Kirtland Money Fraud Revisited - 1841
The Warsaw Signal – July 7, 1841
Of Mr. Lee, before the Mormon meeting at Frankford, Pa. after the close of
a lecture on Mormonism.
having been given for any to address the audience, who may see proper to do so
at the close of the lecture, I take the liberty of making a few remarks. In
doing so, I intend to be very brief and very plain.
I have charges to bring against the promulgators of the doctrines we have been listening to this evening, which I trust will go far toward opening the eyes of every individual, and cause them to turn with disgust from those lying prophets whom I here plainly and unhesitatingly brand, not only as religious impostors, but as swindlers.
In doing this I shall not attempt to expose the Mormon imposture or to combat the creed by which they are striving to delude and deceive the weak minded and ignorant. It is not my intention to hold up, to scorn the miserable trick of the golden plates found in a potato, or some other field in the State of New York, from which it is pretended their new religion has been derived. I shall have nothing to do with their blasphemous stories and their forged miracles, or with those who are weak enough to be gulled by them, but I wish to ask the attention of this audience, to the worldly, business matters which can be understood by every man, and upon the strength of which I here venture the bold and deliberate charge of swindling.
Joseph Smith, jun. and Mr. Rigdon are the two acknowledged heads, plotters, contrivers, and in short the fathers of this "latter day," Mormon humbug. They are the arch impostors -- the wicked authors of this wicked scheme which the speaker to-night has been laboring to palm off upon this audience. I wish it to be distinctly borne in mind that these two men, Smith and Rigdon, are the avowed and acknowledged fabricators of the scheme of Mormonism. The Speaker to-night, one of the tools, the pliant cat's paw, by which they are attempting to operate upon the community.
I hold in my hand a bank note -- a ten dollar bank note, which as I wish to ask the particular attention of the audience to, I will read.
It reads fairly -- promises largely -- and bears the veritable signatures of the arch impostors themselves, J. Smith, jr. and S. Rigdon.
The Kirtland Safety Society $10 Mormon Note - Joseph Smith & Sidney Rigdon
Now this $10 Mormon note is one of the grossest pieces of fraud in a mere pecuniary point of view -- religion out of the question -- that has ever been perpetrated in this swindling age, a downright, villainous piece of swindling.
In the first place the plate itself from which the worthless trash was printed, has never to this day been paid for -- the engraver, printer, paper maker, and all having been regularly cheated out of their hard earnings by this set of swindling hypocrites.
In the second place, thousands and thousands of the spurious trash was passed off for goods of all kinds, with no other earthly design or intention than that of swindling.
In the West in like manner thousands upon thousands of the trash has been passed off upon the honest farmer and the hard working mechanic.
But a few months ago both these speculating gamblers, these Mormon, latter day saints, who like their tool this evening, busy themselves in running down the religion of others, and slandering better men than they ever can hope to be, were in Philadelphia.
The owner of this note, a gentleman who is now in this room, called upon them -- but they would not be seen. He saw one of their elders who declared that Rigdon had been sick for six weeks in the city, but declared he did not know where he was -- no, he did not know the house or the number, or even the street or part of the city in which his own, suffering, sick brother resided. This monstrous inhumanity on one side or deliberate lying on the other, with the prevarication and falsehood in relation to Smith also, convinced the holder of the note that he could obtain no satisfaction from those, whom if possessed of a particle of honesty would not have been ashamed to show their faces.
That they are swindlers in the rankest sense of the term is evident from the foregoing facts, as well as from the fact that their gambling bank was put into operation in direct, open violation of the laws of Ohio, in which state their swindling shop was located -- that this $10 note is not worth and will not bring two cents, and in short, that for the same or a similar offense the gray-haired and comparatively innocent Dr. Dyott is this very night incarcerated within the walls of the Eastern penitentiary.
Now without any reference to the truth or falsehood of their new religion or the golden plates which they had better convert into coin to pay off their notes -- without regard to this latter day Mormonism, which is as much beneath the dignity of argument as they themselves are beneath contempt. I would ask one question.
I would ask this audience gravely to consider the question, whether any set of men combining together to swindle and defraud the community are to be believed in any scheme of religion, however plausible which they may attempt to get up?
Is it at all likely men of such characters would be selected to promulgate divine truths? are such men entitled to your confidence? are they the kind of men who are even fit to hold the strings of the purse into which they are persuading their poor dupes to pour in their money -- their little all?
Confidence? Rather should they not be scouted from the society through which they are prowling like wolves in sheep's clothing "seeking whom they may devour," scouted from the community which they disgrace. Or rather should not the strong arm of the law be made to punish those hypocritical impostors, whose sole practice, object, and business it is to deceive the weak minded, to cheat the credulous, to rob the unsuspecting, and defraud the public? They should be narrowly watched wherever they go; for men of such characters would no more hesitate to pick your pocket or seize any opportunity of robbing you, than they would to engage in this impious mockery of religion, this gross and wicked imposture.
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