Mormonism and Watergate
Mormon credibility gap widens as Joseph Smith's suppressed 1831 Polygamy Revelation comes to light. This Revelation commands Mormons to marry Indians to make them "White" and "Delightsome."
Booth Confirms Revelation - "Bleaching" the Lamanites - Cover-up on Negro Doctrine - Negro Doctrine Cost 20,000 Converts - Indians Disturbed - Impeachment? - Repudiates Book of Mormon - Walters Writes on 1826 Trial - A Stranger to Hunger
Recently a revelation given by Joseph Smith, which has been suppressed for over 140 years, has come to light. Although Mormon leaders have never published this revelation, they have referred to it and admitted that it was given to Joseph Smith in 1831. They maintain that it supports the doctrine of polygamy and that it is a forerunner to the revelation on polygamy—given July 12, 1843—which still appears in the Doctrine and Covenants as Section 132. Joseph Fielding Smith, who was the Mormon Church Historian and later became the tenth President of the Church, made this statement in a letter written to J. W. A. Bailey in 1935:
. . . I care not to enter into any argument with you in relation to the origin of plural marriage. . . . I do know that there was a revelation given in July 1831, in the presence of Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps and others in Missouri, in which the Lord made this principle known through the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Letter from Joseph Fielding Smith, dated Sept. 5, 1935, typed copy)
In 1943 Joseph Fielding Smith told Fawn Brodie about this revelation, but he would not allow her to see it:
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., the present historian of the Utah Church, asserted to me in 1943 that a revelation foreshadowing polygamy had been written in 1831, but that it had never been published. In conformity with the church policy, however, he would not permit the manuscript, which he acknowledged to be in possession of the church library, to be examined. (No Man Knows My History, New York, 1971, page 84, footnote)
Michael Marquardt, a young Mormon scholar who became very disturbed with the Church's policy of suppressing important records, became interested in this revelation. He began to do research and found that some Mormon scholars had copies of the 1831 revelation, but they had promised not to make any copies. Finally. Mr. Marquardt learned what appears to be the real reason why the revelation has been suppressed. This is that the revelation commanded the Mormons to marry the Indians to make them a "white" and "delightsome" people.
Now, to a Christian who is familiar with the teachings of the Bible, the color of a man's skin makes no difference. In Mormon theology, however, a dark skin is a sign of God's displeasure. In the Mormon publication Juvenile Instructor we read:
We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. . . . when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, . . . he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race. (Juvenile Instructor, v. 3, page 157)
The teaching that a dark skin is the result of God's displeasure comes directly out of Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon teaches that about 600 B.C. a prophet named Lehi brought his family to America. Those who were righteous (the Nephites) had a white skin, but those who rebelled against God (the Lamanites) were cursed with a dark skin. The Lamanites eventually destroyed the Nephites; therefore, the Indians living today are referred to as Lamanites. The following verses from the Book of Mormon explain the curse on the Lamanites:
And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations. (Book of Mormon, I Nephi 12:23)
And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity . . . wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might no be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. . . .
And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done. (2 Nephi 5:21 and 23)
The Book of Mormon states that when the Lamanites repented of their sins they became white like the Nephites: "And their curse was taken from them and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;" (3 Nephi 2:15)
The Book of Mormon also promised that in the last days the Lamanites—i.e., the Indians—would repent and become a "white and delightsome people":
And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; . . . and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people. (2 Nephi 30:5-6)
These teachings have caused the Mormon Church some embarrassment. Anti-Mormon writers have claimed that the Indians who have become converted to the Church have not become "white" as the Book of Mormon predicts. Spencer W. Kimball, who recently became the twelfth President of the Mormon Church, does not feel that this criticism is justified. He feels that the Indians are actually becoming a "white and delightsome people." In the LDS General Conference, held in October 1960, Spencer W. Kimball stated:
I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today as against that of only fifteen years ago. Truly the scales of darkness are falling from their eyes, and they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people. . . .
The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos; five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.
