Mormon History

Reference Materials on Mormonism- 1876

The Christian Standard May 27, 1876


In reply to a correspondent who desires to be informed as to the history of the Mormons, we give the following references, to direct inquirers along the line of authors whose works are most frequently referred to us. Books will be mentioned in order of the dates of publication; those marked * are rare or scarce. The names of those from whom the principal Mormon works may be obtained will also be given.

1830. -- * "First edition of the Mormon Bible, Joseph Smith, Author and Proprietor, Grandin, Palmyra, New York. This first edition is the one on which Smith and Harris thought to make $3,250.

Some time before its publication, Mrs. Harris destroyed one hundred and sixteen pages of the manuscript! Smith's explanation of the missing pages was given in the preface; but the explanation was worse than the loss of Nephi, and now that preface is omitted in the editions of Brigham Young and the Josephite Bible venders at Plano, Ill.

1831. -- * In the Evangelical Inquirer (bound with Scott's Evangelists). the letter of Thos. Campbell to Sidney Rigdon. Mr. Rigdon joined the Mormon Church in 1830 (before he had read the Smith Bible through), and at once defied the world! Thos. Campbell sent a communication to the Dayton [sic, Painesville?] Telegraph -- and a copy to Rigdon, per Messrs. Moor and Goddell. Rigdon tore up Campbell's letter and declined all public discussion! (Letter and propositions in Howe.)

1831. -- Millennial Harbinger, in which Alexander Campbell gives a ten page notice of Smith and the Mormon Bible, exposing to the satisfaction of every Biblical scholar and all common sense readers, the shallowness of the imposture, its falsities, contradictions, absurdities and wickedness. Campbell's refutation may be replied to but can not answered; it subverts the very foundations of Mormonism, and shows that Smith and his associates were the most impudent of knavish atheists. (Mil. Harbingers at this office.)

1834. -- * Howe's "Mormonism Unvailed." Very scarce -- only to be found in private libraries or occasionally at Woodward's, 78 Nassau St., N. Y. This book is ably written. It contains particular accounts of the Smiths while residents of New York; the affidavits of the people of Palmyra and Manchester against Smith and his confederates; their advent into Ohio; Kirtland Mormonism; the doings of Rigdon, Cowdery and Harris; the letter of Thos. Campbell, and a series of letters from Ezra Booth (reprinted from the Ohio Star.)

1839. -- * Pamphlet by John Corrill. This can only be obtained from Woodward, or the pamphlet antiquarians. Corrill was a good writer; he gives an explicit account of his conversion in 1830; experiences as an elder; his discovery of the fraud -- and his apostasy from the Mormon faith in 1839.

This pamphlet corroborates largely the expose of Howe; and convincingly shows up the aims and ends of Smith and Rigdon -- money PLACE, POWER!

1842. -- * Mormonism in All Ages by Prof. Turner, of Illinois College. This is a historical, scriptural and philosophical expose of Mormonism; and contains a startling biographical chapter on the Mormon leaders. This book contains, also, square yards of undeniable facts, and the extracts are from the publications of Smith himself. Turner had a copy of Smith's "Book of Commandments," which the Church suppressed. Throughout the work there is a "flow and force" that kills Mormons and Mormonism; and although scarce, it is worth hunting up and reading in every community afflicted with Mormon preachers. It may be had from second-hand book dealers in the principal cities, or of Woodward, 78 Nassau.

1842-44. -- "Peter Cartwright's Autobiography," to be had in any Methodist community, or from the booksellers generally. This contains an interesting interview between Cartwright and Smith; and gives in unvarnished terms the Prophet's characteristics, knavery, profanity, lewdness and general badness,

1844. -- Brown's "History of Illinois." High-handed proceedings of the Nauvoo Mormons; killing of Smith, etc. To be had from booksellers, St. Louis, Chicago.

1844. -- * Ford's "Hist. of Illinois," This is scarce and valuable. It contains Gov. Ford's official relations with the Mormons; shows up their disregard for law, and their frequent attempts to make a bad theocracy override the sovereignty and laws of the State and general government; it gives the details of Smith's assassination at Carthage, and establishes the fact that the Mormons were not driven from Illinois "for righteousness' sake!"

1844. -- * Rigdon's "Messenger and Advocate" (bound pamphlets). Scarce. This is seldom to be found. It is Rigdon's last, wild effort to beat Brigham Young and establish himself as Pope of the Mormons! It contains substantial proof against Smith as a polygamist; and gives almost positive proof that Rigdon, instead of being a convert to Mormonism, was himself a confederate of Smith in planning the scheme and writing the Mormon Bible!

