We have received the first number of The Seer, a monthly periodical established at Washington by Elder ORSON PRATT, who has been especially dele-gated by the Church in Utah to preside over the Saints in this region, and to write and publish periodicals, pamphlets and books illustrative of the doctrines of the Church. In entering upon the duties of his mis-sion, Elder Pratt addresses, through the columns of The Seer, a First Epistle to the Saints scattered throughout the United States and the British Provinces. In this he earnestly exhorts them to flee out of Babylon, to the Mountain Home of the Church, before destruction shall come upon the Gentile World, and upon the American nation especially, which has so deeply wronged the Mormons, and has refused to repent. We extract some of the fierce denunciations of this epistle.
"This nation have rejected the Book of Mormon, which the Lord brought forth by the ministering of An-gels, and sent unto them by the hands of his servants; they have rejected the Church of Christ which the Lord God in mercy established in their midst; they have suf-fered His Saints to be trampled upon by mobs, to be scourged, afflicted, abused, driven from their homes, de-prived of the most sacred rights of American citizen-ship, and finally to be banished from their midst, and obliged to seek refuge in the solitary wilds and deserts of the Rocky Mountains. They have closed their doors, their synagogues, their eyes and their hearts against one of the most glorious and important messages that ever saluted the ears of mortals ; they have suffered one of the greatest, most renowned and most celebrated proph-ets that ever lived upon the earth to be murdered in cold blood, without bringing the murderers to justice; they have suffered scores of innocent men, women and children to be tortured, shot down and butchered, in open day, by beings who afterwards boasted of their horrid deeds, and yet no means are instituted to bring these guilty wretches to punishment. Does not the blood of the Saints and of prophets cry aloud to the Hea-vens for vengeance? And shall this nation escape the judgments decreed against them? And will the Al-mighty forbear to execute the vengeance written? Ve-rily No.
"The Saints have long cried unto the Lord that He would open the ears and soften the hearts of the rulers and authorities of cur country that they might execute justice and right in behalf of the suffering, down-trod-den, exiled citizens of this great Republic, who have been, by the force of arms, driven into banishment. But their ears are closed to our cries, their eyes are shut to our sufferings, and their hearts hardened against the mourning and lamentations of widows and orphans, whose husbands and fathers have been cruelly martyred for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God. The cup of the iniquity of this nation is nearly full; and woe unto them, when the time shall come that they are fully ripe in their abominations, for they shall utterly perish from off the face of this choice land, and the land shall be left empty and desolate—yea, their cities shall be destroyed, and their houses shall be desolate."
With equal frankness Elder Pratt unfolds that doc-trine of his people which is most repugnant to the moral sense of those who are not Saints. We allude of course to Polygamy. On this head The Seer contains an article entitled : Celestial Marriage; A Revelation on the Patriarchal Order of Matrimony, or Plurality of Wives, given to Joseph Smith, the Seer in Nauvoo July 12,1843. This revelation, which is new to us, and doubtless to the greater part of the gentile public, seems to afford glimpses into the principles of that strange and undefined system of theology and theo-cracy which boasts Joe Smith as its chief prophet. We extract some of the more curious passages :
4. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world and he marry her not by me, nor by my word, and he covenant with her, so long as lie is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage is not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world, therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world, therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more and an exceeding and an eternal weight of glory; for these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity, and from henceforth are not Gods but are angels of God forever and ever.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a convenant with her for rime and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have annointed and ap-pointed unto this power, then it is not valid, neither of force, when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the Gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, there-fore, inherit my glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.
6. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is annointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the keys of this priesthood, and it shall be said unto them, ye shall come forth in the first resurrection ; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection ; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, domin-ions, all bights and depths; then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life that he shall commit no murder, whereby to shed innocent blood; and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed inno-cent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things what-soever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world, and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which arc set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
7. Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end ; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, be-cause all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
9. Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder, wherein they shed innocent blood,—yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation, but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be de-livered unto the bufferings of Satan, unto the day of re-demption, faith the Lord God.
10. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall net be forgiven in the world, nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God ; and he that abideth not this law, can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.
