Source:Orson Spencer:2 Jan 1843:I only remark that Stevens’ Travels had some influence, as an external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon

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Orson Spencer (2 Jan 1843): "I only remark that Stevens’ Travels had some influence, as an external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon"

I read diligently the Book of Mormon from beginning to end, in close connection with the comments of Origen Bachelor, Laroy Sunderland, and Dr. Hurlburt, together with newspapers and some private letters obtained from the surviving friends of Mr. Spaulding, the supposed author of that Book. I arose from its perusal with a strong conviction on my mind that its pages were graced with the pen of inspiration. I was surprised that so little fault could be found with a book of such magnitude, treating as it did of such diversified subjects, through a period of so many generations. It appeared to me that no enemy to truth or godliness would ever take the least interest in publishing the contents of such a book; such appeared to me to be its godly bearing, sound morality and harmony with ancient scriptures, that the enemy of all righteousness might as well proclaim the dissolution of his own kingdom, as to spread the contents of such a volume among men: and from that time to this, every effort made by its enemies to demolish, has only shown how invincible a fortress defends it. If no greater breach can be made upon it than has hitherto been made by those who have attacked it with the greatest animosity and diligence, its overthrow may be considered a forlorn hope. On this subject I only ask the friends of pure religion to read the Book of Mormon with the same unprejudiced, prayerful and teachable spirit that they would recommend unbelievers in the ancient scriptures to read those sacred records. I have not spoken of the external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon, which is now worthy of much consideration; but the internal evidence I think will satisfy every honest mind.

As you enquire after the reason that operated to change my mind to the present faith, I only remark that Stevens’ Travels had some influence, as an external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon....

[53] I have never seen that person who had read the Book of Mormon and the Book of doctrine and Covenants entirely through, with an earnest desire to know whether it was of God or not, who could raise any worthy objection against them, A few isolated portions of these Books are often selected out and made to speak some other besides their true meaning, and thereby a dislike for these books is created, consequently some refuse to read them at all, while some others read only to confirm their preposessions and prejudices. And superficial enquirers hear with credulity that such a minister, Editor or, Professor of some College, has published an expose or refutation of Mormonism that will inflict a fatal wound upon this glaring and blasphemous heresy.—Now it is well known that the novelties of this age are so many and various, that no man has time to examine into them all; and many consider that a hint from a pious Editor or distinguished Reviewer against, Mormonism is sufficient apology for them not to examine it. Now, under these considerations it is easy to divine that the doctrines of Latter-day Saints must travel through obstacles and difficulties of the greatest magnitude. And I am ready dear Br., to mourn over the prospect, because many bad men, and some good men will fight against the faith not knowing what they do. (emphasis added)[1]

This recent convert's mention of Stephens is further evidence that it was often invoked by LDS missionaries in teaching about the Book of Mormon.

Notes

  1. "LETTER OF ORSON SPENCER.," (2 January 1843) Times and Seasons 4:49-59.