Essential Parley P. Pratt
Foreword by Peter L. Crawley
Plain Facts, Showing the Falsehood and Folly of the Rev. C. S. Bush,
(a Church Minister of the Parish of Peover,) Being a Reply to His Tract Against the Latter-day Saints
(Manchester: W. R. Thomas, Printer )
[p.74]We have a Tract now in our possession purporting to be written by the Rev Mr. Bush, entitled “Plain Facts, showing the falsehood and folly of the Mormonites or Latter-day Saints,” &c.
The writer commences by saying, “With plain and honest people, facts are always important things.”
He then lays down the following for his first fact. He says, “The Bible is the word of God, and that there is no other Revelation of him, than that which he has given us in that Book of Life.”
Now, we admit that the Bible contains the word of God: but the statement that there is no other Revelation of him than that which he has given in the Bible is not a fact, but a falsehood of the most glaring kind; being contrary to the word of God, and to the experience of all Christians, as we shall now proceed to demonstrate.
The Bible quotes more than twelve books, which are not to be found in it—most, if not all of which, were written by prophets or seers, whose inspiration the Bible itself acknowledges. We will here mention a few of these books.
Book of Jasher Joshua c. x, v. 13.
Book of the Acts of Solomon 1 Kings, c.xi, v. 41.
Book of Nathan the prophet 1 Chron. c.xxix, v. 29.
Book of Gad the seer 1 Chron. c.xxix, v. 29.
Book of Nathan the prophet 2 Chron. c.ix, v. 29.
Book of the Prophecy of Ahijah 2 Chron. c.ix, v. 29.
Book of the Visions of Iddo the seer 2 Chron. c.ix, v. 29.
Book of Shemaiah the prophet 2 Chron. c.xii, v. 15.
Book of Iddo the seer 2 Chron. c.xii, v. 15.
“Written in the story of the prophet Iddo.” 2 Chron. c. xiii, v. 22.
If necessary, we could bring quotations in the Bible for several other books some in the Old Testament, and some in the writings of the apostles, referring to epistles which are not in the Bible.
[p.75]If so many books are left out of the volume, and yet actually quoted in it; there may have been hundreds of others of which we have not account.
But, besides all these, it is evident that God was Revelator to man from the days of Adam to the days of Moses, who commenced to write the Bible; and surely, the Bible cannot be supposed to contain the thousandth part of the word of the Lord which had been revealed in those early ages.
Indeed, the Bible contains but a very small portion of the word of the Lord which was spoken and revealed to man during the progress of those writings; that is, from Moses to John the Revelator.
Does it contain the words of the prophets who prophesied in the camp of Israel at the time Moses exclaimed, “Would to God the Lord’s people were all prophets?” Or, will any one contend that what they prophesied, was not the word of the Lord. Does the Bible contain what the Corinthians, Ephesians, Romans, and others prophesied in the churches, when assembled together from time to time in the enjoyment of the different gifts of the Spirit? Does the Bible contain the word of the Lord which he has manifested in visions, in prophesying, and revelations, from age to age, down to the present day? Does it contain all which God has revealed to other nations remote from Jerusalem, and all that he will reveal on or before the day of judgment? Shall we stand before a DUMB God at the judgment day, who, if he speaks in order to pronounce judgment, will be found a transgressor of his own Book, by speaking after the “Canon of Scripture is complete?”
Does it contain that which God will speak to Israel in the wilderness in the great restitution, when he “pleads with them face to face,” in fulfillment of the 20th chapter of Ezekiel?
The Bible holds forth the doctrine of CONTINUAL and UNIVERSAL REVELATION, so far as men would live up to their privileges.
“If ANY MAN lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to ALL MEN liberally and upbraideth not, and it SHALL BE GIVEN HIM.”
Again, the apostle prays that God will give unto the children of men the spirit of WISDOM and REVELATION in the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Again, it is written, that no man knoweth the Son but the Father, and him to whom the Father REVEALS him.
Do away the principle of direct Revelation then, and we do away the religion of the Bible, and have nothing left but atheism.
Do away the principle of direct and continued Revelation, and you have not a witness on earth that Jesus is the Christ.
Do away the principle of continued Revelation, and there is not a man on earth who knows his sins forgiven, or that can get a call to preach the gospel.
[p.76]Do away the principle of continued revelation, and you worship a DUMB and changeable God, and have no communion with the ANGELS, nor with the HOLY GHOST.
