Mr. [Alexander] Campbell has been invited to show himself a man of principle—after repeated insults to the church of the “Latter Day Saints,” and to exchange papers and cut a quill like a man; but seeing he dare not do it, (for notwithstanding the confidence which his satellites have in him, he knows the weakness of his cause too well to hazard an investigation with an Elder of the church of the “Latter Day Saints,”) we consider this effort of his in the same point of light which we do a whippet spaniel, when he is afraid to face his enemy, he turns his hind parts and barks—so bark on Alexander.
(Messenger and Advocate I.5:76 ¶10–77 ¶2)
The following is taken from the Brookville (Ia.) Enquirer; and we copy it into the Advocate to show our friends the different feeling with which the elders of this church are received. All we have to say now on the extract, is that the Editor could not have been a sectarian—We judge him to be a Republican, and a gentleman.
“The Latter day Saints, or Mormons.”
Oliver Cowdery ed “Mormons,” Brookville Enquirer in M&A 1 (Feb 1835)
On last Saturday evening, for the first time, in this place, a gentleman, and minister belonging to this new sect, preached in the court house, to a very respectable audience; and discoursed briefly on the various subjects connected with his creed; explained his faith and gave a brief history of the book of Mormon—united it with the Holy Bible, &c.
By request, he tarried over Sabbath, and at 2 o’clock again opened public worship by an able address to the Throne of the Most High. He spoke for about an hour and a half to a very large audience, during which time he explained many important passages of the prophecies contained in the Old & New Testaments, and applied them according to their literal meaning. He was not lame in the attempt, and in a succinct and lucid manner imparted his belief to the audience.
He believes the book of Mormon to be a series of revelations, and other matters appertaining to the Ephraimites, Lamanites, &c. whom he believes to have been the original settlers of this continent; and that an ancient Prophet caused the plates from which the book of Mormon was translated to be buried nearly two thousand years ago, in what is now called Ontario county, New York. He is also of the belief that Joseph Smith was cited to the plates by an angel from Heaven, and endowed with the gift to translate the engraving upon them into the known language of the country.
This book, he is of opinion, is an event intended to prepare for the great work, the second appearance of Christ, when he shall stand on the Mount of Olives, attended by Abraham and all the Saints, to reign on the Earth for the space of a thousand years.
After he had closed his discourse, on Sabbath afternoon, he remarked that if “no one had any thing to say, the meeting would be considered as closed.” Rev. Daniel St. John, a clergyman of the universal order, ascended the pulpit and in his usual eloquent strain held forth for a considerable time; taking exceptions to some of the positions of the preceding speaker— more particularly as regarded his belief as to the second appearance of Christ, and his doctrine of future rewards and punishments. An interesting debate of about three hours ensued in which each had four hearings, and at the request of the audience, a division of the house was called for on the merits of the argument, and carried in favor of the Latter Day Saint by an overwhelming vote.
Though in some things he characterized the fanatic; yet, in the main, his doctrines were sound and his positions tenable. We would do injustice to the gentleman were we to omit stating, that in all the discourses, of the like character, that we have ever heard it has never fallen to our lot to hear so much harmony in the arrangement of quotations from the sacred book. No passage could be referred to that would in the least produce discord in his arguments. The whole of his discourses were delivered in a very clear and concise manner, rendering it obvious that he was thoroughly acquainted with the course he believed he was called upon to pursue, in obedience to his Master’s will.
If a man may be called eloquent who transfers his own views and feelings into the breasts of others—if a knowledge of the subject, and to speak without fear—are a part of the more elevated rules of eloquence we have no hesitancy in saying ORSON PRATT was eloquent; and truly verified the language of Boileau: “What we clearly conceive, we can clearly express.”
Oliver Cowdery “Letter IV,” M&A 1 (Feb 1835)
To W. W. Phelps, Esq.
In my last, published in the 3d No. of the Advocate I apologized for the brief manner in which I should be obliged to give, in many instances, the history of this church. Since then yours of Christmas has been received. It was not my wish to be understood that I could not give the leading items of every important occurrence, at least so far as would effect my duty to my fellowmen, in such as contained important information upon the subject of doctrine, and as would render it intelligibly plain; but as there are, in a great house, many vessels, so in the history of a work of this magnitude, many items which would be interesting to those who follow, are forgotten. In fact, I deem every manifestation of the Holy Spirit, dictating the hearts of the saints in the way of righteousness, to be of importance,, and this is one reason why I plead an apology.
(Messenger and Advocate I.5:77 ¶3–78 ¶1)