By A Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon
Part first of this pamphlet is a brief address to those who have not read the Book of Mormon, and who are not conversant with the denominations that believe in that book.
Part second is an address to all believers in the Book of Mormon. There are three distinct denominations that believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God:
First: The Church of Christ.
Second: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Third: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The last named is the church in Salt Lake City; they believe in the doctrine of polygamy, while the two first named churches do not believe in that doctrine. I am an elder in "the Church of Christ." We believe in the doctrine of Christ as it is taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, the same gospel being taught in both these books. The Bible being the sacred record of the Jews who inhabited the eastern continent; the Book of Mormon being the sacred record of the Nephites (descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob), who inhabited the western continent, or this land of America. The Indians are the remnant of that people, who drifted into unbelief and darkness about 350 years after Christ appeared to them and established his church among them, after finishing his mission at Jerusalem. We believe in faith in Christ, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe in the laying on of hands as it was practiced in the days of the Apostles. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. We also believe in the Words of Christ when he said, "These signs shall follow them that believe." Our belief concerning the order of offices in the church, etc., will be found in Part Second of this pamphlet. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST holds to the original doctrine and order that was first established upon the teachings of Christ in the written word, in 1829, when the Lord set his hand the second time to establish the true gospel upon the earth and recover his people, which is in fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible. We denounce the doctrine of polygamy and spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of Religion. It is of man and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself in these words. "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.... For there shall not any man among you have
save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none: For I the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of woman." (Book of Mormon, page 116, chap. 2. par. 6). We do not indorse the teachings of any of the so-called Mormons or Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. They have departed in a great measure from the faith of the CHURCH OF CHRIST as it was first established, by heeding revelations given through Joseph Smith, who, after being called of God to translate his sacred word — the Book of Mormon — drifted into many errors and gave many revelations to introduce doctrines, ordinances and offices in the church, which are in conflict with Christ's teachings. They also changed the name of the church. Their departure from the faith is also according to prophecy. "Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in THE LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." (1 Tim. iv:1). On account of God giving to Joseph Smith the gift to translate the plates on which was engraven the Nephite scriptures, the people of the church put too much trust in him — in the man — and believed his words as if they were from God's own mouth. They have trusted in an arm of flesh. (Jeremiah xvii:5) "Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord." They looked to Joseph Smith as lawgiver; we look to Christ alone, and believe only in the religion of Jesus Christ and not in the religion of any man.
The doctrine of polygamy was not introduced until about fourteen years after the church was established; but other doctrines of error were introduced earlier than this. I left the body in June, 1838, being five years before polygamy was introduced.
Joseph Smith drifting into errors after translating the Book of Mormon, is a stumbling-block to many, but only those of very weak faith would stumble on this account. Greater abominations are recorded of David in the Bible, than is recorded to-day of Joseph Smith; but do you reject the Psalms on this account? Do you reject the Proverbs because Solomon was a polygamist? Stop and think, you who are hasty to condemn. If you desire to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, read the book and investigate it, for Christ has promised that he who seeks in the right way shall find the truth of all things. We are commanded to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thes. v:21).
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet up to his death, and accept his revelations in their Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The revelation to practice polygamy is not printed in their Doctrine and Covenants. They do not believe in the doctrine of polygamy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the church at Salt Lake City) believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet up to the time of his death, and accept his revelations which they have published in their Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In this book is the revelation on polygamy.
It is also a stumbling-block to those who desire to investigate as to the truth of the Book of Mormon, to see the believers in that book divided; but the divisions have been brought about by the revelations of
Joseph Smith. We, the Church of Christ, who accept only the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the rule and guide to our faith, agree on the doctrine and gospel of Christ. The Book of Mormon comes forth claiming to be the scriptures of the tribe of Joseph, written by holy men of God, which record has been kept pure. It claims that when the Bible was written by the tribe of Judah (the Jews), it was plain to the understanding of men; and that many plain and precious things have been taken from it by a great and abominable church; and that on this account the Gentiles stumble over the true doctrine of Christ. The Book of Mormon comes forth claiming to make plain the doctrine of Christ as taught in the New Testament; and it does make it so plain that a child can understand it. To all who are without prejudice, the Book of Mormon is the key to the understanding of the Bible. As I have stated, all who take it and the Bible alone as the guide to their faith, agree on the doctrine of Christ.
