Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 8/Letter regarding abolitionism
Kirtland, May, 1836.
Friend—:—I have taken the liberty at this time of sending you a number of the April Messenger, which is now being printed. My reasons for so doing, are simply these: I know your goodness of heart, your liberality of sentiment in regard to religion, as well as to politics. And am satisfied that where your exertions or your influence can be brought to bear, in removing the mists of prejudice; casting aside error, and bringing truth to light; and also in doing justice to an injured and persecuted people, they will be cheerfully extended.
You are well aware, sir, that this society has travelled through floods of villification and misrepresentation from its first organization to the present time. And it has been but seldom that it was deemed necessary to condescend to notice the thousand and one lies that have been circulated concerning it. But, latterly, circumstances have transpired which would render longer forbearance, on our part, a "Sin".—I mean the efforts that have been, and are not making, by that band of disorganizers, those enemies to all that is dear to us as a people, especially to our Southern brethren,—the "ABOLITIONISTS". With the rest of the Reserve, one of their number, not long since, gave Kirtland the honor of his gracious presence; in order I presume, that he might teach us poor "deluded", "benighted" "Mormons" that we were certainly out of the way, and would have no chance of gaining our salvation* except we joined in and threw up our caps for his glorious doctrine of AMALGAMATION! But when the time come to count noses, he found he had "waked up the wrong passengers," and instead of having the "Mormons," he had gathered together a little squad of Presbyterians,—those, who you know, are always foremost in every thing that would tend to subvert our blood-bought liberties. For we as a society, do not hold to any such doctrines—neither do we fellowship those who do,—that is if they endeavor to put their sentiments into practice.—And furthermore, being aware that our brethren are numerous in the South—as also many moving from the east, to that country—it was thought advisable to come out decidedly in relation to this matter, that our brethren might not be subjected to persecution on this account—and the lives of our traveling elders put in jeopardy. For you will see, in a moment, that if madam rumor, with her thousand poisoned tongues, was once to set afloat the story that this society had come out in favor of the doctrines of Abolitionism, there would be no safety for one of us in the South; for our enemies would grasp at it as a precious morsel, whereon to feed the gullibles of this generation.
But thanks to an all wise Providence we have men among us who are able, and willing, to take up their pens in defence of their civil and religious rights; and who, if necessity require, can and will make the priests of this, our day, tremble for their craft, and make them quake with very fear, for the safety of their "dearly beloved flocks," whose pockets they are picking—and by the losing of which, all their fat living would flee from them as chaff before the wind. These articles on the subject of Abolitionism, in the Messenger were written by no hireling scribblers, but have emanated from men who are actuated by no other motive than a desire to benefit their fellow creatures, and to do all they do with an eye single to the glory of God.
You will also see that the rod has not been spared in relation to some other matters. I refer to two articles in reply to a letter written some time since from Painsville, to the Editor of the Elyria "Atlas." One under the editorial head, by our mutual friend, O. Cowdery, Esq. (who you will be glad to hear has again taken the conduct of Messenger,) lashes the villain in a somewhat severe manner—but not so much as he deserves—as he is supposed to be a Reverend of the Presbyterian order, and one of whom we ought to expect better things than slandering those who have never injured him and whose only crime consists in worshiping God according to the dictates
*One of their number is said to have stated not long since that they did not believe a person could enjoy religion without being an abolitionist* of their own con[s]ciences, regardless of the sneers and scoffs of a priests ridden, ill-bred, good-for-nothing pack of scoundrels, whose God is gold: and whose only employment is deceiving the people, and taking the bread from the mouths of the fatherless and the widows—and whose only reward will be eternal punishment, unless they speedily repent and turn from their abominations.
In relation to matters in general, here, I have nothing very special.—The work of the Lord continues to roll forth, and souls are almost daily brought into the kingdom. The temporal as well as the spiritual concerns of the church are in as prosperous a condition as could be expected, considering the disadvantages under which we labor. Families are daily moving in from the East. While others are departing for the West.
I have now given you about all that I have to impart at this time; and will conclude, by subscribing myself, with sentiments of respect and esteem, as ever, your friend.