, exercise faith toward our heavenly Father, and clarity to man, and in short "doing to others as you would be done by," constitutes a deluded people, then am I, for one, ready to plead guilty, and suffer myself to be made a hiss and a by-word for this generation, but until I am convinced of this, I must beg leave to differ with the gentleman, if such he can be called.
Again he says:—"I have no doubt that Jo Smith's character is an equal compound of the imposter [impostor] and fanatic, and that Rigdon has but a small spice of the latter, with an extraordinary portion of the former:"—I am aware that any thing I can say in vindication of the characters of these brethren, will be entirely superfluous where they are personally known, but to those who have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with them, I would say, that the above quoted assertion is false from beginning to end, and could not have come from a heart instigated by any other than an evil spirit. And in support of this position I would be willing, for the sake of truth, to compare their private and public character with that of the Painesville writer, or any of his brethren of lying, backbiting, and villification notoriety.
Again he says:—"None of them appear to be within the reach of argument on the subject of religion." This the writer knew, (if he knew any thing about the church,) was not true—so far from it, that wherever our Elders have travelled abroad they have at all times, been ready, God giving them his Spirit, to stand up boldly, in defence of the religion they profess; and even "beardless boys," among them, have been able to confound the Priests of this generation, who were considered by their followers, well versed in the scriptures, and filled with all the wisdom and learning of the world; for the servants of Heaven put their trust in Him, who has said, that, no weapon raised against his gospel should prosper. And so it always will be in spite of men or devils.
Again.—"They, [the "Mormons"] say, and they are probably not far from the truth, that their numbers in the United States amount to 45,000." This is but equal to the rest of the writers' assertions;—I do not believe that ever any member of the church of Latter Day Saints gave him such information:—It is true, we are as yet but few in numbers; but the Lord has set his hand to work in these last days, and he has said that his work should roll forth, until he would gather in all the honest in heart, and they should become a great and mighty nation, until all the righteous should be separated from the wicked, and they that fear not God and keep his commandments, should be cut down and burnt as stubble;—and when did God ever lie?
We would warn the Painesville writer and all others who do like him, to speedily repent and obey the everlasting gospel, ere it be too late; for God has said, I the Lord am not to be mocked in these last days: For the day speedily cometh when I will send my angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire.
I might follow this redoubtable scribbler in the Atlas through his entire communication, but the whole of it being about on a par with that already quoted, I will close with the following: "Their temple at Kirtland is a huge mis-shapen edifice."—The writer's judgment in regard to this building must have been warped as much as his views in relation to all other matters connected with the society. For it has been acknowledged by men of skill and taste in the science of architecture to be a building superior in structure and finish to almost any other in the Union. And to all who do not wish to take my word for it, I would say, visit Kirtland and view not only the "House of the Lord," but become acquainted with the society here as well as the doctrines and principles held to and taught; and if they do not go from us divested of that rancor and prejudice so much entertained against us, then I will acknowledge that I am no judge of human nature, nor of the feelings that should actuate high minded and honorable men.
Brother, I have done,—and if you think the foregoing worthy of an insertion in your useful and widely circulated paper, you will confer a favor by giving it a place in the same.
Hoping that the Lord will be merciful to us all, and at last save us in his Celestial Kingdom, I subscribe myself as ever, your brother in the Lord.