Orgins of Anti-Mormonism

The young boy Prophet, Joseph Smith first experienced the sting of hatred and bigory not long after his vision from God at the age of 14.

"[...] one of the Methodist preachers [...] treated my communication [...] with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them. I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects -- all united to persecute me." (History of Joseph Smith, 21-22)

The term "anti-Mormon" first appears in the historical record in 1841, as part of the title of a New York publication with the stated goal of exposing the errors of Mormonism. On August 16th of that year the Latter Day Saint Times and Seasons reported the Mormons' confidence that although the Anti-Mormon Almanac was designed by "Satan and his emissaries" to flood the world with "lies and evil reports", still "we are assured that in the providence of God they will ultimately tend to the glory of God--the spread of truth and the good of the church". The anti-Mormon newspaper certainly wasn't the first of its kind; Mormonism had been criticized strongly by dozens of publications since its inception, most notably by Eber D. Howe's book Mormonism Unvailed (1834). The Saints initially labeled such publications “anti-Christian”, but the publication of the Almanac and the subsequent formation of an "Anti-Mormon Party" in Illinois heralded a shift in terminology. "Anti-Mormon" became, on the lips of the church's critics, a proud and politically charged self-designation.