Mormon History

Holy Bible versus the BOM - 1874

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune May 12, 1874


The Fraud of Joseph Smith Fully Exposed.

The Rev. C. C. Stratton's lecture in the M. E. Church on Sunday evening was listened to by a crowded congregation. His subject was the Book of Mormon and the Bible compared, and in discussing this unpromising subject he produced an argument which, for logical compactness and force and beauty of language, has rarely been surpassed by the most noted speakers.

The lecturer assumed that there were thousands among his hearers who believed in the Book of Mormon as frimly and conscientiously as he believed in the Bible. In the warmth of his argumnet he might say something that would sound harsh to such persons, but he assured them he would be carefull not to [offend].

He had frequently heard it asserted by Tabernacle orators that the Book of Mormon is as


Such preaching was deletrious, because the deluded believer, when he discovers his error, is too apt to lose faith for what is really true. He briefly described the nature and objects of the Word of God. It tells of the Creation of the world, the Deluge, God's covenant with Abraham, the deliverance of the Hebrews, and the many other events which mark the early history of our race. It is broad and catholic in its tone, is applicable to the wants of all races of men, and teaches a system of morals and religion which will never become obsolete.


gives an account of three different families, one of whom (Jared) crossed the Atlantic to this country shortly after the building of Babel; the second wandered off about the time of the Babylonian captivity, crossed the Pacific, divided up into two peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites, filled the two American continents, until one race was exterminated by the other.

The third family left Asia a few years later, came to this country, and settled farther north.

The golden plates which Joseph claims to have discovered were deposited by an ancient priest, and inscribed with certain records of that extinct race. The plates were found by the guidance of an angel, and were transcribed with the aid of Urim and Thummim.

The Bible bases its claim to acceptance upon the internal and collateral evidence of its Divine origin; the Book of Mormon advances a similar claim. How do these several claims stand the test of scrutiny?

The Bible is sustained by prophecy fulfilled, and by undoubted moracle. The deliverance of the Jews was effected by Divine interposition, and the miracles recorded as the means of effecting their escape from bondage, are proved to have taken place by the Jewish festivals commemorative of their occurrence. These feasts were established at the time the miracles were performed, and they establish the truth of the Biblical record. We celebrate national holidays on the 30th of May, the 4th day of July, and other times. We know what these days commemorate. It would have been as difficult


two thousand years ago, as to-day. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the lecturer held to be just as indubitable evidence that the event they typify took place, as our celebration of Washington's Birthday proves that that hero was born.

He then took hold of the Book of Mormon. In the life of Nephi, three days' darkness are described, occuring about the time of the Crucifixion, and the appearance of the Savior in this country is mentioned. These statements we have on


There is nothing in the monuments or institutions of the country to support them.

The Speaker referred to the miracles, said to have been wrought by Mormon Elders. He had the authority of the best informed ex-Mormons, to declare these stories apochryphal. If any have seen these miracles their testimony is entitled to weight.


If wrought at all they should certainly be wrought in Zion, where we should naturally look to see such evidences of Divine favor.

Noah prophesied that Canaan should serve; Shem was to receive blessings, and from his stock the Messiah came. Japhet was to be enlarged, and he is enlarged in brain, power and influence. If Noah did not speak thus by the Holy Ghost, how could he have foretold the future history of his descendants.

The Book of Mormon foretells events predicted in the Bible, and its prophesyings are plagiarisms from the word of God. The lecturer then read portions of the revelations to Joseph Smith made in 1832, foretelling the South Carolina rebellion; in that blood and thunder story the negroes were to raise against their masters, the Indians were to take a hand in, and our British cousins in full panoply were to swell the confusion and the grand pyrotechnic finale. The falsity of all this highly colored literature has since been abundantly shown forth.

Jackson County, Mo., is described as the seat of the original Eden, and it is to be the final home of the Saints in 1890. The Indians are to aid in building the temple, according to the Book of Mormon, and become a delightful domesticated people.

Brigham Young, in preaching this Order of Enoch, is only carrying out Joseph Smith's prophecy. The vast sums of money which he talks of accumulating by co-operative labor, will be devoted to the purchase of Jackson county.