At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl—sixteen—sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents—on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather. There was the doctor in a Utah city who for two years had had an Indian boy in his home who stated that he was some shades lighter than the younger brother just coming into the program from the reservation. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated. (Improvement Era, Dec.1960, pp. 922-923)
While Spencer W. Kimball seems to feel that the Indians are to be made white by the power of God, Michael Marquardt learned that Joseph Smith's 1831 revelation says they are to be made white through intermarriage with the Mormons. Because of this fact, the Mormon leaders seemed to feel that it was necessary to keep the revelation from their people. Only the most trusted men, such as Dr. Hyrum Andrus, were allowed a copy of it. It was only after a great deal of research that Mr. Marquardt was able to obtain a typed copy of the revelation. In our new book Mormonism Like Watergate? we reproduce this revelation in its entirety, but in this study we only have room for the most important portions:
of a revelation by Joseph Smith Jr., given over the boundary, west of Jackson County, Missouri, on Sunday morning, July 17, 1831, when seven Elders: viz., Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Ziba Peterson, and Joshua Lewis united their hearts in prayer, in a private place, to inquire of the Lord who should preach the first sermon to the remnant of the Lamanites and Nephites and the people of that section, that should assemble that day in the Indian country, to hear the Gospel and the revelations according to the Book of Mormon.
Among the company, there being neither pen, ink nor paper, Joseph remarked that the Lord could preserve his words, as he had ever done, till the time appointed, and proceeded:
1 Verily, Verily, saith the Lord, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world, . . .
4 Verily, I say unto you, that the wisdom of man, in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my holy priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fulness by reason of the anointing: For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles. . . .
7 Be patient, therefore, possessing your souls in peace and love, . . . even so. Amen.
Reported by W.W.P.
About three years after this was given, I asked brother Joseph, privately, how "we" that were mentioned in the revelation could take wives from the "natives" as we were all married men? He replied, instantly "In the same manner that Abraham took Hagar and Kenturah; and Jacob took Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah; by revelation—the saints of the Lord are always directed by revelation.'
The letters "W.W.P." stand for William Wine Phelps, who served as a scribe for the Mormon leaders.
According to what Mr. Marquardt could learn, the original revelation is preserved in a vault in the LDS Church Historical Department. The paper on which it is written has the appearance of being very old.
There is a second copy of the revelation in the Historical Department. This appears in a letter from W. W. Phelps to Brigham Young. The letter is dated August 12, 1861. Michael Marquardt has been able to obtain a copy of this letter, and we have reproduced it in its entirety in our booklet Mormonism Like Watergate? Except for the opening and closing lines, this letter is almost identical to the other document.
In this new book Doctrines of the Kingdom, Dr. Hyrum L. Andrus of Brigham Young University, actually quotes part of this revelation as it appears in the letter, but he is very careful to suppress the fact that the wives to be taken were Lamanites:
The Prophet understood the principle of plural marriage as early as 1831. William W. Phelps stated that on Sunday morning, July 17, 1831, he and others were with Joseph Smith over the border west of Jackson County, Missouri, when the latter-day Seer received a revelation, the substance of which said in part: "Verily I say unto you, that the wisdom of man in his fallen state knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my Holy Priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fulness." According to Elder Phelps, the revelation then indicated that in due time the brethren would be required to take plural wives. (Doctrines of the Kingdom, Salt Lake City, 1973, page 450)
In footnote 37 on the same page, Dr. Andrus gives his source for this information as "Letter of William W. Phelps to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861. Church Historian's Library, Salt Lake City, Utah." (Ibid., page 450)
The reader will notice that in his quotation from the revelation, Dr. Andrus suppressed the important portion concerning the Indians. His quotation ended with ". . . ye shall know when ye receive a fulness." The revelation itself, and the copy in Phelps' letter, goes on to mention the Lamanites. We quote the following from the letter:
. . . ye shall know when ye receive a fulness by reason of the anointing: For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just for even now their females are most [more?] virtuous than the gentiles.
The reader will note that except for the word "most," our copy of Phelps' letter agrees with the copy of the revelation which we have previously cited. Both these copies contain the words that Dr. Andrus has suppressed.
