logo Manx Press's reaction to Mormon Mission


This page is a companion page to those covering the Mormon mission and the various converts. The Manx Press of the period is covered elsewhere.

Quotes from Manx Newspapers

I have transcribed these fully so as to indicate the antagonism induced in a least one newspaper. Evans has two quotes from the Manx Liberal - these early reports are non antagonistic and report the early lectures in a non judgmental manner. This paper also carried an extended article by John Taylor countering the pamphlets published by the Methodists (unfortunately it would appear that no copies of these pamphlets have survived). The Manx Sun's editor was Robert Faragher - a noted abstinence advocate and radical Methodist - it would appear that once he decided the Mormon's were not Christian they should be attacked and he was unflagging in his opposition. Fairly soon afterwards the other papers, including the Manx Liberal, followed suit.

The first mention in the Manx Press was however a report lifted from the Preston Pilot which appeared in the Manx Liberal in 1838, followed, a week or later, by a description of the Mormon faith after which nothing else appears until Taylor arrives.

Manx Liberal 1838


There was an exhibition made at the town Jail, Preston, on Wednesday week, and which supported by such a series of indisputable facts, as must have made many persons ask themselves the question,— Are the actors in such abominable fooleries to be considered accountable beings ? And if so, should not the laws be enforced to prevent a repetition of practices which are stamped with villainy and delusion in their front ? Let us, however, present the reader with the facts. On Wednesday last, a fellow who calls himself Waller Richards, and arrogates the title of being an elder of the sect called Mormorites, or Latter-Day Saints, along with a woman named Ann Dawson, of Pole-street, who was charged before the magistrates with killing and slaying a young woman, named Alice Hodgson, daughter of the defendant, Dawson. It appeared that the de ceased had been confined in childbirth, on which occasion she was attended by Mr Spencer, surgeon, and that whilst under his judicious treatment she made the most favourable approaches to a perfect recovery of health and strength. This happy consummation was, however, doomed to be frustrated, by the interference of a rascally system of fraud and folly being practised upon the poor creature ; for the medical gentleman was desired to discontinue his visits, and the further use of medicine also prohibited The deceived dupe was thus enjoined by the two accused persons to entirely to rely on the treatment which they would adopt for her recovery. Well, the stupid system as then commenced and it consisted in rubbing the body of the poor creature with rum, and giving her tea, made of what ? —Cayanne pepper at out, time, and ginger at another.

The criminal absurdities, however, were not allowed to rest here ; she as next impressed with the notion that these applications were mere secondary agents, and that the prime restorative agent was unlimited faith—but in what ? Not the Omnipotent Being, who can slay and make alive again ;bring down to the grave, and by His all—all merciful goodness, raise the enfeebled frame of man to enjoy again the blessings of health and strength .

No, He that is all good to hear, and almighty to save, was disregarded and forgotten, and the virtue of healing was to be obtained from—we blush to name the blasphemous profanation—the walking stick of the elder ! !

The virtue of healing, he said, had been found to exist in the garments of St. Paul, and, therefore, it was a1 concealed in the elder’s walking stick. The silly woman them absolutely had the stick put into her bed, and in an abandonment of reason and common sense, she persuaded herself to expect a benefit from pressing it with her hands This was the system which the elder enjoined, and which the worse than idolatrous devotee was weak enough to put in practice. We need not say what was the melancholy result, for who that is possessed of any share of penetration but must have already anticipated it ? She survived for rather more than a fortnight, and then death drew thee curtain over the deceit, but must at the same moment have awakened her to an awful conviction of the guilt of the deceivers.— We shall not further dwell on this most humiliating prostration of human intellect at the shrine of ignorance —neither shall we waste the time of the reader by pouring out indignant denunciations on the knaves who propagate these absurdities, but simply dismiss the subject by saying that the facts stated in evidence did not seem to warrant a conviction on the serious charge alleged against the defendants, and consequently the elder and his silly convert were allowed to he discharged. The inquiry. lasted no more than an hour, and the hall was thronged during the whole time. The Mormorite elder, Richards is from America, is a goodlooking fellow enough, and may be seen walking in the street with his talismanic walking stick. We understand he forbids his dupes the use of snuff or tobacco, and requires the money so saved, to he transmitted to Zion—a district which one may better conceive than safely describe.

