Essential Parley P. Pratt
Foreword by Peter L. Crawley
An Epistle of Demetrius, Junior, the Silversmith, To the workman of like occupation,
and all others whom it may concern,—Greeting: Showing the Best Way to Preserve Our Craft, and to Put Down the Latter Day Saints
(Manchester: Wm. Shackleton and Sons, Printers [1840?])
[p.83]Sirs,—Ye are well aware of those men who turn the world upside down having come hither also; viz: the “Latter Day Saints,” and that they teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, being sectarians. And behold they are rapidly increasing, not only in America, but throughout the whole world; so that not only this our craft is in danger, but our great goddess who sits upon the scarlet colored beast with the golden cup in her hand, is like to be spaken against—her magnificence despised and her temples deserted—even her, whom all the world worshipeth.
Now, I will tell you the way these Latter Day Saints continue to lead the people astray from our old, smooth, comfortable ways, in which we and our fathers have walked for so many ages;—
In the first place, being ignorant and unlearned, they know no better than to tell the people to believe the Bible as it reads, and to no longer give heed to the spiritualizings of our learned priests. Even setting aside and despising that glorious name on the forehead of our goddess,—that word “MYSTERY” which stands most conspicuous among the great and venerable names which encircle her on every hand. Thus having burst the veil of mystery, and taking the scriptures as if common sense was to be exercised, they read the commandment which says “Be not yet called Rabbi, for one is your Master, and all ye are brethren.” This, in their ignorance leads them to suppose that all the other names, titles, and dignities which are written on the goddess are to be equally despised and avoided such for instance as “Doctor of Divinity,” “Very Rev.,” “His Grace,” “His Holiness,” “Right Rev. Father in God,” “Lord Bishop,” &c.
These great and glorious names, the very foundation of the honor and wealth of our goddess, these Saints consider as so many blasphemies, and that our goddess is therefore full of names of blasphemy. They also read in Paul to the Corinthians, that, “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, nor many noble are called: but, that God hath chosen the simple, base, despised, weak things, to confound the wise, [p.84]that flesh might not glory in his presence,” &c. And that such as were called were to go without taking thought for the morrow, consequently they were not to hire out for a salary, or to have palaces, and pleasure grounds devoted to them by oppressing and taxing the poor. Now these Latter Day Saints are so blind and ignorant, or so deluded that they really think that these Scriptures mean what they say; and consequently they don’t believe that our holy bishops, our spiritual lords, our gentlemen non-resident clergy, or indeed any, of any order, who preach with their learning, and preach for hire, are the true shepherds; or that their followers are the true sheep; so they withdraw from the fold and go their own way.
Again, they read the passages which Jesus and his Apostles taught in relation to giving to the poor, &c. “He that hath two coats let him give to him that hath none, and he that has meat let him do likewise.” “Go sell that thou hast and give to the poor,” &c.—They even go so far as to take these things literally, and think that a bishop or a nobleman cannot be a christian unless he sells his palace, his pleasure grounds, and all his unnecessary things, and gives it to feed the millions of his fellow-country men around him, who are starving while they work hard, or would be glad to work if they had anything to do: and even those who are not noblemen, but who possess moderate fortunes must do likewise. Now who ever heard of such wild delusion? Why, if we should let it alone, and it should prosper, all our christian dignity and greatness would be lost: our idleness and luxury would be dismissed: and his grace the bishop would be on a level with his grace the common laborer. This would utterly turn us, and reduce society to that state which the apostles were trying to do, when my venerable father Demetrius made such a bold stand at Ephesus.
These men also read that passage in the 4th chapter of Ephesians, where it is said “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Spirit.” This they take literally, and say that there can be but one true system of religion, and but one true church of God, all built upon the same truths, and all united and under the general name of Saints. Here again they come in contact with our systems, and endanger our craft; for what man is there among us, but what knows that our blessed goddess, among the venerable names which cover her, has Catholic, Protestant, Episcopal, Methodist Primitive, Calvinists and hundreds of others: and all these have their different Lords, faiths, baptisms and Spirits, which all contribute to make our craft good, and to decorate the magnificent temples of our goddess.
