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Review of Anti-Mormon Lectures

Dan Jones.

Adolygiad ar ddarlithoedd y Parch. E. Roberts, (Gweinidog y Bedyddwyr yn Rymni,) yn erbyn Mormoniaeth, pa rai a draddododd yn Nghaersdem, Medi yr Ail, ac yn Bethania (Capel yr Annibynwyr,) Medi y Trydydd, yn Nowlais.

(A review of the lectures of the Rev. E. Roberts, [a Baptist minister in Rhymney] against Mormonism, which were delivered in Caersalem, September the Second, and in Bethania [a Con- gregational chapel], September the Third, in Dowlais.)

Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by Capt. Jones. Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, 1847.

40 pp. 17 cm.

The dark blue printed wrapper is identical to the title page except for a single-line straight-edged border and an indication of the price (fourpence). Only the recto has printing.

In Wales, the bulk of convert baptisms during 1845 and 1846 were in South Wales, especially the Merthyr Tydfil area. Numbers ranged from twenty to forty baptisms per month, but the growth rate nearly doubled in May and June of 1847, during which time some longstanding members of W. R. Davies's congregation in Dowlais became Mormons. Davies then invited a neighboring colleague of the cloth, the Reverend Edward Roberts, to lecture at his (Davies's) pulpit in Dowlais and deliver the "home stroke" to the growth of Mormonism. (The English phrase home stroke is used in a 2-column article in the October 1847 Seren Gomer [Star of Gomer], P. 318, about Roberts's supposed triumph; it apparently means Òcoup de grace.Ó) Roberts had also lost members of his own congregation in Rhymney to the hated Mormons, and he eagerly joined forces with Davies in the campaign.
The lecture was announced for the evening of 2 September 1847 at the Caersalem Chapel in Dowlais. Dan Jones endeavored to steal the Baptists' thunder by beginning a series of lectures of his own about the Book of Mormon on 21 August 1847 in Dowlais, about two weeks before Roberts's scheduled presentation. Handbills were circulated to announce these lectures and also Jones's rebuttal to Roberts's lecture. The rebuttal was to be on the evening of 3 September 1847. Jones, in attendance at Roberts's meeting, gave one of his handbills to the chairman and requested that its contents be announced from the pulpit. The chairman declined to make any such announcement; instead, Roberts went to the pulpit and declared that he would give another lecture the following evening with no admission charge--a presentation obviously intended to keep people from attending Jones's rebuttal.
Jones assigned a few Mormons to take notes at Roberts's second lecture, and before the end of September he had a 40-page reply at the press in Rhydybont. His preface, however, is dated 18 October 1847.
In true polemic fashion, Jones ridicules Roberts's points of argument one by one. He accuses him of raising money for a Baptist chapel by preaching lies. With respect to Roberts's observation about Joseph Smith's big hands, Jones replies, ÒYou, workers of Dowlais, remember to keep your hands hidden from this preacher lest you be condemned as badly as Joseph SmithÓ (p. 5). Jones laments that Roberts had resorted to fantasies and stories about Mormonism instead of dealing with principles and doctrines. Over one-third of the pamphlet considers the charge that Joseph Smith had borrowed from Solomon Spaulding's manuscript in writing the Book of Mormon. This segment is essentially a translation of Benjamin Winchester's 1840 pamphlet on the same topic (The origin of the Spaulding story).
It came as no surprise that Adolygiad received scathing comments in the Baptist periodical Seren Gomer. One Dafydd Lewis called it a Òdull and idiotic book ... offensive to the Welsh languageÓ and remarked that it was Òblasphemous to the common sense of the Welsh that such rubbish be directed to their attention.Ó He pointed out that the pamphlet had been printed on the press at Rhydybont and that there was Òno other press sufficiently ÔprostituteÕ to give birth to such a monsterÓ (Seren Gomer, December 1847, P. 375).
As might be expected, Adolygiad fared considerably better in Prophwyd y Jubili, the Mormon periodical. One Daniel ab Iago from Rhymney even wrote a 20-line poem in praise of the pamphlet and the author. He declared that Adolygiad was "brilliant" and a "wealth of wisdom" that was well worth reading (Prophwyd y Jubili, February 1848, pp. 23-24). Dan Jones wrote in his preface to Adolygiad and also in the November Prophwyd y Jubili (pp. 171-73) about the benefits of opposition and persecution. He claimed that not a week had gone by without baptisms in Dowlais since the lectures of the Reverend Roberts. ÒWelcome persecution! Welcome pain! Welcome shame!Ó declared Jones (Adolygiad ar ddarlithoedd y Parch. E. Roberts, p. [2]).
William Howells, a lay Baptist preacher from Aberdare (about, seven miles from Merthyr Tydfil) and later the first Mormon missionary to France, gave Adolygiad credit as the key element in his conversion to Mormonism, and he thanked W. R. Davies and Edward Roberts for helping to open his eyes with their anti-Mormon antics (Udgorn Seion, May 1849, p. 93).
The University College of Swansea Library houses the only extant copy of this pamphlet that has the wrapper.


Flake no. 4456


Jones, Dan


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