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The Myth of Mormon Inspiration

Written By BRODIE CROUCH

Copyright 1968 By Gussie Lambert Published By LAMBERT'S BOOK HOUSE Box 4007 Shreveport, Louisiana 71104

DEDICATION

To my wife, Ruth, and my children Glenn, Frances, and Vickie, whose devotion and understanding have made possible the time in which such a book as this one might be produced, this volume is affectionately dedicated.

Acknowledgements
The author is deeply indebted to many persons for assistance, suggestions, and materials used in the preparation of this volume. I wish to express sincerest thanks to the librarians and other personnel at the Newberry Library and Chicago Historical Society Library in Chicago, and to those of the Garrett Biblical Institute Library in Evanston, Illinois. They were most helpful on many occasions. The Chicago Historical Society Library provided me with microfilms of the Messenger and Advocates published by the Mormons during the Kirtland, Ohio, period. The Garrett Biblical Institute Library allowed me to have their fine set of the Times and Seasons microfilmed. I am most happy to acknowledge permission granted by Little, Brown, and Company of Boston for the use of brief quotations from the copyrighted work of John Henry Wigmore on Evidence, an authoritative work in the field of legal evidence. I am grateful to the American Sunday School Union of Philadelphia for permission granted to use quotations from George Barton's Archaeology And The Bible, and to Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc., of New York for similarly granting permission for the use of brief quotations from Isn't One Wife Enough? by Dr. Kimball Young. Dr. James D. Bales, of Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas, also rendered valuable aid in assisting with the securing of some materials and by reading and making suggestions for the improvement of the manuscript. Some quotations from his work in the field of Mormonism contribute significantly to the value of this work. Thomas F. Preshaw, of Portland, Oregon, made a number of valuable materials available to me, and once drove three hundred miles out of his way to be of assistance to me. Denton M. Neal, of East Riverdale, Maryland, assisted me by doing some research in the Library of Congress which I was unable to attend to personally. To each of these, and many others, the author is indebted. He trusts that the work will justify the effort going into it, and that it will result in helping to uphold the truth of God, and give to mankind a greater faith in the Book of all books. 3

Table of Contents
Page DEDICATION ..............................................................................................1 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .........................................................................3 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................5 Chapter One: Statement of the Issue .......................................................... 13 Chapter Two: The Inspiration of the Bible ................................................26 Chapter Three: Mormon Inspiration .......................................................... 60 Chapter Four: Direct Revelation From God Unnecessary Today ...............84 Chapter Five: Revelation Vs. Revelation ...................................................97 Chapter Six: Prophecies of Joseph Smith on Which Mormons Rely .................................................................................................... 133 Chapter Seven: Prophecies of Joseph Smith Which Were Not Fulfilled .............................................................................................. 161 Chapter Eight: "Zion" And Mormon Inspiration ................................. 183 Chapter Nine: Skotching the Wagon ........................................................208 Chapter Ten: Polygamy An "Ideal" .....................................................217 Chapter Eleven Divine Inspiration Could Have Helped .................... 226 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................ 242 APPENDIX: A Catalog of Changes in the Book of Mormon Since the First Edition ........................................................................248 BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................................................... 269 INDEX...................................................................................................... 276

Introduction
No apology is needed for presenting to the public a volume dealing with the inspiration which has produced the writings and revelations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is claimed that these works are the result of divine inspiration. Though the orgin, history, an doctrines of the Mormons have served as basis for thousands of volumes during the past century, the inspiration of Mormonism has been all too frequently neglected in the works of refutation. The Mormon system is an intricate one. It is filled with complexities which make it difficult for those who have studied the system but a short time to arrive at conclusions which are fair to both the Mormons and truth. It is a system which poses as the only true religion of Jesus Christ, and is therefore in direct conflict with acceptance of the Bible as God's complete revelation to mankind for this dispensation. It deserves a candid and critical examination. If its claims be true, all sincere searchers for truth should accept its teachingsIf they are not true, they should be rejected. This fact has been clearly stated by Orson Pratt, one of the original twelve Mormon apostles, with regard to the teachings of the Book of Mormon: "The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved and recieve it. Therefore, every soul in all the world is equally interested in ascertaining its truth or falsity."1 Pratt continued on to assert that an examination should be made to determine whether the Book of Mormon was from God or from men. This invitation to investigate critically constituted a challenge to the public which has been many times accepted. Investigation of the Book of Mormon has been considered by most opponents of the system to be the primary target of vulnerability in the system, the Book of Mormon itself being considered the foundation of the Mormon system. Actually the Book of Mormon does not constitute the Alpha and Omega of Mormonism. It does, however, play a vital part in the faith of all Mormons, and defenders of truth must not relax their efforts to expose as false its claim to be a collection of Holy Scriptures brought forth from the ground. Nevertheless, a proper understanding of the place of the Book of Mormon in the Mormon's
1 Orson Pratt, A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, "Divine Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon," p. 1.

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

conception of inspiration helps to explain why refutations of the Mormon system, many of which have been scholarly and abundantly documented, have failed to shake the faith of the majority of Latter-day Saints. The theocratic system of Mormonism does not rest solely, or even primarily, upon the Book of Mormon. Instead, it rests upon a series of supposed events and an accepted hierarchy, or "priesthood," the authority of which may well be summed up with the term "continued revelation," or inspiration. Basically it involves several points: 1. That God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son appeared to Joseph Smith. Jr., in 1820 when he was fifteen years of age,2 forbade him to join any of the religious sects of the day, and set the stage for later appearances of divine personages by whom Joseph Smith, Jr., was established as a latter-day prophet with divine authority. If Smith possessed such authority, he had the authority to speak and teach with God's approval and with legions of angels to back his commands and uphold his actions. No more could be said for the writers of the Bible. So long as Joseph Smith, Jr., is thus considered a prophet of God, logical exposure of the false claims of the Book of Mormon will not shake the faith of many staunch Mormons. They will merely continue to hold to their faith in the prophet, with the conviction that his enemies are persecuting him, and with the belief that he knew more than all his enemies combined with regard to the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. The importance of the position claimed for Joseph Smith in the Mormon system is recognized by Latter-day Saint writers. Orson Pratt wrote that if God did not send Joseph Smith, "this church cannot be the church of God, and the tens of thousands who have been baptized into this church are yet in their sins."3 A more recent apostle of the Mormon faith, James E. Talmage, recognized the importance of Smith's claimed divine calling to the sustaining of Mormonism itself, and admitted the superstructure could not be stable if the claim be false.4 Therefore it is obvious that the foundation of the Mormon system is not the Book of Mormon, but the claimed divine ordination of Smith by heavenly personages. 2. Second in importance to the claim that Joseph Smith, Jr., was
Pearl Of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:17-20. Op. Cit., "Divine Authority," p. 2. James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latterday Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, pp. 7, 8.
3 Pratt, 4 2

INTRODUCTION

established by divine personages as an authoritative prophet of God upon earth is the claim that God intended the miracles of inspiration and revelation to continue until the end of the world as a means of guiding God's faithful in paths of righteousness and truth. The Mormon prophet himself preached at the Nauvoo Temple January 22, 1843 and affirmed that the "rock" of Matthew 16:18 the rock upon which Christ promised to build his church was revelation.5 Early Mormon writers, as Orson Spencer, declared: ". . . no person ever did partake of the gospel of salvation, or ever will partake of it, without the spirit of revelation dwelling in his breast. This is the first and also the last round in the ladder that leads to a perfect knowledge of God. Without the same spirit of revelation that dwelt in the breasts of prophets, patriarchs, and apostles in ancient time, no man can begin to know God, neither can any man or set of men make any progress in the knowledge of God, when that spirit is withdrawn from him.6 All understanding of the scriptures, all progress in the knowledge of God, and all spiritual blessings were made contingent upon one's possessing the same kind of "spirit of revelation" which the inspired men of biblical times possessed. This concept of continued revelation has been so enlarged upon by Mormons since the early days that it now means not only the divine power of inspiration necessary to bring forth new messages from God, but also the power to put new meanings into scriptures already in existence. Writing in The Improvement Era concerning the Doctrine And Covenants, A. C. Lambert declared that the concept of continuous revelation which had been early established and clearly taught in the Doctrine and Covenants was significant. He affirmed that this principle may mean the expansion of meanings and applications of scripture as well as the adding of new units of scripture.7 Fortified with this concept of a power of divine guidance inspiring the leaders of the church, the faithful Mormon will not easily be moved from his conviction that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record divinely preserved for his benefit. He is assured by "inspired" men that it is the word of God divinely preserved, and it is the charge of uninspired men, or men less inspired, that it is spurious and false.
5 Joseph Smith, Jr., History Of The Church, Vol. V., Deseret Book Co., Lake City, Utah, 1958, p. 258. 6 Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting The Most Prominent Doctrines Of Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Lake City, 1891, p. 34. 7 A. C. Lambert, "The Book Of Doctrine And Covenants," Improvement October, 1951, Vol. 54, p. 734.

Salt The Salt Era,

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Upon the basis of these considerations, the "inspiration" back of the Mormon revelations and scriptures which have been produced by Joseph Smith, Jr., assume gigantic proportions. If he was ordained of God as a prophet, and if he did possess the power of divine revelation and inspiration, the writings which he produced as the revelations and testimony of God must bear the marks of inspiration. They may be subjected to the same kind of critical examination to which the works of the biblical writers have been subjected through the centuries. Moreover, as Orson Pratt issued a challenge to the early opponents of Mormonism to examine the Book of Mormon, so have more recent writers from the ranks of the Mormon priesthood issued the same honorable invitation to the searching-public to apply the acid test of examination to the life and writings of Joseph Smith, Jr. In 1949, Joseph F. Merrill, of the Council of the Twelve, speaking in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, declared that an honest investigation of the life of Joseph Smith, Jr., from the time of his birth to his death would justify any honest person in saying that he was at least a marvelous man. However, Merrill continues and affirms that in his own opinion every intelligent and honest person ought to feel justified, in the light of Smith's claims, to go into a careful study of the Mormon prophet.8 Even if Apostle Merrill had not issued this invitation to investigate the life and works of Joseph Smith, Jr., the claims made by Smith and by his followers for him and his claimed revelations warrant such an examination. The Book of Mormon has already received extensive consideration by other writers, and has therefore been only an incidental consideration in this work. Though the one hundred thirty six revelations and the manifesto which make up the book of Doctrine and Covenants have been at all times the primary object under scrutiny as we have endeavored to examine the inspiration which produced them, the very nature of the origin of Mormonism has made it necessary that the claimed vision of 1820 be given prominent treatment. It has been necessary to frequently refer to many other Mormon and non-Mormon writings, since any careful examination of the Doctrine and Covenants must cover the entire range of the origin of Mormon authority and therefore Mormonism itself. It must be borne in mind, however, that Mormons believe that every individual is in possession of individual "revelation," the spirit of which will guide him into that knowledge and accuracy necessary for his part of God's work to be carried out. We therefore freely admit that many of the Mormon writings quoted
Joseph F. Merrill, "Freedom Or Monopolistic Domination By Selfish Groups," Improvement Era, November 1949, Vol. 52, p. 709.
8

INTRODUCTION

from and referred to are not considered official boohs of Mormonism, but they do serve to show where Mormon "inspiration" has led certain faithful Mormons, and therefore serve to explode the concept that all good Mormons must have divine guidance of the same kind which motivated and guided the biblical writers. If it be divine inspiration, the least we can expect of it is that it should lead the person inspired to speak or write with accuracy. Any endeavor to delve into the concept of Mormon inspiration brings one into contact with the volumes innumerable which have been written both in defense of Mormonism and in efforts to refute it. Many authors are found to have been careless in their handling of data, and some have reached conclusions too quickly which have later served to discredit their works in the judgment of Mormons. Alexander Campbell was one of the first to render a scholarly review of the system, and his review was widely circulated. He concluded at first that Joseph Smith was the "sole author and proprietor"9 of the Book of Mormon, but he later came to the conclusion that Eber D. Howe was correct in maintaining that Sidney Rigdon had played an important role in bringing forth the work.10 Mormon writers still seek to discredit all of Campbell's review by pointing to his change in view concerning its authorship.11 Many errors similarly found their way into the early refutations of the Mormon system, and were in turn employed by others in opposing Mormonism. These, too, have been employed to advantage by Mormon writers to make it appear that they have been opposed only through prejudice, and without just cause. Dr. Wilhelm Wyl cites the unfortunate incident of the false statement circulated relative to the contents of the ill-fated Nauvoo Expositor: "There is scarcely any history of Mormonism without the following statement: 'The first issue (June 7th, 1844) contained the statement of sixteen women, that Joseph Smith or other Mormon leaders had attempted 12to seduce them under the plea of heavenly permission to do so.' " As Dr. Wyl correctly points out, the single issue of the Expositor did not contain such affidavits, and contained but three affidavits in all, with the promise that more could and would be supplied. This
Alexander Campbell, "Delusions," The Millenial Harbinger, Vol. II, p. 93. Alexander Campbell, "Mormonism Unveiled," The Millenial Harbinger, Vol. VI, p. 44. 11 Francis W. Kirkham, A New Witness For Christ In America, Vol. II, Zion's Printing and Publishing Co., Independence, Mo., 1951, pp. 101-109; 221; 336, 337; Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses For God, Vol. III, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1951, pp. 347-354. 12 Dr. Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits Or The Truth About Mormon Leaders From 1830 To 1886, Tribune Printing And Publishing Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1886, pp. 149, 150.
10 9

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

early claim, however, found its way into wide circulation, and was still in use in 1884 when Clark Braden employed it in the BradenKelley Debate.13 Another factor which renders care necessary in dealing with the vast amount of literature dealing with the Mormon system has been the attitude of Mormons in particular toward those who have become disillusioned and disappointed by the system and later left it to tell their story. Mormons have rejected their testimony almost in full, and even among scholarly modern writers one still finds the tendency to refer to apostates as comparable to political traitors.14 Actually, a man's right to testify against a religious system which has disillusioned him is one of the priceless heritages of the American system of life, and of right even if it were denied him legally. The truthfulness or untruthfulness of what he testifies must be determined by facts, not by slurs and innuendo. The author has endeavored to maintain throughout a manner and disposition entirely fair and honorable. Though convinced before undertaking it that the Mormon system is erroneous and its claims of divine inspiration false, he has nevertheless likened his work to that of an honest district or states attorney whose job it was to present fairly the conclusive evidence at his command. He has refrained from making use of many facts known to exist simply because some of the writings of those bearing the testimony are known to be erroneous and because it is felt that this work will be the more useful if substantiated by facts and knowledge which is admitted by Mormon authorities. Though this may and does lead to a somewhat warped concept of the origin of Mormonism in some details where only a historical record is the objective, it but strengthens the case against the claim for divine inspiration made for the writings of Joseph Smith and other Mormon prophets. We fully agree with Nephi Lowell Morris that the claims of Smith as a prophet of God have been set up before the public long enough that the proper verdict of time can now be fairly determined.15 We disagree as completely with Hugh Ireland, editor of the Liahona The Elders' Journal, in his editorial of August 6, 1918, when he asserted: "In the ninety eight years that have elapsed since God the
Clark Braden & E. L. Kelley, Braden-Kelley Debate, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, California, 1955, p. 87. 14 Kimball Young, Isn't One Wife Enough?, Henry Holt & Co., New York, N.Y., 1954, p. 3. 15 Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies Of Joseph Smith And Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920, Preface, p. iii.
13

INTRODUCTION

11

Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, in answer to his earnest prayer for light and guidance, no man has ever given a satisfactory reason for disbelieving that such a revelation was given to him. In all those years no one has ever advanced a sufficient reason 16 why his claims to Divine revelation and authority should be rejected." It is not our purpose to set forth the first "sufficient reason" why the claims of Smith should be rejected, but we do believe that with the added advantage of the test of time and modern opportunities of research, it is now possible to do such a job with fewer errors and greater force than was true in many earlier attempts. In attempting to expose the revelations of Mormonism as but the writings of men not divinely inspired, we have but the highest regard for and the profoundest faith in the Bible as God's divinely inspired will to mankind. We stedfastly maintain that the church of Christ described in the New Testament, promised by Jesus before his death17 and frequently alluded to in the scriptures thereafter as a reality,18 is the body of Christ, his church, and will be eternally saved by him if faithful in his service. We cannot agree with writers such as J. H. Beadle who imply that the origin of Mormonism can supply rules by which the origin of other religions may be judged19 unless the "other religions" under consideration are also of human origin and without divine sanction. We cannot agree with writers such as George Arbaugh that the efforts of Alexander Campbell and others to return to primitive Christianity was but an expounding of the theology of John Locke,20 but we are not set for the defense of Campbell or any other man save to the extent they advance only the teachings of the word of God. We fully concur with Elder Orson F. Whitney, in a discourse delivered April 19, 1885 in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City: ". . . and there can be, in the very nature of things, only one true plan of eternal life, for if there were two they must necessarily differ, since no two things can be exactly alike, and if one of these two things is perfect, that which differs from it must be imperfect. Of a necessityGod is the author of perfection; His works are not deficient in any respect; and what He ordains for the salvation of man is the only way for man to be saved."21 Believing this to be true, there can be no harmony between the
Ireland, "Editorial," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 16, p. 922. Matthew 16:18. Acts 2:47; 8:1; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:23. 19 J. H. Beadle, Polygamy, Or The Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism, Cincinnati Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1882, p. 18. 20 George Bartholomew Arbaugh, Revelation In Mormonism, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 111., 1932, p. 217. 21 Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 147.
18 16 Hugh 17

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concept that the Bible is God's authoritative word to mankind and Joseph Smith's assertion that he wanted the liberty of thinking and believing as he pleased since erring in doctrine did not prove a man to be not a good man.22 We challenge the claim he made in declaring that there was no error in the revelations which he had taught.23 We courteously accept the challenge which he issued to the world in a letter to James Arlington Bennett, dated November 13, 1843, but appearing; in the Times And Seasons bearing the earlier date of November 1, 1843: "The boldness of my plans and measures can readily be tested by the touchstone of all schemes, systems, projects, and adventures truth; for truth is a matter of fact.''24 Though Smith penned these words in defense of his claim to having translated the Book of Mormon from metal plates divinely preserved, his is a "challenge to apply the test of truth to his "plans and measures." To do so is but to reveal that his "schemes, systems, projects, and adventures" will not stand the touchstone of truth, and in falling reveal the absence of God's divine inspiration in their origin.
Op. Cit, Vol. V, p. 340. Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 366. Times And Seasons, Vol. 4, pp. 372, 373, November 1, 1843. See also History of the Church, Vol. VI, p. 74.
24 22 Smith, 23

CHAPTER ONE

Statement of the Issue


It is recognized by all Bible believers that there must be divine authority for all we do in religion. No man or group of men have the right to bind their views, opinions, or practices upon the faith of others unless divinelyauthorized by the great Creator of the universe. Unless God has spoken to mankind, man has no right to act in His Name, or to make promises of a spiritual or eternal nature. No church has the right to abrogate to itself the right to control the lives of men, determine morals, nor to pretend to be representative of God upon earth. All these are the prerogative of God, and must be left to His direction and control. This necessity for divine authority in religious matters has been abundantly recognized by Mormon teachers and writers. Apostle James E. Talmage wrote: "Now, in this day of whirl and swirl, when things are in commotion, and men's hearts are failing them, is there no sure anchorage for our individual barks? Is there no haven of safety to the great ocean of unrest? Thank God, we find it in His Word; for all that the Lord has foretold shall come to pass literally and in fulness. To regulate the things of God, to administer in the ordinances of heaven, requires a power higher than that any man can originate or abrogate to himself. I doubt if any man1 would challenge me to serious debate upon that proposition." Though many of us would take issue with Mr. Talmage on some of the details in his proposition when it comes to the application of them, basically he has declared a biblical truth in affirming that there must be divine authority to "administer the ordinances of heaven." Apostle Talmage made his statement in efforts to refute the claim of he Reorganized Church of the Latter-day Saints that it had been necessary to "reorganize" things divine. What he says with regard to the reorganized Church is equally true of the Utah Church or any church. Man has no right to assume for himself religious authority. Only where God has authorized it do men have the right to function in religious matters with God's approval. To do otherwise is to incur the displeasure of God while acting upon the authority of men not divinely inspired. These basic facts are recognized by all who recognize the Bible to be God's authoritative word.
1 James E. Talmage, "God's Word And Authority The Only Sure Anchorage," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 16, p. 1359.

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The question involved is: what constitutes divine authority in religion, and in what manner does such authority come to us? It is a basic tenet of doctrine with Latter-day Saints that divine authority essential. in religious matters. They have contended for more than a century that all other religious groups are wrong because they do not have the authoritative priesthood which the Mormons contend was restored through Joseph Smith. They claim that only they have the authority to baptize to offer the assurance of forgiveness of sins to baptized believers, or to observe the communion instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ.2 This claim is based upon their claim that the authority of the priesthood was restored by the laying on of the hands of John the Baptist upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, May 15, 1829.3 It is to be noted that Apostle Talmage affirmed that the "haven of safety" in the "ocean of unrest" is found in the word of God. Herein lies the primary distinction between Mormon teaching and Bible teaching. Mormons do not actually believe that divine authority comes to us through the word of G o d a n d i n no other way, but contend that it must be handed down from one person to another through a direct laying on of hands. They thus create an authoritative priesthood separate and apart from all authority coming to us through God's word. 1. In What Ways Could Divine Authority Come To Us? (a). Directly. For man to have revelation and instruction from God, it is essential that at some time God must have directly revealed His will to man. God is a spirit,4 man is physical.. Had God not revealed His will to mankind directly at some time. it; would be impossible for His will to be made known to us in either of the other ways in which divine authority can come to us. In disagreeing with the doctrines and practices of the Latter-day Saints it is not the intention of this writer to take issue with their conviction that God has in time past spoken to mankind. God spoke in earlier dispensations through the prophets, and he speaks to us in this Christian age through His Son, Jesus Christ.5 The Old Testament is filled with incidents and records of God's speaking directly to particular individuals and nations at sundry times. The Old Testament looks forward to the coming of Christ, foretells his advent into the world and sets forth certain incidentals with regard to his coming which makes it possible to know with
James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, pp. 174, 207; Matthew 28:18-20; 26:26-29. 3 Doctrine and Covenants 13. 4 John 4: 24. 5 Hebrews 1:1, 2.
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STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

15

certainty the t r u t h that he was t h e prophet foretold. He was to be horn of the descendants of Abraham,6 of the tribe of Judah.7 and would be a prophet like unto Moses.'' These prophecies were fulfilled in the coming of Christ, and it was he of whom Jehovah said to Moses: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."9 Mormons recognize that God has spoken to mankind through Christ, and that Christ is the savior of mankind. Despite the claims that have been made for Joseph Smith, thus far sincere Mormons have not made the claim that he has replaced Christ, though some of the claims, made for him in effect nullify the position of Christ. Apostle Talmage. in the appendix to The Articles of Faith, quotes Cassell's Bible Dictionary concerning Christ as "The Annointed One,"10 and cites the teaching of President John Taylor concerning Christ as "The Author of Our Salvation."11 The point of issue, therefore, in this study is not whether God has revealed His will to mankind directly, but whether God still continues to so reveal His will to men today directly as is claimed by the Latter-day Saints. Ours is not an effort to destroy the faith of men that God has spoken His will to mankind, for that He has is a definite declaration of scripture. But has that will been declared once for all to mankind, or does God continue to speak through inspired men today? Careful analysis of the claimed revelations and inspired works of Mormon writers will prove them to be the product of ordinary inspiration, rather than by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which motivated the biblical writers and guided them in their work. (b). Divine revelation could come to mankind through teaching some men and supplying them with confirming evidence that they may teach others. This is sometimes spoken of as mediated revelation in contrast with immediate or direct revelation. God has in both the Old and the New Testaments employed this method of supplying authority for men to do His will. Moses was given authority to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and God supplied him with the miracu6 Genesis 12:1-3. 7 Genesis 49:10. 8 Deuteronomy 18:18. 19. 9 Ibid., Acts 3:22. 23; 7:37. 10 Talmage, Op. Cit., p. 516. 11

Ibid., p. 477.

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lous power to convert his rod into a serpent,12 and later the power to bring ten plagues upon Egypt13 that Pharaoh might recognize him as a spokesman for God and allow the people to go forth. Daniel was empowered to interpret the dream of Nebuchadnezzar,14 God thereby confirming Daniel as a servant of God to the king. The personal ministry of Jesus upon earth served this same purpose. By the miracles and signs and_ wonders performed by him while upon earth he was shown to be the Son of God.15 The apostles and other disciples who were taught by him therefore recognized that his teaching constituted the will of God. His claim to possess all authority, or all power, in heaven and on earth was recognized by the apostles to be a legitimate claim, and they never entertained doubt thereafter but that such authority belonged to him. His command to them to "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature"16 gave to them a delegated authority to go forth and preach in his name. Those" to whom the apostles and' Other disciples came in their teaching did not receive the word, or revelation, of God directly as the apostles had, but they received God's will and message nonetheless. They received it from men who had received it directly, and it was confirmed to them by the performance of signs and miracles in such a manner as to remove all reasonable doubt but that the message they were accepting came to them from God.17 Mormon writers and teachers agree that Christ did commission his apostles and send them forth to proclaim his word to the nations of earth. There is therefore no issue involved in this study as to whether Christ did establish his church and by sending forth inspired men to preach the gospel, the seed of the kingdom of God,18 provide for the perpetuation of the gospel and the kingdom, which is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.19 The issue involved is whether Latter-day Saints in these modern times have been commissioned by the same authority by which the Christians of the first century were commissioned, and whether the teachings which they advance to the world have been confirmed in the same undeniable manner in which the teachings of the New Testament apostles have been confirmed. (c). Divine revelation can come to mankind through written mes12 Exodus 4:4. 13 Exodus 9-12. 14 Daniel 2:36-45. 15 Acts 2:22. 16 Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15, 17 Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4. 18 Matthew 13:3-23; Luke 8:11. 19

16.

Ephesians 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

17

sages adequately confirmed to be of divine origin. It is agreed by all who admit the Bible to be God's inspired _word that through it God has delivered a message to mankind. The hooks of the Bible were written by men who were guided by the power of God's Holy Spirit. and were by that power directed into the fulness of God's truth.20 By His power and direction they taught, and by that power they asserted that their teaching was in the words of God's wisdom and not in those of man's wisdom.21 It is admitted by all intellectual beings that a message written down in terms of understanding contains the same message which the same words spoken would contain. The word "scripture" signifies anything that is "written." Recognition of the Bible as divine "scriptures is a recognition that its contents originated with God, and are intended by Him to be accepted as the authoritative word of God by mankind. Latter-day Saints recognize the Bible to be such a product of God's inspiration, and therefore to contain words of intellectual significance intended by God for mankind. Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage admits that the Latter-day Saints accept the Holy Bible as the foremost of standard works of inspiration which have been proclaimed as written guides in faith and doctrine for the church. He further affirms that Latter-day Saints regard the Bible as do "Christian denominations in general."22 but differ in that they regard other writing to he scripture, equally as authentic and holy. Thus the Bible is admitted to be a "written guide in faith and doctrine." There is therefore no issue between this author and Latter-day Saints as to whether a written message can serve as an agent to bring to us God's authoritative word. The issue lies in whether it is necessary that God continue to make His will known to men in the "direct" manner, or by the proclamation of men who have themselves received "direct" revelation from God. Mormon teachers are dedicated to the premise that such continuation of the direct manner of revealing God's truth is essential in order for men to know the will of God. They are dedicated to the premise that authority received through the Bible to baptize, preach the word, observe the Lord's supper, and other acts of religious service act u al l y constitutes no authority at all. It is therefore significant that Apostle Talmage admits that the Bible does constitute a "written guide." and therefore this third avenue by
20 John 14:26; 16:13, 21 1 Corinthians 1:20 22

14. 25; 2:13. Talmage, Op. Cit., p. 236.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

which authority can come is recognized by Latter-day Saints as well as by other Bible believers. That the basic issue in this study may be more distinctly set Forth, let us note the following, stated by Elder Orson F. Whitney, in a discourse at the eighty seventh semi-annual conference at Salt Lake City: "No book presides over this Church, and no book lies at its foundation. You cannot pile up books enough to take the place of God's Priesthood, inspired by the power of the Holy Ghost. That is the constitution of the Church of Christ. If we use water instead of wine in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, it is because Christ has so commanded. Divine revelation adapts itself to the circumstances and conditions of men, and change upon change ensues as God's progressive work goes on to its destiny. There is no book big enough or great enough to preside over this Church. In saying this I speak with all due reverence of the written word of God, that which is printed in the books, part of which may be obsolete, having fulfilled its purpose and been laid upon the shell, while the other part is virile, full of life, and applicable to our present state our present degree of development. But even this must be interpreted aright. No man ought to contend for what is in the books, in the face of God's mouthpiece, who- speaks for Him and interprets His word. To so contend is to defer to the dead letter in preference to the living oracle, which is always a false position."23 Whitney thus asserts, and Talmage would agree, that the Bible does not constitute a "written guide in faith and doctrine" to be recognized and submitted to in all matters religious. The continued inspiration of the Mormon hierarchy system, or Priesthood, is ever made the medium of divine authority by which all scripture must be interpreted, or to be cast aside if it conflicts with what is spoken by the Mormon "living oracle." The issue therefore is whether the Mormon inspiration of modern times is divinely authoritative, whether it comes to us with the same undeniable confirmation by which the New Testament and the Old Testament have become so universally accepted as the product of supernatural inspiration. It is not a question as to whether a written message can carry authority for one person to act in the name of another, for that principle is universally recognized "My all mankind. Business managers send instructions by letter, cablegram, telegram, or other written means authorizing their subordinates to proceed with matters of greatest importance. Latter-day Saints recognize that the Bible contains God's word, and they also make for the Book of Mormon the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the other authoritative writings of
23

Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 14, p. 736.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

19

the Mormon prophets the claim that they are binding upon us, and that without them we cannot come to know God perfectly. Hence, they recognize that a written message can carry authority, but they deny that the Bible does constitute an authoritative and complete revelation of God's will to us. In the early days of Mormonism the first group of Mormon apostles sent out a letter to all of the churches advising, "Be careful that you teach not for the word of God the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God's messengers. Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man's opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scripture proof is worth ten thousand opinions.24 Thus Brigham Young. Heber C. Kimball, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith reveal that in the early days of the system Mormon inspired men recognized the weight of scriptural authority. We fully concur with them in the conclusion that "one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions." Mormons err, therefore, in concluding that we are without divine authority when we reject the prophecies and claimed revelations of Smith and other Mormon prophets and simply accept the authority of God's word the Bible. 2. Characteristic Features of Divine Inspiration. The very nature of this study requires that we have before us a reasonable conception as to what characteristic features will be present when we do have before us works that are divinely inspired. It is possible to set forth some simple characteristics which all believers in "divine inspiration" at any time under any conditions will agree to be trustworthy in efforts to identify works of divine origin: (a). Divine inspiration must be supernatural in origin, and before any work can safely be accepted as divinely inspired it must be confirmed to be not of ordinary human inspiration. Any writing, precept, or teaching which can be shown to have originated by man and within the capacity of ordinary human intelligence is recognized by all to have a human origin and not a divine origin. This principle has long been recognized by Mormon teachers. Many volumes have been devoted to efforts to establish that the Book of Mormon and the claimed revelations of Joseph Smith could not have originated without the supernatural inspiration of God. Here is the real issue: do the claimed revelations and other Mormon scriptures prove to be
24 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905, Vol. III, pp. 395, 396.

20

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

the work of men divinely inspired, or could they have been produced by men empowered with only ordinary human inspiration? Mormon authorities recognize that if they were of divine origin, the indication of their supernatural nature will be evident. Speaking of Joseph Smith, Charles W. Penrose, of the first presidency, said: "Not that he was more than a man, but the tokens of his inspiration, the truths which he brought forth and the work which he accomplished, were above the capacities of any mortal unaided by higher power. His prophetic gifts are proven by the events of history. His seership was unexcelled in any age. Uneducated, he confounded the learning of the world, and the system he brought forth is to unbelievers the unsolved problem of the times."25 Thus Mormon teachers recognize that the. Bible is indeed of divine origin, and careful examination confirms that fact. The truth or falsity of Penrose's claims regarding similar evidences of divine inspiration for the "scriptures" resulting from Mormon inspiration constitutes the issue before us. The evidence should be allowed to speak for itself. (b). Works of divine inspiration must be infallibly dependable and freeof error. There can be no harmony between recognized error and imperfection and divine inspiration. If it be a message brought from God it will be accurate. It will contain that which is, and "only that which it is God's will that man recieve. Mormon author Nephi Lowell Morris admits the force of this conclusion when in the Preface to his book, The Prophecies Of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfilment, he cities a quotation from Thomas H. Horne to the effect that "prophecy is a miracle of knowledge," and "constitutes the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with the Deity, and the truth of a revelation from God."26 We are dealing therefore with that which, if divinely inspired, is superhuman and divine. It must, therefore, be as accurate and as infallible as it would be if uttered by the very mouth of Jehovah GOD. That which is said regarding prophecy in regard to things future must be applicable also to those things pertaining to the present, the past, or even the most distant past if an inspired spokesman for God sees fit to speak or write concerning them. Should God speak today from the heavens concerning events which occurred thousands of years ago, no believer in God doubts but that He would speak accurately and understandably His words would
25 Charles W. Penrose, "Why I Am A Mormon," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 20. 26 Nephi Lowell Morris. The Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920, Preface, p. iv.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

21

be directed to those for whom they were intended, and would be such as those for whom the message was intended could intelligently and accurately, comprehend. Even the presence of parables and difficult passages of prophecy in the Bible does not alter this conclusion since Jesus makes clear that the use of parables was to make the gospel apparent to those of his disciples while concealing it from his enemies, and prophecies of the Old Testament are definitely said to have been intended to be beyond man's understanding until the time of fulfillment.27 It is noteworthy, however, that in the case or biblical prophets and inspired men we do not see the prophets of one generation explaining a prophecy one way and in another generation in a different way. They simply did not understand until the time of understanding arrived. It naturally follows that there can be no surer exposure of a claimed "inspired" spokesman for God than to show that he has erred in that which he has stated. The recognition of this principle has been one of the greatest forces in obtaining for the Bible the nearly-universal recognition it has come to enjoy as an expression of God's will to man. The puerile attempts of skeptics and unbelievers to discredit it have been more than offset by the ever-increasing evidence of the accuracy of its records and prophetic declarations which continue to be uncovered by the passing years and archaeological research. Had evidence been discovered that the biblical writers erred by employing the pseudo-scientific concepts of their day. or by erroneously recording the facts of history with which they dealt in periods when the gathering of data was extremely difficult, the Bible would have been rejected as a work of divine origin long ago. (c). Any work of divine origin must be so well confirmed to be of such origin that a reasonable, honest examination leaves no room for doubt. There are standards by which any work of antiquity can be examined, and effort made to determine whether it be of the origin which is claimed for it. Any sincere searcher for the truth of God is under no further obligation than to examine carefully and honestly the evidence presented to give him faith. To deal unfairly with oneself or with the word of God is indeed dangerous, and will lead to the eternal destruction of many who have rejected the revealed will of God. The works of the biblical writers stand abundantly confirmed as writings produced by men divinely inspired. Mormon teachers and authorities admit this fact. They agree that the Bible is the word of God. and speak of it as a "written guide in faith and. doctrine." They fail to recognize that a written message
27

Matthew 13:10 17; Luke 10:23, 24; 1 Peter 1:12.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

can provide all the information necessary for man's salvation, or to authorize men to preach the word of God, baptize those whom they have taught, and otherwise to officiate in the worship and service of God as taught by the apostles in the first century.28 3. How The Bible Supplies Authority. The Bible, God's divinely inspired word, can teach and supply authority for men to act on God's behalf in a clear and unmistakable manner by: (a). Divine precept or commandment. Christ taught His apostles to go forth and preach the word. He commands those who hear the word to repent of their sins and be baptized for remission of their sins.29 In instituting the Lord's supper, the Lord commanded his disciples to observe the memorial feast.30 Latter-day Saints, and even the writings of Mormon inspiration admit that God's commandments are authoritative when found in the written word. The very first "revelation" in the Doctrine and Covenants is supposed to be ". . . mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth."31 (b). The Word of God authorizes through apostolic example. When the disciples of Christ in Troas met together on the first day of the week to break bread,32 the example thus approved by the inspired writer sets before us the acceptable time for the observation of that memorial feast of the Lord. Again Latter-day Saints admit the force of approved apostolic example, for they never cease to delight in making the charge that any church which does not today have apostles, and prophets as the New Testament church did in apostolic days cannot be the true church of Christ.33 (c). Authority is also given through inference that is necessary and unavoidable. This is not to argue that man may infer what he may desire from the written word and thus produce authority for that which he champions. But inference that is necessary and unavoidable provides authority as definite as a specific command. When Jesus commanded his apostles to "go" into all the world to preach the gospel he specified no method of transportation. Yet a means of transportation is as essential a part of the going as is a message to be preached when they get to the points of destination
28 29

Matthew 28:18 20; 2 Timothy 2:2. Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:38; 22:16. 30 Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23 26. 31 Doctrine and Covenants 1:6. See also Sec. 42:59. 32 Acts 20:7. 33 Talmage, Op. Cit., p. 199.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

23

embraced in the wide-sweeping command. To argue that Christ authorized no means of transportation is absurd. He authorized any means of transportation man may choose to employ. Latter-day Saints recognize that such necessary and unavoidable inference from the. scriptures does constitute authority and approval for the use of any means of transportation man may employ in carrying out the commission of Christ. Since Mormons do recognize the Bible to be God's word, and they staunchly defend the scripturalness and acceptability to God of the Christian religion as it existed in the first century, we conclude that the scriptures still afford us an infallible religious guide in morals and doctrine. The only manner in which this conclusion can be upset is by the establishment of the Mormon claim that "latter-day prophets" have spoken by diving inspiration. Until this claim be established Mormon testimony that the Bible is inaccurate, or beyond the understanding of man, or incomplete, remains weightless. Inevitably, facing the issue brings us back to the inspiration back of the claimed revelation of Joseph Smith and other Mormon prophets. 4. Mormons Claim Continued Revelation Is Essential. On the other hand, Mormons insist that God has sent prophets in these "latter-days" with inspired testimony that Christ's gospel was long ago corrupted, and with authority to "restore" the church of the New Testament.34 They affirm that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constitutes the restored church and apart from it the true church of Christ is not to be found upon the earth. They affirm that "continued revelation" the continuation of the divine power of inspiration is necessary today in order to receive new truths from God, for God will not ever cease to speak to His people directly as well as through the written word so long as the earth stands in its present state. That which is spoken to the living prophets must ever be considered as more immediately applicable in determining man's duty than that which was written by prophets in any previous age. Such inspiration is needed to understand and interpret the written scriptures, because the New Testament is insufficient to give the fulness of Christ's gospel. This gift, or power of inspiration is declared to be the very foundation of the church.35 Clarity of the issue requires that the reader continually bear in mind the weight and importance of the writings of Mormon leaders on the subjects which hear on the topic of divine inspiration as found in Mormon "scriptures." The basic claim for divine inspira34 1 35

Nephi 13:26 29; Doctrine and Covenants 1:17-24, 29, 30. Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 258.

24

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

lion, or "revelation," is not made for the prophets only. Instead it is forcibly and repeatedly affirmed to be a gift that belongs to faithful Latter-day Saint. Former president and prophet Wilford Woodruff wrote: "Every man or woman that has ever entered into the Church of God and been baptized for the remission of sins, has a right to revelation, has a right to the Spirit of God, to assist them in their labors, in their administrations to their children, in counselling their children and those over whom they are called to preside. The Holy Ghost is not restricted to men, nor to apostles or prophets; it belongs to every faithful man and woman, and to 36 every child who is old enough to receive the gospel of Christ." Much more recently G. Homer Durham, head of the Department of Biblical Science at. the University of Utah affirmed the "priesthood of all believers" as a living reality in the restored church, and stated that in a real sense it could be maintained that the inspiration of God is to all men and women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.37 Since therefore, Mormon inspiration, "the spirit of revelation,"38 is said to be present in every faithful Latter-day Saint, and this power of revelation is designed to guide one in the proper understanding of the scriptures, we may rightfully expect that in the examination of the attempts of Mormons to both explain the scriptures and their own "revelations" we may observe Mormon inspiration at work. We fully realize that according to Mormon doctrine no writing is considered inspired as a directive for the whole church unless it is received through the president of the church, and is then approved by the church in conference as a revelation.39 However, if every Mormon has the gift of inspiration even to the extent of being divinely guided in matters pertaining hut to the privacy of his own soul, that which he understands as the result of such guidance must first of all be accurate. When he chooses to speak or write concerning those matters, we are then able to examine them not as writings binding and authoritative upon the whole church but as the product of Mormon inspiration. In view of these considerations it is evident that the fundamental and primary issue involved concerning Mormonism is whether Joseph Smith, Jr.. was a man divinely inspired of God and sent
Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 820. G. Homer Durham, "Authoritarianism And Democracy," Improvement Era August, 1949, Vol. 52, p. 500. 38 Orson Spencer, Letters, Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah 1891, p. 34. 39 Doctrine and Covenants 28:2, 7; 107:91, 92; 132:7.
37 36

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUE

25

forth to teach doctrines as revolutionary in his day as were the teachings of Jesus Christ while on earth. The claim of imperfection for the Bible rests on no historical evidence, but solely on the claim of Mormon writings, "revelations," and the Book of Mormon. The reliability of these testimonies rests in turn upon Mormon testimony all of which are said to be the product of a subtle, intangible something termed variously "the spirit of revelation." "inspiration," "divine guidance," or some other term designed to convey the idea that each person possessing it is under the direct guiding hand of God. We may sum up these terms briefly in the simple phrase Mormon inspiration. With the issue thus clearly before us it becomes increasingly more obvious that not only do the Mormon "scriptures" play a vital role in the overall subject of Mormon inspiration, but equally as important are the prophecies of Joseph Smith, the historical movements of the early Mormons as directed by Mormon revelations, the vast array of Mormon apostates which include the three witnesses to the genuineness of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith's own wife, as well as sundry efforts of Mormon teachers to stigmatize as apostate the Reorganized Church and other segments of the Smith followers. These were all factors in developing the system of Mormonism of today, and reveal to us Mormon inspiration as it led men and women into trial, hardship, persecution, internal conflict, dissension, and ultimately faction. These were the men and women who supposedly received through Joseph Smith, Jr., the gift of divine revelation to guide them into the fulness of the gospel, to a proper understanding of God's will, and to the proper appointment and ordination of the right men whom God desired to function in -the all-important priesthood. It is impossible to separate these influences of Mormon inspiration from the inspiration itself. So long as the Mormon system rests upon the claim of "revelation" for every faithful Latter-day Saint we shall be able to make comparison between the wisdom and fruits of Mormon inspiration and the flawless precepts, prophecy, and general admonition contained in the Bible which has weathered the attacks of skeptics for nearly two thousand years and stands today more solidly entrenched than ever as God's inspired word.

CHAPTER TWO

The Inspiration of

The Bible
As stated in the preceding chapter, the issue before us in this examination of the inspiration which produced the Mormon revelations and the Book of Mormon is not that of whether God has at some time revealed Himself and His will to mankind through divinely inspired scriptures. We entertain no doubt but that the historically accepted sixty six books of the Bible were divinely inspired, and that in them we have the will of God to man complete. To believe them to be of divine origin is to believe they will be found to bear the marks of divine inspiration, that they will endure the test of examination and trial. They will be found to differ from the ordinary writings of men. They will be easily distinguished from the spurious "scriptures" produced by men lacking divine inspiration for advancing their creeds and cults. They will be found easily distinguishable from the writings of Joseph Smith, Jr., unless the revelations of Smith are indeed found to be the product of divine inspiration. To say there will be differences between the writings of divine inspiration and those of uninspired men is not to imply that these differences may be so minute as to be confused with the slight variations in style and expression which may be found even in the Bible by comparing the writings of Peter and Paul, or those of David and Isaiah. To concede the point that the Spirit of God has directed men in the writing of God's revelation to mankind is to admit that the Spirit is capable of directing men to write in their own particular style and within the framework of the knowledge God has granted to them. "But still it must be conceded that if the Spirit of God exercised any direction over the selection of these men of their words, their modes of expression, or the matter of their narrations, it is but natural to suppose that we may find traces of the fact in characteristics which the writings would not otherwise possess characteristics by which they may be distinguished as inspired writings."1 Abundant evidence does exist by which the divine origin of the
1 J. W. McGarvey, Sermon on "Inspiration," Sermons, Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1893, p. 3.

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THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

27

biblical scriptures is established. This truth is admitted by Mormon authorities, so would not necessarily require establishing. The Mormon prophet himself, in his letter to John Wentworth, written in 1842, a portion of which was later adopted officially as the articles of faith of the Mormon Church says simply: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly."2 In fairness to truth we prefer to give consideration to some of the evidences which establish the truth of the Bible's divine origin, rather than merely point out the shortcomings of the Mormon scriptures. As Albert Barnes stated concerning the objections by skeptics to the divine origin of the New Testament: "The same principles of historical criticism must be applied to the books of the New Testament as to other books: no sharper, no more lax; no more severe, no more indulgent. No favor should be shown them because they claim to. sacred books; nor should they be approached with any prejudice, or any suspicion, on that account. The question is not what the book is about; it is whether it is true."3 Believing that the Bible is of divine origin, and that the revelations of Joseph Smith are not, we shall set forth reasons for so concluding. We shall not attempt a full-scale examination of such evidences. That would require a larger volume than this entire volume is intended to be. Since the Bible is recognized by Mormon scholarship to be of divine origin, and is accepted as a standard work of the church, we shall examine only a few of the areas of evidence for its divine origin which serve to show in contrast the lack of such evidence for t h e writings of Joseph Smith, Jr. A. The Bible's Claim For Inspiration Outstandingly significant in any consideration of the inspiration of the Bible is the absence of ordinary human testimonials such as the "Testimony of the Three Witnesses" and the "Testimony of the Eight Witnesses" found in each copy of the Book of Mormon. If a prophet of God, endowed with the miraculous and supernatural powers of heaven, speaks forth or writes for the benefit of mankind, the weight of his testimony cannot be increased by the endorsement of men less gifted and of less authority. Though Jesus Christ taught with "authority"4 and not as the scribes who felt impelled always to substantiate their teachings with scriptural authority, not one of the inspired writers selected to record the events of his life and
2 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Vol. IV, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1908, p. 541. 3 Albert Barnes, Lectures On The Evidences Of Christianity In The Nineteenth Century, Harper & Brothers, New York City, New York, 1868, p. 64. 4 Matthew 7:29.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

details of his teaching saw fit to append human testimonials to their divine inspiration. The sacred writings were left to be accepted or rejected by the disciples upon the basis of their content, and upon the basis of their authors' possessing the admitted credentials of inspired men. The Bible does however, make a very definite claim to being inspired of God. The Old Testament canon had been long recognized as an accepted body of scriptures when Christ came to the earth. He spoke of this accepted canon as "in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms."5 He also referred to it as "the scriptures."6 Paul the apostle spoke of them as "the holy scriptures."7 Jesus very often quoted from the scriptures,8 and referred to them authoritatively, thus placing his own stamp of approval upon them as God's revealed word. He promised the Holy Spirit to his apostles as a comforter and guide who would guide them "into all truth."9 Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the very words which he employed in teaching were the words of the Holy Spirit rather than of human wisdom.10 The apostle Peter said of the Old Testament prophecies: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."11 Despite Roman Catholic claims that some of the books of the Bible have been rejected by non-Catholics, and the charges of Mormon inspiration that many books of the Bible may have become lost, there has never been any serious question as to the number and identity of the New Testament books. The historically-accepted thirty nine books of the Old Testament are more in accord with the catalogs of the sacred books supplied by Josephus12 and Eusebius13 than would be true it the apocryphal books were included.14 Roman Catholic author Bertrand L. Conway readily concedes that the PalJohn 5:39. 2 Timothy 3:15. 8 Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 21:42; Luke 24:27, 45-47; John 7:38. 9 John 16:13; 14:26. 10 1 Corinthians 2:13. 11 2 Peter 1:20, 21. 12 The Life And Works Of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston, The John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia, Pa., 1957, p. 861. 13 The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus, translated by Christian Frederick Cruse, Stanford & Swords, New York, New York, 1850, pp. 164, 244, 245. 14 See also Archibald Alexander, The Canon Of The Old And New Testaments Ascertained, Presbyterian Board Of Publication, Philadelphia, Pa., 1851, pp. 21 35.
5 Luke 24:44. 6 Matthew 21:42; 7

THE INSPIRATION" OF THE BIBLE

29

estinian canon of the early centuries after Christ used by the Semitic speaking Jews of Palestine did not contain the questionable books, although he says it "probably originally contained them."15 Conway also admits that St. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate Bible, recognized as the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church, also denied the canonicity of the apocrypha.16 On the basis of these tacts, there can be no doubt but that the apostolic church came to recognize the sixty six books of the recognized biblical text on the basis of its internal evidences of divine inspiration, its authorship and confirming signs wrought by those in possession of miraculous gi f t s of the Holy Spirit. These facts are both admitted by Mormon writers and teachers, and in accord with the generally accepted fact that God has revealed His will to mankind (1) by men; (2) in the language of men; and (3) for mankind's understanding and obedience. It is very significant that though the Mormon system lays claim to the same evidences of divine inspiration for the Mormon scriptures that exist for the books of the Bible, and also lays claim to the miraculous gift of revelation for every individual Mormon to guide him in the proper interpretation of the scriptures, there has never appeared a people in any religious faith more proficient in signing and displaying affidavits to establish the veracity of their word. 2. The Language Of Biblical Inspiration The beautiful, almost flawless language employed by the writers of the Bible, familiar to most readers in the phraseology of the King James Version would not alone constitute evidence of divine origin. The works of Shakespeare and many other writers, ancient and modern, display profound skill in the art of expression. There are, however, characteristics to be observed in the style of the biblical writings which serve to distinguish them from the ordinary writings of men. In addition to their unerring accuracy, we may list the following three cited by J. W. McGarvey: (1) "The unexampled impartiality with which they set forth the sins and follies of friends and foes alike." (2) "The unperturbable calmness with which they describe all events alike." (3) "The unexampled brevity of the New Testament narratives."17
15 Bertrand L. Conway, The Question Box, The Paulist Press, New York, New York, 1929. p. 63. 16 Ibid., p. 63. 17 McGarvey, Op. Cit., pp. 3-5.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

However men may feel with regard to the Bible as a product of divine inspiration they can give no other logical explanation lor these three characteristics of the sacred writings. The fact that they present the denials of Peter and the treachery of Judas without hesitation and without reserve in as straightforward manner as they describe the cowardice of Pilate serves to convince all of their honesty. Their writings do not abound in expressions of persuasion and emotion. The crucifixion of Christ is portrayed without elaborate detail, and in emotionless manner. In contrast the inspiration of Mormonism is careful to record such details as Joseph Smith being shot after he was dead, the number of balls with which he was shot, and the claim" "HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD."18 The Herod who slew the babes of Bethlehem is not specially censured by the New Testament writers for his fiendish slaughter.19 But Mormon inspiration, both in the official scriptures, and in the private writings of leaders of the church, has not failed to heap vituperation and prophecies of doom upon the citizens of Illinois and Missouri who were involved in persecution of the Mormons. Even a casual comparison of the gospels of the New Testament with Mormon writings dealing with their persecutions reveals the more impartial attitude of the former in their restraint of personal feelings when recounting the actions of their enemies. The remarkable brevity of the scriptures is equally outstanding as evidence that the men who wrote the books of the Bible were not guided by ordinary inspiration. Men love to wax eloquent in giving expression to their thoughts, and especially in their description of notable events. The more outstanding the occasion, the more lavish men become with their words. Yet the biblical writers speak of the virgin birth of Christ and his resurrection from the dead as simple historical facts known and accepted the world over!20 No elaborate description, and no pretentious phraseology such as Joseph Smith's frequent "Thus saith the Lord," borrowed from the language of the prophets of the Old Testament. The ascension is recorded in Acts 1, but only verse 9 is devoted to the miraculous event. To say that ordinary men would so write and expect men to believe their testimony is to depart from all accepted principles of logic and psychology. Nor would men have believed the teaching in Bible times but for the miraculous signs God wrought by the hands of those who preached these truths.21 Yet the last two centuries have seen more skeptics arise in their conceit and self-esteem to
18 19 Matthew 20 Matthew 21

Doctrine & Covenants 135:1, 4. 2:16. 1:18-2:23; Luke 2; 1 Corinthians 15:4-26. Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4.

THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

31

deny the genuineness of the inspired word than all the centuries before them produced. The early centuries after Christ left no scroll nor volume attempting to refute the revelations of the Bible nor the genuineness of its inspiration from heaven. Certain it is that the revelations supposedly setting forth God's will regarding the origin of Mormonism have not been characterized by such brevity, nor is it characteristic of the Book of Mormon itself. As a classic example of lack of brevity, note the following: "And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ. And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth And now, because he said this they did put him to death; and many more things did they do which brought down the wrath of God upon them."22 Without entering into discussion as to whether Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, or some other leading Mormon may have been the author of the primary works of Mormon inspiration, their characteristics are too different to those of the Bible to have been produced by the same Holy Spirit of God which produced the Bible. There is some similarity in style between them and the King James Version of the Bible, but there is not the great depth and breadth of meaning in almost every verse as the Bible contains. The works of Mormon inspiration are not of the same authorship as the Bible, and actually bear no close resemblance thereto. 3. The Perfect Harmony Of The Bible Though written by about forty different writers over a period of many centuries, there is perfect harmony and unity throughout the Bible. It has not been necessary to revise the work of one writer to make it agree with that of another, even though they discuss related or identical themes centuries apart. The Bible is free from contradiction within itself, and has proved to be in harmony with the truth known to mankind in the realms of science and history wherever it has recorded the facts of history or ventured within the reach of scientific research. The nearest one can come to charging the Bible with contradiction is the fact that some writers do not include events and facts which we'd normally expect them to relate.
22 Mosiah 7:26-28. For additional examples of lack of brevity see Alma 40:111; 30:8-11; 14:1-5; Mosiah 29:5 11; Doctrine and Covenants 38:4-21; 60:5.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

For instance, Mark does not include the birth of Jesus in his record of Christ's life, and John is the only gospel writer who does give account of raising Lazarus from the dead.23 Instead of revealing contradiction in their writings, this reveals instead the truth that these men wrote differently to ordinary men that they were guided by the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit. They present those facts necessary to the building of faith in the minds of men. but they lack the voluminous elaboration and excessive repetition common to the writings of men where several writers produce biographies of the same person. Skeptics have gone to great length attempting to show discrepancies in the Bible. However, there is not a single apparent discrepancy but that has been often examined and thoroughly studied by men of faith. Instead of serving to destroy faith such investigation invariably has led to increased faith in the Bible as God's word. Logical explanations of the problems involved in such apparent discrepancy are numerous in reliable commentaries and are easily accessible to the reader. As example of the type of alleged discrepancy often cited, Thomas Paine gloats over the differences found in the incomplete catalogues of the number of Israelites returning to Jerusalem found in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7.24 To meet this charge of alleged discrepancy it is but needful to cite, as the eminent commentator, Adam Clarke, does,25 that if the persons who are included in each list that are not listed in the other be added to the other, then the total for each list will be the same. That will still leave a difference of 10,777 between the totals itemized and the grand totals cited in each record, as the number which returned from captivity.26 Closer examination reveals that all of those Israelites actually itemized by family listing are found to be of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and the priestly tribe, the Levites.27 One has but to examine Ezra 1:5; 2:70; 6:17 and 1 Chronicles 9:3 to see that other Israelites, including some from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh also returned from captivity with those of the tribes catalogued in detail. We are thus confronted, not with inaccurate catalogues, but with lists that are but incomplete. The very fact that the totals cited do not prove to
John 11:1-44. Thomas Paine, The Life And Works Of Thomas Paine, Vol. VIII, The Age Of Reason, Thomas Paine National Historical Association, New Rochelle, New York, 1925, pp. 167169. 25 Adam Clarke, Commentary On The Bible, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Nashville, Tenn., Vol. II, p. 732. See also Henry H. Halley, Pocket Bible Handbook, Henry A. Halley, Chicago, Illinois, 1950, p. 214. 26 Ezra 2:64; Nehemiah 7:66. 27 Ezra 1:5; 2:40.
24 23

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33

be the exact sum of the family totals itemized reveals that the authors knew that other persons were in the caravan. Neither author is fearful to give the exact total of the number coming out of Babylon lest he be accused of contradiction or discrepancy. Thus the perfect harmony of God's word is undisturbed. Unfortunately for the Mormon system, the revelations produced by her prophets do not withstand the test of careful scrutiny as do the books of the Bible. Despite the Mormon claim that the Bible is imperfect, we can rest the case on this point with the words of John A. Widtsoe who admits that the message of the Bible has been preserved without impairment, and declares that each new translation confirms it.28 4. The Evidence Of Miracles Both the Bible and the scriptures of Mormonism abound in record of miracles. Many skeptics reject both the Bible and the works of Mormonism simply because they are dedicated to the rejection of all that is miraculous. Albert Barnes quotes Strauss as saying: "We summarily reject all miracles prophecies, narratives of angels and demons, and the like, as simply impossible and irreconcilable with the known and universal laws which govern the course of events."29 Though this statement constitutes a devastating blow to the position assumed by Mormon inspiration that miracles must continue in this age of the world, it is insufficient to show that miracles have never occurred. Such rationalization and materialistic conclusion that miracles have never occurred because we do not see them occur is to reject the full weight of testimony as a reliable tool in the establishing of truth. When Latter-day Saints and others claim that miracles can be performed today, they place themselves in the position where the sincere student may rightfully request that they either demonstrate such ability or be considered false in their claims: If miracles are to be considered to be taking place in the world today, then any person who has not actually seen them or the direct evidence that they continue to exist may rightfully request such proof. Divine inspiration gives instruction to so "try" the spirits whether they are of God.30The point concerning miracles to be determined by logic and discussion is not whether miracles exist today, but whether they have ever existed in the past. If they exist today that is a point which could easily be determined by observation. That miracles have occurred in the past is both necessary to the truth that the Bible is God's word and to the conviction that God
28 John A. Widtsoe. "Is The Bible Translated Correctly?", Improvement Era, March 1940, Vol. 43, p. 191. 29 Barnes, Op. Cit, p. 152. 30 1 John 4:1.

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has ever spoken His will directly to mankind. The very origin of man on this earth must be conceded to be miraculous. Even those who assume that man came into existence by evolutionary processes must agree that before the first life existed a miracle had to occur. There is no known law of the universe whereby non-life can produce life. Concerning the necessity for miracles, Alexander Mair says: "To those who have any idea of God as a being possessed in some degree of a father's goodness and love, it must appear to be a thing not utterly unlikely, but rather most likely, that He should reveal to His children that truth which they so deeply need, for which they so earnestly cry, and which is of paramount importance for them to know, but which, as all history proves, they cannot possibly discover for themselves with any reasonable, degree "of certainty. But, when we think of such a revelation, the question at once arises, How can it be proved to be really a revelation from heaven? How can the messenger be sufficiently accredited as an authoritative commissioner from God? The distinct answer is, that it must be mainly by miracles. No doubt, the moral character of the messenger must be of the right kind; but this of itself is no sufficient authentication; for there have been multitudes of the best men who have not been commissioned from heaven to reveal truth beyond the reach of human reason. Therefore we say, the special credentials of divine messenger must be by miracles."31 By the term "miracle" we do not allude to that which is merely striking, phenomenal, or to such as the freak accident in which near-tragedy is averted by hairline margin. A miracle is that which is supernatural, above and beyond the universal laws of nature. The freezing of water into ice might appear to a native of the tropics to be a miracle when seeing it for the first time, but there is no element of the miraculous involved. Thomas H. Horne has well defined a miracle as: "An effect, or event, contrary to the established constitution or course of things, or a sensible suspension or controlment of, or deviation from, the known laws of nature, wrought either by the immediate act, or by the assistance, or by the permission of God, and accompanied with a previous notice or declaration that it is performed according to the purpose and by the power of God, for the proof or evidence of some particular doctrine, or in attestation 32of the authority or divine mission of some particular person." Miracles therefore are acts of God designed to confirm or sustain
31 Alexander Mair, Studies In The Christian Evidences, T. & T. Clark, Edin burgh, 1894, pp. 200, 201. 32 Thomas H. Horne, Introduction To The Critical Study And Knowledge Of The Holy Scriptures, E. Littell, Philadelphia, Pa., 1827, Vol. I, p. 233.

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the messengers and teachings which God has at various times in history sent to mankind. As Mair well sums it up in a quotation from Butler: "To sum up with the expression of Butler. 'Revelation is miraculous, and miracles are the proof of it.'"33 The miracles of the Bible were not performed in some isolated spot where only a few persons were allowed to see them. H. Leo Boles catalogues no less than forty three miracles recorded in the Old Testament, counting the ten Egyptian plagues as but one. If listed separately this list becomes a total of fifty two, many of which were witnessed by entire nations of people. The same author lists thirty five miracles performed by the Christ.34 Another catalogue lists fifty four Old Testament miracles, forty nine directly and indirectly performed by Jesus in establishing his divinity, and twenty six others performed by the Holy Spirit through angels, apostles, and others.35 Of course if each miracle performed for each individual person recorded in the Bible were counted separately, the number would run into many thousands. These miracles were performed openly for the most part, and so publicly that had there been fraud or deception involved the enemies of God's messengers in every age must surely have produced writings of refutation, some few of which certainly would have been unearthed by modern archaeological excavation. The feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand in the desert near Galilee36 were events witnessed by thousands. The healing of the sick by Jesus and his apostles were miraculous demonstrations, of supernatural power which brought absolute and complete recovery to all the ill who came to them. The Bible knows nothing of the disillusionment that has come to so many in modern times supposedly cured by some miracle worker only to realize that the crippling effect of disease was still being felt. The Bible knows nothing of miracles which required tedious and diligent effort on the part of the person cured to be able to rise up and walk, or to overcome the impact of disease or death. When Jesus cured Peter's mother-in-law, she rose up instantly and ministered to him.37 When Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, he rose up, walked, leaped, and
Mair, Op. Cit, p. 203. H. Leo Boles, Boles Bible Questions, Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville, Tenn., 1957, p. 82, 156. 35 Supplement in Master Holy Bible, J. Wesley Dickson Co., Chicago, Ill., 1941, pp. 1651-53. 36 Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32 39. 37 Matthew 8:14, 15.
34 33

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

praised God despite the fact he had never walked before.38 So convincing was the evidence of this miracle upon an unbelieving Jewish people that many believed the words the apostles preached.39 Even the enemies of the truth, the members of the Jewish Council, were forced to admit: "For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot

deny

Unfortunately, the claimed miracles of the Mormons do not stand the test. It is evident they do not propose to perform miracles for the same purpose for which miracles were performed in the apostolic period to confirm the teaching of the word of God.41 When the apostles preached, their message was accepted because they performed miracles gave sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, strength to the lame and even raised the dead. There could be no questioning of the genuineness of their miracles, and there could be no questioning the fact that any person endowed with such miraculous powers can be safely accepted as a messenger from God. Despite the objections raised by Mormon inspiration, a genuine miracle can but serve as indisputable proof of divine sanction. Albert Barnes has well said: "Whatever may be the difference of opinion as to the fact of such a divine interposition, there can be none on the question whether such a power, if exerted, would be sufficient confirmation of a claim to a divine mission, or of the truth of a doctrine proposed to the faith of mankind. Men are so made that they could not believe otherwise, nor can they reason themselves into a contrary belief. Here, at least, the limits of skepticism are fixed and settled. God would not give this power to an imposter, nor would he put forth this power in defense of falsehood. Men may believe that there is no God, but they cannot believe that, if there is a God, he42 would raise the dead to confirm a lie or to deceive mankind." Had Barnes been familiar with the tenets of Mormonism he would have been compelled to qualify some of the above statements, though he has expressed that which is generally believed by those who accept the Bible as God's word. If the Mormons were to go about the world performing such unquestionable miracles as the raising of the dead, and the healing of persons recognized by the medical profession and those closely related to the ill to be incurably afflicted, there would be no force powerful enough to prevent their
3:1-10. Acts 4:4. 40 Acts 4:16. 41 Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4. 42 Barnes, Op. Cit, p. 154.
38 Acts 39

it."40

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37

sweeping the entire world into their faith within a few short years. Instead, we see them refusing to try to perform miracles even when asked to by persons sincerely seeking for the truth and desiring but to know the certainty of the claim. It is said that to do so would be tempting God, despite the assertion by Mormon inspiration through Orson Pratt that miracles were given to be a sign between believers and unbelievers.43 It is noteworthy that many of the miracles recorded in the Bible are in no way connected with faith on the part of the persons who benefit from the miracles. The dead bodies of Lazarus, Dorcas, and the daughter of Jarius could not possibly have had any faith.44 The lame man raised at the temple gate expected a monetary alms rather than such a miraculous blessing.45 The paralytic cured by Jesus in Capernaum was healed because of the faith of the men who brought him to Christ under difficult conditions rather than upon the basis of his own faith.46 These cases make clear that if the miraculous power given by the Holy Spirit to the apostles of Jesus Christ be still at work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then there must be the same confirming evidences of miraculous demonstrations of unquestionable nature and they must be performed not because of faith already present but for the purpose of leading men to believe the doctrines taught by those who work the miracles. Let them raise one person known to be dead from the grave and they will do more to convince the world that they possess such power than the writing of thousands of volumes. In contrast to the solid confirmation of truth by miracles which a study of the New Testament reveals, the claimed miracles of Mormonism present a very different picture. Orson Pratt is compelled to claim that the devil can work miracles,"47 due to the fact that from the very infancy of Mormonism there have been other cults able to present the same pretense of miracles which the Latter-day Saints can present. Faced with the truth that their miracles were not genuine miracles, and that others could duplicate their pretensions, President Brigham Young declared: "Persons may see miracles performed; may see the sick healed, the eyes of the blind opened, and even the dead raised, and may acknowledge that this is all done by the power of God, but will all this enable them to discern whether it is the power of God or not? No, it will not. They must have the spirit by
43 Orson Pratt, "The Kingdom Of God," Part IV, A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, p. 1. 44 John 11:42-44; Acts 9:39 43; Luke 8:49 56. 45 Acts 3:3. 46 Matthew 9:2. 47 Pratt, Op. Cit., "Divine Authenticity of the Book Of Mormon," p. 66.

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which the dead are raised, by which the sick are healed, and the eyes of the blind opened, or they cannot tell whether it is done by the power of God or the power of the devil, or whether there is a mist over their own eyes."48 Thus the authority of Mormon inspiration is arrayed against the words of biblical inspiration which affirm that miracles were performed to confirm the words of those who went everywhere preaching the gospel of Christ. According to Mormon inspiration one could not tell whether a miracle, was performed by God or the devil unless he has first obtained the truth, and by means of the truth the spirit of God to testify to him that he does have the truth. One must therefore of necessity secure the truth first before he can be sure of the reliability of even a genuine miracle, and the miracle could be of no benefit to him in determining the truth. Thus in one stroke the inspiration of Mormonism has swept away all means of confirming truth by miracles and left us but the one avenue of listening to the authority of Mormon prophets for determining truth. Examination of the evidences of divine inspiration of the Bible reveals that by the same stroke Brigham Young has established forever that the inspiration of Mormonism is not the same as that back of the Bible. 5. The Evidence Of Prophecy Latter-day Saints recognize that prophecy was employed by God in both the Old and the New Testaments. They make the claim that prophecies should and must continue today if the church of the Lord Jesus Christ be still in existence. Two other chapters will be devoted to the prophecies attributed to Joseph Smith, Jr., so that it will be unnecessary to elaborate here on the contrast between the biblical prophecies and those claimed lor Smith. The reader should bear in mind that by prophecy we do not refer to that which is the mere prediction of something which is future. Most any man of wisdom and experience can predict certain events before they occur with reasonable accuracy. It is possible to make reasonable predictions concerning the election of our presidents, sometimes a decade in advance, simply by having a good understanding of the trend of the times and the policies of the leading statesmen. It is often possible to predict the outbreak of war by observing the strained relations existing between states or nations some years before the beginning of actual hostilities. Any prediction that could be made with reasonable accuracy through the exercise of wisdom, judgment, or experience can hardly be termed "prophecy." Thomas H. Horne has given an excellent definition of prophecy. which has been accepted by Mormon writer Nephi Lowell Morris
48

Journal Of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 155.

THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE


49

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and used in his book on the prophecies of Joseph Smith. Horne writes: "for PROPHECY is a miracle of knowledge a declaration, or description, or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to discern or to calculate, and it is the highest evidence that can he given of supernatural communion with Deity, and of the truth of a revelation from God."50 There appears to be ground for debate as to whether Horne is absolutely correct in assuming that genuine prophetic ability represents a higher degree of evidence of communion with deity than would, for instance, the ability to raise the dead. Certain it is that, when the books of the Bible have been confirmed both by miracles and by prophecy, which is a miracle of knowledge divinely supplied, there can be no question as to their having come forth from God unless the evidence supplied by miracles and prophecy can be intelligently discredited. The issue before us once again is not whether God employed prophecy in revealing and confirming His word to mankind. That He did is recognized alike by Mormon inspiration and all Bible believers. The point of issue is: Does God continue to employ prophets to bring His will to mankind in the manner that He did during the dispensations of the Bible? There is no more practical manner in which to seek a solution to this question, insofar as the possibility of the Mormon prophets being divinely inspired be concerned, than by a candid comparison of the prophecies which serve as evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible with those which have been presented to the world as prophecies uttered by Joseph Smith, Jr. Let us note some of the prophecies which serve to reveal the divine inspiration of the scriptures. Let the reader particularly note the utter completeness and accuracy with which the biblical prophecies are fulfilled. (1) The Prophecy Made To Abraham. (The Promise). God appeared to Abram while he lived in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,51 and called him to go forth to a land God promised to show him. Abraham by faith obeyed.52 Included in this promise were the prophecies that God would make him a great nation, would give to him the land of Canaan, to be an inheritance for his seed, and that through him, all families of the earth should be blessed.
Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies Of Joseph Smith And Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920, "Preface," p. iv. 50 Horne, Op. Cit, p. 313. 51 Genesis 12:1-3; Acts 7:2. 52 Hebrews 11:8-10; Genesis 12:4; Acts 7:4-f.
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Abraham lived and died without seeing the fulfillment of these promises, but note that God made no specific assurance that the promise was to be fulfilled "in this generation" as is the case when Joseph Smith made some of his greatest blunders. According to the most accurate chronologists it was approximately nineteen hundred years from the time God called Abram until Christ came. fulfilling the prophecy that all families of the earth were to be blessed through him. It was four hundred thirty years from the promise until the first portion thereof was fulfilled when Israel came out of Egypt, and received God's law at Mt. Sinai, becoming a great nation in her own right.53 Another forty years was spent in the wilderness before the conquest of the land of Canaan when the promised land became the actual possession of Israel.54 Of such prophecy but one conclusion is possible only by means of genuine prophetic powers could one foretell with such remarkable accuracy events which were yet centuries in the future. The elements of experience, wisdom and sagacity are entirely ruled out, leaving but the confirming evidence of divine power to substantiate the truth that God was behind both the prophecy and the fulfillment of the events with which they were concerned. Thus the biblical record is confirmed as of divine origin. (2) The Prophecy Concerning Amalek. In this promise, or prophecy, God instructs Moses to: "Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of_Joshua: for I will55 utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." Concerning such a prophecy there can be no misunderstanding. It is comparable to the prophecy Joseph Smith uttered concerning the United States government, that "unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the State of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers, that in a few years the government will be overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left."56 Certain, definite as to the degree of destruction prophesied in each case, with the Smith prophecy implied to be the more imminent since it is to occur in a "few years." Both prophecies are of the type John A. Widtsoe referred to when he said of the Civil War prophecy of Smith that it was the kind of prophecy which needed no interpre3:17. 21:45. Exodus 17:14. 56 The Deseret News, Sept. 24, 1856, Vol. 6, No. 29; see also Morris, Op. Cit, pp. 113, 115.
53 Galatians 54 Joshua 55

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tation, and we need but wait for the fulfillment which would be evidence of its divine source.57 The prophecy concerning the Amalekites has long since been fulfilled, though required more than four hundred years for fulfillment. When Samuel came to anoint Saul to be the first king over Israel, God ordered their destruction. Saul destroyed many of them but kept alive a remnant.58 This was approximately three hundred ninety six years after the prophecy was given. Some years later David attacks the Amalekites and destroys all save four hundred men who escape on camels.59 But the prophecies of the Bible are not to be but partially fulfilled as so often has been the case with the prophecies of Mormonism. Thus during the reign of Hezekiah as king over Judah the remainder of the Amalekites were smitten and destroyed.60 Mormons take a great deal of comfort out of the fact that if Smith's prophecies are fulfilled even in the next several hundred years they will have been fulfilled in as short a period as many of the biblical prophecies were fulfilled. Mormon inspiration merely overlooked the fact that genuine prophecy is more evident when a prediction is made over the span of centuries than in the case of short range predictions, and Smith was so anxious to advance the Mormon cause and bolster the faith of his suffering followers that he made the mistake of allowing his prophecies to contain the promise of imminent fulfillment. The United States government did not redress the wrongs referred to by Smith in the prophecy, many more than a few years have come and gone, and there is no indication that even Mormons expect the United States to yet be overthrown so that "there will not be so much as a potsherd left." Space will not permit our examination of all the prophecies contained in the Bible. Horne devoted forty pages of very fine print to his examination of this phase of biblical evidence in his critical examination of the evidences upon which the genuineness of the Bible as God's word rests today. The reader could spend many months examining prophecies contained in the Bible prophecies which were uttered far in advance of actual fulfillment, so far that there can be no possibility of sagacity or guesswork playing any part in their prediction or fulfillment. Deuteronomy 28 is filled with dire predictions concerning the future of the Jewish people should they prove unfaithful to God.
57 John A. Widtsoe, "To What Extent May Prophecy Be Interpreted?" Improvement Era, December 1940, Vol. 43, p. 737. 58 1 Samuel 15:4 9, 22, 23. 59 l Samuel 30:17. 60 1 Chronicles 4:43.

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That they did prove unfaithful is manifest by abundant scripture references and attested to by the fulfillment of many of the prophecies throughout the years. Isaiah 13:17-22 contains an emphatic prophecy concerning the abandonment and desolation of Babylon, "the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency," which needs no comment whatever. Babylon fell in her glory and has ceased to be inhabited. Isaiah 53 contains a number of beautiful prophecies concerning the suffering of Jesus the Christ. Micah 5:2 sets forth the city of David, Bethlehem, as the birthplace of the "ruler in Israel." Finis K. Farr has compiled a list of the "Prophecies of the Bible and Their Fulfillment," contained under this heading as supplementary material in the Master Holy Bible.61 Farr catalogues one hundred seven general predictions and their fulfillment, fifty one predictions concerning Christ found in the Old Testament, and forty five predictions which Jesus made concerning himself while here on earth. In every instance where the Bible itself declares the fulfillment of the prophecy Farr has supplied scriptural documentation of the fulfillment. Little remains to be said after careful examination of the biblical prophecies has been made. The power of divine inspiration has itself supplied the only plausible comment: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."62 The question which remains to be determined is whether the prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Jr., have proved to be the same unerring, dependable message from God those of the biblical prophets have proved to be. That examination must come later under other headings. 6. The Evidence Of Archaeology Archaeological research during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has opened entire new vistas which throw a great deal of light upon all ancient documents which treat the history of mankind. Though much remains to be accomplished in the determining of entirely reliable criteria for the evaluation of that which is discovered and for determining the exact age of many of the relics uncovered, the cause of truth has already been abundantly served by this relatively new science. Both the Bible and the scriptures of Mormon inspiration have been exposed to the searchlight of archaeological research. The reader particularly interested in this phase of biblical evidences
61 Finis K. Farr, "Prophecies of the Bible and Their Fulfillment," Master Holy Bible. J. Wesley Dickson & Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1941, pp. 1645-50. 62 2 Peter 1:21.

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43

must of course turn to other sources for detailed examination of the evidence available. Such volumes are abundant. Readers desiring to investigate more thoroughly the impact of archaeology on the relationship between the events of the Book of Mormon and the American aborigines are referred to other works on that subject.63 Strikingly different is the result one discovers when the light thrown by the products of the spade is allowed to illuminate the historical events of the Bible to that which results when a similar investigation of the events contained in the Book of Mormon is carried out. Before attempting to actually weigh the evidence produced by archaeology it should be understood that there are two kinds of evidence. (1) There is that evidence which may be termed direct and positive, as when an ancient biblical city yields up a tablet or scroll actually bearing record of persons or events which the biblical record declares to have been present at about that period of history. (2) Then there is that evidence which is indirect, secondary, or corroborative :that which but establishes that the event recorded in the Bible could possibly have taken place. These two classes of archaeological evidence are very important in consideration, for it is evident that the first class should carry much greater weight than the second. No real weight can be given to the second class unless there is at least some evidence of the first class to establish the reality of the occurrences. To do so would be to have archaeological research testifying to the truth of that which at the most may have been. Circumstantial evidence alone is not recognized in courts of justice, and so long as archaeological research can produce only circumstantial evidence that which would serve to corroborate if even one bit of direct evidence were available to establish reality it must be admitted that archaeology has actually produced no definite testimony at all. Examples of these two classes of evidence are simple to produce: (1) In 1853 a Mr. Taylor was excavating in the ruins of Ur of the Chaldees when in the corner of a temple he came upon a clay cylinder. Inscribed upon this cylinder were the words: "As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, cause that I may not sin against thy great divinity, and bestow upon me a life of many days. And may reverence for thy great divinity dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born, favorite son; may he
63 The reader would do well to examine Cumorah Revisited, by Charles A. Shook, Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1910; and The Book of Mormon, by James D. Bales, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, California, 1958.

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commit no sin, and with the fulness of life may he be satisfied."64 Here we see direct and positive evidence of the existence of one Belshazzar, the first-born son of a king of Babylon. Prior to this discovery many skeptics rejected the biblical account of Belshazzar's being king at the time that Babylon fell.65 Quite naturally, since this discovery came to light there can be no question even among those who still may reject parts or all of the Bible but that Belshazzar once lived. Here we see an excellent example of direct evidence being produced by archaeology. (2) An example of corroborating evidence is related by Dr. Paul Ilton. He describes the interesting events leading to his discovery in an ancient temple in Beth-shan of a golden locust.66 Dr. Ilton considered this a very important find, and cites it as confirmation of the biblical account of 1 Samuel 6:4-f that the Philistines and Canaanites employed idols of gold and silver. With abundant direct evidence available to establish the genuineness of the biblical records this discovery may be accepted as an additional bit of confirmation. If no such evidence existed it would indeed be questionable as to whether such a golden locust could with certainty be dated from the time of 1 Samuel. Another example of indirect evidence, though more direct than that of the golden locust, is related by George Barton: "In the year 1909 an altar was discovered in the sacred precinct and temple of Demeter at Pergamos in Asia Minor, the home of one of the seven churches of the book of Revelation (Rev. 2:12, f), which bore a mutilated inscription. This inscription in the judgment of several impartial epigraphists should be restored as follows: To unknown gods, Capito, torch-bearer. This is not only a confirmation of the statement of Acts 17:23, but of Pausanias (second century A.D.) and Philostratus (third century A.D.) that altars to unknown gods existed."67 It should be clearly evident to every reader that this supplies direct and positive evidence that an altar to "unknown gods" existed in ancient Pergamos, and indirect or corroborating evidence with reference to Paul's statement that he beheld such an altar in
Edgar J. Banks, The Bible And The Spade, Association Press, New York, N.Y., 1913, p. 161. 65 Ibid., p. 161. 66 Paul Ilton, The Bible Was My Treasure Map, Julian Messner, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1958, pp. 61-71. 67 George A. Barton, Archaeology And The Bible, American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, Seventh Edition, pp. 559, 560.
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Athens. It will be conceded, however, that this bears much stronger circumstantial or corroborating evidence with regard to the biblical record than does Dr. Ilton's golden locust. It bears greater weight in confirmation of the Bible than it would if history proved otherwise that such altars had existed long before Paul visited Athens so that both he and Luke might have known of their existence from other sources. Knowing as we do that such gods were served in Pergamos, it is natural to conclude that they may well have been served in Athens at the same period. These two classes of evidence assume greater importance the farther one goes in examination of archaeological evidences relating to the background of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. A vast wealth of archaeological discoveries has been accumulated both in America and in the Holy Land of Palestine yet to this date there has been no direct evidence whatever to establish that the Book of Mormon is not a work of fiction. A great deal of information is available which pinpoints the truth that the background of the Bible is the same background of ancient history as recorded by all other sources. Many of the personalities of ancient history are the same as those whose names have been inscribed in the sacred records of biblical history. The Jewish nation, God's chosen descendants of Abraham.68 inhabited the land of Palestine and during the years of her greatest glory had domestic and commercial intercourse with the nations of her time. Excavations in these regions have unearthed many significant facts which serve to confirm the accuracy of the biblical accounts. Henry H. Halley includes one hundred eleven specific items of archaeological confirmation in his Pocket Bible Handbook, many of which are direct in confirming the reliability of the biblical account concerning certain persons and events.69 These are the result of excavations in pre-flood cities. Sodom and Gomorrah, the areas covered by the journeying of Abraham and the patriarchs, Babylon, Jericho, and Samaria. Edgar J. Banks cites evidence produced by archaeological excavations in the pre-flood areas, in the Euphrates valley, Ur of the Chaldees, the tower of Babel. Egypt. Babylon, and numerous others.70 Barton's work is an extensive compilation of available data in the field of archaeological confirmation and required a volume of more than six hundred pages of printed material, plus one hundred and thirty eight plates. He gives an abundance of the most direct evidence of biblical accuracy in citing the discovery
68 Genesis 69 70

12:1-3. Halley, Op. Cit, pp. 746-757. Banks, Op. Cit., 21-f.

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of such items as an arch in Thessalonica which confirms the truth that the rulers in Thessalonica were termed "politarchs," a term which kept the skeptics smiling for centuries.71 He cites the discovery of a seal at Megiddo inscribed: "Belonging to Shema, servant of Jeroboam."72 The direct bearing of such evidence upon the credibility of the biblical record cannot be overlooked. The paths of archaeological research and those of biblical historian have too often crossed, and have each crossed frequently at the same time the course of events chronicled by secular historians. They have recorded the same events too harmoniously and too often for any question to remain. The biblical narratives must be accepted as genuine, even as archaeological research continues to uncover rich, new evidence to confirm its accuracy. As recent as November 1960, the following appeared in the Albuquerque Journal: "Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) American archaeologists have confirmed the Bible's account of a revolution which followed Abimelech's attempt to become the first king of Israel, Harvard University has announced. Evidence fixing the truth of the event was uncovered in the 4000-year-old remains of Schechem, the first capital of ancient Israel. Proof was found in a 25-acre mound, near the village of Balatah, Jordan, last summer. It was the third year of summer excavations at Schechem."73 Perhaps as significant as any of the archaeological discoveries thus far made is the absence of all kinds of evidence that could discredit its acceptance as the word of God it claims to be. Though it has now been nearly twenty centuries since the church of the New Testament was established, and that with much opposition, there has come to light no evidence whatever that cast the clouds of doubt over even the New Testament's record of historic and miraculous events. The charge has been often made that the books of the New Testament are of uncertain origin and authorship, not accepted by the church until many centuries later. However, Thomas Paine is compelled to come four hundred years this side of Christ to produce any documentary evidence of objection to the books as genuine.74 That they were in use and accepted centuries before that is abundantly established in the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. Archaeology has produced no scroll, tablet, or manuscript to confirm Paine's basis of objection to the scriptures. It is strange that if the Book of Mormon be indeed an ancient
71 72

Barton, Op. Cit, p. 559. Ibid., p. 456. 73 The Albuquerque Journal, November 13, 1960, p. A 10. 74 Paine, Op. Cit., p. 249.

THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

47

record of inhabitants upon t h e American continent, as the book claims, archaeology has not been able to confirm its truth as has been true of the biblical record. To date the most that can be said is that archaeology has proved the land to be inhabited and faithful Mormons continue to hope that some shied of directly confirming evidence will one day break into view. There has been no scroll, parchment, nor plate discovered bearing the name of one single person or place mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Many names have been uncovered, to be sure, but they are the names of the Incas, the Mayas, and other primitive tribes. They are not the names the Book of Mormon says were used by the ancient peoples at the time. G. B. Hancock threw the full weight of this weakness against the Reorganized Latter-day Saints in his debating with them, and when popular demand necessitated the publication of much of his material in book form he placed forty ancient American place names, and thirty eight names of American aborigines in parallel columns with as many names taken from the Book of Mormon.75 No taxing of the imagination can show any similarity between any of them. If the events recorded in the Book of Mormon actually took place in the time, place, and manner affirmed by Mormon inspiration, it is reasonable to conclude that sooner or later some confirming evidence must have been brought to light. The Nephites are said to have possessed gold and silver in abundance,76 and to have coined a unique series of coins unknown elsewhere in the world.77 Since gold and silver are relatively imperishable, why have not some of these coins come to light in identifiable condition? A group of persons said to have been known as Anti-Nephi-Lehies are said to have buried hundreds of swords "deep into the earth."78 Yet despite these and hundreds of other artifacts specifically said by Mormon inspiration to have been present during the years the Mormon aborigines are believed to have occupied the continent, the leading Mormon historians, as Brigham H. Roberts, are compelled to admit that so far as man's research is concerned little is known about ancient America. Those monuments which have been located seem to tell a different story to each explorer who looks upon them.79 revealing there is no direct confirmation of the Book of Mormon. Moreover,
G. B. Hancock, Mormonism Exposed, A. Doggett, Marionville, Mo., 1902, pp. 110-114. 76 Alma 1:29. 77 Alma 11:4-20. 78 Alma 24:17. 79 Brigham H. Roberts. New Witnesses For God, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Second Edition, 1920, Vol. II, pp. 369, 370.
75

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in the papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation it is admitted that no official statement has ever been made by any leading member of the Mormon church as an attempt to identify any of the lands settled or cities established by the migrations whom they believe to have come to the new world.80 Some individual Mormons have made attempts to identify certain archaeological ruins and geographic features of the new world with those described in the Book of Mormon, but no one of these attempts has been approved as an expression of the official position of the church. Similarly, John A. Widtsoe admits concerning Book of Mormon geography that although the location of the Book of Mormon landmarks have always served to intrigue students of the book, and during the many years since the book appeared many efforts have been made to locate rivers, mountains, or other features no conclusions can be reached with certainty regarding the existence of such landmarks, and those held even favorable must be regarded as conjectures.81 Archaeology thus bears weighty testimony to the accuracy and divine inspiration of the Bible, while remaining as silent as the tomb concerning the scriptures of Mormon inspiration. Every vestige of evidence cited in the many volumes of Mormon authorship endeavoring to show harmony between the archaeological facts and the Book of Mormon record is indirect and bears little or no weight. It is the kind of evidence that could at most corroborate, if direct evidence were available. It is the kind of evidence that could, as Clark Braden affirmed, show that: "All of Scott's historical novels were true, veritable histories, and of Divine origin, for they contain vastly more concerning Scotch antiquities that is true than the Book of Mormon contained concerning American Antiquities; and they contain almost innumerable facts of Scotch history, multitudes of real historic characters, with accurate descriptions of them and innumerable facts from their lives, while the Book of Mormon does not contain a single historic fact or character or incident,"82 . . . which has been confirmed by either history or archaeology. All the light thus far revealed by the spade tends to establish that
80 Research in Chiapas, Mexico. Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, J. Alden Mason, Editor, Numbers one to four, Publication No. 3, New World Archaeological Foundation, Orlinda, California, 1959, p. iii. 81 John A. Widtsoe, A Book Of Mormon Treasury, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1959, p. 127. 82 Clark Braden and E. L. Kelley, Braden-Kelley Debate, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, Calif., 1955, p. 112.

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49

early America was inhabited not by Nephites and Lamanites but by other peoples instead. 7. The Bible Viewed By Legal Standards It is not the purpose of jurisprudence to attempt to determine whether ancient documents claiming to have been divinely inspired are really of divine origin. Unless some exceptional case should arise, the outcome of which depended upon such a decision, no court of law would burden itself with any phase of such an investigation. Should such a case arise it is more reasonable to presume that the court would disqualify itself to act in deciding what obviously is a religious' question rather than a legal one. However, jurisprudence has developed a highly refined set of laws governing the process of establishing proof, and the application of these principles to questions concerning the divine origin of the Bible presents to the student another vast array of evidence which serves to increase faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible. Conversely, the application of these same principles to the scriptures of Mormonism serves to lessen the probability of their being of divine origin. Many outstanding men of the legal profession have been prompted by the very nature of their work to apply the principles of establishing truth available to them to the books of the Bible. Among the leading men who have done so was the very reputable Simon Greenleaf, whose outstanding works on evidence are still among the leading authorities frequently cited by modern legal writers. Addressing the preface to his Testimony Of The Evangelists to "Members of the Legal Profession," Greenleaf said: "If a close examination of the evidences of Christianity may be expected of one class of men more than another, it would seem incumbent on us. who make the law of evidence one of our peculiar studies. Our profession leads us to explore the mazes of falsehood, to detect its artifices, to pierce its thickest walls, to follow and expose its sophistries, to compare the statements of different witnesses with severity, to discover truth and separate it from error."83 Some may object that there is not a sufficient parallel between the process of establishing truth in matters of ancient and historical note and the process for determining truth in modern courts of law to warrant the application of the principles employed by the latter in cases where the former would apply. Concerning this, a modern legal authority, John Henry Wigmore, has said: "For historical inquiries there are, of course, differences from judicial inquiries in the conditions attending them (as
83 Simon Greenleaf, The Testimony Newark, N.J., 1903, Preface, p. vii.

Of

The

Evangelists,

Soney

&

Sage,

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

pointed out by Sir J. Stephen and Professor Thayer, quoted post, Sec. 27). The relative bulk of the respective kinds of evidence will differ; the emphasis on certain weaknesses and strengths of various kinds of evidence will differ; and some kinds and problems of evidence will occur which appear rarely or never in judicial inquiries. But are there not enough similarities to84 make the general scheme applicable 'mutatis mutandis'?" It will be apparent to even the casual reader that if the general principles of evidence so meticulously adhered to in even smallest details in the processes of law cannot be relied upon in some measure to determine whether or not the contents of the Bible are reliable, then there is little assurance that an individual will obtain justice at law when his cause is made to rest solely upon the outcome of proceedings based upon these principles. If the application of the principles to the question of the integrity of the scriptures reveals they should be declared genuine and reliable, then to reject them as the revealed will of God which they claim to be will be impossible unless one is to impeach the very processes of law by which we purport to render justice to mankind. For the initial application of these legal principles, we quote from Simon Greenleaf: "Sec. 8. That the books of the Old Testament, as we now have them, are genuine; that they existed in the time of our Savior, and were commonly received and referred to among the Jews, as the sacred books of their religion; and that the text of the Four Evangelists has been handed down to us in the state in which it was originally written, that is, without having been materially corrupted or falsified, either by heretics or Christians; are facts which we are entitled to assume as true, until the contrary is shown. The genuineness of these writings really admits of as little doubt, and is susceptible of as ready proof, as that of any ancient writings whatever. The rule of municipal law on this subject is familiar, and applies with equal force to all ancient writings, whether documentary or otherwise; and as it comes first in order in the prosecution of these inquiries, it may, for the sake of mere convenience, be designated as our first rule. Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise. Sec. 9. An ancient document, offered in evidence in our courts, is said to come from the proper repository, when it is found in the place where, and under the care of persons with
84 John Henry Wigmore, A Treatise On The Anglo-American System Of Evidence In Trials At Common Law, Third Edition, Little, Brown And Company, Boston, Mass., 1940, Vol. I, p. 158.

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51

whom, such writings might naturally and reasonably be expected to be found; for it is this custody which gives authenticity to documents found within it. If they come from such a place, and bear no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes that they are genuine, and they are permitted to be read in evidence, unless the opposing party is able to successfully impeach them."85 To substantiate this portion of Section 9 Greenleaf supplies a footnote referring the reader to a number of court cases supplied in his own and in Starkie's works on Evidence. This footnote concludes: "It is this defect, namely, that they do not come from the proper, or natural repository, which shows the fabulous character of many pretended revelations, from the Gospel of the Infancy to the Book of Mormon."86 Greenleaf continues: "It presumes that every man is innocent until he is proved guilty; that everything has been done fairly and legally, until it is proved to have been otherwise; and that every document, found in its proper repository, and not bearing the marks of forgery is genuine. Now this is precisely the case with the Sacred Writings. They have been used in the church from time immemorial, and thus are found in the place where alone they ought to be looked for. They come to us and challenge our reception of them as genuine writings, precisely as Domesday Book, the Ancient Statutes of Wales, or any other of the ancient documents which have recently been published under the British Record Commission, are received. They are found in familiar use in all the churches of Christendom, as the sacred books to which all denominations of Christians refer, as the standard of their faith. There is no pretense that they were engraven on plates of gold and discovered in a cave, nor that they were brought from heaven by angels; but that they are received as the plain narratives and writings of the men whose name they respectively bear, made public at the time they were written; and though there are some slight discrepancies among the copies subsequently made, there is no pretense that the originals were anywhere corrupted. If it be objected that the originals were lost, and that copies alone are now produced, the principles of the municipal law_here also afford a satisfactory answer. For the multiplication of copies was a public fact, in the faithfulness of which all the Christian community had an interest; and it is a rule of law, that, In matters of public and general interest, all persons must be presumed to be conversant, on the principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs. Therefore it is that, in such matters, the prevailing current of assertion is resorted to as evidence, for it is to this that every
85 Greenleaf, 86

Ibid., p. 8.

Op. Cit., pp. 7, 8.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION'

member of the community is supposed to be privy. The persons, moreover, who multiplied these copies, may be regarded, in some manner, as the agents of the Christian public, for whose use and benefit the copies were made; and on the ground of the credit due to such agents, and of the public nature of the facts themselves, the copies thus made are entitled to an extraordinary degree of confidence, and, as in the case of official registers and other public books, it is not necessary that they should be confirmed and sanctioned by the ordinary tests of truth."87 Thus Greenleaf states the security of the scriptures when viewed by the general principles of evidence. Their case is strong, and the burden of proof would rest with those who would challenge them. Though Greenleaf spoke primarily with regard to the testimony of the four gospel evangelists, what he says of those can be said of all other books of the New Testament, with the exception of the point that they bear the names of the writers who produced them. In consideration of the fact that the gospels, and all other books of the New Testament were at the first accepted by the churches and individuals to whom they were specifically addressed as being the product of recognized authorship, we must conclude that at least in some instances the recognition of the handwriting may have played some part in their acceptance. It is noteworthy that the courts do not require the testimony of a handwriting expert before a manuscript can be accepted as the work of its accepted author. Wigmore says: "(1) For handwriting in manuscript, the fundamental proposition of our law is that the general experience of the ordinary person is sufficient; in other words, any person able to read and write is competent to form and to express a judgment as to the genuineness of handwriting."88 It cannot therefore be argued that a legal error took place in the acceptance of the letters delivered to the various churches in the apostolic period without expert testimony first being obtained to make sure that the letters did come from the authors to whom they are attributed. Those who first accepted them were competent to render such judgment, and the absence of contemporary writings to the contrary, their acceptance proves that the credentials they, bore were sufficient to establish them as the writings of the apostles and other writers considered to be authoritative. There remains to be determined the competency of the witnesses themselves to determine whether the men who testified in the gospels regarding the life and work of Jesus Christ, and in the later books regarding the activities and doctrines of the apostolic church,
87 88

Ibid., pp. 8, 9. Wigmore, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 668.

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53

were men competent to testify concerning these matters. Wigmore states that where elements affecting organic, emotional, and mental capacity are concerned the general practice of the law is to assume that every witness is competent unless it is proved otherwise.89 There is no uniform doctrine applicable where elements regarding recollection and narration are concerned, but in matters regarding the person's experiential and knowledge factors, the burden of proof rests with the witness to prove that he had the opportunity to experience or come into possession of the knowledge needful to testify.90 This latter criteria applies specifically in the cases of expert testimony, which has no particular application in our investigation. It is not claimed that the writers of the New Testament books were beyond the ordinary capacity of human beings to see, observe, and record the events which they saw and experienced. To go beyond this is to enter the spiritual realm where legal standards cannot be applied. The effect of the Holy Spirit upon the minds of these writers in directing their writing merely guided them in their recollection and stating of the particular events needful to the occasion, and can be likened to the questioning of a modern attorney in order to bring out the particular facts desired. In neither case is the witness thereby rendered an "expert" in the legal sense. Wigmore also states that: "A stand must be taken, sooner or later, against the undue extension of the topics upon which special experience is to be required for testifying."91 Allowing then that ordinary men of competence worthy of the designation "average" in mental, emotional, and organic make-up, are to be the witnesses for sustaining the reliability of the New Testament facts and doctrines, we need only concern ourselves with whether or not these men actually possessed the knowledge which they propose to testify. This point cannot be disputed when it is recalled that the men, with the exception of Paul the apostle, were with Jesus constantly during his four-year ministry. They were also actively engaged in the teaching of the doctrines of Christ in the early activity of the church. With regard to Paul, his marked change from a persecutor of the church to an apostle in service and sacrifice testifies to his sincerity in the conviction that Christ had appeared to him. The recorded portions of his sermons contained in Acts, plus the letters which he has contributed to the sacred canon abundantly sustain his mental competence to testify.
89 Ibid., 90 Ibid., 91

pp. 522, 588. p. 522. Ibid., p. 640.

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Greenleaf presents as additional rules for the establishing of matters of fact under examination: "In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability that it is true."92 "A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence."93 The real question which must confront the investigator employing legal standards to determine the truth or falsity of the New Testament records is: are the facts recorded and the doctrines revealed by them to have been held by the church of the first century actually established by their joint testimony? Their competency to testify cannot be successfully challenged. Burr W. Jones summarizes the disqualifications which could render the testimony of a witness unreliable even if mentally competent and in possession of facts concerning which he could testify. These are: (1) bias; (2) hostility; (3) interest; (4) by disproving the statements of the witness by the testimony of other witnesses; (5) by proving that the witness has made conflicting statements out of court; and (6) by proving that the general character of the witness is bad for veracity.94 Of these disqualifications, the only two which might be remotely charged against the New Testament writers would be bias and interest. Yet even these are reduced to the absurd when it is recalled that their interest was that of honest conviction, and that they stood to gain only persecution, poverty, suffering, and ostracizement from the general public of their day by testifying in favor of the truth of the facts they recorded in their books and epistles. On the basis of these considerations it appears incontrovertible that when viewed in the light of the wisest rules of jurisprudence thus far developed in man's efforts to administer justice and determine truth, the testimony of the New Testament writers must be allowed to stand. This leaves one final point to be determined. Does the actual testimony given in the writings of the New Testament stand the test of the investigation, or must it be rejected because of incredibility? Again, Greenleaf has summarized the rule by which this question must be answered: "The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability; thirdly, their num92 Greenleaf, Op. 93 Ibid., p. 24. 94

Cit., p. 23.

Burr W. Jones, The Law Of Evidence In Civil Cases, Bancroft-Whitney Co., 4th Ed., San Francisco, California, 1938, Vol. III, pp. 1562, 1563.

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55

ber and the consistency of their testimony: fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with experience; and fifthly, the coincidence of their testimony with collateral circumstances."95 Those students interested in an extensive and detailed application of these principles to the testimony of the New Testament are referred to the excellent treatment given the subject by Simon Greenleaf and Walter M. Chandler.96 Both of these works come to grips firmly with the facts as the rule applies, point by point. For our purpose in this study, such extensive detail is unwarranted since both biblical students and the proponents of Mormon scriptures alike concede the truth that the Bible cannot be questioned as to its divine origin. Even the skeptics and atheists who reject the Bible attack the testimony of its writers primarily upon the basis of the number of witnesses and the consistency of their testimony, and the conformity of their testimony with experience. We have treated earlier the claimed inconsistency in biblical writings, and have also presented the evidence supplied by miracles to sustain the truth of the divine origin of the same. The fact that the testimony regarding miracles would be out of conformity with experience today does not mean that such was true in the apostolic period. Indeed, if testimony can be relied upon to sustain facts, we have no alternative but to accept the conclusions necessitated by the sum of the entire body of evidence available that miracles did occur, that Christ arose from the dead, and that the church was established under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. Unless one or the other of these facts can be successfully disputed, the truth and reliability of the sacred canon stands sustained, or the rules of jurisprudence must be rejected. The application of these same rules to the facts and testimony surrounding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures is with decidedly different results. Greenleaf's statement regarding the failure of the Book of Mormon to come from the repository where such documents would be expected to be found has been cited earlier. The testimony given for the genuineness of the Book of Mormon violates several other general rules for obtaining of the best evidence available. Greenleaf ,97, Jones98 and Donald J. Kiser99 all affirm that the best possible evidence is to be
Op. Cit., p. 28. Ibid., pp. 28-54; see also Walter M. Chandler, The Trial Of Jesus, The Federal Book Co., New York, N.Y., 1925, Vol. I, pp. 12-70. 97 Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise On The Law Of Evidence, 15th Edition, Little, Brown & Co., Boston, Mass., Vol. I, 1892, p. 82. 98 Jones, Op. Cit., Vol. I, pp. 397 399, 383 384. 99 Donald J. Kiser, Corpus Juris Secundum, American Law Book Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., Vol. XXXII, p. 701.
95 Greenleaf, 96

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presented, and secondary evidence is to be accepted only when primary evidence is (1) not available; ( 2 ) can be obtained only at great cost; or (3) when it is not practicable to produce the best evidence (when it may be impracticable to present in court a large library, the certified summation of the pertinent facts in the case may be permitted). In bringing forth the Book of Mormon, and other Mormon scriptures, if their coming forth was directed by the same God who directed the bringing forth of the biblical writings, it would have been simple to confirm the latter-day writings by as weighty evidence as that by which the former stand confirmed. The plates from which the Book of Mormon is supposed to have been translated could have been allowed to come to light so that those acquainted with the Egyptian language could have examined them, thus confirming the message and the text. Smith and his chosen "apostles" could have been given the power to perform unquestionable miracles so that their testimony would have been as acceptable to man's measure of intelligence as was the testimony of the biblical writers. Failure to supply this confirming evidence has placed modern Latter-day Saints in the unenviable position of having to affirm the veracity of the Mormon scriptures solely upon the basis of the "hearsay" testimony of the men who affirmed that an angel showed them the plates and declared the translation was true. The "revelations" contained in the Doctrine and Covenants must stand solely upon the credentials which Smith himself can present to prove that he actually did commune with deity and that he was commissioned by God to bring new sacred writings to mankind. The testimony given by these early Mormons cannot be given the same unquestioned dependability as that given by the biblical writers, due to the fact that too much evidence is in existence to show that they apostatized from the position they affirm that God's messengers instructed them to occupy, and because examination of the foundation of Mormon inspiration does not compare favorably with that of biblical inspiration. While those who wrote the books of the New Testament are found serving God unitedly, in sacrifice and suffering until they paid with their lives for the privilege of becoming Christians, those chosen to bear testimony concerning the genuineness of the Mormon scriptures left behind them a trail of apostasy from the Mormon faith as conspicuous as the trail left by the Mormon pioneers between Council Bluffs and Salt Lake City. 8. No Claim Made For Inspiration In Translation Of The Bible In admitting that the Bible is God's word, Article 8 of the official Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

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57

follows the original phraseology of Joseph Smith, Jr.: "as far as it is translated correctly."100 No Bible believer would believe that an incorrect translation of the Bible could be a correct expression to us of God's will. However, much-ado-about-nothing has been exalted to multitudinous proportions by Mormon authorities in dealing with the claim that imperfections exist. The Hebrew and Greek texts of the scriptures are in existence and can be translated by anyone with a working knowledge of those languages. Mormons claim to have a power of individual inspiration "revelation" available to every faithful Mormon. Anyone in possession of such power should be able to give us a correct translation containing no imperfections whatever. Treatment of this point is extended in another chapter. Suffice it to say that a hundred and thirty years after a people came forth with what they claimed to be the "fulness of the gospel," the cry is still being made that the Bible is unreliable due to faulty translation, and the Mormons still refuse to put forth what they consider a perfect translation. J. W. McGarvey made an extensive study of the variations to be found in the biblical manuscripts, investigated the related difficulties to be encountered in the field of biblical criticism, and summarized his conclusions by quoting Wescott and Hort: "'Setting aside differences in orthography, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt make up about one-sixtieth of the New Testament. In this second estimate, the proportion of comparatively trivial variations is beyond measure larger than in the former, so that the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variations is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text.' (Introduction to Greek New Testament, Wescott and Hort, 2)"101 Considered from this viewpoint, with the understanding that more than two hundred fifty distinct bodies in the realm of modern Christendom, each with its own scholars who understand the original tongues in which the scriptures were penned, have not seen sufficient grounds for rejecting the accepted text, it is evident that we have God's word in sufficient degree of accuracy for anyone to know and understand God's will. Insignificant errors doubtless will occur in all translations as the result of the work of men not guided by divine intervention, but other translations exist with which to compare them as a safeguard against error. The Bible,
100

Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 541. See also Talmage, Articles of Faith, p.

236.

J. W. McGarvey, Evidences Of Christianity, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, p. 13, 14.

101

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with its imperfections in translation, and with hundreds of conflicting religious groups warring for its support in doctrinal matters, has been far less vulnerable to attack than the scriptures of Mormonism with their claim of divine inspiration in origin, divine inspiration in translation, and with the claim of divine revelation to lead to the proper interpretation of them. 9. The Door Of Inspiration Closed Having established the credibility and reliability of the biblical writings, it is but needful to cite brief passages therefrom to show that the direct revelation of God's truth has ended. Paul taught Timothy that the scriptures inspired of God were sufficient to equip the man of God to be "throughly furnished unto all good works."102 Jesus promised his apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth.103 If the Spirit did so, it is but rational to conclude that the term "all truth" includes all spiritual truth needful to mankind for the saving of the souls of men. If such was revealed to the apostles, no additional truth remained to be revealed in later times. That the apostles themselves accepted Jesus' statement with this significance is evident in that both Paul and John104 taught that anyone who came teaching a doctrine contrary to that taught by the apostles was to be rejected. The words of Paul are so phrased as to include even the angel Moroni if he came to Joseph Smith, or any man who proposes to make known revelations from God to man. Men today are not found performing the unquestionable, indisputable miracles of a genuine nature which could be said to "confirm" new revelations as God's word as biblical scriptures were said to be "confirmed" by such miracles.105 The pretended miracles of false teachers are nothing new, since even in biblical times God's people were warned to be on guard against the signs of those who taught falsedoctrine.106 Genuine miracles serve to confirm the worker of miracles as a prophet of God, but so subtle and deceptive have been the attempts of false teachers in pretending to work miracles that the biblical writers warned against our yielding to the outward appearance of what may appear to be genuine signs when the teaching being advanced is contrary to that known to be God's word.107 If it be claimed that Jesus and his apostles taught differently
102 103

2 Timothy 3:16, 17. John 16:13; 14:26. 104 Galatians 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11. 105 Hebrews 2:3, 4; Mark 16:20. 106 Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:9. 107 Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Matthew 24:24.

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from the teachings of Moses and the leaders of the Old Testament period, it must be recalled that the old covenant looked forward to the coming of the new.108 As Moses was the mediator of the old covenant, Christ is the mediator of the new.109 If there is to be a new dispensation, or new covenant, who is greater than Christ to serve as mediator of the new covenant of the latter-days? Mormon inspiration concedes this point in that it contends that Joseph Smith merely restored lost portions of the covenant of Christ. The old covenant was dedicated with the blood of animals, the new covenant was dedicated with Christ's blood.110 By what superior sacrifice can some new covenant be dedicated? Christ's Kingdom was to exist until all his enemies had been conquered.111 the last of which was to be death itself.112 Thus the biblical writers explain fully why the New Testament teaching differs from that in the Old Testament, but at the same time shows conclusively that there can be no later dispensation, and no later revelation of divine truth. The truth for this age was made known to the apostles of Jesus Christ. What truth is there for modern prophets to reveal, unless God has changed His mind or repudiated his command to consider accursed those who preach another gospel? Acceptance of the Bible and its inspiration as being divine necessarily closes the door to divine revelation and rejects the claims of the Mormon scriptures as but the spurious works of men.
108 Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13; 12:24. 109 Hebrews 8:6; 12:24. 110 Hebrews 9:15-28; 13:20. 111 Daniel 2:44; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-36. 112

1 Corinthians 15:24 28.

CHAPTER THREE

Mormon Inspiration
President Hugh B. Brown, of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmed the truth that the concept of Mormon inspiration is a complex one, vague, and sufficiently chameleon-like to adapt itself to whatever set of circumstances or doctrines the Mormon system may require of it at any given time. Brown affirmed simply that the church is not committed to any formal creed, but rather its members were taught to believe in and live by the revelations of the past while preparing themselves for the revelations that were yet to come.1 Inspiration is said to be the particular blessing of every Latter-day Saint, yet this claimed "divine insight" of the individual Mormon is never allowed to go contrary to the official positions and doctrines of the church. Joseph Smith learned early through the attempts of Hiram Page to receive revelations that a safeguard was necessary to prevent "Mormon inspiration" from conflicting with his own version of "Mormon inspiration."2 So he came up with the revelations which make it mandatory that only one person at a time be considered competent to receive revelations for the church, and bestowed that privilege upon himself so long as he lived.3 This despite the fact that his own inspiration had earlier affirmed that he would be given "no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift."4 Eventually he by "inspiration" added the gifts of prophet, seer, revelator, and president to that of translator which had been the first gift to which he laid claim. The citadel of Mormonism therefore rests upon the "rock" of "revelation."5 The president receives the revelations designed for the whole church, but even these must be considered and approved by a vote of the membership in conference before they can become authoritative. Inspiration or revelation is said to be for the purpose of bearing testimony regarding the true gospel, and so vital to the continued existence of the system is the internal testimony of the subconscious mind of every Mormon that its young men and future teachers are told to affirm to themselves that there is nothing in
1 Hugh B. Brown, "Revelation: The Challenging Message Of Mormonism," The Improvement Era, December 1961, Vol. 64, p. 924. 2 George Q. Cannon, The Life Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Second Edition, 1907, pp. 74, 75. 3 Doctrine and Covenants 28:2, 7; 43:2. 4 Book of Commandments, W. W. Phelps & Co., Zion, 1833, IV: 2, p. 10. 5 Joseph Smith, Jr., History Of The Church, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958, Vol. V, p. 258.

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the world that could change their mind about it, for they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the president of the church is a prophet.6 They know it by what they believe to be the gift and power of the Holy Spirit7 that inner testimony of conscience. They know it because Mormon inspiration assured them in Moroni 10:4 that: "when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would 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."8 The proof of the truth of Mormon inspiration has therefore been made to rest upon an internal testimony, said to be the "power of the Holy Ghost." But how accurate is this testimony, and in what does it consist? How does one recognize it, and what are the evidences of its divine origin? These are the questions which must ever confront the Mormon system, and these are the questions it sooner or later evades. Careful examination reveals the endless circle so common to false religions faith is proved by testimony and the testimony established by the faith. Mormon inspiration, when analyzed, reveals itself to be but the normal functioning of the human mind! John A. Widtsoe declared: "The gift of the Holy Ghost, is a gift of intelligence."9 The original Mormon prophet himself advanced the same concept, declaring: "There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost," and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pare intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile. . ." (emphasis mine, BC).10 Mormon Inspiration, or revelation, then is believed to be the work of the Holy Spirit of God, but in essence it performs the function of the intellect storing knowledge, expanding the mind, and enlightening the understanding. These are the blessings of all intelligent beings, whether they have the Holy Spirit or not. Unless,
6 Thorpe B. Isaacson, "Look To Our Young Men," Improvement Era, Vol. 63, p. 934. 7 Ibid. p. 934. 8 Moroni 10:4. 9 John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As A Scientist, General Board Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1908, p. 88. 10 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 380.

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therefore, the writings and guidance of the inspiration in Mormonism can stand the acid test of accuracy and reliability which biblical inspiration has stood through the centuries we must conclude that there is a vast distinction to be made between the significance of biblical inspiration and Mormon inspiration. Apostle James E. Talmage draws some line of distinction between the terms "inspiration" and "revelation" as used in Mormon teaching, but he concedes they are almost identical.11 He defines "inspiration" as meaning literally to animate with the spirit, and says that a man is inspired when he is under the influence of a power other than his own. "Inspiration," according to Talmage, is to be regarded as a lower or less directly intensive degree of spiritual influence than is seen in "revelation."12 "Revelation" is said to be the direct communication or disclosing of God's will to man under circumstances or conditions best suited to divine will and purposes, and may be through dreams while asleep, or in visions while one is awake, or may be in the actual manifestation of a divine presence before the eye of man.13 We see, therefore, that inspiration is said to be the result of being under an influence other than one's own, though the Mormon prophet himself had affirmed that even the Spirit of God "has no other effect than pure intelligence." Examination will reveal that the function termed by the Mormons "divine inspiration" will be seen to be the ordinary human mind at work. Apostle Talmage conceded that the dreams of sleep and the waking visions of the mind are avenues of revelation, and these suggest the ordinary functioning of the subconscious mind. Thus the concept of Mormon inspiration does include the very normal processes of human intelligence involved in ordinary inspiration, and by which every book is written, every painting produced, and every poem created. That the Mormon concept of inspiration does parallel and include the most ordinary processes of human intelligence and thought is frankly admitted by Sidney B. Sperry when he states that no fine line of distinction should be made between inspiration and revelation and then affirms that to him even hunches and intuition are to be considered revelation if rightly understood.14 Thus we see included in the concept of Mormon inspiration
11 James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 296. 12 Ibid ., p. 296. 13 Ibid., p. 229. 14 Sidney B. Sperry, Doctrine And Covenants Compendium, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 22.

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those motivations of the human brain which reach from the sublime summit of the claimed miraculous to the insignificant "hunch" or "intuition" which may come to one on impulse. If one be a faithful Mormon believing himself to be in possession of the Holy Spirit, whatever may be the conclusion of the mind or the substance of his "hunch" it can be said to be the result of the direction of the Spirit. If in the silence of reposing sleep a dream may cross the subconscious mind, and it appear to have some meaning, the person can be said to have been "divinely inspired." This role of the normal function of the human mind in the process of "Mormon inspiration" has been apparent since the beginning of the system. Despite the claim of David Whitmer15 and other early Mormons that Smith received the message of the Book of Mormon in a miraculous manner by placing the seer stone into a hat, Smith was early forced to lay the groundwork for departure from the strictly miraculous concept when Oliver Cowdery insisted upon trying to translate. Smith first assured Cowdery that "whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it,"16 qualifying the promise only to the extent of assuring him that he possessed the gift of Aaron earlier it had been declared by inspiration to be the "gift of working with the rod"17 and that if he doubted not God would inform him concerning those matters wherein he inquired "of the Lord." Cowdery endeavored to translate by "inspiration." He failed. Smith immediately called forth another revelation in which the process of inspiration is clearly revealed to be but,, the function of the mind: "Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner. Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore you cannot write that which 18 is sacred save it be given you from me." (emphasis mine BC) This concept of inspiration has been adopted by later Mormon
15 David Whitmer, Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, Richmond, Missouri, 1887, p. 12. (Reprinted by Pacific Publishing Co., Martinez, Calif., 1960). 16 Doctrine and Covenants 8:9. 17 Book of Commandments VII: 3; Doctrine and Covenants 8:6. 18 Doctrine and Covenants 9:6-9.

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writers to the rejection of the views of Whitmer and Martin Harris. Brigham H. Roberts summarily dismisses their description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated and affirms that "trouble" arises through a too-literal acceptance of their accounts.19 He also attempts to prove that even with the use of the "seer stone" and "urim and thummim" Smith had to bend all his intellectual powers to the task of translating.20 Evans cites the revelation given to Oliver Cowdery instructing him to "study it out in your mind," and infers this must have been the manner of translation, otherwise it does not appear why "the Lord . . . should not have given the record in correct English."21 The reader can therefore readily see the contrast in the concept of Mormon inspiration, and the assurance Jesus gave to his disciples in sending them forth, instructing them: "When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak:22for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." The criteria revealed by Smith to Cowdery, said to govern the process of inspiration, reveals that the person who asks of the Lord "if it be right," is given the assurance that if it be right his bosom will burn within him that he may know that it is right. He may or may not have a bosom that burns with the excitement of believing himself to be communicating directly with deity, but even if not a case of chronic indigestion could almost transform one into a prophet! If one be not sure whether his bosom did burn with an affirmative answer he has yet one more yardstick by which to determine whether the matter "studied out in his mind" be right. If he can recall his decision afterward, then he can be sure that he received a divine message, for he is promised a stupor of thought that will cause him to forget that which is wrong, and he cannot write things sacred except it be given him of God! Thus the Mormons describe inspiration in terms synonymous with the normal activity of the human mind. Brigham H. Roberts concedes that most all of Smith's revelations came in response to inquiries of the Lord.23 Sperry is careful to point out that a dozen or more were received under other circumstances,24 but examination reveals these to be no different to the others in style or pattern.
19 Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses For God, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1951, Vol. III, p. 414. 20 Ibid., Vol. II, 1920, pp. 114116. 21 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, p. 71. 22 Matthew 10:19. 23 Smith, Op. Cit., "Introduction," Vol. V, p. xxxv. 24 Sperry, Op. Cit., pp. 28-30.

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Smith merely does not state in his official history that he "inquired" of the Lord. That the inquiry process is basic for the reception of inspired messages among Smith's followers is evidenced in a statement by F. Henry Edwards, of the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, to the effect that practically every revelation which had been accepted by the Reorganization had been given in answer to prayer and for the solution of specific problems.25 Smith himself confirms the point by the following statement found in the minutes of the church conference, under date of October 3, 1841: "The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer,and obtain divine teaching.:26 This concept of inspiration sets the stage for the many oddities encountered in an examination of the teaching and biographies of those said to have been endowed with the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Mormon system. Let us note a number of these which serve to accent the differences between biblical inspiration and Mormon inspiration. A. Mormon Inspiration Is Not Limited To Mormons. If, as Latter-day Saints have taught, it was essential that the Book of Mormon be brought forth to restore the fulness of the gospel so that men could obtain the priesthood and receive the guiding power of the Holy Spirit after faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, we should expect that power of inspiration to be limited to those who embrace the Book of Mormon and its teachings. This is not the case. A casual survey of Mormon literature reveals that the inspiration of God is credited with producing many of the most notable events of history, even during that period when according to the Latter-day Saints there could have been no faithful people on the earth unless it were the apostle John and the three Nephites.27 1. John Henry Evans declares that Asael Smith, the grandfather of Joseph Smith, Jr., received a vision under the impulse of the Spirit concerning the beginning of the work about to be undertaken. "'It has been borne in upon my soul,' he is known to have remarked, 'that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.' "28 Evans states that before his death Asael Smith was given a copy
F. Henry Edwards, A Commentary On The Doctrine Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1938, p. 17. 26 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 425. 27 3 Nephi 23:7; Doctrine and Covenants 7:3. 28 Evans, Op. Cit., p. 11.
25

And

Covenants,

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of the Book of Mormon which he accepted as divine revelation. Mormon writings confirm the fact that the ancestors of Joseph Smith, Jr., made frequent claim to experiencing the miraculous. Mormon writers accept many of these as the result of divine inspiration. 2. On October 6, 1856, Wilford Woodruff stated in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City that when he was an eight-year-old lad he knew a man who: "taught my father's household many important truths concerning the Church and kingdom of God, and told them many things in relation to the Prophets and the things that were coming upon the earth, but his teachings were not received by but few, they were unpopular with the Christian world, but nearly all that did receive his teachings have joined the Latterday Saints."29 Woodruff was born in 1807. Here is an instance of a man said to be teaching with the obvious powers of an inspired man, a prophet of God, five years before Joseph's claimed 1820 vision in which he makes the claim that he was told there were no faithful disciples on earth, and the priesthood capable of authorizing a man to teach in God's name non-existent. 3. Latter-day Saints make the claim that Christopher Columbus was inspired of God and directed by the Spirit to come to the new world. C. Thompson states as much in the early days of Mormonism.30 More recently Ezra Taft Benson is found stating in the Improvement Era that the scriptures tell us that the spirit wrought upon Columbus and that he came to the new world under the inspiration of heaven.31 4. It is an accepted fact with Latter-day Saints that the men who framed the United States Constitution were guided by divine inspiration. Orson Pratt declared: "Yes, the Lord had a hand in framing its Constitution."32 Heber J. Grant, a former church president, declared that from his childhood he had understood that the Constitution was an inspired instrument, and that God had directed those who created it and who had defended the independence of the nation.33 Parley P. Pratt said of it: "It was doubtless dictated by the spirit of eternal wisdom,
Journal Of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 99. C. Thompson, "Proclamation And Warning," Times And Seasons, Vol. 3 p. 657. 31 The Improvement Era, June 1952, Vol. 55, p. 431. 32 Journal Of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 71. 33 Heber J. Grant, "Lincoln And Law," Improvement Era, Feb. 1940, Vol. 43, p. 127.
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and has thus far proved itself adequate to the wants of the nation."34 Despite these claims that God directed those who created it and that it was dictated by the spirit of wisdom and is considered by Latter-day Saints to be an inspired instrument. Joseph the Prophet did not consider it faultless. In the official history of the church he termed it good, but stated that it had one fault in that it did not make any provision for its enforcement. He declared it to be well enough for those able to take care of or defend themselves, but said that those who were weak or unpopular were left to the "merciless rage of popular fury."35 Thus Mormon inspired men affirm that the Constitution is an inspired document, yet that it left the unpopular Mormons to the "merciless rage of popular fury!" 5. Latter-day Saints also believe that Abraham Lincoln was an inspired man. President Heber J. Grant, while president, prophet, and revelator of the church, said that Latter-day Saints honor Abraham Lincoln because they believed that God had honored him and raised him up to be an instrument in His hand in saving the Constitution and the Union.36 Had Grant stopped here he would have expressed but the view of most Bible believers, knowing that God overrules in the affairs of men, and that in Bible times He often employed unbelievers and pagan governments to bring about that which He ordained as for instance in allowing His Jewish people to become subjects of Babylon in punishment for their unfaithfulness. However, Grant continued on to say that every Latter-day Saint believes that Abraham Lincoln was raised up and inspired of God, and that he reached the presidency under the favor of God.37 6. Elder Charles W. Nibley, while Presiding Bishop of the church, credited the many discoveries and inventions of modern science to inspiration from God. Speaking before the eighty ninth semi-annual conference, he said: "All these wonderful inventions and mechanical improveprovements, practically every one, have been revealed by the inspiration of the Almighty to the minds of men since the day the Lord spoke to the Prophet Joseph Smith and revealed himself and started what Brother Whitney so beautifully referred to yesterday as the new spiritual forces which should revolu34 Journal Of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 138. 35 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. VI, p. 57. 36 Grant, Op. Cit., Improvement Era, Vol. 37

Ibid., p. 73.

43, p. 73.

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tionize the thought of the world, for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation."38 It is seen therefore that the concept of Mormon inspiration, claimed to be the supernatural direction of the human mind by the Holy Spirit, is made so broad that it reaches into every sphere of the ordinary functioning of the mind. Be it impulse, "hunch," the inspiration for an invention, or the framing of our national Constitution, it is said to be the "inspiration" of God. Be it the raising up of a national leader of renown, or the courage to seek for new worlds, that power which motivates the mind to decision and action is termed "divine inspiration." It is present in those who lived when Latter-day Saints claim there was no authoritative priesthood, and is present in many who have refused to accept the religious tenets of Joseph Smith. Jr., as well as in many who were ignorant of his teachings. To define God's power of inspiration in revealing His will to mankind so broadly is absurd. It but makes every man, disciple or not, a vessel for the reception of divine inspiration, and every thought a revelation from God. Such is but ordinary human inspiration, and is divine only in the sense that every man is a creature of God and the power of the intellect is a blessing from God. The Mormon claim to possess the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is thus reduced from the supernatural to the ordinary, and the doctrine that only the president of the church can receive revelations for the whole church serves but to put the church under his direction. B. Mormon Inspiration Necessary To Understand Revelation. Revelation is defined by reliable dictionaries as "the act of revealing," or "the disclosure to human intelligence of something hitherto unknown." Until something has been brought within the reach of man's understanding, it cannot be said to have been revealed. The concept of divine revelation historically accepted regarding the inspiration of the scriptures of the Bible has been that God empowered the biblical writers by means of the Holy Spirit to make known God's will to the minds of men. Through the exercise of the ordinary powers of the human intellect man may understand that which has been revealed. Though all Mormon writers and authorities include this idea in their concept of divine inspiration, and Latter-day Saints universally agree that the Bible is God's will if translated correctly, the Mormon concept of inspiration makes further reservation and in effect negates the idea of actual revelation. Latter-day Saints
38 Charles W. Nibley, "Convincing Testimonies of the Divinity of the Great Latter-day Work," Liahona The Elders' Journal, June 10, 1919, Vol. 16, p. 1459.

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believe it is necessary for one to be guided by divine inspiration before he can understand the scriptures said to have been revealed! Orson Spencer wrote: "Without the same spirit of revelation that dwelt in the breasts of prophets, patriarchs, and apostles in ancient time, no man can begin to know God, neither can any man or set of men make any progress in the knowledge of God, when that spirit is withdrawn from him."39 Again: "If they have not the spirit of revelation, they cannot judge what is a genuine and infallible revelation when it proceeds from the pen of apostles, or even the. lips of angels, or of God himself; for the things of the Spirit are correctly judged only by those who have the same spirit. . ."40 It is a stock argument of the Saints that the Bible is imperfect, that many "plain and most precious"41 parts of the gospel have been removed, and therefore Mormon inspiration is essential before one can know he is properly understanding the message of the Bible.42 More recently, some Mormon teachers have begun to advocate the concept that "revelation" is not only necessary to understand the revelations given, but also to add new meanings to the words already written, which meanings were not understood by those guided by Mormon inspiration earlier in their understanding of them. This view is set forth by A. C. Lambert in the Improvement Era when he affirmed that the concept of continuous revelation and the principle underlying it may mean either the expansion of the meanings and application of scripture as well as the adding of new units of scripture.43 Therefore, in the giving of a revelation Mormon inspiration does not propose to present to man's intellect a message he can understand with ordinary intelligence and thereby be able to follow its directions. Rather, Mormon inspiration holds that one must have within himself that power of the Holy Spirit which authors the written revelation, which power will guide him to whatever understanding the Spirit desires even to the adding of new or expanded significance to an inspired writing generations after it was first written down. The faithful Latter-day Saint therefore looks not to the written word with the purpose of obtaining the message con39 Orson Spencer, Letters, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891, p. 34. 40 Ibid., p. 35. 41 1 Nephi 13:26. 42 Orson Pratt, A Series Of Pamphlets, "Divine Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon," R. James, Liverpool, 1851, pp. 33-48. 43 A. C. Lambert, "The Book Of Doctrine And Covenants," Improvement Era, Oct., 1951, Vol. 54, p. 734.

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tained in its words so much as to the spoken direction of the Mormon prophets, and to that inner voice of his own which he believes to be the testimony of God's Spirit. As Orson F. Whitney states: "No man ought to contend for what is in the books, in the face of God's mouthpiece, who speaks for Him and interprets His word. To so contend is to defer to the dead letter in preference to the living oracle, which is always a false position."44 Little wonder remains why intelligent refutations and logical exposures of the lack of divine inspiration in the Mormon scriptures have carried little weight with Latter-day Saints. The power of "inspiration" really but the conclusions of one's mind based on evidence and testimony which he accepts, but believed by Latterday Saints to be the miraculous inspiration of God assures the faithful Mormon that he has the testimony of God that he is faithful. Actually he has but subjected the God-given power of intelligent judgment which God gave to every creature to the ordinary human capacity for reason possessed by the Mormon prophets. C. Mormon Inspiration Does Not Produce Accuracy. Most Bible believers consider that "divine inspiration" is inseparably linked with "accuracy." It is not so with Latter-day Saints. Though the Mormons believe that their prophets speak with remarkable accuracy, and their faith is a conviction that God's will is unerringly accurate and dependable, the Mormon system has instilled the concept that accuracy is dependent upon the measure of one's faith. If the prophet's faith wavers, he can be inaccurate while under this influence of the devil. David Whitmer quotes Smith as explaining the failure of a revelation: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil."45 All faithful Mormons claim to possess individual "revelation" to guide them, yet no one claims to be perfect in thought, judgment, or knowledge by this power. All hinges on the Mormon concept of faith. In a series of seven lectures on faith, formerly printed and bound with the Doctrine and Covenants, Sidney Rigdon propounded the theory that: "If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in them; that without
44 Orson F. Whitney, in discourse at 87th Semi-Annual conference, Liahona. The Elders' Journal, Vol. 14, p. 736. 45 Whitmer, Op. Cit, p. 31.

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it both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental."46 Again: "'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.' By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, exist by reason of faith as it existed in HIM. Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute for it is an attribute from the Deity, and he would cease to exist."47 The biblical language of Hebrews 11:3 has thus been transposed by Mormon inspiration so that instead of our believing through faith that God framed the worlds, faith on God's part has been made the instrument by which He framed them, and by which He must even keep Himself in existence. Orson F. Whitney affirmed: "God did not create faith. It is a self-existent principle. But by means of it He created the Universe and continues to control and have dominion over it. It is His faith that upholds all things. If God doubted the world were doomed."48 Faith then is made to be the essence, the summation of, and the motivating cause of all that exists, and is the only cause which can lead to accuracy. Any inaccuracy in a prophet of Mormonism, or in an individual Mormon, is easily charged to a lapse of faith. To doubt is to see oneself slipping from faithfulness. Thorpe B. Isaacson, of the Presiding Bishopric, well expresses this attitude toward faith when he said concerning the sustaining of prophets, seers, and revelators that Latter-day Saints know they are speaking under the inspiration of God, and expressed a desire that their faith might be strong enough to accept that fact. Concerning the inclinations to doubt whether it was a revelation or inspiration, Isaacson stated that that was because faith may sometimes waver.49 Faith is thus made the instrument by which the prophets and truth are accepted, but the element of evidence which produces
"Lectures On Faith," 1:10, Doctrine and Covenants, 1907 Edition. Ibid., 1:14-16. 48 Orson F. Whitney, "The Mainspring Of Power," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 16, p. 1447. 49 Thorpe B. Isaacson, "Seek And Ye Shall Find," Improvement Era, May 1949, Vol. 52, p. 297.
47 46

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faith is minimized or eliminated. Mormon inspiration comes through the thought process and requires no confirming evidence beyond an inner testimony believed to be the voice of the Holy Spirit, but more accurately is but the approval of conscience. Doubt is wavering faith, and the Latter-day Saint who finds himself doubting the genuineness of Mormon inspiration credits it to his own weak faith rather than to the lack of evidence of divine inspiration in the claimed revelations, or testimony. With such a concept of faith, inspiration, and testimony it is not difficult to understand why the test proposed by Moroni 10:4 has satisfied so many generations of Latter-day Saints. Neither is it strange to discover that the system of Mormonism is filled with examples of imperfection and inaccuracy in the revelations of its prophets and in the lives of those directed by such inspiration. 1. Despite the guidance of Mormon inspiration, the Book of Mormon was not brought out in the original 1830 edition in a state of accuracy. The book has been repeatedly revised, and thousands of changes have been made. The leaders of the church deny that any changes of significance have been made. The reader may determine this for himself by examining the catalog of changes contained in the appendix of this volume. A similar examination of the Book of Commandments, later revised and enlarged into the present Doctrine and Covenants, reveals the same evidence of inaccuracy and imperfection. Since these two books represent the major portion of the Mormon scriptures, they supply abundant proof of their lack of divine inspiration. More particular attention is given to some of the revisions of these two books in another chapter. 2. Though the power of Mormon inspiration is said to be essential in order to have a proper understanding of the Bible, it is not sufficient to enable a faithful Mormon to determine whether another Mormon is a faithful one. When, by Mormon revelation, the Saints were being urged to go to Missouri "Zion" the elders stationed in "Zion" published a letter to the churches abroad in the Evening and Morning Star. Appearing under date of July 1833, it contained the following: "One very important requisition for the Saints that come up to the land of Zion is, that before they start, they procure a certificate from three Elders of the Church, or from the Bishop in Ohio, according to the commandments; and when they arrive, to present it to the Bishop in Zion; other wise they are not considered wise stewards, and cannot be received into fellowship with the Church, till they prove themselves with their own goodness.

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Some of our brethren may think, at the first instant, perhaps, that this is useless and formal, but a few reflections will be sufficient for them to see the propriety of it, and more especially, when they learn that it is a commandment given us of the Lord."50 Why did not the power of revelation in the Bishop enable him to property-screen the persons who came regardless of whether they brought a certificate? Why not apply the test of Moroni 10:4, or go to God in "earnest prayer" and make inquiry concerning those who came? 3. Mormon inspiration was inadequate to supply the church historian's office with information needed to complete the official history. The Latter-day Saints place a great emphasis upon records and history. Andrew Jensen stated: "Records have been kept from the beginning both at Church headquarters, in the different missionary fields, and in the stakes of Zion, but in many instances they have been kept imperfectly. Even John Whitmer, the first Church historian, was not faithful in his special calling very long. He apostatized and when he left the Church he refused to give up the records he had kept to the proper Church authorities; hence for a number of years we did not have the full records concerning the days of Kirtland and Missouri."51 Mormon inspiration erred in appointing John Whitmer, therefore, and Mormon Inspiration was unable to supply the records he kept until they were secured through ordinary human means of acquisition. Jensen declared that the church possessed "upwards of 700 large volumes of manuscript history completed." How reliable was this history? Jensen continues: "But we shall not be satisfied with our labors until we have made one more visit to all the stakes and wards throughout the Church for the purpose of reading to the old settlers, and all others who are interested, that which we have written, in order to insure accuracy and correct all possible errors that may have crept in."52 It would appear that here, too, is an occasion where it would be far more simple and less expensive to merely inquire of the Lord, and apply Moroni's test of accuracy. Further evidence of inaccuracy in record keeping is indicated by Joseph Fielding Smith in the Improvement Era. After citing many errors which had been submitted to the Genealogical temple records, Smith declares that he did not believe Joseph Smith would approve
Op. Cit, Vol. I, pp. 334, 385. Andrew Jensen, "The Saints Urged To Keep Individual And Family Records," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 691. 52 Ibid., p. 693.
50 Smith, 51

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of such methods of record keeping and he was certain the Lord did not approve of it. He then appealed to the Latter-day Saints to exercise greater care in preparing records for the temple, pleading that the sacredness of the temple called for records as accurate as human power and the inspiration of God could make them.53 In admitting the unreliability of a part of the records sent to the temple in compliance with the requirement of Mormon revelation,54 Smith admits that no information recorded by Mormon inspiration is reliable until checked for accuracy. This places the entire body of Mormon "scripture" under a greater cloud of uncertainty than even the Mormons charge against the Bible. 4. In April, 1843, when the Mormon prophet was still engaged in the work of building up the Mormon system, the Mormons had begun the publishing of the Times and Seasons. After nearly four years of publication, and with different men serving as editors, Smith stated to John Taylor, and his words are recorded in the official history of the church under the heading: "Mayor's Court at Nauvoo", that he believed Taylor could do more good editing the paper than he could preaching. But then he went on to say that he had no one else he could trust the paper with, and hardly with Taylor because he allowed the paper to come out with so many mistakes.55 Of all the thousands of Latter-day Saints residing in Nauvoo at the time, the "Spirit" guided none of them into accuracy sufficient to produce the monthly periodical satisfactory to the prophet. 5. Mormon inspiration was inadequate to give present-day Mormons accurate records of the discourses of the prophet. Speaking of the period from January through June, 1843, and terming it the period during which were "unfolded the doctrines which most distinguish the Church, which under God he had founded, from the sectarian churches founded by men," Brigham H. Roberts is compelled to admit: "Unfortunately we do not have verbatim reports of his discourses during this period. Most of them were reported in longhand by Willard Richards, his confidential friend and secretary, and Wilford Woodruff, one of the Twelve Apostles and noted among other things for daily journalizing events passing under his observation. But these reports are not verbatim, and there doubtless exist many verbal inaccuracies, and often the impres53 Joseph Fielding Smith, 'The 1940, Vol. 43, p. 430. 54 Doctrine and Covenants 127:4-7. 55 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 367.

Waste

Of

Haste,"

Improvement

Era,

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sion of the idea left upon the mind of the reporter rather than the idea itself."56 Thus we see the admission that many "inaccuracies" and possibly the transposing of the impression of an idea for the idea itself has occurred in the attempts of "inspired" men to record the discourses of a claimed inspired man. Such an admission but admits the unreliability of all Mormon scriptures, for all presumed inspired writings would fall into the same category as these attempts to record accurately what was said or what actually occurred. 6. Present day Mormon inspiration is not sufficient to determine the actual reliability of a piece of writing. When John Henry Evans published his One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, an endorsement by Francis M. Lyman, George Reynolds, and Joseph F. Smith, Jr., followed the title page. The endorsement began: "Dear Brethren: We, your brethren, appointed as a special committee to examine the work written by Elder John Henry Evans of the Latter-day Saints' University entitled 'One Hundred Years of Mormonism,' respectfully report that we have carefully read and considered the whole of said work and find the facts 57therein to be true and correct as far as our knowledge extends." Thus Mormons guided by the claimed power of the Holy Spirit are able to bear testimony to the accuracy of a written work "as far as our knowledge extends." Little more needs to be said. They are seen to be capable of the same degree of intelligent action that every other normally developed human being possesses, even though they may reject "in toto" the Book of Mormon and Mormon revelations. Their claim to possess "internal" testimony of the Holy Spirit is mere self-delusion. D. Mormon Inspiration Is Founded Upon Testimony Yet Rejects Most Testimony Of The Period. Though it is claimed by Mormons that the "rock" of Christ's promise to the biblical apostles58 is "revelation,"59 and that the Mormon system is founded upon "continued revelation," the system is in reality founded upon "testimony." The only proof offered that Smith was visited by Moroni in 1823, or that God and Christ appeared to him in bodily form in 1820, is the testimony of Smith. No proof is given of the genuineness of the Book of Mormon record except the testimony of Smith and the witnesses he selected, and
56 Brigham H. Roberts, The Rise And Fall Of Nauvoo, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 164. 57 Evans, Op. Cit., p. iii. 58 Matthew 16:18. 59 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 258.

