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Parley P. (Parley Parker) Pratt.

A voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints online

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neither Apostles, Prophets, nor gifts, inspired
from on high, to whom they give heed ; for if
they had such gifts, and would give heed unto
them, they would be built up in one body, in the
pure doctrine of Christ, having one Lord, one
faith, one baptism, and one hope of their calling ;
yea, they would be edified, built up into Christ in
all things, in whom the whole body, fitly joined
together, would grow into an holy temple in the
Lord.

But so long as the cunning craftiness of men
can persuade them that they have no need of
these things, so long they can toss them about
with every wind of doctrine, just as they please.

Now, reader, I have done our examination of
the kingdom of God, as it existed in the Apostles'
days ; and we cannot look at it in any other age,
until renewed again in the last days, for it never
did, nor ever will, exist, without Apostles and
Prophets, and all the other gifts of the Spirit.

Were we to take a view of the Churches, from
the days that inspiration ceased until now, we



90 THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

should see nothing like the kingdom which we
havo been viewing with such admiration and
delight. But instead of Apostles and Prophets,
we should see false teachers, whom men had
heaped to themselves ; and instead of the gifts of
the Spirit, we should see the wisdom of men ; and
instead of the Holy Ghost, many false spirits ;
instead of the ordinances of God, commandments
of men ; instead of knowledge, opinion ; guess-
work, instead of revelation ; division, instead of
union ; doubt, instead of faith ; despair, instead
of hope ; hatred, instead of charity ; a physician,
instead of the laying on of hands for the healing
of the sick; fables, instead of truth; evil for
good, good for evil ; darkness for light, light for
darkness ; and, in a word, anti-christ instead of
Christ ; the powers of earth having made war with
the Saints, and overcome them, until the words of
God should be fulfilled. O my God, shut up the
vision! for my heart sickens while I gaze; and
let the day hasten on when the earth shall be
cleansed by fire from such awful pollutions : but
first, let thy promise be fulfilled, which thou didst
make by the mouth of thy servant John, that thou
wouldst call thy people out of her, saying, " Come
out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of
her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues;"
and then, O Lord, when thou hast called thy
people out from the midst of her, by the fishers
and hunters whom thou hast promised to send in
the last days to gather Israel ; yea, when thine
everlasting covenant has been renewed, and thy



THE KINGDOM OF OD. 91

people established thereby ; then let her plagues
come in one day, death, mourning, aud famine ; let
her be burned with fire ; that thy holy Apostles
and Prophets, and all that fear thy name, small
and great, may rejoice, because thou hast avenged
the blood of thy Saints upon her. I ask these
things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.



CHAPTER IV.

THK BOOK OF MORMON ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN
INDIANS, ETC.

YE gloomy scenes, far hence, in trade no morel
Sublimer th> m<-s invite the muse to Boar
In loftier st ain. while scenes both str.inge aud new
Burst on the *ight, aud open to the riew.

Lo I from the opening heavens, in bright array,
An an^ol c mes to e.irth he bends hia way:
K veals to man, in power, as at the first,
The fulness of the Gospel long since lost.

Sre earth, obedient from its bosom yield
J'he sacred truth it faithfully concealed.
The wise, confounded, startle at the sight,
The proud and haughty tremble with affright.

The hireling priests against the truth engage.
While hell beneath stands t enabling, filled w th ragej
Fulse are their hopes, and all their straggles vain,
Their craft must fall, and with it all their gain;
The deaf must hear, the meek their Joy increase;
The poor be glad, and their oppression cease.

