By Joseph Young
In John Hayward, The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States and British Provinces (Boston, 1836), 139–42
[Transcribed and proofread by Ben Parkinson, January 2006. Title added by Ben. This is sometimes referred to as a precursor of the Articles of Faith.]
The above unfinished article on Mormonism was in type when the Editor was informed that some professors of Mormonism, had, very recently, arrived in this city from the West. Application was immediately made for their creed, doctrines, sentiments or religious notions. After stating the nature of the publication to Mr. Joseph Young, of Kirtland, Ohio, an Elder of the Church, a very civil man, who appeared to represent the Mormon faith in Boston; and after exhibiting to him a copy of what had been printed, the Editor was kindly favored, in the course of three days, with the following written statement:
“The leading principles of the religious faith of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, vulgarly called Mormons.
This Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, in the State of New York, and its principal articles of faith are,
1. A belief in one true and living God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who came into this world 1800 years since, at Jerusalem; was slain, rose from the dead, ascended on high, and now sits on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; that through the atonement thus wrought out, all men may come to God and find acceptance; all of which they believe is revealed in the holy Scriptures.
2. That God requires all men, wherever his gospel is proclaimed, or his law known, to repent of all sins, forsake evil, and follow righteousness; that his word also requires men to be baptized, as well as to repent; and that the direct way pointed out by the Scriptures for baptism, is immersion. After which, the individual has the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit; that this divine communication is absolutely promised unto all men, upon whom “the Lord our God shall call,” if they are obedient unto his commandments. This gift of the Holy Spirit, was anciently bestowed by the laying on of the apostle’s hands: so this church believes that those who have authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel, have this right and authority, through prayer; and without this authority, and this gift, the church is not now what it anciently was; consequently, cannot be recognized as the true Church of Christ.
3. That God will, in the last days, gather the literal descendants of Jacob to the lands anciently possessed by their fathers; that he will lead them as at the first, and build them as at the beginning. That he will cause his arm to be made bare in their behalf; his glory to attend them by night and by day. That this is necessary to the fulfilment of his word, when his knowledge is to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. And that, as men anciently saw visions, dreamed dreams, held communion with angels, and converse with the heavens, so it will be in the last days, to prepare the way for all nations, languages and tongues, to serve him in truth.
4. That the time will come when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven, accompanied with ten thousand of his saints; that a mighty angel will lay hold on the dragon, bind him, cast him into the pit, where he will be kept from deceiving the nations for a thousand years; during which time, one continued round of peace will pervade every heart. And,
5. They believe in the resurrection of the body; that all men will stand in the presence of God, and be judged according to the deeds, or works, done in this life; that the righteous will enter into eternal rest, in the presence of God, but the wicked be cast off, to receive a just recompense of reward; and that, to ensure eternal life, a strict obedience to all the commandments of God, must be observed, to the end.”
Elder Young says, “the book of Mormon is the literal fulfilment of the 29th chapter of Isaiah's prophecy. See also 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and 12th verse of the 8th chapter of Hosea.”
We have been presented with a book entitled the “Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, carefully selected from the revelations of God, and compiled by Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdry, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, presiding Elders of said Church; published at Kirtland, Ohio, 1835.” The volume contains articles on Faith, Covenants and Commandments, Priesthood and Calling, Marriage, Government, Laws, &c. It contains a great number of revelations to divers persons. We copy four of them as fair specimens of the whole.
[Quotes Doctrine and Covenants 17; 37; 80; and 106.]
Elder Young says that these revelations are received from Heaven by the Prophet of this church, Joseph Smith, Jr.; that they are written down by a scribe, and then delivered to those for whom they are designed.
This people first located themselves in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio. A party of them settled in Independence, Jackson County, Mo. whence, the people having become unfriendly towards them, they were driven away, under great sufferings and loss of property. At Kirtland, they have erected a stone temple at an expense of $40,000. It is 80 by 60 feet on the ground, and 50 feet high. The first floor is a place of worship, with four pulpits at each end; each pulpit calculated to hold three persons. These pulpits rise behind and above one another, and are designed for the bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons according to their rank in office.
Some of this people are found in many of the States of the Union, some in the Canadas, and some in Nova Scotia; but they are most numerous in Ohio and Missouri. The whole number in North America is probably not less than 20,000. Many of them are respectable, and possess considerable wealth.
Elder Young seems to think that revelations from heaven, and miracles wrought, are as necessary now, and as important to the salvation of the present generation, as they were to any generation in any preceding age or period. This appears to be the sum and substance of the Mormon scheme.
The Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, are in possession of the Editor, and may be inspected, either for curiosity or edification.