The John Taylor Papers, by Samuel W. & Raymond W. Taylor Volume I, The Apostle

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Pharisees, who called Jesus an imposter; that he cast out devils

through Beelzebub, the prince of devils; declared that he was born of

fornication, and accused him of blasphemy.

So the same kind of persons, in these days, in the absence of truth, seek

to undermine the character of a good, honourable, and virtuous man. Hence, we

hear the hueandcry of false prophet, imposter, deceiver, blasphemer,

adulterer, etc. . . . Ministers in America join with [158] the drunkard,

profligate, and murderer, to hatch up stories against the Saints . . . .

Gentlemen, men of our calling ought to use other weapons. . . . The

eternal truths of God are still the same; and whether Joseph Smith was a good

man or a bad man, the truths we preach are scriptural, and you cannot gainsay

them; and if they are, what avails your attack upon character? . . .

Mr. Robertson: . . . General Bennett and Professor Caswall . . . had

testified that Joseph Smith kept up a seraglio of "Sisters of the White Veil,"

and "Sisters of the Green Veil;" and that Sidney Rigdon, who had at one time

been almost as great a man among the Mormonites as Joe Smith, had quarrelled

with Joe for the latter's attempt to introduce his, Rigdon's, daughter into

the sisterhood.

Was there not a body of men amongst the Mormonites called "Danites," or

"Destroying Angels," who were banded together to assassinate such as were

supposed to be enemies of the body? And had not Governor Boggs been

assassinated by this body? . . .

Now he (Mr. Robertson) demanded distinctly of Mr. Taylor what was the

nature of the sisterhood of the White and Green Veilswhat was the nature of

the dispute between Sydney Rigdon and Joseph Smithand what was the nature of

the society called "Danites" or "Destroying Angels?"

Elder Taylor: It would seem from the remarks of Mr. Robertson that he

also attaches very great importance to the statements of Mr. Caswall and John

C. Bennettof course for want of better testimony . . . . We have had a

terrible account of the murder of Governor Boggs, I suppose given by the Rev.

Mr. Caswall. ExGovernor Boggs is now living in California at the gold mines.


The audience burst into laughter at this information. "But I suppose

he must be dead," Taylor said, "because a reverend gentleman said so."

I must say that men of the profession and calling of my opponents would

have displayed a little more taste if they had possessed a little more

delicacy of feeling . . . . We are accused here of polygamy, and actions the

most indelicate, obscene, and disgusting, such that none but a corrupt and

depraved heart could have contrived. These things are too outrageous to admit

of belief; therefore, leaving the sisters of the "White Veil," the "Black

Veil," and all the other veils, with these gentlemen to dispose oftogether

with their authorsas they think best, I shall content myself by reading our

views of chastity and marriage, from a work published by us, containing some

of the articles of our Faith: Doctrine and Covenants, page 330.

Although Taylor was fully aware of the practice of plural

marriagehe himself having at least ten wives at this timeit was not

yet time to proclaim such matters to the outside world. He read Section

101 (which subsequently was deleted), which said that all church

marriages should be solemnized in public meeting, and that "Inasmuch as

this Church has been reproached with the crime of fornication and

polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife,

and one wife but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at

liberty to marry again."

We are again soberly told about "Danites" and "Destroying Angels." I

never happened to be acquainted with any of these among the Latterday Saints.

But I can give you an account of some that I met with . . . . I was going with

my family to Far West, in the State of Missouri, and [160] while staying at a

place called De Witt, on the banks of the Missouri River, a mob of about 150

persons came, led on by two ministers; . . . the name of one was Sashiel

Woods, the other, Abbot Hancock. . . . They came there with swords by their

sides; . . . and with other ministers, one a Methodist of the name of Bogard,

engaged with a mob in driving about 15,000 men, women and children from their

homes in the depth of winter, after robbing and killing many in the most

barbarous manner . . . .

These deeds were principally instigated by ministers. These, gentlemen

are the destroying angels if you wish to know about them. (4)

The Rev. Mr. Cater . . . came now to Joe's pretended discovery of the

plates. Joe pretended that an angel directed him to a certain mound to dig for

sacred plates on which a revelation was engraved . . . . These plates, said to

be buried 1400 years, were fastened together with rings, in the form of a

book, though everyone knows that in that age writings were formed into the

shape of scrolls. These plates were few in number, about six inches long, and

yet onehalf of them contained as much as the whole of the Old Testament. They

profess to refer to Jewish history, and yet they are written in Egyptian

hieroglyphics . . . .

