religion, and mine, is, that I firmly be lieve in the prophets and apostles, Je sus Christ, being the chief cornerstone. And speak as one having authority among them, and not as the scribes, and am liberal in my sentiments to wards all men, in matters of opinion, and rights of conscience, whereas they are not. But enough of this. I feel highly gratified to learn of a man who had sympathy, and feelings of friend ship towards a suffering, and an injur ed, and an innocent people: if you can do them any good, render them any assistance, or protection, in the name of suffering humanity, we beseach you, for God’s sake, and humanity’s sake, that you will do it. If you should see Gov. [Robert] Lucas, I wish you would have the kindness to state to him, the contents of this letter; as we know him from information to be a man of character and a gentleman. I would be glad therefore, if it were possible that he, and not only him, but every other pat riotic, and humane man, should know the real facts of our sufferings: and of the unjust and cruel hand that is upon us. I have been in this one year, the 12th, day of this month; I have never borne arms at any time. I have never held any office, civil or military in this . I have only officiated as a religious teacher, in religious mat ters, and not in temporal matters. The only occasion I have given, was to de fend my own family, in my own door yard, against the invasions of a lawless mob: and that I did not at the expense of any man’s life: but risked my own in defence of an innocent family, con sisting of a , five children, hired servants &c. My residence was in . I was surrounded with a noble, generous, and enterprising so ciety, who were friendly to the laws, and constitution of our
country: they were broken up without cause, and my family now as I suppose, if living, are in , Illinois.
We are informed that the prisoners in jail, , are much more inhumanly treated than we are; if this is the case, we will as sure you, that their constitutions can not last long, for we find ours wearing away very fast: and if we knew of any source whereby aid and assistance could be rendered unto us, we should most cordially petition for it: but where is liberty? Where is humanity? Where is patriotism? Where has the genius of the pedistal of the laws and constitution of our boasted country fled? Are they not slain victims at the feet of prejudice, to gratify the malice of a certain class of men, who have learned that their craft and creed can not stand against the light of truth, when it comes to be investigated?— hence they resort to the vilest of the vile means, and to foul calumnies, and to physical force to do what? To de prive some fifty thousand, of the right of citizenship, and for what? because they are blasphemers? no: For this is contrary to their practice, as well as faith. Was it because they were tavern haunters, and drunkards? no. This charge cannot be substantiated against them as a people; it was contra ry to their faith. And finally was it for any thing? no sir, not for any thing, only, that Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraced it felt him self at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles of supersti tion, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, falls at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft; hence the priests are alarmed, and they raise a hu-in-cry, down with these men! heresy! heresy! fanaticism! false proph et! false teachers! away with these men! crucify them! crucify them! And now sir, this is the sole cause of the persecu tion against the Mormon people, and now if they had been Mahomedans, Hotten tots, or Pagans; or in fine sir, if their religion was as false as hell, what right would men have to drive them from their homes, and their country, or to ex terminate them, so long as their reli gion did not interfere with the civil rights of men, according to the laws of our country? None at all. But the mind naturally being curious wants to know what those sentiments are, that are so at varience with the priests of the age, and I trust you will bear with me, while I offer to you a few of my reflections on this subject, and if they should not meet your mind, it may open a door for an exchange of ideas, and in the exercise of a proper liberal ity of spirit, it may not be unprofitable.
In the first place, I have stated above [p. 53]