An Examination of the Principles of Mormonism


Wickersham, Amos H. Wickersham, Amos H.

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Wickersham, Amos H. An Examination of the Principles of Mormonism, as Developed in the Recent Discussion Between the Author and Elders Wharton & Appleby, With a Brief Statement of Facts in Regard to Said Discussion, 1–20. Wilmington, DE: Allderidge,Jeandell, & Miles, 1843.









Sometime about the first of March A. D. 1843, an evening meeting was held at Centreville in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County, Del., at which some remarks were made, calling in question the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, upon which a Mr. Clement, an Elder among the Saints, got upon the stand and challenged any man on “God’s Footstool, to meet him in a discussion of that subject. This challenge was accepted by two or three of my friends who were present, and who notified me the next day of the arrangement they had made, to have the debate on the following evening. (I might here remark that those gentlemen who accepted the challenge were untrammelled and unprejudiced individuals, if the being unconnected with any religious society, and a willingness to discuss, and here discussed every principle and doctrine can constitute such.) Accordingly, a meeting took place at the schoolhouse in Centreville, and Mr. Clement and I debated the question of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, until a late hour in the evening, when a decision was moved for by some of the audience, and a vote taken, which resulted in declaring Mr. Clement used up:— there not being a single vote in his favour, although the audience was quite large, and a majority of them unconnected with any religious society; and consequently free from all sectarian bias and prejudice. As Mr. Clement seemed dissatisfied with this decision, and I, willing to give his saintship a chance to redeem his lost ground, proposed another meeting; but he positively refused, to have anything more to do with the subject, alledging as a reason, “that he would not debate” (referring to the audience who had given the decision,) among a set of blackguards.” I then mentioned several other places where I thought, a house might be procured, but he declined to accept of any of them, and the next day, or very soon after as I was informed, sloped:—and I believe has not been seen or heard of in the neighbourhood since. I then requested a Mr. Stratton, who was also an Elder and travelling companion with Mr. Clement to take up the subject, but he excused himself, and very soon after followed his companion to parts unknown.

From this time until about the first of May, various statements as I was credibly informed were put in circulation, by the Saints about Centreville, in order to prejudice the public mind in regard to my religious sentiments, and thereby counteract any effect which the discussion with Mr. Clement might have produced, detrimental to the cause of Mormonism. My being unconnected with any religious society, and my known liberality of sentiment in allowing every one to exercise the high privilege guaranteed by our free institutions of thinking, and acting according to his own judgment in religious matters, were construed by these “latter day” interpreters of that admirable precept of the decalogue “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,” into Deism, [3] Atheism and every other kind of ism, except self-styled immaculate Mormonism. About this time I heard that the far-famed, Judge Appleby, had made his debut into the City of Wilmington, and fearing that he might pass by as other champions had done since the discussion with Mr. Clement, without taking up the debate from which that saint had retired with so much haste and precipitancy; I directed a note to the saints at Centreville, containing the following question, “Can the Book of Mormon be proved to be the word of God, by evidence drawn from the Bible, or does the Book itself or any other testimony prove it to be such;” and challenging any “Priest, Prophet, or Seer,” of the Mormon Church to meet me in its discussion; coupling the challenge with the remark “that if not accepted, I should feel myself at liberty to report those men who were strolling about the country under the assumed name of saints as impostors, and deceivers who were afraid to let their principles be fairly and honestly brought before an intelligent community.”

This note had the desired effect. It was shown to the Judge while addressing a meeting at Centreville, and seeing no way to get out of the discussion, without incurring the imputation of being an imposter and coward he accepted of the challenge, and with much pomposity declared it the very question, he was most anxious to debate. However, he would not name any time for the discussion though strongly solicited to do so, but the very next day started post-haste for Philadelphia, and in about four or five days returned bringing with him a certain Mr. Wharton, a mighty man among the saints, and who was represented by his friends as a “ne plus ultra,” in Mormon polemical theology, whose powerful eloquence and logic would build up the tottering temple of Mormonism, and place it on such a solid foundation as should forever defy all attempts of its feeble opposers to pull it down. On the 12th of May, I received a note from those illustrious champions, formally accepting the challenge to discuss the question I had proposed, but making some objection to the “Rules” I had named as the order of the debate, and requesting an interview on the following morning to fix the preliminaries, &c. An interview accordingly took place in the presence of a number of witnesses, when I was told by those veritable saints, that the question I had proposed and which they had twice accepted; was objectionable, and if I did not yield that subject I could have no debate with them. This I considered, (as every intelligent person would do) equiavlent to an absolute backing out from the discussion; but being determined not to let them off by such shuffling, I accepted of a question offered by Judge Appleby, among several others as a substitute, and which, was, “Is it as reasonable to believe the Book of Mormons as it is the Bible, and does it come to us as well authenticated.”

