The Founder of Mormonism.
HIS CAREER AND HIS DEATH.
From the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Sidney Rigdon, once the champion of the faith as delivered to the Saints by Palmyra Joseph, died at the residence of his son-in-law, Earl Wingate, July 14, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, at Friendship, Al-legany county, New York. Sidney Rigdon was born in the 1793 near Pittsburgh, Pa. He was fond of books and book men, and at an early age showed his predilections for re-ligious studies and an ambition in the di-rection of pulpit oratory. Controlled by this ambition, he applied himself to Scrip-ture study, never failing to improve his op-portunities to accept invitations which would give him the chance to achieve a reputation as a speaker. In 1819 he visited Ohio, where, by a Presbytery consisting of the Revs. Clark, West, Bentley and Otis, he was ordained as Preacher of the Gospel, in 1822-3, Mr. Rigdon became pastor of a Bap-tist church in Pittsburgh, from which, in a few months, he was removed on account of his advocating certain principles held to be incompatible with membership in that de-nomination.
About this time Alexander Campbell was attracting public notice by his endeavors to annihilate sectarianism and return to the plan and procedure of the Apostolic age. Camp-bell was a reformer, Rigdon wished to be regarded as such, and, making the acquain-tance of Campbell, struck hands with him in the plea for the original Gospel, and went to Ohio, where, in company with Walter Scott and others of like faith, he labored earnestly under the direction of the Mahoning Asso-ciation. Here Mr. Rigdon's ambition dis-covered itself—he wished to be a leader; his delight was in oratory, and he longed for the time and place when admiring multitudes should confess to his overpowering grandeur, shout high acclaim to the music of his rhet-roic, and dying, confess their soul's salvation in the name of Sidney Rigdon! For reasons not given in the records of the Western Re-serve Association, Walter Scott received an appointment which could not but displease the ambitious, oratorical Rigdon. In 1827-8 he appears as the preacher for the congregation in Lake county, where, in his return to apos-tolic Christianity, we find him advocating the ecstasies of religious supernaturalism, spiritual gifts, miracles and the necessity of daily revelations from on high! Under the preceptorship of Mr. Rigdon, at this place, Mentor, Parley P. Pratt comes partly into into public notice. Pratt was, in later years, the husband of six women at one time.
It may also be remarked, in this connec-tion, that the standard Mormon books, "Doc-trine and Covenants" and "Morning Voice," were written by Rigdon and Pratt. Between the years 1827 and 1830, it is asserted by Tucker and others, Rigdon was the "myste-rious stranger" occasionally seen at the resi-dence of Joe Smith, who was, during those years, giving out that he had discovered a golden Bible, which, in due time, would be given to the world. Be this, however, as it may, when the Joe Smith Bible came out, in 1830, at Palmyra, Parley Pratt was at once upon the ground, accepted a copy, shook hands with Smith, and embraced the ever-lasting Gospel; Pratt's quick conversion to such an evident imposture, his hurrying back to Mentor, the instantaneous conversion of Rigdon, his visit to the Smiths, his sermon at Palmyra, his determined advocacy of a religion and a book which he could not possi-bly have examined, are sufficient items of proof to establish the previous connection of himself and Pratt in the Joe Smith impos-ture. It is certain that the first third of the Mormon Bible is a rehash of the Spaulding story concerning the aborigines of America; it is equally certain that the Spaulding man-uscript was within Rigdon's reach between the years 1812-19; also, that the same was in picking-up distance of Smith between the years of 1819-26. When the Mormon Bible came out in 1830, its contents were recog-nized by Wright, Miller, Spaulding and others; the original manuscript was at once inquired after—the trunks searched, when lo! the Spaulding story was gone! The names, incidents and thread of the Spauld-ing story are found in the first part of the Mormon Bible!
We do not say that Rigdon wrote the Mor-mon Bible, nor that Pratt did it—nor Joe Smith; we only suggest. In Ohio, Smith and Rigdon built a Mormon Temple, swindled the people, were tarred and feathered, and chased away to Indepen-dence, Missouri. Here Mr. Rigdon immor-talized himself as an incendiary political religionist; he was jailed, whipped—chased out into Illinois. There, at Nauvoo, he dis-agreed with Smith concerning the delicacies of polygamy, but became eminently known as a social philosopher, attorney, theologian and Fourth of July orator. In 1844 Smith was killed for indulging in the woman busi-ness; Rigdon was next in order, according to a revelation he had received from the Lord, but Brigham Young, being in high favor with the women, handed Rigdon over to the devil—in a church bull—took charge of the Nauvoo theocracy and made the exodus overland to Utah. Rigdon left in disgrace, returned to Pittsburgh; thence, in 1847, to Friendship, New York, where he resided until his death.
For thirty years he has said nothing on the subject of his former faith and Mormon adventures. Time and again the interested historian and persistent reporter have tried to interview him with reference to the manu-facture of the Mormon Bible, but nothing was ever obtained to satisfy the hungry seeker after curious knowledge. Mr. Rigdon had no library, kept no diary, left no manuscripts. For thirty years he kept his lips together, and now the grave has closed forever upon the secrets of his inner life. The relatives of Mr. Rigdon are all reputable members of their respective com-munities; and, forgetting momentarily the early years of his strange life, we cheerfully record that Sidney Rigdon lived his last years as a law-abiding, reputable citizen, and will be kindly remembered by the many to whom he had endeared himself by his cheery friendship and social virtues.
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