- Preston Pilot


Manx Liberal Oct 10 1840

Extended report of the first lecture

Manx Liberal Oct 17 1840

Letter by John Taylor in which he starts a public reply to Mr Heys's initial pamphlet; also refers to attacks by Dr Carpenter, evangelical minister at St Barnabas. He also refers to Solomon Spaulding in this letter - presumably in reply to points raised by Mr Heys.

Address to the members of the Wesleyan Societies and Congregations in Douglas and its vicinity on the subject of Mormonism


I certainly was at the first a little surprised at the malignant attacks made upon me by ministers of the Methodist order


Manx Liberal Oct 31 1840

Contained two letters - one by a worried Methodist intended to 'name and shame'


"Sir, I feel rather surprised and chagrined that the modern delusion, viz., 'Mormonism,' should have made such rapid strides in this town, hitherto considered exempt from the many systems of irreligious creeds which abound in England, America, and elsewhere. I had thought that the powerful and argumentative addresses of the dissenting ministers would have checked such a gross piece of imposition in its infancy, and thus prevented the great mass of our town's people from becoming dupes of designing knaves, 'and being led away by every wind of doctrine.' Above all, I imagined that the two pamphlets issued by that holy, religious and devout man of God, Mr. Hays, Wesleyan minister (to which connection I have the happiness and honor to belong) would have been quite sufficient to prove the fallacy of such a system, and prevent Its further spread. But, sir, alas the case is quite the reverse; numbers continually flock to the Wellington Rooms, and listen with eagerness to the principles there advocated. The members of our society [Methodists] seem to be most conspicuous in sanctioning and promoting this vile and abominable doctrine. "Oh, sir, the result to our connection will be dreadful; the havoc tremendous. Just think of the majority of our leading and intelligent men aiding and abetting a cause of this description! Oh, sir, lamentable and heart-rending to witness the beaming countenances, and smiles of approbation displayed recently at Taylor's meeting!

I could enumerate a host of our members who regularly attend those anti-Christian meetings. - A Lethwaite, J Cottier watchmaker, G Qiggan joiner, J Hales tailor, T Kerruish hatter, J Curphey, sen, tailor, J Cannell hatter, J Cowle joiner , Elison sadler and J Cretney hitherto considered one of our most strict adherents.

Oh Mr Editor such a wholesale conversion to Mormonism was never matched before in any town or country. What will become of our Society, what will become of our society meetings.
And above all what will become of poor Mr Heys, that nice and humble man who so nobly stood forward to expose the errors of the Mormon system, God bless him and preserve him from want.
But Mr Editor, what made the case worse, is a rumour is prevailed that all these pious men are about to be baptised i.e. duly immersed in the salt water of Douglas Bay by that abominable creature, Taylor. Surely there must be something enchanting about the vile man.
!Immersion! my hand shakes while I write, and in winter too! Oh Sir the thought chills my very soul! Surely the American dipper intends to drown them"

The second was a 3½ column reply by John Taylor to the 2nd address of Mr Heys


The Manx Sun seemed to have been the one that noted the activities, reporting each instance with disparaging remarks.

Manx Sun November ?? 1840

Reprinted letter re 'Origins of Book of Mormon' TBC

Manx Liberal Dec 5 1840

[this editorial obviously gave the editor chance to have a go in the same paragraph both at the Mormons and the Irish (neither generally held in high regard by the Manx at that period) - The tinsmith was A Mills - a John Mills is reported as being appointed church clerk in Dec 1840 and who emigrated in April 1841 - does not appear that they were related although the names Mills (non-Manx) was relatively uncommon]

A certain tinman of this town, who a few weeks ago was regularly initiated into the mysteries of the Mormon faith by baptism and the imposition of hands, and who fancies he has received the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost; after being constituted an apostle of Mormonism by obtaining sight of the wonderful plates in a vision - the only way in which they ever were, or ever can be seen by mortals - has been put in possession of miraculous powers - he can speak with tongues, and can even interpret the hitherto unintelligible sounds produced by his hammer on the plates of tin. From the great facility with which he can translate the newly discovered language of these jingling oracles, it is though the will soon succeed in producing another bible, vastly superior to that reported to have been scribed on the plates of brass. He has also been favoured with another vision, in which it is distinctly revealed to him, that having baptised his parents, he must go to his native Isle, and preach the gospel according to Joe Smith, in the county of Tipperary, where he shall suffer martyrdom - that after his death, the sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle shall repent of their wickedness, and loudly lament the untimely death of their apostle - that, then St. Patrick shall cease to be held in veneration, and he (the tinman) in all future ages, shall be revered as the true saint of Ireland.