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, the debate commenced, Mr. Wharton maintaining the affirmative, while Judge Appleby and a number of the small fry among the saints were very assiduously engaged in taking notes. At half past six o’clock the debate closed. Mr. Wharton having during the afternoon, tacitly yielded several points that are fundamental in the system of Mormonism; and which were pertinacious-[4]ly insisted on at the commencement of the debate. I will mention one or two. It was contended that the ensign which was to be raised to the nations, was to be a Book; and that it was to come forth according to the old Testament writers at a time specified as the “Last days.” In reply I observed that if that were the fact, in order to prove, that the Book of Mormon was the Ensign, it must first be proved that these, or more properly the days in which Joe Smith got the Book from his Bible quarry were the Last days. I then refered to Acts 2, ch. 16. 17, Heb. 1 ch. 2. I John, 11 ch. 18. I Peter 1 ch. 20, (which the reader may examine) in order to prove, that the last days as a specified point of time related to a period which has been past about 1800 years. In his rejoinder to this view, Mr. Wharton contended, that as the spirit of God was to be poured out upon all flesh, when the last days arrived, Acts 2 ch. 16. 17, and as this was not done, on the day of Pentecost “Peter could not have referred to that time, in his quotation of Joel’s prophecy.” I admitted this reasoning for the sake of the argument it afforded me; and then enquired if the spirit of God was now poured out upon all flesh. According to Mormonism, the spirit is poured out upon none, except members of their Church, consisting of only a few thousands, and bearing no greater proportion to the 800 millions of people on the globe, than the 3000 converted on the day of Pentecost, did to the inhabitants of the Earth in the days of the Apostles. If then the last days are not to come until the spirit of prophecy is poured out upon all flesh, individually and collectively; and the Ensign or Book of Mormon not to come forth until the last days, it is evident that Joe Smith quarried it out (according to present appearances) some centuries too soon. My opponent now feeling that the hook was in his gills, and knowing that he more he splashed and floundered the deeper it would sink, very tamely yielded the point by saying “that enough had been said upon that subject.”

The peopling of this continent by the posterity of Joseph was yielded in the same manner.

The first proof of the position offered was Jacob’s blessing, upon his son, Joseph. Gen. 49 ch. 22, 26, and the words of Moses. Deu. 33 ch. 13, 17. These texts were quoted, and dwelt upon in order to prove that other land besides Canaan was promised to the posterity of Joseph. In answer, I quoted Joshua 21 ch. 43, 45. “And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land, which he sware to give unto their fathers, and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. *** There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel.” (previously and specially)

all came to pass.” This was proof positive that the children of Israel, possessed and dwelt in the land, and the only land that had ever been promised them previous to the days of Joshua;—and these texts were then abandoned; and I was refered to Jer. 49 ch. 30, 33, where the inhabitants of Hazor are commanded to “Flee, to get far off, and dwell deep,” which Mr. Wharton said meant that they were to go to America, I replied that there was no evidence to prove that the inhabitants of Hazor were the posterity of Joseph, it being one of the cities of Judah; besides the Book of Mormon (supposing it true) says page 1. that Lehi and his sons who peopled this [5] country, came from Jerusalem, and not from Hazor; and P. P. Pratt, a High Priest of the Mormon Church, whose word is almost as good as Joe Smith’s, says in his Voice of Warning, p. 55, “that it is a matter of uncertainty, where the ten tribes are.” My very learned opponent finding himself contradicted by the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and his own friends gave up the position, by saying no more about it. Thus the two principal props by which this modern system of Humbuggery is attempted to be sustained were removed, and tacitly given up by the great Mr. Wharton who for the remainder of the debate talked about various subjects, such as the “Setting up of an Ensign, the gathering of Israel, the Millenium,” &c., but could not be brought to say anything more about the last days, or the peopling of America.

On the Sunday following this discussion, Judge Appleby, (as report goes) preached in Wilmington, and although Mr. Wharton had so signally failed, to prove the fundamental principles of Mormonism, yet his Jugeship publicly reported to his hearers, that the result of the debate was a most cheering triumph of the principles taught in their church, and that I had been completely used up.

On Saturday the 20th at 2 o’clock, P.M., the debate was again resumed, by Judge Appleby upon the affirmative. This as every one knows was contrary to the Rules of a just and equitable discussion. At each meeting I had to contend with a fresh champion. His Judgeship, having been unoccupied at the discussion held with Mr. Wharton, except the furnishing himself with copious notes, and being assisted in that line by a number of the small fry, had a decided advantage.

However I made no objection, as I acted upon the same principles, that an experienced sportsman, would have done when in pursuit of small game, in preferring to shoot at the flock.

In adopting the Rules of the discussion it was agreed “that no decision should be given.”

This rule I understood to have reference only to the Moderators, who presided at the debate; and at the time of its adoption entered my protest against any construction of the rule, that, would restrict the right of those who listened to the discussion from acting in the matter as they pleased.

Accordingly when the debate closed, the pleople took upon themselves the responsibility of declaring publicly their apprehension of the arguments that had been adduced, in order that the public might know what were the facts of the case, and not be deceived by such statements as were promulgated by Judge Appleby on the occasion above refered to. Accordingly Resolutions were drafted, declaring every argument brought forth by Mr. Wharton and Jude Appleby, in support of Mormonism, to have been met, and completely refuted. These Resolutions were publicly read, unanimously adopted, and ordered to be published.

These proceedings arroused the ire of Judge Appleby. He well knew, that if the decision went forth to the public, as the unanimous opinion of the whole meeting, it would operate powerfully against his favourite system, of boasting of his own mighty performances; and of giving the result of every discussion in his own favour, however, much [6] he had been beaten.

But finding that all his remonstrances were ineffectual, and that the people were resolved to do as they pleased, he determined to have the decision in his own favour, even if he had to give it himself, and that too in direct opposition to the whole meeting. Accordingly he seizes his pen, and after nine days conception, (as part of his production was read by a gentleman on the day following the debate; and at its close it bears date May 30th), brought forth one of the most singular bantlings that has made its appearances in these diggings during these last days. This wonderful article I now propose to examine, not because it is of itself worthy of notice, but merely on account of its uncouth and unseemly construction; and for the gratification of those who consider it such a bundle of crudities, oddities, and absurdities as to defy all attempts to analyze it.