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whose testimony he obviously phrased to suit the occasion. No proof of the divine origin of the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants and other Mormon scriptures except the testimony of the Mormon prophets, supported by corroborating testimony of contemporary Mormons who testify only that they originated with the prophet. All is therefore made to rest upon the testimony of the prophets. Even when the revelations are sustained by the membership by vote in conference, such approval is but the approval of the testimony given that the revelation originated with one whom they believe to be an inspired man. Acceptance of the Mormon scriptures is therefore but an acceptance of testimony. In view of this fact, the objections raised through the years by non-Mormons and persons who have become disillusioned and left the system that much testimony of the period is rejected and not properly weighed becomes important. The testimony of more than one hundred of Smith's early acquaintances in Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed is dismissed as weightless and fraudulent. The testimony of those persons who claimed to recall having heard Solomon Spaulding read portions of the contents of the Book of Mormon from one of his fictional manuscripts is declared to be "overtaxing" of "our powers of credulity" to believe."60 The testimony of David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris with regard to the manner in which the translation of the Book of Mormon was translated is rejected.61 The testimony of Alexander Campbell and Adamson Bentley that Sidney Rigdon told them three or four years before 1830 that a book was coming out which had been found on gold plates62 is totally discounted and ignored. The testimony of Martin Harris concerning the divine inspiration of James J. Strang leads Orson Hyde, editor of the Millenial Star, to declare that "the wrath of God is upon him."63 With so much resting upon the reliability of testimony, it is most interesting that Mormon inspiration has supplied no standard criteria for the determining of reliable testimony. We are given a hint as to what to expect by noting that the liahona the brass directors of 1 Nephi 16:28 "did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them." The testimony
Evans, Op. Cit., p. 95. Ibid., p. 71; Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses For God, Vol. III, pp. 413, 414; Whitmer, Op. Cit., p. 12; Oliver Cowdery, Defence In A Rehearsal Of My Grounds For Separating Myself From The Latter Day Saints, Presley's Job Office, Norton, Ohio, 1839, (photo-reproduced 1961 by Jerald Tanner, Salt Lake City, Utah) pp. 2, 3. 62 The Millenial Harbinger, Alexander Campbell. Editor January 1844 pp. 38, 39. 63 The Millenial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 128.
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of all Mormon apostates is rejected because they have proved unfaithful. Joseph Smith supplied a standard by which to judge between true and false angels, stating that one proper credential of a true angel is seen in the color of the hair.64 He neglects to tell us what the color should be. In the Doctrine and Covenants he ventures to explain the difference between angels, spirits of just men, and devils.65 In doing so he puts the angel on the level with men. Smith declares the spirit of a just man has no "flesh and bones." The devil will shake hands with you but you will feel nothing, whereas you can shake hands with an angel and actually feel the hand as if shaking hands with a man. This doubtless explains how so many angels were reported by so many of the faithful in the early days of the Mormon system. It possibly also explains Oliver Cowdery's reference to the similarity between the voice of Sidney Rigdon and the "angel" that claimed to be John the Baptist.66 As further protection to the authoritative hierarchy of the Mormon priesthood, Smith made it clear that in addition to judging by the color of the hair, a true angel would be known by his not "contradicting a former revelation."67 Thus the testimony of Smith and his witnesses are secured forever against all testimony contrary to Mormon inspiration, whether given by men or "angels." Yet, as Hal Houghey has pointed out, the testimony of Mormons as the change of the testimony of the eight witnesses to the genuineness of the Book of Mormon from "Author and Proprietor" to "Translator" can be changed by Mormon inspiration even after their death.68 Fortified by the faith of a people in such a concept of reliable testimony, the citadel of Mormonism can never be shaken by truth or logic so long as such standards of truth and error prevail. Testimony is rendered weightless by the priesthood if unfavorable to the system, and invulnerable to attack if in its favor. Mormon inspiration thus becomes the standard by which true and false testimony are determined, and selects the testimony by which the revelations of Mormonism are to be tried. E. Mormon Inspiration Reveals Trial And Error Process In Establishing The Mormon System. Examination of abundant Mormon literature reveals nothing
64 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 581; see also 65 Doctrine and Covenants 129; see also 66 Cowdery, Op. Cit, p. 2. 67 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 581; Times and 68

Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 747. Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 267.

Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 747. Hal Houghey, "A Review Of The Reprint Of The Original Book Of Mormon," No. 5, Firm Foundation, Vol. 76, p. 550.

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more clearly than that the system has been unfolded by a "trial and error" process lacking the unerring dependability of divine inspiration. Many indications of such a process will be specifically treated in later chapters under other headings. A few at this point will suffice. 1. When the story was first circulated that Joseph Smith had been visited by an angel in 1823, the name of the angel was said to be "Nephi." This fact is admitted in the History of the Church,69 a footnote in the current edition supplying the information that the "error" occurred when the story was first published in the Times and Seasons. Though the Mormons speak of it, when they admit it at all, as an error, it appeared in the Times and Seasons April 15, 1842, twelve years after the church was organized and by which time logic would indicate that every Mormon working in the Nauvoo print shop should have known what the Mormons were claiming regarding the name.70 To further discredit the claim of error, the same name "Nephi" is found in the Millenial Star"71 when the official history is copied from the Times and Seasons, and is repeated a decade after it first appeared in the Times and Seasons when it appears in the 1851 Edition of the Pearl Of Great Price?72 It was also copied by Joseph Smith's own mother in her biographical history of the prophet and his progenitors and was published in 1853.73 To further confuse the present Mormon claim, when Oliver Cowdery first recounted the history of Mormonism in a series of letters to W. W. Phelps which appeared in the Messenger and Advocate during the Kirtland period he gave no name at all to the "angel" said to have visited the prophet.74 It appears clear that at the first Smith gave no name at all to the angel in making the claim of the angellic visitation. Later, when it seemed advisable to tie the claimed heavenly messenger in with some personality of the Book of Mormon, Nephi was selected. This was later changed to "Moroni." As late as the end of the Nauvoo period the Mormons themselves were not quite clear as to whether it was Nephi or Moroni. Present-day Mormon inspiration has definitely settled the question concerning the disputed record, and apostle James E. Talmage affirms positively that the angel anSmith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 11. Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 753. 71 Supplement to Millenial Star, Vol. 14, p. 4. 72 Pearl Of Great Price, F. D. Richards, Liverpool, 1851, p. 41. 73 Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, And His Progenitors For Many Generations, S. W. Richards, Liverpool, 1853, p. 79. 74 Messenger And Advocate, July 1835, Vol. 1, p. 156.
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nounced himself as "Moroni." Lucy Mack Smith's book has been edited by Preston Nibley so the reader is merely told that the angel announced himself as "Moroni," no explanation being given that the text has been changed.76 2. The current practice of "tithing" in the church is a radical change from the communistic, community-owned, or church-owned system originally intended by Smith when he gave the revelation of February 1831 requiring the Saints to: "consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot 77be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church. . ." More particular attention will be given to this change of doctrine and practice effected by Mormon inspiration under the heading of "Zion, A Living Testimony To Lack Of Divine Inspiration." It is sufficient here to point out that Latter-day Saints concede not only that Smith did authorize the sterner transfer of ownership of all properties but contend that God authorized the lesser law of tithing because the Saints did not comply with the former. Mormon apostle James E. Talmage claims in the Articles of Faith that the law of tithing as practiced by the church today is a lesser law given by God in consequence of the failure of the human weaknesses which prevented the Latter-day Saints from living by the higher principles according to which God would have desired that they live.78 Evans says: "But on account of the selfish propensities of man and also because of the distressful conditions under which it was practiced, the 'order' was dissolved and another, and less perfect law given. This inferior law (section 119) was tithing, which requires one-tenth of one's increase annually."79 Thus, when by "trial and error" process Smith found that all of the Saints would not turn all of their substance over to the bishop of the church, he not only ordered "by revelation" the discontinuation of the practice, but changed the original scripture to read "consecrate of thy properties."80 Many Mormon writers continue to hold out hope that the trial and error process may yet be reversed and the system which they know to have been authorized by Smith prove to be acceptable to the church.
Op. Cit., p. 12. Lucy Mack Smith, History Of Joseph Smith, with notes and comments by Preston Nibley, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958, p. 75. 77 Book of Commandments XLIV:26. 78 Talmage, Op. Cit, p. 437. 79 Evans, Op. Cit., p. 133. 80 Doctrine and Covenants 42:30.
75 Talmage, 76

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3. Another clear example of trial and error experimentation is seen in the words of Joseph Smith directed to a group of new arrivals from England. Speaking of the city of Nauvoo, Smith claimed that he had asked God what God would have him to do and affirmed that God told him to build up a city and call God's people to that place.81 Thus a death blow resulted to the integrity of Mormon inspiration when Smith was killed and the Saints driven from the place where God is said to have commanded them to gather and build up a city. Moreover, it was originally described as a literal paradise in order to lure Mormons from all over the world. "This is a newly located Town, and is situated on the East bank of the Mississippi opposite Montrose, it derived its name from the Hebrew, which signifies Fair, very beautiful, and it actually fills the definition of the word; for nature has not formed a parallel on the Banks of the Mississippi, from New Orleans to Galena, for the beauty of the ground on which it stands."82 One searches in vain for the "Hebrew" lexicon defining the term, and the glowing description given by Mormon inspiration to lure the Saints from abroad did not serve to alter the facts. Mormon writers of a later day look backward upon the era, and quote Joseph: "The place was literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it was so wet that it was with utmost difficulty that a footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce was unhealthy, very few could live there; but believing that it might become a healthy place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no more eligible place presenting itself, (emphasis mine, BC) I considered it wisdom to make an attempt to build up a city."83 4. When Sidney Rigdon delivered his celebrated "Salt Sermon" at Far West, Missouri, on July 4, 1838, calling for the complete extermination of one side or the other, he but helped to incense the citizens of Missouri against the Mormons and made it necessary for Mormons of a later period to apologize for his lack of discretion. Brigham H. Roberts declares: "Sidney Rigdon, orator of the day, stirred with indignation in contemplating the sufferings the saints had endured, allowed his eloquence to carry him beyond the limits of calm wisdom, and many of the words spoken by him on that occasion, though corrected by the Prophet Joseph, were later made use of by the enemies of the Church, to the injury of the saints."84
Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. V, p. 356. Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, Vol. 1, p. 24. Roberts, Op. Cit, p. 30. 84 Brigham H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 192.
82 83 81

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The oration, if it may be so termed, cannot so easily be brushed aside, however, for it was printed and circulated by the Mormons. Evans concedes: "The address, no doubt, contained the sentiments of other leading men and the Saints generally as well as those of the orator; for it appeared in The Far West, a periodical published at Liberty, Clay County, and also issued from the press of the Elder's Journal in pamphlet form."85 The speech therefore represented the views of the leading Mormons, and therefore contained the substance of Mormon inspiration of the day. But when the tide of fortunes turned against them and they were driven from their designated land of "Zion," it became but another embarrassing bit of evidence of the "trial and error" process of Mormon inspiration. Other examples of trial and error are numerous. The revelation given to Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre,86 later changed,81 reveals that Smith was feeling his way along. The attempt to allow Oliver Cowdery to translate a part of the Book of Mormon informs us that "inspiration" did not give Cowdery divine inspiration.88 During the days of the Nauvoo period Joseph Smith made a trip to Washington, D.C., in an endeavor to get the federal government to redress the wrongs and losses sustained in their being driven from Missouri. Of this trip, Brigham H. Roberts says: "In some respects however it was unfortunate that the Prophet was not more cosmopolitan in his training and in his views of life on the occasion of this visit to the nation's capital; for lack of such training and views of life led him to the formation of rather hasty judgments as to the character of our nation's public men at that time."89 Smith therefore was not properly equipped to carry out to best advantage the work he undertook in that respect. Moreover, but a short time before his death Smith announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. He was nominated by his own twelve apostles on January- 29, 184490 and was killed on June 27 before the outcome of the campaign could be determined. If Smith was an inspired prophet, why the failure if it was God's will that he run for the Presidency? Why run if it was not? It would be difficult to find a better example of Smith's inability to look into the future than his own admission in organizing the High Council in January 1834:
85 86 Doctrine 87

Evans, Op. Cit., p. 224. and Covenants 52:22. Ibid., 56:5. 88 Ibid., 8:1-9:14. 89 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, "Introduction," p. xxvi. 90 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 187.

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"The minutes were read three times, and unanimously adopted and received for a form and constitution of the High Council of the Church of Christ hereafter; with this provision, that if the President should hereafter discover anything lacking in the same, he should be privileged to supply it. . ." (emphasis mine, BC)91 If Smith were a prophet speaking with the voice and authority of God as he boldly declared himself to be on so many occasions, then the "organizing" of the church was his particular mission, and to which he had been specially called. Yet after organizing the High Council and having the minutes read three different times for himself and his colleagues to examine and approve, he must reserve the right to later "supply" whatever he might later discover to be "lacking." This is no surprise, however, to those who properly understand the Mormon concept of divine revelation. Wilford Woodruff wrote: "We have found this true in our experience, and in order to prove whether a revelation is from God or not we follow out the principles revealed to us, and if we find that which was manifested to us prove true, we know it is from God; for truth is one of His attributes, and the Holy Ghost deceiveth no man."92 Thus any "revelation" which fails is simply declared to be not of God, and if it prove true it is affirmed to be of God. But one must first try it out and see if it "prove true," before he can know whether he is speaking from God or lack of faith! The receiving of this kind of revelation as a result of the study of the mind requires no religion, no faith in God, and the "intuition" and the wisdom of man become the essence of Mormon inspiration. Little wonder that Joseph could declare: "The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching."93 Here Joseph made his greatest mistake. He refused to rely on the facts which he could have learned from books and the wisdom of others, and he refused to rely upon the wisdom divine contained in the Bible. He taught himself and his followers that his own wisdom was that of God, and whether believing it himself in delusion or fostering it through fraud he built the concept of Mormon inspiration which due to trial and error process led his early followers into extensive hardship and suffering. The system is incapable
Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 31. Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1832, p. 37. 93 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 425.
91 Smith, 92

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of producing accuracy beyond the limits of ordinary intellect, and refuses to attempt to supply missing facts of history. It cannot look into the future, and in its attempts to do so Mormon inspiration has committed many of its greatest blunders. Fawn McKay Brodie observes that Smith's polished shaft in the White River Valley of "Vermont symbolizes the barrenness of his spiritual legacy.94 One may add that it also memorializes the attempt by Smith and his colleagues to change the historic significance of the term "divine inspiration" from the concept of unerring accuracy in revelation from God to mankind to the blind following of ordinary human direction draped with the mantle of "Mormon inspiration" as voiced by Joseph Smith, Jr., and his successors in the Mormon priesthood.
Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N.Y., 1957, p. 403.
94

CHAPTER FOUR

Direct Revelation From God Unnecessary Today


The claim to possess direct, miraculous inspiration from God apart from the written scriptures of the past is a characteristic feature of the teachings of Latter-day Saints which serves to clearly distinguish between them and most other religious bodies. Mormons believe such inspiration, or "the spirit of revelation," to be as essential to faithful service to God in this generation as in any period of biblical history. If Mormons actually possessed such miraculous power, and by presenting unquestionable evidence of such supernatural guidance confirmed themselves to be God's only true servants, there are millions of sincere Bible believers who love the truth of God who would embrace the tenets of Mormonism. They reject Mormonism today, not through prejudice, nor through dishonesty. They are compelled to reject the system because examination of it by every reliable test of truth fails to establish Mormonism as the true religion of Christ. If the Mormon people, the majority of whom we believe to be honest and sincere, would simply and clearly demonstrate the proof of supernatural abilities by actually receiving revelations from God, millions could be convinced. So long as requests that this be done are met by merely averring that such "would be tempting God," it must be admitted that the Mormon system and claims have not been established as were those of the Christian faith in the apostolic period of the Bible. Then, even the enemies admitted the presence of supernatural powers.1 Even if the Mormons were successful in establishing by argumentation that the correct interpretation of the the Bible requires one to believe in divine guidance through continued revelation in this age of the world, this would not establish that the Mormons themselves possess such power. As James D. Bales has shown, the establishing by logical and reasoning power that such evidences of divine guidance are necessary to prove faithfulness to God would not show whether the Mormons, the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, the Christian Scientists, the Seventh-day Adventists, or some other present day group actually possessed the
1

Acts 4:16; 27:10-44. 84

DIRECT REVELATION FROM GOD UNNECESSARY TODAY


2

85

power. It would not show that the Mormons are to be preferred to the followers of David Whitmer, James J. Strang, or some other segment of the followers of Joseph Smith, Jr. The proof of such a theory by logical reasoning avails nothing, since the claim affirms the possession of powers which can only be established by demonstration. The Mormon system will not be established as the true religion of Jesus Christ until the claim that all faithful Mormons actually possess direct, miraculous inspiration from God is demonstrated by the receiving of revelations from God which show themselves to be unerring in accuracy and beyond the ability of the uninspired to receive. That we may have a concise picture of the place of the continued revelation claim in the Mormon system, let us note the purposes it is said to serve: 1. "Revelation" is said to be the "rock" upon which Jesus promised to build his church.3 Therefore it is affirmed that revelation is the foundation of the church, and by this the Mormons mean "continued revelation" in this dispensation. Mormons believe that the miraculous was not limited to the apostolic period, and that continued receiving of revelations from God is essential today. 2. Continued revelation is said to be the supreme test of religion. Speaking at the one hundred twentieth semi-annual conference of the church, Levi Edgar Young, of the first council of the Seventy stated that revelation is the supreme test of religion and that no religion could be persuasive which did not rely upon the principle of revelation. He declares that the Church of Christ must be revelatory, that Christianity is the religion of redeemed personality, and that the completest carrier of revelation could not be other than a chosen personality.4 This declaration, made by one supposedly in possession of the divine insight supplied by direct revelation, states that all true men reveal God to some extent, but the ideal or most complete carrier of revelation requires a chosen personality. It does not state the relationship between the spoken and written word of that personality, but does declare that the church must continue to be revelatory. That church which merely holds up as truth the revelations of the apostolic period is thereby pictured as inadequate and incomplete. Continued revelation therefore becomes the test. This position is
2 James D. Bales, "Continuous Revelation Claims," Gospel Broadcast, Vol. 6, p. 3. 3 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958, Vol. V, p. 258. 4 Levi Edgar Young, "The Supreme Test Of Religion," Improvement Era, Nov. 1949, Vol. 52, p. 721.

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affirmed without the possibility of alternative by James E. Talmage when he declared there can be no absolutely reliable translation until effected through the gift of translation as an endowment of the Holy Ghost.5 Earlier the same view had been voiced by Orson Pratt, who used the term "revelation," rather than "translation" in specifying the divine gift needed. Pratt wrote: "There can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire someone to re-write all those books over again, as he did Esdras in ancient times. There is no possible means of arriving at certainty in any other way. No reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation."6 Here Pratt, supposedly under the direction of the inspiration of Mormonism, conflicts his own and the views of other Mormons that inspiration, or revelation, can help one to understand the scriptures even if improperly translated. According to his own admission, there could be no certainty regarding the contents of the books of the Bible until we can accept the translation as reliable. Talmage concedes that there is little distinction to be made between the terms "inspiration" and "revelation,"7 and the "gift of translation" as viewed by the Mormons must be admitted to be a "gift of inspiration" if a gift at all. Pratt and Talmage are therefore expressing virtually the same view. 4. Continued revelation is said to be the key to the science of theology, and therefore the key to eternal life. Parley P. Pratt wrote: "The key to the science of Theology is the key of divine revelation. Without this key, no man, no assemblage of men, ever did, or ever will know the Eternal Father or Jesus Christ. When the key of revelation was lost to man, the knowledge of God was lost. And as life eternal depended on the knowledge of God, of course the key of eternal life was lost.8 Is it true that if the word of God revealed in the Bible were lost, the knowledge of God would be lost. But Mormons contend that if the practice of continuing to receive revelations be discontinued then God's will is unknown and the knowledge of God is lost. 5. Continued revelation is said to be essential so that men may understand the Bible, properly apply it to the salvation of mankind,
James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 237. 6 Orson Pratt, "Divine Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon," A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, p. 47. 7 Talmage, Op. Cit., p. 296. 8 Parley P. Pratt, Key To The Science Of Theology, Fifth Edition, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891, p. 27.
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87

and accomplish God's intended purposes on the earth. Elder Fred E. Rolapp declared: "For many centuries the people of the world have been groping in spiritual darkness. They have had the Bible, it is true, but the true spirit of divine inspiration has been wanting. . . Without direct and continuous revelation from God, the Gospel cannot be understood and properly applied for the salvation of mankind, nor can the purposes of God be accomplished on the earth."9 Also, J. M. Sjodahl wrote: "To understand the Bible, even the plainest translation, all these things are necessary as helps, and yet, without the Spirit of God to lead into all truth, not all of these helps are sufficient; so numerous and so vast are the difficulties to be encountered in ascertaining the true meaning of the Bible."10 Despite the fact that Orson Pratt has stated that the certainty of the truth of the Bible cannot be known until God inspires someone to re-translate the Bible accurately, others guided by the insight of Mormon inspiration declare that with the Spirit of God to "lead into all truth" its meaning may be understood reliably. 6. Continued revelation is said to be essential today so that men may understand the Bible alike, leading to a oneness of doctrine and religious practice unity in faith. Sjodahl said: "Now, the question is simply this: Is the Bible clear enough so that it undoubtedly can be understood in only one way? If it be, then there may not be any need for the 'supreme court' of divine revelation to appeal to in order to ascertain its meaning, since this is in no instance doubtful. But if the Bible is not clear enough; if it is so worded that, in many instances, the same passage may be understood in more than one way, then further revelation is necessary in order to settle these points."11 If "divine revelation" is thus made the "supreme court" to "settle" all points of disagreement and misunderstanding regarding biblical texts, we may assume the same power would guarantee complete unity of understanding regarding the "Mormon scriptures" if they are of divine origin. Such revelation would then guarantee that there can be no disagreement concerning doctrines, practices, and matters of textual criticism, for the same "supreme court" must be, if of divine origin, speaking alike to all! 7. Continued revelation is said to be essential so that men may
9 Fred E. Rolapp, "Divine Revelation Needed," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 16, p. 1376. 10 J. M. Sjodahl, "Joseph Smith. Was He A Prophet Of God?" See in Ben E. Rich, Scrapbook Of Mormon Literature, Ben E. Rich, Chicago, 111., 19, Vol. 1, p. 389. 11 Ibid., p. 384.

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be appointed to duties in the church, and to unfold to the church the future. Writing in defense of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Orson Pratt produced a series of pamphlets, one of which was titled: "More Revelation Is Indispensably Necessary." Under this heading he discussed four sub-topics, as follows: "First, For The Calling Of Officers In The Church." "Secondly, To Point Out The Duties Of The Officers In The Church." "Thirdly. To Comfort, Reprove, And Teach The Church." "Fourthly, To Unfold To The Church The Future."12 This particular function claimed for continued revelation may be summed up simply as the supplying of the claimed authority of the Mormon priesthood. Pratt's view that the ability to look into the future is essential before true Christianity is restored to the earth is general among the Mormons, yet the history of Mormonism teems with evidence of the inability of the Mormon prophets to look into the future with any degree of accuracy. Mormon inspiration has not unfolded the future. 8. Lack of continued revelation in a church is said to be an infallible proof of apostasy. Hugh Ireland, in an editorial in the Liahona The Elders' Journal, wrote: "There is nothing that so well proves the apostasy from the Primitive Church as denial of the spirit of revelation. To state that God did once reveal Himself to His people, that He was their preceptor, and in times past mankind rejoiced in being taught of God, but that now He has ceased to reveal Himself, and that apostles, prophets, and inspiration are I3 no longer needed, shows that there has indeed been a 'falling away.' " 9. Continued revelation is said to be essential to enable mankind to meet new conditions and unprecedented circumstances. James E. Talmage wrote: "The imperative need of continued revelation appears in the fact that new conditions and unprecedented combinations of circumstances arise with the passage of time, and divine direction alone can meet the new issues."14 The claim of continued revelation is thus seen to indeed be the rock and foundation of the Mormon system, and the Mormon priesthood its voice. Though the system of Mormonism cannot be separated from the Book of Mormon, there is no exposure of the Book of Mormon's imperfections and lack of spirituality that will carry weight so long as the prevailing concept of Mormon inspiration
Orson Pratt, Op. Cit., pp. 17-32. Hugh Ireland, "Editorial," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Nov. 6, 1917, Vol. 15, p. 298. 14 James E. Talmage, "From God To Man," Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 280.
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remains to bolster the faith of the people in the authoritative voice of the church and its prophets, as well as to supply in sincere minds that approval of conscience which is accepted as the testimony of God. Point by point, let us consider these claims made in defense of the Mormon theory regarding continued revelation. 1. That the Mormon system is founded upon the claim to possess continued revelation is not questioned. However, the claim is one which must be proved by demonstration, not merely by affirmation. Bible scholars are not in agreement as to the meaning of the term "rock" in Matthew 16:18. but with the exception of the Latter-day Saints they are in virtual universal agreement that it has no reference to "continued revelation." The most reliable conservative viewpoint is that it refers simply to the truth that was confessed by Peter that Jesus teas the Christ, the Son of the living God. Roman Catholic claims that it had reference to Peter himself fall when it is considered that Jesus employed two different terms for "Peter" and "rock." Though related terms, one is masculine, the other feminine. One signifies a movable stone, the other an immovable ledge of rock. Of these terms Liddell and Scott say: "There is no example in good authors of petra in the signif. of petros, for a single stone."15 The truth of Matthew 16:18-20 is better understood when one takes into consideration all that the passage refers to. (1) The truth that Peter confessed, that Jesus was the Christ; (2) Simon Peter; (3) the rock; (4) a builder Jesus himself promises to build his church; (5) the building, or church that is to be built: (6) the keys of the kingdom given to Peter. No reference is made at all. to revelation. If Peter be the rock, the truth confessed plays no part in understanding the passage, and we have the illogical figure of a foundation serving as the keeper of the keys symbolizing authority to enter. Actually Peter was but exercising his role as keeper of the keys of the kingdom, or church, when on Pentecost he opened the door of faith to the Jews (Acts 2:37-41), and later to the Gentiles (Acts 15:6-8). That Jesus had been exalted to the position of the Christ, the anointed of God, is made clear in every gospel sermon recorded after the church was established.16 There is no reasonable doubt but that this truth was the "rock" of Matthew 16:18. As established earlier, if the Latter-day Saints could justify their claim that continued revelation is essential for faithfulness to God in this era, this would not prove that they themselves possess this
15 Henry George Liddell, and Robert Scott. Greek-English Lexicon, Harper & Brothers, New York, New York, 1854, p. 1176. 16 Acts 2:36; 3:15, 16; 7:56; 8:35; 10:38-42; 13:23; 16:31; 18:5-8.

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power. On the other hand, the fact that they concede that God did bring His will to mankind in the apostolic age by divine inspiration is sufficient to show that the church could, did, and can exist as established then with that degree of revelation contained in the apostolic writings. To deny this is to deny that written revelation can be authoritative, and thus infer that neither the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, nor any other writing has any place of value. Only those guided by inspiration could understand them while those who are guided by such inspiration could receive all the revelation they needed without such writings. Before successfully laying claim to possessing continued revelation, the Latter-day Saints must demonstrate the power by receiving such revelations of unquestionably divine origin, and with unerring accuracy. 2. That continuous revelation is the supreme test of religion and its absence a certain proof of apostasy is absurdity in the extreme. If God gave authority for the church to exist in the apostolic period and gave His will to mankind by divine inspiration, as the Mormons agree that He did, then that word is none the less authoritative today if it be in force at all. Mormons agree that it is. Before additional revelation is necessary on this grounds, the first authority must either be rescinded or lose its divine authority, or it must be shown that God did not intend it at all for people of this day. Mormons agree that it has not lost its authority, that it is part of God's will to men today, since they recognize it to be God's word "if translated correctly." To establish their claim Latter-day Saints must show by the scriptures that God intended to reveal further revelation to His people after the New Testament period. That God did not intend to continue revelation of His will after the completion of the New Testament is evident from an examination of the scriptures. John 14:26 and John 16:13 gives assurance that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into the fulness of the truth of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 affirms that the scriptures equipped the man of God completely unto all good works. Galatians 1:6-10, and 2 John 9-11 establish that neither man nor angel was to preach any gospel other than that which had been preached by the apostles. Jesus Christ is depicted as the mediator of the new covenant established by God through him,17 and his kingdom is termed an everlasting kingdom.18 He promises to be with his apostles "even unto the end of the world."19 His priestly work is perfect, and there
17 Hebrews 8:6; 12:24. 18 Daniel 2:44; Hebrews 19

Matthew 28:20.

12:28.

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is therefore no priesthood to replace his. Furthermore, he liveth forever and so cannot be replaced.20 Based therefore upon the basis of Christ the law-giver, the high priest, the sacrifice, and the mediator of the new covenant, Christ represents perfection, completeness in the revelation of God's will to mankind. No successor is to follow him, and no one possesses the authority to remove or alter God's will as given through him. We may say, therefore, that the scriptures permit no speculation concerning latter-day dispensations, and leave no room for later revelations. 3. That continued revelation or inspiration by the power of the Holy Spirit is necessary today in order to have a reliable translation of the Bible carries no weight at all. Mormonism is more than one hundred thirty years old. During all of those years they have made the claim that such revelation is essential. It has been more than a century since Orson Pratt wrote that "No reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation." Even before that time Joseph Smith had tried to produce a perfect translation by Mormon inspiration.21 Why do not the Mormons endorse this translation and defend its divine scholarship? Why do they not carry it with them when they enter the homes of prospective converts? If it is imperfect, as is admitted by present day Mormons, why does not someone in possession of Mormon inspiration produce the perfect translation of the Bible? If such power is essential that we may have a reliable translation, then the Mormons obviously do not have that power and are therefore as far from the truth as any apostate group. Their claim that such inspiration is present, plus their claim that the Bible is unreliable, means that if they could produce a more perfect translation than we have they would do it. 4. Parley Pratt's assertion that revelation is the "key to the science of Theology," and therefore the key to eternal life contradicts the truth of the Bible. We are not interested in any key to theology with its multiplicity of creeds, doctrines, and cults, nor its philosophies, rationalizations and compromises. The key to eternal life has been clearly set forth in the New Testament. Neither Mormonism, nor the system's claims regarding "continuous revelation" occupy any place in the divine system. Eternal life is the gift of God,22 and has been predicated on the death and resurrection of Christ, who died for every man.23 The risen Christ sent forth
20 Hebrews 7:23-28. 21 See discussion, this 22 Romans 6:23. 23

volume, Section C, Chapter V.

John 1:4; 10:10; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:10.

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his apostles to preach the gospel to the world, promising: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."24 The Savior also promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth,25 and that "repentance and remission of sins" should be preached in his name among all nations, "beginning at Jerusalem," when the Spirit had come upon them.26 These promises were fulfilled, as Latter-day Saints agree, when the Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost following Christ's resurrection. The gospel began to be preached, and the true church came into existence. Thus the gospel preached by the biblical apostles contained the message of redemption, and was termed by Paul "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."27 He further affirmed that the scriptures inspired of God served to furnish the man of God "throughly" unto "all good works."28 If Pratt and the Mormon claim were correct, then the scriptures could furnish no man completely to any good work. We'd have to have the miraculous power of divine revelation before we could benefit from any scriptures. And if we had that miraculous gift we would not then need the scriptures, for we'd be abundantly supplied with the knowledge of God's will through direct communication with God as were the apostles. 5. The Mormon claim that direct revelation is necessary to enable men to understand the Bible is really a denial that the Bible is "revelation" at all! Until revelation is presented in terms or symbols intelligible to man, they remain hidden from his intellect, hence unrevealed. There are some passages in the Bible, unexplained prophecies and symbolic description, which have not been made understandable to mankind. These cannot be said to have been revealed beyond the extent to which man's intelligence can understand them. That which has been truly revealed does not require the power of direct, miraculous inspiration to make understanding possible. Were one to concede that such power is necessary to understand the revelations of God, it would but prove that "revelation" is not understandable, hence, no revelation. If a second revelation is essential in order to understand the first, then mankind could not trust his comprehension of the second until it had been properly interpreted by a third similar revelation. This would require a fourth to interpret the third, and so on. Instead of making it possible for the
24 Mark 16:16. 25 John 14:26; 16:13. 26 Luke 24:47-49. 27 Romans 1:16. 28

2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

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"purposes of God" to "be accomplished on the earth." such revelation would but serve to guarantee that God's purposes would not be carried out. Man's failure to do God's will would be due not to man's faithlessness, but due to God's failure to reveal to man's understanding the responsibilities and duties God has placed upon him. Man could never trust his own understanding of a revelation from God, for according to the Mormon concept revelation from God is not understandable without additional revelation. This would be true, no matter how many times God attempted to reveal His will to man. 6. The position that direct inspiration from God is necessary today to insure that all men understand the Bible alike, and that religious unity may result, is untenable, even from the Mormon viewpoint. The 1936 government religious census report shows the existence of six separate and distinct bodies of Latter-day Saints.29 Which one of these has Mormon inspiration guided into the perfect unity? Even within these six bodies are found scholarly men who differ widely on the proper explanation of certain passages. The quotations supplied in this volume reveal the conflicting statements on many issues made by faithful Mormon of different periods. Mormon inspiration has therefore not produced unity even among the followers of Joseph Smith, Jr. Moreover, the Bible makes clear that there are reasons other than a failure to understand the scriptures which can lead to religious disunity. Some will love not the truth,30 some will be followers of men,31 some will value places of prestige and prominence among men above faithfulness to God.32 while some will make shipwreck of the faith and corrupt the gospel of Christ.33 Religious disagreement is not therefore a sufficient indictment of the intelligibility of the Bible to substantiate the claim that miraculous inspiration is necessary to understand it. The scriptures themselves set forth that men must study before they can understand.34 Often scholars of different religious faiths agree on what the Bible teaches, but they do something else instead of respecting the authority of the scriptures. 7. The claim that continued direct revelation is essential in order to authorize ministers of the gospel to preach and baptize is
Religious Bodies: 1936, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1941, p. 14. 30 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12. 31 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 3:1-6. 32 John 12:42. 33 1 Timothy 1:18-20; Galatians 1:7; Acts 20:29, 30. 34 Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15.
29

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groundless. Authority can be supplied through a written message as forcibly as through an oral message. In affairs of government, in branches of the military service, and in the functioning of most large corporations, messages of authority are usually supplied in writing. To contend that they are null and void, impossible to understand, or otherwise not authoritative simply because they are in writing would be to stoop to the ridiculous. The same is true with regard to the written word of God. 2 Timothy 2:2 authorizes those who are "faithful" and "able" to preach the word of God. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 authorize the appointment of certain qualified men to serve as elders and deacons in the church. Christians are taught to be in subjection to the elders33 who exercise the oversight.36 In disregarding the biblical qualifications of elders and deacons the Latter-day Saints not only weaken their claim to accept the Bible as God's revelation to man, but also serve to make it appear that their claim of "continued revelation" is but an escape from the responsibility of obedience to God's word. 8. If lack of "continued revelation" proves definite apostasy from the truth, then every branch of the Latter-day Saints are thereby proved to be apostate. None of them have given the unquestionable' evidence necessary to establish the proof of such power. Their continued efforts to establish their claims by argumentation rather than by demonstration indicates the complete absence of any such power capable of demonstration. This volume contains enough examples of inaccuracy, imperfection, and "trial and error experimentation" to show that the Saints have not been guided by the infallible wisdom and direction of God. If such power be necessary, one must search elsewhere for it. 9. The claim that the power of direct revelation is necessary to guide the child of God in new and unprecedented circumstances argues against the omnipotent power of God. It contends that God is incapable of giving one spiritual standard and rule of conduct adequate to meet man's needs under all varying circumstances. It is based, not upon biblical teaching, but upon the claimed testimony of the Mormon priesthood which has declared that this need exists. Once again, even if this point were granted, it still does not establish which of many religious groups actually possesses divine inspiration, and still leaves the Mormons obligated to prove their possession of it in an unquestionable manner. Since examination of Mormon literature and history reveals that they have not been directed
35 36

Hebrews 13:7, 17. Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:13.

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by "unerring and infallible direction" such as God is capable of giving, the Mormons can do no more could they establish this claim than prove themselves not to be the perfect system of religion which they claim is necessary to please God. It is seen therefore that the points on which Latter-day Saints rely to establish a need for present-day direct inspiration from God either fail under examination or reveal that the Mormons must be classed as apostate in that they do not present the necessary credentials to show that they possess such power. Careful examination of the Bible on the other hand serves to completely refute the Mormon claim and shows that the Bible is fully adequate to meet all of man's spiritual needs. It contains God's complete and infallible will to mankind. It reveals the origin of man, his fall into sin, and sets forth God's scheme of human redemption. It tells man what to do to be saved, and even the Mormons concede that the terms of faith, repentance, confession, and baptism set forth as God's terms of pardon are the steps which men must take in order to be saved. Unless the needs of man change, or God should change His will to mankind, there can be no need for further revelation from God. That God will not thus change His will is evident by such biblical teachings as references to the Christian dispensation as the "last days" of the earth,37 Christ's promise to be with his disciples in carrying out the objectives of the great commission "even unto the end of the world,"38 and the apostolic instruction to consider man or angel who preaches any other gospel "accursed."39 To summarize in brief the all-sufficiency of the written word of God as contained in the Bible, and to further refute the claim that "continuous revelation" is necessary today, we present the following from the writing of James D. Bales: "In this connection we point out some of the characteristics of the word of God which should erase from his mind the false idea that the written word is powerless, or that the word is any different than it was when it was spoken by inspired men. The word written by inspired men has the same characteristics, the same essence, as when it was spoken by inspired men. (1) It can be heard (Rev. 2:1-7). (2) It can be understood (Eph. 3:4, 5). (3) It can be believed (John 20:30, 31; 5:45-; Luke 16:29). (4) It can make us wise unto salvation (II Tim. 3:15). (5) It can be obeyed (II Kings 17:37; II Thess. 3:14). (6) We can learn from it (Rom. 15:4). (7) It can admonish us (I Cor. 10:11). (8) It can be the commandment of God (I Cor. 14:37). (9) It can be as powerful when written by a prophet as when spoken
37 Isaiah 2:2; Hebrews 38 Matthew 28:18-20. 39

1:2.

Galatians 1:8, 9.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION by him (Jer. 36:2, 4, 5-8, 10, 11. 13-18, 21, 28, 32; 45:1; 51:60-64). (10) It can make known the will of an apostle who is not present with us (II Cor. 13:10; II Pet. 1:12-). (11) Our treatment of an apostle's word is our treatment of the apostle (III John 9, 10; compare John 12:48). (12) It can tell us of our common salvation (Jude 3). (13) God commanded prophets to write (Rev. 1:11, 19; 3:7; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5; Jer. 36:2). (14) It can tell us how to conduct ourselves in the church (I Tim. 3:14, 15). (15) It can protect us from apostasy ( I I Tim. 3:14-17; Jude 17; II Pet. 1:12-). (16) It can be used to check a preacher's message (Acts 17:11). (17) It can tell us what we must do in order to be sure that we enter into the everlasting kingdom (II Peter 1:911). (18) It can teach, reprove, correct, instruct, and make the man of God complete for every good work (II Tim. 3:16). (19) We shall be judged out of a written record (Rev. 20:12, 15). (20) A written record can furnish us with the knowledge of what is necessary in order to have fellowship with God (I John 1:1-4). (21) It can enable us to know that we have eternal life (I John 2:2-4; 5:14). (22) It can protect us from temptation and sin when we know and obey it (Matt. 4:4-11). (23) It can stir us up so that we may remain established in the truth (II Peter 1:12-14). (24) It can be written to us although we may live centuries after the prophet who wrote it died (Compare Luke 20:28). (25) It is the voice of the prophets to those who read it (Acts 13:27). The prophet is preached when the word is read (Acts 15:21. Compare Luke 16:29-31). (26) It can teach us not to think of men above that which is written (I Cor. 4:6). (27) To read it is to listen to God's voice (Matt. 22:31, 32).40

We conclude therefore that Mormon inspiration does not guarantee accuracy, and can be considered credible only in proportion to the faith, intelligence, and knowledge possessed by the person said to be inspired. It has not produced unity of faith and practice among those who heralded the Book of Mormon as the restoration of the "full gospel." It has not eliminated the Mormon-claimed shortcomings of the King James translation of the Bible. Every commandment necessary to the saving of the soul of man as well as other spiritual needs of man can be obtained through that translation, or any other reputable translation of the Bible. Every spiritual need said by Mormonism to be served by either the Book of Mormon or "continued revelation" is adequately met by the scriptures contained in the Bible. Mankind does not have nor need miraculous divine inspiration from God today except that contained in the sacred waitings of the Bible.
40

Bales, Op. Cit., Gospel Broadcast, Vol. 6, p. 62.

CHAPTER FIVE

Revelation Vs. Revelation


One of the most obvious indications of the lack of divine inspiration for any document, book, or teaching, is the necessity for frequent revision to free it from tell-tale error, imperfection, and contradiction. The recognized standard books of Mormon inspiration have run the gauntlet of revision. The King James Version of the Bible is still recognized as a standard work by Utah Mormons, and though they have not officially revised it as they have the works of Joseph Smith, they make the claim of imperfection for it. They profess to believe it only so far as correctly translated. Joseph Smith professedly "translated" the Bible by "inspiration," actually simply revising it to suit himself and his theology without any reference to original manuscripts. This revision of the scriptures has been published by the Reorganized Church, but the Mormons still refuse to accept the revision as the perfect version of Holy writ. The claims of the Book of Mormon and the inspiration back of it have been abundantly treated by numerous writers. Readers interested in a pursuit of that topic would do well to secure and take advantage of the research along that line by James D. Bales in The Book Of Mormon.1 Any attempt to fairly evaluate the subject of Mormon inspiration requires that attention be given to some of the changes that have been necessary in the Book of Mormon, supposedly originally translated by "the gift and power of God,"2 and some of the contradictions between the claimed "inspired" version of the Bible produced by Smith and the King James Version of the Bible which is actually used by most Mormons. It is also necessary to treat critically the Book of Commandments which was the forerunner of the Doctrine and Covenants. Such examination clearly reveals Smith's work to be that of limited human wisdom rather than that of infallible divine inspiration. A. "Joseph Smith, Jr., Author And Proprietor." When the Book of Mormon made its appearance in 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr., was listed as its "Author and Proprietor."3 This fact is recognized by informed Mormons, yet due to the scarcity of copies
1 James D. Bales, The Book of Mormon, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, Calif., 1958. 2 See Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1, 1958, p. 589 (actually a reprint of the original 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon). 3 Book Of Mormon, 1830 Edition, Title Page; see Wood, Op. Cit.

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of the original edition it has been unknown by and frequently denied by honest, sincere Mormons who have believed the often-told story that the book was translated without error and that the manuscript did not have to be once revised. The author has been told this story a number of times, once while touring the old Carthage jail where Joseph Smith was slain. The appearance of Wilford Wood's reproduction of the original Palmyra Edition has given additional publicity to the fact that Smith was first listed as "Author and Proprietor" of the book. Later this was changed to "Translator."4 Alexander Campbell was one of the earliest writers to puncture the myth of Mormon inspiration by pointing to the wide-open target which Smith thus left exposed. In the Millenial Harbinger he declared: "If I could swear to any man's voice, face, or person, assuming different names, I could swear that this book was written by one man. And as Joseph Smith is a very ignorant man, and is called the author on the title page, I cannot doubt for a single moment but that he is the sole author and proprietor of it."5 When later facts came to light which seemed to relate the fictional romance of Solomon Spaulding with the Book of Mormon, Campbell accepted the evidence and gave his support to Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed.6 Campbell's earlier statement doubtless hurt his influence with the Mormons because of his haste in declaring that he could so positively swear the book was written by one man. Modern Mormon writers continue to point to his early abandonment of his first position to accept the Spaulding-Rigdon view of the origin of the Book of Mormon in order to discredit Campbell's scholarly review of the Book of Mormon.7 Professor J. B. Turner and other early opponents of the Mormon system made full use of the "Author and Proprietor" phrase. With obvious sarcasm in reviewing the testimony of the three witnesses, Turner declared: "And what does it all prove? First, that Joe Smith is author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon, as all the world knows."8 Even Latter-day Saints, of the Reorganized Church, as E. L. Kelley in the Braden-Kelley Debate, admit the deletion of this
Book Of Mormon, any subsequent edition, Title Page. Millenial Harbinger, February 7, 1831, Vol. 2, p. 93. 6 Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 44. 7 Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses For God, Vol. III, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1951, p. 353. 8 J. B. Turner, Mormonism In All Ages, Platt & Peters, New York, N.Y., 1842, p. 178.
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phrase to be a "material change"' from the original text supposedly produced by the power of God. Kelley promised an explanation for it, but apparently forgot or ignored the promise. Braden later introduced the point,10 as did Kelley himself,11 by introducing testimony in which it was referred to as a change. But Kelley seems to have contented himself with the declaration that only changes of a verbal, grammatical, or typographical nature had been made.12 The claim that this change became necessary due to typographical error is most easily exposed, and is not made by informed Mormons. Mormon historian Brigham H. Roberts recognizes the change13 and claims that it was necessary in order to comply with the copyright law then in effect. The same plea is made in the official History of the Church.14 Francis W. Kirkham reproduces all the newspaper accounts concerning the Book of Mormon which appeared in newspapers near the Smith home prior to the publication of the book. From these is determined that the title page, listing Joseph Smith, Jr., as "Author and Proprietor" appeared in the Wayne Sentinel on June 26, 1829.15 This was a full nine months before the Book of Mormon was issued. Had Joseph Smith wanted to change this phraseology he had every opportunity to change it. There can be no doubt that Smith knew that it was being published in that manner, and that he approved it. The claim that Smith listed himself as the "Author and Proprietor" of the book because so required by the copyright law falls under scrutiny: 1. Had the message contained in the Book of Mormon been a message of divine inspiration there would have been no need for a copyright. The design in obtaining a copyright was that the venture might be a financial profit to Joseph Smith and perhaps others interested in it. This is confirmed by the fact that David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery relate a "revelation" produced by Smith sending Cowdery and Hiram Page to Toronto to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon, and by a resolution passed in 1841 by the twelve apostles in conference in Manchester, England when the Book of Mormon was being published in that country. Smith had
9 E. L. Kelley and Clark Braden, Braden-Kelley Debate, reproduced by Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, California, 1955, p. 4. 10 Ibid., pp. 84, 183, 108. 11 Ibid., p. 102. 12 Ibid., pp. 4, 201. 13 Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. III, pp. 351-353. 14 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1902, Vol. 1, pp. 58, 59. 15 Francis W. Kirkham, A New Witness For Christ In America, Zion's Printing And Publishing Company, Independence, Missouri, 1951, Vol. II, pp. 27-29.

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given consent to the publication with the provision that if published the copyright be secured "in my name."16 The resolution later adopted read: "Resolved: That as the quorum of the Twelve have had nothing to do with the printing of the Book of Mormon, they will not now interfere with it, but that the said Committee settle the financial or business matters thereof with Joseph Smith, Jun., to whom the profits rightly belong."17 In fairness to Smith and the Mormons it should be mentioned that by the time this resolution was adopted Smith had had himself styled a one-man "trustee-in-trust" for the whole church.18 It should also be borne in mind that fifteen months later he was seeking to have himself declared legally "insolvent" in order to avoid payment of a number of personal debts which he had earlier incurred.19 This fact makes it appear that his making himself "trustee-in-trust" for . the church may have been in some measure for protection. 2. In a footnote in the History of the Church, Volume I, a facsimile of the certificate of copyright used in 1829 is shown. It is seen that the form is for both authors and proprietors, but that the expression "author and proprietor" is found nowhere except between the brackets where Smith's own copy was supplied.20 The insertion of the phrase therefore was Smith's, not that of the copyright certificate. 3. The Encyclopedia Americana, 1957 Edition, confirms the fact that the copyright law of 1790 guaranteed certain rights to authors and proprietors, but does not clarify these terms. It does state that the American law was based largely on the British copyright law. The current edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica offers no additional help. But the 1929 edition, speaking of the Literary Copyright Act of 1842, makes a clear distinction between the terms "author" and "proprietor." It speaks of the rights of the author prior to his death, and the rights of the "proprietor" of his manuscript if published after his death.21 Richard Rogers Bowker, in giving a history of the development of the American copyright law, summarizes the 1790 law, and the revisions to which it was subjected in 1802, 1819. 1831, and 1834.22 He does not once use the term "proprietor." It is incredible that a
16 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 129. 17 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 325. 18 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 287. 19 Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 594, 595. 20 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 58. 21

Encyclopedia Britannica, 1929 Edition, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, Ill., Vol. VI, p. 413. 22 Richard Rogers Bowker, Copyright, Its History And Its Law, Houghton Mifflin, Riverside Press, Boston and New York, 1912, pp. 35-41.

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reputable author would thus discuss the law, its history, and the rights it guaranteed to authors, their wives, their children, and their assigns, without referring to "proprietor." if it was necessary for Joseph Smith to declare himself an "Author and Proprietor" in 1830 in order to obtain a copyright. George Haven Putnam, Secretary of the American Publisher's Copyright League, published a book in 1896 on The Question of Copyright. Chapter two is a summary of the copyright legislation in the United States by Richard R. Bowker, and contains much of the material found later in Bowker's own book. Chapter three is a verbatim reproduction of Henry Clay's report to the Twenty Fourth Congress, dated February 10, 1837. and which accompanied Senate Bill No. 223. This report refers to "proprietor" in the sense of "consideration being paid to their foreign proprietors."23 This makes clear that the copyright law distinguished between an author and a proprietor, and shows that Smith did not so style himself in order to conform to the requirements of the copyright law. 4. It is also apparent that Smith did not investigate in 1829 to see whether he could copyright the Book of Mormon with himself listed as "Translator." Not only was the second edition copyrighted in that manner in 1837, but had Smith sought to copyright it in that manner in 1829 or 1830 any informed government representative would have advised him that he could obtain the copyright either as "author" or as the "proprietor" of the work. Since it is now claimed that he was the translator and therefore only the "proprietor" of the manuscript, this is the course of action that would have been directed by complete honesty in following the terms supplied on the copyright certificate. But this Smith did not do. This point is greatly substantiated by the fact that when the Doctrine and Covenants was copyrighted in 1835 Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams were listed as its "proprietors."24 5. It is apparent, too, that Smith did not limit the use of the term "author" to the title page, and beyond this no stretch of the imagination can extend any requirement of the copyright law. Smith signs his preface "The Author," and the same identical expression, "Author and Proprietor." is found in the testimony of the eight witnesses.25 These facts are admitted by Mormon writers, and atGeorge Haven Putnam, The Question Of Copyright, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, Knickerbocker Press, 1896, p. 37. 24 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 250. 25 Wood, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 4, 560.
23

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

tempts made to justify the action.26 Actually, the indictment against Smith here is even more convincing, for surely an honest prophet of God being forced to list himself as an "Author and Proprietor" by an unsympathetic law would not resort to the same practice in places where the law did not require it. Another author has pointed out that two of the eight witnesses had died before their testimony was changed from "Author and Proprietor" to "Translator" in 1837." Fairness to truth and to Mormonism necessitates the conclusion that prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith did not realize and foresee the vulnerability which his self-styled phrase of honor would give to his claim of divine guidance and inspiration for the Book of Mormon. Mormons today should not endeavor to hide themselves behind the cloak of the law in efforts to escape his dilemma. B. Other Changes In The Book Of Mormon In addition to the already-noted change of significance on the title page, the Book of Mormon has been subjected to thousands of changes and revisions throughout. This writer has catalogued 2,125 verbal changes, paying no attention to changes in capitalization or punctuation.28 No claim is made for the completeness of this list, since the compiling of a complete catalogue of changes would have required far greater time than is needful to accomplish any purpose served by noting the changes. Hal Houghey notes that Jack Free has tabulated a total of 12,349 changes of all varieties.29 Houghey examined twenty pages of the text carefully and found Free's figures to be reasonably accurate. Nineteen percent of the changes proved to be verbal, not including typographical errors. Most writers avoid any attempt to give the number of changes which have been made. The exact number of the changes is of far less importance than the fact that a work said to have been written by "the gift, and power of God"30 should need extensive revision. Mormon writers have never admitted the significance of the changes which have been necessary- in the Book of Mormon. Had not the claim of divine inspiration been made for the translation of the book, as well as its original writing, no one would question the right of its proponents to revise it at will. Since the claim of divine
H. Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 352. Hal Houghey, A Review Of The Reprint of the Original Book of Mormon, Inst. 5, Firm Foundation, September 1, 1959, p. 550. 28 This catalog of Book of Mormon changes can be found in the appendix. 29 Houghey, Op. Cit., Installment 4, p. 534. 30 Joseph Smith, Jr., "The Wentworth Letter," Times And Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 707.
26 Brigham 27

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guidance has been made for the translation, the need for revision must ever remain an important factor in any examination of the power back of Mormon inspiration. It is said that the books of the Book of Mormon were written by men guided by divine inspiration, and that through the centuries while its manuscripts were being inscribed upon plates for preservation the "Urim and Thummim" was being handed down from generation to generation to be used by Joseph Smith, Jr., in the translation of the plates. In 1841 Smith termed the book "the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."31 Concerning the claim for accuracy made for the English translation of the Book of Mormon, Apostle James E. Talmage wrote: "It is noticeable that we make no reservation respecting the Book of Mormon on the ground of incorrect translation. To do so would be to ignore attested facts as to the bringing forth of that book. Joseph Smith the prophet, seer, and revelator, through whom the ancient record has been translated into our modern tongue, expressly avers that the translation was effected through the gift and power of God, and is in no sense the product of linguistic scholarship.'"32 David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, described his view of the manner of translation in such a way as to place the full responsibility for every error or shortcoming (typographical errors excepted) firmly upon the shoulders of the Mormon inspiration which produced the original edition. Whitmer wrote: "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."33
Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Vol. IV, p. 461; see also Houghey, Op. Cit, Installment 3, p. 517. 32 James E. Talmage, "Is The Bible Sufficient?" Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 261. 33 David Whitmer, Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, Richmond, Mo., 1887, p. 12 (reprinted 1960, Pacific Publishing Co., Martinez, Calif.).
31

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Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery have given similar testimony concerning the claimed translation of the plates, Harris stating that he would say "written" before the disappearance of any portion of the divine message.34 These excerpts reveal beyond doubt that the first generation of Mormon leaders made claim that the Book of Mormon was, as Hal Houghey aptly concludes: "1. Written by inspiration, 2. Preserved by inspiration, and 3. Translated by inspiration."35 More recent Mormon authorities deny the testimony of Whitmer, Harris and Cowdery in regard to the manner in which the translation was done. Brigham H. Roberts approaches the problem by declaring that Smith used the "seer stone" or "Urim and Thummim" and "saw there by the power of God and the gift of God to him the ancient Nephite characters, and by bending every power of his mind to know the meaning thereof, the interpretation wrought out in his mind by this effort by studying it out in his mind, to use the Lord's phrase was reflected in the sacred instrument, there to remain until correctly written by the scribe."36 Roberts thus occupies the position that Smith had to "study it out" in his own mind as Oliver Cowdery was instructed regarding translation in the Doctrine and Covenants.31 This, despite the fact that Apostle Talmage has declared that the work is "in no sense the product of linguistic scholarship." Talmage also declared that the book was not dependent upon the wisdom or learning of men, the qualifications of its translator being of a different and more efficient order.38 But Roberts and John Henry Evans recognized what the statements of Talmage, Harris, Cowdery, and Whitmer do not admit that if the translation was effected by the gift and power of God in a manner more "efficient" than that of ordinary human inspiration so that it is in "no sense the product of linguistic scholarship," then Mormon inspiration must bear the full responsibility for the first edition's more than two thousand changes which testify to its poor literary quality. Evans admits that if the statements by Whitmer and Harris be true,
34 B. H. Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 133; see also Houghey, Op. Cit., Inst. 3, p. 517. 35 Houghey, Op. Cit., Installment 3, p. 517. 36 Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 114. 37 Doctrine and Covenants 9:8. 38 James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 267.

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"the language of the sacred record, moreover, is thus exposed to all sorts of objections, inasmuch as it does not appear why, upon this hypothesis, the Lord should not have given the record in correct English."39 Roberts, one of the most outstanding of Mormon historians, admits not only the fact that the statements of Whitmer and Harris place the responsibility for error directly upon Mormon inspiration, but also contends that acceptance of their views had been the cause of much difficulty for the Mormons. He wrote: "Granting, as perforce we must, that there are verbal and grammatical errors, together with modernisms and localisms, in the English translation of the Nephite record; that the thought is expressed not only in English idioms, but also, at times, in Western New York localisms; that the whole body of phraseology is of the time and place where the work of translation was done; and all the errors are such as would be made by one circumstanced as Joseph Smith was as to knowledge of the English language; and that these local idioms and errors in grammar were not found in equivalent terms in the Nephite language and brought over into English by a process of word for word bring over granting all these things, is there any way by which this criticism, based upon the faulty English of the translation, may be effectually met, and the truth still maintained that the translation of the Book of Mormon was made by a man inspired of God, and aided by an instrument of divine appointment? I firmly believe that all these requirements can be met; that, as a matter of fact, the defects in English in the Book of Mormon constitute no real difficulty; that the difficulties, so far as they exist, are of our own creation (I speak of those who accept the Book of Mormon as a divine record); that our trouble arises through having accepted too literally the necessarily second-hand accounting, given by Martin Harris and David Whitmer, of the manner in which the translation was done."40 Roberts then points out that opponents of the Book of Mormon have been aided since Mormon inspiration is thus made responsible for its myriad imperfections. He then offers as a solution to the dilemma the view earlier stated that Smith was but given the sense of the message through inspiration, and had to couch it in language which he could command. He then avers: "This I regard as a complete answer to all the objections that can be urged upon the score of the Book of Mormon's faulty English, 41 and it is the only answer that can be successfully made to it."
39 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, 3rd Edition, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, p. 71. 40 Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. III, pp. 413, 414. 4l Ibid., p. 415.

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This open disagreement among reputable Mormon teachers and historians presents several undeniable conclusions concerning Mormon inspiration to the candid student: 1. The earlier Mormons, those who lived nearer to the time of the supposed translation, contended that it was translated verbally by the gift and power of God and that Smith was given the actual language of the text in English. Some doubt might exist as to whether they believed punctuation was supplied, but none can exist that Smith claimed to have seen the words in English, and that they were copied, re-read, and checked for errors before their disappearance. As a result some of the most glaring of the errors, those representing the greatest display of scholarly ignorance had not been corrected when the 1900 printing of the 1889 edition was issued. Such errors, uncorrected in the 1889 edition, are designated by asterisk in the catalog contained in this volume. If, as Roberts, Evans, and other modern Mormon scholars claim, Smith was free to use his own judgment in the writing of the language of claimed inspiration, why did not Orson Pratt and other well educated men among the Mormons eliminate such rank stupidity as "that all might see the writing which he had wrote upon the rent"42 before Mormonism had reached its seventieth year? 2. Utah Mormons and other segments of the Latter-day Saint movement rely upon the testimony of David Whitmer and Martin Harris to establish the divine nature of the Book of Mormon. If the testimony of these men is so weightless that we cannot accept what they say concerning its translation how can we depend upon them in the matter of determining the origin of the book? Whitmer and Harris were in a much better position to know how the plates were translated if at all than Roberts or Evans could possibly have been. If testimony carries any weight at all the testimony of men present in the first year of Mormonism must be considered more reliable concerning such matters than those compelled to view the beginning of Mormonism over a span of seventy to one hundred years. If the testimony of Harris and Whitmer stands to sustain the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, it must stand regarding the procedure of translation, and Mormon inspiration must bear full responsibility for the book's glaring errors, inconsistencies, anachronisms, localisms, and other indications of its lack of divine inspiration. 3. Roberts admitted the impossibility of harmonizing the testimony of Whitmer and Harris with any satisfactory explanation of the book's faulty English. He claims that Mormons have given en42

Alma 46:19.

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couragement to their opponents and brought the difficulty upon themselves by '"having accepted too literally" the testimony of Whitmer and Harris. It is thus seen that on this important basic point regarding inspiration there is admitted lack of harmony among the leading Mormons. In view of the Mormon claim that "continued revelation" is essential in order to understand spiritual matters, it is apparent that the inspiration afforded by this claimed "gift" does not produce harmony or accuracy. It has erred in either the case of Whitmer and Harris, or else in that of Roberts and Evans. Concerning the charge made by opponents of the Book of Mormon that it was not inspired of God, Roberts said: "we have either made no reply, being quite generally of the opinion that there was little or no force in the argument (a mistake in my judgment), or else have lamely and vainly argued that the errors were in the original Nephite records, and were brought over bodily into the translation, which is an absurdity."43 Thus we have Mormons claiming to be guided by "continued revelation" attempting to correct the admitted and embarrassing errors of an earlier generation who first made the claim that without "revelation" knowledge of God's will cannot be gleaned from the existing written word of God. The views of Roberts and Evans have been largely accepted by the Mormons of this generation. The original edition of the Book of Mormon has been reprinted, and the claim now is made that its very imperfections testify that the ignorant Smith could not have written such an extensive and complicated volume. Those who believe in a supernatural origin for the Book of Mormon now tacitly ignore the real significance of its need for revision. The testimony of those who are appealed to in order to establish the claim to divine origin are rejected when they speak concerning how the translation took place. But from two thousand to thirteen thousand changes and revisions (depending upon what criteria one uses to determine what constitutes a change) remain to forever place the stamp of human origin upon the book erroneously claimed in its infancy to have been written by divine inspiration, preserved by divine inspiration, and to have been translated into our own tongue in such flawless style by divine inspiration that its "Author and Proprietor" termed it the "most correct of any book on earth."44 C. Smith's "Inspired" Version Of The Bible Before bringing forth the Book of Mormon it was apparent to the Mormon prophet that for his purpose to succeed a place would
43 44

Roberts, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 414. Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 461.

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have to be made in the thinking of the people for additional scripture. The accepted view that the Bible constituted a complete and reliable guide would have to yield before men would accept the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God. The author of the Book of Mormon put into the mouth of his prophet, Nephi, supposedly about 550 years before Christ, these words: "And because my words shall hiss forth many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them?"45 And again: "Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written."46 It was deemed insufficient for Mormon purposes to rest its case upon this bold declaration that God had provided scriptures in addition to those contained in the Bible. Too many biblical scriptures could be cited to establish that no place existed for a later divine dispensation nor a new gospel. A single example suffices: Paul charged the Galatians to consider "accursed" any man or angel who came preaching a gospel other than that preached by the apostles.47 Even Smith's claim that angels had appeared to him is not spared by this divine thrust of the sword of the Spirit, for Paul pronounced the curse upon angel as well as man who dared to preach another gospel. This leaves no avenue open for additional revelation which in any sense alters or changes the gospel preached by the apostles. Paul himself received revelations after writing Galatians 1, but such revelations were but the confirmation and clarification of the gospel which he preached. This in no sense parallels Smith's claim of having received revelations concerning a "latter-day" dispensation with its peculiar doctrines, priesthood, and worship. In order to meet such foreseen difficulty, Mormon inspiration laid a foundation in the claim that the Bible as we have it is too imperfect to be reliable without additional revelation. In 1 Nephi we read: "And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the foundation of a great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are
45 46 2 47

2 Nephi 29:3, 4. Nephi 29:10. Galatians 1:8, 9.

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plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away."48 This claim of imperfection for the Bible has been a basic one for all supporters of the Book of Mormon and Mormon inspiration. If the Bible be true and reliable there remains no ground upon which they may stand. Brigham H. Roberts devotes no less than fourteen pages to the claim that books have been lost from the Bible.49 He presents no stronger evidence than that there are some variances in the texts of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible, and the Bible mentions some books which are not themselves known to be in the accepted books of the Bible. He says: "What has become of them? Who is responsible for their absence? Pointing to the excellence of those books we have is no compensation for the absence of those we have not. So long as the books of scripture we hold in reverence, as containing the word of God, speak of other books and epistles that contained revelations from the Spirit of God that are not in the Bible, it is useless to contend that our collection of sacred books, called the Bible, contains the whole word of God."50 In advancing the same claim of imperfection for the Bible, Orson Pratt wrote: "Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? Who knows how many important doctrines and ordinances necessary to salvation may be buried in oblivion in some of the lost books? Who knows that even the ordinances and doctrine that seem to be set forth in the present English Bible, are anything like the original? The Catholics and Protestants do not know, because tradition is too imperfect to give this knowledge. There can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire some one to rewrite all those books over again, as he did Esdras in ancient times. There is no possible means of arriving at certainty in any other way. No 51 reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation." It is thus seen once again that the basic ground of difference between the proponents of Mormonism and other Bible believers is one of inspiration. The divine inspiration of the Bible is not questioned by the Mormons, or other Bible believers. It is in possession of accuracy, reliability, and archaeological confirmation which the books produced by Mormon inspiration cannot equal. It has stood the test of centuries and opposition by skeptics. Mormons err, and
48 49 Roberts, Op. Cit, Vol. 50 Ibid., Vol. III, p. 263. 51

1 Nephi 13:26.

III, pp. 262-275.

Orson Pratt, "The Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, p. 47.

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Mormon inspiration blundered, in claiming that the Catholic Church removed many "plain and precious" parts from the Bible. The Catholic Church was not even in existence as a full-grown hierarchy for the first six centuries after the birth of Christ, and many of the extant biblical manuscripts date farther back than that. Even were there no existing manuscripts to show that the Bible has not been thus corrupted during that period, Mormon inspiration overlooked that there were other groups in existence such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the later Protestant bodies which would have objected strenuously to any such perversion of the scripture. The reader may pursue this subject further in the excellent treatment given to it by James D. Bales.52 The issue is, however, made clear. Mormons believe the Bible to be God's word. They assume that books mentioned in it were inspired books, though these books may never have been intended to be a part of the scriptures. It is also true that they may be included in the Bible, incorporated within books bearing another name. Such was the Jewish practice of referring to many brief, collected writings under a single title, and many of the books are known to be made up of composite writings. The Book of Mormon, according to Mormon inspiration, had as its purpose the restoring of the parts of the gospel claimed to have been lost from the Bible.53 Twenty years after the appearance of the Book of Mormon Orson Pratt affirmed there was no possible way of knowing for certainty the teaching of the Bible until some one should be designated by God "to re-write all those books over again." Pratt's view is held by Apostle James E. Talmage and other Mormons of this century. Talmage wrote that there can be no absolutely reliable translation of the Bible until it is effected by the gift of translation as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost, for one must have the spirit of the prophet if he would translate the prophet's words.54 It is a serious enough indictment of Mormon inspiration that it proposed to restore the "lost books of the Bible" and the "covenants" of the Lord that it claims has been removed from the biblical text in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon contained no such lost books, and as G. B. Hancock stated: "Unhesitatingly do we say, If the origin of the American Indian be not a gospel idea there is not a gospel idea in the Book of Mormon but what was borrowed from the Bible."55
p. 237. G. B. Hancock, Mormonism Exposed, A. Doggett, Marionville, Mo., 1902, p. 21.
52 James D. Bales, 53 1 Nephi 13:34-36. 54 Talmage, Op. Cit., 55

Op. Cit., pp. 21-49.

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Mormon inspiration has raised the challenge of imperfection against the Bible. The Book of Mormon proposed to overcome its shortcomings and failed. Mormons claim to possess the divine gift of revelation, inspiration, and translation.56 The moral and spiritual responsibility to produce perfection rests upon them. Have they done this? The most devastating blow to Mormon inspiration which arises from the charge of imperfection for the Bible stems from Smith's attempt to produce his "inspired" translation of the holy scriptures. Eighteen years before Pratt's pamphlets were published in Liverpool affirming that the only way to produce certainty regarding the scriptures was to produce a translation by revelation, the Mormon prophet put the full force of Mormon inspiration behind a declaration that such a translation was completed.57 He began the work at some time prior to April, 1831, at which time according to his official diary he "continued" to "translate" the scriptures.58 Apparently interrupted in the work he "recommenced" and spent most of the summer of 1832 on that project.59 In February, 1833, he "completed"57 the New Testament portion and in July of that year signed a letter along with Sidney Rigdon and F. G. Williams in which he declared that the work of translating the Bible was "finished."60 Mormon inspiration promised the scriptures as "appointed,"61 and authorized Smith and Rigdon to work until "it is finished."62 A lot in Kirtland, Ohio, was dedicated by Mormon inspiration for the purpose of "the printing of the translation of my scriptures,"63 and one of the declared purposes for which the defunct United Order was organized was that they might "shinelah (print) my words, the fulness of my scriptures,"64 etc. Despite these promises of Mormon inspiration, Mormons have never recognized the moral and spiritual responsibility resting upon them to attempt to produce a translation of the Bible which they will term "perfect." The manuscript of the translation purportedly produced by Smith remained in the possession of his wife following his death, and was finally published by the Reorganized Church in 1867 at Piano, Illinois.65 Utah Mormons have never admitted it as
56 57 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 324, 369. 58 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 170. 59 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 273. 60 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 369; Times and Seasons, 61 Doctrine and Covenants 42:56, 57. 62 Ibid., 73:3, 4. 63 Ibid., 94:10. 64 Ibid., 104:58. 65

Talmage,

Op.

