MORMONISM IN NEW-ENGLAND.
FROM THE GREENFIELD GAZETTE AND HERALD.
St. Johnsbury, Vt. July 20, 1835.
I left the White Mountains on the 17th, for Montreal, via Stanstead, L. C. Before arriving at this place (St. Johnsbury) we passed through the towns of Bethlehem and Littleton. The first men-tioned is 11 miles distant from Dennison's Hotel, and is a small uninteresting town. Littleton is a pleasant and flourishing village, located on the east bank of the Connecticut, five miles from Bethlehem. Tour-ists to the White Mountains usually pass through this place. Leaving Littleton, we crossed the Connecticut to Waterford, a small agricultural town, five miles from Littleton. From there we came to this place, where we have stopped a short time, for the purpose of attend-ing a Mormon meeting now being held here. The Mormon Society here is probably more numerous than in any other village in New England ; between thirty and forty persons are included in the church. An old barn standing by the road-side has been fitted up as a tem-porary place of assemblage, and on entering it, we found quite a numerous audience collected, the majority of which were females. On the scaffold of the barn were seated the twelve Mormon Apostles, so called by believ-ers from Ohio. They looked fresh from the back woods. A brother of Joe Smith, the chief prophet, composed one of the number. We had been seated but a short time before the service commenced. After singing two or three hymns, one of the Apostles arose and commen-ced murdering the King's English, in an address on the abuse of gifts. He said that God in his mercy has vouch-safed "to the church of the latter-day saints," i. e. the Mormons, certain peculiar gifts—and among these were "the gift of tongues," and " the gift of healing." It was concerning the abuse of these two gifts especially, that he wished to address the audience at the present time ; inasmuch as that through the abuse of them by the saints, great harm had resulted to the church. For instance, "if a saint had the gift of tongues come upon him," he would at once speak out, without regarding the time or place ; sometimes half a dozen saints would be moved by the gift at onetime, and all would speak out together. This, said the Apostle, is wrong ; it creates confusion, and affords the ungodly an opportunity to taunt the church with speaking "unmeaning gibberish." No saint, he continued, however strongly moved by the gift of tongues, should speak out unless the occasion warranted it, and not even then, if an interpreter were not present. After having lectured the church sufficiently on the abuse of the gift of tongues, the Apostle proceeded to speak concerning the gift of healing, which he said had been abused by the church to as great an extent as the first mentioned gift—even some of the Apostles were deserving of reprehension for their abuse of this gift. They had attempted to exercise it on "adulterous peo-ple"—on persons devoid of faith, and therefore had fail-ed— thus bringing disgrace upon themselves, and sub-jecting the whole church to the derision of the unrighte-ous. The saints, he continued, should be cautions how they exercised this gift; if they were applied to by any one, they should first inquire if he were full of faith, and firmly believed the latter-day saints competent to do all which they professed. If he were a believer, it was proper to attempt a cure; but if he were an unbeliever, the saints should never attempt to heal him, as a want of faith on the part of the applicant, unfitted him for the re-ception of the gift. In conclusion, the Apostle observ-ed, that he hoped the saints would take heed how they abused the two gifts concerning which he had spoken. In travelling through Ohio and Missouri, he had found the abuse of these two gifts prevalent, to a degree which threatened the prosperity of the church, and it was ne-cessary that the saints should be warned of their danger. The Apostle occupied about half an hour in the delivery of his homily. At times we thought that he was about being moved by the gift of tongues, as his discourse, from the looseness of its construction, bordered so close-ly on "unmeaning gibberish," that we were much puz-zled to comprehend the meaning. The above, however, is the substance of it.
After this Apostle had taken his seat, a second arose who spoke more intelligibly. For the benefit of those of the audience who were unacquainted with the Mor-mon faith, he entered into an exposition of it, and then attempted to defend the system. Without going into de-tail, we give below a brief outline of his remarks. He said the latter-day saints believed the bible to be a di-vine revelation, and that so far as its precepts extended, it was sufficient and worthy of all observance. But the old revelations were not suited to the present condition of mankind. The state of society had altered—manners and customs had changed—mankind had become more en-lightened, and had new wants. To meet the wants en-gendered by a more civilized state of society, said the speaker, fresh revelations were needed, and these in mercy to man had been graciously supplied. In doing this, continued the speaker, the ALMIGHTY had but gran-ted us the same which he had bestowed on mankind in former ages. Every successive generation, said he, from the creation of the world to the time of CHRIST, has had its prophet, its revealer, to make revelations suited to the condition of mankind at those periods. He would urge this fact as an argument against those who said that the old revelations were sufficient, and that it was con-trary to the design of PROVIDENCE to give new revelations for the instruction of the people. The speaker then proceeded to read from the Book of Mormon various pas- sages, the purport of all which was, that the ALMIGHTY had set apart a tract of country in the "western bounds of Missouri" for the inheritance of the latter day saints; that it was to be called "the New Jerusalem"— that al-though it belonged to the saints by right, yet they were to obtain the lands from the unbelievers by purchase, in order that they might rest in quiet. Here, said he, the latter day saints are to be gathered from all quarters, and they are commanded to dispose of their flocks and herds, purchase land, and take up their abode in the New Jeru-salem. These revelations, said the speaker, were made in the year 1831, "and I am witness that they were made."
It is evidently the intention of the twelve Mormon Apostles to prevail upon the members of the church in this place to dispose of their property, and proceed with them to the West, and from the profound respect with which their nonsense was listened to, I have no doubt but that they will prevail upon many of the believers to pursue this course. We were both amused and disgusted in listening to their absurdities. It was really humilia-ting to observe the fallibility of human reason displayed in the almost crouching reverence with which their dis-course was received by the believing portion of the au-dience. We had not thought it possible to find in one small town in New England, the boasted land of intelli-gence, so large a number of persons who could be led astray by doctrines which at the first glance appear so very absurd and ridiculous; but it has been truly remark-ed that no system of religious faith, however absurd or ridiculous, can be devised, which will not find some staunch believers and supporters among men. Among the audience we noticed several aged men. One of them told us that he had come 150 miles from Maine for the purpose of attending this meeting.
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