Elders' Journal editorial on Hurlburt

 Full editorial from the Elders’ Journal August 1838 I.4:55 from WordCruncher:

“Argument to argument where I find it; Ridicule to ridicule, and scorn to scorn.”

We are not in the habit of noticing the many libellous publications which are abroad in the world, designed to injure our character. We generally let the authors and publishers of lies, take their own course, relying at all times on the righteousness of our cause and the integrity of our course in the sight of God, our Heavenly Father, and feel disposed at the present time to pursue this as our general course. Indeed we have felt to pity the poor priests and their satellites, seeing they had no better weapons to work with than lies, a great majority of which they made themselves, but some were catered for them by men of like passions with themselves.

We have always been assured of this, that if they had any better weapons to have used against us, they would have used them, but as they have not, it would surely be wrong to deprive them of the best resort they have. And we feel the more willing to do this, inasmuch as we have no fear of their efforts doing any injury. They have been employed at it for eight years, making and publishing all kinds of lies, till one would be ready to think that the very prince of devils himself had by this time got wearied and would certainly be ready to sneak back to his smutty kennel, and there seek repose. But instead of this, at the appearance of every new liar, not only the prince himself but all the flunkies that fly at his knell whether in the flesh or out of the flesh, take new courage and put forth new efforts, and it would seem that they really believe that by the assistance of a few more liars, they will be able to dethrone Jehovah and upset His kingdom, and with Satan at their head, establish an empire that   shall forever defy the Son of God and so completely destroy the Zion of the last days that He never will come down and reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His ancients gloriously.

Poor simpletons! They do not know that He who sits in the heavens is laughing at them, that He has them in derision, and that after He has let them foam out their own shame and completely work out their own damnation that he will speak to them in His wrath and vex them in His displeasure, and that when His wrath is but a little kindled, they will perish!

If we did not know that the people of this generation love lies more than the truth, or at least a great many of them, it would be a matter of some astonishment to us to see with what eagerness they give audience to every hypocrite and iniquitous wretch we detect in his wickedness, and bring to an account. It matters not how scandalous is his conduct, the priests and all their coadjutors rally around them the very instant they are excluded from the church and listen with most intense interest to their lies; and soon, the papers are filled with their lies and abomination. But such is the piteous situation of the priests of all denominations, for there are no exceptions to be made. For to say the best of them, they have pleasure in lies, but in the truth they have no pleasure, neither have they any part.

Within the last six months, they have been making one of their greatest efforts. The Church in accordance with her laws, excluded from her fellowship a set of creatures whose behavior would have disgraced a heathen temple, and as might have been expected, they had recourse to the foulest lying and basest slander in order to hide their iniquity. This served as a favorable opportunity to the persecuting priests and their adherents. They gathered round them in swarms like the flies round Esop’s [Aesop] fox and opened both their eyes and ears to enjoy a good feast of lies which pleased them more abundantly than any other sound could, except the voice of Beelzebub the prince of the whole brood. His voice would doubtless have been more delightful to them than an angel of light to the ear of a prophet of the living God.

All these pious soul’s papers were put into requisition and this gang of liars, thieves and drunkards were called upon immediately to write their lies on paper and let them print them, so that all the world might have as great a feast of lies as they had. Accordingly to work they all went with one accord. And after this mighty mountain of bustle and human folly had filled its full time of gestation. Behold! and lo! it brought forth a mouse!! From the bowels of Mr. Warren Parrish and the priest’s papers have flown abroad to tell the world of it.

No animal we presume has been produced in the last century which caused more agony, pain and groaning than this wonder of modern times, for during the time of gestation and a long time before the birth thereof, he kept up such an unusual groaning and grunting, that all the devils whelps in Geauga and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio were running together to hear what was about to come forth from the womb of Granny Parrish. He had made such an awful fuss about what was conceived in him, that night after night and day after day he poured out His agony before all living as they saw proper to assemble. For a rational being to have looked at him and heard him groan and grunt and see him sweat and struggle would have supposed that his womb was as much swollen as was Rebecca’s when the angel told her that there were two nations there.

In all this grunting business, he was aided by Leonard Rich who, however, was generally so drunk, that he had to support himself by something to keep him from falling down, but then it was all for conscience sake. Also a pair of young blacklegs, one of them a Massachusetts shoemaker by the name of John F. Boynton, a man notorious for nothing but ignorance, ill breeding and impudence. And the other by the name of Luke Johnson, whose notoriety consisted, if information be correct, in stealing a barrel of flour from his father and other acts of a similar kind.