Cit,

pp.

229,

237.

Vol. 6, p. 80.

Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957, p. 117.

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an official work of the church. It is said that a copy of the manuscript supplied by Dr. John M. Bernhisel is in the custody of the Utah Church Historian.66 Merrill Y. Van Wagoner and Sidney B. Sperry attack the position of the Reorganized Church concerning the "inspired" version of the Bible, and adequately explode any claim that might be made for its perfection or for its divinely inspired translation. They point out: 1. Smith's "translation" is no translation at all, but a revision of the Bible without any aid from Greek or Hebrew manuscripts. They say: "It is incorrect to say that the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Bible. He did not pretend to know any ancient language such as Hebrew or Greek, nor did he have any manuscripts. The only text he used was the old family Bible he and ' Oliver Cowdery had purchased the previous year. This Bible is at present in the possession of Vida E. Smith Yates. Through inspiration and revelation the Prophet was led to render differently various passages and also to restore missing parts. His work was that of revising the scriptures rather than translating them in the way that translating is generally understood."61 Despite the many references in the official history of the church written by Smith, and the frequent appearance of the term "translate" found in the Doctrine and Covenants, Smith's purported translation is but a revision. Brigham H. Roberts confirms the statement of Van Wagoner and Sperry in his introduction to Volume V of the History of the Church.68 Every instance of terming the work a "translation" is a flagrant misuse of language, and reveals the lack of divine inspiration in the work. 2. Van Wagoner and Sperry affirm that a second body of evidence which shows that the "inspired" version is not a perfect translation is found by comparing it with the King James Version. They state simply: "This readily shows that he did not make a thorough revision or correct all the errors in the Bible."69 It is thus seen that Smith's attempt to revise the Bible did not accomplish what his followers desire. It had been completed eighteen years when Orson Pratt affirmed someone would have to rewrite the books of the Bible in order to assure certainty, and it had been published more than twenty years when Apostle Talmage
66 Merrill Y. Van Wagoner, The Inspired Revision of the Bible, Zion's Printing & Publishing Co., Independence, Missouri, p. 13; see also Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 251. 67 Ibid., p. 14; Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 252. 68 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, "Introduction," p. xxix. 69 Van Wagoner, Op. Cit., p. 47; Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 473.

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published his Articles Of Faith, declaring that "there can be no absolutely reliable translation" unless it be effected by inspiration. By Mormon standards it is a failure in an attempt to demonstrate divine inspiration in action. The Reorganized Latter-day Saints can take little consolation in their belief that Smith did complete the work and that it represents God's word as originally given to mankind. Though Smith added 12,650 words to the book of Genesis,70 and claimed to "restore" 200 verses in that book, he added but 2 verses to all the remainder of the Old Testament. He changed in some manner a total of 603 verses in the Old Testament, 188 of which were in Genesis. He added 281 verses in the New Testament, and changed 2,146, but in so doing he did not, as Mormons admit, eliminate the difficulties involved in textual criticism. He merely made the Bible conform to Mormon theology and inserted prophecies into the Bible to make it conform to his claim that the Book of Mormon was to come forth with Joseph Smith, Jr., as "a choice seer."71 3. Van Wagoner and Sperry point out that the "inspired" revision of the Bible does not have Malachi 4:1, 5. 6 as Joseph claimed to have received them from Moroni on September 21. 1823, and as they are worded in The Pearl Of Great Price.12 Mormon inspiration simply forgot its earlier work when changing the Bible. Since Van Wagoner and Sperry admit that the revision is the work of Smith, whom they claim as a prophet, this clear-cut fact establishes much more than they sought to establish. They sought to prove that Smith never did complete the work, yet there are too many statements in the Doctrine and Covenants and Smith's official history which affirm that it assuredly was completed and to be printed. Smith himself declared that it was completed. The facts they adduce to show incompleteness actually expose the false claims made by Smith and Rigdon, and the error of Mormon inspiration. 4. Joseph Smith claimed to have recovered none of the claimed "lost books" of the Bible.73 Every argument which has been brought forward by Mormons and Latter-day Saints in an effort to discredit the accepted versions of the Bible can be used to discredit the "inspired" version of the Reorganized Church. If doctrines or truths necessary to salvation are lost in the books mentioned in the Bible but possibly not contained in the Bible, then there is no evidence
p. 19; Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 270. Genesis 50:26 33, I.V. (Inspired Version). Malachi 4:1, 5, 6, I.V.; Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:37-39. 73 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 363; see also Van Wagoner, Op. Cit., p. 17; Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 270.
72 70 Ibid., 71

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that they are in the "inspired" version. No evidence has been given of the accuracy of the changes Smith and Rigdon made, nor of the completeness of those "restorations" of lost truths beyond the ungrounded claim that Smith was an inspired man. Yet Mormons themselves reject his work of "inspiration" in revising the Bible! Van Wagoner and Sperry state that the lost books "yet remain to be restored when the Lord deems it necessary."74 Yet all the authority of Mormon inspiration was back of the instruction given to Smith to complete and print the work,75 The Mormon god wanted it finished, commanded it to be completed, authorized its printing, designated the lot upon which the press was to be established to print it, and even gave the responsibility for the completion of the work to the United Order. Present-day Mormons, supposedly guided by the same inspiration as were the founders of the system, naively say there are "lost books" of the Bible which "yet remain to be restored when the Lord deems it necessary." The "inspired" version is but a devastating refutation of the claim that Smith was guided by divine inspiration. 5. The "inspired" version of the Bible is out of harmony with itself. In August, 1939, J. Early Arceneaux published a review of Mormonism.76 He singled out some fifteen vital points of contradiction between the "inspired" version and the King James Version of the Bible, the "inspired" version against itself, and the "inspired" version's contradictions with other official Mormon scripture, such as the Book of Mormon. Among the obvious marks of human inspiration cited are the following: a. Isaiah 65:1 contains the words: "I am found of them that sought me not." Smith apparently did not understand or approve the passage so he changed it, inserting another "not." But he forgot to change the same wording in Romans 10:20 where the passage is quoted by the apostle Paul. b. Smith deleted the great lesson concerning the "second mile" from the sermon on the mount from his version of the scriptures. Instead of having Christ instruct his disciples to go two miles with the person who compels them to go one, the passage is made to read: "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have it; and if he sue thee again, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile,
Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 270. 4. The Gospel Advocate, (published in Nashville, Tennessee) August 17, 1939, p. 761; later published as a tract by Firm Foundation Pub. Co., Box 77, Austin, Texas.
74 Van Wagoner, Op. Cit., p. 18; 75 Doctrine and Covenants 73:3, 76

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go with him a mile; and whosoever shall compel thee to go with him twain, thou shalt go with him twain."77 Yet Mormon inspiration forgot that this passage had been incorporated from the King James Version of the scriptures directly into the Book of Mormon, and is found there today supposedly translated "by the gift, and power of God" in the familiar phraseology of the most common version.78 Additional points of doctrine which distinguish and set apart the followers of Joseph Smith, Jr., may be easily refuted by appealing to the many translations of the scriptures which have been produced from the accepted Greek text. Points of doctrine which Mormons and Latter-day Saints seek to establish by the authority of the claimed "inspired" translation rest upon no stronger foundation than Smith's claim to inspiration. They must therefore be considered erroneous and false due to the following irrefutable facts: 1. The imperfection of Smith's work. Utah Mormons claim that it was never completed, and readily admit as all may see by examining it that it is imperfect. 2. It is contradictory with itself and with other claimed Mormon scripture. 3. Its failure to be completed and printed in Kirtland, Ohio, or Independence, Missouri where land was set apart for the printing press to be established to print it, and the United Order organized for (among other purposes) printing it reveal these sections of the Doctrine and Covenants referring to it to be the fallible words of uninspired men. 4. Van Wagoner and Sperry admit that Smith never quoted from his claimed "inspired" revision of the Bible but one time in all of his preaching and writing, so far as the records show.79 This is a death blow to any claim that the man received from God direct instructions to revise the scriptures. Whatever his motive for undertaking the revision, it is incredible that a man commanded by God to produce such a Bible to correct an imperfect and unreliable one would have thereafter preached only from the imperfect King James version instead of from the Inspired Translation. 5. None of the claimed "lost books" of the Bible have been supplied. Thus Mormon inspiration has produced the Book of Mormon and a revision of the Bible ostensibly to supply parts of the Bible supposed to be missing without attempting to supply even one such "lost book." The only reason for which one might suppose a "re77 Matthew 5:42, 78 3 Nephi 12:40, 79

43, I.V. 41. Van Wagoner, Op. Cit., p. 50; Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 536.

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stored" text to be necessary has not been served by two separate attempts by Mormon inspiration. 6. Despite these failures. Mormon teachers who are said to be in possession of "continued revelation" and the power of divine inspiration blandly declare: "In the hands of an inspired prophet of God. however, the original renderings of the passages might easily be restored, for which purpose Joseph undertook the revision."80 7. It would be difficult to describe Smith's translation with simpler or more fitting language than the statement of John Hyde, Jr., in his refutation of the Mormon system: "More than Jew ever read, or Christian ever conceived, and far more than Hebrew or Greek MS. contained, is to be seen in Smith's new translation of the Bible."81 Examination reveals that Smith's attempt at revision of the scripture was no more than a brazen tampering with God's message to man, accents his lack of divine inspiration, and shows his claimed revelations to be but the work of fallible men. D. The "Book Of Commandments." Before the appearance of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835 Joseph Smith, Jr., and the Mormon leaders published an earlier work containing sixty five of the claimed revelations which was called "A Book Of Commandments For The Government Of The Church of Christ, Organized According To Law On April 6, 1830." This book has been and continues to be a "thorn in the flesh" to the Mormon claim of the power of divine inspiration for Joseph Smith, Jr. Copies of the original edition of this book are among the rarest items in Mormonism, most of the copies having been destroyed by the Missouri mob which forced the Mormons from Independence, Missouri in 1833. Reprints are available, and these provide a vital link in any candid examination of the "revelations" Smith claimed came from God. The Book of Commandments was authorized by an officiallycalled conference of the Mormon leaders held in Hiram, Ohio. November 1, 1831. At this conference a decision was reached to print ten thousand copies of the book, and the section of the Doctrine and Covenants which purports to be God's "preface to the revelations which He has given to this Dispensation of the Fulness of times"82 was supposedly received from God. A later conference lowered the number to be printed to three thousand copies on May 1. 1832.83
Op. Cit, p. 154. John Hyde, Jr., Mormonism, Its Leaders And Designs, W. F. Fetridge & Company, New York, N.Y., 1857, p. 132. 83 Smith. Op. Cit., Vol. I. p. 222. 83 Times And Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 625; Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. I, p. 270.
80 Evans, 81

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The claim is made today that the Book of Commandments was never completed, and therefore was never approved for use of the church. As an example of this claim, when looking for the Wickes reprint of this work in the Garrett Biblical Institute Library, Evanston, Illinois, the author was confronted by the following notation on the file reference card: "Really a part of a first edition of the 'Book of doctrine and covenants,' printed at Independence. Mo., but never published, as the sheets were burned by a mob. of Berrian, Catalog of books Mormonism."84 George Arbaugh, who has written perhaps the most authoritative book available on Mormon revelation, accepts the "incomplete" claim as genuine. He gives as reasons for accepting it the fact that (1) a subsequent edition was later published; (2) the lack of the customary "amen" at the close of the final revelation in the book; and (3) the fact that printing completed when the mob destroyed the printing shop filled exactly five sheets containing thirty two pages to the sheet.85 Two factors need to be borne in mind in order to properly evaluate the Book of Commandments and its relationship to Mormon inspiration. First: Neither one nor all three of Arbaugh's reasons actually prove that it was intended to add more revelations to the book. (1) It is a common practice of religious deceivers to publish later and corrected editions of their earlier, more imperfect works. (2) At least two other revelations contained in the book lack the "amen" at the close, yet were undoubtedly complete.86 (3) The fact that the manuscripts printed filled exactly five sheets with no space left over may well mean no more than that printing supplies were so hard to obtain on the Missouri frontier that they had been edited to utilize all available space on the sheets being used. A committee had been officially authorized to "prepare" the "revelations" for printing.87 Secondly: Even if it be established that the Mormons intended to add more revelations to those included, this does not alter the fact that the first sixty four claimed revelations were complete and printed as Joseph Smith and the Mormon leaders approved them in July 1833. Incompleteness of the volume does not allow for alteration, revising, and changing of doctrines, commandments, and prophetic statements contained in the first sixty four if they were given by the unerring power of divine inspiration.
Library File Card Index, A Book Of Commandments, Garrett Biblical Institute Library, Evanston, Illinois. 85 George Bartholomew Arbaugh, Revelation In Mormonism., University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1932, p. 88. 86 A Book Of Commandments, Sections VI, XXIV. 87 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 270.
84

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Despite this claim of incompleteness: 1. Joseph Smith, Jr., and his co-laborers in the Mormon movement approved the publishing of the work in the official conference of November 1, 1831, already referred to. According to Mormon doctrine, approval by an official church conference is equivalent to approval by God.88 2. In the conference of May 1, 1832, when the number of copies to be printed was lowered to three thousand, three men were appointed to select and prepare the "revelations" for printing. Smith himself later wrote: "Our council was continued on the first day of May, when it was ordered that three thousand copies of the book of Commandments be printed the first edition; that William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer be appointed to review and . prepare such revelations as shall be deemed proper for publication, for the press, and print them as soon as possible at Independence, Missouri."89 This official order specified the committee to select the "revelations," gave authority to "prepare" same for publication, and was specific as to printer and the place of publication. If these were authorized by "divine authority" there could be no question as to the accuracy of the sixty four "revelations" which were without any doubt included complete in the volume. 3. That Joseph Smith, Jr., himself read proof on the "revelations" and gave his approval to them as written is shown by the fact that a letter was sent to W. W. Phelps, dated June 25, 1833, advising that it was not necessary to bind the books and pointing out four errors which he had found in chapters forty and forty four. These he asked to be corrected.90 The fact that the errors were not corrected in the book indicates the printing may have already been under way at the time. It is unthinkable that there were other errors which he did not at the time approve and which could later invalidate the work if it were authorized by divine inspiration. 4. In another communication addressed to the Mormons in Independence dated July 2, 1833, just eighteen days before the destruction of the printing shop, Smith sent instructions to "consign the box of the Book of Commandments" to N. K. Whitney, in Kirtland, Ohio.81 Smith not only approved publication of the claimed revelations, but also awaited the delivery of them. 5. On May 19, 1835, three months before the appearance of the
88 Doctrine 89

and Covenants 20:62. Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 625; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 270. 90 Smith, Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 362, 364. 91 Smith, Ibid., Vol. I, p. 369; Times and Seasons, Vol. 6, p. 800.

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Doctrine and Covenants, W. W. Phelps wrote to Oliver Cowdery: "The Book of Mormon, the rise of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose history you are now touching in your communications to me, the book of commandments, &c, are such prominent matters of fact, that all the unwearied pains taken by sects, sectarians, hypocrites, and scoffers, to stop the spread of these 'glad tidings' dwindle into nothings compared to the joy of gathering souls for God, and preparing for the glory that will follow when the earth is purified."92 Three months later apology was made in the Messenger and Advocate for late publication with these words: "This number of the Messenger and Advocate has been delayed beyond the ordinary time of publication, on account of finishing the printing of the Doctrine and Covenants."93 The Mormons therefore considered the Book of Commandments a "prominent matter of fact" months before the printing of the Doctrine and Covenants. It would be hard to make these words mean anything other than that the book was used and accepted by the Mormons after its publication in 1833. 6. It is claimed that the "revelation" which stands at the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants, the claimed "preface" of the Lord, was given to Smith at the November 1, 1831 conference which approved the printing of the Book of Commandments. Verse 6 declares this "revelation" is "my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth."94 Verse 7 declares that "what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled," and verse 37 reiterates "they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled." This preface, according to authoritative Mormon claim, was given for and first used in the Book of Commandments. If given by divine inspiration its sense applies to the "revelations" contained in that work rather than the later Doctrine and Covenants. 7. Section 67 of the Doctrine and Covenants contains additional proof of Joseph Smith's approval of the "revelations" as they appeared in the Book of Commandments, as preparations were being made for their publication. Verse 4 says: "And now I, the Lord, give you a testimony to the truth of these commandments which are lying before you." Verse 6 then commands doubting Mormons to "seek ye out of the book of commandments" one of the "revelations" and to try to produce one like it. This section 67 of the Doctrine and Covenants, according to the
92 Messenger And Advocate, 93 Ibid., August 1835, 94

May 1835, Vol. 1, p. 114. Vol. 1, p. 176. Doctrine And Covenants, 1:6, 7, 37.

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official history of Joseph Smith, Jr., is supposed to have been revealed following a conversation which resulted from Section 1 being revealed November 1, 1831.95 So the commandments "which are lying before you" were the commandments published in the Book of Commandments. Every attestation to their genuineness found in the present Doctrine and Covenants purportedly revealed prior to July 1833 must be understood to have applied to the Book of Commandments if reliable at all. The sum of these considerations leads inevitably to the conclusion that Joseph Smith, Jr., endorsed and approved the commandments as they appeared in their original form at the time of their publication. He made the claim of divine inspiration to account for their origin. The changes and revisions later made but reveal their fallible human origin, exposing the fact that Smith was making blasphemous attempts to deceive, and show the true nature of Mormon inspiration. Let us note some of the changes which have been made in these "inspired" revelations: 1. In the D. & C. 3:16 it is stated: "for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Saviour has come into the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Saviour come unto my people." Then the Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, and the Zoramites are mentioned. Then it is said that "this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites," etc. In the Book of Commandments, this read: "for as the knowledge of a Savior has come into the world, even so shall the knowledge of my people, the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites."96 We raise a question: was it the knowledge of a savior, or knowledge of the historically unknown people which the Book of Mormon claims once existed that was to come to the knowledge of the Lamanites and others? Mormon inspiration has here made a complete about-face. 2. A change to which David Whitmer objected strenuously97 is found in what is today Section 5 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In verse 4 Joseph Smith is told to pretend to no other gift than that of translation "until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished." How radically different from the specific and forbidding language
95 96 A 97

Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, pp. 224, 225. Book Of Commandments 11:6. Whitmer, Op. Cit., pp. 57, 58.

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in the Book of Commandments which forever denied to Joseph any right to pretend to such gifts as miracles, prophecies, healings, tongues, and all others save that of translation. The original read: "and I have commanded him that he should stand as a witness of these things, nevertheless I have caused him that he should enter into a covenant with me, that he should not show them except I command him, and he has no power over them except I grant it unto him; and he has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift."98 (emphasis mine, BC) 3. Section 8:3 of the Doctrine and Covenants assures Oliver Cowdery that he has the spirit of revelation, and verse 6 further declares that he has another gift, "which is the gift of Aaron; behold it has told you many things." This reading is far more convincingly similar to biblical phraseology than Smith's original which would but serve to remind all Mormons that Smith and Cowdery were well known in their early days as sleuths with their mysterious "rods" which were supposed to help them find hidden treasure. Small wonder Smith revised this one: "O remember, these words and keep my commandments. Remember this is your gift. Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this99rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God." 4. Another change to which David Whitmer objected was the insertion of the words "the foundation of" in Section 18:4.100 In 1833 Smith obviously laid claim to having fully restored the ancient church of the Lord, and had not sufficiently converted his followers to the point where he could change doctrine from that which was "written" at his every whim. Hence, he declared that in the things written were "all things written, concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock."101 It is easily seen that this broad, sweeping barrier to Joseph's later revelations would become a death blow to the modern conception of Mormon inspiration. Until changed, the present system could never evolve. 5. Present day Mormon belief never questions whether or not Joseph Smith employed the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the Book of Mormon. This is declared positively by Mormon inspiration, in the 1835 version.102 Despite the fact that Joseph claimed
98 A Book of Commandments IV: 2. 99 Ibid., VII: 3. 100 Whitmer, Op. Cit., p. 58. 101 A Book of Commandments XV: 3. 102

Doctrine and Covenants 10:1; 17:1.

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to have been guided by "inspiration" prior to 1833, there is no mentioning of the Urim and Thummim in the Book of Commandments. Section 17 of the Doctrine and Covenants was not included in the 1833 version of the "revelations," and Section 10:1 noticeably made no mention of the Urim and Thummim: "Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up so many writings, which you had power to translate, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them, and you also lost your gift at the same time, nevertheless it has been restored unto you again."103 6. A glaring instance of Smith's short-sightedness in "inspiration" is seen in his revision of a statement now found in D. & C, 19:21. Here the words "until it is wisdom in me" have been blandly added to what was a specific command that "naught but repentance be preached," and that "these things" be not shown to the world.104 That "these things" had reference to the "revelations" themselves was maintained by David Whitmer,105 and his claim appears logical both by context and the fact that Smith later revised the claimed commandment to allow himself freedom to publish them. It is a clear-cut case of ordinary human inspiration rather than inspiration divine. 7. If it be said that in Section 19 Smith revised out of existence his own inspired command not to publish the Book of Commandments, it is equally true that in Section 20 he revised out his command not to revise them. Verses 33-35 originally read: "Therefore, let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; Yea, and even he that is sanctified also. And we know, that these things are true and agreeable to the revelation of John, neither adding to nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book; Neither to the holy scriptures; neither to the revelations of God which shall come hereafter, by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; neither by the voice of God: Neither by the ministering of angels, and the Lord God hath spoken it."106 In this claimed revelation Smith set forth his theology concerning the organization of the church, its government, and with "divine inspiration" explained the nature of God, of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the fall of man, and justification. He then declares that these things are true and agreeable to the revelation of John, "neither adding to," nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, "the Holy scriptures," or the "revelations of God which shall come hereafter." The claimed revelation goes on to forbid all changes in such
103 104 Ibid., XVI: 22. 105 Whitmer, Op. Cit., 106

A Book of Commandments IX: 1. p. 59. A Book of Commandments XXIV: 22-28.

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scripture whether the change be by "the voice of God," or "ministering angels," and the solemn inspiration of Joseph Smith, Jr., declares "the Lord God hath spoken it." If the revelation as it appeared in the Book of Commandments came from God then changing it was forbidden by either "the voice of God" or "ministering angels" but evidently Smith and his workers were free to do so. To escape his dilemma Smith deleted "neither" twice and then made the "voice of God" and "ministering angels" the means whereby additional revelations should come. 8. Another significant change is in D. & C. 20. Mormons claim that imperfection in organization represents apostasy. It is of note that verses 63 to 67 inclusive, with reference to "traveling bishops, high counsellors, high priests, etc., are lacking in the 1833 version, save for: "And each priest or teacher, who is ordained by a priest, is to take a certificate from him at the time, which when presented to an elder, he is to give him a 107 license, which shall authorize him to perform the duty of his calling." 9. In Section 25 of the D. & C. is found a revision which has been frequently pointed out by non-Mormon writers, and which has been the occasion of much embarrassment to all Mormon teachers. In this passage Emma Smith is assured that her husband "shall support thee in the church." Originally this read: "for thy husband shall support thee from the church."108 Some slip of the pen for an inspired prophet! 10. When Smith led the Mormons toward Missouri he had every intention of establishing a communistic theocracy, with the church in possession of all the property of its subjects. Section 42 of the current edition sets forth some of the organizational plans for the United Order, but omits its communistic foundation. Early opponents of Mormonism. beginning with Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed, pointed out the communistic nature of Smith's plans as revealed in this claimed revelation.109 but after the revision Mormons and Latter-day Saints denied it. A good example of such a denial is found in the Braden-Kelley Debate, where E. L. Kelley of the Reorganized Latter-day Saints denies it.110 Even Joseph A. Geddes in his dissertation on The United Order Among The Mormons passes over this feature of the Order by stating that those
XXIV: 44. Ibid., XXVI: 8. Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville, Ohio, 1834, p. 129. 110 Braden-Kelley Debate, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, Calif., 1955, p. 113.
109 107 Ibid., 108

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who had a surplus were required to consecrate it to the church.111 Other writers among the Utah Mormons have readily admitted that a complete consecration of all property was required.112 The original text of the claimed revelation required: "and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church."113 The failure of the United Order testifies to the lack of divine inspiration in the claimed revelation of Smith. Smith himself declared in a conference at Nauvoo, Illinois that the Order could not be kept there, and the council agreed to its abandonment provided Smith accepted the responsibility for their not keeping it.114 11. Also found in the Braden-Kelley Debate is a quotation from the Book of Commandments, which Kelley takes from Howe115 and terms a "false assertion." It concerns the consecration of the property of the Gentiles which many non-Mormon writers have credited with being a basis for Mormons taking property not rightfully theirs, as well as enabling the church to hold onto the private property of those who left the Mormon faith. Despite the objections of Mormons and Latter-day Saints to Howe's statement, the original of the claimed revelation read: "And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto me: For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles, unto my people which are of the house of Israel."116 12. In the D. & C. 27:5-18 one finds today more than a full page of Smith's purported "revelation" from God, supposedly received in August 1830. Yet in 1833 when this bit of "inspiration" was published in the Book of Commandments it consisted of but sixty three words. These words are scattered through verses 5, 14, 15, and 18 of the current edition.117 13. In Section 42:56 of the current edition is the claim that the "scriptures" shall be given and preserved in "safety." In the earlier version this term "safety" received an entirely different application:
111 Joseph A. Geddes, United Order Among The Mormons, New York, 1922, pp. 31, 32. 112 Brigham H. Roberts, Missouri Persecutions, Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 55; Evans, Op. Cit., p. 132; John A. Widtsoe, Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 609. 113 A Book of Commandments, XLIV:26. 114 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, pp. 93, 94. 115 Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 113; Howe, Op. Cit., p. 130. 116 A Book Of Commandments, XLIV:31, 32. 117 Ibid., XXVIII: 6, 7.

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"Thou shalt ask and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed; and for thy safety it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, until ye have received them. . ."118 14. In the current edition of the D. & C. 43:8-10, a most interesting commandment has been rescinded and no longer appears. It was the command to take notes "with a pen how to act, and for my church to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given."119 Mormon inspiration would have the reader believe that God once gave commandment for taking notes "with a pen," but later decided to leave the people to their own discretion with regard to notetaking, and as to what kind of instrument to employ. 15. As a final consideration of changes made in the Book of Commandments we notice one which has been frequently cited by opponents of Mormonism. As has often been pointed out, it was doubtless an underlying factor leading many Mormons to infractions of society regulations which have been admitted by Mormon historians, and contributed to the circumstances which resulted in their expulsion from Missouri and later from Illinois. The passage, found revised in the Doctrine and Covenants 64:27-31, originally read as follows: "Behold it is said in my laws, or forbidden to get in debt to thine enemies: But behold it is not said at any time, that the Lord should not take when he please, and pay as seemeth him good: Wherefore as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand: and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord's business, and it is the Lord's business to provide for his saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion: And behold I the Lord declare unto you, and 120 my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it." Thus assured that those in God's service could take what they needed in their labors "of the Lord," it is small wonder the Times and Seaso7is was loudly decrying the presence of "thieves" among the Mormons during the fall and winter of 1840.m Evidence exists which compels even the Mormon historians to take note of the existence of some thievery and viciousness among the Mormons prior to and soon after the Missouri period. For the interested reader, many additional such changes may be found in Smith's claimed "revelations." Church offices unknown to
XLIV:43. XLV:8. LXV: 37-40. Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, pp. 204, 221, 222; (compare Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, pp. 460-468 for similar incidents in Nov.-Dec. 1841).
118 Ibid., 119 Ibid., 120 Ibid., 121

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the early days of Mormonism and the Book of Commandments are provided for by inserting verses here and there,122 or by the deft substitution of a term such as "Twelve Apostles" for "twelve disciples."123 These hundreds of changes, additions, and deletions made in the commandments claimed to be "true and faithful" remain a devastating refutation of the claim that Mormon inspiration and biblical inspiration are identical. LaMar Petersen is undoubtedly correct in saying that one of the "least explicable" of the deletions is the "removal of Christ's presageful words of March, 1829: 'I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old.' "124 But Mormon inspiration is such a subtle, intangible, indefinable force that it is not to be halted or slowed down by mere contradictions, forced reverses, or impossibilities. With a vast body of followers believing implicitly in "continued revelation," the leaders of the Mormon movement need but "study it out in your mind," and "revelation" is certain to overcome the difficulty. If the people refuse to accept the "revelation," which rarely occurs, that, too, is all right. The "prophet" is still envisioned as a prophet and all his errors in attempted instances of bringing forth the "divine will of God" are but charged to that degree of human error and imperfection to which all men, inspired and uninspired, are susceptible. The Mormon people have not yet perceived that the very purpose and need for divine inspiration is to obtain God's will in matters and realms beyond the extent of human reach, and to overcome human imperfections and shortcomings by making God's will known with unerring accuracy by the power of the Holy Spirit. The need for revision remains an inescapable indictment of the blasphemy underlying the Mormon claim of divine inspiration for the claimed revelations of Joseph Smith which continue to delude thousands who never pause to examine the true facts regarding them. E. Human Veto Over Mormon Inspiration It is universally accepted by Bible believers that the purpose for which divine inspiration has been given is that men may receive God's will and be guided by His precepts. Whether the word of God be considered as emanating from prophets and angels, dreams and visions as during Old Testament days, or through Jesus Christ and his appointed apostles during the Christian era, the purpose of divine inspiration and revelation has always been that God's will and
122 Doctrine and Covenants 20:66, 67. 123 A Book of Commandments, XV, superscription. 124

LaMar Petersen, Problems In Mormon Text, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957, p. 11; A Book Of Commandments, IV: 5.

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message may be brought to mankind. It has never been the prerogative of man to disregard God's commands and precepts. For doing so Adam and Eve were banished from Eden,125 Nadab and Abihu were destroyed,126 and Saul was rejected from being king.127 The writer of the book of Hebrews declares that: ". . . every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward."128 One of the basic positions assumed by Mormons and Latter-day Saints is that the same kind of inspiration and revelation that God has employed in the past must continue in this age of the world. Men today therefore receive direct instruction from God according to the Mormon view, and the messages received by the Mormon prophets must be considered to be inspired to the same extent that biblical teaching was inspired. In view of this basic position, it is oddly significant that Mormon theology has retained for men the right to vote and veto the instructions which God gives to them through their "inspiration!" This fact in itself, when considered with the stern measures God took in biblical times against those who rejected His word, is sufficient to reveal that Mormon inspiration and divine inspiration are not from the same source. This odd feature of the Mormon conception of divine revelation has had the distinction of producing a round of laughter in hearings conducted by the United States Senate. In the Reed Smoot testimony hearings, occasioned by the position occupied by Mormons on the polygamy issue and that of church and state and published in 1905, Apostle Francis M. Lyman appeared as a witness. During the testimony the following exchange took place: "Mr. Lyman. The Lord has so ordered that when he appoints men, as he did do in the revelations here, and named the apostles and the other general authorities of the church. He commanded that they be presented to the church and sustained or rejected; and whenever the church has rejected a man he has stepped aside. Senator Hoar. A sort of veto power over the Lord (Laughter). Mr. Lyman. And they have sometimes rejected men."129 This same "veto power over the Lord" is asserted in the Articles of Faith, by Apostle James E. Talmage, and was read into the Reed Smoot testimony from the 1901 edition: "Pending the overruling by providence in favor of religious
2. 1 Samuel 15:23. 128 Hebrews 2:2. 129 Reed Smoot Testimony, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905, pp. 239, 240.
125 Genesis 3:22-24. 126 Leviticus 10:1, 127

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liberty, it is the duty of the Saints to submit themselves to the laws of their country. Nevertheless, they should use every proper method, as citizens or subjects of their several governments, to secure for themselves and for all men the boon of freedom in religious duties. . . . And if by thus submitting themselves to the laws of the land, in the event of such laws being unjust and subversive of human freedom, the Saints be prevented from doing the work appointed them of God, they are not to be held accountable for the failure to act under the higher law."130 Joseph F. Smith, then president of the Utah church, testified during the Smoot hearings: "I will say this. Mr. Chairman, that no revelation given through the head of the church ever becomes binding and authoritative upon the members of the church until it has been presented to the church and accepted by them."131 Thus Mormon inspiration, while asserting that it emanates from God and is the medium through which God speaks to His people, holds that the church assembled in conference has the right if its members so choose to exercise their voting privileges to reject any revelation or inspired message God may give. Should the church reject a proposed revelation it does not become apostate by so acting, but the message itself is declared a false revelation and the voice of Mormon inspiration must come up with a more acceptable one. In actual practice, however, it is seen that individual Mormons reserve for themselves the right to reject even the accepted and authoritative messages which have been approved by the church. The following question was put to Senator Smoot: "Senator Dubois. If the president of the church received a revelation from God and submitted it to the conference, and they sustained it, and you, for instance, did not see fit to obey it, how would that affect you as regards your relation to the church? Senator Smoot. I hardly think it would affect me. I remember now an instance in our church of a revelation being received for the establishment of the United Order. I know that Brigham Young went from one end of the state to the other and preached the new order, and instructed the people to organize and follow out that revelation. He went from St. George to the north, and I know that it was never adhered to or followed out by the people, and is virtually a dead letter today."132 This reference to the United Order is to an attempt by Brigham
130 Talmage, Op. Cit., 1901 Edition, p. 434; current edition, p. 423; Reed Smoot Testimony, p. 142. 131 Reed Smoot Testimony, p. 67.
132

Ibid., p. 30.

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129

Young to carry out the mandates of certain revelations of Joseph Smith, Jr., and establish among the Mormons a kind of socialistic or communistic community life. An earlier attempt had been made during the lifetime of Smith to establish the Order. Smoot's testimony reveals that Mormons may reject the claimed revelations of their prophets even after such revelations have been approved by the church conference. Thus Mormon inspiration reserves for the individual Mormon the right to veto Mormonism's "inspired messages and instruction" in practice if not in doctrine. There is no better illustration of the human veto power over Mormon inspiration as accepted by the Utah Mormons than the following paragraph from the pen of Orson Pratt, under the title "Celestial Marriage In Deseret," and published in The Seer, February 1853: "No man in Utah, who already has a wife, and who may desire to obtain another, has any right to make any propositions of marriage to a lady, until he has consulted the President over the whole church, and through him, obtains a revelation from God, as to whether it would be pleasing in His sight. If he is forbidden by revelation, that ends the matter: if, by revelation, the privilege is granted, he still has no right to consult the feelings of the young lady, until he has obtained the approbation of her parents, provided they are living in Utah; if their consent cannot be obtained, this also ends the matter. But if the parents or guardians freely give their consent, then he may make propositions of marriage to the young lady; if she refuse these propositions, this also ends the matter; but if she accept, a day is generally set apart by the parties for the marriage ceremony to be celebrated. It is necessary to state, that before any man takes the least step towards getting another wife, it is his duty to consult the feelings of the wife which he already has, and obtain her consent, as recorded in the 24th paragraph of the revelation, published in the first No. of 'The Seer.' "133 Utah Mormons today still believe Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants came as a divine revelation from God. The revelation stated that those who would receive the fulness of the everlasting covenant "must and shall abide by the law. or he shall be damned, saith the Lord."134 The same claimed revelation charged Emma Smith with the unhappy choice of receiving "all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph,"135 or "if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed."136 The "revelation" makes clear that any man who has a wife and teaches her the law of the
133 The Seer, Vol. 1, p. 31; see also 134 Doctrine and Covenants 132:6. 135 Ibid., 132:52. 136

The Millenial Star, Vol. XV, p. 214.

Ibid., 132:54.

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priesthood "as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed."137 But suppose she still refused? "Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word."138 (emphasis mine, BC) Thus, according to Mormon inspiration God gave the law of celestial marriage, and declared that all "must" abide by it. The man who seeks to do so must seek the consent of his first wife when he desires to obey the law and obtain a second. If she does not believe and give her consent, the man is free to obtain "all things" given him by the law, and it shall be "lawful" for him to obtain them. Such would be the only interpretation possible on the language of the "revelation" if treated as biblical phraseology treats those who accept or reject the expressed will of God. But not so when viewed through the mysterious impact of human veto power over Mormon inspiration. 1. The man who "must abide" by the law termed "a new and an everlasting covenant," which if he abide not in "then are ye damned,"139 may choose not to enter the state of plural marriage at all. If he so choose, he has but exercised veto power number one over Mormon inspiration. He has not sinned, and he does not in any sense violate what is supposedly God's command and precept toward His people. 2. Granting that the man decides to enter the relationship and abide by the law he must first obtain the consent of his first wife. In theory, at least, she may object and thereby exercise veto power number two. History shows that this was not always done, and the revelation itself makes very clear that men could "lawfully" disregard such objection after "teaching" their wives their duty. 3. Possessed of both the desire to marry a second wife and the consent of the first wife the man is still not in a position to approach the lady of his choice in his efforts to obey "God" and obtain the greater blessings. He still must obtain from the president of the church a second revelation approving the particular union with the young lady of his choice. If the president of the church for any reason disapproves, "that ends the matter." Veto number three has been exercised. 4. If, as the love-possessed suitor doubtless hoped would occur, the second revelation is obtained and he is now armed with two direct
137 Ibid., I38 139

132:64. Ibid., 132:65. Ibid., 132:4.

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131

"revelations" from "God", one approving his second marriage as the avenue to the "fulness" of glory, and the second giving the approval of heaven (?) to the marriage with the designated individual, the man still must face the possibilities of vetoes number four and five in the persons of the bride-to-be's parents. If either of them refuse to consent, "that ends the matter." 5. Assuming that the consent of parents or guardians be obtained for the suitor's marriage with their daughter, the man still must obtain the consent of the bride-to-be herself. Conflicting reports linger to cloud the picture of just what procedure would be followed in case a young lady did voice her objections after all others had given consent, but few students of Mormon history believe that her objections would carry weight. However, at least in theory, she holds the power of veto number six. 6. A seventh veto power is recognized in this case by the testimony previously cited from the Reed Smoot hearings. The law of the land is by official Mormon leadership accorded the privilege of vetoing any Mormon revelation, and if it does the Mormons are in theory at least expected to obey and simply not be held accountable for their not abiding by the higher law. When the Manifesto setting aside the open practice of polygamy was issued by Wilford Woodruff, September 24, 1890, and approved by the general conference of the church October 6 following, George Q. Cannon stated in a sermon on the latter date that Woodruff's authority for so doing was contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, 124:49.140 This verse had been given as a loophole for escape from Joseph's failure in prophesying that Independence, Missouri was to to be the New Jerusalem after the Mormons had been driven from Missouri. It later proved to be an escape also from his "revelation on celestial marriage." Mormons today are unwilling to admit that the law of the land is by them considered an enemy. It must be so considered if Woodruff was right in issuing the Manifesto based upon the language of D. & C. 124:49. Since Mormons of today do recognize that the Manifesto officially sets aside the "revelation" on polygamy, the law of the land as voiced by the people through their representatives is given a definite veto over the "revelations" of Mormon inspiration. F. Summary It is seen that the works of Mormon inspiration invariably bear the marks of fallibility and human error and are constantly in need
140 B. H. Roberts, Outlines Of Ecclesiastical History, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1924, p. 448.

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of revision and correction, one of the clearest indications of the absence of divine guidance in authorship. After revision has been completed imperfection and contradiction still remain. If it seem strange to non-Mormons that so many thousands retain their faith in Mormonism after becoming aware of these facts, the answer doubtless lies in the fact that a people who believe themselves individually in possession of "inspiration" or "continued revelation" and with the right to veto the "voice of God" as expressed by their officially "sustained" prophets would have no difficulty setting aside all evidence of human imperfection in their claimed "scriptures" as merely the prejudice of men or the result of temporary sin and shortcoming in the prophet. Mormon inspiration resolves itself down to simply being guided by one's own mind. From the president of the church to the most insignificant Mormon in the earth's remotest corner it is simply needful to "study it out in your mind," then ask God "if it be right."141 If the answer reached by a searching and rationalizing mind is that it is right, then all the world is wrong if it conclude otherwise. Mormon inspiration has given assurance. Who is man that he should take issue with what "God has spoken!" even if "He" has spoken the opposite to someone else!
141

Doctrine and Covenants 9:8.

CHAPTER SIX

Prophecies of Jos. Smith On Which Mormons Rely


The Latter-day Saints recognize that their claim to possess "continued revelation" necessitates the presence of men today endowed with the supernatural or miraculous powers capable of receiving direct communication from God. This power is claimed for all faithful Mormons on an individual basis, and the claim is further made that one man at each given time the president of the church is gifted with special prophetic abilities so that he can receive communications from God which are for the whole church. Hence, Joseph Smith, Jr., and all succeeding presidents of the church are spoken of as "a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church."1 Latter-day Saints of today speak of Joseph Smith, Jr., almost universally as "The Prophet." They point with confidence to a number of predictions which he made, and which have appeared to some extent to have been fulfilled, as evidence of his power of divine inspiration. It is admitted by all that the one sure way to prove that one possesses supernatural power is to demonstrate it by exercising supernatural power by working miracles or by making prophecies which could not have been foretold without divine power. The subsequent fulfillment of prophecy with unerring accuracy would prove the genuineness of the prophet as an agent of God. The reader has already been referred to the statement of Thomas H. Horne to the effect that prophecy "is the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion2 with the Deity, and of the truth of a revelation from God." Mormon writer Nephi Lowell Morris cited the above quotation in laying the foundation for his attempt to hold Smith forth as an
Doctrine And Covenants, 107:92. Thomas H. Horne, Introduction To The Critical Study And Knowledge Of The Holy Scriptures, E. Littell, Philadelphia, Pa., 1827, Vol. I, p. 313.
2 1

133

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

indisputable prophet of God.J We do not question the validity of Hornes's conclusion, but we insist that all of Smith's prophecies which appear to have been fulfilled could have been predicted with reasonable accuracy by one not possessing prophetic powers. Many of his attempts were complete failures. The claimed prophecies of Joseph Smith provide a very vital link in any study of Mormon inspiration. If he indeed possessed the power of God in uttering prophecy, and if his prophetic powers have been reliably established by the accurate fulfillment of prophecies which he uttered, it will be indeed difficult to reject his other claims to divine gifts such as seership, revelation, and that of translation. However, if his claim to prophetic powers fail of establishment, then none of the other claims can be possibly established, for surely no seer of God or revelator of God is a false prophet! A. The Prophecy Concerning War In South Carolina The most widely publicized of all the claimed Smith prophecies was his prediction that war would begin between the "Southern States" and the "Northern States," beginning "at the rebellion of South Carolina."4 It is said that this prediction was made on Christmas Day, 1832, and examination seems to justify the claim. That it was printed and made public at least nine years before the outbreak of the Civil War is virtually certain. It was published in the 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price, published in Liverpool. It is also found in the April, 1854, number of The Seer, followed by editorial comment that it was first given more than twenty years previously. Copies of both these early works may be seen in the library of the Chicago Historical Society. The text of this claimed revelation which appeared in 1851 in almost its present form, read as follows: "Verily thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. The days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at that place; for behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations; and thus war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their Masters, who shall be marshalled and disciplined for war: And it shall come to pass also, that the remnants who are left of the land will marshall themselves, and shall become
3 Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies Of Joseph Smith And Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, "Preface," p. iv. 4 Doctrine And Covenants, 87:1-3.

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135

exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation; and thus, with the sword, and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquakes, and the thunder of Heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed, hath made a full end of all nations; that the cry of the Saints, and of the blood of the Saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. Wherefore, stand ye in the holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the 5Lord come; for behold it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen." Despite the fact that many of the predictions contained in this purported prophecy have never been fulfilled, though the time of their fulfillment is long past, Mormons continue to boast of this prediction as an example of the prophetic powers of Smith. Morris devotes nearly fifty pages to it in his book. It has been inserted into the official History of the Church.6 Though this history was written largely by Smith himself, it remained for a later editor to insert it in the published editions of that history, if not indeed in the manuscript itself. It is frequently referred to in Mormon periodicals and in printed lectures and sermons delivered in the official church conferences. From the day that the echoes of the first gunfire at Fort Sumter electrified the nation and the world, this claimed prophecy has been considered prima facie evidence of the divine nature of Joseph Smith. Careful examination reveals otherwise. It must be remembered that Latter-day Saints claim that "continued revelation" is necessary to "interpret" or understand scripture, and that the gift of "translation" is essential before errors in translation of the scriptures can be detected and corrected. This is well stated by Orson Spencer; "The things of the spirit require the same spirit to discern them. He that is spiritual can judge all things, while he that has not the spirit of revelation cannot judge any spiritual matters correctly, of any name or nature."7 Though the claim is made that this revelation or inspiration is on an individual basis, except for the church president, at least we may conclude that if they have this power of divine inspiration they should interpret accurately what they do interpret. Otherwise, it is
Pearl Of Great Price, 1851 Liverpool Edition, p. 35. Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1902, Vol. I, p. 301. 7 Orson Spencer, Letters, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891, p. 40; see also James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, pp. 236, 237.
5 The 6

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misleading and harmful to them even as individuals. We cannot harmonize the thought of error and delusion and individual harm with that of being guided by divine inspiration. We should therefore expect the prophecies of the "latter days" to be simple, correctly interpreted by their "inspired" leaders, and presented in such a way as to remove all room for reasonable doubt on the part of honest men seeking for truth. Let us look to the history of this claimed prophecy. When apostle Orson Pratt published it in The Seer in 1854 he anticipated a general war which would begin at the rebellion of South Carolina, and lead to the destruction of the American government. In his accompanying article he wrote: "The revelation does not inform us of the particulars of this general war, but shows, in very few words, the order in which it would spread: (emphasis mine, BC) First, South Carolina should rebel; second, 'the Southern States' should 'be divided against the Northern States;' third, the Southern States should call upon Great Britain for help; and fourth, Great Britain should call on 'other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations.' It seems from this, that Great Britain will already be at war with some nations at the time the South will appeal to her for assistance; for she will be obliged to seek assistance to defend herself from other nations."8 It is easily apparent that Pratt was as far from the truth in his interpretation of the claimed prophecy as was Smith in giving it. Britain was not at war when the South appealed to her. She was not obliged to seek help from other nations for her own defense. The Civil War did not become a world conflict. No full end of the nations was made. But hear Pratt further: "From the expression 'after many days,' (emphasis Pratt's) we are led to conclude that the calamity, arising from the rebellion of the slaves, will not take place, until the 9 nation has, by its previous struggles been reduced to great weakness." So Pratt concluded there would be a marshalling of the slaves for war by their Southern owners, and that the slaves would turn against their owners to the almost utter destruction of the nation. He further insisted that the remnant to be left to "vex" the Gentiles would be the "aborigines," or American Indians. All this failed of fulfillment. Other Mormon leaders of the same day expected the complete overthrow of the American government. On April 6, 1861, after the outbreak of the Civil War, Brigham Young said:
8 The 9

Seer, April, 1854, p. 242. Ibid., p. 242.

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137

"The whole Government is gone; it is as weak as water. I heard Joseph Smith say, nearly thirty years ago, 'They shall have mobbing to their hearts' content, if they do not redress the wrongs of the Latter-day Saints.' Mobs will not decrease, but will increase until the whole Government becomes a mob, and eventually it will be State against State, city against city, neighborhood against neighborhood. Methodists against Methodists, and so on . . . those who will not take up the sword against their neighbors must flee to Zion."10 It will be seen that he made no direct reference to the claimed prophecy, but he speaks of events which he thought he could see beginning to take place and he makes further predictions concerning the development of the war which reveal that his expectations were based upon Smith's claims. On August 31 of the same year he did make a direct reference to the claimed revelation, and in the same speech added: "The time has now come when this work (bringing forth Zion BC) will be consummated. Satan's rule and Satan's kingdom will be destroyed, and everlasting righteousness and peace will be brought in upon the face of the whole earth."11 Thus the "inspired" prophet of the Mormons interpreted the beginning of the Civil War as the time of the consummation of the events leading to the destruction of Satan's kingdom, and declared that the United States government was "gone." Fired by the same kind of illusions of prophetic fulfillment, Daniel H. Wells, of the first presidency, said on April 14, 1861: "In this country the North and the South will exert themselves against each other, and ere long the whole face of the United States will be in commotion, fighting one against another, and they will destroy their nationality. They have never done 12anything for the people, and I don't believe they ever will." In the same tenor, Heber C. Kimball said: "The South will secede from the North, and the North will secede from us, and God will make this people free as fast as we are able to bear it."13 But in spite of the prophetic powers claimed for Smith, and the gift of "continued revelation" claimed for Mormons as an aid to interpreting scripture and prophecy, the Union was preserved, the "nationality" of the government was not destroyed. Instead of the North seceding from the Mormons, the Mormons spent most of the next thirty years working toward admittance into that Union of
10 11 Ibid., 12 Ibid., 13

Journal of Discourses, Vol. IX, p. 5. p. 368. p. 55. Ibid, p. 7.

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states preserved by the North in the Civil War. Satan's power was not destroyed, and he still has the power to tempt and destroy. Though the South did seek aid from Great Britain, it cannot be said that "they" sought the aid of other nations to defend themselves "against other nations." Slaves did not rise up against their owners, and the war was not carried on until only the Indians were left as a remnant. The entire nations of earth were not made to "mourn,"14 nor did the war end with what even Latter-day Saints would consider "a full end of the nations."15 The blood of their martyrs was not avenged.16 In short, Lee's surrender at Appomattox proved Joseph Smith to be a false prophet and Mormon inspiration a delusion. When World War I began in 1914 under circumstances which saw Great Britain and her allies seeking aid from "other nations." the second generation of Mormon "inspired" leaders seized upon an opportunity to make it appear that Joseph Smith had not only foretold the Civil War, but the World War as well. Their "inspired" revelation and interpretation of the revelation were brought up to date in a desperate effort to cover Smith's errors. On October 8, 1916 Brigham H. Roberts, Mormon historian and World War I Chaplain, said: "The great calamity of the Civil War was predicted by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as is common knowledge among you, twenty-nine years before it began, and in great detail the circumstances of the Rebellion, as to its ending in the death and misery of many souls: as to the Southern States being divided against the Northern States: as to the Southern States calling upon Great Britain, and Great Britain calling upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations: 'and then' war shall be poured out upon all nations. It reads in the current print of the Doctrine and Covenants 'and thus' war shall be poured out upon all nations! But when revising the History of the Church some years ago, we found that in the Manuscript, it read 'then,' that is. when Great Britain shall call upon other nations, to defend herself against the other nations, 'then war shall be poured out upon all nations.' "17 Thus a second generation of men in possession of "inspiration" and "continued revelation" to help them interpret scriptures accurately decide that there had been an error in the explanation of the first generation. There should be a "then" instead of a "thus" so as to clarify the time element involved in the fulfillment. Joseph Smith was not wrong, but the first generation of inspired Mormons had
14 Doctrine and 15 Ibid., 87:6. 16 17

Covenants, 87:6.

Ibid., 87:7. Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 14, p. 562.

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139

erred in copying his language, and in reading his manuscript. Nephi Lowell Morris makes this same play on words.18 declaring that it shows when the universal war was to take place. Unfortunately for the advocates and defenders of Mormon inspiration there were no slaves to rise up against their masters in World War I. there was no end made of all nations, and other predictions still were not fulfilled. Then when in 1958 Wilford C. Wood republished the original edition of the Book of Mormon, he added a large number of photographs and called it Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. I. One of the photographs was a reproduction of this original Smith prophecy concerning war to begin in South Carolina, and in the prophet's own handwriting.19 Here it can be easily seen that the word in the disputed text is a very plain "thus." Joseph Smith did not remotely have in mind any war so late as World War I. On further examination it is seen that Smith did not have in mind even the Civil War of 1860 when he wrote his prediction, but a war which did not materialize in 1832. Nephi Morris admits that a distinguished visitor from France in that year predicted the inevitable separation of the North and South.20 If Smith is to be considered a prophet, then this visitor deserves even greater credit because his prediction preceded that of Smith. Morris himself admits that a state of actual rebellion against the Union actually existed in South Carolina at the time the revelation was written.21 He further quotes Ellis' History to show that in 1832 Congress passed an act imposing additional duties on imported good which aroused the South Carolinians. A convention was held November 19 in which the people avowed that the law was unconstitutional, threatened forcible resistance, and even to withdraw from the Union. President Jackson is said to have declared that the Union would be preserved, and made himself clear by declaring that he would hang as "high as Haman" any who dared to raise a hand against it. He threatened the arrest of Vice President Calhoun who resigned his office to go to South Carolina in order to return as a senator from that state. On December 10 the President issued a proclamation denying that any state had a right to nullify any act of Congress22and fifteen days later Joseph Smith came up with his revelation! That Smith was aware of these events in the main, and considered that a state of rebellion actually existed on the part of one of
Morris, Op. Cit., p. 44. Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Wilford C. Wood, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958, Vol. I, p. 615. 20 Morris, Op. Cit., p. 3. 21 Ibid., p. 5. 22 Ibid., pp. 2, 3.
19 18

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the Carolinas. is seen by the following quotation taken from Joseph's own record of the church's history published in the Times and Seasons in 1844. The reference here to North Carolina is probably a typesetter's error, though it could have been that Joseph's memory erred when he came to the writing of his history. It has been corrected in later Mormon works, and the claimed war prophecy added under date of December 25, 1832: "The people of North Carolina, in convention assembled (in November) passed ordinances, declaring their state a free and independent nation; and appointed Thursday, the 31st day of January, 1833. as a day of humiliation and prayer; to implore Almighty God to vouchsafe his blessings, and restore liberty and happiness within their borders. President Jackson issued his proclamation against this rebellion; called out a force sufficient to quell it, and implored the blessing of God to assist the nation to extricate itself from the horrors of the approaching and solemn crisis. On the 27th of December I received the following:" . . .23 There followed what is found in the Doctrine and Covenants today as Section 88. It is clear therefore that what Smith had considered "rebellion of South Carolina" in 1832 was considered by himself as having been "quelled" by President Jackson when his manuscript was prepared for printing a decade later. Therefore the claimed prophecy was omitted entirely. This conclusion is supported by articles and editorials in the Latter-day Saint periodicals of this period in which "Wars and rumors of wars" are cited as realities in such countries as Spain, Mexico, South America, Russia, Africa, Caucasia, and as being very likely to break out in Egypt and Europe. In one instance the writer concluded; "When we see prophecy fulfilling, we are bound to acknowledge that those who uttered it were dictated by the spirit of truth."24 It is significant that there is no mentioning at all of any possible war in South Carolina or the United States. Neither was there any mention of it in a letter by L. M. Davis, who as a prisoner in South Carolina in 1S40, wrote from Union Jail on April 29 and gave a report on the persecutions being suffered by the Latter-day Saints in that state. He mentions "wars and rumors of wars" but no allusion to any part to be played by that state. Smith's prophecy obviously was unknown to him.25 In 1840 the editor of the Millenial Star copied an excerpt from the non-Mormon New York Herald, which stated:
23 Times 24 Ibid., 25

And Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 688. Vol. 2, p. 232. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 118.

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"We begin to fear that this unhappy country is on the eve of a bloody civil war, a final dismemberment of the union the destruction of the present Government, and the ruin of all free institutions."26 Despite the fact that the editor of the Star was willing to grab up and use such a piece of pessimistic prediction he makes no mention of any "revelation" which would confirm that the Mormons were expecting just such a "civil war" to begin in South Carolina. When later the prospect of civil war again loomed with greater certainty on the horizon of political developments the prediction was pulled out and published in 1851 amid the rising tensions over the slavery question. When it failed of complete fulfillment comparatively little was said of it again, but so much had been made of it that it could not be ignored and found its place in the Doctrine and Covenants. Then when Great Britain did seek the aid of other nations in World War I, efforts were again made to overcome its errors. Examination of Mormon periodicals in 1940 reveals almost no mentioning of the prophecy of the "end of all nations." Rather, one finds efforts distinctly designed to help bring about world peace. The Civil War is spoken of as the fulfillment of the prophecy by John A. Widtsoe.27 It is termed the kind of prophecy which needs no interpretation, but merely the awaiting of its fulfillment, which fulfillment would be the evidence of its divine origin. Unfortunately for the Mormon position, it has not been fulfilled, and Mormons have come to say very little of its expected ultimate fulfillment. Roy W. Doxey does keep alive the hope by asking if there are not slaves in the world today without the freedom to act because of unrighteous leaders who might yet rise against their masters.28 And when will this final fulfillment of the prophecy take place, resulting in the "full end of all nations?" Doxey naively suggests that it will be in this dispensation of the gospel as we draw nearer to the second coming of Christ. This would allow for the removal of all wickedness and the reign of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.29 To this interpretation commentators Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl give approval by stating tersely that the time
Star, Dec. 1840, Vol. 1, p. 216. John A. Widtsoe, "To What Extent May Prophecy Be Interpreted?" Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 737. 28 Roy W. Doxey, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Future, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 37. 29 Ibid., p. 38.
26 Millenial 27

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of trouble will continue till all kingdoms of the world become that of the Son of God.30 Thus in the century from 18G0 to 1961 the world has seen the inspiration of Mormonism shift from expectation of a literal and immediate fulfillment of Smith's words actually beginning with the hostilities ignited at Fort Sumter to the delayed fulfillment suggested by Brigham H. Roberts that would see fulfillment in World War I. Now they have abandoned completely the expectation that the nations will end in actual war, and have substituted the spiritual concept that will allow fulfillment in the triumph of the principles of Mormonism so that actual fulfillment need not be expected till the second coming of Christ, or when the kingdoms of the earth do become the kingdom of Christ! In keeping with this concept of a spiritual end of all nations is the statement in The Improvement Era, December 1940, signed by the First Presidency, in which prayer was made to the Heavenly Father that He would send his messengers of peace that the terrible war should affect no more nations, and that fear and frenzy be driven out and that hate be banished from the souls of men.31 As if to place the weight of individual Mormon inspiration unreservedly against any possibility of a chain of divine events leading to the actual fulfillment of the dire things foretold by Joseph Smith, G. Homer Durham, head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, asks whether there is not some way that warfare can be ended. He then declares that the history of man reveals that such organized killing is not beyond human control for within states there exist large peace areas.32 Durham sees war as one of the most brutal and ghastly of all evils and affirms that it is not beyond our control. Yet Mormon inspiration tells us that Smith predicted it must come. Thus examination reveals that Mormon inspiration erred in making the predictions contained in Smith's prophecy of December 25, 1832, and the claimed ability to divinely interpret scripture has not remained long on any position assumed regarding the fulfillment to be expected had the prophecy been divinely given. The careful student sees at the same time how that the pages of Latter-day Saint history and attempts to "interpret" prophecy become a beacon
Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City Utah, 1960, p. 538. 31 Statement to All Men signed by three members of the First Presidency and presented at the General Conference, Oct. 4, 1940, Improvement Era, Vol. 43, p. 712. 32 G. Homer Durham, "The Problem of International Warfare," Improvement Era, Vol. 52, p. 138.
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light illuminating the false claim that Joseph Smith. Jr., was a prophet of God. B. The Rocky Mountain Prophecy Another prophecy upon which Mormons rely to establish the claim that Smith was a prophet of God is his claimed prophecy of August 6, 1842 that the Saints would go to the Rocky Mountains. The text of this claimed prophecy, as supplied by Mormon historian Edward W. Tullidge, is as follows: "Saturday, 6th August, 1842. Passed over the river to Montrose, Iowa, in company with General Adams, Colonel Brewer, and others, and witnessed the installation of the officers of the Rising Sun Lodge of Ancient York Masons, at Montrose, by Gen. James Adams, Deputy Grand Master of Illinois. While the Deputy Grand Master was engaged in giving the requisite instructions to the Master elect I had a conversation with a number of brethren, in the shade of the building, on the subject of our persecutions in Missouri, and the constant annoyance which has followed us since we were driven from that State. I prophesied that the saints would continue to suffer much affliction, and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains. Many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors, or lose their lives in consequence of exposure and disease, and some would live to go and assist in making settlements and building cities, and see the saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."33 In view of Mormon history which had involved them in persecution in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, it is certain that no prophetic powers were necessary to predict that such persecution would continue and that many would suffer affliction, others be put to death, and many would apostatize. The only element in this claimed prophecy that might have been the result of supernatural revelation is the fact that the Saints were to become "a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains." It should be pointed out that one of the authorities upon whom Mormons must rely for the establishing of the genuineness of this claimed prediction sets the date for it at July 14, 1843. The prediction was never published until after the Mormons had gone to Utah, when it appeared in the Deseret News in 1852. In efforts to prove that the prediction originated earlier Nephi Lowell Morris is forced to admit that in the diary of Anson Call where reference is made to the Rocky Mountains and the fact that some of them would go there, Call records the incident on July 14, 1843.34 This is almost a
33 Edward W. Tullidge, The Life Of Joseph The Prophet. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Piano, Illinois, 1880, p. 398. 34 Morris, Op. Cit., p. 64.

Reorganized

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year later than Mormons claim that Smith made the prediction. In view of the discoveries being made in the region of the Rocky Mountains, this is a very important year. However, careful examination reveals that even in 1842 Smith had every opportunity necessary to make his prediction with full assurance that the people could survive in the Rocky Mountains. Morris himself admits that the Louisiana Purchase was made in 1803 and that John C. Fremont's expedition for the exploration of the Rocky Mountain region was conducted in 1842 and 1843.35 He further admits that Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young relied on Fremont's maps in making their preparation for the journey over the Mormon Trail to Utah, rather than relying upon "revelation" for directions.36 Joseph Smith himself referred to an Isaac Russell, an apostate who before April 1, 1842 stayed in Far West, "from whence he was to go to the Rocky Mountains, led by three Nephites."37 The Quincy Whig of September 24, 1842 suggested that the Mormons move west to Oregon Territory. Joseph Smith, at that time editor of the Times And Seasons, made a two page, very fine print, reply to the suggestion, but does not intimate that he had already made a prophecy that the Mormons would go west. J. H. Beadle states that when Smith made the Rocky Mountain prophecy he sent out a group of explorers to search out the possibilities for settlement in the region.38 If so. it seems to have escaped all reliable historical mention. But this does not imply that Smith did not have at hand all information needed to conclude that a haven for the Saints could be found in the west. During the congressional session of 1842-43 the Oregon Territory and the region west of the Rockies were matters of frequent discussion. Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri, a state which was at that time bitterly hated by the Mormons, reports that in his opening address before Congress. President Tyler said: "The territory of the United States, commonly called the Oregon Territory, lying on the Pacific Ocean, north of the forty second degree of latitude, to a portion of which Great Britain lays claim, begins to attract the attention of our fellow-citizens; and the tide of population, which has reclaimed what was so lately an unbroken wilderness in more contiguous regions, is
Ibid., p. 52, 58. Ibid., p. 62. Times and Seasons, April 1, 1842, Vol. 3, p. 747. 38 J. H. Beadle, Polygamy, Or The Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism, Cincinnati Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1882, p. 116.
36 37 35

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preparing to flow over those vast districts which stretch from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean."39 Senator Benton was one of the strong advocates for congressional action to insure that the Oregon Territory and the Rocky Mountain region be preserved as a part of the United States. It is incredible that the Mormons who had lived in Missouri, and who had been so closely associated with the developments on the western border of the nation, did not have as good assurance as did Benton of the value of the western lands. Speaking of governmental hindrances to the development of the Oregon Territory, Benton says: "The title to the country being thus endangered by the acts of the government, the saving of it devolved upon the people and they saved it. In 1842, incited by numerous newspaper publications, upwards of a thousand American emigrants went to the country, making their long pilgrimage overland from the frontiers of Missouri, with their wives and children, their flocks and herds, their implements of husbandry and weapons of defence traversing the vast inclined plane to the base of the Rocky Mountains, crossing that barrier (deemed impassable by Europeans), and descending40 the wide slope which declines from the mountains to the Pacific." This excerpt from Benton's history of the political developments of the era serves to throw a great deal of light on the claimed prophecy of Smith, and adds to their cause for ill feelings toward Missouri citizens. Benton makes clear that (1) "numerous newspaper publications" were encouraging the citizens to go west into the vast territory of opportunity, and (2) cites the fact that in the summer in which Smith's prediction is said to have been made "upwards of a thousand American emigrants" made the journey westward. The modern Mormon claim that Smith could not have known of the possibilities for man to survive in the region of the Rocky Mountains becomes absurd in the light of these historical facts. Even in the Latter-day Saint publication. Times And Seasons, as early as May 15, 1841 the reader can find quotations from some of the newspapers reporting the opening of the far west. In the publication for the above date are two such newspaper accounts, one of them describing the pleasures of a steamer excursion to the "Yellowstone River,"41 and the other telling of the shipment of 104 bales
39 Thomas H. Benton, Thirty Years' View, or A History Of The American Government For Thirty Years, From 1820 To 1850, D. Appleton & Co., New York, N.Y., 1856, Vol. II, p. 460. 40 Ibid., p. 469. 41 Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, p. 419.