BOOTH CONFIRMS REVELATION
Since we are unable to examine the original revelation, it is very difficult to determine when it was actually recorded. From W. W. Phelps' letter to Brigham Young we know that the revelation had to have been recorded by 1861. As we understand it, the first document—containing only the revelation and Phelps' comment—appears to be older than the letter dated August 12, 1861. It is possible that it could have been recorded any time between 1831 and 1861. If the revelation and the note at the bottom were written at the same time, then obviously the revelation could not have been written until some time after 1834. It could be, however that the note was added at a later time. It will not be possible to decide this vital question unless the Mormon leaders allow scholars to closely examine the document itself or allow photographs of it to be printed.
Regardless of when the revelation was actually written down on paper, however, we have found definite historical proof that it was given in 1831. The proof is derived from a letter written by Ezra Booth and published in the Ohio Star only five months after the revelation was given! In this letter Ezra Booth stated:
In addition to this, and to co-operate with it, it has been made known by revelation, that it will be pleasing to the Lord, should they form a matrimonial alliance with the Natives; and by this means the Elders, who comply with the things so pleasing to the Lord, and for which the Lord has promised to bless those who do it abundantly, gain a residence in the Indian territory, independent of the agent. It has been made known to one, who has left his wife in the state of N.Y. that he is entirely free from his wife, and he is at liberty to take him a wife from among the Lamanites. It was easily perceived that this permission, was perfectly suited to his desires. I have frequently heard him state, that the Lord had made it known to him, that he is as free from his wife as from any other woman; and the only crime that I have ever heard alleged against her is, she is violently opposed to Mormonism. But before this contemplated marriage can be carried into effect, he must return to the state of N.Y. and settle his business, for fear, should he return, after that affair had taken place, the civil authority would apprehend him as a criminal. (Ohio Star, Dec. 8, 1831)
We had originally discovered Booth's statement in an 1834 reprint of his letters, but Michael Marquardt found a microfilm copy of the original paper in the Mormon Church's Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City.
Since Ezra Booth did go to Missouri and was well acquainted with the Elders, his letter furnishes irrefutable proof that Joseph Smith gave the revelation commanding the Mormons to marry Lamanite women.
"BLEACHING" THE LAMANITES
Like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the second President of the Mormon Church, taught that "the curse will be removed" from off the Indians and "they will become 'a white and delightsome people.' " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, page 143)
While Brigham Young suppressed the 1831 revelation, there is evidence that he was familiar with its teaching that the Indians should be made white through intermarriage. William Hall said that just after the Mormons left Nauvoo, Brigham Young gave a speech which "was in substance as follows":
"We are now going to the Lamanites, to whom we intend to be messengers of instruction. . . . We will show them that in consequence of their transgressions a curse has been inflicted upon them—in the darkness of their skins. We will have intermarriages with them, they marrying our young women, and we taking their young squaws to wife. By these means it is the will of the Lord that the curse of their color shall be removed and they restored to their pristine beauty. . ." (The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed, Cincinnati, 1852, page 59)
Juanita Brooks gives the following information concerning the Salmon River Mission:
Very early, some of the Mormon leaders recommended that the missionaries marry Indian women as a means of cementing the friendship between the races. . . .
The Elders who were sent to the Salmon River Mission were given similar instructions by Brigham Young and his party, who visited them in May, 1857. At least three different missionaries tell of them, . . . Milton G. Hammond says simply, "The president and members of the Twelve all spoke. Pres. Young spoke to Elders marrying natives." William H. Dame . . . wrote in his journal: "Meeting was held . . . Young men might take squaws to wife. . . ." The mission clerk, David Moore, gave a somewhat more detailed account:
"Sunday, May 10,  . . . Pres. H. C. Kimball & Wells addressed Missionaries . . . on the importance of the Missionaries being faithful . . . and for them to marry the Native women. . . . Pres. B. Young said, . . . when the Lord opened they [sic] way before them so that they Could Marry Girls they would be very likely to be enabled to keep them. . . ."