Thus aided, Mamma Parrish made   a monstrous effort to bring forth. And when the full time of gestation was come, the wonder came forth, and the priests who were in waiting seized the animal at its birth, rolled it up in their papers and sent it abroad to the world. But Rich, Boynton, and Johnson in the character of midwives, waited around the bed of Mamma Parrish to get away the afterbirth; but awful to relate! They no sooner got it away than mamma expired and the poor bantling was left on the hands of the priests to protect and nurse it without any other friend. A short time after the delivery of Granny Parrish, a little ignorant blockhead by the name of Stephen Burnet, whose heart was so set on money, that he would at any time sell his soul for fifty dollars and then think he had made an excellent bargain; and who had got wearied of the restraints of religion and could not bear to have his purse taxed, hearing of the delivery of Granny Parrish, ran to Kirtland, got into the temple and tried withal his powers to bring forth something, nobody knows what, nor did he know himself. But he thought as Granny Parrish had been fruitful, so must he, but after some terrible gruntings and finding nothing coming but an abortion, rose up in his anger, proclaimed all revelation lies, and ran home to his daddy with all his might, not leaving even an egg behind, and there sat down and rejoiced in the great victory he had obtained over the great God and all the holy angels, how he had discovered them liars and impostors.

There was also a kind of secondary attendant that waited upon this granny of modern libels, whose name is Sylvester Smith. In his character there is something notorious and that is that at a certain time in Kirtland, he signed a libel in order to avoid the punishment due to his crimes. That libel can be forthcoming at any time when called for. And in so doing, has disqualified himself for taking an oath before any court of justice in the United States.

Thus armed and attended, this modern libeler has gone forth to the assistance of the priests, to help them fight against the great God and against His work. How successful they will be, future events will determine.

A few words on the history of this priest’s helpmate may not be amiss.

He went into Kirtland, Ohio some few years since to live, and hired his boarding in the house of one Zerah Cole. He had not however been there but a short time until Mr. Cole began to make a grievous complaint about his taking unlawful freedom with his (Cole’s) wife. Parrish was, accordingly, brought to an account before the authorities of the Church for his crime. The fact was established that such unlawful conduct had actually taken place between Parrish and Cole’s wife. Parrish, finding he could not escape, confessed, pleaded for forgiveness like a criminal at the bar, promising in the most solemn manner that if the Church would forgive him, he never would do so again, and he was accordingly forgiven.

For some considerable time, there were no outbreakings with him, at least, that was known, but a train of circumstances began at last to fix guilt on his head in another point of light. He had the handling of large sums of money and it was soon discovered that after the money was counted and laid away and come to be used and counted again, that there was always a part of it missing. This being the case repeatedly, and those who owned it knowing that there was no other person but Parrish who had access to it, suspicion of necessity fixed itself on him. At last, the matter went to such lengths that a search warrant was called for to search his trunk. The warrant was demanded at the office of F. [Frederick] G. Williams, Esq. but he refused to grant it; some difficulty arose on account of it.

The warrant, however, was at last obtained, but too late for the trunk in question was taken out of the way and could not be found, but as to his guilt, little doubt can be entertained by any person acquainted with the circumstances.

After this affair, Parrish began to discover that there was great iniquity in the Church, particularly in the editor of this paper and began to make a public excitement about it. But in a short time, he had an opportunity of   proving to the world the truth of his assertion. A poor persecuting booby by the name of Grandison Newel and who in fact was scarcely a grade above the beast that perish, went and swore out a state’s warrant against the editor of this paper, saying that he was afraid of his life. In so doing, he swore a palpable lie and everybody knew it, and so did the court and decided accordingly.

One of the witnesses called in behalf of Mr. Newel was Warren Parrish. Newel had no doubt but great things would be proven by Parrish. When the day of trial, however, came, Parrish was not forthcoming. Newel’s council demanded an attachment to bring him forthwith and accordingly, Parrish was brought. But, behold, the disappointment when Parrish was called! Instead of fulfilling Newel’s expectation, when asked by the lawyers, “Do you know of anything in the character or conduct of Mr. [Joseph] Smith which is unworthy of his profession as a man of God?” the answer was, “I do not.” The countenance of Newel fell and if he had possessed one grain of human feelings, would went off with shame, but of this, there is about as much in him as in other beasts.