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and boxes bound for Sante Fe, being shipped over three thousand miles to the Yellowstone, "there reloaded into Keel-boats & taken to the very head of the Missouri River to the Company's fort and store, in the Rocky Mountains, 600 miles farther the whole distance to which from the Eastern cities, is about 4640 miles."42 Of particular coincidence, also, is the fact that Smith's claimed prediction came at the very time when the government-authorized expedition of Fremont was being carried out. Senator Benton cites a speech by his fellow Missouri Senator Lewis F. Linn which informs us that Fremont left St. Louis on June 10, 1842 with "twenty five voyageurs," and: "in the almost incredibly short space of four months returned to the same point, without an accident to a man, and . with a vast mass of useful observations, and many hundred specimens in botany and geology."43 If it be maintained that most of the available data concerning the far west of this period concerns either the Missouri Valley east of the Rockies, or the Oregon Territory west of the mountain region, let it also be remembered that the Mormons had reasons of their own for wanting to locate in the mountains themselves which were born of necessity rather than divine inspiration. In recounting the closing days of the Nauvoo era, Brigham H. Roberts cites the following from the journal of the Mormon prophet, under date of February 1844: "I instructed the Twelve Apostles to send out a delegation, and investigate the location of California and Oregon, and hunt out a good location, where we can remove to, after the temple is completed, and where we can build a city in a day, and have a government of our own, get up into the mountains where the devil cannot dig us out, and live in a healthy climate, where we can live as old as we have a mind to."44 Thus Smith admitted he was seeking a place "in the mountains" for defense from the enemies of the Mormons. Nothing is said or implied of Utah, while the place under investigation was said to have been "California and Oregon." It was not until after the Saints had settled in Utah while en route westward that spokesmen for Mormon inspiration began to try to make that location a matter of prophecy. A century later John A. Widtsoe admitted the decision to go west was that of Joseph Smith. He points out that the west was
415. Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 478. Brigham H. Roberts, The Rise And Fall Of Nauvoo, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 260; see also Gibbs, Lights and Shadows of Mormonism, p. 117; Linn; Story of the Mormons, pp. 338, 339.
42 Ibid., p. 43 Benton, 44

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then being opened to the west coast and that seemed to be a place where the saints could live undisturbed. He then blandly affirms that the spirit of revelation confirmed that view.45 Thus another of the citadels upon which Mormons rely to establish their claim that Joseph Smith possessed supernatural prophetic powers fails under scrutiny. The city of Independence, Missouri, was the jumping off place for many explorers going to the west. Smith, chafing under the certainty that expulsion from Illinois was inevitable, allowed his eyes to follow the train of emigrants pouring into the west, and devoured every newspaper account of opportunity awaiting the settler in the new regions of the far west. Reports of the Fremont expedition filled the newspapers as a continual reminder that perhaps out west was the kind of mountain fortress where the Mormons could fight off their oppressors. Confronted with certain expulsion from Illinois and the need to bolster the waning faith of many of his followers, Smith predicted their continued oppression, the apostasy of many, the death of others, and their future glory in the only place where their continued existence as Latterday Saints seemed possible. A century later another Mormon spokesman frankly admits the decision was one of hope on the part of Smith, and rather naively declares the spirit of revelation confirmed his view. C. The Stephen A. Douglas Prophecy A prediction of Joseph Smith that has been often quoted by many authors in efforts to establish the prophetic powers of Smith is his prediction concerning Stephen A. Douglas on May 18, 1843. This prediction was recorded by William Clayton in his journal, and reads as follows: "Judge, you will aspire to the presidency of the United States; and if you ever turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints you will feel the weight of the hand of the Almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you, for the conversation of this day will stick to you through life. He appeared very friendly and acknowledged the truth and propriety of President Smith's remarks."46 Stephen A. Douglas, as a judge, had come in frequent contact with the Mormons and Joseph Smith during their stay in Illinois. He had tried some of the court cases in which Smith was the defendant, and had had numerous occasions to visit Nauvoo, the MorJohn A. Widtsoe, "Did Joseph Smith Plan The Westward Migration Of The Church?" Improvement Era, January 1947, Vol. 50, p. 33. 46 Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 193; Tullidge, Op. Cit., p. 418; Morris, Op. Cit,, pp. 111, 112.
45

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mon city. He and Smith were intimately associated during this period, and Smith considered Douglas his friend. In December, 1841, he wrote: "Douglas is a Master Spirit, and his friends are our friends we are willing to cast our banners on the air. and fight by his side in the cause of humanity and equal rights the cause of liberty and the law."47 On the date of the claimed prophecy Smith and Douglas had been together discussing some of the matters pertaining to the Mormons' persecution in Missouri, and doubtless their prospective future in Illinois, for the opposition of the Illinois citizenry was mounting against them. It is not difficult to surmise that under such conditions the Mormon prophet might undertake by some means to guarantee that Douglas continued faithful to the Mormon cause in Illinois politics. And for one who so frequently assumed to converse with deity, it is not at all surprising to note that Smith came up with a revelation. The real question is: was the claimed prophecy the result of divine prophetic power? Thirteen years later, on June 12, 1856, Douglas made an address in Springfield which was distinctly unfavorable to the Mormons. Morris states that this speech was carried in the Missouri Republican six days later.48 The speech was also carried in the New York Times, from which Linn quotes the following: "'Under this view of the subject,' said he, 'I think it is the duty of the President, as I have no doubt it is his fixed purpose, to remove Brigham Young and all his followers from office, and to fill their places with bold, able, and true men; and to cause a thorough and searching investigation into all the crimes and enormities which are alleged to be perpetrated daily in that territory under the direction of Brigham Young and his confederates: and to use all the military force necessary to protect the officers in discharge of their duties and to enforce the laws of the land. When the authentic evidence shall arrive, if it shall establish the facts that are believed to exist, it will become the duty of Congress to apply the knife, and cut out this loathesome, disgusting ulcer.'"49 Morris adds to this information these facts: that Douglas also charged the Mormons with refusing to recognize the authority of the government of the United States, with organizing Danites, and with taking oaths to recognize and uphold the authority of Brigham Young.50 These charges are abundantly found in the writings of nonTimes and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 651; Smith, History of the Church, Vol. IV, p. 480. 48 Morris, Op. Cit, p. 116. 49 William Alexander Linn, The Story of the Mormons, The MacMillan Co., New York. N.Y., 1902, pp. 476, 477. 50 Morris, Op. Cit., p. 116.
47

PROPHECIES OF J. SMITH ON WHICH MORMONS RELY 149 Mormons and many of the writings of Mormon apostates. Douglas undoubtedly believed these reports. Yet even so it is to his credit and a tribute to his intellectual ability and integrity that he said "if it shall establish the facts that are believed to be true" the proposed drastic action should follow. When on November 6, 1860 Douglas and Breckinridge were defeated by the popularity of Abraham Lincoln in Douglas' attempt to secure the Presidency, the Mormons began to gleefully point to the claimed prophecy which had appeared on the first page of the Descret News, September 24, 185G, shortly after Douglas' Springfield speech. To the candid observer there is no necessary evidence of divine retribution in one's being defeated by the man many Americans believe to have been the greatest President our nation has had. Many Mormons will continue to think that they see in the defeat of Douglas evidence of the divine hand of God being laid upon him. But before ascribing to Smith the mantle of prophecy on that afternoon in 1843, one should read carefully the entire claimed prophecy as recorded by William Claytonnot merely the portion the Latterday Saints like to recall. The prediction is its own best refutation. Nephi Lowell Morris gives a photo-reproduction of the prediction in print so fine that reading is very difficult, then supplies in larger print the portion which suits the purposes of the Latter-day Saints. Clayton wrote: "President Smith, in concluding his remarks, said, that if the government which received into its coffers the money of citizens for its public lands, while its officials are rolling in luxury at the expense of its public treasury, cannot protect such citizens in their lives and property, it is an old granny anyhow, and I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, that unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the State of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers, that in a few years the government will be overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left, for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished; thereby perpetrating a foul corroding blot upon the fair fame of this great republic, the very thought of which would have caused the high minded and patriotic framers of the Constitution of the United States to hide their faces with shame. Judge, you will aspire to the Presidency of the United States, and if ever you turn your hand against me or the Latter-Day Saints, you will feel the weight of the hand of the Almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth

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to you, for the conversation of this day will stick to you through life."51 Little more needs to be said concerning the Douglas prophecy. He was defeated by Abraham Lincoln, to be sure, and in a sense one can say that Smith predicted the defeat. Similarly, any one of us today might predict with as reasonable accuracy the aspirations and defeat of any prominent young man in American politics. That Smith was a prophet of God is forever refuted by his bold declaration that unless the government should redress the losses of the Latter-day Saints in Missouri "in a few years the government will be overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left." The government still stands. The wrongs and losses were never redressed by either Missouri or the United States Government. No prophet of God would have missed the mark so widely. D. The Prophecy Concerning The Twelve On July 8, 1838, the Mormon prophet waxed eloquently in a revelation which has been heralded far and wide as evidence of Smith's prophetic powers. It does not at all disturb the faithful Mormon's composure to note that Joseph's followers had to employ their "skotching the wagon" tactics in order to make it appear that the prophecy was fulfilled. Latter-day Saint historians, from Smith himself to the current generation, point with confident pride to Section 118 of the Doctrine and Covenants when the question of Smith's inspiration is broached. The "revelation" reads: "Verily, thus saith the Lord: Let a conference be held immediately, let the Twelve be organized, and let men be appointed to supply the place of those who have fallen. Let my servant Thomas remain for a season in the land of Zion, to publish my word. Let the residue continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth. And next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name. Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the building-spot of my house, saith the Lord. Let my servant John Taylor, and also my servant John E. Page, and also my servant Wilford Woodruff, and also my servant Willard Richards, be appointed to fill the places of those who have fallen, and be officially notified of their appointment."52 Smith made this prediction while the Mormons were at Far
The Deseret News, September 24, 1856, Vol. 6, No. 29; Morris, Op. Cit., pp.52 113, 115. Doctrine and Covenants 118:1-6.
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West, Missouri, and during a period when they were fired with a patriotic zeal to stay there. If necessary they would war with their enemies to the bitter end. Four days earlier Sidney Rigdon had mounted the oratorical platform during a Fourth of July celebration, and sounded the Mormon battle cry by declaring: "that mob that comes on us to disturb us; it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them until the last drop of their blood is spilled; or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed."53 Later Mormon writers have criticized Rigdon for his boldness and lack of diplomacy in this speech. However, that he was a faithful Mormon at the time, and supposedly in possession of the "continued revelation" and powers of inspiration to guide the faithful cannot be questioned. That the speech expressed the sentiments of the Latter-day Saint leaders at the time is established beyond denial. It was printed later in The Far West,54 and in pamphlet form by the presses of The Elders' Journal.55 By the time the following spring arrived many developments had occurred which the Mormons had not anticipated, and most of the Mormons had been driven from Missouri. The prophet himself, along with several of the other leading men among them, was in Liberty Jail until just about the date on which the fulfillment of this prediction was supposed to take place. Smith's enemies seized upon the opportunity offered by the existence of the "revelation" and evidently boasted that it could not be fulfilled, trying by this means to get some of the Mormons to renounce their faith in Smith. Smith himself cites one such incident which is said to have occurred on April 5, 1839,56 just twenty days before fulfillment must take place if the prophetic claims of Smith are to be substantiated. Wilford Woodruff gives a good description of what did take place, when viewed from the Mormon viewpoint: "On the morning of the 26th of April, 1839, notwithstanding the threats of our enemies that the revelation which was to be fulfilled this day should not be, and notwithstanding that ten thousand of the Saints had been driven out of the State by the
Sidney Rigdon, Oration, Elders' Journal, p. 12; see also Gibbs, Op. Cit, pp. 80, 81; Brigham H. Roberts, Missouri Persecutions, Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 193; Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957, p. 223. 54 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, p. 224. 55 A copy is in the library of the Chicago Historical Society. The author has a microfilm copy. 56 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 306.
53

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edict of the governor, and though the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum Smith, with other leading men were in the hands of our enemies, in chains and in prison, we moved on to the temple grounds in the city of Far West, and held a council, and fulfilled the revelation and commandment 57given unto us, and we performed many other things at this council." Up to this point it appears to the casual observer that perhaps Smith did make a prediction which came to pass with the outward marks of real prophecy. But it does not require extensive examination to discover that here is an example of men going far oat of their way to make the prediction appear to be prophecy. Smith's admission, as well as that of Woodruff already noted, show that the enemies of the Mormons were claiming that it would not be fulfilled. Smith had become careless in this instance of his attempt at prophecy, and he had mentioned both place and date for a coming event, which if not fulfilled would cause many of the Mormons to apostatize. It does not require great wisdom to see what needs to be done. They must attempt to fulfill it. They did. On the 26th of April, a few minutes past midnight and under the cover of darkness, those who had already been driven from Missouri eastward into Illinois gathered in a conference at Far West, Missouri. Smith himself, in his history, states that it was shortly after midnight.58 Part of one hymn was sung, this part of the meeting doubtless being quieted for the sake of secrecy. A number of Mormons were disfellowshipped, some apostles were ordained, and "a large stone" was rolled up near the southeast corner of the temple site.59 According to the official minutes of the meeting five of the twelve apostles were there, along with two others who were ordained to fill vacancies.60 Prayers were offered, another song was sung, and then the bare quorum of the twelve (seven of twelve) took their leave of eighteen persons named in the minutes of the meeting.61 "Elder Alpheus Cutler then placed the stone before alluded to in its regular position, after which, in consequence of the peculiar situation of the Saints, he thought it wisdom to adjourn until some future time, when the Lord shall open the way; expressing his determination then to proceed with the building; whereupon the conference adjourned."62
Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1882, pp. 58, 59. 58 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 336. 59 Ibid., p. 337. 60 Ibid., pp. 336, 337. 61 Ibid., p. 336-339. 62 Ibid., p. 339.
57

Juvenile Instructor

Office,

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To this day the Lord has not opened the way for the building of the proposed temple, nor did he "open the way" for the fulfillment of the revelation concerning the twelve Mormon apostles. They did not take their leave of "my saints" on the 26th day of April, but rather they left the body of the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois while they went out of their way to Far West, Missouri and managed to gather together eighteen persons in that place who would participate with them in "skotching" Smith's wagon of Mormon inspiration. There was no gathering of "the Twelve," for even after ordaining two more at the meeting the official minutes states that only seven were there. Parley P. Pratt was in prison, and therefore had all else gone according to Smith's intentions he missed the mark when he said that "the Twelve" were to depart from Far West on April 26, 1839. Even this is not the full extent to which Mormon writers themselves admit that the revelation was not actually fulfilled. In his introduction to Volume IV of the official History of the Church, Brigham H. Roberts devotes a section to the mission of the twelve to England, and of their starting on the 26th day of April from Far West. He is careful to state "thence started for foreign lands, stopping for a time en route at Nauvoo."63 Roberts himself supplied the emphasis. That the twelve did not actually start for England for some time after the predicted date of April 26, 1839 is easily established by reference to a number of Mormon writers. Wilford Woodruff writes: "Early upon the morning of the 8th of August, I arose from my bed of sickness, laid my hands upon the head of my wife Phoebe, and blessed her. I then departed from the embrace of my companion, and left her almost without food or the necessaries of life. She parted from me with the fortitude that becomes a Saint, realizing the responsibilities of her companion. I quote from my journal: 'Phoebe, farewell! Be of good cheer; remember me in your prayers. I leave these pages for your perusal when I am gone. I shall see thy face again in the flesh. I go to obey the commands of Jesus Christ.' Although feeble, I walked to the banks of the Mississippi river. There President Brigham Young took me in a canoe (having no other conveyance I and paddled me across the river. When we landed, I fay down on a side of sole leather, by the post office, to rest. Brother Joseph, the Prophet of God, came along and looked at me.
63

Ibid., Vol. IV, Introduction, p. xxx.

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'Well, Brother Woodruff,' said he, 'you have started on your mission.' 'Yes,' said I, 'but I feel and look more like a subject for the dissecting room than a missionary.' Joseph replied: 'What did you say that for? Get up, and go along; all will be all right with you!' I name these incidents that the reader may know how the brethren of the Twelve Apostles started on their missions to England, in 1839. Elder John Taylor was going with me and we were the first two of the64 quorum of the Twelve who started upon their missions." Thus Woodruff admits that the twelve did not start from the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo until August of 1839, nor did all of them start then. Brigham H. Roberts, who admits that the group stopped by Nauvoo "en route," further admits they were "detained to aid in settling the Saints at Nauvoo, but the latter part of the summer of 1839 found them making every exertion to continue their journey."65 In the first issue of the Times and Seasons, published at Nauvoo in the fall of 1839, is found an editorial note to the effect that: "Upon our twelfth page will be seen a communication from the Twelve, written in July, in which they informed us that they intended starting to England soon, upon a mission. They have left, some time since, accompanied by their beloved brother, Parley P. Pratt, who had been confined in prison nine months, in Missouri, for the truth's sake."66 The "Letter" of the "Twelve" to which the editorial note referred was signed by only six of the "Twelve," Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball. John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith. Of their mission to England they said: "And we would say to you, that the hearts of the twelve are with you. and they, with you, are determined to fulfill their mission, to clear their garments of the blood of this generation, to introduce the gospel to foreign nations, and to make known to the world, those great things which God has developed; they are now on the eve of their departure for England, and will start in a few days, they feel to pray for you, and to solicit an interest in your prayers, and in the prayers of the church. . .67 Thus the "Twelve" admit three months after the date on which Mormon "inspiration" said they would start on a mission from Far West, Missouri, that they will "start in a few days" from Nauvoo,
64 Woodruff, 65 66

Op. Cit, p. 69. Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 43. Times and Seasons, Vol. 1, p. 16. 67 Ibid., p. 14.

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Illinois. There can be no doubt to the candid thinker that Mormon inspiration failed miserably in this attempt at prophecy. (1) The twelve did not start for England on the date and from the place predicted. (21 There were not even twelve apostles who participated in the futile ceremonies at Far West in the midnight rendezvous wherein attempt was made to fulfill Smith's prediction. (3) The Mormons were forced to go through the futile ceremony because they knew their enemies were making use of the failure of Smith's prediction. (4) Later Mormon writers may speak of their being "detained" in their departure from the Mormon settlement due to difficult circumstances, yet these are the very circumstances which real prophecy would have foreseen and foretold if prophesying of the event. More than a century passed and in 1940 Preston Nibley, writing the history of the development and influence of the Millenial Star, declared in true Mormon style that perhaps no part of the church's history was more inspiring than the account of the journey of seven of the Twelve apostles to England in 1839 and 1840.68 E. The Doniphan Prophecy We take note of one final prophecy upon which the foundation for the claim for the existence of prophetic powers in Smith has been made to rest. During the time of his imprisonment in the Liberty Jail in 1838 and 1839 Smith received some legal assistance from General A. W. Doniphan. It is claimed that one day after Smith had been called to Doniphan's office the Mormon prophet overheard another client offering Doniphan some Jackson County land in payment of a debt. Smith told him that he would advise him not to take that land because God's wrath was hanging over Jackson County and he would live to see the day it would be visited by fire and sword. God would sweep it with the "besom of destruction." Fields, farms and houses were to be destroyed and only the chimneys would remain to mark the spot from which God's people had been driven.69 This claimed prophecy is most interesting, if for no other reason than from the manner in which it is supposed to have become publicly known. It is first recounted by Junious F. Wells in the Improvement Era for November, 1902.70 It purports to have been made known to him by Leonidas M. Lawson in a letter. Wells claims to have requested the letter be sent him supplying the text
68 Preston Nibley, "The 'Millenial Star,'" Improvement Era, May 1940, Vol. 43, p. 281. 69 Morris, Op. Cit., p. 189. 70 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, Introduction, p. lxvii.

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of a portion of a biography of General Doniphan which Lawson is said to have been writing. Since the prediction came to light other Mormon writers have used it and attempts made to prove its fulfillment. Before any attempt be made to show that there is no evidence of divine prophetic ability revealed in this prediction, the reader should bear in mind that the very claim to existence of this prophecy stands unconfirmed. If, as is claimed, Lawson was in 1902 writing a biography of (General Doniphan it has apparently never been published. It very obviously would be a biography of considerable historical interest and significance in the middle west. Yet no evidence at all concerning its existence could be found by this writer while searching through the valuable collection of historical material in the Newberry Historical Library in Chicago. There is no mentioning of any such biography in the Dictionary of American Biography, nor in any bibliography concerning Doniphan so far as the author was able to determine. No such title or author is listed in the list of Cards in the Library of Congress to 1942, nor in the supplements of 1947 or 1952. It appears very unlikely therefore that there is such a published biography in existence from which this quotation could have been taken. If there exists such an unpublished manuscript, the circumstances under which it became known are such that the Latter-day Saints can place very little weight in their belief that such a prophecy was made. Lawson, a brother-in-law to Doniphan, claims the details of the prophecy were related to him in 1863 when he visited Jackson County soon after the execution of "General Orders No. 11" during the Civil War. At that time Jackson County is said to have been in a state of devastation. Lawson's letter to Wells stated that General Doniphan had said to Lawson that the devastation of Jackson County forcibly reminded him of the prediction of the Mormon prophet.71 Examination of the "General Orders No. 11" reveals that its execution was a move to cut down guerilla warfare in that area. All persons were required to prove their loyalty to the Union, and to remove to a military post or approved district within a specified calendar period. All homes, grain, and hay that could serve the purposes of the guerillas were to be destroyed. But "General Orders No. 11" did not affect Independence, Hickman's Mills, Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill, that portion of the county north of Brush Creek and west of Big Blue, nor the rural areas within one mile of the cities
71

Morris, Op. Cit., p. 189.

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mentioned. Smith's prediction is said to be that the county would be devastated and only t he chimneys remain. The very fact that these areas were spared shows that the extent of devastation which did occur was merely that necessary to the military operations that were affecting all of the states, and is in no way to be considered a special divine punishment meted out against Jackson County, Missouri. It is possible that Doniphan recalled some prediction by Smith regarding devastation of Missouri, since the Mormon prophet made many dire predictions concerning the state. But we cannot evade the following: (1) If this prediction was related by General Doniphan to Lawson in 1863, it must have been no more than a memory in Doniphan's mind for twenty four years. Smith was removed from Liberty Jail April 6, 1839." From 1863 until 1902 it could have been little more than a memory in Lawson's mind. Before attaching such weight to this testimony of two uninspired non-Mormons, the Latter-day Saints had best recall the manner in which they have discredited the testimony of Smith's early neighbors contained in Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed regarding events which occurred at the time of the unfolding of the Mormon system. The same holds true regarding their attitude toward the testimony of acquaintances of Solomon Spaulding that many of the names contained in the Book of Mormon were identical to names they recalled to have been in Spaulding's lost manuscript. Of the latter, John Henry Evans writes: "It is true that there has been published a 'terrifying' array of affidavits by old persons who soberly avow that, in their early youth, they heard Spaulding read parts of his manuscript, and that, after a lapse of from twenty to sixty years, they have a vivid recollection of names and incidents contained in the story. But it is overtaxing our powers of credulity to ask us to believe that so slight an incident as this could have made so striking an impression on their minds, when there was nothing in the nature of the thing itself to awaken at the time anything more than the most commonplace interest."73 It becomes obvious that Mormon inspiration draws a clear line of distinction between the value to be ascribed to evidence favorable to the Mormon system, and that unfavorable, when such testimony appears after lapses of "twenty to sixty years." (2) Neither Doniphan nor Lawson were sufficiently impressed by Smith's prediction to become Mormons themselves. Lawson did not, when informed of the prophecy which is said to have so impressed
72 73

Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 308. Evans, Op. at., pp. 94, 95.

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Doniphan, bother to inform any Mormon of the fact until by chance he found himself conversing with one nearly forty years later. Mormons are therefore compelled to rely upon the uninspired testimony of two non-Mormons covering a span of more than sixty years to even establish that such a prophecy was made. To borrow the phraseology of John Henry Evans, "it is overtaxing our powers of credulity to ask us to believe" that General Doniphan really believed Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God when he refused to accept Mormonism. Brigham H. Roberts says, speaking of Doniphan and his law partners, that though they were loth to admit that Mormonism was true or that Smith was a prophet of God, it was to Doniphan's credit that he did bear witness that Smith was a prophet for he had heard him make a prediction and had seen for himself its fulfillment.74 A footnote reveals that Roberts based his statement on the Wells article in the November, 1902, Improvement Era. It is not the result of some additional evidence. On this basis Roberts and other Mormons picture General Doniphan as a hypocritical weakling like the rulers who believed in Christ but because of their love for the praise of men refused to confess him.75 For General Doniphan rejected Mormonism and Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. D. C. Allen, who "knew Doniphan long and intimately," read a paper concerning Doniphan's life before the Kansas City Bar Association on December 5, 1895. He said that Doniphan: "united with the Christian Church in 1859, and died in its faith."76 J. W. McGarvey, addressing the Y.M.C.A. of the University of Missouri, May 28, 1893, recounts that Doniphan was not even a believer in Christ until "nearly sixty years of age,"77 and that he became a believer through examination of the New Testament to determine whether a good legal case for Christianity could be established. Despite the discrepancy of nearly nine years between McGarvey's and Allen's statements, there is no reasonable doubt that Doniphan became and died a member of the Christian Church. T. P. Haley, writing of the Richmond, Missouri, Christian Church, says:
74 Brigham H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1930, Vol. I, p. 493. 75 John 12:42, 43. 76 William Elsey Connelley, Doniphan's Expedition And The Conquest Of New Mexico And California, published by the author, Topeka, Kansas, 1907, p. 39. 77 J. W. McGarvey, Sermons, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, pp. 13, 14.

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"The past year has witnessed a large in gathering under the labors of the present pastor. During both the last meetings referred to, that distinguished citizen and humble disciple of Christ, General A. W.78Doniphan, who resided here was present at almost every service." Regarding the Christian Church in Liberty. Missouri. Haley wrote: "The church in Liberty, Clay County, was planted by Elder A. H. F. Payne, and from the very commencement was composed of the very best men and women of the community. Among the early members I recall the names of Mason Summers and wife, Captain James Morris and his family, Alfred Riley and family, brother William Berry and family, Dr. William Merton and family, Major Lightburn and family, General A. W. Doniphan and family, the Keller brothers, Matt and John, and the Lincolns."79 Notice of Doniphan's death was carried in the columns of the Christian-Evangelist in the following words: "The St. Louis papers contain notices of the death of Gen. A. W. Doniphan, of Richmond, Mo., Aug. 8. He was born in Kentucky but spent most of his life in Missouri. He attained to honorable eminence as a lawyer and sustained a high reputation in the State for his talents and probity. He was a member of the Christian Church, and an intimate and faithful friend of some of our pioneer preachers. 80His funeral services were conducted by Bro. Alexander Proctor." Instead of living to bear testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, Doniphan rejected Mormonism to the last and by becoming a member of the Christian Church at about 1860 before the cleavage in that body over instrumental music, Doniphan actually endorsed the principles of the Restoration movement in which Alexander Campbell played so vital a part at the time he penned what was perhaps the most scathing review of the Book of Mormon ever to be written.81 (3) If this claimed prophecy, said to have been acknowledged by Doniphan, be of divine origin and worthy of consideration as evidence of Smith's prophetic powers: a. Why was it not related by Smith himself in one of his letters to the Mormons written while he was confined in Liberty Jail?
78 T. P. Haley, Historical And Biographical Sketches Of The Early Churches And Pioneer Preachers Of The Christian Church In Missouri, Christian Publishing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, 1888, p. 216. 79 Ibid., p. 342. 80 The Christian Evangelist, August 18, 1887, p. 520 (published in St. Louis, Mo., by Christian Publishing Co.). 81 Alexander Campbell, "Delusions," Millenial Harbinger, Feb. 7, 1831, Vol. 2, pp. 85-97.

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b. Why was it not included in his own History of the Church? This history was not written by Smith until during the Nauvoo period some years later. c. Why was it not made known to the Mormons with Smith in the Liberty Jail? d. Why did not the areas of Independence, and the other cities in the county fall victims of the claimed prophecy? According to the claimed prophecy, Smith declared that "God's wrath hangs over Jackson County," and "only the chimneys will be left to mark the desolation." e. Mormons must admit that Smith's prophetic powers while in the Liberty Jail were insufficient to detect a false accusation against one Harlow Redfield. Redfield was accused of helping to plunder Smith's house. Smith believed it and made use of the charge against him. Redfield was later vindicated by the Mormons.82 F. Conclusion This examination of the leading Smith prophecies reveals that in accuracy and dependability they do not at all compare with biblical prophecies. Thomas H. Horne, whose scholarship Mormons have to an extent relied upon in their efforts to show that Smith's predictions were evidence of supernatural communion with the deity,83 was equally accurate when he stated: "We add that it is equally easy to distinguish between true and false prophecies."84 Smith often made predictions, but without the unerring accuracy of a prophet of God. His most nearly perfect predictions fail when carefully examined. Other of his predictions are seldom mentioned by the Latter-day Saint historians.
82 83

Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 287. Morris, Op. Cit, "Preface," p. iv. 84 Horne, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 313.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Prophecies of Jos. Smith That Were Not Fulfilled


Though the predictions of Joseph Smith contained in the preceding chapter enjoy the distinction of being most often employed by Mormons to sustain the claim that Smith was a prophet of God, they by no means exhaust the Mormon Prophet's attempts at prophecy. So extensive and varying have been the contents of his predictions that no single present-day group of Latter-day Saints will admit all of them to be genuine. Yet most of them stand adequately established as predictions made by the original "prophet, seer, and revelator" of the church, if one can accept the testimony of those who sincerely believed themselves to be in possession of the "continued revelation" of Mormonism assured them by Smith's revelations. Fawn McKay Brodie observes that the average Utah Mormon of today seldom reads the scriptures of Joseph Smith, and is familiarly acquainted with none of them except the Word of Wisdom1 which forbids the use of alcohol and tobacco.2 Well-informed Mormons of the high levels of the Mormon priesthood who do read Smith's predictions find many of them so embarrassing that they seldom refer to them. It is possible that some of the predictions credited to Smith by non-Mormon writers were never actually made by him, as it is possible that some of the claims made by similar writers that the Mormons doubted the genuineness of Smith's prophetic powers are also untrue. For instance, J. H. Beadle, ostensibly quoting from a narrative of R. W. McKinney, wrote: "So completely had Joe's head been turned and so wild and visionary had he become, that it was not without reason that his wife, only a few years after his death, published a statement in the Quincy Whig that she had no belief in his prophetic character, and considered his pretended revelations the emanations of a diseased mind."3 Though one might well come to this conclusion, in view of Emma's later departure from the Mormons to become the wife of a
Doctrine and Covenants 89. Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N.Y., 1957, p. 402. 3 J. H. Beadle, Life In Utah, Or The Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism, National Publishing Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1870, p. 82.
2 1

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"Gentile," as the Mormons consider all who are not believers in Joseph Smith, Jr., it does appear incredible that if such a statement was published it should be so rarely mentioned in the hundreds of volumes opposing Mormonism which have appeared. Nor does Beadle cite any date when the claimed statement was published. Despite lack of evidence to show conclusively that Smith's wife doubted his prophetic abilities, and even while conceding that some of the predictions credited to Smith by non-Mormon writers may be erroneous, later developments in Mormon history serve to unquestionably establish that the church historians have found it necessary to delete some of Smith's predictions from the official church history. They have been compelled to attempt to explain and apologize for certain others. They have denied that some were ever made by him, while holding that others are yet to be fulfilled in the future. The existence of and utter unfulfillment of many such predictions constitutes a staggering blow to the Mormon claim of divine inspiration and guidance for Joseph Smith, Jr., and for the divine origin of Mormonism itself. The failure of a multitude of revelations which are admitted to be genuine cannot fail to arouse in the mind of the candid inquirer grave questions as to whether other predictions attributed to Smith by the opponents of Mormonism are really the result of evil designs of Smith's enemies as claimed by the church. A. The Copyright Revelation. While the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer, Smith claimed to receive a revelation that sent Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page to Canada in an effort to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon. Both David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery relate this incident, and point to its failure as proof that all of Smith's revelations did not come to pass. Whitmer relates: "Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copy-right, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eyewitness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble: and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of

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man: and some revelations are of the devil.' So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the 4 copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or the heart of man." Oliver Cowdery speaks of Smith's prediction concerning his own tarrying on the earth until Christ should come again, and then adds concerning the prediction that: "It may be classed with that revelation, that some among you will remember, which sent Bro. Page and me, so unwisely, to (3) Toronto, with a prediction from the Lord by 'Urim and Thummim,' that we would there find a man anxious to buy the 'First Elder's copy-right.' I well remember we did not find him, and had to return surprised and disappointed. But so great was my faith, that, in going to Toronto, nothing but calmness pervaded my soul, every doubt was banished, and I as much expected that Bro. Page and I would fulfill the revelation as that we should live. And you may believe, without asking me to relate the particulars, that it would be no easy task to describe our desolation and grief."5 Thus by two of the Three Witnesses to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is the genuineness of this "revelation" established. Whitmer further testifies that it was received through "the stone" through which he claims the Book of Mormon was translated,6 while Cowdery affirms that it was received through the "Urim and Thummim." Both agree that it failed to come to pass. Whitmer naively suggests: "When a man enquires of the Lord concerning a matter, if he is deceived by his own carnal desires, and is in error, he will receive an answer according7 to his erring heart, but it will not be a revelation from the Lord." Without realizing it, Whitmer here expressed in utter simplicity the key to the Mormon concept of divine revelation. It comes to the mind of man, and if it comes to pass it was from God; if it fail then something must have been wrong with the prophet at the particular moment. By no means can it be conceded that in reality the superstructure of Mormonism the claim to possess divine revelation is in error. B. The Salem Treasure Revelation. In late July of 1836 Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and some other leading Mormons left Kirtland, Ohio and journeyed to Salem, Massachusetts. Section 111 of the Doctrine and
4 David Whitmer, Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, Richmond, Missouri, 1887, p. 31. 5 Oliver Cowdery, Defence In A Rehearsal Of My Grounds For Separating Myself From The Latter Day Saints, Pressley's Job Office, Norton Ohio, 1839, pp. 1, 2. 6 Whitmer, Op. Cit., pp. 12, 31. 7 Ibid., p. 31.

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Covenants was given by Smith during their stay in Salem. Some mystery enshrouds the "revelation" as it stands today in the Doctrine and Covenants, beginning abruptly with the declaration: "I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies."8 "The Lord" is said to have promised through Smith "much treasure" and "many people" in that city, and urged them to form acquaintance with the people of the city. Moreover: "And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them."9 The Saints were to obtain "by hire" the place where they were staying, and "inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city; For there are more treasures than one for you in this city."10 Many modern Mormon exegetes point to the promised treasure and to the "many people" as repetition of a single promise. Smith and Sjodahl, in the Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, explain away the entire promise by stating that the Lord gave assurance that He had much treasure and many people in Salem that would ultimately be gathered for Zion's benefit.11 George Q. Cannon, in describing the events of the time, related: "He labored diligently in the vicinity of Salem in Massachusetts, and while there received a revelation in which the Lord declared that many people from that part would in His due time be gathered out to journey to Zion."12 Sidney B. Sperry takes note of both the promise of many people and that of the treasure. This latter he applies to the wealth of the city, literal gold and silver, but he makes it a prophecy alluding to some future happening which evidently looks forward to a future day when the Lord's Kingdom, as he sees it, will be established upon the earth and when cities, towns, and nations will be governed by men of the Latter-day Saint priesthood.13
Doctrine and Covenants 111:1. Ibid., 111:4, 5. 10 Ibid., 111:10. 11 Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 728. 12 George Q. Cannon, The Life Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1907, p. 193. 13 Sidney B. Sperry, Doctrine and Covenants Compendium, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 609.
9 8

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We concede the Mormons have done everything within the reach of human ingenuity to cover up this failure of Mormon inspiration. History, however, reveals that the effort made by Smith during the more than a month which he spent inquiring among the older inhabitants of the city was not primarily concerned with either mission work or the establishing of "Zion."14 Ebenezer Robinson, himself a fond believer in Smith's prophetic powers, and for a while editor of the Mormon Times and Seasons, later wrote: "A brother in the church, by the name of Burgess, had come to Kirtland and stated that a large amount of money had been secreted in the cellar of a certain house in Salem, Massachusetts, which had belonged to a widow, and he thought he was the only person now living, who had knowledge of it, or to the location of the house. We saw the brother Burgess, but Don Carlos Smith told us with regard to the hidden treasure. His statement was credited by the brethren, and steps were taken to try to secure the treasure, of which we will speak more fully in another place."15 After giving the revelation in its entirety, Robinson continued: "We were informed that Brother Burgess met them in Salem, evidently according to appointment, but time had wrought such a change that he could not, for a certainty point out the house, and soon left. They however, found a house which they felt was the right one. and hired it. It is needless to say they failed to find the treasure or the gold and silver spoken of in the revelation. We speak of these things with regret, but inasmuch as they occurred we feel it our duty to relate them, as also some of those things which transpired under our personal observation, soon after."16 Regarding the modern interpretation placed upon this revelation, it may be pointed out that in 1841. five years after Smith came up with the revelation, the Mormons claimed only thirty members in Salem.17 Already Smith was calling upon all the Saints to "come to Zion."18 Such a small number of converts hardly seems to justify the elaborate language which Smith claimed was directed by "the Lord your God" with regard to placing the city in their hands, and giving them the gold and silver said to be there. Mormons concede this point in arguing that fulfillment is yet to come. This does not
See Brodie, Op. Cit.. p. 193. Ebenezer Robinson, in The Return, July 1889, Vol. 1, p. 105. See also William Alexander Linn, Story Of The Mormons, MacMillan Co., New York, 1902, pp. 147, 148. 16 Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 106. 17 Times And Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 603. See also Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1908, Vol. IV, p. 433. 18 Times And Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 589.
15 14

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serve to remove the weight of testimony supplied by Ebenezer Robinson's blasted hopes, as well as the disappointment of other Mormons nearer to the scene, that Joseph Smith blundered in claiming that that "revelation" was the work of God. C. The Ordination Of Joseph Smith, III. It is not our purpose to try to probe the depths of controversy between the Utah Mormons and the Reorganized Latter-day Saints of Independence, Missouri concerning the pattern of succession in the church presidency taught by Joseph Smith, Jr. Both these groups are segments of a people said to have been endowed with "direct" and "continued" revelation from God to guide them in matters of religious practice, doctrine, and faith. That differences arose between them in matters of faith, practice, and doctrine is ample testimony that such miraculous safeguards as were claimed were not possessed by the early Mormons. The solution of such differences is not to be determined by the stroke of the interpreter's pen, nor by resort to the polemic platform for discussion. If the followers of Smith in any degree possess direct inspiration from God, then the only way that such differences can be satisfactorily met and their position sustained is by actually demonstrating the presence of miraculously received directions from God which must forever settle such disputes. A revelation which Smith is said to have received concerning his son, Joseph Smith, III, designated the son to be his successor. It stands corroborated, and by too much testimony to be lightly rejected as spurious. Yet in spite of the "revelation," the Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah and accepted him as their "prophet, seer, and revelator." The Reorganized Latter-day Saints consider this vast majority of Smith's followers to be "apostate." Yet Joseph Smith, III, did not head the church which his father had led. He and others had to organize another one which they termed the "Reorganized" church before he could occupy the same position of leadership his father had held. Therefore, the revelation concerning Joseph, III, stands as a painful enigma to both segments. If the Utah Mormons are correct, the revelation was not at all from God and cannot be said to be from a loyal prophet of God. Yet Joseph Smith, Jr., claimed to receive it. If the Reorganized church be correct in its claim, then the Mormon prophet erred in ordaining his son to be his "successor," for young Joseph did not succeed his father. History reveals that unequivocably and without question that place went to Brigham Young. Even William W. Blair of the Reorganized church is quoted by Joseph Fielding Smith as having testified in court that "1,000 was probably too high an estimate for

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the members of the original Church, that had joined the 'Reorganized' Church."19 In the spring of 1958 when this writer visited the Mormon city of Nauvoo, Illinois, a plain white signboard marked the site of Joseph Smith's store in that city. It read: "This store was probably built in 1841. The upper room included Joseph Smith's office and a larger council room where upon one occasion Joseph blessed and designated his eldest son, Joseph Smith III to be his successor. This son, at his father's death, was to (sic) young to assume this leadership and. as a result, the church broke up into many factions following various leaders. Later, some of the people under divine direction reassembled the scattered remnants of the church and under the leadership of Joseph Smith I I I , became: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints." The store site obviously is today under the control of the Reorganized church. Since the Utah Mormons consider the Reorganized Saints to be apostate, the claim that Smith actually ordained his son to be his successor must of necessity have some bearing upon the topic of Mormon inspiration. What evidence actually exists to sustain the claim that young Smith was so ordained by his father? John Doyle Lee, later executed for his part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and cast out by the Mormons before his death, related: "I heard Mother Smith, the mother of Joseph the Prophet, plead with Brigham Young, with tears, not to rob young Joseph of his birthright, which his father, the Prophet, bestowed upon him previous to his death. That young Joseph was to succeed his father as the leader of the Church, and it was his right in the line of the priesthood. 'I know it,' replied Brigham, 'don't worry or take any trouble, Mother Smith; by so doing you are only laying the knife to the throat of the child. If it is known that he is the rightful successor of his father, the enemy of the priesthood will seek his life. He is too young to lead this people now, but when he arrives 20 at mature age he shall have his place. No one shall rob him of it.' " William A. Linn relates the substance of the above quotation from Lee, and further quotes James J. Strang's Prophetic Controversy:
19 Joseph Fielding Smith, Origin of the Reorganized Church, Sixth Edition, p. 20 17. John Doyle Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, M. E. Mason, St. Louis, Mo., 1891, p. 161.

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"Strang says, 'Any one who was in Nauvoo in 1846 or 1847 knows that the majority of those who started to the western exodus, started in this hope,' that the younger Joseph would take his father's place."21 W. W. Blair, one of the original members of the Reorganized church, debated Wingfield Watson at East Jordan, Michigan, October 22-26, 1891, at which time first-hand information concerning the events during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, Jr., was still possible through the direct testimony of some of the original Mormons. During the debate Blair introduced the following testimony from James Whitehead, clerk of Joseph Smith, Jr.: "In the spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, I was present with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Bishop N. K. Whitney, in an upper room over Joseph's store, and saw Bishop N. K. Whitney, take a bottle of oil and anoint young Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph the Seer (and now the president of the Reorganized Church), and also saw Brn. Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and N. K. Whitney lay their hands upon him while Joseph the Seer ordained him a prophet, seer, and revelator to the church, and say: 'He is your prophet and will lead the church in my stead.' "22 To this testimony could be added the abundant testimony collected by Heman C. Smith and published in the Journal Of History by the Board of publication of the Reorganized Church. This includes testimony by Joseph, III, himself, as well as others, both to the effect that young Joseph was ordained to succeed his father, and announcement made publicly in the grove at Nauvoo to that effect.23 The serious student of Mormon history and Mormon inspiration cannot evade the fact that a greater weight of testimony exists to establish that Smith did bless his son and ordain him to be his successor than exists to establish the reality of the plates from which the Book of Mormon is said to have been translated. It is far more reliable testimony than exists to establish that Joseph Smith, Jr., was selected by God to lead the people, or that Moroni ever appeared to anyone on this earth. When the Mormons accepted Brigham Young as the "prophet, seer, and revelator" of the church it constituted a weighty indictment against the claim that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet of God. When Smith himself was killed
Linn, Op. Cit., p. 322. (Strang quotation cited, Prophetic Controversy, p. 22 4). Wingfield Watson and W. W. Blair, Watson-Blair Debate, W. J. Smith, Clifford, Ontario, 1892, pp. 184, 185. 23 Quotations assembled by Heman C. Smith, Journal Of History, Lamoni, Iowa, Vol. 2, pp. 5-9.
21

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169

before the young Joseph was old enough to lead the church, the inspiration which ordained the hoy to be his successor was exposed as a blunder. That plain white sign in Nauvoo admitting that "This son, at his father's death, was to young to assume this leadership" stands as a monument to Smith's futile attempts at prophecy, and other pretenses to speak as the mouth of God. D. "Zion" To Be Given In "This Generation." In 1831 Joseph Smith began to promise his followers a "land flowing with milk and honey." which was to be given them by God according to covenant, and "Ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, 24 and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away." Smith assured them that "the enemy shall not overcome."25 and, while standing in Jackson County, Missouri, in July affirmed "this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion."26 By "revelation" he singled out the exact spot in Independence where the temple should stand. In the month of September, Smith's enthusiasm had begun to run to such high levels that he declared: "Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which 27 cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house." A full century and a third of another have passed since Smith uttered those prophetic words, and that generation of the Mormons has long since gone the way of the earth. The Saints were driven in suffering and misfortune from Missouri and later from Illinois. The temple lot selected by Joseph Smith. Jr.. as the site of the temple to be built in the "New Jerusalem" is owned by a small segment of Smith's followers which numerically is not to be compared with either the Utah or Reorganized groups. No temple has been built upon it, though each of the groups of Latter-day Saints expects it to be built, and each expects to build it. Smith received several "revelations" concerning it, one of which declared "it is my will that a house should be built unto me in the
24 25

Doctrine and Covenants 38:18-20. Ibid., 38:9. 26 Ibid., 57:2. 27 Ibid., 84:4, 5.

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land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have28 given you. Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people." Roy W. Doxey, of the Utah Mormons, employs a common tactic for evading the force of Joseph Smith's utter failure in this prediction. Speaking of the word "generation," he affirms that it does not always means a specified number of years, but may refer to a longer period as a dispensation.29 Thus fortified, Mormons can wait until the end of the world for fulfillment. For over a century the Mormons have been temple-builders. They laid plans to build one in Far West, Missouri after being expelled from Jackson County. Smith failed as miserably in ordering that one by "revelation" as he did in the one proposed for Independence. They completed a temple in Nauvoo, later the one in Salt Lake City, and subsequently they have erected temples around the world. Yet they still have not built the temple which Smith said should be built "in this generation," though the generation of which he spoke is no more. Mormon inspiration gives no definite solution as to why Mormon inspiration failed in this manner, though of one accord Mormon writers declare God changed His mind and that the fulfillment is yet future. Doxey escapes by giving the term "generation" the significance of "dispensation," despite the fact that Webster defines the term as a "single stage in the succession of natural descent." The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary takes the same route of escape, but with an added observation. It suggests that the prophecy possibly cannot be fully explained until after it is fulfilled!30 Thus Mormon inspiration that is designed to "inquire of the Lord," to lead to unity and oneness in the understanding of the scriptures, and guide the Latter-day Saints in "new and unprecedented circumstances" admits its inability to make a definite commitment as to the present status of what is obviously an unfulfilled prediction of Joseph Smith. Sidney B. Sperry apparently does not go along with the view of changing the meaning of the term "generation." He merely cites Joseph's own explanation, blaming the failure on the failure of the Mormons to work with diligence to complete the undertaking.31 Candor, however, underscores the fact that these are the very circumstances which divine revelation would have foreseen, and thus avoided such a dilemma. Actually, as Fawn McKay Brodie has pointed out. when Smith came up with Section
and Covenants 97:10, 11. Roy W. Doxey, The Doctrine And Covenants And The Future, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 26. 30 Smith and Sjodahl, Op. Cit., p. 497. 31 Sperry, Op. Cit., pp. 387, 388; Doctrine and Covenants 124:49-51.
28 Doctrine 29

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97 of the Doctrine and Covenants, placing in God's mouth the words "it is my will that a house" be "speedily" built in Jackson County, Missouri, the Mormons were already being driven out from there. Nearly two weeks before the mob which destroyed the presses printing the Book of Commandments had virtually guaranteed that the temple should not be built.32 The failure of this Smith revelation but accents his lack of divine inspiration. That the present-day Mormon explanations are far afield of Smith's concept is easily determined by referring to earlier writings. Orson Pratt, writing concerning the "New Jerusalem," follows closely the phraseology of Smith, and says: "We believe that in this generation a house of the Lord shall be built by the saints on Mount Zion, and that a cloud of glory shall rest33 upon it by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night. . ." The promise made by Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants 63:48, that "He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world, (emphasis mine, BC) and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come,"34 abundantly establishes that Smith was making the promises concerning "Zion" to the people of his own generation. Moreover, in March 1836, during a foot-washing service in the Kirtland temple, Smith said: "and let the redemption of Zion be our object, and strive to effect it by sending up all the strength of the Lord's House, wherever we find them; and I want to enter into the following covenant, that if any more of our brethren are slain or driven from their lands in Missouri, by the mob, we will give ourselves no rest, until we are avenged of our enemies to the uttermost."35 In view of the later court litigation, political lobbying, and extensive writing engaged in by the Latter-day Saints in efforts to obtain "redress" for their wrongs and remuneration for their lands, there is no escaping the truth that Smith's concern in those matters was essentially that of his own generation. Parley P. Pratt admitted as much when he wrote a letter to Queen Victoria declaring that the signs of Luke 21 were about to be fulfilled. He said further: "then says that the generation who are witnesses of these
Op. Cit., p. 129. Orson Pratt, "Remarkable Visions," p. 16, A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851. 34 Doctrine and Covenants 63:48. 35 The Millenial Star, Vol. IV, p. 728; see also Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 432.
32 Brodie, 33

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signs beginning to come to pass will not pass away till all shall be fulfilled, including his second coming and kingdom."36 Later in the letter Pratt pinpointed just which "generation" saw "these signs beginning to come to pass," and which should not pass away before the completion of Zion and the second coming of Christ. He wrote: "I beg leave barely to remind your Majesty that these signs have for the last, ten years been fulfilling in the eyes of all people."37 It is characteristic of all followers of false prophets that when the predictions of their leaders fail, they re-examine in hope that they can retain their faith and see the predictions yet one day fulfilled. It is this clinging to hope in order to dispel the disillusionment of the past that has resulted in the present-day Mormon attempt to explain this prediction in terms of some future generation. Examination of the early Mormon writings reveals that no temple that may in the future be erected in Independence, Missouri can possibly be a fulfillment of Smith's prediction. His blind inspiration caused him to err greatly in specifying that a particular generation should not pass away before its fulfillment. That generation is now but history. E. The Second Coming Of Christ. During the early part of the nineteenth century there was a popular fad of trying to foretell the exact time of the Lord's return to earth. Undoubtedly William Miller enjoyed the greatest fame of all such would-be prophets as a date-setter. However, though the general public is not aware of Smith's attempt at prophecy in this field, examination reveals that he did set an indefinite date for the second advent of Christ. Smith admits to having "inquired of the Lord" concerning the matter, and in a Smith revelation says: "I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eightyfive years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter."38 Mormon inspiration of today merely says that the Lord refused to give Smith the requested information, and that the unusual reply was but a way of indicating that he would not live to be eighty-five. Since he died before reaching that age, it is claimed there is nothing of promise in the words to indicate when the Lord could be expected.
36 Times and Seasons, 37 Ibid., p. 594. 38

November 15, 1841, Vol. 3, p. 593.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:14, 15.

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If this modern interpretation of Smith's words be correct, and the Lord did give Smith such instruction, it is strange that Parley Pratt, as quoted above, wrote to Queen Victoria in 1841 that some of that generation would remain when Christ came. It is also strange that ten years before Smith came up with his revelation of April 6, 1843, Smith himself wrote to N. E. Seaton: "for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed39 in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken." Among "these things" alluded to were the bloody war that was to begin in South Carolina and result in a full end of the nations, the fleeing of the Saints "to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri," and "pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake shall sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land."40 There are still vast numbers of wicked men remaining, and if the modern interpretation which makes "generation" refer to a "dispensation" be correct, there must indeed be some centegenarians wandering about the earth wondering how much longer before their eyes can close in the repose of death. Nineteen days after writing the Seaton letter Joseph Smith relates that his father, the first Mormon Patriarch, blessed him: "declaring that I should continue in the Priest's office until Christ comes."41 The official history of the church is filled with references to the "nearness" of the day of the Lord, and with declarations that some should not die until Christ should come.42 In the very conference where the 130th section of the Doctrine and Covenants is said to have been received, Smith declared that were he going to prophecy he would say the end of the world would not come in 1844, or in forty years, but that there were those of the rising generation who would not taste death till Christ came.43 As far back as 1831 Mormon historians concede that Lyman Wight "prophesied concerning the coming of Christ. He said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with him."44
Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 316. Ibid., p. 315. Ibid., p. 323. 42 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 439; Vol. II, pp. 447, 448; Vol. HI, pp. 390, 391; Vol. V, pp. 324, 337. 43 Ibid., Vol. V, p. 336; see also Brigham H. Roberts, Rise and Fall Of Nauvoo, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 183. 44 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 176.
41 39 Smith, 40

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But it was in 1835 that Smith allowed himself to go farthest in committing himself and Mormon inspiration to an actual date for the Lord's return. On the occasion of the ordaining of the first group of Mormon apostles, Smith addressed the meeting. The following is found in the official minutes of the meeting: "President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and that it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. He then gave a revelation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion our trials, sufferings, &c, &c; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh even fifty-six years should wind up the scene."45 In this connection it is noteworthy that in the official record of the ordaining of the first apostles under Smith's direction, we discover such statements as the following: In the blessing of Orson Hyde: "he shall stand on the earth and bring souls till Christ comes."46 And in William Smith's blessing: "He shall be preserved, and remain on the earth, until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked."47 There remains no doubt but that the Mormon prophet believed and foretold the second coming of Christ by the year 1891. The first generation of his followers believed his predictions and expected the second coming during that generation. Their hopes were doomed to disillusionment, and at the time when the Lord was expected to come and fulfill the words of their prophet, the Saints in Utah were humbling themselves before the demands of a nation and readjusting to life under the Manifesto which did more than anything else occurring in the last half of the nineteenth century to outwardly affect the system of Mormonism. The failure of Smith's prediction caused some, like Oliver Cowdery, to: "regard his frequent prediction that he himself shall tarry on the earth till Christ shall come in glory, and that neither the rage of devils nor the malice of men shall ever cause him to fall by the hand of his enemies until he has seen Christ in 48 the flesh at his final coming, as little short of a piece of blasphemy; . ."
45 46

The Millenial Star, Vol. IV, p. 205; see also Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II. p. 182. Ibid., p. 206; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 189. 47 Ibid., p. 207; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 191. 48 Cowdery, Op. Cit., p. 1.

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Present-day Mormon leaders, as Roy Doxey, ignore these facts and blandly declare to the world that the church leaders from Joseph Smith, Jr. to the present have not tried to tell when the second coming of Christ would be.49 F. The Nauvoo House Revelation One of the most singular of all the predictions to be found in the Mormon scriptures is that contained in Doctrine and Covenants 124:22-24, 56-69 concerning "the Lord's" "boarding house." This house was to be built, not according to strict pattern supplied by the Lord, but: "such a one as my servant Joseph shall show unto them, upon the place which he shall show unto them also."50 It was to be a boarding house "that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein," "that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord." It was to be a "holy" house, but one in which the Saints should: "let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord."51 When it came to details for supplying the money to erect such a pretentious structure on the banks of the Mississippi River to be called "Nauvoo House," "the Lord" was much more careful in giving instructions. Mormon inspiration did not here choose to leave the people to follow the instructions and influence of the "servant Joseph" alone as was done with regard to floor plan, building materials, location, etc. A full-fledged corporation is ordered by "revelation," wherein stock is to be sold for a specified "fifty dollars for a share of stock in that house," and with the stipulation that they may "receive fifteen thousand dollars from any one man for stock in that house."52 Just above the water level on the banks of the Mississippi today stands an incompleted structure of brick, mortar, and concrete, bearing the marks of the ravaging of the elements for more than a century. It is the monument to Smith's grand failure in pretended divine revelation and inspiration. Under the control of the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, the structure is identified by a sign reading: "Unfinished Hotel Nauvoo House Begun 1841 present structure completed in 1869. It served as the last home of Emma, Joseph Smith's only wife. She died
49 50

Doxey, Op. Cit, p. 45. Doctrine and Covenants 124:22. 51 Ibid., 124:59. 52 Ibid., 124:64.

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in this building in 1879. Inside has been modernized for use today. Now Open To Public." The writer was unable to visit the interior of the house authorized by Mormon inspiration due to the fact that all the buildings now maintained by the Reorganized Church were closed on that particular day. The sign stood atop a rough concrete slab above a brick and mortar wall, the completed portion of the building in the background. The house served as the home of "apostate" Emma Smith and her "Gentile" husband, after Emma departed from the Mormons. But the house which was so gloriously heralded by Mormon scripture as a house in which the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr., were to have a place "from generation to generation" is hardly a structure to be boasted of when viewed by modern standards. If, as some Mormon commentators affirm, "generation" is to be understood in the sense of "dispensation to dispensation," one can but wonder how glorious it will appear in its unfinished state when compared to the modern structures of the future. Undoubtedly the greatest indictment which can be levelled against Smith's claim of divine inspiration in the matter of the Nauvoo House is to be found in the Mormon publication the Times and Seasons. When the Nauvoo House project was first announced to the citizens of Nauvoo April 1, 1841 the character of the "Nauvoo House Association" was printed in full with no mention at all that the proposed project was to be built in obedience to divine revelation! Regarding Smith's personal interest in the house, instead of revealing that "the Lord" had given him an inheritance therein, Section 10 of the charter read: "Sec. 10. And whereas Joseph Smith has furnished the said association with the ground whereon to erect said house, it is further declared, that the said Smith, and his heirs shall hold by perpetual succession a suit (sic) of rooms in the said house, to be set apart and conveyed in due form of law to him and his heirs by said Trustees as soon as the same are completed."53 Money evidently proved hard to get through the sale of stock alone, or perhaps the Mormons themselves were not overly impressed by Joseph's scheme. In the May 15 issue of the Times and Seasons we find the first hint that the whiplash of "revelation" is about to be employed. We find: "We hope to be able to lay before our readers in our next, an important revelation, given to Pres't J. Smith some time ago which has not been published."54 The revelation itself made its appearance in the issue of June 1.
53 54

Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, pp. 370, 371. Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 419.

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Mormon inspiration has seen fit to reverse the order of appearance of the "revelation" and the "charter" of the Nauvoo House association in the official history of the church, so that the "revelation" appears first. Mormons faithful to the cause do not doubt that Joseph received the revelation six months before it appeared in the Times and Seasons. Even if Smith did produce the revelation first and then undertake the project, its failure to be carried to completion and later used for the purposes declared in the revelation are sufficient to expose Smith's lack of divine guidance. G. Prophecies Against Government. Most of Joseph Smith's public life was spent in conflict with the various governments under which he and the Mormons lived. It is not surprising that he directed a number of his attempts at prophecy toward these governments. The preceding chapter contains a record of one such prophecy in connection with the more famous Stephen A. Douglas prediction. On the same occasion when he uttered the Douglas prophecy, Smith declared that unless "the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the State of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers, that in a few years the government will be overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left." . . .55 This prediction was made on May 18, 1843. It was not the first prediction that Smith made with regard to "God's promise to redress" the wrongs of the Latter-day Saints. In the third issue of the Millenial Star, published in Manchester with Parly P. Pratt as editor, there appeared an item with regard to the "Proceedings Of The Congress Of The United States." A sub-title stated that certain events indicated that God was "beginning to fulfill a remarkable prophecy, published by the Saints seven years ago." The item continued: "The persecution of the Saints, by the State of Missouri, commenced in 1833, and in 1834 the Lord gave a Revelation, commanding the Church to appeal to the Judge for redress; and if he refused to hear them, they were to importune at the feet of the Governor of the State; and if he refused to hear them they were to importune at the feet of the President of the United States; and if he refused, THEN, THE LORD PROMISED TO 'COME OUT OF HIS HIDING PLACE, AND VEX THAT NATION IN HIS FURY. AND IN HIS HOT DISPLEASURE.' The Revelation was printed at the time, and a copy of it sent to the Governor of Missouri, and another to
55 The Deseret News, September 24, 1856, Vol. 6, No. 29. See also Nephi Lowell Morris, The Prophecies Of Joseph Smith And Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, pp. 113, 115.

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President Jackson. Since that time we have appealed to all different authorities of both the State and General Government for redress; but in vain. Our blood yet cries to the ground unavenged."56 Modern Mormon inspiration is willing to concede the genuineness of this prophecy of Smith and face some of the embarrassment of its failure of fulfillment. But it has seen fit to change the blunt words of the prophet spoken in December of 1843, seven months after the Douglas prophecy. The Nauvoo City Councilors, the mayor, and all aldermen signed a "Memorial to Congress" on that date for the redress of wrongs, which was later sent to Washington. While discussing the petition, Smith records having prophesied by the power of the priesthood and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that if Congress would not hear the petition and grant the Mormons protection, the government would be broken up.57 Four asterisks follow immediately in the current edition of Smith's official history, and these represent a far greater significance than the proverbial "X marks the spot." Many writers have supplied the full text of Smith's prophecy as it first appeared in the Millenial Star: . . . "they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them not even a grease spot." 58 Less than three weeks later Smith directed Calhoun, candidate for President of the United to determine what the Saints might expect elected. In the seventh paragraph Smith cast began to lay it on the line. Smith wrote: a letter to John C. States, in an effort should Calhoun be aside decorum and

"If the General Government has no power to reinstate expelled citizens to their rights, there is a monstrous hypocrite fed and fostered from the hard earnings of the people! A real 'bull beggar' upheld by sycophants. And although you may wink to the priests to stigmatize, wheedle the drunkards to swear, and raise the hue and cry of . . . . . . . . . . . . . 'Imposter! false prophet! G . d .. n old Joe Smith!' yet remember, if the Latter-day Saints are not restored to all their rights and paid for all their losses, according to the known rules of justice and judgment, reciprocation and common honesty among men, that God will come out of His hiding place, and vex this nation with a sore vexation: yea, the consuming wrath of an offended God shall smoke through the nation with as much distress and
The Millenial Star, July 1840, Vol. I, p. 65. Smith, Op. Cit Vol. VI, p. 116. 58 Lamar Petersen, Problems In Mormon Text, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957, pp. 14, 15; see also Brodie, Op. Cit., p. 356. (Quotation from Millenial Star, Vol. XXII, p. 455).
57 56

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woe as 59 independence has blazed through with pleasure and delight." If some think this to be strong language employed by the gentle Mormon prophet, he has but to turn back the pages of time six months and listen to the leader of the Latter-day Saints addressing the Mormons in the grove at Nauvoo on June 30, 1843: "If any citizen of Illinois say we shall not have our rights, treat them as strangers and not friends, and let them go to hell and be damned! Some say they will mob us; let them mob and be damned! If we have to give up our chartered rights, privileges, and freedom, which our fathers' fought, bled, and died for, and which the Constitution of the United States, and of this state, guarantee unto us, we will do it only at the point of the sword and bayonet."60 The trying nature of the times and the persecution of the Mormons provide no justifiable grounds for Smith's thus giving vent to his base qualities. He is held up before the world today as a prophet of God second only to Jesus Christ. Though the Mormons suffered wrongs, one has but to turn to a wealth of available data to perceive that the persecution was by no means on one side. Let Mormon inspiration cease to make excuse for Smith's failure and blind the people to the true facts. The government still stands. Had the Mormons under Smith's leadership been privileged to bear "the sword and bayonet" successfully, there would doubtless be another story to record. God's divine providence worked against them and established our great nation in spite of Smith's attempts at prophecy. In doing so God established forever that Smith was not His spokesman while venting his passionate outbursts and crying for war and bloodshed upon the state of Missouri and our federal government. H. The Prophecy Concerning the For West Temple. So closely related are many of Joseph Smith's predictions that examination necessitates some overlapping. The reader is again referred to the preceding chapter to the section dealing with Smith's prediction concerning the departure of the twelve apostles from Far West to go to England. Their action with regard to the Far West temple will acquaint the reader with the extent to which the temple was erected. Smith's prediction concerning the temple, found in several of the Mormon records, reads as follows: "And let the beginning be made on the fourth day of July next: and from that time forth let my people labor diligently to build a house unto my name; and in one year from this day let them recommence laying the foundation of my house. Thus let
59 Times 60

and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 395; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. VI, p. 158. Journal Of Discourses, Vol. II, pp. 165, 166.

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them from that time forth labor diligently until it shall be finished, from the corner stone thereof unto the 61 top thereof, until there shall not anything remain that is not finished." This "revelation" was given on April 26, 1838, and is another one which the Mormon apostles sought to "skotch" for Smith when they journeyed to Far West to pretend to start from there to England on April 26, 1839. However, their conducting a religious meeting under the cover of night and pretending to roll up a corner stone near to its proper place hardly fills the requirement of the prediction. Mormon inspiration today can present only the weakest of defense for this failure. Apostle James E. Talmage says of this and the Independence temples that the Lord designated the spots for building, but that the work of building has not yet been consummated.62 The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary states that the corner stones of the temple were laid on the fourth of July, 1838, with an excavation of one hundred twenty feet by eighty feet being completed to a depth of five feet in half a day with more than five hundred men taking part. It admits that little else was done, the blame for the failure being charged to the wave of persecution which came upon them,63 forcing the Saints into exile. Sidney Sperry also observes that it is a matter of record that the temple was begun, but persecution came upon them and forced the Mormons out of that place, resulting in their being thwarted in their endeavors to keep the Lord's commands.64 We repeat again that had Smith actually been speaking with the power of divine inspiration given by God, those are the very circumstances he would have foreseen in giving his revelations. It is such obvious evidence of lack of divine insight revealed in his complete failure in attempts at prophecy that reveal his attempts to be but the voice of a groping man. I. The Prophecy That Smith Would Not Be Hurt. With little doubt, Smith's most puerile effort at prophecy was his claim that he himself would not be hurt. Even in the Book of Mormon Smith's inspiration placed the declaration that he would not be "hurt."65 The language employed is not only so ambiguous that it can be easily interpreted that he has not been "hurt." but
Doctrine and Covenants 115:10-12; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 25; Millenial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 148. 62 James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 155. 63 Smith and Sjodahl, Op. Cit, p. 742. 64 Sperry, Op. Cit., p. 621. 65 3 Nephi 21:10.
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181

even so that it can be claimed that he has been exalted through being "marred" in death. In January, 1834, on the occasion when Martin Harris was being tried by the council for charging that "Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon," Smith: "prophesied that I would stand and shine like the sun in the firmament, when my enemies and the gainsayers of my testimony shall be put down and cut off, and their names blotted out from among men."66 Another similar prophecy, said by the historian Brigham H. Roberts to have come forth in April, 1843, declared that the withdrawing of the spirit of God from the earth awaited that generation until they should be visited with utter desolation. Smith furthermore prophesied in the same breath that they would never have the power to kill him until his work was accomplished and he was ready to die.67 Modern Mormon inspiration takes refuge in its belief that Smith was "ready to die" and his work "accomplished" when he was slain by his enemies. However, we have already cited Oliver Cowdery's admission that Smith made the bold claim that he would not be hurt or slain, ". . . that neither the rage of devils nor the malice of men shall ever cause him to fall by the hand of his enemies until he has seen Christ in the flesh at his final coming. . ."68 Yet Smith was wise enough in wording his prophecies in the later years of his life to afford himself the ambiguity of terms which allows his followers to believe that he actually did not fall until he had faithfully completed that which God had intended him to perform as a prophet of God. It has not occurred to them that the phraseology employed is such that the claim could be made by every son of Adam's race, and with God to determine the day of man's death, no one can dispute that his life was completed. Unfortunately for the Mormon cause, in this attempt at prophecy Smith made the dire prediction of "utter destruction" and the "withdrawing of the Spirit of God from the earth" so far as that generation was concerned. Mormons claim that the spirit was not at any time withdrawn from the earth, even though they claim that the term "generation" may signify an entire dispensation. There has been no utter destruction. That generation is gone. Despite a prediction that there would not be a gun fired on their own part by the Mormons,69
66 Smith, 67 68

Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 26; Millenial Star, Vol. XV, p. 12. Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. VI, p. 58; Roberts, Op. Cit, p. 189. Cowdery, Op. Cit, p. 1. 69 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. VI, p. 520.

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Smith fought like a caged tiger when the hour of his death came, and he himself fired the gun that disproved the accuracy of the assurance that he had given to Theodore Turley just six days before.70 In so doing he proved that he himself did not decide that he was ready to die and his work accomplished. Some writers have expressed doubt that Smith could have successfully kept the faith and confidence of his followers had his untimely death not occurred to place him in the aura of a martyr before their eyes. However, a candid examination of the nature of Mormon inspiration and its blindness to facts admitted by Mormon historians leads one to conclude that such blind allegiance would likely have continued to carry his followers on come whatever might, and to whatever fate they might have been driven had Smith continued to exercise the mantle of leadership which at his fall became that of Brigham Young.
70

Ibid., p. 608, 617, 618, 620.

CHAPTER EIGHT

"Zion"--And Mormon Inspiration


In July 1831 Joseph Smith said to the assembled Mormons in the town of Independence, Missouri: "Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, 'and the place for the city of Zion. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is1 lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house." Thus was first announced the Mormon concept that Independence is to be the city which Smith termed "the New Jerusalem,"2 from which the kingdom of God is to hold sway over all the nations of the earth, when the Latter-day Saints believe that God will direct the government of all nations through men holding the priesthood.3 Smith had earlier declared that a spot would be selected for the city of Zion, and that the Mormons should exert every energy and raise every possible dollar for the purchase of land to be used in the formation of Zion.4 A delegation including Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt had been sent to visit the western frontier ostensibly to convert the "Lamanites,"the American Indians5but the sudden interest in selecting a site for "the New Jerusalem" so soon afterward leads to the conclusion Mormon inspiration was already searching for a point of migration and the visit to Missouri probably designed to scout for such possibilities. This proposed city of Zion and the instructions regarding it given by Smith have not ceased to be a thorn-in-the-flesh for the Mormon system. In too many instances Smith gave instructions in such minute detail that present-day Mormons are compelled to
1 Doctrine and 2 Ibid., 45:66. 3

Covenants 57:1-3.

Sidney B. Sperry, Doctrine and Covenants Compendium, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960, p. 609. 4 Doctrine and Covenants 42:33 35; 48:4-6. 5 Ibid., 28:8-14; 32:1-5.

183

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agree that his views were directly in conflict with the present-day concept. In view of the claim that Mormons are guided by "continuous revelation," the conflicting opinions resulting from efforts to explain Smith's revelations concerning Zion present a vulnerable point of attack in exposing the false claim of divine origin for them. An earlier chapter has treated the revelation failure involved in Smith's prediction that the temple would be erected in Zion in "this generation." Examination reveals that beyond doubt the Mormons expected to see their Zion completely established during that generation. A few additional quotations are supplied here. Writing in the Times and Seasons under the pseudonym "Joab, General In Israel," Joseph Smith declared "a new era has commenced in the history of the world. Kingdoms and empires are crumbling into dust," and "the kingdoms of this world are soon to become the 'Kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.'"6 (emphasis mine, BC). In the Millenial Star, D. Tyler wrote: "Allow me, dear reader, . . . to inform you, that the kingdom is now set up in North America, and that, before the close of the present generation, in connection with this kingdom, all things which have been spoken of by all the Holy Prophets, will be restored, the Israel of God will be gathered, the tottering kingdoms of Babylon will fall, Christ's kingdom will bear universal sway over the earth, Zion will be built up, and the Lord will appear in his glory to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords."7 As late as April 7, 1861, after the Mormons had completed their trek westward to Salt Lake City, Heber C. Kimball declared of the westward move: "We might have to do such a thing again. I do not know anything about it, but I am pretty sure of one thing we shall go to Jackson County, Missouri; that is, those who do right and honour their calling, doing what they have been told to do. You will be blessed, and you will see the day when Presidents Young, Kimball, and Wells, and the Twelve Apostles will be in Jackson County, Missouri laying out your inheritances. In the flesh? Of course. We should look well without being in the flesh. We 8shall be there in the flesh and all our enemies cannot prevent it." Kimball obviously anticipated the fulfillment of the events mentioned during his own lifetime, or the celebrated Joseph Smith, Jr., would have been included among those whom faithful Mormons expected to be there following the resurrection. So he is not speak6 Times and Seasons, January 1, 1842, 7 Millenial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 550. 8

Vol. 3, p. 650.

Journal of Discourses, Vol. IX, p. 27.