1846-54. -- * Pamphlets, by Van Duzen and wife, disclosing the lewd mysteries given by Smith, in 1841-42-43, and performed by Young and Apostles in the Temple at Nauvoo, 1845-5. (To be had possibly from Woodward, 78 Nassau.)

1850. -- "Mackey's Work" (London). A valuable work and well done. This shows the Mormon Sermon as delivered in England; the working of miracles, "casting three hundred and eighteen devils out of one woman!" Also, Smith's political papers; his nomination for the Presidency; together with Kane's Essay, and the well authenticated narratives of travelers through the Nauvoo Camp. (Robt. Clarke & Co., Cin.).

1852. -- Lieut. Gunnison, U. S. A., A valuable work, now republished at Philadelphia. This contains incontrovertible arguments against Smith and the Nauvoo apostles as polygamists and law breakers. It is said Gunnison lost his life for writing this book.

1852-3. -- "Mormons at home," by Mrs. B. G. Ferris, wife of the Secretary of Utah. This woman went to Utah before polygamy was proclaimed; she knew nothing of the Mormons before entering Salt Lake Valley, but discovered, in less than six months, that whatever may be charged as to Mormon lewdness, apostolic duplicity, deplorable degradation and general badness, is but a mild expression of bad facts. (To be had from booksellers).

1856. -- "Hall's Pamphlet," on Mormon counterfeiting, infanticide, polygamy and things worse. For writing this pamphlet, Hall's life was threatened; he expressed a fear that Mormon emissaries would accomplish their purpose, and left Cincinnati for Washington City -- to give information to the authorities as to the designs of Mormon leaders. He has never been heard of since; inquiry fails to elicit any information concerning him!"

1857. -- "Fifteen Years Among the Mormons," by Ettie Coray Smith; republished by Belknap. This exposes the polygamy of Smith at Nauvoo; Young's complicity in several Utah murders, and the heart-rending details of Mountain Meadows Massacre, (concerning which, Gunter's Bill, now before Congress). Good book, to be had from dealers generally.

1857. -- "Mormonism, Leaders and Designs," by Elder John Hyde. The author was converted in England, went as Missionary to France; thence to Salt Lake by the way of Nauvoo. Finding himself wickedly deceived, he left and published his experiences.

The book is, by Mormon confession, more than an expose of bad character. It commences on Smith's "learning of the Jews in the language of the Egyptians," and shows that the Book of Mormon is not a translation from golden plates, or any thing else; but a rehash of the Spaulding novel, supplemented by bad plagiarisms from the New Testament, in which even the errors of King James; translation are incorporated!: (To be had from Woodward, New York).

1867-68-70. -- "The Prophet and Harem," by Mrs. Judge Waite; "Utah and the Mormons," by J. H. Beadle; "Origin of Mormonism," by Pomeroy Tucker; "Rocky Mountain Saints," by Elder Stenhouse. These works may be obtained from Perry & Morton, Vine street, Cincinnati, O. Mrs. Waite's "Prophet and Harem" gives a political history of Utah, together with the good, bad and indifferent particulars of the "Young" family. It is a good book, correct and reliable.

The work by Beadle, (Commercial's correspondent) is voluminous on all points from Palmyra to Salt Lake City, and may be relied on as particularly exact. The large work, by Stenhouse, contains all that is necessary for any one to know about Mormonism.

It contains Smith's broadest draw upon human credulity, a translation of the Book of Abraham, with parallel columns by Remy and Brenchley of Paris.

Tucker's "Origin of Mormonism" is the best in print. The author was editorially connected with Grandin, who printed the first edition of the Mormon Bible, in 1830; he was well acquainted with the Smiths, Cowdery and Harris; he accumulated the evidence that Rigdon was the "mysterious stranger" who aided Smith, 1828-9-30, in getting up the imposture; and his statements, upon personal observation, are corroborated by the best citizens of Palmyra and Manchester.

1875. -- "My Life in Bondage," by Ann Eliza Young. This book is now being read throughout the nation, and, as thirty thousand copies were sold in four months, it is likely that the authoress will, in history, hold her place with reference to Mormonism and its overthrow, as Mrs. Stowe and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to American slavery. The parents of Ann Eliza (as she is called), Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey Webb, embraced Mormonism at Kirtland, Ohio, in the beginning; they suffered through the Missouri persecutions and went overland in the exodus of 1847. Ann Eliza was born in Nauvoo; her parents were sincere in their acceptance of "celestial marriage," and are, today, witnesses to the earnest labors of their child, who by voice and pen is doing so much to dispel the delusion which blighted their lives!

Tucker's book shows the beginning of Mormonism; Mrs. Young's late work shows its maturity, and we are glad to say, promises its speedy destruction!