I know that reproach has been brought upon the Book of Mormon. Because some of those who believe it have drifted into wickedness, the world has rejected the book and turned it aside as a thing of naught; but if such persons will stop and think, they will see that they refuse to read this book, which claims to be a message from God, simply because some have transgressed who believe in the book! Such persons are not very earnestly seeking for truth. Those who have read the history of the apostolic church know, that before John wrote the Revelation, many of those who believed in Christ went into all manner of wickedness and heresies, practicing those things in the name of Christ, and thereby brought reproach upon the name "Christian." Apostolic church history tells us that the Nicolaitanes (Rev. ii:15), who departed from the faith by following Nicolas, one of the first seven deacons (Acts vi:5), were also called "Christians;" also that many factions which sprang out of the Christian church, also called themselves "Christians." The Nicolaitanes claimed that Nicolas had received a revelation from God to practice the doctrine of "free love," which is worse than polygamy. (Irenaeus, Epiphanius, Hippolytus.) Reproach was thus brought upon the name "Christian," just as it has been brought upon the words of Christ — the Book of Mormon. History tells us it was a disgrace in the eyes of the world to be called a "Christian," even during the days of the apostles. In Acts xxviii:22 we find that the true church was evil spoken of. "For as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against." Paul speaks of the reproach of Christ in Heb. xi:26 and xiii:13. Christ speaks of the reproach his disciples will have to bear for his name, telling them many times that his disciples would always be persecuted. Peter prophesied (2 Peter ii:1-2), that damnable heresies would be brought into the church; "and many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom THE WAY OF TRUTH shall be evil spoken of." So has it been in these last days. On account of the heresy of polygamy and other heresies, "the way of truth" is evil spoken of; and those who believe in all the scriptures of our Lord Jesus Christ, are called by the world "Mormons," and are looked upon with more or less shame by the majority of people; but we are willing to bear the reproach for Him who died for us, for we know that the Book of Mormon is His word, and by His word we can inherit eternal life if we are faithful in
keeping His commandments. God's wisdom is not man's wisdom, and His ways are not man's ways. He works in a way least expected by man. He does his work in a way that all men may stumble and not understand, unless their whole heart and desire is upon God, and not upon the things of this world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John ii:15.) "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. vi:24.) He who makes up his mind to serve God with an eye single to his glory, the light that is in him will not be darkness to the truth as it is in Christ; such a person will overcome the stumbling-blocks by the Holy Spirit enlightening his mind, and he will see and understand the truth. God works by stumbling-blocks. He ordained that Christ should come as a stumbling-block to the Jews, so that all who did not have an eye single to his glory might stumble and not understand. "And He (Christ) shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a sin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken." (Isaiah viii:14-15.) (See also 1 Peter ii:7-8, 1 Cor. i:23, Rom. ix:32-33.) The Jews did not expect the Christ to come in the way he did, because the prophecies about his coming were obscure; so they rejected him.
The Gentiles cannot expect the words of Christ—the Book of Mormon—to come in the way it has, because the prophecies about its coming forth are obscure; so they have rejected it; but the stone which the builders have rejected, the same will become the head of the corner. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The prophecies in the scriptures concerning the way in which Christ would come to the Jews, are obscure, but they are just as God wanted them. Likewise are the prophecies in the Bible concerning the coming forth of the word of Christ in these last days, which is "the dispensation of the fullness of times." The prophecies which foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon are fully as plain to the Gentiles, as the prophecies were to the Jews concerning Christ's coming. The people cannot understand why the Lord would bring forth his word from "a book (plates) that is sealed" and was buried in the ground by his ancient prophets on this land: and why He should have the words of the book delivered "to one that is learned," telling him to read it, etc.; (see Isa. xxix) but the learned and wise men of the world could not read it; God gave to an unlearned boy, Joseph Smith, the gift to translate it by the means of a STONE. See the following passages concerning the "Urim and Thummin," being the same means and one by which the Ancients received the word of the Lord. (1 Sam. xxviii:6, Neh. vii:65, Ezra ii:63, Num. xxvii:21, Deut. xxxiii:8, Exodus xxviii:30, Lev. viii:8.) But this is a great stumbling-block to the people now. They cannot understand why God would work in this manner to bring forth his word; and why he would choose such a man as Joseph Smith to translate it: and they think the canon of scripture is full: and that angels do not minister unto men in these days. But oh kind reader, if you desire to know the truth, be not hasty to condemn and judge, but I pray you to investigate. The scriptures teach that God works in a way least expected by men.
"Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isa. LV:8). How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." (Rom. xi:33). Read Isa. xxix, whole chapter, which is a prophecy concerning the way in which the Book of Mormon was to come forth. "Out of the ground;" "Out of the dust;" From, "the words of a Book (plates) that is sealed:" The men of the world who are wise and prudent in the eyes of the world, shall be confounded; they will not understand the Lord's way of working. "For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." But the meek and lowly in heart will understand it. "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." And those who are spiritually blind and deaf shall "hear the words of the Book," and "see out of obscurity, and out of darkness." "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine;" (The above quotations are from the 29th chapter of Isaiah.) John, in his vision on the Isle of Patmos, of "things which must be hereafter," saw "Another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell ON THE EARTH." (Rev. xiv:6.) In Isaiah xi:11-12, it is prophesied as follows: "and it shall come to pass in that day (dispensation) that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people .... and he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah (the Jews) from the four corners of the earth." The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is only a preparatory work for the great and "marvelous work" of God which is yet to come in gathering scattered Israel, which is spoken of so often through the prophets. The Book of Mormon contains many prophecies which are now and have been during my life, under course of fulfillment. It says that more records are yet to come forth from the "book that is sealed," which book is the sacred scriptures or records of the people who inhabited this land of America.
The children of Israel are to be gathered by the record of Judah (the Bible); and the record of Joseph; of which record the Book of Mormon is only a part. I will now quote from Ezekiel xxxvii:16-21, which is plain concerning this matter. Remember that in ancient times, writing was engraved upon stone and upon metallic plates, and they also wrote upon parchment which they rolled around a stick. A roll of parchment was called a "stick."
"Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another in one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanst by these? say unto them, .... Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land."
It is evident that this, like many other prophecies, refers to the time when the Israel of God will be gathered together in righteousness
and holiness; when they shall be God's holy people forever. It says in this chapter, 23d to 28th verses, that when they are gathered, they shall "No more defile themselves with their idols .... nor with any of their transgressions," and the Lord "will cleanse them, so they shall be my people, and I will be their God." ... and "they shall walk in my judgments ... and (I) will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. .... And the heathen (all who are not Israel) shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore." (Concerning a literal gathering of the House of Israel, in righteousness and holiness, see chapter 2.) The Gentiles are first now, and the Jews last: but the Jews and all the House of Israel will be first some day, and the Gentiles last. It is through the "fullness of the Gentiles," that the veil of blindness which is now over Israel, shall be taken away. The cup of iniquity of the Gentiles is almost full; then God will turn to Israel, for Israel is not cast away forever. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.... There shall come out of Sion, the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (See Romans 11th chapter).
It is recorded in the American Cyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, that I, David Whitmer, have denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon; and that the other two witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, denied their testimony to that Book. I will say once more to all mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were,"Brother David, be true to your testimony to the Book of Mormon.'' He died here in Richmond, Mo., on March 3d, 1850. Many witnesses yet live in Richmond, who will testify to the truth of these facts, as well as to the good character of Oliver Cowdery. The very powers of darkness have combined against the Book of Mormon, to prove that it is not the word of God, and this should go to prove to men of spiritual understanding, that the Book is true. To show the reader what I have had to contend with, I give you below a copy of a leaflet which I had printed and distributed in March, 1881.
"Unto all Nations, Kindred Tongues and People, unto whom these presents shall come:
"It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell County, Mo., that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the BOOK OF MORMON.
"To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:
"That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that Book, as one of
the three witnesses. Those who know me best, well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all of my statements, as then made and published.
" 'He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear;' it was no delusion! What is written is written, and he that readeth let him understand.
"And that no one may be deceived or misled by this statement, I wish here to state: that I do not indorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so, because practiced in the name of religion. It is of man and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself.
"I do not indorse the change of the name of the church, for as the wife takes the name of her husband so should the Church of the Lamb of God, take the name of its head, even Christ himself. It is the Church of Christ.
"As to the High Priesthood, Jesus Christ himself is the last Great High Priest, this too after the order of Melchisedec, as I understand the Holy Scriptures.
"Finally, I do not indorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons, of Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon; for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God.
