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“The Book of Mormon and the Mormonites.” Athenaeum, Museum of Foreign Literature, Science and Art 42 (July 1841): 370–74.
From the Anthemeum.
THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE MORMONITES.
The Book of Mormon: an Account written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates taken from the Plates of Nephi.
“Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile: written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the LORD, that they might not be destroyed: to come forth by the gift and power of GOD unto the interpretation thereof: sealed by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the LORD, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of GOD: “An abridgement taken from the book of Ether; also, which is a record o f the people of Jared;: who were scattered at the time the LORD confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to heaven; which is to show unto the the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the LORD hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the LORD, that they are not cast off forever; and also the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.” Translated by Joseph Smith, jun. First European, from the second American edition. Liverpool Young & co. HERE is a bitter satire on the much talked of “march of mind,” and the self-laudation of this “the nineteenth century!” Here is a pretended revelation, so absurd, so puerile, that it would seem unlikely to impose on the most ignorant and uncivilised, which has found thousands of followers in England— has been adapted by a party sufficiently numerous and wealthy to support a monthly periodical called the Millennial Star—And has so far advanced in organisation as to possess synodical conferences, local councils, and a general assembly! Can such things be, And overcome us like a summer cloud, Without our special wonder? We have nothing to do with the religious tenets of the Mormonites; it is enough to say that they are nearly identical with those of the German Anabaptists in the days of Luther, and that there are grounds for suspecting the coincidences to have been intentional; but the audacions forgery before us belongs to literary history, and, if for no better reason than its novelty, deserves to be investigated: indeed, in boldness of assertion and nullity of evidence, it is without a parallel in the annals of imposture. We shall first state the account which the Mormonites themselves give of their pretended revelation, and then from external and internal evidence show what was the origin of the forgery, and some of the circumstances which have contributed to give it currency both in America and in England. Joseph Smith, jun., the apostle of the Mormonites, declares that reflecting upon the many hundred denominations into which the Christian world is divided, he went into a grove, at a short distance from his father’s house, and there besought Divine aid to show him which of all the rival claimants was the true Church. “While thus pouring out his soul,” says the narrative published by the Mormonite church, “Anxiously desiring an answer from God, he at length saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above, which at first seemed to be at a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that by the time that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner.” Into this cloud of glory Smith, says the narrative, was received, and he met within it two angelic personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features; they informed him that all his sins were forgiven, that all the religious denominations then existing were believing in erroneous doctrines, and consequently, “That none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom.” At the same time he received a promise, “that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known to him.” It is worth pausing to observe the similarity between this story and the account Mahommed gave of the first revelation he received; the coming of the angel Gabriel to his cave, the purification from original sin, and the promise of a future revelation to be given when he made the night-journey to heaven. Joseph Smith, like Mahommed according to some traditions, did not pay much attention to the first revelation; but a second was vouchsafed to him in his bed-room, on the night of the 21st of September, 1823. A single personage appeared by his bedside, and notwithstanding the brightness of the light which previously illuminated the room, “there seemed to be an additional glory surrounding or accompanying this personage, which shone with an additional degree of brilliancy, of which he was in the midst: and though his countenance was as lightning, yet it was of a pleasing, innocent, and glorious appearance; so much so, that every fear was banished from the heart, and nothing but calmness pervaded the soul. The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam.” This celestial being informed Smith that the American Indians were “a remnant of Israel,” who had anciently prophets and inspired writers amongst them, and that some of their records, “by commandment of God to one of the last of the prophets,”had been deposited in a safe and secret place, to keep them from the hands of the wicked who sought to destroy them. The third revelation, which was vouchsafed on the following morning, informed Joseph Smith of the place where these relics were deposited; it was “in a large hill on the east side of the mail-road from Palmyra, Wayne county, to Canandaigua, Ontario  county, state of New York, about four miles form Palmyra, and within one of the little village of Manchester.”
|Title||The Book of Mormon and the Mormonites.|
|Abstract||Disparaging overview of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Latter-day Saints.|
|Digital Publisher||Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University|
|Owning Institution||Brigham Young University|
|Subject||Book of Mormon--History;|
|Source||Athenaeum, Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art 42 (July 1841) : 370-74.|
|Language||English; eng; en;|
|Patron Usage Instructions||http://www.lib.byu.edu/genericnote_copyright.html|
|Copyright status/owner||Public Domain, Courtesy Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University|
|Conversion specifications||E-Image Data Scanpro 1000; 600dpi; pdf|
|Full text||Transcriptions provided by the Maxwell Institute|