Friday, January 9, 2009

Historical Prospective (1839)

Preface to A Voice of Warning
by Parley P Pratt

"During the last nine years the public mind has been constantly agitated, through all parts of our country, with the cry of "Mormonism, Delusion, Imposture, Fanaticism," & ect., chiefly through the instrumentality of the press. Many of the newspapers of the day have been constantly teeming .with misrepresentations, and slanders, of the foulest kind, in order to destroy the influence and character of an innocent society in its very infancy; a society of whose real principles many of them know nothing at all. Every species of wickedness has been resorted to, and all manner of evil has been spoken against them falsely: insomuch, that in many places, houses and ears are closed against them, without the possibility of being heard for a moment.

"Were this the only evil, we might have less Cause of complaint; but in consequence of this, we have been assaulted by mobs, some of our houses have been torn down or burned, our goods destroyed, and fields of grain laid waste. Yea, more, some of us have been stoned, whipped, and shot; our blood has been caused to flow, and still smokes to heaven, because of our religious principles; in this our native land, the boasted land of liberty and equal laws, while we have sought in vain for redress, while officers of State have been deaf to the voice of innocence, imploring at their feet for justice, and protection in the enjoyment of their rights as American citizens.

"Under these circumstances, what could be done? How were we to correct the public mind? We were few in number, and our means of giving information very limited; the columns of most of the papers were closed against us, their popularity being at stake the moment our principles were admitted. It is true we publish a monthly paper, in which our principles are clearly set forth; but its circulation is limited to a few thousands. Under these circumstances, had we the tongue of angels, and the zeal of apostles, with our hearts expanded wide as eternity, with the intelligence of heaven, and the love of God burning in our bosoms, and commissioned to bear as joyful tidings as ever was borne by Michael the Archangel from the regions of glory ; yet it would have been as impossible for us to have communicated the same to the public, as it was for Paul when he stood in the midst of Ephesus, to declare the glad tidings of a crucified and risen Redeemer; when his voice was lost amid the universal cry, of "great is Diana of the Ephesians."

"Go lift your voice to the tumultuous waves of the ocean, or try to reason amid the roar of cannon while the tumult of war is gathering thick around, or speak to the howling tempest while it pours a deluge over the plains; let your voice be heard amid the roar of chariots, rushing suddenly over the pavements; or what is still more foolish, converse with a man who is lost in slumber, or reason with a drunkard while he reels to and fro under the influence ,of the intoxicating poison, and these acts will convince you of the impossibility of communicating truth to that soul who is willing to make up his judgment upon popular rumor; or to be wafted gently down the current of public opinion, without stopping for a moment to listen, to weigh, to hear both sides of the question, and judge for himself.

"One of the greatest obstacles in the way of the spread of truth, in every age, is the tide of public opinion. Let one ray of light burst upon the world in any age, and it is sure to come in contact with the traditions and long established usages of men, and their opinions ; or with some religious craft, so that like the Ephesians they counsel together, what shall be done; their great goddess will be spoken against, her magnificence despised, her temple deserted; or what is still worse, their craft is in danger, for by this they have their wealth. Call to mind the apostles in contact with the Jewish Rabbles, or with Gentile superstitions; in short, at war with every religious establishment on the earth. Witness the popular clamor; "If we let them thus alone, all men will believe on them, and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation." "These men that turn the world upside down have come hither also." "What new doctrine is this, for thou bringest certain strange things to our ears?" "These men do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive and observe, being Romans." "What will this babbler say, he seems to be a setter forth of strange gods?" and many other such like sayings. Or, let us for a moment contemplate the events of later date: for instance, the Mother Church against the reformers of various ages; see them belied, slandered, degraded, whipped, stoned, imprisoned, burned, and destroyed in various ways; while the ignorant multitude were made to believe they were the very worst of men."

Sent to me to publish by one in the FLDS

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