Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 8/Article from the Ohio Free Press

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Kirtland, Ohio, May, 1836.

The following, which we copy from the "Ohio Free Press," printed at Medina, the county seat of Medina county, in this state, we lay before our readers, that they may have an idea of the influence which truth has upon those who are not trammeled with sectarian prejudices; but whose minds are open to receive truth when it makes its appearance. It was written by a lawyer of high respectability, and a gentlemen of both learning and talents, of the first order.

He has no doubt given the impression of his own mind, in relation to the subject on which he has written; as well as that of many others of the citizens of that place; for if it were not the case, he could be detected.

It must be peculiarly gratifying and encouraging, to the saints, to see the effect which truth will have on the minds of gentlemen of understanding, when it s fairly laid before them. We presume to say, that like all other places, attempts have been made to prejudice the minds of the people, against the truth in Medina: indeed, the wonderful Alexander Campbell, in this instance, had his desire gratified: How's wonderful book, had pioneered the way, and the people had sufficient time to examine its contents; and do more than this, to consign it to the father of lies from whence it came; as every man under heaven believes who read it, except a religious bigot. But the people had great opportunities than these to get their minds enlightened; for two of Mr. Campbell's fraternity had been there, and had a fair opportunity to display all their talents. The one was the very wise and knowing Mathew Clapp of Mentor, (a name that ought always to be mentioned with reverence, not more on account of his reverence, not more on account of his own great wisdom, than on account of the dignity of his parentage.) The other the Rev. Ebenezer Williams, who in the greatness of their wisdom made an attack on a Mr. Tiffany, who is an unbeliever in revelation; but found themselves greatly mistaken, and did not happen to be as great men as they supposed themselves to be; for the deist was too much for both, and put them to shame and confusion.

In addition to these things, the different religious sects in Medina, used all their influence to keep the people from hearing or at least some of them; for we will say to the credit of the people, that many professors of religion in that place, shewed [showed] a spirit worthy of lovers of truth—but they tried in vain: there was too much independence of soul in the people of Medina, to be deprived of their just rights, because priests said they should not enjoy them, and religious bigots page 315howled at them. The people would go, and did go, and the result is now before the public—Here follows the extract:

For the Ohio Free Press.

Latter Day Saints.

Agreeable to appointment, Elder Sidney Rigdon, a preacher, of the new sects styling themselves "Latter Day Saints," arrived in this Village on Wednesday the 6th inst. and between that time and the succeeding Tuesday, delivered an interesting series of Lectures, on the subject of the Prophecies, the accomplishment of which is supposed to appertain to the present period of the world. The audiences were very full, and profoundly attentive. the following may be gathered from the Elder's lectures, as a brief synopsis of the leading tenets of the new sect, presenting in many respects, a striking similarity to those of Elhanan Winchester.

1st. That all the prophecies, which are known and admitted to have been fulfilled, have been literally accomplished, we have the strongest analogical reasons to believe, that those which remain unfulfilled, will be also literally accomplished. Nor have we any reason to believe, from Scripture, in any other different mode of accomplishment.

2d. That agreeably to this analogy and the whole scope and tenor of the prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the time is near at hand, even at the doors, when Christ will come in the clouds of heaven, with great power and glory, and all the holy angels with him! to live and reign on the earth a thousand years; and that the generation which is now on the earth will not all pass away, before this tremendous event will be literally accomplished.

3d. That previous to this second advent of the Savior, great revolutions will take place on our globe, and great destruction of mankind will accrue from earthquakes, pestilences, wars, and other causes, by means of which all those who do not embrace the faith will be utterly cut off and destroyed and a remnant only consisting of true believers, will be preserved or saved. And they maintain this work of destruction has already commenced.

4th. That immediately preceding this second advent, certain signs, as prophesied in Scripture, will make their appearance; such as darkness of the sun and moon, falling stars, roaring of the sea;—and they say that these will appear soon.

5th. That at the time of the advent, a surprising revolution will take place in the nature of most if not all terrestrial things: wild beasts will become tame; men immortal; the earth yield her fruits and harvests spontaneously, &c.

6th. That the Jews will, at or before the time, by a series of surprising miracles, clearly stated in the prophecies, be gathered from all parts of the world, into the ancient land of promise, where Christ again will rule and reign among his ancient people. There will be a great, if not a general resurrection of the ancient Jews and Christians. And that all obstacles to these great events will be previously removed by the destruction of the enemies of truth, &c.

7th. That the direct communications with the Almighty, which have been long lost or suspended, in consequence of the general apostacy and the teaching of the false prophets, have been again resumed by a New Dispensation, clearly predicted in the Prophecies. That the Latter Day Saints have now, frequent intercourse of this kind, with the Creator, by means of visions, revelations, &c., which the Elder confirmed by some striking narratives from his own personal experience. He also stated, that the various projects and operations of the new sect, were all derived and guided by communications of this kind, and that any believer may have the same experience, by asking for it in faith; that there is the same and as much encouragement for this exercise of faith, as there ever has been at any period of the world; and that it is the high privilege and sacred duty of all persons, to seek for the confirmation of all these glorious truths, by the light of this experience. In confirmation of the new doctrines, the Elder quoted numerous prophecies, from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea Malachi, and from the Evangelists and the Epistles of Paul and Peter; and argued with great eloquence, and force, that the new dispensation must necessarily be true, or many of the prophetical parts of the Bible necessarily false.

page 316These tremendous doctrines, promulgated by the Elder with a closeness of reasoning and eloquence of declamation to make as they have made, a powerful and no doubt a lasting impression on most of his hearers. And however strange, mysterious and marvellous, the thing nicknamed Mormonism may yet appear to most of the community, it is certain, that the belief in it as a solemn reality, has become firmly established in this place. One convert only, (a young lady who had adopted the new faith) was baptized by the Elder and his associate Elder Williams; but several others will probably ultimately pursue the same course.


Medina, April, 1836.