Trouble in the West


Messenger and Advocate Cowdery, Oliver

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Cowdery, Oliver. “Trouble in the West.” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland, Ohio) 1, no. 7 (April 1835): 104–7.


Our readers are aware, no doubt, that the Baptists, Presbyterians, and others, have been troubled for a long time, because “the Beast,” as they are pleased to call the Catholic church, has so much power in the Valley of the Mississippi. We not unfrequently see lengthy letters, said to have been written by persons resident in, or travelling in the Valley. These letters always urge the great necessity of sending more Missionaries to convert the inhabitants of that country, to establish Sabbath schools, Tract societies, &c.

Since some few of the elders of the church of the saints have been laboring in Illinois, these very pious people, seem to be greatly alarmed again, or anew. “The Pioneer,” a small semi monthly paper, devoted to the Baptist cause, and printed at “Rock Spring,” contains an article, from which, and a few remarks from the Editor, we learn that the cause of truth and the dissemination of correct principles, causes a deep feeling of, not only religious animosity, but a disposition to tread in the foot steps of some others who have been forward in raising an alarm when ever the gospel was introduced in their vicinities.

It is said that the article was written “by a friend of truth,” and we design occupying a few lines to show our friends the just claim the author has to this appellation.

He has, no doubt, made himself acquainted with Mr. Campbell’s pamphlet of 1831, as his arguments are the same, in general, or similar; with a little addition in some respects.

The writer says: “The probability is that Smith, who had been a book-peddler, and was frequently about printing establishments, had procured some old copper plates for engravings, which he showed for golden plates.”

This is a new one. We have heard our worthy brother Joseph Smith jr. [104] called almost every thing but a book-peddler. Now, as it is, we can prove, by those who have been personally acquainted with brother Smith from his infancy that this is an absolute falsehood! Will the Editor of the Pioneer inform his “friend of truth” of the fact.

The Pioneer’s “friend of truth” has certainly got ahead of Mr. Campbell: He says that the “true origin” of the writing composing the book of Mormon, is from the pen of an eccentric Spaulding, who carried the same to Pittsburgh, but died soon, and that since they have been altered a little, and now appear as the book of Mormon. Mr. Campbell says, that “Smith is its real author, and as ignorant and impudent a knave as ever wrote a book.” Will these two gentlemen settle this dispute; for it truly looks pitiful to see this wide disagreement, since they both express so much anxiety.

This “friend of truth” says: “The book states that Christ was born in Jerusalem (p. 240,) whereas every child that has read the testament, knows that Christ was born in Bethlehem.”

Since this writer has been so kind as to note the page we will look at it: it says, “For behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.—And behold, he shall be born of Mary AT JERUSALEM, which is the land of our forefathers.”

So much for this “friend of truth” on this subject: instead of its saying in Jerusalem, as this man would be glad to make his readers believe, it says “AT JERUSALEM, the LAND of their forefathers.” And any man of common sense, cannot but see that this writer had a perfect understanding of the matter, for he says the land of, &c. which is sufficient to show that he meant to be understood, as he said, “at” or in the region of Jerusalem.—This is enough, however, to show the design of this “friend of truth.”

Again, this writer says: “The name of Jesus Christ, was declared to Nephi, 545 years before it was announced to Mary, and she, in true Roman phraseology, is called ‘ the mother of God.’

Two Items suggest themselves upon the face of this last quotation. The writer makes a great blow that the name of Jesus Christ should be known before the days of the virgin Mary.—

We only ask a few questions on this, and pass on. Was Abel’s sacrifice accepted? was life and immortality brought to light through the gospel?—see 2 Tim. 1:10. Were Enoch and Elijah wafted to the regions of everlasting life and glory, without tasting death? and as life and immortality were brought to light through the gospel, was it by the power, or knowledge of the gospel through which they obtained power over the grave? and if so, could they have understood the gospel and not know in what name it was preached? Did Abraham see the day of Christ, and if so, did he know his name? And finally, were not all the ancients, who were saved, saved through faith on the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world? and is not the Lamb Jesus Christ? But to the other item.

This “friend of truth” says that Mary was “called the mother of God.”—The reader will please turn to the 25th page of the book of Mormon; and read: “And he [the angel] said unto me, behold, the virgin which thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.”