As a result of these teachings, at least three of the brethren married Indian women. . . . As to the Indian women whom they had taken as wives the "L.D.S. Journal History" of April 9, 1858, records: "Two squaws who had married the brethren refused to come, fearing the soldiers would kill all the Mormons." (Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 12, pp. 28-30)
T. B. H. Stenhouse gives the following information concerning the Salmon River Mission:
Before any of the married brethren could make love to a maiden with the view of making her a second, third, or tenth wife, he was expected to go and obtain Brigham's permission, . . . He sent at one time a mission to Fort Limhi, Salmon River, to civilize the Indians. The brethren were counselled not to take their families with them, but they were to live with the Indians, to educate and civilize them, and to teach them various trades and farming. When Brigham and Heber afterwards visited the missionaries to see how they were succeeding, Heber, in his quaint way, told them that he did not see how the modern predictions could well be fulfilled about the Indians becoming "a white and delightsome people" without extending polygamy to the natives. The approach of the United States army, in 1857, contributed to break up that mission, but not before Heber's hint had been clearly understood, and the prophecy half fulfilled! Heber was very practical, and believed that the people should never ask "the Lord" to do for them what they could do themselves, and, as all "Israel" had long prayed that the Indians might speedily become a "white and delightsome people," he thought it was the duty of the missionaries to assist "the Lord" in fulfilling his promises. This was not the first time that a Mormon prophet attempted to aid in bringing to pass the prophecies of "the Lord." More than one missionary appears to have thoroughly understood him! (The Rocky Mountain Saints, pp. 657-659)
In a footnote on page 659 of the same book, Mr. Stenhouse stated:
One young man replied to Brother Heber that it was the teaching of the Church that the elders should always follow their "file-leaders," and that "if President Young and he should each take a squaw to wife and thus set the example, they would certainly follow suit." That ended the "bleaching" of the "Lamanites."
William Hall claimed that Brigham Young was married "to two young squaws," but so far we have been unable to find any documentation for this statement. According to John D. Lee , on May 12, 1849, Brigham Young said that he did not want to take the Indians "in his arms until the curse is removed from of[f] them. . . . But we will take their children & s[c]hool them & teach them to be clenly & to love morality & then raise up seed amoung them & in this way they will be brought back into the presance & knowledge of God. . . ." (A Mormon Chronicle, The Diaries of John D. Lee, vol. 1, page 108)
It would appear, then, that Brigham Young would not follow Joseph Smith's revelation to take "wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, . . ." Even though the revelation said that "their females are more virtuous than the gentiles," Brigham Young built up his "kingdom" with women who were already "white and delightsome."
If Brigham Young did not follow the 1831 revelation to marry the Lamanites, we must remember that he was only following the example of Joseph Smith, for Smith also married "white" women. Though Young suppressed Smith's 1831 revelation and chose "white" women in preference to the Lamanites, he did at least encourage others to marry them "that the curse of their color shall be removed and they restored to their pristine beauty."
After Brigham Young's death the idea that the Indians should be made "white and delightsome" through intermarriage began to fall into disrepute. The Mormon leaders have tended to frown upon interracial marriage with the Indians, even though there is no written rule against the practice.
The Mormon Apostle Mark E. Petersen made these comments in an address delivered at Brigham Young University:
What should be our attitude as Latter-day Saints toward negro and other dark race? . . . We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in our pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Indians, some as Negroes, some as Americans, some as Latter-day Saints. These are rewards and punishments, . . .
Now let's talk segregation again for a few moments. . . . When the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, . . . He engaged in an act of segregation. . . . In placing a curse on Laman and Lemuel, He engaged in segregation. . . .
The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He places a dark skin upon them as a curse—as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. (2 Nephi 5:21) . . .
What is our advice with respect to intermarriage with Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians and so on? I will tell you what advice I give personally. If a boy or girl comes to me claiming to be in love with a Chinese or Japanese or a Hawaiian or a person of any other dark race, I do my best to talk them out of it. I tell them that I think the Hawaiians should marry Hawaiians, the Japanese ought to marry Japanese, and the Chinese ought to marry Chinese, and the Caucasians should marry Caucasians, . . . I teach against inter-marriage of all kinds. (Race Problems—As They Affect The Church, Address by Mark E. Petersen, Brigham Young University, August 27, 1954)
Mark E. Petersen is second in line to become President of the Mormon Church. The Apostle Petersen and other Mormon leaders who are opposed to intermarriage will probably be very embarrassed now that the 1831 revelation has come to light. The fact that they have suppressed this revelation plainly shows that they do not really believe that it came from God. They have been involved in a cover-up to protect the image of Joseph Smith.