"And if any man doubt should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same, before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light, which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God.
"In the spirit of Christ who hath said: 'Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light and the way.' I submit this statement to the world. God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.
"My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.
"And all the honor be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
"Richmond, Mo., March 19, 1881."
"We, the undersigned citizens of Richmond, Ray County, Mo., where David Whitmer, has resided since the year A.D. 1838, certify that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him and know him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity.
From the Richmond, (Mo.) Conservator, March 24, 1881.
"Elsewhere we publish a letter from David Whitmer, an old and well-known citizen of Ray, as well as an indorsement of his standing as a man, signed by a number of the leading citizens of this community, in reply to some unwarranted aspersions made upon him.
"There is no doubt that Mr. Whitmer, who was one of the three witnesses of authenticity of the gold plates, from which he asserts that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (a fac simile of the characters he now has in his possession with the original records), is firmly convinced of its divine origin, and while he makes no effort to obtrude his views or beliefs, he simply wants the world to know that so far as he is concerned there is no 'variableness or shadow of turning.' Having resided here for near a half of a century, it is with no little pride that he points to his past record with the consciousness that he has done nothing derogatory to his character as a citizen and believer in the son of Mary, to warrant such an attack on him, come from what source it may, and now with the lilies of seventy-five winters crowning him like an aureole, and his pilgrimage on earth well nigh ended, he reiterates his former statements, and will leave futurity to solve the problem that he was but a passing witness to its fulfillment. His attacks on the vileness that has sprung up with the Utah Church, must have a salutary effect upon those bigamists who have made adultery the cornerstone in the edifice of their belief."
Besides other false statements that are in the two encyclopedias above mentioned is the old story of the Spaulding manuscript. That is, that, one Solomon Spaulding who died in Amity, Penn., in 1816, had written a romance, the scene of which was among the ancient Indians who lived in this country. That Spaulding died before he published his romance, and that Sydney Rigdon got hold of the manuscript in a printing office and copied it; that subsequently the manuscript was returned to Solomon Spaulding; that thirteen years after the death of Spaulding, in 1829, Rigdon became associated with Joseph Smith, who read the Spaulding manuscript from behind a blanket to Oliver Cowdery, his amanuensis, who wrote it down. Hence the origin of the Book of Mormon. This is what is claimed by the enemies of the book: Satan had to concoct some plan to account for the origin of that book. I will say that all who desire to investigate the Spaulding manuscript story will not be obliged to go very far before they will see the entire
falsity of that claim. I testify to the world that I am an eye-witness to the translation of the greater part of the Book of Mormon. Part of it was translated in my father's house in Fayette, Seneca County, N.Y. Farther on I give a description of the manner in which the book was translated.
When the Spaulding story was made known to believers in the book, they called for the Spaulding manuscript, but it could not be found; but recently, thanks to the Lord, the original manuscript has been found and identified. It has been placed in the library of Oberlin college, Oberlin, Ohio, for public inspection. All who have doubts about it being the original Spaulding manuscript, can satisfy themselves by visiting Oberlin and examining the proofs. The manuscript is in the hands of those who are not believers in the Book of Mormon. They have kindly allowed the believers in the book to publish a copy of the manuscript, with the proofs that it is the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. There is no similarity whatever between it and the Book of Mormon. Any one who investigates this question will see that the Spaulding manuscript story is a fabrication concocted by the enemies of the Book of Mormon, in order to account for the origin of that book. Neither Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris or myself ever met Sydney Rigdon until after the Book of Mormon was in print. I know this of my own personal knowledge, being with Joseph Smith, in Seneca County, N.Y., in the winter of 1830, when Sydney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came from Kirtland, Ohio, to see Joseph Smith, and where Rigdon and Partridge saw Joseph Smith for the first time in their lives.
The Spaulding manuscript story is a myth; there being no direct testimony on record in regard to Rigdon's connection with the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding.
I have in my possession the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery and others, also the original paper containing some of the characters transcribed from one of the golden plates, which paper Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon, of New York, for him to read "the words of a book that is sealed:" but the learned professor, although a great linguist could not read the language of the Nephites. There is some evidence in the American Cyclopedia favorable to the Book of Mormon that I will speak of. It is as follows:
"Martin Harris called upon Prof. Anthon, of New York, with a transcript on paper which Smith had given him of the characters on one of the golden plates. 'This paper,' Prof. Anthon said, in a letter dated New York, Feb. 17, 1834, 'was in fact a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters, disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters, inverted or placed sideways, were arranged and placed in perpendicular columns," etc. The "learned" could not read it, and the book was delivered to him that is not learned. I will quote two verses from the twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, which is the prophecy regarding this matter.
