Letter from Udney H. Jacobs, 6 January 1844

  • Source Note
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Jany 6th 1844
To Gen Joseph Smith
Dear Sir I hope you will not consider this letter an intrusion— I have not to be sure the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, nor do I know that I am worthy of that favour: yet I believe that I am worth saveing— The reason why I adress this letter to you is because my enquiries relate to the Book of Mormon, and you who profess to be the translator, and author of that Book; must be I suppose on that account the best able to solve them of any living man— And to make my enquiries as inteligible as I can, I will number them under general heads— Query 1st. If you Should read in a Book professedly antient, of two, or three thousand years Standing a foretelling of our manner of warfare, and that we should fight with Guns, Bayonets, and Pistols; could you believe that the invention of Gunpowder was then forestalled by Prophecy? Or Should you read in a Book Said to have been written in the days of Nebudchadnezar that hundreds of persons should be destroyed on the by the explosion of the boilers of Steem-Boats; would you believe that the invention of Steem boats was thus forestalled by Prophecy? And if you did admit the books to be genuine; would you not rather conclude that the above mentioned Sentences were interpolations inserted by Somebody who livid after <​Since​> the invention of Gunpowder and Steem boats? For is it not evident that those antient people, to whom the books were first adressed, would be incapable of <​forming​> any idea whatever of the meaning of Such words? Guns, Bayonets, Pistols, Steem boats, and Steem boat boilers would certainly be wholly uninteligeble to them. And furthermore Such language must naturally have created an enquiry, which must have terminated in an explanation of those things, which would have compleatly forestalled the invention of Gunpowder and Steemboats. What then must I say or think when I find the word Crucify; put into the mouth of Nephi so many yrs before the idea of executeing criminals by Crucifixtion was ever thought of, or the method invented by the Romans? And what rational idea could the Nephites have formed from Such expressions? would <​not​> Similar enquires & Similar results have been the consequences as above alluded to? Query 2d. I find in the mouth of Nephi the following words— “Infinite Attonement”— Here is a word and an idea not found in the Holy Bible, nor in any other antient book with which I am acquainted— It does not appear ever to have entered the mind of Moses, the Prophets, or Appostles; and it is strange [p. [1]]
Jany 6th 1844
To Gen Joseph Smith
Dear Sir I hope you will not consider this letter an intrusion— I have not to be sure the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, nor do I know that I am worthy of that favour: yet I believe that I am worth saveing— The reason why I adress this letter to you is because my enquiries relate to the Book of Mormon, and you who profess to be the translator, and author of that Book; must be I suppose on that account the best able to solve them of any living man— And to make my enquiries as inteligible as I can, I will number them under general heads— Query 1st. If you Should read in a Book professedly antient, of two, or three thousand years Standing a foretelling of our manner of warfare, and that we should fight with Guns, Bayonets, and Pistols; could you believe that the invention of Gunpowder was then forestalled by Prophecy? Or Should you read in a Book Said to have been written in the days of Nebudchadnezar that hundreds of persons should be destroyed on the by the explosion of the boilers of Steem-Boats; would you believe that the invention of Steem boats was thus forestalled by Prophecy? And if you did admit the books to be genuine; would you not rather conclude that the above mentioned Sentences were interpolations inserted by Somebody who livid Since the invention of Gunpowder and Steem boats? For is it not evident that those antient people, to whom the books were first adressed, would be incapable of forming any idea whatever of the meaning of Such words? Guns, Bayonets, Pistols, Steem boats, and Steem boat boilers would certainly be wholly uninteligeble to them. And furthermore Such language must naturally have created an enquiry, which must have terminated in an explanation of those things, which would have compleatly forestalled the invention of Gunpowder and Steemboats. What then must I say or think when I find the word Crucify; put into the mouth of Nephi so many yrs before the idea of executeing criminals by Crucifixtion was ever thought of, or the method invented by the Romans? And what rational idea could the Nephites have formed from Such expressions? would not Similar enquires & Similar results have been the consequences as above alluded to? Query 2d. I find in the mouth of Nephi the following words— “Infinite Attonement”— Here is a word and an idea not found in the Holy Bible, nor in any other antient book with which I am acquainted— It does not appear ever to have entered the mind of Moses, the Prophets, or Appostles; and it is strange [p. [1]]
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