24. And again, as pertaining to the law of the priest-hood ; if any man espouse a virgin, and desires to es-pouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified ; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he can-not commit adultery with that, that belongeth unto him and to none else ; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery; for they belong to him ; and they are given unto him ; therefore is he justified. But if one, or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed ; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the prom-ise which was given by my Father before the founda-tion of the world; and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
Elder Pratt follows up the revelation with an argu-ment for Polygamy drawn from the fact that the ma-jority of mankind practise it at the present day, and that in the nations which have adopted the one-wife system licentiousnesss of every kind dreadfully prevails. On the legal aspects of polygamy in this country he holds the following language :
"The Constitution leaves the several States and Terri-tories to enact such laws as they see proper in regard to Marriages, provided that they do not infringe upon the rights of conscience and the liberties guaranteed in that stated document. Therefore, if any State or Territory feels disposed to enact laws, guaranteeing to each of its citizens the right to marry many wives, such laws would be perfectly constitutional; hence, the several States and Territories practise the one-wife system out of choice, and not because they are under any obligation so to do by the National Constitution. Indeed, we doubt very much whether any State or Territory has the con-stitutional right to pass laws prohibiting the plurality doctrine in cases where it is practised by religious soci-eties as a matter of conscience or as a doctrine of their religious faith. The first article of the Amendments to the Constitution says, expressly, that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Now if even Con-gress itself, has no power to pass a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion," much less has any State or Territory power to pass such an act.
"The doctrine of a Plurality of Wives was believed and practised by Abraham, the father of the faithful; and we find that while in this practice the angels of God fre-quently ministered to him, and at one time dined with him; and God manifested Himself to him, and entered into fa-miliar conversation with him. Neither God nor His an-gels reproved Abraham for being a Polygamist, but on the contrary, the Almighty greatly blessed him and made promises unto him, concerning both Isaac and Ishmael, clearly showing that Abraham practiced, what is called, Polygamy, under the sanction of the Almighty. Now if the father of the faithful was thus blessed, certainly it should not be considered irreligious for the faithful who are called his children to walk in the steps of their father Abraham. Indeed, if the Lord, Himself; through His holy prophets, should give more wives unto his servants, as He gave them unto the prophet David, it would be a great sin for them to refuse that which He gives. In such a case, it would become a matter of conscience with them, and a part of their religion, and they would be bound to exercise their faith in this doctrine, and prac-tice it, or be condemned; therefore, Congress would have no power to prohibit the free exercise of this part of their religion; neither would the States or Territories have power, Constitutionally, to pass a law "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Now a certain religious so-ciety, celled Shakers, believe it to be wrong for them to marry even one wife ; it certainly would be unconstitu-tional for either the Congress or the States to pass a law, compelling all people to marry at a certain age, because it would infringe upon the rights of conscience among the Shakers, and they would be prohibited the free ex-ercise of their religion.
"From the foregoing revelation, given through Jo-seph, the Seer, it will be seen that God has actually com-manded some of His servants to take more wives, and has pointed out certain duties in regard to the marriage ceremony, showing that they must be married for time and for all eternity, and showing the advantages to be derived in a future state by this eternal union, and show-ing, still further, that, if they refused to obey this com-mand, after having the law revealed to them, they should be damned. This revelation, then, makes it a matter of conscience among all the Latter Day Saints ; and they embrace it as a part and portion of their religion, and verily believe that they cannot be saved and reject it. Has Congress power, then, to pass laws 'prohibiting' the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 'the free exercise' of this article of their religion ? Have any of the States or Territories a Constitutional right to pass laws 'prohibiting the free exercise of the religion' which the church of the Saints conscientiously and sin-cerely believe to be essential to their salvation? No: they have no such right.
"The Latter-Day Saints have the most implicit confi-dence in all the revelations given through Joseph the prophet; and they would much sooner lay down their lives and suffer martyrdom, than to deny the least reve-lation that was ever given to them. In one of the reve-lations through him, we read that God raised up wise men end inspired them to write the Constitution of our country, that the freedom of the people might be main-tained, according to the free agency which He had given to them; that every man might be accountable to God and not to man, so far as religious doctrines and con-science are concerned. And the more we examine that sacred instrument, framed by the wisdom of our illus-trious fathers, the more we are compelled to believe that an invisible power controlled, dictated and guided them in laying the foundation of liberty and freedom upon this great Western Hemisphere. To this land the Mahome-dan—the Hindoc—the Chinese can emigrate and each bring with him his score of wires and his hundred chil-dren, and the glorious Constitution of our country will not interfere with his domestic relations. Under the broad banner of the Constitution he is protected in all his family associations: none have a right to tear any of his wives or his children from him. So likewise, under the broad folds of the Constitution, the Legislative As-sembly of the Territory of Utah have the right to pass laws regulating their matrimonial relations, and pro-tecting each of their citizens in the right of marrying, one or many wives, as the case may be. If Congress should repeal those laws, they could not do so on the ground of their being unconstitutional. And even if Congress should repeal them, there still would be no law in Utah prohibiting the free exercise of that religious right: neither do the citizens of Utah feel disposed to pass such an unconstitutional act which would infringe upon the most sacred rights on conscience."
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