Christian Standard August 11, 1906

A  CHALLENGE.


R. B. NEAL.

And I "strike his shield with the point of my spear." That means "a fight to the finish," a bear-hug over the issue.

The editor of Zion's Ensign, Independence, Mo., "butts in" into a scrap between the writer and the editor of the Religio-Record. Both are Mormon sheets; the Ensign, the most representative of the "Josephite" wing of Mormondom.

He hands out the following, taken from the Christian Weekly:

The good ministers of Amity, Pa., have erected a monument to Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and inscribed thereon, "The man who wrote The Book of Mormon."

Perhaps these reverend gentlemen are as yet unapprised of the fact that the "Spaulding story" is now in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin, O., and that the librarian of that college, Azariah S. Root, declares there is absolutely no resemblance between the Spaulding story and the Book of Mormon. If ignorance is bliss, there is a number of ministers in Amity, Pa., who must be in the seventh heaven of delight.

That inscription is right. I have "the Honolulu find" as published by both the "Josephites and the "Brighamites."

The above editorial in the Religio-Record indicates that its editor is either not posted on the "Manuscript Found," or is an "artful dodger."

The same proof that proves the manuscript a Spaulding manuscript, proves that it is not "the Manuscript Found," and also proves that the last was the basis of the Book of Mormon. It is this editor who is ignorant, and not the Amity ministers.


My comments on the above touched the editor of the Ensign off.

He says: "The comments are presumably from the pen of R. B. Neal, of Grayson, Ky."

I plead guilty, and am more than rejoiced that the editor of the Ensign has seen fit to "shy his cap into the ring" on this the most vital issue of Mormonism.

The editor says:

That assertion that there are other works of Solomon Spaulding, yet undiscovered in the original, of which the much-vaunted "Manuscript Found" is one, is an old dodge of Clark Braden, to escape the dilemma in which he and his superiors were placed by the production of the original writing of Spaulding, which had so long been exploited by Howe, and all the furious opposers of the church of Christ, since Howe's day.

Again:

But when that identical manuscript was finally located with Mr. L. L. Rice, a printer in Honolulu, and its possession traced directly from Howe to him, he having bought the Painesville (O.) Telegraph from Howe, the transfer including a large number of books, manuscripts, etc., among which was this one in question -- they were dumbfounded.

But soon the fertile brain of Braden solved the difficulty. "There were other manuscripts of Spaulding, and the one from which the Book of Mormon was taken, was among those other writings." That is all there was to it. Not a thing except the bare assertion of Braden; and that seemed to be all that is necessary with these "Antis." In former days, the saying was "anything to beat Grant." Now it is "anything to beat the 'Mormons.'" It's the same with Neal. Anything, just so it's sensational, is greedily seized upon, regardless of facts. His imagination is very largely developed, if his writings are to be used as witness.

But that last paragraph in the Weekly is a gem in logic! The trouble with these men is, that the "same proof that proves the manuscript at Oberlin a Spaulding manuscript," also proves it the original Spaulding "Manuscript Found," to which reference has been made all these years. Of course, it don't read just as these men would like to have it read, but that was precisely the fault that Howe found with it, too. Bro. Neal fixed it up nicely: This don't read as it should, ergo, some other writing of Spaulding's is the basis of the Book of Mormon. Isn't that fine logic for you? Yea, verily.

The late Davis H. Bays gave this "Anti" society some good advice and truthful advice, too, which it would have been to their credit to have accepted. But they are wise in their own conceits, and will run on until they are overwhelmed with confusion at the accounting time.

He warned them that they were making a mistake in clinging to that old, exploded Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. That it never could be proved. He knew, as do all who candidly examine into the matter, that it is not true, and only shows the veriest bigotry and prejudice, as well as lack of integrity, to set up such a claim. It is unworthy the consideration of intelligent men and women, after they have once looked into the matter, It is not the editor of the Religio-Record, therefore, but these rampant "Antis," who are not posted, and we are inclined to the opinion that they themselves know they can not make that story prove out: but if they can get others to believe it, who have not the opportunity or desire to investigate for themselves, they can make a point until the truth has an opportunity. But they seem willing to take the chances of that ever happening in the neighborhood where they work.


The above presents the issue clearly. No chance for an evasion by either side. In a late issue of the Christian Weekly, I wrote:

We are aware of what D. H. Bays says in his book, "The Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism." He states:

"The long-lost Spaulding story has at last been unearthed, and is now on deposit in the library of Oberlin College at Oberlin, O., and may be examined by any one ... The Spaulding manuscript is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it -- It will let you down."

We, too, have examined that document, carefully and critically, and say "in small caps," THE SPAULDING STORY IS A SUCCESS. The Honolulu find verifies it in every detail. It is another case of cutting off Laban's head with his own sword.

There will either be a fight or a foot race with the Ensign man over this matter. He dare not affirm "that the Honolulu manuscript found by President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, and now on exhibition in Oberlin, O., is the manuscript known as the 'Manuscript Found,' written by Solomon Spaulding."

I'll deny it in every form that a denial can assume. More, I'll agree to take the only proof he has that the paper is a manuscript of Spaulding's and prove that it is not the "Manuscript Found."

If the STANDARD or the Weekly will permit us to exchange shots in their columns, it is a condition that the same matter must appear in the Ensign.

The debate is to be put in tract form and put on the market. The Ensign can issue its own tracts, and I do the same, but each will be in honor bound to say no more and no less on the issue. After we are through with this proving: "The Honolulu manuscript the 'Manuscript Found' of Solomon Spaulding," I'll agree to prove" "That the MS of Solomon Spaulding, known as the 'Manuscript Found,' is the basis of the Book of Mormon." We'll prove it in front of his pen.

This will show how "willing" we are for "truth to have an opportunity" in our "neighborhood." What says the Ensign man? We have a fresh pen, a new bottle of ink and are ready to begin.
  GRAYSON, Ky.


Note: The editor of Zion's Ensign was not interested enough in Rev. Neal's challenge to publish any response. Rev. Neal renewed his challenge once he had revived his own publication efforts, under the banner of the Sword of Laban; see the May, 1909 issue of that periodical.

 

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