The fact that many honest people in the United States and other countries are being led astray by the pretensions of the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," or "Josephite Church," as it is more commonly called, must justify the publication of this work. My desire to preserve from error those not acquainted with the order of the priesthood of God, and the facts of church history in the great dispensation of the last days, has been the incentive which prompted me to write it. Moreover, though the facts of church history which of themselves disprove the claims of the "Josephite Church," are abundant, yet are they scattered through the church works in such a manner as to make it exceedingly difficult for the Elders of the church to consult them; and, therefore, the writer believes he is doing a service to those Elders who are and shall hereafter be engaged in the ministry, especially to those who travel in the localities where they will come in contact with "Josephite" pretensions—by publishing this treatise on the SUCCESSION IN THE PRESIDENCY OF THE CHURCH.
I have endeavored to treat the theme on as broad a basis as possible, and have avoided technical disputes with our opponents, which only serve to burden the subject with matter that is not only unprofitable in itself, but wearying to the patience of the reader. Nor does the successful issue of our argument demand that we stop to contend over every error, either in history or argument, made by "Josephites." Did we attempt it, our task would be endless. An attorney being called upon to explain why his absent client should not be punished for contempt of court, told the judge he could assign several good reasons for the absence of his client—reasons which he hoped and believed would clear him, even in the opinion of the judge, of any intention to treat the court with disrespect. "You may name them," gruffly said the judge. "Well, then, your honor, in the first place my client is dead; and in the second place—" "Never mind your 'in the second place,'" said the judge, "if the man is dead that is sufficient—the court dismisses the case." So with this controversy; there being a few leading facts of church history, and a principle or two connected with the order of the priesthood which, if considered in the light of right reason, dispose of all the claims made by "Josephites," it is not necessary to consider their quibbles and all the details of their sophistry.
The writer is under deep obligation to acknowledge assistance he has received from a number of prominent brethren; to some for placing at his disposal books and papers, and to others for reading the work from the manuscript and greatly improving it by their invaluable suggestions. The brethren who have thus rendered me assistance are too numerous to mention by name, and it would be unfair to name a few only, when the writer is indebted to so many and to each equally. The consciousness of having assisted in a work which is designed to carry enlightenment to many in regard to so important a matter as the subject of this writing, will reward them for their labors.
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