In our new book Mormonism Like Watergate? we have additional information on the 1831 revelation and the origin of plural marriage in the Mormon Church.
COVER-UP ON NEGRO DOCTRINE
While the Indians are considered to be under a curse, they can still hold the Priesthood. Negroes, on the other hand, are denied the Priesthood and cannot be married in the temple. According to Mormon leaders, the curse on the Negro cannot be removed through intermarriage. The Apostle Mark E. Petersen stated:
We must not intermarry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. (Race Problems—As They Affect The Church)
The Mormon leaders have suppressed some very important documents on the development of the anti-Negro doctrine. For instance, in our new book Mormonism Like Watergate? we reproduce an important address by Brigham Young which has been suppressed since 1852. Another important document which has been suppressed is the patriarchal blessing given to Elijah Able. Elijah Able was a Negro who was ordained to the Priesthood during Joseph Smith's lifetime. Some Mormons claim that Able was "light of color" and that Joseph Smith was not aware of the fact that he had Negro blood when he allowed him to be ordained. Abel's patriarchal blessing proves that these apologists are mistaken. This blessing was given by Joseph Smith's father, who was Patriarch to the Church and was "sustained by the Saints as a prophet, seer, and revelator." (Doctrines of the Kingdom, page 191)
Lester E. Bush, Jr., cites portions of this blessing in his article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, but it has never been published in its entirety. Fortunately, Michael Marquardt obtained a copy and we have printed it in Mormonism Like Watergate? Since we do not have much room here, we will only print a few important extracts:
A blessing under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sen., upon Elijah Abel, . . . Thou has been ordained an Elder and annointed to secure thee against the power of the destroyer. . . . Thou shalt travel in the East, and visit foreign countries, speak in various tongues, and shalt be able to teach different languages. . . . Thou shalt be made equal to thy brethren, and thy soul be white in eternity and thy robes glittering: thou shalt receive these blessings because of the covenants of thy fathers. Thou shalt save thy thousands, . . . These and all the blessings which thou canst desire in righteousness, I seal upon thee, in the name of Jesus. Amen. W. A. Cowdery, Assistant Recorder. ("Patriarchal Blessing Book," vol. 2, page 88, typed copy)
Now, if this patriarchal blessing was given by revelation, then it proves that God himself was unaware of the fact that the Negro should not hold the priesthood. It says plainly that Elijah Abel had "been ordained and Elder," and the promise that Abel's soul would "be white in eternity" shows that it was obvious that he was black. The reader will note that the blessing also states that Abel was to be "made equal" to his brethren. This blessing seems to show that neither the early Mormons nor their God were aware that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood.
There are reports of another early patriarchal blessing which may be even more important than the blessing given to Elijah Abel. Michael Marquardt reports that in April of 1965 he obtained permission from the Church Historian Joseph Fielding Smith to examine a microfilm which contained the first three volumes of patriarchal blessings given during Joseph Smith's lifetime. As he was going through the microfilm he discovered a blessing given to a descendant of "Ham" — i.e., a Negro according to Mormon theology. The blessing went on to state that through the blood of Christ the "curse" has been removed. Unfortunately, Mr. Marquardt was not allowed to make any notes at the time he was looking at this film, and now even the top Mormon scholars are denied access to the early patriarchal blessing books. The Mormon leaders apparently realize that if the patriarchal blessing which tells of the "curse" being removed from a descendant of "Ham" were to be made public, it might entirely destroy all basis for the anti-Negro doctrine.