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185

ing of something which was to follow the resurrection of the dead. Even non-Mormon writers such as J. H. Beadle agree that in attempting to set up "Zion" in Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith looked upon the city as but a temporary Zion "'until such time as the Lord should open the way for their return to Zion, indeed' Jackson County, Missouri."9 Mormons today without exception look to Jackson County Independence, Missouri as the location where complete fulfillment of the promises made by Smith regarding Zion will take place at some future date. They seek to escape the embarrassment of Smith's failures by pointing to his "revelations" which claimed the Saints were in "sins, and their wicked ways, the pride of their hearts, and their covetousness, and all their detestable things. . ."10 In short, the Latter-day Saints of the first generation are accused of disloyalty, faithlessness, and failure to raise sufficient funds to purchase the necessary land in "Zion," notwithstanding the fact that had Smith been divinely inspired these are the circumstances he would have foreseen, and would have avoided the direct teaching that Zion would be built in that generation. Historian Brigham H. Roberts concedes that Smith predicted the redemption of Zion by September 11, 1836.11 He agrees that Smith's generation expected fulfillment of the predictions concerning Zion in their own time. He states: "These promises to the Saints respecting Zion; these descriptions given to them of her future sanctified and glorified state; their connection with a work so exalted and far-reaching, was apt to fire their minds with a zeal not always tempered with wisdom. It was in vain that limitations of time and conditions were placed upon these general descriptions of the future greatness and glory of the city of God; nor could they understand that their own relationship to these great things was merely to lay the foundation of them, to locate the site of the future city and temple, and then bear witness of it to the world. . . The immediate and triumphant establishment of Zion, though expected by many of the Saints, was nowhere contemplated in the revelations of God to the Church. That hope of immediate establishment and glorification of Zion was the result of faulty deductions from the revelations of God."12
9 J. H. Beadle, Life In Utah, Or The Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism, National Publishing Co., Philadelphia, Pa., and other cities, 1870, p. 59. 10 Doctrine and Covenants 98:20. 11 Brigham H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 165; see Millenial Star, Vol. 15, p. 140. 12 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905, "Introduction," Vol. III, pp. xxxiv, xxxv.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Thus a noted church historian, said to be empowered by the guiding insight of "continued revelation," boldly asserts that the original prophet and his followers were lacking in wisdom and made "faulty deductions" in their efforts to interpret the claimed revelations. They were completely in error in their expectation that the promises concerning Zion were to be fulfilled in their own time, even when the prophet himself set September 1836 as the date for the "redemption of Zion." Roberts takes refuge in the stock Mormon claim that the Saints were not faithful in discharging the duties God had imposed upon them.13 Smith, however, in all of his prophecies never suggested that unfaithfulness might prevent their fulfillment, and abundant evidence exists in the authentic and official writings of the church leaders to show that the first generation of Latter-day Saints were loyal and are still considered loyal to their cause. Roberts' admission that a "zeal not always tempered with wisdom" characterized them, and his claim that they made "faulty deductions from the revelations of God" serves to nullify the Mormon concept that the first generation of the Saints were guided by divine inspiration in the proper interpretation of the scriptures. This proof that they lacked divine revelation plus Smith's failure in attempted predictions concerning Zion but reveals the absence of divine revelation in the entire Mormon system. If the first generation lacked it, no later generation can be said to possess it. A. Smith's "Zion" Predictions A Cause Of Suffering To The Saints. It is agreed by Mormon and non-Mormon historians alike that the predictions Joseph Smith had made regarding the city of "Zion" were a cause of the sufferings and persecutions of the Mormons in Missouri. J. H. Beadle describes the events leading to enmity with the citizens of Missouri, quoting the non-Mormon account of R. W. McKinney: "The Saints were to possess the earth and the Gentiles be crushed beneath their footsteps. This doctrine had a fearful effect upon the common Mormon; he looked upon the old settler much as the followers of Moses and Joshua looked upon the Canaanites."14 Fawn McKay Brodie points out that the by preaching that the sheriffs, justices, and cers would be Mormons, and that the lands Brodie and Pomeroy Tucker cite the fact
13 14

Mormons made enemies other enforcement offiwould be theirs.15 Both that Joseph's revelation

Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 81. Beadle, Op. Cit., p. 74. 15 Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N.Y., 1957, p. 131.

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concerning Zion, and the Mormons' implicit faith that divine assurance had been given that it should be their inheritance prevented their being receptive to any honorable settlement of property rights when the Mormons were forced out.16 Smith had declared as with the voice of God that "Zion shall not be moved out of her place,"17 and had given abundant assurance "by revelation" that his generation should see the fulfillment of the predictions. Samuel Smucker writes: "They talked so imprudently of their determination to possess the whole state of Missouri, and to suffer no one to live in it who would not conform to their faith, that a party was secretly formed against them, of which the object was nothing less than their total and immediate expulsion from their promised 'Zion.'"18 Again: "The sanguine boast and sincere belief of the Mormons, that the whole country of Missouri was their destined inheritance, and that all the 'Gentiles' or unbelievers in Joseph19 Smith, were to be cut off in the Lord's good time, was not forgotten." In spite of the fact that Mormon historian Brigham H. Roberts felt the natives of Missouri were "narrow-minded, ferocious, and jealous,"20 another Mormon writer, Joseph A. Geddes, faces the problem more objectively and impartially. While doing research on The United Order, Geddes concluded that daily proclamations by the Mormons that the Gentiles were to be cut off added to their woes in Missouri. He states that many of the Mormon elders were lacking in experience and were often unwise in their approach. Many of them, Geddes reasons, did not fully understand their own message, and needlessly antagonized many persons in part because of their own lack of wisdom, and in part also due to the fact that the words of Joseph the prophet were not always definite and gave room for different interpretations to be placed upon them.21 Even Roberts concedes that the Mormons did expect to receive the land of Missouri. He wrote: "That the saints may have said the Lord would yet give them the land of Missouri for their inheritance, is doubtless
16 Ibid., pp. 154, 156; Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism, D. Appleton and Company, New York, N.Y., 1867, p. 163. 17 Doctrine and Covenants 90:37; 101:17 18 Samuel Smucker, Life Among The Mormons, Hurst & Co., New York, p. 84. 19 Ibid., p. 88. 20 Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 71. 21 Joseph A. Geddes, The United Order Among The Mormons, New York, 1922, pp. 109, 110.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

true; but that they were to obtain it in any other than a legal way never entered their minds."22 Thus Mormon inspiration in the revelations of Joseph Smith, Jr., lay at the very root of the difficulties in Missouri which led to the brutal expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from the state. Present day Mormons may try to excuse their prophet's failure by terming it a case of unfaithfulness on the part of the Saints, or misunderstanding of the words of their prophet, but the careful student of Mormonism cannot entertain for a moment that Mormons really believe the majority of those early Missouri Mormons were unfaithful. In the official church literature they are too universally spoken of as heroic martyrs to a divine cause, Their failure to obtain earthly inheritance in Missouri serves to explode both the claim that Smith was divinely inspired, and that which maintains that Mormons themselves are individually guided by the divine insight of "continued revelation." B. "Zion"Independence, and On "Top Of The Mountains." Most interesting is the well-beaten, but dual path of interpretation which Mormon inspiration presents regarding the location of Zion and the claimed fulfillment of biblical prophecy. No doubt exists in the minds of Mormons or students of Mormonism that Independence, Missouri, is the designated location of "Zion." So confidently is this fact accepted that one can hardly doubt the report that the Utah Mormons have offered the vast sum of five million dollars for possession of the temple site selected by Joseph Smith, Jr., in Independence. The offer was refused by the small segment of Smith followers which owns the property.23 Despite this universal conviction that Independence, Missouri, is the location of "Zion" the Mormons are also of one accord in their belief that Isaiah 2:2, 3 with reference to the establishment of the Lord's house on the top of the mountains is a prophecy of the establishment of the Latterday Saints at Salt Lake City in the Rocky Mountains. This view is well expressed by Don. B. Colton, a former U. S. Congressman from Utah in The Improvement Era.24 He stated simply that a careful study would reveal that the prophecy was not fulfilled in the days of ancient Israel, nor in the time of Christ, nor at any other time than in what he terms the last days when the Mormons came to
Op. Cit., p. 81 George Arbaugh, Revelation In Mormonism, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 111., 1932, p. 209; Hartzell Spence, "The Mormons," Look Magazine, January 21, 1958, p. 66. 24 Don B. Colton, "A Noted Prophecy And Its Fulfillment," Improvement Era, March 1940, Vol. 43, p. 138.
22 Roberts, 23

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189

the Rocky Mountains and built not only one house of the Lord but, indeed, built many temples to the Most High. In 1917 President Charles W. Penrose stated: "We have learned through modern revelation, through the great prophet of the nineteenth century . . . that in these days, in this generation, Zion should be established on the American continent, and it should be in the mountains. It was not fulfilled in his time, but he pointed out the way by which the gathering should begin to these mountain valleys."25 A third of a century later the same view is voiced by Stephen L. Richards who affirms that surely a part of Isaiah's prophecy has been fulfilled, for the Lord's house has been established in the top of the mountains and nations are flowing unto it.26 Thus Mormon inspiration tries to link together the biblical prophecy of Isaiah with the settlement in Utah of the Latter-day Saints. The inconsistency of this claim is easily apparent to the careful student, even if it were not true that every reputable commentator and outstanding biblical scholar outside the ranks of the Latter-day Saints has viewed Isaiah 2:1, 2 as a prophetic description of the establishment of the New Testament church and the going forth of the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem on Pentecost following the ascension of Christ.21 IF the revelations of Smith pointed to Independence, Missouri as "Zion," as all Mormons agree, and IF it be granted that Smith was a true prophet of God, then it was in Independence, Missouri and not Salt Lake City that the "house of the Lord" was to be built. If such facts be granted, then it was from "Zion," Independence that the "law shall go forth," if there be any connection between Isaiah's prophecy and the system of Mormonism. Historian Brigham H. Roberts conceded this point, and stated that Isaiah 2:3 had reference to Independence.28 But Mormonism did not go forth from Independence as a starting point nor yet from Salt Lake City. These were but places to which the Saints were forced after making the claim that "the fulness of the gospel" was brought forth from a hill in New York state where it is claimed that Smith was directed by angels to the plates from which the Book of Mormon is said to have been translated.29
25 Charles W. Penrose, in discourse at the Tabernacle, December 16, 1917, Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, pp. 483, 484. 26 Stephen L. Richards, "The Tabernacle," Improvement Era, June 1952, Vol. 55, p. 411. 27 Acts 2: If; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; Hebrews 1:2. 28 Roberts, Op. Cit., p. 46. 29 Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story, tract circulated by Utah Mormons, p. 11; Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. I, p. 15.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

If Isaiah 2:2, 3 could be shown to have literal reference to some literal structure to be erected on a mountain top rather than a figurative reference to the establishment of the New Testament church, Mormon inspiration still could not escape the requirement of Isaiah 2:1-3 that the word of the Lord must go forth from that place. By no stretch of the scriptures can the prophecy of Isaiah be made to signify that a "true" religious system is to be established in the extreme eastern portion of our continent with its membership later to be driven to the far west where they'll erect a "house of the Lord" in the mountains, with "Zion" to be located somewhere near halfway between the two extremes. Not only does Brigham H. Roberts admit that the early prophet of Mormonism made "Zion" and "Independence, Missouri" synonymous, but says that the "house of God," the temple that he ordered to be built will be built there. This fact is conceded by apostle James E. Talmage,30 though Talmage also presumes that the removal of the Saints to Utah was a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.31 Examination reveals that the Mormons were already trying to connect the prophecy of Isaiah in some way to their movement before their exodus from Illinois. On the front page of the Times and Seasons, Elias Higbee wrote: "From the above prophecy of Micah, and also from the 2nd chapter of Isaiah we learn certain things which the inhabitants of the earth in the last days have a right to look for, and confidently expect. We might reasonably suppose from the words 'top of the mountains,' that the prophets had a particular allusion to some part of the earth called high, or good above other lands. That there was, and is, such a land, not only esteemed as such by men, but also in the mind of the great God himself, we have abundant proof in the Book of Mormon, which describes the land of America as being a choice land above all other lands; then if above all others lands it may very properly be called the highest or top of the lands or mountains."32 Such was the Mormon concept regarding the "top of the mountains" passage when multitudes were being lured to Nauvoo in full faith that they were coming to "Zion,"33 with Nauvoo to be but a brief interlude before moving on to Independence. Such is the only tenable position consistent with the claim that Smith was guided by divine inspiration. If Isaiah in any sense foresaw the going forth of
James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 155. 31 Ibid., pp. 19, 20. 32 Times and Seasons, Feb. 1, 1841, Vol. 2, p. 295. 33 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 437; Vol. VI, p. 406.
30

"ZION" AND MORMON INSPIRATION

191

Mormonism from the heights of the Rocky Mountains then Smith was utterly wrong in assuring the Mormons of his generation that it was God's will that they enter Missouri and build up "Zion." According to the present claim regarding Isaiah 2 no degree of faithfulness could have succeeded in establishing "Zion" in Missouri for then there would have been no connection between the Saints and the Rocky Mountains. Such are the pitfalls which Mormon inspiration has opened for its own inconsistency in attempts to "interpret" scripture through the claimed power of divine revelation. C. The Failure Of Zion's Camp. During the late winter and spring of 1834 the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., committed what many students of Mormon history believe to have been his most serious blunder. From the previous July the Mormons had been suffering the galling effects of being driven from their chosen "Zion," where the prophet had so confidently affirmed a temple was to be built "immediately" and "in this generation." Never was his timing so far off, as Fawn McKay Brodie points out, because even when Smith made the prediction he had no way of knowing that two weeks earlier the Saints in Missouri had begun to suffer the agonies of expulsion.34 The hectic and crucial period of contest for existence continued, with the Mormons rapidly losing out to the native Missourians. In February 1834 Smith came up with a revelation organizing "Zion's Camp," a military expedition designed to reclaim and repossess Zion. "Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be."35 Not only did Smith assure the Mormons that God's angel would go with them as the chosen leader, Joseph Smith, Jr., led them to the redemption of Zion, but full assurance was given of their triumph over their enemies: "And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them. And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse
34 35

Brodie, Op. Cit., pp. 128, 129. Doctrine and Covenants 103:1518; Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 37.

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them; And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies. And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is36not willing to lay down his life for my sake, is not my disciple." Thus by the authority of Mormon inspiration was "Zion's Camp" ordered and recruited. Subsequent verses of the "revelation" stipulated that they should seek diligently to find "five hundred men," but assured the approval of God if "one hundred" be obtained.37 In the official minutes of the meeting of the High Council on February 24, 1834 is found the statement that: "Joseph Smith, Jun., was nominated to be the commanderin-chief of the armies of Israel, and the leader 38 of those who volunteered to go and assist in the redemption of Zion." Smith encountered considerable difficulty in inducing the Mormons to follow his leadership into the military maneuver designed to "reclaim" Jackson County. April 21 found the prophet attending a conference at Norton, Ohio at which "some few volunteered to go to Zion," and others contributed a total of sixty six dollars and thirty seven cents for the benefit of those suffering in Missouri. On the occasion, Smith prophesied: "If Zion is not delivered, the time is near when all of this Church, wherever they 38 may be found, will be presecuted and destroyed in like manner." If Smith expected his prediction to stir the Mormons as the immortal words of Patrick Henry fired the patriotism of the American Colonists, he failed to realize his hopes. Modern Mormons point to the refusal of the Saints to sacrifice sufficiently to redeem Zion as cause for the failure of Smith's revelations concerning Zion. Actually, according to both Mormon and non-Mormons accounts, at least thirty more men were recruited than the minimum of one hundred which the revelation specified as necessary to success. J. H. Beadle, probably using figures that he had heard in Utah, declares they "started from Kirtland 130 strong."40 If he erred in stating the number he did so on the conservative side. John Henry Evans gives the number as 150, increasing "to two hundred by the
36 Doctrine and Covenants 37 Ibid., 103:30-33. 38 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, 39 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 53. 40

103:23-28. pp. 39, 40.

James H. Beadle, Polygamy, Or The Mysteries And Crimes Of Mormonism, Cincinnati Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1882, p. 40.

"ZION" AND MORMON INSPIRATION


41

193

time the company reached Missouri." The official History of the Church gives Smith's own numbering of "two hundred and five men" by June 8.42 Roberts affirms the number was near two hundred.43 Wilford Woodruff, who actually travelled in the company, wrote: "In the spring of 1834, I went to Kirtland, saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, and went with him, and with more than two hundred others in Zion's Camp, up the Missouri."44 Beadle calls attention to the fact that the Mormons adopted the name "Latter-day Saints" at this time so that they could deny being Mormons while on this trip.45 This charge is vehemently denied by Mormons today, but if such was not their motive, then the adoption of the name served them well in this respect. They officially adopted the name "Church of the Latter-day Saints" on May 3, and on May 5 "Zion's Camp" set forth and travelled as far as "Streetsborough, twenty miles from Kirtland."46 Mormon historians proudly relate the fact that they concealed their identity throughout the duration of the trip. Evans states simply: "Every man kept absolutely mute respecting their destiny or identity, whenever the curious spectators ventured to inquire."47 Roberts admits that Smith instructed them not to divulge their identity and purpose, adding: "The people not infrequently, however, suspected they were 'Mormons,' and many times the little band was threatened with destruction, and spies continually harrassed them by trying to get into their camp."48 Smith himself travelled under a fictitious name,49 until he revealed his identity to a man named Gilliam after reaching the state of Missouri.50 That a company of two hundred men could travel together and keep their identity a secret on the western frontier of that period necessarily calls for more strategy than merely refusing to divulge their identity. Mormon inspiration solved that problem quite ingeniously by directing the Mormons to lie and deceive. John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, p. 189. 42 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 87. 43 Roberts, Op. Cit, p. 131. 44 Wilford Woodruff, Leaves From My Journal, Second Edition, Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1882, p. 4. 45 Beadle, Op. Cit, p. 40. 46 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 63. 47 Evans, Op. Cit, p. 189. 48 Roberts, Op. Cit, p. 131. 49 Ibid., p. 144. 50 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 108; Millenial Star, Vol. XV, p. 84.
41

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

When questioned about who served as their leader they replied "Sometimes one, sometimes another,"51 and "We have no one in particular."51 Without doubt the boldest ruse in their attempted deceit of the public was the mockery in religious service recorded by Heber C. Kimball and admitted by Brigham H. Roberts. Kimball records that on Sunday, June 1, many of the inhabitants of the town near which the Mormons were camped came to their camp to hear their preaching. The Mormon prophet instructed the preachers to delude the public and conceal their true identity. After the services were over: "They said Brother Joseph Young by his preaching, they should judge was a Methodist. They thought brother Brigham Young was a close communion Baptist. Brother Orson Hyde they supposed was a Campbellite, or Reformed Baptist. Brother Lyman E. Johnson they supposed was a Presbyterian, and brother Orson Pratt a Restorationer. They enquired if we all belonged to one denomination. The answer was, We were some of us Baptists, some Methodists, some Presbyterians, some Campbellites, some Restorationers."53 Despite the guile and deception, the caution, and the revelations of Mormon inspiration, the "Camp" failed miserably and ended in the dismal outbreak of cholera which killed at least thirteen persons with Smith trying to cast off the disease by the exercise of miracles. Failing in the attempt he later claimed that God was punishing them for their wickedness, and that he himself was given the cholera as punishment for attempting to set aside God's purposes. He declared: "I quickly learned by painful experience, that when the great Jehovah decrees destruction upon any people, and makes known His determination, man must not attempt to stay His hand. The moment I attempted to rebuke the disease I was attacked, and had I not desisted in my attempt to save the life of a brother, I would have sacrificed my own."54 Mormon inspiration cannot so easily escape the consequences of failure. It must be borne in mind that they were travelling under the leadership of Mormon inspiration and direction, and their numbers were sufficient to carry the prophet's assurance of success. By revelation they had been assured that God would "let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people,"55 and that although they had been driven from their lands,
51 52

Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 67, 70. Ibid., Vol. II, p. 69. 53 Times and Seasons, Vol. 6, pp. 772, 773; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, pp. 78, 79. 54 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 114. 55 Doctrine and Covenants 101:10.

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"Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered. They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion."56 Evans recounts that Joseph Smith had a vision of one of those who died in Zion's Camp, and quotes him as telling Brigham Young and Joseph Young: "'Brethren,' he said, 'I have seen those men who died in Zion's Camp, in Missouri; and the Lord knows, if I get a mansion as bright as theirs, I ask no more.'" This hardly seems the proper language to describe the fate of those on whom God has unleashed the destructive forces of His anger. Rather, it accents the fact that Mormons have never considered those who suffered in Missouri to have been unfaithful. Their claim of unfaithfulness has been made necessary to cover up the failure of Joseph Smith's attempts to speak by divine revelation. D. The Failure Of The United Order. It is stated in an earlier chapter that when Smith and his followers undertook to establish "Zion" in Missouri, he intended to produce a communistic community in which all property was owned by the church, each member being given back as an inheritance that which the church determined to be necessary for his well being. Failure of the United Order necessitated the revising of those revelations pertaining to the community order, and the practice of tithing later substituted. Some indications of the order remain in the revised text of the Doctrine and Covenants.58 Being a product of Mormon inspiration, the United Order becomes another weighty testimony to the unreliability of the inspiration behind the Mormon scriptures and the Mormon claim to possess "continuous revelation" as a guide to the proper understanding and interpretation of scripture. Doctrine and Covenants 42:30 requires the Latter-day Saint to "consecrate of thy properties" to the church for the benefit of the poor. Originally this required them to "consecrate all thy properties" to the church "with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken."59 Joseph A. Geddes points out that Smith had been reared in an area where the Shakers had developed no less than eighteen communistic communities in the region from New England to Ken56

Ibid., 101:17, 18. Op. Cit., p. 197. Doctrine and Covenants 38:16-27; 58:35, 36. 59 Book of Commandments XLIV:26.
57 Evans, 58

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

tucky. Also Robert Owen, the noted atheist, came "not only with a message but with money," and he had established a number of communistic communities.80 When Sidney Rigdon came into the Mormon church he brought with him many for whom he had formerly preached at Mentor, Ohio, and it is said that "they lived together and had all things common."61 Coming from an environment when the establishment of communistic communities was in vogue, it is not surprising to see Smith undertaking to mold his own "Zion" by the popular philosophy of the era. But for the claim of divine inspiration made by the Mormons for Smith's revelations, the failure of the United Order could be forgotten as just one more effort to foster an impractical and undesirable system of social and domestic relationship upon his followers. Since Smith's effort to establish such a communistic system is attributed to the inspiration of God, its failure becomes a witness to the trial and error process by which the system of Mormonism has arisen. At the same time, the adherence to the words of Smith as a message of deity by the Mormon people today renders the Mormon system an ever-potential ally of communistic forces in the world who seek to bring the peoples of the world under the control of some form of socialism or communism. Despite revision of the revelations by Smith to remove much of the communistic slant, Mormons today concede that the present system of tithing is not what "God" authorized Smith to institute. It is said that tithing came as a result of the refusal of the Saints to accept the Order. As Brigham H. Roberts agrees, the Order required: "Every man was to consecrate his property to the bishop of the Church without reserve, with a covenant that could not be broken; and then from this consecrated property receive an inheritance from the bishop sharing equally with his brethren, according to his family and circumstances this inheritance being deeded to him by the bishop."62 Further on Roberts added: "And thus the saints were to be made equal in temporal things as well as in things that are spiritual."63 Evans says: "The controlling ideas of this 'United Order' are both plain and simple. The key note is, one man shall not possess that which is above another in temporal affairs. Everyone, whether rich or poor, is to 'consecrate' to the Church all his property,
60 Geddes, Op. Cit, p. 20. 61 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, p. 124; 62 Roberts, Op. Cit, pp. 55, 56. 63

see Geddes, Op. Cit., p. 21.

Ibid., p. 56.

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real and64personal, 'with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken." But most of the Mormons were not willing to consecrate all that they possessed so that "Zion" might be built up. Those who did so were mostly the poorer class who stood to lose little and perhaps to gain by the change to community ownership and equal sharing. Despite the Mormon confidence in the divine inspiration of Smith and the belief that the "United Order" was commanded by the God of heaven, the Latter-day Saints exercised their human-veto power over Mormon inspiration and rejected the system. Evans explains: "But on account of the selfish propensities of man and also because of the distressful conditions under which it was practiced, the 'order' was dissolved and another, and less perfect law given. This inferior law (section 119) was tithing, which requires one-tenth of one's increase annually."65 Writing more recently in The Improvement Era, Marion G. Romney, of the Council of the Twelve, stated that in the early 1830's the Lord directed the Saints to implement the royal law by living the United Order. But they failed, and because they did not learn the proper way of imparting their substances to the poor and afflicted as they should, the Lord allowed them to be driven from Missouri and the requirement that they live the United Order was withdrawn. Since that time the Saints have been bound by the law of tithing.66 Thus in a meeting held April 10, 1834 it was decided that "The Order should be dissolved, and each one have his stewardship set off to him."67 Smith did not at once give up the idea of the United Order entirely. As late as 1840 the Iowa High Council is found admitting that the system would not work and agreeing to discontinue it if Smith would bear the responsibility for discontinuing.68 In a footnote in the official history Brigham H. Roberts points to the action of Smith in the Iowa meeting as example of "elasticity in church government and law."69 What Roberts does not point out is that it is a bold example of human-veto over claimed divine revelation, and an example of the trial and error process of the evolution of the Mormon system.
64 Evans, Op. Cit., p. 132. 65 Ibid., p. 133. 66

Marion G. Romney, "The Royal Law According To The Scripture," Improvement Era, Dec, 1954, Vol. 57, p. 906. 67 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, p. 49; Millenial Star, Vol. XV, p. 35. 68 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, pp. 93, 94. 69 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 93.

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Despite these admissions by Mormon historians said to be guided by the power of revelation in their individual understanding and interpretation of scripture, President David 0. McKay seems not to view the law of tithing as a lesser law of divine approval given only when the higher law had been rejected by human greed. He writes in The Improvement Era that the law of tithing was given by revelation to Joseph Smith in response to a prayer by Smith when Smith sought to know how much the Lord required of His people for a tithing. Tithing therefore, he affirms, is a law of God.10 President McKay undoubtedly does know the circumstances under which tithing came into being in the church, and knows that it is the result of experimentation by Mormon inspiration seeking for a practical and workable system for financing the program of the church. Mormons close their eyes to the direct parallel between Smith's going to the Lord to learn "how much he required of the people for a tithing" when they believe God had told him they should "consecrate all thy properties" to the church "with a covenant and a deed that cannot be broken" and the Old Testament case of Balaam going to God "that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more"71 after God had told him: "Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed."72 Despite the fact that Balaam brought about his downfall through rejecting God's earlier instruction, Mormon inspiration would have us believe that God set aside the United Order and gave a "less perfect law" due to the rejection of the people. To the candid student it is obvious that the "Order" did not work out, while the system of tithing proved both workable and profitable. Joseph A. Geddes points out that on July 8, 1838, the law of tithing was announced and ten days later a "revelation" placed the control of tithing in the hands of the First Presidency, the Bishop, and his Council. From that time on the church had no problems of a serious nature financially, and began to have funds available to launch into many educational and other fields with which the church has concerned itself.73 Thus by shifting from the "United Order" of Joseph Smith's inspiration to the more workable system of tithing which biblical
70 David O. McKay, "The Tenth Part," Improvement Era, Oct. 1956, Vol. 59, p. 701. 71 Numbers 22:19. 72 Ibid., 22:12. 73 Geddes, Op. Cit, p. 42.

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inspiration first revealed and employed to the successful upbuilding of the nation of Israel in Old Testament days Mormonism found the means to the income it needed. Today it operates gigantic business enterprises ranging from hotel and newspaper corporations to mercantile and banking establishments.74 Despite the success of its financial enterprises, there still hovers over the system of Mormonism and even the nation the possibility that if it continues to grow in political power its leaders may at some time in the future seek again to impose the iron hand of communism upon its subjects. The upper echelons of the Mormon priesthood concede that Smith originated the United Order before tithing, and claim that the former represents a higher law. As John A. Widtsoe, writing in The Improvement Era, they find a consolation in the failure of their prophet by blaming persecution and other factors for the suspension of the Order as a way of life, and venture to suggest that even yet in the future it may become the fulfillment of what is now considered an ideal.75 The reader may well ponder the question as to whether the present day Mormon Church constitutes a threat of communism for the nation should she obtain the political strength to wield the powerful force in national affairs she does in Utah politics today. It is doubtful, since the "Order" has not worked successfully in any attempt made to impose it. Each time the veto power of individual Mormons has been exercised and the Order rejected. If, on the other hand, the law of tithing be admitted to be more practical and desirable so that Mormonism does not pose a real threat of communism, why did not Mormon inspiration come up with it in the first place instead of the United Order? E. Church And State Few subjects within the scope of Mormonism have been more ardently controverted than the Mormon position regarding the relationship of church and state. Present day Mormons and all Mormon historians deny that Joseph Smith ever sought to unite church and state under a single theocratic government. Many non-Mormon writers have as persistently contended that he did. Careful examination reveals that while the pendulum of Mormon inspired opinion has swung far from the position it occupied in the first decades of Mormonism, there remains a definite conviction that eventually the
74 O. K. Armstrong, "Should Churches Be Exempt From Business Taxes?" Reader's Digest, November 1961, p. 112. 75 John A. Widtsoe, "Are Communism And Its Related 'Isms' Preparatory To The United Order?" Improvement Era, October 1940, Vol. 43, pp. 609, 633.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Saints will rule the earth as the ministers of God, and that Christ will definitely set up such a theocratic government on the earth. Mormon inspiration has made its most definite shift on the point of whether or not that kingdom has already been set up. That the present generation of Mormons has backed away from the position occupied by their founders establishes forcibly the inability of Mormon inspiration to provide accurate and reliable insight. Joseph Smith, Jr., in his letter to John Wentworth, declared that the Mormons believed "in being subject to kings, presidents," etc.76 But this was an occasion where publicity was needed, and good publicity could be obtained. Wentworth was the "Editor and Proprietor of the Chicago Democrat"- and he had made request for the information. The Mormon prophet was thereby afforded a good opportunity to obtain wide publicity, and it is certain that such a letter would be allowed to contain nothing that would hurt the Mormon cause. The Wentworth letter is still considered "one of the choicest documents in our Church literature"78 by Mormon authorities. During the Reed Smoot hearings in the United States Senate, occasioned by the Mormon position on both plural marriage and church and state, a "rule" of the church concerning religious and political responsibility was submitted which bore the signatures of the First Presidency, the twelve apostles of the Mormon Church, and other church dignitaries. It declared: "On behalf of the Church, of which we are leading officers, we desire again to state to the members and also to the public generally that there has not been, nor is there, the remotest desire on our part, or on the part of our 79 coreligionists, to do anything looking to a union of church and state." This rule was said to have been adopted by the church in conference on the sixty sixth anniversary of the church's existence, April 6, 1896. Later publications corroborate the fact that the Mormon priesthood outwardly gives every indication that it seeks to abide in the declared relationship to the civil governments under which it functions. Apostle James E. Talmage affirms the conviction that the loyalty and patriotism of the members of the church will be vindicated and extolled by the world.80
76 Joseph Smith, Jr., "The Wentworth Letter," Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 710; Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. IV, p. 541. 77 Smith, History of the Church, Vol. IV, p. 535. 78 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 535. Footnote. 79 Reed Smoot Testimony, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905, p. 106. 80 Talmage, Op. Cit, p. 413.

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Regarding the allegiance of the Saints to civil law, Talmage cites Smith's revelation of August 1, 1831, instructing the Mormons not to break the laws of the land.81 It is noteworthy that the revelation specifies: "that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights82 and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me." The Mormons make no effort to conceal their belief that if they deem a law "unconstitutional" they are not bound to obey it until it is declared constitutional. This explanation is standard when justifying the early Mormons' refusal to cease the practice of plural marriage when first required by federal law to do so. During World War I the Liahona The Elders' Journal published quotations from former presidents Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff in effort to establish that the Saints were patriotic supporters of the government and the Constitution. Save for that from Brigham Young few loyal Americans would take exception to the statements. Young's statement, if read without a knowledge that the early Mormons advocated a union of church and state, would excite little or no alarm. In possession of additional information concerning Young's position, it is readily apparent that he spoke not of our system of American government, but of the same after it became a theocracy with the capitol moved from Washington to Independence, Missouri. Young's statement read: "When the day comes in which the kingdom of God will bear rule, the flag of the United States will flutter unsullied on the flagstaff of Liberty and equal rights; without a spot to sully its fair surface; the glorious flag our fathers have bequeathed to us will then be unfurled to the breeze by those who have power to hoist it aloft and defend its sanctity."83 Turning back the pages of history to gain a fuller view of the relationship between church and state as defined by the inspiration of early Mormonism, the same man, Brigham Young, stated on April 6, 1852: "The Lord God Almighty has set up a kingdom that will sway the sceptre of power and authority over all kingdoms of the world, and will never be destroyed, it is the kingdom that Daniel saw and wrote of. It may be considered treason to say that the kingdom which the prophet foretold is actually set up; that we cannot help, but we 84 know it is so, and call upon the nations to believe our testimony."
81 82

Ibid., p. 422. Doctrine and Covenants 98:5. 83 Liahona The Elders' Journal, July 2, 1918, Vol. 16, p. 840. 84 Journal Of Discourses, Vol. I, pp. 202, 203.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Again, Brigham declared: "We have got a Territorial Government, and I am and will be Governor, and no power can hinder it, until the Lord Almighty says: 'Brigham, you need not be Governor any longer;' and then I am willing to yield to another Governor. . . . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Inasmuch as we send brother Bernhisel back to Washington, I say to him, Fear not their faces, nor their power, for we are perfectly prepared to take all the nations of the earth on our back; and they are there already, and we will round up our shoulders, and bear up the ponderous weight, carry the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, gather Israel, redeem Zion, and continue our operations until we bind Satan, and the kingdoms of this world become the 85kingdom of our Lord and His Christ; and no power can hinder it." Speaking at the April, 1853, conference of the church, apostle John Taylor said: "Let us now notice our political position in the world. What are we going to do? We are going to possess the earth. Why? Because it belongs to Jesus Christ, and he belongs to us, and we to him; we are all one, and will take the kingdom and possess it under the whole heavens, and reign over it for ever and ever. Now, ye kings and emperors, help yourselves if you can. This is the truth, and it may as well be told at this time as any other."86 Again: "It is impossible that there can be any legitimate rule, government, power, or authority, under the face of the heavens, except that which is connected with the kingdom of God, which is established by new revelation from heaven."87 These statements from the official Journal of Discourses by no means exhaust the testimony of early Mormon inspiration that the kingdom of God was already set up as a political power and that all the nations would be absorbed by it. Apostle Orson Pratt began Part I of a series of pamphlets on "The Kingdom Of God" with these words: "The kingdom of God is an order of government established by divine authority. It is the only legal government that can exist in any part of the universe. All other governments are illegal and unauthorized."88 Mormon historian Brigham H. Roberts, in his editorial notes in the official History of the Church, concedes that Joseph Smith re85 86
87 88

Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 187189. Ibid., Vol. I, p. 230.

Ibid., Vol. I, p. 225. Orson Pratt, A Series Of Pamphlets, "The Kingdom Of God," Part I, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, p. 1.

"ZION" AND MORMON INSPIRATION


89

203

garded Nauvoo, Illinois, as a "city-state," though he excuses Smith on the grounds that it was an "unconscious reversion, in an incipient way, to the 'citystates' or 'city-republics' of the old Greek confederation; or the 'free-towns' of medieval times, when the cities were more potent than nations in commerce and even in politics."90 An ordinance passed by the Nauvoo city council on July 5, 1842 regarding writs of habeas corpus shows that the Mormons wanted to move themselves beyond the reach of all other authority of law state or national. It provided that no citizen could be taken from the city by any writ without the privilege of being investigated by the municipal court and the benefit of a writ of habeas corpus. It provided further that all citizens of the city had the right of trial in that city and were not to be subjected to the illegal processes their enemies might use.91 The "ordinance was signed by Joseph Smith as Mayor. Thereafter it became impossible for any state, even that of Illinois, to extradite any citizen of Nauvoo for trial elsewhere except with the consent of Joseph Smith and the Mormon priesthood. Governor Thomas Ford of Illinois records that about this time the Mormons petitioned Congress: "for a territorial government to be established there, and to be independent of the State government."92 Henry Caswell, an Episcopalian preacher and visitor to Nauvoo in 1842, relates that one of the Mormon leaders who by "revelation" had been appointed to the committee to erect the Nauvoo House told him: "He regarded a strong monarchy as essential to good government, and he believed that this opinion was generally held among the 'Saints.' "93 J. H. Beadle quotes Sidney Rigdon as having declared in Far West, Missouri on July 4, 1838, that the "Saints were above all law."94 This is very unlikely. The quote is not to be found in the printed version of the celebrated "Salt Sermon," and it appears to be too much in contradiction with other statements made, such as: "In celebrating this, the anniversary of our independence, all party distinctions should be forgotten, all religious differxxiv. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 57. 92 Thomas Ford, History Of Illinois, Lakeside Edition, Vol. II, The Lakeside Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1936, pp. 171, 172. 93 Henry Caswell, City of the Mormons, J. G. F. & J. Rivington, London, 1842, p. 24. 94 Beadle, Life in Utah, p. 46.
89 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. V, p. 297. 90 Ibid., "Introduction," Vol. IV, p. 91

204

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION ences should be laid aside. We are members of one common republic, equally dependent on a faithful execution of its laws for our protection, in the enjoyment of our civil, political, and religious privileges. All have a common interest in the preservation of the Union, and in the defense and support of the constitution." * * * * * * * * * * * * * "All attempts, on the part of religious aspirants, to unite Church and state, ought to be repeled (sic) with indignation, and every religious society supported in its rights, and in the exercise of its conscientious devotions."95

Rigdon and the Mormons may have entertained no thought of a complete uniting of church and state at that early period of Mormon history. Beadle possibly was confusing with the Salt Sermon of 1838 a statement made by Rigdon in 1844 which was published in the Times and Seasons. During a church conference at Nauvoo, Rigdon said: "The law of God is far more righteous than the laws of the land; the laws of God are far above the laws of the land. The kingdom of God does not interfere with the laws of the land, but keeps itself by its own laws."96 In addition to the facts above cited from quotations taken from Mormon leaders and that contained in the Caswell quotation, the History of the Church points out that: "Our Church organization was converted, by the testimony of the apostates, into a temporal kingdom, which was to fill the whole earth, and subdue all other kingdoms."97 The testimony of the "apostates" is seen to make the same observations which are established by quotations from the Mormons themselves. Elias Higbee also recounts by letter to Joseph Smith the fact that while the Mormons were seeking redress through Congress, a Mr. Jamison, and Mr. Linn summoned all energies to charge that Smith: "led the people altogether by Revelation, in their temporal, civil, and political matters."98 Unfortunately for the Mormon cause, there is more than bare possibility that these testimonies of "apostates" and opponents were fact rather than imagination. They are corroborated strongly by not only the testimony of the church leaders in Utah a few years later, but by such Mormons as those who undertook a reformation within
95 Sidney Rigdon, An Oration, Elders' Journal 96 Times and Seasons, May 1, 1844, Vol. 5, p. 97 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 211. 98

Press, Far West, Missouri, p. 5. 524.

Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 85.

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the ranks of the Mormons at Nauvoo and began publishing the Nauvoo Expositor, which lived for but one issue before being smashed by Smith and the Nauvoo City Council. It affirmed: "We will not acknowledge any man as king or law-giver to the church; for Christ is our only king and law-giver."99 Again: "The next important item which presents itself for our consideration, is the attempt at Political power and influence, which we verily believe to be preposterous and absurd. We believe it is inconsistent, and not in accordance with the christian religion. We do not believe that God ever raised up a Prophet to christianize a world by political schemes and intrigue."100 The implication of these statements is substantiated by the fact that Smith did not hesitate to mix his religion and politics in sending out missionaries to preach the gospel and "disabuse" the public with regard to his own arrest.101 The official history is filled with page upon page of narrative and description of events which reveal the intermingling of the Mormons' political and religious activity. Despite historian Brigham H. Roberts' attempt to minimize the seriousness of Smith's thinking when he announced himself as a candidate for the United States Presidency in 1844,102 Smith himself had declared that there was enough oratory in the Church to carry him into the presidential chair the first slide.103 He also related that one morning immediately after he made the above declaration, a Captain White of Quincy drank a toast calling for Nauvoo to become the empire seat of government.104 In April, 1844, Brigham Young spoke at a general conference in England, and is quoted by the official report as having said it was time for the United States to have a President. Elders were to be sent to preach and electioneer. He declared that the government belonged to God and that no man could draw the dividing line between the government of God and that governing the children of men.105 J. S. Beadle twice cited the testimony of Governor Thomas Ford that it was reported that: "The Mormons openly denounced the government of the
99

The Nauvoo Expositor, June 7, 1844, p. 2, col. 4. (only one issue printed) Ibid., p. 2, col. 2. 101 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 485. 102 Ibid., "Introduction," Vol. VI, p. xxxiv. 103 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 188. 104 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 189. 105 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 322.
100

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

United States as utterly corrupt, and as being about to pass away and to be replaced by the government of God, to be administered by his servant Joseph."106 Ford also relates: "It seems from the best information which could be got from the best men who had seceded from the Mormon church that Joe Smith about this time conceived the idea of making himself a temporal prince as well as a spiritual leader of his people."107 Ford was doubtless referring to the testimony of William Law and others in the Nauvoo Expositor, as well as similar testimony borne elsewhere. Smith himself records that Law and Dan Jones, while seeking to obtain a warrant for Smith's arrest, testified that when Smith was preaching from Daniel 2:44 he had affirmed that the kingdom spoken of was already set up and that he, Smith, was king over it.108 Evidently Joseph Smith did allow himself to actually be "ordained" king, for George Arbaugh cites a quotation from William Marks to the effect that Smith suffered himself to be "ordained king to reign over the house of Israel forever."109 Arbaugh credited the quotation to C. B. Thompson's Zion's Harbinger and Baneemy's Organ, III, No. 7 (July 1853) p. 52. Such is the degree of evidence which indicates that the early Mormons were at about the time of the Nauvoo period led by Mormon inspiration to look for and endeavor to establish a literal theocracy by which they expected God to rule the peoples of the earth. Modern Mormons reject openly the idea of a union of church and state, as did Sidney Rigdon before the period. But as late as July, 1961, President David O. McKay affirmed that from the standpoint of efficiency and progress the Mormon Church has the form of government for which the nations are seeking.110 He does not say that the government of the church will continue to grow until it envelops the governments of the earth as Brigham Young would have said it. Nor does Sidney B. Sperry indicate the Mormon system has entirely deserted the former concept regarding the union of church and state. When commenting upon Doctrine and Covenants 111:4, he declares that it obviously is a prophecy of
106

Beadle, Life In Utah, p. 92; Polygamy, p. 77; see also Ford, Op. Cit., Vol.

II, pp. 158, 159. 107 Ford, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 157. 108 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. VI, pp. 568, 569. 109 George Arbaugh, Revelation In Mormonism, Univ. Of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 1932, pp. 122, 123. 110 David O. McKay, "The Government of the Church," Improvement Era, July 1961, Vol. 64, p. 487.

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some happening, yet future, and evidently looks forward to a day when the Lord's kingdom will be established on the earth and when cities, towns, and nations will be governed by those holding the priesthood.111 Present day Mormon inspiration simply concludes that Mormon inspiration erred during Brigham Young's time, as well as during the last days of Smith's era, and that the conviction that the kingdom was already set up and destined to rule the nations was the result of some lack of wisdom. But Mormons high in the priesthood obviously still anticipate the coming of a day in which they will rule the world through the government of God in which church and state will be one. Their failure to recognize the fulfillment of Daniel 2:44 in the establishment of the New Testament church on the day of Pentecost following the Lord's resurrection,112 and the force of Christ's own words that his kingdom "is not of this world"111 reveals that Mormon inspiration and biblical inspiration are not the same. Mormon inspiration bears abundant testimony that it is no more accurate than the well-studied plans and thinking of uninspired men. It is not the infallible inspiration of God.
Sperry, Op. Cit, p. 609. Matthew 16:18, 19; Mark 1:15; 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-47; Col. 1:2, 13; 1 Cor. 15:24-26. 113 John 18:36.
112 111

CHAPTER NINE

Skotching the Wagon


When the author was a boy in the Highland Rim country of Tennessee, a common and frequent task was the assigned responsibility of "skotching" a loaded wagon uphill. The job consisted of the simple chore of walking beside the wagon with a rock in hand, in readiness to slip the rock under the rear wheel when the team stopped to breathe and rest. The longer and steeper the grade, the more frequent the necessity for skotching. This term "skotching the wagon" is an apt designation for what Pomeroy Tucker termed "second-thought"1 developments of Mormon inspiration. Most all of the "second-thought" developments are found to be designed to: (1) save the ship of Mormonism from perishing; (2) to correct the errors of the prophet; and (3) to embellish and decorate those features of the system which it was felt had proved to be an asset to the same. Though non-Mormon writers have made frequent reference to second-thought developments of Mormonism, one does not have to rely upon their accounts to establish the certainty that Mormon inspiration has frequently resorted to "skotching" tactics. Before the Book of Mormon was issued Joseph Smith saw the need for counteracting the influence of the imperfections in his claimed product of the "gift and power of God." Mormon is said to have declared by the power of revelation: "And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these."2 Again: "And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire."3 It is unlikely that Smith knew "no fault," since Mormon historians and writers freely admit the presence of abundant imperfection in the first edition of that work. Far more probable it is that Smith, knowing that imperfection would be there included these
1 Pomeroy Tucker, Origin, Rise, And Progress of Mormonism, D. Appleton & Co., New York, New York, 1867, p. 118. 2 Mormon 8:12. 3 Mormon 8:17.

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209

passages purposefully to lessen the embarrassment of their presence. Section 3 of the Doctrine and Covenants and Smith's Preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon are written primarily to explain the loss of one hundred sixteen pages of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon which Martin Harris allowed to become lost. Pomeroy Tucker says that Martin's wife, Lucy Harris, burned the pages of manuscript.4 Clark Braden,5 and others have accepted Tucker's statement as reliable. Fawn McKay Brodie states that Lucy stole the manuscript and refused to divulge its hiding place.8 Whatever became of the portion of manuscript, it was a development Smith had not anticipated, so he was faced with a positive need for some "second-thought" inspiration. Though Brodie affirms that Smith wept and groaned, feeling severely the blow to his plans,7 he soon came up with the needed solution by having "the Lord" explain the loss was due to the action of His enemies to make it appear that Joseph did not possess the power of divine inspiration. If Joseph attempted to re-translate the pages the enemy could then claim that the two copies were not translated alike. "God" had prepared a solution for the dilemma, Smith revealed by Mormon inspiration. Since the contents of the one hundred sixteen pages were a summary taken from the plates of Lehi of material found unabridged in other portions of the Book of Mormon, it was not necessary to re-translate the portion at all! The rolling wagon had been skotched! Despite the fact that a portion of manuscript said to have been guarded for centuries by divine inspiration and miraculous protection, brought to light through the appearance of angels and translated by the "gift and power of God" had been destroyed by an unbelieving woman, the portion was not necessary for divine purposes at all! Smith could not risk translation again for fear the first version might reappear at a later date. Lamar Petersen points out that Section 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants is another bit of Mormon "second-thought" inspiration. Mormons claim that the priesthood was restored under the hand of Elijah, but Mormon inspiration forgot to record such taking place. The Mormon system had rolled along for thirty two years after the death of Joseph Smith when this bit of claimed "revelation" appeared in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.8
Tucker, Op. Cit., pp. 45, 46. Clark Braden & E. L. Kelley, Kelley-Braden Debate, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, Calif., 1955, p. 77. 6 Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957, p. 54. 7 Ibid ., 54. 8 Lamar Petersen, Problems In Mormon Text, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957, P. 4.
5 4

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Section 40 of the Doctrine and Covenants was necessitated by the failure of Section 39. Both are directed to James Covill. In Section 39 Smith says to him, as with the voice of God: "And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee. And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time; and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings up on thy head; . . ."9 When Covill refused to accept the instructions given in Section 39, the following section became necessary. It was declared that though his heart had been right at the time, "straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persection and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word." Section 24:18 instructed the Saints to take no purse nor scrip as they went forth to "prune the vineyard with a mighty pruning." It is not surprising to find that a bit later during the Kirtland trials, Smith found it necessary to come up with a special revelation to Newel Knight instructing him: "And after you have done journeying, behold, I say unto you, 10 seek ye a living like unto men, until I prepare a place for you." Knight apparently had come to believe that God would provide all the necessities of life for him, and Mormon inspiration was compelled to command him to work for a living like other people. Smith's handing out of specific and individual "revelations" with minute directions for each person must have become quite a chore as the number of his followers increased. In Section 58 he is found giving the instruction: "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."11 A number of other examples of the "skotching the wagon" technique have been treated in earlier chapters of this work under other headings. Among them will be found references to: (1) the change from Nephi to Moroni of the angel said to have appeared to Joseph Smith to reveal the hiding place of the plates of the Book of Mormon; (2) Section 105 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which was designed to escape from the failure of the "Zion's Camp" revelation;
9 10 11

Doctrine and Covenants 39:7 8. Ibid., 54:9. Ibid., 53:26, 27.

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(3) The midnight rendezvous of the early Mormon apostles at Far West, Missouri to endeavor to fulfill Smith's prophecy of July 8, 1838 contained in Section 118; and (4) Smith's claim that the cholera was given to him for his attempt to thwart God's purposes in seeking to cure those afflicted with the disease. Other similar cases could be cited. The 1820 Vision Without doubt, the most glaring bit of "second-thought" embellishment of the Mormon system is the claim made regarding the 1820 vision in which it is said that both God the Father and Christ the Son appeared to Joseph Smith. The importance of this claimed vision to the Mormon system today is evidenced by numerous references to it in Mormon literature. Elder Nephi Jensen wrote: "This vision marked the beginning of 'Mormonism.' In that hour, this boy made 12 the greatest religious discovery since the first era of Christianity." In a footnote in The Missouri Persecutions, Brigham H. Roberts wrote: "I cannot refrain at this point from calling attention, at least in a footnote, to the importance of this great vision which lies at the very foundation of what the world calls 'Mormonism.' At a glance it gives the reason for the existence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and also the reason for the proclamation 13of the new dispensation of the Gospel it presents to the world." John Henry Evans describes the claimed vision and speaks of it as: "what will some day be generally regarded as the most important event in the history of the world, excepting alone the revelation of Godhood in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ."14 John Longden, assistant to the Council of the Twelve, makes the claimed 1820 vision one of four cornerstones of the system of Mormonism, of which the other three are the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church, and the embodiment of the truths taught by Smith.15 So important is this vision believed to be that one can hardly find an important work of Mormonism today that does not refer to
Nephi Jensen, "Direct Communication With God The Foundation Of Mormonism," Liahona The Elders' Journal, August 27, 1918, Vol. 16, p. 962. 13 Brigham H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 12. 14 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Third Edition, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, p. 18; see also Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 15, p. 400. 15 Improvement Era, December 1955, Vol. 58, p. 927.
12

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it. Aware of this importance attached to the vision, the reader is hardly prepared to learn that the vision is entirely a "secondthought," "skotching the wagon" creation of Mormon inspiration designed to embellish the grand ship of Mormonism and to heighten the prestige of the Mormon prophet. Not a word is to be found in all the voluminous pages printed by the Mormon presses for the first ten years of Mormonism regarding the claimed incident. It was first published by Smith in the John Wentworth letter in the Times and Seasons for March 1, 1842.16 Orson Pratt had described it briefly in "Remarkable Visions," a pamphlet published in Liverpool in 1840.17 Thus, when the vision was first mentioned in print it was back-dated two full decades. Hugh Nibley labored diligently in a series of articles in the Improvement Era to save this important vision for the cause of Mormonism.18 He affirmed that it was only with reluctance that Smith ever related the vision publicly at all, and that his ultimate writing of it was merely to set the record straight because many false accounts had been set in motion by anti-Mormon writers. He avers that according to Smith's own explanation he would not have told of the vision at all had it not been for the scandal stories that were being circulated.19 But Nibley's effort, as gallant as it is for the Mormon cause, fails to supply a credible basis for the claimed vision. An excerpt from the M.I.A. Junior Manual, 1908-9, reveals that Mormon inspiration long ago conceded that Smith did relate the claimed vision and therefore all Mormons during the 1830-40 period must have been aware of it if it occurred. The M.I.A. Manual states: "Of course, Joseph told this strange and wonderful story to his friends. The very first man after his parents and family was a Methodist minister, active in the religious excitement going on thereabouts. The minister treated the boy's message with contempt, and told him it was from the Devil, that there are no such things as revelations and 20 visions now, but that these had ceased with the apostles of Christ." The Manual, continuing, quoted from Joseph Smith's own words as published in the Times and Seasons: "I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak unto me, or
Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, pp. 706, 707; see also Petersen, Op. Cit., p. 3. Brodie, Op. Cit., p. 275. 18 Hugh Nibley, "Censoring The Joseph Smith Story," Improvement Era, July-November 1961. 19 Improvement Era, July 1961, Vol. 64, p. 522. 20 Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 14, p. 480.
17 16

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one of them did; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision yet it was true; . . ."21

The substance of this account is contained virtually unchanged in the current edition of the official history of the church,22 affirming that Smith's relating of the story caused "a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase."23 Apostle James E. Talmage recognizes the natural impact of such supernatural experiences upon the human mind, and concedes that in the absence of divine command to keep silence the first impulse of any person thus experiencing direct contact with deity would be to make it known publicly. Talmage states that such knowledge could not be held secret and that Smith hesitated not to relate it, first to his own family, and then later to the ministers who had tried to convert him to their respective creeds.24 It must therefore be conceded that if Joseph Smith experienced this vision, it was at the same time both the first and most outstanding of all the visions and supernatural experiences he was to experience. It must also be admitted that it was publicly related first to his parents, and later to his friends and to "sectarian ministers" who had sought to convert him. All these facts are admitted in the authoritative writings of men guided by the inspiration of Mormonism. Despite these facts, it is still true that none of the early writings of Mormonism contain any reference to the claimed vision. Biographer Fawn McKay Brodie, though her biography of Smith is not approved by the church, calls attention to the fact that when Lucy Mack Smith wrote to her brother, Solomon, January 6, 1831, giving the details of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the establishing of the new church, she made no reference whatever to such a vision.25 This letter, included in the bits of Mormon literature compiled by Ben E. Rich,26 remains a devastating indictment against the genuineness of the claimed vision. For Lucy Smith was the mother of Joseph Smith, Jr. The vision is said to have been first related to his parents, and Lucy wanted to convince her brother of the genuineness of the new faith. That she would entirely omit the greatest bit of evidence in her possession at a time when Joseph
Ibid., p. 480; Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 749. Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1902, Vol. I, pp. 5-7. 23 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 7. 24 James E. Talmage, Articles Of Faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952, p. 11. 25 Brodie, Op. Cit., p. 24. 26 Ben E. Rich, Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, Chicago, Ill., 19, Vol. I, p. 543.
22 2l

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Smith is said to have endured great "persecution" because of the publicity given the appearance of the Father and the Son is incredible. Orson Spencer, writing to William Crowel, a Baptist preacher, under date of November 17, 1842, said: "Joseph Smith, when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him, was not far from the age of seventeen; . . ."27 That the claimed appearance of the angel Moroni (Nephi) in 1823 when Smith was seventeen was the earliest manifestation of deity to Smith that was claimed during the early days of Mormonism is further established by the letters of Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps which were published in the Messenger and Advocate. Cowdery proposed to supply a full history of the rise of the church to that present time, and: "That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons, that our brother J. Smith jr. has offered to assist us. Indeed, there are many items connected with the fore part of this subject that render his labor indispensible. With his labor and with authentic documents now in our possession, we hope to render this a pleasing and agreeable 28narrative, well worth the examination and perusal of the Saints." In Letter IV, Cowdery corrects an error made in a previous letter as follows: "You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith, Jr's age that was an error in the type it should have been the 17th, You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823."29 Cowdery thus calls special attention to the importance of the reader bearing in mind that the date of 1820 when the prophet was fifteen years old was not the occasion of the first appearance of deity to him. Instead, it should have been stated that it was the seventeenth year of his life, and the date brought down to "1823." This, however, is something of an insignificant point when compared with Cowdery's statement regarding Smith's purpose in approaching the Lord:
27 Orson Spencer, Letters, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891, p. 25. 28 Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 1, p. 13. 29 Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 78.

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"And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him."30 Cowdery then proceeded to give the account of the supposed visit of the angel which Mormon inspiration has since changed in name from Nephi to Moroni. Thus he passed from his account of Smith's first attempt to get the plates of the Book of Mormon to 1827 with no mention of the 1820 vision, and crediting the claimed appearance of the angel as a response to Smith's desire to know for certainty whether or not "a Supreme being did exist," and if so whether he was accepted of him. It is incredible that a youth who had two to three years earlier actually talked with both the Father and the Son would not know whether a Supreme Being existed. Cowdery makes no mention of any persecution of Smith during those intervening years between 1820 and 1823. Lest it be claimed that the omission of these important facts necessary to corroborate the genuineness of the 1820 vision was due to oversight or typographical error, it should be noted that Cowdery's letters were later reprinted in the Times and Seasons during the Nauvoo period.31 Surely had the omission been the result of error or oversight, Smith would have insisted upon a correction before allowing publication again. The claimed 1820 vision continues as one of the veritable cornerstones of Mormonism for all faithful Latter-day Saints. It has been added as an after-thought, as the adding of another jewel to adorn the person of a lady preparing to promenade before the eyes of her devoted admirers. The vision was not mentioned for twenty years after supposedly taking place, and Mormons must rely upon the internal testimony of conscience in order to believe that it occurred. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith presented the only evidence by which the Latter-day Saints can hope to perpetuate the story of the vision, when addressing the one hundred twentieth semi-annual church conference. He declared that he could safely say that he knew that God did speak to Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and that the Father had introduced His Son to Joseph Smith. God asked Smith what he wanted to know and gave him counsel, with the promise that other light would come to him which had come in the fulness of the gospel. The present day "apostle" declared that he
30 31

Ibid.( Vol. 1, p. 78. Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, p. 241.

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knew and his audience knew that this was true, and that every person on earth who had a desire to know it could do so by going to the Lord with humility and faith and he would receive that knowledge.32 The credibility of the story therefore rests not upon logical and intelligent evidence preserved in the normal manner in which historical events are recorded for posterity. It rests instead upon the testimony of Mormon inspiration beginning two decades after the phenomenal event is said to have occurred. We fully agree with Joseph Fielding Smith that the story is "either true or false." We deny that it is essential to have a "desire" plus "humility," "faith," and an internal testimony of divine inspiration within before one can accurately judge the credibility of the evidence upon which the story rests. The story is but Joseph Smith's boldest bit of "secondthought" inspiration and was doubtless suggested by the manifestation of God on the occasion of the baptism of Jesus by the hands of John the Baptist in the Jordan River.33
Joseph Fielding Smith, "A Testimony Of The Truth," Improvement Era Nov. 1949, Vol. 52, p. 706. 33 Matthew 3:13-17.
32

CHAPTER TEN

Polygamy--An "Ideal"
The subject of polygamy and its relationship to the system of Mormonism has been so often and so thoroughly treated by so many different authors, the present writer came very close to concluding to leave the topic out entirely. Space does not permit reference to even a small portion of the material pro and con which has been written on the subject. At the same time the doctrine of celestial marriage, with polygamy or plural marriage an integral part of the doctrine, represents a definite stroke of the pen of Mormon inspiration by which Joseph Smith, Jr., and other Mormon leaders, sought to set aside the law of strict monogamy authorized by Jesus Christ1 and obtain acceptance by their followers of a system of plurality of wives instead. Plural marriage and Mormon inspiration are therefore inseparably linked together. There can be no full treatment of the latter without some consideration of the former. Had he not made the claim of divine revelation as authority for the introduction of the plural wife system, Smith could never have gained respectable acceptance of the system by the Mormons. Both John Doyle Lee2 and Fawn McKay Brodie3 recount that in 1842 Smith published a pamphlet by a man named Jacobs which endorsed the practice of polygamy, and which sought to justify it by references to the practice in the Old Testament. So unfavorable was the reaction among the Mormons that Smith was forced to retreat, and to denounce the pamphlet which bore the name "J. Smith" on the title page as its printer. Even after he produced the claimed revelation authorizing the practice of plural marriage as a claimed command of God, Smith found that there were devout Mormons who resented the doctrine. Some of them inaugurated the ill-fated Nauvoo Expositor as a news medium through which to champion reformation in the church and to oppose Smith as a false teacher essentially due to his position on marriage. In the "Preamble" of the sole issue published, one finds: "We are earnestly seeking to explode the vicious principles of Joseph Smith, and those who practice the same abominations and whoredoms; which we verily know are not accordant and consonant with the principles of Jesus Christ and the Apostles."4
5:31, 32; 19:3-9; Romans 7:1-3. John Doyle Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, M. E. Mason, St. Louis, Mo., 1891, p. 3146. Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957, pp. 298, 299. 4 The Nauvoo Expositor, June 7, 1844, p. 1.
1 Matthew 2

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Turning to the environment of modern research which is much kinder toward the Mormon leaders than the bluntness of the Expositor one still finds abundant evidence that the Mormons did not take to the system of plural marriage as universally as many non-Mormons believed. A grandson of Brigham Young states very simply and frankly that the principle of plural marriage was "never widely practiced."5 He quotes from and apparently accepts as reliable a statement made September 5, 1875, by a correspondent of the New York Tribune that the proportion of monogamous men to those polygamous among the Mormons in Utah was about six to one.6 Despite the claimed revelation, it was impossible for the Latter-day Saints to eliminate the influence of their earlier training and teaching. Dr. Kimball Young states: "As we shall show over and over again, despite the rationalization of the principle of celestial marriage and plurality of wives, the good Saints could not completely eliminate their strong Christian and monogamous moral ideas."7 Polygamy, or plural marriage, therefore was made a definite objective of Mormon inspiration and the degree of acceptance it enjoyed as an approved practice was proportionate to the faith of the Saints in Smith's power to receive revelations from God. Indeed, there is not a more reliable criteria by which to measure the genuineness of the Mormon revelations as words from heaven than by noting the utter failure of that concerning celestial marriage which purported to establish by divine sanction the practice of polygamy. As George Q. Cannon declared in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on October 8, 1869: "The question arises, What is going to be done with this institution? Will it be overcome? The conclusion arrived at long ago is that it is God and the people for it. God has revealed it, he must sustain it, we can not; we can not bear it off, he must. I know that Napoleon said Providence was on the side of the heaviest artillery, and many men think that God is on the side of the strongest party. The Midianites probably thought so when Gideon fell upon them with three hundred men. Sennacherib and the Assyrians thought so when they came down in their might to blot out Israel. But God is mighty; God will prevail; God will sustain that which he has revealed, and he will uphold and strengthen his servants and bear off his
Kimball Young, Isn't One Wife Enough? Henry Holt & Co., New York, N.Y., 1954, p. 452. 6 Ibid., p. 80. 7 Ibid., p. 27.
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people. We need not be afflicted by a8 doubt; a shadow of doubt need not cross our minds as to the result." A child born the day Cannon made his confident declaration concerning God's sustaining the principle of plural marriage was not to see his twenty first birthday before the system of plural marriage would be repudiated by the church as a law to be actually practiced. On September 24, 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto which set aside the practice of plural marriage, and on October 6 Lorenzo Snow of the Twelve Mormon Apostles presented a motion before the assembled conference of the church to sustain the Manifesto. The motion was unanimously approved. Both the Manifesto and Snow's motion appear in the current edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The practice of polygamy, authorized as a command of God by Mormon inspiration, was not sustained by the God of heaven. The principle of monogamy authorized by the Christ of the New Testament had triumphed. Mormon inspiration had once again revealed itself to be both in conflict with divine inspiration and of purely human origin. Lamar Petersen points out that sometime after the Manifesto was adopted the superscription of Section 132 in the Doctrine and Covenants was changed so as to make the plurality of wives an appendage to the "new and everlasting covenant of marriage, rather than the covenant itself."9 The revelation on celestial marriage made its public appearance in 1852, being published in the Deseret News Extra for September 14th. It was reprinted by S. W. Richards in the January 1, 1853, issue of The Millenial Star in Liverpool, and by Orson Pratt in the January, 1853, issue of The Seer, which Pratt began publishing in Washington, D. C. with that January issue. Pratt continued a lengthy series of articles expounding the new doctrine which extended through every issue of The Seer for 1853. Polygamy in Mormonism, however, began much earlier than 1852. Fanny Stenhouse relates that she was told by "respectable people" who lived at Nauvoo that Smith did not produce the revelation for at least four years after he began the practice of polygamy.10 That Mrs. Stenhouse was far off on her facts is evident from both the admissions of leading Mormons of her day and the discov8 George Q. Cannon, "Discourse On Celestial Marriage," included in Orson Pratt & J. P. Newman, Does The Bible Sanction Polygamy?, a debate, Deseret News Steam Printing Establishment, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1877, p. 104. 9 Lamar Petersen, Problems In Mormon Text, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957, p. 10 14. Mrs. T. B. H. Stenhouse, Tell It All, A. D. Worthington, & Co., Hartford, Conn., 1875, pp. 251, 252.

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eries of modern research. He waited much longer than four years. The efforts of Smith to incorporate the principle of polygamy into the Mormon system date almost from the very beginning of organized Mormonism. President Joseph F. Smith is quoted as stating that the principle of plural marriage was first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831, but that he was forbidden to make it public or teach it as a doctrine of the church at that time. He therefore confided the facts to but a very few of his most intimate associates, among whom were Oliver Cowdery, and Lyman E. Johnson. Johnson is said to have given the information to Orson Pratt in 1832, while Johnson and Pratt were traveling together.11 President Smith further affirmed that the knowledge of the principle remained a secret in the minds of a very few from 1831 until about 1842 when Smith was "commanded" by God to teach it to a number of others. Historian Brigham H. Roberts described the origin of the polygamy revelation as being the result of efforts by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to translate the Old Testament scriptures: "It must have been while engaged in that work that the evident approval of God to the plural marriage system of the ancient patriarchs attracted the Prophet's attention and led him to make those inquiries of the Lord to which the opening paragraphs of the written revelation refer."12 It was during 1831 and 1832 that Smith and Rigdon were engaged in their attempts to revise the Old Testament scriptures, and Roberts attributes to Smith the knowledge of the "rightfulness" of the practice of plural marriage as early as 1831. The careful student of Mormonism is compelled to accept the truth of these semi-official statements regarding the date of origin of the doctrine of polygamy, despite the contention of the Reorganized Church that Joseph Smith had nothing whatever to do with its introduction, and that it was the brainchild of Brigham Young in later years after the migration to Salt Lake City. Non-Mormon writers have with almost one accord accepted the testimony presented by the Utah Mormons to substantiate their claim that it originated with the first Mormon prophet. The evidence itself is too overwhelming to deny. Orson Pratt, in his debate with J. P. Newman, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in 1870 declared that in the early part of 1832 Joseph Smith had inquired of the Lord concerning the principle, and was told it was a true principle, but that the time to practice
Brigham H. Roberts, Outlines Of Ecclesiastical History, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1924, p. 429. 12 Brigham H. Roberts, The Rise And Fall Of Nauvoo, p. 114.
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it had not yet come. Concerning the polygamy revelation said to have been written in 1843, Pratt affirms that it was: "known by many individuals while the Church was yet in Illinois; and though it was not then printed, it was a familiar thing through all the streets of Nauvoo, and indeed throughout all Hancock County."14 Joseph Smith himself admitted quite frankly that the charge of polygamy was made against the Mormons in the Missouri persecutions. Writing to the church from Liberty Jail, Smith wrote: "Was it for committing adultery that we were assailed? We are aware that that false slander has gone abroad, for it has been reiterated in our ears. . . . "We have heard that it is reported by some, that some of us should have said, that we not only dedicated our property, but our families also to the Lord; and Satan, taking advantage of this, has perverted it into licentiousness, such as 15 a community of wives, which is an abomination in the sight of God." In 1844, when the persecutions were heaping upon the Mormon prophet during the final months of his life, he inadvertantly admitted that the charge of plural marriage began very early. In an address on May 26 he stated that he had scarcely been married five minutes and made one proclamation of the gospel before he had been reported to have seven wives.16 Despite the fact that the system of plural marriage was by Mormon inspiration said to have been approved for practice in modern times as early as 1831 or 1832, attempt was made to keep the knowledge of the practice and the system from the general public. The presence of the evidence above cited reveals that Smith was unable to keep the matter secret as was his purpose and intent. Smith claimed to have the "keys of this power," and forbade the teaching of the doctrine generally. On October 5, 1843, he entered in his official diary that he gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching or teaching or practicing the doctrine of polygamy. He insisted that he held the keys of the power in the last days and he maintained that he had constantly said that no man should have more than one wife at a time unless the Lord directed otherwise.17 A notice appeared in the February 1, 1844 issue of the Times and Seasons to the effect that Hiram Brown had been cut off from
Pratt-Newman, Op. Cit., p. 81. Ibid., p. 82. 15 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1905, Vol. III, p. 230. 16 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 410. 17 Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 46.
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the church and ordered to appear at the special conference on April 6 to make answer to charges of teaching polygamy in Lapeer County, Michigan.18 Under date of March 15, 1844, Hyrum Smith addressed a letter "To the brethren of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, living on China Creek, in Hancock County, Greeting:" The letter began: "Whereas, brother Richard Hewitt has called on me today, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practised here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also: therefore he had better beware what he is about. And again I say unto you, an elder has no business to undertake to preach mysteries in any part of the world, for God has commanded us all to preach nothing but the first principles unto the world. Neither has any elder any authority to preach any mysterious thing to any branch of the church unless he has a direct commandment from God to do so. Let the matter of the grand councils of heaven, and the making of gods, worlds, and devils entirely alone: for you are not called to teach any such doctrine for neither you nor the people are capacitated to understand any such principles less so to teach them. For when God commands men to teach such principles the saints will receive them."19 Thus Hyrum Smith avoided saying that there is no such thing as the doctrine of plurality of wives being believed and taught by placing emphasis upon a reported prerequisite that a man "may have as many wives as he pleases" if he have a "certain priesthood." Actually, no man was given such a privilege except with the approval and permission of the president of the church, regardless of priesthood. Despite this outward impression of denial intended for the public and the general body of the Latter-day Saints, the claimed revelation authorizing polygamy as a part of the "divine law of celestial marriage" is said to have been given to Smith more than a decade earlier, and was written down in July of 1843.20 George Q. Cannon admits that it was read before the High Council on August 12,
18 19 20

Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 423. Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 474. Doctrine and Covenants 132.

