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    [Mormons]. Autograph Letter Signed. Four integral pages, 15.25" x 12.5", Dubuque [Iowa Territory], April 5, 1842, to the Reverend Milton Badger. Badger was Secretary of the American Home Missionary Society. Established in 1832, the Society was related to the Triennial Convention of Baptists and, in 1888, changed to the American Baptist Home Missionary Society (which today is part of the American Baptist Convention). Its mission is "to preach the gospel, establish churches and support ministry among the unchurched and destitute." Here the Reverend John C. Holbrook, in an addendum to his quarterly report, is imparting to Rev. Badger the dangers of Mormonism.

    He says, in part: "Another fact, occurred at Potosi, illustrative of the destructive influence of Mormonism. Every minister knows that whenever God's people are revived, & put fourth special efforts for the salvation of sinners, then the Devil stirs up his instruments to promote a revival of his work. Sometimes he uses Universalists; sometimes Infidels; & sometimes the Mormons. In this case, the latter his tools. As soon as our meetings commenced, a Mormon preacher began to favor the people with his labors to enlighten them in the mysteries of that system, & with the revelations said to have been vouchsafed to Joe Smith, the 'prophet of the latter day saints.' He was in the habit of announcing his appointments at the close of our these words: 'There will be preaching at _______ by one of the Elders of Israel, commonly called Mormons.'"

    He tells the tale of a young man who listened to the Baptists before going to hear the Mormon speak: "...he went to listen to the Mormon preacher & there he found a refuge of lies, & in a short time came out a professed believer in that delusion...there is reason to believe he grieved the Spring, & was 'given over to strong delusion, to believe a lie' and this, too, while four other persons residing in the same house...embraced the truth & are rejoicing in the hope of salvation by Jesus Christ. How different their prospects & his for eternity!"

    "There is probably no more soul destroying error at work in some parts of the west than this...Its preachers are scattered abroad...The preachers profess to believe the Bible...They find Mormonism shadowed forth in the Old Test. & say that there has been no real religion in the world since the days of the Apostles until the 'latter day saints' arose."

    He ends by railing about the local Catholics with equal bitterness. A fascinating letter from the beginnings of the Mormon faith. Folds have weakened to the point of detachment, but with no loss of paper. Some period ink smudging and ink bleed-through.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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