"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered
to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."
(Verses 11 and 12.) No man could read it, but God gave to an unlearned boy the gift to translate it.
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.
The characters I speak of are the engravings on the golden plates from which the book was translated. They were engraved thereon by the hand of a holy prophet of God whose name was Mormon, who lived upon this land four hundred years after Christ. Mormon's son, Moroni, after witnessing the destruction of his brethren, the Nephites, who were a white race — they being destroyed by the Lamanites (Indians) — deposited the golden plates in the ground, according to a command of God. An angel of the Lord directed Brother Joseph to them. The language of the Nephites is called the reformed Egyptian language.
I will give you the preface to the Book of Mormon, written by Moroni, and translated in the same manner as the Book was translated.
"Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites; who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the Spirit of prophesy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
"An abridgement taken from the Book of Ether: also, which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven: which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.
And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ." "MORONI."
"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that this is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen. OLIVER COWDERY, DAVID WHITMER, MARTIN HARRIS."
"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith hath translated, we did handle with our hands, and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and known of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Dear Reader:—I want to ask you this question, if you are an unbeliever in the Book of Mormon, and I hope you will study over it prayerfully.
The testimony of seven men, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and Jude, comes down to us eighteen hundred years old; you accept their testimony as true. To-day we have the testimony of eleven witnesses who have lived in our generation one of which (myself) is still living — these eleven men having lived honorable and upright lives — but you reject their testimony and accept the testimony of the seven men who have been dead eighteen hundred years.
If you will not grant a possibility of the Book of Mormon being true, and sit in judgment and hastily condemn it after reading what I have written, you can surely see for yourself that your heart is full of prejudice. Remember that prejudice is not of God. It is the spirit that hastily condemned and stoned the prophets of God in all ages past. So beware, and look well to your own heart, that Satan does not blind your understanding to the truth. If you are open to investigation and conviction, I pray you to read the Book of Mormon with a prayerful heart. All persons who are spiritual, having a fair understanding of the scriptures, how they can read that Book and reject it, is very strange indeed. The Book carries conviction with it. The wise men of this world could never write a book like it. Any one without prejudice, who is honestly seeking for truth, can see the finger of God in that book. It makes plain the doctrines which are so obscure in the New Testament, and over which the religious world is divided. For instance, the mode of baptism; the "signs" or spiritual gifts which Christ said in plain words should follow them that believe in Him. All who are not blinded to the understanding of the New Testament scriptures, will admit that the spiritual gifts should be with the believers in Christ to-day; that the reason why the spiritual gifts are not following the believers to-day, is because they have not that strong and living faith that the ancient church had — down to about 200 years after the death of the Apostles: the Book of Mormon explains this matter in full. Likewise many other questions of vital importance in the doctrine of Christ, which the Christian world has been contending and disputing about for ages, this Book comes forth from God to explain them.
As we know, Christ and the apostle have taught that man must worship God in His appointed way; that is, that they must be right as to the true points of Christ's doctrine: But because a man is right on the doctrine of Christ, having been rightly adopted into the Church of Christ, this alone will not entitle him to the highest glory hereafter. We are taught that we must endure faithful unto the end, and bring forth fruit. Coming into the fold of Christ is simply the birth into the church; we are then babes, and from a babe we must grow in charity, grace, and knowledge, on toward the full stature of the perfect man in Christ; and to grow, we must walk in the Spirit, having the fruits of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Then we are Christ's, and "have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Gal. v:22-24). This is the subject that is nearest my heart. The Spirit of Christ in man. I could write volumes on this subject, but why should I, when God's Holy Word is so full upon this matter. Those who cannot understand from the Word of God regarding the boundless love and Spirit of Christ, which Spirit must be in man or he is not Christ's, they could not comprehend it from my writing, however eloquent I might be. It is a gift which God alone
gives to man, when man complies with certain conditions of heart as laid down in God's Word. The object of this pamphlet is to guide some honest hearts into the true doctrine of Christ, hoping that when they have found the straight and narrow way, that they may continue to walk therein, and bring forth much fruit to the glory of God.
