Mormon History

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune

October 29, 1880




It is not generally known among the Latter-day Saints that the name first given to their organization was "The Church of Christ." This name was continued about four years when, on May 3, 1834, at the instance of Sidney Rigdon, the name was changed to the "Church of Latter-day Saints." The history of Joseph Smith (Mill. Star, vol. xi, p. 65) says at this time the style was changed to "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," but this cannot be true, since the "Doctrine and Covenants," published in 1835, has for title page, "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of [the Latter Day Saints] carefully selected from the revelations of God and compiled by Joseph Smith, jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rifdon, Frederick G. Williams, presiding elders of said Church, proprietors," etc. No compilation of "Joseph Smith, President," was ever submitted to the Saints, and in 1835 when the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was submitted, it was done by Rigdon and Cowdery, Joseph Smith not being present. "The Prophet" was in Kirtland just before and after this event, but happened not to be "on hand" when the revelations which the Lord had given him were submitted, with much ado, to the Saints for their acceptance.

It was in 1838 that the Mormon organization received its present name, "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints." Hence all those allusions, in Mormon Church History, which refer to the organization, prior to 1838, under this title, are falsifications.

In 1844-5 Sidney Rigdon re-established, at Pittsburg, his original "Church," first styling it "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints" and later"Church of Christ." At a Conference held in April, 1845, when he fully reorganized his "Church of Christ" he gave, to the careful student of the great Latter day work, some very importnat clews to the mystery of its origin -- and its originator. In what follows one can clearly discern the abnormal genius out of which Mormonism sprang:

Friday, 9 o'clock a. m., April 11.

Conference met persuant to adjournemnt, President Rigdon read a hymn from page 147, "How often in sweet meditation my mind," which was sung. Prayer by Presidnet Cowles.

The Prsident (Rigdon) said this Conference is drawing to a close, and the most solemn part is now coming, which is that of covenant making. We have covenanted with each other, it is now our duty to covenant with heaven. To complete the victory of this Kingdom we must bind the heavens by a covenant. It is in the power of this KIngdom to bind the heavens. From the earliest period of the history of God's dealing with men, there was one promise handed down from generation to generation, that whenever there were any people found on earth who would obtain and organize the Kingdom of God, God promised to that people that He would bear them off triumphant, with the Kingdom they had organized, and with it give them all things.

In all the past time, God bound men on earth, but now, by virtue of the promises God has made us, respecting His kingdom, we must turn around and bind the heavens, that the promises which God has made concerning his kingdom may be fulfilled upon our heads, inasmuch as we have obtained the power and organized the kingdom of promise. In explanation of the covenant by which we bind the heavens, let me ask a question. Upon what principle did this kingdom come into existence?

Question momentous, elder Sidney. And you the man of all others best qualified to answer. Hear, hear.

It was by one man alone, between him and his God, bowing in a secret place before God, where there was no eye to see him, or ear to hear him, but that of Jehovah's alone, decreeing in his heart, (But Daniel purposed in his his heart,) in the presence of God, and calling upon heaven to witness the decree, that if the kingdom of promise spoken of by Daniel did not come into existence in this generation, it shall not be the fault of him who now presented himself before the heavens in his heart, and ready to do the will of his God, whenever made known, thus binding the heavens to that promise, to set up and organize that kingdom, etc.

According to this covenant, thus made with the heavens, and this bond wherewith the heavens were bound, you are here from almost every part of the United States and Europe, strangers to each other in the flesh, of different religious opinions. each one for himself declaring "the Lord had sent him," many of you not knowing for whatm until you came; and few, if any, understanding the great object for which you were sent. That you may understand why it was the Lord operated upon your minds to come hither, we have given you the account of the foregoing covenant before our God, the result of which is, the organization of the kingdom of promise, of which you, individually, form a part.

Of course Rigdon was not the simpleton to inform his dupes, in so many words, that this was the modus operanda of establishing "the kingdom of promise" fifteen years or so before 1845. Verbum sap. A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse. He continueth:

Now, brethren, it becomes your privilege to bind the heavens, by another covenant, that this kingdom in your hands may triumph, each one for himself, presenting himself before God with uplifted hands to heaven, declaring in the presence of God, the holy messengers and one another, at the same time decreeing in your hearts before God that if this kingdom does not triumph and prevail, according to the promise made through the prophet Daniel, it shall not be your fault, thus binding the heavens for a fulfillment of the promises made concerning it. After which the covenant was entered into before God, by all standing on their feet, with their hands lifted to heaven, while the President pronounced the covenant which was sealed by the loud amen of every individual.

Here we have, as in a manner, the whole crazy, fanatical "grip," the fierce undying tenacity of the Mormon to his "faith."

But this is only part. From what follows one can see clearly where the great Mormon doctrines of "sealing for eternity," "proxy" baptism for the dead, etc. all came from.

We have another covenant to make, that is solemn, sublime and grand. It is to bind the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers that when the Lord comes the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse, and we may secure our line of progenitors and descendants from one end of the line to the other. It is an established principle in the kingdom of heaven that those whom God has chosen to be kings and priests unto himself in his kingdom have the right before God to bind the heavens in solemn covenant, to perfect their own; and without which their salvation never could be perfected.

In order to make this covenant, each one for himself must stand before God, with his hands lifted to heaven, and in the presence of God, as a king and a priest unto God, express before the heavens his will and his desire, in relation to his fathers, and his and their descendants, and ask God to seal in the heavens this promise and this blessing, to be fulfilled upon their heads, when the redemption of the promised possession shall come, thus binding the hearts of the children to the fathers, by which covenant we bind heaven and earth together, for unto this end was the dispensation of the fullness of times [is] the same as the dispensation of the kingdom spoken of by Daniel, which dispensation God, in his mercy, has been pleased to give unto us, and we, under his direction, have now organized it.

There are, to day, in houses and streets and stores of Salt Lake City not a few of these "kings and priests unto God" who owe the fact that they are such to the crotchets of this man Sidney and to nothing else. Rigdon did not regard himself in the light of anti-Christ. By no means. On the contrary, he was quasi Christ, a sort of ad interim Christ; he was the very "messenger of the covenant" spoken of in Malachi. When Christ came he was ready to yield up the Kingdom he had built up for him to Christ, but to none other. Who was Joe Smith, pray, or Brigham Young? Mere pupets in his hands, who without Rigdon, would have been probably alive and "peeping," and painting in some sequestered vale of life to this day.

The President then said, I am determined, when we come to the end of our consecrations, to present the kingdom to the heavens spotless before God, and say, Father receive it, and bear it off triumphantly, for it is thine. (Had not Rigdon the crazy notion in his muddle that he was a sort of Christ? There have been others, but none with so much method in his madness as the founder of Mormonism). We have moved cautiously since we commenced. Brethren, let me [atone] to-day. Let me go forward as the Lord directs, and no evil spirit shall have dominion over us, or prevent us from accomplishing the great object before us. I have confidence in you, brethren, that you will do so. Be patient, until we get all the machinery prepared and put together, every wheel in its place, with all its parts oiled, and then we (we!) will set it in motion, and God will make it roll through the earth in majesty and in great power, until the glory thereof shall fill the whole earth.

"We" set Mormonism agog in 1830. God never did.

Note: The above article has all the earmarks of having been crafted by James T. Cobb, Esq. If so, it was evidently one of his final contributions to the Tribune on the subject of Mormon origins.