THE SALEM OBSERVER “Pledged to no party's arbitrary sway, "We soar with truth, where'er she leads the way.' 'SATURDAY, OCT'R 7, 1848. THE MORMONS Still continue to attract more or less of public attention by occasional reports of their movements in the West, although the interest with which they were observed at the time when "Branches " of their organi-zation were scattered over this and the neighboring states, has considerably dimin-ished. They are undoubtedly the most pe-culiar sect which has sprung upon this con-tinent, and their history, including the story of their really extreme sufferings and unjust persecutions, and also, the schemes which they have heretofore carried out and still are prosecuting, must form one of the most singular narratives in the whole range of literature. The Mormon Church originated, as is well known, with Joseph Smith, jr., or rather he was the instrument through which the scheme was brought to the notice of the world. It is claimed for him that in the year 1823, at that time 19 years of age, he received a miraculous communication from Heaven, which directed him to search for certain metalic plates hidden in the ground, & which contained the well known 'Book of Mormon," engraved in unknown characters—probably a celestial stenography. Smith repaired to the spot—dug up the plates—in-terpreted them—and with their revelations and other angelic communications, which were received in due time, became gradu-ally conscious of his inspired character, and was prepared to commence the work of propagation. The first task which he had to accomplish like that of Mahomet, was the conversion of his own family, which after much tribula-tion he succeeded in doing. From this the labor of proselyting was extended abroad, and in 1830, six individuals were baptized and the organization of the Mormon Church thus commenced. The sect—like Mahomet's again—did not spread rapidly at first, but af-ter a few years it flourished considerably and a 'gathering' was commenced at Kurt-land, Ohio. Subsequently, the head quar-ters were removed to Independence, Miss-ouri. Here the movement gradually gained strength, until the citizens of Missouri, be-coming hostile to the Mormon body, from motives which we will not stop to charac-terize, they were driven from thence in a most barbarous and unjustifiable manner. They then “gathered" again, at Nauvoo, in Illinois, since which time their history is familiar to almost every reader. Several scisms have occurred in the Mor-mon body at various times, but they have met with poor success, notwithstanding that one of them was led off by Sidney Ridg-don, whom we always suspected of being the chief artisan of the whole Mormon fabric. This revolt occurred immediately after the death of the "Prophet," and seemed likely for a short time to carry with it the whole body of the faithful. Another schism headed by Strang, flourished for a time, but finally, we believe, entirely dwindled away. Since the inhuman and disgraceful expul-sion of the Mormons from Nauvoo, they have been moving, as is well known, to-wards the valley of the Salt Lake, in the Great Basin, in which delightful region they are laying the foundations of a large city. There, it is quite probable, they will draw together great numbers and establish an im-portant and powerful colony. It may not be generally known or believ-ed that since their leader was killed at Nau-voo, the Mormons have greatly increased in numbers. They now estimate their believ-ers at above three hundred thousand. One hundred and fifty thousand of these are sup-posed to be in this country, and the balance abroad—principally in Britain, where the sect sustains a periodical publication. At the Salt Lake there are already nearly ten thousand, and still larger numbers are moving on towards that settlement. As fast as preparation can be made to receive them, immigrations will also take place from Eng-land. The region selected for the new city is said to be very healthy, the climate salu-brious and the soil fertile and easy of culti-vation. The matter of a Temple is of course not overlooked, and a spot has been laid out for an edifice six times as large as the unique affair at Nauvoo!
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