[From The Mormons by Gunnison, 1852]
OF the introduction of sin, and rise and progress of Satan, we have heard this account given and " proved by their scriptures."
After Adam had fallen from his first estates a council was held in Heaven, and all the members were present. Among them was He who is emphatically called The Son, and likewise Lucifer, the elder brother, the Son of the Morning, the bright star in glory, and leader of heavenly hosts. The proposition was laid before the council " how man should be saved or redeemed from the state of evil"and each one called upon to give his method of salvation. When Lucifer was appealed to, he declared that "he would save him in his sins"but Christ answered, "I will save him from his sins."
The latter was deemed the true way by the Father, and accepted; whereupon the Son of the Morning took offence and rebelled, with the legions he managed to corrupt, and was therefore cast out of the planetary abode of the Father, and became the great leader of evil spirits, under the name of Satanbut he brought with him many of the noble qualities he ever possessed is still Milton's " Archangel ruined and a perfect gentleman."
All the meaner temptations and evil arts are practised only by the baser sort of imps, hence some people are very uncharitable in charging all blame upon the " head devil," as they often call him.
The idea they entertain of the personal agency of this "fistic gentleman," may be gathered from the anecdotes rife among thorn of his doings with Sidney Rigdon, who, from being the next in rank to the prophet Joseph, apostatised, through the love of good cheer, and ambition to be head. He had received a great many visits from his angel' as he supposed, and many revelationsbut one night while asleep, he was aroused by so mighty a shake, that he was made aware that no ordinary hand was upon him. Indeed' his satanic majesty was fully confessed, for he proceeded to tilt up the bed and handle Sidney most roughly; and then, taking him by the legs, trundled him down the stairs as one would drag a wheelbarrow behind him, without mercy upon the grey head as it thumped every step; and, finally, landing the sufferer in the street, disappeared " like smoke." This treatment was repeated several times, but 'twere of no use to suggest that some human agency, in the shape of a lusty Mormon, had a hand in the workfor they took the precaution to inquire the color of the hair, the cast of countenance, and other unmistakable marks, by which Joseph had taught them to detect the real Beelzebub, whenever he appeared as an angel of light, or in propria persona.
This is not the ancient gift, whereby one addressing a people speaking a different language from himself, was enabled to talk in their own words. It is, that persons among themselves, in their enthusiastic meetings, shall be " moved by the spirit" to utter any set of sounds in imitation of words, and, it may be, words belonging to some Indian or other language. The speaker is to know nothing of the ideas expressed, but another, with the "gift of interpretation of tongues," can explain to the astonished audience all that has been said. Any sounds, of course then are a language known to the Lord. If one feels a desire to speak, and has difficulty to bring forth the thoughts of his heart, or what the spirit is about to reveal through him, he must " rise on his feet, lean in faith on 'Christ, and open his lips, utter a song in such cadence as he chooses, and the spirit of the Lord will give an interpreter, and Drake it a language."
Their peculiar notions of this cannot be appreciated without knowing their views of the Restoration or restitution of all things spoken of by Isaiah. When God created the living earth, he gave the command that the waters gather to one place, and the dry land appear; and hence it is inferred that "there was one vast ocean, rolling around one immense body of land, unbroken as to continents and islands; it was one beautiful plain, interspersed with gently rising hills and sloping vales; its climate delightfully varied with heat and cold, wet and dry, crowning the year with productions grateful to men and animals; "while from the flowery plain or spicy grove sweet odors were wafted on every breeze, and all the vast creation of animated being breathed naught but health, peace, and joy."*[Voice of warning.] Over this creation, residing in a well-watered and delicious garden, "Man reigned, and talked face to face with the Supreme, with only a dimming veil between."
But Adam fell, and the earth partook of the curse that followed' end in pain and sorrow sympathised with the disobedient pair, under its load of thorns and thistlesand sin accumulated its guilty deeds in the actions of men, until the Lord comes out in vengeance and cleanses all by water. After the Noachian deluge, in the days of Peleg, " the earth was divided." Not among families was the surface distributedbut a mighty revolution that brought the sea from its place in the north, to interpose between portions of the land rent asunder; and earthquakes and commotions have since separated it into islands and fragments.
The American continent, as the Book of Mormon informs, was shaken to its foundation at the time of the crucifixion; and cities, towns, mountains, and lakes, buried and formed when "the earth writhed in the convulsive throes of agonising nature."