Manx Liberal Dec 12 1840

[It is difficult not to smile at the editor's joy in receiving such a letter in reply]

Sir - Will you permit me a small space in your paper to say a few words in reference to the things told you by some wicked people about the miraculous visitation I received lately, since I became a member of the church of Latter-day saints. Now, in the first statement in your paper a few weeks ago, there was no less than three or four lies. In the first place, I was not mending an old tea-pot, but lying on my bed, whether sleeping or waking I know not, pondering on the Book of Mormon, and debating whether it was true or not. While thus musing I was carried by angels to the top of an exceeding high mountain, not Snafield or Slieu Donard, as stated in your paper, but to the best of my belief to the "utmost bound of the everlasting hills." The mountain opened, and one of the the angels brought me into the inside of it, and showed me the plates which were of gold, about as long as from the elbow to the wrist, and something more than the length of the hand in thickness. The letters were cut into the plates, not raised; but I did not know the characters nor understand them. The angel read them to me. I was terribly frightened, and my hair stood on end.

On the occasion of the second vision, an angel appeared unto me, when I was also in bed, and told me that I had found favour in the sight of God, and that I was to be a minister of the everlasting Gospel in my native country, and the part I was to go in was the county of Tipperary; but I was not to suffer martyrdom, as you were informed. I have got the gift of tongues and can talk unknown languages, but I do not understand what I say, nor can any one tell me, as no person in our society has got the gift of interpretation of tongues yet. I cannot tell what the hammer says upon the plates of tin, but it does speak. I am not going to make a new Bible as wicked people say, but I hope they will read and obey the old one, and also the Book of Mormon.

Now I know that wicked people make fun of us for saying that miracles are working now; but let them say what they will it is true. To prove it, I will tell you that the holy man of God who first preached our principle in Douglas was some time ago in want of wherewith to get a meal's meat ; so that he knelt down and prayed, and while he was praying a letter came into the room to him containing a sovereign. Is this not a miracle? Verily yes. Another miracle was :- On Sunday night last, one of our members whose house is blessed by being the residence of the holy man of God who preaches the gospel to us, went to bed without having a grain of flour in the house, and when he came down on Monday morning there were six sacks, which were bought without the knowledge of any one in the house. So it is a great shame for wicked people to tell lies upon us and make fun of us, so it is. I hope you will put this letter in your paper though I am sorry to give you so much trouble, and excuse your obedient servant.

Douglas, Dec. 10, 1840. The Tinman

Mona's Herald Jan 20 1841

The "Saturday Saints" again

This imposition appears to be gaining ground, at least so far as the number of converts (if we may so prostitute the word) is concerned; though we have not heard of one individual going through the ridiculous, nay, blasphemous, proceeding enjoined by the leaders of the gang, whose opinion is of the slightest moment, or who is possessed of intellect sufficient to perceive the distinction between the sublime truths of the Bible and the infamous and palpable forgery of the Book of Mormon. On Thursday last, several persons went through the ceremony of immersion in the sea, in open defiance of every principle of self-preservation, and directly tempting the goodness of Providence in thus hazarding their lives. On Sunday these deluded mortals, among whom were some children, partook of the sacrament and received the "imposition (how appropriate is the word to the practices of the preacher) of hands" blasphemously said to impart the gift of the Holy Ghost. The "apostle" who officiate quoted several isolated passages of Scripture, most of them quite irrelevant, which he twined and twisted to make them appear to sanction his proceedings; merely proving the words of Burns-

"E'en ministers there ha'e been ken'd
In holy rapture
A rousing shid at times to vend,
And nail't wi' Scriptue

