Burlington Daily Times August 9, 1930


To the Editor of The Times:

Will you kindly permit me to say, in reply to certain allegations of our Mormon apologist --

1. Did a Harvard professor really endorse the "philosophy of Mormonism? Small wonder, that. Has there been, these 50 years past, any heresy, scientific, theological, philosophical, or any other, but was sponsored by some Harvard professor? We all remember that a few years ago a Harvard professor startled the scientific world by announcing his conviction that man evolved from the lizard.

2. The statements of "Lord Kingsborough" or of any number of transient visitors to America cannot cancel the united testimony of [scores] of Protestant missionaries of life-long service, who found no distinctively Christian traditions among the Indians.

3. As to political conditions in Utah, the state was admitted into the Union by a Republican administration, after due dickering with Republican and Democratic politicians by the church authorities, and has been quite consistently Republican ever since. With 70 percent of its population pledged to obey the priesthood, and inured to accepting advice from the head of their church on all questions, religious, moral or civic, as being the will of God. Utah may and sometimes does elect a non-Mormon (or "Jack Mormon") to high office. Said Bishop Van Dyke at an evening service during a certain campaign, "We want you to feel absolutely free in your voting, but the will of the Lord has come to his peophet that we shall vote the Republican ticket. Who is there here who will be found fighting against God? Now, don't any of you think that the church has any idea of influencing you politically; I am just merely stating God's will." "I only had to wait," says the narrator, "a little while until God's will was fulfilled Eleven western states went Republican." To be sure.

4. As to morals, Mormonism still teaches polygamy as a human right, and has never yet acknowledged the constitutionality of our government's anti-polygamy laws. Even President (and prophet) Snow chose to "take his chances with the law."

5. Does the Book of Mormon "entice to do good?" If it did altogether, nevertheless, its danger lies in the fact that, like Mrs. Eddy's masterpiece, it is sent forth as a revelation of equal authority with the Bible, as being "the gospel of this age," But careful scrutiny shows one that, though purporting to have been written about 400 A. D., the latter parts of the book were composed to support the pretensions of Joseph Smith and the new priesthood which he founded. Its writers betray, not prophetic prescience, using language which oftentimes they did not understand, as was the case with the prophets of the Old Testament, but entire contemporary consciousness of 19th century conditions, and affirm just what Smith declared before he announced the delivery of the plates to him by Moroni. Again, large portions from the Psalms and from the Jewish prophets are quoted in the Book of Mormon, in particular a very large part of Isaiah, together with extracts from the Sermon on the Mount and many other passages from the New Testament. Now the peculiarity of these alleged quotations of the Bible by prophets who never saw an English Bible is this: that though alleged to have been independent translations by the power of God from the "reformed Egyptian" language -- no such language being known to Egyptologists -- there is not only general agreement, save in certain phrases evidently altered by an ignorant reviser, with King James' version, but whole verses and sections are given in the very words of our English Bible. If it be a translation, as alleged, of the Scriptures quoted from independent sources, this is the only instance known among all the many translations done of the Bible, in which such remarkable identity of verbage was achieved by two different translators ages apart. The conclusion of a reasoning mind is, that the "prophet Joseph Smith" had a Bible before him when pretending to dictate those portions to Cowdery, and was not translating but reading. Indeed, the conclusion is irresistable that at such times the curtain between the "seer, revelator and translator" was dispensed with, and that Cowdery copied as Smith directed. If in reply it be said that Smith was inspired to adopt King James' version, then that would make that version inspired, which was never claimed by its makers. That again shows the inconsistency of Smith in undertaking a new translation of the Bible for the "Saints."

6. The efforts to impeach the testimony of Dr. Anthon as to the warning he gave Martin Harris is futile. Dr. Anthon's two letters about the matter are still extant, and though dated seven years apart are in complete agreement with each other as to the facts. It is significant that all these three witnesses, who knew more about the origin of the Book of Mormon than anybody else besides Smith and Rigdon, died without retracting their testimony, [but] does not prove their testimony competent or conclusive, or even relevant to the question at issue. Both Rigdon and Harris at one time threatened to expose certain secrets of Mormonism. Harris was long afterwards hunted up by an agent of Brigham Young and furnished with money and spent his old age, well cared for, in Utah. In those days, when other means failed to subdue a recalcitrant "Saint," there were "Danites" ready to perform the sacred rite of "blood atonement." That meant cutting his throat over the grave in which he was to be buried, that his blood might pour into his last bed.

Wm. P. McCorkle.