Early in 1884, a Utah newspaper known for its anti-Mormon editorial bias published a letter. The newspaper claimed it was sermon given by a Mormon Bishop by the name of West and delivered in Juab, Utah. The sermon, called the Red Hot Address, was inflammatory and called for violence against those not of the Mormon faith
When the Red Hot Address came out in the papers, it kick started the already simmering anti‑Mormon sentiment. At Cane Creek, Tennessee, Parson Vandiver figured prominently in the spreading of this inflammatory “Mormon” sermon. He reprinted copies at his own expense. The sermon was easily proven a fabrication. When shown the evidence the Utah paper that originally published the letter agreed. They printed a retraction but added a caveat that although this particular sermon was a fraud, the sentiments expressed in it were an accurate representation of older Mormon teachings.
In Lewis County, Tennessee, Parson Vandiver, continued passing around copies even after being sent a letter by Elder Gibbs with the proof that the sermon was a fraud.
Below is the address and a letter written by George Teasdale refuting it. I'm still looking for the retraction.
A Red-Hot Address
(From the Salt Lake Tribune.)
Stenographical report of Bishop West's harangue in the Juab school-house,
Sunday, March 9th, 1884.
Reported by Tobias Tobey for the Salt Lake Tribune.
Juab, Utah, March 9th.
It is time, my brothers and sisters, that we ceased this cowardly silence and humble submission to the rulings and machinations of the devil and his fiery imps at the capitol of this God-forsaken Gentile government; and it is time for us to fling their defiance and scurrilous domination back in their faces. We are the elect of Christ, and the day of judgment is at hand, and it's our turn then if it isn't now, which I say it is. When Gabriel sounds his trumpet on that awful day, the Gentile hellhounds will find the Saints of God have got all the front seats reserved, and that they can't find standing room for themselves in the gallery. The cause is flourishing in the Juab Stake of Zion, and many souls are being daily rescued from the flames of heathenism. If I had my way not a house would be left standing which sheltered a knavish Gentile. They are eyesores in the sight of the Lord and His vengeance is sure to come. They persecute His Saints and He has commanded them to destroy their persecutors. He has commanded the Saints to rid the earth of the sin-besmudged heretic. He has revealed unto us the foundation of the Gentile Church that it is the devil. (II Nephi ch. 4, verse xx.) Hell is filled with the scurrilous Gentiles and the floors of hell are paved with the skulls of apostates. He who kills a Gentile rids the earth of a serpent and adds a star to his own crown. The Saints are gathering together from sea to sea and they will rise in their awful might and fall upon the enemies of Zion. Let the tabernacles resound with joyful voices for the fulfillment of the prophecies of Moroni are at hand. The minions of the devil are set loose in our midst by the crime soaked politicians who rule our land. The shades of the sainted martyr Smith call aloud for vengeance at the hands of his followers. The blood of the Gentile persecutors shall be spilled on their own thresholds to appease the anger of our prophet. Tune the lyre and beat the cymbals; for our revenge is now at hand. We will wipe out the scum of the Washington blood suckers and the high priest of the devil who assumes to rule in our very midst shall be cut off with a sharp instrument. The thieving Murray issues orders to the Saints of God, and defies everyone but the devil, who is his sponsor. His head will be placed upon the walls of our city and his entrails scattered throughout the street of Zion that every Gentile adventurer may behold and take a care that we are left to pursue our road to Paradise unmolested. Our strength is greater than the world believes and our will is powerful and undaunted by heretic menaces. The Lord is our shepherd and we cannot fail. The red man is our firm ally and he thirsts for the blood of the enemy of Zion. We are powerful and unassailable in our mountain home and we will roll the massive boulders of destruction down from the mountain tops upon the heads of the unregenerate. Our secret places are stored with crafty explosives with which we will surely destroy the strongholds of the government of Satan. Our young men are drilling for the conflict, and pure wives and daughters are making themselves ready to minister to our wants, and the day is close at hand. Let the Gentile leeches and poltroons beware and win our forbearance, if yet they may. The Lord is sorely angered at our persecutors, and He has said to our counselors in a vision that He will deliver our enemy into our hands as He delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi. He will visit the earth, through us, with a worse destruction than He did in the days of the flood, and the ungodly will bite the dust with rage, and their blood will flow in the streets of Zion even as much as the waters in the day of Noah. Behold, I declare unto you, all ye Saints who revere the memory of the Prophets that you must begin to gird up your loins and whet your knives. Let the religious fervor of the Saints who are dead and gone recur to your weaker spirits and fire you with the zeal of the destroying angels. Eli Murray is the Cain of our generation. He hates our people and he "works for our destruction that he may win for himself a reputation of valor among the ungodly. He is a damned scoundrel, and a pestiferous leper. He is