One of the newly-appointed ministers who pretends to have received several of the "gifts" (for, be it known unto all men, the members of the Mormon church possess similar gifts to those possessed by the primitive apostles,) chanced to enter the house of a woman in Barrack Street, whose child was ill, and immediately the inspired worker in tin commenced to work a miracle, and to heal the child. Unfortunately, however, for the modern evangelist, his "virtue had departed out of him", and, though "the flesh was willing, the spirit was weak;" and after many fruitless efforts and unavailing prayers, he was at last obliged to confess that he was that night without the miracle-working power. On his departure the mother used natural means for the recovery of of her child, applying the natural remedies in such cases which had an immediate effect in relieving the sufferer. But mark the vilany and duplicity of Mormonism, a day or two afterwards, the apostle of the Irish, that is to be, and future titular saint of the Emerald Isle, called again to see the child, and, upon being told it was recovering, instantly laid a claim to the merit of having wrought a miracle on its behalf, which, after what had previously passed, so enraged the mother, that she drubbed the unlucky possessor of the gift of healing" out of the house. If after this, people will be duped by such plain and palpable false-hoods, why, let them; we can only say it would be for the welfare of the country if all such fanatical assess were exported to the "farthest bounds of the everlasting hills" in the swamps of Missouri with as little delay as possible, for they are not fit for the society of civilized and intellectual beings.

Since the above was in type, we have learnt that an elderly woman, residing in the neighborhood of this office, who lately subjected herself to the perils of immersion in the ocean at this inclement season, paid yesterday afternoon, the forfeit of her temerity with her life. It is worthy of remark that during her illness, the unfortunate women would hold no intercourse with the Mormon ministers, by whom she had been so cruelly deluded, but sent instead for a clergyman of the Church of England, from whose lips she received consolation in her dying hour. We trust this will be a sufficient warning against others exposing themselves to the risk of experiencing a similar fate, and. also that it will show the votaries of this delusive system the frail reed on which they lean when the hour of dissolution draws nigh.


Manx Sun January 29th 1841

One of the late converts to the Mormon Humbug expired on Tuesday, probably from the winter immersion in the sea, for she was an aged woman of 65. The priests of this monstrous absurdity should be made aware that they will be held responsible for fatal casualties which may arise from their deluding the unwary, infirm and ailing, to a winter immersion in the sea. We believe that they would incur the penalty of Manslaughter, and most richly would they deserve the utmost severity of the penalty.

Manx Liberal Feb 6 1841


We are sorry to learn that the vagabond pismire. who have been but too successful in deluding a good many silly people and actually inducing some of them to sell their little properties in furtherance of the " Latter-day" or "mormonist" swindle, are still prowling about our island. It is truly pitiable to think that there are no small number of people so exceedingly credulous, as to allow themselves to be led astray, by the nostrums of a delusion, n wickedness and absurdity, unparalelled in modern times. We nave heard of two or three country people w o possessed properties worth from £500 to £700, who have actually sold them for the purpose of placing the money at the disposal of Joseph Smith & Co., and setting out forthwith to the " New Jerusalem" in the slave holding state of Missouri, in America, where the "everlasting hills" are represented to be situated ! One of them, however, on its appearing to be necessary that he should lodge the money, in Liverpool, previous to taking his final departure, not in his own name, but in that. of Joseph Smith, rued the bargain, and refused to proceed further in the matter : another we have heard was indisposed, and out of conceit with the affair ; so that happily some £1,200 at least, have been rescued from the grasp of these itinerating knaves In one district of this island, understand that a whole community, some years ago belonging to the Methodist connexion, have been converted to " Latter day Saintship" and have joined the scheme. We shall f feel obliged to our country correspondents for all the information they can send us relative to the proceedings of these heartless wretches for we shall make a poi t of duty to expose the imposture, verily believing, a id which we advisedly assert, that the whole scheme is neither mere nor less than an emigration swindle," and that the farrago of absurd nonsense oracularly held forth under the cloak of religion, and with which the cunning rogues seek to envelope their designs, is only made pretext the better to lull and allow them with more impunity to propagate a system, the object of which is the robbery and spoliation of credulous and ignorant people. Talk indeed of the Poyaise, or Musquito Company of Swindlers—they are mere moonshine, in villainy, at least, compared with the designs of Smith and the harpies in confederacy with him now going to and fro seeking whom they may deceive and devour.