The predictions contained in the Bible are broad and comprehemsive; those in the Book of Mormon are temporary and local. A season of grasshoppers in the States, abundance in Utah, and the resort of strangers here to purchase grain. These predictions were all reversed in the fulfillment. Scarcity prevailed in Utah, and abundance reigned in the East.


was another instance of the failure of Mormon prophecy.

The internal evidence of the Bible shows that it proceeded from a divine source. The attributes of God are so truthfully shown forth, human character is so accurately embodied, and the pure and elevating religion of Jesus Christ so beautifully elaborated, that the whole work is stamped


The nature of this sacred book is to promote the happiness of the human race, to lead us to store our children's minds with knowledge, to yield obedience to law, to live and struggle in the world, and preserve and perpetuate peace, and live in conformity with established institutions. The Book of Mormon requires a man to separate himself from his family, to come out from the world, and its whole tendency is to set him against society. It tells that the Latter-day Saints shall be enlarged, unrighteous Babylon destroyed, and a feeling of rancor and hate towards the human race is inculcated.

Which religion is the more reasonable of the two? The religion of Jesus Christ, which teaches its followers that they are the leaven of the earth, and that a pure life is to be exemplar of their faith? Or the religion of Joseph Smith, which calls its devotees out of the world, which sets them against their families and the State, and which teaches hatred of the race of man? One is spiritual, the other grossly material; one talks of faith, the other deals with affairs of this world.

The lecturer then devoted some time to an examination of collateral evidence. He dwelt upon the character of the old patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus Christ, and the twelve apostles.

He then took up the nature of the evidence which sustains the Book of Mormon. Tucker pronounces the family of Joseph Smith unprincipled, unreliable and addicted to loose habits. Thurlow Weed says he knew Joseph Smith in Palmyra and he speaks in the most disparaging terms of him. Peter Ingersoll of Palmyra says he would not believe Joseph Smith under oath; he also says that the future Prophet admitted to him that his stories about digging gold were a hoax. Fifty one neighbors of the family, in a written testimonial, pronounce them bad subjects, and say that the tradesmen to whom they owed money were gald when they moved away to escape the scandal of their company.

Willard and Parley Chase testify that the Smith family were worthless, indolent, untruthful and not entitled to credit. Henry Harris declares that a jury refused to take Smith's testimony because they would not believe him under oath, and furtehr says that he was frequently see drunk while translating the Book of Mormon.


The Book of Mormon is claimed to have been written 600 years B. C. Yet scores and hundreds of passages might be called, which are direct plagiarisms from the new Testament. He cited a number. One passage is stolen from Shakspere [sic]. Many modern terms are used which have gained currency from recent theological discussion. The Book of Nephi speaks of Jesus in the past tense, although written 600 [years] before his appearance upon earth.

These facts clearly invalidate the claims of Joseph Smith to be a true revelator. The clumsy fraud attending the discovery of the gold plates was fully exposed. When they were unearthed he claims to have run two miles with them, (weight 200 pounds) being pursued by two men armed with clubs.

The first version of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was suppressed, as he found himself imperfect in the business of revelation writing; and the one now used is a second attempt, and conflicts in many cases with the other.

The lecturer read from Senate Document No. 189, printed in 1841, where evidence is given to show that Oliver Cowdrey was arrested for stealing, John Whitmer being an accomplice. This is testified to by Sidney Rigdon, Martin (sic. - George W.?) Harris, Daniel Whitmer, (all apostates,) and eighty-four Mormons. Joseph Smith testifies as unfavorably of another of his early supporters, Martin Harris. Eleven witnesses authenticate the story of the discovery of the gold plates; seven of these afterward apostatized -- and three were kinsmen of Joseph -- interested and untrustworthy.

The speaker then showed the falsity of the Book of Mormon in the animals mentioned, the architectural remains, its philology and ethnology. It says the Indians of this continent are descended from the Hebrews, their language shows they are from a different stock.

The peroration was masterly and eloquent. The Bible gives an impetus to the mind, and incites to cultivation. The most enlightened nations are Christian nations. The Book of Mormon holds the mind in chains and the body in thrall. The above is a very imperfect report of a lecture, which occupied two hours in delivery, and which was a model in its skillful arrangement of favts, and searching philosophical analysis.