NEGRO DOCTRINE COST 20,000 CONVERTS
Although the Bible teaches that the Gospel is to be carried to all people, the Mormon Church has tried to avoid doing missionary work among the Negro people. Bruce R. McConkie, who recently became an Apostle, stated: "Negroes in this life are denied the priesthood; . . . The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. . . ." (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, page 527)
Lester E. Bush, Jr. says that "As early as 1946, Council minutes report correspondence from Nigeria which 'pleads for missionaries to be sent . . . and asks for literature regarding the Church.' " (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1973, page 67, footnote 204) Finally, after seventeen years the Mormon Church decided they would send a mission to Nigeria. President McKay made the announcement on Jan. 11, 1963.
A few months after the mission was announced it became apparent that something was wrong. On August 7, 1963, we called the Mormon Church offices asking if there was still going to be a mission to Nigeria. The woman in the Missionary department said that conditions were "unsettled." Then she stated: "We have been asked not to give out any information about it."
Eleven years have passed and it now appears that the Nigerian Mission is a complete failure. Lester E. Bush says that "the Nigerian government became more fully aware of the scope of Mormon teachings on the blacks, and denied the Church resident visas. . . . Estimates for the number of 'Nigerian Mormons' who would have been involved ranged from 10,00 to 25,000, nearly all of whom were Biafrans." (Dialogue, Spring 1973, page 45)
Because the Nigerian government refused to give resident visas to the Mormon missionaries, the Nigerians decided "to organize their own branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Time Magazine, June 18, 1965, page 56)
Even though the Negroes in Nigeria were converted to Mormonism, the Mormon leaders in Utah could not accept them because of the belief that a Negro church cannot function without men holding the Priesthood to direct it. On Feb. 10, 1966, Hugh B. Brown, David O. McKay's First Counselor, wrote a letter in which he stated:
We are just now wrestling with the problems in Nigeria, where some five thousand people have applied for baptism unto the Church but where the government officials are opposing us and where, if we should baptize them, we would involve ourselves in financial problems which could very well bankrupt the Church. . . . Conditions in the Southern part of the United States, in fact, all over the United States, affecting the Negro are such that for us to take positive action might involve us in controversies to which as yet there seems to be no definite inspired answer. (Letter by Hugh B. Brown, dated Feb. 10, 1966)
By 1972 the number of Nigerians converted to the doctrines of the Mormon Church had grown to over 20,000. Anie Dick Obot was the leader of this group. In a letter dated July 1, 1972, Obot stated:
I am the Bishop in charge [of the] Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints in Nigeria, and we are 48 congregations with the total membership of 20,698.
Not long after Obot wrote this letter he became disillusioned with Mormonism. In a letter dated Dec. 21, 1972, Obot stated:
. . . I am no more with the Organisation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I will never go back to that group.
Obot claimed that he learned the truth about Mormonism after "Dr. O. J. Udo who was at BYU, Provo, Utah" returned to Nigeria. After that he decided to leave the group he had directed.
Lamar S. Williams had been set apart by the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City to direct the missionary work in Nigeria. His work turned out to be a complete failure. In a letter to Williams dated Jan. 23, 1973, E. E. Akpan of Nigeria told that the Nigerians were rapidly defecting from Mormon teachings: "Praise the Lord, greetings to you in Jesus Christ precious Name. We are the group Bishop E. A. Attah led to join with you, but now seeing the truth revealed to us about the mormon teachings we have decided in our General Conference of 18th -21st Jan., 1973, to adopt the name above." The name which they adopted was "Grace and Truth Church."
In the same letter, E. E. Akpan went on to explain that they had been reading our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? and that this had raised questions in their minds concerning the truthfulness of Mormonism. He went on to state that they were no longer "called Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, and we are no more with your orgainisation please. All the 25 congregations have withdrawn from [the] Mormon organisation."
In his reply to E. E. Akpan, LaMar S. Williams made these comments:
I am sorry to hear that you have changed your mind regarding your affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . .
I am sorry to learn that you were unfortunate enough to read such unfavorable literature as Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. They have done much to discredit the church by the material they have published . . . I would disregard any literature printed by them. (Letter dated Feb. 27, 1973)
We have photographically printed all four of these important letters in our book Mormonism Like Watergate?