Let us then make the attempt. Whoever has read this wonderful production of the learned Saint, must have perceived that it bears upon the very face of it, evidence of irritated and imbittered feelings, and a mind ill at ease in its author. The offspring generally resembles the parent. When conceived in anger and brought forth in bitterhess; we are not to expect in the production, a manifestation of those placid feelings, which are always the concomitants of a calm and serene mind. But in the instance now under consideration, the display of excited passions is not to be wondered at. The wounded bird will flutter, the hooked fish will always splash and flounder. The learned Judge had come among us heralded as the greatest champion of the age; and had been aided and abetted by one, not a whit inferior to himself; he had fancied to himself an easy conquest, and no doubt viewed with his mind’s eye, the applause that would every where attend him, when he should take the stand in the face of many people, and declare with much pomposity how signally he had used up his opponent, and proved beyond even contradiction itself; that Mormon humbuggery, was no humbuggery at all. But how is the mighty fallen? How soon may the nectared cup, as it is being raised to the expectant lips, be dashed to the ground, and its honeyed contents changed to gall and wormwood? He was now hastily retreating from the battle-field where he had anticipated a victory, sheared of his laurels, and covered with wounds; the hated Resolutions which declared him a used up man, staring him in the face at every turn, without one solitary voice having been raised in opposition to their passage. No wonder then, that under such circumstances, he should let of this last squib, as a running fire, alike regardless of whether it hit friends or foes.

He complains bitterly, that the decision was given against him, and endeavours to convey the idea that the committee who drafted the Resolutions also gave the decision. “The committee” says he “returned with the Resolutions and decision,” as if the decision was something different from the Resolutions. Now why this attempt to prove the truth in the face of so many witnesses?

Did not his Judgeship know that every person composing that meeting who should read his communication, would immediately detect this attempt at misrepresentation? Was he [7] not standing by while the Resolutions were being read? Did he not hear the President’s voice calling aloud, “all that are in favour of these Resolutions being adopted, will say aye?” “And did he not hear the welkin ring with the response? Again did he not hear the President calling aloud, “all who are opposed to these Resolutions will say No?” when not a solitary voice was heard in reply.

Yes his Judgeship heard all this, and yet he can say that many persons “were protesting against the Resolutions. Where were those many persons?” Where were the saints? How happened it that not one of them voted against the Resolutions? It was really naughty in those who had imported his Judgeship all the way from some unheard of place in New Jersey, not to give him one vote. No wonder, that when he was about to pronounce his valedictory, preparatory to his retreat, he should declare (as it is reported he did.) “That the devil might have the people about Centreville, now for him as he had done all he could for them.” I say that the way they had used him was enough to justify this wholesale turning over to the prince of darkness. What! a Justice of the Peace! an associate Judge! a high dignitary among the Saints! who had come all the way from the Pines of New Jersey, to convince the wicked and unbelieving Gentiles within and around Centreville, that there was a Bible quarry in the hill Comora in New York State; and that Joe Smith the money-digger was a prophet, indeed, not to get one vote! It was not doing as he says, “as they would wish to be done by, and was enough to provoke the resentment even of a Saint. But one word here in regard to this Judgeship affair. To us in Delaware, where exalted talents and eminent legal acquirements, are necessary qualifications to entitle any one to a seat upon the Bench, the very name of an “Associate Judge,” carries with it the idea of something a little above the “common grit:” And when any one takes the rostrum, and announces himself as the holder of such an honorary station as Mr. Appleby did at the discussion referred to, we at once set him down as “somebody.” But in the state of New Jersey every Justice of the Peace, is by law ex officio an “Associate Judge,” for the County in which he resides; no matter how ignorant he may be of law, or devoid of talent. This fact makes a mighty alteration, in the honour attached to the office of “Associate Judge,” when it is brought down, to a level, with that of our common “Country Squire.”

But Squire Appleby (for so we must now call him) asserts that the Committee who drafted the Resolutions, were prejudiced and that two of them were Methodists. The truth of this assertion I deny. But one man on that Committee belongs to any religious society whatever. But what if they had been all Methodists? Has that anything to do with the vote of the meeting by which the Resolutions were passed unanimously? Suppose Squire Appleby had drafted the Resolutions himself, and given the decision in his own favour, does he think they would have been passed by the meeting? And whom does he call unbiased and unprejudiced individuals? who should have been chosen on that committe? Were they Mormons? Are there on the face of the [8] Earth, not even excepting the followers of Mahomet, any more better, prejudiced and bigoted sectarians than they are; were denouncing vengeance here and endless damnation hereafter, on all who do not reject reason and common sense and embrace their absurd notions?

Yes, these are the persons whom squire Appleby calls unprejudiced and untrammelled!

But then the secretary of the meeting did not retire with the committee to draft the Resolutions! Verily this is an amazing discovery. I wonder if they hold any public meeting in that part of New Jersey where Squire Appleby officiates as “Associate Judge,” and whether he ever saw the secretary of a public meetings or the other officers, retire with a committee to draft Resolutions. His Squireship must presume very much upon the ignorance of the people of Delaware, or else he is vastly more ignorant himself than the country squires in these diggings generally are.

