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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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not being able to discover the object of his research.
Without any further molestation he pursued his
journey until he came into the northern part of
Pennsylvania, near the Susquehannah River, in
which part his father-in-law resided.

Having provided himself with a home, he
commenced translating the record, by the gift and
power of God, through the means of the Urim
and Thummiin ; and being a poor writer, he was
under the necessity of employing a scribe, to
write the translation as it came from his mouth.

In the mean time, a few of the original charac-
ters were accurately transcribed and translated
by Mr. Smith, which, with the translation, were
taken by a gentleman named Martin Harris to
the City of New York, where they were presented
to a learned gentleman named Anthon, who pro-
fessed to be extensively acquainted with many
languages, -both ancient and modern. He ex-
amined them, but was unable to decipher them
correctly; but he presumed that if the original
records could be brought, he could assist in trans-
lating them.

But to return. Mr. Smith continued the work
of translation, as his pecuniary circumstances

F



106 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

would permit, until he had finished the unsealed
part of the records. The part translated is entitled
the " Book of Mormon," which contains nearly
as much reading as the Old Testament.

" Well/' gays the objector, " if it were not for the
marvellous, the book would be considered one of
the greatest discoveries the world ever witnessed.
If you had been ploughing, or digging a well or
cellar, and accidentally dug up a record containing
some account of the ancient history of the Ame-
rican continent, and of its original inhabitants,
together with the origin of the Indian tribes who
now inhabit it ; had this record had nothing to
do with God, or angels, or inspiration; it would
have been hailed, by all the learned of America
and Europe, as one of the greatest and most im-
portant discoveries of modern times, unfolding a
mystery which had, until then, bid defiance to
all the researches of the learned world. Every
newspaper would have been filled with the glad
tidings, while its contents would have poured
upon the world a flood of light, on subjects be-
fore concealed in the labyrinth of uncertainty and
doubt. But, who can stoop, and so humble him-
self, as to receive anything, in this enlightened
age, renowned for its religion and learning, from
the ministering of angels, and from inspiration?
This is too much ; away with such things ; it
comes in contact with the wisdom and popu-
larity of the day." To this I reply, The Lord
knew that before He revealed it ; this was one
principal object He had in view ; it is just the



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 107

manner of His dealing with the children of men.
He always takes a different course from the one
marked out for Him by the wisdom of the world,
in order to " confound the wise, and bring to
nought the understanding of the prudent ; " He
chooses men of low degree, even the simple and
the unlearned, and those who are despised, to do
His work and to bring about His purposes, that
no flesh shall glory in His presence. O ! ye wise,
and ye learned, who despise the wisdom that
comes from above ! know ye not that it was im-
possible for the world by wisdom to find out
God ? Know ye not that all your wisdom is
foolishness with God? Know ye not that ye
must become as a litte child, and be willing to
learn wisdom from the least of His servants, or
you will perish in your ignorance ?

But what are the evidences which we gather
from Scripture concerning the coming forth of
this glorious work ? We shall attempt to prove,
first, that America is a land promised to the
seed of Joseph ; second, that the Lord would
reveal to them His truth as well as to the Jews ;
and third, that their Record should come forth,
and unite its testimony with the Record of the
Jews, in time for the Restoration of Israel in the
last days.

First, Gen. xlviii., Jacob, while blessing the
two sons of Joseph, says, " Let them grow into
a multitude in the midst of the earth." In the
same blessing it is said of Ephraim, " His seed