But where the Book of Mormon came from was not long a mystery, for the

brother of one Solomon Spaulding, going to one of the meetings, recognized his

late brother's work, a romance of ancient America, which had never been

published, but of which the Mss. was lost. The widow of Solomon Spaulding

testified to the same effect, and that charge has never been replied to, to

this hour. But the great consideration is, that these persons pretend to add

to and supersede the Word of God. Now, the Bible is the sheetanchor of

Christians, and it neither needs the Book of Mormon nor any other book, nor

the assistance of Joe Smith nor any other Joe. The awful [161] voice of

prophecy has spoken for the last time, and the cause of inspiration is closed.

Whatever is needed by the Christian for his guidance is there, and Mr. Cater

could remind his opponents of the curse denounced by the Spirit of God against

all who added to, or subtracted from, that volume.

Elder TaylorI am prepared to answer all of these statements, and any

charges that these gentlemen can bring. We have certainly heard a strange

declaration . . . . He tells us the canon of scripture is closed, and that we

have all of the word of God that ever was written. I wonder where he studied

his Bible; for certainly we most assuredly have not got all by a great deal.

Taylor listed various books referred to in the Bible which were not

incorporated into the King James edition.

Here are sixteen books mentioned. . . . written by prophets, seers, and

revelators, under the immediate inspiration of the Almighty, and yet we have

them not. Where are they, Mr. Cater? Yet this gentleman calls us imposters

because we do not stick to the Bible . . . .

As for the charge that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism, Taylor

submitted a clipping from the Quincy, Illinois, Whig, 17 July 1842,

containing a letter from John Haven of Holliston, Mass., to his daughter

Elizabeth at Quincy.

Your brother Jesse passed through Monson, (where the widow of Spaulding

resided) where he was in company with Mrs. Davieson (widow Spaulding), her

daughter, Mrs. McKinestry, and Dr. Ely, for many hours, during which he put to

her the following questions and received the following answers, in the

presence of Dr. Ely.

[162] QuestionDid you, Mrs. Davieson, write a letter to Mr. John Storrs,

containing an account of the commencement of Mormonism? Answer: No, I did not!

And I never saw the letter until I saw it in the Boston Recorder with my name

on it. The letter was never brought to me to be signed . . . .

QuestionHave you read the Book of Mormon? Answer: I have read a little

of it.

QuestionIs there any similarity between Mr. Spaulding's and the Book of

Mormon? Answer: NOT ANY, with the exception of some names, something similar

the one to the other . . . .

QuestionWhere is the manuscript? Answer: Mr. Hurlbut came

here and took it away, promising to publish it, and said that I should have

half the proceeds.

QuestionDid Hurlbut publish the manuscript? Answer: No! He informed me

by letter that the manuscript after having been examined did not read as they

expected, and that they WOULD NOT publish it. (5)

Mr. RobertsonWhat made you believe in the Book of Mormon?

Elder TaylorFirst, its agreement with the scriptures; secondly, the

testimony in the scriptures concerning it; and thirdly, the testimony of other


Mr. Robertson demanded of Mr. Taylor . . . to prove their prophet spoke

the truth, and "that he had seen angels as he declared he had . . . . Did he

ever see any miracles performed by Joseph Smith? . . .

Elder Taylor . . . I do not believe that the truth of a prophet's

testimony depends upon miracles. Jesus says there never was a greater prophet

than John, yet John did [163] no miracles. . . . What miracles did Isaiah,

Jeremiah, Hosea, Habakul or Ezekiel do? Yet they were prophets.

Robertson pressed Taylor for evidence of miracles. Taylor said he

had thousands of testimonies, and he Bolton read a letter from the

Millennial Star, dated Bristol, 25 November 1849.

Dear President PrattAs you were so kind as to publish the letter I

sent, dated July 9, 1849, containing an account of the miraculous power of God

displayed in the healing of Elizabeth Ann Bounsell, which made quite a stir

amongst the pious Christians in our city, I now venture to write to you again,

and say that the above circumstances caused many to call at the house to see

if it were true; and upon seeing, many rejoiced. Others mocked, saying, "She

would have got well if the elders had not laid their hands upon her." Amongst

the latter was one wouldbe great man, by the name of Charles Smith (who has

written a flimsy tract against the Latterday Saints), who said it was not

enough to satisfy him. So the mother took another of her daughters, and put

her upon his knee and said, "Sir, is that child blind?" And after he had

examined her eyes, he said, "She is." "Well," said the mother, "she was born

blind, and she is now four years old; and I am going to take her to the elders

of the Church, for them to anoint her eyes with oil, and lay hands upon her;

and you can call again when you have time, and see her with her eyes opened;

for I know the Lord will heal her, and she will see." "Well," said he, "if she

does ever see, it will be a great proof." Accordingly the mother brought the

child to the elders, and Elder J. Jackwell anointed her eyes, and laid hands

upon her only once; and the Lord heard his prayer, so that the child can see

now with both of her eyes as well as any other person, for which we all feel

thankful to our Heavenly Father, and are willing to bear testimony of it to

all the world . . . .