We call upon the hundreds of thousands of Methodists—upon the Society of Friends or Quakers–upon the Christian world at large—nay,—upon the Church of England herself, to speak out upon this subject—to rise up in the dignity and majesty of their holy profession, and bear their testimony against this atheism in a new dress—this religion which shuts heaven, and cuts off all communication between God and his creatures.
So much for the Reverend Gentleman’s first pretended “fact,” we now come to his second pretended “fact.”
He says “There are men come to us, who profess that they have found a revelation, which they say is from God. I will prove by facts that what they say cannot be true, because the widow of the man who wrote the book which they pretend is a revelation from God, has published a letter proving that it was “written by her late husband, &c.”
He further says, that “the title-page may be considered as a specimen of the blasphemous jargon of the whole. He then proceeds to quote the title-page in part, but does not point out one thing which is jargon or blasphemy in it. Therefore the reader is left at a loss “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God manifesting himself unto all nations.”
He says, “at least thirty pages of the book are copied from the Holy Gospels.” With the same propriety he might say that the “Holy Gospels” were copied from each other, because they are nearly alike. The thirty pages to which he alludes contain the gospel and teachings of the Son of God, as revealed to another branch of Israel, in a distant land from Jerusalem. Why should his Gospel not be the same in one nation or country as in another? Does it alter it to reveal it to another people? He puts us in mind of the decision of the Mahometan tyrant in relation to the Alexandrian Library, who ordered the 600,000 manuscript volumes to be burned for this reason, that if they agreed with the “Koran”, they were useless, as that was all-sufficient; but if they did not agree with it, they were false any how.
So this gentleman condemns one part of the book for agreeing with the “Gospels,” and the other part for some other reason. But after all, can find no ground of condemnation for 600 pages of “closely written matter” except to call it stupid, without reading it, and let it go.
He then mentions, that the book contains the testimony of eleven witnesses, who all testify that they have seen the original copy which has been found; and three of these witnesses testify that they know the truth of it by the ministering of an angel, and by the voice of God.
[p.77]This evidence he can pass over in silence, while, at the same time, he can take newspaper statements, containing a forged letter with an old woman’s name signed to it, and publish it for a POSITIVE FACT, which he supposes will have great weight with the honest.
But lest the people should still be disposed to doubt his statements, he again affirms as follows: “My object is not to mislead by false statements or pretended truths—I WRITE ONLY FACTS.” I suppose he thinks that the statement of a Reverend, to something he has read in a newspaper, is quite sufficient—that people will not have the impoliteness to call it in question for a moment. But the days of such credulity have gone by–it requires something more than a forged letter in a newspaper, with an old woman’s name signed to it, and the statement of a Reverend, who never pretended to know any thing about it himself, to go down with the people for fact: the people require some evidence.
He complains of one of our ministers, as having denied that the Bible is the “whole truth of God.” But who, in the name of common sense, will contend that the Bible is the “whole truth of God?” It is a truth that America exists; but the Bible does not tell it. It is a truth that Washington lived and fought; but that truth is not in the Bible. It is a truth that her Majesty Queen Victoria now reigns in England; but the Bible does not contain it. It is a truth that men have invented steam-boats and rail-roads; but the Bible does not tell it. It is a truth that the Rev. C. S. Bush is in existence, (I suppose) but the Reverend Gentleman himself disputes it; for he says the Bible contains the whole truth of God, and it nowhere mentions the existence of this gentleman, and surely he will not have the impiety to believe in any thing which is not in the Bible, as it contains “the whole truth of God.” Surely then he will call in question his own existence.
But to the Reverend gentleman’s next “fact.” He says, “I have just received from a brother minister the following FACT.—In describing a conversation held with a young woman who has heard them, and whose sister has been deluded by them, he made use of the word “Mormonite.”—”O yes” she said, “my sister tells me that is their name; they go by the Book of Mormon, and they say that the Bible is only true in part.”
Now the foregoing must be received as FACT; for a Minister heard a “Brother minister” say, that he heard a young woman say, that she heard a young woman say, that she heard some member of our society say, that we held so and so; and whoever knew any thing but FACTS so come from ministers and young women when associated with each other in so holy a cause!!!
[p.78]This last FACT is so well authenticated that we shall not be so uncourteous to the ladies and clergy as to call it in question.
We therefore proceed to notice his next “fact.” He says “There is no revelation from God but that which proceeds from him.”
