Burlington Daily Times October 8, 1930


Open  Forum


Editor Burlington Times:

Will you kindly allow me to say a few things in concluding my discussion with Mr. Merrill. Unable to deny the correctness of my statement as to certain doctrines of his church which, in accordance with the directions of the "prophet Joseph Smith" (see Book of Doctrine and Covenants, Section 19, Paragraph 22,) he has been persistently holding back, he has cunningly sought to insinuate doubt as to my veracity and even as to my sanity. There is no need that I should defend myself on either score.... Nor have I quoted "many things that were not said." I have had good authority for every word...

AS to my quotation from the preface of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, as given by Kennedy, the following letter from the Librarian of Princeton Theological Seninary will speak for itself:

Rev. Wm. P. McCorkle,
Burlington, N. C.
Dear Sir:

In reply to yours of the 11th inst., I would say that we have the first edition of the Book of Mormon, Palmyra, 1830. In it on pages 3, 4 is the preface as Kennedy gives it on page 48 of his early days of Mormonism.

Sincerely yours,        
J. H. Dulles, Librarian.,  


As to Mormon doctrines, quotations from Mormon leaders, all but one were made from the official publications of the church.

As to my quotations from John D. Lee, Mr. Merrill seeks to break their force by intimating that the testimony of apostates is unreliable. His position, even if it were conceded that Lee was an apostate, is like that of a defendent's lawyer in a bootlegging or counterfeiting case, who seeks to impeach the testimony of a criminal who secures immunity by becoming a witness for the state. Under the law such testimony is admissable, if sufficiently corroborated. Lee's is corroborated by the church itself.

Lee was made a scape-goat for the church by Brigham Young and was executed by the government in 1877 for leading the force which perpetrated the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857.... The immediate provocation of this horrible massacre was the murder of Apostle Parley P. Pratt, who had lured Mrs. Hester McLean from her home and added her to his harem....

The [Lee book's] publisher's preface informs us that an effort was made to suppress the book, every available copy of the first edition being bought up, together with the stereotype plates. Fortunately two copies were saved, and a second edition was published by a patriotic society. Mormons, of course, pronounce the volume a forgery, or else deny its truthfulness on the ground that nothing said by an apostate is to be trusted. But some of my readers will see in his words, written the day before his death, a proof of his sincerity. "There is no hope," he wrote, "for the widow's son."

I may add Lee's testimony as to the time when polygamy was first practiced and taught in Nauvoo is corroborated by the date of the revelation as given in the official compilation...

In conclusion, I thank the Times for its generous allowance of space for this discussion.

Wm. P. McCorkle.