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Oliver Cowdery-Address in the Messenger and Advocate


As this No. commences the Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, it is necessary for us to make a few remarks, and also inform our friends of the course which will be pursued in its Editorial department.

The closing Vol. of the Star, or the ten last numbers were published at this place; and for the matter which they contain, or at least, the Editorial, we are responsible. If the principles are pure, the man who embraces them may be guided in the way of righteousness; but if not, and we have not warned our fellow men of the things of the kingdom of God, or have cried peace and safety, when destruction was near, then, at the great day of retribution, before an impartial Judge, we must answer for the blood of souls! Of these things, no man is more sensible than ourselves. But the reflection is otherwise. To be sure, our opponents have cried an alarm, and used every exertion to hinder the spread of truth; but truth has continued its steady course, and the work of the Lord has rolled on; and where darkness once held unbounded sway, and corruption prevailed undisturbed, the fruit of righteousness has sprung up and the children of men been made to rejoice with a joy unspeakable.

That this may continue to be the case we shall continue our exertions. We are aware that the work has just commenced: four years have been insufficient to warn all nations: this, in an ancient day was a work of many years. And though the word has been preached to thousands, and many obeyed, yet many millions are yet in ignorance; yes, many in darkness. The only marvel is, that God should have mercy on a corrupt generation, and condescend to bring light and truth to light for their salvation.

It is no marvel that men should reject it: this was always the case, because their deeds were evil.

Men labor for different objects, with a view to accomplish different purposes some ambition, some pride, some money, and some power—but the few to save men. Only the few then have we had cause to expect, would show themselves friendly to the truth: only the few labor for that reward which is to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and of course, from them only could we expect countenance in the arduous undertaking to instruct men in those things which are to concern them hereafter!

In matters of controversy, as we said in the first No. of the Star published in this place, we say now. The saints anciently were exhorted to contend earnestly for that faith once delivered to those before them; but nothing is there said of controversy. It may be doubted by some, whether controversy upon any principle is correct, or ever resulted in good: be this as it may; but above all things, if men must contend upon religious matters, the greatest decorum and propriety ought to be observed! A heated zeal without knowledge may hurl thousands into a vortex irretrievable, and lay a foundation for future generations, the end of which may bring destruction and death!

With these reflections, then, we cannot but deem it unsafe for men to enter the field of controversy against their opponents in principle, except they are assured of the correctness of their own system: this would be dangerous; and to avoid the evil arising from such an order of things, we shall not attempt to correct others upon the principles of salvation, not knowing firstly that our foundation is sure.

That our principles may be fully known we here state them briefly:

We believe in God, and his Son Jesus Christ. We believe that God, from the beginning, revealed himself to man; and that whenever he has had a people on earth, he always has revealed himself to them by the Holy Ghost, the ministering of angels, or his own voice. We do not believe that he ever had a church on earth without revealing himself to that church: consequently, there were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, in the same.—We believe that God is the same in all ages; and that it requires the same holiness, purity, and religion, to save a man now, as it did anciently; and that as HE is no respecter of persons, always has, and always will reveal himself to men when they call upon him.

We believe that God has revealed himself to men in this age, and commenced to raise up a church preparatory to his second advent, when he will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

We believe that the popular religious theories of the day are incorrect; that they are without parallel in the revelations of God, as sanctioned by him; and that however faithfully they may be adhered to, or however zealously and warmly they may be defended, they will never stand the strict scrutiny of the word of life.

We believe that all men are born free and equal; that no man, combination of men, or government of men, have power or authority to compel or force others to embrace any system of religion, or religious creed, or to use force or violence to prevent others from enjoying their own opinions, or practicing the same, so long as they do not molest or disturb others in theirs, in a manner to deprive them of their privileges as free citizens—or of worshiping God as they choose, and that any attempt to the contrary is an assumption unwarrantable in the revelations of heaven, and strikes at the root of civil liberty, and is a subversion of all equitable principles between man and man.

We believe that God has set his hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people, Israel; and that the time is near when he will bring them from the four winds, with songs of everlasting joy, and reinstate them upon their own lands which he gave their fathers by covenant.

And further: We believe in embracing good wherever it may be found; of proving all things, and holding fast that which is righteous.

This, in short, is our belief, and we stand ready to defend it upon its own foundation when ever it is assailed by men of character and respectability. And while we act upon these broad principles, we trust in God that we shall never be confounded!

Neither shall we wait for opposition; but with a firm reliance upon the justice of such a course, and the propriety of disseminating a knowledge of the same, we shall endeavor to persuade men to turn from error and vain speculation; investigate the plan which heaven has devised for our salvation; prepare for the year of recompense, and the day of vengeance which are near, and thereby be ready to meet the Bridegroom!


Kirtland, Ohio, October, 1834.Messenger and Advocate Vol. 1 October, 1834 No. 1