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A Defense of the Saints (2)

Dan Jones.

Amddiffyniad y Saint, yn ngwyneb camgyhuddiadau y rhai a alwant eu hunain yn "Gwcw y Don," yn y Seren Gomer, Ionawr, 1847.

(A defense of the Saints against the false accusations of those who call themselves "Cuckoo of Ton," in Star of Gomer, January 1847.)

Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by D. Jones. Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, [1847].

12 pp. 17 cm.

One of the most vociferous enemies of Mormonism in Wales was W. R. Davies, a Baptist minister in Dowlais, a town about two miles from Merthyr Tydfil. It was he who coined the nickname "Latter-day Satanists" to describe the Welsh Mormons. In just over two years (1846-1848), he published no fewer than ten articles in four different periodicals, in addition to two separate pamphlets, in his efforts to discredit the Mormons and put a halt to their astounding progress in Merthyr Tydfil and environs.
To counter his earliest attacks, letters of defense were prepared and submitted to the periodicals which had printed Davies's anti-Mormon writings. But the periodicals systematically refused to publish them. The frustration caused by this lack of fair play was at least partially responsible for the establishment of the first Welsh Mormon periodical, Prophwyd y Jubili, begun in July 1846. The first issue carried a 6-page rebuttal to Davies's writings which had appeared three months earlier in Y Bedyddiwr (The Baptist). Included also in the rebuttal was a copy of the letter that the editor of Y Bedyddiwr had refused to publish.
In the four issues of Prophwyd y Jubili from September to December 1846, Dan Jones published more than 20 pages reviewing, in serial form, a 20-page pamphlet produced by Davies in March 1846. Davies's pamphlet is entitled Y Seintiau Diweddaf. Sylwedd pregeth a draddodwyd ar y gwyrthiau, er mwyn goleuo y cyffredin a dangos twyll y creaduriaid a alwant eu hunain yn "Seintiau y Dyddiau DiweddafÓ (The Latter Saints. Substance of a sermon which was given on the miracles, to enlighten every man and show the deceit of the creatures who call themselves the "Latter-day Saints"). For the most part it deals with miracles in general, but one "miracle" in particular is held up for scrutiny and scorn--one which, according to the Mormons, happened in the healing of the broken leg of one William Hughes.
In a signed statement published in the first issue of Prophwyd y Jubili, William Hughes stated that two bones of his left leg had been broken on 18 January 1846, when a heavy weight fell on it in a coal mine. He was taken to his house where a Dr. Allday put his leg in splints. That same evening, according to Hughes's testimony, one of the Mormon elders came by his house and gave him a blessing which completely relieved the pain. Three days later Captain Dan Jones gave Hughes another blessing, after which Hughes took off the splints and began to walk around, testifying that his leg was completely healed.
The Reverend W. R. Davies, in addition to making light of the incident in his pamphlet, also wrote about the alleged healing in a highly sarcastic article in Y Bedyddiwr for March 1846 (page 111) and mocked the "Satanists" (as he called the Mormons) for making such a ridiculous claim. Dan Jones bristled at Davies's pamphlet and his article; he published, in the July 1846 Prophwyd y Jubili (pp. 22-28), a detailed analysis of what he considered to be Davies's lies.
Six months later the incident was still being discussed. Davies again mentioned it in a 3-column article in another Baptist periodical, Seren Gomer (Star of Gomer), which he signed with a rather strange pseudonym--" Gwcw y Don" (Cuckoo of Ton).
Dan Jones was rabid when the article reached his attention, and he immediately set about writing a defense. The result was a 12-page mixture of Jones's best sarcasm and his most flamboyant rage. In addition to attempts to show how unfair Davies had been toward Mormonism in spite of non-Mormon witnesses in the Hughes case, Jones also answers the false charges that Davies brings against the, Mormons in his article. In true polemic fashion, Jones extrapolates on Davies's pseudonym: "At first we thought that it was the little cuckoo from Ton we had in our grasp, and then it turned into a profaning magpie; after that we thought perhaps the strange bird was a parrot until it became a rapacious kite" (p. 9).
It is not difficult to imagine the Mormons' delight when, in 1848, Davies's "right-hand man," Rees Price, and his wife left the Dowlais Baptists and joined with the Latter-day Saints (Prophwyd y Jubili, September 1848, pp. 131-33). Shortly thereafter, another of Davies's followers, Job Rowland, converted to Mormonism. And in a letter printed in the final issue of Prophwyd y Jubili, Rowland described how Davies's behavior had actually helped him discover the truth of Mormonism (December 1848, pp. 187-88).
Inasmuch as Amddiffiniad y Saint is in answer to Davies's article in the January 1847 Seren Gomer and inasmuch as it is advertised in the April 1847 Prophwyd y Jubili, the date of publication logically falls between those two dates.

UPB, USl, USlC, WN

Flake no. 4459

Immigrants:

Jones, Dan

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