We will now briefly revert to the proofs said to have been produced in favour of the Book of Mormon on this occasion. It was proved says Squire Appleby that other land besides Canaan was given to Ephraim and Manassith; how this was proved he does not say, and for the information of the reader, I will merely mention that it was done in the same way, that Mr. Wharton on the Saturday previous attempted to do it, but failed as before noticed, by the quoting Exo. 49 ch. 22-26, and Deu. 33 ch. 13-17. If these text contained anything which by the most forced construction could be tortured into the support of such a position, Joshua in his 21 ch. 43-45 ver., would set the question at rest, by proving that in his time Israel possessed all the land that had previously been promised them. Besides in Deu. 34 ch. 1-4, we are told that Moses went up to the tops of Pisgoh in the Mount Nebo, and from thence took a view of the land given to the seed of Jacob, including all the land of Judah, and the land of Ephraim and Manassih, even to “the Awost sea.” Now if the land of Ephraim and Manassih was in central America, as Squire Appleby contends, Moses must have had a pretty good eye at the age of one hundred and twenty years, to have seen it at the distance of about 12,000 miles off. It might be here said, that as Joe Smith claims to be a prophet like unto Moses, and that said Smith uses a Stone placed in the bottom of his hat, when wishing to view objects beyond the reach of his natural vision. Moses might in this instance have made use of a similar peeping machine, in order to get a glimpse of this far off country. If this be admitted, then, I enquire, why did he not look in his peep stone on the plains of Jordan, and not put himself to so much trouble as to climb up to the very top of Pisgoh in Mount Nebo in order to get hisview?

This doctrine is one of the fundamental props on which the Temple of Mormonism is builded, and if removed the whole edifice totters and falls to the ground. But the above being the strongest, if not the only testimony drawn from the Scriptures is direct proof of the position, every person of common sense must perceive upon what a slender hair this whole superstructure rests. Even the Book of Mormon itself fails to shed any light upon this subject. We are told on page 48, of the re- [9] vised and corrected edition of that word of God, that the family of Lehi after wandering for eight years in the wilderness on the borders of the Red Sea, went “down into the Ship, and put forth into the sea, and were driven for many days towards the promised land.

And on page 50 that (after having been driven back four days in consequence of the “brass ball” with two spindles in it, only one of which pointed the right way, refusing to work, they sailed again towards the promised land, and at last arrived at the promised land. But whether this promised land was north, south, east or west of the place at which they embarked, is left entirely to conjecture. The descriptions would apply quite as well to Europe, Africa or New Holland as to the continent of America.

But says Squire Appleby, “no other land but America will answer the description given by the prophet” Isaiah, ch. 18. “Woe to the land shadowing with wings beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” Now is America from Jerusalem, the place where Isaiah was, “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia? ” Let any one take a map of the world and trace a line from Jerusalem through the centre of Ethiopia or any part thereof, and and he will find it extend into the great Southern Ocean without touching or passing anywhere near, any part of the continent of America at all.

America then will not “answer the description of the prophet.” Whoever wishes to ascertain the true meaning of this text, may consult in connexion therewith. Zeph, 3 ch. 10. Acts, 8. ch. 26, 39, and the heathen mythology of ancient Egypt, in which they will find a winged God as the presiding or shadowing Deity of those countries which bordered on the river Nile, and which took its rise in ancient Ethiopia.

It is not my intention to take up and examine all the texts referred to by Squire Appleby in his communication. Any person of even common comprehension, who will take the trouble to turn to them, and examine them with the connexion in which they are found, cannot fail of observing that they have no bearing upon the question at issue, viz. the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I will therefore merely remark that whoever is desirous of examining them would do well to consult in connexion with Matt. 15 ch. 24, and John, 10 ch. 16. referred to by Squire Appleby, Luke 2. ch. 10 and 31, 32, John 10 ch. 24 to 28. In connexion with Isa. 11 ch. 11 to 13.

&c., consult, ver. 10 of the same chapter, also verse 14 when Ephraim and Judah are to fly upon the shoulders of the Philistine towards the West. The time of setting up the ensign and gathering of the dispersed Jews, was to be at the last days. To ascertain that period see, Acts 2 ch. 16.17.

Heb. 1 ch. 2. I John 11 ch. 18, and I Peter 1 ch. 20. In connexion with Isa. 29 ch. 9, 24, examine verse 1, as to whom the prophet was writing, and also verse 11, as to what it was that was sealed.

That the things of which Isaiah speaks were to take place among the people whom he was then addressing, and who were the inhabitants of the city where David dwelt, verse 1. See 13.

“Forasmuch as this people,” &c. also verse 14. “Behold I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people,” &c. That this work was done, see the quotation of the 13th verse by the Messiah and Matt. 15 ch. 7 to 9, and the parallel text Mark 7 ch. 6 to 9. As to the [10] time when this was to take place, See ver. 17. “Is it not yet a very little while,” &c. Ezekiel 37 ch. 15 to 22 although to the mind of a mormon affording convincing proof of the truth of the gold Bible humbug. Yet to sensible people it is too puerile and trifling to need a serious consideration, Ezekiel was to take two sticks, and to write a certain writing upon them. One of those sticks, says Squire Appleby was the Book of Mormon. Well, was the Book of Mormon written by Ezekiel?

No! Does it contain the writing which Ezekiel was commanded to write upon his stick? No! Was it written upon a stick at all? Oh no. It was written upon gold plates. Where then is the proof that Ezekiel meant by his two sticks, the Bible and the Book of Mormon! That he did not prophecy of the things of the 19th century, see Ez. 12 ch. 22 to end of the chapter. In connexion with the 85th Psalm. “Truth shall spring out of the Earth,” consult, Isa. 45 ch. 19. “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth,” &c.

