Note that John Taylor had four wives when he published and endorsed this letter as editor of the Times and Seasons.
May 1, 1845
(emboldening is mine, all other emphasis is in original)
From the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette.
Dear Sir:—To condemn unheard, any man or set of men or their principles, on the strength of popular rumor, or the testimony of enemies, would be gross injustice. An impartial investigation should always precede condemnation. The Latter-day Saints are charged by their enemies, with the blackest crimes. Treason, murder, theft, polygamy, and adultery, are among the many crimes laid to their charge.—The press reiterates and gives publicity to these charges. Under these circumstances, it is but right, that they should be heard in their defence. I shall, therefore, in this communication, briefly examine and refute a few of the charges, for it would need a legion of writers to answer all the lies told about us.
Most of the stories against the Mormons have been propagated by apostates and traitors. (who have generally been cut off from the church for their crimes.) They publish their lies, and straightway they are believed, and hawked about as awful disclosures, and received by community with trembling and holy horror. Signey Rigdon, I see by the papers, as made an exposition of Mormonism, charging Joseph Smith and the Mormons with polygamy, &c. It does not require a very sagacious mind to fathom Mr. Rigdon’s motive for so doing. Soon after the murder of the Smiths, he declared in a public address in Nauvoo that Joseph Smith died approved of God—that the Latter-day Saints were a blessed people, &c. His toneis now changed, and why? Because he sought to be presiding elder, and on account of his corruption, was rejected. On the 10th of September, last he was tried before the church and excommunicated as a schismatic. If he knew such enormities to exist among the Mormons, why did he call them a blessed people, and endeavor to place himself at the head of their church? Mr. Ridgon’s spiritual wife system was never known till it was hatched by John C. Bennett who was cut off from the church for seduction.
As to the charge of polygamy, I will quote from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is the subscribed faith of the church and is strictly enforced. Article Marriage, sec. 91, par. 4 says, “Insasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have BUT ONE WIFE and one woman but one husband except in case of death when either is at liberty to marry again.” Sec. 13, par. 7. Thou shalt love they wife with all thy heart and shall cleave unto her and NONE ELSE.” In ancient days the church was troubled with traitors, and always will be till God cleanses the earth, and restores the government of his Son. Paul says he was in perils among false brethren; again he says, “know this that, in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be TRAITORS, FALSE ACCUSERS, INCONTINENT, fierce despiser of those that are good.” No wonder then that apostates rage, or that the fulness of truth revealed again should bring a storm of persecution.
Yours, &c., E. M. WEBB