Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/629

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MORMONS


571


MORMONS


The " Book of Mormon " purports to be an abridged account of God's dealings with the two great races of prehistoric Americans — the Jaredites, who were led from the Tower of Babel at the time of the confusion of tongues, and the Nephites, who came from Jerusa- lem just prior to the Babylonian captivity (600 b. c.)- According to this book, America is the "Land of Zion", where the New Jerusalem will be built by a gathering of scattered Israel before the second coming of the Messiah. The labours of such men as Colum- bus, the Pilgrim Fathers, and the patriots of the Revo- lution, are pointed out as preparatory to that consum- mation . The work of Joseph Smith is also prophetically indicated, he being represented as a lineal descendant of the Joseph of old, commissioned to begin the gath- ering of Israel foretold by Isaias (xi, 10-16) and other ancient prophets. In another part of his narrative Joseph .Smith affirms that, while translating the "Book of Mormon", he and his scribe, Oliver Cow- dery, were visited by an angel, who declared himself to be John the Baptist and ordained them to the Aaronic priesthood ; and that subsequently they were ordained to the priesthood of Melchisedech by the Apostles Peter, James, and John. According to Smith and Cowdery, the Aaronic priesthood gave them authority to preach faith and repentance, to baptize by immer- sion for the remission of sins, and to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; the priesthood of Melchisedech empowered them to lay on hands and bestow the Holy Ghost. The "Book of Mormon" being published, its peculiar doctrines, including those just set forth, were preached in western New York and northern Pennsylvania. Those who accepted them were termed " Mormons", but they called themselves ' ' Latter-Day Saints " , in contradistinction to the saints of former times. The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" was organized on 6 April, 1830, at Fayette, Seneca County, New York; Joseph Smith was accepted as first elder, and subsequently as prophet, seer, and revelator. The articles of faith for- mulated by him are as follows:

" (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 reniission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

" (.5) We believe ihat a man must be called of God by prophecy, and bj' the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and admin- ister the ordinances thereof.

" (6) We believe in the same organization that ex- isted in the primitive church, viz. apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

" (7) We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, rev- elation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

" (8) We believe the Bible to be the word of God, aa 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 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 paradisaic glory.

"(11) We claim the privilege of worshipping


Almighty God according to the dictates of our con- science, and allow all men the same privilege; let them worship how, where, or what they may.

" (12) We believe in being subject to kings, presi- dents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honouring and sustaining that 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."

Six months after its inception, the Mormon Church sent its first mission to the American Indians — called in the "Book of Mormon" the Lamnnites, the de- generate remnants of the Nephite nation. Oliver Cowdery was placed at the head of this mission, which also included Parley P. Pratt, a former preacher of the Reformed Baptists, or Campbellites. The mis- sionaries proceeded to northern Ohio, then almost a wilderness, where Elder Pratt presented to his former pastor, Sidney Rigdon, a copy of the "Book of Mor- mon ", published several months before. Up to that time Rigdon had never seen the book, which he was accused of helping Smith to write. The Mormons are equally emphatic in their denial of the identity of the "Book of Mormon" with Spaulding's "Manu- script Story", now in Oberlin College; they quote in this connexion James H. Fairchild, president of that institution, who, in a communication to the "New York Observer" (5 February, 1885), states that Mr. L. L. Rice and he, after comparing the "Book of Mormon" and the Spaulding romance, "could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail". Elder Cowdery and his com- panions, after baptizing about one hundred persons in Ohio, went to western Missouri, and, thence crossing over at Independence into what is now the State of Kansas, laboured for a time among the Indians there. Meanwhile the Mormons of the East, to escape the opposition awakened by their extraordinary claims, and to be nearer their proposed ultimate destination, moved their headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, from which place, in the summer of 1831, departed its first colony into Missouri, Jackson County in that state having been designated as the site of the New Jerusalem. Both at Kirtland and at Independence efforts were made to establish "The United Order", a communal system of an industrial character, designed to make the church members equal in things spiritual and temporal. The prophet taught that such a system had sanctified the City of Enoch, whose people were called "Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness," with "no poor among them". He also declared that the ancient Apostles had endeav- oured to establish such an order at Jerusalem (Acts, iv, 32-37), and that, according to the "Book of Mormon", it had prevailed among the Nephites for two centuries after Christ. In the latter part of 1833 trouble arose between the Mormons and the Missourians, based largely, say Mormon writers, upon a feeling of apprehension concerning the aims and motives of the new settlers. Coming from the north and the east, they were suspected of being abolitionists, which was sufficient of itself to make them unpopular in Missouri. It was also charged that they intended to unite with the Indians and drive the older settlers from the land. The Mormons asserted their innocence of these and other charges, but their denial did not avail. Armed mobs came upon them, and the whole colony — twelve hundred men, women, and children — were driven from Jack- eon County, and forbidden on pain of death to return.