Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate/Volume 2/Number 7/The "Atlas" Article
THE "ATLAS" ARTICLE.
Every day discloses more and more of the weakness, the folly, the prejudice, and the wickedness of this generation. Though for more than six years this church has been abused and insulted by slander and falsehood, it is not yet sufficient—men who hypocritically shudder at the thought of evil, are the most forward in blasting our character before an uninformed community; and those too, who professedly stand up to warn mankind to flee the wrath to come. In consequence of our having admitted the article signed J. M. into our columns, we have thought proper to make a more lengthy extract from the article in the "Ohio Atlas," printed at Elyria, in this state.
We are not exactly prepared to call names, though we may hereafter be, but, on reflection, if our memory serves, about the date of this scandalous, unhallowed piece, (March 16,) a gentleman from Elyria was introduced into our Hebrew school, by the title of Rev. Mr.— and the circumstances alluded to bearing date with the article, and it being the only one of the kind during the term of the Hebrew class, it is thought by many that our conjectures are well founded, and we only regret that we are not positive, but to the extract. The writer says:
"You would naturally suppose that the Mormons were the most ignorant, degraded, and stupid set of beings on the face of the earth. This is true of some of them: but there are not wanting men of sagacity and information, and some men of strong powers of mind. From what I saw, I should suppose that they were generally real believers in the doctrine of their prophet. They are quite polite and affable to strangers, and ready to unfold the whole system, so far as they know it, until you press them with an argument, and then their wrath rises, or they assume an heir of awful superiority, and dogmatically pronounce you blind and ignorant, and in the way to destruction: whereas, "they know the certainty of all these things whereof they affirm."—They are now studying Hebrew with great zeal, under the instruction of Mr. Seixas.—They profess to believe the common bible firmly, but they have "received additional revelations," which contain "the fulness of the Gospel." They all have Revelations, in proportion to their faith. I was introduced to the Immortal Prophet, Jo Smith, and his renowned coadjutor, Sidney Rigdon,, and a host of the inferior satellites: and could scarcely suppress a laugh, during the formality of making acquaintance of shaking hands with the exalted dignitaries, high priests, &c. of Mormonism. I have no doubt that Jo Smith's character is an equal compound of the impostor and fanatic, and that Rigdon has but a small piece of the latter, with an extraordinary portion of the former; while the mass of the disciples are men of perverted intellect, and disordered piety, with no sound principles of religion, with minds unbalanced and unfurnished, but active and devout; inclined to the mystical and dreary, and ready to believe any extraordinary announcement as a Revelation from God.—None of them appear to be within reach of argument on the subject of religion. They profess to have the gift of tongues; and one individual, after becoming very much excited in conversation, offered to give me a specimen, and began to close his throat for the purpose, but I shuddered at the proposal to exhibit such blasphemy and mockery of a miraculous gift, and he desisted."
A few words only by way of comment, and this we do more to show from whence a great, and the greatest share of the slanders against this church originate—from those who are treated with affability and politeness, as the writer admits. On the subject of argument, we have only to say, that if the writer will disclose his name, and produce a gentlemen of standing, reputation, ability and talents, one who at least, possesses a good moral character, he can be accommodated with men who will converse or reason upon the subject of the religion we profess, and leave for candid unprejudiced persons to judge, whether or not, when we "are pressed," we have not the whole scope of the word of God, common sense and all truth, to sustain us in our faith touching the gospel. Why we say, that if he will produce another person, possessing those virtues of which we named, is, because they are so foreign from his own heart.
His abuse and scurrility upon brs. Smith and Rigdon, is but another proof of the corruption of his own bosom. Does he pretend that these men illy treated him when here? No! does he say he conversed with them sufficiently to learn their belief with regard to religion? No! neither does he say that he conversed with them at all. Then why seek to destroy the reputation and blast the character of men who have never injured him? It shows upon what principle he formed his opinion upon rumor! Rumor, that bane of social society, that fiend of hell, that destroyer of virtuous reputation, and the monster which has deluged the earth with the blood of millions of the saints of God; that great, dear and darling companion of those who tremble for their own craft, must rear its hideous head, and act into operation its thousand tongues, for the purpose of closing the ears of a sinking gener-ation against the word of eternal life.
This is but another fair specimen of the way and manner the community judge of us as a people: A worthless villain, destitute of credit or character at home, calls by our place, and runs off with a lie in his mouth, and the public believe him: another does the same, perhaps a disappointed priest, who has failed to obtain as large a salary for reproaching his Connecticut manufactured sermons as he had anticipated, and puts a scurrilous article into some church and state paper, and others as mean as themselves, paper, editor and all, are ready to swear that the statements are correct. But his renegado, this redoubtable tom-fool correspondent of the Elyria Atlas, has aimed a blow at the characters of men who have withstood the shafts of persecution for many years, and are yet above the reach of such low bred canting insinuating imposters [impostors]. If they are "immortal," they have rendered themselves so from a long tried and virtuous walk, and now live, and will live, when they have gone hence, in the bosoms of men where integrity and virtue are unimpeachable!
This writer further says: "They assure you, with the utmost confidence that they shall soon be able to raise the dead, to heal the sick, the deaf, the dumb, and the blind, &c."
That this church professes to believe, that by faith the pure in heart can heal the sick, cast out devils, &c. we do not deny; in fact, it is an item in our articles of faith, and one we find in the apostles'; but, that we profess to be able to raise the dead, or ever expect to be, or in fact, have a wish to call back, to this scene of suffering, those who are freed from it, is utterly and unequivocally false. Having been in the church from its organization, we have overheard this item preached; and that a man, a stranger, who was here a few hours, to have heard any thing of the kind, is not very unaccountable to us, when we consider what else he has written.
Relative to what the writer has said, touching the general intelligences of the members of this church, we have nothing to say—their every day appearance, their common conversation, their free, frank and familiar deportment, are sufficient; but when he says that "the great mass of the disciples are men of perverted intellect and disordered piety, with no sound principles of religion, with minds unbalanced and unfurnished," he ought to be informed, that the least among us values more highly his profession, and holds too sacredly that heavenly communication bestowed by the laying on of hands of those who were clothed with authority, than all that frail, worse than thread-bare hypocritical pretention, which came down through the mother of abominations, of which himself and all others of like profession can boast. We only add, that he is to be pitied for his folly and blindness, notwithstanding his boasted superiority and wisdom, and the world warned against the delusions, fanaticisms, and perverseness of such men.
May the Lord have mercy upon the world, and hasten the day when wickedness shall be known no more upon its face, it is our sincere prayer.