Mona's Herald April 1841

MORMONISM.- Last week we received a fie of American papers, and last night's mail brought us another file, for which we are indebted to kind attention of our old friend Mr. D.H. Davidson, late of this Island; these papers contain, from the most authentic soures, such a picture of Joe. Smith and the other vagabond impostures associated with him, as we have rarely see exhibited of any individual, and, we next week intend to devote considerable space to the most important matters relating to the "Mormon Swindle."


A Mormonite Miracle

To the Editor of Mona's Herald

Sir-Will you have the kindness to insert in your paper the following refutation of what has been asserted by the Mormonites, who claim to have received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, after they have gone through the ceremony of "dipping" or baptising their dupes? They say that I am a living witness that they possess the power to heal the sick; for when I was recently dangerously ill if fever, they removed the disease and restored me instantaneously to health, so that I was able to work the next day. They, moreover, with characteristic audacity, charge me with ingratitude and unbelief, because I have not joined their body, after receiving so much benefit from them!

The facts are simply these, I was, indeed, very ill, and regularly attended by a medical man, none of the Mormonites visited me, and from them I received no benefits whatsoever. After the fever began to abate, I was for many days so weak that I could not walk, and for nearly three weeks unable to resume my employment. In confirmation of what I here state, I add the certificate of Mr. Greer, the surgeon who attended me.

"I hereby certify that I attended Thomas Moore, shoemaker, residing in Duke Street, Douglas, who was dangerously ill of a fever, and that under Divine Providence he was restored to health, solely by the medical treatment prescribed by me.

William Greer, M.R.C.S.L. Athol-street, Douglas, March 30, 1841"

I wish you to publish this to show, that these fanatics pretend to have done for me is utterly false, and to warn the people from being misled by a system of gross delusion, fanaticism, and imposition, which is supported only by low cunning and lies! and if such falsehoods are reported regarding what is said to be done here, I would ask any reasonable man what credit ought to be given to the lying wonders said to be done by them elsewhere? I am Sir, your obedient servant, Thomas Moore April 3, 1841

A second letter was the following, somewhat scurrilous 'poem'.

Mormonites' Address to the Manxies

A New 'Saturday Saint' Song
To be said or sung, but not in pot-houses
Air,-The Hills O' Gowrie.

Hear, oh, ye undipt wretches, hear,
If ye in glory would appear -
If ye be saved, ye must revere
The saints of the Missouri

We o'er the broad Atlantic came,
The new glad tidings to proclaim;
Hence none but infidels would blame
The saints of the Misouri

Even Satan, centuries ago,
For proselyts went to and fro!
Thwn why not Miser Smith and co.
The saints of the Missouri

Though last forsooth, we are not least,
Nor did the heroes of the East
So much to crush the Seven-horned Beast
As we of the Missouri

With nerves as tough as cobbler's wax
We nobly faced and floored the quacks,
Who lately made such sore attacks
On us, of the Missouri

The golen bible is our theme,
Which more than gold we do esteem (?)
'Twas given by the Great Supreme (?)
To us of the Missouri

Alas! we're persecute more
Than were the far-famed saints of yore,
for telling things not known before
Revealed near the Missouri

We tell what we were only told,
Was lately found on plates of gold,-
Interpreted by Smith and sold
By us of the Missouri

'Tis strange! but then it was decreed
None should the hierogliphes read
But St. Joe Smith, who takes the lead
Of us at the Missouri

We know (though some may think it droll)
What constitutes the human soul,
And how to make it whole,
First known at the Missouri

The human soul consists of three
Grains of pure phosphorous; thus you see
The basis of theology
On the banks of the Missouri

We toll not, neither do we spin!
We live by taking sinners in,
And dipping them right o'er the chin
To fit them for Missouri

None of the wild red Indian race
Shall enter the celestial place,--
Nor blacks, nor esquinaux disgrace
The church of the Missouri

Then leave yor spurious guides behind,
They're but blind leaders of the blind,--
All are deceivers of Mankind!
Save us, of the Missouri

Mammon ad Mormon, then, agree
With grace;- these homogeneous three,
Form a terestrial trinity,
On the banks of the Missouri

Haste to the everlasting hills,
Where safe from sin and human ills,
We'll smoke cigars, and dance quadrilles,
On the banks of the Missouri

