[From The Mormons by Gunnison, 1852]
Such then is the outward appearance of this separate people. But it is not enough in this enquiring age to portray merely their external condition, and the country they inhabit.
They claim to be "separate and peculiar " on higher and different grounds than worldly prosperity and human laws;-and those pretensions, with the consequent action, have called forth much vain and erroneous speculation, from not fully comprehending the principles which give rise to their conduct, in their relations to other communities and individuals. The pretension is, that they constitute the only true Church of God and His Son, and their hopes rest upon the expectation of the intervention soon of the King of Kings, by which, under the guidance of the Spirit, they shall gather to themselves individually, all who are destined and prepared to listen to the voice of Truth; and then all the sects of Christendom will be absorbed into that one most concentrated and most numerous.
When these two hosts are fairly marshalled, the one under the banner of the Pope of Rome, and " the saints " around the " Flag of all nations," " led by their Seer," wearing the consecrated breastplate, and flourishing the glittering golden sword of Laban, delivered him by angelic hands, from their long resting-place, then shall be fought the great battle, mystically called, of Gog and Magog :- the Lord contending for his people with fire, pestilence, and famine; and in the end, the earth Will become the property of the Saints, and He will descend from his heavenly throne to reign over them through a happy Millennium.
During the preparations for those battles, to be more fierce than man ever yet has fought, the Jews will be erecting another temple at the Palestine Jerusalem, on which their long-expected Savior will stand and exhibit Himself in the conquering brightness that they supposed he would bear at the first appearance, and their hearts will be bowed as one man to receive Him, with repentant humility for the past, and glorious joy for the future, and the city will rise in great magnificence;-and the New Israelites of America will have their head-quarters of the Presidency in Jackson County, Missouri, where they will build up the New Jerusalem, the joy of the whole earth; and, at the presence of the Lord of Majesty, the land which Claus divided" in the days of Noah into continents and islands, shall be " Benlak, quarried" and become one entirely as at the original creation, and from these two cities, villas and habitations shall extend in one continuous neighborhood, among which shall prevail entire concord: no one will have the disposition to rebel or be allowed to act against the harmony of the whole.
And there shall be " thrown up," between the two Jerusalems "the highway on which the lion hath not trod, and which the eagle's eye hath not seen "-then the temple described by Ezekiel will be erected in all its particulars for the exercise of the functions of the two priesthoods,-for the Aaronic held by the tribe of Levi, who will return to their duties and renew animal sacrifices; and for the Melchiscdek, the greater priesthood, held by those commissioned through Joseph the Seer.
At the end of the Millennium, those who have not been sincere in their obedience to the Lord's reign will be permitted to show their rebellious spirit a short time under the direction of their captain [Satan; and at last be overwhelmed with destruction from the presence of the good:- and the Earth, which is believed to be a creature of life, will be celestialized and gloriously beautified for the meek and pure in heart.
Such is a summary outline of their claims and expectations, but the preaching from the pulpit, and extempore teachings, are usually confined to the promulgation of doctrines like those commonly taught by the Christian sects which hold to Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Resurrection of the Body.
Their mode of conducting worship is to assemble at a particular hour, and the senior priest then indicates order by asking a blessing on the congregation and exercises-when a hymn from their own collection is sung, prayer made extempore, and another sacred song, followed by a sermon from some one previously appointed to preach; which is usually continued by exhortations and remarks from those who "feel moved upon to speak." Then notices of the arrangement of the tithe labor for the ensuing week, and information on all secular matters, interesting to them in a church capacity, is read by the council clerk, and the congregation dismissed by a benediction.
While the congregation is assembling and departing from the house, it is usual for the large and excellent band of music to perform anthems, marches, and waltzes, which drives away all sombre feelings, and prepares the mind for the exciting and often eloquent discourses. As there are a large number of Welsh in the meetings, and many of them not understanding the English language, a version of the principal discourse is sometimes made to them by an interpreter, and a Welsh choir will then exhilarate all present by singing one of their hymns, to one of their charming, wild, romantic airs.
We will now open up the view of their particular doctrines, first premising that what is here stated is drawn from the perusal of some of their accredited books, and heard in their pulpit preaching-or obtained in free conversation with their well instructed and principal men. Nor would I, in the least, wish to misrepresent the doctrines themselves, or abuse any confidence of the friends, whom I feel justified to call such, among them' on account of their kindness, oftentimes shown in circumstances to be appreciated. Many points wore elicited by direct interrogation, and others obtained from the oral discourses on the preacher's stand-and as it was a common thing for the speakers, when not of the Presidency, to appeal to their superiors, who sat behind them to correct any thing mistaken for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, through their mouths; all such doctrines we suppose to be adopted as true which were suffered to go unrebuked. That most of this exposition is the constant subject of teaching, we by no means affirm - as in all Christian sects, it is seldom that abstruse themes are discussed before a promiscuous audience - the principal part of this theology is the "strong meat" reserved for those who have been fed on the milk of weaker members.
We first introduce an article taken from the paper called the Frontier Guardian, edited by Orson Hyde, of the Apostolic College, and I believe at the head of it, giving the faith of the Latter-Day Saints.