Men have degenerated since then as well as the earth;the ancients were worthy to converse with the Lord and angels, and lessons given " to enlarge the heart and expand the soul to its utrnost capacity"far above the smattering of the present worldly wisdom.
But the restoration of all things is at hand; for " he shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution of all things "and " the voice of one crying in the wildernessEvery valley shall be exalted and every hill be made low,and mighty revolutions shall begin to restore the face of the earth to its former beauty." (See Voice of Warning.)
In Rev. vi. we find, "every island and mountain were moved out of their places;" in Isaiah, that "the earth shall move out of her place and be like a chased roe "but after that, "thou shalt no more be termed forsaken, neither shalt thy land any more be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hepzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee and thy land shall be married." And from the whole and varied scriptures, we learn that the continents and islands shall be united in one, as they were in the morn of creation, and the sea shall retire and assemble in its own place as before; and all these scenes shall take place, about the time of the coming of the Lord." The earth restored, and the inhabitants purified, both man and beast, so that they hurt not, nor destroyand the knowledge of the Lord covering the earth, as the waters the sea," then comes the first resurrection of the body, to reign on this delightful paradise with the Savior a thousand years.
The peculiarity of this resurrection consists in this; the body is the same as before, " except the blood." That will be left out. The Apostle Pratt (from whom we have been quoting,) says that Jesus was the exact pattern of our resurrection. "And Jesus (Christ came forth triumphant from the mansions of the dead, possessing the same body which had been born of a woman, which was crucified; but no blood flowed in his veins; for blood was the natural life in which were the principles of mortality; and a man restored to flesh and blood would be mortal, which was not the case with our Savior:" and he was substantial, for he told his disciples to handle him and know that he had "Flesh and bones; " which will be the constitution of all resurrected bodies.
All the seed of Israel are to be raised from the dead, and brought to the land of Judea; the saints of other peoples, gathered to the fair American division, and the Zion by one, and new Jerusalem by the other saints, will be built with fine stones, and the beauty of all precious things.
One more change only will be necessary to fit the earth for man's eternal inheritance, which will take place at the end of the thousand years, the great Sabbath of rest and enjoyment. The earth will be celestialized through the baptism of firethe two cities will be caught up, literally, into heaven, to descend with the Lord God for its light and its temple, and remain for ever on the " new earth " under the bright canopy of the new heavens. "
There is something ingenious, as well as fanciful, in the method of determining prophetic time. For want of the true key, the commentators have hitherto failed in their interpretations of days and years, and the time for the fulfilment of foretold events.
Now God, our Father, dwells on his planet (Kolob) and measures time by its revolutions; one of those revolutions begins awl terminates a day, which is equal to one thousand of our years; the authority for which will readily occur to any Sabbath-school scholar or scripture reader*.
Being finite, he employs agents to bring and communicate information through his worlds; and all the material agents of light, electricity, and sound, or attributes, are employed in this thing. When an angel is commissioned a messenger to earth, he is taken from the chief planet perhaps, or quite as likely, from some other that circles around it. But an angel in speaking of the time of events, would of course speak of the days and years, or weeks, that are measured by the revolution of his own abode.
These angels are sent to the Seer to communicate what pertains to the interest or the government of the church, or the orders for individuals to act under the direction of the Seer, as missionaries or otherwise. These communications are registered, to be promulgated at the proper moment, according as the members can bear them, for many "would be offended and turn back" if the whole truth was "dashed down in a mass before them."
Individuals receive revelations regarding their own matters, on proper subjects; these are to be obtained "by prayer in mighty faith," but only when natural sagacity, improved by diligence and study, would fail to suggest the desired information, or point out the required course of action;where God has appointed means, he will not work by miracles.
At baptism the true believer may ask in faith for some particular "spirit," as, for instance, the spirit whereby one can perceive between true and false doctrines; and intuitively divine it when propounded by those who have the authority to speak, yet may have become darkened through unbelief or evil practice, or brought to them by "the false and seducing spirits," which are to abound in the last days, and such a spirit will be given them to guide and direct.
These attendant angels, however, cannot prevent the approach and insinuations of evil spirits, and thus the two kinds are on the right hand and on the leftwhich accounts for the crooked paths some pretty good men among them often mark out.