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21

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1843, and an affidavit signed by Austin Cowles in the Nauvoo Expositor states that Hyrum Smith read the claimed revelation before the High Council "in the latter part of the summer, 1843."22 Thus the practice of plural marriage by the authority and approval of Mormon inspiration covered a period of approximately one half century. It was extensively practiced by many Mormons before the writing of the claimed revelation on July 12, 1843. and as late as 1954 Kimball Young admits there was more than "mere rumor" to the stories that the principle was still being practiced in Salt Lake City and other Utah cities.23 The church casts off those indiiduals who are publicly exposed as involved in polygamous marriages, as it did the citizens of Short Creek, Arizona, when on July 27, 1953, Arizona officers raided that town and took custody of thirty three men, fifty women, and sixty three children. The news story released by Associated Press concluded as follows: "In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) said that 'all infractions of the moral code by individuals which have been brought to our attention have been promptly dealt with by our ecclesiastical tribunals, and that upon proof of guilt those who have been found guilty have been excommunicated. . . . We regard the reported proceedings24 as being entirely within the province of the civil authorities.' " Despite the fact that the church seeks to wash its hands of all responsibility in modern cases of polygamous marriages, the truth remains that the system was introduced by the authority of Mormon inspiration. Just as the first converts to Mormonism were not won over to polygamy in a day by a claimed revelation, it is too much to expect that people who have been truly taught to believe Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants was given to them by the authority of God will easily forget the "revelation" said to be from God actually commanded them to practice polygamy. As a definite objective of Mormon inspiration, the system of plural marriage now repudiated by the church stands high in its weight of testimony against the divine origin of the inspiration in Mormonism. 1. It bears testimony that Mormon inspiration is unable to accomplish its purposes. Mormon inspiration was unable to keep the doctrine secret from 1831 until 1843 when it is said that God commanded it not to be taught or practiced. Mormon inspiration failed
21 George Q. Cannon, The Life Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1907, p. 437. 22 The Nauvoo Expositor, June 7, 1844, p. 2. 23 Young, Op. Cit, p. 438. 24 Washington, D.C., Times-Herald, July 28, 1953.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

in its effort to get the principle accepted by the entire body of faithful Mormons at Nauvoo, when certain of them rejected the principle and began the publication of a newspaper which directly led to the arrest and ultimate death of the Mormon prophet who ordered the presses of the Expositor destroyed. Equally as important is the fact that Mormon inspiration was unsuccessful in its attempt to stop the practice of plural marriage by endorsement of the Manifesto. 2. The system of plural marriage also bears testimony that Mormon inspiration will be set aside if there is a sufficient public opposition and the weight of opinion, either within the church or outside it, is sufficiently aroused against it. God's revelations were never set aside in this manner by the objections of men. 3. The system bears testimony that Mormon inspiration will testify one thing even when knowing another to be true if conditions are believed to warrant it. For almost twenty years, from 1832 until 1852, plural marriage was being practiced by certain Mormon leaders, and during a good portion of the period supposedly by the authority of a written revelation. Yet Mormon leaders persistently denied all reports of such practices as lies, rumors, and persecutions. 4. It bears testimony that Mormon inspiration is incapable of clarifying Bible teaching. For those who believe in Mormon inspiration cannot be sure that another generation of Mormon leaders will teach the same doctrines held by the present one, even as it is evident that the present generation refuses to abide by the commands given by Smith in the purported revelation. Inspiration which so positively erred in concluding that God desired His people to practice plural marriage in the "last days" cannot be the infallible inspiration of God. 5. The revelation on celestial marriage is proof conclusive that Joseph Smith's efforts to revise the Bible and interpret scripture are no more accurate than his attempt to establish the practice of polygamy. Both were by the same inspiration. 6. The plural marriage "ideal" is one which many Mormons would like to forget. As Dr. Kimball Young writes: "Today the official Church wants to forget that it is a unique and different people. It has become more and more secularized and wants to be known as a group not unlike other religious bodies. This does not mean that the Mormons have relinquished their theory of divine revelation or the power of the priesthood, or of being the only true church in the world; but it does mean that certain factors which formerly stimulated a strong ingroup solidarity have disappeared. Among other items that they want to forget is the plural marriage system. The general au-

POLYGAMY AN "IDEAL"

225

thorities do not like members to talk about polygamy if they can avoid doing so."25 Thus the "ideal" of plural marriage, which led to as much suffering and persecution as any principle for which the first generation of Latter-day Saints stood, came to as inglorious an end as any principle which uninspired men ever attempted to foster upon the public under a false guise of claimed divine authority. The full import of Smith's revelation concerning plural marriage can aptly be summarized by a re-phrasing of the words of George Q. Cannon: "God did not sustain it; therefore He must not have revealed it."
25

Young, Op. Cit., p. 456.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Divine Inspiration Could Have Helped


The first half-century of Mormonism was a trying and hectic period characterized by anxiety, intense suffering, financial loss, and bloodshed. This is not too surprising when it is remembered that abundant hazards accompanied the opening up of the American west, and that the early history of Mormonism followed closely the frontier. Too, the doctrines advocated by Joseph Smith, Jr., were in conflict with established religious standards and social customs of the period. Add to these frictions the fact that the Mormons employed their numerical strength to attempt revolutions of a political nature and one finds more than enough reason to expect persecutions to arise even if all reports of improper conduct on the part of the Mormons themselves be discounted. Unfortunately for the Mormon cause, many of the reports concerning lawlessness and scandal on the part of the Mormons cannot be denied. Many such unfavorable reports are confirmed by such weighty evidence that the Latter-day Saint historians have been compelled to admit their truth. In the light of the Mormon claim to possess infallible inspiration from God for the direction of every faithful Mormon, and the claim that they possess a prophet endowed with the gift of the Spirit of God to receive revelations from God to direct the church, it is surprising that the failure of Mormon inspiration to guide her leaders in paths of less suffering and sacrifice did not cause an even greater array of apostates than history does reveal along the Mormon trail. Too many assurances were given through the Doctrine and Covenants revelations that the time was ripe for the building up of "Zion," and that the Saints were to triumph over their enemies and enjoy their inheritances in "Zion" for present-day Mormons to claim that God was not ready for them to have peace. The claim is repeatedly made that unfaithfulness on the part of the Mormons prevented the successful establishment of "Zion," but there is no room whatever for the claim that God was not ready for them to permanently establish Mormonism's "New Jerusalem" with its government of "peace." In view of these facts, let us note some instances wherein divine

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227

inspiration could have aided the Mormon cause immeasurably in the achieving of those purposes which Mormons claim that their prophet was raised up to accomplish. Assuming that Joseph Smith possessed the power to "inquire of the Lord" and receive by revelation the decisions of divine judgment in such material and trivial matters as are treated in many of the revelations Smith claimed to have received in that manner, there can be no doubt that he could have "inquired" of the Lord in other matters also. Why did he not do so? The fact that he did not do so, and the fact that his failure to do so later led to bitter sufferings and persecutions with resulting embarrassment to the Mormon cause stand as proof that he did not possess the power of divine inspiration. He was unable to communicate with God as he claimed to do. The warp and woof of the superstructure of Mormonism was woven through human experimentation rather than by divine creation and direction. 1. The Simonds Ryder Case In the spring of 1831 a young man named Simonds Ryder was converted to the Mormon faith. The History of the Church1 describes his conversion as the result of a fulfillment of a prediction apparently made by a Mormon girl regarding an earthquake in China. The sincerity of this man cannot be disputed in the light of his later life as a godly, self-sacrificing, honorable and upright Christian. Ryder's integrity, his devotion to logic and consistency, and support of his convictions enabled B. A. Hinsdale to say of him at his funeral: "The basis of his moral character was integrity. So far as known to me, no man has ever charged him with a deflection from the strict line of right. He never had a lawsuit in his life; dying, he leaves no enemy. This was largely owing to the fact that he always so regulated his life that he could be straightforward and honest. He never allowed the situation to become his master. He was so careful in making contracts; so wary of promising when it was questionable whether he could perform; so prompt in meeting his engagements, that it was always easy for him to be upright and honest."2 And again: "To sum up in a few words, Symonds Ryder had character. He did not drift on the current; he set currents in motion. He did not rest on the sentiment of the community; he formed sentiment for the community. He was not the creature of cirJoseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1902, Vol. 1, p. 158. 2 A. S. Hayden, History of the Disciples In The Western Reserve, Chase & Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1875, pp. 256, 257.
1

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

cumstances; he made them bow to him. As a citizen and a Christian, he had root in himself. Of course he had a will; a man of his stamp always has; without it character is impossible. His will may have run into excess; no doubt it did; but it was the inevitable play of a powerful and indispensible faculty. A man who was never firm even to obstinacy, never plain even to severity; never truthful even to unkindness, could not have done his work."3 Ryder served as an elder in the church of the Lord in Hiram, Ohio for a full one third of a century,4 was for some years the treasurer of Hiram College,5 and in many ways demonstrated that despite his strong will, his was a life of sincerity, integrity, and strong determination to serve the Lord. Yet he did not remain long in the embrace of Mormonism. When he received from Joseph Smith his notification that he had been chosen to preach the gospel, he found that his name had been mis-spelled. Both Brigham H. Roberts6 and John Henry Evans rely upon the information supplied in Hinsdale's funeral discourse to explain Ryder's apostasy from the Mormon faith. Evans wrote: "The conversion and the apostasy of Simonds Ryder are equally interesting as throwing light upon his character. Like Booth, Ryder was converted by a supernatural manifestation, though in his case it was a prophecy. An earthquake took place in Pekin, China, which Ryder had heard predicted by a young 'Mormon' girl six weeks previously. As he had been for some time considering whether or not to join the Church, this proved 'the final weight in the balance,' and he threw his influence upon the side of 'Mormonism,' which caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the conversion of Rigdon. He was ordained an elder, but in the letter which notified him of the fact that it was the will of the Lord that he should preach the gospel, as well as in his commission to preach, his named was spelled R-i-d-e-r instead of R-y-d-e-r. This led him to doubt whether the Lord had had anything to do with his call, since if the 'Spirit through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling 7 his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well.'" Thus by a failure to properly spell the name "Ryder" Mormon inspiration laid the stone of stumbling which overthrew the faith of a man of integrity, determination, conscientiousness, and logic. Ryder apostatized from the Mormon faith, and true to the descripp. 257. Ibid., p. 253. 5 Ibid., p. 257. 6 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. I, pp. 260, 261. 7 John Henry Evans, One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909, pp. 161, 162.
3 Ibid., 4

3rd

Edition,

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tion given of him by B. A. Hinsdale he was not satisfied to merely cease to be a Latter-day Saint. The prophet who could deceive him could deceive others, and the heretical doctrine that had engulfed him for a time could be the downfall of many souls. Ryder not only left Mormonism he opposed it. Mormon historians with one accord credit him with being the man who led the incensed group of citizens of Hiram, Ohio, who on the night of March 14, 1832, tarred and feathered Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.8 This opposition to the Mormons led to their departure from the community, Sidney Rigdon going to Kirtland by way of Chardon on March 31, with Smith leaving for Missouri on April l.9 It is not our purpose or intent to defend as right the mob-action of Ryder and his associates in ridding Hiram of the Mormon prophet and his chief associate. Those were the days of the frontier, and many times the only law was the law of the people themselves in action. The point in this incident which is of importance, and which stands out as a bright star against the dark background of the heavens, is that but for the inability of Mormon inspiration to correctly spell the man's name he would have been on the side of Smith and Rigdon, at the same time employing the force of his conscientious and dynamic influence to lead others to Mormonism rather than opposing it with the full strength of his being. It is insufficient for the Mormons today to attempt to vilify the name of Simonds Ryder as an apostate. His reasoning was both logical and sound. If Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and possessed the gift of communication with God it should have been a very easy matter for that divine inspiration to have made it possible for Smith to spell Ryder's name correctly. The passing of more than a century has not lessened the impact of the Simonds Ryder case upon the authority and reliability of Mormon inspiration and revelation. Had Smith been in possession of divine inspiration he would not have erred in so positive a manner. 2. The John C. Bennett Case One of the most notorious and infamous personalities ever to ally himself with the Mormons during the lifetime of Joseph Smith was Dr. John C. Bennett. Governor Thomas Ford termed him "probably the greatest scamp in the western country."10 Bennett became
Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. I, pp. 260-265. Ibid, Vol. I, p. 265. 10 Thomas Ford, History Of Illinois, Lakeside Edition, R. R. Donnelly & Sons, Chicago, Illinois, 1946, Vol. II p. 62.
9 8

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

a Mormon in 1840 and worked very closely with Joseph Smith in the inner circle of the Mormon leaders as an agent of the Latter-day Saints. Two years later he broke with the Mormons and published a series of letters which were later grouped together under the title "The History of the Saints; or an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism." Fawn McKay Brodie aptly terms the chapter in her biography of Smith which deals with the Bennett case "The Bennett Explosion."11 It is not surprising that the "expose" of a man who was later admitted by Mormon and non-Mormon alike to have been a "debauched, unprincipled, and profligate character"12 would depict the Mormons as the blackest creatures this side of hell. Without entering into the bitter discussion which ensued between Smith and Bennett as to which was the greater rogue, or which revealed the truth concerning the practice of "spiritual wifery" among the Mormons while Bennett was among them, historical facts compel the honest student of Mormonism to conclude that here was a case wherein, if Joseph Smith possessed the power of divine inspiration, such inspiration could have spared Smith and his followers much suffering and persecution. Since Bennett was already recognized by non-Mormons in those places where he had lived as but an unprincipled profligate, why did not the inspiration of Joseph Smith reject him from the first? In reply to earlier letters in which Bennett expressed a desire to come to Nauvoo, Joseph Smith wrote to him on August 8, 1840: "It would afford me much pleasure to see you at this place, and from the desire you express in your letter to move to this place, I hope I shall soon have that satisfaction."13 On February 1, 1841, Bennett's prestige and popularity among the Mormons was reflected in his election as Mayor of Nauvoo.14 He was named by Smith as chancellor of the proposed University of Nauvoo, when on February 3 of the same year a bill for the establishing of the university passed the vote of the city council.15 When the Nauvoo Legion was organized on February 4, Smith was elected "lieutenant-general," and "John C. Bennett, major-general."16 On December 20, 1841, following the nomination by the state gubernatorial convention of one Adam W. Snyder for governor of
11 Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, N.Y., 1957, pp. 309 322. 12 Ford, Op. Cit, Vol. II, p. 62. 13 Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 177. 14 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 287. 15 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 293. 16 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 296.

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Illinois, Smith wrote a letter "To My Friends in Illinois" which was published in the January 1, 1842, issue of the Times and Seasons. Concerning Bennett and other friends of the Mormon prophet, Smith wrote: "In the next canvass, we shall be influenced by no party consideration and no Carthagenian coalescence or collusion, with our people, will be suffered to effect, or operate against, General Bennett, or any other of our tried friends already semiofficially in the field; so the partizans in this county, who expect to divide the friends of humanity and equal rights will find themselves mistaken we care not a fig for Whig or Democrat: they are both alike to us; but we shall go for our friends, OUR TRIED FRIENDS, and the cause of human liberty, which is the cause of God."17 It is obvious, therefore, that in December, 1841, Bennett was still considered among the "tried friends" of the Mormons, and was by their prophet said to represent "the cause of human liberty, which is the cause of God." Six months later, in the July 1, 1842, issue of the Times and Seasons, Smith published an extensive treatise, or address, "To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints And To All The Honorable Part Of Community." The treatise, an expose of John C. Bennett, began: "It becomes my duty to lay before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the public generally, some important facts relative to the conduct and character of Dr. John C. Bennett, who has lately been expelled from the aforesaid church; that the honorable part of community may be aware of his proceedings, and be ready to treat him and regard him as he ought to be regarded, viz: as an imposter and base adulterer."18 The address stated that soon after Bennett became a member of the church, about August, 1840, a letter was received warning against him "from a person of respectable character" residing near where Bennett had previously lived.19 Smith said of this letter: "but knowing that it is no uncommon thing for good men to be evil spoken against, the above letter was kept quiet, but held in reserve."20 Smith's treatise further charges that soon after Bennett became a member of the church he formed an acquaintance with a young lady, for whose sake, due to the warning, he found it necessary to
17

Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 651; see also Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 480. Vol. 3, p. 839; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 35. Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 839; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 36. 20 Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 839; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 36.
18 Ibid., 19

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

"threaten to expose him if he did not desist."21 The acquaintance is said to have then been broken off. Smith charged that Bennett seduced females by persuading them that "promiscuous intercourse between the sexes, was a doctrine believed in by the Latter-Day Saints, and that there was no harm in it."22 Smith's treatise continued: "But his depraved heart would not suffer him to stop here. Not being contented with having disgraced one female, he made an attempt upon others; and, by the same plausible tale, overcame them also; evidently not caring whose character was ruined, so that his wicked, lustful appetites might be gratified. Sometimes about the early part of July 1841, I received a letter from Elder H. Smith and Wm. Law, who then were in Pittsburgh, Penn. This letter was dated June 15th, and contained the particulars of a conversation betwixt them and a respectable gentleman from the neighborhood where Bennett's wife and children resided. He stated to them that it was a fact that Bennett had a wife and children living, and that she had left him because of his ill treatment towards her. This letter was read to Bennett, which he did not attempt to deny; but candidly acknowledged the fact."23 In view of the hurricane of persecution and abuse later heaped upon the Mormons as the result of the "Expose" of John C. Bennett, and Smith's treatise charging Bennett with being an imposter and adulterer and a being totally destitute of decency, who was without the power of government over his passions,24 the candid and conscientious Mormon must be perplexed as to why Smith did not "inquire of the Lord" concerning the man when "soon after it was known that he had become a member" of the church the letter exposing Bennett's shady character was received as early as 1840. Why did not Smith employ his power of divine "inspiration" at that time and save the Mormon cause the embarrassment of having Bennett rise to such positions of eminence as the Mayor of Nauvoo, while distinguishing himself as one of the most outstanding figures among them in their political and civil functions? So complete was the prophet's endorsement and approval of Bennett as one "of our tried friends" in late December, 1841, that Historian Brigham H. Roberts is forced to contend that Bennett was sincere in his coming to the Mormons, and that he really intended to live honorably, but that he fell into transgression and would not
21 22 Ibid., 23

Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 839; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 36. Vol. 3, p. 840; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, p. 36. Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 840; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. V, pp. 36, 37. 24 Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. V, p. 37.

DIVINE INSPIRATION COULD HAVE HELPED


25

233

repent. Such conclusions are absurd when one considers that Smith admits having been repeatedly warned concerning the man prior to July of 1841, and confesses to the knowledge that Bennett had "ruined" the character of several females before that date. Yet as late as the following December he still endorsed him with italicized emphasis as part of "the cause of human liberty, which is the cause of God." In view of the fact that later developments brought to light the truth that the doctrine of plural marriage was becoming a prominent tenet of the Latter-day Saints about this time, and the claimed "revelation" on celestial marriage is said to have been written by Smith in July of 1843, it does not require great imagination to see the possibility that there may have been a good deal of truth in some of the charges made by Bennett regarding polygamy at Nauvoo between 1840 and 1842. Yet if the Mormons be given the full benefit of all doubt and be allowed to hold themselves up as a perfectly virtuous, godly people, the question still remains: If Joseph Smith possessed the gift of inspiration so that he could appeal to God and obtain direct revelations concerning those things of importance to the Latter-day Saints, WHY DID HE NOT INQUIRE OF THE LORD CONCERNING JOHN C. BENNETT WHEN HE BEGAN TO RECEIVE WARNINGS AGAINST HIM? The fact that he did not do so, but defended the man long after he had proved to Smith that his character was, as Governor Ford termed him, that of "probably the greatest scamp in the western country," is sufficient to show that Smith possessed no infallible inspiration to guide him as a prophet of God. 3. Thieves In Nauvoo To read the historical records supplied the general public by the church concerning the early days of Mormonism is to obtain the impression that every reference by anti-Mormon writers to crimes and wrong-doing on the part of the Mormons is a vicious lie intended as persecution. Characteristic of the descriptions usually found is that of historian Brigham H. Roberts: "Nobler men and women than those who first embraced the gospel of the Son of God in this last dispensation are not to be found; nobler spirits are not on earth."26 It is nevertheless true that such a description does not fit nearly all of the early Mormons, even when one relies solely on the official
Vol. V, "Introduction," p. xviii. Brigham H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 76.
25 Ibid., 26

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

church records as the source of truth. Roberts himself admits the presence among the Mormons of "Camp Followers," who seek profit in the wake of war, who "plunder the terrified people."27 He also supplies affidavits by Hyrum and Joseph Smith denying all connection with a camp of such plunderers at Ramus, near Nauvoo.28 One of the most interesting bits of evidence along this line is a warning found in the November 15, 1840, issue of the Times and Seasons. It was the second of three such warnings given of the presence of thieves in Nauvoo, the last of which in the issue of December 15, 1840, listed the names of James R. Bingham, Alanson Brown, David Holman, and Artemus Johnson as men: "it is believed, from facts that have come to light, were notorious thieves."29 The November 15 warning read: "Nauvooans to the rescue! Your liberty is in danger! Thieves are in your midst! By day and by night are they prowling through your streets! Your property is in peril, and life, and limb, in jeopardy! Your love of justice, your personal honor, your attachment to your country, and your holy religion, all, all, loudly call upon you to assist in bringing the culprits to condign punishment. In the face of high heaven are they committing the most nefarious crimes, and the cause of Christianity is bleeding at every pore. Will you, then, stand patient lookers on and see the fiends of hell,, wolves in sheep's clothing not only perpetrating felonies themselves, but soliciting the just, the noble, and the good, to participate or become accessories placing the bitter cup of iniquity to the lips of the Saints, desiring them to drink the dregs of pollution and crime; and by fortuituous circumstances, or casual associations, dragging them down to the lowest depths of human degradation!"30 There can be no question that there were some among the Mormons who were guilty of thievery and other "nefarious crimes" worthy of punishment. Mormon and non-Mormon historians may disagree as to how many such were present, or as to how many of them were in high positions in the church, but of their presence there exists no doubt. Why did not Joseph Smith employ the power of divine inspiration to detect and apprehend such thieves from among the Mormons? Probably no topic aside from that of polygamy has occupied so much space in the writings of opposition to the
27 Brigham H. Roberts, The Rise And Fall Of Nauvoo, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900, p. 129. 28 Ibid., p. 129; see also the Times and Seasons, December 1, 1841, Vol. 3, pp. 615, 617. 29 Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, p. 256. 30 Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 221, 222.

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Mormon religion as has been devoted to claimed "crimes" committed by Mormons. If, as the Mormons believe, the crimes which did take place were the acts of imposters and fraudulent men lacking in character and integrity who merely claimed to be Mormons in order to cover their deeds of outlawry, why did not the power of the Holy Spirit through Joseph Smith detect these men in the manner in which Ananias and Sapphira were apprehended in their attempt to lie to the Holy Spirit during the apostolic period of the New Testament church?31 The fact that Smith sought to detect the culprits by ordinary means of crime detection, and could accuse a man only when "facts that have come to light" pointed toward his guilt serves to establish that Smith possessed no supernatural power of inspiration. Faced with the embarrassment of thieves in their midst, and with the loss of their possessions as well as the reputation of their religion, the devout among the Mormons would have given Smith no peace until he "inquired of the Lord" concerning those who were to blame had such a power been in his possession. To claim that God revealed to him the names and details contained in the Doctrine and Covenants but could not call out the names of thieves is absurd. Too, it is incredible that a god capable of revealing the doctrines Smith claimed to have received from God would have been unmindful of the reputation and welfare of the Mormons and refused to identify the thieves so that all of the Mormons might bear the blame. Smith simply did not possess such miraculous power. 4. Innumerable Apostates It is true that the religion of Jesus Christ, established through the preaching of the gospel by the apostles and evangelists of the New Testament era, as well as the religions of men have seen many believers who embraced their doctrines only to later apostatize. Merely pointing to the many apostates who have turned their backs upon Mormonism would not alone constitute a valid objection to the Mormon faith. However, it must be assumed that if God raised up Joseph Smith to be a prophet and inspired man among men, then the works of Smith as an inspired man were intended to be for the glory of God and for the advancement of God's cause among men. Why, then, did not Smith employ that power of inspiration to select men who would be faithful to the Mormon cause to serve in the places of prominence within the church? That he did not do so is evident: a. The three witnesses to the authenticity of the Book of Mor31

Acts 5:111.

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THE MYTH OF MORMON' INSPIRATION'

mon David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery. and Martin Harris all apostatized and left the church. Whitmer wrote his famous "Address To All Believers In Christ" in which he charged that Smith left the truth to advocate false doctrine, and that Smith changed and corrupted many of the revelations which he received while he was still faithful as a prophet. Mormons claim that Cowdery and Harris returned from their apostasy to again embrace Mormonism. but the evidence by which this is established is testimony prepared by the church and supplied to those willing to read it. These men did not bear testimony in their oxen words that they returned to the Mormon faith as they did when they left the church. Cowdery wrote and circulated his "Defence In A Rehearsal of My Grounds For Separating Myself From The Latter Day Saints," and himself embraced the Methodist faith. In January, 1844, Cowdery was serving as "Secretary" of the Methodist Protestant Church of Griffin, Ohio, and his signature appears frequently in the papers and minutes of that church.32 In 1838, while confined to Liberty Jail in Missouri, Smith wrote of these men. and others: ". . ill bred and the ignorant, such as Hinkle, Covill, Phelps, Avard, Reed, Peck, Cleminson, and various others, who are so very ignorant, that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized society, and whose eyes are full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin. Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, D. Whitmer, O. Cowdery, and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention, and we had like to have forgotten them.''33 The candid inquirer must naturally wonder why, if Smith was being directed in his activities by the infallible inspiration of God, such men were selected to be the pillars of Mormonism through the centuries. Their testimony regarding the Book of Mormon is valueless to the Mormon cause, since that person who testifies to convictions by which he refuses to live gives the cause no aid. Had the New Testament apostles been forced to go through the world endeavoring to prove that Jesus was the Christ by the testimony of Judas Iscariot, the spectacle would have been but parallel to the efforts of Mormons to use the testimony of the three witnesses to establish the genuineness of the Book of Mormon. The three witnesses have been subjected to careful scrutiny by many writers. Those readers who are interested in greater details
32 Some of these papers have been photostated and are in the possession of Dr. James D. Bales, Searcy, Arkansas. They have been examined by the author. 33 Millenial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 628; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. III, p. 232.

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concerning their apostasy or questions regarding their integrity which have been often raised are referred to other books. We mention them only because they represent a pillar of Mormonism established by Joseph Smith under the direction of Mormon inspiration. Had true divine inspiration been present it would have erected a pillar either of men of more noble integrity or not at all. These three witnesses have been an embarrassing hindrance to Mormonism from the earliest, and shall continue to be so. b. Apostates among the first Mormon apostles have been but little less embarrassing for the Mormon cause than have the three witnesses. The original twelve apostles of Mormonism were installed in February, 1835, and the "blessings" pronounced upon them by Mormon inspired men are preserved in the official records.34 In view of the fact that several apostatized and became "thorns-in-the-flesh" of the Mormon movement, one cannot but wonder why such wonderful "blessings" were pronounced upon them, if the Mormons possessed infallible divine inspiration! Lyman E. Johnson was cut off from the church in April, 1838,35 thus remaining faithful to the Mormon faith but little over three years after being installed as an apostle. Yet in his apostolic "blessing," one reads: ". . that he should bear the tidings of salvation to nations, tongues, and people, until the utmost corners of the earth shall hear the tidings; and that he shall be a witness of the things of God to nations and tongues, and that holy angels shall administer to him occasionally; and that no power of the enemy shall prevent him from going forth and doing the work of the Lord; and that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished, according to the holy prophets: and he shall be like unto Enoch; and his faith shall be like unto his; . . ." (emphasis mine, BC)36 Thus was the faith of a man who was to be faithful to the Mormon cause but three years compared to righteous Enoch whom God translated that he should not taste death.37 Moreover, that it was thought in 1835 that Johnson would not die after the manner of men is evident from the fact that it was said that he should live "until the gathering is accomplished." Since this term is used with reference to the "gathering" of Latter-day Saints to what Mormons refer to as the "New Jerusalem." which Smith said was to be in Independence, Missouri, it is evident that when Johnson was inSmith, Op. Cit, Vol. II, pp. 180-200; Millenial Star, Vol. XV, pp. 205-210. Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. III, p. 20. 36 Ibid.., Vol. II, p. 188; Millenial Star, Vol. XV, p. 206. 37 Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5, 6.
35 34

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stalled as an apostle the men inspired by Mormon inspiration really expected that "no power of the enemy" should prevail upon him, but that he would be faithful in what they believed to be "the work of the Lord" until the gathering in "Zion" should be completed. A month after Lyman E. Johnson was expelled from the church, William E. McLellin was tried before the High Council. The exact date of his expulsion from the church is said by the official history to be uncertain, but that he was excommunicated while the church was at Far West, Missouri is agreed.38 McLellin's apostolic blessing read: "In the name of the Lord, wisdom and intelligence shall be poured out upon him, to enable him to perform the great work that is incumbent upon him; that he may be spared until the Saints are gathered; that he may stand before kings and rulers to bear testimony, and be upheld by holy angels; and the nations of the earth shall acknowledge that God has sent him; he shall have power to overcome his enemies; and his life shall be spared in the midst of pestilence and destruction, and in the midst of his enemies. He shall be a prince and savior to God's people. The tempter shall not overcome him, nor his enemies prevail against him; the heavens shall be opened unto him, as unto men in days of old. He shall be mighty in the hands of God, and shall convince thousands that God has sent him; and his days may be prolonged until the coming of the Son of Man." (emphasis mine, BC)39 Since McLellin was not to be prevailed over by either the "tempter" or his "enemies," and was to be "mighty in the hands of God," one cannot but wonder what happened to Mormon inspiration between the time of the pronouncement of that "blessing" and Joseph Smith's letter of December 16, 1838 wherein McLellin and the three witnesses are referred to as "too mean to mention."40 Thomas B. Marsh was the president of the quorum of twelve apostles at the time he apostatized during the Missouri persecutions when it became obvious that Smith had erred in his predictions concerning the establishment of "Zion." After apostatizing, Marsh signed an affidavit to the effect that: "They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong."41 Regarding this affidavit, Joseph Smith wrote that Marsh:
38

Smith, Op. Cit, Vol. III, p. 31. Vol. II, pp. 190, 191. Ibid., Vol. III, p. 232. 41 Ibid., Vol. III, p. 167.
39 Ibid., 40

DIVINE INSPIRATION COULD HAVE HELPED

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"having apostatized, repaired to Richmond and made affidavit before Henry Jacobs, justice of the peace, to all the vilest slanders, aspersions, lies and calumnies 42 towards myself and the Church, that his wicked heart could invent." Slightly more than three years before, Oliver Cowdery had voiced the apostolic blessing for Marsh, and though less pretentious than some of the others, it contained assurance that: "You shall travel from kingdom to kingdom and from nation to nation. Angels shall bear thee up, and thou shalt be instrumental in bringing thousands of the redeemed of the Lord to Zion." That Mormon inspiration erred also in the phraseology of some of the other apostolic "blessings" is evident to Mormon and nonMormon alike. Of William Smith, brother of the prophet Joseph Smith, it was said: "He shall be preserved and remain on the earth, until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked."44 William Smith became a constant irritation to the Mormon system. By December of 1835 he was at odds with the prophet Joseph and assaulted him bodily.45 The two brothers were reconciled during the following January, but the rivalry and friction continued. After Joseph Smith's death his brother William was eventually deposed as an apostle on October 6, 1845. The Times and Seasons, in reporting the minutes of the conference in which all the other apostles were sustained, stated that "Elder Pratt," (referring to either Parley P. or Orson Pratt, both of whom were present) preferred two charges against Smith. The charges were: 1. "He aspires to uproot and undermine the legal Presidency of the Church, that he may occupy the place himself. . ." 2. "To my certain knowledge, his doctrine and conduct have not had a savory influence;46 but have produced death and destruction wherever he went. . ." Pratt's motion that William Smith be deposed as an apostle carried unanimously. Even had he remained faithful as an apostle until the day of his death, Mormon inspiration erred in assuring him that he would live on the earth until Christ returned. The same error of assuring continued existence until the end of time was made in the apostolic blessings of John F. Boynton, and Orson Hyde.47
42 43 Ibid., Vol. 44 Ibid., Vol. 45 Ibid., Vol. 46 Times and 47

Ibid., Vol. III, p. 167. II, p. 194. II, p. 191. II, p. 334. Seasons, Vol. 6, p. 1008. Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. II, pp. 189, 191.

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In view of the fact that Mormon and non-Mormon alike recognize the purpose of divine inspiration to be for the guiding of God's people with accuracy and for revealing God's will to mankind in areas where human reason fails, one is forced to the conclusion that divine inspiration had no part in the selection and "blessing" of these men. They were not apostles of Christ, nor were they in possession of the power of the Holy Spirit. Had such inspiration been guiding the selection of apostles the errors contained in the prophetic "blessings" would not have occurred. Here is a clear-cut case where divine inspiration could have aided the Mormon cause, had God been interested in furthering that cause. The fact that it was not employed to guarantee accuracy is proof positive that the Mormon claim to possess such inspiration is a false claim. 5. Expulsion From Missouri Few religious groups have been subjected to the suffering of bloody expulsion from so many different places as have the Mormons. The three most intense surges of persecution to which they have been subjected were their expulsions from Independence, Missouri, Far West, Missouri, and from Nauvoo, Illinois. They were driven from Independence in the summer of 1833 while the Book of Commandments was in process of publication. They were forced from Far West back into Illinois in 1838 after Smith's famous revelations concerning the building of the Far West temple48 and prophesying that the twelve apostles were to depart therefrom to go abroad on the twenty sixth day of the following April.49 After some preparation in Iowa, they made the trek from Illinois to Salt Lake City under the leadership of Brigham Young in 1848. Since modern Mormon doctrine holds that Isaiah 2:1-4 prophesied the going forth of Mormon teaching from Salt Lake City, "in the top of the mountains,"50 it would appear that the expulsion from Independence, Missouri afforded the Mormon prophet an excellent opportunity to make use of divine inspiration and judgment, if such he possessed. Why did he not lead the suffering Mormons directly from Independence to Salt Lake City as soon as it was obvious that the establishment of "Zion" could not be effected? Brigham H. Roberts notes that to the list of sufferings at Independence: "must be added the more horrible one of several cases of ravishment at Far West."51 And to both these bitter expulsions with their sufferings and
48 Doctrine 49 50

and Covenants 115. Doctrine and Covenants 118. See treatment of this doctrine in Chapter Eight. 51 Smith, Op. Cit., "Introduction," Vol. III, p. xvii.

DIVINE INSPIRATION COULD HAVE HELPED

241

bloodshed must be added the sufferings and privations at Nauvoo, the loss of their prophet slain at Carthage, and numerous apostates who refused to follow Brigham Young to Utah. This list included such prominent Mormons as Emma Smith, the wife of the prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, James J. Stang, and Lyman Wight. Had Smith produced a revelation to lead the Mormons directly from Independence to Salt Lake City they would have been soared much suffering and persecution, the wounds of division and apostasy, and preserved the life of their prophet. When it is contended today that it was God's prophesied will that they go to the "mountains,' one can but wonder why Mormon inspiration subjected them to such ravishment while men seeking a refuge of safety experimented in several states.

Conclusion
Our case against the claimed divine origin of the revelations of Joseph Smith, Jr., and of Mormonism itself, has been presented. We have endeavored to set forth the facts plainly and with firmness, though at the same time we have sought to do so kindly and with respect for the sincere convictions of the multitudes who hold Smith to be an honored prophet. Neither time nor space permits an exhaustive study of Mormon inspiration. The doctrines created by Mormon inspiration are far too numerous, and each distinctive doctrine has played its part in the development of the Mormon system. We have left virtually untouched in this work such basic doctrines of the Latter-day Saints as their concept of miracles and visions, their view that the Holy Spirit is an element rather than a spiritual personality,1 the belief that God is a divine personality as physical as man and with both body and parts, and the dogma that mankind can by his spiritual progression become a god. No effort has been made to review the Mormon concept of heaven and hell, the Adam-God theory advanced by Brigham Young, nor the unique doctrine of the Mormons concerning a plurality of gods. Careful examination of these doctrines in the light of the biblical scriptures reveals further the utter lack of divine inspiration in Mormonism. It also reveals that Mormonism has reached its present level of development by a trial and error process of experimentation. However, since these doctrines are the product of Mormon inspiration, they must stand or fall with the inspiration which produced them. Once the concept of Mormon inspiration as divine, infallible inspiration has been shattered, the system's peculiar doctrines stand groundless. To enter into examination of specific doctrines of the Latterday Saints would be to embark into a different area of study and research to that intended here. We therefore leave that task to the pursuit of others or until another time. For the same reason we have elected not to undertake detailed examination of a number of scriptural passages which obviously are not the product of the inspiration which produced the Mormon revelations. Hebrews 7:11, 12 affirms the necessity for a change of the law when the imperfect Aaronic priesthood was superseded by the priesthood of Jesus Christ, ."after the order of Melchizedek." This passage stands in contradiction to the Mormon claim that John
1 Parley P. Pratt, Key To The Science Of Theology, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891, pp. 39, 40; see also John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As A Scientist, General Board of Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1908, p. 27.

242

CONCLUSION

243

the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery to confer upon them the Aaronic priesthood and restore it to the earth.2 John 16:13 and John 14:26 promised the apostles of Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit would guide them into "all truth." This verse would surely have been phrased- differently by any spirit contemplating at the time a continuous process of revelation of divine truth intended to extend until the end of the earth. Galatians 1:8, 9 also closes the door of divine revelation of truth with the era of the apostles of Christ. Paul pronounces the curse of God upon man or angel who ventures to teach any gospel that is, "glad tidings" other than that which Paul and his co-workers had proclaimed. God thereby left but one avenue through which additional truth could be made known to mankind, and that is by direct communication to all intended recipients of any new truth. If God, Christ, of the Holy Spirit did reveal directly to Joseph Smith, Jr., and other Mormon prophets such new truths, men are still under the anathema pronounced by Paul if they attempt to teach such truths to others. Thus the inspiration of either Paul or the Mormons must fail to be of infallibly divine source. 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are in conflict with Mormon dogma on many counts, specifically with reference to the qualifications set forth for elders and deacons. This discrepancy is admitted by Mormon teachers, and who simply shrug the matter aside as if of no importance. Joseph Fielding Smith admitted that it was Paul's judgment that a deacon should be married, but he declares that this does not apply in our day due to the fact that different conditions prevail now.3 It is thus seen that any effort to turn to specific doctrines of the Latter-day Saints must at the same time present both a question as to the harmony of the doctrine with the biblical scriptures, and a question as to the authority and inspiration by which the Mormon doctrine originated. Our purpose has been to examine the authority back of the doctrine. A careful attempt to subject each tenet of Mormon dogma to the test of scriptural harmony would run into a discussion far too extensive for our present intents and purposes. The author does not desire to leave the impression that there is no good in Mormonism. As with other religions designed and inaugurated by uninspired men, there is much in the system that can be classed good, if judged by purely human standards. The Mormons today are recognized everywhere as an industrious people, dedicated to their convictions and ideals, and are very zealous in the propaga2 3

Doctrine and Covenants 13, Superscription. Improvement Era, January 1954, Vol. 57, p. 17.

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tion of their doctrines. We are, however, not merely seeking to determine whether the system possesses good within it. We agree with Orson Pratt that the Book of Mormon is either true or false.4 The religious system founded upon it and Smith's revelations is likewise either the religion of Jesus Christ, or it is the product of men. If Mormonism be the religion of Christ it should be embraced by all and should receive our support. If not it should be rejected with all the power of our being. We have been endowed by God with the intelligence and the responsibility to accept the invitation of Joseph Smith, Jr., to apply "the touchstone" of truth to the doctrines, revelations, and the system which he gave to the world.5 Having done so, and having observed the impact of truth upon them, our conclusion is obvious. They are not of God, and should be rejected. Probably the "Word of Wisdom"6 is today the most familiar of Smith's claimed revelations. Fawn McKay Brodie states that it is the only one of Smith's many revelations with which the average Mormon today is familiar.7 This is the revelation which forbids the use of alcoholic beverages and the use of "hot drinks." which the modern version of Latter-day Saint interpretation interprets to mean those drinks containing caffeine or other harmful ingredients rather than drinks which have been heated. Thus a refreshing glass of iced tea remains a "hot drink" and one finds frequently in the columns of the Latter-day Saint periodicals the facsimile of a steaming cup advertising some refreshing hot beverage for those who refrain from coffee and tea.8 Without doubt the "Word of Wisdom" has benefited the Mormons by lessening disease among them and in the extension of human life. The Mormons have not always been total abstainers from the use of alcohol. On February 15, 1841, one of the first ordinances passed by the city council of Nauvoo, Illinois made it unlawful to dispense whiskey "in a less quantity than a gallon, or other spirituous liquors in a less quantity than a quart, to any person whatever, excepting on the recommendation of a physician duly accredited."9 The ordinance was signed by the mayor of the city, none other than Dr. John C. Bennett. Violators of the ordinance faced a
Orson Pratt, A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, "Divine Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon," p. 1. 5 Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1959, Vol. VI, p. 74. 6 Doctrine and Covenants 89. 7 Fawn McKay Brodie, No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957, p. 402. 8 Improvement Era, Vol. 65, p. 355. 9 Times and Seasons, February 15, 1841, Vol. 2, p. 321; Smith, Op. Cit., Vol. IV, p. 299.
4

CONCLUSION

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fine of not more than twenty five dollars. Of interest is the fact that the ordinance prevented the selling or giving away one drink at the time, but in the case of whiskey one could vend it at will by the gallon, or by the quart where other liquors were involved. Despite the good which may have resulted from Smith's "Word of Wisdom," it has been the interpretation of the revelation in accord with medical and scientific knowledge of each generation that has made it worthwhile. At the same time it forbids the use of some things which are perfectly wholesome and beneficial to mankind as the use of meat for food anytime other than "times of winter, or of cold, or famine."10 Mormon theologians themselves have disputed as to whether the "Word of Wisdom" was given as a commandment of God strictly to be observed. Joseph Fielding Smith affirms that it was given as a commandment of God through Brigham Young September 9, 1851.11 John A. and Leah D. Widtsoe lend credence to this position by citing references to speeches by Brigham Young which seem to establish that Young did on occasions hold up the revelation as a divine commandment.12 However. Young related the origin of the revelation and credited it to the inspiration generated by Emma Smith's refusal to continue to clean up the filthy mess left on the floor by her husband Joseph's tobacco-chewing elders, when they were attending the prophet's school in a small room upstairs above Emma's kitchen.13 And Young affirmed on April 7, 1861, that: "We annually expend only $60,000 to break the 'Word of Wisdom,' and we can save the money and still break it, if we will break it. Some would ask brother Brigham whether he keeps the 'Word of Wisdom.' No: and I can say still further, as I told one of the teachers 14 in Nauvoo, I come as near doing so as any man in this generation." That Mormon inspiration has been groping through study and experimentation to determine just what interpretation to place on the "Word" of Wisdom" is evident from the many writings which have appeared on the subject. During World War I apostle James E. Talmage wrote stating that competent authority had established that the high temperature of hot drinks entering the stomach was the primary cause of ulcers and precancerous lesions.15 The Mormons, as well as those engaged in medical and scientific research,
Doctrine and Covenants 89:13. Improvement Era, Vol. 59, p. 78. John A. and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Word Of Wisdom, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1950, p. 19. 13 Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 158. 14 Ibid., Vol. IX, p. 35. 15 Liahona The Elders' Journal, Vol. 14, p. 642.
11 12 10

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THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

have now concluded that such was not true and Mormon inspiration now proclaims that the danger lies not in the temperature but in the harmful drugs such as caffeine in coffee and tea, and other harmful ingredients found in such drinks as the cola beverages. At the same time John A. Widtsoe admits that the presence of caffeine in coffee was discovered in 1821, and that the same was found to be in tea in 1827.16 Yet Smith did not come up with his revelation until 1833. There can be no question but that the good which has resulted from the observance of the "Word of Wisdom" could as easily have stemmed from the crusading efforts of the prohibitionists and the advocates of health foods who have as zealously opposed the consumption of foods with harmful qualities as have the Mormons. Sidney B. Sperry admits that some writers have claimed that the "Word of Wisdom" was an outgrowth of the temperance movement well under way at that time Sperry concedes that Smith was undoubtedly aware of the movement, but having related Brigham Young's account of the tobacco-chewing School of the Prophets, he takes the position that Young was correct in attributing the origin of the revelation to the disgust of the Mormon Prophet and his wife with a filthy habit.17 Mormonism will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the religious world of the foreseeable future. Despite the ridicule and persecution heaped upon it in its infancy, and in spite of the opposition launched against it in honorable controversy, the system has proved itself to have successfully indoctrinated most of its membership with a sense of loyalty and devotion to its doctrines, and a willingness to sacrifice to perpetuate its existence. This seems to guarantee that many will continue to adhere to the principles and traditions advanced by the first of the Mormon prophets. As has been true from the very beginning of Mormonism, it will continue to see numerous departures from the Mormon faith. Too much factual history exists even in the authoritative records of the church to explode the claim that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God. It is tragic that many who thus lose their confidence in the Mormon system at the same time lose faith in God and in the Bible a regrettable result of their having been educated to view the inspiration of the Bible and the Book of Mormon as being one and the same. It is our hope and prayer that this examination of the Mormon revelations and the inspiration back of them may serve to some
John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As A Scientist, pp. 93 -96. Sidney B. Sperry, Doctrine And Covenants Compendium, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1969, p. 446.
17 16

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extent to lead sincere men and women to see the fallacy of the Mormon claim to possess divine inspiration, and at the same time lead them to even greater faith in the Bible as God's revealed truth to mankind even more unshakable than the universe itself. If faith in the Bible can be thus preserved, leading to humble obedience to God's will which is so essentially a part of true discipleship of Christ, while the inspiration of Mormonism is revealed in its true light, our purposes will have been accomplished.

Appendix
A CATALOG OF CHANGES IN THE BOOK OF MORMON SINCE THE FIRST EDITION
This writer has had many occasions to refer to changes that have been made in revision of the Book of Mormon since the original 1830 edition appeared. Most of the time he had no actual idea as to the extent of the changes, nor the nature of most of them. Due to the claims made by sincere Mormons regarding these changes he has felt that such a catalog should be available so that the students of Mormonism and those of us seeking to expose its false claim to divine inspiration from God may alike be aware of the real nature and extent of the changes involved. Even after the many hours which over a period of several years have gone into the preparation and checking for accuracy of the changes listed in this catalog the author is aware of the fact that it is both incomplete and perhaps in some instances inaccurate. All documentation has been checked and double checked. Some changes which were made in early editions have in the latest editions been restored to the reading which is found in the first edition. Some changes which were not made in early editions have been made in later ones. In the last hours of final checking for accuracy the changes catalogued, the author has discovered some few changes which were not noted due to oversight in the earlier preparation of the list. No attempt has been made to show changes in capitalization, punctuation, and in some types of spelling. For instance the use of a "u" in spelling words like "honor" and "savior" have been uniform in some editions, and not used at all in others. There may be some purpose served in knowing how many changes of this kind have been made, but this writer sees none that cannot be adequately served by a knowledge of the extent and nature of the verbal changes. The testimony of David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and others who have believed them regarding the method of supposed translation of the Book of Mormon do not specify that punctuation and capitalization were supplied by the same kind of divine interpretation which is said to have supplied the interpretation of the significance of the characters which were translated. Though this is logically to be assumed by all who understand the rules of language ana translation it is still hard to see any purpose which could be served by a catalog of such changes which will not be adequately served by a catalog of the verbal changes. 248

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249

If it appear to the student that there is a discrepancy in the number of verbal changes listed in this catalog and those mentioned by other authors, the reader will do well to bear in mind that no claim is made for the completeness of this list, and that in many instances such changes as "they which" to "those who" have been counted as but a single change when they could as readily and accurately have been counted as two. In documentation, page numbers in parenthesis refer to the original 1830 edition while chapter and verse references are to the current 1920 edition. No effort has been made to document every instance in which the most common changes appear. In I Nephi there are forty instances in which "which" has been changed to "who." We have documented only three of these. There are so many of them that any person having a need for others may readily find them. We have endeavored to supply complete documentation for all of the less frequent changes so that any student may know the extent and the nature of the changing and revision to which the Book of Mormon has been subjected. In order to make this catalog more usable for persons who may not have access to an original edition or a reprint of same, we have included many changes under the heading of "Other Sundry Changes." These will include many changes of the same categories which may be found grouped under the headings: "Miscellaneous Changes." In no instance have we included a change in such a way as to count the same one twice, but have listed many as "Other Sundry Changes" so that a person not able to look it up in the original edition may have a better idea of the context and sense of the change involved. Whether these changes fall into the realm of typographical errors incurred in the original printing it will be the reader's prerogative to determine. It is quite obvious that many do, and a great many more do not. Due to the fact that Latter-day Saints now claim that Smith was inspired to obtain the content of the writings and was required to express the thoughts in his own faulty English a number of the changes have been designated with an asterisk (*). This will enable the reader to make the best use of the catalog in dealing with both this claim and the original claim of David Whitmer and Martin Harris regarding the manner of translation. The changes marked by asterisk (*) are changes which were not made until after the edition of 1879, giving proof that as late as fifty years after the Book of Mormon appeared the well-educated Mormons did not feel free to change Smith's original language too extensively at one time in order to correct his glaring grammatical imperfections.

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CHANGES IN I NEPHI
MOST COMMON CHANGES 40 "which" to "who," 5:14 (15). 25 "saith" to "said," 11:2 (24). 10 "hath" to "has," 10:37 (41); 16:38 (41). 10 "they which" to "those who," 19:13 (51); 19:20 (52); 22:4, 5 (56); 22:11, 20, 23 (57, 58). DELETIONS 15 "that," 7:21, 22 (18); 8:36 (20); 13:15 (29); 13:32 (31); 16:33, 38 (41); 17:11, 12 (43); 18:6 (47); 19:4 (50); 22:5, 6, 8, 15 (56, 57). 1 "did" 12:11 (27). 1 "wherefore," 13:34, (31). 1 "if so be that they harden not their hearts against the Lamb," 14:2 (32). 1 "if it so be that they," 14:2 (32). 1 *"not," 14:28 (35). 1 "that which," 16:1 (38). 1 "shall" 17:12 (43). 1 "much," 18:15 (49). 2 "and" 19:10 (51); 20:12 (53). 1 "after that I," 22:1 (56). 1 "and after I had followed him," 8:7 (19). ADDITIONS 1 "only," 14:10 (33). 1 "I should have perished also," 19:20 (52). SUNDRY SPELLING 1 "blest" to "blessed," 14:2 (32). 1 "telleth" to "tells," 16:38 (41). 1 "chid" to "child," 11:20 (25). 1 "lieth" to "lies," 16:38 (41). 4 "journied" to "journeyed," 4:38 (14); 5:6 (14); 7:6 (17); 18:25 (49). MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES 2 "which" to "whom," 10:5 (22); 14:12 (33). 2 "sayeth" to "said," 2:1 (7); 22:2 (56). 1 "saith" to "says," 16:38 (41). 6 "was" to "were," 10:16 (23); 15:3 (35); 16:14 (39); 17:30 (45); 18:15 (49); 19:24 (52). 1 "had" to "has," 17:47 (46). 3 "is" to "are," 1:20 (7): 13:30 (30); 22:6 (57). 3 "hath" to "have." 13:32, 34 (31); 16:38 (41). 1 "hath" to had," 18:11 (48). 1 "them which" to "those who," 6:5 (16); 19:10 (51). 1 "which was" to "who were," 5:11 (15). 1 "in him" to "to him," 7:12. 13 (17). 1 *"exceeding" to "exceedingly," 16:21 (40).

APPENDIX 1 "mete" to "meet," 7:1 (16). 1 "to possess" to "they should possess," 10:3 (22). 1 "as if" to "that," 17:47 (46). 1 "which did pass" to "who passed," 12:12 (27). 1 "preparator" to "foundation," 15:35 (38). 1 "they" to "them," 17:44 (46). 1 "it" to "them," 17:50 (46). 1 "that" to "what," 19:4 (50). 2 "turned" to "turn," 19:13, 14 (51). 1 "of which" to "who," 19:24 (52). 1 "name sake" to "name's sake," 20:9 (53). 1 "the" to "their," 22:8 (57). 3 "it is they which" to "they are those who," 22:22, 23 (58). 1 "it is they which," to "are they who," 22:23 (58). 1 "prophet" to "prophets," 22:2 (56). 1 "before" to "behold," 22:4 (56). 1 "have been" to "shall be," 22:6 (57). 1 "shall be" to "have been," 22:6 (57). 1 "they had ought" to "they ought," 15:3 (35).

251

OTHER SUNDRY CHANGES


1 "And I know that the record which I make, to be true," 1:3 (5). 1 "mercies of the Lord is over," 1:20 (7). 1 "for he knowing that Jerusalem," 3:17 (10). 1 "the sword girted about my loins," 4:21 (13). 1 *"and it had came to pass," 5:4 (14). 1 *"yea, against I, Nephi," 7:6 (17). 1 "all these things . . . was done," 10:16 (23). 1 "upon which I never had before sat my foot," 11:1 (24). 1 "the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God," 11:18 (25). 1 "even the Eternal Father," 11:21 (25). 1 "yea, the Everlasting God," 11:32 (26). 1 "in that state of awful woundedness," 13:32 (31). 1 "Lamb of God is the Eternal Father," 13:40 (32). 1 "Behold, there is, save it be, two churches," 14:10 (33). 1 "firy darts," 15:24 (37). 1 "I, Nephi, did make bellowses," 17:11 (43). 1 "after that I had made bellowses," 17:11 (43). 1 *"arrived to the promised land," 17:14 (43). 1 "firy-flying serpents," 17:41 (45). 1 *"upon their sick beds," 18:17 (49). 1 *"did arrive to the promised land," 18:23 (49). Total of 191 changes noted in I Nephi.

CHANGES IN II NEPHI MOST COMMON CHANGES


31 "which" to "who," 2:7 (63). 18 "they which" to "those who," 1:5 (60); 5:5, 6 (71)4 times; 5:9 (72).

252

THE MYTH OF MORMON' INSPIRATION

17 "hath" to "has," 6:4 ( 7 4 ) ; 6:9 (74) 2 times; 6:12 (75)3 times; 9:24, 25 (81). 1 "they which" to "those whom" 1:9 (GO). 3 "they which" to "them who," 10:19 (85); 10:21 (85); 10:22 (85). 7 "they that" to "those who," 9:38 (82); 25:13 (104); 26:13 (107); 26:17 (108). 4 "they" to "those," 9:5 (79); 9:37 (82); 25:3 (102); 25:4 (103). 6 "hath" to "have," 4:25 (70); 8:16 (77); 9:25 (81); 26:7 (107); 27:11 (110). 3 "sayeth" to "said," 2:18 (64) 2 times; 4:3 (68). 3 "is" to "are," 2:27 (65); 3:19 (67); 10:21 (85). 2 "saith" to "said," 1:4 (60); 31:10 (119).
MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

"were" to "was," 2:16 (64). "raise" to "rise," 3:24 (68). "that they should be" to "to be," 5:17 (72). "that they should labor" to "to labor," 5:17 (72). "be pleased" to "are pleased," 5:32 (73). "they be pleased" to "they will be pleased," 5:32 (73). "believeth" to "believe," 6:14 (75). "which I" to "who have," 8:23 (78). "cometh" to "comes," 9:2 (78). "thou hast" to "ye have," 9:4 (78). "he know it" to "he knows it," 9:20 (80). "Amoz" to "Amos," 12:1 (86); 23:1 (99). "remaineth" to "remain," 14:3 (89). "them" to "they," 14:3 (89). "sayeth" to "says," 10:21 (85). "convert" to "be converted," 16:10 (92). "they yieldeth" to "they yield," 26:10 (107). "causeth" to "cause," 26:21 (108). "a descendent," to "descendants," 30:4 (117). "ye have got" to "ye have gotten," 31:19 (120). "things" to "words," 33:4 (122). "I cannot" to "can I," 33:9 (122).

DELETIONS

12 "that," 2:18, 19 (64); 2:22 (65); 3:20 (68); 5:7 (72); 6:10 (75); 9:30 (81); 25:16 (104); 25:20 (105); 31:14 (119); 31:19 (120); 32:4 (120). 1 "&c", subtitle, (59). 1 "be," 1:6 (60). 1 "of," 3:14 (67). 1 "do," 5:18 (72). 1 "and," 9:5 (78). 1 "it," 28:16 (113).
ADDITIONS

1 "am," 16:8 (92).

APPENDIX SUNDRY SPELLING 1 "deliteth," 4:15 (69). 1 "journied," 5:7 (72). 1 "behoveth," 9:5 (79). 1 "vails," 13:23 (89). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES CHANGED IN SOME WAY 1 *"it was not him," 1:27 ( G 2 ) . 1 "all men cometh unto God," 2:10 (G3). 1 *"all things that in them is." 2:14 ( G4) . 1 "great was the covenants of the Lord." 3:4 (66). 1 *"after Lehi had spake unto all his household," 4:12 (69). 1 *"for I had spake," 4:14 (69). 1 "sins which doth so easily beset me." 4:18 (70). 1 "we will not that he shall be." 5:3 (71). 1 "it belongeth unto us . . . to rule," 5:3 (71). 1 "I engravened," 5:32 (73). 1 "art thou not it that hath cut Rahab," 8:9 (77). 1 "art thou not it which," 8:10 (77). 1 "death and hell must deliver up its dead," 9:12 (79). 1 "one of the seraphims," 16:6 (91). 1 "the law had ought to be done away," 25:27 (106). 1 *"I have spoken plain," 25:20 (105). " 1 *"I have spoken plain unto you." 25:28 (106). 1 "there is no works of darkness," 30:17 (118). 1 *"it speaketh harsh against sin," 33:5 (122). Total of 160 changes noted in II Nephi. CHANGES IN BOOK OF JACOB MOST COMMON CHANGES 32 "sayeth" to "said," 5:4 (131); 5:7 (131); 5:15, 16, 18 (132); 5:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 (133). 6 "which" to "who," 2:9 ( 125) 2 times; 7:22 (142); 7:3 (140). 4 "hath" to "has," 7:9, 12, 14 (141); 7:27 (143). 6 "hath" to "have," 5:18 (132); 5:18 (133); 5:19 (133); 5:48 (136) 2 times; 5:75 (138). 3 "saith" to "said," 5:31 (134); 5:50 (136); 5:51 (136). MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES 1 "done" to "did," 5:10 (132). 1 "ascendeth" to "ascend," 2:35 (127). 1 *"cursings" to "cursing," 3:5 (128). 1 *"have overran" to "have overrun," 5:37 (134). 1 "I have digged it" to "I have digged about it," 5:47 (135). 2 "overcame" to "overcome," 5:48 (136)2 times. 1 *"fruit" to "fruits," 5:74 (138). 1 *"straight" to "strait," 6:11 (140). 1 "never" to "ever," 7:9 (141). 1 "they" to "them," 2:33 (127). 1 "&c" to "and so forth," 1:11 (124).

253

254

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

DELETIONS 5 "that," 2:13, 20 (12G); 5:48 (136); 6:8 (140); 7:16 (142). 1 "to it," 5:72 (138). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED 1 *"having firstly obtained mine errand," 1:17 (124). 1 *"by laboring with our mights," 1:19 (124). 1 "many of you have began to search," 2:12 (125). 1 *"I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women," 2:28 (127). 1 "whoredoms is an abomination," 2:28 (127). 1 *"and it had sprang forth and began to bear fruit," 5:17 (132) 2 changes. 1 *"the trees thereof hath become corrupted," 5:46 (135). 1 "I had hope to preserve," 5:46 (135). 1 "labor . . . with our mights," 5:61, 62 (137). 2 "labor . . . with your mights," 5:71 (138). 1 "this is my prophesy," 6:1 (139). 1 "and this he done," 7:2 (140). 1 *"it were all vain," 7:24 (142). 1 "they delighted in wars and bloodsheds," 7:24 (142). Total of 86 changes noted in Book of Jacob. CHANGES IN BOOK OF ENOS MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES 2 "sayeth" to "said," 1:7, 8 (143). 1 "much" to "many," 1:21 (145). 1 "passeth" to "pass," 1:8 (143). 1 "feading" to "feeding," 1:20 (144). 1 "hast not heard nor seen" to "hast never before heard nor seen," 1:8 (143). DELETIONS 2 "that," 1:2, 8 (143). 1 "it," 1:8 (143). 1 "as," 1:26 (145). Total of 10 changes noted in Book of Enos. CHANGES IN BOOK OF JAROM 1 *"the laws of the land were exceeding strict," 1:5 (146). 1 *"upon them the record of our wars are engraven," 1:14 (147). Total of 2 changes noted in Book of Jarom. CHANGES IN BOOK OF OMNI MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES 3 "which" to "who," 1:12 (149); 1:26 (150); 1:30 (151). 1 "which was" to "who were," 1:14 (149). 1 "they . . . was brought," 1:16 (149). 1 "judgments, which is just," 1:22 (150). 1 "all things which is good," 1:25 (150).

APPENDIX
SUNDRY SPELLING

255

1 "journied," 1:16 (149).


DELETIONS

1 "not," 1:17 (150). Total of 9 changes noted in Book of Omni.

CHANGES IN WORDS OF MORMON


MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES

1 "things ... has been fulfilled," 1:4 (152). 1 "all things which is to come," 1:7 (152). 1 *"he had somewhat contentions among his own people," 1:12 (152). 1 *"after there having been much contentions," 1:16 (153).
DELETION

1 "that," 1:3 (151). Total of 5 changes noted in Words Of Mormon.

CHANGES IN BOOK OF MOSIAH


MOST COMMON CHANGES

50 "which" to "who," 1:1 (153); 1:5 (154); 1:18 (155); 2:40 (159); 3:5 (160); 4:3 (162); 4:7 (163); 4:14 (164). 45 "hath" to "has," 2:19 (157); 2:20 (157) 4 times; 2:22 (157). 34 "was" to "were," 1:2 (153); 7:7 (169); 4:7 (163). 28 "saith" to "said," 7:9 (169); 7:27 (171)2 times. 12 "hath" to "have," 2:31 (158); 2:34 (159); 4:24 (165). 6 "which was" to "who were," 7:14 (169); 23:33 (204); 23:39 (205); 25:11 (208). 4 "which is" to "which are," 7:26 (171); 8:17 (173)2 times; 12:36 (183). 5 "is" to "are," 8:9 (172); 13:10 (183); 13:12 (184) 3 times. 1 *"were" to "was," 23:24 (204). 1 "saith" to "says," 26:31 (211). 1 "sayeth" to "saith," 12:21 (182). 3 "hath" to "had," 18:27 (193)3 times. 1 "has" to "have," 12:13 (181). 1 "soul" to "souls," 2:21 (157). 1 "that" to "and," 15:14 (187). 1 "that" to "who," 15:14 (187) 2 times. 1 "who" to "whom," 2:19 (157). 3 "which" to "whom," 5:13 (167); 7:13 (169); 26:11 (209). 2 *"which is" to "who are," 8:14 (173)*; 26:18 (210). 1 "which hath" to "who has," 8:14 (173). 1 "which have" to "who hath," 12:34 (183). 1 "has" to "are," 8:17 (173). 1 "and" to "that," 5:4 (166).
DELETIONS

1 "for," 20:1 (196).

256 1 2 1 1 1

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION "I," 8:7 (172). *"&c," 8:8 (172)*; 23:5 (203). "hath." 10:18 (177). "that," 20:22 (210). "according to the crime which he hath committed," 29:15 (218).

SUNDRY SPELLING

1 "puteth," 23:22 (204). 1 "Mulok" to "Mulek," 25:2 (207).


MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

"flames" to "flame," 2:38 (159). "dwelleth" to "dwell," 3:6 (160). "drinketh" to "drink," 3:18 (161). "yieldeth" to "yields," 3:19 (161). "or repenteth not" to "nor repent," 4:22 (165). "he done" to "he did," 7:22 (170). *"greatest" to "greater," 9:2 (174). "having sent" to "had sent," 10:7 (176). "had spake" to "had spoken," 11:27 (180). "desires" to "desire," 18:10, 11 (192). "desireth" to "desire," 12:25 (182). "sayest thou" to "say ye," 12:31 (183). "thine" to "your," 12:31 (182). "knowest thou" to "know ye," 12:31 (183). "that" to "who," 4:24 (165). "toward" to "towards," 15:9 (186). "is it not they," to "are they not the ones," 20:18 (197). "secure" to "secured," 21:18 (199). "teachers" to "teacher," 23:14 (203). "ministers" to "minister," 23:14 (203). "it" to "they," 23:17 (203). "repenteth" to "repents," 26:31 (211). "commanding" to "commanded," 28:20 (217). "remained" to "remain," 29:19 (218). "remaineth" to "remains," 29:32 (219). "cometh" to "comes," 29:27 (219). "doth" to "do," 29:29 (219). "burdens" to "burden," 29:34 (220). "and had given," to "and having given," 29:42 (220). "Benjamin" to "Mosiah," 21:28 (200). "nor no manner of riches," 2:12 (157). "nor no other way nor means," 3:17 (161). *"then had not ye ought to labor," 2:18 (157). *"doth merit any thanks," 2:19 (157). *"how had you ought to thank your heavenly King," 2:19 (157). *"your whole souls hath power to oossess," 2:20 (157). *"art preserving," 2:21 (157). "there are not one among you," 2:34 (159).

OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED

APPENDIX 1 "the demands of Divine Justice doth awaken his immortal soul," 2:38 (159). 1 "I have spoken plain," 2:40 (159). 1 "they had fell to the earth." 4:1 (162). 1 *"how had ye ought to impart of the substance," 4:21 (1G4). 1 *"I should have wore these bands." 7:13 (16!)). 1 *"and behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations, that has brought us into bondage," 7:20 (170). 1 "is not this, our afflictions, great?" 7:23 (170). 1 *"the effects thereof, is poison," 7:30 (171). 1 "lest he should look for that he had not ought," 8:13 (173). 1 *"when they had arriven to the promised land," 10:15 (177). 1 *"which is ran over by the beasts." 12:11 (181). 2 "you had ought to tremble." 12:30 (182i; 15:26 (188). 2 *"had ye not ought to tremble?" 15:27 (188); 16:13 (189). 1 "here is the waters of Mormon," 18:8 ( l 92) . 1 *"they had began . . . and had began," 23:31 (204). 1 "burdens which is put upon your shoulders." 24:14 (206). 1 *Lamanites have awoke and doth pursue thee," 24:23 (207). 1 *"arrived to the land of Zarahemla," 24:25 (207). 1 "and this he done," 28:12 (216). 1 "nor no manner of iniquity," 29:14 (218). 1 "those things had not ought to be." 29:34 (220). 1 "and this they done," 29:41 (220). Total of 277 changes noted in Book of Mosiah.

257

CHANGES IN BOOK OF ALMA


MOST COMMON CHANGES 262 "which" to "who," 1:2 (221); 1:7 (222); 1:16 (223). 21 "which" to "whom," 2:22 (226); 4:7 (230); 8:20 (244); 17:30 (272). 105 "saith" to "said," 8:20 (244) 2 times; 8:23 (244); 10:17 (250). 62 "hath" to "has," 5:6 (233); 5:21 (234); 8:17 (244); 9:12 (246); 9:14 (246). 11 "hath" to "have," 5:15 (233); 29:5 (303); 30:28 (307). 43 "was" to "were," 1:16 (223); 1:30 (224) 4 times; 2:12 (225); 2:13 (225). 8 *"were" to "was," 10:32 (251); 14:28 (264); 16:9 (267)*; 43.9 (341)" 48'25 (359) 9 "which was" to "who were," 1:30 (224); 9:1 (245); 10:1 (248). 8 "is" to "are," 5:44 (236); 5:54 (237); 7:8 (240); 9:16 (246). 10 *"exceeding" to "exceedingly," 43:21 (342); 44:18 (347)*; 49:26, 27 (362)*; 50:28 (365)*; 53:20 (376)*; 62:35 (403)*; 62:37 (404)*; 63:5 (406)2 times. 1 "saith" to "say," 27:7 (299). 1 "saith" to "says," 10:28 (251). 1 "sayeth" to "say," 26:1 (295). 1 "sayeth" to "said," 9:4 (245); 9:6 (245). 2 "are" to "were," 11:2 (251); 24:26 (293). 1 "who" to "whom," 3:27 (230). 1 "who" to "which," 43:35 (343).