But why should Squire Appleby or any other Mormon refer to a Book for proof of their doctrines, the authenticity of which they themselves deny? Yes, after putting forth his whole force, and straining every nerve to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon from the Bible; his saintship finding himself so closely pressed in the debate, and his favourite Gold Bible “likely to go by the board,” in a fit of desperation determined that if it went, the Scriptures should also go with it. Accordingly he declared, that our present copy of the Bible had been so altered, interpolated, and corrupted by the cunning craftiness of men, as to be entirely different from what it was originally, that it was a bundle of contradictions, absurdities and foolishness, and could never be restored to its primitive purity and comprehensiveness until it had passed through the correcting hands of Joe Smith, or some other person gifted with the marvellous faculty of looking through a peep stone. Moses (whom Joe Smith professes to be like) was denounced as a murderer of the blackest grade, while Abraham, Lot, David and the Prophets, were held up as drunkards, liars and debauchees even worse than John C. Bennet, and if Joe Smith was grossly immoral and profligate, he was no worse than others had been, and might still be a prophet for all that. For the first time, I believe in this community, was presented the novel spectacle of a man professing to be a saint and a teacher of the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ standing before a large and respectable audience, endeavouring to prove the Bible a nullity, and justifying vice and immorality by a reference to the conduct of men of a former age, who were guilty of many crimes, and yet said to be the peculiar favorites of heaven. But this is Mormonism. This is that better covenant of the “Last days” which is to reform and purify the Church by annihilating the pure and sublime principles of Christianity, and establishing the immoral and pernicious dogmas of Joe Smith the Mahomet of “the 19th Century in their place. Whoever believes the Book of Mormon must reject the Scriptures, at least the present copy as being imperfect and incorrect.

See Book of Mormon, page 31: “For behold they (that is the Church) have taken away from the Gospel of the Lamb, many parts that are [11] plain, and most precious, and also many covenants of the Lord, have they taken away, and all this have they done, that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord.” And again, “Wherefore thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book which is the book of the Lamb of God, and after these plain and precious things were taken away, it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles.” &c. And again, “Because of these things which are taken away out of the Gospel of the Lamb, an exceeding great many do stumble, yea insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.”

Now why do the Mormon preachers endeavour to prove their doctrine from the Bible!

Can the testimony drawn from a book which is so very defective, and from which so many things have been taken, be received as proof of any important position? For if those precious parts and covenants which have been take naway were restored to it again, it would in all probability be entirely different from what it is now, and the things that are now proved from it, would then be proved to be false. If this were not the case, and the book would still prove the same things it does now, then those parts and covenant that have been taken away, were not so very precious, or in any way essential to the book at all. Let every Mormon preacher, therefore, while addressing the people and trying to prove his doctrine from the Bible, be careful to tell them that the book which he quotes is in its present condition good for nothing; or if he fails to do it, let the people tell him that he is a deceiver, who dares not let his views on that subject be known.

The absurdity of the Mormons in endeavoring to prove that authenticity of their Book from the Bible, may thus be shown. The Book of Mormon if true, proves that the Bible in its present condition, has been so corrupted, altered and defaced as to afford no sufficient proof of any position; while on the contrary the Bible in its present condition according to their faith, proves the Book of Mormon true.

It is evident then, that according to Mormonism itself the Bible in its present condition is no proof of their doctrines, and I will now briefly notice those other proofs which Squire Appleby says were brought forward in the discussion. The ruined cities and temples described by Mr. Stephens in his “Researches,” in central America were identified, says he as those mentioned in the Book of Mormon. I will examine one of those identifications that the learned Squire considered the most conclusive. Mr. Stephens describes the ruins of a Temple which bore some resemblance to the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem. This, Squire Appleby says was the temple built by Nephi, and described in the Book of Mormon, page 72. By referring to that book it will be seen, page 73, that only 40 years had elapsed, from the time the father of Nephi left Jersusalem, 8 of which had been spent in the wilderness on the borders of the Red Sea, so that Lehi and his family had only been 32 years, in the promised land, be that Central America or Botany Bay.

Now the only persons who came from Jerusalem, were Lehi and his six sons, (two of whom were born in the wilderness) Zoram a servant, and the sons of [12] Ishmael. But the old man Lehi had died, and two of his sons, together with the sons of Ishmael had rebelled against Nephi, page 69.

So that the latter with his three younger brothers, and the servant Zoram, in all, five men had to flee in the wilderness, page 71. Now this separation happened some time after the arrival in the promised land, so that we might with truth say that these five individuals in 8 or 10 years, besides providing for their families in the wilderness, built this temple which was “like unto Solomon’s.” In 2 chron. 2 ch. 18, we are informed that when Solomon commenced the building of the temple at Jerusalem he set 60,000 men to be bearers of burdens. 80,000 to be heivers in the mountains, and 3,600 to be overseers. And this vast multitude was engaged about 20 years in building the temple and the King’s House. But Nephi and his four assistants built just such a temple in Central America in a few years. This is proof with a vengeance, and the other identifications were still more lame than this.