From the information we have presented, the reader can see that the Nigerian Mission was a complete failure. On Oct. 24, 1974, Michael Marquardt did some research with regard to this mission and found that the Mormon Church only claims to have 25 members in Nigeria, and there is some question as to how many of these are whites.
It is very obvious, then, that the Mormon Church has decided to sacrifice over 20,000 converts rather than change their anti-Negro doctrine!
On June 22, 1968, the Ogden Standard-Examiner quoted Sterling McMurrin as saying that the "Church will completely lose tens of thousands of its members" if it does not "come to grips" with the Negro problem. So far there is no real evidence that the Mormon leaders are going to make a change. In fact, Bruce R. McConkie, a defender of the anti-Negro doctrine, was recently elevated to the Council of Twelve Apostles.
Spencer W. Kimball, the new President of the Church, feels that a dark skin is a curse from God and has stated that he does not anticipate any change in the Negro doctrine. The next two in line for the Presidency of the Church—i.e., Ezra Taft Benson and Mark E. Petersen—seen to be even more outspoken in their defense of the anti-Negro doctrine.
It would appear, then, that those who choose to remain in the Mormon Church face a gloomy future. The Mormon leaders seem determined in their effort to cover up the past and to run the Church after the manner of Watergate. For more information concerning this matter see our new publication Mormonism Like Watergate?
Just as we were preparing to being the 1831 revelation concerning the Indians to light the Salt Lake Tribune published the following:
About 20 representatives of the American Indian Movement (AIM) Thursday demanded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "recall all your missionaries from the reservations and the areas where native Americans frequent." . . .
In a declaration to LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball, AIM leaders said the church has a '"racist attitude regarding our skin color" and "you have a divisive practice of putting Indian against Indian." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 12, 1974)
Gov. Rampton claims that AIM does not represent any substantial group of Utah Indians, but it will be interesting to see what develops.
As a general rule we have tried to keep the Messenger out of political controversies. The situation with regard to President Nixon, however, is so serious that we feel that it would be wrong to keep silent. Before the Watergate investigation began we felt that the charges against President Nixon were without foundation in fact. As the investigation proceeded we became convinced that there was a serious problem involved, and in July, 1973, we wrote a letter which was published in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Editor, Tribune: One disturbing thing about Watergate is that many people do not seem to realize the serious implications of the whole matter. Some people, for instance, say that even if President Nixon is involved, he should not be impeached or resign. While I feel that we should wait until more evidence is in before judging the President, it would seem to me that even if he was only involved in the cover-up, this would be a serious crime and should be punished by impeachment. The cover-up, of course, involved the obstruction of justice and the encouragement of perjury. If we were to allow a president to continue leading us after becoming involved in such serious crimes, we would be stamping our approval on this type of behavior and would be accessories to the crimes in the eyes of the world. Even if it is very embarrassing and painful for our country, we cannot sweep this under the rug. If we love liberty and justice we must apply the same rules to everyone, and even the President of the United States should not be exempt from these rules. Jerald Tanner (Salt Lake Tribune, July 8, 1973)
After we learned of the tapes we felt that they would either prove or disprove the charges against the President. We knew, however, that if they contained evidence against the President this evidence would probably be destroyed before the tapes were turned over for inspection. We were shocked to learn that two of the tapes did not exist, but when we found that there was an 18 minutes gap in another tape we lost all faith in President Nixon. We feel, therefore, that it is our Christian obligation to call for his impeachment.
REPUDIATES BOOK OF MORMON
After we found serious problems with the Utah Mormon Church, we joined a group known as the Church of Christ—sometimes called the "Lukites." This is a small group which is not to be confused with the large Church of Christ nor the Church of Christ—Temple Lot. Although this group rejected Joseph Smith's revelations as printed in the Doctrine and Covenants, it still accepted the Book of Mormon. At any rate, these people had discovered the true message of Christ, and the love of God certainly showed forth in their lives. Their lives were so strikingly different that it pointed out our own need of Christ.
