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Men and Monuments Speak of Joseph Smith
By Dr. George H. Brimhall, of the Brigham Young Academy, Provo, Utah.
During the month of April, of the present year, it was my pleasure to listen to an able lecture, at the St. Helena Sanitarium, California. The subject of the lecture was, "Vegetarianism," the lecturer, no other than Dr. Kellogg, superintendent of the noted Sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan.
In tracing the growth of the vegetarian idea, in connection with the practice that had attended it, Mr. Kellogg made mention of the fact that many years ago Joseph Smith, the "Mormon" Prophet, had taught the doctrine of abstaining from meat, except in times of extreme cold weather, or when a scarcity of other foods existed. Further, he added, that the Latter-day Saints regard the counsel to such practice as one of the tenets of their faith at the present time.
Continuing, the lecturer stated that years ago many of the most gifted men and women of America advocated, and sought to put into practice, the idea of "natural living."
It was not shown, however, that Joseph Smith's declaration concerning the use of meat antidated the other movements in this direction, the most noted of which was the Brooks Farm Experiment, begun in 1840-41. Nevertheless, the revelation, known as the "Word of Wisdom," bears the date of February 27, 1833, which would make it, at this writing, seventy years old, a date seven years earlier than that of the Brooks Farm Experiment.
The vegetarian teaches total abstinence from meat; the doctrine of the Prophet sanctions the use of meat under certain conditions. In this regard, is it not likely that Joseph Smith is in advance of scientific discovery? Would it be at all surprising if, in the near future, scientific research should compel the announcement that, if the best physical development is sought, meat used sparingly is not only a wholesome, but also a necessary food in cold weather.
The Book of Mormon, translated by the prophet Joseph Smith, is devoted to the rise and fall of two ancient civilizations, that had their being on the American Continent. The first, divinely led, migrated from Asia to America, about 2000 B.C., soon after the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. The second left the city of Jerusalem 600 B.C. This people, also, directed in all its movements by Providence, was the people of whom the American Indians are a remnant.
Ample evidence, archaeological and legendary, has already been collected to prove that this continent has been inhabited by people of Hebrew extraction, and religion. The following clipping in keeping with this thought, is taken from a recent issue of the Los Angeles Sunday Times:
This land is old that we call new. It has its pyramids, as vast and as hoary as those of the ancient Nile. It has its buried cities and its monuments of antiquity, of which we know comparatively nothing. It has traces of language which no modern scholar has ever been able to decipher; relics of art which in coloring and finish put to shame the best endeavors of today: monuments of masonry which no modern engineer's skill would be able to rear.
In tropical Mexico, some sixty miles southeast of the town of Madeline, in the heart of a virgin forest, is a mighty pyramid, beside which the great Egyptian Cheops is but a pigmy. Its vast base measures four thousand three hundred and fifty feet around, while it towers upward seven hundred and fifty feet, a stupendous mass of granite. Would you reach its top, no toilsome climb is yours, such as that you must make under the sun of Egypt, for a spiral roadway leads you to its lofty summit, on which you can ride up as a well-graded hillside. Beyond this pyramid is a lofty hillock, with its hundreds of chambers cut in the solid rock, their walls and floors of stone smooth as the sculptor's image. An unread history in hieroglyphics written upon their walls, which no modern sage has yet deciphered. Here, too, are their implements of stone, and curious pictures, and charcoal for their fires.
Whence came these mighty builders, and whither have they gone, leaving their habitations silent and unoccupied?
All over the wide area of our continent are the signs of prehistoric races, and yet we turn our most earnest gaze to the Orient, leaving our own histories unwritten and unraveled.
Some wise man may yet be found who shall open this unlettered volume, and startle the world with knowledge of civilizations outranking the years of the Sphinx and the Pyramids, and the myths and legends of the ancient East. We may yet learn how the first great tidal wave of Humanity rolled on from sunrise to sunset; learn of races who dwelt here with the story of Eden fresh in their ears, and its memories warm in their hearts. The unwritten pages of human history outnumber the written story of the race. Peoples and tribes have come and gone, and the sands of untold centuries have hidden all trace of them from our sight. The whence of their approach and the whither of their vanishment from our shores, we cannot determine. The unmoved Sphinx of Silence guards their history, and there is no open sesame at our command by which we may unlock the gates of their past and penetrate the mystery which surrounds them. The sealed pages of the world's annals we may never read, unless some discovery in this new-old world of yet undeciphered hieroglyphics shall unlock for us the mystery of the ages.
Thus, evidence accumulates of the truth of the Book of Mormon. Evidence of such a nature that it would seem that investigators would be forced to recognize it as true. And, indeed, it is quite possible that the world may accept it as authentic history and still deny the power whereby it was obtained. The spirit of God is the sole witness and evidence that can convince mankind of the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith, and of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
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