But again, Squire Appleby says that the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, and Mr. Stephens did not discover the ruins of Central America until 1840, so that because the Book of Mormon speaks of cities being builded somewhere by the Nephites, the ruins which Mr. Stephens discovered must be the same. But if Mr. Stephens did not visit Central America before 1840, extensive ruins were known to exist in Guatamola, Yucatan and Chiapa long before that period. Even as early as 1787, the ruins of Otolum a city built of stone, 32 miles long and 12 miles broad, full of palaces, monuments, &c., was discovered and surveyed by Capt. Del Roi, and a description of it published in English in 1822. So that the existence of such ruins were known long before the publication of the Book of Mormon, and the writer of that Book being acquainted with the fact, all he had to do was, to accommodate his descriptions thereto. Solomon Spaulding, who, no doubt wrote the historical portion of this book, did it with the express object of accounting for these and similar antiquities scattered throughout the continent of America. But Mr. Stephens gives it as his firm conviction that there is nothing among these ruins or inscriptions that would indicate either an Egyptian or Hebrew origin, which would not have been the case, had they been constructed by the posterity of Jacob.

Again, “proofs were drawn from Priest’s Antiquity” says Squire Appleby. Indeed! and what were they? Why somebody found some pieces of raw-hide sewed together with the sinews of some animal, and enclosing several pieces of parchment on which were written in Hebrew characters several text of scripture. This raw-hide according to Priest, was found among a parcel of old chips and earth at a place called Pittsfield in Massachusetts. Now let any thinking man consider how long a piece of raw-hide, would be likely to remain in the earth, subject to the influence of the elements, without suffering decomposition; and the inference of the Mormon is, that this strap of raw-hide had remained among these old chips, since the commencement of the Christian Era! Could there be a greater absurdity. This Josiah Priest labours hard in the work quoted by Squire Appleby, to prove that Noah’s Ark, was constructed [13] in the State of New York; and he does it too just about as conclusively as the learned Squire did, that there is a Bible quarry in the same State at which Joe Smith got his Book of Mormon.

To rebut these powerful arguments, Squire Appleby asserts, that I brought “nothing but subterfuges and lies.” Quite gentlemanly and polite that for a Saint, and that too after having on both evenings after the debate closed, assured the audience that I debated on more honorable grounds, than any opponent he ever had met with. But in order that the public may judge how far the assertion of this veritable Saint is consistent with truth, I will briefly notice the principal arguments which I did adduce on the occasion referred to.

1. Many of the things mentioned in the Book are opposed to reason and common sense:—consequently, it is unreasonable to believe them. This was the first position taken, and now for the proof.

On page 376, we are told that Helaman with a band of soldiers surrounded an army of the Lamanites, and slew them, took their weapons from them, and then made them prisoners.

On page 40, we have a description of a brass ball which Lehi found one morning at his tent door. This ball was of very curious workmanship, and had very singular properties. Within it were two spindles; and one of them pointed the way Lehi was to go, but which way the other pointed, or of what use it was, we are not told. But even the one that pointed the right way seemed not to do so, for any inherent property of the thing itself; for we are told on page 41, that it worked according to the faith and diligence, and heed given to it. And on page 49, we find that when Nephi had been bound by his brethren, this spindle would not point any way until he was loose again, and then it pointed whichever way he wished or desired it. So, that after all, the marvellous properties given to this brass ball, with two spindles; in pointing the way they were to go, it appears to be of no use; for it would not point except the way Nephi wanted it.

Again, on page 527, we have a very particular description of the barges in which the Jaredites made a voyage from India to the promised land. These vessels were upon all sides “made tight like unto a dish,” and just the length of a tree, so very tight were they that Jared the leader of the company feared they should perish for want of air. He therefore inquired of the Lord what was to be done, when he was directed to make, two holes in the vessels; one in the top, and one in the bottom; but was particularly cautioned that if the water should come in at these holes, he must immediately plug them up, or else he might get drowned. But it appears from the sequel of this description, that the holes would have to be plugged up all the time; or nearly so, and therefore would be of no manner of use; as the vessels were to be like holes in the midst of the sea. Jared also made enquiry what he was to do for light? when he was told that it would not do to have windows in his vessels because they would certainly get broken. Now the query is, what kind of windows are here meant. If they were glass, the reader will be surprised to find that the art of making glass is as ancient as the tower of Babel, [14] and if they were not of glass, he will be equally at a loss to conceive what other kind would be so likely to get broken.

But to cap the climax of this nonsense, we read on page 555, that the descendants of these Jaredites had become wicked, and were divided into two factions; and were so very numerous that in some skirmishes, there were killed of one party, no less than two millions of men with their wives and children. The two opposing commanders now spent four years in collecting all the people from the “whole face of the land,” to their respective armies. This being done, they were all armed men, women and children, and led forth to the battle. After five whole days hard fighting, and most hideous howlings everynight, these great armies were all slain except 52 of one party, and 69 of the other. Whether any of these that remained were women or children we are not informed. But on the sixth morning these two remnants again engaged, and after fighting all day, are reduced to 32 and 27. These were all large and mighty men; and on the seventh morning, again commenced the battle, and after fighting three hours they all “fainted with the loss of blood.” But one party recovering a little so as to walk were about to run; when the others also got up and pursued after them until next morning; when they were overtaken, and the fight again renewed. Both parties were now all slain except the two commanders. One of these resting himself a short time upon his sword attacked the other, and clipped off his head. But being a valiant man, he was still for fight and raised himself upon his hands before he fell; and then after having struggled a while for breath, his head being off, died. The other commander having nothing more to do, also fell to the earth “and became as if he had no life.” Thus had the whole race of Jaredites like the two Kilkenny cats that eat each other up excepting the tips of their tails, became extinct; and had the narrator of this story used his utmost endeavour to make up something improbable and incredible, he could not have thought of anything more completely devoid of reason and common sense than the foregoing. Indeed, the motive of the writer seems to be an effort to see how unlikely a tale he could tell; and clearly justifies the remark that Joe Smith made to Peter Ingersol, “that he did it to see what the d—d fools would believe.” I might point out numerous other instances under this head, as the book is full of them; but the above will be sufficient.