I desire to say a few words concerning the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of Christ — the greatest gift of God to man. Many people claim to have this gift. I am not judging anyone, but I will tell you how we can tell when we have the Spirit of Christ; and when we have not this feeling and spirit, we have not His Spirit. When we have the Spirit of Christ, our hearts are filled with the love of God that reaches out and takes in all men, even our enemies. We then have every particle of prejudice, malice, envy and hatred cast out of our hearts; we then have no hatred whatever toward any person, even an enemy. Remember the words of Christ: "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the Publicans the same? But I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you. ... That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." Nothing short of this is the Spirit of Christ. By this you can know whether you have the Holy Ghost or not. This is the test.
The religion of Jesus Christ is embodied in one word, and that word is LOVE; it is the first and great commandment, for on it hangs the law and the prophets. Charity is the great lack of religious professors. As we love and judge others, so we will be judged at the last day. The principal idea in religion is the fatherhood of God, and brotherhood of man. Christ taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven. Our motive in serving God must be love and not fear. Those who have never had the gift of the Holy Ghost, cannot understand how a person could actually love and do good to any enemy; but those who have this gift can understand it and experience it. The natural man cannot understand some things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. ii:14.) He who cannot forgive an enemy and actually love him and do good to him, has not yet been born again, and has not the Spirit of Christ.
"Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. viii:9.) When a man has this spirit — which is the Holy Ghost — he loves all men so much that his greatest desire in this world is to do the greatest amount of good to his fellow-man that is possible. What is the greatest good I can do to my fellow-men? It is to turn their footsteps heavenward; to preach the gospel and the love of Christ to them. The spirit of Christ is unselfish. It will act in all men to-day as it did in Paul. He said: "Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." (1 Cor. x:33.) My soul enlarges when I contemplate this subject. My heart goes out in fervent zeal and love for the children of men, in my great desires for their salvation; but God is just, and in His wisdom we are here in this world to suffer trials for a season, which will work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, if we are faithful while here in this world. God has placed man on the earth to be a free agent unto himself, and he receives good or evil, truth or error, just according to the way his heart is inclined.
In chapter ii, I give a few quotations from the Book of Mormon. I would especially call the reader's attention to chapter iv, in Part Second
of this pamphlet, in which I explain how the church drifted in errors by giving heed to revelations that were given by Joseph Smith after he had translated the Book of Mormon.
I have briefly noticed some of the evidences of that Book, hoping that this pamphlet may fall into the hands of some honest hearts who love the Lord in deed and in truth; who are willing to take upon themselves reproach for the name of Christ, and that by reading this work they may be led to investigate the evidence of the truth of that Book — which are many — and become convinced that it is the Word of God. Part Second of this pamphlet is an address to the Latter Day Saints to point out the errors they are in. By reading the address to them you can understand the position of the CHURCH OF CHRIST, and how the Latter Day Saints have in great measure departed from the faith of the church as it was first established. I will close this chapter by some quotations from the Book of Mormon, and a few remarks.
"And when ye shall receive these things (the Book of Mormon), I would exhort you that ye ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni x:1.)
"For it (the Book of Mormon) shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the Word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people: and it shall be done by the power of God.... It shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied (2 Tim. iii:5), and churches become defiled, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches, and teachers, in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches; yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands; and there shall also be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places." (Book of Mormon, chap. iv, par. 2, 3.)
Dear reader, can you not discern the signs of the times? God is beginning to warn the inhabitants of the earth, and these signs shall increase. The fullness of the iniquity of the Gentiles is nigh at hand — in the Lord's manner of speaking. Christ says in the Book of Mormon, that destructions will come upon this nation if they do not repent. I cry unto you with all my soul, repent! repent! and seek unto God that you may know the truth of these things, whether that book is from God or not. It is truly the straight and narrow way. Straight means close, narrow, and difficult to find. Christ said,"Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." If the truth as it is in Christ is hid away down in the depths of the so-called Mormon Problem, it is truly the straight and difficult way to find. And I will say to all who desire to have part in the first resurrection, having the whole truth as it is in Christ, that in the depth of these seeming mysteries and stumbling-blocks, there you will find the Pearl of Great Price. May God help you dear reader, to break the bands of Satan — give up this vain world — and fulfill the mission for which the God of heaven created you into the world.