In giving the answer Parrish did, he has given the lie to all he has said, both before the since, and his letter that is now going the rounds in the priest’s paper is an outrageous pack of lies, or else he took a false oath at Painesville; and take it which way you will, and the priests have but a feeble helpmate in Granny Parrish.

The truth is, at the time Parrish was called on to give testimony in Painesville, he had not gotten his nerves so strengthened as to take a false oath and though he could lie most unsufferably, still he had some fear about swearing lies. But no doubt, if he were called upon now, he would swear lies as fast as tell them, since he denies all revelation, all angels, all spirit, etc., and has taken the liar Sylvester Smith by the hand and become his companion.

Some time after Parrish had given in his testimony at Painesville, he began again to rail, the Church would hear it no longer and cut him off, a short time after he was cut off, he plead with them to receive him back again, and in order to get back, he confessed all he had said to be false, asked forgiveness for it, and by much pleading and confession and promising reformation was received back again.

Thus once under oath, and another time voluntarily, for sake of getting back into the Church, he confessed himself that all that he had said and all that he had written were falsehoods, for his letter that is going the rounds in the papers is no more than a reiteration of what he had before declared and denied himself. This is the poor pitiful resort then, of the priests, in order to stop the progress of the truth.

But this is not all concerning Mamma Parrish. The next business we find him in is robbing the Kirtland Bank of twenty-five thousand dollars at one time and large sums at others. The managers had, in the meantime, appointed him as cashier and F. [Frederick] G. Williams as president, and they managed the institution with a witness. Parrish tore the paper out of the institution and went to buying bogus or counterfeit coin with it, becoming a partner with the Tinker’s Creek blacklegs and in company with Julias Granger, in buying different kinds of property with it and devoting it to his own use and soon entirely destroyed the institution.

He was aided by his former associates to take his paper and go and buy bogus with it from the Tinker’s Creek blacklegs and on the way coming home, they would waylay Parrish and his gang and rob them, so they would lose the bogus money. At last Parrish sold his horse and carriage for bogus money and behold, when he came home and opened his box of bogus, it was sand and stones. Parrish was somewhat chagrined at this, so he gets out a state’s warrant, takes his coadjutor, Luke Johnson, and off to Tinker’s Creek they go, Johnson as constable. The pretended object was to take the man who had them, the horse and carriage, one for stealing them, and the others as stolen property. Coming to the place where they were, Johnson takes after the man and drives him into a barn. Parrish in the meantime, takes the horse and carriage, and clear to Kirtland with it and when Johnson had pretendedly tried to take the man, until he supposed Parrish had got off with the horse and carriage, he ceased the pursuit and went home.

For this, Parrish was taken by the sheriff of Cuyahoga County, his hands bound behind his back, and held in custody until he paid two hundred dollars, and if he had not paid it, he would have stood a chance for the work house.

Thus, O ye priests, what a blessed company of associates you have got to help you on the work of persecution. You ought to rejoice greatly at the venerable addition which you have added to your numbers. No   doubt they are men as much after your own hearts as ever David was after the heart of God. And you, Mr. Sunjderland in particular, you have no doubt in Warren Parrish an helpmeet after your own image and your own likeness. Congratulate yourself greatly in having obtained a man after your heart to help you to lie and persecute.

O ye priests, but you are a heaven born race, and that all the world may well know by the company you keep. You have got Warren Parrish for your associate, a man notorious for lying, for adultery, for stealing, for swindling, and for villainy of all kinds, but for nothing else. Are you not happily yoked together with believers, precisely of your own character? Surely you are, since it is company of your own choosing.

For our parts, we shall consider it an honor to be belied and persecuted by such debauchees. In it we will rejoice as long as we have breath, knowing if these men speak well of us, that we are not doing the will of God. For the friendship of such is enmity against God, and the friendship of God is enmity to such.

And then, O ye priests, we leave you with your holy company, until it shall be said to you all, “Depart ye workers of iniquity, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

There is another character who has figured somewhat in the affairs of Granny Parrish, Doctor W. [Warren] A. Cowdery. This poor pitiful beggar came to Kirtland a few years since with a large family, nearly naked and destitute. It was really painful to see this pious doctor’s (for such he professed to be) rags flying when he walked the streets. He was taken in by us in this pitiful condition and we put him into the printing office and gave him enormous wages, not because he could earn it, or because we needed his service, but merely out of pity. We knew the man’s incompetency all the time and his ignorance and inability to fill any place in the literary world with credit to himself or to his employers. But notwithstanding all this, out of pure compassion, we gave him a place and afterwards hired him to edit the paper in that place and gave him double as much as he could have gotten anywhere else. The subscribers, many at least, complained to us of his inability to edit the paper and there was much dissatisfaction about it, but still we retained him in our employ, merely that he might not have to be supported as a pauper.