108 THE BOOT OF MORMON.

shall become a multitude of nations." Now put
the sense of these sayings together, and it makes
Ephraim a multitude of nations in the midst of
the earth. In Genesis xlix., it is prophesied con-
cerning Joseph, while Jacob was blessing him,
that he should be "a fruitful bough by a well,
whose branches run over the wall : the archers
have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and
hated him, but his bow abode in strength."
Again, he further says, " The blessings of thy
father have prevailed above the blessings of my
progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the ever-
lasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph,
and on the crown of the head of him that was
separate from his brethren." Now, I ask, Who
were Jacob's progenitors, and what was the
blessing they conferred upon him? Abraham and
Isaac were his progenitors, and the land of
Canaan was the blessing they conferred upon
him, or that God promised them he should pos-
sess. Recollect that Jacob confers on Joseph a
much greater land than that of Canaan ; even
greater than his fathers had conferred upon him,
for Joseph's blessing was to extend to the utmost
bound of the everlasting hills. Now, reader,
stand in Egypt, where Jacob then stood, and
measure to the utmost bound of the everlasting
hills, and you will land somewhere in the central
part of America. Again, one of the Prophets
says, in speaking of Ephraim, " When the Lord
shall roar, the children of Ephraim shall tremble



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 109

from the west." Now, let us sum up these say-
antl what have we gained? First, that
Ephraim was to grow into a multitude of nations
in the midst of the earth; second, Joseph was to
be greatly blessed in a large inheritance, as far
off as America ; third, this was to be on the west
of Egypt or Jerusalem.

Now, let the world search from pole to pole,
and they will not find a multitude of nations in
the midst of the earth who can possibly have
sprung from Ephraim, unless they find them in
America ; for the midst of all other parts of the
earth is inhabited by mixed races, who have
sprung from various sources ; while here an
almost boundless country was secluded from the
rest of the world, and inhabited by a race of
men, evidently of the same origin, although as
evidently divided into many nations. Now, the
Scriptures cannot be broken ; therefore, these
Scriptures must apply to America, for the plain-
est of reasons, they can apply to no other place.

Now, secondly, we are to prove that God re-
vealed himself to the seed of Joseph or Ephraim
their location wo have already proved dwell-
ing in America. For this we quote Hosea viii.
12 ; speaking of Ephraim, he says by the spirit
of prophecy, " I have written to him the great
things of my law, but they were counted as a
strange thing." This is proof positive, and needs
no comment, that the great truths of heaven
were revealed unto Ephraim, and were counted
aa a strange thing



110 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

Third Were these writings to come forth just
previously to the gathering of Israel ? Answer :
they were, according to Ezekiel, 37th chapter,
where God commanded him to " take one stick,
and write upon it, For Judah, and the children of
Israel his companions : then take another stick,
and write upon it, For Joseph the stick of Ephraim,
and for all the house of Israel his companions ;
and join them one to another into one stick, and
they shall become one in thine hand. And when
the children of thy people shall speak unto thee,
saying, Wilt not thou show us what thou mean-
est by these? say unto them, Thus saith the
Lord God, Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph,
which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes
of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him,
even with the stick of Judah, and make them
one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand ;
and the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in
thine hand before their eyes. And say unto
them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will
take the children of Israel from among the
heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather
them on every side, and bring them into their
own land ; and I will make them one nation in
the land upon the mountains of Israel ; and one
king shall be king to them all : and they shall be
no more two nations, neither shall they be
divided into two kingdoms any more at all."

Now, nothing can be more plain than the
above prophecy : there is presented two writings,
the one to Ephraim, the other to Judah ; that of



ORIGIN OF THK AMERICAN fNDIANS. Ill

Ephraiin is to be brought forth by the Lord, and
put with that of Judah, and they are to become
one in their testimony, and grow together in this
manner, in order to bring about the gathering of
Israel. The 85th Psalm is very plain on the
subject : speaking of the restoration of Israel to
their own land, it says, ' Mercy and Truth are
met together ; Righteousness and Peace have
kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the
earth: and Righteousness shall look down from
heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is
good; and our land shall yield her increase.
Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set
us in the way of his steps." Now, the Saviour,
while praying for his disciples, said, *' Sanctify
them through thy truth thy word is truth.' 1
From these passages we learn, that his word is
to spring out of the earth, while Righteousness
looks down from heaven. And the next thing
that follows is, that Israel is set in the way of
his steps, and partaking of the fruit of their own
land. Jeremiah, xxxiii 6, speaking of the final
return from captivity of both Judah and Israel,
says, " I will reveal unto them the abundance of
peace and truth." And Isaiah, speaking of the
everlasting covenant which should gather them,
makes this extraordinary and very remarkable
expression, " Their seed shall be known amongst
the Gentiles, and their offspring among the
people." Now, reader, let me ask, Can any one
tell, whether the Indians of America are of Israel,
unless by revelation from God ? Therefore this



112 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

was a hidden mystery, which it was necessary to
reveal in time for their gathering.