WHILE darkness covered the earth, and gross dark-
ness the people, every man walking in his own
way, and looking for gain from his quarter, the
Lord, having for along time held His peace, and



92 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

the people having fondly flattered themselves that
the voice of inspiration would never again sound
in the ears of mortals, to disturb or molest them in
their sinful career ; while a few were looking for
the consolation of Israel, and crying to God for
tho ushering in of that long-expected day, when
an angel should fly through the midst of heaven,
having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth suddenly a voice is heard
from the wilderness, a cry salutes the ears of mor-
tals, a testimony is heard among them, piercing
to the inmost recesses of their hearts, when all at
once the heathen begin to rage and the people to
imagine a vain thing ; the clergy lift a warning
voice, crying Impostor, false prophets, beware of
delusion, &c.; while the professor of religion, the
drunkard, the swearer, the learned, and the igno-
rant soon catch the sound, and reiterate it again
and again. Thus it re-echoes from one end of our
country to the other for a long time, and if any
one should be so fortunate as to retain his sober
senses, and should candidly inquire, "What is the
matter?" the reply is, "We hardly know anything
about it, but suffice it to say, some fellows have
made their appearance, Paul like, who testify
something about the ministering of angels, or some
revelation or inspiration, just as though the reli-
gion of ancient days, and the faith once delivered
to the Saints, were returning to the earth in this
enlightened age ; so that not only this our craft
is in danger, but our modern systems of religion,
built upon the wisdom and learning of men,



ORIGIN OP THE AMERICAN INDIANS. '.:>

without direct inspiration, are like to be spoken
against, and their great magnificence despised,
though worshipped by all the world." And then
all again cry with a 'oud voice, saying, "Great is
the wisdom of man ; great are the systems of
modern divinity : great is the wisdom of unin-
spired priests who come unto us with excellency
of speech, and with man's wisdom, determine*! to
know nothing among us save opinions and creeds
of their own ; and their speech and their preach-
ing are with enticing words of man's wisdom,
not in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
for that is done away, that our faith should not
stand in the power of God, but in the wisdom
of man."

In the midst of the noise and clamour and pre-
judice of an opposing world, it is difficult to get
the people to understand the facts of the case, in
relation to one of the most important subjects
ever presented to the consideration of mankind.

The Book of Mormon has perhaps been less
understood, and more misrepresented, by the
world at large than any other publication which
has ever appeared.

America and England have, as it were, been
flooded with publications against the said book ;
and many of them written by those who had
never seen the book, or by those who had only
read a page or two in it, or slightly looked it
through with a biassed mind, and a determination
to find fault. By some of these it has been repre-
sented as a romance : by others as a new Bible,



94 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

calculated to displace the Bible, or do away with
it Some have pronounced it a " silly mess of
stuff," not worth the perusal ; and others, the
most ingenious literary work ever put together.
Some have found fault with it for being so much
like the Bible, and agreeing with it ; and others
have condemned it for not being sufficiently like
the Bible, and for disagreeing with it. Some have
denounced it as notoriously corrupt, immoral, and
blasphemous in its principles ; and others have
condemned it for being so exceedingly pure and
moral in its principles as to be just calculated to
deceive. One clergyman in particular, in a tract
of sixty pages on this book, condemns it for being
"a strange mixture si faith and works, of the
mercy of God and the obedience of the creature."
Some literary persons have pronounced it as alto-
gether ancient in its style, language, and subjects,
and as bearing great internal evidence of its own
antiquity; while others have condemned it as
bearing every mark of being a modern production.
Some have said that there were no definite pre-
dictions of the future contained in it, by the ful-
filment or failure of which its prophetic merits
might be tested ; and others have quoted largely
from its most plain and pointed predictions, which
relate to circumstances about to be fulfilled, and
have condemned it on account of its plainness.

In the midst of all these jarring statements it
now becomes our duty to show, as far as possible,
what the Book Mormon really is.

When the Lord confounded the languages at



ORIGIN OK THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 95

Babel, he led forth a colony from thence to the
western continent, which is now called America.
This colony, after crossing the ocean in eight
ressels, and landing in that country, became in
process of time a great nation they inhabited
America for some iifteen hundred years. They
were at length destroyed for their wickedness,
about six hundred years before Christ. A Prophet
by the name of Ether wrote their history, and
an account of their destruction.

Ether lived to witness their entire destruction,
and deposited his record where it was afterwards
found by a colony of Israelites, who came from
Jerusalem six hundred years before Christ, and
re-peopled America. This last colony were de-
scendants of the tribe of Joseph ; they grew and
multiplied, and finally gave rise to two mighty
nations. One of these nations were called
Nephites one Nephi being their founder ; the
other were called Lamanites, after a leader of the
name of Laman.