It is stoutly maintained that the priesthood is necessary to the being, as well as the perfection of a church; and so long as the Moronic branch is not exercised by the tribe of Levi through unbelief, their Melchisedek order being the greater, have the right to officiate in the lesser offices, and will do so when the proper temple is built; that is, in the animal sacrifices for daily sins of the people. The priestly order receives tithes of all one possesses on entering the church; and the members pay a tenth of all income, and devote a tenth part of their time to the temple and other public worlds, ever after.
The bishops have charge of the tithe labor, and receive the contributions (or a commutation for labor and produce,) and put the proceeds of industry in the public store-houses; in fine' this order of priests have charge of the temporal matters under the direction of the Presidency.
The hierarchy of the Mormon Church has many grades of offices and grades. The first is the Presidency of three persons, which, we were led to understand, answered or corresponded to the Trinity in Heaven, but more particularly to Peter, James, and John, the first presidents of the gospel church.
Next in order is the travelling High Apostolic College of twelve apostles, after the primitive church model, who have the right to preside over the stakes in any foreign country, according to seniority; then the high-priestspriests, elders, bishops, teachers, and deaconstogether with evangelists or missionaries of the " three seventies." Each order constitutes a full quorum for the discipline of its members, and transacting business belonging to its action; but appeals lie to higher orders' and the whole church is the final appellate court assembled in general council.
Their Prophets arise out of every grade, and a Patriarch resides at head quarters to bless particular members, after the manner of Jacob and his sons, and that of Israel towards Esau and his brother.
A High Council is selected out of the high-priests, and consists of twelve members, which is in perpetual session to advise the Presidency; in which each is free to give and argue his opinion. The President sums up the matter and gives the decision, perhaps in opposition to a great majority, but to which all must yield implicit obedience; and probably there has never been known, under the present head, a dissent when the Lawful nod" has been given, for it is the " stamp of fate and sanction of a god."
This council is eye, ear, and hand to the Presidentthe members are the spies over all matters in the field or the temple, in the social party or the domestic circle. Is any novel opinion broached in conversation, it is brought before the council by any member cognizant of, or who has heard of it, and measures are taken to ferret it out, that the man who uttered it, if he is not sound to the core, may be marked and pounced upon before he is even aware that he is suspected. No wonder that many among them, who are not well advised of the means of acquiring the knowledge, wonder that Brigham is so well "posted up " in what rite relates to the private history of the numerous persons around him.
In the early arrangement of the affairs of the Mormon church, and when they were accused of raising up a society and people to be governed independent of the statethere was inserted in the Book of Covenants, the following item of belief: "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered, and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied."
Yet it is taught that the priesthood is supreme in the state not in the sense that all human law springs from the standard of right and wrong contained in the revealed word of God, but that this order has the control of the state, and ought to make the civil regulations, because it receives revelations from day to day, and can therefore keep both the temporal and spiritual from clashing, and fulfil the scripture that " the officers shall be peace and exactors righteousness." And in the selection of officers by ballot, the elective franchise is made subservient to a vote for the nominee of the Presidency.
It was related to us in conversation that a delegate was chosen and commissioned for Congress, at a time when it was desirable that he should start suddenly for the seat of government; and that the people were summoned to vote when he was far on the way to the stateshis credentials either in his pocket, or sent to him by mail afterward.
They gloried in this conge d'elire, and it was averred by prominent men that to vote against any one proposed by the highest authority would be the height of folly. For the council knew what was wanted to be done, and of course what persons were the most suitable to accomplish the work.
But to return to the subject of the priesthood; we are informed they have working signs, and that Masonry was originally of the church, and one of its favored institutions, to advance the members in their spiritual functions. It had become perverted from its designs, and was restored to its true Work by Joseph, who gave again, by angelic assistance, the key-words of the several degrees that had been lost; and when he entered the lodges of Illinois, he could work right ahead of the most promoted; for which, through envy, the Nauvoo lodge was excommunicated, or cut off by the Grand Lodge, on account of its own ignorance of the greatest truths and benefits of Masonry
The priesthood having the different degrees, preferment in them depends on the faithfulness of the aspirant, as judged by those already promoted, and one of the merits is the paying up of all tithe dues. Any one in arrears on this, will find himself blocked materially when the proper buildings for "working" are constructed. Diligence and obedience are thus held out as things to ensure a reward in knowledge and promotions.
Until the great temple is built, much has to be left undone that structure has to be arranged with regard to this and other institutions of the priestly orders; and the wants of the church at the time will determine the manner, which will be given by direct revelation.