258 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION "which hath" to "who had," 19:26 (279). "which has" to "who have," 57:36 (389). "these w^hich" to "those who," 14:15 (263). "they which" to "them who," 31:36 (313). "ye had ought" to "ye ought," 36:29, 30 (326) 3 times. "ye hath" to "you have," 61:9 (399). "exceeding," to "much," 58:2 (390). "have wrote" to "have writtn," 54:5 (377). "him" to "he," 39:15 (333). *"bablings," 1:32 (224). "kinsfolks," 10:11 (249). "striped" to "stripped," 11:2 (251). "shublons," 11:19 (252). "devises," 11:21 (252). "mete," 12:15 (256); 13:13 (260). "wrent," 14:27 (264). "tempels," 16:13 (268). "know" to "known," 18:39 (276). "yars," 19:16 (278). "therefere," 21:12 (284). "theit," 24:18 (292). "phrensied," 30:16 (305). "prohesy," 45:9 (348). "yieided?' 51:20 (368). "eigth," 53:23 (377). "adhear," 60:34 (398).

SUNDRY SPELLING

DELETIONS

1 "own," 1:3 (221). 1 "now," 1:26 (223). 8 *"&c.," 2:4 (225); 10:29 (251)*; 31:1 (310); 40:12 (334)*; 43:8 (341)*; 49:30 (362)2 times*; 53:23 (377)*. 7 "for." 2:12 (225); 6:8 (239); 12:23 (257); 13:24 (261); 16:16 (268); 27:1 (299); 47:21 (356). 3 "he," 2:30 (227); 43:54 (345); 54:15 (378). 2 "and," 8:14 (243); 18:36 (275). 2 "a," 11:26 (253); 11:27 (253). 1 *"which was," 14:28 (264). 1 "which," 16:8 (267). 1 "even as with the power and authority." 17:3 (269). 4 "it came to pass that," 15:11 (265); 17:26 (271); 43:19 (341); 55:8 (379). 2 "that," 17:26 (271); 24:19 (292). 2 "as," 24:30 (293); 58:11 (390). 1 *"in," 26:37 (298). 1 "yea decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable," 29:4 " (303). 1 "and he," 30:12 (305). 1 "doth," 32:23 (315). 1 *"to." 44:11 (346).

APPENDIX 1 "saying," 44:13 (347). 1 "of," 51:14 (368). 1 "of the," 58:3 (390). ADDITIONS 1 "had," 1:1 (221). 1 "and," 17:30 (272). 1 *"was," 19:6 (276). 1 *"of," 56:13 (383). 1 "it is," 60:12 (396). MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES 1 "him that" to "he who," 1:8 (222). 1 "crime" to "crimes," 1:10 (222). 1 "plead" to "pleaded," 1:11 (222). 1 *"they have been acknowledged" to "it has been acknowledged," 1:14 (222). 1 "his" to "their," 36:3 (324). 1 "their" to "his," 1:17 (223). 2 ""art" to "am," 36:18 (325). 1 "&c," to "and so forth," 3:5 (228). 2 "art" to "are," 27:12 (300); 32:15 (314). 1 "art" to "is," 5:37 (235). 1 "which art" to "who is," 10:7 (249). 3 "whomsoever," to "whosoever," 6:2, 3 (238); 36:3 (324). 1 "afflictions" to "affliction," 7:5 (239). 1 "binds" to "bind," 7:12 (240). 1 *"received" to "receivedst," 8:15 (243). 1 "will" to "wilt," 8:20 (244). 1 *"sat" to "set," 8:21 (244). 1 "causeth" to "caused," 9:16 (246). 1 "causeth" to "causes," 30:35 (307). 1 "this" to "his," 9:19 (247). 1 "every man" to "all men," 9:28 (248). 3 "the" to "their," 10:13 (249); 13:10 (259); 24:19 (292). 1 "being" to "was," 10:31 (251). 1 "oweth" to "owed," 11:2 (251). 1 "judgeth" to "judged," 11:2 (251). 1 "receiveth" to "received," 11:3 (251). 1 *"had" to "hadst," 11:25 (253). 1 "answereth" to "answered," 11:29 (253). 1 "all things" to "every thing," 11:44 (254). 1 "durst" to "dare to," 12:14 (256). 1 "their" to "our," 12:15 (256). 1 "come" to "came," 12:20 (256). 1 "which" to "when," 13:1 (258). 3 "might" to "may," 13:26 (261); 17:26 (271); 34:17 (320). 1 "and it came to pass that it," to "now this," 14:5 (262). 1 *"break" to "broke," 14:26 (264). 1 *"having been" to "had been," 16:21 (268). 2 "had fell" to "had fallen," 17:15 (270); 19:24 (278). 2 "desires" to "desire," 17:22 (271); 20:26 (282); 29:4 (303).

259

260

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

1 "reserve" to "preserve," 17:31 (272). 1 "they were not in number a very few" to "they were in number not a few," 17:34 (272). 1 "and Ammon" to "he," 19:14 (277). 1 *"never had" to "and never having," 19:17 (278). 1 "rehearst" to "rehearsed," 20:11 (280). 1 "and" to "an," 20:18 (281). 1 "had smote" to "had smitten," 20:30 (282). 1 *"atoneth" to "atone," 22:14 (286). 1 "neither" to "either," 23:1 (289). 1 "delighteth" to "delight," 26:24 (297). 1 "the" to "you," 26:27 (297). 1 "never" to "ever," 30:28 (307). 1 "if ye" to "will ye," 30:39 (307). 4 *"doth," to "do," 30:44 (308)* 32:23 (315); 46:8 (350); 55:3 (379). 1 "humbleth" to "humble," 32:16 (314). 1 "hath proven" to "has proved," 34:6 (319). 2 *"directors" to "interpreters," 37:21, 24 (328). 1 "its" to "their," 37:45 (330). 1 "he" to "they," 42:2 (337). 2 "Cherubims""to "cherubim," 42:2 (337); 42:3 (338). 1 *"partook" to "partaken," 42:5 (338). 1 "governments" to "government," 43:17 (341). 1 "they" to "that," 44:15 (347). 1 "hands" to "hand," 46:7 (350). 1 "sons" to "son," 46:24 (352). 1 "they" to "he," 46:30 (353). 2 *"exceeding fraid" to "exceednigly afraid," 47:2 (354); 58:24 (392)*. 1 "and also they which were with him" to "and all them who were with him," 47:34 (356). 1 *wonderful" to "wonderfully," 51:11 (368). 1 "something" to "somewhat," 54:6 (377). 1 "mattereth" to "matter," 54:22 (379). 1 "supposeth" to "sufficeth," 56:5 (382). 3 "retained" to "regained," 58:3 (390): 60:24 (397); 62:30 (403). 1 "retaining" to "regaining," 59:3 (394). 1 "had came" to "had come," 58:24 (392). 3 *"have ye forgot" to "have ye forgotten," 60:20 (397) 3 times. 1 "had took" to "had taken," 62:16 (402). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED 1 "every priest and teacher had ought to become popular," 1:3 (221). 1 "they had ought to be supported," 1:3 (221). 3 "this he done," 2:10 (225); 43:7 (340); 43:8 (341). 1 "and this they done," 17:7 (269). 1 "there was no contentions," 4:1 (230). 1 "was the bands of death broken," 5:9 (233). 1 "the arms of mercy is extended," 5:33 (235). 1 "I have spoken unto you plain," 5:43 (236).

APPENDIX 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 "I had much desire that ye was not," 7:18 (241). "Alma had came to the city," 8:8 (243). "Satan had got great hold," 8:9 (24.]). *"after he had eat and was filled," 8:23 (244). *"because thou hast fed me and took me in," 8:26 (244). *"having been waxed strong in battle," 9:22 (247). *"ye had ought to be beloved and ye had ought to bring forth works which is mete," 9:30 (248) 4 changes. *"ye had ought to be beloved; yea, and ye had ought to have stirred yourselves," GO: 10 (395) 2 changes. "as I was a going thither," 10:8 (249). "the destruction of this people is a beginning to be laid," 10:27 (251). "here is six onties of silver," 11:22 (252). "all things which in them is," 11:39 (253). *"our first parents could have went forth," 12:26 (257). *"it was appointed unto man that they must die," 12:27 (257). *"they might had as great privilege as their brethren," 13:4 (259). "the scriptures . . . if ye will arrest them," 13:20 (260). *"that I have the power to deliver ye up," 14:19 (263). ""slain, by the cause of his iniquity," 15:3 (265). "without any respects of persons," 16:14 (268). "a journeying towards the land of Zarahemla," 17:1 (269). "when they had arriven in the borders of the land of the Lamanites," 17:13 (270). "a going forth with their flocks," 17:26 (271). *"arms which had been smote off," 17:39 (273). "for he had slew many of them," 18:0 (273). "he began to the creation of the world," 18:36 (275). "this had overcame his natural frame," 19:6 (277). "a journeying thither," 20:8 (280). *"until they had arriven to the land of Middoni," 20:30 (282). *"and firstly began to preach," 21:4 (283). "a preaching the w^ord," 21:11 (284). "they had not ought to murder," 23:3 (289). "they did not fight against God no more," 23:7 (290). *"he hath forgiven us . . . and took away the guilt," 24:10 (291). "and did reap with your mights," 26:5 (295). *"among those who they so dearly beloved," 27:4 (299). "that there might not be no more sorrow," 29:2 (303). "I had ought to be content," 29:3 (303). "I had not ought to harrow up in my desires," 29:4 (303). "even the earth, and all things that is upon the face of it," 30:44 (308). "a begging for his food," 30:56 (309). "but they had fell into great errors," 31:9 (310). *"the one which was the most foremost among them, saith unto him," 32:5 (313)3 changes. "every whit a pointing to," 34:14 (319). "for as suredly as this director did bring our fathers." 37:45 (330).

261

262

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

1 *"acknowledge your faults, and retain that wrong which ye have done," 39:13 (333). 1 "some have arrested the Scriptures," 41:1 (336). 1 "we see that the man had became as God," 42:3 (337). 1 *"that they might commence an attack upon the more weak part of the people," 43:24 (342). 1 *"Moroni took the remainder part of his army," 43:25 (342). 1 "behold, here is our weapons of war," 44:8 (346). 1 *"the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their mights," 44:17 (347). 1 "thus ended the record of Alma which is wrote upon the plates of Nephi," 44:24 (347). 1 *"waving the rent of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had wrote upon the rent," 46:19 (351) 3 changes. 1 "to remove the cause of diseases which was subsequent to man, by the nature of the climate," 46:40 (353). 1 "over whom the king had gave him command," 47:13 (355). 1 *"and he has fell," 47:26 (356). 1 "Moroni . . . had been a preparing," 48:7 (358). 1 "the Devil would never have no power," 48:17 (359). 1 *"a body of their most strong men," 49:20 (361). 1 *"they had began to settle the affairs," 51:12 (368). 1 *"rather than to be smote down," 51:20 (368). 1 *"lest the Lamanites had awoke," 51:36 (370). 1 *"Moroni . . . had began his march towards the land Bountiful," 52:15 (372). 1 "it were easy to guard them." 53:5 (375). 1 "Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of men which was appointed to go with him," 55:7 (379). 1 *"they sleepeth," 55:8 (379). 1 *"we have took of their wine," 55:8 (379). 1 *"had they awoke the Lamanites," 55:18 (380). 1 *"and had gave them power," 55:20 (380). 1 *"they had firstly given to some of the Lamanite prisoners," 55:31 (381). 1 "these were a descendent of Laman," 56:3 (382). 1 "because of the numerority of their forces," 56:10 (382). 1 *"toiling with their mights'" 56:15 (383). 1 *"desirous to make an attack upon them in their strong holds," 56:21 (383). 1 "pursuing them, with their mights," 56:37 (384). 1 "never was men known to have fought with such miraculous strength," 56:56 (386). 1 "the armies of the Lamanites are a marching," 57:31 (389). 1 "this did not profit us but little," 58:5 (390). 1 "those which have rose up." 61:7 (399). 1 "when the Lamanites saw that Moroni was a coming," 62:31 (403). 1 *"they were drowned up in the depths of the sea." 63:8 (406). 1 "the Son of the only begotten of the Father," 5:48 (236). Total of 827 changes noted in the Book of Alma.

APPENDIX

263

CHANGES IN THE BOOK OF HELAMAN


MOST COMMON CHANGES

78 "which" to "who," 1:2, 3, 4 (407); 1:9, 12 (408). 18 "hath" to "has," 7:15, 17, 20 (427); 7:22, 25, 26, 29 (428); 8:8 (429); 9:2 (431). 9 "was" to "were," 4:19 (416); 5:44 (421); 7:11 (427); 8:13 (430). 5 *"hath" to "have," 8:13 (429)*; 8:19 (430)2 times; 13:21 (443); 14:10 (445). 1 "was" to "were," 3:31 (414). 3 "which" to "whom," 5:29 (420); 5:36 (420); 9:12 (432). 3 "saith" to "said." 5:39 (421); 5:41 (421); 14:2 (445). 5 "saith" to "say," 12:13, 14, 16, 17 (440); 12:26 (441). 1 "which was" to "who were," 7:2 (426). 1 "which is" to "which are," 13:16 ( 4 4 2 ) 2 times. 1 "which is" to "who are," 13:17 (443). 1 "them" to "those," 13:37 (445). 1 "they which" to "them who," 16:18 (451).
SUNDRY SPELLING

1 "steeling" to "stealing," 4:12 (416).


DELETIONS

1 1 1 1 9 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 4 3 1 1 1 1 1

"Now Tubaloth," 1:16 (408). "he," 1:16 (408). "it came to pass that," 2:8 (411). *"&c," 3:6 (412). *"and," 5:43 (421)*; 10:8. 9 (435); 12:13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20 (440). "for," 6:8 (422); 16:21 (451). "whatsoever was." 6:20 (423). "both," 14:22 (447).

MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES

"neither" to 'either." 1:31 (410). "nobler" to "robber." 3:23 (414). "had got" to "had gotten," 3:36 (415). *"exceeding fraid" to "exceedingly afraid," 4:3 (415). *"retained" to "regained," 4:9, 16 (416). *"retaining" to "regaining." 4:10 (416). "raising" to "rising," 4:12 (416). "buildeth" to "build" 5:12 (418). "face" to "faces," 5:36 (420). *"doth" to "do," 5:38 (4211; 12:9. 12 (440)*; 14:11 (446). *"exceeding" to "exceedingly." 6:12, 16 (423); 6:31 (425). "art" to "is," 7:16 ( 427) . "repenteth" to "repent." 7:23 (428). "ye" to "you," 8:21 (430). "sure" to "surely," 12:15 (4401. "many-day repentance" to "many days, repentance," 13:2 (441). 1 "treasure" to "treasures," 13:19 (443). 1 "has arriven" to "has arrived," 13:24 (443).

264 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION *"ye would" to "we would," 13:25 (443) 2 times. "lead" to "led," 13:29 (444); 15:7 (448). *"it becometh" to "they became," 13:31 (444). "hideth" to "hide," 13:19 (443). "layeth" to "lay," 13:34 (444).

OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED


*"there was still great contentions in the land," 3:19 (413). *"the church had began to dwindle," 4:23 (417). *"the voice of him which had shook the earth," 5:42 (421). *"they were bid to go forth," 5:49 (421). *"the more parts of the Nephites," 6:21 (424). *"that they might the more easy commit adultery," 7:5 (426). *"if my days could have been in them days," 7:8 (427). "which tower was also near unto the garden gate which led by the higway," 7:10 (427). 1 "ye had ought to marvel," 7:15 (427). 1 *"he spake plain unto them," 8:4 (429). 1 *"ye had ought to begin to howl and mourn," 9:22 (433). 1 "abominations which is among you," 9:23 (433). 1 "your days of probation is past," 13:38 (445). 1 "the rocks which is upon the face of the earth, which is both above the earth and beneath, which ... is solid," 14:21 (446) 3 changes. 1 "and when they had came forth," 16:1 (449). Total of 194 changes noted in Book of Helaman.

CHANGES IN I I I NEPHI MOST COMMON CHANGES


112 "which" to "who," 1:2 (452); 1:5 (452); 1:7, 11 (453). 9 "which" to "whom," 5:20 (464); 9:11 (473); 11:10 (477); 12:1 (479); 13:25 (483). 1 "which" to "when," 2:8 (455). 1 "which" to "those who," 21:9 (500). 24 "saith" to "said," 11:6 (476); 11:22 (478); 13:25 (483); 15:1, 3 (485); 17:1 (488). 2 "saith" to "say," 16:17 (488); 27:5 (507). 7 *"hath" to "have," 5:16 (464); 11:28 (478)2 times*; 15:7 (485)*. 9 *"was" to "were," 1:5 (452); 1:15 (453); 4:1 (460)* 2 times; 4:2 (460); 7:5 (468). 5 *"were" to "was," 1:23 (454)*; 4:4 (460); 5:6 (463). 2 "them which," to "those who," 7:6 (468); 7:14 (469). 1 "them which" to "those whom," 9:10 (473). 1 "they which" to "those who," 18:5 (490); 19:23 (495). 4 "had spake" to "had spoken," 11:12 (477); 28:4 (510); 28:12 (510); 19:30 (495). 6 *"exceeding," to "exceedingly," 1:10 (453)*; 2:13, 16 (456)*; 2:17 (456)*; 3:26 (459)*; 6:13 (466)*.

APPENDIX
SUNDRY SPELLING

265

1 "neverthelers" to "nevertheless," 5:18 (464). 1 "shewn" to "shown," 10:18 (475). 2 *"straight" to "strait," 14:13, 14 (484). 1 "berak" to "brake," 18:3 (490). 1 "break" to "brake," 20:3 (496). 1 "thess" to "these," 18:12 (491). 1.."eatheth" to "eateth," 20:8 ( 4 96) 2 times. 2 "rereward" to "rearward," 20:42 (499); 21:29 (501).

DELETIONS

1 "and the land that was between the land of Zarahemla," 3:23 (459). 2 "it came to pass that," 11:16 (477); 19:30 (495). 1 "and it came to pass," 7:23 (470). 1 "of," 11:10 (477). 1 "and," 18:20 (491). 1 "beforetime," 18:34 (493). 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 "come" to "came," 4:22 (462). "cometh" to "come," 12:3 (479). "they" to "those," 19:12 (494). "nor" to "or," 1:25 (454). "shook" to "shaken," 8:14 (471). "a descendent" to "descendants," 10:4 (474). "particular" to "particularly," 10:16 (475). "those things which testifies," to "these things which testify," 10:17 (475). "that should" to "shall," 11:10 (477). "have drank" to "have drunk," 11:11 (477). *"standeth" to "stand," 11:40 (479). "namesake" to "name's sake," 12:10 (480). "witness" to "witnesses," 16:6 (487). *"gave" to "given," 18:6 (490). "lead" to "led," 18:25 (492). "their" to "his," 20:8 (496) 3 times. "hoops" to "hoofs," 20:19 (497).

MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 1

OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES THAT HAVE BEEN IN SOME WAY CHANGED

1 *"therefore I have wrote this epistle," 3:5 (457). 1 *"that they may cause to be fell to the earth all who shall seek to slay them," 4:29 (462). 1 *"even as this man has been fell to the earth," 4:29 (462). 1 *"a more short but a true account," 5:9 (464). 1 "blessed are they which cometh unto me," 9:14 (473). 1 "all things that in them is," 9:15 (473). 1 "all these things, is not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies," 10:14 (475). 1 "my bowels is filled with compassion," 17:6 (489).

266

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

1 "my bowels is filled with mercy," 17:7 (489). 1 *"and when they had eat and were filled," 18:4 (490). 1 "and when they had eat," 20:4 (496). 1 "the gates of hell is already open," 18:13 (491). 1 "the multitude did witness it, and do bear record," 19:14 (494). 1 "when the multitude had all eat and drank," 20:9 (496). 1 "I have wrote them," 26:8 (506). 1 "Behold, I were about to write," 28:25 (511). Total of 238 changes noted in I I I Nephi. CHANGES IN BOOK OF IV NEPHI 3 "which" to "who," 1:24 (516); 1:28 (516); 1:43 (518). 1 "were" to "was," 1:35 (517). 1 "which was" to "who were," 1:36 (517). 1 "they which was" to "those who were," 1:36 (517). 1 "nor no manner of ites" to "nor any manner of -ites," 1:17 (515). Total of 7 changes noted in Book of IV Nephi. CHANGES IN THE BOOK OF MORMON MOST COMMON CHANGES 3 "were" to "was," 1:16 (519); 1:17 (520); 2:16 (521). 3 "was" to "were," 3:8 (523); 9:18, 19 (537). 1 "which hath" to "who have," 5:10 (527). 1 "this is" to "these are," 7:1 (531). 2 "them" to "him," 7:7 (531); 9:21 (537). 1 "they" to "he," 9:8 (536). 1 "is" to "are," 9:11 (536). 1 "which" to "who," 9:15 (536). 1 *"hath" to "have," 9:17 (536). 1 "lead" to "led," 3:12 (523). 1 "remaineth" to "remain," 8:3 (532). 1 "none" to "no," 9:33 (538). 1 "crated" to "created," 9:12 (532). SUNDRY SPELLING 1 "Angelah" to "Angola," 2:4 (520). 1 "Beaz" to "Boaz," 4:20 (526). 9 "Camorah" to "Cumorah," 6:2 (529)2 times; 6:4 (529) 2 times; 6:5 (529); 6:6 (529)2 times; 6:11 (530); 8:2 (532). DELETIONS 1 "the." 5:14 (528). 1 "I," 8:3 (532). 1 "and because that none other people knoweth our language," 9:34 (538). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED 1 "there is no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts," 9:7 (536). 1 *"from which sleep all men shall be awoke by the power of God," 9:13 (536).

APPENDIX 1 *"have all these things past, of which I have spoken," 9.15 (530). Total of 35 changes noted in Hook of Mormon. CHANGES IN THE BOOK OF ETHER MOST COMMON CHANGES 17 "which" to "who," 1:43 (540); 3:14 (544); 4:8 (540); 7:19 (551). 7 "was" to "were," 4:4 (540); 5:1 (547); 7:27 (552); 8:15 (553). 1 "were" to "was," 14:31 (571). 3 "saith" to "said," 4:6 (546); 8:9 (553); 8:13 (553). 1 "which was" to "who were," 13:18 (567). 1 "hath" to "have," 3:15 (544). 1 "hath" to "has," 3:15 (544). 1 "speaketh" to "speaks," 1:3 (538). 1 "decrees" to "decree," 2:10 (541). 1 "were it so" to "were it not so," 3:9 (544). 1 *"kindreds" to "kindred," 8:17 (554). 1 "avengeth" to "avenge," 8:22 (554). 1 "those" to "them," 12:10 (503). 2 *"exceeding" to "exceedingly," 10:22, 27 (500). SUNDRY SPELLING 1 "clowd" to "cloud," 2:4 (541). 1 "Morianeumer" to "Moriancumer," 2:13 (541). 2 "brethern," 2:13 (541); 2:15 (542). 1 "kinsfolks," 8:13 (553). 1 "opon" to "upon," 9:20 (556). 1 "wherfore," 13:18 (567). DELETIONS 1 *"howbeit," 2:25 (543). 1 "the," 13:6 (566). 1 "thereof," 14:2 (568); 14:17 (569). 1 "they," 14:2 (568). ADDITION 1 *"in," 13:15 (567). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASES IN SOME WAY CHANGED 1 "this is my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you," 2:15 (542). 1 "the sides thereof was tight like unto a dish," 2:17 (542). 1 "I have wrote them," 4:5 (546). 1 "Benjamin" to "Mosiah," 4:1 (546). 1 "all things that in them is," 4:7 (546). 1 "he had drew away," 7:9 (551). 1 *"they done all these things," 9:29 (557). 1 "all the people . . . were a shedding blood," 13:31 (568). Total of 60 changes noted in Book of Ether.

267

268

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

CHANGES IN BOOK OF MORONI MOST COMMON CHANGES 2 "was" to "were," 8:29 (583); 10:27 (587). 4 *"hath" to "have," 7:27 (579)*; 7:29 (579)* 2 times; 7:36 (579). 2 "hath" to "has," 7:35 (579); 7:36 (579). 1 "has" to "have," 10:1 (585). 1 "is" to "are," 10:23 (587). 1 "they which" to "those who," 8:10 (581). 1 "doth" to "do," 7:17 (578). 1 "suredly" to "sure," 7:26 (578). 1 *"set" to "sat," 7:27 (579). 2 "needeth" to "need," 8:14 (582); 8:20 (582). 1 *"him" to "them," 8:16 (582). 1 "proved" to "proven," 8:27 (583). 1 "comes" to "come," 10:17 (586). SPELLING 1 "mekness," 8:26 (582). DELETIONS 2 "that," 4:1 (575); 7:29 (579). ADDITION 1 "of," 8:14 (582). OTHER SUNDRY PHRASE IN SOME WAY CHANGED 1 "this thing had not ought to be," 8:24 (582). Total of 24 changes noted in Book of Moroni. SUMMARY OF TOTAL CHANGES Changes in Book of I Nephi ..................................................................... 191 Changes in Book of II Nephi .................................................................... 160 Changes in Book of Jacob...........................................................................86 Changes in Book of Enos ........................................................................... 10 Changes in Book of Jarom ...........................................................................2 Changes in Book of Omni ............................................................................9 Changes in Words of Mormon .....................................................................5 Changes in Book of Mosiah .....................................................................277 Changes in Book of Alma ........................................................................ 827 Changes in Book of Helaman ................................................................... 194 Changes in Book of III Nephi ...................................................................238 Changes in Book of IV Nephi ......................................................................7 Changes in Book of Mormon .....................................................................35 Changes in Book of Ether .......................................................................... 60 Changes in Book of Moroni ....................................................................... 24 Total Changes Noted in Book of Mormon 2,125

Bibliography
I. BOOKS OF JOSEPH SMITH, J R. :

A Book Of Commandments For The Government of the Church of Christ, Organized According To Law On the 6th of April, 1830, W. W. Phelps & Co., Zion (reprints by C. A. Wickes, Lamoni, Iowa, 1903; Church of Christ, Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri, 1960; Jerald Tanner, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1961). The Book of Mormon, 1830 Palmyra Edition (reproduced by Wilford C. Wood, as Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. I, 1958). The Book of Mormon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920, 1900, and 1888 printings. Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952 and 1907 printings. History of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Vols. I-IV, 1902-1908; Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, Vols. V, VI, 1958, 1959. The Holy Scriptures (Inspired Version) Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri. The Pearl Of Great Price, F. D. Richards, Liverpool, 1851. The Pearl Of Great Price, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952.
II. MORMON PERIODICALS:

Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, Vol. 43-65, 1940-1962. Journal Of History, (Reorganized Church) Lamoni, Iowa, Vol. I & II. Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Vol. 1-3, 1834-1837. The Latter-Day Saints' Millenial Star, Liverpool, Vol. I-XXI, 18401861. The Nauvoo Expositor, Nauvoo, Illinois, June 7, 1844 (but one issue published; published by Mormons at Nauvoo in attempt to reform the church). The Return, Davis City, Iowa, Vol. 1, 1889-90 (published by Ebenezer Robinson). The Seer, Washington, D. C, Vol. I & II, 1853, 1854 (published by Orson Pratt). Times and Seasons, Nauvoo, Illinois, Vol. 1-6, 1839-1846.
III. OTHER PERIODICALS:

Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 13, 1960. The Christian Evangelist, Christian Publishing Co., St. Louis, Mo., August 18, 1887. Firm Foundation, Firm Foundation Publishing Co., Austin, Texas, Vol. 76, 1959. 269

270

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Gospel Advocate, Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville, Tennessee, August 17, 1939. Gospel Broadcast, Des Moines, Iowa, Vol. 6, 1946 (published by Eugene S. Smith). Look, New York, N.Y., January 21, 1958. Millenial Harbinger, Bethany, Virginia, Vol. II, VI, 1831, 1835 (published by Alexander Campbell). Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, New York, November, 1961. Times-Herald, Washington, D. C, July 28, 1953. IV. MORMON BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS: Andrus, Hyrum L.: Joseph Smith and World Government, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1958. Cannon, George Q.: The Life Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, Second Edition, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1907. Cleland, Robert Glass, and Brooks, Juanita: A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries Of John Doyle Lee, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California, 1955, 2 volumes. Doxey, Roy W.: The Doctrine and Covenants and the Future, Deseret "Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960. Edwards, F. Henry.: A Commentary On The Doctrine and Covenants Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1938 (Reorganized Church). Evans, John Henry.: One Hundred Years Of Mormonism, Third Edition. Deseret Sunday School Union, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909. Geddes, Joseph A.: The United Order Among The Mormons, New York, 1922. _______Journal of Discourses, by Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others, Vol. 1-f. _______Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story, tract circulated by Utah Mormons. Kirkham, Francis W.: A New Witness For Christ In America, Zion's Printing And Publishing Co.. Independence, Mo., 1942, 1951, 2 volumes. Morris, Nephi Lowell: Prophecies Of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920. Pratt, Orson: A Series Of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851 (subsequently published as Orson Pratt's Works). Pratt, Orson and Newman, J. P.: Does The Bible Sanction Polygamy? Deseret News Steam Printing Establishment, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1877 Pratt, Parley P.: Key To The Science Of Theology, Fifth Edition, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891. Pratt, Parley P.: A Voice Of Warning And Instruction To All People, Eleventh Edition, Deseret News Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1881.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

271

Rich, Ben E.: Scrapbook Of Mormon Literature, Ben E. Rich, Chicago, Ill., 2 volumes. _______Research In Chiapas, Mexico, Papers of the New Work! Archaeological Foundation, J. Alden Mason, Editor. Numbers one to four. Publication No. 3, New World Archaeological Foundation, Orlinda, Calif., 1959. Rigdon, Sidney: Oration, Elders' Journal Press. Far West. Missouri, 1838. Roberts, Brigham Henry: .4 Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Sai)its, Deseret News Press. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1930, 6 volumes. Roberts, Brigham H.: The Missouri Persecutions, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900. Roberts, Brigham H.: New Witnesses For God. Second Edition, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920, 1951, Vol. II. III. Roberts, Brigham H.: Outlines Of Ecclesiastical History, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1924. Roberts, Brigham H.: The Rise And Fall Of Nauvoo, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1900. Smith, Hyrum M., and Sjodahl, Janne M.: Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, I960. Smith, Joseph Fielding: Origin of the Reorganized Church, Sixth Edition. Smith, Lucy Mack: Biographical Sketches Of Joseph Smith The Prophet, And His Progenitors For Many Generations, S. W. Richards, Liverpool, 1853. Smith, Lucy Mack: History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, with notes and comments by Preston Nibley, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1958. Spencer, Orson: Letters Exhibiting The Most Prominent Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, George Q. Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1891. Sperry, Sidney B.: Doctrine and Covenants Compendium, Bookcraft, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960. Talmage, James E.: Articles Of Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1952. Tullidge, Edward W.: The Life Of Joseph The Prophet, Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, Piano, Illinois, 1880. Van Wagoner, Merrill Y.: The Inspired Revision of the Bible, Zion's Printing & Publishing Co. Watson, Wingfield, and Blair. W. W.: Watson-Blair Debate, W. S. Smith, Clifford, Ontario, 1892 (a debate between representatives of the Reorganized Church and the followers of James J. Strang). Wheaton, Clarence L., and Angela: The Book of Commandments Controversy Reviewed, Church of Christ, Temple Lot, Independence, Mo., 1950.

272

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Whitmer, David: Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, Richmond. Mo.. 1887 (reprinted by Pacific Publishing Co., Martinez, California, 1960). Widtsoe, John A.: A Book of Mormon Treasury, Bookcraft Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1959. Widtsoe, John A.: Joseph Smith As Scientist, General Board Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association, Salt Lake City Utah 1908. Widtsoe, John A., and Leah D.: The Word of Wisdom, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1950. Wood, Wilford C: Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. I, 1958 (a reprint of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon 1. Woodruff, Wilford: Leaves From My Journal, Second Edition Juvenile Instructor Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1882.
V. OTHER BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS:

Alexander, Archibald: The Canon Of The Old And New Testaments Ascertained, Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1851. Arbaugh, George Bartholomew: Revelation In Mormonism, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1932. Bales, James D.: The Book Of Mormon, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, Calif., 1958. Banks, Edgar J.: The Bible and The Spade, Association Press, New York, N. Y., 1913. Barnes, Albert: The Evidences Of Christianity In The Nineteenth Century, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1868. Barton, George A.: Archaeology And The Bible, American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, Pa., Seventh Edition. Bays, Davis H.: The Doctrines And Dogmas Of Mormonism, Christian Publishing Co., St. Louis, Mo., 1897. Beadle, J. H.: Life In Utah, Or The Mysteries And Crimes of Mormonism, National Publishing Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1870. Beadle, J. H.: Polygamy, Or The Mysteries And Crimes of Mormonism, Cincinnati Publishing Co., Cincinnati. Ohio, 1882. Beardsley, Harry M.: Joseph Smith And His Mormon Empire, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1931. Benton, Thomas H.: Thirty Years' View, or A History Of The American Government For Thirty Years, From 1820 To 1850, D. Appleton & Company, New York, New York, 1856, 2 volumes. Boles, H. Leo: Boles' Bible Questions, Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville, Tenn., 1957. Bowker, Richard Rogers: Copyright, Its History And Its Law, Houghton Mifflin, Riverside Press, Boston and New York, 1912. Braden, Clark, and Kelley, E. L.: Braden-Kelley Debate, Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, California, 1955. Brodie. Fawn McKay: No Man Knows My History, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

273

Butler, Joseph: An Analogy of Religion Natural And Revealed, John Rutledge & Sons, London and New York. Caswell, Henry: City of the Mormons, J. G. F. & J. Rivington, London, 1842. Chandler, Walter M.: The Trial Of Jesus, Federal Book Co., New York, 1925, 2 volumes. Clarke, Adam: Commentary On The Bible, Abington-Cokesbury Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 6 volumes. Connelley, William Elsey: Doniphan's Expedition And The Conquest Of New Mexico And California, William Elsey Connelley, Topeka, Kansas, 1907. Conway, Bertrand L.: The Question Box, The Paulist Press, New York, New York, 1929. Cowdery, Oliver: Defence In A Rehearsal Of My Grounds For Separating Myself From The Latter Day Saints, Pressley's Job Office, Norton, Ohio, 1839 (reproduced by photo process by Jerald Tanner, 566 Center St., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1961). Cruse, Christian Frederick: The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, Stanford & Swords, New York, New York, 1850. ________Encyclopedia Britannica, 1929 Edition, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1941. Fisher, George P.: The Christian Religion, The Chautauqua Press, New York, 1886. Fisher, George P.: The Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1892. Fisher, George P.: Manual of Christian Evidences, The ChautauquaCentury Press, Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1892. Fisher, George P.: The Nature and Method Of Revelation, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1890. Ford, Thomas: History of Illinois, Lakeside Edition, Lakeside Press, Chicago, 111., 1936, 2 volumes. Gibbs, Josiah F.: Lights And Shadows Of Mormonism, Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co., 1909. Greenleaf, Simon: The Testimony Of The Evangelists, Soney & Sage, Newark, N.J., 1903. Greenleaf, Simon: A Treatise On The Law Of Evidence, Fifteenth Edition, Little, Brown, & Co., Boston, 1892. Haley, T. P.: Historical and Biographical Sketches of the Early Churches and Pioneer Preachers, Christian Publishing Co., St. Louis, Mo., 1888. Halley, Henry H.: Pocket Bible Handbook, Henry A. Halley, Chicago, Illinois, 1950. Hancock, G. B.: Mormonism Exposed, A. Doggett, Marionville, Mo., 1902. Hayden, A. S.: History of the Disciples In The Western Reserve, Chase & Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1875.

274

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION

Horne, Thomas H.: Introduction To The Critical Study And Knowledge Of The Holy Scriptures, E. Littell, Philadelphia, Pa., 1827, 4 volumes. Howe, Eber D.: Mormonism Unvaried, Painesville, Ohio, 1834. Hyde, John, Jr.: Mormonism, Its Leaders And Designs, W. P. Fetridge & Company, New York, N. Y., 1857. Ilton, Paul: The Bible Was My Treasure Map, Julian Messner, Inc., New York, N. Y., 1958. Jones, Burr W.: The Law Of Evidence In Civil Cases, Fourth Edition, Bancroft-Whitney Co., San Francisco, Calif., 1938, Vol. III. Josephus, Flavius: The Life And Works Of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whiston, The John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1957. Kidder, Daniel P.: Mormonism And The Mormons, Lane & Scott, New York, 1852. Kiser, Donald J.: Corpus Juris Secundum, American Law Book Co., Brooklyn, N. Y., Vol. XXXII. Liddell, Henry George, and Scott, Robert: Greek-English Lexicon, Harper & Brothers, New York, New York, 1854. Linn, William Alexander: The Story Of The Mormons, From The Date Of Their Origin To The Year 1901, The MacMillan Company, New York and London, 1902. Lee, John D.: Mormonism Unveiled, M. E. Mason, St. Louis, Mo., 1891. Mair, Alexander: Studies In The Christian Evidences, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1894. ------------The Master Bible, J. Wesley Dickson & Co., Chicago, Ill., 1941 (supplying the Holy Scriptures in the King James Version and a number of additional articles used in treating biblical inspiration). McGarvey, J. W.: Evidences Of Christianity, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. McGarvey, J. W.: Sermon on "Inspiration," Sermons, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. McKelvey, John Jay: Handbook Of The Law Of Evidence, Fifth Edition, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn., 1944. Paine, Thomas: "The Age Of Reason," The Life And Works Of Thomas Paine, Thomas Paine National Historical Association, New Rochelle, N. Y., 1925. Petersen, Lamar: Problems In Mormon Text, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1957. Putnam, George Haven: The Question Of Copyright, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, Knickerbocker Press, 1896. ______Religious Bodies: 1936, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C, 1941. Shook, Charles A.: Cumorah Revisited, Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1910. Smucker, Samuel M.: Life Among The Mormons, Hurst & Co., New York.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 275 Stenhouse, Mrs. T. B. H.: Tell It All, A. D. Worthington & Co., Hartford, Conn., 1875. ------------Testimony Of Important Witnesses As Given In The Proceedings Before The Committee On Privileges And Elections Of The United States Senate In The Matter Of The Protest Against The Right of Hon. Reed Smoot. A Senator From Utah, To Hold His Seat, Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co., Salt Lake City Utah, 1905. Tucker. Pomeroy: Origin, Rise, And Progress of Mormonism, D. Appleton and Company, New York, New York, 1867. Turner. J. B.: Mormonism In All Ages, Platt & Peters New York, N. Y., 1842. Young, Kimball: Isn't One Wife Enough? Henry Holt & Co. New York, N. Y., 1954. Wescott, Brooke Foss: A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, Seventh Edition, MacMillan & Co., Ltd., London, 1896. Wigmore, John Henry: A Treatise On The Anglo-American System Of Evidence In Trials At Common Law, Third Edition, Little, Brown & Co., Boston. Mass., 1940, Vol. I. Wyl, Dr. W.: Mormon Portraits;Or The Truth About Mormon Leaders From 1830 to 1886, Tribune Printing And Publishing Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1886.

Index
Apostates, 235-240 Apostolic blessings, 174. 237-239 Arbaugh. George, 11, 117, 206 Arceneaux, J. Early, on Mormonism, 114. 115 "Author and Proprietor," 10, 77. 97, 98, 99, 100, 101. 102 Authority, divine, essential in religion, 13; how does it come?. 14; the Bible as, 17, 19. 22, 23 Bales, James D., 97. 110, 236; on supernatural powers. 84, 85; on continued revelation, 95, 96 Banks, Edgar, 45 Barnes, Albert, on inspiration of X. T., 27, 33 Barton, George, on archaeology. 44. 45 Beadle. J. H.,11. 161, 162, 186,"l92, 203, 204, 205 Bennett, James Arlington, 12 Bennett, John C, 229-233. 244 Benson, Ezra T., on Columbus inspired. 66 Benton. Thomas H., on Oregon territory, 144, 145; on Fremont expedition, 146 Bible, the; its claim for inspiration, 27; described in Book of Mormon, 108, 109; harmony of the Bible, 31-33; have inspired books been rejected?, 28, 29; inspiration of, 26-59; not translated by divine inspiration, 56-58; recognized by Mormons as authoritative, 17, 23; Smith's "Inspired Version," 107-116; supplies authority. 22; viewed by legal standards, 49-56 Blair-Watson debate, 168 Book of Commandments, 116-126; changes in, 120-126; forerunner of Doctrine and Covenants, 117, 119; authorized by official church conference, 116, 118; approved by Joseph Smith, Jr., 118. 119, 120 Book of Mormon, 5, 6. 7, 8. 9, 12. 18, 19, 25, 27. 43. 47, 48. 51. 55, 56, 63. 64. 65, 75, 88, 90, 96, 100, 101, 107, 108, 109, 139, 209; and archaeology, 46-48; changes in, 97-107, appendix; 1830 Edition revised, 72, 97, 99, 102, 103107; not Alpha and Omega of Mormonism, 5; to correct imperfections in Bible, 110. Ill; translation of 63, 64, 76. 103, 104, 105. 106. 107. 110, 112, 209, 248. 249; method translated, 63, 64. 76, 97, 103, 104, 121, 163 Bowker, Richard R.. on copyright, 100 Braden. Clark, 10. 48, 209 Braden-Kelley Debate. 10. 123, 124 Brodie, Fawn McKay, 161. 209. 217. 230, 244 Brown, Hugh D.. on Mormon inspiration. 60 Call, Anson, diary, 143 Campbell. Alexander, 9, 11: on coming forth of the Book of Mormon. 76; on author of Book of Mormon, 98 Cannon. George Q., on polygamy, 218, 222. 225: on Salem treasure, 164 Caswell. Henry, 203, 204 Celestial marriage. 129. 130, 131, 217-225 Chandler, Walter M., 55 Church and state. 199-207 Civil War prophecy, 40, 134-143 Clay, Henry. 101 Clayton. William, on Stephen Douglas prophecy. 147. 148. 149 Columbus, Christopher, inspired. 66 "Consecrate all thy property," 79, 124, 195 Constitution inspired, 66. 67 Conway, Bertrand L., 28. 29 Copyright and Book of Mormon, 99-101 Copyright revelation, 162, 163 Covill, James. 210. 236 Cowdery. Oliver, 14, 63, 81, 101. 119, 121. 162. 183; Defence In A Rehearsal . . ., 236; joins Methodists. 236; letters to W. W. Phelps. 78, 214, 215; on copyright revelation. 163; on polygamy, 220; on second coming of Christ, 174; on translation, 63, 64, 76, 104 Danites reported among Mormons. 148, 238 Deseret News, 149. 150. 219 Doctrine And Covenants; covers entire field of Mormonism, 8; evidence of reliability, 56; see index of D. & C. references Doniphan, Gen. A. W.. refused Mormonism, 157, 158; member of the Christian Church, 158, 159; aided the Mormons. 155 Doniphan prophecy, 155-160 Douglas, Stephen A., prophecy, 147-150; 177, 178 Doxey, Roy W., on war prophecy, 141; on Zion, 170 Durham, G. Homer, on priesthood of believers, 24; on war, 142 Edwards, F. Henry, 65 Encyclopedia Americana, 100

277

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION man inspiration, 19; supernatural in origin, 19 Inspiration. Mormon. 24. 25, 62; based on testimony, 75-77: claimed better than books. 69, 70: claimed necessary to understand revelation, 68, 69: claims Bible imperfect, 111; give new meaning to already existing scriptures, 69: how know if it is right? 64: human veto over, 126-132; not accurate, 79-75; not limited to Mormons. 65-67; ordinary human inspiration, 68; trial and error process 77-83 Ireland. Hugh, claims no valid reason for disbelieving the claimed 1820 vision, 10, 11; proof of apostasy, 88 Jensen, Andrew, on accuracy of records, 73 Jensen, Nephi, on 1820 vision, 211 Jones, Burr W., on qualifications of a witness, 54. Josephus, 26 Kelley, E. L., 123, 124 Kimball, Heber C., on scripture vs. opinions, 19; on war prophecy, 137, relied on Fremont's maps, 144; concerning the Twelve. 154; on Zion, 184; on deceptive preaching in Zion's Camp, 194 Kirkham, Francis, 99 Kizer, Donald J., on evidence, 55 Knight, Newel, 210 Lambert, A. C, on continued revelation, 7, 69 Lawson, Leonidas, on Doniphan prophecy, 155-158 Lee," John Doyle, 167, 217 Liddell and Scott, 89 Lincoln. Abraham, said to be inspired, 67; defeated by Douglas. 149, 150 Linn, William A.. 148, 167 Locke, John, 11 Longden, John, on 1820 vision, 211 Mair, Alexander. 34 Manifesto, the, 131. 219 McGarvey, J. W., on inspiration, 26, 29, 57: on A. W. Doniphan. 158 McKay. David O., on tithing, 19S; on government. 206 Merrill. Joseph F., 8 Miracles, evidence of, 33-38, 55 Morris. Nephi Lowell, 10, 20: on prophecy, 133: on Smith as a prophet, 10, 133; on Rocky Mountain prophecy, 143, 144; on war prophecy, 135, 139

Encyclopedia Britannica, 100 Eusebius, 26 Evans, John Henry, 65. 75; on 1820 vision, 211; on Rigdon's "Salt Sermon," 81; on Simonds Ryder, 228; on Spaulding manuscript. 157, 158; on translation, 104. 107: on United Order. 79. 197: on Zion's Camp. 192. 193, 195 Evidence, of archaeology, 42-49: of miracles, 3.3-38; of prophecy, 38-42; on legal evidence Burr W. Jones, 54; Donald J. Kizer. 55: Simon Greenleaf, 49. 50, 51. 54. 55: Walter M. Chandler, 55 Far West temple prophecy, 179, 180 Farr, Finis K., 42 Ford. Gov. Thomas, on John C. Bennett, 229. 230; on Mormons' attitude toward government, 205, 206; on Mormons' seeking territorial government, 203 Free, Jack, on changes in Book of Mormon, 102 Fremont expedition, 146, 147 Geddes, Joseph A., on United Order, 195-198 Grant, Heber J., on inspiration, 66 Greenleaf. Simon, on evidence, 49-51, 54, 55 Haley, T. P.. on Doniphan, 158, 159 Halley, Henry, 45 Hancock, G. B.. on American antiquities, 47; on Book of Mormon, 110 Harris. Martin, apostate, 235, 236; on inspiration of James J. Strang, 76; on translation, 76, 104. 105, 106. 107, 248. 249, one of Three Witnesses. 236 Higbee, Elias. on government. 204; on "top of the mountains," 190 Hinsdale, B. A., on Simonds Ryder, 227, 229 Home. Thomas H., on miracles, 34; on prophecy, 38. 39. 133. 160 Houghey, Hal, 102, 104 Howe, Eber D., on authorship of Book of Mormon, 9. 98; on communistic practices among Mormons. 123 Hyde. John. Jr., on Inspired Version of "Bible, 116 Hyde, Orson, on apostolic blessing. 174 Ilton, Dr. Paul. 44, 45 Inspiration, divine, characteristic features of, 19; door of divine inspiration closed. 58, 59; infallibly dependable, 20, 23; must be accurate. 9. 24: must be confirmed, 19, 21: not ordinary hu-

INDEX Mormonism Unvailed, 98, 123 Moroni (Nephi) 78, 79, 215 Nauvoo Expositor. 9, 205, 206, 224 Nauvoo House, 175-177 Nauvoo, Illinois, a city state, 203 Nibley, Charles W., modern science as divine inspiration, 67 Nibley, Hugh, on 1820 vision, 212 Nibley, Preston, on Moroni, 79; on twelve apostles, 155 Ordination of Joseph Smith, III, 160-169 Page. John E., 19, 150, 154 Paine, Thomas, 33, 46 Penrose, Charles W., on inspiration of Joseph Smith, Jr.. 20 Petersen, Lamar, 126, 209, 219 Polygamy, 129-131: 217-225: begins, 219-f: in Short Creek, Arizona, 223: in Utah today, 223 Pratt. Orson. 5, 6. 8. 87. 239; on authenticity of Book of Mormon. 88: on Constitution, 66: on government, 202; on miracles, 37; on plural marriage, 219; on revelation, 86: on war prophecy, 136; claimed part of gospel removed, 69, 110, 112; Pratt-Newman debate, 220 Pratt, Parley P., 143, 154. 177, 183, 239; on coming of Christ, 173; on gathering to Zion, 171, 172; on key to the science of theology, 86, 91 Priesthood, 6, 164. 207; claimed restored by John the Baptist, 14; to all believers, 24 Prophecy, evidence of, 38: concerning Amalek, 40, 41; made to Abraham, 39, 40; Thomas H. Home on, 39, 41 Prophecies of Joseph Smith, Jr., 133-181; against government, 177-180; caused suffering. 186, 187; Civil War prophecy. 134-143; concerning the Twelve, 150-155; the copyright revelation, 99, 162, 163; the Doniphan prophecy. 155160; the Douglas prophecy, 147-150; the Nauvoo House revelation, 175-177; ordination of Joseph III, 166-169; Rocky Mountain prophecy, 143-147; second coming of Christ, 172-175; Smith not to get hurt. 180-182; Zion to be "in this generation," 169-172; 183-186 Putnam, 101 George Haven, on copyright,

278 92, 93, key to theology, 86. 91; lack of a proof of apostasy, 88, 94. Mormons claim essential, 7. 23; Mormons claim each individual possesses, 8, 24, 57; not needed today, 95, 96; said to be the "rock" of Matthew 16:18 7, 85, 89; said to be the supreme test of religion, 85, 90 Revelations. Mormon: celestial marriage, 129, 130, 131, 217-225; concerning the twelve, 150-155; copyright revelation, 99, 162, 163; given in answer to prayer, 65; Nauvoo House, 175-177; produced by ordinary human inspiration, 20, 64; Salem treasure, 163-166 Revelation, spirit of, 7, 24, 25; citadel of Mormonism, 60, every Mormon said to possess, 8. 24 Rich, Ben E.. 213 Rigdon, Sidney, 9, 31. 76. 101, 220; on faith, 70, 71; "Salt Sermon," 80, 151, 203, 204 Roberts. Brigham H., admits inaccuracies, 74; concerning the twelve, 153, 154; on American antiquities, 47; on "author and proprietor," 99, 100; on Civil War prophecy, 138, 142; on Doniphan prophecy, 158; on 1820 vision, 211; on lost books of the Bible, 109; on Missouri persecutions 187; on polygamy. 220; on revelation. 64: on Rigdon's "Salt Sermon," 80: on Rocky Mountain prophecy, 146; on Simonds Ryder, 228; on Smith's Inspired Version, 112; on John C. Bennett, 232; thieves in Nauvoo, 233; on translation, 64, 104, 105. 106, 107; on United Order, 196, 197; on Zion, 189, 190; on Zion's Camp, 193 Robinson, Ebenezer, on Salem treasure, 165, 166 Rolapp, Fred E., on inspiration, & continuous revelation, 87 Romney, Marion G.. on United Order, 197 Rocky Mountain prophecy, 143-147 Ryder. Simonds, 227-229; leaves Mormonism. 228; tars and feathers Joseph Smith. Jr.. 229 Salem treasure revelation. 163-166 Second coming of Christ, 172-175 Sjodahl. J. M.. on understanding Bible, 87 Smith & Sjodahl. 141: on Far West Temple. 180: on Salem treasure, 164; on war prophecy. 141; on Zion, 170 Smith. Asael. claimed vision, 65

Revelation, "continued," claimed necessary to understand the Bible, 86. 87,

279

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION Smith. Joseph Fielding, on accuracy, 73; on deacons, 243; on 1820 vision, 215, 216 Smith, Lucy Mack, omits 1820 vision, 213; on Moroni, 78, 79 Smith, William, his blessing, 174, deposed as an apostle. 239 Smoot. Reed, testimony. 127, 128, 200 Spaulding, Solomon, 98 Sperry, Sidney B., on Far West temple, 170; on inspiration, 62; on Salem treasure, 164; on Word of Wisdom, 246; on Zion, 170 Sperry & Van Wagoner, on Inspired Version, 112-116 Spencer, Orson, on Smith's divine calling, 214; on spirit of revelation, 7, 69, 135 Stenhouse, Fanny, 219 Talmage, James E., 6, 13, 14, 15, 18, 27; on angel Moroni, 78, 79; 1820 vision, 6. 213; on Far West temple, ISO; on imperfection of the Bible, 18, 110; need for authority, 13, 14; on patriotism, 200, 201; on revelation, 62, 88, 110; on subjection to laws, 127; on tithing, 79; on translation, 103, 110, 112; on Zion, 190 Taylor, John, 15, 19, 74, 150, 154. 201, 202 Thieves in Nauvoo. 233-235 Three witnesses, 27. 103, 163 Tucker, Pomeroy. 208, 209 Tullidge, Edward W., on Rocky Mountain prophecy. 143 Turner, J. B., 98 Twelve apostles, 219; apostates among, 237-240; prophecy concerning. 150-155 United Order, 111, 114. 123, 124, 128, 187, 195-199 Urim and Thummim. 103, 104, 121, 122. 163 Vision, 1820, 6, 211-216 Wells, Daniel F., on war prophecy, 137 Wells. Junius F., on Doniphan prophecy, 155-158 Wentworth letter, 27. 200, 212 Wescott and Hort, 57 Whitmer. David, "Address To All Believers," 103. 236; apostate, 235, 236; one of three witnesses, 103, 235-236; on changes in Book of Commandments, 120. 121, 122; on revelation failure. 70. 99; on translation, 63, 76, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 248, 249

Smith. George A.. 19 Smith. Hyrum, letter on polygamy. 222. 223 Smith, III, Joseph, 166-100 Smith, Joseph, Jr.. 15, 26, 30. 31, 5G, 65, 68. 73. 74. 75. 77. 83, 93, 100. 115, 239. 241, 242, 245, 246: and polygamy. 217, 221. 224: approved publishing Book of Commandments, 118, 120: as a prophet, 7, 10, 61, 67. 82. 103. 133, 138. 143. 155. 160 161, 246: attempts to cure cholera, 194: "author and proprietor." 10, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101. 102. 107; author of works of Mormonism, 31; being shot, 30; blessing apostles, 174; candidate for president, 81, 205; changed Book of Commandments, 120126; church and state, 200, 203, 204, 205. 206; concerning Far West temple, 179, 180; concerning government, 177179; copyright revelation, 162-163; Doniphan prophecy, 155-160; 1820 vision, 6, 66, 75, 211-216; explains revelation failures, 70; translation of Book of Mormon, 63, 64, 103, 104, 209; misspelled "Ryder," 228; Nauvoo House revelation, 175-177: not to be hurt, 180-182; on apostates. 236, 237: on Holy Spirit, 61; on Matthew 16:18. 7, 60. 85; on second coming of Christ, 172-175: ordained king. 206; predictions led to suffering. 143. 186, 187; priesthood restored, 14; prophecies of, 25, 38. 42. 133-181: prophecy concerning Joseph, III, 166-169; prophecy concerning the twelve, 150155; prophecies concerning Zion, 72, 169-172. 183-207; prophecies concerning Zion's Camp. 191-195; restored no lost books, 113, 114, 115; revelations produced by, 8 12, 19, 26, 58, 60, 63, 76, 79, 80, 81, 82. 118, 119, 120-126, 128, 134. 143, 147, 148, 150. 155, 162, 163, 166. 169, 172, 173. 175. 176. 177, 179. 208-216; 217, 218, 246: Rocky Mountain prophecy, 143-147: Salem treasure, 163-166: Stephen Douglas prophecy, 147-150; standard for judging angels, 77; tarred and feathered, 229; the John C. Bennett case, 229233; thieves in Nauvoo, 233-235; translating Bible, 91, 97, 107-115; United Order, 195-199; trustee-in-trust for church, 100, used profanity, 178. 179; visited by Moroni (Nephia 75, 78, 79, 113, 215; war prophecy, 134-143; Wentworth letter, 27, 200, 212 Smith, Joseph F. on polygamy, 220

INDEX 280 13:1-5 .................................................58 Whitney, Newel K., 168 " 18:18, 19 . :........................................... 15 Whitney, Orson F., 11, 18, 71 Joshua Widtsoe, John A.. 146; on Book of Mor21:45 ...................................................40 mon geography, 48; on Holy Spirit, 1 Samuel 61; on Rocky Mountain prophecy, 146, 15:4-9 ................................................ 41 147; on United Order, 199; on Word " 15:22, 23 ................................... 41, 127 of Wisdom, 245 246 " 30:17 ....................................................41 Wigmore, John Henry, on evidence, 49; on handwriting, 52 2 Kings Wood. Wilford, 98, 139 17:37 ...................................................95 Woodruff, Wilford. 19, 150. 201; Far 1 Chronicles West temple. 151, 152; issues Mani4:43 ...................................................41 festo. 131. 219; on revelation, 24. 82; " 9:3 ......................................................32' on visions, 66; sent to England, 150Ezra 155 1:5 ..................................................... 32 " 2:40, 64, 70 ........................................ 32 Witnesses, qualifications for. 52, 53, 54, 55 " 6:17 .................................................... 32 Nehemiah Word of Wisdom, 244-246 7:66 ...................................................32 Wyl. Dr. Wilhelm, 9 Psalms Young, Brigham. 19, 148, 182. 195, 218, 110:1 ..................................................... 59 220, 241. 242; becomes prophet, seer, Isaiah and revelator, 168; on government, 2:1-4 .......... ....188, 189, 190, 240 136, 201; on miracles, 37; on Word of " 13:17-22.................................................42 Wisdom, 245. 246 " 53: ........................................................42 Young, Kimball, on plural marriage, 218, " 65:1 ................................................... 114 223. 224 Jeremiah Young, Levi Edgar, on supreme test of 31:31-34 ............................................ 59 religion, 85 " 36:2, 4, 5-8, 10, 11, 13-18, 21, 28, 32 ............................................. 96 Zion. 137, 164, 226, 238, 240; D. Tyler " 45:1 ......................................................96 on, 184; in Independence, Mo.. 169, " 50:60-64 .............................................96 170, 171, 183. 184, 188-191, 192, 237; Daniel Nauvoo, 111., 185. 190; "in this genera2:36-45 ....................... 16, 59, 90, 206 tion," 169; on top of the mountains, Micah 187-190; predictions concerning caused 5:2 .....................................................42 suffering, 186, 187 Matthew Zion's Camp, 191-195 1:18-2:23; 2:16 ..................................30 Zion's Harbinger and Baneemy's Organ, " 3:13-17 ......................................... 216 206 " 4:4-11 ........................................ 28, 96 " 5:31, 32 ............................................. 217 INDEX TO SCRIPTURE " 8:14, 15 ................................................ 35 REFERENCES " 9:2 ......................................................37 " 10:19 ....................................................64 Genesis " 13:3-23 ............................................... 16 3;22-24 ........................................ 127 " 13:10-17 .............................................21 " 5.24 ..................................................237 " 14:13-21; 15:32-39 ........................... 35 " 12:1-3 ..................................... 15, 39, 45 " 16:18-20 ................................... 7, 75, 89 " 12:4 ......................................................39 " 19:3-9 ............................................... 217 " 49:10 ....................................................15 " 21:42 ................................................... 28 Exodus " 22:31. 32 .............................................. 96 4:4 ..................................................... 16 " 24:24 ................................................... 58 " 9-12 ....................................................16 " 28:18-20 ................................ 16. 22, 90 " 17:14 ....................................................40 Mark Leviticus 1:15: 9:1 ....................................... 207 10:1, 2..................................................127 " 16:15-20 ........... 16, 22, 30, 36, 58, 92 Numbers 22:19 .........................................198

281 THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION Luke " 2:13 ............................................... 17, 28 " 8:49-56 ............................................. 37 " 3:1-6 ................................................... 93 " 10:23, 24 .............................................. 21 " 4:6 ...................................................... 96 " 16:29-31 ......................................95, 96 " 10:11 ....................................................95 " 20:28 ................................................... 96 " 11:23-26 ............................................. 22 " 24:27, 44, 45-47 .................................. 28 " 14:37 ....................................................95 " 15:4-26 ............................................... 30 " 24:46-49 ...................................92, 189 John " 15:24-28 ..................................... 59, 207 4:24......................................................14 2 Corinthians " 5:39; 7:38 ..........................................28 13:10 ...................................................96 " 5:45 ....................................................95 Galatians 1:6-10 ......................... 58, 90, 95, 108 " 11:1-44 ............................................... 32 " 11:42-44 .............................................37 " 1:7 ....................................................193 " 12:42-43 ....................................93, 158 " 3:17 ....................................................40 " 12:48 ................................................... 96 Ephesians " 14:26 ............... 17, 28, 58, 90, 92, 243 1:22, 23........................................11, 16 " 16:13, 14 ... .17, 28, 58, 90, 92, 243 " 3:4 .......................................................95 " 18:36 ................................................. 207 " 5:23 ....................................................11 " 20:30, 31 .............................................. 95 Colossians 1:2, 13 ............................................. 207 Acts 1:6 ...........................................189, 207 " 1:18 ....................................................16 " 1:9 ......................................................30 2 Thessalonians " 2-.1-C ..........................................189, 207 2.9 ..................................................... 5.S " 2:22 .....................................................16 " 3:14 .....................................................95 " 2:36 ................................................... 89 1 Timothy " 2:37-41 ..............................................89 1:18-20 ............................................93 " 2:38 .....................................................22 " 3 ........................................................ 243 " 2:47 .....................................................11 " 3:14, 15 ............................................. 96 " 3:1-10.................................................... 36 2 Timothy " 3:3..........................................................37 1:10 ...................................................91 " 3:15, 16 ............................................. 89 " 2:2 .......................................................22 " 3:22, 23 .............................................. 15 " 2:15 .....................................................93 " 4:4 ....................................................... 36 " 3:15 ............................................... 28, 95 " 4:16 ............................................. 36, 84 " 3:16, 17 .......................... 58, 90, 92, 96 " 5:1-11 ................................................ 235 Titus " 7:l-f, 7:2 ...............................................39 1 ......................................................243 " 7:37 .....................................................15 Hebrews " 7:56 ................................................... 89 1:1, 2 ......................................... 14, 189 " 8:1........................................................ 11 " 2:2 ....................................................127 " 2:3, 4............................... 16, 30, 36, 58 " 8:35 .................................................. 89 " 9:36-43 .............................................37 " 2:9 ..................................................... 91 " 7:11, 12 .............................................. 242 " 10:38-42 .............................................89 " 7:23-28 ............................................. 91 " 13:23 ................................................... 89 " 13:27 ................................................... 96 " 8:6 ................................................ 59, 90 " 15:6-8 ................................................. 89 " 9:15-28 .............................................. 59 " 11:3 ......................................................71 " 15:21 ....................................................96 " 11:5, 6 ................................................. 237 " 16:31 ................................................. 89 " 17:11 .............................................93, 96 " 11:8-10 ............................................... 39 " 18:5-8 .................................................. 89 " 12:24. 28 ............................................. 90 " 13:7, 17 ................................................ 94 " 20:28 .................................................. 94 " 20:29, 30 ............................................... 93 " 13:20 ................................................... 59 " 22:16 ................................................... 22 1 Peter " 27:10-44 ........................................... 84 1:2 .....................................................21 Romans " 5:1-3 .................................................. 94 1:16 ................................................. 92 2 Peter " 6:23 .................................................... 91 1:20, 21 .................................... 28, 42

THE MYTH OF MORMON INSPIRATION 1 John 2:2-4 ......................................96 " 41 ....................................................... 33 " 5:14 .................................................. 96 2 John 9-11 .............................................58, 90 3 John 9, 10 ................................................. 96 Jude 3, 17 .................................................. 96 Revelation 1:11 ................................................... 96 " 2:1-7 ................................................. 95 " 14:13 ....................................................96 " 19:3-7, 9 ............................................. 96 " 20:12, 15 .............................................. 96 " 21:5 ......................................................96

282

" 24:17 ..............................................47 " 30:8-11 .................................................. 31 " 40:1-11 .................................................. 31 " 46:19 ................................................. 106 Words Of Mormon 8:12, 17 ............................................ 208 Moroni 10:4 ....................................... 61, 72, 73

Doctrine And Covenants


1:6 .....................................................22, 119 1:7 ..............................................................119 1:17-24 .......................................................23 1:29 ...............................................................23 1:30 ...............................................................23 1:37 ............................................................ 119 3:16, 5:4 ..................................................... 120 7:3 ................................................................65 8:1-9:14 ......................................................81 8:3 ...............................................................121

MORMON SCRIPTURE REFERENCES Book of Commandments


11:6 .............................................................. 120 IV:2........................................................60, 121 VI: ............................................................... 117 VII:3 .....................................................63, 121 IX:1 .............................................................122 XV: superscription ...................................... 126 XV:3 .............................................................121 XVI:22 ........................................................ 122 XXIV ...........................................................117 XXIV:22-28 ................................................. 122 XXIV:44 .....................................................123 XXVI :8 ...................................................... 123 XXVIII:6, 7 .............................................. 124 XLIV:26 ...................................... 79, 124, 195 XLIV:31, 32 ................................................124 XLIV:.43....................................................... 125 XLV:8 .........................................................125 LXV:37-40 .................................................. 125

8:6, 9 .............................................63
9:6-9 ........................................................... 63 9:8...................................................... 104, 132 10:1 ..............................................................121 13: superscription ........................................243 17:1, 18:4 .....................................................121 19:21 ............................................................122 20:33-35 ..................................................... 122 20:62 ............................................................118 20:63-67 .....................................................123 24:18 ............................................................ 21C 25:9 ...............................................................123 27:5-18 ....................................................... 124 28:2, 7 ..........................................................60 28:8-14 ....................................................... 183 32:1-5 ......................................................... 183 38:4-21 ......................................................... 31 38:9 ...............................................................169 38:16-27 ...................................................... 195 39:7, 8 ......................................................... 210 40 ................................................................ 210 42 ................................................................ 123 42:30 .................................................. 79, 195 42:33-35 ..................................................... 183 42:56 ........................................................... 124 42:59 ...............................................................22 43:2 .................................................................60 48:4-6 ......................................................... 183 52:22 ...............................................................81 54:9 ............................................................ 210 56:5 .................................................................81 57:1-3 ......................................................... 183 57:2 .............................................................. 169 58:26, 27 ..................................................... 210 58:35, 36.......................................................195 60:5 .................................................................31 63:48 ............................................................ 171 67:4 ............................................................. 119

Book Of Mormon
1 Nephi 13:26-29 .............................23, 69, 109 " 13:34-36 .............................................. 110 " 16:28 ....................................................76 2 Nephi 29:3, 4, 10........................................... 108 3 Nephi 12:40. 41 ...........................................115 " 21:10 ................................................. 180 " 28:7 ......................................................65 Mosiah 7:26-28.............................................. 31 " 29:5-11 ................................................ 31 Alma 1:29 .................................................. 47 " 11:4-20 .................................................. 47 " 14:1-5..................................................... 31

283

INDEX 118 ..............................................................240 118:1-6 .......................................................150 124:22-24, 56-59, 64 .................................. 175 124:49 ......................................................... 131 127:4-7 ......................................................... 74 129 ................................................................ 77 130:14, 15 .................................................172 135:1, 4 ....................................................... 30 132 ..............................................................222 132:4, 65 ....................................................130 132:6, 52, 54, 64 ......................................... 129 Manifesto .......................................... 131, 174

73:3, 4 ............................................... Ill, 114 84:4, 5........................................................... 169 87:1-3 ......................................................... 134 87:6, 7 ......................................................... 138 90:37 ............................................................ 187 94:10 ............................................................ 111 97 ................................................................ 171 97:10, 11 ......................................................170 98:5 ..'............................................................201 101:10 ..........................................................194 101:17, 18 ..........................................187, 195 103:15-18 .................................................. 191 103:23-28, 30-33 ...................................... 192 104:58 .......................................................... Ill 107:92 .......................................................... 133 111:4............................................................. 206 111:4, 5, 10 ................................................. 164 115 ..............................................................240 115:10-12 .................................................. 180

Inspired Version Of Bible


Genesis 50:26-33 ...................................... 113 Malachi 4:1, 5, 6...........................................113 Matthew 5:42, 43 .........................................115

Pearl Of Great Price


Joseph Smith 2:17-20 .......................................6 Joseph Smith 2:37-39 .................................. 113

Pearl Of Great Price, 1851 edition


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