The Lamanites became a dark and benighted
people, of whom the American Indians are still a
remnant. The Nephites were an enlightened and
civilized people, they were a people highly favoured
of the Lord, they had visions, angels, and the gift
of prophecy among them from age to age; and,
finally, they were blessed with a personal appear-
ance of Jesus Christ after his resurrection, from
whose mouth they received the doctrine of the
Gospel, and a knowledge of the future down
through all succeeding ages. But after all the



96 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

blessings and privileges conferred upon them,
they fell into great wickedness in the third and
fourth centuries of the Christian era, and finally
were destroyed by the hands of the Larnanites
This destruction took place about four hundred
years after Christ.

Mormon lived in that age of the world, and
was a Nephite, and a Prophet of the Lord. He,
by the commandment of the Lord, made an abridg-
ment of the sacred records which contained the
history of his forefathers, and the prophecies and
Gospel which had been revealed among them ; to
which he added a sketch of the history of his own
time, and the destruction of his nation. Previous
to his death, the abridged records fell into the
hands of his son Moroni, who continued then
down to A.D. 420 ; a which time he deposited
them carefully in the earth, on a hill which was
then called Cumorah, but is situated in Ontario
county, township of Manchester, and state of New
York, North America. This he did in order to
preserve them from the Lamanites, who overran
the country, and sought to destroy them and all
the records pertaining to the Nephites. This
record lay concealed, or sealed up, from A.D. 420,
to Sept. 22nd, 1823, at which time it was found
by Mr. Joseph Smith f jun , he being directed
thither by an angel of the Lord.

The following account of the discovery and
translation of this record is extracted from a tract
by Elder Orson Pratt, published at Edinburgh,
in 1840, entitled, *' Remarkable Visions," &c., to



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 97

which our readers are referred for further par-
ticulars :

41 'How far below the surface these records
were placed by Moroni, I am unable to say; but
from the fuct that they had been some fourteen
hundred years buried, and that, too, on the side
of a hill so steep, one is ready to conclude that
they were some feet below, as the earth would
naturally wear, more or less, in that length of
time ; but they being placed toward the top of the
hill, the ground would not remove as much as
at two-thirds, perhaps. Another circumstance
would prevent a wearing of the earth ; in all pro-
bability, as soon as timber had time to grow, the
hill was covered after the Nephites were de-
stroyed, and the roots of the same would hold the
surface ; however, on this point I shall leave
every man to draw his own conclusion, and form
his own speculation.' But suffice it to say, 'a hole
of sufficient depth was dug ; at the bottom of this
was laid a stone of suitable size, the upper surface
being smooth ; at each edge was placed a large
quantity of cement, and into this cement, at the
four edges of this stone, were placed erect four
others ; their bottom edges resting in the cement
at the outer edges of the first stone. The four last-
named, when placed erect, formed a box; the cor-
ners, or where the edges of the four came in con-
tact, were also cemented so firmly, that the
moisture from without was prevented from enter-
ing. It is to be observed, also, that the inner



98 THK BOOK OF MORMON,

surface of the four erect or side stones was
smooth. This box was sufficiently large to admit
a breast-plate, such as was used by the ancients
to defend the chest, &c., from the arrows and
weapons of their enemy. From the bottom of
the box, or from the breast-plate, arose three
small pillars, composed of the same description
of cement used on the edges ; and upon these
three pillars was placed the record. * * *
This box, containing the record, was covered
with another stone, the bottom surface being flat,
and the upper crowning.' When it was first
visited by Mr. Smith, on the morning of the 22nd
of September, 1823, 'a part of the crowning stone
was visible above the surface, while the edges
were concealed by the soil and grass. From
which circumstance it may be seen, that how-
ever deep this box might have been placed by
Moroni at first, the time had been sufficient to
wear the earth, so that it was easily discovered
when once directed, and yet not enough to make
a perceivable difference to the passer-by. * *
After arriving at the repository, a little exertion
in removing the soil from the edges of the top of
the box, and a light pry, brought to his natural
vision its contents.*