2. The Book contradicts the Bible. This was the second position and I will now prove it.

On page 65, it is asserted of Adam and Eve, that had “they not transgressed the command of God they would have had no children;” that they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery, doing no good for they knew no sin.

Now in Gen. ch. I, we read that the first command given to mankind was “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth;” and in ch. 2d we find that after Adam was placed in the garden of Eden, he was commanded not to “eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Now according to Mormonism we have Adam placed in a singular dilemma. He could not fulfil the first commandment until he had [15] disobeyed the second. For had he not transgressed, he could not have multiplied. Disobedience then was inevitable, there was no possibility of avoiding it. Besides we are told that if Adam and Eve had not transgressed, they would have remained in the same state as when created and would have remained so forever.” Then they must have been created immortal. If that be true, they never could have died. A dead immortality is a paradox.

Besides when God made inquisition upon Adam, he says “Unto dust shalt thou return,” (not because thou hast transgressed) but because “dust thou art.”

On the same page, we read that men “are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediator of all men.” Here we are assured that all men are mediators. But Paul says I.

Tim. 2 ch. 5. “There is one Mediator between God and men,” &c. Numerous other instances of contradiction might be pointed out, but as the Mormons deny the authenticity of our present copy of the Bible, they might think such testimony irrelevant to the subject, and I shall therefore forbear to notice them further.

3. The Book contradicts itself.

On page 382. Helaman in giving an account of the takings of the city of Manti, says that the Nephite got possession of it without the shedding of blood, On page 381, it is said in relation to the taking of the same city, that a part of the army of the Nephites fell upon the guards of the city and “destroyed them.”

On page 378, This same Helaman speaking of a band of soldier under his command, says “behold my little band of two thousand and sixty, fought most desperately,” &c. And again, on the same page “behold those two thousand and sixty were firm.” Now on page 372, 373 and 376, this same band is three several times said to number only two thousand.”

Again, on page 192, we are told of the priests of king Noah who stole away 24 of the daughters of the Lamanites, and married them. And on page 203, it is said that those “who had taken to wife the daughters of the Lamanites, refused to be called by the name of their fathers, but took upon them the name of Nephi, and were numbered with the Nephites. Now on page 223, we find that the Lamanites were dark, and that whosoever married with the Lamanites brought the same curse upon their posterity, and was called under that head and had a mark set upon them. “The old proverb says “liars require good memories.”

Again, on page 146, it is related that Mosiah went into the wilderness and discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla. These people it is said, rejoiced greatly because the Lord had sent Mosiah and his people to them with the brass plates.” But on the very same page it is said that these same people denied that there was any Lord. It appears on this page also, that Mosiah discovered a great deal about these people, yet after discovering it all, we are told that neither he nor any of his people could understand their language.

But I must desist. Were I to undertake to point out all the absurdities and contradiction in this book I should fill a volume [16].

4. About 31 pages of this book out of 570, or 1-18 of the whole, are taken verbatim et literatum from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.

For proof of this, compare Isa. 48 and 49 ch. with pp. 53 and 56 Book of Mormon, Isa. 50-51 with pp. 75-77, Isa. 2-14 with 85-101. Matt. 5-6-7 with 466 to 477. Isa. 52 with 484-485.

Isa. 54 with 487-488. Mal. 3. with 489-491 and 1 Cor. 13 with 563-564.

5. The historical part of this book was written by Solomon Spaulding, about the year 1810 as a historical romance, and entitled “The Manuscript Found.”

This was proved by the testimony of John Spaulding, brother to Solomon; Martha Spaulding, wife of the said John Spauding, Henry Lake, John N. Miller, Aaron Wright, and Oliver Smith, John C Bennet also (although Squire Appleby questions his veracity) affirms that he had it from the mouths of Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon themselves, that Solomon Spaulding was the author of the book; and that the tales about the gold plates were all a humbug.

6. The external evidence brought in support of the book next claims our attention. This consists of two certificates attached to the book, the one having eight names attached to it and the other three. Five of those witnesses are of one family (Whitmer’s), Hiram Page (a relative of the Whitmers), the father and two brothers of the prophet “Joe,” and Oliver Cowdery. Upon the testimony of these men, we are called upon to believe, that the Book of Mormon has been correctly translated from gold plates by the power of God, because as they say his voice declared it unto them.

These certificates were published in the year 1830. In 1829 a Revelation was given to Joe Smith directed expressly to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, the three witnesses whose names are attached to the first certificate. This Revelation is published in the Book of Doctrines and Covenants, and is too long to be quoted at length here, I will therefore merely give the essential parts of this remarkable production, and such as have a direct reference to the subject we are now investigating. These men were told that they should be shown the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, the Urim and Thummim, the sword of Laban, and other remarkable things that were found with the gold plates, if they only had faith, and that it was by the faith or belief they had in those things that they were to have so remarkable a sight, and after they had seen them by faith they were to make known the fact to the world, because, God through Smith had commanded them to do so. This Revelation as I before said was given in 1829. In 1830 the Book was published, and Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris came out with their certificates, in which they declare, that they have seen the plates from which the book was translated; and that they were shown them by the power of God and not of man, that they know that they have been correctly translated, because the “voice of the Lord” (through Smith) “hath declared it unto us;” That they saw (by faith) the engraving upon the plates, and it was marvellous in their eyes, “nevertheless the voice of the Lord” (through Smith according to [17] the above Revelation) “commanded us that we should bear record of it. Wherefore to be obedient unto the commandment of God (through Smith) we bear testimony to these things.”

