Part first of this pamphlet is a brief address to those who have not read the Book of Mormon, and who are not conversant with the denominations that believe in that book.
Part second is an address to all believers in the Book of Mormon. There are three distinct denominations that believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God:
First: The Church of Christ.
Second: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Third: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The last named is the church in Salt Lake City; they believe in the doctrine of polygamy, while the two first named churches do not believe in that doctrine. I am an elder in “the Church of Christ.” We believe in the doctrine of Christ as it is taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, the same gospel being taught in both these books. The Bible being the sacred record of the Jews who inhabited the eastern continent; the Book of Mormon being the sacred record of the Nephites (descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob), who inhabited the western continent, or this land of America. The Indians are the remnant of that people, who drifted into unbelief and darkness about 350 years after Christ appeared to them and established his church among them, after finishing his mission at Jerusalem. We believe in faith in Christ, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe in the laying on of hands as it was practiced in the days of the Apostles. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. We also believe in the Words of Christ when he said, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” Our belief concerning the order of offices in the church, etc., will be found in Part Second of this pamphlet. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST holds to the original doctrine and order that was first established upon the teachings of Christ in the written word, in 1829, when the Lord set his hand the second time to establish the true gospel upon the earth and recover his people, which is in fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible. We denounce the doctrine of polygamy and spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of Religion. It is of man and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself in these words. “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord…. For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none: For I the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of woman.” (Book of Mormon, page 116, chap. 2. par. 6). We do not indorse the teachings of any of the so-called Mormons or Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. They have departed in a great measure from the faith of the CHURCH OF CHRIST as it was first established, by heeding revelations given through Joseph Smith, who, after being called of God to translate his sacred word — the Book of Mormon — drifted into many errors and gave many revelations to introduce doctrines, ordinances and offices in the church, which are in conflict with Christ’s teachings. They also changed the name of the church. Their departure from the faith is also according to prophecy. “Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in THE LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. iv:1). On account of God giving to Joseph Smith the gift to translate the plates on which was engraven the Nephite scriptures, the people of the church put too much trust in him — in the man — and believed his words as if they were from God’s own mouth. They have trusted in an arm of flesh. (Jeremiah xvii:5) “Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusted in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” They looked to Joseph Smith as lawgiver; we look to Christ alone, and believe only in the religion of Jesus Christ and not in the religion of any man.
The doctrine of polygamy was not introduced until about fourteen years after the church was established; but other doctrines of error were introduced earlier than this. I left the body in June, 1838, being five years before polygamy was introduced.
Joseph Smith drifting into errors after translating the Book of Mormon, is a stumbling-block to many, but only those of very weak faith would stumble on this account. Greater abominations are recorded of David in the Bible, than is recorded to-day of Joseph Smith; but do you reject the Psalms on this account? Do you reject the Proverbs because Solomon was a polygamist? Stop and think, you who are hasty to condemn. If you desire to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, read the book and investigate it, for Christ has promised that he who seeks in the right way shall find the truth of all things. We are commanded to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thes. v:21).
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet up to his death, and accept his revelations in their Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The revelation to practice polygamy is not printed in their Doctrine and Covenants. They do not believe in the doctrine of polygamy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the church at Salt Lake City) believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet up to the time of his death, and accept his revelations which they have published in their Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In this book is the revelation on polygamy.
It is also a stumbling-block to those who desire to investigate as to the truth of the Book of Mormon, to see the believers in that book divided; but the divisions have been brought about by the revelations of
Joseph Smith. We, the Church of Christ, who accept only the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the rule and guide to our faith, agree on the doctrine and gospel of Christ. The Book of Mormon comes forth claiming to be the scriptures of the tribe of Joseph, written by holy men of God, which record has been kept pure. It claims that when the Bible was written by the tribe of Judah (the Jews), it was plain to the understanding of men; and that many plain and precious things have been taken from it by a great and abominable church; and that on this account the Gentiles stumble over the true doctrine of Christ. The Book of Mormon comes forth claiming to make plain the doctrine of Christ as taught in the New Testament; and it does make it so plain that a child can understand it. To all who are without prejudice, the Book of Mormon is the key to the understanding of the Bible. As I have stated, all who take it and the Bible alone as the guide to their faith, agree on the doctrine of Christ.