July 2, 2007

Brigham Young on Anti-Mormonism

Brigham Young May 8, 1853

I can sum up all the arguments used against Joseph Smith and "Mormonism” in a very few words, the merits of which will be found in OLD JOE SMITH. IMPOSTOR, MONEY DIGGER. OLD JOE SMITH. SPIRITUAL WIFE DOCTRINE. IMPOSTURE. THE DOCTRINE IS FALSE. MONEY DIGGER. FALSE PROPHET. DELUSION. SPIRITUAL WIFE DOCTRINE. Oh, my dear brethren and sisters, keep away from them, for the sake of your never dying souls. FALSE PROPHETS THAT SHOULD COME IN THE LAST DAYS. OLD JOE SMITH. ANTI-CHRIST. MONEY DIGGER, MONEY DIGGER, MONEYDIGGER. And the whole is wound up with an appeal, not to the good sense of the people, but to their unnatural feelings, in a canting, hypocritical tone, and there it ends (JD 1:103-112).
I laughed when I read this; I can picture Brigham being pretty tired of all the anti-Mormon rhetoric he'd heard throughout his life. At this time, Brigham had received a letter from Orson Pratt, who was serving a mission in England. The letter detailed the newspaper Pratt established there, and some opposition he had faced from other churches. The point Brother Brigham is making here is summed up in the book of Ecclesiastes: "There is nothing new under the sun." The arguments used by anti-Mormons are the same ones levied against the church since the beginning. From Philastus Hurbut and Ebert D. Howe in the 1830's to the Tanners, Ed Decker, Dan Vogel and Grant Palmer of recent years, the accusations and misrepresentations are all composed of the same evidence, though they may arrive at different reasons behind the incorrectness of the doctrine. Ed Decker takes the evidence and sees Smith as inspired by Satan himself. Vogel takes the evidence and sees Joseph as a well-meaning "pious fraud." My intent isn't to bring up all of their specific points here, but simply to comment that Brigham saw through the rhetoric and was likely tired of the hue and cry raised against the prophet. We shouldn't be surprised; Moroni told Joseph Smith his name we be known for good and evil among all people. That is one of the most obviously fulfilled prophecies of Joseph's life.

3 comments:

Mr. Grey Spaceman said...

One of my fave quotes is from Joseph F. Smith who said this concerning the enemies of the Church: "Let them alone. Let them go. Give them the liberty of speech they so desire. Let them tell their own story and write their own doom."

LifeOnaPlate said...

Thanks for the comment; you are the first, my good man, on the Journey through the Journal!

BHodges said...

What a strange beginning!

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