By our means, he got himself and family decently clothed and got supplied with all the comforts of life, and it was nothing more nor less than supporting himself and family as paupers, for his services were actually not worth one cent to us, but on the contrary, was an injury. The owners of the establishment could have done all the work which he did themselves, just as well without him as with him. In reality, it was a piece of pauperism.

But now, reader, mark the sequel. It is a fact of public notoriety that as soon as he found himself and family in possession of decent apparel, he began to use all his influence to our injury, both in his savings and doings. We have often heard it remarked by slave holders that you should not make a negro equal with you or he would try to walk over you. We have found the saying verified in this pious doctor, for truly this niggardly spirit manifested itself in all its meanness. Even in his writings (and they were very mean at best) he threw out foul insinuations, which no man who had one particle of noble feeling would have condescended to. But such was the conduct of this master of meanness. Nor was this niggardly course confined to himself, but his sons also were found engaged in the same mean business.

His sons, in violation of every sacred obligation were found among the number of Granny Parrish’s men, using all their influence (which however was nothing, but they were none the less guilty for that, for if it had been ever so great, it would have been used) to destroy the benefactors of their family who raised their family from rags, poverty, and wretchedness. One thing we have learned that there are negroes who wear white skins as well as those who wear black ones.

Granny Parrish had a few others who acted as lackeys, such as Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Cyrus P. Smalling, etc., but they are so far beneath contempt that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make.

Having said so much, we leave this hopeful company in the new bond of union which they have formed with the priests. While they were held under restraints by the Church and had to behave with a degree of propriety, at least, the priests manifested the greatest opposition to them. But no sooner were they excluded from the fellowship of the Church and gave loose to all kind of abominations, swearing, lying, cheating, swindling, drinking with every species of debauchery, then the priests began to extol them to the heavens for their piety and virtue and made friends with them and called them the finest fellows in the world.

Is it any wonder then, that we say of the priests of modern days that they are of Satan’s own making and are of their father the devil. Nay verily nay, for no being but a scandalous sycophant and base hypocrite would say other ways. As it was with Doctor Philastes Hurlburt, so it is with these creatures. While Hurlburt was held in bounds by the Church and made to behalf himself, he was denounced by the priests as one of the worst of men, but no sooner was he excluded from the Church for adultery, than instantly he became one of the finest men in the world. Old deacon Clapp of Mentor ran and took him and his family into the house with himself and so exceedingly was he pleased with him, that purely out of respect to him, he went to bed to his wife. This great kindness and respect Hurlburt did not feel just so well about but the pious old deacon gave him a hundred dollars and a yoke of oxen, and all was well again.

This is the Hurlburt that was author of a book which bears the name of E. [Edward] D. Howe [Mormonism Unvailed], but it was this said Hurlburt that was the author of it. But after the affair of Hurlburt wife and the pious old deacon, the persecutors thought it better to put some other name   as author to their book than Hurlburt , so E. D. Howe substituted his name. The change however was not much better. Asahel Howe, one of E. D.’s brothers who was said to be the likeliest of the family, served apprenticeship in the work house in Ohio for robbing the post office. And yet notwithstanding all this, all the pious priests of all denominations were found following in the wake of these mortals.

Hurlburt and the Howes are among the basest of mankind, and known to be such and yet the priests and their coadjutors hail them as their best friends and publish their lies, speaking of them in the highest terms. And after all this, they want us to say that they are pious souls and good saints. Can we believe it? Surely men of common sense will not ask us to do it.

Good men love to associate with good men, and bad men with bad ones, and when we see men making friends with drunkards, thieves, liars, and swindlers, shall we call them saints? If we were to do it, we might be justly charged with “partaking of their evil deeds.”

Therefore until we have more evidence than we have now, we shall always think when we see men associating with scoundrels, that they themselves are scoundrels. And there we shall leave them for the present, firmly believing that when the day of decision had come that we shall see all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day. With all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels.

(Elders’ Journal I.4:55 ¶5–60 ¶4)

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