But this is not all. These men preach up, that people should believe in the gifts and power of God as the ancient churches did; such as the gifts of revelation, visions, dreams, prophesying, interpretations, healings, [p.85]&c. Now we might perhaps have borne with their other delusions, if it had not been for these last mentioned. But these are absolutely intolerable, for let the people in, and obtain such blessings and it will show the difference between our systems of craft and the real principles which were once delivered to the saints. Our goddess and her followers are willing that every and any system should exist, which will be content with a form without the power of godliness; for she and her followers know that it was this power which was so dangerous in old times to our ancient craft. Daniel was cast into the lion’s den for believing in revelations and angels. Lot was mobbed for entertaining angels. The children of Bethlehem were slain by Herod because a revelation had come that a King of the Jews was born. Paul was imprisoned and martyred for his testimony of having seen a vision and heard a voice. In short my fellow craftsmen, you see that men of our occupation never have been willing to allow any thing to exist on the earth in the shape of gifts and revelations from God. Why! This would reveal the mystery of our iniquity, it would tear off the covering under which we hide our secret workings, would root up our systems to the very foundations, and fill the earth, not with religious opinions, but with an actual knowledge of the TRUTH.
I might say much more, sirs, in relation to these Latter Day Saints, and their foolish delusions; but I trust I have said quite sufficient to convince you all how dangerous they are: and ye yourselves know, how, after the death of the “old deceivers,” Paul and Peter and their contemporaries, my venerable fathers of the Demetrius family, together with their numerous friends, contrived to modify the christian religion; which, with the various modifications it has undergone since, have at length brought it into perfect agreement with the world, and the world loves it; the kings glorify themselves and live deliciously with it; the priests and nobles fat themselves as in a day of slaughter; the sons and daughters of the church are adorned with gold and silver and fine linen, and decked with purple, scarlet and silk; they trade in horses and chariots and SLAVES, and SOULS OF MEN. By this means, the merchants of our craft have waxed rich, through the abundance of our delicacies; and all nations have drunken the golden cup which is in the hands of the great goddess. Must all this be despised? must so great riches come to naught? must these saints be suffered to come along and tell the people that all this is not religion, and that the world would hate religion if it was genuine?
My friends, if the founders of the christian system had known how to do as we have done; to modify and decorate the christian religion, what a world of suffering it would have saved them: the world would never have hated them, but would have contributed to the spread of the [p.86]gospel. But now after many ages have witnessed the christian religion and the world going on hand in hand, in unison with each other, here comes these mischievous men, which the world always hated, and always will hate: and look how it begins to hate them, even while the church is in the bud!
Now all these things are too much for us to bear, let us be up and doing:
But the grand difficulty is, to know what to do! Almost every thing that could be invented, has been already tried, with as little effect as the new ropes were in the binding of Samson—This little, insignificant, infant of a system, (for it is only about 12 years old,) has, from its very birth been belied, slandered, and misrepresented in every way and shape which our honorable fraternity could invent: but all of no use, it still rolled steadily onward, increasing at every step. The people have been told that it was so small that it was not worth notice, but still they could not smother it: they have been told that it was so large that it was in danger of overruning the world—and still the people would go after it.
The learning, the talent, and the ignorance of all sects have been arrayed against it, and still it stands. Ignorance, superstition, and bigotry, have ever raised their bulwarks in vain. It has scaled their highest ramparts, and still it is onward with steady and dauntless march. And last, when all these have failed, the sword and bayonet has been unsheathed, and have pierced the hearts of many of the Latter Day Saints; the deadly rifle has laid them low in the dust: their leaders have been dragged to prison, and bound in chains and dungeons; their houses burned, their property robbed, their women and children driven from their homes by thousands, to seek shelter where they could find it; and then we fondly hoped it was overcome and put down, but alas! we were disappointed still. The chains were rent, the dungeons were burst. The prisoners and others are again abroad in the earth, and their system is spreading with tenfold rapidity.
What, my fellow craftsmen, can we do! I pause for a reply,—
Well sirs, I think, upon mature deliberation, the most successful way to preserve our own pure religions, and to prevent this system from spreading, is, for all with one accord to join, in the cry of–great is the godess who sits upon the scarlet coloured beast: great is the mystery of her who holds in her hand the golden cup. This may for a time drown the voice of truth. In the mean time let us keep the tracts and newspapers well filled with lies against the Saints, and above all let us persuade the people to judge them without hearing them or reading their books.
I remain, Sirs, with sentiments of high consideration, your fellow-craftsman.