Welsh Mormon History Logo

Prophet of the Jubilee

5. Prophwyd y Jubili, neu, Seren y Saint; yn cynnwys hanes sefydliad "Goruchwyliaeth cyflawnder yr amseroedd," ynghyd ag erlidigaethau, merthyrdod, ac alltudiaeth ei hufyddion, a'u llwyddiant.Ó

(Prophet of the Jubilee, or, Star of the Saints; containing an account of the establishment of the "Dispensation of the fulness of times," together with the persecutions, martyrdom, and exile of its adepts, and their success.)

Merthyr Tydfil: [Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont] July 1846- October 1848 [Published by Dan Jones], and November 1848- December 1848 [Printed by J. Davis, Carmarthen].

Monthly. 3 vols. (30 whole nos.) 580 pp. 16.2 cm.

Each issue from July 1846 to November 1846 has 28 pages. The issue for December 1846 has 24 pages plus 4 additional pages (title page, blank, foreword, and index for volume 1). Each issue from July 1846 to December 1846 has a 4-page wrapper.

The issue for January 1847, 16 pages, begins on page [5]. It was no doubt intended to produce a title page, a foreword, and an index for volume 3 with the December 1847 issue, but they were not printed.
Each issue from February 1847 to December 1847 has 16 pages. Each issue from January 1848 to October 1848 has 16 pages. The issue for November 1848 has 12 pages.
The issue for December 1848 has 20 pages plus 4 (title page, blank, foreword, and index for volume 3).

The driving force behind Prophwyd y Jubili was Captain Dan Jones, whose publishing and proselyting activities had already attracted considerable opposition to Mormonism. After nearly a year in North Wales, Jones was transferred to South Wales by a motion from Apostle Wilford Woodruff at the Manchester Conference of 15 December 1845. The motion received unanimous approval, and Dan Jones proceeded to Merthyr Tydfil to preside over "all the churches in Wales" (Millennial Star, 1 January 1846, p. 8).
Awaiting him in Merthyr was a 32-page reply to his first pamphlet, Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw (The dead raised to life, item 1). The author was David Williams, a lay Baptist preacher in the Merthyr Tydfil area. Williams's pamphlet, Twyll y Seintiau Diweddaf yn cael ei ddynoethi (The fraud of the Latter Saints exposed), was the first of more than twenty anti-Mormon publications which would appear during the next eight years in Wales. Even more frequent than the pamphlets were the merciless attacks against Mormonism in the various periodicals of the Nonconformists (those denominations not in agreement with the Catholic or the Anglican churches). Jones sent rebuttals to the editors, but none were printed. He expressed his frustration in the first issue of Prophwyd y Jubi1i:

In the kindest manner in defense of our innocence we have sent convincing letters to the periodicals which have accused us. But have they been allowed to appear? No! Have we been accused in the Amserau [Times], Seren Gomer [Star of Gomer], Dysgedydd [Educator], Bedyddiwr [Baptist], etc.? Yes, indeed. Have we been loaned space to clear ourselves? No, indeed. Every meanness of an excuse has been sought out instead. What are we to do? ... Has the press been closed against us? Is this Welsh freedom in the nineteenth century? Have the periodicals been closed? We shall open our own periodical, then. Has the press been defiled by slandering us? We shall cleanse it by defending ourselves, then. (Prophwyd y Jubili, July 1846, wrapper, p. [2])

