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A great many people in Utah will remember the visit of Dr. John M. Reiner to Salt Lake City some time in January last. While visiting friends in the state the Doctor's attention was attracted by the boldness of the claims of “Mormon-, ism," and he prolonged his visit somewhat over the time he had intended to stay, in order that he might investigate the doctrines of the, to him, strange faith of the saints. He was successful in obtaining interviews with a number of the general authorities of the church and other leading brethren, and paid some attention, we believe, to the literature of the subject. During his stay among us he was accorded the privilege of addressing the saints in the Tabernacle, at one of the regular Sunday afternoon services in Salt Lake City. His remarks on that occasion were published in the Deseret Evening News, and it is for this reason that we say his visit here will be remembered by very many of the people of Utah. Since his return to the east the Doctor seems not to have lost his interest in the subject he investigated while in Utah. Indeed he not only seems to have retained his own interest in the subject, but to have aroused in others an interest in the same great theme, as will appear from the following communication addressed to one of the editors of the Era, under date of March 16th:
My Dear Sir:
A number of gentlemen in New York were recently addressed by Dr. John M. Reiner, on "Mormonism," and this has brought forth considerable discussion and many questions on our part. In answer to some of these questions the Doctor has sent to me the enclosed letter, and be makes such extraordinary statements and startling explanations that we are interested to know how pear he comes to your view of the matter, and whether you advocate what he says.
If you know the Doctor you know that he is to the point, positive and is prepared with proofs to substantiate any assertions he may make. We should like, if you see no objection, to have you print his letter to us, and comment on the same from a "Mormon" standpoint, so that we may have the “Mormon” answer to the questions, which you see from his answer were asked the Doctor.
Of course, you understand, that my permission to publish this article is not to be construed as advocating the statements therein made, or that I think the same unanswerable. We have not at present gone beyond the letter, nor do we intend to until we get your views on the subject; we simply say, "Here is what the Doctor says, what have you got to say?"
The Doctor's personal letter to me, and which I enclose, must serve for the present as my introduction to you. I should be pleased to hear from you.
Yours very truly,
P. S.-Inasmuch as we meet weekly for discussion of this and other subjects, and expect letters from the Doctor in answer to our inquires, will you publish these on the same conditions as the enclosed, should we send the same to you?
In answering the above the editor of the ERA, to whom it was addressed, placed himself at the service of the gentlemen to aid them in their investigation of the faith of the Latter-day Saints, and promised to publish the letters of Doctor Reiner to them with such comments as the statements of the Doctor might seem to demand, or warrant.
DOCTOR REINER'S LETTER.
March 12th, 1898, Elizabeth, New Jersey. Gentlemen and friends:
I have read with pleasure your letter informing me of your resolution "To examine more thoroughly the claims of the sect known as Mormons.” Such an undertaking, in this age of religious indifference, is indeed a laudable one. If you will kindly bear in mind that you are dealing with a young
and undeveloped organization, reared in prosaic sourroundings and under difficult circumstances: and if you will use her. meunutical judgment upon the lines I have indicated, you cannot fail to derive some benefit and pleasure from such an investigation.
Under the present circumstances when other and more pressing matters demand my immediate attention, I am unable to make new engagements and hence must decline your invitation with thanks, to meet you twice a week for the purpose indicated, but I shall most cheerfully correspond with you and answer such questions as you may submit to me from time to time. I however beg you to regard my utterances as my own, as I have no authority to speak in any capacity for the Mormon Church. Personally I do not doubt for a minute, that my exegesis is the correct one, and the only one that will make Mormonism appear in its proper light when brought under review by gentlemen of your capacity and learning.
And now to the main points. The sincerity of the Mormons does not seem to me to be the proper subject for discussion, it certainly is not scientific. I, however, take this opportunity to declare that it is my honest conviction, based upon a close observation, that the leaders of the people belonging to that communion are certainly sincere and God-fearing men.
The subject of polygamy should, in my judgment, be left out of your investigation. In a manifesto dated the twentyfourth day of September, 1890, President Woodruff solemnly declared that he stood ready to abide by the laws of the land, and prohibited the priesthood of the church, of which he is the head, to solemnize any more plural marriages after the date of that manifesto. That declaration, I think, should be sufficient to make us hold our peace even here in the east. Inasmuch as you press that subject upon me, I shall make the following remarks upon it.
Your question as to whether polygamy can be justified “from a biblical standpoint" lacks imprecision. “From a biblical standpoint" according to whose interpretation? Those of you gentlemen who are members of the Church of Rome can discard this question by saying: “Roma locuta, causa