Here then is the mighty testimony of the three witnesses, Smith tells them that if they only believe that he is a prophet and has the plates, they shall see them by their faith, they believe him, and as faith is the evidence of things not seen, are just as much convinced of all Smith has told them as if they had seen them with their natural eyes. Smith then tells them that God has commanded them to bear testimony “to these things. They again believe, that what he says is true,” and “to be obedient unto the commandment,” attaches their names to this certificate, declaring that they did so “because the voice of the Lord commanded them. That neither of those Witnesses ever saw any gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated is evident from their own statements and conduct since the publication of that book.

Martin Harris has frequently said that he never saw them with his natural eyes, but only by the eye of faith. And David Whitmer said that the angel that showed him the plates was an old man dressed in grey clothes, and had his throat cut. Besides both Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, (as even Squire Appleby will not deny) have long since renounced Mormonism, and declared the whole a humbug. And Joe Smith has said that Martin Harris, was too contemptible to be noticed by a gentleman.

The other eight witnesses merely testify that Joe Smith showed them some plates, which had the appearance of gold. Nothing is said about the correctness of the translation, and even to admit all they have said it would prove nothing; for how easy would it be for Smith to deceive them by showing them spurious plates. But, two of these witnesses have like the “illustrious three” proved recreant to the cause, renounced Mormonism, and falsified their words.

From this examination it will be perceived that the whole external evidence of this book rests upon the veracity of Joe Smith himself. He is “angel,” power of God, eyes and everything else to these witnesses and the whole depends upon his mere sayso. Now what was his character for truth and veracity! I will answer this question by a succinet account of him and his family for a few years preceeding and following the asserted discovery of these wonderful gold plates.

Joe Smith, belonged to a very shiftless family who resided from about the year 1820 to 1830 near Palmyra in the state of New York. They spent their time in digging for money of which evidence still remains in the large excavations in the earth in the vicinity of their dwelling.

Joe was the prime mover of these money digging excursions which generally took place in the night-time. He had a smooth stone, which was obtained of W. Chase, by lying, and which he carried in his hat. When he wanted to find where money was buried, he placed the hat over his face, and looking at the stone determined the place where the treasures lay. The whole family were, noted in the neighborhood, for drunkenness, lying, breach of contracts, and a general course of immorality and [18] dishonesty. Even after Joe professed to be inspired to translate the gold plates, his character was still as notoriously depraved. So noted was he for lying that his testimony on oath was refused before a jury of his country. These facts can be proved by near one hundred witnesses residing in and around Palmyra; but the introduction of their statements and affidavits would swell these pages beyond their prescribed limits. And even at the present time, according to the testimony of Gen. Robinson, Col. Higbee, and Capt. Olney of the Nauvoo Legion Joe’s character is little better.

I will now return to Squire’s Appleby’s communication. He assures his readers that “distruction awaits this generation” if they do not believe the Book of Mormon. But how this destruction is to be brought about, he has not informed us, I will therefore attempt to explain this affair.

On page 474 of the Book of Mormon it is said that if the Gentiles (that is the people of these United States) reject the fulness of the gospel (Book of Mormon) it shall be taken to the remnant of the house of Israel (Indians), and all this land shall be given them for an inheritance; and they shall go through it in company with the believing Gentiles (Mormons) and shall tread down the unbelieving, who shall be as salt without savor under their feet. And again on page 483, “If the Gentiles do not repent (that is embrace Mormonism) then shall you (Indians) go forth among them, and ye shall be as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and a young lion among the flock of sheep who both treadeth down and teareth to pieces, and none can deliver.”

There hand shall be lifted up against their adversaries and all their enemies (Gentiles) shall be cut off.

These passages taken in connexion with Pratt’s Voice of Warning (which is to long to be quoted here) and with the fact that the Mormons are rapidly concentrating their forces on our western borders in the immediate vicinity of the Indian tribes; while monthly proclamations are made by their prophet for all the Saints to come up to Mount Zion, bringing with them “their gold and their silver, and their precious things,” must convince every reasonable man that their ultimate object is to unite themselves with the Indians, and war against the government of the United States. They are now training and instructing their disciples in the art of war, the “Nauvoo Legion” containing some six or seven thousand men, which occording to Gen. Bennet is the most efficient, and best drilled corps in the Union. As soon then as they can feel themselves sufficiently strong; if they can provoke a war between the Indians and the United States Government, Joe Smith will have a Revelation, that the time is arrived that the riches of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to the true Israel (Indians and Mormons) and joining themselves with the Indians commence a war of extermination. And who could tell the horrors of such a war! Prosecuted by fanatics, who fancied themselves instruments in the hands of the Almighty to take vengeance upon his enemies; the greater the cruelties they committed, the more they would imagine themselves, entitled to his favor, and under such [19] motives and influences, such a war must be sanguinary in the extreme. But that such is the contemplated destruction that squire Appleby refers to; any person who will take the trouble to investigate the subject can not have a doubt.

The conclusion of Squire Appleby’s communication is in the true bantum style. These pugnacious little creatures, always crow after they are whipt. That I did not back out from the discussion he well knows: And should he ever again wish to resume it, either orally or in writing, if I am alive and well he will find me ready, so “Lay on Macduff.”

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