The land where milk and hone flow!
And saints like shrubs "spontaneous grow!"
Hurrah, for Joey Smith and Co.!
The saints of the Missouri

March 1841 Tickler


Mona's Herald May 1841

A Mormon Miracle - A few weeks ago, one of the Mormon converts attempted to perform a Miraculous Cure, on a young man named Christian, an apprentice to Mr Burns, the morman draper of this town; the attempt, however, signally failed, Nothing daunted at this, the mormon high-priest himself was sent for, and actually had the effrontery to ask the young man's father (Mr Silas Christian, of Kirk Andreas,) if he had any objections to allow a miracle to be performed on his son? - Mr. C. of course answered in the affirmative, shrewdly observing "Yes!-anything in the name of the Lord!" This attempt, however, was equally unsuccessful; and the young man, we regret to say, expired a few days ago. But mark the consumate assurance of these brazen faced impostures: they now hesitate not to declare that the young man's death was occasioned in consequence of his being attended by a medical man! Indeed, nothing appears too monstrous or vile, for these worthless pretenders to be guilty of.


Manx Sun June 6th 1841

Mormon Miracles.- We have been favoured with the perusal of a letter from Mr James Quilliam, late of Baldwin, in this Island, dated Westfield, Chautaugue county, State of New York, April 12 1841, addressed to Mr. Daniel Cain, Ballagrawne, Marown. In that letter there is along account of the doings of the Mormon priests in that part of the Union; not far from the place where Joe Smith said he found the golden plates. He expresses the greatest surprise that the emmisaries of that arch imposter should have met with any success in the Isle of man; and after detailing at great length the progress of the delusion in America, the main features of which are already familiar to most of our readers - relates the following anecdote regarding their absurd pretensions to the miraculous gifts of unknown tongues and the performing miracles:- he states that in the neighbourhood of Freedonia, 16 miles from the place he lives, they undertook to raise a man from the dead; a vast crowd, as a matter of course, congregated to witness the miracle,-but a little before the time appointed for this achievement, a man stept forward out of the crowd with a sword in his hand and addressing Joseph Smith, said "now Mr Smith of course it will be all the same thing to you, I will just cut off the head of the corpse;" when, lo and behold! the dead man sprang up out of the coffin, and made off at full speed! Another time Joe had a great meeting in a barn to exhibit the gifts of the unknown tongues - whereon this occasion, a man went in out of mere curiosity and began to utter some absurd gibberish - Joe remarked "that man is high in grace, and will become a great man in the church". The man answered "you are mistaken this time at least, that which I gave utterance to was no language at all," Smith characteristically replied, " the Lord is not with me to-day - there are persecutors crept into the church." Numerous tricks of this sort were attempted- till at last the sect had to leave that part of the country and fled to Ohio; not before Smith prophesised that the place would be deluged in blood in less than five years.; more than six, Mr Quilliam however says, have since elapsed, "and yet we live in peace." He concludes by describing the sufferings and hardships many of the converts have been subjected to, in attempting a journey of 5,000 miles, to the "Swamps of Illinois" i.e. the New Jerusalem. He describes the whole scheme as a vile fraud,- and cautions his countrymen to have no fellowship with the propagators of the imposture. - Mona's Herald (italics as in original)

Manx Liberal November 27th 1841


Manx Sun March 5th 1842

A Mormon dipping match was to have come off on the sands on Monday evening last, when some 'gulls' from Onchan village were to have breached the billows. Father Ocean, having we suspect an angry frown, and Aeolus blew such terrible blasts that the did did not take place.

Ought not the scoundrels who project the wretched delusion to be whipped as "rogues and vagabonds". Did Castle Rushen boast of a penal establishment, a score or two of active fellows would be more usefully employed at the tread mill, or picking oakham, than preaching lies to the ignorant and building a religious sect on the pretended revelations of Joes Smith.

Manx Sun June 6th 1844

150 Mormons who left Liverpool on the ship 'Glasgow' 18th March reached St Louis to travel to Nauvoo where they had been preceeded a few days by an equal number of dupes.

The St Louis Republic gives an account of disturbances at Nauvoo on 26 April in which a person named Forster drew a pistol and threatened the life of Holy Joe the mormon prophet. The influence of this later is said to be in decline. Probably the dupes are beginning to find him out.


 [Genealogy Index]


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001