This volume includes classics of anti-Mormon literature:
- Boadicea, The Mormon Wife, by Alfreda Eva Bell
- Mormonism Exposed and Refused, or True and False Religion, by William Kirby
- The Mysteries of Mormonism. A Full Exposure of its Secret Practices and Hidden Crimes, by Alfred Trumble
It includes illustrations, photographs, and a comprehensive interactive table of contents.
This and the upcoming volumes are not meant to criticize the LDS church, they are purely intended as a fascinating historical artifact that reveals the attitudes of the contemporaries of the early church. The Wikipedia article on Anti Mormonism states:
"The first (Mormonism Exposed) was the work of Origen Bacheler, who had no direct contact with the body of Mormons, and contained the contents of a debate between the author and Parley Pratt, with Pratt's side omitted. Bushman describes the author's rhetoric as indistinguishable from that uttered by "scores of other polemicists of his time," providing a glimpse into the kind of material considered anti-Mormon. The pamphlet described Joseph Smith as a "blockhead," a "juggling, money-digging, fortune-telling impostor" and, along with the Book of Mormon witnesses, as "perhaps the most infamous liars and impostors that ever breathed. ... By their deception and lies, they swindle them out of their property, disturb social order and the public peace, excite a spirit of ferocity and murder, and lead multitudes astray on the subject in which, of all others, they have the deepest interest." He voiced outrage at "the miscreants who are battening on the ignorance and credulity of those upon whom they can successfully play off this imposture." He described the Book of Mormon as, "the most gross, the most ridiculous, the most imbecile, the most contemptible concern, that was ever attempted to be palmed off upon society as a revelation." He believed the religion "can be viewed in no other light than that of monstrous public nuisances, that ought forthwith to be abated" and that the Mormons were "the most vile, the most impudent, the most impious, knot of charlatans and cheat with which any community was ever disgraced and cursed.” Antidote to Mormonism describes Mormons as "miserable enemies of both God and man - engines of death and hell." He described combat with them as being "desperate, the battle is one of extermination." Bushman describes the characteristics of these anti-Mormon materials as sensationalizing actuality:
"The critics' writings largely controlled the reading public's image of [Joseph Smith] for the next century, with unfortunate results for biographers. The sharp caricature of "Joe Smith" as fraud and con man blotted out the actual person. He was a combination of knave and blockhead. No one had to explain what motives drove him. He was a fixed type, the confidence man, well known in the literature of antebellum America. Americans knew all about these insidious scoundrels who undermined social order and ruined the lives of their unsuspecting victims. Joseph Smith became the worst of the type - a religious fraud who preyed upon the sacred yearnings of the human soul."