So much, then, we have produced from the
Scriptures, in proof of a work, like the Book of
Mormon, making its appearance in these days :
to say nothing of Isaiah xxix. " But," says one,
" what is the use of the book of Mormon, even
if it be true ?" I answer : First, it brings to light
an important history, before unknown to man.
Second, it reveals the origin of the American
Indians, which was before a mystery. Third,
it contains important prophecies, yet to be ful-
filled, which immediately concern the present
generation. Fourth, it contains much plainness
in regard to points of doctrine, insomuch that all
may understand, and see eye to eye, if they take
pains to read it.

" But what are its proofs, as to chosen wit-
nesses who testify to its translation by inspira-
tion ? " For this testimony I refer the reader to
the testimony of the witnesses in the first page
of the Book of Mormon ; he will there find as
positive testimony as has ever been found in the
other Scriptures, concerning any truth which God
ever revealed. Men there testify, not only that
they have seen and handled the plates, but that
an angel of God came down from heaven, and
presented the plates before them, while the glory
of God shone round about them ; and the voice
of God spoke from heaven, and told them that
these things were true, and had been translated
by the gift and power of God, and commanded
them to bear record of the same to all people.



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 118

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers He has
visited his people, and the day spring from on
high has dawned upon our benighted world once
more ; for no sooner had the Book been trans-
lated, and men began to bear record of the same,
than the angel of the Lord came down from
heaven again, and commissioned men to preach
the Gospel to every creature, and to baptize with
water for the remission of sins. No sooner did
the people begin to believe their testimony, and
be baptized, than the Holy Ghost fell upon them,
through the laying on of hands in the name of
Jesus; and the heavens were opened ; and while
some had the ministering of angels, others began
to speak in other tongues, and prophesy. From
that time forth many of them were healed by
the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus; and
thus mightily grew the word of God, and pre-
vailed. And thus thousands have been raised
up to testify that they do know for themselves,
and are not dependant on the testimony of any
man for the truth of these things, for these signs
follow them that believe; and when a man believes
the truth, through the testimony of God's wit
nesses, then these signs follow, not only them, but
him also; if he has the ministering of angels,
if he has been healed, or heals others, by the
laying on of hands in the name of Jesus, or if he
speaks in other tongues, or prophesies, he knows
it for himself; and thus is fulfilled the saying of
Scripture. " If any man do my will, he shall
know of the doctrine, whether it be of God."



114 THE BOOK OF MORMON

Thus faith comes by hearing, and knowledge by
obeying; but hearing comes by preaching, and
preaching comes by sending; as it is written,
*' How shall they preach, except they be sent ? "
But there are many who say, " Show us a sign,
and we will believe." Remember, faith comes
not by signs, but signs come by faith. Gifts were
not given to make men believe ; but what saith
the Scripture ? " Gifts are for the edifying of the
Church " If otherwise, why was it not written,
" Faith comes by miracles," -instead of " Faith
comes by hearing ?" I always take it for granted
that a man or woman who com j s demanding a
sign, in order to make them be love, belongs to a
wicked and adulterous generation, at least, to say
no worse ; for any person who will go to Jesus,
with a pure heart, desiring and praying in faith,
that he may know the truth concerning these
things, the Lord will reveal it to him, and he
shall know, and shall bear testimony, for by the
Spirit of God they shall know truth from error ;
and it is written, " My sheep hear my voice."
And he that will not come unto Jesus by faith,
shall never know the truth, until, too late, he finds
the harvest is over, and the summer is ended,
and his soul not saved.