[164] P.S. We, the father and mother of the child, do here sign our names to

the above, as being true.

William Bounsell

Elizabeth Bounsell

Elder TaylorHere is the address of the parents of the child; anyone who

is dissatisfied can write to them and obtain the information.

Mr. Taylor then continuedWhen I commenced searching after truth, I did

not pursue the same course that you have doneseek to impugn the motives and

destroy the characters of individuals. I did not believe the truth was to be

obtained by opposing it. I examined the doctrines and compared them with the

Word of God . . . .

If these men have the truth, it is certainly very easy to detect error by

comparison. A man acquainted with coins can easily detect a counterfeit; it is

not necessary for him to find out the character of the man who made it . . . .

I can very soon detect any false system by comparing it with the scriptures;

but these gentlemen, having so bungling a counterfeit themselves, of course

are not proper to judge, and do not understand the true test. They are afraid

of the scriptures, because they destroy their own systems.

Despite publicity attached to the debate, there was little interest

at Boulogne in Mormonism. However, out of the experience Taylor prepared

a missionary tract, Three Nights' Public Discussion . . . at

Boulognesurmer, France, of which he predicted, "I believe it will be

productive of good."

He sent copies to his family, noting that "I published two editions,

making 16,000," which indicates its immediate popularity.

[165] (1) JD 1:16.

(2) Letter to Orson Hyde for the Frontier Guardian; reprinted MS 15

March 1850.

(3) The opinions of the clergymen were based on three strongly

unfriendly books: Henry Caswall's The City of the Mormons, J. B. Turner's

Mormonism in All Ages, and John C. Bennett's History of the Saints.

(4) Once again, Taylor is following the prophet's admonition never

to betray his brethren. Existence of the Danites as a Mormon guerilla

organization during the war in Missouri is a matter of sworn court

testimony, not only by apostates but by such men as Orson Hyde and W. W.

Phelps. Hyde and Phelps repented at having revealed military secrets by

giving testimony, but never said it was untrue.

(5) The Spaulding manuscript had vanished. A number of years after

this debate at Boulogne, it was discovered, and was published by the

church to establish that there was no similarity between it and the Book

of Mormon.

[166] Chapter 11


Taylor "proceeded immediately after the discussion to Paris in

company with Br. Bolton, and Br. Pack remained at Boulogne."

I have organized a church in Paris to whom I have frequently spoken in

French, though I must say my French is not very perfect. I have baptized

several learned men; one had been a Jesuit priest, another an assistant editor

to a newspaper, and other learned men; all of them have been educated at

college and understand several languages. One of these, a young man, has

commenced preaching and baptizing in the country and hundreds are coming to

hear him. (1)

It is very difficult however on account of the laws, they

are so very rigid . . . . I had an interview with some of the government

authorities who treated me with the greatest courtesy and I expected to get

from them permission to preach the gospel throughout France; but instead of

this, they have utterly prohibited us from preaching anywhere throughout the

country. I presume they are afraid of excitement, for just about the time that

the ministry had it in consideration, there was a mob broke out in Denmark

that tore down the Saints' meeting house and very much abused many of the

Saints . . . .

I have published a pamphlet on the first principles of the gospel. It is

not lawful to circulate them, but I contrive to do it and evade the law.

Large meetings also were prohibited, but he managed to hold

conference in Paris, and to establish a monthly paper, L'Etoile du


[167] Br. Bolton has translated the Book of Mormon, but it needs a revision.

He was not sufficiently acquainted with French to prepare it for the press.

However, we have brethren that are as competent as any in France. The revision

is now going on. With one of our brethren we read over together Bro. Bolton's

translation. Our translator regulates the grammar and I the doctrinal points,

and among us all we shall, I believe, have a good translation. (2)

Later, Taylor wrote the family that the Book of Mormon was being

printed. "You will have some little idea of the trouble when I tell you

it has been written three times over." However, he finally was satisfied.

We have got a translation of the Book of Mormon, as good a one as it is

possible for anybody to make. I fear no contradiction to this statement . . .

. I had it examined and tested by some of the best educated men in France....

The translation is good, the printing, is good, and the paper is good.

