Welsh Mormon History Logo

History of the Latter-day Saints

Dan Jones.

Hanes Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf, o'u sefydliad yn y flwyddyn 1823, hyd yr amser yr alltudiwyd tri chan mil o honynt o'r America oherwydd eu crefydd, yn y flwyddyn 1846.

(History of the Latter-day Saints, from their establishment in the year 1823, until the time that three hundred thousand of them were exiled from America because of their religion, in the year 1846.)

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

[ii]-[1]-102 pp. 17.1 cm.

Advertised in the July 1847 Prophwyd y Jubili (p. 108) as being off the press, this small book represents the earliest attempt at a comprehensive history of the Mormons. It is actually a mosaic, whose component parts originate from several sources, principally the periodical Times and Seasons and Orson Pratt's An interesting account of several remarkable visions. A few items from the Millennial Star and the Book of Mormon were also translated and used. Over half of the book is originally by Dan Jones and includes such things as his conversion story and his involvement in the events surrounding the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
The table of contents lists 49 divisions but only 27 of these are given separate chapter headings and numbers in the text. No explanation is offered in the preface, nor is one apparent in the book itself.
The first 46 pages of Hanes appeared in Prophwyd y Jubili between July and November 1846 (pp. 6-22, 35-47, 58-62, 91-95, 120-27). Five pages (pp. 87-88; 90-92) were published in Prophwyd y Jubili as a sample of the booklet when it was first advertised in July 1847 (pp. 108-12), and the typesetting is identical for the corresponding segments. It is doubtful, however, that plates were saved over a period of that many months; it was far less expensive to have the plates prepared again. The typesetter would logically use the same format the second time, and the result would not appear to be a variant setting.
The segment printed in the November 1846 Prophwyd y Jubili indicates that the history was to be continued, but it was not. Perhaps, at this half-way point, the author decided to suspend further publication of materials which he intended to include in Hanes and thus save the duplication. Seven months later Hanes was published.
Shortly after its publication, Hanes was used to entice people to attend a meeting at which Dan Jones would reply to the charges of one Edward Roberts, a Baptist minister from Rhymney. Roberts lectured against Mormonism in Dowlais the night of 2 September 1847 and charged sixpence for admission. Jones advertised that he would reply to Roberts's lecture the following evening, with admission being the purchase of a shilling book (Hanes) for sixpence, "thereby paying them sixpence for coming" (Millennial Star, 15 October 1847, P. 318).
Toward the end of his 40-page review of Roberts's lectures against Mormonism (see comments on Adolygiad ar ddarlithoedd y Parch. E. Roberts [A review of the lectures of Rev. E. Roberts, item 171), Jones describes the Reverend's reaction to Hanes:

After ransacking the treatises and the newspapers, and every sink hole for every tale he could find to show his own deceptive reasoning, yes, after agitating his mind to the highest degree of hydrophobia in his pulpit, the Reverend remembered the book that is called Hanes y Saint (History of the Saints [title is slightly altered]), and while beating it against the pulpit, nearly tearing it to shreds, out of rage for the paper and ink, to show what he would do with its author, and before showing one error in it or bringing any logic or scripture to gainsay it, except for his own assertions and those of his partners, he gave a "wholesale" condemnation of it in the following evangelical sentences: "If you wish to buy a worthless book, here it is. If you want a book full of deception, here it is .... If you want a book which shows the DEVILISHNESS OF JOE, here it is, etc." Now there's a gentlemanly and evangelical way to review a book, isn't it? (Adolygiad ar ddarlithoedd y Parch. E. Roberts, item 17, P. 38)
The unnamed author of a review of Hanes--most likely Jones himself--sees the book in a different way:
Historical exactness is the chief motto of the author in this book, and in addition to the advantages which he had of being an eyewitness of many of the scenes which he describes, he has spared neither cost nor trouble to search for reliable witnesses, such as those who were put under oath in courts, and [whose testimonies] were made public to the world for the most part, and which stand irrefutable to this day, and which the author keeps carefully in his library for the satisfaction of the doubter who asks to see them.
The author did not know of a better way to disabuse his fellow country men than by presenting to them this history of the holy religion which is falsely portrayed so greatly throughout our country. It would be well for the reader to secure a copy soon, for through a misunderstanding of the printer, only half of what we expected was printed. (Prophwyd y Jubili, July 1847, p. 108)


Flake no. 3830


Jones, Dan


No comments.