Thus the religion of Jesus, unlike all other reli-
gious systems, bears its own weight, and brings
certainty nnd knowledge, leaving no room for im-
position. And now I say again unto all people,
Come unto the Father, in the name of Jesus;
doubt not, but be believing as in days of old,



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 116

and ask in faith for whatsoever you stand in need
of; ask not that you may consume it on your
lusts, but ask with a firmness not to be shaken,
that you will yield to no temptation, but that you
will keep His commandments, as fust as He ma kes
them manifest unto you ; and if ye do this, and
He reveals to you that He has sent us with a new
and everlasting covenant, and commanded us to
preach, and baptize, and build up His Church as
in days of old, then come forward and obey the
truth ; but if you do not know, or are not satis-
fied, that He has sent us, then do not embrace
the doctrine we preach. Thus to your own master
you shall stand or fall ; and one day you shall
know, yea, in that great day when every knee
shall bow, then shall you know that God has sent
us with the truth, to prune His vineyard for the
last time, with a mighty pruning.

We shall now introduce much circumstantial
evidence, from American antiquities, and from
the traditions of the natives, &c :

First, says Mr. Boudinot, " It is said among
their principal or beloved men, that they have it
handed down from their ancestors, that the Book
which the white people have was once theirs :
that while they had it they prospered exceedingly,
&c. They also say, that their fathers were pos-
sessed of an extraordinary Divine Spirit, by which
they foretold future events, and controlled the
common course of nature; and this they trans-
mitted to their offspring, on condition of their
obeying the sacred laws ; that they did, by these



116 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

means, bring down showers of blessing upon
their beloved people ; but that this power, for a
long time past, had entirely ceased." Colonel
James Smith in his Journal, while a prisoner
among the natives, says, "They have a tradition,
that in the beginning of this continent the angels,
or heavenly inhabitants, as they call them, fre-
quently visited the people, and talked with their
forefathers, and gave directions how to pray."

Mr. Boudinot, in his able work, remarks con-
cerning their language : " Their language, in its
roots, idiom, and particular construction, appears
to have the whole genius of the Hebrew ; and what
is very remarkable, and well worthy of serious
attention, has most of the peculiarities of that
language, especially those in which it differs from
most other languages." There is a tradition re-
lated by an aged Indian, of the Stockbridge tribe,
that their fathers were once in possession of a
" Sacred Book," which was handed down from
generation to generation ; and at last hid in the
earth, since which time they had been under the
feet of their enemies. But these oracles were to
be restored to them again ; and then they would
triumph over their enemies, and regain their rights
and privileges. Mr. Boudinot, after recording
many traditions similar to the above, at length
remarks : " Can any man read this short account
of Indian traditions, drawn from tribes of various
nations ; from the west to the east, and from the
south to the north, wholly separated from each
other, written by different authors of the best



3RIOIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 117

character, both for knowledge and integrity, pos-
sessing the best means of information, at various
and distant times, without any possible commu-
nication with each other ; and yet suppose that
all this is the effect of chance, accident, or design,
from a love of the marvellous, or a premeditated
intention of deceiving, and thereby ruining their
well established reputation ? Can any one care-
fully, and with deep reflection, consider and com-
pare these traditions and nations with the position
and circumstances of the long lost Ten Tribes of
Israel, without at least drawing some presumptive
inferences in favour of these wandering natives
being descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel ?

" Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable
character in Pittsfield, Mass., gave the following
account. That in 1815, he was levelling some
ground under and near an old wood-shed stand-
ing on a place of his, situated on Indian Hill.
He ploughed and conveyed away old chips and
earth to some depth. After the work was done,
walking over the place, he discovered, near where
the earth had been dug the deepest, a black strap,
as it appeared, about six inches in length, and one
and a half in breadth, and about the thickness of
a leather trace to a harness. He perceived it had,
at each end, a loop of some hard substance,
probably for the purpose of carrying it. He con-
veyed it to his house, and threw it into an old
tool box. He afterwards found it thrown out at
the door, and again conveyed it to the box.