* While viewing and contemplating this sacred
treasure with wonder and astonishment, behold !
the Angel of the Lord, who had previously visited
him, again stood in his presence, and his soul was
again enlightened as it was the evening before,



ORIGIN OF THK AMERICAN INDIANS 00

and he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the
heavens were opened, and the glory of the Lord
shone round about and rrslod upon him ' While
he thus stood, gazing and admiring, the Angel
said, Look ! ' And as he thus spake, he beheld the
Prince of Darkiiess,8urrounded byhis innumerable
train of associates. All this passed before him.
and the heavenly messenger said, ' All this is
shown, the good and the evil, the holy and im-
pure, the glory of God a; id the power of dark-
ness, that you may know hereafter the two
powers, and never be influenced or overcome by
that wicked one. Behold, whatever entices and
leads to good, and to do good, is of God, and
whatever does not, is of that wicked one. It is
he that fills the hearts of men with evil to walk in
darkness, and blaspheme God; and you may learn
from henceforth that his ways are to destruction,
but the way of holiness is peace and rest. You
now see why you could not obtain this record,
that the commandment was strict, and that if
ever these sacred things are obtained, they must
be by prayer and faithfulness in obeying the Lord.
They are not deposited here for the sake of accu-
mulating gain and wealth, for the glory of this
world ; They were sealed by the prayer of faith,
and because of the knowledge which they contain,
they are of no worth among the children of men,
only for their knowledge. On them is contained the
fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was given
to his people on this land ; and when it shall be
brought forth by the power of God, it shall be car-



100 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

riod to the Gentiles, of whom many will receive it,
and after will the seed of Israel be brought into
the fold of their Redeemer by obeying it also.
Those who kept the commandments of the Lord on
this land desired this at his hand, and through the
prayer of faith obtained the promise, that if their
descendants should transgress and fall away, a re-
cord might be kept, and in the last days come to
their children. These things are sacred, and
must be kept so, for the promise of the Lord
concerning them must be fulfilled. No man can
obtain them if his heart is impure, because they
contain that which is sacred. * * * By them
will the Lord work a great and a marvellous work ;
the wisdom of the wise shall become as nought,
and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid,
and because the power of God shall be displayed,
those who profess to know the truth, but walk in
deceit, shall tremble with anger ; but with signs
and with wonders, with gifts and with healings,
with the manifestations of the power of God, and
with the Holy Ghost, shall the hearts of the
faithful be comforted. You have now beheld the
power of God manifested, and the power of Satan ;
you see that there is nothing that is desirable
in the works of darkness ; that they cannot bring
happiness; that those who are overcome there-
with are miserable; while, on the other hand, the
righteous are blessed with a place in the kingdom
of God, where joy unspeakable surrounds them ;
there they rest beyond the power of the enemy of
truth, where no evil can disturb them; the glory



OKIOfM OF THE AMERICAN INDIANA. 101

of God crowns them, and they continually feast
upon His goodness, and enjoy His smiles. Be-
hold, notwithstanding you have seen this great
display of power, by which you may ever be able
to detect the evil one, yet I give unto you another
sign, and when it comes to pass, then, know that
the Lord is God, and that He will fulfil his pur-
poses, and that the knowledge which this record
contains will go to every nation, and kindred, and
tongue, and people under the whole heaven. This
is the sign ; when these things begin to be known,
that is, when it is known that the Lord has shown
you these things, the workers of iniquity will seek
your overthrow ; they will circulate falsehoods to
destroy your reputation; and also will seek to
take your life! but remember this, if you are
faithful, and shall hereafter continue to keep the
commandments of the Lord, you shall be preserved
to bring these things forth ; for in due time he
will again give you a commandment to come and
take them. When they are interpreted, the Lord
will give the Holy Priesthood to some, and they
shall begin to proclaim this Gospel and baptize
by water, and after that, they shall have power
to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their
hands. Then will persecution rage more and
more ; for the iniquities of men shall be revealed,
and those who are not built upon the Rock will
seek to overthrow this church ; but it will in-
crease the more opposed, and spread farther and
farther, increasing in knowledge, till they shall be
sanctified, and receive an inheritance where the