This is a fact which we do not wish to call in question: but we merely quote it as a specimen of the Reverend gentleman’s logic, and to give him the credit which would seem to be his just due, for having discovered an axiom so important.
It would be similar use of language to say, there is no news from France except that which proceeds from France.
The gentleman quotes Paul to Timothy, where he says “from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
He then observes: “Here the Holy Scriptures, and not pretended revelations from angels, are spoken of as being able to make men wise unto salvation.”
What does he mean by this? Surely he is not ignorant that Paul and others received revelations from angels both before and after this letter to Timothy. Did not John receive a revelation from an angel many years after Paul wrote this Epistle? Surely he did.
I know not why the gentleman quoted this text, unless it was to infer that we must reject all Scripture which was given later than that which Timothy was acquainted with when a child. If this text proves anything against modern revelation, it proves too much; for it speaks expressly of the Old Testament Scriptures, and no other, because no other was in existence when Timothy was a child. Indeed, the New Testament did not yet exist when Paul was writing this text.
Will Mr. Bush give up the New Testament, and say it is not necessary, because the other was able to make one wise unto salvation? Will he reject everything which has been revealed by angels since that text was written? It seems so, from the inference which he has drawn.
But now to his next “fact.”
He says, “THE WORD OF GOD’S REVELATION IS CLOSED FOR EVER.” He then quotes Rev. xxii. 18, 19, and Proverbs xxx. 5, 6. The latter is, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” In the former text he was for rejecting all the Scriptures, except the Old Testament which Timothy had known from a child; but now he seems inclined to reject all which has been added since the Proverbs were written. This sweeps off most of the prophets. I think by the time he gets through with his logic we shall have but a small Bible indeed; that is, if his conclusions are tenable. What object can he have in quoting this text, except to cut off all which has been added since?
These texts do not prohibit God, or angels, or the Holy Spirit, from [p.79]giving revelations to man, in any age of the world. But they only prohibit man from perverting that which God gives, by additions or diminutions of their own.
Mr. Bush intimates, that the Latter-Day Saints are “open to the excommunication of the Church of Christ,” and “open to being denied CHRISTIAN BURIAL,” and “lost for ever;” to which we reply, that we want no fellowship with a professed Church of Christ, whose charity is so limited that it denies BURIAL to the dead bodies of those who dissent from them, or even to the heathen. As to burial, we are not careful with whom or by whom we are buried; but the great object with us is to secure part in the first resurrection.
He says, “This must be true,” (that we are lost for ever) “if Christ is the only way, truth, and light, for we point out another way—we appeal to another so called truth, that of Mormon, and seek guidance from another light than that of the spirit of the Holy One, that of the wicked lie, Mormon.”
In reply to this false accusation, we will quote some of the writings of Mormon, to show to all men that Mr. Bush has misrepresented Mormon, as well as those who believe in his writings. The following are some closing remarks made by Mormon, in his writings to the remnant of Israel, his brethren; and it is such doctrine that this gentleman is pleased to term “damnable doctrines” and “wicked lies.” We quote Book of Mormon, page 560:
“And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared, if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers; yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel, and these are the words which I speak, know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved. Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you. Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up. And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment seat. And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day, hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. [p.80]Therefore, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record, but also in the record which shall come from the Gentiles unto you. For, behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that, ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this, ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them; and ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore, ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Saviour, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.”
The foregoing is a sample of the purity of Mormon’s doctrine throughout his record; and we challenge Mr. Bush, or the world, to produce from the 619 pages of the Book of Mormon one principle of doctrine which does not breathe the same spirit of purity and holiness. “Damnable doctrines!” “wicked lie!” What loving terms, what charitable expressions for a professed follower of the meek and holy Lamb of God! but they are in accordance with that spirit which would leave a dissenter without a decent BURIAL.
He further says, that, when we baptize a person, we require him to “renounce all other religions on the face of the earth.” This we acknowledge to be true. We most freely renounce all other religions but the religion set forth in the page of Mormon’s writings which we have quoted, and other writings which are in accordance with it. We want no religion but pure Christianity. He says, “It can easily be proved, too, that they have used and quoted the Book (of Mormon) at their meetings.” To this we reply, that we will own it, and save them the trouble of proving it. We do use and quote the Book of Mormon; and, farther than this, we intend to publish it to all nations and languages under heaven; for we know, and hereby testify, that it is an ancient record, written by the commandment of the Lord, and that it is now sent forth by his commandment; and all the powers of earth and hell will never stop its progress till earth is overwhelmed with its light and glory.