the polluted scum of corruption. He reeks with ungodliness, and he is rotten with heresy. I command every true disciple of Christ to watch out for this damned Yankee interloper, and ye know that there is protection enough for you in Zion if ye kill the whole Gentile race. Last night, as I lay in my bed thinking over the affairs of the Church, and possessed of a strange restlessness, and praying the while for inspiration from the Most High, that I might see the way more clearly to a sure release of my brethren from bondage, behold a great and glorious light suddenly filled my apartment with a glow brighter than the sun. I was at first afraid, and inclined strongly to leap from my bed and flee. But of a sudden I heard a voice which caused my heart to beat with tumultuous joy, for it was that of Joseph Smith. I gazed at him earnestly, expecting and hanging on the words which should perchance fall from his lips, and I beheld that his garments were of a dazzling whiteness, and that his skin was of a dazzling and heavenly whiteness, save the blood-red spots and livid wounds where the bullets of the cursed Gentiles had entered his sainted body, and which were now visible to their eternal damnation, as were the marks of the nails which pierced the hands and feet of Christ. Joseph spoke to me in a voice of wondrous sweetness blended with strains of the direst severity when he spoke of the fate in store for those Saints who neglected what he should now command them. Joseph bade me to cast my eyes about and behold the presence in the midst of the Saints of an emissary of the devil. It was the will of the Most High that this man should be removed, and if other emissaries were chosen to fill his place, even as many as were so chosen should be similarly dealt with. If allowed to remain in our midst, the sin would be on our heads, for it was the command of the Most High God of Abraham and Isaac. It lay in our power to be our own rulers, and our cowardice was the cause of sore distress to the departed Saints who had left us a kingdom. Eli H. Murray was possessed of a devil, and had only the outward semblance of a man. He should and must be trod upon until his bowels gushed out in the streets. The incarnate fiend lurked invisibly behind his hellish disciple, and was intent upon the destruction of Zion. The time was short, and vigorous and immediate action premptory. The curses of eternal damnation awaited those who failed in this holy mission. The work must not stop at the destruction of one of these hell-hounds, these Erebus-like pestilences in the folds of the anointed, but must extend even to the farthermost corners of the earth, until every heretic out of hell was sent home, and the Latter-day Saints were rulers of the land. Much more the beloved Joseph said to me which I am commanded not to reveal unto you until you prove the sincerity of your faith and love for the prosperity of Zion from what has already been revealed. The direst plagues shall be immediately visited upon you and your children if these divine commands go unheeded. I call upon you who sit there trembling in your seats to beware, and to rise in your strength and win your crown. Let every Saint in Zion be present at the meeting in this building on Sunday next at this hour, and I will discourse further upon these matters which I have, for wise reasons, kept from you during the day up to this minute. The Lord bless you. Amen.
The Foul Libel Refuted
NEPHI, JUAB Co., TJ. T.
March 18, 1884.
Editor Deseret News:
Please pardon me for referring to a sheet published in your city, called the "Salt Lake Tribune,," although I do not presume that it is sustained by any respectable person in this Territory where it has so unenviable a reputation; still it may be sent abroad and fall into the hands of some simple-minded persons who might perhaps be deluded into the impression that it was a truthful sheet, or reliable authority. Not that I think for a moment that any sane person would be so woefully deceived. I wish to refer to a manufactured sensational piece in the issue of Sunday the 16th inst. that has been called to my attention, headed a "Red-Hot Address;" also a short editorial on the subject in which the truthful (?) editor states it had been "forwarded by a friend. " O, tempore! O, mores! It purports to be a "stenographical report of Bishop West's harangue in the Juab schoolhouse, Sunday March 9, 1884, reported by 'Tobias Tobey' for the Salt Lake Tribune." Then follows an address which charity would suggest had been written by an insane person or worse, the offspring of a dreadfully corrupt heart, a miserable disgrace to the genus homo, worthy only to rise to "shame' and everlasting contempt."
Now, the facts are these: It is all a gross fabrication, Juab is a small town occupied by hotel and boarding house keepers, a store or two and the railroad hands; there is a small branch of the Church, presided over by Elder James Wilson, who is very much respected, but no bishop. On the Sunday referred to there had been a wash-out and all the hands were busy, so that there was no meeting held on that day; and as far as the "Bishop West" is concerned, there is no such bishop there or in the "Mormon" Church, and who "Tobias Tobey" is no one knows.
I have been requested to inform you of these facts, and kindly request that you will waive any feeling of dislike you may have to, in any way, refer to the existence of such a sheet, for the sake of our young Elders on missions, who might perchance meet with this shockingly vile fabrication.
[The paper printed a retraction. I have reproduced it here.]
3 months ago