History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1014
image
6 Februay 1840 • Thursday
<February 6  News Vol 4 No. 20.> Thursday 6. I had previously preached in , and one of my  sermons I find reported in Synopsis, by a member of Congress, which  I will insert intire
6th. February 1840. My Dear Mary—  I went last evening, to hear Joe Smith, the celebrated Mormon, expound  his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets,  as explained by himself. He is not an educated Man: but he is a plain,  sensible, strong minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner  to leave an impression that he is sincere, There is no levity, no fanaticism,  no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from 40 to 45  years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies  would call a very good looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities,  his dress being that of a plain, unpretending Citizen. He is, by profession,  a farmer; but is evidently well read. He commenced, by saying,  that he knew the prejudices, which were abroad in the world against him,  but requested us to pay no respect to the rumors which were in circulation  respecting him or his doctrines. He was accompanied by three or  four of his followers. He said, “I will state to you, our belief, so far as time  will permit.” I believe, said he, that there is a God, possessing all the attributes  ascribed to him by all Christians of all denominations, that he reigns over all  things in Heaven and on Earth; and that all are subject to his power. He  then spoke, rationally, of the attributes of Divinity, such as foreknowledge, mercy,  &c. &c. He then took up the Bible. I believe, said he, in this sacred volume,  In it the Mormon faith is to be found. We teach nothing, but what the  Bible teaches. We believe nothing but what is to be found in this Book.  I believe in the fall of Man, as recorded in the Bible. I believe that God  foreknew every thing; but did not fore ordain every thing; I deny that foreordain  and fore-know is the same thing. He fore-ordained the fall of Man; but  all merciful as he is, he fore-ordained at the same time, a plan of redemption  for all mankind; I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that he died  for the sins of all men, who in Adam had fallen— He then entered  into some details, the result of which tended to shew his total unbelief of  what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood  of Christ, and that it no longer exists— As a necessary consequence, he believes,  that we are all born pure and undefiled. That all children dying at an  early age (say eight years). not knowing good from evil, were incapable of sinning,  and that all such assuredly go to Heaven. I believe, said he, that man is a  moral, responsible, free agent; that although it was fore-ordained he should  fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not fore-ordained that  he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him.  In the old and new Testaments the law by which he is to be governed  may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done  in the body. I believe that God is Eternal. That he had no beginning and can  have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or End.  I believe that the Soul is Eternal. It had no beginning; it can have no end. [p. 1014]
6 Februay 1840 • Thursday
February 6 News Vol 4 No. 20. Thursday 6. I had previously preached in , and one of my sermons I find reported in Synopsis, by a member of Congress, which I will insert intire
6th. February 1840. My Dear Mary— I went last evening, to hear Joe Smith, the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets, as explained by himself. He is not an educated Man: but he is a plain, sensible, strong minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere, There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from 40 to 45 years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies would call a very good looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities, his dress being that of a plain, unpretending Citizen. He is, by profession, a farmer; but is evidently well read. He commenced, by saying, that he knew the prejudices, which were abroad in the world against him, but requested us to pay no respect to the rumors which were in circulation respecting him or his doctrines. He was accompanied by three or four of his followers. He said, “I will state to you, our belief, so far as time will permit.” I believe, said he, that there is a God, possessing all the attributes ascribed to him by all Christians of all denominations, that he reigns over all things in Heaven and on Earth; and that all are subject to his power. He then spoke, rationally, of the attributes of Divinity, such as foreknowledge, mercy, &c. &c. He then took up the Bible. I believe, said he, in this sacred volume, In it the Mormon faith is to be found. We teach nothing, but what the Bible teaches. We believe nothing but what is to be found in this Book. I believe in the fall of Man, as recorded in the Bible. I believe that God foreknew every thing; but did not fore ordain every thing; I deny that foreordain and fore-know is the same thing. He fore-ordained the fall of Man; but all merciful as he is, he fore-ordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind; I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that he died for the sins of all men, who in Adam had fallen— He then entered into some details, the result of which tended to shew his total unbelief of what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood of Christ, and that it no longer exists— As a necessary consequence, he believes, that we are all born pure and undefiled. That all children dying at an early age (say eight years). not knowing good from evil, were incapable of sinning, and that all such assuredly go to Heaven. I believe, said he, that man is a moral, responsible, free agent; that although it was fore-ordained he should fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not fore-ordained that he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him. In the old and new Testaments the law by which he is to be governed may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done in the body. I believe that God is Eternal. That he had no beginning and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or End. I believe that the Soul is Eternal. It had no beginning; it can have no end. [p. 1014]
Page 1014