This month I have been reading John Hyde’s book, ‘Mormonism, Its Leaders and Designs’ which he wrote in 1857. Although the Mormon Church would claim it ‘unreliable’, it nevertheless makes for interesting reading. After joining the Church in England, Hyde served missions and then went to Salt Lake City, finally leaving the Church upon discovery of the underlying truth. He knew Brigham Young and other leaders personally and gives first hand accounts of their underhanded dealings. Hyde’s book confirms and corroborates much of Fanny Stenhouse’s work ‘Tell it All’, and also Samuel Hawthornethwaite’s book, ‘Mr. Hawthornthwaite’s Adventures among the Mormons, as an Elder during eight years’, also written in 1857. I can thoroughly recommend all three books.
Here are some excerpts from John Hyde’s offering.
“Each person upon entering the Mormon Church is required to pay the tenth part of his or her property to the Lord’s servants for “building up temples, or otherwise beautifying and adorning Zion, as they may be directed from on high.” Having tithed their property, they must tithe their yearly increase for the same purpose. This tenth part is really a fifth part; for each man is required to work every tenth day on the Temple, or hire a substitute, and as well pay the tenth of the increase on the other nine days’ labour. It is even more than this in many cases, amounting to nearly fifty per cent., as the ladies pay the tenth part of their fowls, then a tenth part of their eggs, and then a tenth part of the chickens that may be hatched, irrespective of loss. This law of tithing, however, is only the “milk part of the gospel;” and was the preparative to a more rigid system of property-holding.” pp. 36-7.
I would encourage reading on from the above extract to see just how Brigham Young tried to have absolutely everything ultimately placed under his control so if so-called apostates did decide to leave the valley (assuming they made it out alive), they left with nothing.
Read about women being married to one man for life and secretly sealed to another in higher authority for eternity – where such unions also had to be consummated. For unsuspecting first husbands who wanted to be sealed – they held a mock ceremony to keep them quiet. The motto – “…it is better one man be deceived, rather than the whole Church should suffer.” See pp. 84–86.
See pp. 103-4 for the reason behind the killing of Squire Babbett.
Turning to logic, regarding the Book of Mormon:
“Professing to be a revelation from God, its evidence must be worthy of God; because God can do nothing unworthy himself. God, in the first place, would not send a book that would not commend itself and endure critical examination. God, in the second place, would not send it in a manner that would not sustain the most rigid scrutiny. God, in the third place, would not send it through a person whose character would not bear the most searching inquiry.” (p. 211).
Later in the book, having referenced the well known contradiction between Smith’s BOM (where it uses David and Solomon to confirm polygamy an abomination) and his D&C (where Smith uses the same characters and verses to validate his polygamy) – which should be enough for any rational thinker to realise the truth – he goes on with logic I never before considered. Hyde still believed in God and therefore the creation story and the flood. His point was that Smith and Young claimed monogamy was the wrong way and polygamy was God’s way and only by having a plethora of wives and children could you gain the highest of kingdoms. Hyde turns to logic. If, he says, polygamy is God’s way, why did he only give the first man one wife in order to populate the entire planet? Not only that, but after the flood when he saved just eight souls, Noah and three sons and their wives – just one each – why did he not save more women for them and institute polygamy then? At the two most significant moments in religious history regarding populating the world, polygamy was not introduced. Well, despite the fact they are fairy tales, for the believer, what is the answer to that? Hyde also gives the population figures around the globe at different periods and confirms men generally slightly outnumbered women, when you would expect a significantly larger proportion of women to be born to accommodate polygamy if God wanted it practiced. Clearly, had a god been involved with polygamy, it would have been the standard from the start and he would have arranged things differently.
Beyond evidence – logic, common sense and reason make a good basis for determining the truth, whereas the Church claims evidence (invariably contradicting Joseph Smith’s claims) means nothing and that faith transcends reason. That is a dangerous stance to take and stifles the rational mind making it bend to a world of fiction and fantasy.
The entire scanned book is available to read here: Mormonism: Its Leaders and Designs.