Zion’s Watchman Sunderland, La Roy

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Sunderland, La Roy. “Mormonism.” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 8 (24 February1838).


Though we have already furnished the reader with a mass of evidence, abundantly sufficient to demonstrate its falsehood and wickedness, yet we cannot conclude these remarks without calling further attention to the following:—


1. The book of Mormon purports to have been originally engraved on brass plates. Now admitting there were as many plates as there are pages in this book, and that each plate weighed not less than one pound each; those plates must have weighed not less than five hundred and fifty pounds! And yet, we are told that one man carried them about from place to place, and finally hid them in the earth!

2. These plates, the book of Mormon says, were “written on.” One writer says of another p. 149: “I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand.” How could brass be written on?

3. This book professes to be written in a language which it first calls “Egyptian” p. 5, but which is afterwards p. 538, called the “reformed Egyptian;” a language which was never spoken by any people on earth. Does the reader need to be informed why this book does not profess to have been written in a language which could now be examined, and with which it could now be compared?

4. What has become of the plates? Why has no person ever seen the plates but Smith and a few other interested persons?

5. The English words “bountiful” and “desolation” are used p. 288, in the Egyptian language! How came Smith to make this blunder?

6. Why does he so frequently condemn the “traditions” of the natives of this country? See pp. 254, 291, 326. Probably Smith knew, very well, that those traditions would not countenance the book of Mormon, but which they would in all probability have done, had that book been true.

7. The writers in this book frequently speak of “synagogues,” p. 298, among the natives of this country. The term “synagogue” is a Greek word, and never was used among the Jews till after the time when this book says Nephi emigrated to this country.

8. The writers in this book frequently speak of places by certain names, which they interpret. Thus p. 311, a place is called “Rameumptom, which being interpreted is the Holy Stand.” Now, one of two things must follow, here. Either this book is a forgery or there were such words in the “Reformed Egyptian” language in which it purports to have been written as “Holy Stand.” Or, if it be said that this and similar explanations which abound in this book, were added by Smith, then the book asserts a falsehood upon its title page, by stating that it is an “abridgement,” and a “translation,” only.

9. Page 313, a place is called “Onidah.” Perhaps the writer had heard of a county in this state the name of which sounds exactly like the above.

10. Why is it so frequently affirmed by each of the writers of the book of Mormon. “We are a remnant of Joseph,” “We are a remnant of the house of Israel?” p. 496, &c.

11. Why is it so frequently predicted in this book what would be done with it; and this, too, after the things may be said to have come to pass, about which it is pretended the predictions are uttered? p. 326.

12. On p. 511 a plan is mentioned by which any Mormon may pass for a very extraordinary personage. It was fixed some eighteen hundred years since, that three Mormans should never die, but live and mingle with the Jews and Gentiles unperceived, and unknown till the end of time. They were first taken up to heaven, where they heard many unspeakable things.

They are said to be now alive, and if they choose can make themselves known “unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good.”

13. Why are we so often told that the plates were to be “hid up unto the Lord?” This language shows the fraud which the writer designed in writing the book of Mormon. See pp. 527, 529, 533.

14. Page 550, a man is spoken of who was the father of 32 children!

15. This book purports to have been found in 1827, just after the time when there was so much said throughout this nation about Freemasonry. Hence the reader will find frequent allusions in it to Freemasonry, p. 554, 555, under the names of “secret societies,” “dreadful oaths,” and “secret combinations, which is most abominable and wicked above all.” The book was written just after it was said Morgan was kidnapped.

16. Five or six hundred years before Christ, it speaks of “the church,” by which it means a society of people. The term “church,” signifies primarily, a house, and not a congregation of people. How came Smith to use the word “church,” in pretending to translate the original of the above place?

17. Five hundred years before Christ, this book pretends to speak of a place which it calls “the paradise of God.”

18. Long before the advent of the Messiah, he is called in the book of Mormon, “Jesus Christ,” the “son of God,” and the heroes of this book were called “christians,” long before the disciples of Christ were thus designated at Antioch! pp. 348, 351.

19. This book speaks (p. 9,15,29,) of the Jewish Scriptures, having been kept by Jews on plates of brass, six hundred years before Christ. The Jews never kept any of their records on plates of brass.

20. This book countenances murder for opinion’s sake; it also countenances acception and theft. pp. 12, 13.

21. It speaks of the “Lamb of God,” and of the “gospel of the Lamb,” “the apostles of the Lamb,” the “Holy Ghost” the “Mother of God,” of “Priest Craft,” of the “crucifiction” of Christ, and of his baptism by John, p. 118 of the Roman Catholic “Church,” p. 28. And says that Christians should be baptised by “immersion,” long before the advent of the Messiah. Greater marks of fraud could not be given than are shown in these facts.

22. On page 542, the vessels are described in which certain persons are said to have emigrated to this land, soon after the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. They are represented as having been made air light, “like unto a dish;” but to prevent suffocation, they made two air holes, “one in the top thereof,” and one “in the bottom thereof.” And God is represented as having said unto the persons about to sail in them, that when they “suffered for air,” they “should unstop the hole thereof and receive air.” And this too, when it is said that the vessels were part of the time completely buried in the sea!

23. The sameness of the language in all parts of the book of Mormon proves, that it is from the same hand. It professes to have been written by different persons, during the space of one thousand years. And yet, these different writers all use similar and peculiar phrases! For instance, the phrase “or in other words.” See pp. 18, 23, 35, 351, 358. And this very phrase is used by Smith, himself in his preface to the book which proves beyond a doubt, that the book was written by the same person.

The sameness, also, in the language, may be found with the book of Mormon and the witnesses who vouch for its truth. Thus on pp. 335, 506, 567, 4, 257, 589, 300, 450, 590, and many other places we find these unmeaning words, “of which hath been spoken.” And it so happens that this same peculiar verbiage is used by the “author” in his preface, and also by the eleven witnesses whose testimonies are appended to the book!

24. The names of persons in the book of Mormon, are not translated; hence, these may be considered as specimens of the language in which the book was originally written.—As a specimen on may be found on pp. 290,291, where “Anti-Nephi Lehies,” is said to have been the name of the people! The insperation of the “author” did not inform him, it seems, that “Anti” is a Greek word, which generally signifies, against.

25. This book, p. 16, expressly declines giving an account of the “genealogy” of the people of whom it professes to treat! The writer thought of a very good reason no doubt, why the genealogy of his heroes should not be given.

26. On p. 236, Christ is represented as the grandson of God! He is called “the son of the only begotten of the Father.”

27. This book is not only full of errors, but it admits itself that it is an imperfect production. Thus, on the title page, it is said, “Now, if there be fault, it be the mistake of men.”

Of course, it is the “mistake of men,” God never makes mistakes. Again p. 532, it speaks of “the imperfections which are in it; and p. 533, “if there be faults, they be faults of a man;” and on page 538. We are commanded to give thanks to God, “that he hath made manifest its imperfections!”

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