I have made some little alterations; that is, I have marked the

paragraphs, and numbered them; . . . and in some instances where the

paragraphs are very long, I have divided them. The original simplicity of the

book is retained, and it is as literal as the genius and idiom of the French

language would admit. (3)

Taylor's sleep was broken one night by "a dream that troubled me

very much." Three times he saw his wife, Leonora, "lying sick at the

point of death."

On the following morning I . . . a Protestant minister, and he

observed that my countenance looked sorrowful, and enquired the cause. I told

him that my wife was lying at the point of death, and he asked if I had

received a letter. I told him no; but related to him how it had been shown to

me. But, I said, I got up and prayed the [168] Lord to spare her life, and I

feel consoled in knowing that she will be healed . . . .

He heard my prayer. I took note of the circumstances at the time, and

learned afterwards that such had been the case exactly as it had been shown

me. (4)

Taylor looked forward to returning home the summer of 1851, to

be united again with his family after two years. However, an Epistle

from the First Presidency counseled that he, together with other

members of the Twelve who were in the mission field, should stay

another year.

I start in about a week for Germany. I have got a tract or pamphlet now

translated into German and am making arrangements about the Book of Mormon. I

don't know but that I shall have to go alone into that land, for there is no

one in England that I can find that will be of any use to me . . . . however,

it makes but very little difference to me. The Lord can control affairs in one

place the same as in another, and all will be well.

I go to that land as I go elsewhere, in the name of Israel's God; if He

goes with me, all is well.

However, Taylor did find help in the translation. He corresponded

with George Viett, a German teaching in France, concerning it.

You in your letter speak about the Book of Mormon. I will give you my

views about it . . . . It is extremely difficult for any person without me

being present, to translate it, and in fact there are some points that could

not be translated correctly without meor someone else as well acquainted

with the doctrinal pointsbeing present.

[169] I found this to be particularly the case in the French translation. You

are aware that it requires more than a knowledge of words to translate the

Book of Mormon, Bible, or any other inspired record; we must know the ideas

intended to be conveyed before we can represent them correctly in another

language. And thus no matter how learned or well qualified a man might be as a

translator, he would need assistance . . . to make a perfect work and prepare

it for the press. (5)

"I wished to be perfectly satisfied that the translation was right,"

Taylor said.

Brother Richards and I heard some of it read at Boulogne, and

we thought it was very good; but still it had to be altered. I, therefore, got

some of the best professors in the city of Hamburg to look over it. Some few

alterations were necessary, but not many . . . .

I have often heard men in, this country sputter a great deal about the

meaning of odd words in the Bible; but this only exhibits their folly. It is

the spirit and intention of the language that are to be looked at, and if the

translator does not know this, it is impossible for him to translate

correctly; and this is the reason why there are so many blunders in the Bible.


In addition to his missionary labors, Taylor was busy in arranging

for the shipment of everything required to establish two muchneeded

industries in Deseret. He wrote Brigham Young:

You in your epistle speak about manufacturing sugar, etc. Since then I

have organized a company to manufacture sugar at home instead of having the

merchants carry it to the valley; but it will need a little of your counsel

and assistance in the matter.

The company will bring out apparatus and machinery to manufacture from

150 to 300 tons of sugar in the fall [170] of 1852, providing the beets can be

raised and prepared. I have selected and forwarded upwards of twelve

hundredweight of the best French beet seed for this purpose. . . . The

average crop in France is 35,000 lbs. of beets to the acre. What you can raise

in the valley, of course, I do not know. It is a crop, however, that will pay

better than any other kind . . . .

I would here state that there is also another company organized for the

purpose of establishing a large woolen manufactory. The best machinery will be

brought that can be purchased in England, and men brought to work it. If fine

merino wool can be obtained, as good cloth can be manufactured as in the west

of England . . . . The company will probably bring one or two thousand sheep,

merinos, if . . . possible, as fine wool is absolutely necessary for

broadcloth and fine women's wear. This company are all brethren, and I believe

wish to do right. (7)

At conference, held in Carpenters' Hall, Manchester, October 1850,

Taylor called for "the emigration of mechanics to the Valley, that we may

manufacture our own materials."

This is absolutely necessary for every people to attend to, if they wish

to prosper . . . . We have a rich soil, and a good climate, but there are many

inconveniences we have to suffer for want of home manufactures. We have to

transport from a distant country many things that are necessary to meet our

wants . . . .

Some people are anxious to obtain money, but it is labour that is true

wealth . . . . What is wealth? If a man has food, and clothing, and horses,

and carriages, and houses, and lands, he is generally considered a wealthy man

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