He says, they have declared that parts of the Bible are the WORDS or WORKS of bad men and bad women, an assertion which at once ranks them with the infidel dangers of the inspiration of the Bible.” This, too, we acknowledge to have said, and we do still say it; and, if it ranks us with the infidel, we cannot help it. It is what the Bible professes; and while we believe the Bible, we are bound to believe that it contains some of the works and words of bad men and bad women—nay, more, it contains the words of a SERPENT, of DEVILS, and of an ASS; and he that says to the contrary is an infidel, and not a believer in the Bible at all. We will here give a few samples:–
The word of the serpent to Eve.
The word of the ass to Balaam.
The word of the Devil to Christ.
The word of the wicked men and women of Ephesus, crying,
“Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
The word of Potipher’s wife to Joseph, saying, “Come, lie with me.”
The word of Job’s wife, “Curse God and die.”
We could give a hundred other examples, but we trust these will suffice. We now leave this part of the subject for a candid public to judge which is the infidel–whether it is Mr. Bush, who believes all the above Scriptures to be the word of the Lord, or whether it is the Latter-Day Saints, who believe they are just what they profess to be.
Mr. Bush quotes the words of John, in his second Epistle, 8, 9, 10, and 11. It speaks concerning those who transgress and abide not in the DOCTRINE of Christ, and declares that they have not God. To this we would reply, that we are willing to compare our doctrine with that of the Church of England at any time, and let the world see which comes up to the standard of the doctrine of Christ. The doctrine of Christ was a doctrine of REVELATION and miracles: the doctrine of Mr. Bush is the opposite. He says, we are to receive NO REVELATIONS; but Christ promises us the Holy Spirit of revelation, which would guide us into ALL TRUTH, teach us ALL THINGS, and show us things to come.
He quotes Paul to the Galatians, concerning preaching another gospel, and asks the question, “Was the Book of Mormon, its baptism, its folly, preached of Paul?” “Was it of Christ?” He answers “No;” and then proceeds to curse those who preach the principles of Mormon. Well, let him curse. But still we will reply to his questions. We say, then, as to the doctrine or gospel contained in the Book of Mormon, together with its baptism, it is precisely the same as taught by Paul and Christ. This, Mr. Bush himself has acknowledged, and even said it was copied from the “Holy Gospels;” but, for further proof of its being the same gospel, we again refer to the page of the writings of Mormon, which we have already quoted in this pamphlet. But as to the “folly” of the Book of Mormon, Mr. B. has not been so kind as to point out one specimen of its “folly,” and we, after several years’ acquaintance with it, have not been able to discover any “folly” in it. If there is any in it, perhaps Paul would have preached it; for, if his own testimony is to be credited, he wrote folly to the Corinthians, and requested them to “bear with him a little in his folly.”
[p.82]But if the question be asked, whether Jesus and Paul preached the Book of Mormon, we answer, “No;” for surely we would not expect them to preach a book in Asia which was only had in America, and especially 400 years before it was written, or before the writer lived. Jesus and Paul lived in Palestine 1800 years since, and Mormon lived in America about 1400 years since. But this question makes as much against many of the books of the New Testament as it does against the Book of Mormon.
Paul and Christ did not preach any book except the Old Testament. The gospel did not consist of a book, but rather of a message of glad tidings proclaimed among the people, whereby they might be saved.
I ask, did Paul preach the Revelations of John, which he received on the Isle of Patmos many years after Paul was dead? I answer No. What then? Shall we reject John’s book? No. But Mr. Bush’s argument would make as much against the Book of Revelations as against the Book of Mormon, for Paul preached neither; and Mr. B. curses those who preach a book which Paul did not preach. Paul did not refer to a book which he had preached, and then curse those who should preach any other; but he referred to certain principles, and wherever these principles are found, whether written or verbal, they are the same gospel which was preached by Paul. Let them be written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or Peter, in Asia, or let them be written by Nephi, Alma, Mormon, or Moroni, in America, they are still the same unaltered Gospel. Let them be written on parchment, papyrus, tables of stone, paper, or plates of gold, they are still the same unchangeable principles. They will remain the same although the material on which they are written should perish or be dissolved,—the same, even if heaven and earth should pass away… .