Refutation of falsehoods appearing in the Illustrated American-- also Der Stern 21:97-116 (April 1, 1891).
This document or article is an answer to a series of articles which had appeared in the magazine, Illustrated American. The author of the articles (seemingly unsigned) claimed to be a "Mormon." Wilford Woodruff, as President of the Church, points out the historical inaccuracies and plagiarisms in the articles. The articles and President Woodruff's reply devote considerable space to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Salt Lake City, Utah, January 9th, 1891.
Editor Illustrated American:
My attention has been called to articles in your magazine of December 27th and January 3rd concerning the "Mormon" Church. I have neither the time nor the inclination to notice the numerous misstatements and vile aspersions that frequently appear in the public prints in reference to the "Mormons." ...
We do not believe, as stated by the pretended "Mormon," that divulging the secrets of the Endowment House, marital unfaithfulness on the part of the wife, leaving the Mormon Church, are unpardonable, or that "the only atonement that can be made for any of these offences is the atonement of blood." The statement that "this doctrine is part of our duty" is another proof that the writer is not a "Mormon," and that he does not understand, or else that he wilfully misrepresents the faith which he pretends to explain.
The connection drawn between this alleged doctrine and the murders committed at Mountain Meadows, also proves the falsity of the claim that the writer is a "Mormon," and demonstrates his misapprehension of his own subject. The company that fell victims to Indian ferocity and white vengeance and rapacity were not "Mormons." They had revealed no secrets, they had not left the Church, they had done nothing to justify their slaughter, even on the false theory of Blood Atonement copied by the writer in the American from old newspaper fiction. This should be evident even to the casual reader.
... There is no pretext for a collision between the Mormons and the government. The only dispute that has arisen of late years between them was a question of law. That has been settled by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States and the action of the Church in general conference. Plural marriage has been judicially decided to be unlawful. The Church has accepted the decision as legally final, and by my official advice as President of the Church has in the most solemn and authoritative manner decided not to enter into any marriages in future that are contrary to the laws of the land. ...
WILFORD WOODRUFF. President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
[Typewritten letter, Church Historian's Library, in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]