When we decided that the Book of Mormon was not true, it was very hard to let this group know. Fortunately, these people did not become bitter towards us, and in all of their correspondence with us they continued to show the love of Christ. We, of course, wanted to see them come to a knowledge of the truth concerning the Book of Mormon. We prayed concerning this matter, but we could hardly believe that a Church so committed to the Book of Mormon could give it up as a group. We are now happy to report that a miracle has happened! On November 24, 1973, this group published an advertisement telling that they had repudiated the Book of Mormon. In this document we find these interesting statements:
Do you know that on July 28, 1971, among some old Chenango County bills, the bills of Justice Neely and Constable Philip DeZeng for the year 1826 were found and among the items listed on them were the costs for the arrest and trial of "Joseph Smith, The Glass Looker," as the case is listed on Justice Neely's bill? . . .
Many anti-Mormon authors have written about this March 20, 1826 trial, using it to prove that the Book of Mormon was not of divine origin, but a product of Joseph Smith's fraud and deceit—a continuation of the principles manifested in his money-digging activities. . . .
When Fawn Brodie published her book, "No Man Knows My History" (this was before these documents were found by Mr. Wesley P. Walters, a Presbyterian minister from Marissa, Illinois and Mr. Fred Poffarl, of Ardsley, Pennsylvania), she wrote of Joseph Smith's money digging activities and his 1826 trial. This was answered by Mormon writers with statements like, "This alleged court record . . . seems to be a literary attempt of an enemy to ridicule Joseph Smith . . . no existing proof that such a trial was ever held." (Apostle John A. Widtsoe of the Utah Church) . . . "If this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith." (Dr. Hugh Nibley). Book of Mormon believers, do you realize proof of the 1826 trial has now been found, so what about the claim that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin????
Until recently we were believers in the Book of Mormon and felt that the 1826 trial was just a fabrication of anti-Mormon origin to discredit the Book of Mormon. But after we learned of the discovery of these two original county bills, we realized that our beliefs needed examination. In the investigation and search for the truth which followed we found that we were the ones who had been deceived. After several letters and a trip to Norwich, Chenango County, New York we knew that the bills were authentic. We have obtained photo copies both from the County Historian and the County's acting Deputy Clerk. . . . God in mercy has let the bills be preserved and finally found, so we, one hundred and forty-five years later, can determine the true facts . . . as a group of believers in Jesus Christ and His glorious salvation, we can no longer accept the claim that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. In the future the Bible alone will be our scriptures. . . . (The Examiner, Independence, Mo., Nov. 24, 1973)
We only had space for a portion of this important document in this issue of the Messenger, but a complete copy will be sent free upon request.
WALTERS WRITES ON 1826 TRIAL
From the article above the reader will notice that Wesley P. Walters' discovery of the 1826 bills convinced the Church of Christ that the Book of Mormon is untrue. We are happy to announce that Walters has now prepared an article in which he discusses this important discovery as well as other aspects of Joseph Smith's 1826 trial. Wesley Walters has also discovered Joseph Chamberlain's bill for a trial of Joseph Smith which occurred in 1830. He deals with this matter in his new work Joseph Smith's Bainbridge, N.Y., Court Trials.
A STRANGER TO HUNGER
I am a stranger to hunger. My mind can't comprehend starvation. Yet millions of people today are learning the meaning of "famine" by personal experience. Do I care? Is my Christian concern real? Christ said:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:35 & 40)
World Vision Magazine reports:
For five years the rains have been inadequate across West Africa, and last year they did not come at all. Rivers failed to flood the plains, and crops died. There are 25 million people living in the Sahel (Arabic for "fringe," meaning here the edge of the Sahara Desert). Some 14 million were directly affected by the five-year drought which brought severe famine this year to an area about one-fourth the size of the United States.
Some have said that this drought and famine bordering the Sahara are the worst recorded since biblical times. . . . and we through World Vision can help the starving of the Sahel both physically and spiritually. . . . (World Vision, Feb. 1974)
This area of Africa is less than 10% Christian. What a great opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ by reaching out to these suffering ones and sharing our abundance, in His name.
Money for food and farming needs can be sent to:
World Vision International
P.O. Box 70050
Tacoma, WA 98481-0050
(Gifts to World Vision are tax deductible.)