There will be bathing apartments distinct for the priests and priestesses, for the women are to have a part of this office, and are admitted to certain degrees in Masonry as a consequence. Particular ablutions are to be attended to, before appearing to officiate at the altars, and many observances in the manner of offering worship and praise, and performing symbolical rites, will have the conveniences fitted up for them and diligently kept in practice.
And we may close this notice of "peculiar doctrines" and special teachings, by a reference to their assertions, that revelations of God's will in His moral teachings, have been made at various times to all nations; and, through tradition, the truth has been transmitted down, so that there is no people, even the heathen, who have not some correct doctrines and moral notions. Therefore we are not to be surprised to find that they have points in common with every belief under heaven, for being guided by the spirit into all truth, they have sifted it out from the mass of error that obscures it; and whatever has been vouchsafed to man, may be considered in their possession.
On this account they claim an advantage over all proselytes of other creeds, in being able to commence with what is agreeable to both parties, and then extend gradually the teaching upon other matters, from the least objectionable topics up to those fully opposed to previous ideas and habits. Thus, with the Eastern nations and South Sea Islanders, they are not called upon to renounce all but one partner; the animal sacrificer will be told he can retain that practice, and so on to the end of the chapter.
The ecclesiastical student will not fail to remark that Mormonism is an eclectic religious philosophy, drawn from Brahmin mysticism in the dependence of God, the Platonic and Gnostic notion of Eons, or a moving principle in element; Mahomedan sensualism, and the fanaticism of the sects of the early church; and there is the good and evil of Ahrirnaism, with the convenient idea of the transmigration of souls, from the Persian.
Nor has its founder altogether confined his attention to the ancient Christian theories or pagan superstitions; and his followers have fallen in with the spiritual philosophy of the day, and added the doctrine of affinities of minds and the sympathy of soulshe has told us that the spirits of the departed dead are angels that return and converse with those who are congenial to them, or they have the privilege, on account of their purity, to receive communications from ghostly realmsand, taking the antithesis of the dicta, that God is perfect man, he makes every perfect man a god and by tracing the parallel at our leisure, we may discover that the speculations of modern times have here been more or less modified and adopted, those reveries of ingenious but morbid imaginations, given to the speculative world in mellifluous language, and sensuous, captivating descriptions of enjoyments in the existence that succeeds to this, of, too frequently, self-made misery.
Between the school of mental delight, and the school of the Mormon, there is this difference; the latter acts now upon his revels alone in intellectual sensuality, putting off to the future the feast of the palate, the charms for the eye, or absorption in the delights of affianced lovewe leave both to reconcile the differences between themselves and the school of moral obedience and true revelation. By sensuality used in this connection, we mean that application of the senses in a lawful manner for procuring desiderated enjoyment, which education and conscience allows to those of any adopted creed.
In Mormonism we recognise an intuition of Transcendentalism intuitive, we says for its founder was no scholar in the idealistic philosophy. He trampled under foot creeds and formulas, and soared away for perpetual inspiration from the good; and by the will, which he calls faith, he won the realms of truth, beauty, and happiness. Such things can only he safely confided to the strong and pure-minded, and even they must isolate themselves in self-idolatry, and be "alone with the alone," and seek converse with the spirit of man's Spirit.
But this prophet was educated by passion, and sought to be social with the weak; he therefore baptised spirituality in the waters of materialism. Instead of evolving the godlike nature of the human spirit, he endeavored to prove that humanity was already divinity, by investing Deity with that is manlike. Men were to be like gods by making gods men.
Various coincidences have occurred, which strikingly keep alive in the mountain brethren their idea of being the chosen of the Lordand confirm them in the belief of the inspiration of the Book of Mormon. Among other things are the marks and hieroglyphical characters found engraved on the precipitous cliffs of southern Utah, which are faintly imitated by the present Indians. Those who were associated with Joseph as amanuenses pretend to have acquired sufficient knowledge of similar things to be enabled to decipher their signification, and have translated enough to confirm, in the most wonderful manner, the Nephite records.
The following is a specimen taken from the cliff in Sam Pete valleys at the city of Manti.
Translation by one of the Regents; "I Mahanti, the 2nd King of the Lamanites, in five valleys in the mountains, make this record in the 12 hundredth year since we came out of JerusalemAnd I have three sons gone to the South country to live by hunting antelope and deer."
Another specimen is taken from those in little Salt Lake Valley. they are reduced from three feet figures, preserving proportion
[fpc - for the non-bible reader quotation is 2.Peter 3.8 "But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day" ]