"After some time, he thought he would examine



118 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

it ; but in attempting to cut it, found it as hard
as bone ; he succeeded, however, in getting it open,
and found it was formed of two pieces of thick
raw hide, sewed and made water-tight with the
sinews of some animal, and gummed over ; and
in the fold was contained four folded pieces of
parchment. They were of a dark yellow hue, and
contained some kind of writing. The neighbours,
coming in to see the strange discovery, tore one of
the pieces to atoms, in the true Hun and Vandal
style. The other three pieces Mr. Merrick saved,
and sent them to Cambridge, where they were
examined, and discovered to have been written
with a pen, in Hebrew, plain and legible. The
writing on the three remaining pieces of parch-
ment was quotations from the Old Testament.
See Dent., chap. vi. from 4th to 9th verse inclusive ;
also chapter xi. verse 13th to 21st inclusive; and
Exodus, chap. xiii. llth to 16th inclusive; to
which the reader can refer, if he has the curiosity
to read this most interesting discovery."

" On the banks of White river, in Arkansas
Territory, have been found ruins, erected no doubt
by an enlightened population, of the most extra-
ordinary character, on accouotof their dimensions,
and the materials of which they were erected.
One of these works is a wall of earth, which
encloses an area of six hundred and forty acres,
equal to a mile square, and having in its centre,
the foundation of a large circular building, or
temple. Another, yet more strange, and more
extensive, consists of the foundations of a great



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 110

city, whose streets, crossing each other at right
angles, are easily traced through the mighty
forest. And besides these are found the founda-
tions of houses made of burnt bricks, like the
bricks of the present times. These have been
traced to the extent of a mile."

The foregoing is taken from Priest's American
Antiquities, and from the same work we extract
the following, page 2 16 :

Ruins oj the City of Otoluin, discovered in
North America. In a letter of 0. S. Rafinesque,
whom we have before quoted, to a correspondent
in Europe, we find the following; " Some years
ago, the society of geography in Paris, offered a
large premium for a voyage to Guatemala, and for
a new survey of the antiquities of Yucatan and
Chiapa, chiefly those fifteen miles from Palenque."

" I have," says this author, " restored to them
the true name of Otolum, which is yet the name
of the stream running through the ruins. They
were surveyed by Captain Del Rio, in 1787, an
account of which was published in English, in
1822. This account describes partly the ruins of
a stone city, of no less dimensions than seventy-
five miles in circuit ; length, thirty-two, and
breadth twelve miles, full of palaces, monuments,
statues and inscriptions ; one of the earliest
seats of American civilization ; about equal to
Thebes of ancient Egypt."

It is stated in the Family Magazine, No. 34, p.
266, for 1833, as follows : " Public attention has
been recently excited respecting the ruins of an



120 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

ancient city, found in Guatemala. It would
seem that these ruins are now being explored,
and much curious and valuable matter, in a
literary and historical point of view, is anticipated
We deem the present a most auspicious moment,
now that the public attention is turned to the
subject, to spread its contents before our readers,
as an introduction to future discoveries, during
the researches now in progress."

The following are some of the particulars, as
related by Captain Del Rio, who partially ex-
amined them, as above related, in 1787. " From
Palenque, the last town northward in the province
of Giudad Real de Chiapa, taking the south-west-
erly direction, and ascending a ridge of high
lands that divides the kingdom of Guatemala from
Yucatan, at the distance of six miles, is the little
river Micol, whose waters flow in a westerly
direction, and unite with the great river Tulijah,
which bends its course towards* the province of
Tabasco. Having passed Micol, the ascent be-
gins, and half a league, or a mile and a half,
the traveller crosses a little stream called Otolum ;
from this point heaps of stone ruins are discoverd,
which render the road very difficult for another
half a league, when you gain the height whereon
the stone houses are situated, being still fourteen
in number in one place, some more dilapidated
than others, yet still having many of their apart-
ments perfectly discernible. These stand on a
rectangular area, three hundred yards in breadth
by four hundred and fifty in length, which is a



ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS. 121

fraction over fifty-six rods wide, and eighty-four
rods long, being in the whole circuit two hundred
and eighty rods, which is three-fourths of a mile,
and a trifle over. This area presents a plain at the
base of the highest mountain forming the ridge.


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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 8 of 13)