Although space in the Millennial Star was available to Jones (the use of which would have eliminated the expense of a second Mormon publication in Britain) and although the Welsh were a highly literate people, the majority were literate in Welsh only. This fact, coupled with the animosity the Welsh felt for the English (as well as the Welsh editors' unwillingness to print anything in favor of the Mormons), prompted Dan Jones to launch Prophwyd y Jubili, a publication which was aimed at keeping Mormon character "above every invention, slander and lie" (Prophwyd y Jubili, July 1846, wrapper, p. [2]).
In Jones's comments to his compatriots on page 12 of Annerchiad y Deuddeg Apostol (Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles, item 2), dated 1 December 1845, no mention is made of a Welsh Mormon periodical, but by early February of the following year, plans were definite. On the back cover of Atebydd y gwrthddadleuon (A reply to the objections, item 3), published in February 1846, Jones printed an announcement of his forthcoming Prophwyd y Jubili. He declared his intention to commence publication in June 1846 of a periodical which would contain short treatises on doctrinal subjects of the Latter-day Saints, quotations from the Book of Mormon, a defense of the character of the Saints, and miscellanies. The first issue of Prophwyd y Jubili came off the press in July 1846, a month later than Jones's prediction.
Jones had intended to acquire a printing press in Wales with the money he was to have received from Joseph Smith for the purchase of the Maid of Iowa, a riverboat (see item 2). Because he did not receive the money, Jones had to resort to using a borrowed press during his first mission. Most of his publications were printed at Rhydybont on the press of his non-Mormon brother, the Reverend John Jones; only his first pamphlet and the final two issues of Prophwyd y Jubili were not. In a letter dated 29 September 1847 to President Orson Spencer, Dan Jones declared that his brother's press was "the only press in Wales, to my knowledge, that will publish for me" (Millennial Star, 15 October 1847, p. 319).
Ten years Dan's senior, John Jones was already a controversial figure in Wales, having been involved in several printed polemics and having appeared in public debates on baptism and temperance. His cooperation in publishing for the Mormons did little to endear him to the hearts of his fellow ministers; in fact, one of them claimed: "There is no other press sufficiently 'prostitute' to give birth to such a monster" (Seren Gomer, December 1847, P. 374). Earlier, in the first issue of his own publication, Y Golygydd (The Editor), John Jones wrote the following to " H. H. " (Jones had published only one 12 -page pamphlet for the Mormons): "Our dear friend can sleep peacefully concerning any danger that we have been overly disposed to Mormonism. Since the Mormons came to Wales no one has published as much, perhaps, against their particular subjects as we have. See our Esboniad [Explanation] on Matthew 24. Our work in publishing their books proves nothing more than our press is iron, and its owner is a free craftsman" (January 1846 wrapper, p. [2]). Reverend Jones proceeded to demonstrate that he was, indeed, free to do as he pleased by printing, during the next three years, pamphlets and books consisting of well over one thousand different pages. How many copies were printed of each item is not known; however, Dan Jones declared that he had put into print more than 850,000 pages of writings in support of Mormonism during 1847 alone (Millennial Star, 15 April 1848, p. 122). Even allowing for hyperbole, the press at Rhydybont was a busy one indeed. Little wonder, then, that the ministers were distressed at the willingness of one of their number to print materials which were instrumental in "deceiving" many of their own congregations.
Prophwyd y Jubili was an extremely ambitious effort for the first six months; each issue consisted of 28 pages plus a 4-page wrapper. Beginning in 1847, the covers were no longer made, the size was reduced to 16 pages per issue, and the price was cut from threepence to twopence. As for its circulation, the only known comment is the one made by Dan Jones in his report of the December 1847 Merthyr Tydfil Conference to the effect that he had increased the circulation to about 1,200 (Millennial Star, 15 April 1848, p. 122).
Prophwyd y Jubili is similar in content to the Millennial Star, with a substantial amount of material borrowed from the latter and translated into Welsh, especially doctrinal writings and letters from Church leaders. Other contents are conference reports, progress in baptisms, poetry, accounts of miraculous healings, accounts of persecution and conversion, and an occasional "thumbing of the nose" at the enemy's lack of success in forestalling the spread of Mormonism in Wales. In almost every issue, there is a defense of the Saints against another attack in one of the other religious periodicals. The Reverend W. R. Davies, a Baptist minister from Dowlais (about two miles north of Merthyr Tydfil), was one of the earliest and most relentless enemies of Mormonism. His 20-page anti-Mormon pamphlet, his sermons and his constant harassment in the columns of Seren Gomer and Y Bedyddiwr are all met head on in Prophwyd y Jubili. Together with the numerous pamphlets which were published during its two-and-a-half years of existence, Prophwyd y Jubili served as an extension of the Mormon proselyting effort in Wales; and during this period, Church membership grew from about six hundred to nearly four thousand. In 1848, as Jones's plans to return to America became more definite, the need for a successor who could continue to publish in Welsh became apparent, and John Davis, a young bachelor from Carmarthen who had published some poetry in Prophwyd y Jubili, was selected. Davis proved to be an excellent choice, and for the next five years he served as editor of Udgorn Seion, the successor to Prophwyd y Jubili. During his tenure, Davis expanded the publication to a biweekly in 1851 and to a weekly in 1853. In 1854 he emigrated and was replaced by none other than Dan Jones, back in Wales on his second mission.
In the foreword to the third volume of Prophwyd y Jubili, dated 15 December 1848, Dan Jones announced that it would be the last: "Not because he cannot come to you again is he being suspended; rather we consider that he deserves by now to go to his 'resting place,' since he has run his race and kept the faith. "

CU-B, MH, NjP, UPB, USlC, WN; CSmH has vol. 1 only. WS has November 1847 through December 1848.

Flake no. 6773


Jones, Dan


No comments.