Mormon History

Orson Hyde Exposing Mormonism - 1857

The Mountain Democrat March 7, 1857

LECTURE ON MORMONISM, BRIGHAM YOUNG, &c. -- The Rev. Mr. Hyde, an intelligent and pleasing speaker, a seceding Mormon Elder, lectured in our town on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday nights, to crowded, attentive and delighted houses, on the rise, progress and corruptions of the Mormon fanaticism -- to call it religion would be a misnomer. If half what he asserted be true, a viler or more depraved sect never polluted the earth. He quoted freely from the sermons of Brigham Young, published by authority in the Deseret News, to sustain his positions. -- He gave them credit for great patience, industry and perseverance. He frankly confessed that Brigham was a remarkable man -- energetic, shrewd, penetrating, intellectual -- a deep thinker, a plausible, insinuating speaker, and thoroughly understanding human nature. He was a man of iron will and dauntless courage -- more of an enthusiast than knave. His sermons were more forcible than elegant -- more passionate than profound -- destitute of religious fervor, but abounding in vigorous passages. His comparisons were often vulgar, sometimes blasphemous, but never weak or obscure. Kimball was a weak, vain. ignorant, scheming, deceitful, fawning scoundrel. The Mormons generally were ignorant, superstitious, fanatical -- implicitly believing in what their Elders taught, and slavishly submitting to the most intolerable bondage. The Elders discouraged education, and kept the converts busily employed to prevent them from thinking.

On Monday night a Mr. Cook, and elderly man, an Elder of the Mormon church, after Mr. Hyde had concluded his lecture, asked permission to reply to him, which was readily granted. His language was so outrageous and disgraceful that the audience, out of self-respect, were compelled to stop him. Filth flowed from his mouth as freely and as offensively as from the sty of a hog. He refuted not one of the arguments of Mr. Hyde -- controverted not one of his assertions. He injured the cause he advocates, and convinced all who heard him that if we are to judge of the fruits of Mormonism by the language of its teachers, it is depraved beyond redemption. Mr. Hyde, in perfectly respectful language, replied to him, but his sarcasm was withering, and every word fell with the force of a sledge hammer, blistering and burning like red-hot iron.

On Tuesday evening Mr. Hyde lectured to the largest audience we have ever seen in Placerville on a similar occasion. Every seat in the Theatre, long before the lecturer arrived, was occupied, and every available spot was taken up. He confined himself exclusively to an exposition of the impostures, inconsistencies and contradictions -- flagrant and absurd in the extreme -- of the book of Mormon. He traced its history from its appearance up to the present time, and proved to the satisfaction of all present that that portion of it which was not stolen, was the silliest, weakest, shallowest of humbugs. He has evidently studied his subject carefully and understands it thoroughly. He read a verse from the book, in which a fearful curse is pronounced against polygamy, and stated that in England the Mormons indignantly deny that it is part of their creed. They contradict their own words -- repudiate their own book. Many of the wretched beings now at Salt Lake, having awakened from their delusion, would willingly leave it, but they cannot get away. The best way to root out Mormonism, in his opinion, is to settle the country round them with inhabitants of a different persuasion. He deprecated violence, and said, we use his own language -- "At no time, under no circumstances, can mob violence be justified. Any and every infraction of the laws must, sooner or later, be atoned for." -- Men who censored us not a year ago for using similar language, cheered it when uttered by another, so vacillating is public opinion.

The Mountain Democrat March 28, 1857


The Western (Mormon) Standard of the 20th inst., contains a lengthy and characteristic letter from our pure and saintly Mormon friend, Elder Cooke, who evidently imagines himself "some punkins," in reply to our strictures on his indecent language and the lecture of Mr. Hyde. With unusual modesty, which takes us completely by surprise, he confesses that his communication is "filthy," and hopes -- an unnecessary hope -- "it will not sully the pages of the Standard by an insertion! Of course not, Elder; nothing better was to be expected from you, and its "filth" was its chief recommendation. It is a precious morecau, and will give you a free entry into the refined society of Salt Lake City. You must be aware that it takes an extra quantity of "filth," and evidently there is an abundance of it in the city of the Saints, it we are to judge by the language of the Elders it sends out among the Gentiles, to "sully the pages" of a Mormon paper, or the reputation of a Mormon Elder.

We confess that we have not been initiated into the fascinating mysteries of Mormonism, nor do we know much about it, but the little that we do know is not creditable either to the doctrines taught, the teachers, or the members of the church. From our limited knowledge of it, and from Mr. Cooke's own admissions, it is admirably adapted to suit the tastes of depraved men; and if the great Mormon leader Brigham Young [does] not slander his brethren, a greater set of graceless scamps, liars, thieves, swindlers, perjurers, bloats, gamblers and libertines never polluted the earth, than are to be found at Sat Lake, in the very bosom of the church. Mr. Hyde read an article from the Deseret News, written by Brigham, in which he boasted that the Mormons could "beat the world at bragging, lying, cheating, swindling, swearing, drinking," &c., &c. We do not make these charges -- we only quote the cannot be what it claims to be, and must therefore be in the graphic and truthful language of Elder Cooke, "the most stupendous delusion that has ever" cursed mankind. We do know, however, that Mormonism, when it was tolerated in Illinois, blighted the fair name of the State, and drove many respectable families from it, who could not be forced to believe that prostitution was a virtue or blasphemy religion. Elder Cooke says:

"I told them I had yet to learn that Mormonism professed to introduce any new principles, that it was eternal, immutable truth, and claimed to be nothing more or less than the ancient gospel restored, and that it was either what it claimed to be or it was the most stupendous delusion which had ever been visited upon the world."

You did tell them so, and Mr. Hyde proved that you either did not understand or were wholly and inexcusably ignorant of the Mormon doctrine. He named a number of "new principles it introduced," disgraceful and repulsive as new, which you tacitly admitted. If it be "eternal, immutable truth," why does it so frequently contradict itself? It cannot be true and false at the same time. Mr. Hyde read a number of passages from what is termed the Mormon bible, flatly and positively contradicting each other. Truth is not inconsistent, but the Mormon bible certainly is. If it "introduced no new principle," said Mr. Hyde, "there is no necessity for it; if it has introduced new principles let us investigate them and see if they are good and worthy of inculcating." He, not Elder Cooke, for the Elder was too prudent to mention some of the slight vagaries of Mormonism, named a number of the "new principles introduced" by the Mormon Book, every one of which was in direct opposition to decency and religion. Mormonism, according to its own authority,

We must take one more extract from our amiable Elder's letter before we dismiss him. He says, with no little assurance:

"Mr. Hyde did not show us that a better state of things existed in what is called the Christian or civilized world than existed in Utah."

He did far better, Elder, -- he proved by Brigham's own voluntary statements, published by himself in a boastful manner, that Utah could beat the world in every species of villainy. No man better understands or is more thoroughly acquainted with the peculiar characteristics of the society he governs, than the libidinous Governor of Utah Territory. He is the "father confessor" of the men, women, and children, their spiritual as well as their temporal master; he knows all their secrets and kindly indulges them in all their innocent whims. What he says of them must be true, for he would not needlessly injure the reputation of his friends, nor bring reproach and disgrace on his congregation by attributing to them imaginary crimes. How a worse state of things could by any possibility exist in a heathen country than exists in Utah, if Mormon authority may be relied on, we cannot imagine. They are superstitious, ignorant and depraved, says Brigham, and Brigham ought to know. They are a deluded people, and are more the object of our pity than our detestation. We are charitable enough to think even Elder Cooke more of a dupe than a vicious man.