102 THE BOOK Of MORMON.

glory of God will rest upon them ; and when this
takes place, and all things are prepared, the ten
tribes of Israel will be revealed in the north coun-
try, whither they have been for a long season ;
and when this is fulfilled will be brought to pass
that saying of the Prophet : * And the Redeemer
shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from
transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.' But,
notwithstanding the workers of iniquity shall seek
your destruction, the arm of the Lord will be
extended, and you will be borne off conqueror, if
you keep all His commandments. Your name
shall be known among the nations, for the work
which the Lord will perform by your hands shall
cause the righteous to rejoice and the wicked to
rage ; with the one it shall be had in honour, and
with the other in reproach ; yet, with these it
shall be a terror, because of the great and mar-
vellous work which shall follow the coming forth
of this fullness of the Gospel. Now, go thy way,
remembering what the Lord has done for thee,
and be dilligent in keeping His commandments,
and He will deliver thee from temptations, and all
the arts and devices of the wicked one. Forget
not to pray, that thy mind may become strong,
that when He shall manifest unto thee, thou
mayest have power to escape the evil, and obtain
these precious things."

We here remark, that the above quotation is
an extract from a letter written by Elder Oliver
Cowdery, which was published in one of the
numbers of the " Latter-day Saints' Messenger
and Advocate."



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 101

Although many more instructions were given
,"y the mouth of the angel to Mr. Smith, which
we do not write in this book, yet the most impor-
tant items are contained in the foregoing relation.
During the period of the four following years, lie
frequently received instructions from the mouth
of the heavenly messenger, and on the morning
of the 22ud of September, A.D. 1827, the angel
of the Lord delivered the records into his hands.

These records were engraved on plates which
had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not
far from seven inches in width, by eight inches in
length, being not quite as thick as common tin.
They were lilled on both sides with engravings,
in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a
volume, as the leaves of a book, and fastened at
one edge with three rings running through the
whole. This volume was something near six
inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed.
The characters or letters upon the unsealed part
were small and beautifully engraved. The whole
book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its
construction, as well as much skill in the art of
engraving. With the records was found a curious
instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and
Tlmmmim, which consi>tod of two transparent
stones, clear as crystal, set in the two rims of a
bow. This was in use in ancient times, by per-
sons called Seers. It was an instrument by the
use of which they received revelation of things
distant, or of things uast or future.



104 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

In the mean time the inhabitans of that vici-
nity, having been informed that Mr. Smith had
seen heavenly visions, and that he had discovered
sacred records, began to ridicule and mock at
those things. And after having obtained
those sacred things, while proceeding home
through the wilderness and fields, he was waylaid
by two ruffians, who had secreted themselves for
the purpose of robbing him of the records. One
of them struck him with a club before he per-
ceived them ; but being a strong man, and large
in stature, with great exertion he cleared himself
from them, and ran towards home, being closely
pursued until he came near his father's house,
when his pursuers, for fear of being detected,
turned and fled the other way.

Soon the news of his discoveries spread abroad
throughout all those parts. False reports, mis-
representations, and base slanders flew as if upon
the wings of the wind in every direction. The
house was frequently beset by mobs and evil
designing persons. Several times he was shot
at, and very narrowly escaped. Every device
was used to get the plates away from him. And
being continually in danger of his life, from a
gang of abandoned wretches, he at length con-
cluded to leave the place, and go to Pennsylvania,
and accordingly packed up his goods, putting the
plates into a barrel of beans, and proceeded upon
his journey. He had not gone far before he was
overtaken by an officer with a search warrant,
who flattered himself with the idea that he should



ORIGIN OF THK AMERICAN INDIANS 10?)

surely obtain the plates ; after searching very
diligently, he was sadly dissappointed at not
finding them. Mr. Smith then drove on ; but
before he got to his journey's end, he was again
overtaken by an officer on the same business, and,
after ransacking the wagon very carefully, he
went his way, as much chagrined as the first at


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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 7 of 13)