Now, every man knows, who has read the New Testament, that Mary was called the Lord’s mother; and beside we remember to have read a word or two of Paul’s writings, where he says: “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now, the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.”—See Gal. 1. Here we have it—the Lord Jesus was born of a woman, had a brother, and yet had no mother according to the flesh!!

Will our readers suffer us to make another quotation from this “friend of truth?

“Christ is represented as having descended and spent some time on the western continent, after having ascended to heaven from Mount Olivet in Judea! This fabulous Mormon story, to say nothing of its impious character is in opposition to the declarations of God, in the New Testament, and places Mormonism in direct hostility with the word of God. See the following scriptures.—Mark, 16:19—John chapter 14: verses 2, 3, 19;—chapter 16: verses 7, 10, 17, 28:— chapter 17: verses 4, 11, and 24, Acts 3:20, 21.—(This passage alone overthrows the whole Mormon scheme.) See also Heb. 1:3, 5; chapter 4:14, 6:20 also chapter 9:27 and 28. In this last passage it is affirmed that Christ will come at the day of Jundgment, “the SECOND time;” whereas Mormonism affirms that he appeared the second time on [105] the continent of America, and that he will soon come the third time to the Mormons.”

For the benefit of our readers we will give the foregoing quotations, entire, as the writer attempts to overthrow the book of Mormon, because it is said that the Savior descended upon this continent, after his crucifixion.—The first is Mark 16:19. “So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” This does not say that he should not come again, neither does the book of Mormon say that he did not ascend up on high, but that he did.

The next is John 14:2, 3, 19. “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”

What, in all this? the reader will be ready to ask. The Pioneer’s “friend of truth” must explain it; for we confess we find nothing to disprove the fact that Christ did not show himself to the people upon this continent: beside, there is a promise contained in the above, that if he (Christ) did go and prepare a place for his apostles, he would come again, and received them unto himself!!! To be sure, it says that the world should see him no more, but his apostles should? And what does that prove? It does not prove that others should not also see. And we remember to have read in the 14th chap. of this same book: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” If those who believed on Christ through the apostles, were to be one with them, and the apostles were to see him—that he was to come to them again, of course, they had the same claim, and the same right to claim a view of him.

The next is John 16:7, 10, 17, 28. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Of righteousness; because I go to my Father and ye see me no more.”

Concerning this last we merely say that we see nothing but what is easy of explanation, when we notice the fact that he did show himself to his apostles after his resurrection, “and was seen of them forty days.” But to go on.—“Then said some of his disciples among themselves, what is this that he saith unto us, a little while, and ye shall not see me: and because I go to the Father.”

This makes it plain that he would be seen again. “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Nothing objectionable in this.

But not to occupy to much space, we will give the remainder, and make but one comment upon the whole.

John 17:4, 11, 24. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.—And now I am no more in the world, but, Father, keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Father, I will that those also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.” Acts 3:20, 21. “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Heb. 1:3, 5. Also, 4:14.—6:20.—9:27, 28.

“Who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.—Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.”

The times of restitution, spoken of in Acts, the reader will notice is to be [106] applied to the very persons to whom it was spoken, for at the time their sins were to be blotted out. On the remainder we merely say. Christ was seen 40 days after his resurrection.—See Acts 1:3. 10, 40, 41. Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us who did eat and drink with him, after he rose from the dead.—The query is, did the apostles see him, or does the historian tell an untruth? 1 Cor. 15: commence with the 3rd and end with the 8th— we only quote the 6th here. “After that (his resurrection) he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once!” Paul was personally knowing to this fact.

This “friend of truth” would have us believe that Messiah is not to come till the final judgment— this is a subject so plainly written in the bible that we deem it unnecessary to add any thing on it.

The foregoing remarks are not made because we possess a spirit of hatred against the Pioneer, or his friend of truth—we only regret that they are unwilling to embrace the truth. We do not admire the spirit by which our opponents’ article is written, neither do we deem it to be necessary to expose his simple arguments—we merely say, that all he has said, and all he can say, against the truth of the book of Mormon, or the gospel preached by the elders of the church of the Latter Day Saints, will be as perfectly unavailing against its progress, as that of the Jews formerly.

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