Friday, January 7, 2011
RC Webb - The Case Against Mormonism
Despite its foreboding title, Robert Charles Webb's book The Case Against Mormonism, is an apologetic work defending Mormonism against the common anti-Mormon arguments prevalent at the time it was published. Webb himself was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but was favorable to their cause.1 The book was published in 1915 in New York, and came mostly as a response to Reverend Henry C. Sheldon, a Professor at Boston University, who had written a book entitled A Fourfold Test of Mormonism.2 Sheldon briefly discusses the Book of Abraham Facsimiles and the responses of Egyptologists consulted by Reverend Franklin S. Spalding, and previously by Jules Remy. Webb's book briefly addresses these particular issues, as well as Sheldon's approach, and this portion of Webb's book is included below.3
1 Robert Charles Webb is a pseudonym for James Edward Homans. Homans was a Harvard graduate who had studied at the Harvard Divinity School. He was an Episcopalian, and was a writer by profession. He was friendly towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and had published articles and books relating to Mormonism previous to this publication, and subsequent thereto. See "Robert C. Webb," by Kevin Barney, By Common Consent; also see "The Story of Research on The Pearl of Great Price," by Sidney B. Sperry, in Pearl of Great Price Conference, December 10, 1960, James R. Clark, Conference Director (Department of Extension Publications, Adult Education and Extension Services, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 1964), 6-11; additionally, see James E. Talmage Diary, dated December 1, 1915 (typescript in my possession): "About noon I received a call, as per prior arrangements, from James E. Homans. We lunched together and spent some time in the discussion of the work on which Mr. Homans has been for some time engaged, the preparation of articles and books on subjects relating to Mormonism. Mr. Homans delivered to me today a copy of a 157 page work entitled "The Case Against Mormonism" by himself. Instead of his own name he uses on the title page the pen-name, Robert C. Webb, under which he has written in this particular field of literature. The book is a reply to a little work which appeared somewhat over a year ago, entitled, "A Fourfold Test of Mormonsim" by Prof. Henry C. Sheldon, of Boston University. The Webb's [sic] reply is published by L.L. Walton of the Sturgis and Walton Company. In company with Mr. Homans I visited the offices of Sturgis and Walton, and ordered five hundred copies of "The Case Against Mormonism" to be shipped at once to the office of the Deseret News, Salt Lake City."
2 A Fourfold Test of Mormonism, Henry Clay Sheldon (Abindgon Press, New York City, NY 1914), 23-25
3 Henry C. Sheldon's book is not included in the Documents on this blog because there is nothing original produced in his writing. He simply summarizes Remy's findings, which is available here; and Spalding's findings, which will be forthcoming.
Posted by Tim at 6:00 PM